GM Birch's Rise of the Runelords

Game Master Birch33


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So, 26 hours and 5 minutes left and I count 18 strong characters and no weak ones.

Can I run three campaigns? I wouldn't have time face-to-face but the pace of PbP might work. I'll only do it if I can promise myself not to compromise.

If I do, I'll have to reconsider the second and third campaigns. I'm hearing less than perfect feedback about CC compared to the others, so I'm reviewing the others today before making my mind up. Of course it means I can't play in them, but that's a small price to pay. As said before, Serpent's Skull and Jade Regent are not possible - and I suspect before I even start to read it that Skulls and Shackles will be too specific for the characters you've spent so long crafting.

Please leave this one with me. I'll resolve it today.

And in case you're all wondering why I've focussed so much on the story-telling and the advice to show and not tell. Well, it's simply because I want players that can tell a story. Anyone can roll a die. Anyone can say their character rolls for Diplomacy. I want the characters to 'try' diplomacy - and use the die to aid their efforts. I want you to post selfish prose and not simply state that your character is being selfish.


I think I realized what the disconnect with Vir might be. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Vir's story isn't about optimism, though he is optimistic, it's about maturation and coming of age. I want to present a character whose final personality is not completely formed. He has grown up under very structured conditions. He is naive. He has relied on people to tell him how to be and what he should want. My player goal for this character is to have him go from being a follower, looking for a strong leader or for clear norms, to a man who can choose for himself, who owns his choices. Towards that end, I've added another section to the story. It might not delve deeply into his psyche, but it does make the stakes of his story clearer. I hope that makes the character come more alive for you.

Show:

Seventeen years ago . . .

Strange stars wheeled overhead. Gagged and bound to pitted stone, Moria could hear, but not see, the cultists chanting an invocation to their "god." The moon hung as low and as swollen in the sky as the half-elven priestess' belly.

"Abadar, forfend, even trussed up on this altar my feet still hurt," Moria mused to herself. "I'm giddy with fear," she thought, "At least it beats gibbering with it."

She could see two standing stones that had fallen together, but nothing cleared her field of vision until a dark robe figure removed her gag.

"Magistrate Dolomi, imagine meeting you here. What would the Council of Ushers think, if they knew of your aberrant worship?"

Dolomi favored her with a thin smile. "It matters not what the Ushers of Magnimar think, priestess. They are less than dust before the Key and the Gate. You, madame, have been asking all the wrong sorts of questions. You and your god of dirt and cities should mind your own business. Neither of you can comprehend the workings of the Outer Gods!"

Moria blinks at this last outburst. "I won't give you the pleasure of hearing me beg, magistrate. Kill me if you must, but I will not be the last. Abadar's faithful will not let Magnimar fall to you nihilists."

The magistrate laughs. "Priestess, what do you think is going to happen? The priests of Yog-Sothoth do not sacrifice pregnant women under the light of the full moon. We are no dark cult sacrificing babes. No, we have other plans for you. Since you have interfered with the workings of the Lurker at the Threshold, the Key and the Gate will interfere with you. No doubt in time, you will come around to our way of thinking.

The invocation reached a fevered pitch. Between the two slumped standing stones golden globes of light began to wink into existence.

"It is working!" Magistrate Dolomi screamed. "Hail and praise the Most Ancient and Prolonged of Life!"

Moria screamed as the golden globes that poured and dribbled out from between the standing stones washed over her. One of these golden balls of light even seamed to sink into the half-elven woman's stomach.

The cultists' invocation ended suddenly in wet gurgles and blood drenched screams. The golden globes of light winked out of existence.

"What!? No! Fools you cannot stop . .." Dolomi was cut off by a sword bursting through his chest.

Moria didn't stop screaming until she was cut free from the altar. Looking up at her rescuer she saw a handsome tow-headed half-elven man splattered with blood. "Kyle, you came for me."

"Of course I did, my love. I only wish I had been there when they captured you. To think a Magistrate of Magnimar worshiping a thing out of the Dark Tapestry! Are you all right? Is our child!?"

"Our son, Kyle, our son. And he will be. I'll make certain of it."

Four years ago . . . . (P1)

A handsome, blond half-elven youth walked next to a more muscular a red-headed human boy. The sounds of Abadar's temple in Magnimar echoed around them.

"No, Brandon," the half-elven youth said with a smile. "Damerrich is the Archon of Executions, while Ragathiel is the Angel of Vengeance. Two very different things one hopes."

The more muscular boy smiled at his friend. "You always were so good at remembering all the stories and lessons the priests tell, Vir. Why bother knowing who is the Archon of this and the Angel of that when Abadar has given us insight into the souls of our fellow citizens? There are so many injustices and threats to all good and civil folk in this world to bother with learning celestial hierarchies."

Hurt and embarrassed, Vir's face fell. Looking down the boy mutters, "Abadar has not yet graced me with that gift, Brandon."

Brandon grabbed Vir's shoulders and pulled his friend close. "I didn't mean it like that Vir. Abadar has given you many gifts. You are smarter and wiser than I. There are other things one can be besides a paladin to serve our god."

Vir felt a strange and new thrill at his best friend's touch. "My father is a paladin. As was his father before him."

"And your mother is a cleric. We would make a great team you and I. You interpreting the laws and me enforcing them."

The half-elven youth shook his head. "Mother says I need a paladin's resolve."

Brandon looked at his friend dubiously. "Well, if you are going to be a paladin, we need to put more meat on your bones." Squeezing Vir's shoulder's, he continues, you will need better reflexes and more muscles if you want to be swinging a sword for justice. You will need them sooner than that. I think Squire Garrett has it in for you."

Vir laughs again. "Squires aren't like that, Brandon. They are farther than we are in our paladin training. They are exemplars of Abadar's justice."

Brandon gave Vir an arch look and sighs, "If you say so, Vir."

The two boys continued on their way to the training grounds in companionable silence. When they reached the training yard they were met by the temple's master-of-arms. "Garn, Tadal, you are both late. A paladin should always be punctual. Try to be on time from now on."

Turning from the youths, the master-of-arms called out. "Bartlett, you are up! Instruct Garn here in the finer points of swordplay."

As Vir picked up his blunted blade, Brandon whispered to his friend, "I don't care what you say about squires. Garrett has it in for you. Watch out."

Garrett Bartlett beat his practice sword against his shield. "Come on Garn. You have a lot to learn. Let's get on with teaching you."

Vir managed to keep his sword point up for the first ten minutes of training. But little-by-little the point began to drop. When it did, Garrett's sword whipped out and knocked Vir's blade from his hand.

"Pick it up, Garn, and hold that tip up. If you don't some filthy goblin will find you to be tasty meat."

Vir picked up his sword and continued. When the point of his blade dipped again, the flat of Garret's blade knocked him to the dust.

"Again, Garn. Pick yourself up. Don't shame Abadar with your incompetence."

Bruised and smarting, Vir struggled to his feet. He could keep his blade up for more than a minute. By then Garrett had knocked him back down.

Beating Vir with the flat of his blade, Garrett chanted, "Get up Garn. Get up."

"Leave him alone!" Brandon yelled.

"I'm just toughening your bum-buddy up, Tadal. You will thank me when you are older." Garrett turned towards Brandon but continued to casually beat Vir.

Neither Garrett nor Vir noticed the golden globes of light that began to coalesce and merge around Vir.

Both young men did notice when a claw knocked the training sword out of Garrett's hand. Another claw knocked the older boy down.

Towering over Garrett was a monster. Four thick legs supported a column of flesh the reached near seven feet into air. The column bent somehow, allowing the beak at the apex of the tower of flesh to snap down at the squire. Four eyes surrounded the beak, flashing with anger.

"What the f****!?" Garrett screamed.

Four Years Ago . . .. (P2)

Vir's tongue was like a rasp in his mouth. Light stabbed at his eyes.

He cracked his eyes open. Early morning light flooded the room he in which he lay. The boy tried to rise up but quickly realized that he had been strapped to the cot.

"Good. You are awake."

