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From Out of a Dream [Quest]

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  • Hunt the buck ogres. What the Wanderers need, they could take for themselves given the opportunity. I have no desire to make this people dependent on me as well. By ridding them of this danger, I put them in my debt and also can see how they meet the challenge of opportunity. Yes. This is a fair thing to offer. It is not a miracle, but they have done nothing to earn a miracle.

    Mothers. Sadly, the Sunblessed will not grow and prosper until they know how to care for their children, and this is...something I cannot teach them. Shamans and crafts can wait, for now. In order to become a real people, they need to know what it means to be family, and so must learn how to raise children. The nurses will carry strange tales back to the Wanderers, but we are already strange to them. It cannot be helped.


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    • ((I'll clarify that finding out we are not divine wouldn't normally matter at all, but if they decide that Otgonbayar is the jerk who abandoned their ancestors to die and is the cause of all their suffering, relations could get messed up. And just because they're mortal and poor doesn't mean that we want to totally piss them off.))


      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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      • Make this part of the steppes a paradise better in return for craftsmen and mothers.

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        • Originally posted by Ferryman View Post
          Hunt the buck ogres. What the Wanderers need, they could take for themselves given the opportunity. I have no desire to make this people dependent on me as well. By ridding them of this danger, I put them in my debt and also can see how they meet the challenge of opportunity. Yes. This is a fair thing to offer. It is not a miracle, but they have done nothing to earn a miracle.

          Mothers. Sadly, the Sunblessed will not grow and prosper until they know how to care for their children, and this is...something I cannot teach them. Shamans and crafts can wait, for now. In order to become a real people, they need to know what it means to be family, and so must learn how to raise children. The nurses will carry strange tales back to the Wanderers, but we are already strange to them. It cannot be helped.
          This, with crafters, if the Mothers are not crafters.


          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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          • Hunt the Buck-Ogres for Mothers. This seems like a fair trade!


            "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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            • Let's start small. Scouting for Kill the Buck-Ogres. If that works out, then trade for something else.


              I write things.

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              • Hmm, fair point, this other tribe knowing that our tribe basically lacks all knowledge of how to raise babies might be a problem. Do they know where our tribe came from? Maybe we should establish a rapport with them first before asking for mothers...


                "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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                • The "clan" leaders already said they know that the Sunblessed were made, not born.


                  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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                  • “[My children and I will hunt down and drive back the buck-ogres,]” you announce, setting your skewer aside.

                    The chiefs’ reactions are mixed. Blue Jewel gives a start when you speak – she seems surprised by the suddenness of your declaration. Of Iron appears more relieved. Vicious Dog looks wary, but says nothing.

                    “[With the beasts gone, you will be free to wander eastward for whatever resources you need,]” you go on, explaining the obvious. “[And so will your clan survive. In return for this, I will first need knowledge of the land.]”

                    “[What knowledge do you lack?]” asks Blue Jewel, uncertainty on her face and in her voice.

                    “[I would know which peoples dominate different parts of the land, where the animal herds are, where the spirits gather, and where the earth is rich with metal. My son, Fire Heart, will speak with your people and learn from them.]” Fire Heart nods, evidently unsurprised at being volunteered for this task.

                    Vicious Dog frowns. “[Your demand is trivial. Surely one as powerful as you has other needs.]”

                    “[Knowledge is not trivial,]” you answer, more out of contrariness than anything else. “[But you speak truly. My second demand is this – that you shall give to me twenty women who are nursing to serve my clan.]” A hush falls over the tent. All three chiefs look at you with shock plain on their faces, but none of them dare to ask “Why?” and you choose not to explain yourself. “[You may take whatever time you need to decide, but I shall do nothing for you until my demands are met.]”

                    Blue Jewel grimaces. “[This is no small favor you ask. Even to find women who are willing to follow you may be difficult.]”

                    Of Iron steeples his fingers again. “[The cost is great, but the buck-ogres are a growing threat, as is our need.]”

                    “[If nothing else, it means fewer mouths to feed],” says Vicious Dog with a mirthless laugh. Blue Jewel glares at him.

                    Once again, the chiefs begin a silent conversation of nods and glances. Then Of Iron speaks for the group: “[We accept your terms.]”

                    To seal the deal Of Iron takes one of the stacked bowls, pours a measure of thick white liquid into it from the jug, and passes it to you. Then he pours some for each of your children, himself, and then the other two chiefs. He holds the bowl up in front of himself, and you do likewise. “[To good health,]” you say together, and then drink in one gulp. The taste and the burn from the drink is familiar from your youth – arkhi. You fight an urge to reach for the jug and pour yourself another.



                    With the pact made, all that remains is to work out the details. Gathering and recording the collected knowledge of the Wanderers’ scouts will take at least a few days, while Fire Heart and the others make time to talk around their usual labors.

