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From Out of a Dream [Quest]

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  • Originally posted by WarDragon View Post
    "Not forever." Our fates have crossed twice now; it's more likely than not they will again.
    Who knows where the path will lead?


    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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    • You answer "Not forever," and shake your head. "Our paths'll cross again."

      Nuo smirks. "Then I have something to look forward to, don't I?


      The bottom level of Hole in the Ground is a cellar and storeroom, and also has a little hatch that opens into a dirty, smelly warren of tunnels. Nukson leads you through a maze of twisty passages, all alike and yet different. Initially, it seems that the Nexus underground is nothing but smugglers' runs and squatters' holes - inhabited, but not cared for, home only to the dispossessed. Your guide walks ahead of you with a small lantern, steering around rubbish and the occasional body - sleeping or dead - partially blocking the passage. In time, you leave the inhabited places behind and discover older, darker passages.

      Some look like the remains of old buildings - cobbled stone floors along crumbling walls and uncomfortably sagging ceilings. Others are clearly dug tunnels, vaguely rectangular shafts through loose earth, shored up with old timbers. The biggest and clearest passages are lined with smooth black stone, reminiscent of the dolmen outside the city. An uncomfortable number are crawlspaces that you slide through on your stomach, shaped by convenient collapses.
      From your previous experience in spelunking and urban exploration, you would guess you have been going gradually northwest and downwards. You have not traveled far in actual distance, but the many obstacles and turns slow your forward progress. Nukson makes each turn, drop, or climb like he has walked these passages many times, and you wonder how much slower you would be if you had to explore here on your own.

      "Many of these tunnels are below the water line," he says, conversationally. "Some flood when it rains. Others are one crack away from letting the river in. I tell you, there is as much money to be made blocking these tunnels as there is in opening them." As you go on, you notice that Nukson makes a detour or backtracks at any point where the water passes your heels.

      After wandering for hours, Nukson stops to rest. You both breakfast on food he brought with him - dried oats, fruits, and nuts. "We are nearly there," he tells you just as you are finishing. "And you are quite lucky, in case you were unaware. You are about to see something likely no man has seen for many generations."



      Sure enough, after the next few crawling passages - some of them freshly dug, you notice - you come out into lopsided sort of hallway. On one side is a high, solid wall of black stone. On the other, curving around to form both ceiling and floor, is old earth and rock. The shape of the curve gives you the impression that the earth has been pushed away from the stone somehow.

      Nukson follows the stone wall a short distance, then stops and shudders. "This is as far as I can take you," he whispers with a grimace. "There is an entrance through this wall further ahead. Something is in that room, and I choose not to be the first person to see what that is."

      You peer ahead into the dark and listen carefully. You can just make out a faint light, an edge on the wall that might mark a doorway of some kind, and a faint sound of moving air. "If you haven't seen inside, how do you you know there is anything there?" you whisper back.

      Nukson frowns. "I get chills when I am near such things - the dark wall that swallows people, for example, or the burning skulls. I have learned to trust my instincts." He takes a step back, moving behind you. "I will wait here for a time, in case you wish to return. Do please tell me what you discover, if you live."

      You grumble and move forward alone.


      The doorway is a tall, nearly square entryway into a huge chamber - so large, you can scarcely believe you are still underground. The inside is lined with whitish marble, smooth and carved into a complicated geometric pattern of squares, triangles, and hexes. Great pillars of the same stone hold up the roof high above your head. The roof is studded with tiny white lights arranged into constellation-like shapes, providing dim, pale illumination to the room. The air in here is still and musty, but not completely quiet.

      Two enormous ornamental columns are set into the far wall, supporting an arch that nearly touches the ceiling. Faded paint covers the wall through the archway, depicting a city built among mountains under the open sky.
      A huge statue of a stone lion, easily twelve feet long, lies on the floor in front of the arch. Its giant head, mottled green with lichen, rests atop its crossed paws with its mouth open and its eyes closed. A sound like slow, heavy breathing comes from the motionless maw.
      • Attack. Is that statue alive? Well, there's one way to make sure it isn't. .
      • Try to wake it. The lion might be some kind of gatekeeper. If so, it may be of use.
      • Ignore the lion, study the arch more closely. It's a statue that makes sounds - strange, but not worth your time. Instead, you focus on the most gate-like object in the chamber.
      • Something else?

      Last edited by semicasual; 06-14-2016, 09:45 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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      • Try to wake it. It won't make a good impression on the gods if we attack its gatekeeper.


        I write things.

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        • Try to wake it. Rise a shine (like the sun), a Solar is here!


          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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          • Wake it, no way to hide waltzing into Yu Shan anyways. Yay official business, you are s tribal leader after all.

