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2013-01-08, 12:15 AM
This is the OOC thread for Lords of Sea and Storm, where questions are to be asked, comments are to be made, character sheets are posted, and OOC discussion is to be had.

The Introduction

To: Her Imperial Majesty, the Scarlet Empress, Heir to the Shogunate, Savior of Creation, Defender of the Realm, etc, etc, etc
From: Her most obedient servant, Cathak Merre
“Upon the prospects of a Western Expedition to reclaim Tianrasia (https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1tNk7kxLO4DvYZ_X6YjVHdKu3ij0FyGlXlUBZTPzXDeE/edit), and the History and Status of the aforesaid metropolis.”

It is with great sorrow that I write to you, Your Eternal Magnificence, with the results of my study of the city of Tianrasia. I can only apologize most humbly for my dismal failure to discover the fate of that city in response to your imperial request. Happily, it did prove possible to recover much information, but the eventual fate of the city is not in our imperial records. Nevertheless, I offer unto you a summary of the information as to the city’s fate that I have gleaned from divers and sundry records scattered across all five directions, in hopes that this may help me atone for my great failure.

Tianrasia was founded in RY -1773 by that tyrannous Unclean One whose name has been passed down to us as Radiant Zyantian of the Nine Wonders. Zyantian despised what he called the imperfection of his Exalted slaves and so used magic now lost to us in one of the many attempts by the Anathema to forge an automated city, protected by invulnerable walls manned by bound elementals, fed and purified by elsewhere-cycling plants, protected from Wyld influence by jade obelisks. Under the auspices of this advanced sorcery, Tianrasia became one of the safest and most prosperous cities in that day and age.

Upon Zyantian’s overthrow by the Terrestrial Host in RY -1415, Tianrasia was - miraculously - nearly untouched, and he was entombed within its walls in an attempt to placate his spirit. The city was chosen as the capital of the province referred to as the Mithric Isle. With the majority of the city’s magitechnological artifacts remaining undamaged, it became a major hub of immigration and a nexus of art and science, expanding beyond its original walls. Under the rule of the lesser House called Gens Ryanno, Tianrasia prospered, as did the isle.

Then came the Great Contagion. Your Perfected Radiance knows how deadly a blow that was to all of Creation, but Tianrasia suffered most of all. The remaining First Age engines still allowed much of the population of the city to survive, with nearly fifteen percent of the population resisting the disease. However, none of the survivors included members of Gens Ryanno, and we can conclusively say that the primary branch of that bloodline is extinct. Though the disease passed quickly and did not return, the damage was done and Tianrasia and the surrounding regions suffered a near-total collapse of civilization, order, and rule of law.

It is at this point that we lost direct contact with the city. Occasional reports by sea and air traders remain, but the larger picture is lost. We know of a group of Princes of the Earth who, arriving in Tianrasia by ship in the year RY -113, took over leadership of the city and began projects to help restore it, but our reports cease completely in the year RY -107. We may assume that at approximately that date, the Raksha invasion reached Tianrasia.

Only one record remains, Your Divine Mercy, and this not reliable. Among the island peoples of Thesser, there still exist today legends about a great and glorious city, ruled by the ‘Lords of Sea and Storm’, who dealt justice, slew dreadful monsters, and held back the tide of the Wyld for decades of war. Even now, the legends say, the last of the Lords holds court in a fortess of civilization within the Wyld. I theorize that this is Tianrasia, and that these legends were created by visitors to the city. However, I must sorrowfully confess that I have no evidence beyond the words of barbarians. Therefore I must beg your merciful pardon that I cannot answer your primary question: Did it survive? I cannot say. Tianrasia was ruled by true Princes of the Earth; the walls were forged of alloys now lost to us, the jade obelisks would repel the touch of the Wyld, but the armies of the Raksha were near-limitless, and few others survived the attack.

Your Virtuous Diligence, I beg an opportunity to atone for my failure. According to ancient maps, its location is very near the borders of the Wyld; were I to be provided with a fleet, I would hope to honor your name by bringing back conclusive proof of its survival or destruction.

Your humble servant,
Cathak Merre

Stuff From The Recruiting Thread I Want To Preserve

Character Creation:

To begin with: I would like to see an introductory ficlet before I see the character sheet, preferably either including or attached to a backstory. It doesn’t have to be long; my assumption is that it will be somewhere between half a page and four pages, but the only real restriction on how long or short it can be is indirect: ficlet quality is the main grounds on which I’m selecting players. If you can write a good story that’s a paragraph long or fifty pages long, feel free.

I am assuming that the players are not local to Tianrasia; you may be refugees fleeing from the Balorian Crusade, survivors of the Great Contagion heading to a relatively safe city, officials from the East enjoying a brief period of stability to try and settle the frontier, or any of the dozens or hundreds of other possible origins for Exalts.

The system of character-sheet creation uses the rules for creating Dynasts, with the following exceptions:
• It is acceptable for your ability allocation to fit either the Realm or Lookshy requirements, so long as it fits one of them.
•*All Crafts have been combined into one. Purchase any Craft and you know all Crafts.
• The Arsenal, Command, Henchmen, and Retainers backgrounds are not available. Followers and Cult, however, are. All characters have 12 background points.
• While the Connections, Contacts, and Resources and Reputation backgrounds certainly are available for purchase, they may be limited in use. As a result, when you buy the first dot, you get the second dot free.
•*Similarly, Familiar is absurdly overcosted normally; Familiar of rank x works as Familiar of rank x+2.
• Only the first purchases (whatever the level) of Artifact and Manse are at the traditional Realm rate; later purchases buy Artifacts and Manses at the Solar rate.
• Players may choose to purchase hearthstones which are explicitly west of Tianrasia; when the manses that fuel them are destroyed, the points you paid for the hearthstones will be refunded as double the xp purchase cost (6xp for a 1-dot, 12xp for a 2-dot...).
• Black Paper Moon’s ‘Ten Thousand Dragons’ charm rewrites will be used, slightly errata’d for 2.5.
• All characters start with Elemental Internalization Technique as a bonus charm, regardless of whether or not they met the prerequisites.

Expectations for Players:

I feel as though I should note, though I don’t think I should have to, that I would like to ask people to try to have proper spelling, grammar, punctuation and capitalization in their posts and ficlet. In the event that your introductory ficlet has never met a spellchecker, you will not get in.

Once the game has started, I expect about a post a day - more if there are lots of people posting, less if there’s a really slow combat scene - and that, if there’s going to be a while when you can’t make it, you give me prior warning of that fact.


Essentially, I’m using a homebrew system based on the ‘Creation-Ruling Mandate’ system in Masters of Jade.

Tianrasia has a collection of aspects - like, say, Reach of Law, or Craftsmen, or Military Harbors - normally ranked from 1 to 5. Each of them gives some useful bonus to rolls inside the city, or provides a supply of well-trained NPCs, or something along those lines, based on the level*. For instance, Military Harbors determines how large a fleet you can have; Orchards provide food for the city; Craftsmen determines how high Resource cost items your city can produce in large quantities, and so forth and so on. Given the state of the city you start with, most of the aspects are going to start off fairly low-rated.

In intermissions between adventures, competent city officials and agents - including, but not limited to, the PCs, though NPCs will act with your direction - will have opportunities to raise them as extended rolls with 1-month intervals. The main abilities involved are going to be (in approximate order) Bureaucracy, War, Socialize, Craft, and Sail. The main attributes are going to be (in no particular order) Charisma, Manipulation and Intelligence.

The difficulty of raising an aspect from Level x-1 to Level x is (2x+4) successes, with a (-x) external penalty on the roll.

Similar rules will be used for leveling military units, with each of their abilities, attributes, or non-derived traits (Drill, for instance) being treated as an ‘aspect’. The difference is that the difficulty for raising an aspect from Level x-1 to Level x is 2x + magnitude successes, with a (-x) external penalty on the roll, unless the aspect is Magnitude, in which case it’s 2(magnitude) + (highest aspect) with a [-(highest aspect)] external penalty on the roll. Raising military units is always going to be (Charisma+War), or in rare cases (Intelligence+War).

(* In addition, of course, to the effects on flavor and adventure hooks and things of that nature. A city with low Reach of Law but very good Trading Harbors is going to feel very different from one with the opposite traits.)

Game Plan:

Since this is an odd sort of game, I’m writing a brief digression on the expected structure. Basically, you’re going to be having adventures alternating with periods of stability, eventually leading up to one long dramatic siege by the Raksha. During the periods of stability, you can train, improve the city, and all that sort of thing; I feel as though it is worth making the promise, given the Exalted XP rules, that you will have time in the periods of stability to train.

The Shogunate Setting:

In the Exalted universe, the Shogunate is one of these times when we know that stuff was happening, but not much about what it was like. We know that it was ruled by a Shogun, that it lasted for ‘70 mortal generations’, or about 1400 years, that it turned into the Realm, and that it called its Great Houses ‘gens’ the way Lookshy does.

Based on that, I am assuming that it was fairly similar to the Realm, except with more power in the hands of the provincial lords and less held by the central bureaucracy or the central ruler; that a series of shoguns held power, in some cases inheriting from a relative, in other cases winning a civil war to attain power; and that the Dragon-Blooded were a powerful military aristocracy who led (and, in some cases, fought in) the legions. As the story starts, the Blessed Isle is in a state of political chaos due to the Shogun, her expected heir, and all the other people with any strong claim to the direct succession being dead of the Great Contagion. Whoever currently holds the title of Shogun is making no more than sporadic attempts to maintain control over the provinces in the four Directions.

For purposes of the story, I am assuming that the Great Contagion did not have a one-to-one overlap with the Balorian Crusade - though, of course, the Crusade did hit a Contagion-ravaged Creation. At the start of the story, the Great Contagion is largely gone from this region of the West, while the Balorian Crusade hasn’t quite reached it yet.

On Leveling Up:

Solar XP costs will be used whenever they're lower than Dragon-Blooded costs, which is pretty much always.

This is also where I’m posting various information your characters may have access to:

A Map of Tianrasia (https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/114-FyB5ywQg28Sk_sL3OR3PmPTls9_4T1a1XKHOy4RE/edit)

Major NPCs that you may well know about.

Crazy Ninja Girl
Russet claims she’s being taught martial arts by a crazy ninja girl. Nobody else has ever seen her - or, for that matter, observed any evidence that she exists.

[Deceased] Daimyo Ryanno Eiyo
Terrestrial Exalt, Wood-Aspected
Born RY -396, appointed Governor of Tianrasia in RY -179, converted to the Immaculate Faith in RY -173, died RY -112 of the Great Contagion at age 284.
Daimyo Ryanno Eiyo, Chosen of the Dragons, was the Governor of Tianrasia until she died of the Great Contagion. She was generally agreed to be competent but not especially ambitious, focusing her career more on building up the wealth of Tianrasia than on personal political advancement.

[Deceased] Taimyo Ryanno Shisho
Terrestrial Exalt, Earth-Aspected
Born RY -313, joined the Legions in RY -294 at the rank of Chozei, promotion to Taizei in RY -282, promoted to Shozei in RY -266, promoted to Kazei in RY -237, promoted to Taimyo in RY -225, died RY -112 of the Great Contagion at age 201.
Taimyo Ryanno Shisho, Chosen of the Dragons, was an able military politician who supported the present Shogun’s faction in the Succession War of RY -227, for which he was awarded with command of all troops in the Mithric Isle province and authority to lead punitive expeditions against local barbarians and Raksha raiders.

He was a supporter of his cousin, Ryanno Eiyo, and was probably influential in her appointment.

Ryanno Sei IV
Mortal, Age 16
Born RY -128
Ryanno Sei IV is the youngest of the five children of Ryanno Eiyo and is betrothed to Russet / Bianfu Xujia. According to his family’s ambassadors and Russet’s minders, he is a young gentleman, possessed of proper education and distinguished manners.

She has no idea if they even share a language, but he’s probably not dead. He is not to be confused with his great-uncle, Ryanno Sei III.

Ryanno Sei III
http://img35.imageshack.us/img35/9690/tek5142751e9c4614362348.png (http://tektek.org/avatar/52863768)
Ghost, Age ???
Born ???

Ryanno Sei III is a ghost capable of acting in the physical realm. He's working for his niece Ryanno Eiyo. He's surprisingly affable for a dead man.

“Born” RY -1773
Rai-zhi-Rya is the city goddess of Tianrasia. She is generally agreed to be friendly, apolitical, and interested solely in her passions of poetry, genesis art, and medicine. A handful of reports from the First Age suggest a close relationship with Zyantius, but she accepted the imposition of the Immaculate Faith quietly enough.

It is unknown if she is alive or dead.

“Born” Early First Age.
The ancient god of the Mithric Isle. Ceased association with mortals and Terrestrials after the Usurpation, aside from a handful of paramours and the resulting children.

Believed to be deceased.

Gochei Tiba
Mortal, Age 43
Born RY -145
Commander of the troops in the Seaside District. Alive. Glad to see Aria.

Third Logothlete Kanryo Yori
Mortal, Age 19
Born RY -121
The guy running the palace district. Used to be a minor treasury clerk. Good friend of Sei.

Lieutenant Niwa Zuka
Mortal, Age 20
Born RY -122
She's the lady running the palace guard. Actual rank unknown.

Stratega Laoban Vari
http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/1039/tek51425aa70a89b2480250.png (http://tektek.org/avatar/52862920)
???, Age ???
Born ???
The "Tyrant of Eastgate", a popular military leader and a possible opponent of the PCs.

Edit: General categorization of types NPCs, in spoilers, ranked by How Important They Are.

Basically Unimportant

Random Scenery Extra
No name unless mandated by the story, extra, can't stunt. Probably doesn't have stats; if he does, they're generic.
Example: Random Fisherman #97.

Soldier Extra
Personally unimportant, can't stunt, but is important in that he is Representitive Of A Larger Body. Might do things, but doesn't have a real name. Has defined bu generic stats, probably because they need to be averaged for something.
Example: Random Army Mook #13.

Elite Mook
Probably doesn't have a name, can't stunt, but is supposed to be enough of a threat so that he gets full health levels and can roll dice. Isn't just scenery, so isn't quite an Extra.
Example: Hobgoblin #4.

Basically Important

Minor Heroic Character
Has an actual Motivation, a name, and at least a minimal backstory, but can't stunt and can't Channel unless directly aligned with his Motivation. Might be able to help run the city if he's on your side.
Examples: Gochei Tiba

Major Actor
Like the above, but more important. Can stunt, though stunts may be discounted. Will channel in rare situations where his life is in danger, or where it aligns with his Motivation. Can definitely help with the city-running if he's on your side.
Examples: Ryanno Sei

Setting Factor / Big Bad
Is a Really Important Person. Has a Motivation, will channel as if he was a player, has full stunt abilities, Trying To Get Things Done. Approximately one or two will be introduced per adventure; many of them ("Arc Villains") will get demoted downwards after their arc is over, if they survive. Probably too busy to help running *your* city.
Examples: Daimyo Ryanno Eiyo; Crazy Ninja Girl

I’m stealing Industrious’s stunt dice rules from Return of the Scarlet Empress, which some of us are involved in - that is, roll three stunt dice when you make a roll, and I’ll tell you it's value in my next post. Stunts less than three will have dice chosen left to right.

Experience rules... we’ll have to see. There will be XP awarded after each adventure, and XP awarded for each long period of downtime that occurs in the story, and XP awarded for each ‘session’, which is defined as whenever I think a session’s worth of gameplay has occured. And XP for 3-die stunts, of course.

Given the degree to which waiting for a battle to start slows down the game, Join Battle rolls for PCs who haven't made them yet when the GM notices someone has joined battle will be made by the GM, in spoilers, once the first person rolls. If you want to use pre-roll enhancement charms, just use them before you look at the spoiler for your roll. I trust my players.

2013-01-08, 01:41 AM
Reposting character sheet:

Kailea Seven BlossomsName Kailea Seven Blossoms
Exalt Type and Caste Wood
Anima A colorful bloom of flowers and growing things, accompanied by the intoxicating smell of nectar and honey
Motivation: Protect her people and help them grow

Description: Long dark hair, skin the color of honey, a full figure and lovely inviting lips make Kailea the perfect image of an island beauty; one could almost think she stepped out of a sailor's fantasy. She is poised and graceful, with a warm smile and an unaffected friendliness towards most everyone she meets. Her usual garb is a banded green-and-white dress woven from silk and plant fibers; it leaves arms and shoulders bare, wraps tightly around her torso, and flares out to give her legs plenty of freedom before ending just. Several necklaces of beads, shells and driftglass are strung around her neck, and she wears a pair of brightly colored bead bracelets. She typically goes barefoot or sandaled, and likes to wear a garland of flowers in her hair.

Kailea is born on a tiny island tribe far to the West, where the Shogun and the Blessed Isle are as distant as the Incarnae and Yu-Shan. Here the world shrinks to sky and sea, sand and jungle; the people live simply, hunting and fishing when the weather is fair and retreating to the high cliffs when the monsoons come. Sometimes the storms bring rains that never fell from Creation's skies, wind and waves straight out of the Wyld, and when this happens they must entreat Nan-i-Anan, patron goddess of the island, to allow them to take refuge in her sacred caves.

Sometimes the storms bring other troubles. At times sharkmen come to the island, lurking outside the lagoon to steal fishermen from their rafts and raiding up the beaches, and then the men take up their barbed fishing-spears to do battle. The losers on either side are eaten; sharkmen are fair game. This is in accord with the law of Siakal. Worse are the hobgoblins who ride the chaos-storms in monsoon season; these the tribe endures by hiding, by fleeing, and by sending the godspeaker to plead for the help of the local spirits. Nan-i-Anan, and Ihanu who rules the current that flows past the island, and Basorl the reef god, and Longest Leap, first among the local dolphin-gods; all these will give aid, if they are appeased and given the proper tributes.

Kailea is born here. Her mother teaches her to hunt, as all women here do, and to gather clams and crabs in the shallows—but no further; it is forbidden for a woman to catch fish, or wade more than knee-deep into the sea. (She does not know her father.) She grows into a young woman. Because she is very pretty she is picked by the godspeaker to accompany him when he goes to treat with Basorl and Longest Leap and spirits of their ilk, who are fond of pretty human women. She is not his apprentice, because becoming godspeaker is another thing women on the island do not do. But she listens and learns. She likes Longest Leap, who is clever and warm and funny; she likes Basorl, who is old and rough-mannered but kindly beneath it, and does not mind breaking taboo to show her the reefs; she even likes Ihanu, cold and erratic though he is, and proud Nan-i-Anan.

In the spring after her sixteenth monsoon season her blood shows itself; the sweet scent of nectar and honey wafts from her skin, and growing things unfold around her. She is touched by a god, the islanders say, and Nan-i-Anan tells her she is blessed by the Emerald Mother. When age and sickness carry away the godspeaker he chooses her to follow him, for she knows the spirits of the island better than any other. Seven flowers of a kind that no-one has ever seen spring up around her hut overnight; after this she is called Kailea Seven Blossoms.

Time passes. She is a woman in spirit as well as in body, now, with children of her own. A shadow comes over the island, a terrible sickness that takes a thousand forms but leads almost always to death. The sacred smoke of the bala tree does not keep it away, the poison of the whitespine eel does not purge the body; the sacred remedies fail. She calls on Longest Leap, but it is days before he answers, and when he comes he says the sickness is among his people too. They cannot help. They are fleeing west, in hopes that the strange waters there hold a cure. The island itself is dying. Proud Nan-i-Anan, who looks down on humans and sees herself as an exile of Yu-Shan, she sickens and does not speak, not even to rebuke Kailea when she comes to tend her ailing body. When the goddess passes Kailea Seven Blossoms goes to the other tribes to confer. It is an ill omen, and they decide they cannot stay. Some wish to follow the baiji west, hoping that the Wyld holds an answer to the sickness. Others say only madness awaits that way, that they must flee east and ask the Children of the Dragons who rule there for help. In the end they are divided. Mahon Pearl-Eye, son of the Ocean Father and chief among his tribe, leads those who go west. Kailea Seven Blossoms leads those who go east.

Rafts and canoes are lashed together, and huts are built atop the largest; the children stay in here, and the women, so that the storm mothers will not take offense. The journey is long, and all they meet have encountered the same sickness. Others speak of terrible goblin warlords coming out of the West, riding storms worse than any others, and Kailea knows she was right to go east. She mourns Mahon, and implores the spirits for fair winds and swift currents.

At last, they find a land which—though not untouched by the sickness—still holds life.

