GM Kate's Extinction Curse [closed]

Game Master Kate Baker

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A Time of Crisis || Extinction Curse

The circus is coming to town!

A Time of Crisis || Extinction Curse

The circus has come to Abberton, and boy, are they ready for it! As the members of the Circus of Wayward Wonders prepare for the evening's show, people stand in long lines to get tickets, and children crowd around, hoping for a peek at the animals and entertainers.

There is a lot more coming tomorrow, but feel free to post an introductory scene for your character if you're ready!

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Female Gnome | HP 107/107 AC: 27 (28 w/shield) +2 AC vs Trap| F: +17 R: +20 (Evasion), W: +14 +2 vs traps | Perception: +15; +2 vs traps; +2 Init (M, Low-Light Vision) Default Exploration: Avoid Notice

Corkas peeks through the tent flaps at all of the people. "Canyoubelieve it...Lookatallthesepeople." Her words quickly scramble together. She loosens the flaps as they fall back to the ground, looking back at her companions. " us?"She slows down in nervousness.

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F Cavern Elf Bard (maestro)/9 Hero Points: 3

Niksi stretches before the show, her wood(-covered) limbs moving languid with perfect ease. The outfit she wears over her costume is a sanguine ringmaster’s tailcoat with matching top hat. The cut and fit are snappy, but it appears to have been stitched together out of scraps of red and red-adjacent materials. She wears her “happy” faceplate, the simple black cartoonish lines of her mouth and nose creating a disquieting contrast with her meticulously illustrated eyes, a practical choice to help disguise the lenses that let her see. The unsettling effect is welcome as always. Her black hair forms a black curtain that runs to just below her neck, the strands so meticulously combed and cleaned as to be easily be mistaken for a wig. After finishing her stretches, she moves on to vocal and breathing exercises.

”We do all we can and that is enough. Remember your training and feel the passions in your work and all will be as it should be.”

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F HP 123, AC 26, F+16, R +19, W +15, Hero Pts 3 Halfling circusfolk doomsayer 9

Rova closes her eyes, exuding calm. She's surprised though to feel a tingle of nervousness, a slight hint of nausea, as she prepares for the show. It doesn't really matter -- Niksi's right, all will be as it should be -- which means Groetus' time could be now. She might not even get the chance to perform, though that would be sad.

She glances around, peering out behind the handsome young elephant standing next to her -- inadvertently smearing a little grease paint on his leg: It doesn't look like it's Groetus' time yet. The skies aren't red, the moon's not visible, the earth isn't cracking to let Rovagug come eat everything. Which means she'll probably have to go on stage for the first time. It's kind of terrifying. What if she messes up? What if she can't get people to realize what's coming, and that they should live their best lives until The End? Maybe she should never have asked to actually be on stage when she snuck Thkrull out of the Celestial Menagerie (she's still not 100 percent sure how she managed to do that).

"Is it too late to cancel?" she asks. "This is going to be a disaster..."

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HP 89, AC 24/25, F+16, R+16, W+15, Per +15 Elephant animal companion 9

Thkrull looks around for some hay he can grab with his trunk. There must be some food here. He feels a slight brush against his leg and looks down. The halfling's here. But it doesn't seem to have any food.

He grunts, to let it know it's probably time to feed him.

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Male Dwarf Cannonballer Hero Points: 3

Mukluk finishes polishing his cannon, that really belonged to the Circus, but he took care of it as if it were his own. He wished he had more time and more money to fix it up, but that wasn’t the way of things. He spent some time checking the straps on the team that would be used to move the cannon rig into position, then he checks the boom powder then finally his own padded helmet.

So lost in his preparations (and perhaps because of his slightly diminished hearing), it takes him a while to realize that there are people nearby, children watching him.

He does his best to ignore the adults, but will smile and wave at the children. He has seen the excited young innocent faces before and they were much preferable to angry, leering and jeering faces of the adults that used to bet on or against him as a gladiator. No, he did not miss that life at all, and actually liked seeing excited happy faces very much.

What he regrets is not having any showy skill to offer the children, a sleight of hand, or a quick juggle, or some act of magic that might astonish or awe the children in some way. But no, he wasn’t that talented...yet. He was old, and probably would never get that talented, but he would also work on things and hope to find a skill good enough to awe and delight a child.

After one more tentative wave at the children, he steps inside the animal tent. He's so glad that the animals here are team members, partners, friends... not someone he's being made to fight. He sighs contently as he picks up a flake of hay and plops it down in front of his trusty Moose. After scratching behind the mule's magnificent ears, he peers at the elephant across the tent, and carefully holds out a half-eaten carrot. He offers an encouraging grunt. Should the elephant take the carrot, he'll offer the animal a reassuring pat on the trunk.

Then it's about time to find the Flamboni sisters, for one last check on the boom boom powder before the show begins. Ever since that one incident, he's made it a habit to verify the amount of powder they are going to use in the cannon. He slowly trods off into the direction of the main tent.

