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Xefas
2015-12-15, 04:38 PM
Alright, here's the gist!

This'll be a Choose Your Own Adventure Game. It's a bit like playing an RPG by commitee. There's a world and a main character. I post what's going on around the main character, and then a series of potential actions that the main character could take. You all will then vote on whichever action you like best, and whichever action has the most votes when I start writing the next post is what the main character will do. You can also choose to write in an action that I didn't provide, and if you get enough votes, and it can reasonably be done, I'll go with that instead. Sometimes I just don't think of everything.

Sometimes, there will be multiple things to vote on in a single post. Everyone gets one vote per thing to vote on. In addition, anyone is always welcome to post ">What do I know about [x]?" to query the main character about personal or setting knowledge that they know about that the players (you guys) might not. For example, ">What do I know about my brother?" or ">What do I know about demons?" These don't count as votes, obviously. Ask away.

Please bold your votes. I'll still count non-bolded ones, but it makes things quicker and easier for me to count and track. For example, "Guys, I think we should >Stab the king. for reasons X, Y, and Z." or just "Stab the king."

Setting-wise, we'll be playing in Creation, the epic (bronzish/ironish)-age swords-and-sorcery world (with a dash of post-apocalyptic exploration and wuxia wire-fu) of Exalted (http://theonyxpath.com/category/worlds/exalted/). No setting knowledge is required, and the main character's starting point will be in a backwoods corner of Creation where they'll have grown up knowing little of what's really going on in the grand scheme of things. On the flipside, this will also make this game a strange way of actually learning the setting, as it'll be from the biased perspective of a once-nobody learning about gods and demons for the first time, rather than the omniscient top-down perspective of the Core Rulebook.

Speaking of rulebooks, I'll be running the new Exalted 3rd Edition behind the scene. No rules knowledge is required, and rules will be delivered mostly in the abstract. You don't need to calculate dots or dicepools, I'll just say "You're an Apprentice-level Swordsman" or something like that. No worries. The game just came out (for kickstarter backers) and a lot of stuff will need to be homebrewed by necessity, so you're not going to be losing out on anything.

Anyway, lets get on with it.



A traveler from the mainland once told you that Creation is both immeasurably vast and immeasurably old. She'd walked its hills and valleys, scaled its mountains, and forded its rivers from her youth until she was old and gray. She reckoned that she'd seen no more of it than a single flower in the great garden of the Gods' design. And now she had sojourned to the island of Chalcedon, your homeland, seeking the favor of the Sorcerer-Kings who dwell in Ysyr, that they might grant her new years with which to continue her travels. You never saw her again.

Learned folk call the modern day the "Age of Sorrows", and while all the world certainly has its problems - capricious gods, demon cults, the unquiet dead, and the soulless Fair Folk whose ships hail from alien shores beyond Creation, in addition to the more mundane famine, disease, and war - your little island has a little less trouble than most. It's no secret that Ysyr's presence makes this possible. From its high mountain perch, those who have visited it tell of its impenetrable, ensorcelled walls of pale quartz cut straight from the rocky face of the land. From here, a council of sorcerers presides over the magnificent city, their magics capable of binding supernatural things to their will, as well as warping the earth and sky, and calling down calamity where they desire. Not even the Fey risk their ire. But, in exchange, all upon Chalcedon pay stringent tribute, which has lead to steep taxation and stark divides in class, and the associated slums and crime that come with it.

The town of Boeth is the only home you've ever known, the second largest of Ysyr's tributaries on Chalcedon, halfway between the capital and Asymach, whose port connects Chalcedon to the mainland. As such, you see many travelers and merchants, and much of Boeth's culture and economy is based on entertainment, craft, and trade, in contrast to most of Chalcedon's tribes and hamlets, who toil away in the fields, raking root vegetables from the harsh soil, shepherding sheep and goats, or reaping fish and oysters from the sea. Here, amidst its wide streets and arched buildings of wood and limestone, the lucky and talented can find enough coin to live comfortably, while the less fortunate quickly fall into crippling poverty or debt, becoming lawful slaves of the state, or ill-fated pawns for organized crime.

You, however, are lucky and talented.



Choice #1
I make my living...

>...amongst the blue-painted lanterns of Boeth's gaudy houses of personal entertainment. Unlike the seedy cathouses off the beaten path, the bordellos along the stone market street are expensive establishments, where courtesans like me are trained in many facets of human endeavor, from singing and tea ceremony, to party etiquette and the nuances of ceremonial dueling. In addition to private intimacy, we often accompany wealthy merchants to business affairs as a show of opulence, or are contracted by the local government to perform for visiting dignitaries or in ceremonies to appease gods of the land and weather.
[Social Skills++, Money++, Mental Skills+, Physical Skills+, Local Influence+]

>...as a funereal priest, the latest in a long line of shamans that have existed since before the Sorcerer-Kings founded Ysyr and conquered the island of Chalcedon centuries ago. Those of my order usher the spirits of the dead to their rightful rest, and appease or banish those who choose to linger. We are often called to smaller tributaries for the latter. In truth, our secret and greatest purpose is to act as wardens of The Darkness That Follows, an ancient spirit of great power sealed beneath Boeth since antiquity.
[Mental Skills++, Occult Skills++, Social Skills+, Money+, Local Influence+]

>...scavenging the ruins of lost ages that run beneath Boeth and honeycomb the surrounding area. It's dangerous, rarely fruitful, and considered a disreputable profession, but it's also fascinating and challenging work. Instead of cobbling shoes like my mum wanted, I dodge dart traps and shimmy across crumbling architecture. Discoveries are few and far between, but I believe that the answers to the hardships of the present lie in the secrets of the past. And if I get rich in the process, that's fine too.
[Physical Skills++, Mental Skills++, Occult Skills+, Henchmen+, One Minor Artifact]



Choice #2
I was born with a distinguishing trait of which I am very proud. Since I was young, the people of Boeth have said that...

>...the Goddess Mercury must have chased the sun for a year and a day, to collect the fire with which to spin the golden hair she blessed me with. Among my people, anything but dark hair is rare indeed, and a gold as pure as mine is something only seen once every few generations.
>...the Goddess Venus must have captured the winds of heaven from which she wove my clarion voice, pure and strong amongst any multitude of lesser sounds.
>...the Goddess Mars must have shorn the red stars of her house from the firmament to fashion my eyes. Dark red and red-brown eyes are uncommon, though not unheard of, but the bright, clear hue of mine are something spoken of only in stories of far-off lands.
>...the Goddess Jupiter must have portioned me a great destiny, for I was born with an elaborate spiraling birthmark on the palms and wrists of both hands that, when placed together, fit into a single pattern. What it means, I do not know.
>...the Goddess Saturn must have had pity and cast her shadow down to guide me. I was born blind, but I have a 'sixth sense' that allows me to perceive physical things at a distance with similar accuracy to a sighted person, though I still cannot distinguish colors, writing, or other purely visual patterns.

Character Sheet

You are a mortal human. You are destined to live a pleasant and productive life and pass peacefully in your sleep.

You are physically healthy.

You are mentally healthy.

You are spiritually healthy.

EDIT:

Current Character Sheet (2/8/16)

Fearless June
Mortal Female Human
Fated to live an interesting life.

Attributes
[Physical] Strength: Extraordinary; Dexterity: Extraordinary; Stamina: Average
[Social] Charisma: Average; Manipulation: Weak; Appearance: Above Average
[Mental] Intelligence: Above Average; Wits: Average; Perception: Average

Abilities
Archery: Expert
Athletics: Expert
Awareness: Skilled
Brawl: Basic
Craft (Cobbling): Basic
Craft (Metalwork): Basic
Dodge: Expert
Integrity: Skilled
Investigation: Expert
Larceny: Basic
Linguistics: Basic
Lore: Basic
Melee: Basic
Occult: Skilled
Presence: Skilled
Resistance: Skilled
Stealth: Skilled
Survival: Basic

Intimacies
[Defining] I Love My Family
[Major] The Ancient Past Is Fascinating
[Major] I'm Responsible For Mila
[Major] I Trust Alistair After Everything We've Been Through
[Minor] Demons Don't Seem So Bad
[Minor] I Need All The Facts
[Minor] I'm No Better Than Anyone Else
[Minor] I Enjoy Feeling Powerful

Possessions On Person
Clothes (Filthy)
Manacles (Locked Around Your Arms and Legs)

Possessions Being Kept At An Unknown Location
Composite Bow [Medium Ranged Weapon]
Wooden Arrows
Dagger [Light Melee Weapon, Light Thrown Weapon]
Selino's Short Sword [Light Melee Weapon, +Minimum Brave Damage]
Iron-Shod Gloves [Light Brawl Weapon]
The Everbright Lantern [Minor Artifact]
Chain Shirt [Light Armor, Concealable]
The Forgeheart Opal
The Second Key-Gem (Not Yet Named)
A small assortment of ancient jewelry

Health
Physically, June is healthy.

Mentally, June is healthy.

Spiritually, June is healthy.

Supernatural Powers
Shadow Swiftness (Active, One Action, Variable Cost; Grants superhuman agility, lightness, or speed of body or mind.)
Leaping Shadows Method (Active, One Scene, Low Cost; Use Shadow Swiftness to make mildly superhuman jumps for free.)
Demon-Predator Claws (Passive; Permanent +Strength, Deal lethal damage with unarmed attacks.)
Ephemeral Devil-Body (Passive; Permanent +Health, Superhuman natural healing)
Mirage of Beshadowed Visage (Active, Indefinite, Low Cost; Create a visual illusion around your body and clothing.)
Shadow Without Light (Passive: See in darkness; Active, Variable Cost: See through an illusion.)
The Heart's True Essence (Active, Low/Mid Cost; Determine a target's strongest negative intimacy, silently at range. Bonus if target is unconscious or thinks they're alone.)

Zenna
2015-12-15, 04:49 PM
>...scavenging the ruins of lost ages that run beneath Boeth and honeycomb the surrounding area. It's dangerous, rarely fruitful, and considered a disreputable profession, but it's also fascinating and challenging work. Instead of cobbling shoes like my mum wanted, I dodge dart traps and shimmy across crumbling architecture. Discoveries are few and far between, but I believe that the answers to the hardships of the present lie in the secrets of the past. And if I get rich in the process, that's fine too.
[Physical Skills++, Mental Skills++, Occult Skills+, Henchmen+, One Minor Artifact]

>...the Goddess Saturn must have had pity and cast her shadow down to guide me. I was born blind, but I have a 'sixth sense' that allows me to perceive physical things at a distance with similar accuracy to a sighted person, though I still cannot distinguish colors, writing, or other purely visual patterns.

ZaneShadow
2015-12-15, 04:58 PM
>...scavenging the ruins of lost ages that run beneath Boeth and honeycomb the surrounding area. It's dangerous, rarely fruitful, and considered a disreputable profession, but it's also fascinating and challenging work. Instead of cobbling shoes like my mum wanted, I dodge dart traps and shimmy across crumbling architecture. Discoveries are few and far between, but I believe that the answers to the hardships of the present lie in the secrets of the past. And if I get rich in the process, that's fine too.
[Physical Skills++, Mental Skills++, Occult Skills+, Henchmen+, One Minor Artifact]

>...the Goddess Jupiter must have portioned me a great destiny, for I was born with an elaborate spiraling birthmark on the palms and wrists of both hands that, when placed together, fit into a single pattern. What it means, I do not know.

Vauron
2015-12-15, 07:03 PM
>...as a funereal priest, the latest in a long line of shamans that have existed since before the Sorcerer-Kings founded Ysyr and conquered the island of Chalcedon centuries ago. Those of my order usher the spirits of the dead to their rightful rest, and appease or banish those who choose to linger. We are often called to smaller tributaries for the latter. In truth, our secret and greatest purpose is to act as wardens of The Darkness That Follows, an ancient spirit of great power sealed beneath Boeth since antiquity.
[Mental Skills++, Occult Skills++, Social Skills+, Money+, Local Influence+]

>...the Goddess Jupiter must have portioned me a great destiny, for I was born with an elaborate spiraling birthmark on the palms and wrists of both hands that, when placed together, fit into a single pattern. What it means, I do not know.

Kymme
2015-12-16, 12:12 AM
>...as a funereal priest

>The Goddess Mercury

What? I like golden hair. :smalltongue:

Norngremlin
2015-12-16, 02:35 AM
1. ...scavenging the ruins...

2. The Goddess Mars

Bright red eyes are adorable, obviously, and graverobbing dungeon crawling seems like a good starting profession.

backwaterj
2015-12-16, 04:23 AM
>...amongst the blue-painted lanterns of Boeth's gaudy houses of personal entertainment. Unlike the seedy cathouses off the beaten path, the bordellos along the stone market street are expensive establishments, where courtesans like me are trained in many facets of human endeavor, from singing and tea ceremony, to party etiquette and the nuances of ceremonial dueling. In addition to private intimacy, we often accompany wealthy merchants to business affairs as a show of opulence, or are contracted by the local government to perform for visiting dignitaries or in ceremonies to appease gods of the land and weather.

Because someone had to. :smallwink:

>...the Goddess Saturn must have had pity and cast her shadow down to guide me. I was born blind, but I have a 'sixth sense' that allows me to perceive physical things at a distance with similar accuracy to a sighted person, though I still cannot distinguish colors, writing, or other purely visual patterns.

Vauron
2015-12-16, 08:42 AM
Poor Venus, no one love Serenity apparently. :p

7th son of sons
2015-12-16, 09:30 AM
>...amongst the blue-painted lanterns of Boeth's gaudy houses of personal entertainment. Unlike the seedy cathouses off the beaten path, the bordellos along the stone market street are expensive establishments, where courtesans like me are trained in many facets of human endeavor, from singing and tea ceremony, to party etiquette and the nuances of ceremonial dueling. In addition to private intimacy, we often accompany wealthy merchants to business affairs as a show of opulence, or are contracted by the local government to perform for visiting dignitaries or in ceremonies to appease gods of the land and weather.
[Social Skills++, Money++, Mental Skills+, Physical Skills+, Local Influence+]

You had me at Social Skills and Money

>...the Goddess Mercury must have chased the sun for a year and a day, to collect the fire with which to spin the golden hair she blessed me with. Among my people, anything but dark hair is rare indeed, and a gold as pure as mine is something only seen once every few generations.

Nothing says adventurer like something super exotic and obvious.

Also, no idea what this setting is or anything that happens in it, so this should be good.

spwack
2015-12-16, 10:10 AM
...amongst the blue-painted lanterns of Boeth's gaudy houses of personal entertainment.

>...the Goddess Jupiter must have portioned me a great destiny, for I was born with an elaborate spiraling birthmark on the palms and wrists of both hands that, when placed together, fit into a single pattern. What it means, I do not know.

Jon0113
2015-12-16, 02:05 PM
-scavenging the ruins
-the goddess Venus

Xefas
2015-12-16, 05:39 PM
Most people refer to you as a "scavenger", more often than not with a look of incredulity, an upturned nose, or a stifled laugh, but...

Choice 1
>...that's fine with me. Talk is cheap.
>...I prefer "Adventurer"!
>...I prefer, ahem, "Professional Dungeoneer".
>...I prefer "Archaeologist".

Your whole life, you've been fascinated with the incredibly detailed markings on your hands. You've spent more nights than you can count, laying by candle-light, examining each and every line, imagining what it could mean. The map of an ancient city? The star-chart to a lost treasure? A message written in an alien language? The combination to a god's vault? Regardless, you have known deeply, in your heart of hearts, that it's no mere birthmark, and that it points somehow to your destiny - a grand destiny, waiting for you to find it.

Inspired by this, you spent your youth shunning practical skills, and disappointing your parents, by being so resolutely concerned with everything not useful to acquiring a stable job, finding a spouse, and collecting children. Most nights, you either sleep in the gutter, or camp in the some of the deeper ruins beneath the town that the other vagrants believe to be too dangerous to squat in. The relics you've found, and been content to part with, have fetched enough coin with passing traders to keep you and your associates fed and equipped, as well as maintain your...

Choice 2
>Cestuses. I've hidden their iron plates to look like regular leather work-gloves. They come in handy in a bar brawl.
>Bandolier of Throwing Knives. I've got some practice using them both in melee and at range.
>Composite Bow. Arrows have had surprising utility while exploring - just add a rope or fire.
>Straight sword and dagger. The latter has a wide guard, built for parrying and disarming.
>Sledgehammer. Sometimes life's greatest obstacles are all in our mind. For everything else, there's a sledgehammer.

As well as some basic leather armor and...

Choice 3
>Flashy, impractical clothes. Belts everywhere, a tremendous collection of shiny hair ornaments, extraneous ribbons, inexplicably bare midriff, etc.
>Flashy, practical clothes. Some bright colors, a magnificent hat, and maybe a few too many pockets, but otherwise tough, solid, all-encompassing traveling gear.
>Drab, impractical clothes. Flowing robes befitting a monk or scholar. Perfect for a long night bent over a dusty tome, not so much for leaping chasms and evading pendulum scythes.
>Drab, practical clothes. Looks like every dirt-farming peasant anyone has ever seen.

Vauron
2015-12-16, 05:54 PM
Unsurprised that graverobber won, I am.

>...I prefer "Adventurer"!
>Bandolier of Throwing Knives. I've got some practice using them both in melee and at range.
>Flashy, impractical clothes. Belts everywhere, a tremendous collection of shiny hair ornaments, extraneous ribbons, inexplicably bare midriff, etc.

Kymme
2015-12-16, 05:59 PM
>...I prefer "Adventurer"!
>Straight sword and dagger.
>Flashy, practical clothes.

We a dandy now.

Dudeons
2015-12-16, 06:00 PM
>...I prefer, ahem, "Professional Dungeoneer".

>Cestuses. I've hidden their iron plates to look like regular leather work-gloves. They come in handy in a bar brawl.

>Flashy, practical clothes. Some bright colors, a magnificent hat, and maybe a few too many pockets, but otherwise tough, solid, all-encompassing traveling gear.

spwack
2015-12-16, 08:14 PM
> Spelunker (that is, the proper term for someone who explores caves)
> Sledgehammer
> Flashy impractical clothes

failing that:

> Professional Dungeoneer
> Sledgehammer
> Flashy impractical clothes

7th son of sons
2015-12-16, 09:55 PM
>...I prefer "Adventurer"!
>Straight sword and dagger. The latter has a wide guard, built for parrying and disarming.
>Flashy, impractical clothes. Belts everywhere, a tremendous collection of shiny hair ornaments, extraneous ribbons, inexplicably bare midriff, etc..

Bluydee
2015-12-16, 09:57 PM
>...that's fine with me. Talk is cheap.

>Cestuses. I've hidden their iron plates to look like regular leather work-gloves. They come in handy in a bar brawl.

>Drab, practical clothes. Looks like every dirt-farming peasant anyone has ever seen.

Norngremlin
2015-12-16, 11:52 PM
>...I prefer, ahem, "Professional Dungeoneer".
>KNIVES.
>Flashy, impractical clothes. Belts everywhere, a tremendous collection of shiny hair ornaments, extraneous ribbons, inexplicably bare midriff, etc.

Jon0113
2015-12-17, 05:23 AM
> that's fine with me, talk is cheap
> composite bow
> practical drab clothing

Zenna
2015-12-17, 12:22 PM
>...I prefer "Archaeologist".
>Composite Bow. Arrows have had surprising utility while exploring - just add a rope or fire.
>Flashy, practical clothes. Some bright colors, a magnificent hat, and maybe a few too many pockets, but otherwise tough, solid, all-encompassing traveling gear.

ZaneShadow
2015-12-17, 03:46 PM
>...that's fine with me. Talk is cheap.
>Composite Bow. Arrows have had surprising utility while exploring - just add a rope or fire.
>Flashy, practical clothes. Some bright colors, a magnificent hat, and maybe a few too many pockets, but otherwise tough, solid, all-encompassing traveling gear.

Elenna
2015-12-17, 05:41 PM
>...I prefer, ahem, "Professional Dungeoneer".
>Composite Bow. Arrows have had surprising utility while exploring - just add a rope or fire. Plus I just really like archery.
>Flashy, practical clothes. Some bright colors, a magnificent hat, and maybe a few too many pockets, but otherwise tough, solid, all-encompassing traveling gear.

Xefas
2015-12-17, 07:45 PM
You wear a heavy brown sleeveless leather buff-coat, with thinner, darker, more flexible leather underneath to cover your arms and legs. Your sturdy boots are ragged and patched from long usage, and your iron-shod gloves have been worn by more than their fair share of mud, blood, caustic ichor, flying teeth, and wayward blades. You have a thick belt covered in its entire length with pouches, pockets, and tethered purses, as well as several hidden pockets sown into the thighs and calves of your pants. You wear a deep emerald-green cape that flows down to your waist, and a large, wide-brimmed green hat accented with an enormous feather. In addition to a general hunting knife, you carry two daggers that you possess basic competency with, and a composite bow and quiver strapped to your back that you are much more adept at using.

You possess strong, handsome features that, when combined with your glorious hat and a few well-earned scars, can only be described as "rakish". Your long, dark brown hair is tied into a thick braid that reaches just below the end of your cape, bound at the end with a woven cord from which a heavy iron key dangles. You found it in the ruins, and after years of searching have still not found what it goes to.

At your side, a matte black metal cylinder about the length of your forearm and twice as thick is strapped to your belt by a handle at its top. It has two small levers on one side, and a slightly raised area at a 45 degree angle from the levers. This is the only fully functioning artifact from a prior age that you have found. You call it 'The Everbright Lantern'. When one lever is manipulated, the raised area on the cylinder is drawn inward and away, revealing a bright core of yellow light that illuminates everything with soft warmth in a cone in front of it. The second lever, when toggled, causes an internal mechanism to focus the light into a much thinner and much more intense beam of light. It doesn't appear to have an oil reservoir, and you've run it continuously for many hours at a time without it ever dimming. It is a real, tangible miracle that defies physical law.


Choice 1
>I am male
>I am female


You have three associates who follow you as their leader during delves into the ruins. Two of them have been with you for a while and cover some of your weaknesses. The newest, Rose Vest, you haven't become particularly attached to, and seems largely incompetent.

Choice 2 - Pick Two
>I am strong of heart, but weak of arm, which my henchman, Ox, makes up for. His neck's about as thick as my torso.
>I am charming, witty, but without a poker-face to speak of. My silver-tongued henchman, Alistair, does the negotiating.
>I'm more of a 'big picture' person, and sometimes I have trouble finding things that are right in front of me. My henchwoman, 'Eagle-Eye' Basia, makes sure I don't miss anything.
>I soak up a lot about legends and lost civilizations, but things like math and geography just go in one ear and out the other. My henchwoman, Mila, is the disowned child of a wealthy, educated family, and fills in the blanks.
>Despite my rakish good looks, I'm a bit shy and have trouble opening up to people. I'm only the 'leader' insofar as I'm the most competent, courageous, and knowledgeable on the subject matter. My henchwoman, Rain, gives the inspiring speeches and gets everyone to actually work together.


Choice 3
Putting aside my crew and my job for a moment, the most important thing in the world to me is...
>My family. Despite not being what my parents really wanted, I'm still on speaking terms with them and drop by every now and again. My eldest sister wants nothing to do with me, but my younger brother and sister both adore me, and I adore them as well. I would drop everything and rush to their side in a moment if any one of them were in trouble.
>Me. When I wouldn't conform to what my parents wanted, they disowned me. When I didn't conform to what this town wanted, they cast me as some kind of miscreant. But these are just my humble beginnings - I have a great destiny, bigger than this place, bigger than these people. Nothing is more important than finding the path to glory fate has ordained me with.

Kymme
2015-12-17, 08:32 PM
>I am female

Don't really have any well thought out reasons; just a fan of female main characters.

>I soak up a lot about legends and lost civilizations, but things like math and geography just go in one ear and out the other. My henchwoman, Mila, is the disowned child of a wealthy, educated family, and fills in the blanks.
>I am strong of heart, but weak of arm, which my henchman, Ox, makes up for. His neck's about as thick as my torso.

These two sound like they'd make for a good supporting team. I think that a lot of amusing banter could be had with Mila and Ox. Besides, one is a young girl, and the other is a super burly man. Plus our charismatic heroine, that makes a Beauty/Brains/Brawn trio!

>My family.

I think that the whole "disowned renegade" thing is kind of overwrought these days. Somebody who has a clear attachment to their family sounds more interesting.

Vauron
2015-12-17, 08:40 PM
>I am male
>I soak up a lot about legends and lost civilizations, but things like math and geography just go in one ear and out the other. My henchwoman, Mila, is the disowned child of a wealthy, educated family, and fills in the blanks.
>I am strong of heart, but weak of arm, which my henchman, Ox, makes up for. His neck's about as thick as my torso.
>My family.

I'm mostly fine with Kymme's choices, I'd just prefer a guy.

Elenna
2015-12-17, 08:40 PM
>I am female
>I am charming, witty, but without a poker-face to speak of. My silver-tongued henchman, Alistair, does the negotiating.
>I soak up a lot about legends and lost civilizations, but things like math and geography just go in one ear and out the other. My henchwoman, Mila, is the disowned child of a wealthy, educated family, and fills in the blanks.
>My family. Despite not being what my parents really wanted, I'm still on speaking terms with them and drop by every now and again. My eldest sister wants nothing to do with me, but my younger brother and sister both adore me, and I adore them as well. I would drop everything and rush to their side in a moment if any one of them were in trouble.