Strength ●
Dexterity ●●●●●
Stamina ●●●

Charisma ●●●●
Manipulation ●
Appearance ●●●●●

Perception ●●
Intelligence ●●●
Wits ●●


Linguistics ●
[F]Lore ●●●
[F]Occult ●●●●● (Art of Warding ●)

Awareness ●
Integrity ●●
War ●

Athletics ●
Dodge ●●● (unarmored ●●●)
Melee ●
[F]Presence ●●●
Socialize ●●● (gods and spirits ●)

Martial Arts ●
Sail ●

[A]Archery ●●●●● (elemental bolt ●)
[A]Medicine ●●●
[A]Performance ●●●●● (prayer ●●●)
[A]Ride ●
[A]Survival ●

Artifact ●●● (elemental lens, hearthstone amulet, silk armor)
Breeding ●●● - Though her bloodline has lain dormant for long enough that the ancestor who bequeathed it to her is forgotten, Kailea is touched strongly by the Dragons. Some seeds are buried deep.
Connections (Western spirit courts) ●● Kailea maintains friendly ties with a number of the local deities and elementals near Three Moons Island, and through them has access to many of the larger Terrestrial courts. Her major contacts include Longest Leap, a respected figure among the dolphin gods, and the old reef-god Basorl, who was in ancient times a companion to both Baxishun and the Ocean Father.
Followers ●● - While over two hundred people followed Kailea east, only a couple dozen are both skilled and personally loyal enough to qualify as Followers. Among them are Haseo, her nine-year old son, a God-blood of baiji descent; Laka, an old fisherman from her tribe and the most likely replacement for chief if the tribes settle back into the old ways.
Manse ● - A nameless Air-aspected demesne on the highest ocean cliff of her home island, capped by a simple stone circle. This is a sacred place where godspeakers for generations have invoked the spirits of wind and storm; it is also the place where the people gather for shelter during the worst autumn storms. It provides a godspeaking trillion in the form of a twisted glass shell; the hearthstone can be used as a whistle in addition to its normal function. (Note: this manse is west of Tianrasia.)
Reputation ●● - Kailea is well-known and respected among the western island tribes as a skilled godspeaker, and (lately) a reliable source of leadership. And though Terrestrials are not well-liked in the spirit courts, Kailea is known for her piety, honesty, humility, and (among a certain subset of mostly-male gods) her willingness to bed almost any spirit who shows interest. However, the Shogunate's elite are likely to consider her an unrefined barbarian, while devout Immaculates consider her religious practices unseemly if not outright blasphemous.

Artifacts and Equipment
Elemental lens - A piece of pale green drift-glass on a string, carved smooth by wind and wave. The world as seen through the glass is strange and vibrant, more like a fanciful painting than a true depiction of the world. One of Kailea's predecessors found it on a beach hundreds of years ago and deduced (correctly) that it had come out of the Wyld and still held power. It has been traded and passed down to shamans and priests ever since, though until Kailea none have uncovered its power. (Doubles all damage dealt by Elemental Bolt Technique and other Charms that evoke elemental energy)
Silken armor - A gift from Longest Leap, this raiment of rippling white and green is much tougher than the woven plant-fiber it appears to be. In addition to providing armor, it sets off Kailea's assets quite nicely, and counts as an exceptional tool for appropriate social rolls.
Hearthstone amulet - A simple jade loop designed to hold a single hearthstone.

Elemental Bolt Technique
Elemental Internalization Technique

First Occult Excellency
Spirit-Detecting Mirror Technique

Auspicious First Meeting Attitude

First Socialize Excellency

First Archery Excellency

First Performance Excellency
Intoxicating Primal Dance

Join Combat: 3

Dodge DV 7
Parry DV 4

Soak: 3B/1L (6B/6L in armor)

-0 [ ]
-1 [ ][ ]
-2 [ ][ ]
-4 [ ]
-X [ ]

Mental Defenses
Dodge MDV 7
Parry MDV 5

Compassion ●●●
Conviction ●●
Temperance ●●●
Valor ●●

Primary Virtue: Temperance
Limit: 0/10
Crazy Aspect Mode: In Limit Break, Kailea is overcome by guilt over failures both real and imaginary, and lapses into self-pity and shallow indulgence. Depending on the triggering circumstances and her mood, this can produce a variety of reactions, ranging from ritual purification and ascetic moping to comfort sex accompanied by self-loathing.

Haseo (motherly love)
Longest Leap (affection and lust)
Basorl (fondness)
The Fair Folk (fear)
Storm mothers (fear and reverence)
Spirits in general (reverence)

Willpower: 10
Temporary Willpower: 10/10

Permanent: ●●
Personal: 15/15
Peripheral: 21/29 (8 committed)

Bonus Points
Willpower +5
Performance +2 (2)
Archery +2 (2)
Specialties (2)
Occult +2 (2)
Thaumaturgical degree (warding) (4)
Temperance +1

Experience Points

2013-01-08, 03:32 AM
Adara Xeifan (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1V9W8wNYmrOIm5Btkwtv8Zcjal6EkjKRzMZzvX7KoW8I/edit)

“Glass Knife” - Advanced Reconaissance Armor

The Advanced Reconaissance Armor combines several magical materials in order to obtain an harmony of essence-resonance. Nodes of starmetal hum quietly behind small pannel of soulsteel that shatter the light, channeling distorted essence through orichalcum lenses; the complexity of this assemblage makes it both delicate to repair and extremely costly to attune to, but as long as it is powered, it makes one into a whisper quieter than a ghost.
Made in the First Age, the Glass Knife belonged to the cutting edge of a peculiar class of Artifacts known as “utility armors” - power armors whose main purpose was not to protect the wearer and enhance his combat capabilities, but to support a wide array of “tools,” magitech devices focused on precise tasks. The ARA's main purpose was to allow infiltration and reconaissance of enemy territory, and as such she was designed not just with a cloaking device, but with flight and sensors, allowing the user to observe without being observed and to penetrate where no one wants him.
Recuperated by Dragon-Blooded after the Usurpation, it saw use by several families in the most heated period of the Shogunate as a tool of espionage and assassination. Its highly complicated construction made it difficult and expensive to repair, and when the Adara family lay its hand on it, the armor was in a state of high decay. It took Xeifan years to repair it to its full capabilities, but it was her smashing success that granted her prestige in her family and made her accepted as their leading engineer.

Heavy Chassis
Maintenance Requirement:*Every 200 hours. Every missed 40 hours causes one of the armor's systems to fail.
Hearthstone Requirement: the armor has two hearthstone sockets, and cannot function until at least one is filled with a 3+ Hearthstone; this hearthstone brings no other benefit to the bearer than powering the armor. The second socket can be used normally.


Flight System: Orichalcum repulsors channel essence into starmetal vibrators, denying gravity its rightful hold over the owner. The wearer may fly at 25 yards per tick in normal circumstances, or enter a long-travel stance in which she travels As the Crow Flies in long-distance trips.

Cloaking Device: By reflexively spending 5m per hour, the wearer can make the armor blur and fade from view. Players must succeed at a reflexive (Perception + Awareness) roll, Difficulty 4 while moving or 6 while stationary to notice the cloaked character. Make a check when the character first comes into view and again whenever they do something to betray their presence. Once the player succeeds in noticing the character, they do not need to make checks again unless the wearer leaves their sight or they otherwise lose track of them. Characters attacking the wearer apply the usual penalty for invisible opponents. The wearer cannot be detected by Essence detection alone.

Sensory Augmentation Visor: a seemingly opaque jade lens occupies the center of the armor's head, like a cyclopean eye; through it, essence and spiritual matters are revealed, and the wearer can toggle distances at will. The wearer gains a +2 bonus to Awareness rolls, as well as Essence Sight and the ability to see unmanifested spirits; she may see in any darkness less than Total and see and discern details 5 times further.

Targetting System: the jade lens acts as a monitor, intuitively displaying crucial information brought by moonsilver analytic devices, and starmetal vibrators produce subtle shifts in Fate to ensure that the wearer's moves are as accurate as physically possible. The wearer is always considered to have the benefit of three ticks spent Aiming; should she decide to take further Aim actions, each tick spent aiming converts one Aiming die into a success. Furthermore, this Aiming bonus applies to a weapon's Defense value as well as its normal attack bonus.

Under the Hood
Power Requirement: (9AP)
Total: 45

Flight Systems (Overland Systems, External Essence Manipulation Systems x3) 7 AP
Cloaking Device (Advanced Cloaking x2, Essence Distorsion) 10 AP
Sensory Augmentation Visor (Night Vision, Telescopic Vision, Essence Sight, Spirit Sight, Efficiency System x3) 11 AP
Targetting System (Interception Targetting, Least God Lock-On): 10 AP
Reflex Integration: 6 AP
Hearthstone Socket: 1 AP

Opening Ficlet

Jejad called it the “Cave of Wonders,” but in truth the room was at the top of a tower surplombing the city. It was as dark as a cave, though, save for the sparks of lightning coming from her tools as she worked on her armor.

“How many days have you been here, sis'?” He asked with a look of concern. She ignored him. The problem in front of her was much more interesting: a warstrider hand, the essence-connections between its fingers cloated with necrotic energies such that it had been to weak to resist a direct blow; now the fingers refused to flex correctly, and the hand could not hold a weapon. But she was certain that she could repair it-

The hand of her brother on her shoulder startled her, and she let go off her tools with a small yelp. She put down the jade lens enhancing her vision, and looked at him through a haze. “What time is it?” She asked, and Jejad noticed the huge blue circles around her eyes.
“Time to get some sleep, little sister.” She shook her head.
“I can't. I have so much to do.”
“It can wait for a bit, can't it?”
“No. All these things... They go away faster than I can repair them... And I can't build them... It's like a heap of smoldering ruins, and I have to assemble them myself into a new building, but it keeps crumbling and...”
“Shhhh. Come sleep for a while, okay?”
She shook her head, looked at the enormous limb on her table, but already her vision was blurry. She nodded at last, and followed him outside the chamber.

When she threw a last glance behind her, she saw the hand in an odd angle; it looked as if it were stretching towards her, trying to keep her from leaving.


Even with environmental seas close and working on a supply of untainted air, she could still somehow smell the stench of death all around.
Moving inside the power armor felt like not really being there. She was surrounded by jade pulsating with conducted essence, not touching anything, not feeling the air on her skin or the earth under her feet. It was disquieting. And the silence – she had cut off the hearing capabilities of the armor just so she wouldn't have to hear the moanings of the agonizing. She took slow step after slow step in this rotten wasteland.
Dogs rotting from the inside out amidst a mass of flies, dead too before they could enjoy a meal of their flesh. Birds broken on the ground after the final throes of the Contagion had thrown them out of the skies. And people, of course. In the houses, in the streets, on the roofs. Dying.
Her cousin Aman waved to her, and she put the hearing back on.
“We should hurry,” he said in a tense voice. She nodded. They moved inside the first house, metallic figures of moving jade, like golems. Inside, the living were clutched in a corner, shaking, not daring to approach the two corpses. She took one, Aman the other, and they went out to throw them on the heap. Then they moved to the next house.

The doctors had been the first to die, not realizing how dangerous it was to approach a victim. For a while the gravetakers had remained in business, burrying the corpses, then burning them in the streets when they became too many. And then they fell ill, too, and now there was no gravetaker.
Except a few Dragon-Blooded in sealed environmental armors, moving among the dead and the dying to burn them, only ones immune to the plague. Thanks to her. It was her moment of triumph, and yet the horror of the Contagion took away any sense of success she might have felt.
They were the new undertakers, clad in armor soiled with bile and blood and feces, contagious death smeared all other them – and safer yet than the sorcerers in their jade towers.

Aman took another corpse, but stopped suddenly. Beneath the helmet, it was impossible to watch his face, and she worried.
“Aman? What's going on?”
“I don't know. A problem with the ankle. It isn't putting out as much power as it should.”
This was not normal. “Just drop that one on the heap and let me have a look, okay?”
Aman nodded and crossed the few yards that separated him from the pile of twisted corpses; he lifted his own burden slightly to put it on top-
And she saw it. The small burst of steam from a joint ankle snapping and bursting the plating. Aman suddenly lost all power support in his right leg and fell to one knee, the corpse falling on top of him. He yelled, and tried to get back up, but without working support he was destabilized; she rushed to his side to help him and took him by his shoulder.
“What... What happened?” he asked, confused.
She did not answer.
She could see the snapped joint, the rupture in the armor's containment. The soiled metal opened like bile-tainted lips, on a so small patch of skin.
And she knew.


Aman was slow to die.
She had rarely experienced the Contagion so closely. They changed her room, put her in the chamber closest to his dying room, so she could hear his screams and moans and gurgles. She never saw him once, but she experienced his entire agony in sound, and in a way it was worse. She took to covering her hears with her pillows during the night, and for the first time took paramours in her bed, if only to cover the sounds and exhaust her into forgetfulness.
And she worked. Oh, Dragons knew she worked. She had failed, after all, and it was her duty to make it all better. But now her family was watching her in anger, and her tools were taken away one by one, and she was sent on pointless missions that distracted her from her true work. This was her task to bring greatness to her family: saving the wonders of a lost age, ensuring that they retained unparalleled technological power. She lived surrounded by ruins and memories, and she would not let go.
Besides, if she went outside, what was there to see but more ruins and more memories? She could see the city dying. And worse, she heard nothing from the outside – this was no isolated plague. What horror had been unleashed upon the world? And how to fight it? Her suits of metal and essence-powered constructs seemed so feeble in front of this sickness. They had not saved her cousin.
At night she was woken up not by his screams – he had ceased to scream a long time ago now – but by the memories of his screams. And for all their horror, she could not go to sleep until she had put her ear to the wall and listened, hoping to cach a gasping breath, a lone moan. Anything to show that she wasn't alive, that she hadn't killed him yet.
Aman was slow to die.


Jejad came into the Cave of Wonders wearing the grieving colors, and for a while, he remained silent. He looked at his sister, plying and cutting and smelting and putting together plates orichalcum and moonsilver circuitry. The arm on her workshop was easily twice her size and likely ten times her weight. She was almost inside the damned thing, half-buried in magic material.

He'd though she was wearing protective clothing, but when she turned to face him he understood. She was wearing yet another of these suits, powered metal encasing her entirely. She even wore the helmet.
“Is that necessary?” Jejad asked. “The Contagion is fading. You don't need to shut yourself in these things.”
“Protective clothing for delicate crafting operation. I work harder now. Must beware of essence-flares. Safer that way.”
“Sister. The Contagion is gone. There is no war yet. You are safe.”
There was a moment of silence.
“No. Never safe. Always more danger,” she murmurred in her muffled metal-voice.
“Stop it, sis'. Please. We are all... Listen, this is not how it should be.”
“I have failed. I have killed one of the precious members of our line. Respectable breeding. Great gifts. Dead because of me.”
“That is not how we see it.”
“You know it is a lie. I feel their reproach every time I show my face. So I don't show it anymore.”
He sighed. “It has been a month since I last saw your eyes. Won't you at least look at me without that helmet?”
She fixed her unbleaking stare on him, silent; then she turned away, taking some complicated implement to purse her work, without a word.
Jejad gritted her teeth, containing his frustration, and he stepped forward to put a hand on her shoulder-
At the very moment his skin touched the metal, she turned on her heels and slammed her palm against his chest with inhuman strength, crushing her against the wall – two yards, crossed in a single movement. The blow took his breath, and she asserted her hold on his collar. He could feel that she wasn't even using her own force – essence servos and Hearthstone sockets supplied power to mechanical muscle, tightening into a grip only the Exalted could match.
They stared at each other for a long time. Finally, she lowered her eyes and stepped back, letting him go.

Finally, she raised both hands to her head, and with a hissing sound released the helmet, lifting it off slowly to reveal her ginger hair and weary face, the same blue circles of fatigue around her eyes. She tried to smile, with little success.
“I'll be all right. Okay? Just let me finish this. Please.”
“It's been three years that you have been working on that thing, Feixan. And you're still on the same arm. Will you ever finish?”
She stared at the arm, holding her helmet tighter against her chest. She looked at this giant hand that had grabbed her so long ago and never let go.
She closed her eyes.
“No. But I have to keep working.”

Additional Ficlet
"...before the end of summer. Will you be able to handle it?”
“If you didn't know the answer to this question, you wouldn't have summoned me.”

Xeifan hazarded an eye out of the doorframe, curious to see to whom the voices belonged. She recognized one, the chilly matter-of-fact tone of her father; but the other was stranger, a gruff, mangled sound full of strange accents and swallowed words.
Her father was there indeed, clad in white and blue robes, his white hair perfectly combed; he towered over a creature two heads shorter than him (but then again, her father was very tall), a misshapen figure with skin a dull brown. This was no man; it was rather one of the strange things that her father had learned to call into this world from places Xeifan did not quite understand.

She ducked behind the door as her father left the room, his fast pace quickly carrying him away from the chamber. She waited for a while after she was gone, and soon she began to hear the purring of a warm fire and the sound of heavy objects being carried to and fro. The little girl dared to get out of her hiding spot and look into the room, and what she saw amazed her. The disfigured little man had lit a fire inside one of the great furnace of the house's smithy, and he was now gathering up lingots of steel and a heavy, locked casket, which Xeifan recognized as one of the chests containing strips of jade whose purpose still escaped her.

She took a step into the room, the muscular back of the spirit moving and roiling as he worked, a half-whispered bawdy song humming from his lips. She turned around him, putting a worktable between them, and watched with amazement. All to his task, the spirit did not notice her for several minutes, as he started to weigh jade strips and melt lingots in the furnace. When he did see her, his eyes narrowed, and he turned towards her with the slow movement of a ponderous mountain; Xeifan squealed in surprise and stepped back until she found herself against the wall.

“What you doing here, little jewel?” the creature said suspiciously. Xeifan was too scared to answer, and babbled incomprehensibly. “You shouldn't be here,” he said again. “Smithy's no place for girls of people who can make my life hell. Why don't you go somewhere safer?”
Xeifan nodded in the way she always did when a grown-up gave her a sermon, with big watery eyes and a very sad look on her face. It didn't seem to affect the spirit much though, and he went back to work with a grunt. Nonetheless, Xeifan did not move. After a few minutes, he stopped again, and looked, this time with surprise more than anger. “What are you still doing here?”
“I...” She began. “Uh... I wanted to know what you are doing.”
“I'm doing craftsman work. Erenhal business, as it were. That's what I was called here for.”
“...what are you crafting?”
“Nothing that concerns the likes of such a tiny young jewel like you, not even polished or carved yet. Get back to your lessons or toys or whatever it is you people do.”
“Please. I want to know what you are doing with all the jade and furnaces and stuff! And also, you don't look like a real smith,” she says defiantly.
“Don't I, now?” the Erenhal smiled.
“Yup! You don't have gloves, or an apron, or as many tools as my father's smiths do. You're going to get burned!”
The creature pondered some obscure thought for a moment, then said: “Tell you what. If you bring me a keg of ale, I'll tell you what it is I'm doing and why I am not wearing some damn apron.”
Xeifan hesitated, then nodded with fierce determination and scurried out of the room.

The demon didn't think she'd come back, but on the afternoon of the next day, as he began to melt jade and steel together into a workable alloy, he saw her stumble into the room, carrying an unlikely large keg who seemed like it could outweigh her; she dropped it next to him with a groan, then hurried behind the same table as the day before.
The amazed demon took the keg in one hand and opened it; not only did it smell like ale, it smelled like damn fine ale. The foolish girl had probably taken from her family's own reserves rather than the servants', unaware that there'd be any difference in quality – or in the consequences for the thief. Few masters let him indulge in such fine drink, and so he wasted no time in downing the entirety of the recipient, dropping it with a satisfied sigh.
“You're a damn foolish one, that I can tell you,” he said to the girl waiting patiently across the room. “But you hold good on your promises and I like that. So, let's get on with this explanation of yours, and don't blame me if you understand zitch. Not my job to dumb down my excellent teaching for silly little jewels.”
And he spoke. He told Xeifan of the magic inherent to Jade, forging weapons greater than any made of bronze or steel. He told her how it was alloyed with steel to be worked into proper weapons, cheaper than pure jade and lighter, more supple, more easy to be made to cut and slash as daiklaves and dire lances. He told her how it took a crafstman of superlative skill to perform such feats, one with power over the metal he worked, wise in the ways of Essence.
“But the clothes?” Xeifan asked, hungry for more knowledge.
“I am no man, squishy and frail in their soft pink skin. Watch:”
And she did; and she saw him plunge his hand into the fire to retrieve the smoldering iron, and the sparks of essence that flew from his hammer as he beat it into shape. Flames and sparks leapt at his face and torso, but he ignored them and they danced across his bronze-like skin. Xeifan looked in awe, and she spent her entire afternoon in this smithy, listening in turn to the song of steel on steel and to the words of the demon as he told of his work. At the end of the day, he brandished a strange form; it seemed like the blade of a sword, but its edges were blurry, undefined.
“...is this what my father brought you here to build?” She asked. He laughed.
“Ah! This is nothing. A rough shape at most. To craft the jade swords your father wants, I will smelt this sketch and reforge it until it suits my taste, and I will cool it in the tears of a grieving Chrysogona. And that will only be the first week.”
“Week? How long will it take in total?”
“For a lesser worker than I, a single sword would take an entire year. But I can do better.”
Xeifan said nothing, so impressed she was with the scope of the process that was happening under her eyes; her face made the demon smile.
“Now I've told you what you wanted. Get off before you get me in trouble.”
“But wait!” She cried. “There's so much more I want to know. You can't possibly have told me everything!”
“By the time I'd have told you everything, you'd be an aging crone with hair of snow, and that's assuming you'd take to the Dragons' blood; otherwise you'd long be in the grave.”
“But you can tell me stuff while you are here, at least; right? I'll bring you more to drink!”
The demon looked at her thoughtfully. “I gather your mighty father has a cellar full of fine meads and wines of all sorts, am I right?”
“He sure does. And I can get inside and back! No one would suspect me to steal alcohol, I'm too young.”
“Well,” the demon said, “I think we got ourselves a partnership, little jewel.”

