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Valley of the Serpent Kings: Red Lucy (SFW)

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“Chewed the bone down too low

Got fed on tea and sympathy

Blew the sail like the wind

I wish you were my enemy…!

I was humble for you

What a fool I've been

To have laid so low for so long…

 
Into that void of silence, where we cry without sound

Where tears roll down

Where tears roll down

And when your mother's violence sends your soul underground

Where tears roll down

Where tears roll down


Drew the blade way too slow

Was shackled by your honesty

Made a mess, I guess I have should have known

That life was lust and liberty...

Not a chance mutation, or the last temptation

Laid so low, for so long, so low…”


Tears For Fears; ‘Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)’


www.youtube.com/watch?v=WP1JT5…

 
(Most of Roland Orzabal’s songs are about pain, loss, alienation and a bad relationship with one’s parents, and this one is no exception…)

 

Courtesy of :iconkachima:, meet Lucia Reyes-Martinez, better known by her swashbuckling name of ‘Red Lucy’. Lucy is part of the Corsair faction of Spanish explorers, privateers and adventurers, showcased in the upcoming ‘Shadows of Brimstone: Adventures’. The Corsairs debut in the boxed set ‘Valley of the Serpent Kings’, one of three sets released for ‘Adventures’.    
 

Full name: Luciana Reyes-Martinez
Birthplace: Castille, Spain
Age: 20 in 1900
Height: 5' 5"
Class: Duelist
Role: White Saviour
Religion: Maryan Catholicism, though not especially devout 
Campaign: Valley of the Serpent Kings
Family: Esteban (father), Eduardo (brother), Isabella (mother), Tula (girlfriend)
Alignment: Neutral (Good)
Stats: Not yet known
Favourite Strutting Ground: Spanish Fort & Jargono
Favoured Weapon: duelling blades
Signature Moves: Not yet known
Allies: Jargono Natives, Masako Meijer
Rivals: her mother
Enemies: Serpentmen Empire
Hobbies: Fencing, Gymnastics, Jungle holidays
Sexuality: Lesbian
Sexual habits: One-Woman Woman
Sexual art?: Hardcore


Shadows of Brimstone: Adventures

Flying Frog’s Shadows of Brimstone game is in good health, and seems to be their most popular game in recent years. The Frogs are known for producing fun, characterful board-games like ‘Fortune & Glory’, ‘Last Night on Earth’, and ‘Touch of Evil’, and quite a bit of the latter’s Gothic horror makes it into the Brimstone games, such as the infamous outlaw Scarlet Shadow, and monsters like the Trun and the Gremians. Having successfully kickstarted Forbidden Fortress, providing us with new characters and settings for feudal Japan, they also crowd-funded the new ‘Adventure’ series earlier this year, which should hopefully be released sometime in 2020 (that said, Flying Frog are, like Fantasy Flight, renowned for two things - quality and delays...)

‘Adventures’ is something of a starting product in some ways, although it builds on the existing Brimstone core sets. ‘Valley of the Serpent Kings’ expands on the ‘Swamps of Death’ core set and offers new settings for the ’lost world’ of Jargono. It also gives us the Corsair heroes and an old Spanish fort from the Conquistador era to explore, along with new enemies such as carnivorous plants, undead corsairs and many new varieties of Serpent-men foes, such as large dinosaurs and a chieftain on a flying mount.  ‘Gates of Valhalla’ gives us the Viking heroes and a frozen Norse forest to explore, along with monsters like Frost Giants, Ice Trolls and the aforementioned Gremians. It also expands on the core box ‘City of the Ancients’, the strange technology of the dead city of Targa, inspired in part by Lovecraft’s ‘Mountains of Madness’. There are new mechanical enemies for the Targa setting, as well as new encounters and treasures in every set. (There is also a boxed set for Trederra, allowing you to play a Trederran Strike Team as heroes).

