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From Out of a Dream [Quest]

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  • Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post

    There is more things to trade than physical items. Skills at Medicine or other trades could be useful. You can only create things with the Stone of Making that you can imagine.
    Mmmm... skill in medicine and shamanism/spirit-talking/summoning would both be useful.


    I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
    Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors

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    • Originally posted by L'het'esh View Post
      “[I am called Youngest Joy.]” There is no point in using another name, because the Sunblessed will eventually use the name you chose when returning to the plain.

      “[I would know more of you. Take us to your clan leaders.] A new tribe in the steppes is worth investigating further." See, I said there were others not at the battle.
      I second this. And I agree that some trade for skills we can't teach them would be a good thing, as well as making alliances.

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      • “[Cease your begging, Eternal Peace. Show some pride!]” you bark at the shaman. Eternal Peace shrinks back at first, but quickly recovers himself and begins standing up straight. However, he still looks intimidated. “[You may call me Youngest Joy, the Stone-Bearer,]” you say, continuing on, “[and I would know more of your people. Take me to your clan leaders.]”

        Eternal Peace opens his mouth as if to speak, but one of his compatriots – a weathered, gaunt man with dark eyes - grabs him by the shoulder. The shaman looks over his shoulder for a moment, and the weathered man tilts his head to one side. Eternal Peace looks back to you and swallows. “[I beg that you give me a moment, mighty Stone-Bearer, while I speak with my fellows.]”

        You wave your hand in a vague gesture of assent or apathy. Eternal Peace purses his lips, and then the Wanderers huddle together into a tight circle, faces turned away from you. Their whispers become more audible once you close your eyes and block out the ambient noise of the plains.

        “[…peaceful intentions? Do you see the number of weapons they carry?]” says the weathered man with a mix of exasperation and fear.

        “[If they were not peaceful, they could already have destroyed us,]” says Eternal Peace, with a mix of defensiveness and fear. “[I do not believe this is a request we can refuse.]”

        “[How do you know?]” butts in a third man. This one is shorter than the others, and oddly swarthy. He keeps thumbing the hilt of a knife at his waist. “[He looks just like a man to me. A man with a fine horse…]”

        “[His spirit is stronger than any man’s, especially yours, Grim Hammer. His aura is bright, and his children’s are… strange…]”

        “[So, then, we are to bring these most dangerous… people… directly to our homes and families!?]” the weathered man gets a little louder as his tone grow incredulous.

        “[We must, or devise some excuse. I… will not lie to a god.]”

        “[Our choice may not matter],” says a fourth man. The fourth looks like he may be younger than the others – less weathered, and with less hair on his face. “[They have already tracked us this far. Finding the village from here would be easy even if we did not guide them.]”

        “[So it is agreed, then, that we have no choice?]” says the fifth man, impatiently. Unlike the others, he keeps his hair under some kind of hat-bag. He keeps looking over his shoulder back and you, and the bag bounces a little every time he turns.

        “[All of our choices promise ill – this one promises the least,]” says the sixth man. He looks like he might be the oldest of the group – all grey and weary, he looks about as mournful as he sounds.

        The huddle falls silent as the six of them continue their discussion with looks and nods. Soon, Eternal Peace turns around to face you, followed shortly by the others. “[You will be welcomed as an honored guest, Stone-Bearer,]” he pronounces. “[Follow us, and we will take you to our encampment.]”

        Two of the Wanderers – Grim Hammer and the older one – ride on ahead to inform the clan of your coming. The rest of you travel at a slower pace as their party escorts yours further northeast. For the most part, the trip is quiet. First tries to engage the weathered man in conversation, but he only gives terse answers to her questions and eventually she gives up. Your other children busy themselves with surveying the terrain, and the Wanderers do not seem eager to talk.

        When you finally come upon the Wanderers’ village, it is like going home to find that the place you remembered fondly has become dilapidated in the years since you last saw it. A large collection of tents is arranged in a rough circle around a communal cooking and crafting area – there are enough tents for, perhaps, a hundred families1. Paddocks at the edges of the circle house far too few horses for that many people, and what animals they have mostly look skinny or sick. Edible plants in the area have been completely picked clean, except for some small plants growing in tiny family gardens. Time and the weather seems to have worn everything here down to dull shades of green, grey, and brown.

        As you enter the camp, people come out of their tents to watch you pass. Many of them appear malnourished and look at you with expressions of envy or fear. All seem awed by your presence. They keep back, or make way if they are in your path, giving your band a clear path into the communal center.

        The old man from before trudges up to you as you pass by cookfires and more gawkers. Eternal Peace, riding in front, stops and prompts everyone else to stop.

        “[The three chiefs offer their respects to the great Youngest Joy],” recites the old man. He is looking in your direction, but not at you. “[They humbly ask that he and his children eat with them in the high tent, so that all may bond over a shared feast.]” Only when he has finished the invitation does the old man meet your gaze.