And for months, whenever she could, the little girl sneaked away from her parents, preceptors and watchers to go see the Eranhal. It would be false to say that the demon was her mentor; she was too young to completely understand what he told her, and soon the subject of his tales moved away from the arts and crafts of smithing, and to the wonders of the demon realm and the times now lost. He told her of things she couldn't believe; ink made of demon's blood that would take life as moving tatoos; statues of brass and iron in which trapped blood apes languished for ever, to be worn by their peers as magical armors; shifting silver sands cast into shining glass, and acidic indigo ice that could be carved into crying figures whose tears turned earth and flesh into stranger oddities. She drank every drop of his tales, the truth and the lies, the facts and the myth, and in her minds she played with these wondrous stories.
“Come here,” he said one day. He showed her a strange little object, like a small piece of gilded string, supple enough that she could bend it a little but could not break it at all. “What is it?” she asked.
“It is a small fragments of the inner workings of these clockwork magics you people are so fond of. It is called an “Essence circuit.” If you pour your energy into it...” He frowned slightly, and an arc of lightning went through the string; a small light shone at its end. “It lights up. It channels magic.” Xeifan looked with her mouth wide open; the demon threw the string in her hand. She tried to do the same thing as him, but she had no idea how; so she basically frowned and thought very hard about the string and squinting her eyes until the muscles in her face were all tense, but it didn't do anything. She looked back at him, puzzled, and he finished his bottle before saying: “if some day you inherit the blood of the dragon, you'll understand how it's done. 'till then, this might just as well be a bit of gold for you.”

Xeifan looked at the string, and tried again to do magic to it, to no avail. This night she went to bed tired and frustrated, with the string in her hand, and she endlessly tried to work out how that simple bit of metal could be med to light up like this. There must have been some kind of trick, some way of looking at it or thinking about it... But there wasn't.

She made a ring out of it, and put it on her left hand; every day she took it off and put it back on and toyed with it and tried to understand. She was doing that one day as she passed near the yard, and she heard the screams of pain and the lashing sounds of a servant being whipped. Curious, she walked towards the scene; a few bored members of her family were watching the spectacle, as some form of free entertainment. She approached one of her cousins.
“What is she being punished for?” she asked.
“Oh, she was stealing alcohol from the house's reserves. Probably to give to her drunk of a husband. We're firing her, but first a good flogging will do her good, remind her not to steal from her betters.”
A terrible doubt spread through Xeifan's mind.
“Is... What did she steal, exactly?” she asked in as innocuous a voice as she could.
“Kegs of ale. Wines. Some mead. Really, quite a lot of it.”
“Have you found them?”
“No, she probably threw the bottles and casks away after drinking it. Or heck, perhaps they sold them! They don't have much money though, so if that's it they made pretty bad a deal. Not that it'd matter anyway, since their properties are being confiscated to pay for what they stole. Not that it'll be enough. Hence the flogging.”
Xeifan felt a terrible weight upon her stomach. She looked at the woman, then at her cousin, and she felt the cold sweat of fear dripping on her back. She wanted to save something, to spare that woman a punishment that was her own fault, but she saw the whip lashing in the air and she was terrified; in the end, she ran away from the scene crying, under the amused gaze of her cousin.

“You shouldn't be worrying,” the smith told her later, when she explained why she hadn't brought him another drink today. “If you come into the blood, you will be a Prince of the Earth. If you do not, you will still be a revered member of their family. It is your place to escape the law and have your lessers punished in your place.”
“But that is terribly unfair!” she cried.
“Unfair? It is but the law of Cecelyne: that the strong rule over the weak, that the mighty ignore the commands that can cause the meek their lives. A demon I considered my brother was once sentenced to death for the crime of a more important one. I did not shed a tear; such is the way of things, and when I come back to the demon city, I will be under this law again. This servant suffered for you, little jewel and now your crime is paid for; all is right in the world.”
She was stumped for words, and did not know how to answer.
“...who was this friend who died?” she asked shyly.
“Did you bring me ale?” the demon said.
“Well, no, but you know why!”
“Then you will have no story today.”
“But if I bring you more alcohol, another servant will be thought a thief, and punished!”
“And if you don't, you will have no further story for me. Such is life.”
She looked at him indignantly. “How dare you! You are a slave of my father! I order you to tell me what I ask!”
The demon smiled. “That's the spirit. But it is pointless: I am bound to your father, not to you. I do not have to obey your commands.”
Xeifan stared and glared and frowned and pouted, but the demon reacted with a wall of indifference. In the end, she stormed out of the room, seething in her own anger – which conveniently managed to make her forget her guilt. For a long while, she gave no further attention to the smithy and its temporary occupant. She tried to ignore him forever, in fact.

But in her dreams and daily games she remembered the city with towers of brass rising to the skies, and the greenish glow of vitriol being poured over orichalcum, corrupting its essence into something greater. She remembered the tales of how the demons worked steel and glass and brass into chains and swords and bolts, and the smoke of the factories were Eranhals toiled endlessly for their Unquestionable masters. She remembered legend after legend, a landscape of wonder and horror. And more than anything, she stared at the string of gold on her hand, and she looked and she thought, and she remembered and she whispered the tales the dwarf had told her.

She was sitting in her garden, amidst carefully cropped trees showering her with dying leaves, but she had no attention to spare for them. Her brothers and sisters were playing around her under the watchful gaze of their preceptors, but she could not care less about their silly games. The breeze carried the fragrance of a dying summer, but she did not smell it. Her eyes saw only gold, her ears heard only the tales of the demon, her nose smellt only the wondrous stench of the demon city. And she looked at the string, and she bent it, and she plied it, and she cursed it, and finally she closed her eyes and breathed out, slowly, mentally exhausted by her own obsession.
She opened her eyes, and she saw it, and her resolve strengthened. She took the measly bit of orichalcum in her hand, and she brandished it before her eyes, and she cried:
And it did.

And there was a spark of blue lightning running from her arm and igniting the orichalcum string, and it flared for a second like a torch; and as the light died away, the wind roared to her ears, and she felt herself growing lighter, lighter, ever so lighter, until the breeze carried her aloft, and its raging whirlwind sent her siblings screaming to their teachers. She looked around her, amazed, and she felt lightning crackling at her fingertips, and an understanding of the world that dwarfed anything she'd ever thought she knew. Suddenly she remembered all that the Erenhall had said, and she understood it, she felt the knowledge of ancient crafts so much more easily.
She felt new.

Of course, there was a grand celebration as she was introduced to her family as a true Exalted. There was much pride and rejoicing and formal congratulations. She smiled awkwardly and tried to talk to all those intimidating people, but like the Air she moved from place to place and could not settle in any conversation. She had to wait for the festivities to be over, and for the overbearing attention she had brought upon herself to lapse, before she could sneak away (much more easily now) into the smithy.

But the demon was not here and the furnace was cold. The jade caskets were empty, and in a corner the precious jade swords had been stowed away. A single mortal craftsman was retaking possession of the place, removing the last traces of her storyteller.
She felt a pang of absurd sadness, which she put away. Why would she be sad? He had not been a friend; merely a paid worker, exchanging favor for favor, and he had not cared of the consequences or her own feelings. Regardless, she felt a sense of loss, and she remembered – all that had been said to her. The promises of her Air-Aspected aunt to teach her the ways of sorcery and summoning. She, too, could learn the occult and master the power of the doors between worlds, and call to her such wondrous workers as this demon had been.

But already she knew that this was not what she wanted. She would politely refuse her aunt's offer and she would not learn sorcery. She would go against the ways of her blood – because it was only in this way that she could obey the dictates of her mind, the very obsession that had awakened the Dragon in her. She did not want any demonic crafter to do her work. She wanted to plunge her hands in the forge and beat the blades into shape with her bare hands. She would craft herself those strings of orichalcum, until their lights combined and fuse and became pure power, animating the precious wonders her house had gathered over the century. All the greatness of the demon city – it would be hers.

Xeifan gave a polite order to the mortal worker, who stepped back fearfully; she took coal, and she took steel, and she lit up the furnace and cooled the water.

And when the sun set on that day, she had made her first sword; an ugly piece of steel, all wrong in shape and texture, that no warrior in their right mind could ever use; but it was hers, forged by her hand alone. To this day she carries it wherever she goes, and people often politely enquire about the reason for putting such an ugly weapon on proeminent display in her quarters.

Few, if any, ever see the golden ring on her left hand and recognize it as anything more than a simple ring.

Sometimes, at night when she is alone, she brings forth the small golden light at its tip.

And she remembers.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-08, 02:57 PM
Name: Ruvana Aria
Aspect: Wood
Anima: A roaring emerald dragon.

Motivation: Defend everyone and everything she can from the oncoming Wyld.

Primary (Physical/Social/Mental): 7
Secondary (Physical/Social/Mental): 6
Tertiary (Physical/Social/Mental): 4

Strength **
Dexterity *****
Stamina **

Charisma ****
Manipulation **
Appearance ****

Perception ***
Intelligence **
Wits **

Abilities (Specializations +)
[Note: Place [A]spect and [F]avoured tags, for clarity.]
Total without BP/XP: 35
13 of these MUST be placed into Aspect or Favoured. Also, I placed Dots where Dots must be. (Archery 1, Lore 2, Martial Arts 1, Melee 1, Performance 1, Presence 1, Ride 1, Socialize 2 and War 1.) You cannot remove these Dots, or Peleps Deled will come for you for a discussion on literature. These dots count towards the Total and the requirement.

Linguistics *
Lore **

Awareness *
Integrity ** (Against Fair Folk **)
[F]War *****

Athletics *
[F]Dodge *****
Melee *
Presence *
Socialize **

[F]Bureaucracy ***
Martial Arts *

[A]Archery *****
[A]Medicine ***
[A]Performance *** (Oratory **)
[A]Ride ***
[A]Survival ***

Backgrounds, Artifacts and Equipment:
Followers **
This band of twenty or so cavalry are all that remains of Aria's command after months of constant skirmishing and retreat. All are trained soldiers, skilled with bow and blade, and fanatically loyal to their wood Aspected commander in a way that goes beyond simple duty - as far as they are concerned, she's the reason they're all still alive. Aria returns the loyalty, and has come to see most of her soldiers as an extended family.

Familiar *
Ash is a large, black warhorse that has been bonded to Aria over the course of her campaign. He's surprisingly intelligent, able to communicate with his rider, and while in contact Aria has access to an additional 5m personal essence pool.)

Artifact ***
One set of silk armour and a jade breastplate forms what passes for Aria's uniform, which is deliberately designed to be functional and relatively subtle. She also carries a Long Powerbow fashioned out of jade, named Claw of the Raptor.

Resources **
One dot of this is free, and it mostly represents what little Aria and her soldiers have managed to salvage from the plague ruins and Raksha-savaged landscape during their travels. No one gets any luxury out of it, but it does allow for her soldiers to avoid resorting to banditry.

Breeding ***
Manse *
Aria had more manses once, but they were some of the first to fall to the invading Fair Folk. Now all she has left is a Medicine Stone, attuned to a manse considerably far away, but also reasonably safe from the Raksha)

Reputation **
As with Resources, one dot of this is free. Aria is known as a veteran soldier and foe of the Raksha, which lends wait to her arguments when speaking of military or Wyld matters)

Artifacts and Equipment:
Artifact: Long Jade Powerbow Claw of the Raptor

Artifact: Jade Breastplate
+6L/4B soak, Hardness 2L/2B, no mobility or fatigue, can be hidden under reasonably heavy clothing.

Artifact: Silk Armour
+5L/+3B soak, Attunement 2

Manse: 1
Stone: Stone of Healing (Socketed in Long Powerbow)
Adds three dice to all medicine rolls


First War Excellency
Terrestrial War Reinforcement
Tireless Footfalls Cadence
Phantom Warrior Horde

First Medicine Excellency
First Bureaucracy Excellency
First Archery Excellency

Combat Stats:
Join Combat:

Acc: 6 | Damage: | Parry DV: [(((Dex+Ability)+2)= X /2 round up) = Base + Modifiers] | Rate: 3

Acc: X [(((Dex+Martial Arts)+0)+Any other dice bonuses)] | Damage: [Str+3B] | Parry DV: [(((Dex+Ability)-2)= X /2 round up) = Base + Modifiers] | Rate: 2

Acc: X [(((Dex+Martial Arts)+0)+Any other dice bonuses)] | Damage: [Str+0B] | Parry DV: - | Rate: 3
Dodge DV: 7

Permanent Charms (Effects)

Bashing: 9
Lethal: 12
Aggravated: 11

Bashing: 2
Lethal: 2
Aggravated: 2

-0 [ ]
-1 [ ][ ]
-2 [ ][ ]
-4 [ ]
X [ ]

Mental Defenses:
Dodge MDV: 7 (8 vs Raksha)
Charisma Parry MDV:
>Presence: 3
> Performance: 4
Manipulation Parry MDV:
>Presence: 2
>Performance: 3

Compassion ***
Conviction **
Temperance **
Valor **

Crazy Aspect Mode: In Limit Break, Aria's protective instincts overwhelm her and she does everything she can to save everyone she possibly could, regardless of the risk to herself or the feasibility of the action

Her soldiers (Loyalty)
Raksha (Hatred)
Civilians (Protectiveness)
Ash (Affectionate pride)

High Realm (Native)
Sea tongue

Willpower: ***** *****

Permanent: ***
Personal: 16/16
Peripheral: 25/32 (7 committed)
Bonus Points and XP:
Bonus Points:
7 to raise essence to 3
5 to raise willpower to 10
6 to raise Archery, War and Dodge to 5

Total: 18/18 | Flaws:

2013-01-08, 10:43 PM
Reposting sheet and ficlets

Arys Cygnes: Sheet

Name: Arys Cygnes
Aspect: Fire
Anima: Flames the deep red of coals in the heart of a fire

Motivation: To fill the role of Gens Arys. All of it.

Background: One of the younger scions of Gens Arys, Cygnes Exalted at the precocious age of eleven. From the moment of her Exaltation, she was constantly in motion; fighting bout after bout with her training masters, or anyone she could get to teach her; practicing katas, when that failed, or, when her anima burned too hot and her strength was exhausted, sitting back and reading – history, yes, of great deeds and great battles, but also famous speeches, which she would analyze for why precisely they were so persuasive, or recent military reports, or official firms. Even when she sat quietly, apparently resting, her eyes would be flickering from one person to another, reading cues and subtle body language, studying how they spoke and how they moved, learning everything she could about them – and about society.

By the age of fourteen she had mastered the basics of persuasion and polite society, arms and warfare, and she was her Gens' darling. Never satisfied, she drove on. By the age of eighteen, she had led troops in multiple engagements. When the Contagion fell, she was one of the first victims. One of the only Wood Aspects in the generally Fire-Aspected Gens turned his attention to treating the initial victims, and began with her; Cygnes survived, but the Wood Aspect, drained from his work on the young Exalt, did not.

Cygnes did not take it well, especially as – now immune by her survival – she watched the rest of her Gens fall around her. She worked as hard as she could to help the survivors, but Medicine had never been one of her interests, and there was little she could do except to watch as her family died. Stripped of them, she swore her undying loyalty to the new Shogun and spent a frantic few months gathering all the forces that survived and welding them into a new army. By the time that was finished, it had become abundantly clear that the Fire Aspect's energy needed an outlet – and, not coincidentally, the outer provinces needed support. The solution was to send Cygnes off – without the army, which they felt was needed there – to the distant province of the Mithric Isle, in the hopes that she could get it into shape, and that doing so would finally provide a sufficient challenge for her eternal energy.



Strength ●●●
Dexterity ●●●●●
Stamina ●●

Charisma ●●●
Manipulation ●●
Appearance ●●●●

Perception ●●●
Intelligence ●●
Wits ●●


Using bright green for Aspect, dark green for Favored, will change formatting if needed.

Linguistics ●●
Lore ●●

Awareness ●●
Integrity ●●● (+1 keeping her head)
Resistance ●
War ●●●●● (+1 complex tactics)

Dodge ●●●
Melee ●●●●● (+1 teamwork)
Presence ●●●●● (+1 being inspiring)
Socialize ●●●

Bureaucracy ●●●
Investigation ●●
Martial Arts ●
Sail ●

Archery ●
Performance ●
Ride ●

Backgrounds, Artifacts and Equipment

Breeding Five
Arys Cygnes was not an heir of the Shogun.

If a certain arranged marriage had gone through, a cousin of hers would have been. The Contagion had spoiled the deal, but Gens Arys remained as it had always been, a strong supporter of the Shogunate. Born of such pure blood, Arys Cygnes showed it constantly, in great things as in small; in her burning devotion to the Shogun and her constant dedication to being the best as much as in the reddish tint to her cinnamon skin or the way her near-black hair glowed red when the sunlight shone through it.

Artifact 3
Jade Reinforced Breastplate (Artifact 2)

Carved of red jade, if not augmented as Instant is, this breastplate is one of a large batch manufactured by Gens Arys to protect their young Exalts approximately 200 years ago, during a gap in the fighting large enough for the usually warlike Gens to turn their attention to efficiency. This particular one was given to Cygnes when she headed off for her first command, and she has seen no reason since to change it.
Instant – Red Jade Reaper Daiklaive (Artifact 2)

Carved of red jade with twin razor-sharp edges, the only bit of potentially-unnecessary decoration on the blade is the flame-shaped spiral around the hearthstone socket – and even that, when appraised by a knowing eye, becomes an elegant, efficient method of redirecting the hearthstone's Essence. Clearly a blade meant for a warrior – or at least, someone whose sense of aesthetics was geared towards cold, pure efficiency.
Eternity – Black Jade Reaper Daiklaive (Artifact 2)
Carved of black jade, Eternity's edges are not quite as sharp as that of its sister blade, but the black jade is sturdier, holding up under any blow. The spiral around its heartstone socket is not a depiction of flames; rather, it is a spiraling scatter of dots, like a night studded with stars.

Made by an aging crafter of Gens Arys by the name of Arys Petraron at the request of his wife, as a gift for her protegée Arys Cygnes, and given to the girl upon her fifteenth birthday. The material was gathered, as much as possible, from within the lands ruled by the Gens, and Arys-employed alchemists applied the special treatments to bring out the innate qualities of the jade, before an Arys crafter forged them. The blades, therefore, were well on their way to being traditional Artifacts of the Gens... before the Contagion came along, and put the concept of “the Gens” into severe peril.

The weapon is never just a weapon. It is a symbol, a memory, a legacy. It brings power and also danger, from the will of the bearer to challenge herself or from the will of others to take it away. And it has meaning, beyond the simple tool. I leave it to you to discover what that may be, great-niece; what would be the point of the gift, if I left you nothing to discover?

Artifact 2
Faithful Guardians – Jade Hearthstone Bracers
One of the few Artifacts Cygnes claimed after the fall of her Gens. The bracers are made of red jadesteel alloy and shaped like a dragon, which coils a long snaky body and longer tail about the wearer's wrist and lower arm, the last twist of the tail reaching nearly to the elbow. The head of the dragon lies over the back of the wearer's hand, slightly raised as if ready to breath fire.

By tradition, these bracers belong to the eldest Exalt of the direct line of Arys; rumor holds that they date back to the First Age itself. Anyone so impious as to wonder whether this means they were crafted by Anathema, however, is quickly hushed: clearly, no Anathema could produce such reverent craftsmanship, and even the mere suggestion is enough to result in some very angry Fire Aspects indeed.

Manse 3: Arys Cygnes is attuned to many of the surviving manses of Gens Cygnes. Hearthstone: Stone of Resilient Bamboo, Gemstone of Last Resort, Stone of Humble Glory
She'd left most of the hearthstones for the Shogun's people, and the distant cousins who supported them; they would need them more than she did. She took only three with her, the number for which she had settings; and of the three, not even the most powerful, but rather the ones of which she was most fond. If the province was enough of a mess, she might have to be a one-woman army; very well.

She could do that.

Resources 2
An operating fund which Cygnes took with her, drawn from the funds of Gens Arys, less the expenses of her trip to Tianrasia so far.

Subtle Elemental Trick

First War Excellency
Enfolded in the Dragon's Wings

First Melee Excellency
Faithful Hound Defense
Dragon-Graced Weapon

First Presence Excellency

Combat Stats

Join Combat: 4


Instant: Speed 3, Accuracy 14, Damage 10L/2, Rate 3, PDV 6, Tags: O
Eternity: Speed 3, Accuracy 14, Damage 8L/2, Rate 3, PDV 7, Tags: O

Dodge DV: 6 (12) (-1 mobility)

Parry DV: 7 (13) (Dex 5 + Melee 5 + Eternity)

Permanent Charms (Effects)

Bashing: 11B
Lethal:12L (Hearthstone provides full soak)
Aggravated: 10A

Bashing: 8B
Aggravated: 8A

-0 [ ]
-1 [ ][ ]
-2 [ ][ ]
-4 [ ]
X [ ]

Social Attacks

Presence (Charisma): Speed 4, Accuracy 8, Rate 2, PDV 4, Tags:
Presence (Manipulation): Speed 4, Accuracy 7, Rate 2, PDV 4, Tags:
Performance (Charisma): Speed 6, Accuracy 4, Rate 1, PDV 2, Tags:
Performance (Manipulation): Speed 6, Accuracy 3, Rate 1, PDV 2, Tags:

Note: Appearance modifier and Specialties not included.

