|I 'aint afraid of no, P.I.T.C.H.F.O.R.K!|
Sacked by a horde of marauding outriders as early as 153AL, the tiny sea-side town of Strathburl lay abandoned and neglected for centuries, until a small group of exiles made it their home. It grew, albeit slowly, into a haven for refugees; those who had no chance of ever returning from where they were driven. It was a beacon of hope in an otherwise darkened land. A place where people could try and put their lives back together. They became known as the Free Folk, and the town a haven for those who had ever suffered at the callous hands of others.
Out of this sense of civic wellbeing grew the will to turn the tables on the oppressors, and so rose P.I.T.C.H.F.O.R.K, a loose collection of individuals united in their quest to overthrow the yoke of tyranny everywhere. No madman, vampire, despotic overlord, mad scientist, or evil conjurer would ever feel safe again…
The Founding Members of P.I.T.C.H.F.O.R.K
He was seven when the war finally came to his village. Piter only survived by hiding in the barn under a huge pile of hay while feral dog-soldiers searched the village for believers. He was lucky. His family, and the rest of the farming community were marched off to the castle and imprisoned until either death, or the rats took them.
He never saw them again.
Piter was saved by an iterant ranger who had been dogging the steps of the war band looking for survivors. After three hundred miles, seventeen hamlets, and one large village, Piter was the only one he came across. They escaped on foot heading north, travelling only at night and hiding during the day. They arrived eventually at their destination, the village of Strathburl on the coast of the Ageless Sea; and it was here that Piter was trained in the art of combat by a retired Fighting Man called, Sir Bellush the Angry. Because of his agrarian background and skill with farming implements, he chose a rather unconventional piece of kit as his weapon… a pitchfork. Piter modified it heavily of course, adding several fiendish innovations to its simple form. Tipped in purest silver with a haft of ash wood, it could pierce a steel breastplate as if it were the shell on a soft boiled crab. He smeared the prongs with the fermented residue of the hunter bush, guaranteed to cause paralysis in even the largest of opponents. Piter grew up to become the leader of this motley bunch of do-gooders, and is exceptionally zealous when championing the underdog.
Sold into slavery at the tender age of six, she spent her formative years in the vile clutches of the Bishop of Barton Hollow, a corpulent, slothful, pederast, whom she dispatched one evening with a dagger ‘borrowed’ from one of his bodyguards. She sliced open his more than ample gut and strangled him with his own quivering intestines.
No one was sad to see the bastard go, not even his guards.
They packed young Isla off with a bag of coin, a weapon, and a map on how to get to Strathburl. Despite their supposed ‘kindness’, she returned later that evening and did for them as well. It was retribution for years of sitting idly by while she and a host of others suffered the pawing’s of the lecherous cleric.
When she had wiped the blood from her blade she set fire to the church and razed it to the ground. She danced wildly as the carven effigies of fallen gods exploded in a shower of sparks and hypocrisy.
Isla loathes the clergy. Hates them. She wields the fallen Bishop’s mace and wears boiled leather armour, daubed in the blood of her fallen enemies. Isla wears the heads of her enemies around her belt, and on the bridle of her horse. She enjoys the noise they make when she is in full gallop. Isla makes it her mission to steal from churches, and she uses the purloined loot to fund their enterprise against the unjust. Her war cry is ‘Fides Amplius’ which means, Faith No More, in the common tongue.
Chained to a rowing bench since he was old enough to hold an oar, Tanner found his freedom when his galley was sunk in the Ageless Sea. He survived by clinging to a piece of broken hull. For three weeks he was at sea, living on rainwater and whatever fish he could catch with his bare hands. Eventually, when he was just about to give up and let the water roll over his head, he spied a light to the west. Tanner gathered whatever resolve he had left and struck out toward it. He made landfall four hours later and staggered into the firelight of the local tavern, collapsing at the tavern keeper’s feet. When he was better he began his training under the firm hand of Sir Bellush. Years of constant rowing have left Tanner exceptionally strong. He prefers the feel of wood in his hands so he has chosen the staff as his weapon of retribution. His years at sea have given him a keen understanding of the weather and its ever-shifting patterns. Tanner can predict rainfall almost to the second. Oh, and he hates boats. Vehemently.
