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  #76  
Old Apr 27th, 2022, 10:32 PM
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Orwinton 'Oar' Grinstyrwi
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Art commission @ThePsysquatch


When Oar wakes up, he checks in with Dassir and then tries to sneak off silently before the librarians find him and inform him about a nighttime raid by a bunch of drunk ettercaps or awakened harpy seals.

He has two people he needs to see ... or maybe one with a detour to a second.

The first is Ms. Mona. He will trust his nose to get him to her kitchen and his Charisma modifier ONLY -1natural good lucks and charm to get him a free or reasonably priced tray of scones, or snow-melt cakes or whatever passes for breakfast food here. All he knows is that however bad the food situation might be in Good Mead, Ms. Mona seems to be the one who will make the best of it.

Once he has his tray, he will cross over to the cartwright shop and look for Olivessa Utapoor. Oar knows next to nothing about her, but enough people had mentioned her name as a possible mayor, the librarians didn't seem to be against her ... and she wasn't Shander Froth. That last point alone would have been enough.

"It's a thing I learned from Galley Wench!" Oar would tell Olivessa if he finds her, or tell himself if he can't--he never wants a good Galley Wench story to go to waste." No matter how much good you do, ultimately you can't bring good to the ship if the captain is steering it into a kraken's mouth. And Shander will kraken-mouth this town quicker than you can say: I'm all beard and no ba-ba-boom! So you see, Olivessa" (or "table, wall and floor "if he can't find Olivessa) "you've got to run. It isn't for you. It's for the entire town. So that the Green boys have a future. So that the Aberdamms can visit their son's grave in peace without having to worry about whether or not it will be dug up and robbed or used by some evil necromancer. So that your young, brave apprentices like Tyla don't have to lose their life in a hastily assembled mission without proper planning."

He pauses, and realizes he should probably offer Olivessa some of the goods he brought over. After all, he thinks that was his original intention, and it would be easier to explain himself if he wasn't eating or brushing away crumbs.

"Oh! And guess what? I know just the clever gnome who can write up some very convincing election posters for you. What do you think: Oh, live the bessta with Olivessa! ... Hmmm, or maybe: We ta rich, with U-ta-Poor! Well, ok, maybe those aren't the best, but this gnome...he'll come up with something."

"Or maybe we could ask those librarians, I bet if they aren't busy with anything ..."

And that's when Oar realizes something. Something Galley Wench would have figured out last night just as they were leaving the cave.

Of course the librarians were busy with something.

Because that one very clever, freeze-ray librarian, Arista whose second name was "I'm not going to take anything away from the cave after the battle, not even a herd of (let's call them) dairy goats. Not even the mead that everyone died for. Not even a cart that could have saved their lives in a storm! None of that."

That very same librarian took away a pile of junk hauled in by a dead, grandpa-faced verbeeg.

Obviously for a clever librarian to choose that and only that ... it had to be important.

"Olivessa," Oar will ask--or ask of the walls if he hasn't found Olivessa--"what is the sound of a weird projectile that isn't magic but used to be part of magic and that comes in pieces and would attract the attention of a verbeeg? Because I think I know some librarians listening to it right now!"

"We'll talk Olivessa" (or "Mr. Chair and Ms. Wall")! Oar shouts as he hurries back to the library. "Oh! And I brought you a cart from the verbeeg cave. It's outside your studio here. Maybe it is even your own work? You ta mayor, Utapoor!"







 


 


 
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Old Apr 30th, 2022, 12:30 PM
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Olivessa UntapoorMona sets you up with some muffins. They're not what most people would call great. Wild grains of some kind, ground coarse and then loosely acquainted with egg and honey. Maybe the binding agent is lichen. Maybe you like them? The lone guardsman in the mess of the barracks is struggling through one that's hunched and broken on a piece of brown paper in front of him, and even Mona admits, "Reiner used to call them 'punishment bombs' but he'd always eat at least two." She gives a sniff and sends you off with one in a tin to keep it warm, for Olivessa.

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The cooper is in her shop. It's dimly lit by a couple of torches, with a wide double door on sliding rails. You slide the door open and see her inside, picking through a pile of staves, looking for something. Her tools are hung neatly on the wall, a large open fireplace with a stone chimney takes up one corner, and the floor is tamped and even dirt. Olivessa Untapoor wears yellow coveralls and work boots, heavy gloves. Her hair is tied up in a scarf. She looks up at you.

"The Goliath," she says. "I have looked forward to meeting you. I am Olivessa Untapoor. I know your first name is Oar, but what is your last name?"

She raises a gloved hand and inside its stiff leather you find a firm grip. She accepts the cart you brought from the verbeeg's lair. It's not her design but it's solid enough, and she'll put the pieces to use. She accepts the muffin and gives it to a child, who sits poking sticks into a small blaze in the fireplace.

"This is my daughter Cailie," she says. The girl takes the muffin dubiously, and raises her hand to you in a silent wave of thanks. "I am sorry to hear about Twyla. She was strong-willed and strong-armed. I wish she hadn't gone, but I couldn't have stopped her. We'll miss her here. She was a good worker."

Olivessa speaks plain, with little affect, and her face is open and sincere. When you pitch the idea of her being the town speaker, it's unsurprising when she tells you no, she is no politician. She chooses a stave from the pile, fits it into two clamps, and begins to work at it with an adze, slow and careful.

