Alea Iacta Story Hour: A Mythic Rome Campaign (Baby Announcement: 8/17) - Page 18


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  1. #171
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    ø Ignore Cerebral Paladin
    Here's Marcus's character sheet. It may contain some slight spoilers in the equipment list, and this is 3.5 even though I think the game was still 3.0 at this point. And we might still be 7th level at this point. But here it is.

    Marcus Catellus Alexandros
    Human male Psychic Warrior 8

    Str 18 +4
    Dex 10 0
    Con 12 +1
    Int 12 +1
    Wis 15 (17) +2 (+3)
    Cha 12 +1

    WP 20
    HP 47
    AC 19 10 +6 +2 +1 (nat'l armor)

    Sum Base Stat
    Fort +7 +6 +1
    Ref +2 +2 0
    Will +5 +2 +3
    +15 +10 against psionic mind control

    BAB Melee Ranged
    +6/+1 +10/+5 +6/+1

    Masterwork Bastard Sword +12/+7 1d10+4 19-20 [x2]
    +17/+12 1d10+8
    Javelin +6/+1 1d6+4 x2

    Feats
    EWP (Bastard Sword)
    WF (Bastard Sword)
    Power Attack
    Cleave
    Endurance
    Shield Wall
    Psionic Weapon
    Greater Psionic Weapon
    Psionic Meditation

    Skills: Sum Ranks Stat Other
    Autohypnosis 12 7 3 2
    Concentration 13 11 2
    Knowledge (Philo) 9 6 1 2
    Profession 11 8 3
    (Centurion)
    Spot 14 11 3
    Languages (Latin, Greek, Celtic)

    Power Points: 31 (8)
    Powers Known:
    1st
    Biofeedback (A)
    Metaphysical Weapon (A)
    Precognition, Defensive (A)
    Prescience, Offensive (A)
    Vigor (A)

    2nd
    Animal Affinity (A)
    Dissolving Weapon (A)

    3rd
    Empathic Transfer, Hostile (A)

    Equipment:
    Medal of Wisdom +2
    Armband of Natural Armor +1
    Armband/Headband of Charm
    Glass Greaves (shadow)
    Potion of Healing
    Armband of Malachite Philosophy Resistance
    Primus Pilus Brooch
    Storyhour plugs: Aphonion Tales, a storyhour that I write (mostly) about a campaign in which I'm a player.
    The Journals of Konrad Jagger, Licensed Diabolist, a storyhour I write set in the same world as Aphonion Tales, but about different characters.
    Orichalcum's Way Cool Roman Storyhour, in which I'm a player.
    Welcome to the Halmae, a nifty storyhour about a campaign for which I occasionally Council of Evil.

    Unfortunately moribund:
    My Storyhour

 

  • #172
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    Alea Iacta VII: Lux et Veritas Chp. 12: Don't Thank Heaven for Little Girls

    Cimbrus and the Chief Vestal are briefed on the dread fears of the party. Cimbrus notes that, with 2/3rds of the Vigiles and all but 100 of the Praetorians exhausted from the mock battle, and probably drunk, he will need to use most of the remaining forces trying to prevent the 25 remaining fire targets from going up. He puts Lucretius in command of a squad of 8 Praetorians and 10 Vigiles, to help defend the Temple.

    The Chief Vestal is happy for us to defend the Temple, although she warns that a dire fate will await any non-virgin female who steps into the Temple itself. Meloch provides the names of some of the escaped slaves he knows about, and the Vestals use their special power to divinely Hold any of them still within the pomerium, the sacred boundary, of Roma.

    Cornelia also goes to Nepa, her cousin, who is currently studying to be a priestess in the Temple of Diana, the Maiden Goddess, and with her help gets 8 trained archers and priestesses of the Maiden Goddess to guard the innermost areas of the Temple of Vesta itself.

    (My map of the Temple of Vesta is on my computer, which is currently very unhappy, so I'll rely on words for now on.)

    At the mock battle between the Vigiles and the Praetorians, Cornelia decides to sit with her ex-stepfather's family and her two half-brothers, despite her friendship with Lucretius. The fighters in the group sit right at the edge of their seats, ready to intervene. Lucretius discovers that, in fact, at least some fake Vigiles clearly did get in with sharpened weapons, but manages to defend himself and his teammates successfully, and, in fact, the Praetorians ultimately keep their 11-year winning record, despite being vastly outnumbered.

    Meanwhile, Llyr and Heilyn and Meloch build net traps and set up barricades around the 5 possible entrances to the outer Building of Vesta. There are two potentially dangerous targets inside the Building - the Temple of Vesta in the center of the courtyard, which contains the sacred ever-burning flame that gives holy protection to Roma, and the household gods of Troy, brought by the hero Aeneas to Italy and now housed in a small chamber accessibly only through the Chief Vestal's bedroom, which is itself accessible only through 2 other Vestal's bedrooms.

