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It is said everywhere, from trade-chatter in the Unfree Cities in the east to the Hoppalon Archipelagos in the west, that all rivers in the world share the same source. This is demonstrably untrue but nevertheless, if you know the right way, you can follow any river deeper and deeper inland up towards a single point. And rising there higher than any mountain, atop an aquatic plateau whose edges are perpetual waterfalls, is the city. It stands between the bickering central nations but obeys, respects and recognises none of them.
It has a name, Aquitae Cogituum, but this name barely matters as its citizens simply call it the City. For only rarely would they ever see another. And why would they? It is the grandest city in all the world. It sits close to the heart of all things, above the Font and is both above and separate from all the Lesser Realms. To the city, the matters of the world outside...don’t.

Down below, prophets dream of walking its streets and wars are fought and kings slain for their meagrest treasure. For here it is said that all magic is born. This is something only said by those of the Lesser Realms of course, as it is a statement that would only invite scorn above. Magic is a foreign word. The people of the city above have no word for magic in the same sense that fish would have no word for water. Of course you could say that a fish doesn’t have a word for anything but in the city it just might.

It is the City of Dreams, the City of Reflections and the City of Revelation. It is also, rather more relevantly, the City of Duels.
>>
>>3156442
Twitter: https://twitter.com/OuroQM
Ask: https://ask.fm/OuroQM

Archives: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Court%20of%20Swords%20Quest
>>
>>3156442
Your room is a mess. That’s not a surprise, it’s never not a mess. You’ve always been a proponent of just leaving your stuff lying around wherever it falls and nobody has ever told you different. Your wardrobe has less clothes in it than your floor does, piled heaps of fabric joining discarded training equipment and stacks of books. In addition to your bed, which is an absolute unmade heap, there’s a table and a desk. The desk might be the only clean surface in your entire apartment and that’s because it holds your sabre up against the window for it’s daily sharpening every dawn. The table is covered in scattered puzzle pieces, relics of an attempt to regain a passion that now feels problematic and the window itself is propped open, allowing the City’s birds to come and go as they please. And while most birds vanish after a few minutes, their droppings sure don’t.

Normally this doesn’t bother you. But today isn’t normal. Today is the day you decided to invite a man in so you could have...some sort of interview. And so here you are, sitting on your only chair, surrounded by filth, while he awkwardly stands before you. Maybe you should have let him sit.
The man himself is apparently an acquaintance of Maccio’s, someone he met when you took Maccio to Sabino’s commencement ceremony several days ago. He’s a writer and when Maccio had asked you if you would grace him with your time, you had agreed. You’d been busy, alright? You didn’t really think it through.

But here he is. He’s a tall enough man, a little over six feet and you have to stop yourself from thinking of it as a hundred feet. That’s mostly past you now, you’ve reoriented yourself but occasionally you still find yourself with a perspective that’s four inches tall and all you can think about is how big you and everything else is.
The ‘writer’, who calls himself Signore Remo, is a fastidious enough looking man. He’s thin but not well toned, clearly someone more used to a life of inactivity. That said, he manages to pull of a waistcoat pretty well. Well enough that you wouldn’t mind pulling it off either. His brown hair is tied back in a very short ponytail and he has an expression of perpetual faint surprise.
“When was your last duel?,” he is asking, a pen in hand.

“Four days ago. It was right after the bit with the Rose Blossom thing actually. I don’t really want to talk about it.”
It had been a confusing day. And by the time you had woke up the following morning, Gloriana had vanished. Since then you’ve kept mostly to yourself while you recovered from a twist of perspective.
“What did you say you wrote again?”

“I write something called La Ressagna Mensile. I print a new book every month-”

1/2
>>
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>>3156449
“Yeah I got that from the name.”
Alright, you understand now. He’s a booklet writer. The City churns out oceans of cheap paperbacks every day, full of gossip, speculation and often erotic art and literature. These lesser books are inherently disposable and often are. Sabino’s friends in the Book Burner’s Society probably do a brisk trade in them.
“I’ve never heard of it.”

“Really? It is rather popular. But mostly with men so it’s not all that surprising you wouldn’t have.”

“So it’s almost certainly pornographic, right?”

“Signorina! You wound me!”
He makes an affected wince.

“Am I wrong?”

“...yes, I often include a risque sketch or something salacious. But that is only to draw the eye. The stories I tell are real and so are the people in them. My readers know this.”

“And with this interview, I’ll be one of those people, huh?”

“Correct. Everyone is talking about your confrontation with Signora d’Passero. Not many people would challenge a Ringleader on their own turf.”

Is that so? You’d been unaware but it makes sense that people would spread word. And better yet, nobody will able to tell anyone that you screwed up. That your loss may have been foolish. All they can say is that you tried.
“I’m a public defender, you know. An interview to drum up reputation doesn’t have any real value to me.”

“Mmmhm. And I’m sure the people will love that. Are you ready?”


>”Hold on. I just said whatever you end up writing has no value to me. So what do I get out of this?”

>”Sure. Ask anything you want.” You’re ready.

>”Just keep the questions confined to the professional, alright?” You have no need or want to talk about your past.

>You can probably screw with him pretty hard if you wanted to.

>Other (Specify)
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>>3156454
>You can probably screw with him pretty hard if you wanted to.
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>>3156454
>>”Just keep the questions confined to the professional, alright?” You have no need or want to talk about your past.
>>
>>3156454

>”Just keep the questions confined to the professional, alright?” You have no need or want to talk about your past.

No reason to be mean, but if he wants to discuss you and your dueling, it should be the focus. Your feelings insofar as dueling is the furthest this should stray.
>>
Vote called, writing.
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>>3156454
>>”Just keep the questions confined to the professional, alright?” You have no need or want to talk about your past.
>>
>>3156454
>”Just keep the questions confined to the professional, alright?” You have no need or want to talk about your past.
>>
>>3156547
So how's your carpal tunnel? Are you going to need surgery or something?
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>>3156556
It may be temporary as long as I don't exacerbate it. I've been keeping it iced frequently and have got a wrist brace to wear a lot of the time.
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>>3156559
>long asI don't exacerbate it.
>Starts a CoS thread
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>>3156559
you can type with one hand. Though it makes it very hard to write quickly
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>>3156564
Questing has always been a form of self-harm.
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>>3156569
Fair enough
>>
>”Just keep the questions confined to the professional, alright?” You have no need or want to talk about your past.

“I’m ready. Just keep the questions confined to the professional, alright?”
You don’t really want to talk about yourself or your life, even if it’s literally impossible for something written down to hurt you. But some things are private and that’s all that needs to be said. You are Sofia Pseudonym and you have no other surname. Your family tree begins and ends with you.

“So just about the duels?”

“And about the Rose Blossom Ring, I suppose.”

After you completely fail to relinquish the only chair to him, he sits down on the floor before you and rests a large sketchpad against the back of his knee.
“I’m going to make a quick few sketches too. Now, for how long have you been a public defender?”

“Several weeks now. More than a month. And since then I’ve been involved in a professional capacity in seven duels.”
Come to think of it, you may have to lie a little about your debut.

“And why did you choose to become a public defender?”


“It was my own choice. You could say that it’s a way to give back. There’s a lot of people who can’t afford to hire a professional duellist except out of the gutter and that’s just not fair. Someone has to be there to fight for them and…”
You let yourself speak for a few minutes more, your worry slipping away. There’s nothing to be stressed about. This interview shit is easy. But after a few more basic questions that you field easily, all of that is blown away by a single reply.

“So...now that we’ve got all that out of the way, why did you challenge Signora d’Passero like that?”

Oh. Now this is something that might need a gentler hand. For the true form of that question is ‘are you willing to potentially slander Catalina d’Passero in front of the entire City?’. Even for you, that’s not something you can do without consequences.
But you don’t believe your feelings on this matter are lies either.


>”I wished to protest the way she treats her protege.”

>”I just got a little over-excited!”

>”I wanted to test my skill.”

>”I wanted a chance to learn. I hear she’s a pretty good teacher.”

>Take a page from Adriana’s book and refuse to comment.
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>>3156620
>>Take a page from Adriana’s book and refuse to comment.

Let's let the public speculate about the reasons. They'll come up with their own reasons anyways even if we do answer honestly.
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>>3156629
That or say 'she offered and I accepted' if we're really pressed.
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>>3156620
>”I wanted a chance to learn. I hear she’s a pretty good teacher.”
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>>3156620
>>”I wanted a chance to learn. I hear she’s a pretty good teacher.”
Not going to help Sabino by maker the ring leader our enemy
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>>3156620
>”I wanted a chance to learn. I hear she’s a pretty good teacher.”

This one sounds fine. And it's partly true.
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>>3156676
I hope Catalina doesn't have a reputation of... ah, being extremely fond of her potential students and that there's a noticeable trend when she picks up new students.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>”I wanted a chance to learn. I hear she’s a pretty good teacher.”

All telling the truth would accomplish right now is just making things worse for Sabino. Even if it never blows back on you, it certainly would on him. And with that in mind you just shrug.
“I just wanted a chance to learn and I hear she’s a pretty good teacher.”
It’s not even wrong. You did learn a lot from that practice bout.

