A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    It's been almost 6 days since you arrived in Abberton. Far from the relative bustle of Escadar, and even more starkly removed from the cosmopolitan Absalom on the Isle of Kortos, emotions run the gamut throughout the camp of the Circus of Wayward Wonders. Wayward, indeed, but a far cry better than continuing to toil under the lash of Mistress Dusklight.

    Still, everyone starts somewhere, and while many of the troupe are experienced performers and fairly veteran circus goers, the troupe as a whole is an infant. Nobody knows the Circus of Wayward Wonders, so the time has come to make a name for yourself, starting here in Abberton.

    A handful of performers are completing their final rehearsals or last touch-ups on their costumes and equipment, as the afternoon sun begins to fade into ruddy evening. Someone already lit the bonfire between Myron "The Thunder" Stendhal's wagon and the small pool that provides a convenient gathering place for the members of the circus. Myron himself (who serves as the troupe's Ringleader) has already finished his own preparations and sits on a stump warming a wooden spit of some sort of meat over the fledgling blaze. Every few moments, he interrupts his tending of the flames to offer passing greetings to those still bustling about their last-minute arrangements. After a time, the broad-shouldered man leans back and takes a bite from his roast; a faint trickle of juice escapes his lips to trickle onto his chin.

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Welcome to the Extinction Curse! This post serves as a backdrop on which we can begin roleplaying the characters and NPCs, before the action begins in earnest. Please feel free to have your characters arrive in whatever order is convenient for the players, and feel free to initiate conversation with Myron or any of the other circus folks- both those you know of and those you don't, yet. I'll be compiling some additional information here over the next couple days, but there is more than enough room in a traveling circus of 20+ carts for family members, friends, and any other NPCs you'd like to have exist in our little slice of Golarion. Onward!


    When a bright blue snake with scaled wings suddenly flies up to Myron and gets within a hand's width from his nose, hissing loudly, the big man jerks backwards, falling off the stump with a loud grunt. HAHAHAHAHA!!! cries Gigglespit Baderiggo Humbleback from his hiding place in the trees, immediately giving himself away. "That was a good one, Sssss! Hah!" he says, wiping tears from his eyes as he saunters up to help the ringleader off the ground. Handing the big man his food, still clean since Sssss caught it as the man dropped it, "Giggles" continues to laugh.

    "I'll bet you never saw a flying snake before, huh? Oooh...I'll be right back!" he says, as something in the distance catches his eye and he darts away, the victim of his antics immediately forgotten. As the child-sized blue fey runs off, his snake flies to catch him, wrapping itself securely around his torso and blending into the small man's unusual colors. From somewhere in the circus tents can be heard the lead clown calling, "Gigglespit! Come get your makeup on! Whoever heard of a bright blue clown, anyway?! Where is he? Ugh!"
    A burly, scaly character watches the scene with no apparent mirth. The newcomer is tall, powerfully built, clad in a crocodile skin vest. The strong tail, long enough to rest on the ground should its owner choose to use it that way, adorned with a colorful quilt woven form slender marsh reeds, the dark olive colored scales, sharp claws, snake-like snout and pale brown, reptilian eyes mark the creature as an iruxi - a member of one of the small lizardfolk clans that inhabit islets around the Isle of Kortos. With such people, it is not always easy to guess the gender, but a learned person would say that her crimson-colored neck frill and orange-y, unusually long dorsal spines indicate a female.

    She turns back to the earlier subject of her attention. "Here, Ozkrak, come to Mum, little one..." The animal thus named is a small, sleek dinosaur, equipped with vicious, snapping jaws and feet that end in large talons.
    As the light through the open tent flap fades, only a haphazard assortment of flickering candles illuminate Pip's work. His hands move deftly over the surface of a hat, where a multicolored pattern of abstract shapes is nearly complete. It is undoubtedly gaudy, but intentionally so, perfect for a clown. The fabric of the tent door rustles and two heads peek inside. "Are you almost done? This is taking foreeevvveer!", moans the shorter of the two, Dean. "Always so impatient, as your grandfather would say: Hurry not worry not.", Tweedle says, cuffing Dean lightly. "We want everything to go right for your first show."

    "Itff almofft weady" Pip mumbles through the array of sewing needles clamped between his teeth. Pip spits out the needles and continues: "I don't want the head clown mad at me for you two missing makeup call, so get yourselves over there, I'll be over with Dean's hat in no time, the crowd is going to love it!"
    The Thunder, as he was colloquially known, pulls himself off the ground with more grace than his size would suggest probable. Still, it's hardly the first time he's been the butt of a practical joke, though most of the troupe has learned over time that it's better to pick softer targets. He narrows his eyes in a playful threat towards the blue Gnome, and sends a wink flying towards "Giggles" as the latter flies off to some other antic. A deep, pleasant, amused chuckle follows the scampering clown as the Ringleader no doubt begins plotting his revenge.

    For just a few moments, Thunder makes eye contact with Keshkharu. Whether it's awareness of the Iruxi way of limited intimacy- of which even glances can often count- or his own discomfort, the human is the first to look back away, awkwardly but politely.

    "Ugggh fiiiiiiiine!" exclaims the younger clown, Dean. Almost dragged by his cohort Tweedle, the pair half-skips, half-runs- leaving the tent flap flowing in a light breeze- to the narrow slit in the back of the grand tent where actors, performers, and other workers gather in preparation for their own tasks. Other than an appallingly normal shock of bundled brunette atop Dean's head, the pair looks every bit the colorful compatriots of a clown troupe. They almost collide with a blur of blue, inexplicably headed in a different direction. "Giggles, you're coming, right?!" the more responsible of the pair asks.
    "What? Coming where? Will it be fun?" responds Giggles as he jumps and turns in midair to face Tweedle. "Oh, is that 'Dump' calling for me? What time is it...? Oh, we'll be late, come on!" he says, grabbing Tweedle, Dean, and looking for Dump as he starts merrily chanting, "How d'ya do and shake 'ands, shake 'ands, shake 'ands - that's manners!" and dives into the tent to get ready for the clown rehearsal.

