So far I've had one person jump into the discord server I set up (not sure who since I don't know your discord names), and one person decline out of a wish to leave the mysteries mysterious. Let me know what the other two are thinking, and once we have that settled I will mark the campaign as inactive.
It is with a heavy heart that I inform you I have decided to put this game down. My previous life circumstances when I was writing this campaign included a job where I did very little throughout the day, and also I was living alone. Now I am at a very fast-paced job where I am in charge of an entire department, and my girlfriend is living with me and I spend a lot of my time on our relationship. It took me a few weeks of dedicated writing to craft a story around the players that were accepted, and unfortunately half of it is now unusable as it applies to characters who are no longer with us. And while those of you who are here and fantastic players and I have really enjoyed what little of Ikeroth we got to experience together, it wouldn't be fair to you all to either delay the game for an undetermined amount of time until I have enough spare time to rewrite an entire adventure, or to force us through a campaign with no plan just for the sake of progress.
It was wonderful, and I am truly humbled by the dedication and character writing that you each had during your short time in this game. I will still be present on the boards and I am sure we will continue to play together for many years, but unfortunately I just don't have the time to be rewriting a campaign right now. I'm sorry that you got a taste only to have it taken away.
P.S. If anybody is curious, I do have a short document of "GM Notes" that has a lot of campaign secrets, albeit ones that are not very personal to your characters, more about the nature of Ikeroth. If you are interested I would be happy to send you private links, or if you would prefer to leave it a mystery that would be fine as well.
Hello all, I hope the summer has been treating you well.
It has been a month and I wanted to check in and let everybody know that I am still here despite my reduced amount of available time. As an update, I am currently involved in a play which will be ending in about two weeks. Once that is over I should have a lot more time in the evenings available, although my posting will still likely be during the morning and afternoon hours since I will be using the evening hours to write. Once the play ends I will get back to the drawing board on inserting our multiple new characters and we will take it from there. I appreciate your massive patience in dealing with how hectic this has been.
I am still around, I just have found myself unable to find the time necessary to write for the game. A large part of that is due to 3 of the original players dropping, which has forced me to throw out over half of my character-specific writing and stsrt rewriting it.
It may be better if we put this game on hiatus for now until I can find more time to dedicate to it. I would rather not push things forward without a plan just for the sake of movement.
Hey all, if it hasn't been made obvious from my last few posts, my work has been ramping up significantly. For reference, my new job tends to have sharp spikes in things for me to do as projects hit certain parts, and right now we're at a peak. Unfortunately for my games I don't want my work to suffer, so my posting will be much slower until work slows down a bit. I only make this decision because I would rather dedicate the proper amount of time to this game and I don't want to hastily throw out a low-energy gameplay post just for the sake of keeping things moving, and I hope my communication here can prevent the game from stalling. Let me know your thoughts if you have any on the issue, and I apologize for the slowed pace.
Hey all, I spent most of the day trying to catch up to the workload that hit me yesterday, and now we have a long weekend coming up. However I suspect I will have time this weekend to post, in the middle of the day either Saturday or Sunday, but will not be available the rest of today or on Monday. Just a heads up!
Nope, your notification here is perfect!
Once we hear from Benjamin we will move forward :)
Apologies if it seems like the pace may slow down due to me waiting for everybody to post. However I learned a valuable lesson from the last homebrew game I ran on the boards: If you respond every time when the more active players post, they end up becoming main characters while the rest of the party becomes supporting characters. I want to ensure each character has their own triumphs and failures and each gets their own memorable moments.
~~~Benjamin & Draegar~~~
Favonia smiles, leading the two men further into the city. The walk does not take too long, in about fifteen minutes they see The Exhibition of Architecture. It is about as non-religious as a public building in Theveste gets, which is to say there are still prominent displays of Azgaar and the five-pointed sun, but the religious iconography seem to be more of gatekeepers and incidentals rather than the focus of the displays. Gorgeous halls lead to various rooms, showing off statues and carvings as well as intricately carved beautiful domes and arches. Various rooms are dedicated to different kinds of stone, as well as the ways they can be combined, and the practical applications. There are also areas showcasing more modern styles, still heavily inspired by ancient practices but making more use of natural light and having more curved structures. There is also a sprawling mosaic that shows up close the great attention and detail paid to decorations.
Throughout the museum Favonia provides some high-level information, but guides within the museum are more knowledgeable about details and help to fill in the gaps where Favonia's knowledge ends.
In case it has not been made abundantly clear by my descriptions and the images, Briecan architecture is heavily inspired by Roman architecture, with only minor differences that would logically follow from colonizing a mountainous region (such as more dynamic bases) that is heavily reliant on sea travel (such as ports and waterways through the city). Let me know if there's anything you want to ask about or learn!
"Please, there is no need to apologize. Theveste, and indeed all of Brieca, has a rich and wonderful history, recorded back farther than any other known nation. Pursuing enlightenment in its history and culture is admirable. I am sure all you will need to do is ask and they will be happy to grant an honored guest access."
