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Author Topic: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign  (Read 3817 times)

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Offline AribethAmkiir

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2012, 03:23:53 AM »
I can generally post once every couple of days.

As for sex being centrally themed to the game, I have feelings similar to Pumpkin.  I'm not saying that it shouldn't be there, it can be very fun.  It's just that I don't want every social scene, combat scene or conflict to be reduced into an orgy.  It kind of defeats the purpose of playing Exalted if that happens.

I also have very strong feelings about male players playing female characters that are nothing more than sex objects.

I also would want to know why a prostitute would be Exalted?  What exactly did she do that was heroic enough to cause her to exalt?

I can pair off to be someone's mate, but does that mean we've got to waste that Background point on our character sheet since it sounds like that's a mandatory thing for the game?

Final also, I promise.  With 3 female players can we allow the female players to have dibs on the female characters?  That is, of course, assuming that we're wanting a mixed gender group.

Online Red LobsterTopic starter

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #26 on: July 04, 2012, 04:14:31 AM »
To answer the comments about sex in the RP:

I agree with you Aribeth and Pumpkin, if sex is used in the RP it will strictly be introduced as the climax to an incredibly tense connection between two characters. I have too much respect for the game of Exalted to reduce everything down to just mindless fucking. So no worries there, my primary interest was just seeing if we had anybody who is loathe to the idea of sex in an RP at all.

To answer the rest of your questions:

Quote
I also have very strong feelings about male players playing female characters that are nothing more than sex objects.

I don't believe this will be an issue because of what I stated above. If this sort of thing goes against the grain of the game, and is unrealistic to the setting, then I will stop it. However in the setting of Creation, where diplomacy is one of the major intrigues of the game, playing at seduction can be a powerful tool whether any physical activity comes as a result.

Quote
I also would want to know why a prostitute would be Exalted?  What exactly did she do that was heroic enough to cause her to exalt?

A prostitute becoming an Exalted seems to more unusual to me than a farmer becoming an Exalted. Ultimately the two are just different choices at professions. Perhaps the Wyld Hunt had heard an anathema stopped in at her brothel a week or so prior, and arrived to hustle for information. In the process they threatened the life of one of the girls. Her character stepped in, and was nearly killed in the process while trying to defend her friends. But, during the chaos of it all, she Exalted.

Quote
I can pair off to be someone's mate, but does that mean we've got to waste that Background point on our character sheet since it sounds like that's a mandatory thing for the game?

Having a Solar or Lunar mate is not mandatory for the game. But should you choose to have one I will not require that you spend points for it in character creation. This is just an added RP bonus if it interests you.

Quote
With 3 female players can we allow the female players to have dibs on the female characters?  That is, of course, assuming that we're wanting a mixed gender group.

I agree with you, female characters will have dibs on the female characters. But it wouldn't bother me at all if we didn't have a mixed gender game. Almost all of the players can be female and I don't think it will retract from the enjoyment.

Quote
As for time, there are some days after work where I literally can’t move.  Then there are times when I could just write and write and write.  So I’ll try my best to stick to every other day, but I’ll also let you know if I’m just running into problems.

Sounds great Pumpkin! I mostly just want to avoid situations where people don't end up posting for awhile, then everyone gets bored and just stops.

I'm new to the GMing thing on forums, do people create a post order and everyone waits until the *next person in line* has posted? Even if it takes a few days? Or do they just continue and let that person jump back in whenever they return?

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Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #27 on: July 04, 2012, 04:59:46 AM »
*Pounce!* 
Ack, am I too late? 
If there's room for me, just say the word.  I can have a charecter ready in no time! 

Offline AribethAmkiir

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #28 on: July 04, 2012, 05:07:24 AM »
I'm new to the GMing thing on forums, do people create a post order and everyone waits until the *next person in line* has posted? Even if it takes a few days? Or do they just continue and let that person jump back in whenever they return?

