Tuesday, August 14, 2012
The Epic : Exalted e02
The second session of the game opens with Maseta Amarilis (played by Mahar) finding a tomb in the desert that contains an artifact that once belonged to her. The 60 yard long corridor was flanked by numerous stone guardians. At the corridor's terminus is a glass case containing a gleaming pair of Orichalcum hatchets known as : Lightning Torment Hatchets. Throwing a dagger, with hopes of making a line to cross without touching the ground, the guardians move and slice the blade into shattered pieces. Realizing she would have to try something more dangerous, the former assassin runs the gauntlet, leaping into the shadow of each guardian and utilizing her Perfect Defense Dodge charm to evade each time her leaps launched her headlong into trouble. At the end of the corridor, she found herself facing an Essence construct of her former self who reveals to her the name her Solar essence once held in the First Age, M'randa, as well as one additional fact: She had killed her First Age husband.
Enos Ragara (played by Urim) on the other hand finds himself lost in a dream where he witnesses a falling star crash just meters from where he stands. A starmetal box gleams in the crater and a strange spider-like thing addresses him using fragments of his memories to forge words to ask for his identity. The name comes to him without thinking: Dominus. The box unfurls into a cloth which the spider drags with it as it launches itself back to the heavens. Enos finds on the floor a majestic Orichalcum crown. Wearing it, he feels the immense power behind the artifact as well as the three hearthstones still attached to it. He muses on the words of the spider: Delivery successful. Promise delivered. End transaction. And wakes up to find himself back in camp with the crown still on his head.
It has been a few days since their frightening self-discovery (the last game) and Maseta, her husband Dargo, her stylist Hugo Voss, and Enos Ragara have opted to camp out in the desert to collect their thoughts on the fact they were now these so-called Anathema. In the years that followed the return of the Scarlet Empress, the Wyld Hunt had been injected with a fresh new surge of inspiration and resources in their work. At the cost of many of the Realm's known heroes, it was believed that all the Anathema in Creation had been wiped out. The frightening shape changing mutants of the Wyld were destroyed. The dark bloody infernal things of the Underworld and the other world were purified and buried. The mechanical monstrosities from the floating city were disassembled. And the golden deceivers of the demonic horde were hunted down, chased to the ground, and slain. Creation, for the longest time, had become a peaceful and relatively safe haven for mortals and Dynasts alike.
But now, the four struggled with awakening memories of their First Age lives, of the truths whispered by the Unconquered Sun, and of the fact that even now as these diabolical Anathema, they all still felt like themselves. Only more powerful. Only more skilled and dangerous.
Enos wakes to see Maseta staring at him, pondering on where the naked old sheriff had found the gaudy crown on his head. Dargo woke to see the two, feeling pangs of jealousy to see his wife standing beside a naked man. But all three quickly realized Hugo was missing, and with Enos' keen sight, the group realized the young Stylist was far away in the desert and in danger. Leaping onto horses (Maseta rode with her husband, having no skill with riding any steed), the three bounded to see what their friend had gotten himself into.
The young man was at the entrance of another tomb in the desert, and his hands were seemingly focused on some kind of motions that suggested the use of Sorcery. Closing in on him were two massive armored forms: Warstriders. And both bore the crest of the Wyld hunt. The first was of red jade, and flame danced around its fortified frame. The second, still airborne, was blue, and held a massive jade spear. And above both floated a massive airship of House Mnemon.
Quickly, Enos fired his flame piece with his Righteous Devil Style empowering the assault. Maseta, on the other hand, was thrown by Dargo towards the airship in a bid to delay further reinforcements. The red Warstrider closed in to attack, taking minimal damage from Enos' initial attack. Unfortunately, Enos took the Daiklave to the chest and fell down after his failed attempt to dodge the swing. Bleeding profusely, the Solar of the Dawn caste reconsidered his approach. Maseta pulled herself closer, but allowed her hatchets to remain extended, spinning like a ball of blades towards the airship. Tearing through the tarpaulin balloon that kept the ship aloft, she maneuvered her fall to land onto the deck of the ship. Dargo caught the red Warstrider's attack, and with a strength he never knew he had, ripped the arm and weapon away from the Dragonblooded warrior whose name, it was revealed was Cynis Avaku. The blue Warstrider closed in on Maseta and unleashed an incredible sonic attack which Maseta thankfully escaped from. It became clear that in the blue Warstrider was the last remaining Immaculate Monk, Pheleps Deled.
And on the airship, stepping out to face Maseta, was Menmon herself. In her hands, a chain swung which suspended a crucible that released a green mist.
Enos rose, ignoring his injury, and called out to all present. Unveiling his Anima Banner, that of a massive golden horse rearing at the gathered, Enos demanded that all leave or face their deaths at his hands. With the Crown of Thunders empowering his words and his Caste Power further increasing its potency, the Dragonblooded all began to feel the fear that would overtake their sensibilities. Even Cynis Avaku failed against the fear and began to retreat. Pheleps Deled, however, resisted and prepared another assault upon the still casting Hugo.
