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<![CDATA[Pen & Paper Games - Blogs - GoddessGood: The Ramblings by GoddessGood]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/blog.php/4051-GoddessGood-The-Ramblings Pen and Paper Games hosts a very powerful, but easy to seach and join database of players and game masters in the United States and Canada. Our forums are also a great place to find the most recent news, product releases, tips, and rpg discussion. en Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:37:20 GMT vBulletin 60 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/pnpg_style/misc/rss.jpg <![CDATA[Pen & Paper Games - Blogs - GoddessGood: The Ramblings by GoddessGood]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/blog.php/4051-GoddessGood-The-Ramblings Ghost of a Chance, Part 1 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/641-Ghost-of-a-Chance-Part-1 Sun, 13 Sep 2009 16:15:42 GMT So we're back again, after a short jaunt through the first level of Keep on the Shadowfell's dungeon. We have a new site up at Obsidian Portal here. You can see the previous adventure logs there as well and some more details about the world that will get filled in as I have time and as more is uncovered.

Ominous Whispers and Fractured Sapphire's players didn't make it to this session. We focus on the plights of Nine Willows in Autumn (Willow for short), Gaias Valerius and Stalwart Second as well as their companions Senmai (Willow's handmaid and lover), Rami Tariq and Howls Justice. We find the party having just stepped through a small hole in creation and into the realm of the dead to escape their own certain death. With them they have two horses (one a familiar) and a small cart carrying Willow's luggage and the wasted corpse of Gaias' brother (a former enemy).
----

The party stepped through the small shadowland and into the Underworld to see a place not entirely unfamiliar. They stood in the Council Hall, but without its marble columns supporting a slate roof and the rows upon rows of stone benches. The roof here was thatched, the tall, narrow windows had been boarded up and the floor was littered with sleeping mats and low cots. On each lay someone sick and dying and among them walked people wearing strange, bird-like masks. The dais where the Council of Five sat in high-backed chairs was curtained off with stained white silk. Willow informed the group that these people were in fact ghosts suffering from the Great Contagion and the masks were designed to stave off infection. None seemed to acknowledge the presence of the newcomers until Willow and Howls Justice approached the curtained dais. One of the masked tenders told them it was off limits because the plague mad were kept there, restrained for their own good.
While the group discussed their surroundings, the tall stone doors swung shut and a large object was wheeled in front of it. The ghosts around them rose to their feet and started screaming for help and mercy. Footsteps on the thatched roof and the panic in the room led Willow to guess that the building was about to be set on fire. That soon proved true and the party endeavored to escape from the death trap. Stalwart Second ordered Gaias and Rami to break open one of the windows after the door proved too sturdy, and he and Howls Justice confronted three hungry ghosts that had broken free of their bonds in the uproar. Breaking through the window, Gaias and Rami assaulted the soldiers outside and removed a heavily laden cart from in front of the door. The trapped ghosts poured out of the window and door, trampling each other in their haste. Boosting Justice to the roof to deal with the soldiers there, Second gathered everyone together and led the party in a dash for the safety of the woods, they having only suffered a few minor burns.
Willow observed that the town appeared much different, less like the Three Oaks they had just left and exhibiting architecture more common to the Shogunate era. Second explained to the group that it would be wise to keep their power in check as they would be unable to regain their metaphysical strength until the party left the Underworld, although he and Willow disagreed on the proper explanation as to why that was. Willow, much Ö frustrated, determined that attempts to determine their next destination or a heading out of the Underworld would have to wait until she relaxed thoroughly and recruited Senmai, Gaias and Rami for the effort. Second and Justice abstained and left the immediate area. ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/641-Ghost-of-a-Chance-Part-1
Dolling, Again. http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/572-Dolling-Again Sat, 18 Jul 2009 14:30:02 GMT Been a while since I made these, actually. I just hadn't noticed that I didn't post them.

The first is Stalwart Second, a Zenith Caste Solar in my Exalted group. The challenge here was sizing his head down for his body. Second is meant to be a rather tall man and the style of animation is such that heads tend to be larger than in real life. This gave the impression that his head was bigger than his entire torso and just wouldn't do :). I recolored and added in a horse for him. Also, the armor he's wearing is taken from a screenshot and not from the candybar doll database of possible clothing. Nothing they had looked remotely like I wanted it to and I wasn't up to the challenge yet of creating my own. I added small touches like graying the coat of his horse and ended up drawing in his beard free handed.

The second image is of Nine Willows in Autumn, one of the Twilight Caste Solars in my Exalted group. She's supposed to be about 4 1/2 feet tall, but she has a tall hairstyle and is wearing geta sandals. She wears traditional Japanese style garb and a scholar's pillbox hat atop her head. A lot of subtle details went into this one that just won't show up, like the gold makeup she's wearing or the small netsuke attached to her obi (it's a raven). Her hands are held that way because I'd meant for her to be carrying a largish tome that I can't seem to get to look right. I'll repost it later if I can. I'll be making these more as we start the campaign back up again.

Edit: And just for giggles, the cast that I've made so far, assembled in a rather highschool yearbook looking shot.
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GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/572-Dolling-Again
H.P. Lovecraft stories http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/406-H-P-Lovecraft-stories Tue, 02 Jun 2009 14:01:01 GMT I've recently begun reading a compilation of H.P. Lovecraft's stories "of horror and the macabre" if you believe the hype on the front cover. So far I've read through 7 of the 16 presented in the book, so I thought I'd give a quick rundown of my opinions on each.

The Rats in the Walls - This story begins with the narrator describing how he hunted down the ruins of an ancestral home that is reputed to be cursed and much maligned by the locals. He, being an upstanding New England gentleman, does not believe their folksy wisdom and rebuilds the house. Residing in it, shall we say, becomes quite distasteful for the new master and horror ensues. The moral of the story is apparently that you should listen to people who tell you things are evil and it's a good idea to have cats around (especially if they have racist names). Rats was great with characterizing and showing me exactly how scared everybody else was, but the narrator went nuts a little too fast at the end and it lost me there.

The Picture in the House - A young scholar is trapped in a rainstorm in picturesque New England and seeks shelter in a seemingly abandoned cottage. In it, he finds quaint antiques and an even more ... interesting occupant. The lonely occupant's favorite passtimes soon lead to a creepy, yet swift end for our hero. This one is much more creepy in the lead-up and is best read while alone and in a dim room.

The Outsider - A pretty narrative from the point of view strange person (male? female?) who has never experienced life outside of an expansive estate. His explorations lead to a, sadly, predictable revelation at a fancy party. Good for a scary story to tell to (not jaded) kids around a campfire.

Pickman's Model - The narrator is a fantastically adorable woman who used to pose for artists telling a friend about why she quit working with one particular fellow. Pickman painted some of the most hellish and frighteningly realistic portraits anyone has ever seen ... and when she finds out how he does it, she runs and never looks back. I think the most interesting part of this one is the narrative voice Lovecraft uses. I'd read it again if only for that. The big reveal at the end is ... well, a little disappointing.

In the Vault - A cautionary tale against shoddy work ... I think. A cemetary worker (who also builds coffins) is trapped in a vault and resorts to distasteful methods to effect his escape. This one also would make a good ghost story, but the telling of it is crucial. Excellent timing and emphasis of detail.

The Silver Key - One of my favorites so far. It's not so much a scary story as a tale of the "weird." It reads slowly and lyrically and I could almost hear creepy music playing in the background. There's a fiddly bit in the middle where the narrator's perspective seems to shift strangely, but it's overcome by just taking everything he says at face value. It's supposed to sound weird, and it's ok that it does.

The Music of Erich Zann - A neat use of miscommunication to build tension. The narrator spins a tale of a strange period in his life in which he resided on a street in a building he can no longer find on any map no matter where he looks or what year it was made. He lives in a building whose top-floor tenant is a violin virtuouso and his haunting music draws the other man in. When he tries to befriend the mute German, he discovers less than he'd hoped but more than he'd bargained for. I liked the ending in this more than I have in the previous stories. I think he got it just right.

Overall, I think the stories are best read alone and in a dim room while uninterrupted from start to finish. This has been easy enough to accomplish thus far since the stories have been on the shorter side. The next few are a bit longer, so I'll have to engineer the circumstances a bit. I'll review more when I have finished the anthology. ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/406-H-P-Lovecraft-stories
You CAN go home again http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/364-You-CAN-go-home-again Tue, 12 May 2009 17:25:29 GMT I visited my hometown last weekend to see my sister graduate with a bachelor's and master's degree (simultaneously!) and see my mom for mother's day. It struck me how I still know where everything is, I know what's changed and what's the same, and I fell right back into the local culture. Also, geez is it hot down there :lol:

I spent a little while frequenting old haunts. The barnes and noble where I met the GM of a group I was with years ago, the pagan shop where I got my tools of the trade during my teenage rebellion stint as a hippie-dippie Wiccan, the Uni I graduated from, the convention center where I gave my commencement speech, and my favorite Whataburger. I didn't have time to see it all, but I did enjoy sharing it with my boyfriend who consented to share two ten hour drives with me and meet my family on their home turf :). On the way back to Dallas, he asked me if I still thought of McAllen as home. After pondering a bit, I think I still do think of it as home, or at least as my homeland. ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/364-You-CAN-go-home-again
Dolling, Episode III http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/349-Dolling-Episode-III Thu, 07 May 2009 02:56:50 GMT So, I'm at it again. This time, more NPCs have gotten the dolling treatment. First is Senmai, a young girl with eastern roots. She is a close companion to Nine Willows in Autumn. I had the most fun on her coat this time, picking the different color schemes and trying to preserve the feeling that you're actually looking at silk. I love how it worked out to look like she's playing with her hair. Sort of gives her that youthful touch.

The second fellow is Howls Justice, another Lunar NPC. I couldn't get over how big his head looked compared to his torso. This is partly to do with the fact that I squared his jaw out and his torso is leaning and at an angle. I ended up moving his hairline further and further down until he had almost no forehead :o. I'm still not 100% happy with it, but This is about as much time as I'm willing to put into it.

Additionally, I made my first attempts to add a castemark. The key is to make the mark itself a bright white and darken the light as it comes off of it to make it look like its actually the source of that light. Heavy use of the smudge tool and airbrushing gives this effect. I may come back in and add the moonsilver tattoos later if I have the courage :)
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GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/349-Dolling-Episode-III
Border War Campaign Part 17: Final Entry http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/332-Border-War-Campaign-Part-17-Final-Entry Mon, 27 Apr 2009 21:31:02 GMT As hoped, we managed to take the campaign to a stopping point this week. Everyone showed up, though the party didn't end up together. Kageto's player debuted a new character, Stalwart Second. Second is in the area looking for a Lunar by the name of Howls Justice so that he can return some of his property and give him news of a fallen comrade. After this, Exalted will be on hiatus while we play Keep on the Shadowfell.

Since Ominous Whispers had three days of travel between her scenes and the rest of the party, I'll list her part at the end.

