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51
Moderated Freeform / Re: The Silk Road Act 1: Old Cairo
« Last post by valadaar on April 05, 2018, 01:16:24 PM »
Jerome said nothing, but kept his eyes out, watching the drone feed.

"Don't shoot unless they make a move for you." said Jerome.  He really needed to get out of the mercenary business. How many lifetimes in purgatory now?
52
Moderated Freeform / Re: The Silk Road Act 1: Old Cairo
« Last post by EchoMirage on April 05, 2018, 05:35:15 AM »
"Quick! They're in shock! Call an ambulance! Get the defibrillator! Administer sedatives!"
Blue chuckled and snickered and laughed.
Oh, I could use some myself.
"No, but really, the hell are they? And do I shoot the rest, just to be sure?"
53
Moderated Freeform / Re: The Silk Road Act 1: Old Cairo
« Last post by Scrasamax on April 04, 2018, 09:40:12 PM »
Adeaze never saw the shot coming, and was still raising her hands above her head when Obutsu's round went through her chest. The VD 10-60 standard expanding round, optimized for range, accuracy, and damage took most of the contents of Adeaze's upper torso and deposited them in a spray across the hull of the shuttle. The black woman fell back from the force of the hit, rolled in the sand a few times and was still.

The screaming women and children all stopped their wailing and screaming and were simply silent. They stood and all looked at Adeaze's corpse, and then stopped moving. Completely.
54
Setting Forge / Re: Sanctum - A World Beyond its Fate
« Last post by EchoMirage on April 04, 2018, 05:40:26 PM »
Baicuna
To the south lies a lush archipelago, home to flora and fauna both curious and exotic. Far from the turmoil of the continental realms, a species of sapient reptilians calls the isles home, civilised, yet ever in battle with monstrous foes.

The Maelstrom
The mending of the Tapestry after the Gates of the Abyss were thrown open in the Age of Exiles was imperfect in places. South of Baicuna is such a place, marked by incessant atmospheric discharge and turbulent winds as the destructive energies of Ergamoth pass into material reality. Volatile gases cover the surface of the waters, and roaring waves lash hence and forth in incomprehensible patterns. At times of astral disturbance, the Maelstrom's iris opens, and Ergamothian demons manage to navigate the tears in the Tapestry to pass into the world uninvited, manifesting on Baicuna's southern shores.
Baicunian sages seek to predict the apertures of the Maelstrom, as to prepare for the inevitable assault that follows.
On the bright side, the battlefields are an excellent place to harvest demonic energies and residua, yet care must be taken - even outside of apertures, the seal on the Maelstrom is never perfectly tight.

The Cracked Sea
It's not the sea that is cracked, but rather the sea floor. Vibrant shallow seas full of life alternate with deep furrows and trenches into which light passes only as a faint memory. Ravenous leviathans call these canyons their home, venturing forth to claim prey, be it fish or ships. Sometimes, hunger drives them ashore to devour cattle and people alike. Usually, those individuals are younger specimens driven out by their elder kin; Baicunians mount expeditions to the spawning grounds of the beasts to reduce their numbers, ideally by destroying eggs, larvae, or whatever relatively harmless form the spawn take prior to becoming hundred-foot monstrosities.

The Stormlords' Wall
The Great Bay of Baicuna is home to a sizeable portion of the population. The channel that opens to the sea is the best access route that monsters can take to wreak havoc in the Heartlands. A great wall of grey stone was erected, studded with statues of dragons and heroes of past and present. As storms pass over the isle, within these idols, the power of lightning accumulates, to be unleashed upon foes humanoid and monstrous alike. A great enchanted portcullis can be lowered and raised as needed, to obstruct the water passage.
To the first-comers to the isle, the port appears a foreboding fortress crackling with lightning, yet once they pass the gates, the bustling garden-cities of the bay greet them.