It kind of depends on the guidelines the GM sets, the etiquette of the players and the scene.  If two characters are off on their own, then their players should be able to post between them without causing too much problems.  If a third character appears in the area or interacts with them, then yes they should allow for all characters to respond and interact before moving forward.  If all the players are together then they should all have an opportunity to respond or react or at the very least mention in the OOC that the player will skip this round or let others play on without them.  At least, that's how I think things should work.


Can we get a decision on where the game is going to take place, or begin?  That'll likely have an effect on the character I decide to play.  Though I'm interested in making a No Moon or Night, depending on what the group needs.

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Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #29 on: July 04, 2012, 05:23:50 AM »
  I've been running Exalted on these forums for some years.  What Aribeth says is absolutely correct. 
  The difficulty comes when you get into an initiative order situation.  This is doubly true with a system like Exalted, where your character can make reactions.  In that situation, it can help a lot if you and your players share Instant Messaging information to resolve scenes.  Another useful thing to do is for a character to include information in their post about what they'll do in a given contingency.  This can be kept clean and neat using the Spoiler tags.  (That icon that says Hide will create the tags for you.) 

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #30 on: July 04, 2012, 08:42:09 AM »
See, I can actually see a few version of the temple prostitute becoming an Exalted.  Though not sure if any of the version are what AK might be angling to provide. 

For a Zenith caste, I could see a young woman.  Raised on the steps of a temple, she served diligently to the priests for food and room.  She swept the steps, washed their clothing and cooked their meals.  When she blossomed into womanhood the sisters of the temple saw in her a woman that could provide for them.  So she was told she would serve their God, she would serve to bring others to the temple.  At first she saw herself as another priestess, but soon she saw the harsh reality.  Money changed hands and she lay with the man or woman that paid.  Her world shattered as she saw the truth.  In her moment of despair she found a relic, a piece of history lost inside the basement of the temple.  Sacred writings speaking of the Unconquered Sun.  Somehow the writings touched her soul and she felt once more the elation of the divine.

Even when they beat her, when they raped her to make her repent she refused.  Whips fell on her flesh, metal stripping skin from her body and her women she had once called sisters violated her but she could not deny the Unconquered Sun as her champion.  Then, in a moment of finality as death was to come over her did her savior instead rise to her defense.  A vision was given to her of the world she could create, of a world that had once been and might be again.  Light blossomed from her and scored the flesh of her attackers.  She stepped from the temple, unharmed.  Behind her came the women that had lost their faith like her that had their bodies and spirits crushed by the divine.  Each found faith and hope.  Clutched in her grasp were the sacred writings and from her lips fell the most pure of words to call to arms for a new age beneath the light of the Unconquered Sun.


Then I can see another for perhaps an Eclipse..

Once again a girl that had come to the temple, left their perhaps by her parents.  Purchased perhaps by a priest with an eye for talent.  All knew she would rise to be beautiful and all knew her price would be high.  None could force that with the maturity of her body came the maturity of a great mind.  She lay with men for coin, but from their lips pried their secrets.  From the pleasure she granted she took not money but power.  While her body performed her mind made connections, constructing empires of business and webs of power that would elevate her from beneath them all.  Soon the money made by selling her did not compare to the money she made with her whispers.

The prostitute, secure in her temple and safe from the world outside, reached out her hand to command the leaders of industry and trade.  A twist of her wrist would send the most feared warriors to do her bidding.  Soon the temple was hers to command.  Girls like herself, bought and sold, were brought to her for protection.  Minds were nourished and souls saved from the very life she conquered.  The light of the sun shined down on her.  From beneath her seat began to emerge a throne and from her army of prostitutes and concubines began to grow an empire unseen.


So, I can see a few instances of that.  Anyway, random thoughts and ideas.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #31 on: July 04, 2012, 09:31:36 AM »
Possibly interested if there's still room, but I think I'm too late.

