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  1. Awesome! Thanks for the info, and the welcome. Now I just need to figure out the little details...like a character concept. 😁
  2. At The Sign Of The Prancing Pon...err...Golden Gear ************* ************* The kitten cocked it's head at Killian when he answered, giving the man a couple of slow blinks. After he finished speaking, the kitten's voice once more resonated within the half orc's mind, and, once more, it echoed softly in Valros' as well. "green man nice. talk lots, but nice. is good." The golden furred kitten then curled up contentedly in Valros' lap, yawning hugely, and accepted the tidbits of meat that the tiefling fed to it from the bowl that the server had delivered. The two appeared lost in their own world, quietly conversing in their minds, as the rest turned their attention to the gravelly voiced dwarf. ************* There was a grunt from deep within the shadows, and the Dwarf took a long pull of his drink, looking out at those at the table. After a moment, he nodded in their direction, and spoke quietly, his voice just as gravely as before. "The reason I suggested you all pass on to the Barrow, which, by the by" he looked in Trellis' direction, "is the next big town on the North spur of the Imperial Highway, and a prosperous trade town, which I thought adventurers such as yourselves might appreciate, is that Humbert's manor is, of late, a madhouse. Though..." he peered closely at Lucrezia, and smirked before continuing, "perhaps some of you enjoy that sort of thing. Regardless, what I meant was this: For the past few months, I've been a guest at the Manor, doing research in Humbert's library. Except for a few shouting matches between Humbert, and that harpy Kazin, everything was fine. Then, a few weeks ago, I noticed that there was no shouting. That was when I also noticed Kazin whistling in the hallways...right sent shivers up my spine, it did. Anyway, I figured there was something up, so, after a few days, I decided to ask her where Humbert had gotten himself to. She threw her head back and cackled like a madwoman, but all she would say was that he was 'around, and maybe a little ticked off', and then she walked away, laughing her fool head off." The dwarf leaned back and took another long pull on his Cream, then set the stoneware mug down on the table, peering intently at the group. "Couldn't find hide nor hair of the Artificer...and believe me, I looked. But that blasted house is loaded up with too many fool jokes and tricks." He flicked one thick finger at the hammer pins on his collar, which all present recognized as a Master's Mark of the Imperial Guild of Artificers, and continued. "Now, I'm a dab hand at dealing with machines, but some of Humbert's designs are beyond even me, loath though I am to admit it. But, whatever's going on up there was far beyond my skills to deal with." Before he could say any more, he was interrupted by Leider's equally deep baritone coming from behind the adventurers. "Master BrakHammer, I still think Humbert was pulling your leg. Everyone for leagues around knows that the Magister has a...unique sense of humour. I'm sure it's all just one of his pranks." The dwarf snorted incredulously and shook his head, his waist long beard flying back and forth. "Not like it was up there Leider. You weren't there, I was, and I'm telling you, I was lucky to get out of there alive!" Turning his attention back to the group at the table, the dwarf frowned thunderously, before offering one last comment. "Makes no difference to me," he said, quaffing the last of his Cream and standing up from his table. He locked eyes with all of those at the table. "Just you remember, when you're up to your necks in trouble, that I warned you. Now," he turned back to Leider, "unless anyone else wishes to question my word, I believe I'll retire for the evening. I plan to head out tomorrow...have your stablehand ready my pony cart for first light. I'll break my fast in my room before that, if it's acceptable. Gentlemen, Lady...I bid you good evening." And not another word would he speak, even if called back or questioned. A moment later he stomped up the stairs and was out of sight. Leider, too, left for the bar, though not without a sincere, despite it's brevity, apology to Lucrezia. It seemed, however, that the interruptions weren't done for the evening, as a soft, musical voice spoke up from a few feet away. "Well. That was certainly...interesting." Turning, the group saw that the musician, who had apparently finished her set, was standing near their table. Having been caught 'spying', a faint rose tint dusted her cheeks, but that was the only outward sign that she might feel even a bit guilty. Nodding to all present, she continued. "Forgive me for eavesdropping...not like I could help it, of course, BrakHammer's voice isn't exactly suited to 'quiet' conversation." She shrugged, "And it's not like he hasn't voiced his opinions to all and sundry at least once a night for the last three he's been here. Oh, but, forgive me..." Stepping forward, she gave a half bow to the table. "It seems that my manners truly have deserted me this evening. My name is Ariand StormHunter, a bard of the Royal College, and Seeker of Lost Truths." Again, she shrugged, but this time with a wry twist of her mouth. "Mostly that means that I travel all across the land, usually at the Dean's request, seeking out and reading dusty old tomes in some lightless, cheerless library, monastery, or even the occasional evil wizards lair." Glancing at Lucrezia, the bard's eyes flicked down to the hem of her own robe, and the symbols embroidered therein, before quickly meeting the dhampir's eyes. The woman's own bright blue orbs twinkled