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Everything posted by Noir

  1. Weeks ago... -Shiro Kitsuki, “Last Step Castle”- The old man looked down at the letter and spoke to Toshi without even looking at him, “So what brings a Scorpion to the door of my dojo wishing to study the ways of the Kitsuki?” “I have learned the value of evidence, Kitsuki-sama. Had it not been for a single bead and some disturbed dust, I might have not been able to properly carry out my duties given to me by the Son of Heaven himself the murder of a daimyo may have gone unsolved and a noble family of the Lion would have been lost..” Toshi replied. “Evidence does not lie, Little Scorpion. Men do. One would think that the Scorpion would find testimony more… agreeable… to their methods.” suggested the old man. “Perhaps, Kitsuki-sama, but that does not mean we do not desire to know the truth as well. As you said, men lie. But men can lie to anybody. Evidence, on the other hand, simply tells it’s tale to any who are willing to listen. It has no reason to lie." Toshi countered. “Hmm..." the old sensei said as he contemplated the kneeling Scorpion courtier for a moment before speaking once more, "Come inside then, Shusuro-kun. There may be hope for you yet, Little Scorpion.” “Domo arigato gozaimasu, Kitsuki-sensei.” Toshi said with a deep bow before stepping through the doors of the Dojo of the First Glance... Toshi found the Kitsuki sharp senses and a keen intellect. Under their tutelage he learned to focus his perceptions not only on his surroundings, but also those around him. He learned that the smallest bits of evidence could speak volumes and the most subtle and insignificant of reactions and gestures could reveal even more. He began to understand the Kitsuki and came to see why they posed such difficulties to even the best plans and manipulations of the Scorpion. The Kitsuki were masters at detecting deception and discerning motivations and as said in the beginning, evidence does not lie to those willing to listen. The Kitsuki were indeed worthy opponents for the Scorpion and certainly worthy of their respect. In a few weeks time he completed his lesson and learned the fundamentals of the Kitsuki school, completing the first stage of his training and then departing for Tsuma once more. -Iron Mountain Doji, less than a mile from Shiro Mirumoto, “Last Glance Castle”- "It is not often we are visited by the Kakita, much less a prized pupil of Kakita Toshimoko and the Topaz Champion, aside from those wishing to be taught a less, of course." the Dragon sensei said. "I have accompanied my friend, Rin-san, here to her dojo so that she may further train and had hoped that I might be able to improve my own skill and 'no mind' technique while I was here. The mountains are quite beautiful in their austerity, and the Dragon are well known for their wisdom and meditation " Zoyu explained. "Here? With the rivalry of our Family schools, one might think this would be the last place a Kakita might seek to learn." the Dragon suggested. "A rivalry, yes. But it is not a rivalry born from ill will. Merely a difference in philosophy. A good rivalry causes both sides to improve, which only benefits the Empire as a whole, and a rivalry does not mean there is a lack of respect for your rival. And Rin-san certainly did your dojo proud. I only narrowly defeated her in the iaijutsu tournament and the Topaz Championship itself." the Crane replied. The sensei bowed with a small smile and turned his attention to Rin, taking a moment to size her up and look her over. “Rin-kun,” Mirumoto-sensei said as he rested a hand on her shoulder, “I am not even sure why you return. It seems that each time I try to provide you with instruction, you are already lessons ahead.” “You are my sensei. I have never meant to be disrespectful to you or the dojo. Without your instruction I would not be where I am today.” Rin said. “You are the finest student I have ever had. Niten comes naturally to you as if you developed the style yourself. I can only imagine where your talent will lead you, but I suspect that one day you may be the sensei and I may be the student...” Rin's training was relatively short, as was common for her, but as her sensei reviewed the fundamentals of Niten the sensei stopped and questioned her. "What is it, Sensei?" Rin asked curiously with just a hint of fear that she made have made some fundamental mistake. "Your guard. It is subtly different. I do not think most would even see it. Why did you change it?" "You always said that holding your swords should be natural, like holding a teacup. Since graduation I have made sure to practice each day and sparred with others. This guard just felt natural to me." Rin explained. "It is not just natural, Rin-san, it is better." the Sensei pointed out, using the -san honorific for the first time when speaking to her. "The difference is small, but noticeable. I had seen you doing so since I began your training. Like you said, I thought it was just what felt natural to you or that you might grow out of it in time, but I can see now that as your skill and understanding has improved, so has that guard. And I suspect it will only continue to improve." he said. "Sensei.. I do not know what to say." Rin said, caught off guard. "What to say? That is simple. You will explain that guard to me. How and why it feels natural to you and how you use it so that I my record it for the Dojo and future students and sensei." he said before calling in a young students and sending him to fetch a writing kit and table. "It seems I may be prophetic, as here I am learning from you, Rin-san." he said with a faint smile peeking through his calm demeanor. Rin spent the next several days in seclusion with the sensei, demonstrating her guard. He recorded it on a scroll once he understood it fully and would practice it himself before returning to her training. In her study of the blade and though meditation she came to see and understand more of the elements around her. The rudimentary lessons in Spellcraft she had received in Tsuma had somewhat opened her eyes to elemental energies, at least on a basic level. She could see how they interacted fundamentally and how a shugenja managed to focus and direct those energies, even beyond what she had learned in her Spellcraft lessons. She came to understand that, with focus, she could aid or disrupt those energies around herself as well, a feat which astounded her Sensei. "I