Alchemist

Captain Sakhbet "The Sandman"'s page

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My Kingmaker campaign had the Sootscale kobolds join the country. They're now the primary miners, metalcrafts, and scouts of the nation of Agrowan and have an important and significant part to play every day there.

You are welcome.


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- Weakness. I do not appreciate anyone who is incapable of withstanding even the slightest hint of a physically or emotionally uncomfortable situation. They will happen, and when they do, facing them with strength and maturity is something that'll gain my deepest admiration and respect.

- Worldliness. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has DND, videogames, and other forms of escapism as a regular part of their lifestyle, but someone who is overly attached to money, sex, and fame will not work for me. This isn't to say they cannot hold these facts important or shouldn't be aware of their needs and/or wants for them to a reasonable extent, but day in and day out it's all they talk about? There is no imagination in that relationship.

- Pettiness and lack of patience. Self-explanatory.

- Obesity. Sorry if this comes off as harsh, but it's a definite one for me. Someone who is naturally fluffy? Ok by my books. Full-blown obesity caused by grotesque overeating or anything that was their own, conscious doing? Pitiful. I'm not asking for a perfect body, I'm just asking that you not turn yours into something that could be mistaken for an ooze type creature.

- No sense of humor... or worse, a very bad sense of humor.

- Flakiness and bigotry. Understand the difference between holding a firm belief and knowing that anything is possibly true. A flaky person is inconsistent, easily manipulated, and dishonest to themselves. A bigot is judgmental, bull-headed, and impossible to connect with.

- Lies. Keeping secrets is fine. Sometimes it's for our own good. Sometimes I'll understand even if I find out about it without you telling me. Continue to lie after, or lie to me for selfish reasons, though? I'll walk out of your life permanently on the spot.


The Legacy Note:

Quote:

<This journal entry does not have the usual format, and it isn’t encrypted. It is a sheet torn off from the rest of the journal that has been slipped inside the book’s thick leather cover, which had been sliced open and then carefully sown back shut. It is very well hidden.>

This is not a confession.

I have killed so many I have lost count. I commit terrible vengeance on those who cross me, eliminate everyone who impedes my progress, ensorcel and tempt those who hunger for the rewards only I can give, and sacrifice the lives of those whose worth to me would be null save for what results their flesh and minds could yield. I’ve devoured the meat of sentient creatures on land and the high seas, ripped them open to discover their secrets, and experimented on their still-living bodies to discover secrets of my own, yet this does not make me ‘evil’. To call me a monster would be to call a predator a murderer. It is illogical to expect a creature whose survival and supremacy depends on its ability to prey upon others.

Not once have I felt pity or disgust for my own actions. These are the actions of an unfettered man. Redemption is not something I consider necessary, as I simply do not see that I have done anything I wouldn’t or shouldn’t do. I behave as per what I have chosen to believe based on my life’s experiences, much like any other sentient creature would whether self-conscious or not.

Despite all this, I feel fear still. Not believing in good or evil does not dispel the reality that the cosmos is judged by the Boneyard B#&!$ through such terms, and the things I have done will mean that only Abaddon awaits me on the other side. That is one of the many reasons I, in beliefs that are undoubtedly appearing warped to outside observers, have for seeking immortality.

I am a pirate. It wasn’t a life I chose to be thrust upon but it is one I have taken advantage of to achieve my true wishes. It suits me oddly well, though. I’m not especially fond of long voyages over large stretches of sea, cramped inside a ship with pungent scalawags for company. If possible, I would want to spend my time on solid ground where I do not constantly have to tether my equipment for fear of a sudden wave sending it all crashing to the ground, spoiling weeks of work and effort. I would have my own secluded laboratory where none could disturb me, funded by the fruits of my own genius instead of depending on the success of merchants to feed upon as the a black flag parasite. At the same time, I cannot deny the boons this time of my life has given me. The sea has many mysteries, the sweet trade many thrills, and I’ve enjoyed such delightful pleasures as I would not otherwise have felt. It is hard to admit, but long after the eons have worn this archipelago to nothing but monoliths adrift a forgotten sea, the Shackles will still have a place in my heart.

At the time of writing this entry, I have succeeded in claiming my own island and I and my officers have become lords in the Pirate Council of the Shackles. Tonight, I had an encounter with Maxime Constant, whom in his unequaled boldness had the gall to violently confront me of my sins: twenty-six men and women, faceless among the blind, whom I raptured and used as expendable test subjects. I had offended him with what he perceived as my cruelty. Anyone who reads this journal will be familiar with his deadliness, yet he did not aim to kill me. Our brawl was intense, prolonged, and full of loaded dialogue on both ends. As time wore on, however, I realized I could not win, not because Max was a ferocious contender or because he might start winning the debate, but because I simply could not bring myself to do it. I realized I had come to depend on the Galtman as my only true friend, and I could not end him for his outrage. We reached an accord, and our lives continue together as of this entry.

The reason I write all of this is because while I have always been painfully aware of my own mortality, I refused to believe I would die. Tonight, however, for the first time, I genuinely thought I would perish both in mind and in body and for a moment I felt the cold, steely fingers of regret come to me – regret that I had offended, alienated, and turned my only friend against me. It has led me to record who I am on this secret page. If I should survive to achieve my goal of immortality, this journal, along with all of its contents, will be hidden away to become objects of legend that will inspire a new wave of dreams to be chased by the ambitious, the crazed, the bloodthirsty, and the hopeful. If I should die, however, then this journal shall come under the possession of someone who will have the chance to carry my legacy. I do not know who it will be, but if you are reading this page, then know this: immortality can be yours. All the secrets needed to discover it are hidden in the contents of this book. Use it, and prove to that cold-hearted c~@& that judges the dead and condemns the living with her lies that she has no true power over us.

But be warned. I am a worshiper of the Pale Mistress. To deny the temptation of this book may yield no consequence, but destroy, damage, or otherwise tamper with its contents and I will find you in spirit or in the flesh and whatever fate awaits you in the afterlife will not compare to the kind of agony I will expose you to.

Sincerely,

- Captain Sakhbet Al’Saahib

Commentary:
HE HAS A LAST NAME! Who'd have thought? I don't even know what it means or if it means anything at all, though I'm tempted to say it means "Fate-Spared" in Kelish, as he'd have been named by the priests of Pharasma. Originally intended to mean his life was spared from fated death, Sakhbet hasn't used it since he'd betrayed the temple in part to keep himself mysterious and in part because he sees no point in it. However, he still has certain pride in the name, having twisted its meaning to claim he's being spared from the lies that false prophecy and the broken deceit of Pharasma's teachings.

I give anyone permission to use this for a campaign. The journal and its contents can be hidden anywhere. They won't contain any of his extracts as they're muddled into his notes, though someone who succeeds a high enough linguistics check to decipher them would likely be able to make out a few of them (what these are I'll leave to DM discretion, since Sakhbet would have learned all formulas and extracts by then). Otherwise I might use this as a hook for a new campaign of my own in the future!


This isn't a journal entry or short story, but a logged RP between Sakhbet and Max.

Confrontation:

Max walks into the tavern, spotting Sakhbet at the bar, he joins him, "So, what's a captain like you doing in a stinking gin joint like this?" Max says as he reaches over the bar and takes a glass to fill his drink.

"Own the place, waiting for some fluids to distill in the lab. Had nothing to do, so I decided to grab a drink. Only needing to sleep two hours can be a bore sometimes." Sakhbet sips a bit of the his rum. "And you? Sharma drain you dry and looking for a refill?"

"Ditto." Max takes a drink, "And yes. I'm shocked she's as capable as she was when she was a he. What are you working on?"

"New method of delivering a cheap but extremely potent poison. The formula's raw at the moment, but I will work to refine it as time goes on. I'll be able to infuse it into my smoke bombs. Subject only needs to be in contact with it to be affected. Holding your breath won't help."

"Sounds like a b$#$* to get around." Max looks over at Sakhbet, "Other than that?"

"Trying to improve my mutagen formula to affect other parts of my physiology. So far, test results haven't been exactly satisfactory. Ended up with my ass twice as large and my nose half its size last time I drank it." He chuckles.

"So rough night?"

"On the contrary, it's been fairly progressive. Mr. March's little gift helped me break through a few blocks." Sakhbet taps the headband.

"Yeah, I figured. Hey, I heard the most interesting rumor today."

"Can't imagine what our little corner of the Shackles could have as an 'interesting rumor'."

"Well, when we went to drenchport, turns out 26 people went missing! Can you imagine, such a thing happening while we were docked there? What are the odds, am I right? And their bodies were found mutilated and experimented on! How queer."

"Your version's wrong. They were cut up, torn, almost indistinguishable, but no one said 'experimented on'."