    Once inside he runs at a full sprint to where the clowns are preparing their makeup. He plops onto the floor and is all-but-naked moments later. Then several of the more matronly clowns surround him and liberally paint the traditional white base of clown makeup on his skin while he holds his breath. In less time than one might imagine he is done and throwing on the accouterments of the troupe, his speed and enthusiasm unmatched by those nearby. Moments later he is fully ready and dashing towards the exit again. He doesn't make it, though, as Dumple Jacobs, one of the senior clowns, intercepts him with a sigh that suggests this is a frequently performed dance between the two. "Aw, Dump! I'm ready! I was just going to go watch the Flamboni Sisters! The cute one seems to be taking a liking to me and offered to teach me some juggling tricks - I could use them next time someone falls and they need a distraction...?"
    The portly Dwarf, "Dump" Jacobs looks at Gigglespit with a shocked expression. "That's- that's actually an astonishingly reasonable idea! I'm proud of you, Giggles!" He takes a moment to take stock of the no-longer-fully-blue Gnome and frowns appraisingly. "And you are ready..." His eyes narrow suspiciously as he begrudging steps aside, allowing the Gnome to scamper towards the opening. "Just be sure you're back in place in time!"

    Jacobs shakes his head at Giggles, wondering for not the first nor last time what he's going to do with the little menace.

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    "K! Sound good. Hey, I think there's a dwarf - one of the riggers - hanging out with the jugglers. He looks pretty strong...I wonder if he could juggle full-sized logs?" says Giggles as he skips away. Once outside the tent he turns in the direction of the Flamboni Sisters and slows his skipping down enough to pick up three smooth rocks. "These should be about right..." he sing-songs to himself before starting to hum a tuneless song. "I wonder if that dwarf is nice..."
    Pip steps confidently into the doorway of the clown tent, striking a pose that he hopes will turn the busy clowns' attention to him. The effect is diminished by the fact that his 3ft stature fills not even half of the opening but he doesn't appear to notice. He saunters into the tent, making sure that his self proclaimed masterpiece of hattery is prominently visible. "Oh Dean, have I got something for you!" he calls out, almost tripping over a box on the ground. "No clown should have to suffer such boring brown locks!" His speech is interrupted by muttered cursing as he stubs his toe on a coat rack. "Without further ado, I present to you.." He begins, making sure that Dean is looking at him, "your marvelous new hat!" With a flourish, Pip tosses the hat like a frisbee, aiming for the top of Dean's dissheveled head.
    Leaning against one of the wagons, Tessara looks up to watch the clowns scamper off with a gentle smile for their ever-present antics. A throwing knife continues to twirl absentmindedly in midair a few inches above her fingers as she crosses the campground towards Myron.

    She is slender and of average height, and although she has patiently explained her mixed heritage many times there are still those among the troupe who still perceive her as a full-blooded elf. Not that I could blame them, she muses - few except other elves could spot the faint signs of her human heritage. By far her most conspicuous features, however, are the dusky blue-gray skin and stark white hair that denote her drow ancestry. The other circus performers have learned to tolerate her exotic appearance as one of their own, but the prospect of going out in front of unfamiliar - and perhaps unfriendly - crowds weighs on her mind as she addresses the ringleader.

    "Hey, boss - big night tonight, huh? First show as the Wayward Wonders... Any idea what kind of turnout we're expecting? Anything I can do to help get ready? Maybe I should go check on...?" Catching herself rambling she sighs, and the throwing knife slowly spins to a halt back in her hand. "Sorry. It's just nerves, I guess. I know we've rehearsed and nothing should go wrong, but I'm just not used to being out in front of so many, well, people!"
    The Gnome skips away, as always, to mixed reactions.

    Dean is being put upon severely by a pleasantly plump Dwarven woman, utterly insistent upon perfecting his makeup. With a matronly demeanor, she keeps the youngster in place while she frets over every little mar, smoothing lines and highlighting the precise places to accentuate the comically-colored features. Dean wriggles to no avail as Pip calls for him- "Don' you think 'bout it, boy!"- but the woman looks up over his seated head. As the colorful hat twirls ever closer, time almost seems to slow. She grabs Dean by the fake flower protruding from his lapel and shoves the chair back. Leaning precariously on two legs, the clown's head reaches precisely the right placement for the hat to alight on top of his brown locks. With just a quick tip to straighten it, the matron beams. "Lovely work, Pip! As always, just lovely! I don't know how we ever managed before you came along!" Bubbling joyfully with her work, she returns to the business of makeup while her husband Jacobs paces nearer the curtain leading to the crowd.

    Already, the murmurs reach backstage. It's almost an hour before showtime yet, and the crowd has begun to gather!

    ***********************************

    The Thunder sighs as Tessara addresses him, unsure if she's teasing or not. "I'm just the loudest one of us- not the boss! Besides, you should know The Professor runs everything but the show, itself! If he hadn't burnt everything out eating all those flaming torches over the years, he'd probably be standing center ring instead of me!" He chortles loudly, and shakes his head gently- it's a jest, but one with much truth. He leans forward conspiratorially, sending a thin stream of beef juice dripping off his chin into the fire-heated coals. "If the rumors are to be believed, even the mayor himself plans to come! We haven't seen anything like this, before!" He leans back, looking skyward with a peaceful expression. Though no doubt the butterflies have begun flapping in his gut as well, he's as comfortable here as a pig in mud.

    He looks back down at the half-Drow. "Oh, plenty will go wrong! That's show business!" His booming laughter no doubt can be heard backstage, fifty paces away.
    Vorgrok stumps gracelessly up to the ringleader, standing just beyond the elbows of the man and the blue-gray-skinned half-elven woman before clearing his throat.