A living blood-bank for a half-vampire, half-thrall, Coleen spent her youth in the rat infested cellar of a châteaux, halfway between the Free City of Cologne and the Port o’ Fears. Every third day she was brought up from her hole in the ground, to give sustenance to him-who-shies- from- the-sun. She filled his lifeless veins with her scarlet nectar, rolling back the years on that terrifying face, until he was but a youngish man in his early twenties with his whole life ahead of him. He looked almost human too, where it not for the ivory fangs that danced in his bloody maw. But Coleen saw him for the beast he was when she managed to slip her iron fetters and rammed a foot of hard wood through the creature’s heart. Oh, how she laughed as her tormentor writhed and flopped on the once plush carpet like a fish out of water. When his body had finally succumb to all the years he had stolen, she scooped his once powerful teeth into her pinafore and left the house forever. She found her way to Strathburl, just as all the others did. On her travels she had sewn the teeth into a necklace that she wore proudly around her ravaged throat. She had a look in her eye that made you forget any questions you might have about her wounds. Because of her constant bloodletting, and infection from vampire spittle, she is now able to smell a vampire’s lair from at least five or six miles away, depending on how the wind is blowing. She can see in the dark, as well as hear at least ten times better than any rogue could ever wish for. She is also immune to any gaze/charm attacks a vampire may be hiding up his foppish, velvet sleeve. She hunts with hammer, stake, garlic, holy water, and wears a brace of crossbows on her belt.
Once a Bard with a melodic voice, young Hengest ran afoul of Lord Ghasthorne for a supposed dalliance with his wife. The lovesick Lord had Hengest’s tongue ripped out for his imaginary sins. Robbed of his livelihood, he fell in with a group of teenage runaways heading to Strathburl. Hengest no longer plays any instruments and abhors the sound of music or singing. Clad in a black cloak with the cowl always covering his bald pate, this silent and stealthy boy tends to do his work in the shadows, forever fearing the lights of the stage. He is skilled in the art of the quiet kill, preferring the garrotte and the dagger to do his work for him. He has yet to pay Lord Ghasthorne a visit and settle the score. But he will…soon.
Sold by his father for lotus resin, young Farouk grew up in the desert. The environment was hard and merciless, much like his master. He was apprenticed to a sadistic Djinn weaver who beat and berated the boy daily, until one day, he could stand the punishment no more. Applying everything he had ever overheard from his master’s lotus stained lips, he summoned a Dust Devil that promptly ate his master and shat out his bones. Farouk escaped that evening, running as fast as his young legs would carry him. He has no recollection on how far he journeyed or where, all he knows is that he fell in with some kindly merchants, and after many months of travel found himself alone in the Inner Kingdoms on the outskirts of Strathburl. He has taken to studying the arcane art of summoning and creation, and the Dust Devil that slew his master is now a constant companion in their struggle to right the world’s wrongs. He calls it Faheem, the eater of black souls.
Once a hallowed Temple virgin, Ostra was defiled by drunken priests in a supposed ‘religious’ ceremony. Bloodied, bruised, she killed them while they snored and spluttered in a drunken heap. Fleeing the temple she happened across an angelic embassy of her god asking why she has killed the High Priests of the Temple. She laughed, then laughed some more, then spat in his face and plunged her curved blade in his eye. They wrestled, and bit, and kicked, and fought for hours until eventually she won, forcing the angel to lick her bloody feet before going back to his mistress. She turned her back on her old life, and when she found the village she fell wholeheartedly into P.I.T.C.H.F.O.R.K.
It was possibly after their fifth or sixth mission together, that she crossed swords with her angel again. But this time, after she bested him, he too turned his back on his old life and bent his head in service to her. He is known to the group as Oculus the Fallen.
An honorary title given to the newest member of the party in honour of Revel the Harlequin, who fell in bloody battle against the Shadow Sorcerer, Bethomet. Whoever fills Revel’s place wears his colourful armour and mask of bells in remembrance of this once famed circus performer.
A certified genius, Kincaid fled the inhuman practices of Victor the Flesh-Joiner before he was to be cut limb from limb, and reconfigured… Kincaid brews potions, poisons, heals broken bodies, and assists wherever he can. He seeks out his nemesis’ creation, a monster built from the body parts of Victor’s family, and galvanised into living by massive amounts of lightning. The monster is neither living nor dead, it merely, is. It terrorises lonely pockets of humanity before slinking back into the shadows. But Kincaid has received word that it’s been spotted mere miles away in the hamlet of Macsen’s Delve, and so, it is to this destination that the members of P.I.T.C.H.F.O.R.K are riding post haste, to see how they may assist. Fides Amplius!