Gods Amongst Men

Game Notes 2017.05.06
Talis Email Interview

Bon: “Who or what killed our previous lives?”

Talis: “The Dragon-Blooded were the spear that was used to kill you and the rest of your kind. Who the one or ones that thrust the spear was not known by the ones that created me.”

Bon: “Who was our nemesis?”

Talis: “Such a short question that no length of answer may truly satisfy. I will answer briefly until more pressing issues are resolved. Exalted were initially made by the gods to defeat the Primordials that created the gods. The Primordials had a habit of nearly destroying Creation and leaving it to the gods to clean up. The gods could not attack their creators but they​could create ones that could. You were given Exaltation to unseat the Primordials, which you did, then the Solars were tasked with ruling and caring for Creation. Your rule was ended by the revolt of the Dragon-Blooded.”

Bon: “Are there other fortresses like this?”

Talis: “There may be. The idea of creating a safe haven was not unique but to give any one sanctuary a chance at success those that acted on the idea did so without contacting anyone else so that one being found would not lead to others.”

Bon: “Are there artifacts here, or weapons, we could use/take?”

Talis: “There is an armor storage, weapon storage, crafting room and tools, even a sorcery focus chamber. However in my current state I cannot activate any of their functions and cannot provide an inventory.”

Lujan: "Are there any histories?"

Talis: "There maybe some personal journals of the Solar that spent time here during my creation and the fortress's configuration.  What subjects or insights they provide and their condition I cannot say. I however have access to significant portions of their knowledge. If you have specific questions or are just curious we can talk. As much as you are ignorant of the time the Solar's ruled is likely equal to how ignorant I am of this time. We would likely have much to teach each other."

Lujan: "Are there any messages left by the builders for those who would come later?"

Talis: "You are not alone. You do not have to fight these battles by yourself. Show that the Unconquered Sun is worthy of devotion. Exalted are an expression of power by the god that is the seed of your Exaltation. The Immaculate Order which seeks to control men and women from birth to life to death, and even their rebirth is as much a yoke on the gods as it is on the people. By exerting control on what gods receive devotion, when they receive it, and for how long, the Immaculate Order weakens everyone but themselves. The more people that give devotion to the Unconquered Sun because of the works and feats that you do the strong he becomes and stronger you become."

Lujan: "Exactly how long has it been since our type has been here?"

Talis: "No one has been here in almost a millennium."

Lujan: "Have others been here since this place was complete? If so, when and what happened to them?"

Talis: "No one has been here since construction finished. No one has left since construction finished. The effort of creating this fortress and creating me cost this particular circle their lives."

End of current email discussion.

Game Notes 2017.05.05

Present: Lujan, Jalthyn, Amelia

We walked through the door, which was of outstanding, first-age, relic-quality craftsmanship. Continuing down the hallway, we notice there is a thin filament of shadow upon the floor as we walk through, though the floor is truly solid beneath. 

Upon proceeding far enough, we come across a deep cavern that extends far below and far above what we are capable of perceiving. Jalthyn even sent a light source downward that reappeared above us, continued downward, and then reappeared above a couple times before hitting a stopping point.

Jalthyn and Amelia both flared their caste marks, while Amelia greeted the darkness and it spoke back saying, “solar exalted agents of the Unconquered Sun may step forward onto the path.” Jalthyn stepped forward onto the essence-made stepping stone that appeared in front of them into the darkness.

Once we both went about halfway, Lujan lit his caste mark as well and followed. Upon reaching the other side, we step onto a stone platform almost identical to the one we left, without being shrouded in shadow. Based on Jalthyn’s observations, the stepping stones that appeared for us would not have appeared for any other type of exalted other than Solar exalted, so it could be assured that this place is a safe place.

Upon crossing the threshold, we find ourselves in the beginning of another hallway. Not far down the hallway is another room where the sides of the room and the ceiling look as if we were standing inside of a precious stone. The walls are polished to such a sheen that it takes on the appearance of gemstone, but it’s not truly translucent. 

Laid in the floor are concentric rings of runes similar to those seen at the back of the initial door and the end of the initial walkway. At the center is a small depression with a pool of essence suspended within. The outermost ring from the center pool, which is a couple feet in width, is filled with runes that spiral around the pool of essence, contrived of several rings in total. The outermost ring establishes the foundation, then the understanding continues inward. Jalthyn and Amelia begin to analyze.

Lujan suddenly throws a coin into the pool of essence. It strikes completely dead center. As Lujan’s banner gives off light from the essence, the pool resonates in response.