    His earthy, brown complexion and bright orange beard (which strongly resembles an inverted, shrunken mirror of the bonfire before them) combine with his short, "even for a dwarf" but broad, "even for a dwarf" stature to create an almost comical juxtaposition with the slender woman. "Tent's built, riggin's tight. Ever'thin's solid." The short grunted phrases are businesslike, just barely this side of rude. "I got 'em built, canvas and hide. Tonight?" The dwarf raises one eyebrow questioningly at Myron.
    "Good, good," the showman nods. Chewing slowly as the Dwarf continues his curt description, a bone-deep sigh of contentment issues forth from The Thunder. He tosses the now empty wooden spit into the blaze, and furrows his brows thoughtfully. He doesn't bother to ask if Vorgrok thinks himself ready- he knows well enough to know he'd only ask if he was confident. "I think not yet," the ringleader rumbles. "This being our first real headliner, I plan to stick with the more established acts." The response may not be what he was hoping, but Vorgrok is certainly not surprised- he's heard enough rumors and it's no secret that the circus needs to open with a win, here.

    The only real question is what order Myron will announce, and he never shares those details. On the (now) rare occasion that anyone bothers to ask, they're invariable met with a blank stare as one of the more veteran performers explains that The Thunder thinks it's bad luck to plan too much in advance. Better to play the audience, one recalls from many past, faux pensive evenings by the fireside.
    The dwarf grunts noncommittally, but his raised eyebrow sinks into an expression of annoyance. With a curt nod to the ringleader (and a stoic, sidelong glance at the half-elf) he stumps heavily over to an upturned wooden basket around the fire, setting himself unceremoniously upon it to lean forward and gaze into the bonfire. In its flickering light, the sweat of the day's exertions seems to outline his muscled build, and after loudly cracking the knuckles of both hands, he rests his chin upon one conspicuously large fist.
    When Giggles inevitably wanders away from where he is supposed to be he finds himself drawn back to the fire by the smell of food. As he walks into the circle of light and sees the company kept by Myron he chuckles to himself before announcing his presence with a limerick, sung at the top of his lungs:

    "A wonderful bird is the pelican,
    His bill will hold more than his belican,
    He can take in his beak
    Enough food for a week
    But I'm damned if I see how the helican
    !"

    Then, smiling as he takes a seat next to the ringleader, he asks, "Got any more of that food? I'm hungry!"
    With her usual patience and dedication, Keshkaru finishes her daily exercise and rehearsal with Ozkrak. The raptor is twitchy and touchy today, perhaps as she feels the nervous anticipation in the air. For her part, the iruxi takes this with calm. She knows the show will never happen the same way twice, and sometimes conditions will be great, other times less so. She walks across the circus grounds, Ozkrak on her heels, and brings her back to her cage, making sure the dinosaur has just the appropriate amount of fresh meat ready for dinner - never too much, as this makes her sluggish, and that won't do on the big day, but not too little, since no one wants a starving carnivorous reptile in the vicinity of an excited crowd.

    Satisfied with her work, the iruxi woman walks back to the bonfire area, getting there just as Giggles declaims his ditty. She sits next to him. "As always, your oratory is perfect to whip an appetite, my friend. It feels like snack time indeed!"
    "Yes, but-" Tessara's reply is cut short by Giggles' rambunctious singing. "How can you be hungry again, Giggles? I saw you stuffing your face at lunch just a few hours ago! And yet you never seem to get any bigger... are you sure you don't have an extra-dimensional portal you've been hiding it in?" she teases the gnome good-naturedly. She casts a curious glance towards Vorgrok before returning her attention to Myron. "Sorry, Bo-, err, Thunder. Even the mayor, huh? That's great news - if we can generate enough buzz tonight we may be able to pack the house for the rest of our stay here! Um, speaking of which - how long are we staying here? And who's up first tonight? I know you like playing these things close to the vest, but surely this is close enough! C'mon, spill!"
    Pipís face is covered by a huge grin as he skips out of the tent, a spring in his step. Now, time to do something about his grumbling stomach, he hadnít eaten all day. his nose twitches as the scent of cooked meat wafts towards him on a slight breeze as if calling his name. Without a second thought Pip makes a beeline toward the sounds of conversation and the dancing shadows cast by the fire.
    There are already quite a few gathered there when Pip arrives. He surreptitiously heads for the food, trying not to interrupt.
    The Thunder snorts happily at Giggle's rendition, before fixing the Gnome with an astonishingly piercing gaze. "Sounds like someone else I know," he mutters with a falsely unsure expression. At the blue fellow's question, he waves a hand at the small cart of partially-seared meats- covered with a fine netting a few paces off to the side. "You'll have to cook it yourself, but the Professor doesn't want anyone hungry tonight. He had all this bought from the local butcher. Not his best cuts, but we don't have to buy dinner tonight, so I'm not complaining!" Keshkaru follows Giggles after noticing the source of the uncooked shish-kabobs.

    Tessara's question earns a pensive glance from the Thunder. Myron glances upwards, obviously considering his answer carefully. "Truth be told, I hadn't much thought of it, lass." he begins. "Can't be more than a week though. Even the best shows get dull with repetition, and we haven't got enough acts to keep things totally fresh for more than a couple nights." With a thoughtful frown, he places a rough, calloused hand on his chin. "Might stretch it to three without too much trouble, but..." He lets the words linger. Obviously the circus won't stay too long, but the details remain inconclusive.

    Finally, as she presses about details for the evening's show, Myron only smiles. "Ah, ah! You'll have to do better than that to get me bandying about with ill omens!" He smiles and banters a few minutes longer as the others cook their meals. Several other performers come and go over maybe half an hour. Axel eats readily, but complains that he never gets a chance to perform for a real crowd. Elizia eats only half of a single spit- "Won't do fer my nerves to play on a full stomach. Won't do at 'll!" she proclaims as she scampers back to her wagon to get dressed. Myron leaves a few minutes after, to prepare himself in his own wagon just off to the side of the fire. You wonder if he can hear the carousing as a shout rings out- "You best be in your places on time!" A few performers take the commentary as rebuffment, and quickly depart. The sun begins to dive beneath the grand tent, and Jacobs steps out of the worker's entrance. "Places, places! Let's GO!"

