RY 767, Ascending Water: Birth of a Nation (DS)   Posted by Storyteller.Group: 0
Storyteller
 GM, 133 posts
Wed 1 Jan 2020
at 10:23
Golden Lion - Birth of a Nation (DS)
You entered Champoor with your entourage in tow.  Experienced sailors and hardened warriors all of them, and with you in your golden armor gleaming in the torchlight like a beacon in the darkness.  Your massive Daiklave carried effortlessly on your back.  You are spared the more pedestrian trouble that lone travelers face but are instantly targeted as something special.  No mere mortal could wield such a massive weapon and so much orichalcum...  Many eyes stare at you imagining what they could sell your armor for after taking it off your cold lifeless corpse. You are approached almost immediately by a number of different groups seeking to find out more about you and how you can be useful to them.

You have managed to commit a fairly serious faux pas and it nearly ended in bloodshed in the streets. Who did you offend and how did you do it?  The only reason you werent forced to fight for the life of you and your men was because of the intervention of a particular individual. Who is the person? Have they asked for a favor in return yet or do you still owe them?

How have you managed to find shelter and food for you men?

Golden Lion (DS)
 player, 12 posts
Thu 2 Jan 2020
at 04:58
Golden Lion - Birth of a Nation (DS)
Golden Lion sat in his cabin, looking over his ledger with growing dismay.  Champoor was his only option, but it was very costly.  Docking fees, taxes, bribes, extra fees for not impossibly giving advance notice of his arrival... in the end, his ship had been impounded, because there wasn't enough left in the coffers after the month's pay he'd given the crew so that they could find themselves lodgings on what he was generously calling "shore leave".

So off he went to find a merchant house - no - a smuggling operation, big enough to be able to make a fortune from the secret route he'd found and just taken, and rich enough to be willing to pay him a high price for it.  Four of his loyal men were left behind to keep an eye on the ship and the chest in his cabin, the rest making him a spectacle as an entourage... but he'd never be sneaky, so best to be showy and protected.

They found an inn, The Salty Serpent.  In the middle of the market district, a short walk from the entrance to the Veiled Market, not a place of luxury, but also not a place where burglary seemed an everyday occurrence.

Golden Lion had the idea to venture into the Veiled Market, which he'd heard of but never visited, to look for the biggest smuggling syndicate he could find.  But it had been trickier than he thought.  First there was the entrance fee... then there was the other problem...

He had been walking through the Veiled Market for hours, looking for someone who might represent a likely partner, but seeing only small-scale stalls and skulking individual buyers.  So when he saw a man of more substance, dressed in finery and accompanied by six guards, he was excited and impetuous.

"Ahoy!" he shouted, walking toward the stranger.  The man was corpulent, with lank black hair and a weedy moustache.  He ignored the armored man's approach, continuing to look through a carousel of pornographic art that would have resulted in the artist's hands being cut off in the Imperial City.

Closer now, Golden Lion said, "Lovely, that.  I am called Golden Lion."

The corpulent man continued to ignore him, and the guards with him interposed themselves.  At this, Kerakis, a huge blond man from Fajad, suddenly whistled - the ear-piercing tone of a bosun.  "Hey!  The captain's talking to you!"

The corpulent man finally acknowledged their presence, whirling, face a mask of disgusted rage.  "How dare you!  Do you know who I am?  Guards!  Protect me!"  His guards closed in, but outnumbered and outarmed, they had a distinctly nervous look about them.

Golden Lion glared at the guards around the man, and they quailed before him, shrinking before his gaze, as he gruffly addressed the corpulent man.  "You have a rude way about you.  Is this how you conduct business?  Surely you must know that serendipity is the path to prosperity?"

The corpulent man's face was red with anger, "Business?!?  Prosperity?!?  I am Lord Tafut, not a common merchant!  How dare you!" He raised his voice, calling out for the watch, "Guards! Guards!!  I'm being robbed, help!"  The man's own guards look embarrassed and frightened, but hands went for sword hilts, and Golden Lion's men followed suit.  Then a voice sounded, deep and melodious, commanding the attention of all present to look toward a stall across the way.  A man was there, tall and lean with long red hair, dressed in green finery the equal of that in any palace.  "Julis, Julis, relax, my friend.  Look at him.  Does he look like he needs to rob you?"

