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DM Emissary's Ruby Phoenix Tournament (Inactive)

Game Master Misroi

PROVE YOURSELF!


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Every ten years in the tiny fishing village on Xielan Island, warriors and martial artists from across Tian Xia and the Inner Sea congregate for one express purpose: to compete against one another in the Ruby Phoenix Tournament. For those that step into the ring, there is no greater prestige than to be the victor of this glorious event, and those that win an invitation are often the greatest fighters of their art.

The tournament itself traces its roots to the sorceress Hao Jin, a devout Abadarite who had set her mind to collecting her own First Vault. Over her centuries-long lifetime, she had collected a vast treasure hold of items she deemed either perfect or wondrous, suitable for display in her Vault. In true Abadarite fashion, she made arrangements for the divestment of her estate, and left very explicit instructions: if more than ten years and a day were to pass without her entering the Grand Bank of Abadar in Goka, then a grand tournament would be held on the ten year anniversary of that day. The tournament would be overseen by the Abadarites, and the winner (be they an individual or a team) would be allowed to take one item from the Vault as a prize for their victory.

Over her lifetime, many aware of the will tried to end her life prematurely - and several were even successful. A sorceress of her power, however, is not easily set back, even by death. Each time an enemy killed her, she would emerge unscathed days later, her red hair a shade more vibrant than before her death. Her ability to shrug of death and her hair's resemblance to an animated flickering flame earned Hao Jin the nickname "The Ruby Phoenix," and some said that she was truly immortal. However, all men must die, and in 6891 IC, the recordkeepers at the Grand Bank noted that a decade and a day had passed since the Ruby Phoenix had entered the temple. She was assumed to have met her final end, and the first tournament was held ten years later.

In the years between the tournaments, the Abadarites in charge of the tournament organize smaller qualifying tournaments in many of the great population centers in both the Inner Sea and Tian Xia. The winners of these qualifying bouts are given vellum scrolls with impressive calligraphy upon them, inviting them to officially take part in the upcoming Ruby Phoenix Tournament in Goka. Ferries depart from Goka on a daily basis for Xielan Island, a small crescent shaped island in Goka's bay, and they are packed with eager contestants, excited spectators, and the fishermen who call the island home.

And this year, it contains four souls that had come to Goka with a purpose in addition to victory.

And that, of course, would be you. Introduction time! Since we're starting on a ferry on your way to a martial arts tournament, I can think of no better way to do this than through Enter the Dragon-style flashbacks. Go ahead and post your character's memories of their ulterior motive, and feel free to post your backstory afterwards - no need to keep them secret any longer.


Female Human (Vudrani) monk of the four winds 4 / paladin 8

Asha leans on the railing of the ferry, watching the waves of the harbor roll away as the boat pushes across the water. The sun glitters on the sea and the salt air tosses the dark curls of her hair, but the Vudrani woman has to fight to appreciate the beauty of it all. For Shelyn's sake, she thinks to herself, trying to regain her focus, there is more to this moment than your worries! Remember the Rose, and look! She takes several deep breaths, allowing the wind to fill her nostrils and calm her spirit; after a few moments, she looks again at the water, and a smile spreads across her face.

Even as she basks in the beauty of the ocean, though, Asha cannot forget what she's here. Turning to look back across the ferry's wake, she studies the sprawling metropolis of Goka. Can he really be there? Why, in the name of all the Ten Thousand, would he have come here?

A shout attracts her attention, and Asha turns to see two small children, a boy and a girl, running across the deck. Their frazzled-looking father chases after them; the boy clutches a set of hair ribbons that trail behind him like a rainbow, while the girl holds the side of her head and screams in what could be either rage or excitement. The moment takes Asha back, and for an instant, she is seeing another place and time entirely...

She is chasing Kaditula across the porch of their parents house and into the fields, shouting at him to give her back her doll. They duck and weave among the tall stalks of rice, splashing through the paddies and sending outbursts of anger and amusement up from the workers in their wake. She dashes around a thick stand of plants - and has to duck to avoid Kadi's flying kick. She rolls through the mud as he lands behind her, and in an instant the two are punching and kicking, each move met and countered like the twins they are. With a shout, Kadi manages to find an opening, and Asha goes flying into the mud again. When she wipes the mud from her eyes, she looks up - to see Kaditula standing over her, holding out the doll. "You can have her back..." he says, and she reaches out a hand, "...but you have to admit to Master Niklihesh that I beat you," he finishes, laughing. "Never!" she cries, leaping to her feet, and the chase is on again...

Asha shakes her head, clearing it of the memory. Things had been so good, then. But then Father, and the Nidalese woman... She brushes the hair from her face and looks down at the letter clutched in her hand. She does not read it - she does not have to. The words are burned into her heart. One of my trading partners spoke of a meeting with a smuggler in Goka, a smuggler who called himself Kaditula Ghadvhi. Given your history, I thought I would pass this information along, in memory of the long working relationship I held with your father... The merchant who had sent it to her had known nothing more, and her "trading partner" had not been seen in the city for months by the time she arrived. Now, she looks back toward the island ahead of the ferry. If I cannot find him here, she thinks firmly, then the Vault of the Ruby Phoenix will have something I can use to finally find out where he is... and why he disappeared.