Max grabs the back of Sakhbet's head, slams it against the bar top and throws him back on his ass before standing up and looking down at him, "You know exactly what I'm talking about and why I'm talking to you about it. So how about you stop wasting my f**$ing time?" He gives Sakhbet a chance to stand up.

Sakhbet rolls his jaw as he gets up. "That... was uncalled for." He steps forward threateningly. "But THIS isn't." He thrusts his foot toward Max.

Max catches Sakhbet's foot and pulls it towards him, catching Sakhbet by the throat and putting him in a headlock, "You son of a b!$#@, I didn't think you'd go that far!"

Sakhbet coughs. "And how -many- people have -you- killed? Since we're trying to gauge on righteousness?" He tries to squirm free, but doesn't succeed.

"I killed the people who threatened you, Charlik, Mal, Gareth, Alianora, my friends, -our- friends, don't pretend like you killed those people because they were a threat to us!"

Sakhbet grits his teeth, and as Max tries to hit him, he takes advantage of the slip in his grip to go free. "What I did was necessary." Tries to uppercut Max in the jaw.

Max is tossed against the bar behind him. "So you could be a f$+$ing mummy?" He reciprocates with a punch to the face.

Sakhbet's illusory appearance dissipates as his cap of disguise flies off. Mummy-like appearance revealed, he wipes the thick, yellow blood from his nose. "You would have preferred that I do it on myself, untested? Too dangerous." Goes to grab Max's hair and slam his face against his knee.

Max leans back to avoid the hair pulling and lunge kicks him square in the chest, shoving the alchemist away and closing the distance, "You butchered those people! Any claim you had to science has officially gone out the window, you f%@~ing psychopath."

"It was NOT personal. I don't abduct people off the street for no reason, and those I did? Undesirables, cutthroats, beggars, the very thugs I paid to do the job!" Sakhbet goes for a one-two jab to Max's stomach and face.

Max ducks out of the way of Sakhbet's punches. "And how does that make it any better? Those were human lives, Sakhbet! What if someone set up shop here and started praying after the crew?" He tries to tackle him.

Sakhbet digs his heels in and absorbs the shock, then tries to elbow Max in the back. "Then those aren't -undesirables- they're choosing, are they?!"

Max takes a step back, avoiding the elbow and keeping his distance, "To us, like some of those people might have been important to others." Max jumps up and kicks Sakhbet in the face before landing behind him, "What if they grabbed Gareth? Could you live with yourself if we found his carcass in a ditch somewhere, knowing what sort of sick experiments were performed on him?"

"Stop trying to compare lifeless, worthless scum to our crew." Sakhbet spins around to backhand Max with his fist.

Max parries the blow and closes the distance between them, "They were someone's crew, someone's family." He attempts to elbow Sakhbet in the face before stomping down on his foot and kneeing him in the gut.

Sakhbet's wounds begin to recover as his fast healing kicks in. The ache in his gut subsides from the blow. "That is them, this is us. The entire philosophy of piracy dwells in the realm of supremacy of the fittest. I won't deny them their attempts at vengeance, but will the fish stand before a shark?" He tries to drink his mutagen, and deftly avoiding Max's attempts to knock the vial off his hand, Sakhbet succeeds. His muscles grow larger and his appearance slightly more feral. His skin grows small chitinous plating in key parts of his body.

"That won't save you, and if you're a shark, then what am I to stand against you?" Max bullrushes at Sakhbet. He meets the bullrush by trying to grab Max by the collar and headbutting him in the face.

"You're not a fish. If you were, you wouldn't have lasted this long."
Max avoids getting grabbed, then brings his knee up and strikes Sakhbet in a vulnerable spot, "And now you're learning that even a shark doesn't f&** with a blowfish!"

Sakhbet groans. "Mthrf...! THIS METAPHOR IS GETTING F+#&ING TEDIOUS!" Sakhbet grabs the chair behind him and swings to hit Max with it.

Max brings his arm up, blocking the blow with the chair and groaning as the wooden stool impacts against his shoulder and forearm, "I've got one about scarabs f@!!ing with spiders, if that's more to your liking." Max slams his palms on either side of Sakhbet's head.

Sakhbet staggers a bit before giving the chair another swing. "You think immortality comes price-free?! This is a STEP! The process of PRESERVING a body, followed by learning how to do the same for each individual cell!"

Max crosses his forearm with Sakhbet's stopping the stool in its tracks before twisting both their arms together and trying to pin it behind Sakhbet's back, "And I find myself asking again, is this worth it, Sakhbet?!"

Sakhbet fast heals more of the damage he's taken. His wings extend, preventing Max from fully moving to get behind him. They beat and lift him, allowing him to untwist from the vice with a somersault. As he does, he tries to catch Max with his powerful wingbeats.

Sakhbet lands, but does not manage to hit Max. "YES, it's worth it! I never do anything that isn't! You're blinded by your empathy for others when strangers will have none for you! We're animals, Max. The only thing we care about is our own desires, and when suffering occurs, deep inside, no matter who you are, you will always breathe a sigh of relief, saying 'I'm just glad it isn't me or my loved ones.'"

Max grabs onto Sakhbet's wings and pulls them back before attempting to kicks Sakhbet in the back and releasing the wings.

Sakhbet stumbles forward. He whips around, grabbing a cup and flinging it at Max. It slams right on his face.

Max grits his teeth, "And I would outright murder anyone who tried to lay a finger on us? Remember how far I was willing to go with Sefina? Do you understand why I'm showing you even this much mercy?" Sakhbet sidesteps and tries to use Max's momentum against him, grabbing for him and shoving him toward the counter. Max braces one leg against the bar to bring his momentum to a halt and shoves back against Sakhbet, trying to slam him into the barstools and bar right behind him, "Well do you?!"

Sakhbet's forehead hits the bar and cuts it open. He grimaces. "You were willing to kill her because of what she did to -us- but I have done nothing but bring prosperity to the Endless Hunger, so get off your self-righteous high-horse! As to why you've not drawn your guns on me?! I don't know, because we're friends?!" He whips his foot back to kick Max in the chest.

"And you're making that friendship very difficult on me right now! But I don't have to tell you what it's like to fight for what you believe in, do I?" He tries to send Sakhbet's head into the counter once again.
Sakhbet slaps Max's hands out of the way. "You know, when you're a scientist, you start to see the building blocks of the world, break it down to its basest components. Once you know that, you stop believing in anything unrewarding." He flies up and joins his fists into a hammer. "I don't believe in sparing lives that are useless to me. My father figure spared mine when he should have killed me!" He slams it down on Max's head heavily.

"And what are your rewards for standing against Pharasma? Your pride feels a little better?" He spits blood out on the floor, "You put all that raw intelligence to waste, not even for what you did to yourself, but for hurting others." He shoves Sakhbet against the bar before attempting to kick him again.

Sakhbet once again takes to the air, dodging the kick. "You think you know how I should be using my mind?! I don't use it to hurt others, though that comes in handy, I use it to progress my evolution, -our- evolution! That is all nature is: the powerful devour the weak, and the weak adapt to survive the strong, and then the strong evolve to hunt the weak once more, and few places exemplify that like the Shackles." He whips his foot at Max's head.

"You've seen so little of the world, and you'll do well to listen: I've seen the Mana Wastes, I've liberated a f*&~ing empire, I've been to Cheliax, Taldor, Andoran, and the River Kingdoms, I've seen Osirion and I've been a wasting orphan in Galt, and your kind loses, Sakhbet. Despite any power you think you have, there are always wolves in the flock of sheep ready to maul the shepard who gets to cocky!" He grabs onto Sakhbet's foot and yanks him down before releasing and trying to uppercut him in the jaw.

Sakhbet uses the yank-down's momentum to elbow Max in the collarbone, carefully dodging the uppercut as he does so. "That's why I'm so -careful-, but we've been talking about me a lot, so how about you? Think the fact that I caused pain while you kill things outright makes you better? You did the majority of the killing against the cyclopes of Sumitha, slaughtered entire ships full of people, caused as much if not more wanton destruction, and your reward? Gold, drink, food, thrill, sexual ecstasy, you REALLY SAYING ALL YOU'VE DONE SO FAR HAS BEEN FOR EVERYONE'S OWN GOOD BUT YOURS AND YOUR OWN?! Don't give me THAT b++&~!+#!" The hit connects, joined by a grim cracking sound.

"No, I'm killing f+++ing pirates. Not beggars who didn't deserve your wrath." Max throws a haymaker towards Sakhbet's ribs.

Sakhbet gasps a bit as his ribs ache from the hit. "For the last F~*~ING time, it wasn't PERSONAL! You think if I had that if I had an immediate supply of worthless rapists, thieves, and murderers, I wouldn't use them?! The men and women I targetted were as close to that as I could get." He crosses his arms and tries to catch Max's neck with a crossing chop. Max ducks under it easily.

