Create Your Own Society

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JackHK
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby JackHK » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:06 am UTC

<OOC>
Echo244 wrote:I suggest a similar system to the Grey Servants. Ostensibly neutral, available for everyone to borrow for a bit of support without significantly moving the group in any direction.

This makes sense. H
Sad to see you go, Lawrencelot, but I'm glad you had fun while it lasted.
Echo244 wrote:I may have to divert slightly from my Nolair intents to address matters in the City, as well...

Feel free to talk about both! 8-) I wasn't particularly expecting anyone to take credit for being the Conspiracy, but that's the fun of the game. :D

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby JackHK » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:08 am UTC

EBWOP: Also, the strife between the Guild of Knives and the Scuole is fascinating, and I can't wait to discover how this blows up in our faces...

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby eran_rathan » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:43 am UTC

JackHK wrote:EBWOP: Also, the strife between the Guild of Knives and the Scuole is fascinating, and I can't wait to discover how this blows up in our faces...


OOC:

Heh. I'm interested to see what the Scuole decides to do in response - but Master Farrell has a bad habit of kicking anthills ;)

Lawrencealot, sorry to see you go. We'll keep the Scouts moving on to new frontiers :)
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Echo244 » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:09 pm UTC

JackHK wrote:Feel free to talk about both! 8-) I wasn't particularly expecting anyone to take credit for being the Conspiracy, but that's the fun of the game. :D


Pfah. Terminology again. The Society of Graces is involved in lots of conspiracies, but they're not The Conspiracy. They've almost certainly got someone on the inside, but... they didn't start it. They're kind of already a shadowy conspiracy (behind the outward pretensions of being nobles and entertainers), there's not much point in starting another.

Whoever did start it, I would most heartily enjoy it if the Conspiracy grew from a sneaky idea from a merchant with more copper bracelets than people wanted to buy... ;-P
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby JackHK » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:18 pm UTC

Echo244 wrote:
JackHK wrote:Feel free to talk about both! 8-) I wasn't particularly expecting anyone to take credit for being the Conspiracy, but that's the fun of the game. :D


Pfah. Terminology again. The Society of Graces is involved in lots of conspiracies, but they're not The Conspiracy. They've almost certainly got someone on the inside, but... they didn't start it. They're kind of already a shadowy conspiracy (behind the outward pretensions of being nobles and entertainers), there's not much point in starting another.

Whoever did start it, I would most heartily enjoy it if the Conspiracy grew from a sneaky idea from a merchant with more copper bracelets than people wanted to buy... ;-P


In fact, I was talking about whatever Secrets the Scuole Elder's are hiding, but whatever :D

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Djehutynakht » Thu Sep 08, 2016 2:48 pm UTC

Secrets? What secrets?....

I'm following you guys and your conspiracies and such.


Sorry to see Lawrencelot go.

That's always my hesitation turning these into big writing/roleplaying things. It's fun, but many who can't/don't want to keep up fall out of the game, or are turned away from joining.

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby JackHK » Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:04 pm UTC

OOC:
Well, there's some sort of Conspiracy, presumably involving lots of high-up important people (Grace of Blades mentions that many noblewomen are wearing the bracelet), and that they offer some sort of protection that the criminal underbelly of the city, at least, are aware of...

Hmmm, let's see where it goes. :twisted: 8-)
\OOC

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Echo244 » Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:26 pm UTC

That's always my hesitation turning these into big writing/roleplaying things. It's fun, but many who can't/don't want to keep up fall out of the game, or are turned away from joining.


Yeah, that's always a danger. That's why I value the short posts as much as the longer ones. Yeah, a bit of story is good to read, but... so is a short flurry of quick updates to note actions taken, as I'm sure I've done once or twice. It's keeping more people involved in the game, and more diversity and novelty is always a good thing.

Also, I've noted (I think in a discussion thread, but still) that my availability may be patchy; this is absolutely the sort of game where the tide can be turned by occasional players pushing things in unexpected directions. In between the longer pieces, there's absolutely space - welcome, valued space - for anyone to offer input.
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby JackHK » Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:08 pm UTC

<OOC>

Echo244 wrote:Also, I've noted (I think in a discussion thread, but still) that my availability may be patchy; this is absolutely the sort of game where the tide can be turned by occasional players pushing things in unexpected directions. In between the longer pieces, there's absolutely space - welcome, valued space - for anyone to offer input.


+1

</OOC>

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby plytho » Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:23 pm UTC

OOC:
I agree with the sentiments above.
/OOC
______________________

Isan had been a sailor for most of her life and had risen to a position of some influence among the harvesters. The accident that cost her her left arm had put an end to the sailing. Everyone expected her to volunteer for a seat on the council, joking that "she was already halfway there". But she'd chosen a different route. Settling down in the quiet northern village of Drymouth.

The place had a small natural harbour, carved out by the river that had flowed there. Drymouth was home to mostly farmers and harvesters. By land, this was the last resting place before Nolair. Famous for her bouillabaisse, Bessies tavern was the reason many of the smaller ships made port here before Nolair.

Right now, the small harbour was beyond capacity. Dozens of ships lay at anchor in the bay.

"That blasted council" thought Isan who'd become Drymouth's harbourmaster. Only Nolair-based ships were allowed to dock in Nolair, so the ships the council had ordered to 'have a look around' in the area all came to dock here.

"No I have not seen any illegal fishing nor have a seen a Grace Neela in the area. In fact we've been happily grace-free for years. Will you please inform the council and stop asking? With all these ships in the area it looks like we either support or intend to blockade Nolair while what we should do is keep our hands off this mess. I've been able to convince the Scouts we're not planning anything but I'm not sure others will buy it." She told the latest arriving captain.

Any day now, Graces would show up and they would not like what they saw. She thought back to her early career. She'd been among the most ambitious and influential captains. Trying to increase harvester wealth and influence. Until she ran into the Graces. In order to increase the diversity of her catch Isan had been organising fishing on lakes near the coast. Harvesters put up permanent bases on the lakeshore and traveled down to sea to hand over the catch to Isan. After one such succesfull catch Isan had been enjoying an evening with her crew in a pleasant establishment. Due to the availability of wine and music few had noticed the Graces entering. Until they started playing their music. While most of the songs were incredibly complex and beautiful, the last song they played before they left had been a simple sea shanty. A week later she'd lost her arm in an accident at sea. In the hospital she was visited by one of the Graces who was whistling a familiar tune:
"she fished by the lakeside the girl sure had charm,
when you give them a finger they take your whole arm"

Retired from sailing she now served as one of the Graces 'contacts' along the shore.
______________________

Meanwhile:
-Nolairian Harvesters are divided, some feeling part of the rebellion while most feel more loyalty to the Harvesters than to Nolair.
-Haik's sails have been selling incredibly well earning him an introduction to a scuole subcomittee.
-The expedition in search for new land is proceeding.
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Echo244 » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:58 pm UTC

TLDR:
*One Grace set to establish safehouse
*One Grace set to get a Summit member to brew up something of a storm, then gather intelligence from around Nolair and meet with Isan
*Meeting planned with the Disgraced and one of the Nolair rebel leaders
*Two Graces, including Blades, soon to head in to Nolair
*Backstory!
*Romance!

I am planning to try and... shorten things somewhat, and make this game seem more accessible rather than requiring vast walls of text, but... right now, this is a convenient creative outlet, and this was something I kind of needed to get from my brain into writing. So, sorry, this is a long one, but don't feel that everything has to be anything like this!
/TLDR

The teahouse, a few miles past the village of Altua and in to the mountains, was empty but for the four Graces who'd arrived. Nestled just peeking over a ridge in the upper part of the valley, it commanded fabulous views for miles around. The landscape was picturesque, but more importantly, empty of observers. This was one of the reasons the Graces maintained such places. They served as excellent spots for a quiet meeting, or as safe houses for anyone wishing to avoid attention for a little while. Or even a long while - the staff who lived in nearby villages, or sometimes the teahouses themselves, were often placed there by the Graces' Widows and Orphans program, as being good out-of-the-way places for... notable figures to be able to retire in peace, often far away from those who had found them notable.

The Society of Graces, being without formal hierarchy, didn't exactly have orders; they were more like agreed-upon courses of action. The Grace of Blades, at this moment, was standing on the teahouse balcony overlooking the valley, and issuing agreed-upon courses of action to her peers with accustomed speed and decisiveness.

"Eleanor, you've got the Countess' estate to go and check on. Flash that seal she gave us, show the letter to whoever's in charge, get us in there, throw money at the servants so they're not going to tell anyone else about comings and goings, and get the place ready for whatever other forces we commit. Meanwhile, tour the area; usual meet and greet for locals with Influence. Make some friends. Scope out the local roads, get to know the good places for moving around in a low profile manner, or a fast manner, if we have to.

Joan, go and visit the senior Summit member in the area. Don't antagonise them, but... find a way to get some ominous weather magic brewing in the area. Convince them that rainfall is low or something, and a short storm is better than a drought. The sort of thing that reminds everyone in Nolair that there are forces not to be messed with, a sentiment to have remembered *before* you rebel. So far, the Nolair rebels have been outward focussed, ready to fend off an overt attack from the capital. Giving them something else to worry about, to remind them that it's not just outside that problems come from. Standard meet-and-greet, sweetness-and-light policy while getting there. Then head for Isan at Bessie's, where you can pick up the results of some of the Grace of Letters' intelligence-gathering efforts, gather as much local info as you can, and bring it all to the Countess' estate.

Neela, you're with me for now acting as lookout; we'll use the adapted signal system. What follows from there depends on the meeting outcome, but I'm hoping that we can ride into Nolair afterwards. No better way of finding out what's going on, and it'd be good to assert that we can have an open presence there, whatever the Disgraced said. If not, we'll probably go back and have a go at dislodging that Harvester ship from this situation. Whatever happens, we'll aim for no more than 2 days of anything, then head for the Countess' estate. That should put us all there within 4-6 days, barring anything exciting happening. Questions?"

There were none. Eleanor and Joan departed on their errands; Neela remained behind, as the Grace of Blades idly gathered the necessary elements for the tea ceremony she'd be performing later. Technically this was a task she could have delegated as she made other plans regarding Nolair, but she quite liked the ritual of the preparations, and having done it all herself was usually noted as a sincere and gracious personal touch.

After a few minutes, she realised that Neela must be remaining behind for a reason; it wasn't just that her next task was nearby and required little in the way of setup, she must have stayed behind for something in particular. After fetching a small pile of charcoal for the brazier, Blades decided to just ask the girl rather than letting her do things in her own time.

"All right, what did you want to ask without the other two hearing?"

Neela turned from her formal kneeling position to look directly at the Grace of Blades for a short while, before answering with her own question. "Why bring me on this mission, and not someone more... experienced and... well, graceful?"

