Jubilation fills the evening air in the normally staid town of Trunau, for it is the twelfth birthday of the Chief Defender’s youngest daughter, Ruby, and the townsfolk have been preparing all day for the ceremony and festivities to follow. A throng of spectators has amassed at the town Commons; the buzz of the crowd subsides as the weathered town leader, Halgra of the Blackened Blades, takes the stage and begins to speak.
“Thank you all for joining us this night. I take immense pride in my responsibility as Chief Defender, especially when it comes to the honor of the hopeknife ceremony. It is always a great privilege to bequeath Trunauan youths their hopeknives as they come of age.” Halgra stops speaking long enough to open an ornamental case and retrieve a slender, ornately decorated dagger hanging from a silver chain. “But tonight is a special occasion, for the recipient of this hopeknife is none other than my youngest daughter.” Once again, Halgra pauses, but this time she turns to talk to the child beside her.
“Ruby, by the traditions of our town, you have come of age. This hopeknife represents your responsibilities as an adult and defender of Trunau. You must be willing to use it on yourself, your fellow Trunauans, and your family—even me, should it come to that. It will be a far quicker death than that which the orcs will offer, and providing it is your duty. Do you swear to guard Trunau from all comers, and to use your hopeknife only for its intended purpose?” Ruby—dusky skinned, black haired, and painfully shy—nods her head in response to her mother’s question. “If the orcs come, and there is no other option, this is where you cut—here, here, and here.” Halgra demonstrates which arteries to sever while Ruby watches. When she is finished, Halgra sheathes the hopeknife and places the necklace around Ruby’s neck before turning back to address the crowd.
“Tonight, Ruby becomes a full member of our community! Let us welcome her, and celebrate her passage into adulthood! Trunau forever!” The crowd echoes Halgra’s last words in unison, signaling the end of the ceremony.
Once Halgra finishes her speech, the townsfolk waste no time transitioning to the ceremony’s more lighthearted festivities. Two men, whom you recognize to be Kurst and Rodrik Grath, prominent members of the town militia and the two eldest sons of Patrol Leader Jagrin Grath, start boasting of their strength and ask Ruby to point to her champions, who will face off with the men in a tug-of-war.
As Ruby starts selecting people, you realize she just pointed at you.
Anabella stands in the crowd with a sense of pride as her younger sister receives the hopeknife. Memories flash across her mind of her own ceremony, in which Halgra had presented her with her own hopeknife. Her hand gently touches the spot on her shirt where the knife lies underneath, a constant presence.
Ananbella rushes to her sister's side as the ceremony ends, giving her a large hug. "You'll be slaying orcs in no time," Anabella says with a laugh.
As the two men come up, Anabella laughs at their usual antics. She steps up to them as Ruby selects her right off the bat. "I'll tounce you two just like last year," Anabella boasts, flexing her arm mockingly.
Having come out for the celebration Somer is glad for the distraction, little of note has happened of late and as always he does not feel as connected to the town as he would like.
Halgrad is a fine speaker and clearly proud of Ruby. Personally, I am glad to not be burdened with a hopeknife... Oh bloody hell, is Ruby pointing at me?
Ahh young one, I am honored, at your service, and clearly a.. poor choice.
Somer bows genuinely.
I feel I am no match for those fine humans but I will do my best.
Well this will prove embarrassing I am sure.
Derrik is looking around as he enters into the festival, listening to the speech given and how tough and hard these people really are to live in a land so unforgiving.
Derrik moves though the crowd, his heavy pack still on his back and his feet tired from the walk into town. He is looking for the contacts that his father told him around, as he looks through the crowd he sees a little girl pointing at him.
"Is she pointing at me? She must be pointing at someone she knows." Derrik looks around but he is in a clearing with no one else around.
"What can I do for you little miss? I am looking for Kurst."
Derrik Strides over to the girl.
Balmir's eye threaten to tear up when Halgra passes the hopeknife over Ruby's head and onto her neck. He fondly remembers how she was one of the most delightful of the children to work with. She would take to the Dwarven dances more quickly than any of the others. Then we she points him out in the crowd Balmir's heartbeat increases -- with pride, not with fear. "Aye youngun'" he shouts over the crowd. "You can be sure, be sure, that I'll be on your team."