"But you didn't bother to look? What about when you get your hands on Harrigan? That's going to be just for fun, is it?"

"Ohoho, yes, Harrigan's a special case! You weren't there to see how he treated us! I still have the hairline scars on my back from when he had me whipped, but that's exactly my point: if the people I took were missed or loved in any way, let them come and claim me. I'll be waiting... or is that what you think you are? Avenger to the people? Suddenly turned saint and a paladin, Max?"

"F&@! -those- guys," Max reassures as he tries to tackle Sakhbet into the bar. Sakhbet shoves Max out of his tackling position before stomping down on his knee.

Max catches Sakhbet's foot and tries to push him back against the bar before jumping onto him with his arm outstretched and slamming it into his throat. "But you couldn't just capture a ship full of f+%#ing failed pirates? You had to take it out on an unsuspecting populace."

Sakhbet's caught in the bullrush until the last minute, using his wings to move beyond Max's reach. "Time and resources were scarce, I made due with what I could. Besides, no matter whom I did it to, SOMEONE somewhere would find it offensive, which is why I tried to keep it as quiet as possible." He gets on top of the bar and snatches the metal tankard nearby, stepping on top of a chair, "Obviously, not quiet enough, given we're currently fighting over this stupid s@%*!" He swipes the tankard at Max like a makeshift mace.

Max whips his forearm out towards Sakhbet's ankles, trying to trip him off the bar as the tankard flies over his head, "You had time, Sakhbet! You could have taken your time! And f+@& who else finds it offensive, right now, I'm the one you have to worry about!"

Before Sakhbet can roll behind the bar and out of reach, Max slams his fist into Sakhbet's chest as he rolls away, hitting him right in the center of his rib cage with an almost sickening cracking sound. Sakhbet clutches his chest and sputters. "You think I have time?! All of us could die at any day with the lifestyle we live! Time is the last thing I have! In order to cheat Pharasma of her greatest tool - time -, I need to elude her most common ones: physical harm, poisons, disease, anything we could perish to! The human body is both resilient yet so frail, Max, and the more I change, the hardier I get, and thus I BUY more time. I've come close to tasting death far too many times for comfort, so no, I didn't HAVE time!" He grabs a bottle of booze and throws it at Max.

Max slams his fist into Sakhbet's chest as he rolls away, hitting him right in the middle of his rib cage with an almost sickening cracking sound, "You were too eager and lazy! I don't want people coming after you, you f$+*ing imbecile!" Max grabs a bottle off the bar and flings it at Sakhbet's head, "And stop throwing s+#$ at me!"

Sakhbet gets a face full of broken glass as it shatters against him. "Don't f~+@ing tell me I've been lazy! I've worked my ass off for the Hunger, I've gone from being transported here as a tool and toy for nobody pirates to one of the most powerful and influential figures in the region, and I did it all by hard work, perseverance, and carefully-placed moves! You have NO RIGHT to judge MY method!" He reaches down and grabs a stowed broom. "AND DON'T F@+%ING TELL ME HOW TO FIGHT, EITHER!" He swings at Max and connects, the broom snapping from the force of the blow.

Max staggers as the broom shatters against his temple. He shakes it off and stomps on a bar stool, trying to break it so he can use the splinters are projectiles, "That's fine, but the kid gloves come off. Les jeux sont fait, mon cher."

Sakhbet flies and thrusts forward to punch Max as he zooms past. Max ducks out of the way and stomps on the stool again, picking up two of its legs, "I respected you before all of this, you realize that, right?"
"And what's changed, Max?! Tell me, what's really changed?! I've tortured people before, killed, done all I could to achieve my goal, and you've tagged along for the ride... Morals had nothing to do with your respect of me."

"Twenty six people who did -nothing- wrong to you, Sakhbet! I'm a firm believer in capital punishment, but the lash is earned, not dispensed at will." He finishes breaking the chair and grabs what splinters he can.

Sakhbet swings at Max, but flubs it, having lost his orientation from the flyby attack. "AGAIN! Pirates! We've killed merchants who didn't do anything but be our prey! They had something we wanted, and we ripped it from their still-warm, bloodied hands without so much as a glance." He takes a deep, furious breath. "We've ruined lives that would not, by your standards, be ruined had they not had the simple misfortune of crossing our path. How then can you judge me when your hands are as stained, if not even possibly more, than mine?"

"Not when I was on the boat. I f*#$ing warned you what would happen if you killed someone who didn't deserve it." He leaps back and fires one of the four projectiles at Sakhbet, like an oversized dart, it whips towards the Alchemist, "They are not stained with any blood that didn't deserve it. It's a dog eat dog world out there, and even if they're just defending themselves from you, if they attack me, they are put in their place."

Sakhbet gives a vicious, mocking grin. "Oh, so we've moved on to using tools we're more comfortable with, huh?" He walks to the table. "Not my style... but this will HAVE TO DO!" Sakhbet picks up the table, using his enhanced strength to wield it with greater ease. He holds it as a makeshift shield and starts to advance toward Max. "Who 'deserves it' is subjective, Max. Study religion. Everyone thinks everyone else f$*!ing deserves it. I deserve to die for denying fate. Urgathoans believe Pharasmin deserve to die for killing the children of undeath. Paladins Demons deserve to die because they are evil and twisted. Paladins deserve to die for their oppressive righteousness. EVERYONE has an opinion of who's wrong and who's right. Me? I keep it simple... f@#~ with me, and you die. Help me, and you will prosper. -Simple- and -fair-." He swings at Max, whom albeit hiding behind a foundation pillar, is caught by the table's top reaching around with the swing. The table splinters slightly with Sakhbet's strike.

"If you break that table, I'm just going to use it as ammunition later on. Make your next two strikes count."

Sakhbet bares his teeth. "What did I say about telling me how to fight?"

"Clearly, I'm not paying attention to you."

"So, are you regaling me with random banter because you're out of excuses?"

"I don't need excuses, Sakhbet." Max picks up a chair and flings it at the table. He hits it, and both furniture pieces break apart.
Sakhbet picks up the table's single leg, wielding it like a knobby club.

"I don't deny I hurt people, but you? You cower behind who deserves it and who doesn't when ultimately you tell me about the power of the gun, how it seems to make you judge, jury, and executioner." He flies at Max and swings it at him.

Max ducks out of the way, rolls past Sakhbet before whipping another spike at him.

Sakhbet's back gets dug in by the splinter. He turns to Max and tries to slam him upside the head. "Have you wondered why I haven't gotten much more than my mutagen out for this fight?! Half a dozen extracts I could use to give me an edge, but I don't use any of them."

Max pats his holster, "And I'm armed." He spins one of the splinters in his hand and stabs at Sakhbet with it.

Sakhbet steps away from the slash and then makes an upward swing at Max. Max dodges and starts rapidly stabbing at Sakhbet, who parries the blows with the table leg. "Lost your respect, did I? I thought you understood, Max! Maybe not understood me, who the f~$+ could, but understood our situation!" He makes a hardy swing toward Max's ribs. "You want immortality? Here's the price!"

Max parries with his improvised weapons, "Twenty-six people so you could turn yourself into a mummy." Max lashes out with the spikes, "And how much closer has that gotten you really? Because becoming a dried up husk wasn't what I was agreeing to at all."

"Much closer than you think... mummification was a breakthrough. When you've lived through what I have, you stop seeing things in black and white. The people I killed were neither innocents nor guilty. They were composed of organic material as you and I. In nature, predator and prey have this relationship. Is there anything innocent about the prey? In a way, yes. They have not angered the predator... but the predator is hungry, and he must eat."

Sakhbet's eyes narrow as his voice turns hard, yet increasingly despondent. "I -need- immortality, Max. I need it. I need it more than I need to breathe, sleep, eat, and drink. If I don't achieve it, my declarations against Pharasma are pointless. If I don't claim it, then having survived my prophesied death at birth will be meaningless. I'll be condemned to the Boneyard, dragged to Abaddon, my soul devoured by daemons." He leans against the pillar behind him. It seems he's given up the will to continue the fight. "Sentient life... is just like any other. Live and die. What I am attempting to create is a strata that transcends the inevitable spiraling loop of life and death."

Max stumbles backwards to the bar, leaning heavily against it. Sakhbet's eyes fill with water, and his throat tightens. "But you know, even -I'm- not emotionless. I can tell you the chemical composition of every hormone that makes me feel what I do in my body. I've worn that knowledge like armor to save me from the unjust guilt I would otherwise feel from my actions, wielded it as a weapon to carve my path to greatness, but I can't deny what I do feel." He stares at Max's eyes directly. "I take care of my crew. I see them as tools, that much is true... but they are -my- tools, and I would rip apart anyone who would break them in swift vengeance." He turns away, shutting his eyes tightly as he slams the back of his head against the pillar, his tears now overflowing down pain-wrinkled cheeks.

