The City of Lives

Shadows and Subterfuge: The Backstage Op

The team, fresh off their exploits at the trial, were sent by Gaius to one of his investments, the Nox Theatre, an opera house down in Belltown. Several accidents had recently been reported, including one death — that might just be a murder. The team headed down immediately, and after a short encounter with the manager, began interviewing the cast and crew.

They quickly discovered that the latest accident, the death of player Stephanus, had come from a fight scene during a performance of “The Tragical Historie of Julianus,” a show about the last Monarch of Light. The team’s acquaintance Thole had been the man with the sword, and said it had felt as though the sword had been jerked from his hand. They spoke to the prima donna, Kylie, who said she believed Thole killed Stephanus out of jealousy for the man’s rising stardom. Thole discounted this idea, saying Stephanus was a secondary player and nothing more.

After investigating and discovering a distinct magical trace left on the killing sword, the team ventured backstage and began looking for more clues. Abruptly, a falling sandbag struck Kylie on the head, snapping her neck instantly.

As the director fled, the team began to be assaulted by the set: a prop chariot tried to run them down and the backstage rigging started wrapping them up. As they fought back, they discovered a Grate-Scratcher stagehand, who shrieked at them that “the theatre is mine! Tessiria gave it to me!” and they found themselves fighting animated suits of armor, ropes, and stage lights. They did their best to disable the Grate-Scratcher, who, they figured, was a Forceshifter telekinetically controlling all these props.

Mo brought the ropes to life, controlling the plant fibers to grab a hold of anyone around — catching several of his friends as well as the villain. Eventually, through the villain overusing his Crafting abilities and Erillia’s constant mental assaults, they wore the Grate-Scratcher — one Predjan — down and took him prisoner.

16 stages

Marianus

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Shadows and Subterfuge: The Trial Op

Their foes safely in the hands of the Thief-Binders, the team set about preparing for the trial. Gaius instructed them that the trial must go off without a hitch, and that the Ma’dem must suffer the consequences of their actions. The prosecutor, a Sky-Carver named Sharlotti Biscardi, asked the team to act as witnesses for the prosecution: Syler, Erillia, and Tyche all agreed, while Rasine refused to even let Biscardi see her, and Mo was off on a revolutionary adventure of his own. They were additionally asked to ask Thole and Mikhael, both important public figures, if they would come on as witnesses — and they tasked themselves with finding out if Tessiria had a link to the Ma’dem.

They began by tracing the money that the Ma’dem had used to pay for their defender (an ethically questionable Iversdotter named Wittal) to a Pariah accountant. Paying him a visit, they used trickery and intimidation to get out of him that Tessiria had paid for the Ma’dem’s lawyer, as well initially hiring them to extort protection monies from the Underway station. Frightened, he reluctantly agreed to get protection from Tessiria from Gaius.

Heading over to the Nox Theatre in Belltown, they encountered Thole in time to see him play for the crowds, utilizing Soulsharing to excite them and using Dreamsharing to make it seem as though he were an entire band. The team cornered him in his dressing room, and through emphasizing the revolutionary influence he could make by being involved in such a high-profile trial, convinced him to be a witness. They also determined that he greatly disliked Mikhael, standing for different things, and that he had been playing down the street when he felt the distress of those dying in the Underway and came to their rescue.

They then went to see Mikhael at his church in Templedowns, seeing him preach on the evils of crossbreeding across Bloodlines, saying every bloodline should know their place in the class structure. They convinced him to testify by emphasizing how his words could inspire faith, and determined that he had been watching Thole at the time of the fire, and had followed him to the station.

When the trial started, each consenting member of the team found themselves in front of the jury. The defense attorney tried to poke holes in their statements and cast doubt on their character, even bringing up Syler’s criminal past — but the team comported themselves well, Syler acting as reformed criminal.

Feeling good about the trial, the team was unpleasantly surprised to find out from Biscardi that the jury was being tampered with. A bit of contacting among the criminal types, and they discovered a Kipman had been intimidating the jury. Finding said Kipman, they plied him with wine and food in order to find out he had been paid by the same Pariah accountant as they had previously encountered, and that he would change his tune and threaten the jury to convict instead for a tidy sum of money. Erillia utilized her Trevelanius fortune to do exactly that, and the trial was soon won, with Hark receiving a death penalty and his three cronies five to ten years of hard labor.

