"Evergreen" is PFS slang for an adventure that can always be played for PFS credit. A player can play an "Evergreen" over and over and over again, and as long as each time is with a different character that character will receive PFS credit.
I think there is currently only one evergreen for characters above first level. There are four PFS scenarios for first level currently classified as evergreen, and one scenario length module evergreen. There are also some longer modules and part of an adventure path or two that are classified as evergreen for first level play.
As for the term "Standard" that refers to the "Standard" or "Classic" PFS campaign which allows a huge number of character options from a large number of paizo source books. This is different than the "Core" PFS campaign which is primarily limited to the Core Pathfinder Rule book.
Male Human | Ranger 1 | HP 12/12 AC 16 | Saves S+5, D+5, C+2, I-1, W+1, Ch-1 | Pass Perc 13 | Status: Normal | Hit Dice: 1/1d10 | Insp: Y
Garth swings a short sword in one hand and the club Rakish gave him in the other at a skeleton.
short sword: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12 for 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
club: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19 for damage: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Male Human | Ranger 1 | HP 12/12 AC 16 | Saves S+5, D+5, C+2, I-1, W+1, Ch-1 | Pass Perc 13 | Status: Normal | Hit Dice: 1/1d10 | Insp: Y
Garth Stormwind enters the room. He's a young human male, although at first glance you could be forgiven for mistaking him for old. A few strands of red still appear here and there in his greyish white hair and full beard, still his youth is easy to determine with a little examination.
He's armed with a longbow, a quiver of arrows, and twin shortswords, while he wears scale mail armor.
Hi, welcome to the ranks of PFS GMs. I don't have any pcs in tier that are free at that moment, long story -serously long story, and while I could create a new level one character I prefer to play level one in repeatable sceneros.
I wanted to thank you for GMing and suggest you PM Hmm aka GMHmm she's the PbP Venture Officer for PFS, she's at a con this weekend, as are a number of the other regular posters on these boards, but she can help you get set up so everything goes well.
She just posted a survey in the Flaxseed Lodge disscussion thread and posting there would probably get her attention pretty quickly, as well as a number of other experienced PbP GMs (Not me I've only GM'd home games years ago- see long story above).
Good Luck, hope to game with you in the future.
I don't think anyone's posted anything yet that qualifies him or her as a jerk. I do think that if someone were to sit down at a table and tried to pursue this "shenanigan" in face of the discomfort of the other players, that would make that person a jerk.
So far this just seems to be one of those speculative conversations that people have when someone wonders if an idea would work or not.
So to sum up,
1) Most people seem to think that according to the rules it won't work.
2) Even if it did work it won't be permitted in PFS play because:
a. Most people see it as evil.
b. It would make enough before uncomfortable enough that trying it would be a jerk like move.
There's another PFS rule to consider here, even if I don't remember exactly where it's at: Don't be a Jerk.
Even if you could successfully argue your way around the does it mechanically work?, and is it evil? questions you still have to deal with the fact that most people are going to be at the very least uncomfortable and most likely offended by it.
I can't be alone in saying that an attempt to do this at a game day at a FLGS or a Con would probably ruin my experience for that session if not the whole day. If I had my kids with me, as I almost always do when playing PFS, I would take them and leave if someone brought this up at the table we were playing at in anything but a light hearted, what if manner that was quickly dropped.
In short don't be a jerk. This idea seriously offends the average person.
Sun. Morning GenCon
GM "Hi, I'm a 4 star GM and this is my 8th time Gming this con, but only the 3rd time this scenario - at least 1 one of those groups didn't TPK"
GM "Alright, I need to know if anybody has Evasion, (thing no one at table knows about), (thing on one at the table knows about), (thing no one at the table knows about), basically anything that's always on and might help your PCs survive."
A couple of hours later as the party is getting mauled in "easy encounter"
GM (with dawning horror) "Wait how long have you been playing Pathfinder?"
Player 1 "Two months"
Male Human Fighter (Lore Warden) 3/ Rogue (Rake) 3 HP 50/50 | AC 19T 14 FF 15 | CMD 25 | F+6 R+9 W+4 | Init +6 | Perc +8 | SM +3 I Enlarged AC 17
With those sort of rolls I'm wondering if I have anything left to do...
Al swings his Flail at the monkey man in front of him.
Heavy Flail, Haste: 1d20 + 10 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 10 + 1 = 17 for damage: 1d10 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Heavy Flail, Haste: 1d20 + 10 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 10 + 1 = 20 for damage: 1d10 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
"...the Medjai, the Stanburgs, and one to the Lords of the Wizard's Isle," finishes Cerene as she regains consciouness. "Thank you Kariel, that really hurt quite a bit."
As Kariel finishes healing Cerene, a tall, bony lad runs and tugs on Kariel's shirt sleeve. "Please, my lady," the boy cries. "My ma is hurt. Can you help her?"
Meanwhile a few steps away...
"It was scary. It wasn't long after you left when the zombies crossed the fenceline. It was move to a window and throw, move to a window and throw. At one point a few zombies started to carry off some of the townspeople and we sallied out to rescue them. That's when Cerene and I got hurt." Hirako says to Tassira.
Meanwhile a few steps away from that...
"We should get you into the temple and see if there is any magic that will help you overcome the wight's touch. If not treated properly that drain on your life force could become permanent" Brother Nicholas tells Captain Miles.
Vigar I had to go read up on the type of fast healing you used. It longs like out of combat you will heal 50 hit points over the course of a min. So yes you are all healed up.
"There was a lot fighting, we spent a lot of time rushing from place to place throwing daggers and whatever else we could fine. Cerene is actually quite skilled at throwing. She showed me a few tricks right Cerene?... Cerene?"
Cerene isn't paying attention to Hirako, however, she has a look of intense concentration on her face. Suddenly, Cerene grabs her head in agony, and blood starts running from her nose. On her hand her Avergnon ring flashes angerly in the new dawn sun. "The Twelve were entrusted to the great families of the alliance that formed the Empire, one to the dwarves, two to the elves, one to the orcs, one to the storm giants, the rest to the Avergnon, the Rastar, the Alenkine, the Maridun and the ... She falls to the ground unconscious with blood now streaming down her face from both nostrils.
You forgot this Dream wrote:
Tassira fires a glob of acid that nails the creature in front of Vigar
You gained your Mythic tiear 1, Congrats
Tassira, Kariel, and Vigar:
As Tassira finishes the oath of the Old code you hear that Rowan like voice say "That'll work too
As Tassira launches the glob of acid, a flash of brillant white light fills the air , followed almost immediately by a thunderous roar and a blast of heat and electricty as a huge bolt of lightning discharges within arms length in front her. Five zombies are flashed fried instantly. Little bolts of lightning arc over and around Tassira but primarily between Tassira and the object left sticking in ground in front of her where the bolt struck. For some reason she is unharmed by the electricty.
In the ground in front of her point down is a bastard sword. On the tang a pair of dragons breath fire but closely looking at the flames they are actually words:
Futher down the blade the words Take Me are written.
"Bar. The sword's name is Bar." The whispers fading away. Your use of your Thunderstaff ability is fully recharged. You take no damage from the lightning stirke
Everyone including the zombies and Ju Ju zombies within 100 yards with the exception of the PC's and Hirako are blinded, deafened, and stunned for 3 rounds. Everyone effected also looses any remaining actions for this round.
As you recite your oath, you feel a comforting hand on your shoulder and you hear three voices softly saying alongside of yours, one of the voices is quite close to tone and pitch as Rowan's: "A knight is sworn to valour
His heart knows only virtue
His blade defends the helpless
His might upholds the weak
His word speaks only truth
His wrath undoes the wicked."
As the oath is recited images of other places and deeds fill you head:
A teenager facing a horde of undead outside a small villiage with only a sword.
A tall man like creature with blue skin faces down a bar full of cretures, he wears a knee length leather coat, on which is pinned a silver star, in his hand is a strange weapon of some kind with wisps of smoke rising from the end.
In a dirty ally, in a mighty city, a small child crys in fright as she is menaces by an eldrich dog. But between the dog and the child flots a six inch pixie type creature with a thimble for a helmet and letter opener made of silver for a sword.
Bolts of energy rain down from flying craft in the sky. Where they hit people and things burn to a crisp in an instant but in the middle of the road with his hands stretched outward a young mage produces an energy shield which protects civilians
You can't understand the words but a talking squid like thing speaks to a crab like creature which recoils in pain.
A tall woman wearing not armor but a formal gown holds a katana two handed while standing over the body of her defeated foe.
"Till another needs its use it well"
Once you finish you realize that the spear wielding knight is resting in his grave holding the spear you used against the wight.
Congratulations you have just become a knight of the Old Code, you have also gained Mythic tier one, please consult Mythic Adventures - if you don't have a copy, the PRD or another source is fine - and pick your Mythic path and your 1st tier powers
You’re back at the battle of Haviel again about ten years before the founding of the Empire, but something’s different this time …
“Well what do think Faith?” Haviel is overrun, if that stubborn Elf had just listened to me this didn’t have to happen. You say to your long time friend and companion while thinking unpleasant thoughts about the King of the Silver Throne.
”I think we should have brought an Army, my liege,” says Faith, her shining mithral armor hidden under her elvish cloak. She looks a lot like Captain Maridun. Wait, who is Captain Maridun? Shake off that thought no time for the odd thought now got to focus.
”Stop calling me that, I’m no one’s liege.” no real heat in your voice Faith will be Faith.
