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cigaw
Sep 13, 2012


CourValant posted:



Its cool forum friend! No need to apologize, as a polite, meaningful discourse on how we interpret his writing is how Ice gets his writing mojo!

I appreciated your post and wanted to respond in a thoughtful manner.
Fair and appreciated points!

CourValant posted:

Me too. Also as a Catholic, the idea of selling indulgences in this LP tickles my fancy in some very odd and specific ways. Time for a dogmatic schism!!

That . . . would suck for Shepherds, yeah. Its also completely disincentives damning of souls, unless you enjoy having your soul frayed.

Which, because Ice is writing this, sure, checks out.
Whatup Pope buddy!

That's just one spitballed theory over lunch break. I'm sure we can come up with something more messed up/interesting/horrifying than that. Whether or not it'll top Ice's plans remains to be seen (it probably won't).

edit: unintentional
Took me forever to find this damned smiley due to the misspelling.

cigaw fucked around with this message at Apr 18, 2018 around 20:13

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Deadmeat5150
Nov 21, 2005

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLAN


CourValant posted:

By the way, any reason you picked 'You Can't Steal My Joy'?

Because I've been humming the Firefly title song since last night; in my mind I've already linked the 'You can't take the sky from me' to this LP and am creating satirical lyrics as you roll-out more details on the setting.


I thought of this too. Now I find myself humming as well.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

cigaw posted:

Whatup Pope buddy!



This is now my new favorite smilie!

Deadmeat5150 posted:

I thought of this too. Now I find myself humming as well.

That's good enough for me!

This stanza pretty much stands on its own:

Leave the men where they lay
They'll never see another day
Lost my soul, lost my dream
You can't take the skysteal my joy from me.

cigaw
Sep 13, 2012


CourValant posted:

Leave the men where they lay
They'll never see another day
Lost my soul, lost my dream
You can't take the skysteal my joy from me.

Got not place I can be,
At least I found the One Tree.
You can't steal my joy from me.

Also, at you guys. I've now had the Firefly theme on my head for hours.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

cigaw posted:

Got not place I can be,
At least I found the One Tree.
You can't steal my joy from me.



cigaw posted:

Also, at you guys. I've now had the Firefly theme on my head for hours.

That's a feature, not a bug; you're welcome.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

House rules:

To explain in the shortest of details as a tl;dr

1. All experience is by following up with "troubles" which will be up to the thread to follow up on. Defeat a bandit? No experience. Send a troublesome hungry ghost to the fiery lake? No experience. The only way to gain experience is to follow troublesome aspects of their personality into trouble. Imagine a child touching a hot stove over and over again even though it's a really bad idea. We'll be developing a few of these so it's not the same hot stove and they can change during play as characters change.

2. Qualities give hit points and loosely define who the characters are and what they do.

3. Items give bonuses and the more complicated they are, the better they perform in terms of bonus to the dice and the more functions they can perform.

4. Relationships will give bonuses or penalties. They can be with individuals or with factions.

5. Experience is a general pool that can buy qualities, items or relationships. It's also an abstract for money.

Trouble and Experience

Normally in prose descriptive qualities, or PDQ, you have negative traits that will give a dice penalty. I've decided to waive these as they're not interesting enough. Instead we'll have what I'm going to call "troubles". Normally experience is awarded for completing objectives, defeating bad guys and playing intelligently, but bandits aren't just going to drop 2d6 silver pieces and award experience for their defeat. That's too gamey and I don't like it. In fact it's smarter altogether to avoid those bandits.

Roy and Brianna can get by in life almost 100% unmolested due to their positions in the community if they keep their heads down and mind their own business. So if those bandits would try to rob them, they would probably not shoot them due to the positions each of them hold. They're too important. In fact they might not even take everything. In the process of the robbery, Roy and Brianna would lose some of their gear, but not their lives. The bandits might decide it's not worth it to mess with people so vital to the health of the community either. I really can't overstate how vital these two are.

We'll be defining what those troubles are for each character because if either character wants experience, they will specifically have to engage with that specific trouble to get it. If you don't get into trouble you'll be pretty safe, but also don't expect experience.

For example, let's say that Roy is a lonely person. So the thread could simply define the trouble as "lonely". He knows his low status in society. Normally in civilized towns he would be ushered into a place to get a bath under the cover of night or through the back door while getting price gouged in the process. If he wanted food he'd be fed at the back door as well. However, that doesn't do anything to cure him of his loneliness. If his trouble was "lonely", in this instance, I'd award two experience for going through the front door of a saloon and trying to enjoy some human contact. This means taking whatever consequences arise whether they are positive or negative (probably negative). Brianna on the other hand has no such restrictions on her behavior, and unless she was following up on a trouble as well, she wouldn't get experience for helping Roy out of a jam.

I'll define trouble loosely. It can be a serious flaw in someone's personality, it can be trouble with a specific type of person or a specific person, it can be a virtue that is a weakness due to the harsher environment, anything really so long as possessing this quality can get either Roy or Brianna into trouble of some sort. By the end of this CYOA I want them both to have two troubles each, maybe three. These troubles are also not fixed. They can change if overcome or ignored for long enough. We'll be allowed to indulge in troubles once per new location.

Please note that these troubles won't be defined by doing their job as Shepherd or Steward. Healing people and helping them pass on is not trouble. Protecting the One Tree is not courting trouble. That's their duty. Troubles would be incurred by going above and beyond their duties and making stuff personal. So if Brianna has a soft spot for animals, confronting the owner of said animal about their rough treatment of their is trouble and I'd award experience in that case.

Anyway, I'm going to cause lots of trouble for everyone to embroil themselves in, because there will be a lot to spend it on. The more trouble the two find themselves in, the more experience they'll have to spend on qualities, items and relationships.

Qualities

So we're currently defining the character's qualities. These give bonuses to dice if they're applicable. They range from +2 at the low end to +6 at the high end for each trait. I'll be separating traits into two categories: Personal and items. Personal traits can be damaged and healed. Think of them like hit points. These qualities go from +2 at the low end to +6 at the high end, and you can have multiple traits. All traits cost 4 experience to raise by +2. Their qualities are fixed at creation and may not be expanded.

For example, Roy is a +2 Shepherd. He can heal people through mundane means and prevents them from dying when they ordinarily should with his magic. He's good at spotting lies, can intimidate people, send souls to the afterlife and combat hungry ghosts. Also if another situation makes sense for his +2 Shepherd bonus to apply, it applies so long as I'm not stretching what he could do too far.

Brianna is a +4 Steward. She's an outdoorswoman, is good with animals, knows local history, can interact with The One Tree and is good at diplomacy. Think of a park ranger.

Say we wanted to buy a new quality. In celebration of Simon Bolivar, hero of the original vaqueros, the cowboys of South America, we could buy "Iron rear end". At least as a for example. That was the title the South American cowboys awarded him for his ability to ride all day in the saddle. Iron rear end would give a +2 to defense, riding horses, being tough, being intimidating and getting along with people who traveled for a living, such as cowboys or messengers. Really, anything that can be justified by the term "iron rear end".

Items

Items range from -2 in quality all the way up to +6. So a thin, patched, scratchy wool blanket is a -2 item, but it lets you roll to stay warm at night. It allows for a roll instead of failing automatically. If items are damaged they lose 2 points off their status. So if Brianna's rifle was damaged for instance it would go down to +0 until repaired for 1 experience point each. They can reach all the way down to -2. If they go past that point they are gone forever. I will allow all damage to be shifted to an item any time anyone likes and it will only cost 2 points in damage to the item. In fact it'll be necessary as the current total of traits each character starts out with will only be +2 and +4. We'll be starting really low in hit points and they'll be very fragile.

Buying items will be mentioned below under "money".

Relationships

I liked loyalty from Shadowrun and it's making a comeback. There are going to be six factions to gain relationships with: Clan Rivers, Clan Horse, Clan Barrens, Iron Hill, The One Tree and the Government. These will range from -6 to +6. -6 being the worst, capture or kill on sight, to a 0 which is neutral and a +6 which would be allied.