She takes another long drought of water and stands. "Of course, I am Olvina Capraria, and no offense has been taken. I am but a humble servant of Azgaar and Brieca, as long as I have made your stay here more enjoyable than I am happy." She smiles again. she raises her voice and calls out over the small crowd of nobles. "Honored guests, we are nearly at your accommodations. One last stretch and you will be resting in the finest establishments that Theveste has to offer!" The nobles murmur their responses, some of the older (or more lazy) ones complaining, but all shifting to stand and continue the trek.
Let me know anything else you are interested in doing, once you're ready I will fast forward to the dinner with the High Cardinal!
~~~Benjamin & Draegar~~~
"Indeed! Before news of the High Cardinal it had been the most exciting and talked about thing in the city."
Favonia nods in agreement to Draegar's words. "Thane has a focus on progress. Many statesmen argue the danger in looking forward without learning from what came before you, an idea reinforced by the impact of The Terrible Lapse." She gives a sympathetic look and shakes her head, as if Thane simply doesn't know any better.
"The two museums I spoke of each have their own focuses. The Exhibition of Architecture is owned by the state, and as its name suggests is focused on preserving the long and colorful history of Briecan architecture. The Grand Gallery is owned by the Church and preserves much of our religious iconography, art, and history, telling the history of Brieca and its entwinement with the Church. The Exhibition is more of a historical record keeping experience while the Gallery is about telling grand truths through history and stories." She smiles, waiting for them to choose which option to take.
The guide frowns in thought for a moment. "I fear I wouldn't know where to start, Lord Martalen. Dozens of historical scholars who have passed into Azgaar's grace, or the dozen notable ones we have now, or the hundreds of less notable ones? However I can point you in the right direction. I am told that you are an honored guest of His Holiness and will be having supper with him later today. In the Church of Theveste there is a grand library and many helpful librarians and historians who should be able to answer your curiosity far better than I. I am sure they would be happy to help you learn more of our history and culture."
~Dreager & Benjamin~
"Wonderful! In that case, please make sure your things are gathered and follow me. Please do not hesitate if you have any questions or see something you would like to visit or know more about." She waits until the two are prepared to depart, then leads them off the boat and starts heading mostly directly west into the city, slightly south.
The city is a marvel to examine up close, as it was at a distance. The architecture is the traditional Briecan style, a very old and regal method that is expensive and time consuming, but makes very beautiful and durable buildings, full of marble and stone carefully crafted to blend seamlessly together. Each building has its own personality and seems to have gathered its stone from a different location, but if one looks closely they can see similar patterns and styles scattered throughout the city as they walk, but seldom next to each other. From the docks most of the walking is uphill mostly due to the nature of the mountains as they stretch above the shore.
As they walk Favonia begins by answering questions. "The arches are one of Brieca's greatest architectural achievements, a high honor given the outstanding competition. Each half of the arches were constructed simultaneously, mirroring each other as they rose to completion. Once the angle of the structure began to reach more extreme numbers, wooden supports were built to temporarily bear the weight of each side. Given the incredible height of the arches, the supports ultimately ended up taking more time than the stone itself to be made!" She says with a shocked expression, as if hearing about it for the first time herself.
"The supports doubled as scaffolding and were immense and a a marvel in their own right, and the original builders would spend incredible amounts of time simply climbing up and down the construct. Meals had to be brought to them else little progress would be made in a day. Eventually each arch reached their completion, and a keystone was placed in the center. Once completed, the arches could stand under their own weight, and the wooden supports and scaffolding were removed. Most of the wood was re-purposed as shipping vessels and in many of the buildings along the docks that you see today, although some sections and samples are preserved in museums for posterity. Two such museums are not too far out of the way of our brief tour and if you are interested we can visit them!" She offers. Notably she doesn't talk about the people that are clinging off the side of the arches.
The arch question answered, the moves onwards to Benjamin's inquiry. As she continues to talk, she seamlessly switches between walking forward and backwards, never hesitating or tripping, even when the levels of the city change she steps up and down as needed while glancing behind her only rarely. "The Frozen Peaks Reserve is well under way when it comes to construction, but various aspects of bringing the attraction to life are uncharted territory and make completion estimates difficult. Hostus Porphyrus as the founder has expressed the complications in transporting the various creatures, as well as having to create climate-controlled conditions for many of the creatures that normally thrive in low temperature and high altitudes. However he is hopeful that they can be open to the public within a month!"
Esdras enjoys the leisurely pace set, and when about halfway to their destination the group takes a break where even the guide sits down for a moment to get some water. She is still happy to attend to the questions of the nobles but is taking a more passive and responsive approach, a perfect opportunity for Esdras. At his question she nods with a bright smile. "Of course! Theveste is the capital of Brieca's Yundalan colony, named after the capital of the homeland. It was the second settlement of the original Briecan colonizers, after Caranusca, who came in response to the revelation after Almor began colonizing. During the expansion of Brieca's colonial lands, Theveste was the rock upon which the efforts pivoted, a highly defensible position sheltered from much of the natural and neighboring threats of Yundal. The settlement serves important economic functions as a midpoint between Caranusa and the southern cities, in addition to transporting supplies between the inner and outer rings via it's paired city Geresa. But overall it's most important function is to maintain the cohesion of Breica, serving as the ruling authority, and cultural and spiritual heart of the colonies. With the cities so far separated it is important to maintain a connection to our roots across the sea, and Theveste serves as the bridge. This function of the city was founded by High Cardinal Gallio Centumalus, while the original founder of the construction of Theveste as a settlement (previously known as Salonae) has been lost to history, although it is still a pursuit among historians and scholars today."
