Door Crashers graphic by Gnaw.
These days my project time is split between Vanagard and Dragon Trinity Crash.
The ruleset for Vanagard is as solid as it’ll get without outside feedback, once Andrew’s finished with the Illuminated Edda the newest Vanagard Beta will be available for playtesters. Meanwhile, I’ve been updating my Vanagard YouTube channel with better art and cleaner versions of the intro and the first story. I’ve mostly finished the second story, just waiting on feedback from the last few proofreaders.
As for Dragon Trinity Crash I’ve had a TON of ideas rolling around in my mind about characters, rules, plots and so forth. Which is fine but the actual work on the book needs doing and I have been keen to complete. The following is the intro story that’ll appear in the rule book. Every RPG has one of these, it’s the first thing you read, designed to give the gist of the world, at a glance. In RPGs I’ve read, I’ve found some of these stories amazing, others…well I skipped so I could get straight to the meat. I hope this one, is one folks will read and enjoy.
“I then lifted the puny Orc lord, and smashed him onto the rocks!” Steve the Barbarian smashed the chair onto the hardwood floor where it exploded into splinters. The tavern crowd cheered, while Ansim, cleric of Wal, The Invisible Hand of the Free Market, signalled comfortingly to the tavern master that all would be paid for.
When the cheers died down Ornat the Satyr rogue added, “Those idiot pig snouts were so stunned, none of ‘em saw me take this.” With a flourish, she produced an emerald the size of an apple, even in the dim candle light it glimmered. The crowd gasped in admiration and envy.
Anism snatched the gem from Ornat, “Careful,” he hissed, “it’s holy.”
“Holy?” snorted Haskel Steel Tower, Paladin of Generik, God of Healing Spells, Turning Undead and That’s It. “How can orcs have anything holy?” His lovely baritone caused many in the tavern to swoon.
“It does have an ominous name, the Gem of Don Tre Move,” commented Kassandra Two-Swords, Queen of the Dual-Wheel Clan.
“It will be holy,” answered Ansim, polishing the gem with this sleeve before tucking it away, “after it’s stowed in the church.”
His fellow adventurers shot him a sudden glare.
He sighed and rolled his eyes, “Of course we’ll be rewarded a finder’s fee, Wal’s the God of Profit, not charity.”
At that, the adventurers cheered and clinked mugs.
Suddenly the tavern door was kicked open and three individuals stepped forward. To the right stood a regal looking Elf, her expression bored. To the left stood a tough Halfling, who wore an evil grin. Between them was a Half-Elf bedecked in blue armour, who strode forward in a manner that was all business.
She shot an even glare at the cleric, “Ansim Molina, we are representatives of the Zhan R.S.S. We have been hired by the royal family of the late Orc king Loukas Katut. You will relinquish the Gem of Don Tre Move or face the consequences.”
The sudden tense silence was broken by Ornat’s snicker. “What? The Orcs are hiring mercs now?”
“Well you did slaughter their army,” the badass Halfling commented.
Haskel frowned, “You have no jurisdiction here. As per the accords of Killt Hemand Tak Etherstuff, any member of the Tolgax alliance is free to raid goblinoid settlements with no fear of recompense.” He stood and sunk the tip of his great sword into the floor, folding both gauntleted hands on its hilt. “If what we did was a crime I would no longer be a paladin; do I look like not-a-paladin to you?” An air of righteous menace hung around him like a cloak of terror.
“Well, you do serve Generik God of Lowest Standards,” quipped the Halfling.
“Jadran,” scolded the Half-Elf.
While they whispered an argument, the Elf walked forward and said, with a strained genteelness, “We made the city guard well aware of our intentions and they do side with you. However, honour demands we not be deterred and in that respect, we offered to allow them to do their duty and try to stop us. However, after we demonstrated our acumen, they wisely stepped aside. I assure you, they send their most sincere apologies.” She looked away from the wall hanging she was examining, some velvet number showing a Dark-Elf with sideburns, and regarded the adventurers with a sudden iciness.
“Can we kill them?” asked Kassandra casually.
“I want to kill them,” added Steve.
“Very well,” Ansim dismissed, “try not wreck the place.”
At that, Steve let out a bloodcurdling war cry and drew his zweihander from the sheath slung across his broad back. He charged forward, his blue-steel eyes filled with bloodlust, an unstoppable juggernaut of muscle and steel.
The Half-Elf paused in her argument to spare the barbarian a harsh glance. She swept her hand towards him. “Thunder Lance.” There was a sudden flash and horrendous boom. Steve cried in surprise and was thrown across the tavern like dirty laundry. His sword twirled in the air for a moment, before it clattered to the floor.
