DovahQueen: Bend the Knee
Since 2015, the DovahQueen has been taking your questions and giving advice to improve your games. Now the tables are turned in this DovahQueen series; Loren is asking the questions and a panel of three guests—an RPG-industry veteran, a Know Direction network staff member, and a fan—answers. It’s time to Bend the Knee!
First, let’s meet today’s guests.
RPG Industry Veteran: Alistair Rigg
I’m a freelance designer, developer, and editor published by Kobold Press, Frog God Games, Legendary Games, and Paizo. My recent projects include the Gamemastery Guide and Bestiary 2 for Pathfinder 2nd edition, and The Book in the Old House, the opening chapter of Greg Vaughan’s superb Aegis of Empires Adventure Path which is currently smashing through the stretch goals of its fully-funded Kickstarter. I’m also a Venture-Captain for the Organized Play Foundation here in the San Francisco Bay Area where my day job is data security product management for a global software company.
Know Direction Network Staff Member: Rob Pontious (@silentinfinity)
Hello my fine family and friends! I’m Rob or silentinfinity! I’m a lover of TTRPGs starting way back with D&D 1st Ed and now Pathfinder and the World of Darkness. I DM/GM/Storytell more than I plays, but I love crafting a story whether for a world or a character, and enjoying the collaborative nature of the game. I’m a member of Order of the Amber Die, play the uncanny Ateran in Roll for Combat’s Three Ring Adventure, and am that tall guy you met at a convention. I’m a resident of Rhode Island and a football fan, working in web commerce by day and enjoying writing and gaming as a creative outlet by night. I look forward to gathering friends again for board games, love RPG video games (Dragon Age!), card games, and I’ve even done a little LARPing in my time. I’m a GAYMER and so very appreciate of the wide community embracing one another! I love meeting new people, and I’m ever eager to celebrate them and their interests. My motto is work hard, play harder!
Fan: Madison aka Nadaene_13
After a fateful meeting with The DovahQueen in January of 2019, my journey into the world of RPGs began. I have mainly played 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons, but I have delved into 2nd Edition Pathfinder as well. In May, I graduated Indiana University Southeast with my BS in Biology, and I plan on attending graduate school for Ecology.
“Trouble stirs in the land. Far to the west, two rival kingdoms, The Orclands and the Deathmarshes, are considering an alliance against your homeland. Fortunately, you’re known as somewhat of a local hero for your previous exploits, and your queen has thusly summoned you. When you arrive at the castle, you’re quickly ushered into a large meeting room with a long wooden table. At its head, Queen Sivrunn sits flanked by a score of diplomats and military commanders. You’re asked to have a seat and join the conversation about the actions the country should take. It is decided that a rider should be sent to Elmdale, a potential ally, to request their support. Because Elmdale is very near to the Deathmarshes and enemy spies are likely everywhere, the rider will travel alone to attract less attention. Both the danger and the importance of this mission cannot be understated. For this reason, you will be the rider. Queen Sivrunn has ordered the court wizards and royal huntsmen to work together in order to secure for you whichever mount you see fit for the journey. Name a beast, and it shall be broken and trained as your loyal mount without fail.”
Pick one of your characters to serve as the rider. Who is it; describe your character. When given the opportunity to pick any monster or beast, and it will serve as a loyal mount, what do you pick and why? Lastly, give your mount a name.
Alistair: “’Somewhat’ of a local hero?” thunders the dashingly handsome half-orc cavalier as he saunters into the royal meeting room, frothing tankard in one gauntleted fist. “’Somewhat!?’” he growls, glaring at the assembled dignitaries one by one, daring them to explain the casual slur before finally resting his gaze on his queen and winking as he slumps into his seat, the spikes of his gleaming full plate scoring deep gouges in its polished woodwork.
“I would impale the lot of you on my lance were there no chance it could be misinterpreted as an act of frustrated love for you!” he growls before taking a long pull from his tankard and slamming it back down, eyes fixed on the queen with a knowing look before addressing her assembly.
“So, you’re still worried about these savages and swampers, eh? And you need someone to ride to enlist Elmdale’s aid against them? And the so-called court wizards,” he sneers, “will help the royal huntsmen to secure whichever mount I desire?
“Well, firstly, you seem confident that these magicians are able to ensnare and subdue any mount I desire and yet they are incapable of teleportation, or scrying, or conducting even remote communication with our so-called allies? What have they been doing with their time? What sort of arcane service do we have? Which of you buffoons have been serving our Queen so poorly?
“These questions shall be answered, but if I must choose, then you seem to expect me to muse on the various qualities of mounts, relative to the terrain and the need for speed and stealth? Mounts that will also be able to fight well and withstand the inevitable ambushes or ‘chance encounters’ I will face through intelligence doubtlessly seeded to our enemies from the spy or betrayer likely among us here? An infiltrator, I assure you, whose head shall adorn these walls before too long.
“Clearly, there is no need for such musing for the answer is clear. My mount must be Crescenzina, the Submerged Sky, who lairs in the underwater grottoes of the western riverine delta. Her powerful wings will carry me swiftly through the clouds to Elmdale, out of sight and range of our enemies, but if we encounter unexpected aerial opposition that even our combined might cannot face, we can also slither beneath the pools and waterways at the borders of the Deathmarshes themselves. And at our destination her magnificence and eloquence will be sure to enhance my own unparalleled diplomatic credentials. Yes, it is clear; Crescenzina is our solution. So make haste, feckless arcanists. I do hope your studies have included spells to allow you to swim well and to breathe water. And when you encounter the youngster, let her know that Suttung is calling in his favor and that we serve the Queen herself.”