                    Gathering the world-be nurses is harder. You begrudgingly assure Blue Jewel that the women will not be harmed or held captive – they will be fed, housed, and even allowed to leave if they can find another nurse to take their place. Even so, it is difficult to find people who can be convinced to separate from their families for the good of the clan1. There is no telling how long the search will take, and once it is finished you still have the logistical challenge of moving the women to your domain and getting them settled.

                    More immediately, you need to decide where you are sleeping tonight. After the meeting, you and your four children left the chiefs’ tent and gathered outside the paddock where your horses were kept. The daylight is fading, and the air is becoming more sharply cold. At first, you took it for granted that you would depart and return when the Wanderers were ready. Fire Heart had other ideas.

                    “[It will be easier if we stay,]” insists Fire Heart. “[At least long enough for me to finish my maps. There is no reason to fear these Wanderers.]”

                    “[You were the first to suggest attacking them! If we must, we can come back again,]” says First. “[But now I think we should go.]”

                    “[They know us not, we know them not,]” counters Stone Will – the first thing he has said all day. His tone suggests disagreement, but you are not sure with whom or what he actually means.

                    “[For now, they fear us,]” remarks Jewel Flower. “[Their fear gives us strength.]”

                    Fire Heart shakes his head. “[If they trusted us, that too would give us strength. If we remain in their camp, that will show we trust them.]”

                    First harrumphs. “[What are we to do here, while you amuse yourself with the other people and draw your maps? There is still work to be done at home, Fire Heart.]”

                    Jewel Flower rubs her forehead. “[Father? What shall we do?]” she asks, already tired of this discussion.
                    • “[We shall remain here.]” Fire Heart is right – the Wanderers’ goodwill will be important going forward. You can also sound them out more easily and finish your transaction with them quicker.
                    • “[We shall go.]” Familiarity breeds contempt – any time you spend here will just erode more of the mystique that the Wanderers think you have. Besides, it’s not good to leave the rest of your children unattended.
                    • Something else?

                    1
                    The clans are not like the cities to the south – people still have loyalty to each other here. Unfortunately, that loyalty comes with certain attachments, and a chief can only do so much to tamper with those attachments before the loyalty breaks.



                    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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                    • We shall remain here
                      A night ride and have to return? We will leave tomorrow when we have finished the maps. Perhaps we can take the first batch of nurses with.


                      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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                      • We shall remain here.

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                        • Let us remain here.
                          Also I am secretly pleased at the initiative my children are showing here.
                          Perhaps the other three can listen and watch and try to learn more about the Wanderers. I will be keeping my eyes and ears open.

                          As for the nurses, I wonder if I should have waited until I was willing to offer more, so that I could have asked for nursing women who were married to artisans. That way people could come with their families since we also need craft masters.


                          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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                          • Let's remain here.

                            To be honest, I don't think we can keep this "God" thing up for much longer. We need to find out what they remember of the clans and of any sunlit warriors.


                            I write things.

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                            • Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
                              To be honest, I don't think we can keep this "God" thing up for much longer. We need to find out what they remember of the clans and of any sunlit warriors.
                              Yes, this. Try to wheedle memories out of old people who aren't the chiefs.


                              ((Am I the only one wondering about the silent conversation between chiefs being telepathy and those turbans hiding hideous Wyld mutations?))


                              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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                              • You set your jaw. “[We shall remain here.]” First seems pleased, Fire Heart surprised, and Stone Will and Jewel Flower impassive. “[We have more to learn about this clan. The Sunblessed will live without us for a time.]”

                                Your word is final, so no more is said about the matter. Instead, you take control of the high tent to be your living space until it is time for you to leave. If the Wanderers are surprised by your whims, they do not take issue with them this time. On the first night, you order your children to rest and keep watch by yourself until daybreak.

                                When morning comes, you instruct your children to go among the Wanderers and learn whatever they can. They are to take gifts if gifts are offered, but demand nothing and make no promises beyond those you have already given. What, exactly, they are supposed to discover you leave ambiguous - you yourself are unsure what to look for and you want to know what your children will do without your oversight. You all breakfast on the rations you brought with you, and then part ways.

                                Privately, you want to know what the Wanderers have chosen to remember from their past as well as what they choose to forget. To that end, you decide to seek out Eternal Peace1. The first hungry-looking woman you ask for directions is all too eager to point you at the shaman’s tent – whether out of a desire to please you or to make you leave, you are not sure.

                                Eternal Peace’s tent is predictably close to the prayer tent, and you step into the latter first. The Wanderer’s little place of worship is not too dissimilar from others you have seen. Unremarkable on the outside, the inside of the tent is covered with holy icons. Most hang from the poles of the tent frame or rest on the ground in a loose semicircle around a fire pit. The fire is out. You can see the ashen remains of prayer-strips around the edges of the pit and there is a faint smell of incense clinging to the tent fabric. You spend some time in the tent, idly looking around and feeling that something is out of place. Then you take another look up at the icons representing the gods of the heavens, and realize that the icon for Nar2, the Sun, is missing.