    There is a main large entrance at the northeastern corner, which, as night falls, Metellus, Heilyn, and Cornelia station themselves at, a southeastern door fairly close to the Vestals' bedrooms, where Lucretius, Marcus, and various Praetorians stand wait, a southwestern window and a western central door, guarded by Wena and the remaining Vigiles and Praetorians, and a small northwestern door, guarded by Meloch and Llyr.

    You might ask, at this point, where I, Shast the monkey, had been stationed, and which net I was set to trigger. In fact, I had chosen a far safer and more important duty. Earlier that morning, Wena had gone to visit her young friend Boadicea, and had found out that Boadicea was in fact hoping to join all of her Celtic slave friends in storming the Temple of the Vestals that evening. Determined to prevent this, Wena spent all of her funds and the reward money from the pirates to buy Boadicea from her owner, the conservative librarian Fufidius Priscus.

    Sadly, Wena did not have enough money to also buy Boadicea's mother, Rhysenn, nor did she fully trust the woman. So she left Rhysenn out of the negotiations entirely, and hustled away a confused and curious Boadicea to Cornelia's house, where she locked her in a room for the night and Meloch set me to watch her and make sure she came to no harm and didn't try to escape. Luckily, Boadicea is just learning how to write well, and so we have an enjoyable time writing to each other on good parchment. I tell her just where I like to be petted behind the ears - no one else knows that except for Meloch. Also, Boadicea is very excited to read all my stories and tells me which bits are her favorites. She really likes the pirate fight.

    Night falls, the sounds of raucous parties and drunken revelry break out. The group waits. For a long time, the Forum itself is quiet. Then, off the distance, the red glow of a fire can be seen, and then another, off to the south. There are the rapid footfalls of running Vigiles. The first glow goes out; two more, in different areas of the city, can be seen.

    And then, out of the darkness, 6 young girls between the ages of 8 and 13, dressed in coarse white woolen tunics, their faces and arms and legs crudely daubed with blue wall paint, bare feet, each carrying a large leather sack bursting with water, come running towards the northeastern entrance. Each girl has an adult protector on each side of her, fully armed and carrying spears and bows. On the southeastern side, another 6 come running, and lightning bolts come crashing down from the sky and incinerate 2 of the Praetorians who are standing guard. The howling, wildly garbed Druids who follow the girls look slightly startled that their storm magic is less powerful here in the heart of Roma than back home in Britannia. (GM Note: 3-3.5 change in Call Lightning.) Barbarians start attacking Marcus and Lucretius, who slowly retreat towards the House of Vesta.

    Meanwhile, on the southeastern side, a sudden thick fog springs up, and it becomes almost impossible to see. The Vigiles and Praetorians retreat towards the door and window and stand bravely in front of it as girls and warriors come screaming out of the dark mist. Wena tries to make her way out of the fog and push it out of the way through the power of philosophy. Meloch throws himself in front of his door. Llyr runs off to the northeastern side of the building, where the attack seems to be fiercest, and he can actually see his opponents.

    The fight goes very differently on each corner of the House of the Vestals. On the northeastern side, the combination of Llyr's nets, Cornelia's Deep Slumber, and Heilyn's Rebukes take out all the little girls painlessly and quickly, leaving them slumbering on the marble cobblestones or squirming in nets. Metellus deals with the Celtic rangers, meanwhile, who are, in any case, less of a threat to Roma itself, and when things begin to get sticky for him as he is entirely flanked, Llyr comes to his rescue.

    On the southeastern side, Marcus and Lucretius initially concentrate their attacks on the apparent Druids, and succeed in taking them out fairly quickly. However, by this point the girls have slipped past and are trying to shove themselves through the nearby window. Marcus looks at the situation, thinks of the good of Roma, and neatly stabs two children through the heart in a single round. Lucretius runs towards the window, and having little other choice, decapitates the girl who is most of the way through. He then tries to knock some of the remaining ones unconscious, but these are fragile slave children, and another one dies by his hand. The Praetorians follow their Decurion's example, and the other two girls are quickly eliminated while the Celtic barbarians flee to join their allies on the southwestern quarter.

    On this corner, two older young Celtic women appear to be trying to break
    in through a large window. The rangers with them, helped by the fog, are rapidly eliminating the brave Praetorians and Vigiles; Wena tries to help and immobilizes some of them, but cannot take them all. One brave Praetorian, Gaius Flavius, holds the door for several long rounds against ten combatants, refusing to yield ground, only sinking into grateful unconsciousness when Marcus and Lucretius arrive to relieve him.

