Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Campaign Trailer: REIGN

Today's trailer is for a REIGN game I pitched to my Wednesday night group. After having powered through George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire stuff, I was jazzed to run a game that was all about political intrigue in a kingdom teetering on the edge of war. This trailer was a lot of fun to write, and it spun things in a pleasingly Shakespearean direction. Megan was dying to play this one. Would still love to run it one day.


We see a group of three men and several horses standing a short distance from the mouth of a cave at the base of a cliff. It is RAINING very hard, and they stand huddled, with the hoods of their cloaks pulled low over their faces. Their breath steams in the air.

We shouldn’t have let him go in there alone.

Sod that. I ain’t goin’ in there.

We’re supposed to be his bodyguards. We never leave his side.

Fine. You go.

Jarek glares at Baran, but he stays where he is.

BARAN (cont’d)
Bloody freezing out here.

The third man (HOGARTH) reaches under his cloak and passes a wineskin to Baran. Baran begins to drink. Hogarth looks toward the cave, and we see that there are several SPEARS thrust into the earth along the trail to the cave mouth. There are bleached SKULLS impaled on the top of each spear.

...Seven hells.

BARAN (offers the skin to Jarek)
Oi. Bit o’ the old red-red, brave sir knight?

Jarek shakes his head.

BARAN (cont’d; drinks again himself)
Suit yourself. Cheers, Hogarth.

Baran passes back the skin. Hogarth drinks.

JAREK (quietly)
We shouldn’t have let him go...

The camera moves away from the huddled men toward the mouth of the cave. As the camera gets closer, we can see there is dim light coming from deep inside. Smoky TORCHES gutter inside the cave. We can distantly hear CACKLING LAUGHTER from somewhere inside.



We see a bulging velvet sack tossed to the ground with a metallic clink. Gold coins spill out on the earthen floor, glimmering in the torchlight. We hear more cackling laughter.

BLACKTREE (off-screen)
There is your price, hags.


We see LORD BLACKTREE, a tall, powerfully-built man in his forties with black hair beginning to go iron grey, standing inside a large cave lit by more torches. The cave walls and ceiling are elaborately painted with ancient PICTOGRAPHS. There is a large, bubbling COPPER CAULDRON in the center of the chamber. The only furnishings here are heaps of dirty animal skins and furs. Three WITCHES stand opposite Lord Blacktree: one is young, perhaps no more than nine or ten (the MAIDEN); one is older, an adult (the MOTHER); the third is ancient (THE CRONE). All are naked, incredibly ugly, and dirty. Their hair is wild. We can just barely make out SYMBOLS painted on their bodies under the top layer of dirt.

CRONE (lewdly)
You sure you wouldn’t rather like to settle in trade, Blacktree?

She holds up her saggy, withered breasts in her gnarled fingers, licking her lips.

BLACKTREE (repulsed)
You have your gold. Give me what is mine.

Oh, I think you’ve offended His Lordship, he’s a proper noble gentleman, don’tcha know.

MOTHER (mocking)
Too fine and important to spend his seed inside a peasant girl.

That’s not what I’ve heard.

The witches CACKLE LOUDLY. Lord Blacktree places his hand on his sword.

BLACKTREE (furious)
Enough. I will not be mocked by you filthy, deranged—

--Stay your anger, Blacktree. No one cares about the bastard get you’ve spread about the countryside.

You’ve paid for a vision, and a vision you shall have.

She reaches into the cauldron. We can see that there is a thick, nasty-looking liquid BOILING inside. Lord Blacktree looks startled as the MAIDEN fishes around in the boiling liquid for long moments, apparently unaffected. She flashes her yellowed, jagged teeth as she lifts something out and holds it out to show Blacktree. We see that it is a handful of EYEBALLS. Lord Blacktree recoils, and the witches LAUGH again. The Maiden passes them to the other witches.

So timid. That isn’t your reputation, “Milord”.

She makes a pelvic thrust motion and laughes uproariously, taking an eyeball in her teeth. Lord Blacktree turns away as they begin to eat, milky liquid running down their chins. The MAIDEN stuffs her mouth with eyes, eating loudly and sloppily.

BLACKTREE (clapping a hand to his mouth)
By the Gods.

Your weak Gods can’t help you, Blacktree. That is why you have come to us.

The witches are moving about the cave now, ecstatic, beginning to pass into a trance. When the MAIDEN speaks, we see that her eyes have begun to cloud over with milky CATARACTS.

MAIDEN (trance)
Blacky Blacktree commands us to see. To open the eyes of the darkness and gaze upon his enemies.

CRONE (trance)
The castle with red banners. You would see the hold at Land’s End. Where the old Bear and his cubs make their den.

MOTHER (trance)
We know what you want, Blacktree. And tonight fortune is with you. The old Bear breathes his last. In three days, the funeral bells will ring for him at Land’s End.

At last.

Blacktree smiles, and strides out of the cave.


The bodyguards straighten up as Lord Blacktree emerges.

...My lord?

We ride for the capital on the morrow.


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