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Known World: Mystery of Manor Speltuzer

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by Karwelas, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,007
    Location:
    "Mostly Harmless" planet
    Ah, welcome.

    I know most of you around know me either from Myth, Overlord (I sometimes vote) or my previous CYOA/Quest. Those that played it know that I was forced to lock down first one, both becouse of my mistakes during making it and becouse of my real live matters that still are around. But this doesn't matter I give up. Oh, no.

    This quest is my second attempt and I don't intend to give up. First - everything changes. No more updates around 10 000 words. I want to try again and I hope that this time I will do it right. I will focus on smaller updates, less mechanics.

    Second thing - this quest will be CROSSFORUM quest. You probably ask "Wait, what?". Well, putting that simple - both your votes and people on other forums counts. I know this will make communication a bit... hard. But I have idea how to do it. I will link their thread here and ours there. I will pass and votes, unless you want to make your account there and do it yourself. I will link posts, quote them and make everything in my power to do it. It may work, it may not. We will see.

    Last, but not least - what is this CYOA/Quest about. Well, that is simple - your character is Jarlo Karhim, young agent of Circle, organization of archmages that keep world safe... so far.

    I want to create series of smaller adventures with a premade hero, each with a loose connection to another. While most of the Quest aim to be longer, epic adventures, I will try to make this shorter, with smaller areas and with less people involved. Each adventure will take place in a different location, but your character won't change, as probably his companions. (that's up to you)

    It is really simple system. Your choices are everything (there may be some randomly determined results to some of the choices, but those will be rare), and the flow of the story will be decided by them, but some luck with rolls will be involved. Some feats will make rolls easier, and some would autoresolve them altogether.

    I think that is everything you should know now. I hope it is enough to make you read it to the end of this text.

    Warning: I'm not native english speaker and I will make mistakes as my grammar isn't perfect. I always try to work on my mistakes, but sadly, I'm only human being. I hope you don't mind. (I thanks my awesome editor, who asked me to don't post his nick around. Thanks, bro. You made this possible)

    The CYOA/Quest will take place on the world called 'Zinoth'. The 'Known World' itself is an area of about 1000 miles in diameter surrounded by mountains with only a few ways in or out. From east and west it borders an ocean, and great deserts lie to the south. The easiest way to get out 'Known World' is by north, but it is very dangerous journey, with dangerous animals and monsters barring the way and civilized placed few and far between.

    The 'Known World' is the work of a group of 'Creators' or 'Gods' - powerful beings that appeared from beyond the Void (the space between the worlds) about 3000 years before the game takes place. After the Creators finished their work, they have shaped humans and elves, the only two intelligent races on the continent.

    In the next thousand years both species have developed enough to obtain the power to cast spells. The scholars say that the knowledge came from ancient texts and the priests say that it was a gift directly from the Gods. However, that was a bad time to learn magic. A war has happened between the two Creator factions, of which most sources claim there were 20 by that point.

    Their war was long and cruel... and when it ended, only a few Creators were left standing. Having all but destroyed the world they have created, they have retired to a separate plance of existence, and set up a rule, a vow that every one of them must obey from this point onwards: they could not manifest themselves in the mortal world directly anymore. The punishment was death.

    But their servants observed them during the war. With time, those who would die with their Creators' names on their lips before started to doubt their wisdom. They saw Gods treating them as tools. The most powerful of mortal wizards, Mazeron raised a call for fellow mortals to help him free them from their slavery. The great war has taught them how to kill those who gave them life - with the help of the Void itself.

    Mazeron and his Circle of Ten almost succeeded. They got enough power to create a tear in the fabric of reality and tried to push the Creators into it, which would inevitably kill them. The mages' attempt has failed, however, when the spell got reversed and their own shattered souls flew into the Void. Everyone who accepted the plan of Ten was subsequently wiped out from the face of Known World. But the Gods underestimated their own creations. A seed of rebellion has already been planted...

    One hundred years later, a new Power has appeared, a Dwarven panteon together with their own people. Nobody knows why and from where, and the Creators were suprised. After meeting with the new Panteon in person, they have concluded that the newcomers were too powerful to risk another fight. They Dwarven Gods, have agreed not to interfere with the Creators' business and avoid direct intervention with the mortal world...

    A long time has passed. Kingdoms and empires have rised and fallen. Because of their vow, the Creators didn't appear in the mortal world anymore, but they sent their Avatars instead - chosen people who had a small part of the soul and power of their patron in them. To the Gods, the Avatars and their churches remained the only way to influence the fate of the world and interact with it. With time, the Creators distanced themselves from mortal affairs and forgot all about the former disobedience of their servants. And that was reason why they fell.

    About 250 years before the start of the game, a mage by the name of Xyon arrived to the temple of Teriona, the Goddess of poisons and plague, and pleaded with her for something. She refused, shunning and humiliating him. After that, he disappeared from the eyes of the chroniclers, only to reemerge after 10 years, gathering people that were spurned by fate and Gods themselves under his banners. Thanks to his resoursefulness and unbelievable charisma he got thousands of allies and followers in the next 30 years, including several emperors and kings. The most powerful allies of Xyon (each a noteworthy mage in their own right) swore an oath and started calling themselves 'New Circle', or just Circle, in memory of Mazeron and his Circle of Ten. They have picked up the banner and started searching for a way to destroy the Gods once and for all. Under mysterious circumstances they have conjured up a spell that was capable of banishing the Gods to where they came from. To the Void.

    Churches of Creators were already warned by their masters (as the Gods themselves were bound by their vow of non-interference in the affairs of mortals) and put their forces against the Circle's armies. It was later called 'Sacred' March (the irony was strong among the rebels. Yeah, March forces were Circle forces) Circle's forces won battle after battle until they came near the Spire, the highest mountain in Known World and the only place connecting the mortal realm to a pocket dimension where the Creators resided.

    In the middle of the battle that was meant to break the forces of 'Sacred' March, Circle performed a ritual that was supposed to destroy the portal to the pocket-plane, even as the Gods set up a protective spell around it. The resulting collision of two spells was a catastrophe. Thousand of people have died as the Breach into the Void appeared and sucked away whatever life force there was within 10 miles, turning the area around the Spire into a wasteland. Circle managed to escape the worst of it with a tiny amount of followers through the use of 'Gate' and 'Portal' spells, but the vast majority of those involved in the battle have died, the Creators among them. Those people whose souls, minds and bodies (the Triangle of Existence - it's an important magic theory in the setting, but that's for another time) were powerful enough turned into Soulless, sentient undead creatures without souls. And many more things on Zinoth have changed with the appearance of the Breach and the perishing of the Creators, including the rules of magic itself.

    Now, 250 years after 'Sacred' March, a young Circle Agent, Jarko Karhim, begins his service. Where will he go?

    I don't know, but I know one thing.

    You will be his fate.

    Spoilers below were added at last character creation update time.
    I suggest to read all of those, but only "About Project" and "Mechanics" are are 'must' read things. Other are here just to give you more informations about setting.



    So you want to hear more about my project. Very well, here we go.

    I want to create series of smaller adventures with a premade hero, each with a loose connection to another. While most of the Quest aim to be longer, epic adventures, I will try to make this shorter, with smaller areas and with less people involved. Each adventure will take place in a different location, but your character won't change, as probably his companions. (that's up to you)

    Why I want to create it like this - at the time I started this CYOA, I was busy with many things and my free-time was almost noexistant. Also, I think it will be best form for it.

    Information about the Setting goes here:

    Races in Known World:

    Humans - pretty much standard fantasy humans. Not much to say about those.

    Dwarves! On Zinoth, dwarves come from another world from beyond the Void, after theirs was destroyed by one of their Gods - Valatun Trickster - as he broke something called "A Forge of North Soul" and killed most of their race and pantheon (and himself) in the process. Jarin Moutains, the site to the north-west of Known World, house 250 000 dwarves, which is all what remains of them.

    They live in clans that have their own heads, thans. For most dwarves, there is nothing more important than their own clan, even their kingdom and their Gods come after, except for priests who devote their souls to their deity and thus do not belong to a clan anymore.

    The Dwarven Gods reside in their own plane of existence, so they are alive and well even after Circle destroyed the Creators together with the pocket dimension they were in. They are still bound by their vow of non-interference, though, even after the Creators have died.

    About 5000 dwarves volunteered to support 'Sacred' March and died after the Breach has opened, as dwarven souls are much different from the others on Zinoth (they come from another world, after all). These dwarves are called Turmabug - the Legion of Willing (People), and they are heroes to both dwarves and the people from March.

    Dwarves see humans as their allies in most part of Known World, except for South Kingdoms - the three kingdoms where faith in the now dead Creators is still strong.

    Elves aren't much different from humans in this setting, except for their history and some physical differences. What little remained of them after the first attempt to destroy the Creators evolved in the last 2500 years to mortals very similiar to humans. They still have a lifespan of about 800 years and much faster reflexes.

    They were servants of the Goddess Meluia back in ancient times, and they would have fought against March 2500 years into the future, were they not betrayed by their own Creator. One of the Mazeron's Ten warned his Goddess about the uprising, hoping to prevent her from coming to harm, only for Meluia to expose the conspirators and doom the one who confided in her. Thousands of the elves have risen in arms against the Creators after that, trying to buy the Circle of Ten a bit of time to cast their banishing spell, but they have ultimately failed.

