... Ou la Mort

Game Master The Wyrm Ouroboros

Remove Citizen Goss; destroy the Gray Gardeners; liberate the souls from the final blades; end the Red Revolution.
Player Tools: Discord Channel, Trello War Table, Isarn Map, the Galt Gazette for this campaign, Distances in the city, and Organizations and Buildings spreadsheet

Links and Enhancements:

Individual Threads
Spoiler:

Dolores: Ou la Mort
Lilli: Ou la Mort
Lucien: Ou la Mort
Jerome: Ou la Mort
Manush: Ou la Mort

Estelle Delsarte: The Vigilant Guard
Eponine d'Ambreville: The Vigilant Guard
Athanas Sylvain: The Vigilant Guard


Additional Systems:
Spoiler:

We will be using all sorts of optional rule systems. Skill Unlocks from Unchained are one main one; Verbal Duels, Influence, Affiliations, Personas (standard and Masked), Mysteries and Investigations, Rumors, Research, Contracts, Downtime, Duels, Gambling and Games of Chance, Investments, Building and Organization rules, and all that sort of thing; if it's in Ultimate Intrigue, chances are it'll get used. If it has to do with intrigue and isn't found in UI, chances are it'll get used.

I strongly encourage you to examine the Building and Organization rules, as well as the Persona rules, as the Leadership feat is not so much being replaced as being dramatically enhanced by these two; the better your persona and organization, the better your chances of succeeding at your goals.

I strongly encourage you to examine the specific rules for Verbal Duels; Performance skills are highly useful in them, and

I strongly encourage you to consider the uses of news, art, and propaganda both overt and subtle in history, whether for revolution, war, or political change; the Artistry skills (and to a lesser extent the Craft skills) will enable you to spread your thoughts much farther than your voice can reach.

Though you may not yet have access to them, of note are the rules for Personas and Masked Personas.

Personas
Personas are a measure of how influential you can be in the world; at the end of the first adventure, we will put these together. For a game like this, these are very useful -- especially so for the more public figures of the Military Genius, the Reliable Statesman, and the Influential Merchant, but useful as well in some ways for the Criminal Mastermind and the Distressed Prelate. Your personas will give you dedicated agents to work for you, admirers, and possibly even friends in high places; your personas will make you the critcial linchpins in ending the Red Revolution.

Masked Personas
While vigilantes are the most obvious users of masked personas (and can do so with a speed and reliability that is staggering to see), these rules allow otherwise-ordinary people to keep a 'mask' behind the mirror, as it were. The long-time masters of the masked persona are actually the Gray Gardeners; few if any of them are vigilantes, yet their identities remain hidden. Many if not all of the PCs will acquire a masked persona (again, at the end of the first adventure); the primary development of it will have been accomplished prior to the campaign, with its fruits being seen only now.

Persona
Affiliations
Influence (Search “Jockeying”)
Contracts (See AP #101, Hell's Rebels 'The Kintargo Contract', section on Infernal Contracts)
Research (Search “Using a Library”)

Masked Persona
Mysteries and Investigations

Rumors
Bar Fights
Gambling and Games of Chance
Duels
Verbal Duels (and how they work)

Buildings and Organizations
General Downtime
Downtime Activities
Investments

Contacts

More as I think about it and/or am asked.


Languages
Spoiler:

Because I was asked ...

Because this is a PbP, we have the opportunity to use neat scripts and that sort of thing for different languages. For this campaign, we will use those languages that can be found in Google Translate. When doing so, for audible speech, use the Latin-alphabet phonetic translation (typically found underneath the box in which the script translation appears) so that we can read what it sounds like. If, however, the conversation is telepathic, mental, or if the words are physically written down, use the language's own script, if it has something else (Arabic, the Cyrillic alphabet, etc.), which is usually found inside the translation box.

Taldan is the 'Common' trade tongue, pretty much everyone uses it, therefore we use English.
Azlanti ==> Latin
Varisian ==> Spanish
Chelaxian ==> Italian
Garundi ==> Hebrew
Keleshite ==> Arabic
Hallit ==> Russian
Mwangi (Polyglot, I guess?) ==> Sesotho
Mwangi-related ==> Igbo
Shoanti ==> German
Ulfen ==> Norwegian
Vudrani ==> Punjabi
Osiriani ==> Amharic
Skald ==> Icelandic

Tien (Tian-Shu, Lung Wa)==> Chinese Traditional
Dan (Tian-Dan, Xa Hoi) ==> Myanmar
Dtang (Tian-Dtang, Dtang Ma) ==> Vietnamese
Hon-La (Tian-La, Hongal) ==> Mongolian
Hwan (Tian-Hwan, Hwanggot) ==> Korean
Minatan (Tian-Sing, Minata) ==> Indonesian
Minkaian (Tian-Min, Minkai) ==> Japanese

Druidic ==> Welsh

Elvish ==> Tamil
Dwarves ==> Ukranian
Gnomes ==> Armenian
Halfling ==> Greek
Draconic ==> Macedonian

Orc ==> Czech
Goblin ==> Estonian
Gnoll ==> Kyrgyz
Giant ==> Yiddish
Ettin ==> Haitian Creole
Undercommon ==> Bengali

Lizardfolk (or some reptilian race) ==> Telugu.

Sylvan ==> Gujarati
First Speech ==> Persian
Terran ==> Maori
Ignan ==> Nepali
Auran ==> Uzbek
Aquan ==> Lao
Aklo ==> Basque
Orvian ==> Malagasy

Celestial ==> Scots Gaelic
Abyssal ==> Yoruba
Daemonic ==> Marathi
Infernal ==> Javanese
Protean ==> Esperanto

'The Family' Gang Cant ==> Afrikaans
-----------------------

If you have a language that isn't found here, let me know and I'll figure something out. :) If you have a suggestion, even better.


Isarn Settlement Statblock:

See the Isarn and Its Districts page for an easier-to-read version of this information.

Isarn
CN metropolis
Corruption +2, Crime +1, Economy 0, Law +2, Lore +2, Society 0
Qualities Cultured, Defiant, Gang-Ridden*, Notorious, Rumormongering, Under-City*
Danger +40; Disadvantages Impoverished, Martial Law, Oppressed**
--------------------
Demographics
--------------------
Government Fascistic autotocracy
Population 42,800
--------------------
Marketplace
--------------------
Base Value 4,800gp Purchase Limit 50,000 gp Spellcasting 4th
*** Minor Items 4d4 Medium Items 2d4 Major Items 1d4
--------------------
* - Modified (Gang-Ridden derived from Cruel Watch)
** - Downgraded
*** - Available magic items are re-rolled at the end of every week; obviously, you can commission one, or try to find out if someone is wanting to sell or is about to finish making an item you're looking to acquire.

Stat Usage

Spoiler:
Each of a settlement's stat blocks are added to certain rolls, as follows:
Corruption +2: To Bluff vs. city officials/guards, Stealth outside (not underground)
Crime +1: To Sense Motive vs. Bluff, Sleight of Hand to pick pockets
Economy 0: To Craft, Perform*, Profession to Generate Income
Law +2: To Intimidate to force friendly, Diplomacy vs govt officials or to call guard
Lore +2: To Diplomacy to Gather Info, KS when using city libraries
Society 0: To Disguise, and Diplomacy to alter attitude of govt official
Danger +40: To random encounter table rolls (or chance for encounter)

These apply to all appropriate rolls, whether by you or by an NPC; obviously, the 'Danger' stat is essentially GM-only. If you are using Hero Lab and have ShadowChemosh's Adjustments, you can apply a 'Skill Bonus, Situational' for each of these, and that'll show up on your sheet in the correct places.

* - Due to Cultured, Isarn is always considered to be Prosperous (+1 to Economy) for the purpose of certain checks to generate income; briefly, the check has to create or express something 'artistic' in the 'high art' sense of the term -- statuary, paintings, opera, drama, orchestral music, and the like. Street musicians play the lute and sing arias and solos, or band together and perform 'chamber music' and the like. 'Low' art -- bawdy comedies and music, farcical plays, street art/graffiti, and similar activities, fiddlers with monkeys -- do not receive this bonus, but do not receive any penalty; the point is the people appreciate the 'high art' more.


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Wow. So.Much.Detail - I love it, I love the Intrigue rules (I'm using them myself in a customised Kingmaker game) and I am dotting this.

It'll take me a couple days to read everything so I probably won't post again unless I have specific questions but I will definitely be thinking.

I see you currently have a

Mesmerist/Oracle
Cleric/Rogue (ooh, Asmodean Advocate archetype! Niiice)
Rogue/Bard
Cavalier/Bard

OK.

Would I be allowed to take the Former Noble trait, or is that reserved for your Jeggare NPC?


GM TWO wrote:

Jared Thorne asked questions via PM, and so they are copied, pasted, and answered here.

** spoiler omitted **...

Most kind, thank you!


Would running a gazette count for the influential merchant? Perhaps named Le Patriote, ostensively loyal to to the regime but in fact containing cunningly ciphered messages to organize the resistance.


Thanks for clearing up how Masked Persona interacted with dual identity.


Not certain, if this belongs here... But, what the heck.

I was thinking building/opening trade routes or at least stabilizing them... way stations, shrines (oasis) where needed. A network for travel, transport, information. Between cities, and a couple far reaching foreign ones (used by caravans). He doesn't need to travel outside of Galt, himself.

Lends itself to a delivery service, porters, wagons, accountants... anything to facilitate trade and transport. Infrastructure. Perhaps a souk or bazaar.

There will probably be a charitable side, feeding and clothing the poor, helping them find employment and soft spot for kids. I 97% of the time play NG.

But, his premium trade businesses may specialize in luxury goods - wines, textiles & haberdashery. Giving him an in with nobles. "Jared will surely have something! He can always find something perfect! Remember..."

Build wise:
Urban Ranger 5
Impossible Sorcerer 3 - Knife Master Rogue 2

Should make for a somewhat exotic cosmopolitan dilettante and consummate crafter, who when push comes to shove... becomes a deadly operator.


Definitely DOT. Third time's a charm!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Wandering Wastrel wrote:

I see you currently have a

Mesmerist/Oracle
Cleric/Rogue (ooh, Asmodean Advocate archetype! Niiice)
Rogue/Bard
Cavalier/Bard

One thing for applicants: If you read through the whole recruitment thread this is much more of an intrigue game, and it's been put out that there will not be frequent combat. Additionally there is a LOT of solo activity. Therefore although party balance is not completely unimportant, it's more important to build a good stand alone character for your proposed Merchant. Although we do expect to work together a bunch there will be large portions of the game where you will be acting completely alone (even potentially in combat).

