|Paizo Pathfinder® Paizo Games|
|About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ|
I've got most of the sheet complete for Sebastian Merrin. I wanted to get your thoughts on ability score distribution. I dropped Wisdom a bit and put some extra points in Strength and Constitution, but I did so with the intention of mechanically enforcing Sebastian's fatal flaw(s). Is this acceptable, or would you prefer more average scores across the board?
Sebastian Merrin is an impulsive, fiery youth who could do with more good sense and less good swordsmanship. The son of a blacksmith, he has a nearly single-minded focus on swords and swordplay, which he studies at Orisini’s fencing academy. He has idolized the local vigilante Blackjack since his youth, and what little free time he has between fencing and helping his father he spends tracking down wrong-doers and avenging the good people of Korvosa.
He doesn’t realize it, but Sebastian tends to be a little too trusting, especially of people who appear weak or in need. Once he’s given his trust, he rarely reconsiders, and this tendency has gotten him into trouble on more than once occasion. Of late, one of his long-time friends has succumbed to shiver, and Sebastian has taken it upon himself to see Gaedren Lamm, the man responsible, pay for his crimes.
I recognize that this is a horror-themed game. I intend to play Sebastian as Wrong Genre-Savvy for drama, rather than comedy. In a nutshell, he thinks he's a character in a swashbuckler novel à la Dumas, Sabatini, or the like, but his recklessness and poor character judgment will carry more serious consequences than they would in that genre.
There may be some secular banks, but I would think that much of the banking industry is handled by the church of Abadar. If you go that option, then they should be in decent shape, as the church of Abadar spans the Inner Sea region and beyond. So each bank has the backing of an international organization, like if the Fed here in the US was multinational.
That's a very different scenario than the one you have envisioned, but it opens up a different line of plots. It's more likely that the nobles are the ones in debt to the bank rather than the other way around. The banks may be in a spot of trouble with a decadent and declining nobility as clientelle. The High Priest of Abadar in Taldor may be messing with inflation/deflation in a bid to recover; perhaps that's not working out so well and the bank isn't as stable as it otherwise would be, along with involving the church in a scandal.
If the player wants to take control of the banks, they may need to discredit the entire religion of Abadar throughout Taldor. If they could prompt a bank rush, it could crash the market, at least temporarily, like what happened with the Great Depression.
How are you coming on this? There's probably more world material than most people would think, but it's not even close to a fully developed campaign setting. Best places to look are the wikis, and there was a collector's book called the Book of Cain that had a lot of great stuff in it. You can probably find it on Amazon.
The manuals for all three games are transcribed on the site, and were one of the main sources of lore for the setting. The Sin War Trilogy novels add a lot of background, but aren't really necessary.
Alright, here's my submission for Gafar al-Jodin ibn-Aghazi aziri Mendassa, tiefling alchemist/monk/investigator. Crunch is finished except for equipment.
Name: Gafar al-Jodin ibn-Aghazi aziri Mendassa
Known ailases: Doctor Mendassa; the Healer of Azir; Commandant of the Pure Legion
Weight: 137 lbs
Date of Birth: 11th day of Remebrance Moon, 4682 AR
Wanted for crimes against the Kingdom of Man, including but not limited to: heresy, possession of contraband, defection from the Pure Legion, murder in the First and Fourth Degrees.
From the private journals of Commandant Gafar aziri Mendassa of the Pure Legion
Subject is a male human, medium build. Minor physical abrasions sustained in subdual. Weeping red sores on R hand, likely linked to subject's activities; fluid samples reek of divine taint. Chakra system intact and functional at outset. Subject is in perfect condition for experimental procedure 17.
Drug, alchemical intervention has no effect on sores.
Disabling hand chakras has no effect on sores. Perfunctory therapy on hand chakras reduces swelling, weeping of sores. Effect is temporary - one hour.
Physical injury to hand has no effect on sores.
Removal of hand causes sores to appear on arm, beginning approx. 3 inches above stump.
Further efforts to affect activity of sores prove ineffective.
Novel procedure enacted. Incision made on R leg, fluid from sores applied. No effect. Root chakra disabled, sores begin to form on leg. Root chakra activated, reduction in swelling, weeping. Again, effect is temporary - one hour. Root chakra again disabled. Sores swell, weep substantially more than at first.
Further efforts to cure sores prove ineffective.
Subject terminated - sores induced directly onto lungs.
For me, this case is bittersweet. Along with the previous cases, it is impossible to deny the interaction between the mortal chakras and divine energy. I have had the rare opportunity to observe the effects of the taint of evil divinity, much more likely to yield results pertinent to my own condition. However, my methods have proven less effective than I am accustomed. My one consolation from this failure was the sweet cacophony of the subject's final moments. From the look of pained confusion as I injected the last of the fluid sample to the final gurgling screams as the lungs blistered and filled with pus, the subject's experience was exquisite, nearly transcendental! He did not seem to enjoy it as much as I did. This does not bode well for him; eternal servitude at the hands of his infernal master is hardly likely to be more pleasant. Such are his just rewards for his irresponsibility. A soul is rightfully entrusted to no one; to do so is a betrayal of one’s own humanity.