Lord Tafut looked again at Golden Lion, then back at the newcomer.  "But he addressed me!  And as a merchant, what's more!"

The newcomer shook his head, sweeping his hand in a gesture to encompass Golden Lion's group.  "Look at them.  They're newcomers.  They don't know the customs of the market, I'm sure they meant no offense."

Lord Tafut looked at Golden Lion, who was nodding along in agreement and smiling.  Rage faded into annoyance, and he grunted, "Hmph!  Fine!  Then you talk to him!" and turned back to his perusal without a hint of courtesy or good manners.

The newcomer smiled "And so I shall!  I am Tarin Ruloth." he said, holding out his hand.  Golden Lion took it, and introduced himself.  The two fell into conversation, and Golden Lion learned that one didn't approach strangers in the Veiled Market, since nobody wanted to admit to being there.  Golden Lion recognized the name Ruloth as one of the old noble families of Champoor, displaced by the Realm.  Circumspect conversation not being his strong point, and since they were already shopping in a place where trade was illegal, he rather bluntly explained that he was trying to find the biggest smuggling syndicate.  Ruloth looked amused by his candor, but seemed to ignore the question, turning the conversation to the exotic animals in the stall he was shopping at, and advice on which would be the best pet.  After a bit more polite conversation, they parted.  Golden Lion headed back to the Serpent, tired and frustrated, and with the distinct impression he now owed a noble a favor.

Basically he gave them their pay and let them take leave, a temporary solution until he figures out his next move.

Was planning that Ruloth has the connection but just wasn't going to blurt it out in public, but up to you of course.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:29, Sat 04 Jan.

Storyteller
 GM, 154 posts
Sat 4 Jan 2020
at 10:58
Golden Lion - Birth of a Nation (DS)
Your men scatter as they are given their pay as they normally do when coming into port.  This is usual, and your men have been to many a places over creation, but you cant help but feel a little worried.  There is just something about this place... its a different kind of scum.  Tarin Ruloth invites you to his home the next day for lunch, and every day after that for 5 days in a row.  He is exceedingly courteous, and always smiling.  He is from Prasad and his home has a personal security retinue in Kamthari.  He asks you seemingly innocuous enough questions, never probing too deep and never answering any of your own questions with anything substantive.  You are getting very frustrated with this whole situation thinking that he might be wasting your time, when on the 6th day he invites you to a late dinner instead of lunch.  He meets you in front of his house, takes your arm in his and gently guides you down the street.  "Come, there is a friend of mine i think you would be delighted to meet."  He walks with you for a while, chatting, until you come to an alley butting up against the Palace of Black Flame.  There is a a man waiting for you and Ruloth lets go of your arm, and simply keeps walking.  You are standing there awkwardly for a moment, but you recognize a clandestine meeting when you see one so you walk up to the man.  He ends up leading you inside the gates surrounding the Manse.  You are led down into a crypt, and eventually deposited into a chair with a torch, surrounded by tombs.

Its hard to tell what time it is in Champoor under the best of conditions, and these conditions make it nearly impossible.  No one has spoken a word to you since Ruloth let you go, and you are beginning to think they forgot about you due to how long you have been waiting.  But eventually someone draped in funerary garb, comes and waves for you to follow him.  This silence is really starting to get into your head.  He leads you up out the way you came, but upon exiting the crypt you realize that you are in a shadowland.  A deathly reflection of creation.  There are ghostly guards on duty, their weapons and armor forged from soulsteel, tortured faces of those used to make the material occasionally visible in the deathly material.

Once outside the gate, your entourage abruptly turns and leave you standing on the street, both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.  You begin to feel uncomfortable as ghosts murmur and look at you as they pass, or outright stop and stare.  You have yet to see another living soul. Finally you hear someone call out. "Hey!" their booming voice calls out accompanied by a sharp whistle.  You are familiar with both, this man is used to giving order on a ship.  You turn and see a burly looking man dressed in the easy clothing of a southern sailor.  He has a scimitar with a thicker than normal blade at his waist made of soulsteel.  His most notable feature however, is the giant gaping scar running through the middle of his face.  He catches you staring at it and gives you a wide smile.  "Double bladed axe, nearly carved me in two.  But even in death they couldnt stop me.  They call me The Collecting Reaper"  He asks you questions about sailing, and you trade stories about your crew or adventures on the water.  After so many hours of silence, his boisterous unguarded manner gets you to open up.  By the time you arrive at a place aptly named "The Haunted Gallows" he has you chuckling and at relative ease.