Blades sighed, and settled herself down on the balcony, leaning against the wooden railing. This was going to be a long discussion, she could feel it, so she might as well both get comfortable and make Neela feel like this was an informal chat. Blades reached for her pack, withdrew the heavy axe she'd sneaked along on the trip, and idly started sharpening it with a whetstone from a side pocket. "Lots of reasons." She counted them off as she went through "One, you're a full member of the Society so beyond looking for specific talents, everyone should be suitable. Two, as shown in the little thought experiment on burning the ship, you have a different approach to everyone else, and diversity is a strength as long as everyone involved can reach a resolution. Three, again noting that thought experiment, you come up with things that nobody else thinks of, and have a knack for amplifying the effectiveness of limited resources, which is specifically useful to this situation. Four, as a relatively new member it was felt that you should be included as a sign of the confidence the other members had in you. Five, I think this is likely to turn into a fight at some point and that's an area in which you've shown not just talent but also dedication. And six..." Blades somewhat tailed off from the formal assessment into an area where she was far less sure of herself "...when you're granted a measure of decision-making ability like I've been, part of that is a side benefit that you choose who you spend your time around."

Most people would have pushed in to followup questions from that answer, but Neela seemed satisfied. The two Graces sat for a while, in a silence broken only by the slow sharpening of the axe in Blades' hands.

After a few minutes, Neela asked another question, branching off into a wildly different subject. "How much of the rumours are true? Did you really, for instance, walk in to Lord Diego's fortress with nothing but an axe, and when you left, he and the forty members of his personal bodyguard were dead?"

Yep, long discussion coming. Blades let the hand holding the whetstone fall and rest for a while, and tilted the axe handle so the weight of the weapon rested on her shoulder. "Yes... and no. Yes, I walked in with no recognisable weapon but my shortsword and an axe blade, and when I walked out, they were all dead. No, it didn't happen the way everyone assumes. Remember we have a Grace of Tales, who teaches you that the most wondrous things are what people's imaginations fill in for them in the gaps between your words..."

Neela wasn't going to leave an account of a legendary battle left at that. "So... what did happen?"

The Grace of Blades met Neela's eyes for just long enough to let her know that this question was pushing it, before telling... as much of the tale as she cared for. "Well, Lord Diego was a terrible man. Which doesn't sound relevant, but it's often the start of the story in terms of the Graces' involvement in something. He was cruel, demanding absurd taxes from those he was supposed to protect, supporting bandits and thugs who preyed further on the farmers and merchants in his fief, ordering young women to work as servants in his castle... you get the idea."

Blades broke eye contact to focus on sharpening the axe again. "He also once offered the Society of Graces a third of his gold, in return for a single performance. A dance, by a dancer who was wearing nothing but the gold he offered."

Neela's eyes bulged, only partly with outrage. "But, we don't do that sort of thing!"

Blades grinned at Neela briefly. "We are not intended to. And yet... the suggestion is a powerful one. Even if we turned it down, it would create the idea that this was the sort of thing that we did. That this is what the Graces are for. Merely responding with words can't easily fight that sort of... attempt to smear the Society's reputation. So, instead, I made a proposal. I was not, at the time, a full Grace - there are one or two who question if I am even now - so I was a deniable, disposable asset."

Neela was swift to query that last point. "Disposable? We don't do that. Once someone crops up on our radar, we don't turn them away unless they endanger others. We care for people. You couldn't have been disposable. You're not. I mean, you're..." She tailed off, uncertain how to finish that sentence.

The Grace of Blades looked down, unable to meet Neela's eye, and just for a while, feeling uncharacteristically tired. "Deniable, yes, I was. And... well, on my slow progress towards sufficiently grasping most of the more presentable disciplines, I was... feeling like I'd never make it in. And I was struggling with... bits of my life at the time. To the Graces, no, I wasn't disposable. They'd have cared for me whatever; you know how it works. But... I felt disposable. Like I wasn't going to make it in, like I'd have to... I don't know. Do something else. Live with never being good enough, or switch across to the Guild of Knives and have to fight off the advances of every new meathead who joined, or... ugh, you know."

The story petered out for a minute, before Neela tried to move it on to a happier part. "So, you took him up on his offer? That sounds like... well, something I'd like to have seen..." She grinned, uncertain of the reaction.

Blades flashed a wry grin back, and resumed sharpening the axe as she told the story. "Again, yes and no. We took the gold, melted it down, and used much of it to coat a number of items of harder, sharper metals. It looked like jewellery - ornate plates, joined with rings, into a delicate-but-heavy garment."

Neela's eyes bulged again, but for a different reason this time. "Armour!"

Blades' grin had upgraded into slightly wicked now. "Yup. While looking like a dancing outfit. Not very good armour, but... enough to help. And, nestling in a place where it would very much get noticed, an axe blade, sharp as possible, heavy, and mounted on a couple of feet of chain hanging round my neck. Looked just like a low-hanging necklace. Once I'd given up my shortsword, I swanned straight past the guards and into a private audience chamber with one of the most powerful men of the age and his closest toadies."

"While armed to the teeth!" Neela was very impressed with this plan.

"And I danced. And... well, you've no doubt heard from the Grace of Dances that I dance like I'm in a fight and trying to flatten everyone who's dancing with me. Sometimes, it's helpful for that line to be blurred. Everyone who saw me dance like that - the Lord and half a dozen or so creeps... died. A massacre, really. They weren't particularly armed, expecting conflict or anything. And they certainly didn't expect a girl like me to be so... effectively, efficiently, and suddenly violent. Perhaps they should have focussed a little less on what they wished the Graces did, and studied a little more of what we *do* do."

"And then you took out all the guards as well?"

Blades grimaced slightly awkwardly. "This is where it gets complicated. You see, Lord Diego had hired some of the finest warriors in the country to be his bodyguard. Those who have been trained since birth for fighting to be their destiny, you know the sorts. Well, that sort of thing tends to go hand-in-hand with a strong moral code, where you don't swear loyalty to a scumbag like Lord Diego. So, he hired bodyguards, at great expense, lavished them with wealth, persuaded them to move their families to his town... and then hired cheaper, nastier guards, to make sure nobody came in or out of that section of the town without his word. And then he made a ruling, that any member of his bodyguard who survived his assassination, was to have their family killed. I only found that out... once I'd killed him. Sometimes good actions have unexpected consequences.

His Captain explained that, and then went to... well, talk to his men, explain the situation. Some of them, including the Captain, took their own lives. Some insisted that I be the one to kill them, since I'd already done so by killing their master. A few demanded a duel to the death so they could avenge their master, even though he was a scumbag. Only one just out-and-out tried to kill me as soon as he found out what had happened. But... they weren't... they had given up, you know? Inside, they knew they weren't going to get a happy ending with their families. And there's something about such despair. You can't carry it through a fight. Me, I had hope. Pull this off, I'd be confirmed a Grace. But they had nothing to win, and no hope of survival. So, yes. I took about a dozen lives that day in fights, not all of them bad men, and helped a few more into the next world. But I walked out with forty souls on my conscience. It's... not my proudest moment, despite my reputation."

Neela had gone quiet. Blades continued. "I didn't stop there, of course. Went immediately to the walled town where the bodyguards' families were being held. The whole place was in uproar - the whole bodyguard dead, they were assuming an army of ninjas or something, the place was in uproar and all the guards were running. I got the familes of my victims together, broke them out, lead them to safety with the help of a couple of other Graces and some assets in the area. They're cared for by the Widows and Orphans fund, now. This is how the Graces work; looking after the innocent, especially when we bear prior responsibility. That fight was easier. There wasn't any hesitation or ambiguity in that one."

Neela found her voice again. "So, you fixed things in the end?"

Blades snorted. "No, I killed some more people to stop them killing even more people. Despite my terrifying reputation, splashing blood around rarely fixes things as much as people want it to. Things did... stabilise, and with Lord Diego gone, the situation for many improved. But others lost out. Always, when we tip the scales, bad things happen as well as good. So, I resolved things. What people say, is kind of true. I dealt with Lord Diego, kept the name of the Graces from being besmirched, and saved a whole village worth of widows and orphans. But like the Grace of Tales tells you, in the gaps between the words is the real story."

"What about the families of those men? Do they blame you?"

Blades smiled wryly at that question. "Only they can answer that. You'll be seeing one tonight, actually. Theresa, who keeps this teahouse - she's staying in the cottage at the bottom of the valley, which is your lookout post. Her husband was the Captain. See what she thinks when I'm not there."

Neela cast her mind back to the brief meeting with the woman earlier - she'd been... slightly more polite than warm, but genuinely happy to see the Grace of Blades and her party. She'd have to ask more questions later.

But first, Neela made a decision. "I would like to make further study of the Art of Blades. It may be a difficult skill to use, but it's a necessary one for the Graces to have, and I believe one that I can better benefit the Society by developing."

Blades raised an eyebrow at that one. "Don't feel you have to specialise at all, never mind choose one so swiftly. Unlike my good self, you don't need the specialisation in order to gain latitude in other areas. And... it's a dangerous field to pick, especially when you have other strengths. Avin's little project with the balloon relied heavily on your calculations, for example. It's not a formal part of a Grace's education at the moment, but I sense Avin may be made the first Grace of Crafts. If we can use such artifice for gain, it'll be something that needs developing, and you have a talent for it as much as Avin."

Neela smiled at the compliments. "I will consider that as well. And yet, specialising... for those with little decision-making ability, it is one of the limited means in which one can... choose who one spends one's time around."

Blades grinned back, broadly, hearing her own words from earlier echoed. "Anything else you wanted to ask?" The Grace of Blades smiled gently, leaning her head back against the balcony rail and slightly disarraying her hair.

There was a long, uncertain pause before Neela asked the next question. "What's your name? Nobody mentions it. To everyone in the Society, you're just 'Blades' or 'Mistress', like they've politely forgotten things that came before. Outside, you're known for the fights, and again, they know you as the Grace of Blades. The only group that knew much of you before that was the Guild of Knives, and even then, you were just 'that girl' or 'that nutcase' beforehand, and then briefly 'that Grace' before being respectfully addressed as 'the Grace of Blades'. What do people actually call you?"

Blades looked down. This was... not something she liked talking about. The question hung in the still mountain air. After a little while, a gentle breeze started up, blowing warmly from the valley below. Clouds drifted by, above, and the sun slowly sank towards the horizon. After a little while, Blades resumed sharpening the axe. Neither woman had moved. A little while longer, and the axe was sharp, the task complete. Silence returned to the teahouse, until it was broken, to her own surprise, by the Grace of Blades.

"Seriy". She pronounced it carefully, and decided she might as well finish the job. "From the lands bordering the desert, it means, 'Fit to be married to a prince'". She flashed a wry smile at Neela, before they couldn't help but giggle at each other.

Neela moved across to Blades, and gently squeezed Blades' hand where it still rested on the axe. "Thank you for the confidence."

Blades blushed and looked down, finding herself in somewhat unexpected and unfamiliar territory, before looking back up at the younger Grace. "Well, it's not a name I accept from just anyone, you know. Only from those, I... hold closest." Blades paused and bit her lip, as various bits of her mind battled, and the practical side won out. "Now, quit distracting me before this meeting. We can... talk more later."

Neela grinned winningly, and gently rearranged Blades' hair where it had become disarrayed, before heading towards the teahouse door. She paused at the threshold and half-turned back. "Stay safe, Seriy".

More warmth than usual made it in to Blades' grin. "That's easier when I've got a dutiful lookout in her proper place, rather than hanging round closer to me. Skedaddle!"

Neela grinned and departed. The Grace of Blades sat where she was for a little while, before heading inside to change into a more formal robe for the meeting, and then re-emerging, to watch Neela depart down the valley. She wondered, idly, exactly what sort of trouble she'd managed to get herself into this time. For a change, it looked liked being somewhat fun.