Mnemon smirked upon seeing Maseta and allowed the Crucible to drop onto the deck of the ship. Maseta, knowing Sorcery is always trouble, kicked a body off the ship to use as a landing platform and escape. Hugo's protective shield shatters upon Deled's assault, and the combined efforts of Enos and Dargo thankfully distract the Dynast long enough for Hugo's Sorcery to succeed. From the ground, a golden barge erupts and begins to rise. At the same time, from the green clouds on the Mnemon airship, a massive tower also erupts and upon it, a titanic Demon from Malfeas itself.
As Dargo continues to rip Deled's armor to pieces, Enos decides it would be best to take a strategic retreat. Maseta wisely uses her Hatchets to pull Dargo back to the vessel, but not before Deled strikes Dargo and paralyzes him into a useless state. While the odds seemed stacked still on Mnemon's favor, to the incomplete Circle's surprise, she instead calls Deled to pull back, holds her Demon from attacking and throws Enos a scroll case with information on various weapon caches of House Mnemon. The group flies off further into the desert thankful their lives remain intact.
Days pass and the group considered where to hide. Hugo suggests at first hiding in the last place the enemy would look (the Blessed Isle) but his suggestion is quickly shot down. The group decides Nexus would help, and Maseta's connection to the Guild can be used to further their plans. But when the group discusses how Dargo and Maseta's Daughter remains in Chairoscuro and might be taken hostage to lure them back, the group opts to head there immediately to try to steal her away.
Their plan is sound. Dargo and Maseta enter the city, with Maseta in disguise. The two planned to get to their daughter and escape with her back to the ship. But none of them anticipated that a huge party was being held in their home, and their daughter was auctioning all their belongings away. With Dargo opting to stay hidden in the alleyways, fearing being recognized, Maseta attends the event after filching another guest's invitation. Inside, she finds her daughter proudly speaking of her father, and all their belongings being sold for charity. To Maseta's horror, her daughter Raya turns out to be under the guardianship of "Uncle" Orus, the Guildmaster leader Maseta used to work for. Eventually convincing both under the guise of being another far-forgotten relative, to meet with her in private, Maseta was on the verge of revealing her true nature when Orus grabs hold of the Solar and pulls them both out of the scene. Raya blinks and convinces herself she must have dozed off, having no recollection of the meeting having taken place.
Enos remains bothered of the vision his Scrying Stone shows him, and goes to a nearby pub to try to forget about things. But soon, he hears sirens of alarm (or declaration?) and runs outside to see the night sky illuminated by what seems to be a fleet of airships. He realizes the others may be in danger and decides to rush there to see how he can help.
The fleet turns out to be the Scarlet Empress. And she has come to collect her newly adopted daughter: Raya.
In the garden, Maseta and Orus exchange harsh words. Orus admits he set things in motion, bringing the four to a fated moment when they would meet. But when Maseta demands explanations, Orus refuses to answer, admitting he can only help them so much. And that their destiny lies in finding the fifth Solar. There are only five Solar Essences left in Creation. And only when all five are united can things become better.
Maseta demands a name, but Orus explains either they find that out on their own and still have his help when he can, or he tells her the answer and can no longer assist in any way. Orus insists Raya will be safest with the Empress. She demands and answer and he gives it: The Final Solar is the Scarlet Empress. And upon uttering those words, Orus is assailed by spider spirits that emerge out of nowhere, and devour him away. So utterly destroyed is he that Maseta soon finds herself wondering why she is crying for someone she cannot remember.
She escapes the house, even with the Dragon-blooded all present. Enos ignites a massive fire to distract the Dragon-blooded, and Maseta launches her Hatchet away to divert all Essence-seeking Dynasts to a wrong path. And as they all regroup in the ship, the couple wonders if Raya is truly safer where they left her, and what to do now given their paths will require them to face with the greatest Dragon-blooded of them all.
Yep, told you this will be epic.
And yes, I know canonically, there are many contradictions in this tale with the system, but hey, fun goes before system as far as I am concerned. With this session, the players now have a greater understanding of the immensity of the story and access to any Artifacts they may need. The players received additional experience points and free dots of permanent Essence to reflect their concentrated Solar Essences.
Orus clearly was Sidereal. And while the Scarlet Empress may be the final threat they have to face, the players are now considering what role Mnemon may play to help or hinder them as the game progresses. They do raid the weapon caches, and find no ambush party or traps waiting for them, much to their surprise. The group easily muses that Mnemon might be making another gambit for the throne, and is hoping to use them as the weapon to defeat the Scarlet Empress.
Oh, Dargo and Maseta had some nice fun moments talking about their past lives, and Maseta admitted she supposedly killed her First Age husband - a fact they misunderstood to mean she killed Dargo in the past. It was later revealed in game that Dargo's First Age name was Daisen, which confused Maseta. Because Maseta's First Age husband was named Swan.
Enos and Hugo were discussing how Hugo was effeminate because he had grown used to acting that way. He is obsessed with women and as it turns out, used to just act gay to be able to fondle them and not get smacked in the face. During their discussion, he admits his First Age name to be Swan and immediately angrily chides, "What kind of man would ever embrace something so girly and frilly as a... oh wait..." The irony wasn't lost to them.
Lastly, Enos' vision showed many things, but admittedly, I can't quite recall what parts of my plot I revealed and what I haven't. So rather than risk posting stuff that I didn't actually give the players yet, I'll have to remain mum on that for now.
So, till the next Epic episode!