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Myth: A New Age CYOA

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by Fangshi, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    A single spell does not tell you anything about the caster or how talented they can be in a given school. Anyone can learn anything, it's just some have it more difficult than the others.

    Would be interesting to hear your justification about Wood Magic. Derryth, in contrast to Thais, is decidedly a person who does not bend. She opposes the world and forces her will upon it instead of going with the flow.

    Metal, though, I can easily see.
     
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  2. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    It would depend on the type of storyteller. The types that just recite a story without any imagination or concern for the audience would be poor at it but the types that know how to play to an audience, to improvise, and, well, to lie would be very good at it. So expert storytellers, as a sort of 'liar'/entertainer, fall into that general 'scoundrel' category that can excel at mental/illusion magic as well.

    It depends, Derry does not bend 'morally', when she decides to do something she will try to do it with everything she has but she does show a great deal of mental 'flexibility' and her thinking can be rather unorthodox so I could see how there is a case to be made that her mind 'bends' but never 'breaks'. (She is rigid but it tends to be emotionally/morally rather than intellectually.)


    Does not really matter though, you can learn anything you want and as you grow more familiar with a school you will get better at its use regardless, you just might have to work harder to do it.

    Edit:

    Good news in the update is almost done, just have to edit it and that should not take too long.

    Bad news is I only have half an hour to an hour finish everything before I have to run out for the evening.

    So, it will either be up in half an hour (and will only be a day late) or it will be up tomorrow (and two days late). Obviously I am hoping it will be the first case and not the second but it will be close.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
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  3. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    How precise are the images and/or ideas one can transmit with a False Memory and/or Suggestion?

    I still can't figure out why those can't work as communication spells between the mages who trust each other enough to let the signal in.

    I mean, can't we plant a memory of our target reading a message with the exact thought we need to transmit, for example? As long as they remember the message, it is essentially telepathy.

    Why do we need complex schemes with Caoilainn and Infiltration ritual for something that should be quite simple?
     
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  4. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    The reason that False Memory and Suggestion don't work particularly well is that they are still 'attack' spells not communication spells.

    They are built to force a single simple idea/emotion into the target's mind and the target's mind will naturally resist though the target can sometimes 'let' the spell in if they become aware of what is happening and are curious/trusting enough to not resist. Additionally, because it is an attack spell it seizes the target's attention whether it succeeds or whether the target lets it in, this can be very dangerous for the target in certain circumstances (see TWM v. Eagle fight).

    So there are a number of reasons why it does not make for a good means of communication:

    - It is simple, one single idea or image at a time, so it can work for compact and easy messages (Taide tells you to say yes, you trust her so you do. Or you tell TWM that Mazzarin is back, not how he came back, just that he is, and he is distracted by that bombshell.) but not more complex ones. So for example, if you tried to plant the memory of someone reading a lengthy letter/plan in a target's mind they would not remember what is on the letter, instead they would remember reading it, they would remember how you tell them to think/feel about it, and they may remember a single important piece of information about it but they would quickly lose any superfluous details as the spell can not contain them and continue to function.

    - It will always manifest in the mind of the target as an attack (because that is what it is), now this is less of a concern for people that can tell who is casting and why, (Derry and Taide can now usually tell if the spell in question came from the other as it has their 'signature' on it) but for everyone else their mind will attempt to fight it off. So in many cases to get the false memory to stick you will need to overwhelm the mind of the target and force your way in. Now, they may or may not realize what exactly is happening but it will be distracting either way and if they are trying to do something difficult (like fight in a battle) it will be a large disadvantage you are saddling them with.

    - It requires line of sight, to convey a single piece of information you need to be able to see the target. For example, in that battle with the enemy necromancer while you were pursuing the retreating host, his single darkness spell shut down all of your mental spells while it was active. You needed to pierce the shroud before you could attack. A similar principle goes for trying to convey a message, you need to see the person, so it is often just as easy to call them over and tell them what needs to be done.

    - Finally, as an attack spell if the target manages to resist you (like TWM often does) then the information will not be received at all and you merely waste time and some of your pool of willpower on an ineffective spell.

    So communication through the bracelets would be better in many ways, you would be able to convey complex ideas, you would not need line of sight to the other bracelet wearer and you would not have to worry about the target of your information 'rejecting' it without considering it.

    And worse in others, it is slower since you need to tell Caoilainn and she needs to tell Thaïs, so there are additional steps involved, it will only work between those wearing the bracelets and it is also reliant on Caoilainn getting the message 'right'. She is barely a mage so there is always the chance that she might get a detail wrong if the message is too technical.

    Same with Infiltration, it is better in that it gives you a lot of time to come up with a plan and it allows you to discuss 'face to face' (mind to mind) the idea you wish to pursue with the target(s) without a risk of the information getting lost. The downsides are the potential dangers of being a 'foreign body' in the mind of another, and the material and time required to successfully use the ritual.

    Finally if you could some how create an actual communication spell that would work like a telephone (or failing that a two way radio) then you would gain all of the advantages while removing most of the old disadvantages though some new disadvantages might come into play.



    As for the update, it will be up as soon as I have time to read over it but I have to finish a few things first.
     
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  5. archaen Arbiter Patron

    archaen
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    Nevill, quit eliciting walls of texts from our GM and let him finish the update.:x(faux nerd rage)
     
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  6. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    Done editing, even added a few more pages. I just have to copy it over now and fix up the formatting a little. It should be out within the hour.
     
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  7. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Codex 2012
    *checks clock*
     
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  8. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    Chapter 53: Detective D

    The tap of fingers on the table, the shuffle of cards in his hands, the King stares at you, awaiting a reply.

    "Well," you begin quietly, hesitant to break the silence at the table, "We need to see to any overt threats in the city but we also need to check in with the army to ensure nothing has befallen them."

    "Yes," Thaïs quickly expresses her agreement, "We can not risk the army but it would be more practical to deal with any opportunities or threats that may confront us here first."

    "You wish to pursue both?" Albrecht questions the two of you, a little concerned that perhaps you intend to do too much.

    "I think we have to," you sincerely reply, "We need to spend a few days to get our affairs in order anyway before we can head south so we might as well let our people handle the details while we get to know your family in the city."

    The King still seems sceptical but your partner works to strengthen your case, "Once we have had a chance to investigate a little we should be able to give you our finding and the Pathfinders can pursue any leads we uncover while we head south to aid the army against whatever they will find down there."

    She pauses and takes a sip from her glass giving you an opportunity to jump back in, "We will need a few things from you to help us succeed at both tasks."

    "Such as?" the weary dwarf manages to muster as he gulps down his fourth glass.

    You list your first request, "We will require written letters in your hand empowering us to act on your behalf in all things."

    "Done," the dwarf nods slowly, "Of course. You shall have them before you leave."

    "We will require you to mobilize funds and personnel to aid us as well," the first request was largely a formality, you know this one will not be.

    "What sorts of funds and personnel are we talking about?" as you suspected the King is quick to ask for details, understandable really given the scrutiny he will be under.

    You raise a hand and a single thin finger, "First, I want you to hire on a company of mercenary mages for at least a month."

    "More mages," the King squints.

    "Yes," Thaïs answers rapidly, "Almost all of your enemies have substantial magical reserves and you have only us and the Academy."

    "Is that not enough?" the King asks as he refills his glass, soon he is going to need a new bottle.

    "So far it has been," you admit with a little pride, "We have been bold and we have been cunning but most importantly we have been lucky. In our battle with the Watcher's northern host we were at a significant magical disadvantage, one which we only overcame because of a superior position, hidden assets and enemies that did not take us seriously. We will not always have those advantages and we will need more mages to address that balance."

    As usual your partner works to drive home your points, "The fellows of the Academy are fine in a researching role but how much practical battlefield experience do they have?"

    "Point taken," the King concedes, "The fellows are a bit too eccentric to send out with the army, they would be as much a danger to our own people as they are to the enemy. So what did you have in mind?"

    "Battlemages," the two of you answer as one.

    Thaïs elaborates, "We have been speaking to our officers about the various mercenary companies in the city and one in particular seems to be of obvious and immediate utility. The," she pauses for a moment, attempting to recall the name, "Seekers, I believe they are called."

    "I am not familiar with them but I will have my people contact them with an offer," the worn and weathered dwarf replies, "I should be able to justify the cost as 'in the interests of the Kingdom', should I send them on immediately or?"

    He leaves the question hanging for you and you seize it with a grateful bob, "No, we will lead them out to join the army, best not to travel in too small of a group given the conditions to the south and if we arrive as a group it should prevent any traitors in the army from getting them killed before we arrive."

    "Is that all?" the King empties the last of his bottle, tapping out the life giving fluid into his glass.

    It isn't, and you tell him as much, "We will also need more money for supplies and we want the fellows at the academy to look into developing a very special weapon for us as well."

    "Why do you want the money?" he asks by rote, already well aware that he will be giving it to you.

    "Energon cubes, a spell ring, and more," you answer plainly, "Things we will need to increase our chances but which we do not have the funds available to cover at the moment.

    "I can't be seen giving you anymore," he empties the glass, "The lords and their agents in the treasury will-"

    "You won't need to physically give us any funds," you assure him, "Simply let us use the Pathfinders' account with the Brothers Dietfried. Roll the whole thing into the administrative costs you are already hiding from the lords."

    The King grins at that and musters a weak laugh, "Ever considered politics? I imagine you would make a fine queen, er, queens," he nods slightly to your friend and she gives him a thin smile in thanks for the courtesy.

    "Really?" you remark with genuine surprise, "I would make a poor queen I think, too little patience for all the petty posturing that comes with the post."

    He closes his eyes, his smile spreading as he rolls backward through the years in his mind, "I did not think I would make a good king either when I was young," he laughs, or perhaps barks would be more accurate, "Maybe I was right to think so, but I have not done such a terrible job have I?"

