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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Phelix-Mu's Avatar

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    Default A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    The cold autumn sun glares down from the sky, but the wind's chill speaks only of the dark months to come. A group of ravens cease their circling amid the updrafts of the city's canyons, descending upon the remains of some street food leftover from this morning's market. The streets are less crowded, with residents having gone about their business, and many of the stalls of the market have closed up.

    Merstangoth, like a vast, steel anthill, towers above its residents and visitors, it's many districts reaching skyward. The consistent din of street level continues up for some ways, but the sounds below are gradually lost in the vertical space between the buildings of the city. The impression created is one of contrasts: the living, pulsing mass of life of the lower levels, and the cold silence that takes hold at higher elevations, the buildings like motionless giants gazing down at the chaos below. The bustling, noisy lives of those that struggle to survive in the streets and low elevations, and the quiet serenity of those who dwell above in halls of glass, stone, and steel.

    Of course, such poetic language is a crude generalization; the thing known as Merstangoth defies definition, spans years immemorial, and is peopled by countless creatures. The reality itself blends with the legend, a legend whose true extent few comprehend. The legend blends with the reality, a reality clung to viciously by the indigent masses, a reality carefully crafted by those of power and influence. Truth and illusion. The present and the past. So much of so many, piled through the years like the very structures of the city, a mountain made by mortal hands.


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    Hello,
    This is the In-Character thread for my small campaign focused on gritty role playing in a dark urban setting. I will be posting here over the next couple of days as I develop material.

    This thread is for IC discussions. All OOC stuff should go in the other thread, the OOC Thread, or, in a pinch...
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    in spoilers. Generally speaking, anything having to do with mechanics, rules, or rolls goes in spoilers as well. Character speech out in the open, and you may also post character thoughts, if you wish. More talk of etiquette on the other thread.
    Last edited by Phelix-Mu; 2013-07-16 at 09:38 PM.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

    Extended Sigbox

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Phelix-Mu's Avatar

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    (This will be setting exposition and details.)

    The Districts:
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    Districts of Merstangoth

    Zones: The city can be broken down into five zones. These areas are conceptual, not geographic, so they usually aren't defined by borders. Rather, one zone gradually turns into another.

    The zones are the Dark Districts, the Surface, Parks, the Aeries, and Outliers.

    Dark Districts
    These districts are located beneath the Surface, and are largely made up of the partial remains and ruins of earlier incarnations of Merstangoth.

    Dens: Dens is the first sublayer of Mers. Short for Dens of Sin, Dens of Iniquity, Dens of Corruption, or other variations on the theme. This district is comprised of all the businesses and enterprises that are too shady or too extreme for the more pedestrian crowds that frequent the ground-level markets of Paths. Frequently found here are brothels, strip joints, black market businesses, body augmentation shops (the sketchy ones at least...more reputable ones are found in the Galleries), practitioners of various forbidden arts, info-brokers, slave markets, underground churches/cults, and a myriad of other, more bizarre places. The actual institutions of Dens are surrounded by slums of various sizes, peopled by the employees of the places, and the masses of the indigent poor.

    Maze: A labyrinthine series of paths, corridors, and half-collapsed ruins, Maze is the second sublayer beneath the city. It is a common hideout for criminals that have gone to ground and others that just want to avoid any kind of notice. It can be a dangerous area for civilians lacking the skills to defend themselves, as only the desperate end up this deep beneath Mers. Rumours persist of creatures much more dangerous than just criminals hiding within the folding paths of Maze.

    Ash: This layer is inhabited by those that have a serious, vested interest in staying out of the light. Generally only accessible via magic, Ash is the third sublayer under the city, generally located between seventy-five and one hundred-fifty feet beneath the ground level of Merstangoth.

    Ash is so-named because it is full of ash and charred building materials. This apparently is due to the ruins of this level dating back to an incarnation of the that was destroyed in some massive conflagration. As a place that is generally unreachable without magic or other special skills, those that live here guard their privacy well, carving out domains within the ruins and warding them with spells, traps, guardian creatures, and other magics. If a visitor to this district comes uninvited, they would do well to contact a guide from the Darkrunner Guild before heading down, as they are among the few given permission to wander around this district without being attacked by its residents and their defenses.

    Wish: Short for "Deathwish," these levels are quite unstable and feature regular collapses, shifts, and/or become impossible. Only the brave and the stupid make it this deep below the city, driven by fear of discovery, desire for the secrets of the past, a thirst for silence, or sheer madness. Wish is located below one hundred-fifty feet, and reaches down numerous levels to past five hundred feet. It's largely totally uncharted and mostly uninhabited. Entire areas are unsurvivable by breathing creatures, poisoned by ancient dusts and mists that hang in the still air and cling to every surface. Those that travel this deep without the assistance of magic truly make this district live up to its name.


    Surface
    This is the ground-level district. It spreads across the whole city proper, before the elevation drops off to the east at the edge of the Deeps. Surface runs from zero feet above ground to around forty feet above ground, with most buildings limited to 3-4 stories within this space.

    Paths: This is a ground-level district full of markets, tourist industries, merchant stalls, and streets lined with entertainment venues. In various neighborhoods, there are residential areas that range from middle class down to slums. Very few rich or highly successful people choose to live here, as it's a crowded, noisy district that thrums day and night with the activity of the populace.

    The majority of the buildings on this level have only one or two stories. Many shops have apartments above them were the shop owners or lodgers dwell. Tangle starts low enough that most buildings can't jam a third story in before the catwalks and bridges start to take over; as ever, though, there isn't much in the way of a clearly demarcated border between districts.

    Tangle: Located around forty feet off of the ground, Tangle is several stories worth of largely residential areas populated by all manner of people in all manner of social situations. Typically, those that live up here are better off than those that live below, but this isn't always the case.

    Physically, Tangle is typified by catwalks, balconies, overhangs, skybridges, and the like that cross the gaps between the towering structures of Mers. Some of these structures are magical in nature, reinforced or held up by gravity-defying spells, while others are feats of mundane engineering, and still others are shoddy in construction and hang precariously above the crowded streets below. Clotheslines with laundry, dangling paper lanterns, prayer flags, and all manner of other objects are draped about. The general effect is one of a chaotic jumble of various pathways and platforms, a veritable maze located above the streets of Paths.

    Codex Row: Codex Row is a row of massive stone and metal buildings that bisect the northwest quadrant of Paths running from northeast to southwest. These buildings are uniformly eight stories tall, and each building has a distinct type of architecture that connects it to the governmental department of which it is part.

    This district is the central area for the lawkeepers, government bureaucrats, government investigators, government flunkies, magistrates, and committees. The public offices of all government organizations are here, though they are often just the street-level annexes made available to the common citizens. The higher-level government functions are largely conducted in palatial offices in the upper areas of Parks, or in more obscure locations yet higher.

    The main offices of the Code-Keepers and the less numerous Axiorati are also located here, and these law enforcers can be find in high concentrations throughout the district. New recruits are trained in secret facilities here, and non-personnel reinforcement squads are also operated out of this district. These squads usually consist of stone golems or more advanced constructs sent out for peacekeeping and other missions that non-living creatures are best suited for. Admittedly, since the rise of the Axiorati, these backup squads are less used, but they remain here in reserve nonetheless.

    Consular District: This district is located in the central north area of the city, and extends all the way up into Parks, where each consulate has a spacious garden and an area for dignitaries and those officially granted asylum. As befitting the representation of foreign powers in a massive metropolis, these buildings are lavish, exquisitely designed to represent the best principles of the race or nation to which they belong.

    Consulates exist for each of the major kingdoms of the continent; smaller kingdoms have officials stationed within the consulates of their larger allies. The biggest consulates belong to the four powers that surround Merstangoth: the Pralish Empire, Stalgorm, the Kingdom of Maelra, and Melfyristaenne. Each of these powers vies endlessly for influence within Merstangoth, and more than one of them consider the city as little more than a bunch of squatters sucking up profits that should have been theirs.

    Each consulate maintains a small, sovereign force of defenders to ensure its security independent of the Code-Keepers and the Axiorati. These forces are formidable, if few in number, and the Axiorati that patrol the streets of this district keep a close eye on them (and vice versa).


    Parks
    This district is located several stories above the hubbub of the districts of Surface. Due to the elevation, magic and other supernatural forces are more common up here, if only to facilitate movement, enable more elaborate construction, and otherwise indicate the difference in social class between here and the lower districts.