The adventurers blinked in surprise. Then the ranger drew her swords and grinned fiercely, “Time to bring this up a whole other level!” She raced towards the armoured maiden.
“Jade Club!” Kassandra was brought to a halt, mid-sprint, by the Halfling’s jade mace thudding into her stomach, “Sorry, but we’re having a conversation here.” He finished his swing and she too went flying across the tavern, with a shriek, to join Steve.
The mystic weapon vanished and Jadran turned back to the armoured one, “Now listen here, I will mock whatever gods I deem fit.”
Dejana let out a frustrated sigh, “You’re being unprofessional. Guild charter specifically states…”
“I don’t care.”
“You should, here’s why…”
The Elf rolled her eyes.
The paladin gave her a sympathetic nod and then raised his gleaming sword in the air. “For Holiness without Commitment!”
The Satyr rogue brandished her daggers, “For the loot!”
They charged together. Haskel lowered his sword like a lance, his expression a grim mask of determination. Ornat followed just behind him and to the left, her daggers twirling in her hands.
The Elf dashed forward with practised speed. “Sea Slash.” She crossed the paladin’s path, a blade of gleaming seawater in her hand. She flicked her wrist and the blade fell to a puddle of blood on the floor. Haskel let out a cry and fell, first to his knees and then onto his face. Without skipping a beat Ornat continued running, right past the arguing Dejana and Jadran, right out the door.
Dejana and Jadran kept to their argument, weighing the value of professionalism vs. liberating speech. The Elf stepped forward and regarded the cleric of Wal with disdain. “The gem if you please.” She held out her hand.
Ansim retreated a couple of paces, holding the gem tight. A cold sweat beaded on his forehead. “I-I recognise you, y-you’re Iset the Dark One. I’m not giving anything to you!”
Iset sighed, “I assure you I’m not nearly as evil as I was. I’ve spent all time owed in prison and accepted an alignment shift. If I was at my full power, using my old methods, that gem would already be mine, and you’d be grovelling at my feet wishing for death.” An eerie light suddenly shone from under her chin, casting her visage in malevolent shadow.
Ansim let out a terrified squeak, he then thrust forward his smiley face holy symbol and chanted,
“Ancient Mascot from Aeons gone
Scion of Moloch, the golden spawn…”
Dejana and Jadran paused in their argument.
“What the…”, commented the Halfling.
“You who have outlived both clown and king
The lives of my foes are yours to wring!” Ansim’s smiling holy symbol came to life and laughed malevolently. The patrons behind him cowered.
A glowing portal, too bright to look at, opened up behind them and huge shiny hands emerged from it and ripped off the roof. Stepping out came a hairless, gleaming white giant who towered above the town. He was built like a pristine statue of a powerful man. His smile exuded confidence with a touch of malice. Distant, etherial, voices sung in exaltation:
“Mr. Scrub, Mr. Scrub ruba duba duuub
Mr. Scrub, Mr Scrub, he’ll feast on your Bloood
Ansim giggled with the voice of a madman, then he fled, and so did the patrons. The three mercs stared up at the Corporate Avatar, gobsmacked.
He looked down and turned his smile upon them.
Dejana broke out of her terror and pulled her friends close.
“Iset, get Freya and chase after Ansim, don’t let him get away. Jadran you and Ulla help with the evacuation. I’ll deal with the giant.”
“Are you nuts?” Jadran exclaimed.
Iset frowned worriedly, “You can’t, not by yourself, even with Xalladale, he’s too powerful.”
Dejana smirked, “He’s a washer spirit. I’ll be fine, sky beats sea.”
Jadran glanced at Iset, “She’s got a point.”
Iset seemed hesitant but answered, “Very well, but as soon as we’re done we’re coming right back .”
“Appreciated.” Dejana then pointed at Mr. Scrub, “Hey! Your fight’s with me!”
Iset and Jadran scattered as the bald giant lifted a foot and went to stomp Dejana. She barely jumped out of the way and the shockwave from the impact sent her flying. With booming footsteps, he advanced towards her.
“Time to pick on someone your own size,” the merc muttered. She drew in a breath and suddenly was lifted by vortex. Her voice echoing with power she chanted:
“You whose wings span inky sky and encompass stars.
Whose gaze sees all no matter how afar
Bring forth your thunder, whose din terrifies evil hearts
I call forth your child to rip and tear villains apart
Great Dragon who seeks Blood heed my call
Power of Xalladale be mine!”
Chunks of sapphire and silver materialised and orbited around Dejana, at the end of her chant they combined in a brilliant flash of light. In the sorceress’ place stood a mechanical warrior nearly as tall as Mr. Scrub. She walked upright but had draconic features, including wings and a tail. She was constructed of gleaming sapphire and silver. She tilted her head back and roared.