Online Red LobsterTopic starter

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #32 on: July 04, 2012, 11:23:54 AM »
Quote
Can we get a decision on where the game is going to take place, or begin?  That'll likely have an effect on the character I decide to play.  Though I'm interested in making a No Moon or Night, depending on what the group needs.

The game is going to begin in Nexus. If you guys have any further questions please let me know, otherwise try to provide me with your character sheet ASAP. I'm not going to go so far as to do dice rolls for the game, but I want to see everyone's strength and weaknesses, as well as the charms you have at your disposal.

Also if you are playing a Lunar I need a list of what creatures you have in your Hearts Blood archive.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 11:38:59 AM by Red Lobster »

Offline AK47

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #33 on: July 04, 2012, 12:42:40 PM »
See, I can actually see a few version of the temple prostitute becoming an Exalted.  Though not sure if any of the version are what AK might be angling to provide. 

For a Zenith caste, I could see a young woman.  Raised on the steps of a temple, she served diligently to the priests for food and room.  She swept the steps, washed their clothing and cooked their meals.  When she blossomed into womanhood the sisters of the temple saw in her a woman that could provide for them.  So she was told she would serve their God, she would serve to bring others to the temple.  At first she saw herself as another priestess, but soon she saw the harsh reality.  Money changed hands and she lay with the man or woman that paid.  Her world shattered as she saw the truth.  In her moment of despair she found a relic, a piece of history lost inside the basement of the temple.  Sacred writings speaking of the Unconquered Sun.  Somehow the writings touched her soul and she felt once more the elation of the divine.

Even when they beat her, when they raped her to make her repent she refused.  Whips fell on her flesh, metal stripping skin from her body and her women she had once called sisters violated her but she could not deny the Unconquered Sun as her champion.  Then, in a moment of finality as death was to come over her did her savior instead rise to her defense.  A vision was given to her of the world she could create, of a world that had once been and might be again.  Light blossomed from her and scored the flesh of her attackers.  She stepped from the temple, unharmed.  Behind her came the women that had lost their faith like her that had their bodies and spirits crushed by the divine.  Each found faith and hope.  Clutched in her grasp were the sacred writings and from her lips fell the most pure of words to call to arms for a new age beneath the light of the Unconquered Sun.


That's pretty much what I had in mind, Shines Brightly was a temple prostitute from a hidden village deep in the jungles south of An Teng, that worships the Unconquered sun as a fertility god. When some vacationing Dragon Blooded wandered into town, they started killing and raping all the heretics and torturing them until they repented. Shine refused to repent and exalted. Stunned by her celestial beauty, some of the dragon blooded had second thoughts, and they began to fight amongst themselves. The surviving one, a young Cynis Dynast, swore her loyalty to her, and they proceeded to go on a quest to restore the rightful order of civilization.

Offline AribethAmkiir

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #34 on: July 04, 2012, 01:00:59 PM »
I'd call that a priestess, but that'd be squabbling over semantics.  I realize Solar exaltation is wonky and with the right story anyone can exalt.  I just wanted to hear the story.   ::)

So who is playing a Solar and who is playing a Lunar?  From what I've gathered it looks like AK and Pumpkin are thinking about Solar characters and Roxy is making a Changing Moon Lunar?  Is this correct?

Online Red LobsterTopic starter

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #35 on: July 04, 2012, 01:03:25 PM »
That looks correct Aribeth. I've also let Muse submit his character sheet in case somebody doesn't respond back with their information in a timely manner. If everything goes well, I'd like to be able to put my first post up before the end of the day.

Offline AK47

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #36 on: July 04, 2012, 01:50:45 PM »
I'd call that a priestess, but that'd be squabbling over semantics.

In many ancient religions Priestess and whore are the same thing.

Offline AribethAmkiir

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #37 on: July 04, 2012, 02:09:41 PM »
Good to know.   :-)

Offline AribethAmkiir

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #38 on: July 04, 2012, 02:32:09 PM »
What rule set are we using to make our character sheets and how much actually needs to be filled out if we're not making dice rolls?

