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Back to Session 42

TonyC [to Apollonian]: So, was there an actual circlet?

You say, "Oh, yes. You are now in possession of an orichalcum Dragon Tear Tiara, p. 337 of the main rulebook."

TonyC [to Apollonian]: Right. No hearthstone though. Still, an extra die of Perception should be helpful.

The Storyteller . o O ( Oh, and David says he'll be late. )

TonyC [to Apollonian]: So I picked up Summoner 2, Resident Evil: Outbreak, and Resident Evil: Outbreak 2. Wonder why, though, because it's not like I'll ever actually get around playing it!

Apollonian [to TonyC]: How's Summoner 2?

TonyC [to Apollonian]: Read that.

TonyC [to Apollonian]: Dunno. It's still in the bag.

Apollonian [to TonyC]: I'm working my way through Mercenaries and GTA: San Andreas at the moment. Next up is probably God of War, but I may yet change my mind. Plus I've still got Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Paper Mario 2 to finish on the Game Cube.

TonyC [to Apollonian]: The thing is, I haven't actually played anything on the console for at least two weeks, perhaps more. The way I'm using it, the PS2 right now is an overpriced DVD player.

jetman has arrived.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Yo ho! )

The Storyteller waves to jetman

TonyC [to jetman]: Yo.

The Storyteller goes to get his coffee on... and worries about his 'net connection.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( What's up? )

TonyC [to jetman]: So Monkey got a circlet and a slap on the face for his trouble. Whatcha got?

jetman [to TonyC]: I got a rock.

TonyC [to jetman]: In HP6, So-and-so dies, Professor X is a <bzzt>, and Harry snooges Ginny.

jetman [to TonyC]: Wait, Shen got the rock, the Admiral just got sand burns.

TonyC [to jetman]: Wait, I think it's spelled snogges.

jetman [to TonyC]: They didn't change any of the British-isms in HP6...

Monkey . o O ( Snogs? Snogs. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Yes, Snogs. )

TonyC [to jetman]: So, picked up Summoner 2, RE: Outbreak, and RE: Outbreak 2. How about your gaming scene?

The Storyteller has not yet read HBP. Then again, he's already scanned spoilers and doesn't intend to read it any time soon...

Apollonian [to jetman]: Have Kaizoku make a Per + Awareness check.

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 4 dice on No Awareness and got 2 successes.

Monkey . o O ( Ah, let's start then. )

There's something on the ground in front of the Admiral, slowly gathering moisture from the air and thus, revealing itself to his magical senses.

Admiral Kaizoku toes the object carefully, then bends down to examine it more carefully. "Pieces of a puzzle?" he wonders aloud.

It's a piece of glass, shaped like a crude dagger. It has a rough feel, like it was melted and flaked by natural forces rather than shaped by magic or craft. It is sharp, too, and Admiral handles it with some care.

Meanwhile, at his perch, Monkey settles down to examine the circlet he got. Looking at it here and fro reveals nothing unusual. No cryptic runes on the inside, or a hidden compartment in the locket (too bad). With nothing else to do, Monkey places the circlet on his head. Fits like a glove. Circlet. "Hmmm, too bad there's no mirror around. Ah, well," he thinks. Leaving the circlet on his brow (most convenient way of carrying it), he starts looking around for his companions. Or a shiny mirror. That'll be fine too.

Admiral Kaizoku holds the object point down by the "hilt," with thumb and forefinger. "You all had visions of something" he says confidently, as no one was staring at him. "What did they unearth?"

The Storyteller . o O ( Hm. I'm going to answer for Shen, at least until/if Brian shows up. Give me a minute to pose. )

TonyC [to jetman]: Sitrep: Suda and Shen is with you. Outside the walls. Monkey is inside, on the top of the tomb.

Suda says, "I was speaking with... a colleague. A minor god. I'd rather not discuss the details. It ended in a flash of light, suddenly."

The Storyteller . o O ( Correction: Monkey is back on the entrance wall. )

Monkey . o O ( Ah. My mistake then. )

The Storyteller . o O ( 'scool. )

Admiral Kaizoku speaks up to Suda with "But the situation was disturbing? The objects say this was more than just a probing diversion."

Shen looks at whatever he's holding, then stuffs it into his belt pouch. "If I've learned one thing when dealing with the Wyld, it's never to trust an illusion."

Suda says, "What objects?" Kaizoku notices that her hands are empty.

Monkey says, "There was this guardian! And a rolling rock, disappearing tunnel, and a cheater! And a test! Dunno what test though, but I think I passed it, but it didn't like it. And there's a circlet in a cage in a person in the tomb in the East! I got it! How do I look? Oh, right, the person, it's me! But it's not me! Captured by a jumped out ghost and an army. Except it isn't real, but I got a shiny circlet!"

Monkey . o O ( You know, I think I do a nice impression of Fighter. "I like swords!" )

The Storyteller . o O ( Sword-chuks! )

Admiral Kaizoku holds out the dagger. "Perhaps it was linked to the original residents of the tomb, or worthy Solars alone..."

