The central figures in Golem Supremacy are called Warlocks. These men and women have an innate magical talent, the history and evolution of which is unknown. Many rumours exist about Warlocks: they have angelic or demonic blood, one of their forefathers was a blessed Demon Hunter or a cursed Necromancer, their talent is neither intrinsically good nor evil but merely a rare genetic deviation... Nobody knows for certain. What is known is that this talent can be practiced and perfected. A Warlock without proper education and training can hardly be called one at all. Indeed, such a Warlock would be only able to perform the simplest magic with the greatest difficulty.
During the early part of a Warlock’s life his power is, mildly put, unstable: it can surge dramatically in several weeks so it becomes uncontrollable, and then immediately recede almost entirely for any period of time ranging from a day to a season. Only after a certain amount of years, usually when the Warlock reaches physical maturity, his power starts to settle down. This is usually between the age of sixteen and twenty, but it is not unknown, though rare, that Warlocks reach ‘arcane maturity’ as early as thirteen or as late as thirty. Only at this point can a Warlock’s education begin.
When a Warlock dedicates himself to his craft, he is a power to be reckoned with. Not, as one would expect, through his use of spells or arcane rituals, but through something much more mythical: a Golem. An experienced Warlock can conjure up, construct, spawn, breed, summon or otherwise create a unique and awe-inspiring creation of his own design. This being is known as a Golem. It is intimately bound with the Warlock’s soul and it is said that when a Golem is destroyed, the Warlock may lose his soul, his sanity, his life or even all three.
The characteristics of a Golem are a direct reflection of the Warlock’s will and character. A necromantic Warlock, for instance, could gather the bones of mammoths and bind them together with rituals and spells to create a towering, humanoid Bone Golem hulk... Or he could collect the bodies of a dozen or more men and sew them together into a hulking Flesh Golem... Or simply call upon the very essence of Death itself, summoning a featureless black shade whose simple touch steals a man’s soul. A Pyromancer could require the presence of a fire, be it a small flame or an all-consuming conflagration, to summon his Fire Golem and let it teleport instantly from flame to flame... Or crush a small vial with a solution inside that he has prepared himself to unleash a majestic and terrifying Phoenix Golem. When the Phoenix is in trouble or badly injured, perhaps he has another vial prepared that instantly replenishes its vitality.
Because of all the effort, energy, time and resources that go into the creation and sustenance of a Golem, a Warlock can only have one and will rarely, if ever, destroy or dispel one to construct another. Of course, that is virtually never necessary: an experienced Warlock’s Golem could do the work a whole veteran army does – and likely better and faster as well.
As already noted, a Warlock’s education can only commence when he reaches, or is close to reaching, arcane maturity, whether this is at thirteen or thirty years of age. At this stage, they prepare for an annual event called the Whiteswan Tournament. Its name is derived from the location where it is held, the Whiteswan monastery. Over two centuries ago, two renown Warlocks, Catos and Erensul were locked in a fierce rivalry to prove who was greater. Because of their prodigious magical talent, they could easily annihilate whole cities. To prevent this, it was decided to duel in the courtyard of Whiteswan Monastery. Other Warlocks were present to cast a strong protective spell over the monastery and its surroundings so no damage could be done. They were also there to ascertain that the duel would be fair and that neither Warlock nor their Golems would be mortally wounded. The monks, on their part, called upon their God for aid and protection as well. In the end, it was Erensul who was the victor, but the fight had been, in the truest sense of the word, epic. Catos and Erensul decided that, with help of the monastery, the future would be safer if new Warlocks were properly trained in the possibilities and limitations of their talents. A year later, the first Whiteswan Tournament was held, presided by the head abbot, and both legendary Warlocks. After their deaths, the tournament continued and expanded.
Young and untested Warlocks of recent arcane maturity flock to Whiteswan monastery once a year to prove their potential and showcase their talents. The first prestige of their career and prizes are merely the secondary reasons they come. The primary one, of course, is that many older Warlocks of great fame come here to look for new apprentices. A young Warlock on his own could never reach even a modicum of his full potential; he needs a teacher. Impressing an elder Warlock, not necessarily by winning the tournament but by ingenuity, perseverance and promise, is the best way to find one. Most would-be students leave the tournament without having found a master and will return the next year, hoping to do better; there are only so many teachers (and promising students). All the greater, then, is the honour when someone is chosen.
More than one-thousand young Warlocks from all the realms participate in the Whiteswan Tournament. Over the course of two weeks, they face each other in non-lethal one-on-one duels. Elder Warlocks closely monitor the proceedings and employ protective magic to ascertain that no cheating or mortal injuries occur. The monks do their part with prayer and more mundane assistance. By the second week, the Warlocks have had the chance to introduce themselves to each other and get to know each other a little better. Oftentimes, the Whiteswan Tournament is the place where lifelong friendships (or rivalries) are forged. As the third week commences, there are around sixty contestants left and the duels become longer, more exciting and more complex. Not only does the power of the Golems matter, but also the minds of their masters. It becomes a mental fight as much as a physical one.