"You remember what happened when you tried to kill the codger? What was his name. The doctor who demand half of the share of treasure we got from that Aboleth."

"I don't even f*@#ing remember... The name, not what happened."

"I put a gun up to your head. And I would've pulled the trigger too if you hadn't backed down. I can't keep making the same threat, Sakhbet. Because eventually, it won't be a threat."

"So why not do it now, huh?!" Sakhbet snaps back sharply, his voice strained with a mix of fear and anger,"You could whip your pistols out in what it takes me blink and end me this moment!! You'd be doing the world a favor, right?!" He slumps down on the pillar. He appears defeated and terrified. "Go on... send me to see Charon. I bet he's just dying to snatch me... Maybe if I'm lucky, Apollyon will get me first and after a few centuries of torture I'll be allowed to slave under him."

"Because I believe, under that mess of tar parading at your soul for the moment, you're a good person. You're right, you care about your crew far more than any captain needs to. And for that I respect you. And even after the 26 you butchered, I can still admire you for that. No, what really burns me up is that you're not guilty about it. Speak all you want of predators and prey, we're not the top of the food chain, Sakhbet." He groans and draws his pistol, "I think you broke a few ribs..." He tosses the gun on the floor, "In Tien Xia, they have these warriors called Samurai. They have a philosophy of living and dying by their swords. I don't claim to be one of them, but I can safely say that any gunslinger worth his salt worships his gun like they worship their swords, and more importantly, their ideals. I know what I'm fighting for, Sakhbet. And you're right, maybe I don't know enough about Alchemy to say for sure if you could have done it without killing so many people, but the fact that you don't even register it is upsetting to me. How can someone who fights so hard to live forever appreciate their life if they show nothing but contempt and disregard for the lives of everything else around them?" He motions to the gun. "Pick it up."

Sakhbet leans over to pick it up. He coughs and straightens his back. It's pretty clear he's got a few broken ribs himself. He bends his knees and gingerly lifts the gun up. "Heh... I don't know why I'm surprised it's heavier than I thought."

"Fire a shot."

Sakhbet points at the pillar and shoots. The recoil whips the gun off his hand, but the bullet manages to hit its mark. "F~$~. My hands are too raw from gripping that damn stick to properly hold off against the kickback." He looks at his hands. Even though they're calloused from having worked on the ship, parts of them are ripped off from the heaviness of the swings.

"Like it?"

"It's powerful. I wish I could show you what it's like to use one of my bombs, but they only work with me."

"How easy was it?"

"You make it look easier."

"Yes, but it's so simple, isn't it? Aim and whatever you're facing just goes away."

"You don't need to tell me about how quickly life and death spin and turn. It's exactly why I do the things I do."

"Then next time your goal seems to involve passing over two dozen people who didn't deserve to die, you remember how easily I could end you." Max limps over to the gun, "I don't want to do it, Sakhbet. Before you become insulted or feel threatened, I want you to know that I don't want to kill you. You are my friend, even if I'm just a tool to you. I'm not interested in being captain, in fact, the thought of that makes me cringe. But I will not let someone who so freely kills bystanders stand at my side. You can be my brother, or my enemy. This isn't Pharasma's will. I have about as much love for her as you do. But that doesn't mean I will keep turning a blind eye to ever experiment you do. Because I might find the price of immortality for the both of us is too steep."
Sakhbet chuckles bitterly, "Funny..."

"My domain, normally, but I'll allow it."

Sakhbet covers his face with a palm, rubbing it over tiredly. "Only person on the ship I don't consider just a tool and he thinks I do." He peeks between his fingers at Max. "You really think if I thought the same about you as I did everyone else, I'd let you get away with all you have? Even now... letting me live, letting me go, I'd capitalize on that mistake and have you assassinated with the most painful poison I can muster." He lets his hand fall. His face is numb and flat, drained of any feeling. "But I won't. I don't want to. Liability or not, it isn't worth it. If it were anyone else..." His attempted facade fails as Sakhbet begins to sob silently. "You're the ONLY friend I've known since losing my faith."

Max walks over to Sakhbet dragging a chair behind him, and offers it to the alchemist before going to the bar and bringing him a bottle of the strongest stuff they had on reserve. He pauses for a minute and picks up his cap, setting it on a table nearby after dusting it off. Max himself goes back to the bar.

Sakhbet puts on his cap of disguise, resuming a non-deathly appearance as he downs the bottle like it was water and he were in the middle of a desert. Any tears he had have quickly dried and he's regained his composure. "I'm not a 'good man' Max. I doubt I ever will be. To be good, I need to believe in the concept of what good is, and I just know too much to accept any single angle without contradicting another. Forgive someone or dispense justice on them? Sarenrae and Iomedae don't agree on that, and they are both as righteous as a deity could ever hope to be. It is so much more logical and effective to stop caring and simply do what is best for oneself."

"You still realize that people killing people is not optimal to social perceptions, right? Also, do you want another bottle?"

"I'm already having to pay for this s~&~ mess we made and I'm already disgusted by how pathetic I feel, so no."

"You sure? Just because it's bad for your... Wait, your liver's mostly immune to this s#~%, isn't it?"

"Yeah, but it's the concept that matters." He takes the last few drops from the current bottle before putting it down gently on the ground. "I don't think I'll ever see life the way you want me to, placing the worth of someone based on how much they've sinned against one creed, belief, or dogma. I base them on how useful and valuable they are to me, with the rare gem that simply enriches my life with his or her mere presence. The lives I took? Valuable, just not in the way others were. Nothing to do with innocence or guilt." He glances at Max. "I suppose now I'll have to somewhat reconsider, however."

"That'd be super. It's not weakness if you change for someone you care about."

"I'll need more test subject for future projects. That is inevitable. Next time, I'll leave you to decide whom it will be. Choose the filthiest, most rotten soul in Hell or the highest saint in Heaven for all I care, just as long as I have a means to complete my work."

"Sounds fair. A moral compass for hire. I've had worse jobs."

"I already know who."

"Alright..." Sakhbet gets up. "Now if you'll f$%!ing excuse me... I'm going to go bother Sharma to heal me. You better do the same. If she asks... we fell down some stairs." He motions to the stairs. "Those, specifically." After a brief pause, he sweeps an arm to refer to the much-damaged furniture lying around. "Hilarity ensued."

Max reaches behind the bar for a banana and peels it, tossing the peel on the floor, "You fell down the stairs after I slid into you, bounced off of you, and did this to the Bar. Sharma won't even bat an eye." He looks at Sakhbet. "You're going to be okay, right?"

"I'm the captain. I have to be."

"You want to know something?"

"I know a lot of things already, a few more won't hurt."

"If it weren't for Alionora and Sharma, you might have been who I ened up with."

Sakhbet laughs hard enough to wheeze. "Hhhhhhhahhhh ah, hrrm, oh, Pale Princess, it hurts to laugh... agh... well, you missed out I guess... and Alianora and I aren't exclusive. Honestly, I rarely see her much anymore."

"Yeah, weird how she just vanished." He looks around, "And how she didn't help you out there."

"Well, there's a reason. I left her at Port Peril last we were there to be my eyes and ears. That was... a few months ago, actually."

"She even alive?"

"Don't know. I'll see if I can contact her next chance I get."

"Goody."

Sakhbet starts heading for the door. "Alright... time to go..."

"Yeah, best of luck with that."

A brief pause.

"...I don't know if Sharma'll believe me though."

"...Just... I can make potions, worst case scenario..."

"Good. Good."

Commentary:
There's a certain need to show a character's vulnerability from time to time. I don't really want to conjure sympathy with Sakhbet nor have him pity himself as he's simply not in the habit of doing that, but it was necessary to explore a new side of him, and Max's player provided the perfect means through this RP.

We took liberties with the rules - obviously, there's a lot more dialogue than would be otherwise seen in this sort of situation - but we explained it as 1) rule of cool and 2) using a move or even full action to pause and talk.

This'll probably end up being a life-changing experience for Sakhbet. At the very least, it's imposed a slight sense of a need to be somewhat good in him beyond the usual pragmatic reasons.

'Course he's still an evil bastard who eats people :P


Analysis of Clockwork Maze:
Notes:

<No new notes have been added.>

Log:

We were visited by a curious mechanical bird who identified herself as Merle, familiar to a powerful wizard known as Elzak March. March was responsible for swaying Andoran’s favor against the Chelaxians during their war, using his massive golems to shatter the Chelish defenses and prevent Andoran’s violent annexation by the Empire of Devils. He is now a successful businessman owning March Industries, one of if not the largest manufacturer and distributor of magical goods in the Inner Sea and abroad.