"I make snow shovels, Oar. I make buckets. These working clothes fit me the best, and I like staying here, in my town, with my people. Town speakers must all travel to Bryn Shander once a month, sometimes more, and sit in a council chamber, and argue. My interest in that is nothing. Nor would I be any good at it -- talking, charming, positioning, and all. You need a sparkling eye for that, and a quick tongue."

"That sounds like Aunty Lena," says the child.

"Doesn't it," Olivessa agrees. She puts down the tool and looks at you. She smiles. "Oar you see here the lesser half of a pair. She was the sun, and I am the moon, and now it's just me, the moon." She shrugs and nods toward the dark window. "Fitting. But if there were to be an Untapoor in the council of Ten Towns, it should be her. And she's gone, long gone. Good Mead couldn't hold her. Nor Ten Towns either, likely. No, with respect for your gnome pitch-man, I don't want to be speaker. After all, look what happened to Kendrick Rielsbarrow."

The child pipes up, around a dire mouthful of muffin. "You're big. Maybe you should be speaker!"

You run back to the library. What do you do there?
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  #78  
Old Apr 30th, 2022, 12:59 PM
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"I appreciate your vote of confidence, Cailie," Oar says to the ineligible voting population in the room. "But can you see me as a speaker?"

He sits on the floor, all criss-cross-applesauce with his hands to his ears to emphasize attentive listening. Then he slowly, demurely rises.

"Esteemed speaker from the esteemed other town, I--Delegate Grinstyrwi, becasue that is my last name" (he says with an aside and nod to Olivessa) "rise on the occasion of the august ceremonial point of order to enter into the records the fickety-shmickety-lickety amendment seven, zero, forty-borty ... Ugh!", he says, wiggling his head and body to shake off the formality that had been washing over him.

"No, I'm more of a trans-metropolitan myself," he affirms with a nod. "One with ambition to create an empire across towns, at least on the east side of Ten Towns. And not just any ambition! A particular type. Short. Stoat. Teapot. The best kind of ambition there is," he adds, taking the appropriate pose and teetering on the edge of tilting into some fine, artisanal furniture as he tips over to pour it all out.

He'll fall, risking a few bruises rather than into any wooden masterpiece. And then rises again.

"Now ... this Aunt Lena of yours ... tell me more. Because this sounds like a Galley Wench mystery to me. A strong hero setting off from home. Never heard from again? This is definitely a Galley Wench mystery! Let's hear it all, and then we can surmise. We might not solve the mystery today, but we'll have our theories, Cailie! I'll tell you mine, you'll tell me yours ... and we'll put them aside to stew until ... pop! the solution arrives into our heads! Because. That's. How. Galley. Wench. Does. It." he finishes dramatically.

And he will listen. Taking as much time as a story allows. This all happens in the interval, before he proves the efficiency of the Galley Wench method by receiving the solution about the mystery throwing-pieces that were taken back to the library.

Arriving at the library, he isn't certain if he is allowed inside now since at least one crisis has been passed, and perhaps the normal rule of "no-men" is back in effect.

So, he knocks, hat in hand, and waits for an answer.

If it isn't Arista or Vanessa who answers, he'll remind whoever is at the door who he is and ask to speak to either of them.

He will be relieved to see them, particularly if they both look not particularly worse for the wear, and is eager to ask them ...

"So ... what are those things that you brought back from the cave? Are they a musical instrument? Percussion, probably, right? Though they didn't make any sound when they struck me. So ... what sound do they make?"


OOC
Did Oar or Arista notice any trace of the dwarf(s) on their way back to town? My rolls for that are in the dice thread.



 


 


 
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Old May 4th, 2022, 08:13 PM
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At the Cooper's ShopCailie is enchanted by your hinjinks. By the time you get to "rickety-schmickety-lickety" she's on her feet, walking toward you with a rapt expression. "Rickety-schmickety" she mouths almost silently after you say it, and then, "forty-borty!" out loud. When you fall over after doing your teapot routine, Cailie outright laughs, a high giggle, almost dolphin-like, and then she glances immediately at her mother.

"It's alright. It's alright to laugh!" Olivessa tells her, then after you ask about her sister she adds, "It's okay to talk about Lena too."

"Aunt Lena was a fisherman," Cailie begins (and Olivessa interjects kind of while bending over her work again). "We used to play Kings and Kingdoms with this rug," says the girl, pointing out a rag rug, a spiral of braided coils in a corner of the workshop. "She made it, want to see? She made it for a rug but it's also a pretty good game of pretends. You start in the middle, and you're small, and weak, not even a king, and then you go out to here, maybe you get some sheep, out to here, maybe you save the village from gnolls, then here you join two villages together, here over the mountains, here, and here... I forgot. And then your kingdom is big, and big!" She points to these colorful concentric circles, seeming lost in thought, and sings a little tune, vaguely wavering the words: "Tekeli-li, Tekeli-li."

"Never mind," says her mother.

"She left to chase the sun (a man, Olivessa interjects) but we're not going to be sad (here Olivessa raises her eyebrows) because mama is really fun too (I am not) and we have lots of fun (we demonstrably don't) and someday Aunt Lena will come back (maybe) and you will just love her (that is true, she is very charming) because she's so wonderful (yes) although mama is even better (no)."