“And what are your thoughts on the result?”
Phew. Looks like he bought it.

“I got what I came for so I let her win. It’d just be mean to shame the Ringleader on Sabino’s big day.”
Not an ideal answer but you can’t really admit to her being better than you.

“Oh, speaking of which...what is your relationship with Signore Manfredi? I understand that you were personally invited to the event.”

“We’re friends. I met him on a previous case and he extended the invitation to me.”

“Just friends?”

You raise an eyebrow.
“I beg your pardon?”

“Signore Manfredi does have a reputation as a bit of rake, Signorina. Do you think he had any intentions towards you?”


>”No. Don’t write about any of this either, he has rough enough time as it is.”

>”Just friends.”

>”Does it count if it only happens inside a mirror?”

>”I am already in a committed relationship.”

>Other (Specify)
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>>3156734
>”I am already in a committed relationship.”
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>>3156734
>”No. Don’t write about any of this either, he has rough enough time as it is.”
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>>3156734
>”Just friends.

Hm, as players don't really know much about Sabino.
Personally I can see why ladies go all gooey for Sabino... but I suspect most of his rakish reputation is because his teacher likes pass him around for her amusement.
Or is that really it?
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>>3156734
Issue with the top one is that it'll lead into 'How is having a rough time?' line of questioning.
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>>3156760
Personally, it was a mistake to accept this interview at all. I can only imagine how he's going to write his article, yellow journalism style.
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>>3156771
Well the booklet he is writing for may not even be popular.
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>>3156772
Even if it's obscure, the info will just add oil to the gossip fire when it's shared by readers to other folks. We don't even know what booklet he's writing for or how popular he really is. For all we know, he's the greatest relationship gossipmonger reporter there is and we don't even know it.

Also, we're getting absolutely nothing from this interview as a payment other than more salacious rumours of Sabino and possible later on Catalina. I rather don't like it.
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>>3156734
>”Just friends.”
>>
Vote called, writing.
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>”Just friends.”

“Just friends,” you say, your tone being all the warning he should need to know that this particular discussion goes no further. Poor Sabino has a rough enough time as it is and you don’t think he has any real control over his ‘womanizing’.
“By the by, when does this get printed?”

“If this all goes well, it should be on the street by tomorrow. Everything else has already been done.”

“Wow, you must have a very good printing press!”

“I don’t know if I’d call them good...but we do have ten.”

“Oh.”
This operation might be a little bigger than you thought it was. But how were you to know? You don’t read this kind of crap! But whatever, it should still be fine. A written word cannot hurt you. There is no ill end to which they can be twisted that your birthright will allow. This interview will be a glowing recommendation for it can be nothing else.
“Carry on then. Like I said, just friends.”

“Just friends indeed. Signorina, I can’t help but notice that you are unmarried.”

“What of it?”

“To segue from my previous question, is there a man in your life?”

“This really has nothing to do with duelling.”
You very much doubt Adriana would enjoy any amount of public scrutiny.

“Right, right.”
He keeps on sketching.
“Tell me more about your past duels.”

And so you do, keeping it relatively brief but triumphant. No matter what you say, all your victories must be said to be of your own skill and all your losses to be chance or happenstance. It’s not, strictly speaking, true but it sounds pretty good! It’s also an absolutely safe line of questioning, after you establish that there are certain duels whose exact circumstances you are not at liberty to discuss.

“And what is your opinion on women in duelling?”

“Eh?”

“You are the very image of a belle sabreuse, are you not? But most duellists tend to be sabreurs. So not only are you somewhat of a rarity as a female duellist, you’re also at odds with the Rose Blossom Ring, despite it being the very definition of the dueling feminine.”


>”Wow! No comment.”

>”I’m not at odds with the Roses. I’m just...not one of them.”

>”I have nothing but respect for the Ring but as a woman who doesn’t practice their ‘woman’s style’ I think it’s a bit limiting to call them that. Nobody ever calls a single style the ‘very definition of the dueling masculine’ or whatever.”

>”I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say in response to this but I think it’d be cool to fight more ladies.”

>”I don’t get why we need to make this distinction anyway, we’re not foreigners.”

>Other (Specify)
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>>3156892
>>”I have nothing but respect for the Ring but as a woman who doesn’t practice their ‘woman’s style’ I think it’s a bit limiting to call them that. Nobody ever calls a single style the ‘very definition of the dueling masculine’ or whatever.”

Yeah, same as there is no undefeatable duelist or ultimate dueling style
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>>3156892
>”I’m not at odds with the Roses. I’m just...not one of them.”
>>
>>3156892
>”I have nothing but respect for the Ring but as a woman who doesn’t practice their ‘woman’s style’ I think it’s a bit limiting to call them that. Nobody ever calls a single style the ‘very definition of the dueling masculine’ or whatever.”
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>>3156892
>"Gloriana is worse!"
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>>3156734
>“Signore Manfredi does have a reputation as a bit of rake, Signorina. Do you think he had any intentions towards you?”
Lol, we should show him the mirror we have that is likely full of Sabino x Sophia porn.
>>
Also, what noooo, we're not at odds with the Rose Blossom Ring! They still have so much to teach us.
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>>3156892
>"Nothing but respect, ect"

>>3156990
You shut your whore mouth, Gloriana is the best.
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>>3157052
Gloriana needs a friend badly... I'm not sure if we're exactly the type friend she needs, maybe we're more like a frenemy, she pretty much knows we're the honorable sucker type. Or at least the type that tries to be an honorable sucker.
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>>3156892
>I’m not at odds with the Roses.
>I was simply taught different methods of dueling. It would be rather unusual for a Ring to invite a public defender.
>>
Sorry about the delay, was busy with something else momentarily. Vote called and writing.
>>
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>”I have nothing but respect for the Ring but as a woman who doesn’t practice their ‘woman’s style’ I think it’s a bit limiting to call them that. Nobody ever calls a single style the ‘very definition of the dueling masculine’ or whatever.”

“I wouldn’t say we’re at odds,” you say, conscious that every single word is being written down. “Not just because I fought their ringleader. I have nothing but respect for the Ring as a whole but if I’m at odds with anything about it it’s with what you just said. As a woman who doesn’t practice their ‘woman’s style’ I think it’s a bit limiting to call them what you just did. Nobody ever calls a single style the ‘very definition of the dueling masculine’ or whatever.”

He gives you a thoughtful look. Or perhaps a predatory one.
“So you’d say there’s somewhat of a double standard?”

“About presentation...yeah. There’s no ‘definitive Ring for men’ that any male duellist is going to be judged against. We just take it for granted that every single style save this one specific one is manly. Don’t get me wrong! I think the Rose Blossom Ring is doing a great job and I’m glad they exist but not every sabreuse is going to be like them and nor should they be.”
The whole floral theme is just a little too...stereotypical for you. As for the beauty of swordplay? A sword is there to speak for you, to invoke the universal language for violence. It’s a pen that isn’t daunted by your curse.

“And what is your style like, if you don’t mind me asking?”

There we go, back on safer ground. This is a question you have no problem answering.
“I was taught by Lanzo Croce and I’ve inherited a lot of his style. If you don’t know who he is, he’s….he’s actually opening a little school of sorts! Everyone should go check it out. But in addition to that, I guess you could say that I’ve been picking new things up as I go. My way of duelling is very malleable, I’m never afraid to use whatever I can learn.”

“And you are good at learning?”

“In a sense.”

*******

The questions drag on but mostly limit themselves to descriptions of your duels. He never asks for personal information again, presumably because he knows what’s good for him. And so, after you’ve finished elucidating on a particular moment, Signore Remo slowly gets to his feet.
“Well, thank you kindly for your time. Do you have any questions of your own? Any further remarks?”


>Not really, no.

>Encourage people to be public defenders. It’s not ALL gutter-work!

>Ask to see his sketches.

>”As long as you understand that misinterpreting anything I just said is a crime against my honor.”

>”Can I ask you not to describe this room? At all?”

>Other (Specify)
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>>3157242
>>Ask to see his sketches.
I really want to see it. What did he draw... if it's lewd we'll probably have to get mad. If he drew how messy our room is, demand he get rid of it.
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>>3157242

>Request to see his sketches, donning Maccio's glasses.

He claims that the "scandalous" parts of his work is entirely intended as eyecatches.

We can judge that for ourselves using practiced eyes, and in the meantime take the opportunity to get a last look into Signore Remo's heart.
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>>3157242
Ask to see his sketches.
>>
>>3157242
>Ask to see his sketches.
he definitely did it during the interview
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Ask to see his sketches.

“No, feel free to leave.”
But then, as he picks his way through your apartment towards the door, an idea strikes you.
“Say, can I see your sketches? I know you did them.”

“Why?”

Because he almost certainly uses lewd eyecatches and you have no desire to want to be one.
“Just to make sure you got my likeness right.”

“Sure.”
He passes you the sketchbook and you idly flip through it.
“These won’t reflect the finished work though, they’re just rough sketches to make sure I have your appearance right before I do the drawing proper. It lets me illustrate without needing you as a reference.”

