The Slave and Her Sovereign

Nephis

Adventurer
When PA'AVU emerges from the sandstorm, covered in blood and wounds, the shocked faces of her companions tell her how little they expected her to survive the bladelings' assault. With a brief but grim smile, the goliath walks up to their now re-bound captive and hefts him up onto her shoulder. After a quick but assessing look at her gravely wounded gosb'tar, she gestures with a nod of her head and leads the group forward, Hazard - almost beside himself with joy - dancing around her. Bita-Bousseh gets wearily to her feet and gently lifts Chanvati's arm around her shoulders, her arm around his waist, and follows.

Finally, the battle-worn comrades are able to take a short rest in a cavern, well-hidden both from sight and wind. Pa'avu listens with a slight smile to Chanvati's accolades describing her bravery and sacrifice, her fingers idly sifting through the sand she sits upon, seeming to gain strength from its touch upon her skin.

After some time has past and all are somewhat refreshed, the goliath rises to her feet once more. "We have far to go if we are to make our rendezvous," she states in her deep, gruff tones, before throwing their tiefling up onto her shoulder once more, ignoring his protests, and continuing eastward.

When they reach Red Rock at dawn, N'Gauthak and Or'lia are waiting for them, surrounded by their clan, and Pa'avu can smell the delicious odors of a home-cooked breakfast.
 
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XP/LOOT/BOOKKEEPING

* XP is an odd duck here. Going with Brutal Sandstorm and BBa capture and escape as an Elite Hazard equivalent so 700 xp + number of minons slain (11) x 88 so 888 = 1588/4 = 397 apiece.

* Discussed loot with players. Settled on Loot:

1a) Stone Spiders + sandstorm continues stoney path trajectory. Pa'avu's Stone's Endurance changes to One With the Earth as a reward here. Goes from Encounter recharge to Recharge: 6.

1b) Given the number of times Chanvati has used Dimensional Scramble on himself and allies he has graduated in his training of The Psicrafter's Guild and his Walk on The Exalted Path. Gains an Augment 1, pre-Attack, rider Effect to the power called Empty Self:

Effect: One target gains insubstantial until the end of Chanvati's next turn.

Net:

Dimensional Scramble (Empty Self) Psion Attack 1
Your attack causes space to jumble and fragment, scattering creatures into different positions.
At-Will ✦ Augmentable, Implement, Psionic, Teleportation
Standard Action Area burst 1 within 10 squares
Target: Each creature in the burst
Augment 1 Effect: One target gains insubstantial until the end of Chanvati's next turn.
Attack: Intelligence vs. Fortitude
Hit: 1d6 + Intelligence modifier damage, and you teleport the target to a square adjacent to the burst.

* Long Rest in the House Audaseie (Chanvati's house) enclave of Red Rock.




Per @darkbard , Red Rock is a giant, porous stone edifice inhabited by Phase Spiders with a small, adjacent, House Audaseie (Chanvati's family) enclave, harvesting the silk for industrial-magical use.

Tags:

● Imperiled community
● Planar nexus
● Shifting geography
● The Red Death




As the motley collection is settling in to sup in the hewn stone longhall, the liquid in the goblets of those partaking ripples. Then again. The stone benches and massive table each tremble.

Cries of servants as their feet buckle.

At one end of the table, Steward Kaveh places his hand atop his own footed cup as he leans in. He musters the poise for a smile. "It will pass...I assure you. 'Terramorphosis' the locals call it. The land is ever-changing, is it not?"





@Nephis @darkbard , lets free play and develop this a bit. No obstacle yet.
 

darkbard

Legend
Bookkeeping Matters:

We take that proffered Extended Rest, refreshing all Daily and Encounter resources.

Current XP tally: 13,962/16,500 needed to advance to L9.



CHANVATI raises one eyebrow at Kaveh's words. "Indeed, Steward, I believe a wise man once said, 'What we call nature is a certain self-regulated motion or change.'" The Merchant-Prince waits for some of the assembled to nod appreciatively at his learning.

