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Back Alive or Maybe Dead [Quest]

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  • OOC Commentary
    More artwork from Kat - remember the face of your enemy! He is He Who Sees with the Eyes of Death... or, if you're feeling informal, "Stitch-Eyes."


    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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    • I'm really liking the Hanged Man-esque look for He Who Sees. He's a pretty snappy dresser for someone who can't see his outfits.

      Comment


      • OOC Commentary

        Originally posted by Bozwevial View Post
        I'm really liking the Hanged Man-esque look for He Who Sees. He's a pretty snappy dresser for someone who can't see his outfits.
        He dresses by smell. (No, that's not really canon)

        And, while I'm putting the next chapter together, here's another piece of art: an elegant gentleman who enjoys watching tragedies (both in the theatrical and personal sense). He's a god, he's a man, he's a ghost, he's a guru. They're whispering his name through this disappearing land, but hidden in his coat is a red right hand...


        Last edited by semicasual; 10-31-2016, 08:31 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

        Comment


        • Originally posted by semicasual View Post
          OOC Commentary

          He dresses by smell. (No, that's not really canon)

          And, while I'm putting the next chapter together, here's another piece of art: an elegant gentleman who enjoys watching tragedies (both in the theatrical and personal sense). He's a god, he's a man, he's a ghost, he's a guru. They're whispering his name through this disappearing land, but hidden in his coat is a red right hand...



          Liked for quoting one of my favorite songs. Also saying that just told me everything I need to know about him.


          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

          Comment




          • Ash and Bo rode along a dusty trail - Ash and King in the front, Bo and her mule in the rear. They hadn't spoken much since they met up. Ash had asked a few cursory questions about supplies, making sure that Bo had enough to take care of herself. Bo had confirmed she had what was needed, and demonstrated that she was a reasonably experienced traveler. Then they traveled on, mile after silent mile.

            They stopped for a mid-day rest in the shade of a rocky butte. With a reprieve from the heat, Bo worked up the courage to ask a question that had been on her mind for a while. "Mistress Ash..."

            "Yes?" Ash was preoccupied tearing strips of dried meat apart. Some she chewed on herself, and the rest she passed to King, who gulped down every morsel with abandon.

            "Why are we..." Bo fumbled with the words. "Where... What are we traveling to do?"

            Ash gave a short chuckle and tugged on her hat. "I," she said, drawing out the pronoun for emphasis, "am goin' to find some people to help me bring Stitch-Eyes down. I have one or two in mind, and I'll bet I can find the rest when we get where we're goin'. You," she went on, pointing at Bo, "are followin' me to make sure I don't get killed. Sound about right?"

            Bo winced at the word 'killed' and tried to steer the conversation away. "How many will there be?"

            "...Four. Counting me, that makes five. Five's a good a number," said Ash, half to herself. "Big enough to hold together, but small enough to hide easy. Shouldn't take too long, just to find four..."

            "So few? But I thought a Hunt would-"

            "Miss Bo, I'm sure your momma told the same stories that mine did - big heroes in shiny armor, leadin' armies to fight evil. But out here, we've got to make do with what we have, and we haven't got an army. Five good people - that'll be enough."

            Bo was quiet for a while, until she worked up her courage again. "Mistress Ash... forgive me, but... have you led a Hunt before?"

            Ash chuckled again. "I guess you didn't read my book. Ever hear about how I killed the Ox-Titan of Cholla Springs?"

            Bo was confused by the notion that Ash might be in a book. "...No?"

            "Well, you really should find a copy. It's fine readin'. But in short, I led a village of herdsmen to victory against a bull man who stood thirty feet tall. We all went at him with slings and arrows, and I had Ol' Smokey, but nothin' we had put a scratch on him. So, we lured him under a great rocky pillar, much like this one." Ash pointed at the butte. "but, thanks to some strange quirk of fate, there was another great rock, balanced on its side atop the pillar, hanging over the edge. When the ox-titan was right under it, I took a sling and, with a single stone, knocked the hangin' rock loose. It fell on top of the titan and crushed him dead." Ash sniffed. "I wanted to take his horns for a trophy, but his head was smashed. I had to make do with the villagers' undyin' gratitude."