Therefore I wouldn't worry TOO much about trying to fit into a party role based on what classes already exist. Build a good savvy merchant with intrigue and social skills plus combat viability first and foremost.


Great advice, Lilli! Thank you!


Very interested in a second crack at this! I'll quite possibly be revamping my elf to fit the new role, shouldn't be too hard... Also going over this thread as well as Gameplay and Discussion to see how things have developed so far.


@Lilli: thank you! Having now read (most of) the material that is now apparent :)

I now have some concepts and will present something in the next couple of days.


Campaign Traits
While certain traits are more appropriate for certain individuals, none of them are really restricted if you care to explain a particularly unusual choice. The best two for the Merchant are likely 'Local Business Owner' (an extra 750gp to construct your organization/building) and 'Historian of the Red Revolution', to indicate a more in-depth knowledge of the governments' actions over the past 50 years.

Running a Gazette
While the theoretical answer is 'yes', the practical answer is 'no'. The Influential Merchant is meant to be an influence among the middle class; the Criminal Mastermind is the one influencing the lower class, as the Reliable Statesman is the one to influence the upper class.

Trader Joe
The Influential Merchant is, again, meant to be someone in a reliable enough position for their opinion to have weight amongst their equals -- the middle class. In the general pseudo-medieval parlance of D&D/Pathfinder, that means either a guild member -- for this game, likely someone who's been awarded their Mastership in the last year or so -- or else a trader. While a trader of fine things is definitely useful, in Galt in general and Isarn in specific, 'luxury goods' are kind of a risky business, because you never know when either the goverment or the rabble are going to get uppity, riot, loot all your luxury goods and burn down your shop for good measure. Such a trader would also seem more positioned to interface with the upper class rather than the middle, and as I am not willing to allow anyone to get away with saying, "Oh, I have people in XYZ" without actually having people in XYZ, being someone whose focus is not on Galt in general and Isarn in specific is a functional non-starter. (And in order to grow your organization outside of Galt, you actually would need to travel outside of Galt, because that's how these things work.)

I am not saying that being a trader is a bad thing per se; being a shopkeeper of some success is exactly what you need, and investments are a thing; see 'imports' on the chart. But a character whose focus and organization is primarily beyond Isarn is going to be passed over, period.

Lilli's Advice
... is very good. You may very well consider this a 'cooperative solo' campaign, in that many if not most of your activities are going to be on your own (possibly with a few allied NPCs from your organization). Powerful magic is not generally going to be a major issue, and while everyone so far is capable of spellcasting to a greater or lesser extent, in this campaign you could easily exhaust your spells-per-day during the first third of a masked ball, and then my dear you are as Mr. Zorg says just after the Mangalors turn their own dial: "I'm screwed." The mental stats are your friends, skills are your lifelines; you will get more use out of your skills in the first adventure of this campaign than you likely would across all of most other campaigns.

Likewise, being able to handle yourself in combat -- close combat, usually, e.g. back streets, alleys, and all the dangerous little parts that Paris Isarn is known for (as viewed in, for example, Ronin) -- against two or three or five others is definitely a benefit. I am not intending to generally have the levels of your opponents scale with you; for much of the campaign, especially in your 'public ID', you will likely be faced with NPCs ranging from L1-L3 now, and L3-L5 later, simply because most of the people in Isarn are not of any significant level. Of the 42,800 people in Isarn, only a few over 7100 (17%) are above 1st level, with 1785 (4%) above 3rd and only 447 (1%) above 5th.

It's just that what they miss out on in ability they make up for in numbers. Keep it in mind ...


Ah too bad. Looks like the barrister angle is spoken for as well (I had a concept there). How about being a merchant of something exotic such as spell components or alchemical supplies? Or maybe something mundane like a bucherie chevaline?


Thanks GM TWO, that's really helpful. I'm nowhere near the crunch but I will put up a draft background for comment once I have some time to type it up.

I see you aren't keen on a gazette - do you have particular ways/skills in mind for getting Artistry(criticism) and/or (philosophy) over to the middle classes?


Wandering Wastrel wrote:
I see you aren't keen on a gazette - do you have particular ways/skills in mind for getting Artistry(criticism) and/or (philosophy) over to the middle classes?

Several of us do have Printer rooms in our organizations and we plan to create pamphlets/leaflets/posters/etc to influence people. Lilli actually already has a neighborhood newsletter that she creates just for her immediate area of influence, although it hasn't been used for any subversive means yet.

I think the thing GM TWO isn't keen on is having the business itself be a full fledged gazette/newspaper. The concept of the printed or posted word as a side project is very much accepted in the game based on previous conversations.

This one is only my assumption though, he might very well correct me later.


I was intending to submit for the merchant role in the original recruitment but I was a bit lacking in free time and a fully gellied idea. I'm thinking investigator/ something (bard?/martial) who runs/owns (kind of a family business) a gallery selling to the elite and rich. A cousin who was a well liked artist (under a pseudonym) was rounded up and executed for really no reason (wrong place/wrong time) and that has put him on the path to wanting the city to be more stable. I'll see if I can get this put together in time for the deadline this time.


Merchant of Venice Isarn
Being a seller of spell components, alchemical supplies, and alchemical goods would be useful and possible; while there aren't a ton of such spellcasters in the city (I use the modern 'physician:patient' ratio as an equivalent for wizards, about 1:450, leading to about 100 practicing wizards of various levels), alchemy's 'magicless' crafting and general usefulness allows for it to be a workable possibility. With a few specialized crafters in your organization (e.g. glaziers, goldsmiths, 'fine blacksmithing' and the like) you would even be able to put together for the more powerful spellcasters those custom focuses and items necessary for more powerful spells.

A horse butcher ... would be much less likely; while that is definitely some interesting reading (Google translated from the French), and while horsemeat would certainly be consumed by the hungry masses if it were available, a specialist of that sort would depend on a steady supply of animals, as compared to the 'slaughtered in extremis' need of the people. A standard/general butcher would work just fine, as they would handle pretty much everything -- chickens, pigs, and cattle, horses as necessary, possibly dog and cat (though Europeans tend to shy away from eating such closely-associated animals), even the more dangerous and magical critters if they get brought in.

La Gazette Patriote
A couple of things.

First, even though the moveable-type press is in use, until the automated high-speed press emerges newspapers are something of a break-even proposition, and more often than not functionally run at a loss. One of the reasons is because they tend to be mouthpieces of a faction, guild, or other interest, who may subsidize the newspaper in order to get their point of view out to the public; another reason is the fact that because the print run is comparatively small -- a Gutenberg-style press (which is what is being used) historically made up to about 240 sheets per hour, or 3600 pages per 15-hour working-day -- 1800 if they're double-sided -- which works out to 1 single-page double-sided newspaper per 20 citizens in Isarn, if you can manage to get it done, out, and distributed. If you want a multi-page paper, you're slicing that in half or more.

This is why newspapers during the age we're looking at are rarely published more frequently than once or twice a week, and this is why printing presses usually do side jobs, especially smaller ones they can lump together onto one press and cut apart when they're done; this is also why selling advertising is such a big thing. Add this to the fact that production of such an ephemeral item with the hope that you're going to sell out is a straight line to failing; as PsPrint's quick-and-dirty 'History of the Printed Newspaper' puts it:

PsPrint wrote:
At first, (American) newspapers were only available to wealthy Americans, those who were literate and could afford to pay for subscriptions in advance. The subscriptions typically cost what a general laborer would make in an entire week of work, so most could not afford them.

So essentially, an innkeeper might add a copper to more expensive tipples, meals, and other such prices, and have a subscription so that the newspaper might be available to his better customers for perusal, or for reading out loud in the common room at certain times of the night.

Second, publishing a newspaper in a semi-anarchic fascistic autocracy such as you're in ... well, newspapers are even less stable than the government, and showing any sort of favoritism, for or against, will lead to repercussions. Which is why those papers who try to walk that line are basically 'foreign news, stock prices, and advertisements' -- nothing that can rile up either the masses or the government.

Third, well ... newsmen tend to be nosy, and 'respectable' people (e.g. the middle class) don't like others poking into their business, and revealing scandals, that sort of thing. Unless and until the character could expand the business, gain government printing contracts, and even create franchises in other cities (and even countries) a la Benjamin Franklin, his social status and influence is shaky at best, and most 'normal' people would tend to look at a newsman a bit askance.

All in all, it's as Lilli says -- nothing says you can't have a printer and produce a screed (or even just not do so, and earn money by printing handbills and advertising posters) on the side, it just shouldn't be the core of your business.

Wandering Wastrel wrote:
-- do you have particular ways/skills in mind for getting Artistry(criticism) and/or (philosophy) over to the middle classes?

Sure -- work with your co-conspirators. Lily produces a newspaper as a side thing; Androk recognizes that the long-term plan requires educating an aggressively indifferent populace, and that'll require having control over printing presses to produce pamphlets (think 'Common Sense') used to influence and educate the people. The definition of a newspaper has four core tenets: accessibility by the public, published at a regular interval (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.), using current information (e.g. discovered since the previous paper), and covers a variety of topics (politics, events, entertainment, sports, etc.). A pamphlet can be a one-time thing (Common Sense) or be a series (e.g. the Federalist / Anti-Federalist papers) which have a unified idea behind them, but essentially have a clear end intended, once the topic is thoroughly discussed.

ANYTHING Selling / Catering / Whatever to the Elite and Rich
No.

No no no no no.

Again, the influence base of the Influential Merchant is not the upper class / elite / rich (which, yes, still exist in Isarn and Galt, just somewhat more rarified and ... lower of key, higher of guards), the influence base of the Influential Merchant is the MIDDLE class. This Post is something that clearly needs to be required reading, specifically the 'Influential Merchant' part of the 'Abettors' spoiler.

Someone else (Jerome Lemaître) is taking care of manipulating the elite, rich, powerful, and governmental. It's the Merchant's job to manipulate the rank-and-file and upper levels of the guilds, the shop owners, the head butlers and housekeepers -- the middle class.


