The Romance of the River Kingdoms
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  1. #1

    The Romance of the River Kingdoms

    The Romance of the River Kingdoms
    From Dictionary.com:
    ro·mance
    –noun
    1. a novel or other prose narrative depicting heroic or marvelous deeds, pageantry, romantic exploits, etc., usually in a historical or imaginary setting.
    2. the colorful world, life, or conditions depicted in such tales.
    4. a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention

    Second IC Thread
    OOC Thread
    Rogue's Gallery



    Overview
    Romance of the River Kingdoms is a D&D 3.5 campaign set in the homebrew World of Conclave. It has a vaguely Asian feel to it, in that it has jade, spirits, fighting styles, elephant-headed gods, divinely-appointed Emperors, rice, bamboo, yen and ancient empires (etc.) but it is not meant as a Fantasy Asia. It has other elements such as worldwide banking and merchant empires, printing presses and clockwork that puts it closer to late 17th century Europe. It also draws upon a range of other influences such as Egypt, Polynesia and Imperial Russia.
    Check here for more

    The Background
    It all begins, as these things often do, with a letter.

    Dear Friend,
    It is my sad duty to inform you that the Vashti of Cormondal has passed away. From her Last Testament I know that you have, at some point in your life, had dealings with the wise woman, and I’m sure that you will remember her as a sprightly lady, lively beyond her great years, always smiling, who always knew the right thing to do or the right thing to say. She applied the teachings of the great sage Manrupashnar, of charity, humility and respect for others, to her whole life, dedicating herself to helping the less fortunate. Whether you were one of those less fortunate whom she helped, or if you were one of the many people whom she persuaded to help (as only she could), I do not know. However, in my sad duty of executing her will I have discovered a reference to your name, and I can inform you that you may stand to benefit from her estate. You may smile to know that she has appended conditions to your inheriting anything – certainly she could push the definition of ‘charity’ sometimes! I do not yet know what she requires of you, nor what you stand to gain. Her possessions were meagre but her influence was great. I have in my possession a sealed document to be opened at her funeral, and I hereby invite you to attend. It is on the 5th day of Third Month. There is no need to reply.

    Your Humble Servant,

    Aru Leng, (New) Vashti of Cormondal.
    Last edited by Dr Simon; Wednesday, 2nd May, 2012 at 05:29 PM.

  2. #2

    Dramatis Personae

    Blackrat as Three Flowers, Human Paladin of Beauty

    Walking Dad as Growling Ape, Baboon Nai-nek-chai Spontaneous Druid (swift hunter variant)

    Shayuri as Annika, Eagle Nai-nek-chai Sorcerer

    Theroc as Shakou, Leopard Nai-nek-chai Rogue

    Neurotic as Mystal Mar, Salsham'ai Swordsage

    Formerly:
    Hafrogman as Dirt, Human Monk

    Redclaw as Xielt, Plains Tlaxu Ranger

    Rolling Man as Jar'Thol, Salsham'ai Shaman

    Passing Maniac as Ying Taramaya ('Raven'), Human Bard
    Last edited by Dr Simon; Wednesday, 15th July, 2009 at 04:25 PM.

  3. #3

    It Begins...

    The last of the smoke from the Vashti's funeral pyre has drifted to the heavens. The wizened old husband and wife who serve as Cormondal's official mourners have swept the ashes off the ghat where the cremation took place into the waters of the Anhoi River1.

    The other mourners have gone home. The only figures who remain on the ghat are Aru Leng, already being called the 'Young Vashti', an anhoine man in the robes of a minor administrative clerk2 and six disparate-looking individuals, human and otherwise.

    "Well, we may as well proceed," says Aru. The clerk hands her a scroll, she breaks open the seal, unrolls it and reads it silently for a moment. "Right, *ahem*

    To be read in the event of my death, in the presence of my successor, whatever legal representatives are required and no other individuals except for those known by the names of Three Flowers, Growling Ape, Xielt, Tam the Mystic, Jar'Thol the Wanderer, Annika and Dirt.
    "

    Aru Leng pauses to scan the group and make a mental count.

    "One missing, but never mind. So...

    To the aforementioned individuals I propose a task that I feel is suited to their skills, temperament and the touch of destiny that I see upon them. The old Cormondal Temple has long fallen into ruin, its treasures mostly saved, lost or looted. However, one important ceremonial item, the statue of the Grand Mutta, was hidden and I believe that the aforementioned individuals have the ability to retrieve it. I have left sealed documents with the local Magister Administory to be opened when the statue of the Grand Mutta is successfully returned to my successor, detailing remuneration for performing this task. You may be wise to pay heed to rumours of monsters, spirits or bandits dwelling in or near the ruins, and remember that what you seek can be found between dusk and dawn.

    So say I, Vasu Leng, Vashti of Cormondal, Thirty Second Day, Eighth Month, 150th Year of Independence
    "

    His work as witness done, the clerk takes his leave of the group with the smallest required depth of bow. The Young Vashti re-rolls the scroll and taps her chin with it.

    "The Old Temple is about a mile upstream along the banks of the Leng," she says. "I was told that there was a flood about thirty years ago and it was deemed unsafe since then. It's up to you whether you'll take the old lady's task. If I know her, your remuneration may well be a homily on the virtues of charity." This last said affectionately. "I'll be here on the funeral platform for the next five days, conducting the necessary prayers. After that, ask for me in the New Temple. What are your thoughts?"

    1 The most common form of Imperial funeral is the cremation. The ashes are then disposed of in a form appropriate to the deceased. The Old Vashti, having ties to the healing powers of water, has been cast into the river.
    2 His elaborately embroidered silk robes proclaim him to be a Clerk of the Glittering Waters, the second rank of administrative clerk. Quite junior.