Female Gnome | HP 107/107 AC: 27 (28 w/shield) +2 AC vs Trap| F: +17 R: +20 (Evasion), W: +14 +2 vs traps | Perception: +15; +2 vs traps; +2 Init (M, Low-Light Vision) Default Exploration: Avoid Notice

Corkas smiles up at Niksi, making a small fist high into the air as she calls out. "Do our best!" Her blondish hair catches the light and slowly changes to bright red streaks within it with seemingly no cotrol from the gnome. Her eyebrows begin to shade to match it as her excitement alters the appearance. Corkas smiles to Rova. "It won't be a disaster. Wegotthis!" She fist-pumps the air once more.

HP 89, AC 24/25, F+16, R+16, W+15, Per +15 Elephant animal companion 9

Thkrull grumbles excitedly, pulling his helper along as he moves toward one of the other food-givers. It was good to see something realized he needed food if he were going to perform. Thkrull thinks that he might prefer if it didn't have such a sharp smell when it handed him the morsel, but he supposes beggars can't be choosers. Not that he would ever beg, but it was a saying in the wisdom of the elephants he had learned before he had took his halfling out of that other circus.

A Time of Crisis || Extinction Curse

The hour of the show draws near! The Circus of Wayward Wonders performs in an enormous tent capable of holding hundreds of people—and that’s a good thing, as it seems the entire population of Abberton has turned out for the show. Many of the town’s most prominent citizens, including the mayor, are among the throng jostling for seats, peering at the three rings that fill the center of the tent, and waiting excitedly for the show to begin.

As the audience settles onto their seats, circus performers are frantically trying to find the ringmaster, Myron “Thunder” Stendhal. Suddenly, there is a loud shriek. Several of the performers closest to the curtain that separates the three rings from the rest of the tent leave their places, gathering in a small crowd to exchange frightened whispers and hushed gasps. Amid the group, his body contorted as if caught forever in the throes of terrible pain, is the corpse of ringmaster. Everyone in the circus knew Myron for his amazing, powerful voice that could bring instant silence to the largest crowd, and he knew everything there is to know about putting on a successful performance.

The chatter grows loud as people argue. "What do we do? Do we cancel the show?" "Have you seen how many people are out there? We'll have a riot!" "But how can we do the show without Myron?" "If we don't put on the show, then the circus doesn't get paid! We have a lot of mouths to feed!"

Female Gnome | HP 107/107 AC: 27 (28 w/shield) +2 AC vs Trap| F: +17 R: +20 (Evasion), W: +14 +2 vs traps | Perception: +15; +2 vs traps; +2 Init (M, Low-Light Vision) Default Exploration: Avoid Notice

Corkas shrieks as he pushes her way through the crowd and catches sight of the Ringmaster. "THUNDER!" She clamps her hand over her mouth as her eyes are wide and shaking. Her red hair quickly spurns a blackened color of sadness. "Whowouldkillhim? Why?"

A Time of Crisis || Extinction Curse

As the other performers stare at the corpse, whisper to each other, and anxiously peer around the curtain, the Professor—a thin and frail veteran of the circus—looks up. “Well, what are you all standing around for?” he asks, his weak voice barely audible in the hushed silence. “Have you seen that crowd? We haven’t ever had the tent packed this full. There’s a show to put on, and we have to find a way to do it. So finish your makeup, get into your costumes, and send in the clowns!”

Quick to follow the Professor’s advice, the circus’s clowns immediately bound through the curtain and into the three rings.

He points to Rova, Niksi, Mukluk, and Prism and gestures with a wave to come speak in private.

"You four seem to be keeping your heads on straight, so you're the best ones to get this show going. Thunder never posted the schedule for tonight, so that's the best place to start. I'll try and calm everyone down. The clowns should buy us a little time." As if on cue, you hear the audience erupt into laughter after a pratfall. "Remember, the show must go on!"

F Cavern Elf Bard (maestro)/9 Hero Points: 3

Niksi's face is covered by her mask, but her emotions are clear in her every movement. Her body remembers too well her dancer training, painting her feelings into every movement. She kneels down next to the headmaster and closes his eyes. He was a good man and a great ringmaster, his nickname well-earned. Every time she heard his voice, she thought of it. She had thought of something to tell him, a witty saying based on his name, but it was too sentimental for most moments, and she had been saving it for the right one. Were she the kind to believe in fate, she would see it as having been destined for right now. "As Thunder, you shall reverberate long after your light has faded."

She stands, having discretely switched out her faceplate for the "sad" one. Her faceplates tend towards the subtler side of emotion, a choice she was glad for in this moment. Something more maudlin would have been a disrespect. "The Professor is correct. The show must go on." She motions for the other three to join with her in a huddle to discuss the schedule.

There would be time for justice after the show. The circus takes care of its own.

"Before we begin, I would like to say that you are all valued members of this company, and if any of you are too distraught to take the stage this evening, I fully support you and shall ensure all others do as well. Once that matter is quickly settled, we can move on to the matter of ordering. For my part, I intend to perform as usual."

