Black River – Belief

The Kingdom is a land ruled by a living god, the God-Empress, and the belief in a pantheon of God-Spirits. The God-Empress rules over the Kingdom and the land of the Black River. The God-Spirits rule over the rest of all the world. Each one rules over a specific domain, or multiple domains. Sometimes, the domains overlap between gods.

For the average citizen, the gods are something present and worshiped, but largely ignored. For regular citizens, there are no formalized worship meetings, no ceremonies and no rituals performed. Should a person need help or protection from a god, they craft or obtain an idol of the god and make offerings and prayers to it, begging the god to give the help or protection needed. They might offer a prayer to a particular god when performing an act in that god’s domain, but other than that, the gods are not present in their daily lives. For particularly grievous personal hardships, the person might travel to a temple to make an offering there and to seek counsel of the priests of that god.

Ceremony and ritual are the realms of the priests. They watch over the gods and force them to watch over the people of the Kingdom. Priests exist in a constant struggle for power with their chosen deity. Priests entreat the they serve god for the entirety of the Kingdom. While a farmer may travel to a temple to make an offering begging the god of the harvest for richer soil on their land, a priest would burn incense, perform ceremonies and demand that the god bring the floods to relieve famine in the Kingdom. In those ceremonies, they threaten the god with anything that might spur the god into action. These threats might be the cessation of worship, help sought from another god or some other threat the god finds unpleasant.

This antagonistic relationship between the gods and priests means that the common people look to the priests as being responsible for the great times and culpable for the bad times. Priests can gain much respect and many favors while their god is seen to make the land prosperous and just as quickly can be beaten, whipped and chained to a stake when their god is seen to be punishing, or failing, the Kingdom.

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Spark of Ra #12 – Corrupt Reading

Scene Setup: Tekrinto needs to get these documents read. He’ll try to find someone who can read them, who is trustworthy.

Die of Fate: 4, the scene setup does not change.

Scene Goal: Find the records showing that the Priesthood of Anubis hired the assassins to kill the immortal diplomat.

Returning to the main body of the city, I quickly find an alley in shadow and flip through the documents that I found. The signs on them make no sense to me, as I’ve never learned how to read. I glance around and slip them all back into my clothing and set off to find someone who could possibly read them.

This is a Circles test! I’ve got to find a scribe, since they are the ones who know how the read and write. Scribes are in the city setting, so I can circle someone up. It likely won’t be easy, though. Scribes are higher in the social strata per my Black River setting notes, so I’m adding +2 Ob to the base of 1. Because I’m looking for someone I can specifically trust to be quiet about this, I’ll add another +1 Ob. That’s a total of Ob 4. My Circles is B2. I’ll pull in my 1D affiliation with Ra’s Temple Guards as that will lend some legitimacy to what I’m asking.

I have no Persona points left to add in another die. I’m going to need to roll a 6 to open end to have a chance at this. If I fail, I’m going to invoke the Enmity Clause and have this person be cheerful at first, but reveal at some later time what Tekrinto had or that he’s actually a member of the same group of assassins who were hired to kill the diplomat.

Rolling B3 v. Ob 4: 1, 4, 6. Spending Fate. Rolled a 3. Failure! This scribe is named Kanitho. He’s a low level scribe working for the Nomearch and looking to increase his station.

I forgot to say after the assassination, but I got paid 1D of cash for the job.

I make my way around the city center, asking the contacts I know where I might find a scribe who can be trusted and discreet. After an hour or so, I get the name of one Kanitho, a young scribe working in the Nomarch’s office.

Entering the office of the Nomarch, I ask around and am directed to a small table in a back room. A young man, extremely slim of body with naturally dark skin, looks up at me. “Yes? May I help you?”

I move into the room and sit on the mat across the table from him, pulling out the papyri and setting it on the table. “My name is Tekrinto and I am a temple guard of Ra. In my duties, I’ve come across some records and I need you to read them. Tell me what they say.”

He stares at me, obviously tired and irritated by my request.

“Please? Can you help me?” I ask.

He blinks at me then smiles. “My time is valuable. I have much work to do, as you can see.” He waves his hand over the documents on his table. “I will do this for you, but you must compensate me for my time.”

Of course, I should have expected this. I nod. “I have a little money. If you find what I’m looking for, it’s yours.”

Resources test! I have only one die, my Cash die, to roll. He’s just doing one small job so I’ll set it at Ob 1. I gotta succeed on this. If I fail, he takes the money, reads through it and says there’s nothing like what I’m looking for there.