do not know why I am surprised by you any more, RIn-san. You already fight with no mind, and from that comes speed, for thinking is slow. You already understand this lesson before I have even began teaching it to you. So I review it with you and do my best to clean up any imperfections and here you are already intuitively understanding lessons that those who graduated years before you are only just now learning with the aid of the Agasha." the sensei said with a faint smile as he shook his head. "I do not know how much longer I will even be able to teach you anything, Rin-san." he mused. While Rin trained Zoyu was a guest of the Mirumoto. The austere and ascetic lands, homes, dojo and lifestyle of the Dragon was in stark contrast to the lush and opulent lands of the Crane, but it had a minimalist beauty and seemed to give the Dragon focus. In general they had a serenity about them and almost seemed to be more like warrior monks than your typical bushi. They fought with no mind, which gave them speed, but also fought with a casual confidence and placed no particular consideration on footwork or a 'special stepping technique' such as those employed by so many styles. Even beyond the use of both swords, the difference in the Mirumoto style, stance, philosophy and even teaching style was strikingly different from the Kakita. It seemed to work for them though, as Zoyu could attest to from facing Rin in both sparring matches and the iaijutsu tournament itself. "Do not look for the perfect moment strike your opponent. Searching for that moment is still thinking, and thought is slow to react. Instead just relax and let him come to you. Your body, your mind, your arm and your sword will simply know the right moment and you will find your cut without a thought." the Sensei explained to Zoyu when she asked about the Mirumoto approach to fighting with no mind. After a short time Rin completed her training and the pair traveled back to Tsuma and the Kakita Dueling Academy. -Kyuden Isawa- "So good to see you again, Akari-kun. We have all heard of your brave actions and personal appointment by the Emperor." the sensei greeted. "I only seek to bring honor to my family and dojo, Sensei." Akari offered. "And I see you have brought a friend with you." "Yes. This is Kuni Taka, a fellow Jade Magistrate. His knowledge was instrumental to our successful protection of the Lord Prince. He has come to see the Library and make use of it while I study so that we may better carry out the duties appointed to us by the Son of Heaven." "Ah. I see..." she said. "Welcome, Kuni-san." she said to the Crab in greeting with a smile that did not appear to be forced (though it was). "Our Library is, of course, at the disposal of the Jade Magistrates. May the knowledge contained within help Jade Magistrates." Taka bowed politely. "Then let us see to your studies so that you may be on your way and back to the business of the Jade Magistrates. I am sure two shugenja are sorely missed..." Akari's lessons continued under her sensei and with that new found ability came the chance to select several new spells, expanding her magical repertoire. Her greater skill and new spells would serve the Jade Magistrates well, while Taka took advantage of the magical knowledge stored within the Isawa Library to begin research on a new spell which he had been contemplating for some time. "As a jade Magistrate you are working with other shugenja, Akari-kun. So do not forget the benefit of working together with ritual magic. We Isawa are the most skilled shugenja in the Empire, but never underestimate the benefit of sharing strength and burden." her Sensei reminded. Soon enough though they found themselves on the road back to Tsuma as well to meet up with their fellow Magistrates. -Kakita Dueling Academy, across the Tengu River from Tsuma- "I have returned to continue my lessons, Sensei." Zoyu said with a bow. "You have returned already? It seems you just graduated and here you stand mere months later ready to continue. You are possibly the finest student I have every taught, Zoyu-chan. You make an old sensei proud." Toshimoko said with a smile and nod. "You flatter me, Sensei. I simply seek to be a worthy vessel to receive what you have to teach." Zoyu said with a shy smile. "And your fellow Magistrate?" he asked "She is a Jade Magistrates, yes, but also my friends and a student of the sword as I am sure you had seen during the Topaz Championship. I had traveled with her to the Iron Mountain Dojo for her to continue her training and studied more of the 'no mind' while I was there. When the next level of her instruction was complete, she journeyed with me here." Zoyu explained. "Really? Occasionally Zoyu-chan, you...hmmm... I am not sure if the right word is... 'surprise' or 'worry' me." Toshimoko said with a warm smile. "Then it is only fitting that we show the same courtesy to one of their finest students." "Welcome, Mirumoto Rin." he said to the Dragon with a polite bow. "Your swordsmanship during the tests of the Topaz Championship was impressive. You bested one my personal students in the Weapons test and showed quite well in the Iaijutsu tournament, only falling to a prized pupil of mine in the final duel. You brought much honor and glory to your dojo." the aging sensei explained. "Anybody of such skill and devotion to the blade at such an early age certainly has my respect." he added with a deep, respectful bow. "Thank you, Toshimoko-sama. You flatter me. I only seek to serve the Empire to the best of my ability." Rin replied. "I must see to my pupil's instruction, but afterwards perhaps we call all learn from one another. A student of the blade is never done learning, after all. And then afterwards I'll introduce you both to the okasan in town. Even the most diligent student needs a break now and then." Toshimoko said flashing a easy, roguish smile. Zoyu continued her studies under the tutelage of her sensei, Kakita Toshimoko. With his training she perfected the "Sudden Strike" of the Kakita, expanding her already considerable understanding of the iaijutsu duel. It was during one of these training sessions that Toshimoko spoke to Zoyu about her progression. "I can see some of myself in you, Zoyu-chan." Toshimoko said as he sat on a rock and looked out at the river they had been training beside. "I was full of confidence and swagger. I knew I was skilled and I used that skill to bully and intimidate. I was young and brash and thought