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  • Zer0

    Haiku Hitman
    counterplay-games-chapter-17-the-ascension-of-emperor-sargos-3-2-1600-logo.jpg- Vault Hunters -

    Hey Vault Hunter,

    Apologies for all the dangerous risks and inconveniences you had to go through to get this letter. One can't be too careful these days, with all the witch burnings, mage slayers in disguise asking questions and raiding forts with all the authority of the Templars. I hope this letter finds you well, friend, and that your loved ones are safe from this purge.

    As promised, here is the date and address of our meeting: 13th of December, The Gentleman's tavern in the fortress of Sanctuary. It's the tavern closest to the ruins of Fell Thalas. And yes, you read that right, Sanctuary, that wonderfully stubborn haven for the truly free. You may have heard of it as a lawless black market overrun with thieves and scoundrels, but I assure you the Templars don't have a hold there, so it's safe for us. And you will be safe from the locals, just prepare a hefty toll to pay at the gate, don't dress rich, and when the gate keepers ask you who you know, show them the insignia on the letter. You can't see it right now, but I'm sure that someone with your magical prowess can make it appear.

    Unfortunately, I cannot tell you who I am again. I know I promised, but the last two letters were intercepted, I don't know by who, but someone is on to us. So, you don't need to send me a reply. I won't be using the last address I gave you anymore, neither will I be receiving any more letters. Instead, I'll find you in the tavern, alright? I will be waiting there for a week at most, and then I'll be gone.

    I do hope that you can make it. Just be careful and don't be followed, and you'll be alright. I look forward to working with you, friend, and I promise that when we meet, this time I'll tell you what I know. Also, to be honest, I researched you and I found the stories you told me of your skills and exploits to be true. My trust in you grows, and I believe that together we can make what people said was impossible possible, and find the Vault of Memories. We'll gain the knowledge to make our dreams come true.

    -L


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    • - Overview -

      Welcome to Vault Hunters! An action and exploration campaign in a post-apocalyptic Final Fantasy-ish setting, with the dangers of Borderlands and the looming threat of a huge cult that dominates the land, that hunts witches and wizards who dabble in Mechromancy, the melding of magic and machine, which happens to be what your character is interested in. This is the background of the story:

      "The vast wilderness of Leor sits among the solemn ruins of the Age of Arcana. An era where flying cities soared across the skies, and travelers walked through streets paved in emeralds and rubies, thrumming with magic. Men lived for a long time, exchanging their aging parts for unyielding metal and clockwork hearts. Such was their mastery of magic that they could even bend time and tear holes in reality, crossing otherworldly realms for conquest, and bringing back strange creatures and wonderful gifts.

      But it wasn't enough, man's heart had always been plagued by an insatiable greed, and in their arrogance they challenged the Ancients for their homes and their power. This was 600 years ago. They lost the war, they lost their memories, they loss the first languages, and all that's left of them are their crumbling cities, ancient artifacts and tomes that we can't read. Now the weather in Leor rages, a reminder of the anger of the Ancients, as the remnants of their divine creations, the goliaths, colossal monsters that roam the land, keep the remaining dwindling population of man humble.

      Now we struggle and fight each other to survive in this harsh land. One faction is rising, close to taming and making this wilderness civilized: The Templars, fervent worshipers of the Ancients with over ten thousand followers who've vowed to not let history repeat itself. They forbid all magic that is not natural or divine and seek out to destroy the heretics who seek the knowledge of the Arcana."


      Us heretics, in fact. In this campaign our characters are seeking this forbidden magic. Be it as simple as to provide a better life for our loved ones, as mysterious as understanding what this talking floating crystal heart is that shot out of a portal that just appeared out of the blue, or as intriguing as looking for a way to create the Philosopher's stone to give to the dying emperor, your father, so that out of all your siblings, you will be the heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne. Whatever the reason, your search has led you to L, a wanted man infamous for deciphering and leaking out the knowledge about the Vault of Memories, where rumors say is where all the lost knowledge of that prosperous era was hidden away by the Ancients.

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    Announcements: Hello, everyone, this campaign has ended.