@Lilli - thanks, that does make sense. I'm trying to read too much at once, I think.

@GM TWO - thanks for the additional clarification. I think I have something along those lines: draft background and general concept for Eponine d'Ambreville (neé Charthagnion). Happy to take criticism and feedback.

Background:

"Noblesse oblige." Those were the last words Eponine's father (Marquis Etienne de Charthagnion) spoke to her before she left to study at the Arcanirium in Absalom.

The Second Decree had come into force years before - Eponine was born into relative poverty - but the family had been one of Galt's premier vintners and had some wealth outside of Galt. There was enough to get Eponine through university, but after that she would be on her own. Just getting her out of Galt had taken every last string and favour that Etienne still had outstanding. As it happened, the funds expired about the same time he did: a week or so after graduation, Eponine received a letter from a friend of the family, Androk Jeggare, that her father's continued involvement in politics had led to the inevitable - and final - consequence. For what it was worth, the injustices he was protesting were real and his stance was morally just. In Eponine's view at the time, that plus a guillotine will get you decapitated.

Not content with that, the Gray Gardeners had torched his home and his few remaining books. House Charthagnion had been renowned for two things: its wine-making, and its learning. The Revolution had extirpated both.

Burning the letter, Eponine vowed never to return to Galt. (Youth was ever impetuous.) In need of money, and in possession of a certain set of unique skills, she spent the better part of the next five years in a variety of interesting occupations across Avistan. She acquired a perspective on the various forms of government, as well as a reasonably serious amount of wealth, much of it through trade and investment. She was even starting to dabble in moneylending. She was, she thought, happy, as these things go.

What brought her back to Galt was another letter from Jeggare, about ten years ago. It was three parts emotional blackmail to one part reason, but the reasoning was annoyingly sound. With the fall of the Cabinet of Skulls, there would never be a better opportunity to return and quietly begin remaking Galt in a better image. In addition, had she considered that the plight of Galt was at least in part due to the aristocracy not having made needed reform in time, thereby precipitating the revolution? She would never have a better opportunity to mend that ancestral error. As her father had always said, "noblesse oblige." (There's the emotional blackmail.)

Gritting her teeth, Eponine liquidated her various investments and travelled to Isarn. Not as a Charthagnion, of course. The Marquise (as she now was) de Charthagnion would be most unwelcome. No matter. Over her career she had acquired a number of skills, one of which was an aptitude for forgery. Putting together a new identity was straightforward - and thus was born Eponine d'Ambreville, merchant to the middle classes.

On arriving back into Galt, Eponine was horrified (but unsurprised) at the chaos, squalor and upheaval. It turned out that simply executing the people who know how to govern, or make good wine, and handing the reins over to the ignorant masses, results in shambolic government - and (worse!) undrinkable wine. One of these, at least, she could fix.

In the decade since, Eponine has built up a fledgling revival of Galt's wineries. Although still a shadow of what it was, the middle classes now have access to acceptably drinkable wine. And that's just the start: the initial profits from that have been reivested into other enterprises - one of which is a guard and courier service for hire. Trade depends on movement of goods across town, and the streets are simply not safe even in broad daylight. The city guard are unreliable - at best; to say nothing of the gangs. While the rich and powerful have their own full-time guards, individual shopkeepers have no such resources, leaving them prey to all manner of banditry. Setting up a reliable convoy system has revitalised part of the city, as well as Eponine's funds.

Next on the to-do list is better food: in Eponine's view, this is a conspiracy that will march on its stomach. Once the middle classes are reintroduced to olive oil that tastes of olives, eggs with reliably yellow yolks, bread baked in a proper oven by people who take pride in their work, entrecote of beef, escalope of veal, foie gras, the occasional truffle, and a hundred different varieties of cheese, they will remember that the ancien régime, for all its many faults, at least got the basics right.

And if, to achieve this, Eponine has to kill every last motherfvcking one of the Revolutionary Council, the Gray Gardeners, and any other débile who gets in her way, well...

noblesse oblige.

Philosophy/outlook:

Eponine is not "woke." She is not a social justice warrior. She has not parachuted into Galt with the liberal Western sensibilities of 21st century Earth.

The aristocracy fvcked it up. Big surprise. You put the jackpot on inherited titles, well, you get what's coming to you. But it's not like the masses have done any better. At all. Democracy just means mob rule.

New idea: put people in charge who know what they're doing. You'll be able to tell they know what they're doing by the way they do other stuff, like run businesses and employ people. If you can make the delivery-carts run on time, chances are you have a clue.

Oh, and watch how they treat people who work for them. Treating employees like dirt is tacky. Shoving poor people into tenements and charging them exorbitant rent is tacky. Let's not be doing that, alright?

Outline mechanics:

Eponine will be a human wizard going up to level... whatever this campaign goes to.

Still thinking it over but probably an illusionist.

The other bit of the gestalt will be vigilante (avenger). Social identity will be the Influential Merchant. Vigilante identity will be the Marquise de Charthagnion.

Still mulling over the traits.

Council and personal timeline:

4667: First Revolutionary Council (4667-4672)
4672: Rane Council (4672-4673)
4673: Galtan Unity Council (4673-4678)
4678: Golden Council (4678-4684)
Born -- 4684: Cailean Council (4684-4686)
Age 2 -- 4686: Council of Perfection (4686-4687)
Age 4 -- 4688: Common Council (4688-4689)
Age 8 -- 4692: Galtcreed Pact (4692-4698)
Age 14 -- 4698: Eye of Law (4698-4699)
Age 16; departs to study in Absalom -- 4700: Imperial Council (4699-4701)
Age 18 -- 4702: Council of Enlightenment (4701-4705)
Age 21; graduates; receives letter from Jeggare informing her of father's death by final blade -- 4705: Cabinet of Skulls (4705-4709)
Age 25; receives 2nd letter from Jeggare -- 4709: The New Revolutionary Council (4709-Current)
Age 35 -- 4719: Current day (4719)

EDIT: Holy cr@p, have a nasty feeling I made poor 'nine sound like the most miserable heartless sort and she's really not - she's NG [well for a given value of G, I suspect we'll all end up getting our hands dirty in this campaign; eggs to omelettes], she cares about people and she'll have great social skills. Perfectly personable and charmante. It's just that in Galt, veiled contempt isn't so much a feat as a lifestyle choice. Or, in the immortal words of the Bard, she's mad as hell and she's not gonna take it any more.


Eponine
Quick advice -- don't rely on any other character, PC or NPC, to make you come to Isarn and determine to change things. Especially do not direct the actions of game-significant NPCs, particularly if they run against type -- Androk is justifiably paranoid, and would never send a letter asking, suggesting, or even vaguely implying that someone should return to Isarn because they have an obligation to change things, because letters can be (will be) intercepted, and such a one will result in a close personal meeting with Mme. Margaery. Androk is the one who approves people to become members of the Conspiracy, and has vetted each and every one of the Conspirators through weeks and months of conversations to sound out their true selves as much as possible

Thus, the only way anyone becomes a member of the Conspiracy is if they already really want to change the way Galt is being governed, and are willing to kill and die in order to make it happen. (Again, ref. the Abettors post and how far they're willing to go.) That willingness has to exist before they're even told about the Conspiracy.

So I suggest that at some point in the last fifteen years -- perhaps 5 or so years ago -- she came back through Galt for some reason and decided to stick around and change things.

Re: 'Woke' / Social Justice Warrior
I don't think anyone in the group is such, nor even close, just as an FYI.


GM TWO wrote:

Re: 'Woke' / Social Justice Warrior

I don't think anyone in the group is such, nor even close, just as an FYI.

Sure I act like I'm 'woke' sometimes. It's just because:

-taking care of the poor gives me a good rep and it's easier to prey on those with wealth without witnesses if the bystanders like me more than my targets
-taking care of homeless, orphans, and persecuted minorities lets me pre-train people and vet which ones will be good recruits for my Family
-supporting the arts provides me with another way to worm into people's lives
-protecting my neighborhood from violence and the 'bad' element gives me a buffer of peaceful friendly people around my headquarters...and keeps them in my debt.

Lilli is primarily self serving and manipulative, but does have the basic ideals that people should be treated well until they cross her, at which point they will NOT be treated well at all.

I could see how she might be mistaken as being 'woke' from time to time XD

She's also a member of the conspiracy more because it's really hard to manage lots of strings in a spiderweb and manipulate/control all kinds of varying elements when there's mob rule and always-changing laws. A stable Galt is an easier Galt to operate in. It's much easier to maneuver around the rules once there are set rules to maneuver around.

This really isn't pertinent to anyone's application but it gives you an idea of at least one of the people you'll be working with (although she will probably deny all of it and put on a sweet smile if accused of such chicanery)


GM TWO:

Understood, thanks. Like I said, first draft so easily fixable.

Are you ok with Androk being a family friend? It would make sense for her to look him up when she returns to Isarn, and it would give him the opportunity to 'sound her out' over a series of conversations before inviting her to join the conspiracy.

If that doesn't work for you I'll come up with something else.

@Lilli - thanks, still forming Eponine's motivations and personality so it's good to get inspiration.


Well don't forget a merchant vs a criminal mastermind will have pretty different motivations ;)


True - but if you must have crime, it may as well be organised crime ;-)


Hmm...

Would a physician of some kind be middle class enough for the influential merchant? I'm thinking maybe a Druid or an Investigator, crossed with something else I'm totally unsure of as yet. But I figure a medical professional with a reputation for good work might be safer than most in a place like Galt.

Maybe an herbalist or an alchemist who offers medical treatment as a side function of their business?


Quick question for the GM. Would you allow an investigator to take the Brew Potion feat? RAW they can't, because they don't have a caster level.

It's not a huge deal either way, I just thought I'd ask. My character (Investigator/Vigilante) runs an alchemist's shop and I was thinking selling a few basic potions could be a part of that.


