Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Khadiya the Branded and the Hidden Jewel

I have translated the Simple World version of Khadiya to QuestWorlds; the updated character sheet is at the bottom of the post. Taking notes from my last post regarding QuestWorlds and D&D, I've tried sorting the Abilities into a logical sequence. I've invested just enough points into her Warlock class to get Khadiya to fourth level since her XP track doesn't quite translate from one game to another. However, I do like how the "ability scores" end up resembling D&D ability scores.

I'm not entirely sure how I would translate treasure values to a resource, so I'm still thinking on that. Part of me wants to make a particular amount of gold to equal one resource point, like, say, 5 to 1, but I need to take a closer look at treasure values first.

Wilderness Adventure : Massacre Site

Enemies : Undead revenant, author of the slaughter, feaster upon the slain

Friends : Sorrowful ghost, investigator for the local lord

Things : The secret they were killed to keep

Complications : The dead deserved it.

Places : The last stand, gory shambles in the wilderness

"You did well," Mahdi's voice says from behind her shoulder. "Lady Hamada appreciates how you handled Naazim."

"Do you ever not sneak up behind people?" asks Khadiya.


A folded parchment taps her shoulder. Khadiya grabs it with a questioning look, "What's this?"

"A request."

"Am I taking orders from Lady Hamada now?"

"A request," Mahdi reiterates.

"And deny a request from Lady Hamada." Khadiya turns and faces Mahdi. "We both know what the answer will be."

Mahdi smiles behind his mask, "Then I'll report back the request has been accepted."

Khadiya turns away and glares at the sand dunes in the distance. Her open hand crackles with burning energy. Perhaps one day she will be in Lady Hamada's position, doling out requests that others can't refuse. Today is not that day. Today, she lives to serve. The parchment unfolds, revealing a map to a site just a day beyond Yrkala. Khadiya sighs. This task would be more suited for Hamada's Ghostwise not a cursed sorcerer.

The desert radiates with the oppressive heat of the sun above. The solar tendrils reach out immeasurable distances to vainly grasp at the land below. The sand stretches just as immeasurably in every direction, Yrkala far behind Kadiya. Her feet guided by the map, she has no problem with locating the last location of ... whoever Hamada wanted to be found. Just before cresting another dune, Khadiya hears faint clicking noises punctuated by hollow sounds.

Khadiya rolls Dexterity to stealthily see what's beyond the dune against Rank 1 Resistance 17: Khadiya rolls 4; Mantis-folk roll 20. Success.

She stops at the crest and peeks over the dune. Below Khadiya, a caravan of wagons has been overturned and ransacked. Three large insect like humanoids, tan carapaced with foliage green multi-faceted eyes, pick over the corpses of the travellers. Their leather belts bear trade goods and each pair of their arms hold a staff. The three mantis-folk seem to be communicating with each other, their throats emitting strange clicking noises. The punctuating hollow noise comes when their mandibles snap together. 

The people below were murdered by heavy blades; these mantis-folk carry staves. Though they may have their edged throwing blades, those blades wouldn't inflict the degree of harm the bodies demonstrate. Khadiya watches the central figure, pointing at a couple of travellers, rapid clicks punctuating the air.

"I don't understand," Khadiya mutters.

A heartbeat interrupted. One-two, one... that turns into an unending rumble of thunder. The air fills with the sound of a hanging heartbeat, and the movement of the mantis below Khadiya slows to stillness. The particles of sand tracing patterns along the wind freeze, a stream of scintillating motes outlining the currents of air. The thundering half beat of the heart intensifies, growing louder until it fills the skies with eternal thunder.

A voluptuous woman fades in from an ethereal curtain. A woman's body in a revealing, sensual gown topped by the dark head of a jackal. If a canine's muzzle could smirk, she would be wearing one. Yrkali walks between the frozen mantis-folk around her, towering over them almost twice their height. Khadiya is, perhaps, as tall as her thigh.

"And why should you?" asks Yrkali, her jackal head tilting to one side in amusement. "They don't even speak the language of civilized creatures."

"What do you want?" finding her voice, Khadiya's question is a forced whisper.

"What do I want?" mocks Yrkali. "Is that any way to greet your god?"

"My god?" Khadiya pulls free from the majestic aura of Yrkali and glares. "What game are you playing at? Why are you doing this?"

"Because it amuses me," Yrkali says, focusing her sapphire eyes on Khadiya. "Too trite? Perhaps. Then, because you fight," The towering entity leans forward, her large blue eyes boring into Khadiya's, "Even now, you fight."