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            • You cautiously approach the statue. Like most statues, it does not move. However, the sound of breathing continues unabated.
              "{Oh, gatekeeper, awaken!}" you call, unsure what else to do.1

              Stone inexplicably bends and folds as the lion opens its eyes, revealing brilliant topazes that appear to glow with their own light. He rises to his feet and raises his tail, stretching out his forelimbs. The beast opens his mouth wide to show a deep black gullet and sharp, jewel-like teeth.

              "{WHO DISTURBS MY SLUMBER?}" he roars... or yawns?

              You take a step back and put a hand to Cleaver's hilt. "{It is I, Otgonbayar, who stands before you.}"

              The lion sits back on his haunches with a displeased expression. "{Thy manner of speech is strange, Otgonbayar... Why hast thou awakened me?}" he asks in a low growl. Curiously, the lion's mouth does not move as he speaks.

              You glower at his yellow eyes, determined to give no ground. "{I seek the gate to Yu-Shan, that I may petition the gods who dwell there.}"

              He snorts. "{This gate hath been closed by order of the Celestial Court. Thou shalt not pass.}"

              Your brows furrow. Silver Sky made no mention of this. "{Why hath the gate been closed?}"

              "{It comes of an ageless pact, sworn by powers that be,}" answers the lion, shaking its immobile mane. "{Heaven and Creation formed an accord declaring that neither god nor mortal would pass through this gate, saving only those granted indulgence.}" He meets your glare with one of his own. "{Thou shalt not pass. Now leave me to my rest.}"

              • Threaten. "{I SHALL pass, else thy life is forfeit.}" You draw Cleaver and deliberately ignite your mark for emphasis.
              • Bluff. "{I am blessed, chosen by Heaven! Surely I am among those who are granted indulgence.}" You tip down your headband and pour just enough energy into your mark to make it visible.
              • Plead. "{I hath no time to seek indulgence or find another gate. The souls of my children are imperiled, and I must gain audience with the gods of death at once if I am to save them.}" You try not to sound like you are begging and partially succeed.
              • Something else?
              1
              Luckily there is no one around to see if you're only talking to cold stone.




              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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              • Bluff. If it doesn't work then threaten.


                I write things.

                Comment


                • Bluff of course!


                  I post Artifacts in this thread. How I make them is in this thread.
                  I have made many tools and other things for 3rd Edition. I now host all of my creations on my Google site: The Vault of the Unsung Hero

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                  • Splunge for me, too. er, Bluff! If a Lawgiver hast not an Indulgence, then who dost? Yea and verily, show the guardian the Sign of our Indulgence, the Radiant Blessing of the Unconquered Sun!!

                    (er, has Onty ever figured out that he is a Solar Exalt?)


                    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 all know we are going to bluff

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                      • "{I am blessed, chosen by Heaven! Surely I am among those who are granted indulgence.}" You tip down your headband and pour just enough energy into your mark to make it visible.

                        The lion leans forward slightly and blinks. He raises one paw to his chin. "{...Thou dost not bear the seal of one given permission, and thy name is not known to me... but I confess, thy essence is neither god's, nor mortal's. It may be thy exceptional nature transcends the law.}"

                        The creature appears to be deep in thought. You wait for him to finish.

                        Finally, the lion hunches its shoulders as if to shrug. "{Very well. Thou may pass, Otgonbayar}", he rumbles. He paces off to the side, leaving a clear path to the archway. "{Approach the gate.}"

                        There is a sound like softly tinkling bells. The wall-painting starts to glow softly, raising the shapes from the smooth stone. Gradually, more and more light pours from the image, its colors and figures becoming more distinct - more lifelike. Then, finally, you hear a noise like a gong being struck... on the opposite side of the arch. Now, in defiance of all reason, it is clear that what was a once painting has become an open door.


                        You walk closer, dwarfed by the cyclopean columns, and stand in the light of the sun shining from the other side. From here you finally get an unfiltered view of the realm of the gods. Its majesty takes your breath away.

                        The first impression you have is of palaces - a city that is built of nothing but palaces. Great and colorful superstructures sprawl as far as the eye can see. Around them, incredibly tall mountains rise up into an azure sky. Flying ships float between the peaks and the clouds, drifting across the blue expanse as if it were water. All is dominated by the golden sun, unnaturally huge - or perhaps unnaturally close? - burning brightly above.

                        You do not know what you were expecting - a big temple, or perhaps a garden - but it appears you have found an entire world. Your journey is far from over.