He leads you to a back room where he sits down across from you.  A couple of other hulking monstrosities squeeze in and stand behind you.  "Dont mind them, just a couple of the boys to make sure we have our privacy."  He plays the part of first mate exceedingly well, and he has a smile on his face and is finishing a story he started just before you got here.  But you feel like the mood has shifted, and you are decidedly uncomfortable with these two guys behind you, between you and the door.  He doesnt make any aggressive moves, and he has that same smile as before, but its darker somehow. More predatory.  You run through a number of different scenarios in your head, and you realize two things.  One, you dont know where you are.  He somehow led you here, but you dont know where "here" is exactly.  Two, you dont know how to get back to the land of the living.

He begins by mentioning that he believes you are looking for some work.  He goes on to mention that there is a ship leaving port that intends to meet up with a second ship.  This second ship has cargo and crew that need to meet with some... unpleasantness.  He is unable to deal with it personally because they will be sailing during the day, under the light of the blaring sun.  Hes not much for fanfare.  They have made sure that this ship in Champoor is down a number of members of their crew and will have to recruit more.  You are to get hired on, and then make sure the second ship just... disappears. "You seem quite the formidable lad, shouldnt be a bother, have it all nicked up in no time".  With not much of choice you agree to do the job.  You will be paid a sizeable and generous fee, you just have to make sure that the ship is gone.  No survivors, no cargo, no word of what happened.  He gives you the information about the ship, and the day it is set to leave port.  The last thing he does is pull out a necklace with tiny little skulls on it.  He hands it to you, and says a few words, you know sorcery when you hear it and the necklace begins to change shape.  It turns a shadowy inky black and it floats towards your neck, where it settles, you feel a tiny sting as it sears itself into your skin like a tattoo before fading away.  "Just a precaution.  If anything should happen to ya, we'll be able to find you... and come help.  This little number lets us know exactly where ya are."  He puts just a little too much emphasis on the last part for your liking.  "Me and me boys got yer back for sure, not to worry.  Your an honorary member of our crew now.  Heck, you could travel anywhere in creation and we would be able to find you.  To track you down...to help of course." Once again he has a jovial laughing manner about him, but his eyes have a fiercely predatory gleam.

And then you are invited back to the main room, where they are serving all manner of alcoholic spirits of which you are forced to try.  Despite the rather tense negotiations you have a rather enjoyable evening drinking Stygian liquors with the ghost of men long dead.  Come morning you are slumped in a dingy little basement, somewhere youve never seen before.  You stumble out, once more in the land of the living, to take a piss.

How do you go about gathering your scattered men just hours into their leave?
How do you try and earn your way onto the ships crew?
Do you do anything else?

This message was last updated by the GM at 20:07, Tue 21 Jan.

Golden Lion (DS)
 player, 13 posts
Sun 5 Jan 2020
at 07:42
Golden Lion - Birth of a Nation (DS)
Golden Lion gathers himself, but is still full of questions.  But these will have to wait.  He mentally catalogues his experiences, to be delved into later.  But then he begins to question. Was it all a dream? His hand goes to his neck, where he feels a tingling coldness.  So it is real.  He knows his dream self will rage at him for allowing sorcery to be done to him.  But he would make a kingdom where all may live.  Purity leads to downfall, there must be a place for darkness to live within their walls, else darkness will bring the walls down.

Golden Lion is used to using the sun to find his bearings no matter where he is or how lost, and in gloom-cursed Champoor he finds this impossible.  Still, he manages to find his way back to the Salty Serpent, though it's harder than he's used to.  Once there, he meets Kerakis in the common room.  The big man is relieved to see him, Golden Lion had disappeared for a day and a night, and his retainers have scattered around the city looking for him.

"We have a job.  Round up the others, I'll be in my room making preparations."


Golden Lion goes to his room.  Moving things carefully, quietly, the bed goes against the window, the bedclothes under the door.  He knows what he must do, no captain will accept a sailor wearing a massive set of golden armor.  But he must have it if he is to engage in annihilation.  He sits, and meditates, recalling the powers of his past lives.  His anima flares, as he imbues himself with power.  He rests, lets his banner fade, then repeats the process.

