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Previous Thread:




Equipment FAQ:


Oblivion's Husk:


Player List:


Episode Guide (All credit to Watashiwa & an unknown Anon):


Yui IF scene (Adult content):


Twitter: https://twitter.com/JokerQuestOP


W͖̩̩̜͝é͖̞̮ ̮̜h͎̜̰̫a͚͍̗̬̟̠̘v̠͢e͔͕͇̜̩ ̖̪̖ͅm̛̦e̦̬̼̙t͚̱̼͕̫ ̭͍̣͇t͇͈̙͇̻̟̥h͇͕͓̱̥e̥͎̹͇̤ ̹̬̭͍ene̝m͡y,̗̠̯͉̟ ͖͍͕̪̜̬́an̵͕̣̦d̜̼̼̦ ͙͔͖̼h̰͜ę̭͇̤̫̫̳ ̢̗̦͕͓̠͉ͅis̰̻̰̖ ̮̥̭u̷̝s̗̬͔̗̳͔͜.̳͉̠ͅ

A frozen instant, an eternal moment:

The bloated, fungal hulk of λ-CHYTRIDIO, the grey of virile corruption - arms blistered with jagged spines of bone, so long and twisted that hooked talons scrape furrows across the rotting ground with each step - turning towards you. The rasping hiss of warning, like a death-rattle, so toxic it makes blurts of uneven static flicker across your vision.

The twisted metal of the Vitruvian Device, wrenched free from the throne's moorings: Embedded into the stinking, writhing earth like a fang of steel, Daegal's half-crushed weight beneath it-

...And the figure that stands over him, a shadow carved from black obsidian, tall and cruel and spiked.

θ-IXODIDAE. The dangerous one.

All of this, you intuit in the span of a second. The bifurcated wolf's skull of the Orthrus Crest snarls and gnaws at the chains that bind it, lashed to your shoulder, lightless illumination flickering in the beast's eyes, the painful pitch of power swelling around you-


The teleport burst scorches and jolts every molecule of your form. There is a shattering report, a thunderclap. The phantom taste of bile and burned paper - A sense-memory, of a body you no longer have - as arcane technologies dig into the cracks of the underworld-

And wrench.

You stumble, your balance screwed for a second - Gyros whirring to compensate. Frost cakes your battered red armor, flaking off as you wrench yourself upright, faster than your acutators can compensate.

At the corner of your vision: A distant flare of sickly radiance - a whip of corospant flicking down from above, a bright twisting rope of nauseating light. θ-IXODIDAE lurches, caught off-guard by the sudden reversal of your positions - the knife, like a shard of black ice, glittering in one upraised fist-

You lead with the MALEFACTOR. Your left arm - so recently restored - is raw myomer over an endosteel frame, nerve-endings exposed to open air. But green kill-markers flare to life, spiralling outwards from the verdigrised orb of green fire set in your gauntlet's palm - Brass plates sliding, clattering, as tanks sloshing with fuel-analogue bulge forth from within.

λ-CHYTRIDIO is already turning.

Too slow.

You squeeze the trigger. A green pilot flame hisses.

Hell spews forth.

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A boiling torrent of toxic green flame blasts forth, the sickly fssssshhhh of your flamethrower's roar crackling in your sensors. The fire is the colour of diseased jade, a howling semiliquid torrent that washes everything in front of you with liquid flame. Your ocular sensors dim, momentarily - reducing your view to sun-bright patches of light and black silhouettes, targeting glyps hazing and pulsing in your field of vision as your armor's sensors fight to adjust-

λ-CHYTRIDIO becomes a living torch. A sudden blast of static, of garbled speech, blasts across your channel - Incomprehensible, like a screech of pain or distress.

Or laughter.


Daegal, pain crackling through his speakers, the hooked knife still pinning him in place. He's got his free hand on it, trying to wrench it free, gagging sickly as it slices more of him on the way out-

The boiling rush of flame diminishes. The Crisis Arm buzzes with cising sparks, cold light pulsing from the cracked orb of your Cobalt Booster, stinging through the connecter cables. As λ-CHYTRIDIO thrashes, bathing in raw flame, you take a single lunging step forward-

A second thunderclap, as the Crisis Arm connects. You catch the flaming hulk mid-turn, just above the spine - space warps, bubbling with distortion-

Things break, beneath that terrible impact. Iron-hard flesh crumples, crushed into pulpy flesh. The splintering snap - gravimetric discharge - actually *wrenches* λ-CHYTRIDIO away from you, as abruptly and singularly as if it was snatched away on a wire.

The multi-tonne hulk barrels away as if struck by a rogue meteor.

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Ahead, a flicker of movement-

You don't have time to readdress. You wrench the Crisis Arm up, as the teeth-grating squeal of metal-on-metal echoes through the clearing: Sparks fly, a deep scar gouged across your forearm. Delicate mechanisms rupture, pressurized coolant gouting from the severed cables just above your gorget-


And from across the clearing, θ-IXODIDAE strikes again.

It is hunched over in a fighting posture, the black fang of that slicing knife grasped in an upraised fist. The eyes are black hollows in that sculpted helm, less animated than the ivory face that hangs at it's belt.

Thirty meters away, the knife flashes again.

There is no warning. None at all. The blade cuts air, and agony sears through your right arm. You *feel* endosteel bones crack and shatter, flawing as the phantom knife grinds through them - Electrical discharge searing up the damaged limb, the fingers of your Crisis Arm twitching in spastic neural spasms-

(Your RIGHT ARM has been disabled.)

This time, you get the Sinistral up in time. The overlapping fields of your shield spark and flash, as you wrench it up to guard - Sharp chips of shield segment flying up into the air, as the field cracks and breaks with the sound of smashing glass.