Jon0113
2015-12-17, 08:46 PM
- I am female

- I am charming, witty
- I am more of a big picture person

- my family

I was thinking about going for the charming good looks one, but that didn't seem to make sense with the first choice

Shadow11615
2015-12-17, 08:51 PM
-I am male
>I'm more of a 'big picture' person, and sometimes I have trouble finding things that are right in front of me. My henchwoman, 'Eagle-Eye' Basia, makes sure I don't miss anything.
>Despite my rakish good looks, I'm a bit shy and have trouble opening up to people. I'm only the 'leader' insofar as I'm the most competent, courageous, and knowledgeable on the subject matter. My henchwoman, Rain, gives the inspiring speeches and gets everyone to actually work together.
-Me. When I wouldn't conform to what my parents wanted, they disowned me. When I didn't conform to what this town wanted, they cast me as some kind of miscreant. But these are just my humble beginnings - I have a great destiny, bigger than this place, bigger than these people. Nothing is more important than finding the path to glory fate has ordained me with. Going against the flow!

7th son of sons
2015-12-17, 10:18 PM
>I am female
>I am charming, witty, but without a poker-face to speak of. My silver-tongued henchman, Alistair, does the negotiating.
>I soak up a lot about legends and lost civilizations, but things like math and geography just go in one ear and out the other. My henchwoman, Mila, is the disowned child of a wealthy, educated family, and fills in the blanks.
>My family. Despite not being what my parents really wanted, I'm still on speaking terms with them and drop by every now and again. My eldest sister wants nothing to do with me, but my younger brother and sister both adore me, and I adore them as well. I would drop everything and rush to their side in a moment if any one of them were in trouble.

Sounds like the kind of character I would play.

Bluydee
2015-12-17, 10:47 PM
>I am male
>I'm more of a 'big picture' person, and sometimes I have trouble finding things that are right in front of me. My henchwoman, 'Eagle-Eye' Basia, makes sure I don't miss anything.
>I soak up a lot about legends and lost civilizations, but things like math and geography just go in one ear and out the other. My henchwoman, Mila, is the disowned child of a wealthy, educated family, and fills in the blanks.
>Me. When I wouldn't conform to what my parents wanted, they disowned me. When I didn't conform to what this town wanted, they cast me as some kind of miscreant. But these are just my humble beginnings - I have a great destiny, bigger than this place, bigger than these people. Nothing is more important than finding the path to glory fate has ordained me with.

spwack
2015-12-17, 11:59 PM
I'll second Kymme.

Zenna
2015-12-18, 01:08 AM
>I am female

>Despite my rakish good looks, I'm a bit shy and have trouble opening up to people. I'm only the 'leader' insofar as I'm the most competent, courageous, and knowledgeable on the subject matter. My henchwoman, Rain, gives the inspiring speeches and gets everyone to actually work together.
>I soak up a lot about legends and lost civilizations, but things like math and geography just go in one ear and out the other. My henchwoman, Mila, is the disowned child of a wealthy, educated family, and fills in the blanks.


>Me. When I wouldn't conform to what my parents wanted, they disowned me. When I didn't conform to what this town wanted, they cast me as some kind of miscreant. But these are just my humble beginnings - I have a great destiny, bigger than this place, bigger than these people. Nothing is more important than finding the path to glory fate has ordained me with.

ZaneShadow
2015-12-18, 01:29 AM
>I am female
>I soak up a lot about legends and lost civilizations, but things like math and geography just go in one ear and out the other. My henchwoman, Mila, is the disowned child of a wealthy, educated family, and fills in the blanks.
>I'm more of a 'big picture' person, and sometimes I have trouble finding things that are right in front of me. My henchwoman, 'Eagle-Eye' Basia, makes sure I don't miss anything.
>Me. When I wouldn't conform to what my parents wanted, they disowned me. When I didn't conform to what this town wanted, they cast me as some kind of miscreant. But these are just my humble beginnings - I have a great destiny, bigger than this place, bigger than these people. Nothing is more important than finding the path to glory fate has ordained me with.

backwaterj
2015-12-18, 01:31 AM
>I am female

>Despite my rakish good looks, I'm a bit shy and have trouble opening up to people. I'm only the 'leader' insofar as I'm the most competent, courageous, and knowledgeable on the subject matter. My henchwoman, Rain, gives the inspiring speeches and gets everyone to actually work together.

>I am strong of heart, but weak of arm, which my henchman, Ox, makes up for. His neck's about as thick as my torso.

>Me. When I wouldn't conform to what my parents wanted, they disowned me. When I didn't conform to what this town wanted, they cast me as some kind of miscreant. But these are just my humble beginnings - I have a great destiny, bigger than this place, bigger than these people. Nothing is more important than finding the path to glory fate has ordained me with.

ImperatorV
2015-12-18, 04:33 AM
>I am male

>I soak up a lot about legends and lost civilizations, but things like math and geography just go in one ear and out the other. My henchwoman, Mila, is the disowned child of a wealthy, educated family, and fills in the blanks.

>I am charming, witty, but without a poker-face to speak of. My silver-tongued henchman, Alistair, does the negotiating.

>Me. When I wouldn't conform to what my parents wanted, they disowned me. When I didn't conform to what this town wanted, they cast me as some kind of miscreant. But these are just my humble beginnings - I have a great destiny, bigger than this place, bigger than these people. Nothing is more important than finding the path to glory fate has ordained me with.

Norngremlin
2015-12-18, 09:09 AM
> I am female.
>I'm more of a 'big picture' person, and sometimes I have trouble finding things that are right in front of me. My henchwoman, 'Eagle-Eye' Basia, makes sure I don't miss anything.
>Despite my rakish good looks, I'm a bit shy and have trouble opening up to people. I'm only the 'leader' insofar as I'm the most competent, courageous, and knowledgeable on the subject matter. My henchwoman, Rain, gives the inspiring speeches and gets everyone to actually work together.
>My family. Despite not being what my parents really wanted, I'm still on speaking terms with them and drop by every now and again. My eldest sister wants nothing to do with me, but my younger brother and sister both adore me, and I adore them as well. I would drop everything and rush to their side in a moment if any one of them were in trouble.

Having adorable younger siblings is always a plus. Also, socially awkward heroines are usually fun, if handled well. (I trust Xefas not to screw up.)

Dudeons
2015-12-18, 02:12 PM
Choice 1: I am male.

Choice 2: I am strong of heart, but weak of arm, which my henchman, Ox, makes up for. His neck's about as thick as my torso.
I am charming, witty, but without a poker-face to speak of. My silver-tongued henchman, Alistair, does the negotiating.

Choice 3: My family. Despite not being what my parents really wanted, I'm still on speaking terms with them and drop by every now and again. My eldest sister wants nothing to do with me, but my younger brother and sister both adore me, and I adore them as well. I would drop everything and rush to their side in a moment if any one of them were in trouble.

Xefas
2015-12-18, 06:30 PM
You are Fearless June, expert archer, tomb raider, beloved daughter, and the cool big sister.

Your associate, Mila, is a fiercely intelligent young woman, outcast from a wealthy merchant family from Asymach. She has never revealed the reasons for her disownment. Its only been a few years since she was forced to fend for herself, and she is still soft to many of the world's hardships, as well as brazen in the face of its many subtleties. During the archery lessons you give her, she complains incessantly about finger callouses and sore arms. You believe that she follows you out of curiosity and a want of adventure.

Your associate, Rose Vest, is a very nondescript young man - average height, average build, a face that could easily be mistaken for someone else. Although a bit timid, and seemingly very clumsy, he has become very enthusiastic about helping you ever since you dragged him out of his own burning haberdashery. He hopes to one day save up enough money to reopen his business. You believe that he follows you out of respect and gratitude.

Your associate, Alistair, is a born street urchin who has never owned anything he didn't personally bleed or sweat to obtain. Or, occasionally, steal. As far as you know, he's never had anything like a family and finds the notion completely foreign. He is both frugal and greedy, though his greed is molded from privation, a survival instinct to take everything one can while it is available, because you never know when it might not be. You believe that he follows you because he genuinely thinks some day you'll find a big score and make him rich.

Which, coincidentally, you just might be about to do.

Two weeks ago, while the four of you were plumbing the depths of Boeth's ruins, you shimmied through a fracture in an expertly hewn stone wall and found an immense corridor, easily twenty feet high, stopping at both ends with a set of giant stone doors so thick and heavy that battering them down would be unthinkable. Adjacent to one set of doors was a towering marble slab etched with ancient characters and small pictographs. Using some canvas and ink, you replicated the slab as well as you could, and continued investigating. Worryingly, the other door had no such distinguishing characteristics, but upon nearing it you could hear a faint sound coming from the other side. In the still darkness of that dank and musty chamber, you convinced yourself it was just the murmur of an underground water-flow. But once you had returned to your companions and made the trek back, up, up, into the light of day, you forced yourself to contemplate the truth - you could hear whispers.

As far as you know, you are the only one to have been that deep into the dungeon since it sank into the earth, long beyond anyone's memories. In addition to some of the strange and warped fauna that you have encountered down there - large, mutated insects and vermin, generally - you have found a great deal of evidence to suggest that the people of the Lost Ages were both more socially and technologically advanced, but also more spiritually puissant, and that they could bind immortal spirits to their will, much like the Sorcerer-Kings of Ysyr that now rule your people. You shudder at the thought of what an immortal spirit guardian, trapped by their sorcerous fetters for ten thousand years, languishing in the lonely dark might become.

Today, you have finished translating as much of your drawing of the slab as you are able, using records you've kept of other signs and symbols about the ruins, to make guesses about what they could mean. And, if your guesses are correct, wealth and fame might be one absurdly dangerous heist away.

But, first, you have to collect your compatriots.



It's a bright and sunny morning as you round the corner to the narrow alleyway behind one of Boeth's numerous houses of drink. Many of which are fine and upstanding establishments that cater to the honest and upright, of which this is not one of them. The Bull's Head is one of Alistair's favorite haunts, a standard wretched hive of scum and villainy, sporting a crudely amorous painting on its sign of a woman and a bull.

Ahead of you, a few rays of sunlight bend around the overhanging thatch roof, illuminating his familiar face - gaunt and angular, with beady eyes and an oft-broken nose, framed with unkempt black hair. Alistair is noticeably drunk, and two very large men are taking turns beating him in a leisurely fashion. As he looks up and sees you, the two men glance back to you warily, and give you a look that perfectly communicates that you should turn around and mind your own business. You clear your throat and offer, nonchalantly, "You need any help?"

Alistair catches his breath long enough to reply "Just a friendly misunderstanding. My business. I'll handle it." That is, right before another meaty fist plants itself under his ribcage, knocking the wind out of him and sending him to the ground.

Choice 1
>I knock the teeth out of one of the thugs. [Alistair will like you more.]
>I let Alistair lay in whatever bed he's made for himself. [Alistair will respect you more.]

Character Sheet

Fearless June
Mortal Female Human
Fated to live a pleasant but ultimately unproductive life and die peacefully in her sleep.

Attributes
[Physical] Strength: Above Average; Dexterity: Extraordinary; Stamina: Average
[Social] Charisma: Average; Manipulation: Weak; Appearance: Above Average
[Mental] Intelligence: Above Average; Wits: Average; Perception: Average

Abilities
Archery: Expert
Athletics: Expert
Awareness: Skilled
Brawl: Basic
Craft (Metalwork): Basic
Dodge: Expert
Integrity: Skilled
Investigation: Expert
Larceny: Basic
Linguistics: Basic
Melee: Basic
Occult: Skilled
Presence: Skilled
Resistance: Skilled
Stealth: Skilled
Survival: Basic

Intimacies
[Defining] I Love My Family
[Major] The Ancient Past Is Fascinating
[Major] I'm Responsible For Mila
[Major] I Trust Alistair After Everything We've Been Through
[Minor] I'm Proud of My Skill at Archery

Health
Physically, June is healthy.

Mentally, June is healthy.

Spiritually, June is healthy.


Mechanical Explanation: Intimacies
Intimacies represent people, places, things, concepts, and ideals that you have strong feelings towards. Most often, they come into play during a social conflict - a situation where somebody is trying to convince somebody else to do something. As you might expect, it's easier to convince somebody to do something if they have an intimacy that supports your argument, and harder if they have an intimacy that opposes it. For example, convincing a patriotic soldier to betray his country and join its wartime foe would be unthinkable, no matter how persuasive your argument - he has a Defining Intimacy of "I Love My Country". That is, unless you discovered that he has an equally powerful Defining Intimacy of "Freedom Of Speech Is The Basis Upon Which All Just Governance Must Rest", and can point out that his motherland has become increasingly militant in putting down all displays of dissent or discontent towards its ruler, and its young people are on their way to being fed only on ignorance and propaganda. Now your argument for treason is possible where it otherwise wouldn't be, though certainly not guaranteed to succeed.

Intimacies come in three tiers - Minor, Major, and Defining, with subsequently larger bonuses or penalties. In Fearless June's case, any request that would hinge upon betraying her crew would be very easy for her to resist. Unless it meant protecting her family.

backwaterj
2015-12-18, 06:49 PM
>I let Alistair lay in whatever bed he's made for himself. [Alistair will respect you more.]

Hey, he said he'd handle it! :smallamused:

ImperatorV
2015-12-18, 07:00 PM
>I knock the teeth out of one of the thugs.

We might need him for dungeon delving later. Injuries are not conducive to such activities.

Jon0113
2015-12-18, 07:49 PM
I knock the teeth out of one of the thugs

They sound like bullys to me

Elenna
2015-12-18, 08:30 PM
>I knock the teeth out of one of the thugs.

What Imperator said.

spwack
2015-12-18, 08:39 PM
>I let Alistair lay in whatever bed he's made for himself.

We might hurt his feelings if he gets shown up. Ribs heal, but pride can take a while to mend.

Zenna
2015-12-18, 10:43 PM
>I knock the teeth out of one of the thugs.

Kymme
2015-12-18, 11:46 PM
>I knock the teeth out of one of the thugs.

Hey, we can't have him too bruised up. Today is the day of the big score!

ZaneShadow
2015-12-18, 11:51 PM
>I knock the teeth out of one of the thugs.

THEChanger
2015-12-19, 01:12 AM
>I knock the teeth out of one of the thugs.

Norngremlin
2015-12-19, 02:57 AM
Tricky one, but I think I'll go with >I knock the teeth out of one of the thugs.

Vauron
2015-12-19, 02:47 PM
>I let Alistair lay in whatever bed he's made for himself.

Liking us in nice, but I'll respect his wishes.

Xefas
2015-12-19, 06:03 PM
You sigh and crack your knuckles, then approach the three men. The two thugs turn and loom menacingly at you.

"I wasn't talking to that one." you say, gesturing at Alistair as you regard them. "Do you boys need any help beating some sense into this ne'er-do-well? I've been tracking him down all morning. Maybe for the same reason as you. He owes me something."

The thugs trade a side-long glance for a brief second, then the less paleolithic of the two begins to speak. "You exp-"

And, just then, your left-handed sucker punch impacts the side of his face, sending a jet of blood, saliva, and teeth sailing through the air. The second thug, enraged, lunges for you, but his upper half jerks backward, sending his feet out from under him as Alistair locks an arm around his unsuspecting throat.

You duck under a wild swing from the first thug, as he cradles his face with the other hand, and throw the full weight of your body at him, checking him into the wooden wall of the adjacent tavern. Alistair finishes choking the second thug into unconscious, allowing them to slump limply into the dirt. The first thug seems to consider taking another crack at you, but decides better of it and begins to back away. You let him, and he departs hastily. You and Alistair do so as well, out the opposite side of the alley.

After a few blocks of twisting streets and alleys, you both briskly emerge into the relative safety of a crowded market street, the colorful awnings already shading a bustling hodge-podge of house-spouses and business owners who are carefully picking through assortments of fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats. "Debt collectors." Alistair says, finally. "I appreciate the help. But they'll be back, and in greater numbers."

You shake the rolled up length of canvas tied to your belt as the two of your weave between the folds of the crowd. "Whatever it is you owe, I guarantee it won't be a concern for long."

Alistair rolls his eyes. "I've heard that before." You notice he's now holding a small cluster of bright red grapes in his hand. Sure enough, you glance back and notice the two of you passed a grape stand a few moments before. He begins taking big bites of the bunch, stems and all, as you continue. "No, no, this time - I assure you - in a few days, we'll either be filthy stinking rich..." You pause a moment for effect, and make eye contact. "...or dead."



The dark, stuffy room you find Mila in is heavy with smoke and the smell of burning chemicals. A long, short wooden table runs the length of the room, with several cushions spaced arounds its edges, and a person kneeling on each. Armed guards stand by each of the three doors. Each kneeling person has a set of small, expertly crafted cards made of some stiff parchment-like material, as well as stacks of wooden tokens each carved with a symbol denoting its worth. Several people have little trays with a lamp, a pipe, and a bowl of what you assume is opium. Mila's stack of money-tokens seems to be significantly larger than everyone else's, and she's being given the sullen looks from the other players to match.

As you and Alistair enter the room and make your way to her, every silent eye is on the both of you. Mila doesn't seem to notice until you tap her on the shoulder, after which she gives you a wide, lop-sided grin, above unfocused, dilated eyes. "Woah! Hey! Guys, pull up a pillow." Her words are unnecessarily loud in the otherwise quiet room. She whips her head around to a nearby servant-girl standing dutifully against the wall, her short bob of light-brown hair fluttering as she does. She snaps her fingers and waves a few coins. "These are my friends! Get them whatever they want." The girl nods nervously, and leaves the room, perhaps to collect food and drink.

Alistair's eyes move from the armored and sword-equipped guards, to the increasingly irate gamblers, to the older, scarred, and balding man at the center of the table who appears to be the dealer and proprietor of the establishment, and down to Mila and her pile of tokens. He says, quietly, but not whispering. "Mila? I think we're all going to die."

"Nonsense!" she exclaims, with a little slur, and snatches the corner of your arm with her hand, pulling you down next to her face. "I'm on a winning streak today, and it shows noooo signs of stopping! Luck is smiling on me." Then she begins an uncontrollable fit of giggles and turns her head, appearing to stifle it against her shoulder, while whispering into your ear. "Actually, I solved their stupid game. They're only using two decks. A toddler could do these probabilities in their head. I'm gonna clean them out."

Choice 1
>I put a hand over Mila's mouth and slowly drag her out of the gambling den before we all get stabbed and tossed into the river by mobsters. [Mila will be upset.]
>I tell Mila to start losing gracefully and retire with a humble sum. [Mila will be a little upset, but she'll get over it. Also, there's a small chance you'll be stabbed.]
>I tell Mila to ask for her current, rightful winnings, and am prepared to risk life and limb to make sure she gets her money. She earned it. Then we'll leave. [Mila will like you more. You will be stabbed.]

Kymme
2015-12-19, 06:33 PM
>I put a hand over Mila's mouth and slowly drag her out of the gambling den before we all get stabbed and tossed into the river by mobsters.

Let's not get stabbed.

Elenna
2015-12-19, 06:36 PM
>I tell Mila to start losing gracefully and retire with a humble sum.
Compromises are good. Being stabbed is not good. Also, we may or may not have an opportunity to get lots of money, but we definitely can't go treasure-hunting if we've been stabbed.

Zenna
2015-12-19, 06:58 PM
>I tell Mila to start losing gracefully and retire with a humble sum. [Mila will be a little upset, but she'll get over it. Also, there's a small chance you'll be stabbed.]

backwaterj
2015-12-19, 08:22 PM
>I tell Mila to ask for her current, rightful winnings, and am prepared to risk life and limb to make sure she gets her money. She earned it. Then we'll leave.

Is our bravado gone as soon as knives are an issue? We won't get far in our adventure if we're scared of a little stabbing. :smallbiggrin:

ZaneShadow
2015-12-19, 11:59 PM
>I tell Mila to start losing gracefully and retire with a humble sum. [Mila will be a little upset, but she'll get over it. Also, there's a small chance you'll be stabbed.]

THEChanger
2015-12-20, 12:22 AM
>I tell Mila to start losing gracefully and retire with a humble sum.

I'm with Elenna. Getting stabbed is not good. Ideally, we wish to avoid getting stabbed as much as possible. However, it would be very unfair if we left with nothing. Mila did work very hard.

spwack
2015-12-20, 02:41 AM
>I tell Mila to start losing gracefully and retire with a humble sum.

It's better to clean them out over the course of a few weeks than to have them on to you straight away.

Jon0113
2015-12-20, 03:18 AM
> I tell mika to ask for her rightful winnings

Norngremlin
2015-12-20, 08:09 AM
>I tell Mila to ask for her current, rightful winnings, and am prepared to risk life and limb to make sure she gets her money. She earned it. Then we'll leave.

Mostly, I'm hoping for a good fight scene.

Xefas
2015-12-20, 06:14 PM
"Mila, listen to me very carefully." You say, still whispering, but with urgency. "Whatever crime lord runs this place, it's a business established to make money. The rules of the game are irrelevant. The moment that the amount of money you attempt to walk out with is greater than what it would cost to have you discreetly murdered and disposed of, it becomes good business sense to do just that. So you need to start losing. Quickly."

She begins to protest, but you lift your head away and back up a few steps. She turns and shoots you an angry look. Which might've been more impactful if she were less drug-addled. You merely make a cutting motion across your neck with an empty hand, and loll your head to one side in a mock notion of death. She grits her teeth and turns back around.

The serving girl comes back with a small tray with food and drink on it. You decline, but Alistair shrugs, having accepted his fate, whatever it might be, and grabs a wooden tankard of wine, downs it, replaces it onto the tray, and grabs a second one to hold on to.

Over the next half hour or so, Mila goes on a precipitous losing streak until she has only a few tokens left, and then bows out with some degree of politeness. She stands up and hands her tokens to one of the nearby guards, who leaves and returns with a small draw-string bag containing many eighth-pieces of silver. As the three of you walk out together, the proprietor gives you a hard look, and you return it, coming to a mutual understanding of what just transpired.



It's midday now, and the open, breezy teahouse is bright and cheerful. Many of the chairs at each small, circular table are filled, and two waitresses gracefully spin between the narrow gaps, attending to the guests. Alistair prods at his steaming cup of finely crafted leaf juice experimentally, and complains loudly that he would've preferred to have this meeting somewhere with stiffer drinks. Mila seems to be coming down from her high, and is getting drowsy, sipping at her tea between yawns. "I won't have to worry about food for a while, but godsdamn, I could've bought my own townhouse if you hadn't stopped me. I was already up..." Mila's eyes dart upward and to the side, as usual for when she's doing some mental math, then return. "...what, five pounds of silver?"

"Like I've been telling you, they were never going to let you keep it." You reply, moving your own teacup to the very edge of the table, and unfurling your sheet of canvas onto the table. You also take some other bits of parchment from a bag at your side, their every inch covered in your thin, tiny handwriting, and place them onto one corner of the canvas. "Now, may we please focus on the matter at hand?"

The two nod, with a little grumbling, and you begin to explain. "Last time we went into the ruins, we went deeper than ever before. And I believe that I found some kind of vault. A vault containing..." You point at a series of large characters towards the center of your drawing of the slab. "...this."

Both of your companions look at the word, and back to you. Alistair's brow furrows. "And. What is that, exactly?" he says.

You grab one of your scraps of note-paper, and wave it gently towards them. "Well, you see. I... I don't actually know. But! But-" They both make a display of rolling their eyes at you, nearly at the same time; Alistair with an exaggerated shrug, and Mila sinking her head onto the table. You continue quickly, "-But, while I don't actually know what this word means, I was able to translate most of the rest of the stone. And I believe that it might be some kind of a, uh, a - how do I put this - like a power source." You tap your Everbright Lantern illustratively. "Like my lantern. But bigger. Can't you understand why that might be amazing? Lucrative?"

Alistair finally decides that tea is better than nothing, and takes a long drag from his lukewarm cup. "So you think its a... big... oil-less lantern? Who's going to buy that? A very enterprising lighthouse keeper?"

You rub your forehead a little, consolidating your thoughts, eschewing your hat slightly. "Look, things need fuel. Energy has to come from somewhere. When you light a torch, it dies when the wood burns out. Humans need food, or they get weaker until they die, too. Even spirits don't have infinite power. Their miracles drain them, or they draw the power from somewhere else in Creation. But I think that whoever lived here a thousand years ago, two thousand years ago, ten-thousand years ago, what-have-you, found a way around that somehow. They created things, like my lantern, that output without any input. If I'm right, and the thing in this vault produces free energy, but on a larger scale, imagine what could be done with it. Watermills that don't need water. Furnaces that burn without charcoal."

Mila scratches the back of her neck, seeming to focus a bit more. "That... does seem like it might revolutionize the entire modern world, yeah."

Alistair continues to look skeptical. "Right. Okay. But why is it in a giant vault? Is it... dangerous or something?"

"Gee, Alistair-" you reply with a little sarcasm, "-if you had a priceless work of supernatural artifice that defies cosmic law, would you let anybody just walk in off the street and fiddle with it?"

He sighs and nods in concession, then continues, "So, the catch, because there's always always a catch, is that the vault is completely impenetrable and we have no way to get inside, right?"