Offline Roxy Rocket

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #39 on: July 04, 2012, 03:15:42 PM »
I used the default rules for starting characters. I chose to pay attention to the requirements for charms and knacks. I chose narratively interesting abilities instead of mechanically good ones.

I chose 25 abilities dots based on:
-2 or 3 dots for things she relies on
-1 dot for everything she would be familiar with.
-Prune until you're down to 25 dots.

I avoided things that were hard to explain (like specialties or intimacies or combos.)



How much of that matters? Not that much.

Form list, Charms/Knacks/Sorcery and anything dramatic like hearthstones probably do.

I'm sure if I asked the group and/or Red Lobster for leeway for things I'd get it but:
A) One set of guidelines are as good as the next. I chose the simplest one.
B) Simple means I save time on picking things
C) Simple makes the character easy to describe and straight forward in their role

Those were my reasons, B was the important one. Other people can work out their own choices and reasons based on what is important to them.



If wanted to skip working out the mechanics I would just answer the following questions:

What are they good at? (hunting or fighting or Fancy Book Learnin')
What do they turn into? (birds or predatory dinosaurs or sea mammals)
What supernatural powers do they have? (archery, athletics, sorcery)
What is their motivation or prime virtue? (Cure the Abyssals, compassion/valor with low temperance)
What is their concept or role? (Demi-god circus performer, Love' Lunar Fool, The Zeppo)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 03:23:05 PM by Roxy Rocket »

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Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #40 on: July 04, 2012, 05:38:25 PM »
Name:      Cinnabar Starlight
Type:      Solar
Caste:      Dawn
Concept:   Warrior/Scholar

Height:       6’3”
Weight:   200lbs
Gender:   Male
Skin:      Bronze
Hair:      Golden Brown
Eyes:      Green

Motivation:   Build a world where everyone has a chance to enlighten themselves. 
Intimacies: 
--His family. 
--Knowlege
--The goddesses of Great Forks (Shield of a New Day and Weaver of Dreams). 

Description:  A tall, copper skinned young man with a barrel chest and bulging biceps.  His hair is golden brown, like ripe barely, and his intelligent eyes bright green.  He wears trigger trousers and silk shirts, sometimes donning an orichalcum reinforced breastplate over them.  (He also owns a reinforced buff jacket for when he needs to get armored up quickly, or more discreetly.) 
   He carries a fine warhammer on his belt, and a daiklaive ready in Elsewhere. 

Background:  The son of a merchant princess from Nexus, Cinnabar was destined to be the ‘man of the house’ for his sister, Twilight Mist.  The two were educated together in the great library of Great Forks.  Cinnabar developed a fondness for the goddess’s of Great Forks—both spiritual and more than a little infatuation.  He has spoken to both personally, and it was fighting against buck ogre raiders alongside Shield of a New Day that he exalted. 
   Wishing to explore his exalted nature, Cinnabar wandered the lands to the south for over a year, fighting the undead of Thorns alongside the Markuni. 
   Twilight Mist has done well by herself, too, taking her inheritance early, and just enough to get her started while her mother rebuilds her full fortune so her younger sister will have something to profit on as well.  She has enjoyed several consorts, and is currently seeking a worthy father for her first child or so. 


Strength      4   Charisma      2   Perception   2
Dexterity       3   Manipulation      1   Intelligence   4
Stamina      4   Appearance      4   Wits      3

*Archery      1
*Martial Arts      0
*Melee         5
*Thrown      0
*War         3

Integrity      1
Presence      1
*Performance      1
Resistance      1
Survival      1

Craft: Air      1
Craft: Earth      0
Craft: Fire      0
Craft: Magitech   0
Craft: Water      0
Craft: Wood      0
Investigation      1
Medicine      0
*Lore         3
*Occult      3

*Athletics      1
Awareness      1
Dodge         0
Larceny      0
Stealth         0

Bureaucracy      1
Linguistics      3
Ride         1
Sail         0
Socialize      1

