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Old 04-08-2010, 04:39 AM
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Default Sidana's timeline, part 2 of 2

I've started the second half of the timeline several times, but it just keeps ballooning. I tried for a mostly bare-bones listing of dates and offices/positions in Kindred society, so as to keep the Weight of the World's Backstory off your shoulders for a time, though it wasn't completely successful. The stuff in the 17-18th centuries (especially 17th) is more fleshed out in my mind than other times are. I might add more details at some point, but this'll do for a start.

1600-1641: Sidana continues as Toreador Primogen of Paris.

* Gwynnis wakes up in 1603, and returns to Paris the following year.

* Having returned from the Inner Circle Conclave in Venice as the newly installed Toreador Justicar, Gwynnis Embraces Anneke in Paris in late 1641, after an attack on both the Prince of Paris and the Tremere Chantry.

1642-1670: Archon in London and the surrounding countryside

* Sidana becomes one of Gwynnis's archons, but is not Blood Bonded to her sire.

* Sidana more or less splits her time evenly between London and missions in the field until the Great Plague and Great Fire in 1665-66, at which point she gives up field operations and makes a play for the throne.

1670-1805: Prince of London

* After a hotly contested first 15-20 years of her reign, Sidana establishes her authority in London. Gwynnis and Meerlinda are Sidana's two most influential supporters in this time, though Gwynnis still spends a great deal of time in the field. Gwynnis retires to London after her fourth term as Toreador Justicar ends in 1693, and Anneke also settles in the city at this time.

* Rebekka comes to London around the turn of the 18th century. Queen Anne is embraced by a Ventrue methuselah early in her reign as Queen of England, but the ploy does not re-establish Ventrue primacy in the city.

* Sidana embraces an obscure but talented soprano named Magdalene Defoe months after Queen Anne's Embrace.

* During the first half of the 18th century, Sidana's personal power and her influential allies renders her position as Prince of London virtually unassailable. Many of her key allies leave the city during the second half of the 18th cnetury, for various reasons.

* Sidana abdicates the throne of London after a second ritual slaying of Gwynnis shortly before the Battle of Trafalgar. She returns to Paris and assumes the Toreador seat on the Primogen Council after a few years in the city.

1809-1871: Toreador Primogen of Paris, redux

* Gwynnis reawakens in the late 1820s.

* Rebekka and Anneke visit Paris several times, though rarely both at once. It is clear that there has been some estrangement between them during this time.

* Sidana eventually helps smooth out the differences between the sisters, who both work behind the scenes in 1860s Berlin as part of an effort to engineer a Prussian invasion of France.

1871-1940: Prince of Paris

* Sidana's reign in Paris is bookended by the Prussian capture of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War and Germany's advance on the city in WWII.

1940-1944: Exile in London

* Queen Anne, now Prince of London, treats Sidana better than most refugees from western continental Europe because of the mercy she showed Anne after her illicit Embrace.

* The third ritual slaying of Gwynnis occurs in September 1940, after an engagement at Glastonbury against hostile supernatural forces.

1944-1947: Paris Interlude

* Sidana rapidly wearies of life in Paris, and heads for the US.

1947-1959: Toreador elder of Boston

* Sidana learns that the ennui and restlessness she felt in Paris was largely engineered by Councilor Meerlinda, who has operated from Boston for the past two centuries.

* Gwynnis reawakens from torpor a decade after Sidana's arrival to Boston, and follows her childe there.

1959-1983: Prince of Boston

* Sidana sires her second childe, Lonnie Ball, around 1970.

* The growing threat of the Sabbat on the East Coast in the 1970s prompts Gwynnis to make another play for the office of Toreador Justicar in the years leading up to the 1983 Inner Circle Conclave.

1983-1984: Archon in Detroit

*This time around, Gwynnis forms a Blood Bond over Sidana.

* Sidana presumably disappears after an engagement with the Sabbat on October 30-31, 1984.
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Old 04-15-2010, 04:31 PM
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Default Meerlinda comes to Cardiff (October 1588), part 1 of 3

This is the event covered in the flashback triggered by the arrival of the Malkavians to New Orleans:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Detritus View Post
Meerlinda comes to Cardiff after the Spanish threat subsides. Sidana harbors a great deal of resentment and bitterness towards the Councilor at first, prompting Meerlinda to reveal the depth of her relationship with Gwynnis, whom she still refers to as Gwen. The Councilor eventually persuades Sidana to return to Paris.
The first part is a flashback, the second part will be a flashback within the flashback, and the third part will be the denouement.