Mental Defenses
Dodge MDV: 7 (15)/8 (16) vs. attempts to knock her off balance.
Parry MDV: 4 (8) Manip/4 (7) Cha


Compassion ●●
Conviction ●●●
Temperance ●●●●●
Valor ●●

Great Curse: Cygnes does not take well to the world failing to live up to her standards... and when it is she who fails, that hurts most of all.

Intimacies (8/12)
The Shogunate (loyalty)
Her Gens (regretful loyalty)
The Shogun (loyalty, respect, concern)
Faithful Guardian (due reverence)
Eternity and Instanteneity (proud affection tinged with sorrow)
Rebels against the law (hatred)
Law and Order (firm devotion)

Realm (native), Seatongue

Willpower: 10/10

Permanent: ●●
Personal: Current 17/17
Peripheral: 17/35
Committed:18 (5 on Eternity, 5 on Instant, 4 on Faithful Guardians, 4 on Reinforced Breastplate)

Bonus Points and XP:

Bonus Points:
1 on Compassion 2
2 on Presence 5
2 on War 5
4 on Breeding 5
5 on WP
2 on Temperance 5
2 on Melee 5

Unspent: 10

2 pre-session bonus
4 Session 1
4 Session 2

Spent: 0
0 on Charms
0 on Attributes
0 on Abilities
0 on Specialities

Initial ficlet
Arys Cygnes was not given to showy displays.

She was not given to showy displays, even though every bone of her body, every drop of blood in her veins, and every spark of her soul burned for combat. She was not given to showy displays, because showy displays were stupid. Arys Cygnes succeeded. She was not stupid.

Her family were dead. That was a failure, but it was not one on which she cared to think. She was alive, which was, right at the moment, what mattered. The future was illusionary; the past, lost forever. The present was what mattered.

The present. In the present, she had an opponent to fight. Not the disease, but the vultures that followed it: civil dissension, bandits and upstart would-be lords, and worse. She also had resources to use; the resources of a province, or what was left of it. In her cabin, the Daughter of Hesiesh steadied the parchment on the table. There was no inkpot. Golden eyes traced down the lines, memorizing each squiggle of ink. Each piece of data. Data long out of date, but all she had. Future was future. Present was present. Present time on the ship was to be prioritized, so she traced through reports; most of it would be inaccurate by the time she arrived, but most of it was not all. That made it, at the moment, the highest priority use of her time.

So she studied by the light of a sputtering candle-lantern, one hand on the parchment to keep it from falling as the ship heaved beneath her, making its way, slowly and steadily, towards the Mithric Isle.
Second ficlet
The lantern had gone out.

Arys Cygnes snapped her fingers; it lit again obediently, flickered, and died. The problem, then, would be that the candle had run down. She could get another – but perhaps not immediately; supplies were limited on a long sea voyage, and candles for the Exalted passenger to stay up late reading had hardly been a high priority. She closed her eyes instead, and reviewed her plans. For that, she did not need paper.

Information and establishing authority were her first priorities; they went hand in hand. Authority without knowledge was idiotic, and knowledge without authority was powerless. As far as she knew, Gens Ryanno was gone; certainly a number of Infallible Messengers had been unable to reach their targets, and they had not received any themselves in the time before she had embarked... although any surviving Sorcerers in Gens Ryanno might simply have failed to reach their targets, much the same problem her people had had. The top five – Dragons, no, the top forty-seven people she would have thought to direct such a message to were all, themselves, dead.

An unnecessary digression. She pushed the memories of corpses from her mind and refocused, there in the silent dark, upon the present. Gens Ryanno could be either alive or dead. Therefore, discovering which was her first step; Gens Ryanno defined her authority. If they lived, she would have a chain of command, or else an equal ally, depending on the skill and sense of the remaining members. If they were all dead, she would be the chain of command – at which point the first priority would be talking her army out of wherever they had scattered to and back into being an army, and training new recruits to fill the gaps. Second, or perhaps simultaneous, would be resolving any breakdowns in law and order. Any major uprisings or bandit lords would provide proof of the army's skill – and hers. Those lacking, simple peacekeeping duty could supply the necessary sense of comfort. The important thing was to establish a sense of safety and authority as quickly as possible. She'd seen what could happen where those were lacking.

Thus, the plans sans Gens Ryanno. With them, the same with potential modifications – they might, after all, have a better idea – except that she would be advising them and, most likely, carrying it out under their authority. If the Gens survived only in one or more non-Exalts, the situation would be more delicate – depending, of course, on what odds said Heirs had to Exalt, but even a non-Exalted heir of Gens Ryanno would be a significant force. Tact, then, and politeness, and calm authority, she decided for the fifth time. And have a plan. Always have a plan. This plan lacked precise details, and would until she got there; depending on the circumstances, she might have to merely fill them in, or make major modifications, or even scrap the plan entirely. That didn't matter. Having the plan was no cost, and might be a benefit; like her studies, it was an efficiency-maximizing action. Or, as her first tutor had put it, doing the best she could with what she had.

Overhead, the deck creaked as a sailor moved across. Far off, she heard a gull's cry – did it mean they were approaching land? A small island, more likely. Landfall hadn't been expected for another three days. Sailors spoke in casual voices, the words hard to make out through several layers of wooden planking, but tones unalarmed. No worry, then.

Arys Cygnes leaned over to the chest stored inconveniently but efficiently underneath the table, and fetched another candle. She had work to do.

Part one
“Arise, Arys Cygnes, youngest scion of Gens Arys.”

Cygnes rose fluidly. The chill of the marble floor brushed against her legs one last time, then was gone. Her boots, heavy steel for this most solemn of occasions, rang gently against the marble as she put her feet down. She raised her head, for the first time this meeting meeting her most highly revered six-times-great-aunt's eyes.

Arys Sarona's hair was a deep crimson hue, long and elegant, tumbling over her shoulders; here and there it was gathered up with clasps of gold and garnet, which sent back dancing flashes when the Master of the House turned her head. Her skin was a pale shade of ruby, and her silken, jeweled robe of red and gold was, Cygnes knew, specially reinforced to stand the heat. The sleeves ended a little past her shoulders, leaving most of her arms bare and making the twin dragons of red jade that twisted over her forearms even more obvious. The Master of Gens Arys did not wear jewelry of gold or silver; the silent shout of those red jade bracers was boast enough.

Here am I, the greatest scion of Gens Arys. Face me and die.

Sarona's lips rose into the faintest of smiles as Cygnes met her golden eyes with her own, less flame-like but no less determined. “You have pleased us well,” the Master said, her voice ringing with a quiet authority. “You show great promise. We would see that that promise is not wasted.”

“Command, and I shall obey,” Cygnes responded, meeting those flaming eyes again. Challenge me, she willed, though she did not say it. Sparring can only do so much. Give me a test.

Her great-aunt's lips rose just the tiniest fraction of an inch higher, but Cygnes knew the resulting expression well, and pride surged through her, though her expression did not change. Arys Sarona's voice rang out.

“The Fair Folk press on our northern border, as well you know. I will have them be your first training. Go, join our allies at Glacier Point, and know that you represent Gens Arys as you go.” Her great-aunt's eyes flashed. “I expect you back with no less than five Raksha heads.”

Cygnes bowed fluidly. “I shall not disappoint you.” I wonder if you would prefer five or six. Pity I'll have to see how many raids come... and what my troops look like, don't forget that, and... Her mind was already racing into calculations, wondering what she could expect, what she could hope for... Her aunt inclined her head.

“You have a wing of legionaries. Do not waste them. You are dismissed.”

Cygnes bowed once more, took three steps back, turned, and walked away. The marble rang with her footsteps, steel upon stone.

Part two
“Tarin Oldra,” the young Wood Aspect said, in the tone of one who had heard too many jokes about her name and was just about ready to punch the next person who made one through a wall. “Temporary command, Glacier Point. And you?”

“Arys Cygnes, Gens Arys reinforcements. I have a wing of legionaries behind me. A pleasure to meet you, Commander. Where do I put my people?” Cygnes kept her tone brisk and businesslike, and watched as the girl's tense posture relaxed. She didn't blame her; she herself had had teasing in her youth, and while she had found that simply ignoring the teasers did wonders, not everyone was good at ignoring people. She kept her own posture reasonably open, not smiling-friendly but military-practical, and was rewarded with a nod and a pointing finger.

“The west barracks are clear, probably the best for you. The Fifty-Fourth just marched out of the East, but they left a good bit of stuff, and they're expected back in a couple weeks – there was report of an Anathema, and they went to deal with it.” Thus explaining why this girl was temporary commander. Were they the only dragon-blooded at the base? Did you know this, aunt? I hope so. Cygnes nodded. “Thank you. I'll see them there, then, and then I expect I should review local reports – I'm trained as a tactician and melee, command and individual. You?”

“Command and archery, doctor, what you'd expect. I can also fix just about anything, which is why they sent me out here – half Fifty-Fourth's command's suits weren't working. I was supposed to be five days on the road home by now, but Anathema...” She shrugged quickly. “We serve.”

“We do,” Cygnes said, taking an instant liking to her, the girl who handled home leave lost and command of an unfamiliar post with only a shrug. She turned back to her troops, and gave the sign; together, they began to march towards the West Barracks, Cygnes leading. She turned back to the Tarin, who was moving along with them, and added, “I'm not much good with machines, but I can sort files, if you've any that need dealing with.” A pause, as she grinned. “Or argue with stubborn diplomats.”

The Tarin hesitated a moment, then grinned back, a flash of white in a sun-browned face (how she managed that in the middle of the snowy north, Cygnes had no clue. Glare from the snow, perhaps). “Sounds useful, especially if any raksha come calling. Word is we aren't to expect them, but...”

Cygnes nodded. “Getting fair warning would be useful, but we can't depend on it. All right. Why don't we get to work on coordinated exercises, once my men have settled in? If we need to fight, we'll need to have worked together. I'll supervise moving in and then find you – where? - to work out the specifics.”

“My office should work. In through the door, fifth left, three sets of stairs, third right, all the way at the end of the hall. Do you need me to write that down for you?”

Cygnes considered her odds of keeping the directions in mind through her work of settling her soldiers, and nodded. “Yes, please.”

The Tarin produced a set of wax tablets, wrote briefly, and handed them over. “There you are, I'll see you then. We can plan things. And at least,” she added hopefully, “the fifty-fourth should be back within a couple of weeks.”

Five days later, they got the news.

Part three
Timing is everything.

Banners snapped in the breeze. Red and gold for Arys, green and gold for Tarin, and high above them all the Shogun's banner holding place of pride. Cygnes knew without looking, but she looked anyway, up at the banners high above her little command and then back to their opponents.

Their banners were simpler, rough-cut leather edged with fringe, with the rough shapes of animals traced upon them in a dark reddish brown. Overdoing it, Cygnes thought, to trace the shapes in blood, but she was not surprised; it was very... raksha of them. Under the tallest banner, whose indistinct shape nevertheless projected the frightening spectre of a tiger ready to pounce (don't ask how. Raksha), their leader stood; Bjorn of the Tiger, a tall man in dirty armor, a mixture of leather and mail, wearing the pelt of a snowy-white tiger. The paws came down to shield his hands, the fanged head nearly engulfed his no-less-fanged one; it must have been enormous when it was...

Raksha. Gossamer. It was never alive.

Behind Bjorn stood his banner-bearer and two champions, flanked by their banner-bearers as Cygnes was by hers; the rest of their forces, like hers, stood back a ways. Tarin Oldra was not much of a one for parleys, so Cygnes stood alone under the Shogun's flag. She glanced over her opponent's champions, calculating; one wore legionary armor like her own (if not, like her own, made of Jade), but battered and worn; the tattered remnants of a surcoat bore no recognizable device. Pure Raksha invention, then. The other was young and, if possible, even more ridiculously musclebound than Bjorn. Second wolf, Cygnes quietly labeled him, probably looking to be first. It was amazing how much you could figure out about Raksha social mechanics just from their clothing.

But then, that was how they defined themselves. Roles, not people. Cygnes set her feet in the slush and placed a hand back upon the staff of her own familiar banner of Gens Arys, falling back into her own role. “This is the land of the Shogunate!” she bellowed, the dutiful legionary commander. “Remove yourselves or be annihilated!”

Bjorn laughed at her. Of course he did; he was Raksha, the barbarian warlord to the last inch. Cygnes stifled the flame of rage that surged in her heart, redirected it into the legionary commander's rough offense, and glared at the opposing host. “Give you another option,” the barbarian offered. “Take pretty polished soldiers, go back to pretty polished city, give treasure and land and maybe you not feed pretty black birds.” His troops, behind him, roared. Cygnes could feel her own people getting restive; she quelled them with a tiny motion of her hand. Well-trained, they subsided, and the commander scowled at the barbarian. “The Shogunate declines your terms. Men, fall into ranks!” They were, of course, already in ranks; ranks which shifted to admit her and the banner-bearers as they started back. She moved three steps, listening intently, then snapped, “Boys? Run,” and spun, thrusting Eternity between herself and the sweeping axe of Bjorn of the Tiger.

They met with the sound of a ringing bell and the black jade, as always, stood strong. The banner-bearers ran, her troops leaving ranks open to admit them; Bjorn snarled like the great beast from which he took his name, and the wave of barbarians rushed after them.

They hit the line before it could reform; that, of course, had been the point of the exercise from her opponents' point of view, in second-thought if not in first-thought. Raksha, whatever they might act like, were not stupid. Cygnes yelled “Retreat! Keep in order, damnit, keep in order!” and fell back herself, warding off Bjorn's blows with Eternity as Instant lashed out, striking no more than a wasp strikes, or a thorn; a few streaks of red adorned the raksha's already-bloody form, that was all. That was all right, he was not going all out either. No doubt it suited him to take a blow or two from the brave legionary commander before she perished. That was all right; it suited Cygnes not to kill him yet, either. “Hold lines!” she shouted over her shoulder, looking back. There, the pass through the ravine, wooded on both sides. “Hold, damnit!” The troops began to break and run; dangerous, deadly dangerous, for all the protection their armor could provide. But then, a single wing of legionaries had been nowhere near enough to handle an army of hobgoblins in the first place. Cygnes spun away from Bjorn as the last soldier reached the gap, and leapt – over the heads of the pursuing hobgoblins, Bjorn's axe impacting her side as she went, but it struck solid jade and slid, leaving only a nasty bruise, and she landed solidly on her own two feet in the mouth of the ravine. Soldiers behind her, every blessed one of them. Hobgoblins in front of her... most of them, but she couldn't worry about the ones at her back, the troops would have to take care of them. Also, hobgoblins between herself and Bjorn. Breathing-space; she didn't need him dead yet, and she really didn't need an anima flare in a wooded ravine, even in the perpetual winter of the north.

Behind her, the clatter of blows and short, brief screams or howls or oaths rang out, telling of the fight; Cygnes gauged angles and directions in her head, figured out more or less what her men were doing – rearguard, fighting retreat, bless the well-trained soldiers for good thinking. “Stand strong!” she called back. “Keep them off your comrades! Watch out for each other!” - a real order, and the men obeyed. She spun back to barely block the nearest barbarian warrior, a tough-skinned man with the cloven hooves of a goat, then braced herself in the narrow ravine and fought her way back, step by slow step, holding the ground for her men. She husbanded her strength as best she could, lashing out for a killing blow only when she saw a particularly good opportunity (after all, there would always be another Raksha behind), but even so, she saw red light beginning to reflect off the snow around her. At her feet, it began to melt. Too fast, she was going too fast; twenty-five paces more to the valley, and she had to have something left when she got there. She eased back on the defense and took an axe in the arm, not her best moment, but the dull brown stone set in Eternity's socket shone, and Cygnes felt the sting subside. She parried the next blow from her opponent, a tiger-man with glowing green eyes, and slew him on the next stroke. Beyond, Bjorn grinned at her. Cygnes felt annoyed, then silly. Of course he'd come to face her, that was how the story went – but holding him off in the narrow ravine was going to be even harder than holding off the rest had been, and if she killed him, they might break and run.

Twenty-four paces to the ravine. Twenty-three... She gave ground slowly, watching Bjorn, bloody daiklaives raised in the guard position. The Raksha leader looked back at her, his own axe dripping with blood (From where? The only one he was fighting was me/Raksha, silly) and, to her surprise, spoke.

“You an honorable woman.” The barbarian leader looked slowly down, at the corpses at his feet. Up, at Cygnes, blood dripping from her arm, barring his way. Of course, so that's his story. And I look wounded; second-thought, he thinks he can take me. “Your men run; you stand. Face me, single combat, your men go free.”

That's not the plan. Cygnes's mind spun, calculating. Killing him bought her very little; the original plan had used Cygnes primarily as rearguard, and had definitely not allowed for any duels...

No, that's wrong. It buys me time. Cygnes watched the Raksha for a moment of carefully-calculated silence, then jerked her head back, indicating the pass behind her. “Terms accepted. Back there, this place opens up, there's a valley – damned anima won't set the woods on fire. Fight you there?”

Bjorn nodded, obviously pleased, and called the terms back over his shoulder. Cygnes turned back to call to her troops, saw the one remaining bloody wolf-man lowering his axes and backing away as she did so – he'd heard, then. To her people, she called, “Fighting a single combat – truce for its duration. After, his forces won't harry any retreat. Fall back to the valley, form ranks!” Let them think that was her plan, getting her people organized again. She turned back to Bjorn, lowered her daiklaives, and very slowly backed up; he advanced, equally slowly. Behind them, the ravine opened out into a wider valley. Once there had been a stream flowing through; this, Cygnes suspected, had been a lake, but it had been a long time ago. Now, the valley floor was covered with snow, blood and neatly ordered legionaries, a few leaning on their comrades' shoulders. Three places were empty, blast. She looked them over, while Bjorn watched, then told them, “Continue the retreat,” and turned back to Bjorn, silently raising her blades in salute.

The Raksha hadn't moved before her blades rose, she'd've sworn – and yet, before she could blink, his axe was leaping for her throat. Cygnes wrenched Eternity through the air the bare few inches to block him with all the strength she possessed, and yet the blade seemed to move like molasses, too slow, too slow. The high Jade collar of the armor was slightly more useful – the axe-blade slid and struck, instead, the arm holding Eternity, slicing it open to the bone.

Blood spurted. Bone started to crack. And as red blood spattered onto the hearthstone in Eternity's hilt, the stone shone a quiet deep brown. The blood sank into the surface. And a quiet, familiar numbness began to spread up Cygnes's arm where there should have been blazing pain. The bone that should have been cracking held together, and the arm that ought to have been weak from bloodloss rose, as Cygnes smiled like a leaping flame and took a single step inside the long axe's range.

Instant struck once, twice, thrice, with real strength beyond each blow, as the forgotten lakebed exploded with flame. Snow melted, and beneath it the frozen grass crisped, a thousand little wisps of flame filling the valley as they burned, and were ash, and gone. Among the flames a bird stretched its wings, and Cygnes imagined she could hear its cry as the wings beat once, twice, thrice, in time with her strokes, and the Raksha stumbled back, bleeding, from each one, a look of shock on his face. She'd struck both arms nearly as hard as he'd hit her, and the injuries smouldered with the flame of her element, blackened burns surrounding the actual cuts. The Raksha snarled and swung his axe at her; again, before she was even quite aware that the weapon had started to move, it was near her chest, passing under the blade she'd meant to ward with. It bit into her other arm, and again blood flowed, but less this time; Cygnes let the brown gem shine, spreading familiar numbness up that arm as well, but did not have to worry, this time, about shattering bone. The warlord's blood splashed the soil, and his strength with it. She smiled, quietly, precisely, and stepped in. Instant sung in her hand, once, twice, thrice, joined by Eternity.

The first blow Bjorn took on his arm, and the tiger-skin blocked the blow as solidly as her own jade might have done. But as he blocked Instant, Eternity cut a swath through his side, and as he moved to block Eternity's next blow, Instant struck again. Few are the warriors who can hold up against six blows at once while wounded, even among the Raksha, and Bjorn, Cygnes saw to her relief, was not one of them. He crumpled in a heap of bloody gore, eyes rolling up in the ruins of his head. Faintly, she heard him whisper, “Why won't... you... die...?” Then the breath ceased. Cygnes straightened, facing the Raksha champions and host. Steaming blood dripped down to spatter the frozen brown soil, hissing gently as it struck. The Raksha champions looked at each other for a moment. Cygnes could guess the calculations running in their heads.

Her trick had taken Bjorn, which neither of them could do or they'd probably not have been following him. But she'd been at her best. Right now, even an ignoramus could tell she was running out of motes.

While they were still in their prime.

