In movies, television, and
novels there are often story elements or plot points of which
the main characters are not aware. But, these plot points add
depth, interest, description, and even irony to the story.
They are a necessary part of storytelling, in most
Role-Playing Games tend to focus on the story
immediately surrounding the main characters...the player
characters. But, for a truly dramatic and interesting
story, sometimes you have to know about the
movements, emotions, goals, and adventures of characters other
than the main characters.
These stories do not
directly affect or involve the main characters, but the
events and characters depicted in these side-stories will play
a role in the overall storyline. They contain
player-knowledge and not
"Jestak and the Throne of
The tall armored figured strode from the entrance
of the throne room, down the long rich purple carpet that ran the full
length the stone floor. His heavy boot treads echoed off walls and
pillars, rising up to the ceiling, and back down into his ears. He
liked being alone in the throne room...the center of power...the nexus of
control for the Feron-Jacobe empire. This was his hall...his
The throne room was a 100 yards wide and 400 yards
long, its vast painted ceiling held aloft by 144 pillars sixty feet
high. The stone in the walls and pillars of the throne room was of
many different colors, for as each kingdom fell under the Empire's
control, their own seats of power were dismantled, transported to the City
of Citadel, and used to build the Emperor's Keep. The art and
ornamentation in various parts of the room varied just as much, because
the best and most beautiful artwork and craftsmanship from every corner of
the Empire was brought here and put on display.
way down the long central carpet, the armored figure stopped at the very
center of the room. His plate armor reflected the light coming from
the high windows, causing bright patterns of light on the carpet and stone
round him. The armor was filigreed with silver and gold, was
encrusted in places with precious gems, and his chest piece had a stylized
fist design hammered into it. His long purple cloak draped off his
shoulders, and flowed as he turned slowly, surveying the throne
room. His blond hair was cut short...showing in places as many scars
on his scalp as there were scars on his strong and rugged face. His
blue eyes were piercing, and reflected a sharp cleverness that those who
met him personally never forgot.
It was so quiet then.
The thick walls of the room held out the sounds of the bustling capital
city just outside. In just a few hours, the room would fill with
40,000 of the Empire's citizens, and it would be a much different
After a few minutes, Emperor Jestak resumed his long
walk towards the throne. Today was Emperor's Day...the one day a
year that the Emperor himself passed judgements on criminal matters, legal
disputes, and the complaints of his citizens. He would also give a
speech regarding the condition of the realm today, and the direction of
the realm moving forward. Over the past several weeks, people from
all over the Empire and its holdings had been traveling to Citidel hoping
for the clemency or judgement of the Emperor, and to hear him speak on the
important matters of the Empire. Today would be a long day...but it
was a tradition that Jestak had maintained every year of his long
Jestak's gaze was focused on the golden
throne. Crafted by the combined artistry of many craftsmen and
jewelry makers, the solid gold throne was monumental in size and artistic
detail. Its angles and form seemed to catch all of the light of the
room, and reflect it outward, causing a golden glow the emenate from
it. This was the seat of power. The true heart of the
Empire. And it was his.
Jestak thought back on his
youth. He was born among the hardships of the Grasslands of Shronth,
to an axeman and his captured bride. He was raised on horseback, had
a sword in his hand by the age of three, and had killed his first human by
the age of seven. It was a harsh origin, that had hardened him, and
made his mind and body strong. Stronger than most. By the age
of 16, he had left the horse clans for a life of adventure and
treasure-hunting with is childhood friend Gorg and a collection of odd
characters from various nations and races. Thinking back on those
days, Jestak smiled. The stuff of legend.
the Swaldune and Norlund invasion of the mainland had changed his life
forever. Why was no one else capable of seeing that the unification
of the kingdoms was the only way to drive the invaders from their
lands? Why was no one else capable of making the hard decisions that
would bring together the Empire? Why had so many stood in his way,
of doing what he needed to be done? These were questions for the
philosophers and historians to consider. Jestak had simply done what
needed to be done. Years of war followed...years of campaign and
bloodshed. And in the end...an Empire was born, bloody and
screaming. It was over a 100 years later, and the Empire was
consolidated, stable, and the laws had matured. Jestak held power
with the fist of Kempin himself, and order had been brought to half the
The Emperor strode confidently to the Throne of
Might, and took his seat. "Advisors...attend to
Eighteen men, of various ages streamed from doors at the
side of the huge cavernous room, and made their way quickly to the area
before the throne. Briefings on various high-level matters were
given. Occasionally, Jestak would weigh in with a simple "No" or
"Yes," and this single word would change the course of the government, or
change the fate of men. The briefing ended, and the one Advisor that
seemed senior to the rest ended with, "The Emperor has spoken, and the
world will follow."
Jestak nodded. "Ander...what of the
matter in the South. Any word from the Crimson Coast? Any word
from Marcus or Eggopolis?"
Ander was an older man, with gray
thinning hair, a sharp chin, and spectacles at the end of his nose.
"Do we want to discuss this now, Emperor?" Ander looked back and
forth at the other advisors, who were looking a little confused about the
Jestak again nodded. "I anticipate
that soon enough the situation in the South will earn the attention of the
entire Empire...we might as well begin getting the entire advisory staff
up to speed on the matter. Speak freely."
hesitation evaporated with the command of his Emperor. "Marcus
reports that several powerful families..."
Ander looked perplexed.
"What, my Emperor?"
Jestak leaned forward in the throne,
looking down from above upon his advisor. "They call them clans in
the South, just as they do in Shronth.
Ander adjusted his speech. "...Several
powerful clans have conspired with dark forces in the City of Order.
The Law Keeper of that fair city, has called for their heads...and they
have scattered. But, Marcus reports that these clans are
infiltrating the power structures of other towns and cities along the
Crimson Coast. Most significantly, Port Toroga. It is a
Jestak interrupted again. "What
of the Skull? Any reports from the Bard?"
nodded. "Javair reports that the maps and charts they seized tell
them nothing. Jack Skull's destination on that final voyage remains
unknown. He goes on to suggest..."
Jestak was ahead of
his advisor again, "...he suggests that there was no final voyage.
That the Skull never left Port Toroga. He is indeed lost...but not
at sea, contrary to all the rumors we've heard."
Emperor. That was his suggestion."
The Emperor stood
now, and the reflections from his gold and silver plate armor, and the
glow from his throne lit the faces of his advisors with golden
splendor. "Hear me now. I want you, my most senior advisors to
return to each of your staffs, and I expect you to bring me answers.
I want those answers as soon as you get them, no matter what the time of
day or night. What are these dark forces interfering in the politics
of the Crimson Coast? Where is Jack Skull now? What must we do
to eliminate the instability in that region from affecting our own
interests? Ander you will direct the efforts of all departments, and
I want answers."
Ander bowed, and the other advisors followed
suit. "We will not fail the Empire."
Jestak took his
seat. "I have no doubt, Ander. It is a matter of utmost
importance. Now, let the guards know to allow the crowds that have
gathered into our Throne room. Emperor's Day
these stories are to add depth to the storyline. They represent
not character-knowledge. This
story was written to add depth to the Crimson Coast