Behold, for once again it is I the Cosmic force of all things here for the same reason as before. Lots of characters, doesn’t make sense to introduce them all. The fabulous five comes back with a sequel, the spectacular six. Cuz the orcs are here. Anyways this is from Mor’s tribal vanguard team forming, and I have taken the opportunity to make a full cast for the stories of lore to work with. That’s what makes them spectacular. Even if their competence rating might not be card worthy yet….see SoL.
The beastkin’s “contribution” is Alauna’i. Known as Alaunai for short, saves a whole syllable. This one is a lot to unwrap. Many years ago Hakenu’e, Ka’oana, Koamalu, and a few others went on a quest to slay a legendary hydra that terrorized the eastern side of the plains. Upon its death, it seemed to somehow curse Hakenu’e and became the totem spirit of his daughter, who would later go on to take her own life from the madness afflicted on her by the many voices of the hydra. Though rather then being sated with its revenge on Hakenu’e, it kept sticking around and found itself into one of his grandchildren, and the girl who watched her mother kill herself by bashing her own head onto a rock without warning.
Hakenu’e both blames himself for these events and has a mixed impression of his granddaughter. He cares for her as his grandchild, but hates her as the embodiment of the hydra that killed his daughter. This is because its not clear which one is in control, Alaunai can recite details of her life or expresses emotional attachments that make it apparent that she is there but upon acquiring the hydra her personality flipped dramatically and she knows everything the hydra once knew. She also keeps referring to herself as ‘we’ and occasionally taunts Hakenu’e. As you might guess, she can be prone to wild mood shifts but it is at least predictable. As if each head of the hydra has a different situation it specializes in and the others give it priority during those situations. Its a mess basically. Though her mother never showed these kinds of behaviors, and it is thought that because she was such a small and frightened child when it happened that she wound up giving the hydra enough control that it no longer became a struggle. She is a cursed shaman by the nature of what spirit she has, and she lacks the dominating will that Wehilani had when she overcame the chimera. At least she lacked it at the time, now she has the stubbornness of seven arguing siblings at all times.
The overall problem remains, no one knows who she is or whats going on in her head anymore. The beastkin have a few major viewpoints on her. Some see her as cursed or possessed and in need of help. Others see her as the potential future of shamanism since her totem spirit is practically fused to her own spirit. Alihana is curious either way.
For the most part the clan has kept her only to be sent when they absolutely need her abilities and otherwise coddled to try and ease what Hakenu’e perceives as being potential suffering. She managed to sneak into the vanguard. While the clan would probably have preferred she remain locked away in her hut, they couldn’t exactly refuse her new position if she won the auditions Mor’s left hand held. It was an opportunity for her to get some control over her life that she took.
Tupai is the Hariwana representative, and a master of necromancy. He can raise more corpses than anyone else and can even remain fully mobile if he limits himself to just two. While he isn’t good at bone magic like Sawiri, corpse magic is just as good sometimes. He is a former apprentice of Sawiri before finding his own niche as an expert in dead things. He has one special ability no one else can figure out, the ability to project his own consciousness into his animations. Specifically this allows him to be fully aware of what his animations can perceive, great for peeking around corners. This also allows him to, when he is limited to two, function as three slightly bad fighters at once and press the advantage of numbers while still retaining the ability to run and swing weapons. Alternatively he can just raise ten corpses and swarm someone. Though similar to Alauna’i he is slightly cursed.
His ability to move his consciousness through his animations was once used to save his own life when his original body was destroyed, and ever since then he has lived as a walking corpse. Though this has proven very useful, as now he knows that as long as at least one animation is around he can swap and prevent his own death. This has also made him somewhat reckless, and he always keeps a zombie shambling around near him just in case he should fall off a cliff or something. The downsides of being a corpse include slower general movement, having a charisma of -18, and smelling funny. Though on the upside he can withstand lethal injury and then some. He is generally kind of cranky.
Necatztlai, also known as Necatz, is the Nezatl’s enlist. She’s by default the face of the party since the other most charismatic member is from the Huanacan. She was a former slave to the Chanai, who managed to rise in prominence among them until she was made a raider. Though she disappeared from the clan when they went on a raid against a clan who would be forgotten soon afterwards. She took the opportunity to flee, turns out you can’t really trust slaves even if you promote them. She would later wind up with the Nezatl. While she isn’t quite the warrior Nenetl is, she is at least competent enough to point the sharp end towards the enemy. She has no magical abilities or anything, but is a pretty decent archer. She doesn’t quite get the family’s religion but she keeps quiet about that and just nods along so she doesn’t get kicked out. She is at the very least quite dedicated to the Nezatl and was one of Nenetl’s more trusted warriors during raids.