    "Of course not your Majesty," you reply in unison, "Without you there would be no Kingdom."

    "How horrid of you if you flatter an old dwarf?" the smirks, "And how much worse for us all if you don't?"

    The strain on the dwarf has stripped away that air of self-confidence that he wore so naturally only a month ago. You can not even imagine what it must feel like, to have one of your own turn on you. You might not have a family similar to his but if someone in your own family, your Circle, betrayed you like that... if Serpent, or Brigit, or Gareth, or Christine- actually, scratch that, you could completely see Christine betraying you- but the rest, if they turned traitor on you, you are not sure how you would take it or even if you could do what Albrecht is doing now, to essentially order their deaths...

    The King is giving everything he has left for his kingdom and perhaps that is what stirs in you the desire to be truthful with him.

    "Albrecht?" he opens his eyes as you call his name.

    "Derryth," he replies with a single slow blink and the happy smile of the slightly inebriated, the world must seem softer to him now, less horrid perhaps.

    "Do you want to know what happened when we went to the desert?" your friend shoots you an asking glance, she must be wondering what you plan to accomplish here.

    "Yes," again he answers, a slow blink and that same soft tone but you are not a fool, you can already feel the slight shift in the dwarf. You have his full attention now and he must be prepared to capture every detail.

    "We were invited to meet a mage in the hills and caves outside the city," you look to your friend and she subtly sighs then dips her head slightly in agreement.

    Now that you have committed to telling Albrecht she seems willing to see this through to the end with you, she turns her full attention to the King and she speaks, "The mage was Mazzarin."

    The King laughs, it is bitter and scornful, "Look ladies if you do not want to tell me then do not, but do not lie-"

    "We are not," she insists, "He was incapacitated, worn down, dried out and he needed our help with a ritual we knew or at least knew part of."

    Good, she left Nine out of the narrative. No sense mentioning the former Fallen Lord that sleeps in your pack, you do not intend to mention Lyssa either, or at least not the most damning parts of her past, you push on as the King's look of annoyance passes over into curiosity, tinted with fear, "We helped him complete the ritual and asked to have Lyssa join us in payment, not as a servant or slave but as an employee," you are quick to add, you do not want the King getting the wrong idea about any of this.

    "You, you are not lying are you?" the old dwarf mutters, largely to himself, as the lights sway in the dim backroom, "Mazzarin... Is he on our side?"

    A natural first question but one you can not give a satisfying answer to, "He is on his side."

    The King frowns.

    Thaïs attempts to cushion the blow, "Meaning he is definitely against the Watcher."

    The King pinches his nose and leans forward, "Well the enemy of my enemy..." he laughs, "Is more often than not also my enemy. Was he living?"

    "Living?" you ask together, what an odd question, you would not have been able to help him if he had not been at least a little alive.

    "Yes, living," the King pauses, considering just how much he should tell you, "Not many know this but if you are going to deal with the Great Mage, if this really is Mazzarin, well, you should know. During the Great War the Watcher was struck by an arrow, the arrow was enchanted with bone taken from his very arm and when it struck him it turned him to stone. It did not instantly kill him though-"

    You know this story, you have heard it told by Berserk veterans the Empire over, "Yes, we know. The Watcher was petrified, overpowered by the peculiar magics woven into that arrow by Alric and his followers but it took one hundred men to return and slay him, staying behind the Legion, ensuring the job was done. Just a shame he did not stay dead."

    The king shakes his head, "Yes that is the version everyone knows but it is not quite what happened. Alric sent in a team of Berserks with one hundred men to see the Watcher off before Soulblighter could free him. However his men were not the only ones present. I had a team of Pathfinders observing the battle, if Alric's men failed then they were to ensure that the Watcher did not survive. Thankfully they were not needed but they did have a lot to report to me when they returned westward to my camp after the war. There are complications with that story that leave me wondering."

    "Such as?" you ask together, leaning in, now he has your full attention.

    "The arm that the Legion recovered at Silvermines was the Watcher's left arm. They carried it with them as they fled east and it proved to be the undoing of the First Necromancer. The problem though is that the Watcher was not missing his left arm when my dwarves encountered him. He was missing an arm but it was the right arm."

    "So he restored his left arm then," you answer with a shrug, "Some time between when he was freed and when the Legion ambushed him he replaced his missing left arm."

    "And lost his right arm," Thaïs reminds you, "Who could have cost the Watcher an arm?"

    "Exactly," the old dwarf replies with a worried smile, "Someone powerful, very powerful, someone with a grudge against the Watcher, someone that had been stalking the archmage since well before the War and was capable of tearing his arm off and pressuring the mage so much he could not replace it."

    "Mazzarin?" you hazard a guess.

    "Maybe," the King whispers, "There is a second piece of information that I think supports such a theory. When the Berserks made their final assault on The Watcher, when they had broken through his last defences a Shade or a Shade-like being appeared and attacked them along with a handful of thralls. The Berserks cut it down and then finished off its 'master' and for these many years I had thought it nothing. A Shade forced to defend its lord that fell to the steel of brave men but the more I think about the less I like it. The being was visibly weakened and its reserves spent, as if it had to fight through the Watcher's host to reach the archmage..."

    "Perhaps it was wounded fighting Alric's men?" your friend theorizes.

    "Those one hundred were brave but insignificant against the sheer numbers the Watcher had and certainly against the reinforcements Soulblighter was bringing across the Gjol behind them. It was my belief, based on the accounts submitted to me by my observation team that this shade, if that is what it was, did not belong to the Watcher. Now you tell me that Mazzarin was alive all this time and I am led to believe that the creature was none other than the Great Mage himself!" the King slams his glass down at that declaration.

    Perhaps all of that drink is going to his head. The theory is not strictly speaking impossible but it strikes you as unlikely and if it were the case then why would he not share the information with his allies over sixty years ago?

    You tell him as much and he nods vigorously, "True, true, if the Great Mage was active during the War then why not inform Alric, right?" the dwarf king lowers his voice, "Well, why inform the King of something he already knew?"

    You both give him a puzzled glance and he laughs, "Archmages, dear ladies, archmages. There were wars within that War that were not fought between armies and in the open. So much happened and so little was told to us by our 'allies' the Avatara. Alric was captured during the War, not many know that but it is the truth. He lead his army eastward on the advice of a being I never trusted and he fell into the Deceiver's hands. Five champions were chosen to free him, five heroes of the Light sent into the east by balloon. Two of them were dwarves, some of my best agents but the five that set out were not the five that reached the King. Along the way they lost a member, one of my dwarves, and gained another in the form of a Berserk, wandering alone across the sand. These new five found the King and rescued him and they would serve him loyally throughout the War. When he returned the surviving dwarf told me a tale of fighting hordes across the sand, of struggling against sad odds with a half mad archmage in tow. He told me a great deal of interest but what was even more interesting is what he did not say."

    The King pauses here and reaches for another bottle under the table, when he has carefully refilled his glass he continues, "Months later the missing dwarf returned. He had slipped away from the group to neutralize the scouts of the enemy, when he returned his four companions had replaced him and they were behaving strangely. He trailed them, hiding from the champions and later the archmage as well. He followed them through the desert and he recounted a very strange conversation that Alric had with a certain Shade by the name of Sinis, right before he granted the Shade a second death. The King and the Shade exchanged words and Alric mentioned that he thought Sinis had died in the ruins of the Shrine of Nyx when Mazzarin, of all people, collapsed the roof in on him."

    You each give the King a confused look, "So then Alric was referring to ancient history, some account of a mage battle perhaps?" you must admit you have never heard of this Shrine of Nyx, though you assume it has to do with the Trow, nor are you familiar with an archmage named Sinis.

    The King shakes his head, though he confesses to a certain uncertainty, "That is what I thought as well at first. But my agent was convinced that Alric was referring to recent events. The way he said it, it sounded like the King was there for the event."

    "So what are you saying," perhaps you have had too much to drink, or too little, to follow the King's logic.

    The King drains the rest of the new bottle and rises to his feet. Pauses, then sits down again, "I- ah, well I am not sure but I know it is important. Alric must know things about Mazzarin, something must have happened in that desert sixty years ago, it all has to make sense somehow but I just don't know. At any rate, I wanted to warn you. Mazzarin may or may not be a Shade, what sort of ritual did you cast on him anyway?"

    "Something to restore his youth," you answer together absentmindedly.

    "Like the healing spell you worked on that dwarven family?" the King probes further.

    "More or less," Thaïs replies noncommittally.

    The rather intoxicated dwarf grins, "Well, no problem then. If he were undead then the natural properties of the mandrake roots you used on him would have destroyed him right?"

    "Maybe," you mutter. You do not know what a mandrake root would do to a Shade, having never had a chance to test one and find out. All of that is beside the point anyway, you did not use mandrake roots during your ritual and in this case blood might not out.

    Mazzarin, a Shade? That would mean that somewhere, someone is or was his master. Could there be a hand guiding the greatest mage to ever live and if so have you played into it by reviving him?

    Sobering thoughts to consider as you make the final arrangements with the King and Astrid, then step out into the night.

    --------------------------------------

    "So who first?" Thaïs is quick to ask as she slips in beside you for breakfast.

    It is good to be back in the capital, back to a place where you can begin your day with something a little nicer than pork and ale. Lyssa to your right is working her way through a chicken while the girls fight over a plate of pastries across from you. Before you is a full spread of food courtesy of the royal kitchens, it is a lot, too much really, but you did not have the heart to send it away so you invited the rest of your group in for breakfast. Of course there are not enough plates and glasses to go around so everyone simply mingles at the trolley snatching up what they like, it would not do for a formal meal in 'polite company' but it is far more to your liking than half of the parties you have been forced to attend.

