The Smell of Blood and Betrayal
So this is what's gone down with my Sidereal game so far, and what's going to go down with it in the future. Comments and suggestions are more than welcome; this is the first Exalted game I've ever run. I've removed the spoilery elements, and they can be found atDissolvegirl/SiderealSpoilers.
The Cast: PCs
AutumnRain, a Chosen of Journeys who has strong opinions and is not exactly in love with Yu-Shan;\\ Fleet Summer Bier, a cocky young Chosen of Endings with serious moves and Shalrina, Daimiyo of Faces for a girlfriend;\\ Biam, a (now-deceased) Chosen of Secrets greedy to know every secret he can find;\\ Zhou Fang, Biam's friend and bodyguard, a Chosen of Battles who believes in the ideals of the Beaureacracy, not neccessarily the realities.
The Cast: Miscellaneous NPCs
Linara Han, a Chosen of Secrets who ran the Gold Faction's circle in the South;\\ Tai Lisek, a Chosen of Endings who ran the Bronze Faction's circle in the South;\\ Blood Ruby, a courtesan from the Varang City-State of Takinal that Exalted as an Eclipse caste Solar when Autumn rain brought her to Yu-Shan and had her sit in his Celestial Manse for more than a few hours;\\ Brilliance Sunspeaker, a Wolfwood-esque Zenith who met up with the party when he was the best friend, drinking buddy, and general advisor to the leader of Harborhead;\\ <bDissolvegirl/TriumphantJadePhoenix,</b> a wood-aspected outcaste that drinks and dreams;\\ Ravenous Skies, Bitter Dust of the Whispering Wastelands, a Day Caste trained by Mask of Winters as his ambassador to all Exalts;\\ Hakan Dyami, an elder Chosen of Endings who also happens to be Kejak's right-hand man, and second-in-command to all the Bronze Faction.
Summary of past events:
The characters began in the Varang city-state of Takinal. After a typically odd minor errand (stealing a child from a local Dragonblooded and giving it to an orphanage), the two southern circles joined together in the glass towers of Chiaroscuro to discuss a problem. A Solar used a whole bunch of Essence to save the life of the Mayor of Harborhead, Burnt Wisdom, when he was supposed to have been killed. A skirmish between Harborhead and Takinal was supposed to be the result; now, 147 people will die of sword wounds that were never inflicted.
The meeting quickly degenrated into a debate on whether or not the Solar in question should be killed. The PCs mention that, regardless of what happens to the Solar, there will still be a snag in the Tapestry. The session ended with Autumn Rain taking off with his courtesan, Blood Ruby, to Takinal and the satrap, Fleet Summer Bier, Biam, and Zhou Fang in hurried tow. Linara went with the Bronze circle to Harborhead, to ensure nothing happened to the solar.
One word: bloodbath.
The characters succeeded, perfectly and to the letter. Autumn Rain did well in churning the waters for war; not only was the Satrap in agreement that Harborhead should be attacked, he decided it should be full-force instead of the small retainer that would have been defending Takinal from the Harborhead militia, had the Mayor been assassinated. He sends his entire force, including the kickass Brides of Alhat, to massacre the city. Forget a clash of armies; Harborhead hit the Satrap where it hurts (by brutally murdering his mistress, another thing done by Autumn Rain), and he planned to hit back by storming the Mayor's palace and murdering his children.
Meanwhile, the other group had not been as successful. They shirked their duties, and the days were "Takinal" unsuccesfully attempting to kill the Solar, only to be thwarted by Linara, wearing a Resplendant Destiny and pretending to be a defactor from Takinal. The Solar doesn't trust her one iota, and tried to cinvince Burnt Wisdom to distrust Linara. It all ended up a huge mess, especially when Autumn Rain caught Linara and Tai in a "compromising position" in the towers of Chiaroscuro.
Harborhead was razed, the Realm was displeased and came down had on Takinal. Stanewald, the second circle demon who loves the sound of crumbling stone, showed up that night to dance in the darkness.
Biam's library priveleges got revoked by someone higher in the Beaureau; no one would say who, and when the PCs went to look up the paperwork, it was missing.
Blood Ruby began to have flashback memories of fun and decadence during the First Age; she was an important diplomat and accomplished dancer.
The party also met an outcaste Dragonblooded in Chiaroscuro who called himself Triumphant Jade Phoenix. FSB and Autumn Rain slapped each other on the shoulders and decided that their new friend was going to someday be the new Emperor of the Realm. (I have no idea how this is going to work, but it should be interesting.)
Meanwhile, it seemed the city of Harborhead's rebuilding efforts were going for naught. Every night, the walls built that day would crumble in a matter of hours. (This was because of Stanewald.)
Biam got a note that simply said "Come alone," with a time and place, and was signed "The Legion of Silence." It was stuck in one of his prayer books, on the page with the scripture of the Maiden and the Doll. He went, sure enough; that night, his sorceries dissipated. The next day, the characters went to the place mentioned, and found nothing but a starry-green eye and a tongue.
The characters were called to Yu-Shan to be interrogated. Fleet Summer Bier ate the eye using a RD effect to see the last thing the eye saw: it was a man with starry red eyes leaving him for dead, and then a beautiful deathknight showing up later, and saying, "You poor afflicted child." The eye dropped to the ground and went blank. All the Chosen of Battles were thoroughly interrogated, and Autumn Rain swore to Linara, Ayesha Ura, and Lytek that he would find Biam's killer and get to the bottom of the Legion of Silence, or else die trying.