“Right.”
They all look accurate enough and none of them include your room. They’re just as rough as he claimed too.
“These are fabulous sketches by the way, just wonderful. These could pass for finished art!”
Huh? You...guess they’re better than you initially thought?

“Thank you Signorina. Look out for it tomorrow, alright?”

“Alright!”
And with that he’s gone. And you’re left alone, wondering if you didn’t just make a huge mistake. Surely not, right? If done well, this will be great for increasing your reputation. It’ll really get your name out there! You don’t really need that though. But...if this goes well, maybe you could keep doing it. Maybe you could draw more attention to the plight of your clients. That has to be good.

Sighing, you sit back down on your bed and thumb through your book. Blegh, it’s nothing. It’s tawdry and not even in a good way. You’ve been reading it for the past two days but now it just seems boring. You’ve got a whole afternoon to burn and your perspective is almost entirely unfucked! Shouldn’t you be doing something with it?


>No.

>Visit someone you know.

>Visit someone you don’t know.

>Try to do a puzzle in a normal way.

>Follow Remo.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3157359
>Other (Specify)
>Visit someone you know.
See if we can get an appointment with Oronzo to talk about the Adriana situation and see if there is a way to be 'safe together'. He's a lawyer that's not Juicy and we owes us one for the Handprint.

We gave our word after all.
>>
>>3157359
does Sophia not remember the thing about Pale Word? The thing about double standards might raise a few fires, but sure let it happen.

>Go to the book club Sabino showed you
maybe we can find actually useful books there.
>>
>>3157374
>we
he*
>>
>>3157376
>does Sophia not remember the thing about Pale Word?

She does, she just doesn't immediately recognise it right away when it's affecting her talking about something else. She's not used to that.
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>>3157359
>>No.
Laaaaze.


>Go visit Sabino when it doesn't work.
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>>3157359
Follow Remo.
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>>3157359
Ouro would training let us refine a move we already know?
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>>3157392
I recognize we just lobbed a firebomb but we voted for it and threw it to be published. It's going to be an interesting backlash. I'm sure there are more than a few who agree but it's going to get under the skin of those who really believe in the Rose Court ethos
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>>3157425
How so?
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>>3157440
Just slightly improve the mechanics of moves we've used well frequently to rpovise an oh so slightly better bonus?

Like Elegance starting at d6 instead of d4, or the like?
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>>3157453
That's a huge buff, and not at all reflecting the amount of improvement you could get done in a day, particularly with Sophia's relative lack of talent/resources.
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>>3157491
I was hoping ouro could work it to be workable.
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>>3157453
Maybe. I've also been thinking of training to increase Composure.
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By the way, while the tie continues, here is a Christmas Sofia drawn by Tanq, QM of Panzer Commander!
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>>3157495
Personally, I have a hard time grasping just how terrible Sophia is at learning things herself. She isn't talented, Pale Word means she isn't as conscientious on the little things, and Monkey Sight has convinced her that she can barely learn anything on her own.

>>3157499
What about "downgrading" moves, like making counting coup or Elegance generate d3s rather than d4s? Enough training in that direction, and maybe after a few months it could be 2d2s?

The only Composure buff that would round Sophia out is a d10, but that sounds more like balancing her psyche while retaining her stubbornness.

Another Ability slot would be broken as all hell.

Thematically, the Tech most likely to improve without any special inventions is Unassailable Rookie. Just working on the fundamentals so much that you achieve something that is clearly Veteran.
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>>3157376
Will change to book store.
>>
>>3157359
>Train
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Visit the Aevum Book-Burning Society.

Well, if it’s a new book you need...you should probably buy or obtain another. But you’re facing somewhat of a supply problem. The street market down on the canal below doesn’t traffic much in books and what romance novels they did have are now, over the course of some time, all yours. And would you really commit to travelling any further just for the sake of a book?

Yes. Yes you would. Because right now, after several days cooped up, you just need a good long walk more than anything. The book isn’t even the goal anymore, just a fortunate by-product. So why don’t you take a nice long walk and find something weird? Something new. Something you will at least not have read half a dozen times already. And you know just the place to find a book you’ve never read anything like before.

*****

The district of Aevum is as beautiful and serene and personally distasteful as ever. That ever-present lotus scent, something you’d once grown up with, has given way to the equally-sweet scent of lotus-rot. Rotting flowers crowd the canal, floating on the surface and being trampled underfoot.
You’re wearing your duelling outfit, if only because it’s the only suitable outfit you own. Anything less might get you stopped by a constable. Not for any particular crime against Street Law, mind you, just for looking too shabby to be in a place like Aevum. And a lot of estates and families around these parts hired their own men to do the same and they weren’t bound by laws or banes like the constabulary. Where a constable might shoo an undesirable away, these rough men might have some fun with them first.

None of which could ever affect you, of course. You could wear anything and nobody would ever complain. But wearing your best clothes does make it more convenient.

And there it is, as resplendent as ever, the Aevum Book-Burning Society. It is topped with a golden sigil of a stylized flame and the entrance to the grand building is flanked by columns that are as beautiful as they are pointless.
You walk inside, finding yourself once more standing in the little atrium lit by fragrant braziers enclosed in little iron cages. No doubt they’re very careful about the fires here. It’d be a shame if all the books were to be burned in the wrong way.

At the back, flanked by two doors, is a podium crowded with paperwork. Standing behind it is a familiar looking woman, a tall and curvy apparition squeezed into a librarian’s frock that has a deeper neckline than is perhaps necessary. Her hair is almost as big as the rest of her, cascading brown ringlets that must take hours to set up right. She stares at you blankly as you approach, her round glasses reflecting the firelight.
“Hello. Can I help you?”

“We’ve met actually. I’m one of Sabino’s friends. He brought me here a while ago?”

1/2
>>
>>3157584

She purses her lips and you catch a glimpse of something shrewd behind her eyes for just a moment.
“Doesn’t ring a bell.”
Maybe mentioning Sabino was a bad idea.

“Whatever, it doesn’t matter. I’m here in need of a book.”

“Sure. Do you want Ignition or Stacks?”

“Pardon?”

She nods her head at the two doors.
“Burned books are the whole point but some people like to search through the Stacks. They’re only a coin each.”


>Stacks. From what you remember there’s absolutely no filing system you can discern but at least it’s cheap.

>Ignition. You didn’t come all this way just to stretch your legs and get your perspective in line. You’re here for books you’ve never read for and a burned book has to be that by definition.

>Can you remember her name?

>”I didn’t fuck Sabino, you know. If that’s an issue.”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3157586
>>Ignition. You didn’t come all this way just to stretch your legs and get your perspective in line. You’re here for books you’ve never read for and a burned book has to be that by definition.
>Can you remember her name?
Isidora
>>
>>3157586
>Well Isidora what would you suggest for someone looking for a new book to experience?
>>
>>3157586
Stacks.
>>
>>3157586
>>Stacks. From what you remember there’s absolutely no filing system you can discern but at least it’s cheap.
>>Ignition. You didn’t come all this way just to stretch your legs and get your perspective in line. You’re here for books you’ve never read for and a burned book has to be that by definition.
whichever is more magical first, of course
>>
Seem to be having some connection issues with 4chan, vote called and writing.
>>
>>3157586
>Ignition

Just for posterity's sake.
>>
>Isidora
>Ignition

The Stacks are tempting, particularly since you never had much truck with burned books to begin with, but that’s not what you’re here for. And with that in mind, you dredge up a name from the mnemonic abyss.
“Well Isidora, what would you suggest for someone looking for a new book to experience?”

She looks up, her eyes wide behind the spectacles.
“That’s my name!”

“Naturally. I remember it. And do you remember me now?”

“Hrm. Oh. You’re that girl who fucked Sabby in the Stacks that one time!”

“Yes and no that’s not what we actually did.”

“It’s fine, I don’t mind.”

“That’s nice. It’s still not true though. I can’t specify this enough.”

“Well it’s none of my business,” she says, her tone now much friendlier with the idea of shared experience. “I don’t need to ask about it, I already know what it’s like.Now, you wanted a new book right?”

“..Right.”

“Then you’ll want Ignition obviously. The Stacks have old books, regular books, everyone knows what those books are like. Ignition is where the real art is done.”
She pulls a key from within her bodice and bustles over to the door to the left.

“It’s where you actually burn the books, right?”

“Exactly.”
Isidora opens the door and a blast of heat so oppressive that it almost feels like walking into a wall bursts forth. You follow her inside, beads of sweat already forming upon your brow. But it’s a dry heat and the sweat evaporates as quickly as it comes.

The two of you are standing at the edge of a large circular room. The room is ringed with stacks of books, all very neatly organized but following no logic you can discern. A lit brazier sits beside each stack, enclosed in a little birdcage with a hatch to the side. And in the center is the main furnace itself, a vast red-bellied mechanical organ that pumps heat up through the pipes that feeds into each of the braziers sprouting up from the floor around it like roots from a mangrove. Red light shines forward from a grille that is firmly locked with no less than four separate padlocks.
The air is hotter than fire and fragrant smoke collects in curls and swirls around the top of the vaulted ceiling. The vortices move and change direction, little urchins of smokestuff swirling through the air.