”You will be.” You start to retort but Faith waves her hand ”Never mind Rodger, I think we should forget about the walls and focus on the docks. Well you should. I’ll take my Hand and see if we can’t make a quick pass through the city and then meet you there in say two hours?”
”Fine. Two hours and then I’ll come looking for you”
”Yes my liege.”
A small sigh escapes your lips. “Just go.” She and her Hand ride off.
”You should marry that one, Rodger,” a voice weathered by years in the sun says to your right. The tall dark haired Medjay warrior at your side adds “She’ll keep you on your toes and give you many fine sons and daughters.” His huge war dog at his sides yips in agreement.
You stare at your friend with disbelief ”She’d drive me mad within a week, Hakim, and you Rasnesh keep your canine opinion to yourself.” You could swear the dog snorts back at you dismissively.
Hakim on the other hand says ”Fine I’ll marry her.”
And then you are among the undead striking back and forth from the back of your warhorse with BAR the sword passed down generation to generation in your family but only choosing to reveal its full nature when you swore to the old code. You wait for the right moment the creatures of darkness have you and your friends surrounded, lift the blade and swirl it around your head and the holy light of day sweeps forth destroying the unnatural creatures around you.
A short ride to the docks and you start issuing commands to the remaining elven guard.
Then she is there.
“Hello Darling, still protecting the cattle I see.” her voice brings back many memories of hot nights spend in cool sheets before you discovered her nature or your own calling.
“Alonna, there’s no cattle here, just people trying to live their lives.” you see that your holy energy is burning her but she’s healing just as quickly. It’s not the light of day, Alonna’s far too old for that to have any effect on her but the holy warmth of Sarenrae that you are producing as it is amplified by BAR that harms her.
“They’re flies, here one day, gone the next, even you, my sweetie, last no longer than the flash of a bolt of lightning to my eyes. I watched Tuma be banished at my Lord’s side per his desires and was there when the gates of Grey Port fell. No one will remember Haviel in time, Rodger, just as no one remembers lost Arcadia, or Perun, or Arth. Except for me that is. Have you thought about my offer?” To join her in the darkness and live alongside her, that is not for me
“Have you given thought to mine? Sarenrae brings not only light but redemption. She can help you choose to help, and to heal. You don’t have to live in darkness. No one is forced to live in darkness you can choose to be free. Alumananx is not a god nor will he become one.” Her storm magic surges up and down her arms, electricity dancing across her skin.
“He’s given me more power than you could ever believe. I think today at least I choose not to seek the path you lay at my feet. Take your flies and go from here Rodger. My troops and I shall see that Bane’s beasts do not interfere. Till we meet again my love.” And she does love you, there’s no deception, no twisting of some other emotion in her that she could mistake for love, the odd gift you've had since you were a child where no one could tell a lie in your presence that you could not see though kicks in and you know that she does love you and that gives you hope that she will be redeemed for the truly unredeemable have not the capacity to truly love…
…“I’m going to kill you Rodger” you scream. Sparks leap off your hands inadvertently striking the midwife. She however has been here with you three times before and is wearing a protective amulet … and a ring … and has cast a protective spell about herself. Have you really done this three times before? What were you thinking?
“Rodger I’m going to rip your head off and feast on your entrails!” you scream out your fangs extending as another contraction hits. You look at over at your oldest daughter, Tassira at fourteen already a beauty, gifted with storm magic and being pursued by …
“If that Alenkine boy lays a finger on you before you you’re eighteen I’ll rip his manhood off and feed it to him.”
”Argh! Where is that worthless husband of mine!?”
”I’m believe, that Ambassador Hakim and General Gratz have him chopping firewood for some reason” your daughter answers.
”Now push your Majesty, the first one is almost here.”
wait, FIRST ONE?!
The only way to make the highlander movies/tv shows to make any sense in a bigger picture is start with the first movie and go foward. Everytime you come across something you can't explain in terms of what has gone before means you've cross into a new universe where the rules are slightly different and the past may not be what you thought it was.
If you are going to game in the highlander universe, you've got to define which highlander universe you're going to game in.
As for game systems to use, years ago I saw decent write ups for both Gurps 3rd edition and World of Darkness for Highlander. I never got to play either one but both looked like they would have worked well.
As you walk into the lawyer’s office, a tall thin middle aged man behind a desk, gets up and welcomes you. He introduces himself as Mr. Massys’s clerk. Among the various items such as bookcases and file cabinets you expect to find in a lawyer’s office you notice a pile of backpacks against one wall. The clerk knocks quickly on a door he calls the conference room and lets you right in. Inside is Mr. Massys who rises from his chair at the head of the table to great you.
“Please be seated, there isn’t much left to tell you, but there is quite a bit of paperwork to finish. As soon as you are comfortable we can get started.”
”Professor Crispin left you each a significant amount of money in several different banks. Unfortunately that money has been seized by Imperial Edict and placed into a trust fund. The requirement that will see the release of that fund I have not been able to get revealed to me. As executor of the will I will of course continue to pursue this matter but I suspect you will have to take it up will the Imperial authorities in Marthos.”
That said as you already know money wasn’t the only thing that was left to you. In addition to the items you received last night and the various properties that I mentioned, the professor had a number of things he wished to pass on today. Mr. Massys takes two 2 jewelry boxes from the pile of books and papers he has in front of him and passes one to each Tassira and Kariel.* ”The professor said to say that these are the necklaces that he would have given you on your 16th birthdays if he had been able to. You’ll note that they comprise a matched set when added to the necklaces you received last night, as do the sets that Arean and Ikvvy are wearing”
The lawyer pulls out a stack of papers and passes them around. ”Next, aside from the assets that I mentioned last night, all assets that Professor Crispin owned in full were seized by the Imperial Edict that took the money. Still that left a number of properties that he had ½ ownership of and was considered a silent partner in; Each of these business are located in or nearby Marthos. This list details the professor wishes as to who was to get his share of each business; the name of the individual who runs and owns the rest of the business, and a little information on what kind of environ it is located in.”
”Finally, you certainly will have noticed the backpacks in my outer office. There is a pack** for each of you, inside are some supplies and a small bag of traveling money. As this money was left in hard currency it was beyond the scope of the Imperial seizure edict. ”
”We now need to call my clerk in here so he can witness the signing of these various documents and that will conclude our business for today.”
List of Silent Partnerships:
Maculey’s Gambling House, working class, run by Heta Maculey, ½ ownership (silent partnership) to Vigar Savage.
The Longtooth Lounge, “Social Club”, very high class, run by Madame Kel Nokie, 1/2 ownership (silent partnership) to Eldrian.
The Brass Orchard Tavern, water front, family friendly, working class, run by Lesir Delow, 1/2 ownership (silent partnership) to Kariel.
The Singing Frog Sanctuary, Tavern, working class, run by Kother Landsend, ½ ownership (silent partnership) to Krag Bloodsheild.
The Bloodmoon School, fighting academy, run by Re’esh, ½ ownership (silent partnership) to Braden Swanson .
The Cock and Bull Gaming Club, all classes, run by Wasco “Dicey” McFarland, 1/2 ownership (silent partnership) to Marrovak Wolftooth.
The House of Infinite Dreams, “Social Club”, extremely high class, run by Gilada Nev, ½ ownership (silent partnership) to Marcos DeAngelis.
Tassira, Kariel, and Arean. Please add a necklace worth 150gp to your inventory, Ikvvy and I have already discussed this via PM.
Each backpack is a masterwork backpack, inside is a pathfinder’s kit (minus a backpack, see Ultimate Equipment for contents) and a bag containing 40 platinum pieces, 20 gold pieces, 20 silver pieces, 20 copper pieces, and a small ruby worth 50gp.
Tassira has stumbled in part on one of the campaign's secrets. This particular secret is protected by a powerful magic that causes people to forget it if they stumble upon it or part of it. To connect "The Twelve" to weapons and remember it requires a DC 20 Will Roll with the following special bonuses
Scholar feat: +5
If you fail the roll you may roll again when presented with new evidence.
Tassira history check please and will check please
If you fail a Will DC 15 check, special +5 bonus if you are wearing your signet ring:
You forget any thoughts connecting "The Twelve" to swords or weapons of any kind.
DC 15 History Check:
The 536th Penal Battalion (The Forsaken). Penal units are only formed in wartime, and their numbers and designations are never reused, with one exception. In 278 YE during the chaos surrounding the death of Empress Tassira of Rastar and her Imperial Guard at the hands of Alumananx the Vile and his legions of undead, the 536th Penal Battalion was ordered to charge into an open portal directly to the marshaling grounds outside of Shadow Tor and assault the massive citadel city thus bypassing the 500 mile zone of death. The Imperial General who ordered the suicidal attack never expected it to succeed merely to buy some time for Imperial Forces to regroup. The last thing that anyone expected was for convicted murderer corporal Runan Reid to come tumbling though a portal into the Imperial Senate several days later carrying Alumananx the Vile’s right hand, and bearing one of The Twelve.
Emperor Runan the 1st commanded that there would always be a 536th and that completing a term of service (4 years in war time, 20 in peace time) would see anyone’s honor restored and record erased.
Last of the Library Research:
You find several books about the history of the Great War, and they refresh your memory of conflict from it start (The Sword Throne wanted The Dragon Throne to stop the practice of Slavery and competition for the newly discovered mineral fields on in Island chain in the Western Ocean), the major battles fought over its twenty year course, speculation on what exactly was the magical disaster that ended the war, and the war’s aftermath.
