The Excellent Adventures of the Neathy Aristocracy

You have, at many a masquerade and society dinner, inquired of me how I come to know all of the intriguing tales I share at such events.

And though many a time I have demured, your pleading, dear heart, most delicious of friends, has won me over at last; so I now impart to you one last marvelous tale before I leave to sail the still waters of the Unterzee.

There is, you see, a tavern in Spite–once a true hive of scum and villainy, but much civilized after it received the attention of certain of the aristocracy, and now reserved almost exclusively for young noblemen who wish to go slumming without actually facing the vulgarity and discomfort of a genuine slum.

And in this tavern there meets, once a week, a group of young nobles–men, women, persons indeterminate, and occasionally even the better sort of servant or a genuinely polite (and well-heeled) Surfacer or Rubbery Man. They call themselves the Young Blood’s Adventuring Society, and they gather to share tales–entirely true tales, sirrah, and let any who says otherwise draw steel and defend his villainous insinuation–they gather to share tales of their exploits upon the Surface of the Earth, during their departures from the Neath.

Of course, I can say to you with confidence that these ‘genuinely genuine stories of adventure’ are a pack of lies: fictions, fabularities and fantasies, but immensely entertaining ones; entertaining enough, it has appeared, to make me the talk of more salons than perhaps, given my chequered past, is to my benefit.

I am even now seeking to establish a reputation in London sufficient that I might convince certain parties that I ought to be allowed a ship of my own; perhaps during my impending absence certain wicked rumours and calumnies about my honourable self shall become, so to speak, old news.

I hope I shall see you again upon my return, dearest of the dear and most delectable of the delicious, but only time will tell.

Yrs truly,
-Jack Vaux-Harrowden

[quote=Out-of-character: What even is going on here, anyway? (Please do read this)]
My fellow Fallen Londoners, I propose a game. And I propose it in an awkward quote format because it appears we don’t yet have [spoiler] tags or any other ability to set aside, and preferably hide, text.

The game I propose is my own variation on an RPG called The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen–it’s a fantastic system, but ill-suited to play-by-post, as the core mechanics focus on the ability to interrupt other players as they speak. I think it’d be fantastic for these forums, though–fellow Echo Bazaar players seem like a perfect group for this system, and I think the fact that our young noblemen have never actually seen the surface would add a new dimension to the game. The standard Munchausen tales take place in darkest Africa, furthest Nippon and exotic India, but there’s no distinction to a Fallen Londoner between distant Prussia (where the military keeps strict control, on pain of death, of all the nation’s horses, they being difficult to acquire in that snow-choked landscape) and savage, exotic Philadelphia (the City of Brotherly Love, so called for the scandalous liaisons so famous in their royal family, the Penn-Sylle branch of the Tudors).

For those not familiar with the game, I’ll explain; for those who know it, please do at least skim this section, as the rules I propose (which you are welcome to comment on, and which I will be happy to amend between play cycles) are rather different from the ones in the actual book.

So: you will be roleplaying as a member of the Young Blood’s Adventuring Society, or as one of their occasional guests–maybe even one who has actually seen the surface. If you’re not one of the first let’s say five to post, then you’ll need to describe your character’s arrival in our tavern and subsequent joining of the tale-telling. Not because there’s anything wrong with you, just because I don’t know how many people will even be interested and we can’t have too many people who were absolutely there all along before it strains belief, and the gathering in the tavern isn’t the part that’s supposed to cause such strain.

You’ll arrive at the table with a purse of seven ‘Echoes’–abstract points out-of-character, cold hard cash in-character–which are used during the round of questions, comments, and corrections that follow a tale. (I considered using social actions–boxed cats, sparring bouts, and all the rest–as currency, but I had no idea how we’d settle an exchange rate, so I went with abstract points; if you want to bargain with your fellow players to swap those points for promises of socialization, then go right ahead.)

One person at a time, beginning with myself because I’m the first to post, will take it upon themselves to share a tale of one occasion on which they ventured to the Surface. They’re welcome to be as detailed or vague, as brief or as long-winded as they like, bearing in mind of course that they’re writing for an audience with the goal of impressing them.