The one she'd mentally labeled second wolf spoke first. “Father!” he cried, in a loud ringing voice. “May your ghost have peace, I swear by the blood that flows in my veins, I will avenge you! Thy death shall not rest unpunished!” He spun to look at the hobgoblin horde and threw out a dramatic hand, pointing at Cygnes. “There she stands, the killer of your commander! He made you great, he led you out to glory and triumph, and now his corpse cools and you stand here and shuffle your feet?!” They roared, and he drew the great two-handed blade that hung at his belt. As he did, six dozen weapons rasped clear of their sheaths. “For vengeance!” he cried, and charged towards Cygnes.

The second Raksha Noble did not shout. Indeed, his voice was quiet enough that it really should not have been audible across a valley full of charging, roaring barbarians, but of course it was. He looked Cygnes in the eyes as he said calmly, “Your men will be spared. But you have killed my friend. Your death awaits you,” and drew his sword, beginning to advance among the others.

Cygnes looked a moment in silence at the charging raksha. Then she raised Eternity high. Sunlight sparkled off the black jade, and filled the air with flashes –

Or was that the arrows, pouring from the trees?

Cygnes dropped flat as Tarin Oldra, youngest scion of Clan Tarin, shouted “Leader!” and the new leader fell with seventeen arrows in him and a decidedly greenish tinge to his skin. The single remaining Noble Raksha looked at Cygnes. Looked at the arrows, and the twirling mass of thorns at the edge of the trees. A single badly injured Fire Aspect had turned into an army and a perfectly healthy Wood Aspect, and Raksha, whatever they might seem, were not stupid.

“Ambush! Fall back to the plains before they cut us off, go go go!” he yelled, and the rocks resounded with his voice, the old tired warrior remembering his training (training he never had, he's Raksha, don't feel sorry for him, it's only a story.) Cygnes raised Instant in signal, sending a burst of flame up into the air above them, and called out “Get 'em, boys!” And from the ravine behind the raksha, where they'd “retreated” to, most of a wing of carefully disciplined legionaries emerged, blades drawn, and marched forward.

Part four
“In the names of all the gods there are, were, and will ever be,” demanded Oldra in frustration, “what did you do to yourself?!”

“Magically sealed and ignored pain,” Cygnes muttered, faintly. “Stone of Last Resort. Has a price, as all things do. I told you to see to the men first.”

“Yes, you did. And then you fell over and didn't wake up for twelve hours.” Oldra reached up to swipe a forest-green lock out of her eyes; it was sticky, damp with sweat. “What do you think I've been doing?”

“Uh.” Cygnes considered this. She hadn't realized that twelve hours had passed. That was... disturbing. “My job?”

“That too. Now hold still.” The stone had stopped working once the fight was over, and Cygnes could feel the raging pain again – raging, perhaps, more vigorously as revenge for her earlier defiance of it. It flared as Oldra did something to her arm, and she did her best to hold still and not scream. Let the doctor work.

“I've heard of those stones,” Oldra said in a dire tone; Cygnes turned her head just slightly and saw she was realigning fragments of bone. Well, that was disturbing. “Rots the wound, it'll take months to heal. Why would you use one?”

“Fifty-fourth will be... ow! … back in a couple days. Doesn't matter then. Raksha always have... youch! … something tricky. Had to be... agh! … trickier.”

“I know that! Why do you think we had the ambush? You could have just signaled an attack as soon as you got back, like the original plan!”

“... wasn't sure you could get three Noble Raksha with archers. Second attack wouldn't've been unexpected. Besides, he challenged me.”

“Musclebound idiot!” Oldra swiped at the lock of hair as it fell back into her eyes again. “You could have refused the challenge!”

“I'm alive. So are you. Why are you complaining?” Cygnes asked with the last of her clarity. The arm was hurting like hell, and the world was beginning to blur. “We held the border 'til the Fifty-Fourth had a chance to get back, and we saved our troops for the next time.

“That's enough...”

Part five
The Wood Aspect's half-fond, half-frustrated expression faded in feverish dream, becoming the dark, worried eyes of another Wood Aspect, leaning over her with a concerned expression as he coughed, deep racking coughs that shook his whole body, became...


The Fire Aspect shook her head and started awake, staring down at the message that lay before her. Her thin, wizened hands looked strange against it, the hands of an old woman, not a young girl. Sarona's bracers looked stranger against them, mark of the eldest survivor of the pure blood. She blinked the tears away from her eyes without really noticing – crying, now, was as normal as eating and breathing, something her body did and she paid no mind to – and let her eyes trace again over the lines of the letter.

I regret to inform you of the death of Tarin Oldra. My sister was a doctor to the end, and she died saving my life. Your cause is noble, but Gens Tarin has no help to give. The border is disarmed, and if the Fair Folk have not reached us by the time this letter reaches you, I will be amazed.

If you've resources to spare, send them to the border, I pray you. Our legion was decimated by the plague...

“Any luck?” Her cousin's voice, from the next room, was weary with sleepless nights.

“... Not yet,” Cygnes responded, rubbing her eyes. “Gens Tarin wants help from us.”

The response was a bitter laugh, before her cousin appeared, leaning in the doorway. “Cygnes? What are we going to do?”

Cygnes didn't hesitate. “Support the Shogun. Rebuild the Gens, make alliances, hold off the Wyld – gods, Tarin deserves our assistance! But right now, we can't afford it. The Shogun has to be our first priority.”

A tired nod was all the answer she got. Cygnes looked at her cousin, and made a snap decision. “Get some rest. You'll function better for it.”

That, too, garnered a weary nod, and her cousin staggered away. Cygnes rubbed sleep from her eyes, and stared back at the message. The words blurred before her eyes.

Forget the past. Forget the future, Arys Cygnes, eldest scion of Gens Arys.

The time has come to make good on all that promise.

Arise. Your Shogun needs you.

2013-01-09, 08:13 PM
Presenting the least formal socialite known to this campaign.

Just don't talk about her imaginary friend...

http://img805.imageshack.us/img805/390/tek51095d5cadf4f9545613.png http://img689.imageshack.us/img689/3081/tek51095de72bc137902339.pnghttp://img266.imageshack.us/img266/7567/tek5109629360d530325955.png
Name: Rusett Crowned in Amethyst aka Bianfu Xujia
Anima: The yellow-orange flames of dried leaves set on fire

Motivation: Prove herself worthy of her Exaltation by her own terms


Primary (Physical/Social/Mental): 7
Secondary (Physical/Social/Mental): 6
Tertiary (Physical/Social/Mental): 4

Strength ●●
Dexterity ●●●●●
Stamina ●●●

Charisma ●●●●
Manipulation ●
Appearance ●●●●

Perception ●●
Intelligence ●●
Wits ●●●
Abilities (Specializations +)
[Note: Place [A]spect and [F]avoured tags, for clarity.]
Total without BP/XP: 35
13 of these MUST be placed into Aspect or Favoured. Also, I placed Dots where Dots must be. (Archery 1, Lore 2, Martial Arts 1, Melee 1, Performance 1, Presence 1, Ride 1, Socialize 2 and War 1.) You cannot remove these Dots, or Peleps Deled will come for you for a discussion on literature. These dots count towards the Total and the requirement.

Linguistics ●●
Lore ●●
Stealth ●●●

Awareness ●●●
Integrity ●●●
Resistance ●●●
War ●

Athletics ●●●
Melee ●
Presence ●●●(+1 Snark)
Socialize ●●●

Larceny ●●●
Martial Arts ●●●●● (+3 Unarmed)

Archery ●
Performance ●

Backgrounds, Artifacts and Equipment:Backgrounds:
Breeding 3

Whoever her father was, he was definitely well-bred. Like, really well-bred. Her mother was...well, not exactly high-class, putting it delicately, though the wealthy did visit her often. Ahem. Not that being a noble brat helped her any when her mother caught the plague. And the fact that she had no clue who her father was other than "probably powerful, if I'm any judge" meant that she wasn't going to be accepting any marriage proposals out of fear of who, exactly, she was marrying.

Cult 2

Russet was born a street rat, and was a source of inspiration among them when got adopted by a gens. To many of them, she is a symbol of hope for the downtrodden, an example to the poor and wretched.

Reputation 3

Russet's Reputation is twofold. Among the commoners and street urchins, she is a symbol of what they could be, if they work hard enough. Among high society, however, she will forever remain "that adopted street rat," someone who while charming and unique in gens society, cannot be allowed to be more than an idle curiosity and certainly can't be allowed to have actual influence.

Sifu 1: Crazy Ninja Girl

In all honesty, Russet has no idea who her mentor actually is; she was practicing her kata one evening when she suddenly arrived, declared her current skill level "inadequate," and then proceeded to demonstrate this after Russet attacked her. Ever since then, they've been meeting weekly for training.

She knows that Crazy Ninja Girl (as she's dubbed her) is something different, but she honestly doesn't have a clue what, and her efforts to ask have been gently rebuffed.

As it turns out, Rusett's mentor is Seer Forging Metal, a Bronze Faction Chosen of Endings who Rusett knew as a fellow street rat during her childhood.

After noticing that an old acquaintance of hers had exalted, Seer decided to repay an old debt and help the young Dragon-Blood out.

Artifact 3 (Jade Perfected Kata Bracers, Silken Armor)
Artifacts and Equipment:
Artifact: 4 Jade Perfected Kata Bracers, Gift from a Crazy Girl
Adds (Essence) to Accuracy, Defense, Soak, and Damage, and adds 2 to the rate of unarmed attacks. Allows her to parry lethal attacks unarmed, and choose between lethal or bashing damage for all martial arts attacks.

"I'm going away," she says, and Crazy Ninja Girl nods.

"I know."

"Like, far away."

"I know."

"To get married. Since my gens isn't exactly pleased with me."

"I know."

She makes a face. "Would you stop saying that?"

"...have something for you."

She doesn't know how the Malfeas her sparring partner (was she really a partner if she always won?) managed to hide a parcel on her person. There hadn't been any lumps that she could see. Not that she had looked closely, of course.

"...And what are these?"

At first glance, they looked like hearthstone bracers; but they weren't, not really. They were far too thin, and made of black jade, with some weird metal writing (yes, she knew Old Realm. But this was fancy Old Realm cursive that she hadn't quite mastered. Stupid tutors). There wasn't any sort of socketing for hearthstones, and she wasn't able to see how they could even fit on her wrists.

"Something useful. Put them on."


But she touches them, and reaches out with the fire and passion burning within her, and the bracers unravel into long thin ribbons of black marble, swirling around her wrists and up her forearms, fitting as snuggly and comfortably as anything she'd felt before.

"Whoa. Thank..."

Russet looks around to find an empty room.

"...I hate it when she does that."

Artifact: 2, Silken Armor, Training Ji

"You move wrong."

Russet stared at the newcomer, remembered she was currently standing only on one leg, and unceremoniously crashed to the ground.
"...Excuse me?"

"You. Move. Wrong."

"You know," the Dragon-Blood drawled, assuming a form that she had practiced for days to perfect. "Wherever you're from, thems fighting words."

It took maybe ten seconds before she was thrown to the ground. It took another minute before she conceeded defeat.

The newcomer stood over her, a single eyebrow raised, and the sutras inked upon rice paper walls of the dojo behind the violet-eyed girl appearing from nowhere. Wordlessly, she reached out with her hand, helping the young Dragon-Blood back onto her feet.

"So...are you my martial arts tutor or something? Because I already have an ettiquite tutor, a language tutor (who's the same person really, but we do different things on different days), a history tutor, a rhetoritician..."


"...So you're some crazy ninja girl who just walked into the ancestral manse of an an ancient and noble gens to beat up on the new Exalt?"

"Kind of."

"Thanks. You know, I'm kind of tired of being looked down upon just because I didn't grow up with all of this, okay? I mean, really, you adopt me with open arms, and then start implying how I'm not good enough for the family, and how much work needs to be done, and what are you throwing at me?"

"Put it on."

"This...is a really nice ji."

"I know."

"And you're giving it to me?"



"You move wrong."

Crazy Ninja Girl smiles, and assumes a guard position once more.

"Want to move right?"

First Presence Excellency
Martial Arts
Tiger-and-Bear Awareness
Tiger-and-Bear Unity

Prodigious Hero Arete
Style-Discerning Glance
Ten-Thousand Hours Kata
Wheel-Turning Sage King Form
Humble Sage Audacity

Notes on Wheel-Turning Sage King:

Russet has no idea what the actual name of her Celestial Martial Art is , and neither does anyone else she knows (other than Crazy Ninja Girl, and she's not telling).

Combat Stats:
Join Combat: 6

Speed: 4 | Acc: 14 | Damage: 2B | Parry DV: 8 | Rate: 3

Form Charm:
Speed: 4 | Acc: 17 | Damage: 5B | Parry DV: 11 | Rate: 5

Speed: 4 | Acc: 13 | Damage: 5B | Parry DV: 6 | Rate: 2

Form Charm:
Speed: 4 | Acc: 16 | Damage: 8B | Parry DV: 9 | Rate: 4

Speed: 4 | Acc: 13 | Damage: 2B | Parry DV: - | Rate: 3

Dodge DV: 4

Permanent Charms (Effects)

Bashing: 6B
Lethal: 7L
Aggravated: 5A

Bashing: 0B
Lethal: 0L
Aggravated: 0A

-0 [ ]
-1 [ ][ ]
-2 [ ][ ]
-4 [ ]
X [ ]

Mental Defenses:
Dodge MDV: 8

Compassion ●●●
Conviction ●●●●
Temperance ●
Valor ●●

Crazy Aspect Mode: (Differs, see your aspect entry in the DB book)

Her Lost Friend(Sorrow and Guilt)
Crazy Ninja Girl(Exasperated Quasi-Friendship)
Gens Bianfu (Uptight and Terrible)
Chissoku (Shut Up Already, Please?)
Kickass Kung-fu (Awesome)
Poverty (Personal Vendetta Against)
Being Fancy (Shudder)

Seatongue(native), Old Realm

Willpower: 10/10

Permanent: ●●●
Personal: Current (Max) 16/16
Peripheral: 24/34

Bonus Points and XP:
Bonus Points:
-2 Martial Arts 5
-10 Essence 3
-5 Willpower
-1 Virtues
Total: 18/18 | Flaws:

2013-01-09, 08:24 PM
Oh my god Russet's post is the best thing.

2013-01-10, 12:26 AM

... I'm assuming that this is just as incomprehensible to the minders as it is to me.

2013-01-10, 02:25 AM
She was trying to say: Excuse me, but can you let a girl out to Creation?.

Informal doesn't cover half of it.

2013-01-12, 06:37 AM
Why the silence?

2013-01-12, 06:52 AM
I'm waiting for a reply from Aria/someone on Aria's ship.

2013-01-12, 01:53 PM
I am also waiting for a reply from Aria, though I may end up having someone from her ship respond, instead, if Maugan Ra doesn't post soon.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-12, 02:23 PM
Sorry, internet is refusing to work right, posting slowed right down as a result. Don't let me delay too much.

2013-01-12, 05:43 PM
Got it. We'll enjoy having you back when you're available to return.


I have read the posts posted in the IC thread; I like them; I'll respond when Industrious posts or in about four hours, whichever happens first.


It took a little longer than four hours. Sorry about that. Up now, /evilgrin, sleep time.

2013-01-15, 04:50 AM
I see your GK Chesterton references and your evolving signature, Aevylmar. You are a man of taste. My hat's off to you.

2013-01-15, 02:16 PM
Sorry about the delay. Bad news.

Posting now.

2013-01-15, 02:50 PM
@Mechanix: Thank you. I like turn-of-the-last-century poetry, and it's a pleasure to have people recognize my in-jokes. :P

Also, "The ends of the world came marching in" is a great description of the Balorian Crusade.

@Industrious: I really wish that your absence had been unjustified and that nothing had gone wrong. If there's anything I can do to help or make it easier, tell me.

2013-01-17, 04:42 AM
For the record, Hakeo is Kailea's only surviving child of three. He's a God-Blooded of baiji parentage, but is lumped in with Followers rather than counted as an Ally because a) he's low-Inheritance, maybe 1 or 2 at most, and b) he's only nine.

I should really get around to fleshing out Kailea's backgrounds (mostly Followers, Reputation and Artifact).

2013-01-17, 08:17 AM
Russet's posts are, indeed, amazing!

Sorry for slowness on my end - internet troubles, plus being really busy. I should be much better off for the next few days, hopefully. Partially depending on when said internet troubles get fixed, but...

2013-01-17, 11:45 AM
Really, all of you are too kind.

Everyone's making their grand entrances, and Russet's decided to join the crowd instead.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-17, 05:44 PM
Yeah, Aria's a deeply informal person. She might have Socialise 2, and therefore understand how she's meant to act when greeting a fellow Prince of the Earth (and one who might technically outrank her, what with the whole 'dispatched here by the shogunate' thing), but she honestly just doesn't care anymore.

Russet's minders are probably already scheming to make sure the two of them stay far apart. Well, they would be, if they weren't possibly panicking over their charge suddenly vanishing on them.

2013-01-17, 05:58 PM
They don't know that she's gone just yet...:smallbiggrin:

2013-01-17, 06:06 PM
A-hem. Did you say something, Industrious?

On an unrelated note: All this extreme precision with titles is the sort of thing that even most of the courtiers on the Blessed Isle don't really care about, except at state dinners and such. Bianfu Chissoku is just like that.

2013-01-17, 06:36 PM
You think that this would embarrass Russet but you'd be wrong.

Remove the crowd of commoners, and then she'd be nervous. And possibly try to punch something.

2013-01-17, 07:09 PM
... This is going to be a much more cheerful game than I'd expected. I can't say I mind. At all.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-17, 07:19 PM
Aria is firmly of the opinion that the Raksha would like nothing better than for us all to fall into despair and hopelessness in the face of their invasion. And that the best way to give them a gigantic middle finger is to be upbeat and casual all the time.

Alternately, she's just like that. Either works.

2013-01-17, 07:28 PM
Aria is firmly of the opinion that the Raksha would like nothing better than for us all to fall into despair and hopelessness in the face of their invasion.

Depends on the raksha. Some of them would probably love to have valiant foes who fight to the last and die with a smile on their lips; the best way to spite them would be to be really morose, maybe even give up!

But remaining upbeat is a lot more fun.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-17, 07:33 PM
True. That's one of the most annoying thing about the Fair Folk - they're so damnably inconsistent!

That said, I'm finding this rather fun already. Aria is slowly taking shape in my mind as a character... and she's already considerably less serious than I initially imagined her to be.

2013-01-17, 08:05 PM
... This is going to be a much more cheerful game than I'd expected. I can't say I mind. At all.
I was about to say "the epic tragedy of loss and desperation just turned into a comedy of manner," but you have beaten me to it.

Xeifan started out on the drawing board as "depressed," but she turns out to be "self-conscious and shy." I don't mind.

She also kind of talk, like this, with many interruption during her speech, because her sentence are a bit too long, because her train of thought often derails, before getting back on track.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-17, 08:46 PM
I assume we're using some house rules for properly organizing/building a military (and by extension the rest of the city's necessary services), yes? Because all I can find in the rule book is that it takes (Current Magnitude +1) days to recruit a new dot of magnitude for a military unit, and nothing at all about how to actually train them to a decent standard and the like.

Well, without specific Charms, anyway, and presumably it's possible to train a military force up without needing fancy magic abilities...

Also, the given formula makes it much easier to raise a legion than to raise a number of smaller units. I'm forced to assume that this is mostly because the units can only fight in the unit sizes they were raised as or something.

2013-01-17, 09:02 PM
The house rules, or at least the first draft of them, ought to be in the 'Stuff from the recruiting thread I don't want to lose' section of the first post.

Essentially, every month, every heroic mortal or better engaged in running the city gets to roll War or Bureaucracy or Craft or whatever to improve one thing about a city, or one stat of a military unit. If you want to raise more Magnitude for your unit, you do it by saying 'I want to make a War+Int or War+Cha roll to improve the Magnitude stat' and there's a formula for the difficulty which is fairly simple but which I can't be bothered to look up right now.

2013-01-17, 09:16 PM
The house rules, or at least the first draft of them, ought to be in the 'Stuff from the recruiting thread I don't want to lose' section of the first post.

Essentially, every month, every heroic mortal or better engaged in running the city gets to roll War or Bureaucracy or Craft or whatever to improve one thing about a city, or one stat of a military unit. If you want to raise more Magnitude for your unit, you do it by saying 'I want to make a War+Int or War+Cha roll to improve the Magnitude stat' and there's a formula for the difficulty which is fairly simple but which I can't be bothered to look up right now.




What I'm saying is there's a non-zero chance that all my intervals will be spent on Craft rolls. I also have insane Lore and Occult, but they are actually just there as prerequisites for my Crafts.

More seriously, do successes in excess of this Difficulty have any meaningful impact on these improvements?

Maugan Ra
2013-01-17, 09:18 PM
Ah, so there is. Hmm, that makes sense. Excellencies are going to be very useful here, I can tell. Especially since it operates on a monthly scale, so our essence and willpower etc will more than regenerate in between rolls.

One question I do have, actually, is how that system interacts with Terrestrial (Ability) Reinforcement. As an example, Aria has the War excellency for that, so would she be able to use it to bolster the War abilities of a few of her subordinates and use them to effectively train multiple units in parallel?

Of course, a lot of our decisions and such will need to wait until we can find out what's going on with this place, and therefore get a breakdown of what areas we have and at what levels...