One interesting piece of information you’ve never seen before (DC 30+) suggests that the not only was the disaster that ended the war not intentional but the result of the interaction between special war research being carried out by both Empires.
You discover that the Alenkine family exited before the Empire begain as nobles within the city state of Marthos. You also discover that Calinda of Alenkine, Leader of House Alenkine at the start of the Empire, was given one of “The Twelve” to pass to her son, soon after the beginning of the Empire. You find no information on what “The Twelve” are however.
Tassira you find this Journal, old but preserved by the Library’s magic, it seems misfiled.
Inscription inside the front cover
To my daughter Tassira on her 18th birthday,
Entries that catches your Eye
Baron Rastar has raised taxes again, and many people are starving, losing their homes or both, mother says not to be rash but I know she’s been selling her books to buy food for the villagers. Something has to be done. Rodger
I can’t stand it anymore. I’ve heard of some men gathering in the forest, I’m taking my bow and going to join them. Rodger
It was a trap, the Baron’s arms men slaughtered the men at the gathering like hogs. I’ve never been so glad of my skill with a bow or all those books of mother’s on warfare that I read. I managed to save about 10 of the men just using things out of a book. To my surprise everyone is looking to me for what to do next, even men 30 years my senior. Rodger
Well it official, I’m a bandit and an outlaw. There are wanted posters with my name on them now, I’ve even been given a bandit nickname, “The Hawk”. Rodger The Hawk
It’s time to leave the Barony, it turns out that column of troops weren’t mercenaries hired by the Baron, but the King’s personal investigator a paladin by the name of Sir Giles Avergnon, he’s even brought shipments of food in his supply train for the people. Maybe if I hadn’t shot the Baron in the arm, killed his horse, and broken his leg in front of Sir Giles, I could of have turned myself in, opps.
I ended up at the Grand Oracle, and made friends with a strange group. Hakim of the Medjay, and his war dog Rasnesh, Calinda Alenkine, her bodyguard Li Bo, Antony DeAngelis, Faith Maridun an Oracle of Sarenrae and this snotty Elf girl Elwin. The Oracle of the Grand Oracle (that could get confusing) told us all that a wave of death was coming and we must stand together or the land will die. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. Rodger the Hawk of Rastar
Worshipers of Lamashtu had set up set up a temple to their dark goddess in the nearby caves, I’ve sketched in some rough maps of the complex. They had an entire valley filled with various tribes or hostile and evil humanoids. They had organized a system to raid the caravans, and were taking people for slaves, sacrifice, and food. We’ve finished them for now but I think this place is too attractive to stay empty for long. I noticed a location high on a steep hill that would make a good place to put a castle to protect the caravan route. Rodger the Hawk of Rastar
Today I’ve won my spurs, but as the youngest Paladin of the Order of Draco, I’ve been given a small group of arms men and assigned to a small keep by Alfar’s Gap, while the rest of the Order holds the pass against the undead hordes of Shador Tor. This vendetta of its master against Lord Bane will kill everyone on the continent as the two send waves of undead, demons, and devils against each other not caring what is in their way, which is just about everything. At least my old friends have come to my side. Sir Rodger of Rastar, Paladin of the Order of Draco
I am the sole remaining knight of the Order the rest were killed in the pass. When the horde came for the keep, I lifted up my family’s sword in anger for the first time since becoming a paladin. The sword shone forth with a holy light, and a voice rang in my head saying ”This one is worthy to rule” my men and my friends were inspired, and the undead actually broke and ran from us. Sir Rodger
The fools won’t band together although everyone knows standing alone will cost them their lives. The Selentines want payment for everything, the Storm giants are indifferent, the elves won’t trust the dwarves, the dwarves won’t trust the elves, and the Horse Lords won’t trust anyone. Only the Sirians and the Orcs are with me and neither one of them is happy about the other. Sir Rodger of Rastar
Faith arrived today, along with Calinda and Gratz of Kor. The three of them have taken control of the Horse Lords, the Sirians, and all of the Orcs respectively and have had me declared High King of the West by their peoples. I don’t want the job. I said Marshall of the West would be fine. Faith her eyes all white said ”Marshall and High King of the West it is there is no arguing with her when she is like this. Sir Rodger Marshall of the West
I went to argue with Elyas again for his support against Bane and Alumananx the vile, but he had died combating a trio of body snatchers that had invaded that Elvish school he had founded. I don’t know much else as I had to leave before I could investigate his private library and lab he kept there. Rodger High King of the West
Everyone has fallen in and is following my plan for finishing this long war, but we must have the Selentines assistance if it is to work. Their Emperor refuses to answer to any sort of King, High or otherwise, and swore he would only obey another Emperor. Faith has that look in her eye again, and after 30 years I know it means trouble. Rodger the nervous
Its over and no one will let me step down, this is a horrible job and I wish I was 16 again shooting arrows at the Baron, picking locks and stealing food to feed the serfs. If I’m stuck with this job there are going to be some changes. No more slavery, no more serfs, and I’m putting a castle along that caravan route. I’m also going to have 11 more blades like my mine forged to safeguard this land and to determine if someone is worthy of this throne that I’m stuck with. Sir Rodger the First of House Rastar, the Hawk, High King of the West, High Marshall of the West, Emperor of the Sword Throne, Paladin of the Order of Draco (I am not writing that all out again)
After, the assault on the palace and the deaths of so many loved ones, we had much more information to work with. Plans changed, protections were put into place to help keep you all safe as we came to realize what Vors was doing. We took extreme measures to hide your connection to the Alenkines and to me. Measures that were both magical and mundane. Ikkvy and Eldrain’s mother still lives at the time I recorded this although Elrond has almost certainly moved her by now. Ancient magics that we invoked to protect your childhood home faded upon your maturity Ikkvy which is when we were going to enroll you into the service Academy. We intended to pull you out after your graduation.
Arean’s mother’s family took over her protection. The Mindurian Queens may no long rule but their blood still holds power and there are many even after all this time who answered the call to protect one of that lineage. For Tassira, we made you disappear. Your god parents, Maric and Cassandra, legally adopted you and raised you as far from Imperial concerns as we thought safe. Anyone who might have had a suspicion as to your real identity was dealt with so that not even magical interrogation would reveal that information.
There are similar stories to tell about all of you but we would be here all night and I’m sure you are all tired of hearing this old man speak. So let’s try to wrap this up. You are probably asking yourself ‘what does this old man want?’ or ‘nothing is free; what’s the catch here’. Those are good questions. I admit that long ago I had hoped to see my work continue. To see the Storm adverted or lessened. To have the Empire made safe. With my death fast approaching and knowing that Vors will kill and torture me for hours for information on the whereabouts of you 12, the knowledge that you are here together now has been a comfort for I know that I will not break.
I want you to stay safe and grow strong. I want you to not have to live in fear. I want you to know that you are not alone and that those in this room can be depended on and trusted. I want you to know that you have my love now and you always have.
Now as to what I think you should do. If you want to avert the Storm you’ll have to continue my research into some obscure branches of magic. You’ll have access to my research notes but there are four avenues of investigation that hold some promise that I was never able to follow up on, all have to do with cities or civilizations lost to history. I have however found some clues of where to look.
The lost city-states of Tuma and Lagueen should be looked into. Tuma was a bulwark of the forces of light against the darkness, and was famed thousands of years ago for its protective magics. The wizards of Lagueen, which also vanished thousands of years ago, were rumored to have mastered time magic on a scale that let them affect their entire nation.
In the deserts of the far south more than a few civilizations have disappeared under the shifting sands. You need to investigate the city-state of Cynidicea I believe you may find in their records a tale of something like the Storm happening before. If I’m right maybe discovering what happened then may tell us what to do now. If you go into the deserts befriend Medjay, they still watch over and defend many ancient sites.
The last isn’t an actual civilization but an island that floats in the sky. The archmage Elyas died just before the founding of the Empire, He had almost as many bolt holes and hideaways as I did, and like me not all have been found. In a move that was such a silly idea that no one thought anyone would really do it, He found a way to make a rather large Island float in the air. The island since his death travels a rather predictable course through the skies around the world, but no one can land on it without a special magical pass of Elyas design. There could be any number of useful things on that island. I do not however have any idea of where a pass can be obtained. A man by the name of Elwyn does, I don’t trust him and neither should you but there is information on how to find him if you chose to do so.
Now as to inheritance, everyone please put on the Alenkine signet ring. There once was an organization known at the Pathfinder Society and they had a signature item of equipment that can still occasionally be found called a wayfinder. Inspired by them I wondered if anyone had ever done anything similar. I eventually found these rings tucked away in a hidden vault on one of the Alenkine Estates. While I know there is nothing harmful, I haven’t unlocked all their secrets. I also know that they are all not the same. On the chest where I retrieved them was the inscription The Ring Picks The Wearer and the chest only allowed me to remove these 12 before closing and sealing itself shut. I think you each will have to investigate what each ring will do.
I’m also leaving a number of you various properties scattered across the Empire. Mr. Massys has the complete list and will handle the legal paperwork transferring title and ownership to you in the morning. Four however need special mention by me now because I’ve stored some useful information and items in secret rooms there against your need.
First a small keep known as Crispin’s Castle, it’s located near Alfar’s Gap. It has a wizard's laboratory and a nice library on the underground level. Shortly before my death I received noticed that a small band of bandits had broken into it and wearing using it as a base. I highly doubt they managed to break into the secret room because that is keyed to our family’s blood, but they may have triggered some of the more unusual protections I put into place. Hopefully after all this time they are gone, I don’t know. I’m leaving this to Rowan.