We can also have relationships with individuals ranging from -6 to +6. We can get bonuses or maluses from being friends or foes with certain people or certain factions both in terms of permanent physical bonuses (which I will not name until they are achieved), but also narrative ones as well.

Brianna will start with some negatives and positives as she's embroiled in the local politics, but Roy will largely be clear of these relationships save for +2 points in government due to his affiliation with the Shepherd's guild, though he will be at a -2 for Iron Hill as he's a Shepherd and basically an untouchable. The clans and denizens of The One tree will have different opinions on Shepherds and will all start a +0.

If you wanted to buy a relationship from 0 to 1, that would cost 1 experience. From 1 to 2 would cost 2 experience. And so on. There must be a reason for it to be bought. We can't buy points in relationships for factions or people we haven't met.

Relationships can only be developed with experience. However, they can be spoiled by developing relationships with "the wrong people" or generally screwing said faction over. Now and again I will test the loyalties between two or more factions. A more diplomatic character may be able to thread that needle.

Money

Shepherds are actually pretty well paid and Brianna doesn't really have a need for money beyond getting what she needs. However, finding someone who will regularly and willingly do business with a Shepherd is another thing entirely. I'm going to be abstracting money as experience. Want to buy that +0 camping equipment so you don't freeze to death at night? Well, it'll cost you 1 experience point. Want a +2 item? It'll cost 2. Want a +4 item? It'll cost 3 and getting into trouble for free or having a good relationship with the seller. Want a +6 item? 4 experience points and either a lot of trouble or a fantastic relationship with the seller.

Items are less powerful than qualities, but they're more flexible.

Items will allow you to do things you normally otherwise could not, and unlike qualities we'll be able to choose what they do. So even a +0 and a +2 item will have a difference as I add an extra quality to them. That -2 camping equipment will keep you from freezing to death, but the +0 equipment will prepare hot meals as well. The +2 may keep the dust and rain off, prepare hot meals and keep you from freezing to death. And so on.

All -2 items are free save for major purchases. However, they can be easily destroyed and can't be replenished everywhere, so don't rely on them overmuch. Major purchases would be things like a house, wagons, horses, old tech, imported items, etc. Those will cost more. How much more will depend on the item.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Brianna

People stared as people did. The handshake wouldn't have gone unnoticed, but she hadn't worn her red and white checkered outfit if she wasn't trying to be seen. She made a motion with her hand and the tall man with the green and black outfit followed her. A path opened through the throng of people, though it wasn't her presence, but the man who followed in her wake.

Near the shade of an enormous mound of dirt was her wagon. She checked the surrounding soil around it for signs of footsteps, but found none save for her own. One could never be too careful with thieves around Iron Hill.

"Wagon sweet wagon," she said, musically.

Roy stopped in front of it and looked for a few seconds while she busied herself.

"That's a Conestoga wagon, isn't it?" asked Roy. "Yeah, it is. I can tell by how it's angled. You know, how it bows a little in the middle? I didn't expect to see one out here. In fact you don't see these out east at all since they laid out all that rail. I haven't seen one of these since I was a kid."

She turned her head and grinned over her shoulder at him.

"Yep. It's an antique. Great for hauling," she said, cheerfully. "That curve in the middle keeps things from shifting much and the canvas on top keeps the weather off. Normally you can't take a wagon like this out on the prairies. The wheels would sink. So I stick to the badlands."

She stepped up onto a lip and poked her head into the wagon. Everything seemed to be there, so she saw to each of her eight draft horses. She lifted her attention from her horse and scanned about to make sure that no one was in earshot. Then her gaze turned back to Roy who was waiting patiently. She continued, her voice lower.

"If the frame were ironwood and the wheels were thicker, I could. At least during the dry season. The body is just plain old aluminum. The wheels and axle are ironwood though. I painted them to look like steel. Aluminum, iron and even steel don't do well on the rocks with the loads I carry. Don't mention that by the way. This stuff is expensive," she said, and her voice picked up again. "Anyway, the aluminum is treated to keep the worst of the heat off so I don't bake everything inside. I mostly keep to the badlands so I meet few people out there. There's no soil or loose rocks to sink in to."

"Right. Yeah," he said, awkwardly.

Brianna wasn't sure what to make of him. Anxious and shy to be sure, but sometimes he'd talk and sometimes he wouldn't. She wasn't sure what got him to talking or not talking at all.

"You hungry?" she asked.

He brightened and smiled. This was a safe topic.

"I'm famished," he said, honestly.

She placed her foot once again on the lip of the wagon and hoisted herself inside. She rooted around among tightly packed boxes and sacks for a few seconds before she found a smaller box. Unlike many of the others, this one wasn't nailed shut, but would open and close on a hinge. The color was a burnt orange as it was a bronze box. Etched into the top was a picture of an apple. She emerged from the wagon, dropped to the ground and presented him with the box.

"Tada!" she said, exclaimed, with a hint of fanfare.

He looked down at the box. There was hesitation in his eyes as she looked into them, and just before like with the handshake, she thrust the box forward for him to take.

"Go on," she insisted, and she let out soft chuckle. "It won't bite."

She noticed something then. Everything that he did, he tended to do it with his right hand. So when he tried to grasp the box with his hands, she caught a flash of metal from his left. She suddenly panicked, dropped the box and stepped away several feet. The box popped open as it struck the ground, and a dozen different pieces of color fruit rolled around in the dirt. In a self-conscious move, he stuffed his metal hand into a pocket, bent over, righted the box and began carefully placing the pieces of fruit back inside. His eyes were downcast.

"Sorry, I must have dropped it," he said, quietly.

Her heart hammered in her chest. She'd almost touched iron. A few responses came to her lips, and her normally friendly demeanor faltered for a second.

"Is that iron? Your hand?" she asked, gravely.

He didn't look up as he answered, though he did shut the box.

"My arm, actually," he said. "All the way up to the shoulder. But no. It's steel. I had iron once, but I got a replacement. Sturdier. Lighter. I can do more. It was a sort of...Well, I call it my go away present."

Brianna put a hand to her chest as she waited for her heart to slow down. She felt giddy, even a little silly.

"Sorry...It's just...Iron. Iron and I..." she said, lightly. "Not going to need that coffee now. Oh, anger and fire, that'll wake a girl up."

He tried to hand her back the box with just the one hand, but she waved him off.

"You just have the whole lot," she said, lightly. "Most of that is out of season. Not a wrinkle or bad spot on any of them. All of them straight from the One Tree. There's a barrel on the side of the wagon. You can wash them off, have my coffee since I won't be needing it and we'll get riding. I'll see about getting you a horse from the Horse clan, but you can ride one of mine until you get your own. I imagine you didn't bring your horse all the way from the capital."

"No, I didn't, but thank you," he said, quietly.

The wind picked up and he placed a hand on his hat to keep it from blowing away. His other hand was still stuffed deeply into his pocket. She groped for something to say to lighten the moment. Anything to distract him or at least get him moving.

"And um...You can...Just...Tell me about your going away present," she enthused.

He muttered something.

"What's that?" she asked.

He winced and briefly touched eyes with her.

"Not going," he whispered.

"I'm sorry?" she asked.

"It wasn't a going away present. It was a go away present," he corrected.

Even though his cheeks were tanned, Brianna could see how shame colored them. His eyes touched hers for the briefest of moments.

"Oh," was all she managed to say.

Silence and the wind stood between them. A horse quietly nickered and a hoof beat against the stone, eager to be off. Brianna wasn't sure how to feel in that moment.

"I'm sorry if I'm not what you were expecting," he whispered.

His gaze dropped once more.

"But if it's all the same to you, I'd like to hit the road. I'm used to being on the move. Thank you for the fruit. I'm sure that I'll enjoy them. You're very kind," he murmured above the wind.

And he smiled. The smile was small and sad, but genuine. It was a smile to cut a heart.