Here is an outline of what I have in mind

1. blessed by Erastil
—> dedicated to the people of Le Commune and to safeguarding the Victory Orchard
2. an able archer who did his service and proved his worth
—> respected by the local Deadeyes
3. respected as a fair, lawful, and trustworthy banker who is dedicated to ensuring the economic prosperity of Galt
—> offer small loans at fair rates to struggling merchants to garner goodwill
—> help merchants to succeed and to repay their debts
—> collaborate with good and prosperous merchants for profit and to influence trade positively in the quarter and in the city
—> participate in promising ventures for profit
—> supply government and military for profit and to ensure good relationships
—> defend key assets to help the cause
4. his small bank (La Caisse d’Escompte) in Le Commune weathered the storms of unrest and has endured while most others have shut their doors or been forced to do so
5. having invested in a few local businesses, he supplies the army and the council with grain, leather, and metals; and thus, he ensures his good standing
6. He supports the Egalitarian Party
7. a skilled and clever investigator
—> separate proper and promising business ventures from cons and frauds
—> establish if merchants are honest tradespeople or swindlers
—> ascertain the worth of businesses and their owners
—> decide when businesses have been wronged and acquire evidence to seek justice
—> come to the aid of the middle class and, in particular, followers of Erastil and inhabitants of Le Commune

OPINIONS:
1. he advocates for the separation of banks and government, which was one of the important gains of the French Revolution
2. he believes in Equality before the Law
3. a prosperous city can uplift and enrich more people than pious prayers alone

Here is an interesting read on banking during the French Revolution... For those of you who speak French! Interestingly enough, having studied at a French lycée, I know more about French history than I do about my own country’s past!

In terms of build, I am looking at a LG Human Nature oracle 1 + Fighter 2 + Paladin (Knight of the Coin) 2 / Investigator (Sleuth & Conspirator) 5

Buildings and Teams:

BANK
Create 39 Goods, 3 Influence, 35 Labor (1,570 gp)
Rooms 1 Guard Post, 2 Offices, 1 Secret Room, 1 Storefront, 2 Vaults
A secure building for storing coins and valuables, and for making loans to those in need.
+ Kitchen (160 gp)
+ Bedroom (300 gp)
+ Lavatory (120 gp)
Note: one of the vaults has a superior lock (150 gp) and is Fortified (300 gp)

BUREAUCRATS
Earnings gp or Influence +4
Create 2 Goods, 4 Influence, 2 Labor (200 gp); Time 2 days
Size 5 people
Upgrade From Scofflaws, Soldiers
Bureaucrats interface with local government and deal with annoying paperwork related to running a business or organization. This type of team could include accountants, diplomats, lawyers, and scribes. A typical bureaucrat is a 1st-, 2nd-, or 3rd-level expert with ranks in Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Knowledge (local), Linguistics, and Profession (barrister, clerk, or scribe).

ELITE GUARDS
Earnings gp, Influence, or Labor +4
Create 3 Goods, 1 Influence, 4 Labor (170 gp); Time 2 days; Size 5 people
Upgrades From Guards; Upgrades To Elite Soldiers
Like Guards, this team defends a location but doesn’t take on an active role. An Elite Guards team consists of 3rd-level warriors, each wearing a chain shirt or banded mail and using a heavy steel shield and shortspear, a guisarme, or a halberd.

LACKEYS
Earnings Influence or Labor +2
Create 1 Goods, 2 Influence, 2 Labor (120 gp); Time 1 day
Size 5 people
Upgrades From Drivers, Laborers
Lackeys wait on you hand and foot and take care of common domestic and traveling issues; their ranks include butlers, valets, maids, heralds, footmen, ladies-in-waiting, and similar service personnel. Skilled Lackeys anticipate your needs and coordinate with your other employees as well as those of your guests or host. A typical Lackey is a 1st-level commoner or expert with ranks in a subset of Diplomacy, Disguise, Intimidate, Knowledge (local), Knowledge (nobility), Linguistics, Perception, and Sense Motive.

INVESTMENTS:

Leather Workshop
Earnings gp or Goods +10
Benefit counts as masterwork artisan’s tools for leatherworking skills
Create 7 Goods, 1 Influence, 7 Labor (310 gp); Time 16 days; Size 4–10 squares
This workshop includes a sturdy table, stool, vats, drying racks, and tools designed for turning raw hides into leather. The Leather Workshop counts as masterwork artisan’s tools for up to three people creating leather goods with skills such as Craft (leather) and Craft (shoes).

Farmland (grain)
Earnings gp or Goods +10
Create 15 Goods, 15 Labor (600 gp); Time 20 days; Size 60–100 squares
This large swath of fertile land is used for farming or fodder for livestock. The price for this room includes clearing the land, fertilizing the soil, and so on. At the GM’s discretion, you might discover a plot of available land that automatically counts as a Farmland at no cost.

Forge (metal)
Earnings gp or Goods +10
Benefit counts as masterwork artisan’s tools for smithing skills
Create 9 Goods, 1 Influence, 8 Labor (370 gp); Time 20 days; Size 8–16 squares
A Forge includes a hearth, an anvil, a slack tub, metalworking tools, and other appropriate materials for shaping iron and other metals. A Forge counts as masterwork artisan’s tools for up to three people working on metalworking skills such as Craft (armor) and Craft (weapons).

A few questions:
1. do we begin with a contact?
2. do buildings come with labour? For example, does a Forge come with Smiths?


Alias ad Tempus wrote:

A few questions:

1. do we begin with a contact?
2. do buildings come with labour? For example, does a Forge come with Smiths?

Since GM TWO is sometimes too busy answering my incessant questions, I'll field ones here if I am already aware of the answer, and both of these were already asked by me earlier in the game :)

1) The official determination on starting with contact(s) hasn't been made yet. GM TWO asked us to provide some ideas of potential starting contacts based on our backgrounds but the decision is still pending.

2) By RAW, buildings automatically come with the staff required to run them. A Forge without a formal craftspeople team will generate capital based on the room bonus. If you were to want to increase its earning potential or potentially use it for anything besides just earning capital for your organization you would need to staff it with a craftspeople team, whether that be initially or something you recruit down the road.


Got it. Thanks, Lily! Any thoughts on the character outline in light of your experience in the campaign? Mechanically, he's essentially a skill monkey with a side order of righteousness and some skill with the longbow...


@Alias: I personally like the association with Le Commune. That is a neighborhood that might be hard to get influence in so having someone already in place would be nice. It also explains how a banker might have survived well since they protect their own down in that corner of Isarn. Your diversification in business also allows for a lot of potential contacts. Your connection with the council (supplying them with things) might have the negative side effect of you being too well known and/or observed by the powers that be.

I'm unsure on your "investments" section of the spoiler. Are you using the word investments in a background / roleplaying sense while actually purchasing and utilizing those rooms for capital, or do you mean actual investments in the mechanical sense? (GM is including the option for Investments in the game I believe). Since you included the stat block I'm assuming the former case but was curious.

All in all I think it works. I don't see any real issues or rough spots on it, but GM TWO has a much better understanding of his game world so he very well might see things I've missed, especially as I'm not sure how banking is handled in Isarn. Having given you that caveat, I don't see anything that I'd recommend you change before he looks at it.

@Josh and Ever: unfortunately for your questions I cannot say much. You're going to have to wait for official GM ruling :)


Right, I have an alias for Eponine d’Ambreville with some more details in it.

Still holding off on the Background 2.0 but I am making decisions on crunch and other stuff. Feats and Traits are decided upon (see Decision spoiler) but not written up. Gear not started, although I have a first draft of possible Organisations and Teams.

rolling hit points, d8 HD: 5d8 ⇒ (2, 3, 7, 1, 2) = 15

Oh, thanks for that, dice gods. Half +1 it is then.


Still working on my vigilante ideas. Hopefully I’ll have something fleshed out by this weekend.

How would you feel about my PC being one of the vigilantes from the GAZETTE (not the Red Raven). I’m not sold on this idea but thought I’d ask before I go to far down that rabbit hole.


Heading down the rabbit hole....

Here is a very bare bones over view of what I’m (Gaming Ranger) thinking:

1. Vigilante alias Le Demi-Masque (taken from Gazette).
2. Social identity is Renè de la Fluer a clothing designer and follower of Milani (hence his last name)

This leads me to ask, can the artistry skill be used to design clothes? And is okay to use the name Le Demi-Masque?


I'm not sure what GM TWO will officially decide, but Le Demi-Masque wasn't from the original Gazette. He just created that vigilante within the past week so he probably already has plans for that character.


Re: 'Woke'
... doesn't significantly exist in any RPG that has any similarity to Earth before, oh, 1800 -- and arguably 1900, and even later. That doesn't mean there isn't faith, hope, and charity, for any of a zillion reasons ...

Physician, Heal Thyself
A dedicated physician (whose 'side sales' might be herbalism / alchemical tinctures) would be an excellent middle-class Influential Merchant.

Investigator w/ Brew Potion
Investigators are alchemists, not just fellows who can do a bit of Craft (alchemy). So long as they can prepare alchemical formulas, they have a caster level equal to their character level. (I say this specifically because there are a few investigator archetypes that remove their capacity to create formulas, such as the sleuth.)

Such alchemists can therefore take the Brew Potion feat. (Don't know where you get the RAW part from.)

The Investigative Bank of Erastil
I ...

AaT, the problem I continually run into with your backgrounds is that you try to do a zillion things all at once. Plus, seven or eight times out of ten, you're dictating the world, instead of dictating your character. So I'm going to spoiler this, and answer you pretty much point by point.

The Banking Bowman:

Outline
1: I presume 'blessed by Erastil' is meant to refer to the Nature oracle part; not very blessed, though.
—> Dedication to Le Commune and the Victory Orchard is all well and good, but how does he do that? Does he take a turn once a week standing watch on Deadeye's Perch or something?

2: 'Able archer' is, I presume, the Fighter 2, but 'did his service and proved his worth' really doesn't say much about the character. How did he do his service? How did he (supposedly) prove his worth? Tell me what the character did, not how other people see the character.
—> Unfortunately, you're dictating the world here -- 'result without work'. Why do the Deadeyes respect him? What did he do to earn that respect? Are you intending to indicate that with this you would take 'Affiliated Agent' for his campaign trait, and the group would be the Deadeyes? Tell me what the character did, not how other people see the character.

3. Unfortunately, you're dictating the world here -- 'respected as'. At least here, however, you are telling me what the character does -- but that still doesn't enable you to say how other people see the character.
—> This is a good example of something he does -- action with intent, but not stating whether that intent is successful or not.
—> How does he help merchants succeed? Tell me what he's doing and what he hopes to accomplish, not what the results are.
—> While the writing on the collaboration is somewhat confusing, the intent is clear once it's worked through. It's a good intent, and again -- intent without stating whether it's successful or not.
—> I, um ... well, this is what banks and investors do. But good job again saying 'intention' and not 'success'.
—> Supplying the government and military for profit is a good idea, though that won't necessarily automatically ensure good relationships. But ... well, with what do you supply them? Because, I mean, you're a banker, not a grain merchant, or an arms merchant, or ... etc. And one each of a leather workshop, forge, and farmland does not make you those.
—> With what do you defend 'key assets'? And what cause are you helping? The Conspiracy? (Which does not now, nor will any time in the near future, have 'key assets'.)

