Category Archives: Trials By Moonlight

Convergence, Part 3

The two bird-Lunars on the roof couldn’t see exactly what had happened to the slaves’ restraints–they were all behind the stage–but the chaos that followed their escape engulfed the entire area within seconds. The half-dozen guards were equipped to deal with one or two defiant shoves at a time, not with everybody charging at once.

Jenya did not wait for any further invitation. She knew exactly whom she would strike first: the man in the colorful robes who had been shouting the most orders, and had the most sound of money in his pockets. That would be the leader of the operation. With a few wingbeats she lifted herself high in the air and dove straight for his eyes. Though most people in the square–at least, any who were paying attention–heard only the screeee of a bird of prey, Laughing Surf heard it as words: “Never again!”

Laughing Surf followed a little less gracefully. Less driven by vengeance, and unwilling to reveal her beastwoman shape for the moment, she kept her eyes on the crowds surrounding Jenya. Anyone who came within range to hinder her got a face full of seagull beak and feathers. Between assaults she glanced around to see what reinforcements might be arriving against them.

And we’re off! I petition the DM to give us a better sense of how many guards there are and what kind of Dragon-Blood opposition might get involved. As Hesperos could have told you, I’m not the best at game balance. On further reflection, retcon’d edges of past chapters will be ironed out in the “Published” posts.

Convergence – Continued

Since we can’t edit posts others make, I will continue on here on this post. DM feel free to edit things at will.

Katanashi had begun his day like most, crawling out of whatever crevice he went to sleep in and quickly went around to his favorite spots for checking out news within the city. Most of what he overheard was business as usual, but he was alarmed to hear of a slave ship in the harbor. It wouldn’t be long before the auction would begin. Unable to stand such a public atrocity, Katanashi could not sit by and watch a slave auction. However not one to make frontal assaults during the day, he came up with a plan to make the best of this situation. He darted between shadows and crept closer and closer to the stage that was used to show off the slaves to be sold. He dived underneath the stage and using his malleable body he carefully extended an appendage up through holes in the wood and quietly sabotaged the shackles and locks one at a time by altering the shape of his tentacle so that no mortals there would notice. When the auctioneer moved back towards the cages, Katanashi quickly reached up to trip him and then extended his reach as far as he could to open all the cages at once. As the prisoners fled in all directions, Katanashi contemplated how to best pick off the slavers one by one.

Convergence

So, based on our characters’ attributes–and lack of them, including no virtues at 4 or higher between Laughing Surf and Jenya, at Alejo’s suggestion I am injecting a coincidence: something all three of us can get riled up about. Add to the story!

The following effects may apply later; work them in as needed: LS has Dog-Tongue Method, so she and Jenya can communicate regardless of their relative shapes. She does not, however, speak Old Realm. LS also has 1st Charisma Excellency, New Friend Aroma and Irresistible Silver Spirit; she will use those for recruitment. Debbie and I have agreed on their cover story, to preserve Kamahl’s secrecy: if anyone asks, they both dreamed on the same night that they would find a companion in this city, matching his cloak-and-mask description. But they will play it off as coincidence if circumstances allow.

“Surf, wake up!”

“Mrr?” Jenya and Laughing Surf had gone to sleep in cat shape on a well-kept balcony, having stayed up much of the night searching for their quarry. They’d had no luck in three days, and had circled from the dense and noisy parts of town to the quieter, wealthier residential areas. This morning they planned to start again. Laughing Surf had slept in, but Jenya was clearly already up, and upset. “Ow! Stop pecking me! What’s wrong?”

Jenya was a goshawk again, and spoke in squawks. “A big slave ship pulled into the harbor yesterday evening while we were up here! They’re holding a big auction in the marketplace! C’mon, we gotta go stop it!”

Five minutes later they were sitting on a rooftop across from a large raised stage platform, both in cat shape so as not to look out of place together. They need not have bothered. Though the market square was packed with more people than usual, all eyes and ears were fixed on the auctioneer and his unfortunate wares.

