Actual Play!
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Author:  Grettir [ Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Actual Play!

This is the actual play thread for all characters.

Posts can be either in-character or out-of-character, or a combination of both. Posts containing at least a portion of in-character text should be overwritten with the character’s name and location. Both this heading and any in-character text (and only in-character text) are for ease of reference to be done in bold bbcode, if you please.

Anything that’s out of character, including requests for clarification of circumstances and questions, should be written in plain text. Comments and suggestions on another player’s character’s exploits are welcome and encouraged.

When characters are not together in one location, which will be the case often, we play their scenes parallel to each other.

Author:  Grettir [ Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Actual Play!

Eight days ago…

The bud had come along the causeway. As fast as a human runner it had floated above the heads of the overawed travellers and had then ascended the mound of the city of Ozomatli. It was a thing of wonder, as tall as three men, with petals of semi-translucent red godstone flaring from a base of some terribly bright divine metal. Almost leisurely, it had floated over the roofs of Ozomatli and touched down on the temple zikkurat’s topmost tier. The godstone petals had unfolded, and they had revealed two Servitors – and, dwarving them, a God, resplendent like the sun, shimmering like a liquid jewel…

(Note: The "terribly bright divine metal" looks silvery, but the Ascended know no other metals but lead, tin, copper and brass.)

Author:  Grettir [ Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Actual Play!

Itzcoatl. Temple-citadel of Ozomatli.

Itzcoatls crosses the Courtyard of the Sun. He has risen early today, as it had been his duty to preside over the ceremony of ritually clothing the divine effigies in the sanctum in the vestments prescribed for the time when the moon was in the sign of wind, Ecatl. After the ritual, he had made to withdraw to his own quarters for a late breakfast, but before he had made more than a dozen paces, he had been addressed by one of the acolytes assigned to wait upon the God and the Servitors. The God wished to see Itzcoatl; now.

As he crosses the Courtyard of the Sun and passes by the the huge Godflower in its centre, its petals now closed, Itzcoatl’s apprehension rises. What does the God want from him?

The high priest is startled as a he sees the God’s looming figure, two heads taller than a man, stagger out of the cavernous portal to its residential sanctum on the far side of the Courtyard of the Sun. Mechanically, as required by the divine presence, Itzcoatl drops to his knees, bending his back to fall prostrate and hit the floor with his brow – but hold. What is this? Itzcoatl freezes half-bent as he sees the God fall to his knees, gurgling, doubling over, clutching his belly with both hands. Some liquid oozes from under the God’s mask of metal and stone – a mask that has been all too hastily adorned, its strapping loose, the mask itself somewhat askew. The god topples forward and makes a strange keening sound, twitching on the ground only a few paces in front of the high priest.

Itzcoatl scuttles towards the writhing body of the God. In a frenzy his hands roam the voluminous ceremonial robes of the god, searching frantically... until his hand strikes upon the God's Shoatli. Feverishly, he tears it out of the robes as the God begins to choke on its last breath.

The sound of rapid footsteps from the interior of the sanctum alerts Itzcoatl to the approach of what can only be the God’s – the dead God’s! – Servitors. Itzcoatl wheels, running away from the divine corpse, thrusting the underarm-long Shoatli deep into his own voluminous ceremonial vestments and fumbling with it desperately until he manages to tuck it safely away into a fold. He lifts his gaze to the entrance to the Courtyard of the Sun to judge if he can make it from the into the depths of the temple before the Servitors will emerge – and freezes again. There, in the gloom of the corridor, he sees a back heading away which can only be Tayanna’s…

His heart racing, he realizes that he can not make it off the courtyard before the Servitors would spot him, and so he does the only thing he can, what would have been expected from him in the presence of a God – he turns to face the dead God and falls prostrate, pressing his brow to the godstone floor. He will have to worry about Tayanna later, his more immediate concern is that the Servitors he hears emerging do not notice that he has filched the God.

Still prostrate on his knees, Itzcoatl hears the footfall of the two Servitors’ sandals on the courtyard floor, the terrified cries rising from their throats and the rustling of robes as they rush to the side of the fallen God. “Rise!”, one shouts, and “What has happened?” asks the other, both their voices hoarse with panic.

