“I live in a world of fire and sand. The crimson sun scorches the life from anything that crawls or flies, and storms of sand scour the foliage from the barren ground. Lightning strikes from the cloudless sky, and peals of thunder roll unexplained across the vast tablelands. Even the wind, dry and searing as a kiln, can kill a man with thirst.
This is a land of blood and dust, where tribes of feral elves sweep out of the salt plains to plunder lonely caravans, mysterious singing winds call men to slow suffocation in a Sea of Silt, and legions of slaves clash over a few bushels of moldering grain. The dragon despoils entire cities, while selfish kings squander their armies raising gaudy palaces and garish tombs.
This is my home, Athas. It is an arid and bleak place, a wasteland with a handful of austere cities clinging precariously to a few scattered oases. It is a brutal and savage land, beset by political strife and monstrous abominations, where life is grim and short.” – The Wanderer’s Journal
The Balican merchant dynasties of Wavir, Rees, and Tomblador sponsor this fortified town of about two thousand souls astride the trade route that connects Balic with Tyr. Desperate raiders wait in ambush in the stony barrens and rocky badlands that surround the village, but Altaruk’s well-paid mercenaries drive off any bandits they find lurking within haifa day’s travel of the town’s gates.
This protection is not free to travelers. All who want to enter Altaruk must pay a toll of 1 gp per beast of burden and one ceramic per individual. But for those inside the 15-foot-high walls, Altaruk offers stables, room and board, trade opportunities between merchant houses, and gossip from all corners of the Tablelands. Only the largest and fiercest raiding tribes would consider attacking Altaruk, but rumor has it that giants of the Estuary of the Forked Tongue are gathering to strike at the town. It’s happened before.
Tools: I will be using Maptools, as I have been training hardcore for it, so hopefully everything will be ok. Please use Invisible Castle for rolling invisiblecastle.com/ Character builder with point buy
Posting: Each player should choose a text color for IC use. Bold should be used for speaking, regular text for whispering, and italicsfor thoughts.
Group: I will be looking for a group of manageable size, i.e. 4 ideally, 5 max, with at least one of each role represented.
Character Submissions: - Character submissions will not complete without a minimum 5-10 lines background… (Longer background welcome). The background will also have to include how you ended up in the small trading town of Altaruk in the tablelands. - Please use pregen arrays for ability scores - Players should post their characters, s-blocked for convenience, first in this thread. A smaller s-block with powers (used preceded by [X] and unused preceded by [ ] if possible) and pertinent combat-related info can be utilized during combat postings if you wish. The adventure will start on the day after a fierce sand storm hit Altaruk’s region.
Races: - Allowed Races: Dray, Dwarf, Eladrin (1 max), Elf, Half-Giant (Goliath), Half-Elf, Halfling, Human, Mul, Tiefling (1 max), Thri-Kreen While I am not entirely comfortable with a Tiefling character in light of their rareness and evilness, I will allow one if submitted with a good background that would make him/her playable in a group. - Banned Races: Deva, Githzerai, Gnome, Half-Orc, Minotaur, Shardmind, Shifter, Wilden
Classes: - Any Divine class is banned: there are no gods on Athas!
Wild Talent: - Selected Randomly (please submit 1d10 roll using IC with Character submission)
Metal & Currency: - If you think water is rare on Athas, then it’s even worse for metal! So weapons, currency, armor etc. are made of non-metal materials (bone, chitin, wood, stone, etc)… With respect to currency it gets a bit tricky as 4e maintained the gold coins… To keep things simple, I will keep everything denominated in gp, which will still be the base unit, but gp will actually mean a ceramic coin… Coins made of actual metal will just be worth 100 times their value (Example: 1 Ceramic Coin = 1gp, 1 Silver Coin = 10gp, 1 Gold Coin = 100gp… etc.)… Simply put, for role playing purposes I will say you found 5 gold coins, while in OOC I will allocate you 500gp, that’s all. I hope I make sense…
Time zone: I am in the US, Eastern Time and I will be looking to post between 8pm and Midnight when I am able to.
Jaded, reluctant hero with a wry wit. Ekspery was born to an elven woman, who was outcast from her nomadic tribe for having a half-elf child. She moved to Draj to try and raise him where she preyed upon and sold into slavery within the city. She resented Ekspery greatly and he was eventually forced to leave her when he was old enough. He still checked on her from time to time.