Suda says, "I have never encountered something like this, but then, I've never explored a Solar tomb in a shadowland before either. What did you experience?"

Admiral Kaizoku says vaguely "A disturbing reminder of past... misdeeds. A call from a creature to complete a transaction begun long ago."

Admiral Kaizoku says, "Monkey, what is on the other side of the wall now?"

Monkey . o O ( Presumably Kaizoku will get a proper debrief from Monkey sooner or later. Probably later. But do you want to do that in-character or should I just give you a summary? )

The Storyteller . o O ( hang on a sec, Monkey. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( He meant "now" as in "right this second," figuring it had changed from that breathless explanation. )

Monkey says, "Now? Beats me. There was a disappearing tunnel, and then runes flashing and burning out. So who knows what it looks like now."

You whisper, "On the other side of the wall, you see a garden, overgrown with weeds and brush. A pale stone pathway leads from below Monkey toward the edge of the pyramid, and a solid-looking doorway. The stone door is closed. No sign of soldiers." to TonyC.

Admiral Kaizoku asks patiently "Would you jump up and see then Monkey? And let me inspect your circlet."

Monkey says, "Sure. I see an overgrown garden, oh wait, the circlet." He takes off the circlet and is going to toss it down when he sees Kaizoku's blindfold. He tosses the circlet to Suda instead. "Don't lose it, I want it back." Turning back to look inside, he continues, "There's a pathway going toward the edge of the pyramid. Goes to a stone door. Looks pretty thick. And closed too."

Monkey . o O ( Long pose. )

Monkey . o O ( That is, I was silent because I was typing all of the above. )

Suda says, "May I see that dagger, Admiral?"

Admiral Kaizoku steps over to Suda, carefully inspecting it with his fingertips for any mystical significance. "What do you make of it?" he asks as he carefully hands it to her. "Not a key, this far from the door, I suspect."

Monkey says, "You know, now I that I think about it, I don't see any guardians. Wonder where they went."

Admiral Kaizoku says, "This is likely another test Monkey... the guardian was of strength, this is of intelligence."

Suda takes the dagger and turns it over in her hands. "Hm. It feels... like you. Metaphysically speaking. As if it were part of your anima. Perhaps creating the items was a side effect of the trap."

Admiral Kaizoku looks at the objects again, the moisture from Suda's palm lighting them up to his moisture sight. "A deliberate one, or accidental? The Shogunate did not count on the Solars returning, but other Exalts coming to the tombs."

Suda says, "Yes. This was not a test, Admiral. It was a trap, designed to kill those who approached."

Admiral Kaizoku hmmms as he holds his hand out for the dagger. "I gave them too much credit then..." he remarks. "Now, onward, over the wall!"

Monkey . o O ( How are you going to get over? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Details, details... How high was it again? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Wall's about twenty feet high, iirc. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Too high to jump. No gate nearby, right? Any trees? )

The Storyteller . o O ( No, the area is clear. No gate nearby on this side of the wall. )

Admiral Kaizoku hrms. "Monkey, leap to the top of the wall, and lean your pole over the edge... We will leap for it and you will pull us up, one at a time."

Monkey says, "Sounds like too much work. Suda, Shen, can you get over by yourselves?"

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( I hope not... )

Monkey . o O ( I think Shen is Athletic enough. Suda is a Martial Artist. )

Suda says, "Just a moment." She reaches into her ever-present bag and pulls out a coil of rope. "Really, Admiral, I would expect a sailor to know the importance of rope." She looks up at Monkey. "This should be long enough. Monkey, jump down here!"

The Storyteller . o O ( Of course, I'm assuming Monkey's atop the wall. I'm also going to go get my coffee now. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( I forgot if I declared bringing it or not... I should have a checklist. )

Monkey jumps down with ease and goes to Suda to get the rope. He ties it around his waist and jumps back up. "Okay, climb on. I got myself braced here. Not all at once though! I don't think the rope's sturdy enough!"

Admiral Kaizoku gives the rope a stern tug and braces one foot against the wall before climbing up first.

Monkey is pretty sure Kaizoku will have no trouble jumping down, and thus doesn't bother lowering him down to the other side with the rope. Instead, he shouts at Suda and Shen to be quick. "I don't have all day! Night! Whatever!"

First Shen, then Suda climb the rope. Shortly, everyone's atop the wall, gazing down at the overgrown garden below.

Admiral Kaizoku says "We will go up together, then down together Monkey... now, you first... it could be a trap."

Monkey says "Sure" without thinking and jumps down. Only later he realizes, "Hey, I thought together means together. Why am I first? What if it's really a trap?"

Admiral Kaizoku hops down himself and says "Because you have never found a trap that is a match for your legendary reflexes Monkey" as he draws his sword and scans the area.

The garden is still, dark leaves and branches contrasting with the pale stone of the path and the jade of the pyramid.

Monkey . o O ( is the tomb empty now or is this the real tomb as opposed to the tomb Monkey (thinks he) entered earlier? )

The Storyteller . o O ( A. Can't say, you're only in the garden. B. It's the real tomb. )

Admiral Kaizoku says "Lead the way, and probe the grass with your staff Monkey" as he points his sword at the pyramid. "Shen, cover the rear with your bow."