Attracting the attention of so powerful a wizard is as much a blessing as it is a curse. When individuals of such impressive caliber happen by, it is a humbling and even somewhat despairing event. I tried not to let my nervousness show, but that proves difficult when a platoon of clockwork mages and the aforementioned clockwork behemoth turn up at your doorstep. A lot of security for the sake of only delivering a message.

March was scouting for distinguished individuals to test his newest creations against, not that his snobbish sense of infuriatingly justified superiority hinted at him believing us to be. His company had surplus goods and he was offering them as an incentive.

I had my suspicions, of course, but the display of power coupled with what I knew of the man said that he could at least be trusted not to kill us, and it was a risk with a high reward. Even as I write this, I can feel a thousand new doors opened before me, thanks to my new headband.

March’s maze was challenging, with riddles, puzzles, traps, and various other obstacles too numerous for me to bother jotting down on these pages. We are well-equipped for whatever the Shackles has to throw at us from here in out. I have the inkling that March’s intentions were not solely to test drive his inventions, though, and it is likely he will contact us in the future. We have a mutual enemy in Cheliax, after all, and it is apparent he is building greater and stronger weapons of mass destruction. How long before the leaders of the world take note of his developments remains to be seen, but whatever he is planning is likely to alter the course of history for an age. I can say that the man is an ambitious genius, socially lacking as he may be.

The pirate lords will be meeting soon. Let’s see how well I exercise my new power.

Commentary:
Our DM wanted to do something of his own, so he made a custom-built maze created by his wizard from another campaign.

This is the last session he's DMing, however, as he got tired of the campaign and at my urging said he didn't need to feel pressured by us into proceeding. The campaign's gone too long for anyone to start DMing now and be interested in the story.

So I'm picking it up as both DM and player.

This seems like it breaks the game and it sort of does. I can't exactly trick myself into not knowing where everything is or everything that's going to happen, but part of the reason he's stopped caring is because we've grown so powerful that he doesn't think the campaign has any challenges left to offer... so I'll probably beef up some of the encounters in some way or another. Furthermore, we're more interested in story, and I hate leaving things unfinished, so that's why we're going to proceed regardless. I'm sure anyone who's been keeping up with these journals would like to know the details of the end.


Analysis of Feast Sabotage:

(WARNING: This contains very specific spoilers for 'Isle of Empty Eyes' and the challenges therein. Read at your own discretion.)

Notes:

- Inspect Eel’s equipment and journal.

-New Project: Poison delivery system inefficient, expensive. New effective method of poison delivery required.

- New Project: Mutagen enhancement becoming obsolete. Improvement required over original formula.

- Arrange list of topics for discussion at Council meeting.

- Name the g#+!$$n town.

Log:

The pirate lords arrived at the appropriate time. I felt nervous. This was possibly the most important party of my life, but Max had pulled all the stops, hiring the nigh-legendary bard Franklin Jupiter to perform (much to my joy, Cerise Bloodmourn is a fan). Entertainment, food, drink, fine company and lively tales. We met every test and challenge the pirate lords tossed at us: our guns demolished Sorrinash’s dummy target off the bay when he asked to see how well our cannons performed, Cerise was readily disarmed by Charlik’s masterful swordsmanship (aided, of course, with a touch of my potions), and Captain Darrimar was pleased to hear of our dealings with undersea cultures was civilized.

Then the troubles started. First, it was rats, an unnatural number of them, rising up from the cellar. A cursory inspection revealed an alchemical lure in the cellar. Someone had intentionally summoned them there with it to turn the stomachs of my guests. Professional, intelligent, but petty work. I was not astonished until after the meal was served. Everything was checked for toxins yet nothing was detected, but in a matter of a few minutes, we saw the signs of food poisoning. It was a cunning and very complicated maneuver: place a harmless substance in one part and a catalyst with another substance in the other, and when the two mix, the poison is created. The catalyst and first variable were placed in the food, the other in the drink. Thankfully, Cerise was the only one truly affected. Sorrinash accused me of tainting my food. Normally, such an insult would be met with grave consequences, but I did not have that luxury in this scenario.

As though seeking to outdo his boorishness with more of the same, Sorrinash began acting as even more of an ass than even his peers deemed him to be. Max attempted to distract him with clownish antics, but it was to no avail. It wasn’t until I offered him the services of Calistria’s worshipers that he abated, though a good amount of water and healing potions were required to offset his relentless lusts.

I soon learned the source of it: a servant had given Sorrinash an aphrodisiac. He described the one who told him to do it, a beautiful, naked woman with long black hair. It was unmistakable. Sefina was responsible for this.

We traveled to her grotto to confront her. By now, I was livid and out of patience, and killing Sefina seemed a viable, even preferable option, especially when she signaled someone once we arrived. Max got to work, and likely would have killed her were we not racing against time to stop whatever plot was at hand. I would not have stopped him. In fact, I would have demanded to get my fill of revenge first. In hindsight, that would have been an unwise choice, though not one I would have regretted.

Once put through enough pain, Sefina revealed what was going to happen. The saboteur was going to destroy the ships of the pirate lords. We flew to the site only to witness Sorrinash’s Blood Moon go up in flames. We opted to have it repaired once this was over. We disabled the time bombs in the other two ships.

The operation was interrupted, but the culprit was still at large. Charlik’s knowledge of the island, coupled with his tracking skills, found the imp for us, a devious halfling called the Eel. He was summarily defeated, and with his dying breath he whispered these words:

Harden your mind through the chains of the divine
Make way for the Shepherd of Fire

This is Grandidius’ calling card.

I expected something like this to happen. My instincts were telling me it would. Of course someone wanted to trash my party, ruin my reputation, and ultimately cause the pirate lords to deny my position in the council. The joke’s on them, however, because even with a saboteur, the feast went so well it was downright legendary. In fact, I’m glad the little s*!% came here. Not only did I show the pirate lords I can throw a feast, I showed them I can effectively deal with any adversity that gets in my way, and on a more subtle note, that I am not to be f+%!ed with.

Furthermore, the Eel is an alchemist, and his research journal will no doubt help me jump ahead in projects of my own, not to mention his body may hold secrets (It annoys me to no end that Sorrinash crushed his head under his boot. Someday down the line, I may need to have him assassinated and replaced). Still, the real reason for him sending the Eel was more likely to herald his return. Cocky bastard. In sending him to me, Grandidius may have sowed the seeds of his own undoing.

We’ve to figure out how to deal with Sefina. I intend to claim a favor from her in return for sparing her life and returning her shawl, which the Eel had stolen to ensure her cooperation. I don’t know what I would ask of her. I’ve considered requesting she pay for her life by birthing one for me. F@@#ing a nereid would be a unique experience and I’ve yet to test whether I am capable of having children post-operation (not to mention the boon of having a half-fey servant), but on further thought I realized that would not go well with Gareth and her capabilities extend beyond that. She could be invaluable as an envoy to Mase or another subaquatic race. I might simply be a bit libidinous at the moment, and that is an easily relieved symptom.

Addendum:

Gareth may have named the island, but there’s no name for the town yet. I’m throwing about ideas in my head. Nothing too tacky or on the nose, but nothing overly . The Endless Hunger was suitable for the ship, but a name for a town needs to be more familiar and open. Something harbor or port? Something alluding to the island’s history. Maybe I’ll just call the town “Sumitha Harbor”.

Commentary:
The feast was fuuuuun. That's all I really have to say about it.


Mummification:
(WARNING: Graphic description ahead)

Every variable needed to be exact. The magical properties needed to be perfect, the mixture needed to be perfect, the timing had to be perfect. Everything needed to be perfect. This was most likely to be the most difficult procedure Sakhbet had ever performed, and the anxiety was as likely to kill him as a mistake. He wiped the sweat from his forehead as he finished preparing the concoction.

He called it ‘embalming blood’. It was a vile fluid, viscous with a sickly amber-yellow hue and strange, barely-visible globules of white and red freely floating within it. Anyone who would see it would dismiss it as some wretched waste that should be tossed and forgotten, but to Sakhbet, it was his magnum opus. He knew the mummification process, had helped to do it many times in the Grand Temple of Pharasma, even learned to perform it alone without any assistance, but to do it on a living creature and expect it to survive? It would be suicide to try it on himself, or at least, it would be if he had not gone through the necessary trials to prove to himself it could be done.

During the Endless Hunger’s short stay at Drenchport soon after fully gaining control of the Isle of Empty Eyes, he had hired thugs to acquire suitable test subjects for the experiment. Twenty-six people had been dragged, beaten but alive, to the ship in the cover of night. Sakhbet had left instructions for their undisturbed passage aboard, and twenty-five badly mutilated, discolored, dissected bodies had been disposed of using the same thugs when he was through with them.