Ekspery wandered the streets of Draj, learning to survive and fight from an old homeless wild battlemind. Ekspery quickly became a swindler and a drunk, although he gathered moderate wealth due to his talent. For the first time in his miserable life, he had hope. He was able to purchase his mother's freedom, although he never told her he was responsible even when she was on death's bed. He set about looking for ways to improve his talents and the art of interacting with others. This lead him to study the lore and history of magic. If you can convince a foreigner that the white sand from a dry well just outside the city walls is magic sand from a bygone mage, the price soars.
It was through this study that Ekspery learned the truth about defilement and how the world had come to be the way it is. Deeply moved, and letting himself get caught up in noble ideas, Ekspery began to learn what he could about the Veiled Alliance. He began trying to convince people about the truth regarding preserver magic. Due to his history of fraud, and people's set beliefs about arcane magic, he was mocked and scorned more than usual, and eventually chased out of the city. He left Draj and headed far, far away from Draj. It was in Altaruk that he officially joined the Veiled Alliance under Arisphistaneles' leadership.
Ekspery quickly became disillusioned. His naive dreams of easily convincing the masses about the truth regarding preserver magic and overthrowing the sorcerer-kings were shattered when he realized what an impossible task that would be. Working for the Veiled Alliance, he is essentially an errand boy and pencil-pusher. He has resorted back to his jaded, pessimistic views and these days spends more time getting drunk in the local pub than anything else.
Level 1 Human Wizard Arcane Implement Mastery: Tome of ReadinessShow
Tome of Readiness: When you select this form of implement mastery, choose a wizard encounter attack power of your level or lower that you don't already know. That power is now stored and available for your use at a later time. Once per encounter as a free action, you can use the stored power by expending another unused wizard encounter attack power of its level or higher. You must still take the normal action required to use the stored power. Each time you reach a level that lets you choose a new encounter power, you can replace the stored power with a new wizard encounter attack power of your level or lower that you do not already know.You must wield a tome to benefit from this feature.
Versatile Expertise: (Tome) Human Power Selection: Bonus At-Will Power Background: Early Life - Child Prodigy (+2 to History) Wild Talent: Mental Tools Theme: Templar
FINAL ABILITY SCORES Str 8, Con 13, Dex 10, Int 20, Wis 13, Cha 10.
STARTING ABILITY SCORES Str 8, Con 13, Dex 10, Int 18, Wis 13, Cha 10.
Before using a wizard at-will or encounter attack power, you can choose to take a -2 penalty to each die of damage rolled to increase the size of its burst or blast by 1. You cannot use this on a power that does not roll dice for damage.
At-WillArcane, Implement, Psychic Standard ActionArea burst 1 within 10 Target: Each enemy in burst Attack: Intelligence vs. Will Hit: 1d6 psychic damage, and the target cannot take opportunity actions until the end of your next turn. Level 21: 2d6 psychic damage.
At-WillArcane, Cold, Implement Standard ActionArea burst 1 within 10 squares Target: Each enemy in burst Attack: Intelligence vs. Fortitude Hit: Intelligence modifier cold damage. Effect: Until the end of your next turn, any enemy in the power’s area takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls. Increase damage to twice Intelligence modifier at 21st level.
At-WillArcane, Illusion, Implement, Psychic Standard ActionRanged 10 Target: One creature Attack: Intelligence vs. Will Hit: 1d8 + Intelligence modifier psychic damage, and the target grants combat advantage and can’t make opportunity attacks until the end of your next turn. Level 21: 2d8 + Intelligence modifier psychic damage.
Tome of Readiness: Orbmaster's Incendiary DetonationShow
EncounterArcane, Fire, Force, Implement, Zone Standard ActionArea burst 1 within 10 squares Target: Each creature in burst Attack: Intelligence vs. Reflex Hit: 1d6 + Intelligence modifier force damage, and you knock the target prone. Effect: The burst creates a zone of licking flames that lasts until the end of your next turn. Each enemy that enters the zone or starts its turn there takes 2 fire damage. Orb of Imposition: You can extend the duration of this effect, even though it is not an at-will power. If you do so, the area expands to burst 3 and doesn’t affect you or your allies.
EncounterArcane, Charm, Enchantment, Implement Standard ActionRanged 10 Target: One enemy Attack: Intelligence vs. Will Hit: You slide the target up to 3 squares. The target is then dazed until the end of your next turn. Effect: The target makes a basic attack against a creature of your choice as a free action. The basic attack gains a +2 power bonus to the damage roll.