Second a small castle called Castellan’s Keep in the wild lands near the Grand Oracle. It sits upon a major caravan route and there is a small but well trained force of cavalry, infantry, and crossbowmen stationed there loyal not to the Empire or House Alenkine but to me and my heirs. There is a small library there of carefully selected collection of books that should prove useful. Being in the wild there are a number of areas nearby that are of concern, chief among them is a collection of caves which no matter how often they are cleaned out seems to refill with rebels, malcontents, and some of the wild tribes which reject the authority of the Empire. Be very watchful. This I’m leaving to Furnok.
The Third is a villa in the elvish village of Silver Leaves. It is near the Ruins of Haviel. The village houses a small school for beginning elvish wizards, called the Siswa, a name which is also used for its staff and students. The village sits inside the borders of southern Elvish kingdom not far from the Imperial Highway. I’ve placed a rather extensive library there and the leader of school holds the keys to the lower level of the Villa, he has my trust, his name is Adrais. I leave this to Ikkvy.
The Forth is a townhouse in the Capital, Marthos. I’m not sure I should leave it to you as going to the capital too soon, might embroil you in politics before you are ready. Vors is not our family’s only enemy and the approaching Storm not the only threat to the Empire. Going here is sure to expose you to many new dangerous. Still it has just as good as library as the one at the villa and an engineering workroom that belonged to my wife. I leave this to Tassira.
The rest of you will be receiving various properties as well, as I said Mr. Massys will handle the paperwork in the morning and there should be a list in the folders that you have in front of you. Everything else is straight forward except perhaps for Arean’s.
I’m leaving Arean ownership to a small shipping company called The Queens of the North; they operate a fleet of five to ten vessels, mostly ocean going but still capable of navigating the deeper waters of our major rivers. The company fell into my hands suddenly shortly before my death and I didn’t have time to investigate as thoroughly as I would like, but they approached me knowing that I was your Great Grandfather and they would only sell the company to you. Technically I was merely a trustee, I am certain this has something to do with your mother’s heritage.
I’ve got to end this now and get this sent off to the lawyer before Vors finds me in an hour or so.
Rowan, it was a joy teaching you and I wish I could have told you who I was, I hope you know how proud of you I was, now you know that it was the pride of a grandfather and not just that of a mentor.
Ikkvy and Aearn, you may not remember me but I broke my own rules and visited you both as children, disguising myself as the old peddler who left you the porcelain dolls and it was I who sent you the necklace when you turned 16.
Marcos, the DeAngelis have a habit of dying in Imperial Service, so just before you entered the Legions I managed to get a special horse, suit of armor, shield, and sword sent to the Steading. Like every stubborn DeAngelis I have ever known you managed to do everything your own way. You put the horse out to stud, sold the armor for seed for your fields, gave the shield to your friend who needed one, and left the sword on the wall thinking it a decorative piece. You are so much like my friend William, that I know the last DeAngelis will continue to do what he thinks is right no matter what.
Krag, my nephews have a habit of getting themselves killed. Try to break that trend. Oh since I wasn’t there to get you drunk your first time, I may have left a few bottles of 400 year old Elvish whiskey around in various places, for you to find. Traditions have to be upheld after all. Don’t tell your mother. I may be dead but I’m quite sure I would her yelling about it the afterlife.
Kareil and Braden, you have family now that will be with you and stand by you. They will also probably argue you with you and try to tell you what to do and get on your nerves. That’s okay, that’s what family do. They will also love you.
Marrovak and Vigar, Gratus and I were there when you were born and he said to be as you came out screaming at the world ‘Those two for the Legions’. You both liked to pee on me and despite that you’ve turned out very well. I’m very proud.
Furnok, you probably don’t remember me either, but I saw you as a boy as well, in the disguise of a rootless vagabond storyteller, I believe I enlisted your aid in stealing cookies from your mother a time or two. You are very much like my son Heinz, but have a much more sensible head on your shoulders.
Eldrain, there is chance that you are Swimmer from my youth, if so you still owe me 10 gold pieces because I know that I won that dice game. Give it to your sister and take care of yourself and her.
Tassira, seeing you today, was like seeing my wife again. Oh how I wish had taken the risk to see you as a child but we’d killed too many people to keep the knowledge of your whereabouts a secret to take the chance. You brought me a great deal of joy today.
Farewell all of you. I do love you, even you Eldrain because as frustrating as you are you’ve taken far better care of your sister than you know. Good Luck and if you can’t stay safe leave the other guy dead in the street.
My career was varied, sometimes with the legions, mostly with one intelligence service or another, even a few stints to the War College and the Imperial University. I continued to struggle with what I saw when I drank from the fountain, to try to give it meaning. The others continued to serve the Empire and advance the plans that Gregor and Gorin had in their own ways.
I often undertook assignments and missions that no ordinary man could ever hope to achieve and gradually grew to look upon the medals, awards, and other accolades I received as not having any real meaning. After all an ordinary man who knows he is ordinary and still displays great courage ought to more lauded the extraordinary man in the same circumstances. I may have grown even more reckless than needed to prove myself deserving of the recognition I was receiving. Marieta certainly thought I had.
My children were my delight and comfort, Alessa, Heinz, and once I knew of them Ivy, Rose, and William DiAngelis the second. Of course according to the wishes of their mothers I had to keep my distance from the last three, but by the time their existence was revealed to me I had plenty of friends in high and low places. I received regular reports about their welfare and was able to offer some unnoticed help from time to time.
Alessa took after her mother in both beauty and brains, but were her mother’s mind was focused on science; Alessa’s was focused on cultures and languages. I eventually resorted to acquiring a very expensive magic ring that let me understand any language I heard so I could tell what my teenage daughter was muttering under her breath. She attended the Imperial University like her mother and met and married a young man of a good wealthy family by the name of Tomas Ancona. I of course had him thoroughly investigated and vetted.
Heinz was very different from his sister, not her opposite completely for they had the same brilliance that their mother had, but where she was outgoing, he was shy, where she loved team sports, he preferred solo activities. I feared he would take to the attic and write depressing poetry. He surprised me though by taking up the study of nature, birds and wild flowers in particular. As an adult he wondered the wild lands with a pair of large wolves, and his art supplies. He often forgot to take food, or a tent, or spare clothing. My wife and I worried every time he set on the door, and neither of us believed he would ever get married, but we were wrong because when he was in his forties someone found him who thought he was just what she needed in her life.
He met his wife Felice, Gratus’s daughter, in The Mire, while she was leading a patrol. She told me that he was up to his waist in quicksand, with his wolf companions sitting on solid ground nearby with canine grins on their faces, and he was calmly using color pencils to illustrate his sketch of a rare bird that was sitting on a branch hanging over the quicksand. Despite her being more than 20 years younger, she had the unit chaplain marry them the next day and she resigned her commission within the month. I asked her once why she gave up her career and she said the care and feeding of an eccentric genius was far more challenging than anything the legion could present her with. The two eventually had a pair of twin boys Vigar, and Marrovak.
Time went on and our plans progressed, not without the occasional mishap and tragedy, but we generally made progress. Gregor became Emperor and Gorin took leadership of his House both when I turned 34. When I was 35 Gregor and I had a very public falling out and I was forced out of Imperial Service and took up teaching at the Imperial University. It was all staged of course, although I taught classes, did research, and wrote papers and books, I also took my place as the Chief Intelligence officer of the Empire. For 20 years I maintained a double there in the capital as both Professor and spy master.
Alessa and her husband had a pair of twins, a boy they name Vors after me, a girl they named Mara after my wife and Tomas’s mother whose name was Marlissa. Both children displayed signs of magic early and I hand them exempted from the draft for the simple reason they were Alenkines. As they grew older it became obvious that Mara’s gifts were much like her mother’s languages, song, and dance, people and history. She earned entrance to the Bardic College at age 13 with a performance of both song and magic as her admission piece. She married young, at age 17, to fellow bard named Swanson, 3 times her age and one of her Professors, I was against it but everything I could discover said the two truly loved each other. He died inside a year, the first in a string of grisly murders which had arcane ritual overtones that would go on for years before we discovered what was going on.
Vors followed the wizard’s path to power. It was clear from a young age that he was fascinated by magic and he could always be found with some text or another in his hands. He was not a kind boy, he did not have friends so much as he had followers. He could be quite cruel and vicious to those that did not obey him. Mara was afraid of him from a young age.
Even now I don’t want to go into the details of what happened. To say it badly and gloss over much, Vors found a way to rip a person’s magic, even the potential for magic a person might have, out of that person; then take it and absorb it into himself. Where he learned to do that I’ve never been quite sure, I had suspicions and theories, and could make quite a good guess but I’m convinced that the certainty of knowing would come at the cost of my soul. I can tell you that he discovered that it worked better if he was related by blood to the victim, the closer the relationship the better, and that if better if the victim was female.
I know now that Mara found him killing their mother and draining her magic, and she fled, running from for years. I think she thought Lord Stansburg could protect her, but something about Stansburg made her flee him as well. I think she gave you to the finders Braden because she knew that Vors wouldn’t challenge the security of the Imperial Mage Academy, much the same plan we had for protecting Ikkvy (of course that didn’t work out in the slightest). I also know that Vors finally found Mara and killed her.
