Jason H.
Olympia, WA
Post #: 169
A few thought...

1. On Being A Leader - Some time ago I was working with a group of people that didn't want me to be their leader. Problem was they didn't have a choice in the matter and neither did I. Day after day I tried to be the leader and every day thing between me and those I was suppose to be leading got worse. One day I discussed the situation with someone I admired and trusted. He told me something I have never forgotten. Being made a leader doesn't automatically give you trust. When you are a leader the FIRST thing you should do is get those who follow you to trust you. This can be a VERY difficult thing to do, and may require you to go outside your comfort zone, but getting those who follow you to trust you is 90% of the battle. Once someone trusts your leadership you dont have to fight to get them to follow your orders, suggestions, or requests. Whoever turns out to be the leader of this group will need to work to gain everyones trust.

2. On being an RPG Group - I think Devin is right there is a lot of charm to playing an RPG game with a little bit of conflict and drama. But there is a big difference between A LITTLE drama and conflict, and people just playing their characters like jerks. As a player you have to give a little to the common goal of the group. Doesn't mean you cant have a little drama or conflict, but the ultimate goal should be for the group!

3. On planning your next move - I would keep this in mind. You are being played, and your strings are being pulled by something or someone. Ask yourself the questions like Why have we been chosen? What are we being led towards? Why are we being given such amazing artifacts, and power? What could we be going against that we would need such powerful things? If we have these powerful items what items will the enemy have? What are our weaknesses as individuals and as a party? How can we fix them and make weaknesses strengths? Are we on the side of the good guys or the bad guys? How can we find out? Can we switch sides if needed?

Just some questions to ponder....
Jason H.
Olympia, WA
Post #: 170
News From Abroad

Note: Each week I will be posting things that have been heard around the realm of Exalted. You may choose how you hear about these items. You may also choose to investigate certain items if you want. The game is yours.

Fishermen and Merchant Vessels have been missing, but in very few numbers. Talk of a great sea monster leave the lips of sailors in taverns and bars.

Rumors of an undead army moving westward across the realm are traveling fast. The army appears to have a rabid hunger to reach their destination, wherever that is, and will go over, under, or through ANYTHING in their path. No one can remember a time when the undead seemed so determined. There must be something or someone driving them on.

Tales from nomads speak of strange winds in the desert. The winds carry on it the sound of a distant maiden crying for help.
A former member
Post #: 29
In reply to Devin and Jason, and to the group:

Devin, my intention with my previous post was to fast track our relationship, not watch it develop over time. The reason for this would be to give you and I a united front when working with the rest of the group. You would know that 95% of the time I would back you, and I would know the same. Lena looks to you for guidance because her goals in life are to find a family to love her, see the world and experience as many things as possible. When you offered to be her brother, you basically offered her one of her dreams, and that's the ONLY reason she's still in this group. She wants you to love her like a brother, like she's seen but never experienced. But even Lena knows that you're treating her like she's an inconvenience, and on the one occassion where she went against what you wanted (the baby) you refused to bend for her. Lena really has no reason to be with the group except for Theo. Lilly is her friend, but they haven't exactly been doing friendly things lately, Lilly hasn't even talked to her much since this all began (Elizabeth, if you're reading this do not read anything into it :-) ). If this were real, Lena would have heard you refuse to help the villiagers, then refuse her the ability to keep the baby, and she would have left the group because she has no reason to stay, taking the baby with her (which I don't know for certain, but I believe is a key component to the story we're playing).

My suggestion to the group is to fast track all of our relationships. Spending the next game stragegizing for 2 hours, executing those strategies for 1 hour, and celebrating as a group for 1 hour would help us gel and start to trust each other more. Right now, we can't even tackle the problems in front of us because we can't work as a group long enough to come up with the right questions to ask and work through the puzzles in front of us to determine how to proceed. Instead we jump from one portal to another, not really caring where we're going or why. Theo is the only one really asking those types of questions, and with no one to back him up (often times because no one else is there to hear him asking the questions because we're all off doing different things) we can't hear the whole story and start piecing things together.

Jason, would it be possible to have more direction on what we should do, or where we should go? Maybe the person pulling our strings recognizes that our group is falling apart and sends us some direction on what to do and why we need to do it together. Having a more solid common goal, or some directions as to why we need to stay and work together will free us from having to argue about where to go next and spend more time trying to figure out WHY, WHO, WHAT, WHEN and HOW. Maybe we're floundinger because we're not gelled enough yet to be detectives; something like the Shadowrun group.