Fleet Summer Bier was in Yu-Shan, spending quality time with his Sifu, Soran Li-- a powerful Bronze Faction martial artist who developed the Prismatic Arrangement of Creation style with the help of one of FSB's former incarnations.
Meanwhile, Zhou Fang and Autumn Rain worked on making Takinal and Harborhead stop fighting. Blood Ruby helped by getting the satrap of Takinal interested in his wife again, and in Harborhead, Brilliance Sunspeaker introduced the party as his close friends and scored them accountrements in the castle, as well as a party in their honor. The PCs also got a chance to observe the walls crumbling themselves.
After sneaking out of the party early, they investigated around the wall and found Stanewald dancing in the darkness. After a slight exchange of words, the Yozi She Who Lives In Her Name took hold of Stanewald, expressing her desire to make the world full of order once more and concentrating mostly on the Solars-- Zhou Fang used Avoidace Kata on them, sending them to the party they had skipped out on, so that they were never there. Then SWLIHN began to concentrate on Zhou Fang, talking about how similar they were, and how she only wanted what was best for Creation. After banishing the demon, Zhou Fang used Avoidance Kata on himself, so he too had never been there. (As far as Autumn Rain knows, he wandered off by himself, ran into a second circle demon, had a conversation with a Yozi and convinced her to leave. He feels pretty badassed now.)
After this, they found out that a Chosen of Battles named Taran Pach was killed while on an operation near Thorns. Burning with a desire to investigate, the party took Ayesha Ura up on her offer to transfer them anywhere in Creation, opting to go to the Wood convention and the Scavenger Lands, operating out of Nexus. They broke into Sunspeaker's old tomb, and arranged to travel on the next Guild caravan past Thorns. They also brought their pet Dragon-Blooded with them.
Leaving the Solars and Phoenix in Nexus, the group travelled to Thorns, where-- after an attack by hungry ghosts-- they were greeted by Ravenous Skies, Mask of Winter's ambassador to Exalts in his territory, and asked to a private audience with the Lord of Thorns himself.
Autumn Rain was prepared for just such an occurance, and had built up fifty successes composing the perfect epic song about Mask of Winters, and got eleven successes performing it. Needless to say, he was impressed, and offered them free reign of the Citadel, save for his own personal chambers.
That night, the group decided to try to break into his chambers, but found out that he was expecting a very important guest. Through CMoS sneakery, Fleet Summer Bier was able to listen outside of one of the windoes to Mask of Winter's chamber, and surmised that the visitor was in fact Hakan Dyami, second in command of the Bronze Faction. Mask of Winters mentioned that a Sidereal circle was in his citadel looking for She Who Calls the Wind of Tears (a name that had no meaning for the party), a ronin from The Lover who had recently began work for Mask. There was also a mention of Dyami's "Lady."
The next morning, Autumn Rain performed the last two hours of his epic about Mask of Winters while Fleet Summer Bier rifled through the Deathlord's personal chamber. (Talk about balls!) He decided to keep a couple books on necromancy-- and pages from a very detailed report he found regarding every member of the party, their likes and dislikes; favorite foods, etc. Even some stuff on Linara. He took the first page of each dossier and mixed the rest together, then got the heck out of dodge. The party hid for a while before sneaking off and away, going back to Nexus and heading to Yu-Shan, where they reqyuested a suit of Crimson Armor of the Unseen Assassin.
Due to everything the party did previously, the request was quickly and vehemently denied. (There are worse things than a party of barely-not-ronin hotheads having the ability to be outside fate, but not many.)
They waited around for a time when Dyami was going to be in Creation, and (once again, talk about balls) snuck into his manse. They found unsigned love letters written in green ink, from a woman saying she missed Dyami greatly, but heaven had no hold over her any more, etc. They also found a painting of the Maiden of Endings. On closer inspection, they realized the painting was in fact painted over a picture of another woman, and noticed that there were a couple green flecks in the Maiden's purple eyes. They also found one of the cards that said LEGION OF SILENCE.
Autumn Rain took the love letters, placed the card in the secret compartment the letters were in, and wrote "Silence will be broken" on the back of the card.
They found the artist who did the painting, and he told them a tale of Aia Lidra, also known as the Green Lady, and how her ronin ways broke Dyami's heart.
After this, they decided they were getting way too deep without any evidence, and sent Blood Ruby off to use her considerable "talents" to secure them enough favors in the Beareau of Serenity to get a copy of the plans for the Crimson Armor. They then took the plans to a friend of Sunspeaker's-- a Twilight named Shadowy Dawn-- and are now trying to collect a massive amount of exotic components.
FSB was absent in this session, being called to Yu-Shan as a temporary Sifu for Gold Faction sidereals just getting started in VBoS or CMoS. Zhou Fang-- damned if I remember the sorry excuse for why he wasn't there. Anyway.
Autumn Rain was running about the West, and got assigned a new Circle member-- a Chosen of Secrets who was assigned to keep the party from making any Crimson Armor. Most of the session involved Autumn Rain sneaking about and aquiring exotic components while the spy snuck about and tried to get information on how far he was from his goal and any proper way to stop him.
Blood Ruby almost left Autumn Rain after throwing a fit in regards to him taking Ayesha Ura as a date to a party being held by Alhat that was all major Gods and higher-ranking Bronze Sidereals, including Kejak and his second in command. Their relationship is rocky, but Autumn Rain is doing his best with his social combo to keep her from running off and doing something stupid. Meanwhile, the spy is planting seeds of dissent into her ear about how Autumn Rain doesn't care for her at all. It should be interesting to see where this goes.