Using Power-Awarding Prana:
Imbuing Whirlwind Armor-Donning Prana (Committing xp cost 13/13 motes from peripheral - don armor in 3 rounds)
Imbuing Hauberk-Summoning Gesture (Committing xp cost 13/10 motes from peripheral, 3 from personal - send armor to/summon armor from Elsewhere, same speed as donning)
Waiting for Anima to fade in between.


Having finished his preparations, Golden Lion dons his armor, the process impossibly quick now.  Then he concentrates, and the armor disappears, piece by piece, as quickly as he donned it.  Next, he turns to his huge sailor's duffel.  He picks through it, discarding enough so that his blade will fit inside it, packed into the clothes.

This finished, he heads downstairs to check on the men.  About half have returned, having been tracked down by Kerakis, and he takes all but one along to search for the rest.  After a couple hours of searching, and finding two more of his crew looking for him in the docks, he returns to the Salty Serpent, and sees that Kerakis is there, as well as the rest of his men.  Finally, they are all gathered, including the ones he left behind at the ship.

Golden Lion explains what is happening.  They will be temporarily joining the crew of a ship, and attacking another that their ship will be meeting out at sea.  They will act as sailors, but with weapons close to hand, and a weather eye out for any unexpected change in the plan.  And of course they won't call him Captain.

2 hours to the next high tide.  He tells the men the name of the ship they are going to, the Lucky Penny, and one has seen it docked.  As he leads the way, Golden Lion finally has a chance to think.  What am I doing?  What was the darkness that recruited me?  What power do they have over me?  Will the offered reward be given?  He forces himself to view this as a favor done for a potential ally, rather than following the orders of a dark force.  And he will interpret the request broadly.  One ship must disappear, but nothing was said about the other ship.  For now, though, he will tell the captain the truth.  These men are experienced naval officers, retired and now civilian crew of a ship which was impounded by the city for fees due.  They are friends, have worked together for years, so they are hoping to find a ship short enough on crew that they can all be hired together.  And of course, Golden Lion has a way of getting what he wants from people.

Arriving at the Lucky Penny, he stands at the gangplank and calls out.

He will be speaking to the Captain, using an Instill action to create a lesser intimacy - Golden Lion and his friends are valued members of the crew - supplementing with Listener-Swaying Argument (3 essence - free success and 1 bonus die for every two points the target's resolve is boosted)

23:38, Today: Golden Lion (DS) rolled 6 successes using 10d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 with rolls of 10,3,7,1,1,7,1,7,8,3.  Manipulation + Presence to instill minor intimacy.

This message was last edited by the player at 08:13, Sun 05 Jan.

Storyteller
 GM, 161 posts
Mon 6 Jan 2020
at 03:20
Golden Lion - Birth of a Nation (DS)
Gain 1 Exp

He is hesitant at first to hire such a large compliment of previous crew, but you impress upon him both the skill of your men as well as yourself.  And after some tough bargaining, he agrees to take you on.  The crew of the ship is is around 35-40 men, with you and your men, it takes the total closer to 50.

What is your plan on making the other ship disappear?  What do you plan to do with the current crew?  If you dont plan on murdering the entire crew of both ships, how do you plan on making sure that no word of what happened reaches Champoor?  Do you make any preparations for the inevitable meeting in a few days time?
Golden Lion (DS)
 player, 15 posts
Mon 6 Jan 2020
at 06:50
Golden Lion - Birth of a Nation (DS)
Sailors like to tell stories, and talk.  One watch on duty, one watch sleeping, leaves one watch idle.  And it happens that the golden-haired, golden bearded man knows more of Creation than almost anyone they've met.  Every day he tells fascinating stories, alternating his sleep-time so that everyone on the crew has a chance to hear him.  But the stories are not just stories.  They are laced with the injustice of the empire, the atrocities of the Dragonblooded, and the glory of Golden Lion.  Golden Lion is always careful to sit near the forecastle hatch, and he thinks the last night he saw the captain's door open a crack, to enable listening?

