Captain Jacob Markosi, a middle-aged man whose silver hair doesn't quite match his dark beard, silently nods at each of you as you board the Peregrine. He keeps one eye on his crew as they make final preparations to set sail.
Ramona Avandth, a tanned human woman with practical clothing and short brown hair crosses your names off a list. "Excellent, thank you for arriving on time. Let me show you to your quarters."
She brings you to a small cabin, packed with several clean but threadbare bunks. "I know it's a bit cramped, but don't worry. It's only a six week journey to Ancorato and Talmandor's Bounty! Now, let me just make sure that all those crates of seeds made it on board..."
You are on board the Peregrine! The adventure begins when you make landfall, so feel free to post an introduction in-character, and maybe what you're up to while you're stuck on a boat for six weeks. There is no hurry on this; take your time to finish up your characters. I may have some other NPCs pop in to introduce themselves.
A small creature steps precisely into the room, his floor length coat bound at the waist with a pitted metal band, a large wooden chest floating in the air near his midriff. His almost featureless and slightly pyramidal head turns back and forth, seemingly surveying the cabin via another band of dark metal resting where most creatures would have eyes.
Short paces bring him to the bunk closest to the door. The chest slowly settles down to the floor at head of the bed. The little figure hops up onto his berth, prompting a muffled clank from the plates imbedded in his coat. He crosses legs of pale wood and dull iron.
Removing the band at his waist and setting it gingerly to the side, he evenly spreads his coat out around him as best he can.
Though he has no mouth to move, he speaks in a voice like a damp autumn breeze. "Thank you very much, Captain. Do let me know if I can help."
Cedar bounds into the room with a big smile. His wavy black hair is pulled into a loose pony tail and his mis-matched eyes, one blue and one green, sparkle with enthusiasm as he quickly surveys the quarters. He tosses his satchel onto one bunk and then quickly tries out another, and then a third before noticing that he is not alone.
"Yo ho! Are you the wyrwood?" he asks with curiosity. "I heard you were on board but I didn't think I'd be lucky enough to bunk with you!"
Cedar extends a hand. "I'm Cedar Cruise. I'm gonna be one of the colonists too." And then almost as an afterthought: "Um, which bunk did you want?"
Purpose Creche starts when Cedar flourishes his way in. As the taller man bounds around, the wyrwood plucks the curved iron band from his side, hops quickly off his bunk, and lands with another muted thunk from his coat. He hastily pulls his coat tightly around himself and fastens it with the retrieved metal.
Throughout it all, his smooth face of blonde, straight-grained wood remains unchanged; indeed, there is nothing to change.
At Cedar's enthusiastic greeting, Purpose Creche extends his own small hand. His delicate fingers bend around the changeling's grip like plant stems tracing the sun's path. His hand is cool and ever so slightly rough. The lateral strip of iron on his face catches the light as he inclines his head upwards.
"I'm Purpose Creche, and I am a wyrwood, yes. I'm not certain about your luck, but it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Cedar. I'm excited for our journey, and for the opportunity that awaits us." His soft voice whispers from somewhere within the shallow curving plane of his face.
He gently shakes Cedar's hand, releases it, and turns to the bunk.
"I had set my belongings down and was resting here, but it doesn't matter to me. Take this one if you like."
He makes a quiet buzzing sound and fiddles with the iron banding around his slender waist. "I'd need help moving my belongings, though. ""
The pitch of his voice rises minutely at these last words.
"No problem at all. The comfort of our passengers is very important to us," Cedar says as he helps Purpose Creche with his belongings. He then climbs up to the top bunk and stretches out. He locks his course hands with thick black nails behind his head. "This is going to be such a wonderful trip. I haven't been to Ancorato yet but I've heard great things about it."
There's the clunk of Purpose Creche's heavy coat settling onto the deck, followed by the creak of hinges. The small being opens his chest, and as he begins removing items and laying them out on his bunk, his voice drifts upwards to Cedar's ears.