Gafar sat upright in his chair as the ink dried on the page. The flickering light from his lamp gave the wet words a red tinge reminiscent of drying blood. He had finished the procedure earlier in the day, but he enjoyed recording his surgical notes and observations into his personal diary in the evening. The ritual enforced a degree of order into his schedule. Some time alone with his thoughts in the evenings settled him down and getting his thoughts on paper reduced time wasted tossing and turning in bed.
With a quick puff, Gafar blew out the lamp, stretching methodically as he stood. His stretches kept him limber; while his colleagues complained of aching backs and joints, Gafar would likely age painlessly in the decades to come. He had the monks' lessons to thank for that, only a small part of the wisdom he brought back from Jalmeray. Gafar did not envy those other men. Azir's finest doctors could do nothing for such pains, which they said were a natural part of the process of maturing. With age came wisdom and back pain; it was just the natural order of things. Even servants of the gods could not escape this fate! Gafar smiled to himself, grateful that his open mind had allowed him to benefit from the wisdom of Vudra, even as the rest of the world around him suffered from the inadequacies of modern medicine. In many ways it had turned out to be a very good thing that his former associates at the College of the Body had turned him out. He mulled this over in his mind as he stepped out onto the balcony outside his bedchamber. A breeze wafted in, warm air mingling with the fragrance of sandalwood from the garden below. The moon hung low overhead, a thick red crescent casting the world in unearthly light.
"A beautiful night. Wouldn't you agree, Commandant?" Starting violently, Gafar whipped his head around. There, on the roof just over his door, sat the source of the voice. A man, dressed in red and black leathers, looking down at Gafar with a threateningly friendly smile. The blood turned to ice in Gafar's veins. Though he had never met this unexpected visitor before, he knew the man in an instant - a Red Mantis Assassin. The man let one leg dangle down and the breeze fluttered back his cape. Red moonlight glinted off the hilt of the weapon at the man's hip, its message clear. "This meeting has been a long time coming," he said casually, ignoring Gafar's silence. "How many years has it been?"
"Seven," Gafar said, even as he fought the rest of himself for control. He had been caught by surprise, but already his body was responding, dumping chemicals into his bloodstream to make him faster, stronger - and stupider. He began a simple breathing exercise, struggling to counteract the effects of sudden terror. Gafar had practically built his career on tracking this man; this single ongoing investigation had been linked to dozens of other cases in the past and present. When he was still a junior inspector, Gafar found a connection in a number of seemingly-unrelated murders, including some unsolved cases going back decades. Each of the murders bore certain subtle similarities that indicated the use of an ancient technique known as the Gods' Touch. This mysterious technique had piqued Gafar’s professional interest nearly a decade ago, when he was still a young doctor at Azir's College of the Body. His pursuit of the Gods' Touch led him to the Isle of Jalmeray on the other side of Garund, and what he discovered there would cost him his position when he finally returned.
"And what fun it's been! Wouldn't you agree?" The man was chattier than Gafar would have predicted. That was good. If he could keep the man talking, he could buy himself some time to come up with a plan. He had been expecting an encounter with this man in the very near future, of course. For almost a year, he had been closing in on the assassin's base of operations and had been dangerously close for months. But receiving a visit at his own home was not would Gafar had had in mind. Suddenly, it became clear why he had been making such progress - the assassin had been letting him. He was being lured, hunted by the very man he was supposed to have been hunting. "You almost had me in Pashow, you know. Truly." For some reason, Gafar doubted that. The overarching theme of the case, the strand that connected each of the murders together, was the Sun Orchid Elixir. It was no secret that competition for the famous potion started well in advance of the yearly auction, nor was it surprising that foul play would occur in the process. The Sun Orchid Elixir had the power to bestow youth upon whomever imbibed it, magically reversing the aging process and reverting the body to its prime. This was a lasting change , not merely wearing off in a matter of minutes; effectively, it granted a second life. Six vials were sold every year in Thuvia, and the profits generated were enough to sustatin the entire country for a full year. The auction was held in a different city in Thuvia each year. Three years ago, it had been held in Pashow. Thanks to a break in the case, Gafar had a lead on potential victims and had gone to Thuvia in anticipation of the auction. The lead had been good; he successfully prevented the assassination, but failed to apprehend the mantis-masked killer. He chased the assassin through the city, but to no avail. Still, his superiors were quick to call this a success, promoting then-Inspector Mendassa to full-fledged Commandant. However, this victory was short-lived; just days later, the would-be target was found dead. On top of this, the shipment of elixir to Pashow had been the subject of a teleportation accident for the second time in a row, foiling the auction. Seeing his opening, Gafar asks, "I have been wondering, were you behind the missing elixir as well?"
Something shifted in the man's expression, and his eyes glinted playfully. With menacing mirth, he said, "Now Commandant, you know how we operate. No funny business, just corpses."
"I didn't ask if you stole it, merely if you were responsible. Accepted as payment, perhaps?"
"Say, there's an idea!" The assassin laughed heartily, as if they were old friends joking over drinks in a tavern instead of adversaries discussing high-profile crime. Then, without warning, the man jumped down from his place on the roof, landing with supernatural grace. Gafar quickly backpedaled, his fight-or-flight response flaring up again, but rather than attacking, the man merely chuckled. "Really, Commandant, you should learn to relax. I didn't come here to kill you." Taking a place near the railing, the man leaned over it, admiring the view. "Lovely garden, I must say. It could use more color though. Some blood orchids, perhaps?"