Once the tale is posted, the rest of the players have the opportunity to react in character, offer comments, sarcasm, or witticisms, and to make two kinds of game action: wagers and objections. Both of these kinds of action can spawn a sub-story–requiring the storyteller to go back and amend their tale, filling in details or making corrections. I won’t say wagers and objections to a sub-story are outright banned, but please try to keep that sort of thing reasonable; the tale has to end eventually, and the storyteller’s throat could get very dry indeed.

A wager is when a player wants to hear more of the story spun out, and so picks a place in the tale where details were glossed over and offers up a stake of one or more Echoes to ask for an explanation. For example: ‘Dear Baron, you skipped over sailing from Lesotho to Russia entirely, but I’d wager five Echoes there was a stowaway…’ The storyteller may then accept the wager, add the stake to their purse, and tell a sub-story detailing the events described in the wager.

An objection is when the veracity of the storyteller is called into question. The objecting player offers up a stake of one (and only one) Echo, and challenges a fact mentioned in the story, demanding an explanation. The storyteller now has two options: add the stake to their purse, accept the challenge (and any abuse that was attached to it) and correct themselves, or add an Echo of their own to the stake, rebutting the challenge. The challenger may then add the stake to their purse, backing down (and accepting any abuse the storyteller cared to offer) or hold their own, adding another Echo to the stake. The betting continues thus until one party backs down and accepts the money, whether because they’re tired of the argument or because they ran out of Echoes and can’t add another to the stake. This has the potential to drag on for a long time and bog the whole game down, so please do exercise good judgment; if it gets to be a problem, we can settle on harsher limits.

In addition to the round of questions at the end of a given tale, a storyteller who’s running out of money, ideas, or both (or who simply finds it appealing) can take a dramatic pause–post their tale incomplete, and accept wagers and objections as it stands before picking the thread up again.

Once twenty-four hours have passed without a wager or objection, the tale draws to a close and the next storyteller (that is, whoever is first to post the next story) takes their turn. No storyteller can take more than one turn in the spotlight in a single play cycle.

After forty-eight hours pass without a story being told, the play cycle is over. Each player then has twenty-four hours to cast their vote for whoever they felt told the best story. When you vote for a player, your purse is emptied, becoming that players’ bounty. Bounty is not added to the receiving players’ purse. You cannot vote for yourself–it’d be extremely poor form anyhow. Once all the votes are cast, the player with the greatest bounty is the winner of that play cycle, all purses revert to seven Echoes, and the game begins anew as soon as someone posts a story. Bounty will serve as a sort of running score throughout the game and across play cycles, but only the bounty gained in a given play cycle counts to win that cycle.

Quick disclaimer: I’m nominally in charge by virtue of posting the rules and starting the thread, but I claim no actual authority. Again, this post has turned into 3 AM Theatre, so it’s probable someone will have a better idea for the rules. I’ll just go by votes; I’ll only make the call myself in case of a tie, or if no third party has yet commented on the suggested changes.[/quote]
edited by Jack Vaux-Harrowden on 12/27/2011
edited by Jack Vaux-Harrowden on 12/28/2011

This sounds fun and will be a good motivator for me to write more of the ridiculosity in my signature. Count me in.

Excellent! So that’s at least one, then; welcome aboard!

It’s 4 AM here and I don’t feel at all sleepy, so I’m currently writing the first tale–how the Viscount Falstaff became the personal dancing-master to the King of Siam. I may or may not get it finished by the time someone else has a story to post; either way is fine with me.

Sounds interesting.

This sounds fantastic! So it begins with us all in a tavern; no need for further character references or formalities? I’d like to dive into this.

I would definitely enjoy this. Before descending, Yana collected all manner of bizarre tales from the far corners of the surface, in search of a, ahem, “cure” for Yana’s “condition”. I’'ll post a brief character profile as soon as we have enough interest.

Well, we’ll need to know what to call you. As one of the first five, you get to start off at the table, so you don’t have to describe your arrival or anything.

You can give us as much or as little on your character as you like. If you’re playing your regular EBZ character, you could link to your profile; since I thought it’d be more interesting to play a character who’d never actually seen the Surface, I decided to play a currently-entirely-undescribed gentleman called Viscount Falstaff.