----
Fractured Sapphire left Three Oaks through the western forests and crossed the river to the Sumarian side around dawn. He stopped to dry out and hid himself when he saw that long sections of floating raft were leaving the port of Kalia. As they floated down river, teams of men were lashing them together to form a bridge. Fracture approached the riverbank as the team from one section landed to anchor it and offered to help fix the raft. Intending to damage the raft, Fracture insisted that its structure was critically weak. A silent Dragon Blooded man stepped in to intercede and evicted Fracture from the proceedings. Fracture headed away into the woods and crossed the river again and headed to Three Oaks to warn the others that the Sumar army were on the move again. He watched as they began to cross under the watchful eye of 4 Dragon Blooded officers, all well armed and armored.

As he had journeyed to Kalia that night, Willow stayed up to study the tome she had bargained away from the tree spirit. It's tattered pages held strange mysteries and inspired odd, waking dreams. While Willow read, Gaias slept, Zephyr kept vigil, and Kageto slipped away, the last day of Calibration ended. Dawn brought with it a new face in Stalwart Second who rode up the abandoned streets of Three Oaks singing a jaunty tune. Second went to the inn seeking a stable for his horse and met Zephyr on the way out from returning the possessions he had "liberated" the night prior. Zephyr and he conversed, exchanging information. Getting along well, the pair resolved to find ale and vittles while Second settle his horse. They returned to the tea house where they met up with Rami.

Second asked if they had seen a man matching Gaias' description or a man with dark skin and white birthmarks named Howls Justice. While neither had heard of the second man, Gaias wandered downstairs into the tea room to find himself much asked for. Though he did not recognize the second description, Gaias returned to his room on a hunch. Aesis, the large, black mastiff with white spots, slept on the floor and studiously did not respond when Gaias called for him by the name of Howls Justice. Impatient, Second called up the stairwell for Justice and said he had news of a comrade and property to return. Huffing, the dog got up and left the room and transformed into a tall, dark-skinned man on the way down the stairs. The incredulous Gaias followed behind shouting, What are you?

The shouting drew out Willow and Mai from their rooms to see the two new faces of Second and Justice. Justice who, until that moment, had been masquerading as Gaias' pet dog took conference with Second and learned of his comrade's death in the far north. Second lead him to the stable at the inn so he could return Justice's property while the rest of the curious party followed behind. After the exchange, Justice informed Second that the Wyld Hunt would be coming soon if they were not already present and the best solution for all involved would be to leave town immediately. Willow, Rami, Second and Justice set about preparing to leave while Gaias went to prepare his brother's body for burial.

Fracture returned at about midday to inform the party that the Sumar army, along with at least 4 Dragon Blooded warriors, was on the move and would likely arrive in minutes. Zephyr, who intended to kill the Huntsmen, insisted he would stay and fight. The rest hatched a plot to escape through the dwindling shadowland in front of the Council Hall and try to either find a way to leave it or a fortified position by nightfall. All felt sure that the Dragon Blooded host would not follow the "demons" into "hell", holy mission or no. Fracture offered up a distraction by lighting up his anima banner and fleeing across the battlefield through the enemy lines. He continued west from there towards High Keep to meet with Ominous Whispers and aid her in her mission there. Zephyr stationed himself in an ambush position but feared himself unable to overcome the enemy alone and escaped through the shadowland himself.

In High Keep, Whispers and her retinue were escorted to the Merchant's Quarter and housed comfortably. They were told that the House of Lords would be anxious to see her and hear her story, but hours went by with no news from anyone. After the dinner hour, when dark had fallen, a visitor did arrive and announced himself as Typhon. Knowing Typhon by reputation as a member of the Confederation of Rivers and ambassador of Thorns, Whispers and he had a spirited exchange in which she found out that both she and he were being kept away from the true political action, that Typhon was in High Keep to further his Liege's aims in Kalia and Three Oaks, and that Typhon was aware there were Abyssal operatives working in that area. For her part, Whispers revealed to Typhon that she herself was an exalt and that she had no intention to interrupt their plans so long as the economy in that area continued smoothly. After Typhon left, Whispers penned a missive to the Lord of the cities neighboring Kalia pleading for intercession on her behalf so that she might be seen by him or by the Hosue of Lords.

To be continued ... ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/332-Border-War-Campaign-Part-17-Final-Entry
Oops, I did it again (Re: Gaming to Excess) http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/303-Oops-I-did-it-again-(Re-Gaming-to-Excess) Fri, 17 Apr 2009 14:54:39 GMT The shameless title for this blog entry is suitable for the shameless behavior I've shown. In my previous entry, Gaming to Excess, I talked about all the Exalted books that have been released and how much of a collector I've become. Last weekend, two of my players brought one of the new releases to the table and were gushing over it. It left me looking at my shelf (yes, I have an entire shelf) of Exalted books and wondering just how many I didn't have. True to my mild OCD and list-making tendencies, I soon found out I was missing exactly 5.

Just five, I thought. That's not so bad, right? One of them I don't even really want, and another I despised the concept of anyway ... but I'm only five books away from a complete collection. What to do? So I looked on Amazon.com to see how many arms and legs it would cost me to update my collection. $115, it said. $115 for 5 game books, one of which is actually a boxed set. Not bad at all. So what did I do?

I bought them of course. :o I rationalized. My tax refund check should be coming in soon and I had cash to burn. Besides, I'd been so good at keeping my budget so far (except when it comes to spoiling my cats) ... I deserved a treat, right? Ugh, endless justifications and none of them with much merit.

Hello, my name is Andrea, and I'm an addict.

P.S. The list in Gaming to Excess has now been updated to adequately reflect my addiction. ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/303-Oops-I-did-it-again-(Re-Gaming-to-Excess)
The Origins of Rami Tariq, Wandering Sage and Crowned Sun (Part 1) http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/302-The-Origins-of-Rami-Tariq-Wandering-Sage-and-Crowned-Sun-(Part-1) Wed, 15 Apr 2009 16:36:37 GMT A bit of fiction for an NPC. Warning, there is some mild adult content. ---- I was born in an hour that was very ungrateful for my presence. On... A bit of fiction for an NPC. Warning, there is some mild adult content.

----
I was born in an hour that was very ungrateful for my presence. On the third day of Calibration I, my fatherís fourth son, slid screaming into the arms of the midwife from my motherís cold belly. Of course, these things only became known to me much later when it was past the time when I could make use of them.

My first memory is of two bright, black eyes staring back into my own. The monkeyís furry face and long-limbed body were the height of entertainment to me. His tail alone was a miracle sent by the gods. I longed for a tail of my own, for clever fingers and strong arms to climb up the side of the vendorsí stalls and peek through the gauzy curtains of the rich apartments above the streets. I walked the dirt streets every day, breathing in the sand-choked air; always I brought some of the food I scavenged to entice him closer. For all my earnest devotions, the monkey was ever unimpressed. And then one day, he was simply gone. I hadnít understood that the leather collar about his neck meant that he belonged to someone. Someone was the vendor whose stall I sat in front of every day. He looked upon my childish devastation and motioned me aside. Though he was careful not to touch me, his words touched me in a way hands never do. ďThat monkey will be just as happy where he has gone as he was here. Do you think he will shed a tear for you? Go and find your happiness elsewhere.Ē

So I did. At first, I watched to see what made other people happy and found the biggest smiles came to their lips when they exchanged large quantities of clinking coins for food or some other thing. Unable to find any coins in the rubbish, I felt it would be better to simply take the things that made people happy. I wasnít very good at it, though I kept trying. One final try landed me in my own collar. This one was hard metal and dirty chains hung from it and from the necks of my fellows. I suppose to some I was a slave. To me, I had always been wretched and dirty and had always worked hard for my food. Now I had someone to bring my food to me and a place to lay my head that I didnít have to fight for. The work wasnít easy, but bending my back and hefting the rock and sand strengthened me. I think I wept many nights. I was unhappy, but I didnít know why.

Here, as before, I never felt the touch of another person. Before it was because of the arbitrary, unfavorable timing of my birth, now it was because such things were forbidden. Speaking was forbidden, too, yet I managed to communicate with the boy chained to my neck. We helped each other. He was my first friend, I think. His father worked the smithy. It was his father who stood over me and hammered loose my chains when my friend died in his sleep. His eyes were redder than the coals in his forge, and he whispered to me that he had worked to buy his sonís freedom. No amount of coins would bring my friend back to work beside me, but that would have made us both very happy.

I worked in the smithy with the big man. The soot stained our skins black and our hands cracked and bled making the chains. For years, I bent to this work and I ate better and slept quieter for it. I did not weep until the big smith gave me coins to by my way out of the shadow and fire of the forge. ďGo, and take the freedom I would have given my son. Take his name for yours, as you were never given one. Take my trade and find work so that you never wear anotherís chains.Ē The salt of his tears stung my face as he called me by my new name and I was held for the first time.

At 13, for this was the age the smith told me his son would be, I apprenticed to a farrier. He taught me to shape the shoes that let horses run free from the metal I once used for chains to tie men down. I learnt to ride from him, and I often stared into the soft black eyes of the horses looking for that same bright spark I had seen in the eyes of my monkey. An old soldier mistook my longing for fondness and bought my contract from the farrier. He wanted a boy, he said, who would care for his horse better than he would treat his own woman. I rode with the soldier far from my home. I cared for his horse as best I could for I had never known the touch of a woman. I ate better than I ever had, though I spent many nights lying on straw or the cold ground. The soldier trusted me much, and sent my young eyes ahead of him when his started to fail. He told me tales and sang songs of the many lands he had seen and I wanted to see them all for myself. The skies did my weeping for me when the old soldier passed from this life and into the land beyond.

His horse trusted me as much as his master had and carried me far from that sad place. I sang the old manís songs and told his tales to any who would listen to remember him by. Soon I was invited to travel with a caravan of performers who admired my rambling venerations. I ate poorly and it seems now that I must have only rarely found occasion to sleep. The wild nights passed quickly and, just as quickly, I ran out of tales to tell. To save my skin I won the favor and the bed of the stagecraft magician. I found soon thereafter that I would have been better off peddling my skin on the street than resting my head on the magicianís feather pillow. What the magician played at on stage, he modeled upon me with his bedroom appetites. I could find no tears to weep. And just as well, for he would have delighted at them and tattooed them to my face. This much he had done before, said the whispered rumors of the acrobats. Once again I found myself chained, though the links were painted in merry colors. One night, a wandering thaumaturge drifted by our display and disparaged my magician for calling his tricks magic. His anger later that night left me broken and bruised and I could take no more. When he slept, sated, I ran with nothing but the clothes on my back. Unable to see through the curtain of water in my eyes, I ran straight into the thaumaturge.

She observed my wretched state and laid mercy upon my head. To teach me real magic was her aim and, to that aim, we traveled back to the land of my birth. That land, to her, was exotic and mysterious yet I knew the grains of sand between the cobbles by name. It was during this time that I learned of my unfortunate birth. Enraged at my so-called familyís treatment of me and further incensed by the thaumaturgeís kind understanding, I used what skill I had attained to lay a curse over the astrologer who had declared me unclean and robbed me of a happy life to go hurtling down this path. The knowledge of my genesis burned fiercely within me, but the thaumaturgeís ire burned stronger. She cast me back into the street from which I came.