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Shadows and Subterfuge: The Underway Op

Left to their own devices, the team was scattered around the City doing their own thing: Syler, for example, was buying a poison-filled ring for Erillia. Suddenly, a Farscribe message from Gaius instructed them to get to a certain Underway station ASAP. The Underway, a kind of magical subway system, had been set on fire, and one of the Trevelanius families was trapped inside in need of rescue.

Erillia, Mo, and Rasine arrived at one entrance, Syler at another. Syler immediately rushed in, intent on saving as many civilians as possible. Mo did the same, but focused exclusively on the lower-class patrons. Erillia, on the other hand, sought out the Trevelaniuses. SHe found one huddled by a column, and another (the young son), down on the rails, with a third presumably on the other side of the Underway carriage. She flew over to the son and encouraged him to fly back with her. Meanwhile, Syler started to get attacked by a maniacal Flameshaper, who was the obvious source of the fire. Additionally, a gigantic ox-faced Kipman Bloodshifter started smashing up the place, and shut Syler inside the carriage. Syler had no choice but to dive out the window onto the rails below.

Meanwhile, Rasine recognized Grake, a Pariah Realmshifter who worked for the ethically dubious mercenary group known as the Ma’dem, known to often work for Tessiria, and realized the entire fire had been cause by the Ma’dem. A sniper started firing at the team from down the tunnel, and Erillia tossed a terrifying vision into the sniper’s head to drive them away. An Iversdotter with darts started attacking Mo, and Grake joined in, teleporting Mo all aroun dand making him horribly nauseated. Erillia made the Realmshifter imagine the fiery inside of the carraige just as he was about to teleport, forcing him to teleport to that spot, where he burned to death.

The Flameshaper turned intoa giant fireball, but Syler avoided the flames, and the Shaper pushed himself so hard he knocked himself out. Erillia struck again, making the Bloodshifter “blind, deaf, and numb,” and he ran screaming down the tunnel.

Around this time, two charismatic individuals came down from the surface and started helping rescue civilians (Which Erillia and Rasine didn’t appreciate stealing their thunder) — a Leovite named Mikael and a Promethean named Thole. Mo struck down the Iversdotter, and the conflict was at an end. The team quickly decided to follow the Bloodshifter and sniper, leaving behind two dead and one unconscious.

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Shadows and Subterfuge: The Moulting Op Part 2

The team surveyed the Inn lobby — there was a fire raging to the south, with sounds of shouting coming from within it. Syler immediate jumped at the chance to be a hero (“Syler to the Rescue”), and rushed into the flames. He found a porcupine-eque Kipman trapped under a large table, which Syler removed handily and carried the Kipman back out of the fire, just barely avoiding burns. The Kipman, a prickly individual named Torq, told the team he had been a guest at the restaurant when the disaster struck, and two of his friends had been killed by falling debris. While Mo(?) interrogated the man, apparently mistrusting him, Rasine began exploring to the North, and Syler to the west. Rasine examined several rooms, most notably finding a strange dimensional portal that teleported her from a hallway to the bar whenever she tried to enter a supply closet, and a Pariah’s corpse, who had a journal of gossip and secrets and a signet ring, both of which Rasine confiscated. To the west, the ballroom had been taken over by more of the white blood cell creatures, who were menacing a plump Iversdotter.

Syler launched several crossbow bolts at the creatures, injuring them but not severely. Erillia came over after a bit, and used her Dreamsharing to create an illusionary monster, which the creatures immediately headed towards, intend on eating it. The Iversdotter, who identified herself as the Inn hostess, by the name of Lygga, said in response to Mo’s intense, bullying questioning, that she had been working in the kitchen when the single-celled creatures appeared and ate two of her co-workers while she ran off. One by one (Mo spending a moment throwing some more fractal food to the blood cells to distract them), the team headed towards the back staircase — Tyche last, as she spent her time fighting the fire with her Flameshaping — where they encountered themselves. Their future(?) duplicates told the team not to trust the Grate-Scratcher Svetana. Svetana objected, saying she had no ill intent or secrets to hide. Syler and Erillia to not trust either Svetana or their “future” selves, in case they were illusions or suchlike.