    With one final glance at the fire and unfinished meats, the performers get up and head for the tent. It's showtime!

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Giggles takes several of the cuts of meat (much more than it looks like he should be able to eat alone), cooks them, and then begins eating. He shares some with his winged snake, but continues to stuff his face until all his food is gone. Then with a loud belch he laughs and bows to the gathered performers before skipping back towards the gathering clowns. "Break a leg, everyone!"

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Pip gleefully hefts a chunk of meat from the cart in each of his small fists and takes large slurping bites from the uncooked flesh, juices running down his chin. Pip has never been to a circus before and watching the various performers practice has built up no small measure of excitement within him. Not yet knowing any tricks yet himself, Pip's role in this particular performance is complete, its end marked with a hat.

    Once his feast is complete Pip heads for the big tent where tonight's event will be held. He has cobbled together a simple winch and knotted rope to assist his ascent into the back rafters of the tent where he plans perch, hopefully unseen by the guests below. Pip never actually asked permission to do this, but there was no way that he was going to miss the first show. Besides, it was dim and shadowy up there, no one would even know.
    Last edited by DeVermis; 2020-02-24 at 09:05 PM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Keshkaru eats slowly and deliberately, as is the way of her people. When Giggles yells an encouragement around, she attempts a wink in his direction to signal understanding... But, her reptilian eyelid being a semi-transparent membrane, the effect is likely lost on onlookers.

    She goes to her tent, and dons the scene costume - a fierce looking assemblage of leather from a variety of alligator species, covering her arms, shoulders, torso and thighs, but leaving her lower legs, tail and back exposed. It is decorated with sewn motifs made from snake and frog skin in lighter tones, showing symbols of the hunt, fishing, and the war history of her tribe.

    Then she goes to retrieve Ozkrak from her cage, and joins the other performers backstage, waiting to know if she'll be called for tonight's show.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

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    Tessara joins the small crowd assembling backstage, counting and double-counting the throwing knives tucked into her sleeves and belt. She's still unused to the gaudy costume Pip has prepared for her: a purple and black dress with silver ornamentation and ridiculous lacy "wings" protruding from the shoulders. But, as The Thunder has explained to her multiple times, it's what the crowd will expect from an act entitled "The Deadly Drow Dagger Damsel". She winces, recalling. Got to have a word with him about that name...
    Spoiler: Active characters
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    Waylan, Kestros and Auspice (Wrath of the Righteous)


    Lydia (Age of Worms - loot tracking)

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    Vorgrok is among the last to leave the fire and its combination of warmth, pleasant smells, and meat. With several other riggers and laborers, he meanders backstage, through the performer's door, to the smaller benches where circus workers are welcome to sit. It's not the best views, mostly from behind and to the side of the various acts, but it's free entertainment- and usually good! (It's above these benches that Pip has rigged his perch, though over a bit for better views and because he can)

    Giggles joins the clowns, ready to stir up the crowd and also prepared to save a struggling act with outrageous displays of... well, shenanigans. En masse. It has always worked before, but as the performers get better, it seems they're needed less and less for that purpose. As a result, Myron has begun inviting the clowns to perform during the show in earnest. Only time will tell what he wants to do, tonight. It's a big night, after all.

    Tessara and Keshkaru wait near the rear entrance, trying to hide and manage their nerves. He may like this last-second announcement method, and there's no denying the energy it creates, but much of that energy comes as a result of anxiety in the performers. Still, though he may deny it, The Thunder is the de facto boss- and no one else would claim to know better how to run a show. Not even the Professor.

    The Circus of Wayward Wonders performs in an enormous tent, capable of holding hundreds of people- and it's a good thing, as it seems the entire population of Abberton has turned out for the show. Many of the town's most prominent citizens, including the mayor, are among the throng jostling for seats, peering in curiosity at the three rings that fill the center of the tent, and waiting excitedly for the show to begin.

    Finally, the time for the show to begin arrives, and the lights go down. The audience settles into their seats... but The Thunder doesn't show. A few performers poke their heads outside the tent to judge the time and perhaps look towards his wagon, and come back in shrugging and shaking their heads. A few seconds turns into a minute, then two, and several people begin pacing backstage. By the sounds of it (and sight, to those willing to peek at the crowd), the gathered populace is ready for a show. Cheers and jeers mingle as the delay continues. Concern outweighs caution and reason, and though they can't quite explain why, Pip and Vorgrok find themselves hurrying out the back tent to find their emcee. As they approach, the rear curtain opens and they find themselves face to face with -the Professor?! With an expression of fear and anxiety easily outmatching the performers, he hurries in past them. He glances past the curtain at the crowd gathered, wide eyed.

    With a visible show of effort, he turns back to the performers, stagehands, and the few present riggers. "Myron is dead," he says with no small amount of emotion. As many performers gasp or cry out, he raises his hands to wave them down. "Myron is dead, but have you seen that crowd? We've never had the tent packed this full, and by the Gods we all need to eat. There's a show to put on, and we have to find a way to do it. We'll look after The Thunder later." Shock struggles to demand the attention of the gathered circus acts, but reason wins the day. While the crowd threatens mutiny at any moment, The Professor looks increasingly urgent. "Well, what are you all standing around for? Send in the clowns!"

    Quick to follow the Professor's advice, the circus clowns immediately bound through the curtain and into the three rings, to uproarious cheers from the audience. Just before ducking through the curtain, Giggles feels a hand clamp down on his shoulder. "Not you, little one," The Professor mutters. The grip is surprisingly firm for the frail old man, and his expression brooks no dissent. "You may not know it, but I think you've seen enough to know how to piece this together. I need your help."

