The Disgraced Officer

Another Career for The Gathering Gloom, this one inspired by an Ambrose Bierce short story.

Captain Graffenreid lay alongside the dead man, from beneath whose breast flowed a little rill of blood. It had a faint, sweetish odor that sickened him. The face was crushed into the earth and flattened. It looked yellow already, and was repulsive. Nothing suggested the glory of a soldier's death nor mitigated the loathsomeness of the incident. He could not turn his back upon the body without facing away from his company.

Ambrose Bierce - "One Officer, One Man"

Your line of ancestors is a long one, and there were plenty of stories about valor and horsemanship, conquest and camaraderie. You set out to war as was right and proper, your spirits stirred to a fever pitch by the bugle and the drum. When you came to battle there was no music, only the thunder of cannons and the cawing of carrion crows. There were no comrades, only frightened farm boys fumbling with swords and rifles.
It was when the man next to you had his face torn off by grapeshot you found your resolve. You spurred on your horse and fled the battlefield.

Your cowardice has haunted you since. In your dreams you ancestors spit on you as crows pluck out your eyes. In this village they need brave folk who can save it from half-glimpsed shadows and ogres. Surely no forest fiend can be as horrible as a cannonade.

Starting HOPE: 4
Starting CERTAINTY: 0

Indulging: Lying
Abandoning the battlefield was the only sensible thing to do, and it was an act of cowardice. Both these things are true, and they tear your soul apart. To regain HOPE you must lie about your exploits in war to at least one other person. You must continue the deceit that enticed you into uniform.

Roll a D10

1: You regain 1 point of HOPE, but gain a point of CERTAINTY as well.
2-7: Regain 1 HOPE.
7-8: Regain 2 HOPE.
10: Regain 2 HOPE for each person listening to your tale.

Deserteur (Дезертир), by Ilya Repin, 1917

Base Skill: Strike or Shoot (this means that you are already Skilled in either Strike or Shoot before distributing any points).

Distribute three points among the following skills (putting two points into a skill means that you have Mastered it).

Used for oiling people up, wooing, flattering and making a good impression.

Used for lying, bluffing and telling tall tales.

Used for withstanding physical injury, trauma, pain and poison.

Used for stauching bleeding, setting bones, performing field surgery and applying poultices. A Physick’s trade

Putting the fear into people. Convincing people that doing what you say is the better option.

Used for withstanding mental anguish and the loss of HOPE.

Knowledge, of things in books, in far-off lands, or known only to the initiated. A good Scholar roll may bring CERTAINTY, with all its dubious blessings.

Using pistols, rifles, blunderbuses, even bows.

Punching, slashing, piercing and doing violence face-to-face.

Finding clues, footprints, spoor and remnants of folk, beasts, and less wholesome entities.

Noticing danger before it is too late. Staying alert despite cold, fog, night and bone-chilling terror.


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