To everyone, we talked about a lot of things last game, and I think they're all relevant. I think if we address those things in our game play this coming Friday, things will move much smoother. The only thing I didn't say last time that I'm saying now is my desire to see our characters overhaul the way the intereact with each other immediately, rather than let it happen gradually over the next few game. Arguing and bickering, backstabbing, and keeping secrets is not fun in such high doses as we've seen in our games, and I'd like it if we could put a stop to most of it right away. Some fighting between characters is realistic and healthy, I just want to bring things to that healthy level immediately rather than do it "naturally" over time. This is a game, not real life, and that means we can do things like this and make it work.

These are just things I wanted to add since I won't be able to attend the meeting tonight. I am not opposed to discussing this stuff again before we start playing on Friday if most people aren't able to meet tonight. To me, straightening out these group issues is more important than playing the game, because ensureing we have fun at our games is more important to me than just playing for playing's sake.

Jason H.
Olympia, WA
Post #: 173
@Corinne I have taken a long look at my overall story line and some help will be coming in many forms to help you all make decision. The first is the news around the realm. In game there will be more direction and leadership from me, and with the help of the group I think this Friday will be a very worthwhile experience.
A former member
Post #: 30
Ok, so I'm finally posting Lena's backstory, I'll try to delete my old characters back story from this thread to keep it current.

Lena (Evangeline) Arakose-Zenith-Archer

Evangeline was born a beautiful child. Hair the color of golden wheat fields right before the harvest, eyes a shared of submerged topaz on a clear summer afternoon, she was a sight even to those who could not see. Coupled with her beautiful and clear voice, delicate features, and sweet nature, Evangeline was a blessing from the gods. Unfortunately, she was born into the house of Cynis.

Daughter of Alon and Essa, low ranking members of the Cynis family, Evangeline was immediately identified as something special to a family desperate to rise higher in the family hierarchy. Essa, a low level dancer for the family’s many extravagant parties hosted within the city proper, enrolled Evangeline into class after class, training her to become the perfect singer, dancer, and poetry reciter. A quick learner, Evangeline took to her studies immediately. Light and nimble on her feet, she quickly rose to the top of her dance class, a beautiful voice with perfect pitch enthralled even the most hardened generals whether she sang or spoke the written word in verse. By age 8 there was no denying the fact that Evangeline would be one of the most beautiful women to ever grace the Cynis family. Wanting to cash in on her talents her father pulled her from the Cynis family schools and had her taught in secret, filling the house and it’s guests with anticipation whenever the beautiful child would emerge from long absences to wow the crowd.

But Evangeline was lonely. She was kept separate from her brothers and sisters, and taught by superior if not cruel teachers. However, despite these hardships, she grew into a caring young lady. What she didn’t grow into, was a very bright young lady. Gullible, easily distracted, simple, and flighty, Evangeline was very obviously a danger to herself if left alone. Unaccustomed to the ways of people, ignored and hidden away by her family, she had little social interactions, and therefore believed people at their word, and saw the world as a very simple and idealistic place. She loved people, wanted to spend as much time with them as she could, and hungered for their attention, and the beauty the world had to offer her sheltered life.

At age 11 Evangeline was asked to perform for the Scarlet Empress herself. Her successful performance earned Evangeline’s family status beyond compare, and they rose immediately to the upper echelon of the Cynis family. At that particular performance, Evangeline met an elderly gentleman by the name of Landis Arakose. Landis was a member of the Guild in favor with the Scarlet Empress. He ran a very successful business trading with the Realm and Nexus. Landis was immediately smitten with Evangeline’s simple nature and exquisite beauty when she wandered over to him after her performance and began to discuss the sights he’d seen in his travels. After that night, and for the next year Landis plotted to save Evangeline whom he called Lena, from the fate he knew would befall her on her 12th birthday.

On that fateful day Lena was brought forward during a large celebration thrown in her honor, and the bidding began. The amount paid by Landis was never published, but whispers circulated that the gold would fill four chests or more. Lena, unknowing as to what was happening, but recognizing Landis and happy to see him, returned with him to his newly constructed Villa not far from her own home. It was there Lena was gently told the purpose of the auction, and to Landis’ surprise, Lena was most agreeable to it’s purpose. The purchase had given Landis one week of Lena’s time, and over that week, the two of them grew much closer. For Landis, Lena was a beautiful grandchild, but for Lena, Landis was quickly becoming much more, he was becoming her only friend.