=====================

The chill of deepening autumn barely touches you while you watch the dappled reflection of the rising quarter moon from the window of the little seaside cottage. You once again contemplate retiring for the day without closing the shutters, and dismiss the notion as quickly as you had each time before. Brooding in solitude already pushed the bounds of self-indulgence, a part of you realizes, but throwing away nearly five centuries of existence in a fit of childish pique was well out of bounds.

Once you had helped arrange a fitting repose for your sire, you dropped your spear and went northwest when the Tremere had headed east for London. You kept going until you reached the coast, then swam for miles and miles across the Bristol Channel, as if the swim could wash away the memory of what you had just done, and barely made it to Cardiff before sunrise. When you had left Glastonbury, you did not know whether you would ever take up the spear again, and your swim had not provided any clarity of thought.

Your ten weeks in solitude have kept you from learning of the outcome of the mission that had started with the ritual slaying of Gwynnis. A pang of guilt momentarily chills you in a way that has nothing to do with the weather. There had been unseasonably strong storms a few weeks ago, yet they were storms that had come from the west. Perhaps the Councilor had needed the time and distance to bring the storms to bear for full effect?

A flicker of motion, barely sensed in the gloom, draws your eye slightly upwards. Looking more across the water instead of at the surface near the coast, you sharpen your senses, and strain to resolve whatever it was that had attracted your attention. You finally discern a human form, one whose feet maintain a height of several handspans above the water's surface. You slam the shutters closed, only too certain of the identity of your caller.

You ignore the expected knock at the door. The knock repeats once, then again. The Councilor speaks after her third failed effort.

"I assume that you marked my approach, Sidana, and that you are putting the finishing touches on making your new haven presentable to visitors, and not pouting like a foolish girl."

You grit your teeth and practically stomp to the door, which you open much more vigorously than necessity requires.

"Councilor, what a lovely surprise," you say in a voice that should have brought the first snowfall of the season with it. "What can I do for you?"

"I came to see how you were doing," the Councilor replies. She glides past you into the cottage. "You are missed in London, and Paris as well."

"Please come in," you say through the empty doorway. You turn on your heel, slamming the door behind you. "Thank you ever so much for your concern."

Meerlinda's eyebrows flick upwards for a moment, the only change in her expression. She waits before replying, and you can feel the Beast rising within you during the silence.

"Have you not wondered how matters have proceeded in the weeks following the ritual?" A scowl appears on your face before you can prevent it, and then deepens in irritation at your lack of control. Not trusting yourself to speak, you give a grudging nod to signal to the Councilor to continue.

"The bulk of the Spanish fleet has sunk off the western coast of Eire. It is now a month past since the last of the storms that harried them."

"The western coast of Eire?" you ask, forgetting your anger in your perplexity. "But how would they ever have come there in the first place?"

"There was an engagement off the coast of the Spanish Netherlands, near a town called Gravelines. The English fleet won a moderate victory, and the remaining Spanish vessels sailed north around Scotland. It is unclear whether they thought to make landfall after coming around to a southerly bearing, and I decided it was best not to give them that option."

"You decided," you say, your sullenness returning. "Just as you decided to sacrifice my sire for your needs, no doubt."

"That is a gross oversimplification of the matter, Sidana. Surely you have not forgotten Gwen's role as a defender of the British Isles in the past few weeks. Certainly she herself did not."

"But why, Meerlinda, why this? She was Prince of London. Where better to direct the defense of the Isles? Why a ritual slaying? Why a ritual slaying by my hand?"

"We Kindred are a fractious lot, Sidana. I trust you have not forgotten this, either. The Camarilla is still less than a century old, and many who have joined our compact have long memories of the nights before we banded together. Gwen foresaw the difficulties in uniting the disparate factions in London until it was too late to mount effective resistance against our enemies. It was better by far to prevent any incursion from happening at all.

