W O R K I N P R O G R E S S
Cardians: Rural is first and foremost a horror campaign. Although a lot of what goes on is more drama-based, there's still plenty of scary and horrifying stuff happening.
Unmarked spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
- Think about this: you could be living your life without incident, and then all of a sudden, something inexplicable happens, and you find yourself thrust into a life-threatening situation involving that inexplicable thing in some way, which is revealed to be something supernatural. This not only happened to the Player Characters, but several other characters in the campaign, and it's all but stated that this is an all-too-common occurrence around the world. The only reasons that the supernatural isn't more widely known about? Either groups dedicated to containing it intervene first, or the incident is too isolated from society, or the person affected doesn't live or return to society to tell the tale. This sort of thing can happen to anyone at any time without warning.
- Imagine you then find yourself rescued by and then working for a group of criminals that not only frequently risk life and limb battling monsters, but also engaging in illegal or heinous activities for the purposes of upholding that same vigil and organisation, while also not able to leave once you officially join until retirement or death, and unable to tell 'anyone' outside of your new circle about any of this. No wonder they have a high likelihood of at best developing some degree of either mental disorder or coldness towards people, and at worst becoming a murderous psychopath known as a "Slasher".
- The whisps. They exist in any patch of shadow or darkness either outside or connected to the outside night time without a light to interrupt it, and are extremely hostile. Once you enter that darkness, you become a target, and susceptible to grievous injury... except that the wound left by them is exclusively internal, meaning it's difficult to treat and heal without specialised care. Sustained exposure to them can cause permanent maiming or organ damage, as seen with Jason Colt (who was left both completely blind 'and' paraplegic), and can even kill the hapless individual.
- The mimics.
- The gargoyles.
- The Hedge beasts.
- Firstly, there's the Hedge itself: a shifting, chaotic mess of lands that only keeps certainty of locations based on where portals, set up by either changelings or more powerful fae, are situated. Everything else is a disordered mish-mash of different biomes, climates, and even physical properties, with some parts of the Hedge being stacked on top of each other; burst through the ground of one part of the Hedge and you'll likely end up beneath it within a different part with its own sky. Not even the flow of time is consistent in the Hedge: sometimes you can spend less than an hour in there and three weeks have passed outside, sometimes [[Year Inside Hour Outsidethe inverse is true, and very occasionally neither will be, with time flowing normally relative to you, with little rhyme or reason as to which you'll be stuck with. The only sort of consistency from this is that people that enter within a short enough timespan of one another at the same entry point have the same relative experience of time.
- Secondly, there's the various fae that inhabit it: each one belongs to a largely unique species and sub-species, with biology that ranges from unnerving to horrifying; each holds varying degrees of hospitality and hostility. This results in a massively unpredictable ecosphere that could host you for dinner just as soon as have you for it. If they don't decide to prolong your death first. And that's if they decide to kill you, because...
- Thirdly, there are the various kinds of fae and True Fae that deal in taking humans for their own purposes, whether its for food, sport, various kinds of "fun", or servitude. Not even death is guaranteed with these creatures, as they are likely to render their hapless victims into twisted shells of their former selves, mentally compromised in some way at the very least, if not outright broken. The majority of these creatures that were once human become referred to as fae themselves, with those taken and "remade" by the Fae becoming changelings.
- Finally, there is the much more summative horror of the Hedge, and what lies within and beyond it: you could end up in there at any time for any reason without any control or intention to do so on your part, much less a reason for it beyond sheer random chance. Whether it's accidentally stumbling into a changeling door or a roaming Hedge portal, or being taken by those within the Hedge that deal in human abduction, people regularly go missing due to the Hedge's influence; some are never seen again; others return all the worse for it.
The Goblin Markets
- Humans can very easily become prey themselves in the Hedge, and the markets are no exception to this: snatchers wait to lure the unsuspecting away to be sold as their wares, and humans are openly on sale in many a market.
- Speaking of which, those that trade in humans don't tend to mind or care who buys them, from creatures wanting labour or food to Fae wanting new changelings for their court or new "playthings", with all the terrible possibilities that come with such a label. One regular benefactor of those that sell humans is a being called Dominicus the Skin-Collector. Not only does no-one and nothing he buys come out of his care alive, but you can very much assume how he got his name.