Monday, February 27, 2012

[Actual Play Report] Villainy Roams the Hill Cantons Unchecked and Unhindered!

The Following is an Actual Play Report of the Hill Cantons session run by Chris Kutalik on 2/23/12.  You can read other reports from the session here and here, but I cannot answer for their veracity.

    Dear friends, it is with a heavy heart that I come before you this evening, my sad tale to relate.  Yet I must be firm and steadfast, for the very words which pain me to merely recall them, which burn in my breast like glowing embers, speak of nothing less than a danger which threatens us all.  My friends, are you aware of the growing epidemic of KIDNAPPING?  Gangs of ruthless men, quite abandoned in their ways and heedless of the laws of God and man, roam these hills like unto ravening wolves, preying upon the most frail and tender prey they can find -- our very wives and daughters!  Honest matrons, radiant young brides, delicate blushing virgins -- all are borne away in stealth by these fiends, who respect neither property nor status -- indeed, ladies of quality are especially sought after, for the gold these demons in human form can extract from their grief-stricken parents.  and they do not limit their depredations to the fairer sex.  Sons, fathers, husbands, even valuable household pets-- it matters not to the kidnapper so long as they think to profit from their abduction.

     I myself heard the confession of a young man but a few days ago which broke my very heart to hear it.  In age and aspect, he could have been my very brother, but while I have repented my youthful folly and devoted myself to the service of the MOST PUISSANT SUN LORD GLORY BE TO HIS NAME, this unfortunate wretch had followed a different path -- a dark, and winding path, which began, as it always seems to, my friends -- as a stroll down a pleasant lane through sun-dappled fields, but soon, with many a twist and turn, he found to be a labyrinth of woe, choked with thorns and brambles.  This man had kept bad company, and would while away his days in sin and indolence.  He and his fellows were well known to the bawd and the procuress, the keeper of gambling dens and the purveyor of stolen goods.  And they amused themselves for a time with such wicked diversions as they found without overmuch diligence, until they decided among themselves to commit a crime of greater villainy than any they had hitherto attempted.

     It seems that one of his "friends" -- a confirmed layabout and wastrel, of such softness and effeminacy that but an hour of honest work would leave his hands blistered and bleeding, had taken a wife. Needless to say, he cared not a fig for his husbandly duties, but continued as before, while his unfortunate bride -- a sweet, trusting creature of gentle disposition and becoming modesty -- was left alone to suffer in silence, to endure his thoughtless neglect as best she could.  Her father was a man of some means, and with this knowledge in mind, he conceived his vile project.  He would, with the assistance of these his co-conspirators, abduct his own dear wife in secret, and line their pockets with the ransom when the dear girl's father had offered it up.  My friends, what times are these we live in when the blessed estate of matrimony is exploited in so vile a fashion?  We may censure and hold in contempt --- and justly so!-- the husband who not only tolerates the infidelities of his wife, but compounds the transgression by becoming her pander as well, and profiting thereby!  My dear friends how much more loathsome is the man who, with foul confederates, their hands stained and reeking from crimes innumerable, captures and imprisons his unsuspecting helpmeet -- she who should command his tenderest devotion-- all for the sake of extracting filthy lucre from his own father-in-law?

     My friends, I will not dwell upon the sordid details of this wretched escapade.  How they watched and waited, covertly studying their victim's habits.  How they, with the practice of foul sorcery and beguiling words did lure the innocent creature and her sworn bondman down a treacherous alley.  How the two were captured -- the bondman cut down without mercy, and the hapless bride spirited away to a filthy tenement.  No, these crimes can bear only so much light before we avert our eyes in disgust and horror.  But there was worse to come, dear friends.  For these hard-hearted villains yet possessed a sort of innocence.  They believed, for all their blasphemous oaths and swaggering boasts, that the bonds of family were stronger than the love of gold.  In this, they found themselves rudely confronted with the vile reality -- like a maiden menaced by a leering pervert from the doorway of some low establishment.  The bridegroom, slyly inquiring of his father-in-law's intentions when the abduction became known, was told in no uncertain terms that the girl's life was as dross to him -- the very fruit of his loins could have her pretty throat cut by some murderous transient before he would part with so much as a single piece of copper!"

     "My friends, this is a sorry state of affairs.  When husbands plot against their wives for base gold -- when honest goodwives are abducted in broad daylight from a busy thoroughfare!  When fathers who can well afford it refuse to pay a ransom on their own kin, which, while not an insignificant sum, was certainly within their means!  We live in depraved and sinful times, my brothers and sisters, and great will be the Sun-Lord's reckoning when such cupidity and vice run rampant!  In such times, the word of the Sun-Lord must be proclaimed from one shining Hill to the next!  Repent, oh repent, O my children, and let these Cantons ring with His praises!"

"But what can I do?' you ask.  "I am no thief-taker with net and truncheon.  I am no doughty warrior, with mail and halberd to defend against the unrighteous.  I am no pious priest, whose blessings make the bare branch bud and bloom, and whose curses wither the fruit on the vine.'  My friend, I am a simple man, these my companions all simple men, with simple gifts.  It is not force of arms we seek in our great enterprise, nor miracles -- the Sun Lord alone can provide such.  But we have travelled far, and must travel still farther to preach the good word.  And travel takes its toll in blood and sweat.  And also money.  We do not ask for much dear friends -- but consider!  To what purpose had you intended the gold in your purses?  Was it to serve some vain fancy?  Some vapid bauble to flatter and amuse and TITILLATE?  My friends, when you find yourself on your deathbeds --- and the hour comes swiftly!-- what story will your life's ledger reveal?
Think on it, my friends, think on it."

Praise His Sweet Name,

The Reverend Meriwether Chambliss, Col. (ret.) The Sultan of Uqbar's Lancers.