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A Piratical Pupil

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Hi, I wrote an adventure about teaching magic to a pirate because that is a thing I would like to do in this game. Please use it if you enjoy.

 

Also, I am super-smart and can't figure out if there is a way to use spoiler tags on this site, so please let me know if there is. Until then, notes from the author will be offset with rows of asterisks. Now with mostly not-broken spoiler tag action!!!

 

I don't have any prerequisites for this adventure in mind, but maybe making it available after the first semester of school is over would be best since it's not really a "beginner" adventure. I did, however, try to keep the checks somewhat reasonable, because I went out of my way to write some underloved skills into this adventure. You will not find a single Observation, Persuasion, or Athletics check in this adventure chain. You WILL find Mimicry and Criminal Law. Anyway, feedback on the level of the skill checks is welcome.

 

**********

 

Stage 1: A Light in the Woods

 

 

Another day in the library. You sigh. You've been here for hours--or what seems like it--and you just can't concentrate anymore. The words seem to swim on the page before you as your temples throb. Even the still, hushed environment of the Venalicium seems suddenly alive with sensory torments: the muffled cough of a librarian is the stomp of an elephant, the gentle draft from the nearby window is a raging tempest, the tiny twinkling light in the distant woods is a blinding...
Wait a minute. Why is there a light in the woods?
Your work forgotten, you peer out the window and--yes, there it is again. A weak spot of light is just barely visible in the foliage before it winks out again. And then again.

This is certainly odd. Perhaps it's time for a study break?

 

Exit 1. Automatic: Clearly you must investigate! (+1 ss Curiosity, Advance to phase 3)
Exit 2. Automatic: No, of course you'd rather stay here in the library and work on this interminable assignment. And this terribly important headache. There is definitely no fun or excitement to be found by skipping homework. (+1 Playfulness, Advance to phase 2)
Phase 2.

Yeah, right! You are so out of here!
(Advance to phase 3)

 

**********

 

You click the Adventure button, you take the ride, chump.

 

**********

Phase 3.

 

 


Yes, it is definitely time for a break. At the very least, you can clear your head with the walk. You gather your things and head outside, peering into the distance as you exit the library and round the corner of the enormous building. You're sure the light was coming from that direction--and there it is again! But you still can't tell what it is or what's causing it. You strike out across the grounds in the direction it's coming from, towards the treeline of an empty stretch of the campus woods. Could someone perhaps be using the secluded spot for an unauthorized duel? Or maybe there is some sort of pixie mischief afoot?

Your thoughts are interrupted as you realize that the light has vanished. As you near the spot in the trees where you saw it, it stops reappearing. There are no people or creatures around that you can see, but you're sure that the strange light was coming from this area. There must be something nearby that can explain what you saw.



Exit 1 (Hunting/Intelligence vs 4): See if you can find any tracks to follow.

 

Failure: (+1 stress, pause adventure)

You drop low to the ground and search for any evidence of creatures passing recently. You find lots of moss, some dead leaves, a toadstool or two, and absolutely no footprints. Blast it! You've lost the trail for today. But you'll be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that light the next time you are in the library!


Success: (+1 ss Perception, advance phase 4)

You drop low to the ground and search for any evidence of creatures passing recently. The woody surroundings are mostly unremarkable, but here and there, you can see snapped-off twigs and leaves from low branches and shrubs, indicating that something passed this way. Something big enough to disturb the vegetation, and clumsy or hurried enough not to care. You creep in the direction of the next broken twig and--yes, there is a patch of dirt here uncovered by leaves or moss, and you can just make out a boot print in it, clearly from a human.
A very large human.

Several yards in front of the print, you see an enormous rock jutting from a hillock, just big enough for someone to hide behind. Hmm.

 

 

 

Exit 2 (Listen/Luck vs. 4): Can you hear anything nearby?

 

Failure: (+1 stress, pause adventure)

You can't see anything, but you know that something was here, and it can't have gone far. The woods here are thick with bushes and low, leafy branches, hard to pass through quickly without making noise. You hold stock still and listen.
For a good thirty seconds, you hear nothing. And then for another thirty seconds, you hear nothing. In fact, no matter how long you stand there, you just can't hear anything but the distant sounds of a rimbal practice. It seems you've lost the trail for today. Blast it! You'll have to keep your eyes peeled for that light the next time you are in the library!

Success: (+1 ss Move Silently, advance phase 4)

You can't see anything, but you know that something was here, and it can't have gone far. The woods here are thick with bushes and low, leafy branches, hard to pass through quickly without making noise. You hold stock still and listen.
For a good thirty seconds, you hear nothing. Then: snap. That's it, the broken twig you've been waiting for. Slowly and quietly, you creep in the direction of the sound, taking care to avoid stepping on any twigs yourself. After a minute, you see an enormous rock jutting from a hillock, just big enough for someone to hide behind. Hmm.

**********
I know the in-game description says that the Listen skill is about listening to conversations, not hearing noises, but I see it used in the "hearing noises" way all the time in the game anyway, so, shrug emoji? If it's a problem this could be a Perception check I guess.
**********

Exit 3 (Scent Detection/Insight vs. 4): Maybe your nose can solve this mystery.

 

Failure: (+1 stress, pause adventure)

 

 

 

You can't see anything, but you know that something was here, because you can smell it. Its musky odor hangs in the air very faintly... the odor of severely unwashed human. You turn around, and--

"Oh! Hello, [Player first name]! Are you looking for Flamezian violets too?" Eliana Carosi calls to you as she tromps through the undergrowth some yards away with a small flower basket in her hands.
...Oh.

You ask her if she saw any lights around here and she looks at you quizzically. "No, I haven't seen anything like that. But I only just got here. I'm sorry I can't be of more help." She begins to peer downward, poking through the bushes, humming to herself and thoroughly ruining any chance you had of investigating this area quietly.
Blast it! Your hunt is ruined for today. You'll have to keep your eyes peeled for that light the next time you are in the library!


 

Success: (+1 ss Hunting, advance phase 4)

 

 

 

You can't see anything, but you know that something was here, because you can smell it. Its musky odor hangs in the air very faintly... the odor of severely unwashed human. But you can't tell where this unwashed human went.

 

But then a small breeze picks up, and you smell it again, this time mixed with... yep, that's alcohol. The strong stuff. And it's coming from the direction of that enormous rock jutting out of a hillock over there, just big enough for someone to hide behind. Hmm.

 

 

 

Phase 4.

Cautiously, you place your hand over your wand and advance slowly towards the rock. You really want to know what's going on here, but there's no reason to be rash.
"Hello?" you call out. "Who's there?"
And suddenly from behind the rock emerges one of the largest men you have ever seen, both tall and wide, bristling with muscles, and festooned with what must be one of the largest, reddest beards in the world. From his ostentatiously buckled boots to his scarlet bandana, this sneering wall of muscle is every inch a pirate.


Exit 1. Automatic: Uh oh. (Advance to Phase 5)

 

 

Phase 5.

For a second, you're too stunned to decide if you should flee, or fight, or call for help, or do anything at all other than stand there gaping at this mountain of a man.
And then he starts laughing.
"HAR HAR HAR HAR!" He bends over and slaps his knee.
"And here I was thinkin' ye were one of them nosy groundskeepers. You're just one of them baby wizards. Why, you're no bigger than that sapling over there! Just a tiny little sprout! HAR HAR HAR!"
While you're not so keen on being called a "baby," you do at least feel a little less threatened. For the moment.
"What're ye doin' out here, little sprout?" says the pirate when he finally finishes his fit of hysterics. "Shouldn't ye be off studying yer spells and whatnot?"
"What am I doing out here? What are you doing out here? Who are you?" you blurt out before you can stop yourself.
"My name is Ned," the bearded pirate says with a small, comical bow, "and I come here for the same reason as you done: to study magic."
Now you've heard everything.
"To study magic? But you're a..." And suddenly you realize that you are alone in the woods with a pirate.
"A pirate. Aye, tis true," says Ned, looking down. "But I happen to be of the mind that ye should not judge a man's abilities by his station." He reaches into his long coat, and you tense up--but he withdraws only a tiny, slim wand, which seems all the smaller in the meaty hand of the giant man. To your surprise, he sketches a few quick, crude phemes, and a small ball of light materializes in the air--and then fizzles out almost as quickly as it appeared.
Well. That's one mystery solved.
"Now I may not be as fancy as ye proper little wizards, but I do know there be power in certain places that helps with the castin' of spells and whatnot. So I figure, if I'm to learn magic, I better be standin' on the most magical place in Elumia when I does it. Ain't that right?"
Well, it's... sort of right. You explain that he has the right idea, but it isn't that simple. That different places help with the casting of different types of spells, so you can't just expect to show up on the Academagia grounds and suddenly... and then you realize again that you are alone. In the woods. With a pirate.
Ned seems to notice your discomfort. "Now look here, little sprout, if I intended any harm to come to ye, it'd be done by now, I assure ye. There be no one here but me and Jolly, and we be quite serious in our studies. Come on out, Jolly-bird."
A brilliant flash of emerald swoops down from a tree branch. A parrot! It circles above you and descends to perch on Ned's shoulder.
"This," Ned intones somberly, "is Jolly. My familiar."
"AWK," says Jolly.
Now you've really heard everything.
Ned looks at you and a strange expression crosses his face. "Ye may be just a baby wizard, but ye still got more training than meself, with all yer books and teachers up in yer fancy school, where they'd never let ol' Ned set foot. I tell you what: if ye help teach me magic, I can pay ye, fair and square. Pirate's honor."

Well. Whatever you were expecting, it certainly wasn't this.

 

 

 

Investigation 1 (Worldliness/Insight vs. 4): What do you know about pirates in general?
Failure: (no change, choose again) They wear red bandanas! And they look soooo cooool!

Success: (Unlock exit #2, choose again)

 

 

Rough men and wild women who've left civilized society (and frequent bathing) behind in the pursuit of riches, freedom, and... more riches, pirates range from adventuresome rogues to murderous cutthroats. They all take what is not theirs, however, making them thoroughly criminal, and, in the end, probably not the most trustworthy group of people. On the other hand, even pirates have to work together to achieve their goals.

 

 

 

Investigation 2. (only with Background: Family: Sky Pirates, automatic) Oh, you certainly know a thing or two about pirates.
Success: (Unlock exit #2, choose again)

You're quite sure that Ned's wand, tiny as it is, wasn't originally his--it was his share of the plunder from some captured magical cargo. Or perhaps... from a captured passenger. Either way, he does seem earnest in his attempts to learn its use. If your childhood taught you anything, it's that pirates are just as varied a group as any other--some are trustworthy, and some aren't.

And that no matter which they are, there's nobody more exciting to be around.

 

 

 

Investigation 3 (Criminal Law/Intelligence vs. 4): Is it really a good idea to tutor a pirate in magic?

 

Failure: (no change, choose again) Hmm. You're not really sure if there are specific laws about that sort of thing.
Success: (Unlock exit #2, choose again)

It's probably a terrible idea, in fact! Pirates are criminals, and if you're caught aiding one, you could potentially be in a lot of trouble.

...But only if you're caught.

 

 

 

Exit 1 (Automatic): Agree to help Ned.

Success: (+1 ss Courage, Unlock Stage 2)

 

 

 

"I'll do it," you say, "but there have to be some rules."

You tell Ned that you'll help him learn magic, but you're not going to teach him anything that could be used to hurt or trick people--no lightning bolts, no fireballs, and no mind-clouding Glamours. You will only help him with simple utility spells that could be of use to any sky sailor. You tell him you're sure he understands that it has to be this way for your protection.
"Aye," he agrees with a sigh, "tis true you're already takin' a risk. I accept yer terms, and do solemn-like promise to be the best student ye ever had, little wizard." And he bows a little again, winking at you. Jolly the parrot winks as well.

...What have you gotten yourself into?

 

 

 

Exit 2. (Automatic) Agree to help Ned. With certain conditions.
Success: (+1 ss Courage, +1 ss Negotiate, +10 pims, unlock Stage 2)

"I'll do it," you say firmly, "but there have to be some rules."
You tell Ned that you'll help him learn magic, but you're not going to teach him anything that could be used to hurt or trick people--no lightning bolts, no fireballs, and no mind-clouding Glamours. You will only help him with simple utility spells that could be of use to any sky sailor. You tell him you're sure he understands that it has to be this way for your protection.
"Aye," he agrees with a sigh, "tis true you're already takin' a risk."
"Yes, I am," you say, "and that's why I want half of the first payment up front."
Ned fixes you with a steely eye. You gulp. Was that too much?
Suddenly, he slaps his knee again. "HAR HAR HAR HAR! Why, you're a little chisler after me own heart! HAR HAR HAR!"
He reaches into his pocket and withdraws a small jingling sack. "Here," he says, tossing it to you with a wink. "Now just be sure ye come back for the other half, little sprout! HAR HAR HAR!"
"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees Jolly the parrot.