        You consider the situation. Assuming nothing has changed since you were gone, a formal2 offer of hospitality to a stranger is an honor… but not as much of an honor as a visiting god would be due. On the other hand, from what you can see these Wanderers are going through some lean years – the gift of a feast, if genuine, is no small thing. Also, these ‘three chiefs’ did not come out to greet you in person, which could mean many things – that they do not respect you, or that they fear you, or that they are testing you in some way...

        If you failed to hold anyone’s attention before, you have it now. All eyes are on you. What do you do?
        • Refuse the invitation. This is both an insult and an assertion of power – “I don’t need your gifts.” You could still negotiate with the chiefs if you took this stance, but it would be as a strongman making demands rather than as an equal trading favors.
        • Accept the invitation. Ride the current and see what happens.
        • Offer your own food to feast on. A generous offer, especially if you have food that is of higher quality than they can offer (probably) or they have little food to begin with (very probably). On the other hand, it might be taken as a gesture of submission and, depending on how many people are eating, you might not have enough for the journey home.
        • Something else?
        Also, what should your children do?
        • Stay by your side. Where you go, they go, and vice versa.
        • Explore the camp. You’re not in a position to leave just now, but they can probably get away with it. More eyes on the Wanderers can tell you what you’re up against.
        • Return home. There’s nothing else for them to do here.
        • Something else?
        1
        Pretty small, as far as clans go. You used to think that was a significant, but not huge, number of people to have in one place. That was before the Many Horse clan started assimilating other clans. In fact, you might have personally killed more people than that. There’s food for thought…

        2
        Or what passes for formal among your people. Southerners enjoy a lot more frippery in their formalities.
        Last edited by semicasual; 11-19-2015, 12:25 AM.


        On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

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        • Do we have the stone with us?


          I write things.

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          • Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
            Do we have the stone with us?
            It never leaves your side. Right now it's in your saddlebag.

            (Didn't I mention that in an earlier post? I'll retroactively add it if I didn't)


            On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

            Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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            • Offer food and keep your children by your side. If you need to, use the stone to make food on the way home.


              I write things.

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                • Accept the invitation. Ride the current and see what happens.
                • Stay by your side. Where you go, they go, and vice versa.
                Youngest Joy can always hint later that he had expected all three chiefs to greet him/invite him to the feast.
                Try to find out why they look so mangy when they had the whole plain to themselves; helping them will make friends of the closest neighbors.
                Do not let the Sunblessed wander off, lest they go missing or otherwise get in trouble, the kind that will require killing many and driving the rest away.


                Like my Avatar? Courtesy of Jen! : Anybody want their characters to be experimented on ? post 98
                An Exalt is never unarmed.

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                • Accept the invitation, and have the children remain by my side. Let us see what these people have to offer, and how they treat an honored guest. And let's not make trouble while we're here, either. These are not my people, but I have nothing against them.


                  Share your wonders in The Artifact and Evocation Workshop

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                  • Accept the invitation, and keep my children by my side. I'll see how they treat us, and how fearful they seem. It would be interesting to learn why they're having such a tough time. If they're low on resources, it may be possible later to convince them to trade -- knowledge and skills that I can't teach, in exchange for food or other material goods.


                    I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
                    Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors

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                    • Accept the invitation, but let the children explore. More importantly, have the children give some food to the hungry; let the Wanderers see you favourably, in case the chiefs turn against you.

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                      • Accept the invitation and keep your children by your side.

                        Bring the stone with you. Secretly. Palm it or something. Don't leave it on your horse if that horse is left out of sight.


                        "Chicanery-No: If a player uses this Charm in an abusive or exploitative manner, the ST may punch him right in the goddamn face." --TheDementedOne

                        "Happiness is very brittle and short-lived in the Exalted community, because ressentiment is our cultural touchstone." --Gayo

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                        • Finally caught up! Fun read! Ditto with Zelbinnean's keeping the stone with us!
                          Also, bring your children and be ready in case of ambush.

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                          • Yeah I keep the Stone on me at all times.


                            I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
                            Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors

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                            • (Hey, folks. KB put together another piece for me, and this one's a beaut! I am adding this image to the first part of Chapter 3.)
                              Last edited by semicasual; 11-09-2015, 03:15 PM.


                              On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                              Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

                              Comment


                              • You nod in assent and climb off your horse. Your children follow suit. As you step down, you carefully slide the Stone of Making out of your saddlebag and into a leather pouch you made to carry it. The swap is shielded from view, and when you turn around all anyone can see is that there is a mid-sized bag bouncing off your waist. The rest of the group dismounts; Eternal Peace and the old man lead you onward while the rest of your escort takes care of the horses.

                                You are led to a large, solidly-built tent, festooned with ribbons and banners. You look around for clan insignia and find that there are at least three distinct sets of colors and shapes - red triangles, yellow rectangles, and brown diamonds. Together they make for a strange, mismatched kind of pattern. Eternal Peace walks into the tent without announcing himself or you, and you follow.