Compassion      3
Conviction      2
Temperance      2
Valor         4

Willpower      7

Essence      2
Motes: 
Personal      13/13
Peripheral      32/23
Attunemnt      9


Lore: 
--Third Lore Excellency: Essence Resurgent

Melee: 
--Second Melee Excellency: Essence Triumphant
--Dipping Swallow Defense
--Solar Counterattack
--Call the Blade
--Summoning the Loyal Steel

Occult: 
--Spirit Detecting Glance
--Spirit Cutting Attack

Resistance Charms: 
--Body Mending Meditation
--Ox Body Technique (+2 -1)



Virtue Flaw:  Foolhardy Contempt
--Limit      0

Backgrounds: 
Allies      1
Artifact   3   Radiant Aegis (Reinforced Breastplate)
Artifact   2   Illumine Soul (Daiklaive)
Contacts   2
Resources   3


Allies:   Twilight Mist, a minor merchant princess and Cinnabar’s sister.  By the bonds of family, he is expected to teach her sons the manly arts and champion her in military affairs in return for her continued financial support.  He is not expected to spend his entire life at her home.  (After all, other matriarchs out there will want more intimate relationship with him.)  (Notes:  Heroic Mortal.  Backing: Guild, Contacts, Resources 4,


Perfect Hammer: 
--Speed   5
--ACC      +3 (11)
--Damage   +8 (12B, P)
--Defense   +2 (10, PDV 5)
--Rate      3

Illumine Soul (Orichalcum Daiklaive)
--Speed   5
--ACC      +4 (12)
--Damage   +6 (10L)
--Defense   +3 (11, PDV 6)
--Rate      4
--Attunement   5

Dodge DV   3 (3)
Dodge MDV   6
Soak:  Orichalcum Reinforced Breastplate (Mobility -1, Fatigue 1, Attunement 4)
--Bashing   4 (15)/9
--Lethal   2 (14)/9

Health: 
OK   ( )
-1   ( )( )( )( )
-2   ( )( )
-4   ( )
 I   ( )
 D   ( )( )( )( )
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 05:44:08 PM by Muse »

Online Red LobsterTopic starter

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #41 on: July 04, 2012, 05:48:44 PM »
Quote
What rule set are we using to make our character sheets and how much actually needs to be filled out if we're not making dice rolls?

What Roxy said was appropriate. What I need to know primarily is what things you are skilled in, and what are you not skilled in. This can be portrayed to me through a character sheen, or you can list it the way Roxy did. Likewise a backstory would be suitable, as well as your primary goal.

So, to list these are the things I need. If you haven't already done this, or only partially, please post again with the needed information.

1. Appearance
2. Exalt Type
3. Primary Attributes
4. Primary Skills
5. Personality
6. Backstory
7. Epic Motivation

I'm going to make a post here in a bit to add more about where you guys are starting, and why. Obviously we need to get everyone together as a party, so I will need you guys to suspend your disbelief and go just go with it. I realize that some characters might be the 'lone-wolf' sort, and wouldn't be caught dead in certain places, but we have to get everyone together somehow.

Offline AribethAmkiir

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #42 on: July 04, 2012, 06:09:11 PM »
In Progress:

Name: Intricate Raven
Type: Solar
Caste: Night
Concept: Princess of Thieves

Height: 5’6”
Weight: 145 lbs
Gender: Female
Skin: Olive
Hair: Dark brown with blonde highlights
Eyes: Brown

 Anima: A black and gold raven, golden claws outstretched to pluck her target.
Motivation: Redistribute the world’s wealth evenly
Intimacies:
•   Her Circle
•   The poor
•   Living the High Life

Description: Raven moves with a seductive grace that hints at an unspoken promise to the unwary eye.  The leathers she typically wears are dyed in browns or blacks that allow for easier concealment in the streets of Nexus, and are more often than not form fitting to prevent an accidental tear or snag.  Her body is obviously feminine with prominent hips and a bust that is difficult to conceal.  Her blonde highlighted hair is often worn at neck length and can easily be tied up so that it is out of the way.  Dark leather pants and thigh high soft soled boots conceal her long, toned legs.  She has hawk like facial features and unreadable dark brown eyes that make lesser men nervous.