You aren't quite sure what you've gotten yourself into, but you are pretty sure it's not going to be dull.

 

 

Exit 3. (Automatic) Tell the nice pirate what he wants to hear and then get out of there quickly!
Success: (+1 ss Danger Sense, unlock Stage 2)

"Uh, sure," you say, "I'll do it. But... I really can't stay right now. See, I have this big assignment, and--"
"O' course," Ned says mildly. "I wouldn't trust me neither." He chuckles. "But if you do come back, I do solemn-like promise to be the best student ye ever had, little wizard." And he bows a little again, winking at you. Jolly the parrot winks as well.

It seems like a dangerous offer. But you have to admit, it doesn't sound dull.

 

 

**********

 

Ned is your basic Long John Silver Talk Like A Pirate Day kinda dude, which can be sort of hard to keep up without it getting cloying. You will notice that he does not clip every single "-ing" to "-in" or "you" to "ye," and so forth, and that was intentional, because I feel like the reader needs a break from it sometimes. But it can be changed if people think it's weird this way.

 

Anyway, I can't remember ever coming across a magical pirate in an adventure and I don't know if that's because I just never did the right adventure, or pirates can't afford magic school, or pirates don't have the magical midichlorians, or what. Maybe this entire concept breaks lore, idk, what can I say, I just want to see a pirate with a wand.

 

Stage 2 in next post.

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In which I try to think of every single method of magically creating light that I can remember seeing in the game. Actually I think at one point Orso Orsi plays with some light motes supposedly using Astrology but w/e I got tired.

 

**********

 

Stage 2: Shedding Some Light

 

 

 

Today's the day you agreed to begin tutoring Ned the pirate in the ways of magic. You meet him in the arranged spot, a long-abandoned groundskeeper's shed in a distant corner of the woods, which you hope will provide more privacy than his rather ill-considered previous spot well in view of the main campus library! As you close the door to the shed--your makeshift study cubicle--you see that Ned and his parrot are sitting on some lumpy old bags of fertilizer, waiting attentively for your instruction.

"Well now, little wizard, where should we begin?"
You figure you might as well start with the light spell Ned was trying to cast in the woods. He nods, then produces his wand.
"Many's the time on a long night voyage when an extra bit o' light would save me and me mates from grief," he says, and begins to trace the phemes. Of course, you think, the crew of a huge wooden airship would be well-served by light without the chance of fire--and then you try not to think about exactly what "grief" a pirate crew would be finding on those night voyages.

As the ball of light materializes and then quickly fizzles out again, you can see that Ned has been trying to cast Aganathi's Lamp, a simple enough light spell. But even you can see that his form is terrible. It's clear he's had no instruction in magic; probably he copied the phemes from a plundered book. You have your work cut out for you.

 

 

 

Exit 1 (Enspell/Finesse vs. 5) He already knows the right phemes, all he needs to do is work on his form. Show him how it's done!

 

Failure: (+1 Stress, pause adventure)

 

 

 

You produce your own wand and repeat the spell, but it's actually not the best job you've ever done--it's hard to stay focused with a huge pirate watching your every move! Still, your Lamp flares brilliantly, and Ned looks on admiringly.

For the next hour, you try to coax Ned into replicating your success, but you find it difficult. You can tell that pirating isn't a job that often requires this kind of finesse. After a number of failed attempts, Ned is too frustrated to go on for today. You'll have to try again next time. Somehow, you find yourself with a new appreciation of the work your professors do!

 

 

Success: (+1 ss Patience, +1 Glamour Phemes, +10 pims, unlock Stage 3)

You produce your own wand and repeat the spell, taking care to trace the phemes perfectly. You smile in satisfaction as your Aganathi's Lamp manifests as a crisp, blazing point of light in the air before you. Ned looks on admiringly.
"Now," you ask Ned, "can you see the difference in the way I cast the spell?"
"O' course I can," he says. "The difference is yers worked, and mine didn't! HAR HAR HAR HAR!"
"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees Jolly.
Oh boy. You shake your head and tell Ned about the importance of form in spell casting. You can know all the right phemes, you tell him, and it won't make a bit of difference if your casting is sloppy. Ned tugs thoughtfully on his frizzy red beard. You think you're getting through to him, but he'll still need plenty of practice.
For the next hour you walk Ned through the spell, grasping his hand and helping him to trace the phemes with greater precision. You can see him straining to copy your movements, and you're pretty sure that pirating isn't a job that often requires this kind of finesse. But after much effort, you smile when the beefy pirate finally manages to produce an Aganathi's Lamp which floats steadily in the air instead of immediately fizzling out.

"Well now, little sprout," he says after a moment of admiring his own handiwork, "I think you've earned your fee good and proper." He winks and tosses you a bag of coins.

Maybe this pirate tutoring thing is going to work out just fine.

 

 

**********

 

You get an extra skill step reward here because Enspell is a parent skill--you will note the below subskill check gets less. That seems fair to me.

 

**********

 

Exit 2 (Incantation Methods/Finesse vs. 5): Maybe a simple beam of light would be easier to start with.

 

 

Failure: (+1 Stress, pause adventure)

There's nothing wrong with Aganathi's Lamp, but if Ned is having trouble with it, maybe a different approach would work better for him. You explain that Incantation can be used to create a focused beam of light which can be directed more precisely than the floating lamp, and demonstrate a quick light incantation.

For the next hour, you try to coax Ned into replicating your success, but unfortunately, he seems to find this spell no easier than the one he was trying originally. You can tell that pirating isn't a job that often requires this kind of finesse. After a number of failed attempts, Ned is too frustrated to go on for today. You'll have to try again next time. Somehow, you find yourself with a new appreciation of the work your professors do!


Success: (+1 ss Leadership, +10 pims, unlock stage 3)

There's nothing wrong with Aganathi's Lamp, but if Ned is having trouble with it, maybe a different approach would work better for him. You explain that Incantation can be used to create a focused beam of light which can be directed more precisely than the floating lamp.
"Aye," says Ned, pulling thoughtfully on his enormous beard, "sounds fair enough."
You trace your own phemes in demonstration, and smile when a thin shaft of light materializes in the direction you point your wand. Ned looks on admiringly.

For the next hour you walk Ned through the new spell, grasping his hand and helping him to trace the phemes until he has them memorized. It doesn't come easily to him, and you can see the huge pirate becoming frustrated, but you remain calm as you repeat the steps with him over and over. After much effort, you are both relieved to find that Ned has finally managed to repeat your success--a beam of light which glows steadily in the direction he points it.
"Not bad for a beginner, eh little sprout?" Ned says with a grin. "HAR HAR HAR HAR!"
"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees Jolly.

You're not sure what the joke is, but when Ned hands you your first day's pay, you're not sure you care. Maybe this pirate tutoring thing is going to work out just fine.

 

 

 

Exit 3 (Enchant/Intelligence vs. 5): Show Ned how to enchant an object with light instead.

 

Failure: (+1 Stress, pause adventure)

 

 

 

It will be more difficult, certainly, but you think that knowing how to enchant an object with light would be more useful for Ned than a simple light spell--then he could create magical torches for the other members of his crew, as well.

You spend the next hour walking the beefy pirate through the steps of enchanting a stick. He strains to follow your instructions, and you can tell that pirating isn't a job that often requires this kind of finesse. After a number of failed attempts, Ned is too frustrated to go on for today. You'll have to try again next time. Somehow, you find yourself with a new appreciation of the work your professors do!

 

 

Success: (+1 ss Leadership, +1 ss Theory of Enchantment, +10 pims, unlock stage 3)

It will be more difficult, certainly, but you think that knowing how to enchant an object with light would be more useful for Ned than a simple light spell--then he could create magical torches for the other members of his crew, as well. You explain this to him and he grins.
"Now that there be the kind of quality insight I be expectin' from a fancy magical tyke such as yerself," he says, and thwacks you roughly on the back with a meaty hand. "HAR HAR HAR HAR!"
"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees Jolly.
You look around the shed and grab an old, shabby tool handle covered in dust. You're not sure what it used to be, but now it's nothing more than a stick--perfect for making a magical torch, you think. You blow off the dust, cough a bit, and begin to demonstrate the inscription of phemes onto an object. Ned watches intently, pulling thoughtfully on his enormous beard. When you finish and raise the now-glowing stick aloft, he smiles.
"Impressive," he notes, "but, eh... looks complicated."
"It is," you say, rummaging around for another length of wood for Ned to practice on. "But it will be worth the effort."
"Aye," he sighs.

Complicated is right. You spend the next hour walking the beefy pirate through the steps of enchanting his own stick. He strains to follow your instructions, and you can tell that pirating isn't a job that often requires this kind of finesse. But you persevere, explaining each step clearly and helping him to trace the required phemes with his tiny wand. Finally, after so much effort, Ned holds in his hand a length of wood with a brightly and steadily glowing tip--a magical torch he enchanted himself.

"Well now, little sprout," he says after a moment of admiring his own handiwork, "I think you've earned yer fee good and proper." He winks and tosses you a bag of coins.

Maybe this pirate tutoring thing is going to work out just fine.

 

 

**********

 

Another parent skill, get dollas.

 

**********

 

Exit 4. (Glamour Spells/Finesse vs. 7) Why use a boring old light spell when you could cast Lantern of Many Hues!

 

Failure: (+1 Stress, pause adventure)

 

 

 

Aganathi's Lamp will get the job done, sure, but why just light the way when you can make the way awesome?

You explain to Ned that Lantern of Many Hues is a spell often used as a distress beacon, because its constantly shifting colors instantly attract attention. His eyes light up.

Brandishing your wand with gusto, you begin to demonstrate how to draw the phemes for the spell. Your Lantern of Many Colors blazes to life in the air of the drab shed--it's the most intense Lantern you've ever cast! In fact, it's... a little too intense. The piercing rainbow of light is almost blinding in its intensity, and it's not stopping any time soon! You and Ned are forced to flee from the close quarters of the shed to find relief from the unrestrained spell.
As you stand outside your temporarily ruined tutoring spot, glumly watching the wild beams of color radiate from the crack under the closed door, Ned slaps you heartily on the back. "So then, is this a wizardin' school or a fireworks factory?" he asks. "HAR HAR HAR HAR!"
"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees Jolly.

Looks like you'll have to try again another day.

 

 

Success: (+1 ss Glamour Methods, +1 ss Passion, +10 pims, unlock stage 3)

Aganathi's Lamp will get the job done, sure, but why just light the way when you can make the way awesome?
You explain to Ned that Lantern of Many Hues is a spell often used as a distress beacon, because its constantly shifting colors instantly attract attention. His eyes light up.
"Now that sounds like a proper show," he says.
You promise that it is. Brandishing your wand with gusto, you draw the phemes for the spell, and you are gratified to see your Lantern of Many Hues blaze to life in the air, painting the drab shed interior in a shifting array of vivid jewel tones, scarlet and emerald and amethyst. Ned gleefully slaps you on the back.
"Well now, little sprout," he says as he basks in the rainbow of light, "if YOU was on our crew, we'd never have to capture a crate o' fireworks ever again! HAR HAR HAR HAR!"
"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees Jolly.
...You decide to pretend you didn't hear that "capture" part.
For the next hour, you carefully walk Ned through the casting of the new spell. It doesn't come easily to him, and you can tell that pirating isn't a job that usually requires this kind of finesse. But you stay enthusiastic and encourage him each step of the way. Finally, after a great deal of effort, Ned is able to produce a Lantern of Many Hues of his own--not as majestic as yours, perhaps, but certainly still eye-catching. It hangs in the air above the beefy pirate, bathing both of you in luminous color. Ned regards it with solemn satisfaction.
"I do believe you've earned yer fee for today, little sprout," he says after a moment, and hands you a sack of jingling coins.

Maybe this pirate tutoring thing is going to work out just fine.

 

 

**********

I made this check higher because the Lantern seems more difficult than the Lamp but I don't think the player can actually learn to cast the Lantern so I'm not sure. Anyway, then it only seemed fair to give it a better reward too. Everyone roll up getcha skill steps here, heya heya.

 

Stage 3 in next post.

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Haha remember your first week of school when every single option was purple or red and you couldn't do one single thing right and you wanted to throw your keyboard down the stairs? Guess where Ned is.

 

**********

 

Stage 3. A Knotty Problem

 

 

Phase 1.