with mirth, and she gave Lucrezia the merest hint of a nod, recognizing a fellow scholar, and clearly having noted the woman's reaction to the little joke stitched into her clothing. Reaching out to the side, Ariand snagged an empty chair from a nearby table, then plunked it down between Valros and Lance. Up close, they could see that the tips of her ears, more bluntly pointed than a full elf's would be, nevertheless peeked up from her raven black hair. A faint scent of jasmine and honeysuckle hung in the air around her, along with something earthy, perhaps sandalwood. From this distance, it was clear that the bard was a woman of means...her clothes were made of silk and raime, and, while not ostentatious, the glint of well made jewelry adorned her neck, ears, wrists, and fingers. "I hope you dont mind if I join you. Bess might have mentioned that she overheard you all were planning to head over to Humbert's Manor tomorrow, and, now that I'm healed up, I was planning on making the journey there as well." She looked around the table, catching each of their eyes in turn. "I dont necessarily mind riding out on my various missions alone, but, given the...unpleasant air that the woods have had lately, some company would certainly be appreciated." Before she could continue, the little cat in Valros' lap made a happy, and deeply satisfied 'meep', instantly drawing Ariand's attention. Turning to the little creature, Ariand's eyes immediately softened, and a genuine smile graced her lips. Turning her attention fully to Valros, the woman's smile grew even more. "You are a rare one, friend. It's not many who could win the affection of a Golden Cat, especially a kitten. You should consider yourself extremely lucky...or, at least, you will be, depending on whether on not it's powers have fully developed." Her smile once more morphed back into a smirk, and she returned her attention to her tablemates. "As I said, if you're willing to let me join you, I'd like to head out to Humberts at first light. The ride itself shouldn't take us more than a few hours...we can easily reach it by high noon if there are no unforeseen complications." She glanced up as Bess moved nearby and Ariand made a tipping motion of her hand. With a grin and a nod, Bess immediately changed course and headed towards the bar. Ariand turned her attention back to the table. "So, does anyone have any questions for me? While I've never met Humbert himself, I did do some rather extensive research on him, and several other notable persons in the area, including the Sorceress Kasin, whom BrakHammer mentioned." She sat, fingers interlaced and forearms on the table, looking inquisitively at the rest of the table. OOC OOC NOTES Apologies...again, for the long delay...again. Things continue to be busier than I had planned. I hope I didn't move things along too much, but it all just sort of flowed as I was writing. Y'all feel free to interject any actions for your characters that you feel are appropriate, and we can tweak things if necessary, timing wise. Otherwise, have fun!
  3. Firefly meets Cyberpunk, in StarFinder?!? Oh I DEFINITELY aim to misbehave!! I've looked all over the character creation rules, and can't seem to find our starting level. Am I blind, or is it listed elsewhere? Also, I note that there's no 3pp allowed, but is it safe to assume that all official SF material is allowed? Should we just use aonsrd.com? I honestly don't even have a germ of a hint of a character idea, but I'd like to get my ducks in a row before I start making plans.
  4. At The Sign Of The Prancing Pon...err...Golden Gear ************* ************* Martin smiled happily at Killian, seeming quite happy to interact with the half orc. "Why yes sir. I'm well acquainted with Artificer Humbert. He's the one who sent me to work for Master Leider. If you're heading to the Manor, I'm sure he'll be pleased to see you, and will be more than happy to assist you with whatever you need." As he finished speaking, the server noticed that the customer who had been signalling him earlier was getting rather insistent...and loud. Turning back to the table, he gave them all a half bow. "Please forgive me gentlemen, but I need to go take care of that patron before he gets upset. When your companion is ready to return to the table, or any of you need a refill, signal me and I'll top you up. I am authorized to take payment myself, or you can establish a tab with Master Leider, should you so choose." Giving another nod of his head, the man moved off into the crowd, deftly avoiding the other servers and patrons. Despite his odd, stiff gait, he appeared to be quite dexterous. After Martin had left and Killian cleaned both the kitten and it's new servant, into who's lap it was rather firmly ensconced, the little ginger feline turned it's deep green eyes on the half orc. From deep within Killian's mind, he heard a bright, childlike voice resonating through him. "nice green man...make clean and dry...is good...no like muck and wet" A faint echo of the kitten's mental voice sounded in Valros' head, as though he'd 'heard' the mental conversation from a short distance away. Just about then, Bess arrived in response to Valros' call. Looking down at the adorable kitten, her face softened and she grinned. "Well, isn't he the most adorable little thing? I'll be back in a jif with a snack, and a saucer of milk, for the little one." Reaching down, she gave the kitten a quick scratch behind the ears before turning away to head back to the bar and place the tiefling's additional order. The kitten, having received it's just due of attention settled down in the tiefling's lap, purring contentedly. "nice lady...bring food...thank warm horn man" ************* A few minutes later, as Lucrezia was