I could not fail." he said thoughtfully. "It took several hard lessons for me to grow up and understand some things... things I wish to share with you." the old man explained as he pulled his arm out of the sleeve of his kimono and rested it inside, against his chest. "You have great skill and potential, but you must understand that with this skill and ability comes a responsibility, not just to your lord and the clan, but to the the Empire and honor itself. At times it can be as much of a burden as it is a boon. The taking of a life is never something to be done lightly, and should be done with dignity and respect. I have taken lives of those I respected and even loved, because honor demanded it. I did not wish their death. I would have given my life in order to have not taken their's, but we are samurai, and our lives are not our's to give, they belong to our Lord. So I dueled them, as honor required, knowing full well what the outcome would be, and I took those lives, That was when I truly understood regret and asked for permission to commit seppuku. My request was denied, so I vowed to live the rest of my life without regret, living each day to the fullest." "You are still so very young, Zoyu-chan. I know these are just words of an old man, but please try to learn from my mistakes while you are still young. I would not wish you to waste so much of your life as I did." "And as word of your skill spreads, people will wish to duel you just to test their skill and prove themselves your better. Don't let them. Overestimating one's skill is already dangerous enough and you do not want to be the one with their death on your hands just so they could learn that lesson. You have nothing to prove to anybody, especially not anymore. You graduated at the top of your class, your won the Topaz Championship and proved your Iaijutsu in front of the Emperor and daimyo. Duel if you must, and I sure there will be times that you must, but only when you must, because you do not want too much blood on those pretty hands..." In the meantime Rin gained a new insight into the Kakita and their style with the instruction from and sparring with Toshimoko. Whereas the Mirumoto let their opponent come to them, the Kakita would seek the perfect moment to strike. They placed a greater emphasis on the duel, in which they were unparalleled, but their philosophy translated into all forms of their swordplay, even in a kenjutsu skirmish the Kakita treated each strike like an iaijutsu duel, allowing them to strike with great speed and precision only to often return their katana to its saya where it awaited the next draw and strike. Despite his position and age, or maybe because of it, Toshimoko was a jovial and relaxed man. He was at least a couple of decades past retirement age, but continued to serve the Crane. He was a very fit and even good looking man, looking younger than his actual age in general, but he also had a relaxed demeanor about him (a stark contrast to his brother in-law, Lord Doji Satsume). He was not a stuffy or rigid man in the slightest and when not teaching at the dojo would often be found in the arms of a geisha or carousing at a sake house. It was a side of him that all the Empire knew about and many found distasteful, but it seemed he was too set in his ways and far too valuable as a sensei for anybody to try and do anything about it. Strangest of all to Rin is that she seemed to have a odd familiarity with the aging sensei. She had seen him before during the Topaz Championship, but had never really spoken with him though. Maybe it was simply his easy going nature and friendly demeanor, but Rin could not help but feel as if she knew him already...
  2. Pauline_Av.png

    From the album AWS

  3. AWS

  4. Paulina_01.jpg

    From the album AWS

  5. Manhattan's Advanced Academic School was home to much of the best and brightest student minds in the city. Like all schools in the state of New York a balanced curriculum must be offered for all students, to include not only the standards of Math, Science, Social Studies, and Reading and Writing, but also Physical Education, Music, World Languages, Drama and Theater, Dance, and Art. And thanks to a partnership with Columbia University, the AAS offered many courses well beyond those one would normal fight in a high school and even offered some courses at Columbia. The campus itself was a mixture of old and new buildings and architecture. Many of the buildings were more than one story, but the campus also maintained large lawns with occasional shade trees for students to enjoy (when the weather permitting). In addition to the various labs, the school featured a large theater, gym and indoor pool. Among those students attending the AAS was one Penny Pearson, a quiet, skinny redhead sitting alone at a table in the cafeteria, picking at her salad with a fork in one hand while she scribbled in a notebook with the other, reworking some equation for the design of her 'miniaturized, high pressure extruder' (web shooters) when, like a breath of fresh air, Makayla walked up and sat her bag on the table as she took a seat. Penny looked up and a flashed a faint smile to her friend as the other girl fished a sketchbook and bottle of water out of her bag. The two teen girls certainly made an usual pair sitting at the table, with Makalya being outgoing, beautiful and right on point with fashion and trends, while Penny was more of the classic 'geek girl', hiding behind glasses and a mismatched wardrobe. "Okay, so this is only temporary, but I bought us a couple of burner cells, so that when you are out we can communicate without it being traced back to us. At least until I can get something else wired up or something. I figure I can sew in the earbud and mic into the mask, so it will be hands free and there will not be any dangling wires making you look like some ghetto-ass hero or something." the african-american teen said as she unscrewed the cap of her water bottle and took a swig. "Oh, and speak of masks. What do you think is better? Something that you can totally pull off, that is separate from the rest of the costume, or maybe something that attaches in the back, like those speed skaters wear, but, you know, a full mask instead of just a cowl, coif or whatever?" Makalya continued as she flipped through her sketchbook, past the sketches of outfits for her fashion design class and to the back where she has some simple sketches illustrating what she meant.