The reassurance did little to calm Gafar; the casual tone only served to unnerve him. That's exactly what he wants, Gafar realized. "Then to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?" Keep him busy, keep him talking. Gafar's eyes flicked around the area, appraising his situation. There were three obvious routes - over the garden fence, across the neighboring rooftops, or out the front door. The other man was faster, but Gafar knew the surrounding area; the rooftop was the least appealing option. And if he could make it through the house, there was one better option-
"The Mantis Moon," the man said, breaking Gafar’s train of though. He gestured with one hand to the floating red crescent. "Glorious, isn't it? The way it hangs low in the sky, like a sword hanging over the head of the world. Do you know what gives it that wonderful color, Commandant?"
Gafar responded mechanically, rattling off the answer from memory as the rest of his brainpower was occupied trying to get him out alive. "Alignment of the celestial bodies. The moon is passing through Golarion's shadow, light from the sun casting the red glow as other colors are filtered out by the planet's atmosphere." Modern alchemy had shown that light passing through different invisible gases, such as those making up the atmosphere, cast different colors. It was quite simple, really.
The man, bemused, ignored this. "It is a portent, a sign sent from He Who Walks In Blood. You see, Commandant, tonight a Mantis is born. That is why I have come."
Hearing this stopped Gafar in his tracks. Narrowing his eyes, he said slowly, "I am afraid I do not quite take your meaning. Would you care to explain?" If he could get inside, he could escape through the lab. It was hidden, offering a much better chance at escape.
Smiling ruefully, the man turned to face Gafar. Now up close, Gafar could see the man's irises were as red as the moon. Albinisim? Unlikely, the skin is too dark. Perhaps an illusion, or some fouling of the blood... "Come now, Commandant, it should be obvious. Why should I go to all this effort if I'm not going to kill you? I've enjoyed our game of cat-and-mouse, but you're far too troublesome to string along just for fun."
Again, the man's response instantly refocused Gafar. A sequence of emotions quickly crossed his face, from confusion through understanding, and finally disbelief. He scoffed, "Surely you don't mean me!"
The man laughed in delight, seeing the realization dawn. "But of course! And why not? Your qualifications are terribly impressive. I've seen your handiwork; you're an excellent killer, very methodical. The mantis claws would suit you well, I should think." The man's tone was business-like yet friendly, as if he were a merchant approving a favorable contract instead of an assassin-cultist trying to convert an atheistic law-enforcement officer to his insane religion. He rested one elbow on the stone railing, seeming very at ease.
"What are you on about?" Gafar narrowed his eyes again, glaring at the man as though trying to light him on fire through sheer force of will.
"Oh, I think you know perfectly well what I'm talking about. The cultists? Like the one still on your operating table under this very building?" The man swept his hand out at the floor in the general direction of the underground operating room. Blast! No element of surprise meant no advantage in escaping through the lab. It would have to be the garden. "There's no use in denying it," he said, as Gafar was preparing to do just that. “We’re not so different, really.”
Gafar balked at the accusation. "I am nothing like you! I enforce justice!"
It was the man's turn to scoff. "Is that what you've been telling yourself?" A short, barking laugh erupted from the man's throat. "You don't need to lie to me, Commandant. We both know why you do what you do. It's the same reason you went looking for the Gods' Touch in the first place - causing pain." The man said this all very matter-of-factly, an attitude that was becoming infuriating. Pushing himself up, he takes three slow steps toward Gafar, punctuating his words. "That's why you went to Jalmeray. That's why you joined the Pure Legion. And that's why you've been murdering religious criminals when you think the courts let them off too easily!"
As the assassin closed the distance, it all became too much for Gafar to handle. He lashed out with a quick strike at the man’s solar plexus, aiming to disable his chakra system. The blow struck true, and the man fumbled backward a step, doubling over. Judging by the pain on his face, Gafar expected that the man would be incapacitated for a few minutes, giving him the head start he needed. But the man’s brow knitted together in concentration, and he slowly stood up, chuckling. “You’ll have to do better than that, Commandant.” His technique had failed in the face of a superior opponent. “My turn.”
The man lunged at Gafar, who dodged sideways, throwing another punch into the man’s side. Gafar darted out of the corner he’d almost been trapped in, slipping a syringe from a pocket and emptying it into his bloodstream as he turns to face his opponent. His heart began beating faster as adrenaline surged through his body, engorging his muscles. The assassin, rebounding off the stone railing, ducked under Gafar’s wild punch, landing two sharp strikes into his hardened abdomen. Grunting in pain, Gafar wrapped his arms around the man, crushing him. The assassin, constricted, brought his knee up between Gafar’s legs. Tears welled in Gafar’s eyes, the pain causing him to lose his grip on the man. He dropped to his knees, but not before slamming his skull into the other man’s face. The man backpedaled, holding his head as Gafar collapsed.