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Alrighty, time for the metaphorical rubber to meet the road! The clowns have bought you all some time, but The Professor is too far removed from the workings of the actual show to make any decisions (which is totally not just a convenient excuse). It falls to you all (through DarkOne) to decide the order of events. You may need to review the various rules for putting on a show (page 4), and the available tricks (circus roster tab). For now, I need posts involving:
    1) your reactions to the news of The Thunder's sudden death
    2) a decision on which of the available 8 or 9 tricks (depending on signature trick details) you will collectively decide to send in first. Only one trick for the first act of the show.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Pip can feel a surge of adrenaline at the Professor's words and various potential scenarios begin flashing through his head. Maybe Myron choked on a chunk of meat, maybe an assassin sent by that horrible cat-woman murdered him, maybe the professor poisoned him, or maybe his heart just gave out. Was anyone else in danger? What should he do? Pip hadn't known Myron long enough to truly care for him, but Myron had certainly been headed in that direction. After all, food and shelter are well established paths to a goblin's good graces.

    "Vorgrok! You're not going on tonight right? We need to hurry and make sure no one disturbs the body before we can try to get an idea of what killed him. Whatever it was might happen again and we need to be ready."

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    For a long moment Gigglespit stares into space, shocked by the Professor's words. Then, with a grand flourish he invokes a cantrip, quickly cleaning off his clown makeup. "I need a ringleader-suit, fast!" he says, looking around. "I think I remember one we had made for a comedy skit where I would go out into the ring and mimic Myron behind his back while dressed like him - it should be with the clowns' costumes. And we need a show order...Pip, wait! We may need that act that Vorgrok has practiced! ...Now the clowns can keep this up for only a couple of minutes and we need to hit things hard coming out of the gates..."

    Settling down on his heels, the again-blue gnome takes a stick from nearby and starts making notes in the sand. "We have about a dozen different big-tricks, so lets plan on three rounds of performance with a short break between acts. The first round can be three performances - good ones! - followed by a mix of four in the middle. Then we finish with five in the last round with a finale of one performance in each of the rings simultaneously!" As he speaks, it is clear that Giggles is getting excited about this opportunity and mentally/emotionally tabled the tragedy of Myron's death. Looking at the others gathered around he asks, "What do you all think?"

    Several moments later he is wearing an excellent, miniturized ringleader outfit and doing vocal warmups as he strums his guitar energetically with his pick - a small tooth supposedly from a blue dragon. "During the second act I could sing a song - can anyone help with some special effects, like an illusion or two to add some extra humor to it?"

    Spoiler: Details and Giggle's Trick
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    I think we should start with a flashy PC trick in act 1, plus two of the above-average NPCs tricks. Act 2 should be a little slower, a little more experimental - possibly including Vorgrok's juggling/drumming act and a song by Gigglespit. Act 3 should include our best PC tricks, probably Keshkaru's animal handling and Tessara's knife throwing/illusions, building up to a climax with at least two, preferably three performances going on at once.

    I recommend players take and quote this list as we decide the details:

    Act 1
    1. Flashy PC trick
    2. NPC trick 1
    3. NPC trick 2

    Break

    Act 2
    1. Vorgrok's juggling/drumming
    2. NPC trick 3
    3. NPC trick 4
    4. Gigglespit's song

    Break

    Act 3
    1. NPC trick 5
    2. NPC trick 6
    3. Keshkaru's animal handling
    4. Tessara's knife throwing/illusions
    5. (Best) NPC trick 7


    Red tricks would take place at the same time.


    I think it would make sense for Giggles to perform a comedy song, similar to this only more lighthearted. A Performance skill check with opportunitied for Costar actions. How does that sound?

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Whatever she may feel with the news of Myron's untimely death, Keshkaru's outward demeanor fails to register any great emotion. While not exactly apathetic, her reaction remains rather muted. "That is a surprising and unfortunate development. We will want to know what happened to him..." she begins, before Gigglespit takes the conversation over.

    She listens to the gnome, and interjects with a typically practical perspective. "My friend, I appreciate that you're prepared to take responsibility, that is brave, and greatly welcome. But, er... Maybe it is a little risky, in the midst of the present circumstances, to greatly change the number and organization of our acts. Everyone here is accustomed to the traditional four : The opening, the build-up, the big number, and the finale on three rings. May I suggest it could be prudent to stick to this, for now? We can make changes in the future, but before that we may want to have a couple of full dress rehearsals with the sequence you suggest... except not tonight?"

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Giggle scratches his head and thinks for a moment. "That makes sense too," he concedes. "Well, let's have the Kanbali's open up the show...we need something flashy but not too flashy. Then we give Axel a chance to perform with a really good act to follow, just in case. For the big number we could let Mordaine have the spotlight - I would have suggested Elizia, but she is likely to be too upset, as close as she was to Myron..."

    For a moment the little blue gnome trails off, his thoughts on their deceased friend. Then with a shake of his head he continues, "Then we finish with Keshkaru, Tessara, and me...how about that?"

    Spoiler: Updated plan
    Show
    I don't know what else to pair with Axel, but it should be a solid trick. Maybe the Flamboni Sisters? I know they don't have a trick in the AP material, but they could reasonably work to pick up the pace if the bird-thing doesn't go too smoothly.

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Tessara's hand flies to her mouth at the tragic news and she's fighting back tears through most of the Professor's exposition. The end of Gigglespit's plan finally pierces through her shock when she hears her own name being called. "What? I, uh - oh, yes! Yes, I can go on at the end... and I can assist with some magical effects in the meantime. That seems like a good plan..." She looks around a moment, and then casts dancing lights to animate a trio of whirling red, blue, and greed orbs above Gigglespit's head. "Ready when you are!"
    Spoiler: Active characters
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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Vorgrok freezes, still as a stone, for several heartbeats at the shocking news of Myron's demise. Eyes narrowing in confusion and suspicion, the burly dwarf scowls at nothing in particular, shaking his head to marshal his thoughts.