HP 134/134; AC 25/14/24 Init+1, Perc+12; F+14,R+7,W+13

While on the ferry, Zarina's glance continually drifted to the vellum scroll indicating that she finally had secured a spot in the Ruby Phoenix tourney. It was almost beyond her belief that she had finally earned her way back here.

She had last been to the island almost precisely a decade ago. She was much different the last time...a mere shy child, pleased to be accompanying her father to watch him compete in the very tourney she was to be participating in now.

The result will be differ this time, father. I'll take back your honor and no one will cheat us this time... was the mantra she repeated to herself. A decade ago, her father had advanced to the semifinals of the tourney. In the final match, it was clear to Zarina's that the rules had been broken, resulting in his defeat. She tried to protest on her fther's behalf, but the organizers would not listen to the word of a young teen.

Since that day, Zarina's all encompassing thought has been to return, win the tourney and avenge her father's honor. This year was her opportunity and she would not fail.

The qualifying tournament had been brutal, but she advanced. Her combination of magic and natural weapons had led her to victory, and she hoped to do so again.


Male Human Ninja 6 / Conjurer 6; Init. +6; Perception +11; AC 27/19 (+4 Dex., +1 Dodge feat, +2 natural armour, +2 Cat's Grace, +4 armour, +4 deflection); hp 71/94; Fort +9, Ref +12, Will +10

Simon Greer has taken a seat on a piece of cargo. His head is leaning on his hands, which rest on his trusted cane. His eyes are closed and to most observers, he will probably look like nothing more than an old man wrapped in a long, black coat, napping while the sun warms his bones.

He is not asleep, however, merely... at rest.

"Will it be there, master?" a voice whispers in his ear as a little creature stirs in his coarse, white hair. "The prey you hunt?"

Simon smiles a bit and inclines his head. 'Perhaps,' is the meaning of that little gesture. 'And perhaps not.' The 'perhaps not' upsets Simon more than he cares to admit. He remembers...

"Always remember," Father said, his hand heavy and rough on young Simon's shoulder as they gazed down from the mountain.

Beneath them, the land lay under a perpetual shadow. It had been a long time since the shadow fell over the pleasant valley, but the foulness had not abated one inch. Where once there were crops, there were acres of slime. Where once grew trees, there now rose skeletal, fungal growths. Eight-legged abominations, giant worms and fluttering horrors stalked each other through the miasma that constantly rose from the corrupted earth. In the centre of it all, the village and the little castle looked like the rotting remains of some large beast, its ribs open to the sky.

"Always remember," Father said as he turned Simon around and pushed him away to stand with his brothers and sisters, "never forget." His cane flashed in the sunlight as he beckoned the next sibling. "This was ours, and must be again. We must not rest before it is cleansed." Standing next to his siblings, Simon felt the tears start to roll down his face.

A ferryman's cry startles Simon from his reverie.

'I must be getting old,' he thinks, ruefully. He opens his eyes and looks at his hands, lying on the same cane his Father used on that day, so long ago. Father's hands are but bones now, buried far from the ancestral home.

'And how much time is left before these hands of mine are but bones?' Simon muses, morbidly. 'If what I seek is not in the Vault... Then it will be time to return to the family and train the next heir.'

For a moment, Simon pats the pocket that holds his invitation to the Ruby Phoenix tournament and smiles. 'Talk about last chances,' he thinks. The smile turns bitter as he lowers his hand before it can touch the grapnel also hidden underneath his clothes.

'By hook or by crook, the land shall be cleansed,' he thinks, quoting the new, unofficial family motto. The words never fail to turn his stomach.

"Come enter my web, for I wish to weave naught but justice," the little voice whispers to him, comforting him.

'Let us hope we can keep it that way,' Simon tells the little voice. 'Let us hope.' He shifts his grip on the cane, feels the power of the metal and wood under his hands. They are still strong, Simon's hands, and not yet bones to be buried. His smile grows a little wider; fiercer, as he looks out at the ferry's destination.


Male Goblin Witch 12 HP 88/76, AC 21, touch 18, flat-footed 18, Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +12,

The small goblin sat disconsolately along the side of the boat -- a small, shaggy, dirty terrier clutched under its arm -- trying to keep away from any of the possible threats.

As the boat leaves port, he begins humming to himself -- "Poog do cīņu, Poog do nogalināt, Poog uzvara konkursā, jā, Poog būs" -- but is interrupted as the small dog suddenly starts barking furiously at him.

The goblins eyes widen and he stares for a moment at the dog, then barks back at it in his own language. "Jā, Poog darīt! Viņš uzvarētu konkursā un atrast veidu, kā sazināties ar rubīna Fēniksa. Viņa ir labāka par jums - jo jūs esmu briesmīgs velns ka esmu izskatās suns un ne velns, un padara ciltij nepatīk Poog - un padarīt Poog nāvīga uguns raganu. Tad cilts nav jokot un ne lūgt viņam noteikt lietas. Viņš dedzināt lietas vietā!"