"'Our passengers?' Are you crew? I thought your quarters would be separate." He removes a set of thin steel plates with strange designs cut out of them, a deck of cards, candles, and an abacus with green and yellow lacquered beads. He lays them out carefully on the threadbare blanket in a neat row.
Another quiet buzz. His whispering pitch shifts upwards once again. "I should know already. I'm a quarter master. Just on land, though."
Cedar watches with interest as Purpose Creche unpacks.
"Oh, no, sorry, I'm not part of the crew. Although I have worked as a sailor." Cedar points at the strange metal plates. "What are those things, if you don't mind my asking."
Supple fingers flow and fan over the plates before descending to collapse the objects into a stack.
"Shadow stencils. They're wonderful for telling stories. You put them in front of a light."
Purpose Creche rests the plates on his left palm. "This one," he says, coaxing one free with right thumb and forefinger, "can make a forest, or mountains. It depends on the angle." He turns it parallel to the floor and holds it up to show the wavy line cut out of the rectangular frame.
"They're simple things, but I think they're delightful. Using things like these," he says, using his stencil to indicate the possessions laid out on the bed, "helps me seem more like a person to other people, I find."
He turns his head towards Cedar, the pale wood of his sloping neck softly scraping against the leather of his coat's high collar. "You seem to think I'm a person already, though. That helps. I sincerely hope the rest of the colony is the same."
Cedar looks on as Purpose Creche explains his shadow cards.
How does he speak without moving his mouth? Are those black things his eyes? Does he have a brain inside there?
Realizing he's been staring, Cedar blinks and says, "Um, yes, the colony. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone there too. And don't worry, I don't think the company would have chosen us if we weren't going to fit in. I'm sure they want the colony to be as successful as possible, otherwise they would have just invited random people."
Purpose Creche notices Cedar’s discomfort and turns his attention to rearranging the shadow stencils on his bunk. He continues checking his possessions: a small journal, a pen and vial of ink, and two balls of twine join the parade of oddities.
”You’re a sailor, you said? What makes you leave the open sea behind to start a new life on an island?”
Cedar laughs and falls back onto his bunk.
”Oh, the sailor’s life. It’s in my blood apparently. I don’t know if I can ever give it up entirely. There’s something about the sea that calls to me. My father was a sailor, you know, from what they tell me. I grew up in an orphanage,” he quickly adds. “Abandoned by my mother when I was still a baby.”
Gulls soar and squawk outside the cabin window, and their shadows flit about the cabin floor.
”I doubt I can leave the sea behind. There’s something about it, at once playful and romantic, yet dark and terrifying. I fear it has me in it’s grip forever.”
The ship creaks and groans as it gently sways.
”How about you? What brings you out to the new colony?”
|Tobias "Toby" Hawthorn|
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The door to the cabin opens once again. What you see dripping in the doorway appears to be a human man...until you get to the head, that is. From the neck up he is the spitting image of a very happy dog.
"Hi there! I'm Tobias, Tobias Hawthorn, though most folks stick with Toby." He practically leaps forward to shake your hands. "I'm real glad to meet you!" Only when he's all the way into the room does he look down and realize how wet he is. He quickly shakes himself from head to foot, spraying his surroundings (namely, you) with fine droplets of water. "Oh geez, sorry about that! I was climbin' up that ganglplank and lookin' at all that water around me and, well, I just couldn't help myself! I dropped my bag at my feet and dove right in! Don't you just love swimming? It's so much fun!" He tosses his bag onto one of the open bunks and turns back to you. "I can't wait to get to the colony. We get to live surrounded by water all the time! We can go for a swim whenever we want! Oh, what are your names, anyway?"
Purpose Creche's small voice threads in and out of the sounds of ship and sea. He hops once more onto the bunk, maneuvering himself carefully into the center of his arrangement of belongings.
"I'm sorry to hear about your family. I know family is important for many." From within his coat, he pulls a worn splinter of dark wood about two feet long. His sinuous fingers twine around it, and he holds the object before him, parallel to the bunk.
"It's different for me. I don't think my family has the same ties as others expect. But I want them to be safe and successful, and that's hard when we're so unlike most people."
