RoundTable Adventuring

Screech

Traken from his home as a fledgling Screech no longer remembers his name. His early memories are of hate and pain.

In one of countless skirmishes between Humans and Strix a human hunter took a strix child as a slave to use as a training device to better teach his sons to kill strix. But at the same time the hunter was training his sons, he was also training the young strix. And after years of daily beatings, near starvation, exposure to the elements Screech learned a simple lesson; the difference between right and wrong.

With his new found rightious fire he rose up and killed the hunter and all of his sons, sparing only his infant daughter. But upon his return to the strix colony no one knew who he was. Too many children had been massacred and too many parents who could claim him had died in battle. Screech avenged himself by hunting down all the others with Strix blood on thier hands and brought them Judgement. Now he uses the name the humans used to tease and torment him with as his own.

Screech HATES humans, but knows this irrational hated is wrong. He doesn’t judge others based on thier race and is just as likely to fight on the side of kolbolds or orcs as against. In a situation where many are inequal danger, he helps the humans last.

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Marrok #1
On high jarl Gnargorak

The great frost giant, the high jarl Gnargorak, stands 16ft. tall with blue skin and white beard. his cap and mantle adorned with horns, prizes from deadly combats against giant adversaries. Hung from his belt the skulls of dissenters. Clad in mithral armor and wielding Winter’s Heart, an intelligent bastard sword made from ice that can’t be melted.

The sight of the master hunter strikes fear in the hearts of men. He hunt’s mammoth lords for sport, hardly ever returning to his cloud giant harem in Bos-phargrumm instead picking up the trail of the next closest mammoth lord. When he came to my village I assumed the end was near I sat in my hut awaiting his slashing blade, but it did not come, it never came. when he left I had two choices die or leave. I left.

You ask do i wish revenge? revenge for what the slaughter of my family, my friends. I had none. If I ever meet the high jarl i would do two things I will first thank him. Thank him for freeing me from my stagnation, thank him for giving me life, thank him for the experiences I have been granted. Then I will die. The jarl adores combat and I would wish to give him the battle of his life in return for what he has given me. But ultimately I will fall as every man and giant has to the high jarl. That would make me happy.

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Nekoko #1

The front and inside cover of this journal has various scrawlings of blueprints for what appears to be an inn or headquarters of some sort.

To me,

Should you ever lose hope and give into despair, just remember what you are fighting for. Because what you need ain’t cheap.
Building stuff:
-Alter and Statue to Aria 270 gold
-Armory 290 gold
-Bar 250 gold
-Bath 130 gold
-Bedrooms x8 (1 for me, 3 for my chain of command, and 4 for my key members.) 2400 gold
-Common Room 300 gold
-Kitchen 160 gold
-Lodging 430 gold
-Lavatory with Sewer Access 230 gold
-Laundry 120 gold
-War Room 300 gold
-Vault 300 gold

It’s going to take some time to gather up the 5000 something gold needed to get this done. But I have a feeling Aria will help me out and make my next adventure a huge payout. Hopefully after that I can hold off on adventuring for a bit and recruit members while my… not sure what the word for it is in this language, adventurer’s guild? Anyway, words are not important. Recruit members while building is being constructed. Hopefully with a few members like myself, (Personality/ideal-wise, I don’t think people who are human-catfolk halfbreed are commonplace.) I guess it wouldn’t hurt to have a few other allied businesses, I mean I want to help everyone, other mercenaries included. That way, should a job not be what my guild would like to do, or my guild lack the members/resources to complete a mission, I can forward it to another group. And hopefully vice versa.