Upstairs, the ordinary layout had been completely rearranged by the fractal elf’s moulting, inclouding several more white blood cells. Seeing that the cells were blocking their passage, Rasine darted into a room, attracting the cells to follow after her. She stepped back out, and Mo made vines grow over the door to hold the creatures in. Svetana immediately rushed to her room and started grabbing clothing and other stuff — Rasine spotted that she was palming money and documents at the same time. Rasine tried to steal a paper off of Svetana, only to be caught by the well-trained thief. Rasine refused to confront Svetana, but [?] demanded to know what these documents were. Tyche and Erillia identified them as contracts and receipts, and Svetana broke down and admitted she had been stealing signets, stationery, and copying signatures from teh diplomats and important families Brunei had been meeting with, using them to [?] money. The team confiscated Svetana’s papers (Rasine taking the signet rings), and decided they would remove her from Brunei’s service — but recommend her to Gaius.

The team examined three of the other rooms — a swampy place for a [?], a dark and mysterious Kivian “pocket Realm,” and a low-gravity room. They ignored all these rooms and opened a door to an underwater room fro an Emerald Wavedancer. [?] swam through, and Tyche grew gills and did the same — but the others distrusted the water, and Mo broke through the ceiling and they walked along the roof to get to Brunei’s room. There, mistrusting Torq’s motives, Erillia made an illusion of Brunei in the hall, and Torq tried to run into Brunei’s room, only to be stopped by a garrote-wielding Rasine.

Seeing Brunei was completely non-responsive to stimuli, the team searched its room for whatever Torq was looking for, finding a strange device (a sphere with a number of blinking lights and sigils on it), which Torq denid all knowledge of — but simultaneously identified as an audio recording device. Some harsh interrogation from Mo resulted in Torq spilling his guts — he had caused all this by bribing a waiter to plant the Soundcatcher in Brunei’s room, hoping to catch the elf’s code for the hotel vault downstairs, not realizing it would trigger a moulting. Once the team removed and shut off the soundcatcher, Brunei, and the geography of the Inn, returned to normal. The team took Svetana and Torq into custody, taking them to Gaius. The team took a well-deserved vacation, not knowing what was to come next…

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Shadows and Subterfuge: The Moulting Op Part 1

In Gaius’s office, the team queried him on the nature of the trouble at the Inn. First he edified them on the nature of the Inn: An institution that caters to Outlanders (tourists, diplomats, merchants, etc), the Inn has a variety of rooms that magically mimic the Outlanders’ original environment: desert, swamp, 1/3 City gravity, etc. He told them that he believed a Fractal Elf, nicknamed Brunei, was causing terrible chaos. The Fractal Elves are a species from the Far Realms who exist in multiple Realms at once – they appear to be constantly changing, like a fractal, snowflake beach ball, but they are only rotating in and out of our Realm and showing part of their larger form. They are capable of warping reality around themselves, and Gaius believed that this had happened, as the streets surrounding the Inn had starting twisting and undulating as though alive.

The team debated whether they would be able to make it to the Inn by land, and asked Gaius to provide them with a Realmshifter… but then decided they could end up being teleported into solid earth if the Realmshift didn’t go properly, so decided to see if they could walk there. Approaching the Inn, they saw that it was, for the moment, stable, though the road was badly damaged, filled with debris and overturned carts. They encountered several strange creatures that looked like gigantic single-celled organisms, which were eventually identified by Tyche as the Fractal Elf equivalent of white blood cells – the PCs were, in some sense, already inside the elf’s body, and its immune system was trying to kill them. Erillia created the illusion of a monster, and Mo spread some “fractal food” from the Elf’s home Realm around, and the cells hurried to eat both, allowing the team to quickly run past them.

The road suddenly began undulating, and the PCs saw a ten-by-ten-by-thirty lightning storm suddenly arise. Tyche tried to run around it, only to find that when she ran off one side of the road, she came back on from the other direction [like going off one side of the screen in an old-school video game]. Erillia flew over it, only to get shocked as the ground surged up and caught her in the storm – but she made it through with minimal injuries. Rasine sneaked through, her cat-like reflexes keeping her away from the worst. Mo, seeing Tyche’s difficulties, tried to run backwards… and, amazingly enough, it worked, and he was able to run around the storm with minimal fuss, carrying his wolf in his arms, it looking backward and acting as his eyes. Tyche followed him, and the Realmshifter Stevanus tried as well, only to get badly shocked and collapse in the storm.

