In Which Half As Many Heroes Are Half As Effective

Camena: There aren't too many satraps.

Camena: There are only…

Camena: Too

Camena: Many

Camena: Cooks.

Icaria: That reminds me, somebody needs to catch that other magistrate.

Icaria: We definitely have too many magistrates.

Icaria: I mean, it's supposed to be a Magistracy of Hares and I think we need to do our part to contribute to that.

Camena: Let's dress up Zanara in a sandwich board that reads "Satrap."

Icaria: Hm, plausible, although I could always pick up Disguise of the New Face for both of us.

Icaria: We can go full Sesus Rafara and have five Jaspindars.

Icaria: So, who's about?

Camena: I am, but we don't start until 7 now, I think.

Camena: Where is the Vance?

Camena: I conjure and abjure him by means of this long and terrible wooden spoon.

Icaria: I call upon Vance by the power of this scrubbing brush of Art.

Camena: See how we scatter… <sigh> rather old detergent and washing soap in thy honor.

Icaria: Oh, vancey vancy vance!

Camena: Come forth, Robert.

Icaria: Is he ill?

Icaria: Did he forget about us?

Camena: We are bereft.

Icaria: Woe, woe!

Vance: Alas, shit.

Vance: I got caught up designing an artifact.

Camena: Loathing!

Vance: My grovelingest apologies.

Vance: Svetlana, Zanara, are y'all around?

Icaria: Vera said she wouldn't be able to come, because, plane.

Vance: Right.

  • Icaria pokes Svetlana.

Vance: Sadly, that denies us Zanara's reaction to the brutal act of goremurder that got inflicted on the satrap.

Icaria: No, no, he's on a farm.

Icaria: I used sorcery to send him to a better place.

Vance: To preserve that valuable moment as a potential flashback, I think we can skip ahead to a few days into y'all impersonating the satrap.

Icaria: It's the place where summoned elementals go after a month if they don't pique anybody's interest.

Vance: What's the scheme?

Icaria: Well, that's the question, isn't it?

Icaria: Apparently a few days passed without a shadowland exploding open.

Icaria: So, my first theory was at least somewhat wrong.

Vance: Um.

Vance: About that…

Vance: Maybe our first scene should be you checking for shadowlands.

Vance: (Spoilers: you've got shadowland!)

Icaria: I've never been so unhappy to be correct!

Icaria: Okay, so while Camena establishes herself as a totally genuine satrap, it's time for Icaria's Geomantic Survey II: Necromancy Boogaloo.

Vance: So, remember the soldiers and the killing people they did?

Icaria: I said to bury the bodies!

Vance: From what you can tell, it was done in a method calculated to make it as difficult as possible to dispose of the bodies.

Icaria: Why does nobody listen to the feng shui expert?

Vance: Not many people died, so it's only a small patch of shadow—it doesn't even fill the entire cavern.

Vance: But it's there.

Icaria: Dammit.

Icaria: I'm going to need… I don't know if I have that much salt.

Icaria: In fact salt is somewhat expensive.

Vance: Indeed.

Vance: If only you had access to someone else's considerable bank account!

Icaria: Is there even that much salt on the island?

Icaria: Admittedly, the air is stagnant, so I don't have to worry about it blowing away, but…

Icaria: I think this is probably a job for sorcery.

Camena: Sorry, I was playing Tales of Berseria.

Icaria: Hm, what's the difficulty on warding a small shadowland to keep things from passing through?

Camena: And I'd be very surprised if this island didn't have a salt pool or two. No reason to waste this valuable seawater.

Vance: It's primarily a mundane, logistical concern rather than a highly magical one .

Vance: Get salt, make lines, keep people from messing it up.

Icaria: Very well, although I'd be happier with a circle of glowing runes.

Camena: You put the salt in the shadowland and don't eff it up~~

Icaria: Salt isn't going to do much if somebody starts sending deathknights in.

Camena: It will chap their lips!

Camena: And dessicate them.

Camena: …slowly.

Icaria: We can't stay to wait for them to chap! We've got a whole other island takeover waiting on us!

Icaria: I want to do some kind of warding circle.

Camena: Meanwhile, the Satrap was quietly diverting medicine to the mine-slaves, under the guise of a concern about productivity.

Vance: Like a full-on working?