Before the week was out, Landis went to Lena’s family and proposed a very lucrative trade, Lena would live with Landis in his Villa, be his only to bed, and in return, he would further educate Lena, return her for any parties the Cynis family threw, and pay the family Essa’s weight in gold every lunar cycle. As the family was only ever paid when Lena performed, and her sale price after she was used was only worth about fifty gold coins a month, they readily agreed, and Essa regularly began to gorge herself to increase her body weight and thereby increase the coinage they received from Landis.

In Landis’ care, Lena excelled. He brought in tutors from around the world to teach Lena the arts of dance, singing, the beauty of the Lyre, and most importantly to Lena, the bow and arrow and knife throwing. These last two were secrets from her family, Landis intending for Lena to be able to protect herself if anyone ever approached her for more than she was willing to offer. Landis adored Lena, showered her with gifts, and spent countless nights teaching her about human interactions, so that she could begin to tell the difference between someone telling a joke, and reality. In return, Lena gave the aging merchant delightful companionship, unbelievable charm, and unconditional love. For in the years that fell behind them, Lena came to see her benefactor not as a grandfather, but as something much more meaningful.

Things in their world would have gone on indefinitely, and though Landis’s vast fortune was dwindling due to the high price he paid for Lena, he cared little; what truly set their lives into swift motion was the disappearance of the Scarlet Empress. With the Empress gone and the families pulling together, the Cynis family demanded a census of all Exalted Dragonblooded. It was then that Evangeline’s family realized that the girl, now 17 years old, had not Exalted within her bloodline. This boded very badly for Evangeline’s family who were now very high ranking. The only way to save face within the family was to exile Lena, or in other words, sell her for a half way decent price. Knowing that Lena had to be stripped from the family book of names quickly, they made Landis an offer he couldn’t refuse: they would give him Lena in exchange for his Villa within the city proper. Landis took the trade and that very night, spirited Lena away from the Capital City in the hopes that Lena would never know her families ultimate betrayal.

But Lena knew. Deep within her heart she knew the family she belonged too had abandoned her. Within her soul grew a longing to find a family she could call her own. Landis was her family, and Lena made plans to make him more than the grandfatherly figure he allowed himself to be for her, but Lena secretly yearned from the love and affection of a father and mother, and brothers and sisters who did not shun her. She buried these needs within her though as she, Landis, and their large caravan began the trek to the city of Nexus.

During the months long journey two things of great importance happened. First, Lena managed to convince Landis that despite his age, she did not see him as a grandfather, but as her one true love. Despite his protests, Lena showed him her love for him, and 5 years later, Landis received a gift another heartless man would have ripped from an adoring child. The second thing of great importance was when they were attacked by the undead.
A former member
Post #: 31
A month into their journey a band of undead attacked the caravan. Lena fought bravely with bow and arrow, but they were losing and many men would have met their fate’s end. However, a mysteriously tattooed figure emerged from the shadows of that rainy night, and with only a meaningful look at Lena, engaged the undead with awesome abilities that riveled the gods. In the pouring rain, on a cold dark night, Landis accepted the company of the stranger called Owl, in exchange for his continued protection.
Many secret meetings happened between Landis and Owl, and no matter how often Lena asked, Landis would tell her nothing more than the fact that she could trust Owl with her life. In the evening hours Owl would often times ask her to sing or dance for him, and Lena, eager to exchange a song for more tales of his home land, readily agreed, bringing a smile to Landis’ face, and making his heart warm for her when she curled into his arms at night.

As the weeks progressed Owl would journey further from the caravan, but always stayed close enough that if Lena called for him, he would immediately return to her side. His funny way of speaking warmed her, and she found he often laughed at her simple nature. One evening when the moon was at it’s darkest point, and Owl was quiet and withdrawn, Lena engaged him in a conversation about family. Owl was immediately defensive, though simple Lena did not see it for what it was, and she was surprised when he angerly cried out, “Enough, Keyla!” and retreated to the woods. The next morning Owl was generous with his time and Lena accepted the apology for what it was, glad to have her midnight protector back to his good natured self.