Turning his head, Vir saw an elderly human man -- wisps of white hair did little to conceal the age spot on his scalp. It was Mazo Lem the lead inquisitor of the temple and also his mother's mentor.

"Do you remember what happened, Vir?"

Vir struggled to remember. "I was training with Squire Garrett. He. He was hurting me. Yelling at me. I just wanted him to stop. Then I felt stronger and everything went red."

Inquisitor Mazo sighs and mutters, "Idiots should not be given weapons."

In a more normal tone of voice, the old man continues, "It seems that puberty and traumatic event awakened your quiescent abilities. There were -- it seems -- some irregularities during your mother's pregnancy. You summoned an eidolon that wrapped itself around your body. You gave that idiot, Garrett, several thwacks and quite a scare. Some of Abadar's faithful would council locking you up or finding some legal nicety that would justify getting rid of you for the public good, but those men and women do not run this temple. And your transformation was not entirely unexpected."

Mazo smiles at Vir's confused and the horrified expression.

"Boy, what do you think is the purpose of civilization?"

"To teach people what is right?" Vir responds quizzically. Why was the inquisitor asking such questions?

"That is a fine answer for the son of a paladin, but not, sadly, a thoughtful one. What can one man or woman accomplish on his or her own, Vir?"

"One person can accomplish a lot, sir. One righteous . . ." The inquistor's laughter cuts Vir short.

"Can one man build a city? Can one woman feed a nation?"

"With sufficiently advanced magic . . ." Again, Mazo interrupted the young half-elf.

"Even the greatest magic needs to be taught. More importantly, that mage or cleric doesn't have time to be plowing the fields are weaving the wool. Civilization allows us to accomplish more together than we could alone. Our collective efforts are so much greater than our individual ones. Even our individual actions are made possible and improved by our collective works. More than channeling our collective actions, civilization constrains the best and worst tendencies found in people. It enables the weak and the strong to work together for mutual benefit. You think civilization is about being good, but you believe that not because you you came to that conclusion by yourself but because you were taught that. We civilized you."

The inquisitor pauses for a moment, "Why do you think I'm telling you this Vir?"

"I don't know, sir. But I suspect you will be telling me," Vir replies peevishly. He had been afraid when he was woke up, but now he was confused and angry that he was strapped down.

Mazo frowned, "Petulance is the luxury of youth, boy. I'm too old for it, and you aren't in a position to to indulge it. I'm telling you this, Vir, because you have the potential to be one of the people constrained by civilization. You need to know whether you are going to work for or against the collective benefit. Will you own your power, or will your power own you? You need to know, son. You need to know it for yourself, not because you were told or because it is a habit. That's good enough for some, but with your circumstances it won't be good enough for you. We cannot be having you run amok every time you get angry."

Confused and not wanting to be punished, Vir responds, "I want to be good, Inquisitor Lem."

The old man smiled sadly, "The wasn't the question I asked, boy; but, It's good enough for the moment. We will try to train you to control your abilities. I won't be easy, but it's your best hope to being 'good.''

The old man reaches over and loosens Vir's straps.

A month ago . . . .

Vir shuffled home from the temple.

"Another day, another test. I guess I'm lucky the priests didn't have me killed when I turned into a monster. Though they are more strict now that inquisitor Lem is dead. I just wish Brandon were here. Why did have to they send him to Korvosa last month?" He thought.

Vir was brought up short when he noticed that his parent's home a few streets east of the temple was missing its door.

Rushing inside, Vir found his father nailed to the floor with his own bastard sword. Next to Kyle Garn's corpse was a message scrawled in blood.

"M . . . wri desk . . . f bot."

Vir ran into his parent's room. The entire house had been trashed. His mother's writing desk was lying against the wall. Through his tears Vir managed to release its false bottom.

Within lay a note.

My dearest Vir,

If you are reading this letter, it is because your father and I have been killed or taken. You have known for years that there were . . . peculiarities around your birth. We told you it was a sorcerous mishap while I was pregnant. That is the truth, but it is not all of it. Right before you were born, I was touched by something from the Dark Tapestry. The people who are after you want the power you possess for nefarious ends. Do not give it to them. We are all more than our heritage. We are more than those who made us for good or ill. You always have a choice no matter how dark the times. Tend to your inner light and it will tend you. You need to get out of Magnimar. Go to the town of Sandpoint. I have a friend there, Madame Mvashti. Tell her that I have gone missing and you need protection and guidance.

All my love.

Last night . . .

Vir unsaddled one of the caravan's mares and began to brush her down. She knickered with pleasure. Vir fed her an apple and she nuzzled his hand. Animals had always liked him, and caring for the mounts of the paladins of Abadar had given him lots of experience with them.

Suddenly, the terror of the last week caught up with him. He began to cry, face buried in the horse's neck.

"Paladin's aren't afraid. Paladin's aren't afraid." Vir thought to himself. "Once I get to Sandpoint, things will be better. Madame Mvashti will know what to do."

Personality and Appearance:

Vir Garn is a rather handsome half-elven teenager with blond curly hair and grey eyes. He is 5'10" and weighs about 140 lbs.

Currently, Vir is more of a follower than a leader. He is somewhat naive and gravities towards people and situations that provide stability and clarity. He is a little lost. He needs to discover if his best interests are the same as those inculcated during his childhood. Vir is also an optimist. He believes the best in people, and he hopes that things will turn out for the greater good.

Goals:

Vir is seventeen. He is full of goals. He wants to be a paladin. He wants to control his inner power that lets him transform into a monster. More than anything he wants to find his mother. He hopes that she is still alive and doesn't let himself imagine the alternatives. Once he finds his mother he hopes to work with her to bring his father's killers to justice.


Ixos wrote:

I think I realized what the disconnect with Vir might be. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Vir's story isn't about optimism, though he is optimistic, it's about maturation and coming of age. I want to present a character whose final personality is not completely formed. He has grown up under very structured conditions. He is naive. He has relied on people to tell him how to be and what he should want. My player goal for this character is to have him go from being a follower, looking for a strong leader or for clear norms, to a man who can choose for himself, who owns his choices. Towards that end, I've added another section to the story. It might not delve deeply into his psyche, but it does make the stakes of his story clearer. I hope that makes the character come more alive for you.

** spoiler omitted **...

Feedback:

Thanks for this. I can see so much more of his character now and I hope it's helped you too.


Well it seems I'm always coming in at the tail end of these things without much time for reworking, but here goes nothing. :) Hopefully the story will be entertaining if nothing else. I'm somewhat newish to Golarion (but not to rpgs), so hopefully my 'lore' isn't too horrid. I tried to make it as location neutral as I could for that reason, and also because the campaign is basically 'yet to be determined'. Anyway, here is Breaca's story:

Backstory:

Ten years. For ten years I been in this city; ten years in this living crawling rat warren that is now my home. The smells of the animal dung in the streets and that of the unwashed bodies of the inhabitants in the lower city surround me as I wander the streets on my way to the city gates. I crinkle my nose in distaste. Oh, how I long for my true home and its lands and people, for the green fields, snowy peaks, and dark forests that were once my haunts. I long for my family, who must surely be lost to me forever by now. I long to see my brother, who was my closest friend and ally and whom I dearly love. I hope he did not perish in the mountain pass where last I saw him so long ago and I hope that he lives yet, perhaps even with a mate and children of his own. I know he still thinks of me and I wonder if he ever learned my fate.

I continue walking through the streets towards the gates, meeting the eyes of those I pass with a level gaze. Even after so long, many are uncomfortable at the gaze of this strange foreign warrioress who meets their eyes with her own as an equal would. The women glare balefully at the haughty slave and hastily herd their children away; the men’s eyes quickly fall uneasily to the ground, their self-proclaimed superiority forgotten momentarily under the scrutiny of the stare of a woman such as I. The eyes of the braver of the fellows’ linger over my figure, their lascivious thoughts open and plain to all. I scoff disdainfully to myself. Such fools… I am the equal of any four of them. My brother, were he here, would be the equal of any ten. Besides, these young pups dare not touch me for they know Marcius’ wrath would be upon them, and they fear their general’s power and retribution. Yet I would not willingly accept or seek his protection, for I am a trained shieldmaiden and I will not show these people weakness by seeking the protection of one of their own. I doubt these youths would understand that and so I let them think what they will. Cowards. How these people ever defeated us I will never understand. It must have been some cruel and terrible jape of the gods. But enough of such musings.