From behind you:


A catch, to Kazuya's voice - "Joker-"

His free hand grips the hilt of the blade in his shoulder. He pulls, heedless of anything else, and the shock slams his head against the ground in a paroxysm of agony, his limbs rebelling at the all-consuming agony-

And as λ-CHYTRIDIO continues to burn, θ-IXODIDAE's free hand grasps for something hidden, a tiny whirl of schematic lines momentarily concealed from sight.

HP: 59.51%%
METER: 23%

Good to see you again, JQOP. Hope you've been doing well.

Throw out an EXEC_DISRUPT at θ-IXODIDAE, shoot out a Chain Mine, take out Omen and close in the distance with the Abruption Jets to attack. If he tries to block or retreat, use a Tyrant Burst to catch him off-guard. Maybe add in some Assault Shroud hits.
Chain mine on θ-IXODIDAE, Fire the nova cannon at his free hand.

This. That fucking knife trick is annoying as hell. Hit him with that first.

The Sinistral isn't going to last. Fragments of code scrawl across your HUD, as the Helix Gauntlet hums to life: The Nihl Sphere is depleted, with little more than a haunting flicker of light within the orb's depths. But as eerie blue light pulses along the winding filaments, as the Cobalt Booster's thready hum dims to almost nothing-

Weird negative electricity crackles around θ-IXODIDAE. You hear it make a sound, a bark of straining effort, as the smoke-light swells to engulf it - A halo of filthy radiance, flashes of internal structure showing through that obsidian-carved form, like sporadic X-rays - as it raises the knife-

The blade doesn't vanish. It *explodes* like a short-fused grenade, so abruptly two of θ-IXODIDAE's six fingers go with it - razor shards clattering hollowly, like hail - the mangled hand wrenching away, the manifesting weapon or device dissolving in a swirl of smoke-light.

Behind you, Daegal lets out a pained gasp as the pinning knife shatters like ice beneath a hammer-

Your right hand can't grasp. Useless. But emerald schematics flare, linear and somehow noble in the decaying fungal forest - sketching the vast bulk of the Chain Mine's oversized launcher into existence, the low ping of a targeting lock keening across your sensors. You swing it up, in line with θ-IXODIDAE, as the crosshairs becoming the bracketing diamond of a soft lock...

And θ-IXODIDAE's fingers close on the ivory mask. It wrenches those flayed features up, over it's own. There's something hauntingly familiar about that face, about those horns, that twisted expression of fear-

Sounds like a good plan.
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Carved features squirm to life. That last scream, locked away, frozen, blasts forth.

It is a howl, a banshee shriek. Mad, full of pain. Your mono-optic sensor actually *cracks*, flaws spiderwebbing across your visor - the world wobbling on its axis, the audio-pickup from your sensors cutting in a split-second too late. If you had teeth, they'd have shattered inside your skull - instead, your vision cuts out, as your gauntlet vices down on the stirrup-grip-

The Chain Mine screams wide. Completely wide. It bangs away, on wings of jetair and flame, hurtling past θ-IXODIDAE and into the fungal forest.

And then it goes off.

The shockwave rushes out across the squirming ground in all directions. It levels five petrified trees - they collapse like buildings, like demolished towers, fracturing into brittle splinters and white dust as they fall into the fireball. The concussive wave scorches and demolishes the nearby edge of the clearing, and blasts θ-IXODIDAE off it's feet and flings it aside.

A thick pall of ash-white dust and smoke rolls off the blast-zone. Burning, smouldering scads, like volcanic ash, drizzles down over you.

-in the distance, answering shrieks-

They weren't alone.

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>They weren't alone.
While I appreciate a target-rich environment as much as the next guy, I would appreciate some replenishing potions and the Carnifex in this kind of situation.

...I guess we could send our swarm into the forest.
Maybe we can get Scylla to eat either θ-IXODIDAE or λ-CHYTRIDIO while they're rolling in the dirt/burning alive.

Expended, the launcher clatters to the ground. Braced for the shot, you're in better condition - your autoreactive talons digging into the ground, gouging great wounds, as you reach for OMEN and wrench the falchion free. It comes to life in your grip, tachyon light flaring from linked power feeds-

...Giving you that split-second to respond, as λ-CHYTRIDIO looms from the fog of war, ponderous, implacable-

A massive right arm snaps towards you, from twenty feet away. It is as thick as one of the fungal horror's tree-trunk legs, longer than half its full body length at rest, the fist - a spined club of bone and sinew - big enough to cover an ordinary man's entire chest. It has swollen, grotesquely, charged with power, sickly veins glowing with hypertrophic might-

It swings. The flesh lashes out, unnatural muscle hyperextending, elastic tendons and ligaments stretching. The suppurating fist thunders towards you like a battering ram, and you wrench yourself to the side - It smashes into the Vitruvian Device, the throne toppling to one side-

And you hack OMEN down.

The tachyon blade carves deep. It rips a huge gouge into the grey, bruised meat - vile ichor spewing forth, jets of something unspeakably foul gushing forth, as Rook's cleaver drives down. Tendons snap, sheared through - the humming edge grates on superdense bone, nearly hard enough to jar the weapon from your hand-

λ-CHYTRIDIO's maw - laced with black-tipped transparent teeth, like giant quills, interlacing, clattering - yawns open. A fetid gas pulses forth, washing across you.

No. Not gas. Spores.

A sickly sensation - like the pulse of an infection - oozes along the bare myomer of your left arm. It is an itch, as if something has taken root, as if your flesh - if you had any flesh - was rebelling against you-



There is a sound. Somewhere amid the horror, there is a sound.

From the trees. From the forest. A carpet of worms, of vermin, of iridescent black beetles. Millions of them, scurrying forward from the gaps in the trees. They are a frenetic, clicking flood, moving with a will - glittering black, some the size of lobsters or feral dogs, *advancing*-

Something is coming. Something terrible is coming.

A haze of flies, buzzing and swarming in the black rain...