He pushes through the cheerful crowd and makes his way to the stage. Once there he grabs Ruby in a hug. "So proud and happy for you! I hope, though, that you aren't too old now for some dancing." Balmir performs a couple shuffle steps that Ruby would recognize from the recent choreography that he's been working on.
"But we have more serious work here, I see, I see. Ok. So these are the two we are tugging a war with?" Balmir eyes Kurst and Rodrick up and down. "You two losers, huh?" he says with a smile and a wink.
He next turns to the other two already on the stage. "Lady Annabella" He bows deeply. Then to the elf, "Hah. So I guess we have to have some weakling on the team, or it would be unfair." Again, he says this with a wink and a smile.
"I'm here! I'm here!" shouts out a white-haired gnome. He jumps up and down so that he can be noticed over taller people near him, which is essentially everyone in the room. Despite his obviously small size and stature, he seems quite pleased with the prospect of helping Ruby in the celebration, as he squeezes his way between people toward the contest area.
Kurst and Rodrik explain the rules, which is simply a tug of war match. The crowd gathers to cheer, and a few bets are placed as you take your positions.
The rules are such: Each round, each team makes an initiative roll - 1 roll, using your best value for anyone on your team. Then you will add up all of the strength bonuses for your team, and make a compared Str check. Whoever won initiative that round will get a +2 bonus. The winning team will move the rope 5' in their direction.
"Are you ready?" Kurst shouts.
"Ready to dance, Balmir?" Ana asks the dwarf as she moves forward. Laughing at Kurst's usual antics, Ana eagerly joins in. Taking the lead spot, she grabs up the hefty rope and shouts, "Ready!"
Init: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Ana has a Str bonus of 2.
Joining the others on the rope.
To Rudy It has been a while since I tried to be a champion. I will do my best.
Init: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7 Clearly I should have been paying more attention
+1 Str bonus
|Grod the Cunning|
At first, Grod hadn't realized Ruby was pointing at him. Surely she wouldn't pick an outsider half-orc to play a part in her day he thought. But no, she had definitely pointed at him. So, dutifully, Grod steps up, managing to grab the rope just behind Anabella, Ruby's beautiful older sister, thinking I even get he spot beside Anabella? Truly the Lord in Iron smiles on me today. "Allow me to be of assistance, my lady." Grod says as he steps in behind her.
Initiaive: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20
Grod has a +5 STR bonus.
Derrik walks over and picks up the rope, he then dries his hands on his pants before putting the rope back into his hand.
initiative: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Derrik has a +1 str bonus
Mouser sits quietly at a table near the front as he enjoys the ceremony.
He had always liked Ruby and human children for that matter. They seemed to treat him as a peer, rather than a servant or inferior being.
The halfling smirks and jumps up to participate in the tug-of-war.
"I'll help! I may not be as big as these tree-top gazers, but remember that it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog!"
initiative: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
+0 Str bonus
Rudy’s Champions put their backs into the rope.
Str Chk #1: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (1) + 13 = 14
It apperas they need to work together more.
That’s the spirit.
Init: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20
Str Check: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (1) + 13 = 14
Oh, these rolls.
Work together everyone.
Init: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
Str Check: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (5) + 13 = 18
Somer is beginning to look desperate.
Init: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
Str Chk: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (11) + 13 = 24
Init: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Str Chk: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (6) + 13 = 19
You have got to be kidding me. This is when I would be grabbing different dice.
"No, no, no, no," Ana pouts, yanking on the rope. "I refuse to give up my undefeated position at tug-of-war!" Frustrated, Ana's tail begins waving back and forth, accidentally whacking against Grod as it does the whole time.
Dig deap here people. Dig deep.
Init: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
Str Chk: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (20) + 13 = 33
Well hot damn!
Init: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Str: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
In a grand show of force, you pull the rope back 10 feet - all the way back to the starting position!
The crowd goes wild and starts chanting "Ruby! Ruby! Ruby!"
The brothers on the other side feign disappointment and shock at the crowd turning toward them, but you can also see a measure of respect for you in their resolve.
“That’s the way folks. That’s the way.
Init: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
Str Chk: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (16) + 13 = 29
Init: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13
Str: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
In a new found hope, Ruby pulls will all her might, and the rest of you take the initiative to heave together. Once you start pulling, it is not long before your momentum cannot be stopped! The other team stumbles and gets pulled across the line.