Aimless, I walked for days. After that first day, I steadily followed the rising of the sun until I could walk no more. I reached into my pouch, hoping to find crumbs. What came to my hand instead was a strange crystal striped with green and white. The crystal called out to me and cried that it wanted only freedom. The voice claimed that the thaumaturge had promised freedom to it years ago in exchange for power but kept it locked away inside its stone cage. Promising to free it when I should but learn how garnered me its eternal thanks and its assistance. Heeding the voice led me to the distant home of Leaves to the Wind, for that was the name of the spirit trapped within the crystal. ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/302-The-Origins-of-Rami-Tariq-Wandering-Sage-and-Crowned-Sun-(Part-1)
Streak of (Bad) Luck http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/300-Streak-of-(Bad)-Luck Wed, 15 Apr 2009 13:29:19 GMT I've tried to run online games multiple times in the past. Play by E-mail (PbEM), Play by Post (PbP) and via online chat, all of these has lead to disappointment. I'll be the first to say that I was a chief cause in most of their downfalls. It's difficult for me to sustain interest in online campaigns since I don't see the people in them face to face. I also tend to over-estimate the time I have available to run them. Still more are brought down by lack of player participation and even more never even get off the ground.

What is it about the online media that makes it so difficult (for me) to sustain a game? Is it the impersonal quality of text versus speech? Lack of commitment in general from online players? Seems to me that virtual gaming is best suited to video games and not role playing games. There are, of course, notable exceptions to this and I have looked on enviously at those games that have managed to thrive on the interwebs. Yet, despite my coveting, I think I'll stick to in-person gaming where possible. There's something irreplaceable about looking around a table at your friends, holding the dice in your hands and spending an evening with them. ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/300-Streak-of-(Bad)-Luck
Border War Campaign Part 16 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/298-Border-War-Campaign-Part-16 Tue, 14 Apr 2009 21:14:19 GMT Both Gaias and Zephyr did not make it this week. However, we've had yet another player join our merry band bringing the total to 6 players. The new character is Fractured Sapphire, a Twilight Caste investigator/interrogator. His presence has given me the opportunity to do some interesting things with the story. But more on that later, back to the good stuff.

P.S. Less gaming than last time due to goofoffery, but there were definitely happenings of significance.

----
Fractured Sapphire, a man of the Guild, had received a missive from his superior, Ominous Whispers. The pair had never met, but Whispers was quite explicit that the details of her current mission merited the talents of a diplomat with his "special" skills. Eager to discover what the fuss was all about, Fracture set out for Three Oaks to meet up with Whispers and arrived, several days later, only a few hours after she had gone to Sumar's capital to bargain for the removal of Kalia's warmongering Elder. She left midday on the final day of Calibration blissfully unaware of the uproar caused by the Abyssal. Fracture's arrival was coincidentally timed; he was able to observe Willow, Rami (with the Abyssal in tow) and Gaias leave the tea house for the woods to the west of town. Following behind he was both unnoticed and unaware that he himself was being followed by Kageto and Wraith (in the guise of a snake).

Willow had Rami lay the Abyssal out at the base of the great tree and called down the tree god to complete their deal. Ever petulant, the tree god asked her to come back later so that the god might devote some time and attention to properly interrogating the Abyssal. Refusing, Willow instead brought the Abyssal to consciousness and insisted on the god fulfilling her part of the bargain immediately. Wood-skinned and leaf-faced servants of the tree appeared to show Willow to a door that opened in the trunk of the great tree. Further servants restrained the Abyssal and began to slowly torture him as the tree god asked him questions. None of those watching stepped in to help the Abyssal and the curious tree god became somewhat overzealous in her attentions. The tree's servants lifted his body up and sealed him to the trunk of the tree, unbreathing, unmoving, dead to all the world.

Meanwhile, inside the tree itself, great wonders were revealed to Willow. After stepping through the crevice in the trunk, Willow found herself on a platform carved from the living wood of the tree. Around the inside and hollowed out of the core of the tree were massive bookcases filled with book after book. All were different and many of the wood-skinned servants clambered up and down spiral staircases, rearranging and tending to the books. One of them approached Willow with two books in hand. The first was an ancient-looking tome printed on fine but aging linen and bound between burnished copper plates. It was an achingly thin book and the cover was etched with erratic calligraphy from many different hands in many different languages. All seemed to have a common thread: they spoke of an evil witch, a cold and heartless woman that had to be put down for the safety of all mankind. The second book was newer, thicker, printed on extraordinarily fine sheets of wood rather than pressed paper and bound in living leather. Across the cover was a delicate filigree in ever shifting patterns that reminded Willow of the masterwork architectural features of the school she used to attend.

Willow was presented with a choice: she may only read one book. The rest were forbidden for her; she could not even touch them. Further, she would only be allowed to leave this place with the book if she swore never to speak of what she discovered within it to anyone. Willow agreed with one exception: that she would be allowed to speak of it to a child of her flesh. The tree agreed to this exception and Willow chose the copper-bound tome, turned and exitted the massive library in the tree.

While she was inside the great tree, Fracture had approached the group and asked if any of them knew where he might find Ominous Whispers. She had mentioned that there were other powerful players in the area and those gathered here seemed to fit that description. After being told that her last known whereabouts were the tea house that morning, Fracture inspected the body of the Abyssal sealed to the tree and left at top speed, leaping through the treetops. Willow emerged, carrying her book and it was decided by all to return to the tea house as well. Kageto and Wraith, never having made their presence known, remained at the tree. Transforming back to her human form, Wraith expressed her dismay that no one stopped the torture of the Abyssal (now known to be called The Traveller) and wondered aloud if Kageto had been aware that he would be treated like that. Kageto swore he knew nothing about it and the two resolved to leave the area.

Fracture arrived at the tea house and questioned those within about the goings on in the past few days. He received wildly exaggerated tales about battles happening in front of the Council Hall and left to investigate as the rest of the party arrived. Fracture determined that there had been perhaps one injured person at the Council Hall, decided that the "portal to hell" he had been warned about was nothing more than an odd spot in the dirt a few yards across, and intuited that his best course of action would be to seek his superior to the west in Sumar.

To be continued ... ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/298-Border-War-Campaign-Part-16
Border War Campaign Part 15 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/246-Border-War-Campaign-Part-15 Mon, 30 Mar 2009 13:59:54 GMT This week Ominous Whisper's player was out of town, which was unfortunate. On the up side, I managed to get my act together and stuff actually got done. I was rather pleased with the amount of in-character interaction that went on this week.

Also, note to self: Have a plan in place in case every single PC fails their Notice, Investigation AND tracking checks when trying to find the MacGuffin. :)

Notes for the readers:
Thorns is a city that was taken over by one of the main baddies of the setting, The Mask of Winters. He is a Deathlord, the powerful, power-hungry, somewhat insane ghost of a Solar Exalt that was betrayed and murdered millenia ago. There are 13 of them and they tend to play power games with each other while they try to destroy the world. The Mask of Winters is the most known as he is the only one to have conquered a city of the living (Thorns) and held it. It just so happens that Thorns was in close proximity to Gaias' village and was collateral damage during that battle.

----
Gaias searched Willow's room at the inn, unable to find Kageto or the Abyssal but seeing that nothing but Kageto's gear had been taken. Noting the faint scent of a strange perfume in the air, he returned to the tea-house where Willow and Mai tended the wounded and Whispers rested for her journey into Sumar. Whispers' attendants kept themselves to her room and promised to watch over her. Gaias informed Willow that Wataru and the Abyssal were missing, to which she did not react well. Gaias suggested they mount a search of the surrounding woods.

Zephyr made his way into town in the early morning, approaching openly on the road. Three Oaks was mostly deserted, save for the tea house where he encountered Willow Gaias and Rami as they were leaving it. Both sides warned the other against staying in the area as it was known amongst them that the Wyld Hunt was coming. Willow made it plain that she was a demon, a target for the Hunt and Zephyr responded that it was his intention to fight them when they arrived. A quick, if limited alliance was formed with Zephyr promising to help find their missing people in return for compensation from Willow. During this exchange, Willow presented herself as someone with extraordinary wealth and made it seem as though Gaias were her bodyguard and Rami her servant. Gaias and Rami left with Zephyr to try and track down the two missing men by starting in the room at the inn where they had last been seen. The incredible assortment of artifacts, finery and a dead, decaying corpse was not lost on Zephyr. The three began their search which eventually led them toward the woods outside of town.

Willow returned to the tea house to meditate and regain her composure. Having the promise of sorcerous knowledge dangled in front of her and then taken away so many times had exhausted her (not limitless) patience.

Meanwhile, Kageto went to check on the Abyssal only to discover that he had escaped and left the silk cord he was bound with behind him. Wraith decided to take the opportunity to begin her ritual hunt immediately. Taking the silk cord with her, Wraith went into the woods to hunt him down. Unable to keep to himself, Kageto followed after her. He began his search by checking for the Abyssal's tracks outside the farmhouse. He discovered that Gaias' dog, Aesis had recently been there, but was unable to tell how old his tracks were. He picked up the Abyssals trail and followed it through the woods. He followed his trail to a small road which led into town. He surmised the Abyssal had collapsed in the road and been found by travelers who took pity on him and carried him to Three Oaks. Having lost the trail, Kageto cast about looking for Wraith whom he found sitting in a tree and watching his investigations. Kageto told her he thought he knew where the Abyssal might have been taken and that they might still find him there. Wraith agreed that they should follow after him and transformed herself into a rat and climbed into the pocket of the (somewhat shaken) Kageto's jacket. The two then headed into town and stealthfully approached the tea house.

After many hours of fruitless searching, Zephyr managed to find the trail they sought in the early evening hours. They found footprints of a small woman, a tall - but injured - man and the bootprints of Kageto. As soon as they had picked up the trail, Aesis came out of the woods and sat at Gaias feet. Frustrated and annoyed, Gaias called off the search and Zephyr headed back into town alone. Gaias and Rami, with dog in tow, returned to the tea house to conference with Willow.

When Willow awoke from her meditations, Mai told her she had a visitor who had insisted on seeing her as soon as she was available. Intrigued, Willow went to her sitting room to discover the much sought after Abyssal collapsed on the floor. After making him more comfortable, the two struck a deal. The Abyssal agreed to cooperate with Willow and accompany her to speak with the tree god if she returned his weapons, armor, and the enchanted mirror she had taken. Willow also sweetened the deal by offering to patch up him up. Willow sent Mai out for Rami to seal and sanctify the bargain while the two made polite conversation.

Mai returned with both Rami and Gaias. Willow described her bargain to Rami who questioned the wisdom of it, but the pair were interrupted when Gaias confronted the Abyssal and demanded to know the name of his master and who had sent him and his brother here. The Abyssal rose from his chair and looking down on him, said that if Gaias wanted to know more about his master he would have to go to Thorns and ask him personally. Gaias, angry and insulted, kicked the Abyssal ferociously in the leg, breaking his knee and sending him crashing to the floor. Willow rounded on Gaias, reminding him cruelly how much she had done for him and how often she had healed him saying, Was it so much to ask that she be allowed this one thing for herself? Gaias left the tea house and waited outside.

