Midnight RPG - Captain Willis speaks with Durgaz

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Captain Wilis Lerpanti[edit]

Erenlander (Fighter 6) [ARMS: Longsword, Small Shield, Studded Leather]
Captain of Battle Group C: 13/14 men, 12 Erenlanders (Fighter 3) [ARMS: Longsword, Small Shield, Studded Leather]

Following the meeting for the choosing of First-Hold's new primary captain, outside on the top of the steps of the moothall among the stars Captain Wilis comes up behind Durgaz... He doesn't reach out, nor comfort you in friendship as the large Sarcosan (Khalim) did on Bildgewater among the Cobron Isles that night. Captain Wilis addresses Durgaz with respect but much less jovialness. These men, here have shed blood together. There is, there should be, a communal understanding between them. But while the respect of command is still given. So too is advice...

No disrespect Captain. You misjudged me in the moothall. I offer an olive branch if that miscommunication would halt the interest you had in how I might suggest you lead men...

Only a cynical man would call what these people have "lives," Captain.
Fear, despair... this is not how man was supposed to live.
The Enemy in the North needs a check and balance against human corruption, against the unbridled rage of bred in Shadow Minions, we have needed it for over one hundred years. With combined might of men, elf and dwarf - we sacked the Corpse God twice... every time the Shadow reached its pinnacle of decadence, we returned it into the Scar, we restored the balance. The Enemy learned from those defeats, the twisting of men's minds and souls... the lose of innocence, the lose of compassion, the lose of hope have made a breeding ground for suffering and injustice.

My Captain, you've never learned to mind your surroundings!
For as much as you want, you will never lead your race out of darkness without these men, or elves or dwarves or any race who wish to live free at your side. Your anger outweighs your compassion. That's what I've tried to offer you. You asked and I answered. A leader of man is more than just a man lost in the scramble for his own gratification or need to repay old debts. If the man continues in that way, he can be destroyed, or locked up. But if you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can't stop you, you become something else entirely. Which is...? Which is... Legend, Captain My Captain...

Before Lord Ghulvenne's council meeting, you spoke to me as a man concerned with how to better himself. Yet, when confronted in the safety of our general's council you lashed out as if we'd never spoken. You asked for my council and I gave it. For every inch of my blood and mind telling me that you are Orc, and that I should rail against your wishes - I offered my help at your request. And in a moment of contention - I noted, there in the moot hall, that you are NOT of the breed of Orc I know... You immediately assumed this a threat. It was not. You immediately sought to enforce the challenge of might makes right. That my Captain is the rally of Orc OR Sarcosan ...he jokingly smirks for the first time... This is not the surrounding of that nature. Had you allowed me to finish in the moot hall, you would have heard that my words were compliment to your strength. It is true - you are unlike no other Orc mankind has known. You are legend. As legend, as a symbol you can be incorruptible, everlasting...

Are you so desperate to fight that you hold your legend back so that you can only take them on one at a time?
The men have talked... I know some of the history here... Your brother's death was not your fault Captain Durgaz.
It was his fate, it was destiny. It was your legend being birthed.
Anger does not change the fact that your brother failed to believe.
Even so, when you have failed in your own belief, has that have stopped you?
Your breeding, your training is nothing! The will is everything! The will to act as no ORC has before...

You've traveled the world... Now you must journey inwards... to what you really fear... it's inside you... there is no turning back. What crimes you committed before, they were not your fault. You must become more than just another Orc in the mind of your opponent. If you make yourself more than just a man or Orc, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely.
Your lack of compassion is a weakness your enemies use. It is compassion and belief that men follow. But I know, but YOU know - it is only the rage that drives you now. That impossible anger strangling the grief, until the memory of your loved ones and those that you have put down or failed is just... just a poison in your veins. And one day, if that does not change, you will catch yourself wishing the people you fight for never existed so you'll be spared your pain. Your anger gives you great power. But if you let it, it will destroy you. As it has the spirit of mankind.