2013-01-17, 09:22 PM
@Mechanix: I haven't decided on a precise system, but yes; I think they'll be put towards the next point of the aspect, minus one success for the additional external penalty.

@Maugan Ra: You could, provided they were non-extra characters in a position of authority.

... I feel as though I'm going to need to come up with a precise definition of just who can make these rolls, instead of just 'PCs and important NPCs'.

Also, nobody's asked yet, but: Yes, you can do this and train stats at the same time. I felt I should make that clear.

2013-01-17, 09:33 PM
Assuming that Aria would have at least learned the name of the refugee leader her men were traveling alongside, and that she was dragon-blessed, even if she never actually got around to speaking with her personally before they arrived.
Seems like a safe assumption - I figure they've met at least briefly.

Just a thought, but - what language are we currently speaking? XD
I don't know what language the rest of the conversation was in, but Kailea only speaks Seatongue and Old Realm - I'm assuming Aria used Seatongue.

... interesting question, though; Xeifan doesn't know Seatongue, but Russet's grasp of Realm is iffy. They both know Old Realm, but then Aria wouldn't be able to converse.

2013-01-17, 09:40 PM
Seems like a safe assumption - I figure they've met at least briefly.

I don't know what language the rest of the conversation was in, but Kailea only speaks Seatongue and Old Realm - I'm assuming Aria used Seatongue.

... interesting question, though; Xeifan doesn't know Seatongue, but Russet's grasp of Realm is iffy. They both know Old Realm, but then Aria wouldn't be able to converse.
I only know Old Realm and Realm, so I couldn't follow any conversation in Seatongue.

That's one of the questions that came up during character creation, and which everyone including me promptly forgot save for Russet's hilarious shenanigans XD

Maugan Ra
2013-01-17, 09:41 PM
OK, I'm probably going to want to invest in a 'Training/recruitment' speciality for my War skill, especially since Dragon-Blooded charm dice are capped at the ability rating. Something to consider.

Fortunately, Elite Soldiers (like Aria's veteran troops) have Linguistics 3, so it can probably be assumed one of her two escorts is helping translate as required.

They also have War 3 and Archery 4 (I'm swapping that with the statblock's Melee trait, since they're trained archers more than frontline close combat troops), so I could probably train them to a higher standard and then send them off with boosted Excellencies to help train the other units I'm raising. Force multiplication and all that.

Still, working on establishing a good economy and infrastructure for the city seems like a good place to start. Can't support many troops without them...

2013-01-17, 09:52 PM
@Maugan: Going by the precise definition of the Followers background, I'm pretty sure that your Followers are automatically extras, and therefore not qualified to make training rolls. My intention was that it was Ally class characters and up.

2013-01-17, 10:00 PM
...so I've just realized that our five Dragon-Blooded are an all-female group.

The Realm is known to be matriarchal. Can we assume the same of the Shogunate? I know the fact that all our characters are women is coincidence, but I feel like there's potential in deducing (or more likely making up) new aspects of the setting from the fact that all the scions and heirs sent to that remote but highly important First Age city are women.

2013-01-17, 10:04 PM
... I'd somehow managed not to notice that. Given that the last daimyo of the city you're in is explicitly female, I have very little difficulty assuming that there's some considerable degree of female-preference in the Shogunate, similar to the way there is in the Realm.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-17, 10:08 PM
@Maugan: Going by the precise definition of the Followers background, I'm pretty sure that your Followers are automatically extras, and therefore not qualified to make training rolls. My intention was that it was Ally class characters and up.

Fair enough. They can represent her personal guard, then, and I'll see about finding NPCs to help with the training and suchlike.

In the mean time, let's see what Aria/her soldiers can find out about Tianrasia, with an emphasis on the military side.

And I had almost somehow missed the fact that every character was female. Huh.

2013-01-17, 10:16 PM
@Maugan's OOC comments: Do note that you can expand the force. It's currently a Magnitude 2 (IIRC) military unit; if you wanted, you could expand the force by choosing to improve that unit's Magnitude, using your troops as the core of and underofficers for a new unit.

Also, would you be willing to write up a statblock for the military unit? Your brief description sounds entirely reasonable, but I'd still like to have a more precise idea of the stats.

@IC: Actually, running around talking to people is an actual, serious, thing-that-gets-roleplayed-out, not a single roll.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-17, 10:27 PM
Yeah, I'd expected that I'd need to roleplay the assessment and the like. Still, Aria is going looking for members of the local military, the interactions with whom I will obviously do properly.

And yeah, I figured I could expand their magnitude. I'm assuming that my forces are Drill 3 at the moment, which represents good quality troops. So to raise them from Magnitude 2 to 3, I believe I'd need to score 7 successes on a Charisma+War roll, with a -3 external penalty applied. Doable, with excellencies and stunts and such.

2013-01-17, 10:31 PM
With regards to the IC things: Got it. I'll post in a brief period.

With regards to the mechanics: ... Er, I'm afraid that my phrasing has been poor. By 'aspect', I mean any trait of the characters making up the unit - you can raise Melee, Archery, War, Valor, Drill, or so forth and so on. In this case, these are Archery 4 units, so that's a -4 penalty.

Also, as I believe I said, this is an extended roll, not a single attempt. If it takes several months, it takes several months.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-17, 10:36 PM
Yeah, I realised it was an extended roll that might take several months. That's fine. Of course, since these are elite soldiers, it'd probably be more efficient if I focused on expanding and training the regular military of Tianrasia up to a decent standard and size before I work on an elite personal guard or something.

Actually, considering how badly off the city might be at the moment, an elite personal guard will probably never get off the back-burner. Well, sacrifices we make and all that.

2013-01-17, 10:40 PM
The gender dynamics will be a little strange for Kailea, who is used to being the exception in a typically patriarchal society.

Also, ack! Conversation moving quickly!

2013-01-17, 10:41 PM
... Given the flurry of posting, I'm going to wait a bit before I respond.

2013-01-17, 10:42 PM
So, say there's some crazy structure that's at Level 4 and I want to raise at level 5 with a Crafts roll. The roll is difficulty (2x5+4)= 14, and the external penalty is 5.

Since Crafts is kinda weird I use the lowest of my Dexterity/Perception/Intelligence, + Crafts + Specialty for a total of 11. A full Excellency raises this to 18. I get 2 automatic successes because I'm awesome I have Bracers of Universal Crafting. I can channel Conviction of the roll (I believe? It's in line with my Motivation) for +4 dice. If I manage to stunt dramatically in accordance to my motivation, I could get 3 dice on top of that. The result is 25 dice plus 2 successes, for an average of... 15 successes - 5 for external penalty = 10. Mind you that's just an average.

Okay. Think I got it. We should discuss at an appropriate time the potential worth in dice or difficulty of a team of craftsmen (Followers 2) and a Manse-Workshop.

2013-01-17, 10:43 PM
Sorry, Snark! I was having that same problem earlier, may have focused in too much on responding to things as soon as I noticed...

And yeah, I didn't... actually notice the gender dynamics either. But OK! It works! As far as mood goes, Cygnes tries to match her style of behavior to the people she's dealing with, to make them comfortable. So far, that's been positive/looking forward (which she prefers anyway)...!

Maugan Ra
2013-01-17, 10:47 PM
Training will, of course, be accompanied by appropriate motivational music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSS5dEeMX64). Wood Aspects get performance as a favoured skill for a reason, after all :smallbiggrin:

Anyway, wandering off to sleep now. So the flurry of posting will slow a little bit at least.

2013-01-17, 10:49 PM
@Mechanix: I think that given the long nature of downtime rolls, where each action is assumed to represent a large collection of different actions over a long course of time, that you can't channel.

Other than that, though, your calculations are completely correct.

2013-01-17, 10:54 PM
Understandable. I guess I just need to stop trying to write longish posts when things are going quickly - my writing is a little on the slow side. It's a bit disconcerting to write up a reply, only to discover that everybody's off talking to someone else all of a sudden.

Ah well. PbP conversations tend to be disjoined like that when there's multiple people.

2013-01-17, 11:34 PM
Understandable. I guess I just need to stop trying to write longish posts when things are going quickly - my writing is a little on the slow side. It's a bit disconcerting to write up a reply, only to discover that everybody's off talking to someone else all of a sudden.

Ah well. PbP conversations tend to be disjoined like that when there's multiple people.

And now you know why my posts spanned too much time... was that a problem? Cygnes ought to respond, but I wasn't sure what to do when there had been about five posts between the post she ought to respond to and hers. I went with *brief response, assume next post happens, brief reaction, assume next post...* but that may limit how much other people can respond to me. Should I just be doing a response to the last and making up a reason she didn't respond earlier?

- I should perhaps have mentioned I'm new to play-by-posts? So if there's anything I need to know...!

2013-01-18, 12:38 AM
... Actually, I'm going to go to sleep. I'll post in the morning with a response to Maugan and Mechanix. Or possibly the early afternoon - lack of sleep is catching up with me.

2013-01-18, 05:12 AM
And now you know why my posts spanned too much time... was that a problem? Cygnes ought to respond, but I wasn't sure what to do when there had been about five posts between the post she ought to respond to and hers. I went with *brief response, assume next post happens, brief reaction, assume next post...* but that may limit how much other people can respond to me. Should I just be doing a response to the last and making up a reason she didn't respond earlier?

Either works; I don't think there's any consistent protocol. If you want to retroactively respond to something five posts ago you can do it, and if it's too awkward you can gloss over it.

2013-01-18, 08:48 AM
Either works; I don't think there's any consistent protocol. If you want to retroactively respond to something five posts ago you can do it, and if it's too awkward you can gloss over it.

Thank you!

2013-01-18, 06:19 PM
Aevylmar: I see you've answered Aria. Do remember that I am waiting for your answer before I continue posting! Not to rush you or anything, mind.

2013-01-18, 06:31 PM
Sorry; panoramic views of cities take a while to write, and I've been multitasking. Will post quickly.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-18, 06:37 PM
Hmm. Was an IC post just made and then deleted? Because I got an update ping, but the thread is still where I last saw it.

2013-01-18, 06:41 PM
Yes, sorry. I made a quick respond, realized I needed to expand it hugely, and I decided to delete it for long enough to expand it.

Also, I need to write an OOC post on military rank.

Edit - Posted. Anyone else who I missed waiting on me to say anything?

Edit 2: So, the post on military rank. There's a set of Formal Lookshy Ranks in the Scavenger Lands book, and I'm assuming that those are also Shogunate ranks. On the hand, they describe ranks specifically; a dragon, for instance, can be commanded by a shozei or kazei in normal situations. Either one, therefore, is a dragonlord if they're running a dragon.

The degree of brevetting and unranked officers leading units eventually resulted in the post-Contagion Realm abandoning those earlier titles and just saying 'All right, Dragonlord is a rank."

Edit 3 as a means of quadrupleposting: I have commitments this evening, and probably won't be able to post between now, and late tonight or tomorrow morning.

2013-01-19, 11:46 PM
Mechanix, that was a 2-die stunt, and:
A grey, lifeless mist often marks shadowlands when seen from the air. Given the degree to which they mess with geomancy, you're not sure that the factory-cathedral is repairable without large-scale geomantic manipulations.

Also, I'm currently assuming that we're waiting on either Industrious, Mechanix or The_Snark to post.

2013-01-20, 02:57 AM
Russet's not military or intelligence or politics, though. There isn't too much for her to do other than socialize...

2013-01-20, 03:03 AM
There's currently a conversation going on on the ship. Russet said something and then vanished from it. I'd like to have some description as to what she's up to, whether she's participating in the conversation, going off to do her own thing, or just sitting around doing nothing waiting for someone else to advance the plot, so *I* know what she's doing.

Also, she's hilarious.

2013-01-24, 06:13 AM
Skipping ahead to the palace is OK by me.

If asked about titles, Kailea will introduce herself as priestess and godspeaker for the Three Moons Island tribe, but there's no formal address that goes along with that; "priestess" or "godspeaker" is about as formal as you can get. In return, she'll ask how she should address Ryanno Sei when they find him, because she agrees that titles are important. I suspect Cygnes and Kailea are the only ones in the group who think so, but it's true!

Also, sheet has been updated with descriptions of Backgrounds. No mechanical changes; I decided to stick with Elemental Bolt Technique, and while I could save points by dropping Archery and boosting Lore I just can't justify Kailea having Lore 5. She's an islander from the far West, she's supposed to be ignorant about a lot of the world.

2013-01-24, 06:44 AM
" 'If he's not Exalted, 'the Eminently Dignified Ryanno Sei' is correct and very polite. If he's in charge of the city, Daimyo - if he isn't, not. If he's trying to be in charge and not recognized, then calling him that is a political statement, so be wary of it. If he's Exalted, 'Most Honorable' will work, or...'*Include list of other Exalted titles that Cygnes would know and I don't here*. 'Essentially, I don't know what his title is yet; ideally, I'll find out before we meet him, if not I'll use Eminently Dignified or Most Honored, depending. Hopefully Russet's friends will do introductions; if not, I mean to. Unless there's any reason to do otherwise, use whatever title he is introduced to you by, and you can't be incorrect... - though you may miss shades of meaning that way, but being a foreigner, it should be understood.'" /Cygnes.

Essentially, she'll give Kailea a quick rundown of all she knows about appropriate forms of address, going into more detail or summarizing more depending on how interested Kailea seems, but mostly trying to protect her against careless blunders. Cygnes Does Not Want a Diplomatic Incident.

2013-01-24, 06:51 AM
Kailea is definitely interested. She's used to treating with gods and spirits, some of whom are very picky about proper forms of address—and this is a lot like treating with a powerful spirit, to her way of thinking; offending the leader here could cause a lot of trouble for her people.

2013-01-24, 09:48 AM
There will be a timeskip post after class. For everyone, with stuff happening.

2013-01-24, 04:04 PM
In that case, Kailea will get a nice lengthy explanation, possibly comprising a good deal of the walk over (depending on whether Russet speaks up/seems bored, in which case Cygnes will try to include her too), and... Can I count this last scene towards building an Intimacy of Respect for Kailea?

... Come to think of it, can you count a scene towards more than one Intimacy? She should also be forming one towards Xeifan, at the least. Not sure of the emotion on that one, will need to think about it.

Also: My internet troubles are pretty firmly fixed, so I should be around more reliably.

EDIT: Believe I just botched my Perception+Awareness. Too distracted talking to Kailea? Let's make that, one of those two stats is something I should definitely raise...

Also, changing Cygnes's secondary virtue from Valor to Conviction. The more I play her, the more I'm convinced she's a lot more "dedicated to getting what needs doing done, by whatever means necessary" than "dedicated to bravery in battle." I can't imagine her ever taking a chance to show off if it seriously compromised her central objectives. I haven't used either of them yet, and it's only a change of one dot, so hopefully that should be OK?

2013-01-24, 11:34 PM
That change is fine. We haven't even had our first combat scene yet.

(By the way, I'm sorry about the absence for disappointing those who were hoping for a fight scene; I wanted to establish that there would be a lot of social stuff in this campaign, so there hasn't been any 'big introductory fight' yet, and I wanted to move quickly and fights slow the game down.)

Maugan Ra
2013-01-24, 11:57 PM
I'm perfectly fine with a lack of an early combat scene. Good to establish characterisation first as well.

Also, Aria is working on the hope that the 'no nonsense outrider evidently fresh from the front lines' will be better received by the Gochei than 'fancy-speaking officer from the Isle sent to take over'. She doesn't want to alienate Tiba in the slightest, since she's actually privately ecstatic to see he appears to actually be competent, and hopefully saluting him properly and all that will help there.

2013-01-25, 12:30 AM
Tiba is rolling Perception+Awareness to carefully examine Aria's appearance - in particular, he's checking for signs she might be Dragon-Blooded.


Edit - And that means he notices she's wearing Jade.

2013-01-25, 12:34 AM
... Ha! Cygnes was right to worry. Also, Aria's probably right. She may well get on with the local troops a lot better than Cygnes will.

I'm perfectly fine with lots of social stuff - part of why this game appealed to me was the promise of RP-heavy. And building things up. I love building things up.

And thanks, O DM. I'll record the change, then.

2013-01-25, 01:06 AM
So, a question for players with more play-by-post experience than I have: Should I be using colored text for moderately important NPCs like Gochei Tiba, or just the really major ones?

Maugan Ra
2013-01-25, 01:08 AM
I'd say it depends on how many characters you envisage as having speaking parts on a regular basis. It's not necessary for anyone to have coloured text, really, but it's become something of a tradition anyway.

2013-01-25, 01:16 AM
... As the Absolute Newbie at play-by-posts, I have no idea...!

But - I did want to ask. I was looking at the dragon-blooded book, and Virtue Flaws are awfully imprecise. I'm not entirely sure what Cygnes's is like, whether it has a triggering condition (I thought not for dragon-bloods, but the book describes what sounds like triggering conditions for some but not all of the flaws it describes), or how long it lasts.

If the information isn't just somewhere I missed - would it be all right if I wrote up a slightly more formalized form of hers, for her? Just to make it easier for me to keep track?

2013-01-25, 04:08 AM
There's no triggering condition, despite some descriptions hinting otherwise, and it typically lasts for a scene (see page 123 for more). Terrestrial Limit Breaks are pretty vague compared to the options Solars and Lunars get, so I imagine it'd be okay if you wanted to describe how it works for Cygnes specifically. It looks like Maugan did something like that already for Aria, which is good because the entry for Compassion-based Wood Aspects is one of the least clear.

Speaking of which, I should work out what Kailea's primary Virtue is and what form her Limit Break is likely to take...

2013-01-25, 04:51 AM
Perception + Awareness: [roll0]

Oh - I forgot earlier, but Kailea would have asked how she should address Cygnes too, as long as they're on the topic. Will edit the proper title and/or name into my last post.

2013-01-25, 09:54 AM
Thank you!

... I didn't realize they'd get along this well.

2013-01-25, 03:24 PM
@Kailea's Virtue: You ought to, yes. Probably fairly quickly. You're not likely to run into direct, serious military threats, but moral ambiguity is a different thing entirely...

@Kailea's Awareness: You see that there is a gate in the wall. You do not see the thing that I suggested an Awareness roll for.

@Everything: I'm glad to see you people getting on so well. Next post will be approximately in an hour, possibly an hour and a half, and will be responding to everyone.

2013-01-26, 12:35 AM
Would an Investigation+Perception roll be valid for trying to figure out if this is, in fact, the right gate, and/or if it's even still in use? Or would that double my earlier Perception+Awareness?

2013-01-26, 12:37 AM
Yeah, Perception + Investigation would work.

2013-01-26, 12:57 AM
[roll0] then! Plus [roll1] potential stunt.

2013-01-26, 01:11 AM

Give yourself a stunt die.

The gate's clearly been opened in the past few weeks - it isn't completely abandoned - but there's no steady stream of traffic. There have been people walking past it, but this is the main street. You'd expect that.

However, you can see tiny smears of what looks like bone dust, ash, and rust on the edges of the wall right next to the gate and on the gate.

2013-01-26, 01:52 AM
Hm. Can I get a quick Occult roll to know if this (a doorway daubed with ash and bone) is relevant to any burial customs Kailea knows of? She's not familiar with Tianrasia, but I would imagine that a lot of Creation's funeral rites end up being similar for practical reasons.

If so: Int+Occult [roll0]

@Kailea's Virtue: You ought to, yes. Probably fairly quickly. You're not likely to run into direct, serious military threats, but moral ambiguity is a different thing entirely...
Done. Kailea's Virtue Flaw springs from her Temperance; she's prone to guilt over her perceived failings as a leader and a human being, and it expresses itself in bouts of guilty self-indulgence or quixotic piety, depending on circumstances. It's more likely to be annoying than disastrous, but you never know...

2013-01-26, 02:06 AM
With two successes, you don't *know* about any of them.

And it looks less 'daubed' and more 'accidentally smeared'. Like someone brushed a rusty sword or a charred bone against it while going through. Of course, that doesn't mean it wasn't deliberately daubed and made to look like it was accidentally smeared.

Also, the Temperance flaw looks fine.

2013-01-26, 08:14 PM
Question: are the soldiers speaking in Realm too?

2013-01-26, 09:01 PM
No, they're speaking in Seatongue.

... We need some simple, easy way to specify what language someone is speaking in. Any ideas?

2013-01-27, 02:31 AM
We could just use (R) (OR) (S) before every line of text, assuming specifying in the description doesn't count as simple and easy.

EDIT: Does Kailea look obviously confused? Can Cygnes tell she doesn't speak Realm?

2013-01-27, 02:41 AM
Good idea, Arpista!

I'm going to start doing that. Presumably, you start with (H) for High Realm.

2013-01-27, 02:46 AM
... But I thought it wasn't High Realm, it was just Realm?

2013-01-27, 03:06 AM
No, I mean, O for Old Realm.

Sleep leads to clarity.

Edit: Also, first plot twist hits 104 posts in. I wish we'd had another four posts of filler...

2013-01-27, 04:39 AM
The Dice Roll! Of Destinyyyy!


2013-01-27, 03:07 PM
I see.

Carry on with what you were doing. :smallbiggrin:

2013-01-27, 03:55 PM
Rolling Perception+Awareness for reasons involving the IC post I'm about to make.

