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    Dec 2006
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    Default The Storytellers (Org, Obj, Feat, Spell, Class)

    The Storytellers

    By Khelden Iituem

    A minstrel in every tavern, a storybook by every hearth. Such is the legacy and mission of this loose organisation of like-minded fellows. Given this humble premise, it becomes rather surprising to anyone who really delves into this group's existence just how much influence it collectively has. The group exists primarily to assure the comfort, sustained employment and success of its members, as well as the loftier goal of ensuring that good stories are told, recorded and (if necessary) created.

    To this end the Storytellers are quiet but influential patrons of the arts, literature, arcane research and most of all libraries. The Storytellers as an organisation are some of the most prolific writers and procurers of new books and own or sponsor a number of libraries across the continent (if not the globe).

    The Storytellers do have a darker side, however. The extensive network of listeners and the decidedly indiscriminate nature of the knowledge collected in the more private libraries makes the organisation a natural aid to those in the professions of theft, assassination and certain forms of black magic.


    Brief History

    The Storytellers began, as so many things do, as a chance conversation between two young men. Soren Bedoe was a half-elven minstrel passing through the region and Dorian Mirrorstone was a soothsayer passing through town. After a lengthy verbal waltz around the natures of their respective professions, the pair realised that both were remarkably capable disguise artists, spies and actors. The pair decided over several mugs of ale that it might be a good idea to pool their resources and information in order to do more affluently in life.

    They continued to meet, basing themselves more or less in a series of taverns in the area, exchanging stories, contacts and techniques. With a sort of goal now, the pair worked on developing a number of contacts throughout the region in both the higher and lower circles to ensure a steady supply of audiences and information for their jobs. Dorian inducted the third member of the group, an assassin by the name of Zerakil Rosier who already had a sizeable number of connections in various fields and, although not caring much for stories or storytellers, knew the value of information to both members of his own profession and to those who could not obtain it by more conventional avenues.

    Eventually, using the contacts they had made and the collective fortunes of the three, the Storytellers bought their first base; a small library with a very spacious basement. The library became a popular meeting point for various minstrels, soothsayers and thieves in the area. As word spread, so did membership amongst the Storytellers, and the influence of the group grew.

    All three founders of the group have long since vanished or passed away, disappearing into the hazy mists of legend. The Storytellers could be said to be an oligarchy, with a number of individuals commanding the most respect and influence in the group. At the present time, three members are in the strongest positions of leadership: Blake Edwards, Matthew Crosse and Selia Delamore.


    The Organization

    Headquarters: The Storytellers have had several headquarters over the decades from the humble beginnings of their first library to the present home of the House, an unassuming manor with small holdings and extensive libraries both public and underground. In addition, various chapters have their own headquarters in innumerable taverns and libraries across the continent.

    Members: The numbers are fluid, but anywhere from five hundred to two thousand minstrels across several countries might call themselves commited Storytellers. The group also employs any number of contacts and has a wide variety of patrons who benefit from the group but are not inducted members.

    Religion: There is no official religion for the group, although there is a preponderance towards deities of knowledge, trickery and entertainment amongst its members.

    Alignment: Neutral (Members can be of any alignment, though most lean towards the chaotic.)

    Symbol: A crossed lute and quill over a book. There are a few noble families who have this tucked neatly into a corner of their crests.

    Hierarchy: The overall heirarchy of the group is both fluid and largely egalitarian. Whilst in theory each member is equal, some members have more influence, resources and physical clout than others and simply rise into positions of leadership through convenience and natural charisma. The most basic way of defining who is higher up in the heirarchy is to determine who is supplying the meal. One of the most basic rules of the Storytellers (amongst the few rules there are) is that if a fellow Storyteller comes to your door in need and you are able, you must provide him with food and shelter for the night. In return, the other must tell a story. This has taken to mean anything from the provision of information, books or magical scrolls in return for money, goods or safe passage and tutorship to the provision of a good story in the tavern in exchange for some hot broth and a free place by the hearth.

    Storytellers thus devolve into various chapters based upon who is most able to supply either stories or meals and bedding, as these have the most status. Librarians and publicans tend to rise quickly to being heads of chapters, although the nature of the group's membership means that they are usually also the only static members of the chapter with the remainder being comprised of travelling folk. Regardless of what chapter he might hail from, a Storyteller can expect a warm welcome and a place by the hearth at any fellow member's abode.

