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You are plummeting towards a blue sheet of ocean with three bags of rocks tied to your waist and a bad taste in your mouth.

Your back stings a little from where the cop prodded you with his spear. That bastard. It wasn't as if you could've made a break for it, halfway down a sodden length of driftwood.

Maybe he'll get tossed next. Wouldn't that be a special bit of poetic justice? And your ravaged corpse could skewer him in the back. With a rib, or,or something.

The water looks a lot closer than you remembered from a second ago.
Damnit. It would be foolish to say you hadn't been expecting this. You knew perfectly well what the consequences for worship were, and in the face of them you carried on. What the hell for?

>[A1] You were addicted. (So what if you were a stereotype? The seawater was the only thing that made you feel whole.)
>[A2] You were trying to change things. (It wasn't right. It wasn't fair. People were just trying to live with what they had.)
>[A3] You were a true believer. (Don't laugh. They spoke to you.)

But, really, the crime wasn't the issue. You don't regret it. What mattered was getting caught.
There was a reason you were the first arrest in recent months. Why?

>[B1] You turned yourself in.
>[B2] Someone ratted you out.

I'll give it another ten minutes or so and then roll.
i was arrested due to violence from my mental illnesses.
Shit I meant
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>A2 (Reformer)

>A3 (Believer)

>B1 (Turned Self In)

>B2 (Was Ratted Out)

You were ratted out. Rolling for Reformer (1) or Believer (2).
Writing. I have a lot of early stuff prewritten, so this should be quick.

I'll include an option for write-ins when I'm open to including them.
You seem pretty prepared. This could be a really good one.
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>You were trying to change things. |TRAIT: (IDEALIST)|
It was horrible on the lowest levels, not that anybody who mattered knew or cared. It was no wonder people tried to escape. You weren't sure whether to believe or not, but you tried to stick up, in your own way, for the people who did.
Fat lot that landed you.

>Someone ratted you out. |COMPLICATION: {SNITCH}|
You'd been so careful not to draw attention You were discreet. Sly, if you wanted to flatter yourself. But someone-- someone! must have told.

But allthat doesn't change the fact that you're going to die. In the process of dying, even. Dead, if you're going to be morbid-- but at least, you console yourself, it will be quick. You will hit the water in a fraction of a second, and then you will be frozen, or boiled, or stabbed with a thousand thousand wave-knives, or perhapsswallowed up in the maw of a great basking shark.

Your chest throbs, possibly in sympathy with your back. It will be gone soon
You hit the water.
You don't die.
Instead, you sink; your eyes, your nostrils, your mouth all flood and sting with saltwater. A little trickles down your throat.

The chestache blooms. It slides in your chest, leaving, you imagine, slick snail-trails of mucous. It is not supposed to do that, a tiny fraction of you thinks,but you're otherwise too stricken in horror to react. The precious final breath you've been holding streams out of you in a million silvery involuntary bubbles. And it stops, and you are left with a dull not-rightness.

You sink. You sink.

You are still sinking. A different tiny fraction wonders: how deep is the ocean? Maybe you'll just sink forever, or fall through the world and be spat out on the bottom. Wouldn't that be nice? Wouldn't that be interesting?
Why are you alive,
interjects the first, and you jolt from your blank-eyed reverie. Why?! More like how are you not dead--

You haven't taken a breath in, in however long it's been since you--
You cough, you sputter, you gag, you hack, you spit, but you can't, your lungs won't-- they only fill with saltwater--

You collide withthe seafloor in a poof of sand. The crushing depths lie above you.

>[1] Panic. (And then swim up.)
>[2] Panic. (And then decide if this is real.)
>[3] Panic. (And then look around.)
>[4] Panic. (And thenprobe your chest.)
>[5] Panic. (And thena writein.)
Goddamnit. When you copy/paste I guess it copy/pastes the original text file, too.
Enjoy looking at my minor changes!
>[1] Panic. (And then swim up.)
>Panic. (And then start working at the ropes to undo the rocks.)
The assholes who tied them to us probably didn't do a very good job of making them 100% unremovable since they would have assumed we'd instantly die on impact with the water's surface.
>[4] Panic. (And thenprobe your chest.)
>Undo the rocks
>Swim up
>Probe your chest

Apologies for the random missing spaces and so on. I don't think 4chan likes copy/pasting.
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>B1 (Turned Self In)
>>3148954 (You)
You want desperately to laugh. You try, even, but your lungs are locked in perpetual exhale. Heh.
You're dead.
You're dead! You're at the bottom of the ocean, and you can't breathe, and the sand thrown up by your sudden landing is settling in the folds of your clothing, and one of the bags of rocks is pressing into your side, and you must've landed on your arm funny because it hurts. You're dead, and if you aren't you're gonna be. It's just being drawn out.
Oh god. You settle for an ironic half-smile. Sunlight dapples on your face, which would be pleasant if you weren't some distance underwater.
[I]Sit up[/I], says that first tiny fraction of you. Feck. It's your reason-- and god, what an irritating son of a bitch he is.
But he's right. You take a deep-- you try to take a deep breath, and fail, and sit up.
What's step one? What's step one. You still have rocks tied to your waist. You need to start somewhere. You need to start--
Your fingers are starting to swell from the water, but they're still able to work out the loose knots. They weren't expecting you to need to escape. You weren't expecting it either, but that's unrelated.
You have three bags of rocks and some poorly-made rope.
What now?
You aren't dead. That means-- well, hell. Who says you can't just go... up? Somehow? You've never really been in water, but that seems to be one of its obvious traits. Discarding your rocks on the soft sand, you pick yourself up off the ground.
Tentatively, you pick up one foot and sort of flap your arms. Up and down? In circles? You aren't sure how this is supposed to work. You must be doing it wrong, because nothing happens. Alright, so you jump. Let the waters float you or something.
You're sent crashing down as surely as if you were on land.
Okay, okay, so not that. You're not getting out of here right now. That's fine. It's fine.
You're now in roughly the same position as before. Which gives you cause to notice: what's wrong with your chest? You can't breathe. But no, beyond that.
You prod it, wary of... well, something. Anything. Some monster growing in it, or your finger going right through it (you're dead! you're dead!), or-- but no, it feels normal. Cold, maybe.
Hard. It's hard. You tap it, swiftly, and it rings hollow. You can't breathe.
What happened to your lungs?
>[1] Nevermind. You don't want to know. Knowing will make everything worse. Look around.
>[2] Stick your hand down your throat.
I'll learn someday.
>>[2] Stick your hand down your throat.
>You can't breathe.

>>[1] Nevermind. You don't want to know. Knowing will make everything worse. Look around.
Our chest is the least of our problems. Why is the water not water?
1 for number one.
Don't do it.

Do it.

I just did and started retching
You briefly consider jamming your entire hand down your throat. Why not? Honestly. What would you have to lose?
Your dignity? He makes an excellent point. You close your mouth. You're unsure you would've liked what you found, besides.

What do you do in a new situation? You pry your mouth out of the half-smile it had settled itself back into. Look around, you guess. Make sure there really are no basking sharks behind you; or worse, fish. They'd been catching less these days, you've heard. Maybe they're all dead.

Or maybe they're just smarter now. You glance behind you, just in case. The yellow-white of the central pillar juts out of the sand. In an angry way, you decide after several seconds of thought, or maybe just an unhappy way. Both options make you uneasy.

To your left and right lies more sand, with the occasional pebble. Or, wait: something largeish rests just out of arms' reach, almost buried. It glints in the faint sunlight.

You can't see farther behind, so you turn back to where you were. You're on a kind of hill, so it's easy to see down. Ahead lies a forest.

You squint. You're pretty sure that's a forest, anyways: all trees, or you're pretty sure those are trees. They're purple. Okay, okay. It's not like anyone knows what's down here, so there's no reason to question this. Wood has to come from somewhere. Maybe you'll be the first person to ever touch a tree. That would be kinda cool, right?

To the west, the forest fades into sparse outcroppings and eventually a wide expanse of blue grass. It's rather pretty, rippling in the currents.

Stand up and head...
>Towards the buried object.
>Towards the forest.
>Towards the plains.
>>Towards the buried object.
>>Towards the buried object
>>Towards the buried object.
>Buried object
>Buried object


You need to set your priorities straight. Trees be damned!

Well, no, you don't mean that. You hope the trees won't be damned, because you're really very interested in checking one out. But the shiny thing is closer, and your lizard brain likes shiny things.

Dragging yourself off the seafloor for the second time, you walk the few feet to the object and kick some of the sand off. It's a rusty something, that's for sure, because the cloud you throw up in the process is orange-tinted.

And... oh. It's a bucket, though it's unclear why someone used metal for the thing, or why it go thrown out. Frankly, you were hoping for, like, a magic propeller to lead you up, or at least a weapon-- That was a stupid hope yeah I know, shut up.

>[A1] Keep the rusty bucket (Optional writein: do we do anything with it?)
>[B1] Toss the rusty bucket

But wait, hold it. Rounding the pillar, you've stumbled upon a whole bunch of things. Is this where people have been dumping their trash? It would explain all the... bones.

>Roll 3d100 to find something useful.

>Normal rolls will be 3d100, with each pass of the DC improving the result. Mostly luck-based rolls like this will be flat 3d100.
Rolled 67, 48, 12 = 127 (3d100)

>A1 (Use it to store the fat amount of loot we will find with the awesome roll I'm about to make.)
I'm a certified dumbass and meant 3 1d100. I'll take this for now.

Bucket voting open for another 7 minutes or so.
You mean you wanted 3 people to roll 1d100? In that case you should write

>Roll 1d100, best of 3
Rolled 90 (1d100)

>A1 (Use it to store the fat amount of loot we will find with the awesome roll I'm about to make.)
Damn, I screwed up. Sorry.
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Not best of 3, just 3. But yes.
I've been reading quests for years, so you'd think I would remember this stuff.
Don't worry about it, my man. It's my screwup.
I'll take your first two numbers and the other guy's as the third.

Anyways, calling for
>Take the bucket (to store loot)

And >>3149142
>67, 48, 90
hey maybe if I had rolled a 3d100 it would have been a critfail instead of 90 so not alls bad that ends mediocrely
>Take the bucket.
Hey. Hey, you've thought of something.
Why don't you take the bucket... and put this junk in the bucket? You're a fecking genius. You should be up on the top level, pushing humanity forward.

Shut up and pick up the bucket.

Hey, hey, hey. No. You're supposed to tell you to shut up, not you telling you to shut up.
You sound like a crazy person.

Shut up. Alright, now order is restored-- and you find yourself staring off into space with a rusting bucket in your hands. Ow. You forgot your arm was hurting.

So, what do people like to throw out? If you have any experience with dumpster diving (and boy, do you), you know it's basically anything and everything. The issue is finding it.

Beautiful. It drapes between two broken, rotting stave-halves: a hand-woven blanket, dyed inky violet from the tiny blossoms that grow in wet driftwood. Who sank so much time into this? Why was something this precious tossed into the sea? You pick it up-- and oh, okay. There's a giant slash through the middle. An altercation, maybe? An arrest?

What kind of sick freak made this thing? It lies in the crevice between a hunk of rock and a big tuft of grass and oogles up at you. A doll, but with a little slidey hatch so you can see its insides. And its junk! It's just hanging out there, all smug about it. Nasty. You pick it up anyways.

Here's what you've been searching for. It's poorly made, sure, and very much worn. And really, who did this knapping? A kid? Well, probably. Either way, a perfectly good-ish knife is sitting right here and you're not gonna pass it up.

You're kind of tired after picking through all this, but you don't want to let your guard down. You'd like some kind of shelter.
Hey, you're alive. You have to make the most of it.

And with that, your stomach rumbles.

>Find shelter first (any ideas?)
>Find food first (any ideas?)
>Find... water? Do you need it? It's all around you..

(Breaking for lunch.)
>>Find food first (any ideas?)
see if there are any plants that are squishy enough to eat
I return.

Rolled 1 (1d2)

Rolling for plains or forest because I forgot to ask and it wasn't specified.
Clutching the bucket with your bad arm and the knife in your good, you pick your way down the sandy slope. It's a little surprising to have no sea cockroaches, or sea rats, or sea-whatever-lives-here scuttle out of your way, but you almost prefer it this way. If it keeps up, maybe you'll avoid sea-things-that-eat-people.

You're on the plains now and are not seeing any obvious food. There sure is a lot of tall grass and little scrubby bushes, though, which you guess you'll eat if need be.

Ahead of you is tall grass as far as the eye can see. You could forge ahead and try and find something else, or examine the plants right here. Maybe they're hiding something.

>Move on
Hey, did we keep the rope from the rocks? It will definitely come in useful later on.
It's still lying where you landed, as far as you can tell. I'll make sure it get retrieved at a point that makes sense.

Giving it another few minutes.
You're not keen on wasting effort here. Why wade further into this big ol' feck-off meadow when there might be food at your feet?

You hunch over and take a closer look at the grasses. You'd thought them all the same kind initally, but there seems to be a few different types here. Isn't nature wonderful? She'd be wonderful-er if they were delicious, but you don't want to find out just yet. You aren't a board mouse.

The tallest comes up past your knees. It's a pale greyish-blue, like what you kinda wish your eyes looked like, and to your chagrin very sharp. Feck.

You'd just been prodding it, looking maybe for a sort of switch to magic it into a fruit, when it pierced your finger. A bead of blood-- your blood, which you very much wish was in your body-- balances on the tip of the grass, but is what you can only assume to be devoured. Meanwhile, your finger-

Oh. It's scabbing over. Weird scab, too, sort of light pinkish.

You decide not to eat the fecking carnivorous grass and turn to its shorter cousin. It's much prettier, a jewel-bright teal, and-- you poke with your knife-- likely not pointy. You mark it down as edible(?).

Finally, the scrubby bushes cluster a little to your right. Turning over a few leaves reveal white protrusions. Eggs? Berries? Poisonous insects? Damned if you know.

What to do?
>[A1]: Pointy Grass
>[A2]: Pretty Grass
>[A3]: Bush Things
>[A4] Writein

>Eat what you collected:
>[B1] Yes (specify, otherwise it will all be tried)
>[B2] No
>[B3] Writein

>Go somewhere:
>[C1] Further into plains
>[C2] Over to the forest
>[C3] Back to the pillar or trash dump
>[C4] Writein
C4 check if the white protrusions are edible, poke it squish it with your fingers etc

As a note, I'll write all compatible options unless otherwise stated.
(4chan briefly died on me. Sorry for the wait.)

You decide to pick a few white things off the underside of the bush.