I pass a merchant’s booth on my way to the city gates. On it are displayed figurines depicting various peoples, what I assume are deities, and other… things. One figure stands out to me. It is that of a woman cunningly carved in ivory. Her garments are loose and flowing and she holds her hand out as if beckoning for me to follow her. It is the White Lady, and I recognize her immediately. The legends of my people speak of the White Lady, some say that she is the founding mother of my race, others that she is a goddess. Mayhaps there is truth in both tales, but I do not know much of such things. I am no priestess. One thing all the stories agree on though, she will one day return with vengeance against those who would harm us.

Clutching the statue to my breast, I ask the merchant in the back of the stall how much he wants for it. He turns towards me, his eyes widening in surprise as he takes in my rough garb... and the raven mark tattooed on my upper right shoulder. His eyes linger on the raven. I have not seen the man before, but we recognize each other as fellow Maod. “Your hair..” He whispers awkwardly, as if to himself. I blush in shame then and, setting the figurine down, turn quickly to go. Among those who wear the raven, one’s hair is one’s pride and joy and is never to be cut. Now mine is kept cropped short to my ears by my mistress, as is the fashion here among those of my status. As I am leaving, I hear footsteps close behind me and I feel strong hands grab me by my shoulders from behind and whirl me back around to face the merchant. A rough hand cups my chin and lifts it gently so I am looking up into the weathered face of the man. I allow him to do so, for his eyes reveal compassion and I sense that he meant well. He gazes down at me. “I am sorry. Forgive a fool’s oafishness, Lady.” He presses the figurine into my palm. “Keep it…” He says softly. “…and come by again and we will talk of home, if you’ve the wish.” My eyes express my deep gratitude as I nod once and then turn away.

One day each month my master Marcius gives me leave to spend the day as I wish and such is today. My duties are rarely overly onerous. I enjoy the company of his children Cassia and Tulilia, over whom I have been given the responsibilities of governess, and I enjoy working in his stables, grooming the horses and the like. Besides this, Marcius himself is kind to me in his own gruff way. Much more so than I would have reason to expect from him. I think he must be made of the higher stuff of his people’s ancestors. His wife, Marcella, however, despairs of my ever becoming a ‘proper’ servant and takes me to task at the slightest infraction of proprieties, of which there are apparently many. She does not like that her husband is so lenient with me. Certainly, few if any of the other slaves are given personal holidays as I am. Marcius has always treated me with honor, dignity, and respect, as one warrior to another, though I know he can also be very jealous of his reputation and station in society and will brook no breach of propriety before his fellows. Though the feigned servility chafes my own sense of honor, I try to indulge him as he has indulged me and I behave myself, publicly at least, as one of my current station would be expected to behave. Once only have I lost my temper and defied him before his peers and that once only has he beaten me. I try to please him, not because I fear him or his punishments, but because he is one of the few of his people who, to my surprise, I have come to respect and even to like. This I find somewhat ironic as he was once my greatest enemy and the man who so ruthlessly defeated my people those ten years ago. We have spent long hours talking together of the politics of the day and of various campaigns, one warrior to another, and often he will ask my advice or thoughts on certain matters. I have learned much from him. Whatever his faults, I find that I cannot hate him, for I believe he is at the core a good and just man.

His children Cassia and Tulilia are my confidants and my joy. Often when they were younger a crash of thunder in the night would send them screaming in terror to my bed where we would all spend the night huddled together on my cot. I have reared them as I would my own daughters and teach them all that I know. At Cassia’s request I even began secretly teaching them to fight with dagger. To this I readily agreed, believing the two should know how to handle themselves in a scrap. It is only proper, after all, for the gods frown on those who are unwilling to help themselves and instead come crying to them every time a little thing goes awry. The world belongs to the strong and the gods honor strength. The girls show promise, much to my delight. Perhaps my mistress is right. Perhaps I am making savages of the two. If this is true, then so much the better. Someone needs to, lest they be wasted. I have seen the so called ‘noble’ woman, and she is a pitiful thing. I will make something much more from my two charges; more self reliant, more strong. I have even taught the children what I know of many of the histories and deities of my own people, though I am certainly no bard. Marcius indulges me in this as well, to the great consternation of his wife who believes if given free reign, I will make such heathens of the children that they will never find husbands willing to put up with them and thus the family’s future be ruined. Marcius insists however that it is good that the children should learn of neighboring peoples and cultures and so I have regaled them with tales of Maod heroes and heroines, of monsters both human and non, of great serpents and of gods and goddesses, of curses and terrible dooms, of battles and duels of honor, and of oaths sworn in vengeance over a father’s grave, much to the girls’ wide-eyed delight. Fingering the outline of the figurine in my pouch, I decide that it is an opportune time to teach them of the White Lady. I decide that tonight I shall recount her legend to them, as once my mother did with me so long ago.

At last I pass the gates of the city and make my way into the hills, and once I am far enough away from the city and into free air, I take a deep, cleansing breath and sigh with relief. A month is so terribly long to wait. I shake my head and think, not for the first time, of how easy it would be to simply leave, to escape, to be just one more body lost in the crowds that daily enter and leave the city and then to simply disappear forever into the woods. I would miss the children then, true, but I would be free again. Once in the wilds these city dwellers would never find me, not without magical aid anyway, and I doubt that such effort would be wasted on one runaway slave. I would make my way to my homeland, to my mother and father, and to Uhtred, my brother. But I cannot do this. My oath holds me here as surely as any chains and I will not go against my word once given. Marcius knows this about me, and I think this is why he trusts me as he does. If I am ever to leave, it must be with his blessing, or else upon his death; for it is to him, and to him alone, that I swore my oath.

I head into the woods and find the old oak that has become my special refuge. I pull the makeshift bow that I have crafted out from the hollow in the tree and string it with the twine I have secreted in my pack. I am forbidden to bear arms within the city, but here… here I am free to do as I wish, for there are none to see. I caress the bow lovingly. It is not the bow that I used to carry, for that great bow Black Wind and my axe Serpentbite are in a chest in Marcius’ Estate. I have not touched them since I was taken. No, this is the bow I have made on my free days over the years and it is an extension of who I am. I know my skills are now not a tenth what they once were in the height of my power and youth, for such skill requires much practice to maintain and true battle to hone and sharpen and I have had neither the time nor the freedom for such since I surrendered myself to Marcius. Like my captors, I have grown lax and slow and my skills have waned over the past ten years. This is not by any fault of mine, for I practice still as much as I am able.

For a long while I stand silently and blessedly alone in the woods with my bow in hand and my eyes closed. I feel the wind caresses my face and hear the birds singing overhead. I remember the woman who I was and the woman who I know I still am inside. I am still Breaca Strongbow, warrioress and defender of my people and I hold tightly to that truth, though I know I look little like the wild young woman from those long years ago. As I stand here, I remember the day when, as a little girl, I shot my first arrow, and how proud my father and my brother were of me. I remember a few months later, my first kill, a great wild boar. Father declared a feast and the priests blessed the kill before all the gods as we roasted it over a pit. I was given a seat of honor and the lion’s portion that night as we all ate our fill and told stories and sang songs till the early hours of the morn. I remember on my tenth name day when my brother gave me my first horse and taught me to ride. I remember how, laughing, I would mount Swyft bareback and we would race each other through the woods, and mother would scold us when we returned home late at night long after the sun had gone down. I remember with pride the day my fame and skill with bow and axe and horse earned me a place in our warrior society and the raven mark which to this day adorns my left arm. And I remember the fateful day the outriders came with news of the raid.