    The ruling Storytellers can be considered those who most often provide the meals, rather than tell the stories. To cement their position, career-minded members tend to visit the various stationary members of the organisation once a year and make them a significant gift of material goods in exchange for a token story and their continued support. This is usually also an occasion for a feast and most Storytellers in the region are invited. Of these, the present leadership whose authority would not be denied by most members consists of Blake Edwards (CN male human Brd 17), Matthew Crosse(NE male human Rog/Ass 10/6) and Selia Delamore(N female human Wiz 16).

    Blake's family owns the House and has been connected to the Storytellers for several decades. An extensively travelled man now in his middle age, Blake's own exploits have contributed significantly to the importance the House has attained in the group. Crosse is the leader of a group of assassins who make use of the Storytellers' network of contacts and a Storyteller himself. He is known for being quite ruthless, but is also responsible for extending the influence of the Storytellers in a number of counties and providing a steady supply of income to the organisation. Selia is officially the head librarian of the House's two libraries and has contact with almost all of the member libraries across the continent. She is headed into her old age and has begun to turn her thoughts towards the prospect of her approaching demise with some trepidation.

    Although the organisation of Storytellers is generally quite loose, the branch started by Rosier (and over which Crosse has the most influence) known as the Listeners has a more structured heirarchy with its own conditions for membership and a pecking order that results in most information passing (sooner or later) into Crosse or Selia's hands.

    The Storykeepers, a separate branch more loosely connected to both Selia and Blake, devotes itself to recording stories as they happen and try to send Storyteller agents out to take records of events that will be of historical interest, political distinction or simply brilliant fodder for a fireside tale. They have developed a series of spells to aid them in this, although most members have their wits, a quill and a blank book as their basic tools.

    Motivation and Goals: Motivations between members can range dramatically. Most members are travelling minstrels, soothsayers and actors who realise that membership in the group will at the very least mean the guarantee of a place to stay and something to eat in most towns. These form the bulk of the membership, some of whom are fortunate enough to come into money and opportunities through other members or in their own way and continue the tradition by offering the same kindness to the members who come after.

    The more surreptitious members value the group for the contacts it has and the methods of gathering information and arts of disguise it has developed over the decades. Members who advance in this branch of the organisation tend to set up their own networks of contacts in areas (both members and non-members) or become career spies for the group.

    The scholarly contributions of the group are also a major motivator for the membership in arcane and scholarly circles. A number of prominent historians and several mages of various disciplines hold membership in the group and many more make use of its services. The generally indiscriminate nature of the knowledge collected by the group makes it quite valuable for those not able to find their desired reading material in public libraries.

    Recruiting: There is no strict method of induction, although all members are expected to honour the basic contract of 'a meal and a place by the hearth in exchange for a story'. Members are generally identified by carrying or showing the symbol of the group. One might argue that this means anyone who knew what the symbol was could pass themselves off as a Storyteller, but most members would argue that this is the point. After all, most travelling storytellers would hardly want to tie themselves down to a rigid organisation, so the ability to drift in and out of membership or to bring in new members without a great deal of hassle is a boon.

    Allies: Most direct contributors to the Storytellers are members, but individual chapters maintain links with most organisations who might prove useful. This typically includes local nobility and guardsmen, mage guilds, assassins, thieves, publishers and printers. The group has strong ties to the bookmaking and bookselling industries, more prominent members usually owning individual companies.

    Enemies: The Storytellers do not have all that many enemies as a group, although certain righteous groups who discover their more questionable literature have attempted to wage campaigns against them. These are usually persuaded to cease their harassment or Matthew tends to take a personal interest in them. Individual members may have any number of enemies, however, as the group is not really responsible for what its members do with the information they obtain.

    Resources and Income: All group resources are owned by individual members although certain facilities have come to be regarded as Storyteller property, such as the House. The group has stakes in or owns a sizable portion of the libraries in several countries and an equally impressive number of taverns. Much of the group income comes from the libraries and from publishing, rather than from the taverns as one might expect. Over the decades, the Storytellers have contributed heavily towards an increase in literacy amongst its members and certain members of the population as well as towards making both the reading of literature and the art of storytelling a popular pastime. This has brought dividends in the fortunes publishers have made as a result of this rennaisance and in the general worth of members.

    Funding in the group can be complicated. Money and resources tend to make their way down from higher members to lower, redistributing wealth towards the base rather than the leadership (no such thing as a membership fee). The flow of information travels upwards from the base to the leadership, however, and the sale of this information in the form of performances, secrets, literature, research and tutorship to non-members provides the leadership with the wealth needed to support their own activities and the members of the group.