Esdras departs from the group, making his way over to the collection of nobles waiting to be transported to their lodgings. It takes little time for Esdras's tall figure to be spotted by Isabela and she waves him over. Judging by her concern still being at minor levels, their father likely hasn't told her anything of Esdras and his cursed sword. "Esdras! I know that you've been making friends with that skive and Lord Abbey, but I was worried you weren't coming with us for a moment." She gives a sad smile and takes his arm, causing Raul to purse his lips sourly.
Soon after the group begins to be moved, no longer escorted by the Knights of Theveste, but instead the local guards. They are dressed in much more practical armor, light and breathable leather along with durable silks. The walk begins, Esdras's brother ignoring him while his father steals haunted looks. Raul takes Isabela's hand, gripping it and making it clear she will be walking with him. She gives an apologetic look and succumbs to his wishes.
The city is a marvel to examine up close, as it was at a distance. The architecture is the traditional Briecan style, a very old and regal method that is expensive and time consuming, but makes very beautiful and durable buildings, full of marble and stone carefully crafted to blend seamlessly together. Each building has its own personality and seems to have gathered its stone from a different location, but if one looks closely they can see similar patterns and styles scattered throughout the city as they walk, but seldom next to each other. From the docks most of the walking is uphill, not only due to the nature of the mountains, but it also seems like the north side of the city is higher up than the south side. The guards set a gentle pace and take frequent breaks, a female guide with light hair giving bits of history at certain intervals, although it seems mostly entertainment while the nobles catch their breaths.
Esdras is there anything you want to do or talk about while on the walk there? It will take quite a bit based on the slow pace that is being set to accommodate for the older nobles.
~Draegar & Benjamin~
Favonia smiles. "Although the most high-end taverns are on the north side of the city, where the risk of floods and other damages is at the lowest, there are fine taverns scattered throughout the entirety of the city. Theveste has strict standards for places of business which creates a more prosperous and high-quality economy for all. It is common that large cities have their 'seedy' parts, but rest assured there is no such place here in Theveste." She retains her disarming smile throughout this entire explanation.
"The southern side of the city is home to most of the private residences, mostly concentrated further up the mountains. The lower section contains the market district, as well as trades, scattered food vendors, multiple amphitheaters for entertainment and public services, and a few parks. Currently under construction and not yet open to the public is a zoo that will showcase some of the marvelous and deadly creatures present on Yundal in an environment safe for the family!" She says, holding up her hands to show the excitement for such a new curiosity.
"Down by the water are the ports, warehouses, and more tradesmen. There are some food vendors and spots of interest, but the harsh nature of the tide and the important use of the coast in trade and merchanting makes those areas focused highly on practicality and business, usually only of interest to those with merchanting backgrounds or more eclectic tastes."
Favonia tilts her head slightly and closes her eyes with a warm smile. "If you would like I can take you on a short guided tour of some of the more northern parts of the southern district, visiting as many places of interest as we can manage before your dinner with His Holiness."
Favonia inclines her head politely. "Your family is collected with a group of other nobles directly off the ship and towards the north, it should be easy to pick them out. Do you wish to rendezvous with Lord Abbey and Master Ironhide later?" She asks curiously.
As Benjamin and Draegar step to the side of the vessel to keep an eye on the Thane politicians, Favonia gives them a curious glance but holds her tongue. Edwin continues to scan the streets but his gaze doesn't turn back to the ship. After walking along the docks for another half a minute, the crowd and buildings begin to swallow them up and Benjamin loses sight of them. They appeared to be still heading south when he lost sight, perhaps angling somewhat inwards away from the docks.
Edwin Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 6
The three men wait around for a few minutes, at which point a woman in simple servant's garb approaches. She inclines her head and does a deep curtsy. "Greetings, Lords and Master. Welcome to the great city of Theveste. We welcome you with open arms and hope you walk in His light during your time here." Her Taldan is slightly accented, as if she didn't learn the trade language until an older age. She stands up, giving a welcoming smile. "I am Favonia Gavrus, your servant and guide for the duration of your stay."
"Lord Martalen, I am informed your family is staying with many of the other visiting nobles at The Elegant Pearl. One of Theveste's finest taverns, it is located in the northern section of the upper ring of the inner city. As I understand, they plan on accompanying many of the other nobles who are traveling there in a group to drop off their things before attending to their own business. If you would like I can see you joined with them, but rest assured if your immediate interests lie elsewhere it is no inconvenience to escort you at a later time, as your family have already taken your cargo with them."