“Where is everyone?”

“Most Society members only come in when they need to,” Isidora says. “I’m the only person who works here full-time.”

“But what about when you’re at home?”

She shakes her head.
“When I said full-time, I meant it. Now, the stacks alternate between burned and unburned. Can you tell the difference?”

1/3
>>
>>3157755
“Yeah, pretty easily.”
You scan the titles as you walk past them. One stack might be full of rational, recogniseable things. A harlequin romance, an encyclopedia, a foreign travelogue. But the burned books have strange glassy-coloured covers and are titled things like Lost in the the U or Long Life Turncoat or Scrump.

“Would you like to see a burning? Most first-time visitors do!”

You nod, lacking anything better to do. Your throat is drying out dangerously fast.

Isidora grabs a pair of long metal tongs from the side of the wall and expertly snatches up an unburned book, one that must have been transported in from the Stacks some time ago. With her other hand, she opens the hatch on the birdcaged brazier closest to her, using the tongs to dip the book inside.
“Fire is not a destroyer,” she murmurs. “It’s transformative. Mostly it just transforms things to ash. But if you know the right way to burn something, it does something else. Like a blacksmith with a sword or, in my case, a librarian with a book.”

Passing through the flame in quick little thrusts, the book warps and changes with each pass. Within it, words were melting and reforming, illustrations were changing, meaning was undone and new things found.
You know about book burning, of course. You’ve just never been a huge fan. Burn a book right and the old book is gone and in its place is...something else. A potential book. A book built from all the books that never existed, all the words never said, all the stories never written. It’s a romantic idea. Unfortunately to you, most of them come out as pure nonsense. You’ve never been able to find the art in their incoherence like most of their enthusiasts do.

Isidora steps back and drops the still-smouldering book atop the stack on the other side of the brazier. Glowing letters across it spine declare it to be Alice in Wonderland, another nonsense title.

“So,” you say. “How much time do you spend filtering out the pure nonsense results?”

“Zero. The burning never churns out literal word salad or anything like that. It’s still a book, still a story. It just hews to something that isn’t real. Read enough and you’ll see new genres, new grammar, even new ideas. It’s all unreal of course but what isn’t real vastly outnumbers what is, don’t you think?”

“It’s always sounded a little fascina to me.”

She shrugs.
“All things can be fascina. And some of them do come here. Most of them just want to buy our burned books but a few can be...rowdy. It’s why the furnace needs so many locks.”

“What, why? What do they want with the main furnace?”

“To throw themselves into it,” she says with the same tone one might use to discuss the weather.

“Is there any point asking why?”

“More things can be burned besides books. Haven’t you ever wanted to be someone else?”

“...Does it work?”

2/3
>>
>>3157757

“Sometimes. Sometimes they just burn. And let me tell you, sorry I don’t have your name yet?”

“Sofia.”

“And let me tell you, Sofia, people don’t burn easy even in a furnace this hot. They leave things behind. Bones obviously but the worst part is the fat. Have you ever had to scrub out person grease from something?”

“No!”
You don’t like this conversation. You don’t like it at all.

“Well…”
Her words hang in the blistering air as she takes a few more steps and, pulling out four more keys, starts to unlock the padlocks around the furnace’s hatch.
“You can try if you want.”

“Wha?”

“I’ll burn you, I’m very good at it, so it can be very precise and purifying. No danger. As for why? I can tell you’re not a fascina because you’re a duellist and...you seem friendly enough. Not many people bother to remember my name. And as a reward, I’m going to burn you alive.”

“Um.”


>Take her up on her offer. Don’t you have some aspects of yourself that you could improve? That you could reforge?

>”I’ll just take a book thanks.”

>Flee.

>”What happened to you? Why are you like this?”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3157757
Booksmiths. WORDSMITHS. Oh god, it finally clicked.
>>
>>3157758
>>Take her up on her offer. Don’t you have some aspects of yourself that you could improve? That you could reforge?
DO IT DO IT DO IT
>Can you do something like burn a last name away? I don't mind being ACTUALLY Sofia Pseudonym.
>>
>>3157762
Sofia's surname actually is Pseudonym now, she had it legally changed. Technically her old family now no longer has any blood relation.
>>
>>3157758
...fuck it

>Take her up on her offer. Don’t you have some aspects of yourself that you could improve? That you could reforge?
>>
>>3157758
>>”I’ll just take a book thanks.”
>”What happened to you? Why are you like this?”
>>
>>3157758
Just take a book.
>>
>>3157758
>Take her up on her offer. Don’t you have some aspects of yourself that you could improve? That you could reforge?
Mayyybe she could burn away our birthright?
Barring that, improve our stats.
Barring even that, make our boobs bigger so that anons stop voting to learn it as an ability instead of something useful.
>>
>>3157758
Iiiiii'm gonna abstain on this one. But WOW, I'm kinda laughing.
>>
>>3157758

You know what

>Take her up on her offer. Don’t you have some aspects of yourself that you could improve? That you could reforge?

Let's go.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
Sorry for the delay, I got a phone call.

>Take her up on her offer. Don’t you have some aspects of yourself that you could improve? That you could reforge?

You take a deep breath, inviting the scorching air into your lungs.
“You know what? Sure thing, you weirdo. I’ll take you up on that offer.”

Isidora just smiles and then pulls open the hatch. Light floods the room and it somehow gets even hotter. The heat has a sound.
“Don’t worry,” she shouts to be heard over the roar. “I’ve got a lot of experience with this!”

“What do I have to do?”
You’re shouting too.

“Oh nothing scary!”
She strikes the tongs into the blazing depths and for a brief moment, they vanish from view entirely as they eclipsed by light. They return with a glowing coal clutched between the prongs.
“What do you want?”

“I...I…”


>You want a bodily change.

>Your nerve has broken in the past. Reforge it and strengthen your Composure.

>Make one of your trophies physically part of you.

>Have an aspect of your personality scorched away.

>Reforge your past.

>Strengthen a Technique.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3157501
Lol, companion. Who's she again?

>>3157514
Cute, and the scar looks nice desu.
>>
>>3157758
>“I’ll burn you, I’m very good at it, so it can be very precise and purifying. No danger. As for why? I can tell you’re not a fascina because you’re a duellist and...you seem friendly enough. Not many people bother to remember my name. And as a reward, I’m going to burn you alive.”“Um.”
Oh god what.

Mark me down as horrified and intrigued.
>>
>>3157850
>Your nerve has broken in the past. Reforge it and strengthen your Composure.
>>
>>3157759
>Booksmiths. WORDSMITHS. Oh god, it finally clicked.
That's great. That's just great.
>>
>>3157850
Reforging the past looks like a nice way to create a time paradox.
Making one of the trophies a part of us could give us an extra technique slot, but it could also give us an unswappable technique instead, so nah.

>Strengthen a Technique.
Counting Coup, our BnB

>>3157855
We need to go hang out with Leo sometimes btw. We don't have many people who actually like us, so we need to maintain the relationships that we have.
>>
>>3157850
>Reforge your past.
>Strengthen a Technique.
I want either of these.
>>
>>3157850
>>Your nerve has broken in the past. Reforge it and strengthen your Composure.

There's something to be said for permanent stat buffs. Although

>Have an aspect of your personality scorched away

sounds interesting. Is there anything in particular to Sofia that she'd be better off without, you think?
>>
>>3157850
>Reforge your past
Could we reforged in the way that our curse is no more?
Or is that we reforge only memory of it?
>>
>>3157871
Unfortunately your birthright is enshrined in law. A mere changing of the past can't change law.
>>
>>3157850
>>Make one of your trophies physically part of you.
Skin Unthorned

>>Strengthen a Technique.
I'll hold off on what until I get more data.
>>
>>3157868
>sounds interesting. Is there anything in particular to Sofia that she'd be better off without, you think?
It does kind of seem like a real denizen of the City would be interested in this. After all, it's not like personality is permanent. If we don't like who we become, we can just turn back.

On the other hand, I like Sophia's personality the way it is.


(Except maybe her tendency towards sore loserhood.)
>>
>>3157850
>>Your nerve has broken in the past. Reforge it and strengthen your Composure.
>>
>>3157868
>Is there anything in particular to Sofia that she'd be better off without, you think?
There is, but unfortunately it's mostly anon-induced.
>>
>>3157850
Strengthen composure.
>>
Why composure? It's not really as though it'll help our playstyle. Having more Comp means that Brute Strike is less effective, and if the enemy actually beats our Comp score, that's already a loss.
>>
>>3157890
Perhaps anons still can't stop thinking of Composure as hitpoints.
>>
Elaboration.

Strengthening Composure involves upgrading your currently existing dice.

Fusing a trophy would let you select that trophy whenever you want, unlike normal trophies, which can be lost, stolen or destroyed.
>>
Annons do you think we could do something here that would make Adriana incapable of taking over our body
>>
>>3157860
>>3157881
>>3157888
>>3157868
>>Your nerve has broken in the past. Reforge it and strengthen your Composure.

>>3157862
>>3157876
>>3157864
>>Strengthen a Technique.