            As Ash told her tale, Bo's face went from confusion to awe, then to wonder, and then back to confusion. "Is... is that true?" she asked, tentatively.

            Ash waved a hand. "Well, I might have embellished a little, but..." she trailed off when she saw Bo's face. Then Ash sighed. "No, it's not true. It's just a yarn. The truth is, I ain't never fought anyone like Stitch-Eyes before, and I'm figurin' it out as I go. If that sounds crazy to you, it's not to late to turn around, go back to Freewater."

            Bo frowned, then took in a deep breath. When she let it out, her face was relaxed once again. "...but, even so, you will fight him?"

            "Yup."

            "...Why?"

            Ash looked away and stared into the horizon. "...Someone has to."

            "Then... I will stay."

            Ash didn't say anything, but secretly she was glad. The two women tacitly ended their rest, saddled up, and journeyed on.

            They went...
            • ...north, to Roca Roja. Sometimes called "the Gateway to the South," Roca Roja boasted the single largest community in the frontier. The best-known routes heading deeper into the frontier all passed through that town, which meant that it was always full of new settlers, wannabe prospectors, and exploratory merchants. The Guild was strong there, and they did a strong trade in selling overpriced supplies to folks who came to the frontier unprepared for whatever produce, minerals, or exotics they could exchange. Marshal Eicus' seat was in Roca Roja, which meant that it was also the first place to go to collect on bounties. All in all, it was a good place to look for aspiring adventurers.
            • ...west, to the mountains. The western part of the frontier had a wealth of natural resources - water, timber, and (rumor had it) gold among them. In the past century, that part of the country had its share of boom-towns... as well as a few bust-towns. That meant three kinds of people lived there - those coming up, those coming down, and those aiming to tip the scales. Ash figured she could find some fighters among the ambitious and desperate folks out there.
            • ...southeast, into the Wastes. Some parts of the frontier were more hospitable than others, and the Wastes were the worst of the 'others.' It was nothing but hot, barren rocks as far as the eye could see. You could be forgiven for thinking nothing lived out there, but the truth was that people did. When first waves of settlers pushed the natives out a generation or two ago, many of them had no choice but to go to the Wastes. Some learned to adapt to their harsh environment, even thrive in it. Ash figured anyone who could survive out there had to be as tough as could be... although persuading them to help could be a challenge...
            • Something else?
            OOC Commentary
            The language spoken across most of the frontier is a creole of Low Realm and Flametongue. As a translation convention, you may assume that people speaking more formally (like Hark) or awkwardly (like Bo) are using Low Realm exclusively, and that anything written in Spanish is pure Flametongue.

            Gold will never be as popular as silver or jade in Creation, but that doesn't mean gold prospecting cannot be a profitable enterprise. If you're already the sort of person who would travel hundreds of miles to the middle of nowhere to make a life for yourself, then the idea of getting rich by panning for gold is just as appealing to you in Creation as it would be on Earth.
            Last edited by semicasual; 04-26-2017, 12:41 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


            • Hm. If we head North, we can get ourselves a replacement weapon until we find some proper artifacts. And we'll need supplies and bargaining chips if we're going into the Wastes.

              Head North, to Roca Roja!

              If the town's that important, I have a feeling we'll be visiting more than once.


              Mouse monk riding a tiny pig avatar courtesy of the very talented forumite Jen!

              Jen's original portrayal of Mouse Monk, featuring some human or other named Tybalt Farwander.

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              • Originally posted by Prometheus878 View Post
                Hm. If we head North, we can get ourselves a replacement weapon until we find some proper artifacts. And we'll need supplies and bargaining chips if we're going into the Wastes.

                Head North, to Roca Roja!

                If the town's that important, I have a feeling we'll be visiting more than once.
                I concur, North.