Kageto watched with Wraith from the shadows as Gaias emerged from the tea house, followed minutes later by Willow and Rami (who carried the Abyssal on his shoulders). The pair stealthfully followed them to the clearing of the tree god while Rami tried to cheer Willow up by teaching her some of his native language, Flametongue. The party approached the clearing, stopping to make obeisance to the tree god, and called her down to complete the deal they had begun days earlier: they would trade the Abyssal for the sorcerous knowledge Willow desired. Kageto and Wraith remained hidden in the trees.

Back in town, Zephyr had secured himself a sniper's nest with a vantage point of the square in front of the Council Hall. He hunkered down there for the night only to be awoken by a clumsy citizen's patrol. He noted that they were searching every building in town inside and out and decided to check on the room at the inn where the party was keeping its belongings to see if they had been disturbed. While there, he took a further inventory and decided to "liberate" several valuable items and stash them in the woods. Afterwards, he returned to his vantage point and went back to sleep.

To be continued ... ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/246-Border-War-Campaign-Part-15
Dolling, part deux http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/216-Dolling-part-deux Sun, 22 Mar 2009 20:16:40 GMT Just thought I'd share my latest creation. This is just something I was playing around with. I saw a premade that reminded me of one of my player's characters and just had to mess with it. So, behold: Nomora Kageto and the memory of his lost love. I dimmed out the figure of the woman in the background to make it seem more ethereal by lightening the color and upping the saturation. The saturation value of a color describes how intense it is. The lower the saturation, the more the color seems dull and gray. If you look closely at the woman in the background, you'll see she has sparkles or starbursts on her in several spots. These were all over the image and I removed them from the foreground image using a smudge tool.

Edit: I'm just going to update this post because it took me less time than I thought to finish the doll of Silver-Draped Wraith/Crystal Bay. One of the disappointingly cool things I did on her outfit is the trim that appears white in this pic. It's actually a very pale rainbow all the way across (like an oil slick), but it doesn't show up in this image. I think I'll go back in and remove the silver leaf/feather jewelry as it doesn't seem to add to the image.
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GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/216-Dolling-part-deux
Border War Campaign Part 14 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/203-Border-War-Campaign-Part-14 Thu, 19 Mar 2009 14:59:13 GMT After having to skip a session due to bad scheduling, the stars aligned in our favor and we were able to bring in a new player. Zephyr Voltanis (if... After having to skip a session due to bad scheduling, the stars aligned in our favor and we were able to bring in a new player. Zephyr Voltanis (if I'm spelling that right) is a Night Caste assassin and spy on a quest to take down the Realm one Dragon-Blooded at a time.

Session was a little short again this time due to a few hours spent in character creation and general tomfoolery.

----
Wataru, now Kageto once more, wanted to leave the area immediately now that his love had returned to him. Crystal Bay, now calling herself Silver-Draped Wraith, instead decided to take the captured Abyssal as her own prize. She reasoned that since his features looked like a Dragon Blooded, she could kill him, take his form and use it to fool the Wyld Hunt. To that end, the two made off with the Abyssal, sneaking through town to an outlying farmstead. Once there they discussed their plan to wait until nightfall so that Wraith could conduct a ritual hunt to take on the Abyssal's form. They then retired to another room while the curtains fell over the scene.

Whispers and Rami discussed their diplomatic plans while waiting for Willow to return to the teahouse. Whispers had been shot with an arrow in the fight with the Abyssal at the Council Hall earlier and needed Willow's healing before setting to any plan. Whispers intended to set out for the next nearest Sumarian town to negotiate for the removal of the Elder of Kalia. Rami counseled that to do so would be involving herself too much and that it would be safer for all of them (including Three Oaks) if every Anathema in the area just left before the Wyld Hunt arrived. If no demon threat existed, the Elder's reason for sending troops would be removed and the townsfolk could return and not fear a Dragon-Blooded occupation. Whispers disagreed, saying that the Elder was already committed to war and had only been searching for a reason to begin one.

Willow and Mai came to the teahouse, and Willow tended to Whispers' wound while Gaias and Rami left to round up survivors of the undead assault. after clearing the streets and taking the people to the tea house for Willow to tend, the pair decided to check the outlying farmhouses to see if any other refugees survived. After returning from one such trip, Gaias asked where the captured Abyssal was being kept because he wanted to question him about his dead brother (a former Abyssal). Willow told him that the Abyssal was bound and being guarded by Wataru in the inn up the road. Searching the inn thoroughly, Gaias found no signs of life or habitation in any of the rooms. Wataru had vanished with the living Abyssal, leaving Gaias' dead brother and the other Abyssal's artifacts behind. While investigating the room, Gaias smelled a faint perfume that he did not recognize and wished he knew where his dog was. Aesis, the black mastiff his mentor had loaned him, had not been seen since the night they had gotten trapped in the shadowland.

Meanwhile, Zephyr had heard a rumor that the Wyld Hunt had been called by the Elder of Kalia on the neighboring township of Three Oaks. The rumor said that there were more than one of the Anathema hiding in the city and that the Council in Three Oaks was giving them sanctuary. It was said that the Wyld Hunt should arrive in two to three days, before the end of Calibration. Seeking to destroy the Wyld Hunt, Zephyr set out down the river to Kalia to investigate further. Once he arrived, he found Kalia on lockdown. The troops were returning back from across the river in their boats in the early, pre-dawn light. Zephyr decided to check out the situation on the other side of the river and swum across. He built a small fire to dry his clothes and gear out on the opposite riverbank and headed towards Three Oaks. As he approached, he came upon an abandoned farmstead. He found no animals or people, and it seemed to him the owners had left in a great hurry in the middle of their tasks, their dinner half eaten. Continuing on, he noticed the outskirts of town were utterly deserted, not a soul in sight.

To be continued ... ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/203-Border-War-Campaign-Part-14
Dolling http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/188-Dolling Thu, 12 Mar 2009 21:50:18 GMT I've picked up another "craft" that I'd been playing with several years ago called dolling. Basically, you create a pixelized, animated image of a person and "paint" on clothes, accessories, etc. Girly, yes, but as someone lacking in artistic talents I find that dolling is a good way for me to illustrate my characters. For the most part I do adaptations and recolors of existing dolls that are of a style called Candy Bar (made in Korea). The best dollmakers I have found that provide this style are at www.thedollpalace.com and http://elouai.com/doll-makers.php

So, without further ado, I give you Ia Stormwarden and Rami Tariq. Ia is a character from the Savage Worlds campaign being run by Webhead (which you can read about here) and Rami is an NPC in the Exalted campaign I'm running.

Ia is a female, human skyship captain who fights with a bone spear. I tried to keep the colors muted and dull and used a lot of canvas-type colors (like sailcloth) because of the setting. Rami is a male Eclipse Caste Solar. At the moment he's working as a merchant so he is dressed in bright, rich colors and impractical clothing in silk and velvet. I got to play with skin tones on him, as most Candy Bar dolls only come in the caucasian skin tone.
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GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/188-Dolling
Gaming to Excess http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/169-Gaming-to-Excess Tue, 03 Mar 2009 15:10:59 GMT I recently ran across a wiki article listing all the released and planned Exalted 2e books. This edition, they're much better organized and so are easier to list. The underlined books have not been released but are either in work or are planned to be released.

The Playable Class Books
Exalted: Second Edition (core book)
Exalted: Second Edition Storyteller's Companion (for people who don't want to buy the next four books on the list)
The Manual of Exalted Power: The Dragon-Blooded
The Manual of Exalted Power: The Lunars
The Manual of Exalted Power: The Sidereals
The Manual of Exalted Power: The Abyssals
Graceful Wicked Masques: The Fair Folk
Manual of Exalted Power - The Infernals
Manual of Exalted Power - The Alchemicals

Books of Magic
The Books of Sorcery, Vol. I: Wonders of the Lost Age (Artifacts and magical items)
The Books of Sorcery, Vol. II: White and Black Treatises (Complete spell and necromancy compendium)
The Books of Sorcery, Vol. III: Oadenol's Codex (book on crafting magical items)
The Books of Sorcery, Vol. IV: The Roll of Glorious Divinity I (gods and elementals)
The Books of Sorcery, Vol. V: The Roll of Glorious Divinity II: Ghosts & Demons

Setting Books
The Compass of Terrestrial Directions, Vol. I: The Scavenger Lands
The Compass of Terrestrial Directions, Vol. II: The West
The Compass of Terrestrial Directions, Vol. III: The East
The Compass of Terrestrial Directions, Vol. IV: The South
The Compass of Terrestrial Directions, Vol. V: The North
The Compass of Celestial Directions, Vol. I: The Blessed Isle
The Compass of Celestial Directions, Vol. II: The Wyld
The Compass of Celestial Directions, Vol. III: Yu-Shan
The Compass of Celestial Directions, Vol. IV: the Underworld
The Compass of Celestial Directions, Vol.V: Malfeas

Expansions
The Scroll of the Monk (martial arts)
The Scroll of Kings (mass combat, naval combat)
The Scroll of Fallen Races (rare, but still playable races)
Scroll of Heroes (rare, but still playable classes)
Scroll of Exalts (about the signature characters)
Dreams of the First Age (alternate setting)
The Art of Exalted

Now all of this seems to be a bit excessive. Yet, I have everything that doesn't have a * by it. This list doesn't even include the two board games and short comic series they released or the failed TCG and console game. I told myself when I began collecting that I was doing it to support a game that I love so that maybe it'll achieve the kind of market share that its predecessors (the WoD line) did. After all, they're made by the same company, right? Some of us in the fan community felt that White Wolf was more than happy to use the earnings they got from Exalted to buff up their old, decrepit WoD line. Exalted was their cash cow, we thought, and they were treating us like step children. We bought everything they released, played it faithfully (and kicked and screamed when they did something we didn't like). After a while, I got tired of feeling ignored and left their in-house forum ... but I kept collecting. I look at this list and think about all the money I sunk into it that I probably won't be able to get back. A quarter of these books haven't even been opened, and I've not read a single one cover to cover. Nope, not even the core book. I guess my question is, when is enough enough? It would seem by their release structure that after they get done with this list that there won't be any more releases, but I'm not so sure I trust that.

I know that D&D suffers a similar malady, but I'm entirely unfamiliar with it. It makes me wonder how many out there suffer from collection mania like me. How many people simply have to have that last book, that last pack of cards or set of minis to complete their collection. And for a while it's enough ... until they release another set. ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/169-Gaming-to-Excess
Exalted 2e: Conversion to a Modern Setting http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/149-Exalted-2e-Conversion-to-a-Modern-Setting Tue, 24 Feb 2009 16:59:01 GMT Once upon a time, I had this posted up here somewheres. Since I can't find it now and will be picking the project up again shortly I figured I might as well post up what I already have. This is meant to be an alternate setting for use with the Exalted 2e core rules. White Wolf has done similar things recently, creating a boxed set detailing the golden age before the time the game is currently set in.