The small dog seems unimpressed with the goblin's speech, merely laying its head on the ground, covering its snout with a paw.

Goblin:

Poog do fight, Poog do kill
Poog win contest, yes, Poog will

Goblin:

Yes, Poog do! He win contest and find way to contact ruby pheonix. She be better than you -- because you am horrible devil that am look like dog and not devil and make tribe not like Poog -- and make Poog deadly fire witch. Then tribe no make fun and no ask him fix things. He burn things instead!


Human Fighter 9 / Horizon Walker 3 | init +12, per +16 | AC 28/18/22 | HP 90/109 | Fort +12, Reflex +12, Will +8 (+2) | CMB +14, CMD 32

Finding a spot of shade, the well fed man leans back, tilting a corse straw hat over his eyes, inhaling deeply through his red nose, making the ends of his mustache twitch. His eyes are slits, nearly closed, but they take in the sights of the ferry and his companions upon it.

As the ferry lurches along, the memory of another sea voyage long ago drifts into his mind. The smiling face of his childhood friend flashes in his minds eye, Squiliiam's excitement at the sighting of the coast and Katapesh still bringing a snicker to the man's weathered face. But the moment of mirth quickly turns back into sorrow.

Zak pats the bow he cradles in his lap, the runes along it spelling out the promise of death, an oath to avenge those that have wronged the wielder. The image of Squilliam again crosses his mind, this time the young man's lifeless eyes staring blankly at the night sky while his blood pools and soaks into the sandy cobbles of the street, the black boots of the murderer striding away into the night.

This tournament will only be secondary to the true prize I seek. An oiled sack stays folded in my gear to carry his head home, Gods willing that will be my prize. The reward for the Ruby Phoenix would only be secondary to the prize of revenge.

At the yapping of the dog, Zak raises the straw hat slightly and glances over to see what the commotion may be.

What a strange fisherman that is, though I suppose goblins can fish as well as anyone.


As the ferry makes its way slowly around Xielan Island and into its bay, a young woman dressed much like many of the fishermen on board approaches you. She wears a conical straw hat tied with a red ribbon, and carries a large pack upon her back. As she approaches, she tilts back her hat, revealing that she is Avistani, not Tian. She has shoulder-length auburn hair that she has pulled back into a ponytail and wrapped tightly with a cloth band to keep it taut. Her features are sharp and Chelish, and she has a few scars on her face - one across the bridge of her nose, and another on the left side of her jaw.

She grins as she notes the five of you, conveniently located relatively close to one another, her blue eyes twinkling in the light. "Good morning, fellow gwei lo. The name's Risha. Are you here to watch the games? Or are you here to compete?" She rests casually against the rail of the ferry, a playful smirk alighting on her face.


Female Human (Vudrani) monk of the four winds 4 / paladin 8

Asha smiles at the girl. "Gwei lo, am I? I suppose I am, at that. I have an invitation to compete, Risha, though I imagine that watching should be enough excitement for anyone. Are you also competing?"

Asha will take a move action to assess whether the girl's soul is tainted.


Human Fighter 9 / Horizon Walker 3 | init +12, per +16 | AC 28/18/22 | HP 90/109 | Fort +12, Reflex +12, Will +8 (+2) | CMB +14, CMD 32

Tilting back the straw hat slightly, Zak looks the woman up and down, not in a lecherous way, but as a competitor sizing up the competition.

"Aye, mi'lady, I'm here to compete in this fine tournament. And yourself, a competitor as well?


Risha meets Asha's gaze and the smirk blossoms into a broad grin. "I am, at that. I'd heard about the Tournament, of course, but I never thought I'd be competing for the prize. I imagine you're a sight to be seen with that weapon of yours, miss. But then, you would be, if you've won the right to compete here, wouldn't you?"

As she speaks, she turns her attention to the rest of you as well. "And though the Tian are polite, you'll find that you'll have to work hard to be treated as anything other than gwei lo. Some of you more than others." She glances towards Poog as she says this. "Now your story has got to be entertaining. How'd you end up here, little one?"

Asha:

You cannot detect any darkness within her soul.


HP 134/134; AC 25/14/24 Init+1, Perc+12; F+14,R+7,W+13

"Oh, I am here to compete, m'lady," Zarina's answers respectfully in Tien. ...and win!

She too turns toward the goblin, wanting to make sure the little creature was not terrorizing that cute little dog.


Male Human Ninja 6 / Conjurer 6; Init. +6; Perception +11; AC 27/19 (+4 Dex., +1 Dodge feat, +2 natural armour, +2 Cat's Grace, +4 armour, +4 deflection); hp 71/94; Fort +9, Ref +12, Will +10

"I am here to try my humble skills," Simon says in flawless Tien, and he gravely bows his head to Risha, but does not rise from his spot in the sun. "Simon Greer, at your service."


Male Goblin Witch 12 HP 88/76, AC 21, touch 18, flat-footed 18, Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +12,

Poog, with the small dog clutched under one arm, looks at Risha like he doesn't quite understand what she's saying. I'm assuming she's speaking in Taldan, but this works fine if it's Tien as well.