CYOA Time

1. Brianna is not sure what to do and Roy is retreating into his shell. It's a two day ride to Horse Clan territory. They'll be alone for the majority of two days. What do each of them do, or at least attempt to do?

2. What is Roy's first trouble? What consistently sucks him into problems that he normally shouldn't be in?

3. What do we spend our initial experience on?

--

So unlike Blake Island, I'm going to be writing from the point of view of each character. I'll largely be alternating between Roy and Brianna.

Roy has 8 experience points to start out. Here's what we can spend that on right now:

We can spend 1 on developing an initial friendship with Brianna. Just one though. Interpersonal relationships take time to develop.
We can spend 3 on the book. We have not received it yet though, but it'll be soon. Upgrading the book without the right relationship first will cause trouble. This trouble would not grant experience points and it would bring us directly into conflict with Brianna due to our low relationship score with her. I will never explicitly state how high the relationship needs to be to upgrade said item without trouble. However, it would upgrade the book to a +4 as Roy figures out how to restore some missing pieces. This will also take a little time as it's a big book. He'll need to notice what's missing first.
We can spend 4 on upgrading his +2 Shepherd quality to +4. This would increase his rolls by 2 and also increase his hit points by 2.
No new qualities until we flesh him out some more though. No upgrades to his arm until the Barrens Clan reaches a certain amount of loyalty.

We can also save experience to buy better gear from the Horse clan after ariving. Roy has decent gear...For back east. He has no horse of his own which he will need to do his job as Brianna can't take him everywhere. His sleeping gear is bad, he has no firearm (though he may not want one) and his clothes aren't meant for this kind of climate. He is ill prepared for the land. Iron Hill could get him this stuff, but he'd get cheated on top of being gouged due to his low status.

A -2 horse will cost 1 experience. A +0 horse will cost 3. A +2 horse will cost 5. Horses, like cars, are expensive. Way more expensive than blankets. The same prices go for any firearm he gets. Neither horses nor firearms can be upgraded either, though they can be sold. Everything else costs 1 or 2 experience for +0 or +2. To buy anything at all from the Horse Clan we'll need to spend 1 experience so they'll do business with Roy in the first place. Or he can suck it up and wait to do business with the Rivers clan later on which is the next stop.

Brianna has 2 experience points to start out.

We can spend 1 point on developing an initial friendship with Roy. Unlike in Shadowrun, loyalty is not going to be used one way where one person gets the bonus to loyalty and the other doesn't. If we hit certain points in loyalty, they'll just do things for one another without a roll. Having differing amounts of loyalty will lead to different power dynamics in their relationship either as professionals, as potential friends or even rivals if we decide to go that way. Brianna has been hired for a year to take him around and familiarize himself with One Tree County. This could just be a normal contract and they could just be coworkers who won't like one another.

Right now there's not a lot we can do with experience points until she finds some troubles.

We can spend 1 point on upgrading her relationship with Roy.

We can also save them to upgrade her gear or improve her relationships with a faction.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Apr 19, 2018 around 23:44

Groetgaffel
Oct 30, 2011

Groetgaffel smacked the living shit out of himself doing 297 points of damage.

Aww yeah, more IcePhisherman goodness, and this time I get to participate from the start!

On that note, voting medkit and rifle.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Groetgaffel posted:

Aww yeah, more IcePhisherman goodness, and this time I get to participate from the start!

On that note, voting medkit and rifle.

I update riiiiiight as you post. I'm terrible like that.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

CourValant posted:

By the way, any reason you picked 'You Can't Steal My Joy'?



quote:

Shepherds are clearly educated, intelligent, and trained. On top of that, they're the folks who either elevate you to paradise, or drat you to hell. That sort of system breeds all sorts of 'back-room deals' and systemic corruption, just ask the Knights Hospitaller.

Definitely. Corruption is going to be a problem.

cigaw posted:

That's neat, I hadn't made the connection.

Do Shepherds have an ethnicity component to being ostracized or it it just part of the job? Are they even a super low caste or are they just avoided because they deal with death (and are able to drat souls) and that's scary? Untouchables usually get jobs nobody wants to do and I'm curious what exactly makes the guiding of the soul something you'd relegate to a group of outcasts.

Shepherds tend to only intermarry with other Shepherds and the families of Shepherds. So you could say they're something of a micro-ethnicity. Shepherds carry the power through their bloodlines. I may mention this next post depending on how experience is spent.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


I think that Roy should spend 1 point on his friendship with Brianna, 4 points on increasing his Shepherd quality to +4, and 1 point on making a good enough impression with the Horse Clan for them to be willing to do business with him. Hold off on spending any further points until we get a look at Horse Clan's setup, but we'll probably want at least some kind of mount.

It's probably themselve thematic for Roy's first trouble to be his loneliness. He puts himself in situations where he shouldn't to be around people, and does things he shouldn't for people who have shown him kindness. I also like the idea of him having a pesky sense of justice/fairness, but the loneliness is already established.

I think Brianna should also spend 1 experience to develop that friendship with Roy right back at him.

I think the two days should go basically like this. Brianna keeps trying to get the withdrawn Roy to open up and socialize. When he's in his withdrawn phase, she fills the silence by chatting about this and that with him. When she manages to get him talking, though, he gets too excited and talks her ear off - until he inevitably stumbles over something or here self conscious, then back to quiet. Let's call it high and low tide.

sheep-dodger
Feb 21, 2013


It's not a Western without a loyal horse, so spend 1XP on the friendship with Brianna, 1XP on upgrading the relationship with the horse clan and 5XP on a +2 horse, hold on to the last XP
Brianna spends 1 XP on reciprocating the friendship

I'd say Roy's first trouble isn't loneliness, but inexperience. Not knowing the region and its social conventions he repeatedly stirs hornet nests and sticks his nose where it doesn't belong.

JesterOfAmerica
Sep 11, 2015


Roy
1. 1 point on his friendship with Brianna
2. 4 points on increasing his Shepherd quality to +4
3. Trouble: Inexperience


Brianna
1. Brianna spends 1 XP on reciprocating the friendship

Groetgaffel
Oct 30, 2011

Groetgaffel smacked the living shit out of himself doing 297 points of damage.

jagadaishio posted:

I think that Roy should spend 1 point on his friendship with Brianna, 4 points on increasing his Shepherd quality to +4, and 1 point on making a good enough impression with the Horse Clan for them to be willing to do business with him. Hold off on spending any further points until we get a look at Horse Clan's setup, but we'll probably want at least some kind of mount.

I think Brianna should also spend 1 experience to develop that friendship with Roy right back at him.
Agreed with this for XP

However for his Trouble, my thought is to sort of combining these two. :

jagadaishio posted:

It's probably themselve thematic for Roy's first trouble to be his loneliness. He puts himself in situations where he shouldn't to be around people, and does things he shouldn't for people who have shown him kindness. I also like the idea of him having a pesky sense of justice/fairness, but the loneliness is already established.

sheep-dodger posted:

I'd say Roy's first trouble isn't loneliness, but inexperience. Not knowing the region and its social conventions he repeatedly stirs hornet nests and sticks his nose where it doesn't belong.
That is to say, he's Inexperienced in dealing with new people, locales, and customs, which takes the shape of being really withdrawn and willingly playing the part of shunned outcast, out of a fear of stepping on anyone's toes.
So, Inexperience manifesting as extreme loneliness.

Bear Enthusiast
Mar 20, 2010

I just want to start a flame in your heart, if you know what I mean.


Lipstick Apathy

Definitely like friendship with Brianna and think that things will be more interesting if Roy makes good with the Horse Clan.

After that I'm sort of torn between being more skilled and having a cool horse.
Ice: Would a +2 horse still be primarily "gear" as an effective way to travel, or would Roy also get some animal companionship? If it's the latter then I say spend 5 on a dope rear end horse.