Below Cedar, light flows down onto the floor as four silver sparks grow into being around Purpose Creche's head.
"We don't feel things the same way. To me, the sea is a tool and a curiosity. To you, it is romantic, terrifying. I know what those words mean, but I cannot experience those feelings. That is unsettling for many." The lights spin slowly, casting conical shadows like a compass rose. "I hope the colony will welcome me, and others like me. I hope I'll learn how we might better fit in the world. I hope—"
Purpose Creche's further thoughts are interrupted when the excited Tobias practically leaps into the room. The light wink out, and he stows the splinter in his coat to stoically shakes the newcomer's hand. He pulls up the bunk's blanket just in time to protect his possessions from Tobias's shower of water. Droplets run down the wyrwood's blank face and hang on the edge of his metal "eye" band.
His flat, unperturbed voice wafts across the room. "I'm Purpose Creche. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Tobias."
"Woah, woah, woah!" Cedar wipes the water from his eyes and beard.
it's a talking dog-man!
He hops down from his bunk and shakes Toby's hand. "Cedar Cruise and I can already tell this is going to be the best cabin on the ship! Come on in and get settled. There are a couple bunks left. We were just getting acquainted. So, you love swimming? I do too. Especially in the ocean. It's the best. But, that can't be the only thing bringing you out to the colony, can it?
|Tobias "Toby" Hawthorn|
"Well," Toby says with a sheepish smile, "to be honest, I wasn't much of a shepherd. It's just so boring! I'd be sitting there, watching the sheep, and everywhere I turned there was something fun to do. I'd see turtles swimming in the creek, or the smithy walking by just begging to be challenged to an arm-wrestling competition, or an old hollow log in want of crawling around in! I mean honestly, how could I just sit there and stare at sheep when the world is so full of neat stuff?"
"Anway, between the lost sheep and some other stuff, my folks suggested that maybe I wasn't cut out for that life. So once I was grown" (Toby seems like he's maybe 18, certainly not more) "I set out for Carpenden. Did you know that they figure out government stuff there by having a food fight? How cool is that! That's where I was when I saw the ad for this expedition, and that sounded more fun than bein' in the city anyway, food fights or no, so I set out for Almas the next day and signed, and well, here I am!"
Purpose Creche cocks his broad-based head slightly to the side. "So you're seeking excitement? I expect at first the colony will require much hard work and leave time for little else." He emits a brief, light buzz. "You'll need to watch sheep before you can explore logs."
A droplet of water loses its grip on what amounts to Purpose Creche's chin and darkens a spot on the bunk's old blanket.
|Tobias "Toby" Hawthorn|
Toby's ears droop as Purpose Creche speaks. "Gee, you think so? I guess I was just so excited about going to a new land that I didn't really think about that."
The little being leans forward on his hands, fingers of pale wood splaying outwards in smooth motions like curling roots. "I do think so. Don't worry, though. If you are here, then the Bountiful Venture Company saw merit in you."
Water continues to slowly run down Purpose Creche's face. Some has pooled on the side of his eyeband, and its surface tension breaks, sending a long cascade down the side of his head and beneath the collar of his coat. "It's only a matter of time until we see what you are capable of."
Cedar lets out a laugh and puts a hand on Toby's shoulder.
"There's going to be plenty of adventure to be had, and swimming too, don't worry."
Turning to Purpose Creche then. "Some sympathy here for our friend, he's only just entered the real world."
Ramona returns to your cabin, reading checklists as she walks.
"Hello! Everyone settling in okay? The ship doesn't normally carry this many people, so I'm afraid everyone is in rather tight quarters. We'll also have to have meals in shifts. I've got you down for early dinner tonight, but we'll switch things up so that everyone can get to know everyone else. Tonight should be a little special; I'll make a bit of a speech to welcome everyone on this exciting journey!"
A crew member runs up and whispers something to Ramona. "They put the goats next to the grain! Oh no, this is a disaster." Turning back to you, "I'm so sorry; I've got to go deal with this. Just so you know, since I am the Bountiful Venture Company's designated leader for this mission, you are always welcome to come talk to me with any questions or concerns. See you at dinner!"