F HP 123, AC 26, F+16, R +19, W +15, Hero Pts 3 Halfling circusfolk doomsayer 9

"Great Groetus," Rova whispers. Her stomach does a slow roll, as she looks around in a slight panic to see if there are any other signs. Has the time come? But no. It appears to be The End only for Thunder, not for her and everything else. She blinks back a few tears. She knows they're all going to die, but that doesn't mean she can't be sad, damn it!

"I -- I don't think I can," Rova stammers, heart pounding. "I was going to tell everyone about ... The End, but ... it feels like it might just upset everyone now. Maybe Elizia and Mister Tickles can go instead?"

I'm still trying to figure out my Trick, but that's OK because so is Rova. I'll take on the Animal Handler role, if no one objects.

She thinks for a moment.

"Mukluk's trick is a really good; I think it should be last. And that way if he hits a support and brings down the tent -- like Sad Rock did that one time -- everyone will think that's just part of the show."

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Male Dwarf Cannonballer Hero Points: 3
GM Kate wrote:
"Remember, fo’ sho’ mustard’s gone!"

”Erh?” ’Fo’ sho’ mustard’s gone’? Mukluk’s hard hearing takes a moment to parse out what The Professor is saying. He looks over at the ringmaster’s body, having seen a bit of death in his time, but not really ready for this.

”Did anyone see what happened? Ah, no matter. We shouldn’t be worrying about mustard, the show must go on,” Mukluk announces. He looks over to support Niski in rallying the troops, his own face getting set to perform no matter what. Sadly, his gladiatorial past means he was used to this, but also, he had hoped to have left that past and those cut off emotions long ago.

Rova Moonbright wrote:
"Mukluk's trick is a really good; I think it should be last. And that way if he hits a support and brings down the tent -- like Sad Rock did that one time -- everyone will think that's just part of the show."

Mukluk isn’t sure that he’s hearing Rova right, but just shakes his head in agreement. That’s what you do when it’s your turn to fight. You get ready to do your thing, and Mukluk was no amateur...well, he actually was an amateur in the circus sense, but he was a professional in doing what he should be doing. And he would be ready.

”Oh yeah, I’ll do it just like Sad Rock used to do. You can count on me to either do it right, or fail spectacularly and pretend I meant to do that. It’ll be fine...and if not fine, it will be loud, which is also good,” Mukluk confirms. He’s sure that his trick was good at a lot of things: loud, sudden, fire, and with a high probability of someone getting hurt: all crowd pleasers, he was sure.

”Ah right then! Ah right then! Get to your spots! You know what to do! Let’s go! Let’s go!” Mukluk begins to clap and get people on task.

Female Gnome | HP 107/107 AC: 27 (28 w/shield) +2 AC vs Trap| F: +17 R: +20 (Evasion), W: +14 +2 vs traps | Perception: +15; +2 vs traps; +2 Init (M, Low-Light Vision) Default Exploration: Avoid Notice

Corkas wipes away her tears on her face and readies herself. "Alright who is heading out there first, Let's get line up." He speech is slowed way down as it is obvious she is quite sad, hitting an extreme low. She slowly raises a fist in the air. "We got this..." She sniffles.

F Cavern Elf Bard (maestro)/9 Hero Points: 3

Niksi steps forward, the ideas swirling in her head as she begins to weave together many threads. "I believe that a show should have a certain narrative flow to it, the action rising to a climax and then falling."

She throws up her hand and dances it down through the air like a leaf on wind. "Axel's Amazing Aviary provides a way to ease the audience into the show, and his move of sending the children candy with his birds brings them firmly into the show and gets us favor with them. It is an entreatment to join in our entertainment. Mortals and nature are in harmony."

She pulls out her hand from her body suddenly and rears back, like from the explosion of a roaring fire. "Then the Flamboni Sisters begin their firetossing. A bit of danger is added to this world. Not all is in harmony."

She sways back and forth in a waltz tempo as she looks up. "We move on to the the Feather-Fall Five next, their spectacular grace and coordination fly about, aided by the ropes and beams they balance on, mortals rising to the clouds with the aid of technology, beyond the threats of nature's danger."

She throws up both of her hands in triumphant ecstasy. "We set up the big number, Prism's obstacle course, while the audience's eyes are above. Here, our earlier gambit of drawing in the audience has laid the groundwork for a more engaged audience, ready to join her in her challenge. Mortals triumph when they come together."

She mimes hefting a heavy weight, then tossing it. "We have the dwarven throwers arrive on stage, their 'living ballista' techniques expanding the audience's ideas of the possiblilities of the mortal body, that no, not even technology is needed."

Her whole body explodes as she thrusts her limbs out in every directino. "Little did they realize that this already spectacular act was but a prelude, a brief vision to prepare themselves for the ultimate big booming act: a literal big boom as Mukluk is fired from the cannon, a triumph of the mortal body versus the most destructive power we could create without magic."

She places the tips of her fingers on her sternum, demurely indicating herself. "Lastly, I, humble automata constructed of wood, appear to play us out with a song and dance. Technology is now mortal, a recognition of the great potential within us. The tension is resolved, and all can relax." She bows, deep and dramatic. Underneath her maks, she is grinning wildly, the rush of ideas the greatest high she could ever think of.

Summarized order in discussion!