Olivessa takes over. "There's no mystery to solve, unfortunately, for galley wench or any other. (But I'd like to hear about galley wench, Cailie interjects.) We argued, and she left. She wanted to get out of here, away from the Rime, but I thought we could wait it out. (I've read all my books, says the child with a baleful look.) She was impatient, and I was wrong. So here we are. (And mama won't let me go to the library, even though I don't have anything to read, and even tried replacing all the verbs with fart, and all the nouns with McGillicuddy Horseradish, as Aunt Lena said to.) That library is a library of sound. (They must have some books!)"

Olivessa puts down her tools and turns to her child, delivers a patient but warning look. Cailie retreats to a low shelf, takes up a book, and sits down to read it.

"Now what about you?" Olivessa asks. "You've asked for our story. Will you give us yours? Grinstyrwi is a strange name to my ear. And a Goliath with a beard is an odd sight to my eye. Where do you come from, and who gave you this ambition to build an empire?"

"Do you like tea?" Cailie asks. "I do. I think mama should get out the tea. Don't you?"
OOCIf you want to stop this scene and move on to the library, don't ask her any more questions! ;P I don't want to carry on two conversations in two different timelines.

A report on your scouting for the dwarf tracks. You definitely know that the dwarf who was in the goat pen with Arista made it back. You sent him to take the goats back to town, and his tracks, walking over the goat hoof prints, came all the way back to town and to the library. However, there were no goats at the library when you went to bed in the shed. You also found another set of tracks, dwarf boot sized, headed northwest through the forest.
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Old May 4th, 2022, 11:43 PM
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"Grinstyrwi? It means a Rope pulley builder and puller; rope pulley systems were integral to moving items--and injured people, the elderly or the infirm--up and down the mountain in Oar's mountain community, so there was plenty of work for grinstyrwers. He'll explain this if they ask, but surely with all the mountains about they must have seen some grinstyrwers here, too?grinstyrwer," Oar explains. "Our family profession. I thought that should be obvious enough! Not that we all have to go into that profession, of course. But one of my great-great grandmas did, so the name passes down, you see."

He considers it impolite to request tea unless he's asked twice, but he does look longingly around for a tea set and tries to leave his glance on it, long enough to be noticed, but not so long for it to be considered improper staring.

"Your other question, a goliath with a beard. That's not odd. Kind of normal where I come from. They say it was more common long ago, when we used to live on the beach. But the squids came and so we moved up the mountain and the hobbits stayed down below. I guess the squids didn't eat them. Anyway, for some reason, after that beards are less common, yes, but they still get passed down every now and then--and nobody has been eaten by a squid for at least a generation or two!"

Really, these two questions aren't making much sense to Oar, who considers all of this rather obvious stuff. Though, come to think of it, the other sailors would ask things like this when they first met Oar. So maybe more of them had come from the Ten Town area than he had realized? But ... then how would you explain the obvious clue that someone from Oar's mountain community must have been here before and surely would have told them these things.

And that clue, was the song.

"Now ... this game. This Kingdom game you're describing. It sounds like it's been changed, but its song remains the same: Tekeli-li, Tekeli-li. That's the song we sing when we are drawing out the board in the sand (I guess since you don't have much sand here, you have to use a carpet). And we don't call them castles, they are volcanoes. But the object sounds the same ... you claim a volcano on the sand-map, then you create a line of canoe routes to trade the goods: flummen fruit, orklin shells, sanzo wood and firerock. You use those goods to either build up your village or send out explore-canoes which can open new sections of the map. The game ends when the sunlight is no longer casting a shadow from the twig-flag placed on the center volcano--the time of day we call tekel ... which gives us the name of the song you were just singing!"

Has the tea been served yet?

"By the way," he'll ask. "What lies on the northwest side of the near woods?"



 


 


 
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Old May 9th, 2022, 12:33 AM
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At the Cooper's ShopOlivessa's tea is earthy, and she serves it in wooden tumblers. At the bottom you'll find a few pine needles and some grit.

"To the north of here is the road -- the Eastway. To the northwest, through the forest? That's the overland way to Bryn Shander." This checks out with the map you have from Huarwar's room.

She listens with interest to your story about the volcano game. "Tekel," she says. "This is what you call night time? After there are no more shadows? I'm interested because here in Icewind Dale, this word means something else. It is a name."

Cailie makes claw fingers and a fang face. "Rawr!" she says helpfully. "Tekel-li-li is a monster! Tekel-li-li, Tekel-li-li!"

"Indeed, a monster who lives far away, in the Caves of Hunger, not here in Good Mead where little girls with big imaginations play King and Kingdom," says Olivessa. "If such a place and such a monster even exist." She gives a small smile, and you remember where you've heard this song before. You heard it in the nest on the cliff face, when the fisherman was singing snatches of it, snatches she'd heard from the harpy. You heard it in the hag's caves before the harpy attacked. And you've seen the phrase 'Caves of Hunger' before too, on the scrap of torn map you found in the bolt hole in the same cave system.

Olivessa says, politely, "Your island must be far from here. I don't believe there are any squid in the Sea of Moving Ice."

"I don't think there were any squid on his island either," Cailie pipes up. "I think the hobbits made them up, to force you into the mountains. Have you been to the Goliath tribes here in the mountains? They play goat-ball. I would love to see it, but they don't let anyone in who's not a Goliath and anyway Mama says leaving Ten Towns is too dangerous."

Olivessa explains, "Skytower Shelter and Wyrmdoom Crag, they are called. In the Spine of the World mountains. A brutal landscape, even more so in the Rime, but of course, you would have no difficulty with mountain travel. But mind you, the two tribes are at war over an old grievance."