But rather than draw his sword and dispatch his foe, the man instead began to laugh. He pulled his arm away from his face, blood dripping from a broken nose. “See? Now that was much better!” He stepped forward, placing a hand on Gafar, who felt the pain in his body quickly subside. As Gafar pushed himself to his feet, the man just stood there watching. When it appeared Gafar had recovered, he said “Again!”
Gafar, growling, threw another punch at the man, who dodged so swiftly it appeared he hadn’t even moved. He followed up with another punch, and another, but each time his fists touched nothing but air. Through the flurry, it dawned on Gafar that the assassin had only been toying with him thus far. A low kick to sweep the legs earned him nothing but a boot to the head. Reeling backward, his eyes flashed to the railing. Escape was his only option.
Sensing his quarry’s intentions, the man darts between Gafar and the railing. “Not so fast, Commandant,” he said, his smile replaced by a fierce scowl. He tapped Gafar’s navel with an open palm, and suddenly Gafar couldn’t feel anything. He was paralyzed, unable to move anything below his head. "Th-the Gods' Touch," he managed weakly.
"Indeed," said the man. "You could learn it, you know. Don't you see? You've studied our ways for so long, sacrificed so much for them already!" It was true, of course. One of the biggest advantages of his station was unlimited access to materials kept in the Vault of Lies, the storehouse of confiscated religious writings kept secure in the Pure Legion's headquarters in Azir. Naturally, Gafar had availed himself of the scrolls and books found within, and not just Red Mantis writings. The collection had proved useful in many an investigation, and in more than a few unauthorized experiments as well. "What would your superiors say if they knew what you'd been up to these past years, hmm?"
"To...hell...with...you..." Gafar snarled through clenched teeth, each word a struggle.
Suddenly, there came a booming knock from below. Somebody was at the door. "It sounds like we have company," the man said, as though he were a dinner host whose guests had finally arrived. Gafar could hear their voices from below. "Commandant! Open up at once! We have a warrant for your arrest!"
"Oh dear," the man said with mock surprise. "How could that have happened? Do you think someone could have tipped them off to your little experiments?" He laughed darkly. "Oh yes, I think it was me!"
Gafar fought against the man's hold, but it was no use. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't move a muscle. His chakra system had been severed.
"I could just leave you like this," the man said, even as the sound of splintering wood filled the air. "Justice will be swift, I’m sure. The tribune will undoubtedly be sympathetic. Would you prefer a swift beheading or is hanging more to your preference? Oh! Do they do crucifixion here in Rahadoum? That has an element of poetic justice, I think, wouldn’t you say?” The man was clearly enjoying this. “But if that’s how you want it, better I just kill you now.” Boom! Another crack from the battering ram.
The looming prospect of death was more upsetting than Gafar had imagined it would be. Having disavowed all religion, his soul would be banished to wander the Graveyard of Souls forever. As that eternity approached with frightening speed, Gafar realized he didn’t much care for the thought of it.
“Or I could mercilessly slaughter each and every one of those men and we could retreat to an island paradise where you’ll be indoctrinated into the holy arts of assassination and be free to perform all manner of gruesome and painful experiments to your black little heart’s content.”
Well, when you put it that way…
A final crash came from down below as the door exploded inward. “I suppose it is time for another career change,” Gafar said solemnly. The assassin grinned, his teeth flashing red in the bloody moonlight. He said nothing as he pulled the mantis mask over his face, and the doomed Legionnaires swarmed into the house.
Are you proposing a Ghost in the Machine?
I'm still working on the crunch, but I thought I'd throw something up. Partial submission for Gafar, tiefling investigator with the Azir Native trait.
Gafar is a foul little man with greasy black strings of hair that he keeps bound up in a turban, a sickly yellow complexion that looks worse for the powder he wears to hide it, and a persistent odor that smells faintly of rotten eggs and perfume. The turban hides the pair of horns that sweep back from his head, and the powder hides the flaking dry patches of skin on his arms and face. While Gafar may be able to hide the physical signs of his fiendish heritage, there is little to be done for his cutting personality. His one saving grace is an intellect as sharp as the scalpels in his surgical ward.
Growing up in a wealthy home, his career as a surgeon and later as a detective with the Pure Legion provided plenty of income to fritter away on expensive pastimes. An inveterate gambler, he is a notorious cheat and sore loser. Gafar considers himself a connoisseur of the best the world has to offer, but worldly pleasures cannot hope to satisfy him for long. He craves knowledge, especially when it pertains to his truest love: inflicting pain on others. It was this dual impulse that drove Gafar to seek out the Red Mantis, and despite his hatred for the gods and all their doings, it is this dual impulse that brings him to his knees in reverence of Achaekek, He Who Walks In Blood.
As a child, Gafar had an abiding interest in anatomy and physiology. Growing up in Azir, the city always provided plenty of subjects for study. The pinned and dissected carapaces of beetles and scorpions were his toys, eventually moving on to studying the stray dogs and cats of the market place, with the occasional bird and fish to keep things interesting. As he grew, his parents began to find Gafar’s predilections less endearing and more disturbing, and the young man realized that he would have to find some legitimate front for continuing his studies. Having always performed very well in school, Gafar elected to study medicine and surgery as an outlet for his interests. At the university, he was provided with even better subjects – real people! At first, they were dead, of course, but the class soon moved on to study the living body, and so Gafar came to learn the physician’s arts.