"Arrrrr, it's no use!"
Ned's fist is balled around his tiny wand so tightly that you're afraid it might snap, and his face is almost as red as his beard now. Once again, you've met up with the enormous pirate--and, of course, his "familiar"--in the abandoned groundskeeper's shed to continue his magical instruction. But somehow you just don't seem to be making any progress today. You chose what you thought would be a fairly simple exercise, and a practical one for a sky sailor: learning to magically loosen knots. But you've been at it for nearly an hour, and Ned has been far more successful in producing foul language than untied knots.
"Maybe this weren't such a grand idea after all," he mutters, shooting a filthy glare at the knotted cord in front of him. "Maybe... I just ain't got it in me to be a fancy wizard." He sighs glumly as his massive bulk droops like an unusually husky willow tree.
You know that sigh. It's one of the most common noises in the world for a first-year at the Academagia, in fact: the sound of being utterly overwhelmed by the sudden realization of everything you don't know.
More pertinently, it's the sound of you not getting paid today if you can't do something about it.
So how are you going to get your disheartened pupil back on track?

Exit 1 (Rallying/Charm vs. 7): Fire Ned's resolve with a pep talk!

Failure: (+1 stress, pause adventure)

"Are you kidding me, Ned? You're a mighty pirate! The terror of the boundless skies! You've jousted with death, gambled with clouds, and picked your teeth with destiny! Probably all at the same time! You're not going to let yourself be defeated by a knotted rope, are you?"
"Er… well…"
"NO!"
"Er, right, of course not. But 'defeat' is an 'arsh word for just, you know, takin' a little break, don't you think?"
Well. Apparently Ned just doesn't have it in him to be encouraged today.

 

Success: (advance to phase 2)

"Are you kidding me, Ned? You're a mighty pirate! The terror of the boundless skies! You've jousted with death, gambled with clouds, and picked your teeth with destiny! Probably all at the same time! You're not going to let yourself be defeated by a knotted rope, are you?"
"Er… well…"
"NO! Of course not! You're going to show that rope just who's in charge around here!' You roll up your sleeves and point menacingly at the knotted length of cord. "You are going to keelhaul that rope!"
"HAR HAR HAR HAR! Well, when ye put it that way, how can I refuse?"
Ned picks up his wand, and you sigh quietly in relief.

 

 

Exit 2 (Wit/Charm vs. 7): Lighten the mood with a little humor.


Failure: (+1 stress, pause adventure)

You rub your hands together with glee. Perfect! You've been waiting for the right time to tell this one!

"A rope walks into a tavern. The barmaid says, 'Sorry, we don't serve ropes here.' So the rope goes outside, ties itself into a knot, and frays itself a bit on the ends on either side of the knot. Then it walks back into the tavern. The barmaid says, 'I told you, we don't serve ropes here! And you're a rope!' And the rope says, 'I'm a frayed knot.'"

Ned looks at you blankly for a moment. Then suddenly: "HAR HAR HAR HAR! A frayed knot! HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR!"

"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees Jolly.

Ned doubles over in laughter and tears begin to stream from his eyes as he slaps his thigh. "HAR HAR HAR HAR!" Oh dear. It looks like your joke was a little too effective. You're never going to be able to get him to focus again now! Looks like you'd better call today's session off early and try again another day.

 

 

**********

 

This is my favorite stupid joke in the whole world. I hope that joke book that Benvinitio's Catalog of Chuckles sells is just this joke printed fifty times on every page.

 

**********

 

Success: (advance to phase 2)

"Surprise!" you say with an impish gleam in your eye. "Today's lesson wasn't actually about untying knots."
Ned looks at you in confusion.
"It was a pop quiz on swear words, and you have passed with flying colors. In fact, I believe you deserve some extra credit."
An awkward moment passes. Then your words seem to sink in.
"HAR HAR HAR!" For Ned, it's only a chuckle, but it's enough. "Eh… I suppose I ought to apologize for subjectin' yer tender ears to all that," he says with a nervous tug on his beard.
"Don't worry," you reply. "I've heard worse in the dining hall on Mystery Pudding day. You know, I felt exactly as useless as you do right now in my first week at the Academy. Nothing seemed to go right. I failed at every spell I tried, and the simplest tasks ended with me getting yelled at or falling flat on my face. It was just... overwhelming."
Ned scratches his beard in what might be sympathy. You flash a huge smile and gesture grandly to the walls of the shack.
"But it was all worth it. Just look at me now! Holed up in a smelly, dirty shack with my own personal entourage of exactly one man and a bird! Truly, magic makes dreams come true. And you, too, could reach these dazzling heights--but only if you stay in school."
Ned grins wryly, and you can see the frustration draining from his face. "HAR HAR HAR HAR! Well, I suppose when ye put it that way, it's impossible to say no."
"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees Jolly.
"Well now," the huge pirate says with great pomp, "I suppose I'd better get back to earnin' me very own filthy shack, eh?" He winks at you, sits up straight, and brandishes his wand in the direction of the knotted cord once more.

 

 

Exit 3 (Temperance/Insight vs 7): It's time for a few calming breaths.

Failure: (+1 stress, pause adventure)

"I know this is frustrating, Ned, but failure is part of the learning process--"
"Yarr! All I be learnin' is that I be the pits at wizarding!"
It is clearly time for a break. You tell Ned to put his wand down and stand up. He does so, grumbling. Then you tell him to reach up for the sky while taking a huge breath in. As he does, his huge arm grazes a shelf.
It tips over before either of you can react, spilling dozens of old bags full of stinky fertilizer all over the ground. Your practice space is ruined, and by the time you get everything cleaned up again, it's too late to continue for today.

Success: (advance to phase 2)

"I know this is frustrating, Ned, but failure is part of the learning process--"
"Yarr! All I be learnin' is that I be the pits at wizarding!"
It is clearly time for a break. You tell Ned to put his wand down and stand up. He does so, grumbling. Then you tell him to reach up for the sky while taking a huge breath in. He does. You count to ten out loud, and tell him to breathe out. He does.
"Must be one o' them Numerology-type spells," he mutters.
You tell him to imagine that he is in a field of flowers with the sun shining down on him and a gentle breeze blowing.
"What kind of flowers?" he asks.
"I don't know. What kind do you like?"
"The kind without any knots in 'em," he says. "HAR HAR HAR HAR!"
"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees Jolly.
"Well… do you feel more relaxed yet?" you ask.
"Hmm. I suppose I do, little sprout. You fancy wizards got the oddest magical rituals I ever 'eard of, but I can't say they doesn't get results." He picks up his wand again.
You decide not to say anything.

Phase 2.

 

 

 

Finally, the cord lies vanquished before you, without a single knot remaining. Ned places his huge hand on your shoulder.
"Well now, little sprout, seems to me you earned yer pay extra today, what with me bein' a misery guts and all." For a moment, he seems to look at you appraisingly. "Tell ye what. I got yer pay right here in me pocket--" He pats his side, which jingles slightly. "But I also got a proposition that might be appealin' to you scholar-like types. I can pay in knowledge." He pronounces the word as if it is the name of a particularly toothsome confection. "Now, I may not know so much about fancy book-learnin', but pirates get to know a few tricks here and there, if ye catch my meaning. So then, is there any pirate-type wisdom I might be imparting on ye today?"
You weren't expecting this. But it is certainly an intriguing offer.

 

Exit 1. Teach me how to win at gambling! (Automatic: +1 ss Gambling, +1 ss Bluff)

 

Success:

"Ho ho, now there's a clever one. Most people think gambling is about luck, ye see. But it's a skill, like anything else. And a right profitable one, too." Ned puts his arm around your shoulder conspiratorially.
"Now, you always need to know your game inside and out, o' course. But no matter what sport he's at, a pirate always knows that keepin' his opponents guessing is the best way to get the advantage. Makin' them think that you're ahead can be a lot more useful than actually bein' ahead," Ned intones solemnly. "...Especially if you ain't ahead! HAR HAR HAR!"
Well, it… sort of makes sense. After a little more of Ned's instruction, you feel like you have a better understanding of keeping a straight face no matter what the circumstances. You wonder if Cirillo Laziosi started this way...

 

 

Exit 2. I'm interested in learning how to work with knots the old-fashioned way. (Automatic: +1 ss Knots, +1 ss Concentration)

Success:

"Well, blow me down!" Ned roars. "Why didn't ye ask an hour ago? Could have saved me a lot of trouble! HAR HAR HAR HAR!"
"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees Jolly.
"O' course I be kiddin'. It's right practical of ye. After all, can't always guarantee you'll have yer wand handy when someone's tied yer boot laces together, now can ye?" You almost ask Ned if he's ever met Phillipe Marchant, but you think better of it.
"Now then, we only got one rope, so I think we'll start with some simple hitches…"

And now it's your turn to fumble awkwardly with the rope. And suddenly you feel you have a remarkable new insight into Ned's proficiency with curse words. But after a half hour or so, you can produce a reasonably sound Grissle-Tail Half Hitch around an old length of wood. You're not sure precisely when this might come in handy, but with Phillipe Marchant around, you can never be too careful, can you?

 

 

 

Exit 3. Help me develop reflexes like a pirate! (Automatic: +1 ss Acrobatics, +1 ss Flawless Timing)

 

Success:

Ned scratches his ear thoughtfully. "Aye, now there's a tricky one. Ye see, pirates tend to practice reflexes with knife-throwin' games, but, ah, that hardly seems clever with a little sprout like yourself." Uh oh.
Ned looks around the groundskeeper's shed with an appraising eye until he seems to find what he was looking for: an old sack of seeds, half used up and knotted at the bag neck. He hefts the melon-sized bag in his hand as if testing the weight.
"Well, beggars can't be choosers, as they--LOOK SMART NOW!" And suddenly he hurls the seed bag at your head! You duck and hear the bag slap the shed wall behind you, then plunk to the ground.
"HAR HAR HAR HAR! Nothing wrong with those reflexes! HAR HAR HAR!" Ned booms.
"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees Jolly.
"Still, can't go wrong with a bit of extra practice, toss 'er back here now, there's a good--AVAST!"
You spend the rest of the afternoon having a pirate throw a moderately amorphous object at your head at random intervals. Well, it's not the weirdest thing you've done at this school. Probably.

 

Exit 4. Nah, I just want the pims! (Automatic: +1 Materials Knowledge, +20 pims)

 

Success:

"Oh ho, a mercenary to the core! Aye, I can certainly respect that." Ned pulls the small sack from his pocket, then pauses and removes one glittering coin.
"Tell you what--here's a little tip ye can have for free. There's plenty of gold coins in this world, but there's gold, and then there's gold. A pirate likes to know which one he's got."
Ned gives the coin a flamboyant little flip, then brings it to the side of his mouth and chomps down on it. He shows it to you, and you can see the faintest indentation in its shiny surface.
"Pure gold, when it ain't cut with other metals, is soft stuff. Give it a try." He tosses you the bag.

Does… does he really want you to bite a metal coin? Gingerly, you bring one to your mouth, and--
"OW!"
"HAR HAR HAR HAR! Well, 'soft' is relative, after all! HAR HAR HAR!"
You rub your jaw. Well, at least you know your pay is good. You certainly feel you earned it today.

 

**********

 

Howdy, welcome down to the old Pick-Your-Own-Skillup Farm. The pirate skills Ned teaches you here are chosen deliberately, because reasons. I felt like I had to include the "take the money" option, but really--don't pick it. That's silly.

 

Stage 4 in next post

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In which I can't remember if Familiar is supposed to be capitalized or not. Argh.
**********
Stage 4: A Familiar Subject

"Today," Ned booms, his hearty voice echoing through the groundskeeper's shack, "I be needin' yer guidance on a very important matter. 'Tis me parrot, Jolly." He gestures to his brilliant green companion, perched as usual on his shoulder.
"I know you fancy wizards has yer animal friends to help with yer spells and whatnot. Familiars, ye calls em. Well, Jolly here's as fine a shipmate as any pirate could want, but, er… she ain't much yet in the way of magic."
"AWK," says Jolly. You quickly stifle a giggle.
Ned looks at you sharply. "Now, don't let appearances fool ye. Jolly be a right quick one, and she's saved me life on more than one occasion. Haven't ye, Jolly-bird?"
"Hard to starboard! Hard to starboard! HAR HAR HAR!" agrees Jolly. Whatever her other talents, the bird certainly does a spot-on imitation of Ned's voice.
"All she needs," Ned continues, "is a little 'elp with yer fancy magic tricks, and I know she could be a regular virtuoso of Familiar-izin'." Jolly puffs up and preens the glossy emerald feathers on the back of her wing.
Well. Best to start from the very beginning, you think. You explain to Ned that trust between a creature and a wizard is the cornerstone of the Familiar relationship, and building that trust is the key to unlocking a Familiar's power to assist the wizard. "That all comes well before you can even think of teaching her anything about phemes or spells," you tell him. Ned looks a bit miffed.
"Why, o' course Jolly and me trusts each other! We be a team!"
"Okay. So what can you tell me about her?"
Ned looks thoughtful. "She likes crackers," he says firmly. "And she can carry her weight in pims. That be something we 'as in common!"
"Um, is there anything more... personal you can tell me about her? Like where she came from, and how she ended up with you?"
"Yarr," says Ned. "Now that be a bit of a mystery, 'tis true. Jolly-bird here blew right through an open porthole on a gale just before one o' the biggest storms me and me mates ever 'ad the misfortune to sail through. Dozens of miles from any shore or ship. Never could tell where she came from, but she was in a right state when she flew in. Feathers all a-flutter, and speakin' in the most beastly mess o' words. She kept sayin' 'Jolly was a,' so I figured that was 'er name, but she never did say what Jolly was! Still," Ned shrugs, "I took a liking to 'er. Shared me hardtack with her, and that were all it took. Must be, oh, five years ago now. We been a team ever since."
Hmm. This is certainly an odd story. There's got to be more to learn about Jolly's past! Maybe if you help Ned find out more about her, they can strengthen the connection they need as wizard and Familiar. But you barely know this bird, and she's… well, she's a bird. How could you make her communicate with you, or even trust you?