     
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    Episode I: Hunter or Hunted?
  • Zer0

    Haiku Hitman
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    " Episode 1: Hunter or Hunted? "

    - Sanctuary -

    The dawn was freezing as a blizzard howled over the colossal decayed skull of a fallen Ancient. Through the heavy snow, the orange glow of hundreds of torches winked from inside its empty sockets, while a few stray tiny flickering lamplights could be seen slowly making their way up the narrow slippery mountain path that led up to its gaping mouth. Sharp icicles hung down from a heavy drawbridge of scrap metal and giant bones that crossed a chasm between the black mountain and the Ancient's jaw. At the bottom of the chasm, barely visible in the blizzard, was a half frozen river where more little lights were making their way into the mountain. There were rusting spears lining the edge of the drawbridge, and impaled on them were the heads of men, their noses and ears cut off, all wearing helms that bore the emblem of the Templars, a silver tree.

    To many this was an insulting display, but to some it was a welcome sight from the bitter cold, for this was the gate of the merry, rowdy fortress town of Sanctuary, the only place where you can get a hot meal, a good bottle of rum, and a soft warm bed for miles around.

    Hooded men wrapped in furs and scarves with keen eyes and grim crossbows at the ready stopped travelers at the gate, checking their caravans, asking them their business, and then shoving a dirty sack in front of them where they could place in the payment for the hefty toll to pass through.

    The sound of relieved chatter and eager boots echoed in the frozen skull that had one large metal pillar carved with runes that went straight through its side and into the earth. Shivering travelers hurried across a wide walkway of chiselled dark maroon flesh, as hard as stone, past a job posting board a tauren was checking out, then underneath a big hanging shriveled up uvula turned into a glowing reddish amber lantern, and then into the throat. And there was the lively hub of the fortress.

    The throat opened up to a vast cavern where in the center was a stack of stone and bone homes, sprawling wooden walkways, and mazes of carvenous dwellings carved out of the stony flesh of the Ancient's chest. Wooden signs that said "No Slave Trading", "The Godfather is Watching You", and some ads such as "Is shooting bullets not good enough for you, get a Maliwan and light some people on fire!", lined the streets. The settlement seemed to go deeper into the mountain, for down, down the torchlights went, past the maroon flesh walls, and into what seemed to be the ruins of a bygone city, the ruins of Fel Thalas.

    It was here, past a market place that sold various shady goods, enchanters offering different services, a crowded fighting pit, and a vehicle shop, that the Gentleman's Tavern stood. It was a lively place and music was streaming loudly from the windows. The people inside seem to be partying, yelling "Reckless!" in time with a band. It seemed to be a perfect place to talk without being overheard.

    So, Vault Hunters, how do your stories begin?

    Katsuya Katsuya Roleplay Skittle Roleplay Skittle Heyitsjiwon Heyitsjiwon AI10100 AI10100 TrashRabbit TrashRabbit Tardy Grade Tardy Grade
     
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    Episode II: Chasing Leads
  • Zer0

    Haiku Hitman
    1.jpg
    " Episode 2: Chasing Leads "
    All characters +1 Character Level

    You Gain:
    +4 Skill Points
    +1 New Spell
    for Divine Magicians, that can be a Cantrip, or a Level 1 to Level 2 Spell, which you can make up.
    +1 Roleplay Point that you can use in one important scene to make the story go in your character's favor.

    There are also some changes to the system that we shall discuss OOC when y'all decide to make changes to your characters.


    "Hi, Isa, I'm glad to see you still look chipper!" said L immediately, resisting the urge to hug him, and just gently placed a small hand on his arm. "How are you feeling? Were you able to do what you wanted to do?" she whispered.

    The lanky looking youth in overalls and the scarlet eyed lady said hello to the bandaged red-head as well. "Roy is alive and will remain alive." said the lady firmly. "I'm Lilith, this is Soren, and yes, we're Sassy's, Roy's, and Max's friends." she tucked away a strand of hair from the unconscious Max's face, and unnecessarily smoothed the sheets of Sassy's cot in quiet worry. "We saw the entire fight. I'm sorry that you lost. We had thought something very bad was going to happen after, but we're glad nobody was killed."

    "Did you hear what The Godfather and Sassy talked about?" asked Soren. "We saw one of his blood mages take some of Sassy's blood. She didn't tell us much about what would happen if she lost the fight, but it looked like there was some kind of deal and a couple of carvers were talking about how they can't wait to shoot her tonight if she doesn't make it out of town? D-do you know anything about that, Isa?"