You'll find out.

[roll0]+2s = 5

Edit - I'm handwaving Aria's arrival so quickly by pointing out the relative locations of the Seaside District and the Palace District on the map, and by assuming that the palanquin procession travels really slowly, compared to an Exalt. Especially a mounted Exalt.

2013-01-27, 10:27 PM
So, clarifying. Aria gets here just as they unlock the gate, or relock it? If the former, where did the guards come from?

2013-01-27, 10:47 PM
Whoops. As they relock it.

2013-01-28, 10:42 PM
Cygnes: Give yourself a stunt die. Five successes hears Aria coming, whatever she's saying if she's talking aloud, and quite possibly the sound of people on the other side of the street going 'Oooh, Terrestrial!'

The door does not look broken down. It is a nice, solid door, which would be very hard to break down. If anyone did break it down, it would be a piece of work getting it un-broken-down.

2013-01-29, 01:23 AM

... Shall I, um, wait for Aria, then?

2013-01-29, 01:49 PM
So... It's probably my (or Tiba's) poor phrasing, but what Aria is telling Cygnes does not quite match what Tiba was trying to say. In particular, the "New Town" or "Easterner" force (800ish) and Tiba's seaside soldiers (300ish) are two separate forces.

Plus the palace guard, survivalist militia, and pirates.

2013-01-29, 05:22 PM
Is this an OOC or IC confusion? Should I wait, or go ahead and respond? Ah - sorry for all the questions! A bit new here still.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-29, 05:41 PM
OoC confusion on my part. I'll fix that soon.

2013-01-29, 05:43 PM
Thank you!

2013-01-30, 01:16 PM
Added chibi's of Russet and Crazy Ninja Girl.

Also, assume Russet is speaking Seatongue unless she's speaking Old Ream (with an "O"), or trying to speak Realm. You can tell when she's trying because it will be an English major/essay grader's nightmare.

2013-01-30, 11:50 PM
I've got to say, I like the chibis of Russet and Crazy Ninja Girl.

... I am considering implementing a retroactive policy where anyone who procures a picture of their character will be given 1xp, because I like providing incentives to do cool things.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-31, 05:27 AM
Posted, and ammended my previous post to just being 'we have maybe four hundred guys'. Aria would like to have Cygnes meet with the troops at some point, so that she has a better understanding of what exactly we have, but for a preliminary report this one works well enough.

2013-01-31, 08:15 AM
Cygnes would approve of that plan!

But for now, she trusts Aria's estimation - and is more focused on A) the fact that the person whose cooperation is going to determine just how hard her job is here appears to have been kidnapped, B) her scout has not reported back (admittedly it's probably just too early... probably...) and C) there's a military force Right Over There that she needs to talk down. ... actually she probably has a D, E and F too. Suffice to say she's pretty much happy delegating this one. Well, not happy, but resigned.

By the way... I'm continuing on my trend of making minor changes to Cygnes's sheet to bring her social stats into accordance with how the character is actually turning out, which is leading to a not-quite-so-minor one. To be specific: the motivation I originally listed is her pre-Contagion motivation. Her present actions aren't actually in accordance with it, and I'm not sure they have been since the Contagion. So... expect a new one shortly, once I figure out precisely how to phrase it. (Have consulted with DM privately.)

2013-01-31, 01:22 PM
Right now, Russet is sighing in relief at not having to get married for a while.

And she's really suspecting CNG is behind this somehow.

2013-01-31, 04:06 PM
Really? Just because Crazy Ninja Girl told her not to worry and then the target of her worry disappeared mysteriously? Why on earth would she suspect CNG?

2013-01-31, 04:26 PM
I had to come back to the previous pages to see if anyone had actually mentionned the name "Ryanno Sei" in front of Xeifan.

Fortunately, Chissoku did. Otherwise, we could have had hilarious shenanigans :smallbiggrin: And later, the horrible realization!

2013-01-31, 05:21 PM
Oh, if only Chissoku hadn't spoken up!

I love shenanigans. Love them SO MUCH.

As you can all tell.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-31, 05:23 PM
There's a Sidereal running around, and almost certainly at some point, Fair Folk.

You have no shortage of potential shenanigans :smalltongue:

2013-01-31, 05:38 PM
Russet isn't worried that CNG means to harm her.

Russet is worried that CNG is going to harm her when trying to help.

It's happened before.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-31, 06:24 PM
Aria is a terrible socialite, and probably a really bad influence on Russet. I forsee long stretches of extended patrol duty in her future :smalltongue:

2013-01-31, 06:32 PM
Actually, Aria said a lot of what Cygnes was thinking!

... Cygnes was just too tactful to say it in front of Chissoku.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-31, 06:41 PM
Aria has no tact. She used to, but then there was this one fight with a Raksha where social concepts ended up being used as weapons, and she was forced to make use of it to pin the thing to the ground alongside her previously searing hatred of budgerigars.

2013-01-31, 07:04 PM

... OK, regardless. That is an awesome explanation.

2013-01-31, 07:09 PM
No! The Subtlety Squad (Version Dragon-Blood) must happen!

Plus, Russet has Temperance 1.

2013-01-31, 10:22 PM
Strings of titles are hilarious.

2013-01-31, 10:30 PM
Anything I can do to entertain the players is good.

Edit - Xeifan isn't running into trouble as she leaves. I'll write her appearance scene... when she has time to fly half a mile.

2013-02-01, 07:07 AM
Two of us are fighters, probably - not me, though - and... Kailea of... I left before she could tell me what she was doing here anyway.
Probably worth noting (again) that Kailea doesn't speak Realm at all. Of course, Aria introduced her, and she might have been speaking Realm at the time. But in that case Kailea shouldn't have understood and replied...

Ack. Note to self: linguistic barriers between PCs are not nearly as entertaining in practice as they are in theory.

2013-02-01, 08:12 AM
Cygnes will happily translate! ... Once she's clear on what the problem is. Right now she's just speaking Seatongue to avoid it. Also, could Xeifan have picked up that "Kailea Seven-Blossoms" was a name, even if the rest of the speech didn't make sense to her? Aria was addressing Kailea directly with it - and Xeifan didn't react directly to the rest of the speech, just quoted the name.

And - I hadn't noticed we'd switched to Realm! Let Cygnes just...

2013-02-02, 05:10 PM
Slightly edited Yori's post to fix the language issue. Carry on.

2013-02-04, 06:05 PM
So, rolling a social attack? Charisma+Presence+Reputation(She's Not Civilized! Who Knows What She'll Do?), plus Conviction.

Roll: [roll0]

9 total sux?

2013-02-04, 06:30 PM
That hits, with considerable overkill. What is the specific objective of the attack? Is it just to put him in a state of fear, or is there some specific thing you're hoping to get him to spill or do?

2013-02-04, 06:35 PM
Specific Objective is to get him to spill what he's been hiding. Russet is assuming he'll do so because he's so flustered.

Oh, and stunt rating?

2013-02-05, 12:19 AM
Waiting on Aria, Kailea, or most probably Xeifan to post before I post again in the IC thread, but what Cygnes is talking about doing would require an Int+Bureaucracy roll at standard difficulty with a -2 external penalty from absolute bureaucratic chaos (if Yori did it), or at standard difficulty with a -2 external penalty from absolute bureaucratic chaos and a -2 internal penalty from being absurdly new (if Cygnes did it), and would be a dramatic action taking about an hour.

Either way, the other one could Assist.

2013-02-05, 01:24 AM
... you're not kidding. He doesn't know who he gave the job to?

Or he does, and they sent it to some other office where everyone was dead and it spent five hours sitting on a desk before whoever was covering for him came in and picked it up and dumped it in his overflowing in-tray, where a couple days later he decided this wasn't really his job and forwarded it to someone else who was out dealing with something else urgent...

Right. Bureaucracy.

For the record, Cygnes thinks this is less urgent than grabbing the militia at a minimum, and probably the Eastgate forces. Figuring this stuff out is important, sure, but it's not on a time limit. The soldiers may be picking up rumors about us, though, and Cygnes would rather arrive in advance of her reputation - or at least, before people have time to get too worried about her. I mean, if I was Tyrant of Eastgate, and I heard about an incoming Taimyo, I'd be worried...

2013-02-05, 12:27 PM
Your latter theory. He asked someone to take it to the Department of Grounds, where whoever was doing the job of the Preserver of Geomantic Elegance was supposed to take an included requisition order to whoever was managing the Department of Granaries and Storehouses... and this is going to need to go through several clerks, many of whom don't know who's actually doing the job...

It's probably been routed through him at least once, in one of his multitude of offices that have nothing to do with being Third Logothlete of the Treasury, except seniority.

(Though the -2 penalty is actually internal, not external, since it's from 'working with inferior tools' - my mistake there. The point is, the bureaucracy is in a state of total chaos, and the simplest things (Standard Difficulty) are much more difficult.)

2013-02-06, 07:14 PM
If you will, I will consider the scene of the meeting between our characters (and possibly this one, depending on how it goes) as spent developing an Intimacy towards Arys Cygnes, probably one of Loyalty.

2013-02-06, 07:19 PM
That seems entirely logical, and I have no objections.

Can you think of any other Intimacies that these scenes have been developing?

2013-02-06, 07:41 PM
Well I was thinking - Ryanno Sei is a charming fellow who clearly enjoys First Age technology, and pursuing romantic developments would be so much fun, so perhaps an Intimacy towards...

*run to hide from the stones*


I like developing Intimacy towards all circle/brotherhood members in general. Russet is a likable wacky person but "likable wackiness" isn't a proper emotional context, lemme think on that. There's also Aria! Xeifan has barely interacted with Kailea though.

Also, some sort of Intimacy towards the city would be appropriate, especially after the heart-breaking view of the whole of the city. Something like... Wonder? Sorrow? Awe? I'm starting to think up something appropriate.

Ghosts (Nervous Mefiance) is something that I would retcon into her sheet if I could, as this element of her character came up to me on the spot.

2013-02-06, 07:42 PM
Kailea has been developing an Intimacy of gratitude towards Cygnes; in fact, between the docks, the walk to the palace and this current scene, it's probably fully established (unless something goes badly wrong here).

2013-02-06, 08:33 PM
All of those Intimacies sound fine. Or hilarious. Or both.

Feel free to edit... practically much any aspect of your sheet, up through this first adventure, just provided you give me warning. This is a period of experimentation, before things get going too far. Individual intimacies are really something that's no problem to edit in.

2013-02-07, 12:25 AM
Well I was thinking - Ryanno Sei is a charming fellow who clearly enjoys First Age technology, and pursuing romantic developments would be so much fun, so perhaps an Intimacy towards...

*run to hide from the stones*

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Love triangle!

*ducks herself*

Also, aw. ^^ Counting the scene at the docks and the walk there, Cygnes has two out of three scenes towards an Intimacy of Respect towards Kailea. Also counting this and the docks scene, she should definitely be building an Intimacy towards Xeifan, but I'm still working on the emotion. The first scene didn't count towards Russet (though this one might count towards grudging respect), and I don't think "competence, blessed competence" is quite an appropriate emotional descriptor for an Intimacy so I'm waiting on Aria until Cygnes gets a better feel for her (ie decides once and for all to trust her. She's... slightly paranoid. Growing up in the heart of multi-Gens political games can do that to you). Just at the moment she doesn't know quite what to make of her.

2013-02-07, 12:38 AM
Ah. You're assuming that Russet is going to fall in love with her betrothed. Who she's never met before. And is being forced to marry.

Yes, she cares about him (High Compassion means she cares about everybody). But that doesn't mean she's going to care about True Love.

2013-02-07, 12:47 AM
Oh, sure. But Russet doesn't have to fall in love with him for it to be a love triangle.

He could always fall in love with her!

2013-02-07, 12:49 AM
Of course Russet isn't going to fall in love with him. Where do you think the tragedy comes from? Russet is forced to marry Sei, whom Xeifan loves. Now, the only question is where Sei's own affections fall.

(Ideally, the answer would, of course, be Person D. But that's beside the point.)

2013-02-07, 12:52 AM
Or Russet could fall in love with Xeifan. :smalltongue:

2013-02-07, 12:54 AM
That could also work, but it would open the possibility of a harmonious resolution, and harmonious resolutions are the bane of Love Triangles.

Incidentally, is Russet going to confirm Yori rushing off and let him get back to his actual job?

2013-02-07, 12:59 AM
I'm debating that. Russet doesn't really care why it didn't get done, only that it didn't get done and he tried to cover it up.

2013-02-07, 01:02 AM
Cygnes cares! Specifically, she cares about whether it didn't get done by accident or by sabotage. But if Yori doesn't investigate, she can always do it herself later - and she wants Russet to get used to being In Charge.

2013-02-07, 01:02 AM
...You do realize she has an Intimacy of Fear towards actually leading, right?

2013-02-07, 01:09 AM
Oh, sure. But Russet doesn't have to fall in love with him for it to be a love triangle.

He could always fall in love with her!
This seems relevant:

Yori sighs, offering her his hand. "Don't worry about it. Just... Thank you. Now I understand why he was so worried."
One wonders what Sei has heard about his betrothed. :smalltongue:

2013-02-07, 01:11 AM
... Me, or Cygnes?

I actually forgot. Cygnes... ... is Cygnes. Fear of leading takes her some effort to understand, and her first reaction is to treat it as a Problem To Be Overcome, as opposed to an actual reason to avoid leading.

And re: Snark - oh dear. Oh dear. One wonders indeed.

2013-02-07, 01:14 AM
Russet does have a Reputation:

Russet's Reputation is twofold. Among the commoners and street urchins, she is a symbol of what they could be, if they work hard enough. Among high society, however, she will forever remain "that adopted street rat," someone who while charming and unique in gens society, cannot be allowed to be more than an idle curiosity and certainly can't be allowed to have actual influence.

...Can she punch something? She's much better at punching things than politicking. Unless you can politic by punching. That would be much better, for all parties involved. Except for the people being punched, of course. :smalltongue:

2013-02-07, 01:26 AM
So, I really don't want to derail the conversation, because the conversation is fun and hilarious, but there's something I've been meaning to ask.

Once this first adventure is over, there's going to be a timeskip of about a year, during which the whole city-improving aspect is going to take place. I'm trying to decide between two systems for choosing who gets to improve cities; one that I currently have written, and one where I'm debating the merits of switching.

According to System A, all PCs and all NPCs of Heroic Mortal or better rank in your chain of command (current list who have appeared onscreen and might be recruited: Tiba, Niwa, Sei, Yori, arguably Chissoku) can take one action every month to try and improve some aspect of the city or military.

According to System B, every month, X people may take actions to improve some aspect of the city and Y people may take actions to improve some aspect of the military. X is derived from some aspect with a name like 'Civil Administration', and Y is derived from some aspect with a name like 'Military Administration'. They can be PCs or any NPC you can sucker into doing the job.

I'm trying to decide which would work best, and given that I'm 1/6th of the people involved in this game, it seems most sensible to open the floor to debate.

Also, with regards to the punching: I'm really sorry, Industrious. But you're dealing with mortals; you haven't run into anybody who'd rather be punched than just give up peacefully.


Maugan Ra
2013-02-07, 03:40 AM
So, apologies for the lack of posting on my part. My wireless has been refusing to work lately, which is restricting me to short periods at the library or awkward posting via my phone.

Also, I take it that Gochei Tiba and his men are one faction of five, and the God-Blooded Pirates are another. That leaves the palace guard and two others... one of which is connected to Eastgate, I think. Still trying to keep everything straight...

2013-02-07, 03:46 AM
@Maugan: Right. I hope your wireless goes back to working.

OOC summary.

Geography: Tianrasia is on a peninsula. The western half is Old Town. The eastern half is New Town. Old Town is divided into four quarters.

Yori and Niwa are Faction A, in the southeast quarter (the 'Palace District') of Old Town. They have the palace guard, which Tiba thinks is tiny and pathetic.

Gochei Tiba is Faction B, in the southwest quarter ('Seaside') of Old Town. He has his army of 400ish men.

Faction C is the militia enforcing a quarantine in the 'False-River District' of the northwest quarter. You have no idea what their resources are.

There's also some guy (or girl, I don't think gender has been made clear) called the Tyrant of Eastgate running what's left of New Town after a major fire. He has lots of troops and controls the only way in or out of Tianrasia by land. That's Faction D.

Then there's pirates, who have no fixed location and are Faction E. Tiba says they have a big army.

2013-02-07, 09:27 AM
I go to bed and by the time I'm back, this has turned into "Hw To Turn Your Game into Shakespearian Tragedy 101." I love this game.

Personally, I think System A sounds good. I don't know. My own character doesn't have any nmaed NPC to her credit, just a group of twenty or so Followers.

2013-02-07, 05:13 PM
I've revised Russet's age, over the course of this campaign, from early 20s to 18 at the most.

Clearly, putting the kid in charge of the government can't be a bad idea.

2013-02-07, 07:23 PM
So, apologies for the lack of posting on my part. My wireless has been refusing to work lately, which is restricting me to short periods at the library or awkward posting via my phone.

Ouch - that sounds rough. Good luck convincing it to work better...!

Should we just assume Aria is going to talk to the militia with Cygnes, if you don't get the chance to do much in the way of posting?

Maugan Ra
2013-02-08, 07:03 AM
That seems like a safe assumption.

2013-02-09, 05:28 AM
I take it this conversation is Realm, what with Xeifan participating?

2013-02-09, 05:45 AM
I take it this conversation is Realm, what with Xeifan participating?
My god, I missed another hilarious opportunity to have Xeifan stand here baffled as people talked incoherently around her. It really would have contributed to the whole "shy fish out of the water" image :smallbiggrin:

Cygnes at least was speaking in Seatongue and I forgot because I wanted to participate.

How about we just assume that one of Xeifan's Followers is a translator who is ignored in my posts because saying "the translator relayed what X had just said" for the upteenth time would be boring?

2013-02-09, 10:04 AM
Ack! I was trying to mark mine... Cygnes was in Seatongue when not talking to Xeifan, I think. Assume a Follower translating, yes, or assume Cygnes translated quietly and unobtrusively for Xeifan? Whichever you prefer - follower might be less awkward for Xeifan, given her shyness, but Cygnes would willingly do it.

Russet doesn't speak Realm. Or well. She does. Hilariously badly.

EDIT: You know, we all speak Old Realm. Our characters could figure that out...! (Cygnes hasn't because she doesn't really mind translating, and she doesn't assume the locals will speak Old Realm, so she figured sticking with one of two languages almost everyone speaks is good. Also, she only recently observed that Xeifan doesn't speak Seatongue - she was assuming it was fine for everyone.)

2013-02-09, 05:08 PM
Aria lacks Old Realm, I think, so it's not quite a universal language. But it'll be useful for letting Kailea and Xeifan communicate, and maybe Russet too (I know she speaks Realm badly, but I don't know how well she understands it).

2013-02-09, 05:47 PM
She can understand the gist of what's being said, maybe?

2013-02-09, 06:31 PM
All right, I give up. At this point, the 'translation' jokes are no longer funny.

Assume that whatever is said is translated into sufficient languages so that everyone can understand it unless someone explicitly says otherwise.


2013-02-09, 06:40 PM
All right, I give up. At this point, the 'translation' jokes are no longer funny.

Assume that whatever is said is translated into sufficient languages so that everyone can understand it unless someone explicitly says otherwise.

Reasonable?Thank you so much.

2013-02-10, 03:12 AM
... Well, this only works if it's actually possible. I mean, a translator has to be in the room and not specifically unwilling. This is a handwave, not a retcon.

2013-02-10, 04:59 AM
Actually... Cygnes's innate response to that was a lot stronger than I expected. Rolling Temperance to stay in the room... [roll0]

Edit: What do you know, the advantages of being Temperance 5.

2013-02-10, 07:34 AM
One thing I like about Russet is how her wackiness and very human vulnerability tend to make me forget that she could spontaneously burst into flames and slaughter a roomful of elite soldiers with her bare hands.

Exalted is a strange game.

EDIT: ST: If that is agreeable with you, I would like to shift two dots from Xeifan's Presence 3 to her Stealth 1, making it Presence 1/Stealth 3. As it stands, she isn't quite as sneaky as she should be even without her armor, and she doesn't really strike me as the imposing charisma type anymore.

2013-02-10, 01:43 PM
That seems perfectly reasonable to me, Mechanix.

Also, poor Kailea.

Post will be coming soon.

2013-02-10, 11:38 PM
So! Does anyone have anything they still want to do in this scene, or should we cut to going over to visit the militia?

2013-02-11, 06:15 AM
Not in my case, no.

2013-02-11, 07:13 AM
Kailea wasn't planning on going to visit the militia, since she doesn't think she'd be useful - as with this scene, she'd probably end up standing around and letting other people do most of the talking. I've been trying to work out what she should do instead. Niwa's comment opens up an opportunity...

2013-02-11, 04:10 PM
Indeed it does.

Of course, the fact that the god is missing raises some... problems...


2013-02-12, 06:11 PM
Hmm. So. Before this scene ends, we need the stuff with Russet and Cygnes sorted out and some idea what Kailea's doing, yes? Are there other things people want to do before we get try and get moving again?