Roll B1 v. Ob 1: 6! Success! My Resources bumps up to B1! Fantastic.

I sit on the mat and watch Kanitho sort through and read the records that I gave him. I watch his face as he goes through it all. He is bored, surprised, fearful and perhaps a little frightened by what he read. Upon finishing, he pushes it all back across the table at me and leans back from the table.

“Where did you find these documents? No, no don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.” He takes a deep breath, then continues, “I have found what you are looking for. I know who hired the assassins to kill the diplomat.” He pauses. Just as I’m about to ask, he says, “The Priesthood of Anubis has worked with that guild of assassins many times, across many years. And the records are quite clear.” He pauses again, but only to take a breath. “The Priesthood of Anubis hired the assassins to kill the diplomat.”

He looks at me and gives me a strained smile. “And, with that, our business is concluded. Please take everything you brought and leave. I don’t want any of this to endanger me.”

After gathering everything I brought with me up and standing, I pause and look back at him before leaving his room. “You will keep quiet about this?”

He nods, “Of course. I don’t want those assassins knowing that I know what’s in those records.” He shudders and turns back to his work.

That feels like a good place to cut this “session”. Time for Artha awards!

I think I’ll earn a Fate for my first Belief, “The palace is the right place for the priesthood of Ra. I’ll do what I must to restore them.” Definitely worked towards that.

I’ll also take a Fate for being Impulsive. I’ll take a Persona for Moldbreaker since I think I had plenty of internal strife going on, and a Persona for completing my third Belief, “I am a slave in all but name. I will find my fortune and freedom”. Being a successful assassin has put me on that path and I think it’s time to make another Belief. I think that’ll do it for Artha. That’s a total of 2 Fate and 2 Persona.

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Spark of Ra #11 – Leverage

Scene Setup: The next morning, the city is all abuzz with talk of war with the Immortals. Rakunapten approaches me, convinced that the death of the Immortal diplomat is the work of the Priesthood of Anubis. He wants me to prove it.

Die of Fate: 1, nothing happens different from the setup.

Scene Goal: Find some way to “prove” that the Priesthood of Anubis had the Immortal diplomat killed.

“Tekrinto, get up!” I hear my uncle’s voice hard and urgent through my sleep. I turn over on my bed, looking in the direction of his voice from under the arm that is draped over my eyes.

“What? What’s going on?” I ask.

He steps forward and shoves my shoulder. “Get up you lazy, good for nothing man!” His voice is tight with emotion.

I open my eyes and sit up, swinging my legs over the side of my bed, hand resting on either side of my thighs. I blink the sleep from my eyes and look at him. He is tense, yet I see a slight upward curve to his mouth and his eyes glint with predatory ferocity.

“Ok, I’m up. What’s going on?” I ask.

He looks at me, his smile growing, showing his teeth in a not so pleasant manner. “The immortal diplomat was killed last night on his way to meet with our God-Empress. His entourage blames the God-Empress and they are threatening war if those responsible are not found and punished.” He breathes in, looking out a window towards the city. “I know it was the priests of Anubis who did it. I can feel it. They are responsible for this.” Turning, he meets my eyes. “I need you to find the proof. I need you to find the person responsible for the murder and their link back to the Priesthood of Anubis.”

My blood turns to ice in my veins. I reach up, rubbing on eye with the heel of my palm as I quickly think. Obviously, I can’t tell him who is responsible. He’d sell me out in a heartbeat and I’d end up exiled to the Red Desert or offered up for whatever punishment the immortals have planned. So, I’ll have to find someone who can take the fall.

Letting my hand fall, I look up at him. “Ok. I’ll head out right after breakfast.”

“No, no, no, no!” He says, pushing me off the bed and up on my feet with both hands. “It’s almost time for noon-day meal, anyway. You’ll start right now.”

I nod, “Okay. Where do I start?” I ask.

He shakes his head. “I don’t know. I don’t care. Just find who is responsible and bring them back to me.”

After getting cleaned up and grabbing a small loaf of barley bread and fish, I leave the compound, my sandals slapping the stone streets as I quickly walk to the pleasure house. Perhaps, if I can find out who hired us to kill the immortal, I can frame them. Somehow.

Arriving, I make my way to the back and give the password to the guard and make my way down the stairs.

Is anyone there? They might all be sleeping somewhere else or, something else. I’d say chances are poor anyone’s down here. Rolling d100 v. 25%. 41. No one is down here.