  6. Street Level Heroes

  7. Knockers_Logo_01.jpg

    From the album Street Level Heroes

  8. Okay, so I am totally using some of Nina's ideas for AWS (because they are awesome) and will occasionally offer optional projects for xp, or maybe a re-rolls or something. Project #1.0 - Soundtrack Make a list 5 -10 songs (or so) that reflect the feel of your hero. The lyrics do not have to matter, it is more about vibe and feel. Project #1.1 - Character Theme Post a song that should be more or less the character's theme. Project #1.2 - Main Theme Submit a song for the main theme of the team 'show'. Due date for all parts of this project is March 30th. Songs need to be on YouTube and no doubling of songs (including covers). The first person to post it, gets it. All genres are open. Post the links to your songs in this thread. Each part of the project (1.0-1.2) is worth.. something. I dunno yet. Maybe some XP, a discount off a knack or a re-roll or something. I'll figure it out.
  9. This there is for resolution of combat, posting saving throws and so forth.
  10. Moving into melee range does not incur an AoO. Moving out of melee without disengage manuver doez though.
  11. "If you seek dry sake, then I am certain that any of the sake houses found within the city will suit your needs. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend one, for I am not very familiar with Ikoma's Eye as I am with posts such as City of the Rich Frog or Ryoko Owari. And for that, I apologize, Shosuro-sama." Captain Michiyo answered with a polite smile and small bow. "If you seek a local variety, then I am sure that the sake houses could assist you in locating the brewer." he offered. "Hmmm.., Considering our quarry, it may be best to do what investigation we can through more casual means, lest we tip them off too soon to our presence and allow them to surry off into the night." Kageko mused.
  12. The boy snarls and turns his attention to Dread. Attack #1: 1D20+2 => (3 + 2) = 5 vs AC 16 = Miss! Attack #2: 1D20+2 => (15 + 2) = 17 vs AC 16 = Hit! Damage: 1D6+2 => (6 + 2) = 8 Slashing damage. The girl stays focused on Shayuri Attack #1: 1D20+2 => (13 + 2) = 15 = Miss! Attack #2: 1D20+2 => (19 + 2) = 21 = Hit! Damage: 1D6+2 => (4 + 2) = 6 Slashing damage (Supposing Shayuri does not weasel out of the damage. )
  13. Characters I enjoy

    The character I have enjoyed writing for the most has been Lilly and Siobhan (by far), and then Neeva and Abigail. Lilly may seem simple, but there is actually a lot of complexity to her. She tries to do the right thing, but makes mistakes, has occasional bad teen judgement, and care for her friends, which complicate things. And on top of it all, she is still coming to terms who who she is/will be as an adult. I have never really played such a sweet, super compassionate character like Siobhan, where wears her heart on her sleeve like that, but I really, really enjoyed it. I have been working on a fic for her, even if the game is shelved. I enjoyed Neeva, but nothing really got to flesh out with her, even though I had ideas of paths for her to take. Abigail was just a bit different for me. She was military, lost several of her squad members, which in turn caused her and Temple to begin truly bonding. The game was shelved before it could really go anywhere, but I was really enjoying the RP. Phere is totally new, so still working her out. I am beginning to find Jexa, and enjoying it so far, but it is still early, the same with Na'Atem. I -really- looked forward to play Dr. Temnikova. I generally do not recycle characters, but she is one I would totally play in another game. Sigurn I -really- liked, put a lot into her and was looking forward to developing. I would potentially recycle her too, but it would difficult. I did not get to play Tabitha enough to really find her.
  14. OOC Thread for AWS Discussion

    A demonstration of some powers in front of the media (sans telepathy, of course) would go a long way.