2013-02-13, 01:52 AM
I'm fine! Just so long as Cygnes is confident Russet will give her time to finish explaining and the other guys time to consider before she starts punching.

... she's almost sure she will. Almost.

2013-02-13, 03:05 AM
Oh ye of little faith.

Just because Russet is a) Temperance 1 and b) is much more comfortable punching things than talking to people in any sort of official capacity...

2013-02-13, 09:20 AM
... Yep! Exactly!

2013-02-14, 06:32 AM
Kailea's mostly addressing Niwa, so feel free to move everyone else on. (Although they can comment if they like, I guess.)

2013-02-14, 02:22 PM
Right, then. Niwa's responding to Kailea; would the rest of the party want to stay and comment, or move on to the False-River district / Xeifan's second spying mission?

Maugan Ra
2013-02-14, 03:55 PM
I think we can move on.

In other news, my wifi seems to be working again, so I can ideally post more frequently. We'll see how long it holds...

2013-02-14, 05:49 PM
Right, then. How far do people want to skip? To 'Out of the office talking about what precisely to do next?' or to 'Here's the first thing that happens you may want to respond to on your way to the thing you mentioned last page you wanted to do?'

Also: I am excited about your posting not being delayed by terrible internet. And your ability to, you know, do things online. :smalltongue:

2013-02-14, 06:17 PM
Yay! Welcome back! Good luck on the wifi keeping working!

If Aria or Russet wants to talk further, out of the office works; otherwise, Cygnes has mostly said her piece and knows what she wants to do, so next Incident of Interest works.

2013-02-14, 06:38 PM
Incident of Interest.

Russet and punching things still needs to happen. :smalltongue:

2013-02-14, 07:01 PM
Right then. In the interests of not stalling further, if nobody posts something in the OOC thread stating objections by the time I've finished writing up the next IC post, event of interest it is.

2013-02-15, 06:02 PM
Aria got herself a stunt die on that roll. Cygnes got two. Since Arpista's dice bugged, I'm rolling them here, along with Aria's stunt die:

Aria: [roll0]
Arpista: [roll1]

... Well, Arpista's luck held.

2013-02-15, 06:05 PM
She's gone blind!

2013-02-15, 06:12 PM
... next time I think "You know, I botched the last two average-strength random rolls, I should really spend WP this time..."

... I should spend WP.

Next time! For now, this should be interesting to play with...

2013-02-15, 06:13 PM
Oh, please. Going blind would be with two 1s rolled. With three, the GM gets creative.

Maugan Ra
2013-02-15, 07:10 PM
Well. That should get a reaction.

2013-02-15, 07:28 PM
That's a two-die stunt, and can I please have a Cha+Performance roll?

Your specialty applies.

Maugan Ra
2013-02-15, 07:31 PM
Rolling... and you know what? Spending willpower to buy a success. Wisdom is learning from the mistakes of others :smalltongue:


2013-02-15, 08:01 PM
Wisdom is learning from the mistakes of others :smalltongue:


Yes, yes it is.

Nice stunt, too.

Maugan Ra
2013-02-16, 12:28 PM
Aria is either going to pull this off, or she's going to get shot. One of the two, I think :smalltongue:

2013-02-16, 01:42 PM
I actually deliberately remove a lot of hesitation when playing Russet.

My first thought was "sneak up on them and then say hi from behind," but didn't know if I had the dice. Except I rolled 9 sux on 8 dice, plus a willpower.

...Sorry folks if this backfires.

2013-02-16, 02:10 PM

Please remember the part of the scene where you're calling back and forth over almost a football field of distance, including a bridge sown with caltrops.

It's a cool stunt, but it's physically impossible to move that close so quickly.

2013-02-16, 02:31 PM
Edited the post.

2013-02-16, 02:33 PM
... Well, that's just practically, requires-absurd-successes-on-a-stealth-roll difficult.

Let's see if the watchers' Perception+Awareness is absurdly lucky.

Well, it wasn't. We've got our first fight scene.

2013-02-17, 02:05 AM
These rolls are completely irrelevant and should be ignored by anyone who happens to read them.

Well, they're actually join battle, but it was worth a shot.

2013-02-17, 03:16 AM
... Making a roll I'm starting to believe will be typical for Cygnes+Russet...


Edit: Well, I didn't fail Temperance, so any more drastic reaction gets delayed until after the battle.

2013-02-17, 10:41 PM
Initiative tick thingy. It's Cygnes's turn.

Also, is Russet using any active defenses against Rakkna's attack, or just blocking with her DV 11?

Tick 0: Archers, Russet
Tick 1: Rakkna, Cygnes
Tick 2:
Tick 3: Russet, Aria
Tick 4:
Tick 5: Archers, Rakkna

2013-02-17, 10:49 PM
I'll be stunting; let me write one up.

What was my stunt for the Form charm, by the way?

2013-02-17, 10:55 PM
It was good, but not quite good enough for a second die.

You got a stunt die.

Edit - I both laughed and found the description of the fight believable, so you get two stunt dice for that parry, which I think means that the last attack barely hits you. Or possibly barely misses - your calculations and mine for your DV were off by a single point.

Edit Triplepost With The Math, so you parry:
Dex 5 + Specialty 3 + MA 5 + DEF 2 = 15 pool. Perfected Kata Bracers add 2 to the pool, so that's 17, or 9. Form charm adds 2 to the total, so that's 11. A 2-die stunt makes it 13, so 11 successes and a -2 onslaught penalty mean that Russet doesn't even get scratched.

Maugan Ra
2013-02-18, 10:23 AM
For the record, and for when hostile reinforcements show up... Using Phantom Warrior Horde to shoot at loads of enemies at once. Possible or not?

I appreciate that the rules for the charm are focused around bolstering a Mass Combat unit, but since it's explicitly noted that they can enhance a solo unit as well (and Aria has the War for it) would it be possible? Ought to be visually striking as well, which would be handy as I think we kind of want them to surrender rather than die. Which, incidentally, is why I went for bashing damage there.

Really need to learn more charms...

Oh, and potential stunt, since I forgot to roll in the post: [roll0]

2013-02-18, 12:42 PM
Phantom Warrior Horde only works in mass-combat time, not in regular time. It's an awesome charm, but it's mass combat only for reasons of not being too absurdly good.

Will post IC soon.

Maugan Ra
2013-02-18, 01:10 PM
Hmm. Shame. Understandable, for obvious reasons, but still... shame.

Oh well. I'll just have to start investing in a bunch more charms. Like that archery flurry one or something.

2013-02-18, 10:13 PM
Russet's last two actions were one-die stunts.

2013-02-19, 12:07 AM
Russet's mother died in the Contagion. Being Medicine 0, and given how bad the disease is, I think the idea of incubation periods will just slip by her.

2013-02-19, 12:26 AM
That is entirely probable. She has no Medicine.

Updated tick order:
Whenever: Cygnes
Tick 8: Aria, Russet
Tick 9: (Cygnes Aim Maxes)
Tick 10: Rakkna
Tick 11: Archers

2013-02-19, 12:31 AM
Russet is just going to guard.

And I expect CNG quoted that last line at her one or two times.

2013-02-19, 12:32 AM
Ouch. Poor Russet.

Cygnes is also Medicine 0, but she was paying attention. Being able to stay calm and focused while the entirety of your life comes crashing down around your shoulders is... close to the definition of Temperance 5, isn't it?

(Actually, I think it was being offered your heart's desire, but... same in reverse.)

2013-02-19, 12:35 AM
Russet is Temperance 1. She basically panicked, and then was on the streets until she Exalted after she died.

Basically, Russet is scarily good at compartmentalizing her feelings about the past, until they get thrown at her. Which is her Conviction 5.

...I get the feeling Russet is going to think of Cygnes as an (slightly annoying) big sister.

2013-02-19, 12:40 AM
Editing to respond to your edit...

And I'm not sure how Cygnes sees Russet, yet. Except that "younger" and "to be taught" come in there somewhere. Sorry, Industrious...!

2013-02-19, 12:43 AM
Russet leaps to conclusions really quickly, and she's very stubborn. I have no problems with her repeatedly misunderstanding how people see her, and seeing them differently in turn.

2013-02-19, 12:51 AM
Makes sense! Edited.

... Cygnes takes a while to make judgments, and then keeps them. High Conviction. It's why she hasn't started intimacy-forming for everyone yet (actually this should probably count as a scene of Respect towards Aria) - she's not sure yet how to view them. That goes double for Russet, given her leaping to conclusions and then leaping back. She's a hard person for Cygnes to figure out.

2013-02-19, 12:55 AM
The big thing to understand about Russet is that she doesn't have plans. She's very, almost exclusively, present-focused.

Maugan Ra
2013-02-19, 01:00 AM
For the record, Aria is absolutely going to try and deputise Russet into helping out with fixing the military up. Because she's growing rather fond of the energetic fire aspect, and that's about the easiest way I have of channeling Russets desire to punch everything in a productive direction.

(I know Russet is War 1. Fortunately, Aria can use Terrestrial War reinforcement to get around that little snag.)

2013-02-19, 01:06 AM
She's Charisma 4. She'd love to help, and would have lots of fun, actually, teaching them.

...Though trying to teach mortal soldiers CMA might have...unpleasant consequences.

Also, she isn't all about the punching. She's good at the punching, and bad at being official. If you need someone to talk and not be acting as a formal authority figure, she's much more comfortable.

Maugan Ra
2013-02-19, 01:10 AM
"Russet! What did you do to my soldiers? They're high as bloody kites, and they seem to have half-exploded!"

(Oh, and holding off on declaring my action until I know whether Rakkna is going to stand down. I doubt it somewhat, but hey, you never know...)

2013-02-19, 01:10 AM
She does seem as if she'd be pretty good at teaching people! ... Possibly by punching them, but...

As is probably obvious, Cygnes is pretty much all planning. Every action she takes in the present is (ideally) based on past knowledge and chosen for its likely impact on the future. Her main interaction with the present is to remember to act in it, instead of just planning - otherwise, all the plans really won't be much use, now will they? (But yes, she does occasionally have to remind herself of that.)

I actually don't see her as terribly high-Manipulation. She does a lot of plotting, but she'll tell you most of it if you ask her. ... Most.

And being good at being not-an-authority-figure is probably very useful. Cygnes tries, but one reason she's leaning on her title as much as she is is that she's really a lot more comfortable being "Acting Taimyo" (or "Scion of Gens Arys", or...) than she is being Cygnes.

2013-02-19, 01:24 AM
"Russet! What did you do to my soldiers? They're high as bloody kites, and they seem to have half-exploded!"

(Oh, and holding off on declaring my action until I know whether Rakkna is going to stand down. I doubt it somewhat, but hey, you never know...)

More along the lines of "So, I was teaching them Awesome Kung Fu of Awesomeness, and suddenly Anathema. Totally not my fault."

Because I can totally see her offer to give the soldier who hits her during her Form/performs one of her katas, and then they do and exalt, and not in the "Hello Fellow Dragon-Blood, welcome to the club" way, either.

She does seem as if she'd be pretty good at teaching people! ... Possibly by punching them, but...

As is probably obvious, Cygnes is pretty much all planning. Every action she takes in the present is (ideally) based on past knowledge and chosen for its likely impact on the future. Her main interaction with the present is to remember to act in it, instead of just planning - otherwise, all the plans really won't be much use, now will they? (But yes, she does occasionally have to remind herself of that.)

I actually don't see her as terribly high-Manipulation. She does a lot of plotting, but she'll tell you most of it if you ask her. ... Most.

And being good at being not-an-authority-figure is probably very useful. Cygnes tries, but one reason she's leaning on her title as much as she is is that she's really a lot more comfortable being "Acting Taimyo" (or "Scion of Gens Arys", or...) than she is being Cygnes.

Yeah...it would be very useful, except Russet is an authority figure. She would much rather be just Russet of the Kickass Kung Futhan "Bianfu Xujia, Wife to the Daimyo, Protector of Tianrasia, Keeper of the Immaculate Faith" insert however many titles you want.

2013-02-19, 07:56 AM
Argh, sorry for all the not being there, people. I'll make up for it right away.

2013-02-19, 01:12 PM
Argh, sorry for all the not being there, people. I'll make up for it right away.

It's OK! One advantage of splitting the party (advantage? Of splitting the party?) is that we don't all have to move at the same pace.

Although I am very much looking forward to seeing what Xeifan gets up to...

2013-02-19, 01:57 PM
On which note, these dice are probably completely irrelevant because Xeifan is crazy invisible, but just on the off-chance...


2013-02-19, 05:56 PM
Rolling Conviction to give up: [roll0]

...Spending the Willpower and the Limit.

This scene counts towards Russet's development of her Intimacy towards Cygnes (Kind of Annoying Big Sister)

2013-02-19, 06:32 PM
... I'd like to correct a mistaken assumption in Cygnes's post. The Great Contagion reached Tianrasia earlier this year at the start of spring, though it had been around in general long before that. Cygnes would probably know that.

So, their survival isn't quite that horrifically implausible.

Edit - Also, Limit! Always nice to see that show up.

2013-02-20, 02:55 AM
Would she know that? I assumed people stopped responding to Messengers around when her own people started dying of the Contagion. Although that would give another reason she got sent out here now. ... Could you summarize for me what she knows, please? And do you want me to edit the post?

2013-02-20, 01:00 PM
My assumption is that there was some level of communication, just because the increased concentration of sorcerers in the Blessed Isle means that some of them will live, just as a matter of statistics. Near the start of the year, the message went out that everyone was dying, the plague was there, the doctors couldn't fight it, etcetera, etcetera. A ship was sent with Cygnes to take charge of the military. Similarly, family negotiations resulted in Xeifan showing up because they had a good crafty manse and they needed someone to keep the surviving Nine Wonders running, and Russet showed up to get her out of their hair.

Editing the post isn't very important, since it was internal monologue, but I wanted to clarify the point.

2013-02-20, 10:22 PM
I am not sure what to do... Get closer? Reveal Xeifan? Just wait and see? Come back for report? I'm gonna sleep on it and await an illumination.

2013-02-20, 11:04 PM
I'm not there, so Cygnes can't comment (however much she would want to if she was), but...

So far, Xeifan has a pretty good idea of the Tyrant of Eastgate. Unless she wants to try for a dramatic proclamation to counter the Tyrant's rhetoric (for example, clarifying any of the details of the inaccurate picture the Tyrant's painting of us), which would probably lead to a social-combat Performance duel at best, or wait for a chance at direct negotiation and then take it (probably leading to ditto with Presence, although there's a chance she'd get a straight-out discussion; the Tyrant is clearly clever, and may well stick a lot less to the rhetoric when her soldiers aren't watching her), there's probably not that much more she can do here. She could investigate the New Town district, seeing how people seem to be living and what support other than military the Tyrant does or doesn't have, checking on supplies (could we lay siege and starve her out?), that kind of thing. Cygnes will probably try to negotiate anyway, but Xeifan may or may not know that, and the more information we have, the better (which Cygnes I think has emphasized). Cygnes also did ask about extent of shadowlands, and then there are all the other factions...

Alternately, coming back to report would let the three of us find out about the Eastgate problem, which is quite clearly going to be a problem, before we head over there... which might be nice, since we're about finishing up here and I can see all kinds of ways the three of us heading unwarned into Eastgate could cause trouble. Then again, if Xeifan was scouting Eastgate, she could always keep an eye out for us and intercept us if we showed up. Your call! Just tossing out ideas in case any of them help.

2013-02-21, 09:25 PM
Random thought: "Demon-Blooded mercenaries" sounds like a neat idea for a game all on its own.

2013-02-22, 12:22 AM
... OK, yeah. I went with it because demon-bloods are (a) unpopular, (b) often psychotic, and (c) really tough fighters, so it seemed a natural fit.

Anyway. If you run that game, give me an invite? :smalltongue:

2013-02-24, 03:00 AM
So, where in particular is Xeifan going to try and find Cygnes, Mechanix? Back to the Palace District, or looking for her around False-River?

2013-02-24, 07:19 AM
Cygnes said: "I will be heading to talk to the militia, then to Eastgate to talk to the army forces there, assuming nothing urgent comes up; you should be able to find me at one of those locations, or else - here, likely." So Xeifan will first head towards the quarantine-enforcing militia... Of course, she wasn't told exactly where was the militia XD She'll try and look for it, and failing that, she'll... Ask for directions?

2013-03-04, 04:22 PM
If we're waiting on me, sorry - I'll try to get a post up later today.

2013-03-09, 11:05 PM
So, is the False-River group ready to move on, or do people still want to respond to Cygnes?

2013-03-10, 06:25 AM
Sorry for the delay on my end. Busy week, not feeling very writer-y. Going to try and finish up a post for Kailea soon.

2013-03-10, 03:01 PM
Understood. I've had weeks like that.

One of the advantages of split parties is that you can afford occasional delays. I can respond to Kailea when she says something.

Maugan Ra
2013-03-12, 10:51 AM
I'm not sure what else to post, beyond 'yeah cool let's go'. I think we're good to move onto trying to meet this Tyrant person, though...

2013-03-12, 11:28 AM
Right, then. Starting writing huge timeskippy post now.

Maugan Ra
2013-03-12, 12:34 PM
Perception+Awareness to see if Aria spots the archers: [roll0]

2013-03-12, 12:37 PM
And she does.

2013-03-12, 12:54 PM
It's in these moments that you realize how useful the "distant communication" Charm really is. It's going to be my next purchase as soon as I can afford it.

2013-03-12, 01:03 PM
Russet, believe it or not, is actually high Socialize.

She just has Intimacies against being formal, and actually leading things. :smalltongue:

2013-03-12, 01:16 PM
@Mechanix: Agreed. In my experience, the two biggest differences between sci-fi and fantasy RPGs are radio communication and the ability to destroy buildings/enemies/anything by setting explosives.

So, going by that definition, Exalted is sci-fi. :smalltongue:

@Industrious: Which are the two things that Socialize is normally used for.

If I was using Flaws, I would could those Intimacies as Flaws. But I'm not. So they're just a wonderful, wonderful source of wonderful, wonderful plot hooks.

2013-03-12, 01:20 PM
She can people person. She just doesn't people person's like in fancy party people. Or official people.

...Russet has a special relationship with languages.

2013-03-12, 01:34 PM
Have a 2-die stunt, Cygnes. His 'most dominant emotion' for the scene is in spoilers below.

Curiosity about you newly arrived Terrestrials. Also, he has an Intimacy of Affectionate Familial Loyalty towards Eiyo.

2013-03-12, 01:54 PM
TVTropes has a thing called "Wham Lines" that I am not linking to because TVTropes is the devil.

This game has them piling up one after the other it's insane.

2013-03-12, 02:46 PM
What's Sei the Third's tone in regards to Russet? "You're the girl" meaning "This is a girl who happens to be engaged, not what I expected," or "You're the girl" meaning "you aren't good enough for him"?

One of them involves Russet's Motivation.

2013-03-12, 04:58 PM
The first one. "Not what I expected" not "Pfeh."

Edit - Introducing herself as Russet is a good way to get people not to associate her with Bianfu Xujia.

2013-03-12, 07:32 PM
Pay no attention to the dice behind the curtain.


Edit 2 - will probably not respond until mid-to-late tomorrow afternoon, or tomorrow night, due to real life.

2013-03-14, 03:59 PM
TVTropes has a thing called "Wham Lines" that I am not linking to because TVTropes is the devil.

This game has them piling up one after the other it's insane.

Welcome to playing with a twist-based DM! I think we can expect a lot more of these... (Now the question is, how many can we anticipate?)

And yes, yes it is.

2013-03-14, 08:17 PM
So, I have a question.

At chargen, I bought two Manses - one is on the Blessed Isle and its hearthstone powers the armor. The other is the hearthstone from the manse-workshop in Tianrasia, and it's a Gemstone of Surface Thoughts.

However, I seem to recall you have to attune to the Manse first before you can use a hearthstone. Since we're just arrived, does Xeifan have this hearthstone, and if so can she already use it?

2013-03-14, 08:47 PM
Nope. The hearthstone is sitting in the hearthstone chamber in the manse that you own and have the right to attune to any time you want.

... If this was the Fate system, I'd say 'Here, have a hero point'. Not sure what the Exalted equivalent is, but I'm open to suggestions.

2013-03-14, 10:07 PM
Nope. The hearthstone is sitting in the hearthstone chamber in the manse that you own and have the right to attune to any time you want.

... If this was the Fate system, I'd say 'Here, have a hero point'. Not sure what the Exalted equivalent is, but I'm open to suggestions.

In the NWoD, I'd generally do with Willpower points. Exalted is a bit different and I haven't spent any so far, so. Let's just say I am suffering for my cause.

2013-03-15, 04:44 AM
Here, have a willpower back! Also have a stunt die on both those rolls, and since you rolled so well, I need to spend a while writing a post instead of replying quickly. :smalltongue:

Edit again - Real Life is being busy. Posting will slow. Will try to get something done by tonight, but Real Life.

2013-03-16, 06:00 AM
... I have to say. I admire Vari's rhetoric.

EDIT: Sorry Industrious, working on a post, but it's a bit tricky - Cygnes Needs To Get This Right, and life has been somewhat busy. Or all-spare-time-consuming. Sorry if I'm holding things up - I'll try to make it quick!