Welcome to the SDMB Pathfinder Game! This is the game thread, for in-character posts, direct statements about what actions your character will take, and short out-of-character questions to myself and other players that are directly about the game, like planning your actions and decisions. The setup thread is for lengthy out-of-character questions, comments, and long-term plans, as well as off-topic items as they come up. I’m going to use the same color conventions that we’ve used in similar games in the past: Green Text is out-of-character, and Blue Text for magic and magic items. You don’t have to follow those conventions, but it does help keep things clear.
This game is loosely set in a Europe of the Middle Ages. Any events, people, cultures, wars, and places between the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and the Eastern Roman Empire in 1453 are fair game. Anachronisms will run rampant, and I’m perfectly OK with that. In addition, this is a world filled with magic, magical creatures, and semi-human races like dwarves, elves, hobbits, and orcs are likewise common. Dwarves dwell mainly within hills and mountains, though some few live in Dwarven neighborhoods in human cities where they sell the excellent creations of their mountain workshops, and occasionally work on commission for those few who can afford it. Elves seem to have no particular homeland; they travel the seas and land trade routes both as independent traders and as part of the vast Elvish trading companies. Hobbits live mixed in with humans nearly everywhere, from the smallest hamlets to the largest cities, though they have a reputation as petty thieves, and orcs usually exist only on the fringes of human societies, as they have a fearsome reputation as raiders, pirates, and brigands.
This game starts in Genoa, Italy, on a hot summer afternoon. Genoa of this era is a republic, governed by a Doge selected for life (though frequently deposed before the end of their lives) from among the leading families in a thoroughly corrupt election, and is among the richest and most influential cities in Italy. Genoese merchants and trading companies compete with other Italian traders across the Mediterranean, punctuated with short, brutal wars with its wealthy neighbors like Florence and Pisa. All the while, powerful families vie for control of not only the city but the Papal See itself. The present Doge of Genoa, Giacomo Valente, has held that office for seven years, and his Valente clan is a perennial powerhouse in the city’s political infighting.
Genoese politics are the furthest thing from everyone’s minds today, though, as today is the height of the Summer Fair, an annual event where merchants from across the world gather to trade valuable cloth, priceless spices, and precious metals and gems, along with more mundane fare. Dozens of languages can be heard, from the common Italian of the locals to the Spanish, Arabic, Greek, and German of foreign traders, while the elegant Elvish of the trading families mixes with the guttural Dwarven tongue. Merchants’ shops, stalls, stands, and tables run the entire length of the docks and all the way up through the Piazza de Ferrari, the city square, overlooked by the Doge’s Palace, and thousands of fair-goers mingle with the merchants, from elegantly dressed nobles to the most ragged of the peasants. Children (and hobbits) dart through the crowd, deftly avoiding contact with larger folk.
Quite a crowd has gathered in the Piazza de Ferrari around the creaking wooden cart of one Zachary Hawkins (Malacandra), alchemist, late of England, whose lightning-fast patter is serving him well today, while his compatriot, a tattooed giant who Hawkins refers to as “Aji the Brute” (Miller), stripped to the waist and studded with metal piercings, moves heavy wooden crates and rugged woolen sacks with seeming ease. At the rear of the crowd, enjoying the show, are Solsken (John DiFool), a tattooed and half-shaven Norsemen with a falcon perched on his fist, and his companion Harald Ragnarsson (Kobal2), a hulking giant from the North with a giant axe in one hand and a skin of cheap wine in the other. At the front of the crowd, conspicuous in flowing robes and red jewelry, is a young black man, Taye (G0sp3l), carefully studying Hawkins’ collection of ingredients while paying no attention whatsoever to the alchemist’s patter. A slender young man (Joseph Beneviste, Johnny Bravo) in fashionable silks stands nearby, smiling at the comic patter of the alchemist, though his hand just barely brushing the hilt of his long sword. And leaning inconspicuously in the shade of a tree, out of the hustle and bustle of the main street, is Giacomo Martinus (Larry Borgia), pickpocket and cutpurse, who seems to be observing the crowd more than the alchemist that the crowd has gathered to watch.
As the hot afternoon wears on, the crowd only thickens, with foreigners and locals alike enjoying the excitement. The crowd around Zachary’s cart ebbs and flows as customers make their purchases and leave to make room for further patrons. The air over the roofs of the palazzos of the great Genoese families ripples in the heat, but the day otherwise seems perfectly still.
Link to Setup thread.