A little while later, two men come by your cabin, each with a prominent holy symbol.
"Hello! My name is Eamon Caranth, and this is my good friend Kurvis Nurpico. We just wanted to introduce ourselves to our flock, and we don't mean the sheep downstairs!" The smiling man in a green robe laughs at his own joke. He is tall and blond, with pointed ears and violet irises that indicate some elven heritage.
"There are no sheep on this ship, Eamon. There are 34 goats, though one is pregnant, so the numbers may increase mid-journey." Kurvis is shorter than Eamon, with stooping shoulders, short steel-gray hair, and a black robe. He looks older than Eamon, though Eamon's elven background likely delays gray hair and wrinkles.
"I know, Kurvis. It was a joke; no one says a flock of goats. Anyway, I am here to make sure that Erastil watches over the fine people of this new colony. Isn't it wonderful? Just what Old Deadeye teaches. Creating a new settlement, hunting, farming, learning to live off the land. I just can't wait!"
Kurvis adds, "And while Father Easy attends to that, I will be ensuring that the financial interests of the Bountiful Venture Company are looked after, just as Abadar teaches."
"Oh, don't listen to Father Grouse!" Eamon interjects, "And don't worry! If you worship another deity, we'll still help you with spiritual guidance. Perhaps we can set up shrines to everyone's gods! Who do you worship?"
|Tobias "Toby" Hawthorn|
"Me? Oh, why Kurgess of course! I don't need a fancy shrine or anything though. Maybe just an arm-wrasslin' setup, or a racetrack or somethin'. I'm sure I'll get a chance to hang some chain up soon enough. Ooh! I could use the ship's anchor for my daily obedience!" Toby's brief melancholy seems to be totally gone at the thought of competition.
"I'm not particularly devout," Cedar says. "But I've been known to call upon Gozreh for guidance, and you can bet I will again if this sea becomes stormy!"
Purpose Creche puts their hands to where a mouth would normally be.
"You're right, of course. I spoke too matter of factly. I apologize, Tobias."
At the priests' entry, Purpose Creche hops off his bunk, eliciting another muffled metallic sound from his coat. I don't think I've described it, really? Dark brown leather, and it's almost like it's quilted, but instead of puffy fabric squares it's got slightly tall 3"x4" rectangles that look like they're the result of something inside the lining.
He steps up beside his bunkmates and bows to the priests, then reaches into his coat and pulls out a small iron spiral on a leather thong.
"I hope that the Lady of Graves watches over me."
|Voices in the hallway|
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Heavy feet plod down the hall toward the door; you hear a sailor's voice rumbling along and getting closer.
… as I said this here potato's from me dear ‘ol gram-mammy's farm n'Andor — special grown 'n all — last one left.
The footsteps halt. While the clerics in your room chatter on, the voice in the hallway wheedles, Here now, sir. You go ahead 'n hold this fine specimen. Go ahead I said — don't be shy now! There you go. Take a good long look at those fine warts. Gaze at those first-rate dimples and divots, the lovely splotches of gray and brown! And the tasty An'dran dirt, best in Golarion if I do say so myself… and I knows my dirt, bein’ raised on my gram-mammy's farm as a potato cowboy 'n all. Lovely dirt straight from the potato ranch itself, sir, settled into the skin here like a right-fine pepper!
This, sir — this here's a tuber for the ages. Best of the batch too, last one left. And a fine gentle… man? fish? — beg pardon, such as yourself, I'm sure you recg'nize how only 3 gold pieces for this magnifferous tuber's 'the deal of a voyage. Oh yes… y'see, normally this one potato here'd be ten gold, but you sir, you caught me at the start of this journey and I'm in a generous mood, seein' as that three gold is all you have left and I can tell you're an admirer of fine things.
Me, I'm cuttin' me own throat on this deal here, my dear ol’ grammy would roll over in her grave but were she here to see this, but a man's got to unload his provisions before they spoil, so the saying goes.
What say you, friend?
|Voices in the hallway|
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A gravelly voice, just outside the door. A hard bargain; acceptable.