"When you see the griffons, you'll know you are close," Cailie says with sparkling eyes. "They ride and train them, Aunt Lena says. I dare you to go! You can come back and teach me and Bobby Green how to play goat-ball!"


Olivessa whisks away the tea mugs and puts her work apron back on, starts making the "Well... it's been so nice to meet you" noises that nice people make when they're ready for the visit to be over. You can see why people want her to run for speaker. As much as she wants to be the tradesman, defined by her work with wood, she has a political way about her. She knows when to listen and when to talk, and she is reserved. Cailie on the other hand has no chill. She hangs on your hand as you ready to leave. "Please, take me with you to the library, or at least bring me back some books."

When you arrive at the library, the librarian named Evangeline answers the door. She tells you that Arista is rehearsing the choir, and opens an interior door to allow you to view the main atrium of the library, a two-story room with a balcony around the upstairs level, full of bookshelves. The librarians stand in a half circle instead of in rows, all of them in simple clothes, and Arista conducts, wearing her rough red tunic and light boots. You see Vanessa, her glasses pushed up high on her nose, singing a solo, and Kate too. The song creates a storm: thunder and raindrops and wind, and then a strange melody with a repeated phrase in a language you've never heard.


OOCI know the names are similar, and I promise this is purely a coincidence! Lena is not the fisherman you saved from the harpy.
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Old May 9th, 2022, 10:44 PM
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He's not sure if it is entirely appropriate given the subject matter of possibly psychedelic mushrooms. But on the other hand, shouldn't an inquisitive child know what to avoid as well as what to pick? Finding this to be enough of a reason, Oar leaves with Cailie his copy of Durnbrwagn's Top Tier Tunnel Teas. It is hard for Oar to part with such a treasure, but a clever girl like Cailie, when left to her own mind without any new challenges, begins to make up rather absurd stories like there not being squids back in his home island. Hobbits are clever, but are they really that clever to make up an entire branch of squidology just to have the less desirable part of a mountain island to themselves?

"If you study it well, then you can quiz me on them when you're done reading ... and by that time I might be able to find a Galley Wench book to trade off with you," he offers.

At the library, Oar enjoys the unusual concert and tries to think if he can place the strange language. If not, he'll ask any of his acquaintances or singers if they have time for questions after their practice. The books interest him, of course, and he scans for a copy of any of the Galley Wench novels. It would make sense that this location might have Galley Wench and the Case of the Melting Ice-Frozen Yeti in the Cargo Tank, which maybe wasn't one of her best, but Oar's opinion of it might be affected by the three sleepless nights it caused him when his ship made a run from the north with frozen cargo, presumably fresh fish ... but one never knows unless one inspects all the crates, does one?

After asking about the language, Oar will ask about the strange objects again. He'll ask how Brother Scharamad is doing after his extraction from the tree. He'll ask for a more objective history of Lena the missing aunt. He'll ask if anyone knows a giant named "Delphine." He'll ask if anyone has seen the dwarf Glanhig ... and he will have one very pressing question, ideally for Vanessa or Arista ... it's a question partially inspired by the Tikel song's similarity to a word with a different meaning.

"Bryn Shander. Shandar Froth. Bryn Froth. Shander Shandar," Oar says quite proud of himself. "Do you see the connection? After all, what's a vowel difference to a dwarf who isn't a poet, and I know he isn't a poet by the hat because I know what hats a dwarf poet wears. That no-good dwarf who abandoned a rescue mission ... a mission to rescue fellow dwarves at that ... he's gone off to a city with his name. "

He pauses to see if they've understood the implications yet. And then he has to pause to retrace his own conclusions ... it seemed so clear when he started talking.

"Well, what I'm thinking is this ... or something like this, maybe you can put it into better phrasing. If that dwarf is returning to his home, then he's either run away to lick his wounds in shame, or he's going to get some of his cousins and first-cousins one beard removed to move into this town and establish voting rights just before the election so he can become speaker. Otherwise, how could he win when everyone knows that he ran away. Or ... wait ... do they? We should make that clear around town before he comes back with the heads of the verbeegs and claims he cut them down, up, and off. Good thing we got the mead to prove we were there, right! So ... anyway ... I think he might be trouble. And I haven't thought what to do about it yet, but I thought maybe you have a song that would tell you?"


He pauses, taking in all of their answers. He hopes there will be many.

And afterwards, if it isn't time to break for lunch, he might add, "But, of course, if you don't have a song or haven't already thought about what to do, then I might have an idea. It's a Galley Wench idea, inspired by one of her best cases, Three Wenches are Better than One."



 


 


 
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Old May 13th, 2022, 09:18 AM
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Good MeadCailie takes your book solemnly and gazes on it like it's written in gold.

"Durin burr wagons!" she says, as if there's something in these pages that transcends obscure tea information. "Well, I hope there are dragons." No, there are no dragons.
"Or at least deep, dark, terrifying caves." Well, maybe?

At the library, you ask your questions.

The language of the song is Chessentan, from Arista's mother's native land.

The strange objects in the verbeeg's basket are partly metal, partly strangely biological, and some bits of it seem to be metal and biological fused together. There is a small inscription scribed into one of the metal pieces that they have determined is Qualith, the written language of the illithids, a dangerous race of imperialist mind-controllers from the Far Realms. As far as they can translate, with a rough knowledge of Deep Speech and the understanding that Qualith allows some transferral of thoughts as well as literal meaning, they've determined the inscription reads ID ASCENDANT.