Mount Talairach and the Hanging Gardens
The dominant peak above the Great Bay, the sleeping shield volcano Talairach, slopes continuously towards the sea from a height of more than two miles. Its southern slope is one continuous garden, irrigated by waterfalls descending from its crater lake. It is a popular destination for recreation and discreet trysts; its convoluted paths, dense foliage, and numerous secluded locales aid in both these endeavours.
With plants brought in from all over the realm, the gardens are exceedingly diverse. Mages enchant especially vital specimens to become Haven Fronds that serve as beacons and nutrition for displaced floral spirits. If a ruinous disaster deprives spirits of the plant species upon which their life depends, the Haven Fronds sustain and harbour them until their original home is restored.
Inside Talairach, the gardeners have created chambers that store seeds and saplings in stasis, to provide a basis for restoration of the given species.

Culture
*Form of Family: The Baicunians display extreme sexual trimorphism; the form of family and child rearing is defined by the biology of the Baicunians, and their three sexes. The Keroz are reptilian bipeds in appearance, covered in hard scale and keratinous plate; they provide seed to the lithe and likewise bipedal Saya, whose eggs grow to the size of a fist upon fertilisation, and are transferred to the serpentine, six-armed Naga at the next best opportunity; the Saya possess an ovipositor for this purpose (in an emergency, the ovipositor can be used to transfer the eggs to another Saya, too). Inside the Naga, another step of fertilisation takes place, whereupon the child develops inside her. Children are born live, tearing free of the egg sack immediately upon birth, and are suckled by the Naga and her attending Saya.
Keroz take little role in rearing young children; rather, they take adolescent apprentices.
The Keroz and Saya outnumber the Naga significantly. A family consists of a Naga and about a dozen Saya who bring their eggs to her for gestation. In turn, each Saya maintains a circle of Keroz whom she visits to mate. Keroz generally live together in households of four to a dozen, based on ties of friendship, collegiality, or on the military unit they belong to, along with their apprentices.
Note: By outsiders, the Keroz are perceived as masculine, and Saya and Naga as feminine.
*Marriage and Divorce: marriage ceremonies are performed Naga accept to be the bearer of a Saya's eggs; the central point is an oath by which a Naga accepts to bear all eggs the Saya brings to her. A Naga will thus be married to a number of Saya. A second part of the ceremony is an acceptance ritual performed by the Saya who are already married to the Naga; its central point is the promise to take her eggs in case anything befalls her, and bring them home to their Naga, as well as a promise to rear their children collectively. Marriage ceremonies take the form of a common bath, with flowers and fragrances in abundance, followed by mutual oiling and a day in the sun, where the married group lounges nude, in skin contact, to get acquainted to each other's presence.
Individuals are free to leave the bond. *Being* divorced forcefully by the whole group (which happens for severe transgressions) is a great shame, and carries significant stigma.
There are no bonds of marriage between Saya and Keroz - when she feels herself swell with unfertilised eggs, the Saya chooses a suitable father (or several) based on affection, and especially on their prowess and competence.
*The sexes as adventurers: as they are usually constantly pregnant, adventuring Naga are a rarity, and hardly ever seen outside Baicuna. Keroz and Saya adventurers are both commonly seen.
*Government and Structure: Naga are long-lived and more magically gifted than the other two sexes, and gravitate naturally towards administrative and leadership roles. The country is ruled by a council of sages, mostly wizards. To rise to the rank of master and join it, an aspirant must prove themselves worthy - of course there is conflict between talented young upstarts and old sages about who is deserving of the title of master, and who not. Truth is, the council needs fresh blood regularly, as to avoid becoming too rigid and set in their ways; some councilors see this, some don't.
On the contrary, military leadership is largely dominated by Keroz, with units electing their leaders, those electing higher officials, and generals in turn. High generals elect a War Leader who coordinates all military efforts of Baicuna. Elections are held regularly, commonly because a post was vacated by its occupant's demise. There are no armchair generals in Baicuna.
In times of peace, the Council's will takes precedence over the will of the generals - but during Apertures of the Maelstrom, the War Leader's will overrides the decisions of the Council. All but the most sheltered of councilors understand this necessity.
An additional layer of complexity is added by the dragons, who inhabit swathes of inaccessible land on several islands. Technically not citizens of Baicuna, they still approach the Baicunians on occasion with cryptic demands, or (rarely) unexpected aid.
*Etiquette, Law and their enforcement:
*Social Rank:
*Slavery:

Religion
*Cosmology and Pantheon:
*Liturgical Form:
*Funerary Custom:
*Magic:

Art
*Graphic Art & Sculpture:
*Music and Dance:
*Sports and games:
*Tattoo and scarification:

Living
*Housing and architecture:
*Clothing:
*Cooking:
*Packs and containers:

Transport
*Land transport and mounts:
*Ships and boats:

Combat
*Missile Weapons:
*Melee weapons:
*Weaponless combat:
*Armor and Shields:
*Tactics:
55
Citadel Tavern / March 2018 Highlights
« Last post by Kevin Cook on April 03, 2018, 03:01:07 PM »
If you are not interested in new or rare dice that were added to the worlds largest collection of dice this month ... Please ignore this post



Click on the Gary Con X die above to see the highlights of dice added in March 2018 



56
Setting Forge / Re: Sanctum - A World Beyond its Fate
« Last post by EchoMirage on April 02, 2018, 06:37:51 PM »
Torre:

Lying halfway between the Lyran coast and Baicuna, Torre consists of modestly sized islands beaten incessantly by the ocean waves and swept by humid winds. Its inhabitants are gifted yet severe, offspring of Elves and humans of old, battered by wars, catastrophes, the Elf schism and Lyran expansionism. With the dragon as their patron beast, they stand as fierce and unyielding as ever, unbeaten and proud.

The Sunken Kingdoms
Submerged ruins are a quite common sight below the waves surrounding Torre, hinting at a past where the islands were perchance a mountain range at the centre of a wealthy realm. Using water-breathing enchantments, salvagers dive deep to pilfer treasures from the sunken realm. Both art pieces and magical artifacts are highly valued due to their unique nature, but are hard to acquire (especially considering that the most accessible ruins have been stripped bare already).
From some of the sites, few scavengers return; legend has it that the descendants of the rulers of the sunken land have adapted to the murky depths somehow, and guard the remnants of their legacy. One version of this myth claims they used the same unfathomable sorcery that powers their artifacts, while the other holds that the denizens of the sinking realm made a terrible pact with an elder thing of the depths.

The Meeting Waters
A number of waterfalls cascades through a vast cavern into secluded pools connected to the sea, illuminated by shafts of light from above, and fluorescent algae from below. Partially natural, and partially filled with structures that are accessible to dwellers of land and sea alike, the cave serves as a meeting point and bazaar for various sea dwellers who wish for an exchange with the folk of Torre. All sorts of violence are forbidden in the Meeting Waters, and even water demons honour this deal. One can make great deals on the bazaar, as things can have vastly different values for surface and water dwellers. Perhaps the most interesting goods are the services though - what better place to buy a permanent ability to breathe water from a sea fiend, or tutelage from a nereid. Watch out, though, for some prices only few are willing and able to afford.

Pirate Markets
Those in the know (usually Torreans, pirates, and independent traders) know the times and places where fleets of vessels congregate, to exchange supplies, loot, tips, crew members, and tales. Otherwise uninhabited isles suddenly become inundated with vessels of all origins and sizes, and with raucous laughter.
The greatest market of all occurs at the Natant Garden, a floating city composed of living plants. As the ships, so does the city move across the sea to avoid detection, and be where opportunities are plentiful. The garden filters sea water, and provides abundant fruit to parched sailors, making it a welcome stopping point.