>>3157864
>>3157871
>>Reforge your past.

>>3157868
>Have an aspect of your personality scorched away

>>3157876
>>>Make one of your trophies physically part of you.

>>3157893
>Strengthening Composure involves upgrading your currently existing dice.
Which is good. As long as we keep a d4 and a d6 for Stances.
>>
I'd still rather improve a Technique, though I don't know what I'd want to improve.
>>
>>3157893
>Strengthening Composure involves upgrading your currently existing dice

Oh in that case

Switching >>3157860
To
>Strengthen a Technique.
>>
>>3157850
>Other "Strengthen your identity. You are who you are. You are proud of it, and of choice you make as they are yours. Whats you, it cannot be taken, it cannot be crushed."
>>
>>3157908
Oooooh.


But I think that counts as Composure.
>>
>>3157908
Now that i wrote it, I cant really read it with voice other than narrator from darkest dungeon. Especially last sentence
>>
Vote called and writing!
>>
I'd like to turn a d8 into a d10. It allows us to reach d10s for Elegance very quickly if we lose our minor Comp Dice. Upgrading a d6 means we don't have one anymore and it's needed for stances.
Upgrading a d4 still leaves us with the need to go through three more and the new d6 if we're trying to reach higher numbers.
Upgrading a d10 is kind of pointless since we never really get that far.
Upgrading our d12 would be useful, being the only actual upgrade that improves our hp.
>>
>Strengthen a Technique.

“...I want to become a better duellist.”
Your words are lost in the roar of the forge.

Isidora still nods however, lifting the glowing coal high.
“Then step forward! Come here! No, closer! Closer!”

You are mere inches from her now, your skin reddening from the heat. You feel faint, you feel dry, you feel withered, as if you might just shrivel up and blow away at any moment.

“Kneel.”

You do so without asking.

“Look up.”

Again.

“Close your eyes.”

And again.

“Open your mouth as wide as you can.”

Once more.

You feel something smash it’s way into your mouth, pushing your jaws wider and wider with a searing flash of pain. It’s metal and oh, she’s sticking the tongs down your throat. The tongs with the coal still in them.
It’s so hot that you don’t even notice the heat for several seconds. Then it obliterates you.

It slides down your throat, erasing it as it goes and settles into your stomach. Your humours are vapor. Your bones are charcoal. Your ego is aflame. You are alight with ecstatic pain, pain that grows so quickly and so powerfully that it cannot be comprehended.
Your heart beats once and then bursts inside of you, popping as the superheated gas that used to be your blood floods it.

You can’t open your eyes. Maybe you don’t have eyes left to open. You certainly shouldn’t have a brain left to think with. And yet think you must, your dualist spark of spirit soaring free of the immolation, outpacing the flames by only an instant. It’s as flammable as anything else.

And then it descends once more and you feel yourself. You are...liquid. You are flow. You are not unmade but you are undone. All that is Sofia is still Sofia, a soupy mess of Sofia that is no less Sofia than when that mess was in the shape of you.
But soon the fire will take even that from you. Some part of you is consumed and replaced by something that is jagged and raw and not-Sofia. A tempered, stronger thing.

The real gives way to and is replaced by the unreal when it is stronger.

>Sofia has gained the suffix [Tempered]! It can be joined to any Technique she currently has knowledge of. If a Technique has Tempered before it, it gains the additional line of rules text reading ‘Sofia cannot be defeated during this turn.’

1/2
>>
>>3157979

>Choose a Technique:

>Brute Strike: [STRIKE]Siphon the lowest value dice from your Composure Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value die from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a die of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Unassailable Rookie: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, all dice that your opponent rolls out of their Strike Pool take a -1 penalty to their final result. Can only be active while you have a d4 in your Composure Pool.

>Underhanded Deflection: [TRICK]Lower the sides of all the dice currently in your opponent’s Technique pool by 1.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value die in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.

>Skin Unthorned: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, any Strike pool targeting you cannot roll d4s. They remain in the Strike Pool unrolled. Can only be active while you have a d6 in your Composure Pool.

>Flashing Steel: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. Damage from this Technique is dealt first to your opponent’s Strike Pool, treating the dice within as if they were Composure dice for the purposes of destruction. The difference between the highest dice value in the Strike Pool and the damage rolled is then dealt to the Technique Pool in the same fashion. And if the damage continues to overflow, the remainder is inflicted upon the Composure Pool in the same way.


>Alternatively, Sofia can discard Tempered and instead reforge a Technique. This destroys it and replaces it with another she COULD have gained from the same source.
>>
>>3157981
Underhanded deflection.
>>
>>3157981
>Reforge Brute Strike into that Maccio's ability that we had regretted not taking several times already
>>
>>3157981
>>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.
>>
>>3157994
No way, just challenge Maccio again. Brute Strike is very useful in the right place.

>>3157981
>Counting Coup
I was thinking of picking Crushing Grip because it's our 'oh god we don't want to die' move, but we're now building a new 'oh god we don't want to die' move.
I also considered Elegance, but at that stage of the duel we don't have any Comp dice left, spamming it would just give us d4s.
>>
>>3157981
>Crushing Grip
Tempered will not stop us from losing composure die, so the only mechanical benefit it can give us is turn a draw into a win. That can be done with any Strike, but Focussed Blow could eventually be replaced by Masterful Blow. Brute Strike is too dependent on other Techs to consistently be brought, which leaves a Fist tempered harder than Sofia's blade.
>>
Thought I'd mention even though I'm not keen on voting on it:

If we temper Circle Guard, we can leave our opponent in a stalement like with constable guy. If they strike while we CG, it removes 1 tech die plus another from PP. Not many techs generate more than 1 tech die, so we could slowly whittle them down and bait them to keep generating tech die so we Strike them.

This also sounds INCREDIBLY unfun to do.
>>
Consider the humble Gritted Teeth

No, not Tempered Gritted Teeth, Tempered Counting Coup into Gritted Teeth.

Strategy is as follows: We've been broken. Usually, at this point, we're done.


With Tempered Counting Coup, we play TCC until a D10 is generate in our tech pool. We then play Gritted teeth to put that d10 into our composure on the first step of the turn.

We're back in the game, hopefully with a stack of CC dice to respond with.
>>
>>3157981
switching from >>3158034
to
>Countin Coup
to break the tie. This may turn all battles into a slog, but combined with Gritted Teeth it's too strong.
>>
>>3158106

Going for it.

>Counting Coup

There's no point Tempering a defensive move. It only can prolong the match.

There's also no point in Tempering a strike, since it only prevents defeat: It only lets us win a cross counter when both duelists are broken.

Tempered CC into Gritted Teeth gives us a second chance, which is something that we could have used in recent duels.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>3157877
I find her sore loserhood to be entertaining and realistic.

Competitive people hate losing, and worse for us, losing means our poor bastard of a client (literally poor since they can't afford to pay for a duelist) gets screwed over.
>>
>>3158142

No joke, that's a major part of the appeal of the strat I listed above.

I kinda want to get away from always going for mechanical buffs, but that's a hard sell, especially on a losing streak against unique duelists.

But I can get behind Sophia getting knocked down and deciding "No. This is bullshit. We're giving this another try."

It only costs a third of our customization (Really only a 6th, its's not like we're ever replacing counting coup)
>>
>Tempered Counting Coup

Unreality gives way as what was merely possible or potential becomes certainty. A sudden flash of cold follows and it takes you a moment to realize that this is merely the stifling heat of the Ignition room, rendered frozen to you in comparison to the blaze briefly within.
You are kneeling on the floor and as far as you can tell, there is no visible difference. No sense that you had ever changed at all. Had anything you perceived been true?

But you are not the same as you used to be. You can feel it inside of you, some indiscernible cog that no longer turns quite in time with the others. A piece of you is gone forever. It’s been crystallized into something harder, stronger and foreign.

“There’s a price that needs paying,” Isidora says, standing over you, the coal still burning in the tongs. She dumps it back into the furnace and slams it shut. “And whether it’s metal or page or soul, you can’t forge something backwards to what it once was.”

You stay on your knees for the time being.
“Why doesn’t this feel right?”

“How do you think steel feels? It can’t be pleasant. But it’ll pass. It did for me.”

>Tempered Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Sofia cannot be defeated this turn. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

You try to get up but your legs don’t get the memo and you just collapse on your side.
“How long until my body works again?”

“It might be a while. It can take some time to get used to it. Here, come on.”
She grabs hold of you by the elbows and starts to slowly drag you away.
“There’s a bench in the atrium I can stick you on. Rest it out.”

****

Isidora sets you down with a jug of water, one desperately needed, and then lets you sit there while you recover. This takes, oh, several hours. By the time you can stand again the day has grown dark and the shadows long.

“Oh, by the way Sofia, did you still want a book?”


>”No thanks.”

>”What is going on with you?”

>”Actually, yes. Let’s go get one.”

>”So how did you meet Sabino?”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3158161
>>”What is going on with you?”

We can take alice in wonderland that she burned. It'll be interesting to see how it goes.
>>
>>3158161
>>”Actually, yes. Let’s go get one.”
>>
>>3158161

>”What is going on with you?”