The twenty-sixth was the one that survived. She was in agony, to be certain, begging for death with her pleading eyes as her gagged mouth could not, but the artificial blood kept her alive and no matter how much pain she experienced, she would not fall unconscious. It was clear to him that the issue was not fundamentally in the mixture, but in the body’s rejection. Sakhbet exposed her to every form of harm he could muster, using blunt instruments, flesh-eating acids, fire, electric shocks, bleeding, all the while keeping her from death to ensure she was ready for the next round. It was when he exposed her to dry ice that he noticed no reaction other than the usual attempts to escape and struggle in vain. No reaction. No jolt of sudden motion. He exposed her to more extreme cold for a prolonged period of time. No change. He felt delighted. Of course she’s immune. The embalming blood does not freeze. Unfortunately, it was at this time that she finally expired. Her body had fully shut down. The blood had run its course. ‘How disappointing. I wish she would have lasted more than ten minutes.’

He had everything he had learned from the trials recorded in his journal. A few hours of calculating, theory, and more experimentation, he had made the connection and realized what he needed to do. For a full month he had slowly been injecting himself with the blood, included a few special chemicals in his diet, and drank a mildly poisonous tea that, with his unique physiology, would help ease his body into accepting the embalming blood as if it were its own. When the time came for the procedure, his body would not cripple and kill him, but accept the boons wholly. Success without sacrifice. It was a supreme victory for the captain.

His preparations were complete now. The chair waited for him. The embalming blood was suspended, tubes ending in long needles dangling like butcher’s hooks from where they were suspended. He couldn’t use any anesthetics, but he couldn’t be awake for the entire procedure, else he might scream from the pain, so he had arranged to use a magical elixir that would not disrupt his body chemistry to induce a 24-hour coma, long enough for the transfusion to be complete. Now all he needed was-

‘F&$#.’

Twenty-four hours of inactivity. That meant only one thing: Max would grow bored. Very bored. Bored enough to look for him while he was unconscious.

Sakhbet sighed. ‘Alright, then. Let’s see if I can keep him entertained long enough to leave me alone.’ He produced a stack of paper and got to work.

Commentary:
Sometimes you have to ascertain that your character -is- evil. As of late, Sakhbet had been getting very lenient, even outright good, with the way he did things. Ruthless, sure, but not necessarily bad.

I'd known becoming a mummy was going to be a huge deal for him as a character, culturally and personally. It was a major breakthrough and would lead down the road to discovering how to properly preserve a body. However, this procedure is a lot more delicate than any other. He couldn't just dive into it. He needed to test it.

His outlook on this isn't malicious. The people he grabbed were low-lives, beggars, and others who wouldn't be missed, but it wasn't out of malice or disgust for them, though in his eyes they -are- wastes of space put to better used by more advanced and capable men like himself. I'll be posting more of an expansion on this belief in a later entry.

But yes, I needed some hard reassurance that the man? Decent, but -EVIL- in the most impersonal, horrible way, willing to use anyone and anything to acquire what he wants, even those who've never so much as been in the same room as him before.

I won't be writing a journal entry mentioning the procedure, since that would be redundant.


Analysis of Festivity Preparations and the Sacking of the Jester's Grin:
Notes:

Requirements for party are as followed:

- flexible wenches (Calistrians preferred)

- suitable drink and food (Jester's Grin noted target)

- entertainers (Max included)

- trophies and decoration (bring great cyclops' head from ruins, strip it, display skull in prominent location)

- reconstruction of docks and fort

- research of party guests (Ask Tessa?)

- standard contingency plans

- backup contingency plans

- backup contingency plans for those plans

- final emergency contingency plans

Log:

The isle is now ours. After eradicating the bothersome pests from the fort and returning the dreamstone to Bikendi, we immediately began preparations. We have a month and a half before the pirate lords come to visit.

First on the agenda was the restoration of the fortress. Supply lines will need to be established. I've sent a missive to the Thresher to serve as a means to ferry these supplies. In the meantime, the Endless Hunger will go about doing other, more important work. I need to speak with Tessa and find out more about our guests.

Our freshly-obtained prize is defenseless, however. We need defenses. The bay is already a natural bottleneck, but that is not enough. I plan to have a line of archers with tar-drenched arrows. There will be three cannons lined to fire on the bay. For the feast, I will be placing the cannons from the Hunger to provide a more impressive array. The centerpiece, however, will be a massive bombard I will have placed at the top of the tower. It will require destroying the quartz at its peak, but it is a worthwhile sacrifice.

Curiously enough, Pierce Jerrel has sent us some alluring information. There is a schooner preparing to set sail for Cheliax to smuggle some rare, high-quality rum. What surprises me most is that this vessel operates under the orders of Arronax Endymion. It seems so strange that Endymion, Cheliax's rebel son, would risk even a single line of contact with his home country. Could he be seeking to subvert their economy? Are there other, more traitorous reasons? My suspicions are growing, but these are only assumptions. I must first test and reach an undeniable conclusion.

On our way to intercept the Jester's Grin, we will pay Tessa a visit. She will undeniably have information on the party guests that will be attending.

===========================

Log:

Tessa has yielded the information as expected. She is as eager as ever to help us, though this last meeting was much more palpably business-like. She must think the same as I do: 'I've sampled you, and thus I've no reason to crave more.' Shame.

The guests are as followed:

Lady Cerise Bloodmourn: Captain of the Come What May. Former Taldan nobility. Notably enjoys challenging foes to duels to test their mettle. (Charlik should prove more than a match for her.)

Avimar Sorrinash: Lord of Ollo, captain of the Blood Moon. A natural lycanthrope. Noted for being the most mercilessly brutal captain in the Shackles. (Likely respects power above all else, and if his appetites are like any other pirate's, he'll be hard pressed to be disappointed with an Urgathoan feast.)

Mase Darrimar: Captain of the Wave Crest. Half human, half aquatic elf. Not much information is known, save that he is a handsome man prone to interacting with the undersea dwellers. (Sharma should prove a suitable peer for him.)

With this, we can truly begin specializing the feast. As of right now, the Thresher should have arrived to Besmara's Eye with food and materials as well as specialists that will expedite the process.

===========================

Log:

Our raid on the Jester's Grin went fairly well, save that the captain was far more cunning than I gave him credit for. The rat bastard pretended to surrender, using an illusion to hide himself. He then cast some sort of charm on me that prevented me from informing my crew of the ruse. Nevertheless, my strange change in demeanor led my crew to realize the deception and once his invisibility had run out, he became easy prey. I wanted him alive, but Max opted to show him a bit of mercy. Some part of him must still hold on to a sense of right and wrong. I won't hold it against him, however.

As we were loading the rum into the cargo hold, I found a letter in the captain's quarters. It was from Endymion, written to an official in Egorian thanking him for a potential pardon from the House of Thrune. I do not know why I would feel as much anger as I did then. If Endymion was turning, it would be the perfect chance to eliminate him and claim credit for rooting out a Chelish sympathizer for the council. I felt something was off, however. If I was mistaken, I would be losing a valuable ally. Endymion hated the Thrunes. The evidence in my hand spoke against what I knew of the man.

Max was the one to solve the issue for us. He simply did not believe that this was him. It was too different from what he would sound like. After rereading it, I had to agree: this was not even Endymion's handwriting. The entire affair has Max shaking with excitement at the prospect of 'being a detective again'. Whatever floats his boat. I do admit it is intriguing and worrisome that someone planted a false letter in a ship we were tipped off about and were expected to sack. To be sure, I had a drink of the rum. Delicious, certainly unique, but not poisoned or otherwise toxic. Curious.

It is almost time for the feast, but most importantly, it is almost time for my latest procedure to come to fruition. It is dangerously close to the party, but I simply cannot wait. It must happen then.


Blood transcription is an evil spell. My group and I have actually asked whether or not this is justified. Sure, drinking blood is gross and taboo, but the creature is a) dead already and/or b) evil. Additionally a good or neutral character could justify it as a necessary means to an altruistic goal (gaining a spell needed to save someone with it, for instance). What exactly is the reason behind this being an evil spell?

Are there any good liches or lich-like beings? Is it possible to become a lich or other undead without being evil? (I know of at least one sentient undead that wasn't evil from one of your single-module adventures.)


Are there deities or divine beings dedicated to time, space, gravity, and other metaphysical forces like that?


I make a damn fine woman... in my dream...


I got depressed once. It tasted like blueberries and ear wax.

In all seriousness, all I really had to fight depression was sleep. Tried to force myself to eat as I kept telling myself I had to but I'd just throw it up later on. Apparently, nutrition is not wanted when your body wants to shut down and forget you exist. Took me several months of this passive, blurry existence, which I kept to myself and a couple of friends, before I mustered enough energy to pick myself up and move on. It was sincerely life-changing and I've done everything in my power to keep from falling that far.