    Not many elves were left after that. Meluia begged others Creator not to destory them all, but she was forever loathed by her children and nothing she did could soothe them. The elves destroyed her temples and retreated deeper into their forests.

    When Circle have declared war on the Gods, elves did not forget what happened to the one who pitied their Creator, and many of them have joined the March. Most of them died when the Breach opened.

    Soullesses are humans that were part of March and were in range of the spell that opened the Breach to the Void. Their souls were torn away from their bodies, destroying their Triangle of Existence (Body - Mind - Soul) and driving them crazy for the next several years. They transformed into life-sucking creatures that would kill anyone who entered the Wasteland around the Void, but a few of them managed to regain their sanity and reintegrate into a society of Known World. However, they have changed greatly. They did not age anymore, did not need to eat or drink (though they still could as it makes them regenerate wounds faster), and only needed a few hours of sleep in a week. People still feared them as they have the ability to drain one's life force by mere touch, and some say that they suck away others' souls and use them as fuel for their strange powers.

    Many of the Soulless were killed by scared peasants, cultists of Dead Gods or people from South Kingdoms in the 245 years after the first of their kind regained sentience. Circle and most of the kingdoms who took part in March recognize them as heroes and consider themselves indebted to them for their sacrifice. But among the simpler folk they are feared and are seen as monsters.

    What is the Game? Well, what isn't the Game? The Game is what high-born people call intrigues, political plots, plans, trade agreements, wars... everything that has a major impact on the balance of power in Known World. While the Game was there since the dawn of time, it did not always have the form it does now. After the death of Gods, Known World was facing an economic crisis. Death toll in the thousand, farmlands burned to the ground, ruined trade routes, the rise of banditry... Circle knew everything they fought for was going to crumble if they didn't act... and they did. They have restored balance and peace, by placing themselves at the center of the new order, as unofficial leaders of the rebuilt kingdoms. Circle isn't just a bunch of the most powerful wizards on Zinoth. They are the people behind the status quo, and its guardians. This is why they can command even kings - not to their face, of course, but they often act as advisors (and in some places they are kings - Dragon Empire, Vin-Libre and a several other lands are directly ruled by Circle members).

    The Game is their tool to keep this balance, and they are its main players, along with a few other powerful people. One can be invited to participate in the Game via a letter. Those that are not invited can still play, but they aren't protected by the rules (like, for example, 'No player may be killed by another'. Only pawns may accidentally kill the players, as they do not have knowledge of the rules or their place in the Game). Who are these players? Circle, powerful wizards/rulers/kings and people who have been around the block long enough to learn the rules. The rest are pawns, masters and servants alike... everyone in Known World who is not a player is a pawn.

    Most people know that the game exist, even though nobody talks about it aloud. And they want it to continue.

    - It provides an opportunity to earn wealth and power to those who participate.

    - It grants peace and stability.

    - Most people are aware of their insignificance and thus aren't afraid they would somehow suffer because of the actions of the players.

    So most people do not mind... unless they find themselves on the receiving end.

    Rolls - not too much to say here, but... rolls happen. Your choices are everything (there may be some randomly determined results to some of the choices, but those will be rare), and the flow of the story will be decided by them, but some luck with rolls will be involved. Some feats will make rolls easier, and some would autoresolve them altogether.

    Game Over - there is only one way to finish your adventure forever, and that is to kill Jarlo off. Even if you get into worst kind of hell imaginable, there is still a chance that you get out alive. As long as you live, there is hope.

    Bad Endings (for characters and whole adventures) - yes, there are bad endings. Your actions will have consequences. You are the only one who decides what kind of ending the adventure will get... so choose wisely. Some Bad Endings lead to automatic game overs, but most of those would not preclude starting new adventures.

    Insta-death choices - while I'm not fan of those, they will sometimes appear among the choices. Most of them would be fairly easy to see. For example, attacking a Circle archmage would be suicide by stupidy. I won't judge you for your action, but I suggest you think carefully about what you want to do.

    Death's Door - not every death means the end of your adventure. If you are lucky, you may find an artefact during your adventures that will take you to Death's Door, where you could try to bargain with death for another chance... but it will have its price. Just try not to die... there is always a chance you won't find any of those.


    Prologue

    "Shadow Karhim"

    An old man is sitting in an oaken chair, slowly writing something with a quill pen. Darkness surrounds him, disturbed only by a faint candle flame. A table creaks when the man leans on with one hand, looking at the letter. His face, barely visible in the light, shows great sadness and pain. He thinks about something and winces, turning away, to the window near him.

    'Don't worry, old fool. It will end soon.' A quiet whisper suddenly comes out of the darkness, and the old man turns around. Pulling out a blade concealed in his cane, with great speed he rises up from the chair and looks around. His moves resemble those of a warrior rather than what you'd expect from someone his age.

    'Who are you? How did you get here?' his voice is strong and confident, if a bit suprised. How could someone get inside his rooms without making a noise? He should have heard the door open in the room next to his. 'I repeat, who are you! Show yourself!'

    For a moment, he hears only silence, but then... a quite chuckle resounds in the darkness. 'As you wish, old fool.'

    A flash of light lits the room as something charges at the old man. He tries to parry the attack and raises his other hand in defence. And then...

    Light and heat.

    ***

    Later, they said that people could hear the explosion even from a village a few miles away. Light filled the sky when a part of Manor Speltuzer, the office of Lord Graham Dimas, went up in flames. It was not exceptionally poweful, but it was loud enough to scare people in Rade Valley that belonged to the Dimas family.

    Miraculously, the Lord himself survived the explosion despite his many wounds, and was found and saved by his personal guard. He regained consciousness a few days after that, and called for a messenger with his first words. His daughter, who had been sitting next to him with eyes red from crying forthe last couple of days, have helped her father write down a new letter.

    "To Circle.

    I ask you for help, my long time friends. Attacked in my own house, unable to trust anyone among my own people, I am forced to seek your assistance. I need one of your agents. Please, send him to me as fast as possible.

    Do not worry about payment. I will have something that will interest you.

    Lord Graham Dimas."


    ***

    Meanwhile, in the kingdom of Raignar, a young man by the name of Jarlo Karhim has just finished his last test, the one he took together with the people he was working with for the past few years. The same people whom he just fought. It was the goal of the test to determine whether they would be ready to attack their own partners, should their orders demand it.

    And now, looking at them sprawled on the ground before him, he smiles and winces at the same time. He won. He succeeded. But he took away the dreams of people who were his friends for the last few years. Metron, who is staring daggers at him. Rega, who winks at him with a smile. Rino, trying to hold back her tears. And Delam, who offered him only a brief nod.

    Suddenly, all of them look up when they hear the elevator slowly descending to their floor. Finally, it touches the ground without a sound. A lone figure steps out, and gives them a round of slow applause as it comes closer to group, who rise to their feet.

    The man is dressed in a light leather armor, and a long black cape with a hood. On his belt, there is a sheathed longsword. His voice is warm and charming as he approaches them.

    'What a performance! I must say, it was one of the better fights I have seen on that arena.' His gaze stops on Jarlo. 'Recruit Karhim... or rather, Shadow Karhim, I should say.' he nods. 'You have impressive reflexes. You struck your companions mere moments after I told you the true goal of the test. You did good, and you can be proud.'

    He turns to the rest of Jarlo's squad. 'As for you... Metron, your anger took away all that your training have taught you in a matter of seconds. One hit from your companion, and already you let the hate command you... Even if you were to pass today, you would have failed in the end.'

    'Rega, that was a sound tactical thinking on your part. Attacking those that are busy fighting between themselves was a good idea, and only Jarlo's fast reaction saved him back there. Rino...' he sighs, shaking his head. 'Stop crying. You are an adult woman. Delam, I must say you have suprised me. I was all but certain it would be you, not Jarlo. But it seems that luck sometimes turns her eyes away, even from you.' he smiles at the young man.

    'And with that, your training is complete. Jarlo Karhim, you come with me. The rest of you, go to your rooms. We will discuss your future later.' he shakes Jarlo's hand. ' Welcome to the Agents, Shadow.'

    ***

    Circle, or rather Circle of Archmages, is a group of people that are supposed to keep peace around Known World. While most of them don't actually rule kingdoms (though some of them are), they still have most say in everything that matters in Known World. They are nine archmages that supported Xyon in his Sacred March and survived: Count Zabadon, Old Man Lysang, Mukor, Lady Artia, Tarok - Emperor of the Dragon Empire, Zalin, Masked, Gorasul and Vash. Before March, there were also Xyon's mistress Sani, and his apprentice Bartok, but they died alongside Xyon during the last battle of March.

    Circle Agents are people hired by Circle, both by the organization as a whole and on an individual basis. While they are mostly used as tools to mantain order in Known World, everybody knows that they also take part in a few other, less advertised activites. Agents are often feared by normal citizens, as nobody wants to attract the attention of an archmages or become entangled in their plots.

    Circle Agents are divided in groups. Those groups choose to serve one of the archmages as personal agents, but it is also possible not to pick any and become "independent". The latter are usually people who don't want to be a part of Circle's internal intrigues, but share their common goals. They don't usually gain much weight in the power structure, and may be seen as 'outsiders' by their more dedicated peers.