"As to the last question, as we both explained to you, the effect is most potent when the blood is spilt by the one who would feel the loss most deeply. And here you are, tormenting yourself for no other reason than that you acceded to your sire's request to assist her in defending the land of her birth. You honor neither her request nor your own sacrifice with your continued isolation."

"That's easy for you to say, Councilor, she left me and came to you."

"Gwen could not assume the preeminent position in London's Kindred society merely by asking for it upon her arrival, Sidana, and the protective ritual would have been ineffectual if she were not the leader of our kind here. She needed some time to establish herself, while the plans of our enemies were still ripening." Meerlinda pauses and simply looks at you for a moment, her placid countenance unchanging, before she continues.

"You will always be the eldest of her progeny, Sidana. That will never change. She will always come to you to be the hand that spills her blood, just as she will always come to me to give her vitae the fullest expression of its protective vitality. We are fellow travelers in the defense of this realm, just as Gwen and I have been from a time before your birth."

Meerlinda pauses again, this time looking around the room as if searching for something.

"On this last point, you need not take me at my word. I do not see Rhongomyniad, though. Where is it?"

"I left it at Glastonbury," you reply, still feeling a trifle sulky. Meerlinda gives you a look that you wish you could wipe off her face, but says nothing about leaving your weapon behind.

"You have not received the message your sire left for you, then. Understandable that you might not have been attuned to it in the emotion of the moment, but I think Gwen wanted you to know of it. Will you call your spear to hand?"

For a brief time, all you can do is look at Meerlinda, but then curiosity gets the better of you. You begin to close an empty hand, and when you are finished it grasps the haft of Rhongomyniad. Unsure of what you'll see, you cast out your psychic awareness, searching for the message left to you by your sire.
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Old 04-21-2010, 07:45 PM
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Default Meerlinda comes to Cardiff (October 1588), part 2 of 3

You close your eyes to aid you in keeping your awareness centered on the task of retrieving your sire's message. The seconds pass into minutes, and just as you begin to suspect that Meerlinda is mistaken, a vision comes over you.

It is dusk. You see Gwen, wracked with sobs that produce no tears, seated upon the ground. Her golden hair is in disarray, her pale dress torn in several places, and a streak of blood descends from one corner of her mouth, yet she remains the loveliest creature you've ever seen. She cradles a lifeless figure, a man arrayed in mail, dark-haired but with no color in his face, an expression of rapture on his features. A graying man in robes of earthen tones approaches her from behind, leaning on his oaken staff as he walks.

Gwen does not react to the man's approach, even when he stops within inches of her back. He speaks in a resonant baritone, but his words are soft.

"That is all the time you have to mourn, childe. You must come with me now."

She does not turn at first, but instead makes an effort to regain her composure, an effort only partially successful.

"Gwenhwyfar," the man says, and she finally turns at hearing her name.

"T-T-Taliesin?" she manages to stammer, and then draws a ragged breath. "What are you doing here?"

"I have been sent to convey you to one you must meet, childe."

"Why do you call me child?" she asks, and her tone is commanding despite her distress. "I am a woman grown."

"You are, but the life that woman led is over now. Your new life is but minutes old, and I am your Sire."

Gwen struggles to comprehend this, and then looks to the west.

"The sunlight burns," she says, half fearful, half puzzled, "and I thirst. I thirst for blood to feed a ravenous monster in my belly."

"The vulnerability and the appetite will be your constant companions in your new life."

"My life is over," she says in a broken whisper. She looks down at the fallen knight she holds, and gently brushes some loose strands of hair off his brow. "I loved him."

"And he you," Taliesin says in agreement. "He would have come after you. Best to leave that part of your life behind now, instead of having to do it when he found you."

"I would have let him destroy me! Anything to be released from this!"

"I do not think so. It brings me no joy to gainsay you on this point, but by the time he found you, you would have clung to your new life with all the strength you could muster. He would have been no match for you by then."

Gwen's sobs return at this statement, and despite his earlier words, Taliesin lets them wind down of their own accord.

"Caledfwlch is yours now," Taliesin says once Gwen stops crying. "Its prior wielder has no further need of it."

"Its prior wielder," Gwen repeats with a spitting contempt. "My husband. He was my husband."