-----------------

A couple of days later, under an already darkening and stormy sky, Joan crested the last rise before the bay where Isan ran Bessie's. She stopped, at the sight of all the ships crowded into the natural harbour. "So *that's* where they all went!" she exclaimed to no-one in particular.

She paused briefly before muttering "We're gonna need some more sticky fire if we're going to burn that lot." Though a calculation suggested that Blades' plan was untenable for this number of vessels, and while Neela's would scale, taking on this many vessels was a couple of orders of magnitude beyond their immediate assets. Destruction was unlikely to be part of the solution here.

Joan hurried on to the tavern, to gather more information about this fleet, and the rest of the events in Nolair, before rejoining the others. And for a nice hot bowl of bouillabaisse. Just the thing in the wet stormy weather she had just, at some expense, persuaded the Summit of Magic to generate.
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby orangedragonfire » Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:14 pm UTC

Goodbye, Lawrencelot. Remember that if you ever feel like it you can come back, either as the Scouts or as a new group.

---

JackHK wrote:[I wonder if we're soon due for another "mod event"...


Hm, well, the original idea was for one event to be resolved; upon which we'd skip ahead a few decades or centuries to the next big event. The purpose was to let time progress faster than is common in these games.

But this game has become awesome beyond my hopes and vague ideas, so I'd like to hear input on that. This is as much if not more so your game to shape than it is mine.

Also, I've sort of written myself out of the story a bit too much, what with making the Grey Servants so passive. So I'd like to either make them a bit more active, or play some other NPCs. Basically, if there are warring factions within a group, or outsiders who don't really belong to a group, I could play those, so that you have somebody to interact with in those cases, instead of just writing the entire interaction on your own. Not mandatory, of course, just in the cases you'd want that. Input on this issue is appreciated as well.

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Djehutynakht
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Djehutynakht » Sat Sep 10, 2016 10:35 am UTC

Do whatever you like. You are the mod, after all.

I mean, you were able to handle Fantasy Countries pretty well while playing it. This is harder because events must be formulated, but... anything is possible.

As for jumps... yeah. I guess they should happen at logical conclusions. There's quite a bit still going on, both in story and plot.


Also, should probably do another geographical survey pretty soon... I guess we could also hold a suggestions/voting round on capital/country names if we need (though "Capital" as a place name is also acceptable...)
_____________________________

The 13 members of the Elder's Committee and Harro Clothbolt have arrived at the Library. Ostensibly, they are there to witness the vote on the Charter for Nolair, and to accept governance if it is granted. While this is true, they are also, more subtly, trying to lobby against the expansion of Knives' influence, and to defend Ax and the Security Committee, which has always been instrumental in protecting the artisan classes from petty thievery and scamming---at no cost to the government, no less.

Meanwhile, Scuole voters and allies in the Hall continue to do what they can to secure the Nolair Charter vote.

Also Meanwhile, Brax the Baker has been dispatched to contact Serena Ver and to parlay with the Guild of Knives.
____________________________


It was well into the morning, and the port of Lyos, southwise down the coast, was bustling. Harvesters and Merchants and all others running about doing their business. Most fishing ships had already left far earlier in the morning, though some of the stragglers, and a few merchants, were still at dock, preparing soon to cast off.

The good ship Jalila was one of these. It sat in dock, with two figures, one shorter, and one taller, looking up at it. The merchant Mero straightened up his hat and adjusted the copper armbands on his left arm. His assistant, the grey servant Ayla, stared ahead with her one good eye. The captain of the ship was now descending from the gangplank. He was a man with a carved, creased, salty face and a coarse, grey speckled beard. He wore a sun-bleached black hat with a floppy brim.

"How be you?" the captain said, coming up to them. "You be Mero, correct? The merchant to board my ship?" The man spoke well, but with awkward wording, and an accent. It was clear he wasn't from here.

"Yes indeed!" Mero said. "And you are Captain... er..."

"Azkfort," the man said "Jobalo Azkfort. This one," he motioned to Ayla, who nodded her head to acknowledge his words, "and I have spoken. So we are agreed that I will be taking you on, bearing to the South, to locate and acquire foreign goods".

"That is correct," Mero replied. "It will be the two of us, plus the cargo and provisions we have agreed upon".

At this, some of the ship's men, who had been looking over the rail and listening, began making weird noises. There were mutters, and a few louder words spoken in foreign tongues. Ayla looked up suddenly at them.

"Ah, my men," Captain Azkfort replied. "They are distrusting of the one you have with you. The ones from your country, some do not mind, but many suspicions have. They distrust the grey ones being on board with them. Some murderers be, or ones marked for death by men of power or by gods. Many sea-men think that bad luck it is to carry a grey one on a ship. Their evil or the hate the powerful carry for them will to the ship bring bad fortune".

"Oh, uh..." Mero stumbled. He knew ships, yes. He had grown up in a merchant family in Lyos and, as such, dealing with sailors and ships who transport cargo was a fact of life for him. But that grey servants were considered bad luck by some sailors had, apparently, eluded him. "Well, you see, she--Ayla--is my servant. She goes everywhere with me. I need her assistance--she will be helping me on my journey..."

A few sailors began muttering louder. "Cursed!", "Villain", "Unclean!" a few of them said, though many of the mutterings were in a foreign language; they seemed to be countrymen of Azkfort.

And then, to their surprise, Ayla lifted her gaze, looked directly at the disapproving sailors, and spoke a perfect, sharp sentence at them. Right in their own language. They stared at her. As did Captain Azkfort, and Mero, in complete astonishment.

"You, er, girl," Azkfort said. "You speak Golossian? Are you from mine own country Gollia?"

"No," said Ayla, quickly. "No, I am not. It was a language I learned in... my own life. From my father, and from tradesmen".

She did not say more. Grey servants rarely, if ever [damn am I appropriating ODF's faction] discussed their lives before servitude.

"Yes, well, er..." Mero grabbed his way back from surprise and tried to assert himself. "I am the merchant here! I hired this ship! This woman is my servant and my travelling companion while I conduct my business. I bring her with me on my journey".

Captain Azkfort looked at her for a few moments, in silence. With her one good eye, she stared back, but was it with strength, rarely seen in servants, or with a bit of anxiety at what his inspection might find?

Ultimately, he posed a question to her, again in Golossian. She answered back, also in Golossian. Mero looked on, utterly lost.

Finally, Azkfort nodded, and, turning, barked an order to his men. There were objections made, but Azkfort shouted down the insubordination, and his men fell into discontented quiet".

"They will learn," Azkfort said. "Who their Captain accepts, they shall accept. It is my ship! She may board, though needing to sleep separate from crew she will need".

"I will arrange it," said Mero.

"Good," Azkfort replied. "Now is down there your cargo? Yes? My men, they will help load it into the ship, and then we depart".

He looked over at the next dock, where a late-departing Harvester ship was docked. Some of its crew were looking at his ship with sour expressions on their faces.

"I best like to hurry, I think," Azkfort said. "Your Harvestings. I and they do not agree. They are not much liking me. I do not listen to their rules. I fish as I please, and I find fish what please me to feed my men on my ship. Bah! In Gollia, the seas to the gods belong and no man but the King great does make control over it!" He grimaced. "But to avoid catching fish when we are near them, I think, is wise. While near them to eat provisions on the ship packed we will try".

The ship's crew, and Mero's workers began the task of loading cargo onto the ship. Mero and Azkfort oversaw the process, making inventory and directing where the items were to be placed. As a servant, Ayla assisted in the labor, both as a sign of her place but also as a conciliatory gesture to the sailors who distrusted her presence. Yet her determination to lug as much cargo as she could was not lost on some of them.

Finally, the cargo had been loaded and the crew had begun the process of preparing the ship to set sail. Mero, Ayla, and Captain Azkfort stood on deck, looking back at the docks.

"So the charts, you have?" Azkfort asked.

"Yes, yes," Mero said, patting a bag slung on his side. "We will know where to go. This should guide us plenty along our way".

"But the area you say," Azkfort said. "Not many to it sail. It is much a mystery".

"I think," Mero said. "That mystery will bring us great treasure. And I shall pay you handsomely, Azkfort. Now---"

"Look!" a sailor shouted suddenly. There seemed to be commotion a little ways up the coast. It seemed as if a group of people were trying to make their way down the coast. They were doing so roughly, and causing quite a disturbance doing so.

"What---" Mero began, but Ayla cut in sharply.

"We need to go. Now."

"What?"

She turned to Azkfort. "Is the ship ready?"

"Ready it is, but---"

"We need to cast off immediately".

"Ayla, what is going on?" Mero said.

"Master, I think these people are coming for us. There has been trouble around lately. Whispers of danger. We cannot stay here or they'll prevent us from sailing!"

"Do you think they're trying to take the secrets of our trading route?" Mero asked.

"I don't know. It may be. But we need to go. They cannot be any good for us". The sound of the commotion was getting nearer.

"Right. Yes! We must protect ourselves! I was afraid of this competition. Captain, cast off at once!"

Azkfort did not seem interesting in dealing with the problems and politics of Lyos. He immediately barked an order and his men got to work undoing the lines and starting the ship off.

The figures had now turned and were running down the dock toward the ship.

Ayla herself dashed forward, frantically joining the crew in undoing lines and pushing the ship off from the dock. At last they succeeded, and a lucky gust of wind, in addition to their momentum, put the ship out of reach right as the figures reached the end of the dock.

Those on the ship looked back on those at the dock. It was hard to make out who they were. They seemed angry, and there was some shouting, but otherwise, nothing intelligible.

Mero turned and looked at Ayla. His faithful servant, who had come to him a year prior, shortly after the death of his father. He had always felt that she was interesting, but today was something else.

"Ayla, what was that?"

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby eran_rathan » Sun Sep 11, 2016 7:06 pm UTC

TL;DR:

Factions within the Guild try to make up to the Scuole; more about the Conspiracy; possibly induct Ax & Security Committee into the Guild as Associate Members to smooth things over; factional infighting within the Guild.

/TL;DR.

"Brax, good to see you - please, have some wine," Marcus waved to his friend towards the amphorae as he stood to pull up a chair. "I imagine you're here for the Scuole, since its not bread day?"

"I am, Marcus, I am. Ax the Smith claims that some of Guildsmen jumped him, when they went to talk to Merchant Foren," the baker took the offered goblet and drank deeply. "Ah... you always do have good wine. Where does it come from, Marcus?"

"A vineyard near Merih, up in the hills," Marcus replied absently, sitting again. "Let me look... Ah. Reyan, Sixth of First Cohort, was assigned to Merchant Foren this week, along with three Fours of her cohort. You say she ambushed Ax? That isn't good. Master Farrell will be quite displeased with her. Tribunal, even." Marcus sighed. Brax winced at the mention of the Tribunal, remembering the last trial he attended before he mustered out of the Guild.

"I hope Ironguts goes easier on her than that," Brax offered, taking another swig of wine.

"One hopes, Brax."

The baker shifted uncomfortably. "Regardless, the Scuole asked me to come speak with you, about the situation. Foren's a menace, you know as well as I do - his moneylending is a danger to the all of Lower Dockside, Harvester and Scuole alike. The man's like a shark, smelling blood in the water. Perhaps the Scuole and Guild can come to an understanding about how much protection he deserves?"