That was longer than I would normally write, and with some intrusion upon Itzcoatl’s actions; I will not normally do this, it served here only to enact the Kicker.

It will be sufficient if you give a general idea of what Itzcoatl is going to say; playing out a detailed conversation will take too much time. You can of type a full account in Itzcoatl's own words, if you feel like it. Anyhow, Itzcoatl has retreated sufficiently from the God's corpse to make it seem plausible that he never approached it in the first place.

Author:  higgins [ Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Actual Play!

Itzcoatl. Temple-citadel of Ozomatli.

"Happened?" asked Itzcoatl as he rose and gave all he got to look confused. Viewing the messy scene, having looked dumb long enough to grasp his surroundings, he conjured shocked and horrified expression on his face as he made a protective sign with his hand. "He... he must have collapsed while I was waiting for his command! If you'd allow me, I have knowledge of the healing crafts... although I admit, the human ones."

Sorry guys, I've super busy with work this week... :(

Could someone please explain me what a Shoatli is? Google doesn't help me out here...

And could we settle on a specific tense? Right now it's past and present all mixed up. I suggest past tense, as it's more novel-ish.

Author:  Grettir [ Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Actual Play!

No prob, higgins; we all are at times super-busy, are we not.

About the time: I endeavoured to write the scene with Itzcoatly being in the Courtyard of the Sun as a point of referral and therefore present tense; him overseeing the morning dressing rituals and then being summoned to the God was referred to by Itzcoatl as having happened before that, so I used past tense for that. I suggest that we use present tense when referring to our characters’ present.

About the Shoatli: Ian’s introduction of it was a perfect example of Director Stance – you yourself may decide what a Shoatli is and what it looks like. In my mind it is some kind of ceremonial sceptre, about as long as an underarm from elbow to wrist. What it looks like beyond that and what it is made of is your call.

Itzcoatl. Temple-citadel of Ozomatli.

“Don’t you dare touch the master”, the nameless Servitor with his wrists fused together in a perpetual cross screeches and drops to his knees next to the God. Itzcoatly sees that he removes the God’s mask and places it next to him on the floor, but he the Servitor’s bulk blocks out vision of the God himself – luckily for Itzcoatl, as seeing the God’s face would mean death.

“The master’s dead”, the crouching Servitor wails in terror, “Poisoned! The Mountain will destroy us, the Mountain will destroy us!”

Itzcoatl stands forgotten as the other Servitor’s hands begin to form into signs, every gesture precise with emphasis. “The Mountain will not destroy us”, his gloved hands spell out resolutely. “He must not know it before we have found and punished the culprit.”

The other Servitor’s hands answer, fluttering like frightened birds: “We must not lie to the Mountain. We cannot keep this—“

Chopping down, the other Servitor’s hands cut his crouching fellow short: “We must be quick about finding the guilty party – any guilty party.” The last signs are again precise with heavy emphasis.

The crouching Servitor begins again to sign a reply, but the other one folds one of his hands over his crossed hands, silencing them. He seems to have remembered Itzcoatl and lifts his gaze to the high priest, standing two dozen paces distant. It is an unnerving gaze that somehow doesn’t seem to look at Itzcoatl at all – the Servitor’s silvery mask depicts a face in profile, with only a single eye slit, appearing to perpetually glance to the side.


“High priest”, the one-eyed Servitor’s voice emerges from behind his mask, “has the Son of Heaven said anything to you? Have you seen or heard or noticed anything? Has anything happened before he re-ascended to Heaven?”

Higgins, please answer the question, and after you have answered, but still in the same post, make a check Wits/Sincerity. You can use your “Power-and-influence” Drive as bonus SA. The Servitors’ successes on their roll with TN 8 to spot any lie of Itzcoatl are:



Note: For those others of you who may wonder at what exactly happened above – the Servitors have been using a special language of hand signs, known to some degree also to the priests. As Itzcoatl is quite good at it, I have not bothered with asking for a roll.

EDIT: Hey, Ian (or anybody else in the know), doesn't center bbcode work on these boards?