>”Actually, yes. Let’s go get one.”

I'm intensely curious how she forged herself if we can ask with some tact.
>>
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Alas, I must sleep now. Vote will remain open until I wake, at which point the session resumes.
>>
>>3158161
>”Actually, yes. Let’s go get one.”
>>
>>3158161
>”Actually, yes. Let’s go get one.”
>>
>>3158161
>”What is going on with you?”
>”Actually, yes. Let’s go get one.”
>>
>>3158162
Seconding that
>>
>>3158161
>so how did you meet Sabino.
>>
>>3158161
>”So how did you meet Sabino?”
>Isn't he adorable?
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>”Actually, yes. Let’s go get one.”

The question takes you by surprise initially as you sit up, pins and needles still spreading out across your entire body as you start to move. Isidora helps you up as you think about it.
“You know what? Yes. Let’s go get one.”

And with that it’s back into the Ignition room, the wordsmith guiding you through the stacks of burned books. You flip through a few idly but what you see doesn’t inspire you.
“So,” you say, “you can burn any potential or possible book into being?”

“It’s not like we choose what comes out but yes. It’s still a book. It’s just a book that could never exist.”

“So how much pornography do you wind up getting?”

“A lot. But most people find it...unerotic. Here’s one, actually.”
She picks up a shiny tome titled The Pink Book.
“We think this is supposed to be erotic to something with human bodies but with very inhuman minds. That’s because the pictures and the descriptions are people...it’s just that the actual acts are strange.”

“Neat.”

“Not every burned book is so unapproachable though,” she says, picking up another, this one titled THREM. “I’ve read this one, it’s basically a classic adventure story with a few cool twists. It’s just that all of its chapters are in the wrong order. Sort of a puzzle, you could say.”

“What’s a Threm?”

“It’s a plot point. It’s revealed in Chapter 2 but the actual set-up and context for the reveal isn’t until Chapter 7. Turns out that a plot twist can still work backwards!”

“So you never get any truly incoherent pieces then? Just some shit that never makes sense?”

“We do,” she says, clearly unwilling to admit that nonsense text can exist. “But we’re sure that they’re not nonsensical, we just lack the context to understand it. Like this one for example!”
She snatches up a book called Thirteenth.
“As far as we can tell, this is some sort of diary. But it’s a diary written by someone who doesn’t exist.”

“Isn’t that true for all your books?”

“Yes but this one goes a layer deeper. The author doesn’t exist within the story’s fiction either, if it is fiction. There’s a lot of musings on what it is to be unreal. Or at least that’s what we think it is.”

“Sounds delightful.”
What kind of experience are you looking for from a burned book?


>Alice in Wonderland.

>The Pink Book.

>THREM

>Thirteenth

>Just take all of them.
>>
>>3159161
>THREM
>>
>>3159161
>>THREM
>>
>>3159161
>THREM.
>>
>>3159161
>Alice in Wonderland.
>>
>>3159161
>>THREM
we need to expand our reading outside of romance novels. At least we didn't get Crime and Punishment, that would be way too boring for our Sofia
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>3159221
I wonder if Sofia would like Anna Karenina
>>
>>3159281
I think she would, she probably would go 'blah' to it in the beginning but if she stuck with it she'd probably end up speed reading it to it's sad conclusion.
>>
Sorry for the delay.

>THREM

It’s barely a choice.
“I’ll take THREM thanks. Do you know what order the chapters are meant to be in?”

“Even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you,” she says, handing the book over in exchange for coin. “Just read it regularly first and try to figure it out. That’s the whole point!”

“Isn’t the story itself the whole point?”

“Eh.”
She makes a dismissive motion that suggests the actual plot of THREM, absent the novelty of its incoherent and puzzle-like structure, isn’t all that inspiring. Or at least, not to her.

“Is it meant to be like this? Or is it because it was burned?”

“We can’t exactly ask the author, can we? It’s a book from a past that never happened.”

“Well at least it doesn’t sound like more of the same. So thanks and uh, thanks for the other thing too.”

“Don’t thank me for that just yet! You might not find it all to your liking.”

“What, THREM?”

Silence.

“Hey, you’re talking about the book right? Right?”

*****

You wander back home on tired and uncertain legs as the sun begins to set. After the first sunset, the sky remains lit with a circle of fire around the horizon as the sun remains up for the Lesser Realms below. But soon even that passes and with the ‘second’ sunset, the City becomes the domain of the stars once more.
Bright neon shades and pastels fade into dark silhouettes and the canals turn into a mirror of the night sky above, dotted with floating lanterns.

THRUM is about a boy named Pascal Subroutine or, at least, you think it is. Some of the chapters are from another perspective but you don’t know whose. Maybe their introduction hasn’t happened yet? The story is almost impossible to follow and yet, somehow, it sucks you in and keeps you reading anyway.
You think the first chapter is somewhere in the middle of the overall story but you can’t be sure. Elements of it are scattered all over the next two chapters in a way that makes you feel that the disorder is intentional on the part of the book’s hypothetical author.

You fall asleep reading THRUM.

*****

You wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. Something’s wrong! You’re not you! You’ve been replaced by someone else!

*****

1/2
>>
>>3159404
You sleep in uncharacteristically late. The morning is nearly dead. You start your training all the same however, just as you always do when you wake. And to finish it all off, you go for your usual morning run. It’s later than usual so they’re more people than usual but you don’t feel particularly self-conscious about your training attire.
Who’s going to say anything?

But as you are heading back through the local street market, a certain something catches your eye. Something placed on the rack of the local paper-seller’s stall. This is not to be confused with the rack of the local paper-seller, which only catches your eye most of the other days.
“Hey Mina,” you say with growing dread. “What’s this?”

“Huh? Oh, La Ressagna? We get that every month Signorina. And, oh, I guess she looks a little familiar, huh?”

You stare at the cover of La Ressagna Mensile.
>>
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>>3159410

You're not sure what detail is worst. Actually wait no, you can pinpoint it exactly. The clothes...the boobs...all that just skims past your own mind as you gaze upon the absolute worst part of it.
That sword looks like garbage! What the fuck! That's...that's a toy sword! A story sword. Nobody uses those!

"Is something wrong, Sofia?"

"This picture..." you say slowly. "It's amazing! I look so dashing in it! It's definitely very accurate!"
Fuck.

What are you going to do about this? Can you do anything about this?


>Find Remo right now.

>Get help from a friend.

>"Mina, please take these off your shelves. I'll make everyone do it if I have to!"

>Read the booklet.

>Denounce this publicly and immediately.

>Maybe if you don't acknowledge it nothing bad will happen.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3159426

>Read the booklet.
It's going to be one hell of an article I imagine.
I knew I should have created an option at the beginning to kick him out of our apartment
>>
>>3159426

...Yo that sword IS kinda jank for practical use when you look at it closer.

>Read the booklet.
>>
>>3159426
>Read the booklet.
That sword is horrendous. Good work Ceg
>>
>>3159426
>Read the booklet

Time to learn how angry we can be
>>
>>3159426
Read it. It can't be worse than the picture on the cover, right?
>>
>>3159444
Place your bets people! I vote that the article is an abomination of our interview and is worse than the picture.
I bet he wants to portray us as an anarchistic sabreuse out to topple the Rose Court's feminine style or something ridiculous. Perhaps a love triangle between us, catalina and Sabino with somehow Catalina in the middle of it.
>>
>>3159426
>Read the booklet.

I personally think this picture is quite flattering.
Except the sword, of course. That thing is disgusting.
>>
>>3159448
It's most definitely going to be horrible.
>>
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>>3159426
>>
>>3159426
>Read it
>While walking to Maccio’s since this guy is his acquaintance.
>>
>>3159468
We should put on Maccio's glasses and get his artist ability to redraw the picture that makes the sword more accurate and better
damn it, it's an abomination. Then we can use our unlimited access and break into the print shop and print the right picture.
Boobs are fine, I think it's great but that sword just bugs me.
>>
>>3159451

I think the most insulting part is that bust... He took some intriguing liberties.

Let's read.

Also. as long as we are VERY certain not to put any blame on Maccio for this, I think it would be hilarious to see what he thinks of the artist right now.
>>
>>3159426
Let me separately compliment Cegremo on a magnificient job.
>>
>>3159480
That bust might be intriguingly liberated, but at least it is pretty.

The sword, on the other hand...
>>
>>3159490

I'm trying my best to focus on the parts of the picture that don't incite blinding agony.

Ceg drew a perfect cheesecake piece... Now if only I could crop out that immaculately rendered monstrosity of steel.
>>
>>3159404
>tfw don't know if the change to "THRUM" was intentional or not
>tfw quest becomes postmodern

>>3159477
This
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Read the booklet.

You snatch up the booklet and peer at it and at the Sofia on the cover. She’s mostly holding her pose but you can see her fidget. She looks up at you and, despite not being able to see or comprehend you, winks and blows a kiss.
You watch for a few minutes more, dumfounded, as she sneaks a coy glance back and forth before pushing her already-open shirt just a few more inches to the side to expose a nipple.