>|ITEM: White Round Things|

They land with a gentle plop and slight squish in your bucket, which doesn't really inspire an appetite. But you're equal parts curious and desperate enough to pop one in your mouth-DO NOT EAT THAT WITHOUT PRECAUTIONS-

He's yelling now, which hurts the inside of your ears. You're starting to wonder if you've taken this whole anthropomorphization thing too far. Don't want to wind up like Nutso Bennett on the street corner, right? Right? Gods.

The white thing is smooth and, as holding it to the light reveals, semi-transparent, with a small dark spot inside. You dig your knife into its flesh and come up with goo. It doesn't bleed, which you didn't realize you were worried about until now. So... fruit or a weird egg. Edible either way, most likely, so booyah and suck it, you.

You slide it back into your bucket and carry onwards, tiptoeing around the grass you know to be pointy. You should name it tooth grass. Or mosquito grass. Or just stupid fecking horrible sharp grass.

You only stop when you trip, nearly faceplanting for what's like the third or fourth time today. Your foot was caught in a hole about a foot across. Looking forward, it seems like there's a whole bunch of holes pockmarking the sand.

You're in a hole-y situation! Wait. That doesn't make any sense.

>Name the sharp grass?
>[A1] Toothgrass
>[A2] Mosquitograss
>[A3] Stupid Fecking Horrible Pointy Grass
>[A4] Writein. You can name the other things too, if you like.

>Pry your foot out of the hole and...
>[B1] Look inside one.
>[B2] Toss something in. (What?)
>[B3] Start trying to dig one up.
>[B4] Writein.
>[A3] Stupid Fecking Horrible Pointy Grass

hello im new here this looks cool
Observe from a distance.
forgot my second response
You still forgot your second response!

I'll give it another six minutes to see if this guy is around and then start writing.
>[A3] Stupid Fecking Horrible Pointy Grass

>[A1] Needlegrass

>Observe from a distance
>Look inside a hole

>Stupid Fecking Horrible Pointy Grass
It'll be referred to as that. Or more likely, whatever combination of insults you feel to be most fitting at the moment. There's a seagull's chance in Lowest Level you'll remember the original name.

>Observe the hole(s)
You want to stick your whole head in the thing. You want to fashion a shovel and make a big pit where the hole used to be. You want to jab your knife into the sand and see if you skewer anything.

You do none of these things, and instead take the sane option of staying where you are and seeing if anything happens.

A minute drifts by, as does a whirling clump of uprooted grass.

Two minutes. You should've taken those bags and rope. Where'd you leave them? Where you landed.

Three minutes. You're hungry again, and frankly kind of tired. How long has it been? Is there still sunlight above? Can you even tell? Will you ever be able to tell again?

Four-- and movement. Where? There! The hole next to yours, and it's gone. You only caught a blur.

>Look down a hole
You're done being sensible. You creep over and gaze into the black, and the black gazes back. No, it doesn't. But four little glints down there do.

You found life.

>[1] You know what? You're hungry. You've hunted and eaten your fair share of weird hole-dwelling creatures. You have a knife. Go for it.
>[2] You can go about this smarter. Set a trap. How? You'll figure it out. (Including a plan may grant a bonus!)
>[3] Back far, far away. When there's one critter there's often several dozen. Or a predator.
>[4] It won't be cute. But it might. It might be cute. Try to make friends.
>[5] Writein.
>You know what? You're hungry. You've hunted and eaten your fair share of weird hole-dwelling creatures. You have a knife. Go for it.
>[1] You know what? You're hungry. You've hunted and eaten your fair share of weird hole-dwelling creatures. You have a knife. Go for it.
if you gaze too long into the abyss and the abyss gazes back then you have to stab it and devour it raw
Please roll me 3 1d100s.

DC: 50 (Medium)
-5: Experienced
-5: Armed

>DC: 40 (Medium)

No Successes: Critical Failure
One Success: Failure
Two Successes: Success
Three Successes: Critical Success
>[3] Back far, far away. When there's one critter there's often several dozen. Or a predator.
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Rolled 95 (1d100)

Rolled 84 (1d100)

The will
My internet is going down in a bit. Don't know how long, but I'll be back afterwards.

We still need one more roll.

hi discord
Rolled 34 (1d100)

Here's the last one.
Internet's back. Sorry to keep yall waiting.
On the bright side, I made oatmeal cookies.

>95, 84, 34
2 Passes - Regular Success
I'm on my phone at the moment, but will start writing shortly once I can switch over.
Scratch that. I need another half hour to clean up.
Update after.
>Stab the life out of the thing!
>Regular Success

You know what? You're tired of being on the losing side. You're tired of being down and out.
You're also hungry.

What luck, then, that you have a knife and a storied history of tracking down food where a civilized person would not think to look for it.

The thing in the hole had no idea what hit it. After spotting it, you hunched over (like a dangerous animal, hopefully, and not a gangly man) and in a swift motion-

You'd stabbed it clean through the head, whatever it was.
With your bad hand, you reach down and grab it by the sticky-out bits. There's no blood, you're pleased to note, because that aspect had always bothered you.

The unfortunate critter bears a striking resemblance to what you've heard squirrels look like, all big tail and little paws. The tail is more spiky, sure, and you don't think squirrels are all that scaly, but the point stands.
You're starving.

>[A1] Eat it raw.
>[A2] Prepare it first. (How? Also, can you have fires here? You're pretty sure that's a no, but you're willing to find out.)
>[A3] Save it for later.

>[B1] Eat it with the white eggs/fruit.
>[B2] Do not.

>[C1] Move somewhere else to eat. (Specify.)
>[C2] Stay here.

>[A1] Eat it raw.

>[B1] Eat it with the white eggs/fruit.
>[C2] Stay here.

doing it right this time
>With white things
A2 try to find a lighter or some stones to make a fire
C1 go back to the junk and rubble pile
>Eat it raw with the white things, right where you are.
Your heart is pounding near out of your chest. You feel manly. You feel primal. You feel like you have some meat here, and you should probably eat it sooner rather than later.

Hell, why not right here? You're not enthused about the gore and even less about how the raw meat is going to slither down your throat, but you have to focus on the big picture of "not dying like an idiot."
Even better, you have these white things still in your bucket. Extra nutrients, whatever nutrients are.

You chip a few scales off the leg and pry up some exposed meat. It helps if you close your eyes, so you close your damn eyes and choke down the first bite.
It's just slimy, salty rat. You're okay with this.

The white things are worse, because they gush out when you bite down. You detect salty nothing. Maybe eggs, then, and not fruit. You're okay with this.

You finish half a carcass. You've managed to not sever any of the critter's blood vessels, which was your main goal. You haven't died. You sure hope you won't die from the raw food you just ate.

This would previously be about the time where you patted yourself on the back, had a drink, and passed out. And unlike most of those times, it does seem to be close to nightfall: the sunlight, as much as there is, is noticeably fading.

You're not big on the idea of getting eaten overnight. Some kind of shelter is needed.

>[1] Head back to the pillar. You can make a tent with the stuff in the dump, and you left the rope behind as well.
>[2] Go to the forest. You might be able to climb a tree.
>[3] Stay here. You can dig a pit and camouflage yourself with sand and grass.
>[4] Writein.
>>[1] Head back to the pillar. You can make a tent with the stuff in the dump, and you left the rope behind as well.
>Back to the pillar

>Head back to the pillar.

You're getting a little nervous, actually, standing out here in the open with raw meat in your hand. The pillar... well, you don't know if you'd call it safe, but you can have a wall to your back and a height advantage.

Besides, your rope! And bags! And rocks, you guess, because those can always come in handy. As soon as you make it back, you coil the rope over your shoulders and set the bags of rocks in your bucket, which is getting very heavy.


What to do, what to do. You have a blanket and a bunch of rocks, and you remember seeing some sticks in the dump. Makeshift, to be sure, but it could probably get you through the night? Or you could risk scavenging for longer, hopefully turning up a sturdier option.

>[A1] Build blanket fort
>[A2] Look for something better
>[A3] Writein

Is also an option.
>>[A1] Build blanket fort
make it extra comfy
Breaking for dinner. Vote is open until I return.
>Blanket fort!
You're used to constructing a shelter, although it was usually after getting kicked out of someone else's.

You begin after retrieving the stave halves from the dump and planting them firmly in the sand. You tie the rope between them-- luckily, it's just long enough to reach-- and drape the blanket over the top. After some thought, you weigh down the corners with the rocks you sank with... which is probably some kind of ironic, but you really don't know what that word is supposed to mean.

Hey presto! You have a tent, sort of. So what if you can barely fit inside and if a stiff breeze could knock it over, it's yours and you won't even be evicted.

Sunlight (or maybe moonlight, by now) still dapples the seafloor, so you decide to spend a little extra time to make your campsite nice.

Outside the tent, you lay down the remaining stones in a crooked circle and prop up the weirdass doll against one of them. Maybe it'll ward off attackers. "Look at that weirdass doll," they'll say. "I don't want to mess with the crazy guy who owns that weirdass doll."
As a finishing touch, you write your name in the sand.

" E L L E R Y "

"Godsdamn," those attackers will say. "I definitely don't want to tangle with Ellery. That's the best name I've ever heard. Danger must be his middle name."

It's a nice thought.

You climb-- squeeze, really-- into your tent and attempt to get comfortable. It's definitely not the worst place you've ever tried to sleep.

What do you do before you pass out? Pick one: you'll be out before you do another.
>[1] Try to prod your chest again. You feel more confident.
>[2] Pray to the dead gods. Maybe it'll work, this time, and it's apropos.
>[3] Think about where you came from. (Infodump. Pick one topic you want to know about.)
>[4] Nothing. You're asleep immediately.
>[5] Writein.
>[1] Try to prod your chest again. You feel more confident
>>[1] Try to prod your chest again. You feel more confident.
if you sink your hands in and you feel nothing try to grab some of your own meat and eat it
>[3] Think about where you came from.
Hometown and how we ended up here.
>Probe your chest again

Think about where you came from


I'll do an infodump after the session, so that and any other questions will be addressed upon request. I don't believe in an MC knowing more than the people controlling them do.
>Probe your chest agan

You're lying down when you have a thought:
You aren't breathing. You can't breathe. And you don't know why, because you never bothered to investigate thouroughly.

And by that, of course, you mean jamming your entire hand down your throat and into your lungs. Can you reach that far? Time to find out.

Luckily, that horrible little voice of reason seems to have quieted down. Maybe he's dead.

I'm not dead because I am you, and I don't know why you're pretending otherwise Ell- you have stuck your hand into your mouth.

Your mouth is warm and wet. You've expected this. You inch a little farther.

-well yes I know why it's because you don't like having to do the normal thing-

You'd be gagging now, normally, but you're pretty sure you can't. Somewhere around here, your flesh starts getting-

-so instead you have invented this idea of 'the normal thing' being actually someone else in here telling you what to do-

-hard. And cold. You lack the words to really describe it, but it's deeply unnatural. You tap the inside of your throat-

-which is patently ridiculous and you know it, and if you keep this up I and by that I mean we are going to start going wrong in the head-

-tink. It's unpleasant, feeling your hand inside. You could reach out and touch it, with your other hand. You don't. You move down.

-I MEAN IT. this drowning business is bad enough and now you're/we're gonna snap someday-

You've reached a juncture. A little flap-- still warm, you're relieved to note-- blocks the way of one. You head down the other-

-next you're going to start, I don't know, hallucinating me as some other guy lecturing you and if I know you you're gonna make him really ugly or really hot and I don't know which is worse-

It's still horribly smooth, but now it's slick with what you deeply hope is water. You plunge fowards, forwards: and hit a deep pool of something that you continue to hope is water.

You've reached your lungs, or one of them.


You are, you come to realize, sitting in a shabby little tent with your entire arm down your windpipe. It's not your best look.

You extract it and try to sleep. It comes slower than you'd hope.

>[END DAY 1]
This feels like an endpoint, so I'm going to take a break here for questions, comments, feedback, > kill urselves, or whatever you like. I can also be found at the /qtg/ discord under the name Katabatic, so if you'd like to privately tell me to kill myself rather than publicly go for it.

As mentioned, I'm also going to be running an infodump. Ask any question (about the setting, MC, etc) you like and I'll answer to the extent that Ellery knows.
>Hometown and how we ended up here.
Is on my list already.

I may end up running again later tonight. Haven't decided.

Have a good 2019, friends!
>Your hometown
You grew up on the lowest level of Pillar 4, the only speck of land in the ocean for miles around. There's supposed to be 16 pillars, but as far as you know yours is only in contact with 3 and 5.
Frankly, the place is garbage and it's difficult to miss it. It's nice on higher levels, apparently, but you need to be rich or well-connected to
live there and you're neither. Instead, you've made your way in the slums for... however old you are (late twenties-early thirties, you estimate). This has involved a lot in the way of living on the street, catching beach vermin for food, and dealing with your bad-tempered neighbors: seawater addicts, criminals, and crazy people.

>How you got here
You wouldn't know it by looking at you, or talking to you, but there's a spark of goodness in your heart. You really wanted to fix things-- for you, sure, but for everyone. You'd just started to build a core group to get the ball rolling when the police... knocked on your door (you didn't have a door and they didn't knock, anyways). You were arrested, knocked out, and dragged to the highest level, where you were convicted of "worship" (supposedly: being a Magician, or worshipping the eight dead seas. actually: living on the lowest level) and sentenced to drown. They tied rocks to your waist, walked you to a gangplank, and sent you off. Of course, things didn't go as planned.
Good morning. Running in approx. 35 minutes.
Rolled 71 (1d100)

Rolling for nighttime events.
[DAY 2]
Your night was better than expected. It would have been perfect, even, if not for a horseshoe crab that wormed itself into the crook of your arm while you slept. You didn't notice. In fact, it wasn’t until it took to skittering on your face that you awoke.

There would’ve been screaming if you could scream, but instead you had to resort to violently thrashing until it fell off. It took another fifteen minutes of checking every crevice for stowaways before you could sleep.

Morning came with the savage destruction of your tent.

You're sleeping (more restlessly, this time) before the harsh light of day floods in. You squint up:

Some kind of humanoid figure is standing there. You squint harder. It resolves itself into a woman, you're pretty sure, who- who has just kicked your tent down and is pointing a spear at your face.

With her free hand, she gesticulates unintellegibly. With her spear hand, she points at your throat.

Okay, you know what this is. You've been mugged before, though you've usually had much less to lose. You slowly extricate yourself from your sleeping position and raise your hands in the- air? (it's a saying don't think about it)

She stops waving her hand around and instead tries forcing out words through the water.