Though there is no official section for fiction in this library, you do find a copy of Galley Wench and the Caverns of Thunder, sitting on a side table under a pile of other more academic books. Many of the shelves of this library contain books that are really objects enchanted to make sounds, where each page is a different sound you can activate by touching it. The sound of a moose mating call. The sound of a gnome stepping on a caltrop. The crunch of an apple. Etc. So, less stories and more a repository.

Brother Scharamad is poorly, but hasn't died. Though plagued with an alarming new habit of coughing up blood and manifesting weird bruises on the abdomen, he's actually making a go at recovering, in his hovel near the Mead Hall. Evangeline has been running over to check on him every few hours.

They don't know any giants named Delphine. There aren't any giants who live among people in the town -- they keep to themselves at best, and at worst they terrorize the villagers with attacks and theft. "The closest thing we have to giants living in Ten Towns is the odd Goliath," Kate explains. "There are a few of those around. Besides you." The dwarf Glanhig brought the goats back before you and Arista got back, and they sent him over to the Mead Hall to shelter them there, where they can get inside. Several of the townsfolk are working out what to do with the new resources: a small and sudden herd of goats, and the cold-resistant meat bees. Optimism is blossoming, as plans are being made to test mead-making with this thicker, strange honey. If there's mead again, everyone's going to feel a lot more normal, and the regular flower-pollinating bees can maybe take an afternoon off.

"Shandar. Shander. I don't know," Arista muses. "The origin of the Shander in Bryn Shander is part of the word scrimshander, you see. The town originated as just one cabin on top of that hill, that travelers would use as a stopover between the other settlements. A scrimshander started selling his wares there to travelers, and the town grew up around that -- the last of the Ten Towns to be established actually, although now it's considered the hub. Shandar Froth is an odd name for a dwarf, though, you are right. That's no clan or enclave I know. I didn't know him well, and he hasn't been here in Good Mead that long."

When you suggest the town be told of his betrayal, she hesitates. "Perhaps it's best that information comes from you. If I criticize him, that might be reason for people to elect him even faster. What is your plan?"
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Old May 13th, 2022, 07:57 PM
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Oar finds it hard to concentrate on the conversation at this point because he has become so excited at finding a copy of the The Galley Wench and the Thunderous Cavern. But of all the places in the world for one of these rare copies to show up ... it would make sense that it was in a Library of Sound.

Oar immediately asks the librarians if they have listened to it and if it corresponds to what he has heard about the book.

If it does correspond to what he had learned, then he urges the librarians to organize a group reading whenever possible. "Oh! and we should bring healing potions, of course, just in case the story ends badly!" he will remind them.

If the book doesn't correspond to the rumors Oar has heard, then he will be just as curious to read it this evening when he can snuggle up with the dogs and straw and pull the book out without distractions.

Hearing about the Far Realms and the ID ASCENDANT, whatever the latter means!, Oar will ask Arista and Vanessa if they think this might have anything to do with a magical walrus, or perhaps a crashing star. He'll assume they are going to research this in their sound library, and will ask if he can accompany them to begin his own research.

He might not have time to hear and try to master mimicking sounds, but he can at least begin by confirming the following sounds are in the library. He is interested in hearing:
  • The sound of the legendary Ten Town sea monster
  • The sound of yetis urging their fellow yetis to run away from a danger
  • The sound of an avalanche about to sweep the landscape
  • The sound of a cragcaw cat in heat
  • The sound of mushroom spores thriving in an underground cavern
  • The sound of an invisible dwarf displacing the air around them as they move closer
  • The sound of comfort to a pack of worried dogs

And then, finally, he'll remember the question that Arista gave him.

"You've never heard about Three Wenches are Better than One?" he will ask incredulously before beginning a short summary of the book ...

Forty minutes later he will have told Arista The Galley Wench is sailing into Port N. for a family reunion with her two cousins. Of course this concerns the local crime syndicates, who vow to keep a watch on her as soon as she lands so that she doesn't unfoil any of their terrible plots ... or the murder of the head of the town guards which they just commited. Well, when the ship comes in and what appears to be Galley Wench steps off, the syndicate has arranged all sorts of VIP tours and exhibitions to take her to so that she doesn't learn and unravel the murder. They think they have hoodwinked her by golly! But then another ship arrives with another Galley Wench! What?! So the syndicate stretches its resources to give two tours--to VIP tours that never intersect and meet. Word gets around town that Galley Wench has arrived and seems to be everywhere at once! And then ... that evening a third ship appears with a third Galley Wench! Why, the syndicate can't possibly tap enough resources for three VIP tours, but they try ... and fail. At sunset, the carriages of the three Galley Wenches converge at the city square and CRASH! into one another, allowing Galley Wench and her two identical-looking cousins to finally greet one another ... and allowing a poor, widowed lady to approach them and tell them about the mysterious death of her husband, the head of the town guard. The syndicate spies, hearing this, leap into action, but there are too many targets ... and two of them seem to fight uncommonly good for someone who is supposed to be a mere ship chef. The cousins defeat the sydicate spies, and by the time the battle is done, Galley Wench has garnered enough clues from the widow to solve the crime!the general plot and look at her with a "what do you think" expression.