Enough of that, let’s rewind to when I heard about Aria’s ascendance. That was pretty sudden and shocking. I mean I knew Aria was a mercenary like me, we did meet once or twice after we left Minkai together. But I had no idea she went and attempted the Starstone. She’s as reckless as ever. Like after that she appeared before me and was like, “Hey, I’m a god now. Wana be my herald?” She’s never been delicate with her dealings with me. Doesn’t she know I’m fragile? If she just up and asks me out of the blue, I’m not going to accept. I still have things I want to do. I have this group I want to start. Ugh, back to the group again, let’s change the subject. I mean maybe in 10, 20 years I’ll take her up on her offer, but before then? I like being mortal. Should I die before then, I’d like to be her herald, I mean resurrecting me shouldn’t be hard for a god not matter what unpleasant fate I meet.

Well that’s not a good note to end on. What else can I say so it’s not ending there? I’m almost out of page to write on. Nope, I’m at a loss. Don’t die a horrible painful death me!

-From, Yourself.

P.S. The Sisters of Battle will be a force to be reckoned with.

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Tomoe's Journal, 13

=The following page has some Tien words interspersed in it, as well as some stains, some of which appear to be eggnog, and others being pudding=
Well, that’s done… I buried Wilhelm on the riverbank near where I buried Mishka. It took some doing, and I had to convince Varro to not come with me, but… well.

I kind of feel weird about the whole thing; we fought that hag but I didn’t really get to ask her anything. I know that that kind of resolves the whole thing, but I figured she would have something to say. I’m left with more questions about Mishka and her life, but now everyone who knows is dead. I hope Mishka will be able to tell me, I intend to return to the riverbank late tonight, then leave town in the morning. Oregent calls to me, but so does this task. I guess I can be a little too tenacious when something vexes me.

What else about that land… spent some time in jail, learned some more things about the world… uh, put on a bit more weight……

To be honest, when I ran into Senseis Quinlan and Berenfoodle in Falcon’s Hollow when I arrived today, I was embarrassed when Berenfoodle commented on how fat I’ve gotten. Quinlan spoke more cautiously (he always was more soft-spoken and, dare I say it, wise than Berenfoodle), stating that I was running too hard away from my former strict adherence toward avoiding excess; that I must “find the balance”. I found myself laughing nervously and feeling…. well…. deep within, I felt a voice saying that it was no business of theirs. I mean, in hindsight I feel that my immediate reaction was way out of line (thankfully I only thought it and held my tongue), but at the same time, am I not allowed to enjoy food and life? I feel like I’ve been restrained for so much of my existence!

I dove into a pretty big meal afterward, I’m afraid to say (still feeling pretty full)… I’m just not sure what to do, now. Sensei Quinlan doesn’t know the half of it; I am aware I am eating a lot of food…. I’m not entirely sure what’s an appropriate amount, though. Actually, a lot of those sort of things are still unknown to me. I’m simply eating an amount my body is telling me to eat. I don’t really think it’s fair that I be expected to eat so little that I’m constantly hungry just because others feel I’m fat. Sure, yes, I am heavier. I also feel a lot healthier! I mean, let’s just see if an assassin vine can wring my neck now! And really, where were my allies, so quick to judge me now, when that happened?? They just watched me die; Leon especially! Not even a word of thanks, he instead goes off and gets into trouble! I just kind of let it go, but I’m starting to wonder why? Nobody had a damned thing to say!

…. You know, since returning here, I’m going to look into where he went. He disappeared during Drazmorg’s siege, but the last thing I heard was that he was found in town while we went back to deal with Merlokrep, then went missing again during the shakeup with Kreed’s little regime falling. … I will inquire where he was last seen and see if he isn’t still skulking about. Sheesh! It’s just… you buy someone’s life with yours and they act as though it were something they deserved, casting aside the meaning such an action carries!

To be honest, I didn’t realize it bothered me this much until now. If I find that kid I’m going to have a few words with him!

=The next page, she seems to have arrived back on point after a paragraph or two of complaints about everyone from Varro to Amarro (though she has very little negative to say about him, mostly grousing about how she seems to be invisible to him)=
…. the cold of that country Irrisen… ugh, I never want to feel that cold again! If I was as skinny as I used to be, I don’t think I would have survived that; the others seemed absolutely frigid by comparison to how toasty I was feeling at times.