A white-hot beam of something not quite fire, not quite lightning, stabs through the fog. It sears over your shoulder, and hits λ-CHYTRIDIO head-on. The brute is blown - actually blown - sideways, off its feet, a crater blasted into the writhing ground, leaving it a smouldering husk dripping with black sap-

Kazuya's aim is getting better.

Fire up the Sotto Voca to burn away the spores and bugs around us.
Add in some booster-assisted movement. The booster's energy might cook them inside of our limb.

Thank fuck that Kazuya can act again. And that OMEN is discount Carnifex.

I guess we need to kill the first two fuckers before the large thing arrives. Otherwise this will be nasty.

The Immolator smokes in his hand, the lion-headed barrel glowing red-hot as he clenches the gun in a defiant two-handed grip. He fires again, seemingly blind, into the fog - the red gem of his Cobalt Booster sending red sparks cising and crackling across his form-

Lost in the fog of war, there is the muffled bang of an explosion.

His Argus System is working. Yours isn't.


His voice is raw, even with the emotional content filtered by the speakers.


The eyelenses of Dagel's helm glows, as he peers ahead - What he sees makes him tense, every fibre of his being frozen between fight or flight-

"-there's *more* of them-"

[ ] "Hold fast. We're finishing this."
[ ] "There's worse coming. Run. Run *now*."
[ ] "How many? How many?"
[ ] "Did you kill it? Kazuya, did you kill it?"
[ ] "The horses. We're taking their horses."

>[ ] "How many? How many?"
>[ ] "The horses. We're taking their horses."
Gank the two fuckers who here already while we are making our escape with their horses. We need that health and XP boost as a safety margin.
While we are on the move, we will be able to make use of our ranged arsenal to shake them off.
>[x] "Hold fast. We're finishing this."
>[x] "The horses. We're taking their horses."

We should just fucking run, because we're not doing too well in this fight. Just grab the horses and flee.
Yes, but we can still squeeze off a few missile volleys and shit.

In fact, we should napalm the general area where the additional enemies are coming from, while blasting the two guys in our vicinity with the Fusion Annihilator.
>[ ] "The horses. We're taking their horses."

Try to finish the two off if we can do it quickly. Either Railgun or do a sweep with the Fusion Annihilator. Don't forget to burn off the spores if we have the Meter/Booster for it.
I thought this thing was dead, so I never bothered but I guess that's no longer an excuse

Tell the truth, is reading through this quest a sound time investment?
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> [X] "How many? How many?"

Daegal stares, as if he can't believe what he's saying - The *snap* to your voice makes him start, his Argus Sensor issuing a distressing series of pings.

"Five, eight, twelve-"


"Oh shit, here they co-"

There is a light, visible even through the fog. A ghastly red light, illuminating a distant figure from within. It trails tatters of its own substance, as it drifts through the air - knotting into new configurations, like flayed musculature, coiling around the fires within.

A name:


At your side, Kazuya recoils.

"What-" he stammers. "What *is*-"

"What is *that*-?

You can't see the other two any longer. The seething mass of chittering bodies, rolling over upon itself like a tide, is all there is.

The air is full of flies, buzzing and swarming.


Your Triskelion Launchers rack. They spin up, feeding blue-tipped rockets into the hoppers - And the vile fog mingles with true smoke, as your missile packs hurl forth death. Rockets corkscrewing through the warping light, plunging into the morass - pellucid blue flame spewing forth, napalm raining down from above in fiery curtains. Insects, in their thousands, are incinerated - burning and falling away, as eerie flame consumes them.

But there are millions more.

That doesn't stop you. The fungal trees are burning, as wild bursts of fire erupts amongst them - an eerie corospant glow, as unreal and utterly unnatural as anything you've seen here. Everything is smoke and death and flame, the volcanic blasts of missile impacts shaking the earth-

>Tell the truth, is reading through this quest a sound time investment?
Read the first twenty or so threads. That's roughly where the quest finds its feet, if I remember correctly.
Prepare to be really annoyed by retarded decisions. And then make those same retarded decisions once you have caught up.
No one is as dumb as all of us.
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> [x] "The horses. We're taking their horses."

You've bought a minute, at best. But let them come through the sea of flames.

Somehow, amid the carnage - Amid the rising fire and the pounding rain - the horses you glimpsed earlier...

No. Not horses at all.

They are similar in *shape*. Almost. Neither is quite the same, though they share a vague resemblance in their quadruped forms. Skinless, with fangs - jaws crammed full of too-sharp teeth. All knotted muscle and unnaturally jointed limbs, as if they were whittled down - refined, by some terrible alchemy - into their current state.

Something strikes you as false about them, even as you approach - Even as thunder rolls overhead, as hideous fluting cries echoes from somewhere close. Half-glimpsed figures, flitting forward, risking the inferno you've left in your wake-

Each 'horse' is encased in a frame of brass, something that seems bolted-on rather than worn, bristling with spines and protrusion. It calls to mind a bear-trap, an instrument of torment and restraint at once-

Realization dawns. It's their unnatural stillness. They did not flinch or move or take flight. They do not move as you approach. Perhaps they can't.

"Integrated control frame, spinal implant for direct interface, augmented myomer grafts for reinforced-" The spill of words - a low, muttered subvocalization you've never heard Kazuya use - trails off, as if Daegal's confused by what he's saying. "I know," he says, sounding dazed. "But how do I know-?"

There's no time. A hard push sends him staggering forward, shaken from his reverie - He seems to stiffen, for a moment, before his gauntleted hands close on the brass shell that encases his motionless steed-

"Joker, I think-"

No time left at all. You swing yourself up onto the other destrier, before he can finish.


Your fists clench down on the raised protrusions through the destrier's neck, auto-locking in place. Glyphs scroll across your field of vision - Tiny filaments flaring out where you make contact, legs auto-locking in place-

The sensation is at once alien and achingly familiar. It feels like-

The Red Comet.

-Like controlling the Armory Guardian.

The restraint frames - The countless slivers of metal, riddling their nervous systems, their spines - have turned the creatures within into vehicles of meat. Into mere components.

