I'm currently playtesting a version of RealmSpeak that has character development in it, and I have to share this game. Check it out:
For years, Tello wanted to be an adventurer, but his faith kept him tied down to his small town, just east of the area known as the Magic Realm. As long as he remained here, he would always just be an Acolyte (Pilgrim, level 1). Though his parents were very proud of his successes with the church, it was never enough to make him happy. That is why he decided to go west.
He knew, as he approached the famed Inn, that he would have to hire help, if he were to survive more than a day. Patting the 10 gold pieces he had in a pouch on his belt, and saying a short prayer, he was confident he would be able to get a swordsman to guide him through the Realm, and reap the rewards that await.
On entering the Inn, however, Tello's confidence waned very quickly. The rough, perhaps even evil, men he saw there were not those that he wanted to have at his side. More than likely, he thought, they would be the first to stab him in the back, and rob him of whatever gold he had. Several Rogues looked at the timid boy standing at the door, and made crude comments about his parentage. Tello turned and walked out without saying a word.
Frustrated at being unable to locate any allies at the Inn, Tello decides to head out on his own. One Rogue, standing on the porch next to a large axe, laughs at his stupidity, knowing that he is certainly going to his death.
The Acolyte, green as the grass he tramples, and perhaps blind as the rocks around him, enters the Deep Woods, a place he has never gone before. The trees close in around him quickly, and the sound of a distant roar sends the poor boy into shivers, and rapidly muttered prayers to the all-god. Coming across the bones of some poor adventurer nearly sends him running back to the Inn, but the face of the laughing Rogue keeps him stalwartly proceeding forward.
After a couple of days of careful movement through the woods, the boy notices a change in the trees around him. The stink of smoke reminds him of an encampment he had heard about somewhere in the Nut Woods, and gives him confidence that he had made it through the Deep Woods. Knowing that the natives may be more of a threat than any monster he may encounter, he decides to turn quickly south, towards the large mountain known only as the Crag.
Creeping into the mountain, the boy knows that he must be very very careful. Reports of a large flying dragon around this area may be myth, but he is not taking any chances. As he finishes a difficult climb, and moves into a large clearing, he realizes he is not alone. With a dodge and a roll, the boy avoids the killing blow of a Heavy Spider, and somehow manages to plant his small ceremonial dagger into one of the large eyes of the overgrown horror (I rolled snake eyes on the fumble!!) Tello manages to pry himself out from under the corpse of the spider, and after another quick prayer, moves on.
The next clearing opens up onto a large cluster of boulders, as big as the Inn, covered in what could only be scratches. Tello shivers to think what may live here, but decides to stick around and search. After a full day, Tello learns who's home he has invaded: the Flying Dragon is no myth, and comes home to roost with some sort of cattle in its claws. Thinking quickly, Tello covers himself in the strange mud (which he knows now is dragon doo), and hides under a rock outcropping. The dragon appears disturbed, but never locates the boy.
Days of frantic searching go by, with no success for Tello, and he begins to think he was in fact killed by the spider, and now wandering aimlessly in purgatory. Then he sees it: a curiously round boulder blocking an opening in a cluster of rocks, apparently placed there by something other than random chance. There is enough room around the side of the boulder for Tello to move, and he discovers the treasure site known as the Hoard!
The first item that Tello finds, is a strange magical belt that grants him strength like he's never known before. With this newfound strength, he is able to work quickly to search the Hoard even further: the Lucky Charm, the Poultice of Health, and then... the Sacred Grail. Tello cannot believe his eyes, but there it sits, casting the entire area in gleaming WHITE magic.
Grabbing the loot, knowing that a Flying Dragon, and strangely, two Giants are prowling outside, Tello is able to sneak away from the Hoard, and move back down to the Nut Woods. After a quick conversation with a local native, Tello learns of a path to the Chapel, where he knows the Grail will be welcomed.
The Realm remains mostly quiet during his trek to the Chapel: Curst Valley, Linden Woods, Cliff (where he has a close encounter with a Demon guarding the Altar), the Borderland and finally the Chapel in the Dark Valley. At first, the Knights question the boy strolling out of the Borderland, but when he tells them of the Grail, they drop to their knees in reverence to God, and quickly bring the boy in for a hot meal.
The Order, as it turns out, was very much looking for this Grail, and rewarded Tello with a Warhorse, and a Greatsword (actually, I sold the grail and some stuff, and then bought these items). The Order also named Tello, formal Guardian of the Chapel, and said he was welcome anytime he returned.
This is where the month ended. I'm going to continue this campaign later (gotta go eat dinner), but so far so good. I'm amazed I survived as long as I did, but now I've got a pretty brutal weapon, and a FIGHT T2** chit to boot! (Belt of Strength). Oh, and because I went up a level, I'm now immune to Demons... I'm thinking the Altar is my next target. Wheeeee!