"He was your husband," Taliesin replies evenly. "That part of his life is now finished, too."

"And what need have I of a sword? Once I was a shieldmaiden, but no more. Have you come here simply to taunt me with all the things in my life that can never again be?"

"Master the use of the blade, and that part of him, of them both, lives on."

After a moment's reflection, Gwen grips the hilt of the fallen knight's sword, then pulls her hand back, almost as if she had been scalded.

"Morgaine," she finally says, a name she invests with much malice.

"Morgaine will not trouble you further."

"Much good that will do, she's troubled me quite enough already. She's undermined me, attempted to isolate me, even turned my own sister against me."

"She acknowledges her debts towards you, now. As a token of redress, Morgaine will one day bear a daughter who will be as a boon companion to you, and you to her. All three of you will take up the mantle of defender of the Isles, each in your own way. It is an accommodation we have reached with the Lady of the Lake."

"The Lady of the Lake? She can enforce this decision? And is willing to do so?"

"She is my Sire, as I am yours, and she is among the greatest of our kind. Her true name is Arikel. She will see it done."

"When?"

"Not for some time, I must admit. Decades, perhaps centuries. There is more than one route to immortality, and Morgaine must find her own path there. In the meantime, there is a great deal for you to learn as well. Come."

With that, Taliesin turns and heads back the same way from which he approached Gwen. At first she does not follow, and a woman's voice says, "Come," from all directions and nowhere in particular. Gwenhwyfar shivers and tries to forestall the compulsion, but to no avail, and she rises, leaving the fallen knight behind, to follow where her Sire leads.
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:11 PM
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Default Meerlinda comes to Cardiff (October 1588), part 2.5 of 3

((I decided to expand the second half of the story. The next post will be the final one in this particular arc. Probably.))

Once the vision ends, there is a brief time in which all you can do is sit in silence, bending your mental energy to assimilate what you have just witnessed.

“Meerlinda le Fay,” you say flatly after regaining your equilibrium. “I am to believe that you are Meerlinda le Fay.”

“I have never taken that name, for it is not the way of the priestesses of my mother’s mystic tradition. Meerlinda ferch Morgana is how it would be rendered in ancient Welsh, tracing the ancestry through the maternal line. That, however, is beside the point. You of all people must realize the possible truth of the matter. Yet not even the doubt of a granddaughter of Avalon can change the fact that Morgaine is my mother.”

“When were you born, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“In the middle of the 9th century, as reckoned by the calendars of the adherents of the White Christ.”

“Your mother was over three centuries old when she bore you?”

“Yes, nearly three and a half centuries to the year, in fact.”

You’re once again at a loss for words until one line from your vision moves to the forefront of your awareness.

“Taliesin, the Taliesin in the vision, told Gwynnis that there was more than one route to immortality. I’d like to meet your mother.”

“It could be arranged, but first, will you agree to end your isolation? I do not believe that Gwen had intended for you to become a recluse. Will you return to London with me?”

“Not London,” you say, only realizing your feelings on the matter once you’ve begun to speak of them. “I fear I cannot face whatever it is that waits for me there, and I shall not set foot in the city, even as a temporary port of call. My place is in Paris, as it has been for so long now. I will go there directly, as soon as I can arrange it.”

“That is your right, of course. I suspect you will have some work waiting for you when you return to Paris, and you will not ascend to the throne there in completing that work. You might yet rule in London.”

“I’ve decided on Paris, Councilor,” your attitude firming in the face of even this mild opposition from Meerlinda. “Unless you are going to coerce me into coming to London.”

“Of course not, Sidana, don’t be foolish. Your return to Paris is nonetheless overdue. But if you pledge to return, we might see to what sort of meeting we might arrange with my mother.”

“I have already given my pledge, Councilor.”

“Very well. The meeting will be easiest to arrange from the astral plane. With your consent, I would like to ward your haven against intrusion, so that we might remain safe during our sojourn through the spirit realm.”

Your curiosity piqued, you signal your assent with a wave of your arm. The Councilor proceeds to do a number of things including dabbing a bit of her vitae on each opening in the cottage and raising a shimmering cube that conforms exactly to the interior of the structure. After about half an hour, the wards are completed.