                Comment


                • I'm torn. While I tend to agree that north sounds awesome, as we expand our party, I fear it'll be more difficult to go in to the Wastes with more mouths to feed and water. It might be wise to go south first... I admit, this isn't a vote yet, more triggering conversation.


                  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

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by The Unsung Hero View Post
                    I'm torn. While I tend to agree that north sounds awesome, as we expand our party, I fear it'll be more difficult to go in to the Wastes with more mouths to feed and water. It might be wise to go south first... I admit, this isn't a vote yet, more triggering conversation.
                    At the moment we're limited to whatever is in Ash and Bo's saddlebags. Not much, I reckon.

                    If we swing by town, we can pick up some supplies and valuable goods we can use for barter in the Wastes. Metal goods and luxuries are probably hard to come by in the wilds.

                    Also, we can hear the gossip and get info from the region's hub, so we don't walk into a situation blind.


                    Mouse monk riding a tiny pig avatar courtesy of the very talented forumite Jen!

                    Jen's original portrayal of Mouse Monk, featuring some human or other named Tybalt Farwander.

                    Comment


                    • The Wastes are really tempting, but north for supplies is our best option.


                      I write things.

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                      • I'm convinced. Go North young woman, Go North.


                        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

                        Comment


                        • Bo's Dragon hero worship is getting a little bit crushed by how down-to-earth Ash is. Lucky for her, as unorthodox as our heroine is, she's got skill to back up her mouth - and sense to steer both of them in the right direction.

                          The Wastes pose a bit of a challenge for our little crew, which has no weapons, slim provisions, and would be working uphill to pick up recruits. Most of the natives living out there were driven out by the Realm in the first place. I'd expect them to be a little bit leery of Ash sauntering in and asking for their help taking down the Lost Souls, who I suspect rarely venture far away enough from more settled areas to bother them. Now don't get me wrong, that sounds like a pretty compelling story, but Ash ought to be prepared for it. Meantime, let's set a course for Roca Roja.

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                          • They went north, to Roca Roja. Sometimes called "the Gateway to the South," Roca Roja boasted the single largest community in the frontier. The best-known routes heading deeper into the frontier all passed through that town, which meant that it was always full of new settlers, wannabe prospectors, and exploratory merchants. The Guild was strong there, and they did a strong trade in selling overpriced supplies to folks who came to the frontier unprepared for whatever produce, minerals, or exotics they could exchange. Marshal Eicus' seat was in Roca Roja, which meant that it was also the first place to go to collect on bounties. All in all, it was a good place to look for aspiring adventurers.
                            Picture a sprawling town of creaky, hastily-erected wooden houses, granaries, warehouses, and barns, all cemented together with a patchwork of dirt roads packed down by countless cart-trails. A modest mansion sits in a square at the center of the town - a seat of government, courthouse, and residence in one. The mansion adjoins a great gallows, thirteen steps off of the ground, wide enough to hold twelve tenants at a time. Markets, workshops, and hostels surround the square. Compared to Freewater, this place is bustling - a true oasis of civilization, however rough it might be, in a wild land.

                            Ash and Bo came upon Roca Roja late in the day, having ridden hard and long. They passed by modest animal pens and personal food-gardens, working their way toward's the town's hub.

                            "Alright, just to remind you," said Ash, out of the blue. "Don't ever talk about what I can do. I'm keeping my... talents... under my hat, so to speak. Folks around here just know me as a bounty hunter with quick hands, nothin' more, and I mean to keep it that way. Understand?"

                            Bo nodded. They had been over this several times already. Bo had not needed much convincing, but Ash still didn't feel comfortable entrusting her secret to someone she hardly knew. But, Ash thought, that was something she would need to get over - there'd be no good way to keep her Ranger act going around a group of people she expected to fight to the death with her.

                            They turned a corner and started riding down a dusty avenue. As they passed by a drinking house, they could hear a loud ruckus from within - yelling, whooping, furniture breaking. A moment later, a body got tossed through the swinging front doors and out into the street, rolling to a stop not too far away from where Ash and Bo were watching.