"But tell me: if this terramorphosis is no danger, why do the servants start and cry out in alarm? Surely they all must be accustomed to such ... stirrings ... by now."

Chanvati raises his cup to his lips and sips slowly as he awaits Kaveh's response.
 
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Nephis

Adventurer
PA'AVU leans against a wall, vaguely listening to her gosb'tar as her gaze slides over the gathered assembly, her focus stopping here and there.

A tingling sensation on her arm draws her attention momentarily: her spiderweb tattoo seems to have gained an occupant..... before it fades away.

The goliath’s brows furrow as she returns her focus to the room itself. Are those webs in the corner? Or merely curtains?
 

A servant-child of Astral stock moves with the grace and purpose of one indentured to martial service from the cradle. Up to Kaveh's side it goes with a pillow and a wine of old vintage atop it. It lowers its eyes.

"Master, the Infernal Red for your guests?"

Kaveh looks at you and laughs. "Githyanki. We found him a month ago wandering the desert nearby. Mortally wounded, we attended to him and here he stands. Amazing creature. Not a word from him about where he comes and what happened to him. He seems to remember nothing. No matter. He works well and, even at this age, is a terror with a blade. A fine servant."

He looks back at the young, alien boy. "Ishka, while the scion of House Audaseie is here, the title of 'Master' belongs to him. I am a mere steward, child. They are not guests here. We are. Remember that. But yes, pour the Infernal Red, please."

Turning back to your collective, he sees Pa'avu's preoccupation and winces again. "Um. P-puh...bladeward of Master Chanvati. Would you please...join us...for a toast?" He looks around the room with a gathering frown. "I do not see a scrivener among your numbers. Regrettable. I'm quite good at toasts and moments such as these should be afforded their due documentation!"

Clears his throat, "what were we talking about again? Oh yes, your safe passage through the badlands to the capital gates. We could send an early shipment of phase-silk to Bantouk. Its typically a four month harvest. Its only been a few months since our last, but I think we could call it lucky and no Bantouk artificer would be the wiser. You could be cargo, ferried in secret among the caravan? I know the right palms to grease to get heads turned the other way."





He can arrange for the above measures if you want to spend 340 coin (1/10 of-level magic item) for 1 success at medium DC. He's quite sincere.

Whatever else is going on here, he clearly either doesn't want to entertain it or elucidate it. If you want him to engage with it, you're going to have to pry it from him. It would be a complexity 1, of-level social SC to get him to spill.

What do you want to do?
 
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darkbard

Legend
Okay, @Nephis and I have consulted, so here's where things stand:

I am not opposed to the offer of bribing our way back into Bantouk as part of a phase-silk caravan. We have the coin and are willing to spend it ... so long as it's bribing the proper officials and not being pocketed by yet another untrustworthy House factotum!

However, Chanvati tires of Stewards with Secrets (not a bad band name, actually!). This is his family's holding, after all, and he has asked a direct question. It should be answered. So we're definitely opting in to that Social SC! You can consider my post below a first move in that if you like--I'm writing it up with such intent--or you can present another specific obstacle to engage instead.

Further, as you probably anticipate, Ishka's story and situation resonate strongly with Pa'avu, herself a servant brought from the desert badlands to civilization and subsequently sold into slavery due to injury and nursed back to health by her owner's family. Pa'avu intends to discern if he is satisfied in his lot or wishes to be saved in some way.




"Steward Kaveh," CHANVATI begins, "there is time enough for talk of safe passage back to Bantouk once I make a full and satisfactory assessment of my House's interests here in Red Rock. Know you that war marches upon the Empire? You see the personal army of Half-Giants I have brought with me to ensure House Audaseie's scion brooks no challenges during his itinerary of quality control.

So before we talk further of my departure, answer the question I put to you rather straightforwardly: What is afoot here in Red Rock that has your slaves and servitors ill at ease? And why was my family not notified immediately of any peculiarities at one of our holdings? Surely word has reached you of the failings of the Steward of Chomrok ... and our displeasure with his efforts...." The Merchant-Prince allows his sentence to trail off menacingly.





Chanvati makes a Primary Skill Intimidate check, r(16) +10=26.
 