Ingenious. Cruel. Or simply necessary.

What else might they have created, after the long, long fall and the eternal mourning that followed?

Your destrier lurches to life. Hooves gouge furrows in the soft ground, the frame shedding bloody radiance as you exert control. Daegal's steed glows a wan amber, where brass meets raw flesh - You hear him make a low sound, a sound that might be surprise or dread, as both steeds are impelled into furious motion-

They move exactly the same way, like identical machines.

The grey boles of the petrified trees flash by, hooves clattering against the ground - your surroundings whipping past. The sensation is infinitely more precarious than with the Red Comet - or even your speeder - beneath you.

Daegal is locked in the racing position, clinging grimly to his steed. He knows that if you get split up, he'll be lost forever. Perhaps that's why he's been following you, all this time-

No. That's not worth thinking about.

The Dirac channel flickers to life - static buzzing behind each word-

"We have to lose them!"

>"We have to lose them!"
Thankfully we got a few options for that.

>Ingenious. Cruel. Or simply necessary.
Interesting that they learned to actually make use of the environment and became so used to their new bodies that something like a society would be able to form if there were more of them, as well as a steady influx of fresh meat to avoid the entire "they are liable to kill each other for essence" issue.
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Before you can answer, a splintering crash - Something winds its way between the trees, with a terrible sinuous grace, all the more sickening by how thoroughly unnatural it is. It brings to mind a spinal centipede, something all carved bone and skittering limbs, moving with a hideous fluidity from the canopy overhead to the ground below-

Skittering blade-limbs slice against the earth. Your destrier's flanks heave - A warning. The frame has absolute control over them, but the organic component is fallible, fragile. If you aren't careful - The destrier could literally run itself to death.

The thunder of hooves, from behind you - Twelve, Daegal said. How many mounted on destriers, and how many on crawlers...?

[ ] Head north, where the forest is thinning out. Try to outrace them on open ground.
[ ] Head deeper into the fungal forest, and try to lose pursuit.
[ ] Head towards the canyon walls - There may be a way into the mountains beyond.
[ ] Head towards the acid sea. If you can find a tributary, you might be able to lose them.
[ ] Head towards the eye of the storm. They'd have to be mad to follow you.

>[x] Head towards the canyon walls - There may be a way into the mountains beyond.

Yes, if only for the insane genre shifts. This entire thing, from VN to open-world survival, is weird as fuck.
>[ ] Head deeper into the fungal forest, and try to lose pursuit.
Use Shroud clones to confuse our pursuers in the thickness of the forest. Lay out chain mines in our path to trap any ones that manage to still follow, if that's possible. Blind-fire rocket volleys behind us while we are in the open.

I assume the Fusion Annihilator would have too much knockback here. Let Kazuya take out enemies one by one, as he has functional radar. Make him focus on the closest targets - crippling and slowing them down is priority, killing them is just a bonus.

Fuck, I wish we had our drones.
(Gentlemen - My apologies, but it's extremely late for me. I'll continue this tomorrow, when I get the chance.

For now, good night and god bless. You've been a great audience, and I'll see you again very soon.)
Thanks for running, OP.
I appreciate your tenacity in continuing this quest.

(Thanks for that. The current setting requires a lot more planning, hence the delays.)
I was able to read Snakecatcher to completion without losing all my hair. I think I can manage

Well that sounds fun, I thought it was pure mech. See you all in a couple of months!
Every time I see this quest and the utter insanity it has gone through, I think back to one of the posts in the first thread.

>>Begins quest thread with a screencap from "[C]: The money of soul and possibility"
>>Not [C] quest

>Well fuck you OP, I can guarentee that [C] is more fucking interesting than whatever generic scifi shit you came up with.

I wonder what that anon must think now...
That Anon must still have a shitty opinion that is wrong.

JQOP, what does the Joker's Memory say? Where is it telling us to go?


This looks like a good plan. Spam clones.

(It's drawing you onward. There's no particular direction, other than a sense to *keep going.*)
[ ] Head deeper into the fungal forest, and try to lose pursuit.
Oh man, I came a day late but I'm glad the thread hasn't 404'd. Man, I think the last time I caught a live thread was like... two years ago, damn.
Jesus christ Joker Quest has been going on for six years now
(My apologies, all - I should be continuing in a few hours. It's a super-busy day!)

You hunch low over the destrier's flayed bulk, the thunder of hooves echoing hollowly through the petrified forest. The world whips back, with sickening speed - With your right arm worthless, your digits unable to close, it's all you can to hang on with your left. High overhead, the nodding vertical shoots of fungal boles soar upwards, pointing incriminatingly at the curdled glare of the sky - the air filled with the creaking, moaning sound of their structures in motion, as you race deeper, deeper into the forest-

It is a descent into catastrophe, a ride into nightmare. You glimpse Daegal, locked in an identical position, his head down - He holds on with what would be a white-knuckled grip, amber light trailing in streamers in his wake, an echo of the bloody radiance that oozes from the brass frame encasing your steed-

And with a shattering, splintering sound, the crawler drives forward. Tree-trunks shatter against that constricting, razor-edged bulk, mandibles chittering with a mad buzzing as they gnaw the air. The swollen black larvae at the base of each stalk-tree, clustered tumorously to the meter or so closest to the ground, make weird, hissing, whistling noises that add to the eerie acoustics of the forest floor...

Your Assault Shroud sheds afterimages - Then part of the nanofiber detaches, entirely. Like an animal in a trap, gnawing a limb off to escape. It becomes a ghostly smear, a phantom image of your immediate past: A figure bent low over a hellish steed, momentum alone carrying the echo forward as you rein hard to the left-

You hear howls, from the shadowy thickets. Sounds that might be laughter, that might be shrieks.