    Quote Originally Posted by DeVermis View Post
    "Vorgrok! You're not going on tonight right? We need to hurry and make sure no one disturbs the body before we can try to get an idea of what killed him. Whatever it was might happen again and we need to be ready."
    His eyes locking onto the speaker as a sudden point of solidity in the chaos, Vorgrok nods his assent before casting his eyes about, landing on a heavy mallet, apparently misplaced after the assembling of the tent. Hefting it in a satisfied manner in his two thick fists, he stalks out toward Myron's tent, eyes casting dark glances in all directions...
    Lehasti Gesmeha and Azkin for Mummy's Mask
    Morevek for Wrath of the Righteous
    Janstina Silentall for Age of Worms

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Vorgrok and Pip brush past the rest of the group, stepping back into the fading sunset while Giggles, Tessara, and Keshkaru set themselves to the task of running the circus.

    The unlikely duo of Dwarf and Goblin hurry to Myron's wagon, only to find the door locked. At first, they're doubtful of The Professor's claims, as The Thunder is well known for keeping his privacy, and using the lock liberally when he's "home." However, after a brief and cursory inspection, they find his body alongside his wagon on the far side from the tent. His face now locked forever in a grimace of horrible pain, his once bulky form contorts painfully in the wet grass.

    Back in the tent, the trio of Gnome, Half-Drow, and Iruxi discuss in hushed tones who should be sent in first. The crowd laughs uproariously at the antics of the clowns- apparently not too shabby despite the absence of their most... flighty performer. Still, they're just a distraction. The show awaits!

    Spoiler: ACT 1
    Show
    So what I need from you three is a decision from the 9 available tricks which one will go on first and the associated skill checks (as given on the cards, or in accordance with your signature trick). In addition, a few of the acts have issues you may have to resolve. We'll burn those bridges when we get there!

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Giggles looks at those gathered around and gestures dramatically at one of the onlookers. "Go tell the Feather-Fall Five that they are on next and to break a leg!" he orders, the decisiveness in his tone leaving little room to argue. "Everyone else, get ready to give all the support you can! If you aren't next to perform, cheer your colleagues on from your seats - encourage the crowd to have a good time and make some noise! In the meanwhile, I need to see Axel right now! Get that boy here and someone give him a pull of courage! Tonight is going to be his first night out in front of the public!

    Now go!
    "

    Spoiler: Mechanics
    Show
    I think this is Diplomacy, but I would be trying to argue for Performance (Inspirational Speaker) if I could. FarmerBink, add 3 to my roll if I can use Performance for this check...

    (1d20+4)[20] to motivate and inspire everyone to make this happen!

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    At Giggle's command, more than a handful of workers begin bustling to their tasks. The Gnome may not know all the ins and outs, but the riggers who set up the tightropes and nets for the Kanbalis know their roles- and hop to it with aplomb. The quintet already dressed in their leotards and well made-up begin stretching, providing both a sneak-peak and a sometimes compelling distraction to the other performers gathered behind the curtain. They're heading out to take their places when one of the riggers bolts into the backstage area. Wringing his hands nervously, he approaches the Kanbali patriarch, with a significant problem, that he brings to Giggles.

    "Jem says our nets have been sabotaged! We left Dusklight for a reason, you know. Tightropes can be dangerous! I don't want my girls out there risking life and limb, again, after all this!"

    Spoiler: Nature DC 13 or Perception DC 16
    Show
    The nets have been chewed through by rats- in reliably vital places. It's quite unusual for rats to behave like this, but all the signs are there- errant teeth marks on leather reinforcement and all the cuts are rough.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    There are a few ways to solve this, but at the end of the day, DarkOne *may* have already done it.
    The rub: the nets have big holes, making them ineffective, at best, safety measures. There is no time to mend them before the act begins (in a couple minutes)
    The Kanbali's will either have to be convinced to perform without the nets (a diplomacy check), or they won't perform. Even so, performing without the nets makes the act both more dangerous and more exciting. If he likes, I will assign DarkOne's existing diplomacy check to that effort, but there may be relevant RP to be had.

    Finally, assuming they perform more or less as planned, I'll need someone to decide how many times they will perform the trick (up to 3 times, with cumulative -5 penalties to the same check), and roll the checks (and potential injury check in the case of a critical failure).

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Gigglespit listens intently to the elder Kanbalis before nodding seriously. "Of course, you are right...but what if this isn't a coincidence? We did leave Dusklight for a reason, and the safety of your family is important, but so is the success of this circus. Tonight will be a great triumph, but we need your family to start it! I will be standing by to administer first aid personally - including some curative magic I reserve only for emergencies. Next show we will not only have the nets mended, but we will keep them guarded and safe to ensure this won't happen again.

    Please, apologize for me to the others, but reassure them that we need them to perform - now - and will ensure their safety from this point on. Please!
    "

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    "Giggles is right. We need everyone to perform. Please do not let us down, with Myron gone... We must stick together.

    And I do understand the risks. Before they enter, I will give Gozreh's blessing to each to the girls, so his protection may extend upon them. And if anyone falls, I too have healing magic at hand. We shall not let any saboteur destroy the Wayward Wonders."

    Keshkaru's tone isn't exactly warm, but her determination is readily apparent.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Aid Giggles: Diplomacy [roll]1d20+5/[roll]

    Rolled in OOC : 7 - ouch

    Edited post below after rolling 26 on Nature check in OOC


    Having said her piece, the iruxi goes to check on the nets. "Rats did this. Very strange. The teeth marks are obvious, I think, but the pattern seems... designed to render the nets useless. Someone wants us to fail tonight."
    Last edited by Gwynfrid; 2020-03-02 at 07:44 PM.

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Pip glances around, wary of any lingering danger. He was no doctor but Myron's corpse certainly didn't scream "natural causes". Seeing nothing concerning enough to outweigh his curiosity, he crouches down at Myron's side and begins to run his hands over the body checking the flesh for wounds. The first step to understanding what happened was to figure out what exactly did Myron in.