As Favonia talks to Esdras, Benjamin looks around and sees the Thane diplomats hanging back on the ship. Once most of the other nobles have departed they start making their way off, Leander keeping his head down with a nervous expression while Edwin keeps a vigilant eye of the immediate vicinity narrowed eyes. He locks gazes with Benjamin for a moment and there is a flash of recognition, but his gaze continues as he quickly escorts Leander off The Lord's Refuge. While most of the other nobles seemed to be heading west or north-west into the heart of the city, they take a sharp left and start heading south. Edwin is setting a fast pace for them.
The captain nods. "Very well. Although I am loath to admit Brieca may have such...biased tendencies, our experience yesterday gives me no illusions about how the Skive people must be treated here on Yundal. Rest assured, as honored guests of His Holiness, you will have sanctuary in the cathedral where you may rest safely. Only a madman would breach sanctuary and risk the ire of the Church." With that said he inclines his head, then departs to fetch their guide.
I will move things along tomorrow morning!
Captain Marcellun nods to Benjamin. "As you wish Lord Abbey."
He turns to Esdras. "Only the higher ranking members of the Church are staying in Theveste's cathedral, the rest of the nobles were given a choice to either have accommodations arranged for them at one of the finest inns, or they were free to make their own arrangements. I will make sure the provided guide is informed of what their accommodations are so he can better serve."
He gives an expectant look to Draegar, not wanting to leave the half-Skive unguided in such a strange (and possibly unfriendly) city.
No worries Benjamin, I normally don't expect posts on the weekend since I myself am often unable to post (although I certainly don't have any complaints if that's a good time for you to post or you simply want the extra time to RP with each other!).
I very much appreciate you checking in and letting us know what's going on!
Your father shakes his head nervously. "Nothing that wouldn't be obvious, such as his plans while here, how it will affect relations between our nations, how we can help...and what happened today."
"Please, my son. Be careful. I will let you know what the Church says about healing you."
Benjamin, Draegar, and Esdras spend the rest of the time on the ship in relative calm compared to their earlier adventure. Time passes quickly as entertainers, poets, singers, and preachers perform in the main hall for all those gathered. After a few hours the demeanor of the gathering starts to return to a semblance of normalcy, if it weren't for the Knights acting much stricter than they had before.
Date: 10 Autumn 895 A.S
The sun sinks below the mountains to the west, putting an early end to the early day. On the eastern side of Yundal, the geography dictates these early hours. Twilight begins to sparkle across the water and the temperature drops down to a more bearable level, enough that some of the more thinly-clad nobles shiver slightly.
Finally, the western point of the peninsula is moved past, and The Great City of Theveste comes into view. (sans airships, which don't exist in Ikeroth)
Theveste is a towering, sprawling masterpiece. Marble and stone buildings coat the entire mountainside, a mixture of cornered and rounded structures that all share intricately carved pillars for support, some even being carved into depictions of people or Azgaar. Almost the entirety of the city can be seen from the horizontal due to it being built up the mountains, and the sheer volume of stone and construction is impossible to grasp. White and gold are the dominant colors, but there is much brown from the stone and marble, and healthy dashes of blue and red as well. The city looks meticulously planned and beautifully executed in its construction around the natural formations of the mountains, carved sections of it flowing effortlessly into the style of the buildings that function as decorations or more structural purposes.
A massive winged statue of Azgaar towers over the harbor, wings symbolically shielding the city from the dangers of the ocean. Towering marble arcs inlaid with metal stretch over the harbor and several waterways into the city, as if some sort of ancient gates. The city shines in twilight, the moon as well as large torches and magical lighting keeping the city well-lit in the darkening hour.
The city seems alive, and a swell of energy passes over as The Lord's Refuge comes into view. Beautiful orchestra music rings from the city, welcoming His Holiness and all of his guests. With it is cries from the massive crowd present, absolutely covering every open part of the city. The docks are packed shoulder-to-shoulder with people, as well as every spot on the streets and the buildings that have a view of the harbor. The feel is of overwhelming jubilation, as if the High Cardinal will set all right in the world.
Looking up at the arches, even those seem to be spotted with people amazingly enough, despite the extreme height and steep angles. After focusing for a moment it becomes apparent from their even spacing and stoic stances that they are some form of security, most of them effortlessly clinging to the sides of the arches as they gaze down. Their forms are hard to make out at this distance due to the extreme height.
As The Lord's Refuge gets closer to the harbor, the music and cheers get louder, and details of the city and the people are easier to make out. The sections closer to the water are built less beautifully and more practically, looking newer but more weathered and built to take the constant beating from the sea. Looking up at the arches the looming figures are wearing matching white and gold uniforms over lightweight armor and some kind of machines in their suits are helping them hold their impossible positions.
The nobles on board beam out over the city, waving and calling out to those on the docks. It is evident that most of them have been here before, but some gaze with wide-eyed and/or open-mouthed shock. Judging by the looser stances of the Knights of Theveste, this is the first time they have been here as well. The High Cardinal gazes out with a look of wonder and appreciation in his eyes.