You know, since discovering that pudding stuff and that, uh… “rumboozle” on the trip, I’ve really been craving more! I think I’ll see if Jak has any when I return to the inn tonight. Yes, that’s what I’ll do: I’ll have a big supper, go see if Mishka is still on the riverbank later tonight, then return and have some pudding! Oh, I’m so excited!

=The following day’s entry notes how she didn’t get the opportunity, as she over-ate at Jak-a’-Napes and fell asleep at her table. This resulted in a young girl on the staff having to move her to her rented room when they closed for the evening, as she proved difficult to wake in her food-stuffed exhaustion (she skims this explanation, talking about the exhaustion of a busy day as a likely reason). In the following week, she never seems to actually get after tracking down Leon, her entries becoming more and more focused on some astoundingly big meals she’s eating – discussing the flavors of the exciting new foods – and the paranoia she’s descending into, culminating in her eventually seeming to forget about the scolding she’d wanted to give Leon and heading back to Oregent to have some sort of “discussion” with Amarro… it seems likely that she was drunk while writing said entry.=

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Tomoe's Journal, 12

I find myself learning a lot about the way the world works. Corruption seems a constant in this land, though in a different manner than my homeland or Andoran: here, it is overt, and endured because the people have no rights and keep their heads down. In Andoran it often wore the mask of the liberator and hero, a charlatan secretly getting ahead on the backs of others. In Kasai…. well, it was at once both overt and covert, but justice’s reach depended on two factors: money, and influence. Unfortunately, my master had both.

My mind feels constantly clouded, in a sense of the word. Yes, I can relax. Yes, I can sleep. But do I rest? Is my mind at peace? I feel as though I were…. I don’t know how to describe it. The world feels strange, my connection that I used to feel to it missing. Yes, I have access to my ki, but I don’t have that inherent feeling of connection to people and the world. It was based on compassion, and while I still feel naturally compelled to not mistreat people and have compassion for them, I also feel a distance from them in my heart, as if I’ve begun to hold them at arms’ length.

I’m reminded of something Sōjōbō the Far-Sighted said the last time sensei and I visited Ikawagakusa no Sato… as they moved off to converse, he’d stopped me and said that I walked around “with eyes closed”, his feathers sticking out and eyes clouded, as usual. I figured he meant that I was not seeing something obvious to the world at the time, but never was able to ask the old tengu what it meant (though sensei stated, when I asked about it: “move in the way of no way”). I’m still not sure what it means, but recently I truly have felt as if my eyes are closed. I need to clear my chakras… I was never good at that though, and my recent trouble with meditation…

I recall hearing that the Jade Regent has been removed from his position within the government, replaced by the Amatatsu heir… I can’t claim to be familiar with the politics of Minkai, though (slavery makes one somewhat unsuited to studying current events). Still, the word is that she is a kind and adventurous person, so I wonder what sort of ongoing power my master would continue to have in her government… his reach was apparently quite long during the reign of the Jade Regent. I would hope that she could oust the corrupt aristocracy, but apparently the province has been on the edge of civil war for the last decade or so… I would guess that her hold on power is as tenuous as the Jade Regent’s apparently was, and she would probably make moves to change things slowly so as to prevent the collapse of her rule…. likely meaning my master is still active. It will likely be some time yet before anything changes there. I sincerely hope he’s not actively plotting against her government, if it is indeed just and good, though there is a mercy in his condition making him loathe to be outside of the manor. His savagery and connection to darker powers makes me nervous, though… he could easily begin to push for some assistance if he indeed felt the need to move against anyone, and woe to those who are victim to his “thirsts”.