His yet with his crimes undiscovered, Vors undertook a journey to the Grand Oracle. I don’t know what he was told but he began to avidly romantically pursue three different women. Calinda, the Jewell of House Rastar, sorceress and wizard both, she was the darling Marthos’s High Society. Lucy, Eldrian’s mother, who once had been a famous bard, and now struggled with mental illness and Naydia Mindurian in whose family ran the blood of the Queens of Maridum (one of the cities of the Horse Lords) but who now raised and trained wolves and worgs for the goblin riders of the Empire’s Legions in Herzag. He used magic to transport himself from place to place and magic to conceal his identity and intentions where needed.
He succeeded with Naydia first, not for any lack of character on her part, but Lucy was a married women, and Calinda was courted by the best and brightest of the Empire. Naydia had nothing more than the concerns and expectations of a normal young woman to defend her from his advances. Calinda, to bed her he needed to wed her nothing else would do, and how he finally succeeded with Lucy, I simply don’t know. You Arean were born six months before your sisters, Tassira and Ikkvy who were born on the same day just minutes apart from each other. On your first birthday Arean your father came to your mother’s house killed her and stripped her latent magic from her. He then went to do the same to you but when he touched you black flames consumed his hands and he was forced to flee. Your Aunt, your mother’s older sister, took you in and raised you as her own.
Caught up in rage and pain, or maybe working to a time table we don’t understand, Vors teleported with a small band of followers to the grounds of the Palace in Marthos were the family had gathered for your naming day ceremony Tassira, an Alkenkine tradition, that Gregor felt should be upheld. We didn’t yet know of Vors evil deeds he could have simply walked in, but he chose to assault the palace. Dozens died. He found your mother in the hallway outside the nursery along with Oleg, Heinz and Felice. The four of them succeed where 200 Imperial Guardsmen had failed; they killed ever one Vors’ followers. He walked in to nursery after taking your mother’s magic and life with ever intention I’m sure of doing to same to do you but was stopped by something no one expected, the blessed cold iron point of a toddler sized spear driven into the back of his knee by an 18 month old Vigar.
Felice had placed plush spears into both of your cribs, Vigar and Marrovak, as soon as you were born. Oleg seeing that had said something like finally there are true warriors born into the family. He swore that as soon as you learned to walk he would get you first real weapons. True to his word he did, going so far as to have the blades of the spears he had made for the two of you fashioned out of cold iron, and blessed in the temple of Sarenrae.
I think Vors must have been astonished, and then amused by what you did Vigar. Instead of instantly killing you he just slapped you across the room and started laughing uncontrollably. That’s how Maric, Cassandra, Gregor and I found him when we burst into the room. Vors held us off long enough to for him to teleport away.
My kids home again because of below zero temperatures and are ruining my concentration. I think I have finished telling how everyone is related to the professor, if I missed someone let me know. Please post in the discussion thread one to 3 items you think the professor might have thought useful for your character, magic items are allow. The next crystal post shoud be the end of the crystal posts
The crystal flickers "And Marrovak, Vigar's twin from whom he was separated from soon after birth should be coming in right about now"
In walks a puzzled looking half orc who says "The fussy little man said I was late and that I should go right in, I just stopped by for some stew, is it in here?"
"And Now The Twelve have gathered again and once a drop of Marrovak's blood is added to the crystal the Blood will be complete." The crystal flickers off again.
Things changed rapidly after that. Greg and Gorin both had their own plans. Gorin decided to become the leader of his house and he planned to make the under the mountain portion of Khorfe, his home city, a fortress that could withstand the storm. Greg, well, Greg started insisting he be called Gregor in public and he started seriously planning his bid to become Emperor and depose Alric the 4th of House Stanburg, or whatever Stanburg weasel replaced him before Greg was ready. The two plans were not in direct competition with each other but they occasionally competed for resources and Gorin eventually parted ways with the rest of us.
Long before that point however the Legions had broken most of our team up. Over the next year we got really good at our jobs, and we were noticed by powerful people because of it. Gorin and Gregor got an assignment to the Imperial War College, and then were assigned directly to the Imperial General Staff Headquarters. Gratus went back the 204th and spent time as a trainer of new recruits, and new officers. Eldrian’s father, myself and the newlyweds Maric and Cassandra got assigned to various intelligence units. Maric and Cassandra to that team of assassins that 3rd Scouts swear doesn’t exist, Eldrian’s father to the Office of Strategic Management (don’t the let the name fool you once I had the clearance high enough I saw the paperwork showing he had a literal license to kill), and I was ‘loaned’ to the Investigation and Security Division of Imperial Justice.
When I was 19 I was given a mission to infiltrate a gang of bandits with suspected ties to an illegal slavery ring. In case you don’t remember your history Alric the 4th had made slavery legal again, but showing his usual incompetence, left plenty of loopholes that Justice could use to shut down and imprison slavers with some pretty stiff prison terms. I quickly proved my usefulness and inside a month I was one of the gang’s top lieutenants.
We got word of an aasimar child born with wings and the leader decided that he could make a lot of money selling her to a slaver he knew. I saw this as my chance to bust the slavery ring, so I led the team to the girl’s village. Only the girl was gone and most of the famers who lived there were dead or dying. Her father died in my arms but he lived long enough to describe her kidnappers and beg me to look after his daughter. The classical education that Gregor had shoved down my throat finally came in handy and I realized she had been taken by members of a cult of one of the Elder Gods.
It didn’t take long to track them down, but they had already started the foul rite by which they intended to summon their mad god. They had cut off one of the little girl’s arms and one of her wings and she was lying on their foul alter bleeding. The bandits and I were as better at violence as the cultists had been better than the farmers they had cut down earlier, with one exception. He was as fast as I was, and I hadn’t encountered that in a human since I drank from the fountain. I saw at least 2 arrows hit bare skin and just bounce off him. He killed five of us in less than 10 seconds with a wild grin on his face the whole time, but he forgot about everyone else when he saw me.
‘You can’t stop the Storm, Trickster’ he said as I desperately nudged his blade away from my heart into my arm. ‘If even one of the Blood fails to gather you have no hope at all’, he cocked his head toward the girl on the alter ‘and she’s not looking so good’. I drove the dagger I had in my left hand into his chest and pulled it out again only to see no blood and no wound and I knew then although he looked human he wasn’t. It took everything I had to keep him from finishing me off. As it was he cut me up badly and I was losing a lot of blood. The whole time he was taunting me about the dying little girl and casually killing anyone who tried to help me as easily as I would swat a fly. My vision was starting to go grey around the edges when Oleg (one of the bandits - dumb as post, strong as an ox, and loyal like a hound) who carried his demon hunter grandfather’s cold iron great sword chopped the thing in two with one mighty blow from shoulder to crouch.
I dropped my weapons and stumbled over to the toddler and fought to stay conscious. I could see that she was dying, she was bleeding from the amputations still and I knew I couldn’t do anything for her, for that matter I was pretty sure I was dying. I picked her up with my hands still covered with my own blood to hold her so she wouldn’t have to die alone, and as my blood and hers mingled I felt a rush of warmth and I passed out.
I woke up a month later in an abandoned farmstead with Oleg wiping my brow with a cold cloth. It seems that a golden light had enveloped the girl and me when I passed out and the child’s wounds had healed over enough that it looked like she had been born without her amputated appendages. My condition hadn’t been as good. My wounds had stopped bleeding but they wouldn’t close and they oozed a black, foul smelling, bile like substance. The bandit chief took the girl and ordered the others to leave me where I lay, but Oleg refused and he stayed behind when the others left. He took me away from the battle to safety. I quickly developed a high fever and Oleg tended me day and night until my fever finally broke and my wounds finally started to heal.
By the time I recovered my health your trail Kariel had gone cold. Oh I tracked down and destroyed a number of slavers, bandits, and other villains but you had always had already been sold or moved somewhere else. I spent 2 years on your trail before I was to give up the search for you. Gregor had need of me in the capital.
My experience with the blood adoption ritual I had gone through with Gorin has me convinced that when our blood mingled something like it happened between the two of us. I spent a lot of time investigating this bond we shared and I don’t believe it made us brother and sister. I think it made father and daughter. I’m very sorry that I failed to protect you so long ago, and that I failed to ever recover you all these years. I never gave up on you and I never stopped searching for you at least not until I realized that the angel sitting in this room was you. Maybe its better I never found you I know of no magic that could have restored your arm and wing. I pass on that medal on your necklace to you in recognition of what you endured all those years and in recognition how you have the courage to face each day without hatred and with forgiveness. I don’t know if any means anything but you birth father begged me to take care of you and protect you. While I was alive I didn’t do a very good job, please accept the things that I have left you and use them now to keep yourself safe.
Now, if any of you are wondering about Oleg, somehow I never turned him in, timing never seemed right. He stayed at my side for more than 40 years, friend, companion, sounding board. Gregor actually issued him a pardon when he came to the throne. He died the night Vors killed Vigor’s Parents, and Tassira’s mother. Singing at the top of his lungs and somehow wielding that sword of his grandfather’s one handed after losing his left hand earlier in that battle.
It turned out that Gregor needed me make in the capital because he wanted to forge an alliance with a powerful, extremely wealthy merchant family. He was an Alenkine, and so was I sort of, but there are hundreds of members of house Alenkine and our father Roland had almost completely run through our share of the family wealth by the time of his death. If Gregor was going to further his plan and attain the Sword Throne, he needed a war chest of impressive size.