Background: A street urchin born to a nameless whore in Great Forks, Raven was on her own from the moment she could walk.  She learned the lessons of the street quickly and found a niche as a gutter rat.  As she grew older she learned that there were easier yet just as disgusting ways to survive and decided to make her own way.  She turned to pick-pocketing, fencing, and grand larceny until she slowly became a known criminal.

At the age of 15, she was forced to flee Great Forks and decided that Nexus was the place for her.  Upon arrival she quickly found a gang of thieves that accepted her and began working with them.  It was after a particularly profitable score that she found out the true colors of her so called partners.  They turned on her and she was forced to fight and ultimately flee for her life.  She Exalted during her desperate fight for survival and used her newfound abilities to exact her revenge.  Since then, she has taken control of the gang and slowly expanded her influence.  She helps feed the poor and sick and is slowly earning the love and respect of the unfortunate.  It’s suspected that she uses children and beggars as her eyes and ears.
 
Attributes:
Strength: 3
Dexterity: 5
Stamina: 3
Charisma: 3
Manipulation: 3
Appearance: 3
Perception: 2
Intelligence: 2
Wits: 3
Abilities:
Archery: 0
Martial Arts: 0
Melee*: 3
Thrown: 0
War: 0
Integrity*: 3
Performance: 3
Presence*: 2
Resistance:  1
Survival: 2
Craft : 0
Investigation: 2
Lore: 0
Medicine:  0
Occult: 0
Athletics*: 4
Awareness*: 3
Dodge*: 4
Larceny*: 4
Stealth*:  4
Bureaucracy*: 2
Linguistics: 1
Ride: 0
Sail: 0
Socialize*: 2
Backgrounds:

Advantages:
Compassion*: 3
Conviction: 3
Temperance: 1
Valor: 2
Willpower: 6
Essence: 2
Motes:
Languages: Rivertongue*, Low Realm


Online Red LobsterTopic starter

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #43 on: July 04, 2012, 06:37:25 PM »
@ Roxy and Muse,

Your characters look great guys!

Why have Cinnabar and Nine Clouds come to Nexus?

Offline AribethAmkiir

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #44 on: July 04, 2012, 06:56:43 PM »
Is a personality the only thing I'm missing?   ;D
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 10:31:19 PM by AribethAmkiir »

Online Red LobsterTopic starter

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #45 on: July 04, 2012, 07:23:50 PM »
I need your Charms, and any artifacts you'd like to start with as well.

Offline Roxy Rocket

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #46 on: July 04, 2012, 08:37:39 PM »
I'm going to be dropping.

Long story.

Enjoy the game.

Online Red LobsterTopic starter

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign
« Reply #47 on: July 04, 2012, 08:48:01 PM »
I'm sorry to hear that Roxy! If you are able to play later, and would like to jump in, just PM me!

I'm going to add a tag to the title of this topic to see if we can grab somebody else.

Offline AribethAmkiir

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign (Still Open!)
« Reply #48 on: July 04, 2012, 10:13:43 PM »
Just a note avorae and Andy Z expressed interest earlier in this thread.

I'm working on charms and artifacts now.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Interest Check: Exalted Campaign (Still Open!)
« Reply #49 on: July 04, 2012, 10:32:50 PM »
Name: Gears of Heavenly Design
Type: Solar
Caste: Twilight
Concept: Divine Mechanic