Author:  higgins [ Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Actual Play!

Itzcoatl. Temple-citadel of Ozomatli.

Itzcoatl shakes his head for denial. "The Son of Heaven seemed all right when I entered. I heard some noises from him while kneeling and some other footsteps hurrying away... But it is forbidden to raise your gaze if not addressed, so, I never saw who the other person was."

Wits 6 + 2 from SA, Sincerity TN 5

Edit: Hm, I'm not sure why the roller claims that my rolls are from Michaels above post, which is impossible... Though I pressed "quote", not "reply" and erased all of his text except the character name, location and the bold bbcode. I think the dice roller does not like quoting.

Author:  Grettir [ Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Actual Play!

Rather close shave, higgins, despite the odds being very much in Itzcoatl’s favour. :mrgreen:

Itzcoatl. Temple-citadel of Ozomatli.

Maybe it’s because they wouldn’t dream of a priest lying to them, maybe it’s because they are so very much upset, but the Servitors seem content with Itzcoatl’s reply. From the corner of his eye – he has averted his gaze slightly so as not to risk death by seeing the God’s face by accident – Itzcoatl sees the one-eyed Servitor stoop to replace the mask on the dead God’s face, restoring the divine being to his beatific sun-visage.

As the Servitor with the crossed wrists stands and Itzcoatl dares once again looking fully upon the scene, he notices for the first time the God’s foot sticking out from underneath his heavy robes – it is completely swathed in bandages, and its sandal has a sole almost a handspan thick.

Hands locked together at the wrists perpetually sign again, furtively and in haste, their meaning hidden by a back turned towards Itzcoatl. A silvery face in profile shakes in negation. “No”, the one-eyed Servitor’s hands reply. “And one will not be enough in any case.”

The one-eyed’s hands drop lower, practically out of Itzcoatl’s sight, and sign discreetly.

To catch the full meaning of the signed message, a full four successes on a Per/Sign Language roll are necessary. Fewer successes render snippets of the information. None of Itzcoatl’s SAs apply.

Author:  higgins [ Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Actual Play!

Hehe, I told you about my dice luck. :P

Itzcoatl. Temple-citadel of Ozomatli.

Itzcoatl is in the readiness of obeying orders while he tries to grasp the meaning of the sign language.

Perception 5, Sign Language (of the Gods) 7

Author:  Grettir [ Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Actual Play!

As a player, I always seem to have the same kind of luck as you with the dice, in boardgames no less than roleplaying games; yours seems to have improved now, though. :)

Itzcoatl. Temple-citadel of Ozomatli.

Itzcoatl is able to see no more than underarm movement of the gesturing Servitor and an occasional inflexion of the wrists, but even though the masked being signs furtively, Itzcoatls is by deduction able to piece together almost everything that is conveyed.

“Only a stream of blood”, the hands sign elegantly, then some unclear, fluid signs of the kind denoting things having to do with everything liquid, followed by a sign for hundred, in the plural and an with an inflection denoting indefinite number, this in turn followed by the sign for remote possibility in connection with the numeral sign for thousand, again inflected as an indefinite plural.

Here, the Servitor with the crossed wrists makes to interject something, but he is cut off by the one-eyed’s most emphatically chopped sign for single, only possibility. “If we don’t deal with this fast and decisively and without mercy”, his hands sign, followed by the signs for an action by somebody who might read as “the Wise”, either in plural or in singular, in the inflection for future tense.

Again, the hands perpetually conjoined at the wrists make a few signs entirely hidden from Itzcoatl, signs that are acquitted by a short shaking of the profile mask. “If we find the guilty parties soon”, the one-eyed Servitor’s hands sign, “it is well, but if not” – one or two signs completely out of Itzcoatl’s line of sight – “must bleed.”

Te other Servitor signs some question to which the one-eyed replies with his decisive hand movements. The first few escape Itzcoatl completely, but the last ones seem to read “—evidence. There must be no loose ends for them to find.”

Suddenly, the mask’s one eye jerks up, looking not at Itzcoatl, but past him – half a dozen priests and novices have entered the courtyard and frozen in their tracks at the sight of the fallen God. It is at them that the Servitor is looking.