Edit: Forgot to include Brianna, who I think should make friends with Roy right back.

malbogio
Jan 19, 2015


1) Brianna knows she hit a raw nerve by digging into Royís past so she focuses on business as itís less personal. She talks mostly about trade and the Horse clan theyíre headed to, hoping to fill Roy in enough to do his work, but also to fill the silence. Roy buries his nose in a book heís already read as heís not used to this level of familiarity from non-shepherds, happy for the company but afraid of ruining things. Eventually he canít resist asking questions in response to Brianna and gets pulled into conversation, and once the conversation gets deep enough Roy feels the need to explain the arm a bit more as he thinks his previous answer was curt enough that it might be considered rude.

2) Roy is lonely sure, but he doesnít feel ready to resist his outsider status yet. His real problem is inexperience. Heís a fish out of water in an unforgiving land.

3) Both take +1 loyalty. They feel closer as Roy has shown Brianna an endearing vulnerability and Brianna has shown Roy a rare kindness. Roy will need to save experience as he feels the need to buy his own horse rather than risking strain to a potential friendship by continuing to mooch. Heíll also need to save for appropriate clothing and blankets for the environment. I donít see a justification for improving his Shepherdiness.

malbogio fucked around with this message at Apr 19, 2018 around 15:20

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


sheep-dodger posted:

It's not a Western without a loyal horse, so spend 1XP on the friendship with Brianna, 1XP on upgrading the relationship with the horse clan and 5XP on a +2 horse, hold on to the last XP
Brianna spends 1 XP on reciprocating the friendship

I like this and second it.

But when it comes to troubles... inexperience? Really? That's what we want to go with? Seems a little boring. I'd rather us gain experience through active agency rather than just the ol whoopsie daisy I done hosed up and stumbled into something cuz I cant derr figurr out these darned kooky customs

My vote? I think he's either incorruptible in a very corrupt profession. Or I think he's a good man but he's not strong enough to resist temptations and is therefor corrupt.

That would be a fun possible explanation for why he left for this journey as well as why he has his new arm. The guild send him away because he wasn't "playing by the rules" (ie he wasn't taking bribes and it was making too many waves with the powerful) or he was bought off and mournfully abandoned the life he loved and all the people he knew because he couldn't turn down the money/reward/sweet arm/whatever

Personally, I'm going with corrupt because I love flawed characters. But please consider this a thematic vote. If there are, like, 10 votes for inexperience and 10 votes for incorruptible then I would clearly side with the latter.

malbogio
Jan 19, 2015


Tyrannosaurus posted:

But when it comes to troubles... inexperience? Really? That's what we want to go with? Seems a little boring. I'd rather us gain experience through active agency rather than just the ol whoopsie daisy I done hosed up and stumbled into something cuz I cant derr figurr out these darned kooky customs

Iíd be interested in a more active phrasing of the problem than inexperience, but it also seems like the trouble most firmly established by the narrative thus far and the one most likely to cause Roy serious and repeated problems in the near future, especially given how reserved and cautious he seems at the moment. Once we hear more of Royís backstory and see more of his personality in play we can change the trouble to something more exciting as his newbishness falls into the background before disappearing entirely.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


malbogio posted:

Iíd be interested in a more active phrasing of the problem than inexperience, but it also seems like the trouble most firmly established by the narrative thus far and the one most likely to cause Roy serious and repeated problems in the near future, especially given how reserved and cautious he seems at the moment. Once we hear more of Royís backstory and see more of his personality in play we can change the trouble to something more exciting as his newbishness falls into the background before disappearing entirely.

Active phrasing. Exactly.

The example we received was loneliness, right? We could clearly make decisions with that. We'd know when it would come into play and we could decide when we wanted it to come up. When we wanted to fall into it's temptations.

Inexperience is different. We, the readers, are really just as inexperienced as Roy is. We don't know anything about this new place. Without Ice Phisherman kind of explicitly telling us "people here don't eat with utensils" or whatever then theres inherently going to be some difficulties in choosing ways to get into trouble. I feel like inexperience will come up in the narrative without us having to make it a defining characteristic.

Maybe "Rude" would be better? That could demonstrate our lack of social graces or our lack of understanding of social norms or whatever. Then as we learn how to navigate the world, Roy can choose when we wants to adapt/codeswitch and when we wants to go "well this is how I grew up so..."

cigaw
Sep 13, 2012


edit: whole buncha stuff added.

Choice on road trip activity
They talk. It's forced at first but hey, what else are they gonna do? One seems to be a talkative and inquisitive lady, and the other is desperate for human contact and attention. They'll have bouts of uncertain silence, but eventually they reach safer topics and start to get to know one another a bit better.

Also, they stop to see any noteworthy tourist stops like the One Tree's largest fallen branch and leaf ball.

Mostly agree on XP, different proposal on the Trouble.

Roy
1. 1 point on his friendship with Brianna
2. 4 points on increasing his Shepherd quality to +4
3. 1 point on Horse Clan relationship
3. Trouble: Good Samaritan
- Roy wants to help people. He likes to helps people. The same people who despise him and tell him to mind his own business and to stay away. He'll still try to take away their pain and solve their issues and maybe, one day, people will like him for who he is, despite what he is.

Brianna
1. Brianna spends 1 XP on reciprocating the friendship

Ice Phisherman posted:

"If the frame were ironwood and the wheels were thicker, I could. At least during the dry season. The body is just plain old aluminum. The wheels and axle are ironwood though. I painted them to look like steel. Aluminum, iron and even steel don't do well on the rocks with the loads I carry. Don't mention that by the way. This stuff is expensive," she said, and her voice picked up again. "Anyway, the aluminum is treated to keep the worst of the heat off so I don't bake everything inside. I mostly keep to the badlands so I meet few people out there. There's no soil or loose rocks to sink in to."

Roy hesitated a few beats too long before nodding. She sighed inwardly. Roy was going to need some work.

"Right. Yeah," he said, awkwardly.

Lots of work.
Kinda like Roy, I don't really get what's going on on this passage. What is Roy's expected reaction?

Ice Phisherman posted:

So when he tried to grasp the box with box, [...]
Little typo there.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Silence and the wind stood between them. A horse quietly nickered and a hoof beat against the stone, eager to be off. Brianna wasn't sure how to feel in this moment.

"I'm sorry if I'm not what you were expecting," he whispered.

His gaze dropped once more.

"But if it's all the same to you, I'd like to hit the road. I'm used to being on the move. Thank you for the fruit. I'm sure that I'll enjoy them. You're very kind," he murmured above the wind.

And he smiled. The smile was small and sad, but genuine. It was a smile to cut a heart.
That's a great passage. I especially like the bolded bits.

cigaw fucked around with this message at Apr 19, 2018 around 18:04

sheep-dodger
Feb 21, 2013


Tyrannosaurus posted:

But when it comes to troubles... inexperience? Really? That's what we want to go with? Seems a little boring. I'd rather us gain experience through active agency rather than just the ol whoopsie daisy I done hosed up and stumbled into something cuz I cant derr figurr out these darned kooky customs
Ok, I can see where you are coming from, so let me try to explain what I'm thinking and why it allows active agency imo.
Ice mentioned earlier that one of the themes will be honour culture: (spoiler for those that skipped the spoilers in the second post)
The law is instead built almost exclusively around custom and tradition. It's about being a person of your word, defending yourself, your tribe/clan/family from attack, brooking no insult, being polite, offering hospitality and giving honor to those above you. There's more to it, but it's both strict, unforgiving and alien to people who aren't expecting to walk into it. People who practice honor culture tend to be fierce fighters, polite and quick with violence. They also almost always reject law from external sources like government. Often violently. The Western genre often expects you to be aware in some way of honor culture and I do not expect that. So one of our characters is going to get a crash course in it.
I was thinking of inexperience in a way where Roy would think that he can offer a different approach to the conflicts he finds. Coming from the East and the city where you can rely on external authorities to solve issues he'd try to get into old fights, trying to solve poo poo but ultimately probably having to chose sides. I don't think we should have this trouble for too long, as it should be discarded as he is better accustomed to the region and its inhabitants. So maybe you could call it a naive enthusiasm, regarding things like the law

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

Imagine a child touching a hot stove over and over again even though it's a really bad idea.