    Galleries: This district is a sprawling district of specialty shops, boutiques, and guildhalls. It is the district in Parks with the lowest elevation, and is most concentrated in southern parts of the city. This elevation is also shared with the residences of the reasonably well-off, generally business owners, the newest of the bourgeoisie, and other of similar ilk.

    As Merstangoth is generally a city in which money can be used to acquire just about anything, this district is home to many businesses that also, with varying degrees of discretion, cater to the more bizarre and exotic tastes of the elite. From exotic pets, to body augmentation, to psychic mind alteration, from designer spellcasting to highly-trained slaves that specialize in the more exquisite arts, Galleries is a world of beauty, wonder, and depravity. All available for the proper sum of coin.

    Steel Menagerie: The Steel Menagerie is located in the southeast corner of the city, not far from the edge of The Deeps, it's steel decks beginning some seventy feet above the ground and several hundred feet towards the sky, well beyond the upper limit of most of Parks. It is comprised of massive steel spires that reach skyward like the towers of some vast gothic cathedral. Almost no living beings reside here, although various parties pass through the area on business, and messengers are sent to the Collective at times. Clockwork creatures of various kinds operate here, most of minimal intelligence operating on simple parameters to fulfill maintenance or other regulatory functions. Particularly common are the clockroaches, which scuttle about and routinely check any construct entering the menagerie for signs of damage and automatically commencing repairs.

    This district is comprised of an elaborate series of automated industries that process various goods produced within Merstangoth's territories, along with other commodities. Over time, these self-regulated intelligent constructs have been given a degree of autonomy by the guilds that were originally responsible for creating them. The constructs eventually developed a level of sophistication that necessitated internal governance and supervision, and so the constructs formed the Collective, a body of super-intelligent mechanical beings that have the sole purpose of maintaining the Steel Menagerie and its interests.

    While the industries of this district are actually somewhat in decline (as Merstangoth has transitioned beyond the stage of being a manufacturing society), the district still has considerable production capabilities, and the Collective is constantly on the lookout for any means by which they can secure their financial future.

    Cathedral Gyre: This district consists of a vast basin of magically manipulated stone that is held high above the city below by titanic forces of unknown origin. A road begins at the lowest point of the basin atop a subjective gravity column that rises from Surface and enters Cathedral Gyre through an opening in the basin (nicknamed the Drain). This road spirals upward around the edge of the basin, heading slowly up toward the rim of the crater-like area.

    Along this road are many temples, shrines, churches, and cathedrals to practically every divinity, philosophy, and supernatural force worshiped on the continent and beyond. The structures range from small and humble to vast monuments to the glory of x or y. The entire area is warded by powerful magics that prevent spells and powers from working in the streets; essentially, each church is allowed to do it's own magical rites as long as they take place within the physical bounds of its structures. Thus, a strange coexistence of good, evil, lawful, and chaotic people is maintained, although many non-violent power struggles and more subtle "weapons" are still employed in this district's internal politics.

    As one might expect, outsiders and other extraplanar beings are more frequent in Cathedral Gyre than in many other parts of the city.

    Glowing Gardens: Located at an elevation of roughly seventy feet and reaching up approximately eighty feet, Glowing Gardens is a verdant area where the normal "city smell" of Mers gives way to a clear, fragrant air filled with the damp cool of abundant plant life. Birds, insects and small animals are fairly common in this district, all of which have grown used to the presence of the district's many visitors.

    This layer of Mers is rife with plant life; it grows in pots and urns, hangs from catwalks and balconies, and carpets the floors. The plants themselves are often magical, magically bred, or magically sustained. The name of the district comes from a particularly prevalent series of species that glow with a faint light after the sun goes down, illuminating the green paths of the gardens with a greenish light. The whole effect is quite surrealistic.

    The lower part of Glowing Gardens are made up of a series of public parks run by the Axiorati. The upper levels, generally one hundred-twenty feet and up, are the location of various luxury penthouses that overlook the parks and gardens. These residences are very trendy, and often occupied by young social elites and particularly successful business owners. A fair number, however, are legacies that are handed down among the older aristocratic families of Merstangoth's past.


    The Aeries
    The Aeries is a zone of privilege and luxury that starts at an elevation of about one hundred-fifty feet, and continues up many hundreds of feet. Magic, psionics, and other mystical things are quite common up here. Many of the elites of Mers practice one or the other of these arts, often as much as a hobby as any kind of self-improvement, and magical or psionic augmentation are both quite trendy among the fabulously rich and powerful.

    Amber Halls: This district, located above the leafy canopy of Glowing Gardens, is a relic of a long-since-broken mythal or similarly epic magic that allowed a vast area of construction to occur using augmented amber as a building material. Though the epic magic that brought the area into existence has disappeared, these translucent halls remain, and are now home to the organizations, social clubs, and other gatherings of the elite of Merstangoth.

    The Amber Halls extend up one hundred feet, broken into various floors or layers based on their usage. Although the amber itself has the structural integrity of steel, it is surprisingly easy to manipulate with magic. Regular redecorating is done by the owners of various parts of the Halls, to suit their elaborate tastes and exotic needs.

    Drangorra Heights: This district is located above Amber Halls, and is filled with the super-rich, the political elite, all manner of successful people, and leaders of various organizations. Money alone can buy no finer than what is available here; the even more exclusive districts above require much more than simple financial largesse.

    Drangorra Heights is filled with mansions, palatial halls, and all manner of elaborate dwellings for the wealthy. Magical construction is extremely common, and no edifice herein lacks supernatural security measures to boot.

    The Towers Six: These massive towers are the ever-growing incarnations of the ancestral homes of the six noble families of Merstangoth. By name and in no particular order, the families are the Kandoris, the Aebilim, the Caer-Nimroth, the Santaal, the Eves, and the Pfeil. Various legends have these families figuring heavily in early versions of Merstangoth, in various roles as rulers, patrons and conquerors, among others. Regardless, they are now simply aristocratic families with vast resources and profound influence on the workings of Merstangoth.

    The Towers themselves are flying, self-expanding structures that are all located three hundred feet above the ceiling of Parks, in the center of the city proper. They are arrayed in a rough circle, though they oscillate slightly from day-to-day. Each tower is hundreds of feet high, and they each have distinct architecture evocative of the family that built them. Each family maintains a small elite force of troops and vassals, equipped with the finest of gear and wielding the mightiest of powers. Beyond this, each family counts very talented and powerful people among its gene pool.

    Aetemporia: Located even beyond the realm of the Towers Six, this fabled realm is the dwelling place of the most powerful of Merstangoth's residents. Demiplanes and multiplanar mansions are en vogue here. The Prime Material Plane components of these places are varied, but they are all located high in the clouds above Merstangoth, accessible only by privately controlled sky-stairs or subjective gravity columns. Only the Axiorati routinely visit this region, and then only when official business demands that they contact one of Aetemporia's residents in person.


    Outliers
    These are districts located outside the city proper. They have largely been constructed unofficially to accommodate the burgeoning population of Mers.

    The Deeps: This district is located on the western edge of vast depression that many scholars believe once constituted an inland sea of some kind. What exactly happened to the water is unknown, but this theory is backed up by mineral deposits found beneath the foundations of the Deeps.

    The whole area is a sprawling mix of slums, low-cost housing developments, high-rises, and shanty towns. A maze of streets and staircases crisscross the district, rendering the area very confusing to all but veteran residents. The elevation steadily drops as the Deeps stretches eastward, until it bottoms out several miles from the city.

    The Chasm: This canyon-like area cut deep into the floor of the Deeps. Cut into its rock walls are dwellings, alcoves, halls, and hideouts. It's a very popular area for criminals, as it is a quite large geographic area, half-deserted, and generally populated only by people with something to hide.

    The Air Barges: This district is a mobile, non-contiguous area consisting of low-flying barges on which various people dwell. The largest barges orbit the city, while smaller ones occasionally brave the inner areas of the city (though this can be extremely dangerous due to the unusual wind patterns that prevail in-between the towering edifices of Mers).


    Canalside:
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    The Jug 'N Tale:
    The only pub in Canalside, this institution dates from around the time of Entella's childhood, several decades ago. It was founded by an enterprising halfling couple. Despite its initial cold reception by the whisper gnomes, it has become quite popular in the ensuing decades.