I don’t think we ever knew truly what happened. The reports we received were conflicted. Some say the Sinovei, with their insatiable lust for lands and power, invaded us, others that a lord from one of the neighboring clans foolishly raided an one of their border villages. Whatever the case, our brothers and sisters were at war and so eagerly we prepared for battle, as is our wont. Swords were forged, arrows fletched, and skills honed till at last my brother and I and the warriors and warrioresses of our clan rode out to meet our hated enemy, for the Sinovei were among those who had allied themselves with Marcius’ people when they came to plunder and we have not forgotten. Though I had participated in many a raid before this, it was to be my first true pitched battle and oh, how I reveled in the joy of it. I learned from Marcius much later that my battle was really little more than a skirmish, child’s play really… but to my young heart it was as if a great story come to life. When we arrived, we saw that it was not just the Sinovei that we faced, for there was a detachment of soldiery from the cities among them. My arrows sent many lad to his ancestors that day and I brought much fame and honor to my family. We caught them by surprise and routed them. The Sinovei leader was slain, his head hewn off at the shoulders by my very brother Uhtred’s greatsword. We should have destroyed them utterly then, but alas we did not. They were allowed to escape, much to my brother’s displeasure. Soon after this our spies brought us news of the enemy’s appointment of a new commander, one by the name of Marcius - from the city-states. I remember how my brother had laughed when he heard this and told me we’d whittle him down to size as we did his predecessor if they even dared to come for us now. I smiled at his enthusiasm and nodded in agreement, for truly, who indeed could stand before us?

Marcius proved to be a much more cunning and devious foe than did his predecessor, however. Ever he managed to stay one step ahead of us, burning a farmstead here, destroying a settlement there and vanishing again before we could react, denying us the pitched battle we sought. Ever he would hit us and retreat, all the while bringing in more reinforcements from his empire until the balance inevitably began to shift in his favor and he began to retake the lands they had lost and continued pushing us back until it seemed as if his gods watched over him while our own must surely be sleeping. We knew we were beaten. Beaten by superior numbers for none of our neighboring tribes were foolhardy enough to come to our rescue. A council was called and the shamans and priests consulted. It was determined that if we were to have a chance to be victorious, Marcius must be slain. It was decided that a party of warriors should attempt to infiltrate the enemy camp and capture or slay him. It was a foolhardy and likely suicide mission, the kind of mission that would bring much glory to those who would undertake it and perhaps even the notice of the gods. Uhtred and I were among the first to volunteer and, because of our growing reputation as warriors, were among those chosen to attempt the deed.

Days later, we reached the enemy encampment, but we knew at once something was wrong. It was not nearly so great an assembly as we had expected. It was as if a good half of his force had disappeared. We did however espy a man whom Halthor recognized as he whom we sought. After some further reconnaissance we decided to continue on with our mission. We determined that we would strike the next evening after the general had retired.

“I will sneak into his tent and slay him whilst you four cover me.” Uhtred declared.

I laughed. “Uhtred dear, you couldn’t sneak past a corpse. I will go.” There was much discussion then between all the party at this, but at last it was determined that I should indeed be the one to attempt the deed, for none of them could match my ability to move stealthily undetected. Uhtred was definitely not pleased, I could tell. I slipped my arm around him and whispered. “I will be alright, brother. The gods will watch over me.” He merely grunted and so I poked him in the ribs so he would see reason. He can be so very stubborn, my brother.

All that day I prepared myself, honing my weapons and donning the ochre paint designed to strike terror in the heart of an enemy. When at last I emerged, Ciardan said I looked like a banshee. I grinned impishly at him. At last the hour came and I kissed my companions farewell before creeping silently down the slope. “Be careful.” Ciardan called after me. I turned and I winked up at him and blew him a kiss in reply. I liked him very much, for he was always a sweetheart.

Creeping down to the camp in the dark of night, I silently stole up behind a lone and rather bored looking sentry. Without hesitation, I clamped my hand down hard over his mouth as my blade sliced cruelly across his windpipe. Soundlessly, he collapsed convulsing against me and I slowly, silently, lowered him to the ground before dragging him into some dense bushes where I hoped he would be out of view of any passerby.

Coming at last to the tent which I knew was General Marcius’, I lifting the flap and crawled inside. The interior was dark, but using the flickering glow of the campfire outside, I could just make out a cot near the back. I crept up to it, poised to strike…. but as I pulled the covers back I saw too late that it was empty. Cursing, I was debating what I should do when I heard the voices approaching from outside. Frantically, I looked about for an escape and my eyes again spied the cot. Deciding it was likely going to be my only option, I quickly rolled underneath it and lay quietly waiting. Moments later the flaps opened and a man stepped inside. He sighed wearily as he strode towards my hiding place and, sitting down on the cot underneath which I lay, he slowly began removing his boots and armor. Impatiently I waited and watched him as the sweat began to bead at the small of my back. Suddenly, the man stood and cocked his head to the side and I got a first glimpse of a handsome face. He could indeed only be the general which I sought. Breathlessly I waited, my heart pounding so that I feared he must surely hear. I tensed my muscles, ready to explode into action as I wondered if he had sensed my presence. Presently however, he continued his stripping until he was naked to the waist before moving to sit at the desk along the side wall. He took out a quill and ink and was rummaging through a sheaf of parchment. His back now towards me, I saw my opportunity. I crept silently up out of my hiding place, but his warrior instincts must have kicked in for suddenly he leapt up, swinging to face me as I was still rising from the ground. Swiftly I closed the distance to him, herding him with my blade to the far corner where he would not be able to reach for his weapons. I stopped there. Seeing he was within my power, the man straightened to his full height and stood fearlessly confronting me as a god might, even as he awaited the end he surely must now expect. He made no move, did not even call out to his guards. For long moments the two of us stood thus facing each other, neither saying a word. The tension was a palpable thing in the air between us as we both realized his life was in my hands. As I steeled myself for the killing thrust, the only sound was that of my own labored breathing, for my chest was heaving as I held the blade pressed firmly against his naked chest. A thin trickle of blood ran down where my short sword had pricked him, but he did not flinch even slightly. For an eternity it seemed we stood there, my mind a whirl as his eyes locked with my own. I will never forget the look on his face as we stood there, his eyes seeming to suck my very soul into them.

To this very day I sometimes lay awake at night and wonder why I did not strike him down that fateful eve. I had certainly planned and steeled myself to do so and up to that very last instant when our eyes locked I was fully committed to the deed. He was helpless before me that night in his tent and had I struck, things would be so very different now. Every instinct in me screamed at me to thrust the blade forward, but something inexplicably held me back. It seems foolish, even to me, but I had the sense somehow that this man’s destiny and my own were to be intertwined. Too late, I felt the chords of fickle fate wrap themselves about me and I found to my shame that I could not bring myself to slay my enemy in this fashion. Oh, I am no sentimental weakling. I have slain many in my time and had we met in battle, blade against blade, I would not have hesitated to take his life, but this was different somehow, and I found I could not do it. If he had fought, had made some move against me, even then I might have slain him, but he did no such thing. He just stood there watching me, waiting. Perhaps he sensed what I had sensed as well. I have never asked him.

Slowly, so infinitely slowly, my blade lowered. I licked my lips nervously. Even now he did not lunge for me or shout for help as I half expected, but instead stood still with his eyes locked on mine as if he were trying to read my soul. Finally, trembling slightly, I tore my gaze away and took a step back from him, though I still kept my blade between us. His face did not register relief or anger, or even surprise. He just stood there gazing curiously at me, his brow cocked as if waiting to see what I would do next.