The Vorloi family had that sort of wealth, but not the status of being even minor nobility. Gregor had brokered a deal with them to sponsor the head of the family for a barony in exchange for their generous support of his goals but they wanted a marriage to seal the arrangement. Gregor had arrange for me to marry the soon to be baron’s oldest daughter Xemme. She was very pretty and highly trained in all the social graces and duties expected of a high society lady. Her head also contained about as much substantive content as a soap bubble. The latest fashion, the latest gossip, going to the right parties and being seen by the right people were the only concerns and thoughts that filled her head for morning to night. We had nothing in common.
I seemingly had nothing in common also with her younger sister Marieta. Marieta was 20 years old, making her a year younger than me, and had just earned a double doctorate in engineering and mathematics form the Imperial University's main campus. She had a brilliant mind and an engaging personality and she saw right through my every falsehood. We went and got married the day we met and then had to go to explain to Gregor and her father what we had done. Well Gregor and her father found a cousin with the Alenkine name to marry Xemme. The twit was just as into all that social drivel as Xemme was and the two were surprisingly happy together for more than 50 years.
Marieta and I had more than 30 years together before she died in what every investigation I ever ran showed to be a simple accident. She bore me two children Alessa and Heinz.
A little late and not quite to the point I wanted to get to, but we may have a new player to add in and I wanted to leave a little room in the story for him.
Someone’s hand reaches out and the image comes to life again.
“So this tale has to have a beginning, so let us start with me. My father was a weak willed man who gave into every vice that came his way, including that of sleeping with the house maids whether they were willing or not. His wife had my mother thrown into an asylum when she found out she was pregnant with my father’s bastard. My mother died giving me birth. I’m told if the guards had bothered to get a healer she would have lived. I eventually ended up in the slums of Marthos. At the age of 16 I was a making a poor living as a pickpocket and petty thief when my father finally died. It really shouldn’t have made any difference to me as I didn’t know who he was, but my older half brother found out I existed. He sought me out and civilized me to an extent. He saved me in ways I didn’t know I needed saving. He enrolled for a term of service in the 3rd Scout Detachment and using an archaic law that only applies to members of great houses had me enrolled as well, as his squire.”
”A week before we left for The Guardian my brother gave me a bag of gold and a list of items to buy to take with us into the military. I don’t think he realized then just how much a single gold coin can buy in the slums, or how much wealth that same coin is to the ordinary man. If he did he certainly would have never told me to ‘keep the change’. I got everything he wanted and spent the next two days and nights with my best friend Ami ‘the Quick’. Ami and I had done everything together including trying to see if someone needed to be double jointed to duplicate all the positions in the illustrated holy text of Arshea. Turns out you don’t but everyone participating has to be very limber. Anyhow after we’d practiced illustrations 45, 81, 99, and 115, all over again I gave Ami what was left in the bag and told her she should use it to get out of Marthos or at least out of the slums. I went back to my brother and in a few days he and I were off to the Scouts.”
”16 years later Ami, who had married a man named Fletcher, contacted me for the first time since I gave her that money. She told me that our twin daughters, Ivy and Rose, were starting to show signs of magic. She wondered if I could: a) make sure the finders didn’t take them; and b) stay out of their lives. I had developed something of a reputation for recklessness. I had already become only the third person in history to earn 2 of those little trinkets that adore the necklace I gave to Kariel. Add to that the fact that my brother’s oldest son and wife had just been assassinated, and I could see her point for wanting me to stay away and to help her keep the secret of our children’s parentage. I called in a favor and got the girls listed with the Intelligence Bureau as deep cover assets. Which added them to the do not recruit list for a reasons listed simply as For The Good of the Empire. The fact that both became bards eventually lent some unexpected credence to the excuse. Rose was Rowan’s grandmother, Ivy was Furnok’s.”
”After about a year into our tour of duty we got briefly assigned to special team to investigate the Greyport Ruins. You could be generous and say that we were a handpicked squad, the best the Empire had. I think somebody just wanted to get rid of the misfits. There was Centurion Gratus, William DeAngelis, myself, my brother Greg, Gorin Al’Trin, and a number of others all who died there. We left the ruins with having only glimpsed its secrets only to be told good job when we returned. It turns out no one else had every come back from there at all.”
“Well I was mad at that, real mad, no one had given us any warning of that nature before we left. So I stormed off after the debriefing. We were based out of one the Northern Elves’ pegasi bases and there was this snotty elven teenager always hanging around who thought he knew a thing a two about dice games. I decided somebody had to pay for my rage and that if I really educated that kid about dice that would do. I found him and turns out he was mad at his father for some reason and had liberated some 400 year old elvish whiskey his old man, who was away with the Pegsai scouts, had stored away. Things get extremely vague after that, but I do remember Gorin showing up later, and the dice game becoming a drinking game.”
”The next morning, the elf is long gone, and Gorin and I are waking up in a Temple of Hembad. The local priest starts our morning by telling us that now that we were awake we could finish the marriage ceremony we had started. Gorin, sputtered out that he was already married with 2 sons, and I vomited into the priest’s trash can. The priest didn’t even bat an eyelash; he said he had used a spell that showed marriage bonds when he started so he had used a version of the ceremony that permitted multiple partners. I vomited again, and Gorin made it clear that he wasn’t interested in having another spouse as the one he had spent all his money. The priest said that maybe with a donation large enough to the temple the ceremony could be reworked into a blood adoption ceremony and the two of us would become brothers.”
”That is why you Krag are here. I’m your uncle; I probably owe you a lot of birthday presents, sorry about that. As for the elf I never saw that kid again, and I never did get his real name, I just called him Swimmer because he did that every morning, and because it made him mad.”
”So what was left of our special unit was sent to the Guardian. I think the plan was for us to be the core of a new type of unit. Something designed to explore ancient ruins. A unit designed to investigate the mysterious events that occur now and again. If so nothing ever came of it beyond a few new faces joining our little team. Neyissa Devin, Maric Vantyev, Cassandra Wylde, Jenae Greenfields, and Eldrian’s Father were added to us.”
”I was just a few weeks shy of my 18th birthday when Greg had the bright idea to explore the uncharted levels below the Guardian. You have to understand the location the Guardian is simultaneously a great and terrible place to build a citadel. Strategically, tactically even it’s a perfect place for a fortress. It’s also so tempting a target that no enemy can ever pass it up. It’s been captured, burned down, and rebuilt at least 10 times over the course of the Empire. It has layers and layers of underground levels that are insanely dangerous to venture into. So naturally that’s where we went.”
”Things went okay at first but several levels down something large, furry, with sharp claws and pointy teeth ripped into our scouts – Jenae, Cassandra, and Neyissa. It left Jenae dead, Cassandra unconscious and drug Neyissa off into darkness before we could kill it. Well we tried to pursue it but it lost us after we followed it down deeper into the darkness than I think anyone had been since the first Guardian was built. We ended up in this huge natural cavern lit by a glowing fungus. Sitting right in the middle of it was a Thassilonian monastery devoted to Curchanus. It looked defensible and at time we needed defense. So we went in.”
”Now Curchanus has been dead for a long time, but the instance we crossed the threshold we knew we were on holy ground. We explored a bit here and there, but we were really looking for a place to tend Cassandra and maybe find some freshwater. Suddenly William opened a door and there was this courtyard before us containing a large fountain with clean, pure water flowing in it. Maybe we shouldn’t have done what we did next, but we did. We drank from the fountain, and we bathed Cassandra’s wounds in it.”
”The water changed us all. For me among other things it gave me a vision of this very room and all of you sitting around this table, of course that was mixed in with bits and pieces of many other things scattered up and down what was I would later come to realize was my own timeline. I wasn’t the only one to be given visions of things to come; both Greg and Gorin had visions of the storm. William I figured out later had at least a vision of his death. We were all stronger, faster, tougher, and more capable then we were before and it never faded. I also know that it retarded the aging of at least Cassandra, Maric, and Gratus.”
”For me the furthest into the future I saw was this meeting here and now, which surprised me a great deal after I figured out when my death would occur. So I spent years trying to figure out who you all were and what made you so special the last important event of my life should be you gathered together.”
”Now let me make a brief side point here. Magic runs in our family like water down a mountainside during the spring melt. Before the end of the Great War, perhaps one person in 100 might have some minor magical talent. Today that number seems to be 1 in 10,000. For the Alenkines the ratio has always been much greater. Even today the ratio seems to be at least 1 in 20. Among my descendants the ratio is even higher than that running about 3 in 5 as far as I was able to discern. I believe the reason for that is that is that most of my children were born after I drank from that fountain.”
”To get back to what happened next. We made our way back to the surface with William leading the way. Every turn, every pause, every choice, he unerringly picked the right way until we came into the cavern with a trio of 2 headed horrors blocking the way. He turned to us and said ‘Don’t worry it has to be this way, there is a passageway fifty yards farther on that will eventually take you to the surface, and Vors don’t take it personally my sister isn’t all that fond of men.’”
”A month later, just after my 18th birthday I brought back William’s sword and shield to the DeAngelis’ Steading only to find out that his father had died and his sister Grace had been named Castellan and Caretaker until William was to return from his service in the Legions. She took the news of his death well I thought and that night took me to her bed, and every night after that for 2 weeks. She then had me escorted from the castle and told me never to return, saying that I had done what was needed. I heard later that she did claim the family title in her own right. I’m not sure what memories you have of your great grandmother Marcos, but she was a strong powerful leader every bit of deserving and entitled to be The DeAngelis of the DeAngelis as any of your other ancestors.”
The image pauses again.