Anderswelt Coves
In places, the world's weave is thin even at open sea. Experienced sailors know them by strange cloud formations, capricious weather, and peculiar sea birds. With the correct ritual, it is possible to pass from this world into a mist-shrouded cove, and back again. Be wary, for some coves can open erratically on their own, and close again, trapping those unaware of the correct spell of passage. As such, it is possible to find stranded vessels upon entering a cove; if the crew are dead or departed, this may be a great find. Live crews tend to be more of a problem, though.
The land surrounding the coves is progressively more surreal, and it is ill-advised to venture into this dominion of fae, spirits, and fiends.

The Dead Mirrors
Deep below the waves, there are inky pools denser than water. On their surface, Benthe, the Queen of Hungering Depths, shows off her claims - the faces of those who lost their lives to the sea. If you wish to know the fate of those close to you yet distant in space, you can brave the beast-infested waters, and ask Benthe that one vital question.

The Transcendent Lighthouse
Atop the tallest mountain of the islands, there stands a tower of Elven make, imbued with ancient magics that few if any can replicate today. Its light not only reaches far out to the sea, but passes through the Anderswelt, and some say even to the realms beyond, invisible yet present. The people of Torre carry stone tokens that allow them to perceive the lighthouse's emanation, wherever they may be, so that they know the direction of their home. The disgraced are stripped of their token and cast out, severing this tie; Blindwater is dripped into their eyes so that they perceive the tower's worldly light as searingly painful, and cannot bear to be in its presence.

Culture
*Form of Family: all children are cared for until they are weaned and then given into the care of one who is to be their mentor – thus, a teacher takes the role of parent as well, and is in all respects considered to be related by blood to his charge. The reputation, skill, and standing of the parent determine how many people are willing to mentor their child (and "You look like your mother raised ya" and "You'll be raising your own kids" are actually serious insults). Even when the child grows up, the mentor is still the parent. A child is considered to never be able to repay the debt of education to his mentor, and therefore is obliged to pay it forward to other children or younger students of his teacher. Likewise, nobility will not pass their title to their bodily offspring, but to deserving youths – the title is passed on to the heir upon him reaching the fortieth year of life.
*Marriage and Divorce: Marriages are, curiously, arranged as bets - the would-be partners bet a duration, and who will be dominant in the relationship, sometimes with additional clauses to spice up the deal. Sometimes, the betrothed rile up and tease each other to up the ante. The bet is usually settled by a contest of skill. All of these bonds can only be ended by expiry of the set time.
Upon entering a bond, both partners share blood out of a sacred chalice, and grant each other an additional name that becomes theirs for as long as the bond lasts. Then, they descend into the sea at one of the sacred sites and stay there a full hour, their ‘Breathe Water’ spells being maintained from the shore. At this time, the newly wed pair is expected to engage in the act of love.
Sexual relations outside of a wedding are frowned upon - it's considered being 'easy'. A citizen may only be wed to a person at any given time, except in the case of a life-long bond, in which case either partner may offer a one-day-bond during the three days centered on the summer solstice. It is a great favor to be granted such a bond and most likely such an offer is the expression of deep respect or strong affection.
*Women as adventurers: women have the same rights as men in Torre, and if they intend to go off adventuring, they may freely do so, unless having sworn to do otherwise.
*Government and Structure: the state is headed by a council of five and a war leader. The council seats are assigned via voting by the nobles (i.e., ship captains, drake riders, and similar renowned individuals) and Speakers, while a war leader is elected every three years by the heads of twelve martial orders. Other officials help to guide the state: Speakers of the Wind hold military ranks, Speakers of the Sea form the priesthood and provide guidance, whereas Speakers of Stone take care of the administration. There is a large degree of social mobility - in fact, anyone can become a noble or make it even to the Council, regardless of birth status. The system has strong social and communistic elements – private property is allowed and strictly separated from possessions of the state, yet everyone will contribute goods and other resources to keep the country going – these are distributed as the need arises.
*Etiquette, Law and their enforcement: Although all citizens deal with each other as equals, it is considered grave offense to enter a dwelling or ship uninvited, to use another’s tools or weapons or to break a word. Duty and trust are paramount to the people of Torre, and thus insubordination, laziness, carelessness and treason are considered anathema. Offenses can be settled by physical punishment up to and including death sentence, exile or a duel. For most minor offenses, flogging is administered, and if the offender can take the punishment without crying out, the offense is considered forgiven. More severe crimes and repeated offenses carry harsher penalties.
*Social Rank: There are commoners (Status 0-1) and nobles (Status 2). All nobles are considered equal with the exception of the Speakers (Status 3), the council and the war leader (Status 4). Each ship captain’s post carries also a noble title, so does taming a drake. Note that status does not weigh half as much as reputation and deeds in Torre.
*Slavery: is illegal in Torre. No citizen may own a slave, nor may he sell a captive into slavery. Any slave brought to Torre is immediately considered free, though they will not be allowed to stay on the isle; freed slaves will be dropped off at the earliest convenience in another nation that doesn't condone slavery (or at least doesn't respect the former slave owner's claims).