You give up comprehension and instead start to inch away from her spear.

It's no use. She freezes and lashes out, nicking you by the collarbone. You instictively raise your hand to the wound- blood. Bitch.

You look back up at the woman. She seems more relaxed, now.

>[1] An eye for an eye! You have a knife somewhere around here. Grab it and stab her, uh, gently.

>[2] Attempt to convey "what the feck did you do that for???" through non-verbal means.

>[3] Try and get a good look at her. Maybe she has twitchy arms and, uh, that's why she stabbed you.
Given my propensity to forget the >Write-in option, it's best to say it's always available unless obviously otherwise (ie, chargen)
>>[1] An eye for an eye! You have a knife somewhere around here. Grab it and stab her, uh, gently.
>An eye for an eye! You have a knife somewhere around here. Grab it and stab her, uh, gently.

Please roll me 3 1d100s.

DC: 60 (Hard)
-5: Surprise Attack

>DC: 55 (Hard)

No Passes: Critical Failure
One Pass: Failure
Two Passes: Success
Three Passes: Critical Success
Rolled 53 (1d100)

Rolled 27, 4 = 31 (2d100)

Rolling the other two.

>53, 27, 4 vs DC 55
0 Passes - Critical Failure!

>Stab her!
>Critical Failure

This is not okay. You're not going to be thrown in the ocean just to wake up and be speared by threatening women! You're not! You did, but it's the principle of the thing here.
What you know, and she doesn't, is that you have a knife in arm's length. Also, you're vicious, unpredictable, and liable to strike at any moment, which sounds really cool. Like a snake. Like one of those horrible tiny snakes that bite you just because you got within like ten feet of them. But no, that ruins the image-

What are you not doing right now? You are not stabbing. You are not revenge-ing. The woman is looking off into the distance somewhere, so you take the opportunity to fumble for the knife. Did you leave it on the ground? In the bucket? In your boot? No, the other boot. Aha! In retrospect, you're lucky you didn't slice up your foot, but whatever.

You take it in hand, raise back your arm... and then it all goes downhill.

You stab her, all right, somewhere in the leg. To put it lightly, it's not as calculated as you'd like it to be. There's a lot of blood, and oh, oh she's holding her leg and screaming bloody murder and it's ear-piercing even through the water and in the confusion she's taken her spear and is jabbing your back with it over and over-- not very hard, but there's still more blood- finally you wrench it out of her hands, kind of (it's still in your back) and you both collapse, her on the sand and you onto the ruins of your tent.

There's blood in the water all around you, fizzing and popping and you're not sure it's supposed to do that, but there continues to be bigger issues. You feel your back- oh, feck, and the spear sticking out of it- and come to the conclusion that you probably won't die, but it hurts like death. Meanwhile, the woman has a massive wound on her calf. You're mostly disgusted and a tiny bit proud.

The blood has decided to settle down and congeal, or something, because there's now a big gooey mass floating above and around you. A little gets in your mouth. Salty, you decide, before being suddenly accosted by a massive ringing in your ears and your head. Oh feck. Oh feck. You double over, still on the ground, and out of the corner of your eye you can see the woman is doing something similar.

It stops and you're left with the striking feeling that something has changed.

"oh gods, imagine if I die right here to this random psycho and they'll never know", someone says, clearly.
You look at the woman. Her lips aren't moving. She's not even looking at you.

What the feck?

>[1] Try and respond. (With what?)
>[2] Consult your reason. You feel kind of bad about last night, and you hope you didn't break the guy.
>[3] Nope, nope, nope. You're not having this. Try and shut down... whatever is happening.
>[4] Writein.
What? Blood communication?
>[4] Try to get in near the blood cloud by her calf.
>>[4] Writein.
ask her why the fuck she stabbed you with her spear and call her a cunt
>>[4] Writein.
ask her why the fuck she stabbed you with her spear and call her a cunt

>[4] Try to get in near the blood cloud by her calf.

>Ask her why the feck she stabbed you
>Insult her
>See what happens when you get closer to your wound

You need to breathe. Count one, two, three, inhale, exhale, you're not actually doing it you're just pretending to, oh gods.

"Who's counting?" The voice is feminine but otherwise hard to pin down. You glance again at the woman, who's staring right at you, eyes narrowed. It's her.

You waffle between haughty and indignant and end up neither. "Um. I am, I guess. Hold... hold on. You stabbed me! You stabbed me, you fecking cunt. For no reason. And you knocked my tent down! I spent like ten minutes on it!"

She looks pissed. "I had..." Oh, okay. She's talking(?) slow like you're stupid. Ha ha. You get it. "to check... if you... were... a... goo."

Thanks. That doesn't explain anything.

You're pretty sure she heard that, because her expression changes. "Oh shit. You're not from here."

You don't know what to say first.

>[A1] "Where's here?"
>[A2] "What's a goo?"
>[A3] "Why didn't you try to explain before stabbing me with a big feckoff spear?"
>[A4] "What, are there people from 'here'?"
>[A5] "Sorry I maybe killed you."
>[A6] "Write-in."

While you consider, you drag yourself a little closer to her leg. You don't know what's going on, but it's probably related to both of you bleeding out.
"Hi. What are you doing?"
It's no louder or clearer or anything. You drag yourself back.

>[B1] "Do you know what's going on, with... this?"
>[B2] "Boy, um. Just checking out all your blood.
>[B3] "Where'd you come from? Can you walk back on that?"
>[B4] "Write-in."
>[A3] "Why didn't you try to explain before stabbing me with a big feckoff spear?"
>[B2] "Boy, um. Just checking out all your blood.

>[A6] “So how the feck do we both not bleed out now?”
>[A2] "What's a goo?"

>[B1] "Do you know what's going on, with... this?"

this is getting weird
File: the scarred woman.png (2.87 MB, 962x1294)
2.87 MB
2.87 MB PNG
Breaking for lunch. Vote is open until my return.

Pic related is the woman.
>>[A3] "Why didn't you try to explain before stabbing me with a big feckoff spear?"
>[B1] "Do you know what's going on, with... this?"
Rolled 1 (1d2)







[A3] wins, and I may throw in the write-in depending on how it turns out. Rolling for [B1] or [B2], then writing.
>"Why didn't you try to explain before stabbing me with a big feckoff spear?"
>"So how the feck do we both not bleed out now??"
>"Do you know what's going on, with... this?"

She lapses into silence, both hands growing sticky with blood. You chew your bottom lip.

"So, um. Why didn't you try to explain before stabbing me with a big feckoff spear?" It's a valid question, you think.

She's visibly annoyed through the pain. "I did. Did you not see the-? No, of course you didn't. Godsdamnit." Lifting one hand up, she motions as she narrates. "Handsign. It's how you communicate, I guess. Did you see? I just said it in handsign, too."
You didn't really see, but decide not to mention...
"You didn't see. Great. Whatever." You chew your bottom lip further.

"Say," you say(?). "How the feck are we not going to bleed out?"

Still annoyed. She's basically growling, at this point. You're not sure you deserve this kind of treatment. "We're not going to bleed out. It will plug itself up, after a while. The issue is losing the blood in the first place."

You don't press for elaboration. She'll probably yank the spear out of your back and stab you through the eye if you try.

One more try at conversation. "Do you know what's going on, with... this?" You wave your hand at the pinkish mass above you. It's getting bigger.

"Kind of. Not really. It's blood mixed with saltwater and it does things. Nobody's experimented much, because of the... requirements to make it, I guess.
If I had to speculate, it's both our blood. So there's some sort of a weird connection being made."

She just sounds tired, now. You're not sure what to do.

>[1] "Did you say you came from somewhere? Are you going back?"
>[2] "Should I be worried about this?"
>[3] "Well, this kind of sucks."
>[4] "Will getting a bandage help? I have this blanket here."
>[5] "Write-in."
Looks like we hit a slow patch. Vote is still open for however long it takes to get a vote.
>[3] "Well, this kind of sucks."
>[4] "Will getting a bandage help? I have this blanket here."
>"Well, this kind of sucks."
>"Will getting a bandage help? I have this blanket here."

You feel bad, but not enough to apologize. Again, she stabbed you first. And then a lot more times after that.

The first thing that comes out of your mouth (but does it? No, right? You're going to need to investigate later) is "well, this sucks."

She coughs and grimaces. "Yes. I'll give you that. This sucks."

At this rate, your bottom lip is going to look like crumpled newspaper. You switch to your top.

"Hey, could... do you need a bandage? Do we? I have this blanket here that might be able to help, I guess--"

She cuts you off, which strikes you as rude. "Yes. Hand it here."

When you do, she tears it in half along the rip and hands a piece to you. Unsure how you're supposed to make this work when you're mostly wounded on your back, you look to the woman for help. She's busy tying up her own leg.

Okay, okay. You'd shrug off your shirt, but you've forgotten: there's still a spear in there that you aren't interested in removing. Instead, you poke the haft through a weak spot in the weaving and push the blanket down so it covers the gashes. You tie the bottom corners around your waist and the top corners around your shoulders.

She's finished, too. "Is that a cape? You look silly."

That was entirely uncalled for. "Uh-"

"Get your stuff. We need to get moving."

>[1] "Hold on. Where are we going?"

>[2] "Why are you taking me with you? I'm okay here."

>[3] "Are you sure you can walk on that?"

>[4] Get your stuff and get moving.

>[5] Write-in.
We stabbed her and she hasn’t tried to kill us again, so I guess everything is fine
>Get your stuff and get moving.

Before I write:
>[1] Timeskip several hours.
>[2] Do not.
Don't timeslot. Dropped your trip.
dont time skip now
>Do not timeskip

You'll miss the silence, but not more than you're currently missing having blood in your body.

Everything goes back in the bucket.

>|INVENTORY|: Rusty Bucket (held), Weirdass Doll, A Bunch of Rocks, 3 Small Bags, A Short Length of Rope, Half a Critter Carcass, Pretty Bad Stone Knife, Ripped In Half Blanket (worn)

Standing up leaves you lightheaded, and it doesn't look like the woman is much better. (You need to get a name so you can stop calling the woman "the woman", because it's starting to get weird.)
She grabs one of the stave halves, and hands you the other. "Something to lean on."

There's a pause. "And I'm Madrigal, and now you can stop thinking about it."

Shit. How do you turn this off? Can you call her Maddie? It would probably be a bad idea, right?


Alright, then.

The two of you set off slowly towards what Madrigal says is the north. It'd be bad enough with just the hike, but she keeps bothering you, too:

"I saw the name in the sand. Ellery? Is that you?"

You don't like where she's going with this.


"It's a terrible name. Girly."

"Well, I don't think- I don't think that's fair."

"You slashed my calf open."

>I need 1 1d100 for a random occurrence and 3 1d100s for how well it's dealt with. One person can roll two, or we can have four. Either way.
Rolled 14 (1d100)

Rolled 74 (1d100)

Rolled 36, 76 = 112 (2d100)

Rolling the second two.

Random Event 14: Leafire

DC 60: Hard
+10 - Crippled
>DC 70
>74, 36, 76 - Success.


You're an hour or more into the tall grass when a loud pop catches your attention. A screechy "FECK" beside you means it catches Madrigal's, too.

"Leafire!" is all she'll say as she drags you behind an outcropping of rock to the side. "It's coming in hot. We're lucky the blood's slowed down."

You don't really want to know what this means, but you'll take it.

Another pop, closer. "I think we'll be okay. Cover your ears."

And then, like a firecracker: a steady string of bangs. Ashen water drifts towards you.

There! You see it. A snaking line of red-hot embers races by, setting off periodic explosions in the sand. It shoots up like a rocket, showering the area in debris. Bang!

It pauses, and twitches towards you.

And then, racing away. Smoldering grass lies in its wake.

"We're good. Time to go."

>[1] "Hold on. What was that?"

>[2] "Did it see us?"

>[3] Just leave.

>[4] Write-in.
Hold on what was that?
Seawater addiction, blood plus water makes magic and breathing underwater. So the ocean is pure mana?
File: mc.jpg (29 KB, 564x670)
29 KB
>"Hold on, what was that?"

Okay, you've put up with a whole lot. You're not going to let this slide without an explanation.
"Hold on. What was that?"

She sounds disdainful. "What?"

"Don't be ridiculous. That. The 'leafire', I guess."

"Something- we're not sure what- sparks a chain reaction in a certain kind of sand. It lights on fire, or something like fire- again, who knows. Is it alive? We've lost someone trying to find out, but it acts like it. Needs blood to keep going."

You're trying to put it together. "So why didn't it go for us?"

"Not worth it. We would've died, but the rock would've stopped it in its tracks. It can't double back on burned grass."

She's obviously tired of explaining things, so you set about devising a way to keep thoughts private. The only thing that seems to work is-

Seriously? I said it would come to this.

Having somebody else say it.

It's still you, of course. You've just fixed a couple of things. Grey-blue eyes.

It looks weird. You're weird. But there's a valid reason for this, now!

Madrigal looks over. "Sorry, who are you talking to?"

Himself! Please make it stop! You don't make it stop.

There's probably a better way to do this.

Still, you limp on. It's another uneventful hour before Madrigal stops you on the top of a hill. A cluster of tents lies below.

Someone's down here, signaling. She starts to mime back, then glances at you. "How should I introduce you?"

>"Ellery Routh."

>"A friend."

>"The coolest guy you'll ever meet."

>"Don't. I'm not sure I want to be a part of this."

I'm going to be heading out for an hour or so, maybe more. Voting will be open while I'm gone, of course, and my infodump offer still stands. There'll be a minimum of one more update today.

Have a nice afternoon!
>"Ellery Routh."
>>"Don't. I'm not sure I want to be a part of this."
> A man who needs some grub and a quick nap.
>”The newbie who stabbed you”
Rolled 3 (1d4)


Back a little earlier than expected. Rolling for the 4-way tie. Numbers correspond to order posted.
>"A man who needs some grub and a quick nap."

There's no reason to play all your cards. Madrigal has been fairly considerate beyond the initial stabbings, but you have no idea what her friends are like.
"Just say, um, a man who needs some, er, grub. And a quick nap."

She raises her eyebrows but relays something down. You'd like to be sure. "What'd you say?"

"I said you're a guy I found who's trying to be all secretive. And we need medical care. The food and sleep are givens. We can go down now, by the way."

Godsdamn. Whatever.

The terrain is a little different here, less flat and more open. Pebbles mix with the white sand. You count yourself lucky you still have boots, else you'd probably have stubbed several toes climbing down the hill.