You fumble with a few of your notes, and then point a finger to direct their gaze at another portion of the slab-drawing. "Sort of. It's semi-impenetrable, and we have no good way to get inside. The stone mentions two 'keys', that can be used together to enter the vault in case of emergency."

Mila props her head up on the table with both hands, and interrupts, "Ah, so the problem is that you don't know where the keys are."

You shake your head. "No. The problem is that I do know where the keys are. This word? It refers to some kind of gathering place. We saw it by that massive cave-in where we fought that huge tentacle-faced mole monster. Well, given the little map they provided, it's on the other side of that cave-in, inaccessible, except that its location almost exactly corresponds with where our beloved governor's manse is on the surface. That tower he's got predates any modern architecture in Boeth, and I'd bet anything that it's actually the topmost portion of a sunken structure - maybe the largest structure from ancient Boeth - whatever this 'gathering place' is. It might be that all we have to do is..."

You splay your hands, as if giving them both the answer. Alistair takes the initiative and finishes your sentence. "Uh... break into the private residence of the wealthiest and most dangerous man in the city, sneak into his cellar and nick a priceless antique, then get out alive?"

You don't reply at first, and the three of you are silent, allowing the background murmur of the surrounding teahouse to dominate. They both look at you for an explanation, but you give them something else instead. "Well, that sounds bad now, but you'll warm up to it once I tell you where the other one is. Remember that underwater passageway we all agreed that, whatever was on the other side, nothing would be worth swimming through a pitch-black confined space where we didn't know if there'd even be a place with air at the other end?"

"A notion I still agree with." intercedes Mila. Alistair nods in agreement.

"But think of the money!" you retort. Alistair nods at that as well. Mila just frowns at you. You add, "Think of rubbing it in your parents' faces when you become rich and famous without them, and change the face of the modern world."

Mila does think of it for a long moment. Then nods as well. "...Oh, alright."



Choice 1
What shall we do first?
>Infiltrate the governor's mansion.
>Explore the underwater ruins.

Jon0113
2015-12-20, 07:03 PM
explore the underwater ruins

backwaterj
2015-12-20, 10:13 PM
>Explore the underwater ruins.

At this point I'd rather risk the wrath of whatever eldritch abominations are in that tunnel than the governer's. Also something tells me getting out of town for a while might be a good career move for our ensemble.

THEChanger
2015-12-20, 11:18 PM
>Explore underwater ruins

Let's save offending local power structures for our last mission. At least, offending local power structures more.

Kymme
2015-12-20, 11:45 PM
>Underwater ruins

Bandwagon ho!

Norngremlin
2015-12-21, 12:53 AM
>Explore the underwater ruins.

"Professional Dungeoneer", not "Professional Governor's Mansion Infiltrator", duh.

Elenna
2015-12-21, 01:15 AM
>Explore the underwater ruins

What everyone else said. Yay bandwagoning!

ZaneShadow
2015-12-21, 03:46 AM
>Infiltrate the governor's mansion.


Am I the only fan of grand larceny?

spwack
2015-12-21, 05:18 AM
> Underwater ruins

Choo choo!

Zenna
2015-12-21, 12:22 PM
>Infiltrate the governor's mansion.

ImperatorV
2015-12-21, 01:08 PM
>underwater ruins.

If we break into the governor's place and fail, we'll have to skip town before checking out the ruins. If we do the ruins first we have a chance to try both if the first fails.

Xefas
2015-12-21, 05:05 PM
"Good. Now that that's settled, there's just the matter of acquiring some rations and other sundries, and we can be off." You say with a note of finality, making to roll up your sheet of canvas.

Alistair finishes his tea before speaking; judging by the brief look of disgust, he didn't enjoy it. "Well, and the consideration of whether or not we're going to bring anyone else in on this little venture. There are pros and cons to be weighed. We don't know exactly what waits between us and the keys. Could be too much for three people. Then again, we need to consider that anyone competent is going to want a cut. Three ways - versus four ways, or five ways. Makes a difference."

Mila swirls the dregs of her tea around absentmindedly, thinking. "We'll need at least one. Think about this - that underwater passage? We can't take our supplies through there. Too heavy to swim with. Not to mention the questionable nature of dragging food, and torches, and what else, through the water. We'll have to rely on your lantern for light on the other side."

"There's..." you pause, "...there's always Rose."

Mila groans audibly, and Alistair visibly deflates into his chair, then says, "That little guy gives me the creeps. I can never remember exactly what he looks like, except that damn red shirt he always wears. Then he's standing right in front of me, and I still can't godsdamn remember what he looks like."

You nod, but then gesture with a defiant hand, "But he'll work for basically nothing! He thinks I'm great. And, as you might notice, 'basically nothing' is the current rating of the economic weight we possess to throw at this problem."

The conversation fades while the three of you think. After half a minute or so, Mila's continual futzing with her teacup finally causes it to tip over. As if the little 'clink' of the cup on the table were his cue, Alistair says rigidly, "We could get real jobs." There's just background noise again as you and Mila gawk vacantly in his direction. He avoids your gaze, continuing, "Not forever, obviously. But there's no reason we have to tackle this thing right now. The whatssit isn't going anywhere, and we've no reason to think that anything will happen to it in the next, I dunno, couple weeks. We could put enough cash together to hire some muscle, then be on our way."

"Impossible." says Mila, the emphasis she places on the single word reminding you of the kinds of implacable truths on par with the rising of the dawn.

"It wouldn't kill you." Alistair fires back, "I, myself, have been known to engage in such irresponsible and perverse pursuits as honest, manual labor. Digging ditches, cleaning stables. The occasional foray into moving large objects from one resting place to another in exchange for currency."

Mila looks as if she's about to say something profane, but you cut her off with a soft, tentative, "...I could work in my family's shop for a few weeks maybe."

She bites back on whatever she was about to say, and just looks around, bewildered.

Choice 1
>We gather money for a few weeks to entice some henchmen to our cause. [You don't know of any time-sensitive factors. Not knowing about them, of course, does not prevent them from advancing.]
>I try to convince Mila to part with the money she just won in order to fuel our venture immediately. [Enter Social Combat!]
>Adventure is calling us. We'll just have to make do with a single, third-rate minion to watch our campsite while we're away.

Jon0113
2015-12-21, 07:51 PM
I try to convince Mila

Sounds fun to me

THEChanger
2015-12-21, 08:50 PM
>I try to convince Mila to part with the money she just won

Social Combat, ho!

Norngremlin
2015-12-21, 10:12 PM
>I try to convince Mila to part with the money she just won in order to fuel our venture immediately.
(note: I wasn't sure which one to go with, so I left this literally up to the dice. The dice seem to have decided to jump on the bandwagon.)

backwaterj
2015-12-22, 01:23 AM
>I try to convince Mila to part with the money she just won in order to fuel our venture immediately.

Hey, if she doesn't want to get her hands dirty, she needs to grease the wheels a bit. Horrible mixed metaphor ftw.

ZaneShadow
2015-12-22, 01:35 PM
>We gather money for a few weeks to entice some henchmen to our cause. [You don't know of any time-sensitive factors. Not knowing about them, of course, does not prevent them from advancing.]

Xefas
2015-12-22, 05:33 PM
"Although, perhaps there's another way." you say.


Alright, there're a few ways to go about this!

You know, from previous interactions with Mila, that she has a Minor Intimacy of "Life's Too Short To Spend It Bored", as well as a Major Intimacy of "I'm Full of Bitterness Towards My Family". She has other Intimacies but you don't know what they are.

You can attempt to use your Average Charisma to persuade her, speaking charismatically from your passion for discovering the unknown, using her "Life's Too Short To Spend It Bored" Intimacy as leverage. Your argument will fill her with enough vim and impatience that she'll offer up her recent gains just to get the show on the road. It helps that she trusts you, but hurts that she's currently annoyed with you. Overall, this option has a Very High Chance of Success. If it fails, she won't be particularly offended, but further attempts to sway her with the same argument will fail.

You can also attempt to use your Above Average Appearance in one of two ways.

First, you can take a two step process to, one, imbue Mila with a Minor Intimacy of physical attraction towards you, and then, two, try to then use that Intimacy as leverage to flirt the money out of her. This requires two rolls, which you have a Reasonable chance of accomplishing. However, if you fail the first roll, things will be QUITE AWKWARD for a while, and you'll have to fall back on your Charisma, or abandon the cause altogether. If you succeed on the first roll, but fail on the second, she will still be attracted to you, just not enough to, right now, give up her money.

Second, you can take a leap of faith that she already harbors a secret crush for you, and make a single roll to both reveal the secret Intimacy and persuade her to give you the money. If she does have such a secret Intimacy, your margin of success is so Extremely Likely, it's only a hair shy of absolute certainty. If she, in fact, does not have a crush on you, you will automatically fail, and QUITE AWKWARD will not even begin to cover your relationship in the immediate future.

There are additional social options, via Threatening, Bargaining, bringing Alistair into the conflict, or using your Manipulation, but those presented above are the most likely and straightforward.



Choice 1
>#1, I use a passionate argument!
>#2a, I use my rakish good looks
>#2b, I trust that she's already fallen for me

Because the second and third options are so similar in approach, with just one step kept or removed, I'm going to count all Charisma votes (#1) together, and all Appearance votes (#2a and 2b) together. Then, if Appearance wins, whichever of 2a or 2b is more popular will be the one used.

Sexuality In Creation

In most parts of Creation, it's common and accepted that people will be somewhere between Absolute Heterosexuality and Absolute Homosexuality on The Great Sliding Scale of Boinkery. Those people exist, of course, and most people have a Preference towards one gender or the other.

Although, in light of the Multiple Horrific Apocalypses that Creation has endured in the last few centuries, it is also seen in most communities as a necessary duty of each citizen to eventually settle down and have Hella Tons Of Babies. So there's that.

Non-binary sexualities exist, too, obviously. Especially in a world where some people can become so incredibly powerful and transcendent of their human nature that they can do The Horizontal Kamehameha with, say, a mountain range, or the sky, or the abstract concept of spacial identity, or whatever.

Jon0113
2015-12-22, 06:08 PM
I use a passionate argument
the other two feel wrong to me

THEChanger
2015-12-22, 07:44 PM
I use a passionate argument!

Let's avoid making people fall in love with us for the time being. I'm satisfied with a Very High Chance of Success.

Eggel
2015-12-22, 07:59 PM
I use a passionate argument!

backwaterj
2015-12-23, 12:21 AM
>#1, I use a passionate argument!

Romantic entanglement in these sort of situations is . . . awkward.

Norngremlin
2015-12-23, 01:10 AM
>#2a, I use my rakish good looks
Not going with the bandwagon on this.

(There is no possible way this could end poorly! NO. POSSIBLE. WAY.)

spwack
2015-12-23, 06:10 AM
Bandwagon ahoy!

> Passionate argument

Xefas
2015-12-23, 08:12 PM
Your companions look at you quizzically.

"As much as it pains me to make such a request, the call of adventure burns in my heart!" You say, standing from your seat in a dramatic fashion. "It is not hard work that I fear, no, but I find the notion of putting this off for a fortnight or more to be simply unacceptable for the same reason I found the humble life of a cobbler to be unacceptable." You raise a tightly clinched fist into the air, gazing off into the distance. A few of the other nearby patrons glance over at you. "This world is full of dangers to be faced, secrets to unearth, and challenges to be overcome with wit and bravery, and I have been blessed with a mind, body, and soul capable of doing just that, and therefore no lesser path can I abide. If I should wait a day to face my destiny, what a slippery slope it would be to wait another, and another, and a week, and a month, and a year, and soon I should be old and feeble, and all the excitement I postponed will be nothing but regret! No, we have to do this now!"

Alistair shrugs and continues looking at you with skepticism. Mila, on the other hand, is held in rapt attention, clutching the sides of her chair. Perhaps holding back a tear. "Yes. Yes! I feel the same way!"

You slam your fist down onto the table with immense emphasis, causing the people seated at the table next to you to quietly grumble and move further away. "And that's why I must ask, then, Mila, that you loan me your winnings, so I can maximize the chances of our expedition's success. And when all is said and done, and we're reclining on our solid jade couches, in our sprawling miracle-operated palaces, it'll seem like only a drop in the vast rivers of our wealth and power!"

Mila looks at you for a second, and also stands from her seat, then very casually tosses you her recently earned purse. You catch it. "Eh." she says, "Might as well. I was probably going to blow it all on something dumb anyway. This will probably be more constructive."



Choice 1
>I instantly squander it all on something for myself.
>I hire a small group of the homeless and disenfranchised to be our faceless mook squad.
>I hire two professional goons, with professional goon resumes and references as to the efficacy of their stabbing, and stab-prevention, skillsets.
>I spend it all on one notorious badass. Our camp is going to be so very safe.

Elenna
2015-12-23, 08:44 PM
>I hire two professional goons, with professional goon resumes and references as to the efficacy of their stabbing, and stab-prevention, skillsets.
Compromise continues to be good. That being said, is the notorious badass notorious enough that people will decide not to rob our camp based on the strength of his name alone? Because if so, I might change my mind.

spwack
2015-12-23, 08:49 PM
> Notorious badass

So long as we can keep him (or her!) occupied, it should turn out fine.

ImperatorV
2015-12-23, 10:42 PM
> Two professional goons.

If they are professionals who pride themselves in their reputation they are unlikely to stab us in the back. Notorious badasses are notorious for a reason.

THEChanger
2015-12-23, 10:52 PM
>I hire two professional goons, with professional goon resumes and references as to the efficacy of their stabbing, and stab-prevention, skillsets.

No less than five years of professional goon experience, and those references better be stellar.

backwaterj
2015-12-23, 11:48 PM
>I hire a small group of the homeless and disenfranchised to be our faceless mook squad.

Never underestimate the power of the mook-mob defense. Plus, these guys probably need it more.

ZaneShadow
2015-12-24, 01:27 AM
>I spend it all on one notorious badass. Our camp is going to be so very safe.

There are people here NOT voting for Boba Fett?

Norngremlin
2015-12-24, 06:28 AM
>I hire two professional goons, with professional goon resumes and references as to the efficacy of their stabbing, and stab-prevention, skillsets.

Jon0113
2015-12-24, 07:59 AM
two goons
Because nothing says protection like 2 knives to the face

Eggel
2015-12-24, 11:52 AM
Two professional goons

Mook squad? You're basically buying a herd of sheep.

Xefas
2015-12-24, 09:31 PM
A couple of days later, you reconvene with Mila and Alistair, a short ways from the northern border of Boeth's tall palisade, where a crevice in an otherwise unspectacular outcropping of stone leads down into the upper quarters of what you suspect was a towering, dozen-story complex of living quarters before the ancient city was driven into the earth by whatever terrible fate befell it. The complex has obviously fallen into severe disrepair, and all of its amenities were looted long before you were ever born. Its upper rooms are frequented by beggars and urchins, for the earth not only shelters them from the weather, but also protects from the sun during warm months, and provides some natural insulation in the cold months. Most are too fearful to traverse its lower depths, for they lead deeper into the cavernous dungeon of the old city, where it is said monsters and evil spirits dwell.

Which is true.

"Hey." You wave at Mila and Alistair, who move from their resting spots among the rocks as you approach. "These are our goons.", you say, gesturing to either side at the two burly men following you.

"Nice to meet you." offers Mila. Alistair remains quiet, peering with some stern expression at the man over your right shoulder. You gesture to your left and speak, "This is Kremm. He, uh, doesn't talk much, but he comes highly recommended. Word is that he once escaped his own public execution, stole a spear from a town constable, then held up in an alleyway, murdering everyone that came in after him for over an hour, until Governor Basso showed up and pardoned him in order to prevent any further loss of life and municipal funds."

Kremm, a tall, barrel-chested and bald fellow, pug-nosed and lumpy from a lifetime of beatings, is wearing thick armor made of some animal hides reinforced along the shoulders and chest with iron plates. He holds a mighty spear in both hands, scanning the area idly. Upon being introduced, he smiles and pops open his mouth, waggling the stump where his tongue used to be at your compatriots. You notice and add, in explanation, "And, uh, then after Kremm dropped his guard, the governor had his tongue cut out. So I guess it wasn't so much a 'pardon', as a lessening of the sentence." Mila can't help but reflexively touch her throat and grimace.

You then gesture to your right, "And this is-"

But Alistair cuts you off. "Selino. We've met, actually." You raise an eyebrow and turn to look between them.

Selino is short, stocky, with a closely shaved head and a severe looking scar that runs in a jagged circle around the entire width of his right forearm, leaving some suspicion as to how he might've gotten it without losing the limb entirely. He wears a metal breastplate, and has a large circular shield slung over his left arm, and a stubby sword with no crossguard sheathed at his belt. At Alistair's recognition, he does not smile - judging by his demeanor, you suspect he's good at that.

After a few moments of silence, Alistair takes a few steps forward and continues. "We used to run together when we were kids. Gods, I haven't seen you since..." He trails off, thinking.

"We mugged that market street courtesan - near 15 years ago it must be." offers Selino, whose voice is deep, hoarse, and ragged, seeming to belong to someone far in excess of his relatively young age.

Alistair snaps his fingers. "Right. That must be it. I remember, the town guards were all over us. I hid in a barrel of rotten fish for six hours before I was sure they were gone. I always liked to think you skipped town and were living it up in some farming village with the jewels we stole. Instead of, y'know... being killed. So, how did you get away?"

Selino is quiet, staring coldly at Alistair for several seconds. Then, he too takes several steps forward, until the two of them are within arms reach of each other. Then, his hard features seeming to strain with the words, he says, "I didn't." Alistair looks confused, then his face drops with comprehension. Selino takes that as his cue to continue. "They cornered me. Beat me to death. Then, when I wasn't as dead as they'd liked, I was conscripted. The war with Palanquin was going on, a'course. Shipped me off to the Dreaming Isles. Didn't die there like they wanted either."

The two just glare for a bit, Alistair seemingly lost as to how he should feel, or what he should say. You sense there's more to the story. You butt in on his behalf, stepping in close beside them. "We can all get better acquainted later. It'll take the rest of the day just to get to the sunken passage, so we should leave as soon as possible." The tension seems to break off, and the two look away from one another.

With you at the lead, the five of you shimmy awkwardly through the crevice, and begin your long journey through the ruined depths of the old city.



Choice 1
Once we reach the sunken passage...
>Selino will come exploring with us, and Kremm will guard the campsite.
>Kremm will come exploring with us, and Selino will guard the campsite.



Choice 2
So long as we're traveling, I'm going to take some time to try to learn more about...
>Mila
>Alistair
>Kremm
>Selino
>Myself, via some quiet self-reflection

Norngremlin
2015-12-24, 09:57 PM
>Selino will come exploring with us, and Kremm will guard the campsite.

>Myself, via some quiet self-reflection

backwaterj
2015-12-25, 01:43 AM
>Selino will come exploring with us, and Kremm will guard the campsite.

Much as common sense says keep him and Alistair as far apart as possible, I sort of want to see what'll happen if we don't. Plus he, y'know, can talk.

>Mila

Jon0113
2015-12-25, 03:12 AM
Selino will come exploring with us and kremm will watch the campsite

This, strangely enough, seems like the more sensible option

Mila

Eggel
2015-12-25, 02:39 PM
Selino will come exploring with us, and Kremm will guard the campsite

I get the feeling Kremm isn't the best swimmer

Selino

He seems like an interesting guy

THEChanger
2015-12-25, 03:17 PM
>Selino will come exploring with us, and Kremm will guard the campsite.

I don't want to leave the person with a grudge against one of our party members alone with all our stuff.

And let's learn about...>Mila. I like her.

Elenna
2015-12-25, 03:40 PM
>Selino will come exploring with us, and Kremm will guard the campsite.
>Mila


Ah, the joys of bandwagoning. :smallsmile:

Xefas
2015-12-25, 06:19 PM
Setting Note: The Calendar and Calibration

Creation has 15 months, each perfectly divided into 28 days. The five seasons correspond to Creation's Five Elements; Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Air. Because Creation is flat, and its celestial bodies hung from a literal firmament, these seasons are not ordained by anything like its position relative to the sun. Calendar Gods and Gods of Weather and Nature manage the seasons, and all of vast Creation moves through them at the same time. Wood is basically Spring - Fire, Summer - Earth, Autumn - and Air, Winter. Water is an intermediate "wet" season, not as cold as winter, but not as warm as spring, where it rains a ton.

After the last day of The Season of Earth, there is a 5-day period called "Calibration" before The Season of Air begins. Because this time is technically outside the proper calendar year, as far as the divine is concerned, no gods of time or weather have purview over it (except one, but that's another story), and so nature tends to go a little haywire. Storms show up for no reason, temperatures fluctuate wildly, and weird phenomena occasionally shows up, like rain falling upward, or rivers boiling and freezing at the same time. What's more, the barrier between the spiritual and the mundane grows thin, and gods and other spirits have an easier time walking among mortals. It is traditional in most parts of Creation to throw a five-day festival during the period, which is sort of like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all rolled into one. People wear masks, give gifts, eat more than they should, and pray that some demon doesn't crawl its way out of Hell and swallow their city whole.

Equipped with the map of old-Boeth you've charted out over years of exploration in one hand, and your Everbright Lantern in the other, you navigate your crew through its many twists and turns. In some places, entire city blocks are visible and traversable inside tremendous caves, while other paths narrow into long sections of unworked stone, barely large enough for an adult to squeeze through, and still others are sprawling, uncollapsed buildings, buried in rock like underground fortresses.

After a few hours of relative quiet, you all stop for a brief rest amidst the rubble of what must have been a three-story building, now hollowed out into a single large chamber. As you drink from a waterskin, Mila approaches you. "What do you suppose is going on between Alistair and that other guy?" she asks.

You say, honestly, "I've no idea. I told both men I hired who they'd be working with before they signed on, and Selino didn't say anything about knowing Alistair beforehand. Considering one hasn't killed the other yet, I suspect or - rather, I hope -their reunion is just awkward, not hateful."

Mila smiles with a little strain, and nods. "I hope so too."

You glance over at the three men, who are each keeping a respectable distance from one another and not conversing. Then you look back at Mila. "I've always wondered something, Mila. And, I guess now is as good a time as any to ask."

She looks at you with some puzzlement, but nods again, "Shoot."

You take another swig of water, thinking how to word your question. "You told me once that you were the daughter of a rich merchant family. They seem to have raised you well enough, given you an education. You're smart and you've surely got a lot of connections in Asymach. I understand not wanting the life your family decides for you, but what happened to make you hate them so much? To move all the way out here, when you surely have more opportunities back home?"

You seem to have caught Mila off her guard, and she physically winces at the question. After some awkward silence, you add, "No, nevermind. It's personal, I shouldn't've pried." You turn to signal the others that you'll be moving soon, but Mila lets out an "...Ehhh, well..." that catches your attention, and you turn back to face her.

She still looks uncomfortable, but begins to speak, low. "You've never been to Asymach, but are you familiar with the Dreaming Prince Assembly?" You shake your head. She gives a short sigh. "Alright, well, the God of The Dreaming Sea is vastly powerful, but also old and wizened. They say that no one has seen him in over a century. In his place, he has passed rulership to his twelve sons, who they call the Dreaming Princes. Each one controls one twelfth of the waters of the Dreaming Sea and, every Calibration, they manifest at their temples in Champoor, Volivat, Y'danna, Palanquin, and Asymach, who represent the interests of the Sorcerer-Kings of Ysyr. At each city, the merchant guilds throw a great banquet, which is the stage for all of the backstabbing and two-faced dealing that will determine much of their standing for the following year, culminating in a massive bidding war where each guild tries to curry the favor of one of the twelve Dreaming Princes. Having a sea-god on a guild's payroll, as you might imagine, is the greatest asset they can have in ensuring safe, profitable ventures until the next Calibration. With me so far?"

You nod. "I think so."

"Alright." she says, "So, a few years ago, my mother throws a tremendous amount of silver at one of the Dreaming Princes, Garbl, to get his favor for the year. But another guild throws just as much. She doesn't have anything else she can reasonably part with, so she drops a marriage to her eldest daughter into the pot as a deal-breaker. She wins."

"Oh." you say, dumbly.

"It gets better." she assures you. "I didn't particularly fancy the idea of being the 80th wife in somebody's harem in a palace at the bottom of the sea, god or no god. I have things I want to do with my life. Places I want to go. Stuff I want to do. Naturally, I declined."

"Oh." you say, again, with a little more impending dread.

"Right. So, the big day comes and I'm nowhere to be found. I've skipped town, waiting for this whole thing to blow over. Well, it turns out Garbl wasn't happy about being cheated, and so he demanded my three younger sisters be given to him as recompense for this slight, or he'd sink every single one of my family's ships that ever again left its berth. At the time, they were..." She takes a moment, ostensibly counting, but her face twists in anger, making you think the concentration might be to keep her emotions in check. "...14, 12, and 9."

You begin to highly regret asking about this.

Mila takes a deep breath before continuing. "Well, mom, never one to go back on a contract, serves up my sisters to him at a big apology party, thinking they're going to be his betrothed. But, no, that's not enough for the vengeance of a god, apparently." She clinches her fists, and you notice her shaking a bit at the edges of the light provided by your lantern. "He... called a torrent of seawater, flooding the venue where the party was held, and drowned each one of them in it, one at a time, with his bare hands. While they screamed, and my mother did nothing."