Finally finding the justification he sought from his parents and from society, Gafar found that it wasn’t enough. Though he reveled in defying the gods, learning to make broken men whole without calling on the aid of those unworthy beings, Gafar secretly preferred the breaking of said men. In surgery, he loved to test the resilience of his patients, but he was always careful never to inflict more damage than he could reverse. And while practicing medicine, he still had access to the vast archives of Azir’s universities. In the day he would see to his patients, and at night he would feed his insatiable hunger for knowledge at the trough of books and scrolls filled with the wisdom of the ages.
It was in these archives that Gafar found texts on long-forgotten techniques for working with the body, for purposes both for good and for ill. Many of the techniques were cruel, almost barbaric, but at once also surprisingly sophisticated. The most interesting treatises originated with an extinct order of hashashin, and as Gafar did more digging into Rahadoum’s past, he discovered that this order descended from none other than the Red Mantis Assassins of legend! Craving more knowledge, he determined to seek out the Red Mantis; he was sure that what he had learned from those scrolls was nothing compared to the secrets the Red Mantis must still keep. He had to find them, infiltrate their ranks, anything he had to do to gain access to their knowledge!
Gafar spent more years obsessively tracking similar murders, trying to piece it all together. A pattern quickly emerged: they were all connected to the Thuvian auctions of the Sun Orchid Elixir. But even with that connection, it took the better part of a decade to track down the assassin responsible. When Gafar finally caught up with his prey, the assassin gave him the fight of his life, but after besting his foe in frenzied single combat, he finally had the opportunity to petition for a place in the ranks of the Red Mantis.
I'm currently working on a halfling cleric of Abadar. A former slave in Cheliax, freed by the Bellflower Network into Andoran. The church of Abadar was instrumental in the transition from being a slave to living a free life, and the halfling was inspired to take up duties as a priest as a way to give back to the community that had taken them in. While reading in a library (a new-found pastime for a former slave), they came upon the tracts and poems of Hosetter and Jubannich, and after further investigating the situation in Galt, elects to travel there in the hopes of helping to quell the cycle of revolution and help Galt achieve greater heights as a nation. They will work alongside the Revolutionary Council, since overthrowing a government is no way to stabilize a country.
GM, you mentioned that there would be more focus on RP than combat. Will we be able to do things like running businesses in the community while working for the Council?
Generic Villain wrote:
Sound's like you're talking about Tucker's Kobolds.
Reign of Winter (Hardmode): Maptools and Mic (Looking at either Wed. 8:30p Est to 11p or Thur 9p to 2a Est)
This sounds cool! I've never played Dungeon World, but I'm intrigued by the option. Gerudo fighter or druid, Sheikah thief or wizard. Hmm...
It took a little digging, but I found your Races rules in your other game. You might want to post them here for any prospective applicants.
You said we can play any class that somebody else isn't as long as we provide a 'off'. What's a 'off'?
EDIT: Looking through your old recruitment thread, somebody posted a Google Sheet with links to a lot of different classes. Are those supported?
On a separate note, how does multi-classing work?
Spider Jerusalem was a joke idea. Transmetropolitan is a great series, but I had no expectation of being allowed to play him. In defense of both the character and the series, the entire world is a pretty cynical place and Spider is legitimately the hero. Maybe an anti-hero, but he's not a villain protagonist.
Reign of Winter (Hardmode): Maptools and Mic (Looking at either Wed. 8:30p Est to 11p or Thur 9p to 2a Est)
Reign of Winter (Hardmode): Maptools and Mic (Looking at either Wed. 8:30p Est to 11p or Thur 9p to 2a Est)
Sounds interesting. The inclusion of Path of War is particularly nice. I'm glad to see games warming up to it; it seems to be becoming a more common inclusion around these parts.
One note about the Kaiju, if you don't like the Spawn of Rovagug, there's the Valashmai Jungle in Tian Xia which is like Jurassic Wolrd: Kaiju Edition.
I'm currently finishing up my junior year as a chemical engineering undergraduate student. I've been playing D&D since I was 13 or 14 when a friend pulled out his dad's 2e stuff one day. In high school I played a fair amount over Maptools, way back before Roll20 came along. I've been with Pathfinder since 4e came out and haven't looked back. Golarion is my favorite campaign setting, but I haven't been in a stable game since high school, so I've never gotten very far in any AP and I've never played RoW. I'm very familiar with the lore of the setting. I'm comfortable with the rules, but I've always preferred theater-of-the-mind play over strict grid-based tactical combat. I'm particularly interested in the chance to play in a game where the characters are designed from the get-go to operate as a team; I imagine it would be a very different combat experience from the typical dungeon crawl.
Ah, thanks for the clarification, Ophelia and Castor. I had just noticed the WotR game on the sidebar as well. Digging through aliases and previous games only raised more questions when I went looking.
Since you mention it, GM, I might send in a submission. I was playing a Gunslinger with advanced firearms. What firearms level do you prefer to have for this game? If early, I might do a re-build, since I really don't want to bother with the double-barrel pistol weapon-cord cheese.
Here's a write-up for Rolando, a Varisian criminal who's very life feels like a prison. I'm presuming Brawler for now, but I'm ambivalent about the crunch at the moment. This submission is for the Second Chances character.