… Of course, this is all conjecture, and while I have no reason to return “home”, I must admit a certain nostalgic longing for the upland bamboo forests of Kyojin (and Kosakasan in particular), as well as putting my past to rest, seeing as I fled my home there without warning…. I wonder if anything remains. Perhaps some day I will return, when I know it is safe, and see to the proper burial of sensei, though I imagine the tengu in Ikawa have likely discovered what happened and dealt with his burial. The fact that I can’t know for sure continually plagues my mind, though; for such a great master to be so disrespected will eat at me for a long time. I suppose for now I must continue my journey in the rest of the world, though. He would likely say to put aside my desire for him to be put to rest properly and to wait for the time to present itself, but I’ve always found patience difficult.

“In fact, the truth of Zen is the truth of life, and life means to live, to move, to act; not merely to reflect.”

yet,

“When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden, for everything is murky and unclear, and the burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness. What benefit can be derived from distinctions and separations?"

…. I will get some sleep, I think.

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Ali #5

So the group has become more confronting about my secrecy. Where I come from, secrets are worth more than life. You never know what information can be used against be it something as simple as your name. However due to my secrecy, the group has trouble determining my presence. I have used this to my advantage today, hopefully my actions today will have presented me the opportunity to redeem myself. They know I’m useful, I want them to see just how useful. Of course there are quite a few flaws in my plan and a lot of it is based on it going exactly as I want it to. There a couple gambles with it that could make the whole thing turn horribly fatally wrong, but you know, that’s what makes gambling so fun, risking everything on favourable outcomes.

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Rhork #3

finding a boat to charter was a stroke of luck, I’m getting sick of walking through this blasted country. but i cannot let any of my compatriots see my discomfort, especially not Tomoe. seeing weakness in others will only push her further into whatever malignancy has caused her to stray from her path. I will continue to help her face her inner deamons as my shaman did with me. if not for that miserable evil bastard i never would have found my calling as an instrument of Torag and thus i can only respect him, despite the pain he has put me through. Now that we are in the city i find myself becoming more and more troubled by our silent gnome compatriot. we have simply accepted that she is on our side as she has travelled with us, but we know nothing about her yet, not even her name, as much as it shames me to admit that i have never thought of asking it of her. i feel we must rectify this error and determine the motivations of our silent compatriot before continuing on our quest, lest disaster from an unexpected direction befall us all by trusting where we should not have…

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Ali #4

I hate the cold. These necromancer hunters have turned out to be just normal adventurers, actually worse. They can’t seem to stay out of trouble. The halfling girl is putting on pounds like crazy. I understand that’s their thing, but I wonder what took her so long to start eating? Eh, whatever I don’t really care. It’s not like I’m here to befriend them. I’m just here to see if they can lead me to Claire. It seems they can’t so I’m better off searching on my own. I won’t get caught up in these bar fights and random killings anymore.

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Tomoe's Journal, 11

=The entire entry is in Tian, and seems hastily written, the angle of writing also slanted. There was a firm pressure applied to the pen throughout, resulting in some splotching=
Hmph, so suddenly everyone wants to get involved in my business. So I’ve put on a bit of weight! It’s none of Rhork or Varro or the rat jerk’s business what I do; I’m still able to fight and take care of myself! I wish everyone would get OUT of my face!! Especially Rhork! What’s his deal; he’s not my master and he doesn’t determine what I eat, I set my own meals!! I’m my own master now!!

If I’m completely honest, though… I’ve been in violation of my edict; I am living excessively. Extremely excessively. I’m up over a stone (I think) from where I was 6 months ago… It’s these damned dreams and everything constantly reminding me of how things were! I feel myself slowly losing control over myself; I haven’t been able to meditate for almost a month, it feels like there’s a presence in my mind which is purposefully shaking my resolve and driving me to hunger; I feel compelled to eat! I know that’s kind of ridiculous, but I feel it to be there. I know the others would say that it’s just an addiction, but what if it’s not? My… former master used to talk to himself in my presence about subconscious manipulation, dream suggestion, and unconscious compulsion… is that what’s happening? Is it him doing this to me somehow? Is it possible? I don’t even want to ask any of the others, they already look down on me for gaining all of this weight, and I’ve been snapping at them, coming across as an emotional wreck of late…

I think I’ll ask a more knowledgeable mind about such things. Perhaps that tengu who joined the guild before I left could provide some understanding; he knew a lot about the undead, and my master was a necromancer… it’s a stretch, I know.