 

**********

 

I am SO NICE, I am THE NICEST, so you get not one, not two, but THREE self-buffing Investigations here. Pass two out of three, and Jolly will record a message on your voice mail.

 

**********

 

Investigation 1 (Familiar Kinship/Charm vs. 6) (only available if player's Familiar is NOT the Rock): Maybe if you can show Jolly how you've bonded with your own Familiar, she'll trust you a bit more.
Failure: (no change, choose again)

You call [Familiar Name], and your familiar peeks its head out from behind you. You tickle it gently, then go rummaging in your bag for a treat. Jolly watches all this with some interest. Before eating the morsel, your familiar makes a great show of thanking you, as if it knows you need its help to put the parrot at ease. That kind of deep and natural understanding between you is exactly what you want to help Ned achieve with Jolly!
Unfortunately, Jolly seems to have mostly been watching the treat, not the dazzling display of kinship between wizard and familiar. As soon as the treat disappears, the parrot seems to lose interest. Time to try something else.

Success: (temporarily increase Mimicry and Diction +1, choose again)

You call [Familiar Name], and your familiar peeks its head out from behind you. You tickle it gently, then go rummaging in your bag for a treat. Jolly watches all this with some interest. Before eating the morsel, your familiar makes a great show of thanking you, as if it knows you need its help to put the parrot at ease. That kind of deep and natural understanding between you is exactly what you want to help Ned achieve with Jolly!
Luckily for you, the bird seems to have taken the display to heart. Jolly cocks her head with what looks like curiosity, and inches down Ned's shoulder to his beefy arm, then drops to a dusty shelf at your eye level. She's definitely paying more attention to you now.

 

**********

 

Please be careful tickling your porcupine familiar.

 

**********

 

Investigation 2 (Birds/Intelligence vs. 6): What do you know about parrots? Think!
Failure: (no change, choose again)

Parrots are popular pets because of their beautiful plumage, as well as their great skill with mimicry. They are also said to be very intelligent. But how would you know if Jolly is as smart as Ned claims? She certainly hasn't shown any particularly remarkable skill that you can recall.
Still, you've got to try something.

Success: (temp. increase Mimicry and Diction +1, choose again)

Parrots are popular pets because of their beautiful plumage, as well as their great skill with mimicry. But more than that, they are among the most intelligent of all birds. Even the non-familiars among them are known to be able to solve puzzles, count objects, and understand some human speech. Ned even credits Jolly with saving his life. Perhaps Jolly is just as intelligent as he claims. If she is, maybe communicating with her won't be as hard as you feared.
The thought is comforting, and you feel a little more confident in your ability to reach out to her.

 

Investigation 3 (Glamour Spells/Finesse vs. 6): Maybe a little magic would help relax the bird…
Failure: (no change, choose again)

You raise your wand and prepare to cast a quick Glamour spell--nothing fancy, just a little something to make yourself seem less intimidating and more friendly. But as you do, Jolly looks agitated and shrieks, "AWK!". It looks like she's not impressed by your wizardly tricks!

Success: (temp. increase Mimicry and Diction +1, choose again)

You raise your wand and prepare to cast a quick Glamour spell--nothing fancy, just a little something to make yourself seem less intimidating and more friendly. As the spell settles around you, you smile at Jolly. She cocks her head with interest. Well, it's not much, but maybe it will help her feel a bit more comfortable with you now.

Investigation 4 (Merilien/Insight vs. 5) "Jolly was a"? That can't be right...
Failure: (no change, choose again)

This sounds vaguely like something you've heard before, but you just can't place it. Argh!

Success: (unlock Exit 2, choose again)

...Of course! "Jolie oiseau." Merilien for "pretty bird"! It has to be, otherwise it doesn't make any sense!

 

 

Exit 1 (Mimicry/Insight vs. 8): Well, the bird clearly has some proficiency in imitating its current owner. That gives you an idea…

 

Failure: (-1 Vitality, pause adventure)

You face the parrot and announce grandly, "Okay, Jolly, let's have a contest. We're going to see who's the best mimic!"
Ned raises an eyebrow. "Ye sure ye want to go pickin' a fight ye can't win, little sprout?"
"Trust me," you say, and reach out your hand out slowly towards Jolly. The parrot looks at you, then hops onto your hand.
"Let's start with… an elephant." You make your best trumpeting noise. Jolly listens with her head tilted to the side. When you're finished, she responds with her own elephant impression. You have to admit, it's very good.
"All right, now let's try… a storm." You make a sound like a crack of thunder. Jolly looks at you quietly for a moment.
Then she bites you on the nose. Hard.
"OWWW!" you cry as the parrot flaps away, back to Ned's shoulder.
"HAR HAR HAR HAR!" Ned wheezes. "Looks like we have a winner! HAR HAR HAR!"
"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees that wretched, spiteful bird.
As soon as your nose heals, you are going to have to think of something else.

Success: (+1 ss Manipulation, +20 pims, unlock Stage 5)

You face the bird and announce grandly, "Okay, Jolly, if you're so talented, prove it. Let's have a contest. We're going to see who's the best mimic!"
Ned raises an eyebrow. "Ye sure ye want to go pickin' a fight ye can't win, little sprout?"
You tell him to trust you, and reach out your hand out slowly towards Jolly. The parrot looks at you, then hops onto your hand.
"Let's start with… an elephant." You make your best trumpeting noise. Jolly listens with her head tilted to the side. When you're finished, she responds with her own elephant impression. You have to admit, it's very good.
"All right, now let's try… a storm." You make a sound like a crack of thunder. You whistle like a gusting wind. Jolly looks at you quietly for a moment.
Then she opens her beak, and you can hear a tremendous wind blowing. Then there is creaking, as of wooden boards. And then, the sound of things being slammed shut. Doors? ...Portholes? Then there is more wind. And... a little girl crying?
Ned scratches his head. "Do ye think this is that storm?"
"It might be," you reply quietly. "Okay, Jolly. Now we're going to try… a mother." You imitate the voice of a woman, singing a short lullaby.
Jolly waits for you to finish. Then she breaks into a stunning rendition of the Merilien folk song Au Clair de la Lune, but sung with the voice of what sounds like a young girl.
Jolly finishes the verse. Then she cries, "Papa! Ma jolie oiseau! Ma jolie oiseau!" in the little girl's voice. Then, there is the sound of more wind and thunder. And then... more crying.
"Good girl, Jolly," you say gently. "You win the contest." And you hand her back to Ned.
"What's all this mean?" he asks you.
"I think Jolly belonged to a little girl," you tell him, "and it sounds like they were separated in that big storm you sailed through. I think the gale blew Jolly away from the ship they were on, and she couldn't get back."
"Well, now, little sprout," Ned says with a somber tug on his beard, "if that's true, then Jolly-bird here be even tougher than I thought. Blown away from everything she ever knew, and through the worst storm I ever did see. Yarr, what a tale!" You think you can see a tiny tear forming in the corner of Ned's eye.
"If it's true," you tell him, "then she's very lucky that she found you, isn't she?"
Jolly quietly nestles against Ned, as if she agrees. For once, the burly pirate is speechless. He only nods, and hands you your day's pay.
Whether Jolly ends up as Ned's familiar or not, you feel very satisfied.

 

Exit 2 (Diction/Finesse vs. 7): See if you can communicate with Jolly in simple, clear Merilien.
Failure: (-1 Vitality, pause adventure)

"Jolie oiseau?" you say quietly to Jolly. The bird immediately perks up her head and fixes you with an intense gaze. "Jolie oiseau?" you say again, with greater excitement. "Belle oiseau! Très belles plumes!"
"Jolie oiseau," says Jolly.
Ned goggles. "What in the blazes--"
"Ici, Madamoiselle la Perruche," you say, and you slowly reach out your hand to Jolly. She hops onto it and shimmies up your arm until she is perched on your own shoulder, staring right at you. "Jolie oiseau, dis-moi, d'où viens-tu? Tu viens de La Merilie?"
Jolly looks at you a moment. Then she bites you on the nose. Hard.
"OWWW!" you cry as the parrot flaps away, back to Ned's shoulder.
"HAR HAR HAR HAR!" Ned wheezes. "Maybe she didn't like yer accent! HAR HAR HAR!"
"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees that wretched, spiteful bird.
As soon as your nose heals, you are going to have to think of something else.

Success: (+1 ss Animal Husbandry, +20 pims, unlock Stage 5)

"Jolie oiseau?" you say quietly to Jolly. The bird immediately perks up her head and fixes you with an intense gaze. "Jolie oiseau?" you say again, with greater excitement. "Belle oiseau! Très belles plumes!"
"Jolie oiseau," says Jolly.
Ned goggles. "What in the blazes--"
"Ici, Madamoiselle la Perruche," you say, and you slowly reach out your hand to Jolly. She hops onto it and shimmies up your arm until she is perched on your own shoulder, staring right at you. "Jolie oiseau, dis-moi, d'où viens-tu? Tu viens de La Merilie?"
Jolly looks at you. Suddenly, she breaks into a stunning rendition of the Merilien folk song Au Clair de la Lune, but sung with the voice of what sounds like a young girl.
"Well, blow me down," Ned mutters. "What's all this funny-talkin' about, now?"
"It seems your parrot is Merilien," you tell him, "and… I think this might be the voice of her prior owner."
Jolly finishes the song verse and looks at you expectantly.
"Òu est ta maîtresse, jolie oiseau?"
Jolly cocks her head. "Fermer les écoutilles!" she growls in the voice of a strange man. "Fermer les écoutilles!" And now she is speaking in the voice of the young girl again, but in a panic: "Papa, Papa! Ma jolie oiseau! Ma jolie oiseau!"
"Tell me what she be sayin' in that Meril-talk!" Ned pleads.
"I'm not sure, but... I think that Jolly was on a ship in that terrible storm you passed through, and got separated from her owner in it. Blown away from her in the gale, maybe." You reach your hand out and gently stroke Jolly's head. She closes her eyes and shivers. For the moment, she has nothing else to say.
"Well, now, little sprout," Ned says with a somber tug on his beard, "if that's true, then Jolly-bird here be even tougher than I thought. Blown away from everything she ever knew, and through the worst storm I ever did see. Yarr, what a tale!" You think you can see a tiny tear forming in the corner of Ned's eye.
"If it's true," you say as you gently pass Jolly back to Ned, "then she's very lucky that she found you, isn't she?"
Jolly hops back on Ned's shoulder and nestles against him, as if she agrees. For once, the burly pirate is speechless. He only nods, and hands you your day's pay.
Whether Jolly ends up as Ned's familiar or not, you feel very satisfied.

**********

Fermer les écoutilles is Fre Merilien for batten down the hatches.

 

Anyway, the Merilien check was originally meant to be a Diction check, gated by Merilien. Like, Investigation: Merlien vs. 4 unlocks Exit: Diction vs. 8 or w/e. Because you really don't need to know that much Fre Merilien to talk baby-talk to a bird, but you do need to be able to speak clearly so the bird can understand you. But I don't know if you can mix an Investigation like that with the +CoS Investigations I already have here, and ugh, four Investigations, idk, it was starting to seem silly. Thoughts? Now with NEW GATED MERILIEN ACTION!

 

Goin' to bed, will post the rest tomorrow. There's 2 more stages, and they get more... piratical.

 

P.S. The male Eclectus parrot is what I think of when I picture this parrot (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eclectus_parrot). Jolly was originally going to be a misidentified male, but that just got way too complicated. But I love that gorgeous green so she stayed green.

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I haven't finished reading it, but the premise seems fun. I also appreciate the fact that you included options for the Sky Pirate family background. Not enough of the pirate related adventures and events recognize that.

 

To put things in a spoiler tag you use [ spoiler ] and [ / spoiler ] without spaces.