Marcus waited a few moments in silence before responding. "I think you and I both know this isn't just about Foren, Brax. It's about Master Farrell's idea to extend the Guild's contract, isn't it?"

"The elders are worried," Brax admitted, "that if the Guild extends beyond its traditional role, to have power over the whole country, any who can't afford it will be at the mercy of the Knives. My people are very concerned, Marcus."

"We were once your people too, Brax," Marcus chided gently. "But I agree, the way the Guild works right now... doesn't. Did you know that a man was murdered on Court Street, but the Guildsman who caught the killer was fee'd to let him go?"

Brax sat back, startled. He'd heard of the murder, and that the killer was caught, but not that the Guild had freed him. "Destra's fists," the baker swore softly.

"Quite. And if anyone else finds out, Brax, I will come for you," Marcus said, taking a deep drink of his own cup. "There are those of us in the Guild who believe that things must change, and sooner rather than later."

"And Ironguts?"

Marcus's eyes grew bleak. "I'm afraid that his time as Guildmaster might be shorter than he thinks."

-----

"Knivers!" the low call from outside made Micheal's arm hair stand on end. He swore low as he shoved the rest of the silver into his pack and slipped out the window into the courtyard of the villa. He looked up from the bushes and his heart sank. Four Knivers, and one of them a Fifth, standing at the end of the courtyard, one of them already holding Milla by the arm.

"Come out, boy, and no need to get hurt," the Fifth said, his hand already resting on his baton. Micheal was certain that regardless of what the Kniver said, he'd be getting a beating - if not from the Knivers, then from Theo for failing and getting caught.

He began sliding along the wall, the sack of silver plates clinking softly.

"Guildsman, what is the meaning of this?" A new voice, a woman's, deep in cultured tone and haughty regard. Micheal risked a glance through the leaves to see the tall woman, her blue brocaded coat giving a sharp contrast to the copper bracelets around her wrists.

"Pardon, Lady Lily - we saw two thieves at your villa, and caught this one. The other is right inside, we were about to capture him, your ladyship." The Kniver's respectful tone meant that was Someone Important, as Theo would say, as if the copper and brocade didn't give it away.

"These two are my servants, Guildsman, and I would appreciate if the Guild stayed away from my residence for now."

"Y.. yes, your ladyship, but - "

"Release my servant, Guildsman."

"Yes, your ladyship. Sorry for the mistake, your ladyship." The Fifth seemed to be sweating almost as much as he was. Micheal gaped. He'd heard stories lately, of common sneaks and breakers being let off, but to have it happen to him and his sister, it was unthinkable. As the Guildsmen hurried off, the Lady watched them go then turned to the bushes where Micheal hid. "Come out boy, I can see you and as you can see, I have no need of turning you over to those brainless thugs," she said, beckoning him and Milla to follow her inside. "Besides, now you owe me."

-----

Sixth Reyan stood stiffly in front of the Guildmaster Farrell, her gaze not meeting his. "You had better have a RUTTING GOOD REASON for attacking the finest bladesmith in the whole wretched city, Sixth!" Farrell roared, pacing.

"Protecting our client, sir!" Reyan said, watching as the Guildmaster's face continued to turn reddish purple.

"YOU AMBUSHED HIM, YOU DAMN FOOL!"

"Pre-empting his own ambush of Merchant Foren, sir," Reyan offered weakly, knowing that the response would not put her in good graces with the Guildmaster.

"Foren ought to be left to hang by his own entrails, we should never have taken that blasted contract," Farrell growled, slamming a fist down on his desk.

"Yes sir!" Reyan agreed enthusiastically, starting to turn to leave. "STAND WHERE YOU ARE!" Farrell roared again. He pointed a shaking finger at her, mere inches from her face. "Fourth Reyan, you are to apologize and offer your services to Ax the Smith, fees paid by the Guild, for the remainder of the season! Am I understood!"

"Yes... sir," Reyan said, saluting before spinning on her heel and leaving. Demotion, AND contracted to Ax the Smith? Idly, she toyed with the idea of returning to the Guildmaster's office and sticking her blade through his ribs, but thought better of it. She needed to go talk to Serena.

-----

"Master Harro, what exactly do you expect me to do?" Seventh Serena Ver paused, her whetstone held up while her sword rested gently on her lap. "I may be third behind Master Farrell, as head of the First Cohort, but the manner of discussion and committees is not our way. We receive our orders, and we follow them, to the best of our abilities."

Harro Clothbolt paced, stopping occasionally to watch the young woman sharpen her blade calmly. It was almost infuriating, how calm she was, when everything seemed to be going so badly. Nolair was supposed to be a simple solution, but then he'd heard about the Knives planning on sacking the city, and now this idea of taking on policing the whole country?

"Although..." She stopped again, and Harro turned back to her expectantly. "I do have an idea, and while the Elders might appreciate it, I doubt it will go over well with Ax himself."

"And that would be...?" Drawing words from this woman was like dealing with a mage - time-consuming, costly, and extraordinarily frustrating.

"Induct Ax and his Security Committee into the Guild."

Harro stared at Serena, as she calmly went back to sharpening her sword. Induct Ax and the others into the Guild? He'd never go for it, the smith was far too proud to... And not to mention, it might alarm the Elders Committee further, if the Security Committee was absorbed into the Guild.

"Of course, it would be an Associate Membership, no direct commands," Serena continued, "to maintain their independence, of course. And I'd be willing to act as Liaison Officer, between the Guild and the Security Committee. And it would allow both of us to work side-by-side, instead of at cross purposes." She unfolded herself and sheathed the blade in one smooth motion. "If that's acceptable, sir, I'll go speak to the Guild about it."

-----

Ced, Fern and Tiro paced behind Master Verence, sweating as they jogged towards the Confluence in their leathers, full packs bouncing as they ran. "Keep up, trainees!" the scrawny Master of Verbal Warfare exclaimed, taking two steps at a time up to the Courthouse. "We have a full, Full! day ahead of us! And we must be ready at the drop of a word! To engage any force in a battle which is no less important than that which occurs on the field of glory!"

"Then why are we wearing our leathers and helms?" Fern complained under her breath, as they reached the large bronze doors.

"To remind you, trainee, that this is a battle! We are about to enter into combat! Be assured that other forces are marshalled against us, much as the Guild was at the Battle of Savaah twenty-six years ago! Trainee Ced, remind us all about the Battle of Savaah!"

Ced's mind blanked as he struggled to recall the particular battle. Master Tell was always rolling his eyes at Ced, for his grasp of history was shaky at best. "Uh, that was the one where the Golassians had the high ground, but we poisoned their water?" he hazarded.

Tiro stepped in to save his friend. "That was the second battle, not the first. The Guild was outnumbered three to one, but we prevailed due to aid from the Scouts and knowledge of the local terrain," the bookish Merihan said, hiking his pack up on his shoulders. "With only a day's preparation, the Guildsmen and Scouts led the Golassians into a series of traps and separated them into three smaller groups, who could be defeated individually."

"Indeed, Trainee!" Master Verence beamed. "So what do you learn from such a result? One, know whom you can rely upon; two, knowledge of the local terrain is crucial; and three, often times a battle can be won by proper preparation!"

"Then... why are we here, Master?" Ced asked.

"To teach you, Trainee, that allies are just as important as any battlefield skill! We meet with the Ground Wizard of Lyos, today, as well as making sure to check on the Voters and the Harvesters, who are in the capitol for the Nolair votes!" He leans in close and whispers, "We need the support of the Harvesters, at least, for Master Farrell's plan to move forward!"
"Does this smell like chloroform to you?"
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Echo244 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:19 am UTC

OOC:

orangedragonfire wrote:
JackHK wrote:I wonder if we're soon due for another "mod event"...


Hm, well, the original idea was for one event to be resolved; upon which we'd skip ahead a few decades or centuries to the next big event. The purpose was to let time progress faster than is common in these games.


Doing that may involve... well, actually dealing with things in Nolair. Maybe everyone's too polite to start setting Nolair events in stone and limit other people's options? I think I am...

Also, I'm thinking that skipping ahead too much, with all the things ongoing, may be tricky - especially with new expeditions and trade missions that seem unconnected to other events. I'm not sure it'd be fair to either (a) timeskip with them unresolved or (b) tie them up quickly without any other players interfering in the intrigue... So I have no idea what a solution looks like.

orangedragonfire wrote:But this game has become awesome beyond my hopes and vague ideas, so I'd like to hear input on that. This is as much if not more so your game to shape than it is mine.


Yay for this being emergent. ;-D

orangedragonfire wrote:Also, I've sort of written myself out of the story a bit too much, what with making the Grey Servants so passive. So I'd like to either make them a bit more active, or play some other NPCs. Basically, if there are warring factions within a group, or outsiders who don't really belong to a group, I could play those, so that you have somebody to interact with in those cases, instead of just writing the entire interaction on your own. Not mandatory, of course, just in the cases you'd want that. Input on this issue is appreciated as well.


You could also just throw in an extra faction as well...

What might work is acting as the rebels within Nolair. Because... I'm about to have a meeting with them, and I'm kind of aware that, Harro Clothbolt aside, we've got more or less nothing to go on. And I'll struggle to have a meeting with them, and gather the results from all that intelligence gathering, without that defining a whole lot about the rebellion. And I kind of don't feel I can just make so much of that up while being fair to everyone else.

I'll put off the meeting for a little bit, actually, there's some fun I want to have with the Grace of Shadows back in the city first...

/OOC
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Djehutynakht » Mon Sep 12, 2016 1:14 pm UTC

With regards to Nolair, I'm awaiting a vote on a charter, so until then... *whistles*.

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby JackHK » Mon Sep 12, 2016 1:17 pm UTC

I'll post later, but if you're waiting on it, then *spoiler alert*
Spoiler:
it passes :D

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Echo244 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:28 pm UTC

The keeper of the Doldrums Inn had, after pacifying Orim and assuring him that no further unknown people would ever be allowed into the Harvesters' private meeting room, somehow then talked Orim into asking the Grace of Music to return. A large quantity of strong spirits had been involved in that discussion, and Orim was beginning to doubt the wisdom of his agreeing, especially after the Grace of Music had accepted. She was known for entrancing audiences of the wealthy, at private events or large festival gatherings, with bewitching music and songs that... not everyone always understood, but that lifted their spirits and brought joy to their hearts. Playing to an Inn full of fisherman was very much unusual, and yet, she had agreed to return.

The Inn was packed - barely even breathing room, and more at the doorway and peering in through the windows. Orim was jammed in to a corner table, at an angle where he could watch both the small stage and the only door to the private meeting room. However, he wasn't exactly being accorded all the space and breathing room that his rank accorded, as several other senior Harvesters were squeezed in beside him.

"We've collected this, m'lady, in return for your kindly agreeing to entertain us tonight." The Innkeeper stumbled over the correct form of address for someone he'd not normally have to interact with, and handed a bag full of coins collected from the crowd to the Grace of Music.

She transferred it from one hand to the other - taking the chance to briefly assess that given the weight and size of the bag, it likely comprised mostly low-value coinage and as such represented a tiny fraction of her usual fee - and nodded to the Innkeeper. "One tale, I think - but I'll pick a good one." The Innkeeper nodded earnestly - this represented an opportunity to make potentially weeks worth of income in a night - and bustled off to aid his overstretched bar staff.

