Friends at the Table is an actual play podcast about critical worldbuilding, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends. Find us (and a listener guide) @Friends_Table on Twitter.
May 25, 2017
I don’t know if this device will transmit over this distance, so I’m gonna be brief.
This place is just like you said it would be.
The Sonorous Academy still stands.
The Paladin and the Ranger are here. Phantasmo, no, the Wizard is not, but I must confirm what they claim. I don’t understand.
I’m closer to the Original Pattern than any archivist or mage has been in ages, but I cannot close the distance. The nearer I get, the more twisted the route.
May 19, 2017
I do not understand.
The Northern Exarch and the Paladin walk only on the Surface Path. Why did we not educate them? Why did we not bring them into the Warm Shade of the Son? If we had brought them into His Mystery, they would be able to better sew the north for His return.
I defer to you here, in your parish, but do not forget that Exarchs and Prelates are equals under His Eyes. I have every right to begin the initiation that you do. And if I sense hesitation instead of Confidence, I will act. Just as He did.
May 12, 2017
They pursue two patterns. They showed me only the first until today, but I’ve finally gained their trust! I’ve marked what I understand with an X, and seek your guidance on the rest. Brackets are lacunic markers, as in Roak’s Notation.
A Lukewarm Sun, Bowing - X
A Room of Seeded Prisms
Two lodestar [...]
May 5, 2017
I write to you in fear.
“To be Justiciar,” I was told “is to be unwavering in loyalty, determined in diligence, and zealous in the pursuit of justice.” I was not told that it would be like herding lions. Couriers come and go with reports and notes. Blood of Fire and Blood of Steel bicker over what I ought do with what I’ve found:
A world, underground. No, not a world. Worlds. They reflect a eerie past I do not know, but echo beauty, too, the beauty of irregularity, of uneven possibility. I told them about this place, this new civilization—real civilization, an exchange, you know? An exchange. Yet when I receive note from Fire and Steel, they wi [...]
April 27, 2017
Something is wrong.
I am no great pattern worker. I know a few techniques that aid me in my duty: How to lower the light of an already dim bar room; how to sharpen a blade without a whetstone; how to make voice twice itself. Even to call these ‘techniques,’ feels false: They are tricks. I know that. But I also know this: The world is askew.
There is a simple pattern I do when trying to find mirrors: I break an egg onto a large, north-facing rock and then break the yolk with something made of copper. The yolk splits in two, and from how it falls, I know which direction to travel. Except for the past month, the yolk doesn’t split, it sh [...]
April 20, 2017
Thank you for the hospitality on my visit. Thus far, it has been the only trustworthy thing in this gnarled subterrane.
This place confounds me, brother. On my trip to our Lord, I saw things I know have never been true: A vision of the Fallow Traitor’s cold city spread far and wide thru the continent whole, except it bore a symbol akin to our Warm Sun’s. In another, the sky had been covered, or… no, it was if it had fallen in, as if pieces of the heavens had collapsed and crowded the world. I saw the ruined college, rebuilt, or, no, it wasn’t destroyed in the first place.[...]
April 14, 2017
It took two months, but I’ve finally convinced Tel and Havelton to see things my way.
For weeks, the old man spent the day attending to his dandelions, and dismissing me whenever I ran new apparitive patterns by him. He’d shake his head, cough out a grumble, and rattle on about some absurd, missing component: A “tower of tomorrow’s light.” The “speaking sands of Rosemerrow.” A new archive of “broken, whole mirrors.” A “stolen fiddle in its home.”
But I did it. He asked me for a lukewarm sun, and I’ve given it to him. In their whispers, they still speak against our pursuit, but they can not deny my results any longer. [...]
April 6, 2017
Living Blood of Fire,
As my second reported, and I have confirmed, the first threshold has been sealed. I have walked the remains of that twisted museum myself, through the wing of turned mirrors, under the second sky, past the… chaos. It was chaos there, Fire, nonsense, impossible to comprehend. I reached for a goblet that caught my eye, and when I lifted it, it turned to a leaf. Whatever the star-fiend did there burned more than just wood and brick. It put torch to the real.
I tell you this because there was a new incident. I’m writing from Wharfhurst, a trading post south of the city. The locals—dwarfs, mostly—talk of a tower rising “higher than Hieron itself.” I see no such thing, and yet… another threshold [...]
March 31, 2017
Please read this week’s classification updates carefully.
For the next month, it is imperative that “textile” carpets be subdivided by specific material (“wool,” “hair,” and “fur” are not interchangeable.)
The ban on the classification of actors has been lifted, and new categories have been established. Use “living,” for traditionally sentient lives, “breathing” for those who retain material form despite mortal wounds, and “being” for those who have lost bodies but not selves. The “dead” remain dead, and the prohibition remains in place.
March 24, 2017
War is coming to Velas. Ordenna is coming to Velas. And while I believe in the strength of the velasian people and in the resolve of the church and, as much as I would hate to admit it, in the benevolence of Ordenan occupation, I cannot continue to serve our lord if I need to worry about my family, about Rosana and Benajamin living under the heel of Ordenan rule. Of my actions potentially impacting them, of them not getting to see me come home. I know this is a big ask, I need you to get my family to Rosemarrow.