Amelia then addresses the pool of essence, acknowledging that we have come upon being summoned and wanting to know what its desire is. She addressed it in the Old tongue, and the rings begin spinning and flaring on its own, flaring at points along the foundation in a pattern that spell out words in response: “Welcome, agents of the unconquered Sun, it has been longer than my creators had hoped.” It asks for a donation of essence.  We each respond by providing 5 essence to the pool.

What we gave to the being in the essence takes form in the pool of essence, standing up before us in a human form. The being has jaw-length hair and is rather androgynous in form with a style of clothing that is familiar perhaps to Amelia in that it’s high class but older world style. 

It speaks, “I am Talis. Thank you for replenishing me enough that I may take this form and function once again.” 

It realizes then that only Amelia speaks High and begins speaking in the low tongue. Talis continues in low, “ It has been centuries since I last spoke with any of my creator’s kind. How may I assist you/serve you in your journey?”

Jalthyn: “Who are your creators?”

Talis: “Solars of my time crafted me from their own essence. I am the combination of their efforts to create a caretaker that could survive until the solars could return.”

Jalthyn: “What are you caretakers of?”

Talis: “I was created to take care of this fortress, to be a safe haven against the genocide that was wrought against us.”

Amelia: “Are you the one that summoned us here?”

Talis: “I do not have that ability. That was the unconquered sun that was responsible for that.”

Amelia: “We are recently exalted, and do not yet know our path In this world. We were summoned here and hoped to obtain some sort of direction or purpose upon coming here.”

Talis: “First and foremost, this fortress was created to be a sanctuary against the persecution and to be a rallying point for when the solar returned. However, my creators had not anticipated how long it would take for someone to reclaim this fortress. As such, a lot of it has fallen to disrepair. The greater functions of our fortress rely upon me to power and control them at the solars’ direction.” At this point he gestures at the command words inlaid upon the rings around him.

Jalthyn: “Can you now repair the things that have fallen into disrepair with us here to recharge you?”

Talis: “I can take assessment at this point, and with a quick analysis, the castle lacks the most fundamental means of producing basic sustenance. So this is likely where we should begin. There are rooms for you to reclaim as your own that do not require my assistance.”

Jalthyn: “What do you need to regain full capacity?”

Talis is basically unsure and would need time to assess the condition of the fortress.

Amelia: “Can you guide us moving forward?”

Tails: “I can certainly guide you in the short term and provide means for you to find ways to strengthen the fortress, which will then allow me to assist you further.”

Amelia asks: “ Can  you communicate with the Unconquered Sun? Was it our previous selves that made you?”

Talis responds: “It was students of your previous selves that created me, and when your group took to the field, there was nothing that stood against you. You were the pinnacle of the Solar exalted of your time, and no Solar could stand against you.”

I did not have my notes open when answering this question and did not do my notes justice when recalling them on the fly.

Talis: “I can speak to the Unconquered Sun, but he answers in his own time.  It was students of your previous selves that created me. All of you were a beacon, an ever improving target the Solar tried to reach. Each of you where more than a match for any other Solar. When just a few of you worked together you could defeat a full circle of Exalted. When all of you worked together, you made gods second guess if they really wanted to stand in your way.”

Jalthyn: “Did we ever live here or come here ourselves?”

Talis: “Unfortunately your strength as a group meant that you were primary targets during the genocide of the exalted, and you were isolated and removed through exceeding effort on the part of the dragon blooded, and never made it to this stronghold. When you fell, there were members of the solar exalted who created this place when they realized there was no way to stop the moving forward of events of the time.”

Game Notes 2017.04.21

Present: Ban, Lujan, Jalthyn, Amelia
Our group starts the night in the mercenary camp, after we had slaughtered all the men we could find in their sleep. Interrogating the captain of the camp, we learn The Black Hand had a scheme to dress up as Fair Folk and attack the small village, and then charge them for protection against said Fair Folk.
While we talk to the captain of the mercenaries, Lujan goes about freeing the slaves and Ban starts looking for valuables.