Male Dwarf Cannonballer Hero Points: 3

Mukluk missed some of the descriptions, but is sure this is the right plan.

”Alright, you heard the Elfequin, let’s get going,” Mukluk claps, getting people moving. He looks at Axel ”You got this. You’d hatched for things like this. Now get out there and candify some kids.”

Mukluk, once things are moving, will spend most of the performance times going back and forth from his own preparation and double and triple checks, and then back to watch the other acts to see how they were getting on and how the crowd was doing.

He wasn’t too nervous. He’s been on display before. He’d also almost died before. He’d been brutally injured before. But he’d lived. And he enjoyed the performance and acting parts of it all.

”Flamboni’s?! You’re up next. Alright now, you know what to do. Let’s go.” Mukluk goes to check on the Flamboni’s, who are probably ready to go, but Mukluk was a worrier and just wanted to be sure.

F HP 123, AC 26, F+16, R +19, W +15, Hero Pts 3 Halfling circusfolk doomsayer 9

Rova nods, and once Axel agrees, asks Thkrull to stay put while she goes and helps keep track of any birds (not to mention an eye on the snakes, and Mukluk's mule to make sure they don't cause any problems).

HP 89, AC 24/25, F+16, R+16, W+15, Per +15 Elephant animal companion 9

Thkrull grumbles as his halfling tells him to wait, though at least it had the courtesy to put some white mud on its face and help keep him cool.

He looks for the hairless, sharp-smelled one, to see if it might have any more tribute carrots it wishes to deliver.

A Time of Crisis || Extinction Curse

The chaos of backstage in the wake of the ringmaster's death changes to a familiar business, as everyone starts gathering equipment and going to their places.

Axel stares in disbelief at the schedule and then at Mukluk. "I'm finally on the schedule. Thunder always promised to give me a chance on the stage...oh gods, look at all those people! What if I choke! What if the birds choke! What if a kid chokes, on a candy! What if I bring shame on Thunder's memory!"

He seems to be having a bit of stage fright.

Meanwhile, there is a kerfuffle over where the Konbali family is preparing for their performance as the Feather-Fall Five. Their nets have been sabotaged! "It's very dangerous to perform without a net! One of us could get hurt. And what if whoever killed Thunder is trying to kill us too, by messing with the equipment?"

Perception or Nature check, examining the nets:
DC 13
You find the nets have been chewed through by rats, but targeting the nets specifically is unusual behavior for rodents.

The Flamboni Sisters, luckily, have everything well in hand for their act when Mukluk checks on them. "We got this. The show must go on!"

F HP 123, AC 26, F+16, R +19, W +15, Hero Pts 3 Halfling circusfolk doomsayer 9

"Oh, none of that matters," Rova tries to reassure Axel. "I mean, even if the worst happens, once Groetus comes ... well, there won't be anyone to remember because we'll all be dead. Unless one of us becomes a god in what's next. I'm not sure if we'll remember this world then ..."

She trails off uncertainly, since it doesn't seem to be helping much.

Diplomacy (trained): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7

F Cavern Elf Bard (maestro)/9 Hero Points: 3

Niksi places a hand on Axel’s shoulder. ”No one is going to choke. We believe in you and your act. I would not have suggested you as our opener if I did not. I know you will do wonderfully.”

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17

Niksi makes sure he is calmed before moving on to investigate the nets

Male Dwarf Cannonballer Hero Points: 3

Seeing that Niksi is handling the pre-panicked entertainer, Mukluk moves over to examine the nets hoping he can fix them quickly.

1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14 Perception

”Rats! Looks like rats have been at this!” Mukluk sees, wondering if they can be fixed quickly.

”Hey Elfequin! C’mere!” Mukluk grumpily calls over Niksi. ”Is there another act we can put on in place? Or maybe we can switch them around until we get these nets fixed? Not sure I want them to risk it. Things are weird right now.”

* * *
If he has time between calamities he will look over the body of Thunder and see what the can learn.

1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13 Perception
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14 Medicine

Female Gnome | HP 107/107 AC: 27 (28 w/shield) +2 AC vs Trap| F: +17 R: +20 (Evasion), W: +14 +2 vs traps | Perception: +15; +2 vs traps; +2 Init (M, Low-Light Vision) Default Exploration: Avoid Notice

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25

Prism looks to Axel and grasps his hands. "Don'tworry...Yougotthis!" She says with confidence. That is until Mukluk calls back about rats chewing through all of the nets. "Youmostlyhavethis...just have faith and those ropes will hold."

A Time of Crisis || Extinction Curse

Axel's face goes through a cavalcade of emotions. First, his eyes get large and his mouths gapes open at Rova's talk of the end of the world. Then, he closes his eyes and starts nodding along at Niksi's reassuring words. Finally, he opens his eyes again and gives a big smile with Prism's support. "All right," he says, "I've got to do this!"

He gets an extra +2 because of the excellent Diplomacy!

Mukluk thinks that the nets can be repaired but it would take more time than is available before their act. "Rats? Why would rats chew up our nets?"