Monkey . o O ( "And Suda, do you think I'll get lucky tonight?" )

Monkey says, "Aye aye."

Monkey leads along the pathway, sweeping his staff downward and sideways at the grass.

Shen nocks an arrow and keeps an eye out behind the group. Suda begins walking a little differently, as if she's assumed a stance of some sort. It's only a short walk to the door, which stands flat against the pyramid wall, with a narrow shelf of jade above it. The door is about seven feet in height and five in width. No keyhole is visible.

Monkey knocks on the door with his staff.

Admiral Kaizoku follows along some 5 yards behind Monkey, blade at the ready, scanning the land and then the sky for anything unusual. He leaps up to grab the shelf and lifts his head to eye level with it, looking for runes or holes.

Monkey . o O ( blind. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Thanks for the reminder. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( It's a moist area! )

Monkey . o O ( spit on it. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Need to carry a waterskin for things like this. )

Suda steps forward and points at the shelf. "Look there, Admiral. See the carvings along the lintel?"

The Storyteller . o O ( Make a Per + Occult roll to decipher the carvings. )

Monkey . o O ( Bleeding works just fine too. )

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 8 dice on Per+Occ and got 1 success.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Must be important... )

Monkey . o O ( Uh, oh, some mind-blowing First Age secret then. )

The Storyteller . o O ( You can tell that it's a binding point for some kind of spell. That's about it. )

Admiral Kaizoku remarks "It is a bit hard to make out this way, but... a binding point for a spell. Countermagic, then?"

Monkey . o O ( Luckily we have a back up NPC sorcerer. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Yes indeed. We'll need three for the trip back, which also works out. )

Suda says, "Yes. It's a Terrestrial spell. This is probably what the sorcerer-technicians of the base were responsible for maintaining. I'd lay good money that mortals and lesser Exalts are unaffected by the trap we just encountered."

Monkey says, "By the way. if you're done with it, can I have the circlet back?"

Admiral Kaizoku asks politely "Would you do the honors with your countermagic then?"

Monkey . o O ( And by the way, nice write-up, the emails. Well, mine anyways. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( I concur. )

Suda shakes her head slightly. "Very well... stand back. I will risk a Sapphire Countermagic, since I don't want to underestimate the spell. I shan't be able to do this too often, though..."

Admiral Kaizoku waves the others back before moving a safe 10 feet back himself. "I do not anticipate you will. The defenses have been deep but varied... what lies ahead will not be pure spells, I suspect."

Suda opens a small case dangling from her belt and draws out a slip of paper with Old Realm characters on it. She throws it up into the air in front of her, and it begins to shine with a green light. She speaks a few words, loudly, that none of you recognize. The paper pulses with each syllable, growing brighter, and then explodes in a rush of light. The lintel over the door shines in response, emerald, and then shatters without a sound, shards of jade falling to the ground. Likewise, the door trembles, then shivers to dust that lies an inch thick upon the ground. Before you, a dark corridor leads down into the pyramid.

Admiral Kaizoku nods in thanks and approval, peering into the dark corridor from the doorway, nearly lighting up his anima banner on instinct to show the way. "What do you see?" he asks his companions, wanting to compare references.

The Storyteller . o O ( Monkey, go ahead and describe. )

Monkey . o O ( Before we move on, we need to figure out the fate of the circlet. Monkey threw it to Suda because he figures being blind, Kaizoku might not be able to catch a metal circlet. Presumably Kaizoku can easily get it from Suda or Suda might even give it to Kaizoku without being asked. But since no action specifying that has been written, I'm assuming Suda has it. If it's going to be inspected, fine, inspect it, but let's not lose it to limboland. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Oh! In that case, Suda caught it, looked it over, and handed it to Kaizoku without comment when she gave him back the glass dagger. )

Monkey . o O ( Posing. )

The Storyteller . o O ( brb )

Monkey says, "Not much. Dark corridor. Dusty. Hmmm, that's strange, no footprints, and yet I was walking through here moments ago. Careful, everyone. There might be someone here dusting the floor trying to fool us!"

Monkey . o O ( I'm assuming that the tomb Monkey went into earlier is actually a vision and thus he never actually step into the actual tomb. )

Monkey . o O ( Monkey, of course, did not make that assumption. )

Admiral Kaizoku says "Nor was there an ancient temple here Monkey. We each saw things that affected us. You were affected by the thought of getting inside here, but that was an illusion" he explains patiently. "Oh... guard this carefully." He hands back the circlet. "It may provide an arcane link to you."

Monkey says, "It may? But it's not mine. It's... oh. Hmmmm."

Admiral Kaizoku asks "Who did you see it as belonging to Monkey?"

Monkey says, "Me. The me in the cage though. But it was given to me, so I suppose it's mine after all."

Monkey . o O ( Ack. Skunk-o-smell. Must be one in the backyard. )

Admiral Kaizoku says, "Exactly, Monkey. All the contents of this tomb are all rightfully ours."