Someone, somewhere, is screaming. Something hot and fast whips past, overhead - Debris from exploded stalks spilling up into the air. The wretched grubs whistle and buzz, lending a hellish counterpoint to the already-feverish race - You can feel your destrier's flanks heaving against the brass plates that confine it, driven inexorably on by the mechanisms that riddle the creature's form...

Daegal lets out a shout - The spiraling crawler lunges out, from the vibrating stalks to your right, and decapitates him with a flick of its upper-left blade. But it's not the *real* Daegal, now riding perilously ahead, glimpses of his bent form flashing between the trees - Sheared through, the Assault Shroud decoy wisps apart on the storm-driven winds, streamers of nanomaterial whipping past on the slipstream.


Denied, the crawler's hideous centipede shape uncoils overhead, the razor-edged nightmare - countless blade-limbs, a massive, segmented thorax from which they all depend, a wide, wedge-shaped head with short rattling mouthparts and discernible eyes - casting a long, seething shadow across you-

Your Triskelion Launchers spin up. A staggered flight of four incendiary missiles kick to life, spinning twisting white ropes of rocket-smoke upwards towards the spinal shape. Blue flame spews forth, a searing blanket of fire that splashes napalm across the chitinous growth - yellow, like old ivory - of the thing's thickly-plated head crest...

Fire might be a mere distraction to players. But all that is flesh - all that lives - fears flame.

There is a splintering battering-ram impact as the crawler rears up, riling away from the awful fire. In agony, it smashes through the hundred-meter bulk of a mature fungal tree, with the sound of a runaway train slamming headfirst into a building. Your steed lurches forward - Nearly losing its footing - as flaming debris rains down: You can feel muscles spasm, against the restraints that force them into furious motion, some atavastic urge to shy away from the consuming fire just *barely* restrained.

Amid the rain of embers, the wan glow of Essence. The Leech Module pulses, the motes spiralling towards you - The twitching digits of your right hand clenching into a fist, firming your grasp-

About time.

You veer right, towards Daegal - He has the same thought, reining in left towards you. Jagged traceries of light spark and flicker against his steed's brass shell, the Dirac channel fizzing with static.

"Where do we go?" A shout would be lost on the wind. "Joker, where do we go? They're *hunting* us-"

Yes. Of course they are.

For sport, perhaps. For sustenance. For an end to the endless procession of days. A century ago, perhaps you'd have known the answer too.

"Where do we-"

Further in. You have to slow, as the footing becomes more treacherous, roots interlacing, hard ridges against the rotting earth. Your Assault Shroud's nanomaterial colony is nearly depleted, regrowing with sickening slowness, the way a smile slowly fades.

Close to your core, the Joker's Memory pulses, the faintest flicker of warmth an eternal promise.

Onwards, it whispers. Onwards, and you feel the answer in your bones.

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Some flicker of instinct warns you, and your mental command forces your destrier into an awkward, jolting leap - Your hear a fluting *hiss*, as a barb-like javelin buzzes part, like a glittering hornet. Leaves of razor-sharp alloy splinter outwards, filling the air with flechettes - You wrench the Sinistral up, the barbs pinging from the flickering field of your shield-

Lucky again. But for how long-?

The ground erupts. A volcanic blue of earth and fog. A cackling shape, a chittering specter looming up before you, a swirling column of smoke giving way to something crowned with filthy metal and carved totems, the toothed edge of a scythe whirling in a decapitating sweep-

Daegal shouts a strangled warning, too late-

The rattling length of the scythe blurs, and vanishes. The reaping swing is fluid, trained by a thousand times a thousand years of slaughter.

It vanishes because it's coming right towards you.

HP: 76.98%%
METER: 37%

Jump off our mount, over the scythe swing. Use the air time to fire Rubicante and Cagnazzo at our enemy. Then use abruption jets, controlled shedding of our shroud or whatever else might give us some aerial control to re-mount.
Is the guy coming at us himself or is the strike ranged?

If the former:
Take out the Omen to parry the attack. We'll need it's precognition to handle that speed. Flash him with a Tyran Burst and follow through with a Cobalt-boosted Plasma Caster at point-blank range.

If the latter:
Use the Crisis Arm to block the blow and answer with arching missiles to cut off escape paths to the sides before shooting a Railgun slug.

(He's winding up for a swing.)
Use the inertia suppression field to slow down his attack and either block or dodge it.

(My apologies, the Inertia Field is always active. It's effectively a flat bonus to dodging projectile attacks.)
I'm not sure if parrying a blow or using a railgun while mounted is a good idea. I would assume that the knockback would cause issues.

Also, the guy has a smoke-like attribute. Might be one of those "passes through your melee weapon to hit you anyway" dudes.

Tyrant Burst to the fucking face. Is he on our left or right? If he's on the left, block with the Sinistral. If he's on the right, Plasma Caster him.

Hazy smoke swirls in the air, as you wrench OMEN free - the falchion's tachyon blade sizzling to furious life, a flash-flicker of premonition coursing through you-

-the hissing whistle of a scythe, a blunt, splintering impact-

...And you cut loose with the Tyrant Burst system. In the gloom, the blinding light is like a tiny supernova, so bright it bleaches all colour to nothing. For one instant, the fungal trees, the rotting earth, is cast into stark, hideous relief...

-The cackling Player flinches. Just for a heartbeat, but it's enough. Slate-grey digits swing the scythe anyway - the weapon rattling as it comes apart. The segmented, toothed edge *extends*, like a spinal chain connected by invisible filaments - You glimpse the lightless flash of the connecting wire, cising with black sparks, as it whips overhead-

Too high. You duck the hurtling segments, as they swing at your head. The thwarted weapon shrieks, as it whistles through the air - petrified bark slices through the air as a tree-bole detonates, the chattering scythe chewing through it with a splintering *bang* of black-starred impact.