Speaking slowly in Taldan, he says "Me ... am ... come ... in ... BOAT. You ... am ... leaning ... on ... BOAT ... me ... am ... come ... in. How else you think me come? You think me can fly?!" He rolls his eyes at that final comment.


HP 134/134; AC 25/14/24 Init+1, Perc+12; F+14,R+7,W+13

Zarina's looks around at the others in the conversation, hoping someone could translate what the strange goblin was saying to Tien.

Assuming the conversation is in Taldan. If not, ignore this post.


Risha notices the golden-skinned woman's confusion, and gives a slight bow in apology. "I meant no disrespect," she says in flawless Tien. "I just wasn't sure the Avistani spoke the native tongue. Can everyone speak it?"

She then snorts as she hears Poog's response. "But that's not how you got on the boat, shortstuff. I'm guessing you're here to compete as well, since I can't imagine anyone letting a goblin in as a spectator. Who'd you end up fighting in the prelims to secure a spot?" The last question is not so much directed at Poog as it is towards all five of you.


HP 134/134; AC 25/14/24 Init+1, Perc+12; F+14,R+7,W+13

"I made an alchemist fellow named Arkadiel submit. He apparently wasn't that big a fan of flames," Zarina says with a bit of a malicious smile when recounting the memory. As she tells the story, she unconsciously flexes her fingers/claws.


Human Fighter 9 / Horizon Walker 3 | init +12, per +16 | AC 28/18/22 | HP 90/109 | Fort +12, Reflex +12, Will +8 (+2) | CMB +14, CMD 32

In perfect Tien, "Yes, m'lady, I suspect we all speak the language, though I admit the goblin surprises me as a contestant." Turning to the goblin, "No disrespect little master, if you carry entry to the tournament then surely you've skill and cunning." Turning back to Risha, "As to the defeat of my foes to enter this tournament, an impressive barbarian cried for his mamma once I had pin cushioned him enough times." Zak grins widely and pats the bow cradled in his lap.


Male Goblin Witch 12 HP 88/76, AC 21, touch 18, flat-footed 18, Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +12,

"Poog no need to fight," the goblin says with a shrug, still speaking in Taldan.

Then he smiles, showing sharp teeth.

"They no want fight vicious goblins, because goblins bite and goblins stab, and if they cross us, goblins kill them bad! They all give up in face of Poog tribe and Poog get picked to fight."

Viņi tiešām grib Poog atklāt noslēpumus par to, kā viņš dabūja šeit? Man neesmu pārliecināts, kāpēc viņi pateikt tik daudz un atdot priekšrocību, bet man esmu pārliecināts man tos var lietot, lai uzvarētu un saņemtu jaunu, labāku burvju.

Goblin thoughts:

They really want Poog to reveal secrets of how he got here? Me am not sure why they tell so much and give up advantage, but me am sure me can use them to win and get new, better magic.


Female Human (Vudrani) monk of the four winds 4 / paladin 8

Asha laughs in delight. "So, is this the part of the tale where the heroes recount their mighty victories? Fair enough. I battled three brothers from a monastery in Shaktiparvana, and managed to defeat all three at once, without having to kill any of them." With a small shrug, she adds, "The Shaktiparvana monastery is filled with jerks, and they're also rivals of my own school. I might have cut away their belts during the fight. Let's just say my weapon was the largest," and she spins her glaive for emphasis, "and leave it at that."


Male Human Ninja 6 / Conjurer 6; Init. +6; Perception +11; AC 27/19 (+4 Dex., +1 Dodge feat, +2 natural armour, +2 Cat's Grace, +4 armour, +4 deflection); hp 71/94; Fort +9, Ref +12, Will +10

Simon smiles politely. "I faced an opponent in a local tournament who, it must be said, was very impressive in the muscles department. Alas and alack, his best skill involving his head concerned butting it against his opponent's forehead."


Male Goblin Witch 12 HP 88/76, AC 21, touch 18, flat-footed 18, Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +12,

"You am no like to kill?" Poog asks, confusion evident on his face. "Am this content for no killing?"

Kāpēc viņa padara vīrieti metaforu, kad viņa neesmu cilvēks, vai es viņa? The goblin looks more closely at Asha.

Goblin thoughts:

"Why she make man metaphor when she am no man. Or am she?"


Male Human Ninja 6 / Conjurer 6; Init. +6; Perception +11; AC 27/19 (+4 Dex., +1 Dodge feat, +2 natural armour, +2 Cat's Grace, +4 armour, +4 deflection); hp 71/94; Fort +9, Ref +12, Will +10

"This is a contest for victory, sir Goblin," Simon says, and he leans his head on his hands. "Kill if killing can not be avoided, certainly. But if you can achieve victory without killing, you still know you have won -- and so does the one you defeated, and everyone else. The cheers from the audience will be that much louder for it."


Female Human (Vudrani) monk of the four winds 4 / paladin 8

"These are games, little one," Asha adds. "If we were to battle each other, and I prove the stronger - would you want to die simply because you entered a tournament? And should I wish to kill you for such an act?"


Male Goblin Witch 12 HP 88/76, AC 21, touch 18, flat-footed 18, Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +12,

The goblin shrugs. "Life am hard." he says in Taldan. "Goblin games am always involving death. And fire!" His eyes light up as he adds this last comment.