The menfolk, several yards away, seem to notice Mila shaking, and choking back tears of rage, and give the two of you strange looks.

"But you know what the best part is? All the news I've heard from Asymach says that my family is still in his good graces. They still pay him, sacrifice to him, use his blessing for their business. It... It-" She cuts off, not seeming to be able to continue speaking.

Choice 1
>I attempt to console her. I had no idea she carried such pain with her every day.
>I try to feed the flame of anger in her heart. Anger is exactly the proper emotion to feel when faced with such unforgivable monstrosity.
>I admonish her for fleeing from her problems, and thereby allowing those problems to harm innocents that would otherwise be uninvolved.

Jon0113
2015-12-25, 06:25 PM
I attempt to console her

Nobody should have to carry that,

Kymme
2015-12-25, 08:33 PM
>Console

Well, that's pretty terrible. Hugs might help.

backwaterj
2015-12-26, 12:54 AM
>I attempt to console her. I had no idea she carried such pain with her every day.

Hug bandwagon ahoy.

Norngremlin
2015-12-26, 12:10 PM
>I try to feed the flame of anger in her heart. Anger is exactly the proper emotion to feel when faced with such unforgivable monstrosity.

Garbl murdered her younger sisters. With her mother complicit in it. That is not something that should be forgiven or forgotten.

Kymme
2015-12-26, 01:20 PM
Forgot to mention this before, but...

Because this time is technically outside the proper calendar year, as far as the divine is concerned, no gods of time or weather have purview over it (except one, but that's another story), and so nature tends to go a little haywire.

no gods of time or weather have purview over it (except one, but that's another story)

(except one)
Best character hype. :smallcool:

Elenna
2015-12-26, 01:41 PM
>I attempt to console her. I had no idea she carried such pain with her every day.

Norngremlin
2015-12-26, 02:47 PM
Forgot to mention this before, but...



Best character hype. :smallcool:
I'd love if Xefas were referring to Nox (specifically the MoEP: Nocturnals version), but it's probably just Five Days Darkness.

(Though he is pretty cool too, I guess.) Also, this is the 108th reply to the thread. I dunno, I thought it was neat.

Xefas
2015-12-26, 09:39 PM
Mila begins to turn away, not wanting to look at you, or perhaps not wanting to be seen. But, wordlessly, you close in and embrace her in a moment of pure human empathy for her pains. She doesn't embrace you back, but after a moment of hesitation, slumps against you so that your strength is most of what's holding her up.

--Mila is no longer annoyed with you.
--Mila likes you more.
--Mila is more emotionally dependent on you.
--Your assessment of Mila's Intimacies has changed based on new information; you believe her bitterness towards her family is Defining, and drives much of her actions, whether directly or indirectly. You also suspect she has a Minor or Major Intimacy of some positive context towards you.



The others approach the two of you. Alistair passes by, meeting your eyes with a look of concern, but saying nothing, until he reaches the far exit of the room, and waits. Kremm looks largely confused, although is unable to voice whatever feelings he might have, and continues to Alistair's side. Selino, on the other hand, stops near the both of you and gives you a look of unamused contempt. "I was told we were coming down here to hunt treasure, not mewl to each other like children." he says, roughly.

You give Mila a soft squeeze to tell her that hug-time is over, and she rebalances herself, stepping back from you. She looks both angry and embarrassed.

You turn your game-face on and step up to Selino. Although he is more heavily built, and has the seeming of a more seasoned warrior, he's short for a man, and you're tall for a woman, giving you a few inches of height on him. You're not great at hiding your emotions, and so your next words have a bite to them. "Excuse me? Do you have something to say to me, hireling?"

If you offended him, it doesn't show. "I do." he says, "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, girlie. You said this venture would be dangerous. You expect me to face danger next to-" he gestures flippantly at Mila, who looks like she'd rather be invisible right now, "-that?"

"Yeah, that's right." you say firmly, a little color rising in your face. "Mila has proven herself to me plenty of times. She has a good head under pressure, and is one of the bravest people I know. If I didn't have complete confidence in her abilities, she wouldn't be here."

You can see the wheels turning in Selino's head, filing you away somewhere unpleasant. "Your 'confidence'-" he says the word as sarcastically as possible, "-is cold comfort to me. I've likely got more real combat experience than all the rest of you put together, but it doesn't take that much to tell this little girl is in over her depth."

Mulling over a few choice expletives, you glance over at Mila and get an inkling that defending her might not actually be making her feel any better. With a small effort of will, you hold your tongue, take a deep breath, and drop the conversation. "Fine. If you'd like, " you say, "I'll release you from your contract. There'll be no hard feelings, and you'll be free to go and do as you please." You gesture your lantern at the partially crumbled archway through which you all entered the building. "The exit's about four hours that way. I hope you remember our route. You wouldn't want to stumble into one of those caves full of flesh-eating millipedes, or take a wrong turn into a chamber full of quicksand."

He glances over at the exit, then at you. His eyes are colder now. You pat the map bundled at your side, then continue, "Nah, but what do I know, I'm just the 'girlie'."



After a long day of traveling, you finally reach your destination. At the end of a hundred-yard, or so, corridor of worked stone, a set of large steps descends downward to a lower level, the features of said level obscured by a low overhanging wall, and a perfectly still pool of dark water. On your first visit, you had submerged your lantern into the water, and the underwater corridor beneath had extended far beyond its faintest light. After a brief vote, you had all decided that attempting to swim its length wasn't worth whatever might be under there.

Everyone unloads their supplies onto the ground, and you set your lantern off to the side, such that it illuminates the little congregation, and extends down the hallway. You'll be keeping it on all night; the light discourages some of the subterranean animals from approaching, and it allows someone to keep watch without having to burn any wood for a campfire. That is, until tomorrow, when you take your lantern with you and Kremm is left by himself.

You remove your armor and put on plainer clothes. Looking at Selino, you speak to him directly for the first time since earlier today. "We need to go as lightly as possible tomorrow. No telling how long that corridor is. No armor, of course. You might not even want to take that shield."

His eyes narrow at you. "This shield will leave my side when Saturn pries it from my cold, dead corpse."



The five of you take turns on watch, and after some indeterminate amount of time, with no sky to go off of, you decide that a night has past and it's time to continue.

Selino has changed out of his own armor. Alistair and Mila don't typically wear any, but have readied themselves as well. You've left anything at the camp that can't be taken through the sunken corridor, like your map and the drawing of the stone slab.

Alistair's weapon of choice is a simple quarterstaff, which he's tied securely to himself to keep it from floating away when submerged. Mila has a bow and quiver, like yours, though wields them with much less proficiency. With a length of rope, you each tie your belts together to keep from getting lost in the darkness of the water - you in the lead, then Mila, then Alistair, then Selino.

After some discussion about swimming etiquette - such as "What happens if we don't find an air pocket before somebody drowns?" and "What if there's a school of bloodthirsty dungeon piranha waiting for us down there?", you all proceed solemnly down the steps.

Unlike a normal lantern, your artifact one does not illuminate with a simple flame, and uses no oil, so submersion in water does not hamper it. After about a minute of hurried scurrying through the water, you gesture upward to the others, at a small crack through the ceiling. Taking fast turns, you each press your mouth against it, taking in some rank, stagnant air from the pocket. Just after, you pass an intersection in the hallway, and feel a soft current flowing from right to left across your path. Another minute goes by, and you begin to panic in the eerie quiet, seeing nowhere else to catch a breath. You consider turning around and hoping for the best, but another few feet brings the furthest edge of your lantern-light to illuminate what looks like the lowest step of another set of stairs. Tugging on the rope behind you to signal some urgency, you begin to charge through the water with all your might, and the four of you finally emerge on the other side, gasping for air.

After a few minutes of grateful breathing and more than a little colorful swearing, everyone gets their wits about them. You undo the ropes binding the four of you, and gather it up for later use.

The corridor ahead of you is yet more smooth grey stone. However, along its length, there are metal brackets for use with torches or candles, and several very large and intricate woven tapestries, each depicting some kind of battle-scene between fearsome armies. You wonder why a civilization that can manufacture free energy would need torch-brackets, and also consider looting the tapestries, which would certainly fetch a high price. But you decide they would be impractical to swim back with.

Eventually, the corridor ends at a 'T' intersection. Throwing the lantern light down the right path, you see yet another grim grey expanse. Casting it down the left path, you see much the same, save for one difference. Shifting around to look in your direction, there is a large figure, easily in excess of 10 feet tall while heavily slouched, standing in the center of the hall. It has pitch-black oily skin, stretched thinly over exaggerated muscles. Its front right arm seems humanoid, or perhaps simian, and its weight appears to be pressed forward onto it, a bit like a gorilla. Its left arm is of an ungainly size to the rest of its body, chitinous, and ending in a crab-like pincer. A writhing mass of other, smaller arms and hands shifts indistinctly around its midsection. Its head reminds you more of a skull than anything belonging to a living thing; a bull's skull, perhaps, its muzzle sawed off, and its broader back-section filled with multiple rows of triangular shark-teeth. If it has eyes, they are so far receded into the bony mass of its head that you cannot make them out.

Choice 1
>RUNRUNRUNRUNRUN (back the way we came)
>RUNRUNRUNRUNRUN (down the right hallway)
>ROLL INITIATIVE
>I talk to it

spwack
2015-12-26, 10:34 PM
> Stay still. Has it noticed us?

backwaterj
2015-12-26, 10:51 PM
From the fact it's shifted to look at us, I'm guessing that's a yes.

>ROLL INITIATIVE

Running back toward the water seems like a poor escape plan, and I like running into the unknown even less.

Eggel
2015-12-26, 11:01 PM
It's only an adventure if we

ROLL INITIATIVE!!!

spwack
2015-12-26, 11:18 PM
My mistake. As this is the case, our only option is to

> ROLL INITIATIVE

Kymme
2015-12-26, 11:34 PM
> JOIN BATTLE

What? We're playing Exalted, after all.

THEChanger
2015-12-27, 01:57 AM
>I talk to it

...what? If I were an eldritch abomination made of darkness given flesh and the bones of the fallen, locked deep underground and underwater away from the light of the sun, alone, for untold millennia, I would be pretty desperate for some conversation.

Jon0113
2015-12-27, 04:09 AM
talk to it

Just because it looks like something that is here to devour our souls, I still think we should give it a chance

Norngremlin
2015-12-27, 08:30 AM
>I talk to it

sidhe3141
2015-12-27, 09:54 AM
>TALK TO IT

Right now, we don't even know if it's hostile.

Elenna
2015-12-27, 02:41 PM
>I talk to it

ImperatorV
2015-12-27, 11:04 PM
> talk to it

I'd avoid fighting something of that size unless it's completely necessary. Running away could lead to other problems.

Xefas
2015-12-27, 11:06 PM
The others react quickly, readying their armaments. You hold out a hand, though, to stall them, and take a tentative step forward. The creature is hideous and a murderous aura extends from its presence, but you are Fearless June, and you do not allow such concerns to cloud your judgment.

"Hello? Are you friendly?" you say. You can hear your companions, behind you, shouting a jumble of shocked protests.

The creature adjusts its head to your direction, and a horrible sound issues from it, deep and hollow, gasping as if for air. Something like syllables can be heard amidst the sound, but you are wholly unfamiliar with the language. Its muscles tense, and it regards you with the posture of a predatory animal.

"It's no good." you say to the others. "I think it's sentient, but I guess it's no surprise that it doesn't speak our tongue. Get ready!"



Here's a quick primer on how the basics of combat work! It's pretty simple because June has no supernatural powers yet; she's just a regular mortal.

The position of other characters in relation to June is represented in four broad range categories; Melee Range, Short Range, Medium Range, and Long Range. A character can be 'beyond' Long Range as well.

June must be in Melee Range to use her daggers and fists, but her bow can be used at a maximum of Long Range. However, to fire at Medium or Long Range, she must spend a turn Aiming before the attack. Her bow can be used in Melee Range, but is unwieldy and inaccurate against an opponent wielding more conventional melee weaponry. The optimal range for her is Short Range; her bow has the highest accuracy at this range and does not require an action to aim, although she may still do so to pump her accuracy to extreme levels. That said, at Short Range, it is easy for melee attackers to close the gap unless one of her allies is in the way.

June has two kinds of attacks she can make; Brave Attacks and Decisive Attacks.

Brave Attacks build her Fighting Spirit! They harry, exhaust, overwhelm, and confound her opponents, while filling her with renewed morale and determination, and allowing her allies and herself to take up more advantageous positioning against their opponents. Brave Attacks, alone, cannot win a battle, but merely set the stage for victory.

Decisive Attacks unleash built up Fighting Spirit! The more Fighting Spirit she has accrued, the more damage the attack will deal if it hits. However, succeeding with a Decisive Attack resets June's Fighting Spirit back to its base level, leaving her vulnerable. Decisive Attacks are how opponents are wounded, knocked out, or killed, and is how a battle is eventually won.

Meanwhile, June's foes will be using their own attacks to attempt to weaken and break her spirit. If her Fighting Spirit is broken, they will begin to cause her real and lasting Physical Harm, potentially even crippling or killing her, and she will be unable to launch Decisive Attacks until her spirit is reignited. Especially audacious opponents (or those pushed to desperation) may even attempt to skip straight to harming her without withering her spirit down first, although their attempts will be less effective, and June will likely have an easy time counter-attacking.



Alistair and Selino push in front of you and take up defensive postures, forming a protective line between the monster and the team's two archers.

Mila seems shaken with fear. She spends her turn fumbling with her weapon and adjusting her aim, not confident enough to take a shot yet.

The monster surges forward with unthinkable speed for its awkward, uneven gait, and slams its pincer claw in an overhead swing onto Selino, who catches the blow with his shield. However, the tremendous force behind the attack forces him to crumple, prone, onto the ground, easy prey for the creature's next attack.



--The Ruin Monster, Alistair, and Selino are at Short Range from you.
--Mila is at Melee Range from you.

Your Fighting Spirit is smoldering, weak and untended.

As the first round of battle, you can reflexively draw a weapon without spending an action.

Choice 1
>I draw my daggers and leap forward to protect Selino while he gathers himself.
>I draw my bow and begin peppering the monster with Brave Attacks from afar.
>I draw my bow and spend an action to follow Mila's example, steadying my aim for greater accuracy next round.

Kymme
2015-12-27, 11:36 PM
>I draw my bow and begin peppering the monster with Brave Attacks from afar.

Diplomacy has failed. I think our best bet would be to distract it with Brave attacks and give Selino time to recover.

backwaterj
2015-12-27, 11:49 PM
Why do they never want to talk? :smallfrown:

>I draw my bow and begin peppering the monster with Brave Attacks from afar.

sidhe3141
2015-12-28, 12:00 AM
> Brave attacks from afar!

See if we can distract it while setting it up for our allies to kill!

VoodooPaladin
2015-12-28, 05:22 AM
So 3xalted is the Dissidia RPG, huh? Sweet.

>Draw bow and begin peppering with ranged attacks from afar.

Best thing we can do is rattle the monster and distract it from delivering a crippling blow to Selino. Charging in might do that better, but only because we'd end up getting slugged in his place.

Norngremlin
2015-12-28, 12:43 PM
>I draw my bow and begin peppering the monster with Withering Brave Attacks from afar.
Best build up that Initiative Fighting Spirit, first.
I'll admit I was sorely tempted to go with the option involving knives, though

Jon0113
2015-12-28, 02:11 PM
peppering with brave attacks

Eggel
2015-12-28, 08:05 PM
Peppering with Brave Attacks

Xefas
2015-12-28, 08:56 PM
You let loose with a few quick arrows to distract the beast. The first strikes it in its strange, writhing chest area, causing it to hiss and shifts its chitinous arm from Selino to defend itself. Your following arrows glance off its tough shell, but you've pushed it slightly onto the defensive. Your Fighting Spirit is rising!

The creature turns its gaze to you and lurches forward to charge, but Alistair leaps under its guard and swings his quarterstaff in a wide, two-handed strike to the back of its right knee, forcing it to stumble to the ground for a moment, canceling its movement. Enraged, it reaches down with its humanoid arm and wraps its massive hand around Selino's leg and swings him like a club, striking Alistair bluntly in the chest and sending him colliding into the corridor's nearby wall.

You shout with frustration and fury, firing another arrow at the creature, but with Selino's body being whipped through the air, you hesitate for fear of hitting him, and your arrow goes wide, hitting nothing.

Selino seems to have regained his senses and plunges his short sword into the monster's wrist, causing a superficial wound that forces it to drop him.

Finally seeing her moment, Mila looses her arrow just as Selino drops clear, piercing the creature's neck. It shrieks and wrenches the shaft from its flesh with its hand, eliciting a trickle of dark blood from the wound. She glances at you, and you give her what you hope is an encouraging look. Perhaps overconfident, she sends several more arrows at the creature, though none with the precision of the first.

Again, the creature's attention shifts to the party's back line and it lunges forth, only to have Alistair, again, drive his staff into the beast's leg, sending it tail-over-teakettle onto the ground. As he approaches it for a second blow, it jerks around with a short burst of inhuman speed, clamping its pincer-hand around Alistair's arms and torso, pinning him. He begins to scream in pain.

Grimacing at the sound, you fire a handful of solid shots directly into its belly as it rises to its feet, but it seems more intent on squeezing the life from Alistair than engaging you. Your Fighting Spirit has ignited into a burning flame in your chest! Selino checks his entire weight, shield-first, into the monster, hoping to knock it off-balance, but to no effect.

Alistair's screams are becoming more desperate and agonized.



--The Ruin Monster, Alistair, and Selino are at Short Range from you.
--Mila is at Melee Range from you.
--The Ruin Monster has Alistair in a completely one-sided grapple.

Your Fighting Spirit is burning!

Choice 1
>I launch a Decisive Attack! It likely won't be enough to kill the thing, so I'll have to trust that Mila and Selino can finish it off after.
>I must trust Alistair to hold on a little longer while I set up a deadlier strike with more Brave Attacks. If I rush things and fail to kill the monster, it won't do him any good.
>Selino is in a perfect position to execute a Combination Attack. If he can trust me, we'll combine our Fighting Spirits into a single powerful strike!

Norngremlin
2015-12-28, 10:22 PM
>Selino is in a perfect position to execute a Combination Attack. If he can trust me, we'll combine our Fighting Spirits into a single powerful strike!

Kymme
2015-12-28, 10:37 PM
>Selino is in a perfect position to execute a Combination Attack. If he can trust me, we'll combine our Fighting Spirits into a single powerful strike!

This is the most dramatic action. Ergo, it is the best choice. :smallcool:

Eggel
2015-12-28, 10:44 PM
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say

I shine my Everlasting Lantern into the creature's eyes.

The creature lives underground, so it should be sensitive/fear light. It would also give Selino an advantage, since the creature would be blinded.

Elenna
2015-12-28, 11:10 PM
>I launch a Decisive Attack! It likely won't be enough to kill the thing, so I'll have to trust that Mila and Selino can finish it off after.

Given the incident with Mila I'm not sure Selino does trust us. Maybe we can wound it enough to make it drop Alistair?

Jon0113
2015-12-29, 02:48 AM
a combination attack

While I don't think it's going to work, probably still our best chance

VoodooPaladin
2015-12-29, 03:21 AM
>Do the Combination Attack. Make it a melee attack, so that the wound will draw attention from Alistair and Selino.

Kind of makes things hard on Mila, but what can you do? I trust a couple hardened killers to take a vital opportunity more than I expect Mila to get another clean sniper shot in.

backwaterj
2015-12-29, 06:22 AM
I shine my Everlasting Lantern into the creature's eyes.

I second this. Is there a way to combine this option with the Selino combo?

Xefas
2015-12-29, 03:37 PM
"Selino!" you shout, "You have to trust me! Put your shield up!"

After a split second of hesitation, you see Selino swing his lovingly polished shield around to up above his head. The monster glances downward at the motion, just as you reach down and flick the second switch on your Everbright Lantern, shifting it into its focused mode. The warm cone of illumination narrows into a thin, intensely bright beam that shines onto Selino's shield, reflecting it into a dazzling burst of light directly into the thing's eyes. It screams and recoils, allowing Selino to dive sword-first into its exposed belly, slicing open its guts. More black fluid pours forth, but you can already see tiny, fleshy hands writhing up from beneath the creature's skin and grasping across the wound, desperately pulling it closed.

The monster drops Alistair from its grip, who strikes the ground hard with a moan of pain, lying limply. Then, it turns and attempts to bolt back into the darkness from whence it came.



--The Ruin Monster is at Medium Range from you.
--The Ruin Monster is Withdrawing.
--Alistair and Selino are at Short Range from you.
--Mila is at Melee Range from you.

On Withdrawing

The Withdraw action allows a character to definitively remove themselves from a combat. It usually takes several rounds if their opponents give chase, and leaves the character vulnerable, as retreating severely drains their Fighting Spirit. Therefore, it is often a losing proposition, but for the desperately outgunned, it does offer a potential avenue of escape.

Characters that successfully Withdraw cannot just turn around and re-initiate combat. They have to wait a dramatically appropriate amount of time, assuming they're even interested in another scrap to begin with. Similarly, a character who does successfully Withdraw is gone. Their foes won't run into them again right away.

This may end up being an important action for June to make use of in the future. Fighting to the death is not the only option.

Choice 1
>I order everyone to pursue the creature and continue attacking it. We can't let it live to ambush us again later.
>I allow it to retreat. I didn't want to fight to begin with and now we need to take care of Alistair.

Jon0113
2015-12-29, 03:42 PM
I allow the creature to retreat

One melee fighter is down and the other took a fairly big hit.

Also, is there xp in this setting?

Xefas
2015-12-29, 04:23 PM
Also, is there xp in this setting?

In Exalted 3e, experience points are awarded on a "per-session" basis, with extra experience granted at the end of a session for upholding Intimacies, roleplaying your character's flaws, and helping the other player-characters to shine. XP is then spent to individually level up attributes and skills, as well as purchase new special feats and powers, all of which have a certain training time built in (some take days, others can take multiple months of downtime).

That kind of XP gain is inapplicable for a Choose Your Own Adventure type deal, where there is only one player character (with lots of players), there are no sessions, and there's narration instead of roleplaying.

For this reason, I'll be using an alternative method of advancement, which I'll detail at the appropriate time. For now, just pick whatever actions you believe are best, and trust that you won't get shafted on XP for not killing all the monsters. :smallbiggrin:

backwaterj
2015-12-29, 04:42 PM
>I allow it to retreat. I didn't want to fight to begin with and now we need to take care of Alistair.

If my suspicion about this thing is correct, it should be moving on to easier pickings anyway.

Elenna
2015-12-29, 05:31 PM
>I allow it to retreat. I didn't want to fight to begin with and now we need to take care of Alistair.

Eggel
2015-12-29, 06:07 PM
I shoot my bow at the creature in the hopes of finishing it off, but I will not chase after it.

It's at pretty low health right now, so it can be brought down. We shouldn't chase after it though, since it will based on the descriptions, it can move surprisingly fast and we wouldn't keep up. Besides, Alistair needs our help.

Xefas
2015-12-29, 06:40 PM
The monster successfully retreats to places unknown.

You, Mila, and Selino rush to Alistair's side, who is beginning to stir on the ground. Mila kneels down and puts a hand on him to keep him from sitting up, and tells him to remain still. He protests, but she ignores him and begins checking him for wounds. He doesn't appear to be in mortal danger. While that's going on, you and Selino, still standing, share a look.

"That was quick thinking, girlie. I may have underestimated you." he says in his normal rough tone, no warmth added to the seeming compliment.

"And Mila, too." you add.

He exhales strongly from his nose, and shifts his shoulders about. "I was a tad focused in the moment. Didn't get a good look at her performance. Probably rubbish." After you knit your brow and glare at him for a few seconds, he adds, "But I gather she's better than nothing at all."

Expecting that that's likely the best you're going to get from him, you pull away from his gaze and kneel down beside Mila. "How is he?" you ask.

Alistair shifts his weight up onto his elbows, wincing in pain. "I'm fine." he says, unconvincingly.

Mila relents and allows him to rise. "His ribs are badly bruised, and he has some minor cuts on his chest and arms. I think you got him free just in time; nothing seems broken. He'll need a few weeks of bed-rest and breathing won't be fun for a while, but he'll live."

Alistair nods and heaves himself onto his feet, saying "Yeah. Like I said. I'm fine." You and Mila stand as well. Alistair and Selino trade a meaningful look, but say nothing to one another.



Alistair has suffered a moderate injury, and will take a small penalty to all of his actions until he has had the necessary time to heal.

Choice 1
>I take him back to our camp. His wounds aren't bad, but if he takes any more, he may not be well enough to make the swim, which is dangerous even for a healthy person.
>We need as many people as we can get in case more trouble arises. I'll tell him to act more defensively, but otherwise he's still fit enough to fight.

backwaterj
2015-12-29, 08:33 PM
>I take him back to our camp. His wounds aren't bad, but if he takes any more, he may not be well enough to make the swim, which is dangerous even for a healthy person.

We can always grab Kremm if we need another set of hands.

Norngremlin
2015-12-30, 12:50 AM
>We need as many people as we can get in case more trouble arises. I'll tell him to act more defensively, but otherwise he's still fit enough to fight.
Wound penalties suck, but it should be manageable if it's just -1.