    Chain of command in Circle looks like this: Archmages <- Ageless (their personal bodyguards and lieutenants) <- Commanders <- Agents <- Shadows. Recruits don't have a say in anything until they pass their tests. There are also mercenaries who aren't Agents, but often work together with them.

    Reputation of Circle Agents is a mixed bag. They are seen both as keepers of peace and as tools of Circle, who enforce their own laws. In South Kingdoms people hate Circle and their agents - as they blame them for death of their beloved gods, - and they don't bother to hide it. Most of people don't mind them, though, as long as agents aren't concerned with them.

    They are a really diverse bunch. Wizards, fighters, psionics, assassins - you can find almost anyone here. While usually they work alone or with new partners for every mission, some of them might form groups that stick together, though those occasions are rare.

    As for what do they do? A lot of things. They act like a small elite force of Circle, guardians of Known World and keepers of peace. They are also part of the Game, where they act as Pawns. Yet people also whisper about darker things: curses, kidnappings, murders, and dealing with forces much more powerful than they would publicly admit. But few dare to pry. A price for that knowledge may prove to be too steep.

    The details of training one must undergo to become an Agent are often secret and Circle has ways to keep them that way. People trying to sell those disappear without a trace. But this is rare, as most people never complete it in the first place. Recruits often break or leave on their own, their memory wiped clean.


    The office of Agent Asmund is a small room in the west wing of the central complex. The headquarters of Circle Agents are carved entirely in the rock, under the mount Karvo. They are big enough to house one thousand people, but only about 600 stay around at any given time, either to do some paperwork, to catch a breath between the missions, or to train new recruits like Asmund does. The existence of the base is common knowledge, but few people outside their ranks have access to this place.

    And if they had, they'd be surprized how cosy the place is. A private brewery , a "tavern", a few places for agents to relax... most people would have to spend a pretty penny to afford a living like that. Agents weren't poor by any means.

    Despite that, Asmund's office does not have much in the way of luxury. A small safe on the wall, a pair of chairs, a desk. The only decorations in the room are a tapestry with a Circle's emblem and a small rug made of wolf skin. Nothing fancy or precious, just simple things.

    'Feel free to sit.' he points at the chair, as he sits across the desk. 'So, have you already decided which group will you choose?'

    'Uh, to be honest, I haven't. I mean, I'm still considering the posibilities.' Jarlo scratches his head. It is an important decision, the one that will heavily impact his future career. 'But I think I'm ready to choose...'

    Who are the people in Circle?

    Count Radosk Zabadon is the best swordsman in Circle and probably its best known member. Some consider him the face of Circle, as he is involved in many diplomatic matters and he is almost universally liked due to both his charisma and his heroic track record. He is one of the few humans to bear the title of Friends of Stonekin, which gives him a lot of leeway with Dwarven Kingdom.

    While most of the time he can be seen traveling Known World instead of ruling his lands, everybody knows that those are the safest. The reasons are two-fold. First, nobody is stupid enough to invade Zabadon's domain, as he would go to any lengths to protect his people. Second, it's the economic capital that is home to most of the banks in Known World, and any country who dares to attack would find it hard to fight without money to support their armies.

    "Old Man" Lysang is the oldest mage in Circle. While he is fairly famous, there are is not a lot known about him personally. He is one of the stronger Circle members, and probably the most talented shapeshifter in Known World. While back in time he was pretty active, now he rarely comes out of his domain, a small elven forest to the north where he trains other wizards who have talent for shapeshifting or nature magic. People call them druids.

    Jarlo didn't hear much about him either. Those Agents that serve him usually either stay in his domain, or do private work for him, which they prefer not to disclose. Lysang doesn't like assigning his people to affairs that aren't his own. It isn't suprising that he is not very popular with new recruits.

    Mukor is the third person who is widely recognized as a "good" part of Circle, together with Old Man and the Count. He rules Erin Valley, which belonged to Dwarven Kingdom back in the day and was gifted to him by the Dwarven King himself. People say that he is the second best fighter in Circle, but also that he is pretty weak as far as mages go. He is rumored to be really caring and kind, and a very good ruler.

    Circle Agents know about the source of his strength that is also his curse - he is cursed by something that is called "Primal Rage". It grants him a strength of a giant, but every time he succumbs to it, he must either kill someone or be locked away until he calms down and the anger passes. This is why he shut himself off in his manor in Erin Valley.

    Artia - also called "Beautiful Mad Lady/Hag". She rules Vin-Libre, one of the two kingdoms with access to the sea, the other being Dragon Empire. She isn't very popular either, mostly because everybody knows she is batshit crazy. Obsessed with beauty, she thinks that she is the prettiest thing in the world and anyone who doesn't agree... sometimes they just disappear, unless they are a Circle member or under a direct protection of one. While Vin-Libre is a really wonderful land, it is certainly not because of her rule - the Lady cares not for anything that isn't a work of art. People govern her kingdom for her and they do good job.

    "Stay away from her and you should be safe" - the other Agents say, and they are probably right.

    Tarok Vilerhetenmen - now if there is a man who could steal Zabadon's place as Circle's face, it's him, the Emperor of the Dragon Empire, the largest country in Known World, and one of most powerful magic users. The Empire is a magocracy and a paradise for anyone who fancies himself a wizard, so unsurprisingly, most mages choose him as their patron. But he is fair, and he rewards good service regardless of one's proficiency with magic. He cares little about Circle business, as ruling the Empire takes up most of his time, and archmage games grew dull after a while. His Agents really like him, but they rarely elaborate why. Thex just say "he is the Emperor" as if that's everything one needs to know about him.

    Zalin - one of the few influental people that do not have their own kingdom or domain, he simply travels around the world and takes care of things in the name of Circle. He is probably the most active player of the Game, and a frequent guest to the Agents' headquarters. He is seen as a trickster, a rogue and a thief, all in one. But mostly, he just does things for fun. He caused a few "incidents" in South Kingdoms back in the day, and is probably the most hated Circle member around there. His agents mostly do field work, so he is often picked by those who don't like sitting in one place for too long. Other Circle members consider him a "jester", but they all know he is dangerous, and if wronged, he won't stop until he fulfills his vendetta.

    Masked is the most mysterious Circle member. He/She disappeared 50 years ago, but this didn't seem to diminish his/her fame. Agents often say that even other archmages know neither his sex, nor his name, and that they probably have never seen his face. He is rumored to be a bit mad, love gambling and toy with people for his amusement. He is the author of the first Labirynthian, a game for powerful wizards played with real people as tokens. Now, after his disapperance, almost no one chooses his group, but a few weirdos still do from time to time. Other Agents view them as outsiders who took a joke too far, and this perception is unlikely to change unless Masked comes back... if he's still alive, that is.

    Gorasul - often called a "Wizard of the Silver Flame" due to his unique fire-based spells. He is the only archmage from Circle that was born in South Kingdoms, and he still lives there, in a flying tower hovering above the Barovian capital. While his primary concern is the fair treatment of the people from South Kingdoms, he also has a keen interest in pretty much everything that may pose danger to the inhabitants of Known World. However, he is one of the more pragmatic people around, and there are rumors about him leaving his agents to die when it would assure the success of the mission. But, well... nobody really confirmed those rumors.

    Vash - the king of Barbari, people from northern parts of Known World. He is the only one in Circle who is not a magic user, since he is a "honorary member" because of the support he lent to 'Sacred' March. He was rewarded by making him Ageless, both in title and in the literal meaning of the word, and so every 10 years he is chosen by his Barbari subjects to be their king. While most people portray him as a violent and ruthless man, he is not unliuke Zabadon in how much he cares about his followers and friends. While he doesn't care too much about anything connected to the rest of Circle, he gladly accept any Agents that are willing to serve his cause.

    1. Whom will you serve, Jarlo?

    [ ] "I think I will pick Count Zabadon. He is a man that was born to rule and command. I think he is the one I'd like to serve."

    [ ] "Lysang... he is the one they call Old Man for a reason. His age is matched only by his wisdom. In serving him, I will obtain knowledge... and maybe a peace of mind."

    [ ] "Murok. They say he is a man that knows the price of power. I want to learn it, too."

    [ ] "Lady Artia. There is something fascinating in her madness. It intrigues me."

    [ ] "Emperor Tarok. Is there a limit to what the man can do? And to how much he can pay... yes. I believe my talents would be worth his money."

    [ ] "Zalin. He seems... alright. I like to have fun and he appears to be a man that appreciates it just as much as I do."

    [ ] "Masked...?" Asmund gives you a weird look. "I think it may prove interesting, sir."

    [ ] "Gorasul. He seems to know what is important to people around him. It is a safe choice."

    [ ] "Vash. He isn't an archmage, so it should be interesting... and at least I won't be a pawn in their games. I don't like the idea of being a toy for other Circle members."

    [ ] "I think I will be one without a group. I'm here to serve not one person, but to serve both Circle and Known World as a whole. Other matters do not concern me."

    And welcome in Known World, again.

    Link to thread on another forum: https://forums.sufficientvelocity.c...ystery-of-manor-speltuzer.26933/#post-5531584
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
    • Salute Salute x 3
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  2. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
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    Post reserved for future character sheet.
     