You're going to reward us for being Goons.

Santa Maria

Ice Phisherman posted:

For example, let's say that Roy is a lonely person. So the thread could simply define the trouble as "lonely". He knows his low status in society.

Yeah, this is going to be a problem. A 'can't even buy himself a woman' sorta problem.

Ice Phisherman posted:

The handshake wouldn't have gone unnoticed, but she hadn't worn her red and white checkered outfit if she wasn't trying to be seen.

I not seeing ribbons in her hair.

Ice Phisherman posted:

The wheels and axle are ironwood though. I painted them to look like steel. Aluminum, iron and even steel don't do well on the rocks with the loads I carry. Don't mention that by the way. This stuff is expensive,"

GTAW: One Tree

Ice Phisherman posted:

"My arm, actually," he said. "All the way up to the shoulder. But no. It's steel. I had iron once, but I got a replacement.

Not to get into metallurgy, because I genuinely want to know how you make the distinction, how are you separating iron from steel?

Cold forged, moon blessed, holy water?? Because steel is just iron with ~2% carbon in it, depending the properties you want, plus some nickel or chromium to 'flavor'.

Also, is Brianna a Druid then?

Ice Phisherman posted:

"I'm sorry if I'm not what you were expecting," he whispered.

The hell?

So, Roy isn't some grizzled hard-case yet? Mid 30s right? Should have 'grown-in' to the life by now?

Ice Phisherman posted:

And he smiled. The smile was small and sad, but genuine. It was a smile to cut a heart.

Oh Roy. I apologize in advance for all the things we're going to be doing to you.

Ice Phisherman posted:

CYOA Time

1. Brianna is not sure what to do and Roy is retreating into his shell. It's a two day ride to Horse Clan territory. They'll be alone for the majority of two days. What do each of them do, or at least attempt to do?

Roy asks Brianna to fill him in on how One Tree County works; the players, the factions, the current social and political climate.

In between, Brianna tries to take the measure of the man and get some back background information out of him.

Ice Phisherman posted:

2. What is Roy's first trouble? What consistently sucks him into problems that he normally shouldn't be in?

Based on what I've read so far, I'd say Roy's first trouble is being Socially Mal-Adjusted. He's great with ghosts and dead bodies, people though, no so much. Some might even say he prefers the company of the dead.

Ice Phisherman posted:

3. What do we spend our initial experience on?

1 XP to build that initial relationship with Brianna, and save the rest for when we get to Clan Horse; we have no idea what we're walking into, so let's leave our options open.

Briana also invests 1 XP to build a relationship with Roy.


You big softie you.

I won't rest until Brianna sings . . . you can't steal my joy from me . . . at the beginning of every 'episode'.

Chatrapati
Nov 6, 2012


Oh, this is really cool. I wasn't expecting anything as engaging as the Shadowrun CYOA.

1.) Brianna seems sociable and confident. Maybe she could try to engage Roy?
I think Roy reads his anatomy book. I'm not sure what else he can do yet. He seems pretty awkward.

CourValant posted:

Roy asks Brianna to fill him in on how One Tree County works; the players, the factions, the current social and political climate.
In between, Brianna tries to take the measure of the man and get some back background information out of him.
I like this too.

2.) Roy's first trouble is because of his shame. Maybe he'll avoid asking for help from Brianna in a situation where he needs it because he's too embarassed to bother her, or seem more terrible than he already thinks he is.

3.) Upgrade Roy's Shepard skill due to his book-reading (I'm assuming its related to his profession somehow). Save the rest of the xp.

Chatrapati fucked around with this message at Apr 19, 2018 around 19:53

Bear Enthusiast
Mar 20, 2010

I just want to start a flame in your heart, if you know what I mean.


Lipstick Apathy

cigaw posted:

3. Trouble: Good Samaritan - Roy wants to help people. He likes to helps people. The same people who despise him and tell him to mind his own business and to stay away. He'll still try to take away their pain and solve their issues and maybe, one day, people will like him for who he is, despite what he is.

I like this trouble a whole lot. It makes me think of one of my favorite bits from The Wire, in the first episode: "There you go. Givin' a gently caress when it ain't your turn to give a gently caress."

It can turn out badly overall, where a Good Samaritan might actually be closer to having a Savior Complex ("Samaritan Complex"?) and causes even more trouble. Focusing in on the problems happening that he can help with right away, even if there are long term consequences, even if the person doesn't want help. Even when it's "not his turn".

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

CourValant posted:

Not to get into metallurgy, because I genuinely want to know how you make the distinction, how are you separating iron from steel?

Cold forged, moon blessed, holy water?? Because steel is just iron with ~2% carbon in it, depending the properties you want, plus some nickel or chromium to 'flavor'.

Also, is Brianna a Druid then?

Sort of on the druid thing. Iron won't do any more or less damage to her. She's not fae or anything. She's a normal person plus a little extra. I'll save the why on iron for a later date so I don't spoil anything.

I'm not above plugging into commonly understood tropes to give an initial frame of reference. So I encourage thinking of her as a druid because it helps me pivot from there without explaining exactly what a druid is.

quote:

The hell?

So, Roy isn't some grizzled hard-case yet? Mid 30s right? Should have 'grown-in' to the life by now?

Early thirties. Again, I don't want to spoil it. The characters have secrets and if you want those secrets then continue to develop the relationship between the two.

However, without going into detail, Roy is adjusted to a life he neither asked for nor desired. Shepherd is a caste as much as it is a job. Are you musically inclined? Doesn't matter. You're a Shepherd. Are you scientifically inclined? Doesn't matter. You're a Shepherd. Are you tender hearted? Doesn't matter. You're a Shepherd. You can't quit. You can't retire. You can't select another job.

Roy is not some steely eyed, pistol toting, hard riding, whiskey in a dirty glass, gaze into the middle distance protagonist with no name. He's not suited for the environment. He's the sort of person in the genre who actively gets made fun of as an outsider. I'm trying to evoke those feelings on purpose. In many Westerns there's this scene where a well dressed dandy takes a spill into the horse poo poo face first for cheap laughs. That's Roy. At least on the surface. He doesn't belong, but he doesn't really have a choice about being where he is or not.

I want to see how he grows, adapts and how people adapt to him. Maybe he bursts out of his shell. Maybe he falls in love. Maybe he becomes charismatic and people are able to look past their prejudices enough to tip their hats to him. Or maybe he stays awkward save for around people he cares about. Still waters run deep.

quote:

Yeah, this is going to be a problem. A 'can't even buy himself a woman' sorta problem.

No prostitute would touch Roy unless she was desperate, much less have sex with him.

I'm trying to cement Brianna's status as strange and outside of the social hierarchy. Roy's very touch is dishonorable save for certain circumstances, but Brianna is not dishonored. I will be frank and say that I'm setting up Roy and Brianna as potential love interests. Romance is my forte. It's actually way more genre appropriate for a Western than cyberpunk too, not that I don't thumb my nose at the conventions of genre. Anyway, she would not be doing Roy a favor if she were interested in return because she her own problems and failings. But that's for the thread to decide, not me.

On top of this there's the irony of people trying to bribe Shepherds. Most people wouldn't do business with them anyway. Their money largely can't be spent. Roy is loaded, but that doesn't matter if he's getting gouged for basic services or more often than not, outright refused.

Groups often not only form their identities based on the presence of outsiders, but there are also ingroup outsiders. So if the "other", say another tribe, nation, what have you are outsiders, who establish who a group is not, the ingroup outsiders, like untouchables, create a floor. "At least I'm not that person". On top of this I'm going to delve a bit into the politics of this class of untouchables too.

quote:

Mal-Adjusted



Chatrapati posted:

Oh, this is really cool. I wasn't expecting anything as engaging as the Shadowrun CYOA.

