Previous Update: Lack of Jurisdiction
From the fourth round of island explorations.
The island of Kibu, to the northwest of Nyroth, was found to be saturated with wild cosmic energy. Those Summoners who tried to reach out to it with their arcane senses have suffered psychic backlash, though no permanent damage has been done—and a couple of them fell into an apparently blissful state that lasted for days. A visual inspection indicated strangely varied terrain: forests, deserts, snowy tundra, and more varieties still, in quite improbable juxtaposition.
Pleased with the latest shipment of Marai pearls, Desmeya was happy to offer her guidance. She told them that Kibu’s nexus was linked to a dimensional rift, but laughed at the Summoners’ alarmed questions regarding the Void—while all interdimensional links have some contact with the Void, she explained, the Kibu nexus connects to a different cosmic space altogether. She cautioned Bilgewater that Kibu was inhabited by fae creatures with exceedingly unpredictable tendencies, and could be (often quite obliviously) dangerous to mortal life. She marked the location of the nexus on their map. Though unsure how the cataclysm might have affected that nexus, she indicated some reason to suspect that it had dampened the rift and reduced the total energy transfer from the extradimensional space to Kibu.
As for the creatures themselves, Desmeya explained they were extradimensional beings that had corporeated in the physical realm. Physical or arcane force would destroy their forms and banish them back whence they came, though one could not properly speak of “killing” them, and they themselves had no such concept.
Desmeya adds a final warning: the wild energy of the island is potentially dangerous, and may have deleterious (though temporary) effects on the minds of those exploring it. She recommends no more than a few days’ exposure.
Bilgewater’s scouts found it essentially as Desmeya had said. They were swiftly set upon by a flurry of small winged humanoids, barely palm-sized, wielding tiny spears and luminescent nets. The scouts slew some of them; when struck by musket-fire, the pixies burst into clouds of glittering light and vanished. Their nets trapped the scouts, and they began stabbing and biting them, doing some significant injury before another cloud of pixies arrived and shooed the others away. These pixies seemed to take great pleasure in doting upon the wounded scouts, and soon had them restored to health.
Although vaguely humanoid, the pixies seemed almost crystalline, and their touch was cold and sharp with a peculiarly electric sensation. They were able to speak fluently with the scouts, though their thoughts were exceedingly hard to follow. For the most part, they were happy to feed the scouts morsels of food and otherwise play with them as one would pets, prompting more than a few jests about how (after Aeaea) it seemed that Nyroth was paying Bilgewater back for its kindness.
The evening took an abrupt turn when two of the pixies decided that a Bilgewater Summoner had “pretty eyes! shiny eyes!” and declared that they would “take care of pretty eyes”. They dove down with spears at the ready, apparently intent on prying the hapless Summoner’s eyes out of their sockets. The Summoner swatted them away in a panic, and two of the scouts opened fire, blasting the pixies to dust. Remarkably, the others appeared only momentarily distracted, seeming mostly interested in the bright flash of the guns and asking for them to do it again.
It was at about this point that the leader of the scout expedition determined that sleeping on Kibu that evening would be unwise, and led the team back to the fleet to report. They met up with a team of Marai scouts who had explored underwater and encountered similarly bizarre sights beneath the waves, including pulsing conduits of rainbow-colored energy surging up from the sea floor into the island, subliming the dull rock into enormous gemstones.
The team has only scratched the surface of Kibu. Bilgewater must decide how much risk it is willing to expose itself (and perhaps the rest of Nyroth) to.
Failures on Kibu will trigger random negative events, with severity increasing with degree of failure. They will be fun, sparkly, and possibly very inconvenient. These are known as PixiFails, and while I’m keeping the roll-table hidden for now, it’s safe to say that they’re mostly pretty minor.
Bombarding Kibu would be a very, very dangerous proposition: one stray cannonball could detonate a pocket of wild energy. For every five points of damage (or fractions thereof) rolled by bombardment, roll on the PixiFail table once. Whether to use bombardment or not will be up to the leader of the expedition.