If she is, understandably, distracted by having just heard a zinger of a mystery tale, then he will spell it out for her: "Three of us run for speaker as a wenchy-trio!: You, Olivessa and Me! We'll explain that we will make decisions as a trio, and that having three of us ensures that a giant won't come in and wipe out the leadership with one rendering. Also .. Shandar or whoever else might appear won't be able to eliminate all of us by the time we hold a vote, so at least one of us will win the vote!"

If they agree to this, Oar will immediately set out around town, telling anyone and everyone that there is a gathering at the Mead Hall--at which there will be a recounting of how the verbeeg was defeated by a plucky librarian and her goliath friend ... and how they brought back some mead in a cart which, this very moment, is with the region's top cartwright ... oh, and there will be a surprise announcement AND ... free samplings of four bottles of Marsember Blush.



 


 


 
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Old May 15th, 2022, 05:09 PM
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Good MeadWould you like to guess who the "Wenchie" is in this crew of librarians? You'll never guess, so let me just say: it's Vanessa. Yes, bespectacled and uptight Vanessa of the nervous hands, the jagged soprano, and the constant reminders? She's privately a Wenchie. This book is her prize possession. She hid it among other more innocuously academic recordings to keep it secret from the prying eyes and suspicious mind of Denise, her roommate, and when you loft it on high and start describing its qualities she immediately intercepts.

"Oh ha ha!" she declares in a high nervous shrill of laughter. "That trash oh ha ha there it is oh ha!" She tries to snatch it from you. "That's mine oh silly mine archival document doggerel narrative ha oh my goodness what a thing to find oh ha ha trivial scraps ha."

Unless you hold it high above her head, which you could well do without reaching too far, she'll take it back from you and stuff it into her belt under her cardigan. She's young. She wants to be impressive. "Enough about that oh my well better be getting on with the lunch. Chopping and chopping." She throws you a look. Doggerel more like daggerel. She does not want to do a group reading. She will let you borrow it, maybe, MAYBE, if you stop making big loud noises about it to the rest of the entire world. She will definitely let you borrow, also on the down-low, her three other Galley Wench titles which are only explosive in plot twists, not arcane missiles, and which she has secreted around the library in other places.

Seriously. Academics and their unwillingness to admit to reading anything with a plot. As if entertainment is a bad thing? Was there anyone like this back on your island?

When you ask Arista about these metal/biological pieces and the Deep Speech, she tells you that yes, she has connected it with the exploding starship that she discussed with Ziusudra. She told him about the telepathic message she had been picking up since that night of the flash in the sky: Nautiloid down. Emergency protocols enabled. Crew safe, but vessel imperiled. Psi crystal needed. Come at once. She tells you, as she told him, that she feels confident she could locate the source of the transmission. With her assisting him as a telepathic tuning fork, Ziusudra was able to hear the transmission too, but he had a lot of other things going on, and she doesn't want to pursue it on her own. She assumes that this is debris from that crashed nautiloid.

You call Olivessa to the library so you can work your political magic. Arista and Olivessa are both very hesitant, each for her own reasons, to run for speaker. The two of them together in a room create such a crackle of suspicion between them that possibly only Oar the Goliath could attempt to stand in its way. But you do. You want to bridge this, join it, throw a cooper's hoop around it, and make it go. And both of them understand the fragility of this town's peace, and the danger of Shandar Froth working his way on it.

Arista says, "Oar, your idea is sound. A town council, rather than a single speaker. And I like that you intend to put yourself in the gap, and step up for the town. That will mean a lot to people. You, a stranger, sticking up for us"

Olivessa interjects, "I agree. But I won't stand for election as a 'wenchy' anything."

"Nor will I," says Arista, nodding agreement with Olivessa as they each take one step toward each other.

"Think of a different name for it, one that shows respect for us and for the situation the town is in, and I will do it," Olivessa tells you. "If this is as joke to you, then I am not going to be part of it."

"Agreed," says Arista, and the two of them stand even closer. "I endanger myself and the other librarians by asking for approval from this superstitious town. We must not give them more reasons to dismiss us."
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Old May 16th, 2022, 09:13 PM
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Oar has no idea why some people, like this Vanessa, seem to react so harshly against Galley Wench. It's particularly perplexing because--as Oar just noticed--Vanessa seems to wear her hair with the signature Galley Wench cut, a generous portion shaved above the left ear.

"It's stylish, but also practical!" Galley Wench would explain every three novels or so. "I show off my beautifully shaped ear, and also have a place to put my stirring spoon without it getting hairs on it!"

Now, true, Vanessa isn't wearing a stirring spoon above her left ear as Galley Wench always does in all the illustrations ... but one Wenchie doesn't have to in order for another Wenchie to know. So, either Vanessa is a self-loathing Wenchie ... or the librarians have a very bad barber. Oar, not being the best judge of hair grooming, finds it hard to decide which.

"Okay, okay, sorry," he says to Vanessa handing the book and catching her muttering something about three other Galley Wench novels (!) or maybe (?) or most likely (!?). This Vanessa is someone Oar is going to have to find a time to approach, make sure she knows he truly didn't intend to embarrass her and is sorry, and talk with her later on.

But for now, he has some research and politicking to do. Or politicking and then research it seems, as Olivessa appears and both she and Arista ever so reluctantly agree to run ... sans the best name ever! (definitely ! and not ?, no question about that).

"Okay, okay ... but it's good news you agreed. So a new name ... well, since the town is Good Mead, and since we started off on a venture together that involved bees and honeys, how about we name ourselves after one of my favorite port bands?" Oar asks, as he quickly takes up a parchment and quill and sketches out the notice he remembers seeing outside a port in Waterdeep.