“It could take some time, possibly a matter of hours, before the meeting actually occurs. It will be best if we retire for the day. I have protected us against both physical and psychic intrusion, and incidental exposure to sunlight.”

With that, the Councilor seats herself so as to lean against one of the walls of the cottage and closes her eyes. You’re left with nothing to do but to lie down on your cot and drift away to sleep, wondering if Meerlinda can really arrange a meeting with this sorceress of legend.
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:11 PM
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Default Meerlinda comes to Cardiff (October 1588), part 3 of 3

You rise from your immortal flesh after finally managing to fall asleep to find Meerlinda awaiting you.

“As you have perhaps already guessed, we must return to Glastonbury. We have enough time to proceed at a leisurely place and arrive just before sunrise. That is the time when we will be likeliest able to cross the veil and meet with Morgaine.”

“Sunrise? Why then? Won’t that be dangerous?”

“The Sun does not appear on the astral plane,” the Councilor replies, and thinking back, you realize that in nearly five centuries as Kindred you’ve never been in astral form during the day. “And though the meeting will begin on the astral plane, it is likely that we will pass to one of the outer planes. This transition is best done in concert with the transition of sunrise.”

With that, Meerlinda turns and bears southeast. Content for the time being to proceed in silence, you follow a short distance behind the Councilor. Unencumbered by the limitations of your physical body, you watch the rolling hills of the Welsh countryside serenely pass under you during your astral flight. By the time you’re able to resolve the tower ruins atop Glastonbury Tor, your find yourself much calmer than during your conversation in the cottage.

The Councilor alights upon the southern slope of the tor and sits cross-legged on the ground. Following her lead, you sit to Meerlinda’s right, and a bit downslope from her. You then lie back and observe that the Moon is about to transit, and Orion the Hunter is just to the right, yet no hint of the approach of dawn is evident.

Out of the corner of your eye you see Meerlinda raise upturned palms from her knees until her arms are extended to their maximum upwards. Shortly thereafter, a mist begins to form, condensing into a fog as the seconds pass. The fog becomes thick enough that it begins to obscure the Councilor despite her proximity to you. You sit up, feeling the first flickers of alarm as the fog continues to thicken, then hear a low female voice from a swirl on the other side of Meerlinda.

“Arise, granddaughters of Avalon.”

You bound to your feet at the same time as Meerlinda rises smoothly. The woman who steps into the swirling clearance in the fog is a full head shorter than the Councilor, with a darker complexion, yet the family resemblance is obvious in their faces, their slender figures, and their flowing chestnut locks. Morgaine wears the same impassive expression that you associate with Meerlinda save that there is a merry twinkle in her eyes that is usually absent in the Councilor’s gaze. The swirl in the fog grows until it encompasses the three of you before Morgaine continues.

“Daughter of my flesh, it is good to see you again. It has been too long.”

“My duties keep me busy, mother. I have explained this many times.”

“Yes, you have,” Morgaine replies. For a moment the twinkle in her eyes is gone, and a wan smile crosses her lips. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear that Meerlinda was experiencing annoyance.

“It is an old disagreement, mother. Might we move on to introductions? This is Sidana Quinnell. Sidana, my mother,” and Meerlinda hesitates before saying, “Morgana le Fay.”

“Morgaine is fine,” the sorceress says, perking up again. “And you are Gwen’s silken princess. You’re aptly named, dear.” Morgaine reaches out to take your long red tresses in both her hands. “Lovely.”

“Thank you,” you manage to reply, taken aback for the moment with Morgaine’s forthright behavior. She abruptly lets go of your hair after your short reply.

“My apologies, dear. Let’s get out of this fog, shall we?” Morgaine reaches up and then makes a motion as if snatching a curtain from its rod. The fog dissipates within a few seconds, and your eyes are immediately drawn east. The limb of the Sun pokes up above the horizon, a magnificent sight you haven’t seen in nearly half a millennium. You don’t bother to fight the rapture that immobilizes your kind, content to glory in the steadily rising Sun. Perhaps the Councilor thought to end your misery with sunrise, but it would be worth it, to bask in its radiance this one last time.

You jerk your head when someone touches your shoulder, and it takes a moment to register that Morgaine has laid her hand upon you. You then look to the sky, and are astonished to find that the Sun has nearly reached its midday height.