                        ...and it came to pass that upon the 188th day in the 477th Year of the Horse, a warrior wearing the mark of Night entered the holy city through the 19th Gate in defiance of the Nexus Pact. By order of the Maidens, his name shall not be uttered, nor his acts be spoken of by either god or mortal. All record of his acts shall be secured, to be witnessed only by those bearing the seals of both all-wise Jupiter and merciful Saturn. So it hath been written - so let it be done. -Bureau of Destiny internal memoradum


                        (Well, that was quite a trip, wasn't it? Truthfully, I didn't expect it to take this long. But now it's time for another post-chapter autopsy.
                        1. Logistics: This is a question I should have asked after the last chapter, but I forgot. Basically, any time I'm in a position where I have to work out time, distances, or quantities of money or supplies, I've been fudging it. If anyone has noticed a point where the cost estimates of anything seemed wrong, now is a good time to let me know and explain why.
                        2. Presentation of Nexus: This is the first time I have used a canon location in my story. Thoughts?
                        3. Choice and consequence: What I hope from for most decision points is at least one of two things - to build character, or to introduce new complications to the plot. How did I do for this chapter?
                        4. Time: Just to see if you noticed - my conception for this chapter was that conditions in Nexus would be different depending on when he arrived there, which would in turn depend on what decisions the players made during the journey. For example, if Otgonbayar had reached Nexus a few weeks earlier, all of Nuo's gang would have been available to help with the heist, but the Gate to Heaven would still have to be excavated. If he had arrived later, there would be an assortment of adventure-archaelogist types poking around the ruin. Various characters would mention these things offhand to give you, the players, more of a sense of consequence for your choices.
                        5. Pacing for this chapter: Originally, I just meant for this section to be a short bridge between part 3 and part 5. A growing need to flesh things out led to a much longer chapter than I had planned. Did you find this arc satisfying? How did it compare to the others?
                        6. The Heist: If this chapter was bloated through improvisation, the whole warehouse bit was most of all. In retrospect, did the how and why of it make sense?
                        7. Something else? I notice that we're not playing with all of the same group now that I had at the beginning, or some players have taken to lurking. I'm most curious about the turnover, but if you have anything else you'd like to raise, I am listening.)



                        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


                          1. This is Exalted, where money is described, because, you know, gamers, but Resources are abstract dots. The scale of Creation is so large, even after the Contagion/Fae invasion pared it down. Let's not nitpick. Well, I am not playing (it's not my money), so I won't. er, I am playing? Kibbitzing? Anyways....no complaints.
                          2. Never got to Nexus in campaign, so I'm fine.
                          3. Lots of complications and lots of chances to build character. If the heroes' journey were swift and easy, we wouldn't need heroes. Good job.
                          4. I've done the same sort of thing in games I have run. It isn't visible to (us) players because (we) they never know till you mention it later. It risks putting a lot of work into alternatives that never come up, so I personally don't flesh much out till the choice is made.
                          5. No problems with the pacing. There have been times in other quests where a lot of time is chewed up by pages of debate, but that is on us contributors. I know I have been impatient on occassion, saying Lets get on with it!, but that has always been when outvoted.
                          6. The Heist was a trade to get something, it's how things get done.
                          7. Seems like less people contributing/voting. Either lost interest or had a negative answewr to one of the above and quit. Can't help you here.


                          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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                          • Originally posted by semicasual View Post
                            Logistics: This is a question I should have asked after the last chapter, but I forgot. Basically, any time I'm in a position where I have to work out time, distances, or quantities of money or supplies, I've been fudging it. If anyone has noticed a point where the cost estimates of anything seemed wrong, now is a good time to let me know and explain why.
                            I have this issue with my quest. I don't want to set any timing in stone because I may need to adjust things for the pacing of the story. I did bring in some time lines for the current chapter and I kind of regret it.

                            Originally posted by semicasual View Post
                            Presentation of Nexus: This is the first time I have used a canon location in my story. Thoughts?
                            Nexus was fine. I don't know much about Nexus as compared to other cities in Creation, but nothing seemed off about your description.

                            Originally posted by semicasual View Post
                            Choice and consequence: What I hope from for most decision points is at least one of two things - to build character, or to introduce new complications to the plot. How did I do for this chapter?
                            Choices were better this chapter in my opinion. Last chapter I felt like the choices were "which one of these options will screw me over the least." This chapter offered choices that I could lean on Otgonbayar's character to decide what to do next.

                            Originally posted by semicasual View Post
                            Time: Just to see if you noticed - my conception for this chapter was that conditions in Nexus would be different depending on when he arrived there, which would in turn depend on what decisions the players made during the journey. For example, if Otgonbayar had reached Nexus a few weeks earlier, all of Nuo's gang would have been available to help with the heist, but the Gate to Heaven would still have to be excavated. If he had arrived later, there would be an assortment of adventure-archaelogist types poking around the ruin. Various characters would mention these things offhand to give you, the players, more of a sense of consequence for your choices.
                            I didn't notice this, but I don't really think about the path not traveled after we make a choice.