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  3. lightbane Arcane

    lightbane
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    Are you really posting the same game on both the Codex AND the SV forums? What an attention whore you are. It might get quite confusing for you if the readers choose different things in each place.
     
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  4. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
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    I will do anything for attention. I'm willing to try and face any difficulty that may appear. Besides... I don't think that many people will want to vote. But I'm pretty sure I can manage to do it, with small help of SV voting counter program, some time and my will.

    If anyone will participate, I mean. :mixedemotions: So far... Heh, let's just say that I'm not optimist. But who knows.
     
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  5. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    I choose:

    [ ] "Lady Artia. There is something fascinating in her madness. It intrigues me."

    Because MADNESS
     
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  6. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
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    All right, vote will be closed in next... Well, around 20 hours. If anyone have any tips, idea or complaint about anything connected to quest. Either here or by private message.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
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  7. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
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    All right, first part of character creation finished. Some information - until end of character creation you can change votes/post new vote on character aspects, as long as we don't finish it with last update. How many updates left? Around 4-5.

    Tally for now:
    2 Tarok
    1 Masked
    1 Artia

    Part 2:

    Asmund nods sagely and and smiles at Jarlo. "I respect your choice, boy. It's your life, after all. Anyway, you still have time to think this over. Your will receive your first assignment in about a month... maybe two? I heard the record was a whole year. " he chuckles. "Poor guy was bored to death. I envy him.' he sighs. 'You must be excited, aren't you?'

    'Of course I am!' Jarlo thinks to himself. It was his success, his day. Still, his friends... Jarlo looks at Asmund and asks quietly. "What about my... companions?"

    "Oh, yes. They will head back home or, if they want, they may become mercenaries." he shrugs." Their training was one of the best one can get, so believe me, they will find a job sooner rather than later. Anyway, you probably have more questions. Feel free to ask, Shadow. We are colleagues now, after all. " he chuckles. "Well, maybe not yet, but I believe you will be promoted before long."

    "I want to ask about the assignment. Did you mean that I would have to go on a mission alone?" Jarlo rubs hius chin, uncertain.

    "Ah, that. It depends. If it is something easy, you will go alone. Otherwise you will accompany another Agent, and act as his backup." Asmund opens one of his desk drawers and pulls out a cigarette case. He holds it out to Jarlo and tilts his head questioningly.

    "Oh no, thank you. I don't smoke." Jarlo politely refuses as Asmund shrugs and snaps his fingers. A small flame appears on the tip of his index finger, and fades as soon as he lights up the cigarette.

    "You aren't a magica user, are you? I mean, you aren't gifted - touched, blessed, cursed? - whatever you call it." he chuckles again. "I remember you were chosen because you did something special."

    Jarlo shakes his head. "No, sir. I don't have a strong connection to any of the sources." 'And thank Dead Gods' - he thought. It wasn't pleasant, being one of them, though he had to take others' word for it. Magic was somewhat of both a gift and a curse.

    This is lore spoiler, you don't have to read it if you don't want. It contain some information that may be useful later and will be posted in edited main post, along with other things as soon as character creation will be finished.

    Here you can read about magic in the setting.

    When a human/elf/whatever-that-isn't-a-dwarf is born, their soul is created/appears/comes out of some existential pool/yadda yadda - religions and theories are divided on this. What matters is that they already come with a part of magic inside of them, and a connection to some external force.

    When a magic user is born, his soul has a strong affinity to a source of primal magic... but in turn, its affinity to the other sources is weakened. Of course, there are people that have strong connection to two or even more sources, but it is rare. There are also magic users that don't have a single connection that is prevalent over the others, and they can use spells that borrow from multiple sources, but they will never grow as powerful as someone with a single strong connection. Known sources (at least in Known World) or 'fields' are:

    - elemental (fire, water, earth, air). Some people say there is a fifth element, the one that connect them and creates life. Some consider it a separate source, while others think of it as of their combination, but the theory was never proven one way or the other.

    - mind - anything connected to manipulating creatures minds (except illussions), psionics or telepathy.

    - life/death - based on manipulating life force, both to heal and to harm. (Know that PROPER healing magic is a combination between this and body source) Most important subtypes are: necromancy (giving life force to dead bodies, or infusing them with soul leftovers to create servants without their own will and soul) and aeromancy (a combination of life and soul sources, it calls back the soul of the creature that inhabited the body before its death, and grants it a 'second life' in undeath... IF it wants to. Aeromancy is often described as a 'good' kind of necromancy, as far as creating free-willed undead monsters can be considered good).

    - body - spells manipulating creature bodies come from this source. It includes transformation and shapeshifting magic, as well as wound regeneration and mending of broken bones. While you can 'heal' a body with the help of life source, it is hard to keep it inside if the recipient is bleeding out or has chipped bones piercing their internal organs.

    - light and shadow - those get the wizards baffled, because while they are both legitimate sources, they are not on par with others. People connected to those are often magically crippled in some way and can't cast even the simplest of spells from other sources, while the ones they can cast are broken and mostly useless. It is really hard to find a powerful light/shadow wizard, but when they do appear, many people find themselves wishing they were somewhere else. They manipulate energy from their respective source and can materialize those in some ways, use them as weapons or catalysts to powerful spells, and do other things that 'normal' wizards can't. Some people say that shadow wizards can move through shadows to a parallel world that connects them, and summon creatures from there. Nothing of a sort is mentioned about light wizards.

    - soul (sometimes called 'energy') - the most powerful of the sources, but also the hardest to control. While manipulating life force is an amazing feat, soul magic is on a whole another level - it manipulates a pure form of energy that souls are made of. Some people (smarter than you) say that this element is the base of every other source, not only on Zinoth but in the whole universe beyond the Void. Everything that consists of matter is fused together with soul force. There aren't many people who can use this type of magic, but most agree on one thing - this is the domain of archmages and it may be the secret behind their power. Manipulating reality? Mass theocide? Shattering Voal and opening a hole to the Void? Soul magic.

    There is magic that comes from outside Zinoth, but it's pretty unique and you won't encounter is all too often. because summoning creatures from other planes is as an 'epic' feat on Zinoth, what with the Voal covering it. People from outside Zinoth are called Demons and their magic may be very diferrent from the one you know.

    There are also 'subgroups' of spells that are hard to pin on any separate source. I will try list some here, but those reflect your character's knowledge. I will add more as soon as your character learns about them:

    - illusions - a subgroup of spells that concentrate on fooling people in some way or the other. Creating false walls, changing apperance without disguising yourself properly, creating fake sounds or smells... most of it goes here.

    - tricks - not exactly a spell subgroup, but I decided to place it here. When someone doesn't have enough magical force to cast real spells, but nonetheless has a connection to a source, they can learn to do stuff impossible for non-mages with enough determination and training. Turning a finger into a lighter, creating a breeze to extinguish a nearby torch... those very minor spells are called tricks. Even if this IS magic, most wizards would be offended if you lump a trickster together with magic users.

    "Care to remind me the whole story? I have your file somewhere around here, but to be honest, I always wanted to hear it from you." Asmund spreads his hands and leans back in his chair, creaking under his weight, as Jarlo thinks back on what happened in the past.

    2. What made you so special, Jarlo? Something occured in the past, something that opened the path that lead you to this moment. Pick only one.

    [ ] "It happened in my hometown, sir. One of my friends was kidnapped in the middle of the night by local bandits... nobody could find her. But somehow, I saw traces. I knew what they did, how they got inside, which direction they were heading. I told people. They didn't believe me, of course. But some listened to my words. After a day or two, we managed to find their hideout, and we saved her." Jarlo smiles to his memories. It was terrible, yes... but that what happened after was good. Not every day you get to save your childhood friend and get a grateful kiss for your trouble. Good times. "But yes, sir. Sometimes I can see through tracks. I do not know how to describe it... I think my mind projects what could have happened. Sometimes I make mistakes or can't see anything, but sometimes... I just see." (Jarlo gets a special feat - "Projection of the mind" - allowing him to project how something could have happened if he has enough information about what happened. Or if he is lucky. It may come handy during your adventures)

    [ ] "When I was young, like really young... me and my friends found something in the caves near my home city. A stone, pulsing with blue energy. We tried to play with it..." Jarlo turns away and closes his eyes. Screams of his friends still echo in his ears, even after so many years. "It was one of the Fallen Stars... I was the only one who survived... I remember those nights, full of fever and pain. My parents said they never thought someone could scream for a whole week non-stop. I couldn't talk for the next few months... But I survived. Later, a wizard examinated me. They told me that I have some sort of very strong magical resistance." (Jarlo gains a "Point Zero" feat - he can survive much more than others, when it comes to magic of any kind... but remember, that does not make him immortal. Everyone will fall to the power of magica if they try to take on too much)

    [ ] "I... uh. How do I say it without sounding like a madman?" Jarlo shuffles uncomfortably. "I always was a weird child. I saw things that I shouldn't have seen. I knew about things I couldn't have known about. Mysterious pieces of knowledge. My friends were worried about me, as it only grew worse with time. I almost lost myself in my visions. But someone saved me, an old sage... I don't even remember his name. But he severed my connection to Astral, as he called it. A plane of ghosts, spirits and ancient knowledge. I no longer see as much as I used to, but I prefer it this way. Anyway, I know a bit about things from the land of spirits and the world beyond." (Jarlo gains a feat "Astral Connection" - it gives him a bit of knowledge about the Astral world connected to the material plane, where ghosts and spirits reside. It may be come handy during certain choices and interactions)

    [ ] "I believe it was just that... I came here and asked to join. When I was old enough, I decided to become one of the Circle Agents. I was sure it was the right thing to do, for myself, my family, my friends... and my world. And here I am, hoping for the bright future. " Jarlo grins. "I became what I wanted to be." (Jarlo doesn't gain any special feats, but instead you can choose two normal ones)
     
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  8. oscar Tacticular Staff

    oscar
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    Magic resistance.
     