Monkey says, "Personally I prefer mightfully ours. But let's go!"

Admiral Kaizoku reminds Monkey to "Sweep the path... and do not touch any strange objects without consulting us first! There are likely magical weapon traps within."

Monkey descends into the dark, relying on his anime for lighting.

The Storyteller . o O ( back. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Which anime are best for lighting? :) )

The corridor is not steep, and the blue jade that lines it shines in the anima flare.

Monkey . o O ( Photon, naturally. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Inu Yasha, perhaps. )

Monkey . o O ( <chaching!> )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( No, Transformers The Movie! "Light our darkest hour!" )

Monkey . o O ( No, my pun was best! I mean, Photon, come on. )

Monkey descends into the dark, relying on his anima for lighting.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( But one photon sheds very little light! )

The corridor descends at a steady rate for about a hundred paces, until at last you come to another door, a double door. This one is of carefully worked jade, with two great golden plates in the center of each door. Each plate is inscribed in Old Realm: Curst be that which lies beyond. Enter not.

Monkey . o O ( You don't want more than one Photon anyway. I mean, have you seen how much collateral damage he makes? And that's just him. If you add all the hanger-ons.... )

Admiral Kaizoku runs his hands over the plates, depending on the moisture from his hands to bring out all the details. "Typical of their propaganda..." he says with a scowl. He steps back and pushes at the door with his sword.

Monkey twirls the circlet around his index finger as he waits for Kaizoku to push the door open.

Suda says, "Careful." The door swings open gently at Kaizoku's prodding, and the temperature in the hallway drops a few degrees. Monkey realizes that he can suddenly see his breath. Inside, it is dark save for the anima flare. Frost coats the floor.

Monkey says, "Brrr, cold enough for a yeddim coat."

Nevertheless, Monkey is the first to enter.

Monkey . o O ( this could be problematic. )

Admiral Kaizoku says "Watch your footing..." as he follows after Monkey, minding his footing on the slick floor. "The cause of this cold is the next trap..." he says as he thinks of cold-using demons.

The Storyteller . o O ( Looking something up )

Monkey rolled 8 dice on Sta + Res and got 5 successes.

Monkey rolled 5 dice on Sta + End and got 4 successes.

As you step across the threshold, the chill strikes you to your very bones, freezing the breath in your throat. Shen gasps, and Suda says, "Th-th-this is n-n-n-n-not n-n-n-natural." You are in a tall and wide chamber, rimed with frost and built of blue jade. It is octagonal in shape, rising up to a flat roof some thirty feet above you. In the center is a bier of blue jade, on which a shape rests -- someone in armor. Kaizoku's anima casts long shadows across the chamber. (Thanks to the ice, he can also see very well indeed.)

The Storyteller . o O ( Everyone needs to make a Sta + Res roll, though Monkey's already made his. )

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 4 dice on No resist and got 5 successes.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Oh, my god. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Wa wa waaa... )

The Storyteller . o O ( Shoot, gotta look something up. Just a moment. )

Admiral Kaizoku doesn't even bother to button his coat, the fires of curiosity burning high as he advances on the bier in the middle of the room, peering ahead to find any runes on the object before he gets too close.

You rolled 2 dice on Shen resistance and got no successes but no botches either.

You rolled 5 dice on Suda resistance and got 2 successes.

Suda draws her robes tighter around her and digs in her bag for something warmer. Shen wishes he'd brought a coat and starts to lose feeling in his extremities.

Monkey . o O ( If it's important, Monkey at least have his caste mark glowing bright. Possibly his anima banner is corruscant too, depending on whether you want to count two or one scene. )

As the edge of Kaizoku's anima reaches the bier, the figure stirs. Its head rocks a little, then a hand gropes toward a chakram resting on the bier beside it as the figure rises. At this distance, Kaizoku and Monkey can make it out more clearly -- it's a suit of First Age armor, of steel and other stuff, covered in blue jade. Ancient symbols mark its pauldrons and helm.

Admiral Kaizoku stops walking when the armor reaches for a weapon. "Hail to the true heroes of the first age! The Solars of today seek to redeem your legacy!" he calls out, bringing his sword up in a salute before his face.

Monkey says, "Yeah. I'm called Monkey. What about you?"

Admiral Kaizoku looks between Monkey and the armor, but stays quiet, speculating that this must be Monkey's past life.

Monkey . o O ( What past life? :) )

A gust of chill wind blows over the admiral, freezing the sweat on his brow. The armor shouts, in Old Realm, "Accursed one! I shall spill your blood again, though I too be cursed once more!" In a blur, it leaps to its feet, and then beyond, rising up on a column of wind and ice crystals. Suda shouts, "Admiral! That's no Solar! 'Tis Armor of the Air Dragon!"

TonyC [to jetman]: Monkey's story in the contest is about as close to past life as we get so far.

Admiral Kaizoku scowls inwardly as he realizes his optimism has blinded him to the obvious. "Then you will come to your death as many times as needed!" he shouts back at the armor, bringing his blade up.