    Spoiler: Mechanics
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    Medicine (1d20+2)[6]

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Keshkaru's assessment of the nets falls on willing ears. Despite the oddities, something about the probable existence of a rival to beat puts some extra steel into the Kanbali clan's patriarch. His jaw sets with determination which a short command- in Mwangi- quickly sends cascading through the rest of his family. It takes little encouragement from Giggles to set the Feather-Fall Five on a course for the center ring, where the riggers are just bolting the upright ladders into place.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Thanks to the news about an opponent (which they assume to be tied to Mistress Dusklight, but time will perhaps tell), the Kanbali clan gets a circumstantial +2 to their skill checks. Remember, repeated use of the same skill for a single trick results in cumulative -5 penalties (much like additional attack rolls). I'm perfectly happy to manage contingencies, but someone needs to roll the checks XD. If you want me to do it I can, but I won't without being given the go-ahead.



    Pip doesn't want to spend too much time on matters outside his expertise, but nonetheless wants to get some actionable info on Myron's death. He notices quickly that the man's legs are swollen- so much so that he can't actually roll his pant legs up or pull them off to see the skin beneath. Otherwise, perhaps surprisingly, he doesn't appear to have fought back very much. Either the pain was too great to focus his efforts or he died quickly. Perhaps a combination of both. At this point, Pip doesn't know what might have killed him, however- only that it's probable any notable injuries will be found on his legs.

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Seeing that his and Keshkaru's words have had the needed effect, Giggles nods happily and smiles. As he is about to walk out to watch the show he stops, a thought having invaded his distracted mind. "Someone will need to announce the acts...and I'm dressed up like the ring-leader..." he mutters, as if only now realizing what he has set himself up to do. Turning back to those assembled, he says, "I'm about to go out there and get this whole thing rolling - Keshkaru and Tessara, can you keep everyone moving and have the next several acts ready to go? Someone needs to get Axel and his birds ready and dressed - I'll bet he wasn't expecting to perform tonight! I'll be back after announcing the Feather-Fall Five!"

    Giggles takes a moment to watch the clowns, a wistful smile on his face as he recognizes the antics. Then, at just the right moment (when the crowd is laughing and the clowns are regrouping) he strides confidently out into the center ring and with a voice ringing like a trumpet announces, "Ladies and gentlemen! Give it up for the clowns - they have given up for you, it's only fair!" and motions for the clowns to make an exit. Then, gesturing grandly he introduces himself, saying, "My name is Gigglespit Baderiggo Humbleback, and tonight I have the honor of introducing our fine show to you, the lovely people of Abberton. We wish to thank you heartily for your attendance tonight and encourage you to sit back and enjoy the show!

    And now, give your attention to the most talented and fantastic family you may ever meet. Hailing from far-off Mwangi, behold the fearless, free-falling, fabulous
    Feather-Fall Five!
    "

    Spoiler: Mechanics and OoC
    Show
    If I am jumping the gun, please let me know and I will edit/redact my post. If this is right, then carry on...

    I would argue that FarmerBink should roll NPC skill trick dice rolls. That will help to keep things moving, and I am fine with it.

    For Giggles' introduction, here is a Performance roll: (1d20+7)[16]

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkOne7141981 View Post
    Turning back to those assembled, he says, "I'm about to go out there and get this whole thing rolling - Keshkaru and Tessara, can you keep everyone moving and have the next several acts ready to go? Someone needs to get Axel and his birds ready and dressed - I'll bet he wasn't expecting to perform tonight! I'll be back after announcing the Feather-Fall Five!"
    "Y-yes, of course!" The news about the defective nets, and Keskaru's suspicion of a saboteur on top of everything else, have rattled Tessara greatly and it's taking everything she's got to hold herself together. "I'll go find Axel. Axel! Get me Axel! Come on, you're up next! Get ready!" She darts through the assembled performers backstage, expecting to find the young man near the cages housing his birds.
    Spoiler: Active characters
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    Waylan, Kestros and Auspice (Wrath of the Righteous)


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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Uncomfortable with the unusual responsibility, Keshkaru nevertheless tries her best to step up to the plate. "For the build-up, we need a second number at the same time. The Flamboni? They juggle with fire, and Axel is a bit new... We don't want his birds to take fright. So... next to him I think the best option is Mordaine the Magician, an act that doesn't make too much noise.

    After that we have the big one. Giggles wanted to spare Elizia, I'll take his wisdom on that... I know! The dwarf throwers! That always impresses the kids and makes their parents laugh... What do you think?",
    she asks Tessara, before she goes to check out on Mordaine.
    Last edited by Gwynfrid; 2020-03-03 at 12:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Tessara has no difficulty finding Axel. The teenager is gathered backstage with most of the other performers, huddled beneath his over-sized cape (under which there is plenty of room for both his birds and a small perch under each arm). He fidgets with a treat while staring into the middle distance, still shaken up over the news of Myron's sudden death. He looks up at the Half-Drow with an incredulous expression. "Wait, you actually want me to perform?!" He's pleased, but totally incapable of hiding his surprise. He jumps up eagerly to follow her back to the immediate staging area.

    Spoiler: Performance, DC 15 (Tessara only)
    Show
    Axel is actually hiding one thing very well: he's terrified of performing in front of people.



    Keshkaru, however, can't find Mordaine. Recalling her well-known ego, she instead begins searching for Mordaine's assistant, who waits seated by the passage back to the camp. The thin fellow frowns at Keshkaru's request. "You know how she is," he mutters. "I'll tell her, but she won't be happy to be in the build-up instead of the feature act." He rises and hurries out, presumably to the magician's wagon.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Keshkaru recalls more than a few conflicts between Myron and Mordaine regarding her position in the show. She often submitted to his plan, but always took convincing, unless she was the single performer in the 3rd act.

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Keshkaru follows the man, expecting a difficult discussion with Mordaine...

    Spoiler
    Show
    I assume Keshkaru gets admitted in her presence


    "We need your talent at this particular moment, and for a specific reason, Mordaine. Axel is new, and so are his birds. He's going to be nervous. I'm sure having a seasoned performer like you in the next ring will steady his nerves. Your role is doubly important here, to make not just one, but the two of you a resounding success!"

    Spoiler
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    Assuming this is a Diplomacy roll (1d20+5)[25]

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Vorgrok scans the surroundings as Pip looks into Myron's condition... but only a few seconds pass before he gives a disapproving grunt at the goblin's seeming scattered attention. "Eh, lemme look." he blurts out, dropping the heavy mallet to the ground and kneeling to scrutinize the deceased.