Coins clink; the human voice says Why thank you sir, and should you ever come by And'ran ways, come visit grammy's potato farm, might be you stay a spell and catch a good ol' potat-odeo. The clowns, they're a sight to behold, they are.
You hear a snicker; footsteps patter back down the hallway. The gravelly voice mumbles:
You see, Llyu-Llyu. A fine specimen. He did not lie. Remember it. Let theives think what they will of Sil'tchaak — fools sleep well, and a tuber before a trip is well worth the gold. You hear slobbering and crunching; the door opens.
A odd-looking fish-person, wearing a human's wide-brimmed straw hat, lumbers in on two legs. It's trying unsuccessfully to chew something. Bits of potato fall to the floor.
Its scales form psychedelic striations of azure, orange, yellow, purple, and black. Spines run along its arms, and poke out at odd angles from tattered crown of the farmer's hat. A fishy odor invades the room — not too strong, but a little unpleasant.
One webbed hand clutches half a raw potato; the other cradles a tightly-sealed glass container. Inside floats a tiny sea turtle.
These are the nests, yes? I am Sil'tchaak. Some prefer to call me 'Silt'. This, he gestures at the turtle with the potato, is Llyu-Llyu. Llyu-Llyu prefers to be called Llyu-Llyu. She is my friend and wishes to see the sights of the airy world, before we build a home in the waters of this new place.
Sil'tchaak's coloration is supposed to be like this little guy — there aren't any super colorful fish avatars to choose from.
|Tobias "Toby" Hawthorn|
Toby bounds off his bunk and over to the Sil'tchaak. "Hi there! My name's Toby! Woah, that's a neat turtle! I've never seen one like that before. The ones we had in the river back home were much more...um..." he starts gesturing vaguely with his hands, trying to convey the shape of a turtle "...turtle shaped. Anyway, it's great to meet you!"
Hello Toby. Llyu-Llyu is no river-turtle; one day, perhaps a hundred years from now, she'll be larger than several of these ship-nests!] It pauses and considers for a moment. I would like to swim in one of these rivers someday.
And who are the rest of you? If I missed introductions that is because I needed one last potato before traveling across the open ocean.
Cedar laughs as he greets Sil’tchaak.
”Oh, that last potato. Who can resist? I’m Cedar Cruise. Welcome to the best room on the ship. We were all just talking about how much we love swimming.”
Cedar holds up his empty hands.
”I’m not after your potato there, don’t worry. And sadly, I’m not a native of the waters, unless you count The Shackles, that is,” he says with a laugh.
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Sil'tchaak shoves the rest of the potato in its mouth and eyes Cedar for a moment before swallowing it whole. You mentioned potato. Please tell me when you get potato. Or yam, beet, turnip, carrot, rutabaga, dandelion, daikon, parsnip, parsley root, breadroot, arracacha, maca, jicama, or radish. A nictitating membrane flashes several times across its eye.
I hope that this island grows tubers. I harvest natural kelp on the coasts and in the reefs, but someday I'd like a little potato patch.
Careful steps bring Purpose Creche abreast of the others, and he grips Sil'tchaak's potato-grabbing appendage in his small hands.
"I'm Purpose Creche. I made the stencils, and I'm glad you appreciate them. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Silt."
He steps back, his coat moving stiffly as he clasps his hands together at his waist. "I'm not driftwood, but a wyrwood. I'm made from wood and iron and arcane energy." His head recedes a bit into the collar of his coat when he shrugs. "I understand that I am strange. While there are certain details I cannot discuss, I'm happy to answer questions."
He gestures to Sil'tchaak's hand and its film of white starch. "I see you're enthusiastic about root vegetables. I'm sure that Talmandor's Bounty will have such things amongst its seed stock. If the colonists have not already done so, I'll make sure we plant some when we arrive." He emits a wooden burr, almost like a tiny cat, and idly scrapes potato starch off his greeting hand. "I believe that would increase your quality of life."
Cedar scrunches up his nose at the fishy smell.