DailyArcane, Implement, Thunder, Zone Standard ActionArea burst 2 within 10 squares Target: Each creature in burst Attack: Intelligence vs. Reflex Hit: 2d6 + Intelligence modifier thunder damage, and you slide the target 1 square. Miss: Half damage. Effect: The burst creates a zone of rushing winds that lasts until the end of your next turn. As a minor action, you can slide one creature within the zone 2 squares. As a move action, you can move the zone 6 squares. Sustain Minor: The zone persists, and you can slide one creature within the zone 2 squares.
DailyArcane, Conjuration, Fire, Implement Standard ActionRanged 10 Effect: You conjure a Medium flaming sphere that occupies a square within range, and the sphere attacks. Any creature that starts its turn adjacent to the sphere takes 1d4 + Intelligence modifier fire damage. As a move action, you can move the sphere 6 squares. Target: One creature adjacent to the flaming sphere Attack: Intelligence vs. Reflex Hit: 2d6 + Intelligence modifier fire damage. Sustain Minor: You can sustain this power until the end of the encounter. As a standard action, you can make another attack with the sphere.
ITEMS Spellbook, Adventurer's Kit, Tome Implement RITUALS Purify Water, Make Whole, Comrades' Succor
Saranikta is a young wizarding prodigy from Nibenay. She has studied in the great libraries of the city of spires, and is a tried and true bookworm. Three years ago, at the age of fourteen, she was chosen to become a Shadow Bride of Nibenay, and she accepted graciously. Saranikta has only briefly met her husband, but loves him with a fervency that can only be achieved by not knowing the object of that love. In order to advance her studies, she has been granted leave to travel Athas and seek hidden knowledge. Currently, her travels have her in Altaruk.
Zaffa was born as a slave in Urik, bred for psionic power and raised to fight for the entertainment of others. Much of that, however, was beyond the walls of any arena: Zaffa instead took part in open-air skirmishes in the wastelands beyond the city. She and whatever team of slave gladiators she was assigned to didn't always win, but she always survived -- and she always learned something.
Then there came a day when there weren't quite as many guards around the makeshift battleground as usual; the spot the slave masters had chosen didn't form a natural enclosure as it normally did; the gladiators were not as focused on one another in their thirst for blood as they generally were. Both teams joined together to fight their way through their guards and made a break for the Tablelands.
But the slaves had neither the skills nor the resources to survive a trek through the desert. One by one they began to grow weak and drop. When their pursuers caught up to them, though her strength had dwindled, Zaffa managed to survive the encounter -- alone. With no ther option, she plodded on through the wasteland.
Zaffa awoke from her semi-conscious state as she fell face-first into a pool of water. She looked up to find herself at a small oasis. After inhaling mouthfuls of water greedily and tearing open the strange fruit she'd found there, she slept sprawled out in the shade.
She felt a presence nearby as she awoke. A humanoid creature with blue, fishy skin stood atop the pool. Zaffa leapt to her feet and readied her weapons, barking a challenge. The creature stared into her eyes, calming her, and explained, "This world has fallen. Once all of Athas was like this oasis, and now that is all gone. But it shall rise again.
"You... are not ideal. But you have the potential to help heal this world, and that is why my power will now be yours."
Zaffa felt more aware as the strange creature vanished. After staring in awe at the world around her and adapting to how much more of it she could see, Zaffa leaned down to get another drink and noticed that her slave master's mark on her forehead was now gone. After packing up a few pieces of fruit, she once more stepped out into the wasteland.
After a few days' walk, Zaffa came across the town of Altaruk, where she has been doing odd jobs for the past week.
Zaffa is tall and broad, well-muscled and strong, with skin that was dark in the first place and is tanned even darker. She has a topknot of thick copper hair and wild eyes that match except for a slight greenish tint. Her features are very squared off, with a prominent jaw and a high-bridged nose. Her body and face are covered in all manner of tattoos; though most are simply black or light gray in plain geometric patterns, there are a few spots in bright colors with pleasing designs. Her ear lobes are stretched out by round bone earrings. Despite all of this, she is not necessarily ugly; there is, if nothing else, a touch of primal, exotic beauty to her. Also, in spite of the circumstances of her birth and the life she's lived, she has fairly few scars.
The habits she formed because of her birth, the environment in which she lives and the pride she has in her tattoos means that Zaffa exposes more skin than not. Her chest, throat, waist and extremities are adorned with kank hide, with a loincloth of kestrekel feathers for less practical purposes. A mixture of horn and scales of various animals also cover the vitals, as well as her left lower arm and leg and right shoulder. She wields a warhammer and throwing axes made of wood and dense rock, as well as a large, oval-shaped shield made of wood, baazrag leather, bone and a large shell.