    Spoiler: Actions
    Show
    Medicine check rolled in OOC: 12
    Survival check to notice tracks or something?? (1d20+5)[11]
    Lehasti Gesmeha and Azkin for Mummy's Mask
    Morevek for Wrath of the Righteous
    Janstina Silentall for Age of Worms

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerbink View Post
    He looks up at the Half-Drow with an incredulous expression. "Wait, you actually want me to perform?!" He's pleased, but totally incapable of hiding his surprise. He jumps up eagerly to follow her back to the immediate staging area.
    "Yes, of course! We all know how hard you've been practicing, and the crowd is going to love it!" Something about Axel's demeanor catches her attention and she recalls that this will be the young man's first time performing in front of such a large crowd. "Look, there's nothing to be worried about," she continue in a lower and, she hopes, reassuring tone. "Everyone gets the jitters right before they go on. But remember you've done this dozens of times in rehearsal - it'll be just like that! If it helps you can think of me and all the rest of us who'll be backstage, cheering you on! You can do it - you're gonna be great!"

    Spoiler: Pep talk
    Show
    Performance check in OOC was 17 (success)

    If an additional roll is needed, (1d20)[2]
    +7 for Performance, +4 for Diplomacy
    Last edited by MuffinMan; 2020-03-03 at 07:03 PM.
    Spoiler: Active characters
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    Waylan, Kestros and Auspice (Wrath of the Righteous)


    Lydia (Age of Worms - loot tracking)

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Behind Myron's wagon, Pip and Vorgrok are still searching for answers. With no other course immediately available, the pair cuts his trousers loose to reveal thighs and calves covered in thick purple welts. Closer inspection reveals a pair of injuries in the darkest center of each welt- fang marks. There's no doubt the venom coursing through his veins is what killed him- painfully, as attested by his permanent grimace. However, there are a lot of bites. How would Myron have found himself waist-deep in angry, venomous serpents in or near his own wagon? And why would they have kept biting so much?

    Unfortunately, Vorgrok's expertise in tracking doesn't reveal much. He can tell that there was a lot of action in the immediate area, as there are footprints and animal tracks overlapping and half-marring each other at every pace. He can't quite tell what it should mean, though.



    Under the big top, riggers are setting up Mordaine's tank on one side while another crew rapidly hauls together a handful of interlocking stages to give Axel extra height. It's fascinating work to anyone who isn't a rigger or otherwise preoccupied with the acrobatics taking place on the tightropes in the center ring- which is most everyone at the moment. The more seasoned circus-goers are quite aware at the lack of support such professionals receive. Show business...

    A few dozen paces away, Axel eagerly follows Tessara, eating up her words with an expression that flutters between eager anticipation and marked stomach unease with almost impressive rapidity. While he waits in the staging area, Mordaine walks in, all pomp and attitude. Her sparkling white dress (triple-layered, as it will shortly be submerged in water and this is a family show) reveals an athletic, attractive form. Her fair, delicate features are framed in long, flowing blonde- almost white hair. When Axel notices who he is to perform beside, his eyes widen like dinner plates, and a thin vein threatens to burst from his forehead. Thanks to Keshkaru's masterful ego-stroking, the seasoned performer favors Axel with a smile and a delicate nod. "Sweet child, you knew Myron was just testing you, right? He always knew you had it in you; he just wanted to make sure you were ready to throw in with us." she purrs, smiling winsomely. The pair splits, both headed to their respective points of entry.

    At the curtain, Axel freezes. For a long moment, it looks like he's going to back down, but he sees Mordaine stepping through her own entrance across the way with poise and confidence and something stirs within him. Shouldering his cloak like the antagonist in a silent movie, He thrusts into the well-lit circle, and casts his hands wide in a show of mock villainy.

    The pair actually make a surprisingly good duo. Despite her egotistical outlook, there are many moments where the minutes tick by and there's not actually that much to watch as Mordaine escapes from ever-increasingly complex traps. During such moments, Axel's pigeons flit about- sometimes close enough for an audience member to reach out and catch, were they quick enough, causing squeals of delight from the youngsters in particular.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    @DarkOne feel free to RP an introduction if you'd like. @all, Axel's trick is essentially the same as the Flamboni's- only with less excitement produced from a success. +8 vs DC15. Mordaine's is a bit more complicated: Her trick has the injury trait, and as such critical failures are... bad. There is a backup flat DC 15 check (which serves as a saving throw vs the injury), but if injured, she is done for the show- and possibly the next one as well.

    How many checks do you want to roll?

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Goblin

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    "Where could this many snakes possibly have come from? It's like he got dipped in them!" Pip exclaims to Vorgrok. Then after pausing to think for a moment, "Maybe he squashed one or two on his way down for us to get a look at, help me roll him over." Before Vorgrok even has a chance to reply Pip's focus has already switched to a different idea, "Oh! And lets check his pockets for clues!" he says, hands already reaching into Myron's clothes.

    Spoiler: Mechanics
    Show
    When Pip pauses to think, he is trying to recall if there are species of poisonous snake native to this area, and if so, what he knows about them.
    Recall Knowledge (Nature) [3] (rolled in OOC thread)
    Last edited by DeVermis; 2020-03-05 at 10:45 PM.

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    Default Re: Extinction Curse- The Show Must Go On!

    Turning from his fruitless scrutinizing of the environs back to Myron's body, Vorgrok grunts noncommittally before stooping to shift the fallen man's body with casual ease. Once satisfied with the results of their search, he cups his chin between a thick thumb and forefinger to contemplate.

    Spoiler: Actions
    Show
    Recall info about Nature: (1d20+2)[20]
    Circus Lore (if relevant to the snakes??): (1d20+3)[23]
    Lehasti Gesmeha and Azkin for Mummy's Mask
    Morevek for Wrath of the Righteous
    Janstina Silentall for Age of Worms

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