With all good things, they eventually came to an end and the long journey from the Capital City to Nexus was approaching it’s completion. On a moonlit night, Owl pulled Lena into the darkest woods and begged her to close her eyes. When she opened them, she saw before her a little monkey. Owl introduced the monkey by a strange name, and Lena, being herself, quickly gave the creature the nickname of Mr. Snuffles. She was surprised to see a look of pain cross the creatures face, until it began to speak to her in her mind, informing her that SHE was only going to put up with such a name because Owl willed it, and that Lena had better treat her well for such a vexing nickname. Realizing the monkey was going to be hers, Lena scooped the monkey up, kissed Owl’s cheek, and ran back to camp to share her new familiar with Landis.

Mr. Snuffles it turns out, was a very, very special monkey indeed, and as Owl left them outside the gates of Nexus, and Lena began her new life as a merchant princess, her little familiar allowed her to see through its eyes and experience a whole new world of adventure. Despite her sadness at losing Owl as her friend, Lena adapted quickly to her new life in the city. Possessing a big heart, she kept her skills honed in the local taverns, and use the money she earned to buy Landis presents, and the street children she passed, candy. Her amazing adventure to Nexus coupled with Owl’s stories made her long to experience the world and have her own adventures, and this she shared with both Mr. Snuffles and Landis. Mr. Snuffle’s only reply was she should be careful what she wished for, while Landis encouraged Lena to dream big and continue practicing her combat.

As the years went by, Lena found that the more she read the more she longed to see the amazing places she saw in her minds eye. But Landis was growing frail as the years moved on, and so Lena stayed closer to home to be with him. Lena continued honing all of her skills, including dancing and singing at the local taverns for coins. She acquired a bit of a reputation, but after a warning from Landis, made a point of not singing in the same tavern twice within a single season. Lena also quickly learned—with Mr. Snuffles help—that the coins fell more freely from large male hands when she allowed her more bubbly fun loving side to show through, rather than the more serious and thoughtful side which was slowly developing thanks to her continued education.

Life it would see, was very good to Lena. She had a man who loved her, a house full of servants that adored her, a familiar who couldn’t help but be enamored by her, and a comfortable life with coins to spare. And then Landis caught a cold over the winter season, and never recovered.

By spring, Lena was fumbling to keep Landis’ assets in order, while overseeing his care. The greatest healers in Nexus were called but it appeared even they couldn’t stave off the inevitable. As his hours grew shorter, Landis instructed Lena to send Mr. Snuffles to get Owl, which she did, and when the tall man arrived in a whirl of power and comfort Lena cried on his shoulder for the man she was about to lose. Owl quickly took over when Lena had so inadequately left off, straightening out Landis’ holdings and in a desperate move to allow Lena to retain the wealth Landis had amassed, arranged for Lena and Landis to be married. It was, with no doubt in Lena’s mind, the happiest day of her life when Landis took her for his wife and gave her a gentle kiss to seal their bond.

The following morning, Landis did not wake up, and Lena, grieved.

After weeks of seclusion, Lena emerged as no one expected, happy, bubbly, and eager to explore the world Landis had described to her so many times. She would see the places he’d told her about, and go to places he’d never seen, so that when they were reunited in the hereafter, she would have her own stories to tell him. Owl tried to stop her, but with her mind made up, she uncharacteristically put her foot down and packed her bags. It was then Owl made arrangements for Lena to join with a caravan heading south as a hired archer. He insisted she bring Mr. Snuffles with her, and unable to part with her dearest friend, Lena agreed, packed her belongs onto her horse Puppy, and joined the caravan.

There she met Lilly, a smooth talking negotiator, who could talk circles around Lena but made her laugh. Despite the differences in their background Lena found Lilly to be a good friend and immediately the two took to each other.

Five weeks into their journey the caravan was attacked by the Fae. As the Fae surrounded their men and began to slaughter them one by one, Lena felt a great rush horror and helplessness before a blinding light filled her mind, and in the middle of the battle field she fell to her knees as a vision took over.

A former member
Post #: 32
She was Keyla, a peasant healer in a small village. She was Keyla, in her early 20’s looking at a man who looked so much like Owl. She was Keyla, embracing the knowledge that The Unconquered Sun had chosen her, and that she had been blessed. She was Keyla, married to the man who looked so much like Owl, and longing for a child of her own. She was Keyla, friends with a young man, who so reminded her of Lilly. She was Keyla, surrounded by her Circle Mates, producing some of the greatest charms ever seen. She was Keyla, angry over her discover that she would never bear a child of her own. She was Keyla, chosen to be one of the high priestesses guarding the greatest weapon in the Realm. She was Keyla, letting another child die so one more mother could feel the pain she herself felt every moment of every day. She was Keyla, defending the greatest Manse in the Realm from the Sidreal scum who’d betrayed them.