There was a shout from outside the tent and I slowly backed away from him and peeked outside. I saw at once that the sentry’s body had been discovered and the camp was in turmoil. Cursing my unexpected weakness, I slipped outside into the mayhem. Two soldiers immediately spotted me and charged. I nimbly parried one thrust of a spear and dodged the sword of the other, but they kept pushing me back. It was all I could do to defend myself, much less launch a counterattack. I threw my knife at them as I took a step back to give myself time to draw my axe. Still they drove me back and it was all I could do to deflect their blows. Then, throwing caution to the wind, I spun around the spearman’s thrust, flinging my body inside the thrust and forward. I felt the speartip lightly graze my side even as I swept past the reach of the weapon’s point. Still, my opponent had reacted too slowly for, using the momentum of my spin to give my blow force, I stepped around behind him and swung my axe around with all my force to catch him at the base of his skull. Blood and brains splattered me as I wrenched Serpentbite free and as he fell I knew that the man would be dead before his body hit the ground. The swordsman did not hesitate, however, as he immediately rushed in with a wicked blade thrust, giving me no moment to recover from my attack. I desperately stepped back to avoid the point of the sword as it hungrily sought my abdomen, but in doing so, I tripped on the body of my fallen foe and fell hard, the breath going out of me in a rush as I hit the ground painfully. I had a fleeting glance behind my remaining opponent where I could see that our struggle had been seen and several more soldiers were now coming up. My attention was soon brought back to more immediate concerns however as the swordsman came at me again with a savage over handed blow that surely would have split me in twain had I not desperately thrown my axe up before my body to block the incoming blade. As it was, my limbs seemed to melt into jelly at the impact as axe met sword, for he was very strong and I am certain it was only by intervention of some god or goddess that I was able to keep the sword from my face.

Suddenly there came a great bellowing from behind us and then a sharp clang of steel followed by a hollow thump and suddenly my attacker collapsed dead on the ground next to me. Ciardan and Uhtred charged past, engaging the first of the line of soldiers to give me time to regain my wits and my feet. My heart swelled with pride for the two men, for even as I stood shakily to my feet, three more of our enemies lay already dead at their feet. I knew they could not hold them for long though, and I was about to rush in to aid them when a voice called me back.

“Breaca, catch!” It was Kelda, leading the horses she and Halthor had taken for us when they spooked the enemy steeds. She threw something at me which I caught in my free hand. I smiled a wicked smile, for I saw that it was my bow which I had left behind earlier. My quiver soon followed after and I swiftly notched an arrow, drew, and loosed death upon the enemy. Before the arrow had even found its target, I had another notched and drawn, a spearman in my sights. I loosed again and it sped past Ciardan’s head to lodge in a spearman’s throat even as he was about to lunge at my friend. The man staggered back making harsh choking sounds, his hands reaching futilely up to stop the flow of blood from his throat. A third and fourth arrow also found targets as Kelda and Halthor joined their fire to my own from the ridge above, giving our men time to disengage. “Back! We must go!” I cried.

The men turned to follow me even as the enemy began to pierce the air with a few arrows of their own. I heard a gasp from behind. Glancing over my shoulder I saw with dismay that Ciardan had fallen to his knees with an arrow protruding from his upper back. A thin line of blood was trickling down the corner of his mouth. I screamed his name in horror and rushed back to him, ignoring the arrows as they whizzed past us. Kelda and Halthor continued their steady firing and I could hear Uhtred yelling at me to keep going. I ignored him and fell to my knees before my friend. Ciardan reached up and grasped my shoulder for support.

“Go… go my little raven, you must fly..” he gasped. His face was contorted in agony.

“No…No! You’re coming with us! Hold on to me, I will help you.”

He shook his head firmly. “I cannot..” He smiled a bloody and grim smile. “But I will have a good end … one to sing of.” His hand grasped his sword more tightly as he raised it point up beside me.

Tears streamed down my face then, but I nodded and smiled with understanding and a fierce pride for him. Then impulsively I bent forward and kissed him long and hard and clutched him against me. I felt his hand squeeze my own tightly even as strong hands grasped me by the shoulders and pulled me back. The enemy was closing in on us.

“Come Breaca! We must fly.” Uhtred shouted as he continued tugging at me. The two men’s eyes met.

“Go.” Ciardan told us, his voice calm and certain. “I will be well.”

Reluctantly I followed my brother as he turned and fled back into the night. He was limping badly, I now saw through my tears. As we scrambled up the slope, Ciardan’s final war cry rang in our ears as his sword sang its grizzly song one last time upon this world.

We fled all that night. The enemy would be delayed for Kelda and Halthor had sent most of their mounts flying off into the night, but we knew it would not take them long to take up our trail in hot pursuit. I avoided the eyes of my companions. How would I ever tell them? Ciardan’s death was a raw and bleeding wound on my heart. My poor sweet Ciardan. Because of my weakness, he had died for nothing. The guilt and shame of that will haunt me to my grave and into the next world. I had failed them all and though I betrayed nothing on the outside of yet, inside I wept bitterly.

The next day we could all see that Uhtred was more badly hurt than he had let on. He would not allow us to slow our pace though, for he knew we were being followed. By the third day however, he had no choice. The wound had festered and as I lay a hand to his brow, I knew he was feverish. We came at midday upon a clearing in which stood an old and abandoned hut. I called for a halt. Uhtred could barely sit his mount and required aid dismounting. Kelda and Halthor helped him inside as I went in search of herbs that I might use to try and draw the poisons from his body. By the time I returned, he was half delirious. Fearfully, I cut away his leggings from the wound and gasped. He would need far better care than I could give him. Nonetheless, I prepared an ointment and applied it, hoping my poor skills would at least serve to slow the disease until we could find aid. Night was already descending by the time I finished my ministrations and so we decided to spend the night at the hut and then strike out the next day using an old abandoned cart Halthor found out back to carry Uhtred. I slept uneasily that night. I heard Uhtred moan next to me and so I went to him. His fever had cooled slightly, but he was still unconscious. I bit my lip in worry. We must find a healer and soon. I had never seen a wound fester so quickly before.

Dawn came all too early and I awoke with a sense of foreboding. Kelda and I were hitching one of the horses to the cart when suddenly Halthor came running and shouting from back the way we had come the previous day. “Hurry, they are just behind us, a few minutes no more!” Frantically we finished hitching the cart as Halthor carried Uhtred outside. I looked back down the trail and saw with dismay that already the enemy was coming into view. Suddenly I knew what I must do. It was a long shot, a fool’s hope. “Take care of my brother.” I told my companions.

“Breaca… what…” I broke Kelda’s question off with a look and then mounted my horse bareback and urged him into a slow walk down the slope and towards the enemy. I did not look back.

Silently I approached and stopped fifty feet or so from the enemy, my arms held with palms up out from my side to show I did not mean to attack. I clamped down hard on the fear I felt rising up in me and kept my expression emotionless as I looked down on them. A hawk nosed, haughty looking man strode impudently out of their ranks and took a few steps towards me.

“Well?” He demanded.

My heart sank. This was not the man whom I had half hoped, half feared to speak with. “Do you command here?”

“I’ll be asking the questions here, wench. Now I’ll ask one last time, what do you want?”

I exhaled sharply, biting back several sharp retorts as I struggled to control my temper. It would not serve me here. Instead, I drew myself up and calmly addressed him.

“I have come to ask safe passage for my three companions.”

At this the man openly laughed and I could hear the smirks and guffaws of the men behind him. Grimacing, I was about to address them further when a movement in their ranks arrested my attention. An armored man astride a great roan stallion parted the ranks before him as he rode through and halted next to hawk-face. “What’s going on here, Lucius?” He demanded in tones of authority.

“One of the savage b!@@@es, sir. Come to bay at us. Most likely one of the ones from the other night.” He snorted. “She ‘asks’ safe passage for her accomplices.”

“Hmm… is that so…” He removed his helmet and eyed me speculatively. I could now see that it was Marcius. He nudged his horse slightly and came towards me. He was an expert horseman, I could tell from the way he sat his horse. Several of his men started forward as his intention to speak with me became clear, but he waved them back and approached me alone. I could tell that he knew who I was.

“What is your name, Lady?”

I returned his stare evenly. “Breaca, the Strongbow.” I said simply. At this there were gasps and mutterings behind us. Apparently my fame was greater than I had known. Marcius betrayed nothing, however. He eyed me, his brow cocked in that infuriating way he has. I cleared my throat and continued.

“I offer myself in exchange for the safe conduct of my three companions. One is very sick. If you will permit him to be borne by my companions to his village, then I, Breaca, will surrender myself to serve you in whatever capacity you deem fit, though I will not bear arms against my clan.” It hurt me to do this, but I knew it was the price the gods demanded for my weakness. I would pay this price, no matter what it cost me. For my brother, and for Ciardan.