The Grace of Music mounted the stage, and the hubbub died to a murmur. She was an impressive figure, even dressed somewhat more casually than her normal finery, and commanded the attention of the room without needing to do more. "Ladies, gentlemen! And, of course, all the *good* people..." she began. A laugh broke out amongst the audience. An old joke, but it had broken the ice.

"The Innkeeper has shown me how much you've managed to collect in aid of all the widows and orphans of those lost at sea, and after seeing such generosity, I couldn't help but feel moved to offer a little something in recognition of your kindness." She passed the fee she'd been offered to a nearby barmaid, with a gesture towards Orim at the back of the room. That got a raised eyebrow from Orim and a few others, but they didn't turn the donation down. Orim didn't even touch it, just nudged one of his comrades who collected the bag, and took it through to the Harvesters' private room, returning empty-handed a minute later. The Grace of Music watched all this, while tuning her instrument - a guitar, this time. It was already perfectly tuned, but she fiddled with it nonetheless. A hooded figure watching through one of the windows abruptly gave way to let someone else see.

"So, this one's a story, a wee tale from the lands where I was born. My apologies if it's one you've heard before, but... each retelling of a story shows you another side." Nimble fingers plucked out a pleasant background melody, setting a background scene under the voice of the Grace of Music. "It's the tale of the noble hero Odysseus..." The melody shifted to become quick, strong and complex "...and how he outwitted the beautiful, terrible Sirens" Again, the music shifted - now, to the most beautiful, beguiling, enchanting sound anyone in the Inn had heard. The murmur of conversation - and occasional sotto voce inappropriate comments about the Grace of Music - died completely.

"Now Odysseus... well, you may not know the name, but, you'll know the like. Quick-witted Odysseus, brave Odysseus, captain, warrior, sailor, navigator, trader, diplomat, always has an answer for any question asked of him, always ready for any task, first to the topsails in bad weather, last to the boats when all was lost, he was strong, he was cunning, he was" the music paused abruptly "a wee bit of a pirate when he could get away with it." The Grace of Music grinned and picked back up into the Odysseus melody as most of the bar roared with laughter, and a few less than ironic cheers sounded from the darker corners.

"And the Sirens..." The music switched to the beguiling melody "Well, they were these terrible witches, stranded on an island, but who would appear as beautiful, beguiling women, surrounded by wealth and bounty, and with their songs, they would try to lure passing sailors to their doom." The Grace of Music switched, seamlessly, to sing in a foreign tongue, and between her voice, her music, and a wee bit of *actual* enchantment blended seamlessly in to the two, the audience could well believe that there were beautiful women capable of completely enrapturing sailors and luring them to their doom. People were barely even breathing, so as not to detract from the performance. Every soul in the Inn had every last bit of their attention focussed on the Grace of Music.

------

Well, not quite every soul. The Grace of Shadows was, however, finding the melody distracting as she fiddled with the strongbox in the back room of the Doldrums. Fortunately, whoever had purchased the strongbox was under the misapprehension that weight rather than intricacy was a better measure of security. It took her the matter of moments to gain access, once she'd located the hidden strongbox by following the Grace of Music's locator spell.

She raised an elegant eyebrow at what she saw inside - several bags of coins, including the donation from the Grace of Music, piled on a shelf labelled "Guild Dues". Other sections lay empty. This was the sort of thing that often spurred the Grace of Shadows to pull out the nails and then take everything not nailed down, but she had a different task tonight. Into an empty section, she placed the shell of a large deep-sea crab, a small number of longnose gars elegantly fanned out, a pile of fresh, live mussels, and blobs of fish eggs between the noses of the gars. An elegant display, all in all, and none of it sourced from the Harvesters.

Actually, the display was originally intended to be more generous, including an entire crab rather than just the shell, but... the Grace of Shadows had, by necessity, a flexible sense of morality, as well as a taste for fresh crab.

This task complete, on a whim she swapped the label for "Guild Dues" to the fish section, and moved the "Charity" label to the section containing the money. That would have to do.

------

Echo sat at her desk, compiling the accounts for the Society. The Festival had been greatly profitable for the Graces, performances and attendances all over the place, and well rewarded, but recent urgent expenditures had drained their cashflow somewhat. Their credit was always good, but it was never wise to use it. Many lenders often wanted more than just a financial return...

An ever so slight shift in the air happened behind her, before a small knife thudded into an apple in her fruit bowl.

"Haven't I told you never to sit with your back to a door?" The Grace of Shadows collected both her knife and the apple she'd hit, and sat in a chair beside Echo's writing desk, with a winning grin.

Echo's left eyebrow arched almost to a peak. "Have you ever *tried* working at a desk where people can catch your attention every time they walk past? When every movement is through your line of sight, and everyone goes with the idea that if you're distracted anyway, they might as well lay out all their troubles and expect you to put aside anything your doing, and solve all their problems?" She lay down her pen. "Besides, if anyone but a Grace got anywhere near this room, we'd know. Now, have you anything to report, or did you just turn up to defend me from my fruit bowl?"

The Grace of Shadows grinned even more broadly at this, and swivelled slightly to dangle her legs unGracefully over the arm of her chair as she munched on a slice of apple. "Job done for tonight. The Harvesters were... well, the patrons were generous to approximately the limit of what they could afford. The leadership took charity and put it under 'dues'. Their dues are good enough to be worth thinking about at as a funding source at some future point, though we'll have to use another angle to get hold of them deniably. The gift was left... more or less as intended, but certainly in a way that will be noted."

Echo knew better than to inquire. She was happy enough finding out that the Grace of Shadows had modified things at all. Sometimes the less asked, the better. "Good. How about your time investigating the Conspiracy?"

Shadows shifted to a frown as she cut another slice from the apple. "Less progress. Lots of people very excited about being part of a conspiracy; few people knowing what it is, or what it's for. Expressing interest from outside gets you in to meetings full of intrigue but no good information. 'A conspiracy for carrying out an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is', they say. The only concrete data we have is that it does seem to benefit and protect the wealthy, and draw in and support minor criminal elements. Never a good combination if you ask me."

Echo frowned. "So; presume hostile?"

Shadows nodded and paused from nibbling at the current slice of apple; it was an early season one and not as sweet as she'd been hoping. "Presume but nothing actionable yet. Suggest a change of tack; see what we can get from going in through the nobility side of things. The criminals and middle people aren't trusted with anything. We'll need to go in at the top. Or just presume hostile and take the lot down. The bad thing about only a few people knowing things is that the whole thing can fall apart so quickly without them."

Echo paused. "Blades is in Nolair."

Shadows shrugged back, suggesting this wouldn't be an obstacle.

"I'll consider the matter. Now are you done with skullduggery for the night?" Echo picked her pen back up, and half turned back to her accounts, while still politely waiting for an answer.

Shadows took the polite dismissal. "Not quite. One little bit of scumbaggery to go. But this one's a private matter; thought I'd report back first." She ruefully inspected her fingertips, which had suffered greatly from her sewing efforts the previous night.

Echo snorted, not wanting to inquire. Private lives among the Graces were respected, though the Grace of Shadows had developed a reputation for somewhat wildness. She wondered, idly, how much of it was true, as Shadows left, munching the rest of the apple.

------

The next morning, Haik woke and headed, bleary-eyed, in to his workshop. Keeping up with the demand for new sails was... well, impossible, but he had to make the best of the wind while it was at his back.

He'd been about to sit down and get on, when his brain belatedly reported something out of the ordinary. An object, brightly coloured, on his stool. He put down the canvas and needle he'd been carrying, and picked it up to more closely inspect it.

It was a rose. Or something like a rose. Peering closely, it had to have been made from offcuts of his sails. These had been taken, then dyed a deep, expensive red, before being stitched together in a... not altogether sophisticated fashion by golden thread. It was... quite beautiful, if slightly marred by an inexpert execution. But... who could have put it there? How did they even get in, when his workshop was so tightly secured to stop anyone from getting the secrets of his sails? What did it even mea- oh.
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby JackHK » Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:56 pm UTC

<OOC>
Sorry I didn't post for a couple of days - hopefully a longer post will make up for it :D
By the way, here are my notes :)

Spoiler:
-Vote re Scuole taking power in Nolair
--passes
--Knives vs Scuole for Law enforcement in Nolair
-Guild of Knives
--wanna be the police
--tensions with Scuole Security Committee
---induct Security Committee into Guild?
---See !Vote
-Conspiracy
--Cuodr Lahin at the Courts
--Sato Rik at the LIbrary
---Copper bracelets
-The Nolair snafu
-Expedition

</OOC>
---
Victim Room 3, 1 day after the 42nd Vote of this Year
Two hours after sunrise


By now Mistress Rik will have received the letter I sent her last night. The results from the previous day's Votes will be being publicised, to, come to think of it. According to Mother, the Scuole will be happy, at least. They now have all the power they wanted over the fate of the bloody northerners, and they can have it, for all I care. Who would choose to live in such a remote backwater?
I wonder if she remembers me? I was only a few years old the last time she saw me. We had had to move back to Guohen and move in with her parents. But she will know who to speak to about the Conspiracy - she has friends among the Graces, I hear - people to whom I might even reveal the one secret I know will bring the Conspiracy to its knees.

You see, I know of the person who runs the whole Conspiracy. Or rather, the people.
---

---
Fourth Hexagon, 1 day after the 42nd Vote of this Year
Two hours after sunrise

Sato had decided that rereading the long, hastily-scrawled note she had received when she arrived at the Library would be counterproductive. Here at last, proof that there was something shady going on in the Capital. Avin's missives had hinted as much, but she had always had the comforting notion that perhaps this was yet another of Avin's silly ruses. But no, this letter the boy Cuodr had written - and surely he had written it, the contents were far too delicate to risk speaking aloud in such an insecure place as the Courts - this letter proved that she was being dragged into something far more sinister than she had feared.

Sato sighed. Since Cuodr claimed to know who worked at the heart of the whole bloody mess, it was worth alerting people, anyway. She went over to her desk, opening the lid to reveal a large space beneath. Pulling out the small cloth balloon, she grabbed some parchment and wrote to Avin.

There is a boy currently staying in the Courts who claims to know who is behind this Conspiracy you are so interested in. If you want answers, I would go to him. I knew his mother, a long time ago. I trust that he will tell you the truth.

The copper bracelet Avin had recently sent her lay innocently next to where she had kept the balloon. She had been so far unable to trace the buyer who had mysteriously been buying so many of them from the many merchants bringing them to the Capital. Hopefully this new lead would go somewhere. If what Cuodr was saying was true, then the Conspiracy had what amounted to a militia of citizens among its members. If their power was enough to deter even hardened criminals, what else were they going to accomplish, and how soon?
---

---
The Hall is quiet, so soon after the Vote. Over the next fortnight it will fill up with the next Cohort, who can arrive at any point between now and the day before the Votes are held. For now though, most of the people in the building are... interested parties, planning on how to argue their case before the people. Among these parties are the Guild of Knives, aiming for wider reach and more power. Yet their proposals are not without opposition...
---

---
Unknown location, two weeks ago
"Thank you for your generosity." The man in the black cloak might be smiling. "Nobody will dare harm you while you wear this. They will know that you are under our protection."

As he passes my father the bracelet we had saved for weeks to buy, the sleeve hikes up his arm, and I see the start of a tattoo. A tattoo I recognise immediately.