----------------------
The Story
----------------------
You know the flood story, I assume? Noah and the boat, animals two by two and all that? It's true. In the first and second age, the world was flat. Outside of the world was the Wyld, above it was Heaven and below it was the Underworld. In the chaos and destruction and great calamity that followed on the heels of the Scarlet Empress' disappearance, the return of the solars, the rise of the deathlords, etc., etc., and so forth the conflict was so great that the greatest of the gods had to step forth and do something about it. The Unconquered Sun, Luna, the Five Maidens, Gaia. Gaia was called upon to swallow the Underworld and lock away the realm of her dead brethren. She did so, locking the underworld within her being and twisting to contain it. In the cataclism the shift caused, the great elemental powers at the corners of creation were torn loose and the armies of the Wyld came rushing in. The entire world was engulfed in an elemental torrent.

Foreseeing this, one lone Sidereal and a small contingent of humans gathered together what they could of the world. Animals, two by two. They locked themselves in a massive mountain Manse, protected by the most powerful of magics in Creation. The Unconquered Sun, Luna, and the Maidens forced the wyld back beyond the heavens, breaking apart the heavenly isle of Yu-Shan with their efforts. Each took up a station, standing guard over the remains of what they had once ruled. To protect themselves, they followed Gaia's example and made themselves into what mortals now call planets. The remains of Yu-Shan now orbit between what is left of Mars and Jupiter. The Wyld is what's past the solar system, past the range of the solar winds. Voyager 1 and 2 passed this barrier not long ago. They have not been heard from since. Pluto and its moon are occasionally in the bordermarches. During meteor showers and other astronomical events, wyld effects can occur randomly.

When the flood of the elements had subsided, forty days and forty nights later, the Sidereal discovered that a Lunar had hidden among the animals they rescued. Prince of Doves was sent out to see if it was safe to leave their mountain fortress. When he returned, he carried the branch of an olive tree as proof that the waters had gone down. They left the mountain and called it Ararat, the place of new beginnings.

The man, Jesus, was a Lunar and the Tribe of Israel is his Thousand Streams River experiment. He was the same Lunar that was with them in the beginning. He occasionally sired half-caste children that lived remarkably long lives and were heros of the tribe. He would take their shapes temporarily through and deliver prophecies to nudge the society along. About 2000 years ago the Lunar was getting towards the end of his natural life and wanted to leave the most powerful message he could with his tribe. And so he became a martyr for them. Unfortunately, his message was misinterpreted and Christianity was born. His Essence hasn't reincarnated because Luna has been lying dormant all these millenia.

His return has been prophesied as the coming of The Antichrist, and he will bear the mark of the beast.

The Sidereal though, before he locked himself away, stole peaches of immortality and celestial wine and has been keeping himself alive this whole time. So what has this Sidereal been doing? Well, seeing as how he's now around 5,500 years old he's had a lot of time on his hands to figure out exactly what happened when the excrement impacted the rotating mechanism. With the time he's had he managed to find a way to pull down exalted soul shards which have, for lack of a god to assign them a body, been sort of floating around. The last Primordial, Gaia, is slowly dying as Autocthon had done before her; her ambient essence has reduced to a trickle and her natural resources are in danger of being consumed. The return of essence users may slowly start to change things and reawaken her.

----------------------
Run Rules
----------------------
There is no starmetal that was not around before the Flood. Asteroids, meteorites and the like are now called starstuff and are all touched by the Wyld.

All static values now round down, regardless.

Add 1 WP to the cost of all charms at Essence 3+ that do not currently have that listed in the activation cost. Add a cost to the activation of Knacks or Charms that list a shapeshifting description in their text. The cost is (the minimum Attribute requirement of the Knack/Charm - the PC's [Stamina]) to a minimum of 1 in dice of unsoakable bashing damage. Shifting to true forms (Spirit shape, true human form and war form), shifting to another human shape of the same gender, and making cosmetic changes to forms (as with Changing Plumage Mastery) does not carry a minimum damage (and the damage can thus be reduced to 0).

Essence replenishes at the rate of 4 motes per hour when meditating or sleeping and 2 motes per hour when active. For Lunars, increase the rate to 6 motes per hour if meditating or sleeping in a true form or 4 motes if active in a true form in a wilderness area.

All Lunars are Casteless. Lunars now only roll to gain mutations if they shapeshift in the presence of starstuff, moonsilver, or other material or energies inherently in tune with the Wyld. The roll is made as normal and the mutation pool accumulates and fades as normal. The Taboo Background may affect this as normal.

Essence pools are now calculated:
Personal pool: Essence + Willpower + Highest Virtue
Solar Peripheral pool: Essence x 6 + Willpower x 2 + Highest Virtue
Lunar Peripheral pool: Ess x 4 + Willpower x 2 + Highest Virtue x 2

----------------------
Character Creation
----------------------
These are alterations of the original 2e character generation rules in order to bring down the power levels and reflect the changes to the setting. If something isn't listed, it is assumed that you should use the information from the Exalted: Second Edition core book. Thus far I've only come up with Solar and Lunar character creation rules. Merits and Flaws are contained in the 1st edition Players Handbook, and would need to be converted to 2nd edition and approved by the GM.

Attributes: 7/5/3
Abilities: 22, at least 10 must be caste or favored, none higher than 3 without bp
Virtues: 5, none higher than 3 without bp
Backgrounds: 7, none higher than 3 without bp
Willpower: Highest + lowest Virtue, cannot be higher than 7 at starting
Charms: 10, at least 5 must be from caste or favored
Essence: 2, may not be higher than 3 at starting.
Bonus points: 15
Merits and Flaws: max of 10 points each, must be approved.

----------------------
Ability Rules
----------------------
Sorcery and Necromancy are not currently available. Thaumaturgy is still available.

Solars may have three Favored Abilities, Lunars may have two (including Survival).

There is now a Craft: Metal sub-Ability which covers modern technological devices and design principles.

The Sail Ability is now called Drive and is used for piloting craft that can transport more than two people.

Ride is used to ride animals and to pilot smaller craft.

Archery is used to fire projectiles that do not rely on the strength of the user to determine damage. This includes guns, bows, ballistae and crossbows.

The Bureaucracy Ability is now called Politics.

----------------------
Background Rules
----------------------
There are no known manses except the mountain manse humanity was rescued in. There are demesnes but none higher than level 3.

You may not start with Artifacts that are not given to you without special permission.

This is the new list of backgrounds
Allies - As in Exalted 2e
Backing - Borrowed from Vampire: the Masquerade (revised edition)
* Your character is a lower officer or minor functionary
** Your character is a mid-level officer, the head of a small department or some similarly intermediate position.
*** Your character is moderately powerful and has many people working under her
**** Your character is extremely powerful and typically is only one or two rungs down from the people in charge of her organization.
***** Your character is one of the leaders of her organization, a general or admiral, a CEO, a cardinal or bishop, etc.
Contacts - As in Exalted 2e
Cult - As in Exalted 2e
Familiar - As in Exalted 2e
Followers - As in Exalted 2e
Heart's Blood - As in Exalted: the Lunars 2e
Mentor - As in Exalted 2e
Reputation - As in Exalted: the Dragon Blooded 2e
Resources - Borrowed from Vampire: the Masquerade (revised edition)
* Small savings: a small apartment and maybe a motorcycle. If liquidated, you would have about $1,000 in cash. Allowance of $500 a month
** Middle class: an apartment or condominium. If liquidated, you would have at least $8,000 in cash. Allowance of $1200 a month
*** Large savings: a homeowner or someone with some equity. If liquidated, you would have at least $50,000 in cash. Allowance of $3000 a month
**** Well-off: a member of the upper class. You own a very large house, or perhaps a dilapidated mansion. If liquidated, you would have at least $500,000 in cash. Allowance of $9000 a month
***** Ridiculously affluent: a multimillionaire. Your home is limited by little save your imagination. If liquidated, your would have at least $5 million in cash. Allowance of $30,000 a month
Retainers - As in Exalted 2e
+Solar Bond - As in Exalted: the Lunars 2e
Taboo - As in Exalted: the Lunars 2e

+Solar Bond will only be available if you and another player decide to have that connection between your characters. If the group should figure out how to bring back more solars, you have about a 1 in 200 to 300 shot of it being your Solar mate.

All unlisted Backgrounds are disallowed

----------------------
Bonus Point Costs
----------------------
Attribute - 4 bp per dot
Ability - 2 bp or 1 bp per dot for favored
Charm - 7 bp or 5 bp per dot for favored
Background - 1 bp or 2 bp per dot above 3
Virtue - 3 bp per dot
Willpower - 2 bp per dot
Specialty - 1 bp per dot
Intimacies - 3 bp to increase starting Intimacies to WP + Compassion
Essence - 9 bp
For Lunars:
Charm - 9 bp or 6 bp for favored
Knack - 7 bp
Essence - 12

----------------------
Experience Point Costs
----------------------
New Ability - 3 xp
Charm - 12 xp or 10 xp for favored
Attribute - current rating x 4
Ability - current rating x 2 (-1 if favored)
Virtue - current rating x 3
Willpower - current rating x 2
Essence - current rating x 9
Specialty - 3 xp
For Lunars:
Charm - 14 xp or 12 xp for favored
Knack - 13 xp
Attribute - current rating x 4 or x 3 if favored
Essence - current rating x 10 ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/149-Exalted-2e-Conversion-to-a-Modern-Setting
Border War Campaign - Persons, Places and Things http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/137-Border-War-Campaign-Persons-Places-and-Things Thu, 19 Feb 2009 16:04:11 GMT *_The Locations_* *Tyria* Three Oaks - The main story location. Governed by the local Council of Five. This is a highly spiritual town, obedient to... The Locations
Tyria
Three Oaks - The main story location. Governed by the local Council of Five. This is a highly spiritual town, obedient to the tenets of their city god, Amaal Arnisth. One of these is a prohibition against the possession or crafting of metal. It is believed that the influence of refined metal harms one's spirit, separating it from the flow of nature. Goods exchange is conducted mainly through barter or using marble chits.

Sumar
Kalia - A city on the opposite side of the river to Three Oaks. Kalia is an industrial port town with high protective walls around the main city. It is governed by the Elder, a hard, grasping woman who is has called for the border with Tyria to be reinforced along the river. Recently, companies of foreign toughs have been hired on to add to security.
High Keep - The center of government in Sumar. It is set into a cliff face and surrounded by a high wall. There are separate quarters in the city for foreigners, merchants, politicians, and nobility, etc. Each city in Sumar houses trained birds that will return to High Keep with messages. The House of Lords holds session here overseen by the Oligarch, a position which rotates every season to a different Lord.