The Lord's Refuge makes port and the local dockers and security begin to secure the vessel. The largest dock in the harbor has been cleared, with a perimeter about three hundred feet kept clear by a line of guards. The nobles begin gathering around the gangplanks as the crew secures them to the docks.
Benjamin, Draegar, and Esdras have their sightseeing disturbed when Captain Marcellun approaches them. "His Holiness informed me that you will be guests at his supper. He expects food to begin being served in two hours, you are welcome to join us at the Church and wait, or you may come later when it is closer to the dining time. If you wish to join us you will be escorted once the other nobles have disembarked, or if you wish to tend to your own matters or see the city, guides will be provided who can lead you to the Church at a later time." He looks at them expectantly.
Esdras's father begins to tear up as well. He stands and strongly embraces his son. "I thought I had lost you." He remains like that for a moment, then slaps his son's back. "Please, let me try with the Church first, they may be able to break this curse for a donation." He pulls back and stares hard at his son. "Before you try some sort of insane quest across the world, the answer may be right here." He implores.
Draegar throws himself into the work and becomes the tip of the spear for the dangerous work. A few times he deploys his machine, and finally luck bites back against him as a pinching gear crushes half of the simulacrum. The construct staggers and falls, significantly damaged but no issue to repair with some work and downtime. But Draegar has made a huge leap in the progress of repairs and the ship is in a much better place now.
I believe Esdras is close to wrapping up his scene, and Benjamin as well, but let me know if you would be interested in anything else before you make port in Theveste!
Quint SM: 1d20 ⇒ 2
Quint arcs a brow on his bulging eye and nods slowly to Benjamin. "Mhmm, it takes a certain mind to unravel these things, but you seem to have an inkling for it. At least the right kind of inkling." He eyes Benjamin up and down a moment. "Until we meet again, Oracle." He watches Benjamin depart for a moment before turning back to the rest of his house.
"I...I..." He stammers as he tries to find the words to respond to Esdras. His worldview had been upended in a few minutes and he was still reeling from the shock of it all. He takes the drink and downs half of it before sitting. It looks like someone has siphoned the will to fight out of him. "What would you have us do, Esdras?" he says quietly. "If you are cursed by this sword the only end I can see is going to the Church, pulling in any favor necessary and begging for aid. Surely they can handle such dark powers." He says with a slimmer of hope.
More than one technologist snorts a laugh at Draegar's comment, although most of them try to quickly stifle it as if to avoid offending anybody of the Church.
Draegar finds no shortage of work required and is quickly given half a dozen tasks to do. His keen mind is appreciated, but what the ship technologists take particular advantage of is somebody as strong as Draegar who still knows what he's doing. It allows them to more effectively distribute their people since Draegar effectively takes up two spots, and repairs begin to speed up.
It's not all sunshine and honeyed milk though, it was a tall order to make repairs while still running. Certain actions are much harder, or even dangerous. Some of the technologists balk from the more dangerous jobs, either waiting for others or hoping the ship can make port without that one particular repair.
Alright let me know how risky you are willing to be in these repairs, and give me 3 checks (Knowledge or profession or craft are fine, as long as it's thematically appropriate). If you decide to act particularly risky, than you will not be able to take 10 on the last check, but you can on the others.
Quint's left eye practically bulges out and shines at the information from Benjamin. "Hmm...yes that would certainly be worse, and quite a hit against the Church, as well as Almor. But there are Thane representatives on board, would they really sink their own? Perhaps they are that cold, and that is why a lower representative was sent instead of Natalia." He says with a dark smile. "My question is, which plot was true and which was the distraction? Or were they both distractions?" He ponders.
The lanky technologist stops, staring at Draegar for a moment before getting lost in his thoughts. He stares off at the wall, mind racing, slowly nodding as he considers Draegar's suggestion. "Yes, yes that's genius! We can open the emergency pipes and examine them to see which ones are good and establish the baseline from there!"
He turns to run off, then pauses and whips back around to Draegar. He offers his hand and a smile. "Tuvius. I am sure the High Cardinal's words mean more than ours but...thank you. You really saved our butts, both with the ship and our lives. We wouldn't be here without you." He gives Draegar a lingering look for a moment, then turns and runs off to tell the others of Draegar's idea.
Alright! So what now? Do you want to stay down and help with diagnostics/repairs? They certainly wouldn't mind the extra manpower from an educated technologist who has proven himself.
Esdras's father takes a breath, trying to dissipate his emotions to talk to his eldest more calmly. "Well, your brother has not had an easy go of it. You were the ones I groomed for leadership, not him. He is still getting caught up on the intricacies. His life was pulled out from under him. At first he was the youngest so he prepared for that, but suddenly after all his time spent growing up and getting ready for another life, we turned around and told him 'well actually'." He shakes his head, taking the drink and sipping it. "He is still not ready, but you haven't really given him a choice have you? Sorry." He raises a hand defensively. "But it's true."