Park of Dreams, the Capital, several years ago
I should not be crying. Crying will show them they won. Crying means that I lost, that I let them taunt me, that I didn't stop them when they hit me...

I need to stop crying.
A shadow falls over where I sit on the hard dirt. I squint up at the man, who holds out his dark hand to me. I let him pull me up by one hand, using my other to wipe at my face hastily. Up his arm a tattoo of a snake winds lazily, the head out of sight beneath his cloak.
"Thank you, sir," I whisper. I sound every bit as young as I am - he must be twice my age, at least sixteen, practically an adult-
"Nobody's called me 'sir' in many years," he smiles warmly. "You don't have to hide your tears, you know. They're how you know you still have feelings. Whoever hurt you, I imagine they're too far gone to help. You, however, you can still be a good person, and help get rid of people like those that hurt you. Now, I must take you back to your parents. Are they in the park?"
He's soft-spoken, almost timid; and yet his words have a quiet confidence that almost makes me believe them. As he leads me towards the Library, it occurs to me.

He's a Grey Servant. And yet, despite that I have no idea what unspeakable crime he committed to get this fate, I am not afraid.

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby JackHK » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:02 pm UTC

<OOC>
So now odf's faction is suddenly more active... :twisted:
</OOC>

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Echo244 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:32 am UTC

A familiar balloon floats up to Sato Rik's window bearing a message.

"If there is someone who you consider to be in need of help, and they have been brought to our attention, then we will offer our aid and support, without the need to bargain information in return. You know how we work.

Please let the boy know that I and one of my Sisters will be coming to visit him at noon, to see how we can help. If either you or the boy would rather we did not, please place a message on this balloon and it will return to me.

Avin.

P.S. Isn't the return feature useful? So handy when you're not sure where you're going to be. Do let me know if you come up with any other ideas along those lines. The enchantment isn't particularly robust or long-lasting, but it should work when we need it to. Oh, and if you don't send a response, please haul the balloon inside by 4pm. The Summit say the autumn winds will be rising then, and I don't want this little project to get lost. Thanks! A."


Avin and the Grace of Shadows head towards the Court. They offer help, without demanding anything in return. But anything the boy offers on the Conspiracy will be gratefully received.

------

"...so after several days travelling in the desert, when our supplies were running low, we finally saw the Ancient Illusion we'd heard rumours of! When water was all that several members of our party were thinking of, we saw a vast lake, on the horizon!"

The Grace of Magic was in Echo's private office, recounting her adventures in the desert. Numerous useful things had been learned and acquired, but in telling her story, the Grace of Magic was prone to digressing on every little detail. However, from long experience, Echo knew that the only way out was to plough on through the tale to reach the end. She sipped at her long-cold tea.

"So the Ancient Illusion magic is real, and someone's using it?" Trying to draw out the facts was Echo's prime tactic, though it couldn't be called an effective one.

"Well, here's the thing!" The Grace of Magic's excitement level was rising. "While a number of the party were chasing off towards the water, I sat down and used every means of detecting Magic I could remember. And no matter how I tried to boost the range, I got nothing!"

"So, vast and powerful illusion at some great distance, good, sounds useful. Did you identify the source?" Echo swirled the tea leaves in her cup. Sometimes she felt that reading these would give her more useful data than a report from some of the Society's members.

"I came up with this idea. You know how you can... feel, when someone's trying to interfere with your magic, as long as you're actively engaged in the spell?" The Grace of Magic didn't wait for Echo's nod before carrying on. "Well, I cast a line of light! It was the only thing I know that could reach so far. And I was putting as much of my senses into that spell as I could, to detect anything interfering with it. And I watched the spell, and it wasn't a straight line! It... bent, somehow, around the Ancient Illusion! But I couldn't detect the slightest thing magically interfering with my spell!"

"So..." Echo prompted what she dearly hoped was the conclusion of the story.

"It's *not Magic*! A great illusion across the horizon, and it has nothing to do with any sort of enchantment we understand! I have no idea what created it! Isn't that exciting?"

Echo's lack of reaction would have presented an admirable lesson in self-control to any of the current students the Society of Graces were training. She set aside her teacup. "Well, it sounds like we've gained much from your adventures. But now other matters are somewhat pressing. I need you to head to Nolair, right away."

The Grace of Magic was more nonplussed by Echo's lack of excitement about her news than the sudden switch of subject. "Nolair? What's happening in Nolair?"

"Rebellion." Echo sat back and looked briefly grave. "They cut us off from all our agents - there's some group calling themselves the Disgraced, though I don't think we need worry about them. The rebels also more or less declared independence. The Scuole and the Guild of Knives are arguing in the Confluence over who has the right to go in and... pacify the rebels, restoring order under their own little flags. Both will be a disaster, their idea of security starts with busting heads. The Scouts and the Harvesters seem sympathetic to the rebels, so any army heading that way will find themselves with no sea route, and torn apart on the march. And... well, you know the meatheads of the Knives, they just think they need to send a bigger army when that happens. Nolair's already been lynching people, so blood has been spilled, and nobody from the capital is looking like they're going to end things without further bloodshed. Blades is in the region trying to calm things down, but... we need to bolster the rebellion's forces, as well as get them to offer an olive branch. Amplify their forces so that the Guild of Knives and the Scuole, even combined, would not just consider the rebels something they could roll over and crush. That's the only hope I can see of avoiding a war, and all that entails. It's likely there'll still be a battle, but... with a bit of luck, we'll keep it down to one."

The Grace of Magic looked thoughtful for a minute. "Battle magic? Or... something that makes people think twice about having a battle? I've got some ideas..."

Echo nodded. "This is why I need you in the region. Blades is establishing a safe house at the estate of that Countess we robbed. Take some support, though we still need an effective force in the Capital to deal with some other matters. Get yourself to Nolair."
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby plytho » Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:01 pm UTC

Notes from the latest Harvester council meeting:

-legislative proposals:
    Our exodus was an efficient and large evacuation operation. We propose to offer this as a service to the country. The Harvester fleet could evacuate any city within reasonable time in case of forest fire or foreign armies. In exchange for this service, tax deductions are proposed. Tari will be sent to convey our proposal.

-Prices:
    For now, prices are to remain steady.

-Graces:
    Orim complained about increasing pressure from the Graces. He's claiming they broke into the doldrum safe, replacing all guild dues and charity collections with non-harvester fish. He asks for a new safe or a safer method for managing finances.
    We have no reports of strange ships around Nolair, no news about Grace Neela.
    They are teasing us. Until they bring in a large amount of fish we won't worry.

-Capital:
    Something fishy is going on in the capital. Reports from local management deviate from feedback we get from low-rung Harvesters.
    We have not received any feedback from the scuole regarding our charitable efforts.
    Hardworking Harvesters are getting in debt with agressive moneylenders. The guild is supposed to be able provide those loans to our members.
    Even Orim's story about the graces seems strange. It's not like them to steal so blatanly.
    Plan: send Beli as a supposed understudy to Orim. She has the experience but looks young enough to play the part. She'll report to us and figure out what's causing the stink.

-Nolair:
    Keep our presence around Nolair. Show all parties involved that Nolair is nothing without Harvesters. If there are negotiations, and we sure hope there are, the goal is to get ourselves a prominent seat at the table.We can use that seat to increase our influence in the city. If Caro's expedition is a succes, Nolair might become a major trading port supplying the country with whatever they find on Terra Incognita. We want to be in control of that flow.

-Missing ships:
    Leviathan has not been seen for two months, supossedly sank. Families will be notified and support organised. Contact the scuole for funeral ceremonies according to the wishes of the families.
    The Tooth has not been seen for a month. Madcap presumed whaling.
    Behamel has returned as has Kolai. Behamel was hit by a storm and needed significant repairs. Kolai hit a reef and could not escape until spring tide.

-Misc:
    Golossians are getting bolder now that a major part of our fleet is up north. If they go too far we might need to send some ships back south.
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby plytho » Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:54 pm UTC

OOC:
Echo244 wrote:OOC:

orangedragonfire wrote:
JackHK wrote:I wonder if we're soon due for another "mod event"...


Hm, well, the original idea was for one event to be resolved; upon which we'd skip ahead a few decades or centuries to the next big event. The purpose was to let time progress faster than is common in these games.


Also, I'm thinking that skipping ahead too much, with all the things ongoing, may be tricky - especially with new expeditions and trade missions that seem unconnected to other events. I'm not sure it'd be fair to either (a) timeskip with them unresolved or (b) tie them up quickly without any other players interfering in the intrigue... So I have no idea what a solution looks like.


Possible solution: we set a deadline for this period and commit to resolving the current storylines by then. Setting the deadline far enough allows us time to tie things up. I'd propose about two weeks from now? We tie up the main storylines and maybe plant some seeds for the timeskip. We could then take about a month for each period (or vary the duration based on the event).

I like the timeskip idea because I feel it makes the game more accessible for new, returning and casual players. People who can't commit to the full came can maybe play for one period. Or a regular player could sorta sit one out when rl comes knocking.

Echo244 wrote:
orangedragonfire wrote:Also, I've sort of written myself out of the story a bit too much, what with making the Grey Servants so passive. So I'd like to either make them a bit more active, or play some other NPCs. Basically, if there are warring factions within a group, or outsiders who don't really belong to a group, I could play those, so that you have somebody to interact with in those cases, instead of just writing the entire interaction on your own. Not mandatory, of course, just in the cases you'd want that. Input on this issue is appreciated as well.


What might work is acting as the rebels within Nolair. Because... I'm about to have a meeting with them, and I'm kind of aware that, Harro Clothbolt aside, we've got more or less nothing to go on. And I'll struggle to have a meeting with them, and gather the results from all that intelligence gathering, without that defining a whole lot about the rebellion. And I kind of don't feel I can just make so much of that up while being fair to everyone else.


I agree. Having us play the rebels is quite tricky. You (ODF) are better placed to play them.

On another note: as I said in my first post, I'm new to this sort of game so if any of you have feedback, things I should be doing more/less of (or different) feel free to tell me as I'm not sure how I'm doing and where I can improve.

I'll try to get a post about the expedition up by wednesday.
/OOC
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby eran_rathan » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:05 pm UTC

plytho wrote:OOC:
Echo244 wrote:OOC:

orangedragonfire wrote:
JackHK wrote:I wonder if we're soon due for another "mod event"...


Hm, well, the original idea was for one event to be resolved; upon which we'd skip ahead a few decades or centuries to the next big event. The purpose was to let time progress faster than is common in these games.


Also, I'm thinking that skipping ahead too much, with all the things ongoing, may be tricky - especially with new expeditions and trade missions that seem unconnected to other events. I'm not sure it'd be fair to either (a) timeskip with them unresolved or (b) tie them up quickly without any other players interfering in the intrigue... So I have no idea what a solution looks like.


Possible solution: we set a deadline for this period and commit to resolving the current storylines by then. Setting the deadline far enough allows us time to tie things up. I'd propose about two weeks from now? We tie up the main storylines and maybe plant some seeds for the timeskip. We could then take about a month for each period (or vary the duration based on the event).

I like the timeskip idea because I feel it makes the game more accessible for new, returning and casual players. People who can't commit to the full came can maybe play for one period. Or a regular player could sorta sit one out when rl comes knocking.

/OOC



I'm behind the ideas of ODF playing the rebels and also of the month per period/timeskip idea.