That anger you have is not complicated, it gives you great power. You have learned to bury your fear with anger.
I offer you another way, a way for you to confront it, and face the truth. You know how to engage men, you know how to fight men. You know how to kill armies. You proved that just days ago here on this rock. But Captain, to turn the tide, to break the Shadow's final embrace for the third and final time, to lead men - you must learn to engage men in a new way.
You know how to disappear and rage.
To lead men, no matter the race, to find the means to fight injustice, to turn fear against those who would prey on the fearful - What you need to see is that what you really fear is inside yourself. You fear your own power. You fear your own anger, the drive to do great and terrible things.

Death does not wait for you to be ready! Death is not considerate, or fair! And make no mistake: here, in this fight, you face Death.
Ask yourself, now that you have lived among humanity, have you started to pity them?
The Shadow prays on orc and men to thrive on the indulgence of society's pity and the unabashed disgust for the weakest of mankind. But even those men and orc fear most what they cannot see. Even a god fears the unknown. You are unknown to man. You are unknown to orc.

What is it you seek when you ask a question of me Durgaz?

Do you seek an answer less complicated? Black and white?
Because the world of mankind is not so cut and dry. In the world of man, you face men that will promise you loyalty one day and lie to your face the next. But know Captain, that not all men are of that nature. And, unlike "NORMAL Orcs" Captain, it is the strength of man that he can change that nature. You have become as man in that regard - whether you like or have disgust for it. I fear for you my Captain. If you cannot separate yourself from your own nature of hate, pity and disgust for mankind, you are destined to fail in your task. If you don't find another way you will fall as many men and elf and dwarf and as many legends have before.
So you must ask yourself Captain, why is it you sought my council?
I cannot tell you that I have all the answers. Before this week, I never thought it would be possible to do what WE have done here. I never dreamed my woman would become my wife in the open sun on this hill... but Captain, don't think of me as an idiot... Or a lesser. Even if a man is not your equal in combat, might being right is not the way men respond to most. Men respond to hope and dreams. Men respond to legend. And so will Shadow.

We can't always choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we handle them. Are you ready to begin?

...looking out across the new town-ship of First-Hold, the Captain grips his sword belt pulling his leathers and tunic taunt, straitening the wrinkles - at the same time flicking flecks of the late night's chill off. He looks to the stars then back down and with a deep breath he makes an offer.

Captain. You've spoken of the nature of orc, I've seen it. ...he glances to his left slightly looking at Captain Durgaz as the 'men' stand on the moothall walk looming over First-Hold...
Captain. I offer you this. The orc. Your 'men', need to see it for themselves - they need to know that fire burns in the hearts and lungs of man just as it does orc. The battlefield here in the last days was a poor example, as they've seen dozens of times - these men... these women... these 'children' of First-Hold fought them. Fought the orc legion because their was no choice. They fought to survive. You've shown me, this is not the mind of an orc. They do not fight to survive, they survive to fight. Let us take that to them. Let us take man to them and show the mettle that beats beneath my kind's chests. Were an orc to see a human hold off four better-armed men by himself at his CHOICE, that orc... those orc might begin to rethink his belief that all humans are weak.

I suggest we go to your 'Black Mask' and challenge them for the right to fight alongside them. Then perhaps we can sit at the same table, then perhaps we can begin your and the necromancer's 'new' ideas. The new way can only come if the old way leads to it, can it not?

... muttering to himself before continuing... Sara would kill me were she to know I... ... Captain, bring me to the camp. I will stand against four of your legion alone. I will fight at my choice. I will show them that men too can have a heart and love for the more martial things, in life or death... And by the 'High King' we will have fellowship!

What do you say Captain?


Durgaz listens to Willis' words intently. Occasionally, his brow furrows, and his jaw clenches, and his arm twitches as if to lash out or reach for his weapon. But he does not. And by the end of Willis' speech, he looks relatively calm.

