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A few in game questions


Adrian
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Rhi;

"Minetan religion is more occupied with properly performing rites than with strict adherence to correct belief.  "Blasphemy," then, is probably best thought of as a willful action that goes against and/or interferes with correct ritual procedure, or that threatens the upkeep of shrines and temples (including what we would consider "vandalism").
 
That said, the "penalty" for blasphemy is generally going to be some kind of ritual purification and act(s) of penance that reinforces or serves the rites.  You're not likely to get locked up or killed unless you take your approach to nonconformity into outright violence.
 
You can face all kinds of social sanctions for casual blasphemy, of course.  If you go to a dinner party and shout about which of the New Gods enjoys intimate relations with barnyard animals you're going to stop getting invited to dinner parties.  But you're unlikely to face criminal penalties unless you're really unlucky or so disruptive you're seen as either a threat to the public good - kind of like shouting "fire" in a crowded theater - or a foreign agent.
 
There are some clear exceptions related to certain aspects of orthodoxy, such as Dragons, of course."
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Are students of the Esteban Contu's School of Incantation get a document how successful their study was during the 1st year? (i.e. to prove it to a captain for free passage, at last I assume sutdents of that school have no holiday break magic restrictions like Academagia)

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@Legate of Mineta2. Are there any foods that are, for whatever reason, strongly associated with gates magic in Mineta?

3. Does the Oursuki Empire have a network of gates mages serving as transportation specialists?

4. Are economists within the Empire of Man worried that other states, through gates magic, may discover sources of wealth that the Empire of Man Cannot access?

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S and Rhi;

1.  Students receive basic certification and documentation as a matter of form, and registered copies upon request (for a fee).  :) 

2.  Any really unfamiliar food would be suspect in a lot of rural communities, and unfamiliar meats would raise eyebrows even in Mineta.  But the closest thing to a substance with a folk association with Gates is “indigo rose water,” reputedly a flavorful and scented liquid taken from a Gates-corrupted flower.  In some stories it was used by Gates-practicing vampires as an ingredient in cakes to entice young children.

3.  The wizards that practice Gates there are generally insane, reputed to have been driven mad by the magics, or method of casting the magic, it's difficult to know. Suffice to say, they do not serve anything but the (seemingly) incomprehensible whims of their rulers.
 
4.  At the risk of drawing an inexact parallel: imagine a wave of modern real-world sociologists pursuing exhaustive models of a competing culture that enjoys a competitive edge by eating its older citizens when the leave the work force.  Massive reduction in medical costs, no need for pension structures, a bias toward monetary fluidity rather than excess saving!
 
One could argue the case, if drunk, but the idea is fundamentally unlikely and kind of gross, so it isn’t really likely to catch on.
 
That’s the kind of official bias you see against Gates magic.  Certain fields of study and speculation just don’t seem credible.
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S & Rhi;

"1.  For over a thousand years, the Academy's official position has been that it is the first and best school (of magic or otherwise) in the world, and that it's inappropriate to assume that other schools' standards are up to the Academy's own. They might consider the document as a reason to test the Student, but it would not automatically be accepted.

2.  Yeah.  You won't get arrested for having it, but if found it will be seized by the Guard as potentially hazardous contraband, and questions will be asked about its origins.  (Unsurprisingly, there are families in the local Thieves' Guilds who specialize in the stuff.)"

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Rhi;

"1.  Indigo rose water is used most commonly in drinks and food - you can flavor cakes with the stuff - and also as a personal scent if you're really rich and audacious.

It's also extremely useful for certain magical potions.  The kind of stuff not taught at the Academy, for obvious reasons.
 
2.  Potatoes were a subsistence crop for humanity going all the way back to the time of the Dragons, when they ruled the world entire.  As far as anyone in the Empire is concerned, it is native to the soil, and always has been..."
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@Legate of Mineta: 1. So, is there a system through which people can get licenses to use or sell indigo rose water? How difficult is such a license to get?

2. Is there in Mineta at least one place with arrangements congenial to sensitive business meetings or the like can occur? I ask because I have a great idea for using such a place in an adventure for the game.

