Phoenix Dawn Command – Journal Entry #4 – Varya

**Editor’s Note: We will be featuring some character backstories & recaps from our new Phoenix Dawn Command actual play series over the coming weeks. Be sure to watch the adventure LIVE every Saturday night at 5p PDT/8p EDT on twitch.tv/savingthrowshow!**

by Mac Beauvais

After crushing the orb, Varya was sucked from life and unceremoniously dumped back into hell: the Crucible. The inky blackness held the reverberating chiding echo of her past failures. But there was something new, and somehow familiar.

Varya felt herself moving through the dark, trancelike, pulled by something deep inside. She walked for what seemed like miles to arrive at a rectangular obelisk only slightly taller than herself. The area around it was illuminated by a pale, pulsating glow. Circling it, she came to the front and flinched at movement. The obelisk, it turned out, was a mirror.

She studied her reflection, a creeping fear sinking into her bones. Before her she watched as her form morphed, driving her appearance another step toward bestial. Her eyes flared with yellow fire, her teeth crept further from the gum line, her nose flattened slightly, her shoulders broadened and hunched, and pointed ear tips slid through hair bleaching out to dark silver.

Tangible tendrils of fear slithered from the mirror and wrapped themselves about her, binding to her, becoming her. Then she understood, this was her next stage as a Phoenix. The thing that terrified her could also be her weapon. The very element of fear. She would put it to good use.

With this realization and acceptance of what she must do, the fire that would transport her back to Pyre blazed forth from the mirror. She closed her eyes and stepped in.

Her landing back in Pyre was less gentle than before and the people in the room greeted her with significantly less enthusiasm. She preferred this to the cheers of her first arrival.

She returned to her wing. Eerie was not yet present, but Idalia and Ink were. She gave a studying look at Ink who had not too long ago been inside her head. There was a look in his eyes but whether it was concern or fear, she did not know.

What followed were a few uneventful weeks. Varya took what time should could to seclude herself and reflect on her most recent trip through the Crucible. She wondered how many more deaths before she might become the monster she feared she would. Perhaps even like the Skinchangers despised in the Deep Grimwald.

When Eerie finally arrived back at Pyre the wing was quickly dispatched on another mission. A township had been infected with the Chant, perhaps the most insidious of the Dread’s many forms that caused all who heard it to join in; mindless slaves to the Dread’s bidding. They were further tasked to retrieve a doctor who may hold crucial information for the war.

Their arrival at the town was met with mixed reactions. Some seemed glad for the Phoenixes, some were confused, a few even mad. The local guard quickly ushered them to a secluded place where they could speak.

The militia had already begun preparations of a final option that would obliterate the building that had been infected by the Chant. A building containing whole families, upward of four hundred individuals inside. Worse yet, they planned to use Brass Dragons, a weapon developed for extermination of the Phoenixes now to be turned on their own population.

The wing argued with the guard, in their own ways, to allow them time to stem the threat without the Dragons. Varya in particular fiercely told the captain it was unacceptable that the people tasked with protecting the town do this and that their credibility would be lost among the citizenry if they did.

In the end they bought three hours. Twenty minutes were lost to the rough climb to the building’s roof. When they finally reached it, they were greeted there by a small legion of Chanters, all beyond rescue. The wing fought bravely to take them all down. Varya did not savor the grim task, even as she hurled her attackers off the roof.

When it seemed they had just about won, a Whisperer appeared, volatile and hovering above the ground in the body of a young girl. Together they lay hits on her until Varya could leap through the debris now circling the girl like a planetary movement, snagging her by the ankles and slamming her into the encircling blocks of mortar.

They entered the building, the smell of it all slamming into Varya’s canine-sharp senses. A rancid combination of blood, excrement, and above it all, fear.

Avoiding roving groups of Chanters, they located two survivors whose ears were cleverly blocked up against the Chant. With help from Ink, they were able to tell the wing where to find the doctor.