”What kind of turtle is, how did you pronounce her name, Lee-yoo-Lee-yoo?”
Before waiting for an answer, he casually moves to the back of the cabin and opens the window.
"Leeyoo, Leeyoo" is Llyu-Llyu. One day, she hopes to be a very big turtle like others of her kind. It pauses and breathes in some salty sea air. No… not her name. She knows those sounds and they make her happy.
It goes to the last bunk and starts unloading its gear, pulling out a bit of sargassum and dropping it in the jar. The baby megafauna nips at it.
It pulls out a large bladder and drizzles a dark green fluid into its maw before proffering it to the group. Kelp tea?
The turtle is an Archelon. Sil'tchaak isn't very intelligent and probably doesn't remember or care about its more scientific name.
|Tobias "Toby" Hawthorn|
Toby sniffs curiously at this fascinating new aroma, poking his nose closer, first toward the turtle jar then toward Sil'tchaak. He gets awkwardly close before realizing what he's doing and taking a step back, his ears flattening in embarrassment. "Sorry."
"I'd like to try some."
Purpose Creche extends a hand. A few small patches of white potato starch still cling to it.
potato - kelp tea!!!! :o
He pours some pungent tea from he bladder into Purpose's hand.
perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
do you have potato-dust in your hands? Tell me how potatokelp tastes!! A tinge of peppermint overcomes the fishy smell for a moment. Tell me! He stares intently at Purpose, waiting for him to drink.
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The wyrwood’s head tilts downwards to consider the mixture slowly running down his wrist, then up to look at Silt. He daintily brings his cupped hand up to his face and pours a bit of liquid out onto the convex portion above his chin.
It immediately runs down his neck, then into his coat and onto the floor. His eyeband never wavers from Silt’s face.
”I can neither eat nor drink, nor do I need to.”
He waits a beat, then buzzes.
”That’s a joke.”
A bell clangs loudly, indicating it's time for the first dinner shift.
As you sit at your table, Ramona addresses the group.
"Hello, friends and colleagues. I am so pleased to welcome you to this exciting adventure on behalf of the Bountiful Venture Trading Company. Some of us may be strangers now, but we will all be one community when we reach Talmandor's Bounty, where even as we speak, the first wave of colonists is planting crops, raising livestock, and building residences. You're all here for many reasons. Perhaps to spread the values of Andoran throughout the world. Perhaps you are looking for a new life. Perhaps you are enticed by the generous financial rewards from the Bountiful Venture Company for early settlers. Regardless, we are about to build something together that will be amazing!"She seems to be a practiced orator, and you think her words would be rather inspiring in the heat of battle.
You sit with a middle-aged dwarf woman and a middle-aged human man. The dwarf quickly introduces herself. "Hello, it's lovely to meet you! I'm Alba Divenvaar, and I'm a chemist by trade. This is all rather exciting, isn't it? When I was a young lass, I used to travel all over the Inner Sea. I went to Druma, the Mwangi Jungles, Osirion, all to learn trade secrets, but I always wanted to see the shores of Arcadia. The alchemical secrets that must be there! When I heard about this mission, I just had to apply! I may not be as young as I once was, but the community will need my skills, too! This here is Carver, and maybe you can get him to talk, as I sure haven't had any luck!" She pushes one of her many braids behind her ear.
The human man nods to you. "I am Carver Hastings. I am not nearly as talented as Alba here, but I do know some history of the region and can speak Azlanti, if we find any interesting artifacts. And of course, I can always work a plow, if needed."
"I'm Purpose Creche. It's a pleasure to make both of your acquaintances."
Purpose Creche quickly turns and leans towards Carver. "Mister Hastings, I have studied some of ancient Azlant myself. I'm extremely interested to hear your thoughts on the subject."
I need to revise Carver's last sentence; I missed a little bit.
"Of course, history doesn't help get a colony built, so I can always swing a sword if needed. I was able to join the expedition as a soldier."
To Purpose, "Well, I'm not sure what we'll find. There could be all sorts of artifacts from the Azlanti, and who knows who else has explored the region."
Are we all here or are we eating in shifts?