Khadiya's patience wears thin, "What. Do. You. Want?" she asks, each word forced into being in spite of Yrkali's presence.

Yrkali smiles a dog's smile and produces Khadiya's Grimoire. The silver edged tome hangs suspended in the air as the jackal-headed woman inscribes sigils upon an empty page in flowing arcane script. Khadiya's skin burns as azure runes sear themselves on her back, fading into chalk white. The book snaps shut and cuts off the rolling thunder of the heartbeat hanging in the air.

"I want what you want, child. Success."

Yrkali evaporates back to wherever she came from and time resumes. The tome turns and presents the newly scribed spell to Khadiya.

Khadiya rolls Intelligence to augment her Infernal Grimoire against Rank 0 Resistance 14: Khadiya rolls 12; Resistance rolls 19. Success. Khadiya rolls Infernal Grimoire to cast Comprehend Languages with a +3 bonus against Rank 0 Resistance 14: Khadiya rolls 10 and bumps failure to success with Mastery; Resistance rolls 7. Success.

An azure mandala unfolds in the air between Khadiya and the mantis folk. The ring turning clockwise; the runes inscribed along its perimeter slowly following the track. The creature's incessant clicking slows to something more conversational and brings Khadiya back to the present.

"You," the central mantis creature says, pointing at the third, "Grab what you can carry before they come back." It turns back to address the second. "Not that, too much blood gone. Insides spilled. Take the whole ones to share." It turns toward the north east, "Be quick."

She glances at the mutilated corpses then back at the three mantis-folk. The body thrown aside, entrails casting a lazy line across the desert sand. Khadiya turns and faces the north east, scanning the horizon and waiting for the mantis creatures to complete their grisly task.

As instructed, the three mantis folk quickly scavenge through the caravan, pulling valuables and mostly intact corpses to carry off to the south. Khadiya moves across the sands, the sun beginning to set and taking its heat with it. Cresting another rise, broken pillars reach toward the darkening sky; scattered sand reveal a series of steps leading beneath the ground. Cautiously, Khadiya steps between the pillars to approach the opening.

Khadiya succeeds with an assured success to cast devil's sight.

One of the eldritch invocations bestowed by Yrkali allows Khadiya to see through darkness as if it were brightly lit. Begrudgingly, she is thankful to have that ability this evening. Without needing a torch, Khadiya would have an advantage over anyone requiring one to see. And if whoever "they" were were human, then they would require them.

The cracked stone steps open into an underground chamber. The floor is tiled in stone, the walls painted with murals showing feasts : goat, dates, olives, bulgur and rice. The one lone exit ahead of her propped open by a wooden staff. The sand and dust across the floor hold obvious traces of movement; things being dragged, feet being planted. Footsteps echo from the exit, the light of a torch dimly striking the corner behind the propped door.

Khadiya rolls Infernal Grimoire to cast Spider Climb to sneak past the approaching guard against Rank 0 Resistance 14: Khadiya rolls 16 and bumps failure to success with Mastery; Resistance rolls 16. Success.

Khadiya summons her spellbook and recites the incantation to Embody the Spider's Walk. The blue mandala shatters into anklets and bracelets, which she uses to scale the wall then ceiling of the entry room. A figure enters the room, torch in hand, beige keffiyeh and robes covering his features. She smiles. Most people never look up. Her slim form crawls along the ceiling and into the hallway beyond.

"Pathetic!" the word carries back to Khadiya.

She pauses from her perch on the ceiling and listens.

"Promise to spare them, and they tell us exactly what we need to know. But this..."

Khadiya stalks toward the voice, peeking beyond the threshold of another doorway. The room is similar to the one back at the entrance. Stone tiles. Murals. These murals depict a similar feast, though the attendants are skeletons. A feast of goat, and hearts and eyes. Floating in the center of the room is a crystal suspended on invisible strings, shedding a blue white light. The speaking figure robed in black lined with filigree of blue; a servant holding a pillow in simple trousers and shirt.

"But this is worth any price," the figure says, hand reaching toward the floating gem.

Khadiya begins the extended contest by rolling Infernal Grimoire to cast Command against Rank 1 Resistance 17: Khadiya rolls 1; Resistance rolls 11. Success. Khadiya RP : 1, Resistance RP : 0.

She detaches from the ceiling and drops into a crouch on the tiled floor. The azure anklets detach and merge into a small mandela as Khadiya claps her hands together. An incantation flows from her, the grimoire erupting violently into the air.