He falls into silence as Esdras speaks of the afterlife, swirling his drink and watching his son closely. He looks increasingly concerned, and slowly rises to examine the sword. "Well I am far from a blacksmith...but no, I have not seen a blade like this before. I always assumed it was an old relic that was found in the confusion of the war." He hands the blade back, and right after as Esdras reveals it is cursed, the color drains from his face. He holds his hand as if was scalded.
This time when Esdras offers another drink he does not take it, staring at his son intensely. After being prevented from interrupting another two times he lapses into silence and lets Esdras finish. Finally he sits, and it looks like he has gained another five years.
"I will not dishonor either of us and trust you are not lying to me." He says quietly. He rubs at his hand nervously. "Why...why have you kept this from us for so long? We have connections to the Church, we have favors, we could ask one of their healers to break such a curse and rid you of this burden!"
Sense Motive DC 15 (hunch):
He seems conflicted, and unsure if what Esdras is saying is true or not. He certainly doesn't think Esdras is lying, but he doesn't know if a cursed soul-trapping sword is the truth, or if some form of madness has convinced Esdras it is the truth.
Quint nods to Benjamin's acceptance of the role of the Evangelist's in the war.
Quint visibly perks up at Benjamin's words about the engines. He suddenly steps closer, the space between them almost uncomfortably thin now. His voice lowers and Benjamin can smell the faint aroma of cologne and garlic from the old man. "I saw many men heading to the engine room, what happened?" He says in a harsh whisper.
Quint gives a muffled cackle. "The Evangelists are not as anti-war as you think. Raising objections in discussions pales in comparison to their efforts in the fighting, when it comes to aid and supplies and especially providing combat medics." He raises a brow at Benjamin. "Most roles in a war have nothing to do with swinging a sword." He observes.
He ponders Benjamin's last points for a time, sucking his teeth and letting the points hang for nearly an uncomfortable amount of time. "It was Thane. But they weren't trying to kill His Holiness. There are many things Thane is, but incompetent is not one of them. And this attack was clearly incompetent." He rubs the gnarls on his cane with his thumb. "They had some other motive here. I just...can't put my damned finger on it." He scowls, staring down at the ground. "Divine magic has waned considerably since The Separation, but the Church can still access great miracles in times of need, and unless they went to terrible lengths His Holiness could be brought back from beyond the grave. It would serve as nothing but a minor monetary setback and a major insult. So why?" He ponders aloud.
Sense Motive DC 15 (hunch):
Quint is intentionally avoiding some of your points. His main interest lies in testing your competence and insight to see if such an alliance would be worth his time.
The lanky technologist grimaces. "Not only every pipe, but every machine and every switch. A full diagnostic, but we have to keep it running at the same time because the High Cardinal doesn't want us to stop. And then we will only have a short time for repairs once we hit Theveste. Job has to be perfect, but fast, but still perfect." He smiles and shakes his head. "Such is our profession, eh?"
"Yeah we ran a temperature diagnostic, although I don't think a sound-density test...why do you think that would help?" He inquires with a raised eyebrow.
His father waves a hand dismissively. "It's been a long few days for all of us." He mumbles.
Gerald scowls. "Brother do not think me so petty that I care about small favors. There is already controversy about the eldest Martalen not taking his title, and the younger having no interest. Now the High Cardinal and many high nobles of Brieca see that the eldest Martalen is competent and did a great deed? It's only going to cause more questions, into what exactly is your problem and why am I the one with the titles?" He scowls, going to the door. "You stumble around like an ox, not even seeing what you're damaging." He slams the door behind him.
Esdras's father sighs. "What is it you wish to speak about?"
"Oh, oh! Yes that'd be great!" The lanky technologist gestures Draegar to follow him, grabbing a spare pair of gloves and a rubber apron for Draegar to use. "There is a lot of physical damage that was done by men with blunt weapons, but those are easy to identify." He says as he walks Draegar through the now-familiar underbelly of the ship. "The problem is some of the tampering they did, particularly with chemicals and the controls. Some were broken or the mechanisms messed with, such as switching what certain levers and switches control. We could simply replace everything and that would fix the problem, but that would take a lot more time and money than narrowing down the issues and fixing them. Do we really need to replace all the pipes, or will a new surface treatment be sufficient? Can the controls be re-affixed, or would it be simpler to gut them?" He rattles off quickly.
Esdras's father hesitates, then nods and lets him recount his story uninterrupted. Although his facial expressions still show his reaction; a mixture of concern and suspicion at affiliating with dockers and Skives, and even more so at combat.
Once at the end of the story he is once again sitting. He stares at the ground for a time, then takes an inhale. "You really saved the High Cardinal, and the rest of us?" He shakes his head. "By the great nations, you give me grey hairs. The most noble and important act was showed to me as snapping." He shakes his head, looking up. "I suppose this does put is in a much better situation, by far..." He hesitates.
Gerald gives a humorless snort. "And now Esdras will be in his favor above the rest of us, if only he was interested in his birthright title."
Quint Cantaber eyes Benjamin carefully, drinking in his words. His weathered face betrays no sign of his thoughts on the words until he narrows his eyes in response to the arms dealer guess from Benjamin. "Our business is large and expansive, and yes certain parts of it would be involved in weapon manufacturing." He looks off into the crowd, sipping at his cup with a nonchalant expression.