  15. OOC Thread for AWS Discussion

    To continue spitballing here... Some will idolize KEYs and some will fear them. A few may see them as being spawns on the devil, but a few will also likely see them as being blessed as well. The Irregulars would be hounded by companies wanting them plug their products, make toys of them and so on. The media would want interviews. Lots and lots and lots of interviews. The Irregulars would likely be encouraged to give some too, just for good PR. Though the public at large might not know about the alien threat facing the planet, after the UN Security Council meeting where the US came clean about the QEHs and Asheen, not only would various countries want their own KEYs for defense and such, but there would likely be a secret global initiative to prepare for the Asheen threat. There would be a mad dash to learn as much about the KEYs as possible. Some unsavory elements would also seek to recruit KEYs of their own (criminal organizations, terrorists and so on) I'll prolly have more later
  16. In Shayuri's defense, she IS getting double-teamed, whereas Dread and Krusk are double-teaming a single enemy. There are no stairs though, just a narrow hallway that leads to this rather small room.
  17. Captain Michiyo nodded to Rin. "And if I or my men may be of any assistance, you have but to say the word." he offered and bowed to Rin before turning to Kamiko's question. "That would depend on what you like in a sake. Unfortunately, I am not as familiar with Ikoma's Eye as I am with other ports, but there are many sake houses within the city." Captain Michiyo said, motioning toward the city. "Though I have heard that generally those of the Lion Clan prefer very dry sake. I am certain other varieties can be found here as well, of course. Is there any specific type you seek?"
  18. The woman is taking the Attack action and will claw at Dread with both attacks. Attack #1: 1D20+2 => (10 + 2) = 12 vs AC 16 = Miss! Attack #2: 1D20+2 => (11 + 2) = 13 vs AC 16 = Miss! Shayuri is up!
  19. Okay, so Shayuri takes no damage due to her shield spell. Krusk, you're up!
  20. As the witch hisses at Krusk, he was taken slightly aback as he drew his weapon and pointed it toward her crouching form. "This will be the last time you fool someone. How vile and terrible of a creature are you to abuse the sanctity of a person's good nature? No more... and now..." he lunges toward the witch with the large sword... "time to end you". Despite the paladin's best effort, the witch slipped to the side, demonstrating more agility than he was expecting, leaving his blade only to find a bit of her skirt as she smiled at him smugly. A litany of curses spewed from Dread's mouth, 'whore', 'harlot' and several others that would have been enough to make a Celebrant of Sharess blush. In a dizzying blur he kicked at the witch, which she dodged as well, only to end up leaping in the direction of his blade as he swung the heavy steel directly to impede her escape from him. It was a decent enough feint on Dread's part, but he knew she wouldn't fall for it a second time. "Cursed whore!" he belittled her as his blade bit deep into her flesh. "Back to the Hells with you!" The witch looked down at the blade buried in her flesh and then up at Dread, shooting him a sharp-toothed grin as she used her impalement on his weapon as a means to limit his movement. Her claws hands slashed at the warrior, catching him somewhat by surprise. Reflexively he kicked her, knocking her back and off of his blade, while simultaneously ensuring she managed to only claw at the air. "Look out!" Shayuri warned. "We need to thin this group out before they can start freezing us!" She summoned magic, and exhaled a torrent of flame that swept through the room! All three creatures... and Delgath... were in the cone of devastation! But knowing that she had an ally in front of her sapped the sorceress of some of that vital will to do harm, perhaps. The flames were relatively tepid in temperature as she held back her worst, but still managed to cause the creatures to hiss and howl in pain, adding the scent of seared flesh and burnt hair to the air. Almost immediately Shayuri nearly regretted her actions as the two 'children' snapped their heads around at the half-elf and hissed. They charged at her, nearly falling over each other to get at her first as their flesh still sizzled and smoldered from her flames. The boy leapt at her first, claws swiping at at her, forcing Shayuri to the side to avoid his strikes... and unwittingly into those of his 'sister', though the girl's talons, instead of tearing into her, scratching deep gouges of crimson in her flesh, were instead deflected by a mystic barrier, reflexively summoned by Shayuri in an instant. The room itself was already quite small and filled with a half dozen combatants wielding cones of flames and huge blades, which led Eon to stand in the hall with Arturs behind him, as Rhosh checked their rear, ensuring this was not simply a diversion.