Lovely. I’d like to enter as well.

EDIT: Specifically, I’ll be playing my normal EBZ character Early, one of those “individuals of mysterious and indistinct gender” so delightfully common to the Neath. ([color=rgb(0, 0, 255)]Link[color=rgb(0, 0, 0)])[/color][/color]
edited by Early on 12/27/2011

Wonderful! It looks like we’ve got a decent group of players, so I may as well start us off.

A tavern in Spite—aromatic, despite its surprising gentility. Light glinting off a lacquered table—a cross-section of a tree, mounted on legs. Not genuine, of course, but a cunning replica.

A hand in immaculate gentleman’s gloves lifts a tankard, and the tales begin.

“My turn, then? Very well. This is the entirely true tale of how I became the personal dancing instructor to the King of Siam.”

The First Tale: How the Viscount Falstaff became the Personal Dancing Instructor to the King of Siam

"It all began, you see, with a calling-card, brought to me by my manservant Cornelius early one morning, along with a bundle of genuine Surface grapes. Apparently there’d been a visitor during the night—the courier of an archaeologist whose acquaintance I’d made when I funded a part of his expedition to go turning over stones in the Forgotten Quarter some years ago.

According to Cornelius, an urchin had come round with the grapes, the calling card, and a message—‘By Jove, I’ve found something immense! You must come at once to Paris!’

Now, I felt it rather rude of the man to summon me at all, let alone so abruptly, but the grapes were still fresh—clearly he’d spared no expense in getting them, and his message, to me with astounding haste and therefore, I surmised, urgency. And my curiosity was somewhat piqued. So I told Cornelius to pack some bags, for we were taking a trip to Paris.

We took great care to pack such items as we were likely to require–surface money, toiletries, a ready supply of books (only the most instructional sort; I don’t hold with such nonsense as novels), provisions, phrase-books, my trusty rapier, and of course a few bottles of some of Gebrandt’s more clever brews—curatives, restoratives, and (following the scandalous events of Lord A—'s Yuletide Ball three years prior) a solvent for dyes. The usual servants, retainers, guides, and hangers-on were hired, and excepting an unfortunate but predictably brief (given that I learnt to fence from Cyrano de Bergerac himself) encounter with an over-bold spirifer, it was without incident that our party reached the Cumaean Canal.

I shall not bore you with the events of our journey from there to the Surface; we drifted in a stately manner along the serene water, admiring the reflections of the false-stars and trading tales (which I shall not recount here, for though I am told that nesting stories within each other is the fashion in parts of Araby I find the idea of such a practice most disconcerting, and not a little impolite; where might such a story end?), and in that way did we reach the caverns of Italy, from whence to travel by way of train to Paris to meet my erstwhile scholar.

And it was thus that I found myself in a French coffeehouse sharing English toffee with a Greek archaeologist and discussing, of all things, the Siamese royal court.

You see, my friend was quite convinced that he’d found the lost tomb of Messerach—evidently a Mesopotamian monarch of some renown, importance, and most of all wealth—but was quite convinced that the key to this ancient storehouse of wisdom, treasure, and a monarch’s preserved organs was in the possession of the King of Siam, and he had decided to prevail upon me to retrieve it!

Well, needless to say I was rather put out that he’d call me all the way to France just to tell me I’d need to travel all the way to Siam, but I had already agreed to help the gentleman, and a promise is a promise, no matter how reluctant I was at that juncture to honor it.

It seemed that Fate had smiled upon this particular misadventure, for once again it was in swiftness and without incident that we were able to sail to Siam, and thence to travel to the Court of the King.

We could see the palace even from the outskirts of the city, for though most of the buildings were barely tall enough for a grown man to stand in at his full height the palace towered, nearly as high as New Newgate and roofed entirely in gold.