The Storyteller . o O ( Roll init, btw. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Well, he's got one somewhere, I'm sure. And with weapons Jesse? )

Monkey looks up, one eye closed, estimating distance.

Monkey rolled 1d10+16 and got 21.

The Storyteller . o O ( Only if you can reach the armor. It's about ten feet off the ground now, moving backward. )

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 1d10+7 and got 17.

Monkey . o O ( In most circumstances, I'm going to assume that Monkey can reach it. On those occassion when I'm wrong, just tell me and I'll substract the speed from the roll. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Sounds about right. Just a minute -- gotta get some numbers. )

Monkey . o O ( Outcaste or Aspect: Air. )

Monkey . o O ( Nevermind. Of course you know. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Yup. )

Monkey . o O ( Delaying until armor acts. Two actions. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( I'm presuming the armor is up next? )

On 1d10+8, you rolled 13.

On 1d10+10, you rolled 17.

On 1d10+20, you rolled 25.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( I don't like the looks of that. )

Monkey . o O ( Hmmm, might be an abort to full dodge. :) )

Suda acts first, and she drops into a martial arts stance you've seen her take before. Shen looses an arrow at the armor, essence flaring from his powerbow as he draws.

Monkey . o O ( Phew, that's Blade of Battle Maiden. )

You rolled 16 dice on Shen attacks and got 8 successes.

You rolled 3 dice on something and got 1 hit.

Shen's arrow flies true, buffeted slightly by the winds around the armor, and buries itself into the knee-joint of the ancient guardian.

The Storyteller . o O ( Kaizoku, your go. )

Admiral Kaizoku's blindcloth wrinkles as his brow furrows... another missed call, opportunities presented and pulled away... it is fraying his temper as little else has. He charges forward aggressively, experienced with icy decks from the Northern campaigns. Gritting his teeth, he swings his daiklave at the point in the armor that Shen's arrow sank into, hard.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( One action, straight up attack. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Good for a 2-die stunt )

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 16 dice on Angry Cut! and got 11 successes.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Naturally, since I didn't use Hungry Tiger... )

Monkey . o O ( Good! Maybe Monkey won't have to work after all. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Oh, I thought of a good venue for Monkey's challenge... a mock naval battle, with each of them commanding a ship. )

As Kaizoku's blade bites into the armor, it crackles with electricity, lightning dancing along the blue jade and up the admiral's daiklave.

The Storyteller . o O ( You hit, but take some damage. )

Monkey . o O ( Hah! That's a good one. If you don't get a better idea by the time, let's do that. )

The Storyteller . o O ( What's your soak? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( 10. )

Monkey . o O ( "I'll show mine if you show yours." )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( And how many successes? His soak? )

You rolled 4 dice on electrocution and got no hits.

The Storyteller . o O ( 15L )

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 7 dice on something and got 6 hits.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Yow! )

Admiral Kaizoku digs his blade into the knee joint of the armor, then pivots it back up to the waist, tearing open the jade alloy with a terrible grinding noise.

The admiral's stroke cleaves the armor's leg off at the knee. The lower part flies off into a distant corner of the chamber. There is no blood, but a cloud of dust erupts from the wound as Kaizuko widens the tear. With an awful shrieking noise, something departs from the armor, which falls limply to the floor.

Monkey lets out a big yawn.

Monkey shuffles toward the armor and prods it with the staff. "I think you broke it."

Admiral Kaizoku whips his blade out to his side to free any debris clinging to it. "I expected too much..." he remarks. "Take its weapon, Monkey."

The Storyteller . o O ( Posing? )

Monkey's eyes dart left and right as he looks at his hands, one holding the staff and the other the circlet. Finally he settles on a course of action. His left foot fishes the chakram and kicks it up the air as his left hand places the circlet back on his brow. As the chakram falls down, Monkey catches it on the edge with the staff. The chakram rolls down along the staff and then Monkey panics, as he figures his pouch is nowhere near big enough for a chakram. Oh well, he'll just carry it with his left hand.

Monkey . o O ( And that's my action. Hey, I didn't get to do anything. So I'm making up for lost time. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Gotcha. )

The Storyteller . o O ( grabbing some more coffee. Basic infinite jade chakram. )

Monkey . o O ( It never runs out of jade! )

Admiral Kaizoku crouches down before the armor to inspect the ruins, hoping to find a pendant or other key-like artifact for further access.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Time for a binge then! )

TonyC [to jetman]: Grab the armor on the way out. If it's repairable, then you got something worth a lot.

Monkey . o O ( Any excuse is a good excuse for a binge. )

jetman [to TonyC]: Or we can find a one-legged man to sell it to as-is!

TonyC [to jetman]: Wait, didn't we met such a DB commander during the Celeren arc?

The Storyteller . o O ( Yes, you did. IIRC. )

jetman [to TonyC]: Hmmm... he lost something, I can't remember what.

Monkey . o O ( Jackpot! Now we'll just have to make sure the missing leg is on the same side. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Everybody make Sta + Res rolls again. )

You rolled 2 dice on Shen shiver and got 1 botch.