/OOC
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Djehutynakht » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:16 pm UTC

I'm a bit reluctant to put a formal interval on timeskips. The point of timeskips is to keep us from being bogged down and, thus, I wouldnt want to have to rush a timeline thats going strong just so we can skip ahead.

As for the rebels... well... now that Harro's secured the charter he'll be going back to Nolair and there will be... developments. But that updare for later. Of course, ODF is free to play whatever he likes.

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Queen Arasene » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:05 pm UTC

You're using my own stuff against me eh? Well we'll see how that works out. I am clearly not as verbose as the rest of you but hey, the wizards haven't had too much to do with the whole Nolair matter just yet.

PS are we getting an updated list of places soon? I think a lot more have been mentioned now.
PPS I still have no idea what I'm doing so I do what I want + a bit of jumping on the bandwagon.

/ooc

-----------------------

"...., and everyone is being really polite about it!" More or less, anyway. Thus far, the whole issue with Nolair had gone by rather quietly and, from all appearances, there were some villages in the farther reaches of the country that hadn't even heard of it at all. The wizards had, though. "And of course they didn't want to bother us, in all their politeness." Grand Wizard Miree, latest in a line of many, thoughtfully held her staff and seemed to be listening to its input. "Which is all well and good. This gathering alone is proof enough that people who toy with magic have no place in politics, because their heads would probably explode. Still, we have to bow to the voice of the masses. The vote." She tapped the staff meaningfully. "But fortunately, being a wizard is very political. I am certain we can find a solution. Fetch me the messengers and ready the paper. The results of the vote must be known by every practicioner of magic by nightfall. Earlier if possible; who knows what some of the crazier people have in mind."

-----------------------

Message to all wizards of the Summit:
In accordance with the wishes of the magical community, every practicioner of magic is welcomed to make clear their stance on the situation in Nolair. Every member of this community is also strictly forbidden to practise thaumathurgical influence on the proceedings, on pain of whatever punishment the Grand Wizard Miree can think of.
The next gathering has been set to Nightfall, day of the firstcoming high moon. The Grace of Magic is cordially invited to the gathering to present her findings from her desert expedition. Ground Wizard Theobold of Baar will speak on the topic of emotional influence in the application of weather magic. Mistress Gwynda wishes to present her findings on the magical efficiency of copper. Seventeen familiars have been reported as missing; should you come across one, please take care of it and bring it to the next meeting.

Signed,
Grand Wizard Miree of the Magical Summit


-----------------------

(some days later)
"Yes, I know. Of course the Graces are involved in the mess. They're basically famous for being part of every conspiracy we've had in the country since it was founded! Why else do you think we usually tell them to keep their long curious noses out of our business?" Miree threw her spindly hands in the air, which was a significantly less imposing gesture than she usually hoped. Still, it did what it was supposed to do and kept the other wizard reasonably quiet as he trotted alongside her. "Well, at least good old Orthanac got the letter and sent me one back. He's a soft-hearted fool in the end so I'm not surprised they managed to convince him. Probably trying to remind someone that wizards are still around. Well, I have something to remind them of. Where's that crystal ball?" On the table, of course. The rest of the setup took reasonably little time. There were a few difficulties about the whole process because, naturally, the wizards tended to not have too many maps hanging around the place and so finding Nolair took a while but eventually, the crystal cleared out and the stormy weather over the city came into view. Nothing to be done about that from this distance, and besides Orthanac was well respected for his expertise on the subject. No, what Miree had in mind was just a minor alteration. "What was that name again?" A letter was produced and studied intensely for a few minutes. "Ah, here it is." In the crystal ball, the view changed. "You have to give them credit for getting him to do it." "Of course I'm giving them credit for it! Everyone my age has at least some idea of how good the graces are at what they do. That's why they don't trust us very much, and why we do our very best to not trust them. Give me that lightning bolt I prepared earlier. Thank you."

-----------------------

Lightning struck twice. It was, perhaps, a little premature for the storm, which seemed vaguely confused at the whole ordeal but decided that, since things had started off with such a bang, it might as well go all out. Rain started falling and the cold wind let the drops play a merry death row on the rooftops. Except for one, which had been hit by lightning twice and was now irreversibly on fire. The owner of the inn was outside, doing his best to organize a bucket chain to help, and people were obviously torn between their aversity to stepping outside, their wish for entertainment and their wish to help a poor man. Patrons of the tavern, including a younger woman by the name of Joan, were summarily rushed out of the building into the cold rain. After all, no-one wanted to risk them being caught in the fire.

-----------------------

In this office, there were a lot of interesting objects. The obligatory stuffed alligator was draped tastefully over a shelf, the cauldron bubbled- its contents, naturally, indistinguishable and glowing faintly, occasionally releasing a puff of rainbow smoke into the room, where it deliberately hovered around. Ground Wizard Bartholomew (of Lyos) put a lot of stock in appearances. Some people made fun of him for that, but nonetheless it was one of the primary reasons why he was where he was today. At the knock of the door, he sent his Grey Servant- for he was, indeed, one of the people who employed one- to open the door. The younger, grey-clad man adjusted his copper bracelet and made haste to open the door, ushering in the men from the guild of knives into the wizard's parlor, where he welcomed them with open arms. "Welcome, welcome. To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit on this fine day? Port?" The bottle was offered, in turn, to each of the visitors.
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Echo244 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:32 pm UTC

OOC:

Djehutynakht wrote:I'm a bit reluctant to put a formal interval on timeskips. The point of timeskips is to keep us from being bogged down and, thus, I wouldnt want to have to rush a timeline thats going strong just so we can skip ahead.

As for the rebels... well... now that Harro's secured the charter he'll be going back to Nolair and there will be... developments. But that updare for later. Of course, ODF is free to play whatever he likes.


... and the Grace of Blades is in Nolair and probably going to work things so that Harro Clothbolt's return is not as welcome as he expects, never mind the problems he'll face getting back past the Scouts, who (as far as I can remember, I will check back) have no motivation to let the Scuole or Guild assume greater authority...

I mean, I've been putting that off - hell, even putting off the meeting with the Disgraced off - to try and stick in some other stuff, and let other people have input and form the shape of the rebellion, rather than just go into massive exposition mode (as I'd have to) and define the rebellion and how it reacts to events in the capital myself, so now I feel maybe I'm behind the timeline or something. I mean, I've barely got to Nolair and gathered intel never mind started influencing things.

Meanwhile we've got the non-Harvester fish issue, the Conspiracy, the expedition north, the merchant going south, Grey Servants getting active, the guy in the black cloak, a couple of romances, the Summit voting, all the other things I've forgotten... That's not going to be tidied up in 2 weeks, without reducing all our posts to mere actions. And that, I feel, would tear apart most of the good stuff that's been built up here. Plus... the quicker we move, the bigger the actions we need to take, the more other people we're just going to trample over.

I concur that it'd be nice to tie things together and then skip on somewhat but I don't think we can set time limits. We can agree to not start new threads after a certain point; to try to tie things up and reach resolution, aim for the next timeskip; but the more constraints we have, the less expressive we can be, and that's been a lot of the strength of this game.

/OOC
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby JackHK » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:24 pm UTC

<OOC>
Regarding timeskips: I do like the idea of tying up these story threads and advancing the story, but I don't really want to set a hard time limit. However, we could make a list of the current story threads and agree to not make any majorly new ones until those are sorted...

For my part, @Echo244, I have no problem with you defining what's going on with the rebels in Nolair. However, I'm perhaps too removed from the question to be helpful; there's not much I can do from the Capital to advance the story in Nolair.

Geographical notes:
- The country has a coastline to the west, probably with many islands in the sea
- The largest river, the Urkaam, flows mostly westward from a mountain range in the east to the sea, near the southern extent of the country.
- There are mesas and deserts to the southeast.
- There are high plains along one of the borders of the nation.
- To some degree inland, the tributaries Torsane and Carniv meet the Urkaam at almost the same point. In this area, the Capital has grown.
- The travel time from the Capital to the border takes at least a week.

I'll try to compile a list of place-names ad some notes about them tomorrow.
</OOC>

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby eran_rathan » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:31 pm UTC

OOC:

if anyone wants a map drawn/detailed, that's kinda what I do for a living (surveyor/cartographer/GISP). It might take me a few days to put it together, but I could do it this weekend (if Jack doesn't mind compiling some of the details and place names).

/OOC
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby JackHK » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:36 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:OOC:

if anyone wants a map drawn/detailed, that's kinda what I do for a living (surveyor/cartographer/GISP). It might take me a few days to put it together, but I could do it this weekend (if Jack doesn't mind compiling some of the details and place names).

/OOC


That would be wonderful! :D

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby plytho » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:03 pm UTC

JackHK wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:OOC:

if anyone wants a map drawn/detailed, that's kinda what I do for a living (surveyor/cartographer/GISP). It might take me a few days to put it together, but I could do it this weekend (if Jack doesn't mind compiling some of the details and place names).

/OOC


That would be wonderful! :D


Indeed, that sounds awesome.
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Echo244 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:19 am UTC

eran_rathan wrote:OOC:

if anyone wants a map drawn/detailed, that's kinda what I do for a living (surveyor/cartographer/GISP). It might take me a few days to put it together, but I could do it this weekend (if Jack doesn't mind compiling some of the details and place names).

/OOC


Last compiled geographical notes, from here, for context:

Djehutynakht wrote:Geographical Notes, so far established:

-Nolair is the furthest town North in the kingdom.
-Nolair is a coastal town.
-The Capital city is to some, undetermined degree inland.
-The heart of the capital is where the tributaries Torsane and Karniv join into the river Urkaam.
-Urkaam, presumably, flows to the sea. It is, presumably, navigable. Its mouth, presumably, is far from Nolair.
-The fringes of our borders presumably contain high plains.
-There is a place called Merih.
-The travel time from the capital city to the border regions could take up to 'weeks'. No further elaboration.
-Somewhere out in the sea in a windswept island. Though windswept, it contains a large treehouse and several trees.
-There are other small rocky islands, atolls, reefs and bars, from which bat guano, swallows nests, oysters, and etc. are collected.
-The amount of land and sea controlled by our country is supposedly roughly equal (though both borders may be fuzzy, by current definitions)
-There are rumors of a large, fertile island existing somewhere in the North. Presumably outside current borders, or we'd know about it already.
-There is a desert somewhere. Whether this desert is within our borders is not specified.
-There is a village called Altua.
-Mount Nur'nbergwassolls, a mountain of sorcerers and containing their headquarters, exists somewhere. The mountain itself is not mapped, although presumably its location in the country is.
-A magical school exists across the river from the capital (although it is implied elsewhere that the capital straddles the convergence of the rivers, so maybe it's just upriver)


Hopefully that saves people from going back from the start for geographical notes.
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Echo244 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:54 am UTC

JackHK wrote:For my part, @Echo244, I have no problem with you defining what's going on with the rebels in Nolair. However, I'm perhaps too removed from the question to be helpful; there's not much I can do from the Capital to advance the story in Nolair.


Well, this is the crux of the matter, really. All the action, more or less, has focussed around the capital, where proposals on how to resolve the situation have been moving through various stages. Only a few Societies have been actively moving anything like assets towards Nolair, and nothing has really defined what's been going on there beyond the initial info concerning the rebellion, lynchings etc. Mostly because we've been too... polite to really get to grips with that.