    Shrine Clinic:
    Back when Serdo was a young man, a particularly bad spate of violence claimed the child of the family that ran this shrine. The survivors descended into insanity, and within several years, had all but gone extinct, abandoning the shrine. Stained by this legacy, the shrine was left empty, rumours of misfortune that dogged anyone who tried to reopen it.
    A few years ago, a human doctor, Dale Iskendr, moved to Canalside. A member of Surgeons of the Humble Way, he founded a health clinic in the shrine. There, he gives free healthcare to the residents, as well as handing out fresh, filtered water. Thus he fulfills the two major tenants of his affiliation.

    The Mark:
    The mark is located and named after a black scorch mark about the size of a wagon on the paving stones in one of street intersections in the neighborhood. It serves as a meeting spot, trading stump, and recreational area for young adults. It's not far from the Mark to the Jug 'N Tale.


    Important Families:

    Dendero: This family is noteworthy because it has strong ties to several criminal organizations. The elder generations feature a couple of famous catburglars, Esperia and Nupershilim in particular. The younger generations have been mostly involved in the more pedestrian of the criminal endeavors out there; pickpockets and street thieves are fairly common occupations among the Denderos these days.

    Sminender: Famous in generations past for providing community leaders, this family is now mainly known for Argeshen Sminender. Argeshen is a male whisper gnome that has become an accomplished artist, working with pixa-liths and pixa-crys to capture images of popular life and noteworthy current events. He's married to a minorly famous half-elven journalist, Merida Lisbony.

    Crimmack: Crimmack is a family associated with crafting. For generations, they have provided carpentry, coppersmith and tinsmith skills to the community. They also have a reputation for causing marital discord, as their traveling lifestyle (they roam about Canalside and beyond, in the manner of tinkerers and handymen) gives them some ample opportunity to fool around and then move on, so to speak.

    Embledam: The closest thing Canalside has to a resident rich family, the Embledams long ago were involved in some scheme or another that landed them with a large family fortune. Since then, careful management and shrewd investment has maintained, and even increased their prosperity. They frequently lend money at somewhat reasonable rates to other families, but in the past have been accused of predatory practices and punitive collection policies. Recently, they have taken steps to improve this reputation, including a generous grant to Everlee Academy.
    Last edited by Phelix-Mu; 2013-09-07 at 06:59 PM.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

    Extended Sigbox

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    (This will be a log of important npcs that the party knows and meets, public details only, ofc.)

    Characters
    {table=head]Player|Character|Race|Class|Alignment|Power
    DeusMortuusEst|Entella Astara|Phrenic Whisper Gnome|Darkstalker//SublimeAssassin|N|???
    Morcleon|Rhenium Invio|Grey Elf|DarkMage//Haruspex|N|???
    [/table]

    Krase (male asherati* ninja/asherati paragon//soulknife/psywar/psychic wpn master):
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    Entella's normal group leader in the Eyes. He's a bit of an oddball, and quite chaotic as a principle, and likes to let the teams that are under his command have lots of leeway and figure out how to operate best. He's taken a bit of a shine to Entella, and even gave her a birthmoon present last year.

    A male asherati who seems to have some kind of outsider heritage (indicated by his bloodshot eyes, and a single, downward-pointing, scaly crest on the back of his head), Krase has a background in larceny, and it seems that he came to the Eyes after realizing that he was in too deep with the authorities to continue as a lone operator. Within the Eyes, he has a place where his skills are not only valued, but occasionally vital. He has expanded his asherati racial sand-swimming ability by methods unknown, and is now able to swim through all manner of mundane solid objects (not as broad a category as one might like, but useful nonetheless).

    Krase' personality is quite odd, as noted. He has a penchant for speaking in riddles and rhyming phrases, making weird jokes, and generally behaving in a manner that many would (and often do) consider irritating. He smiles a lot in an unsettling manner, and generally puts people off with his antics. It's all a carefully calculated game, though, as Krase is both smart and wise; the buffoonery is just a way to get others to tip their own hands while thinking that Krase is some kind of addle-brained fool.


    Millima Asmon (female water mephling monk//beguiler/LA):
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    Millima (Mill-ee-ma) is a fellow member of the Eyes who hails from an uldra community far to the south. She has been moved around the teams a bit, as she has an excellent blend of infiltration and movement skills, and is thus acquainted with both Entella and Rhenium.

    This mephling is often in disguise while on missions, assisted by her beguiler powers and a number of items, but she also loves her natural form, a short, curvacious female body with a dancer's physique. Her turquoise-blue skin is mottled white across her back, and her long, wavy, sapphire-blue hair is gathered in a single braid that descends to her tailbone. There are a number of tattoos across her body, most notably a third-eye in the middle of her forhead, and decorative knot patterns on her forearms. She eschews clothing much of the time, being extremely comfortable in her own skin. Her normal attire consists of a tight linen bandeau about her breasts, and a tight-fitting pair of linen shorts laced up the sides that are designed for flexibility. She favors light colors to offset her skin tone, but generally varies her wardrobe with the assistance of minor illusory affects.

    Millima is a consummate sensualist. She loves life, and finds beauty in the most unlikely places. She has secondary membership in the Society of Sensation, and is always inviting someone or other to see some exhibit or performance that the Society is sponsoring somewhere in Mers. Quiet, observant, and generally optimistic, when she speaks, it is with a palpable warmth and general affection for everyone around her. She doesn't like resorting to violence, but is surprisingly adept at it once her spells and words have failed her.


    Argon Naksaethen (male high elf warblade//duskblade)
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    This is Rhenium's childhood friend. Originally from a lower class servant family, Argon displayed enough skill at swordplay in his youth that his family scraped together the funds to send him abroad to one of the more prestigious elven war colleges. Now returned from his training, he is a more mature, collected person than the boy Rhenium first befriended. His maturity is in contrast with his often tumultuous feelings as a youth held back by his family's social status. Highly intelligent, Argon is also highly emotional, and his passions still cloud his judgment in some matters dear to his heart.

    Now equipped with valuable martial skills, Argon works as a mercenary within Mers. He hopes to one day have a job that takes him away from the city less often, as he is loathe to be away from his family and friends for long, he nonetheless works tirelessly, earning the money necessary to buy the rest of his family out of their hereditary servitude.


    Saiyana (female ?? //seer):
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    Saiyana is the only member of the higher echelons of the Eyes that Rhenium and Entella are familiar with. An enigmatic figure who demands considerable respect from Krase (insofar as he ever respects anyone), this beautiful, hairless woman is in charge of a number of team leaders of Krase' rank, but the Eyes internal dynamics allows great autonomy by each team leader. Therefor, Saiyana makes little contact with Krase, and is only rarely seen by those further down the totem pole. Rhenium, however, has seen her around more than usual as the timeline begins, usually as a silent supervisor to his contacts with agents and reps working for the Eyes, and once or twice covertly standing by near the scene of an on-going mission).

    Physically, Saiyana can be...well, disturbing. (I'll leave this for some role play fun.)


    List of Minor Parts:
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    Voshuur: Rhenium's handler in the Eyes, he is an older man missing an arm and part of a leg (apparently some kind of birth defect). He comes and goes as he pleases, largely ignored by those around him. Rhenium doesn't always work with a group, and on occasions is just contacted for divination work; during these missions, his main contact with the Eyes is Voshuur.

    Bekselia: Young female whisper gnome living in Canalside; sickly from birth, she's just reached young adulthood.

    Serdo: Entella's grandfather. An old veteran of the Eyes, he is now semi-retired, running an information network of his many contacts, friends, and informants. He still has frequent dealings with the Eyes, but sees little in the way of field missions these days, sticking to the shadows.

    Zichtrey: Male drow proprietor of Frisky Fellows, a high-class brothel in Dens.

    Ariella: A female humanoid, possibly a vampire, who is an employee at Frisky Fellows. Got quite friendly with Rhenium, who promised to let her drink his blood at some future date.

    Captain Bora: A very large (and fat) half-giant woman who is part of the Code-Keepers. She is stationed on Black Shelf at the start of the campaign.