Rasine, knowing Gaius valued Stevanus, decided to put forth at least a small effort, and successfully rescued him. Mo applied some salve, and Tyche Bloodshifted, resulting in a much more healthy man. They easily made it the rest of the way into the Inn, where they found a slim Grate-Scratcher girl trapped under a smoldering beam. Mo hefted it off her, and then Tyche healed her broken rib, making it merely badly bruised. The girl, one Svetana Milevic [who spoke with a vaguely Russian accent], told them she was a friend of Brunei, and believed that the problem was a recurring condition of its, known as “moulting,” where the elf sheds its current physical form and creates a new one. She said that if they could collect the survivors of the mess and make it through the shifting reality to the elf’s room upstairs, she could speak to it and probably get the moulting to stop.

The team surveyed the burning wreck that was the Inn of the Worlds, looking for survivors in the mess…

SANNA (Sara/Ann) – Self-Actuated Neural Network Array

Rasine doesn’t believe a thing Tyche says

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Shadows and Subterfuge: The Revolution Op Part 2

After finishing up with 3rd-of-Spines’ attack, the team settled down for the long haul, ready to spend the next six months starting a revolution.

[A long-term Social conflict based on the Diaspora book, the revolution held a Revolution square on one side of the map, and the downfall of the PCs’ allies the Hidden-Truth party, on the other. The PCs and the enemy Exposed-Lies party fought to move the Under-, Middle-, and Upper-Classes to their preferred end of the track. The players created a composite character made up of their characters’ best traits (an exercise they seemed to quite enjoy), and each action was made up of the composite character’s dice rolls and a short in-character scene to help determine the roll and its modifiers].

The team began by visiting the Millennium Club, a middle-class criminal venue run by 3rd-of-Spines. Syler spoke with some Kipman immigrants and learned “How the Crime Functions." Erillia approached 3rd-of-Spines and, by connecting with him over their mutual hatred of Tessiria (who had “made Erillia’s list”), learning of a job opportunity on a weapons heist the next week (though it’s worth noting that everything 3rd-of-Spines hated about Tessiria had actually been done by Erillia). Rasine spoke to a few Pariahs and, “Embracing the Stereotype,” connected with them and convinced them there is “A Profit To Be Made in Revolution.” Mo spoke to some existing revolutionaries, who invited them to a meeting at the hospital of the revolutionary society. Tyche started “Following the Dance Craze,” increasing the team’s publicity and popularity.

After the club trip, the team followed up on their leads, influencing the criminals of the middle class into full revolt. Which their next step, the team went to the storage park, moving weapons to give to the revolutionaries — but the park was raided. The team, through judicious use of Erillia’s Dreamsharing and Tyche Bloodshifting (forcing the muscles of the police into her service), sent most of the police away. The lower classes were unmoved in either direction.

Next, the team went to the Parliament building, intent on embezzling the money the upper classes were using to pay their mercenaries who were fighting the revolution. Rasine stole and invoice, and Syler and Tyche forged it, and then Erillia used her disguise to seal the deal, and the team walked away with the mercenaries’ pay. Their last resort exhausted, the aristocrats had no choice but to accede to the revolutionaries’ demands — and the team again erupted into discussion on whether to push for full rebellion.

The true revolutionary Mo was outvoted by the more practical members of the team, and the Hidden-Truth Party took charge. The team went and spoke to the new Overgovernor Place-of-Tears, and he gave them Ibram, their original goal, to return to Gaius. He assured them that the Hidden-Truth party had no interest in invading the City — which Erillia determined was the truth, but for the rather disturbing reason that Place-of-Tears hates the City and wants nothing to do with it ever.

As they returned to the Realmshifting district, Baltinius walked with them, again pleading for help returning to the fold. The team promised to tell Gaius what he had done, and Rasine took a particular interest in finding out what he had done to fall out with Gaius in the first place [ ]. Back in the City, they reported to Gaius, who said that unfortunately they had no time for vacation, as there was terrible trouble at Gaius’s Outlander venue the Inn of the Worlds [not the End of the World, as the players misheard].

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Shadows and Subterfuge: The Revolution Op Part 1

The team spoke to Undergovernor Place-of-Tears to find out his ideas on fomenting revolution. Place-of-Tears advised them that the key is to show the underclasses how terrible their life is under the Exposed Lies party, by deceit if necessary. Deceit is a long and storied tradition among the Niontians, who view self-interest as the highest moral duty, and thus honest, when it acts against one’s self-interest, is a weakness. He suggested they start at a Lightcatcher factory, harassing and hindering the workers, and to pretend to be representatives of the Exposed-Lies party.