I could define what's happening with the Nolair rebels. But... well, that gives me an absurdly unfair power. Whether or not I deliberately use it for particular gain for the Society of Graces is irrelevant; I'm still filling in massive swathes of detail that weave the threads of fate in patterns that draw away from the designs of other players, and while I add patterns for the Graces that mesh seamlessly with the situation I just created in Nolair, however easy or difficult I make that task for myself, I leave the other players with little more to add than delicate embroidery that struggles to look like what they had in their design.

More or less, if I start writing the scenario and characters for the Nolair rebels, I'll have to focus on acting as the antagonist for this setup and step back from the Graces. Which I'm somewhat loath to do; if nobody's noticed, I rather like this small bunch of often multi-talented and powerful yet frequently flawed women, who have invested so much in making themselves and their actions matter that they warp history around themselves.
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:24 pm UTC

What Echo says is a bit of an issue with regards to things, yeah. Although on the other hand, we've each taken turns moulding each others socieities already, so a bit with rebels may not hurt.

I, myself, plan to define the rebels a bit more in upcoming posts (though treading carefully, in mind of Echo's post).

This, I think being justified in that many of the rebels are members of the Scuole (and so far havent been defined as specifically disloyal, such as the Disgraced). The fact that the Scuole now governs, instead of the Confluence, does indeed change things for them (Harro, additionally, may not have been entirely truthful in completely disavowing any association...)

Although having a neutral voice responding to how our attempts go is... not a horrible idea.

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby orangedragonfire » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:03 pm UTC

Taniri loved her job. It was, in her opinion, one of the best in the world. Okay, so technically, it wasn't a secure job as such; she got assignments, and they just so happened to fit her well each time.

Today, her assignment meant discretely following a young man who'd had the idea to pose as a Grey Servant. With this disguise, he was attempting to gain entrance to a mansion and steal some valuable jewelry. Ah, the hubris of youth. Taniri smiled. The young man had been just clever enough to come up with such an idea, but stupid enough not to do any research or think it through.

He reached the door, and was let in without question. After all, who would stop a Grey Servant? Who would even consider that they might not be supposed to be here? Taniri smiled to herself, before adopting a neutral expression, and following through the door. She, too, was let in without question.

A few minutes later saw the young man alone in a room, with jewelry in his hands. Taniri judged this to be a good time to confront him. She stepped into the room, silently.

"Hello," she said, and the young man flinched. Sloppy, really. If he was trying to pretend to be a Gray Servant, he should just stay calm. After all, what was the point of having a perfectly good excuse to be here if you spoilt it by acting guilty? If he'd been more competent, he'd just have cordially greeted her back. And, if questioned about the jewelry, claimed to have been sent to clean them.

"My name is Taniri," Taniri said. The young man had calmed down, and was looking at her, surprise on his face, which quickly changed to derision.

"Oh, you're just a Grey Servant," he said, relief evident in his voice, "I was worried for a moment."

"As well you should be," Taniri said, and smiled, "Really, and here I thought you were clever. If you can pretend to be a Grey Servant, why would you assume that I actually am one? Oh, and you still have to tell me your name."

He stared at her, suddenly scared. Taniri took great pleasure in catching him off-guard like this.

"... Amad. So... what are you really?" he asked, cautiously.

"I am actually a Grey Servant," she answered serenely, "You just shouldn't assume as much, given your current situation. Then again, it's not like you've thought this through. Think, for a moment. Disguising yourself as a Grey Servant gives you access to places you'd ever be able to get into otherwise. Why is this so? Because Grey Servants are known to be dependable. If a Grey Servant comes to your house, they are supposed to be there. And you never have to fear them lying, stealing, spying... they just don't do things like that. Ah, but you can't be so conceited to think that you are the only person who ever had the idea to pose as a Grey Servant to exploit that reputation. So, riddle me this: Why, if others have done this before, would the Grey Servants still have their reputation?"

Amad stared at her, and then started to look thoughtful.

"Either everybody who tries fails, or it is covered up really well."

Taniri nodded, and gave him a genuine smile. He was coping well with this unusual situation.

"It's a combination of both," she said, "But mostly the former. They fail. Do you know why? Because of me. Or rather, people like me. Not every Grey Servant has a master. Some just generally help other people, other Grey Servants, or the Grey Prophets, going wherever they are needed. I personally usually find people who do things that could impact the reputation of the Grey Servant and... deal with the problem."

"Oh really?" he asked, "And how exactly are you going to stop me?"

She laughed.

"I'm not. I'm just here to talk to you, tell you the consequences of the path you are starting to walk on. Then it's up to you."

"And that is supposed to work?" he asked.

Taniri ignored that challenge, and started her explanations: "So, the first thing you should be aware of is the punishment for committing a crime while impersonating a Grey Servant. It's death. Like I said, reputation is important, more so than you can imagine. Of course, like always, you can choose to become a Grey Servant instead of facing the punishment."

"So the penance for pretending to be a Grey Servant is to become the thing you were pretending to be?" he asked.

"Oh, yes," Taniri said, "More so that you can imagine, certainly. That is where things get interesting. Do you know what happens if you don't commit a crime? If you just pretend to be a Grey Servant, and keep pretending?"

"No, but I have a feeling I'm not going to like it," Aman said, cautiously watching her grin.

"You still become a Grey Servant. It's quite fascinating, really. You see, it's magic, but not quite the kind that the wizards keep throwing around. I've spent a few years serving a Ground Wizard, one of the few who take on Grey Servants, and helped him study societal magic. Magic, regardless of its form, makes your thoughts reality. For a wizard, that means putting in a lot of power, and getting big results results. Flashy magic with big impact. But there is something much subtler at work. There is background magic, a slight bit of magical power everywhere. And this background magic naturally interacts with people. It is changed in tiny ways by your thoughts, and in turn nudges you just a bit. And while the thoughts of a single person don't leave too much of an imprint, an entire city? Many cities? Over time, the common thoughts do change the background magic. And those then go on to affect people. The effects are so very small, but they are constant. The keep working, over years, decades... patterns that have been imprinted on the background magic, such as "Grey Servants are dependable" or "Grey Servants obey". If you are a Grey servant, or simply pretend to be one, you will be compelled to act accordingly. Nothing noticeable, since it is so very slow. But over the course of years, the constant nudges will start to show. Works for other groups, too, of course. The effect is stronger the clearer the perceptions of the group are, and stronger the more people think it."

Aman stared at her with horror. Ah, yes, fear of becoming a Grey Servant. She wondered why so many people didn't like the idea. Maybe what they didn't understand was that while you lost agency, you gained purpose.

"Of course, for you, there is still a way back. You haven't taken the jewelry with you, just picked it up to... admire it. Put it back, walk out, and discard your disguise, and you should be okay."

Taniri gave him one last smile, and walked away, leaving Aman to his decision.

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby eran_rathan » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:10 pm UTC

OOC:

I just got chills reading that. Oi.

Additionally, I'm going to hold off posting until the Scuole has a chance to react to the Guild's offer of induction for Ax and the Security Committee.

/OOC
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby plytho » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:14 pm UTC

Expedition log V41+5
Course= NW
We've successfully loaded the last supplies and cast off. First target is big bird island in four days. After that according to the rumours a further five days straight north (thank Grama for the north stars) gets us to Sulla's rock, which should be the first of a chain of islands leading to terra incognita.
Weather looks good, should be a breeze.

Expedition log V41+7
Course= NW
Some of the building materials in the Craven's hold have shifted. Pace even slower now. Plan is to redistribute some to the Moonlight when we reach big bird island as she's the fastest ship.
Wind picking up so despite Craven's problems we're still on schedule.

Expedition log V41+8
Course= NW
Big bird island reached. Redistribution of load in progress as well as refilling of our fresh water barrels from big birds well.
Tonight we depart on our northward journey.
Skies are clear so we will be able to navigate by the stars. By day we'll use water clocks and the position of the sun to guide us.

Expedition log V41+9
Course= N
Clear skies, fine wind.

Expedition log V41+10
Course= N
Clear skies, fine wind.

Expedition log V41+11
Course= N
Wind is picking up, clouds on the horizon. Rudder locks prepared and retested.

Expedition log V41+12
Course= N
Skies overcast. I hope these locks work.

Expedition log V41+13
Course= N?
Skies overcast.

Expedition log V42+1
Course= N?
Skies overcast. Should have seen that island by now.

Expedition log V43+2
Course= N?
Speck on the horizon straight west as far as we can tell. Clouds don't seem to go.

Expedition log V42+3
Island reached. Not Sulla's rock or really bad description. No fresh water source but rain should fill our barrels. No longer aware of our position or direction. Islands spotted in the distance, might not be north. Plan is to keep the fleet at anchor here while two ships navigate from island to island in search for a larger landmass. They return in three days with news. Hopefully we have an idea where north is by then so if they don't return with happy news we can simply continue north.
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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby JackHK » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:36 pm UTC

<OOC>
I wonder, are we in the northern or southern henisphere? The answer will profoundly affect the fate of the expedition, methinks... 8-)

Expect extensive geographic notes to follow in a few hours.
</OOC>

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby JackHK » Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:28 pm UTC

<OOC>
Map time!
I've made a sketch of the nation, in the spoiler:
Spoiler:

The dotted line is the pragmatic border of the nation; i.e. where our influence peters out.
I've only added place names that people have actually mentioned in-thread. Also, given somebody's reference to "mesas and deserts in the south-east", I am now assuming that our nation is in the northern hemisphere.

Closer zoom:
-NW
Spoiler:
Image
Big Bird Island
Various Harvester Islands

-NE
Spoiler:
Image
Nolair
Drymouth
(Unmapped)
Lyos
Vaibor Cliffs
Merih

-C
Spoiler:
Image
Drymouth
Lyos
Merih
Altua
Torsane River

-SW
Spoiler:
Image
RIver Urkaam
Mount Nur'berguasolis (Summit of Magic)
Ezer
Guohen
Savaah
(Golia; Faelniv States)

-SE
Spoiler:
Image
Capital
Magic School
River Carniv
(Plains [steppe?]; Desert)


Please, feel free to point out any typos. This is just a sketch, and people can feel free to dispute anything if they think it should be otherwise. Also, eran_rathan, take as much "artistic licence" as you like, of course. :D

</OOC>

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Re: Create Your Own Society

Postby eran_rathan » Thu Sep 15, 2016 2:54 am UTC

OOC: thanks for the sketch - the only things I would change, personally, is that I thought Merih was south of Capitol; also, I was thinking that given the climates we've discussed, we could be in either hemisphere, but we are near the horse latitudes regardless, and I'd argue that if there is a fertile island to the north, we are either southern hemisphere or there is a 'Gulf Stream' type thermohaline circulation keeping that northern island more fertile (which indicates another major land mass to our far west).

Additionally, given the set-up of the rivers, there would a city at the mouth of the delta, and likely an important/large one (I thought that was where Lyos was, TBH).

Guohen should also be on or near a river, if possible.

Savaah should be further inland, nearer the mountains (monsoons we mentioned, which indicates a large orogeny nearby, and the desert would likely fall in the rain shadow of the same mountains).

Edit to add: I have started some sketches, including one of the Capitol - if folks have an idea where stuff ought to go in the City, please let me know - you can send it via PM or spoilers so as not to clutter the thread.

/OOC
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