    The organisation does make judicious use of adventurers where it is appropriate, as individual members are often requiring parties to recover information, investigate goings-on or old ruins, obtain difficult to find books or materials or even to serve as a source for fresh tales. Many adventurers can see the benefit of membership, as their extensive travels mean being able to find shelter in a wide variety of places can be immensely useful.

    Joining the Storytellers: Anyone can call themselves a Storyteller if they present the symbol to another member, but to be accepted as one requires a prospective member to first attend a Storyteller feast. Such feasts are held fairly regularly in various places, although knowledge of their existence is not generally spread around. To attend the feast and pass themselves off as a Storyteller, prospective members must break bread with existing Storytellers and convince them that they are worthwhile members (this usually requires three or more successful Diplomacy checks). Then the prospective member must put on a small performance for those gathered (as per the traditional agreement of 'a meal for a song') and successfully impress them (DC may range from 15-25 at the DM's discretion, based upon how successful the Diplomacy checks were). If the character cannot successfully impress at least three members through diplomacy and impress the group as a whole through performance (one retry is usually allowed, with the usual -2 penalty) he may be considered to have failed and must wait for the next such feast to try again. If the character successfully completes each of these tasks he makes sufficient friends in the Storytellers to be considered a full member and is eligible for the Confirmed Storyteller feat.

    There is no official ceremony for inducting new members, but the difference between a true Storyteller and someone passing themselves off as one is the friends they make and the people they know from these meetings. The collective brotherhood of the Storytellers is held together by these symbolic feasts and most members will attempt to attend or hold them, even if only for the free meal and the company.

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    Adventure Hooks: The Storytellers

    - The PCs stop at a wayside inn on their travels. Having arranged a room and whilst waiting for their meal, the party observe an old minstrel enter the tavern and show the innkeeper a small brooch. The barmaid immediately sits him down near the fireplace and brings him a full, hot meal at no charge. Later on the various patrons of the tavern gather around the storyteller, who spins a tale about the setting for the PCs' next adventure, tying them into it with the usual promises of gold and glory.

    - The PCs run into an existing contact of theirs who has managed to get himself into some rather dangerous trouble. He offers them payment to get him safely out of town and to the nearest wayside inn, taking several large leather books with him. Upon reaching the inn safely he shows the innkeeper a piece of paper with the Storyteller symbol on it, giving him the books. A fast horse is prepared for him but before he leaves he tells the PCs about the organisation and how they can become members.

    - The PCs arrive at an inn in Lantington, the Horse and Trumpet. They are welcomed cordially by the publican, "Dickie Bird" Robinson, who sees to their needs. Not long after he disappears into a large private room where they catch glimpses of some sort of feast in progress. Inquiries reveal it belongs to some sort of club who have big meals and exchange books every so often, possibly leading to speculation that they might be wizards. Part way through the evening there is a deal of shouting from the private room and it is discovered that one of the books being exchanged, a grimoire on magic, has been stolen. Bird offers a reward for the book if it can be found and on a success presents the PCs with Storyteller brooches and invites them into the private feast.

    Richard "Bird" Robinson (NG Human Brd 8)

    History: Old "Dickie Bird" is a longstanding veteran of the Storytellers, a typical chapter leader amongst the rural membership. Literally born into the trade, Bird was orphaned at childbirth and raised by a troupe of travelling actors. He picked up the various tricks of the trade and eventually set out to tell his own stories and seek fortune in the world. Throughout the many years of his travels he often found shelter in the homes of fellow Storytellers and journeyed for a time with the then-young Blake Edwards on his own adventures. A few years later, after running some well-placed errands for the Listeners, he found himself at a Storyteller feast held by Blake and the pair re-kindled their friendship. Edwards, having now made a small fortune in addition to the family holdings, offered Bird the chance to settle down with a pub of his own.

    Bird never looked back. He is old now, the proud proprietor of the Horse and Trumpet in Lantington and the father of two young sons and a daughter. Age and comfort have treated him well, and the vibrant enthusiasm of Bird's youth has been replaced by the mellow wisdom of experience. Bird remembers well his roots and often extends the hand of friendship to fellow wanderers, welcoming new members into the fold. He also has a little experience in the area of espionage, occasionally training new Listeners as a favour to his patrons. He has built a small private library of fiction over the years, as well as a few books on techniques and profession.