Nephis

Adventurer
Using the distraction of her gosb’tar's threatening banter to cover her now focused attention, PA'AVU allows herself to stare more discerningly at the young githyanki warrior. Is its flesh-tone unusually pink? In her minimal exposure to the kin of this young one a contentment is usually indicated by a flesh-tone of olive or blue. Doesn't pink indicate ... unease?

The goliath can feel her psyche tapping into Chanvati's vast psionic stores of memory and lore with more ease than in the past as she attempts to gain insight into the young one's state of mind and being. Contentment means Pa'avu will let things stand, but otherwise....


Pa'avu makes a Secondary Skill Heal check: [r(17) + 10 = 27] to aid her Primary Skill Insight check to ascertain wellbeing of young Githyanki: r(4) + 5 + 2 (within 5 squares of Chanvati) + [r(2) + 1 (Adept's Insight AUG 1)] + 2 (SecondarySkill) = 16
 
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Okay, @Nephis and I have consulted, so here's where things stand:

I am not opposed to the offer of bribing our way back into Bantouk as part of a phase-silk caravan. We have the coin and are willing to spend it ... so long as it's bribing the proper officials and not being pocketed by yet another untrustworthy House factotum!

However, Chanvati tires of Stewards with Secrets (not a bad band name, actually!). This is his family's holding, after all, and he has asked a direct question. It should be answered. So we're definitely opting in to that Social SC! You can consider my post below a first move in that if you like--I'm writing it up with such intent--or you can present another specific obstacle to engage instead.

Further, as you probably anticipate, Ishka's story and situation resonate strongly with Pa'avu, herself a servant brought from the desert badlands to civilization and subsequently sold into slavery due to injury and nursed back to health by her owner's family. Pa'avu intends to discern if he is satisfied in his lot or wishes to be saved in some way.

Perfect. Alright, lets go with a Complexity 1, of-level SC to uncover what haunts Red Rock (whether through Steward Kaveh or other).

So 4 x DC 16 Medium Primary Checks. 1 Secondary Skill at Easy DC 12.

Going to start with Pa'avu's move as she observes the goings-ons and the githyanki boy specifically.

Using the distraction of her gosb’tar's threatening banter to cover her now focused attention, PA'AVU allows herself to stare more discerningly at the young githyanki warrior. Is its flesh-tone unusually pink? In her minimal exposure to the kin of this young one a contentment is usually indicated by a flesh-tone of olive or blue. Doesn't pink indicate ... unease?

The goliath can feel her psyche tapping into Chanvati's vast psionic stores of memory and lore with more ease than in the past as she attempts to gain insight into the young one's state of mind and being. Contentment means Pa'avu will let things stand, but otherwise....


Pa'avu makes a Secondary Skill Heal check: [r(17) + 10 = 27] to aid her Primary Skill Insight check to ascertain wellbeing of young Githyanki: r(4) + 5 + 2 (within 5 squares of Chanvati) + [r(2) + 1 (Adept's Insight AUG 1)] + 2 (SecondarySkill) = 16

1/4 Successes (0 Failures/0 Secondary Skills Available

Pa'avu's assessment of the boy's tone, pallor, and physical condition is rock-solid (tee-hee!). Though her encounters are minimal with those of this kind, she held the memory firm. Further still, her people had stories of hostilities with members in the past, and the details of hostilities hold a firm grasp in the mind of martial cultures tasked with maintaining the precarious balance of predator/prey relationship in a ruthless environment.

The boy's skin is complected with a healthy olive. His movements indicate good health...nothing like the "mortal wounded" that Steward Kaveh was recounting...

Pa'avu has seen many a servant...many a slave...in their behavior toward those they serve. And her grasp of the alien culture of the Astral Sea-inhabiting githyanki is that slavery, servitude, and duty are fundamental to their cultures. As such, conformity and respect for that chain-of-command is paramount.