A long debate commenced between Mo and Erillia. Mo opined that the revolution as planned is not going far enough, that this organized political coup will not actually free the lower classes from oppression. Erillia said that this was irrelevant, that so long as the revolution helps Gaius’s interests, it doesn’t matter. Mo rejoindered that whichever party was in charge was likely to work with Tessiria. The debate continued, then ended inconclusively, with the party deciding to follow Place-of-Tears’ plan for now, and decide later whether to start a full revolt or the traditional coup. It was noted that the Niontian government was split into a party in charge and an opposition party, like the British parliament, with many politicians known as “governors.” The head of the lead party is called the “Overgovernor” and the leader of the opposition party known as the Undergovernor, and both are elected to the post of governor, then appointed by the party to the post of Over- or Undergovernor.

The party went to the factory and scouted it out, and Syler decided to steal all the Lightcatcher and sell them on on the black market for a tidy profit. He stepped in across the 2-D walls of the factory and liberated a Lightcatcher, only to be caught by a security guard. Tyche immediately stepped in to save him, claiming they were government inspectors. They looked around and, seeing numerous safety violations (or at least claiming to), shut down the factory under the pretend authority of the Exposed-Lies party and Tessiria Aderino (who Erillia disguised herself as, complete with signet stamp on her shoe). Over the next several days, they watched the factory workers become more and more unhappy (while Syler contacted his black market friends, who looted the Lightcatchers and sold them).

The PCs, hanging around the factory, were confronted by 3rd-of-Spines, who claimed to be a union leader, and was obviously in charge of most criminal operations in the area. 3rd-of-Spines insisted that the PCs leave, and tried to bribe them, but [who?] angered him [how?], and he and his gangsters attacked. The following battle was not short, but was quite one-sided, the PCs easily striking down the gangsters and crippled 3rd-of-Spines, removing on arm and breaking the other before driving him off, hoping he would spread the word of "Tessiria"’s atrocities…

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Shadows and Subterfuge: The Long-Lost Cousin Op Part 2

¬While the team was struggling their way through Aphotic 9, their comrade-in-arms Erillia had finished up her family business and spoken to Gaius, who advised her that their old, estranged cousin Baltinius was working with the team. As neither Gaius nor Erillia trusted Baltinius, Gaius sent her to keep an eye on the devious cousin. Erillia tracked down the team at the in-home chapel of one of Ibram’s parishioners, to see Syler in mid-pounce…

Syler easily overpowered the weak old priest, and Mo smacked him across the head, knocking him unconscious. However, before they could celebrate and leave, Mo was struck by a shadowsteel crossbow bolt by a Niontian peering out from the chapel’s central room. Two more Niontian attackers quickly appeared, and the team employed several methods to fight them and protect their prize: Syler, after accidentally embedding her pickaxe in the floor, focused on ranged attacks with her own shadowsteel crossbow bolts; Mo got up close and personal; Erillia, coming upon the scene, joined in by removing all sensory information from the Niontians, making them “Blind, Deaf, and Numb”; Rasine fought by herself, as always, slipping in and out of the shadows; and Tyche utilized the luminary power of her Flameshaping… but unfortunately repeatedly failed to control the power, setting the chapel ablaze.

The chapel slowly burning, the team had trouble discerning how severe the damage was, as the NIontians had created a magical darkness that hid the visible spectrum of the flames — so they decided to retreat. Rasine used her Shadowshifting to force one Niontian to melt into oily shadow before throwing a chair through a window and escaping. Outside, Syler laid Ibram’s body down, then had to pull him from the greedy grasp of the remaining two Niontians, who hissed “Our target is here, we must flee!” Erillia created an illusion of a Lightshifting bomb, which terrified both Niontians into running… and Syler handed Ibram off to Mo as he went back inside to fetch his pickaxe. Mo immediately let Ibram slide to the ground and stomped one of the Niontians to death with his shadowsteel cleats, while Rasine threw her own dagger at the last one, splitting it in two. Inside, Tyche quelled the blaze, but she and Syler came outside just in time to see a shadow reach up from the ground and seemingly pull Ibram into the earth. Syler tried to hold him, but her grasp was not strong enough.