THEChanger
2015-12-30, 12:51 AM
>I take him back to our camp. His wounds aren't bad, but if he takes any more, he may not be well enough to make the swim, which is dangerous even for a healthy person.

I don't like it, but it is better if he's safe and we're down one hand than if he's dead and we're down one hand.

Jon0113
2015-12-30, 02:51 AM
I take him back to our camp

Eggel
2015-12-30, 11:32 AM
>We need as many people as we can get in case more trouble arises. I'll tell him to act more defensively, but otherwise he's still fit enough to fight.

Alistair himself said that he's fine. He would resent us for not letting him fight.

Xefas
2015-12-30, 07:18 PM
"I want you to return to our camp and rest, Alistair." you say, after some consideration. The others all look at you with mild surprise and questioning expressions.

Alistair, though still gingerly holding his sides, scoffs audibly. "Oh please; I'm not a child. I'm a grown man and I don't need to be coddled."

Selino crosses his arms and sighs. "You're going to have to explain this one. And just when I was considering giving you a modicum of respect..."

You grit your teeth for a moment, tired of having your word questioned. "It's not coddling, and I don't have to explain anything. I'm the leader." You gesture at yourself by way of illustration. "A leader that only thinks short-term is a bad leader. Or is it that I need to remind you both that there's a second leg to this journey? A leg that involves infiltrating Governor Basso's private estate. And our governor isn't half as cuddly as that cave-creature. Mila says it'll take weeks for those injuries to heal, and I need everyone at the absolute top of their game if we're going to have a chance at victory. Not 'almost perfect', not 'fine', but absolute peak excellence. Got it?"

Alistair looks at you grimly, but does not protest. Selino looks from you to him and back, then shrugs, telling Alistair, "That does make some sense."



After a brief interlude you, now freshly soggy, rejoin Selino and Mila roughly where you'd all been previously. You get the impression neither of them had spoken to one another in your absence. Continuing down the fork in the path that the monster had not gone, the three of you only go a few minutes before finding a new obstacle.

The hallway opens into a large, round chamber, cut into a tall cylinder, maybe thirty feet high. The walls are tightly packed stone bricks, and the floor is littered with long, thin stone slabs, all cracked and broken. About twenty feet up the wall on the opposite side of the entrance is a ledge that presumably leads into another, upper hallway. It, too, is littered with debris. Judging by markings on the wall, the rubble around you constitutes the remains of a spiral staircase that had once proceeded from the ground up to the second level.

The three of you scan the area, but there doesn't seem to be much of interest on the ground floor.

"Do you think we can climb it?" Mila says. You run your hand against the wall, which is mostly sheer, with a very occasional handhold made by the intersection of the wall and where a stone slab had, long ago, made a step.

"I could." you reply, turning back and looking at your companions. "I'm not sure the two of you could."

Selino shrugs. "I could give it a try. I'm more used to climbing on ship-rigging, but the principle is likely the same. We can leave the little one behind." Mila gives him an angry look, which he ignores, and you think she might be holding back something mean to say about his height.

You shake your head. "We're already down one person. I don't want to leave anyone else. Just... give me a minute to think."



A few minutes pass until you get an idea. You grab your lantern and the sudden movement causes Mila and Selino to walk over to you from their resting positions against the curved wall of the chamber. You hand your lantern to Selino, unbuckling it from your belt. "Keep the light on me." you say, and he acquiesces.

You move over to the portion of the wall below the upper corridor and remove a small, thin bar of metal from a pouch, as well as an equally small and dainty hammer. Experimentally, you place the chisel against the wall and hammer it with generous force. A not-insignificant chip breaks free from the stone and falls to your feet. "Aha!" you declare. Mila starts to question you, but you ignore her. Putting the miniature hammer and chisel down, you withdraw a small iron cluster of hooks with a loop at the end, tying the rope that had once held you all together during your underwater excursion to the loop. Then, you secure the combination to one of your sturdier arrows and, putting significant muscle into the draw of your composite bow, fire a shot that arcs the grappling-hook up onto the upper hallway. Giving a few cautious tugs on the rope, then a few more forceful ones, you make sure that it has caught onto something that will hold your weight. It has. "Aha." you say again.

First, you work from standing on the solid ground, chiseling out a few handholds as high as you can over the course of several minutes.

Next, you scale the wall using the rope. The majority of the climb is without any sort of hold for your feet, and is therefore strenuous and unpleasant. Eventually, you make it to the top, heaving yourself up into the hallway. Without your lantern, you can't see very far into it, but you surmise that there must have been a physical struggle here - and one involving something other than humans - as the floor and walls are shattered and torn asunder, but not in the manner of a structural collapse. Hunks of wall seem to have been shredded by claws, and the imprints of fists are visible in other parts of the stone.

Hooking your feet into a man-sized divot in the ground, you hang over the edge, and continue to chisel more holds into the wall. You take breaks frequently, just to avoid the potential fate of your leg muscles giving out, sending you face-first into a messy death.

With some explanation, you have Mila try to scale the wall first, using the rope braced by you at the top, your improvised handholds, and Selino offering what physical support he can from the bottom. It's a long process, and she's hesitant, but after much effort you heave her, too, up into the hallway. Selino has significantly less difficulty, and returns your lantern once he's made it up.

You insist on a short break afterward, and begin to pine for the food left back at your camp.



After some rest and water, the three of you proceed down the corridor only a few yards before finding the next impediment to your egress. Appropriately, it is a door - but one unlike any you've seen before. It is round, fitting into a circular aperture in the wall, about seven or eight feet in diameter, and it appears to be entirely made of metal - hard like iron, but with a brilliant shine unblemished by the passage of time. In its center are a dozen dials that run along its surface, inscribed with small symbols, and a few more notched circular mechanisms that proceed outward, perpendicular, from the door, partially concealed within it. The destruction of the corridor proceeds all the way up to the door, but does not touch it.

You set the lantern down on the ground and gently nudge Mila in the back, towards the door. "This is what I pay you for." you say, with a little mirth. She frowns at you, but is unable to hold it, eventually breaking into a slight grin, and proceeds to begin playing with the door's mechanisms.

You and Selino give her some space, stepping out to the edge of the lantern's light, and wait patiently.

Half an hour goes by, the silence only broken once, via Mila asking for some canvas to make notes with.

Another hour goes by before Selino nudges your shoulder with his own and leans in, speaking low out of respect for Mila's concentration on the puzzle before her. "I am beginning to believe many of the things you told me in our first meeting were not lies." You just look at him, not dignifying the comment with an answer. A few more minutes go by, and he nudges you again. "So, if you are not lying, and it is true that we should all be quite rich very soon - I am a little curious what it is you plan to do with your wealth. If only to pass the time."

Choice 1 - Pick Two
I'm going to...
>...set up my family so they can live in luxury for the rest of their lives. My parents will not have to work, and my siblings can be properly educated.
>...set myself up to live modestly, and then travel Chalcedon, giving to the poor. I think that would make me happier than being rich.
>...petition the Sorcerer-Kings of Ysyr to install me as the new governor, and use the secrets we find here to usher in a new age of prosperity for Boeth.
>...find a nice plot of land somewhere on Chalcedon and build a huge estate, with a thousand rooms and a thousand servants, and live lavishly for the rest of my life.
>...leave all this behind me, and travel the world at my leisure. They say that, far to the north, there is a shadowed forest so vast that it dwarfs the Dreaming Sea, and that, to the west, there is an ocean-less beach that could swallow a hundred-thousand kingdoms in its sands. And, beyond those, there is a mythical island where the gods themselves bow to dragons with the faces of men.
>...found a formal organization for people, like me, who are interested in uncovering the past. And, together, we'll scour Chalcedon for all the secrets it might yet hold.

Jon0113
2015-12-30, 08:22 PM
set up my family

Because my personality says so

leave all this behind me and travel the world

Eggel
2015-12-30, 09:46 PM
set up my family so they can live in luxury for the rest of their lives. My parents will not have to work, and my siblings can be properly educated.

leave all this behind me, and travel the world at my leisure. They say that, far to the north, there is a shadowed forest so vast that it dwarfs the Dreaming Sea, and that, to the west, there is an ocean-less beach that could swallow a hundred-thousand kingdoms in its sands. And, beyond those, there is a mythical island where the gods themselves bow to dragons with the faces of men.

THEChanger
2015-12-31, 01:58 AM
>...set up my family so they can live in luxury for the rest of their lives. My parents will not have to work, and my siblings can be properly educated.

>...found a formal organization for people, like me, who are interested in uncovering the past. And, together, we'll scour Chalcedon for all the secrets it might yet hold.

Family comes first. Family, incidentally, includes Alistair and Mila. After that, there are so many secrets that need to be brought into the light of day.

backwaterj
2015-12-31, 02:35 AM
>...set myself up to live modestly, and then travel Chalcedon, giving to the poor. I think that would make me happier than being rich.

>...found a formal organization for people, like me, who are interested in uncovering the past. And, together, we'll scour Chalcedon for all the secrets it might yet hold.

Xefas
2015-12-31, 04:23 PM
Just posting to say that there's going to be a small hiatus for a few days. A week at most. I'm taking some time off for the holidays (a little late, I know, but there was job stuff) and internet access will likely be sporadic or nonexistent where I'm headed.

Anyway, I hope er'rbody has a happy New Years Eve.

Norngremlin
2015-12-31, 07:19 PM
>...set up my family so they can live in luxury for the rest of their lives. My parents will not have to work, and my siblings can be properly educated.
&
>...leave all this behind me, and travel the world at my leisure. They say that, far to the north, there is a shadowed forest so vast that it dwarfs the Dreaming Sea, and that, to the west, there is an ocean-less beach that could swallow a hundred-thousand kingdoms in its sands. And, beyond those, there is a mythical island where the gods themselves bow to dragons with the faces of men.

Xefas
2016-01-04, 01:58 PM
It doesn't take you long to think up a response. "Well, first I'd make sure my family's taken care of. It would be nice if I could get an education for my siblings, and maybe set up my parents so they don't have to work unless they want to. Once I know they'll be alright, I've always wanted to travel, so I'd take whatever's left and go see the world. Merchants that come through Boeth have all kinds of stories about their travels around the Dreaming Sea, and then they've got stories other merchants have told them, of far-off places that sound like a fairy-tale. Of forests that never end until they trail off beyond the edge of the world, and oceans of sand that have never seen rain nor sea. And one said that they met someone who traded with someone who had actually seen one of the human-faced dragons from the Blessed Isle beyond the very Threshold of Creation. I'd like to witness all these things for myself, and know the fact from fiction."

Selino nods. "I have heard such tales, too. Old sailors say that to the south and west of Champoor, the Empire of Prasad is ruled by clans with dragon blood, descended from the divine dragons of the Blessed Isle, and that all the gods of Prasad bow to their might. I question the legitimacy of stories like this - certainly all nobles like to vest themselves in undue pomp and glory, and insinuate their unquestionable legitimacy over the land. Still, I would be lying if I said I was not curious as well."



A few more hours pass, interrupted only by some brief small-talk. Then, you hear an ominous 'click', followed by a quiet "Um, uhhh..." by Mila.

There's silence of a moment, and then a hiss and a great metallic grinding sound as the circular door rolls ponderously into some hidden slot in the wall. You and Selino rush to Mila's side to survey what lays beyond.

Inside is a large atrium with high ceilings that reveal a pair of balconies leading to a second floor. The floor appears to be made of some incredibly valuable polished marble, and the railings on the balconies, as well as a small wooden desk and chair directly in front of you, are ornately carved with the graceful touch of a master carpenter. On the opposite side of the atrium is another hallway, flanked on either side by slightly-larger-than-human statues on high pedestals. One is a woman in fully-encompassing armor made of heavy interlocked plates, holding a broad-headed polearm in one hand, and the haft of a banner in the other. You note that the craftsmanship on the banner is beyond anything you've seen before; the stone of its folds is carved so precisely that it's indistinguishable from cloth at a distance. The other is of a four-armed man in a simple breastplate with a long, flowing cloth tasset and cape, holding a hunting horn, spear, shield, and laurel. His hair is short and wild and chiseled into sharp points at the ends.

Going by their depicted panoplies, you guess that they represent the Goddess Mars, which is a common enough subject of artwork, and the Unconquered Sun, a figure of distant and strange occult significance. Nowhere can one find a shrine to the Sun, for all know that no prayer sent to him is ever answered. Some legends say that he made the world and then left it, and some say he is dead, and others say he never existed and that the golden light in the sky is nothing but celestial fire. He is a god of absence and mystery, representing power that cannot be directly understood or quantified.

Proceeding down the hallway, it opens into a wide junction, with a stout metal door on either side, and a set of stairs leading upward directly in front of you. As you enter the junction, you can hear an awkward cacophony of sounds, muffled by the doors. On the left, you can hear deep, dissonant voices that sound like rocks being ground on iron, and a hot red light shines through the crack below the door, accompanied by noticeable warmth. To the right you can hear a high, oscillating song that seems to crackle at the edges like burning wood, and soft golden light emanates from underneath the door. There seems to be no sound or light coming from upstairs.



Choice 1
I think we should...
>...go upstairs. I don't want to know what lives here. At least not yet.
>...go left. I've nothing to go on, but at least it's warm.
>...go right. I've nothing to go on, but the golden light feels reassuring.

Choice 2
But we should definitely...
>...be armed and ready for a fight going forward. I want to reduce the chances of being surprised.
>...be calm and friendly going forward. I want to reduce the chances of offending whatever is here.


(Note: I forgot to mention this, but I edited in a copy of June's character sheet into the first post for easier reference a few days ago. I'll try to keep it up-to-date, as well as reposting the character sheet at the bottom of any post where it sees any major changes.)

Jon0113
2016-01-04, 02:41 PM
vote 1: go up stairs
Vote 2: be calm and friendly
Because being friendly will work at some point

backwaterj
2016-01-04, 04:32 PM
Vote 1: go right. I've nothing to go on, but the golden light feels reassuring.
Vote 2: be calm and friendly going forward. I want to reduce the chances of offending whatever is here.
When does diplomacy ever not win in this sort of situation? :smallsmile:

Eggel
2016-01-04, 05:19 PM
Upstairs. I don't want to know what lives here. At least not yet.

I feel like the left and right doors are rooms with high levels of energy that can instantaneously kill us all. Upstairs, at least we know we won't burn to death

Be armed and ready for a fight going forward

I don't think there is anyone to offend, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Norngremlin
2016-01-04, 08:17 PM
>...go upstairs. I don't want to know what lives here. At least not yet.
>...be armed and ready for a fight going forward. I want to reduce the chances of being surprised.
I dunno about 3e, but in my experience in exalted Unexpected Attack = You Are Dead (WYLYPI?)

Xefas
2016-01-05, 01:30 PM
I dunno about 3e, but in my experience in exalted Unexpected Attack = You Are Dead (WYLYPI?)

3rd Edition, in general, is less instantaneously lethal than its predecessors. But, yes, unexpected attacks are still bad news (for mortals especially).

Anyway, I hope my brief hiatus didn't scare too many people off. I suppose I'll wait a few more hours for a tiebreaker to be posted and if not, I'll go with the votes posted first (proceed calm and friendly).

ImperatorV
2016-01-05, 01:37 PM
> Go right.
>Armed and ready.

Xefas
2016-01-05, 04:07 PM
"Weapons at the ready. If there are things living down here, they're probably dangerous. Selino, you've got the shield, you lead the way." you say, readying an arrow and falling in behind Selino as he marches up the stairs, sword and shield in hand. Mila readies her own bow, keeping close to you.

The stairs end at a small platform, and more stairs proceed further upward and to the side. At the top, there is another door, which Selino has no trouble opening.

On the other side, there is a vast and opulently decorated bedchamber. On the far well is a tremendous wooden bed, large enough for a dozen people to sprawl side-by-side on and still sleep comfortably, its frame exquisitely carved with scenes of mortal warriors doing battle with animal-headed monsters. Its silken sheets appear untouched by passing time, as if freshly laundered this very morning, in contrast to the layer of dust that has settled upon every other surface. From the ceiling hangs an elaborate fixture of snakes spiraled in wide coils around one another, seemingly made of solid gold and hung from golden chains. A long vanity with an array of mirrors dominates the right wall, next to a door left ajar that leads into a long closet packed with feminine clothing of numerous designs and materials, all of exceptional quality. Cosmetics of every color and gold-inlaid boxes overflowing with jewelry for every body-part are scattered haphazardly across the vanity. On the left wall, there is a long desk upon which dozens of empty and half-empty ink bottles rest beside stacks of some exotically crafted, crisp and clean, parchment. Upon the parchment are scrawled words, numbers, diagrams, and charts that mean nothing to you. There must be enough to fill twenty tomes or more, if they were properly bound. The stone floor is thickly covered in soft rugs of some fluffy red-dyed material, trimmed in gold. The walls are largely bare, save for a single large painting beside the entrance, opposite the bed, which depicts a humanoid figure of yellow light cutting open a white-furred goat-horned monster with a comically large sword atop a mountain. There is another closed door beside the bed.

Looking around, you notice a switch like the one on your lantern inlaid into the wall. You flip it, and the eyes of the serpents on the ceiling fixture begin to emit brilliant shafts of light that illuminate the room as if at noon-time.

After the group scans the room and finds no immediate danger, Mila begins unceremoniously stuffing her pockets with necklaces, bangles, bracelets, anklets, earrings, and so on, all gold and all studded with sizable gems, from the vanity. You watch her pockets finally fill, and she gives a small whimper, noticing that she won't be able to take more than perhaps a fifth of all the loot to be had, scooping up more in her arms, but letting it spill out once it becomes clear that carrying any more would be impractical. Selino is taking a more steady approach, searching slowly through drawers and surveying what's to be had.

You stand beside them and slightly behind, not taking anything yet. "So. I suppose you both already came to the conclusion none of this is... cursed, or anything?" you say. They both stop and turn to look at you.

"Ugh. Well, I guess it's too late now. If a ghost shows up and flays us in our sleep, it's your fault, though." you say, picking up a gold ring studded along its full length with tiny emeralds and inspecting it closely. Selino shrugs and continues looking. Mila frowns, withdrawing a fist full of loot from one of her pockets and looking at it, too.

"You think there's something wrong with it?" she says hesitantly.

You start to say something, but you're suddenly distracted by a light in the corner of your eye, turning to look at Selino, who has just withdrawn something from a drawer; a thick gold torc styled to look like a two-headed serpent clutching a blood-red garnet in each mouth. Only, the metal appears to be glowing faintly with its own inner light, unlike anything you've ever seen before. It strikes you with feelings of awe and something like unworthiness. The three of you look at it for a few seconds without saying anything. Selino finally breaks the silence after a short bob of his hand, saying "Humph, this thing can't be gold. It weighs too much. Must be a pound and half, two pounds maybe?"

You raise an eyebrow and say skeptically, "There's no way something like that could weigh more than a few ounces. Nothing is that heavy."

He tosses it underhand to you with a snort. You catch it, and stumble at the unexpected weight. In disbelief, you raise it up and down in the air a few times just to make sure. "It must be magic." you say uncertainly, "But why would a sorcerer go to the trouble of making a fashion accessory heavier?"

Mila steps uncomfortably close, gazing longingly at it. "Who knows? But I kinda want it." she says.

Choice 1
>Give the Strange Torc to Mila. It'll look good on her.
>Take the Strange Torc for yourself. You're the leader. Everybody knows that leaders get first dibs on loot.
>Give the Strange Torc back to Selino. He's the one who found it, after all.
>Leave the Strange Torc where it was found and tell the others not to take it.

Jon0113
2016-01-05, 04:15 PM
give it to mila

I don't think selino would want it

Eggel
2016-01-05, 05:53 PM
Give the Strange Torc to Mila. It'll look good on her

Selino does not seem like the type to wear jewelry, and if she wants it, she can take it.

backwaterj
2016-01-05, 06:59 PM
Give the Strange Torc to Mila. It'll look good on her.

Bandwagon ho!

@V: The thought had crossed my mind. But c'mon, it'll be fun! :smallwink:

Norngremlin
2016-01-05, 08:16 PM
>Give the Strange Torc to Mila. It'll look good on her.
There is no possible way this could backfire. It is always absolutely critical to put on loot before identifying it or determining if it's cursed, particularly if it's much heavier than it should be. I mean, come on.

@^ Why do you think I voted for it?

Elenna
2016-01-06, 12:01 AM
>Give the Strange Torc to Mila. It'll look good on her.

@^ And of course, the fact that it is likely exerting some influence on her to make her want it makes this whole thing even safer!
Hey, getting cursed is certainly one way of determining if there are any curses on it...

EDIT: Oh yeah, and it's apparently affecting our feelings. Well, that's always a good sign... :smalltongue:

Xefas
2016-01-06, 09:36 AM
You hand the torc to Mila, who grins and fits it around her neck such that the snake-heads are upright and facing outward. She strikes a pose and asks "So, how do I look?"

You make a brief effort to look as if you're genuinely critiquing her. "I think you look fabulous."

Selino gives a gruff exhalation and says, "You look like a peasant who just robbed somebody much more important than you." before going back to picking through the nearby valuables.

Mila's grin quickly sours, but more in realization than anger. "...Yeah. Maybe I can find some clothes in there that'll go with it." she says, gesturing at the vast closet.

You shrug and start looking for your own share of the loot. "Sure. Just remember that whatever it is, you need to be able to run, jump, climb, fight, and swim for your life in it." you say after her as she disappears into the sprawling racks of clothing.

Choice 1
>I take only a small amount of loot. The others are so loaded down that they jangle when they walk. But if I have to be stealthy later, I don't want a problem.
>I pack myself to the brim with lucre. I figure we're probably getting close to our goal anyway.



While the others are busy, you scout ahead into the next room, which appears to be the terminus to this path. In stark contrast to the bedchamber, this one is small and spartan, with roughly-hewn, jagged stone walls and a floor that looks more like a natural cave, just beaten smooth by frequent traffic. Along the ground, there is an intricate spiderweb of tiny furrows carrying what appears to be miniature rivulets of liquid fire, which drift lazily along their courses. They avoid a small pathway leading to the center of the room, and appear to continue onward beyond the walls, or perhaps flow down into somewhere beneath the floor. In the center of the room, there is a raised altar, as one might find in the sanctuary of a sizable temple. The trails of fire seem to be pouring from tiny pin-sized holes at the base of the altar. Atop the altar, four delicate prongs carved from the same block of material protrude from its center, pointing inward, and cradling a perfectly smooth oval gemstone about the size of a chicken-egg. The gem is brilliantly orange, and something seethes within, like gently churning evening clouds struck by the fire of a setting sun.

"Jackpot." you say, "I think I just found my leader bonus."

You step towards the altar and lean slowly over it, very carefully placing a gloved hand on the oval, ready to replace it should its removal trigger some kind of apocalyptic self-destruction magic on the building. Despite the temperature steadily increasing by a few degrees with every step into the room, the gem feels quite cool. With held breath, you lift the gem from its cradle, wince for a moment, then look around. Nothing's happening. Good. You pocket it.



You return to the bedchamber. Selino has finished his business and is now examining the prominent painting on the wall. Mila is still in her regular, beat up old peasantry clothing, now examining herself in a tall mirror.

"Couldn't find anything you liked?" you say.

It takes Mila a few seconds to tear her eyes away from her reflection to look at you. "Uh, sorry, what?"

"I said - 'Couldn't find anything you liked?'" you reiterate.

"Oh right." she responds with a small frown, "Not much was even remotely practical, but whoever lived here wasn't really my size anyway. And it's not like there's a convenient tailor around here." She makes a cupping motion around the space in front of her torso. "They were a very gifted individual."


Choice 2
We continue downstairs...
>...into the red room.
>...into the gold room.

Elenna
2016-01-06, 01:14 PM
>I pack myself to the brim with lucre. I figure we're probably getting close to our goal anyway.
We can always ditch stuff later. But coming back could be more of a problem.
>...into the red room.
I don't actually remember what either of these are to be honest.

Jon0113
2016-01-06, 02:39 PM
> I pack myself to the brim
> the red room

Xefas
2016-01-06, 02:53 PM
I don't actually remember what either of these are to be honest.

I'm referring to these:


Proceeding down the hallway, it opens into a wide junction, with a stout metal door on either side, and a set of stairs leading upward directly in front of you. As you enter the junction, you can hear an awkward cacophony of sounds, muffled by the doors. On the left, you can hear deep, dissonant voices that sound like rocks being ground on iron, and a hot red light shines through the crack below the door, accompanied by noticeable warmth. To the right you can hear a high, oscillating song that seems to crackle at the edges like burning wood, and soft golden light emanates from underneath the door. There seems to be no sound or light coming from upstairs.

The door that would've been on the left when the heroes came in is now on their right as they go back, and vice versa, so instead of using left room/right room, I used the color of light coming from behind them to distinguish between them.

I suppose it's more or less a coinflip decision, but the order in which the two rooms are entered (or if only one is entered and the other is skipped) may be important based on the heroes' actions, so I figured I'd make it a choice for the forum.

backwaterj
2016-01-06, 03:56 PM
> I take only a small amount of loot. The others are so loaded down that they jangle when they walk. But if I have to be stealthy later, I don't want a problem.
>...into the gold room.