Once the crystal is placed into the slot waiting for it, a soft low pitch droning sound comes from the device for a few seconds until the table seems to fade away, although you can still feel the wood of it beneath your hands, in its place the image of an elderly human male appears. For those of you who knew him it is easy to recognize Professor Crispin, for the rest of you he is a tall thin man, with green eyes that catch your eyes and seem to stare into your soul, a neat trim grey beard completes the picture. He is sitting in a rather comfortable looking armchair and when you compare notes afterward, each of you experience the Professor facing you directly.
“So you’ve all made it here. Good. I won’t say that I didn’t have doubts but they really were very small doubts. I’m sure you are all wondering what you are doing here and some of you are wondering who I am. That’s good too, things are going to plan. I’ll admit it might not have been a good plan but we’d tried several others and things” he hesitates and licks his lips “things didn’t go well.”
”I’ve had a very long time to plan this meeting, and I still don’t know where the right place to begin is. If I who am widely considered a gifted speaker appear to fumble this please forgive an old man, and perhaps a foolish old man at that, this minor thing. The gods know that there are much more difficult things for you to forgive as you will discover as you listen to the things I have to say. He shakes his head. ” Still you are alive and I regret doing nothing that enabled that fact, maybe the circumstances that made some of those actions I took needed, but I don’t regret acting to ensure your survival.” A rather savage looking expression complete with a dangerous grin comes over his face. ”My brother may have found me and cleaned me up but I’m still a gutter rat at heart, hurt me and mine, even have the potential to hurt me and mine, and I’ll see you dead and bleeding in the street for the dogs to feast on.”
“And there we have a beginning. How can you all be mine? Well therein lies the story of my life but if you were not related to me by blood you would not be here today.” He raises both hand and starts tugging at his hair. ”Don’t think I wasn’t confounded myself when I realized that an elf, a dwarf, and an aasimar would be sitting here among you. I figured out Krag and Kareil’s reason for being here fairly quickly,” he stops tugging at his hair and starts stroking his chin with his right hand. ”But, you Eldrian, I spent years trying with you and never managed to get it narrowed down beyond three things. The first two are each unlikely, and third is simply admitting the answer is something I never thought of.”
He shakes his head and seems to look over your shoulder at something in the distance. The self deprecating tone that had worked its way into voice with the last few sentences is gone as he continues.
“There’s a storm coming. It will be a storm unlike any you have ever seen. It’s going to take more than one form. There will be a very real storm and it will be the most powerful the world has ever seen, but there will also be a political storm from those who would use it for their own advantage.” He shakes his head back and forth.
“The physical storm it’s a backlash from the magic that was used to end the Great War with the Tien Empire 200 years ago.” His voice takes on the quality that both a good story teller and a teacher possess. It raises and falls in tone, varies in volume, draws in the listener, and grabs his or her interest. “ Used, I should have said unleashed. This storm will not only affect the physical world but the very nature of magic itself. Think of the damage a hurricane does, a tsunami, a tornado, a major earth quake, a volcano,” with his words you can see the water fill the air, feel the earth shake, taste the smoke from the fire, “now imaged all that devastation occurring at one time, everywhere.”
”And that’s won’t be the worst of it, no the very worst of it will be the storm‘s effect on and use of magic itself. There will be a great wave or raw magic that will ride along the edge of the storm front.” he holds his hands parallel to each off to his side a few inches apart and moves them across the front of his body to his other side as he speaks. His first hand he holds straight and steady, the second hand he makes twitch and jump about. ”And everything that wave of magic touches will have the potential to be changed, or will be changed right at that moment. Some changes will be minor maybe a dog will suddenly sprout a second tail. Some changes, let’s call them warps, will be strange, the dog suddenly meows instead of barks. Some changes, let’s call them twists, will be deadly, the dog now has venomous fangs and a taste for the flesh of children.”
He sits back in his chair again and looks grim.”If the coming storm weren’t enough, there are those who know it is coming and are not seeking to avert it. They are not seeking to withstand it. No they welcome it; they seek to use it for their own ends, to increase their own power. They see the storm as a way to achieve goals that no mortal should strive for.” A look of disgust and perhaps regret comes over his face. ” Chief among them is a man named Vors Ancona. He is a man who has undertaken the darkest of deeds and sworn the darkest of pacts for his quest for personal power. I don’t think he can be truly thought of as human anymore. He’s my grandson, the father of Tassira, Ikkvy, and Arean, and Braden’s uncle.”
A hand reaches out, later no one would be able to tell whose, and touches the image, causing it to pause in place.
Again, I thought I would pause for reactions, there's a lot of information coming your way and I can't see anyway but to just give it to you, if you would rather have much longer chucks with no breaks let me know, if you want smaller pieces let me know that too.
So I have a map…
The Empire is in trouble and only one man fully knows and appreciates the disaster that is coming. His hands however are tied and he can do nothing, well almost nothing. A nudge from the shadows here, and a gentle shove there, and long range plans are put into motion that will hopefully change the things that are fated to come.
It’s hard to believe but more than 20 years ago I came across a map of a fantasy computer game that I instantly fell in love with. I knew that it would make a great setting for a role playing campaign, or even a system. I was confident that sooner or later somebody would take that map flesh it out. I expected to have to pay 20, 30, 40 or even 50 dollars for the sourcebook/game system that would answer all my questions about that fascinating map. To the best of my knowledge, with the exception of information published in the sequel video games, nobody ever did. Well I’m tired of waiting, and I want to play in that world even if I have to borrow a lot of stuff from other games to do it.
The map is the setting for the computer game Warlords made by Steven Fawkner and published by SSG. There’s a pretty decent wikepedia entry about it, although it doesn’t have a copy of the map of Illuria. Sooner or later I will make a copy of the map available but it’s pretty easy to find an image using Google.
Now this is just an interest check, but I am hoping for enough positive interest that I’ve gone ahead and put both character build rules and some details for the campaign and the world that I’ve already worked out into this post.
It is my intention to run either one or two parties of 4 to 8 through a series or classic modules and adventures (or parts of classic modules and adventures) while weaving in fresh material about the threat to the Empire. What are some of adventures I have in mind? Keep on the Borderlands, Palace of the Silver Princess, Cleric’s Challenge, Fighter’s Challenge and Fighter’s Challenge 2, The Assassin’s Knot, Against the Giants, The Desert of Desolation series, just to name a few. I hoping to achieve a very sandbox feel without sacrificing the cohesion of linked adventures heading toward an ultimate goal. Now if I do run two parties, the actions of each party will affect the other. Only one group will answer the call to aid the Silver Princess for example. If one group accomplishes or fails at something, the other group may hear about it, and or experience recompressions
This will be my first time as GM of a PbP, so I’ve got a lot to learn. I also have only been playing Pathfinder for about six months, and I didn’t play 3.0 or 3.5 at all. On the other hand I started playing and game mastering back in 1981 or 1982. I’ve put a lot of time into role playing games and gaming over the years most of it as a game master, hopefully in 30 plus years I’ve learned something about running a game that’s exciting and entertaining.
Some Campaign Stuff:
For simplicity’s sake I’m going to use the deities and ethnicities of Golarion. If someone wants to use a different deity or ethnicity, well the world’s a big place provide me with a source or a write up and I’ll consider it. The Golarion items will at least make things a lot easier for folks using hero maker. I’m sure people will have questions both during character creation and after. I’ll do my best to answer them.
Selection Process, and Game Start:
Let me be honest, I’ve been on the end of not making the cut to play a game because 20 people apply to a six person game quite a few times myself. I can’t run an infinite number of games either. Submissions will be accepted until at least midnight Dec. 29th, might run longer. I’m willing to accept up to sixteen players to be split between 2 parties. I’m going to what to know what your character looks like, his or her personality and most importantly background, background, background. At some point I’ll open up the discussion thread and people can interact with each other, people can also trade ideas back and forth in this recruitment thread. I encourage shared backgrounds, even something as simple as people growing up in the same town. I would like to start gameplay the second Monday in Jan.
Some Campaign Background:
The Empire of Alesion is almost a thousand years old. At one point it stretched around the globe but that came to an end when it fought a devastating war with the far off Empire of Tien which exists over the Western Ocean. That war ended with a magical cataclysm so powerful that it hurt the nature of magic itself. Any spell caster with power beyond that of an apprentice died in the back blast. Every year since the disaster, the number of people born with the ability to learn spells of any kind, divine or arcane shrinks. The Empire desperate for arcane spell casters to maintain the infrastructure of the Empire started drafting anyone of ability into imperial service. It kept lowering the age of those it drafted as the number of spell casters dwindled. Now special “wizard finder” finders roam the Empire testing children as young as toddlers (“if they can stand they can serve”) for the potential to do magic. If found the youngsters are taken from their families and put into Imperial Service, to be trained as an engineer, or battle mage, or so it said. Gone are the days when a village of 200 might have a village priest who could cast minor healing magic, or a hedge wizard who could brew potions. Today a city 100 times that size would count itself blessed if it had a pair of spell casters of such meager talents.
If you happen to find a copy of the map, I’m so fond of; I’m changing its scale for my campaign purpose. The map now represents an area three times what it originally did. That map only represents about a third of the supercontinent the Empire is located on.
Now as the Empire closes in on its one thousand birth day. Unrest is in the air those that know where to look see disturbing things in the future.