Now, I had heard from those locals I had seen fit to question that the King of Siam was a man of eccentric whim, liable to treat a new arrival—especially one so obviously foreign, for it had been several years since my last Surface venture (the one, as you’ll recall, involving the rediscovery of Machiavelli’s own copy of The Prince) and I had the pallor common to all Fallen Londoners, a paleness found not even in the forest-folk of Sweden but only, on the Surface, in the albino tribesmen of south Mali; a people who I clearly did not number among, for I was clad in silk, which they, for religious reasons, refuse to wear—in whatever manner, however kind or cruel, struck his fancy, and I was thus reluctant to make myself known to him.
It was fortunate, then, that Cornelius had (bless the man) brought with us my most silent spidersilk slippers, and footfalls thus quieted I crept like a churchmouse into the grand Palace of Siam.

Quickly, however, I learned that I could go nowhere in the palace without discovery, for the King of Siam was kept aware of the comings and goings of the Palace quite reliably, though through a truly singular method.

You see, the roof of the Palace was held up by columns, of course, but not columns of stone or iron or even wood—but columns of men! Yes, each of the pillars of the Siamese royal abode consisted of thirty stout men, each standing upon the shoulders of another except the stoutest of all who was the column’s base; and each man was turned at a slight angle from the rest of his compatriots, thus affording the pillar as a whole a complete field of view.

Perplexed by this admittedly cunning oddity, I stared from where I lurked beside the gate at one of this curious columns, and at a little length I noticed that each man was wearing a most peculiar earring—a longish cylinder, most thing, suspended by a chain and frequently tucked behind the man’s ear? Each of them had one, so they could not merely be decorations, but what purpose might such a thing—oh, of course! They were not earrings, friends, but pens! And so it was that I surmised how these column-men made their reports to the King, being of course unable to find him in person as they could not leave without bringing the palace tumbling down. But in a belt-pouch each man kept a supply of parchment, and upon witnessing a thing of note he’d bring out his pen and begin to record it until he felt the pillar grow unstable, and he would then drop the note and grab the man above him to restabilize; the next man down would catch the note and continue where the prior had left off, and so the completed note would be passed down to the bottom-most man, who would keep it in a leather satchel at his side for the King’s eventual retrieval.

Well, I knew I’d have to get that key, but I knew further that I couldn’t very well have a literal paper trail of notes to the King behind me, so I surmised I’d simply have to steal the notes as I crept; if I retrieved them unnoticed, then the pillar-men would have no reason to write another, and the King would remain ignorant of my whereabouts and presence.

But this was folly, for I had forgotten: by angling themselves the column-keepers had granted themselves a full field of vision, and thus my attempts at stealthy retrieval were doomed from the start; and no sooner had I dipped my fingers into the first pillar’s satchel but the men who composed raised such a hue and cry that, I confess, I panicked, and struck out at them.

Which was, of course, folly again—for it was they who held up the roof above all of our collective heads! With a great crashing, the pillar crumbled into its component patriots, and the roof, groaning, began to tear and sink and tumble down, threatening to crush me.

It was only with great difficulty, and by exercising every ounce of nimbleness I had learned in all my adventuring, that I was able to escape the collapsing palace, leaping at last from the gate of the palace into the fresh air and bright sun; I paused a moment, staring at the ruin, turned around—and, standing behind me in full regalia, the King!

For a long moment we stared at one another, and then he spoke:

‘You have brought down my entire winter palace; I confess I am displeased. You have come to my land to relieve me of a treasure that I won fairly; I confess I am displeased. You have brought about the deaths of countless of my loyal pillar-spies; I confess I am displeased.

But I will spare you the consequences of what you have done, and even give you that which you came here to steal.

You see, I find myself more deeply in love by the day with the Englishwoman who I hired to teach my children.

You are very light on your feet, to escape the palace as it became a ruin, and she is quite fond of waltzing.

So: for a year and a day you shall be my personal dancing instructor.”

[quote=Out-of-character: The Viscount Falstaff]
Current storyteller
Purse: 7 Echoes
Tales: The First Tale (How the Viscount Falstaff became the Personal Dancing Instructor of the King of Siam)
Round 1 Bounty: 0[/quote]

Beneath a fanged hat, the ever-present smile of one of the audience’s more androgynous members widens from a faint smirk to a full grin. Early leaned back slightly, tapping one pale and slender finger against the side of an equally pale nose. “Perhaps you ought to have stayed in Siam, my good man. I do believe the Neath-snows have sapped your brain. For, if you did not volunteer the information yourself – which would display a level of foolishness I doubt even you possess – how is it that the King of Siam was aware of the specific cause for your trespass? I must demand an explanation, or else an apology for such creative liberties.”