"But if you no kill Poog, Poog no kill you."

Ups. Kas izskaidro, kāpēc elfi bija tik sajukums. Poog pieņemsim Poog varētu parādā ģimenes atvainošanos. Un varbūt jauks augļu grozu.

Goblin thoughts:

Oops. That explain why elves were so upset. Poog suppose Poog might owe family apology. And maybe nice fruit basket.


HP 134/134; AC 25/14/24 Init+1, Perc+12; F+14,R+7,W+13

Giving up on understanding the goblin for the time being, Zarina turns to Risha. "How about you, Risha? How did you advance to this level? Why don't you regale us with your story, since I can't really follow the little one with the dog over there."


Risha listens to your stories - nodding respectfully to some and laughing at the more comic tales. Her eyebrows raise slightly as Zarina asks about her own experience. "Oh, it's a rather boring tale. I fought some elven guy who boasted about his 'puissance in both steel and sorcery'." She stops just short of flexing both index and middle fingers to indicate a direct quotation, but you can hear the implication in her voice. "Didn't do him a lot of good in the end."

Sense Motive checks, everyone!

Sense Motive DC 21:

Risha doesn't seem to be lying about the bout - however, you get a feeling there is more to the story than she is telling.


Human Fighter 9 / Horizon Walker 3 | init +12, per +16 | AC 28/18/22 | HP 90/109 | Fort +12, Reflex +12, Will +8 (+2) | CMB +14, CMD 32

Under the brim of his straw hat, Zak squints his eyes as he listens to Risha's tale...

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14

...everything seems legitimate to him.


Female Human (Vudrani) monk of the four winds 4 / paladin 8

Sense Motive 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11


HP 134/134; AC 25/14/24 Init+1, Perc+12; F+14,R+7,W+13

Zarina smiles at hearing the story. "The tournament is going to be amazing this year, I can tell. I can't wait to have my first contest."

As she talks, the barbarian keeps one eye on the goblin, making sure that nothing untowards happened between it and the cute little dog it was lugging around.

i can't get the 21 on a roll, so I'm not going to worry with it.


Male Human Ninja 6 / Conjurer 6; Init. +6; Perception +11; AC 27/19 (+4 Dex., +1 Dodge feat, +2 natural armour, +2 Cat's Grace, +4 armour, +4 deflection); hp 71/94; Fort +9, Ref +12, Will +10

Sense Motive check: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (19) + 11 = 30.

Simon smiles a little at Risha, and says nothing. Behind the smile, his thoughts are running through familiar tracks.

"What might you be hiding, my dear?"


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Male Goblin Witch 12 HP 88/76, AC 21, touch 18, flat-footed 18, Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +12,

Also can't make the roll. Hate when I forget to put ranks in a skill!

Elfi esmu dīvaina. Kāpēc lielīties par varenība in vidū cīņā? Un ar tērauda un burvība? Ja vien tas esmu pievilkt sievieti un gribēja izmantot varenība ar viņu. Pieņemsim viņa esmu labs lookingfor cilvēku, pat ja viņai esmu nav apdegumus. Bet joprojām domāju, ka elfi esmu dīvaina. Garšīgi, lai gan.

Goblin thoughts:

Elves am strange. Why boast about puissance in middle of fight? And with steel and sorcery? Unless it am attracted to woman and wanted to use puissance with her. Suppose she am good lookingfor human, even if she am have no burns. But still think elves am strange. Delicious, though.

"So there am place to sleep or we am need find cave for night?"

Poog ceru, ka esmu ēģiptiešu lapas.

Goblin thoughts:

Poog hope there am Osiriani sheets.


Xielan Island is a scant hour away by boat from Goka, and your trip around the island is pleasant. The island is vaguely crescent-shaped, with a narrow entry into a very large bay. The northern half is home to the only settlement on the island, New Harbor. Beyond that lies light scrub leading to the Shadewood, a dense evergreen forest. This outgrowth of trees abuts the island's most significant geographic feature: Yun Chumo, a large mountain that dominates the middle section of the island. The remainder of the island are grasslands, with the Grand Pavilion lying less than a thousand feet from the southwestern foot of the mountain itself.

As your ferry pulls into New Harbor's piers, you can hear excited shouts coming from the shore - spectators cheer as they get their first glimpse of this Tournament's competitors. Risha bows to each of you, speaking again in Tian. "Well, looks like we're just about here. Guess we'll meet again in the arena, won't we?" She gives a wink before moving on to a different part of the boat.

The ferry docks, and the townsfolk toss cherry blossoms as you walk down the gangplank. A man with a heavily lined face has set up a stand a few steps from the gangplank, and he offers all the newcomers ceramic cups filled with a warm and pungent liquor. New Harbor's streets are lined with its townsfolk, and an informal procession towards the center of town quickly develops. The noise grows louder until you see its source: a two story noodle house with an open-air courtyard with long, shaded tables. A roofed balcony surrounds the courtyard, giving wealthier patrons and the tournament elite a place to gather. The smells of fried noodles, fish sauce, ginger and garlic all mingle in the air.