4. Well, it's a small bank, okay -- 'The Box of the Discount Bank' is what Google Translate kind of muddles into. But, uh, again, 'success without action' -- how did it weather the storms of unrest? Why has it endured while 'most others have shut their doors or been forced to do so'? And with that last, really, you're dictating the game world; please don't do that.

5. There's the investment &c., but again, you're stating success when that is by no means a certainty. As well, with one farm, with one smithy, with one leatherworkers, you are by no means a grain merchant, or arms dealer. Making it known (well known, at that) that he's supplying the Army and Council is a dangerous game; many if not most farms &c. sell to the government to one degree or another, but making it known (in order to 'ensure his good standing') risks pissing off your neighbors if/when they get irritated at the government.

6. This is fine. Gotta have political views, right?

7. 'Skilled and clever' will come out in the wash, but sure -- the entire basis of the Investigator is lots of skill points and a high Int, so the description isn't inaccurate.
—> That's ... pretty much a description of a good couple of Sense Motive and Perception checks, maybe Appraise as well, sure.
—> And establishing merchant veracity is ... kind of a repeat of the first, but sure.
—> Ascertain the worth ... er ... I guess you're breaking into peoples' houses or something? I mean, honestly, why is this being done? Doesn't really matter, I suppose, but with a good Appraise check, sure you can do this too.
—> .... aaand, um, okay, why? Oh, wait, I guess this is where Paladin comes in. You do seem to have missed the part where this is a CN city with the CE ruler; justice is bought, not proven, but wanting that height of the legal system is a good goal.
—> Coming to the aid of the middle class is a big damn order -- because even though Isarn isn't Paris of a Million Souls, it's still a metropolis of over 25,000 people -- and you're only one person. This might be a goal (with the 'Le Commune' part being your current achievable reach), but nobody is city-wide yet.

Opinions:
While having opinions is good, understand that actually going out and trying to get something done -- like advocating (which means 'publically recommending/supporting') seperation of banks and government, or Equality before the Law (not sure if you meant 'everyone is equal in the eyes of the Law' or 'I care more about the equality of people than I do about the law of the government') -- is a quick road to necking with Mme. Margaery. And please -- don't steal someone else's work. '... a prosperous city can uplift and enrich more people than pious prayers alone' is straight from Merchant's Manifest; do not do this without attribution.

Build:
I should note that I dislike a one- or two-level dip of classes just in general; when it's done multiple times, it really irritates me. (You are forewarned.) In addition, I have a hard time reconciling 'Erastil' with 'Knight of Coins'; while traders revere Erastil, and Erastil has an interest in trade, the 'Knight of Coins' archetype seems less 'ensure trade can happen' (which is the primary concern of Erastil) and more the 'get people wealthier' leaning of Abadar.

Buildings and Teams
This looks like an okay sketch of a bank and its people; you might go something besides Lackeys if you mean to be a bank servicing those who need a hand up, as compared to those who are already wealthy and are looking to expand that wealth.

Buying shops -- no, sorry, buying seperate rooms that are exclusive of anything else is ... reluctantly doable, but without anything else integrated with them, are just kind of 'out there' and do not really make for any sort of investment. And as Lilli said, while the room is staffed sufficiently to produce its earnings (which I see you went for the +10 rooms), it is not actually capable of making anything for you until you get a team of appropriate Craftsmen in there, or else use it with your own skills.

Contacts
As Lilli said, produce from your background a handful or two of potential contacts.

Conclusion/Overview
As seems typical for you, you're trying to do three or four or ten things at once -- a sacred oracle, an impressive bowman, a well-known banker, a politician, a detective, a champion of the poor and downtrodden, a wealthy investor ....

Pick one. Your basic concept -- 'well-established banker to those honest folk starting out or down on their luck' -- is a great one, and the placement in Le Commune is ... well, probably not the best, but if you're not too far outside it, and they come to you frequently, you would have the same effect. Focus on that, not on all the other various crap. Remove one of the dips -- by preference the Oracle, which has no reason to be there. Better yet, remove that entire side (playing a paladin is, honestly, a spectacularly bad idea in a game of this sort) and consider an oathkeeper inquisitor from Merchant's Manifest; after all, a banker as a Public Notary is a long-standardized thing, and such an individual would be a perfect -- and highly complimentary to the Investigator side.

Lop off the 'investments'; if you want to play with investing, look at the actual Investments information, which I may develop and modify further if one of the players has an interest.

Remove the 'I get justice for people' element. Remove everything except being a banker and maybe an investor (because investing is what bankers do); the 'detective' thing needs to be for the purposes of the bank (and for the purposes of the Conspiracy) only, because doing otherwise runs an increasing risk of being discovered.

Be willing -- and able -- to murder people of dubious moral character in cold blood and without warning.

Don't be a hero; in Isarn, heroes get what the heroic officer in 'The Adventures of Baron Munchausen' got: executed.

Pick one thing; do the one thing well.

Dice Hell
Remember, WW, that you get Max for your 1st level automatically, and it's Half + 1 for each, not for overall. So 8 + 5 + 5 + 7 + 5 = 30 + etc.

Gaming Ranger / Le Demi-Masque
NO.

Unless you're one of the two original creators of the Gazette, no, you may not be a Gazette vigilante, no you may especially not be Le Demi-Masque, and most emphatically no you may not use the name. For fvck's sake, wait for a g0ddamn answer before you create a name based off another player's / GM's NPC; please delete the alias. Yes, I have very specific ideas for LD-M.

Clothing Design
While theoretically artistry could be used to design clothes, artistry could then be used to design a sword. Or a trap. Or a sculpture. Etc. etc. etc. A clothing designer would use Craft (clothing). And would be a bad thing to be, because once again that's something catering 'to the Elite and Rich', no no no no no.

Everyone Interested:
This is what, the fourth or fifth time I have said 'no' to a concept whose prime allure is an interface with the rich, powerful, influential? When creating your concept and coming up with what your Artistry or Craft or Profession or Perform skill is going to be, ask yourself this one question:

Quote:
Will this skill and character concept provide ready access to the rich, the powerful, and the influential?

If the answer to that question is 'yes' or 'a qualified yes', then revise the concept, discarding the skill if necessary. Don't craft jewelry; craft leather. Don't be a scupltor; be a blacksmith. Don't be a courtesan; be a clerk. Be middle-class. You may be -- you should be -- considered a Master of your craft (at 5th level, with a good attribute, maxed-out skill, and maybe the Skill Focus feat in it), but that still does not mean you are Guildmaster. Nor should you be interfacing with the people who are someone else's problem at the moment.

Focus, people!!


Woke - I regret mentioning the concept, now :P It was just a throwaway remark following a tabletop Hell's Rebels game I DM'd a while back where I had to remind everyone that the default in Avistan is feudalism...

Whatever Eponine's motivations (and I'm still working on them), she has zero interest in turning Galt into Andoran-style democracy, or a "property is theft" type commune.

Communes - I'm still reading about the Erastil Commune in the Gazette, but it looks at first glance that their objectives are diametrically opposed to those of the up-and-coming bourgeoisie (aka the middle classes). Have I got that wrong?

Dice hell - thanks for the clarification :)

Middle-class - is "winemaker" acceptable? I would imagine that the middle classes can afford drinkable wine. If not, I will re-sculpt: this campaign has really caught my imagination and I'm willing to make significant amendments to the concept in order to make it work.


You have a very nice way of asking me to delete an alias. Eight more posts and will not be able to.

Ask nicely or at least with a civil tongue.


Thanks for answering my question. To be clear, I got the RAW part from Paizo's FAQ, which states that alchemists aren't spellcasters and therefore can't take any item creation feats other than Brew Potion, (which they get for free while explicitly ignoring the usual requirements). The general consensus on these forums seemed to be that therefore RAW investigators couldn't take Brew Potion.

I'm still working out the final details, but here's my basic character concept. Please let me know if you see anything wrong with it. (I welcome feedback from both the GM and current players.)

Basic Character Concept:
Estelle Delsarte is an elvish vigilante/empiricist investigator. In combat she dual-wields kukris and takes advantage of studied combat’s bonuses to damage alongside the various vigilante talents. Outside of combat she’s a skill monkey. The vigilante half of the gestalt gives her bonuses to a lot of social skills, while the investigator helps with knowledges and general inspiration bonuses. (She has so many skills. So very many.)

Unusually for an elf, she’s lawful neutral. Her reasons for joining the Conspiracy are entirely selfish. She wants to protect her alchemy shop and the small neighborhood in the Sud Rivière that she’s claimed as her own. For ‘her’ neighborhood to be safe, Isarn needs to be stable. For Isarn to be stable, the Red Revolution has to end. Since it’s showing no signs of ending on its own, well, looks like it’s time for her to get her hands dirty.

I don’t envision her being ‘Influential’ in the sense of being anyone important. Her shop is small and she’s stayed as far away from politics as possible. Where her influence comes from is sheer longevity. She’s lived in Isarn and run her little shop for almost 100 years. She should be well-known as a tough but fair businesswoman, whose wares are good and whose prices are reasonable. And as such, I imagine she would have gained a lot of quiet respect from the middle class, particularly the other merchants. She’s shopped at their stores, seen them at guild meetings, given them small loans with reasonable interest rates to help keep a good business afloat.

As for how she's survived the Revolution so far, it's involved a lot of keeping her head down. She's not an extravagant person and her shop existed long before the Red Revolution began; she had savings which she's been carefully meting out over the years. Unfortunately for her those savings are beginning to run out. She's been forced to admit that she can't keep going much longer, which is what's motivating her to finally get involved.


Wandering Wastrel wrote:
Woke - I regret mentioning the concept, now :P It was just a throwaway remark following a tabletop Hell's Rebels game I DM'd a while back where I had to remind everyone that the default in Avistan is feudalism

In terms of woke, I was just messing with ya :)

Wandering Wastrel wrote:
Communes - I'm still reading about the Erastil Commune in the Gazette, but it looks at first glance that their objectives are diametrically opposed to those of the up-and-coming bourgeoisie (aka the middle classes). Have I got that wrong?