[color=rgb(0, 102, 255)]Out-of-Character:[/color][color=rgb(0, 102, 255)]
[color=rgb(0, 102, 255)]Issuing an objection, one echo.[/color]
edited by Early on 12/27/2011

The Viscount leans back in his chair–nearly toppling it, he being a man of prodigious girth–with a good-natured laugh. "Do you know, I asked the man that very thing myself in the second month of my stay, once the king and I had come to know each other well enough that I might pluck up the courage ask such a question. Evidently–assuming the king’s answer is to be believed; he was a cunning man, and may well have deceived me if he had not come to trust me as much as I had guessed–I was not the first the Greek had sent after the key. A small company of mercenaries had come to Siam to ambush the king in his return home from a diplomatic engagement and demand the key. Well, the king tripled their fee on the spot, questioned them until their throats were dry indeed, and sent them to the archaelogist full of tall tales about a garden of dragons from whose teeth a fearsome army of palace guards was grown–and with them he sent a small coterie of spies who had witnessed my meeting with the scholar, and carried news of my presence and my mission to Siam. Of course, I next asked why,if he had been so forewarned,he had waited so long to accost me,and he confessed that never having seen a denizen of the Neath he was most curious–though he had hardly expected that curiosity to cost him an entire palace!

As to the snows, sir, I cannot comment on their deleterious effects save to point out that they cannot possibly imperil a man’s intellect so greatly as wearing a hat capable of feeling hunger."

[quote=Out-of-character]…I actually had not even thought of that. I feel a tad silly.

That said, Viscount Falstaff has given an answer to the objection, so unless Early (the character, that is) elects to press the issue by proclaiming dissatisfaction with the answer, the objection will be resolved and Falstaff will claim the stake.[/quote]

A young man in a fine suit eyes the table with a certain hungry interest “I do find it hard to believe that you encountered so little trouble between the canal and the surface. It’s been my experience that the borders of the Neath and the Surface are not crossed without some degree of hardship. In fact, I’d wager two echoes that there was some scandalous encounter there that you’re withholding.”

[color=rgb(51, 153, 204)]OOC: 2 echo wager made[/color]
edited by Urthdigger on 12/28/2011

Early seems to mull this over for a few moments, before nodding, giving the brim of the hat – is it glaring at the Viscount? – an affectionate tug with one hand and rolling a thick silver coin across the table with another. “Satisfactory. As for the hat, you should try it some time. It makes ordinary headwear seem so dreadfully boring by compare.”

[color=rgb(0, 102, 255)]OOC: Objection resolved! +1 Echo to Falstaff.[/color]

With the deftness of a man who has gambled away the family fortune one too many times, Falstaff catches the silver coin before turning with a grin to the man in the expensive suit. "Well, it may perhaps not have been as easy as I’ve led you to believe; after all, it was a digression from the tale. There was in fact a bit of a complication in making our exit from the Neath–a scandalous thing in and of itself, given the long-established reputation of the Falstaff line, for a guard to have stopped my party–but not, I fear, so scandalous as the way in which I was forced to resolve it.

The guardsman at the gate–an Italian, you see, not a proper Neathy man, and therefore ignorant of the haste with which he ought to have served so august a nobleman, accosted us and due to a certain irregularity in our paperwork (a little matter, nothing more; a clerical error that I thought had been corrected following a little…expeditory gift…to the clerks) was refusing to allow us egress into the Surface caverns.

But we had three strokes of good fortune here: firstly, that I had sent Cornelius to the guardhouse rather than going in person; secondly, that this was in my younger days, when I still possessed a thin rakish figure and smooth face; and thirdly, that I had among my effects a gift for a certain lady on the Surface, to be shipped to her in Milan before my departure for France: a fine dress of red velvet, and a quantity of makeup from the theatres of Mahogany Hall.