    Johan: Captain Bora's male human subordinate, a tattooed monk with a very serious look, unlike many of the other, slightly incompetent monks working as Code-Keepers in Black Shelf.
    Last edited by Phelix-Mu; 2013-09-07 at 04:40 PM.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

    Extended Sigbox

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    (Reserved)
    Last edited by Phelix-Mu; 2013-07-17 at 11:50 PM.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

    Extended Sigbox

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    A cold, cloudless morning foretells the darker months of winter that still lie ahead. Otherwise, the weather this morning of mid-Tenth Moon isn't half-bad; the chill breeze scatters the strange smells and smoke that often hang over the lower districts of Mers. The streets are busy, as usual.

    The newsfolds still have headlines about the unrest among the Kalrifri refugees, a story that hasn't be "new" news for at least a fortnight. A new influx has appeared since the northern desert by that name has been inundated by sandstorms and bad weather. These new refugees are causing clashes in the slums where the others have been settled these many months, along with new competition for work, aid, and other resources. Rumors persist that the new continent that is apparently behind all of this is actually full of secret shapechangers that have been smuggled into the city among the refugees. If only that were the least believable of the prevalent gossip.

    For Rhenium:
    Spoiler
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    The last installment of Rhenium's last mission just came in, a special bonus for his divination skills, which regularly net him additional income from the Eyes.

    The dead-drop technique that Rhenium's handler, Voshuur, has taken to using are pretty primitive, but for some reason the crippled human man likes these kind of games. Leaving notes and payments inside newsfolds and paper bags in trash bins must have some appeal to Voshuur, for such practices are hardly more efficient or more secure. As an older man missing an arm and part of a leg (apparently some kind of birth defect), the handler comes and goes as he pleases, largely ignored by those around him.

    This morning's payment was hidden inside a sewer grate in a gutter, probably dropped there just a few minutes before Rhenium showed up. While ten platinum coins in a camouflaged purse was hardly a prince's ransom, it would have made the day of any of the street urchins playing in the nearby alleyway.


    For Entella:
    Spoiler
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    Krase wasn't there when Entella showed up to receive the last bit of her payment for that last bit of surveillance that she'd done for the Eyes. Instead it was Binpo at the noodle-shop. Binpo, a chubby male human with yellow skin tone, was some kind of scholar who worked as a brain for the Eyes; the reason why he'd be the one to deliver the coin wasn't readily apparent.

    Nevertheless, there he was, eating a steaming bowl of noodles and broth in the chill light of the morning sun. After silently handing over the money and draining the broth from his bowl in a mighty gulp, he got up and departed from the open-air noodle-shop, apparently in a hurry.

    And that was all about two minutes ago. The shop keeper, an old friend of Krase', had offered Entella a free bowl of broth to ward off the autumn-morning chill. Entella now had 100gp, and presumably a few days spare time, since she hadn't been contacted about any impending jobs (the general practice being to give team members 24-48 hours notice of a new mission for which they were wanted.
    Last edited by Phelix-Mu; 2013-07-18 at 12:12 AM.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    Entella

    Not feeling particularly rushed, Entella takes her time to finish the free meal. She exchanges a few pleasantries with the shopkeeper, but after having mentioned the weather for the third time the gnome feels that the conversation isn't really going somewhere and she finishes the broth. Waving goodbye and thanks for the food, she hurries off home.

    Stil in no particular hurry the little thief passes by a few places where she knows Serdo's informants usually can be found and spends a few minutes with the ones she can find, exchanging gossip and news.

    Her thoughts briefly turns towards Krase and his whereabouts. She had expected to meet him, and to be assigned a new mission and for that reason she was running around in the Paths with all her gear on.
    Lucky for me that artificer had a spare hat of disguise laying around, it sure makes it easier working during daytime.

    Most onlookers would only see a small female gnome passing by, dressed as a member of one of the many messenger guilds working in the lower parts of Mers. Someone with a bit of magic aiding their sight would see a slightly different image; Still a gnome, Entella's skin tone is darker and more gray than green. Her long black hair is kept in thick dreadlocks which are held together with a broad leather cord. She is dressed in a padded spidersilk suit and on top of that she has a leather harness which holds her crossbow and ammunition along with a small haversack which is kept from tight to her back.

    Once she is home Entella takes a short break before going out in disguise again, this time to patrol the streets around the whisper gnome community, making sure that the gangs in the area are staying away.
    Dumbledore is dead but had a horcrux so might still be alive to it being fake and him dead but not stopping her from using the having a horcrux on you letting you live from a killing curse.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Epileptic monkeys. Boxing gloves. Typewriters. That is all.

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    For Entella:
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    Serdo's usual informants speak of the running gossip: about the newly arrived refugees and their more militant approach to getting what they want; the lastest proclamations of the Puraria Alliance after their loss in the summer's elections for the three floating positions on the City Council; and some domestic scuttlebutt within the Eyes regarding recent appearances of Saiyana, one of the higher up that usually operate well out of sight.

    Spoiler
    Show
    I will elaborate on any of these rumors that Entella might have taken an interest in; we'll just role play it after the fact.


    Krase is unpredictable at best, so his non-appearance at the noodle-shop might not mean anything. Entella is aware that the asherati male has his own interests that he pursues on his own time, and he may have just been busy. On the other hand, he does really like to eat there, and it's definitely the first place Entella thinks of when she is looking to track him down.

    Over the last few years, the more numerous gangs have well-learned that Entella has staked out the whisper gnome community at Canalside as a safe zone where troublemakers aren't welcome. Can't have too much vigilance in these matters, though.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Make three Spot checks for the period while Entella is patrolling the community. They aren't made under pressure, so feel free to Take 10 if you wish. Alternatively, make a single Knowledge (local) check. It's one or the other for now, I'll leave it up to you.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    Rhenium

    Crouching down to pick up the small purse, Rhenium sighs and rolls his eyes. Every drop just got even stranger than the last. Where would the next one be, directly on his head?

    He pulls a small bar made of compressed granola, chocolate and fruit out of a deceptively small bag at his side. Munching down on it, the elven mage glances up at the crisp blue sky. It would be another one of those days. Where nothing much would happen and he would likely just spend his time on a light patrol before going back to the Cathedral Gyre.

    Although... I do hope something will happen. Maybe I should try to make something happen. Rhenium briefly considers going to look for trouble, but then shakes away the thought. Those who happened to see him would see exactly what he was. A fairly tall elven male, with grey hair and crystal blue eyes, with a jacket and pants of navy blue, with a tome tucked under his arm and a small haversack at his side. Unassuming, of course.

    Finishing up the last of his breakfast, Rhenium sets off, deciding to go see what his old friend Argon was up to. His residence wasn't too far from his current location, after all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mephit View Post
    Don't worry, I like my characters the way I like my coffee: Strong, but with no cheese in it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Akagi
    Don't hesitate to tell the people you care about the feelings you have for them, because they may not be there tomorrow.

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    For Rhenium:
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    Rhenium makes his way through Surface to Argon's place. The elven warrior lives at a very modest hostel inhabited by other mercenaries, saving most of his earnings for the benefit of the rest of his family. He spends time at home when he can, but his day-to-day responsibilities usually make this impractical. The hostel is in a slightly sketchy neighborhood, and the housemates can be somewhat sketchy.

    Spoiler
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    Make a Spot check for Rhenium. Provided he's being careful, feel free to Take 10 if you wish.

    I also need a list of the typical spells that he pre-casts, if any. Not familiar enough with his total skillset to know if any of them last long enough to bother with ahead of time. Obviously, with certain divinations up, I can divulge more details to you, but many of them are still fairly short duration at this level, I guess.


    The hostel itself is a three-story affair, it's entrance located partly beneath street-level, reachable by a short stone staircase. The whole facade is old, greasy-looking, taupe stone with faded wood windows and trim that seem to have once been painted blue. An equally faded sign on at the top of the rail going down declares in four languages (common, elven, dwarven, and goblin) that it's a hostel for mercenaries associated with one of several guilds, along with the rates for rooms rented by the day, week, and month.

    A slant-eyed man with some daggers on a bandolier, using one to clean under his fingernails, stands at the top of the stairway. From Rhenium's previous visits, this human male must be some kind of guard for the hostel, as he's been here most every time, at a variety of hours.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    Rhenium

    Starting up the stairs, Rhenium nods to the guard with a faint smile. "Good morning. I don't suppose Argon is around?"

    He trails his hand along the railing, glancing about the vicinity with a vigilant eye under a facade of nonchalance.

    Spoiler
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    Taking 10 gives me a total 20 on Spot.