"Do not speak to me of my brother. He was set free to make his own choices, and he made the wrong ones -- choices which led to his death. He did not die because I wanted him to die. But I have made it my life's work to see that what needs to be done WILL be done, no matter whether it is what I want, or what my companions want, so long as it serves the mission we have set for ourselves."

He pauses for a long time before continuing.

"The mission is everything. It is the only chance for any of us to truly accomplish something with our lives that will continue after those lives are snuffed out ... and they WILL be snuffed out, and violently. Otherwise, we are just wasting our time, and wasting the rare opportunity that we have been given to do something real."

"You are a leader of men, Erenlander. And as a leader of men, I would not expect you to know how to lead orcs. You speak of anger as if it is a weakness, and rage as if it is a failing. Maybe it is, for humans. Maybe human soldiers respond well to compassion. Maybe kindness and mutual respect breed esteem for their leaders. I don't question your methods, because they seem to work well for you, as they do for the elves, and presumably as they do for other races I have not encountered. But the Dulugolauk and I are not men or elves. We are orcs, and we do not fight as you do. What you call "anger" is not, to us, a failing. It is called thraang, and it is strength. It is not what you call "rage"; it is not a descending blindness that leads us astray or weakens our judgment. Thraang is a weapon. It is what we fight with. An orc who does not feel thraang as you call it, is an orc who has given up the will to live, for an orc's will to live cannot be separated from the strength needed to defend that life. You cannot take that rage from us. We will die without it, even without enemies to kill us."

"Thraang is more than "rage". It is also fear. But this fear is not fear as men know it. It is not a fear that scatters us on the field of war, or drives us to flee. It is the fear that comes of knowing what will follow if we do not act as we know we must. It is fear of his commander that keeps an orcish soldier in line, for he knows that his commander will kill him if he does not follow orders. It is fear of the other fey that binds an orc's will to the Shadow, for he knows that if he does not maintain constant pressure, the elves and dwarves and even halflings and gnomes will stand back up and destroy us. We know what we must do because we fear what will happen if we do not. We draw the strength to do this from our rage. This is thraang."

Durgaz pauses again, clearly thinking about something.

"But, even though you may not understand these things, you may be right about some of them. I tried to use fear of death to maintain order among the Dulugolauk because that is how orc legions are commanded. But it is not my goal here to merely keep them organized. I have taken it upon myself to free these orcs from their shackles, to show them who their real enemies are, and to direct their thraang where it belongs. And though fear may be a powerful motivator for making soldiers obey their leaders' commands, it cannot change their minds. I cannot command these orcs to respect elves and men and have them do it out of fear of death. That is not freedom. It will fail."

"Akule, the one who spoke back to me, was right. I cannot use traditional means to command these orcs while telling them NOT to treat the elves and men the same way. If I am to establish a new order here that the orcs truly believe in, it must be universally applied: to the orcs, to the elves and men, and to the commanders on both sides."

"It is the nature of this new order that I sought your counsel on. I cannot simply begin treating the Dulugolauk like you treat your men and expect anything short of anarchy. We see reliance on "compassion" much as you see reliance on fear and rage: as a weakness. A commander who cannot or does not inspire fear in his soldiers does not deserve the title, and should be torn down and replaced with one who can. I cannot slay every orc who challenges me without reinforcing the old ways. If the orcs continue to respect my command out of fear, their minds will never truly be changed. But if they no longer fear me, they will not continue to respect my command."

"What we need is a measure of respect from these orcs that is not born of fear, or a way to show them that leadership NOT based on fear does not mean weakness. That is, after all, why orcs respect fearsome leadership. I have explained to you already: fear is an important part of thraang, and without thraang, an orc cannot fight. But fear can come from many sources. The fear of failure is just as powerful a motivator as fear of punishment, and can coexist with leadership not based on cruelty. But orcs cannot be expected to understand that on their own. I did not realize that until just this moment."

