The Besieged Farmlands
Inside a valley threaded beneath the jagged Carpathians, the old ways of Romania have endured-- largely ignored by the wider world, for in such modern times, who cares for superstition? The kind and the sharp, the mysterious and ominous, the prayers and whispers: all had their place in Bacas County.
Here, the village of Harbaburesti is a jumble of the sacred and ordinary, those born under strange stars and touched by wolves. Here the villagers, farmers and hermits thanked the long harvest days and feared the nights of teeth.
Here there was an understanding between man and the supernatural, but times have violently changed. The players arrive to find the valley a battleground, wreathed in ominous smoke, fields trampled to mud. An army of vampires has descended on Harbaburesti, and the siege has turned to a bitter guerilla war among gutted farms and abandoned Soviet factory towns.
Nothing like the noble predators of legend, these vampires are beasts. Children of the apocalypse, they have more in common with the starving werewolves they drive before them as dogs. Players must work with the refugees and defenders of Harbaburesti, not just to overthrow the siege, but to uncover the truth behind it.
This is a land of secrets, and no-one is without them. The weary doctor Vasile Varias, searching for a family history thought sealed away. The village priest Father Lucian, who shares his modest chapel with an unexpected ally. The gruff leader of the defenses, Iorgu, more comfortable with monsters than man. Even the village itself calls to strangers of all races for a reason.
The dead, too, have kept their secrets. Until the feral ghouls began to scratch and gnaw at old tombs. The Soviets stayed in this valley far longer than their occupation of Romania, leaving concrete bunkers and clifftop forts to serve as gravestones.
In their shadows, players will rediscover the Soviet occultists’ experiments into what might separate man from superman. Overhead, a great satellite dish still questions the heavens, hinting at what might lie in the depths of the Facility beneath.
Press deeper into the Bacas valley, and stranger constructions mark stranger histories. A crazed windmill so towering it could only be the work of a man obsessed, or possessed—now occupied by a pair of European backpackers who have been pushed too far. Straw men patrolling fields darkened by massacre, werewolf packs squatting atop accusatory fingers of ancient stone.
The grove of the old woman they call the Owl is heady with the scent of nature, of Gaia. Sharp contrast to the ruined monastery a stone’s throw – or shouted curse – away, where hollow figures still enact their midnight masses.
But not all of these events are rooted in myth and history. The Orochi Group has been here, working to its own inscrutable ends. There are signs of another hand at work, familiar yet elusive, one that leaves casual murder and the horrors of the Filth in its wake.
Behind the fires and the bloodshed, behind the canvas-draped siege camps and war machines of the vampires, a greater question beckons: why here, why now? What brought the players to this valley of fables, one that can never be the same again? This matter threatens not just the old countries of Eastern Europe, but all of the secret world.
In the Besieged Farmlands, players will witness the beginning of the end. The end of superstition, of sanctuary, and of a bitter rivalry seeded long ago. But as they rush towards a clash with modern powers, they will also come to the end of the beginning.