They have almost arrived at their destination, the crew largely in his thrall, when Golden Lion comes off one last watch before the rendez-vous and goes to speak with the captain.  He starts with a report, claiming to do the duty on behalf of the bosun, who doesn't feel well.  (He is actually fine, but Golden Lion offered to help in his duty and he was happy to do so for his new friend.)  Golden Lion is at his most scintillating, and the report extends into a long conversation.  The groundwork laid by his stories, Golden Lion tells the captain part of the truth.  He is a seasoned captain, new to Champoor, run afoul of the regulations and taxes.  That he is looking to create a trading network, that he is looking for loyal captains.  He is here as a test, to see what this ship and this crew is capable of, and he is very impressed, this is a great crew and a canny captain, and he wants to work with him in the future.  The captain will still control his ship, but he will perform lucrative trade using the knowledge Golden Lion can offer, and he will have the protection of the rest of the network.  They have one last task, one more test.  A ship, owned by a rival, that they must destroy utterly.  Golden Lion must test the other captain's loyalty, and must test his men's prowess in ship-to-ship action.  They are not pirates, but they must be able to fight.

Not completely sure how this should work, but I guess trying to instill and enhance two intimacies - one that "the Dragonblooded realms are evil tyrants" (both the Realm and Prasad), the other "Golden Lion is amazing and I would follow him anywhere".  Basically to make the crew and captain of this ship loyal to him.

Listener-Swaying Argument (3 essence - free success and 1 bonus die for every two points the target's resolve is boosted)

22:51, Today: Golden Lion (DS) rolled 6 successes using 11d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 with rolls of 10,1,6,7,2,9,1,6,8,2, 8.  Manipulation + Presence to instill minor intimacies, 1 mote for an extra die.

This message was last edited by the player at 06:53, Mon 06 Jan.

Storyteller
 GM, 172 posts
Tue 14 Jan 2020
at 00:14
Golden Lion - Birth of a Nation (DS)
You can instill one intimacy. Choose which you prefer.

The crew is easily swayed with an intimacy of "Impressed by Golden Lion and his stories".  They find you likable and enjoy having you on the crew not only because of your your stories, but also due to your knowledge of all things nautical.

18:04, Today: Storyteller, on behalf of Golden Lion (DS), rolled 3 successes using 8d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 with rolls of 3,3,8,8,3,8,6,2.  Impressing the Crew (Int + Sail).

The Captain however, is more difficult to win over.  He is an older man with years of experience and it will take more than a story and a smile to win him over.  He is also suspicious of the way you and your crew are behaving, so you have to overcome that somehow.

The captain will require some sort of "gift" to develop even a minor intimacy like his crew.  This doesnt have to be a physical item, but you must do something to convince him that he should like/be impressed by you.  He likes your offer but isnt going to take it on faith that you have the ability to do any of the things you are alluding to.  Bars are filled with men who been unable to fulfill their promises.

The morning comes, and you are supposed to meet with the other ship later that day.  Your time alone with the captain is quickly coming to and end.

What do u do?
Golden Lion (DS)
 player, 17 posts
Sun 19 Jan 2020
at 00:20
Golden Lion - Birth of a Nation (DS)
He knows he should instill an intimacy to make the crew loyal, but he can't prioritize that over the proper hatred of the dragonblooded, so he instills in them the truth of Prasad's and the Realm's tyranny and lies.

Later, talking to the captain, he senses the man's disbelief that he is anything but a trickster.

"Listen.  I want to show you something, but before I do I want to give you my word that I am not your enemy, and I do not plan mutiny.  You are meeting up with a ship later.  My men and I are here to do our part for your crew, but we are also here as enemies of that ship.

It is not my intention to involve you in that fight.  But I must prepare for it, so I am going to show you something of my power.  It is not a threat, and I will not take your ship from you."

Golden Lion stands, and steps away from the table they are chatting across.  He concentrates, and a golden breastplate appears on his body, followed by the rest of his armor over the next few seconds.  He stands in the little cabin, wearing armor of gleaming orichalcum, a slight glow suffusing him, and he looks into the captain's eyes.