The underground rooms are empty. Shaking my head, I lick the last of the fish from my fingers are start going through the place, looking for papyrus, tablets, any kind of records to show who hired the assassins for what jobs.

This is going to be an Observation roll. It’ll be v. Ob 3 I think, as the documents are hidden from normal people but not from the assassins. Success, I find some documents but I won’t be able to read them. I don’t have the Read skill. If I fail, I’ll hear a fight upstairs as guards are pushing through to arrest the assassins, having been sold out by whoever hired them. Observation B4 v. Ob 3. I’ll work carefully for +1D. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6. Spending a Fate to open end the 6: Another 6, then a 2. So I succeed!

After about thirty minutes of searching, I finally find a clay bowl hidden in a corner with documents covered in the script the scribes use to record their histories. I look at it, but the symbols all mean nothing to me. I quickly take the contents and return the bowl to it’s hiding place and leave the pleasure house.

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Black River – Red Stone Nome

Deep in the South of the Kingdom, bordering the Lightning Peaks and the source of the Black River, lies the first Nome belonging to the Kingdom. This Nome is called Red Stone Nome, named for the red stones found in the cliffs that can be seen from the main settlement.

Historically, this Nome was sparsely populated, with only a few villages towards its Northern border. Most people are hesitant to approach the Southern border as monsters can be found roaming the territory in search of victims that close to the mountains. However, all of this changed a little over 100 years ago.

A young dwarf by the name of Heradon approached the God-Empress of the time to request permission to search the Kingdom for iron. She granted permission for his expedition on the condition that she would keep 60% of the iron found. At the time, the metal most commonly in use for tools and weapons was copper. Iron was imported at great expense and was very rare in the Kingdom.

Heradon’s exploration led him to Red Stone and the Lightning Peak cliffs. The quantity of ore was so great that he immediately mined a quantity and returned to speak with the God-Empress to renegotiate the terms of their agreement. Once she realized how much iron was in her kingdom, she immediately named Heradon the Nomarch of Red Stone and instructed him to mine the ore and send the tax to the capital.

Heradon has completely fulfilled his duties as Nomarch by all appearances. The Kingdom’s stores of iron have grown beyond the God-Empress’s expectations. However, Heradon is still extremely angry at being forced to serve the Kingdom as the Nomarch, having his knowledge of mining and refining taken by force to serve a realm not his own. Long ago, he vowed to take his revenge and leave the Kingdom.

To this end, he began falsifying reports of iron production long ago, stockpiling the excess for his eventual flight back home. Through the long years, he has bribed officials who discovered his plans, threatened the families of those who refused and assassinated the few who weren’t deterred by the accidents suffered by their loved ones.

Currently, his head scribe, Tamhotep, doctors the Nome’s records reluctantly. He only cooperates because his wife is held as a “guest” in his Nomarch’s mansion. He is allowed to see his wife for one night a month. Little does he know that she is a willing participant in Heradon’s ploy, having fallen in love with him before she wed Tamhotep. He promised to take her with him when he returns to his homeland with enough iron to make him a king. She plays her part to make sure Heradon’s deceptions aren’t discovered.

There is a fortress occupied by a small company of soldiers by the Southern border of the Nome, ostensibly to protect the mines from monsters. However, the monsters aren’t interested in the mines or iron and Heradon uses the soldiers as overseers to the slave miners. The conditions in the mine are hellish and most of the slave miners don’t last more than a year. The soldiers recently started journeying into the desert West of the Nome to capture slaves from the nomadic tribes to fill the vacancies.

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Black River – Nomes

The Kingdom stretches from the Southern end of the Black River, at the foot of the mountains from which it comes, all the way North, to its mouth where it joins with the Green Sea, a distance greater than 4000 miles.

The great floods happen all along the length of the Black River, making both sides all along the river’s length productive for growing the crops that support the people of the Kingdom. Cities, towns and villages exist all along the 4000 miles length of the river, on both sides.

This makes it difficult for a central government to directly rule the entirety of the Kingdom. Long ago, one of the first God-Empresses, with the wisdom of the gods, formed Nomes, or districts, and placed over each a local ruler, called a Nomarch. These Nomarchs have absolute control over their Nome and are responsible for collecting the taxes for the God-Empress and getting them to the capital.

The position of Nomarch is generally a hereditary office, though the God-Empress may remove a Nomarch and bestow the office on another should she feel the present Nomarch has failed her and the gods in some way or that a situation demands different leadership. A Nomarch may even name a successor should they be left without a worthy heir to the Nomarchy.