For those of who who have by now figured out what indignity I was forced to endure to make my way to the surface, I applaud your perspicacity; for those who’ve not, I’ll remind you of the Italian reputation for lechery.

Yes, in the velvet gown and makeup I’d intended for my friend I had Cornelius present me at the guardhouse as his sister and soon enough had led the guard away and towards the room where he kept his bed.

‘Pardon me while I slip into something more comfortable,’ whispered I in the breathiest voice I could drum up, and as he waited I did indeed change into more comfortable attire–my traveling trousers, my greatcoat, and the belt (already discarded in his eagerness) upon which the guardsman hung his keys! And by the time the man realized he had been tricked, I had already unlocked the mechanisms, lowered to the bottom the chain that blocked the canal, and made good my escape; flesh unwounded by the vicious halberd with which the man was to repel intruders, but pride, I fear, rather badly bruised.

And, I might add, poorer by a fine gown and a fifth-box of makeup, and richer only by a half-rotten leather belt, a few rusty iron keys, and a story hardly fit for mixed company."

[quote=Out-of-character: The Viscount Falstaff]
Current storyteller
Purse: Eight echoes
Active wagers/objections: The Viscount Falstaff acquires passage to the Surface, at the cost of a red velvet gown (2 echoes; answered. Assuming Urthdigger’s character is satisfied, the wager will be resolved.)
The First Tale (How the Viscount Falstaff became the Personal Dancing Instructor to the King of Siam)
-How the King knew the Viscount’s reasons to visit Siam, and why he did not accost the Viscount until it was too late for the palace
-The Viscount Falstaff acquires passage to the Surface, at the cost of a red velvet gown[/quote]

“Well, I for one feel the story was worth a pair of echoes. And I’d do well to remember that particular trick.” he adds, passing a pair of bills to the Viscount.

OOC: Wager resolved

Leaning forward slightly, a woman in a faded black dress looks from the well-dressed fellow settling his purse besides her to the Viscount. He is smiling, seemingly waiting for another objection, and Audrey stands a tarnished coin on its edge. Despite her impatience she hesitates.

“The Cumaean Canal - I realize you’ve been talking for some time. But, I am sure the Canal cannot have been such a plain trip as you portray it as. Was it lovely? When did you see the light of the sun again?”

[quote=Out of character]
Wager, one echo.
edited by Audrey Shae on 12/28/2011

“Then, gentlemen, if we all find ourselves satisfi”–

Falstaff stops as Audrey speaks.

"I fear that the trip up the Canal itself was indeed without event–sufficiently eventless that it would be most rude of me to claim your Echo, milady, much as I would love to.

But…ah, yes, yes–it was lovely. It had been many, many years since I’d traveled that way; the Travertine Spiral is ever so much faster, and there’s so rarely time for the scenic route.

But the stars! You have never seen false-stars, no matter how fine a telescope or stout a dirigible you’ve employed, until you have watched them dance reflected in the wake of a boat sailing up the Cumaean Canal! You have never seen a mirror, no matter how much time you’ve spent at Mahogany Hall, until you have watched those waters settled into stillness.

The only thing grander than the Canal that I have ever seen is the Glass City of Arjonot–ah, but that’s another story entirely."


EDIT: Evidently Audrey’s Shadowy is way better than my Watchful. And I was so proud, too–101! Not merely a simple hundred!

Purse of ten echoes, then. Unless there’s more wagers or objections in the next twenty-four hours Falstaff’s time in the spotlight is done, so now seems like a good time to figure out how to decide who’s the next storyteller. At the moment the OP just says it’s whoever posts a story next, but I’m not wholly satisfied with that–it seems like it’d lead to longer lulls than are necessary.