    And on the northeastern corner, Meloch gazes into the dark fog, abandoned by his comrades, sending waves of determination and terror to me. Slowly, there materialize in the fog 7 more girls, and an equal number of fierce warriors. Meloch casts Sleep, and three of the girls go down. He takes a step back, and is brutally stabbed by a man he recognizes as Sycorax, the ranger leader of the Celtic Liberation Front, who is wielding two deadly scimitars. Meloch positions himself directly in front of the open doorway to the Building of the Vestals. Two of the girls are rendered helpless by Wena, who can barely see what is going on, but the other two charge Meloch, trying to squeeze past him or overrun him into the House itself. I scream to Meloch over our link, "What are you doing? If they push you even a foot into the House, Vesta's wrath will fall upon you! Upon us! Get out of the way! The Priestesses of Artemis can take care of them!"

    But Meloch will not be moved. He plants his full three and a half feet in the doorway, and the girls barrel into him and are repulsed. He does, at this point, call forth his black onyx war goat statuette, and orders it to attack Sycorax. He also calls loudly for help. Cornelia begins dashing through the House, taking a short cut, to his side, and Llyr begins charging around the northern edge of the building, followed by Metellus. The girls, meanwhile, charge again, and Meloch is hit again with a spear, although the war goat is doing grievous damage to Sycorax. He tries his Sleep, but it fails. Meloch is on his knees now, knowing he can withstand neither another blow nor another attempt by the girls, but determined not to attack the children themselves, although he has a readily prepared Fireball, his new spell, which could take out all of his opponents at once.

    Just then, Cornelia appears behind him, reinforcing the doorway and casts her far more powerful Deep Slumber, which immediately renders the two girls unconscious, as well as a few of the Celtic warriors. Llyr, followed by Metellus, and the war goat engage Sycorax in combat, but the ranger is fierce, and his blows are deadly.

    Just then, Llyr hears a plaintive voice in his mind, that of the (annoying little wretch) foal Talat, daughter of the Celtic horse-god Epona, whom he had left in the stables back at Metellus Major's house. "Llyr-friend? Bad Men here. Bad Men hurting me. Ow. Make the Bad Men Stop."

    Llyr, worried about Talat, says, "Um, Tribune, could I leave now? My horse is in danger, I think. Heilyn! Talat's in trouble! She's being attacked!"

    Metellus says, "What??? We're in the middle of a battle defending the House of the Vestals and the holy sanctity of all Roma and you want to go take care of your horse?"

    Llyr responds defensively, arguing, "Look, this battle's almost over. And Talat's not just a horse, she's an avatar of Epona!"

    "Fine! Fine!, just go, but we're going to have a long talk about this afterwards," Metellus answers with a high degree of irritation at Llyr's priorities.

    Heilyn, who is also deeply upset by the news of Talat's danger, transforms himself into a centaur, and gallops over. "Llyr, get on my back! We'll get there much faster this way!" The two depart quickly towards Metellus' house.

    For a few seconds, heavy battle continues, but the war-goat and Metellus have Sycorax flanked, and are rapidly wearing him down, although Metellus is taking a fair amount of blows. Seeing the girls down and his foes surrounding him, the badly wounded ranger closes his eyes and seems to concentrate for a moment. His dark grey finely crafted greaves glow in the darkness for a second, and then the color fades. Sycorax opens his eyes, and appears horrified to still be surrounded by his enemies. His terror is brief, however, as in the next few seconds Metellus cuts off his head.

    Meloch, wounded but deeply curious as to where Heilyn and Llyr are going, jumps on the onyx war goat and trots off after them. As the streets are thick with revelers and drunken Praetorians, he catches up with them quickly. Some of the partygoers look and point, shouting, "Great costume idea, man! A centaur, and a pygmy, and a goat! Wow! That must be some party you guys are going to! Let's follow them!" A drunken parade starts following more or less in the wake of the charging centaur. The revelers follow the three into Metellus Major's lofty villa on the Aventine, where Heilyn and Llyr quickly take care of a group of thugs who are trying to steal Talat, interrogate them, and discover that they were apparently sent by Sycorax. Meanwhile, the villa is rapidly invaded and trashed by the revelers, and Metellus' parents stay upstairs.

    Back at the House of the Vestals, the night is again quiet, and the red glows have faded from the horizon. Cornelia, Metellus, Marcus, and Lucretius assemble the captives and corpses: of the nineteen girls who attacked Vesta, eleven have survived the night, and seven Praetorians and 8 Vigiles have also died. But for now, Roma is safe.
    "You know, Roman emperors have plotted against each other without the help of random Celtic people." --Metellus

    All roads lead to Rome, so come visit the Alea Iacta Story Hour.