Mukluk also takes a quick glance at the body and notices something right away: Myron's legs are so swollen that his pant legs can’t be rolled up; his trousers must be cut off or cut open.

if someone does so:

He has many small punctures on his legs.

DC 13 Medicine

He was killed by snake venom.

DC 23 Medicine

Specifically, he was killed by vipers!

F Cavern Elf Bard (maestro)/9 Hero Points: 3

Niksi runs her finger along the curve of her mask. She does not want to say that yes, in fact, the Kanbali family was likely intended to die based on this sabotage, but further panicking them helps no one. "I will not put any of this company in danger needlessly, and the nets cannot be fixed in time for the show. We can substitute Mordaine for the Kanbalis."

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Male Dwarf Cannonballer Hero Points: 3
Niksi Drugova wrote:
"We can cannibalize Mordaine for the cannolis."

The hard-of-hearing Mukluk seems flummoxed by Niksi's pronouncement, but easily finds a solution. "Why don't we have Mordaine in place of the Feather Fall Five? That's probably better than grinding up our team for food, I would think?"

Mukluk moves to go explain to Mordaine what the circus needs and ask him to replace the Kanbalis.

A Time of Crisis || Extinction Curse

Mordaine turns her nose up as Mukluk suggests she go on during the build-up. "Go on alongside the Flamboni Sisters? I am the best act this two-bit circus even has! I perform alone as the big number or not at all!"

You recall that Mordaine's ego is legendary, and she argued with Myron about her billing many times.

F Cavern Elf Bard (maestro)/9 Hero Points: 3

Niksi calmly listens to the report that Mordaine refuses to go up. Niksi had gotten so caught up in her planning a narrative that she forgot Mordaine's ridiculous insistence on always being top billing. Niksi--with perfect, deliberate poise--removes her faceplate, replacing it with one she rarely ever uses, so rarely that nobody at this newer circus has likely seen it yet. Her "angry" face. Niksi's mentor had told her "The only grandstanding in a circus should be in the big top for a crowded audience," and she has always found truth in that sentiment. She strides up to Mordaine and folds her arms. "Tonight, someone murdered one of this 'two-bit circus's most beloved members. We do not even have time to remove his body from the horrible rictus it was left in before going on stage and putting on happy faces. And you want to revel in your ego now? If you cannot set your self-interest aside even in a dark moment such as this, then we cannot rely on you, and if we cannot rely on one of our members, then--as far as I am concerned--they have no place in this company. I am sure you could find a three- or even four-bit circus that will tolerate you. Either walk onstage or walk out the door. Your choice."

Intimidation: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8 Oof >_<

Niksi leaves to go find Elizia, expecting that she will need to. She perhaps handled the situation too roughly, but her disgust went far beyond simple professional disagreement. Perhaps its almost two-hundred years of communcal living in the circus, but she simply cannot fathom how someone could be so self-absorbed and callous in such extreme circumstances.

Female Gnome | HP 107/107 AC: 27 (28 w/shield) +2 AC vs Trap| F: +17 R: +20 (Evasion), W: +14 +2 vs traps | Perception: +15; +2 vs traps; +2 Init (M, Low-Light Vision) Default Exploration: Avoid Notice

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11

Prism beams up at Mordaine. "You are the best we have, that is why we need you up there with the Flamboni Sisters. We need all of the help we can get tonight!"

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F HP 123, AC 26, F+16, R +19, W +15, Hero Pts 3 Halfling circusfolk doomsayer 9

Rova, seeing the night's show -- if it did actually get a chance to go on -- was in good hands, makes her way back to the Thunder's body.

Rova pulls at the gray and black robe, trying to remember she's not supposed to suck her thumb anymore. It's the same as her parents and her "uncles" and "aunts" all wear, but she didn't realize it would be so itchy. It always seemed comforting when she'd hug her da's leg when he would put it on before leaving her to do the adult things they did.

She looks at the ratfolk woman, one she doesn't recognize. She's in her own robe, but it's just white -- a bright white like the profane moon's light that her parents took for their name. Her eyes droop as the singing goes on, though she tries to pay attention. The ratfolk's whimpers -- the red cloth in her mouth means she can't make more noise -- keep her from falling asleep even though it's warm and dark in the basement of the home. This place is a secret, she knows, one she's not allowed to tell anyone about. She looks around -- how neat that the trees seem to reach down, little roots in the walls.

She's looking at a little mouse in a corner of the room when she hears the muffled scream. Heart racing, she looks back, but the ratfolk woman is still. Blood -- so, so, red, even in the dark room -- sprays from her neck, staining the white robes, their brightness extinguished along with the woman's life. Rova wants to cry, but she knows that's not allowed. There's nothing to cry about, really. The End has come for the woman, just as The End is coming for them all.

But the Thunder is different. She knew the Thunder. He was kind to her in his way. And there's no second smile for him, she thinks. She's not sure what killed him, honestly. The End hasn't come for them all.

Curiously, she tries to arrange his body, remembering how he mum and uncles took care of the sacrifices to the Harbinger of Last Days. That's how she notices his pants. And can't help taking a closer look.