The tabletop version of the game just passes play to the right, but that’ll hardly work here. So: thoughts?
edited by Jack Vaux-Harrowden on 12/28/2011

OOC: Perhaps we could establish an order? Or maybe at the end of a tale the speaker would choose, call upon someone? These aren’t the most efficient ideas, haha, sorry! Also, super last second addition… oh yes.
edited by Audrey Shae on 12/28/2011

A man walks in from the parlor. “A very interesting story sir. I especially like the part where the King of Siam completely disregards the massive lose of human life and his summer home. He forgave you for such egregious crimes for what was it again, dance lessons? That’s completely absurd. In fact I could take this whole tale into question.” He stifles a laugh at the end of his inquisition.
The man slowly makes his way across the room to the opposite end of the table. When he passes by you get the distinct stink of sulfur sent directly into your brain. A scientist perhaps or something more demonic. He takes a seat in a previously unoccupied spot and proceeds to make himself at home. “Though I digress.” The man has chosen a spot with just enough shadow to shroud his features. The only thing that can be made out are his glasses. They have multiple lenses suspended by an intricate series of tiny rods and gears. Each lense is a different color. They range in size and shape. Some of them have shapes etched into them. Terrible, terrible shapes…

He continues his line of questioning. “The only part of your tale that I find truly impossible is these living columns you spoke of. There’s nothing in this world or the one above that could explain how this could work. Surely the men would get exhausted and grow limp. What of sleep and other nastier biological needs? I mean they are human after all. Or did you forget to mention this part?”

He leans forward eagerly awaiting your response. His hands pressed together like spider’s on glass.

I hope I can still join in this seems like a really fun game and so far the writing has been extraordinary.
Objection: 1 echo[/color]
edited by Cubethulhu on 12/28/2011

The Viscount leans forward angrily…and sits back in his seat, evidently thinking better of picking any sort of confrontation with the kind of man who puts Correspondence sigils (or so Falstaff assumes) on his eyeglasses.

"Ehm, well. I hope it doesn’t seem overly forward of me, but I must say I resent the implication I’ve been anything less than truthful, and in fact there’s a perfectly rational–if still quite odd–explanation for that.

You see, you’re not quite correct in your supposition that there’s nothing that could explain such a thing, or so the King of Siam told me when I gathered the daring to ask him these selfsame questions.

He explained to me firstly that his people, though backwards in most of the sciences, are wondrous clever alchemists–this is how they grow the exotic and strange fruits and spices that have brought so tiny a nation such wealth as to be of import–and that through the thrice-weekly application of certain tonics (tonics that, the king confessed, dulled the intellect with overuse; this was why the men were capable of fulfilling their function with the notes, but not of verbal reports) the pillar-spies were able to conquer their…ah, baser…biological needs–the tonics completely dissolved whatever of their food and drink they themselves could not process and made it into–and I swear to you that after I had the opportunity to observe the columns long-term that I believed every word when the king told me this–a paralytic agent by which they conquered the frailties of flesh! For when a man would grow too tired to stand on his own, fatigued or wearied by the lack of sleep, he would by techniques taught to him by the monks of Siam alter the chemistry of his body that, as he fell asleep, he would become still, and stiff as a board! And so, as he slept and recuperated, he would still remain so rigid that the pillar could stand; and as it takes far fewer than thirty men to watch a room, by staggering the ‘shifts’ that each man took, the pillar could retain the circle of its vision while still upholding that marvelous golden roof, and keeping the lives (and whereabouts) of the palaces’ occupants under the king’s protection."


EDIT: Ninja’d again! Hallo, hallo, and welcome aboard; recruitment never closes and the door’s always open, so of course you can still join.

Well, for the next play cycle I planned to shift things a little closer to the tabletop game.

See, in that version you don’t pick the topic of your own stories–the person on your left asks you for a story of their choosing, such as “Dear Cardinal, regale us with the story of the time you were forced to retrieve your horse from the spire of Saint Fiacre’s Cathedral,” and then you have about fifteen seconds to think before you need to start telling the story.

Once enough players have told their first story, they’d have established hooks for the next round–the scandalous Yuletide Ball, for example. Then we could have the old hands calling for those stories amongst themselves, and the newcomers ‘buy in’ with a story. No idea if it’d actually work, though, and I’m still stuck just hoping someone else will have a story promptly for this round. It’s been my experience on other forums that if you don’t keep a forum game fast-paced it dies off really fast, but maybe that only applies on forums large enough for threads to get irretrievably buried?
edited by Jack Vaux-Harrowden on 12/28/2011