Short Straws

Eric Zephlaer

Gaming Aficianado
@Kwargrow @astarte @Tellerian Hawke @MacConnell
GM: NOTE: I am hosting this thread in order for the author of the system to be able to play a character with his own account that is not run as an NPC. This scenario is designed for experienced players from any system and master characters, even though those characters are currently in the lowest tier of society, that of the teamsters. For convenience, character records will be kept in a Google Document where all players have editing privileges.

The Island Nations of Archipelago:
Power is not something that is given or earned. It is taken by force and maintained with violence. Those who rule do so through might, not inheritance and certainly not compassion, though the station of birth always has its advantages. Irrelevant of tribe or gender, the populace is composed of teamsters, sailors, craftsmen, soldiers, and rulers, which is the order of least to greatest in the hierarchy.

Situated in a vast ocean far from the landmass known as The Untamed Wilds sits an inhabited archipelago, completely isolated from the rest of the world. These people have no knowledge of the fact there was once only one species. They know nothing of the War of Heaven or the Sundering. Here, everyone has a talent for magic. It is an integral part of everyone’s life, and no one fears it, at least not of itself, but the power of it that some wield is quite fearsome.

Recently a new island was discovered to the north of the archipelago, just over the horizon, which calls for the issuance of the Short Straws. In an agreement with the five rulers of the five main islands, straws are drawn by teamsters from each of the islands. Those who draw the short straws are sent to explore a new island. Usually the greatest risk is a lack of fresh water, rarely dangerous animals. Being more oppressed and less of true slavery, Short Straws often bargain for extra pay. This single new island appears larger than any of those in the archipelago, and the bulk of it is shrouded in mist, giving a sense of foreboding to superstitious sailors. Teamsters cannot afford the luxury of superstition. Exploring a new island is not a matter of choice, but it is a matter of opportunity.
OOC: The characters are those residents who had the misfortune, or perhaps fortune this time, of drawing the short straw. The only way to change a station of birth is to take it. There is always the possibility of discovering something on an exploration to offer an advantage. No one wants to remain a teamster. The work is too constant.
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Eric Zephlaer

Gaming Aficianado
Characters can be of either gender and any tribe, but mechanics should adopted using one of the following archetypes. These archetypes are already reverse engineered for greatest advantage. Only one character of each archetype is appropriate and choices will be granted in order of responses.

Thunder Monk:

Thunder monks are trained and primarily reside on the island named, Thunder Mountain. This island is on the east side of the archipelago. It is the second smallest of the occupied islands, being mostly comprised of rocky terrain with a drier environment. The residents are the foremost masons, whose labor is offered on the other islands in exchange for resources. This island is ruled by a man named, Ekro. His fists are rumored to be able to cause a mountain to quake.


Archers are trained and primarily reside on the island simply named, The Zoo. This island is on the west side of the archipelago and is the largest in the ring. It is the only island known to contain large terrestrial animals. The residents are the foremost workers of textiles and leather good, though sharks provide some material for all islands. Cotton is harvested from a smaller island near Thunder Mountain. This island is ruled by a female, named Oshanti who is rumored to be able to shift into a large feline.
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Eric Zephlaer

Gaming Aficianado

Quicklings are trained on both the islands of The Zoo and the one called The Verdant Garden. The Verdant Garden is the second largest island. It is also on the west side of the archipelago, south of The Zoo, and has the greatest amount of vegetation. Verdant residents are the greatest carpenters and shipwrights, though sails come from The Zoo. Labor and manufactured good, like fishtraps, are exchanged for other resources. The Verdant Garden is ruled by a man named Tetsukwai. It is rumored that he can teleport.


Machinists and Battle Ragers are trained and primarily reside on the island called the Gate of Inferno. This is the southern most island of the archipelago and still has two active volcanoes. The residents are the greatest metallurgists and smiths who exchange manufactured good for other resources. The island is most mountainous with little vegetation but is rich in minerals and ores. The Gate is ruled by a man who is rumored to be impervious to fire. Battle Ragers use the same archetype as Thunder Monks but prefer combat with heavy bladed weapons, like an axe.
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Eric Zephlaer

Gaming Aficianado

O’ologists are trained and reside on the islands of The Zoo and the Verdant Garden, as is most appropriate for their particular affinities. The leader of the O’ologist is a man named Peregrino. He has a pet bear.