    They were all quick to accept, well, except for Berty. He kindly turned you down, it seems he had business to attend to this morning but he promised to return before everyone received their orders for the day.

    "Well I don't much feel like dealing with a self appointed crime lord today," you reply as you work on your eggs, "So let's leave son number three for tomorrow."

    Thaïs pours herself a small glass of something crimson. Wine perhaps but whatever it is it has a lovely bouquet, "So, son two or four it is then, we leave Wenzel for now."

    "Have any preference?" you enquire as you steal her glass and take a sip, hmmm, tastes like, cherries, nice and a wonderful change of pace.

    "Well," she snatches the glass back and tries some with a grin, "I was thinking it might be best to arrange a proper time to meet Timo, unless we want to storm the Silver Flame and create a scene we will need at least a day to arrange for a proper meeting."

    She takes a long drink from the glass and places it back on the table. You scoop it up again and top it off, "Would that not give him more time to prepare?"

    "Possibly," she takes the glass from you, "But I doubt he is the sort of dwarf we could surprise anyway, from what Albrecht has told us he runs an information network that can almost rival that of the Pathfinders' or our dear friend Mister Mayer."

    Mayer grunts from across the room, he has been talking to Skite all morning in preparation for today's interviews but he can not help but eavesdrop on your conversation, he calls over "It is true, Albrecht's second son has one of the best networks in the whole Kingdom but he does not have the best agents," he raises his voice even louder, "And whoever is spying on us right now can tell him I said that!"

    The banker is no doubt being a little paranoid, a trait you can sympathize with and admire, hell some small part of you even swears you can hear someone moving through the walls in response to Mayer's declaration. You are not sure if it is merely paranoia on your part or an actual agent from one of the numerous networks that might want to keep tabs on you.

    "Alright," you take the glass back and pass her your plate, the trade is conducted without resistance now as the two of you work out a proper system to manage things, "So that leaves... Jan, was it?"

    She nods, "Yes, the fellow of the Academy and Albrecht's fourth son."

    Well it sounds like a reasonable way to go about things, "Jan first then, and we can use the opportunity to check in with the Academy and see what sort of work they can do for us now. We may want to get them started early."

    Following breakfast and the prompt return of Berty Levy, with a blue, twitching sack over his shoulder, you set to work handing out everyone's assignments for the next few days.

    You, Thaïs and the girls will spend your days meeting with Albrecht's children, if all goes smoothly then you will see Jan today given he is the most accessible. You will then visit Wenzel and Timo respectively after Albrecht's people can arrange proper meetings for you with them. This does run the risk of giving them time to prepare if they are cultists or traitors but at the same time each is surrounded by layers of security that you would need to bypass just to reach them. It is also unlikely that either dwarf would willingly talk to you if you forced your way into their chambers. You reason that there will be plenty of time for violence if your initial investigations yield results.

    Most of the rest of your group will be focused on a different task. The Kingdom is rotten, cultists and spies have infiltrated most branches and the list of people you can trust is quite small all things considered. If you are going to be fighting a war against multiple opponents then you will need an army and you plan to leverage your reputation as genuine 'heroes' to help you build it. To that end Lyssa, Mayer, Berty and Skite will focus on expanding your operations by any means necessary. This will involve meeting with various mercenary leaders to see which is amenable to a buyout while also investigating the feasibility of a proper recruitment drive to bring in unaffiliated sell-swords and fresh recruits. Each member of your four person panel will serve a particular purpose. Berty as you resident tactical expert will evaluate the recruits on their potential as military assets within your organization. Skite as the only one of your mercenary captains on hand will give his impressions on the condition of these assets on an organizational level. Mayer will evaluate their potential to increase the earning of your organization and will also attempt to gauge what if any commercial assets possible recruits can bring to the table. Finally Lyssa is there to help screen the candidates for traitors and infiltrators, though she is not a mentalist like you or your friend and will not be able to determine if the minds of others have been seriously tampered with she will still be able to detect any magic directly at work on them and should at least be able to filter out the most likely spies and liabilities. Hopefully you will have the time to further screen your recruits if need be though time will always remain an issue.

    As for you mouse allies, they departed earlier this morning in a third group. Martin, Poppy and Mirra have led most of the mice and rats into the walls to eavesdrop on events within the palace. Hopefully their operation will bear fruit as information must be getting out somehow. Ideally they will be able to pursue leads on this end while your group looks for clues out in the field.

    That is the plan at any rate and most of your people think it is a good one.

    With your meeting concluded you and your three friends set your feet toward the Royal Academy and Albrecht's fourth son.

    --------------------------------------------

    You find the Academy is its usual state of controlled chaos.

    "I SAY WE BLOW IT UP!!" shouts a little dwarf that you immediately recall from your previous visit.

    "He was the one that wanted to cut our arms off," Thaïs whispers as the four of you slip past him.

    "No you fool!" a taller, hunched over dwarf screams as he charges across the room, "If you blow that up it will take months to replace it!"

    "And it will kill us," an elderly dwarf reminds them with a relaxed chuckle, "Us and everyone within three blocks of the Academy."

    He does not seem terribly concerned about such a fate and to be honest you find him the most unsettling of the three.

    You hesitate to bother them, as their work does seem quite important, and dangerous, very dangerous, but you have to find Jan so you begin your attempt, "Excuse me."

    You are trying to be polite but they pay you no mind, "AH! WHAT ARE THE ODDS IT WILL ACTUALLY SELF-DESTRUCT? WE CAN JUST USE A LITTLE EXPLOSIVE IF-"

    "No, no, no!" the hunched dwarf snatches the cocktail from the tiny dwarf's hands, "No explosives!"

    "WHAT ABOUT A REALLY BIG HAMMER!" the little dwarf attempts to strike some sort of compromise.

    "That would also likely kill us all," the relaxed dwarf replies, "Perhaps we should attempt something a little less drastic first?"

    "Excuse me," Thaïs repeats you plea for attention.

    "Oh, don't bother with them," a voice calls from behind you.

    You turn to see that dwarf from your first visit, the one that suggested that, ah, proton pack? Was it? Janine was her name and she did strike you as one of the more reasonable individuals in the place. She approaches you and leads you away from the other three, "Something I can help you with? Did you wish to try my more permanent solution to your bracelet problem?"

    "No thank you," Thaïs responds, "We managed to deal with that problem satisfactorily."

    "Oh, that's a shame," she face clouds over at the realization that she will not get to test out the device on you, "What can I do for you today?"

    "Well actually there may be a few thing," you begin, "We have come to pay a visit to Professor Jan if he is in," you reach for the formal letter of introduction provided to you by the King but she waves away your efforts.

    "No need to stand on formalities, we don't," Janine smirks, "And yes, he is in, he is always in. I rarely see him leave in fact. Come on then, I will take you to him."

    While you weave your way down into the building you take the opportunity to ask a few more question, "We sent over a few samples of a powerful adhesive and prototype explosive this morning."

    She nods, "Yes, I think we had something like that delivered by the King's own courier a few hours ago. Some of the boys down in one of the labs are working on it and they sounded confident they could have something worked out in a day or two."

    Well, that is good news. Either these people really are as good as you have been led to believe or Astrid already did most of the work for them.

    Thaïs chimes in next, with a question you were just about to ask "While we are here, would it be possible to commission more work from the Academy?"

    "Certainly," Janine responds enthusiastically, the prospect of more work visibly exciting her, "What did you have in mind?"

    ----------------------------------------

    You discuss possibilities with Janine, special fabrics and armour, unique rings and weapons, spell lessons, everything you can think of and she is remarkably honest about what is and is not feasible. The prices she quotes you are often high but as long as the King is covering the costs they should be manageable. The real issue for you is time, how long do you want to spend in the city and what are you willing to leave behind when you do move south? Those are the real questions.

    Finally she leads you to a large lead plated door in the third sub-basement. Hanging off its impressive handles is a rather unimpressive bit of wood on a wire string. Painted in rough letters across its surface is 'Magic at work, enter at your own risk!'

    Wonderful.

    "Well, here we are," he declares cheerfully, "Just go right in."

    "What about the sign?" Thaïs notes with a little suspicion.

    "Oh that thing," she snatches it off the door, "Jan puts that up to give himself a little quiet. That's all. But ah... keep your weapons close."

    With a grin and a wink she is off down the hallway, she spins on her heel before ascending the stairs, "If you want to pursue any of those research subjects we discussed then let me know when you are done talking to Jan."

    The dwarf disappears into the stairwell, leaving the four of you alone in the otherwise empty hallway.

    You knock.

    No response.

    You knock again.

    Again no response.

    With a shrug you shove the door open and are met by blinding light, "Kindly come in or shut the door!" a voice calls out to you from inside the chamber. With not much choice in the matter you enter and your friends follow suit.

    The room is white, walls, floor, roof, it is all white. In fact it reminds you very much of Miosguinn's lab under Muirthemne, not a happy association to be sure.

    Thankfully there are no tubes with people growing in them or angry cultists waiting to impale you upon their knives.

    Instead you are greeted by a slim dwarf in a white tunic and trousers, he is leaning over a large wooden table studying six black eggs. On tables pushed up against the walls of the chamber rest a number of items and artefacts. All of them in an unusual black stone that you instantly recognize as similar to the artefact of the Spider Goddess you encountered under Muirthemne.

    Immediately you focus on them, readying your defences, certain you are about to be assaulted by the Goddess herself but you receive no messages, no visions, no threats.

    The dwarf looks up at you, his confusion matching your own but quickly recognition lights his face, "Do you, do you actually know what these are?" he grins slightly, "You must, you must, to stare at them like that! The question is who are you?"

    It is an interesting change of pace, to have someone in the Kingdom that does not recognize you on sight by now. You can't say that you mind either, "My name is Derryth, this is Thaïs, and that is Biliku and Uttu."