You put cross-wise power into your sword blow. OMEN shears into the ivory figure - your sensors buzzing, humming, seeking a name - the downsweep severing an arm at the elbow, carving deep into the thing's torso. There is so much force in your blow that the humming blade actually rips a chunk free, purple psuedo-blood jetting from ruptured hydraulic tubes in the limb stumps-

-But before you can cut it entirely in half, the ivory reaper erupts into smoke. Bloody Essence rains down upon you, as it becomes a whirling comet, lost in a mad tumble - ricocheting away, like a stray flare, a rattling shriek of agony and insult ringing through the rushing blur of trees-

...As another six missiles from your Triskelion Launchers plough into the canopy overhead, and descend in a torrent of howling flame. Your ruthless grip on your destrier forces it into an all-out gallop, and you clear the descending wave of napalm before it bursts and burn - jets of pellucid blue fire gouting outwards in all directions. Here, it seems, some property of the fungal forest makes the trees burn hotter, faster, blazing spores swirling like ash in your wake.


Behind you - The fading blasts of horns. They must be falling behind, lost in the increasing tangle of the undergrowth. Here, gigantic grass stalks - grey-white, like dirty ice, dry and bristly - swishes in your wake, saw-toothed blade scraping and sparking against the brass barding of your destrier-

Around you - an abrupt, shivering vibration, as if the grass itself is electrified. As if everything here hungers for life to consume.

They're better riders than you, but your weapons are better. It is as if some atavistic spirit has seized them, calcified them - Some perverse need for murder to be conducted up close, with the ritual tools of blades and bludgeons and stabbing spears.

Or perhaps they simply lack ammunition.

But they're targeting you. Specifically. Mere coincidence can't explain how Daegal, riding ahead, has ridden mostly clear - You can hear his desperate exhalations, buzzing blurts of static, over the Dirac channel...But they're aiming at you first.

They know what your colors mean, after all. Even here, they know what you are.

"H, holy shit-" Kazuya stammers - Your mounts laboring, almost side-by-side, as he risks a glance back...An oddly human gesture, the lens of his helm glowing a fierce blue. "Holy shit, Anon," he manages - He must've seen that brief, furious skirmish. "I think - I think we're going to make-"

Don't say that-


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>"I think - I think we're going to make-"
Kazuya, why?

There comes a clattering machine noise, like some mechanism coming askew. A series of violent, booming reports, the ground juddering beneath you-

The line of trees ahead shred in a huge, splintering concussion. Dusty impacts stitch away past you, a stand of juvenile fungal stalks disintegrating in a spray of fire and dirt and smoke-


You hear scraping, pinging impacts, sharp metal-on-metal, the sound of rain off a thin roof. Some of the impacts give off curious, screeching notes.

Behind you. You can hear something coming, tearing through the thorny hedge and bracken without hesitation, ripping the undergrowth aside. You hear thorns and twigs squeal and scrape off bodywork, hear reaching tendrils twang and crack as they snap.

A deep, grinding rumble. A whirling, clattering chopping sound. There is a growl, a sputter - And behind you, you can see eyes. Bright, yellow, glowing. Roaring and snorting, trailing black smoke, like some infernal engine put to the task-

-It's a chariot.

It is a thing of twisted sheet plating and battered armor, skeins of barbed wire reinforcing its skirts. Rivets cover the vast frame like barnacles, strung trophies knocking and clattering against the chariot's armored flanks. Yellow headlamp eyes glow from the front of the hull.

It is pulled by eyeless creatures, legs churning tirelessly like pistons, rebuilt so utterly it's impossible to tell what they once were. They are twin juggernauts, sleeved in mismatched armor, like oxen put to the yoke. Steam gouts from exhaust vents, mingling with the black smoke that spills forth from all sides, wreathing it in a funeral halo.


Daegal sees it, first. He sees the trophies - Severed gauntlets, orphaned helmets, lashed together with spiked chains. The battered, mismatched plating, flaking off to reveal bare metal in places-

Players. The chariot is forged from the remains of other Players.

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And, right then, you know.

Whoever is inside it - cast away, adrift for eons - would be the god of all of this.

The guns built into the forward hull begin firing, rounds wasping across the swishing grass. Clumps of wretched earth spray up into the air, a torrent of glowing shots ripping up the intervening space.

There is a figure - Barely visible, amid all that whirling steel - that stands tall and erect, riding with a casual arrogance. Gauntlets grip the railing, as the chariot's scythes splinter apart all obstructions. It is gaining, tirelessly, upon the two of you - the infernal shriek of those hideous weapons brought to bear blotting out all sound.

He gleams, like a gilded statue - with a mask so masterfully worked, for one moment, it seems almost like a living face. He is haloed in blades, tongues of sharpened, polish metal rising behind him like a cloak of swords.

He, too, is golden.

A name:


The hell-borne chariot blitzes forward, wheels chattering like fast percussion.

And then there all that remains is to *act*, as the lord of this place comes for you.




(Gentlemen - My apologies, but it's extremely late for this. This looks like a natural cliffhanger: I'd love to continued, but I'm exhausted and tomorrow's the start of a new work-week.

Good night and God bless, and I'll see you all again soon.)

Thanks for the thread OP.
>with a mask so masterfully worked, for one moment, it seems almost like a living face
Is this an attempt at bling or an attempt at futilely regaining some semblance of lost humanity?

Hopefully he has an "honor" thing going on where the others stand back while we fight.

Yeah, thanks for running again.

Wow. It took them no time at all to go all Lord of the Flies.
>no time at all
Don't you mean a few millenia?

The time thing is a real headfuck.
Wait, what what WHAT?

Hello JQOP!

I just want to say, I found your quest about a year back and I've been loving the hell out of it. Your writing is fantastic, and I really enjoy your particular approach towards quest choices/player options for RP. Not to mention the over all crazy amount of guns, abilities, and options we have for combat itself.

I'm still quite a bit behind in the archive, thread 101, iirc. And even with some of the incredibly dumb player choices that have transpired, its still been a wild ride.

