Sunday, January 8, 2012

Grimm City History: Early History and The Troubled Time

Early History
The Adamant
Grimm City was founded in 1682 by Jeremiah Grimm at the mouth of the Triton River on the Atlantic seaboard. Grimm left England with a group of followers and sailed for the Americas aboard the Adamant in order to create a community built around the idea of religious and social tolerance. Also accompanying Grimm were his wife Prudence and his two young sons, Myles and Ebeneezer. Unlike the earlier Pilgrims that landed in the New World at Plymouth Rock and settled in Massachusetts, the passengers aboard the Adamant were a more diverse, multidenominational group of men, women and a few children hailing from not just from England but other European nations as well. After several rough months at sea, the Adamant set ground at Vigilance Island on September 7th, 1682. 

On their arrival, Grimm's party of settlers were greeted by Native American scouts from the local Wohakwen tribe. Jeremiah Grimm personally met with their leader, Chief Sekegwaseh, and a pact of friendship and mutual protection was made. The Wohakwen tribe were instrumental to the colony's early survival the first few years, and Grimm never forgot their early friendship or his word. When a Wohakwen village to the north was attacked by another tribe in 1690, Jeremiah Grimm personally led a party of his own men to come to their aid and liberated the settlement. 

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the early colonists, combined with the strategic location at the mouth of the Triton River and their Native American allies, the settlement that would one day be known as Grimm City flourished and grew, and trade was established with England and other European nations. Most early settlers became successful farmers and fishermen, and a few turned to crafts like woodworking and metalsmithing. As word of the colony's success spread through trade, and lured by tales of great wealth to be made, of open acceptance and tolerance for all people, and of a land where miracles and magic were not only possible but the norm, more settlers found their way from England and other European countries to Jeremiah Grimm's visionary community. 

The Troubled Time
Just as it seemed that nothing could possibly go wrong for Jeremiah Grimm or the utopian settlement that was his lifelong dream, a mysterious stranger arrived who would change everything. On Walpurgis Night (April 30th) in 1699, a strange man dressed entirely in black and carrying only a Bible showed up at the meeting house and announced to Grimm and the other elders that he would be setting up a house of worship in the community. Known only as “The Reverend”, he claimed to have traveled from the Massachusetts Colony to find his calling and set up his ministry. Wary but not willing to compromise his ideals of tolerance, Grimm allowed him to choose a spot to build his new church. A good number of the colonists soon flocked to the Reverend’s Sunday sermons, and the larger his congregation grew, the darker things soon became.

It wasn't long before the Reverend had the community divided, and accusations of witchcraft and commerce with the Devil began to flow in the settlement. Spearheading the charge was the Reverend, who began to make more and more demands of Grimm and the other elders on the leadership council as his power base grew. Soon the environment became so intolerable that Jeremiah Grimm demanded that the Reverend leave the settlement, but because his power had grown so quickly in so short a time, his demand was met with laughter and mockery from the Reverend and his followers. In retaliation, the Reverend accused Jeremiah's wife Prudence Grimm of witchcraft and demanded she be burned at the stake. To make matters worse, Jeremiah's son Ebeneezer had completely fallen under the Reverend’s spell and turned his own mother over to him. Always a dark and strange lad, the complete opposite of his handsome, upstanding brother Myles, it was clear Ebeneezer was now lost to him forever. 

Jeremiah Grimm, his son Myles and a few of his close friends and other loyalists staged a rescue mission to reclaim Prudence Grimm from the Reverend’s clutches on All Hallows Eve (October 31st, 1699). In the ensuing battle at the church with the Reverend and his cultist following (which included Grimm's own son Ebeneezer), Jeremiah Grimm was violently killed by the Reverend himself while trying to free his beloved wife. Myles Grimm quickly stepped up to rally the troops around his fallen father and finally succeeded in killing the Reverend and freeing his mother. Afterward, the elders appointed Myles Grimm to replace his father as the settlement's leader, and he quickly acted to reunite the colonists and restore order. Unfortunately his own family was not as lucky. Myles first official act was to ban his brother Ebeneezer from ever setting foot in the settlement again under penalty of death, and his mother Prudence, strained by her harrowing ordeal and the death of her husband, never fully recovered her sanity. Myles Grimm eventually found some happiness though, and married his childhood sweetheart Katherine Trevor in 1701 and the couple had one son, Jonah Grimm, born in 1705.

Secret History (GM Only)
While he often wrote of his desire to sail to the New World and create a community of religious and social tolerance, Jeremiah Grimm and his followers aboard the Adamant all possessed superhuman powers that were often equated with witchcraft and the dark arts in the 17th century and were really looking to escape persecution and the eyes of the Inquisition in Europe. They had seen far too many of their friends and relatives tortured and sentenced to death on the gallows or burning at the stake because of fear and ignorance. Jeremiah possessed superhuman strength (Ability Increase and Strike) and his wife Prudence possessed extraordinary powers of the mind (Telepathy, Mind Shield, Mental Blast). Their son Myles Grimm was an athletic speedster (Super Speed, Fast Attack and Leaping) and his powers were evident from a very young age. Their younger son Ebeneezer, on the other hand, showed no signs of having any innate superhuman abilities, and he greatly resented this fact and became very jealous of his older brother. Ebeneezer decided to compensate for what he considered a great weakness by turning to the study of magic and eventually the dark arts (Wizardry [Magic]). Roger Bingham, Jeremiah Grimm's best friend who accompanied him to the New World, carried a dreadful secret with him to the day he died and only shared with one other person – Jeremiah: Bingham's ability to create and control flame (Elemental Control [Fire]) caused him to accidentally start the Great Fire of London in 1666. Many native Wohakwen also had super powers, including Chief Sekegwaseh himself who could transform into a bear (Transformation), and this is why he understood what Grimm was trying to accomplish and decided to befriend him. 

The Troubled Time of 1699 was secretly a battle between those with superhuman powers vs. those without. Ebeneezer Grimm, who did not possess any innate powers, sided with the mysterious preacher known as “The Reverend” who was in fact an infernal being from another realm looking to spread chaos and suffering in the world, and the young man studied the ways of dark magic from his new mentor. Ebeneezer soon discovered that the Reverend was in fact a demon in disguise and decided to play a dangerous game of blackmail with the fiend in exchange for access to more powerful magic. Prudence Grimm was able to determine the Reverend’s true, demonic nature after touching its mind, but not in time to warn her husband of the danger. That contact with the demon's vile mind greatly contributed to her permanent loss of sanity as well. In the aftermath of the tragic battle at the Reverend's church, Myles Grimm recovered the fallen Reverend's Bible from the rubble and was shocked to discover when he opened it that all the pages were completely blank inside! Nobody knows where that tome may be today, or what powers and dangers it might still possess. History has no record of what became of Ebeneezer Grimm after his brother banished him from the settlement either, but old wives' tales and children's rhymes through the years speak of him as an evil old warlock that still haunts the region to this day. One thing is certain though: when Ebeneezer Grimm left the settlement, he was in possession of some of the most powerful magics ever known...

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