I'm glad that you're enjoying it so far. This is me being creative on my own not defined by the preexisting lore of Shadowrun. I appreciate that it's there as it gives me defined limits to work within, but now I'm doing that for myself. I've been defining limits for what little magic there is. I will say straight up that there is no magic but death magic. The rest is steampunk, biopunk and a little bit of future tech.

Really, any story can be interesting so long as the characters, setting and theme are good. Genre is mostly just a marketing tool.

quote:

Kinda like Roy, I don't really get what's going on on this passage. What is Roy's expected reaction?

I was trying to aim for her giving him a little trust to see how he responded. She was looking for a positive or negative result, but instead she got nothing. I'll fix that a little to better reflect that when I'm not so tired.

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Inexperience is different. We, the readers, are really just as inexperienced as Roy is. We don't know anything about this new place. Without Ice Phisherman kind of explicitly telling us "people here don't eat with utensils" or whatever then there is inherently going to be some difficulties in choosing ways to get into trouble. I feel like inexperience will come up in the narrative without us having to make it a defining characteristic.

So because the world is going to be different than what most people are used to reading, I want to get people up to speed quickly with how the factions work, what they want and what they value. I want to make them very straight forward to make the ideas easy to digest as the first book is going to be introductory, like my Shadowrun CYOA. The complications will arise from friction between different factions and individuals when these differing ideologies collide.

Once you wrap your head around honor culture it's super easy to get. Like Tony Montana said, "All I've got in the world is my balls and my word". He means that. He's a criminal. There's no law to appeal to. He is his own defender. Sure he can get other people to enforce his will and defend him, but only because of the relationships he forms and the money he spreads around. That's an aspect of honor culture. It's extremely personal.

quote:

Little typo there.

Fixed it, thank you.

quote:

That's a great passage. I especially like the bolded bits.

Glad you're enjoying it! I'm still a little nervous about working in a new genre.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Apr 19, 2018 around 23:04

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

I want to see how he grows, adapts and how people adapt to him.

I can dig it.

Ice Phisherman posted:

No prostitute would touch Roy unless she was desperate, much less have sex with him.

That's harsh. I'm getting it now though; this here gonna be a rough ride.

Ice Phisherman posted:

I will be frank and say that I'm setting up Roy and Brianna as potential love interests. Romance is my forte.

1) Ribbons in hair.
2) Heaving bodices.
3) Full-moon elderberry gathering rituals with silvered sickles at One Tree.

Ice Phisherman posted:

On top of this there's the irony of people trying to bribe Shepherds. Most people wouldn't do business with them anyway. Their money largely can't be spent. Roy is loaded, but that doesn't matter if he's getting gouged for basic services or more often than not, outright refused.

Without knowing the economics and scales of this world, I would imagine there being a system in place to supply Shepherds; money is money, and some mercantile organization would have figured out a socially acceptable way to sell to these folks.

Hell, the incentive is there to 'invent' a way to do it.

"Yes, we sell to the shepherds. However, we are not tainted by them because we first paint ourselves blue, hop on on leg, and recite the oath of the brood-mother as the first morning dew evaporates."




Ice Phisherman posted:

Once you wrap your head around honor culture it's super easy to get.

This. This I get.

Xarbala
Feb 13, 2011

Rolling Thunder: War to the Knife, Knife to the Hilt

Why? , that's why.

jagadaishio posted:

I think that Roy should spend 1 point on his friendship with Brianna, 4 points on increasing his Shepherd quality to +4, and 1 point on making a good enough impression with the Horse Clan for them to be willing to do business with him. Hold off on spending any further points until we get a look at Horse Clan's setup, but we'll probably want at least some kind of mount.

It's probably themselve thematic for Roy's first trouble to be his loneliness. He puts himself in situations where he shouldn't to be around people, and does things he shouldn't for people who have shown him kindness. I also like the idea of him having a pesky sense of justice/fairness, but the loneliness is already established.

I think Brianna should also spend 1 experience to develop that friendship with Roy right back at him.

I think the two days should go basically like this. Brianna keeps trying to get the withdrawn Roy to open up and socialize. When he's in his withdrawn phase, she fills the silence by chatting about this and that with him. When she manages to get him talking, though, he gets too excited and talks her ear off - until he inevitably stumbles over something or here self conscious, then back to quiet. Let's call it high and low tide.

I'll second this.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


Is there inability of a mount to be upgraded a sure thing? Because I've been thinking, and I really like the idea of Roy getting stuck with some kind of wild mustang. Barely-tamed, near-feral, starting at -2 not because it's old, week, or sickly but, rather, because it's barely even broken yet.

I really like the idea of Roy starting with a mount like that and then, over time, through the bond of trust and training, the mount's score slowly climbing. It'd let them both be outsiders, and emphasize the bond growing between them beyond the horse just being a vehicle. I can't think of many other types of people in a great enough need to have positive contact with another living thing to tame an animal quite like that.

Failing that, mules are absolutely lovely animals to ride over even the roughest of terrain, and often lack the prestige and therefore price tag of a horse. Fits the characterization of Roy so far too.

Lord Zedd-Repulsa
Jul 21, 2007

Devour a good book.



Not gonna vote yet, but I'm here to have a good long read in my life.

...aside from my several physical books, other CYOAs, various articles I get in my email, and gently caress knows what else weekly. I devour the written word and it is tasty.

Forgive any weird posts I may make because of pain meds.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Bear Enthusiast posted:

After that I'm sort of torn between being more skilled and having a cool horse.
Ice: Would a +2 horse still be primarily "gear" as an effective way to travel, or would Roy also get some animal companionship? If it's the latter then I say spend 5 on a dope rear end horse.

I'd say yes if Roy were to buy a sweet tempered horse and develop a relationship with it. Not by spending experience. More just in the narrative. I'd roll some dice and it would take time.

--

Here's the vote:

Pretty much everyone wanted to deepen the relationship with Roy and Brianna both ways.

A significant amount of people wanted to create a relationship with the Horse Clan. I'm currently watching some documentaries to really give the clan a living feel so I hope that turns out well.

More people wanted to increase Roy from +2 Shepherd to +4 Shepherd than they wanted a horse. We'll still be able to get a horse though. There will be opportunities to earn more experience between now and then.

Loneliness won out as the trouble. Remember that you can vote multiple times. You don't have to vote for just one thing. Just let me know what you approve of. Also remember that this isn't fixed. At some point we'll come back to it and either keep it or toss it for something new. People can change.

I'm defining Brianna's initial trouble as "Identity Crisis". We'll see why when she reaches the Horse Clan. We can change this later, and she'll be able to get two or three troubles depending on how much the story can handle. I don't want to spoil it, but I'm really excited about Brianna as a character even though Roy is currently getting most of the spotlight at the moment.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

jagadaishio posted:

Is there inability of a mount to be upgraded a sure thing? Because I've been thinking, and I really like the idea of Roy getting stuck with some kind of wild mustang. Barely-tamed, near-feral, starting at -2 not because it's old, week, or sickly but, rather, because it's barely even broken yet.

I really like the idea of Roy starting with a mount like that and then, over time, through the bond of trust and training, the mount's score slowly climbing. It'd let them both be outsiders, and emphasize the bond growing between them beyond the horse just being a vehicle. I can't think of many other types of people in a great enough need to have positive contact with another living thing to tame an animal quite like that.

Failing that, mules are absolutely lovely animals to ride over even the roughest of terrain, and often lack the prestige and therefore price tag of a horse. Fits the characterization of Roy so far too.

I'd allow upgrades to a mount so long as there were a higher up front cost. There would also risk in taming it as Roy has probably never broken a horse in his life. I'm not sure if Roy has the will or the skills to break the will of a horse at the moment. He's still too new.

A mule would work though. It wouldn't be fast, but it would get him where he needs to go.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Roy

A nimbus of light bathed two figures and surrounding canyon as they busied themselves to make camp. Roy's staff emitted a blue-white light and was propped among the rocks in a place to shed light over a wide area as they worked. The campsite was a familiar one to Brianna, so as the horses were unyoked one by one, they were tied to steel rings embedded in the rock walls of the badlands. Spaced apart as they were, her horses could focus on resting instead of scrapping among one another as horses in close proximity sometimes do.