“Your friends are?”

“The sick one is a distant cousin, the others are from his village.”

“Show me.”

I betrayed no emotion as I turned my horse and headed up the slope. I saw that my companions had being detained by several mounted soldiers. Halthor was glaring up at them. As we approached, Marcius waved the soldiers back. Uhtred’s face had been hidden from view by a blanket my companions had thrown over him as the enemy had approached. I hid my dismay as Marcius dismounted and lifted a corner of the blanket. He grew suddenly still. He had been at the battle when Uhtred decapitated his commander. Clearly he had recognized my brother.

He moved closer to stand next to me. “You ask much…” he breathed low so no one else could hear.

I swallowed hard and looked down at the ground. “One might say that I have given much.” I replied in kind, my tone implying the double meaning of my words. I looked back up and saw him nod almost imperceptibly.

Finally, he spoke. “I shall want your oath on this.”

I nodded, my face expressionless. “Give these three safe passage to wherever they would go and I will belong to you as I have said. This I swear by all the gods.” Then I knelt down on the ground in front of him and lay my beloved Black Wind and Serpentbite between us. Then I removed my armor and set it aside. I looked up at him. Our eyes locked.

“So shall it be.”

Description:

Name: Breaca
Race: Human, Female
Age: 33
Culture: "Barbarian"
Class: Ranger (built as a switch hitter)
Alignment: LN
Professions / Crafts: Fletcher, Herbalist (Heal skill)

Breaca stands at 5’8 and has dark hair which is currently cropped short. She is lithe and very athletic in appearance. Some might describe her as pretty, but probably not especially beautiful. On her right shoulder is tattooed the image of a raven, marking her as a former member of the Ravens, a warrior society among the clans. She has a somewhat fiery disposition and is not afraid to speak her mind, a trait which often lands her in trouble. She is capable of both soft hearted kindness and savage cruelty. Breaca believes that the gods honor strength and courage above all else. She views unwarranted mercy towards an enemy as a weakness and is usually quite ruthless in battle, though she fights honorably (or at least honorably in her mind). This is not to say she will not allow an enemy to surrender, for she will and has done so if the enemy fought well and with honor. Victory is victory after all. She will show no mercy however to any who have harmed a friend for she is extremely loyal and protective towards those she cares for. Breaca considers her word sacred and views any who would go back on their word once given as despicable.

Though having little to no talent herself, Breaca has a fondness for music and for stories, and has been known to sit for hours listening to a bard or other performer. She believes in her people’s gods and is actually quite devout in her own way.

Additional notes:

You may be asking what in the world "Maod" is. It is a made up family clan name. I didn't know where if chosen, the character would end up, so I decided to take a few liberties that could be tightened down to more setting specifics if desired later. In similar fashion, I used a made up 'white lady' as a legend of her people.

I have not made up crunch as of yet, but can put it together pretty quickly if I'm lucky enough to be chosen. For your info / consideration, she will be a switch-hitter ranger. I could also make her a barbarian if desired for some reason. Probably not a fighter though, for the simple reason that I can't stand to play a character with few skills. Besides the other two options fit her better I think. Let me know if you have any questions and hopefully I will spot them before time runs out. :P Thanks for your time and consideration!


Other details / questions:

Why is the character on the caravan to Sandpoint?

Or: "how did this slave end up in this group"?

If she's in RotRL, then she could be on the caravan because Marcius' wife sent her there to guard a shipment to her husband who is in Sandpoint on business. He could then send her on with the party for his own personal reasons. (I'm not terribly familiar enough with RotRL to know what that might be)

If she's in some other campaign, I tried to leave it generic enough that you could insert Marcius and 'family' into any starting location. She and Marcius have developed a lot of trust and respect for each other over the past 10 years, and she could be acting as his 'agent'.

There is also always the option that Marcius has recently died, and Breaca simply deemed her oath fulfilled and left to fulfill her desire for freedom. This is probably the easiest and cleanest break, but I would be open to whichever option serves the story you are telling best.

Goals: Being currently (presumably) a slave, Breaca doesn't really have goals so much as dreams. She dreams of freedom mostly. Of slipping back into the life she once knew. As I think the story brought out though, she's even conflicted about even this. She loves the children and respects Marcius, and though she would never admit it, she would miss him. And therein lies another conflict, for a part of her hates herself and is guilty for liking her captor. She sees it as a sort of betrayal of Ciardan, her brother, and ultimately her defeated clan.

On another level, she desires to be the person she once was, to regain her fighting capabilities (through which she gains self respect and pride),

Finally(I think), You asked about playing styles and aliases. My longest running character on these boards is [url]http://paizo.com/people/FiallainBoairr/campaigns[/url] in the Taint campaign (and its previous incarnations). It has been slowish lately, but has been running for I'm guessing 2 years or so.


Basic profile. I'll finish crunch on the off chance I"m chosen and once I know where I'll be going.


Just posting to establish that I have started this Alias. It still needs work, and yes the backstory will need a little tinkering, but after I shop for equipment I should basically be ready to go.


Bleeding Rain; Female C/N Elven Archery Style Urban Ranger

Notable Alternate Racial Traits include Darkvision and Silent Hunter.

Strength 16
Dexterity 17
Constitution 12
Intelligence 14
Wisdom 14
Charisma 7

Backstory and Description:

A huntress apprentice whom grew up adopted by a Shoanti Quah, Trained in the ways of the Hunt, Equally proficient with bow and 2handed sword. she was taken in after a Ship from Kyonin Crashed En Route to Riddleport, said to be the last survivor, her birth name, Selene Huntress.

Selene was given permission to wander the tribe in search of other survivors en Route to to Riddleport, a series of Elves whom sought to trade with Varisia, and acquire goods from magnimar. she seeks other survivors of her Kin.

though she knows her way around Horsemanship, she isn't proficient enough to be considered ready to Ride a Horse.

other than the shortbow and curved blade she possesses, and her dress made from tanned firepelt hides boiled in oil. she doesn't have much she possesses, the thievery tools she looted off a bandit's corpse, the darkness of Varisia and her innate abilities of Clairvoyance, and Adaption to darkness, have earned her the Nickname of "Moon Child." among the Shoanti a name referencing the blessing of the Grand Hunter, Erastil himself.

she is a short elf of 5 feet and 4 inches, with a slender and trim, yet muscular build, despite her appearant youth. she grew up harshly among the Shoanti tribes, and is a bit blunt and straightforward when speaking to others. her hair is a blackish hued color and her eyes a deep blue, her skin, pale as the moonlight itself. her usual attire, consists of a heavy dark blue flexibile dress made from firepelt cuir bouli.

Gear:

Gear; (300GP total)

Shortbow (30 GP)

60 mundane Arrows ( 3 GP, blanched with silver blanch)

Elven Curveblade (80GP)

Cestus (5GP)

Dagger; (2GP)

4 days Rations (2GP)

Belt Pouch (1GP)

2 Waterskins (1gp)

Club (Free)

Sling (Free)

Leather Dress (Treat as Leather Armor) (10gp)

thieves tools (30GP)

10 Flasks of Acid (100GP)

Signet Ring (5GP)

6 silver Weapon Blanches (30GP)

20 gold pieces unspent

Pebbles (these can be picked up off the ground, do i have to track them?)

Pouches of Dust; (do i need to list a price for these? it's just dust)

Feats

Power Attack

Big Game Hunter (Campaign Feat)

Combat Numbers:

Combat Numbers

Elven Curveblade

+4 1d10+4 18-20x2

Power Attack

+3 1d10+7 18-20x2

Against Favored Enemy (Goblins)

+6 1d10+6 18-20x2

Power Attack Against Favored Enemy

+5 1d10+9 18-20x2

Big Game Hunter

+5 1d10+6

Big Game Hunter with Power Attack

+4 1d10+9

Big Game Hunter and Power Attack against Favored Enemy

+6 1d10+11

Shortbow

+4 1d6

against goblinoids

+6 1d6+2

against large creatures

+5 1d6+2

against large goblinoids

+7 1d6+4

Sling

+4 1d3+2

Against Goblinoids

+6 1d3+4

Against Large Creatures

+5 1d3+4

Against Large Goblinoids

+7 1d3+6

Armor Class 15 Touch 13 Flat Footed 12 CMB +4 CMD 17 (CMD 19 Vs Sunder and Disarm with Curveblade) Fort +3 Ref +6 Will +2 HP 12.