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Don't have time to read the entire thing right now, but I'll comment on the commentary:

 

I know the in-game description says that the Listen skill is about listening to conversations, not hearing noises, but I see it used in the "hearing noises" way all the time in the game anyway, so, shrug emoji? If it's a problem this could be a Perception check I guess.

If it's a problem it'd probably be an Observation check, since Perception - funnily enough - is conversational as well.

 

Anyway, I can't remember ever coming across a magical pirate in an adventure and I don't know if that's because I just never did the right adventure, or pirates can't afford magic school, or pirates don't have the magical midichlorians, or what. Maybe this entire concept breaks lore, idk, what can I say, I just want to see a pirate with a wand.

Magic in this game can, nominally, be taught to anyone. It's a skill you learn, most people (for various reasons from lack of access to education, time or plain old talent) just don't. Pirates are in the same boat (ba dum, tish), in their case it's either a lack of discipline or access to education. Mind, there is at least one documented instance of an individual who couldn't use magic for reasons never explained, but those are the exception, not the norm.

 

In which I try to think of every single method of magically creating light that I can remember seeing in the game. Actually I think at one point Orso Orsi plays with some light motes supposedly using Astrology but w/e I got tired.

I think (another) one you missed is Negation - Negate darkness so you can see, or something. I'm not sure.

 

You get an extra skill step reward here because Enspell is a parent skill--you will note the below subskill check gets less. That seems fair to me.

Personally I always reduce the difficulty of parent skill rolls compared to subskill rolls, but that also works.

 

I made this check higher because the Lantern seems more difficult than the Lamp but I don't think the player can actually learn to cast the Lantern so I'm not sure. Anyway, then it only seemed fair to give it a better reward too.

Aganathi's Lamp and Lantern of Many Hues are both spells that exist in random events only - the same is true for Sergei's Timely Doorjam (IIRC, having trouble finding that one as of late) and Walls of Loys (RE Lake 2 Exit 3). As such they don't have a set casting difficulty assigned to them, it's just whatever is appropriate for the event in question.

 

Haha remember your first week of school when every single option was purple or red and you couldn't do one single thing right and you wanted to throw your keyboard down the stairs? Guess where Ned is.

What sort of ungodly being are you if that only covered your first week?

 

In which I can't remember if Familiar is supposed to be capitalized or not. Argh.

It is.

 

Please be careful tickling your porcupine familiar.

Or the ghost. Or the rock. Or the goldfish.

 

Anyway, the Merilien check was originally meant to be a Diction check, gated by Merilien. Like, Investigation: Merlien vs. 4 unlocks Exit: Diction vs. 8 or w/e. Because you really don't need to know that much Fre Merilien to talk baby-talk to a bird, but you do need to be able to speak clearly so the bird can understand you. But I don't know if you can mix an Investigation like that with the +CoS Investigations I already have here, and ugh, four Investigations, idk, it was starting to seem silly. Thoughts?

Investigations can give you a blanket boost to CoS%, which increases your chance of success at any roll, or they can give you temporary increases to (sub)skills, which effectively gives you a flat bonus to a roll (say instead of Charm/Diction you roll Charm/(Diction+4) or something). Both increases stack, individually or with each other.

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To put things in a spoiler tag you use [ spoiler ] and [ / spoiler ] without spaces.

 

Ugh THANK YOU. Will change later after work.

 

 

 

 

If it's a problem it'd probably be an Observation check, since Perception - funnily enough - is conversational as well.

 

 

So, Observation, my old nemesis, we meet again. You, YOU are the reason I can't stop playing Strozzans born at Noon! *shakes fist*

 

 

 

Aganathi's Lamp and Lantern of Many Hues are both spells that exist in random events only - the same is true for Sergei's Timely Doorjam (IIRC, having trouble finding that one as of late) and Walls of Loys (RE Lake 2 Exit 3). As such they don't have a set casting difficulty assigned to them, it's just whatever is appropriate for the event in question.

 

You learn Aganathi's Lamp at Perception 4! Supposedly. I've never bothered. Sparkling Fields go go go.

 

 

What sort of ungodly being are you if that only covered your first week?

 

...Fair. I guess that's another argument in favor of keeping this adventure inaccessible until a couple months have passed. You shouldn't really start training someone else in magic when you can't do it yet yourself.

 

 

Or the ghost. Or the rock. Or the goldfish.

 

 

Oh jeez the rock, I forgot about him. I'm willing to accept a certain amount of silliness in most generic Familiar-related text because accounting for all 20some of them is madness, but isn't the rock's deal that he sucks as a Familiar? I've never chosen him. Maybe this option needs to be gated to exclude rock familiars?

 

 

Investigations can give you a blanket boost to CoS%, which increases your chance of success at any roll, or they can give you temporary increases to (sub)skills, which effectively gives you a flat bonus to a roll (say instead of Charm/Diction you roll Charm/(Diction+4) or something). Both increases stack, individually or with each other.

 

I'll take another look at this stage later and see if I can make it do what I want without being too awkward.

 

Thanks for the feedback.

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You learn Aganathi's Lamp at Perception 4! Supposedly. I've never bothered. Sparkling Fields go go go.

Wha? Huh, so it does. Weird. Normally to cast an actual spell during events you actually need to know the spell and it's Phemes. I guess here's an exception.

 

Oh jeez the rock, I forgot about him. I'm willing to accept a certain amount of silliness in most generic Familiar-related text because accounting for all 20some of them is madness, but isn't the rock's deal that he sucks as a Familiar? I've never chosen him. Maybe this option needs to be gated to exclude rock familiars?

Pebbles being terrible is one of his things, yes. In fact having he is technically counted as a flaw - he gives you a background point instead of taking one (or costing nothing, in the case of Pamela). The option can be gates to exclude Pebbles, that depends on the Team.

 

Incidentally, if you want to rush Observation take note of a bug in the game where the skill description claims it's keyed to Charm, but is actually keyed to Intelligence. Also, Selective Focus. Selective Focus is good.

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I didn't read the adventure sorry

 

but for teachig someone magic I think you should consider School Survival - Study Habbit 10 (teach action) and the Magic to be thought 10 as requirement before you can start the adventure instead of any timed limit.

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I didn't read the adventure either for spoiler reasons if the team puts it in, but I just point out that as my baby, Mr Pebbles can potentially be tickled.

 

You probably don't want to, though. ;)

 

The best way to handle familars in adventures not specifically dealing with them is to include them in one exit, and write a bunch of exits depending on which familiar the player has.

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Now with more spoiler tags and less wall-o-text.

 

**********

 

Stage 5. A Pirate's Proposal

 

Phase 1

You open the door of the shed to find Ned pacing back and forth, tugging on his beard in what seems like… nervousness? "Arr, ye be here," he growls curtly. "Good. We got some business to discuss, little sprout."
Your brow furrows. That doesn't sound good.
"Now don't ye be troubled, 'tis nothin' to fret about," Ned quickly assures you. "But 'tis no lesson I come for today. Today I come to ye with a proposal."
Ned faces you with his fingers spread wide in a grand gesture. Suddenly his nervousness is gone, and he is all smiles. "Supposin' I was to tell ye that I recently came into possession o' some knowledge about a most remarkable treasure… and that I was willin' to split it with ye? Provided, o' course, that ye was willin' to help me find it."
Treasure? Well. You ask what it is.
"Yarr, that be the beauty part. This be no ordinary treasure like gold or jewels--though, don't get me wrong, I got nothin' against those, HAR HAR HAR HAR!"
"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees Jolly.
"But this, little sprout? This be somethin' even more precious to the wizardly types like you and meself." He taps the side of his forehead. "'Tis a treasure of magical wisdom."
With a flourish, Ned reaches into his coat and produces a rolled-up parchment, which he unfurls on a dusty shelf before you. It looks like a map of the Imperial Reserve with a large X drawn over a particular spot. How delightfully piratical.
"This here be something I been seekin' for many a month, little sprout. 'Tis the tomb of Gustavus Armintrout, a great wizardly type o' the Early Empire." He raises an eyebrow. "Maybe ye heard of him?"
You definitely haven't. But Ned is unfazed. "Well, Gustavus was a brilliant wizard, but a greedy one. The rumor is that when old Gus died, he was buried with all of the notes of his unpublished magical experiments. Didn't want nobody else to profit off them after his death. And to keep them hidden, the tomb was fancied up with all manner o' magical seals and suchlike. Magic that, I must be admittin', is probably beyond me humble grasp at the moment."
Ned points at you with a thick finger. "And that be where you come in. I've found the tomb, but I needs the help of a fancy wizard to get me in. And once that fancy wizard does that, well, naturally I would be sharin' whatever fantastic magical secrets are buried there with them, eh? After all, there's no wizard so fancy but that they could do with a bit more magical know-how, don't that be so?" he says with a wink.
You don't know what to say. This is all pretty hard to take in! And it's not like you can just walk into the Imperial Reserve with a pirate and help yourself to whatever you find there. Ned strokes his beard thoughtfully, then places a beefy hand on your shoulder.
"I won't lie to ye: there be risk. It's true that the Imperial Reserve guards don't exactly fancy lettin' a… gentleman of my station and profession wander around freely. We'd have to sneak in at night, and that is perhaps not the most entirely upright of activities. But then," he says in a conspiratorial tone, "we wouldn't be here right now if that was the sort of thing to stop ye once ye set yer mind to somethin', eh, little sprout? And after all, it ain't like old Gus is usin' that knowledge. Why, the real crime would be to let it rot there, instead o' donatin' it to a worthy cause! Like ourselves! HAR HAR HAR!"
Ned's laugh seems forced. Is he nervous? He suddenly looks at you with grave intensity. "…'O course, I won't force ye. But I need yer answer. Are ye with me, little sprout?" He extends his hand to you.

**********
Well, Princess Jasmine? DO YOU TRUST HIM?
**********

It's a tempting offer, but also a scary one. Who wouldn't want to find a cache of magical secrets, hidden away for hundreds of years? But breaking into the Imperial Reserve is far from easy. And poking around in a tomb? You could get into all kinds of trouble if you're caught. Should you really agree to this?

 

Exit 1. (automatic: advance to Phase 2) Yes. You've come this far. You're not backing out now.
Exit 2. (auto: advance to Phase 3) No. Even if it means the end of your relationship with Ned, you just can't do this.

 

Phase 2

You nod, then grab Ned's hand and shake it.
"HAR HAR HAR HAR! I knew I could count on ye!" he bellows as he vigorously pumps your hand.
"HAR HAR HAR!" agrees Jolly.

Exit 1 (automatic: advance to Phase 4): ...What have you gotten yourself into?

 

 

Phase 3

You tell Ned you're sorry, but you can't help him with this. It's just too big a risk. He's silent a moment, then nods.
"Can't say I blame ye, little wizard. Though I'd be lyin' if I said I wasn't disappointed too. Still, yer clever enough to make yer own choice." He put his hand on your shoulder for a moment. Then bows to you and walks out the door.
Several days later, you find a bag of pims in your room with a small note attached. "FER SERVISSES RENDERED," it says. You never find out how it got there. And you never hear from Ned again.

(+1 full Step Danger Sense, +50 pims, end adventure.)
**********
Sad ending for chumps. :( Don't be a chump!
**********
Phase 4

All right. So you've agreed to this completely crazy plan of sneaking into the Imperial Reserve. With a pirate. To break into a tomb. Now what are you going to do to prepare for it?

Exit 1 (Astrology/Luck vs. 9): Determine an auspicious night for the infiltration.

Failure (+1 stress, pause adventure):

You carefully cast your charts and look for a favorable time for the completion of plans and the finding of secrets. But the signs simply aren't clear. You can't afford to be careless or hasty about this! You'll have to try again later.

Success (+1 ss Planning, advance to next stage):

You carefully cast your charts and look for a favorable time for the completion of plans and the finding of secrets--and of course, a night with very little moonlight to illuminate your deeds wouldn't hurt either! Finally, you think you have a date you can feel confident about. You send your Familiar off to leave the message in the designated spot.
This is really going to happen. You just hope you're ready for it.

 

Exit 2 (Planning/Intelligence vs. 9): Gather the supplies that you'll need.
Failure (+1 stress, pause adventure):

Obviously, you need your wand! And maybe a sandwich wouldn't go amiss, in case you get snackish while you're rifling through the tomb. And if you're bringing a sandwich, you'll have to bring one for Ned. It's only polite. Then you'll need a picnic basket. And maybe a nice bunch of grapes, or some pignoli cookies to go with it, and--
Suddenly, your stomach growls. Hmm. Maybe you'd better try this again later, when you aren't so hungry.

Success (+1 ss Strategy, unlock Stage 6):

You reason that you need to strike a careful balance between taking things that could help keep you safe and concealed, and not carrying so much weight that it slows you down or makes you noisy. Obviously, you need your wand! Would a rope be too heavy? Could you carry a potion and still be able to climb walls and squeeze through hedges? What about...
Hours pass as you plan out various approaches. Finally, you feel you have a grasp on what you can afford to bring.