On their way to the medical ward, another Whisperer tried to halt their progress and a feeling overcame Varya. The Chant had somehow permeated her. Foreign words encroached on her mind, not unlike Ink’s entry into her head. She was able to fight it off, but not before a fragment of the Chant had passed to Ink.

It took some doing but they took down the Whisperer and reached their target in the ward. Varya hung to the back of the group, concerned her appearance might be alarming, especially given the doctor’s familiarity with the Dread, including Skinchangers, but he seemed unconcerned.

The doctor agreed to join the Phoenix’s cause, but only on the condition that they help evacuate the innocent survivors. He also proposed that a counter-Chant might be possible with Idalia’s help.

Idalia was unsure, the potential ramifications of failure chipped at her confidence. While it may have been easier to just knock out the doctor and take him by force as Eerie suggested, Varya remembered why she was sent to the Crucible in the first place. Her death had been the failure of her tribe to look beyond themselves to the outside world. She told Idalia of this and that it was their duty to take the chance and potentially have a new weapon in the war against the Dread.

Everyone bracing for the worst, they could breathe a sigh of relief when a counter-Chant was created, strong enough to shield them for a time so long as they didn’t attack. The wing used this to slip down to the bottom floors where the dense concentration of Chanters and Whisperers attempted to shake down the building thus releasing their disease into the surrounding town.

Working quickly, it was ascertained that the source of the infectious power was a black shard being circled by the Whisperers. To try and buy some time for the team to destroy it, Varya kicked a small cooking fire into the crowd, breaking the shielding of the counter-Chant on herself.

As they fought, Eerie, the quickest among them, was able to weave through and take hold of the shard. But it was strong, so much that the power was felt buzzing through the wing. Together they concentrated their inner sparks, channeling them to Eerie who was able to crush the shard as he himself dissolved to ash as it claimed his life.

The battle was won.

The Phoenixes stayed to help clean up the aftermath, and soon they were joined by a reborn Eerie. It was time for the wing to return to Pyre, the doctor and an engineer who asked to join them in tow. They boarded a boat and set out across the dark waters toward Pyre.

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Phoenix Dawn Command – Journal Entry #3 – Idalia

**Editor’s Note: We will be featuring some character backstories of our new Phoenix Dawn Command over the coming weeks. Be sure to watch the adventure LIVE every Saturday night at 5p PDT/8p EDT on twitch.tv/savingthrowshow!**

by Tara Strand

I felt a short-lived thrill to be in Ilona again. Even though memories of my mortal life have a haze over them (which is possibly a merciful thing), being Ilonan still feels like it has some relevance to who I am now. But the situation we walked into bore little resemblance to the Ilona I knew. There’s a strange comfort in knowing some things can still jar me.

Despite my latest rebirth and the success of our first mission, I also did not feel at my full capabilities; I felt diminished somehow. But my faith in my wingmates, in what I am now, and in the power of the Dawn sustained me. I’m grateful it was enough.

Art by Kris Cooper via DeviantArt.

Art by Kris Cooper via DeviantArt.

I’ve since come to learn that when Mercury is in retrograde it can have a degenerative effect on me; something I will need to learn to compensate for. Perhaps my next death will aid me in this. Always the bright side…
While dealing with The Chanters there was a change since my last Crucible that struck me. My necessary acceptance that they were lost. I felt the same determination to save any and every mortal possible and to prioritize their well-being and healing over being the first in to take down a threat, but once I trusted The Chanters to be a lost cause it was far easier to release sorrow or mercy for them in the face of what these creatures could do to anyone not yet lost. To face what needed to be done. When I later learned that not all who have a brush with The Chanters necessarily need to fall I was immensely grateful for this understanding, and for all the faces before me who were one less life The Dread would have today. But with that the eyes of those we had to dispose of came rushing through my mind. I saw so much in those eyes. I’ll do them the honor of maintaining in my memory the lives lived that I perceived behind those eyes; behind the fear. Ink may be of some help in commemorating their existence.
My last Crucible also allowed me another mercy; acceptance. To not dwell in regrets. Perhaps we could’ve known sooner and arrived sooner and saved more. These thoughts do me no good. I have faith that we’re shifting the balance as much as possible every day. I am comforted by the effective new weapon we have against The Chanters; a new means to cut off a limb from The Dread. And I am proud of the beautifully-earned death that Eerie died. He took claim of his considerable gifts and spared us all much. I wonder if he would be terribly averse to a hug next we meet…