There is another matter that weighs on my mind, Exarch, but I do not know that I have it in me to do what must be done. If you do not hear from me again, we will leave it at that. But if you receive a second letter, please kno [...]
March 16, 2017
TO: Impetor Fela Malle
Living Blood of Steel, I have it. It is at the top of the tower, in a room my soldiers cleared of tables and chairs and old shelves. The room is bare, and it stands in the centre. Forgive me if my handwriting reveals my tiredness, I will set the words alone for clarity:
I have it.
I spent the last night, awake, watching it and its light was so bright. It did not burn my eyes. One of my soldiers tried to draw it, and when they were finished I looked down at the paper and the difference—it was more than an inaccurate representation. To look at it, to trace the drawing’s imperfections with my eyes, made me furious.
March 10, 2017
I’ve heard whispers from spies and rumors from stewards, and it sounds like you’ve got your hands on something really special. Something that could really change the way things have been going for you and yours. And well…
Listen, MG, I like to think I know you pretty well. Balion and I won’t ever forget what you did for us, and more importantly, that you had very little to gain from doing it. You are the greatest force of justice I’ve ever known, and a constant reminder of what it means to be a leader.
People tell me that I have a hard life all the time. Beset on all sides by the unctuous and the bickering, the petty and the envious, the p [...]
March 3, 2017
This is a weird one, and I almost didn’t bring it to your attention, but Carver insisted. There was this guy shouting out near the Westshore-Upon-Scene theater, you know? And these folks, they yell all the time to try and get people to come to their plays, but this was seriously weird. He was speaking nonsense–a bunch of words about plays and whatever, but not really saying much at all. But he was surrounded by people anyway. Just staring at him. When we took him in for questioning, he totally locked up. No name, no address, nothing… except a sheet of paper with a script of the exact nonsense he was saying. Here, I copied it for you:
People! Learn about your imperative national theater! Hear eclectic dramas and [...]
Feb. 24, 2017
TO: Chief-Justiciar Qinta Quatróna
Living Blood of Fire, you know I write you this at great peril, because it is you who imperils me. But whatever my ambition—and whatever your animus towards me for it—know I hold one thing in greater esteem in myself: Our nation. And I have seen with my eyes a more dire threat to our home than any plague, any animated corpse, any beast.
I saw it that night, in the museum, but denied it for a full day. My report on the events there list only an anomaly brought on by the magic of the fraudulent archeologist. But whatever this is, it’s the opposite of an illusion. It’s somehow more real than what’s around us. Not less.
Feb. 16, 2017
Associate van der Dawes,
There are actually three distinct sections to the treaty that allows the Golden Lance to operate in Rosemerrow, and I came upon them quite strangely, in three different ways. At first, I received the end of the document, a series of bound pages traded to me in exchange for a collection of measuring spoons. The document did not identify the parties; Presumably this occurred in the introduction, and for this reason I did not know what I had. And then, after several weeks, the introduction came into my possession, slipped between the second and third chapters of a copy of an old law book that smelled of sea salt. That city in the south, the city on the island was mentioned, as were “Lance Nobles,” as was a system of justice and governance that was as fiery as it was sure. Combining the two, it became clear that an agreement had been made. In exchange for their services, the [...]
Feb. 10, 2017
Sorry for being so late to announce an off this week but we need a little extra time to make a big special thing a little more special. We tried to make this a fun one for you in the mean time, so be well and see you next week!
Feb. 4, 2017
It’s been four days since His sun left us, Tutor.
On the first morning without it, I woke early–before its light would have graced us on a normal day–and, when I found sleep too hard to return to, I put on my sandals and took to the empty streets of Velas. The soft shuffle of my steps echoed with the other pre-dawn murmurs of my seaside city.
The gulls called, and they called for me, so I followed past the lingering smells of a rowdy night before. And they called for me, so I stepped through the sand blown threw the gardens. And they called for me, and so I walked, and as I walked, my mind drifted, and I tried to recall if we ever listened to the gulls together, and I wondered if you had ever called for me.
Jan. 27, 2017
Departure: 2TE,3M / Arrival: 4OL,3M
Received By: Exarch Alyosha, Church of Samothes, District of the Sun, Velas
Articles of Shipment:
Four (4) Large Enhydro Crystals (Smokey, wrapped & crated)
Jan. 20, 2017
Do I yet write to an empty room? An empty desk? An empty page? Or do you remain, too busy with your work to respond? Or, perhaps I can lure your eyes from your sense of duty, as I learned to do years ago.
Let me try, at least, with another story from my childhood.
As you know, the Grand Tour makes endless, circuitous route across the east with no regard for what is below it. Water, earth, air, blood–it strides over each with little regard, so determined it is in the necessity of its pace.
The first time I saw it appear on the horizon, I pulled on the prelate’s sleeve and found only the sort of questions children ask. “Is that a new sort of se [...]
Jan. 13, 2017
I promised you once that I would not ask the question ever again. That whatever our differences, however foolish your faith, I would respect your wish and let it rest. You told me that if I did not relent, you would stop responding all together, and I feared…
No. That is not why I gave up on you. It is because you made the case clearly, with strict logic and rhetoric curved sharp: If I did not accept your decision to remain in Rosemerrow—and now, in Velas—that I would be betraying the most fundamental of the precepts I teach: That we are each of us a world unto ourselves [...]