When we’re done interrogating him, we take him outside to the camp’s watch fire. Jalthyn starts chanting and uses his abilities to bring the fire down to nothing, performing some nonsensical ritual before telling the captain that he has been cursed and doom will follow should he return to these parts, and that he should not stop moving in his flight from this area for 100 leagues.
Amid the camp’s belongings we find 4 slaves, a few horses, couple carts, basic arms, armor, and plenty of rations (2 weeks of rations for 6 people).
We decide to depart immediately to head back to the village, taking the cart and horses and rations along. Within a couple hours we find the other slaves we had left on the road. Picking them up along with the slavers carts, we then head back to the village where we roll in to confront the two remaining mercenaries.
We murdered them good.
Neha comes out along with other townsfolk and is briefly concerned by the two dead bodies before being distracted with elation at seeing her returned husband. We explain that they’ve been getting conned by the Black Hand and that they have no more to worry about. After some rest and food, we head back out on the road with our additional cart and horses.
Iceholme is about a week’s journey away when we depart. We are very successful at catching game along the route and reach Iceholme with 10 days worth of rations remaining. We stay at various towns without event along the way, each town a little bigger and better equipped the closer we get to Iceholme.
As we enter the city we are stopped by guards to inspect our cart, but this goes without event. Amelia leads them to the Queen’s Star Hotel where they are well received and provided with nice rooms, baths, fresh clothing and given a good meal. Lujan, Jalthyn, and Amelia watch an opera at or nearby the hotel while Ban decides to take a stroll around town.
While Ban is out on the town, with the catbear in toe, he wanders into a gambling establishment to chat up some locals. He hears about the Wyld Hunt harassing various towns in the area, burning and chasing people out for harboring potential Exalts. There are towns in the north getting raided by barbarians.
The next day, our group procures everything we need for our journey including transport across the river for the next day upon the Sea Crosser with Captain Anders who tells us it will be a 3 day journey.
After three days of travel across the sea and river, we are deposited on the shore near Diamond Hearth and continued our journey on horseback and by sled northeast through the wilderness. Once entering a forest a couple weeks into the journey, we all notice the temperature rise. The forest here seems more alive than elsewhere in the north, with deciduous trees still bearing green leaves and abundant vegetation in comparison to the snow laden forests we’d passed before.
Upon traveling through the forest we emerge in a large, grassy clearing. At the far side of the clearing, at the base of the cliff that lines it, there are two statues standing on either side of a large door, one male and one female, both clad in armor. Neither man nor catbear detect any signs of humans having been in the area and no one picks up signs of fair folk or spirits nearby.

Game Notes 2017.04.07

Venturing northward, the group finds themselves in sparsely populated territory. Fortunately, Bond and Amelia's critter manage to find enough game to keep bellies filled and grumbling to a minimum amongst the city folk in the group. A few days later, the circle spots a small collection of houses off the main road. They also spot two carts rolling away from the city with several people caged within the carts. A quick discussion results in everyone heading into town to find out what's going on.

The town is clearly not one frequented by traders, nor terribly prosperous. Once within the town, they're presented with the story of depredations by the Fair Folk and a mercenary group (The Black Hand) they hired to protect them from those depredations. Being such a ragtag collection of hovels, the townsfolk were unable to pay the mercenaries' protection fee and some of the villagers have been taken to be sold as slaves in lieu of payment. Some members of the mercenaries are posted into the town to act as sentries should the Fair Folk return (and tattle on the villagers).

The team decides to set off in rescue of the townsfolk and postpone deciding what may be done about the Fair Folk menace. With Amelia's creature following the scent of the mercenaries, they quickly gain on the cumbersome carts. Surprising the mercenaries, they manage to slay the guard and both drivers. This results in the freeing of 3 adults and 2 kids. They learn that more captives may be ahead at the camp and warn the townsfolk to remain where they are, armed now with a few knives from Lujan's collection.

Once again following the scent of unwashed mercenary scum, they group eventually reaches a camp. Soon realizing an inherent lack of war footing or even professionalism, they decide to wait for the camp to fall asleep before descending upon them. During the reconnoiter, the spot two more caged carts in the camp with 2 prisoners in each. Once the camp is asleep, Bond, Lujan, and the critter sneak into camp and begin silencing all of the sleeping mercenaries. They save the most opulent tent for last.

Entering the final tent, they bind the fellow sleeping within. City boy Lujan manages an impressive imitation of an owl, summoning Amelia to come and aid in the interrogation of the manacled oaf that Bond has managed to thoroughly intimidate.

Game Notes 2017.03.24
Deep Thoughts by He'stan

The group has found an inn for the evening. The Obsidian Luxury Inn. The gates have been closed for the night impending the raid, a common occurrence in the farming community. The Inn isn’t bad but I’ve stayed in nicer establishments. Amelia has the innkeeper fooled so tonight won’t cost much. I will say, after Amelia talked to the innkeeper we have had excellent service. Why is it Jalthyn wandering around trying to instigate conversation when we should be trying to keep our heads down? The bard is somewhat entertaining.

The guards here don’t seem to have any specific idea what the gate incident was about. A table near us wears a sigil from The Blessed Isle however not a very prominent house there. The Scarlet Empress hasn’t been seen in public in quite some time but her decrees continue from the other powerful representatives. Audiences with her are becoming harder to obtain. That families with red tape that started about two years ago. The guards have had to arrest a few outsiders as well which is unusual around here. The order came from either the Mayor or the Captain of the Guards. My siblings have lived interesting lives.