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  9. CryptRat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Developer

    CryptRat
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    Lysang
    Astral Connection
     
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  10. lightbane Arcane

    lightbane
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    Well, your writing has certainly improved. Congrats Karwelas.
    Hmm, secret police that call themselves Shadows. Special warriors named Ageless. Are you sure you didn't mean "Eternals"? :P
    Anyway, I vote for Astral connection. Do we still get the chance of acquiring one normal feat if we don't pick the "I became..." option?
     
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  11. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
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    lightbane Somebody helped me by editing text. Still, yeah, my writing improved, at least my editor claims so. :lol:

    Heh, I don't know what you mean, but it reminds me of something. I remember I found something about other Ageless, but it was after I decided to call them like it. Shadow is range, rookie, pretty much.

    Yep, one feat is free, doesn't matter what you choose.
     
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  12. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
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    All right, next update.

    Tally:

    1. Whom will you serve, Jarlo?
    2 - Tarok
    1 - Masked
    1 - Artia
    1 - Lysang

    2. What made you so special, Jarlo? Something occured in the past, something that opened the path that lead you to this moment. Pick only one:
    Tie between Point Zero and Astral Connection.


    This is biggest part, I think. But after that only last choice left, almost without any text. Spoilers contain... well, map. Files have some background info and a bit about possible companions.

    Part 3:
    Asmund closes his eyes, listening to your story. "Ah... So that is how it was." he nods to himself. "Indeed, there are not many people who get here the way you did." he takes a puff. "Anyway, if you do not have any more questions, I believe we are finished here... I wi- " without a warning, the door suddenly bursts open with great force and speed. Asmund jumps off his chair, hand on the hilt of his blade, but the moment he sees a young woman come in, he pales and salutes.

    The woman was almost as young as Jarlo, or at least she looked the part. A nice pretty face framed in long, black hair. But her eyes... - Jarlo gasped, as she passed next to him. Blue as a water in a mountain lake, and cold as ice in Frozen Lands on The Farthest North. Her voice was just as cold. "Agent Asmund." she acknowledges his salute with a curt nod. "I assume you have finished the tests for the new Shadow." she looks at Jarlo, as if appraising him.

    "Y-yes, ma'am." Asmund takes a deep breath. "Our new Shadow, Jarlo Karhim."

    The woman offers Jarlo a handshake, and when she grabs his hand, he almost feels his bones crack... DEAD FUCKING GODS. How strong can she be!? - Jarlo shudders inwardly... who the hell is that woman?

    "Alerna Singersone. Nice to meet you, Shadow... or should I say, Agent? You will have Agent privileges for the duration of your mission." she turns her gaze to shocked Asmund. "We have a problem, Asmund. The portal in Larnmarn has opened wide. We have a demonic invasion on our hands, right in the middle of Known World."

    Huh, weird. Jarlo heard bits and pieces about the things occuring in the former captial of Tarum Kingdom. Six months ago, a portal from elsewhere has briefly openen in Larnmarn, allowing outsiders in. The first portal in a very long while. Rumors and fears were abound, but the Council of Larnmarn doesn't like Circle, and the feeling is mutual, so both sides remained silent about the issue and swept it under the rug... and now demons are pouring through the portal. That's not good.

    "Do I get to be a part of Larnmarn operations?" Jarlo asked.

    "No, Shadow. You will have your own mission. A few days ago, we got a message from a long time supporter of Circle in the Kingdom of Barovia. Lord Graham Dimas... though I doubt the name would mean anything to a non-Barovian. Anyway, he requests our help and we intend to send it, but we don't have enough Agents to spare. That portal is going to be one hell of a problem, even if they manage to shut it down." she sighs and runs her hand through her hair.

    "They?" Asmund asks, still pale in the face. At least he calmed down a bit.

    "Yes. We got word from the Count and from Lord Lysang. They will arrive there shortly. They have requested every available Agent to be sent to Free Lands. Hard times are ahead of us. Anyway..." she turns her eyes to Jarlo. "You will be provided the information necessary for your task. You have 24 hours to prepare for your first assignment. Good luck, Shadow... and maybe Agent, if you succeed." Alerna smiles for the first time, and her usually impervious expression lightens up a bit. "Asmund, I need you ready in the next few hours. See me in my office. You too, Shadow Karhim." and with those words she is out, slamming the door shut behind her.

    Asmund slowly sits and leans back in his chair. "For Gods' sake, my heart almost exploded." he sighs. "That was one a short break."

    "Who the hell was that?" Jarlo asks, still staring at the doorway, as if mesmerized.

    "That was, my dear young friend... Well, you've heard her name." he chuckles. "That was one of the Ageless. Anyway, I think you should get going. Looks like your work starts today."


    ***

    Jarlo sighs as he wanders through the corridors under Mount Karvo. The day was getting weirder and weirder. First the test, then one of the Ageless dropped by... and now his first orders. Finally, he finds Alerna's office, knocks at the door, prompting a quiet 'come in', and enters. The abode of the Ageless was even simpler than Asmund's. Empty walls, a single desk with a chair and small chest in a corner. Well, knowing how the place works, she probably has her private chambers behind two other doors in the room.

    "Ah, Karhim." she gives him a brief glance as she browses papers behind the desk. "I can't offer you much in the way of instructions, as we don't know much ourselves. Lord Dimas - the person that you will help - was attacked in his own house and requested the Circle's aid. He is one of the few Circle's supporters among the Barovian nobility, and therefore he is important to us. His lands are deep in the mountains. You will go to him, and you will help him. Whatever he asks you to do, you will do it. Those are Circle's orders."

    Jarlo stands at attention and salutes.

    "Here is the map of lands surrounding Lord Dimas' family manor. Also, there are a few dossiers on some of your possible... companions." Jarlo looks surprised as the Ageless hads him a small folder. "You can go alone, of course. But I suggest picking one of those. They are all Shadows with Agent privileges, like you... at least until we deal with Larnmarn."

    "Ma'am... May I ask you something?" Jarlo's voice is hesitant as he meets her gaze. It's like running into a wall, but then, he already asked, so what the hell. "Why me? I mean, this mission looks important. Not the kind you would normally send a Shadow on, let alone someone who had no prior experience working in the field."

    "You are right. This is an important mission, and normally I would not trust it to a rookie... but that was an order from people that I can't ignore." she rolls her eyes. "As for me, I want you on this mission because of the results you have shown during your training. And because of your... other talents. You may consider this your true test. The first mission is always important." she turns back to her papers, and frowns when Jarlo does not seem to get the hint, apparently having expected something else. "Still here? You only have one day to get ready. I suggest you get the necessary equipment and grab a horse from the stables. Whatever companion you pick, give the file to Asmund. Now go, I'm busy." she points at the door.

    As Jarlo slowly walks across the corridors again, he rummages through the file he was given and produces a map.

    Uh, map is made by me... you are allowed to laugh in my face. I know it is terrible, but that is all I can do alone.


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]

    Huh... they could have made a better map than that. But that's probably the only one he'll get. Jarlo studies the map for a while, and that packs it back with a shrug. Nothing too complex yet.

    Oh, and there are a few files on Dimas family... interesting. They look pretty new.

    Members of Dimas family are of noble descent that could be traced back for more then a half thousand years. Their ancestor, Izar Dimas, was one of the people working together with Kazukov Barov, the creator of Barovia Kingdom. They remained close supporters of Barovian dynasty, until in 386 Y.B.M (Years before March) the last descendant of Barov family died in the battle of Vir. After that, they were trying to become a new royal family, as did many nobles back in time.

    During the time of March, Dimas family decided to support Circle, though they did so in secret. They provided financial aid and offered to trade supplies. Now, 253 years after March, they still maintain their ties with Circle and support them when it comes to the Game. They don't hide their connections anymore, and they are powerful enough to protect themselves from the hatred towards Circle, so common in South Kingdoms...

    Jarlo decided to forego the history lesson and read on the more recent events. However, skipping towards the end in search of the latest branch of the family tree revealed that it was simply not included. That was strange. Even though these weren't original files, a copy should still have contained that information. Finally, he found a small note attached to the last file.

    "Shadow, any information on Dimas family other then what you find in these papers is classified by Circle. If you want to learn the rest, you must do so on your own. Lord Dimas will answer any questions you may have when you arrive."

    Ah, well. Time to browse the companions files, then. There are only a few of those, but all seem interesting. Let's see...

    3. It is time for you to choose a character that will be your companion during the adventure. (Or... maybe even future adventures, should you survive)

    [ ] "Ariel Vertora... huh. A psionic is intriguing, but those instructions... damn. Never saw anything like this. I don't know if I'll like it, but she may be useful."