While she’s never stood out compared to the likes of Nenetl, The Dozen, or Iiniwa, she’s never been a terrible fighter and is a veteran of many battles. If you count a Nezatl skirmish to rescue slaves a battle. She was still good enough to do well at the try-outs and get onto the team to represent the Nezatl in a new way. Secretly, or so she thinks, she desires to prove herself as a warrior of any worth compared to the other heroes. She has the tactical knowledge and grit of a veteran, just lacks the raw fighting talent.
Kuari, obviously of the Huanacan, is a peculiar monster. He’s been hanging out with the Huanacan for years now and has a tendency to talk people’s ears off. He is a very curious and intellectual creature, and has a surprising knowledge of alchemy. Just not the healing kind. He was born to a species that doesn’t really keep its young for long, and while a small childlike thing he met Jarthromoth. Since then he’s proven to be unlike most of his own kind and prefers the social nature of a clan. Once he asked too many questions, later in life he answered too many…that no one asked.
He’s not half bad in a fight, though is more notable for his abilities as an intellectual. Generally people like him though, once you get past his monstrous appearance he can be quite friendly. While he isn’t the best of healers, he is quite talented at making utility items. Smoke traps, bug repellent, and poisons in particular. Though it is known that the witch doctors are probably even better at poisons than he is, its still useful to know the basics.
The member of the Dozen that got voluntold to lead this vanguard initiative and thus acting leader of the team. Alekona is one of the more mysterious members of the Dozen. They found him just wandering around the southern grasslands one day many years ago and asked if he wanted to hang out. He said sure why not and now here we are. He never talks about his past life, and no one in the Dozen has really asked about it. It’s unknown if he was an exile, a clan slayer, or just some guy who likes wandering around and just kept walking into the distance. He has no magic, alchemical skills, or really anything other than a spear and a knife. He’s good at survival in the wild though and can always seem to find food.
Despite his lack of dramatic tales of exile or dark powers, he might be one of the Dozen’s better fighters. Alekona just seems to always know what to do in order to exploit any weakness or cover any defense. He can fight hand to hand, he can fight with a spear, he can fight with a twig if you give him one. He has no major deeds of note other than some big kills he made with his clan mates and seems to always be just shy of being significant. Other members comment on him being perhaps the scariest member even though he has no major trophies like the rest of them based entirely on the fact that he has no scars. Sure he doesn’t lunge headfirst into danger to get them while taking down a great beast, but at the end of the day he’s the one who is still alive.
Also Maloth, who you already met, will be joining the team. They’re sort of a flex team for anyone to figure out what they need to get done. Probably need to get some xp though.
There was an SoL halfway done for this but Wednesday creeped up on me. Blame Tess who distracted me with other projects.
As an update, our diplomats we set to the south along with a few members of the Dozen managed to finally…get there. They encountered the Wenhai clan who are apparently a small group that descends from a much larger tribe from the further south.
We did manage to get a few orcs painted blue, though stained might be a more appropriate choice of term as that stuff doesn’t come off easily. They are not amused, though I am very amused.
Alihana is off to the northern jungle, on foot muahahhaha. Maybe we should have them look for a landing spot up there, until then I hope you enjoy whatever curse she concocts for you by the time she gets back for sending her to do that. Also Rohaka…beware the shadows.
IN OTHER EVENTS, I have invented meat wrapped in leaves. It tastes awful. Helps you poop though.
Also made some of the bone armor for the Dozen, at least those who are available. A good chunk of them are somewhere down in the jungle and aren’t available for a fitting.
We have lured in a couple of cats with the promise of food, as for the bush creatures we can probably just pick them up. They don’t seem to be very mobile creatures on their own though, nor very communicative. I am also wary of what might happen to them if the oozes come across them.
As for the flying mounts, so far Usukan is hanging around with Hakenu’e though he doesn’t leave the island very much. Avonaco seems to be getting along well enough with Perxtli at least. The other two are just hanging around, we keep Majid in his cage still. No one’s touching that one. Vaksha just lurks around the camp though isn’t about to let anyone ride him.
A couple others are skulking about the jungle to keep an eye on things though for now they’re not wandering too far from Kapiya or Akoa territory.
