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[IC] [Awakening 2E] To the Strongest

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  • [IC] [Awakening 2E] To the Strongest

    Hibis, Upper Egypt, 14th year of Alexander, Aquarius rising

    There are two parts to Egypt. The Black Land, Kemet, is the thin long ribbon of fertile soil along the banks of the Nile. The Red Land is the desert, the domain of Set, nothing but endless rocky sand and storms and scavengers, inimical to life. The Red Land defies order, a maddening expanse of shifting dunes with nothing to support human life but the desperate hope of an oasis and/or divine intervention. Even Alexander could no more rule the desert than he could rule Ocean.

    You're going into the Red Land.

    Even with all your charms and spellcraft, it took more than 10 days to get here with a trade caravan departing from Waset, which the Hellenes now call Thebes. You've gone west from the Nile, the direction the dead go. There are five main oases in the western desert, and you've come to the one furthest south, the Kharga Oasis. This distant eye of the Black Land in the middle of the Red is called Hibis.



    Let me paint you a picture: Hibis is a walled and garrisoned mud-brick town, about one square kilometer, in the center of a green ring of fields irrigated by the shallow blue canals of the carefully-managed oasis. Overlooking the town from the north is the Temple, which you understand is dedicated primarily to the Theban Triad (Ammun, Mut, and Khonsu) but honors many gods a traveler might need to pay respects to, emphasis on pay. East of town is a Camp of tents set up by passing traders and nomadic desert tribes, raucous and dirty and much cheaper than staying in town. Hibis is an outpost on the "40 Day Road," a desert trade route that moves gold, spices, rare animals, slave labor, etc between the Kushite city of Meroe (legendarily skilled metalworkers and international traders, proudly unconquered by Persia or Alexander) to the south and the city of Asyut in Upper Egypt. Lots of transients and traders and scammers and men driven mad by the desert sun.

    The five of you, plus the half-Wise Kemsit and the wolf-spirit Urbi, are gathered in a large tent, sharing a final meal with the caravan that took you here before you enter town. The sun will be setting soon. It sounds like you can buy private lodging at a house in town for the next few days (Availability **), but don't stay too long. Your patron, Ratri, has asked you to go here as the first leg of a much more treacherous journey into the Red Land to investigate a Mystery, a rare astrological convergence that can best be observed from a long-forgotten ruin which she saw in a dream.

    You can go over the details later. For now, you have a few minutes to sit and get your bearings.


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  • #2
    Strife: Stone Scribe of Anpu
    Mage Sight: Peripheral | Conditions: none | Spells: none
    Health: OOOOOOOO | Willpower: 6/6 | Mana: 6/12 (3)

    Enjoying the company of their host at this last meal, he raise his glass "I salute you and wish wellness upon you and yours, may the rest of your journey find peace" with that he takes a drink. "Will you be leaving in the morning or remaining for a few days."

    He continues to pick at the dates and meats. He is looking forward to the walk in the cool of the evening just him and Kesmit under the stars. The town can wait for there is nothing more exhilarating than a cool evening and the company of a beautiful woman. having spent more than just a passing moment in this thought he forces his mind to return to the company within the tent.



    Last edited by Hardwire99; 02-16-2017, 05:00 AM.

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    • #3
      Unbound: Greek Binder of Daevas
      Mage Sight: Peripheral | Conditions: none | Spells: none
      Health: OOOOOOO | Willpower: 8/8 | Mana: 6/12


      He had a bad feeling about this trip. It was quite some time since their Patron last sent them all together, and this time she was sketchy on the details, even by her standards. Still sitting on the ground, he reaches out for a date. "So... this is where we part ways. Perhaps we will meet again on the road, but for now our path takes us elsewhere. Now if you excuse me, I will once more go over our supplies, see if there's anything we need to pick up in town tomorrow. Gentlemen" - he nods to his Awakened companions - meet me under the palm tree before we go rest, would you?" He means the tree they had passed a few minutes before setting up camp.

      He goes outside of the tent and to the carts, creating a mental shopping list if there is anything missing. He will visit the nearby Camp tomorrow morning, see if the locals can tell him anything about the area or the ruins in the dream. He goes over every detail she gave them about it.
      Last edited by Woland; 02-16-2017, 05:38 AM.