Madrigal's camp is a rough affair, little more than tents and a ragged fence. You count five people gathered to meet you:

> A Tousled Man - Messy brown hair hides an open face. His smile fades when he gets a better look at you.
> A Blue-Cloaked Woman - Her face is mostly hidden by the sweeping blue cloak she wears. She laughs.
> A Tired Man - Middle-aged with cropped grey-black hair. Impassively, he leans on the fence.
> A Stone-Faced Man - Wears his hair in a ponytail. He hangs back from the rest.
> A Twitchy Woman - Young and freckled. Her hand stifles a yelp.

"They have names," Madrigal interjects. "It's- Listen, I'm just gonna let you find out on your own."

The tousled man and twitchy woman rush to your side as soon as you reach their little congregation. Madrigal seems to be explaining.

"What is it?"

"They want to know what happened," she responds. "I'm telling them we were attacked by mauraders. And that you don't know handsign."

You stop to consider.
"Why did you lie?"

"The truth isn't worth the effort." She waves away your gratitude. "I mean it. Listen, we're going to the medical tent and you're not going to get a say in the matter, so pick yourself up."

The tousled man leads you to a tent that looks the same as the others. He motions to enter. You do, but glance outside: the twitchy woman has followed you like a lost puppy. The stone-faced man is nowhere to be seen. The blue-cloaked woman and tired man are across the camp, signing and glancing towards you.

It's empty inside, lacking even a floor covering. The man places a hand gently on your shoulder, and you turn to face him. He mouths "sorry".

You don't see the punch coming.


It's night when you stir. You're in a different tent, you think, or else they moved furniture into the first one.

Ow. Shit, your head hurts. The rest of you feels better, though.

The bastard punched you! What was with these people and random acts of violence!

Outside, a light bobs.

>[1] Run! These people are crazy. You don't need their help.

>[2] Bide your time in the tent. Maybe check what they did to you.

>[3] Exit the tent, but don't run (yet).

>[4] Write-in.
Bide your time in the tent. Maybe check what they did to you.
>[2] Bide your time in the tent. Maybe check what they did to you.
>Bide your time.

No use in being reckless.

Can Madrigal still hear you? You'd rather not risk it if she can. You summon up your... what, doppelganger? Imaginary friend? There's probably a word for it, but you don't know it. It's easier in the dark, when everything is a blank canvas.

Gods fecking dammit. Seriously? You're not going to find a better way to do this? You're just gonna, what, blank your mind except for the part you've designated as "me" and channel everything here? How are you going to do that? You don't ever stop talking, especially not in your head-

You are dissolving away into the dark and the water and leaving somebody else behind. You are dissolving away into the dark and the water and leaving somebody else behind. You are dissolving away into the dark and the water and leaving somebody else you really hate behind. You are dissolving...

You are dissolved. Somebody else is left behind.

Oh shit. I did it.
Shit. This is bad. How does this work? How- is this the same body?
Blue eyes. I'd bet anything on blue eyes. They look worse. I told him.
Will anybody notice? They won't, right? I'm the same person, I was the same person for years and nothing happened. Right?
This is bad.
Focus. What was I trying to do before? Check my back.

You fumble, unused to tangible form, before finally landing an arm behind you.


The light you'd noticed before has frozen in place. And to your horror, the tent flap opens. Madrigal's here.
She looks concerned, but her face softens upon seeing you up. She points to her head, then yours, and makes a snapping motion.

Shit. Shit shit shit. You're screwed.

>[1] I can't talk. Right? ...Can't I? It's worth a shot?

>[2] Switch back! Switch back!

>[3] I just need to play it cool. Smile. Maybe it just wears off after a while, right?

>[4] Write-in.

Breaking for dinner. Vote open, etc.
>[2] Switch back! Switch back!

>[2] Switch back! Switch back!
>[2] Switch back! Switch back!

DC 20 (Easy)
+10 Under Duress
>DC 30 (Easy)

Roll me 3d100.

Still eating dinner, but phoneposting so I can get this moving.
Rolled 90 (1d100)

Rolled 39 (1d100)

Rolled 32 (1d100)

Rolling the final one, then writing.
>Switch back! Switch back!
>Critical Success!

To hide your flood of panic you affect a half-mask of confusion, which isn't very difficult.

This can't go on. She's going to get concerned or suspicious and either is too hard to deal with. I can't deal with it.
Come back. Where are you? Come back. I need you to confront the problem you caused. You can't just fob it off on someone else! Where are you? Where are you?
I'll take your place.


You are drowning in the dark and the water. You can't breathe. Could you ever breathe?

How did you get here? You don't remember. You were somewhere and then you were plunged so deep you can't ever come up.

You can't think. You shouldn't think, or else you'll be here forever, right?

Are you dead?

A body hits the water next to you. It is you. It has cold blue eyes.

You are lifted towards the sky, coughing and coughing and coughing the salt out of your lungs.

>(+5 to actions involving your DOUBLE.)


You wake up with the irresistible urge to cough.

Madrigal stands over you. "ELLERY? ELLERY ARE YOU THERE-"

You hadn't noticed it missing, but your headache is back in full force. "Yes."

"Oh, thank goodness. I didn't- it just shattered. I didn't know what happened. You just kind of stared at me and collapsed."

Can you even respond to that?

It just shattered:
>[A1] "I was sleeping. I guess it just does that when I sleep. "

>[A2] "Are you sure? I didn't notice anything."

>[A3] "Maybe we ran out of blood."

>[A4] "I'm sorry. I was experimenting with something."

>[A5] "Write-in."

You collapsed:
>[B1] "Must be the head wound. Sorry, why did that guy punch me?"

>[B2] "It was a joke! I was joking!"

>[B3] "You don't need to worry about me. I, uh, stabbed you."

>[B4] "Also the experiment."

>[B5] "Write-in."
B1. Better have a good reason.
Rolled 1 (1d2)



Rolling for A3 or A2, then writing.
>"Maybe we ran out of blood."
>"Must be the head wound. Sorry, why did that guy punch me?"

Your head is killing you, so your rejoinder about the punch is largely genuine.

She looks guilty. "You're probably right. I tried to stop it, really.
Uh, the gist of it is that we had to fix you up and didn't want trouble in the process. ...People living alone out here are usually nuts, and we've had issues before.
Sorry. I did try to stop it."

You're in luck, because she's either convinced or too apologetic to inquire further. You decide to patch up the other loose end here.

"No, hey, um... it's alright. About the whole connection thing, I was thinking: maybe we just ran out of blood? It fizzled out, or whatever."

"Maybe, but why would it come back? No, I think it's the punch, too. Knocked your head a little loose and it's just coming back together."

She might be right, because the headache is starting to fade. You have a few questions.

>[1] "Where'd everyone go?"
>[2] "While you're feeling sorry for me, can you actually tell me everyone's names?"
>[3] "Is this my tent?"
>[4] "I guess that's right. Goodnight."
>[5] "Write-in."
>[1] "Where'd everyone go?"
Usually nuts?
Apologies, got distracted. Writing.
>"Where'd everyone go?"
>"Usually nuts?"

You're very glad it was Madrigal who came in, and not any of the people you don't know. Whatever would've happened, it'd be worse than you have it now.

Actually, where are they?

"Arledge is outside with the lantern. I was pissed and told everyone else not to come within ten feet of you until I could get a change to talk, so I'd guess they're either sleeping or not within ten feet of you."

You appreciate it, but you haven't made up your mind about placing your trust in her or your friends. On one hand: they seem to be relatively well-supplied, and you're bandaged up. On the other: you were speared and clocked in the head.

>[A1] You trust her, and you're willing to trust her friends.
>[A2] You trust her, but not her friends.
>[A3] You really aren't sure.
>[A4] You don't trust her, but you're willing to stay here and see what happens.
>[A5] Everything about this is wrong. You have to get out, soon.
>[A6] Write-in, if there's some facet of trust not included here.

You're too tired to make a move at the moment, but something about what she said strikes you as odd. "Usually nuts?"

"Yeah. Well, it's double-edged. You have to be nuts to live alone, and living alone drives you nuts. And maybe it's the ocean, too, I don't know. But if you find someone out in the wild, you have to check them for goo, and even if they're real you have to stay on your guard. You never know if they're planning to ambush you and wear your fingerbones as rings."

Are you nuts? You're not, right?

>[B1] Maybe a little nuts. But not fingerbone level.
>[B2] No way. You're free and clear.
>[B3] You prefer "naturally eccentric".
>[B4] Actually, you're starting to get concerned. Things have ramped up to an uncomfortable level.
>[B5] Write-in, if there's some facet of nuts not included here.

Madrigal makes to leave. "Well, if that's all- I'll leave you to rest off that bump you got. I need to give Monty a little talk. Arledge will keep out intruders, so don't worry about that."

You weren't, until now.
It's very dark in the tent, but you can just make out your bucket in the corner. There's some kind of sleeping roll or blanket right under you.

Would you like to do anything before you sleep?
>[C1] Call back Madrigal. You have something to say. (What?)
>[C2] Pray to the dead gods. You don't have anything better to do.
>[C3] Remininsce. (Triggers infodump. Specify topic.)
>[C4] You hope your... whatever, your other you is okay. Check.
>[C5] Dig out the weird-ass doll and give it another look. Surely there's a point to it?
>[C6] Just sleep.
>[C7] Write-in. (Stay in the tent.)
As a note: votes in italics will not be broadcasted through any links you may hold. Regular votes may be, depending on context.
Writing. Last update of the night.
Rolled 1, 2 = 3 (2d2)

I haven't actually started writing... so I'll count this in. Rolling for B and C.
>You don't trust her, but you're willing to stay here and see what happens.
You've been on your own since forever, so you chafe at the thought of having to fit in to a pre-existing group structure or, worse, answer to an authority figure. Not to mention... everything else. You're already disinclined to place your full trust here.
Is Madrigal telling the truth? You don't know, and you'll be on guard until you find out. But there's no use in heading for the hills when there's the potential this is all it's cracked up to be.

(You don't trust this, but you're staying open-minded. This will influence choices given.)

>You prefer "naturally eccentric". (But maybe it wasn't always this bad.)
You were always like this. "You're weeeird," your salthead neighbor would hiss every time you walked by. It didn't help your street cred.
And sure, fine, whatever. You tended to ramble. You were once told your eyes were twitchy. But what of it? It wasn't like anyone else was any better, and many were much worse.
Still. It's been two days and it's obviously much more severe than it ever was. You need to keep an eye on yourself.
You're fine! You're fine. You were always like this.

(You're comfortable with how you are mentally... mostly. This will influence how you see yourself.)

>Pray to the dead gods. You don't have anything better to do.
You try to get comfortable, and as you do your thoughts drift to the sea. You knew Magicians, of course, in passing. You don't put a lot of stock into the whole thing yourself.
Still, you're pragmatic: it's better to believe and get rewarded than not and get punished. So you learned the prayer.

"Shallow Sea love for me.
Under Sea hate for me.

Quick Sea move for me.
Flat Sea wait for me.

Storm Sea strike for me.
Clear Sea see for me.

Green Sea live for me.
Salt Sea die for me."

8 of them, if they're right, and all dead. They're vague about who the killer was. That was your biggest gripe- 8 murders and nobody to do them?

Nothing happens. You sleep.

That's all, folks. Thanks for sticking with me through another session. I'll almost certainly be around tomorrow.

Comments, critiques, feedback of any stripe? I want to hear it, so just lay it on me right here. Alternately, I'm on the /qtg/ discord under the name "Katabatic".

[Infodump]: I love to hear myself talk, as all QMs must. I want to talk about things you want me to talk about! Ask about anything, and I'll write a little (or big) paragraph about what the MC knows about it.

Have a nice night!
Too unrealistic. If you are sentenced to death with rocks tied to you, they aren't going to be lose knots that you can get undone. The water will make the rope swell making it near impossible to untie.
I’ve been lurking and enjoying it so far, though since this is the beginning I have no clue what’s going on! Looking foward to finding out!
Well gosh, anon, good thing this isn't set in reality! What tipped you off?

Thank you!

Good morning. I'll be running somewhere in the next 90 minutes.
How is the MC able to shove his entire arm down his throat?
Like, physically? You can do a lot of things if you aren't thinking about them too hard, and the MC was pointedly not thinking about it at all.

Update is proving to be a bitch to write, so I'm going to have to delay. Will run whenever I'm done with it.
These are me, of course.
[DAY 3]
You dream. You usually dream, but in weightless little snippets that flit away on waking.

Not this. This you know with certainty is a sea dream. Your first. It'd ordinarily be a cause for commiseration, the boys taking you out for drinks as they tell you it gets better once you start having them every night.

You didn't expect it to be familiar. You're alone in the dark and the water, dying. You were just here. When the thing happened. You were just here.

Which raises some serious implications.

You're not overly concerned about the dying and the drowning. You could understand it being a paralyzing thought on land, but at this point you're already desensitized. It's almost peaceful.
Saltwater fills your lungs as you ponder:

- Where is this, exactly? The addicts always seemed to assume it was a dreamscape, but you weren't dreaming before. Is it some other kind of place?

- Why are you here? Sea dreams were a hallmark of sea blood, and you've never used.

- Why are you here? What is it about this situation that ensnares people?

- Shit. Is there a you with blue eyes here, drowning? You don't want to confront that issue right now, please.

Like everything else, you have a lot of questions but no answers. Another: how does a sea dream end? You've seen people under them lie still for days before leaping to their feet and vomiting brine. That was the second fear, besides the contents of the dream: that you wouldn't wake up.

They weren't lucky enough to be lucid. You are, and you know where to go.

>[1] Swim up.

>[2] Swim down.

>[3] Write-in.
Vote is still open. I may be doing other things in the meantime.
>[1] Swim up
File: Abyss.gif (7.69 MB, 400x225)
7.69 MB
7.69 MB GIF
>[2] Swim down
Light imposes structure upon reality.
Though, there are depths which elude its tyranny.
The boundless uncertainty of those sunken spaces hide something.
It calls to you.
File: arledge.jpg (52 KB, 564x646)
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>Swim up

It's obvious. Up and out.

You don't know how to swim, but here it comes naturally. With a couple strokes, you breach the surface and take in the cool air.

It's not enough. Up and out.

You push against the wind, lifting your full body out of the water. Swim up.

You give another stroke: the sky stops. A ceiling. Feel along it: a gap. Pry it open.

You're in the void, the blank behind closed eyes. Open them.


The man with the ponytail is leaning over you, two fingers to your pulse. He starts and moves to the corner of the tent

"Ell- okay, you're up. Thank gods." Madrigal crackles through your ears. "You missed a meeting about you. You're on probation."

What? "What?"