This is really going to happen. You just hope you're ready for it.

 

 

Exit 3 (Research/Intelligence vs. 9): Look up this Armintrout person and see if you can find anything helpful.
Failure: (+1 stress, pause adventure)

You don't have much to go on but the name and a vague time period. Ned didn't even tell you what pillar of magic the man specialized in. This won't be easy. You look through old academy faculty lists, but don't see a match. You pore over old Empire records until your vision swims. Hours pass.
Finally, you wake up with a librarian standing over you, glaring down at the tiny puddle of drool you have left on a precious ancient scroll. Whatever research plans you had for the rest of the day are replaced with a sudden and dire need to be very, very far from the library.

 

 

Success: (+1 ss Traps, unlock Stage 6)

You don't have much to go on but the name and a vague time period. Ned didn't even tell you what pillar of magic the man specialized in. This won't be easy. You look through old academy faculty lists, but don't see a match. You pore over old Empire records until your vision swims. Finally, in an ancient census document you find it: Armintrout, G. A birth date from the Early Empire, and a listed residence in the heart of Mineta. The profession is listed as "security sorcerer." …Security? How peculiar. You guess that means he was an expert in magical traps.
Uh oh. That might not bode well for your little expedition. You decide to spend the rest of the day researching the construction and disarming of various magical traps. After several hours, you're exhausted, but you feel better prepared to face… whatever is in that tomb.

This is really going to happen. You just hope you're ready for it.

 

**********

 

I didn't give an extra skillstep reward for either of the parent skill challenges here because Astrology and particularly Research are so easy to raise simply through ordinary library study that you are extremely likely to have one or both of them at a high level just by midgame. No soup for you.

 

 

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I have edited the Stage 4 Investigations to flow more as I originally intended, and using +skill boosts instead of +CoS. I think it works better this way. Also, I included a note to remove the Familiar Kinship option for hapless associates of Mr. Pebbles. Sorry, rock-lovers, but I don't think your bond is going to be inspirational to others!

 

Thank you for the feedback.

 

but for teachig someone magic I think you should consider School Survival - Study Habbit 10 (teach action) and the Magic to be thought 10 as requirement before you can start the adventure instead of any timed limit.

 

Linking the adventure to the Teach action is actually a really interesting suggestion. It makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, my PCs never train Study Habits that high, so if I did that, I'd never get to play my own adventure. :P So I think I'm going to stick with the suggestion that the adventure just be unlocked by the passage of time. The start of Hionosi, maybe? That is around the time in the game when I feel like a student would have enough of a basic grounding in their magic classes to think about being able to help someone else.

 

 

The final stage will be posted tomorrow.

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Holy crap I wrote a lot of words.

 

This is the final stage of the adventure and it's in multiple linear phases with multiple skill checks. Failing a check doesn't end the adventure, you just get slightly banged up and keep going to the next phase. I think the skill checks are of a level such that a reasonably well-rounded student will likely be able to succeed more than they fail in the beginning phases without buffing, but the final check will require buffing to pass unless you are a great golden god.

 

**********

 

Stage 6. X Marks the Spot
Phase 1

You would never have believed getting into the Reserve would be so simple. There wasn't a guard in sight as you made your approach to the walled cemetery, and getting over the wall was as easy as having Ned boost you up. Finding the mausoleum was easy, too. A huge marble structure with ARMINTROUT carved boldly into in the front, it isn't exactly subtle. But getting inside it will not be so easy. The huge doors to the mausoleum shimmer with some kind of obvious and powerful enchantment.
"Er, did I forget to mention that Armintrout were a master o' magical traps?" Ned asks sheepishly.
"Yes. Yes, you did forget to mention that," you reply, folding your arms.
"Well, not to worry, little sprout. I wouldn't have brought ye out here if I didn't have a trick or two up me sleeves. Ye see, I know there's another way inside. And once yer in there all ye need to do--"
"Me?! You want me to go in there alone?"
"I'm afraid there be no other way, little sprout. See for yerself." With his powerful arms, Ned hoists you up on the flat mausoleum roof. You look around, and on the surface near the corner, surrounded by tendrils of climbing vines, you can see a small, crumbling puncture in the marble--a hole to the inside!

Now you can see why Ned needed your help here. This hole is tiny. You're barely sure that you will be able to fit through it. He certainly could not.
"All ye need to do," Ned continues, "is find the matching seal inside. There be two of 'em, and the one inside be weaker. Dispel one, and they both vanish. I know ye can do it, little sprout."
You wonder how Ned knows so much about this place. But more than that, you wonder what kind of magical secrets await you inside.


Exit 1. (auto, advance to Phase 2) It's time to find out!

 

 

Phase 2.

From your perch on the roof of the mausoleum, you regard the hole n front of you. Marble is a tough material to crack; this tomb must be very old indeed for the cold and wind to have made such an impact on it.
But where the hole came from isn't your problem; getting through it is. It's small, and surrounded by tendrils of the same creeping vines that cover the mausoleum walls. And it's impossibly dark inside--what's waiting for you in there? Is it really such a great idea to just jump in?

 

Exit 1 (Roots/Intelligence vs. 7): Check out those vines.
Failure (-1 Vitality, advance to Phase 3):

A thick, ropey stem, alternating heart-shaped leaves, and tiny, filament-like aerial roots--just as you suspected, this is a Tickle Vine. It is so-named because of the unusual reaction its roots have to stimuli.
You reach out your hand and begin to, well, tickle the plant by the roots. You feel rather silly, but it seems to be working--the leaves begin to rustle and vibrate in a peculiar way, almost as if the plant is laughing! After a moment, the vines begin to extend their tendrils away from you, reaching down and unfurling into the hole in the roof in an apparent attempt to get away from your rude tickles.
Perfect. Now you can climb down the vine and into the hole. It's a tight squeeze, but you manage to slip down the vine and into the mausoleum. Once you're inside, you pause for a moment, hanging onto the thick vine with one hand and using your wand to cast a quick light spell with the other. But you must have been too aggressive in your tickling--the vine is not willing to support you! The plant gives you a good smack with a free tendril, and your hand wrenches free of its grasp. You go tumbling several feet to the floor. Oww!
Well. That was undignified and a bit painful, but at least you haven't tripped any lightning bolt traps or magical anvils on your way down. But it's as if there's some sort of interference with light here--your spell barely penetrates the darkness at all. All you can see is the smooth marble walls meeting in the corner next to you. You cautiously take a few steps toward the center of the room. That is when you see the bear.

Success (+1 ss Infiltration, advance to Phase 3):

A thick, ropey stem, alternating heart-shaped leaves, and tiny, filament-like aerial roots--just as you suspected, this is a Tickle Vine. It is so-named because of the unusual reaction its roots have to stimuli.
You reach out your hand and begin to, well, tickle the plant by the roots. You feel rather silly, but it seems to be working--the leaves begin to rustle and vibrate in a peculiar way, almost as if the plant was laughing! After a moment, the vines begin to extend their tendrils away from you, reaching down and unfurling into the hole in the roof in an apparent attempt to get away from your rude tickles.
Perfect. Now you can climb down the vine and into the hole. It's a tight squeeze, but you manage to slip down the vine and into the mausoleum. Once you're inside, you pause for a moment, hanging onto the thick vine with one hand and using your wand to cast a quick light spell with the other. The vine supports your weight as you look around in the gloom, trying to get your bearings. But it's as if there's some sort of interference with light here--your spell barely penetrates the darkness at all. All you can see is the smooth marble walls meeting in the corner next to you.
But at least you don't see any crackling lightning bolt traps or magical anvils. You cautiously drop from the vine to the floor and take a few steps toward the center of the room. That is when you see the bear.

 

 

Exit 2. (Acrobatics/Fitness vs. 7) Use your contortionist abilities to get in there safely.
Failure: (-1 Vitality, advance to Phase 3)

The hole is right next to the corner of the mausoleum. With a little skill, you might be able to shimmy yourself down the walls in the corner. Okay, with a LOT of skill.
You duck your head through the tight hole and cast a quick light spell to look around. But it's as if there's some sort of interference with light here; your spell barely penetrates the darkness at all. All you can see is the smooth marble walls meeting in the corner next to you. And then, just barely, you can see a small ridge on the walls--some sort of decorative molding, it looks like.
But that's all you need to see. Carefully, you lower yourself through the narrow hole in the roof, hanging onto the edge of it tenaciously. You swing over and grab hold of the molding in the corner. So far, so good. Then you attempt to wedge yourself into the corner with your back and legs braced against the two walls, but it doesn't quite work. You can't get the support you need, and you go crashing several feet to the floor instead. Oww!
Well. That was undignified and a bit painful, but at least you haven't tripped any lightning bolt traps or magical anvils on your way down. You cautiously take a few steps toward the center of the room. That is when you see the bear.

Success: (+1 ss Infiltration, advance to phase 3)

The hole is right next to the corner of the mausoleum. With a little skill, you might be able to shimmy yourself down the walls in the corner. Okay, with a LOT of skill.
You duck your head through the tight hole and cast a quick light spell to look around. But it's as if there's some sort of interference with light here; your spell barely penetrates the darkness at all. All you can see is the smooth marble walls meeting in the corner next to you. And then, just barely, you can see a small ridge on the walls--some sort of decorative molding, it looks like.
But that's all you need to see. Carefully, you lower yourself through the narrow hole in the roof, hanging onto the edge of it tenaciously. You swing over and grab hold of the molding in the corner. Then, with incredible deftness, you wedge yourself into the corner with your back and legs braced against the two walls. From there, you shimmy slowly down to the floor. You made it!

You still can't see much, but at least you don't see any obvious crackling lightning bolts or magical anvils. You cautiously take a few steps toward the center of the room. That is when you see the bear.

 

 

Exit 3. (Negation/Finesse vs. 7) Relax gravity a bit on your way down to slow your descent.
Failure: (-1 Vitality, advance to Phase 3)

Well, you have to jump in that hole one way or another. But there's no sense in jumping down at full speed if you don't have to!
You use your Negation skills to create a bit of a gravity cushion beneath you, then carefully squeeze through the hole. It's a tight fit, but you make it inside. For a moment, your spell gives you just the right amount of support as you drift downward, like you're riding a platform of air. But you mustn't have had the control you needed over the spell; it suddenly gives way, and you go crashing several feet to the hard floor. Oww!
Well. That was undignified and a bit painful, but at least you haven't tripped any lightning bolt traps or magical anvils on your way down. You stand up, dust yourself off, and cast a quick light spell. But it's as if there's some sort of interference with light here--your spell barely penetrates the darkness at all. All you can see is the smooth marble walls meeting in the corner next to you. You cautiously take a few steps toward the center of the room. That is when you see the bear.

Success: (+1 ss Infiltration, advance to Phase 3)

Well, you have to jump in that hole one way or another. But there's no sense in jumping down at full speed if you don't have to!
You use your Negation skills to create a bit of a gravity cushion beneath you, then carefully squeeze through the hole. It's a tight fit, but you make it inside. Your spell gives you just the right amount of support as you drift downward, like you're riding a platform of air. You use the extra time to cast a quick light spell, but it's as if there's some sort of interference with light here; your spell barely penetrates the darkness at all. All you can see is the smooth marble walls meeting in the corner next to you.

But at least you don't see any crackling lightning bolt traps or magical anvils waiting for you. You make it to the floor and cautiously take a few steps towards the center of the room. That is when you see the bear.

 

 

 

Phase 3.

Hmm. How peculiar. There is a bear in this tomb. A very large, angry bear. It begins to bellow at you in a not-at-all-friendly fashion.
Oh dear.

Investigation 1. (Reason/Intelligence vs. 7) Just calm down and think about this situation!
Failure: (no change, choose again)

There's a bear. In a tomb. A bear! And it is very angry at you!
It's a little hard to think when there's an angry bear staring at you!

Success: (unlock exit 3, choose again)

There's a bear. In a tomb. A bear! How could a bear get into a tomb that's been sealed up for years? It's huge. There's no way it could have gotten in the same way you did. And it couldn't have been here since the tomb was sealed up! There is, in fact, no possible way that there can be a bear here. But there it is.
It must be an illusion.