    Circle Archives property - copy - requested by Ageless Alerna Singersone.
    Special copy for squad leader, information level - basic.

    Name: Ariel Vertora
    Sex and race: Female, human.
    Rank: Shadow (Agent privileges granted for the duration of the mission).
    Age: 19
    Family: Vertora - information classified.
    Birthplace: Vin-Libre, Kazparie.

    Shadow Vertora's training was approved by Agent Proxin, despite numerous problems. (footnote: Her recruitment was approved by Count Zabadon and requested by Lady Artia) Even though she only had a chance to partake in a few mission, she nevertheless has proven herself a valuable team member when used to her strengths. Her main problem is her unstable personality, which, combined with her psionic talents, could prove dangerous to other team members, unless they have proper protection. Squad leaders are to treat her carefully during the mission. Keep her calm and try to earn either her respect or her favor.

    Attached to the file are various reports, both boring and pointless to read for someone who is not enthusiastic about paperwork.

    Notes: (this part seems to be fresh) Shadow Karhim, forget about the instructions above. Ariel Vertora is indeed a powerful psionic, but she can't control her gift to the extent we would like her to. An "unstable personality" does not mean she is mad - she is, in fact, saner than most, - but you really need to keep her calm if you decide to take her. For your own safety.

    A large part of her psionic powers is beyond her ability to use preductably, and this is one of the reasons why we were forced to seal that part of her mind. But what's left of it can still be of use during your mission - she can detect emotions of others and changes in the psionic aura around her. She also knows how to fight, and is well-able to protect herself.

    If, despite our efforts, Shadow Vertora becomes a danger to the mission or the Agents working with her, she is to be detained or, should that prove impossible, executed. If, by any chance, a seal in her mind would undo itself, all Agents are ordered to either do everything in their power to eliminate the target or evacuate from the area and request backup from other Circle Agents. Those instructions can't ever be leaked to her or her family, under a threat of imprisonment.


    [ ] "Opern Sa'vir. A good fighter and an experienced Shadow, already with a few solo missions under his belt... he may become a good partner."

    Name: Opern Sa'vir/Sa'Vir - both forms are correct.
    Sex and race: Male, human.
    Range: Shadow (Agent privileges granted for the duration of the mission).
    Age: 25
    Family: Sa'vir - last living member from a family of merchants out of Free Lands. (footnote: Information confirmed to be false, Sa'vir family never existed. Mindreading sessions suggest that a possible reason to hide his real name is his connection to Free Lands, supposedly because of the rumors spread by Council of Larnmarn that Agents don't accept people from those parts of Known World. Might want to talk to him about that after the mission.)
    Birthplace: Unknown (footnote: Found some leads suggesting that his hometown is Livuir in Free Lands)

    Jarlo skimmed through the official reports, skipping straight to Alerna's notes.

    Notes: Shadow Sa'vir is one of the best operatives of his rank. His work on the missions so far is flawless , and I don't write sentences like that every day. While we found out about his lie during the recruitment, I would not hold it against him - people often want to hide their past when they join us. One thing that some people may find irritating is his personality - he is a snarker, cynical and sarcastic.

    Sa'vir is skilled with a blade and a bow, and has impressive knowledge of tracking both people and animals in the wilderness. He will listen to your orders, as long as those are related to your job. I believe you will have a good time working with him.

    [ ] "Letna Ryden. Nimble and fast, knows how to move in shadows... Damn, if only I knew more about my mission! But she may be that person I need."

    Name: Letna Ryden.
    Sex and race: Female, half-elf.
    Range: Shadow (Agent privileges granted for the duration of the mission).
    Age: 23
    Family: Ryden - a family of villagers from Barbari Lands.
    Birthplace: Barbari Lands, Kouzov.

    Notes: Shadow Ryden is one of our newest recruits, but so far she has proven that she is skilled in covert operations. Her knowledge about locks and traps is impressive. Maybe even too impressive for her own good - a few times we caught her with property belonging to other Shadows. She was punished, but I believe it is rather a part of her nature than simple theft.

    Keep an eye on her while in the home of Lord Dimas - we don't want any incidents. But I believe that her talents may be more useful for this particular mission than you think.

    [ ] "I don't need anyone with me. After all, I always wanted to work alone." - Jarlo will gain a special feat "Lone Wolf" - it allows you to pick an extra normal feat and opens new ways of solving problems that you wouldn't have otherwise. Sometimes one person is better than many.
     
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  13. lightbane Arcane

    lightbane
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    I was making a joke about the Eternal CYOA from EndMaster, because it had Shadows and such.

    So, our choices are a crazy walking time-bomb/psyker, a really competent warrior who may or may not be a spy, and a kender dirty thief. Marvelous choices! I vote the for:

    [X] "Ariel Vertora... huh. A psionic is intriguing, but those instructions... damn. Never saw anything like this. I don't know if I'll like it, but she may be useful."

    What can go wrong?
     
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  14. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    My votes:

    2: [Projection of the Mind]

    3: [Letna Ryden] because, you know, taffery.
     
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  15. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
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    Last, short update of character creation should appear tonight, along with some more info spoilers and mechanics. Not too many of those, but I believe that those are enough to make game interesting.


    lightbane Ah, yes. EndMaster games.
     
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  16. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
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    Last update of character creation.

    Tally: Will post tomorrow.

    Part 4:

    His decision made, Jarlo strides towards the office of Agent Asmund. Agents and Shadows nod in recognition when they notice him, some mutter a "good day" or smile. Normal people going about their normal lives... well, most of them, at least. Ageless are considered to be rather weird, but, to be honest, can you blame people who spend most of their time working under the most powerful people in Known World for losing a bit of their sanity?

    But what is normal for Mount Karvo may not be considered such in the outside world, where Circle Agents are not very common. Especially in South Kingdoms, which aren't exactly known for their love of Circle. It may be wise to hide my real identity and goals, at least until I reach Lord Dimas' lands. I must decide how to conduct myself until I get there, and possibly beyond...

    4. Jarlo will have to choose how he will act during his adventure in regards to his connection to Circle. While even in South Kingdoms Agents are respected and feared, the locals may not be very fond of the idea of talking (or being seen talking) to people working for Circle.

    [ ] Jarlo will hide his true identity from anyone except Lord Dimas, for as long as he can. This way, he will have more freedom to interact with people in Lord Dimas' lands, and may have an element of surprise on his side, should he choose to reveal himself.

    [ ] Jarlo will hide his true identity, for as long as Lord Dimas will say. After all, he is the one who asked for help, and may dislike having to withhold information from the people he trusts.

    [ ] Jarlo will hide his identity only until he gets to the lands of Dimas family. This way, locals from Lord Dimas lands will know he acts both on the wishes of Lord Dimas and on Circle orders.

    Yes, that is a good idea. Now, it is time to rest a bit and get ready for a journey...

    His first mission awaits.

    "Yes." you say aloud. "The first mission awaits me, Jarlo Karhim."

    ***

    End of Prologue

    Jarlo Karhim - character creation.

    Class: (Here you may pick one of possible Jarlo's classes. While he can't be a magic user, you can still pick from some pre-made types. The choice of class may affect some of the available options in adventures)

    [ ] Bowman - Jarlo always loved archery and that never changed. However, as a Circle Agent, you don't get to use bow often for various reasons, operating stealthily not the least of them. But Jarlo wasn't the one to give up easily - with the help of a fellow Agent, he built himself a mechanical steel bow. While isn't the best of bows, it can be assembled and disassembled without much problems, and it only takes about two minutes. The bow itself is pretty small, and can be easily concealed when in a disassembled state. Also, as a bowman, Jarlo can make his own arrows of various types out of simple materials. (If you think you smell Thief series there, you are right)

    So far he can craft: water arrows (make target wet, extinguish fires), knockout arrows (if you shoot a person without head gear, you will knock them out), noise arrows (duh!) and rope arrows (think grapnel)

    When forced to fight in melee, he uses two daggers. His fight style is based on his reflexes and dexterity. He also knows how to hide in shadows and move without making (too much) noice.

    [ ] The Brawler - Jarlo always was a fighter. Duking it out with other boys, either seriously or for fun, always made his heart go faster, and not just because of effort involved.

    This Jarlo is your standard fighter. He knows how and when to fight and is probably the best pick if you want someone with combat experience. He also has a few more talents, mostly based around his strength: he is good at climbing, swimming and everything else that involves some sort of physical activity.

    [ ] Silvertongue - words, words, and more words. Jarlo always knew just the right way to use those, be it to befriend a person, or to make them seethe with rage.

    This Jarlo is a "charisma" based character, and is the best pick if you want to play as someone who can talk his way out of problems. This class unlock choices that involve talking with people, either to get more information out of them, or to convice them of something.

    [ ] Jack of All Trades - like they say, a Jack of All Trades is a master of none. This class combines most of he pros, but also some of the cons of other classes. Most choices will be open for you, but remember: you aren't as proficient as a dedicated specialist in any given field. Some results may turn out... differently.

    Feats: (Pick one, unless you chose an option that unlocks more. Results/feats with most votes win. Feats may affect some future choices, too)

    [ ] One with shadows - Jarlo can almost 'disappear' in dark rooms or when he tries to hide. It gives you a big boost to hiding rolls and moving silently.