“Don’t worry about that, dear,” she says with a smile. “It’s happened to Gwen, too, more than once, but your episode has proven useful. Meerlinda has explained matters to me while you were preoccupied.”

“Then my sire has come here before?”

“Many times, although I think she considers her visits all too infrequent.”

“But she is here, somewhere, now, is she not?” Morgaine shakes her head.

“She is not. It would not be much of a sacrifice if she could simply spend all her time here in Annwn, would it? I’m afraid she’s gone to a dark and dreamless slumber. Yet, she will awaken one day, of this I am sure.”

“When?”

“That’s not entirely clear. It depends on how deeply the protective magic was drawn upon, and also how well Gwen has maintained her connection with her humanity. Based solely on what Meerlinda has told me concerning her dispersal of the Spanish fleet, I would guess it would be at least a decade.”

“A decade. That doesn’t seem so bad.”

“That’s only the toll from the magical aspect. It could well turn out to be two decades, or five, or perhaps even a century. That will turn on how much the blend of human and beast within Gwen favors the human. On that point, surely you know better than I.”

“A century would be a sore trial,” you reply, “though one lessened with the knowledge that it will end, but my feeling is it will be closer to two decades than ten. Thank you.”

“Of course,” Morgaine replies, and you return her smile, feeling an immense burden lifting from your shoulders.

“You have more questions,” Morgaine says when she sees your smile fade. Your eyes are drawn to a shrine, whole and unspoiled, filled with pagan imagery, where the ruins of St. Michael’s cathedral stand in Glastonbury.

“Is she here?”

“Yes,” Morgaine replies quietly. “Your sire’s grandsire lies there. We shall not disturb her rest.”

“But the bargain you struck, it was with her, was it not?”

“It was, with her and Taliesin both.” You look at Meerlinda for a moment before your next question.

“Did you specify that your daughter was to be made one of the Kindred?”

“Oh, my, no,” Morgaine replies with a laugh. “I nearly destroyed Gwen when I first learned of it.”

“You nearly destroyed each other, as I recall,” says Meerlinda.

“Mmm, well, yes, I suppose. Taliesin trained her all too well with that sword.” Morgaine lapses into silence for the span of two breaths. “Strange what one learns of one’s limitations, and when.”

You’re not sure what to make of that last line, but it triggers a moment of introspection of your own.

“My brother, is he here?”

“Meerlinda spoke of this as well to me, while you admired the Sun,” Morgaine replies gently. “I’m afraid he was too earnest a follower of the White Christ to have landed in Annwn after his death.” You’re unable to hide your disappointment despite the answer confirming what you had already suspected before you asked.

“In this one matter, you need not follow your sire’s example, as Gwen did in following Taliesin’s methods with you, when the time comes that you sire your own childer,” Meerlinda says.

“You’re right, of course, Councilor, but I still will not be coming to London,” you say with a grin. Meerlinda makes a single stately nod of her head, but says nothing.

“If you girls are back to discussing worldly matters, I would say our business here is concluded.” Before either of you can reply, Morgaine raises her arms, and the fog that came at sunrise returns. By the time it clears, you and Meerlinda are once again standing on the darkened slope of Glastonbury Tor, and Morgaine is nowhere to be seen.

“That was abrupt. Does she always do that?”

“Frequently enough. She usually has a great deal on her mind.”

“That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep in better touch with her.”

“Perhaps, Sidana, but we will speak of that later.” Without warning, the Councilor leaves the astral plane. You smile, seeing the echo of Morgaine’s style in her daughter, and return to your own body.
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:08 AM
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Detritus Detritus is offline
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I made the following adjustments to Rosalyn's build:

* Eliminated Common Sense.

* Reduced Charisma bonus from +3 to +2. I think the only skill affected is Rosalyn's Bard skill.

* Added the Flashbacks (total immersion) and Amnesia (partial) disadvantages.

* Boosted Humanity from 14 to 16.

* Added Dominate 3 and Obfuscate 3, with one point in each power for both disciplines.

I'll try to post a summary of take-home points for Rosalyn's personality based on the flashbacks she's already had pretty soon.
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