I admit to being somewhat ambivalent about all this – more Brimstone is always a good thing, of course, and it makes sense to expand on Targa and Jargono as existing settings.  There has been some dissatisfaction with the concept of ‘Team Heroes’ however, as the characters in the boxed sets are meant to be played as a group, synergising their strengths and being stronger together than the sum of the parts.   I’m not sure I like the idea on two levels – firstly, Brimstone is meant to be completely compatible with all the other sets, and part of its charm is the crazy, kitchen-sink element of going adventuring with a team consisting of a cowboy, a ninja, a samurai, a three-eyed World War I survivor and now pirates and Vikings! It doesn’t feel right that the characters are weakened when they are adventuring alone or with a mismatched team. In addition, the ‘Team Heroes’ are all derivatives of one class rather than being unique classes in their own right, like every other Brimstone class to date. Brimstone offers a LOT of customisation, between your gear, upgrades, talent trees and specialisations. It is possible to play two Lawmen or Samurai who feel very different from each other.  As far as we can see, there’s only one set of advancement trees and upgrades, although each sub-class does have its own stats, set specialisation and starting gear. To make up for this, each of the new factions has a shared element that makes them stronger in a  team.  Vikings can each gain ‘Rage’ points and Corsiars get ‘Ambition’, the latter of which counts as a separate Grit pool with a +2 bonus, which seems really potent on the face of it. To balance that, Corsairs are more susceptible to Corruption, having a threshold of 4 instead or 5, as they tend to be ruthless and selfish in pursuit of their goals. In addition, every member on the team gets a card every adventure that gives them a group benefit for others in the same faction.  Corsairs might be able to plunder more loot, for example, or Vikings encourage one another in battle. Some of these cards help any other Hero, but some are keyed to your own faction. Again, I can see what they are going for in terms of theme, but it feels wrong that a character is under-powered when it’s going solo or hooking up with outsiders... and that will happen a lot in Brimstone.


It should be mentioned that the Kickstarter Heroes – the Cursed Eternal and Jaguar Warrior for the Corsairs, the Valkyrie and Ulfsark Skinwalker for the Norse – will be full Heroes with their own unique talent trees, specialisations and upgrades.  If the Team Heroes prove disappointing, it likely won’t take much in the way of House Rules to balance that out – Brimstone has a large fan community that regularly produces content and I expect we’ll see conversions of the Team Heroes into full regular Hero classes before very long.

Also released is the ‘Perilous Adventures’ box, which will be a full Campaign System for ‘Adventures’,  something fans have wanted for a long time.  There will be boards for a Viking Longship, Corsair pirate ship, a board for wilderness encounters and a campaign map. Also included are models for giant squid tentacles and Lovecraft’s Deep Ones! A campaign setting is something the community have wanted since the game’s release (there are excellent fan-made one available, though it will be nice to see something official), and hopefully campaigns for the Weird West and Fantasy Japan will be released later. 

Finally, as an oddity as much as anything else, there will be rules for including existing Heroes as enemies – they won’t be as tough or complex as regular Heroes, but will allow you to fight against outlaws, gunslingers, samurai, ninja, Vikings or pirates who are NPC enemies.  Brimstone is not a competitive game; co-operation is at its core and all the players are on the same side.  But I guess it allows for people who only play one version of the game and fight against the other factions if you wish.

 

The Tribe of the Lion: the Corsairs of the Red Sails

So, that’s the game… so what gives with the young girl above with the pirate swords?

The faction in Valley of the Serpent Kings is the Spanish Corsairs, who style themselves as privateers, adventurers, and conquerors in the old Conquistador style.  Cunning, resourceful and ambitious, they are anti-heroes of a sort, perhaps less interested in fighting the Darkness, and more so in plunder, fame and glory.  Their ‘Ambition’ pushes them to excel at all times, but they are more susceptible to the wiles of Corruption  because of that.  Preferring antique weapons to modern ones (especially magical versions!), they look back to their illustrious ancestors and a time when Spain’s mighty empire really did rule the waves.

And it is here our tale begins.