Rolando is a young Varisian boy, about 15 years old. He's thin and lanky, with brown eyes, greasy black hair pulled back into a short ponytail, and a few thin hairs starting to sprout on his chin. His parents came to Vigil shortly before Rolando was born. His father left the nomadic life behind for unknown reasons; neither of his parents ever talked much about their life before Vigil. Seeking to make his way in the world, Papa had intentions to start a small farm, but he found Vigil unwelcoming to people who wouldn't take their Oaths. The young family made do as they had before, performing for appreciative audiences and taking whatever work came their way. Things were not easy, but they always had enough to eat and a roof to sleep under. Papa would labor on local farms during the harvest season and find whatever work he could in the winter, and Mama found work as a seamstress for some of the women at the Castle. Rolando inherited his papa's musical talent and learned to play his violin. He also inherited his mama's temper and the impetuous child often got into fights with other local boys. And soon enough, the young family of three was joined by one more, and Rolando had a sister. But while his family had always been devout worshippers of the Song of the Spheres, Desna was not always kind to them. One winter, Papa became very sick. Though the disease passed, he never fully recovered and his health began to decline.
After years of slowly failing health, Papa died. Just before he passed, he made Rolando swear to take care of his Mama and sister, no matter what. Doing what he could, Rolando, about 11 or 12 years old, followed in his father's footsteps. He inherited Papa's violin, and he found a group of some older Varisian boys to play with, Felipe and Jorge. He and his friends were making good money, better than his parents ever had as performers, and things were starting to look up for the first time, until Rolando discovered that his friends were Sczarni con artists. The extra money came from picking pockets. Rolando was angry, but he couldn't ignore the benefits. Reluctantly, he went along with the scheme, and slowly started getting further entwined with the gang.
He was making good on his promise to Papa, he was taking care of Mama and Mirela, but he was ashamed of himself. He was becoming more irritable, and he started drinking heavily, getting into brawls and even ending up in jail for a week. In jail, he found something he hated even more than going hungry, even more than his own crimes - imprisonment. He couldn't stand being cooped up, and he found himself longing for the open road his parents had left behind before he had ever been born. He swore off his drinking upon his release, determined not to wind up in prison again. He promised Mama and Milena he would stay sober; he couldn't keep his promise to Papa if he was in jail.
But he couldn't keep his promise if he gave up his criminal ways, either. They needed the money, and it was getting harder and harder to find work as he grew older. People were even less trusting than they had been before, and deep down, he knew they had reason to be. He was as trapped in his life of crime as he had been trapped behind the bars of his jail cell. His prayers to Desna went unanswered, and that open road that he saw stretching out before him remained nothing more than an empty dream. He could always take his Oath, but that would amount to nothing more than another bar in the cage trapping him in Vigil, and an afront to his father's memory beside. At least this way he had his freedom, as long as he stayed out of jail. He could keep on telling himself that one day he might actually take his first steps onto that open road.
And so he did. Fantasies about escaping Vigil replaced the alcohol. They helped him fall asleep at night like all of Mama's stories and Papa's songs. He would dream about it day and night, and he told himself that all of this would be worth it in the end. He started volunteering for more dangerous jobs, hoping to score a prize big enough to free him from his promise. One day, soon, he would make enough to keep his family fed for months, maybe a year, and he could leave in search of a better life, and come back for them when he had finally made it. And soon enough, Desna smiled; the long-awaited opportunity presented itself. It would be a simple job, but very lucrative. Jorge hadn't wanted to bring him in on it, said he wasn't ready, but Felipe convinced him otherwise, a true friend. In the end, Jorge relented, especially since it was Felipe who had the tip.
But as easily as she smiles, Desna laughs. A trick of Fate's fickle hand: a botched job. The mark was being tailed by knights! The bluff hadn't worked, things were heading south... It was over almost before it had begun. Felipe lying dead in the alley. Jorge on his way to join him. It wasn't supposed to end like this. Rolando hadn't wanted to resort to swords, he tried to tell them they didn't need to use lethal force, but they wouldn't listen, and he was in no position to argue and...and...
Desna had one more trick up her sleeve, one more laugh. A choice: prison, or the Castle. Caught between the bull and the horns, as they say. But it was no choice. He had made promises, to Papa and to Mama. Perhaps the Song of the Spheres thought she was showing him mercy, but at that moment, Rolando thought maybe he'd be better off dead. Surely, death was the only way he would ever be free of Vigil now. He confessed, he sold out the others. They weren't even his friends. His only friend was dead in the alley. And so too was Rolando's life of crime. His life of freedom.
Rolando is torn between his love and duty to his family and his blooming wanderlust. He never wanted to be a criminal, always hated what he'd become, but it was his only ticket to freedom. He wants to make a better life for himself and his family, but he wants to do it on his own terms. Though he worships Desna, he blames her for his problems, never accepting responsibility for his own mistakes and always playing the victim of circumstance. He loves his Varisian heritage, having grown up on the songs and stories of his ancestral people, and he wants to reclaim what he thinks of as his birthright. He doesn't understand why his parents came to Vigil, but he understands why his family will never take the Oath. His father's violin is his most prized possession; it's all he has left of Papa besides the chains of his promise. He loves his Mama and Milena, but he wants to be free to live his own life, under his own stars.