I was actually afraid this quest was discontinued, but I am more than elated to see I was wrong. I hope I can manage to catch the next thread. Both to help in combat, and possibly unfuck our social situation if its still as bad as it was in thread 101.

BTW, is there any possibility of you releasing the system you are using to run the combat scenarios? I've been really interested in running this with some friends. Considering almost every enemy, even the mooks, are all crazy, cool looking avatars of death, I'd be fun to know how to design one from the ground up and use in this system.
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>and possibly unfuck our social situation if its still as bad as it was in thread 101.
Oh boy, you are in for a ride.
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Welcome aboard. Things only keep escalating from that point.
Oh absolutely wonderful. I would expect nothing less! I figured that by the end of the tournament arc, everything would be in shambles even more so. At least right now where I am, everything is barely hanging together, but that already looked ready to shred into millions of pieces with how much fallout is going to occur at this point.

I wonder if Anon's opinion on reality is pretty fucking warped by now. Using the red world as escapism from how bad he (and wata) managed to cock up his situation in the normal world. If nothing else, Anon is an interesting psyche case, and a fantastic deconstruction of the 'average but gifted shonen lead.'

Also, JQOP rarely seemed to ever check out the end of threads in the past, so I guess I should ask you all. Has he gotten around to releasing the system he uses yet? Or is that still not for show?
I just started imagining Joker Quest as an anime, with /a/'s reactions to it.

I think it would be quite enjoyable to see them react to the fact that like half of the romance subplots are some form of NTR (mostly from the female perspectives) and how Joker fucks up diplomacy and tends to be melodramatic in the worst moments.

Just imagine that scene in episode 119. I can vividly imagine Naoya's smug reaction to Joker going full melodrama and this semi-confused but content look of "I was preparing for battle, but my enemy stabbed himself".
As much as I love the realistic outcomes and fallout of Anon's actions, I can't help but get slightly miffed at some of thread's choices.

Going on a roaring rampage of revenge when we found bardiel in the hospital, for some inane reason giving Cybele the D, and other various melodramatic responses, like you said. We do tend to do very dramatic postulating now that I look back on it.
Participating in the actual threads is not conductive to anyone's sanity when it comes to Joker Quest.

The marathon, month-long battle was a highlight. The constantly shifting genres are pretty weird, but I'm starting to like them.
So, a few things we can gather about the Underworld and it's inhabitants:

-They seem to have been fully corrupted, or are even past that, by Lachryma
-Their names don't match up with the usual naming scheme other players have
-There's a curious lack of machinery, no guns, armor, player weapons, etc. Instead, everything's organic and mutated.
-Even when more appeared from the fog, they came straight for us

Based on past experiences, it's safe to say these are players corrupted by Lachryma and took on Encroachment way beyond their limits. We've already seen what happened to Rook, he became fully inhuman(?) and almost impossible to put down, plus all traces of his mind was pretty much gone other than a burning hate for Alura.

Maybe the reason they lack player weaponry is because they're no longer able to access Meter or upgrades as their entire body isn't a Player Frame as we know it anymore. As for why they're targetting us, I have a feeling it's more due to our partial corruption from the Athame than the armor.

Man, really wonder what Pazuzu has been up to this whole time, with Phantom Edge dead and the Fatal Abyss gone (most likely doesn't exist anymore due to QSC)

Or they're targeting us because we're the Red Joker. They act more like demons than human beings, actually.
>Going on a roaring rampage of revenge when we found bardiel in the hospital
That was dumb, sure, but it was the kind of dumb fictional characters succumb to all the time as a result of having a flawed character, so it never really bothered me.

>for some inane reason giving Cybele the D
Nah, looking at the thread people's reasons were fairly clear: they wanted to continue to exploit her healing power, so they chose to string her along and take advantage of her rather than risk losing it. Which was both a monumentally unwise move and a really dickish one, but I still kind of like how it ended up shaking out; a tragedy borne of ruthless, selfish pragmatism.

From a storytelling perspective I'm cool with pretty much all of Joker's actions. The thread's choices might seem kind of all over the board, but they all still somehow seem to fit within the potential scope of this warped byronic hero who *tries* to do the right thing all in all, but is constantly undermined by the fact that he's totally fucked up.
>Nah, looking at the thread people's reasons were fairly clear: they wanted to continue to exploit her healing power, so they chose to string her along and take advantage of her rather than risk losing it. Which was both a monumentally unwise move and a really dickish one, but I still kind of like how it ended up shaking out; a tragedy borne of ruthless, selfish pragmatism.
This was made even better by the fact that Joker did care for her, when you look at all the planning that went into the scenario. He just sacrificed her for the greater good - his ability to kill more stuff and maybe stop some evil plan or another for once.

And I barely remember the Bardiel thing, but I don't see why going the "murder all of the ones involved in my waifu's death" route is supposed to be weird. Anon barely even understands his own human emotions at this point, so his hatred was probably of a way purer grade than is normal.

And yeah, I love how the nature of the playerbase just synergizes so well with the narrative of his completely fucked up psyche.
I particularly appreciated the play with all of its prophetic warnings, the lot of which came true thanks entirely to the choices and actions of the playerbase (and thus, Joker), all without a shred of awareness that they were doing that.

Characters in myth and fiction disregarding prophecies that they then fulfil is old hat, but it's a lot more meaningful when it was a choice made by real people not constrained by narrative who nevertheless chose to do it anyway. This kind of 'can't make this shit up' factor is why on-the-fly player generated fiction is so great.

It's not really escapism, is it? Red Joker doesn't seem to particularly like the Red World, he just accepts it. He actually seems much happier around the various love interests, never mind the emotional clusterfucks that follow.

As far as I can tell, he's not particularly proud of being the Red Joker. He simply is who he is. There's this pragmatic, world-weary fatalism to the whole thing. Even White is like that, but more philosophical.
So, assuming we can get out of hell essentially, what are we looking out on the outside? How many of our allies do we have left at this point, Chrome Cypher, Vector Geist, the Black Tristars (minus Bishamon). Speaking of, is Bishamon going to be actively hunting us?

