Me and five friends are going to start our first roleplaying campaign soon 🙂 We are playing Dungeon World because it looks less complicated for beginners.
Below is a short “diary entry” I wrote for my character to get people enthused about the game, I would appreciate any feedback/criticism. Thank you!
The village of my birth is an obscure outlier at the edge of what most people consider the known world. It is a simple place of simple means, with few noteworthy buildings or landmarks. The wooden homes of the villagers, a barn or two and the village hall were all I had experienced of the world as a child.
For as long as anybody can know my village has produced little except warriors considered to be barbarians by the inhabitants of the nearest city, where our finest men would work as mercenaries and bodyguards to local lords. We are feared by the few who have heard of our existence, as our village is built on a small, barely arable outcrop of land at the back end of the Great Mists.
The Great Mists is a large marshland that promises certain death to almost every traveler who enters thanks to the eternal, thick mists that give the area its name. The bards sing songs that rattle the bones of drunkards regarding the Great Mists; many a child has experienced nightmares thanks to the swirl of rumors and legends about the area. Yet, somehow, the folk of the mist (my people) have always had an innate ability to navigate the treacherous marshland. As I’m sure you can imagine, dear reader, our village has been afforded a great level of protection by that nightmare-fog over the ages.
My father was (when I last saw him at any rate) the chiefman of our little Eden. He is a rowdy sort of fellow, fond of singing immodest songs about whenches, ale and battles. Shortly before my birth he lost a frivolous bet with his secondman, the price of his loss was the name of his unborn son, he had to name me after the weakest thing he could think of. I was named Book. To honour my namesake my mother insisted that I be trained to become the village reader, an important job that mostly involved checking and signing mercenary contracts.
At the rear of the village was the near vertical clifflike base of an unexplored, inaccessible mountain range. Along this wall of stone was the entrance to a cave, it would have been easy for any villager to enter and explore, but none did. Everybody knew only one thing about the cave: NONE MAY ENTER, ON PAIN OF DEATH.
As I approached full adulthood I began to ask questions about the cave. An elderly resident told me that a friend of his entered and never returned when he was a boy, my father had dozens of similar stories, Which I assumed to be fantastical fictions. All anybody seemed to know was that long ago some great arcane magic had been used in that cave, something otherworldly powerful and mysterious had occurred there.
On the day of my twentieth birthday I became an adult amongst my people, as custom dictates. That day will never leave my memory as long as the sands of time allow my mind to endure. After all the usual jollifications of the occasion I retired to my quarters, where I discovered an old crone of a woman called Agathe waiting for me in silent contemplation. I knew her as a kindly lady, who was famous for her rabbit stews. In her hands was a perfectly cuboid block of what seemed to be solid stone. She looked most vexed.
She began to tell me a curious tale about the founding of our village, according to her the village had existed since the creation of the aforementioned doomcave, it was created by our ancestors to fulfill an ancient prophecy of which most details had been forgotten. She had been entrusted with what remained of the prophecy and the knowledge of our village’s founding, as the last in a long line of individuals bound by blood-oath to carry the burden of this hidden knowledge. Finally she explained that the prophecy as she knew it entailed a new man by the name of Book, receiving the queer cube she carried on the day of his ascension to adulthood. She placed the cube down and left with haste uncharacteristic of her years. The cube was for me alone now.
A thousand questions surged through my mind. Then, as though the eternal mists that surrounded our home had evacuated all at once, I knew that I had to pick up this artefact. The moment I touched it the cube began to glow with symbols and lettering unknown to me. A seam swiftly appeared along the centre of the stone, it then opened with a click. Inside was a hollowed out chamber containing nothing but an exquisitely crafted, gilded magnifying lens. As if responding to my skin, it vibrated gently as I held it. Suddenly I felt a compulsion unlike anything I had felt before, I didn’t know why, but I knew I had to enter the cave in the mountain wall. There was no question, no second thought.
I crept past the homes of my peers, not wanting to be interrogated about approaching the cave, it would be bad if anybody saw me. At the cave entrance I would normally have about-turned and walked briskly in the opposite direction, this night however, I had no doubts. I passed the precipice.
Inside the cave was dark at first, then as I stepped slowly forward the entrance sealed neatly and silently as though there had never been an entrance to begin with. Ghostly green and blue torches hovered about seven feet above the ground, they lit a passageway that I immediately ventured down. At the end of the passage was a grand old door, adorned with symbols of the same sort I had seen on the cube. The door looked like a relic from a godlike age, it could have been the door to Valhalla itself. I opened it with little difficulty, a surprising thing given the enormity of the portal. On the other side I saw something that took the breath from my lungs.
I was standing in a large meadow, brightly lit by the sun in the sky. The meadow was surrounded on all sides by a steep circular wall of jagged rocks. No man or beast could climb these walls, this place had sat undisturbed for aeons. At the centre of the glorious meadow was a stone pillar that reached waist height, on the pillar was a hand shaped indent. It looked as though it had been molded for my hand, as perfect a match as could be conceived. I placed my hand onto the indented rock. Blackness surrounded me instantaneously. With the din of an epoch making battle a voice called to me, it shook my soul by its force: “FIND MY TEMPLE! FAITHFUL SERVANT TO THE HIDDEN GOD!!”
I awoke I know not how much later, my head was racked with pain. My skin was covered in the markings I now knew instinctively to be the language of the Hidden God, I could understand and interpret them as though they were written in the common tongue. I was lying in my bed. Understanding of the mechanism of this transportation is still hidden from me. My father and mother knew nothing of what had transpired. It was as though I had just woken up with a raging hangover as was expected the morning after any twentieth birthday. Nobody could see my markings. I had to leave, I couldn’t stay. Compulsion is not an adequate descriptor of my desire to vacate from the only home I had ever known, it was more than that, it was my sacred duty.
The writings on my skin were mostly prayers to the Hidden God and instruction in the arts of the cleric, though they changed near daily. In time greater secrets would be revealed to me by this mechanism. I wandered from town to town, with what little coin I possessed, staying in murky inns and making a few silvers by acting as scribe and reader for small contracts.
I enquired at every library I could find about the Hidden God, there was no literature to be found. Curiously, I discovered that those few scholars I briefly questioned about the Hidden God promptly forgot our conversation almost the second it ended. Hidden God indeed.
The first time I stayed put for more than a week a few warriors I had been sharing a room with began to see my markings. I left quickly and in fear for my life. It seems that exposure to my innate magic, bestowed upon me by the as yet mysterious Hidden God, grants those that are in my presence for a good while the ability to see (but not understand) any Hidden inscriptions, including my skin markings.
I do not know where I will go. I do not know what I will do. I only know that I am now to be called Book of the Mists, Cleric to the Hidden God. The gilded magnifying lens I received from Agathe may be the key to everything, I must set out on my adventures now, armed men are searching for me.
Thus ends entry one.
If found please return this manuscript to the postal house three miles west of Moat Cailin, a reward will be tendered.
I accidentally stole the name “Moat Cailin” from GoT, but I can live with that :P