Ideologues are trained and primarily reside on the island named The Lighted Sentinel. It is the smallest of the occupied islands and the northern most of the archipelago. The island is so named because of the glass globe the rests atop a spire on the highest peak that is magically illuminated each night and can be seen to the horizon line. It guides sailors at night. Glass is exchanged for other resources. This island is ruled by a rather tall, thin man named Linstahl. His grayish skin and los of his former lithe physique makes him appear sickly. He is never seen in public without his twin sister near his side. She is rumored to be the true ruler.

After selecting an archetype, characters will be suitably equipped before the adventure ensues.
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Creator of The Untamed Wilds
OOC: My intention is to wait for others to choose an archetype, first. As the author of the system, I should be able to play any of them. I would also still like to encourage any experienced player of any system to try the game.

Eric Zephlaer

Gaming Aficianado
The current Cycle is 500 since the Sundering; but in Archipelago, this date is not known. The locals have a written history that only dates back 200 Cycles. The origin of their existence is not even considered. It is now the second day of the season of Rebirth, yesterday having been spent in celebration with feasting and drinking. Unexpectedly, near the end of that evening, Linstahl with Laurel, his twin sister, by his side lit up the night sky with a display of lightning to gather the attention of festival attendees and announced that a group of sailors had discovered a new island to the north, giving him rights of first exploration and that Short Straws would be drawn in the morning. The festival attendees were not all permanent residents of The Lighted Sentinel, as teamsters are constantly changing islands with the collection and delivery of goods and resources. Tenet housing is provided on all major islands to provide beds for a labor force.

The Lighted Sentinel:
This island is the north-most of the ring and the smallest to be inhabited. The island is mostly rocky and covered with deciduous trees, which bear nuts. The island was given its name because a spire is built atop the central peak of the island where a glass globe sits. The globe is illuminated each night and can be seen to the horizon. It is a guide point for exploring sailors and, perhaps, other things as well.

A former ruler of the Lighted Sentinel was the first known to make an attempt to conquer the other islands. Though 200 cycles past, Linstahl is only the second leader since the demise of the instigator, and he took power by killing the previous leader. Chroniclers began to record history after that act of war, the results of which were catastrophic, deterring any other attempt for another 100 cycles.

The next night, after the announcement and the drawing of the straws, Linstahl paced back and forth in his bedroom, ranting, most of his words were unintelligible and forth began to build in the corners of his mouth, causing him to spit. Laurel stood on the marble floor, watching him walk, her hands clasped in front of her, the epitome of calm. Finally she walked behind him and stroked the back of his head, causing him to stop walking, cease his ranting, and breathe slower. “Tell me your concerns. I will calm you.”

I do not like the results of this drawing. I can sense the power in these individuals. This island is reported to be large. They will extort me.”

Bargain with them up front. The smart once always negotiate for a bonus, but people are basically lazy. They will take the easy pay and retire to fish and make babies.”

What if they take too long? We only have a Tenday before one of the other islands draws their own straws. What if two groups collaborate?”

She cut him off. He was getting worked up again. “You worry too much about mere possibilities. You are trying to grasp too many threads of thought at once. You know this gives you those headaches. Besides, straws never agree. They always fight. Get some rest, dear brother. I will send a handmaiden to you.”

Will you not stay?”

I will not. I must consults the ancients to see if I can garner any insight.”
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Eric Zephlaer

Gaming Aficianado
OOC: At this point Players simply need to choose an archetype, describe the physical appearance and possibly personality of the character, and pick a name.

The listed archetypes were chosen from the best played characters to reach mastery in other games. The Thunder Monk was chosen from Taylar and Sannit. The Archer was chosen from Astarte and Cina. The Quickling was chosen from Kitarra. The Machinist was chosen from Zephyr. The O'ologist was chosen from Sheldon, and the Ideologue was chosen from Merindell.
GM: In this game, no one is looking for a hero or an anti-hero. No one needs to be rescued. No one is wanting to start a revolution, and no one is expected to be solving the problems of others.