 

 

Exit 1. (Courage/Strength vs. 8) It's only a huge, angry bear. You can handle it. Face the huge, angry bear head-on!
Failure: (+1 stress, advance to phase 4)

You brandish your wand with what you hope looks like supreme confidence, trying to think of what spell could even put a dent in this giant beast.
"Come get some!" you yell at the huge, angry bear. Unfortunately, it does.
As the bear lunges forward, you try to cast a spell, but you're frozen stiff with fear. The bear stops just in front of you, rears back, and reaches out to swipe at you with enormous claws. You yelp like a terrified spaniel and drop to the floor with your hands over your head. As you do, the bear's claws pass through your tender flesh... harmlessly? The bear bellows and swipes you again. Nothing happens. This bear is an illusion. Of course.
Well. You're glad no one was around to see that sorry display, but at least now you know to look for the controls to this silly trap. Aha! One of the bricks on the floor in front of you is a different color. You press the brick, and the bear vanishes. It certainly seems like a lazy control method for a master of magical traps. But that's not your concern right now. It's time to move on.

Success: (+1 ss Willpower, advance to phase 4)

You brandish your wand with what you hope looks like supreme confidence, trying to think of what spell could even put a dent in this giant beast.
"Come get some!" you yell at the huge, angry bear. Unfortunately, it does.
You stand your ground, trying to cast your spell as the bear charges. It stops just in front of you, rears back, and reaches out to swipe at you with enormous claws. You're brave enough, but not quick enough--before you can finish casting, the bear's claws are passing through your tender flesh… harmlessly? The bear bellows and swipes you again. Nothing happens. This bear is an illusion. Of course.
You breathe a sigh of relief, and go looking for the controls to this silly fake bear while it roars and threatens you ineffectually. Aha! One of the bricks on the floor in front of you is a different color. You press the brick, and the bear vanishes. It certainly seems like a lazy control method for a master of magical traps. But that's not your concern right now. It's time to move on.

Exit 2. (Prayer/Luck vs. 8) PRAY!
Failure: (-1 Vitality, advance to Phase 4)

You instantly drop to your knees, hands clasped, uttering a fervent, rushed prayer to anyone who's listening to save you from this angry bear! In your great haste, you slam to the floor, and your knees crack hard against the stones below. Oww!
As you do so, you hear a click, and then… silence. Tentatively, you open an eye. The bear is gone. You look down, and see that under your knees, an odd-colored stone is indented into the floor. You examine it more closely--of course. It's a control panel for the bear. It was an illusion.
It certainly seems like a lazy control method for a master of magical traps. But that's not your concern right now. What matters is that the bear is gone. It's time to move on.

Success: (+1 ss Pure Luck, advance to Phase 4)

You instantly drop to your knees, hands clasped, uttering a fervent, heartfelt prayer to anyone who's listening to save you from this angry bear!
As you do so, you hear a click, and then… silence. Tentatively, you open an eye. The bear is gone. You look down, and see that under your knees, an odd-colored stone is indented into the floor. You examine it more closely--of course. It's a control panel for the bear. It was an illusion.

It certainly seems like a lazy control method for a master of magical traps. But that's not your concern right now. What matters is that the bear is gone. It's time to move on.

 

 

**********

 

ONLY THE PENITENT MAN WILL PASS

 

**********

 

 

Exit 3. (Negation/Fitness vs. 5) Negate this illusory bear away.
Failure: (+1 stress, advance to Phase 4)

You cast your spell, but nothing happens. Ugh! You try again, and the bear just stands there and bellows at you some more. How irritating! Finally, on the third try you manage to banish this silly illusion. Not your finest moment of spell casting, perhaps, but at least the job is done. The bear is gone. It's time to move on.

Success: (+1 Negation Methods, advance to Phase 4)

You cast your spell and the bear vanishes. Bah. What a lazy illusion for a master of magical traps. But that's not your concern right now. What matters is that the bear is gone. It's time to move on.

 

**********

 

continued in next post

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More self-buffing Investigations for you because I am SO NICE.
**********
Phase 4.

Finally, you have a moment to stop and examine your surroundings. You peer through the darkness around you, barely able to discern shapes in your magical light. You're standing in the middle of what seems to be a sort of entryway to the mausoleum. Those huge, imposing doors to the Reserve are to one side of you, and on the other is a floor-to-ceiling wrought-iron gate--that must be the gate to the tomb itself! You step closer, carefully checking around you for hidden trap triggers as you go.

Nothing else attacks you as you step in front of the huge gate, but now you can see the problem: the artfully and intricately woven iron bars of the gate are covered with what seems to be a thin, shimmering film that reflects tiny, swirling rainbows in the dim light. This must be the seal Ned mentioned. Beyond the gate, you can just barely see a hulking stone shape in the gloom. That must be the tomb itself, where all those juicy magical secrets are kept! You're so close now!

Okay, focus. How are you going to get through this obviously trapped and dangerous gate?

 

 

 

Investigation 1 (Traps/Intelligence vs. 8): Analyze the workings of the trap before you.
Failure (no change, choose again):

It's... shiny? And probably bad things will happen if you touch it. Beyond that, you got nothing.


Success (temporarily increase Negation and Enchant +2, choose again):

 

 

 

You look around the outside edge of the gate where it meets the marble mausoleum walls, looking for any kind of flame jet nozzles, dart holes, or anything else where a trap might discharge. You see nothing. That probably means the seal will discharge from the gate itself when triggered. That's good to know, in case you suddenly need to dodge it! You feel better prepared now.

 

 

 

Investigation 2 (Planning/Luck vs. 8): Did you bring anything with you that could help you here?
Failure (no change, choose again):

Uh, well, you brought... your wand? That's good, right?

Success: (temp. increase Negation and Enchant +2, choose again)

Of course you did! This is the perfect time to whip out those enchanted gloves you borrowed from that friendly second-year down the hall. Lightly protected against all the elements, including shocks, fire, and other things that might be components of nasty magical traps, these babies should keep your hands safer from any little mishaps that might occur here. As you put them on, you feel a little more confident in your ability to deal with this obstacle.

 

 

 

Investigation 3 (Infiltration/Finesse vs. 8): What do you know about getting into places where you aren't allowed?
Failure (no change, choose again):

Well, you definitely aren't allowed in here, and you got in... but unfortunately, there aren't any convenient holes punched in the wall this time!


Success (temp. increase Negation and Enchant +2, choose again):

 

 

 

If nothing else, you know that when someone makes a big show of guards, KEEP OUT signs, and so forth, they are counting on the obvious show of hostility to frighten people away, rather than the viciousness of the deterrents themselves. The fact that this trap is in plain sight seems to be a good sign. It probably isn't as dangerous as a completely hidden trap would be. You relax a bit as you face the trap before you.

 

 

 

Investigation 4: (Revision/Intelligence vs. 10) VERY carefully, try to alter this trap a little to something that is easier to deal with.

Failure (+1 stress, choose again):

This will be dangerous, but you need to try something! Holding your breath, you form up the phemes of a transformation spell, and--uh oh. Was it supposed to turn red like that? The seal doesn't look any weaker, but it sure looks angrier now! That really didn't help at all!


Success (temp. increase Negation and Enchant +2, choose again):

 

 

 

This will be dangerous, but you need to try something! Holding your breath, you cast the most carefully formed Revision spell of your life. You see the shimmering glow of the seal flicker slightly, and then dim a bit. It's still there, but you've managed to weaken it. This could give you the edge you need here.

 

 

 

Exit 1 (Enchant/Finesse vs. 12) Use all of your Enchanting knowledge to counter this seal.

Failure (+1 stress, choose again):

You think you know enough to undo this enchantment. But there's only one way to find out.

Slowly and carefully, you inscribe the phemes to a counter-enchantment on the iron gate. There is a crackling, fizzling noise, and you feel small static shock in your wand hand--but the shimmer on the gate remains. Blast it. You weren't quite good enough.


Success (+1 full step Orthography, advance to Phase 5):

You think you know enough to undo this enchantment. But there's only one way to find out.
Slowly and carefully, you inscribe the phemes to a counter-enchantment on the iron gate. There is a crackling, fizzling noise, and the shimmering disappears.

...That's it. You did it! The gate slides open, and you stride into the inner chamber of the tomb.

 

 

 

Exit 2 (Negation/Fitness vs. 12) Though it will be terribly difficult, you have to Negate this dangerous trap.

Failure (+1 stress, choose again):

 

 

 

Cautiously, you form up the phemes to the most powerful Dispel spell you know. You bite your lip as the spell takes form.

There is a sudden, bright flash from the enchanted gate. And then... nothing. You aren't hurt, but the enchantment is still there. Blast it!

 

 

Success (+ full step Concentration, advance to Phase 5):

 

 

 

Cautiously, you form up the phemes to the most powerful Dispel spell you know. You bite your lip as the spell take form.

There is a sudden, bright flash from the enchanted gate. And then the enchantment is gone.

...That's it. You did it! The gate slides open, and you stride into the inner chamber of the tomb.

 

 

 

Exit 3: Oh, just blow the blazing gate off its hinges and be done with it! What's the worst that could happen?

 

Success (automatic, -2 Vitality, advance to Phase 5):

 

 

 

This is ridiculous. You'll never get through here at this rate. In annoyance and frustration, you conjure up an enormous gale-force wind and send it right at that stupid gate! BOOM. The gate flies backwards as the seal vanishes, and at the same time a huge bolt of lightning arcs outward from it, zapping you right through your wand and up your arm! You stagger forward, holding your tender wand hand. After a moment, the intense pain of the shock passes. There don't seem to be any wounds, but you're pretty sure that's going to smart tomorrow.

But the important thing is that you made it. You are inside the inner chamber of the tomb.

 

 

 

Phase 5.

 

 


This is it. You stand in the center of the innermost chamber of the tomb. Behind you, you can hear the front doors of the mausoleum beginning to shudder and roll back--the seals on the gate and the door must have been magically linked, just as Ned told you. No doubt he'll be here soon, but you can't contain your excitement long enough to wait for him. You have to see what's inside this place!

You step forward with your dim light and try to get your bearings. You're not entirely sure what you expected to see--locked chests, piles of blueprints, shelves of books and scrolls? But you certainly didn't expect this. Before you, you see only two things: a stone dais, likely the place of Armintrout's interment, and just behind it, a huge black statue. Even in your dim light, you can see the statue is unmistakably of a chicken.

The black chicken looms before you, taller than a human, its plumage carved of some material dark as a moonless night, and its piercing eyes two enormous gemstones--one purple, and one red. They transfix you with a sense of unease and unworthiness.

 

 

**********

 

:P

 

**********

 

 


But that's it--there's nothing else here. Where are all these notes about magical experiments hidden? Suddenly, you hear heavy boot steps in the entryway of the tomb. And a voice.

"Blazing bloody dragontail, Ned, you did it."

And then another voice, this one a woman's: "Hmph. Let's just hope it was worth it."

You wheel around and see Ned standing in the entryway, lighting up the room with the light spell you taught him. But he isn't alone. With him are a lanky man with stringy hair and a scowling, short-haired woman in a long coat and an impressively flamboyant hat.

More pirates.

 

 

Exit 1 (automatic, advance to phase 6) What is going on here?

 

 

**********

 

This scene becomes particularly hilarious if "the light spell you taught him" was the Lantern of Many Hues. Disco chicken!

 

**********

 

Phase 6.

 

 

 

Before you can say anything, the woman rushes forward to the chicken statue. She grins as she examines its enormous jewel eyes, which sparkle intensely in the magical light.

"Aye," she says, "that'll do."
Finally, you blurt out, "Ned, what's going on?"
He looks away from you and does not speak. Instead the woman does: "Right, time to move. Jack, you get the brat. Ned, help me get this thing outside. And hurry up, those guards won't be out forever."

**********
Yeah, hurry up guys, the ship is double-parked outside the cemetery.
**********

"Aye aye, Cap'n," says the lanky pirate. Ned just nods.
And in a flash you realize: you've been set up. Ned got you to open this tomb, and he and his pirate buddies are going to haul away the loot.
The lanky pirate advances toward you with a rope. Oh, this is really bad. The pirates clearly mean to impress you! Pirates usually know better than to do this to Academy students--it's more trouble than it's worth getting a school full of powerful wizards angry at you. So they must be desperate to make sure you can't go to the authorities before they get out of here with their prize. If you let them take you on their ship, the school will eventually make sure you're released, sure, but then they'll find out that you've been teaching magic to a pirate and breaking into tombs! Best case scenario, you'll have detention from now until you graduate. Worst case--you don't even want to think about that.

You reach for your wand, but suddenly it's wrenched from your grasp! Jolly the parrot swoops out of the gloom and flies over to Ned's shoulder with your wand clasped firmly in her talons. How can you defend yourself now? You look pleadingly at Ned, who's beginning to grapple with the enormous statue. He looks back at you guiltily, but he makes no move to intervene.

You're going to have to get out of this on your own.

 

 

**********

 

Hmm, if only someone had taught you some pirate tricks. HMM.

 

**********

 

Investigation 1 (Pure Luck/Luck vs. 10): You lost your wand. But is there anything else, anything at all, in your pockets that could possibly help you get out of this mess?
Failure (no change, choose again):

Frantically, you stick your hands in your pockets. You find lint, candy wrappers, and absolutely nothing else of use! Argh!