Religion
*Cosmology and Pantheon: While the people of Torre also revere the gods of the Elves, the main focus of their faith is different. They believe the world had risen from the waves of the primordial ocean, and was then populated by outcast spirits of the sea who then took the form of flesh to shield against the burning sun, whipping wind and freezing cold. As it has risen, so the world will descend into the waves again when the time has come, yet this is not seen as an apocalypse, for it is the beginning of a new age rather than an end. A return to a happy state, where all are again embraced by the sea is this supposed to be, yet it can only come to pass when the world is cleansed, and only the enlightened can reach peace among the waves – the others will have to stay on ships and seek a world where they can try again to reach the peace of the waves. The belief holds that the world is surrounded by an ocean of endless extent, and this great sea gave birth to more than one world, yet those are separated by mists, and these mists those who stay on ships must brave to find a new home.
Garamantha is the chief deity of the people of Torre, the ruler of the sea, the one who breathes life into all, the creator. This deity possesses both a strong female and male aspect. The male, also known as Ancaris stands for the danger the sea poses, for the ultimate test of mettle one can undergo, and he is the one who calls the storms to do his bidding. This very same aspect also has the role of a guardian, keeper of secrets and guide. The female aspect – Airenae – stands for life in all its forms, rebirth and pure emotion that the sea awakens in all who gaze upon it. The aspect of fertility is so strongly represented in this part of the deity that it is Airenae, not her male half, who is said to have come to virgins bathing in the sea and mated with them.
Ichala are the daughters and sons of the Prime. There are nine of them, and each sea is consecrated to one, where the one acts as the keeper of the waves. Homage is paid to all of them, yet most revered is Kineihal – not surprising, as his waters are those that surround Torre.
Thiame are spirits who embody the beauty of the sea, the passion and freedom one cannot find elsewhere. Most often, they manifest as dolphins, mermaids or creatures composed of translucent water and sea foam. Most ship crews will bring offerings to a single spirit, believing it to become the patron of their ship.
A special place takes Akharond the great wyrm and the Akkai – his progeny. Their duty lies in separating the skies and the sea, and to this end, they unceasingly cut the air with their wings, whipping up storms and winds so that their two charges remain apart. The sailors and captains pray to them for fair weather or storm.
Though revered, the Elven gods take the role of guests in the worldview of the faithful in Torre – they have got their temples and own ceremonies, as well as a part in most prayers, but are not of such deep significance as Garamatha.
*Liturgical Form: The temples of the folk of Torre come in many shapes and sizes – from the tiny chambers of worship inside every major vessel to the Shrine of the Deep Eye, which is supported by three thousand pillars and encompasses six small and one large lake.
The ceremonies are held every thirteen days, whereas the people gather at the closest shrine for three hours, and engage in song, whereupon the priest leading the ceremony will first tell a tale of legend, then offer a word of wisdom. Then, three or seven priests will swim across the nearest body of water, each of them being by chance assigned a specific course of the future before this ritual, represented by a symbol carved into a sacred seashell, but stone substitutes can be used. The one who swims the fastest then reveals the symbol, and this will give some insight into future happenings.
After that, songs again fill the halls, resonating in strange and primeval harmony with the beating of the waves. At the end of the ceremony, any recently wed pairs and newborn are ritually cleansed with blessed water poured onto them out of large shells – curiously, water elementals tend to take up residence in these shells on a regular basis without the need for enchantment, and this the water that comes from them is crystal-clear and never depleted.
Each faithful will cleanse himself with water at least once each day. A priest may perform this cleansing too, or even an ordinary person – to be invited to cleanse somebody is a gesture of profound trust, and not easily granted.
Once a year, a holy day comes whereupon the faithful will begin fasting, subsisting only on fruit and water for several days – the duration is not set in stone, instead, everyone can choose a duration for himself.
*Funerary Custom: The dead are entrusted to the sea in a truly interesting way – they are subjected to secret enchantments and their bodies cleansed of all filth and then inlaid with Caerrven Blossom seeds. After that, the sea accepts the bodies, yet they stay afloat and give life to a myriad of small flowers, briefly becoming verdant isles.
*Magic: Due to their heritage, every inhabitant of Torre is a mage, and magic is passed down from teacher to student like any other craft. Only those of exceptional talent will study magic exclusively, and they will most likely become Speakers.
Song-Aspected Magery is quite common in Torre, and if you see a craftsman chanting while working, it is not meant to help concentrating or to pass the long hours, and when the crew of a ship raise their voices in song, better duck, for it is not to bolster their courage.