Laughing Surf surveyed the scene, and her friend’s restless reaction, with trepidation. “Jenya, this is horrible for everyone, but we can’t just pounce down there! Every Dragon-Blood in town will tackle us, and they won’t care if they knock over a few slaves on the way in! Also I…well…haven’t fought much of anything on land yet.” She swished her tail nervously, not relishing the idea of a battle without a nice big ocean underneath to throw foes into.

Jenya growled, the notes of tiger fury audible even in a small cat’s voice. “I can’t just sit here and do nothing while those people get sold off like cattle!”

“I don’t like it either,” Laughing Surf replied. “But…suppose we do manage to tear things up and escape with our lives. We might never find our new friend if the Dragon-Bloods keep watching this place for Lunars. They might even catch him by mistake! Maybe there’s one or two we can follow and rescue later. Or…or even kill the slavers, but not when they’re in the middle of all these people! If we let them get back to their boat and sail off we have a way bigger advantage.”

As they talked, the auction continued. A guard dragged one young woman to her feet and she yelped with the pain of it, fighting back tears. As they made their way to the platform stairs they happened to pass right by the shadowed patch of ground beneath it, though neither of them would have given that a second thought.

…Okay, it’s Choose Your Own Adventure time! Obvious possibilities at this point are (A) Katanashi might be hiding under the platform (B) could take revenge on this guard, or someone else, either now or after the auction’s end when it’s easier to attack unseen, or (C) maybe everyone ends up liking the boat idea, either because lolRPGcoincidence or maybe he’s hiding closer to these cats than I hinted? (D) Jenya abandons caution?? (E) Something else that moves us forward? Write the next step, or throw me some votes in the comments, or DM take the reigns!

Thoughts from Taylor

Finding this masked, cloaked man will be rather difficult. Katanashi spends lots of time observing people from shadows. Only on rare occasions does he dawn a disguise and leave the shadows. A charm he often uses lets him sense sentience, so ambushing him is difficult. However if Jenya or Laughing Surf has conviction or compassion at 4 or greater, they will stand out to Katanashi and he will observe them.

Katanashi would likely spend a lot of time observing the market place. If an individual stands out while using Hearing the Unspoken Word, he will follow them for a while. If he suspects someone is watching/following him, he will try to lose them and observe them.

Plan upon arrival

Laughing Surf’s plans, to be coordinated with Jenya:

  1. Laughing Surf realizes she’ll need a better outfit than the scraps of what she sailed away from home in, and snags a nice dress from a tailor in the next town over (so as not to be recognized while wearing it). She sneaks in by night and takes one as a cat, and leaves some coins in its place as payment. If Jenya wants new clothes too, she grabs some for her as well (up to Debbie what outfit it actually is) or Jenya can just come with her.
  2. Find the mysterious person! LS will probably do a few initial passes over the city as a seagull and, if that doesn’t turn up anything, will alternate that with hanging out in the town’s social places chatting about current events and keeping her eyes open for a person in a cloak and mask, or rumors thereof. Could also poke her head into quieter cafes and the like, since a “retiring” person might prefer that sort of place to a noisy one, and checking every house would take too long…how will they get their first hint of the one they’re looking for?

New Campaign: Trials By Moonlight

I am pleased to announce a new campaign, Trials By Moonlight.  A few relevant details released below:

  • Shared canon with the Burning Campaign, Tides of Fortune, etc.
  • Starting Location: Southwest Creation
  • Starting Time: Immediately following Tides of Fortune (predating Hearts of Silver and Wanted: Weapons of Fate)

So far the roster appears to be thus:

  • Taylor: Creating Katanashi, No Moon Lunar (semichimera)
  • Jennifer: Creating Laughing Surf, a Dolphin-totem Changing Moon caste Lunar
  • Debbie: Recreating Jenya, a Tiger-totem Lunar

If you are interested in joining this campaign please let me know!  Thank you!

Kamahl’s Mission

The fires had died down, most of the party-goers had left to their more private entertainments, and only two young Lunars remained, basking in the afterglow of the celebration of their formal completion of their initiation into the Silver Pact.  The larger, a burly, yet still graceful young woman named Jenya, had chosen the moniker Chainbreaker, as an inspiration to all those around her who still had chains but could yet free themselves.  The other was a slender slip of a girl wearing bright pink hair and little else, who had renamed herself Laughing Surf to signify a new life that left the old one behind.  As the fire died down and the night grew dim and cold, the two sat closer together to continue their shared discussion of their new lives that lay before them.