    He squints, attempting to pinpoint where he has heard your names. It takes him a moment, but he gets there, "Ah, you are the human mages that have been helping father with his troubles," he rounds the table and approaches you, arm outstretched, "My name is Jan, though if you have come all the way down here you probably know that."

    "It is a pleasure," your friend assures him, "We just wanted to ask you a couple questions about events over the last few weeks."

    He immediately grasps what you mean, "That business with the Pathfinder prison? Horrible incident and the escape of the necromancer, what a terrible shame."

    "So you are well aware of what has been happening in the Kingdom?" you ask as you wander toward his tables and examine the closest egg, you do not touch it, for some reason that feels like a bad idea, but as you examine it, it pulses slightly.

    "Yes," he comes up next to you, "Timo visits about once a week and we have lunch upstairs, all he can talk about is politics and he knows I will happily listen to all his complaining."

    "He is not happy with the way your father conducts things?" your friend asks innocently.

    "Ah, well. He thinks he can do a better job. Maybe he can, maybe he can't, I try not to get involved," Jan shifts uncomfortably, "I have never been much of one for politics really. I can't even play the game between the researchers here, always playing for position, trying to get the most funding from the King. Honestly the only reason why I am given this room all to myself is that many of my colleagues are afraid I could use my connection to my father to take their funding away. They put me down here and let me do what I want, honestly, I am fine with that."

    Not a terribly fascinating fellow, this Jan, but you know that outward appearances can be deceiving. For the moment you are at least as interested in the artefacts lining this room as you are the dwarf himself, "You are studying the Spider Goddess?"

    He beams, "Yes, it is a subject near and dear to my heart. The Goddess has been outlawed for centuries among my people but there is absolutely no denying that she was one of, if not the most important deity worshiped by the dwarves in the distant past. Some of the temple sites, especially in the south and the northeast are truly impressive in their design and demonstrate a great respect for the Goddess. There is a real treasure-trove of history and culture to be unearthed here alongside a few admittedly undesirable elements."

    "Such as?" you give him just the slightest of nudges, it is all it takes.

    "Ah well, the cult was prone to live sacrifice. Usually of non-members and preferable of non-dwarves but they made do with what they could find. In exchange for these sacrifices the ancestors of my people seemed to believe they would be gifted political and magical power over others," he shakes his head, "It is all so tragic but very fascinating never-the-less."

    "Yes, very fascinating," Thaïs strings him along, "These powers, have you found any evidence that they were real?"

    "Well," he hesitates for several moments, trying to decide how much he should tell you, when he does decide to speak it is with excitement and a little fear, "Yes, to put it bluntly. I say this to you because I think you already know, that look on your friend's face, that look of recognition, you must know, right? These artefacts down here, if they were taken from this room, I think, I am certain in fact that they would allow her to directly communicate with us, it is truly fascinating."

    "Have you ever tried?" you ask together, your tone flat.

    He squints slightly, "Ah, maybe I have said enough..."

    If you want more out of him you might have to give him something or you could also try forcing it out of him. That is up to you.


    1. Jan and the Goddess: Jan does not seem too interested in the affairs of the Kingdom but he seems to be quite knowledgeable about the Spider Goddess. He could likely tell you more if you wish to convince him somehow.

    A) Tell him about your past history with the Goddess as a show of good faith. If he is merely a researcher or maybe a guardian of these artefacts then this might win him over, of course if he is a loyal cultist...

    B) Lie to him, play up your connection to the Goddess but frame it as that of a loyal servant. If he is a cultist than Thaïs should hopefully be able to convince him to tell you all he knows. Of course, if he is concerned you are a cultist then...

    C) Attack him, if you hit him hard enough with your mental spells you should be able to extract all he knows. It is a bit thuggish but he may know important information.

    D)Play up your archaeologist side with Thais's vocal help to create a favorable impression without mentioning your time with the Damned.

    E) Share the tale of your 'friend' Miosguinn's fate, the way he was ruined would discourage any contacts attempts and show how dangerous this whole clutist situation is. It would show part of the Goddess' true character as well.

    F)Play up your archaeologist side with Thais's vocal help and pose yourself as a fellow researcher on the matters concerning the Spider Goddess. Share your findings and 'progress' with him - Miosguinn's story (with several touchy details omitted), knowledge about the origins of the Goddess and her story (say we've found it in some ancient manuscript or whatever is more plausible), Biliku's and Uttu's proficiency with the language (tell him they are daughters of late professor Casgair in Muirthemne or something) - and get everything he knows about the Goddess (and her potential followers) in return.

    G) freeform


    2. Research Options: Assuming you successfully meet up with Janine when you are done with Jan there are a number of possible avenues of research you could pursue. (Any option with more than half the votes rounded up will be pursued).

    A) Create another spell ring - The spell storage rings that the Brothers Dietfried supplied you with have proven quite useful but they are now out of stock. It would take a month and an entire research team but the fellows are convinced they could create an exact duplicate. Once they have the process down they might even be able to mass produce them though you are not sure how wise that would be. If you want to leave them a ring for a few hours or days they can begin on it at once.

    B) Weave steel-cloth cloaks - This would require giving them your spinner and the general dimensions of the cloak you want produced but it should allow them to spin four or five cloaks in a few days giving you a reasonably light weight and fairly protective cloak to wear on your journeys.

    C) Weave steel-cloth armour - This would also require giving them your spinner and your measurements but it would allow them to make several suits of armour for you and your people out of finely spun metal over the course of a month or so. It would be lighter and more flexible than plate while also providing you with greater protection than leather. Though it will take them around a month to complete the suits once they have the process down they should be able to mass produce them, assuming they do not somehow break the spinner.

    D) Weave a composite armour - This would also require giving them your spinner and your measurements and it would require them to source the proper materials. Janine intends to begin by trying to reproduce the compounds silkworms use to create their cocoons. She believes that lightweight silk armour in combination with the odd protective plate or padding will provide a nice blend of flexibility, strength and low weight needed by the 'modern adventurer'. It will likely take them several months to complete the suits but once they get the process down they should be able to mass produce the suits assuming they do not somehow break the spinner.

    E) Enchanting lessons - If you want to spend an afternoon working with the fellows they can likely teach you a spell or two in a tradition you are naturally predisposed to.

    F) Flight capable cape - It might be possible with the use of the spinner to construct a cape capable of allowing you to glide on the air like a bird. Even the dwarves think that is a little crazy but they are willing to try if you want.

    G) freeform


    3. You wonder what would happen if you feed on of the pulsing eggs to the spinner. Do you do it?

    A) Yes

    B) No

    Note: Jan and general questions. While the ladies have managed to get in a few broad questions there are likely a number of things you would like to ask Jan that I have not yet covered. Feel free to ask him anything you want as usual and I will provide his answers. There are some subjects he will not be willing to talk to you about if he does not trust you and if that is the case I will simply tell you to ask again after the vote is closed and you have either won him over or thoroughly alienated or abused him.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
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  9. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    Party/Organization Changes:

    Party Changes:


    Show Spoiler
    Derryth:

    Gained Items:

    1. Ten Energon Cubes

    2. Gold Ring (Currently Storing: Greater Energy Bolt)

    3. Two pieces of simple jewelry

    4. Letter granting full authority of the King

    Pet Status Changes:

    1. Martin - dispatched to infiltrate the Palace

    Thaïs:

    Gained Items:

    1. Ten Energon Cubes

    2. Two pieces of simple jewelry

    3. Letter granting full authority of the King

    Lyssa:

    Gained Items:

    1. Ten Energon Cubes

    2. One piece of simple jewelry

    Pet Status Changes:

    1. Ocypete - Dispatched to Fort Blackrock with cheese basket for mice - fulfilling contract

    2. The following dispatched to infiltrate the Palace:
    Mirra
    Poppy
    Eight Wild Mice
    Three Wild Rats
    Six 'Novice' Mice

    Leaves the Party.

    Biliku:

    Gained Items:

    1. One piece of simple jewelry

    Uttu:

    Gained Items:

    1. One piece of simple jewelry

    Berty:

    Gains Items:

    1. Twitching Blue Sack

    2. Pot for his fern

    Leaves the Party


    Organizational Changes:

    Show Spoiler
    Lost WPs:

    1. 5 WPs for the jewelry

    Not much in this update really. Your reputation has not changed and neither has your bank balance (by much) or your personnel list. Though I do still have to list your remaining contracts with the Blackrock mice.


    Rolls:

    Show Spoiler
    We are back to the secret rolls I am afraid.

    For your group there were about three conversation/observation based rolls. One with Albrecht and two with Jan.

    But it is everyone else that got to do most of the rolling. Your recruitment team had a number of rolls, your mouse team had a few, over at Blackrock there were also several and there were a number involving events around the Kingdom. To the south and the east in particular.


    Fun facts (maybe a little 'spoilerish'):

    Show Spoiler
    The conversation with Albrecht is only made possible by a number of screw ups Bungie made with the original games, as well as a few well placed easter eggs in Myth TFL. Everything Albrecht raves about is derived almost directly from in game material. Now whether he is right or not is a matter that is definitely up for debate.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
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  10. Absinthe Prophet

    Absinthe
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Messages:
    3,197
    1D - Play up your archaeologist side with Thais's vocal help and silent communication via suggestions to create a favorable impression. Since Thais has access to Derryth's memories, our synergy should be high here.

    As for 2, is it possible to do both B + E?

    Also, I motion we get Lyssa and some lead, then block all these amulets while we ask Lyssa if Mazzarin could be a shade. As a skilled necromancer who had contact with shades, she should be able to tell.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
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  11. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
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    1,997
    Added.

    Yes, it is possible to pursue any of the options in conjunction.
     