Eggel
2016-01-06, 05:50 PM
I take only a small amount of loot. The others are so loaded down that they jangle when they walk. But if I have to be stealthy later, I don't want a problem.

into the gold room.

The red room seems dangerous for some reason

Norngremlin
2016-01-06, 08:59 PM
>I take only a small amount of loot. The others are so loaded down that they jangle when they walk. But if I have to be stealthy later, I don't want a problem.
Also, I have a feeling we may want to save some space for later.
>...into the red room.

The red room seems dangerous for some reason

Xefas
2016-01-08, 09:30 AM
The three of you backtrack to the junction downstairs, and try the door illuminated with red light next. The moment Selino pushes the door open, a scalding blast of air pours forth. Entering the room is like walking into an oven.

On the other side, you emerge onto a long suspended catwalk overlooking what appears to be a very large and involved smithy. The catwalk ends in a set of two flimsy metal stairs that lead down to the lower level on either side. The floor twenty-or-so feet beneath the catwalk is littered with dozens of forge-hearths, anvils, bellows, water-troughs, and tables scattered with all manner of metal tools. Flame pours forth from the forges ceaselessly, and the ceiling is wreathed in black smoke, vented out into parts unknown by a series of grated chimney-holes high above you. Resting in racks, or dumped haphazardly into big barrels, are what appear to be finished products - everything from horseshoes and cooking pots to exotic weapons and mechanical components. Along one wall are enormous bins that you suspect once held raw materials for whatever operation was conducted here, but now lay largely empty, with only scraps and slag remaining.

Congregated in a lopsided circle towards the center of the smithy floor are around thirty creatures - the source of the singing. They are all around four to four-and-one-half feet tall, and noticeably rotund, with flabby guts that spill out nearly to their knees. Their skin is a bright, oily red, and their faces are hideous to behold, with overlarge fangs protruding from excessive underbites, pupiless red eyes, and asymmetrical ridges of bone that split randomly from their features. Their hands and feet end in sets of wicked, bony claws. They are all, more or less, naked. A few wear the aprons you would expect from a smith, and another handful have some kind of loincloth.

A couple of them notice the three of you, their expressions clearly shocked. They point, and the rest quickly turn. The singing dies down almost instantly, though many of them maintain a steady hum, and you can hear several of them tapping their claws rhythmically on the floor. They start to murmur amongst themselves in a language you do not know, and one leaps forward from the crowd and gestures emphatically at the three of you, though you're not certain what it's attempting to communicate, other than surprise and confusion.

Selino takes a few quick steps backward, nearly running into you on the narrow catwalk. When he speaks, his voice is low, and fearful. "...Demons."

You push Selino with your shoulder a few inches forward and then lean back, getting him out of your personal space. "I don't think so." you say, "Demons aren't native to our world, Selino. They require a human sorcerer to bind them to the mortal realm. If the sorcerer dies, the bindings are severed. No human could survive down here for long, and there're no signs of recent habitation in any other part of the complex. Therefore... they're probably just fire spirits. Or something. Very industrious fire spirits."

Selino half-turns his head to look at you, but keeps his body forward, his sword and shield out, despite the rest of the catwalk being empty. "And how do you know this?" he says, with a bite of urgency.

"I traded a traveling exorcist some relics I found in these ruins for a few lessons about spirits." you say, truthfully.

Selino scoffs, but it comes off a little strange, still flecked with fear. "And I'm supposed to trust that?"

You frown and shoulder past him, weapon still at the ready, pressing against the railing of the catwalk. "We still need to find what we came for, remember? Maybe they know where the key is. I'm not going to pass up the opportunity."

As you come a little closer and look down on the group of spirits below, their conversing melts away, though the humming and tapping remains. One nervously spouts a few words in another language you don't understand, though noticeably different from what appears to be their common tongue. After a few moments of your lack of comprehension, the spirit slumps, looking a little crestfallen. Another one, wearing an apron, taps its chin thoughtfully, then says something you actually know - "Welcome, humans?" though it says the greeting with the inflection of a question.

You pause for a moment, not knowing exactly what to say. "Uh, thank you?" you say. The spirit's jaw gapes open a little, and it taps on the shoulder of the nearest of its fellows, and points very animatedly at you, speaking in its native language, and doing a little mid-air fist-pump of triumph. The others get noticeably more excited.

The spirit gestures at you with both hands in a 'come here' motion. "Come, come, humans." it says, in its deep, grinding voice. "There is much to say."

Choice 1
>Continue speaking from the safety of the catwalk. (The spirits will trust you less, but you can escape easier if need be.)
>Go down to speak with the spirits as equals.

Choice 2
>Keep your weapon readied. (The spirits will trust you less, but you can escape or defend yourself easier if need be.)
>Put your weapon away.

Choice 3
Selino won't come any closer...
>...but I beckon Mila to stand with me.
>...so he can protect Mila if anything goes badly.

Open Questions
Feel free to add any questions, comments, or remarks you'd like June to pose to the spirits. After those (if any), she'll ask them about the key she's searching for.

backwaterj
2016-01-08, 10:06 AM
Choice 1:>Continue speaking from the safety of the catwalk. (I'd like to speak to them as equals, but yeah, bow. :smallbiggrin:)
Choice 2: >Put your weapon away. (We can at least give them that much.)
Choice 3: >...but I beckon Mila to stand with me. (Not sure what Selino's gonna be able to do from the catwalk, but at least us ranged chicas can stick together.)

Open Questions: I ask them if they have anything that might be of interest to an archer such as myself.

Jon0113
2016-01-08, 02:00 PM
1: go to speak to them as equals
2: put my weapons away
3: so he can protect mila
I going to make the open palm/light side/paragon path work dammit, but I will not risk mila's life

Open question: is there anything I can do for them?
What is in the golden room?

Eggel
2016-01-08, 05:31 PM
Go down to speak with the spirits as equals

Put your weapon away.

so he can protect Mila if anything goes badly

Question for the fire spirits: What is this place? What is/was its purpose?

Elenna
2016-01-08, 05:50 PM
>Continue speaking from the safety of the catwalk. (The spirits will trust you less, but you can escape easier if need be.)
>Put your weapon away.
>...so he can protect Mila if anything goes badly.

Norngremlin
2016-01-08, 08:17 PM
>Go down to speak with the spirits as equals.
>Put your weapon away.
>...so he can protect Mila if anything goes badly.

Xefas
2016-01-08, 10:00 PM
You replace your drawn arrow and bow to their respective places, addressing the spirits with no obvious hostile intent.

Alone, you make your way across the catwalk and cautiously descend its stairs, walking over to the assembled group until you are face-to-face with their defacto leader, appointed so by the fact that it seems to be the only one that can communicate with you. The other two dozen or more remain back as not to crowd you, though still within earshot, for all the good it does them. They continue with their rhythmic noise-making.

You give a slight bow, not entirely sure what the proper etiquette is here. The spirit seems unsure of itself but, following your lead, it adopts a wide enough stance that its belly won't cause it to lose balance when it bows, and then does so.

"I'm pleased to make your acquaintance, good spirit. I am called Fearless June." you say, in a tone you hope is diplomatic.

The spirit takes a few moments, perhaps considering you. "Likewise." it says, awkwardly. You had been told that spirits put far more value on ceremony than that. Strange. But it puts you a little more at ease that perhaps you won't have to worry about giving offense too easily.

"And, uh... what is it that I should call you?" you offer.

The spirit blinks once. Then twice. Then it looks over at its fellows and says a few words. The nearest two spirits shrug their shoulders and offer a few words back. "The mistress of the house has deigned me Forgehand Seventeen, and hence has that been my calling."

Your brow furrows in concern. "Surely you have a proper name? Are you a slave here? Wherever 'here' is?"

Seventeen nods. "A thousand years have we kept the forge-fires burning in the mistress' absence. To the house's heart she has oathbound us. We fear she will never return to set us free. We thought perhaps it was a punishment, but your presence here makes me think otherwise."

You scratch your head uncomfortably. Emotionally, but also from the sweat you're accumulating in this burning hot room. "What sort of person is this mistress, for her to enslave you all, and that you would consider a thousand years of solitude a probable punishment from her?"

The spirit blinks another few times, then once again turns to its fellows and has an exchange of words. It looks back at you direly. "What is the world like outside?" it says, and the sincere simplicity of the question stirs something unpleasant in your gut.

"I'm... I'm not sure how you mean?" you say.

"What prefecture do you hail from?" it asks, "Who is your Queen or King?"

You feel very lost. "Chalcedon has no one monarch. We're ruled by the Sorcerer-Kings of Ysyr as a council." you say, hoping it will be explanation enough. The spirit seems uncomprehending, then something dawns in its mind, its mouth goes slack, and it bolts over to its kin, rumbling words very quickly. The others begin to speak as well, until their collective voices become a fiery din.

You stand awkwardly for a couple of minutes, glancing up at Selino and Mila, who look down at you curiously. Eventually, Forgehand Seventeen returns. "The one called Fearless June, I must ask of you a favor in lifting us from our bondage. If our mistress is truly gone, then there is surely no reason for us to stay bound."

Your hopes lift a little. This seems like your 'in'. "Very well. But I don't think it would be too bold of me to ask for a trade? My help in exchange for some information."

The spirit nods. "Of course."

"First, what is this place, exactly? What is its purpose?" you say.

The spirit scratches itself absentmindedly. "This is one of the vacation homes of the Sun-Chosen God-Queen, who was called the Blood-Red Maiden of Chains, and the Unquestionable Demonbinder. This room and its neighbors are a convenience for the mistress, that she might continue work on her lesser wonders when the mood strikes her, even while vacationing away from her primary foundry." It gestures at a door the same color of the walls surrounding it, next to one of the forges - you hadn't noticed it, and probably would not have had it not been pointed out to you. "We are forbidden from entering the mistress' private workshop, but that is where she would go to work. We are bound to the house's heart, to craft things of the holder's desire. When the mistress was here, it would be components for her work. When she was away, we would shape metal for the house's steward and the surrounding estate."

"And the room across from this one? The one with the golden light?" you ask.

The spirit actually grins a little. "My kind do not require food to fuel our bodies and minds. We are sustained on carnal congress with those not of our kind. For this purpose, our mistress bound, too, a harem of concubines."

Your expression changes to one of disgust. "You're telling me that your mistress keeps a room full of sex slaves to feed her slave labor force, so that once a year, when she should be on vacation, she can tinker instead?"

The spirit shrugs. "We rarely saw her every year. But the world must truly be a different one, for such a tone in our day would be considered heresy." He fumbles around in the pockets of his apron, and withdraws a thin silver chain, affixed to a tiny hourglass filled with some shimmering green liquid. "We know the Neomah are discontent with serving us for so long, but we cannot leave, and to withhold from our passions would mean our death. And so we do our best to make gifts for them. It is the only craftsmanship we apply ourselves to these days."

"This whole situation is seven shades of messed up." you murmur. Then, speaking up a little, you ask, "So what is it that I need to do to end your binding here?"

The spirit puts the little chain back in the pocket it was taken from, and then curls two claws into an 'O' shape. "You must find the house's heart. It is a red-orange opal the size of a hen's egg. I know not where it is kept, or even if it is still-"

You withdraw the gem you found earlier from your belt, holding it out for the spirit to see. Its eyes widen. "This?" you ask.

It nods emphatically. "Yes! Yes! Human, that it is; the Forgeheart Opal. You need only speak that our service has ended and it shall be so."

You look down at the gem. "I had other questions." you say.

The spirit looks a little taken aback, and by its movements you can tell that its pulse must be racing. "O-of course." it says, shakily.

"What will happen to all these goods once you're released?" you say, gesturing at the bins of finished products. "I might be in the market for a new bow."

The spirit scratches some of the bone-ridges on its face. "We work metal here. No woodwork. We have iron arrows for hunting fey. Perhaps you would be interested?"

"I see." you say, "Well, my last question is the whole reason we're down here in the first place. We're searching for a key; one of two that opens a heavily fortified vault in another part of the city."

Forgehand Seventeen, once more, converses with the other spirits. "We know of no such thing for certain. However, vaults that hold things of great value are often not unlocked with simple keys. Mechanisms of the kind are easy to fool or otherwise circumvent." It points to the gem in your hand. "Objects with unique essence patterns make much better keys. The Forgeheart Opal may indeed be what you seek."

Choice 1
>Free the spirits from their thousand-year servitude.
>Go to the gold room and speak with these 'Neomah' first.
>Inspect the Blood-Red Maiden of Chains' private workshop first.
>Council with Selino and Mila first.

backwaterj
2016-01-08, 11:37 PM
>Inspect the Blood-Red Maiden of Chains' private workshop first.
Don't get me wrong, I want to end their slavery, but it seems wise to check their story first, see if they're on the up and up. A few more minutes won't kill them. :smallbiggrin:

Norngremlin
2016-01-09, 05:58 AM
>Council with Selino and Mila first.
I do think we should free them, but we should probably get the rest of the party on board first.

Also, we may not be able to get a new bow, but knives are metalwork, yes? Please tell me the possibility of knives is on the table.

Jon0113
2016-01-09, 06:22 AM
free them

They seem harmless, and I'm absolutely, positively, 100 % sure there is a 0% they could be faking it

ImperatorV
2016-01-09, 07:57 PM
> Go to the gold room first.

If their story is true the inhabitants of the gold room will know more about these demons then anybody. Also I'm pretty sure they are demons.

Eggel
2016-01-09, 09:02 PM
Council with Selino and Mila

I'm interested to see what they would think

Xefas
2016-01-09, 10:38 PM
"Now-" Seventeen begins, "-if that is all, are you now ready to free us, Fearless June?" More impatience is beginning to bleed into its words.

You come close to doing so on the spot, but something nags at you. "I think so. But, just allow me a moment to speak with my comrades. I prefer to council with them when making significant decisions like this."

It looks as if the spirit is about to say something, but chokes back on it, perhaps stifling a moment of frustration or anger. Instead, it merely sighs and gives a gesture of assent. You turn and proceed back up the catwalk to where Mila and Selino are standing by the exit.

You give them a brief explanation of the conversation, then continue with, "So, I totally think they're demons now."

Selino harrumphs with immense condescension. "As I said."

You take a deep breath and say the second set of words that come to your mind, rather than the first. "My basic assumption was correct. Demons bound to a person are unbound upon their death. These just happen to be bound to a physical object." you wave the gorgeous opal around in your hand by way of illustration, "And, you know what, they might not be. It's perfectly possible that they're just unusually ugly, unusually sex-devouring fire spirits."

He raises an eyebrow very slightly. "And, so maybe it's a 50/50 chance that you'd be unleashing a swarm of evil hellspawn into the world. Even if they should say they'll just be sent back whence they came, there's no telling if that's true. It's an easy choice; leave 'em."

You take a few moments to look around idly, palming the opal's flawless surface while lost in thought. Then, "Mila? You haven't said your piece about this."

Mila is braced against the corner between the doorframe and the catwalk railing, fanning herself with one hand and playing with the facets of the garnets on her torc with the other. The light of the room's fires cause its metal to shimmer enchantingly. "Oh." It sounds like she was lost in thought, but not about the current situation. "Well, if you take the Forgeheart Opal out of here without freeing them, do you think you'd ever come back, years from now, and risk getting eaten by that crab monster and who-knows-what-else to do it later?"

You hadn't really thought of that. "Probably not."

Mila nods. "So, it would probably never find its way down here again. I don't know anything about demons, and I haven't talked to these spirits, but it seems like you need to weigh whatever they are against a somewhat-literal eternity of imprisonment in a sweltering, confined room full of naked, sweaty dwarves."

You mull that over for a moment before Selino throws his hands up dismissively. "There's a reason that the gods consigned all the demons into Hell at the dawn of time. They're pure evil. Greater powers than us decided long ago that everlasting imprisonment was a fitful punishment for their monstrosity. Who are we - who are you - to gainsay that?"

"Wait." you say, scrunching your face in genuine confusion. "I'm pretty sure the legend goes that demons are from Hell, and that the gods built an infinite barrier around it to keep their evil out of the mortal world."

Selino shrugs. "What's the difference?"

"What's the difference?" you say with a slight sarcastic edge, "One's damnation, and the other's asking them sternly to stay home."

The two of you turn to look at Mila, as if waiting for her to weigh in. She looks back and forth between you, coughs once, and mutters, "Uh, gee, I must've been wasting my time with algebra while the two of you were learning all these valuable folk tales."

Choice 1
>I don't, and indeed cannot, know all the facts here. The only safe way to handle this is to leave the spirits bound here. If they are, in fact, dangerous, I would be responsible for the people they would go on to hurt. I wouldn't be able to forgive myself.
>I have no idea what the right answer is, but the longer I think about the length of 'eternity' the more my head hurts, and the less I can justify it to myself as a verdict for something. If I don't free these creatures, it'll haunt me.
>This is a serious infringement of my bold and daring reputation, but I still can't make up my mind. I need to talk to the other creatures behind the gold door before I decide on anything.

backwaterj
2016-01-09, 11:06 PM
>This is a serious infringement of my bold and daring reputation, but I still can't make up my mind. I need to talk to the other creatures behind the gold door before I decide on anything.

Elenna
2016-01-09, 11:18 PM
>This is a serious infringement of my bold and daring reputation, but I still can't make up my mind. I need to talk to the other creatures behind the gold door before I decide on anything.

Fearless June may be bold and daring, but RL me is ridiculously indecisive. :smalltongue:

Norngremlin
2016-01-10, 01:57 AM
>I have no idea what the right answer is, but the longer I think about the length of 'eternity' the more my head hurts, and the less I can justify it to myself as a verdict for something. If I don't free these creatures, it'll haunt me.

Jon0113
2016-01-10, 02:01 AM
I have no idea what the right answer is

I know what you are hinting at, I just feel that if I was inprisioned for eternity, and someone showed me freedom before taking it away, I'd be impatient/angry too

VoodooPaladin
2016-01-10, 05:27 AM
A serious infringement, but...

Let's have a word with the concubines first. Frankly, I don't think Fearless June would mind coming back here some number of months or years from now, but I will accept that it's a little below her intended venue.

Eggel
2016-01-10, 02:19 PM
This is a serious infringement of my bold and daring reputation, but I still can't make up my mind. I need to talk to the other creatures behind the gold door before I decide on anything

Hopefully the creatures behind the gold door can say something decisive.

Xefas
2016-01-10, 05:10 PM
Your eyes glance towards the open door, through it, to the opposite side of the hallway, at the door outlined in gold light. "We still have one more door left." you say, diverting the subject. The others glance that way as well. "Lets shelve this for now."

You wait for Selino and Mila to exit out into the junction, then close the door behind you, giving some surcease from the blasted heat. Turning the latch on the other door, you find the following room quite the opposite. Thickly perfumed air, just on the cool side of temperate, wafts out at you. This room is still quite large, though not nearly as much as the smithy, circular and faintly spiraled, with a sizable central area filled with soft-looking pillows dyed in many shades of blues and purples. From the center, a gently sloped, carpeted floor spirals up, each turn only a foot or so higher than the last. At irregular points, there are mounds of more pillows and plush couches, some obscured by diaphanous veils hung from hooks on the ceiling. The dome that forms the walls and ceiling is finely burnished brass, and many gold lanterns hang from it, shedding soft light that causes the brass to shine as well, alongside brass thuribles from which faint smoke rises and disperses invisibly into the air.

Among the room's furnishings are about a dozen nearly identical, alien creatures. Each one is a little over five feet tall, completely hairless and androgynous, perhaps leaning towards the feminine, with perfect, pale lavender skin. Their eyes are lustrous deep-purple orbs and, like all their other features, are perfectly symmetrical and gently inviting. Draped around the room, they are all sensually languishing, naked save for multitudinous and lavishly designed piercings, singing in tune with one another in their fiery voices.

Upon noticing you, their singing does not stop, but shifts, from something bright and strong, like a bonfire, to a warm background hymn that reminds you of a cozy fireplace on a cold winter's night. One creature snakes itself with enticing grace from the folds of a sheet of indigo silk and approaches you, hips swaying with purpose. This one has a long set of a hundred and fifty or more, individually tiny, crossed silver bars pierced into the flesh of its left leg, running like a zipper from its ankle to its hip. Chains drape from its right forearm, connected to piercings in the supple portions of its right hand, up to more silver rings set into its right triceps, and two continue up to spiked bars stuck through its neck where the internal jugular vein would be on a human.

While it addresses you, you can glean absolutely no emotion from its disquietingly lovely face, and it does so with a perfect approximation of the language of the people of the Dreaming Isles. "Welcome to my parlor. I am Matron Pahza." it says, and then effects an extremely low, involved bow, shifting its legs and sweeping its arms out like a bird's wings. Even if you weren't sore from fighting, swimming, and climbing today, you're not sure you could bend in quite the same way. "It has been many years since we've had company. Might I inquire the nature of your visit?"

You take a deep breath, shake away the fog that is rapidly building up around your brain, and formulate a vastly cunning and eloquent explanation to give of the day's events; spoken thusly, "Nn...Uhhhh."

After a few moments of your sputtering, the creature places a slender hand on its face, and parts its mouth in something like surprise. "My gravest apologies." it says, "My manners have turned vulgar with the centuries. Allow me to facilitate a more comfortable interaction."



The Neomah Matron has successfully targeted June with a mental attack that discerns a set of general features that she's attracted to, and will subsequently shapeshift into a human form baring these qualities. This form is...

Choice 1
>Taller than her
>The same height as her
>Shorter than her

Choice 2
>Muscular
>Petite
>Doughy

Choice 3
>Masculine
>Feminine
>Androgynous

Chocie 4
>Male
>Female
>Both

...and has...

Choice 5
>A bald head
>Short hair
>Long hair

Choice 6
>No strange qualities
>Exotically styled and colored hair
>A warrior's scars
>A few animal qualities
>Something obviously monstrous about it


Choice 7
>I exert heroic willpower to think clearly in the face of a living fantasy, and conduct business as usual.
>I cede the spotlight to one of my party members for a moment, hopefully before I make a fool of myself.

Open Questions
Ask the concubine spirits stuff.

Eggel
2016-01-10, 08:25 PM
Taller than her

Doughy

Androgynous

Both

Long hair

Obviously monstrous

>I exert heroic willpower to think clearly in the face of a living fantasy, and conduct business as usual

Questions for the concubine spirits: What do they think of the fire spirits/demons? Who was the BloodRed Maiden of Chains? What would happen if we set them free? Maybe something about the Strange Torq?

backwaterj
2016-01-10, 10:27 PM
>Shorter than her
>Muscular
>Androgynous
>Male
>Long hair
>Exotically styled and colored hair
>I exert heroic willpower to think clearly in the face of a living fantasy, and conduct business as usual.


Questions for the concubine spirits: What do they think of the fire spirits/demons? Who was the BloodRed Maiden of Chains? What would happen if we set them free? Maybe something about the Strange Torq?
Seconded on all of this.

Xefas
2016-01-12, 12:18 PM
Willpower

June may tax her mental reserves in order to throw off mundane or supernatural compulsions. As a mundane example, she could resist the effects of social combat; no matter how well reasoned and emotionally resonant the opposing side's argument is, she can always choose to be stubborn and stick to her guns, provided she is not completely drained of her willpower beforehand. As a supernatural example, well, this situation right here.

She may also exert heroic willpower to grant her a sizable (for a mortal) bonus to any roll, even ones she's not trained in. Which might come in handy if she, for example, has to maneuver a horse (with no Ride skill) while firing her bow. She's just that determined.

Once she gains supernatural powers, some especially powerful or long-lasting abilities may cost her willpower to use as well.

Willpower is regained slowly by getting a good night's rest, but it may also been drawn forth from June's Intimacies under circumstances in which she is driven to defend them under adversity.

(On account of only getting two votes in ~36 hours, I'm going to just... average them? That's gotta be a bad sign. IIRC, voting on the character's orientation in my other CYOA was reasonably popular.)



The creature's shape smoothly shifts, twisting around like a rung cloth, its color and texture changing. When it settles again, the spirit appears much more human, but not quite. Its, or rather, His, as would now be more appropriate, lithe, wiry frame is the pale olive skin of Chalcedon's people, but its hair is the color of the sea, its eyes a bright yellow like sunlight reflected off the waves. His ears are noticeably pointed, and his hands are just a tad too long and claw-like. He doesn't look wild and strange enough to be one of the Fair Folk proper as you've been told of them, but perhaps one of their misbegotten half-fey offspring. His features are soft and round for a man, and he is what you would call exceptionally beautiful.

Nahza smiles coyly and takes a step forward, but recoils as you whip a hand to your belt and draw one of your daggers, directing its point at the creature by way of warning. "I would really appreciate it if you respect my personal space." you say, voice even, though you are very much blushing for all to see.

The spirit begins to speak, its voice melodious and hypnotic, "Now, there's-"

But you cut it off, drawing, with your other hand, the fiery orange opal and holding it out. "No. Shut up. Here's the deal. I've got the trinket thing that you're bound to. I have questions; you're going to answer them. If I think for a second that you're putting some kinda whammy on me, our business is done and you can rot down here for another thousand years."

The spirit's eyes are wide, its face much more expressive than in its natural form, a mix of shock, indignation, and perplexity. He puts a hand to his chest, turning his head for a moment, and when he next looks at you, his face is collected again, though his lovely eyes are narrowed. He clears his throat demurely. "Ask."