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      • #4
        The caravan master and his party aren't staying in Hibis long. They'll restock tomorrow, deliver wheat to the temple, take on any more cargo or passengers, and head south not long after. No one understands the value of time like a merchant.

        Kesmit is obviously bored to tears of your current company, and very much looking forward to some privacy and fresh air with her husband. She's worldly, but a week of desert travel with a bunch of traders is about her limit. At least there should be some excitement soon.

        As Alketas is leaving the tent, a meaty hand claps him on the shoulder. "Halt, soldier! You're not leaving without one last round of senet, are you? I almost won last time!"

        There's another traveler from Thebes in the caravan, a thick and affable Corinthian veteran by the name of Talaus, bit of a rowdy drinker, who fancies himself an adventurer and latched onto Unbound and Prism as fellow soldiers. He picked up a garishly painted senet board and pieces for an ungodly price off one of the traders, and he's been eager to get some use out of it.

        Unbound can do his "games of strategy" oblation if he's willing to spend an hour matching wits with a Falstaff type. Roll Gnosis+Composure and regain that many Mana.


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        • #5
          Unbound: Greek Binder of Daevas
          Mage Sight: Peripheral | Conditions: none | Spells: none
          Health: OOOOOOO | Willpower: 8/8 | Mana: 6/12

          "Oh, of course. The ropes and saddles will wait, won't they?" He says, turning to Talaus and dressing in one of his friendly smiles "Let's find a quiet spot and play. See you later, comrades." - he says to his companions.

          As they go and prepare the board and pieces, Unbound studies the other soldier's figure, looking for signs of ill intent, like restless gaze or sweaty hands. He didn't trust this man - after all, a slightly goofy, affable outside is a classic cover for a much more mischievous inside.

          Focusing his mind on the game and feeling the refreshing effect it had on him, Unbound looks around, studying the faces of the people he is about to travel with, especially Strife's wife. He was confident about the rest, but as far as he knew she didn't have the advantage of magic nor the skills to survive in the wilderness. Still, if her husband thought she would make it, then he won't rush his judgment. As the game continues, he tries to make a casual conversation with his partner: what's his story? Where is he headed? What does he hope to find?*


          [OOC]
          (Oblation roll. 10 again)

          *Unless he actually knows these things already.

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          • #6
            Strife: Stone Scribe of Anpu
            Mage Sight: Peripheral | Conditions: none | Spells: none
            Health: OOOOOOOO | Willpower: 6/6 | Mana: 6/12 (3)



            As the conversation hit a lull he thought it would be a good time to take down the Momentary names of those that were parting ways, it would only take a moment and then he could be off with his wife. Quietly leaning into into Kesmit "Just a few moments and then we can escape this crowded tent" grabbing his ink and papyrus he starts to draw the symbol of each person present, including his own.

            When he finishes he stands and takes Kesmits hand "Thank you for the evening and I shall bid you all goodnight. We shall secure lodging then go for our walk, if anyone should need us." with that he leads his wife from the tent and towards Hibis in search of lodging.

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            • #7
              Khvarenah: Wandering Chaldean Astrologer
              Mage Sight: Peripheral | Conditions: none | Spells: none
              Health: OOOOOOO | Willpower: 8/8 | Mana: 8/15

              Strictly speaking, this journey had been far longer than necessary. From the high places his eyes stretched many parasang and in such fashion he and his could pass where they would. Yet he did not begrudge the delay, for it had given him many nights in which to measure the slight differences in the place of the stars and perform the calculations of their influences.

              "I echo the sentiments of my traveling companion. Your have been more than hospitable to us and I shall not forget it. I do wonder if I might not impose on you one final time. I had meant to leave an offering in the temple of Meroe in the hopes that such yazata as smile so favorably upon them might likewise be gracious to me. Would it be too great an imposition for you to carry a small offering for me and leave it with the priests when you arrive?"

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              • #8
                Antikatoprismos: Obrimos Gnostikon of the Arcadian Mysteries
                Mage Sight: Peripheral | Conditions: none | Spells: none
                Health: OOOOOOO | Willpower: 5/5 | Mana: 6/12

                Antikatoprismos kepts mostly to himself, periodically sketching the sights they've seen - but it was all of the same which he had already seen. Instead, he addresses the Strife. "Indeed. I will go with you, if you do not mind - I have a wish to stretch my legs after traveling on those blasted animals for so long."