    The Storytellers have developed several feats to aid them in the arts of gathering information.

    Confirmed Storyteller: Prerequisite: Must have attended a feast or gathering held by a Storyteller and successfully passed himself off as a Storyteller, with at least three other Storytellers besides the character and the host present. Benefits: If you make contact with another Storyteller in the area and provide him with a meal or gift, you receive a +2 circumstance bonus on all Gather Information checks. You need no longer pay for meals or rooms at most inns, provided you make a successful Perform check (DC 10 for poor meal/accomodation, DC 15 for fair meal/accomodation, DC 20 for good meal/accomodation).

    Ear to the Ground: You have a fine sense for what information is useful and just whom is willing to buy and sell it. You may make Gather Information checks in the same way as Profession checks to earn a weekly wage by remaining in an area, listening out for useful information and selling it to interested parties. It is worth noting that (usually) you remember more valuable information, which carries its own risks and rewards. Prerequisite: Gather Information (4 ranks)

    Contacts: Spending time in an area and coming to know a few of the locals has its benefits. You can establish a series of contacts in a town or region within a certain field and obtain more accurate information as a result. You receive a +2 circumstance bonus on general Gather Information checks (including wage-earning checks as in Ear to the Ground) if you have any contacts in an area, rising to a +4 circumstance bonus if searching for specific knowledge that relates to a contact's field (e.g. noble circles, mage guilds, farming).

    Establishing contacts typically takes a week for each contact or series of contacts you make during which you must meet the contacts at least once a day and requires a successful Diplomacy check and the expenditure of some gold in the form of gifts, favours and bribes. The DC for establishing a contact is 20 in a village or smaller, 18 in a small town, 16 in a large town, 14 in a small city, 12 in a large city and 10 in a metropolis. In a field in which you are personally experienced (through spending a deal of time there or possibly possessing ranks in the profession) the DC is reduced by 2. In a field in which you know little about or into which you have difficulty fitting (such as restricted groups or the high court), the DC increases by 2.

    You must expend your check result in gold pieces if the contacts are from the middle classes (guilded tradesmen, scribes, merchants), half your result if from the working classes (farmers, labourers, urban workers, petty thieves) and twice your result if from the upper classes (nobility, powerful mages, rich traders). If your contact is in a field outright opposed to your interests (e.g. a guard in an enemy camp) the DC rises by 5 and you will need to spend triple your result in gold pieces to convince him to undertake espionage for you. On a failed check, the gold is still spent but the contacts remain unconvinced.

    Retries are allowed, but each one takes an additional week and a failure of more than 5 on the check increases the DC by 2 each subsequent attempt. Repeated attempts may draw suspicion from interested parties. Contacts remain for so long as they are alive, able to talk and still willing to help you. Prerequisites: Gather Information (6 ranks), Diplomacy (4 ranks)




    Adventure Hooks: The Listeners

    - The PCs learn that a major NPC in town is due to be assassinated in the coming week by the infamous Jack Knife, but details on where and how are unknown, even by the assassin himself. A little investigation reveals that the Knife usually takes the information for his kills from a shadowy organisation known as the Listeners, but that the details have not yet reached him. PCs are faced with the possibility of intercepting the details on the kill before they can reach their intended recipient, using them to complete the assassination themselves and claim the sizable bounty, or even to track down and deal with the Knife himself.

    - A local contact of the PCs reveals he has a client looking to pull a jewel heist in the area, but needs a details on the location first. Unable to do the casing himself due to observation from the town watch, the contact offers to pay the PCs rather generously to do the work themselves. If the information is particularly impressive he might tell them about the Listeners as a group, of which he is a member, offering them further jobs in espionage.

    - The PCs hear tales of a reclusive, powerful and dark wizard in a distant town. Travelling there (whether to slay, capture, aid or request aid from him) the PCs discover that the wizard recently died of natural causes, leaving his heavily trapped tower and his personal book collection. A local cult, the Brotherhood of Purifying Flame, has deemed these books heretical and dangerous and seeks to burn them and the tower to ash and offers the PCs a reward to help them. A local shady character, Dubois, instead offers them a bounty for obtaining the books and returning them to him for safe keeping.