"Here ... this is roughly them!" he says proudly showing them his sketch.

 


If they like the idea, then Oar likes the idea.

But ... he doesn't suspect that they will.

"Fine, fine," he'll say. "Actually, I was saving that for a cabaret night with two of my friends if they ever return. One's short, but sings well. One's a one-eyed devil ... if you know what I mean," Oar says with a laugh and a wink ... because they probably won't know what he means, though Arista might? "But we were going to be, the Three Forkin' Honeys! Here's to ya, buddies, wherever you are!" he shouts out, before realizing where he is and that he could very well lose his fragile political coalition before the first roll call.

"Okay, okay ... here's my other idea. Now, it has a bit of self-promotion, I know ... but bear with me because I think it works. As they say in Chessnetia ..." (Oar has no idea if they say this in Chessnetia) "... voila-netia!" he shouts, revealing another drawing.

 




 


 


 
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Old May 17th, 2022, 05:28 PM
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PolitickingVanessa hasn't had a wenchy friend in so long, she forgot how to stir the spoon. Correction: she almost forgot. But she stirs it a little bit for Oar, just one yank around, and touches her shaved bit of hair with one finger, and then she dashes for her room. She's never had a wenchy friend since she came to the library, and she would never think to talk about it. Oh, no, not here she would never. In her assessment, all the librarians are serious folk. Even Arista, who definitely sparkles, is always driven by purpose, and the purpose is never to make sauce and solve crimes. Vanessa would be pained and sad to fall down in Arista's estimation, because Arista is the closest thing to Arista's mother, and Arista's mother is the closest thing to god.

Vanessa was a bad girl when she came here. And Vanessa is trying to be good.

So she works on the enchanted books, and on delineating the sound of old birch splitting from the sound of old oak splitting, and the sound of a reindeer hoof on ice from the sound of a goat hoof on ice, and stays serious. She hides her books, because her roommate, Evangeline, is the least sparkling one of all, and would tell. But then, when Oar lifted up the book, she said: "It's mine!" Oh heart. What ramifications may follow? What blunt exposure? What unforgiving glares?

Oar, when you reveal your idea for "The Honeys," Arista's mouth makes a very flat line and she presses her hands together, and Olivessa starts to make those noises and phrases like nice people do when they've had enough of your s*** and they have things to do back at the shop, and then you spring your better idea, your best idea: The Tiramies.

Olivessa grins. Arista... yelps? She yelps.

"What? Tireme!" she says. "It's pronounced, in Chessentan, tireme! And amies, yes! I know it. Yes, Tir-amies!"

"The symbolism," Olivessa observes, "is fantastic. The sun, the boat, the oars -- it all works."

They look at each other, and then at you, and they say together, "Yes, okay. We like it." And smile.

Your plank is this: Big and small, long-timer or new-arrival--we all row together for the common good and a bright future!

Olivessa decides her plank will be this: Though the staves bend, the hoop is strong. Tap into progress with three speakers not one.

And Arista comes up with this: What is the sound of unity? The doors of the library are open to the town and the world.

Meanwhile Kate, who has been listening in, has an idea. Secretly, with abject horror that anyone should ever find out, she has been reading a book she found shoved in between two more austere tomes on the second floor, a book called Galley Wench and the Duke of the Dragon Coast. In this (silly, worthless, embarrassing, and yet adored) novel, Galley Wench had to prepare a special dessert for the Duke, one that stretched even her majestic abilities to turn turnip leavings and goat knuckle into a noble repast. The clue to the duke's demise was a rare poison in the savoiardi, one that Galley Wench only figured out because the Duke only ate corner pieces, and his own valet had spiked his sweets!

"Ahem," says Kate, clearing her throat. "Now that we have milk goats I can make mascarpone. For the party, would you like... tir-amies-su?"

***

The turn-out is good. The only person not in attendance is Brother Scharamad, who is still recovering in his hovel. The flower-eating bees are smoked into submission in the corner of the hall. The meat-eating bees are outside on display in the snow, chomping away at a reindeer carcass that the Green boys contributed, post-butchering. Mona has refrained from cooking, but Kate has been hard at work in the kitchen all afternoon. It fell to you to set up the mead hall for the event. What did you do to make it festive? Will you bring Brother Scharamad, on a cot? And when the event starts, what is the order of the program?
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Old May 22nd, 2022, 04:11 PM
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With the benefit of borrowed blankets and upturned tables, the appearance of the goats playing themselves, the actual barrels of mead and the cart playing themselves, one of the sled dogs making a cameo as a bear, and a small splash of blue paint on the floor to represent the stream, Oar had transformed the gathering hall into a passable model of the verbeeg cave by the time the gathering was to begin.

If Brother Scharamad can be convinced to attend, then he will be asked to greet arrivals at the entrance, look convincingly worse for the wear (which shouldn't be too hard), and explain to them that they--the heroes of Good Mead--must go in and rescue their friends from the verbeeg and notnot run away like some punk dwarf with an attitude problem. (Ok, maybe the good Brother won't say "punk dwarf," but coming from him a "somedwarf" or a "someother" will be just as damning.)

Visitors will be let in at 10 minute intervals in classic adventuring groups of 5-6. Once inside, the visitors will be given strands of ribbon which they are asked to attach to their arms, and then encouraged to flit around like a bird to explore the entirety of the cave. Ideally, Olivessa will provide the instructions and encouragement, but if she doesn't then her junior in the house will be tapped ... actually, Oar will probably start with Cailie and presumably get enthusiastic support right away.