3. Are Shirabyōshi (female entertainers who perform while dressed as men) active in Miya's homeland?

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Rhi;

"1)  So, is there a system through which people can get licenses to use or sell indigo rose water? How difficult is such a license to get?

You could petition the Captain and the Guard for a license, but you'd have to make an extraordinarily good case for yourself - and you'd have to be very honest and open about your sources.

2)  Is there in Mineta at least one place with arrangements congenial to sensitive business meetings or the like can occur? I ask because I have a great idea for using such a place in an adventure for the game.

How euphemistically do you mean "sensitive business meetings" - the first thing our minds leap to is Thieves Guild sorts interrogating hostages. ;) 

However you mean it there are definitely places in Mineta that would suit.  A number of guilds maintain and rent out palazzos for commercial meetings, and aristocrats with vested interests in big deals will often make their own properties (if not necessarily their primary residences) available as well.  The most prestigious is the Palazzo Verde (because the walls are lined with magical jade), which is owned, operated, and available for lease by the Bank of Mineta.

Other significant business meetings take places at certain warehouses near the docks - places specifically designed with conference rooms and sleeping quarters for what we might today call international business travelers.

Smaller meetings tend to take place in inns or taverns with private or semi-private dining rooms that can be hired out.

3)  Are Shirabyōshi (female entertainers who perform while dressed as men) active in Miya's homeland?

Miya or a family member might have seen something similar in their travels."

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@Legate of Mineta: So, if I understand our recent conversation correctly (and how I have been honoured by the reply!), I have three questions about fay courts and their armies.

1. Do the fay hire non-satyrs as mercenaries?

2. Do satyrs serve in armies that are not financed by the fay?

3. Do the Fay have their own armies, like the Greeks, or do they follow the Carthaginian model of using mercenaries almost exclusively?

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Rhi;

"1.  It happens, but usually not at the same scale.  The Sylvan Satyrs have been in this position for probably hundreds of years now, and they fill a unique position in the fey military structure.

2.  Yes, but usually only in small bands, or as individuals.  In so doing they probably guarantee losing their homes under the hills - and risk irritating their former masters, which is not usually healthy.  Still, some of the great Sylvan heroes have more leeway, and the fairie courts do sometimes value the experience that can be gained from fighting with human companies.

3.  Fairie nobles tend to be fairly militaristic, but outside of times of full war between the courts they generally organize into clans and don't engage in actions much larger than raids - groups from a dozen or so to a couple of hundred.  In a proper war, the great courts can probably call upon a few thousand fairie knights, lords and ladies at a time: these are generally riders, while much larger numbers of Satyrs serve as infantry.

And, of course, the magics they command are wild and dangerous; even the Captain wouldn't be eager to throw the Guard against a fairie army, no matter what kind of numerical advantage he seemed to have.

The issue is that there just aren't that many high fairies at any given time: those thousands available for courtly service are probably the vast majority of the active adult population (though it's hard for mortals to be sure about that kind of thing)."

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Rhi;

"The shortest answer is that it's not a totally false reputation. 

Malkstrang is surrounded, on all its landward sides, by a magical forest that strongly resists invading armies.  Its cliffside face bears the ancient Imperial Wharfs; they don't look as good as they did a thousand years ago, but they're basically indestructible and are very easily defended.  The place is nominally a "free port," which means that it welcomes pirate traffic as long as the guests behave themselves within town limits.

It's all run, to the extent it is formally run, by a syndicate calling themselves the Jardinieres, who purport to be protecting the people's rich local traditions from an outside world that looks down on them.  It's kind of true, if you set aside their interest in raiding and pillaging.

That said, the town's reputation for criminality predates the Jardinieres.  It mostly traces back to the early 14th century, when an alliance of Minetan Thieves' Guilds - which had been driven out of the city after a ruinous war with the Ratcatchers' Guild - retreated to Malkstrang to regroup and to found "the Academy of Crime."  They didn't stay there long, and the Academy of Crime (apparently) no longer exists, but it attracted a lot of popular attention and exciting rumors in its day and a lot of that mystique still endures in Mineta.

And, yes, even now Malkstrang is understood to be a place where people with bounties on their heads can go hide from the rest of the world until the heat dies down."

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