Anima: The anima begins with the soft sound of gears working against one another and the heat of steam flowing past her.  Faint, golden images of ancient mechanisms begin to appear behind her.  These images bear more substance as she expends more power.  Around her machines begin to turn on and operate for brief moments, flickering to life at the call of their Mistress.  Intricate designs flash over her skin to reveal the secrets of Creation long since lost, appearing for brief glimpses. 
Motivation: To bring about an era of scientific exploration and wonder
Description: The day is rare when Gears can be found without anonymous stains on her clothing.  Around her is always the scent of metal shavings, oil and the grim of her workshop.  Often times her clothes are simple and durable, selected for their ability to clean easily and withstand her unending need to be pressed into some tight confine or beneath some mechanism.  Projects always need to be done and she works hard to keep pace with her assistants.  Around her waist is always a heavy belt of various tools, some not having seen the light of day for centuries.  At her wrist is an orchialcum gauntlet that never seems to leave her body, stretching from wrist to just beyond her mid-forearm. 

Gears keeps her hair tied back normally.  A few tendrils always seem to escape in her rush to be from one place to another, hanging down over her freckled features.  Perhaps not a beauty, she passes for adorable more often than not.  Large eyes of soft green always seem to be staring at something in wonder.  Eyebrows knitted in concentration over some abstract thought.   Sitting still seems an impossibility as her bounding energy pours out into the world, filling others with the excitement she sees in the simplest of things around her.  Gears sees the world as mystery and puzzle, one that she wants everyone to be excited to solve.

Background
The world was coming toward me.  Well at least the ground speeding past my head was certainly rising at a speed I didn’t appreciate.  There are some benefits to being upside down and one of those is being quite attentive to what is under your head at the time.  For me this consisted of a lot of rocks and sand.  That the sand had a nasty habit of flying up into my eyes did not help my situation, nor did the black smoke pouring out around me.  Sparks were flying from around my hands and bits of hot metal were falling down on my arms.  Stopping what I was doing wasn’t an option at the time with half of a Varang City State following close behind.  So I made do with what was on hand, which wasn’t much.

My hands were wrist deep in mechanics that I had barely any comprehension of how they worked.  Flashes of energy raced down my fingertips, sending sensations through my arm that nearly made me drop my tools.  Strips of metal crackled when I moved them while the slightest modification would send the vehicle barreling one direction or the other.  Was about the only way I knew when I’d reached the steering column.  Next to me an orb sputtered and erupted in more smoke, telling me that the first hover orb was finally giving out entirely.  Truth be told I hadn’t expected them to last this long.  I coughed and sputtered ash from my mouth.  My finger slammed between a few twists of metal, wiring the djala called them, and I began peeling back the coating.  I wanted to scream from the pain this caused but the screwdriver between my teeth kept that embarrassing moment in check.

I was not alone on this adventure.  There are limits to my stupidity after all.  Atop this speeding ride were several of the djala’s finest and their kin.  Above me small feet padded around frantically as they tried to drive this First Age piece of rubble that I affectionately called Swift Rider.  Projectiles dinged off the metal armor of the craft, which was probably not designed for that sort of task.  From the schematics I had seen this was meant for enjoyment, not fleeing for one’s life.  Necessity demands a lot of strange things.  Like having two people, neither of which big enough to operate the controls alone, driving a speeding vehicle I’m currently riding beneath.  I am starting to rethink those limits I mentioned earlier.

The screwdriver popped out from between my teeth to be surrounded by dirty fingers.  Already my voice was calling for them to turn right and left.  My eyes immediately taking note of which wire reacted depending on the direction they turned the vehicle.  Of course this also meant I was being thrown from side to side with more sand and dirt tossed into my face.   Necessity and all.  The screwdriver was meant to drive a wedge between the wires, separating them as I worked my way to the source of the problem.  Each was then pressed down and adjusted, so that the connections could be renewed.  I felt the steering improve, but also noted further problems.  The amount of energy demanded by the vehicle at this speed was moving beyond the limits of the system.  I felt, before I heard another explosion as a second hover orb exploded beneath me.

Now before I fall off this ride, maybe you’re wondering how exactly I got here.  That requires some rewinding.