Yep, I read it. I was impressed with Eilidh's dedication to the stutter. The interaction actually seems like it would work pretty well without much retconning as long as a pseudonym was given. I like it. Would you prefer full applications or are you more interested in seeing the fluff/RP before anything else?
In that case, I'll avoid marrying any concepts. There's plenty of flavor in Korvosa to go around. I'd like to mention that I'm not unfamiliar with the setting material; I had a Skull & Shackles character that hailed from Korvosa.
You don't seem to be looking for character concepts from us at this time. Is there anything you require from me at this moment? I'm very interested in the setting, I've heard great things about CotCT, and I prefer narrative roleplay more than anything else in an RPG.
I'm still interested in the possibility of a Skype game. I'd be looking at a play time window starting about 8 PM EST.
Do you have other people interested, or is this your main outlet for recruitment?
What sort of characters are you interested in having? How do you feel about Diabolists? Acadamae students/graduates?
The Aspis Consortium is Golarion's megacorporation. Founded hundreds of years ago in Cheliax, they've since grown worldwide. A massive organization with vast resources and hordes of lower-level underlings to do their bidding. Many times Aspis is behind something and nobody knows it; they like to hire people anonymously. Even their official agents don't typically know much about what's going on; the Consortium's biggest plots are intricate, long-term, and tend to be very VERY lucrative.
They're evil capitalists that are completely unhinged; profit is their ONLY motive. Did you see Pirates of the Caribbean? The East India Trading Company works very well for some inspiration. As do the various historical counterparts to that organization. Did you see the Robert Downey, Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies? Professor Moriarty would not be out of place in the Consortium.
These are the guys that start wars in the middle east to jack up oil prices and create demand for their munitions. These are the guys that bomb planes and short-sell the airline stock, while introducing some alternative transportation solution to the market. These are the guys that are slowly buying up all the unusable land out in the desert because it's secretly got the water resources for the entire region underneath. And that's just the big stuff. At the lower level, they've got their fingers in dang near everything. If there's a pocket, their hand is in it. If there's a pie, their fingers are there. If there's a politician to be bought, they own them.
If your players want to go after Aspis, they might discover they're in for way more than they bargained for. Or maybe they never do find out. Maybe it's just a little thing, and they put them out of their mind, only for it to come back in a big way later on. Maybe the hit was a botched job, but maybe it was never supposed to succeed. With Aspis, all you can know for certain is that money's changing hands.
I'm very interested in CotCT. Do you plan on using Skype for IRL-style gaming, or do you intend for characters to be played via the chat on Roll20 and Skype to be the OOC stuff?
You're currently thinking Mondays, what time? What's your timezone? I'd be very interested, but it's important that I'm available at the right time.
Thanks for the clarification Papa.DRB. That tool looks very handy!
On the other side of the fence, I disagree with the OP about the inelegant system for selecting players. Aside from the fact that there are as many play styles as there are players, there are numerous ways of recruiting. Nonetheless, supply and demand make it a GM's market.
One of the problems with having a bunch of character LFG threads is that a prospective GM has to go through a lot of different threads to find characters that they think will work with the game. That puts even more work on the GM at the beginning. There are plenty of posters who create in-depth characters tailored to the specific game they're applying for; that's what GMs who care want to see. Players who care enough to create awesome characters who intentionally fit in the setting and tone are probably going to be more fun to play with.
There are also plenty of posters who want to play one specific character and apply all over the place with that one character or without really trying to tailor their character to the game. That's not typically an effective strategy, and players who do so are likely to end up very frustrated. I'm sorry, but Skull & Shackles is probably not the game for your favorite four-armed pony Doctor Who-Lelouch Lamperouge lovechild character. As tragic as it is, there probably isn't any game for that character this side of Gaia Online.
The conversation about recruitment is definitely worth having though. I'm really glad we have this new General Discussion section for the Online Campaigns subforum. For now, the overwhelming supply of players and the very high rate of game failure are huge obstacles that we should all be working to overcome.
Finally finished, save for equipment. I decided to go Gunslinger instead of Ranger; the Ranger abilities were flavorful, but Gunslinger does everything I want to do better than Ranger could hope to. And with access to real revolvers, I couldn't resist the opportunity to play a guns akimbo Gunslinger the way everybody wants to without the weapon cord juggling routine cheese.
The site seems to be having problems with aliases at the moment, so I haven't been able to make one. I also don't have Hero Lab, so I'll have to do the statblock by hand.
I present to you Erasmus 'Raz' Ames - ex-Shieldmarshall, outlaw, adventure capitalist.
Name: Erasmus Ames
Crimes: Conspiracy, Nighthawking, Disturbing the Peace
Notes: Suspect was last seen fleeing north into the Mana Wastes following the Urstradi River. Considered to be armed and dangerous.