Many side-activities are organised around the tournament as well. Spectators come from far and wide to observe the duels, merchants come to sell their wares (from regular foodstuffs to exotic helmets made entirely of woven bird-of-paradise feathers), travelling circuses and other entertainers, mercenaries and even prostitutes all gather outside of the monastery’s walls in rings of tents, carts and elephant-drawn wagons to try and earn some money. Indeed, it is a great and popular feast and many people come here not for the tournament itself, but for these side-activities.
A Warlock is not necessarily a pure mage, and certainly not a stereotypical feeble, robe-wearing one. It is entirely possible, for instance, to be a young army soldier who discovers his arcane powers and is sent to the tournament by his commander-in-chief. Or perhaps you are a proficient martial arts monk who believes that your powers are your God’s gift. Being a student to an elder Warlock is not being a library-secluded bookworm; it is almost as physical an education as it is a mental one. Depending on your own uniqueness, this varies in degrees.
A Warlock’s magical forces are focused on his Golem. Most of his energies are consumed by the creation, maintenance and use of his Golem – and most spells aim to heal, empower or otherwise influence the Golem. A Warlock can cast regular magical spells, but these will be a secondary tool at best and will never be as complex or powerful as a true Wizard’s. Many Warlocks don’t even practice any spells that don’t directly influence their Golem: a Warlock can be a knight, for example, and his Golem can serve as a mount, bodyguard and fellow fighter in melee combat.
This RPG will introduce the role of the Storyteller (‘Dungeon Master’ is the traditional term, but that seems out of place here). The Storyteller will propel the story forwards now and then with new developments, give the characters a nudge in this or that direction when they’re stuck or in an uninspired rut etc. This can be done through a character in the story (for example, the Storyteller could make a post as the abbot of Whiteswan or as an elder Warlock to introduce a new element into the plot or guide you) or by writing a post describing a global event, outside action, shift in time at a dead moment towards the next important part etc. It is not the Storyteller’s role to constantly intervene and impose his will and his ideas onto the players. He is merely there in case the story threatens to die, or to try and make it more exciting at some points. It’s the players who will always decide what to do and where to go.
[B]Name:[/B] [B]Age:[/B] (13 and 30 are the extreme limits, but ideally teenager age) [B]Race:[/B] (no Vampires, no Werewolves, no Demons, no Angels and no other races with a ‘racial power’ of sorts; concentrate on [I]who[/I] you are and not on [I]what[/I] you are. Human, Elf, Dwarf, Orc etc are all allowed.) [B]Appearance:[/B] (picture or description) [B]Personality:[/B] (optional) [B]Magic Discipline:[/B] (has to connect to your Golem type, e.g. Fire Mage and Magma Golem.) [B]Golem Name:[/B] (optional) [B]Golem Type:[/B] (e.g. Bone Golem) [B]Golem Appearance:[/B] (picture or description) [B]History:[/B] (optional) Feel free to add any other information you want to share.
The second week of the Whiteswan Tournament draws to a close. Memorable Warlocks and Golems have taken the stage, some memorable battles have already been fought, overtures by the elder Warlocks towards the younger are debated and considered, and new friendships and rivalries between young Warlocks have been forged. Thousands of people crowd outside of the monastery’s walls and especially those spectators fortunate enough to get inside are having the times of their lives.
[[I will be the Storyteller. There is a direction I want to go in and it was my original plan to start at that point, but The Dimensional Witch told me she thought it would be fun to start here instead. That said, I will introduce my planned hook sooner or later (unless, of course, the players make the game more fun without it).
The first character to post can set the specific time: the last evening of the second week (the perfect time to celebrate your pass to the next round, or drown your sorrows if you’re eliminated. Plenty of opportunities in the camp around the monastery), perhaps a ‘day of rest’ between the duels of the second and third week, or the first morning of the third week right before the duels start... or you can even open with the character fighting a duel. Seeing as two weeks have passed already, it’s possible you already know some of the other players’ characters. This is up to you. This is the place, after all, where upstart Warlocks forge lifelong friendships – and rivalries.
An important note on duels: to showcase your character’s strength and abilities, it would be better to write the duel yourself against a non-player character. Make it one long post, or spread it out amongst several posts so it gives time for other characters to observe and be impressed by you and your Golem. However you like. If you wish, you can ask another player or me to play your opponent for you to make it more unpredictable (although in this case, it should be a silent rule that the player will eventually beat the opponent, unless the player himself wishes to lose). At this point in the tournament, only one duel at a time can take place (so don’t hog up the spotlight too long as other players will want to fight as well). Practicing/showing off in a supervised and magically protected area is possible.
If two players decide they want to duel each other, decide beforehand who is going to lose. There are no draws in this tournament; only wins and losses. If you lose, you are eliminated. So to avoid any out-of-game conflicts or endless fights, please make certain that both players are okay with the eventual outcome.
A last note on the Storyteller role: if all players feel the story is fading a little and an injection of a new element or leap in time would help, let me know – and make sure your co-players agree.]]