    Katsuya Katsuya Roleplay Skittle Roleplay Skittle CoconutLeaves CoconutLeaves


    - Moss Adamaris -
    " On the Search, Sanctuary "

    Meanwhile, Wild's and Moss search for the past hour proved fruitless. When L and VIdya woke up they were furious, Vidya saying she knew it! She should have known! Therias, ever since they first met her in The Gentleman's tavern had been wearing a disguise, a shapeshifting spell that Vidya found out by surreptitiously casting Detect Magic earlier. But she didn't say anything because she thought Therias was protecting herself, but not from them! L was devastated, as though her most precious keepsake was taken from her, but told them that she had placed her arcane mark on the Vault Key so they could track it once she' able to cast a spell. To which Vidya looked guilty and worried, because she had told Therias about L's mark on the key too when they left the Gentleman's private den and Therias asked what happened inside. She may have dispelled L's mark already. Vidya and L had felt reeaaaaallly upset, to which Moss tried to cheer them up saying that he and Wild will look for them while the two ladies rested and regained their magic.

    After that, he and the bunny had first gone to a boatman's home at the docks to talk to a lady Moss had left there, only to find that she was gone and that all that was left behind was a note with a lipstick mark on it that he quickly read --- made a sour face --- then immediately folded and pocketed, then they began their search. After an hour of not finding anything, they returned to the caravan where L cast her spell and tracked the Vault Key. She saw the trail and they followed it, it went to the Savage Gym of Savagery, then to the barracks, then looped around pass the Heart District's Market place and then out of the skull gate and down the mountain path.

    Therias and the escaped prisoner had left Sanctuary, and it looked like they were heading Northwest. L decided that they needed to get the rest of the gang assembled first before they gave chase and to get ready for their journey.

    Now Moss was with Wild in the market place where he was asking her where she wanted to go and he will drop her off. "Well, it seems that this is where we'll part ways, Ms. Wild." he was saying. "Thank you for helping me try and find them."

    Katsuya Katsuya
     
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    Episode III: The Clockwork Heart
  • Zer0

    Haiku Hitman
    clock-2.jpg
    " Episode 3: The Clockwork Heart "
    All characters +1 Character Level

    You Gain:
    +4 Skill Points
    +1 Background Ability
    +1 New Spell
    for Divine Magicians, that can be a Cantrip, or a Level 1 to Level 3 Spell, which you can make up.
    +1 Roleplay Point that you can use in one important scene to make the story go in your character's favor.

    Leh sad L perked up whispered, "Thanks!", and then quickly left the kitchen happily licking the spoon before Moss could see her spoon of frosting. That night she shared a donut toast with Isa. Which turned into a donut toast for everyone who had never tried a donut toast. Vidya laughed and said that she quite liked this donut toast, and realized it's quite a good name for the mysterious golden orb. L agreed and ask everyone from now on call it donut toast.

    The night passed in merry making. And the next day they were greeted by a clear morning with the caravan half buried in snow. The raging blizzard was finally quelled at last, and the bright sun shone warmly down in their autumn grove.

    They had a meeting that morning during breakfast about what to do next, and decided to return to Sanctuary. The journey was easy, and now two days later, they found themselves staring across the valley and up at the familiar silhouette of the giant corpse of the Archaean in the far distance, strewn atop the mountain range.

    With Sassy banned from entering Sanctuary, they left the cart at the outskirts of the bandit territory and those who wished to go to Sanctuary used the mounts to traverse over the icy hills for three hours, cross the rusting metal and bone drawbridge with its piked heads and into the Ancient's jaw, where they paid for the toll and went in.

    The bandit fortress was astir with wild rumors about Templars attacking boatmen up in the north, and how an entire camp was put to sleep. It was an odd raid and Sassy's name came up again. There was mention of one of her companions: the red hair dude with the strange contraption fighting against Foxx, a big shot Templar from the Menagerie Coast, and rumored to be the one that was spotted a few days ago in the ruins of Fel Thalas as well. There was no hiding the old man as their prisoner from the Carvers who inspected everyone's cargo at the gates. They were amazed that they caught him. After the incident at the Carver camp up north, there had been hunting parties searching everywhere for Foxx. The Godfather was going to be pleased they were bringing him to him.

    Katsuya Katsuya
     
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    Episode IV: We Meet at Last
  • Zer0

    Haiku Hitman
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    " Episode 4: We Meet At Last "

    - 4 Days Later -
    "Ebony Oasis, The Dust, December 26, 600"

    Everyone's faces was a varying stages of 'Oh nooooo!' in the magical moving black and white photograph. Moss and Max roared laughing, while Sassy cackled, ruffling Isa's hair, and L was stammering, moving away, red in the face from being tangled with Isa and the others.