Dramatis personś
The Exalts
Gaias Valerius - Dawn caste warrior who hails from a village that fell when the Deathlord Mask of Winters overtook the city Thorns and the surrounding areas. Champions of the Deathlord destroyed everything Gaias ever knew, and he swore revenge. He trained under his mentor, a master of the blade, and set out to find the man in black armor who killed his family.
Nine Willows in Autumn - Twilight caste scholar and healer, she was born in the warm southwestern satrapies of the Realm. She exalted while serving on the Blessed Isle as a physician and was driven out, losing her family and her position. She made her way east to escape from her past, and now sells her services to pay for her search for greater knowledge ... and greater power.
Nomora Kageto (Wataru) - This honorable Night caste was once the head of security for the noble House Crystal on the isle of Avery in the far western ocean. When the entire family was killed in one night, he was found unconscious holding his bloody sword. He was sentenced to death only to be secreted away by his second in command. His journey is one of redemption.
Ominous Whispers - What harm can befall you from a young, blind girl? Plenty, when she is also an Eclipse caste Solar exalt. From her humble origins, she has made of herself a treasured diplomat - and assassin - to the Guild. She is in Tyria to assure that peace is maintained ... at all costs.
Zehpyr Voltanis - An assassin, but not what you'd expect. This Night Caste is out for vengeance and gunning for the Realm, one Dragon-Blooded at a time.
Fractured Sapphire - A craftsman and interrogator, he works for the Guild under Ominous Whispers. This Twilight Caste has been summoned by Whispers as backup to aid in her mission.
Stalwart Second - A Northern warrior, jocular and true. This Zenith traveled to Three Oaks to carry out a final favor for a fallen comrade and found himself caught in a dangerous situation.
Rami Tariq (NPC) - Rami is a jocular man of surprising talents and unknown origins. He seems to have a personal stake in the city of Three Oaks and is willing to fight to see that it survives.
Silver Draped Wraith (NPC) - This striking young Lunar was formerly known as Crystal Bay, a scion of House Crystal. Her exotic appearance distracts the eye from the many deadly secrets that lie beneath the skin.
Bones of the Ashen Pheonix (NPC) - None other than the very man in black armor that killed Gaias' family and razed his village to the ground. Unbeknownst to Gaias, this Abyssal is also his elder brother.
Traveller Under the Sanguine Moon (NPC) - Consummate agitator, this Abyssal was tasked by his master to discover the secrets hidden by the Great Tree deep in the forest between Tyria and Sumar. He is willing, and able, to do anything to complete his mission.
Typhon (NPC) - Diplomatic envoy from Thorns to the Scavenger Lands Confederation of Rivers. This Abyssal was sent to High Keep to forward his Liege's interests in Kalia/Three Oaks.
Howls Justice (NPC) - A Lunar masquerading as the Black Star Mastiff named Aesis. Gaias' mentor, Adamant Rose, sent Justice with Gaias to make sure he got back home alive.

The Mortals
The Council of Five - The governing body of Three Oaks
The Elder - The head woman in charge of Kalia
The Tea House Mistress - A refined lady of culture and class, here to serve you whenever you ask
Senmai (Mai) - Handmaid to Nine Willows in Autumn, former lady of the evening in Lookshy
Halvor - Gaias mysterious traveling companion, he was killed at the toll crossing and none of the stories he told Gaias seem to check out
Aesis - A huge black hound belonging to Gaias' mentor and sent along to "watch after him."

The Gods
Amaal Arnisth - The as of yet unseen city god of Three Oaks
The Bibliothecary - Known only to the party as "the tree god," she has shown herself to be petulant as well as petty. Her home and visage is a giant evergreen with its canopy near a mile above the surrounding forest. She has promised Willow knowledge of sorcery if she will give the god one of the Abyssals. ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/137-Border-War-Campaign-Persons-Places-and-Things
Border War Campaign Part 13 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/132-Border-War-Campaign-Part-13 Mon, 16 Feb 2009 17:39:15 GMT Our group finally got together again after over a month away due to holidays and schedule conflicts. Admittedly, we goofed off quite a bit and didn't get much done in game. On top of this, we were missing Wataru's player due to prior commitments. To make up for this, I did some additional story development via online chat with him. Details of Wataru's background are coming back to haunt him, so to speak.

Also, it bears repeating that Ominous Whispers is blind and can only "see" through the use of an artifact blindfold. With it, she can distinguish the energy of life, Essence, and uses it to function normally. Each individual she sees has a distinct "color" to their Essence, and her familiarity with seeing in this way gives her the ability to sense what type of energy she is seeing (natural, spiritual, death-tainted, etc.). With that in mind, we return to the showdown at the Council Hall, in media res.

----
Ambushed by Whispers' attack, the Abyssal fell on the spot. She watched as his Essence dissipated, shifted from the general shape of a man to an amorphous cloud and drifted backwards through the Council Hall doorway and into the shadowland. His sword and breastplate remained on the ground where he had fallen. Her intense focus was almost her undoing, as a hidden archer loosed an arrow at her from the doorframe of the Hall. Whispers realized what she had thought was the Abyssal was, in fact, a decoy wearing the Abyssal's armor and carrying his sword. The last Abyssal was still alive.

The two exalts continued their standoff while the undead forces spread forward into the city. Their hunger for living flesh and blood drove them to seek out the remaining citizens, the army they had been sent to kill mysteriously absent. In the streets, Willow and Wataru fought them alongside the mortals. Soon, they were re-joined by Gaias and Rami and made quick work of the shambling corpses and hungry ghosts. But a bright light at the Hall drew their attention, and they went to investigate.

The party came upon Ominous Whispers, who had managed to draw out the Abyssal, injure him, and pin him down on the roof of the Hall. Willow used her own Essence sight ability to gather the gist of the situation. Satisfied that Whispers had the everything under control, Willow decided to investigate the interior of the Hall to look for the glowing light that Gaias had seen the night before. The Abyssal sensed an advantage and moved to enter the Hall through a window and capture Willow. Whispers countered his plan, striking at him with her knife by ricocheting it off a neighboring roof. The Abyssal, on death's door, crashed to the ground at Willow's feet.

Willow, a master healer, was able to stabilize the Abyssal handily.

----
Beyond this point, all actions not taken by Wataru are subject to change, as they were made by me in an online chat with Wataru's player at a later time.
----

The major combatants neutralized, the party could begin to take care of normal business. Gaias left to sweep the city for remaining undead while Rami helped Whispers down from the rooftops and escorted her back to her room at the tea house. After stabilizing the Abyssal, Willow and Wataru took him back to the inn and laid him out next to his dead partner in Willow's room. Wataru tied him up and decided to maintain a guard over him while Willow and her maid left to further investigate the Hall and assist the remaining townsfolk.

Wataru's vigil was interrupted by a knock on the door and someone speaking the name that he was known by in the life he left behind years ago: Nomora Kageto. When he opened the door, he saw the woman he loved and whom he believed he had killed. The woman, Crystal Bay, revealed that she was also an exalt and had been searching for him. She performed a ritual to remove his curse and forgive him of the crimes he had supposedly committed ... crimes she said he was innocent of. Wataru, now Kageto again, renounced his previous duties as Willow's bodyguard and swore he would remain with Crystal Bay.

To be continued ... ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/132-Border-War-Campaign-Part-13
Savage Worlds/Sundered Skies http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/131-Savage-Worlds-Sundered-Skies Mon, 16 Feb 2009 15:05:44 GMT I've been an RPGer for over a dozen years now. I keep looking over my list of games that I've tried and it always seems woefully short in comparison to some of you out there ... even some people who've been playing for less than half the time I have. I've set out to rectify that, and so far it's going well.

This weekend I got a chance to play in a game of Sundered Skies (using the Savage Worlds system) run by our very own Webhead. My first impression of the system was good; after understanding the basic mechanics and getting a feel for what the different traits do, it took me under an hour to make a character. This, of course, does not count the time it took me to come up with a concept as that can sometimes take me several days and up :o. I've been fond of the mechanic of using a different die type based on your rating in a trait ever since I saw it in Margaret Weis Productions' Serenity RPG. Savage Worlds takes this same core mechanic and surrounds it with a few others that make it more sound and interesting at the same time (such as raises and the Wild Die). Even though I don't currently have a grasp of the system at the level that running it would require, I felt motivated to gain that familiarity in the short time I had playing it.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that the Sundered Skies setting grabbed me, too. I've long been a fan of White Wolf's Exalted game (both editions) and have often said that it's the setting I love and, because of it, I can forgive the system. Sundered Skies has a lot of similarities with a fantasy setting created by the Weis and Hickman team called Arianus (from their seven book Death Gate series). In short, the world has been blown apart and scattered in a great, unknown cataclysm. All that remains are mysteriously floating islands that support struggling civilizations of Humans, Elves and Dwarves. In Sundered Skies, four more races are added: Drakin, Wildling, Glowborn and Orc. Most will be familiar with the latter race, while the first three are re-imaginings of well known races: the dragon-person, were-animal and goblin, respectively. Toss in skyships, a sinister trade war, piracy and bounty hunters and you've got fodder for years of story telling all sitting in less than two inches of shelf space.

Now, there is a downside to this economy. What I have read of the setting book has left a lot lacking in the detail department. This is frustrating to me and (I can only assume) to many players who would otherwise want to dive headfirst into such a setting. I want to know more, and I've been assured that the GM's section of the setting book has those details. Now ... if only I can restrain myself from peeking at the back of the book ;).

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/131-Savage-Worlds-Sundered-Skies
Waltz with Bashir http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/66-Waltz-with-Bashir Mon, 26 Jan 2009 17:52:42 GMT I wanted to see this movie because of the interesting animation style more than anything. I didn't really know what it was going to be about, just some vague notions about the Isreali conflicts. The whole thing is subbed. I gotta tell you, though ... it was a hell of a downer.

It's one of those movies that's meant to teach something to the audience. The message that comes through is that no one is on the right side, we are all capable of attrocities. Even and especially the people that stand by and let these things happen.

The movie ends on a note that just really kills all urge to converse about it. Instead of animation, it runs a few seconds of footage of the aftermath a massacre. I wanted to be able to talk with my fellow moviegoers about the experience and what it meant to me, but I just felt like talking then would have been inappropriate. So my beau and I just left the theater in relative silence and drove home.

The movie does have a few good points to it. The animation is really cool, and there's a funny scene where an officer is watching a ridiculous German porno. Overall, the movie felt like Catch-22, if you've ever read it.

I give it: 2 stars ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/66-Waltz-with-Bashir
Life Events http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/65-Life-Events Mon, 26 Jan 2009 17:44:33 GMT When I signed up for health insurance from my company (hooray for my first real job!) they said I should choose wisely because my selections would be... When I signed up for health insurance from my company (hooray for my first real job!) they said I should choose wisely because my selections would be locked in for a year except in case of certain "life events". Well, Iz had some good ones :)

Fer instance, I moved from McKinney to Richardson. Huzzah! I am now about 20 miles closer to the rest of Dallas. All the players in my exalted game have had their commute times roughly cut in half ... though we haven't been able to meet for a game yet due to scheduling difficulties.

I also got a new kitten. He's a black and white Siberian we've decided to call Nikolai (Niko for short). He's a firecracker, and completely different to our cowardly lion, Micah. He was quite small and a little sickly when we picked him up, but he's gained about a half pound now which is considerable since he barely weighed 3.5 pounds two weeks ago. He is decidedly cuddly and very concerned with the treatment of his ... leavings. That is to say, if I don't lock him out of the room when I'm cleaning his litter box, he will jump in and try to stop me. TMI? Maybe. But he's cute, dangit.

Hope to have a new campaign log entry sometime next week, and we may even have a guest/visitor, too. ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/65-Life-Events
Border War Campaign Part 12 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/15-Border-War-Campaign-Part-12 Fri, 19 Dec 2008 16:09:06 GMT This week was unfortunately cut short due to excessive stupidity on my part. I drank two Monster energy drinks and had a single slice of pizza for... This week was unfortunately cut short due to excessive stupidity on my part. I drank two Monster energy drinks and had a single slice of pizza for dinner. So when I had a caffeine crash and a blood sugar crash at the same time, the massive migraine that followed shouldn't have been too much of a surprise. It did, however, afford me the opportunity to leave this entry at a cliffhanger :o.