Many areas despite being inside the borders of the Empire and technically owing allegiance to the Emperor are not under the direct control of the Imperial Government. These regions range in nature from wild uninhabited wilderness regions all the way up in size to an entire empire in one special case. On the supercontinent on which the bulk of the remaining Empire exists notable such regions include the elven Kingdom of the Silver Throne, the drawven Confederation of Kings, the Clans of the Horse Lords, The Selentine Empire, the City of The Storm King, and the vast wastes of the Scarcain desert.
Although it is common in the Empire to talk about “The 12” (the 12 Great Families, the 12 Great Gods, the 12 founding kingdoms of the Empire, etc.) as in most things the number is never actually 12.
Currently there are 10 families which everyone can agree on are “Great” and definitely belong to the Great 12. (Only the two most powerful are currently detailed, 3 more are reserved for the game master to flesh out, the other five are up for grabs for interesting submissions by potential players, also there is no limit on the number of minor noble families (and remember in an Empire this big a minor noble family might have territory the size of France or Spain under its control))
First, House Alenkine, Gregor the ninth ruler of the Empire of Alesian is the most powerful member of this House. Nearing 100 years old this human male has sat on the throne for nearly fifty years and has outlived his children, his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren. The Alenkine’s are deeply entrenched in the Imperial Bureaucracy. The family has many ways of generating wealth but shipping and trade ventures have been their traditional source of power. Gregor’s health is widely rumored to be in a state of decline and with no direct heir, the throne may slip out of the Alenkines control and into another family’s hands.
Second, House Rastar, House of the Hawk, the nickname of the First Emperor, is currently led by Marcus of Rastar. The First Emperor established not only the Empire but House Rastar. Since that time Rastar has provided more emperors than any other family, and has interests in anything that give them power – trade, industry, faming, mining, the civil service, and the military and according to some crime. The family’s main lands and powerbase lay in the far Eastern Provinces on the other half of the continent. Strangely the Duchy of Rastar is not under control of the Rastar family, and in fact never has been.
Special: Every player is welcome to submit two characters for consideration, and for campaign reasons as you’ll read below I strongly urge two submissions. Also aliases will not be required until acceptance.
Alignment: Any Good
Ability Scores: 25pt buy. No starting scores higher than 18 before racial mods.
Classes: No Gunslingers, No Summoners, No Alchemists, No Third Party… but I might make an exception for a Psionic using character trouble is I really don’t know much about the Psionic rules for Pathfinder since they’re not published by Paizo. So while a psionic using character might be accepted I advise submitting a second non psionic character as well.
Note 1: Wizards, Sorcerers, Witches, Clerics, Oracles, and Druids are all very rare I do not intend to select more than 1 full divine and 1 full arcane caster per party. An awesome back story might persuade me otherwise, but I suggest if you really want to play and you submit a full caster you also submit a second non full caster character.
Note 2: All spell casting classes play close attention to the notes under traits below
Note 3: Monks must be Tein (either from their homeland or descended from the Army that was left on the continent 200 years ago) or, from the desert nomad tribes of the far south. Ninjas and Samurai must be Tein (either from their homeland or from the Army that was left on the continent 200 years ago). These requirements can be fulfilled by taking the Adopted trait. This means a non-human, not from overseas, must take the Adopted trait to play a monk, ninja, or samurai. It also means that a human can fulfill the ethnicity requirement by taking Adopted as well.
Race: Any Paizo, no third party, but final party composition will have a max of two noncore races, like before with full spell casters an awesome backstory might convince me otherwise.
Note One: Orcs are generally considered loyal subjects of the Empire (think Klingons in ST: TNG) and will not count toward the non core max if someone wants to submit one.
Note Two: Because I am limiting the number of non core race members if you submit one and you really want to play I recommend submitting a second core race character.
Equipment: 300 gp at first level but no magic items. Traits can be taken for more gold.
HP: Max at first, second, and third level, average +1 after that
Traits: Three traits, one of which must be a campaign trait. A drawback can be taken to gain a forth trait.
Note one: Spell casters must take a trait that explains why they can cast spells. Even if they are a race that normally gets racial spells, or is considered to have an innate connection to magic.
Divine Casters must take Touched by Divinity, a campaign trait.
Arcane Casters except Sorcerers can take Touched by Divinity or a Bloodline trait, or a Magic trait that enhances spell casting abilities some way. Sorcerers should take the Bloodline trait that matches their bloodline. If one doesn’t exist they are free to pick from the other options. Below are the 4 Bloodline traits I am aware of and a few acceptable magic enhancing traits that I know of, this list is not exhaustive.
Wizards and Sorcerers being sought after for Imperial Service in particular must take a second trait to explain why they are not in Imperial Service or ‘disappeared’, below are a few examples. Optionally a very good back story explanation may be accepted.
Skills: Every class gets two extra skill points per level. Also a first level character can have up to three additional skill points beyond that if their back story makes it logical, 1pt each for a profession, a craft, and a hobby. A hobby skill should not be a class skill unless you spend a trait to make it so. These bonus skill points come from back story. A character who grew up by the sea can write “Every morning he would go swimming for exercise” and that’s fine. A character who has grew up in the desert can’t, if that character wants swimming as hobby I’m going to expect a much more detailed explanation.
Campaign Traits: The following are Campaign Traits
Noble Born – All from King Maker (All the Noble Traits from Kingmaker)
Touched by Divinity from Wraith of the Righteous
Exposed to Awfulness from Wraith of the Righteous
Family Ties from Rise of the Runelords
Scholar of the Ancients from Rise of the Runelords
Student of Faith from Rise of the Runelords
Conspiracy Hunter from Council of Thieves
All the Campaign Traits from Curse of the Crimson Throne
Note One: There are many nobles’ families in the Empire, too many to create a separate trait for each of them. Picking a particular trait will not tie your character to a particular family. Establishing noble ties should be done in your backstory.
Note Two: The Criminal that the Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign traits reference is named Aura Khar, a mysterious women, who the few that have met her face to face describe as “average looking but with a force of personality, that leaves you fascinated”, “cold hearted”, and “utterly ruthless”.
Feats: All characters receive Toughness as a free bonus feat at first level
Background Package: A Background Package is sort of an enhanced version of a campaign trait. It is meant as a reward for a well written or well thought out background story. I have currently only two Background Packages written up 1 martial with 3 variations, and 1 non martial. Take one or write your own and submit it for approval with your character. If approved future players may pick it. Note a back story that is well written enough can earn both the background bonus skill points and a background package!
Package One: Elite Imperial Veteran. You are a veteran of one of the elite units of the Imperial Armed Forces, no matter the reason you have left the experience has left you changed forever. Pick a unit and apply the benefits to your character.
Option 1: The 204th Imperial Legion (The Broken Spears). The only segregated non Honor unit left in service. It remains that way as a remembrance and point of pride. In the 175th year of the Empire this all half-orc and orc unit was garrisoned at the border of the great swamp known simply as The Mire near the cities of Deep Hallow, Needleton, and Pareth in the far north of the Empire, when an army of trolls and demons came pouring out of the swamp without prior warning threating all three cities. The 204th held their positions until almost completely wiped out, keeping the three solely human cities safe. When the relief forced arrived only two members of the legion still remain alive, a cook, and a wounded new recruit who was fighting with a broken spear.
Benefits: 1) Add the Endurance feat and 1 Team Work feat of your choice to your character for free.
2) Become specialized in Profession Solider; gain a skill point to put in it. Become specialized in your choice of Knowledge engineering, Knowledge planes, ride, or Profession Cook, gain a skill point to put into your into the skill you just chose.
Note: If not an Orc or a Half-Orc must have an extremely convincing back story to pick this option!
Option 2: The 57th Frontier Legion (The Emperor’s Hounds) While the Imperial Army attempts to equip each army legion uniformly, each Frontier Legion is a unique force equipped and trained for a specific task. The 57th is a unit of mounted Archers. While the unit has had many famous engagements in its long history, including the relief of the 204th Imperial Legion in 175 EY, they are perhaps most justly famous for the pursuit of Mad Emperor Cato the Sixth who in 586 EY struck a deal with Dark Powers to suck the entire planet into one of the lower hells.
Benefits: 1) Add the Mounted Combat and Mounted Archery Feats for free.
2) Become specialized in Profession Solider and Ride; gain skill point to put into each skill.
Option 3: The 3rdth Scout Detachment (Eyes and Ears). The scouts of the unit known as the Eyes and Ears specialize into getting into where they are not wanted and getting back again. They take great offensive at being called the Emperor’s personal assassins, and correct anyone who says that the underwear that has been hanging on their clubhouse wall under a powerful preservation spell since 678 EY belong to the seemingly immortal necromancer Lord Bane by pointing out the undergarments actually belonged to Bane’s mistress.
Benefit 1) Gain the Feat Stealthy and 1 feat of your choice from Skill Focus: Stealth, Skill Focus: Escape Artist, or Weapon Focus (your choice).
Benefit 2) Become specialized in Profession Solider and Stealth; gain a skill point to put into each.
Package Two: Honors Scholar. You have graduated with top honors from one of the branches of the Imperial University or one of the lesser universities across the Empire.
Benefit 1) Gain the Feats Scholar and Cosmopolitan
Benefit 2) Gain specialization in two of the skills, you selected with your Scholar and Cosmopolitan feats, and then gain a skill point in each of those skills.
I don't have a standard way that I name each character. That said I often try to use historical names if I think one would be appropriate. Unfortunately just because a name is historical and hundreds (if not thousands) of years old doesn’t mean the name sounds exotic (or "fantastic").
I am no longer allowed to try the things I read on this list.