Art
*Graphic Art & Sculpture: Most memorable are the vivid frescoes the inhabitants decorate their homes with, while the crew of every ship will take great pride in the sails of their vessel, which will depict a denizen of the sea or other being the crew have chosen as their patron. The motifs in the homes will most often be dancers or plants, while purely geometrical decorations are used on thresholds.
The sculptures are depicted always in motion, and often multiple beings form one sculpture – sea creatures and birds are common motifs, as are people. Sapient beings are never depicted dressed with the sole exception of jewelry. Interesting is that not all artists pick beautiful people to serve as models – for example, on the Square of Lyran Men two bronze statues of overweight, middle aged men dominate the center of the place.
Fountains and baths are also a strong focus of art – fountains fueled by the onslaught of the waves decorate many a shoreline, while every city square has at least one fountain beautifully adorned with sculptures. Baths and temples are gathering points for art as well, and the artists utilize the refraction capabilities of water as well as the sound it makes – some statues seem to almost come alive under the optical influence of water.
*Music and Dance: song is the main element of any music composed in Torre, accompanied by drums, bagpipes, fiddles, and accordions. The tunes are lively, commonly rebellious, cry for adventure and tell of the glory earned by past Torreans.
Dance is only secular entertainment, and is swift yet gracious. The dancers will wear chimes and masks, the tinkling accompanying every move and the disguise concealing their identity. Personal freedom is greatly enhanced during a dance festival – anything said does not count as offense, and flirting is encouraged. Sometimes, the festivities take place in water, the waves lighted by sorcery from beneath.
*Sports and games: As the people travel extensively and spend a lot of time working, games that can be played without a board, even without any utensils, form the majority – mind games of memory, wit and eloquence.
As for sports, swimming, rowboat and sailing boat races are all popular, as well as javelin and fireball-throwing contests. Other than these, athletic games are held every spring equinox, featuring wrestling, running, archery, vaulting, team sports and other competitions. All citizens are admitted to these games. Even those who do not participate in the top contests exercise regularly – thus, being overweight is almost unheard of in Torre, and fat people who visit the isles suffer disdain and disgust constantly.
*Tattoo and scarification: everyone will bear one tattoo, no more: a symbol of his patron spirit tattooed on the back, often inlaid with metal, gems or pearls.