Class:

Class Features

Wild Empathy -1

Track +1

Favored Enemy (Goblinoids +2)

Skills:

Perception (1 Rank) +8

Disable Device (1 rank) +7

Survival (1 rank) +6 (+7 to track)

Craft (Bow/Arrows) (1 rank) +6

Climb (1 rank) +7

Stealth (1 rank) +7

Swim (1 rank) +7

Spellcraft (1 rank) +6

Race:

Elf Racial Traits

Ability Score Racial Traits: Elves are nimble, both in body and mind, but their form is frail. They gain +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, and –2 Constitution.

Size: Elves are Medium creatures and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Type: Elves are Humanoids with the elf subtype.

Base Speed: Elves have a base speed of 30 feet.

Languages: Elves begin play speaking Common and Elven. Elves with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Celestial, Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan. See the Linguistics skill page for more information about these languages.

Elven Immunities: Elves are immune to magic sleep effects and gain a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells and effects.
Feat and Skill Racial Traits

Keen Senses: Elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.
Magical Racial Traits

Silent Hunter: Elves are renowned for their subtlety and skill. Elves with this racial trait reduce the penalty for using Stealth while moving by 5 and can make Stealth checks while running at a –20 penalty (this number includes the penalty reduction from this racial trait). This racial trait replaces elven magic.

Weapon Familiarity: Elves are proficient with longbows (including composite longbows), longswords, rapiers, and shortbows (including composite shortbows), and treat any weapon with the word “elven” in its name as a martial weapon.

Darkvision: Though uncommon, some groups of elves are born with darkvision, rather than low-light vision. In many cases this is taken as a sign of a drow in the elf's ancestry, and can lead to persecution within the elf's home community. Elves with this racial trait gain darkvision with a range of 60 feet, but also gain sensitivity to light and are dazzled in areas of bright light or within the radius of a daylight spell. This racial trait replaces low-light vision.


Tales of Nebuchcnezzar:

Necbuchcanezzar reclined on his couch as he drank wine and considered how best to despose of his enemies and rivals...although the chance of achieving victory over them was declining fast. Than'Zir had rallied many allies and he possessed an army capable of wiping Feresian of the map. Feresian was the small settlement that he ruled, a town of roughly a thousand Thassilions who were primarily craftsmen of stained glass and fine paper. He had a small if highly trained town guard of roughly eighty men, they would not be enough to help him defend his charge though. Necbuchcanezzar had been named the Custodian of Feresian through his own political scheming and a few well placed bribes in the Court of Pride. As Custodian of the town he set the laws of the place, acted as judge, defended it from those who would seek to harm it and ensure it's success as a community. He had chosen this industrious town of artisans for it's historical significance, Feresian had been the birthplace of the fourth emperor, Xan-Talast who had not been a puppet like the previous emperors. Yet despite the man's brillant ambition and cunning the Runelords had brought him down in a battle that had reduced Feresian from it's status as a might city state to the artisan's town that is was now. As he pondered and planned a magical voice echoed from his Lucerne Hammer, a weapon gifted to all who had passed the test of Pride and thus become full fledged Sin Mages of Pride.

Custodian I am sorry to trouble you but we are being attacked at the gatehouse...many of them are in the colors of the Court of Gluttony...

Replying through the mental link Necbuchcanezzar spoke, Hold them off as long as you can I will be there in a few minutes.

Necbuchcanezzar quickly donned his mithral plated robe, a minor artifact of the first empire that made a mage invulernable to arrows and other piercing weapons. He hurried and made it to the gatehouse and he saw immediately what was happening, ten of the guards were dead and the rest of them were fighting off a group of sin spawned horrors. The Court of Gluttony was legendary for the living abominations of Sin Magic it created. Necbuchcannezar made a motion with his hands and sent forth two phantasmal Dretchs to attack the Sin spawn. With another hand motion Nebuchcannezar sent forth a phantasm torn from the nightmares of his target, a man wering the colors of the Court of Gluttony. The phantasmal Dretchs easilly fooled the sin spawn and his guards attacked the distracted horrors, they killed three and heavily wounded the other two. They had been well trained in fighting with a sin mage and it showed, the man he attacked writhed and died as his mind believed that the phantasm was ripping his body to shreds. The rest of the attackers fled and Necbuchcanezzar looked over what remained of the men that had been guarding the gatehouse. Of the twenty assigned to it ten were dead and three were heavily, although not critically wounded.

With a mental pulse Necbuchcanezzar sent for a group of adepts from the Lissala temple to tend the wounded. The captain was still alive so Necbuchcanezzar spoke, tell me of what occured here

They came out of no where Custodian, they killed five of my men before we even knew they were there and then the cursed beasts killed five more of my men with some sort of sickly green bile that they spat from their "mouthes". I also saw a mage of Sloth with them I believe he is the man who teleported the horrors and mages of Gluttony in.

Necbuchcanezzar frowned, he had made enemies in both the courts of Sloth and Gluttony but if they were actully joining forces to destroy him... Captain in an hour you and the other officers are to meet me in my villa we need to review our defences.

Be there in an hour Lord Custodian.

Necbuchcanezzar retired to his villa and drank a small glass of purple wine...he could hld out against one set of enemies but not against both working in tandom. It may soon be time for him to to ininiate the plan he had discussed with Rye.

His officers arrived and Necbuchcanezzar poured out several goblets of the purple wine.

SO what part of the defences need to be reviewed Custodian?

[b[I did not call you three up here to discuss the defences that was merely a pretense in case our foes were listening. It is time for me to commit Sebunake, my death will stop the attacks.[/b]

Custodian you do not need to..

I must my friend I am sworn to defend this town as it's Custodian, I must do my duty. You will find my body in my bedchamber come morning, see to it that I be interred in the tomb that I had built within in this Town.

The guards saluted him grimly and left, Necbuchcanezzar had never informed them about his plan with Rye. Best that they remain ignorant so that they would not inadvertantly alert his enemies to what was truly going on. Necbuchcanezzar drank the sleeping poison in his bedchamber, it would for all intents and purposes make him look dead and his men would bury him in the tomb which was the signal for Rye to do her part of the plan.

Necbuchcanezzar awoke in his tomb to the sound of Rye's imperious and matriarchical voice, about time that you woke up this will not be an easy ritual to perform and the sooner I can get to it the better my friend.

Rye laid a fake corpse of Necbuchcanezzr's likeness on the tomb bed and Necbuchcanezzar stole with her through the secret passageways under the town to his actual "tomb". It was a small affair that was designed to protect his sleeping form from the elements, it was enshrined with powerful runes of Lissala.

Lay down epon the stone dais and relax, your lack of resistance is crucial to this ritual succeeding.

Laying down upon the dais Necbuchcanezzar watched as Rye began chanting a song to her goddess and then he felt the pull of slumber and then darkness...

gm does this give you the insight you wanted into Necbuchcanezzar's personality?


Jenrah wrote:

Well it seems I'm always coming in at the tail end of these things without much time for reworking, but here goes nothing. :) Hopefully the story will be entertaining if nothing else. I'm somewhat newish to Golarion (but not to rpgs), so hopefully my 'lore' isn't too horrid. I tried to make it as location neutral as I could for that reason, and also because the campaign is basically 'yet to be determined'. Anyway, here is Breaca's story:

** spoiler omitted **...

Feedback:

I ought to be grateful that I’m getting late applicants – and if they were poor it would make my life easier. But yours is anything but!

You’re right that some tweaking would have to happen sooner or later to fit some facts of Golarian e.g. where is slavery allowed and in a nation has conquered another; finding an appropriate deity.

These things can be easily fixed with the wikipedia that is the other players – plus loads of online wikis dedicated to Pathfinder andd Golarion.