The light also illuminated what was left of a rabbit. It had been prepared, so the remnants of it sat in a number of distinct piles. The meat was to be seasoned, cooked and eaten. The guts were to be discarded as there was no way to process them out here. The head and bones would be saved to make stock for soup for both today and tomorrow. Also after being asked about the fur, Roy decided that he needed something to do, and so he prepared the hide. He scraped the hide clean of fat and flesh as Brianna skewered the meat to cook on long, thin, steel rods. She poured a ring of denatured alcohol into a portable stove and lit it with a simple lighter. The nimbus of blue-white light faded and was replaced by a merry cook fire. Roy touched his wooden staff and it dimmed.

"Fancy stick," said Brianna, appreciatively.

Roy looked up and smiled slightly, his features no longer etched in the blue of the staff, but the red-blue of the flickering fire.

"Thank you," he said. "It's not the stick though. It's what lives on it. It doesn't glow forever so I have to be sparing with it."

"Where'd you get it?" she asked.

"My staff?" he asked.

"No, the glow. Mathers didn't have that. Her staff was just a normal staff. It didn't glow," she explained. "Is it magic or something?"

Roy shook his head, paused and then wobbled his hand back and forth.

"Sort of. There's no magic to the light. There's an inlet near the ocean just east of the capital of Strosegate. At night if you disturb the water in the shallow places there are tiny creatures that glow blue that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. I was curious to see if I could take them with me. Do you know how a Shepherd's magic works?"

"A bit," she said. "Water, wood and good feelings to preserve. Iron, fire and anger to destroy, right?"

He pursed his lips in contemplation as he continued to scrape the hide. She busied herself by seasoning the meat, putting on a pot of water onto the tiny stove and cutting up some vegetables.

"Not anger exactly. More bad feelings, but it's something like that. People say iron and anger or fire and anger when they swear, but iron and bad feelings just doesn't roll off the tongue as easily," he explained, with a small grin. "Anyway, those are more just forces and I manipulate those forces."

With a potato in one hand, she pointed the paring knife in her other at his previously glowing wooden staff, still propped up against the wall.

"Okay, so that's wood. So where's the water?" she asked.

"They're creatures of water," he explained. "Plus I water the staff once a month. My magic is what keeps them from dying."

"Oh, okay," she said.

She cut potatoes and he continued to scrape the hide. A minute passed and cubed potatoes quietly plopped into the soup. She dropped in a few rabbit ribs to help flavor it.

"Wait, what about the good feelings?" she asked, her curiosity now piqued.

"What's that?" he replied.

"Good feelings. I suppose you know your business. If you felt good feelings when you cast your magic they'd stay for longer, right?" she asked.

"You got it," he said.

She picked up an onion and began to cut it up. Her smile was positively impish.

"So what were you thinking about when you were dipping your wick?" she teased.

Roy cleared his throat and pulled his black bowler hat further forward on his head with his metal hand.

"I uh..." he stammered. "You're uh...You're teasing me, aren't you?"

Brianna giggled evilly and wiped away a tear with a sleeve of her red and white, checkered top. Whether that tear was from from her laughter, which lingered as it bounced around the canyon or from the onion, which went into the pot, Roy had no idea.

"Phew...Good times. Anyway, you best get used to it," she said, lightly. "Your guild and I had an agreement. You're stuck with me for a year and a day. I have to keep you from catching your death out here while I walk the wheel."

Roy looked up and carefully set his knife and hide down.

"I heard you mention that a few times in our letters," he said. "What do you mean by walking the wheel? I couldn't find it in any of the books."

"You still haven't answered. What's your happy thought?" she asked.

Roy sighed audibly. He wasn't used to being teased. Though he wasn't used to the attention at all, really.

"Beauty," he said.

"Yeah?" she asked.

He nodded.

"I would sometimes go out to the inlet to watch the waves. I remember one particularly dark night. The wind would blow in gusts and the top of the water would light up. It was like I could see the wind," he said, dreamily.

She smiled at that.

"See the wind, huh? I like that," she said, gently.

Brianna began to put a few more ingredients into the pot which Roy couldn't see and she turned the rabbit meat as well on their skewers, which smelled lovely. Roy's mouth watered and his stomach growled loud enough to be heard.

"It'll be a bit," she said, teasingly. "Anyway, walking the wheel. Yeah. One Tree County is set up like a wheel. The One Tree is in the middle. Walking the wheel is more complicated than that, but I don't have all day to tell you. Anyway, you can see it if you're far enough away on account of it being so tall. That is if Iron Hill wasn't choked with coal smoke."

She made a sour face and stirred the soup with a large, metal spoon.

"The badlands surround and protect the tree from outsiders," she continued. "It's real easy to get lost in here without a guide. You could wander for weeks and not find your way out. That is if you had enough food and water to last. Most people don't. To the south of the tree is the Horse Clan and their pasture lands. West of the tree is the Rivers Clan. That's where New Crossing is. It's the county seat. They run it. North of the tree is the barrens clan. They raid the ruins of one of the old empire cities for lost tech. You know, like your arm. Last and certainly least is Iron Hill. It popped up about three years ago when someone struck iron. I don't have any dealings with them. It's too wild there. Full of the most dangerous animals to walk the earth."

"Which are?" he asked.

He sat up and scooted closer to her to enjoy the warmth of the fire. Or at least that's what he told himself.

"Desperate, hungry, angry people," she said, bitterly. "With no ties to love, kin or land to temper them."

"That seems harsh," said Roy, quietly.

She sniffed disdainfully.

"Life is harsh, though it needn't be as harsh as Iron Hill makes it," said Brianna, who pulled her spoon out of the pot and leveled it at him. "Now let me tell you something. Despite my misgivings about the place I still went to provide food to people. That is my duty as Steward. In a way at least. I did for a while, but I was run off. I provide a service. I don't grub for money. The merchants there? They rob you while they smile and they tell you it's a good deal. I have plenty, but the grubbers and smiling robbers don't want plenty. They want to sell half rotten food and sour water at a premium. Meanwhile those desperate, hungry, angry people abuse the land that they have no right to or regard for. Grubbers and robbers have little use for honest folk and in the meantime those people become more desperate, hungrier and angrier every day."

Her eyes, which had been holding Roy's with a piercing gaze suddenly softened and saddened. The spoon found its way back into the pot.

"Sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you," she said, sheepishly. "I don't really get to talk about this to many people. Not like I want. I get worked up is all."

Finally able to drop his gaze, he did. He'd also been holding his breath, though he didn't know why. So he took a single, shuddering gulp of air.

"I can tell," he said, quietly.

"Yeah," she said. "Sorry. I get mad at the people, but I don't really blame them. I know where blame lies. I should aim it more squarely."

The spoon clanked around the inside of the pot for a time. Then she snorted out laugh.

"Okay, I've been meaning to say. Did you really judge the soul of a jackrabbit or were you playing a trick on me?" she asked with a grin.

Roy cleared his throat noisily and looked at the meat of said jackrabbit on the skewers.

"What if I did?" he asked, defensively.

"Well I just don't know what to make of it!" she exclaimed.

They paused as the echo bounced around the rocks for a time. Roy looked about as the echoes faded.

"Well, I just don't know what to make of it," she repeated, quieter this time. "I mean, Shepherds send the spirits of the dead to the Fields or the Fiery Lake. And there by the grace of The One tree I see you pouring out water on the rabbit I shot and sending its spirit to the Fields. I didn't even know Shepherds could judge animals."

"Everything has a spirit," said Roy, piously. "If I kill an animal I send its spirit to the Fields. As both thanks and recompense. It's the least I can do."

She eyed him suspiciously at first, but then smiled.

"You're just a big old sweetheart, aren't you?" she asked, and then said, teasingly. "Roy Whitaker, blesser of bunny rabbits. You know, if you want to get on the good side of the Horse Clan, let them know you can send a horse to the Fields with them."