"Hooray! Three cheers for Team Ruby!"
There is much cheering and laughter, and the settling of bets. Roderick and Kurst thank their team on a good effort and come over to congratulate your team.
"Well done, friends!" Roderick exclaims. "Ruby, you will make a fine leader some day, I think."
"Come friends, have a drink. And really, you all should consider joining the militia. We could use strong, able-bodied folks like you."
Have fun, feel free to ask questions, start conversations, hear the local gossip. Roll once, and open all of the spoilers for the DC # lower than your roll.
Balmir pulls with all his might in the final surge. "Victory! Victory!" he cries with his arms in the air. [b]"We win." He runs over to Ruby and gives her a bear hug. "Told you we would win."
Balmir mixes with the rest of the group soaking in the congratulatory remarks. He finds himself caught up in the excitement and follows the crowd, not really paying attention to anything.
Knowledge(local), untrained: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Untrained, max DC 10. Hah. But I didn't even hit the easiest DC.
K. Local: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
Derrik approaches Rodrick, "Excuse me Sir, might I have a word about joining the Militia? I have come here from Last Wall, I have been very curious about how your town survives in such hostile lands. I know that this is not the time and place for this Conversation but maybe tomorrow I can meet with you and discuss this?"
Derrik will grab a drink while he is talking.
Somar stretches from the unfamiliar activity. I have really let myself go. I may want to do something about that.
Gathering up his rapier, which he had taken off for the tug-o-war, and refastening he seeks out young Ruby.
“Young lady, it has been an honor.” gesturing to her new Hope Knife I truly hope you never have need of that little knife. Your people live briefly so please be sure before you use, that is one place the overzealousness of youth could be a detriment. Remember you town, and even lazy old I, would be looking for you.”
When they are done speaking he straightens and looks about the crowd. Maybe it is time I shake this malaise and find a purpose. This celebration reminds me that life, even for an elf, is not eternal.
With that thought he heads over to Helga intent on offering his out of practice blade if need or crisis should arrive.
Know Local Untrained: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
His mind clerarly preoccupided Somer has little thought for what he knows of the town he lives in.
Tam claps excitedly for the motley group. "Well done! Well done!" he says with hearty cheer. "Ruby, you did a wonderful job of picking people who showed unexpected potential. Trunau thrives on that!"
"Yes! Yes! We did it Ruby!" Ana shouts happily, jumping up and down cheerfully. "Still undefeated," Ana proclaims at the two patrol leaders. They may have been her leaders, but they used to her 'antics' as they called it.
Hungry from all the exertion, Ana makes her way to the food and digs in, though keeping one ear pricked to hear if anyone takes up her leader's offer. New faces on the guard would be welcome.
"Yes," Roderick says to Derrick, "tomorrow should be just fine!"
Ruby invites you all to breakfast tomorrow at Ramblehouse to thank you for your efforts. Then she gets whisked away by other family and friends.
You spend a few hours enjoying the party, and as things wind down, you head home. Everyone has a place to stay, correct?
Anabella stays at the Ivory Hall with the majority of her family.
Anabella makes the most of the festivities, always enjoying a celebration. She does keep an eye on this Derrick fellow, though, wondering how he will do in the guard. He'll have to have his own Hopeknife ceremony as well, of course, Ana thought, which was just fine with her as it gave yet another excuse for Trunau to celebrate.
After a long night of partying, Ana retires to the Ivory Hall, where she still stays despite having joined the guard. Halgra had been more than open to letting her children stay, and Ana felt most comfortable with them.
Somer sits on the outskirts of the festivities and has a glass of wine or two, nowhere near what he normally drinks. He is sure to approach Roderick at some point and reiterate his willingness to pitch in but not join the militia.
At some point he also approaches the other members of the team who live in town and politely congratulates them.
Beyond that Somer stays reserved and retires relatively early to his house to get an unusual fresh start in the morning at the Rabmelhouse.
Somer prepares his spells over the night as his custom.
After sufficient dancing, feasting, and drinking Balmir retires to the barracks. Fortunately, he's not on duty this evening, otherwise it might be a long night. Balmir crashes onto his bunk and falls into a deep sleep almost instantly.