The townsfolk lead you up to the second story, where they find you places to sit. A large bowl of soup is placed in front of you, with large chunks of fish, noodles and vegetables floating in the salty broth. All around you, commoners and contestants alike mingle, drinking, singing, and demonstrating their prowess. Some of the long tables in the middle of the courtyard have been cleared for an impromptu arm-wrestling competition; elsewhere, space has been cleared for artists to demonstrate their kata; elsewhere still, a few show their iron body by allowing people to break boards against their chests, arms or legs.


Male Goblin Witch 12 HP 88/76, AC 21, touch 18, flat-footed 18, Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +12,

Poog sniffs at the wine and then offers it to the little terrier, who turns up his nose at it.

"Nē, tas esmu par jums, tas. Nē, Poog esmu pārliecināts, ka tā Tian vīns nav esmu ar vīnogām. Tas neesmu gatavojas nogalināt jums. Tā esmu izgatavots no rīsiem." The goblin berates the dog as it refuses to drink, eventually resulting in most of the warm alcohol being spilled on the ground.

Goblin:

No, it am for you, It. No, Poog am sure it tian wine no am having grapes. It am NOT going to kill you. It am made of RICE!

At the table, Poog starts picking out the chunks of fish, noodles and vegetables out of the broth and eats them before putting the bowl on the ground for the dog to drink from.

He starts looking around, watching the other contestants, while doing his best not to stick out any more than his heritage causes him to.

Viņi esmu viss traks. Kāpēc viņi parādīs ikvienam citam to, ko viņi var darīt? Un kāpēc esmu vēlas saņemt hit pirms konkursa? Zilumi padarīt uzvarētāju grūtāk. Viņi domā, ka viņi skandāla citi vērā nekonkurē. "Nekā, viņš varu būt hit ar kuģa un būtu OK. Tagad Poog zināt, lai sasniegtu tos ar asu metāla vietā, kad mēs cīnāmies.

Goblin thoughts:

They am all crazy. Why they show everyone else what they can do? And why am wanting to get hit before contest? Bruises make winning harder. They think they scare others into not competing. 'Oooh, he am able to be hit with board and be OK. Now Poog know to hit them with sharp metal instead, when we fight.


HP 134/134; AC 25/14/24 Init+1, Perc+12; F+14,R+7,W+13

Zarina accepts the food and drink, but hopes that she is able to avoid attention when she does not actually eat or drink any of it. After last time. I don't trust anything about this tournament. My stale rations and water will do me until I learn who I can trust around here


Male Human Expert 5 / Wizard 3

"Do please excuse me," Simon says in Tian, addressing one of the servers, "but my stomach is not strong enough for such fare, wonderful as it smells, and I need to keep up what strength I have for the tournament. Might I bother you for some tea, toast, fish boiled in plain water and a small salad?" He smiles apologetically and contrives to give the impression of an old man, tired from travelling.

Bluff to act more frail than Simon actually is: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26.


Female Human (Vudrani) monk of the four winds 4 / paladin 8

Asha smiles warmly at the crowd, waving and beaming around. She is clearly enjoying herself. When she is offered the liquor, she accepts it graciously, enjoying the warmth and taste with obvious gusto. Likewise, the meal at the noodle shop seems to catch her appetite, and she takes up the chopsticks and dives into her fish and broth with obvious enjoyment.

Once the meal is done, Asha stands up, reaching into her pack to produce a set of broad anklets made of bright fabric, into which several dozen tiny bells have been sewn, and she leaps into the crowd to begin dancing with them, the anklets adding to the cacophony with every step, leap and twirl.

GM:
She's left her pack and her glaive at the table, but she does keep an eye on them while she's dancing.


Human Fighter 9 / Horizon Walker 3 | init +12, per +16 | AC 28/18/22 | HP 90/109 | Fort +12, Reflex +12, Will +8 (+2) | CMB +14, CMD 32

Zak accepts the food and drink, offering thanks for the fare, but he's careful to wait for the others to eat and drink before he samples his own offering. Watching the spectacle unfolding before him, Zak wonders how some of them earned their pass to the tournament.

Good Gods, is this how these people prepare for a tournament?

Seeing the goblin's eyes googling at the antics of the other contestants, Zak hides a smirk behind his napkin.

The little green one gets it, crafty he is, I'll have to keep an eye on that one.


Poog's table manners draw a few raised eyebrows, but nobody challenges him on them - in fact, his calm demeanor (for a goblin, at least) seems to impress those who approach him. Most of them at least - until he hears someone speaking in his tribe's language, his voice full basso profundo. "Hrmph! So, one of the vermin has escaped the mudpit and thinks it can be the equal of Gomwai? Or has its master simply lost track of it?" The voice belongs to a large, bare-chested hobgoblin, and every inch of his exposed skin is covered in scars and tattoos. His head is shaved, and he wears a few simple metal pendants around his neck. He glares at Poog with obvious contempt.