                            Originally posted by semicasual View Post
                            Pacing for this chapter: Originally, I just meant for this section to be a short bridge between part 3 and part 5. A growing need to flesh things out led to a much longer chapter than I had planned. Did you find this arc satisfying? How did it compare to the others?
                            I liked this chapter. I feel like we returned to who Otgonbayar is. The persona of "Tribal Chief" doesn't sit well on him. I'm curious on how he deals with the role of emissary.

                            Originally posted by semicasual View Post
                            The Heist: If this chapter was bloated through improvisation, the whole warehouse bit was most of all. In retrospect, did the how and why of it make sense?
                            The warehouse plan seemed not too well though, but I assumed it was because Nuo isn't experienced with planning heists. I always have this issue with characters making plans in my own question. I fear that the plan will be stupid or I'm missing something obvious. *shrugs*

                            Originally posted by semicasual View Post
                            Something else? I notice that we're not playing with all of the same group now that I had at the beginning, or some players have taken to lurking. I'm most curious about the turnover, but if you have anything else you'd like to raise, I am listening.)
                            [/FONT][/COLOR]
                            I think the release of Ex3 has changed the character of the forum. Some posters left, old posters returned, new posters arrived. There are less forum games and more questions about mechanics. I'm going to keep posting my quest until I am finished (Chapter 8 is the last) and then decide if I want to continue with part two of Svante's story or not.


                            I write things.

                            Comment


                            • ...and it came to pass that upon the 188th day in the 477th Year of the Horse, a warrior wearing the mark of Night entered the holy city through the 19th Gate in defiance of the Nexus Pact. By order of the Maidens, his name shall not be uttered, nor his acts be spoken of by either god or mortal. All record of his acts shall be secured, to be witnessed only by those bearing the seals of both all-wise Jupiter and merciful Saturn. So it hath been written - so let it be done. -Bureau of Destiny internal memorandum
                              So, you do what's right by your family and you are blotted out and forgotten?

                              Sort of disagrees with the end of the last chapter, where the records say Father left and never returned. It's in the records. nyah nyah, so there, and other childish refutations....


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

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by semicasual View Post
                                (Well, that was quite a trip, wasn't it? Truthfully, I didn't expect it to take this long. But now it's time for another post-chapter autopsy.
                                1. Logistics: This is a question I should have asked after the last chapter, but I forgot. Basically, any time I'm in a position where I have to work out time, distances, or quantities of money or supplies, I've been fudging it. If anyone has noticed a point where the cost estimates of anything seemed wrong, now is a good time to let me know and explain why.
                                2. Presentation of Nexus: This is the first time I have used a canon location in my story. Thoughts?
                                3. Choice and consequence: What I hope from for most decision points is at least one of two things - to build character, or to introduce new complications to the plot. How did I do for this chapter?
                                4. Time: Just to see if you noticed - my conception for this chapter was that conditions in Nexus would be different depending on when he arrived there, which would in turn depend on what decisions the players made during the journey. For example, if Otgonbayar had reached Nexus a few weeks earlier, all of Nuo's gang would have been available to help with the heist, but the Gate to Heaven would still have to be excavated. If he had arrived later, there would be an assortment of adventure-archaelogist types poking around the ruin. Various characters would mention these things offhand to give you, the players, more of a sense of consequence for your choices.
                                5. Pacing for this chapter: Originally, I just meant for this section to be a short bridge between part 3 and part 5. A growing need to flesh things out led to a much longer chapter than I had planned. Did you find this arc satisfying? How did it compare to the others?
                                6. The Heist: If this chapter was bloated through improvisation, the whole warehouse bit was most of all. In retrospect, did the how and why of it make sense?
                                7. Something else? I notice that we're not playing with all of the same group now that I had at the beginning, or some players have taken to lurking. I'm most curious about the turnover, but if you have anything else you'd like to raise, I am listening.)
                                1. Didn't notice, was never really concerned. Fudge away, I'd do the same!
                                2. Nexus looked very believable and fitting.
                                3. Did pretty well. I felt like we had a lot of opportunities here to show the growth from Nergui to Otgonbayar, and that it stuck without being around the Sunblessed.
                                4. Interesting.
                                5. Having it more fleshed out was probably to the good. It wasn't quite a breather between the two quests, but we did what needed to be done.
                                6. Admittedly, the Heist wasn't my favorite part. We could have handled it better, I think.
                                7. I do lurk more now, but that's more a symptom of being slightly burnt out on this forum, and only checking it a couple times a week, instead of a couple times a day, than any fault of yours.

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