You rolled 5 dice on Suda shiver and got 2 successes.

Monkey rolled 8 dice on Sta + Res and got 2 botches.

Monkey . o O ( Woo hoo! )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Shen's going to freeze to death... )

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 4 dice on Don't freeze up! and got 2 successes.

Monkey . o O ( Frostburn! )

The Storyteller . o O ( he might... )

Shen drops his bow. "Admiral..." he says, "I can't feel my fingers...."

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Is there a door on the other side of the room? )

Admiral Kaizoku whips off his coat and strides over to Shen. "Wrap them in this!" he says with some urgency. "We are leaving now!"

The Storyteller . o O ( No. But make a Per + Awareness roll. )

Monkey rolled 4 dice on Per + Awa and got 1 success.

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 4 dice on Per and got 2 successes.

Monkey . o O ( Let's see. Supernatural Ice Storm failed resist is 3L. Double that. 6L. -2L soak from Stamina. Call it 4L damage? )

On your way out the door, you note that the air in the chamber seems to be drawn toward the base of the bier on which the armor rested. A quick glance, and you see that the carving there might conceal holes -- or perhaps something more.

The Storyteller . o O ( Yup, 4L. )

Admiral Kaizoku gives Shen a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder and walks back to the bier... he crouches down and scrapes up some frost on his blade, then lets it fall around where he sees the air moving, hoping the water will show the way.

Monkey says, "I-I'm staying put."

Suda drapes Kaizoku's coat over Shen and guides him toward the doorway. She says back over her shoulder, "Admiral, I'm taking Shen back to the Sun. Can you handle this on your own, or should I return?"

Admiral Kaizoku says "Tend to him and mind the Sun..." to Suda. "I feel more comfortable with your expertise aboard in this strange port."

Monkey tries to get this done quickly, so he circles the bier one more time to see if anything else comes to view.

Monkey . o O ( Nothing? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Probably a long departure pose. )

Suda says, "Aye, aye, Admiral," and disappears up the corridor. Meanwhile, Kaizoku sees the frost vanish into regularly spaced holes in the base of the bier. The holes are the mouths of various beasts and birds of the north carved in a pattern around the edge.

Admiral Kaizoku says "Monkey, this side!" as he leans against the left side of the beir and pushes. "A simple slide is obvious, true... but eliminate the obvious first!"

Having done that and not seeing anything obvious, Monkey braces his back on the bier. Shivering as the cold seeps through his jacket, he takes a couple deep breaths and gathers his strength. Then he heaves back and if that doesn't work, up.

The Storyteller . o O ( what's the strength rating? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( 3 here. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Oh! Forgot: in the armor, there was a hearthstone. )

Monkey . o O ( Mechanical. Start with 3. If that doesn't work, WP for feats of strength. If that doesn't work, WP to channel Valor, if you'll allow it. Justification: why the heck is Monkey staying here? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( What kind? )

Monkey rolled 9 dice on WP and got 4 successes.

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 3 dice on Str and got 2 successes.

Monkey . o O ( Feat of Strength: strength of 7. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Erm, the Underworld equivalent to Air. I gotta make it up. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Let's see -- total of 10, then. )

Monkey . o O ( Air. It's just an Underworld Air-Aspect Manse, I think. )

Under pressure from both Solars, the bier does not move -- at first. Then something snaps deep inside it, and it slowly slides across the frosty stone. Slowly, a hole appears, round and dark, about three feet across.

The Storyteller . o O ( Well, yeah, but I rather like the idea of specific Underworld elements. I think the ones bouncing around the Wiki are Blood, Bone, Ghost Flame, Jade, and Prayer. )

Admiral Kaizoku leans in close to peer down the hole, scraping more frost to get an idea of its depth.

Monkey, tight-lipped, and seemingly in a hurry, looks at Kaizoku for a moment before jumping in.

Monkey . o O ( So, I end up in the Labyrinth then? )

The Storyteller . o O ( oooh, good idea. )

Monkey . o O ( Hey, only the best for Monkey. )

The hole goes straight down, and the Admiral watches Monkey's caste mark light it up for about a second, maybe two. Then Monkey falls into some vast space beneath, and then there's a splash.

The Storyteller . o O ( Monkey, you're in the middle of an underground lake. )

Admiral Kaizoku muses "I should have had Suda leave the rope" before he calls down "How far is it Monkey? And watch for the water-aspect armor!"

Monkey . o O ( Crap, I'm wet. Temperature? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Cold, but not near freezing. Umm... say it's about 70 degrees F. )

Monkey says, "Not far at all!"

Admiral Kaizoku sheathes his blade and lowers himself into the hole, working his way down more slowly than Monkey's blind leap.

Monkey looks around, this time for the carvings for siaka and turtles.

Monkey rolled 3 dice on Int + Lor and got 2 successes.

Monkey . o O ( Yeah, I think I can justify that. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Okay. Kaizoku, Dex + Athletics. )

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 6 dice on something and got 1 success.