                            It was...
                            • ...the Youngblood, a girl who was just coming into her power and itching for a chance to use it. She jumped to her feet almost at once and wiped a bit of blood off her face with one sleeve. "You call that a punch!?" she screamed back into the doorway she had just come from. "My granny hits harder 'n that, 'n she's pushin' three hunnerd!"
                            • ...the Opportunist, a skilled professional who liked the finer things in life. The woman carefully picked herself up off the ground and dusted herself off. Then she walked over to where her hat had fallen and daintily set it back on. As she did so, she noticed a torn seam in her new traveling coat, and grumbled with dissatisfaction. "You're paying for that!" she called into the door she had just come from. She reached into her coat and pulled out a shortened firewand she had concealed there. "...One way, or another."
                            • Something else?
                            OOC Commentary
                            Young people occupy a strange and variable space in Western fiction - they can be real assets or real burdens, sometimes both. But the one consistent thing they generally have going for them, from Fee "The Kid" Herod (The Quick and the Dead) to William Evans (3:10 to Yuma, 2007) to "The Schofield Kid" (Unforgiven) and even Mattie Ross (True Grit) is ambition. When they set themselves goals, they let nothing keep them from those goals.

                            Fortune seekers, on the other hand, occupy a consistent space: trouble. They might be on your side (Harry Luck, The Magificent Seven) or not (Tuco & Blondie, The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly), but they're generally pretty capable either way.

                            Plus, here is some more worldbuilding stuff I'm dropping here because I don't know if it'll ever come up in the story.

                            You can't really talk about Roca Roja without talking about Marshal Tepet Eicus. He is one of the town's oldest residents, though not its founder, and he is its chief law-enforcer and de facto mayor.

                            Three things motivate Marshal Eicus to stay in Roca Roja - the satisfaction of being the biggest fish in a small pond, poor relations with his family, and a strain of frontier idealism that manifests as a genuine desire to make life better for people trying to settle in the south.

                            Eicus is, in some ways, a black sheep of house Tepet. He was always more interested in economics and logistics than actual warfare, and never liked to get his hands dirty (either in a literal or moral sense). When he was young, they praised his decision to come out to the frontier and learn both governance and battle skills by taking up a Marshal's shield. But that was thirty years ago, and now his seniors in House Tepet are increasingly irritated with his refusal to leave his seat and come home. However, they have no power to remove him, and Eicus knows it.

                            Eicus views the budding civil war in the Realm with a mix of disgust and dismay. Part of the reason why he stays in Roca Roja is specifically to avoid any involvement with it. He hopes that if the worst should happen and actual war breaks out, he will too far removed from it all to feel any effects

                            Eicus sees himself as the last bastion of order on the frontier, and he is not entirely wrong. There are less than ten Marshals active today, who together have to oversee hundreds of thousands of square miles of territory. Eicus started the bounty system fifteen years ago as a means of taking up part of the slack. He pooled in all the money he could tax from anyone and his personal fortune to fund a small bureacracy that gathers news about serious crimes and pays out money to anyone who can kill or apprehend known criminals. The program has been moderately successful so far - Roca Roja itself is remarkably safe, and the surrounding area is peaceful. But the further away from Eicus' seat you get, the less likely you are to find either bounty hunters or people able to get the word out about murderers, rapists, or thieves. Banditry disguised as vigilanteism is still a major problem on the frontier's far edges, if outright lawlessness has not taken hold.

                            Eicus harbors a superstition that it is bad luck to hang more than five people at a time. He had the gallows built large to impress and intimidate people, but he'll take any excuse he can not to use its full capacity. This dismays of some of his more bloodthirsty constituents.



                            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


                            • Youngblood!


                              I write things.

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                              • Almost everything is made better through reference to Red Dead Redemption. If that game, and the sequel, was released for PC, I would snap them up in a heartbeat.

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