There are currently 40 Nomes organized in the Kingdom. The Southern Nomes, where the population is more rural, stretch over larger distances than the Northern Nomes, where the population is more condensed and urban. Each Nome sends its taxes to the capital once per year. The taxes are twenty percent of the goods produced in the Nome. A scribe from the Nome accompanies the tax shipment with the Nome’s books to show the total amount of goods produced in the Nome for the year and to show that the tax is sufficient. Once every five years or so, the God-Empress sends out her own scribes to do an audit in each Nome to verify the taxes paid.

The Nomarchs gather local leadership to help them govern the Nome. The leadership always includes priests from the temples inside the Nome’s boundaries, guild leaders and scribes.

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Spark of Ra #10 – Assassination

Scene Setup: After giving the piece to Rakunapten, I meet with the assassins and we have a mission! We are intercepting a caravan from the East and assassinating the leader of the caravan as elves don’t take kindly to Anubis and death.
Die of Fate: 1, nothing interrupts the scene.
Scene Goal: Kill the leader of the elven diplomatic group.

I look at the group of assassins as they explain to me the mission we have received. A caravan from the East. A diplomatic envoy from the Immortals, abominations to the Priesthood of Anubis and the god himself. The High Priest of Anubis wishes the negotiations between the God-Empress and the Immortals to fail. And we are to help that along by killing the leader of the envoy.

As the new guy, I don’t have much say in the planning of the hit, but it all looks like what I might have expected, if I knew what to expect at all. My training as a soldier applies in general strokes to this operation, but the details are all different to what I would have planned. Observing the caravan, identifying the target, getting close to them and terminating. Then escape with no one the wiser. Looks good on the sand table.

We leave and arrive at the ambush site in about two hours. I give the place a once over, looking for the best approaches to the road.

Going to make a Tactics test, which I don’t have, to identify the best approach. I want to make this a Linked test to get an advantage on the upcoming Stealth test. I’ll call it Ob 2, 4 since it’s doubled. I’ll be rolling Perception B4 for it. Roll: 3, 3, 3, 6. Well, that’s a failure. That’ll give me a +1 Ob to the Stealth test as I chose the wrong site.

All the members of the group find sites with good approaches and hunker down to wait for the caravan. It’s a long wait and my eyes get heavy from being up all day and this late into the night.

Make a Forte test to see if I fall asleep while waiting! Ob 3. I was busy today. Forte B5, failure means that I am awakened by yells from the caravan as one of the assassins is discovered before completing the mission. Roll: 3, 4, 4, 5, 6. Success!

Several hours pass by but I’m able to keep alert and my eyes on the road. Soon, we hear the quiet rumble of elven wheels rolling over the road and strange animals pulling them. The Immortals are here.

I slide out of my hiding spot, hugging the ground, trying to reach the wagon that’s supposed to have the envoy leader in it. The tall grass helps to hide me even as the full moon shines down on us.

Rolling Stealth B4 v. their Observation B3. I have a +1 Ob penalty and I’ll take an Advantage die for the tall grass. My roll: 1, 2, 4, 4, 5. Their roll: 1, 1, 5. I got three successes and they got 1 + the 1 Ob penalty. I succeed!

I reach the side of the wagon and carefully climb up the tailgate, rolling into the box without a sound.

I expect it to be pitch black inside here, but I think the elves might have some kind of magical light going. 50/50 odds? Roll: 60, so no light.

The inside of this covered wagon is pitch black. I blink my eyes, trying to focus and see something in the dark.

Perception B4 v. Ob 3 for the darkness. Failure means that the leader is awake and aware of me. Roll: 3, 3, 3, 5. Ouch.

A dark shadow leans forward from the wall of the wagon and grabs my wrist. “Who are you? Why have you come?” a musical voice asks.

I’m very surprised, so it’s time for a Steel test! B5, Hesitation is 5 as it’s reduced by one for Cool Headed. Roll: 2, 3, 3, 5, 5. No sixes so I’m Hesitating. I will Stand and Drool.

As I fumble for words, the grip on my wrist tightens and a lithe hand darts to my belt and removes my knife and holds it up. “I presume you were here to use this on me?” The voice sounds sad at that and with a flash, the blade of my own knife is at my throat. “Someone sent you, yes? I wonder who it could be.” There is a short pause and then the voice continues, “I suppose we’ll see when we arrive at your capital. Together.”

I can’t let that happen. Without a word, I jerk away, my hand trying to wrest my knife free of this Immortal’s hand.