Rasine and Tyche both used their knowledge of Shadowshifting (one practical, one theoretical) to determine that the technique that pulled Ibram away teleported a target from one shadow to another, had a maximum range of about a half-mile… and seemed to have the signature of a master, one Undergovernor Place-of-Tears, the head of the Unprime 236 opposition party. The team decided to pay him a visit, but first stopped by Baltinius’ to help Rasine’s degenerating illness [the latest symptom, a crippling arthritis, had just struck]. There, Rasine was hesitant about taking medicine from a man she knew to be untrustworthy, and Tyche made everything so much worse by grabbing Rasine’s arm and trying to force her to take the medicine — especially since Rasine was already angry at Tyche for helping her during the fight [Aspect Better Off Alone]. Rasine succumbed to her anger and fear [Aspect Pushed into the Shadows], shouted “I don’t need your “help”!” and vanished, leaving the medicine behind. The others headed off to the Parliament building, Rasine following behind in the shadows (and pickpocketing, though not taking, the medicine).

At parliament, the team headed into the sub-basement and were directed to the Undergovernor, who greeted them graciously. Through a series of half-truths and hesitantly-revealed information, Erillia managed to discover that Place-of-Tears did in fact have Ibram, and he would need something even more valuable in order to give him up — but that they might find themselves on the same side. Meanwhile, Rasine, now blind as well as arthritic, pulled Mo aside and asked him to test the medicine. Mo did so, drinking a small portion and giving a bit to his wolf, and decided it was clean — so Rasine hesitantly drank it. Combined with some herbal supplements of Mo’s, Rasine started on a slow but definite road to recovery — and the first thing she did was to Farscribe Gaius and badmouth Tyche, talking about her wanton use of Flameshaping. Gaius advised Rasine to keep an eye on Tyche and keep a log of her behavior. Eventually, Erillia pulled out of Place-of-Tears that he wanted to completely overthrow the ruling Exposed-Lies party and take over the government — and they agreed that would be in everyone’s best interests, taking the warhawks out of power. Giving a qualified “yes” to the alliance, the team returned to Baltinius’s to Farscribe Gaius, who gave them permission to foment revolution…

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Shadows and Subterfuge: The Long-Lost Cousin Op Part 1

Fresh from their adventures in Bavingdon, the team reported back to Gaius. He told them their next mission would take them to Niontia Unprime 236, the nearest Niontian borderworld. There, a Leovite priest called Ibram was causing immense amounts of grief, stirring up pro-war, anti-City of Lives sentiment. Additionally, he served as an integral link in the Shadowsteel arms trade, taking the weapons from the mine the team had encountered in [The Shadowsteel Mine Op] and selling it to the Niontian military before funneling that cash back to Tessiria. Gaius told the team that taking down Ibram’s weapon-smuggling would be a necessary piece to stop the Niontian invasion, as well as provide an essential piece of evidence to prove Tessiria’s involvement in the whole scheme. Hence, their assignment: to find and abduct Ibram, and bring him back to the City.

[The game stopped here for a good hour or hour-and-a-half, as the group departed from the plot to discuss the ramifications of a world of living shadows — two-dimensional creatures. Through debate and GM interrogation, the following items were determined:

  • The original Niontia Prime is a 2-D world where humans can’t survive.
  • However, Niontia Unprime 236 is a physical world. It has no native life, a low but liveable temperature and oxygen content, and a red giant sun.
  • The Niontians live on the surface of the ground — or side of rocks, or structures, etc.
  • Niontians build their own shadow structures that are barriers for them, but not for humans — but 3-D barriers hold no problem for the Niontians.
  • In nature, Niontians can see only along the 2-D place — when a human’s foot leaves the ground, it vanishes.
  • Niontian Crafters, especially Shadowshifters and Farsharers, can perceive the 3-D world.
  • Shadowsteel is one of the only substances that can affect both Niontians and 3-D creatures (or “corporeals”/”corpies.”
  • Unprime 236 was settled by the Niontians because of its location — close to the City and the Shertasi and Ma’ar Empires.
  • The Niontians are involves in the Shertasi-Ma’ar war — either trapped in a situation they can’t escape, or opportunistically taking advantage of distracted opponents, depending on who you ask.
  • Unprime 236 serves as a trading post, shuttling goods and travelers between the City and further Realms. It also imports goods from the City to support its small corporeal population (mostly diplomats and merchants), and exports services like [??].
  • The corpie populace has built small numbers of physical buildings — and a there are also physical structures that provide shade for the Niontians.
  • The central city of Unprime 236 is named Aphotic 9 [ay-FOE-tick]. ]

Once the team crossed Realms into the gate district of Aphotic 9, they met up with Junius, their contact/translator/guide. Unfortunately, Junius was almost instantly assassinated, a Shadowsteel bolt in his throat.