Higgins, please let me know wether Itzcoatl wishes to act in any way at this junction, and if so, how. Anyway he has gained a skill improvement check for Sincerity and Sign Language. I hope that you have some kind of hardcopy character sheet and propose that instead of an actual check you write the post number where you were awarded the check (i.e. this post) behind it. It will thus be easier for me to keep track of the checks when you ask for an improvement roll later.

This procedure holds true or all of you, btw.

Author:  Ian.Plumb [ Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Actual Play!

Grettir wrote:
EDIT: Hey, Ian (or anybody else in the know), doesn't center bbcode work on these boards?

No, center doesn't come with phpbb as standard. However, I will be putting up a bunch of bbcodes on Sunday.


Author:  Grettir [ Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Actual Play!

Ok, thanks Ian, I'm going to leave the bbcode in my post above in this case.

Ghost Jaguar. Temple-citadel of Ozomatli.

This morning, a voice calling his name had alerted Ghost Jaguar to the presence of his beloved wife. Ghost Jaguar had been pleased to see her, but also alarmed – it was unusual, unparalleled even, for Laughing Bird to seek him out in the wing of the temple-citadel where he wa quartered, far from her own “stables”, how the Ascended were calling these quarters. Itzcoatl had forbidden such public meetings, so that Laughing Bird’s “owner” might not suspect being spied upon for her rival Itzcoatl. Luckily, Itzcoatl had been away, presiding over some robing ceremony, but Ghost Jaguar had still been worried – Itzcoatl was already long overdue.

And Ghost Jaguar had become more worried still when he had seen the terror and desperation on Laughing Bird’s beautiful face. Throwing himself in his arms with by now already unaccostumed familiarity, she had blurted it out.

There had been strange remarks by Laughing Bird’s mistress, Layanna, but only now some other, minor priest, Camasoz by name, had told Laughing Bird that she should be happy – the God had announced his intention to take Beautiful Flower with him, to the Mountain. The God would very soon return there, Camasoz had said, and Beautiful Flower would go with him – and nobody who ventured to the Mountain ever returned from there. But he might know a way to spirit Beautiful Flower away and hide her from the God, Camasoz had said, and he had asked Laughing Bird to think about it, looking at her in a way that made Ghost Jaguar’s wife suspect that it was her Camasoz wanted.

Laughing Bird had fled after no more than a few short comforting words from Ghost Jaguar – neither did dare stay longer, as Itzcoatl was expected back every moment.

As Laughing Bird slips away, Ghost Jaguar stays behind, watching her fast receding back, feeling more than ever like a trapped animal. He is to wait for Itzcoatl, as Itzcoatl has already told Ghost Jaguar that he will instruct him about a snake hunting trip into the jungle he wants him to undertake very soon, possibly even today – and Itzcoatl should return any moment.

Well, Crow Caller, what is Ghost Jaguar going to do? Will he take some action immediately or is he going to wait for Itzcoatl’s return, knowing that the priest intends to send him into the jungle and that the God is indeed ging to depart soon (Itzcoatls has also mentioned this recently)?

Author:  higgins [ Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Actual Play!

No, Itzcoatl doesn't interrupt, as he wants to see what the Servitors do, and there are no historical record of anything alike happening, he feels quite safe being dumb there. He understood that many sacrifices would probably be needed, and while he feels threatened, trying to flee the scene would certainly bring a much more harsher fate.

I marked the skill checks behind the skills as *'s in the character vault, with the link to your post that awarded them underneath it.

And a tip to the others... for easy access to your character sheet, you might want to "hide" the link to the character vault under some period mark in your signature. :) Or just use my link instead. I don't mind. :P

Author:  Grettir [ Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Actual Play!

Punchau. Temple-citadel of Ozomatli.

Punchau is thunderstruck. It had been a morning much like many others, with him directing a routine weapon training of a couple of adolescents, sons of temple warriors, in one of the citadel’s large outer courtyards, with the usual coming and going of warriors, priests, slaves and labourers all around. Punchau had ignored them, his attention with the youngsters he was training.