My Brawling B3 v. their Speed B5. I’ll ForRK in my Knives and Stealthy to use my fighting knowledge and to catch them off guard. So 5v5. Failure means that I’m restrained and will arrive in the capital as their captive. My roll: 1, 2, 2, 2, 6. Spending a Fate to open end that 6. 4. Two successes. 1, 3, 3, 3, 5. Oh, thank the gods!

My hand darts out and grabs the thin wrist, twisting it around while my other hand punches out, hitting a nerve. The fingers spring open with a gasp of pain. My knife is back in my hand, the blade thirsty for the blood of this elf. I grab the front of their clothes, yanking them towards me as I thrust into them with my blade, trying to accomplish my mission.

Knives B3 v. their Speed B5. My intent is to kill. If I fail, they will cry out and I’ll have failed. FoRKing in Brawling and I’ll take an advantage die for my knife. My roll: 2, 4, 5, 5, 6. Fate to open end that 6, roll: 5. Five successes! Their roll: 2, 2, 3, 4, 6. Yes!

The blade bites deep into the Immortal’s throat and their words are choked off in a gurgle of blood. Thin fingers grasp at my upper arms and shoulders for a second or two, then nothing. Then, their thin hand pats my cheek before the fingers slip from my face and fall lightly to the padded floor of the wagon. I check for a pulse and find nothing.

I quietly slip out of the wagon and roll off the side of the road. The caravan continues on, the rumble dying slowly into the dawn.

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Spark of Ra #9 – Ra’s Statue

Scene Setup: Arriving at Canrito’s house some time later to confront him. He heard about someone asking for him and has two guards.
Die of Fate: 1. Nothing odd happens.
Scene Goal: Leave Canrito’s house with the art piece.

A servant leads me through a garden inside the walls of Canrito’s home. Tall plants block my view of the large house I know we’re walking towards. The servant, a slight boy, tells me of the different plants and the places they come from. Quite a few are imported and all are well cared for.

I don’t care. It’s all I can do to keep from growling at him. “I have business to attend to with your master. Please, take me to him,” I say through gritted teeth.

He smiles and bows to me, never meeting my eyes. “Of course!” Turning, he motions to another flowering shrub and starts to tell me how his master came to receive it as a small seedling from from a trader who came South from across the Green Sea. I clench my fist in frustration.

It takes 15 minutes to get through the garden, but we finally do, entering Canrito’s large home. It is made from stone, carefully cut so each one fits perfectly to the next. It’s wonderful and speaks to how rich his work has made him.

“Please, wait for my master here. He will be with you shortly,” the young servant says, with another bow. He exits the room through a side door and just as quickly, two burly guards enter from another door, taking up positions to flank it. In less than a minute, a tall, lean man enters from that same door.

Some quick stats for these guys: Canrito Physical B3 Mental B5, Sculpting B6, Negotiating B4, Priest-wise B2. Guards B4.

“Ah!” He opens his arms with a smile as he sees me. “So, this is the temple guard who is so interested in me!” He gives me a half bow, dropping his gaze from mine. “Canrito, your humble servant. What can I do for you?”

I pause, my heart falling into my stomach. Of course he heard about me, after the scene I made with his ex-servant. I smile back at him.

“Greetings, Canrito. My name is Tekrinto and I am a temple guard of the Priesthood of Ra.” I bow back to him, lower than he bowed to me.

He smiles at me, saying nothing.

After a few moments hesitation, I continue, “My master Rakunapten has sent me to collect the piece you made for Ra’s Priesthood.”

“Of course! Of course!” He calls for a servant, this one an older man, and tells him to fetch the piece for Ra. “Tell me, Tekrinto, where is the Priesthood of Ra, these days?”

Responding, I tell him, “We are in a small compound outside the center of the city. It serves us, for now.” I’m not happy about the acomodations and I make that known in my tone of voice.

He nods and waits for the servant to return. The sculpture in the servant’s hands is exquisite, the form and detail of Ra’s image give the god majesty. I reach out for it but I am stopped by Canrito.

“No, no. Tell me, Tekrinto, does a piece such as this belong in a small compound?” he asks.

I pause. “It does if the Priesthood of Ra occupies the compound. They paid for the piece.” I don’t have the patience for this.

“Paid?” He scoffs. “This is the image of Ra, the most perfect of any I have seen, of any I have created. It deserves, no, it demands, to be placed in only the finest of places!” His voice raises as he speaks. “I cannot allow it to reside in the hovel your Priesthood occupies right now.”