Natsumi is still alive. Tyrian and Volt are alive, but Bishamon hates us. He can't beat us, though. Mio is catanoic, and Naoya has her.

Pazuzu is still alive, but his plan is fucked. All the other villains are dead. If we can just get home, we win.
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Would Cybele have been more popular if she was more of a vamp? She was fairly plain for a Hyades, and she just wasn't exactly 'sexy'. She didn't really seduce Joker the way the other Hyades seduced their retainers, right? I'm just trying to understand the thought process here, because you have Alura making blatant come-ons at Joker in every appearance.

What? God, no. That would have been awful in context. It would make no sense for her to be a sexpot. Alura was a seductress because she had image issues, her real body being horribly crippled. Only Kraken was dumb enough to be attracted, and he was so outplayed he died before he realized it.
Dude, what?
Cybele was plenty attractive, as long as you disregard her casual sociopathy.
The issue with Cybele was her position, not her being.
In the end, she was just a scared little girl in need of a savior, who just so happened to require massive amounts of human sacrifice to be saved.
None of the Hyades really 'seduced' their retainers in the conventional sense, they were essentially picked out to be mind whammied into obsessive love and devotion to their mistress; Utopia Ruler's case made it clear that it was essentially brainwashing. Cybele didn't really attempt to seduce Joker per-say, she just sort of assumed he would be in love with her because that's how it's supposed to work for the Hyades and their champions, and she was simply unaware that Joker's armour made him an exception until far too late.

Yeah, he's fucked up enough that he struggles with the real world sometimes, only managing as well as he does thanks to the mountains of essence he pulls from all his would-be assailants. By contrast he's far more in his element in the Red World and seems to take what little satisfaction he can in that existence, however grim. Still, he's aware that the same things that make him so well adjusted to the Red also make him a hot mess ill-suited to heroics or even basic morals at times, which is why he considers Dagael so important. It's telling that when the world itself was imploding his sole overriding thought was essentially 'Kazuya MUST live'.
>Fuck, I wish we had our drones.


have em, use em!
JQOP's typed plenty of words about how Cybele is an incredibly attractive woman.

I'm pretty sure most of the art used is from hentai games.
I believe most all the female portrait JQOP uses is drawn by Tony Taka. Who makes just about all his girls drop dead gorgeous.

That was one of the main reasons people were able to so quickly guess he was the one running the YoumaQuest one-shot.
Speaking of which, I am not alone in hoping he one day continues that or Makai Knight Quest am I?
You aren't.
Got a link to those? I've never seen them.
I really liked the idea of playing the cyclops. Combine the overwhelming brute strength with eye beams, and the possibility of being able to mimic voices, could've had a fun time being a recurring villain.

We play *as* the Youma, friendly neighborhood monster-of-the-week for the magical girls to beat the crap out of. Turns out though, several months of planning and some good gear allowed us to leave "I'll get you next time, rangers" by the skin of our teeth.

While a disturbing amount of people seemed interested in corrupting magical girls in order to waifu, I was more intrigued by the idea that we were a youma who was given free will without anyone's knowledge. I wanted to see the game of double layered public stealth, where we hid our youma nature from the muggles and magical girls, while also hiding our human form from our employers. And quite possibly using both sides against each other for our own personal gain.
Less of a straight up villain or redeemed monster, and more just some poor shmuck stuck in a rotten situation and wanting more out of life than being cannon fodder.

Hopefully JQOP tries to dive back into this at some point in the future.

First link is the first thread, the other 2 managed to get saved on suptg. Still haven't gone though this one though, but I'll get around to it.
Is Argent Prominence and his faction still around. Could be a good stop for repairs (since I'm sure we're going to still do some fighting before we're home free, like one last encounter with Pazuzu) and the pastebin said he was making us a new Adjudicator.
>While a disturbing amount of people seemed interested in corrupting magical girls in order to waifu
I love corruption porn so that's not a problem for me at all, though I'm pretty against the recent piling on of "hey what if magical girls but dark and edgy" since 99% of it is kinda puerile garbage, and their bad riffing off of Madoka misses the point that Madoka had every classic element of magical girls.

>Argent Prominence
He died from Red World brain cancer.

And the "new Adjudicator" is the Sinistral.

He died.

JQOP did a Madoka Quest, too.
I'm down for this desu.

It's this one, but you play a guy. It seems to be setup for female NTR, though.

> http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/1973882/
we spent way too much time in the Real World when the Red was the fucking interesting one baka.

Also, we never got Limiter III the moment we could have (Ixion I think) which not only crippled our build but denied us the peak perfection my autism demands.

Also, /tg/ had some of the worst fucking write-ins known to man, holy shit did they make him intoa melodramatic poser faggot instead of someone who just went straight for the fucking throat.

And every time we got btfo'd because of that, we'd say we'd learn but we never did!

I do think the whole Cybele thing was overblown though. We got a lot of shit for that but it seemed like the only legitimate option at the time considering the shit she was saying about lack of commitment. I still want to try and keep her relic intact; thankfully it still is so far.
>I still want to try and keep her relic intact; thankfully it still is so far.
I like how we are accumulating relics of dead allies. It's kinda poetic.
And then we gave up one special relic to make Daegal.
Maybe we can one day find someone to pass a relic on to. It would be hilariously ironic if Mio somehow got saved by being given Cybele's relic.

The whole Player 'life cycle' fascinates me. Clearly Players are meant to be completed by Hyades, but not all of them have a partner. Pazuzu and Argent didn't, and neither does White Joker.

Meanwhile, Anon was ELIGIBLE for not one but two possible Hyades, but eventually rejected both.
The Hyades are just one of the many freaking systems doing their own thing in the Red.
Just like how there's remnants of what might have been a greater civilization, as well as fucky shit like the instant arenas that can appear anywhere if you declare a formal challenge for a duel.

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