                                The inside is warm and well-lit, if a little smoky. Piled carpets make for a soft floor. A pair of small braziers rest on the floor in front of three people, sitting silently as they watch you come in. The first is a solidly built old woman with shrunken features and long grey hair, dressed all in furs. The second is a thin, middle-aged man with cracked hands, wearing a suit of leather armor that looks a little too large for him. The third is another man of advancing years, swathed in black robes – or blankets – and wearing another of those strange hair-bags.

                                Eternal Peace sits down, cross-legged, on same side of the tent with (you presume) the three chiefs. You take a seat on the opposite side, and your children take places around you. The old man has not followed you in, and a quick glance at the door tells you he is not waiting outside.

                                “[You have finally come to us,]” says the armored man, finally breaking the silence. “[I admit I had wondered if you would – or could – ever leave the Plain of Grieving.]”

                                “[Youngest Joy, Stone-Bearer, know that your presence graces our leaders,]” says Eternal Peace, hurriedly. “[Here before you are Blue Jewel, Of Iron, and Vicious Dog].” The old woman, armored man, and robed man each incline their heads slightly as their names are spoken.

                                “[I have many questions,]” you announce, determined to take control of this discussion. “[I know not your clan – I last came to the steppes many years ago, and no one called themselves Wanderers then.]”

                                “[Many years indeed, Youngest Joy, for the Wanderers are at least as old as I am,]” says Blue Jewel, dryly. Her voice has a slight rasp. “[In my parents’ time, a great war with the southerners destroyed the old clans. We are of the survivors who banded together for what little protection there was.]”

                                “[What clan – or clans – were you of before?]”

                                “[We will not speak of the past, Youngest Joy. We have buried our dead. Who they were is of no concern now; only who we are, and who we will be.]”

                                Everyone in the tent stews over those words for a time. A pair of young girls walk in, carrying slices of red meat and root vegetables on several long skewers. The skewers are laid over the braziers, and then the girls walk out without saying a word. Soon, the tent is filled with pleasant cooking smells.

                                “[Why did you not come to greet me as I entered your encampment?]” you ask, trying to keep the anger out of your voice. Part of you wants to ask if they buried their traditions along with their parents.

                                “[Why do you not act as befits your station, Youngest Joy?]” asks Vicious Dog. His tone is soft, his eyes probing. “[Rare is the god who walks among mortals and speaks mortal tongues. Rarer still are gods who wander the land, freely shaping it as they go. Rarest of all are gods who are chiefs, holding a mortal clan in thrall with their divine power. And you are unique in that you have done all of these things, and with a people who are made, not born.]” Vicious Dog looks away from you for a moment to stare down Jewel Flower. Jewel Flower stares back, her violet eyes never blinking.

                                “[If we have not given you due respect, Youngest Joy, then I pray you forgive us],” says Of Iron. His voice is calm, not contrite, and he does not break eye contact with you. “[We know not what respect you are due.]” Vicious Dog and Blue Jewel share a glance - you the impression that all three chiefs are sharing a thought they do not want to share with you.

                                The girls come back, carrying more skewered food. No more meat, but many balls of some kind of dough. As before, they set down their provisions and then go. First reaches out for one of the older skewers, carefully lifting it away from the brazier. She takes a moment to inspect its contents, then sets it back with a frown. Nothing is done roasting yet, of course.

                                You decide not to address the issue of your own divinity for now, and move on to another question. “[So, then, you were alone in this region before I came. Why, then, are you wanting? The old clans fought for scraps when there was too little to go around. There is no one to fight you, but the Wanderers struggle even still.]”

                                “[Sickness took most of our horses two years ago]”, says Of Iron with an air of grim resignation. “[We cannot move with the seasons as we should. Worse, buck-ogre herds1 from the woods further east have taken to wandering the plains, eating whatever they find. Those beasts delight in human flesh, especially women's, and we do not have enough warriors to drive them back. Too many places are unsafe to hunt in or travel through.]”

                                You pause you consider what you have learned. What will you do next?
                                • Ask further questions. There’s a few things you’d like cleared up before you decide anything. (If there’s something in particular bugging you, bring it up along with this choice.)
                                • Make an offer. You don’t have any demands… yet. But there is something you can do for these people to earn their goodwill… (Next post will be a selection of services you might offer.)
                                • Consider your own needs. Creating a clan from nothing and running it by yourself has had its challenges. There might be something the Wanderers can do for you. (Next post will be a selection of demands you might make.)
                                • Nothing. Eat what you’ve been given and leave. Maybe you’ll come back later, or maybe not.
                                • Something else?
                                1
                                Buck-ogres in the steppes used to be an occasion to send out a war party. You were in several of these. Fighting buck-ogres is fun – they’re strong, tough, and fast, but not smart or very agile. Bringing one down takes luck and skill. Bringing down a whole herd takes strategy and numbers.


                                (I am well aware that a logical progression of steps here might be ‘Ask Questions’->’Consider Needs’->’Offer Trade’, and it occurred to me that I might just write all that out. However, I think I’ve exposited enough for one post and I want to assess what your player priorities are. You can pick multiple choices from this selection if there is a reasonable progression between them.)
                                Last edited by semicasual; 11-19-2015, 12:30 AM.


                                On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                                Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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