And with that, the legendary cavalier Suttung, rises to his feet, his chair clattering backwards to the stone floor as he rounds the table and kneels before Sivrunn.
“My Queen,” he purrs, kissing the back of her outstretched hand and fixing her with a sly gaze. “Until Crescenzina arrives, you may find me in my chambers…”
In the small hours of the following day—the wizards and huntsmen having already been sent forth to beg for a young bronze dragon’s aid that will never come for, as Suttung well knows, she no longer can be found in the grottoes of the western riverine delta and the favor has already been repaid—his royal service both completed and yet about to begin, he rides forth to Elmdale under cover of darkness on his trusty stallion, Jolly Roger. For how could he even contemplate leaving his loyal companion behind when adventure beckons and there are still so many wild oats for them both to sow along the way.
Rob: Our rider this fine evening – because a dusky ride in so in line with our rider – is Ateran, a Witch of Curses and my character at Roll for Combat. They are non-binary, of dark hair and violet eyes, and ever so much fun to play. I’ve never played a character like them and it’s proven both a joy and a challenge. I was inspired by a few people from my football team and the amazingly inventive Aki of Knights of Everflame (@MxGiniInABottle) as I considered Ateran’s history, which is slowly revealing itself as the Three Ring Circus proceeds. Ateran’s occult practices and shrewd gazes have proven a benefit as has their cauldron cooking and crafty ways.
Ateran would lean back from the long wooden table and glance to their shoulder where a raven of blue midnight feathers rests. After a few moments Ateran would nod their head, “I request a dragon that roams beyond our world, a vast explorer of multiple worlds though one I’ve heard studies the people of their diverse visitations. Crowned in spines and mottled in the deep blue and violet of a midnight moon’s horizon, the lunar dragon shall be my mount.”
At this the royal huntsmen of Elmdale laugh, looking amusedly to their compatriots the court wizards. A dragon? Let alone one that flies beyond this world? The wizards too chuckle, nervous and not as amused at this joke the so-called hero has made. But Ateran nods, smiling as their gaze locks one by one onto each person around the table.
They know the Lunar Dragon is not some foolish, easily broken beast. Nor do they expect the wizards can simply summon it into binding to do their will. No, Ateran is certain the dragon will require compensation for its hoard but with diplomacy too shall its interest and assistance be acquired. A deal shall be broken and Ateran hopes they personally can be trained to assist this envoy of the moon and stars beyond.
The Lunar Dragon will be more than a mount but an ally able to lead them safely into space to bypass the danger of the Deathmarshes, though should any spy or creature be present upon their arrival back to land they will surely have strong wills or dangers to contend with. Ateran would encourage and support any attempt at diplomacy the dragon – indeed known for studying the people of a planet – might wish to make. Ateran encourages diplomacy and a warning before violence after all. Considering the Lunar Dragon likely sees a planet’s varying creatures as one people of many differences, Ateran expects some alignment on this approach. However, the dragon is also known for devastating strength and delivering a blast of cold from the darkest reaches of the void, able to chill and bewilder anyone or anything. Sometimes a strong threat encourages diplomacy after all and that is a promise Ateran encourages.
With overtures of treasure though a promise of servitude in return, Ateran is ever pleased to ally with the Lunar Dragon Azaltamahryym even if the court wizards fear its betrayal and the royal huntsmen know well they cannot stop such a beast. The Queen Sivrunn is wise, making a noble’s bow to the creature and thanking Ateran for their willingness to train as the dragon’s servant so that they might be the dragon’s rider. Together they’ll journey into space and make certain a truce with the people of Elmdale, and hopefully any others that should dare to face them. Azaltamahryym has already made clear the task afterward: find her mate Rezallian who has long been absent from her side.
Madison: Elis’ Nadaene Poltarry is a moon elf, who identifies with the Circle of the Moon as a druid. Her height does not standout when in a crowd of other elves. Nadaene’s body is rather slim from years in the deep forests to learn her craft. Long, slightly curled auburn hair flows down her back, and it is a characteristic trait for the women from her bloodline. She has a small-single braid amidst her thick waves with two feathers attached, one from her deceased griffin and the other from a friend’s brown-hued owl. She wears an elk hide armor vest over a vibrant navy-blue blouse with intricate silver details. The pants are also elk hide, but she has a knife sheath attached to her right hip, the other hip holds her first aid pack. Her walnut-hued boots rise to the tops of her calves. Resting on the walnut-hued hooded cloak, a longbow weaved from walnut tree branches can be found on her back. Her right ring finger sports a silver ring with her family’s crest on the front: a griffin. Nadaene’s expression remains haughty and disinterested.
The chosen hero is descended from a long line of powerful elves that have ridden majestic, silver griffins throughout their history. These important mounts are even the crest of the Poltarry family! In Queen Sivrunn’s time of need, Nadaene will follow in her ancestor’s footsteps and mount a griffin for this dangerous mission. Massive wings will be capable of flying high above enemy lines with little detection. The slender feline-like frame will be used to duck between the thicket of tree limbs throughout the forest to Elmdale. If confronted by an enemy, the large claws and beak of the griffin can easily protect the rider, while she works her magic. Nadaene’s experience with griffins from her time on familial ground will only ensure the success of this journey with this mount.
I’ve heard from my guest writers; now I want to hear from you. What would your rider mount for a dangerous mission? Leave a comment below, on our Discord, or on Know Direction’s Facebook page.
Each Bend the Knee features three guest writers. One is from the RPG industry. Another is from the Know Direction network. The third guest could be you! Leave a comment on Know Direction’s Facebook, Discord, or Twitter, or you can send an email to DearDovahQueen@gmail.com for your chance to be featured on the next Bend the Knee or Dear DovahQueen.
Art belongs to Siplick on Deviant Art.
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