What is the result of an evil outsider and a good outsider having a child?

A tiefling and an aasimar?


OKAY! 8D

*incinuhrehshun!*


Flamewar wrote:
Claims his real last name IS grognard

Scandalous.


Cthulwho? wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
Cthulwho? wrote:
Posts deliberately controversial comment on the recently inactive thread in a desperate plea for attention.
Casts aspersions on Cthulwho's gaming experience!
Put's forth anecdotal "evidence" that he is IN FACT an old school gamer and as such should be considered far more knowledgeable and capable than anyone who started gaming in the current millennium.

Reassures you that the evidence is homosexual in nature and of the sexually promiscuous tendencies of your female progenitor.


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I blame Cosmo for inducing Feros' evil compulsions. Truly, he is a master of discord.

EDIT: You've really done it now, Cosmo, you villainous fiend.

I blame you for running out of avocado for my blt Dx


*pats James*

Remember, Master T-Rex. No matter how bad things get, no one can stop time, so all things will eventually pass.


Flame war?! Yaaaa-- awww, it's just another one of those lame threads where people insult each other for no reason. Great, and I was so pumped at the chance to use my lighter-spray can flamethrower.

With napalm.

l:-/


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I blame Cosmo for my seeming tendency to kill or weaken threads I post in. This isn't even an exaggeration. Things have consistently died when I write on them... you bastard.


Praise Sara Marie for this MAAAAAARRRRRRRRRVELOUS blt I'm about to eat. How good is it? It has avocado in it. That's how good it is.


I'm sorry it's not butter. It's actually margarine.


That is the single most unbelievably nonsensical method of monetary acquisition I have EVER heard in my whole life.


Curious whether or not this will end their crusades. I imagine someone else will pick up the mantle.


I'm sorry I drank your.


Have one of your pranks ever had catastrophic, life-changing consequences?


Why did I eat that last piece of pizza when I knew it was not going to be good for me...?


xavier c wrote:
was Asmodeus a angel

I can answer this one, actually: nope. Asmodeus was, along with one other, the first god to be born into Golarion.


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Is the Shoanti woman's familiar not a reptile of some kind?


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I blame Cosmo because I don't need a reason >:)


YOU'RE DOING A RISE OF THE RUNELORDS AUDIOBOOK?!

Shut up and take my money.

*cough* Erm, anyway, I apologize if the following question seems egotistical or overly self-interested.

My character has aspirations for a drug empire using his island in the Shackles to produce his goods. If he becomes Hurrican King and gains the influence needed to proceed unimpeded by competition from the pirate lords (assuming he reaches an accord with them), how would the rest of the world (both underground and public) react to a new kingpin rising up and injecting the market with a previously undiscovered product, particularly one that is highly addictive and hard to copy (a level 17+ alchemist would have a lot of raw talent in creating such things)?

@Victoria:
Ooooo, let's make a thread about that (Xanderghul/Peacock Spirit). I wanna discuss it.


Eternal:
I am dreaming.

I rarely dream. I always figured that since I had forsaken Pharasma, Desna had forsaken me in turn. The last few days have been filled with nightmares and phantasms, ghosts of the past brought by magic, malice, and fiendish specters.

As the smoke swirls around and into me, my sight fades. I begin to grow lucid. My head swims. My mind's grip on reality loosens yet tightens. Surreal and real become distinguishable from each other yet no less important, just two faces of the same coin. Most people focus on one side or the other, some teeter on the rim, but me? Right now, I can see every facet, every side, all at the same time. No part is hidden or obscured by the other.

It is beautiful.

I turn and slowly walk up the stairs, my blindness betrayed by my magical extract, granting me direction through sound. The stone feels cold against my feet though boots block their contact with my skin. The air is stale, hundred, maybe thousands of years of inactivity. I take a deep whiff and smell its ancient, musty aroma, heavy with corpse dust, crumbled texts, muted incense, and lost prominence.

It was breathtaking.

I am in the Iris now. Suddenly my world explodes. I could hear the sacred chants and see the vast cosmos expand around me. The entire universe, and yet only a small, insignificant fraction of reality. It made me feel small. I know most would have felt insignificant and despondent at seeing their lives through this otherworldly lens, but I did not. Here was everything and yet it was just a taste. To think there was this much...

It was wondrous.

I feel a pain shoot through me, my life force drained out. The dreamstone is responding to my presence. I hear the rumbling groans of aching, calciferous joints creak as the guardians waken, beckoned by some time-lost instruction of old. I feel my essence ebb and quiver. I hear the screams of anguish and agony emanating from the stone.

It is exhilarating.

I walk forward, the stars flashing and dancing around me, my thoughts flowing one after another, the roof of my mouth dry from the experience. I reach forward to the stone, the sounds of combat, eldritch magic being cast, thundering bullets being shot, and deadly arrows whizzing through the air to meet their mark. I pay it no mind. They know what to do. They have faced worse and triumphed.

I reach forward and grab the stone. It responds, once more siphoning bits and pieces of my life force into itself. It thinks to consume me. It does not know who I am. I grip it tightly as if to squeeze the unliving essence from its jagged surface. 'You are mine now, and you will serve your purpose.' With that, I place it within the bag of holding, its extra-dimensional pocket certain to cut me from the malicious effects of the stone. Tension washes off my back, and the ether gleefully swirls and sings.

It is relieving.

My task complete, I feel violence grip my heart. The battle rages behind me. My wings twitch before they buzz into hysteric flight. I buzz through the door, the chamber behind me left for the sound-sight of an undead cyclopean behemoth clawing at my navigator. One corrosive missile is all I manage before the gunner brings him down.

It is euphoric.

It is done. As the action dies down and I force my senses to collect back into the single face of reality, I realize that this will be the only time I will ever experience what I have. I prefer it that way. Why should I do the same thing twice? It is madness. The world is so exquisite, so full of wonder that I would have to be mad to commit to one action over and over again, denying myself that rich, endless reality.

I have never been so certain as I have now. No doubt remains. No questions. No hesitation. The philosophers, the priests, the nay-sayers are more damned than my own Abaddon-bound soul could ever be. They cannot see. They will never see. Death, the final frontier? Foolishness. Idiocy. Those who deny eternal life deny life and the cosmos fully. The only benevolence granted by their sight is that they deserve their resigned fates. It will not be so with me. I can see. I have seen. I will see more.

Immortality will be mine.


Force of habit. Also, that doesn't answer the question. I'm very sincerely eager to hear the answer. In fact, forget putting it into practice with me. If in theory you COULD achieve immortality for yourself and your loved ones through a means that does not condemn or otherwise debt you and they toward the source of the immortality, would you?


Steeples fingers.

I am curious. Currently I am researching immortality. I know the Forsaken suffer much, watching their loved ones perish from age as they remain young and vibrant in their lifetimes. If I could make your loved ones - and yourself, too, for even elves eventually die - immortal... would you take that offer?

No strings attached. I would simply ask for a small report after a century or so to see how it has changed your life.


I'm not sure on the relationship between tieflings and Cheliax, other than there are a fair few of them there. What's the general outlook on them? Are they revered? Hated? Feared? How do the different social classes react to them?


How many stabs does it take to bring down a demon lord?


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On second thought, maybe it's better to let sleeping dogs lie.


Azmyth wrote:

We've smuggled drugs.

We've drowned a baby to end a prophecy.

Your captain and my own alchemist captain would get along great.

More:

Spoiler:
SEVERAL accounts of cannibalism. This is practiced only by the captain, but it's something he's become infamous for.

Since he's developed plague bombs, he'll be using those, too. I'm not sure if they're considered evil, but since they copy the effects of contagion (which IS an evil spell), I'm inclined to say that the world is a slightly less wholesome place with every little bomb blast and every victim afflicted with bubonic plague and other nastiness.


Analysis of Fort Sublevels:
Quote:

Notes:

- Varied situational ineffectiveness of acidic bombs noted. No longer most efficient method of circumventing resistances to combustion. Require more versatile concoction. Shame. Will miss satisfying results.

- Mind is greatest weakness. Must research methods to prevent mental and emotional capabilities to be magically compromised.

Log:

We returned to the fortress, determined to finish exploring it. We went to the tower, where we were ambushed by the remaining phase spider and its matron. They proved little challenge and it was not long before they were blasted apart and riddled with bullet holes.

Captain Bikendi Otombu is a ghost. At the very least he is not malicious. In fact he was quite eager to seek our help. I've little reason to trust the man, but I prefer his cooperation and promises of valuable treasure than the threats from the animate dream. He also has a stockpile of memory crystals that interest me greatly, partly due to scientific curiosity and partly because there may be something worth gleaning in there regarding the dreamstone.