    OOC
    Pick a colour for direct speech from your character. Footnotes will be used for background details from time to time.
    Attached Files Attached Files  
    Last edited by Dr Simon; Thursday, 5th June, 2008 at 04:44 PM.

  4. #4

    Growling Ape

    Ape does not look at anyone special as he answers the question about his thoughts in respect of the temple and the dangers: "If you do not enter the tiger's cave, you will not catch its cub."

    Meaning
    You can't do anything without risking something.
    Last edited by Walking Dad; Thursday, 27th March, 2008 at 09:01 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Montréal, Qc
    Posts
    332

    Jar'Thol, Treefolk shaman

    Jar'Thol was moved by the funeral ceremony for that late Vashti. During his previous brief stay at Cormondal, he had come love her generous spirit and welcoming manners. Holding back a few tears, he hopes that the water spirits will guide her safely to the wonderful afterlife she deserves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Dad
    Ape does not look at anyone special as he answers the question about his thoughts in respect of the temple and the dangers: "If you do not enter the tiger's cave, you will not catch its cub."
    The small salsham'ai seems somewhat amused by Ape's remark and he returns his usual jovial self. "Wisely said stranger but I wonder why we would want tiger cubs. Nothing but trouble, I tell you." Jar'Thol chuckles as he climbs to a higher spot on the river banks. "I'm Jar'Thol by the way but, like our Young Vashti said, some do call me 'The Wanderer'. Let me offer you another saying. Amongst my people, we would say treacherous is the weak branch which holds a sweet fruit." He turns to Aru Leng. "I'm ready to honor the desires of the late Vashti but I wonder why she sending us after a statue. And why did she needed that errand done after her death? Is there anything you can tell us about this statue of Grand Mutta, Young Vashti?"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Eureka, CA
    Posts
    3,039
    The hair on Xielt's back stands on end at the words of the Salsham'ai. He struggles not to let a threatening growl creep into his voice as he spits back a reply, More trouble than you know, small one, especially for one who would likely be taken for prey.

    Slowly pacing along the bank of the river, he lets his feline eyes size up each of the others, taking their measure with the expertise he had gained through years of guiding others through numerous dangers. It seems the old Vashti was as good a judge a character as ever when she selected this group. You all show the trappings of competent explorers, of one sort or another. I am Xielt, guide and hunter, and now a willing member of this expedition.

    Decision made, he turns his back on his new companions, regarding them as dealt with, and focuses his predatory gaze on the only one with more information than the rest of them. What can you tell us of these rumors the old Vashti mentioned? What dangers are we most likely to encounter in this temple, and how would we be best advised to deal with them? He can't help letting his whiskers twitch and his teeth show a little as he gives voice to the question.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2005
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    8,701

    Three Flowers - Paladin of Beauty

    The young handsome man in elaborate clothes stands silently long after the new Vashti has ceased speaking. He looks like a perfectly chiseled statue in his carefully taken pose.

    "Many flowers gone
    Unknown to me this lady
    Winter has now come"


    He finally moves with a grace of a dancer to regard the other quests. He looks some of them with contempt that he can't quite hide but finally adresses Jar'Thol. "You knew this lady? The message I got said that I had had dealings with her, but I do not remember ever meeting her. Is there truth to the new Vashti's words?"
    Last edited by Blackrat; Friday, 28th March, 2008 at 08:16 AM.

  8. #8
    "I'm ready to honor the desires of the late Vashti but I wonder why she sending us after a statue. And why did she needed that errand done after her death? Is there anything you can tell us about this statue of Grand Mutta, Young Vashti?"
    Aru Leng stares across the river, tapping her chin with the scroll. Finally she replies:

    "The Vashti was fond of setting us tasks with no obvious meaning. It was in how we performed the task that the lesson lay. This may be some little teaching exercise of hers from beyond the Veil. " She smiles and shakes her head. "I am sorry, Jar'Thol. Her wisdom eludes me on this occassion. Doubtless it will be made more clear with time.

    The statue - I know of it. She told me about it once, but nothing of who or what this 'Grand Mutta' is. The statue is about two feet tall, made of stone. Roughly carved into the shape of a robed woman, standing with hands aloft as if reaching up to the sky. A crescent, or horns, atop her head. Face serene. Strata in the stone has been used to form a white band around her waist.

    I was just a girl when she told me, made sure that I was clear on all the details. Curious.... Was she preparing me for this moment?
    "

  9. #9
    What can you tell us of these rumors the old Vashti mentioned? What dangers are we most likely to encounter in this temple, and how would we be best advised to deal with them? He can't help letting his whiskers twitch and his teeth show a little as he gives voice to the question.
    "There were bandits there about ten years ago, that I do know, but they were driven out. No-one lives near the temple any more and it is mostly ignored. There have been complaints of livestock being taken from nearby farms, and of course the usual ghost stories. The young of Cormondal dare each other to go close to the old temple. About two months ago one young lad never came back and so they stopped going. Of course, there are also rumours that he ran away from home, so...

    I'm afraid there is no clear answer, Master Xielt. Be prepared for anything from nothing, to wild beasts, to restless spirits
    ."

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Redclaw
    ... It seems the old Vashti was as good a judge a character as ever when she selected this group. You all show the trappings of competent explorers, of one sort or another. I am Xielt, guide and hunter, and now a willing member of this expedition. ...
    "They call me Growling Ape. I'm wise in the ways of nature and a jiunsami. My powers lay in tracking and magic. May we travel like the Immortals crossing the sea, each one displaying his/her special feats.

    I will aid any of you as I trust the wishes of the old Vashti. I own her more than I am willing to admit."


    The male before you is wearing simple, loose fitting clothes without shoes. He has a staff at his side.
    His body is very hairy but his hedhair is short and he has no beard. His lips and mouth are a bit pronounced.

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