This is intended to be far more mercenary. The characters are to be more entrepreneurial and collectively selfish, to hold the commercial aspect hostage and eventually extort wealth or take power from those currently controlling it. The players should try to have fun. The characters are to grow in power, prestige, and wealth.


Creator of The Untamed Wilds

Eitleog, which is the name for a type of falcon in an unknown language, does not really know on which island he was born. By fate or misfortune he became separated from his parents as a child and was never able to reunite. Having been born to teamsters of no consequence, it is possible that they are deceased. He has carried things from one place to another as long as he can remember, slogging through labor on every known island.

Estimating his age to now be somewhere around 30 cycles, he has been growing ever irritated with the monotony of it all. Having been one of those to draw a short straw, he is considering it a possibility of opportunity. Having been through his share of disagreements and fights, especially due to his diminutive size, he has no functional fear of those who rule. Once the moment of embarkation is upon the group, he straightly asks, “So what is being offered in the way of compensation for this assignment?”

Eitleog or Kite appears far younger than the number of cycles he has counted for himself. He is of average height, lithely muscular, and very pale, with blond hair and bright eyes. While not physically suited for strength, he has a sharp wit and very quick hand. Despite his accrued speed, he tends to speak slowly and quietly, choosing his words.
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Gamer Extraordinaire

Nigel Coldtree’s parents were poor oyster farmers in the archipelago. When Coldtree was young, Nigel’s father found an oyster with an enormous pearl in it. Hoping to sell it, he took it to the market, but the pearl buyers there told him it was a worthless curiosity, offering only a fraction of what it was worth. The next day Coldtree found both his parents murdered and the large pearl missing. Coldtree travelled throughout the archipelago, taking odd jobs and finding anyone that could train him in fighting techniques and bringing out his true potential by manipulating waylines. He hopes to one day find the pearl that was stolen from his family and bring the thieves to justice. When he drew a ‘short straw’, it did not deter him. He decided he would survive whatever this new island had to offer and continue his quest for justice.

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth

Name: Terrendale ("Terry" or "Tall Terry" to his friends.)
Age: 29 cycles.
Occupation: Short Straw (Teamster)
Archetype: Ideologue

Gender: Male (+1 to Strength, Confluence, & Will)
Height: Tall (7'4") (+1 to Combat, +1 to Strength)
Build: Medium [Average] (+1 to Combat, +1 to Fitness)
Species: Aedeman (+1 to Learning)
Skin: Light [White] (+1 to Adhesion)
Tribe: Centrin (+1 Combat)
Eyes: Round (+1 to Persona)
Eye Color: Medium (Icy Blue) (+1 to Will)
Hair Color: Raven Black
Hair Style: Straight, Medium length, Loose and unkempt.
Ears: Normal
Nose: Saxon
Birthplace: Nomadic (+1 to Combat)


Terry is actually not from these parts; his parents were Centrin traders with a "fleet" of 3 small merchant vessels. They were looking for new trade routes around the mainland, when a small hurricane blew them off course; during the chaos of the storm, two ships sank, and the ship with Terry's parents crashed into a large corral reef, just off the coast of one of the more active islands; when they found him, Terry's parents were already dead, having drowned in an attempt to save him. Little Terry very nearly drowned himself, but he survived, and was raised on the archipelago by his foster parents, a fisherman named Hadrim, and his wife, Jallal. Terry was only a year old when he was found in the wreckage, and so has no memory of the mainland, and only shadowy and vague recollections of his biological parents: his dad's smile, his mother's laugh, sunny days on the top deck, seagulls stealing the crackers out of his hand, and other such momentary memories. His foster parents were, and still are, poor fishermen, of the sailor caste; they are not destitute, by any means, nor are they starving, but they live very simply, and very frugally, making every coin earned stretch as far as possible. Although it is very small, Hadrim is proud of owning his own fishing boat. Terry, up until drawing the short straw, was a dock teamster, meaning that he spent his time unloading the bigger fishing boats, and cutting up fish for delivery to the market. When he was told he was the short straw, a grin spread across his face. Maybe short straws had it tough, but it would be a welcome change of pace, and the job brought with it the most important thing of all: opportunity for advancement.
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