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                • #9
                  Strife: Stone Scribe of Anpu
                  Mage Sight: Peripheral | Conditions: none | Spells: none
                  Health: OOOOOOOO | Willpower: 6/6 | Mana: 6/12 (3)



                  "You are welcome to walk into Hibis with us to secure your lodging, and there should be plenty for you to do while we are on our walk. Anyone else care to stretch their legs." Gathering up his papyrus and ink and securing it in a satchel he will give a nod to their host "Once again I thank you for your hospitailty."

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                  • #10
                    Unbound

                    Talaus isn't deep enough for any hidden malevolence below the surface. You have an eye for these things, and his Cruelty doesn't go any further than a soldier's relative comfort with killing and a tendency to view non-Hellenic cultures as fun games to play rather than people. He laughs and curses and spits easily, and doesn't seem too bothered by wasting money. He knows nothing of sorcery.

                    You've gotten bits of his story during the long journey, but he's happy to go over it again. He's in his late 30s, a farmer's son from Corinth, joined Alexander's army after originally being drafted by his city to fight against him, went on campaign as far as the Hydaspes. He's got an elaborate and sound effect-filled story about fighting a war elephant, solo, with nothing but a broken arrow and a jar of wine. He promised he would return home and build a shrine to Hestia if she let him live. Went all the way back to Hellas with Alexander two years ago, took an arrow in a siege, deliriously offered to serve Hermes as a wandering adventurer instead if he would let him live. Hermes came through in the clinch, so now his patron god is the Messenger. Talaus has a very practical relationship with the divine. He's been wandering in Egypt for a while as a bodyguard and gambler, and after "a little bit of trouble" in Thebes, he's headed south of the border to Kush for a while. They make swords there that can cut elephants in two! That'll be something to hang on the mantle of his mansion one day, won't it? For now, he's thinking he'll stay in Hibis for a few days before he hitches a ride with another caravan. He's got a poorly-defined "bad feeling" about this group, and his gut hasn't led him astray yet.

                    As for Strife's wife: she's no Amazon, but she must be able to take care of herself if she's made it this far. Herodotus was shocked by the independence and tenacity of Egyptian women compared to Hellenes, so maybe Strife knows something you don't. Still, he might want to consider leaving her in Hibis during the expedition. As you understand it, she can carry his magic without being physically present.

                    Talaus has enough skill to provide a reasonable challenge. Senet is a game of strategy that represents the journey of the soul through the afterlife against many dangers, although Talaus is convinced that it's basically a war game. While he chatters, your meditation on the challenge refreshes your spirit.

                    (Regain 3 Mana.)

                    Khvarenah

                    The caravan master, a tall thin man with a colorful cloak called Paneb, is not particularly devout. But you've been so gracious that he's willing to accept your parting gift. He promises to bring whatever you like to the priests in Meroe. They expect to get there in about 20 days.

                    Strife and Antikatoprismos

                    You study the present state and direction of the other travelers in the caravan, and record the runic hieroglyphs of their Names. You might want to use wax tablets for Momentary Names, like folk magicians do for charms- you can more easily melt the wax and reuse the tablet when the Momentary Name's usefulness ends. The traders have been wary around you, since it's obvious that you're a priest and know the secret of the written word. You perceive a whole world of texts and inscriptions that is utterly mysterious to most of them.

                    (Technically it costs 1 Mana to record a Name, but I won't worry about it right now.)

                    The three of you leave the tent and head through the fields toward Hibis. Women and men are still planting among the sprouts, since the growing season hasn't ended quite yet. The temple looms on the hill north of town, with its series of gates and sphinx-lined avenue facing the east.

                    You pass through the guarded gate of the walled town. The sentries are watching the camp of traders and nomads, but not very closely. Threat level: green-yellow. Most Egyptians, at least in Lower Egypt, are tight with Hellenic culture and view Alexander as a liberator from the Persians. He's much less popular in Thebes, and some believe it might grow into a center of dissent. It remains to be seen whether Hibis feels safe under Hellenic rule, or whether they just don't really care who's in charge along the Nile as long as the food keeps coming.