"Alright." you say, coalescing your thoughts around a rapidly thumping heart. "I've already spoken with the creatures across the hall in the smithy. Are they demons?"

"Yes." it says simply.

You're caught a little off guard. You'd expected a little more chicanery than that. "...Are you?"

"Yes." it says again.

You glance at Mila, who has taken a few steps back, and is watching the exchange with rapt attention. Then, at Selino, who has remained close to you, still smug, and largely unfazed. "Okay... uh, well, what do you think of those fire demons? Can they be trusted?"

Nahza's eyes sink a little, and it begins grinding two of its long, pointed nails together. "The Heranhal are skilled craftsmen and respectful patrons. They are also simple. Their nature is not deceptive."

Selino scoffs. "You expect us to believe the word of a demon? And what are you? What is your nature?"

The demon's eyes shift to him, and the grinding of its nails cease with an audible click. "Deceptive."

"That's an unusual thing to say if you should like to gain our trust." you say, raising an eyebrow.

"The Neomah's nature is reproductive." it continues, "Our purpose is to craft children for others. Any of our kind may shape a child of two parents, regardless of their form. Two mothers. Two fathers. A eunuch and a barren woman. The more skilled can couple the flesh of a man and his favorite elephant, or a woman and the corpse of her slain lover. The best can fashion offspring of more than two parents."

You take a moment to consider how miraculous and useful such a power would be to society, if perhaps strange. "...Why is that deceptive?"

The Neomah grimaces and its stance becomes more guarded, less provocative. "Neomah are asexual. We have no desire for intercourse. But our form and manner, and our ability to shape our own flesh, makes us pleasing to both demons and humans alike. Our skills as craftsmen and midwives are seldom desired in comparison to the demand for our company. And therefore it is most often by prostitution that we acquire the reproductive materials we need to fulfill the purpose we are born to fulfill. It is largely the only reason sorcerers bind my kind to this realm." It pauses, meeting your gaze again. "That is how we are deceptive."

You hear Mila make a faint gagging sound behind you. Over which part of that, you're not sure. You reserve your judgment for now. But, turning to look at Mila, you remember another question you had. "I see. Mm. By chance do you recognize that?" you point at the torc on Mila's neck. "Did the forge demons make it?"

Nahza blinks, then places a hand under his chin, thinking. "It... it is beyond them to work with the sacred god-metal, orichalcum, I think. It is likely the work of our mistress, though I know not its function."

You consider asking about the metal, but you feel there's a more pressing question. "Right. About this 'mistress', who exactly is this Blood-Red Maiden of Chains? What was she like?"

The Neomah's expression shifts a little at the mention of her mistress' name, becoming more cheerful, more pleasant. "She is a great woman. Unparalleled in her magnificence and magnanimity. Her fierce intelligence rivaled Heaven even in her infancy, and she grew to surpass it with both grace and triviality. Now, she forges wonders that shake the very foundation of the world with their splendor."

You raise your eyebrows. "That's really not the impression I've gotten so far. You..." you pause, "...you know she's gone, right? The forge demons thought she was still around for some reason, and that the last thousand years were some kind of punishment. But this whole city has fallen into the earth. Whoever this red maiden was, she's long gone from the world."

Nahza's face seems to relax from a mask-like state, creating lines where there'd been none before. "I had suspected..." he says, grinding his nails again. His eyes cast around, then return to you. "Our mistress was good to her people. Very good. But not to mine. Though there've been many sorcerers throughout time who summon demons, they called her the Demonbinder for the disdain and arrogance she showed in enslaving the serfs and citizens of Hell. For most humans powerful enough to call on demons, our pain and madness is inconsequential, but I believe she truly enjoyed hurting us in body and soul. I am glad she is gone."

You look down at the opal in your hand, lost in thought.

"What would happen if I set you free?" you ask.

The demon's nails click again. "I would immediately depart for Hell with my sisters. After so long gone, all of our possessions have no doubt been repossessed. We will start anew. I would suspect the Heranhal will do likewise."

Choice 1
>I free the Neomah from their bindings and return to speak again with the Heranhal.
>I decide to leave the Neomah bound forever and return to speak again with the Heranhal.
>I decide to free both tribes of demons.



Character Sheet

Fearless June
Mortal Female Human
Fated to live a pleasant but ultimately unproductive life and die peacefully in her sleep.

Attributes
[Physical] Strength: Above Average; Dexterity: Extraordinary; Stamina: Average
[Social] Charisma: Average; Manipulation: Weak; Appearance: Above Average
[Mental] Intelligence: Above Average; Wits: Average; Perception: Average

Abilities
Archery: Expert
Athletics: Expert
Awareness: Skilled
Brawl: Basic
Craft (Metalwork): Basic
Dodge: Expert
Integrity: Skilled
Investigation: Expert
Larceny: Basic
Linguistics: Basic
Melee: Basic
Occult: Skilled
Presence: Skilled
Resistance: Skilled
Stealth: Skilled
Survival: Basic

Intimacies
[Defining] I Love My Family
[Major] The Ancient Past Is Fascinating
[Major] I'm Responsible For Mila
[Major] I Trust Alistair After Everything We've Been Through
[Minor] I'm Proud of My Skill at Archery

Notable Possessions On Person
Composite Bow [Medium Ranged Weapon]
Wooden Arrows
Iron Arrows
Daggers (2) [Light Melee Weapon, Light Thrown Weapon]
Iron-Shod Gloves [Light Melee Weapon]
Pockets Full of Jewelry
The Everbright Lantern [Minor Artifact]

Notable Possessions Stashed Elsewhere
Leather Armor [Light Armor]

Health
Physically, June is healthy.

Mentally, June is feeling a little taxed.

Spiritually, June is healthy.

ImperatorV
2016-01-12, 12:39 PM
> Free both tribes of demons.

Kymme
2016-01-12, 01:41 PM
>Free both tribes

Jon0113
2016-01-12, 01:45 PM
- free both tribes of demons
Apologises for not commenting on the previous one, kind of got sidetracked

Elenna
2016-01-12, 03:01 PM
>Free both tribes of demons

Xefas
2016-01-12, 05:04 PM
You incline your head, then turn around to your companions, who step in closer to you. "This seems a sad story." you say, low, sounding as if you mean it.

"I don't know if their words can be trusted." says Mila, "But I doubt very much they've done anything to deserve what they've got. Does any person deserve an eternal punishment? What crime could merit that?"

Selino snorts softly through his nose. "They're not a person. They're not people." He looks directly at you. "But I would be a liar to say you haven't delivered on your words to me, Fearless June. Today has been far more lucrative than a day of soldiering, and if you should say more awaits us, I shall believe you, and follow you. And I shall not give dissent to matters of your personal morals, unless they should involve me directly, or you should ask."

You nod. "That's very agreeable of you, Selino." You pat him on the shoulder - a gesture he doesn't acknowledge - and turn back around to the Neomah. Holding out the Forgeheart Opal, you intone clearly, "Hear this. By the power vested in me by this spiritual anchor, I mark the service of those bound to it as ended, and offer them full and honorable manumission from their obligations therein."

You had expected the opal to shine, or ephemeral chains to appear and shatter, or a massive hellish portal to open, or... or something. But, with a short whoosh, the dozen demons in the room before you suddenly vanish, each in their own puff of sweet purple smoke, and nothing remains. They didn't even say goodbye.

Across the hall, you check the smithy, and its occupants are similarly vanished.



When you return to camp, Alistair and Kremm are sitting by a small fire, over which a makeshift spit hangs. Part of some very large, squamous something is roasting over it; the same something that the two of them are eating chunks of. It smells terrible. You notice that Kremm has a fresh line of stitches across his right cheek, where something seems to have left a line of puncture wounds clean through into his mouth.

Alistair immediately notices the torc on Mila's neck, shimmering brightly as it is, even in the meager fire-light. "What's that?" he says by way of greeting.

"Less talky, more foody." you say, hunkering down next to him and tearing off a piece of whatever-it-is with your bare hands. "We'll talk loot back in town. First, I've got an empty stomach, and a story to tell."

"I've got a story too." he says, with some faux indignance. "We got attacked by a giant amphibious eel." He waves a torn piece of roasted eel at Kremm. "And Kremm has terrible luck with things trying to mutilate his face."

Kremm smiles happily and waggles his tongue-stump at you, slopping bits of eel juice down his front.



Choice 1
>Divide up the loot five ways.
>Divide the loot four ways, giving Alistair and Kremm half-shares. They weren't really there for the whole thing, and they'll still get a share of whatever profits come from opening the vault, naturally.
>Divide the loot three ways, shafting Alistair and Kremm. My policy has always been "Keep what you plunder." and they just happened to get unlucky this time; there was plunder, but they weren't there for it.

Choice 2
>Give yourself a noticeably larger share than the others. The Forgeheart Opal was going to be your leader bonus, but now you think it's a key, and therefore are not going to sell it. So you deserve another, more mundane, sort of bonus.
>Give yourself a slightly larger share than the others. Not a lot, but managers make more than employees; that's just how it is.
>Give yourself an even share. We're all equals here. My responsibilities are just different.



(Next time, I think it's time for heist-planning. Also, I found this picture on the net that is like what I imagined June's sweet birthmark-tats would be like.)

http://i.imgur.com/rDK2qcq.jpg

Elenna
2016-01-12, 05:16 PM
>Divide up the loot five ways.
>Give yourself a slightly larger share than the others. Not a lot, but managers make more than employees; that's just how it is.

Kymme
2016-01-12, 05:17 PM
>Divide up the loot five ways
>Take an even share

I don't think that this needs justification.

Jon0113
2016-01-12, 05:18 PM
> divide up the loot 5 ways
> take an equal share
It was our decision to send alistair back, so we can hardly shaft him. Also I would suggest giving mila back what she paid before for the extra men, seeing as I don't think it will be a lot of what we earned, and would be a nice gesture

Eggel
2016-01-12, 05:25 PM
Divide the loot five ways

Take an even share

Kremm and Alistair helped with this mission, so they should get even shares with everyone else

Xefas
2016-01-12, 06:28 PM
After returning to Boeth proper, you divide the loot to the best of your abilities. No one present is particularly skilled in appraising old-timey jewelry, but you try to get close. Of course, all the jewelry can't be sold at once. That would attract a lot of unwanted attention from less than scrupulous individuals who might want to cause trouble for you in order to acquire your secret. And seeing as how the man who you're planning to rob in the near future is highly connected with Boeth's criminal underworld, you want as little attention as possible. So it's agreed that the five of you will fence the jewelry off piece by piece.

The group agrees to reconvene in two weeks, to let Alistair and Kremm's injuries heal. And to provide a retcon-able space of time for purchases and planning.

In this time...

Choice 1
>I rent a small apartment with the first returns on my share of the loot. It's very gratifying to finally have a stable place to stay that isn't my parents'.
>My leather armor has been getting shabby over the years. I think it's time for an upgrade. I'll have it professionally restored, and reinforced. [Your leather armor is currently Light. It provides no penalty to your mobility, but provides little protection. Reinforcing it with metal would upgrade it into Medium Armor, which provides substantially more protection when hit, but also penalizes your mobility, making it somewhat more likely you'll be hit in the first place, and penalizing things like climbing and long-distance running.]
>My life may require more subtlety in the near future. I'm going to buy some chain armor to replace my leather. [Unlike other armor, a Chain Shirt is discrete enough to be worn under normal clothing without anyone being the wiser. It is Light Armor, like your current leather.]



You also get a chance to think about your previous little adventure.

You acquire a Minor Intimacy: Demons Don't Seem So Bad.
You acquire a Minor Intimacy: I Need All The Facts.
You acquire a Minor Intimacy: I'm No Better Than Anyone Else.

You also remembered you have a skill I totes forgot to write down - Craft (Cobbling): Basic - on account of your family and upbringing.

And you've been around Selino long enough to have an opinion of him. You find him...

Choice 2
>Unpleasant to be around.
>Dependable.
>Simple enough that I can count on him if there's profit involved.
>Complex enough that I'm still figuring him out. I don't have a good picture yet.

Character Sheet

Fearless June
Mortal Female Human
Fated to live a pleasant but ultimately unproductive life and die peacefully in her sleep.

Attributes
[Physical] Strength: Above Average; Dexterity: Extraordinary; Stamina: Average
[Social] Charisma: Average; Manipulation: Weak; Appearance: Above Average
[Mental] Intelligence: Above Average; Wits: Average; Perception: Average

Abilities
Archery: Expert
Athletics: Expert
Awareness: Skilled
Brawl: Basic
Craft (Cobbling): Basic
Craft (Metalwork): Basic
Dodge: Expert
Integrity: Skilled
Investigation: Expert
Larceny: Basic
Linguistics: Basic
Melee: Basic
Occult: Skilled
Presence: Skilled
Resistance: Skilled
Stealth: Skilled
Survival: Basic

Intimacies
[Defining] I Love My Family
[Major] The Ancient Past Is Fascinating
[Major] I'm Responsible For Mila
[Major] I Trust Alistair After Everything We've Been Through
[Minor] I'm Proud of My Skill at Archery
[Minor] Demons Don't Seem So Bad
[Minor] I Need All The Facts
[Minor] I'm No Better Than Anyone Else

Notable Possessions On Person
Composite Bow [Medium Ranged Weapon]
Wooden Arrows
Iron Arrows
Daggers (2) [Light Melee Weapon, Light Thrown Weapon]
Iron-Shod Gloves [Light Melee Weapon]
Pockets Full of Jewelry
The Everbright Lantern [Minor Artifact]
Leather Armor [Light Armor]

Health
Physically, June is healthy.

Mentally, June is healthy.

Spiritually, June is healthy.

Jon0113
2016-01-12, 07:13 PM
no 1: chain mail
No 2: still haven't figured him out

Kymme
2016-01-12, 08:04 PM
>Chain mail
>Still figuring him out

Selino doesn't seem like that bad of a guy. He's just, you know. A bit of a doucheschnozzle.

backwaterj
2016-01-12, 08:28 PM
Choice 1: My life may require more subtlety in the near future. I'm going to buy some chain armor to replace my leather. Apartment was tempting, but mooching off parents . . . priceless.
Choice 2: Complex enough that I'm still figuring him out. I don't have a good picture yet.

Eggel
2016-01-12, 08:44 PM
Chain mail

Still figuring him out

Xefas
2016-01-13, 12:37 AM
Candlelight flickers on the windowsill, guttering in a chill night's breeze. You close the shutters, blocking out the waning moonlight, leaving you and your four co-conspirators in near darkness. You notice Mila clinging tightly to her new fur-lined cloak as you reseat yourself. A crude canvas map is sprawled across the table before you, not so much a map of the governor's estate as a series of symbols representing various generalized areas of it. Little abstract bits of wood are arrayed around the canvas, marking positions. The night is quiet, and as each of you passes your gaze to the others, you cannot help but consider that there is a very real possibility that, very soon, some or all of you might be dead.

Gingerly, you reach out and grasp a wooden piece with a 'J' carved into it. But, before you can speak, the door to your room sweeps open, shedding brighter light in from the hall. A short, curly-haired woman with a few extra pounds from good living and four pregnancies walks swiftly into the room with the confidence of someone who, quite literally, owns the place. She sets down a small tray on the table, knocking over several of your wooden figures. You scramble to pick them up, but her hand quickly darts to your cheek, pinching it between thumb and forefinger. "Awww, Juniper Berry, I thought you and your friends could use a little midnight snack so I made up some sandwiches-"

"Mom!" you whisper-shout, cutting her off, "We're having a very important meeting! Having any of this intel compromised could mean my death."

She smiles and tousles your hair. "Oh, Juni, I'm not going to-" she does little air quotes, "'compromise' your 'intel'. I know you haven't been eating well, you never do, and it's not good to-"

Alistair has already shoved two tiny sandwiches into his cheeks and says, around them, "T'ank 'ou Missus June's-Mom."

"Oh, you're very welcome Alistair." she says, switching gears quickly. Then she turns to you and switches again, "You know, Juni, it wouldn't hurt you to be more thankful sometimes-"

You stand and begin to physically push her from the room, saying after her, "Yes, thank you. Thank you so much mom. We really appreciate it. See you in the morning." and then hastily shut the door.

When you sit back down, everything is silent again save for Alistair's arrhythmic chewing. After a few moments you hear Selino mumble, "Unbelievable..."

You're quick to snap back at him. "Look. None of you have your own home-sweet-homes in town yet. You all blew your first wad of cash on stuff instead of places to live. We couldn't do this in public, so this was the only secure location. Now-" you finish setting all of your wood bits back up, "-based on all the scenarios we've talked about, I think our best idea was..."



Governor Basso is hosting a big party at his mansion in a few days. There'll be people of high standing there from all the nearby vassal-states. This is our opportunity. The place is always swarming with guards, on account of their boss's paranoia. But that night, they'll be busy and distracted, and there'll be plausible reasons to have people skulking about the place.

The party will split into Team Alpha and Team Beta. Team Alpha will be lead by me. Their job is to infiltrate the basement floor of the estate, find the second key, and make it out undetected. Team Beta will be lead by Alistair. Their job is to facilitate Team Alpha's success and maintain their cover.

Alistair will bluff his way through the front door, disguised as a party guest and productive member of society. He'll be able to take one other person with him as a date. It can't be Kremm because we're going to assume that Basso bothers to remember the faces of people he de-tongues.

Choice 1
>Mila will be the other member of Team Beta.
>Selino will be the other member of Team Beta.



Meanwhile, the other members of Team Alpha will be entering via the servant's entrance. I'll join them via...

Choice 2
>Impersonating a cook. (You'll only be able to bring your daggers and armor. Easy difficulty.)
>Hopping the back wall. (You can bring all your equipment, and equipment for the other party members. Moderate difficulty.)
>Luring a guard, taking them out all stealthy-like, and stealing their clothes. (You can bring equipment, and will have an easier time moving across the estate. Hard difficulty.)



And while Team Alpha is doing its thing, Team Beta needs to...

Choice 3
>Create a diversion to make it easier for Team Alpha to find the basement entrance without being seen.
>Be securing an exit route for when Team Alpha has retrieved the second key and needs to leave.
>Find Team Alpha and accompany them into the cellar, so we can find the key faster. It might not be easy to spot.



As the search commences...

Choice 4
>One member of Team Alpha will remain at the basement entrance to turn any guests or servants away that wish to enter.
>One member of Team Alpha will remain at the basement entrance, while another helps secure the exit route.
>I'll need everyone in Team Alpha with me.



You slap your little 'J'-enscribed piece down onto the table. "Then, once I'm out with the key, Basso none the wiser, we all scatter into the night and reconvene here as quickly as possible, given proper respect to safety. We get a few hours of sleep, wake up bright and early, and head back down into the ruins to open the vault."

You're smiling with excitement, but not everyone is. Selino passes a hand over the canvas. "...And should one of us be caught?" he asks soberly.

Choice 5
>We all know what we're getting into. This isn't a game. If someone gets caught, the rest should write them off as a loss and proceed accordingly. If anyone can't handle that, now is the time to back out.
>We're a team. As long as someone is still breathing, I'm not leaving without them. Even if I have to fight off every guard in the building single-handedly, I swear that we'll all make it out together.



Character Sheet

Fearless June
Mortal Female Human
Fated to live a pleasant but ultimately unproductive life and die peacefully in her sleep.

Attributes
[Physical] Strength: Above Average; Dexterity: Extraordinary; Stamina: Average
[Social] Charisma: Average; Manipulation: Weak; Appearance: Above Average
[Mental] Intelligence: Above Average; Wits: Average; Perception: Average

Abilities
Archery: Expert
Athletics: Expert
Awareness: Skilled
Brawl: Basic
Craft (Cobbling): Basic
Craft (Metalwork): Basic
Dodge: Expert
Integrity: Skilled
Investigation: Expert
Larceny: Basic
Linguistics: Basic
Melee: Basic
Occult: Skilled
Presence: Skilled
Resistance: Skilled
Stealth: Skilled
Survival: Basic

Intimacies
[Defining] I Love My Family
[Major] The Ancient Past Is Fascinating
[Major] I'm Responsible For Mila
[Major] I Trust Alistair After Everything We've Been Through
[Minor] I'm Proud of My Skill at Archery
[Minor] Demons Don't Seem So Bad
[Minor] I Need All The Facts
[Minor] I'm No Better Than Anyone Else

Notable Possessions On Person
Composite Bow [Medium Ranged Weapon]
Wooden Arrows
Iron Arrows
Daggers (2) [Light Melee Weapon, Light Thrown Weapon]
Iron-Shod Gloves [Light Melee Weapon]
The Everbright Lantern [Minor Artifact]
Chain Shirt [Light Armor, Concealable]
The Forgeheart Opal

Notable Possessions Stored Elsewhere
A cache of ancient jewelry

Health
Physically, June is healthy.

Mentally, June is healthy.

Spiritually, June is healthy.

backwaterj
2016-01-13, 12:50 AM
Choice 1: Mila will be the other member of Team Beta. Somehow I don't see Selino as the social graces type.
Choice 2: Luring a guard, taking them out all stealthy-like, and stealing their clothes. (You can bring equipment, and will have an easier time moving across the estate. Hard difficulty.) Because this never, ever goes wrong.
Choice 3: Create a diversion to make it easier for Team Alpha to find the basement entrance without being seen.
Choice 4: One member of Team Alpha will remain at the basement entrance to turn any guests or servants away that wish to enter.
Choice 5: We all know what we're getting into. This isn't a game. If someone gets caught, the rest should write them off as a loss and proceed accordingly. If anyone can't handle that, now is the time to back out. Since we're exploring the cautious side of our bold and daring reputation...

ImperatorV
2016-01-13, 01:31 AM
>Mila will be the other member of Team Beta.

>Hopping the back wall. (You can bring all your equipment, and equipment for the other party members. Moderate difficulty.)

>Be securing an exit route for when Team Alpha has retrieved the second key and needs to leave.

>I'll need everyone in Team Alpha with me.

>We're a team. As long as someone is still breathing, I'm not leaving without them. Even if I have to fight off every guard in the building single-handedly, I swear that we'll all make it out together.

Kymme
2016-01-13, 01:44 AM
>Mila will be the other member of Team Beta.
>Hopping the back wall.
>Be securing an exit route for when Team Alpha has retrieved the second key and needs to leave.
>One member of Team Alpha will remain at the basement entrance to turn any guests or servants away that wish to enter.
>We're a team. As long as someone is still breathing, I'm not leaving without them. Even if I have to fight off every guard in the building single-handedly, I swear that we'll all make it out together.

This is going to be awesome.

Jon0113
2016-01-13, 08:22 AM
> mila will be the other member of the team
> Taking out the guard
> Securing an exit route
> One member at the basement exit, turning people away
> We are a team

Eggel
2016-01-13, 05:21 PM
Selino will be the other Team Beta member

June isn't the best at linguistics. Mila can help us if anything happens. Selino should be fine since he is with Alistair.

Hopping the back wall

Securing an exit route

I'll need everyone in team Alpha with me

We are a team

Xefas
2016-01-13, 07:06 PM
As you surmount the ten-foot high stone wall surrounding the governor's hilltop estate, a hundred yards of crisp, even, emerald grass extends before you, dotted by the occasional very old and prosperous fig tree. In the last few days, the moon has waned to a sliver, giving you excellent cover for avoiding the sparse patrols; each composed of two well-armed men with a single lantern between them. No dogs that you can see.

The mansion proper is an immense four-story tower of pale limestone, topped by five heavenly statues entwined with one another, each ten times the size of a person. From their hands and mouths pour an endless stream of crystal clear water, cascading as a series of gentle waterfalls into the small lake-slash-moat surrounding the tower. A wide bridge extends over the lake in the front, proceeding to the front door, and a smaller, thinner bridge protrudes from the back for servants to enter. Both entrances are heavily guarded. Furthermore, each floor has large arched windows with thin, transparent glass panes set amid dark wooden framework in nearly every room; a relic of the building's ancient heritage, as the secrets of such pristine glazing are lost to time for Chalcedon's people. A few rooms in the upper stories have no such glass, instead sporting elegantly crafted balconies with movable wooden partitions for sealing them during inclement weather. Through the glass of the first floor, you can see servants in plain grey uniforms bustling about by lamplight.

Heart pounding, you descend the wall and drop flat to the ground. The grass smells freshly cut, and you can hear crickets chirping faintly all around you. Between patrols, you make slow progress in contrasting quick spurts, fleeing between the few-and-far-between fig trees for cover and scrambling into their foliage as the next patrol passes. Minute after tense minute, you make your way towards the side of the tower, and up into a tree adjacent to the water. From its boughs, you fire a grappling hook via bowshot, hooking the stone hand-railing of a second-story balcony, and letting the rope gently fall from the tree, flopping down into the water.

Then you wait for the next patrol to come, and then pass, just to make sure.

Finally, you slink down into the dark water, submersing yourself, and floating slowly, silently, towards the waiting rope. As the next group of guards passes by, you press your body against the side of the building and dunk your head under. A minute later, you succumb to your burning lungs and reemerge to find the patrol having passed. Then, fast as you may, you grab the rope and haul yourself up the side of the building. With wet clothes and your new chain shirt, it is arduous work, and as you alight onto the deserted balcony, you take a moment to rest after pulling the rope up after you. The fire in your muscles abates, but your heart never slows.