Medicine: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13

She gasps as she realizes she what happened, her thoughts turning to Elizia. Who's not scheduled to be in the show tonight. Which means she could have time to escape! Or ... maybe The End has already come for her too. Rova tries to think if she's seen the snake handler since they found the Thunder.

A Time of Crisis || Extinction Curse

Mordaine cooly meets the gaze of Niksi's mask. "I am devastated at the death of Myron, but I don't know why you think that means he left you in charge. If we want this to be a great show, then it should have the best act, me, in the center ring for the big number. You want me to walk? I'll take Hod and all my fans with me."

The magician's assistant Hod stands nearby watching the conversation, but not adding anything to it.

Prism tries to soften the magician up, but she's not having it. She crosses her arms and points her nose back in the air. "Center ring. The big number. Or not at all."

GM screen:

1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21

Mukluk and Niksi both notice that Mordaine glances at Hod periodically. It might be easier to get Hod to talk her into performing.

Meanwhile, Niksi and Rova look for Elizia, though for very different reasons. They find her, distraught, looking at Mister Tickles' pen.

"It's Mister Tickles! He's sick! I've never seen him like this before."

Nature or Medicine check:

DC 15

You identify the malady as goblin pox. Goblin pox isn’t lethal, and Mister Tickles is in no real danger and will recover within a few days. This may have been due to a spell being cast on him. You can attempt a Medicine check to Treat Disease to get him healthy enough to perform.

F Cavern Elf Bard (maestro)/9 Hero Points: 3

Niksi is unmoved by Mordaine’s jab at her taking charge. The Professor had made a decision to put the four of them in charge of the schedule and she was carrying out her duty.

Nature: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23

Niksi immediately recognizes the telltale signs of Goblin Pox, having encountered it long ago back in her first circus. She had similarly freaked out upon discovering it, and the memory brings a small smile to her lips.

”I have good news: it is only Goblin Pox, so he is in no danger and will recover within the next few days. It is not lethal.” She keeps her speculation as to the cause to herself, though she would be the last to deny the clear pattern here. ”Unfortunately, I am incapable of relieving his symptoms myself. I will look for someone who can.”

Medicine is one of the few skills Niksi does not have trained :(

F HP 123, AC 26, F+16, R +19, W +15, Hero Pts 3 Halfling circusfolk doomsayer 9

When did we start being able to nest spoilers?! That's awesome...

Medicine (trained): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21

"Oh, I can help," Rova says. "A lot of animals got it in ... the other circus, unfortunately. Because it wasn't clean enough. It isn't too hard to treat..."

She starts administering to the snake.

"So this means he probably didn't bite anyone ... like the Thunder, right?" she asks as casually as she's able.

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Male Dwarf Cannonballer Hero Points: 3

1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8 Medicine on Thunder

Mukluk really wants to give Mordaine the back side of his hand, but also, he's been trying to live a more peaceful life since leaving the gladiator's rings. He doesn't want to fight, but sometimes a bit of the old anger rise up.

He opts to speak to Hod, hoping Hod might be able to help.

"Hey Hod, might I have a word with you?" Mukluk asks, trying to take the assistant aside for a moment. If he gets him aside, he'll press on Hod to help out.

"I think we've always been fair to each other, Hod. And today, today we'll need a bit more understanding, you see? It's been a rough day and things ain't going so good. Might you see to asking Mordaine to perform where she is needed? Or maybe you want to take her spot or something?"

1d20 - 1 ⇒ (17) - 1 = 16 Diplomacy

Edited for gender.

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F Cavern Elf Bard (maestro)/9 Hero Points: 3

I believe Mordaine is a woman

A Time of Crisis || Extinction Curse

Hod listens to Mukluk and nods. "I'll see if I can do anything to convince her."

Hod talks to Mordaine. "Everyone really needs you right now. They look up to you. You know the circus isn't the same without your act."

She softens at Hod's words, and looks back to Niksi.

If anyone wants to try to convince Mordaine again, the DC is much easier.

Over with Rova, Elizia is delighted to see Mister Tickles looking better. "Oh hooray! He's been acting odd for several hours. Was the Thunder bitten by a snake? How awful! No, it couldn't have Mister Tickles; I've been with him all day. Plus, Mister Tickles is a constrictor; they crush their prey. I mean, he could bite, but there's no venom or anything."

Elizia and Mister Tickles are ready to go, if you want them on stage!

Meanwhile, the show is beginning! Axel heads out into the center ring, brimming with confidence from the pep talk. "People of Abberton, thank you for having us! We have a wonderful show for you today! You know, when I was young, people were always pidgeon on me, but my life has taken a tern for the better! I just dove life here in the circus. Maybe you'd like to meet some of my friends!"

Whisking his cape to the side, Axel produces several birds with a dramatic gesture!

Nature, first action: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 7 + 2 = 27

The trick goes off beautifully! The crowd oohs and aaahs and the children scrabble for candy dropped by the birds as they fly overhead.

Critically success on the DC 15 task!

He tries to produce another flock, but the trick doesn't quite come off right.