Monkey treads water and looks around. He's in a low-ceilinged cavern filled with water. The roof is about a yard above him, but he can't see any walls, so it must be a big chamber. He can't feel any ground -- or, for that matter, anything else -- beneath him, nor is there any current. The water is salty, so it probably connects to the sea somewhere. He has no idea how deep he is relative to sea level, though -- probably beneath it. What he can feel, though, is the flow of air, a soft and cold breeze coming down from the hole and then heading off to his left. think Admiral, you're able to chimney down the hole safely and slowly to the end of it, where you'll have to drop.

The Storyteller . o O ( Admiral, you're able to chimney down the hole safely and slowly to the end of it, where you'll have to drop. )

Admiral Kaizoku calls out "Stand clear!" as he lets himself go, plunging downward feet first into the water. Monkey says, "I can't."

SFX: Splash.

Monkey explains as he wipes the water off his face, "Nothing to stand on.

Monkey says, "But there's a breeze this way. Follow me."

Monkey starts swimming to his left.

Admiral Kaizoku says "It is not like you to be so literal... now, stay alert... ah, good. There may be a guardian, water-based..." before he starts to swim after Monkey.

Monkey . o O ( This might be a good time to test. Are you blind under water? I mean, if there's a concave bubble of air surrounded by water, does the blindfold perceive it? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( It would definitely pick up the flow of the water, even very small movements... hmmm. )

It's a tiring swim, lit only by your caste marks. You move through the dark, waveless water for maybe half an hour until, finally, you see something ahead in the far distance. A few minutes later, your feet touch the bottom, rising slowly beneath you as you move forward. At last, you're wading up toward a stair that climbs in a spiral up from a low island, vanishing into the ceiling.

Monkey says, "Y'know, them Dragonbloods sure love their tombs and mausoleums."

Admiral Kaizoku draws his blade when his knees get above the water level. "Air, then water... Wood next?" he muses. "This was a tribute to their fear Monkey, fear of the vengance of the Solars they betrayed."

The Storyteller . o O ( Admiral, make an Int + Lore roll )

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 6 dice on Int+Lore and got 2 successes.

Monkey picks himself up from the water and starts climbing the spiral stair.

Monkey says, "If they're afraid of revenge, I'd put the money into a fortress and the best info money can get, not a tomb."

The Storyteller . o O ( By your estimate, you should now be directly beneath the central pyramid of the tomb complex. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Oh, and roll Wits + Occult )

Monkey rolled 4 dice on Wit + Occ and got 2 successes.

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 7 dice on Wits+Occ and got 2 successes.

Admiral Kaizoku says "I believe we are dead center now Monkey..." as he climbs up after his first mate. "And you have hit the nail on the head. The Dragon Blooded of the past were not very forward thinkers."

The Storyteller . o O ( It occurs to you that the tombs served a couple purposes: first, guard the corpses and artifacts of the Solars. Second, placate their ghosts lest they rise again, or at least imprison them if they did.

And that's why the tombs are so opulent... betrayed, half-mad demigods need a _lot_ of placating. )

Monkey . o O ( Obviously at least 13 of those ghosts aren't feeling placated. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Shh! You're not supposed to know that! )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Do we need a box? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Box? )

Monkey says, "So, what do you think will be next? After these stairs?"

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( For the 13 Ghosts of Monkey Doo! )

Trudge trudge trudge. Up up up.

Admiral Kaizoku rubs his chin thoughtfully. "Earth is below wood, so some sort of stone level Monkey..."

Monkey . o O ( That's no ghost! That's Farmer John in a white blanket! )

The Storyteller . o O ( I really don't need to know about Monkey's doo. )

Monkey . o O ( It's like Scoobie's, except Monkey doesn't have a snack named after himself. Yet. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( "Would you fight the Deathlord for a Monkey Snack?" )

Monkey says, "Wait, but you said Earth is below Wood, and yet we're climbing up?"

Admiral Kaizoku says, "Yes, up from below Monkey... through the earth and then up to the wood!"

As you climb the stairs, you find carvings along the walls. Done in classical Old Realm style, there are five rows of carving. Each seems to illustrate the life of a single Solar, beginning at Exaltation and traveling on as you climb higher and higher. Monkey glances mostly at the battle and love scenes, but Kaizoku finds himself drawn to the central row, with its carvings of sorcerous pursuits and seamanship. Some of the scenes trigger feelings of recollection, but no actual memories -- a feeling he is beginning to associate with previous lives of his Exaltation. Some of them, too, are disconcerting, especially those where the Solar is binding demons and elementals.

Monkey . o O ( Now we know the real reason why Chejop Kejak instigated the Usurpation. It's for a Scoobie Snack! )

Admiral Kaizoku asks "Is anything of this stirring things inside you Monkey?" as he continues upward, lingering to feel the scenes with the largest demons in them.

Monkey says, "Why, yes. That girl over there reminds me of a lass I met last year. Or maybe two years ago. I don't remember. She has a better figure though, although I must admit she isn't nearly as creative as that one."

