In the grim cyberpunk world of the 22nd century real life sucks. So people use neural nano-interfaces to escape to the vibrant fantasy worlds of DMMO-RPGs. For years the most popular of these was YGGDRASIL, but it slowly lost momentum and by 2138 is being shut down. Three friends log in to face the last minutes of the game together, completely unaware of what will happen after it ends.
"You really shouldn't get you hope up. Its not"
Ninya cuts him off. "Her name is Tuareninya Veyron and she looks a lot like me but blond with with breasts. She was taken by the pig Baron Cheneko."
"I'll see what I can do," he says.
"I'll be forever thank full if you do."
"I haven't managed it yet, but... I'll try."
"I'm trying to think of good stories. There is how we met, but its pretty cliche. We all met in this tavern. We were new adventures looking for group and the barkeep pointed us and a few others toward each other. Our group realized that we formed a balanced team and looked up to the black knight. So we formed a party and named ourself after his legendary four swords."
He makes a few notes. "The Black Knight?" he prompts.
"From the thirteen heroes? The ones that defeated the Demon Gods?"
"I'm curious about local stories as well. It seems everywhere I've gone has had a different take."
"Makes sense, I mean the City State Alliance is already from far enough east that I've never met anyone from there in person, and the Black Knight kept traveling way past here. So people probably know more about the bits that happened near them."
He goes on to explain how the half demonic Black Knight saved this city from being used as a giant human sacfrice to power some unknown ritual. He also explains each of the four swords of darkness. Kilineiram, a bastard sword made from compressed darkness with a black blade and and enchanted black sapphire in the pommel. It has the power to unleash waves of dark energy, but is cursed and will corrupt the mind of a weak willed wielder. Luckily both the Black Knight and its current owner, Lakyus, are strong in mind. Crocdabal, a corrupted sword which inflicts wounds that will never heal even with magic. Sfeiz, a death sword which will kill with a single scratch. And finally, Hyumilis and evil sword who's abilities are unknown as its evil was so great the Black Knight never used it.
He takes notes, makes interested noises, turns the conversation to smaller parts of the legend - who was the villain? What things has Sfeiz killed? And other leading questions. (He's mostly trying to sound out local power levels, and structures in how much individual adventurers can get away with.)
Peter gets quite into it, and the others occasionally interject as well. The arc villains of the whole 13 heroes adventure were a nebulous group called the evil deities. The incident where this city was nearly destroyed was lead by the Dread Demon Zumara. Sfeiz has killed orges, trolls, and a basilisk as well as swarms worth of lesser monsters. Judging power levels is made difficult by fact that some of the Black Knight's feats involve monsters that didn't exist in game (what's a fog yak?), but it sounds like he was somewhere in the vicinity of level 70-85 in terms of power. This would make him strong enough to be able to pierce your passive defenses, but leave him at a massive disadvantage in a straight fight. Its also enough that he's considered a legend 200 years later. Peter doesn't mention anything about the adventure's guild in these stories.
"When did the Adventurer's Guild form? I heard a rumor it was inspired by the Black Knight?" No he didn't but it's a reasonable rumor to have heard, and either Peter will confirm or want to correct him, so.
"A bit after the heroes disbanded. I actually don't know all of the exact details, but the thirteen heroes as a whole where one of the main inspirations with the magician's guild and some of the major temples giving additional support and a template for how to organize it."
"Interesting. What kinds of things does the Guild handle nowadays?"
The guild protects humanity from external threats. In practice adventures are specialized anti-monster mercenaries. The guild serves as a clearinghouse for jobs. Most obviously, the guild building provides a physical location for people to come and post or pick up jobs. It also provides escrow service for the reward money and screens jobs for legality, environmental impact, and difficulty level. The metal plates adventure's wear indicate their rank within the guild. In addition to being a status thing, this rank is used to insure that they only take jobs of an appropriate difficulty level.
"They also keep you from healing non-teamates for free or getting involved in politics."
"Sounds interesting. The equivalent structures back home are less concerned with keeping adventurers out of politics, but I can see how that arose as an idea."
"I'm a little surprised by that part, the government is already pretty wary of the how much military power we have without letting us have political affiliations."
"It's more common in highly militaristic societies. There's also a few places where the powerful outright rule. Not always to good ends, though."
"Oh one of those places. Like the elves."
"Perhaps." He hasn't spoken to the elves yet, and expresses curiosity about their perspective on the various non-human neighbors.
Tone wise they're less racist than you might expect from people who've taken money to kill goblins. Their factual information doesn't differ much from what you already heard, but they do clarify that the elf king used his immense strength to take power by force. They also add that the Great Forest of Torb has a large number of intelligent "monsters", mostly goblins and ogres, but also a terrifying beast known only as the Wise King of the Forest. Nobody knows exactly what the Wise King looks like but it has jaws that bite, the claws that catch and the ability to use magic.
He'll see what he can find out about local politics, but otherwise might let the conversation lapse a bit, or be steered by them.
As previously mentioned Ninya really hates nobles. This is a small part of why they've settled in an area that's part of the the King's personal holdings. The party basically all agree that the King is much nicer than the nobles but incapable of getting things done. They're is a bit of debate about how to split the blame for this between the Six Great Nobles for constantly opposing him, and the king for being a weak willed old duffer. As for the rest of the royal family, they all love Princess Renner for having successfully pushed the anti-slavery law over the line and supporting adventuring subsidies so that they can get paid more poor villages facing existential threats have a chance of survival. They don't have strong thoughts on the various princes, who mostly focus on court politics and haven't been to visible to random adventurer's who aren't exactly politics junkies. They conspicuously fail to mention anything about a queen in a way that implies she's dead, but won't actually bring up that the queen died years ago unless explicitly asked and will be fairly quick to change the subject.