Icaria: Yeah.

Icaria: Like, anybody who comes in on the Underworld side stays immaterial and can't come into Creation unless somebody on this end invites them.

Vance: If you can't stay to wait, a working may not be your best option.

Icaria: Well, I mean, we're going to be here a couple of months, aren't we?

Vance: It'll be Terrestrial Ambition 2, so goal number is 10.

Icaria: Simple enough.

Vance: How is Camena-Bokuro maintaining her political regime, i.e. could you stunt it so I'll know what Ability to have you roll?

Icaria: Finesse 5. Tran can be one of my Means, and so can Zanara.

Icaria: (I could use "Bokuro" instead, but he's busy.)

Vance: Well, first things first.

Vance: You can't ward the shadowland while there are people in it!

Vance: I mean, you could, but this is a very small working.

Icaria: You mean, people are still living in the area?

Vance: It's not like they can just leave.

Icaria: Or, like, draculas manifestin' on top of my workspace?

Vance: You aren't hearing any reports of ghost activity.

Icaria: How big is this shadowland, exactly?

Vance: Think, uh… a small park?

Vance: It makes up ~15% of the total area of the cave.

Icaria: Bokuro, can you hire these dispossessed people as attendants or something?

Icaria: This cave is now your Underworld meeting zone or whatever anyway.

Icaria: We might as well get started freeing some slaves!

Camena: Camena has remained a fairly convincing simulacra by dint of writing both awful poetry—which was going to happen anyway—and by sheer force of personality, cowing subordinates.

Camena: Bokuro has decided that the slaves are better spent devising salt pools out in the fresh air and sun.

Vance: So, first make a Manipulation + Presence roll to arrange for medicine diversion.

Vance: Removing slaves will deplete the labor supply for mining, which is a pretty big deal.

Vance: Regardless of the economic impact, you'd get a lot of hate.

Icaria: More than we got for murdering a bunch of people for no reason?

Camena: Fine. A very small, rotating contingent.

Camena: So they at least get some free range time.

Icaria: Or they can just be my attendants or something.

Vance: That sounds like a lasting policy change.

Icaria: Since I've been hired to put in this expensive warding circle.

Camena: Six successes.

Vance: I think it's gonna have to be Manipulation + Bureaucracy.

Icaria: I need some slaves to tell me how great I am.

Camena: No, I just brow-beat one of my clerks into arranging it.

Vance: You effectively buffalo an imperial clerk into arranging transport for medical supplies to the caverns. She doesn't dare ask why.

Vance: (You can't enact governmental policy by yelling at one person!)


Vance: Checks and balances, President Fokuf.

Camena: Nah, Fokuf is definitely a PM.

Camena: Honestly, Camena knows better than to rock the boat too quickly.

Camena: She'll content herself with the medicine and some improved working conditions.

Icaria: It's carrot-and-stick, you see.

Vance: So, Icaria, what does this ward look like?

Vance: How does five-element theory deal with the Underworld?

Icaria: I'm going to use the pleasingly-stable nature of earth, which is in plentiful supply, to keep the polluted energies of death contained.

Vance: Logical!

Icaria: I'll see if Mother Geode can give me her blessing or some sacred crystal rocks if possible, and try to make a circle of crystal runes.

Icaria: A pentacle, let's say.

Vance: She's sort of hard to get in touch with, but sacred crystals are easy enough to find.

Icaria: Once it's in place, any visitors from the Underworld won't be able to cross over or materialize without an invitation.

Vance: This island's full of crystal, and all of it's technically sacred.

Icaria: That's really helpful!

Vance: …Icaria does know that there probably is an active Deathknight.

Vance: Does he really want to add that permission clause?

Icaria: Can you even do sorcery without a weird permissions clause?

Icaria: If there's not some kind of clause it feels like I'm sealing the shadowland instead of warding it, which is higher-level magic.

Icaria: I could make it have to come from some kind of authority figure.

Vance: Weird clauses are very aesthetic, but this borders on setting yourself up for failure.

Icaria: Okay, fine, let's make it be a perfect ward that keeps things immaterial and harmless, then.

Icaria: I won't object to being too competent if you aren't inclined to demand sorcerous weirdness.

Vance: I can do plenty weird with dematerialized, so I don't feel compelled to make you add more.