    Marchant Dubois (NE Gnome Rog/Lis 6/4)

    History: A career informant for Crosse's more structured branch of the Storytellers, Dubois has served the Listeners for eight years as a contact, a hireling and (following his joining the Storytellers) as a Listener himself. He has advanced quickly in the last three years by proving himself a capable agent, getting close to Crosse at gatherings and picking up enough dirt on his 'superiors' to shift more resources and responsibility into his control. He has recently become responsible for co-ordinating reports and activities for Listeners in a series of villages based around a minor port town. His ambitions do not end there though, as he continually seeks to improve his influence and status within the Listeners and other branches of the Storytellers.

    Marchant's informants have recently unearthed rumours regarding the recent death of a rather infamous wizard known to have kept an impressive and well-guarded collection of books on a variety of questionable subjects. He is very interested in obtaining as much of this collection as possible, as he believes presenting them as a gift to Selia would further cement his connections within the group.


    The Listeners have developed their own set of techniques and abilities over the years, training themselves to be highly efficient spies and informants.

    Prestige Class: The Listener

    Hit Die: d6

    Requirements: Listen (8 ranks), Spot (4 ranks), Bluff (4 ranks), Disguise (4 ranks), Wis 13+, Int 13+, must be a full Storyteller.

    The Listener gains no weapon or armour proficiencies. The Listener's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Open Lock (Dex), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (None), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str) and Tumble (Dex).

    Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier

    The Listener

    {table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

    1st|
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |Photographic Memory

    2nd|
    +1
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |Alertness

    3rd|
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |Cover Identity

    4th|
    +2
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |Undetectable Alignment

    5th|
    +2
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |Cover Identity

    6th|
    +3
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |Tongues

    7th|
    +3
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |Cover Identity, The Walls Have Ears

    8th|
    +4
    |
    +2
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |Unseen

    9th|
    +4
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |Cover Identity

    10th|
    +5
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |
    +7
    |True Listening[/table]

    Class Features

    Photographic Memory (Ex): A Listener trains himself to remember details and conversations with perfect clarity. The Listener can remember a number of pages of a book or minutes of conversation equal to his intelligence score per day. These do not all have to be continuous, but cannot exceed this limit in a single day.

    Alertness (Ex): The Listener gets a +2 expertise bonus to Spot and Listen checks from extensive personal training rather than innate ability. This stacks with the bonuses granted by the Alertness feat or similar feats.

    Cover Identity (Ex): At 3rd level, the Listener may opt to take on a permenant cover identity. When operating under an identity, the Listener gains +3 to Disguise checks and +1 to Bluff and Gather Information checks. The Listener may attain additional cover identities with the same bonuses at 5th, 7th and 9th level, or instead improve an existing identity by adding +1 to each of the bonuses. The Listener's alignment remains the same and can be detected by means of divination.

    Undetectable Alignment (Su): At 4th level, the Listener's alignment becomes permenantly concealed as per the spell of the same name. This ability functions in any circumstance where a supernatural ability would normally function. Effects that affect members of a specific alignment will still affect the Listener if he is of that alignment.

    Tongues (Ex): At 6th level, the Listener's understanding of linguistics has advanced to the level where he can understand and communicate in a pidgin of virtually any language. For basic conversation in a language he does not know, the Listener needs to succeed at a Sense Motive check of DC 10 to understand and a Bluff check of DC 10 to communicate. More complex information may require DCs of 15 or 20. Retries are allowed, but a failure of more than 5 may result in a gross mis-communication of information.

    The Walls Have Ears (Ex): Up to three times per day at 7th level the Listener can focus on listening to the world around him in order to hear things at great distance. Provided he has his ear to the ground or a solid surface he can focus on what a patch of wall or ground is hearing and listen through it in lieu of his own ears. This ability continues for as long as he concentrates, but he fails all Listen checks for the area he would normally perceive (unless listening through walls or the ground in his immediate vicinity) and takes a -8 penalty to all Spot checks. He cannot move from his position whilst concentrating.

    The Listener focuses on a patch of permenant wall or ground next to him, then moves his focus of hearing along the surface in order to hear everything within a 30ft radius of the patch he is focusing upon. This patch begins at his location and he can move his concentration up to 50ft per round, so if he wished to listen to a patch 200ft away he would have to concentrate for four rounds to 'get' there. There must be a constant path of solid material between the Listener and the patch he is listening to; he cannot, for example, hear what is happening on a magical floating castle unless he is on the castle or the castle has landed (whereby he can listen through the ground). The Listener cannot be detected through magical means that would reveal a scrying sensor and receives nothing other than auditory information from the connection.