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  12. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    9,501
    Not sure what to say to Jan right now, but I do know what kind of cloak I want for the second option:
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Absinthe Prophet

    Absinthe
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
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    3,197
    Alright B+E then for #2. I don't want to risk breaking the spinner (let Melete have her fun with that, once we waken her) and mass produced rings makes me a bit uncomfortable.
     
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  14. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,060
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    I believe if we want to engage Jan in a conversation, we should leave our position with the Spider Goddess ambiguous. He is the one who has little interest in politics, but values knowledge instead, right? Well, tell him less about yourself and more about the matters that interest him. That way you might win him over without confirming which side you were on.

    Just tell him about the conflict between the Damned, and how you saw one of these eggs affecting Miosguinn, and how it was destroyed. No taking sides, just entertaining facts, from an observer's perspective.

    Knowledge for knowledge, though. Try to get the information we need out of him.

    He seems to be a bit of a recluse and somewhat socially awkward. I think Thais would be able to play him if she observes what makes him tick. She has received training to lend an ear to her clients and talk with them about their interests and concerns.

    Then we will determine if harsher actions are warranted.

    Edit: Is that close to D or not? I can't tell. They have a common element in that we shift the conversation to talk about his hobbies.

    Our hat would screw up the aerodynamics. :(
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
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  15. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,997
    I would say they have the same basic goal in mind so yes unless there are any objections.

    Well alright then. Adding batman cape. :salute:
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
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  16. Absinthe Prophet

    Absinthe
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Messages:
    3,197
    I don't want to inform him about the conflict with the Damned. That shit is pretty top secret for now. I only want to do piecemeal revelations about our breadth of knowledge and indicate familiarity by sharing bits of our own knowledge of such devices. If we trade him some unrelated yet otherwise engrossing stories, he might be inclined to share more with us about the goddess.

    Batman cape could be really good with wind spells tbh. I don't need the cape to actually go bat-form though. Just give it those sweet options.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
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  17. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
    Joined:
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    Messages:
    9,501
    :love:
     
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  18. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Alright, put me down to 1D.

    Not sure what I want from the academy, though. I don't think we have time to sit through their lessons. I guess we'll see what people come up with.

    I'd like to have some protective gear, though, and is there a way to make them not want to break the Spinner? It cost us Albrecht 20 WP, after all.

    Edit. 2F! 2F! 2F!!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
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  19. Absinthe Prophet

    Absinthe
    Joined:
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    Swap 2B into 2F for me too.

    By the way Fangshi, for 1D I want to really play up the archaeologist side, by which I mean I want to raise an interest in us working together later or otherwise maybe just do some work for each other.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
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  20. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
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    1,997
    Noted, if D wins then that is how I will play it.

    It is not that they want to break it but they are very, ah, child-like as you have seen and most of them are a little unhinged. Short of standing over them the entire time they have it I can't think of anything you can do to ensure they do not break it.
     
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  21. Absinthe Prophet

    Absinthe
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    I'd also like to see if we can settle into some kind of friendly story/theory/knowledge-exchange while we try to befriend him and get him to spill the beans.
     
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  22. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    I am just going to move all the information about the Kingdom to one place. It will make it easier to check I think. I may or may not keep it updated, depends on what is easier for me really.

    The Dwarven Kingdom Details:

    Albrecht's many progeny:

    Show Spoiler
    The dwarf King has had two wives in his life and before Eleanor he had his fair share of mistresses as well. This has led to a number of children, they are listed below, oldest to youngest (they are all adults now by the way, there are no 'children' among his children). You ask him about his offspring and he agrees to tell you what he knows though he notes that if he knew everything (or even most things) about them he would not need you to do this for him. He is not close to most of his children and that fact it is the single greatest regret he has.

    1. Reinhard:

    Albrecht's first son and the designated heir. He is tall and broad for a dwarf, strong jawed, keen eyed, he is everything one could want in a prince of the blood. He is an intelligent and effective leader, a gifted tactician and general that spends most of his time in the field with the army. He is well loved by the people and considered a hero of the kingdom by many. He is generous, he is loyal, he is brave, he also hates his father. Albrecht makes no attempt to hide this fact, when Reinhardt's mother died the dwarf took it hard and blamed Albrecht. The two of them had it out and since then they have not spoken privately as father and son. Reinhardt disagrees with his father on the course the Kingdom should take in the future and enjoys considerable military support however he also makes the Great Houses nervous and he has few genuine friends outside of the military. Reinhardt has the ambition to be a traitor and the ability to carry it off but as the designated heir he lacks a clear motive, weakening the kingdom does nothing but weaken his own future as far as Albrecht can see. If he is the traitor then Albrecht advises caution, he is not an enemy to treat lightly.

    He is currently traveling with the army south to Stoneheim.

    2. Timo:

    Albrecht's second son and a joyful if merciless dwarf. He is a plotter, always ha been, and he has been instrumental in helping House Albrecht retain the throne over the last decade. He spends most of his time in a private room at the Silver Flame and it is said he is on very intimate terms with the owner of the establishment. His agents, while not as skilled as the Pathfinders in general, are quite adept at extracting and spinning information. He gets along well enough with the king, he always says the right things and shows due respect for his step mother but there is a 'distance' to him in his dealings with the rest of his family, as if he is unwilling or unable to get too close to them personally. Albrecht worries about him from time to time but he is a grown dwarf and must make his own fate. Timo has spent the better part of his adult life in service to his House and though he has the ability to be a successful traitor Albrcht is not certain if he has the desire to betray his own family like that, still there is something off about the boy.

    He should be at the Silver Flame, as always when not on public or private business.

    3. Wenzel

    Albrecht's third son. A drunkard, a lech, a spendthrift and a gambler. There is little to say about the dwarf that is positive but his older brothers both care for him dearly. Albrecht can not actually tell you much about his son's activities. He comes and goes from the palace as he sees fit and until last year he had a habit of bringing home all sorts of rascals and scoundrels. Albrecht had it out with 'the boy' and since then he has taken up with a group of 'mercenaries' on the far end of town. He fancies himself some sort of 'captain' of 'fighting men' but they are mostly thugs, extortionists and murderers. Reinhard has done what he can to try and reign in his younger brother and Timo does what he can to minimize the scandal Wenzel causes but Albrecht's third son is an embarrassment to the family. Albrecht could see him as the traitor if he could somehow manage to stay sober enough to even plot such a thing. Wenzel has motive but lacks the ability to actually pull it off in Albrecht's estimation.

    He should be with his 'company' somewhere on the rough side of town.

    4. Jan

    Albrecht's youngest surviving son by his first wife. Jan is a quiet dwarf and keeps largely to himself. When he came of age he applied to be accepted to the Royal Academy and without any favouritism on the part of his father he made the cut. Of all the sons born to him by his first wife, Jan is his favourite. Perhaps because he is the only son that Albrecht is still on reasonable terms with. He is a scholar and a researcher, a mage and an explorer. He often takes long trips into the hinterland to research the history of the Kingdom and he has made a number of fascinating discovers about some of the previous dynasties that the king was quick to put to use for more 'practical' ends. Albrecht does not believe Jan could betray him, he does not see what his son would gain from such an act as he has little interest in the kingdom and prefers to pursue knowledge instead.

    He should be at the Royal Academy should you wish to speak with him. He normally does not welcome unexpected guests but the King will give you a letter of introduction if you wish to see him.

    5. Horst - deceased

    All he had was a name. Albrecht's first wife, Rosalind, died in childbirth with the baby. Albrecht was not with her at the time and only found out about the deaths weeks later. It shames him to this day that he did not even get to see the child's body before it was buried but dwarven tradition holds that the corpse should be returned to the earth as soon as possible to facilitate an easy passage of the soul...

    He is buried in the family crypt in Stoneheim.

    6. Jori - deceased

    Albrecht's first son by Eleanor and his sixth official son. Jori was the closest child to his father and as fifth in line to the throne there was such a slight chance of him ever taking the throne that their relationship could crystallize around other aspects of their personalities. Jori was the first child that Albrecht was really 'there for', he was a father to Jori in a way he had not been with his other sons and it gave him joy and sorrow in equal measure. Joy at what he had with the boy and sorrow at what he had so foolishly squandered with Jori's half brothers.

    You know all too well what happened to Jori. He died fighting the Blues under Muirthemne alongside you, he is still buried there.

    7. Friedelinde

    Albrecht's oldest daughter and an officer in the Royal Army, she holds the official rank of Master of the Chariots and is responsible for the maintenance, deployment and command of the kingdom's mobile elements. She is a fierce and rather stubborn 'young lady' and he thinks the two of you would get along famously if you ever met. She is his favourite out of his surviving children and the one he has the most in common with. She spends most of her free time with the designated heirs of house Hesse and Reginar. The three of them together are known as the 'Three Charioteers' and the stories of the battles with the ghôls, their devastating charges and calculated feints, are the stuff of many a barroom tale.

    She is with the army on the way to Stoneheim.

    8. Dagmar - deceased

    Albrecht's second daughter died four months ago when the carriage she was riding in exploded. She was not the target as far as he can tell. He was to head to the Assembly that morning and his personal carriage was prepared for the trip however it was such a beutiful day that at the last minute he decided, on a whim, to take one of the open carriages instead to enjoy the sun. Dagmar wanted to do a little shopping along the high street that day as well and when she asked her father if she could borrow a carriage he offered to let her use his personal one. After all, no one would think of getting in the way of the king's carriage. He had joked that she could skip the morning traffic that way.

    As soon as the carriage rolled out of the front gates if detonated.

    There was nothing that could be done.

    What is left of her is buried in Stoneheim in the family crypt.

    9. Heiner - deceased

    Albrecht's youngest son, he had volunteered to escort Dagmar around town that day. He was in the carriage when it blew.