                    Kesmit is a bit better at talking to the locals than you two, so she asks around, and pretty soon she's found an amateur innkeeper named Nefer who rents out the second story of her and her husband's house to travelers. It looks like you'll be able to secure the place and sanctify a room as a ritual space, as long as you're not screaming incantations or summoning demons or anything. For three silver drachmas a night, you can have the space and a square meal for as long as you like.

                    Renting a place for your Safe Place and Sanctum merits is Availability **. I assume you're gonna do this, and I'll move along.


                    ---

                    Everyone

                    By nightfall, you've all gathered in a bedroom upstairs at Nefer's. Kesmit is setting up the ritual accessories (she's real good at this stuff), Urbi is lounging. You have time to plan.

                    Ratri sent you all a message in dreams last month. Apparently she (or one of her informants) had a "god-dream", an oracular vision. There will be a rare astrological convergence during the rising of Aquarius (IE, this month) which can best be observed from a site in the deep southern desert of Upper Egypt. She called this place the Hand of U'mat, but as far as she knows, it hasn't appeared on any map since before the first Pharaohs. The most she could give you was a vision of the place, rising like a mirage out of the wasteland: three thin palm trees, a broken black stele, and something like a great stone hand trying to reach out of its grave. The stars and planets are aligned overhead in a very specific pattern around the Milky Way, or Hathor's Milk, or Tiamat's Tail, or whatever you prefer.

                    She knows that something significant will happen during the convergence, some cosmic Mystery, but she couldn't say exactly what. She described a fallen star crashing to earth, the Hand of U'mat opening to accept a gift, possibly a gateway to the hall of some lost god. But she's adamant that the convergence lasts for just one night, and only happens once in a dozen lifetimes. Ratri has asked you to recover whatever you find, and if at all possible, bring it to her in person when she next visits Lower Egypt in a few weeks. At the very least, she asks you to witness the convergence and bring word of what you saw.

                    So, to recap: you don't know where you're going, when you need to be there, or what you'll find. This is the price of patronage. But you're sorcerers, and one astronomer, so you've got options.

                    What you are not is survivalists or desert nomads. Actually finding the Hand of U'mat will involve many days of searching for a needle in a constantly-shifting wasteland, based on nothing more than a dream vision and a general direction. Even if you tied your Fate to reaching the Hand eventually, you still have to actually navigate the Red Land to get there. How are you planning to do that?

                    Alright, there's your hook. It's currently Night 1 of Aquarius, and sometime between now and Night 28 is the convergence. Finding the Hand will be a once/day extended action, but with you guys' Skills, you'll need a lot of mundane or magical help, and that's going to take precious time. I'll just present some mundane options for simplicity's sake.

                    I suggest you start by rolling Intelligence+Survival or Ride to come up with a list of likely dangers and the equipment you'll need to overcome them. Anyone with at least 1 dot in those Skills can roll.

                    Tomorrow, Day 2, you can go out to seek more information and/or acquire stuff. Manipulation+Streetwise to talk to the traders and nomads in the Camp for advice would be good. Imhotep could use Contacts (Bureaucracy) to talk to the working scribes at the Temple. Khvarenah could roll Intelligence+Science (Astronomy) to narrow down exactly what night the convergence should happen: penalty if done on Nefer's roof, bonus if he gains access to the Temple. And you have the benefits of Sanctum back at Nefer's place.


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                    • #11
                      Strife: Stone Scribe of Anpu
                      Mage Sight: Peripheral | Conditions: none | Spells: none
                      Health: OOOOOOOO | Willpower: 6/6 | Mana: 6/12 (3)



                      "If it was a place of power then it still may be and we should look for the lay lines that lead to such places. I could view these lines and call upon the hands of Fate to guide us through the web. This will set us upon the right course." He starts to take mental note of what it will require to follow the strands of fate to lead them to their destination. "Once in the area we could consult those long dead for their guidance to the Hand."