More guards have arrived, two appear on door duty. The innkeeper is pointing out groups of outsiders. The other two guards approach a table of six and arrest them. It may be worth retiring for the evening. All seems quiet outside overnight.

I get up early the next morning and take advantage of the cooks’ undivided attention. Little brother needs to keep his hands off my food. Some guards are eating nearby while two more appear to be waiting for something, which seems suspicious to me.

The Quoll-Lion (catbearpig, or CBP for short) alerts Amelia of guard activity outside and she heads back upstairs to get ready to leave. Savannah has a bad feeling something is about to happen. Lujan is chatting with the barkeep. With all the suspicious activity and on edge feeling we’ve all decided it’s best for us to make our way to the nearest exit in smaller groups  and get out of town.

Amelia and I head out. We get stopped so they may be looking for us/the people that set off the entry gate yesterday but we are able to talk our way out of it. That guard didn’t know what hit him with Amelia charming him…I didn’t even have to use my hammer! I have no idea how the rest of my siblings will get out but hopefully it will be equally as easy for them.

Once Jalthyn catches up to us he tells me how he got out but there is no way anyone else would ever believe him if he told them what he told me! At some point before we got outside the town gate, Bon slipped into my wagon! Savannah and Lujan manage to get out and even brought Jalthyn’s horse with them. Even though the guards stopped, searched them and then were going to hold them for questioning, the guard that was to take them to the barracks was a doofus so they were easily able to give him the slip and join us outside the town walls. The gate guards don’t even notice as the six of us continue our travel north away from the town. The gate we used to exit does not react as the entry gate had.

End Scene

Game Notes 2017.03.10

Character development/notes:

Bon (Eric) – Dawn
He’stan (Kevin) – Twilight
Savannah (Steph) – Night
Lujan (Walter) – Night
Amelia (Bonnie) – Eclipse
Jallthyn (John) – Twilight

(GM Note: Player caste is subject to change pending full character sheet review)

Plot development:

Beginning south of Rubylak heading north Bon encounters He’ Stan on the road. He’ Stan is working on repairing his wagon wheel. The two meet and memories flash between them of a distant past life together growing up. They were siblings in a previous life.

They choose to continue traveling north together reaching Rubylak in a couple hours. Once in town they decide to go to the local Inn, The Scarlet Renaissance, for food, drinks and a decent night’s rest before continuing their journey north.  In the morning He’stan and Bon head to the stable to head back out on the road. While in the stable they encounter a woman named Savannah and another odd appearing woman, Lujan who are also preparing to depart. The four of them have the same memories/flashbacks of their previous life together and realize all four of them were siblings. All four of them have had the pull to travel to the north since the time they exalted.

Two stable boys witness them “cast”, one of them fainted, the other ran away screaming but in the direction away from the Inn.  The 4 “siblings” agree it’s time to get moving and calmly, at a moderate pace so not to be noticed, head out of town continuing their journey to the North.

Hours later they spot two people ahead that are surrounded by six other individuals. While the two do not appear to be a “couple” they are clearly not with the other six around them. Jalthyn and Amelia are the two in the middle and are being held up for money/riches. The 4 siblings join to aid Jalthyn and Amelia. Combat commences. In the end the 6 Exalted are left standing. At this point the 6 connect and it’s now known that they all were in fact previously siblings in their past life with He’Stan being oldest followed by Lujan. Amelia and Bon are twins and the next in line with Jalthyn and Savannah as the youngest, also twins.

All six of us share the same draw to the north towards Icehome and choose to continue together. The current season is late fall/Earth season.

A few days pass after the combat and traveling north the group begins to notice extra-large farm lands like large plantations for mass production of goods for the realms. Set back in the fields guard towers are noticed as well. The guards pay no attention to the group. About dinner time the plantation workers begin heading out onto the path with the group, northward bound to what can only be assumed is the nearest town. About this time Bon kind of spaces out and receives a message from the Unconquered Sun. “Do great deeds to draw followers to you and I”.

We come to an arched gateway that has high walls that stretch about ½ mile on each side before vanishing from sight. A horn sounds from the left guard tower causing the locals on the road to pick up their pace moving quicker into the town protected by the wall. Upon inquiry of a towns person what this alarm was we learn it is to summon all within the walls due to raiders that are spotted. Due to the farm’s high productivity/volume it leaves them open to theft/attack for their goods. We continue into town with the locals. This is the town of Windy Oak. Upon entering the town each of the group spends a peripheral mote without noticing. They also do not notice that six lights have appeared in the arch in the gateway. (An exalted detector)

End Scene….

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