    He too lies in the family mausoleum.

    10. Bärbel

    Albrecht's youngest living daughter. She is a cadet in the Royal Army serving under a different name so as not to receive special attention. She has spent her entire life trying to distance herself from her father and her family. In fact she only ever asked him for one thing in her entire life and that was for his permission to let her enroll in the army four months ago. He had readily given it to her though he suspects that she would have done it anyway even if he refused. From what he remembers of her as she grew up she was always a rather sad child, she always looked lost and a little upset and though he tried to help her he did not really know how and she would not or could not tell him how.

    She is marching south with the rest of the army as far as he knows. He can give you her assumed name and the number of her regiment if you wish to find her.

    11. Lilli - deceased

    His youngest daughter. She died fifteen years ago, the victim of a ghôlish attack while on route between Mygard and Stoneheim. Her body was never found, it was assumed that she had been carried off to serve as a snack. She had a degree of magical talent but not enough to save her life. He loved her dearly and her death hit him hard. It hit Eleanor even harder and the two agreed not to have any more children.

    An empty coffin with her name on it and a few personal effects rests in their crypt in Stoneheim.

    Albrecht also has four known, living bastards.

    The first is a mercenary operating out of the poorer end of town. Her name is Letta, she has never tried to contact him or ask him for anything and if her mother had not told him then he would not even know she exists. She runs a small mercenary outfit of about ten, they have a decent reputation but lack the resources to really make a name for themselves barring extraordinary luck. He has often thought about hiring her, giving her a simple contract with a massive paycheck just to help her out but as he watched her it became clear that, that would merely insult her. She is a few years younger the Reinhardt.

    The second lives somewhere in the western empire. His name is Udo and his mother was a serving girl, a dwarven exile, at the court of some Imperial noble he can not remember. He was far from home and a different dwarf back then. He only found out she had given birth to his son years later. The boy is a brewer and wants nothing to do with him or the family. His brand is called maul's head and Albrecht hears that it is quite good if you are ever up around Tyr.

    The third is a baker in Stoneheim. Not much more to say about him than that.

    The fourth, he lowers his voice to a whisper and scans the room.

    The fourth is Astrid.

    She does not know and he is not sure if he should tell her.


    The Houses:

    Show Spoiler
    House Hess:

    Show Spoiler
    House Hesse: One of the younger houses that made a name for themselves during the war. They are a house of warriors and hunters with a strong presence in the military and a large private army, they have sufficient assets to support their military and keep it outfitted in high grade equipment but little money left for anything else.

    Albrecht has known Hesse for decades, he is a rough dwarf but a fair and true friend. He was Jori's godfather. Hesse enjoys hunting, warfare, drinking and little else, he rarely goes anywhere without one of his many hounds.

    Armies: Approximately 1500 armed fighters (warriors and grenadiers), 500 in Myrgard, 500 at your fort, 500 in Stoneheim.

    Finances: Poor

    Spheres of Control: Military perhaps, some mining

    Resources: Aside from a large standing army, very little.

    Relation to the Crown: Very good, Hesse and Albrecht have been friends for decades.

    Relations to other Houses:
    Berg - Fine, the two houses have no real history to speak of
    Seinsheim - Strained, Hesse somehow managed to offend Seinsheim, not difficult to do as the old dwarf is a prick.
    Reginar - Very Good, As another 'young' house and one that rose off military service the two have a lot in common and often lend each other resources when needed.
    Welf - Good, a study in contrasts the martial Hesse and refined Welf actually get along splendidly and often work as a team as a result.


    House Berg:

    Show Spoiler
    House Berg is small for a great house and most of their power comes from the lands that they hold. The Bergs control some of the most fertile lands in the kingdom and they used the fall of the Eberhardts to secure the rest. At the moment they have a near monopoly on food production in the kingdom. Albrecht does not spend much time with Berg socially, he finds the dwarf to be a bit dull and interested only yearly rainfall and the latest developments in horticulture. Supposedly the Berg estate has quite the flower garden, 'unique in all the kingdom' people say but he would not know, he has little time for flowers.

    Armies: Approximately 400 armed fighters (warriors mostly), 200 around Myrgard on the family estates, 100 with him and the army, 100 in Stoneheim.

    Finances: Rich

    Spheres of Control: Agriculture

    Resources: Substantial stores of food and coin

    Relation to the Crown: Fine, there is no real hostility between the two

    Relations to other Houses:
    Hesse - Fine, the two houses have no real history to speak of.
    Seinsheim - Strained, Berg somehow managed to offend Seinsheim, not difficult to do as the old dwarf is a prick.
    Reginar - Fine, the two houses have no real history to speak of.
    Welf - Poor, Berg wants more land for basic agriculture, Welf wants more land for cash crops, the two are often in competition with one another. It is also a poorly kept secret that Welf is sleeping with Berg's wife. Berg does not personally care as he has been seeing a dashing young officer in the army but it is a little humiliating for him to have his wife go to Welf of all people.


    House Seinsheim:

    Show Spoiler
    An old house, arguably the oldest house that still holds power. Seinsheim is large, powerful and loyal primarily to the idea of the kingdom rather than to any particular king. Albrecht does not doubt for a second that Seinsheim would have supported Eberhardt's claim if Eberhardt had not been so dead set on dismantling the monarchy in favour of a republic. If Seinsheim had backed Eberhardt then Albrecht would have been doomed but the hostility between the two ensured that king had a chance.

    On a personal note Seinsheim is an ass and the king has somehow managed to offend the dwarf lord, he just is not sure what exactly he did.

    Armies: Approximately 1000 armed fighters (warriors and greanadiers), 200 in Myrgard, 500 with him and the army, 300 in Stoneheim

    Finances: Rich

    Spheres of Control: Mining and smelting

    Resources: Substantial stores of ore, weapons, equipment and coin split between Myrgard and Stoneheim

    Relation to the Crown: Strained, Albrecht somehow managed to offend Seinsheim, not difficult as the old dwarf is a prick.

    Relations to other Houses:
    Hesse - Strained, Hesse somehow managed to offend Seinsheim, not difficult to do as the old dwarf is a prick.
    Berg - Strained, Berg somehow managed to offend Seinsheim, not difficult to do as the old dwarf is a prick.
    Reginar - Strained, Reginar somehow managed to offend Seinsheim, not difficult to do as the old dwarf is a prick.
    Welf - Strained, Welf somehow managed to offend Seinsheim, not difficult to do as the old dwarf is a prick.


    House Reginar:

    Show Spoiler
    Another young house that won its place through heroics during the Great War and the reclamation of the Kingdom that followed. House Reginar are at home on the battlefield and many members of he House are either current or former member of the military. Albrecht enjoys good relations with Reginar and the king was sponsor of Reginar's heir when the boy decided to join the military, he is like an uncle to the younger dwarf. In many ways the house is similar to House Hesse in most ways and the two enjoy a friendly rivalry that began during the war and continues to this day. Reginar is a lean dwarf with a quick mind and a nice right hook, his house reflects his nature, it is smaller and leaner than House Hesse but its fighters are even more impressive.

    Armies: Approximately 500 armed fighters (warriors and greanadiers), 200 in Myrgard, 300 in Stoneheim

    Finances: Adequate

    Spheres of Control: Logging

    Resources: He supplies most of the wood for the kingdom to be turned into chariots, bolts, and everything else.

    Relation to the Crown: Good, Reginar has always demonstrated loyalty to the crown and his son is a favourite of the King's.

    Relations to other Houses:
    Hesse - Very Good, As another 'young' house and one that rose off military service the two have a lot in common and often lend each other resources when needed.
    Berg - Fine, the two houses have no real history to speak of.
    Seinsheim - Strained, Reginar somehow managed to offend Seinsheim, not difficult to do as the old dwarf is a prick.
    Welf - Fine, the two houses have no real history to speak of.


    House Welf:

    Show Spoiler
    Decadent or merely refined the Welfs have always had a taste for the finer thing in life and they have made a fortune specializing in the import and manufacture of luxury items. Their prices are high but always fair and when it comes to business they do not play favourites. The house specializes in brewing and in law, it is no longer remembered from which profession they earned the title 'Virtuous' though barroom wits are quick to note that by either measure they should have lost that honour long ago.

    Albrecht has fine relations with the house. He buys their products the same as anyone else but he has no real personal relationship with Welf or his people.

    Armies: Approximately 500 armed fighters (warriors and greanadiers), 300 in Myrgard, 200 in Stoneheim

    Finances: Rich

    Spheres of Control: Brewery, Law, Cash Crops

    Resources: Significant reserves of coin, a great deal of alcohol and imported luxuries for resale

    Relation to the Crown: Fine, the two houses have no real history to speak of.

    Relations to other Houses:
    Hesse - Good, a study in contrasts the martial Hesse and refined Welf actually get along splendidly and often work as a team as a result.
    Berg - Poor, Berg wants more land for basic agriculture, Welf wants more land for cash crops, the two are often in competition with one another. It is also a poorly kept secret that Welf is sleeping with Berg's wife. Berg does not personally care as he has been seeing a dashing young officer in the army but it is a little humiliating for him to have his wife go to Welf of all people.
    Seinsheim - Strained, Welf somehow managed to offend Seinsheim, not difficult to do as the old dwarf is a prick.
    Reginar - Fine, the two houses have no real history to speak of.


    Resources still firmly in Albrecht's control:

    Show Spoiler
    House Albrecht Guards: 2100 armed fighters (warriors and grenadiers), 600 in Myrgard, 1000 in Stoneheim, and 500 at your fort.

    The Pathfinders: The entire organization, he has been trying to expand their influence and the resources and personnel they can call upon. If he had to summon them all at once thy would number maybe one hundred and fifty, roughly twenty of which would be agents and the rest officers.