    They took a picture again --- they actually didn't know they were supposed to smile, just looking intently at the camera, or looking at Isa like what do we do, until Sassy told them to make silly faces so that the camera won't steal their soul. After that they marveled at the moving black and white pictures, passing it around, while the travelers who camped with them for the night after eating at Moss' cook out looked out in fascination at this curious group with their gadgets and things and engines on wheels. The first photograph was definitely a favorite. Their friends who were experiencing a camera for the first time asked if they could have a photo too of their gang, and soon Max was looking fondly at his very first photograph of his friends, Vidya had hers tucked in her hag, while L patted down her photograph down her hair, smiling widely.

    After that, Moss went to secretly talk to Max about something, handing him some trading goods, before waving the group good-bye. It was a fond parting, and Moss was missing them already. "Stay safe Max, Sassy, Miss Wild! And say hi to Minnie for us!" he called from the back of Okami.

    And so, with a Vroom! from Smoky, their three friends watched them ride down the hill, on to the Merchant Road, and eastwards towards The Dust.

    * * * *​

    The days passed, and the land beneath Smoky's wheels turned from snowy ravines, to beige grasslands with rising patches of tough small green shrubs and cacti. It became warmer, until they drove down the last hill and into hot plains of sand, where colossal rust brown pillars of rocks, oddly square, stood leaning out of the sandy dunes. They were split and cracked, carved by something large a long time ago, their crevices glowing with manna, as though some ancient giant's dwelling was beneath the sand.

    Vidya guided them well. They avoided bandit territories and went down to take the difficult passes between the sandy cliffs. Here the rocks were striated with different shades of red, turning their afternoons ochre and rusty gold. Small foxes with very long ears darted between the rocks, and small stubby birds with quick little legs dashed from shrub to shrub with their chicks. Lizards and snakes basked under the sun, while overhead, vultures circled.

    Every now and then they would meet dark skinned and colorfully clothed nomads wearing headcloths, or turbans with metal caps, the bottom of their faces veiled. They were armed with long and short spears, and rode giant coyotes or komodo rhinos that breathed fire. They would be accompanied by large herds of goats, and who, after realizing the group was friendly would offer powders of spice, gold ornaments, lapiz lazuli for spells, enchanted papyrus scrolls, incense, and silk for trade. Most of the time it was one of the Purrsians who seemed to be numerous in The Dust, who would exchange news with them about the happenings of the land.

    Currently something good but odd was happening in Barad Eithel, the bandits made peace and were strangely working together.

    Now the group was in the Ebony Oasis, a frequent stop for nomads, where Moss was finally giving Okami a very, very short hair cut, for the poor polar bear dog was overheating in the desert. They were far into the waters, away from drinking goats, where nearby a few families of nomad Purrsians traveling for safety, had settled under the cooler shadows of the cliffs for the day. Vidya was speaking to one of the family heads, Jzargo in fluent Purrsian, as their servants who were human attended to the camp, while as usual, a couple of the the cat folk were appreciating Isa's motorbike in the broken common tongue, heavily accented by their native language.

    The family of Purrsians seemed to be in the Ebony Oasis for a family tradition. There were some family members practicing musical instruments along with magical fire tricks, some goats were being taken away to be slaughtered by older family members teaching their young ones how to do it, while a couple of teenage Purrsians were having their fur shaved by servants and then tattooed with henna by their lady elders.

    They were very friendly, and even though they couldn't speak common very well, invited their group and the other travelers in the area to eat and celebrate with them the coming of age of their sons and daughters.

    The other travelers in the oasis were a jewel hearted elf from the Menagerie Coast, whom L took a shining to because the elf was drawing, and she went and joined her; and two black anubis brothers who seem to be bounty hunters or slave traders from the look of the wagon cage of drugged looking manacled people in their camp.

    Slavery seemed to be a common thing around here, unlike in Sanctuary where it was strictly forbidden. L would sometimes look sadly at the caged people, thinking hard about something, before replying distractedly to her new elven friend, return to drawing, and then glance back at the caged people as though she was planning something.


     
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    Episode V: Aftermath
  • Zer0

    Haiku Hitman
    b5c067d391a32582725342958399d5f1.jpg

    • " Episode 5: Aftermath "



      - Fallen Gaius -

      "Alright, darling, hold on." the tiefling quickly put his lantern down, then rushed over and gently helped Charon sit up against the side of the goliath's head. There was the chinking of golden ornaments on his horns. This close, the purple half-demon had pupil-less red eyes, and was decorated in tattoos of peacock feathers, plants, flowers, and vines, and a curling green snake.