And then she was simply Lena.

As the dust settled on the battle field Lena realized she was not the only one who was now very, very different. Lilly too had a vision, and together, along with Theoderic, determined that they were Solar Exalted. Deep within her, the fear of the Solar Exalted existed as horror stories told to her in the dark hours of the night. But those memories were tempered by Owl, speaking of the great Solar Exalted he had met in his travels, and his words of wisdom, to trust them when she found them.

So Lena set her mind to trust Lilly, and Theo, and as she met them, Rune, Jareth, and Dolum; and it would seem, Lena’s great adventure, had only just begun.

***So there you go, hopefully I spelled everything right :-) ***

A former member
Post #: 43
Corrine I really, really liked your background. It was a great story. The only cannon issue I had was that you are not Keyla's incarnate until you exalt. It is not that you are the reincarnation of Keyla per-say but that you inherit her essence. I think of it like a trill from star trek. But that is a minor issue and we can just say that Lena is special, because she is.

I had not been playing up Lilly and Lena being friends because you switched characters and I didn't know what was going on or if we were still suppose to be friends. I am going to play Lilly as truly liking Lena inspite of herself and hating your pet. I think it could be funny if a very intense Lilly was arguing with a monkey all the time. I am not sure you should up your intelligent. I think it would be funner if you just occasionally had this amazing thoughts out of the blue every once in a while.

I would love the chance to get some screen time with Jareth. We have barely spoken and Lilly does not even know his is exalted. Lilly was genuinely starting to trust and like Theo until he threatened to abandon her so far from home if she could not keep it together.

As for Rune and Leaf, Lilly does not trust either one. She knows Rune is obsessed over the Shik and would do anything to obtain it. She does not think he holds anyone else's desires in any importance. She knows that Leaf has a secret and she is pretty sure it could get Theo and Dolum killed so she is keeping that one close to her heart as she has no one to share it with.
A former member
Post #: 44
As for Lilly:

Lilly is fiercely loyal. She tries to frame it in logic. A cooperative group committed to each members well being has the best change at not only surviving but thriving. She can lie with ease but prefers finding a bargain that works for everyone. She is happy to compromise as long as she gets everything she needs. Everything is life and death for Lilly. She is always prepared. I spent half an hour talking about transferring money and making sure we received the best rate because these are the little details that Lilly is obsessed with.
A former member
Post #: 33
Thanks for the feedback Elizabeth. We agreed when Lena became my new character that we were going to act as if my character had always been Lena rather than my first character (I cannot remember her name right now...weird). But that's ok, I know changing a character is really stressful on the group so I wanted to put Lena's background story up so people would know where she was coming from, and straighten out the transition details.

As for Keyla, you're right. However, I thought it was kind of intiguing that Owl would KNOW that Lena was Keyla's "reincarnation". HOW he knows might be a fun mystery for the group to solve at a later date. I was thinking that it might eventually end up as a storyline delving into the Sidreals or something else, but I thought it was an interesting twist to the status quo that might add for a future story. If it never gets address then that's cool, but open plot lines are sometimes fun *evil grin*

I absolutely love the idea of the calm Lilly hating Mr. Snuffles!!! You should really play that up and have an uncanny hatred for the monkey! LOL, I'm sure Terra will love playing with that.

Your ideas and reasons for wanting to spend more time with Jareth seem right on. I can't remember if Lilly found out last game that Jareth is Exalted, but if not, then tell me tomorrow and Lena will spill the beans in a humorous way.

Speaking of Lena being stupid...honestly I've been playing her dumber than I wanted too, and because of that she got nearly no respect in the group. We haven't had enough fights yet so she hasn't been able to show her worth as a fighter, and that's lead to the group considering her a big joke. While she is designed to be the comic relief and she is supposed to say stupid things on occassion, it turned out that everything she said was stupid, and so she got ignored during group discussions. That can't happen (well it could, but I'd hate it and would make Jason kill her off) so I'm going to increase her intelligence by one dot, she'll still be stupid but more common sense stupid rather than intelligence stupid. She's got some book learning and knows how to read and write, she just views the world innocently and is very gulible. I need to work from that angle rather than the one I've been coming from.

Sweet, see you guys on Friday.
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