Blushing furiously, you open the booklet so you can stop looking at the cover. And then, a moment later, angle it so nobody else can see the cover while you’re reading it. What the fuck? This is agonizing, a humiliation you hadn’t dreamed was possible. How many of these get sold? How many people already have this as their sole representation of you?

But while Signore Remo might be fond of ...artistic liberties (by the looks of it he liberated your whole fucking vest), the interview is mostly as you remember it. Some of the more boring questions and answers have been omitted and you are not a fan of the framing device, which describes you in the manner of some sort of seductive temptress luring him into her boudoir. But at least your words aren’t misrepresented? Yay?
Now that you’ve seen La Rassegna for yourself however, you very much doubt its readers will care about your words.

The interview is accompanied with another drawing, presumably to keep the interest. You are...She is wearing a lot less clothing in this one. And though obviously the pose differs depending on the mood of the picture itself, she's clearly happy to flaunt it.

“It’s so sexy,” you say weakly, unable to say anything even slightly negative about a representation of yourself. And neither will anyone else so this will probably sell a lot.
“I look so good.”

This is you. This is what Sofia Pseudonym will soon represent in the eyes of the people. You’ve been entirely replaced by the unreal.


>Throw the booklet away.

>Keep it. Or at least...at least keep the cover.

>Make your complaints known.

>Get someone else’s help.

>Maybe this is fine. It’s probably not a big deal, right?

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3159609
I am laughing so hard. Really, Sofia brought this on herself by accepting the interview in the first place.

In any case

>Keep it. Or at least...at least keep the cover.

Let's use Maccio's glasses to fix the damn sword with proper art and then go to his place to advise him we are going to duel his acquaintance to get this fixed.
>>
>>3159609
>Come to terms with our sexiness.
>Still go to Maccio and ask him to get his friend to fix the sword. The sword cannot be forgiven.
>>
>>3159609
>Get someone else’s help.
Maccio save me!
>>
...Remind me, does this mean that since she's seen as super sexy now in the eyes of the populace she's going to end up like that herself? I legit forget how this shit works. Freakin' fae laws.
>>
>>3159609
>Maybe this is fine. It’s probably not a big deal, right?
>>
>>3159651
Bad things cannot be said against her or images of her. So people will say she is beautiful anyway.
>>
>>3159651
Only if it's in the paperwork.
>>
>>3159659
No, I get that, but I thought there was a 'what the public perceives you as is what you are' thing going on.
>>
>>3159609
>Get someone else’s help.
Maccio
>Keep it. Or at least...at least keep the cover.
So we can have evidence on hand.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
So do you think Adriana will get a copy of this from somewhere?
>>
>>3159765
It's going to be the talk of the town since no one can say anything bad about it.
>>
>Get someone’s help.
>Maccio!

Directly addressing this crime against your image will have to wait for now, even as your shock and fear is turning into a slow rage that makes you feel poisoned inside. Maybe you’ll do something about it later. You tuck the little booklet into a coat pocket, avoiding any stares that you feel that you surely must be attracting.
How many people know? And with your curse, how will you ever tell?

Remember when you were concerned if the interview would let your words reach others? About whether people would listen to your ideas about the people exploited by the duelling system? Luckily you’ll never have to worry about those ideas being entertained ever again! Everyone who reads this (and you doubt most people don’t even read it to begin with, they just look) is going to come away thinking you’re just some sex-crazed bimbo in a dumb outfit with an absolutely atrocious sword.
Who cares who Sofia Pseudonym is? She’s just going to be something for jerks to crank their dicks over.

You need Maccio’s help. That’s it. He knows...art junk. He can help you. He knows Remo, right? Maybe you can at least get the sword fixed. The sword is the worst part, even worse than you. At least Sofia Pseudonym, exhibitionist sexpot extraordinaire, might at least know how to duel. But for as long as you’re clutching that...thing, you’re obviously just a joke. Anyone who knows anything about duelling couldn’t possibly take it (and you) seriously.

So with this resolved in your head, you turn around to set off and get struck in the face by a scroll.

You catch it before it can fall and with a long sigh, unroll it. Sure. Why not now? Seems like a fucking good time for it. You read it, stop, read it again and then your brow furrows. This isn’t the usual summons. Normally you’re assigned by the City itself, drawn from its pool of public defenders through inexplicable means.
But if this is telling the truth…

Someone is requesting you as their defender. It’s not public defense work. That means you get to charge a fee. It means you get paid a commission. It also means that you’re free to turn it down or ignore it.
Ugh. It better not be because they saw that fucking booklet!


>You suppose you better go check it out.

>It can wait until you’re finished with Maccio first.

>Toss it away. You neither want or need it!

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3159811
>You suppose you better go check it out.
>>
>>3159811
>You suppose you better go check it out.
>>
>>3159811
Shouldn’t the request scroll have a name of the person requesting us? Is the name familiar?
>>
>>3159823
I didn't mention the name because Sofia doesn't recognise it.
>>
>>3159830
Can we message Maccio through the fountains?
>>
>>3159811
>>You suppose you better go check it out.
Damn it, I hate our professionalism. If it's because some guy wants to see us because of that booklet, we are going to lose our fucking temper.
>>
>>3159839
No. You're only authorised to send responses back through there.
>>
>>3159811
>You suppose you better go check it out.
>>
>>3159811
>You suppose you better go check it out.

>...But who are you kidding, of COURSE it's because of that fucking booklet.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
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>You suppose you better go check it out.

Fuck it, this all can wait. You have a job to do and even if it’s one you can turn down, doesn’t mean you actually have to. Plus, you have to admit to being intrigued. Why would someone request you personally?
Besides the booklet that is. Well...at least it might get you business? You don’t know how to feel about that.

But as long as your client doesn’t bring it up, you should stay professional. You chose this career for reason, people need your help. And you won’t ever stop yourself from giving it.

****

Once more, you find yourself within the Suffitus District. It really shouldn’t be a surprise, these are the people often most in need of a public defender. But for your first paying client to be here? You inspect the scroll again.
The name given is a ‘Lorrin’, which is interesting. You don’t recognise the name and there’s no surname. Odd. Oh, it better not be anything weird like an urchin or anything. But how would one of them even request anything?

As for the address given...you are standing right outside of it now. The shabby little terraced building’s role is indisputable, even if there wasn’t a vandalized sign outside declaring its purpose. This is an almshouse. Again, a place you might expect someone in need of a public defender. But from someone who requested you and presumably has the coin to back it up? Why would they be here?

You open the gate and step across the threshold, knocking on the front door. By the time of the second knock, the landlord opens the door. He’s old and short but he has a sort of wretched vitality to him, what’s left of his hair mostly confined to that which you can see sprouting up from his chest, arms and legs. You could make a carpet out of his body hair and hey, don’t entertain that thought any further.
“Hello, I’m Sofia Pseudonym, duellist and public defender. I believe one of your tenants hired me to represent them?”

“O’course,” he says automatically and then stops. “Pseudonym? Cor, I know you! I saw you this morning!”

“Yes thank you,” you say rigidly and automatically, shoving your way past him without looking back.

“You look even better in person!”

“Just tell me where a ‘Lorrin’ is, please.”

*****

1/2
>>
>>3160255

You stand in the cramped quarters, leaning up against a wall, staring at its inhabitant with wide eyes. You can’t help yourself.
“Huh.”
It’s not that it’s odd, not quite, just unexpected.

Lorrin, your client, stands before you. He’s pale and dark-haired, his hair cut short close to his scalp in a style wholly unfamiliar to you. He’s clean-shaven as well, leaving his angular face to be defined by the three scars running up his cheek and across his nubby wreck of a nose.
He’s over six feet tall but not quite as tall as your godmother and you could say that he’s pretty well built. It’d be like saying that the canals are wet. Technically true but not really a statement in need of saying, you know? His threadbare black tunic clings to the contours of his chest, tracing the musculature with loving detail. It’s probably because he’s sopping wet.

But all of that is inconsequential to the truth of things, a fact that is as plain and obvious as the nose on your face. This man is a foreigner. He’s not from here. He’s holding up surprisingly well but still, the truth of it remains.

“Well,” you say, at a loss for words. “Here I am. A duellist. That you apparently wanted?”

He nods and then speaks slowly, choosing his words with obvious care. And that makes sense! He wasn’t born knowing how to speak a civilized tongue.
“Yes. Because I see you before.”
He makes an indecipherable gesture and looks frustrated with himself.
“We see before.”


>”No we haven’t.”

>”Wait, this is about the booklet isn’t it?”

>”Why do you need a duellist?”

>”Why are you here?”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3160263
>”Wait, this is about the booklet isn’t it?”
>”Why do you need a duellist?”
>”Why are you here?”
>>
>>3160263
This is about the booklet?
>>
>>3160263
support >>3160272

Ouro what kind of rights do foreigners have compared to citizens?
>>
>>3160289
They have a right to a defence, as all things that are challenged do. Their lives are also considered basically probably equivalent to citizen's lives in that the murder of a foreigner is a crime and whatnot. Not an oft-prosecuted one but still!
They do not have access to a great many rights enshrined in law however, such as the right to walk on water.
>>
>>3160263
>>Other (Specify)
Let's flip a coin as a little game. We can use our ability to win, then claim a button for our win and choose his lower realm language skill to help out with communication
>>
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I'm going to have a rest for an hour or so. Vote will remain open until then.
>>
>>3160363
Remember guys, we have that coinflip insta win ability. We could get some clear communication going if we can win and choose lower realm language skills to help us along.
>>
>>3160263
Ill support the coingame. Knowing lower realm culture will be good for sofia
>>
Feeling more awake now. Vote called and writing!
>>
>”Wait, this is about the booklet isn’t it?”