    Currently, the only active spells are mage armor and a magic aura (to register as nonmagical) on all his magic items. Nothing else really has the duration yet.
    Avatar of Furude Setsuna, by Telasi.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mephit View Post
    Don't worry, I like my characters the way I like my coffee: Strong, but with no cheese in it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Akagi
    Don't hesitate to tell the people you care about the feelings you have for them, because they may not be there tomorrow.

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    For Rhenium:
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    Guard
    "Dunno," he says, revealing some terrible dental hygiene, "should be 'round 'bouts sumwheres. 'Ee gots some kind a meeting later today, woudna' stop yappin' 'bout it. Sumtin' 'bout dem nice folk over in de Consula' District."

    Rhenium is slightly distracted from the man's response, due to what seemed to be a brief glimpse of certain female form; his suspicions about Saiyana having some reason to follow him continue to grow. The woman has a hard-to-mistake appearance, and from across the street and through a fair crowd of people, Rhenium sees her scaly, curvacious purple silhouette, the morning light shining off her sparkling skin. The passersby merge momentarily, though, and then she's gone.

    Whatever her reason for being around, it likely doesn't bode well. Her name is mentioned from time to time among members of the Eyes of The Unseen, and always with a slight note of discomfort or apprehension. Rhenium recalls some decades ago, one of his great aunts, an aging elf who was a member of the Eyes some centuries back, once badmouthed some woman named Saiyana. Although his great aunt was generally an unpleasant woman, Rhenium's mother shot the old elf an ice-cold glare in response, an unmistaken note of warning.

    That was probably the first time the young Rhenium had ever heard of Saiyana.
    Last edited by Phelix-Mu; 2013-07-21 at 07:10 AM.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    Rhenium

    With an absentminded nod to the guard, Rhenium stares out of the window for a second, trying to catch another glimpse of the elusive Saiyana. "Ah, thank you. Have a nice day."

    He strides away, headed toward Argon's quarters. What would she want with him? Nothing good, most likely. Rhenium sighs. It was no use bothering to figure out that enigma. Despite the few times he had seen her, he really had no idea about her, only the extremely basic official info, rumors and hearsay.

    Approaching the old wooden door of his old friend, he grins, then knocks twice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mephit View Post
    Don't worry, I like my characters the way I like my coffee: Strong, but with no cheese in it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Akagi
    Don't hesitate to tell the people you care about the feelings you have for them, because they may not be there tomorrow.

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    Entella

    Entella spends some time with the informants discussing the refugees and their difficulties integrating with the people of Mers, as well as the gossip about Saiyana and the Eyes.

    Once she's done with her regular patrol around the community she takes a short break and rests in a alcove above a small apothecary's shop. There she has a decent view of the people passing by below while being almost invisible herself.
    So the scum don't dare to come out in the open anymore, that's good. Perhaps they work more like I do nowadays... Where would I go if I wanted to remain unseen but still accessible for someone who wants my services and goods?

    Spoiler
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    Knowledge: Local = 24 (Taking 10)
    Dumbledore is dead but had a horcrux so might still be alive to it being fake and him dead but not stopping her from using the having a horcrux on you letting you live from a killing curse.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Epileptic monkeys. Boxing gloves. Typewriters. That is all.

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    For Rhenium:
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    Rhenium hears several voices in the room, not entirely unexpected, as the hostel typically has several roommates per room. Last time he visited, Rhenium was even surprised to see some unusual elven subraces among the roommates, but there was a high level of transience in the hostel.

    A tall, hunched-over reptilian creature with black scales opens the door, and calls out to a familiar elven figure on a cot further into the room. Argon looks up from the large piece of paper he's inspecting (possibly a map of some kind), and smiles broadly upon seeing Rhenium.

    Argon
    "Why, Rhenium, what a pleasant surprise,"
    he says, rising to his feet, and making the traditional elven gesture of greeting.

    Argon welcomes Rhenium into his room, and the trio of lizardfolk depart to the common room down the hall out of courtesy.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Make a Spot check, followed by a Knowledge(relgion) check.


    Argon and Rhenium quickly move past pleasantries, as old friends, and Argon reveals some exciting news; he has been scouted by an officer from the Melfyristaenne Consulate, due to his exceptional performance on several missions with his present mercenary company while they were hired by said consulate. As a citizen of Merstangoth, his rank within the consular defense force will be low, as all of the best positions are given to natives of Melfyristaenne that can be trusted with higher security clearance. But the pay will vastly outweigh his current earnings (excepting hazard pay he earns for actual combat), and the job is also substantially safer and more predictable. Argon isn't a huge fan of the safety angle, but the money is his main objective, so he is hoping to land the position.

    Spoiler
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    Roll Knowledge(geography), (history), and (local). Would you prefer to role play Argon's chat with Rhenium word for word? Either way suits me fine.


    For Entella:
    Spoiler
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    Spoiler
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    A discussion with the informants about the refugees leads to some info that Entella already knows, but some stuff that she didn't.
    - There are five main subgroups among the Kalrifri refugees: the nomadic Gashern, a desert people; the oasis-dwelling Naasal, a mix of races who fancy themselves princes and regularly skirmish with the Gashern over territorial claims; the Paelaani, an asherati culture; seven tribes of desert goblins that follow a goblin mystic known as The Grimnate; and finally the cliff-dwellers from the east, a largely peaceful culture of dream dwarves. There are less numerous groups (such as the Athasian halflings), but most of the talk has to do with these larger groups.

    - Recently, even the stubborn and hardy Gashern have flocked to the more hospitable regions to the south, as the tempo and severity of sandstorms wracking their native lands have intensified to historical proportions. The Gashern are used to their freedom and a tribal system of self-governance, and thus they come into conflict with the pencil-pushing bureaucrats of Mers quite often. In particular, they all have close bonds with a variety of types of trained riding lizards, whom they consider family-members. Yet the city's laws do not recognize the lizards as citizens with rights, but as property. This causes much offense among the Gashern, who are always accompanied by one or more of the large reptiles (along with a number of other desert beasts, as animal rearing is a large part of their cultural identity).

    - Several Paelaani asherati have moved into various thieves guilds, causing a slight increase in competition among the lower-level activities of these guilds. In particular, pick-pocket rings have become rampant in certain neighborhoods, with the rise in competition leading to ever more daring sleight of hand and con-artistry among the youths and professionals that ply this street trade.

    Several of the Eyes informants are old enough to have seen similar cycles before. The rise in activity usually precedes a fierce crackdown by the authorities, leading to a period of calm and order while everyone lays low, followed by a shuffling of the shot-callers among the pick-pocket rings. Old leaders are replaced by new ones, and the cycle begins again.

    - Saiyana is a matter of some hushed gossip among the Eyes. She's known to have been a high-ranking member for some time, and her overall period of membership is thought by many to be counted in centuries. Her physical appearance and presence is legendary; she hardly ever wears clothes, or even a scrap of jewelry, oblivious to custom or modesty. Instead, she's said to have jewel-like skin that sparkles in the light, glittering in every shade of purple imaginable. Those that aren't totally gob stopped by Saiyana's exotic appearance often take heed of her powerful presence. Some rumors are that it's psionics, others that it's magic, and others that she's just that scary or cool, but they all agree that she is capable of awe-inspiring entrances that freeze would-be opposition in its tracks.


    Now at the gnome community at Canalside, Entella is sitting down to reflect on the safety of the community and such, when she suddenly recalls that today is a significant day. A distant cousin introduced Entella to a family some time ago that had a young daughter who had been quite sickly as an infant. As a result, Bekselia, as she was called, was plagued by coughing fits and seizures, and was generally in very delicate health.

    Well, this was all some years ago, and today, if Entella's reckoning was right, would mark the entry of Bekselia into young adulthood, an important day in the life of a young gnome. She would be given another name, blessings would be said, and her parents would begin to encourage Bekselia to spend time with various artisans or skilled community members, in the hopes of helping her develop her own interests and skills.

    As Bekselia had often been regarded as unlikely to survive her childhood, the day was even more significant.

    All of this would be going on at the family home, less than a mile from where Entella was standing on patrol.
    Last edited by Phelix-Mu; 2013-07-23 at 01:01 PM.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    Rhenium

    "Interesting..." Rhenium grins at his friend. "Still, even with the relative calmness of your prospective job, the salary increase will still open up many new opportunities for you."