    [ ] Disguise - this one allows you to disguise yourself as some other person, provided you have enough time. You can't change your appearance too much, but it may be enough to fool most people. You can attempt to do it without this feat, but it would be much harder. Acting like someone else isn't easy.

    [ ] Traceless - you know how to move in the wild without leaving traces. Gives big bonuses to hiding and stealth when out in the open.

    [ ] Knowledge: Magic - you have some knowledge about magic and its types. Enough to know if a thing next to you will burn you to ashes or heal you.

    [ ] Knowledge: History - same as above, just about history. Unlocks some related choices, and possibly gives you additional information.

    [ ] Knowledge: Anatomy - again, the same logic applies.

    [ ] Knowledge: Plants - do I need to say more?

    [ ] Quick fingers - you know a thing or two about how to 'borrow' things without others noticing. Gives you bonuses to stealing, opening locks and other activities based on fast and precise movements.

    [ ] Sudden dodge - you are able to dodge attacks or traps. This feat allows you to dodge even when you are suprised (which means that it can save your life from some instadeath choices)

    If you have any idea for a feat, feel free to suggest it. If it is possible for you to acquire it, I will place it on the poll.

    And... heh. Welcome in Known World.

    Also, check first post for informations in spoilers. (New ones)
     
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  17. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    - Hide identity for as long as he can

    - Silvertongue

    - One With Shadows
     
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  18. Kipeci Magister

    Kipeci
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    So wait, did our guy end up with the magical resistance or the astral connection? I'm rooting for the former.

    Anyway, I'll vote:
    [ ] Jarlo will hide his identity only until he gets to the lands of Dimas family.
    [ ] The Brawler - Jarlo always was a fighter. Duking it out with other boys, either seriously or for fun, always made his heart go faster, and not just because of effort involved.
    [ ] Sudden dodge - you are able to dodge attacks or traps. This feat allows you to dodge even when you are suprised (which means that it can save your life from some instadeath choices)

    Death is the one thing that'll get us, so why not be able to dodge the sneaky stuff we'll blunder into or be in a better physical shape to withstand punishment/run away if we can't handle it? Being subtle in these LPs never seems to work out too well just because of all the different heads in play which all have a slightly different idea in mind than that of the guy writing up the results, so I'd rather be a bit more in the open and yet be durable enough to withstand that attention a little better.
     
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  19. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
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    Kipeci Actually, you still can vote for anything above (previous choices) until this update ends. It will take another day so there is no rush.
     
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  20. Kipeci Magister

    Kipeci
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    In that case, I'l also vote for Gorasul > Tarok and the magic resistance.
     
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  21. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
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    Tally of character creation:

    1. Whom will you serve, Jarlo?
    3 - Tarok

    1 - Masked
    1 - Artia
    1 - Lysang
    1 - Gorasul

    2. What made you so special, Jarlo?
    3 - Point Zero/Magic resistance

    2 - Astral Connection
    1 - Projection of the Mind

    3. It is time for you to choose a character that will be your companion during the adventure.
    3 - Letna Ryden

    1 - Ariel Vertora

    4. Jarlo will have to choose how he will act during his adventure in regards to his connection to Circle. While even in South Kingdoms Agents are respected and feared, the locals may not be very fond of the idea of talking (or being seen talking) to people working for Circle.

    2 - Jarlo will hide his true identity from anyone except Lord Dimas, for as long as he can.
    This way, he will have more freedom to interact with people in Lord Dimas' lands, and may have an element of surprise on his side, should he choose to reveal himself.

    1 - Jarlo will hide his identity only until he gets to the lands of Dimas family.

    5. Class:

    TIE between all options excluding Jack of All Trades. One vote for each other. Somebody must vote or change his vote to solve tie.

    2 - Silvertongue - words, words, and more words. Jarlo always knew just the right way to use those, be it to befriend a person, or to make them seethe with rage.

    This Jarlo is a "charisma" based character, and is the best pick if you want to play as someone who can talk his way out of problems. This class unlock choices that involve talking with people, either to get more information out of them, or to convice them of something.

    Feat/s:
    2 -
    Sudden dodge - you are able to dodge attacks or traps. This feat allows you to dodge even when you are suprised (which means that it can save your life from some instadeath choices)
    1 - One with Shadows.

    Update may not appear today, it depends if I will try to correct it myself, but I wouldn't bet on it. Tomorrow, maybe.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
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  22. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
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    Tie - solved. Update is slowly getting ready, but probably will appear tomorrow.
     
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  23. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
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    Yeah, about that update tomorrow... It should really appear tomorrow. I know it is a bit long, but both me and editor can't work faster. I believe you will like this one.
     
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  24. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
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    All right, here we go!

    Day 1, Late afternoon.

    Half a day later, you are all set for a journey to Barovia. Fully equipped and well-rested, you were ready to go hours ago... were it not for your companion. She spent most of that time recovering from her wounds that the report has somehow failed to mention. Even the most impressive and powerful of the healing spells still need a few hours to work.

    She runs headfirst into you at the stable, appearing in a hurry at the last possible monent with her things packed.

    Letna Ryden could be called beautiful by most people. Her not too long, dark hair are pinned up in a nice looking bun. She is rather short, and her round shoulders make her look even shorter. A paler skin color and pointy ears are perhaps the only things that reveal her elven heritage. A few freckles around her small, flat nose could make one mistake her for a child. Blue, cheerful eyes and a bright smile are enough to make you feel instant sympathy for her.

    "Sorry it took me so long." her voice is lively and pleasant to the ear. She quickly pulls a glove off her hand and offers you a handshake. Despite her deceptively small height, her grip is quite firm. "But that damn wound just didn't want to heal. You know how it is." she giggles.

    "Yeah, I know." you agree. "I'm Jarlo Karhim, but you probably have been briefed about it already."

    "Letna Ryden. But feel free to call me Lea. Anyone else coming with us?" she looks around the stable, but the answer is self-evident. "I assume that we are the only ones on the mission, then."

    "Correct. You know where we are going?"

    "Barovia, if I got that right. Asmund told me a bit about it... A Dimas family member got attacked, or something." she whistles.

    "You heard about them, then?"

    "Anyone who has even a smidgen of interest in Barovian politics did." she chuckles, as she ties her bags to the saddle. "They were important back in the past, and they still are. Perhaps even important enough to try and get crowned... but old Dimas doesn't want it. At least, he doesn't make any open moves. But that aside, he is pretty active in the Game. He often works together with our people." she ticks off points on her fingers as she lists the commonly known facts. "Only acts through his agents. Mostly stays in his manor. Has a daughter. His son died more than 10 years ago. Made a fortune from wood trade. His lands are full of silver spruce..."

    "Silver spruce?" you ask absent-mindedly. "What is so special about that?"

    "Heh, it isn't like your average spruce. Paper made out of it is nearly water-proof, the furniture is sturdy and beautiful, and though it's a waste to use is as firewood, it smells amazing when it burns. Old Dimas knows the value of this wood, and he is one of a few people who can provide a constant supply. You wouldn't believe how much money - and enemies - he has made because of this."

    "I see... is this all you know?" you tighten your saddlebag as you prepare to depart.

    "I think we will have more than enough time to talk about what I know during our journey, my fellow Agent." she flashes you a smile and tries to hops in the saddle... but you gently stop her. Your hand runs through her belt, as she looks at you, surprised, until you finally fish a small bag out of one of her pockets.

    "I believe this is mine." you grin, and she giggles.

    "And I believe we will have a good time working together, Jarlo."

    ***


    Normally, it takes about seven days to travel to Barovia from Agent headquarters, but you manage to reach lands of Dimas family in less then six, thanks to fresh horses waiting for you every 30 miles at various posts, and a near-lethal dose of Hasz-isz that allowed you to keep going for days without sleep. Still, a week in the saddle takes its toll. Your back aches and your crotch burns when you finally reach the last village before Manor Speltuzer.

    What have you seen you of Dimas' lands during your journey? Not much, to be honest. A few villages, a couple of small towns, a lot of people... and miles upon miles of woods. Barovia is woods. But those were no mere forests - all around you, you see trees glowing with a silvery light. The view at night is amazing.

    From Letna, you learn a bit about Dimas' role in the Game. They trade with Circle and openly support them, be it money, supplies, information, or spies. In return, Circle has kept them safe. Nobody dares to play against Circle, lest they wake up one morning to discover they have lost everything.

    You do not let it slip that you belong to Circle Agents. You sigil is hidden safely in your pocket under the armor... nobody will find it, unless they tear off your clothes. To anyone around these parts, you are just a pair of travelers.

    Finally, you reach the entrance to Rade Valley, surrounded by mountains from all but one side, and that one has a deep chasm covering it, with a single bridge leading across. As you near the bridge, a group of guards orders you to stop and state your business.

    "We are weary travelers, and we were told the only nearby inn is in Valley." you begin fluently. You told bigger lies in your life, and a simple one like this rolls off your tongue smoothly. The guard captain considers the two of you for a while, thinking.

    "It is true, but we also have orders not to let people in... It is unfortunate, but we must turn you away." he shakes his head. "You will find the next inn fifteen miles along the road. Tell them Sorkun sent you, and they will give you a meal and a room for free. I'm really sorry, this is all we can do for you."