In reference to La Commune, there isn't enough information to really be sure in my opinion. They are associated with the Egalitarian party (reference Egalitarianism), and political Egalitarianism is generally thought of as the view that "all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social and civil rights." This could very easily support a strong hard-working middle class. If La Commune approaches Egalitarianism more as a social philosophy then I agree it probably would not be in accord with the goals of an aspiring bourgeoisie. We shall have to see once we explore Isarn more and get to know the nice folk of Erastil's Commune.

Winemaker: "Acceptable" isn't my call as it's GM territory, but I serve wine to the commoners and some middle class in my establishment. As such I don't think it's too 'elite', and it does seem like it would provide ready access to other middle class folk as contacts and for influence.


Ever_Anon wrote:
Please let me know if you see anything wrong with it. (I welcome feedback from both the GM and current players.)

I like the way you approached the role in a way that any influence you have is based on longevity, familiarity, and interaction with other merchants. It nicely avoids the potential issues that might arise from seeming overly important. One thing I would recommend when you flesh out your background is to address your personal goals but not specifically refer to them as reasons why you would join the conspiracy. That gives Androk aka GM a reason to approach you as opposed to you referencing a group that you wouldn't have known existed prior to campaign start.

Another note (or word of warning): everything you put looks good to me as a current player, but I know from experience that if you make a statement like a neighborhood "that she’s claimed as her own" you are potentially going to be asked how you "claimed" it. Have you financed guards that protect a small area around your shop? Have you come to an agreement with your neighbors for mutual protection? Is it just an emotional 'claim' where you consider it your home? Not saying you have to add details like that in your initial submission, it's just a heads up that you might end up getting asked for clarification.


@ Lilli: Thanks for the advice!

I wanted to explain why she'd be willing to join a conspiracy after 50 years of staying out of things, but you're right that she wouldn't have known about this particular Conspiracy until after campaign start. I'll think about how best to make that work.

The 'claim' is a purely emotional one. I'll make that clearer in the full background :)


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Well that makes your life easier lol. I also 'claimed' an area and it ended up transitioning from a single sentence into a full fledged organization with teams having assigned roles along with blurbs about what they do in the area and how they interact with residents versus visitors, then drove me to change out some of my talents to get a safe house abiltity, etc. Admittedly it was the 'gang' I needed as an up and coming criminal mastermind and I'm extremely happy with the result, but when I saw your choice of words my first thought was "ruh roh" lol.


Le Demi-Masque wrote:

You have a very nice way of asking me to delete an alias. Eight more posts and will not be able to.

Ask nicely or at least with a civil tongue.

As someone who ran into this side of GM Two (you can see that I actually dropped out of the recruitment all together and only came back after we hashed our differences out over PM) please allow me to offer the following.

Two has an incredibly detailed idea of how he wants this world to be. It is (I certainly found it to be) remarkably jarring when building my character because I'm used to that being a fairly collaborative process where both sides bend a little each way to accommodate the other. That won't happen here. It isn't that kind of game, but what it leads to is a remarkably rich game world - because GM Two really does know what's going on almost everywhere he can provide detail and richness of the kind that AP's only dream of. The camera isn't just on the heroes here, its on the whole city and occasionally zooms in on us.

That means yes, make no assumptions about your character background, Two will toss most of them out of the window and not necessarily be polite about it. He's a good guy though, undertaking a project with a crazy level of detail - so please cut him a little slack. If this situation is anything like the one he and I arrived in then it can be fixed. Therefore, would you be kind enough to delete or otherwise change the alias? I know I'd be upset if I came up with a character idea that someone else, even with the best intentions in the world, wanted to use themselves. I'm sure you can empathise.

A word to the wise, be prepared for all the rules in this game. If there's a subsystem we aren't using yet I imagine we will at some point - be prepared and for the love of the gods keep your mental stats strong.

Shelynite out!


First of all, thanks for taking the time to study and comment on my outline. It helps, and I’ll attempt to take your advice into account with equal attention.

Second, my apologies for overstepping. I got carried away reading up on the French Revolution, Jacques Necker, and the history of banking!

In any case, here goes a revised outline…

1. I’ll simplify the build. And the Oathkeeper Inquisitor is perfect! So it would be: LN Human Investigator (Sleuth & Conspirator) + Inquisitor (Oathkeeper). I would take Local Business Owner as a campaign trait and probably Deadeye Bowman as a religion trait.

2. As you suggested, I will focus on playing a ‘well-established banker to those honest folk starting out or down on their luck’, and leave everything else out of the equation. He runs a small bank in the outskirts of la Commune, called La Caisse d’Escompte (The Savings Bank).

3. When he’s not at the office, he can be found standing watch on Deadeye’s Perch, helping out in the Orchard or in Claire’s Kitchen, or having a pint at the All for One pub. He is a follower of Erastil and dedicated to his community.

4. He supports the Egalitarian Party and believes that 1) banking and government should remain separate, 2) all should be equal in the eyes of the law, 3) ‘a prosperous city can uplift and enrich more people than pious prayers alone’ (in the future, I’ll make sure to give proper credit when “stealing” content), and 4) justice should be fair and impartial.

5. Driven by his desire to improve the lives of the good people of his community, he is a deliberate and even-tempered professional with an engaging and empathic demeanour. Confident and industrious, he prides himself on his honesty and integrity.

6. La Caisse d’Escompte 1) offers small loans at fair rates to struggling merchants, 2) takes an active interest in the success of clients by drumming up business, offering expert advice, and introducing merchants to potential partners and investors, and 3) invests in promising business ventures to influence trade positively in Le Commune.

7. La Caisse d’Escompte is a Bank (with a kitchen, a bedroom, a lavatory, and a fortified vault with a superior lock) that employs Bureaucrats and Elite Guards. No Lackeys. No “investments.”

Simpler. Clearer? Better?


Lilli Popescu / Mama Lily wrote:
Wandering Wastrel wrote:
Woke - I regret mentioning the concept, now :P It was just a throwaway remark following a tabletop Hell's Rebels game I DM'd a while back where I had to remind everyone that the default in Avistan is feudalism
In terms of woke, I was just messing with ya :)

Oh, you... *shakes fist* :P

Thanks for engaging so much with this thread, it's definitely helping me focus my thoughts.

Heavily Revised Background, feats, talents, spells, and (some) gear now up in the alias. Still working on outlook and motivation, personality and appearance.

I haven't put Androk in there at all, although editing him in would be straightforward. I have written some NPC interaction into her background, simply because I lack the writing skill to make "she did this, and then she did this, and then she did this, and then she did this..." anything but drudgery to read.


I think I've finalized most of Estelle's build. I've created an alias here, although I'll avoid posting as Estelle in case I'm not chosen and need to delete it.

Things still up in the air are Languages, (elves are extremely limited in the languages they can learn, which doesn't make sense for my human-raised character), and whether or not Versatile Vials has a manager. I confess I'm extremely confused as to how to calculate a building's daily earnings, and so I'm not sure if I can afford one.

Again, I welcome feedback from both the GM and current players.


Languages: The majority of Isarn speaks common, and there might be some areas that speak primarily Hallit as it's the regional language. Anything beyond that is up to you and probably won't be all that big an influence in game. If you're human raised in the area and Hallit isn't on your possible starting list, GM TWO may make an exception, just ask.

Earnings and Managers: Don't worry too much about digging into the daily earnings or room assignments during recruitment. Whoever gets selected will have their stuff put into the organization tracker GM built and I'm sure they will be given the opportunity to change their setup, add or remove rooms and teams, and decide on a manager before they start in gameplay, much like we all were. Once you're in the tracker it'll be much easier to visualize and play with. I'd advise to just leave yourself a bunch of gold to play with for last minute changes on your organization and/or personal gear and you'll be just fine. I had about 2k gold sitting around during selection and waited til after recruitment to spend it.

However, for those interested in digging into it now, I'll do a walkthrough using Estelle's shop as an example.

Versatile Vials:

As it sits right now, you have a building with no teams. A building does get the ability to generate capital by itself due to automatically coming with whatever minimal labor is required to operate it. If there is a room that is for personal use only, it does not generate capital. I'll assume for this example the bedroom, bath, and kitchen are personal and the other rooms in your building are related to business.

Therefore your possible max production is +25GP, +23 goods, +9 influence, or +15 magic. This is calculated just by adding up all the possible bonuses in each category for the remaining rooms.

*Note: A storefront gives +5 in any capital already being generated by the building, so you cannot use it generate labor as no other rooms in your business have the ability to generate labor.

From there you have to decide which rooms are generating what. Let's say you use the Alchemy Lab, Garden, and Storage for GP, and the Sitting Room and Storefront for Influence. That gives a daily calculation of +20GP and +9 Influence. We do our calculations based on a "take 10", so taking 10 for your GP gain you get 30, which becomes 3gp. Taking 10 for Influence you get a 19, which becomes 1.9 Influence. You don't roll for any capital type that you don't have a room or team assigned to, so you won't roll for goods, labor, or magic at the moment.

We track it by week. You can make changes to which teams or rooms are generating what over the weekend and earn different things the following week, it's never set in stone. Goods/Influence/Labor/Magic are added up over the 5 day week and then rounded down, so your Influence over 5 days is 9.5 (1.9 x 5) and you gained 9 influence that week (plus the 15gp from 3gp/day earnings)

If I were you I'd add a team of craftspeople to work in the Alchemy Lab (which gives you an additional +4 to either GP, goods, or Labor) and a team of lackeys to run the shop (for an additional +2 Influence or Labor). That way you can add the now non-existent ability to earn Labor if you wish to. This would only use up another 320g of your starting cash and give you more versatility.

As long as the GP gain you pick based on room assignments is at +10 or more it will support a manager (+10 supports a 2gp/day manager with no personal profit for your PC, +20 for a 3gp/day, etc.)


Hey guys and gals, can't we all get along?

By the way, interacting with GM TWO during character creation is exactly collaboration, but he's the thought leader, creative head or scrum master of you prefer a technical bent. He's sharing the requirements, seeding ideas and removing obstacles.