Erasmus Ames was never bothered by the corruption in the Shieldmarshalls. He took his bribes the same as anybody else, looked the other way for the right people the same as anybody else, neglected unimportant details the same as anybody else. It was just an ugly word for the grease on the cogs that kept the Clockwork City running smoothly, and his polished badge and oiled six-guns didn't shine any less for it. After all, the hours were long, the Wastes were brutal, and justice doesn't come cheap in the City of Smog. Greasy palms and greasy guns are what kept the mutants at bay and everybody knew it, so it didn't bother 'ol Raz one bit. That is, until the day he found himself on the wrong side of it.
Maybe it was political, maybe it was personal, but Erasmus Ames didn't stick around long enough to find out. He high-tailed it out of the Grand Duchy out into the Spellscar just as fast as his horse could take him. The snipers on the wall didn't even waste their ammo trying to pick him off; everybody knew that a lone rider, ill-equipped and unprotected, was as good as dead out in the Wastes - if they were lucky. If not - well, the life of a mutant is never very long anyway.
At least, that's what they thought. For his part, that's what Raz thought too, until he stumbled across one of the ruins. The Wastes were littered with them, the last remains of thousand-year-old cities blasted off the face of the planet during Nex and Geb's pissing contest of magical holocaust. Teams of outriders came through every so often and cleared the mutants out of them ahead of trade caravans traveling through the desert. Raz was familiar with the ruins, having cleared some of them out himself (and finding some trinkets to line his pockets with beside). But off the main highways you were taking your chances. It was a lucky break for Mr. Ames; there was no better time for taking chances. He rode that luck all the way through the desert, escaping on the other side into Nex. He worked his way north, guarding caravans all the way through Nex and Katapesh. He took a liking to Katapesh; a man like him could find a lot of work and make a lot of coin. He took a liking to the pesh, too, and found many ways to spend a lot of coin. Too many ways and too much coin. Plagued by debt and pesh nightmares, he took a desperate job, signing on to guard some whackjob scholarly expedition following some phony map out to some secret forgotten ruin in Osirion.
Sometimes looks can be deceiving. That was only the first lesson Raz learned on that expedition. He also learned that 'guard' translates roughly as 'expendable trap fodder' in Osiriani, to always bring a mirror into the tomb with you, that his shiny badge makes a surprisingly good mirror, and to never take an artifact without leaving a sandbag in its place. But the most important lesson of all, the one rule to hold to above all others, is that, when it comes to mummies, shoot first and ask questions never. Aim for the head, always make sure to double-tap, and burn the remains for good measure.
It didn't take long to become disillusioned with the treasure-hunting scene in Osirion. The thing about 'scholarly expeditions' is that the most dangerous jobs always seem to pay the least. Mr. Ames was used to putting his life in danger for petty monetary compensation, but the only thing worse than mutants are mummies. One close call too many and he finally decided he was done with 'guard' work. He was ready to get out of Osirion, with the 'scholars' and the 'collectors' ruining things for solid, honest adventure capitalists like himself. But he'd need a partner if he was ever going to strike it rich. Foreign lands and foreign tombs call for good friends to have your back. There was only one man that Erasmus Ames knew he could trust, and he'd always given Raz a frosty welcome.
From the moment they met, Baqir Iskandar and Erasmus Ames were doomed to make history. It would be the history of desperate fools, bad ideas, and success that comes at too high a price. Geb was a bad idea, possibly the worst, and it had been his. They escaped with their lives, but they would live with the scars. There aren't many terrors worse than pesh nightmares, but forbidden knowledge is one helluva drug.
Raz is good for two things: fodder and killing weird things real good. He has a special hatred for mummies and Mana Waste mutants. He has a good mix of Knowledge skills and investigative capability with Sense Motive and Survival, but he's not here to be the super sleuth.
Update: I'll be throwing in with a Ranger with the Trophy Hunter and Skirmisher archetypes for a little more gun expertise and to get rid of divine spellcasting. Changing the tech level does interesting things to the game mechanically, especially when it comes to picking feats.
Next post should include the crunch and hopefully backstory if Baqir and I can get it sorted out enough for both of us to submit that today.
Thematically, I'm channeling characters like Rick O'Connell and Jack Burton into a pulp action cowboy who shuns magic and whose only real expertise lies in knowing how to kill weird things real good. Like I told Baqir, I think this game could benefit from a mundane character to give the Holmes-lympics competitors something to play off of, like a rough-and-tumble cowboy Watson. Or maybe a little Karrin Murphy/Agent Scully if the DM prefers.
You're going for a Victorian feel and the year isn't set. How much freedom do we have with the setting elements, especially with some of the organizations? If, for example, somebody wanted to play a member of the Knights of Ozem? Are they intact as a well-known order of holy knights, or would they be a shadow of their former glory, a forgotten cabal of once-legendary heroes that now fight in obscurity? The same question could be extended to how the churches are perceived by the rest of the campaign setting as well. Do the common folk know much about the existence of monsters?
EDIT: A careful re-reading would at least suggest that most people are in the dark, but I'm still curious about the organizations. If we have some flexibility, I'd be more than happy to try to come up with something to satisfy the flavor. Golarion is full of organizations that could fit the bill, especially if we're going for a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen feel with horror themes.
Night action, eh? Can I try a Diplomacy check to get Peppery to help with keeping Sh'torek alive?
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
"I have a spell or two that may allow him to escape, but we would simply be trading our lives for his. There may be something of use in Ms. Longfarthing's laboratory."