 

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Phoenix Dawn Command – Journal Entry #2 – Ink

**Editor’s Note: We will be featuring some character backstories of our new Phoenix Dawn Command over the coming weeks. Be sure to watch the adventure LIVE every Saturday night at 5p PDT/8p EDT on twitch.tv/savingthrowshow!**

by Michael Robert Holmes

Letters from Pyre, from the Phoenix known as “Ink.”

I’m not sure whose eyes this is meant for, but as it seems my continuing path to chronicle the incredible events that befall me and my colleagues, I shall write ‘til the words flow no more. This particular dispatch follows the events surrounding my first mission as a Phoenix, lately of The Wing who has taken to calling themselves “The Reborn.”

It did not end well, but what a path that led us to The Dusk and back again!

The singular feeling of being disintegrated and remade by The Imperial Flame is unlike anything I have the appropriate words to describe. If nothing else in my life, I shall endeavor to find those words. To say nothing of the confrontation with the foul beings of The Dread that met us as soon as we arrived at the compromised Aerie. Truly, if I’m to tell these tales as they’re meant to be told, I shall have to expand my vocabulary greatly.

rg_studio_the_gray_mouser

Art by Randy Gallegos.

There are a number of things that I have learned thanks to this first adventure as a Phoenix:

  1. The Harvester of Fear is very, very real. The cost of this knowledge was my life, as well as that of my Wingmates Varya and Iridia. While it’s true we have others, I will not so brashly face this fiend face-to-face again. My hope is that our surviving Wingmate, Eerie, made it back to Pyre unharmed.
  2. My Wing are capable in their own ways, and for as short a time as we’ve known each other I feel we have a camaraderie lacking in my mortal existence. At least, from what little I remember of it. They tell me these shadows may fall away as my time serving The Flame draws on, but there is no guarantee.
  3. The Bitter known as Varya has secrets even SHE is unaware, and the beast that dwells within her is powerful indeed. We shared time in the flame, and while I don’t relish the thought of that happening again, I am very eager to help her explore these mysteries…

As I sit and write this, it strikes me the light cascading from The Imperial Flame through my chamber’s window seems to be passing through me in fits and starts. Then in the next moment my flesh is as solid as ever. Fascinating. Terrifying. I suppose, however, that this new life will have many amazing and dumfounding things to show me before my 7th death.

May that day be a very, VERY long time coming.

For now, dear reader, I shall leave us all to ponder these wonders, and to study The Dread further that the light may overcome the dark.

Yours in Service,

Ink.

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Phoenix Dawn Command – Journal Entry #1 – Varya

**Editor’s Note: We will be featuring some character backstories of our new Phoenix Dawn Command over the coming weeks. Be sure to watch the adventure LIVE every Saturday night at 5p PDT/8p EDT on twitch.tv/savingthrowshow!

by Mac Beauvais

When Varya emerged from the flame of the Aerie to a cheering throng she was taken aback by the inappropriateness of the gesture. After all, she had just been spat out from her Crucible which had been nothing if not a personal hell.

Her Crucible had been cruel. After being slain by The Dread in her mortal life, she had awoken in a place of darkness with the echoes of her faults and failures engulfing her, threatening to swallow her into nothingness. Her tribe in the Deep Grimwald had promised that all those who died would go on to join the Spirits of the Wild, but instead she had received this punishment for her failures.

She returned to the living world after what seemed like aeons, feeling very different than she had in her first life. Somehow more bestial; attuned to her berserker wolf spirit in more than just mind.

She was quickly escorted to a group of individuals who also had returned with extraordinary powers and was told this was the “wing” with which she was to serve the Empire. Though a part of her found it all very confusing, there was also a sense that it was right and natural.