Mr. Scrub let out a booming chuckle and smashed his sparkling fist right underneath Xalladale’s chin. The mech flew back and crashed into a 10-foot pole shop.
“Watch it!” cried the amplified voice of Jadran behind it, “Trying to rescue people here.”
“Sorry,” said Xalladale in Dejana’s voice. She shook her head to clear it and stood. “I’ll finish this now, Thunder Lance!” Twin conductor rods clanked down on Xalladale’s shoulders, they thrummed with electricity and fired two bolts of lightning directly at the Avatar with a tremendous boom. He jolted back an inch, smiled and laughed, the blast having no effect.
“Wha?” Dejana exclaimed.
Mr. Scrub gestured and two sponges of rock erupted from the earth. “I am not my brother Mr. Swish, nor my Sister Ms. Swoosh, I am the third element of our trinity.” His eyes lit up with murderous intent, “I am Mr. Scrub the Land Spirit of Corporate Cleansing and I will rub you out!” He pointed and the two porous boulders slammed into Xalladale, ripping into her hide, tearing sapphire chunks out of her. Dejana felt Xalladale’s pain through their empathic link and screamed. She then gritted her teeth, focused and cried, “Heaven’s Rise!” Her mech flapped her wings and flew into the air. Mr. Scrub smirked and pointed up to her, the earth sponges followed but Xalladale reduced them to rubble with two punches. She then roared again and swooped down to slam into the Avatar, sending him toppling out of the edge of town.
“You’re a fool!” exclaimed Mr. Scrub. “Land beats sky, you can’t win.”
Xalladale swiped twice with her claws, cutting two large gashes into the giant. “Could have fooled me,” Dejana mocked.
“Enough!” Mr Scrub growled. He stepped behind Xalladale and rapidly hammered punches into her back. She stumbled but managed to turn to block the rest of his attacks. She then swiped a claw upwards cutting his chin. Thus, the fight continued and minutes bled into eternity for Dejana. Xalladale scored many wounds on Mr. Scrub, but they were light. When he struck back each blow hammered the mech further and further out of town. Finally, he grabbed her by the wing and tossed her into a rocky hillside where she collided with earth-shattering force.
For a moment the dragon armour lay still, but then Dejana gasped and forced her mech back to her feet. “I admit, you’re not half bad.”
Mr. Scrub chuckled, raised his hands in the air and said “Wound Cleanse!” He swept his hands down and a sparkling field followed, one that erased all his injuries.
Dejana’s eyes went wide. “Crud.”
Mr. Scrub shook his head, “Tsk, tsk, tsk, it’s time to wash your mouth out, for good.” He pulled back his fist, drawing magical power. Dejana braced for impact.
Suddenly a green, four-legged, gator-mech crashed into the Avatar from behind, knocking him flying. “No one kills Dejana till we’ve finished our argument,” chuckled Jadran’s voice.
An ice-blue mech, long and serpentine, sprung into the air and knocked Mr. Scrub flying with her tail. “Sea beats land,” said Iset. The Avatar smashed into the ground and rolled to a halt.
“You two…”, Dejana huffed.
“Villagers evacuated ma’am.”, responded Jadran, his mech Ulla, saluting with his tail.
“I have the priest and the gem,” Iset said. Her mech, Freya, lifted her tail, inside the crystal rattle Ansim huddled in a frightened ball.
Meanwhile Mr. Scrub pushed himself onto his feet, his eyes glowing with power. “Mystic Eraser!”, he shouted and in his hand appeared a sword of acidic foam.
“I’d finish him,” Iset mused, “but it might be fitting if we all do it.”
“Fine with me,” said Dejana, “form up.”
“Faedra Luna Perfect Crash!”, cried the three as one. Suddenly a shockwave of power erupted from all three mechs, it was enough to knock Mr. Scrub back on his arse. Ulla stood on his hind legs and split forming a throne, Xalladale sat in this, folding up to become the torso and head, Freya rose and slithered behind becoming a set of mighty arms. With a rumble, flash, and boom a new, much larger, mech stood before the prone Avatar.
Her right hand opened. “Sword,” commanded Dejana.
“Sea Slash!” “Jade Club!” “Thunder lance!”, the three called. Suddenly Faedra Luna was armed with a sea sword, inside which swirled huge boulders, outside of which crackled golden lightning.
“I hereby send you back to the celestial bargain bin,” snarled Dejana as Faedra Luna swung her massive blade.
“Suds buckets,” groaned the avatar, right before it struck.
Aaand that’s the intro story. Did it do it’s job? Are you curious to see the rest? Please leave your comments below.