Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Circle of Release

Note: The following post is for GMs. If you're a player and don't wish to encounter spoilers, check out the 'common knowledge' post about the Circle of Release here.

History of the Circle of Release

The Circle of Release was founded 50 years ago by Errya, an elven druid deeply concerned that the imprisonment of the Tarrasque was fouling the ecology not only of the local environment but also that of the entire planet. As evidence, he pointed to the explosion in the population of magical mega-fauna (with the resultant death & food web disruption) in addition to the increase and severity of the so-called ‘savagekind’ wars (the interrelated incursions, skirmishes and wars waged by the technologically/magically inferior but quick breeding goblinoid and orcine races). Finally, Errya noted to the prevalence of disease, mutation, and violent crime within the city as proof that -destructive though it may be- allowing the Tarrasque to range and roam where it will is the preferred option for all.

In his day, Errya was largely dismissed as a kook; no more than a diversion for the poor and desperate with no chance of effecting large scale change. However, as his number of converts began to swell rumors circulated that he'd even managed to bring several influential merchants in addition to one of the Binder-Lords around to his way of thinking. Finally, the God-Butchers -who believe it is their holy duty to continually slaughter the Tarrasque until the end of time- deemed it time to act.

The Night of Cleavers

On the Night of Cleavers 35 years ago the God-Butchers (acting unilaterally) slew Errya, the dozens of rangers and druids that lived with him in the circle's commune in addition to hundreds of men, women, and children with acknowledged or suspected ties to the Circle of Release. Those killed in the purge included some well connected cousins of the aristocratic Meridian Houses, suggesting to canny observers that the God-Butchers were not controlled by the Binder-Lords to the degree that is commonly assumed.

With nearly all the organization dead, it fell to Grovask of Ironwood -a half-orc caravan guard turned apprentice druid- to resurrect the organization.

The Circle of Release in the Modern Era

Since seizing the reigns of power and reforming the Circle of Release, Grovask has led the group to the ascendancy of its power and to within a stone's throw of accomplishing its goal. The fact that she has done so while facing violent opposition from nearly every other influential faction in the city is a testament to the half-orc's unrepentant ruthlessness and strategic brilliance.

Where -under Errya's leadership- the circle attracted the poor, the malcontents, theorists & academics; the modern circle's recruiting efforts are nearly entirely focused on those with the magical or martial capacity necessary for direct, covert action. Hard edged rangers, druids that are able to channel the naked ferocity of nature, and even sympathetic rogues, fighters, and wizards of the green faith now comprise the various rings of the Circle of Release.

The Circle of Release is organized as half a dozen semi-independent rings (or cells), all with only tentative communication with and knowledge of the membership and activities of other the other rings. When possible, these rings carry out missions of intimidation or sabotage aimed at making the continued butchery of the Tarrasque untenable. Large scale coordination is utilized on efforts to discover/steal the command words that release the magical, 'immoveable' harpoons that bind the Tarrasque.

To date, Grovask has learned 9 of the harpoon command words. When the group has gathered all 13, Grovask will enact her plan to overwhelm/confound the God-Butchers and House Militias long enough to unmoor all the meridian harpoons and finally unleash the Tarrasque.


The symbol for the Circle of Release is a stylized Tarrasque maw, bursting through a broken chain. The circle often leaves this as a calling card (applied with magic or mundane paint) to claim credit for its operations. Members are extremely unlikely to carry this symbol on their person, and it is far more common for such a mark to be planted on a nonmember in an attempt to frame them.

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