[The notion of “shadow” something was mocked at turned into a running gag, everything labeled “shadow” — including the party: “Shmo,” “Rashine,” “Tyshe,” and “Shyler.”]

Rasine leapt after the assassin, easily stomping over the shadows in her way — but the Niontian assassin responded by blowing a black dust in her eyes, blinding her. Mo tried (and failed) to save Junius, then treated Rasine’s blindness. Tyche liberated Junius’s identity papers and searched (fruitlessly) for anything else of value. The team found themselves surrounded by the local police, who hissed at them in Niontian until another corpie, a Son of Light dressed in old-fashioned, raggedy finery, talked the police into leaving and introduced himself as Gaius’s distant cousin Baltinius. Rasine, naturally mistrustful, immediately checked with Gaius via Farscribe, and he verified Baltinius’s identity, but said they shouldn’t trust him too closely, as they had had a “disagreement” years ago.

Baltinius took the team to a lousy flat [flat! on a 2-D world! Hah!] and said he needed their help to get back in Gaius’s good graces, and would be happy to help the team find Ibram in exchange. He revealed that Ibram had been targeted by the opposition party in the Niontian Parliament, the Hidden Truth Party, and had recently vanished, either kidnapped or gone into hiding (“done a runner” in Baltinius’s words). Also, the team discovered that the assassin’s dust had infected Rasine with a deadly illness known as “shadowpox,” that would kill her within a day. Baltinius promised to find a cure while the team worked.

The team went out into Aphotic 9, questioning a parishioner at Ibram’s “Church of the Hooded Lantern,” a Parliamentary bureaucrat, a few criminals, and the Realmshifter who brought them to 236: Mo threatening with his Shadowsteel cleats, Syler and Tyche charming, Rasine subtly searching, and Tyche also researching in the local library. They discovered that Ibram was most likely targeted for kidnapping to exchange him for political favors from the dominant Exposed-Lies party — a standard, and fully-legal, part of the local political system — and had retreated to the home of a local corpie family associated with the church. Heading there, they confronted Ibram — and when he asked for a password, Syler simply tackled him.

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Shadows and Subterfuge: The Bavingdon Council Op

Armed with the knowledge, torn from Riduccio, that there was a mole in Bavingdon’s city council, the team returned to Bavingdon to see their old friend Arbron Solfidly, aka “Cockburn Fuckhorn.” There, they spoke to Solfidley, who plied them with whiskey and fine talk, and advised them to investigate the newest member of the council, a young Rural woman named Bessa Idmengton.

This they did, finding Bessa’s small house on the edge of the rather large Idmengton estate. While Mo and Syler knocked on the door, Rasine went around back and entered via a convenient window. Syler concocted a strange story about being part of a census, and Bessa seemed to believe it, inviting them in (but not before the intoxicating scent of her womanly Rural flowers wooed Mo into trusting her implicitly). There, she offered them sweet tea, and Syler and Mo accepted.

Meanwhile, Rasine had discovered a secret room, where she found that Bessa had been using her feminine wiles to influence the council, and took possession of Bessa’s signet ring and a heliotype of her and a local councilman, “Moose,” mid-coitus. As Bessa went to prepare the tea, Rasine slipped out and told her teammates that Bessa was bad news, before slipping back into hiding.

When the Rural returned with the tea, Mo easily downed his, his powerful body easily resisting its poison without even realizing it was dosed. Syler, on the other hand, casually refused to drink, claiming he wasn’t thirsty — until Bessa realized Syler had caught her game, and pulled a small crossbow. The fight was short but not pretty, Mo having great difficulty fighting against the woman who had ensorceled him with her scent, but the team prevailed, taking her down.

The team returned a captured Bessa to Gaius back in the City, only stopping off to thank Solfidley for his help — and for Mo, oddly enough, to accuse him of poisoning his whiskey [Mo’s player had had more than his share of whiskey that night, and decided that in-game, Mo had been poisoned by Solfidley].

Perhaps the City council is made up (in part) of the Speakers of the town councils

Cockburn Fuckhorn

Rurals go both ways — animal and vegetable

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