Augh, the shame of it all! The only being that seems to not be bothered by my fatness is Roukan; he’s become super cuddly. Hmph, probably because I’m so much warmer now in this abominable cold… what a bad dog, using my problem to his advantage. Anyways, we’re almost at what Tessariel called “Glacier Lake”, across which is Whitethrone, where this all will come to a head. I hope things can hold together until we’re done.

… Speaking of which, I shall need a bigger robe, too.

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Tomoe's Jounal, 10

=The following pages have a very nice drawing of a cake that the words wrap around, and one could guess that over the course of her writing the journal she would stop and touch up the drawing while she considered a thought=
Ohh, my stomach… damn that rat, showing up and convincing me to eat those dumplings or whatever they were, why did I listen to him?? Just because he said he couldn’t finish them? I don’t know if he even ate any! Ugh, I feel like I’m going to explode…

… Not like it’s really his fault. The cake was likely a bad choice to begin with, but a guard at the gate had mentioned getting some, and I’d never tried cake before… it was so delicious… but I need to get this under control! This comfort eating is a hole I’m racing headlong down, and I soon won’t fit through! The waist in my traveling outfit is already impossible to wrap as fully around myself as before… I can’t afford to let myself get fat or keeping my skills sharp and myself ready for anything – including the possibility of my master reappearing or something, no matter how unlikely it seems at the moment – will become impossible!

… And suddenly I’m thinking about that cake again! I’ll put it out of my mind before I do something about it.

At any rate, we escaped the town. Varro said that they’d had a witch scrying on them, so we spent all of our time outside of town attempting to throw them off our trail. I’m not sure how well it worked at this point, but they haven’t caught us yet and we’ve quietly gained access to this city, whatever it was called… Still, misadventures aside, I think we’re making pretty good time on this journey. Rhork seems entirely able to cast some pretty potent magic, and is quite handy in combat. He makes a fine ally and seems quite reliable… thank the Lord of Tricks that he is, because not many of our new additions seem so trustworthy. That creepy gnome who’d been skulking about is still… skulking about. She won’t say anything about herself and seems to think us to simply be helpful to her, not really worth her concern or help, and that is troublesome. I’m not sure where she went, but I guess it was her intent to become scarce… it’s impossible to tell what she intended, or even why she came along. I kind of personally hope she doesn’t come back; some manner of foul intent spoils the air around her… it’s just a feeling I can’t shake, though.

Varro seems to have similar struggles as I do, but his weakness is violence and the path of destruction. I can tell that he wants to help people, but he seems to get in his own way. He always seems to consider complete violence to be a worthwhile and plausible solution, sometimes even defaulting to it first, before considering anything else! Nonetheless, he returned to help Rhork and I, and brought Roukan… I’m not sure what they did, but Roukan seemed okay with him. He stunk of shit though, but I learned why soon enough.

As for the rats… well, they look very similar, though I think Roman is the fatter one. He’s a bit annoying, too. Nico seems okay but between the two of them I don’t think there’s a lot of strong feelings toward keeping their opponents alive. Not that I blame them, but part of me feels that just deciding to kill people presents the worst conclusion to a conflict. “The closed fist cannot shake”, or however that saying goes.

I’m not sure if the situation played out very well for anyone involved… I think in the future I’ll be cautious about getting help from the law here. I need to stick to what I believe is right, especially around these guys, but I think a plan needs to be formulated before I go and make it worse. How could I have forgotten that they could likely use magic?? I saw my master using that very spell to ask slain test subjects about what they felt as he… killed them…

… I’m going to go see about the rest of that cake.

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