                                With some misgivings, you leave the prayer tent and step into Eternal Peace’s. He is inside, carefully painting signs onto a little piece of cloth on the ground in front of him. When you enter he turns to look at you, then stands up and practically throws his work aside in the process. He begins babbling in gods’ tongue, making gestures of supplication.

                                “[I have told you before, you need not speak gods’ tongue to me,]” you interrupt before he can get too far into his spiel. “[Sit down and resume your work. I come only to ask questions.]” Without waiting for permission, you take a seat on the floor and cross your legs.

                                Eternal Peace’s mouth hangs open briefly before he surrenders and sits down as well. He does not resume writing out his strips, however. “[How can I help you, mighty one?]”

                                “[I have been inside your prayer tent. It is… suitable. Yet, I have seen that you have not raised a totem for Nar. Why is this?]”

                                Eternal Peace looks confused. “[The Sun? The sun does not answer prayers. What purpose would a totem serve?]”

                                You resist the urge to point out the obvious3. “[…your invocation of the heavenly gods is incomplete without Nar, whether he answers or not.]”

                                Eternal Peace nods, although you sense disagreement. “[Your will be done, Youngest Joy.]”

                                “[There is more… your chiefs, Vicious Dog especially, seem not to trust me as you do. Is it merely fear of my strength, or is there more to their discontent?]”

                                Eternal Peace winces. “[I would not presume to speak for the chiefs-]”

                                “[You will, if you wish our clans’ friendship to thrive,]” you interject, your voice hard.

                                Eternal Peace winces again and lowers his gaze. “[…there is fear, yes, but there is also… wariness. It is no fault of your own, Youngest Joy – only that you bear an ill-fated name.]”

                                “[How is my name ill-fated?]” you ask with a grimace, having already guessed the answer.

                                “[…I know little of the story. Long ago, before the Wanderers came together, there were many more people on the steppes. They followed a champion, also called Youngest Joy, who was unstoppable in battle and made war against the southerners. But one day, the southerners had our people trapped, and the champion had gone. Without him, our people were devastated, almost killed to the last man, woman, and child.]” Eternal Peace shakes his head. “[I do not know if this story is true. Of all the clan, only my mentor is old enough to have seen it himself, and he would not speak of it.]”

                                “[Who is your mentor, and where are they now?]”

                                “[He went on a journey, a ‘vision-quest’, he called it, about two years ago. He left me to manage the clan alone,]” answers Eternal Peace, bitterly. “[His name is Silver Sky, and I do not know where to find him.]”

                                The name sounds familiar to you, but you cannot put a face to it. You spend a little more time talking with the shaman, but do not learn anything else of interest. Eventually you stand, thank him for his time, and depart.


                                1
                                He’ll be the easiest to crack.

                                2
                                Said to be the strongest of all gods, but like all the heavenly gods he wasn’t easily moved. He would either bless everyone with warmth and light, or no one. You thought praying to him was a waste of time, but Mother always insisted on doing it just as a formality.

                                3
                                If you don’t pray, how do you know if they’ll be answered?


                                You leave the tent and wander aimlessly for a while, wondering where to focus your attention next. The Wanderers keep out of your way, too focused on their daily grind to bother you. You do notice a larger number of glares directed at you than before, however.

                                As you turn a corner and start making your way back toward the center of the encampment, you sense movement behind you. There is the soft sound of someone trying to walk inside your steps. You glance left and right without turning around. What few Wanderers are in this corridor of tents are all looking away.

                                The sound of steps suddenly speeds up. You turn and step to one side, sweeping your right out in time to strike your attacker’s forearm. The knife that had been driving towards your back goes sailing past you, followed by its wielder. You stick a leg out and the man’s next step catches against your foot. He stumbles, but quickly recovers and lets his momentum carry him into a spin until he comes around again to face you.

                                It is the swarthy man, Grim Hammer, a knife in his hands and murder in his eyes. He is breathing strongly and his stance suggests that he could spring into another lunge at any second. “[You will not take my wife, pretender!]” He shouts.

                                Your hands go to your weapons. How will you handle this?
                                • Kill him. Pay him back in his own coin, quick and hard with Reaching Fist.
                                • Make an example of him. Show your Mark, draw Cleaver, and cut him in two. Carry around one half for a while as a warning to others not to fuck with you.
                                • Beat him senseless, leave him for the chiefs. If you want trust instead of fear, you better not shed any blood. Bruise him with Vortex until he’s had enough and then make him someone else’s problem.
                                • Humiliate him. Don’t even bother with weapons. Show him he has no chance of beating you in a fight and let him walk off the shame.
                                • Something else?
                                Last edited by semicasual; 11-24-2015, 08:04 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

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