      "You look . . . well . . . after all that . . . vomit and bleeding . . ." Charon can see the panic, as Leonid's eyes darted around his wounds, grabbed the trauma kit and kept on talking, but not really doing anything. "So --- so I think, yes, you have to take your clothes off, I can't see all the wounds, um . . ." He looked hesitant to touch the vomit and daintily pushed the tattered part of his clothes to see his wounds better. Yet despite his apparent squeamishness and panic, he managed to stop the bleeding and then give Charon a vial that dulled the pain.

      In the distant ruins of the shattered dome the number of twinkling torches grew, trickling down from the main city. Every now and then the eyes on the peacock feathers of Leonid's tattoos would flash red, and then he would talk to the air to different names, asking where they are, and to come to the fallen goliath if they could. The sound of his voice mixed with the faint cries of people looking for their loved ones or shouting for help in the distance. It was then joined by the rumble of engines minutes later, as silhouettes of sand surfers and sand boats, their headlights blaring in the darkness, rushed down the hilly dunes from the north side of Barad Eithel. Help had come.

      Soon a crowd gathered around the shattered dome. Braziers were lit, tents were being set up, as the survivors of Barad Eithel began to band together, rescuing people in earnest with the sand boats pulling away the heavy debris.

      Pet Panda Pet Panda




      - Moss Adamaris -

      Moss' hand held his before he could search. "Wait, Isa, you're not okay." He frowned. "You're bleeding." he gently pressed his side. Slowly, Moss sat up. "Don't move, keep pressure here." he placed Isa's hand on his open stitches. "I'll look for a way out, okay? Don't push yourself now, we almost lost each other twice today." he added in a softer voice.

      Under the faint blue moonlight, his worried and annoyed teal eyes mirrored Isa's fear for a moment. "Please don't lie. Not with this." his voice became a soft plead. "Okay?"

      Katsuya Katsuya


     
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    Episode VI: Fish Out of Water
  • Zer0

    Haiku Hitman
    anton-fadeev-frosted-citadel3-1-public.jpg

    • " Episode 6: Fish Out of Water "


      - Vanar -
      " January 13, 601"

      Zosimos shook his head. "That is a question for the one who cursed him."

      When the golden orbs faded, Liliana, wiping her eyes with her sleeve, was all for helping Larc right away, until she read the part where her own heart had to be cut out, to which a firm, "No", from the voice of Larc replaced her own. His soul had to be separated from hers first, so for now, releasing Titan from his prison was put on hold, and the party turned to solving other problems.

      * * * *​

      About a week and a half later, on a moonless night on a beach by the mouth of a wide river, a great serpentine shadow rose from the bottom of the ocean, and then two colossal eyes peeked up above the waves. It lay there, still. And then the waves parted as it slowly surged forward. Coming up was the curving colossal beak with an odd extending lower jaw of a goliath never seen before in this part of Leor. It gouged a furrow in the sand, as it opened its beak on the shore. And then . . . a caravan house pulled by a polar bear dog and a giant coyote rolled out from under the shadow of its giant bill.

      Quickly, the caravan stole into the woods, as the colossal beak shut, and then the goliath sank back into the ocean . . .

      The next morning, this innocent caravan rose up the crest of a snowy hill and beheld the capital of the Templars, the frosted purple and turquoise citadel of Vanar. Steam rose from where bubbling magma met ice in the river, and on the thawed patches of ground swayed grass among the edges of long stretches of tilled earth, where rows of winter sprouts sat green and healthy despite the ever snowy weather of Windshear.

      All along the road this rosy early morn were other caravans pulled by chocobos and wagons carrying goods and lowing livestock. The air was crisp with wood smoke and the cry of passing gryphon riders winging across the sky to and from the capital; the caravan drove by a farm where it smelled like someone was brewing cider; and as they passed under the gates of Vanar, they heard music playing in a market place where vendors were shouting, guards bearing the symbol of a silver tree were roaming, and a new infant was wailing at the noisy inconvenient clutter of life.

      The caravan stopped by the walls where other carvans were parked, and one of the curtains parted. A teal eye peeked through the window gazing at the different rising levels of the city, to the highest one where the tallest building with a roof like a gold-veined wing stood proudly next to a floating giant crystallized wolf skull that was pouring out waterfalls from its maw.

      "There's the temple." said Moss. "I really hope they haven't changed where they stored the Panacea since the last couple of years L was here."

      Katsuya Katsuya Pet Panda Pet Panda


     
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