  21. It all began two days ago, at The Crossing. It was a typical day at the Boar's Run Tavern with some patrons catching a midday meal and others simply relaxed and enjoyed the fine beers offered by the dwarven propriators while one of the half-elven girls sang. Good spirits, aided by the good beer and plentiful food made it quite a enjoyable atmopshere, as was common for the establishment. A young man and woman had entered the tavern and stood out, as they were not regulars. They were dressed simply and both looked to be under twenty years of age and both showed a hint of fatigue. They pair addressed the room and asked for help, explaining their village was in need. People had gone missing and they feared some terrible creature had taken up resident in the nearby shelter. They were upfront that they had little to offer as payment, other than a bed, homecooked meals and the gratitude of their village. Five rose to answer their call, each for their own reasons. After a small bit of discussion and some gathering of supplies the temple of Bahamut offered, the party set out for the village that day. Along the way the pair explained some more of what happened, that Toral, their Wizard, had not been seen in days. He lived in the shelter still, seeing as a safer place to conduct his experiments and he enjoyed the quiet for his research. One of the village women, who was a bit sweet on Toral, went into the shelter to bring him a fresh cooked meal. She was know to do that, lets Toral get to caught up in his work that he would forget to eat. She, and her two children, went into the shelter, but never returned. That was when fear began to spread among the village and they sent Arturs and Meghan to The Crossing for help. They knew it was a dangerous trip for the pair to make, but armed with a shortsword and dagger, and Arturs' magic (since he was an apprentice wizard), the pair successfully made the trip. Arturs and Meghan, explained that they had done their best to follow a seldom used trail from their village to The Crossing. They had lost, and again found, the trail many times on their journey, but had arrived safely in The Crossing. With their guidance, and the keen eyes and skills of the others, they arrived back at the village by dusk of the second day, and were greeted by the village and its elders. Alrid, the head elder, led you to the Village Hall, where they had strung a curtain along the back wall and brought in beds and trucks, making temporary quarters, while the rest of the hall was being re-arranged, with the tables in a rough U-shape for the dinner and celebration tonight, thanking those who had come to their aid. Afterward they would speak of more serious matters, but for now, Alrid expressed that the village needed this release and hope. That night the village gather in the hall for the meal, with many of them bringing various prepared dishes. By the look of it, the food was rustic, but hearty and fairly plentiful, even for this gathering; red meats, fowl, fish, savory meat pies, stew, all manner (mostly root) of vegetables and many breads and baked goods, including fruit cobblers. Water, fresh juice and even ale is offered as well, a dwarven stout ale by the look, smell and taste of it. In the enclosed area between the tables small performances take place throughout the night, from simple comedic skits to music and/or dancing, making for a fairly joyous, relaxed atmosphere. As the meal began to wind down the singing, dancing and skits turn into storytelling. They tell the story of their village and how it was once a small town of humans and a few elves and half-elves, though not a sign of the town remains. They prepared their shelter with the help of a group of druids, shaping rock, bringing forth springs and starting the growth of food and such while two wizards prepared the wards. With the shelter prepared the townsfolk waited as long as they could to enter it, and just as they were about to, three more arrived; a pair of orcs who had lost their tribe to a Horror and promised to cooperate and coexist peacefully within the shelter, and a lone male dwarf, a roguish bard named Ardis Softnote. According to the story, he made a name for himself battling Horrors in the last days before the shelters were sealed, and found himself in Jarendale as they were entering their shelter. With time growing short, Ardis asked and was accepted into the shelter. As the townsfolk, Orcs and dwarf entered the shelter, it is said that a Horror found it and attacked, with Ardis fighting it off, wounding it and causing it to withdraw as he and the other fled into the shelter, sealing the doors, empowering the wards and setting traps behind them. Life was not easy within the shelter, but in time, people settled into patterns and made do. They had fresh spring water to drink and water the various crops, most types of fungi that grew on the walls. They had some animal pens to raise them for the slaughter as well as a small fishery. Food was prepared in a large kitchen and meals were taken communally. And with Ardis’ encouragement, space was made for a small brewery where he taught the inhabitants to craft fine dwarven stout (or at least a close proximity given the limited supplies to work with). Curious about how the wizard fits in to the story of the village, Rhosh seeks out Arturs to fill in the missing pieces away from the gathering to not dampen the mood. "Arturs, the story of your village is pretty impressive, but there doesn't seem to be any mention of the wizard. Who is he, and how does he fit in?" the Dragonborn asked. "Well, I am told we started with two wizards. They set the wards and provided other magical assistance than an isolated shelter might need, from healing to fixing things and so on. I am sure you know the utility of a wizard. They each tried to take an apprentice if enough children showed aptitude, so that their knowledge could be passed on and the ward maintained. Over time, there was only one wizard, as often only one child might show aptitude, with Toral being the last one trained within the shelter. He did not have an apprentice until just before we exited the shelter. That was when he found me. and began my instruction. He.. I don't know.. he always seemed.. eager, I guess, for me to learn , when