Season 1, Update 8: Blood Money

Started by Valkyrja, May 10, 2024, 02:41:37 PM

Year 48, The 23rd Age of the Dragon's Ire

...Somewhere in the Red Desert...

Reggie's hands shook as he fumbled with the straps of the arrow-laden quivers, running at full tilt towards the entrance of the mine. He passed some grim-faced comrades in arms preparing their kit – people like Davil seemed to have a resting face that was prepared for imminent death. Others, he could smell the fear. Or was that his own odor? His boots thudded heavily as he ran, dust occasionally raining down from the ceiling and its wooden supports.

He stumbled up the last few cords of the steep incline to the mouth of the mine. "Arrows! Got the arrows!"

The Junior Agent was up in the pilot's perch of the Lazy Scimitar – their crew's pride and joy, their wagon, their love nest. He had a hand to his brow, looking out over the hastily built walls they erected just that morning. But night was falling...

"Might be Gith...Might be Kuraci. Hard to tell. Fire some warning shots," the Junior Agent, Shem Salarr, called out almost calmly. Reggie liked the Junior Agent in that moment – he was usually petty and short-tempered.

Reggie fumbled with his own bow, handing one of the quivers over to the Right Hand, Bags the half-elf. Bags smirked, pulling the quiver around his waist and cinching, drawing an arrow, and thrumming off a shot quicker than Reggie could string his own up. Bags drew again, firing, and a few others along the line did the same, over the makeshift walls.

Other Privateers were hauling out bags upon bags upon chests of what looked like black and green sand...Chunks...Reggie knew what it was though. They all did...


They dragged it up to the wagon's loading ramp, passing them off hand over hand in a line, hefts and grunts between man and woman as they passed along the heavy payload.

"Keep loading! Definitely not Gith! They're returning fire...! It's Kurac...!"

The last thing Reggie remembered was just how sharp an arrow looks when it's falling from the sky, and how slow the descent...

50 Year History

In the 25th year of the 23rd age, rumors began circulating that House Salarr had exclusive control over a lucrative copper mine in the Tablelands. They had managed to extract significant reserves undetected. Recent tensions over a copper vein near Luir's left House Kurac incensed by the discovery, prompting various groups to attempt to seize the mine. Despite Kurac ultimately forcing its destruction at great cost in lives, Salarr swiftly moved on, uncovering and establishing a new mine. Their effective methods for locating deposits triggered a race among the other Great Merchant Houses and city-states to uncover their secrets. Through corruption, betrayal, and assassinations, House Kurac eventually acquired this knowledge, closely followed by Allanak and Tuluk. This era marked the beginning of significant fractures in cooperation among the Great Merchant Houses.

Over the next two decades, multiple copper deposits were discovered, with Kurac, Salarr, and Tuluk controlling at least one mine each. House Kadius opted to make deals or purchase metal from other sources, avoiding direct involvement in the high-stakes armed or political conflicts. Extraction and smelting techniques gradually advanced, and by the 50th year of the 23rd age, high-ranking nobles, templars, and Great Merchant House members were commonly seen wearing copper jewelry. Some elite individuals were even spotted carrying copper daggers or knives.

By the 70th year, House Kurac had developed a reputation for selling the occasional copper tool to wealthy patrons, and rumors spread of a battle-hardened Byn sergeant who had secured her own personal copper blade.

Kurac & Mobile Ops

Kuraci Mobile Operations is the traveling command center of the Great Merchant House, bringing back the opportunities of the wastes to the other divisions. Never spoken of lightly, it is considered to be where the most promising Agents, Merchants, and soldiers are assigned. There is a mystique and reverence to service in Mobile Ops, so much so that high ranking Agents find their careers stunted if they have not had a tour there. Many apply, few are permitted entry.

The Kuraci Outriders are the elite direct action and reconnaissance units of the House, now seeing assignments into Mobile Operations. In previous Ages, the Outriders served in a capacity to rival other military units with a focus on assassination, scouting, and skirmishing in the wastes. However, in the past fifty years, their focus has shifted to accommodate the desires of profitable ventures. Where once it was a tool used sparingly in defense of the Outpost or Kuraci personnel, now it is bent toward the long reach of the Great Merchant House. If there is a credible rumor about metal deposits, you can bet that the Outriders knew about it first. Outriders operate outside the boundaries of city-state laws and prefer to remain anonymous, never speaking of their work in public to others.


For close to five decades, House Salarr has been ensnared in a maelstrom of contention and conflict with House Kurac, engaged in a relentless struggle for dominance over prized resources and territories. Across the vast expanse of the Known World, they have staked their claims, only to find scant reward for their endeavors. The Agentry's mandate has led them to traverse the unforgiving terrain, from the eastern reaches around Cenyr to the desolate Canyons of Waste in the west, in an unending pursuit of the next unparalleled discovery. Yet, each encounter with House Kurac in the wilds has been fraught with brutality and uncertainty, leaving scars both seen and unseen.

This perpetual clash has cast a shadow of intrigue and tension over the civilized political landscape of Luirs and Allanak, as both Houses project confident airs and parade waves when questioned by outsiders as to the state of their affairs while engaging in the War of Shadows -- compelling both House Salarr and House Kurac to heed the immutable adage that echoes:

"In the Desert, deeds fade like footprints, and only the sands know our secrets."

Expansion Division

The Expansion Division of House Salarr is one that the House Head and Senior Merchants and Agents admit exists if pressed by a Trade Minister. On paper, they 'seek out, secure, and harvest resources for the House to utilize and turn into assets'. However, in reality, Expansion Division has become one of the better funded sections of the House as they pour coin and resources into discovering new sources of metal deposits. It is considered a trying ground for family members of Salarr who wish to join the Agent Branch – where their discretion, political agility, and ruthlessness can all be put to the test.

The Expansion Division seeks out and secures areas of interest, establishing a sizable and defensible base of operations and bleeding the area dry, regardless of claimed territory. It is a megalith that overshadows the smaller operations of House Kurac, attracting greed-driven prospectors and privateers who wish to make it rich quickly under the long shadow that is cast by House Salarr.

OOC changes to Great Merchant Houses

We are thankful to our community for feedback regarding GMH play and are eager to showcase dramatic changes to address the dissatisfaction in the play experience. Our goal is to allow for people to gravitate toward the roles they like with less focus on the tedium that can come with GMH characters. In summary:

  • GMH will be focused on Agent Branches rather than Merchant Branches at the start of Season 1. This comes with a focus on politics, plotting, adventures, and drama. We are cutting as much red tape as possible to allow leadership roles the room to create a fun environment for their clan without the exhausting bookkeeping in and out of the request tool.
  • Non-Family Merchants are still available for play as a potential promotion for crafters. People who love to play crafters and sell things will still have a place to find in the GMH, it just is not the major focus at this time.
  • We have archived redundant and confusing/contradictory documentation, and removed edicts/rules that were too prescriptive or micro-managed players in their approach.
  • We are shifting away from "vending machine" requirements, with GMH NPC shops providing a vast majority of available wares to the player base.
  • Increased autonomy for PCs -- rule followers, benders, and breakers welcome. Expect IC consequences for IC actions, rather than OOC repercussions.

His Shadow,
The Armageddon Team