Living
*Housing and architecture: Due to the constant siege the isles are subjected to, whether by the elements or enemy fleets, all buildings are built as fortifications despite their undeniable beauty – they are constructed so that they do not compete, but contribute to a greater whole instead, and every new building added will be carefully planned as not to disrupt the stone symphony. Buildings are almost exclusively constructed of stone, neatly cut or shaped or even created with spells – the most important buildings consist of Essential Stone, as to endure whatever may be thrown at them. Every settlement is, unbeknownst to outsiders, constructed in such a way as to funnel magical power to the center of the city, or to one of the temples.
The structures tend to be tall yet broad, with many archways and balconies that serve as decoration but also as firing positions, vantage points and bottlenecks to stall enemy advance, not to forget warding off the elements – every window is equipped with heavy iron shutters.
A great many citizens dwell permanently on their ships, and thus their living takes a different form: tiny cabins for one or two, depending on whether the crew member is married or not, built as to provide the maximum privacy possible.
Other than these, there are other types of dwellings: some live in floating homes near one of the many fishing grounds or on fish farms – these homes consist of living plants, and though they are not too comfortable, they are quite safe, weather-resistant and warm. Some have chosen flying trees to reside in – once one gets used to the incessant rotation of the plant they are not too bad to live in, and fresh fruit is always nearby.
*Clothing: most clothing is fashioned out of animal hides – seals, sea cows, basroi (large furred sea dwellers with four tusks they catch their prey with), reptiles, serpents and fish. The hides are durable and confer good protection against the elements. Much sought after are the hides of sepphet (sea serpents) and illene (large colorful fish).
Sea tang and the floating trees yield fibers to weave fabrics from, and these will be colored with pigments originating from berries, sea creatures and minerals.
When the warm days of summer arrive, many a citizen can be seen wearing naught but perhaps a loincloth and several pieces of jewelry made of shells, pearls or bones. Precious metals are not attributed any exceptional beauty and thus serve only as coinage when dealing with other nations – pearls, gems and government tokens serve as currency.
*Cooking: the sea feeds Torre. Seafood, fish, kelp and various other plants of the sea are the mainstay of the diet. Most of the dry land is used for orchards, and fruit is a welcome delicacy. Sea mammals are milked and kept for meat and hide, while gardens afloat on the sea offer a bountiful harvest, as do groves of sky-trees – several kinds of those exist, some fly due to sacks filled with gas, while others store mana in their leaves and proper themselves by rotating like huge green propellers. A rare kind uses its innate magic to capture wind spirits that have to carry it then.
Dolphins are trained for hunting, while several beasts of the sea do the same task due to enchantments.
The fire is kept in lamps and great care is taken of it, as the surroundings tend to be rather flammable. Most people are mages, so that lighting a fire is of little difficulty. Kelp and animal fat serves as fuel.
The art of improvisational cooking is valued, as to spice up the otherwise slightly monotonous fare on ships. Most of the cooks will be on constant lookout for anything that could be added to their dishes.
*Packs and containers: Barrels, leather bags and sea sponges store fluids, while sacks, baskets and sea shells are used to hold solid goods.

Transport
*Land transport and mounts: a few carts are in use, yet Torre is not so large that horses would be needed. Cranes and lifts lift heavy goods in the harbors.
Griffons, huge birds of prey and drakes carry scouts and messengers, as well as a few select warriors, while large porpoise species are trained to carry riders on the waves and tolerate a harness. Kranachi, huge squids, can carry up to three people in cavities inside their bodies when properly enchanted.
*Ships and boats: the navy of Torre is one of the best equipped in the world. Light fishing boats and swift merchant vessels swarm across the seas, while swift warships ensure the safety of the islands and sally out to plunder. They are propelled by sails, oars and enchantment alike: each vessel is powered by a central mana engine that draws upon the energies of spirits, ley lines and the crew if necessary. One to five channels funnel the thrust backward and can even lift the ship above the waves or carry it on land for short periods of time, to avoid reefs or raid inland. Some ships have spirits bound into them, or acquire them when they go into overdrive, and a crew member must give his life to fuel them.
Each ship will be adorned to excess, with paintings, shells, carving and countless little personalized elements the crewmen add in their spare time.
The ships are armed with ballistae, huge grappling hooks, a corvus, which is a drawbridge that allows the crew to board an enemy vessel easily, and several arcane weapons that draw upon the central power to unleash fire and lighting.