Success (unlock exit 3, choose again):

 

 

 

Frantically, you stick your hands in your pockets. You find lint, candy wrappers, and--YES! There it is! A Smoke Cover Potion!

 

As you were leaving campus tonight, you happened to run smack into Rui da Casga as you both rounded the same corner in opposite directions. You were both relieved to find that you'd only run into another student out making trouble after curfew, and in a show of troublemaker solidarity, went your separate ways without asking any questions. It was only later on your way to the Reserve that you realize one of Rui's potions had dropped into your pocket--this portable smoke bomb. Who knows what he was planning to do with it tonight. By then it was too late to go back and return it, and so here it is still, in your pocket.

What an incredible stroke of luck. Now you just have to put it to work for you.

 

 

 

Exit 1 (Bluff/Charm vs. 15): Make these pirates think that impressing you is a really, really bad idea.

Failure (+2 stress, +1 Luck, advance to Stage 7):

 

 

 

"Go ahead," you sneer. "Impress me. See what happens."

The advancing pirate seems amused by your defiance, but that doesn't stop him from grabbing you and starting to tie your wrists behind your back with the rope.
You force yourself to laugh raucously. "You idiots. You really have no idea, do you?"
The Captain looks up from the statue and regards you coldly. "Shut up over there," she snaps.
Undaunted, you continue as petulantly as you can: "Do you have any idea what's going to happen to you when my father finds out what you've done to me?"
The pirate tying your wrists up just laughs. "Ye think we're scared of yer daddy, kid?"
You make yourself bristle. "Does the name ORSO ORSI mean anything to you?"

"As it happens," the stringy-haired pirate says cheerfully, "no." But the Captain looks at you sharply when she hears the name. She strides over to you and bends down to glare directly into your face. You try to meet her piercing gaze, but you just can't. You can tell she sees right through you.

 

She smirks. "Nice try, kid. You got guts. But even Ned isn't such an idiot that he would bring me the kid of the bleedin' head of the school."

 

"Er, well, Cap'n," Ned stammers. "About that..."

 

The Captain shoots daggers at Ned with her glare. "...You've got to be kidding me."

 

Ned tugs on his beard nervously. Is he really lying to cover you? "It's like this, ye see--" he begins, but the Captain cuts him off with a single raised finger. "We'll discuss this later, Ned. In the galley potato pantry." Then she turns to you and stabs her finger right into the center of your chest.

 

"Get out of here," she growls. "And remember, if you go to the guards, we'll know."

 

And then you are running, running, running back to campus as fast as your feet can take you. It's only when you are halfway there that you remember you still don't have your wand.

 

 

Success (+1 full step Deceit, +1 Charm, advance to phase 7):

"Go ahead," you sneer. "Impress me. See what happens."
The advancing pirate seems amused by your defiance, but that doesn't stop him from grabbing you and starting to tie your wrists behind your back with the rope.
You force yourself to laugh raucously. "You idiots. You really have no idea, do you?"
The Captain looks up from the statue and regards you coldly. "Shut up over there," she snaps.
Undaunted, you continue as petulantly as you can: "Do you have any idea what's going to happen to you when my father finds out what you've done to me?"
The pirate tying your wrists up just laughs. "Ye think we're scared of yer daddy, kid?"
You make yourself bristle. "Does the name ORSO ORSI mean anything to you?"
"As it happens," the stringy-haired pirate says cheerfully, "no." But the Captain looks at you sharply when she hears the name. She steps over to you and bends down to glare directly into your face. You glare right back at her.
"Ned," she says slowly, "tell me. Are you really such an idiot that you'd bring us the kid of the bleedin' head of the school?"
"O' course not, Cap'n!" Ned stammers, but you see doubt--or maybe compassion?--in his face. "Er... leastways, I think not."
The Captain groans and covers her eyes with her palm. She utters a few particularly choice curses. Then she fixes you with an intense stare, pokes you right in the center of your chest, and says, "Get out of here. And remember, if you go to the guards, we'll know."

And then you are running, running, running back to campus as fast as your feet can take you. It's only when you are halfway there that you remember you still don't have your wand.

 

 

 

Exit 2 (Knots/Finesse vs. 15): Just let the pirate tie your wrists, and untie yourself when they're distracted.

Failure (+2 stress, +1 Luck, advance to Phase 7):

 

 

 

You can't get away from this pirate; he's an adult, taller and stronger than you. But maybe you can get away from a tied rope. You'd better be able to, anyway, because it's your only chance to get out of here now--the pirate is already dutifully tying your wrists up behind your back.

"Hurry it up, Jack," the Captain snaps, "this blazin' thing weighs more than Ned does."
"There," the stringy-haired pirate says as he finishes tying your restraints. "Now be a good little wizard and wait here." He laughs unpleasantly and heads over to help the others move the statue.

Well, this is it. If you're going to get out of here, this is the moment. You back yourself into the corner of the mausoleum to let the shadows hide you and begin to work on the knots. It's a ridiculously hard task when you can't even look at what you're doing or move your hands where they really need to be! But you know you can't just run out the open door, tempting as it is. There's no way you can get over that cemetery wall with your hands tied like this. You have to persevere.

 

But you just can't get the leverage you need no matter which way you turn your hands. You pull at the knots, and only make them tighter. You're getting frustrated, and your window of opportunity is closing.

"Not like that, you bleedin' idiots, you'll scrape the underside!" The statue clunks heavily to the ground, and the Captain begins to berate her assistants again. "Don't suppose you could have learned anything useful at that school, Ned, like how to lift heavy things!"

 

Ned looks at you and scratches his beard. "Well," he says, "as a matter of fact, I might have, Cap'n."

 

The Captain groans and holds her forehead. "Dragon's blood, you might have said something before now!"

 

You don't remember teaching Ned any lift spells, but that's hardly your chief concern at the moment. You still can't get those stupid knots untied!

 

Ned raises his wand and begins to form up phemes. But you recognize them--that isn't a lift spell, it's the untying spell you taught him! You can feel the knots binding your hands loosen, and then the rope slips quietly to the floor. You're free!

 

"There," he says. "Now let's give 'er another try."

 

The pirates return to lifting the statue, and your mind boggles--did Ned really just help you escape? Well, no time to think about it now. They're distracted. Time to go.

 

And then you are running, running, running back to campus as fast as your feet can take you. It's only when you are halfway there that you remember you still don't have your wand.

 

 

 

Success (+1 full step Escape Artist, +1 Finesse, advance to Phase 7):

You can't get away from this pirate; he's an adult, taller and stronger than you. But you CAN get away from a tied rope. You'd better be able to, anyway, because it's your only chance to get out of here now--the pirate is already dutifully tying your wrists up behind your back. You don't struggle, but you subtly hold your arms in such as way as to make sure that you will have some room to move them after they've been tied.
"Hurry it up, Jack," the Captain snaps, "this blazin' thing weighs more than Ned does."
"There," the stringy-haired pirate says as he finishes tying your restraints. "Now be a good little wizard and wait here." He laughs unpleasantly and heads over to help the others move the statue.

Well, this is it. If you're going to get out of here, this is the moment. You back yourself into the corner of the mausoleum to let the shadows hide you and begin to work on the knots. It's a ridiculously hard task when you can't even look at what you're doing or move your hands where they really need to be! But you know you can't just run out the open door, tempting as it is. There's no way you can get over that cemetery wall with your hands tied like this. You have to persevere.

And finally, you can feel the final knot tugging loose. You've done it.

"Not like that, you bleedin' idiots, you'll scrape the underside!" The statue clunks heavily to the ground, and the Captain begins to berate her assistants again. They're distracted. Time to go.

And then you are running, running, running back to campus as fast as your feet can take you. It's only when you are halfway there that you remember you still don't have your wand.

 

 

 

Exit 3 (Flawless Timing/Finesse vs. 12): Throw that smoke bomb at the perfect time and run like the wind!
Failure (+2 stress, +1 Luck, advance to Phase 7):

Too soon, and the smoke might not hit the pirate. Too late, and he'll already have grabbed you. You need to throw the potion right... NOW!

But you're too slow. The pirate is already upon you, grabbing your arm as you raise it up to throw the potion. He takes your precious smoke bomb out of your hand and chuckles "nice try, kid," as he begins to tie your wrists up behind your back. That's it. You're done for.

"Hurry it up, Jack," the Captain snaps, "this blazin' thing weighs more than Ned does."

"There," the stringy-haired pirate says as he finishes tying your restraints. "Now be a good little wizard and wait here." He laughs unpleasantly and heads over to help the others move the statue. You slump into the corner of the mausoleum. You know you can't just run out the open door, tempting as it is. There's no way you can get over that cemetery wall with your hands tied like this. You are well and truly sunk.

"Not like that, you bleedin' idiots, you'll scrape the underside!" The statue clunks heavily to the ground, and the Captain begins to berate her assistants again. "Don't suppose you could have learned anything useful at that school, Ned, like how to lift heavy things!"

Ned looks at you and scratches his beard. "Well," he says, "as a matter of fact, I might have, Cap'n."
The Captain groans and holds her forehead. "Dragon's blood, you might have said something before now!"
You don't remember teaching Ned any lift spells, but that's hardly your chief concern at the moment.
Ned raises his wand and begins to form up phemes. But you recognize them--that isn't a lift spell, it's the untying spell you taught him! You can feel the knots binding your hands loosen, and then the rope slips quietly to the floor. You're free!
"There," he says. "Now let's give 'er another try."

The pirates return to lifting the statue, and your mind boggles--did Ned really just help you escape? Well, no time to think about it now. They're distracted. Time to go.

And then you are running, running, running back to campus as fast as your feet can take you. It's only when you are halfway there that you remember you still don't have your wand.

Success (+1 full step Escape Artist, +1 Finesse, advance to Phase 7):

Too soon, and the smoke might not hit the pirate. Too late, and he'll already have grabbed you. You need to throw the potion right... NOW!

Rui would be proud. Smoke immediately billows up from the marble floor, enveloping the advancing pirate in a thick cloud, disorienting him and making him cough and curse as he tries in vain to wave the smoke away. Ned looks up in alarm, and the Captain shouts, but it's all too late: you have slipped past your would-be captor, through the doors to the Reserve, and now you are running, running, running back to campus as fast as your feet can take you.
It's only when you are halfway there that you realize you still don't have your wand.


 

 

Phase 7

 

 

 

You're flopped on your bed back at school. It's almost dawn, but there's no way you can sleep. You just can't believe you were such an idiot. It all makes sense now: there never were any "magical secrets" in that tomb. Just something worth a lot of money. Something that pirates would want to steal, but couldn't get to without the help of a wizard smart enough to get through the seal, small enough to get through that hole, and dumb enough to believe it was all a good idea. You wonder exactly how long Ned had been planning this. Then a horrible question crosses your mind. Was this the reason he even came on campus in the first place? Did he specifically set out to find a first-year because you'd be the smallest and most gullible of the students here?
You furrow your brow. No, it couldn't be. He really seemed to care about learning magic. But why should you trust your judgment about that? After all, you were so foolish that you thought he was your friend. But a friend wouldn't steal your wand and try to have you kidnapped! The final indignity of all this: you still don't know how you're going to explain what happened to that stupid wand.
"HAR HAR HAR!"
You sit bolt upright in your bed at the familiar sound and see a green shape at the window--Jolly the parrot! What in the world?
You rush to the window and fling it open, and Jolly hops inside. She drops a small bundle of cloth and winks at you. Then she turns and launches herself off the windowsill into the sky. You watch her flapping off into the distance until she disappears from view on the reddening horizon. Then you pick up the bundle.

It's your wand, tied in a red cloth that you recognize as a bandana, with a short note inside the bundle. The note says: "I PROMISSED YOU WISDUM LITTUL SPROWT. WELL HEER IT BE. NEVUR TRUST A PYRITT." And that is all.

 

 

Add: Ned's Bandana: +1 Charm, +2 Deceit, +2 Manipulation, +3% Chance of Discovery
A memento of your time spent with a colorful, if not entirely trustworthy, sky pirate. This bandana is a faded red scrap of cloth that retains a bit of its former owner's swagger and bluster, as well as, alas, a bit of his smell. You don't dare to wear this outrageous item on your head, but folded and wrapped around your wrist, it makes a potent reminder to always be on your guard for deception.

(bracelet item)

 

 

**********

 

And there you have it. Never trust a pirate.

 

I am not sure if a student would be disciplined for wearing something as outrageous as a pirate's bandana, so maybe this item should be illegal? I don't really want it to be, though, so I just put the +CoD on it instead. I wish it could be a headwear item but I think there's just no way the academy would allow a student to walk around with a pirate bandana on their head. The Misc. slot is too crowded already, so I thought wrapping it around the wrist was an okay compromise.

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