on her way back to the table, Martin returned as well. Once again, he nodded to everyone present and set an empty stoneware mug on the table, before he reached out a hand, the finger flipping back, and the brass nozzle once more sent out a steady stream of warm Korova Cream into the empty mug. A moment later, it was full nearly to the brim, and his finger once more returned to normal. Placing the mug at the appropriate spot, Martin then moved to one side, drawing out Lucrezia's chair and then tucking it back in as she moved to sit. "There you are, madam. Please enjoy your Korova Cream. Be sure to sip, and carefully. It's very hot...KRRZZZZXXXT!!" Just as he uttered the word 'Hot', a strange, static filled HISS emanated from Martin, and his whole body twitched violently. A split second later, there was a soft WHOOSH, followed by a brief, but intense pain on the outside of Lucrezia's right shin. The server's face morphed from pleasant to horrified in a flash. In a voice barely above a whisper he stammered out an apology, his formerly cheerful voice taking on a somber, mournful tone. Oddly, the tone of the apology carried the most emotion that any of the companions had observed from the server. "I'm so, so sorry. I didn't mean to do that. Please forgive me...it's a sickness I have." Before any of the group could stop him, Martin spun away, quickly striding to a dark corner near the half orc bouncer. As he jerkily moved across the room, the five of them could hear the man muttering something unintelligible, but clearly distressed, under his breath. Bess, who'd just arrived with two small saucers for Valros' new companion, gave them all a soft, sad smile. Reaching into a pocket in her apron, she pulled out a small glass phial filled with a pearlescent liquid and offered it to Lucrezia. "Please accept my apology as well on behalf of poor Martin. That potion will fix up any damage done to your person." She huffed in irritation before continuing. "I dont know what that Humbert was thinking...giving that poor thing such a sickness. You'd think a 'Grand High Artificer' would know his trade better than to give a clockwork creation emotions, then force it to do something that so clearly upsets it!" Setting the dishes down in front of Valros with more force than necessary, though still with enough professionalism to avoid spilling any, she looked over at the corner where Martin had gone and bit her lip. With a soft sigh, the server turned to Lucrezia. "Once again, ma'am, I'm terribly sorry. Master Leider has standing orders that any patron who is affected by Martin's...'tics', gets a full refund for the price of their stay, and a drink on the house. He'll also pay for any necessary repairs to your outfit." She looked down at the dress, a small frown on her face. "Anya" she pointed at a slim, willowy, blonde half-elf on the far side of the Inn, "is a fine seamstress and should be able to repair that for you tonight while you sleep. Just call for her when you're ready to head up for the night and she'll have it back to you, right as rain, in the morning." Bess hesitated a moment, lingering to answer any additional questions, or, if necessary, soothe tempers, before once again being called away. As the companions were reacting to all these developments, a gruff voice, sounding like two boulders grinding together, spoke from the shadows of a nearby booth. "If I were you, I'd go on to the Barrow in the morning, and forget about the Clockwork Mage." The comment was followed by a loud slurp as the cloaked, shrouded figure took a large swig from a stoneware Cream mug, before setting it carefully down on the table. OOC OOC NOTES Apologies for the long delay. It's been an...interesting few days. 😬 We'll be back on track now, and I'll make every effort to keep the pace at something more reasonable. Regarding Martin's 'Tics' Lucrezia takes 1 point of Fire damage to the outside of her right shin (adjusted by any ER). In addition, unless it's resistant/immune to Fire damage, her dress now has a perfect circle, the size of a quarter, with definite char marks around the edge, burnt in the same location. If anyone tries to stop Martin from leaving, one of the servers (not Bess, who's on her way at that moment, though not actually there yet) will intervene, stepping between them and the automaton. They will repeat his words about it being a sickness, as well as sincerely apologize. They will then refer all further questions/concerns to the approaching Bess. If anyone tries to follow, or escalate the situation, the half orc will take a single step out of his alcove and give the follower/escalator a very definite 'I wouldn't do that if you want to keep all your limbs attached to your torso' glare. That said, you can, of course, react to any and all of the above however you like. That's just what happens in the first seconds after Martin giving Lucrezia a 'hotfoot...err...shin'. The Phial A DC 15 Craft Alchemy check (or knowing the formulae for Salve) will reveal that the liquid is an ingestible version of the formulae. It is quite diluted and will only heal 1d2HP worth of damage. It is a standard Alchemy Formulae, and will degrade in the usual manner, in roughly 12 hours.
  5. I have a bad habit of making pretty much all my characters good at pretty much all Knowledge skills. I dont even do it consciously anymore. I just hate not being able to know stuff. Apparently I spend too much time around my cats. 😸 What you have is great. I like having that sort of info at my fingertips, because trying to look it all up on a half dozen character sheets whenever I need to do Stealth vs Perception or Deception vs Sense Motive or whatever is a major PITA. Appreciate it. :)
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