Friday, 19 October 2012

The Guillotine on Beggar's Mount

There is a place renowned in the Black Mountains for nothing but grisly obscene death.

There is tell that in times of old, the region there was rich in wealth, the mountains teeming with prospectors. Gold and jewels were to be found with little work and dwarfs and humans alike flocked to the area to increase their wealth.

The Border Princes has ever been a tough place to live or work and those days were no different. The prospectors had their share of predators, both beast and humanoid, but they defended their claims and formed a society of sorts, bartering and sharing, as little settlements sprung up in crevices all over the mountainous realm.

But in the centre of this nascent realm was a place called Beggar's Mount, a tall hill upon whose top was built a stage. On top of that was placed a deadly guillotine. No records tell of the builder of this dreadful device but tales speak of its need as thievery ran rampant because so much wealth was to be had.

The crime of theft was dealt with swiftly and finally by the hard line prospectors. They were there to grow rich. Any men who got in the way of that had to be dealt with.

The years went on and the number of executions increased. People say that the prospectors took a fondness for the sound of the sliding blade; the thunk of the decapitation. Whispers speak that not all the victims of the fiendish device were thieves. Not all were guilty of any crime.

It became merely sport as new arrivals to the area were weeded out so that the original prospectors could go on gathering more and more wealth.

And gather wealth they did until (as the rumours say), each prospector owned vast hordes of gold and jewel; wealth beyond counting. And still the guillotine on Beggar's Mount fell, cutting the necks of any who challenged their prosperity.

But it could not last forever.

Too much evil in one place can taint the land itself and the guillotine was the focus of decades of accumulated hedonism and murder. As time went on, the spirits of the unfair dead were said to howl round the mount when the moon was dim or when an execution was scheduled.

More than one passerby vanished in the night leaving no trace but their screaming lopped off head in the guillotine's catch-basket.

Stories of the horror surrounding this awful place grew more and more prevalent until it wasn't just fear of decapitation that kept away travellers and hopeful new prospectors. All those who heard of this dread region in the south east of the Border Princes knew that to visit there would assure death and eternal damnation.

Then finally, one cold winter night, every single inhabitant of the crooks and valleys for miles around was slain.

In one night, over two hundred prospectors and their families were dragged to the guillotine and decapitated.

Nobody knows who did it. No human being or dwarf remained alive at the end of that night within forty miles.

When travellers next passed through that region it had become a deathly silent place. Every cabin was deserted, every settlement falling into decay.

And at the guillotine on Beggar's Mount were piled the decapitated heads of every one of them.

People came in search of the treasure - despite their fear, of course they would. But none was ever found.

Every prospector had been murdered and every lump of gold; every diamond; had vanished.

Designer's Note: During games the guillotine of Beggar's Mount provides the following bonuses to units within 6": 

Undead Units: Gain an extra D3 wounds from spells which raise the dead. 
Other Evil forces: Gain Frenzy. 
Good and Neutral forces: Are subject to fear but also gain Stubborn. 

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