    Damn it... I must get inside and this is the only way. Not even our dear thief can sneak past that damned bridge, and I am not in the mood for a mountain hike! - you curse inwardly as you try to convince the guard to let you in. "Sir guard, your offer is very generous, but our horses can barely stand, and we are exhausted. I do not think we would be able to get anywhere else before nightfall. You may escort us to the inn, and you may post a guard near us if your orders so demand, but I implore you, good sir, to let us inside."

    The guard takes a deep breath, and as you let your words flow, finally he raises his hands in defeat. "Gah, all right!" he turns to his companions. "Listen up, boys. Garrak and Elim will go wi-" suddenly, he clams up as two more guards approach the bridge. He salutes them and gulps.

    Those two look different, somehow. Your eyes, trained to observe and appraise, quickly register as much from the way they walk and how carefully they examine you two. They are the elites. Possibly, the bodyguards to the old Lord himself.

    They both wear simple scale armors, and their faces are hidden beneath their helmets. One of them is a giant of a man... you don't think you ever saw a bigger one. Over two meters tall, with shoulders as broad as a wardrobe. On his back, there is a two-handed axe. His footsteps, that you could probably hear from a mile away, sound as if someone is slamming metal with a rock. Maybe his hobnailed boots have something to do with it.

    The other guard is a shorty, almost as small as Letna, with his head barely reaching your shoulders. He moves with a cat-like grace, and talks to his companion all the time, but he never gets any response other than a shrug, or a grunt. You can see a longsword sheathed on his belt.

    "Don't worry, Mil. We will take care of them." the shorty takes over the situation, as he gestures at you. "Come with us, strangers."

    You do as he says. You get off your horses and walk next to the pair, pulling the animals by reins. The sun slowly rolls behind the mountains and shadows are getting longer... night will be coming soon. After a few hundred steps, when you walked far enough from Sorkun's earshot, the guards stop.

    "All right." says the smaller one. "Show us your sigils."

    You look at them, alarmed. Letna's eyes dart over to you. You open your mouth to tell another of your lies, but you don't get the chance, as the guard continues.

    "Don't worry. Lord Dimas told us he requested help."

    Well, that explains it. I hope there aren't too many people aware of us. - you sigh, and pull a sigil out of its hiding place.

    "Yes, it as Lord Dimas has described it." the shorty confirms, and he grins to you both. "Welcome to Rade Valley, Agents. I'm Rigram and this big fella next to me is Bull."

    The one he called Bull nods to you, but does not grace you with a single word. Rigram shrugs. "Don't mind him. He is a good man, if not exactly talkative."

    You immediately fire the first question that's on your mind. "How did you know who we are?"

    "Simple, really. Lord Dimas has told us. And he knows it because he got message from Circle, or so he says. Since then, we've been checking for the new arrivals every few hours."

    "Wait, a message? That fast?" you mutter. It is damn near impossible for a messenger to beat you to it, since you've been hurrying to the best of your abilities. You shoot Lea an inquisitive glance.

    Mystery - Words on the Wind: somehow, Lord Dimas got a message about you coming... It is rumored that even with magic it is impossible to send messages that quickly. How did know about you, then? Is there some kind of communication system that Circle uses?

    Mysteries are one of the smaller mechanics in this quest. By finding and solving those, you obtain knowledge that may be useful to you, or gather clues about your current adventure. Don't worry if you can't solve them all - it is almost impossible. But nobody said you can't try. The list of the mysteries wlll be featured on the character's sheet.

    Certain mysteries may unlock hidden choices or paths, either during the adventure or in-between those. Those important to the adventure endings will be marked as Case Mysteries. (Not all of those, however. Some mysteries may be connected to a case on a deeper level than one might assume at first).

    "Don't look at me. I have no idea how he got it. Anyway..." she seems to have taken the initiative in the conversation. "I assume Lord Dimas is waiting for us?"

    Bull nods before Rigram can answer. He whispers something into his companion's ear, which requires him to almost fold in half.

    "Yes, he is waiting for you in his manor. We will take you to him, right now. He really wants to meet you." Rigram points at a large manor, sitting deep in the valley. The guards resume walking, and you follow them...

    As you pass by the village houses, you see no one but guards. Weirder still, you don't even hear anyone else. Doors are closed, and there is no light coming from the windows. The village is empty. Where is everybody? You remember that settlements on your way here seemed more lively than usual... perhaps, the people have moved there? Why? Another question to ask the old Lord...


    ***


    To say that the interior of Manor Speltuzer is lavishly arranged would be an understatement. A few oaks in the surrounding garden are big enough to cover the entire building in their shadows, yet, somehow, light still reaches down to the exquisite flowerbeds. The only thing that ruins the image are large pipes coming out of the ground and disappearing into wall.

    A small room, where the guests can leave their shoes and cloaks, leads into a small entrance hall. On the walls, there are portraits of Dimas family members in golden - no, wait, is it really wood? - shining wooden frames. There are doors leading to other parts of the building, but you do not have much time to look around, as the guards lead you to the second floor. After a few minutes of walking through corridors, you reach and enter the room of Lord Dimas.

    To your surprise, the room is quite simple and elegant. A few wooden bookcases. A large, fully equipped desk in the corner. A big carpet decorating the center of the room. There is a bed with red silken covers, and two large windows with heavy red curtains are behind it. There is wood burning in a fireplace... you can feel a weird, oddly relaxing smell; it almost tastes sweet. And besides the fireplace, in a leather armchair next to it, you find the Lord of the manor himself.

    Lord Dimas looks like a man in his early fifties, with short, grey hair and a long beard neatly combed in two braids. The beard hides a square chin, which some consider is a sign of nobility. A pair of piercing, blue eyes, are firmly lodged in a book. He is larger than you, and you can see muscles bulging on his chest, behind the bandages. His build is perhaps too impressive for someone his age... but nobles can afford certain magic, either slowing down the aging process, or recovering some of their youth. It is expensive, but you've heard that Dimas family has money to spare.

    His clothes are simple as well, though you note that they are of top quality. He is dressed in trousers and a bathrobe, with nothing but bandages underneath. There are slippers on his feet and a pair of reading glasses on his head.

    He keep reading, and for the moment you are not even sure if he noticed you. Then he raises his hand and speaks, his voice deep, almost resounding in your ears.

    "Gersone, friend, I told you that if I wanted to eat, I'd call for you ." he does not raise his eyes from the book.

    "Sir." Rigram coughs, and Graham Dimas looks up.

    "Oh, damn it. I'm sorry." his voice is troubled, but you sense something else behind it... though you can't put a finger on it yet. He rises from his armchair and reaches for his cane, leaning on it to stand up. "I didn't expect you today." he looks outside the window, where the sun is quickly setting behind the mountains. "It is good to see you." he takes a few steps and attempt a polite bow, but only manages a slight nod before he groans and straightens up. "I apologize for my lack of etiquette, ma'am, but I can barely even walk."

    "It is nothing, my lord." she shakes her head and bows.

    "I am Graham Dimas, the lord of Rade Valley." he offers Jarlo a hand... damn it, why is everyone I meet lately is so unnaturally strong, you moan in your mind.

    "Jarlo Karhim, Circle Agent. And this is Letna Ryden." you smile at him, and he does the same.

    "I assume you are tired... traveling like this can be hard, I know from experience what's it like to spend days in the saddle." he grimaces. "If you want, we can talk tomorrow. Of course, if you have any questions you'd rather ask now... we have some time, I think." he gestures to Bull and Rigram. "You two may go, thank you."

    They salute and disappear behind the door...

    And you are left there, with a choice.

    1. First, there is a matter of talking with Lord Dimas. You may learn something tonight, or postpone it for tomorrow and rest instead. Both choices will have their own consequences.

    [ ] Go to sleep - you are weary after a journey, and your mind is tired as well. Hasz-isz keeping your body up and running will stop working eventually... and you prefer to be sleeping in a bed before it fails you.

    [ ] Ask your questions - since you are already here, you may as well get to business right away. Lord Dimas is alone and is eager to talk, why not do it now?

    2. If you choose to ask your questions, what will you ask about? (Except standard ones, like the details of what happened during the attack, or people on duty - those will be asked anyway) Consider this a write in - feel free to write the exact question you want answered, or just a broad topic.

    3. Talking with Lord Dimas: if you choose to ask your questions, you may find out something Lord does not want to speak about, either about certain details, or at all. If you encounter one of these topics, what will you do?

    [ ] Press him - if you want to solve this mystery, you need to know everything. Why should he hide anything from you? He is the one who needs your help, isn't he?

    [ ] Be gentle - there is no need to push too hard. Perhaps you can reason him to share his knowledge.

    [ ] Leave it be - he is the master of the land around here, and you do not want to anger him on your first meeting. He will tell you whatever he wants to tell you... and if he does not, then you probably do not need to know.

    [ ] Words are like keys - Silvertongue skill - you know how carefully chosen word can make people talk even when they do not want to. Graham Dimas may be Lord, but he wants your help - and the more you know, the better you can help him. Now, if only you could make him see things that way... (This choice may unlock additional ones and has a potential to reward you a little more than others, but a corresponding roll will be harder as well).
     
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  25. Kipeci Magister

    Kipeci
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    Let's go with option one. I imagine that being strung out on drugs and lack if sleep won't help us at all, and freeform decisions are almost universally terrible when applied.
     
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