Nature, second action, -5 penalty: 1d20 + 7 + 2 - 5 ⇒ (10) + 7 + 2 - 5 = 14

He looks back to you for guidance on what to do!

There is a choice here! He could use the Send in the Clowns action to turn that failure into a success, or just take a bow and leave the ring, since he started off with a crit success. The downside of using Send in the Clowns is that the whole circus can only use that action once.

Male Dwarf Cannonballer Hero Points: 3

Ooooh...shit is getting real. This is a serious decision...and so early on!

Mukluk coughs, rubbing his hand on his bald scalp wondering whether to suport Axel by sending in the clowns or bid him a hasty exit.

He would show support to Axel, and his great efforts, and send in the clowns...but this is a long show and clowns are a resource of delight and mirth.

The kid would learn his tough lesson...and he did well, but grow from his failure. Mukluk knows learning from failure as he's been knocked silly or unconscious more times than he can count from his younger days, but he's gotten up and learnt from them. And so should Axel.

No clowns vote here.

F Cavern Elf Bard (maestro)/9 Hero Points: 3

Niksi, having switched to her sad faceplate now, watches with pride as Axel knocks his first trick out of the park. She had learned long ago that anyone that cares that much about doing a good job is a person worth investing in.

When his second goes off less than spectacularly, she mulls over the choice to send in the clowns. Like most decisions having to do with the circus, she weighs it as though lives were in the balance, which—too be fair—is not uncommonly the case in this line of work.

However it is not the case this time. He has been validated in his efforts while also learning that he has has much to grow still, the best possible lesson for a novice. She motions for him to wrap it up and that everything is good.

Another vote for no clowns

A Time of Crisis || Extinction Curse

He gives it one more shot, but the flock still doesn't appear. He takes a bow and leaves the stage, children throughout the audience munching noisily on candy.

Nature, third attempt: 1d20 + 7 + 2 - 10 ⇒ (7) + 7 + 2 - 10 = 6

"Niksi, Prism, did you see? It started off great! I need to figure out the timing for the next part, but at least the opening went off perfect!"

The Flamboni Sisters start out to the ring, double-checking their torches and other props.

Who is joining them? To recap, Elizia and Mister Tickles can perform, though Mister Tickles is feeling some residual effects from the goblin pox. Hod softened up Mordaine, so someone can try again to convince her to perform now.

Female Gnome | HP 107/107 AC: 27 (28 w/shield) +2 AC vs Trap| F: +17 R: +20 (Evasion), W: +14 +2 vs traps | Perception: +15; +2 vs traps; +2 Init (M, Low-Light Vision) Default Exploration: Avoid Notice

Is Thunder's body still laying openly next to us all where we enter from backstage?

"Youdid...Great, Axel." She clasps his hands, jumping up and down excitedly before looking to Mordaine. "See, we all need you. The circus needs you." Corkas slows down to emphasize each word to the woman. "Weneedtoputonagoodshow!" She goes too fast, clamping her hands over her mouth and giggling to herself.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26

Male Dwarf Cannonballer Hero Points: 3

Oh nice Prism, probably is best if Mukluk doesn't need to be the diplomat.

Mukluk rubs his hairless chin, thinking about all the things that have gone, can go wrong, and are in the process of going wrong, and far, what is going right. And Axel's start was a good part of that.

Now, if Mister Tickles or Mordaine can shore up the 2nd act, things could be good.

Thkrull wrote:
He looks for the hairless, sharp-smelled one, to see if it might have any more tribute carrots it wishes to deliver.

Mukluk takes a moment to go check on his own rig, the beaute cannon named Time for the Boom-Boom, Moose his mule, and the elephant who probably, might be his second best friend. With someone causing problems, he doesn't want his own act to be ruined.

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A Time of Crisis || Extinction Curse

"You are right, Prism. If even a complete amateur like Axel can pull together a performance, I need to do my part, even if that means sharing the stage with a lesser act. Hod, set up my tank!"

"And now! The Circus of Wayward Wonders will present its mastery over the elements! Witness, fire and water! The Flamboni Sisters will juggle flaming torches while Mordaine the Magician is lowered into a tank of water bound by manacles! Will she escape? Will the Flamboni Sisters light the tent on fire? Let's find out!"

The Flamboni Sisters begin by individually juggling torches, lit on fire! The circus members know that the torches are only smoking at this point, and aren't actually much of a danger.
Deception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19


Mordaine the Magician has a terrifying start, as her hands fumble with the manacle key secreted on her person.
Thievery: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10


The Sisters look over at Mordaine nervously, and Celia nearly burns herself as the torches warm up.
Fortitude: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13


Luckily, Mordaine got a solid breath of air, so she has enough time to do this the hard way!
Fortitude: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19


Seeing Mordaine has things under control, the Flamboni Sisters focus on their own act and begin tossing their torches back and forth between each other. It's even better than in practice, and the sisters are perfectly in rhythm with each other, the torches flying higher and higher! The torches are very hot now, but they don't miss a beat.
Fortitude, second time: 1d20 + 7 - 5 ⇒ (20) + 7 - 5 = 22

Critical Success!