Keeping low, you skulk through the winding inner corridors of the mansion, ears strained for the slightest noise. Fortunately, the guards and servants seem to be all entirely focused on the party below, and you have your run of the place.

Soon, you emerge onto the second-floor mezzanine overlooking the sprawling dining hall. Unfortunate, a few guests seem to be lurking around up here as well, ostensibly for what little privacy it provides. The room below is lit by a half dozen gigantic braziers, and its round wooden dining tables seem to have already been removed from the central area, replaced by an open space for dancing, and arranged assemblies of couches for conversation. Perhaps you'd taken longer than you thought.

With a quick scamper, you leave the safety of the doorway and dive under a cloth overhanging one of the mezzanine's own little tables, pressed up against its balustrade. From here, you crouch and survey the crowd of two hundred or so.

A few things stand out to you.

Alistair is, like all the guests, robed in the unisex formal dress of Chalcedon's nobility - a flowing white vestment of a single long sheet of linen or wool, wrapped by varying methods and in varying designs in accordance with one's station and authority, then adorned with jewelry if so desired. You don't know anything about the etiquette of such affairs, but Alistair's attire looks simple enough, and there are many in attendance with likewise garments. He's currently reclined on a couch, drinking heavily, and laughing at the jokes of a group of foreign looking gentlemen.

A tall man, easily between seven and eight feet, bald, and with skin like polished bronze is seated on a simple throne, with wooden handles on the bottom to be carried like a litter. Singularly, his robe is black, and embroidered at the edges with fine white stitching. Each of his ten fingers wears a ring with a gemstone of a different color, but he is otherwise unaccessorized. He may very well be one of the fabled but rarely seen Sorcerer-Kings from the capital.

Seated in the same circle of conversing people is the man you recognize as Governor Basso. He could be likened to a man-shaped mountain, or perhaps the opposite, tall, but not freakishly, and very nearly as broad, but while some mass is certainly the fat of living in abundance, his bulging arms are testament enough to genuine strength. You have no doubt that the stories of him crushing his first wife's skull between his bare hands are plausible. His face is wrinkled with age, but not so much as stress and worry. A short, balding mop of black hair sprouts from his head, untamed even for the formality of the occasion.

And, of course, slinking into the shadows of a first-floor hallway opposite you, Mila is half-dragging a woman away at knife-point. They seem to have slipped away without notice, and you suspect that only someone on the second floor could have the angle to see the glinting metal blade at the woman's back.

"...****" you mutter.

Choice 1
>I'm already late to rendezvous with Selino and Kremm. Mila is going to have to sort out whatever the hell she's doing by herself this time.
>I've got to get down to the first floor anyway. I'll make a detour and check on whatever Mila is attempting to ruin our perfectly laid plans with.

Kymme
2016-01-13, 07:28 PM
>I've got to get down to the first floor anyway. I'll make a detour and check on whatever Mila is attempting to ruin our perfectly laid plans with.

Sheesh. I hope it isn't her mom or something like that. That'd be pretty crazy.

ImperatorV
2016-01-13, 09:42 PM
>I've got to get down to the first floor anyway. I'll make a detour and check on whatever Mila is attempting to ruin our perfectly laid plans with.

If we don't deal with this now we might have to deal with it later. And "later" can only mean "during our escape."

Xefas
2016-01-13, 11:01 PM
Moving quickly, you slip out from under the table and back into the hall, then maneuver the long way around to the other side of the dining room, and descend a set of stairs to the first floor. At the bottom of the stairs, a man seems to have vomited into a potted plant and collapsed unconscious. Stepping over him, you weave towards the dining area, only to spot the tip of a guard's spear protrude from the next corner, coming this way. Thinking fast, you duck into the nearest storage closet.

Most of the relatively confined area is occupied with six sealed barrels of wine. A small candle rests atop one, giving light to the room. An older woman, in her forties or fifties, sits on another, arms up, fingers splayed, showing no signs of concealed weaponry. She has short, mousy brown hair, and is wearing the white noble's garment. She bears a striking resembling to Mila, standing across from her, with a knife.

The older woman doesn't appear at all perturbed by her situation. But, upon seeing you, she heaves a great sigh. "Ah, thank the gods you're here, citizen." she says, "If you would kindly restrain my attacker, I believe she is some manner of reprobate party-crasher, and would like to submit her to the mercies of the governor."

You place two fingers to your temple, rubbing the softly pulsing vein there. "Uh. Look, ma'am, I think this has all been some kind of misunderstanding. Too much wine maybe." you say, trying to sound ameliorating.

When Mila looks at you, you can tell something is gravely wrong, for her face is flushed red, and she looks on the verge of tears. She doesn't say anything until she turns back to face the older woman. "June. Meet my mother, Lena Konos, head of the Konos Merchant Guild."

You gulp and begin to understand the gravity of the situation. Mrs Konos, for her part, just rolls her eyes dismissively. "One of your friends, then. Don't tell me you brought a whole gang just to do your ol' mother in. Frankly, I'd've hoped you had the self-confidence to do it yourself."

Mila charges at her mother, grabbing her throat with one hand, and plunging down with her knife in the other. You reach out and grab her wrist with an extra six inches or so to spare before the blade would've struck. "Wait!" you say, "Think about this! Seriously. Think about this. She's your family. Your blood. She-"

Just then, you hear the latch of the door begin to click, and whirl around to brace yourself against it, keeping it from opening. The latch turns again, then you hear a knock. Mila is staring, wild-eyed, at you and the door. Mrs Konos seems only very mildly entertained, staying quiet with a knife mere inches from one of her eyes. "Hey, open up!" you hear from the other side of the door, "We need more wine!"

You look from Mila to her mom and back, and around the room. No one says anything. There's another knock. You think fast. "Uhhh... uh... hey, hold on a minute. I'm, uh, I'm real sick in here. You don't want to come in here."

"Sick?" the person outside says, "Well, c'mon, open up and I'll get you some help."

You curse profusely under your breath. "Uh, uhh... and we're... having a shag. In here. Don't, uh, don't come in."

There's a heavy silence for a moment. Then the voice speaks up again. "You're... what? While you're sick? That's terrible."

"Yes. Yes! It's... it's very terrible. Disgusting. Just... everywhere is putrid. It's horrific. Please, just get some wine from the kitchens. We'll be sure to clean up after ourselves." you say.

You hear nothing more, and once you're sure that the voice is gone, you turn your attentions back to the two other women.

Mrs Konos eyes her daughter. "Please tell me this one is better with her bow than she is at speaking. I don't approve of you associating with people of low talent."

Mila squeezes on her mother's throat, causing her to lose her composure for a moment and gag. "This isn't a joke you wretched old cow." she hisses, "You killed my sisters and now I'm going to kill you so that their souls can rest in peace."

Taking a moment to regain herself, her mother seems no more impressed than before. "I did no such thing, child. I assessed a situation poorly. I assessed you poorly. Your sisters' deaths were a tragedy. A tragedy that broke my heart. It's a wound I've never healed properly from. But on the other hand, unlike you, I'm able to spot a sunk cost fallacy when I see one. Remember that one? You must've learned about it in school. Once Garbl had a hold of them, there was no point in discarding the favor their deaths had bought. It wouldn't have brought them back. The most responsible decision, to our family's well-being, and economically in general, was to press every advantage that arose from the situation. Garbl's allegiance, the sympathy of the other guilds, a new reputation for ruthlessness..." she tries to smile, then frowns, the lines of her face deepening greatly. She looks very tired all of a sudden. "You girls have made me very rich and powerful. Though not how I had wanted."

Choice 1
>(1a) Don't kill her. Your sisters wouldn't have wanted to see you debase yourself like this on their account. Your family has seen enough death and tragedy.
>(1b) Don't kill her. If you murder a guest of the governor's hospitality in his own home, it is as good as offering him a personal insult. I don't have to tell you why that might be a bad idea.
>(2a) Kill her, if that's what will give you closure. You need to make peace with your past, and I consider removing someone like this from the world a cheap price to pay for that.
>(2b) Kill her. Quickly. We have a job to do and we can't have a loose end like this just lying around. Even if we tie her up, someone's going to find her eventually and I don't want an extra clock to worry about.

(Note: All votes for 1a and 1b will be counted together, and 2a and 2b will be counted together, for whether or not you support Mila killing her mother. The subdivision with the most votes will be the reason given as to why.)

Kymme
2016-01-13, 11:37 PM
>(1a) Don't kill her.

If you kill her you'll be just as bad as she is.

ImperatorV
2016-01-14, 12:05 AM
>(1a) Don't kill her. Your sisters wouldn't have wanted to see you debase yourself like this on their account. Your family has seen enough death and tragedy.

I put the system and the sea spirits at fault more then this old hag.

Jon0113
2016-01-14, 01:50 AM
1a don't kill her

THEChanger
2016-01-14, 02:01 AM
>(1a) Your sisters wouldn't have wanted to see you debase yourself like this on their account. Your family has seen enough death and tragedy.

VoodooPaladin
2016-01-14, 06:35 AM
>(1a): Don't kill her. She may be an immoral politician, but it would be equally immoral to kill her.

Going the Evil Batman route. How many times do you think we'll hear it before we stop caring when someone tells us they were just engaging in self-preservation against a force perceived as immortal and unstoppable? Just for the record, how many individuals in all of this setting do you think would be lying if they said that about any unpleasant deed they were involved in?

Eggel
2016-01-14, 10:20 AM
Don't kill her. Your sisters wouldn't have wanted to see you debase yourself like this on their account. Your family has seen enough death and tragedy.

It would only cause more trouble if she did kill her.

backwaterj
2016-01-14, 11:16 AM
Okay, devil's advocate it is. :belkar:

Kill her, if that's what will give you closure. You need to make peace with your past, and I consider removing someone like this from the world a cheap price to pay for that.

Xefas
2016-01-14, 12:19 PM
You place a hand tentatively on Mila's shoulder. She is visibly seething with anger. She won't look at you, but inclines her head to you to show she's listening.

"Look. Mila, your sisters deserved better than the horrible fate that befell them. But I don't think they would want their mother butchered in a cupboard, nor would they want to know it was you who did it. If anything, the one to blame is Garbl, but who has the power to wreak their vengeance on the gods themselves? Your sisters clearly made peace with that and moved on to their next life. You should do the same." You pause. "...Uh, metaphorically." Then you turn to Lena. "They are at peace, correct?"

She doesn't look at you, but nods. "Appropriate funeral rites were made. None have lingered."

You put your other hand on Mila's knife, and she allows it to slip wordlessly from her own grip. But, as you take it from her, quick as a flash, she balls her hand into a fist and slugs her mother in the face, who hadn't been expected anything, with all her strength. The older woman turns a half-circle and lands on her hands and knees on the ground, drops of blood visible on the ground.

You withdraw the coiled rope you had used to scale the wall outside. "Feel better?" you say to Mila. Her mouth twists into a snarl and she spits out through clenched teeth, "I'm going back to the party." And leaves, cradling her fist gingerly in her other hand.

Mrs Konos heaves herself onto her feet, a little wobbly. Mila isn't a very strong person, physically speaking, but the blow looks to have done a number on her. Nothing you think is life-threatening, but it looks like there's going to be a good deal of blood and swelling and general unpleasantness in her future. You hold out the rope. "Uh, if you wouldn't mind? We're sort of here in an unlawful capacity and it would be best if you weren't discovered and questioned until later."

She takes a few experimentally dabs at her face with her hands, before placing them together and outstretched towards you. "Oh, no, by all means. I suppose you're some strange species of savior for me today. It's the least I can do."

You go about binding her hands and feet and hogtying them together until she's bundled securely on the ground. You withdraw a spare scrap of cloth and bend down to place it in her mouth. Before you can, though, she says, "One last thing, dear - 'June' was it? You seem like the sensible sort. If you ever need to do business in Asymach, don't hesitate to look me up."

You stuff the cloth into her mouth and bind that as well, nodding awkwardly. "Uh, I'll remember that."



Selino and Kremm are loitering about an out-of-the-way alcove near the kitchens, decorated with a little pedestal and a bust of someone-or-other, when you finally run into them. They're wearing the drab grey pants and tunic common to bondservants at formal affairs. They hail you over, quietly, and you begin removing equipment from your pack; a sword and buckler for each of them, as Kremm's spear wasn't practical to bring, nor Selino's larger shield, much as it pained him.

'What took you so long?!' is the sentiment you believe Kremm is very fervently directing to you with his hands and undulating face muscles. Selino notices the motions and pushes against his shoulder amiably. "No need for that. A professional goon like yourself should know that no plan survives contact with the enemy."

Kremm snorts, shrugs, and turns a few circles in the air with his forearm as if to say 'True enough.'

"I'll tell you the whole story later." you say, "We have to find the cellar and fast."

Selino smirks. "We already found it. Unsettling place. They store a lot of food and sundry down there, but the place is like some kind of catacomb. Shelves and shelves of bones, urns, old musty scrolls... The servants say they're forbidden from going into the lower levels. Supposedly they're haunted. We thought it best to wait for you."

You nod. "Probably a good idea. So, aside from my little detour, I guess everything is going according to plan."

Off in the distance, toward the dining hall, you hear a tremendous explosion and the shattering of glass and the cracking of stone, followed by shouts and screams and the distinct clangs of metal on metal. The three of you instinctively whip around towards that direction and listen for a moment.

"What was that?" asks Selino, rhetorically.

Choice 1
>I think that's our cue to haul ass to the basement. If something bad just happened, the guards won't be on a leisurely patrol anymore, they'll be swarming. We need to go.
>Trouble. But we absolutely cannot pass up this opportunity to get the key. You guys go investigate, I'll go on ahead. Meet back up with me when you can.

Kymme
2016-01-14, 12:45 PM
>I think that's our cue to haul ass to the basement.

Is it just me, or does anybody else hear the Rains of Castamere playing in the background?

Eggel
2016-01-14, 01:42 PM
I think that's our cue to haul ass back to the basement
I see what you did there, Kymme

Jon0113
2016-01-14, 02:26 PM
Cue to haul arse

Xefas
2016-01-14, 03:21 PM
"Trouble. Lets go. Double time." you say, nudging Selino to start moving. He does so, proceeding at a swift pace, with Kremm taking up the rear.

"And Alistair? The girl?" he asks.

You exhale slowly and try not to sound nervous. "Assuming they aren't the ones who started the trouble to begin with, they're adults and I trust them to handle themselves. I told everyone that we're in all-for-one-one-for-all mode, but hopefully they have the sense to cut and run back to the hideout if things get really dicey."

Selino snorts and mutters "...'hideout'..." as you all round a corner, open a set of double wooden doors, and proceed down a long stone staircase.

At the top of the staircase, there were lit lamps, but as you travel down further, you decide to switch on your Everbright Lantern, illuminating the basement.

The first few rooms are just piles of dry goods, old cobwebbed chambers of hewn stone bricks, impressively spaced, with nothing more threatening than the odd scampering cockroach. Taking another switchback staircase down to the next level, you find colder chambers filled with barrel after barrel of, you suppose, wine, though perhaps other spirits could be mixed throughout. Here, you begin to see what Selino was talking about; shelves ensconced into the very stone of the walls haphazardly litter the wine-cellar, in which old bones, and urns, and dust and ashes that had once perhaps been bone, are interred. The further you go, the stronger the stagnant smell of old, seldom-traveled ruins becomes. You find it both unsettling and exciting.

As you're searching for the next path downward, you hear a muffled crash in the distance break the silence. Then, soon, footsteps coming down the stairs only a few rooms away. It sounds like there are several pairs of feet, shuffling quickly.

The three of you duck behind a wall of stacked kegs.

"Could a servant have seen us and sent for the guards?" you whisper.

Selino has his hand on his sword. "I didn't notice anyone noticing us. But what else could it be?"

"Maybe guests getting away from whatever is going on up there." you offer.

Selino considers that hastily. "Possible. It's your call."

Choice 1
>We pick up speed and try to stay ahead of whatever's behind us.
>We set up an ambush and pincushion whatever's coming this way.

Jon0113
2016-01-14, 03:52 PM
We pick up speed

Eggel
2016-01-14, 04:17 PM
We set up an ambush and pincushion whatever's coming this way

If they happen to be guards (which I doubt), we could take them. It might be Mila or Alistair.

THEChanger
2016-01-14, 05:32 PM
>We pick up speed and try to stay ahead of whatever's behind us.

ImperatorV
2016-01-14, 06:51 PM
>We set up an ambush and pincushion whatever's coming this way.

We could run into trouble down here, and if this group comes up behind us in the middle of it we're screwed.

backwaterj
2016-01-14, 08:42 PM
We pick up speed and try to stay ahead of whatever's behind us.

Kymme
2016-01-14, 11:05 PM
>Pick up speed

Xefas
2016-01-15, 12:34 AM
You hope that, since the first key was placed in such an ostentatious display, the second will be as well, rather than being squirreled away in some crate or basket, which you've decided you don't have time for. "C'mon." you say, bolting from your cover further into the basement, "We're not risking it."

The two men follow your lead and chase after you.

Down another flight of stairs, the furnishings simultaneously become far more spare and show far fewer signs of use. Then, suddenly, you emerge into a room absolutely heaped with mostly-decomposed bones heaped in towering mounds of dust and detritus; easily the bodies of fifty people or more. Dodging around it, you come to the next room, longer and wider, and piled floor-to-ceiling with the long-dead remains of perhaps three hundred people. The sudden magnitude of the sight gives you a moment's pause, and as you do, you see a pale flicker of translucent blue-white light in the corner of your left eye. As you turn to look at it, the light of your lantern passes over what you think might've been a humanoid shape, and it disappears instantly.

Then, another, similar flicker appears to your right and, instead of jerking your whole body, you simply crane your head to look into the dark. The specter's body of shimmering energy illuminates perhaps a scant handful of inches around it, showing the outline of bones and the floor. It's a woman, hair long but unwashed and matted, her features hazy and indistinct, in peasant clothing. She bends down, heaving something non-existent off of her shoulders, stands back up and wipes her nose on her sleeve. Her mouth moves, but the air is silent for a moment before a trembling echo finds your ears, "That's twelve dead this week." she says, turning away from you to look at a person that isn't there, "Sure hope they aren't contagious after they pass." She chuckles in an artificial, strained fashion, flickers, and disappears.

A much more real, substantial voice echoes from down the stairs a few rooms back, snapping you to attention before you can contemplate what you've seen. It's high-pitched and raspy, with a wet, gargling quality as if the speaker has a mouth half-filled with water as they talk. "Humans. Smell humans." A second, but nearly identical voice follows, "Smell deathlies too, I do, I do."

You continue moving, but so do the origins of the voices; you can hear them scampering down the stairs with a few raspy snarls. Then, a third voice, "No, no. No like, I don't, I don't. Master comes soon. Master no caring for hidey humans."

The voices eventually fade, but with each passing room, the body count seems to rise. You wonder just how many thousands were piled down here once upon a time.

Down another flight of stairs, you pass into a room whose stone blocks have crumbled away from the floor, walls, and ceiling. But, rather than earth, you are met with a gaping black void. Moving to the precipice, you shine your light out, revealing what might've once been an auditorium; the largest you've ever seen - large enough, when it was complete, to fit over a thousand people in its two-tiered assemblage of pews, radiating outward from a central podium. It's flooded now, knee-deep in most places, from cracks in the walls from which water pours from some unseen source, and drains into a few scattered sinkholes in the floor. You are perhaps twenty feet up from the floor, and further observation shows that the broken room you are in was once the beginning of a hallway that wrapped around the outside of the auditorium without entering it, but crumbled architecture has intersected them.

Directly in front of the podium, levitating gracefully inside of a thin stream of water from the ceiling, is a perfectly smooth oval gem, jet black around the edges, with elegant designs of indigo blue at its center. And, all around it, dozens of half-formed translucent shades meander about aimlessly, dressed in what you suspect is finery, though not of this era. Their thick, multi-layered robes are girdled with ribbons and embroidered with staggeringly complex mandalas, tinged at the edges with sparks of real, living color that must have been terribly vibrant in life.

You can hear them muttering to themselves, punctuated by an occasional shout that the others do not seem to hear. "We are lost!", "We are betrayed!", "We are doomed!"

"I'm not sure I'm having fun anymore." Selino says. Kremm looks quietly afraid.

You take a deep breath and try to stay positive. "Nowhere to go but forward." you say, and begin to regret using your rope on a previous matter. Carefully, you begin to haul yourself down a steep collection of shattered stone and wooden supports propped against the wall under your broken room. Selino grits his teeth, takes a few paces back and forth, and then follows after. You reach the bottom without incident while Selino is maybe halfway, plopping your legs down into the cold water. Kremm still has yet to begin climbing.

"Problem?" you shout up to him. Then you glance over at the nearby ghosts, just to make sure they're still in their own little worlds. They are.

Kremm nods his head emphatically, seeming to become more agitated by the moment.

"C'mon. You can't go back, I've got the only light. This is the only way forward." you say, as Selino begins to mentally measure his last few steps.

Just then, iron flashes in your lantern-light and Kremm comes tumbling down the hard way, cracking sickeningly against a nearby stone. You gasp involuntarily, grabbing your bow from your back on reflex. Selino shouts in surprise, leaping the last few feet and landing poorly, falling to a crouch before raising up again, sword in hand.

Creeping out from the dark above, you see five squat figures, around four-and-a-half feet tall, hunched, scaly, combining the worst features of men and sharks. Their hands are twisted claws, their mouths gaping, watery pits of teeth, their faces sloped forward into muzzles that end in soft, rounded points topped with snake-like slits. Their feet are webbed, and each has an assortment of fins in different places, and two have stubby shark-like tails. They wear little grubby loincloths, and spider across the walls and debris like great insects, gasping and hissing.

"Master no caring for hidey-humans." one spits, "But master caring for water-shine, he would, he would."

"Sos saying you." another answers, one of its clawed hands twisted around a long, curved dagger, painted with flesh blood, "I saying Master no caring but for sun-spot. We wasting time killing straggle-ones."

Choice 1
>Make a mad dash for the second key-gem.
>Roll Initiative.

backwaterj
2016-01-15, 12:47 AM
Make a mad dash for the second key-gem. Five on three two doesn't seem like good odds.

@ Kymme: "OMG, you killed Kremmy!"

ImperatorV
2016-01-15, 01:19 AM
>Roll Initiative.

Those things have webbed hands. They are clearly at least semi-aquatic, and if we don't kill them before they get into the water we are screwed.

Kymme
2016-01-15, 02:09 AM
>Join battle!

These bastards killed Kremm. They deserve arrows through their eyes.

Jon0113
2016-01-15, 03:40 AM
roll initiative

Kymme
2016-01-15, 11:09 AM
Make a mad dash for the second key-gem. Five on three two doesn't seem like good odds.

@ Kymme: "OMG, you killed Kremmy!"

UGH, you're not wrong!

Xefas
2016-01-15, 12:32 PM
"They're goblins." Selino says, backed with obvious hate, as the creatures begin to descend upon him.

"Impossible-" you reply, knocking an arrow and loosing it, missing a goblin's head by inches; snarling, it and one other closes in on you, rather than Selino. "-The Fair Folk haven't set foot on Chalcedon since I've been alive." All the same, you reach back and grab one of the iron arrows in your pack.

"I wouldn't mistake them!" he says, shouting through exertion, making wide, threatening movements to try to keep the three other goblins from surrounding him in a proper flank. "We fought them many times sailing between here and Palanquin. Use iron against them if you can!"

"On it." you say, firing an iron arrow into the chest of a goblin as it leaps directly for you. Scarlet fire erupts from the wound, and its flesh seems to rot and necrotize around it instantly. It screams, disengaging from you completely to rake insanely at the spot, literally digging the arrow out with its claws.

Selino, with his iron sword, seems to be threatening them enough, but you also notice that he doesn't seem to be moving much, and the goblins have strafed to surround him like a pack of wolves, dancing in and out of his reach, testing him. Eventually, one darts in, only to get a hard smack on the side of its face from Selino's buckler that sends it reeling. But, while he's distracted, another jumps in and draws its claws across the soldier's flank, eliciting a grunt of pain, before being harried away.



--Selino is at Short Range from you.
--A Small Mob of Goblins is at Melee and Short Range from you.
--The second key is at Short Range from you, in the opposite direction as Selino and the goblins.

Your Fighting Spirit is rising!

Choice 1
>I fire a Brave Attack against the goblins near me. (Accuracy severely reduced for using a ranged weapon in Melee Range)
>I swap my bow for my pair of daggers to fight in melee more easily.
>I attempt to disengage from the goblins, closer to the center of the room, to give me more room for ranged attacks.
>I try to give Selino covering fire.

Choice 2
>Things aren't looking good. I'm going to exert my heroic willpower to benefit my action this round.
(In the case of swapping weapons, it'll benefit the next attack after that.)
>I'm not panicking just yet.

Kymme
2016-01-15, 01:09 PM
>swap bow for pair of daggers

Fight back-to-back! That way they cannot surround us as easily.

>don't panic quite yet

ImperatorV
2016-01-15, 01:39 PM
>I try to give Selino covering fire. He's wounded, and if he goes down we are in trouble.

>I'm not panicking just yet.