    Spoiler
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    Spot: (1d20+10)[18](28)
    Knowledge (religion): (1d20+8)[7](15)

    Knowledge (geography): (1d20+8)[16](24)
    Knowledge (history): (1d20+8)[7](15)
    Knowledge (local): (1d20+14)[15](29)

    Sure, I guess.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mephit View Post
    Don't worry, I like my characters the way I like my coffee: Strong, but with no cheese in it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Akagi
    Don't hesitate to tell the people you care about the feelings you have for them, because they may not be there tomorrow.

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    For Rhenium:
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    Regarding Rhenium's rolls:
    As the black-scaled lizardfolk are leaving the room, Rhenium spots that one of the other ones is wearing a thick leather pouch of some kind that has been stamped with some kind of symbol. It's hard to make out (as the impressed part is pretty much the same color as the surrounding background), but the elven mage's eyes catch what appears to be a stylized symbol with an emaciated dragon head bearing a toothy grin, upon a kite shield-shaped area marked by vertical bars.

    It could be a holy symbol of some kind, but it doesn't correspond with Rhenium's general knowledge of draconic deities. He remembers the image, though, and can check it later against some relevant books.

    Later on:
    When Argon mentions Melfyristaenne, it brings up a number of topics in Rhenium's mind.

    Firstly, Melfyristaenne is a land to the southeast of Merstangoth. It is one of the four nations surrounding Mers, and is broadly broken up into three geographical regions: the lowlands, made up of verdant green valleys; the clines, a general term referring to areas on the sides of the mountain range that occupies most of the nation; and the plateaus, which due to the local climate have a cloud forest biome, and range from a temperate rain forest to a less damp but still green hills, located at great altitude. The whole area is more temperate than the areas in the north of the continent, and it catches vapor-filled clouds coming off the sea, the prevalent east winds of that side of the continent. It's a lush realm filled with greenery of all kinds.

    The people of Melfyristaenne are freedom-loving and of an independent mindset. Many families trace their bloodlines back to fey ancestry, and in general there is much fey activity in the realm. The people largely welcome the fey, viewing their presence as a sign of good fortune, but the fey are, as ever, unpredictable and flighty creatures. The people know to welcome their favor, but fear their wrath, and that one is not really more likely than the other at any given moment.

    The culture is dominated by a traditional calendar that cements popular moon-worship, along with some fey-oriented cults. Thus, the churches of each of the Twelve Moons are each quite influential, as is the worship of Panlunias, a collective representation of the moon. Despite this influence, much of the society exists in a state of mixed anarchy. The lowlands are largely self-governed settlements that only collaborate for trade and defense purposes, and even then on a largely voluntary basis. The isolated settlements of the clines are generally self-sufficient, and geographically would be most impractical to attack or otherwise threaten. The mountain roads are slender, precarious, and confusing to non-natives (not to mention various oreads don't take well to outsiders traipsing about on their flanks).

    But the main area of note in Rhenium's mind is the plateau, where the closest things to rulers dwell in green palaces or survey the land from vast stone circles amid the clouds. These higher echelons of Melfyristaenne society are highly egocentric, have close blood-ties to fey, and like to meddle in the affairs of their own countrymen, foreigners, and generally make mischief and breed intrigue. Magic runs like water in these lands, some arcane, some divine, some otherwise, and several of the mightiest enchanters and diviners on the continent are known to dwell within the clouds of Melfyristaenne.

    It's easily the most complicated and chaotic of the major nations of the continent.


    Argon
    "I know, and I hope to shortly be able to bring at least my siblings out of servitude, so they can gain an education and life here in Surface. You know my feelings on this point,"
    he says with a heartfelt look, "but there is surely more of a future here for us than in our meager inheritance as servants of your family. I count myself lucky that both your parents have been successful in their own right, and have largely eschewed the master-servant relationship of our families' earlier generations." He stands up and paces a bit, clearly starting to feel some emotional energy derived from the topic. "Our friendship showed me that there is no merit to the values passed down by our elders; true service to another is rendered willingly, never compelled or impressed by tradition."
    Last edited by Phelix-Mu; 2013-07-24 at 12:46 PM.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

    Extended Sigbox

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    Entella

    I can't believe that I almost forgot about Bekselia. If I hurry I might make it to the naming ceremony!
    Nimbly she drops down from her hiding place onto the street and starts running towards Bekselia's family home.
    Dumbledore is dead but had a horcrux so might still be alive to it being fake and him dead but not stopping her from using the having a horcrux on you letting you live from a killing curse.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Epileptic monkeys. Boxing gloves. Typewriters. That is all.

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    For Entella:
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    The scene at Bekselia's family home is quite festive, as whisper gnome gatherings go. There are handmade banners and streamers around a central area located on the porch of the home, and a game of hide-and-seek is already underway, seemingly an effort to keep the youngsters occupied until the ceremony begins.

    Bekselia's mother, Essendra, approaches Entella in greeting.

    Essendra
    "What a pleasant surprise, Entella," she says with the normal whisper gnome greeting (a non-contact variation of the classic gnome elbow-to-elbow gesture). "Bekselia will be delighted that you showed up. You know how she likes to hear stories about the city beyond Canalside. Maybe later you could indulge us all with a tale."

    Entella spots Bekselia across an opening in the gathered guests. She looks little different than the last time the two met, scrawny and stunted, skin almost white and slightly jaundiced eyes, with one major exception: she's wearing a pretty garish set of eyeglasses, sparkling purple frames with what appear to be oval-shaped, quality glass lenses.

    Essendra
    "Oh, and we're so grateful for the gift you sent,"
    she says, taking Entella's hand in a moment of maternal emotion. "Beks lost most of her sight a couple weeks ago after a particularly bad seizure. We'd almost given up hope for a way to allow her to read again, and as she's such a bookworm, you can imagine it was quite a blow. But the glasses arrived last night and work like a charm."

    Both the loss of sight and the glasses are news to Entella.

    Bekselia
    "Oh, Cousin Entella,"
    says Bekselia. "I love the glasses. This morning I read an entire newsfold from cover to cover, and I could see it all just fine. It's the best present I could ask for."

    Spoiler
    Show
    Cousin is a common way of addressing valued friends among the community, irrespective of blood ties. Bekselia previously referred to Entella as "Aunt Entella," a mark of respect for an elder. Now a young adult, she is encouraged to view adults as peers, hence the change of moniker.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Entella

    Feeling a little out of place in such a social gathering, Entella puts on her 'friendly and innocent' look, smiling pleasantly and nodding to those gathered that she recognizes. Festivities like this isn't something that she particularly enjoys but she understands the need for them and so she plays along, even though she'd rather sit alone or with a single friend in a corner, silently watching the rest of the crowd.

    As Essendra approaches her she widens her smile slightly and returns her greeting.
    "I do have some new stories actually. There's a group of Kalrifri halflings living in the deeps that I've visited. They have creatures that float in the air carrying gondolas, like living airships and the halflings too fly with hangliders!"

    When she hears about the seizure and the glasses her smile is partly replaced by a confused look. At first she lets the remark slide, thinking that Essendra has confused her with someone else, it wouldn't be the first time, but when Bekselia also thanks her for the gift she holds up her hands in a excusing gesture.
    "It's wonderful to see you cousin and I'm glad to hear that you can read, but I think there must have been a mistake. I'm not the one who sent you those glasses Bekselia. I didn't even know about the seizure."
    Dumbledore is dead but had a horcrux so might still be alive to it being fake and him dead but not stopping her from using the having a horcrux on you letting you live from a killing curse.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Epileptic monkeys. Boxing gloves. Typewriters. That is all.

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    For Entella:
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    Bekselia
    "Really? That's strange,"
    she says, a strange, blank look suddenly in her eyes. "A nice woman delivered them last night, saying they were from you," she continues in a bit of a monotone.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Roll Sense Motive.


    Essendra
    "Honey, I thought you said you found the package on the porch last night."


    Bekselia
    "...hmm. Oh right,"
    she says, suddenly normal again, "the package was just laying there on the porch, addressed to me. The card inside had your name on it."

    Essendra
    "In any case, Beks, the naming ceremony is going to start soon. Go and pull your hair back so you're ready."

    Bekselia
    "Cousin Entella, could you help me out for a moment. I don't want to be late,"
    the slight gnome implores, with a wink.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

    Extended Sigbox

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    For Entella:
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    Spoiler
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    Considering the 17 rolled on the Sense Motive check.