Speaking of driders, the one we sent to find the spider woman near the waterfall has disappeared. Perhaps we should consider sending a few extras. She was able to capture The Leper by herself and were not for Kennae would have been a major problem. Her only rival for her territory is a crow-folk on top of that, who has also not managed to kill her. Though there is a chance the drider just got eaten by some other jungle creature, they are not used to an environment like this even if they are good at climbing. Either way, I recommend against one man teams. Also the chief warned about that when we first got here.
Also Kennae’s work with plant experiments is still growing since the last batch he brought up. So far nothing of particular interest, a few are dead already just from the cold though some hardier ones are keeping in there.
Sakazai and Silas are moving southward to find the Ranoni, though its a big jungle. Rohaka tagged along since she didn’t have any other standing orders. They’ll keep an eye out for potential campsites we could land the gryphons more easily while they’re at it. Meanwhile the travelers are heading north. It does seem prodding at the whole Xiomac thing has yielded some results though, as a couple of elves have set out with the travelers to help them find their way and to take whatever peculiar interest they have in the subject matter.
This led to the overall discussion of their feud with Xiomac coming from the fact that Xiomac is trying to find and presumably harm the jungle’s arch-druid. Though not even they know where the arch-druid actually is. Xiomac is known to collect all kinds of magic, he already knows the basic of druidic magic from absconding with elves, as well as his own magic of enchanting that he acquired from the now-dead clan that once ruled over the Kapiya from that other story. He also recently demonstrated the ability to manipulate blood in strange ways, which lead them to believe he has at least encountered your blood mage for better or worse. Alongside this he also has some rudimentary grasp of shamanism, Xiomac’s original ability was to replicate the magic of others with frightening speed. He has since amassed a large arsenal of magical knowledge. They also mentioned his war with the crow-folk is because they know he’s after the King of Crows, and that he is very interested in harnessing whatever magic the king has. Basically he’s Alihana, but with a unique ability to steal magical knowledge from others in some way, and the bravery or perhaps stupidity to go after the King of Crows himself. I am however curious if he knows about the story of the Oldest Man, who demonstrated very similar abilities to the King in that he could bestow power unto others.
Also yes their tattoos are purely aesthetic. I just saved you an hour long spiel about the tradition and cultural history of them. They’re basically coming-of-age markings mixed in with a little bit of trophy based story telling, and a splash of occupational signaling.
Given the dangers of hunting those snakes, and the sheer amount of casualties sustained just trying to deal with its corpse, we’ll have to get Jarthromoth to approve any plan to send his driders in to deal with these things.
The three members of the Dozen have set off alongside a Kapiya guide to see what they can dig up on Mikaere. So far what we’ve learned is that he is likely operating far from Kapiya territory though we’re not really sure why given his grudge with them, and the fact that he can likely overpower many of them if he were to make good on that grudge. The hunt leads them westward for now.
They managed to meet with Nihaul, and establish his interest in driving out the demonic druid. By his own statement his brother’s death is not the real reason behind that, its that he doesn’t like his clan being unwitting servants of Xiomac. Who he has now met and doesn’t trust at all. Though this seems to be a recurring theme with the crows in this area. Which definitely confirms the reason he hasn’t resorted to extreme violence is out of a desire not to hurt his clan members. Specifically, his sister who is one of the direct bodyguards of the demon. He also reaffirmed what we learned from the Akoa elves, that Xiomac is after the King of Crows himself. The crows in the jungle are just obstacles to him on his path to finding the king. Though he notably said nothing about the arch-druid. However, he did know more about things from the crow’s side of things. Specifically he knows that the Raven Witch and Mikaere are both projects of Xiomacs he did not succeed in killing after enabling them to exist and they have come down with a bad case of vengeance. Nihaul’s side of things doesn’t fully explain why Xiomac is still in the jungle, but as we know from the Akoa he has an interest in the arch-druid that may or may not exist.
So far the blue stones just seem to be difficult to break though they don’t seem to do anything in regards to magic. The other ideas are also not experiencing that much progress.
Also in these campaigns sitting around the base trying to tech up has an 80% failure rate otherwise that is all the party will do. Trust me this has happened several times. Most “teach a character another character’s thing” and “get existing character to level up their thing dramatically for no effort” in particular have a 99% failure rate. For example if Alihana never leaves the base, she might never invent a new spell or improve her existing ones. If Iiniwa doesn’t go do something, his force weapons aren’t getting any better. Exception to when the base has a lot of bullshit going on like in New World.
Meta thoughts: The best way to find new magic is to kill your entire roster off and force-spawn new ones with new abilities. Definitely lose the old one for that though.