"We're short on people, especially with Gideon missing for a week. In light of that, you can stay and prove you aren't planning to murder us. Congrats."

You weren't really expecting to be kicked out, but you suppose that's good news.

"Who's in the tent with me?"

"Who- oh, that must be Arledge. He's just making sure you're okay."

Arledge is staring you down from the corner.

(Unless made clear you're short on time, you can pick multiple dialogue options.)

>[1] "He's looking at me funny."

>[2] "What does probation entail?"

>[3] "Is this my tent?"

>[4] "I'm not sure I like only being able to talk to you."

>[5] "Do you know what sea dreams are?"

>[6] "Write-in."
>[6]"That's a little presumptuous. Since we've first met, you've quite rudely upended my shelter, assaulted me, dragged me all the way out here, then I was assaulted a second time. What makes you think I have any intention of stayng here long term?"
>Well, that's a little presumptuous.
>What does probation entail?

File: monty.jpg (20 KB, 327x414)
20 KB
>Well, that's a little presumptuous of you.
>What does probation entail?

You match Arledge's stare. Bitch.

"Yeah, okay. Listen. Who says I'm staying for that long? Half of the time you guys are nice and half of the time you're kicking down my tent and beating me up."

"Well, that's not... yes, okay. Sorry. If you want to leave and get yourself killed, you're welcome to it. But I don't want your salt ghost coming back and complaining."

Salt ghost? W- "It's not relevant. Anyways, you can take it or leave it. I'd take it. But we're not gonna force you."

Arledge has glanced away. He's now picking at his fingernails.

"I'll stay for now," you respond. "For now. But nothing more than that. What's probation?"

"Don't freak. We're just going to keep an eye on you to see if you're trustworthy. You're not going to have an ankle bracelet."

Arledge has moved on to fiddling with his hair tie.

"Well... okay. What is there for me to do?"

She sounds a little fainter. Moving away? "People want to meet you. I told Monty no funny business, so he's probably best to give instructions. I'm heading out."

"Who's Monty?"

"The guy who punched you. Bye."

>[A] You don't want to deal with your assailant. Seek out someone else to talk to (conversation topics?):
>[A1] The Twitchy Woman
>[A2] The Tired Man
>[A3] The Blue-Cloaked Woman
>[A4] Arledge

>[B] Go find the guy who punched you.

>[C] Screw this. Explore the camp.

>[D] Screw this. Do something else (write-in)
>[C] Screw this. Explore the camp.
First things first. Let's get a clearer lay of the ((land)).
Hey mate, could you extend the voting time to half an hour? Hard to get votes in unless I literally check every 5 mins and I'd love to participate.
>Screw this. Explore the camp.
You're not comfortable talking with anybody, and you're not even sure how you would. Talk about a crucial detail missing.

Still, you can't just sit here, not with Arledge breathing down your neck. Is he here to keep an eye on you, like Madrigal said? He isn't doing a very good job at it, because he's moved on to tapping the tent wall.

You stand up and brush yourself off. You need to get your bearings, and this tent is a good place to start.

Ahead of you: the door flap. Arledge is just to its left (back to staring, now). To his left: a torn bit of newspaper pinned to the wall, somehow treated to not dissolve in the water. "SKIENTIST EXPOSE," it blares, and in smaller font: "Are these paragons of progress working against us? By Gideon Wainwright."
"with Gideon missing for a week", Madrigal had said. No second guesses about whose tent you've taken.

The furnishings are otherwise sparse, with a bedroll of a material you don't recognize lining the floor. And curiously, a black briefcase in the corner. Trying the latch reveals it's locked.
And there's your bucket, to the right of the door flap. You decide against taking it with you.

You step outside. Arledge follows shortly behind.

It's a beautiful day, with sunlight lancing down through the waves above. There's four tents on your side (you're second from the right) and four on the other, with a ninth sitting near the center. Just outside the fence on the side opposite to where you entered, there's some kind of field or garden.

You're pretty sure the tent on the left end across from you is empty. You got punched there.

Where to go?

>[1] The tent on your right, closest to where you came in.

>[2] The tent on your left.

>[3] The tent farthest to your left.

>[4] The center tent.

>[5] The tent farthest to your right on the opposite side.

>[5] The tent second farthest to your right on the opposite side.

>[6] The tent farthest to your left on the opposite side.

>[7] The tent second farthest to your left on the opposite side.

>[8] The garden(?).

>[9] Write-in.
>[8] The garden(?).
>[8] The garden(?).
I'll leave the vote open while I eat lunch.
The garden.
>The garden
>The garden(?)

Do you want to poke around in people's tents? Yes. Should you? Maybe. But something catches your attention more.

There's a patch of green just outside the back gate, incongruous with the blue grass. You haven't seen green since you've been here. A garden?

Arledge trails you the whole way, but hangs back inside the camp as you open the gate. He's always doing something, you've been noticing, and this time it's drumming his fingers on a fencepost.

The first thing you notice are the plants. There's only four, but they're massive: big, sprawling vines sprouting delicate heart-shaped leaves. All four plants sport what you assume is fruit: red and faintly striped.

The plants are so flashy it's hard to notice the austere signposts labeling each one.





By the "CONSTANCE" post lies a bouquet of plains-grass flowers. The others are well-preserved but bare.

Now that you think about it, you haven't eaten at all today. Or yesterday.

You glance back. Arledge isn't looking.

>[1] Take a fruit, but don't eat it.

>[2] Take a fruit and eat it right now.

>[3] You don't want to rock the boat. Try and ask Arledge if you can.

>[4] Try and ask Arledge about the plants and posts in general.

You don't want to rock the boat. Leave and go:

>[4A] To the first tent on your side.

>[4B] To the second tent on your side.

>[4C] To the fourth tent on your side.

>[4D] To the second tent on the other side.

>[4E] To the third tent on the other side.

>[4F] To the fourth tent on the other side.

>[4F] To the center tent.

>[5] Write-in.
>[4F] To the center tent.
Reading between the lines: These may be graves.
Rolled 2 (1d2)

Whoops, this came in just as I posted. I'll roll for tent choice.
>Try and ask Arledge if you can eat a fruit.
>Go to the second tent on the other side, next to the empty tent.

Something about this makes you uneasy. You stamp your foot in the sand, making Arledge look up quizzically.

You lift up a fruit still on the vine and point.

It takes a second, but he realizes what you're thinking. "NO," he mouths. He's shaking his head violently. "NO."

They're already offering you a bed, so they likely won't let you starve. You set the fruit down and back away.

The posts are still niggling at you. Four names. Flowers. ...Graves? Madrigal had mentioned someone lost in the process of studying leafire. What is the mortality rate here?

Morbid questions. You've backed all the way through the gate again, so you turn to the second-closest tent on your left like you meant to do it. You hadn't noticed coming in, but it's painted with all manner of dots and swooping lines.

You push open the flap- and shit, it's occupied. The blue-cloaked woman sits with crossed legs on her bedroll, facing the back wall.

Inside the tent there's even more elaborate drawings, culminating in a mural of what looks like the sky. You try to leave as quietly as you came, but it's too late. She turns her head, and... oh, she's laughing again. Great.

She stands and spots Arledge loitering outside. Her face sours, and she takes your wrist. She wants you to come in.

Arledge hasn't noticed.

>[1] Come in.

>[2] Mouth "why?"

>[3] Hold on. What's her deal? Get Arledge's attention.

>[4] You don't like this. Move on to somewhere else. (Options as before.)

>[5] Write-in.
1. Go with the flow.
>[3] Hold on. What's her deal? Get Arledge's attention.
Rolled 2 (1d2)

Rolling, then writing.
>Hold on. What's her deal? Get Arledge's attention.

You're not going to say you aren't interested, but you get the feeling she doesn't want Arledge involved. You'd like to know why.

Luckily, he's looking your way. You point at the woman, then into the tent. He rolls his eyes and waves you in.

So it's one-sided, then? Strange. The blue-cloaked woman is still scowling, but her expression changes as soon as you look back her way.

She tugs your wrist again.

Well, it seems like your appointed sentry doesn't mind. You follow her in, and she closes and ties the flap. There's more drawings on the inside of the door.

She's sarching for something, so you keep looking around. Clear bottles ring the edges of the tent; a few of them hold wilted plants. Little holes poked into the roof make spots of light on the ground. You'll admit, it's very pretty.

Finally, she turns. She holds a small scalpel. Keeping eye contact, she makes a small incision on her ring finger.

The woman offers it to you, obviously hoping you'll do the same.

>[1] This solidifies it! Everyone here is violent. Refuse and get out. (Go where?)

>[2] Make the incision and give back the scalpel.

>[3] Make the incision, but keep the scalpel. You don't know what's coming next.

>[4] Convey that you'll do it, but only with the tent flap open. You'd like an audience.

>[5] Write-in.
5. You don't want another fire to start, refuse.
>Only YOU can prevent forest fires!

>Wait, what about the leafire?

You're on the verge of doing it, really, but something comes to mind: the leafire. It feeds on blood.

This might be a tiny cut, but who's to say it won't lure one here? Or even start one? You have no idea how it works, after all, and you're not interested in arson.

And also, maybe, you're just a little bit squeamish and inventing excuses. You are. Shut up.

You push the scalpel back into the woman's hands, bowing your head in a way you hope seems apologetic. She stares as you go, clutching her ring finger.

Arledge is impassive as you exit, but raises an eyebrow at your speed. You consider trying to explain, but that train of thought is inturrupted by the figure of Madrigal at the front gate. She's panting heavily.

She signs something, and Arledge pales and rushes off. Then she catches your eye.

I'm calling it here for the day! Apologies for the short session. I should run tomorrow, or alternately the day after.

- Feedback appreciated!
- Infodump forever open!

Have a great afternoon!
Is water wet?
Yeah, it is. "Wet" doesn't have to mean "saturated with water"- it also means "not dry". You could call honey, for example, wet. Liquid water is always not dry, so it's wet.

Is Drowned Quest water wet? That's a trickier matter.
Yo, just a tip. If there's a choice like choosing a tent to visit, either give us a tidbit of information for each one other than its location (it's bigger, more worn down etc.). Generalise the choice more so for instance we can choose the closest, the biggest, the most central etc. Or just pick one at random for us since in our eyes we see no differences between them (which is I assume the reason we picked the garden first)
Thank you! As soon as I saw the garden votes roll in I was like "aw shoot", but I had previously written myself into a corner by describing the tents as indistinguishable. I'll definitely take this into consideration for the future.

I'll likely run in the afternoon/evening.
Sorry folks. I have the update half-written, but I'm just not feeling it at the moment. Will run tomorrow.
So when does this quest start making sense?
What's confusing you anon?
I'm gonna second this guy >>3158265. What's confusing you?

But in general: everything has an explanation, even if it isn't immediately forthcoming, and that explanation can be found if an effort is made to investigate it. I'll leave that up to you.

The readers know about as much as the MC. If there's a gap in that knowledge you find needs filling in, I'd be happy to explain. Just let me know.

The ocean is a mysterious place.

Running whenever the post timer lets me!
You're not sure you heard her properly.


"What do you mean, what!? Crabs! Crabs! Get in!" Her pale scar stands out all the more when the rest of her face is that particular scarlet.

"No! Not without..." You don't know where you're going with this, but you have no intention of sitting out whatever's going on. "Look, how am I supposed to know what's going on? Is it dangerous?? I guess! But for all I know, you're using this- taking this as a chance to shove me in a closet and lock the door! Not a good track record here!!"

Shit. She's gotten off the fence and is limping towards you. "We don't have any closets. How could we possibly have closets?!"

"That wasn't the-"

"You know what? Fine! Fine. You are going to be a full participant in this process. Congratulations. You are going to put yourself in danger for... I don't even know why, and when you die I will spit on your grave. Come on."

She's reached you. She places her hand on your shoulder in a way that probably looks very polite but actually hurts quite a lot.

"Come on! Let's go!"

She frogmarches you to the center tent, pushes you through the entry, and forcibly sits you down at a wooden table. Where did they get a wooden table? It doesn't seem obviously handcrafted.

Monty is already in there, scratching mud out of the grooves of the tabletop. The tired man sits primly next to him. As Madrigal sits herself down, the flap opens behind you: Arledge holds it for the twitchy woman, who rushes in, and the blue-cloaked woman, who takes her time.

They start arguing as soon as everyone sits down. You can't understand the contents, but the body language is telling; Monty is emphatic, occasionally banging on the table to make his point, while the blue-cloaked woman is uninterested and the twitchy woman nervous. The tired man interjects only occasionally, but whatever he says causes more squabbling. Arledge and Madrigal stay silent.

You were hoping, though, to get some idea of what was actually happening. Are the "crabs" dangerous? Very probably. But what did they want? Have they come before? You try asking Madrigal, but she shoots you such a look that you don't dare continue.

Ugh. What are you going to do?

>[1] Try and look for meaning in the handsign. There's got to be some rhyme or reason to it, right?

>[2] Madrigal's on your left, but the twitchy woman is on your right. Ask her for help.

>[3] Just sit through it. If you tried to leave, you'd be letting Madrigal win.

>[4] Get up and go outside. You want to keep an eye on the horizon.

>[5] Write-in.
>[1] Try and look for meaning in the handsign. There's got to be some rhyme or reason to it, right
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Please roll me 3 1d100s.
>DC 45 (Medium)

[s]No Passes: Critical Failure
One Pass: Failure
Two Passes: Success
Three Passes: Critical Success[/s]
>[1] Try and look for meaning in the handsign. There's got to be some rhyme or reason to it, right
I mean how common are underwater refugees in this world? The MC seems to be more interested in camping than figuring out how is he even alive right now.
I am probably being too impatient so just ignore my bitching.
Rolled 83 (1d100)

Rolled 42 (1d100)

Rolled 19 (1d100)

I've been writing the MC as firstly practical: "I don't know why or how I'm alive, but I AM alive, so I better figure out how to stay that way." Once he feels comfortable, there will opportunities to explore and consider. If everything got spilled thread 1, there wouldn't be much of a quest!

Alternately, you're welcome to use the write-in option if you'd like to move things along.

You're not bitching, don't worry. I appreciate the feedback.

Rolling the final one.
>Try and look for meaning in the handsign.
>83, 42, 19 - Failure!

You try your best, but they move so fast it's near-impossible to make anything out. Is that snapping motion "crab"? Or is it "here", or "no"? The whole thing reminds you of trying to keep track of the more complex slum pidgin: a lot of sideways associations and rapid back-and-forths.