The tour, of course, will take the visitors by the Ogre (played by Oar who does his best to look blissfully asleep), the menacing verbeeg (also played by Oar, with small costume adaptations, mainly that he now wears boots and pants), the bear (played by one of the up-till-now nameless dogs, now rechristened, of course, "Bear"), and finally by Arista (played by herself ... if she will, otherwise also played by Oar with a commanding voice and no-nonsense demeanor and the dwarf (played by himself, or otherwise by Cailie).

The adventure starts with a running of the goats, as the dwarf runs the goats out of the side entrance and encourages the entire party to help herd them to safety. From there, the party is encouraged to act out the events as narrated (hopefully by Arista or Olivessa--Oar's charisma is probably best left to physical comedy, the acrobatic and athletic exaggerations of the make-believe cave-***-stage). Oar (who moves in exaggerated slow motion to simulate the Speed magic) will allow the "adventurers" to beat him silly with pillow-maul; he will scowl as they rush through the small blanket-tunnel to surprise him and beat him once again--encouraging the feathers to fly about as the beatings continue--and then he will command Bear to freeze and look adorably confused, submissive, and delighted that he has been saved from becoming a rug on someone's (definitely not somedwarf's) floor.

Then Oar will pounce! upon the party from behind, throwing wooden spoons at them until the group says the magic words of Good-Mead-Good-Mead-Row-Together! At which point he will freeze, falling into the cart and allowing the adventurers to wheel him out the same side entrance and dump him amid a pile of goats.

All that is left at that point is to grab the mead, set it on the cart, and proceed to the north section of the hall which has been raised above as a small platform where they can watch and encourage the next group of adventurers while enjoying a bottle of Oar's wine. Once all groups have completed the cave adventure, and once all bottles have been opened, then Oar (and Olivessa and Arista, if they agree) will give their very short speeches and slogans as they pass out little miniature wooden carvings of three overlapping oars.

All will be available for questions, but Oar will try to limit himself to smiles and shrugs, allowing the more capable speakers to, well, "speak" for the group.





 


 


 


 
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Old May 24th, 2022, 10:09 AM
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Rally in the Mead HallUnderstand, there hasn't been anything in this town that resembles entertainment in a long time. Understand further, the behavior of this Goliath is so far beyond the bounds of expectations that people's jaws are dropping just based on his presence. Goliaths are figures of myth and rumor for many of these folks, usually imagined as off being stern at each other in the mountains, leaping from crag to crag like enormous goats, participating in feats of strength and shouting. This one laughs and listens and is... personable. It's something to remark on. Then there's the fact that the librarians are here, out of the library, and not conjuring evil spirits with screeches or making throat noises that induce storms or wither limbs. Finally, Olivessa is not grimly hammering away at whatever tool or job, but is here making a speech and passing out carvings of trinkets.

Everyone These must show up on a d100 table for trinkets in future iterations of this game!loves the triple oars.

Cailie and the other children of the town, most of all, enjoy this campaign rally. It's smart, it's good, and it's fun. The kids go full ham on acting in the dramatized adventure, once they've gone through it themselves especially loving the wooden-spoon-throwing and the pillow-mauling. Bear the dog gets into the wrassling and barks his head off. And the best thing about this rally as it fulfills its original purpose is that these candidates are unopposed. There's no dour alternate standing in a corner, unwilling to laugh at the ogre's snores. There's no separation between "us" and "them" in this population, because there's no one else who wants the job of speaker. Still, the three candidates spare nothing in trying to convince the voters of their value, wisely understanding that being the default choice isn't enough -- they must have the town's support. This night is full of successful, compelling rhetoric, both in the comedy and in the heartfelt declarations. It all goes very, very well.

Until! Just when the last "adventuring party" is encountering the verbeeg, the door of the Mead Hall blasts open. A frigid swirl of air blows in along with a shower of snowy mist, and from this cold cloud two big guys in black leather coats push their way through the door together.

"Listen up, Good Mead," shouts one of them. The wind whistles into the room from the dark behind him. "No speaker, no town. You're under the jurisdiction of Naerth Maxildanarr now, and this town just became East Targos. You may now proceed to your homes and prepare for the arrival of your new magistrate, Captain Skath, who will organize this colony and its resources for trade. In the name of your new magistrate, I order you to disperse!"

The Blackcoats stand on each side of the door, arms folded. Arista and Olivessa look to you with eyes flashing, but mouths shut, ready to follow your lead.


OOCPlease include an Insight check in your next post, which you can roll with advantage based on Oar's previous interactions with the Blackcoats.
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Old May 24th, 2022, 12:36 PM
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"No! No! No!" Oar says in a tone bordering between apology and embarrassment. "I didn't order the Targos Annexation Surprise Dancers! There are kiddos here! You were suppose to be in the Ginger and Diane costumes! We were going to perform The Honeys!"

He turns to the crowd and mouths a big, silent: Soooooooo sorry! and throws in a goliath of a shrug for good measure. Then he turns back to the boys in black leather and motions to them to step out the door.

"Come on, we can go over this," he says to the two arrivals as he tries to rush all three of them out together.

Once they are outside, he secures his grip on his maul and asks the two messengers: "Now, what is this really all about? Who hired you to come and scare the party like this?"




 


 


 


 


 
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