After fifteen minutes or so, a servant comes by Zarina's table, and he removes the untouched bowl of soup. "My apologies, lady. We will not tempt you from your fasting - may you prevail in your competitions tomorrow." The servant bows and unobtrusively leaves. As she sits in silent contemplation, her eye catches one of the more unusual people on the second floor - a woman dressed in simple green robes with a matching cloak. Her eyes are slitted and red, while her scaly skin is a brilliant bronze. She is clearly nagaji, though growths around her flat ears suggest a shared ancestry with Zarina - it is the mark of draconic heritage.

The servant Simon flagged down nods her head emphatically to almost all of Simon's requests. "Of course, sir, right away. Such a simple meal will be a mere two silver." Less than ten minutes later, the servant returns with a cast iron pot with hot green tea, boiled fish, seaweed salad, and a bowl of plain white sticky rice. A pair of black wooden chopsticks are placed in front of Simon as well. "My apologies, sir, we have no bread to make toast - I hope the rice will be pleasing to your palate." The food is rather bland, but that's to be expected from what he ordered. As he sups, he notes a tall woman with golden skin dressed in fine silk robes standing at the railing near to him. She gazes down at the congregated people below her, her black teeth gleaming in an imposing sneer.

Asha finds the sake and soup equally warming, and loses herself in the swirling dance. A few people attempt to keep up with her, but few can match her in her steps - cheers and laughter surround her as she flows to the musicians' lively songs. Over this, she hears an unusual but welcome sound - the ululating cry of a zaghareet. She turns to see another Vudrani woman watching her, clapping along with the song and smiling broadly. The woman is quite comely, dressed in dark purples and her dusky skin is covered with the flowing tattoos popular amongst their people. She is not dancing, but she has the same lithe form as Asha, and wears quite a lot of jewelry.

Zakarras notes that most of the other contestants tuck into their soup and drink immediately, and several order refills for half a gold more. He notes another person doing something very similar to himself - a Tian-Min woman dressed entirely in a white kimono. She has two slightly curved blades tucked into her belt, and her long black hair is intricately woven into braids. She bears several scars on her arms and face, belying her skill at arms. Her face is still and unreadable, but she too glances down at the spectacle beneath her.


HP 134/134; AC 25/14/24 Init+1, Perc+12; F+14,R+7,W+13

Zarina nods at the server who removes the bowl of untouched food. Seeing the telltale draconic markings on the nagaji, Zarina stares with a wry smile on her face. Another who will combine might and magic, I see. Perhaps we will see who is more blessed by her ancestry ...

She pulls out a piece of her hardtack and chews, contemplating the next morning's battle.


Female Human (Vudrani) monk of the four winds 4 / paladin 8
DM Emissary wrote:
Asha finds the sake and soup equally warming, and loses herself in the swirling dance. A few people attempt to keep up with her, but few can match her in her steps - cheers and laughter surround her as she flows to the musicians' lively songs. Over this, she hears an unusual but welcome sound - the ululating cry of a zaghareet. She turns to see another Vudrani woman watching her, clapping along with the song and smiling broadly. The woman is quite comely, dressed in dark purples and her dusky skin is covered with the flowing tattoos popular amongst their people. She is not dancing, but she has the same lithe form as Asha, and wears quite a lot of jewelry.

Yeah - and weirdly, they look absolutely identical to one another... heehee! (It's not my fault there's only one Vudrani woman in the avatar options, is it?)

Asha smiles at the watcher, shifting her dance to one of the many Vudrani styles that focus on a single audience member - while most of these are designed for wooing, Asha's performance is friendly and playful, not romantic. Whether the other woman responds or not, Asha does not linger on her for too long; she soon spins away again, caught up in the music and enjoying the motion for the sheer sake of its joyous beauty.

Asha's likely to keep this up until the musicians drop from exhaustion...


Male Human Ninja 6 / Conjurer 6; Init. +6; Perception +11; AC 27/19 (+4 Dex., +1 Dodge feat, +2 natural armour, +2 Cat's Grace, +4 armour, +4 deflection); hp 71/94; Fort +9, Ref +12, Will +10

"Madam," Simon says, speaking Tian, and he inclines his head to the lady with the black teeth. "If you find some fault with the display below, might I perhaps invite you to share a cup of tea instead of distressing yourself by continuing to watch?" He smiles, indicating that at least part of what he is saying is a jest, but he does indicate the pot of tea he was just given.


Male Goblin Witch 12 HP 88/76, AC 21, touch 18, flat-footed 18, Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +12,

Poog looks at the hobgoblin with seeming confusion, if not understanding it.

He finally speaks after a few loaded seconds, his voice as rich with derision as it's possible for a goblin to be.

"Vienāds Gomwai? Poog nedomāju, ka esmu iespējams. Poog būtu jābūt daudz sliktāks cīnītājs, lai kādreiz iegūt tik daudz rētas kā ... Gomwai. Vai jums esmu ir negadījums ar zobenu vai vienkārši ļaut citiem sagriezti jums, ka daudz?"

Goblin:

Equal Gomwai? Poog don't think that am possible. Poog would have to be much worse fighter to ever get as many scars as ... Gomwai. Did you am have accident with sword or simply let others cut you that much?

He smiles broadly, showing sharp teeth at the apparent rival.