I nod to him. “Of course, I suppose I can understand that.” I pause. “But, you did accept money for the creation of this piece, did you not?”

He nods. “Of course, that was when the Priesthood still occupied the Palace. I’m afraid the contract since Ra’s Priesthood has been… dethroned?” He smiles at me. If I am reading him right, he’s aching to make a deal.

I nod in return. “Of course. Of course. What if I were to tell you that we will be returning to the Palace very soon?” I take a step closer and lower my voice. “The Priesthood of Anubis has a slippery hold on power. They will be ousted…” I trail off, leaving him to create a timeframe in his own mind.

Ok, obviously a Falsehood test. I’ve got it at B3. The Ob is his Will exponent, 5. I’d like to make a Linked Priesthood-wise test to declare that the Priesthood of Anubis are not very good at maintaining a position of power. I think that’s Ob 1, doubled to 2. Rolling Perception B4: 1, 3, 6, 6. Fate to open-end: 3, 5. Exceeded the Ob, so I get +1D to my roll!
Rolling 4D v. Ob 5. I’ll spend a Persona point to add another die. 4, 5, 5, 6, 6! Nice. Success.

He stares at me for a few seconds, then a grin slowly grows on his hawkish face. “In that case, please, take the piece. And I hope that your master will call on me for more work in the very near future.” He gestures to his servant, who hands over the statue.

The stone is warm in my hands, and heavy. He heft it with a smile of my own. “Oh, you can count on it, Canrito.” I give him a small bow. “It was a pleasure.”

“All mine,” he says with a smile and another expansive opening of his arms. He returns my bow and exits the room.

I breathe a sigh of relief and then turn and walk back out the way I came.

Of course, I get lost in the garden and it takes me 10 minutes to find my way out to the street in front.

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Spark of Ra #8 – Enemy Market

Scene Setup: I need to understand a little more about this artisan before I confront him. So, I’ll go to the market and ask around about him.
Die of Fate: 6! So some random event happens. GM’s Apprentice card gives me “Abjur, Intact, Servant”. I think Abjur might be mispelled… Abjure. I think a sober ex-servant of the artisan is going around trying to convince all the merchants to swear off his ex-master.
Scene Goal: Get some dirt on Canrito, the artisan, that I can use in my future negotiations with him.

The market is busy with the late crowd. Priests, merchants, farmers, anyone who is busy with work during the day comes to the market in the evening and early night.

Is it, though? Sounds like might need a Market-wise roll. Anything of interested on a failure? … No, not really. I’ll roll with it.

I look around, dejectedly. This is not what I was hoping to do tonight. I’ve made so much progress with the group. I know learning their art is going to help me take vengeance on those who ordered the hit against my family and the priesthood that is my charge. I’m excited to get back to it, but, for some reason, I can’t tell Rakunapten. Not yet. Maybe not ever. I don’t think he’d understand.

I sigh in frustration, shaking my head and returning to the here and now. I’ve got to get this over with and get back to my training. It’s important.

Stepping up to a stall, I start asking around for those who do business with Canrito. I need to find someone who knows him and knows him well so I can figure out what makes him tick. I’d really rather not have to take the… whatever it is, by force.

Definitely a Circles roll. Ob 1, +1 for lower social class. That looks like all the modifiers. Rolling my B2 Circles v. Ob 2. Roll: 1, 2. Failure! I’m invoking the Enmity Clause!

I ask around for about twenty minutes before a voice calls out over my shoulder, “You’re looking for information on Canrito?”

I turn around and nod to the person, a small woman wearing course, but well kept garments. “Yes, I am. Do you know him?” I ask.

She snorts. “Oh, yes, I do know him. He is trash! Utter trash.” Her eyes narrow as she glances at the blades on my belt. “What do you want with him?”

Shrugging, I respond, “My master has seen some of his work and wants to know more about him. He is considering contacting him for some work in the future.”

Apparently, this is the wrong thing to say, as she steps forward, her face going red with anger. “He should do no such thing!” she spits. “And you, surely you’ve heard his reputation, why would you not counsel your master against working with Canrito, that dog?!”

I spread my hands out in an attempt to calm her down, taking a half step back. I can feel the eyes of other merchants and market-goers watching us, giving us room for whatever might happen.

I need to calm her down. That sounds like a Soothing Platitudes roll, which I don’t have. Beginner’s Luck with my Will of B4. Her will is going to be a 3, +2 Ob for Enmity. But, I double the base Ob, so it’s Ob 6+2, Ob 8. Oy. Roll: 2, 3, 3, 5.