"I am Golden Lion of the Unfettered Heaven.  If you follow me, you will attain prosperity and glory, and in time I will lead you to a land where the Realm will be but a memory, where you can live free, as you see fit, where all people, mortal or not, will live as well as they choose to."
Storyteller
 GM, 188 posts
Sun 19 Jan 2020
at 17:44
Golden Lion - Birth of a Nation (DS)
11:09, Today: Storyteller, on behalf of Golden Lion (DS), rolled 3 successes using 9d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 with rolls of 1,4,3,5,8,6,6,8,7.  Convince the Captain (Man + Presence).

Listener Swaying Argument 3m.  +1 success

Total successes = 4


"Aye that is a neat trick boy, and quite the fancy armor to boot.  But making yer armor appear is a far cry from being the boss of a "lucrative trading network" isnt it?  And by yer own admission cant even pay the taxes in port.  It seems to me that i am more the leader of a lucrative trading network than you.  You want me and my men to put our lives on the line, to prove something to you?  To then have the opportunity to work underneath of you?  And how is it exactly that my men are supposed to feed themselves upon returning to port empty handed?  Do you think its common that crews are paid for not doing the job they were hired to do?  No, i think we will decline yer generous offer.

However, if you believe in yourself then you shouldnt have any qualms about a show of good faith should ya?  I wont believe in you more than you believe in you.  That fancy armor you got there is worth more than enough to cover the costs of me crew.  Give it over as payment, and my crew and i will be at your service.  I will hold on to it, and if things are as you say, and you develop a grandiose network of trading ships, then you should have no problem buying it back.  So, how much do you believe in yourself there Lion?"


With that he scoots his chair back and lays his hand on the hilt of his cutlass, a decidedly predatory glint in his eye.

What do u do?
Golden Lion (DS)
 player, 18 posts
Mon 20 Jan 2020
at 00:14
Golden Lion - Birth of a Nation (DS)
Golden Lion's eyes narrow.

"I see.  Somehow I suspect showing you the water route I took here from the Imperial City won't convince you either.  Well... I won't be giving you this armor, you can choose to see that as lack of belief if you want.  My men and I will do what we are here to do, both with regard to honestly crewing your ship, and with regard to the ship you are meeting.  I am not a murderer, and I am not a mutineer, but I advise you to stay out of my way if you won't follow me."

With that, he tries to walk out of the cabin.
Storyteller
 GM, 192 posts
Mon 20 Jan 2020
at 03:01
Golden Lion - Birth of a Nation (DS)
The captain doesnt interfere with you leaving the cabin, but he does follow you onto the deck calling for his first-mate, quartermaster, and boatswain.  They have a little meeting up by the wheel as they look down over the crew.  You can feel their eyes following you as you walk among the men.  You dont know what they are planning, but you imagine that letting you freely interfere with the job they were hired to do so that they cant get paid is probably not very high on their list.

As you walk out on the deck, everyone stops and stairs.  Your massive armor showering the deck in rays of brilliant light as it reflects the sun.

Just to be clear, you not only have to do away with the other ship, but you have to somehow make sure that this ship cannot tell the tale of ever meeting or seeing this other ship also.

What do you plan to do?
Golden Lion (DS)
 player, 19 posts
Mon 20 Jan 2020
at 04:28
Golden Lion - Birth of a Nation (DS)
Golden Lion doesn't spend much time with the crew before he heads belowdecks, and retrieves his blade.  This is not the way he wanted things to go, but he sees no other path before him.  He feels regret at the failure that brought him to this, regrets that he was forced to lie, but he puts it aside before letting any of his men see his face.  Loyalty is clearly more important than knowledge, in those who would follow him.  He hopes he won't make the same mistake again.  Then he composes himself, concentrates, and empowers his ability to make war.

Power-Granting Prana to give himself War God Ascendant, committing 13 peripheral motes

Blazing brightly with golden light, his face a mask of resolution and fierce determination, he gathers whichever of his loyal men are below, and any of the crew of this ship that he thinks are willing to follow him, and tells them the truth.  "We have an unpleasant task before us.  We must take this ship, or we cannot go on.  We can only leave alive those of the crew who will follow me, who would have yesterday, not those who suddenly decide following me is better than death."

With that, he leads his men to do as he said.  He wills their way through the slaughter, providing a bastion of rightness for what seems like sudden and senseless violence, sparing those which he and his men believe would follow, but not swayed by sudden changes of heart.

This message was last edited by the player at 18:58, Mon 20 Jan.