[NOTE: This is where Willis would have made his proposal.]

"You are a courageous man. You may also be a stupid man. I hope, for all of our sakes, that you are not."

"These orcs will never experience what I did. They will never know or respect the perspective of a human until they have lived among them, and fought beside them. But they will never do this while they believe that humans are weak and unworthy of their fear ... fear, in this case, meaning orcish respect. But you ... if you can do this, then some orcs may have their eyes opened and their minds changed. Maybe then they will begin to understand why their commander respects humans as he does, and why he is not ashamed to have his troops fight alongside them."

Durgaz takes his dagger from his belt and cleanly slices into his palm, coating the blade with his own blood, then hands it to Willis.

"I know that humans do not practice our battle traditions. You do not consume your enemies' hearts for strength -- although, perhaps if you did, men would have had more success standing against the Shadow. Therefore, if you will not do this, I will not be offended. But if you will, I will offer you some of my own strength to stand in this fight you have chosen. You fight for my people as well as yours, and I cannot send you into battle without offering some assistance. Lick the blood from my blade, and if you wish it, some of my strength will be yours. Gaakh."


The idea here is IF you think this is a good idea, we'll take Captain Wilis and update his stats and begin the game with you taking him into this scene (with the other PCs to watch if they want). Then YOU will play (battle and role-play based on how I've played him in bluebook and in-game) Captain Wilis in the battle with 4 orc (that I stat up) of the Black Mask unit. One for me and each other player!! The battle will go and the 'winner' will be determined as will the outcome of how the orc choose to see this battle and the will of a human...

I think this would be a fun opening and a poinient opening for the game. Plus YOU would get to battle orcs for the first time in the body of your normal opposition (a human). I'd allow YOU to create Captain Wilis as YOU like, (meaning you can make him a straight fighter or change him up. You can also give him "heroic" stats if you use the Midnight stat creator as a base) we can talk about equipment you'd think he might have or give him... Then I may have 1-2 additions to his stats for Saturday based on my background plans.

What do you think?

If you like it, don't tell anyone. It'll be a fun little opening battle. It WILL be hard, no doubt - he MAY lose. But we'll see how it plays out. The fun is NOT knowing.

If you like the idea...?

So here's what you'd begin with, these are JUST my suggestions:

Captain Wilis Lerpanti Stats[edit]

Erenlander (Fighter 6) [ARMS: Longsword, Small Shield, Studded Leather]
Captain of Battle Group C: 13/14 men, 12 Erenlanders (Fighter 3) [ARMS: Longsword, Small Shield, Studded Leather]
Make suggestions on weapons/armors/charms, potions etc... he might have/use.
male human (Erenlander) Ftr6
Hit Dice: 6d10+30 (HP 76)
Initiative: +3 (+3 Dex)
Speed: 30 ft.
Armor Class: 13 (+3 Dex)
Attack: +10/+5 melee, or +9/+4 ranged
Saves: Fort +10, Ref +5, Will +3
Alignment: NG
Abilities: Str 19, Dex 16, Con 20, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 13
Size: Medium (6'4", 228lbs)
CR: 6
Languages: Erenlander (fluent), Trader's tongue (basic).
Feats: Cleave, Endurance, Human fighting initiate (Improvising Weapons, Elfling Retreat, Stable Heart), Improved bull rush, Improved overrun, Iron Will, Lucky, Power attack, Stunning fist (1), Orc slayer, Spring attack.
Class Abilities(Ftr): Bonus feat (any fighting) (x4), Improviser, Bonus feat (improviser).
Skills: Craft (locksmithing) +7, Diplomacy 4, Disguise +3, Escape artist +3, Handle animal +10, Heal +2, Hide +3, Intimidate +13, Jump +10, Knowledge (history) +2, Listen +1, Move silently +3, Open lock +7, Ride +10, Spot +1, Survival +4

The rest is up to you if you like this idea.

You can alter this as you like...