“Of course I’ve heard the rumors, but when you have a master as powerful as mine, you do as you’re told. I’m sure you can understand that.” I look her in the face, trying to look as kind and understanding as I can.

It fails. Greatly. With a roar, she throws herself at me, screaming at the top of her lungs, “I will never serve that man again! He is the lowest of the low, no matter his station!” Her fists flail, batting at my chest and the sides of my head. I raise my arms, trying to ward off her blows.

I am a soldier and she is a servant. I don’t feel the need to roll dice here, as I would beat her easily.

I grab her wrists and glance around. Everyone is looking at us and rumor of someone being attacked while asking about him is sure to reach Canrito. I have to hurry. I yank her arms and pull her to a dark corner cast by the fabric stretched over an empty booth.

Pulling her close, I stare into her eyes, even as she struggles against me. “Canrito was your master? Tell me about him! What are his weaknesses, how can I get to him? You’ll tell me, or I’ll take you back to him in chains!”

Going for Intimidation here. I don’t have it, so I BL it to Will B4. Her Will is the Ob, 3. I also have a double Ob penalty, so it’s Ob 6. I’ll spend a Persona to add 1D. 1, 1, 3, 4, 6. I’ll spend a Fate to open end the 6 for giggles. Rolls a 1.

She laughs in my face. “He wouldn’t take me back, even if you did!” Her knee slams into my groin and I grunt, letting go of her. She kicks dust onto my feet before turning and disappearing into the crowd. I glance up to find her, but only see passersby grinning at me and my predicament.

I cough and shake my head. “What a day.”

I need to name that servant and keep her as an enemy. She’ll come back to haunt me in the future. I’ll name her Osrina.

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Spark of Ra #7 – New Mission

Scene Setup: A week has passed and I’ve been doing some training with the assassins. I return one morning, a little late, and Rakunapten corners me and demands to know what I’ve been doing to restore the Priesthood to the palace.
Die of Fate: Possible random event happens on roll of 6: 3. Scene proceeds as planned.
Scene Goal: Convince Rakunapten that I’m still working towards restoring the Priesthood without revealing that I joined the assassins that put his son in a coma.

To start, I’ve got a week of practice. I’ve been practicing Knives with the assassins, as that’s their weapon of choice. I’ll go for a Challenging test, 8hrs / day. Practiced one week. I’ll need three more weeks to gain that test.

I enter the compound quietly, moving with a purpose, but not so much that I attract attention. Looking around, I see more people walking around than I’d anticipated. It seems that I stayed out longer than I wanted so I could get back without anyone noticing.

As I’m about to turn into the building that leads to my room, I hear a very familiar voice scream out at me. The voice is red with anger, dripping with derision. “Tekrinto!” With a sigh, I stop.

I turn around with a small smile, “Yes, uncle, what can I do do you this fine morning?”

He snarls in reply as he strides jerkily across the compound’s courtyard, his muscles tense with his anger. “Do?!” he screams, “I’ll tell you what you can do! You can do your job!” He screams louder the closer he gets to me. I try to hide my wince but I’m not very successful.

“Uncle, I have been doing my job. I am here during the day to protect the Priesthood.” I look back at him, my small smile feeling more pained than anything else.

He scoffs in reply. “Yes, you are here during the day. Sleeping! What good is a guard if he’s not aware?” My uncle speaks with his hands with lots of waving and pointing. “You’re useless during the day. Besides, you’re not supposed to be here protecting the Priesthood. You have a different job. You know that!” He lowers his voice at the end as if trying to protect some secret. I’m sure that everyone within this compound knows that I’m working on getting revenge on those who put us out of our rightful place.

I sigh. “Uncle, I swear to you, I am doing my job. Please, just take my word for it.” I know what his response is going to be before he gives it. His guffaws echo on the stone walls of the small compound drawing the eye of everyone around.

He draws in closer and I can smell the fish from his breakfast on his breath. “It’s been two weeks since I’ve seen you do anything to further your task. Two weeks with no results. I am not impressed. I am not satisfied. Tell me exactly what you’ve been doing with your time! If you’ve not been on task, I swear to you, nephew, you will regret it.”

My Instinct of “Never tell the truth when a lie will do” is very applicable here. I don’t want him to know I’m in with the assassins. I can’t tell him that I killed the assassin as that would be too close to the truth and might lead to that reveal. Time for a bald-faced lie. If I fail, I think he’s going to give me some shit job to accomplish for him.