Mordaine has to actually pick the lock, but luckily, she is very well-practiced. She stays calm, keeps working at the manacles, and after what seems like an impossible amount of time to hold your breath, she emerges with a large smile!
Fortitude, second time: 1d20 + 8 - 5 ⇒ (16) + 8 - 5 = 19


While the group backstage watches the performance, a food vendor runs up to Rova. "Rova! There's some snakes in the bleachers! It looks like they made a nest there. They're just sleeping right now, but I'm afraid they'll get startled and bite a guest."

F HP 123, AC 26, F+16, R +19, W +15, Hero Pts 3 Halfling circusfolk doomsayer 9

"What?!" Rova looks shocked.

Maybe this really is The End, she thinks.

But just in case it's not, she collects her wits. She's been prepared for just this sort of thing since she could begin to walk.

"If it's not Mr. Tickles, maybe you could look at the Thunder and see if you have any idea which snakes it could be?" she asks. I'm assuming we have no reason to mistrust any of our fellow performers.

She thinks for a second.

"You know where the rest of your snakes are, right? They couldn't be in the bleachers, could they?"

Once she gets her answer, she rushes to solve this latest crisis.

"No, no, it's OK," she tries to reassure the patrons. "You're probably not going to die right here, not like this, at least. Look, there aren't even any cracks in the ground..."

She closes in, certain she can ... handle ... the problem.

Nature (trained): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22

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A Time of Crisis || Extinction Curse

Elizia checks her cages and pens. "Every snake is where they should be. I'll take a look at the Thunder and see what I can find out."

Rova then rushes off to deal with the other snake situation. Luckily, she is expertly able to rouse the snakes and herd them out of the Big Top without aggravating them. The nearby audience members watch, astounded. "Is this part of the act?""It must be! Look at that halfling herd those snakes! Wow!"

Rova earns an extra point of Excitement for the circus performance!

Just when it seemed like everything was starting to settle down, an animal handler rushes backstage. She walks up to Mukluk, then thinks better of it and walks over to Niksi.

"There are some gamblers walking through the crowd, asking people to place bets on things like whether Mordaine will drown or the Flamboni Sisters will light themselves on fire. I think they're really bothering people."

Prism, I missed your question earlier! It's up to y'all what you did with the body.

Female Gnome | HP 107/107 AC: 27 (28 w/shield) +2 AC vs Trap| F: +17 R: +20 (Evasion), W: +14 +2 vs traps | Perception: +15; +2 vs traps; +2 Init (M, Low-Light Vision) Default Exploration: Avoid Notice

Prism's hair grows red with anger as she puffs out her chest, placing her small fists on her hips. "I'll get them out of here." She stomps around the backside of the tent to approach the gamblers at the benches without disturbing the crowd or show.

Rushing over she points up to them. "You and you come here!" She waves the over as if she wishes to make a bet. As they get closer she begins to scold them, her small finger waving in the air. "We are trying to put on a show. These are people lives you are betting on and there are kids here. Enough of that. You should be ashamed." He hair and eyebrows streak with gold and red colors, slowly shifting through like a wavering fire.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10

Male Dwarf Cannonballer Hero Points: 3

Mukluck watches one of the animal handlers first head in his direction, then quickly change course and talk in an animated but hushed voice to Niksi. Already hard of hearing, he has trouble making out the words, but from the handler's pointing and the pockets of commotion in the audience, he can piece together that someone is hassling their guests.

Without hesitation, he leaps into the stands, trying to intercept the hustlers without causing a scene. Unfortunately, in his hurry, he stubs his toe on the way up, perhaps losing any advantage his usually stout figure might have in this type of situation. He moves to back up Prism.

"Listen here, friends. I've known gambling. I've seen how money can change a crowd and we don't want that here. Back...back in the pits of Vyre, I've seen a fight or two and know that gamblin', that gamblin' sours things. We don't want that here, d'ya mind taking your business elsewhere?"

1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14 Gladiator Lore

F Cavern Elf Bard (maestro)/9 Hero Points: 3

Niksi restrains a smile, not wanting to admit that she is happy for a worthy foe to vent her frustration. Gamblers are a superstitious lot, so it should be easy.

She walks up to the offending party, then tilts her head with eerie precision. ”Salutations.” She lifts her hat up robotically in greeting, then returns it, her head tilted the entire time. ”I know that you are interested in morbid possibility. So much belief in the worst concentrated right here.” She taps on one of their chests. ”That energy has a dark taste, like eating the wind at midnight. Some strange creatures have a taste for it. You may want to take care.” She makes sure they can hear the smile on her lips.

Intimidation: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22

She’s basically trying to freak them out just enough that they leave or stop their racket

F HP 123, AC 26, F+16, R +19, W +15, Hero Pts 3 Halfling circusfolk doomsayer 9

The new snakes removed from the big top, Rova heads back to find Elizia and see what she's learned.

She wonders if these unexpected reptiles could be the ones who killed the Thunder.

Nature (trained): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9 Are they venomous?
Perception (expert) (+2 circumstance bonus when using Seek action to find hidden or undetected creatures within 30 feet): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16 Any chance I caught them red-fanged?

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