Icaria: Yeah, I'm assuming that in this case that also mostly means they have limited power to project magic over the barrier, even if they're a deathknight or whatever.

Icaria: If it's a deathknight I'm not actually sure how limited, but, uh, somewhat limited.

Vance: Like, give-people-nightmares magic and other remote action powers?

Icaria: Yeah, probably stuff like that, but not actually swording people over the line.

Icaria: Okay, Ancient Tongue Understanding and Supernal Control Method.

Icaria: Spending a Willpower to add a bit more juice.

Vance: Sure. It's got a 100% guarantee usually, but Solar Charms or something similar could try to force through

Icaria: "Maiden of Endings, grant me your benison! Show the darkness beyond the world where the line is drawn!"

Icaria: Thirteen successes plus one from Willpower and one from Ancient Tongue Understanding, so, fifteen, minus five from Finesse is 10.

Vance: ~ working complete music ~

Icaria: Now, to send my bill.

Icaria: Bokuro! I'm going to require some really extravagant flattery!

Vance: As you admire the violet(?) circle limning the edges of the shadowland, a stooped old man asks if this means they can go back in there.

Camena: "Nice work. Go !@$% yourself."

Vance: He indicates a large number of miners and their cramped conditions.

Icaria: "I would advise living almost anywhere else, but, uh… it's significantly less deadly than it was before."

Vance: "Much appreciated, Icaria. Here, let's celebrate—smoke with us!"

Icaria: "…maybe just one?"

Icaria: I've probably got a lot of medical work to do still, what with the massacres and all.

Icaria: I put it on hold because of the gaping hole in the world of life, but.

Vance: A grandmotherly type produces a handful of old, damp, firedust-headed matches, while a one-eyed mahjong sharp produces an opium pipe.

Icaria: Oh, no! The specter of vice!

Icaria: I remember a pressing engagement elsewhere.

Vance: Make a (Wits + Integrity) roll.

Icaria: Four.

Vance: Icaria experiences a sudden, inexplicable pang of craving, but manages to put the thought out of mind. It was probably just peer pressure!

Icaria: Icaria flees, knowing that he has only just barely escaped reefer madness.

Vance: Roll (Perception + Occult).

Icaria: Also four!

Icaria: Unless elements are involved.

Vance: They are not.

Vance: Now, back to the manse!

Vance: Speaking of which, is Tran moving in?

Vance: She's been sending Infallible Messengers asking about it.

Icaria: I don't see why not!

Camena: Indeed.

Vance: Under what pretense is she gonna be setting up her weird baby pod laboratory?

Icaria: "Jaspindar is paying us a lot of money to borrow the manse for Tran's experiment."

Vance: That won't satisfy your household visitors!

Icaria: "Tran is making me a baby that's half-human, half-poetry."

Vance: That sounds relatively plausible.

Icaria: Camena, I need a ruse.

Vance: If she's making the Satrap a baby, is there a romantic thing implied there, Camena?

Camena: Bokoro may or may not have "quietly" attested to having found the remains of the only poet superior to himself, Peleps Hishire.

Vance: Tran banters happily with you as she oversees a team of blood apes hoisting Jaspindar and Vi's child. She's clearly happy to be out of isolation!

Vance: "Icaria, Camena, you're both sorcerers. Would you help me with the geomantic anchoring?"

Icaria: I am all about the geomancy!

Camena: "Not sure what help I might be, but whatever I may do."

Camena: "Barring real work, of course."

Vance: "We'll have to bend the dragon line underlying this manse into an arc that reaches upwards."

Icaria: "I'll get Padparadscha."

Vance: "We'll set up a contained environment at the apex of the arc, and then let the dragon line flow directly through the fetus."

Camena: "There's no risk of the poor babe ending up with a heart-stone, eh?"

Vance: "It'll be harder to get Earth to bend. But you still made a good choice—it's the best for stability."

Vance: "The transformations should begin regressing into a… more containable state."

Icaria: "And once that happens, we'll be in a better position to judge how to contain them."

Icaria: "A permanent glamour or whatever, or something more complicated."

Icaria: "Anyway, I think it should be simple enough, since we have earth-movers."

Icaria: "Luxi, please tell me if I'm doing anything wrong."

Vance: "Oh, so much."