“Good evening ladies, may I join you?” A soft, humble voice came through the darkness.  The two looked back and saw the familiar figure of Kamahl, Fist of the Wyld, the legendary Lunar warrior who would give all the chances they deserved to prove themselves.

“Of course,” Laughing Surf clucked cheerily, her trilling chuckle belying her dolphin-like nature.  Jenya nodded as well and made space, her distinctive pattern of facial markings standing out in the dark.  Kamahl bowed slightly then sat between them.

“I have been impressed with both of you,” He said plainly, nodding to each.  “You have done well at both the challenges placed before you as well as the celebration that followed.”

“A party’s always a welcome challenge to meet,” Laughing Surf said, tossing her pink hair ostentatiously.  Jenya smiled but concern danced in her orange eyes.

“Jenya, you are young to know me so well,” Kamahl said, smiling.  “You have sensed I am not here simply to congratulate you.  In fact, I believe I am here to rain on your parade a bit.”

Both looked at him inquisitively, but Kamahl seemed to be in no rush to end the suspense.

“Imagine, both of you for a moment, that you had passed the trials but no one knew of it.  No celebration, no speeches, just some tattooes and an empty land before you to explore.”

Both seemed thoughtful.  After a moment Laughing Surf scoffed slightly.  “Less fun, certainly, but if it were the price of the Second Breath I’d pay it gladly.”

“Yet somehow not having the sharing would diminish this gift,” Jenya concluded.  “What are you getting at, Master?”

“Well, your trials were well-constructed, but let’s just say I feel like they were lacking slightly.  I would like it if you could investigate something for me,” Kamahl said, getting to his point at his own damn pace.  “There’s an island off the coast of An-Teng, supposedly uninhabited, supposedly no natural harbors of any kind, yet somehow ships keep disappearing when they go near it.”

It was Jenya’s turn to scoff.  “What concern are the traders of the oceans to us?  Are we not bigger than that?”  But it was Laughing Surf’s turn to brood quietly.

“That depends,” Kamahl said sagely.  “The concerns of others are always the concerns of ours, if they are big enough.  That is the ultimate burden of being one of the Wardens of Creation.  This world cannot care for itself, but luckily, we are here.  Besides, some of those ships that go missing are slave ships.  Could we not bring more to our causes with this mission?”  His eyes twinkled as he sized up both women.  Each seemed to take this to heart.

“Now, there is someone I want you to include when you venture out there.  He’s currently in the capital of An-Teng, making his way through the city, getting to know what humanity is.  He’s lost it, you see, and he’s trying to reclaim it.  I think he may be helpful for you, and I know you will be helpful for him.”

“How shall we know him?”  Jenya asked.  Kamahl described a black-cloaked, white-masked fellow who was retiring in his nature and eager to avoid trouble.

“Catching him will be a challenge, as will persuading him to help you.  Under no circumstances must you reveal I sent you, or that I’m involved at all,” Kamahl said sternly.  Both young Lunars blinked in surprise but nodded slowly.

“It’s a good journey to An-Teng, though the trouble doesn’t really start until you get there.  Watch out for servants of the Realm.”  With that, Kamahl stood up, stretched, and began to stroll back into the woods.

Jenya and Laughing Surf looked at each other.  No words were spoken for a moment.

“So, shall we leave in the morning?”  Jenya asked delicately.  Laughing Surf nodded carefully.  “Yes, morning.”  Neither made a move to leave.  After a moment that stretched on and on, they each grinned, then suddenly Jenya was a Tiger and Laughing Surf was a Seagull and both took off into the jungle at dead sprints.

Mission Setup

Jenya and Laughing Surf have been sent on a mission to find out what’s happening off the coast of An-Teng.  They have a sub-mission to collect a mysterious cloaked fellow to include on this mission.  Their to-do list probably looks something like this:

  • Get to An-Teng
  • Hunt around as humans or birds to find this guy
  • Recruit him, delicately (he may try to escape)
  • All three set out for the islands to find out what’s up

Jenya and Laughing Surf get to An-Teng probably without incident.  What’s the first plan?