Your story is excellent and shows me so much of your character. Not urgent, but at some time – if this character remains intact, it would be better if the description was woven into the story somehow. You mention her hair early in the prose and the fact that some men don’t hide their lust and you could easily show her other features and personality traits in the reactions of others.

I haven’t made my mind up about who goes in which adventure path, so I’d like you to roll the crunch for me. It is a really strong character but also an adaptable one. Which leads me to the only bit that’s missing. How does she end up leaving Marcius?


Breaca wrote:
Basic profile. I'll finish crunch on the off chance I"m chosen and once I know where I'll be going.

Phew - I thought this was another applicant!


Umbriere Moonwhisper wrote:

Bleeding Rain; Female C/N Elven Archery Style Urban Ranger

** spoiler omitted **...

Feedback:

This is an intriguing start but if you compare your back-story to others that have been submitted, you'll see that I'll be asking for a lot more - and you would have to undertake that knowing I may not choose the character. There are only five hours until I choose the parties and you may not even be online in that time.


Viluki wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...

Feedback:

Yes - and I thank you for your patience in indulging me.


Ixos wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...

Feedback:

Oops - thanks for this - I only just realised I hadn't given you any feedback. Arsenal's win was foremost in my mind last night!


Recruitment has formally closed...


It’s been a long few days (I expected to have to keep the recruitment open for over two weeks to get six good characters) and I’ve read a ton of short stories. And you, to your absolute credit, have jumped through every hoop I’ve placed in your way and continued to impress me.

But I have to choose a group for RotR first and foremost. I’ve given everyone feedback and I am being honest when I say any of the 18 characters fully submitted could have made a great addition to the campaign. So I’m not going to give specific feedback here.

Two or three characters absolutely blew me away but it’s worth mentioning that despite that, my decision was a consideration of the characters I wanted to see in RotR and party balance. I mentioned before that we were arcane heavy and that had to be factored into the mix. And I certainly saw no value in one awesome party, one amazing party and one good party. I had to mix it up. And one final but equally important point – I chose characters and not players.

Or rather, they chose me – they begged or demanded of me (depending on their style) to play RotR and I couldn’t say no to them. Another day, another game and the list of players in each of the groups would certainly have been different.

So…the people that will start the RotR campaign will be:

Rise of the Runelords:

Breaca
Horatio Aldebrandt
Kalig the Tireless
Merwyn Dreamweaver
Miro
Veryl Melthid

The second group will be offered the chance to participate in CoT (and before you ask, no Tieflings) and will be:

Council of Thieves:

Brand Firestorm
Delgata Pesur
Kaddok Bear-Kin
Keth Longstrider
Krokod Firetongue
Nebuchcanezzar

And the third group will be given the opportunity to join CotCT and will be:

Curse of the Crimson Throne:

Eltanin Titansglade
Galen Zanderholm
Gwernach Nickelbeard
Ixos
Walden Tyronius Ettinmoor
Wilthorn Gwanae

Please, please, please don’t see this as a ranking of your submission – as said before, this was as much about balancing three groups as anything else. If I wanted to simply rank you, I would have chosen one party and said good-bye to the rest. But your submissions were too good for that.

So, where to go from here? The RotR group need to have their characters ready ASAP as I plan to post some more information later today and I’ll put out the opening gaming post tomorrow.

CoT will start second and I recommend you start to think about what you might want to change in your character to better fit the scenario. You have my permission to change things entirely (you’ve more than earned my trust) but please only change class type with my permission (wizard to sorcerer is fine but rogue to paladin isn’t). There are a few caveats to this further down*. The free PDF player’s guide will help you with a campaign trait of course.

The CotCT group need to do the same.

*If anyone from the CoT group wants to swap with the CotCT group – that’s also fine but remember party balance. You may decide I’ve unbalanced your party, in which case feel free to work out how you’d like to rearrange things amongst yourselves (I mentioned before we are spell-user heavy).

You can all use this thread to ask questions about RotR but I’ve opened up the other threads for the other groups already. The links are here:

Council of Thieves

Curse of the Crimson Throne

With five of you specifying you’d prefer to play RotR – plus your chosen classes, I knew I couldn’t please all of the people all of the time with my approach but I hope you feel you’ve had a fair crack of the whip and you will all be able to play a Pathfinder campaign, even if it’s not the one you applied for.

And, as I’ve said before – if you want to take your leave at this point then I appreciate your effort in helping me to get to this position and I’d love it if you just let me know you’re bowing out, so I can arrange things appropriately.


GM Birch wrote:
Jenrah wrote:

Well it seems I'm always coming in at the tail end of these things without much time for reworking, but here goes nothing. :) Hopefully the story will be entertaining if nothing else. I'm somewhat newish to Golarion (but not to rpgs), so hopefully my 'lore' isn't too horrid. I tried to make it as location neutral as I could for that reason, and also because the campaign is basically 'yet to be determined'. Anyway, here is Breaca's story:

** spoiler omitted **...

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:

Hopefully I am not too late in responding. I will have to be brief as I am on my phone and at work on break.

Yes I can find a more appropriate deity for the setting and expected that. Probably Gorum for her warrior side and Desna for her freedom loving side. I will look closer when I have time. Same goes with countryor region where her story took place.

I agree about the weaving description into story. Can do.

I think you found the basic crunch I put up after the rest. It should be enough to get an idea. She will probably be going for the archery ranger style. Adaptable is good. :) The crunch will need to be tweaked, for example I dont have the campaign feat required, but I wanted to wait to see if and where she would end up first. If you need more let me know.

Now the main question: how did she leave Marcius? I think that being a commander, Marcius would have been considerably older than Breaca. Now in his latter years, the general desired to give a gift to his old 'enemy'that had served her oath so faithfully and thus gave Breaca her freedom, releasing her from her oath. Torn between her desire for freedom and self determination vs her love of the children children and her respect for Marcius, the former won out. She bid them a bittersweet farewell, promising to return someday to check up on them.


And I was ninjad by the dm. Will finish last touches tonight and be ready to go. Congrats to all!


You've been more than fair and I appreciate what you've done. Keth will be happy to join the CoT group.

I will work on specific changes tonight when Im home from work. Ill post in the CoT thread so its marked with my scent. ;)


I think I'll bow out of CoT, but please keep Kaddok in mind if anyone drops out of RotR.


I am having a hard time not feeling like the kid picked last in gym class, but I really appreciate you're being so willing to try to accommodate all of the submissions.

Thanks GMBirch for inspiring investment in these characters. I don't believe I've ever checked the recruitment boards so obsessively as I have in the past week or so.

I'm for playing CotCT, but I have to see how Walden will fit there, and I have a few questions as well, but I'll post those in the relevant thread.

Thanks again, and congratulations to all those chosen for RotRL! Have a great time!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Good luck to the RotR crew, looks like a fun group!


Off to the CoT I go then


Krisam wrote:
I think I'll bow out of CoT, but please keep Kaddok in mind if anyone drops out of RotR.

Thanks for letting me know - consider yourself first reserve.


Congrats to everybody who made it into Runelords! I'll be looking forward to CotCT, I've been hankering for some urban anyway, so this'll be fun.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Awesome, congrats everyone. It's a great pool of people when you feel like you have to run three games. :)


Congrats everyone! This was very excited and fun. I enjoyed peering into everyone's creations to read. I hope to game with the players that are going to be in other games at some point, there is a pool of creativity here!

Thank you GM Birch for a wonderful few days!

Off to Council of Thieves!

Good gaming to everyone,
-Keith Goudreau


not what I was expecting, however I have wanted to try a CoT game. However it will take a while, at least three days before I can truly reflavor him. Currently though I'm leaning towards to an Osirian or Babylonion style reflavoring of him. So if you will gm please bare with me...


Viluki wrote:
not what I was expecting, however I have wanted to try a CoT game. However it will take a while, at least three days before I can truly reflavor him. Currently though I'm leaning towards to an Osirian or Babylonion style reflavoring of him. So if you will gm please bare with me...

That's fine - I want to get RotR underway before I start either of the other two games - perhaps a week or so.

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