Sense Motive DC 20 (hunch):
You are guessing that his main monetary involvement in the war is something beyond weapons. Perhaps ships, or ettunium supply or refinement, or even medical services? It's hard to guess what his true involvement is, but you think you've missed the mark somewhat.
He swirls his drink and points to a pair of Thane technologists lurking on the side of the ship. "The war never ended. It was simply set down for a time while the nations recover their losses from the storm and the Formless who caused so much damage. You cannot fight without ships or men, and it takes years to get both ready for war. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when." He faces back to Benjamin, cocking his head slightly with a crooked grin. "But what's your take on this? You seem interested, at least, which is good. But rumors of your...motives, are vague and contradictory."
Apologies, in hindsight I didn't really give you much to do beyond "Oh yes I go downstairs". I will try to be better about giving more content as we move forward.
Draegar makes his way down the now-familiar staircase, noting that while the temperature does rise, it is not the oppressive heat that it was before. He opens the same door he did previously, but this time instead of silence and traps, he is greeted by bustling technologists who are hurriedly moving about the bowels of the ship. Most of them are injured to varying degrees, but it looks like the worst of the wounds were healed. They move quickly and call out technical jargon to each other, which Draegar has no problem picking up. It seems they're focused on furthering the band-aid style repairs that Draegar started, and want to ensure the rest of the trip goes smoothly so they can make proper repairs once docked in Theveste. It takes a few moments for anybody to notice Draegar, but eventually a tall and lean man on the younger side turns and squints his eyes. "Hey, no tours, we're doing repa-wait isn't that the Skive?" He shakes his head a moment and swings down from his ladder, landing on the metal grate with a loud clang and walking over. "You know you really saved our butts! I'm impressed your...that you knew so much about tech..." He trails off awkwardly as he catches himself about to say a clearly racist statement.
Behind him, the other technologists glance over on occasion, but seem to be mostly busy with their own work and happy to let their lanky companion handle the newcomer.
Isabela stares at Esdras a moment, then slowly nods. "Yes, I suppose that makes sense, but what exactly was happening?" She stops herself and shakes her head. "No, save the tale for now, I'm sure the others will want to hear it anyways. Yes they went to their cabin because they didn't want the other nobles to see them distraught. Come on, I'm sure they're worried sick." She takes his hand and starts pulling him along to their cabin on the other side of the ship.
They reach the cabin and Isabela swings the door open. Inside is Gerald and Haltius. The instant the door is open they look over. Gerald gives an exasperated sigh and rolls his eyes so hard his whole head seems to roll, and Haltius stands up from where he was sitting with a mix of anger and embarrassment on his face.
"You couldn't stay out of trouble for one day? Of all days you couldn't give me this?"
Gerald stares silently from the corner, daggers stabbing into Esdras.
Isabela steps forward. "Father please, hear him out. You've only caught rumors."
His face twists. "As if the rumors aren't bad? Oh yes the important Martalen family here to do diplomacy while their half-mad son runs around assaulting Briecan locals!" He lapses into silence, mad but waiting to hear Esdras's explanation.
Benjamin puts together what knowledge he knows of the Cantabers from various sources. He finds the head of their house, Lord Quint, and approaches him after waiting for his previous conversation to conclude.
Quint Cantaber (picture is accurate except any of the clothing sections that aren't red are Briecan white) turns around with a sour expression on his face, leaning heavily on a cane. His eyes quickly rip up and down Benjamin's appearance before meeting his gaze. "Benjamin Abbey you say?" The man's voice has a tint of age and nasal to it.
Knowledge: 1d20 ⇒ 16
He narrows his eyes. "Ah yes, the so proclaimed oracle." He seems to chew out the last word and draw it out, like he was examining it. "Likewise, to what do I owe the honor?" He inquires with a raised brow.
The Knight turns his head slightly as the book is pulled out, and he seems to study Draegar for a moment. After about half a minute of silence he suddenly bangs his mailed fist on his leg. "Wait, you're that Skive, the one who repaired the ship!" He steps aside. "I'm sure they will want that manual back, be respectful of the technologists though. They just had their heads rolled and now they're scrambling to make repairs to the ship. Rough day." He shakes his head as he emphasizes with them.
Isabela sighs. "It doesn't matter how many times you get close, it only takes one time of going over the line."
"A bunch of nobles came back and started talking about how a bunch of Knights found you and that Skive covered in blood! I didn't know what happened, I just kept hearing about your wounds and the Knights arresting you and..." She leans against the wall. "I didn't know what you had done..." She says with a slight tinge of fear in her voice.
Benjamin makes his way into the main room and starts eavesdropping on various conversations to get the feel of what's going on. There seems to be a great deal of unrest as the nobles try to figure out what happened. Most of the theories point towards Thane as the culprit, but there is also significant talk of a Skive on board, as well as the half-mad Martalen veteran. The group that seems the most vocal and unconcerned with being overheard is a cluster of about fifteen people wearing red accents.