Champions and Leaders
Bilgewater can send up to three Champions. It must appoint one as leader. Else, it can select an NPC leader.
- Marai NPC leader: Will choose conciliatory/friendly options.
- Pirate leader: Will choose aggressive/risky options.
- Summoner leader: Middle-of-the-road, somewhat cautious.
Something nasty is brewing on Krocylea. It’s quite likely that the Freljord and the Shadow Isles will end up coming to blows.
Here are some “one-shot” quests. Each completed one-shot quest will give a cumulative +3 bonus to (non-Military) rolls on the mainline quest for the nexus. Each failed one-shot will trigger a roll on the PixiFail table, and apply a cumulative -3 penalty to (non-Military) rolls on the mainline quest for the nexus.
Kidnap “nice” pixies? (Minor Research; Lose 10 Favor)
Bilgewater could try to kidnap some of the “nice” pixies for research purposes. It’s hard to say if this would harm them in any meaningful way, though it might. The “nice” pixies will be easier to lure into captivity, but it does seem a little wrong to abuse their tiny sparkly trust.
Reward: Minor Research.
Kidnap “scary” pixies? (Minor Military + Minor Research)
Bilgewater could go after the scary pixies instead. They’d have to both defeat them in a fight and swipe them.
Reward: Minor Research x2.
Mine rainbow gems (Major Industry; Minor Research to assist)
The Marai could try to hack loose some of the giant sparkly gemstones they have discovered underwater. This would require careful attention to detail.
Reward: Major Commerce.
The Hunt for the Nexus
This is a sequential quest-line.
Search for the Nexus?
Bilgewater can choose to go looking for the Nexus. (Minor Research.) If it declines to do so, or fails, the mission ends. There is no independent Reward for this preliminary mission.
Is Bilgewater willing to deploy troops and fight if necessary? (Major Military, with Minor Industry to assist (build rune-circles to hold them off.))
Reward: Major Military (magical sparkle-dust from slain pixies imbues units and their weapons with bonus Strength.)
What is Bilgewater’s aim with the Nexus?
- Reduce power: It could attempt to dampen the magnitude of the rift energy coming from the nexus, making Kibu a bit safer.
- Increase power: It could instead throw the rift wide open, and see what happens. Hey, you’ve got to try!
It will be base of “Major Research” with a Minor Industry to enhance, regardless.
How will Bilgewater handle the nexus, if it finds it?
- Aggressive: Bilgewater will pull out all the stops and do whatever it can to make its plan work. Its Nexus mission will be Major-level difficulty, but it will roll twice without a modifier on the PixiFail table regardless of success or failure. This is also more likely to have negative
- Safe: Bilgewater will do this by the book. The Nexus mission will increase to Epic-level Difficulty, but triggering at most one PixiFail roll if it fails.
Bilgewater’s Summoners may cast their votes here.
They kidnapped some violent pixies for research, mined some sparkly rainbow gems for cash, and dialed down the magnitude of energy coming out of the nexus, making Kibu a bit safer. Meanwhile, pixies infected Bilgewater Summoners with “hilarious” arcano-memes, causing some serious problems when they got back to the Institute. (They suffered a random Summoner Spell ban in each Featured Match that weekend.) Other pixies swiped a hexgraph camera and took some compromising photos of three randomly selected Champions (Kat, Miss Fortune, and Nautilus), then put the camera back where they found it. The photos weren’t discovered until they were developed, at which point they circulated around the Institute, costing Bilgewater 5 Favor from embarrassment.
Lulu showed up and scared the bejeezus out of the Summoners. They were afraid they were going to get in trouble for her coming to Nyroth without authorization; Nami was able to pull some strings and get them to overlook that irregularity by retroactively classifying her as a special consultant brought to Nyroth for an initial assessment of a Class IX extradimensional phenomenon under some obscure regulation.
Next Update: Scheria