    If something strikes the surface he is listening through but does not damage it he must make a Concentration check (DC 10) or lose the connection. If he overhears an unusually loud noise (e.g. an explosion, but not on a battlefield) the DC rises to 15. If something damages the surface he is listening through, he must make a Concentration check at DC 20 or lose the connection, then a Fortitude save (DC 15) or be deafened for 2d6 rounds. If something destroys the surface he is listening through, he must make a Reflex save (DC 20) to focus on a different, connected surface (if there is one), a Concentration check (DC 25) to maintain the connection and a Fortitude save (DC 20) or be deafened for 2d6 minutes. If he is rendered deaf whilst still connected, he cannot perceive anything from the connection but if he continues to concentrate throughout the deaf period he will be able to listen again at the point where he was deafened.

    A Listener can use this ability to determine the rough layout of walls, floors and other permenant surfaces in a 30ft radius from where he is concentrating, as well as the sources of sounds. Magically silenced areas appear as a complete dead zone and cannot be detected at all. If the Listener's concentration is broken unwillingly, he immediately snaps back to his normal senses and is dazed for 1d6 rounds. If the Listener breaks his connection willingly, he is dazed for 1 round. Once a connection is broken, the Listener cannot immediately return to the place he was focusing on and must instead 'travel' there by shifting his concentration in a new application of the ability.

    Unseen (Su): Once per day from 8th level, the Listener can shield himself from magical scrying for a number of minutes equal to twice the Listener's class level. During this period he (and only he) cannot be detected by any means of magical divination, appearing as an empty space or blur. Scrying and divination cannot be centred upon him. Attempts to observe him directly reach only static. The Listener is still perceivable by mundane means.

    True Hearing (Ex): At 10th level the Listener's expertise bonus to Listen rises to +6 and gains 20ft blindsight in any non-silenced area. In addition, he can no longer be fooled by auditory illusions (though is still susceptible to visual, olfactory and tactile deception) and automatically succeeds any checks to disbelieve the auditory aspect of illusions. This does not cause him to automatically disbelieve any illusion with auditory aspects, simply the auditory aspects themselves. This may or may not provide him with a circumstance bonus to checks to disbelieve the illusion as a whole.




    Adventure Hooks: The Storykeepers

    - The PCs find themselves caught up in a feud between two families in the printing and bookbinding business. Although the two have been rivals for years, recently things have taken a more violent turn after the Reed family's new printing press was vandalised and the Bleu family's print blocks were smashed up. Investigation reveals that the latest conflict has been sparked by the arrival of a scholar offering the rights to print a very sizable number of books to the highest bidder, one who is apparently backed by an affluent but discreet organisaiton.

    - Whilst travelling to the setting of their next adventure, the PCs encounter a young bard who offers to travel with them and help them out for free. She acts as a cohort for the remainder of the adventure, taking notes about the PCs and the events that take place. If the PCs are charismatic enough, she may reveal herself to be a Storykeeper, part of a branch of the Storytellers devoted to recording history as it happens. A few months later, the PCs may hear of their own exploits in a tavern.

    - The PCs hear about a local librarian looking for a group of adventurers to investigate a local ruin for them. The librarian, Charlotte Thomas, offers them a sizeable sum to investigate the ruins in detail, bring back any antiquary relics and offers to pay them extra for a detailed written account of the affair.

    Charlotte Thomas (N Human Wiz 9)

    The humble caretaker of the North Antium library and bookshop, Charlotte also acts as librarian to the local mage guild's scroll and grimoire collection. Having pursued the arcane arts from a young age through the patronage of her parents, she first came to know of the Storytellers through her former lover, an older bard and adventurer. He inducted her into the group and after the relationship eventually turned sour she maintained the friendships she had made, using them to obtain research, knowledge and secrets to advance her personal ability as a wizard to relatively high skill for a woman still in her twenties. She graduated early from her apprenticeship and swiftly used her wit, charm and connections to secure positions in the local mundane and magical libraries. She is presently looking for ways to consolidate her position within the Storytellers and hopefully secure entry to the private libraries of the House.

    Charlotte has spent some months attempting to convince the local mayor of Antium to allow for and sponsor a school of mundane education in the town, thereby increasing Storyteller influence further in the area. The mayor, a particularly pious man, has generally thought the idea a good one but insisted the school be governed by the local Church. As this runs against Charlotte's own intentions she has opposed this and the two have been in something of a deadlock due to the mayor's doubts as to her moral character. Using her Listener contacts she has uncovered tales of an old temple to the local deity from several hundred years before, buried in an earthquake. She hopes that relics from the ruin or a detailed account of it as a gift to the mayor might persuade him of her faith and move the negotiation in her favour.