"Is that so?" he asked.

"Mhm," she responded.

She dipped her spoon into the soup and took a taste.

"Needs more cream," she said.

Roy's brow furrowed.

"Cream?" he asked.

"Yep," she said, brightly.

"Wouldn't it spoil out here?" he asked, confusedly.

She smiled knowingly.

"Nope," she said.

Roy waited for her to say more. All that she had more of was that knowing smile. That smile did things to Roy's stomach that had nothing to do with hunger. As it was a knowing smile, it grew, and so did the flip-flop of his belly. Roy wet his lips.

"I uh...Have a question," he whispered.

She tilted her head in an invitation to continue, smile still there.

"You...Touched me," he whispered, haltingly. "A handshake might not mean much to most people...But no one does that. Not on purpose. Not with me. Not unless I'm treating them. Even then they resent it. I'm not complaining, but why would you do that?"

The knowing smile suddenly knew a lot less. It became brittle and became a thin line of disapproval. She said nothing for a long while. It was long enough that Roy thought she wasn't going to say anything at all. She added some honest to goodness cream from a small jug and her spoon lazily knocked around the pot. Then she spoke.

"A handshake means everything out here," she said, coolly. "I don't know what you learned back east, but you'd be best served unlearning that. That's your word. If your word isn't worth anything, you aren't worth anything. Not out here. Don't ever mock a handshake, break an oath or lie."

Roy winced as he was chastised. He folded his arms defensively in front of him. A small hand reached over the pot and touched him on the shoulder. He shuddered at the sudden contact and a sudden warmth spread through his shoulder.

"I'm your guide for a year and a day," she said, gently. "Not just for the badlands either. I have a sense about these things and I can tell you've got a good heart. But it seems like you need to learn a few things and unlearn a few more. Better a word now than a misunderstanding with the clans. They have long memories. Tonight we'll have rabbit soup. Tomorrow we'll talk about the clans and what you did wrong."

She lifted her hand, and Roy did everything he could to keep from shivering which was strange as the warmth lingered. Whether she noticed or not, he couldn't say. She turned away and pulled on a heavy glove. Brianna was too busy pushing the roasted rabbit off the skewers and into the pot. Not until hours later after the soup was devoured and he bedded down for the night did he realize that she'd dodged his question.

CYOA Time

Who likes trouble?

One of our characters is going to find trouble. This is going to keep them awake all night and affect their performance tomorrow. Is Roy lonely or is Brianna dealing with an identity crisis?

If it's Roy, I'm down with suggestions from the thread about how this manifests so long as it's not doing anything untoward to Brianna.

--

So I have tagged Brianna with the trouble "identity crisis" for reasons which we will get into later. Remember that this can change and that we can add new troubles with time.

I rolled dice to see how their first night went.

Brianna and Roy make a meal. Neither of them can really cook. The rabbit that she shot does give a +2 bonus as fresh meat is on the table. Or skewer at least. Brianna rolls. She gets a 9 on the roll and a +2 from the rabbit. 11 is a high roll and the meal is going to be pretty tasty for trail fare. I'm going to give an upshift to their social interaction of +2 to see how it goes. They're going to be bonding, but I'll see if that bonding is awkward or not. 5 is the bare minimum not to be awkward.

Roy rolls a 3, but gets that +2 bonus. He's met the minimum. Brianna gets an 8 + 2, and is more social. Their relationship both goes up by one as they understand one another. Their relationship was going to go up anyway, it just colors how they bond.

The subject of the night on Roy's end is why Roy sends animals to the fields. The rabbit that Brianna shot was sent to the analogue for heaven by Roy and this confuses Brianna. His answer is, "Why not?" He doesn't send all animals. Wild predators are not sent anywhere and unlike people, the spirits of animals eventually dissipate. However, some people want to go to the fields with their animals and Roy obliges them if at all possible. Some pets are sent ahead. Some he gets later. Some he misses as they don't linger for long which makes him feel sad. People are usually scared and confused when they die, and if they're particularly attached to an animal and if it's possible, he'll send the animal to the fields along with its owner.

Roy asks Brianna a question that's been consuming him for the entire day. Why did she feel comfortable touching him? Roy gets the upshift of +2 dinner and since it has to do with him as a Shepherd, he gets a +2. The target value for her to give him any information at all is a 7. She'll give one more piece of information per +2 that he gets past 7.

Failure. Roy rolled snake eyes. Brianna is -extremely- uncomfortable in talking about this. There really aren't critical failures or critical successes in this game though. Brianna composes herself, tells him that she's not shutting him out, it's just that it's a complicated and sensitive topic to her. She's going to need to think about it. She asks him to ask tomorrow.

They move on to safer topics. As it turns out, Brianna has been asked to spend a year and a day helping Roy acclimate to One Tree County by the Shepherd's guild. Roy doesn't have to spend all of his time with her and he can leave her as soon as he feels like he's good to go on his own. However, she'll be a resource that he can draw on for that time.

about the clans. There wasn't really much he could take in from them as the guild resources on them were sparse.

The target number to meet or beat was 5 for camping. It's a quiet night in the badlands. Just some wind. Brianna rolls and adds Steward of the One Tree +4. and so it's trivial for her as she has +0 blankets. She gets a 9 and has a comfy night.

Roy on the other hand has a thin blanket that is not meant for the weather and a bedroll that is not quite thick enough. However, he gets a 7 on the roll and with his -2 equipment, he passes without shivering.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Apr 28, 2018 around 08:17

JesterOfAmerica
Sep 11, 2015


Brianna's Identity Crisis

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


Well, we're kind of shooting in the dark, since we don't have context for Brianna's identity crisis.

What we do know, though, is that Roy has had a conversation, got touched on the shoulder, and shared a meal with someone. I'm willing to bet that loneliness-wise he's feeling more content tonight than he has in a long time.

So, I'm voting for Brianna's identity crisis, because that conversation left Roy feeling good but hit one of Brianna's fault lines.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

jagadaishio posted:

Well, we're kind of shooting in the dark, since we don't have context for Brianna's identity crisis.

What we do know, though, is that Roy has had a conversation, got touched on the shoulder, and shared a meal with someone. I'm willing to bet that loneliness-wise he's feeling more content tonight than he has in a long time.

So, I'm voting for Brianna's identity crisis, because that conversation left Roy feeling good but hit one of Brianna's fault lines.

Options will begin to open up more as I explain more. Apologies for the lack of context. It'll get better as I continue to write.

cigaw
Sep 13, 2012


Brianna's Identity Crisis. Not really buying the "things are different around here" given how unfriendly most folk have been to Roy.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


Brianna's Identity Crisis.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

"So what were you thinking about when you were dipping your wick?" she teased.

Ribbons. In. Hair.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Roy waited for her to say more. All that she had more of was that knowing smile. That smile did things to Roy's stomach that had nothing to do with hunger. As it was a knowing smile, it grew, and so did the flip-flop of his belly. Roy wet his lips.

Trou. Ble.

Ice Phisherman posted:

She added some honest to goodness cream from a small jug and her spoon lazily knocked around the pot.

Druid. Talking about 'life-wheels', One Tree being protected by stretches of land which are lethal to anyone save Stewards.

Ice Phisherman posted:

CYOA Time

Who likes trouble?

You're a meanie is what you are.

Vote: Roy's loneliness

Brianna just 'fed' the man more contact and affection he's had for years; you can't just expect him to go to sleep like nothing happened after something like that.

I'm envisioning some sort of self flagellation to 'cleanse' himself of his 'impure thoughts', because a good Shepherd is supposed to be 'above' these trivial matters.

mcclay
Jul 8, 2013

Oh dear oh gosh oh darn


Brianna's Identity Crisis.

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Deadmeat5150
Nov 21, 2005

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLAN


Roy is my spirit animal. I mean its drat eerie the way you described the way he loves the wind and the waves.

I also can't not see Roy in my head as Quigly from Quigly Down Under. Now we just need him to make an impossible shot with his rifle.

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