At the heart of the Corsairs in their patriarch, 'the Lion' Esteban Reyes-Martinez, and his ambitious wife Isabella, known as ‘the Lioness’ or ‘La Leona’. Isabella’s ambitions are the driving force behind ‘Adventures’, and will almost certainly spill into the affairs of the heroes from Brimstone and the Dragon Empires, as they have to contend with her schemes and decide whether or not the Corsairs will be potential allies… or enemies.

Legends and myths swirl about Esteban and Isabella, and it can be difficult to ascertain the truth with all their mystique.  They have long been players on the world stage, for hundreds of years at the very least.  Isabella was Queen of Spain in the late 15th century, and was the driving force behind Hernan Cortez and the Spanish Empire’s conquest of the New World.  Isabella not only sponsored these conquests, but relinquished her throne to lead them personally, revelling in taming the heathen lands for her Empire and her Goddess. She had many lovers, but foremost among them was a nobleman called Esteban, one of the few men who could match her for pride and ambition, and could keep up with her infamous appetites.  Somewhere in the early 16th century, they were part of Juan Ponce de Leon’s fabled quest for the Fountain of Youth – the sacred spring that could apparently grant youth and immortality.  The expedition was a success, but Esteban and Isabella were the only survivors.  Now immortal, the pair remained forever in their early forties, veteran adventurers in their prime. They no longer aged, and while they could die by violence, they would be reborn anew, over and again.  Over the next few centuries, they worked together or apart, on their far-reaching goals, schemes and plans, understanding the possibilities their immortality now offered them.

(This much we know as fact; but there are whispers that both are a good deal older than their story tells – that the Fountain of Youth tale disguises the fact that they are immortals from an earlier time, either fallen angels or risen demons. Popular myth paints Isabella as a fallen angel due to her beauty, and Esteban as a redeemed infernal, due to his devilish good-looks. The tales say that Isabella failed Mother Mary in some way, and was cast down to earth to redeem herself in the eyes of the Secret-Keeper.  The same tales state that the man who now calls himself Esteban turned against Lucifer Morningstar as he was tempted by the Goddess, who promised him secrets and power in exchange for switching loyalties. Whatever the truth of it, both Esteban and Isabella are devoted Maryan Catholics, who have conquered many lands for Spain’s glory and spread the faith of the Keeper of Secrets. They are essentially ‘Dark Knights’, paladins of an otherworldly force who drain the life-force of their foes to heal themselves in battle.)

Both the Lion and La Leona have sired dozens of children over the centuries, and Isabella in particular strives to embody Mary as a mother, making the bloodlines of men her own - her ancestry and royal blood runs in the lineages of many peoples now, and she has carried the children of chieftains, royalty, high priests and popes alike, taking the ruler of each age as her lovers, as fancy takes her.  Her children, however, do not share her immortality – and this holds true even for those she bears with Esteban.  Be she angel, devil or a mortal who has drunk from the waters of life, the gift of eternal youth belongs only to the couple alone, and so Isabella has seen dozens of generations wither and die while she lives on, forever young.  Perhaps because of this - especially for one so prolific as a parent - Isabella is a demanding matriarch who rarely feels much emotional kinship with her children.  She encourages them to excel and makes them a part of her schemes, but is rarely warm or loving in a modern sense. Perhaps the long years and burying dozens of her offspring have soured her, or perhaps she was always a selfish and demanding creature at her heart. Either way, she passes along a heavy burden to her offspring, and more than a few have openly feuded with her over it.

By the nineteenth century, Spain’s status as a world power was waning, and across the globe, new nations asserted themselves and men like Simon Bolivar fought for their freedom, to rule themselves.  The empires of the Ottomans and Victorians struggled to keep a hold of their colonies, and as Spain’s power declined on the world stage, it lost more and more of its holdings in the Americas.  By the turn of the 20th century, Spain’s empire was no more, and a dark malaise fell over the nation, prompting much soul-searching and debate about the nation’s future.