I move in even closer to him, turning to present more of my back to our observers, facing one of the stone walls. “Uncle, I have been out watching the priests of Anubis. I’m sure they are plotting against the God-Empress herself. I tracked two of the priests to the river bank and overheard them discussing some dark ritual to bring back her father and place him back on he throne!”

Rolling Falsehood. I’m going to take an Advantage die because the Priesthood Anubis is always about raising people from the dead, right? … Probably going to have to roll Priesthood-wise to establish that. That’s definitely an interesting fact, Ob 2. I don’t have that Wise, so I’m at double Ob for a total of 4. Rolling my Perception of B4. 1, 1, 4, 5. 4v4 is a Difficult test so counts for Perception and that is not true. So, no Advantage die. Rolling my B3 Falsehood v. his Will of B6. Joy… 2, 5, 6. I’ll save my Fate and take the failure.

After I finish speaking, he looks at me, straight in the eye, breathing heavily. Suddenly, his hand flashes out and slaps my cheek. “Lazy and a liar! Fine. I’ll find someone else to take on your task.” With that, he stomps away.

Ok, is he going to send me away? Odds are very good, 75%. Rolling d100: 96. So, he’s not. I’m going to get a task to stay here in the capital.

Rubbing my cheek, I avoid everyone else’s gaze and walk to my room, my eyes cast down to the ground.

I don’t see my uncle again until the sun goes down. I get cleaned up and get some sleep and dinner after I get up. Just as I’m getting ready to head out for the night, I hear him clear his throat in my doorway.

“Heading out for another night of carousing, then?” I look over my shoulder and just shake my head. There’s nothing to say. He snorts. “You’ll have to cancel your planned activities. I’ve got a job for you.”

He tells me that the Priesthood had commissioned a work of art from a local artisan but now that the Priesthood of Ra has been removed from the Palace, the artisan doesn’t want to give them the piece. I am to go and retrieve the piece from Canrito, the artisan, by whatever means necessary. Without another word, he turns and walks off.

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Spark of Ra #6 – End of Session Artha

The end of the last scene felt like a great end for a “session”, so I’m going to look at awarding Artha. I’m also going to look at the way I setup the scenes and sessions and see if I can make it better since I felt a little aimless during this “session”. I know the Beliefs are supposed to help with that, but I think I need to plan a little more on the GM side of this.

Earning Artha. I’m just going through the section in the book starting on p. 63 to get my Artha awards. I’ve got three Beliefs: “The palace is the right place for the Priesthood of Ra. I’ll do what I must to restore them.” I’m not sure I manifested that one in a meaningful way. No Fate. Second: “My uncle is a foul man, I will see him fall before I’m done.” I channeled that when I got into a fight with him, so I’ll take a Fate for that. Third: “I am a slave in all but name. I will find my fortune and freedom.” Yeah, definitely worked on that one. Another Fate.

Instincts. “Always have my knife on me,” didn’t get me into trouble. “Never reveal the truth when a lie will do,” got me into trouble at the beginning. Fate. “If civilians are in danger in a fight, draw it away from them,” got me wounded. Fate.

Traits: I don’t think they changed the direction of the story. Humor, just me, I don’t remember laughing too hard at anything I did. Right Skill, Right Time: I don’t think I used anything in an off the wall way. Nope.

Persona, Embodiment. I’m gonna take it for brutally murdering that assassin to gain entry. Moldbreaker doesn’t seem like a fit. I didn’t accomplish any personal goals. Workhorse doesn’t seem to fit. MVP doesn’t seem to fit.

Deeds. Nope. I think that does it for Artha. I’m going into the next “session” with 5 Fate, 2 Persona & 0 Deeds.

Now for plans for next session. I’m going to keep the same Beliefs because Tekrinto is still working towards them. As a GM, I need to have someone concrete to push towards, even though it feels weird to know what I’m pushing towards, in an exact way, as the player.

So, the exact goal that I want to see worked towards, as the GM, is to drive out the Priesthood of Anubis from the Palace. That is the most pressing. I think that, knowing that, I can let the dice rolls guide it from here. At least, I hope so.

As far as changes being made, I think I’d like to add a goal to each scene. The scene setup generally has an implied goal, but I think it would help me keep on task if I put an explicit one, as well. It will help run the NPCs as well. I think that I like the stability rolling a Die of Fate gives when looking for random events, but I also dig the chance that things are going to go haywire. I’ll keep that.

And, that should do it! Ready to kick off my next session in the future.

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