Art by aobtd88 via Deviantart.

Art by aobtd88 via Deviantart.

It wasn’t long before this tiny group was deployed to check on the status of another Aerie which had sent a distress signal before going quiet. Third in line to teleport in, she arrived to a room of chaos, a Dreadknight waging battle with her team.

This Dreadknight was part of The Dread that had ended her first life, and seeing it caused a rage to boil inside her. In a flash she bolted to the foe, lifting and slamming him into a weapon rack repeatedly.

She and her wing continued the fray, and to her surprise, each injury inflicted on her moved her further down the path to beast. Her pelt cloak began to meld into her skin and she could feel her bones twisting unnaturally. It made her feel stronger, but also somehow a little less in control.

At last the Dreadknight was defeated and the wing was free to continue to secure the rest of the Aerie. They descended down stairs into a miasma that caused their deepest fears to bubble to the surface. She had a vision of herself too far gone into the beast, a monster out of control. With the help of the only wing member she felt might understand her, Eerie, and some strong ale, she was able to steel herself enough to continue.

The scene they encountered at the bottom of the stairs was a nightmare. Ink made a valiant attempt to attack their foes but was dispensed with, his body falling to ash. Then something unexpected happened, Varya could feel him in her head. His abilities adding strength to hers. She already had enough conflicting things in her head that this addition was more frustrating than anything.

She moved to attack, wrapping great chains around her forearms to pummel the enemy with. She took more wounds, and at some point, something inside her snapped. She moved quickly and fiercely, nearly in a trance. The beast had assumed control and didn’t calm until her enemy was destroyed, leaving behind an orb of great power and destructive capabilities.

Thanks to Ink speaking into her mind they learned that the best course of action was to destroy it, but that one of them would die in the process. As her teammates argued over who should be the one to do this thing, Varya smashed the orb and dragged the fear contained within back into her own hell, her Crucible. Besides, what was a little more fear to that place?

Posted in General, How We Roll Tagged with: ,

Gen Con 2016 with Saving Throw

It’s that time of year again! Time for dice rolling, board game playing, bar hopping, cosplaying, True Dungeoning good times at the annual North American mecca of gaming that is….Gen_Con_logo.svg_

This year we at Saving Throw will be traveling to Indianapolis to partake in the festivities and have a little fun ourselves. And you can join us! Check out the schedule here for a chance to be part of our live recording! And be sure to follow us on Instagram & Twitter for live updates from the convention!

Are you a game developer or designer and would like to show off your game? Send us a message via our Contact Us page and we’ll get back to you to try and set up a meeting!

We’re going to have prizes, some exclusives for Gen Con, and of course a live recording of Barky’s Brigade. If you’re not going to Gen Con this year but know someone who is, why not tell them to find us! There might even be something in it for you! 😉

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Upcoming Events

Aug
29
Mon
4:00 pm A Knick-Knack on Every Corpse
A Knick-Knack on Every Corpse
Aug 29 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Fallout 4 playthrough with Meghan Caves (Black Bag)
7:30 pm Monday Night DUNGEON FIGHT
Monday Night DUNGEON FIGHT
Aug 29 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Tom pits several players against each other, or against a common enemy, to see whose character reigns supreme. And YOU can influence the game and bet on the winners! Watch on Twitch!
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4:00 pm Adventures in Adventuring @ twitch.tv/savingthrowshow
Adventures in Adventuring @ twitch.tv/savingthrowshow
Aug 30 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Join Jordan Callarman as he plays through some old school point & click RPGs!
8:00 pm Rhoades Legacy
Rhoades Legacy
Aug 30 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Tyler Rhoades and his toddler son Henry play video games and learn the basics of RPGs. Watch on Twitch!
Aug
31
Wed
7:30 pm Barky’s Brigade
Barky’s Brigade
Aug 31 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
The continuing adventures of the world’s most eclectic and dysfunctional “family.” Watch on Twitch!

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