Saturday, March 14, 2020

Ancient Monarchs - Nightsky Encounter 14

Further to my last post, I present another possible encounter on the Nightsky River.

Eagle-eyed readers, with extremely good taste in semi-obscure adventure gaming, may have realised that the Nightsky River and some of its features were inspired by Act IV of Kentucky Route Zero and its supplemental, uh, experience(?) Here And There Along The Echo.

Anyways, the following encounter has pretty much nothing to do with that and is instead inspired by playing a lot of Dark Souls. I mean, its not very much like Dark Souls but it does have ancient kings and queens who are giants, which feels kinda Souls-like to me.



Reaching an area of deep waters, in the distance the PCs spy what at first appears to be an enormous piece of statuary--a gigantic bust of some sleeping regal figure--protruding from the waters of the river. It may appear serenely beautiful or savagely terrifying, or--by turns--both.

On closer inspection, it is no statute at all but rather the head and shoulders of some living creature. The steady, but agonizingly slow, rise and fall of the chest and shoulders gives away that the creature is still breathing. Experienced travellers of the Nightsky, or a PC sufficiently versed in history, may recognise the creature as one of the ancient monarchs of the Old Kingdoms, come to mediate in the soothing waters of the Nightsky River.

Minstrels, bards and story-tellers recount that the Old Kingdoms were the home of a race of scholarly giants, most of whom perished in some terrible cataclysm or other that befell the world in its younger days. Only the giant monarchs, and then only a handful, survived by hiding deep beneath the earth in secured chambers under their gilded fortresses.

Sages and loremasters posit, instead, that the people of the Old Kingdoms were essentially the same in form as those that inhabit the world today, but that their monarchs--ancient sorcerer kings and queens worshipped as gods--grew giant and bloated from feeding on both the adulation and toil of their subjects.

Whatever the truth, the monarchs of the Old Kingdoms were nigh ageless and learned in all manner of lore and esotery. If the PCs are able to wake the monarch they may be able to seek answers to a variety of ancient mysteries. This process will not be simple, however, as the ancient giants experience the passage of time very differently than most of the creatures of the world. Hours passing for the PCs are but fleeting moments for one such as this monarch.

While the monarch will have no difficulty comprehending and communicating in whatever language the PCs choose to attempt, the PCs will have to find a way to make their own rapid chittering words slow enough to make sense to the giant. Likewise, the PCs will need to find a way to make sense of the long, drawn-out, sighs that constitute the aching syllables of the monarch’s speech.

While the majority of the monarch’s accoutrement is a mystery hidden below the deeper waters of the Nightsky, they are visibly bedecked in fabulous jewelry of superb craftsmanship. The jewellery that is accessible above the water (e.g. ear and nose rings, neck rings and necklaces) is worth 2d4 x 500gp if recovered. The jewelry is, unsurprisingly, extremely large and very heavy. It might be easiest to sell if the precious metals are melted down and the large gems cut into smaller stones--the jewelry is, afterall, rather old-fashioned and gauche by the standards of modern giant fashion.


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