Instead, you're forced to wait out the meeting. What's worse, Madrigal keeps half-glancing at you with a horrible "I-told-you-so" glint in her eye. You have to resort to reexamining the table to retain any dignity. Seriously, a table? How old is it? It couldn't possibly be land-made, there's no trees. It is a very nice table. Shouldn't the water be damaging it?

It finishes, finally, but in a grasping-for-straws defiance you remain in your seat until everyone but Madrigal gets up.

"Seriously, what is happening?"

She throws you a bone. "Crabs are coming to claim tribute again. Early. We're going to try and talk them out of it, because again: they're early."

"So what do I do, then?"

"I wish you'd hide. But we can't have nice things, can we? You're coming with me to try and stall them, because at least I can keep an eye on you."

(Pick one or more.)

>[1] "Keep an eye on me?! I'm a grown man!"

>[2] "Don't I get a say in the matter?"

>[3] "Stall how? How far away are they?"

>[4] "Tribute? What?"

>[5] "What are they going to do if things fall through?"

>[6] "Why can't I help with the negotiation?"

>[7] "Fine."

>[8] "Write-in."
This will remain open until a vote.

I think the broad dialogue options are an issue. I'll work on mixing them into the writing and leaving options for choices. Thanks for sticking with me while I figure things out.
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103 KB JPG
>[8] "Am I now? Good to know I have a say in the matter."
Have to go real quick. Update is half-done. Will continue when I return.
>"Am I now? Good to know I have a say in the matter."

It's obvious she's still mad, and her insistance on strong-arming you into things is making you a little mad, too.

"Am I? Am I going with you? Of course I am, because we had a discussion about it and you respected my feelings on the matter, which is that I want to go. I feel so lucky having a say in where I go and what I do. This is making me want to stick around because of the incredible level of control I have here."

She whirls on you.

"Great, then," she practically spits. "Let's go! Let's ignore the fact that I have been fighting for you, and that I am trying to include you instead of quote, shove you in a closet. Let's ignore all that! It doesn't matter. Let's go, and you should lead the way because you know everything."

"Fighting for me?! You stabbed- you fecking speared me! You let that guy punch me out cold! I haven't gotten an apology for that, by the way-"

"-Yes you did!! I-"

Oh shit, she did. "But not, not from him, I mean-"

"-He can't talk to you! And I heard you went nosing around instead of going to find him like I suggested, whereupon he would've! He's a nice guy!"

"He punched me! And 'nosing around' is such a loaded term. I was getting to know where things were, because nobody told me. Nobody's told me anything, for that matter. What the feck is a goo? Huh?"

"It's not important! We're busy and you're a capable guy. What, you've been down here a month, two months? Haven't died, and that's without knowing anything-"

"Three days."

Madrigal blanches.


"Three days! I've been here for three days, not a month or whatever. You found me on my second."

She purses her lips, still pale. "...shit."

You're kind of smug, but at the same time you're not sure why this matters. "So there, I guess."

"...shit. Shit. 8 gods preserve me. You're new? Like, new-new? You just..."

"Uh, yeah, I guess."

"...drowned. Godsdamnit. Why didn't you say?"

"You didn't ask. I didn't know it mattered..."

"Quick Sea blow me over."

She's grinding her foot into the seafloor. You're starting to get a little worried.

"Uh, it's okay?"

"It's not! I stabbed you! No wonder you lashed out...three days. I was still sobbing in the sand after three days."


"Oh yes. And what did I do to you after that? I hauled you north and knocked you out. No wonder. No wonder."

You need to wrap this up. "Um. Crabs?"

"...yes. Goddamnit. If- if I'm right, they're heading through the Gape. It's a chokepoint to the hills. We can either distract them ourselves there or block it so they have to go around."

She takes a shaky breath. "Listen... sorry. What a terrible welcome. You probably have a mountain of questions that I just-. Yeah. This really needs to be taken care of, but we can sit down with you and explain things. I'll tell the others. Goddamn."

(Choices in next post)
How do you feel?
>[A1] You forgive her. "Uh, it's okay. You didn't know...?"
>[A2] You're not satisfied. "So, it's okay punching someone when they're a month, uh, drowned??"
>[A3] You'll figure it out later. "What's the plan?"
>[A4] Write-in.

You'd like some answers on the way...
>[B1] About goo.
>[B2] About that blood stuff.
>[B3] About the local landscape.
>[B4] About the camp and its residents.
>[B5] About the gods.
>[B6] Actually, you're okay for now.
>[B7] Write-in.
(Got distracted.)

>"What's the plan?"
>Ask about the local landscape

She leads you out of camp in embarrassed silence. You almost feel worse than she does, though that may be the hunger.

"About the explanations, while we walk... why don't you just start now?"

"Uh, I suppose so. What?"

Nobody ever knew what the ocean was like, because contact with it was supposed to kill you instantly. For public safety, interaction was forbidden. The idea that there was an ecosystem down here? Ridiculous. It would melt, or burn.
But there is, and you have no idea what it looks like.

"Around here, what's the landscape like? Or not just around here, I guess. Has it been mapped at all?"

"Not mapped, but you get used to it. We're in the lea... the plains, I guess. Kind of grassy and boring. Some storms and fires, occasional walker stampedes, you know.
East and southeast is the holt, with all the trees. You have to be careful out there, but it has a lot more game. We make hunting trips.
North are the Jebel hills. That's where the crabs are. That's about all we know.
Everything else? We've tried sending people out, but they don't come back. Crabs talk about an 'a-gwel', sometimes, but who knows what that is. 'Bout all I know. We're heading just to the start of the Jebel, but no deeper."

"Thanks. So, um. What are we going to do, exactly?"

"Hmm?" She's staring straight off into the distance.

"What are we going to do, exactly? You didn't explain all the way."

"Well... the crabs aren't good at faces, and they've never seen you before, right? We could pose as travelers and tell them the camp's moved, and maybe they'll believe it. Or we could block the path with something. They don't like climbing, for some reason, so they'll have to move it or go back around."

That makes sense. "So which one?"

"I haven't decided. What do you think?"

>[1] Block the path. It seems surer.

>[2] Mislead the crabs. You'd like to see one in person, and it sounds kind of fun.
Block the path.
Hey, I'm sorry. Not feeling too great. I'll pick up from this option tomorrow.
>[1] Block the path. It seems surer.
Hheeeyyy are you the gentleman who made fallout merchant quest??? If not my bad it's just I really liked it nice quest btw ;)
I am not that gentleman! Thank you, though.
I haven't heard of Fallout Merchant. Did a quick search on sup and couldn't find anything. Got a link?
>Mislead the crabs

Also questions. What's the whole deal with us having a voice in our head that's also us, but apparently not us enough to have different color eyes and break the mental link?
We'll learn in due time, after we get some explanation we definitely need to test it again and if we're Inclined too, maybe tell Madrigal.
Thanks, but I'd like an answer from OP on that. Our character seemed to know what was going on there.

Here's what you know:

You've always had a remarkably active internal narrative, but since hitting the water something snapped. The only thing keeping you going as you sank was that narrative, or a bit of it: as one train of thought (perhaps the "you" you?) nattered on about falling forever, the other-- it-- interjected.

Unusually and much to your disdain, it continued to interject afterwards. In keeping with previous, it suggested the reasonable path rather than the interesting path. It's right, so you hated it.

Still, you didn't have anyone to talk to, so you talked to yourself. So far so good, or at least so mildly-weird-but-not-really-weird.

Next: you probed your chest/flipped out at yourself for taking things too far. Summary: Surprise! Your voice of reason doesn't like you shutting it out and pretending it's a foreign body because you're bored and you resent listening to it. And if you keep this up, you're going to be messed up in the head.

You didn't listen.

Where it started going off the rails is when Madrigal showed up and you needed a way to keep things private. You got a bright idea: the link only worked when you thought it, so why not have someone else think it? Or say it? Not someone else really, but if you pretended. And boy, you pretended.
You imagined you out there, next to yourself... save a few tweaks, because if you're going to be listening to someone you dislike he might as well be handsome. Most notably: he got grey-blue eyes, mentioned in >>3149309 as the color you kinda wished your eyes were.
And hell, it worked. Elegant? No? Efficient? Probably not. But it did work.

And nothing really happened until you woke up in your tent.

In withheld panic and drawing from a deep well of something you didn't recognize, you siezed on an even brighter idea: the whole hallucination/parroting scheme worked because the link only worked on you. And specifically you.
So what if you weren't? You, you meant. If you just turned over control to you, the link would be fully severed with no chance of slipup. And you wouldn't have to deal with whatever, and maybe your head would stop hurting.

So you did, somehow. The part of you that you'd successfully divorced and anthropomorphized bodysnatched/piloted/possessed you (in italicized first-person), while you drowned in an ocean in nowhere. Or half-drowned: at the same time, you were hearing and seeing and thinking all the things you were hearing and seeing and thinking. (Or less flowery: you retained conciousness if not control or autonomy, and retain memories.)
And then you came back.

Here's what you don't know:
- Is there an external force driving this, or are you just bonkers?
- Is this a normal thing here, or are you just bonkers?
- What is up with the dream(?) ocean? Is it a place in your head, or not? Is it in everyone's head?
- Did your eyes really change color? If so, HOW? And why couldn't it be something you looked good in?
- And if they did, do you look hotter bodysnatched? This is important.
- Related to above: if there's changes- is it your actual body modified? Is it a new one? From where? Can you keep it?
- If this is normal, is this a normal pace of development? Because it seems really fast to you.
- What really caused this, in the first place? Shock?
- Can you stop it? Should you stop it? Do you want to stop it?
- Are you getting magic powers? This feels like a magic powers sort of thing (and it's a preferable explanation to crazy).
- Why is the link severed, exactly? It's still you.
- Anything else.

Here's what the QM wants to say:
In simple terms: you made a tulpa. It's a tulpa. Of you. But the MC doesn't know that word!


Hope this helps.

Tentatively running tomorrow afternoon, no earlier than 3:30 PST. Have a good night.
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Damn. That's one hell of a summary.
Very helpful. 10/10
>Block the path

Misleading the crabs sounds like a setup for a farce. You want to do it. You want to do it really badly.

It's a bad id- Yes! You know it's a bad idea. If this were being written for pure entertainment value, you would nearly slip up and reveal your web of lies but would end up escaping unscathed! That would not happen in reality. It would go south, hard.

"Uh, I think we should block the path, right?"

"Oh." She seems disappointed. "Okay, uh, that's fine. We'll want to veer a little east to find a way up."

"Or we can do the other..."

"No, you're right. I was being silly."

You're unsure how to respond to that (is she guilt-tripping you??) and decide to change the subject. Something had been bothering you since your argument:

"How long have you been down here? If three days is short, then..."

"I don't know. A year, maybe, but you lose track of time. It's like an eel down here."

Deciding against asking what an eel is, you take the obvious tack: "How?"

"Slips through your fingers and bites you in the ass."

You're only half-listening. The grass is growing less blue and more a muddy grey, and it's rising up to coat the shapes on the horizon. Hills? You haven't seen hills. You also haven't seen-

"No animals."

"What?" She was only half-listening, too.

"I haven't seen any animals. You'd think there'd be some, right?" Right?

"There have, but they're hard to spot. Not quite there and all. Have to go out to the holt to get the real live ones. Or the hills. Better hope we don't, though."

Mysterious-er and... is that a word? It doesn't sound like a word, but it has to be, right? "More mysterious" is too long, especially twice in a row. More mysterious and more mysterious? It just sounds like you forgot you said it the first time.

"Please stop."

You would, and can, but you've been leery since that.

"What? Since what?" Madrigal stops walking. "Are you okay?"

"Are you- yes, yeah. I'm fine! I'm fine. Keep going."

You're blowing your cover in the least stylish way possible. You wait next to you, a little bit taller and significantly cleaner and why did you think blue was a good color on you? They're too pale.

"I don't know, I think blue would look fine. What you're wearing now is pretty drab. Not..." she reaches to feel the sleeve of your coat. "Not, uh, super flattering, either."

She's insulting the coat! You have had that coat since you stole it off the dead guy. It's not like she's much better.

"It's not like you're much... okay, whatever. Thanks for the critique! I filed it away in 'things I don't care about'. We're here, right?"

"Oh, yeah."

You are here. The grass and sand are starting to slough off, revealing orange rock that rises up steeply past your head. "Where's the gape? That's not a great name, by the way."

"It was Eloise, and she knew exactly what she was doing, and it's a couple hundred feet that way. We're trying to get on top of it, rightttt..."

She scrambles up the rock face.

"Here. There's lots of footholds. Not tricky at all."

She says that, but you haven't done a lot of climbing since- ever. Nothing tall enough to bother except the pillar, and that was a hard no. You'd briefly fancied climbing a tree earlier, but you'd also just been excecuted.

Roll me 3 1d100s!

DC 30: Easy cliff
+30 - Can't climb!

>DC 60: Hard

No Passes: Critical Failure
One Pass: Failure
Two Passes: Success
Three Passes: Critical Success
Rolled 75 (1d100)

Rolled 79, 14 = 93 (2d100)

Rolling the rest.
>75, 79, 14 vs. DC 60 - Success!

How hard could it be? You just put your hands on the rock nubs and pull yourself up. One nub, two nubs, pull.

Shit. Shit. What do you do with your feet? You scrabble for a place to put them and after what seems like an eon of dangling find purchase in an outcropping root. Hey! Look at you go!

You look stupid. You've placed him on an improbable little platform just above you-- but you didn't place him, not intentionally. Is this just how it is now? You have a permanant fixture in the corner of your eye? And are you going to do all your thinking a whole foot off the ground?

Oh. He's looking himself up and down, now. This isn't good. I told you this wasn't good. Make it stop.

How? You're only a foot up. You can close your eyes and you won't get hurt, you guess. You don't close your eyes. You do reach for the platform, which works anyways because he goes kaput. Maybe proximity is too much for your eyes to handle.

Still not sure what to do with the legs. You put them where your arms used to be. It's in this way that you make your way up, thankfully free of further interruptions or embarassment.

"Oh, finally." Madrigal's a little ways off, scavenging in some brush. "I heard something from down there, but it was pretty indistinct. I was just going to check."

"Haven't seen any crabs," she continues, "but have seen some options. There's a big-ass boulder up the way, but it might be tricky to move and it'd be nasty if we slipped. We could try and knock a tree down, but they're less wary of wood. Or we could just toss some smaller rocks down and hope for the best."

>[1] Big-ass boulder. It's really the only way you can be sure.
>[2] Tree. It's big enough to block the narrow path, and you really want to look at a tree.
>[3] Small rocks. You're kind of tired from climbing, and it'll definitely be easiest to toss down.
2. The tree.

