Here’s the vignette I posted at the head of my Game Announcement for the new Lockout game, which I called Tinderbox- Aftermath of the Tran.
“The peals of the bells marked the first moment most of us knew that there was something wrong. It’s not as though we ever saw any of the Tran, unless some second son felt like slumming at the market rather than sending his servants. A massive city in a massive empire, all dedicated to the glory of a clan of dwarves who never left their walled sanctuary. An empire of the dwarves…heh…an empire whose army was almost entirely comprised of races they’d made slaves. I sometimes think the dwarves took the surface just to see if they could; most of the cities, and most of the empire, are still down in those tunnels and we’re just living in a tumor. An abscess swimming with puss and desperation, surrounded by furry, clawed parasites who sold themselves to monsters thousands of years ago.
I don’t know how those furry parasites got into the Tran sanctuary; how they managed to penetrate the vaunted walls of this city, and then the guards, and then the Tran walls. I have no idea how they found their way into warded houses, what allowed them to enter the city in numbers sufficient to paint the walls of mansions and palaces with sweet, crimson Tran blood. I wish I did know, as I’d love to clasp the arm of whomever made it possible. In one afternoon they broke the Tran’s back. In one afternoon they killed off an entire dynasty…at least here, in this city. Even better, the death of the Tran sent most of the other dwarves–anyone important, at least–scurrying into the tunnels. They said it was to debate who should lead, but I think it was for safety.
So that just left…everyone else. Of course, the city guard wasted no time in restoring “order,” if you want to call pacification by the spear and due process through incarceration order. They rounded up every cant-eye, hornbrow, tail-dragger, scaled rat, and anything else in the city that didn’t have ears like a dog and eyes that glow in the dark. They said it was for the preservation of order, they said that the strangers could be part of whatever killed off the Tran. After that, when they started plucking dwarves, and hardworking goblins, and even hobbo soldiers who questioned their orders after spitting a few too many old ladies…well, that’s when people stopped asking questions. Besides, by then it was clear that we weren’t going anywhere…the beasts outside the walls have never appeared in numbers this great, in all of recorded history.
Of course, the bells never needed to ring four times before either.
Between then and now it was the same tired old story…people killing each other, taking sides. Some of the army split off, declared themselves loyal to the Tran and its ideals. Far more joined up with the gray-skinned mindbenders, excited to push dwarves around and finally get a look at whatever the Tran were hiding in their little neighborhood. There’s just the little matter of clearing out all of the beastmen who still infest that area, but the peacekeepers assure everyone it’s just a minor setback, soon to be resolved.
And, of course, there are those like me. Those who refused to bow to our new overlords or beg the old ones to return. We saw a chance for freedom, and we rose up to take it. Sure, we’re outnumbered. Sure, we have no shortage of enemies and no surfeit of allies. But if there’s one thing we do have…it’s heart. And by my grandmother’s withered hand, which patted me with such loving care when I was young, our heart is all we need!”
-Eyepeeler, Goblin Shaman, monologuing at the severed head of a fourteen-year old dwarven girl while he happily gnaws on her femur in the smoldering wreckage of her family home.
Eyepeeler is actually a significant creature in the game, sort of co-leader of the Savage Goblins. I don’t want to say too much more about him, or his name, but it doesn’t mean what it sounds like it does.