Been knocking around ideas, GM TWO scared me with blacksmith and glazier... I was thinking just that, the morning he posted. And thought, "No, no, no... that's my idea!"

Running with it anyway, slightly differently.

Also, you had me at Phoenix Guards! Steven Brust is a favorite.

For your dissection, I submit an idea. But, I will disclaimer it with although I do not believe I've taken any liberties (pun intended) "in" Galt after establishing the business, years ago.

I have taken some creative license in the time period before Jared arrives and in the establishing of his business - his background, which should be fair - you'll tell me if it's not.

For the purposes of this campaign, Gerard Nisroc can be a story hook, a contact or nothing at all - no evidence of him in Isarn, so far.

It's an alias of mine, 13th level Knife Master Rogue, from Council of Thieves AP. His campaign trait was Enemy of Slavers. I mention this only to give an idea of what the man Jared looks up to might be like. CoT may never have occurred in "this" world.

He could be dead, killed by anyone including the Grey Gardeners, totally up to you. My preference is he remain NG, if alive.

Background, Out of the Frying Pan:
Gerard Nisroc.

He’s the reason I’m here. I’d have died a long time ago, as a runt half-breed child, in a slaver’s hold.

Slave. I was born in captivity, into slavery... How I have gotten here is impossible.

"Your impossible is simply what you've never dared imagine, once imagined... it's but a task that needs be done." - Gerard Nisroc

I traveled with him for years, from my time as a child to young adulthood. The changes came fast, but he did his best to prepare me. Some changes were to be expected like culture shock and growing pains. Others changes were from the blue; the ability to harness and wield arcane energies.

We adjusted, he was good at that and taught it at every moment. It seemed as if something “bad” would happen on a regular basis and I’d be affected, getting depressed or angry. He’d ask why it was bad and how we could incorporate it into our plans... or better yet, use it to our advantage.

The lessons never stopped, being a student of life he called it. Watching how things worked, trade, organizations, individuals... magic. Be patient enough to study the situation, understand the circumstance, identify the actions available and evaluate the consequences.

A man alone, must rely on few and trust even fewer. Conserve his energy, releasing force at the moment of maximum impact and maximum force only to end the transaction. Exhaustion will follow and you must replenish, sleep. Sleep is a weapon.

Life, Freedom and Beauty - in that order. And, find the time to love, you’re a handsome young man, with a big heart and keen sense of self. Hide as you might, the ladies... the good ones, will see it.

But then one day, Gerard said he was headed to Galt. He arranged my travel to Qadira and gave me some money, asking me to forget about him. That was nearly ten years ago, and it took me five years to get here.

The ceiling could only reveal so many secrets, so Jared rose from bed and walked over to the window... pulling back the curtain, he surveilled the waking populace of Isarn.  

People, moving about their daily tasks, on foot or by horseback, some carts and wagons, a carriage. People should really take care of their vehicles and conveyances, at least for the sake of the animals.

He’d never stayed this long in one place, inadvertently it had become home. But, still... no sign of his father.

The Merchant and Servant Leadership:
Proprietor of the Green Lantern Carriage House & Bath.

Purchased as a fixer up’er, this defunct carriage house has been converted into a simple inn and depot, where travelers and teamsters can have their animals, vehicles and tack tended to why they rest in modest, no frills material comfort. Service, however is personal and attentive.

The property consists of a large carriage house (currently the inn) and a large plot of land behind it, yard, outbuildings. Probably near the docks/wharf if there is a waterway for trade or near a main road, but towards the outskirts.

The “inn” serves quality comfort food in generous portions, stews, soups, simple grilled meats, cheeses and breads with a limited variety of beer and wine. Honest food, good value. Travelers spread the word, that's the idea.

A creative, builder and artist at heart - Jared is proud to show off some of his glasswork for sale in the public area do the inn. After all, the green lantern was made by his very hands.

Out back, there is a smithy and leatherwork station; a small glassworks is under construction, but currently operates out of the forge area, heat being a common element. These are the lifeblood services that the keep the staff busy with work coming in from local businesses that appreciate the quality and attention to detail.

Note: acquaintances may go as high up as a steward of this estate or that manner, perhaps a groundskeeper for this organization or that church, but the relationship is transactional if appreciative. Jared tries not to meddle with the upper class.

The operation shares work with the competition, when there is too much or he is under staffed. Jared is not cheap or petty.

He's a connector, not needing to hold every relationship or profit from every connection. But he does connect people, in possible collaboration. As such, his advice is valued by some.

Philanthropy - he will help people, soft spot for women and children due to his own past. He will let kids hang around, learn, apprentice, do odd but legal jobs. He's not forgotten where he's from.


Fair Warning
Isarn is changing.

The map currently posted is a modified Paris, which uses as elements the various city limits found here -- most of which involved the city defenses. The outer limits of Isarn is the 1840-1845 Thiers Wall, (which on the link I provided you will recognize by its crenelations, etc.). However, Paris even in those times was vast in size and population; during the time of Napoleon I, it ranged from 500-630 thousand souls inside the Wall of the Ferme générale, or 'Farmers General Wall' (the area one in from the Thiers wall, made for taxation purposes, not defensive). With construction of the Thiers Wall, and demarcation of the city boundaries out to it, the population was determined to be somewhere around a million inhabitants within a city that was about 7 miles across, for about 38.5 square miles and 26,000 people per square mile (Considering multi-level buildings, this is not as bad as it might sound.)

Isarn, according to Pathfinder, has 42,800 people living in it.

So I have been both a) redistricting the city, and b) adjusting its scope. Isarn's approximate diameter will be 5 miles, making its area 71% of Paris's; this still make travelling through the catacombs a calculated risk. The population of the city will be quintupled to 214,000; this will give a population density of 10,900 per square mile, and give a feel of a serious (and possibly overcrowded) metropolitan area.

I am considering creating a settlement stat block for each district, but that is not yet in the works.

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Vintner
Vintner is excellent. Everyone in Galt drinks wine if they can; it's the preferred drink. Doing it decently (which you will, presuming you max it out, etc.) means you'll likely make decent wine even in the midst of the issues currently at hand.

Le Commune
Le Commune, the Erastil enclave, will be somewhat expanded; it will also be sitting on some of the highest ground in the city, which is good for defensive purposes. That said, the sense I originally got of Le Commune was definitely not 'middle class', and I will be keeping that sense of the area. Egalitarianism is, in many ways, close kin to actual, well, communism -- that is to say, communism in its original sense, 'everyone does what they can and the best they can at what they do, contributing to the community, and in return receives what is necessary for them to continue to do their job and live as well as anyone else in the community'. It is likely that Le Commune will lean heavily towards these communistic ideals -- but at the same time be very firm (even harsh) with people who are looking for a free ride.

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Le Demi-Masque wrote:

You have a very nice way of asking me to delete an alias. Eight more posts and will not be able to.

Ask nicely or at least with a civil tongue.

I thought I did. Let me check.

GM TWO wrote:
... please delete the alias.

It appears I did. To repeat myself, "please delete the alias." I hope that is nice and civil enough for you, to ask politely, and twice. You imply that I was not nice when I asked you to delete the alias.

You are incorrect.

My reaction -- what you felt was me not being polite -- was to your action of creating the alias after you asked for something questionable, didn't wait for an answer, and ignored the commntary of a current player who gives consistently good advice. I was emphatic, yes, and incivil, but you cannot say that you were not forewarned, for I put the following in all my recruitments and campaign info pages:

About Myself:
I am an assh0le.

Let me say that again, just so that you and I are on the same fvcking page:

I am an assh0le. Before I get to how much of an assh0le I can be, let me say this: I am not an enthusiastic, gleeful assh0le; I do not go out of my way to look for reasons to be one. I do not start conversations in order to mousetrap people into failing; I do not go off just because I woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. In short, if I am being an assh0le, there is a reason. Now, let's take a look at how I can be an assh0le, and why.

I will not coddle you. I will not automatically be careful not to insult your tender-wender feelings. I will kick your ass when you're being a schmuck, I will kick your head when you're being a pedant, and I will kick you out of the game if you deliberately wind me up. If you don't need any of those things done to you, you will find that I generally like people, that I'm a laugh riot, that I don't take myself too seriously, and that I can take an insult like a champ. But make sure you're wearing your big-boy/girl pants if you want to play here, dammit.

I run with an eye towards realism. That doesn't make my game a slavish image of reality, and that won't make this a simulation instead of a game, but someone who uses ass-backwards logic in the vein of 'well, the X here could be anything, it's a fantasy X with magic' is going to get Gibbs-slapped the first time they say it, and b!tch-slapped the second, and kicked out the third - because fantasy games like this one have their core roots in what we as humans know. Isarn is practically Paris. Galt is revolutionary France turned up to 11. Leaders have a vested interest in remaining leaders, which means making sure that someone who offends them gets put in their place. Anarchy does not even begin to describe the insanity that's been Galt for the past half-century.

I do not play your character - only the rest of the world. This means that you control what your character does, I do not. What I do control and dictate is how the rest of the world reacts to your charater. If you diss the high priestess, the organization heads around her take affront on her behalf -- not that she can't take care of herself, but there are still certain proprieties to be observed. As a consequence, you might get repeatedly challenged to duels. You might be seized by the house guards for being a classless idiot, sent to a kangaroo court that's made up its mind before you even get there, and have a night with Madame Margaery because you pissed in the wrong cornflakes. I don't dictate what you do; I only dictate what the rest of the world does in reaction to what you do. Heal a person? Defend a town? Slay a marauding dragon? They love you, your reputation grows. Start throwing fireballs around the tavern - or the town? Well, they don't love you, but your reputation DOES grow; just not the sort of reputation you might want.

I write the way I want myself, my character, or the world to be viewed. I write so that both you and I can enjoy reading what I wrote. It is a statement of fact that I still return to scenes I have written in years (and, at this point, decades) past to enjoy the story and the writing there. I also write very, very well for an amateur, and I've been trying to break into the pro scene (if I can get at least one of my ten different projects done), but it means that I write well. And I check my writing before posting it. And I tend to use word selection specifically for its implications and impact. (Subtlety is my friend, though it may not be yours.) The more you write, the more you learn to write; the better you write, the more people want to play with you. It is my hope that you write well for this campaign, and if you don't write well, that you will Learn To Write Well - and then do so.