"Please show me the tree." Finally.

"Wow, okay." She takes you around the bend. "It's right there. Looks hollow, so it should be easy to knock over."

You're not sure what she's talking about.

"There. Look, I'm touching it."

That? While you weren't sure what that was, it didn't look like a tree. For starters, it lacks... leaves or any of the other major features you know of trees, which is mostly the leaves. You squint critically.

"Does it talk?"

"Does it-?! No, and what part of bumfeck nowhere did you come from? Have you not seen...?"

"Uh, no. And 4."

"4?" She stops appraising the maybe-tree and looks at you. "Oh. Me too. Explains why you were under it, I guess. Shit, you must be from real low to not- "

Real low? How many low levels were there? "The bottom."

She clearly tries to whistle, but ends up coughing on seawater. "Damn. That's some real... you're probably better off here, frankly. How'd you get busted when the cops won't go down?"

"Rat." You're not sure she heard you, because she's ducked back behind the tree(?). "Got called in special. They got me for worship."

"Right here! Found it." She didn't hear you or wasn't listening. "Hinge is right here. We just have to break it off- grab here. Little lower. Pull while I fiddle with it.

The tree-object is shockingly light, and it's little effort to pull. She's sawing away at something. "What were you saying?"

"Oh. Rat got me. Busted for worship."

"Worship? You don't look like a... well, you do, but you don't have the eyes for it. And you sure aren't a magician. Trumped up charges?"

"Yeah." You continue pulling until something gives way and the whole thing comes clean off its bottom. The stump is solid wood, but the smooth upper part you're cradling is hollow.

"Oop, there we go. Come on." Madrigal stands and drops something small and cyndrilical. "Here, we have to hike up and drop it. I'll help."

You protest, but she grabs hold and leads you up the skinny little trail that reaches the hilltop proper. "Right there."

You look and understand why it's called the Gape: the ravine looks like a mouth half-closed and plunges a hundred feet down. At points, it looks to be barely wide enough for you to squeeze through.

"You have to aim it so it doesn't get stuck too soon."

It's too late: you've dropped the log clean in.

Roll me 3 1d100s for successfully pinning the log.

>DC 45: Medium
for my one voter tonight, if you're still around: 1) I appreciate you deeply man and 2) feel free to roll all 3 at once to keep things moving
Rolled 41, 67, 1 = 109 (3d100)

A crit! Oh no!
Just kidding. 1s and 100s don't matter beyond counting or not counting for the DC.

Writing. This will likely be my last update for a while, because I have to leave for two hours shortly. I'll try to continue afterwards.
>41, 67, 1 - Failure

This was not your smartest move. The log hits a bend in the rock and wedges itself about fifty feet too high.

You look at Madrigal. Madrigal looks down the ravine past you.

"Here they come."

It's difficult to see down there, but you can hear the clitter-clatter of chitin on stone. She's looking at you now, and follows your gaze down to your empty hands and the stuck tree.

"Sorry." It's hard to say anything else.

"No!" No? "It's, it's fine. They'll still stop to investigate. We didn't need to save that much time, anyways!" You're not sure if she's being sarcastic or if she's trying to be nice.

"We didn't?"

"No!" She's leaning over the edge like she wants to jump in it. "They're right here!"

The crabs are red and bulky and that's about all you can tell. The shadow of the log falls over the eyes of the first in line.

Slowly, indeterminately, it looks up.


Its voice pierces through a hundred feet of water and still nearly bowls you over. Madrigal leaps back like she's been bitten.


"They're not sneaky," she hisses. "I don't know if it's their culture or if they're not smart enough, but it's not going to be a trap. This could be good after all."

>[1] Hell no. Aren't they going to do...something...bad? (You don't know the details.)
>[2] Hell yes. You were hoping for this all along.
>[3] Hell something else. [Write-in.]
That's all for now, folk(s). I'll probably continue in approx. 2 hours or whenever I manage to return.

In light of the recent dearth of votes, I have a Twitter: https://twitter.com/BathicQM. Please follow so you know when I run!

And as always, questions, comments, and infodump are open and welcomed.
Hell no. Aren't they going to do...something...bad?
>[2] Hell yes. You were hoping for this all along.
Rolled 1 (1d2)

I return. Rolling, taking a shower, and writing after.
>Hell no.

You want it. But you've taken it upon yourself to do the sensible thing, and that means not meeting face-to-face with large and potentially dangerous crabs.

"We shouldn't. It's going to be less safe than if we'd just done it directly, and that was already unsafe. Just tell them we're going the other way."


Who knows if all that got down there, but Madrigal seems satisfied. She reveals the crossed fingers behind her back. "Jinxed it. They're going to have slow currents, now. Hah."


"NO-" Madrigal shouts without thinking, then reconsiders. "ER, YES. BUT NOT FOR SOME TIME. THEY MAY HAVE MOVED ELSEWHERE."

"TWOULD BE A SHAME. VERY WELL. THANKS MANY." The crab sihoulettes in the trench start marching on again.

You hadn't realized how tense you'd gotten until they were well out of sight. "Okay, what?"

"We go back the long way and hope for the best."

>Roll me a 1d100 for random events in the field.
Rolled 59 (1d100)

So the ocean is made out of mana. Why has no one on the surface found this out?>>3163232
I can't answer that question or statement. Feel free to discuss.
>59 - A Find

Getting down from the cliff is easier than getting up.

The crabs predictably march straight towards the camp, but the two of you hang back far enough that you can't get a great look at them. Madrigal stops you when you try and shimmy closer.

With some acidity: "You wanted this, remember?" You did. You don't know what got into you.

Instead, you loop far around- so far it's not clear how you'll possibly get there in time. Even Madrigal is getting a little worried. You're knee-deep in grass when she stops to pick something up.

"Oh," she breathes out. "Okay, not what I thought. It's a gull bottle." It's a tiny reddish bottle with a tinier cork stopping it. She holds it up to the light."S' got a message."

This is familiar territory, finally. "Really? What?"

"We're already pretty far out; don't wanna stop and read it. Besides, Visco should look at it later. He used to be a guller."

Monty punched you and Arledge has the ponytail, leaving Visco as the crabby middle-aged guy. "Sure."

You'd always liked the gulls. If you could've made your way up to a middle level, you would've been happy working with them.

"I don't need to hear this. I'm sure Visco'd be happy to talk gulls up and down, but we need to get on with it."

You hasten to a fast-walk, finally heading in the back just as the crabs reach the front. The gate, you notice, is littered with flowers and shells.

The five others are lined up in the front, significantly more dressed-up than you remember. Weird intimidation tactic, but you guess they know what they're doing.

The crabs look like crabs. You're disappointed, though you don't know what you were expecting.

Monty speaks first- shouts, really, but there's no other way to be understood. Handsign, but is it possible for the crabs to do that? Is it called clawsign? That sounds pretty cool, actually.

The crab in the front almost sounds embarassed in a rumbly sort of way. "YES."





"I-" The twitchy woman, in a flower crown, nudges him.


I have to get up in the morning, so I'm gonna call it an evening. Planning to run tomorrow, similar time.

Questions, comments, feedback, infodump on something the MC knows? Go for it and I'll respond in the morning.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BathicQM

Good night!
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> Birds flying underwater.
Dropped from above the surface.
Damn OP, I love the quest but you run when I sleep.
Sorry to hear that. It's possible my weekend runtimes may work better for you, so stick around!
Forgot to add: running in approx. 20-30 minutes depending on how fast I write the update.

It's tough to see from your position, but everyone obviously relaxes. The blue-cloaked woman even makes to wander off, but the guy who must be Visco puts a warning hand on her shoulder.

"Oh. What... WHAT FOR." Monty carries on more-or-less smoothly, to his credit. Experience with negotiations?


From next to you, Madrigal pipes up. It's weird to think, but she really sounds higher-pitched than in your head. "WHY US?"

The lead crab stands a little taller to see her."WE ARE FRIENDS AND ALLIES." ("What?" She glances at you, incredulous.) "AND YOU ARE MALLEABLE. WE CANNOT CHANGE UNDER THESE SHELLS. NO. WE NEED YOU." ("What?")

There's a tinge of incredubility to Monty's voice, too, but he's managed to swallow most of it. "WELL, THEN... WE SHOULD NEGOTIATE TERMS WHERE WE'VE MET BEFORE. COME IN."

With surprising grace for their bulk, the crabs step over the invisible line delineating the camp border and move straight for the central tent. Monty follows first, then everyone else (slowly, in the case of the blue-cloaked woman). You start-

"Wait," Madrigal says. "I don't know if that's a good idea. Your face when they said, uh, "malleable"-"

What? "I don't remember making a face."

"You looked like you were gonna vomit real quick. I don't know. I could be imagining things. But I don't have a great feeling about this."

>[1] Sit in on the meeting. You'll be able to understand it this time, and you don't remember anything weird.
>[2] Don't sit in on the meeting. You've had enough of strange happenings, and this feels like a strange happening.
>[3] Write-in.

Sorry, internet decided to bork out on me for about 15 minutes.
Sit in on the meeting. You'll be able to understand it this time, and you don't remember anything weird.
>Sit in on the meeting.

She raises an eyebrow but appears to seriously consider it. "I mean, a little bit. It's more like you look half-dead all the time, but close enough? I am probably being silly, though."

Half-dead? Is it the dark circles under your eyes? That's just what your face looks like. Peeved, you enter the tent.

The humans have all scooted their stools over to one side of the table, while the crabs stand on the other. A squat yellow cylinder lies on the wood between them.

And you realize: it is very cold in here, and you are very wet. Absolutely soaking.

You can't breathe. You need to breathe! You can't- You need to get the water out of your lungs-

"...Aw jeez." You look wildly up for the source of the voice, which turns out to be Monty speaking normally. He's up out of his stool, as is everyone else. "Altitude sickness. We should've been... look, buddy, let's get you back out into the water." He tries to reach you, but Arledge, sitting closer, beats him to it. He takes your arm and helps you back out. The last thing you hear is one of the crabs, still loud despite the... lack of water? "WE WANT THAT ONE. HE IS MALLEABLE. LIKE YOU, MONTGOMERY, BUT YOU HAVE BUILT UP A SHELL..."

You collapse on the sand. Madrigal, who was picking at her fingernails, starts. "Holy hell. What- do they have the sponge in there? Of course they do. C'mon."

She offers you her hand. "You'll be fine. It's just, uh, they have air. You get a shock when you're used to water for too long, right? And you," she helps pull you to your feet, "have been in water for too long. Sorry. Didn't know they were using it."

Well, shit. You're not sure what to start with.

>[1] "How is that even possible?"
>[2] "I've been living in air for, like, 30 years. Or less than that. Probably less than that."
>[3] "That's... fine. What are the crabs talking about, though?"
>[4] "Write-in."
That's fine what are the crabs talking about?

For this vote is too late to count
>"That's... fine. What were the crabs talking about, though?"

It's not worth it. Things happen that you don't understand and can't explain. That's just how it is now. If you try and fight it, you're going to start foaming at the mouth.

That being said, there is something that seems immediately pressing to your safety.

"That's... fine. Sure. What were the crabs talking about, though?"

"Great question. No idea. They say things like that sometimes, but I guess they've really gotten it into their heads this go-around."

"The incursors or the mutability?"

"The latter, but I dunno about the first either. Maybe they have a rat problem and they're too big to deal with it. Listen, I can go inside and scope it out. I was going to before you fainted."

"I didn't faint!"

"Whatever. Hang on." She ducks in, leaving you out alone in the water. It's a feeling you've missed a little bit, although have you ever actually been alone down here? Unshackled from your endless stream of conconciousness?

Madrigal inturrupts your current endless stream of conconciousness. "Crabs want you and Arledge to leave immediately. We're negotiating for some time in between then and now. Sounds like a week? A week. Stop waving at me, Hedy. Pay attention."

"Oh. What?"


"I heard you. I didn't understand you."

"You're going on a trip to help out the crabs. Congrats. Arledge is a shitty tent partner, by the way, because he kicks in his sleep."

"We have to share..."

"There's no cooties. Chill out. Oh, yup, a week. They're finalizing. That's enough time to answer all your questions, right?"

You're not sure, at this point. Madrigal exits, looking damper than she does in the actual water. "Doesn't matter."

>[1] "Hey, hold on. Now you're okay with sending me on a crack mission into crab land?"
>[2] "Did they say why me? Or Arledge? He weirds me out."
>[3] "...Thanks for translating. But haven't you been in the water longer? How are you not writhing on the floor?"
>[4] "Write-in."
tfw you misspell consciousness twice
i'm not a hack it's what my character would do :^(

It is way too late to count, but tonight's slow enough that I might be able to work in a similar line somewhere else. Thanks for voting!
"Did they say why me? Or Arledge? He weirds me out."
>"what exactly will we be helping them with? Pretty nervous about this desu senpai."
Back. Writing.
>"Why me? Or Arledge?"
>"Do you know what we'll be doing?"

"I'll give you something that does matter. Why me?"

She rubs her eye. "You're mutable, whatever they mean by that. So's he. Uhhh, I guess Hedy's too mutable, Monty's 'built up a shell' or something... they said that a couple times. Eloise is super 'rigid', which she made a bad joke about. Visco too, less. Uhhh, who else. They couldn't tell with me, or something. So it's you two."

"What does that-?"

"Beats me."

"Which one's Hedy and which one's Eloise?"

"You keep calling Hedy the twitchy one, which I guess is accurate. And Eloise has the cape."

That's everyone's names, you think. You just gotta keep them straight.

"Thanks. Oh. What are we doing once we get there?"

"Hopefully not getting taken as hostage. No. Well, yes, but no- they wouldn't say. We need the reprieve, though, so we're going with it."

"Does it have to be with Arledge? He's, well..." You lower your voice despite it going nowhere but in her head. "weird. He keeps staring at me."

"I can think of a couple different pithy ways to respond, so I'm just going to go with all of them. Yes, he's weird, but you gotta be weird to live down here and if you weren't you will be. Yes, but we did tell him to stare at you. Yes, you do."

Water speeds past your face with a sudden great slurping noise. "Hey, they're done. You can go in without fainting."

"I didn't..." It's really not worth it. The crabs file out first. "WE ARE MUCH OBLIGED. WE WILL SEE YOU IN SEVEN DARKNESSES-" and they're gone, just like that.

Visco spits in their wake and mutters. You think you catch a "rat bastards".

Well, now what?