  • #173
    Wow. Forcing the players to choose between killing innocent children or risking a city-wide catastrophe... what an excellent rat-bastardly thing to do! Nicely done.

  • #174
    An interesting fight, but I am supprised noone thought to pierce the water skins.

  • #175
    Quote Originally Posted by Dæmon
    An interesting fight, but I am supprised noone thought to pierce the water skins.
    Well, the thought occurred. But really, you can put out a Flame of Vesta by whacking it with a wet leather waterskin almost as effectively as you can by pouring water on it. If the girls had got into the Temple, it wouldn't have much mattered if they had water or not. So we had to stop them, quickly. The only question was the means.

  • #176
    Quote Originally Posted by Meloch the Pygmy
    Well, the thought occurred. But really, you can put out a Flame of Vesta by whacking it with a wet leather waterskin almost as effectively as you can by pouring water on it. If the girls had got into the Temple, it wouldn't have much mattered if they had water or not. So we had to stop them, quickly. The only question was the means.
    I had assumed that the flame was substantial and not so easily extinguished, on account of the large amount of water being brought to douse it.

  • #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dæmon
    I had assumed that the flame was substantial and not so easily extinguished, on account of the large amount of water being brought to douse it.
    No, that was just so that each girl had a substantial chance of doing it on her own. The Flame of Vesta is the equivalent of a sizable torch flame - it's holy and doesn't need oil or fuel, but can go out through normal means, which is why there's always a Vestal watching it. So yes, wet waterskins would have taken a little longer but probably been equally effective, as, for that matter, would a little girl throwing herself on the Flame.
    As Meloch said, the danger was very real for the Flame. The question was in how to deal with the opposition. There were about 3 successive rounds when I was one good die roll away from killing Meloch, and the player was well aware of that. (Vesta would have shown _no_ mercy to a non-Roman male non-virginal embodiment-of-fertility slave...)
    "You know, Roman emperors have plotted against each other without the help of random Celtic people." --Metellus

    All roads lead to Rome, so come visit the Alea Iacta Story Hour.

  • #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dæmon
    I had assumed that the flame was substantial and not so easily extinguished, on account of the large amount of water being brought to douse it.
    No, that was just so that each girl had a substantial chance of doing it on her own. The Flame of Vesta is the equivalent of a sizable torch flame - it's holy and doesn't need oil or fuel, but can go out through normal means, which is why there's always a Vestal watching it. So yes, wet waterskins would have taken a little longer but probably been equally effective, as, for that matter, would a little girl throwing herself on the Flame.
    As Meloch said, the danger was very real for the Flame. The question was in how to deal with the opposition. There were about 3 successive rounds when I was one good die roll away from killing Meloch, and the player was well aware of that. (Vesta would have shown _no_ mercy to a non-Roman male non-virginal embodiment-of-fertility slave...)
    "You know, Roman emperors have plotted against each other without the help of random Celtic people." --Metellus

    All roads lead to Rome, so come visit the Alea Iacta Story Hour.

  • #179
    Quote Originally Posted by Orichalcum
    There were about 3 successive rounds when I was one good die roll away from killing Meloch, and the player was well aware of that. (Vesta would have shown _no_ mercy to a non-Roman male non-virginal embodiment-of-fertility slave...)
    Meloch knew he was on the verge of being zorched by Vesta, but to his own considerable surprise found himself willing to risk death instead of killing the little Celtic girls. Even though they were pretty sure to be killed by the Romans anyway, for their blasphemy against Vesta and Roma.

    An irrational mess. The idea of using innocent girls as the front line of an attack was repugnant to Meloch, which was why he was willing to turn in the escaped slaves who were involved. Plus he doesn't think it would be a good thing for the Roman Empire to fall, all things considered. But it still left a rotten taste in his mouth, to have betrayed escaped slaves to crucifixion or worse. That guilt, and the guilt of the Celtic boy he killed by accident, were hanging on him.

    A single Fireball would of course have killed all the little girls in his area, and crippled Sycorax. It would also have destroyed his relationship with Cornelia, who couldn't countenance killing the girls, let alone torching them. So there Meloch was, caught on his guilt and his loyalty, with a handful of possibilities for knocking out the girls if he could stay alive long enough. And at the end of the day, they were innocent little girls.

    So he stuck out his chest, trilled a pygmy war cry, set the uber-goat on Sycorax, and boldly moshed with the charging Celtic girls until Cornelia showed up with the knockout spell. At which point he joined the charge to save Talat, and inadvertantly helped trigger an orgy in the Metellus family villa.

    Curse the GM for putting the players in such rat-bastardly dilemmas...

  • #180

    And then...

    ...nothing happened.

    For a very, very long time.

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