Our good fortune ran dry there. I still feel the sting of humiliation. The sheer terror I felt at the hands of the animate dream is infuriating enough, yet I was deprived of the chance to get even return the favor. Bikendi killed them before we had a chance to do anything once we returned.

There is more. Not a day later, I have us scout the caverns up in the hills west of the fortress. Charlik, a new member of the crew we recruited who had been stranded on the island, had informed us of large one-eyed harpies living there. I do not wish to have my men be preyed upon by them, so extermination is the best recourse. Certainly enough, we engage in combat and I have lobbed not one bomb before their damnable singing leaves me enthralled. The harpies do intrigue me in some way, however: they had a fiendish appearance. It would seem the ancient Ghol-Gan cyclopes also dealt with evil outsiders of some kind.

<The rest of the entry has been ripped out. Half the page is missing. No more is written about this date.>

Commentary:
Charlik is the new character used by Gareth's player.

The ripped page is because Sakhbet began to denote his and Max's (purely DM-driven) encounter with an apparition of Charon the Boatman. The whole business was a mix of terrifying and silly, spurred by the DM's frustration with Max's trollish behavior. You can read more about it here.


How were your experiences with piracy?


Could a half-elf benefit from the human favored class bonuses? I.E. a half-elf sorcerer could gain the bonus spell that human sorcerers could choose to get from favored class bonuses, since they count as human for things like feats and abilities.


In Ultimate Combat, there are alchemical engines for vehicles. These are really interesting, and I'm a little sad to see only two vehicles (neither of which are nautical) having them. That said, my questions are:

1) Would there be any way to build one as an additional means of propelling a ship?

2) What would be the cost and what skills would be required (Craft [machine]? Craft [alchemy], since that's used to run the engine?) to craft it?

3) What penalties or other requirements would there be?

4) What would be the fuel cost for each ship size per hour? Large/Huge/Gargantuan/Colossal ships, etc.


James Jacobs wrote:
Karlgamer wrote:

In most media there are bells and whistles associated with the casting of most spells. Usually a whooshing sparkly colored glow.

Do you think that the casting of a spell might give away the location of the invisible spell caster?

I guessing it depends on the spell.

We often illustrate spellcasting with associated glowing magic runes in the air. Smell and sound is absolutely associated with spellcasting as well. It's not something you can do subtly . You need special class abilities or feats or other things to cast spells without showing yourself off. Spellcasting gives away your invisible location as much as shrieking while invisible does.

From "Ask James Jacobs"


I've two, on of which is on ice, the other one whom is currently active.

There's Aldrius Froidvoir, a Chelish-descended native from Gralton. He tragically lost his mother to a fire caused by a bandit attack when he was little and ended up in Absalom, becoming a barrister in the hopes of doing good in the world non-violently. He had magical abilities that manifested during his childhood but he suppressed them out of fear (the fire had been caused by a wizard). He's an elemental water bloodline sorcerer, middle-aged and (purely by character choice) has a relatively high int score for a sorcerer. He has a phobia against fire (though he overcomes it when he learns to cast fire spells himself), a smooth baritone voice, and an exceptionally forgiving heart (short, of course, to anything obviously and unrepentantly evil). He was part of a Jade Regent campaign that ended badly, but I'd like to bring him back sometime. He's neutral good.

On the opposite side is Sakhbet, an Osirian NE alchemist who became captain of a pirate ship. He grew up with priests of Pharasma but on learning about a prophecy that said he should have died at birth he murdered a few of the priesthood and ran away, taking up Urgathoa as his new goddess. He's a cannibal, a scientist, and while very out-of-place in the Shackles has established in a few short months a ferocious reputation for ruthlessness and cruelty for those who oppose him and just treatment and reward for those who serve him well. He's currently preparing for live mummification.


Oh, huh, I misread the title... woops. There's no "Acting" or "Voices" domain 'x_x

Redoing that.

Travel: Oh, yes, pretty extensive
Knowledge: Yep.
Good [redemption]: Strong believer in it, though not naively so.
Darkness [night]: Favorite time of the day.
Water [ice]: Don't know why I identify with this so much. I just do.

Huh. Guess I'm nega-Sarenrae, now that I look at it... still good, though.


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NE Pirate Captain Alchemist's Addendum to the Evil Overlord List:

112) I will not us my crew members as test subjects even when they are punished. This severely reduces ship morale.

113) I will be careful with my plague and poison bombs around my companions. They need to be strategically placed, not lobbed wherever I please.

114a) I will keep my captain's log coded in an uncommon language to keep its secrets from falling into the wrong hands.

114b) Barring that, I will destroy the log if my capture or death seems imminent.

115) I will not go out of my way to piss off the legendary Hellknight pirate hunter until I am ready to goad him into my carefully laid trap.

116) I will pay my crew with a portion of our hard-earned gold. They might be NPCs, but that does not mean the DM can't make them mutiny if I overlook them too much.

117) I will not force my cannibalistic or religious tendencies on my crewmen. Just because they don't have my refined palate or worldview does not give me the right to lord it over them. It is a good way to get denounced as captain.

118) I will indulge in occasional theatrics and displays of ferocity to keep my reputation intact but must temper these with meticulous, level-headed decision making.

119) I will not allow my self-consciousness of my appearance keep me from growing a pair of wings that let me fly. The boon far outweighs the reputation for being called 'creepy'.

120) I will reward crew members for a job well done and reserve real punishments for active and deliberate transgressions. This system works much better than the previous captain's.

121) That said, I will not spare the whip when it is needed. Some people need their loved ones flayed before their eyes to teach them a lesson.

122) If this creates complications, I will not hesitate to have the crewman eliminated. I will be honest and open with my crew about what happened rather than lie.


DISCLAIMER: This thread is NOT to complain about or spread hatred towards DMs or other people. It's just to share stories, whether fun, frustrating, or just plain silly. I'd appreciate a positive attitude be kept as much as possible. Thank you.

When the players or their characters frustrate a DM to the point of madness, reality itself bends to give the would-be offenders a sound spanking.

There's a character in my Skulls and Shackles campaign named Max that deals ridiculous amounts of damage (and amazingly enough crits at least 3 times a session, which shocks and outrages not JUST the DM, but the rest of us who roll so poorly on a consistent basis, too) and is a bit nutty to boot. He often frustrates and upsets my own character (the captain) with his antics but because he's such a capable fighter he's kept around anyway. On their way back from a non-combat mission, the two struck up a conversation about gods. Turns out, his character thinks that a) the afterlife is a hoax and b) the gods need mortals more than mortals need them, which is why they demand worship.

My character has the [Child of the Temple] trait and ranks in knowledge [religion] so he's a theologian who despises atheism (though he's chalking this up more to ignorance than stubborn rebellion) so he takes it on himself to educate Max. Max continuously snubs the (factually proven) ideas of Abaddon, the Styx, daemons, gods, and the like. He thinks no one knows really what's at the other side of the big black door.

Queue the DM growing so aggravated by the character that he has Charon the Horseman of Death appear to educate Max. At first, it looked like it was a joke, but when I asked if it was real, the DM just said "You know what? **** it. Yeah, it is. Max's trollishness has earned him an audience with Charon".

Charon takes Max and Sakhbet on a one-glance tour of Hell Dante's Inferno style. Turns out, Max's sheer ballsy "temptation of fate" made "The Powers That Be" think it best to humble him. We decided to play along rather than protest. In fact, we wanted to see where it would lead.

While Sakhbet's only barely holding his bladder from collapsing out of sheer terror, Max is, while afraid, still mouthing off a lot. Charon grows more aggravated, considering killing him for his arrogance (which, truth be told, he can't because they're both insubstantial at the moment. Yet.)

It takes my character to plead with him and beg him for the love of all the gods - even Pharasma, whom he hates with religious passion - to shut up and give the proper deference to Charon because he doesn't want to explain to Max's husband (the crew's navigator) that this is how he died: by being unwilling to show respect to someone out of his league. Max shuts up, and Charon, sufficiently satisfied, leaves after dropping their consciousness back to their time-stopped bodies, considering sending daemons at Max if he keeps being as arrogant as he has been.

While Sakhbet wants to never talk about the vision/encounter ever again (though he'll definitely be thinking about it for ages to come), Max makes no such promise. I'll say I don't regret it because it was a pretty damn fun RP.

So that's my DM-Flips-Out story.


Mushroom and swiss burger from work, with pickles, lettuce, tomato, and garlic aioli. Mmmm.


Don't know that I excel at anything to really qualify in representing those realms. Guess it'd be

Complexity: Yeah, life's not simple in my eyes, and I tend to overcomplicate everything.
Acting: Aspiration! I've been told I have a lot of raw talent.
Voices: Can do half a million of them!
Jungles: Spent half my childhood in one. Had a big impact on me.
Videogames: Yeah. Totally.

*shrug*


Dotting. I love the character concept.

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