I want you to have fun. Being a player means wanting your character to do Cool Sh!t(TM). That means Spotlight Time - you know, the moment in the game where you do Cool Sh!t(TM)? That's when the spotlight is on you and your character, and you do your Cool Sh!t(TM). That spotlight can move fast - there's a lot of characters that are going to be here - but if you want to try some wild-ass stunt, then by all means, try your wild-ass stunt. I am, in fact, here to facilitate your wild-ass stunts. I am also here to provide you with Object Lessons on why wild-ass stunts are wild-ass, because when you fail, you look like a wild ass. (And if it's a wild-ass stunt, then I think there should be a reasonable chance of you failing - but I'm pretty sure we'll figure out together what 'reason' in such a case means.) But I'm also here to cheer when your wild-ass stunt succeeds, and reward you appropriately for managing to pull it off, you crazy kid.

I will be flexible - within reason. If I have a set-piece I need to run you through, then you will encounter that set-piece no matter where you go - Mivon, Daggermark, or Absalom. However, if you try to hie yourself all the way to Absalom or some other place that is clearly well out of the campaign expectations (e.g. Isarn in specific and Galt in general), then I reserve the right to be a bit cross about it, and Gibbs-slap you for making me twist reality not only into a pretzel, but into a Moebius strip in order to make everything work because of your ludicrous craptastic journey to Absalom just because your oats are up and you want to have a go at the Starstone.

I want to have fun too. I am not going to get involved in huge arguments about politics, an off-the-wall interpretation of a rule that depends on how you define one word, or whatever. I am open-minded, and I know what I don't know - to wit, much of the system. However, I've been playing and running pen-and-paper RPGs for over thirty years, and so I can smell a bullsh!t attempt at sixty paces. You have one (1) chance - that means two (2) posts max, and maybe one (1) post - to convince me of a rule interpretation. If I say no, roll with it, and try again the next time, because the next time I may agree with you for a myriad of reasons. Like I said above about realism and playing the rest of the world, though, it means that for the most part, 'usual consequences' will be usual. What I said above about you having fun means that I WILL adapt the game to the wild stunts you crazy kids try to pull off - either through consequences due to your failures, or amazement due to your successes. But if I start approaching this game with trepidation, if the moment I see '3 new messages' I get a sour feeling in my gut, I will locate the cause of my upset and I will make it not be a cause of upset any more, either through telling the offender to get their act together, or removing them from the game for not having done so. Because I want to have fun too.

And because I am an assh0le. I reserve lots of rights - the right to Gibbs-slap you, to tell you you're being a schmuck or a pedant, to ask you what drugs you're smoking if you think you can use two lances at once during a charge, to take a phone book to you if you think your special snowflake deserves special treatment. I especially reserve the right to kick your butt out if you not only go out into left field, but stay out there and scream and whine and cry and tell me I'm being unfair for doing all of the things I've already warned you right above this very statement that I was going to do. I also reserve the right to run a howling good game, to write like a poet (and to write entirely new poetry appropriate to the game), to make pugnacious NPCs, to make you fear for your character's life, to run you ragged, and to try to make this the best game ever played on Paizo.com.

And I'm setting out to finish this game, not just start it.

Now, you got all that? You did? And you're still here? Smokin'. Go put together a character, and let's go make fvckin' magic.

You, however, went and did something you simply ought not to have done, something you knew you ought not to have done. We know this because you asked about it before doing it.

So yes, I'd appreciate it if you removed the alias, Gaming Ranger. It isn't something you have to do, but it is the nice and civil thing to do; I can tell, because I'm not the only one who's asking you to do it.

-----------------------------------------------

Alchemists & Investigators vs. Spellcaster: Go!!
Hah. I see where they're coming from; functionally, what an alchemist does is not full-on spellcasting. They can't generally 'project' any magic, and all the magic they are harnessing is being funnelled into an object of some sort first, i.e. their bombs, extracts, and mutagens. That said, the entire thing that an alchemist (and therefore by the transitive property, investigators) does is channel magic into an object -- but it's a very restrictive kind of magic, etc. etc. So I'll stand by their statement in regards to general item crafting, while allowing them to brew potions and create golems.

Functionally, since the base class (alchemist) gets the feat (brew potion), neither I nor HeroLab see a reason to prevent an investigator from taking the Brew Potion feat. If you want it, go to.

Alias ad Tempus
This is a much better background layout. And while I don't see Erastil being concerned with banking, I also acknowledge that it isn't too much of a stretch for him to approve of it in a vague sort of way, and definitely approve of people keeping to their promises. Do keep in mind that while the background definitely gives you (and thus the Conspiracy) hooks into Le Commune, that area is but a fraction of the people that must be interacted with and influenced. I am not saying remove it; I'm just saying that with this as a start, your eyes would have to turn towards growing your influence across the entire city's middle classes. (And read above re: how I see Le Commune 'working'.)

Wandering Wastrel
Hm. I think I was my usual baffling self.

NPCs are a critical component of every story, including your backstory; I like to haul out my two best ones here, those of Aerianna Flametongue and Hel Blackfist. Notice in both that though NPCs are involved, and involved significantly -- Tala Mateev in one, and Father Matthias Harkon (and her step-parents) in the other -- what happens is that the NPCs act according to their nature (a fallen paladin / Gray Maiden in the one, a fanatical witch-hunter and, well, her step-parents in the other), their actions are not ones which try to get the character involved in the campaign (as it were). Instead, their actions are ones which the PC ultimately opposes, and though the NPC's actions are critical to the PC's evolution, they are each time the necessary 'twist' to turn an ordinary girl into ... something else.

Nor is opposition isn't the only way to do it, by any stretch of the imagination; a character can want to emulate their childhood hero, who gives them encouragement and whatever. But the key element in all these stories is the element of free will, or rather of Will -- 'It is my decision to do this thing, without anyone desiring it of me.'

By all means, have something happen. Have a long-lost letter from 'home' finally reach you, or come across something from half-a-dozen years ago in the bottom of a chest. These kinds of things can turn the character towards their 'destiny' without getting behind the character and pushing their reluctant self 'thataway'. The trick, as always, is to make the ultimate destination of the character, whatever it is, into what they decide to do for themselves; in an RPG, and speaking as a long-time GM, there are few things more onerous than needing to constantly come up with new reasons for 'the reluctant hero' to stick with the party. So be someone the Conspiracy can be glad to recruit.

Ever_Anon
Just a clarification -- the character would have known about the conspiracy at the time of being recruited, lo these 3+ years back. Just a reminder that we are starting out (as it were) at the beginning of Book 2 of the standard six-book AP.

Otherwise, and with Lilli giving her usual good advice, looks pretty clean.

Languages
Yeah, not modifying the languages does seem a little odd; I probably would have removed elf and expanded the languages into the human-standard 'any but secret'. That's not how I will do it, though. I'll grant you Hallit for one of your 3 starting bonus languages, but all the rest of the standard Elven list may come in handy at one point or another.

Jared Thorne
To be honest, all of this is very, very choppy. The background does not mesh with the alias at all, and it's entirely disjointed; making your reader have to put together for themselves what just happened in the background (that a certain part of it is reflection on the past or whatever) is not a good thing. Be clear; be concise if possible but not if it serves the story better to elaborate on a point, but most importantly, be clear. Likewise, the 'Green Lanter Carriage House & Bath' is very descriptive, but again, very broken up, very choppy, one piece does not flow into another.

Most simply, both parts seem to be composed of ideas of which you have a good grasp, but which are not in the offered material fleshed out sufficiently to make any good sort of judgement by the reader. Sit down, explicate each element, create a side piece that gives the OOC / technical side of it (doesn't have to be complete, but a 'Xth level This / Yth level That' would be a start). Take the pieces, put the similar ones next to each other, and write something coherent.


@GM TWO

Thanks for the feedback, chop chop.

You're absolutely right, the background is choppy and I was going for "flashbacks" as a device to put a skeleton in place, a framework.

The alias is not updated, and I should have at least emptied it.

What I was going for, was to put enough structure behind the idea to get a greenlight to fill in further details, a gating process perhaps.

Mostly, looking to make sure that the way back background was acceptable and that the merchant idea was not out of bounds.

If those two things are a, "You may proceed" I'll get working on the mechanics and details. Otherwise, I'd be building on a house of cards.

If there is anything you patently do not like, please let me know so that I can adjust, as I move forward.

And, if there is anything you do like or would like to see developed in a particular direction, let me know as well.

I appreciate your time and patience. Have a great day and happy gaming!


@GM: Thanks for taking a look! I've taken Lilli's advice and added Craftspeople, Lackeys, and a Manager. (Alias here.)

I've taken Celestial, Draconic, Gnome, and Orc as my Int bonus languages, while Dwarven is my extra from a point in Linguistics. Reading over the discussion pages I saw some talk of creating a secret language for the conspirators, so I could always trade out Dwarven for that.

I do understand that we're effectively starting in Book 2; I just didn't want to have any assumptions about Book 1 in my backstory. You might have noticed that most of my 'rogue-like' skills, (Disable Device, Escape Artist, etc.) have two points in them. I figure my law-abiding alchemist wouldn't have needed those skills from levels 1-3, but my Influential Merchant might have picked them up during levels 4-5.

Speaking of skills, while reading over the discussion I also came across this gem:

GM TWO wrote:
A wonderful side note -- it appears that the 'half your lesser class's base skill points' bonus actually includes your background skills -- so everyone is going to have a baseline of 20 background skills (10 standard, +5 skill bonus, +5 game bonus). Spend wisely!!

Does that still apply? (Stares at already-ridiculous list of skills and begins cackling madly.)


Ever_Anon wrote:
Reading over the discussion pages I saw some talk of creating a secret language for the conspirators, so I could always trade out Dwarven for that.

So far no secret language has been created for the conspiracy. I was utilizing a personal cipher for taking notes and wanted to create a kind of Thieves' Cant for my own personal use with The Family which is what drove that discussion.

As far as I know, at this point no one has proposed a 'Conspirator' language in game. Lilli is bringing a set of code rods to hand out at our next meeting though, so we will at least will be able to encode written communications. She already has a bunch and will be providing one to each conspirator. (I bought 10 of them at character creation as they seemed they might become useful)

Ever_Anon wrote:
Does that still apply?

Yep you get 4 background skill points per level. I actually had to still transfer a whole bunch over from general to background since all the needed "criminal" stuff sits in background lol.

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