    The Storymakers have developed a few tools to help them in their overtaking of the literary industry of the continent.

    Profession (printer): Works as normal profession skills. Printers work in the printing industry operating presses, carving printing blocks and prints and sometimes manually printing out books. A printer must possess at the very least a set of printing blocks for each piece of literature he is copying. This can be crafted with a profession (printer) check, but a new set of blocks must be created for each work. Producing a new set of plates or blocks takes 1 hour per page and checks to earn money from the book cannot be made until the blocks are successfully made. A printer in possession of a printing press obtains a +4 circumstance bonus to all profession (printer) checks for which he has printing types prepared.

    Printing Press: This is a complicated mechanical device used to press metal plates or a series of lead types onto paper to produce prints. A press is the ideal tool for a printer, allowing fine detail in prints and prints to be created at a much greater rate than hand-printing would allow. It cannot be used to create copies of magical documents. A printing press has a market value of 500gp and requires successful profession (machinist) checks to make.


    In addition, the Storymakers have developed a few spells to help them arrive at the right moment for a tale to begin, then to record the events in as much detail as they can manage. These spells have proved of some use in the art of espionage, as well.

    Mnemonic
    Divination
    Level: Brd 1, Clr 1, Wiz/Sor 1
    Components: V, S, M
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Range: Personal/Touch (see description)
    Target: Object, Self
    Duration: See text
    Saving Throw: Will Negates
    Spell Resistance: Yes

    This spell records the experiences of the caster or subject for the next few moments and requires the caster to touch the subject (unless himself) and the quartz to be used. The spell records perfectly the events throughout the duration of the spell as perceived by the subject, down to every last sense (smell, touch, sight etc). If cast upon an unwilling or unknowing subject, the subject perceives a slight tingling when cast and may make a will save. On a successful save, the spell fails but the material component is not spent. Spell resistance applies automatically on unwilling or unknowing subjects. The spell lasts for a number of rounds equal to caster level multiplied by the caster's intelligence score, to a maximum of 50 rounds (five minutes). The duration is continuous and cannot be broken into several episodes of recording. The quartz used must be of sufficient quality to record this number of rounds or surplus rounds will not be recorded. If the spell is used to memorise documents, it typically takes 10 rounds to read a page of full text or a single scroll. The spell cannot be used to memorise spell formulae or spell scrolls. If used on a subject under the influence of modify memory who is reliving 5 minutes of a memory, that instance of reliving will be recorded as that is what the subject perceives.

    Material Component: A single piece of quartz worth at least 1sp per round to be recorded. (i.e. 1 piece worth 5sp for 5 rounds, not 5 pieces worth 1sp.)


    Total Recall
    Divination
    Level: Brd 2, Clr 2, Wiz/Sor 2
    Components: V, S, M
    Casting Time: Concentration
    Range: Touch
    Target: Object
    Duration: Up to 24 hours
    Saving Throw: None
    Spell Resistance: No

    This spell replays the experiences recorded on a gem by the mnemonic or greater mnemonic spells as direct sensory input to the caster, during which time the caster is completely oblivious to the outside world (automatically fails all checks and saves, although spell resistance still applies). The experiences take place in real time to the caster, although he is capable of stopping the replay instantly at any point (returning him to his own senses). When he concentrates on the gem again, the replay will continue from the point he left off at. The caster cannot rewind the experience to look at a previous part, nor fast forward through the slow parts, although when the recollection has ended it will return to the start of the recording. A recorded experience can be replayed up to three times before the gem burns out, turning it worthless.

    Material Component: The gem used to record the experiences for review.


    Greater Mnemonic
    Divination
    Level: Brd 3, Clr 4, Wiz/Sor 4
    Components: V, S, M
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Range: Personal/Touch (see description)
    Target: Object, Self
    Duration: See text
    Saving Throw: Will Negates
    Spell Resistance: Yes

    Works as the spell mnemonic, but has a duration of a number of minutes equal to caster level multiplied by the caster's intelligence, up to a maximum of 120 minutes.

    Material Component: A diamond worth at least 1gp per minute to be recorded.