----
Our game begins with Nine Willows and Ominous Whispers standing at the entry to the shadowland at the Council Hall entrance. While gazing into the mirror the party had found, Willows watches as the mirror reveals the remaining Abyssal getting a dressing down from someone. That someone commands him to return to the city, and to bring an army ... and above all, retrieve that mirror! Willows deduces that this mirror is some sort of communications device that allows people to talk over great distances.

Rami arrived at the Hall and conveyed what had happened at the river to Whispers and Willows, informing them that the army of Sumar was still marching on the town. Willows told Rami that a second army was coming as well, this one led by the remaining Abyssal. The three discussed their situation and Wataru approached with Gaias, who carried the dead body of his brother. The party left for the relative privacy of the inn where they laid out Gaias' brother and Willows proceeded to reattached his hand through her powerful healing arts.

The party concluded that the Abyssal planned to kill the entire Sumar army inside the city of Three Oaks in order to expand and solidify the burgeoning shadowland. Wataru decided to try and head off the Sumar army at the second river crossing so that their lives would be spared. He told Rami to retrieve the black armor that Gaias' brother had worn. Their plan was that Gaias would wear his brother's armor and command the Sumar army return to the city if Wataru was unable to stop them.

Wataru managed to cripple many of the Sumarian boats and slow their crossing and, after much convincing, Gaias wore his brother's black armor and dragged a "captive" Rami back to the Sumar front line. Masquerading as the Abyssal, Gaias said that Three Oaks had been taken, Sumar was victorious and that he would hold the city. The Sumar army rejoiced and began the trek back across the rivers while Gaias and Rami returned to the city.

In the meantime, Wataru and Nine Willows were searching the city for the people who did not leave and leading them to safety. Ominous Whispers had one of her attendants place her in a strategic location on a rooftop facing the Council Hall doors and the shadowland. As night finally began to fall, the doors burst open and out marched a force of the undead! A dozen zombies and a score of angry ghosts and, behind them all, the tall figure of the Abyssal emerged from the doors. With a single, powerful stroke, Whispers launched her artifact knife through the air at the unsuspecting Abyssal and struck a mortal blow ...

To be continued ... ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/15-Border-War-Campaign-Part-12
Border War Campaign Part 11 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/14-Border-War-Campaign-Part-11 Fri, 19 Dec 2008 15:50:45 GMT Ominous Whispers' player decided to stay with us for another go 'round. This is our next to last session before the end of the year.

----
Our game began with the two Eclipses, Rami and Ominous Whispers, moving somewhere more comfortable to talk. Wataru and Gaias headed off in the general direction where the armored Abyssal was last seen (weft, if I remember correctly ) while Nine Willows and her ladymaid retired to take a nap.

Ominous Whispers and Rami discussed their diplomatic options regarding the mostly-abandoned town of Three Oaks, the massing Sumar army, the apparently renegade Sumar Elder, and the timing of the Wyld Hunt's arrival. It was decided that Rami would lead an organized resistance in Three Oaks and thus allow Ominous Whispers to escape through the forest to the next Sumar settlement over with the intention of gaining political support for overthrowing the renegade Elder. The pair visited Nine Willows to discuss the logistics of their plan.

Meanwhile, Wataru and Gaias searched about in the forest for the armored Abyssal to little avail. Gaias got turned around in circles for several hours while Wataru accidentally walked up to the gate of the Sumar port of Kalia which, being on lockdown, was quite suspicious of his open approach on the road. Managing to deflect the situation, he arrived back at the border in time to see Gaias sneaking up on the Sumar army. Gaias had seen a large, dark figure in the midst of the army and was going to see if it was the Abyssal. Wataru, convinced of the folly of this plan, talked Gaias into coming back to Three Oaks since the armored Abyssal would probably return there in search of his partner.

Returning to Three Oaks, Gaias and Wataru met up with the rest of the party discussing their tactics. After a brief report, they decided that Ominous Whispers' attendants were best left hiding in a safe location and that Nine Willows would function as an aide for her while she was without them. Gaias, Wataru and Rami would return to the army and stir up a commotion trying to frighten them back across the river. The party then split up with three headed to the border and two headed to the shadowland to see if further activity occurred.

The three reached the northern flank of the army and attacked them with a great show of power. To stop the rout, the armored Abyssal (who had been with the troops) confronted them and commanded the army to move out towards Three Oaks while he "took care" of the party. Wataru sent Rami back to Three Oaks to tell the others that the army was on the move. In a quick, brutal battle the Abyssal managed to take Gaias' hand off with a well aimed blow but was killed in the end. Revenge accheived, Gaias removed the Abyssal's helmet only to discover that the man was, in fact, his brother! Though his skill was limited, Gaias desperately attempted to heal him ... but it was too late. Forgetting his own hand in his grief, Gaias, led by Wataru, carried his dead brother back to Three Oaks.

From the door to the Council Hall, the two women watched ... ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/14-Border-War-Campaign-Part-11
Border War Campaign Part 10 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/13-Border-War-Campaign-Part-10 Fri, 19 Dec 2008 15:49:51 GMT This session we were joined by another new player. Ominous Whisper is an Eclipse caste solar, also a young, blind diplomat in the employ of The Guild... This session we were joined by another new player. Ominous Whisper is an Eclipse caste solar, also a young, blind diplomat in the employ of The Guild (there is only one Guild in Exalted, and it is a worldwide trading organization). Calibration is a 5-day period at the end of the year in which there is no moon, no stars and generally weird stuff happens. It's considered by most to be an inauspicious time.

Something I forgot: When they discovered that the two men they fought were Abyssal exalts, it was implied that the tall Abyssal was only masquerading as a Wyld Hunter to gain use of the authority that provided.

----
Ominous Whisper was assigned the task of stabilizing the relations
between Tyria and Sumar to the best of her abilities. She arrived on the
first day of Calibration, an inauspicious time, at the port of Kalia in
Sumar. There she was told that she could not enter the city because the
city's military was on the move and the entrances had been shut down.
She persuaded a guard to pass a message to the Elder of the city asking
for an audience. The Elder consented and they discussed the terms she
would require for a return to peaceful negotiations. The Elder revealed she
had heard reports of dangerous Anathema being sheltered in Tyria and
that the Wyld Hunt had already been called for. Whisper then used
the letter of marque the Elder gave her to requisition passage across
the river into Tyria. Left at the riverside, she and her retinue
traveled through the forest on foot and eventually crossed the
easternmost river by stepping stones.

In Three Oaks, the Sumarian delegation did not arrive at the Council
Hall at dawn as they promised the previous day. After Nine Willows healed
him, Gaias and Wataru came to an accord on who would kill the armored
Abyssal, both having a claim on his life. The trio was summoned to
meet with the Council in an alternate location. Nine Willows sent her
lady maid to rest while they talked about the events of the previous
night, the Sumarian troops massing on the riverbank, and the fact that
Nine Willows and Gaias had revealed themselves as Anathema. The Council
asked of their motivations and said that they would not be interfered
with if they could persuade the god of the great tree to assist in
solidifying the Tyrian claim on the land. Priests of the city god were
sent along with the party when they went to speak with her.

On the path between the western forests and Three Oaks, Ominous
Whispers met with Nine Willows, Gaias, Wataru and the three priests and
had a brief discussion about the dangerous Anathema operating in the
area and parted ways.

Whispers continued on to Three Oaks where she asked a few townspeople
about the shadowland at the Council Hall and was told that most people
had been scared off while others were preparing to defend their town.
Whispers met with the Council and discussed Sumar's terms for peaceful
negotiation. The Council informed her of its position and requested time
to consider it's response to the terms.

Meanwhile, the other party continued on to the great tree. The priests
called down the god of the tree and promised to send a priest or acolyte
to commune with her daily if she would consent to support the Tyrian
claim on the land between the rivers. The god agreed and the priests
left. Nine Willows confronted the god this time carrying Luchea's spear,
Pinnacle of Noon. She asked the god what she would take in return for
giving her knowledge of sorcery, to which the god replied that she
desired one of the Abyssals who had returned her voice to her.
Agreeing to the terms, the three met up with Rami in the forest and
returned to Three Oaks to wait for the Deathknights to return. They also
informed Rami of the strange, blind woman they had met on the road.

When they returned to the city, Nine Willows began to study the mirror
that the Abyssals had left behind and, discovering it was an artifact,
attuned to it. She entered the shadowland to study what effects that
would have on its operation when Ominous Whispers rejoined them.

To be continued ... ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/13-Border-War-Campaign-Part-10
Border War Campaign Part 9 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/12-Border-War-Campaign-Part-9 Fri, 19 Dec 2008 15:49:02 GMT Here we learn more about Wataru, the only member of the party that has not revealed himself as a Solar exalt. ---- Wataru engaged in a... Here we learn more about Wataru, the only member of the party that has not revealed himself as a Solar exalt.

----
Wataru engaged in a confrontation with the armored Abyssal and was
joined by Brazen Ember, a figure from his past. During the fight, Ember
was badly wounded and Wataru drove the Deathknight to retreat. However, Wataru's use of power exposed him to Ember as a "demon."
Ember told Wataru that she had proof he was innocent of the crimes he
had been charged with, that she had received the confession of the
murderer who was also a demon, was in the area and possibly seeking his
death. Unable to heal her himself, Wataru carried her back to Three Oaks
in order for Nine Willows to tend to her. Unfortunately, Ember died in
transit and Wataru performed funeral rites at the river.

Rami, hearing the Abyssal say that Nine Willows and Gaias were
facing trouble from his tall partner, left Wataru and returned to Three
Oaks. There Nine, her ladymaid and Rami camped outside the edge of the
shadowland where Gaias spent the night battling ghosts and zombies that
entered from the Underworld. Early on, Aesis was injured and ran off into
the Underworld. In the later hours of the night, Gaias fought from the roof
of the council chamber and snuck a peek inside the chamber itself. He
saw a faint, glowing light upon the dais where the Council held sway but did not get a clear view of its source. When dawn broke, Aesis returned
and the pair emerged from the shadowland. Nine Willows healed Gaias and
Rami spoke with the people gathered there.

To be continued ... ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/12-Border-War-Campaign-Part-9
Border War Campaign Part 8 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/11-Border-War-Campaign-Part-8 Fri, 19 Dec 2008 15:48:18 GMT A surprise this session, Rami the NPC is actually another Solar exalt. An Eclipse Caste to be exact. More notes: Sumar is the neighboring nation and... A surprise this session, Rami the NPC is actually another Solar exalt. An Eclipse Caste to be exact. More notes: Sumar is the neighboring nation and is on the brink of war with the nation the party is currently in, Tyria. During one of the first sessions, Gaias was stopped at a toll bridge with his traveling companion and refused to pay the toll. A fight broke out - which his companion largely started - and both the toll guards and his companion ended up dead or unconscious in the river.