Zaffa is ignorant of many things, but battle is one thing she knows inside-out. She knows the value of a companion. She knows when it is best to keep a clear head and when it is best to go all-out. She knows what to watch out for.
Zaffa has a gruff nature, but she is not uncouth. She is as given to boisterousness as she is to reticence, depending on the situation. She loves to laugh with her comrades-in-arms and to curse at her enemies, understanding that at some point those roles may change. She often can tell when others are lying and has a pretty good idea of when to point it out and when to let it pass.
Zaffa almost enjoys taking a beating, proof to her of just how tough she is.
From an early age, Gotho has spend his life roaming the southern wastelands; scrounging out a meager existence with one band or another. He was blessed to be born with vast psionic power, manifesting itself in the ability to move much faster, jump higher, and hit harder than ordinary humans.
His psionic abilities were further honed by the tutelage of great wandering Master Sensu, of the Secret Order of the Stone Fist. This group is dedicated to the restoration of Athos. The master Monk has taught Gotho to use a quarterstaff to devastating effect, and he has been introduced to the elemental power of sand and stone. He also has learned to use psionic sight, allowing him to see around corners and over walls in ways others can't.
Now a journeyman monk, Gotho has been sent out into the world on his own to further advance the Order's cause and make his own way to becoming a master.
Gotho's wandering has taken him to the small town of Altaruk. Here he is looking for any good he can do for the people before moving on.
Gotho is of average height, about 5'9". He is lean and muscled, with a build like an extremely well rounded athlete or martial artist. He wears loose light clothing so as not to obstruct his movement in any way. He likes his hair short or bald, but sometimes lets his brown hair grow out a bit before shaving it. His eyes are blue and his skin is deeply tanned. He caries his quarterstaff with him wherever he goes.
Gotho is a bit on the quiet side, and being raised in the wastelands has little experience with the manners and culture of the city-states. He is brave and eager to help the weak or disadvantaged, a rare trait in Athos but one taught to him by the Order. He's not especially clever, but not stupid either. He is confident in his abilities, and the Monk teachings of humility are often at odds with his tendency towards cockiness.
Benefit: Gain a +1 feat bonus to attack rolls made with a bow. In addition, gain a+1 bonus to damage rolls you make with a weapon attack using a bow against a single creature that is not adjacent to any other creature. Both of these bonuses increase to +2 at 11th level and +3 at 21st level.
At Will, Standard Action, Martial. Effect: Make a ranged basic attack with a weapon, ignoring the penalty to attack rolls imposed by partial cover and partial concealment. In addition, the penalty to attack rolls imposed by superior cover and total concealment is no worse than -2 for this attack.
At Will, Standard Action, Martial. Effect: Make a ranged basic attack with a weapon against each creature in or adjacent to a square within the attack's range. You take a -2 penalty to the attack rolls.
Encounter, Standard Action, Martial, Ranged Weapon. Target: One Creature Attack: Dexterity vs. AC Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you choose for the target to be either immobilized (Save Ends) or dazed (Save Ends). Miss: Half damage, and the target is slowed until the end of your next turn
Benefit: During a short rest, you can make a Perception check (DC Determined by the DM) to inspect the area around you. This area can be as large as 10 squares on a side. If you check succeeds, you determine the number and nature of the creatures that have moved through the area in the past 24 hours. You ascertain when and where they entered the area, as well as when and where they left.
Tak-Tha's Clutch was attacked by the dreaded Tiefling Sand Devils when he was two years old. He managed to hide beneath the sand while his kin were slaughtered or captured, emerging two days later dazed, confused, and dying of thirst and exposure.
As he lay in the sand, a merchant caravan came upon him. The guards simply left him in the sand, but one of the merchant's wives, Kelanna, took pity on the poor creature and nursed him back to health in secret.
From Kelanna he learned how to speak the common tongue, and the habits and culture of those who lived in the city-states. When it was found that she was harboring a thri-kreen, Kelanna's husband threw Tak-Tha back out into the desert, but it had been enough. His health restored, Tak-Tha turned to his instincts to survive.
While he was with Kelanna, his latent psionic abilities began to manifest. At first, he could create simple psionic tools if he focused his mind on it. Using this skill, he fashioned a bow and arrows from discarded wood and animal bones, and with string made from knotted hair. With this bow he made his first kill. In the desert, alone, Tak-Tha learned the joy of the hunt that he had been deprived of without his clutch. For years he roamed the desert, selling animal hides to travellers and avoiding bandits and slavers. His psionic abilities increased, granting him partial mastery over mind and body, making him into a lethal hunter and archer.