>[1] You haven't actually talked to anyone except Madrigal and sort-of Eloise. You should probably get on that. (Who?)
>[2] The last thing you ate was half a critter and some white things like two days ago. Are you hungry? Eh. Should you eat? Probably.
>[3] You only got around to checking out the garden(?) and one tent. Carry on exploring.
>[4] Write-in.

(Breaking for dinner.)
If they're gonna sell us to crab people they better feed us.
The last thing you ate was half a critter and some white things like two days ago. Are you hungry?

Now what? The altitude sickness had passed near as soon as you got out of the air, but a little bit still lingers in your bones. And stomach. Mostly your stomach, now that you stop to consider.

"Uh, do you have food? Do you guys... eat?"

"Kind of. Why? Are you hungry?"

"Well, kind of. I guess. I definitely feel like I should eat something, but I wouldn't call it hunger exactly."

"Sounds about right." She pats you on the shoulder in either real sympathy or mock sympathy. "You won't die. You're not even gonna waste away or anything. But you're so used to eating you feel like you should when you start thinking about it."

Go with it. Go with it. "How?"

"How what?"

"How is someone able to not eat?"

"Listen, you're asking the wrong gal. But I haven't eaten in probably two weeks and I'm still standing. Don't think I've ever seen Arledge eat. Disrupts his astrology or whatever."

Go with it. How are you supposed to go with it! Half your life has been finding food and all you needed to do was get your hair wet!?

"O...kay. Do you have food, though?"


"Can I have it?"

"Yeah. It's basically for whenever this happens, anyways. Do you want it?"

>[1] Yes. You're not ready to dive head-first (heh) into this level of strange. It doesn't feel human.
>[2] No. Imagine what you could've been doing during the time you spent scavenging! The entire police force would be toppled by now!
Yes. You're not ready to dive head-first (heh) into this level of strange. It doesn't feel human.
Police force 2 tuff to topple with just food time, so one is just unrealistic. I'm down to not scavenge again though, just ease into the no food lifestyle.

>Ask her if not starving means we also will never get fat no matter how much we eat.
>[2] No. Imagine what you could've been doing during the time you spent scavenging! The entire police force would be toppled by now!
>Does that mean... uh... I never get fat?


write-in is fun to write and accurate to established character. you get +1 QM brownie points
Spent a whole 5 minutes writing >>3166671/staring off into space, so missed this. Outcome remains the same. Welcome back, though!
>This has implications you'd like to consider.

You metaphorically open your mouth, then pause. It doesn't sit right with you. There's a million things that realistically should not sit right with you more, but... you don't know. You guess eating is, was, such a part of your life that just excising it completely feels like lopping off a limb.

But it runs even deeper than that, you think. Eating was something that brought everyone down to the same level. Like, you couldn't be sure... but while you were gnawing on fish bones, Calloway Falk would probably be gnawing at dolphin liver. Everybody is only human.

This was something else. This was something worse.

"Um. Yes."

"Oookay. By the way, I've been politely standing here for the last minute listening to you monologue about dolphin liver. Just so you know. We keep the food out back."

"Thank you." Great job. This is the sort of stuff you need to say like *this*... Not that I'd ever! Stuff your philosophizing, this is the single best thing that's ever happened to you. Consider: you're never gonna get fat...

You had not considered that until now, and you're not sure that's true. But it does sound appealing. You've always been trim (though you've mostly heard "bony"), but you definitely don't want to go in the opposite direction. Could you imagine what it'd do to your face?

"I can. Vividly. Because you are projecting it straight to me."

You ignore her. What else does this mean? Drinking? No, of course not. ("Stop.") Bodily functions? Not without the first two. ("STOP.") Oh, shit. Do people age?

You're probably a few years past your prime, you'll be the first to admit. But not by much. You'd be okay staying this way, before the balding. ("You are the worst person I have ever met.")

You look okay, right? Your double sure looks okay, but he's also outdated and probably wishful thinking. You need an objective eye.

You poke Madrigal. "How do I look?"

She doesn't even glance over! "Fan-fecking-tastic."


"No. You look like a homeless person, because from what you've told me you were a literal homeless person. Maybe like a 7/10 if you cleaned yourself up significantly. How do you sleep at night with all the talking? And who's the double?"


"I lack the capacity to care that much. We're here."

You are here, standing over a manmade pit that looks like it should reek. It's nearly full with various food-like objects: unidentified creature carcasses, muddy roots, and random garbage of all kinds.


"Is there something wrong? It's... well, I guess nobody's really bothered organizing in a while. Hey, that's something you can do. And... no on the drinking and shitting, maybe on the weight and age."
Could be worse.

(Votes next post.)
>[1] Nevermind. You've recently developed higher standards, like, right this instant.
>[2] Just kind of fish around for something edible.
>[3] You might as well. Try to start making this look like a place someone might want to eat food from.
>[4] Write-in.
Jesus, just because you won't starve doesn't mean it's pleasant to eat garbage. It's an excuse to only eat the best food. Or tons of fast food but that might not even exist.
>[1] Nevermind. You've recently developed higher standards, like, right this instant.


It's no worse than what you'd eaten every day for years. It might even be better.

But you know what? You have standards. You have options. You don't have to settle for this.


She has the decency to look a little ashamed. "It hasn't really been a high priority. Or any priority. We weren't expecting someone to barge in with a bunch of outdated ideas of how things work."

"You brought me here."

"Suck it up. Listen, I get the feeling you don't want to deal with this. I don't want to either, so I'm going to do this wonderful thing called 'delegating' where I make someone else do it. Hedy's on my shitlist, so it's probably gonna be her. I'll keep you updated."

"Uh, thanks." It's hard to be mad when she rated you a 7. That's high!

"7 with major caveats." Whatever! "Anyways, since we're out here I might as well give you the briefing. Let's see. I'm calling Arledge off you, since you didn't push me off the cliff earlier. Congrats for not being homicidal; you'd be surprised how uncommon that is. Don't leave the camp, though. Go invade private property or talk to yourself or whatever it is you do all day, but I don't want you getting mauled."

"I'll probably be around," she continues, "but no promises. If you need people to talk to, I think everyone except Arledge okayed the whole blood thing we have. Or you could, I don't know, improve yourself and learn a language. Uhh. Monty has plenty of menial tasks for you, and really I'm sure everyone else does too. We can do the question thing once I tell everyone you just fell. Please don't eat the fruits with the stakes by them. Good night."

She's already halfway up the slope. "Good night? I thought it was..." Something other than night, at least. But you look up, and it's dark.

"Toldja. Sneaks up and bites you in the ass. Don't stay up too long. Despite everything, you do need sleep."

It is nighttime.

>[1] Go to bed. (You'll be able to do something in your tent before you sleep.)
>[2] Do something else. (Talk to someone? Explore? Please specify.)
Try to find a book or something you can read underwater on their sign language.

Unlike our character it's time for me to enter the sleepy OP. Good luck.
Have a good night!

Vote open for another few minutes.
>Do something else: try to find a book for handsign

"Hey, hold up. Is there any sort of book or, I don't know, reference material for the handsign? Any way to learn it that doesn't involve interacting with other people?"

"No. There's no paper, usually nobody who needs to know, and how would that work, anyways? There's no written version of a visual language. You can read normally, right?"

Sort of. "Yes."

"Great. So you don't need written handsign. If you want to learn the real deal, Hedy might be up. I'm sure she'd be thrilled. Good night."

You know what? You're not super tired, and you need to do this at some point. Now might be a good time after all.

You follow Madrigal up the slope, but turn left to face the opposite row of tents. The twitchy woman- Hedy- is sitting criss-crossed on the ground outside one of them. She waves at your approach and starts to sign something, but stops.

She retains the smile but looks quizzically when you squat in front of her. It's only when you write, laboriously, in the sand: "L E A R N S I G N ?" that she gets it.

Hedy wipes out your writing and starts: "A". She curls her right hand, leaving the thumb out.

This may be more tedious than you expected.

>Roll me 3 1d100s!

>DC 20 (Easy)
>Criticals are disabled.
Rolled 91 (1d100)

One last phonepost
Rolled 41 (1d100)

Criticals are disabled, so...
>91, 41 - Success!

>91, 41 - Success.

It could be because this is the rock-bottom basics, or because Hedy is an excellent teacher, but you're probably just a natural at this. In... some period of teaching, you've successfully learned:


>The alphabet
>Numbers 1-10

You can spell things out if you need anything more complicated, so you're pretty much set. (You tried to leave after the alphabet, in fact, but she wouldn't let you.)

You're joking, right? This is barely enough to get you through a sentence. It's going to take a lot more than probably an hour if you want to actually use this.

You know that. And he knows you know that, which means he's just harassing you to make a point or something. Wonderful.

The tent is just as bare as ever when you enter it.

Before you sleep, you...

>[1] Pray to the dead gods.
>[2] Decorate. The single pinned newspaper clipping is pretty dreary.
>[3] Remininsce. (Infodump. On what?)
>[4] Decide on something to call your... see, you can't even do it. This is why you need a name. (Triggers vote.)
>[5] Just sleep.
>[6] Write-in. Stay in the tent.
3. Your old job.
Writing. Final update of the night.
>Remininsce: Your old job.

It's kind of nice being useful, which, well, you haven't really been... but you were trying to make a point here. It's not a feeling you're all that used to.

Life on the bottom level was consistent, if nothing else. You woke up too early from the brawl or rowdy sea-drunk singing or a board landing on your head. If you could find a puddle, you shaved with anything sharp and nicked yourself at least once. Blood was bad luck.

You'd try for odd jobs. The kitemaker? Already going broke, can't afford help. The fishers? Thanks, Ellery, but there's still no fish. And so on. When things were better and you had bright eyes, you'd repainted the pillar stark white: the old paint was flaking. It coated your fingers and face and clothes, but you liked having something tangible to look at. "I did that," you could say.

That paint was yellowed and peeled by the time you worked up motivation to do something about things. It wasn't right, how people lived like this. It wasn't fair, how they were treated. The government definitely existed, because they were making arrests, but there was only radio silence to you.

It gave you something to do, at least. You, Dale, and three acquaintances all holed up in a horrible little shack, spitballing about how to overthrow the monarchy. One guy always said "bombs", no matter what the prompt. You never accomplished anything.

Then again, it had been, like, a week. You might've been able to do something if you weren't promptly executed with no trial.

Fun stuff.

Sleep comes fast.

>[END DAY 3]
Good night! Skipping tomorrow for my sanity, running Friday potentially and weekend definitely. I plan to write up some pastebins in the meantime.

Questions, comments, requests for infodumps all welcomed.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BathicQM
Taking care of personal things today. I'll be running all day tomorrow, assuming my schedule doesn't change, and possibly Sunday.

Character Sheet: https://pastebin.com/vugu4geW

Other People: https://pastebin.com/f0k1deSv
...Man, this quest needs more players. I'll try to be around. Not entirely sure about the schedule, though.
Thank you! I'm not concerned about lack of votes, as this is a niche quest by a new QM, but I appreciate your support. I'll keep trucking as long as someone votes.

Starting in an hour or less, ending evening or beyond (PST). You can follow my Twitter if you'd like updates as well.

You sleep uneventfully, except for once waking up in the dead of night to consider how these tents or the fence was supposed to protect you from things that swam. Your eventual conclusion was "nobody else has been eaten yet, so".

You are stirred awake by the gentle, rhythmic swaying of your tent. The newspaper clipping flaps against the right wall.

Picking yourself up, you poke your head outside. Everything is swaying. Little eddies of sand swirl up and die just as quickly.

"Hey," you ping Madrigal. "Is it windy?"

"Gwughh. What?" Her voice is echoey.

"Windy? Can that even happen?"

"I'm literally sleeping. Right now. I'm asleep. If you go to my tent, I will be sleeping."

This is news to you. "How?"

"Closed my eyes, dumbass. You're inturrupting my nightmare. I forgive you, because this one isn't even interesting."

"No, I meant... how can you hear me?"

"Feck if I know. Bye."

It strikes you as she falls silent that this is your first free day. You're not being arrested. You're not being watched. You're not being woken up by angry spearwomen.

What is there to do with it?

(You have entered DOWNTIME. There'll be a number of standard options available, as well as special one-time quest options.)

>[1] TALK: Introduce yourself. You've been here for three days and still haven't spoken to anybody.
>[2] EXPLORE: Carry on your exploration of the camp.
>[3] EXPERIMENT: You've discovered some things you don't think the people at the camp know about. The only way to learn, then, is by doing.

>[S1] Is Madrigal actually sleeping right now? Go find her tent.
I'll stick around until a vote.
>[2] EXPLORE: Carry on your exploration of the camp.

You're still miffed that you only made it to, like, two places before being inturrupted yesterday. It's not like the camp is very big, so you have no excuse for not knowing where things are.

There's five tents left, and in the bright morning you can tell they're more distinct than you first assumed. You walk out into the center to get a better view.

- Tent 1: It's significantly more worn than the others, with its flap half-hanging off. The sides bulge.
- Tent 2: The sand around it is ridged, like someone has dragged a comb through it.
- Tent 3: A cord has gotten stuck in the flap: an animal tooth is tied to it.
- Tent 4: Neatly sown patches hide rips and tears in the fabric.
- Tent 5: The tent flap has been modified- it's cut higher than the rest.

Which do you want to check out?

>[1] 1 - The worn tent
>[2] 2 - The sand tent
>[3] 3 - The tooth tent
>[4] 4 - The patched tent
>[5] 5 - The tall tent
>[6] You're feeling caged in. Leave the camp, despite Madrigal's request.
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Forgot my picture.
Aw, hell. I was just about to announce that I'd be packing up the thread and trying again with a new one (once this has fallen off the board), likely from the first update today. 2+ hours between votes isn't sustainable.

I think I'm going to continue with that plan, though I appreciate it!

Questions, comments, etc. all welcomed.

Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=drowned%20quest

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BathicQM

Pastebins: https://pastebin.com/vugu4geW
Sorry OP. Odd as it sounds I'm actually busier on weekends.
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Oatmeal cookies is a very bright side. Especially if they do not contain raisins that look suspiciously like chocolate chips. For while raisins are an acceptable topping on cookies. Raisins disguised as chocolate chips are evil for they give false hope
It is! And they were very good, although I think my toffee almond sandies ended up better. No raisins or chocolate chips, just oatmeal.

Don't sweat it.

I've seen some confusion in both /qtg/ and the discord, so I'd like to clarify: I'm not ending the quest or anything like that. I'm just ending this thread- planning to pick up it up tomorrow or Tuesday. Will announce beforehand.
>>3177303 sandys you say? Sounds like a winner
Raisins > chocolate chips tho
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New thread going up in half an hour. I'll link it here.


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