In the early 19th century, Isabella’s ambitions centered around the exploration of the Plateau of Targa in Scandinavia, and the ancient, frozen city that lay there.  Throughout history, there were legends about the strange powers within, the last remnant of an alien race who commanded peculiar technology that was far more advanced than anything ever seen on earth.  Isabella desired the power that lay in Targa above all other things, and all her ambition was bent towards this.  She had one of her periodic falling-out’s with Esteban, who warned her of the dangers of that cursed place, and that no good would come of her pursuit of its secrets. Isabella ignored him, as she often did, and led an expedition to plumb Targa’s secrets for her own.  Unfortunately for her, the frozen city had long been guarded by the descendants of the Norsemen,  the ‘Tribe of the Wolf’. The people of the Twelve-Towns dwelt in the monster-haunted woods that surrounded the plateau, clinging to worship of the old gods, protecting the modern cities of men from the depredations of giants, trolls, and gremians. They knew that something terrible lay sleeping in Targa – the sinister alien race of the ‘Elder Things’, and the terrible technology they once commanded when the race of men was young.   And so they held a lonely vigil, preventing any explorers or travelers from breaching Targa’s old wards, so that the ancient evils lay dormant and slumbering, lest they be woken by the trespass of modern men.  

And so Isabella’s expedition met with the ancestors of the Norse, who made it clear to her that something unspeakable slept beneath the Plateau, and that they would let none pass for fear that man’s foolishness would awaken that which must never be disturbed.        

Needless to say, Isabella’s reply was not temperate, and she vowed to spill any amount of blood if it meant securing the ancient power of Targa for her own.  And so began the enmity between the Tribes of the Lion and the Tribes of the Wolf.

None survived that day, Isabella herself the last Corsair to fall, along with a young woman of the Twelve-Towns.  Death for Isabella was not the end, of course – but this time, it took decades, rather than mere hours, to rise and live again.  She passed beyond time, stumbling through alien worlds and unknowable dreamscapes, trying to recall her past and her former power. Something had gone terribly wrong.  By the time her memory returned, nearly five decades had passed, and only Esteban remembered her.  Her children had died, and Spain’s once-mighty Empire was in ruins.   
   

Although Isabella’s rage and anger burned as brightly as it ever did, this time Esteban was able to talk sense into her.  The world had moved on without them, and revolution was in the air.  Culture and technology had changed, and if they were not careful, the world would leave them behind, relics of a bygone era.  Esteban told her that she must think like an immortal, play the long game, not throw her life away in battle, to die and be reborn again... especially as the last time, it took her so long to recover.  Reluctantly, Isabella saw his point. They needed a better strategy, something that would provide them with relevance over a longer time period. They reconciled, and in 1859, she bore him a son – Eduardo – as she had done so many times before.  She curbed her temper, and they began plotting together.  Spain was in a precarious position, and the loss of its foreign holdings seemed inevitable. Something must be done, to rekindle national pride, and some power must be recovered which could make Spain great again. 

For decades, they plotted quietly, taking on new noble identities and gaining fame and fortune in Europe’s royal courts.  In 1880, Isabella bore Esteban a daughter, Lucia. Around this time, they began to grow their influence, sponsoring foreign expeditions, mercenaries who might interfere with colony revolutions, and fostering a new sense of national pride and interest in the past.  By 1890, with the Victorian era at its height, they sponsored various ‘gentleman’s adventurer societies’, both to raise funds for their coming expedition, and to select those who had the strength and ambition to accompany them.  The ‘Corsairs of the Crimson Sails’  were an exclusive club of nobles, academics and military types, all of whom were devout Maryans with a great attachment to Spain’s glory days.  They praised the names of heroes such as El Cid, James of Aragon, Columbus, Cortez, and Lady Juana de Arintero. They evoked national pride of Spain’s glory days, the Conquistadors and the Armada. Sponsoring politicians and social movements that fanned nationalism, they held exhibitions and talks from experts extolling Spain’s virtues and her illustrious history. Among the revelries, banquets and occasional wild orgies, Esteban and Isabella sought out those who impressed them, Spaniards of character and ambition who they would admit into their inner circle.