However, the hermit's life was not for Tak-Tha. He craved community, a clutch he could call his own, and so he found himself at the town of Altaruk, wondering what he would find within the crowded streets and houses. With the memory of Kelanna's kindness in his mind, Tak-Tha hopes to find those who would accept him.
Age: 10 Height: 6'4'' Weight: 190 lbs Physical Description: Tak-Tha is tall and lean, with a sun darkened carapace. When he speaks common, it is inter-spaced by clicks and hisses, making him difficult to understand to those who rarely deal with his kind. To many of the races of Athas, he is indistinguishable from other Thri-Keen. To others of his race, however, he has a lean facial structure that accent his eyes and mandibles. His movements are quick and purposeful, as if his every action was made to maximize productivity. His voice is sharp, and carries well over a distance. He carries a great bow made of wood and bone on his back, along with a quiver at his side made of animal skins.
Tak-Tha is abrupt and to the point, and does not waste words on what he considers to be meaningless chatter. He is uncomfortable around large groups of people, even his own kind. His lack of social experience is quickly apparent after a few moments of conversation. He studies everyone he sees in depth, as if looking for a weakness he can exploit if the worse should happen. He dislikes being in enclosed spaces, especially if any of the entry points are out of his sight.
Tak-Tha judges the worth of someone by their physical or mental abilities. He is astounded that much of the leadership in the city states are lazy and corrupt, and that the people of these city states are still subservient to them. He has wisely decided to keep his voice quiet until he has learned more of the cities and their culture.
Altaruk is in a strategic location for the Merchant Houses of the commercially thriving city Balic as it is halfway between it and Tyr.
King Kalak, supreme ruler of Tyr has always been a pragmatic and ruthless man. He rules by the might of his magic and tremendous psionic powers, placing his own security and the stability of Tyr above all other considerations. However, of late, old King Kalak seems to have become senile. For the past twenty years, he has diverted much of the city’s slave labor to building a mighty ziggurat (directly across the arena from his palace), claiming that it will protect Tyr from attacks by the dragon. At first, the nobles were tolerant of his folly, for the burden it placed on them was not great. Over the last year, Kalak has grown frantic to finish the massive structure, appropriating so many slaves that there is almost nobody left to work the fields. As a result, caravan traffic between Balic and Tyr has increased dramatically. Altaruk is as busy and packed as it has ever been. It is seeing new Tyr-bound caravans transporting grain, wine or livestock come through its gate almost every night.
Last night, a particularly violent sand storm hit the Altaruk region, forcing everyone to stay behind shut doors and closed windows, be it at home for locals and villagers or at the Four Bits inn for the out-of-towners…
The next morning, inside the Four Bits inn, our five characters end up at the same table for a breakfast composed of erdlu eggs and kank nectar…
You can start interacting and role-playing as the characters meet for the first time at the table, be it that they spent the night sleeping at the inn, just stayed awake at the table all night or passed out with their last cup of kank mead or fermented cactus.
Sitting at the table, somewhat near a hardly touched plate of Erdlu eggs sits a young girl with her nose buried in a book. She's been here for awhile, never talking, but continuously reading, and occasionally writing notes.
Ekspery stumbles through the inn, still drunk from a long night of drinking. He carefully positions himself in front of his chair before he leans back, plopping into place. Swaying slightly in his chair and slurring his words through mouthfuls of eggs, he squints his eyes as he tries to focus on those sitting at the table. "Dooo yoou know why theeey callll it the Foouur Bits?" Seemingly unable to concentrate on those furthest away, he seems to decide to direct his question to the person to his left after the fact and stares at them without blinking as he eats.
Zaffa, uncomfortable with being served, carries her own plate and cup to the table and plops herself down. She heartily gulps down a whole erdlu egg and half of her nectar before noticing the scholarly-type girl at the table. Suddenly conscious of her actions but without embarrassment, she slows down and comports herself a bit more civilly.
After the bard stumbles in and collapses next to her, she laughs and pats him on the back a bit harder than she thinks she does. "Well, brother, what'cha think we payin' for these fiiine accomodations?" She pulls out a ceramic coin with four bits missing from it. "Ay," she mumbles. "Don't have too many a'those left..."
She puts the most-of-a-coin away with a grunt. "Ye look like hell, Ekspery. Worth it though, ain't it? Locked in during a sandstorm; waste a'time not t' try an' enjoy it, I say." Zaffa grins and keeps on eating her eggs, looking to the others at the table.