"Stop!" she shouts.

The primary figure pauses mid grasp; the servant turns as if to berate the interruption.

Khadiya continues the extended contest by rolling Infernal Grimoire to cast Burning Hands against Rank 1 Resistance 17: Khadiya rolls 10; Resistance rolls 14. Failure. Khadiya RP : 1, Resistance RP : 1.

"Take her," the figure rumbles, hand stretching out to grasp the floating gem.

The servant drops the pillow and rushes toward Khadiya unarmed. Reflexively, she recites the spell to becoming the Conduit of the Burning Sun and sends a gout of fire at him. The servant screams as his clothing burns away and skin begins to melt.

Khadiya rolls Borrowed Time against Rank 1 Resistance 17: Khadiya rolls 17; Resistance rolls 1. Failure. Khadiya RP : 1, Resistance RP : 2.

"Yrkali take you!" she growls.

"No!" the figure shouts back as a stream of energy courses from the burning servant into the floating gem. "I take you!"

Khadiya rolls Fragments of Forbidden Knowledge against Rank 1 Resistance 17: Khadiya rolls 12; Resistance rolls 18. Success. Khadiya RP : 2, Resistance RP : 2.

"Yrkali will not be denied," seethes Khadiya, a bolt of eldritch energy raking across the back of the man. He grunts then screams in defiance, his grasping hand pulling back reflexively.

Khadiya rolls Infernal Grimoire against Rank 1 Resistance 17: Khadiya rolls 10; Resistance rolls 19. Success. Khadiya RP : 3, Resistance RP : 2.

Khadiya strides forward, summoning the icy shards of the Rime Cloak around her. The room chills with bitter cold.

Khadiya rolls Fragments of Forbidden Knowledge against Rank 1 Resistance 17: Khadiya rolls 12 and bumps failure to success with Mastery; Resistance rolls 8. Success. Khadiya RP : 4, Resistance RP : 2.

"Yrkali has no power here!" he screams, hand once again reaching for the floating jewel.

Her hand rises and clutches empty air; an azure ring circles the other man then phantom spines rise from the floor and tear into his clothing. The man, pinned by the energetic talon, howls, his hand inches from his prize.

Khadiya rolls Infernal Grimoire against Rank 1 Resistance 17: Khadiya rolls 11 and bumps failure to success with Mastery; Resistance rolls 3. Khadiya RP : 5, Resistance RP : 2.

His outstretched hand brushes against the enchanted gem. Khadiya snorts and holds her own hand toward it. The jewel tears free from its ethereal anchor with the help of Khadiya's mage hand and rests within her grasp.

"No!" shouts the figure in defiance.

"Yrkali. Will. Not. Be. Denied," Khadiya repeats.

He screams, his essence torn from his body and filling the gem within her hand. Khadiya sighs.

"I'm sorry."

Khadiya the Branded, Baleful Warlock

Khadiya has flowing black hair and light brown eyes. Her tan skin is marked with white arcane sigils along her arms and back. She wears teal brigandine made of lizard skin and bone over her black sirwal and white tunic. Khadiya carries a pair of daggers, a crossbow and her adventuring pack.

2M1 Flaw : Lawful Neutral

17 Flaw : Bound to Yrkali

2M1 Fiend Pact Warlock

+2 Borrowed Time : You have the Blessing of Yrkali and, once per day, may gain a Benefit when you take a life. The blessing resets at dawn if not used.

+2 Fragments of Forbidden Knowledge : You have the ability to invoke eldritch power. It may be augmented using Charisma.

Eldritch Invocations Discovered : devil's sight, thief of five fates

+4 Infernal Grimoire of Yrkali : You possess a spellbook and have the ability to cast spells. It may be augmented using Intelligence.

Cantrips Learned : eldritch blast, mage hand, minor illusion

Spells Inscribed Within : Conduit of the Burning Sun (burning hands), Embody the Spider's Walk (spider climb), Rime Cloak of the Ancient Past (armor of agathys), Scrutiny of Words and Deeds (comprehend languages), The Emir's Decree (command)

16 Charisma

15 Dexterity, Intelligence

13 Constitution, Strength, Wisdom

13 Community : Yrkala

17 Baleful

Gear : adventuring gear (5 uses), arcane focus (beech wand), blanket, common clothes, crossbow, daggers, herbalism kit (4 uses), leather armor, rabbit's foot, rations (5 uses), scroll case of arcane research notes (5 uses), 5 gold

XP [x] [x] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

No comments:

Post a Comment