Now with support and loyal followers -and the help of talented, ambitious kinsmen willing to help in their schemes – Isabella and Esteban revealed their plans to those they trusted.  At the turn of the century, a new expedition would be made to the most secret, dangerous places of the world – to recover untold riches and artefacts powerful enough to inspire Spain, weapons akin to the fabled ‘Arc of the Covenant’ that might be used against the enemies of the nation… and so might the Empire be reborn from its ashes, like a Phoenix.  Of course, Targa was never far from Isabella’s thoughts – the technology there could transform any nation who acquired it.  But Esteban had schooled her in various other dimensions he had discovered – the dying world of Trederra, destroyed by its unstable technology, and the ‘Blasted Wastes’ inhabited by hives of insect-people and their steam-driven artifice. He had walked the corridors of the Vostro, a sky-ship that had sailed beyond the event horizon, and become corrupted to its core… but its advanced technology remained, perhaps untainted by the energies that had warped the Vostro itself.

And he presented yet another option to his lover, one that was very dear to her heart.  The ‘Valley of the Serpent Kings’ in South America, the lands which they once conquered together, where she had ruled as an immortal Goddess-Queen, and where the hidden remnants of the fierce Aztec peoples were still ruled by her descendants.  There was an ancient power buried there, possessed by the priest-kings of Yig, the  Serpent Gods… the idol Huitzilopochtli, a godlike construct which possessed the power to make nations… or break them.

Isabella did not rule out any option, but she had dwelled among the Aztecs as a living deity for the best part of the sixteenth century, and the place was very dear to her heart.  And so the Valley of the Serpent Kings would be their first expedition. They would sail there as Cortez once sailed, as the Armada sailed to conquer Great Britain – with the minimum of modern technology, on gull-winged ships beneath crimson sails… for the glory of Mother Mary and the Empire of Spain…!

What could possibly go wrong…?


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cthulhufhtagn1987's avatar

Valley of the tits, nipples and camel toes.

Maelora69's avatar

Pretty sure it's not that

DiploRaptor's avatar
Mmmmm interesting setup and also mmm pirates i love it
Vutava's avatar
How does the res-ing work? Do their bodies regenerate or do they pop up in new bodies?
Maelora69's avatar
It seems to be something like Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. They have the same body each time, it usually takes an hour or so. 

(In game terms, it happens after every adventure/mission) 
Scumdog47's avatar
Pirate ladies are always cool.
Yours is prettier than the ones in old comics by S. Clay Wilson, but those were cool as well. :D
Maelora69's avatar
That wouldn't be difficult, seeing as how everything Wilson drew was intended to horrify and disgust his audience, which he did with a certain panache. :)

Lucy isn't _technically_ a 'pirate'... she's part of her parent's adventurer society that styles themselves as corsairs, adventurers, freebooters, explorers and privateers, seeking plunder and treasure fighting monsters in distant islands and lost worlds.  

They take their fashion cues from the Armada and the Conquistadors as well as the pirates of the Spanish Main. She's a cosplayer, really, but the skills are real enough. 
Scumdog47's avatar
I always had a horrified fascination with Wilson's work.
His stuff was/is still very hard to come by in Sweden, unfortunately.

"Style over substance"? That's pretty cyberpunk, haha. :D
dlambeaut's avatar
Uh! A woman holding a rapier is always a good investment... I love the way you suggest her nipples, much more enticing than show them blatantly. Oh, yes.
Mathardent's avatar
Art + description = I'll give it a 15 out of 10 ^^
Maelora69's avatar
Kingmolestia's avatar
Holy hell the description.
Maelora69's avatar
Kingmolestia's avatar
UHHH AMAZING! It was really cool!
Maelora69's avatar
ViolettaSenpai's avatar

There is something inherently super sexy about a pirate gal!

AndrewBaker69's avatar
Good to see you still around, dear.
Nathanomir's avatar
Classic Good Girl Art!
Maelora69's avatar
She's kind of sweet-natured for a pirate-wannabe! 
Fuego-fantasmal's avatar
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