    Narrative Precognition
    Divination
    Level: Brd 5, Clr 7, Wiz/Sor 7
    Components: V, S, M, F
    Casting Time: 2d6 minutes
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: See text
    Saving Throw: None
    Spell Resistance: No

    Provides the caster with details as to when and where the start of a series of events of significance (storylines) will occur, how significant an eventual impact it will have and how dangerous observation or taking part in the story will be. In the divine version of the spell, the names of any gods whose followings will be significantly affected by the spell are also mentioned. The spell only provides the timing and location of the start of storylines, many of which are apparently insignificant, and no details as to the actual subject matter of the events.

    If the event is to happen within 1 mile of the caster's location, the caster receives the exact location (down to the house or tree) and time (within 10 minutes) of the initial event. If within 10 miles, the location will be accurate to within about 500ft (the right street or field) and within 1 hour of the event. If within 100 miles, the location will be accurate to within a mile (the right town, village or general location) and within a day of the event. If the event takes place further than 100 miles away, the location will be accurate to within ten miles (a small county or city-state) and one week of the event.

    Significance may be ranked as being mundane (affects a family or small group), minor (affects a large group of people such as a village or guild), noteworthy (affects a town or series of villages), significant (affects a region, large town or small city), very significant (affects a large region or city), historically significant (affects a major city or country), globally significant (affects multiple countries or the whole world) or epic (affects multiple worlds, the cosmos or the standing of gods).

    Danger may be ranked as mundane (1st-2nd level encounter), minor (3rd-4th), moderate (5th-7th), risky (8th-9th), dangerous (10th-11th), very dangerous (12th-13th), foreboding (14th-15th), deadly (16th-17th), insane (18th-19th) or epic (20+).

    The spell can be cast randomly, during which it will reveal the start time and place of an event not previously forecasted, or can be used to re-forecast a previous forecasted event (possibly allowing for a more accurate prediction). The spell generally only forecasts events up to a year in advance.

    Material Component: Incense worth 10gp, to be burnt.
    Divine Focus: A font of holy water worth at least 200gp.
    Arcane Focus (mage): A crystal ball worth at least 200gp.
    Arcane Focus (bardic): An instrument worth at least 200gp, or sheet music from an epic piece of music to be sung worth at least 200gp.
    Last edited by Iituem; 2006-12-31 at 02:13 AM.

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    Default Re: The Storytellers (Org, Obj, Feat, Spell, Class)

    So, I put this to you! Given this is my first (well, second now) post to the forums, I figured I might as well come in with a bang. Any thoughts, suggestions, balance issues, blazing complaints?

    I did use the description format of the Literati for writing this (apologies to Amber E. Scott!) and several aspects of the Storytellers are similar, although hopefully I've committed a feeling that the overall drive is somewhat different, even though both organisations deal with the flow of knowledge. Whereas the Literati are devoted to the accumulation of knowledge and information, the Storytellers are devoted to the accumulation of good stories. The fact that they happen to possess very effective methods of espionage to do this has mostly led to their surreptitious activities as a side-path to provide funding.

    In other words, hopefully this has more of a feel of a society of Masons than the Illuminati!

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    Default Re: The Storytellers (Org, Obj, Feat, Spell, Class)

    wow, very nice

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    Default Re: The Storytellers (Org, Obj, Feat, Spell, Class)

    It's great! Do you mind if I use the spells for an archaeological expedition?

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    Default Re: The Storytellers (Org, Obj, Feat, Spell, Class)

    Feel free. After all, it's Homebrew. They might need further balancing, though, as they're the most dubious bit of the stats.

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    Default Re: The Storytellers (Org, Obj, Feat, Spell, Class)

    I am thoroughly impressed. I had a similar idea for some magical items and spells--but they would copy down in writing. In one instance, a magical book would only record ongoing conversation. Another instance, a vial of ink when poured over a surface and wiped off would reveal a detailed, written account of the scene when the magical ink was activated, et cetera, et cetera.

    I might not use the Listener prestige class, but those spells are mighty nice. Just one thing, the description of the material component, it's slightly ambiguous (or I found it so). I know it means that a piece of quartz that's 5sp is worth 5 rounds of recording, not that I need 5 quartzes worth 1sp a piece to record 5 rounds worth--I'm not sure how to reword that, though.
    Nicolaos of Aepternacos


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    Default Re: The Storytellers (Org, Obj, Feat, Spell, Class)

    Edited to clarify.

    I originally considered using a written format (e.g. books, scrolls) for the mnemonics, but preferred the idea of writers literally re-living their experience before penning it to paper.

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