he was not obsessed with some experiment or something, locking himself away in his study. I suppose he feared passing before he could teach me much, and then the village would be left without the magical aid he provided." Arturs answered. The meal went on for a couple of hours, though it was more than a meal, granting the villagers a much needed chance to vent. That is not to say that they were carefree now, but at least they had some solid hope now as they looked at the four brave souls that answered their call for help. Rhosh certain got his share of looks. Not is a bad way, but more of just curiosity at the races they had never seen before. The villagers were very accepting though, and certain made them all feel welcomed. Krusk’s armor also drew attention, being the only full suit that most had ever seen. There did not seem to be much metal around the village, and where there was tended to be in the shape of tool heads and nails, so seeing a full suit of armor was unusual and a bit fascinating for them. The meal ended and the villagers returned to their homes, tidying up a bit, but leaving the majority of the cleanup for the morning. When they had departed only Alrid, Arturs and Meghan remained in the hall with you, gathered around your table while Meghan walked around, gathering up whole pieces of fruit. Alrid took a drink of his cup of ale, sat it down on the table and sighed. “Again, thank you all for coming to our aid. We are not sure what is happening, but I will tell you what we know.” The older man said, looking at each of you, one by one. “We opened the shelter over a year ago, and began building this village and preparing the land while still living within the shelter. I think we all needed time to get used to living outside again, so it permitted us that. In time, we moved out of the shelter and into the village, though Toral, the wizard, tended to stay in his quarters in the shelter where he could do his studies and experiment is relative safety. Toral would often get too focused on his work, and he would forget to eat, and even sleep. Mari would often bring him food and make sure he would eat. After her husband passed just before we left the shelter, she had taken an interest in him, and he seemed to return it. Several days ago, Toral had been inside the shelter for some time, and so Mari went to bring him some lunch. She would often bring her children with her, and let them play in the shelter while she visited with Toral, and this day was no different. The next morning, she was not seen tending to her chores, which was unusual. We checked her home, and neither she nor her children were there. So Leode, a fellow elder, went into the shelter to look for her and ask Toral if he had seen her. Leode never returned. Jared and went in with a few more villagers, to look for Leode and see what happened. Only Jared made it back out. He was terrified and babbling incomprehensibly. His mind was… gone. We were not sure what was happening, but it was clear we could not handle it. So we send Arturs and Meghan, the most capable of the young people of the village, to fetch help, so that the rest of the men could remain to guard us. I or some of the elder would have went along, but we would have only slowed them down. Toral has not been seen in days, and Mari, Leode and the others who have not returned only a day or two less so. We have not dared to set foot in the shelter since. We have barred and locked our doors at night, afraid of what was happening, and sometimes, in the morning, we find scratches on our doors and shutters. Please. We do not know what is happening, or what may rest inside the shelter, but please liberate us from this fear… this evil.” Alrid pleads. OOC note:
  22. Boy and girl attack Shayuri. Boy Attack #1: 1D20+2 => (5 + 2) = 7 = Miss! Boy Attack #2: 1D20+2 => (6 + 2) = 8 = Miss! Girl Attack #1: 1D20+2 => (16 + 2) = 18 = Hit! Girl Attack #2: 1D20+2 => (18 + 2) = 20 = Hit! Damage 1D6+2 => (5 + 2) = 7 slashing damage 1D6+2 => (1 + 2) = 3 slashing damage Total of 10 slashing damage to Shayuri Order of action so far... 1) Krusk 2) Dread 3) 'Woman' - AC 16, 7/25 HP 4) Shayuri 5) 'Boy' - AC 14 with 9/16 HP 6) 7) 8) 'Girl' - AC 14 with 9/16 HP 9) Krusk, you are up!
  23. The trip of the River of Gold took several days, each filled with activity on the deck of the ship as the Tortoise adjusted sails to make best use of the wind and aided their trip up river by rowing for hours with large oars. The current was rather lazy in most spots, allowing for a relatively quick tip of days up river, rather then weeks overland. The to call the accommodations 'spartan' would certainly be an understatement. It was painfully clear that the Steady was no passenger ship.The majority of space was allocated to cargo, with the peasant sailors sleeping in hammocks or on straw mats on the deck, while the Magistrates were given room in the cargo hold and mats to sleep on, though the Captain also offered to anchor in a town or village each night if possible, but doing so would increase their travel time by days. Even though Captain Michiyo offloaded most of his cargo to make space for the Magistrates and their horses, space was still at a premium and contributed to the general crowded feeling on the ship.There was a smell too. The combination of horses and sweaty, peasant sailors, for whom bathing was not a daily activity, mingled with the scents of their gaijin influenced food as they cooked, giving the ship a unique aroma. The Captain and his First Mate were the only Tortoise samurai on the ship, with the rest of the crew comprised of peasant sailors in service to the Tortoise Clan. Even though the Tortoise, and their peasants, were not generally attractive, by Rokugani standards, one had to admit that they were fit and strong from their life spent aboard ship. They were more outgoing and gregarious than most samurai as well, and often passed time singing while, gambling on games of chance, paying instruments and singing folk songs, or simply talking with their passengers, if the Magistrates were so inclined. It did not take long to see that even though the crew was mostly peasants, the Tortoise samurai treated them virtually as equals, which was only seen as even more odd for a clan who's daimyo had always