As Zarina snacks on her simple meal, the dragonblooded nagaji woman also notes her - she gives a simple nod of the head in acknowledgement, but makes no other attempt in conversation. She stares for a few moments, and Zarina cannot tell in those few moments whether she is sizing her up as competition, or something else entirely. After all, her slitted eyes are already narrow!

The Vudrani woman recognizes the dance style, and her smile becomes softer and appreciative. As she spins away back into the crowd, Asha hears the cry of the woman's zaghareet again, but she has disappeared into the crowd by the time she looks over in her direction again.

The woman Simon addressed turns slowly away from the railing to regard him with cold, large eyes. She is silent for a long time, but she eventually speaks with a deep yet honeyed voice. "You will excuse me, contestant, if I do not partake. I have no interest in getting to know the fighters that will soon be either defeated or dead. Your prowess will be tested in the arena proper, but, should you seek out the exhibition matches, then Kiang Zhen will test your courage." She glances at the cast iron pot before Simon again. "Enjoy your tea, mortal." She moves on away from him, and the way parts in front of her as patrons and peasants alike give her a wide berth.

Gomwai's gaze remains even as Poog taunts him, but he leans in closer to the goblin. He speaks in their tongue again, quieter so only the two can hear. His gaze is unflinching as he gets down on the goblin's level.

Goblin:

"Laugh all you want, rat. Each of these scars were made by fighters worth ten of you. And all of them received far, far worse at Gomwai's hands. But, Gomwai is a generous warrior. Leave the island now, and Gomwai will spare you the shame of defeat in the ring. Fight against Gomwai...and Gomwai will show you your still-beating heart as he tears it from your body."


Human Fighter 9 / Horizon Walker 3 | init +12, per +16 | AC 28/18/22 | HP 90/109 | Fort +12, Reflex +12, Will +8 (+2) | CMB +14, CMD 32

Zak keeps to himself, only interacting with those about him as needed. He takes note of the woman dressed in white and her cautious approach, another crafty competitor certainly. He tenses when the hobgoblin leans in to threaten the goblin, ready to spring into action if violence erupts during the meal hour.


HP 134/134; AC 25/14/24 Init+1, Perc+12; F+14,R+7,W+13

Zarina watches the drama unfold, until the hobgoblin begins physically threatening the goblin. "You best go sit down, big fella. Now is not the time for threats. Leave the little one alone, and we can settle things tomorrow. In the honorable way," she adds, staring down the boisterous creature.


Male Goblin Witch 12 HP 88/76, AC 21, touch 18, flat-footed 18, Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +12,

The goblin crinkles his nose and speaks back just as quietly.

"Jums esmu daudz runā. Jūs esmu nobijies saskarties goblinu? Poog am Goblin, tāpēc nav esmu noraizējies par kaunu."

Goblin:

You am talk a lot. You am scared to face goblin? Poog am goblin, so no am worried about shame.

He seems surprised as Zarina interjects.

Kurš domāju to? Meitene nepilna elfs esmu uzlīmēšanu up goblinu. Esmu tas brauciens? Vai viņa neesmu zināt hobgoblins nav gods? Vai biedēklis pat saprast Tian?

Goblin thoughts:

Who am thinking it? Girl part-elf am sticking up for goblin. Am this ploy? Do she am not know hobgoblins have no honor? Do hobgoblin even understand Tian?


Human Fighter 9 / Horizon Walker 3 | init +12, per +16 | AC 28/18/22 | HP 90/109 | Fort +12, Reflex +12, Will +8 (+2) | CMB +14, CMD 32

perhaps her relatives did like the fruit basket after all!


Female Human (Vudrani) monk of the four winds 4 / paladin 8

Asha also takes note of the escalating confrontation, and as the current song ends, her whirl of movements has taken her to just behind Poog's other shoulder. She looks over the hobgoblin quickly, then just as quickly seems to dismiss him, looking down at the goblin. In Tien, she says, "Little one, is it true that goblins often dance with fire? There are several dances in my homeland that use burning staves, but I am always interested in learning more. Can you show me?"


Male Goblin Witch 12 HP 88/76, AC 21, touch 18, flat-footed 18, Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +12,

Poog am thinking so, Zakarras. You am may be right!

Poog's eyes light up, and he gives another toothy grin.

"哦,是的,我們是有火的很開心。我很高興向您展示," he replies, obviously able to speak Tian as well as he could speak Taldan, despite his earlier refusal to use the language.

Tian:

"Oh, yes, we am have much fun with fire. Me am happy to show you."

He leads her over to a private corner of the inn, where he begins lighting a cloth on fire, his wicked teeth bared in a grin as he drops the rag on the floor. The fire grows, reflected in his eyes, as he looks up to see Asha's reaction.

"看到了嗎?火,是舞蹈好"

Tian:

"See? The fire, it am dance good!"


Female Human (Vudrani) monk of the four winds 4 / paladin 8

Asha quickly stamps it out, her smile disappearing. "Stop that!" she scolds him. "This is someone's business, not your tribal home. You can't burn it down. Besides, I meant goblins who dance while holding fire, not the fire's own dance. Do you know what I mean?"

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