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                      • #12
                        Unbound: Greek Binder of Daevas
                        Mage Sight: Peripheral | Conditions: none | Spells: none
                        Health: OOOOOOO | Willpower: 8/8 | Mana: 9/12
                        "All due respect to the powers of the Moirai, how can we be sure these ley lines won't lead us straight in the paths of brigands, wild animals, even sandstorms?" Not waiting for the answer, he continues "And if nothing else, none of us will survive in the desert for long by ourselves, Fate or no Fate. If there are no objections, I will head to town tomorrow morning, see what the latest word around is and try to learn of the dangers ahead. If nothing else, I am sure there is no shortage of guides who can be... persuaded to cooperate. As Strife says, under the sands lie countless ghosts - and spirits - who just need a little coaxing to get us where we need."

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                        • #13
                          Antikatoprismos: Obrimos Gnostikon of the Arcadian Mysteries
                          Mage Sight: Peripheral | Conditions: none | Spells: none
                          Health: OOOOOOO | Willpower: 5/5 | Mana: 6/12

                          OOC: I would've liked to ask Talaus what he knows about the swords of Kush - new metallurgical techniques are fascinating.

                          "I have no objections. We have enough coinage between ourselves to hire the very best - both in the forms of guides and supplies. " He purses his lips and thinks about it. "Another option is that we are not operating under a veil of secrecy. Perhaps we can simply ask some of the locals whether they know of this stone hand?


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                          • #14
                            Khvarenah: Wandering Chaldean Astrologer
                            Mage Sight: Peripheral | Conditions: none | Spells: none
                            Health: OOOOOOO | Willpower: 8/8 | Mana: 8/15




                            "Before we go from this place and begin our diverse activities, prudence moves me to advise that I secure the favor of my holy namesake for each of us. If you wish to partake of such blessing, I will seek it when we are done conversing. In the vein of practical concerns, I mean to gain access to the temple to make use of their star charts. It is my hope this will allow me to determine when this convergence is to occur and perhaps to assist us in determining its location. Should I fail in that I can likely still estimate the time of the event from here."



                            The Persian turned toward the window, toward the light as was proper of a devotee of Mazdayasna and chanted the true words, recalling as he did the sky beyond the sky he had glimpsed. With a final invocation, he held his star-measuring staff aloft and waved it over the company.

                            "May we be one with all the righteous. May we be one with all the virtuous. May brightness increase and continuance be the reward of the offerer. May they who are deserving of it be here mentioned. On those of them who set their hope on us have I here thought. Let their good deeds, honest offerings, and Mazda be here remembered."

                            Quick and Dirty Casting
                            Exceptional Luck: 4 free reach, 1 for 8-again, 2 for affect spellcasting, 1 for instant cast
                            5 Succeses - Exceptional
                            Note: made a mistake. Actually 5 successes.


                            Casting Exceptional Luck rote to give us all the Charmed, Informed, Inspired, and Steadfast conditions
                            Instant, Sensory, Advanced Duration, Advanced Scale, Standard Potency
                            Reach: 4 free, 0 over
                            Factors: Potency (primary) -6, Duration -2, Scale -0
                            Yantras: Order Skill +6, High Speech +2, Shadowname +2, Order Tool +1
                            Nemesis: 0 from Reach, 0 from other sources, -0 from Mana/Tool.
                            Spellcasting: Gnosis 5 + Arche 4 + Yantras 11 - Penalties 8 = 12. Casting roll.
                            6 Successes - Exceptional
                            Last edited by Exthalion; 02-18-2017, 01:45 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Khvarenah invokes a blessing on the group, altering their Fate in a more beneficial direction. Everyone feels the breath of magic in their vicinity in their own way. Once you get an idea of the challenges facing you for desert travel, you can make some headway tomorrow.

                              Everyone has Charmed, Informed, Inspired, and Steadfast. These Conditions last for the next day. The first time your character resolves a magically-granted Condition in a scene, they take an Arcane Beat. You can also receive a regular Beat for resolving a mundane Condition once per scene. Remember we're using Group Beats, so just note when you would gain a Beat and I'll keep a running tally.

                              Khvarenah regains 2 Pneuma for his 2 exceptional spellcasting successes. I'll think of better/more specific rewards in the future.

                              Last edited by Caladriu; 02-19-2017, 01:32 PM.


                              2E Legacy Updates
                              Brotherhood of the Demon Wind
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                              Storm Keepers

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