Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Story Seed - Ambush

The following is a story set in the game world of Palladium Books' Nightbane RPG. It's a setting that I really enjoy, though I cannot say as much of the game system. The art today doesn't go with the story, but it's the cover art of the Nightbane core book. "Red Hand" by BROM was the first thing that drew me into this setting.

Image Source: http://www.bromart.com/prints2.html

Sam crouched on the edge of the roof like a gargoyle, watching the street below and trying to ignore the pain in his knees. He wasn't in the best shape, at least not when we hid under the human skin of his facade, but the monstrous true form of his morphous was something altogether different. He was the group's strongest fighter, especially from an ambush, and so there had been little debate about positioning him here. He tried shifting his weight but to no avail, his human knees were just not up to the punishment of a two hundred and thirty pound man crouching in place for the better part of an hour.

Below, the street was quiet. The city, like all others since Dark Day, was far less active at night, and this neighborhood was already largely abandoned.  Where drug deals and prostitution would likely have occurred once there was now only sad broken faced buildings, darkness, and silence. It would have been peaceful had it not been so damn terrifying. Sam knew better than most that monsters waited in the darkness; he was a monster himself. The world had been invaded and the average schmuck didn't even realize it on a conscious level. Sure, people saw the darkness getting worse, but they had no clue that the people who ran the world weren't people at all. Those who knew retreated from the old world and joined the fight, or were replaced by doppelgangers, or simply vanished.

The door of the building across the way fell forward, its last remaining hinge simply giving up at the push of the black metal hand. Standing in the doorway was a skeletal creature of darkness and black steel. A second followed the first, each carrying a long black spear with a wickedly curved blade affixed to the end. Sam recognized them as Hounds, the foot-soldiers of the Nightlords.They didn't look like much but they were nearly solid metal, and supernaturally powerful.

Behind the creatures a man followed, he looked normal enough; middle aged, doughy, wearing a suit that spoke of wealth. Sam recognized him as the mayor. Sam knew it was a doppelganger. Behind the duplicate another hound emerged from the building a white crest atop its head stood out among ebon spikes, and told Sam that this was no ordinary Hound of the Nightlords; it was a master. The black blade gripped in its thin fingers seemed to want to swallow the light itself.

The creatures advanced down the steps and Sam prepared for his ambush. he embraced his true self, and rode the wave of pain as his body transformed. White-hot pain seared away half his skull, and muscle cramps like none other took hold as his limbs twisted. Sam had not yet fully transformed when a sphere of darkness lanced from a nearby alley and slammed into one of the hounds.  A strange figure, a man's torso fused to a small set of caterpillar treads and topped with a obsidian black skull, suddenly rolled out of the darkness and mode off down the street.

The Hound Master sent his two minions after the Nightbane leaving itself alone to guard the doppelganger. Sam was about to celebrate his luck when yet another figure burst from the shadowed alley, leaping for the doppelganger. The Master's blade met it first, impaling the man. As soon as his feet hit ground however his used the master's weapon against it, swinging the creature around and sending him sailing into a nearby building.

The duplicate was already running, and Sam was moving to intercept.  He never got a chance as the interloper tore a sewer cap from the street, and slung it at the mayor's doppelganger with killing force. Sam watched as his target was sliced in half by sixty pounds of steel Frisbee moving faster than most cars. He cursed, that was going to make it difficult to execute their own plans.  Whomever these two idiots were, they had ruined the true government's best chance to get a mole into the Nightlord's forces in the past year. Below him the Master had regained its feet and it and the newcomer squared were off to battle. Sam watched, quickly running through his options with regard to this new third party.