Further notes: Abyssals are exalts as well, and it was determined in the previous session that the two men (both wearing black, one more heavily armored) they fought were Abyssal Exalts. A Shadowland is a small transition area between the world of the living and the Underworld. During the day, it is a gateway from the Underworld to Creation, during the night the gateway is reversed.

----
Our eighth game began at the great tree. After some discussion with
the god of the tree, the party decided that the god was simply
looking for someone to talk to and had nothing of value to say. The
tree god said she could reveal secrets to them if they would stay and
talk with her. Rami bargained with her, agreeing to spend three full
days talking with her sometime within a year after asking a question
which she would answer to his satisfaction. The tree god agreed to
this and Rami sanctified the oath, revealing himself as an Eclipse
caste Solar.

Nine spent time attuning to the spear which had previously belonged
to Luchea while Wataru gathered up the remains in his overcoat. Nine
then stashed the cloth-wrapped spear in her room at the boardinghouse
while the party gathered pyrewood and summoned villagers to a funeral
for Luchea. Nine gave an excellent eulogy in Old Realm language and
Luchea's spirit could rest in peace.

The next day, Gaias and Nine were summoned to the council hall by a
messenger and Wataru attended with them. At the hall, Gaias was
accused of murder by a delegation from Sumar and the council was
petitioned for his extradition. The council chose neutrality and
stated that they would not interfere unless either party caused
violence in which case both sides would be escorted to the border.
Gaias claimed that the Sumarian guardsmen were killed in self defense
and that the fight was started by a guard attacking his traveling
companion, Halvor. To delay a confrontation, Gaias asked for time to
prove the existance of Halvor by finding the cousin whom Halvor said
lived in the city. The council granted Gaias one day after which a
decision would have to be reached and mandated that he stay within
the city.

The party spent many hours that day following up on leads and rumors
trying to find the cousin of Halvor to no avail. Wataru suggested Gaias
try to find Rami by tracking him down with Aesis, especially since
they had left the tree god alone and talkative with Abyssals in the
area. After finding Rami, Wataru sent Aesis back to town and the two of
them continued toward the tree. They saw the man in black armor
searching at the base of the tree for a strange mirror that Wataru had
found and hidden the night before. After an hour of searching without
finding it they followed him away and west across the river into Sumar
lands. There they watched him as he waited at a small, temporary camp.

As night fell, Nine and Gaias gave up on their search and returned to the
market to pick up packages. On the way back to the boardinghouse, they
saw the tall Abyssal walking slowly through the streets and alleyways
toward the council hall and seething with dark energy. Nine ran to stash
the packages while Gaias went to intercept the man at the courthouse. A
combat ensued which Nine and Aesis quickly joined, but the Abyssal
managed to open up a small shadowland and escape through it. Thinking
quickly, Nine encircled the spreading shadowland with a ring of her
blood shed with the orichalcum spearhead and managed to stop it
spreading. Unfortunately, Gaias and Aesis were trapped inside it unable to escape until dawn.

To be continued ... ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/11-Border-War-Campaign-Part-8
Border War Campaign Part 7 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/10-Border-War-Campaign-Part-7 Fri, 19 Dec 2008 15:46:25 GMT Luchea's player did not join us again, and so she became an NPC. Side note: The Wyld Hunt is an organization that forms to hunt and kill Solar Exalted who are considered demons by the largest government and largest religion in the setting. Its members are often sent ahead to scout out reports of sightings. Another important thing to remember is that Gaias' motivation is to find and gain revenge on a man in black who destroyed his village. Finally, the great tree I keep talking about towers above the rest of the forest (think a mile or more) and is obviously spiritual in nature.

----
Our seventh game began in the chamber of the Council of Three Oaks.
It was decided that the Council and an accompanying party would
approach Luchea to discern her intentions and goals in the area.
Gaias, Nine and Wataru decided to follow the Council to the farm where
Luchea was staying. As they left the council chamber, they heard that
the people in the square had been disturbed by the appearance of a man
dressed in black who claimed to be of the Wyld Hunt enquiring about
the location of Luchea. He had been informed of her location and had
left the city.

The group proceeded to the farm with the Council and arrived to find
another confused and upset mob. After questioning a few people, they
found out that a man in black armor had fought with Luchea and
injured her. He then threw down a challenge to all who would fight him
and carried her into the forest. Another man was seen in the forest
waiting for him. The group tracked the footsteps of the man in black armor
a ways into the forest with the help of a hunting dog that they borrowed.
When the dog became confused, they showed it Luchea's knife and told it
to follow her scent. The trail they were following split, with Luchea's
scent going in one direction and the tracks of the man in black armor
going in another. Gaias decided to follow the tracks while Wataru and
Nine followed the trail of Luchea's scent.

Gaias followed the tracks and came to a clearing where he encountered
the man in black armor. They fought and, during the battle, Gaias was
poisoned and fell unconscious.

Following Luchea's scent, Nine and Wataru lost the hound they
borrowed and encountered Aesis, Gaias' hound. Aesis showed them to a
place in the woods where Luchea's orichalcum spear was hidden in a
bush. Examining it, Nine saw an inscription in Old Realm on the haft
marking the bearer of the staff as a person who carries authority in
the sight of the Unconquered Sun. They decided to come back for it later
and continued to follow Luchea's scent trail. Aesis' path took them near to
the great tree, where they met up with Rami and continued onward.
Wataru stealthily approached the clearing around the great tree and saw
two men clad in black talking angrily as well as the bodies of Luchea and
Gaias. Returning, the three formed a plan to distract and attack the pair
of men and rescue Luchea and Gaias. Surprised, both men ran from the
fight at their first chance.

Luchea's body had been mangled and desecrated in a ritual fashioned
to channel power into the great tree. Wataru spotted a large crack
running down the trunk of the tree and Nine resolved to perform a
ritual prayer to summon the god of the tree. She prepared ritual
elements and asked Rami to retrieve a musical instrument to accompany
the prayer. While they waited for his return, Nine used her artifact to
quickly heal Gaias, revealing her nature as a Solar Exalt to both
Wataru and Gaias. Rami returned with a wooden flute and a large,
masterwork, woven tapestry of the great tree he said he retrieved from
the city god. Nine performed a summoning prayer and successfully called
down the god of the great tree with the help of Wataru and Rami.

Nine conversed with the god and asked how she could help it heal the
damage done by Luchea's ritual death. The god responded by saying
that to heal the damage would be to dishonor Luchea's sacrifice and
that the door had already been opened. When the conversation turned
towards Nine learning sorcery, the god replied that she was not
worthy to learn the secrets the god had to teach her because she had
no authority and no power.

To be continued ... ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/10-Border-War-Campaign-Part-7
Border War Campaign Part 6 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/9-Border-War-Campaign-Part-6 Fri, 19 Dec 2008 15:45:52 GMT This week we had a new player join us. His character was a young, female Zenith named Luchea. Gaias' player also returned this week from a brief hiatus. As a side note, it was discovered earlier by the players that the nation they are in is a spiritual one and that they have a taboo against using metal. Their economy is a barter system, their society an agrarian one. Also, at one point in the narrative Luchea uses several Charms (magical powers) to boost her persuasiveness and to withstand severe damage unscathed.

----
Our sixth game began with catching Gaias and Luchea up with the rest of the group.

Continuing his search for the man in black, Gaias went into the forest west of Three Oaks. He discovered a trail of footprints and followed them to where they disappeared. There Rami, a musician and merchant the party met at the Red Blossom tea house, told him the tracks were his and, after some conversation, led Gaias to the great tree. The two inspected the area and headed back to Three Oaks.

While traveling to Three Oaks under mysterious circumstances, Luchea encountered Gaias' dog, Aesis, who stole her dinner (in the form of a dead duck). A fight ensued in which Luchea drew and was knocked out by her own Orichalcum Dire Lance. She awoke in the Red Blossom tea house with all her gear but no weapons. She spoke with the tea house Mistress Ara and learned that she had slept a full day, and that her expenses had been paid for. She cleaned up and went shopping to replace her throwing knives that had been stolen. Finding no metal blades, she purchased two skinning knives of flint from a vendor, telling him she had been beaten and robbed on the road by the toll collectors to gain sympathy.

Luchea then began to proselytize in the market about the Unconquered Sun and the greatness of the First Age in comparison to the current times.

On this same morning, Nine and Wataru visited the temple of the city god. In the middle of Nine's meditations, the pair noticed the acolytes of the temple in distress about a woman preaching in the streets and went to investigate. At the same time, Gaias was awoken by a hungry Aesis. He told Aesis to go hunt for breakfast and noticed the crowd gathering around Luchea. All three remained at a distance, listening to Luchea shout down the priests of the city god. At some point Luchea lighted her caste mark and revealed her nature as a Solar Anathema.

Wataru interrupted Luchea and commanded her to prove the worth of her actions. Luchea challenged Wataru to attack her and insisted that the Unconquered Sun would protect her. Wataru refused, and Luchea instead stabbed herself and was unharmed. She commanded the people to continue their daily lives in the name of the Unconquered Sun and wait for further spiritual instruction. She then retired to a villager's house to rest and regain the essence she had spent.

Gaias, Nine and Wataru decided to consult with the town council on what next to do about Luchea. They found the council hall in an uproar and, after helping the Council regain control, suggested that the council approach Luchea and discern her goals.

Elsewhere, Luchea commanded her followers to find her Artifact Dire Lance that was stolen from her, saying that a large black dog (Aesis) took it and that they should not kill it but just "bash it in the head." ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/9-Border-War-Campaign-Part-6
Border War Campaign http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/8-Border-War-Campaign Fri, 19 Dec 2008 15:42:52 GMT I've been running this campaign for a few months now. Unfortunately I didn't begin writing summaries until the 5th session. Prior to this, the characters of Wataru, Nine Willows in Autumn and Gaias Valerias arrived somewhat separately in the city of Three Oaks. Wataru is a Night Caste, Nine a Twilight Caste and Gaias is a Dawn. Nine hired Wataru to act as a body guard after being accosted by "toll-takers" and is in town operating as a scholar and physician. Gaias came in search of a man in black who destroyed his village and killed his family. Gaias doesn't make much of an appearance in this one because his player missed this session.

----
Our fifth game began the morning after Nine and Wataru's shopping trip. Nine and Wataru arrived at the Red Blossom tea house, and Wataru made a point to scan the room for strategic entrances and exits.

Nine received her first patron: an eight year old boy accompanied by his older brother, Matti, who explained that his brother had been attacked by his own shadow. Wataru distracted Matti for about half an hour while Nine healed his brother.

Matti lead Nine and Wataru to the field where the attack occured. After some investigation, Matti's father asked them to leave. Feeling the attack on the boy was spiritual in nature, Nine consulted the priests at the city temple who discerned the attack was caused by the ghost of a mad dog who died in the field.

Later that evening Senmai, Nine's attendant, was attacked by a stranger in front of the tea house. Wataru and Nine tracked the stranger into the forest to the northwest of Three Oaks but lost the trail. Wataru decided to lead Nine to the Great Tree outside of town, but the two were blocked by Gaias' dog, Aesis, and returned to Three Oaks by nightfall. ]]>
GoddessGood http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/8-Border-War-Campaign