Camena: "I must admit, the idea of bending the dragon-lines…I am not much of a sorcerer, but it is terribly exciting."

Icaria: "I meant about the baby, not my life generally."

Vance: "Oh. I don't get the geomancy here, so I'm no help. But really, you should be coming to me for advice more often."

Icaria: "I'll take you up on that."

Vance: Tran is using the two of you as Means, so theoretically you don't need to roll.

Vance: But since she's an NPC it'd probably be more fun if both of you rolled (Intelligence + Occult) instead.

Icaria: Thirteen.

Icaria: Supernal Control Method really is delightfully abusable!

Camena: Seven.

Vance: The dragon line beneath you is steeped in the Essence of earth, a rigid and stubborn bit of geomancy. But as the three of you join hands and weave your sorcery, it softens in your hands. It is steel, then iron, then granite, and finally yielding clay to the hands of your magic.

Vance: The fetus's third eye opens as soon as the dragon line begins flowing through it. It shines with a stabbing crimson radiance, refracted through the Crystal of its sorcerous womb. Luxi gives an encouraging thumbs-up.

Vance: And then, with a smooth swiftness, the dragon line returns to its original course. Tran makes some inspections on a jade theodolite. "It worked."

Camena: "…was that it?"

Vance: "It'll be anchored to this dragon line as long as it remains here. Luxi, get that eye closed."

Icaria: "I could put in a bit of extra security if you think it might help."

Vance: "Really don't want to touch that, boss."

Vance: Tran takes a moment to get gratitude right. "Yes, please. Elementals, not people."

Icaria: "Any preference, Luxi?"

Vance: "Anything but this crystal bullshit."

Vance: "If you're an earth elemental then fuck you."

Icaria: Time for a new flame duck daughter, then.

Icaria: I'm sure they'll get along swimmingly.

Vance: I assume you're task-binding it?

Icaria: I'll call her Arnelian.

Icaria: I don't think that's a thing for elementals?

Vance: I'm pretty sure it is.

Icaria: But nah, I'll just do a month-binding.

Vance: I don't think that's in 3e anymore.

Vance: You get a year and a day for your buck!

Icaria: I thought elementals lasted a month unless they developed a personality somebody cared about.

Vance: I'm away from the book, but, I wrote this bit.

Icaria: I'm checking the book and you're correct.

Vance: And I'm pretty sure Summon Elemental says it works just like Demon of the First Circle.

Icaria: So yeah, elementals last a year and a day.

Icaria: …okay, that makes me feel a lot less comfortable about all the greenmaws I left on Gloam.

  • Vance set the channel topic: Too Many Greenmaws!

Icaria: Either way, I'll bind Arnelian for a year and a day, during which she'll hopefully become best enemies with Luxi Qu and start the Creation vs. Malfeas sarcasm leagues.

Vance: Roll to bind.

Icaria: Twelve!

Vance: Very bind!

Icaria: I look forward to hitting Celestial and picking up some elemental conjuration that's tough enough that I might actually fail.

Icaria: I'll make me some ifrit sons!

Vance: Arnelian wobbles a bit, which is justifiable for anyone who's just come into existence. Looking at Icaria, she affects a strangely vulgar accent and asks, "What's it gonna be, see?"

Icaria: "Hey, kid," says Icaria, adjusting like the professional he is, "we've got this baby, see? Alone and helpless, and poor Luxi Qu having to do all the work herself because nobody else here has any sense."

Icaria: "So I've called you into being to keep things copacetic, see?"

Icaria: "Keep that baby safe, and don't let anybody do anything stupid."

Vance: "I'll keep that in mind. Now, where's the bar? I'm too young to be sober."

Icaria: "Ms. Qu, you're up."

Vance: The neomah produces an ebony flask and tosses it to the flame duck. It releases a faint hiss of rainbow-colored mist when opened.

Icaria: "Okay, looks like everything's under control."

Vance: Tran starts to talk, but is distracted by a crashing noise. A quick look reveals that her blood apes, unattended, have just started going donkey kong on the ducks in the one of the manse's baths.

Vance: "That's me."

Icaria: Another victory for elementalism!

Vance: She exists, stage beith.


Icaria: oh wait the opium is made from shadowland poppies

Icaria: I've made a terrible mistake!

Vance: Dun dun DUN.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License