Knowledge (nobility) DC 12:
The Briecan nobles with red in their clothing are the Cantabers. They are a very old house but have adapted well to the times, most of their influence coming from their merchandising skills.
Knowledge (nobility) DC 17:
Quint Cantaber, head of his house, has been seen as ornery lately. Perhaps it's his advanced age or perhaps his stingy wife, but the man has had a short temper as of late.
Knowledge (nobility) DC 22 or Knowledge (local) DC 19:
The Cantaber family has been hemorrhaging money for over five years now. Although it's hard to say exactly what could have caused this, it lines up rather well with the end of the war.
Yes there is certainly an increase in anger. Both about the actual interruption as well as theories on why it happened and who was behind it. The majority of the conspiracies point towards Thane as the culprit. But all rumors and speculation at this point, it seems very little information is known to the nobles as of yet.
Anybody blissfully ignoring it?..Yes there would be some people who think it's nothing serious and don't wish to be distracted with speculations. But you don't seem to pick up on anybody deliberately ignoring what may be an important issue.
Oh yes, Thane seems to be the main scapegoat, most definitely. A group of red clad nobles who I detailed earlier but can't recall their names are the most loud about it.
The nobles of Almor seem to lean towards emphasizing with their Briecan allies, but are more reserved and cautious.
The group is escorted out of the High Cardinal's cabin, then left free to roam around the ship for the rest of the day.
The atmosphere in the main section of the ship has changed. There seems to be a more serious tone to the discussions going on and voices are lowered, and there are more angry faces as well. There's also more Kelish being thrown around as the Briecan nobles migrate to tighter circles.
Benjamin I know you're interested in doing more politicking, is there anything in particular you're looking for? You can be vague, just give me some sense of direction so I don't have to detail out hundreds of NPCs :)
Draegar makes his way back down to the bowels of the ship, but once he reaches the staircase leading down he is stopped by a Knight of Theveste. "The technologists are busy with repairs, there are no tours at the moment." He says flatly. From his voice and general build, this doesn't seem to be one of the Knights that Draegar has interacted with, and he doesn't seem to recognize Draegar.
Esdras starts moving back down the hall, unsure if he wants to join Benjamin in the main hall or go to his cabin, but before he can decide his sister pops her head out and sees him. "Esdras!" She quickly strides over, breathing heavily. "You had me so worried, I'm told you nearly died! Oh can't you stay out of trouble for just one day? Father is so mad..." She shakes her head as if he's an impudent child she has no control over.
That's well within reason for the boon he promised you, and I can tell you now that once at dinner he will be happy to grant that request, although likely he will suggest access to the larger library in Theveste.
In that case I'll have some of his family find him, but also feel free to write some scenes on souls in his sword :)
Tomorrow I will move us forward. Drask will talk to the engineers and Benjamin will stop in briefly, but mostly go about politicking. Esdras what would your character do for the rest of the voyage, assuming he doesn't get dragged into anything? Although no doubt your family will have some opinions on what he got himself involved in.
Ok, so the big event on the ship is done! There is still plenty of talking and role-playing and politicking that can potentially happen for the rest of the trip, as well as running into Topaz and Cass, but as for the former I want you guys to let me know what you would he interested in. Mingling with the other nobles? Talking to the technologists? Swapping battle stories with the Knights? This can be heavily detailed with multiple scenes, or you may be interested in fast forwarding to the docking at Theveste. Let me know!
Draegar begins hauling in the noble out on the box. It's hard work because the water is constantly pulling against him, and if he lets up for a moment he loses all is progress as the rope will snap taut again.
Strength checks, 50 feet, each check moves the box 10 feet.
Result 0-4 (or nat 1): Completely lose the rope
Result 5-9: Lose 10 feet of progress
Result 10-14: Make no progress
Result 15-24: Make 10 feet of progress
Result 20+ (or nat 20): Make 20 feet of progress
Dreager Strength: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Draegar takes a few tries to figure out the grip he wants, and ultimately decides to bend the rope around part of the ship to act as a pulley. He gets the man most of the way in, but when he releases the weight with one hand to help him up, the rope slips! Moving quickly he grabs the now-loose rope, quickly coiling it around his arm. The rope snaps taut and burns into his arm, but he holds fast and only slides a few inches before coming to a halt. With teeth clenched he forces the rope back over the makeshift pulley, and with enough effort hauls him the rest of the way in.
This will take about a minute and a half to do.
Esdras asks for the High Cardinal's assistance, who seems to be regaining his calm demeanor as he moves to the window. He looks down, then scans the water for a moment and raises an eyebrow. "A cloud of smoke you say? Hmm." He looks back and sees the man being hauled in slowly by Draegar. "Benjamin! Oh thank the Five that you're alright. You said that was Draegar up top?" He says with a look to Esdras. "Well, it seems I am in debt to both of you. Once Benjamin is safely aboard we should talk." He looks back to his Knights, who are now being reinforced by more of their brothers. "Lock these men away. Search the ship for any more. And if anybody is wearing a hood or a mask that obscures their face, treat them as deadly."