Now, I’m not really one for telling stories.  Not really something I’ve been trained to do, plus I don’t keep track of what others consider important while things are happening.  So we will see how this goes and if you walk away more confused than that is how things worked out.  The beginning is well, a haze.  I was born a citizen of the Realm, but don’t tell anyone else that because nobody seems to believe me.  The slavers certainly didn’t when they snatched me up like so much junk.  Anyway, my da’ was a smart man.  Really smart so far as we mortals can go.  He was the assistant librarian and lore keeper for some prestigious university.  I don’t know which.  Obviously, not one I could have attended.  My mother died when I was born so for the longest there was just me and my da’.

Well some big timer in the city we lived in got an idea in his head to form an expedition out to the South.  I remember my da’ complaining and tossing books around about that time.  Probably because of whatever this big guy was saying.  I don’t know, my toys were a lot more interesting.  My da’ gave me a lot of great toys when I was little.  Not just dolls mind you, though I had more than a few of those.  I also had a lot of blocks and metal bits and stuff.  I used to spend hours building little houses for my dolls to play in and those were good times.  One time I designed this swinging door with….well…alright my time is probably going to run out before I get to all those details.  Anyway, needless to say my da’ was asked (more than likely told) to go with the expedition.  He had an expertise in First Age artifacts and history, so he was somewhat important for the research aspect. 

So, course we packed up our things and got on this big boat.  Never been much for boats and water and the like.  When the Realm says march, you march.  When the Realm says sail, you well sit on a leaky boat and hope you make the trip to the other side.  Make it we did, obviously.  To the sandy shores of the South we moved and across the bustling harbor Chiaroscuro we fought to get through.  More people than I had ever seen crowded around me and da.  Bit frightened I remember myself being at the time.  Fighting for air, fighting to move, hell struggling to even see the hand I was holding were my first memories of the South.  Not pleasant ones I assure you. 

Now this excavation site was a grand one.   Even then I knew that this was some big project and something important was being dug up in the sand.  Course digging in sand is a lot like digging in water, so the way was slow going.  Still, I was a kid then and kids find ways to have fun right?  So I would run around under the feet of soldiers, build castles from sand near the site and in general find my way in and out of trouble.  Not a bad life then if one discounts the blazing sun and the lack of a parent for most of the day.  Da was hard pressed to come up with answers to the people’s questions and they took to leaving bruises on him.  Not sure how hitting someone makes them think harder, but I guess they had some method in mind.  So that was our life.  I built sand castles, Da got hit for not reading fast enough and we settled into our tent city. 

There was a lot of discovery then.  Boxes always getting moved out of the hole they were digging.  I only cared cause the soldiers kept stepping on my things as they marched by with their boxes.  Those castles took so long to build and with a stomp, they were gone.  Ridiculous really.  Anyway, so there was a lot of activity going on and a lot of things got lost.  Including me a few times.  Da was pretty good about dragging me out of my ruts and holes, dusting me off and putting me back in my dress.  I got into fights with other kids, played with them more and more while the grownups got their jollies from the boxes.  Nothing wrong there really until one didn’t get his jolly so well. 

I don’t remember much at all about those minutes or the hours that followed.  There was a roar that deafened me and a flash of white that blinded me.  A man walked among us with the head of a great cat and the body of marble.  He moved with a sandstorm.  Blood was all over the place.  Such a smell of fear and carnage that I couldn’t breathe.  The man never stopped.  He just kept cutting through them with a roar, tearing through the proud troops of our homeland.  All I could think to do was run.

There were a lot of people running, a lot of people dying.  Other people shaped like cats came for us too.  I remember watching my friends dragged through the sands screaming.  Remember bloody bodies on the dunes ahead and behind me.  I kept running.  At night I would only sleep when I could go no more.  I kept running, knowing that somewhere the monsters were still coming for me.  There was no escape for my mind from the memories of what happened.  Sometimes I would cry for my Da, but mostly I ran until the sun beat me down.  Some people hate the moment they were taken for slavery, I guess I could only be thankful.