    There was something really weird about Bekselia's voice and mannerisms during that first reply (the bit starting "Really? That's strange,"). It's as if her personality disappeared for a moment, and she was some animated minion puppeting words she'd been been commanded to say, before suddenly returning to normal. Entella knows little of the workings of magic, but this was all very suspicious.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

  22. - Top - End - #22
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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    Entella

    Suddenly feeling slightly uneasy about the whole situation, Entella does her best to hide her emotions behind what she hopes looks like a warm smile.
    "Of course, Bekselia."

    Following her now adult cousin she waits until they're out of earshot of the rest of the attendees at the ceremony before she continues.
    "Hey, Beks. Do you think that I could look at your glasses for a moment? They aren't a gift from me, but really I like the taste of whoever they're from!"

    Spoiler
    Show
    Bluff check to fake the smile, if needed: (1d20+11)[30]
    Dumbledore is dead but had a horcrux so might still be alive to it being fake and him dead but not stopping her from using the having a horcrux on you letting you live from a killing curse.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Epileptic monkeys. Boxing gloves. Typewriters. That is all.

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    Bekselia
    "Of course you may look at them,"
    she says, happy to oblige. "Just help me tie my hair back. My great grandmother is going to put that stuff on my forehead, you know," she continues, handing Entella a long, purple ribbon with which to tie Bekselia's hair back.

    Spoiler
    Show
    An ancient whisper gnome myth speaks of the Time of Becoming, when the gnome gods gave their creations their first names. Tied to this legend are a series of runes. The rune for child is an unfinished rune, which is symbolically painted on the forehead during the child naming ceremony. During the ceremony marking the start of adulthood, a more finished rune is painted on the forehead.

    Entella is familiar with the traditions of the community, both from her own childhood and her committed stewardship of her neighborhood.


    After assisting Bekselia with her hair, the young gnome smiles and hands her glasses to Entella.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Entella can make whatever examination or rolls that can be made within the space of a couple minutes, as the ceremony is about to start, and Bekselia will need her glasses for the ceremony.
    Last edited by Phelix-Mu; 2013-07-28 at 10:22 PM.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

    Extended Sigbox

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

  24. - Top - End - #24
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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    Quote Originally Posted by Phelix-Mu View Post
    For Rhenium:
    Spoiler
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    Spoiler
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    Regarding Rhenium's rolls:
    As the black-scaled lizardfolk are leaving the room, Rhenium spots that one of the other ones is wearing a thick leather pouch of some kind that has been stamped with some kind of symbol. It's hard to make out (as the impressed part is pretty much the same color as the surrounding background), but the elven mage's eyes catch what appears to be a stylized symbol with an emaciated dragon head bearing a toothy grin, upon a kite shield-shaped area marked by vertical bars.

    It could be a holy symbol of some kind, but it doesn't correspond with Rhenium's general knowledge of draconic deities. He remembers the image, though, and can check it later against some relevant books.

    Later on:
    When Argon mentions Melfyristaenne, it brings up a number of topics in Rhenium's mind.

    Firstly, Melfyristaenne is a land to the southeast of Merstangoth. It is one of the four nations surrounding Mers, and is broadly broken up into three geographical regions: the lowlands, made up of verdant green valleys; the clines, a general term referring to areas on the sides of the mountain range that occupies most of the nation; and the plateaus, which due to the local climate have a cloud forest biome, and range from a temperate rain forest to a less damp but still green hills, located at great altitude. The whole area is more temperate than the areas in the north of the continent, and it catches vapor-filled clouds coming off the sea, the prevalent east winds of that side of the continent. It's a lush realm filled with greenery of all kinds.

    The people of Melfyristaenne are freedom-loving and of an independent mindset. Many families trace their bloodlines back to fey ancestry, and in general there is much fey activity in the realm. The people largely welcome the fey, viewing their presence as a sign of good fortune, but the fey are, as ever, unpredictable and flighty creatures. The people know to welcome their favor, but fear their wrath, and that one is not really more likely than the other at any given moment.

    The culture is dominated by a traditional calendar that cements popular moon-worship, along with some fey-oriented cults. Thus, the churches of each of the Twelve Moons are each quite influential, as is the worship of Panlunias, a collective representation of the moon. Despite this influence, much of the society exists in a state of mixed anarchy. The lowlands are largely self-governed settlements that only collaborate for trade and defense purposes, and even then on a largely voluntary basis. The isolated settlements of the clines are generally self-sufficient, and geographically would be most impractical to attack or otherwise threaten. The mountain roads are slender, precarious, and confusing to non-natives (not to mention various oreads don't take well to outsiders traipsing about on their flanks).

    But the main area of note in Rhenium's mind is the plateau, where the closest things to rulers dwell in green palaces or survey the land from vast stone circles amid the clouds. These higher echelons of Melfyristaenne society are highly egocentric, have close blood-ties to fey, and like to meddle in the affairs of their own countrymen, foreigners, and generally make mischief and breed intrigue. Magic runs like water in these lands, some arcane, some divine, some otherwise, and several of the mightiest enchanters and diviners on the continent are known to dwell within the clouds of Melfyristaenne.

    It's easily the most complicated and chaotic of the major nations of the continent.


    Argon
    "I know, and I hope to shortly be able to bring at least my siblings out of servitude, so they can gain an education and life here in Surface. You know my feelings on this point,"
    he says with a heartfelt look, "but there is surely more of a future here for us than in our meager inheritance as servants of your family. I count myself lucky that both your parents have been successful in their own right, and have largely eschewed the master-servant relationship of our families' earlier generations." He stands up and paces a bit, clearly starting to feel some emotional energy derived from the topic. "Our friendship showed me that there is no merit to the values passed down by our elders; true service to another is rendered willingly, never compelled or impressed by tradition."
    Rhenium

    Filing the unknown holy symbol away in his mind, Rhenium smiles up at his friend. "Indeed. And if you ever need help with that task, you may rely on me. After all, you are my friend, Argon, not my servant." He chuckles ruefully. "Of course, I suspect the fact that we were born and raised in Ash may have had a detrimental effect to your family, what with the lack of generally available resources."

    "Ah, well. It's not like we really could have done anything about it."
    Rhenium tilts his head to the side. "Anyway, are you sure that you'll be alright working in Melfyristaenne? It's a fairly chaotic place, and your foreign status won't help."
    Avatar of Furude Setsuna, by Telasi.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mephit View Post
    Don't worry, I like my characters the way I like my coffee: Strong, but with no cheese in it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Akagi
    Don't hesitate to tell the people you care about the feelings you have for them, because they may not be there tomorrow.

  25. - Top - End - #25
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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    For Rhenium:
    Spoiler
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    Argon
    [To the earlier comment about offering your help]:
    "Actually, its a good thing that we met," he mentions, slightly interrupting Rhenium. "As I hope to find a way out of Ash for Kaelnissa and Tis'rael, I'd like some assistance with locating a safe place in the city for them to live. My initial budget will be a serious constraint, but both of them have decent talents and should be able to support themselves with a little help. I thought your knowledge of the city and a few spells might help locate a half-decent place not run by gangsters or thugs. I'd be very grateful, and I know at least Tis'rael would be, too," he adds with a knowing smile.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Tis'rael is Argon's younger sister, and a stunning beauty; she hopes to pursue a career in the arts, and is a decent dramatist, singer, and sculptor (though, like his entire family, most of their time is spent looking after the household/compound of Rhenium's family).

    Kaelnissa is the older daughter, Argon's moon twin. As a bit of elven physiology, a moon twin is a very rare quirk of elven fertility cycles, and occurs when twins are conceived one, and occasionally two months apart. Thus, the two fetuses grow separately within the mother, and often they are unable to be born at the same time. Without medical or magical assistance, this often leads to at least one stillborn child, and sometimes even the death of the mother. This is in stark contrast to normal elven childbirth, which is a much more relaxed and tranquil affair than human childbirth.

    Kaelnissa was born two months after Argon. She is very tempermental,and occasionally violent. Her mood swings have caused her to be of little use as a servant, and so she spent much of her youth in seclusion, wandering around the Eyes' compound in Ash. Although Argon often tried to look out for her, she all but hates him. He tolerates her problematic behavior, as does his whole family, as moon twins often suffer from developmental disorders and/or deviant personalities.