Combat
*Missile Weapons: bows and crossbows are very popular, and most adults will be skilled with them. Javelins are used in the hunt, as well as in warfare. Most missiles will be poisoned. Fragile containers filed with noxious gas or releasing smoke supplement the arsenal.
Other than that, a favorite is to shower enemies with a flurry of fireballs.
*Melee weapons: short agile blades, like short swords, cutlasses and scimitars, axes, spears and harpoons are the most common kinds of weapon. Everyone receives a personal weapon upon reaching the brink of adulthood, granted by a mentor or superior, and this is thought to be linked to his very soul. Oaths are sworn with the weapon as a focus, and foes slain with it supposedly transfer some of their strength to the wielder.
*Weaponless combat: wrestling is a popular sport, with poses and elegant moves emphasized, while in the military, a wholly different kind of unarmed fighting is taught, all the blows intended to cripple or kill.
*Armor and Shields: various hides and light chain find widespread use, the best compromise between protection and weight, not to mention that it is possible to swim in them.
*Tactics: Torre does fight most of its battles at sea. Thus, their tactics revolve around naval battles. The swiftness of their vessels allows them to break up enemy formations and outmaneuver them, weaken the enemy with volleys of missiles and assaulting one ship with several of theirs in concert, or separate one enemy from the others, and then pick on him.
When raiding, their approach will be similar: assaulting multiple locations, albeit some with but a token force, they conceal until the last moment which of the attacks is the real one. Mages able to shift shapes will scout ahead, thus any targets of opportunity will be swiftly identified. If you leave anything unprotected, that is where they strike.
To cover up their escape, the crews will summon storms or fog, being able to handle such conditions far better than any pursuers.
57
Moderated Freeform / Re: The Silk Road Act 1: Old Cairo
« Last post by Dozus on March 30, 2018, 10:23:00 PM »
The shock of the exploding child didn’t hit Obutsu right away. Instead, he saw his target and an opportunity. Even as Arjan began to turn the tank, Matos fired at his target.
58
Moderated Freeform / Re: The Silk Road Act 1: Old Cairo
« Last post by EchoMirage on March 30, 2018, 12:50:11 PM »
"So do I fekking shoot them or not? This is awfully complicated for a simple hit, Matos!"
Blue huffed.
"Especially considering I'm not here for the hit at all, and Jerome neither!"
59
Moderated Freeform / Re: The Silk Road Act 1: Old Cairo
« Last post by Scrasamax on March 30, 2018, 12:16:58 PM »
Arjan put the turbo tank in reverse and backed away from the downed shuttle. She shouted something, in a pastiche of Russian and trade-speak, something about whores, bullets, and... a casserole made out of @!#$?

Jerome's scope didn't indicate that there were any robots among the crowd of cowering women and children, they were all organic.

Adeaze seemed to be giving up, raising her hands in the air
60
Moderated Freeform / Re: The Silk Road Act 1: Old Cairo
« Last post by EchoMirage on March 30, 2018, 10:50:58 AM »
"Blue reporting - Adeaze has been messed with, she's a mess and this whole thing's a mess. I guess I'll man the gun again, and mess things up further."
The neo-ethnic hauled some blue behind up the ladder, and sat at the machine gun's handles again. "Perhaps one day, I'll actually press the trigger!"
"Joao, you still want to kill Adeaze yourself, or can I just spray the whole thing?"
Depending on what Joao says (or if Jerome has some input that would sway Blue's reasoning on this:
> either Blue will just shoot anything that seems hostile and approaches, or
> shoot at anything that moves, and spray Adeaze's position liberally.
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