Until his attention had been drawn by a woman being escorted by a warrior across the far end of the courtyard, obviously a prisoner under guard. The woman had been no other but Palaluca.

As quickly as Palaluca and her guard had appeared, they had vanished again, and Punchau had known the way they were taking all too well – it was the way from te courtroom, where the morning session must have been concluded by now, to the holding cells.

Punchau’s thoughts had been in an uproar, and he had been unable to concentrate on the youths’ training anymore. He had called an end to it and had headed over to where the guard would have to re-emerge from the dungeons. When the man, another veteran of temple service by the name of Nahual, had showed up again, Punchau had stricken up a conversation with him, complaining about the laxness of his trainees and talking about their respective duties. Nahual had been talkative enough and had suspected nothing, and he had freely shared the information that his prisoner had indeed been one Palaluca, sentenced in this morning’s court session to sacrification, her offence being no more than having raced vertically around Ozomatli’s mound, a sport forbidden because of its inherent danger. Previously, no more than a monetary fine would have been decreed, but with the sharply increased need for sacrifices and the holding cells being currently next to empty, the clerical judge had decreed sacrification.

Nahual had furthermore imparted to Punchau that only one other person apart from Palaluca was awaiting sacrifice. Punchau knows that this sacrifice is scheduled for later today – meaning that the sacrifice of Palaluca can be no more than a few days off, maybe two at the worst or ten at the best. His heart is hammering.

Well, Hector, what is Punchau going to do right now?

Author:  Grettir [ Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Actual Play!

Itzcoatl. Temple-citadel of Ozomatli.

For a moment, the priests and novices do nothing but stare, then a young acolyte, barley more than an adolescent, screeches and flees the courtard, away from the terrible scene. As if the noise has broken some kind of spell, all the other priests break out into wails and shouted questions. It takes a few heartbeats for the voice of the one-eyed Servitor to make itself heard above the din.

“The Exalted One has chosen not to sully himself any longer with worldly matters and has returned to Heaven”, his voice rings out. “Sad though this may be for you mortals, you will keep the proper decorum. My brother and I will see to the God’s husk. While we do so, nobody is to enter the courtyard, on pains of sacrilege.”

He then turns his attention again upon Itzcoatl: “High priest, we charge you with the dissemination of the news of the re-ascendence of the Son of Heaven. Inform your fellow high priests and all other priests you see fit; most of all, take care that neither rumour nor panic spreads – there is to be no inane speculation about the matter of the God’s re-ascendence. Also, see to it that we are not disturbed while we perform the rites over the Exalted One’s husk. Later, we will address the temple ourselves. Now go, all of you.”

Does Itzcoatl do or say anything else important right away? If so, what, and if not, what does he do after having taken his leave? What, if any, account does he give to the priests who have seen the dead God, and what does he order them to do (an outline is enough)? What other measures does he enact right away, and what does he do with the Shoatli? In short: What does he do?

Just so you know, with the acolyte having run away, Itzcoatl judges keeping the death secret, even for a short time, very difficult, if not impossible.

Author:  higgins [ Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Actual Play!

Itzcoatl. Temple-citadel of Ozomatli.

If Itzcoatl has managed all that is required of him on the scene, he goes to his room and hurriedly examines the Shoatli before burying under the sands of his most poisonous snake pit that he has available in his quarters. Then he goes and informs the other high priests that the Son of Heaven has honoured us by coming down the mountain to re-ascend. In essence, he makes everything in his power to make this unexpected death known to the public by turning the murder into a "gift" that the Son of Heaven honoured us with. And if it isn't inappropriate, he'll even give orders to re-enact the scene in the public sacrificial ground in a way that should be awe inspiring to everyone that sees it... without the god presence actually appearing of course (that's forbidden!). Something in the lines of sharing the afterglow or the re-ascension with the people, elaborate rituals and some beam of light reaching as far in the night sky as possible in the climax to represent the marvelous gift. The time is lacking of course, but I'm sure the temple has much resources for that kind of stuff. And heads will roll if something fails on this! :P

Is the Son of Heaven a name or a general term for a god?

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