    Tis'rael has a very strong bond with Kaelnissa.


    [As the conversation moves onto the job]:
    "Truth be told, I do find the Melfyris to be an...interesting people," Argon admits. "I'm sure there will be much more going on at the consulate than I'd like on occasion, if only subtly." Argon gets up and pours himself a glass of water from pitcher on the bedside table, offering another glass to Rhenium. "My direct superior would be a woman by the name of Loidelsa Chuunan if I get the job; we were briefly acquainted during the mission that I worked on behalf of the consulate. She's quite a character, and commands impressive respect from an irregular bunch under her command, mostly native Melfyris."

    Spoiler
    Show
    We can continue the talk if you wish, but I'd like to move on a bit. Little else of note has been going on in Argon's life, so the conversation will likely turn to the families down in Ash or toward politics and class divisions, two of Argon's favorite topics.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

    Extended Sigbox

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    Entella

    Entella nimbly weaves the ribbon into Bekselia's hair, using a method that she herself preferred before she got her dreadlocks and which she considers to be fairly elegant and fitting for the upcoming ceremony.

    Once she is done with that she takes a long look at Bekselias' glasses. Though she never studied magic, Entella does know a few tricks and she has seen her fair share of wand-wielders and spell-slingers and so she puts on the glasses and starts muttering what few arcane words she knows while at the same time concentrating hard on the, in her opinion, pretty hideous accessory on her nose.

    Spoiler
    Show
    UMD, trying to activate the glasses blindly, if they are magical at all. Today I learned that Entella isn't always level-headed and logical. Sometimes she jumps straight into the deep end of the pool.

    (1d20+11)[17]
    Dumbledore is dead but had a horcrux so might still be alive to it being fake and him dead but not stopping her from using the having a horcrux on you letting you live from a killing curse.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Epileptic monkeys. Boxing gloves. Typewriters. That is all.

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    For Entella:
    Spoiler
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    Mere seconds after placing the glasses on her face, and partway through her arcane mumbling, Entella's stomach suddenly twists as the area appears to throb around her, and the spatial distortion causes some considerable disorientation.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Entella is sickened for the remainder of the round where she failed the UMD check.


    After a moment, though, the surrounding area reorients itself, and Entella's head clears, allowing the objects swimming about her field of vision to settle back into their customary places. The strength of the lenses suggest they were designed for someone whose vision was lamentably bad, and they still cause discomfort for Entella's eyes.

    A flickering image suddenly appears before Entella, superimposed on the events going on around her; after a moment, it is clear that the image is appearing on the surface of the lenses of the glasses. A strange, but clearly female, humanoid figure enters the image, carrying a writing slate and a stylus, but otherwise naked. Her skin is entirely covered in glittering purple scales, smaller in size upon her ventral areas, and continuing up across her angular face and scalp. Instead of hair, the scales gradually grow and merge into a crest of some kind that runs from her crown and disappears behind her. Her large eyes are pupil-less pools of deep purple, a shade darker than her scales, which subtly swirls at times. She's staring directly at Entella, seemingly inspecting the gnome.

    Mysterious Woman
    "How amusin...*ahem*...testing, testing," she says, while inspecting something. "Yes, these should do nicely, for the time that they are needed." She makes some notation upon her writing slate, then looks up and makes an arcane gesture of some kind with her empty hand. "The recording feature shows some interesting results; quasi-illusory mental projection could yield some interesting abilities, and could result in a finer level of control than exists in arcane phantasm generation."

    "Meanwhile, my dear gnome, if you'd please return the glasses to their owner after a brief moment of business," she says, suddenly seeming to lock her wandering gaze onto Entella. "I believe you still carry the 'lucky coin' given to you by Krase."

    Spoiler
    Show
    Indeed, Entella does carry said item, tucked away in her magical haversack. Krase gave it to her as a birthmoon present last year. The wooden coin has an abstract design on it, quite pretty, but it's real use is a cleverly hidden magical aura that can be activated once to produce an illusory image of a special form of The Unseen's holy symbol.

    Coins of this kind are used as a secondary measure for identifying allies; a corresponding mental activation phrase is needed to activate the image. The coin can be transferred to a trusted secondary person, and such transfer triggers the image. Seeing the image triggers a new activation phrase, which the coin has subliminally stored in mind of the owner. The coin only unlocks the new subliminal phrase in the absence of mental compulsion or charm, which the coin detects. The new owner thus only can activate the coin if they receive it from an old owner that has taught the phrase willingly, and upon such willing transfer, the single-use image of the holy symbol is reset.

    The whole system is cloaked by a powerful nondetection effect (so the coin itself can't be the target of certain divinations), while it's all wrapped in an aura that hides its magical nature.


    "Since you do, be sure to have it close at hand (not in that backpack), during the next day or two," she says, with a half-smile, revealing a number of pointed teeth. "Meanwhile, enjoy the ceremony. You tale will go over well, so give it some spirit. Bekselia is a charming young girl; I've enjoyed watching her and I am glad that she has reached this auspicious day."
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

    Extended Sigbox

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    Entella

    The sickening feeling combined with the sudden appearance of the illusionary woman on the inside of the glasses has the little gnome stumbling backwards one step before she has a chance to gather herself.

    "Saiyana?" She asks hesitantly, almost whispering. When the figure mentions the coin she nods. "Yes, I do, but why is it important now? What is going on?"
    Dumbledore is dead but had a horcrux so might still be alive to it being fake and him dead but not stopping her from using the having a horcrux on you letting you live from a killing curse.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Epileptic monkeys. Boxing gloves. Typewriters. That is all.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    For Entella:
    Spoiler
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    The image of the Mysterious Woman seems to freeze for a moment.

    Mysterious Woman
    "How amusin...*ahem*...testing, testing," she says, while inspecting something. "Yes, these should do nicely, for the time that they are needed." She makes some notation upon her writing slate, then looks up and makes an arcane gesture of some kind with her empty hand....

    The image continues on in exactly the same manner as before, word for word, seemingly oblivious to Entella's inquiries.

    Bekselia
    "Did you say something, Entella?"
    the young gnome mentions, turning her attention from the crowd gathering around the porch.

    Essendra
    "Come on dear, it's almost time,"
    the mother gnome says, bustling Bekselia off toward the porch before Entella can respond. This causes Bekselia to almost trip.

    Bekselia
    "Gosh, Mom, slow down, Entella has my glasses!"
    she exclaims, fumbling about for her balance before stumbling toward Entella, hands groping out before her. She snatches the purple glasses off of Entella's face, places them on her own, and beams. "That's better. Alright, let's go," she exclaims, and walks over to the porch with her mother.

    .....
    The rest of the ceremony goes off without a hitch. Bekselia is pronounced Hespasia, making her full name Hespasia Bekselia Aimee sa Fragram. The parents are proud, their daughter is beaming, and all seems well as a group of musicians strike up a dark tune of deep woodwinds and coiled horns (a traditional whisper gnome style). Modest refreshments are served; a warm herbal broth and crusty slices of bread with minced mushrooms. A little dancing even takes place.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Entella can make an Intelligence check and a Knowledge (local) check to notice something about the ceremony.

    Last edited by Phelix-Mu; 2013-07-30 at 05:59 PM.
    In my dreams, I am currently a druid 20/wizard 10/arcane hierophant 10/warshaper 5. Actually, after giving birth to a galaxy by splitting a black hole, level is no longer relevant.

    Extended Sigbox

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I've never been able to put my finger on how to describe you Phelix, but I think I have an idea now.

    You're Tippy's fluffy cousin...

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    Default Re: A City of Intrigue & A Tale of Woe

    Rhenium

    "Of course I could help you find a place. It shouldn't be hard at all." Rhenium smiles, then rolls his eyes. "And as beautiful as Tis'rael is, does she know that you're trying to play matchmaker for her and me?"

    He gratefully accepts the proffered glass, taking a deep sip. "I've heard of her. I think you would do well under her. She is quite the skilled commander."

    Spoiler
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    Moving on is fine, I guess.
    Avatar of Furude Setsuna, by Telasi.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mephit View Post
    Don't worry, I like my characters the way I like my coffee: Strong, but with no cheese in it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Akagi
    Don't hesitate to tell the people you care about the feelings you have for them, because they may not be there tomorrow.

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