    The Royal Academy: He believes he still has the complete loyalty of the academy, their inventions and their creatures. If he has to he can turn them loose but they are not the most stable group of individuals to begin with and giving them the freedom to wage war is something he hesitates to do.

    The Royal Army: About five thousand soldiers spread out throughout the kingdom. He believes they are loyal but can not be sure. (The Royal Guards under Argus he is certain of though and they number maybe two hundred at any given time, baring unusual circumstances.)

    There are maybe one thousand Dwarven soldiers in Myrgard with another thousand or two in Stoneheim and another thousand or so spread out throughout the kingdom. One thousand soldiers march south with Seinsheim and Berg at this moment.

    Mercenaries: There are thousands of mercenaries in the city and Albrecht has the entire state treasury to draw from, if he needs to he could hire some.

    Militia: Finally he could press the volunteer city guard (about five hundred dwarves) and any fit civilians into military service as militia units though he has no illusions as to their odds against actual military units of the horros he hears are prowling the south.


    Mercenaries:

    Show Spoiler
    The Black Arrows:

    Show Spoiler
    The Black Arrows - One of the most successful companies in the entire Kingdom with over a decade of successful contracts under their belt. They are amongst the finest archers this side of the Cloudspine Mountains and are known for their professionalism. Dressed in black and gold the Arrows have aided you a number of times in the past and have proven themselves competent and dependable. Buying them out would not be cheap though.

    Leader: Ceannard

    Numbers: Currently the company consists of thirty 'Black Arrows', the name used for Ceannard's fully trained, expert marksmen. (They are amongst the best human archers in the world.) And a further fifty new archers which are not yet counted as full members of the company.

    Cost:
    To fully buy out: 4000 WPs
    To buy out but and keep Ceannard and his officers on: 3000 WPs
    To buy out and make Ceannard a partner: 2000 WPs
    To buy out making Ceannard a partner but 'negotiating' a little - 1000 WPs
    To buy out making Ceannard a partner but 'negotiating' a lot (and often) - 800 WPs


    The Blooded Doves

    Show Spoiler
    The Blooded Doves - A human outfit, mostly heavy infantry. They are the former guardians of a minor faith, however a schism in their church has left them without a patron. They take on mercenary work to cover their expenses. They dress in red and white and you met a few of them at Meletē's workshop. You could buy them out if you are willing to respect their faith, provide them with space for a chapel at your facilities and clothe and feed them.

    Leader: Ada the Dove

    Numbers: Sixty human soldiers. Forty of which are heavy infantry, ten of which are light infantry and ten of which are light cavalry. Their cost is higher than average as each has a great deal of intricate equipment to maintain most of which has a religious significance for them.

    Cost:
    To fully buy out - N/A (as a religious order you will have to accept them all, including officers.)
    To buy out but keep Ada and her officers on - 750 WPs
    To buy out and make Ada a partner - 400 WPs


    'Ta Blue Bastards'

    Show Spoiler
    'Ta Blue Bastards' - They are, interesting. You met a few at Meletē's workshop as well. They fight naked and attack with multiple blades. Most of them are dwarves but there are a few mauls and humans as well. They paint themselves in blue dye as they believe it will protect them in battle. They tend to drink most of their money away and so are always looking for new jobs. If you gave them food, board and booze they would gladly fight for you.

    Leader: 'Ta Blue Bastard

    Numbers: One hundred and twenty 'berserker braves', eighty dwarves, twenty humans and twenty mauls.

    Cost:
    To fully buy out the Bastard - 100 WPs and twelve cases of the finest whiskey you can get.
    To buy out and keep the Bastard and his fellows on - 50 WPs
    To buy out and make the Bastard a partner - Free but he will want any and all alcohol you come across.


    The Mighty Cocks

    Show Spoiler
    The Mighty Cocks - A traditional mercenary company held together by gold, beer and a bit of violence. The Cocks are good at fighting and little else, as such they are often mislead by their employers and short changed when it comes time to pay up. Given their violent disposition the Cocks usually manage to get their payment, in gold or blood, either will do. They dress in gaudy greens and red and tend to prefer cheap, easy to acquire weapons and armour. Given the company's history of violence it tends to attract a disproportionate number of Berserks, Mauls and criminals. It is led by a massive Maul known only as the Cock, there are a number of rather entertaining stories about how he got that name. It is likely none of them are true. Give them gold or blood and they will follow.

    Leader: The Cock

    Numbers: Ninety brawlers, fourty Berserks, thirty mauls, and twenty dwarves. They are all poorly armed and armoured.

    Cost:
    To fully buy out the Cock - Free, you will need to challenge him and kill him in single combat. Anything goes.
    To buy out and keep the Cock and his lieutenants on - 500 WPs
    To buy out and make the Cock a partner - 300 WPs


    The Seekers

    Show Spoiler
    The Seekers - Mercenary mages that are very selective in the jobs they take. There existence is fact but their goals are unknown. All agree that they are looking for something however and that is how they got their name. Some say they are looking for knowledge, some say for power, others think they are searching for redemption while others insist they are simply looking for a fight worth having. Whatever they are looking for they do good work, that much can not be denied. They have never failed to complete a contract but they rarely take on jobs and their rate makes the Arrows look cheap.

    Leader: The Old Man in the Mountain

    Numbers: Twenty Battlemages and an unknown number of unknown 'guardians'

    Cost:
    To fully buy them out - N/A
    To buy them out and keep their leaders on - unknown, you would have to meet with their leader
    To buy them out and make their leaders partners - unknown, you would have to meet with their leader


    Wenzel's Weasels

    Show Spoiler
    Wenzel's Weasels - Scum, lowlifes, thugs, murderers, there is not a fool, madman or criminal Wenzel has met that he has not hit it off with. This loose and large circle of friends and hangers-on that congregate around the buffoonish prince constitute one of the largest 'mercenary' companies in Myrgard. At over three hundred and fifty members the weasels have the sheer numbers needed to win most conflicts with other companies, or even city guards, without having to resort to any real form of strategy. When they take a job, which is not terribly often, they tend to simply throw 'soldiers' (the name for an entry level Weasel) at it until the problem goes away. The vast majority of the outfit is comprised of poorly armed and armoured dwarves drawn to the 'easy life' that Wenzel promises but there are a number of humans, mauls, and the like within the organization as well. Some claim that Wenzel even employs ghôls as well. Despite the low quality of the rank and file Weasels many of the officers sport unique skills or above average equipment which does allow the Weasels to compete 'on quality' every now and then. Given their seemingly endless numbers, strong financial backing and general ruthlessness it is rare for the Weasels to fail at a contract once they have undertaken it, though colateral damage tends to be high.

    The Weasels have only ever failed to deliver on one contract. Seven months ago they were hired to assault the compound of a minor house and kill all of its occupants. The house in question got wind of the impending attack and hired the Arrows to protect them (Ceannard charged them 500WPs to protect the compound on the condition that not one enemy would breach the walls). Approximately two hundred and eighty seven Weasels died that night, not a single member of the target house, nor a single Arrow was injured and the walls of their compound remained unbreached. Needless to say the Weasels and Wenzel do not much like the Black Arrows.

    Leader: Wenzel Albrecht

    Numbers: Three hundred and eighty five 'soldiers' (a mix of different races and equipment load-outs, each soldier is expected to supply his or her own equipment leading to radically different levels of equipment quality).

    Cost:
    To fully buy out - N/A, Wenzel does this for fun and the rest follow Wenzel
    To buy out but keep Wenzel and his officers on - 1750 WPs
    To buy out and make Wenzel a partner - 700 WPs


    The Ten Sovereigns

    Show Spoiler
    The Ten Sovereigns - A small but well run mercenary group led by the dwarf Letta. The Sovereigns were formed forty years ago in a grubby little tavern in Stoneheim. It was a rather regular night all things considered, ten strangers drank at separate tables in the bar or in ones and twos when a disheveled merchant burst through the front door wailing. He said he had been robbed and he begged the strangers to help him. Well, just like in a storybook they did, the ten strangers followed the merchant out into the night and were cut down by bandits and robbed. The merchant had led them into a trap. Some of those strangers had family, some had friends, one of those friends was Letta, a dwarven veteran of the war. She found out who was responsible for the robbery and tracked them back to a compound southwest of Stoneheim. However there were too many to fight by herself and so instead she tracked done the friends and loved ones of the other strangers that had died. Some were warriors and joined her cause, many more weren't and gave her money and supplies in exchange for the promise of vengeance and justice.

    She prepared and then she struck, her and nine other mercenaries, the Ten Sovereigns, so named after the gold their friends and family died for.

    The company has a rotating membership but it always stabilizes at ten, when a member dies or retires then a new one is hired. They are not a rich company, not a big one either and they get few contracts because they are so small but also because they are rather picky in the sort of work they will take on.

    Leader: Letta

    Numbers: Ten, no more, no less. The current lineup is comprised of Letta, five dwarves, a fir'Bolg, two humans and a maul.

    Cost:
    N/A, they are not the sort of company you buy out.

    If you wish to try and incorporate them within your own organization you would have to demonstrate to them that you are 'worth' serving in perpetuity. No one has managed that so far.


    The Knights of the Broken Lance

    Show Spoiler
    The Knights of the Broken Lance - A company comprised entirely of cavalry, with a fairly even mix of heavy and light cavalry (about thirty riders in total). Most are the fourth or fifth sons of minor noble houses in the Empire. With few careers open to them in the Empire they came south and offered their services to the dwarves. The dwarves generally lack strong mobile elements in their military forces, with the exception of small companies of chariots so the Knights have managed to make a living within the Kingdom. Many of its members long to return to their homeland though and as a result they are open to the idea of serving other humans that can make that happen. They have made a name for themselves patrolling the highways between Myrgard and Stoneheim, protecting merchant caravans and terrorizing brigands. They have a reputation for professionalism but they have been known to charge a lot for even the simplest of jobs. Still, if you want mobility on the battlefield there are few options as goods as the Knights.