When Ishka pours the wine, his movements and posture are not that of deference. When he turns away toward the sundries chamber, his countenance change is immediate yet subtle. It becomes even less that of "one who is low member of caste" or "subservient to a master." There is a hint of...disdain...and not the kind Pa'avu has seen in longterm slaves who have endured a legacy of mistreatment...it is the disdain an alpha predator holds for prey that dares to be so meek.

When Ishka stops at the door to listen in on the harsh scolding of Steward Kaveh by Chanvati, though the features are somewhat alien, she definitely notices (a) the purposeful pause to overhear and (b) a furrowing of the boy's brow.

Finally, though scabbard and weapon are missing, a beautifully engraved metallic loop to fasten one to the "servant's bandolier" on his back remains...

The githyanki youth disappears inside the sundries chamber.


"Steward Kaveh," CHANVATI begins, "there is time enough for talk of safe passage back to Bantouk once I make a full and satisfactory assessment of my House's interests here in Red Rock. Know you that war marches upon the Empire? You see the personal army of Half-Giants I have brought with me to ensure House Audaseie's scion brooks no challenges during his itinerary of quality control.

So before we talk further of my departure, answer the question I put to you rather straightforwardly: What is afoot here in Red Rock that has your slaves and servitors ill at ease? And why was my family not notified immediately of any peculiarities at one of our holdings? Surely word has reached you of the failings of the Steward of Chomrok ... and our displeasure with his efforts...." The Merchant-Prince allows his sentence to trail off menacingly.





Chanvati makes a Primary Skill Intimidate check, r(16) +10=26.

2/4 Successes (0 Failures/0 Secondary Skills Available

Master Kaveh smiles with a brow caught in pained contortions at the scolding.

Behind his spectacles, his eyes flit this way and that as if trying to observe his periphery without betraying his actions.

"Yes...yes sir...of course. I forget myself. Please accept my most humble apologies."

His head lowers.

"Do you remember when you were a child and we would practice thought projection? Your psi-crafter tutors would spend the day with us as we went about our daily affairs. They would try to detect if you were reading the thoughts of others or projecting your own into others' minds? When you failed, they would beat you horrifically with cane. It was a terrible specter to behold and be so powerless to put a stop to it.

Do you remember the first time you were able to defy their surveillance? What a day that was...so much happiness for all of House Adaseie!"





He's frightened. He's clearly not in control here. Something ominous is lurking and he is afraid, surely for himself but perhaps for the whole of the enclave, to betray it. And something isn't just surveilling material exchange of words, but telepathic as well.

Do you force him to another chamber or a walk outside of the grounds to spill (and risk notice from whatever surveils)? Do you intrude into his mind with Detect Thoughts (take +2 circumstance for Arcana to prevent telepathic surveillance) for a brief exchange?
 

darkbard

Legend
CHANVATI, advanced psicrafter among the Walkers of the Exalted Path as well as Merchant-Prince and General of Giants, does not miss a beat. His mind extends outward and into that of the Steward, as it did in this enclave as a youth, and as it has so many times, with so many minds, since.

There is ... something ... menacing, powerful, crafty ... lurking, a presence seeking to remain hidden yet at the same time monitor and perceive the thoughts and psionic manifestations within the hall. But even such a foe is no match for the subtlety and skill of the scion of House Audaseie!

<<Loyal Kaveh! How well you serve our House! Show me what threat lies hidden and leaves you uncharacteristically speechless ... but not without means of communication.>>





Chanvati uses Send Thoughts (Encounter Power, which allows a similar Free Action 25-word mental response from Kaveh) to evade psionic detection and makes a Primary Skill Arcana check to communicate with Kaveh telepathically, r(13) +15 +2 Send Thoughts =30 vs 16 Moderate DC. Success.
 

3/4 Successes (0 Failures/0 Secondary Skills Available




"Purple star over Astral Sea invades domain of his people...nexus to our world. Bantouk condemned for summoning. He and steed first arrivals. More soon..."

Steward Kaveh subtly cranes his head, his eyes following the young githyanki as he disappears into Red Rock's massive sundries chamber that features a spiraling hewn stone stair into the bowels of the earth where provisions are kept en masse to feed the enclave's denizens in times of scarcity or refugee crisis.
 


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