been the Hantei Emperor. For the Son of Heaven to rule over a clan of apparently mixed blood, who accepted in ronin without question, treated their peasants as near equals, gambled, served as merchants and even favored the weapons of peasants over the daisho was certainly a difficult thing to grasp. They certainly honored and respect the Hantei though, and it was that duty to their lord that earned the Magistrates, handpicked by the Emperor himself, a berth on the Steady and their willingness to go out of their way to assist them. It should have come as little surprised though, that Rin, all throughout the voyage, worked alongside the sailors, paying for her lessons in sailing with sweat, sore muscles, and bruises from the work. The Dragon samurai-ko seemed to be at ease among the Tortoise, happily working along side them, learning their songs of work and terminology as much as she was able, while also relaxing with them when the wind was cooperative. Perhaps it was the lack of pretentiousness of the Tortoise, or maybe it was the simple satisfaction in the fruits of a days hard work, but for whatever reason, the other Magistrates had rarely seen their Dragon companion at such ease. Kitsu Kageko happily shared information abut their destination over the course of their trip as well. Built at the base of The Mountain of the Seven Thunders, at one point Kyuden Ikoma (Ikoma Palace, aka "Sacred Watch Palace") served as the outpost on the furthest edge of the Empire, hence the name Sacred Watch Palace. With the return of the Ki-Rin, now Unicorn Clan, that changed, but the name still remained. The Venerable Plains surrounding Ikoma's Eye are some of the most fertile land in the Empire, and thus provide much rice and rain for the Lion Clan. The palace itself was home to the vast Ikoma Libraries and served largely as the major point of diplomacy for the Lion Clan. The city surrounding it, known as Ikoma's Eye, was built up as a place for visiting diplomats to be housed until their could be seen by the Ikoma and boasts a large number of tea houses, geisha houses, and theaters as well quite a few sake houses and breweries. Within the city the dojo for the Omoidasu (Historians/Bards) of the Lion Clan can be found, as well as well as the Hundred Scars Dojo, the training place of the Ikoma Brawlers who carry on the traditions of Ikoma, prior to his service to Akodo, who she warns often serve in many establishments of the city, keeping things safe and peaceful. There was once another pass through the mountains besides Beiden Pass, named Shinnomen Pass, and it led right to Sacred Watch Palace. Many centuries ago, Akodo was the last of the Kami, and while visiting the palace heard of a large shadowlands army marching through the pass. So he gathered what few men he had at the palace at the time, and marched into the pass to meet the shadowlands army. They knew it was a battle that they could not win, but every moment they halted the progress of the shadowlands army was more time for reinforcements to gather at Sacred Watch Palace. For each Lion samurai that fell, many times more shadowlands created were felled with them, but it did not take long for Akodo to see that they could not possibly mount a proper defense to an army of this size. So Akodo summoned the last of divinity and let out a mighty roar that caused an avalanche, wiping out the entire shadowlands army and sealing the pass. Finally, after several days, the ship reaches a fork in the river. With a smile Captain Michiyo calls out, "My friends, further up river once can find The City of the Rich Frog, but if you look down this other fork in the river, to the south, you will Kyuden Ikoma! Gather your things, we will be there soon!" The crew burst into hightened activity as the ship turns and makes it way down the other fork, heading to the South with the aid of the current, while drawing quickly closer are walls and towers of Sacred Watch Palace, and the small structures of the sprawling city of Ikoma's Eye all around it. On the opposite bank of the river stands The Mountain of the Seven Thunders at the fork in the river with the rest of the Spine of the World Mountains behind it, serving as a virtually impassable barrier coupled with the swift current of the river at their base. In under an hour The Steady is docked at Ikoma's Eye and the crew sets about offloading the Magistrates' horses while Captain Michiyo addresses the Magistrates himself. "If you like, we can remain in port until your business is concluded, in case we may be of further assistance. If when your business s concluded, you have no further need of us, then we will be on our way." he suggests with a smile and a bow, adding, "Besides, I think the crew could use some time in the city." with a wink to Rin.
  24. The Chat Thread

    I could set up a Discord channel for us (free online private chat server) for us.
  25. Legend of the Five Rings System: L5R 1st Ed Genre: Samurai Fantasy ST: Noir (Persephone) Setting L5R takes place in Th Empire of Rokugan (based largely on feudal Japan). it is a samurai fantasy setting with Oni, Ogres, Ghosts, spell-casting Shugenja and skilled samurai bushi. The Empire is ruled by an Emperor. Below the Emperor and the handful of Imperial families are the Great Clans (Lion, Crane, Scorpion, Dragon, Crab, Phoenix, Unicorn). Below them are the Minor Clans (Fox, Hare, Wasp, Mantis, Dragonfly, Badger, Sparrow, Turtle to name a few). The Clans fight among themselves but there is always the outside threat of the corrupted Shadowlands and the minions of darkness. Character Types PCs will be of the samurai caste and can either all be from one clan if it can be agreed on (there is still a wide variety within a single Clan) or more likely a mix of Clans. The PCs will all be young (mid-late teens) and on their way to their gempukku (coming of age) ceremony after graduation from their school. There is no restriction on gender when it comes to classes in L5R. Virtually all classes are acceptable (with very minor exception). I have the core book (and most of the clan books) as PDFs I can share and I can walk people through character generation. It is really quite easy. I have very, very familiar with the system and setting and happy to help and explain rules, setting, background.