    Leader: Oscar mac Cumhail

    Numbers: Thirty riders, twenty heavy cavalry and ten light cavalry

    Cost:
    To fully buy out the Knights - 1000 WPs
    To buy out the Knights but keep Oscar on - 400 WPs
    To buy out the Knights and make Oscar a partner - 300WPs


    The Hounds

    Show Spoiler
    The Hounds - A fitting name for a company that trains and utilizes beasts on the battlefield. Most of the company is comprised of dwarves and their pet wolfhounds but a handful of fir'Bolgs and humans bring more exotic beasts with them as well. Your team did not get a chance to see such creatures first hand.

    Leader: Egil

    Numbers: Twenty dwarves, fifty hounds, six humans, four elephants, two fir'Bolg, six Ermine wolves

    Cost:
    To completely buy out the Hounds - 500 WPs
    To buy out the Hounds but keep Egil on - 400 WPs
    To buy out the Hounds and make Egil a partner - 200WPs


    The Grey Arrows:

    Show Spoiler
    The Grey Arrows - A rather interesting company founded by the Lady Grey. It is hard to say if she is actually a Lady with full rank in the Empire but she certainly has the money to back up her claim. Her company consists of archers, equipped with the finest weapons and armour that money can buy but they seem to lack discipline and any real combat experience.

    Leader: The Lady Grey

    Numbers: Sixty 'Grey Arrows', novice human bowmen in exquisite gear.

    Cost:
    N/A - The Lady Grey has no wish to retire or become someone's employee.


    The Brickyard Boys:

    Show Spoiler
    The Brickyard Boys - A new company, founded after the fire that ravaged the poor end of Myrgard. This company is comprised of former shop owners, clerks, beggars, and unemployed tenants. They cobbled together what equipment they could find and organized themselves behind the biggest member of their group. They seek revenge against the Watcher and his necromancers as well as food, shelter and a decent day's pay.

    Leader: Ajiak the Mason

    Numbers: Four hundred dwarves armed with makeshift weapons and cloth armour or no armour at all.

    Cost:
    Hire but keep Ajiak on - 100 WPs
    Buy out the Boys and make Ajiak a partner - 50 WPs



    Known Cultists:

    Show Spoiler
    He will start with the five most 'high profile' cultists in the kingdom:

    #1 Birgir - A fairly typical dwarf all things considered. He is chief financial officer for one of the larger mining firms south of Stoneheim but he lives in Myrgard to maintain easy access to the lords and powerbrokers of the kingdom. Mayer has only met the dwarf twice, he found him to be boring, long-winded, and rather short-sighted. He was more concerned with turning quick immediate profits and enjoying his wealth than with securing a steady stream of income or seizing any of the levers of power available to him. Mayer believes that he is a high ranking member of the 'Silver Spinneret' a Spider Goddess pleasure cult in the city, he may even be their high priest. From what Mayer understands they are a group of wealthy and bored aristocrats and bankers that get together, inject themselves with hallucinogenic poisons and indulge themselves in every vice they can conceive of. Birgir has been in Stoneheim with his wife for the last eight months or so, overseeing the construction of a new office complex there otherwise you would have met him when you paid visits to the great bankers of the city.

    #2 Anja - Birgir's wife. Half his age and twice as smart, Mayer found her intriguing at first but all she really seemed interested in was tricking him into joining their cult. When he declined she attempted to blackmail him, it did not work out well for her or her husband. Threats were made, Birgir lost a quarter of his fortune overnight and the couple stopped bothering Mayer. Of course this spat also served to isolate Mayer socially from much of the banking world, Birgir and his wife are very popular.

    #3 Asger - The Champion of House Reginar and a master at single combat with a blade. Mayer only knows the dwarf by reputation but he is said to be merciless to the foes of his master, the champion is likely with Hesse at your fort but you did not meet him while you were there.

    #4 Ebba - Mayer has heard that she is something of a celebrity among cultist circles. She is an imperial dwarf, a member of one of the families that decided to remain in human lands after the Kingdom was reestablished, supposedly she can see the future 'through the strands of the Goddess' web'. Mayer scoffs, he says that she is a fraud and that no one can simply predict the future (Derryth is not sure though, she has heard stories of the Total Codex and its ability to read the future, perhaps it is possible for a person to do the same). Ebba has taken over the other cult of the Goddess in the city and has renamed it the 'Spun Truth', as far as Mayer knows it is just another pleasure cult but he is willing to admit that he does not actually know what either cult does, he is merely baseing his assumptions on what he can learn from others.

    #5 Hallr - Professor at the Royal Academy. Hallr does not travel in the same social circles as Mayer does so he knows little about the dwarf other than what his agents tell him. Supposedly there is good reason to believe the Hallr is a cultist and that he has been trying to involve other fellows of the Academy in his worship. Mayer does not know how successful Hallr has been or even if the government is aware of the cultist's attempts.

    There are also a number of high ranking individuals that may be cultists but Mayer can not be certain. He has heard rumors about Lords Hesse and Berg, about two of Albrecht's sons (Timo and Jan) and about several members of the Goldsmith's guild as well. He does not know if these people are followers of the Spider Goddess, some other cult or are completely innocent and just the victims of vicious rumour.


    House Champions:

    Show Spoiler
    Well, skipping Argus since you already know what he is like. I will start with the least unusual champions and work my way to the most unusual champions.

    Houses Hesse and Raginar:

    Alfhild and Asgar are the warrior type (which makes sense as their houses are warrior houses), they drink, they fight, they laugh, they cry. They are very much stereotypical dwarves and they are very much in love. They actually met each other after they became the champions of their respective houses. They wound up on opposite sides in a barroom brawl, after a good ten minutes of beating each other senseless they knew it was love and were married within the year. They look after their friends, terrify their enemies, and represent their lords in the exact sort of manner that Hesse and Raginar expect.

    He favours an axe and shield, she favours and mace and shield, they fight in a straightforward and traditional style.

    House Berg:

    The 'Artisan' is a master with a blade, no one knows his real name but he came to the city three years ago looking for a challenge. He is a thin man and short with hard features and dead eyes (even when he smiles or laughs his eyes remain cold), he sports a mustache in the fir'Bolg style and seems to be almost as skilled with a bow as he is with a sword.

    The champion of a minor house (so minor you really do not need to know their name) spotted him wandering the streets and decided it would be worth his time to 'harass' a 'foreigner' for an evening. Things quickly deteriorated and a formal challenge was issued by the dwarf to the man.

    They met three evenings later in one of the smaller squares in town with suitable witnesses (the Artisan knew no one in the city but drafted an out of work vintner to serve as his witness). The duel was over quickly, the Artisan winning handedly but it was not simply the speed with which he won that impressed and horrified the onlookers. He carved up the dwarf, sculpting him into a gross mockery of his former self and so he came to be known as the Artisan (probably because the 'Sculptor' did not have the same ring to it).

    He fights to win and is completely without mercy but will only act if ordered to or provoked.

    He is considered by many to be the second best swordsman in the city. Liechtenauer is the best. The two do not get along well as a result though the rivalry is almost completely on the 'Artisan's' side.

    House Welf:

    The 'Boar', is Welf's servant and he acquired him when he was just a runt of a maul. He took care of him, educated him, trained him and now the Boar returns the favour by loyally serving the dwarf in all things.

    Unlike the Artisan the Boar's name is not unknown, it is just that no one bothers to remember it. He has served as a mercenary and a captain, some even say he could be a general and he certainly has a martial air about him. He is certainly no animal, he is well versed in the dwarven classics, in the sagas and poetry of his adopted people and it is said that he is quite a skilled chef as well.

    He fights with a spear and shield using his impressive size, weight and reach to strike at smaller opponents from a distance. He is also more than proficient in a number of shorter ranged weapons and is capable of switching to something more useful should an opponent slip past his guard.

    Next to Argus he is the only surviving champion of a major house that is confident and capable leading large bodies of men. In fact he is arguably a better commander than the King's champion though he is less well liked by his men (most of them being dwarves of 'standing' they rankle a little under the command of a servant and a maul too boot).

    House Seinsheim:

    Seinsheim's champions are unusual in a number of regards. First, there are two of them, and while there are technically no laws against having two people share the role of champion it is frowned upon by the rest of the houses who view it as 'undwarven' and 'unsporting'. Seinsheim as always does not care what any of the other lords think and so both Galena and Treva are his champions.

    The second thing most dwarves object to is that they are both mages, Galena is an elementalist that specializes in metal spells while Treva is an adept that specializes in physical spells. The result is that they will often use their magic to win duels decisively. Again this is seen as 'undwarven' and 'unsporting' and again Seinsheim could not care less.

    The two mages are thought to be sisters and look to be twins from the way they act and are able to anticipate each other's actions. They are also thought to be refugees from the Empire but no one is sure about that. Very little is known about them in general (even their names are not necessarily their real names) in fact.

    They serve as bodyguards and 'magic detectors' for the dwarf lord. Why he would need such protection the dwarf lord has not seen fit to say.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
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  23. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,060
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    No, what I meant is 'actively not want to break it'. To provide them with incentive to treat it carefully.

    Or at least have some sort of insurance for that kind of stuff.
     
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  24. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    Well the King will pay for it if it breaks or disappears but I don't know how you can make them be more careful with it. Threats of death are not even terribly useful against them I and afraid.

    Sure I will keep that in mind if he warms up to you.
     
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  25. Absinthe Prophet

    Absinthe
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Messages:
    3,197
    By the way, what's the cost of doing 2E anyhow? I know we have to spend an afternoon there, but what else would we be doing?
     
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