Admiral Kaizoku doesn't dignify that with a reponse, but merely continues onward.

Monkey says, "And that fight there, hmmph, obviously made up. No expert does a parry like that, because the opponent will then just twist like this, kicks a bit, and you're on your ass. Although I suppose the proper response to that lunge is harder to depict. I can show you though." And Monkey rambles on in that vein.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( I hope it's a big pose... )

Monkey . o O ( I bet it's a bathroom break. )

You've climbed at least as far as you fell, and the stairs begin to widen until you can walk next to each other rather than in single file. Another few circuits of the central pillar and the stair opens out into a pentagonal chamber of black basalt. You come up through the floor and, looking around, can see a door in each wall, and before each door, a demon. Each is different in form. By their bearing, and by the flows of Essence that surround them, Kaizoku can tell that they are of the Second Circle.

The Storyteller . o O ( Big pose. )

Monkey . o O ( Drats, I lost. )

The Storyteller . o O ( And also, this is where we'll knock off for the night, I think. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( A good cliffhanger! )

The Storyteller . o O ( Assuming, of course, that we can actually meet next week with no problems. Every time I drop a cliffhanger in, I run into trouble... )

Monkey . o O ( Hmmm, you might want to do some research and figure out which demons. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Hence, cliffhanger. :P )

Monkey . o O ( Indeed. I mean, if it's just me, Monkey will just pick one at random. But Kaizoku will want to know. ) Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Unless they all attack at once. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Ayup. Anyway. I've been handing out experience as bonus points in my other group and it's working out ok. Do you guys want to stick with XP, or would you rather BP at about half the rate? )

Monkey . o O ( Ooo, ooo, include one who's like "Shataina, the Lady of Health and Unhealth." Gotta tempt Kaizoku some more. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( How would that affect stocked XP? )

The Storyteller . o O ( It wouldn't, though I'd let you trade BP for XP on a 1:2 ratio if you needed to even out the pool to spend it. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( How has it been different for them? )

Monkey . o O ( You realize that this makes costs linear? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Yeah... improving virtues and attributes would be cheaper... )

The Storyteller . o O ( Yes. However... most of what you're buying now is Charms, which are linear regardless. I will still enforce training times, of course. And if you improve Virtues, you deserve what you get... )

Monkey . o O ( Keep in mind that Monkey doesn't have a single combo, and you've just made it dirt cheap. )

Monkey . o O ( But hey, the way I see it, it's all advantage for me. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Bah. Combos were overpriced anyway. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( And really, who needs more than one or two? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Besides, Monkey _needs_ some signature moves, right? )

Monkey . o O ( Honestly, do you find it easier to use BP or are you just experimenting? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Like throwing a yeddim! )

Monkey . o O ( Monkey can throw a yeddim right now. )

The Storyteller . o O ( I find that it's a lot easier to work with the linear scale than the multiplicative one. So far, it's been a boon to my tabletop group, but they're also not serious gamers like you guys. It also makes crafting NPCs easier. )

The Storyteller . o O ( The classic combo, of course, is Yeddim + Cascade of Cutting Terror. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( LOL! And I'm comfortable with XP myself. )

The Storyteller . o O ( So, yea or nay: Switch to bonus points? )

Monkey . o O ( If you find it easier with BP, go with BP. If not, stick with XP. The important thing here is you. The pro and con for us are negligible. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( I say nay, but it's not a strong nay. )

Monkey . o O ( weak eh. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Okay. To keep consistency between my games, we'll switch to BP. And I hand out 3 BP to each of you. )

Monkey . o O ( Now? Not after we get out of the tomb? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( We're stronger from confronting the perils already? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Yeah, now. You've passed a sufficient layer of challenges with the illusion trap, which was the really big deal. )

Monkey . o O ( Re: Yeddim. While I can't claim I'm the first who thought of Yeddim + Cascade Cutting Terror, I think I'll be the first who'll call his version of that combo the "Yum Yum Yeddim Dim Sum" (and no, it doesn't mean anything, but it sounds nice.) )

The Storyteller . o O ( Ooookay. )

The Storyteller . o O ( And now, I'm off to bed. Any questions first? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( How will we get the Warstrider that should be here out of a 3 foot hole? )

The Storyteller shoots jetman with a raspberry.

Monkey . o O ( Silly jetman. You make a bigger hole. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( I am slain! )

The Storyteller . o O ( Any _other_ questions? )

Monkey . o O ( My question: So when will the Empress of Scarlet return with her hellish bridemaids? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Same time next week? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Dammit, stop making me think about the rest of Creation. And yes, same time next week. AFAIK. I'll e-mail if I find out different, of course. )

Monkey . o O ( Same time next week. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( SHe's not IN creation! )

Monkey . o O ( jetman 1, storyteller 0. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Ach. I'll see you later. Bye now. )

The Storyteller . o O ( And that's what you think. )

TonyC [to Apollonian]: Night.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Night! )

Is the Storyteller bluffing? Will our heroes find out too late that he's not? Tune in next week!

Monkey . o O ( She's back already?! )

On to Session 44