“We see before, eh?”
You have a sinking feeling in your stomach. Any lower and your stomach would probably be in the Lesser Realms by this point. Can’t there be a single thing in your day that doesn’t revolve around this fucking thing?
“It’s the booklet, wasn’t it? You read this and thought, wow I better get the duellist lady with the fancy sword and the big tits, huh?”
You pull it from your pocket it and hold it up, the illustrated Sofia lazing up against the side of the cover.

The foreigner just looks confused, his eyes fixed to the cover. He flushes red and shakes his head and then stares at you with a quizzical expression.

...Oops. You push the booklet back into your pocket as fast as you can.
“Okay. Okay. Cool. That’s good. Glad I showed you that. Real glad. You can just ignore that. Please ignore that. So how then? How have we met before?”

He stands there silent for a moment, his flat foreign face oddly more approachable now that it’s shown emotion. It looks like he’s trying to find the right words.
“I come here before. To…,” he stops and thinks for a time. “Akwatay Kogitoom. Fairyland.”

You don’t recognise that last word at all so it’s probably something from his own barbaric language. As for the City’s name, well, the pronunciation could be worse.
“So this isn’t your first visit?”

“No. This the first time I come here. Before I...I”
He looks frustrated once more, as if searching for the right word.
“I dream this place.”

“Oh! You came here in a dream?”
That’s possible, isn’t it? You vaguely remember hearing that people of the Lesser Realms can dream of the City under certain circumstances. But the details of it all escape you. You never were the best at learning and you’d never been particularly interested in the Lesser Realms. But if he has, it would explain why he’s adapting so well.

He nods vigorously.
“Yes! I dream here, I see you.”

“Wait!,” you say, despite knowing that he probably doesn’t know what that word means. “You dreamed about me?”

“Yes. Yes. I came in...through? In. You...hugged me? No. Touched me? Wrong word.”

“Uh…”

Grabbed. You grabbed me. And then put me in cage until I woke.”

You stare at him blankly.
“Hrmm. I don’t think I did that. I’d remember that.”

“It happen. Is grab right word?”

The language barrier might be a bit of an issue. Maybe there’s something you’re misunderstanding because of the limited way he has to say it. Or maybe the fault lies with you…


>Challenge him to a coin flip. You can learn his own language, if you have to.

>See if you can get your godmother to come down here. She can make him speak a proper tongue.

>Head on over to the Foreign Quarter to find a translator. It’s not far from Suffitus.

>Remember what he’s speaking of.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3160911
>Remember what he’s speaking of.
The bird she tried to sell?
>>
>>3160914
I was thinking the same thing. Support.
>>
>>3160914
>>3160911
this but still do this
>Challenge him to a coin flip. You can learn his own language, if you have to.
>>
>>3160911
Yeah, coin flip
>>
>>3160911
>do the coin flip
Birds in the city are people dreaming?

Wow, that sucks. Even while asleep, humans will spew shit on other people's property.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>3160914
I'm glad we didn't get to eat him.
>>
>Remember what he’s speaking of.
>Game

Wait, are you sure you don’t remember that? Sure you don’t remember doing any of that to the man before you but was he always as such? He’d come in a dream. You know about that stuff. Those in the Lesser Realms can dream of the City and when they do...there’s an important detail you can’t remember. Or maybe were never told.
But setting that aside, you haven’t caged anything recently except for that one raven.

“Oh!,” you say, smacking yourself on the forehead. “You were a bird, weren’t you! That makes sense.”
Come to think of it, that’d explain why so many birds are temporary. They’re just dreaming barbarians. You hadn’t known that, having just taken disappearing birds for granted all your life but it’s logical.
“A raven ,right?”

He nods again.
“Yes. You grabbed me.”

“Well you were in my room, you little twerp! Probably shat there too. Is that a bird thing or is it a barbarian thing?”

He looks confused by your outburst.

“Oh, don’t bother about that word. It’s not a good word. And…”
You stop as you imagine how long this might take. After all, all you’ve been able to establish so far is your mutual point of connection, back when he was a raven and you caught him, caged him, considered eating him and then attempted to sell him. But getting a proper duel explanation and a contract out of this? No thanks! There has to be an easier way.
“Look, this is going to take a while if we keep this up. So how about we play a game first?”

“Game?”

“Yes! A contest! A distraction. It’s important, don’t worry.”


>Fish out your lucky coin from your handbag and use your single use of Test Your Luck.

>Don’t waste your luck on that!
>>
>>3160961
Ouro, just asking. Didn´t "Test your Luck" work once every duel, but as long as we want during the slice of life sequences? I recall those were the rules govrning its use.
>>
>>3160961
>>Don’t waste your luck on that!
Because I think being able to converse with him is easy enough already.
>>
>>3160968
Once per thread.
>>
>>3160961
Don't waste it.
>>
>>3160961
>Fish out your lucky coin from your handbag and use your single use of Test Your Luck.
>>
>>3160961
>>Fish out your lucky coin from your handbag and use your single use of Test Your Luck.
The goal of this is to save time, and doing repeated coinflips to the scared foreigner will do the opposite of that.
>>
>>3160961
Don´t waste it

Fuck it all. I challenge you to a contest of tonguetwisters. In the city´s language of course.
>>
>>3160977
We also dont want to potentially scare the guy away with Do Not Trust Fae. A game he will obviously lose is all sorts of sketchy
>>
>>3160961
>Don’t waste your luck on that!
Just challenge him to a tongue-twister contest.
>>
So, while we figure out what this guy wants, what should we do about our imagined portrait everywhere? I think we should challenge the interviewer to a duel, then make it his problem to fix.
>>
>>3161013
we can arrange the duel to happen the next day, then find maccio.
>>
Sorry, dozed off for a moment there. Vote called and writing!
>>
>>3161013
>>3161021
The article is out. Rules of dueling means he makes a counter claim. Not worth it imo.
>>
>Don’t waste your luck on that!

“I promise you that a game is very important. It’ll make everything better and after that, we should understand each other more.”
You probably shouldn’t specify that you’re going to take something from him. Barbarians probably believe all sorts of silly things about cityfolk.

“With a fae?”

“Don’t know what that means. But look, can you really say no?”

“No.”
And there it is. While he’s in the City, he has to obey its laws. And that includes your own. It’s not something you really want to do but you need to get this over with.

“Glad you agree. Now, you have to try to beat me. You have to try, that’s important. You can’t fake it.”

“Magic?”

“What are you, Gloriana? I don’t know what magic is and whatever it is, this isn’t it. You have to say this better than me. You have to try. You have to or else I can’t be your duellist!”
You think for a moment before you come up with a tongue twister that you’re sure you can do and that he can’t.
“Sopra la panca la capra campa, sotto la panca la capra crepa! Sopra la panca la capra campa, sotto la panca la capra crepa! Sopra la panca la capra campa, sotto la panca la capra crepa!”

Silence.

“You just have to try your best. I promise it’ll be good.”

“...Bench? Goat?”

“Yeah sure, good enough. But don’t worry, this really has a point beyond ritual humiliation. Now give me your clothes!”
You advance quickly before he can react, ready to claim your prize!

>His tunic.

>There’s a scarf on the floor behind him.

>Pull his knife free from his belt.

>Just take the whole belt.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3161040
>There’s a scarf on the floor behind him.
>>
>>3161040
A button from his shirt. The highest one, as being th eone closest to his throat might allow us to copy his speech.
>>
>>3161040
>Just take the whole belt.
>>
>>3161040

>There’s a scarf on the floor behind him.
>>
>>3161040
>>Pull his knife free from his belt.
>>
>>3161053
Does he even have a button on his shirt? his tunic might just be ties, apparently buttons are recent inventions for developed economies that poor societies/less developed economies in medieval times didn't even bother with due to expense.
The odd things I remember of history classes
>>
>>3161053
>>3161040
This one, and also because it'll show more chest hair.
>>
>>3161040
Scarf behind him.
>>
>>3161062
>Does he even have a button on his shirt? his tunic might just be ties, apparently buttons are recent inventions for developed economies that poor societies/less developed economies in medieval times didn't even bother with due to expense.
Buttons are really easy to make. Bit of wood carving, a bit of thread. Could do sticks and loops. Everyone had buttons.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
Tired.

>There’s a scarf on the floor behind him.

You step past him as he backs off, clearly hesitant of anything you’re trying to do. What exactly is he afraid of here? That you’ll steal his soul or something? Come on. Instead you pick up the scarf from where it’d been sitting on what passed for a bed in this cramped little space. It’s knotted and coarsely-woven but it’ll do. Staring up at him, you wrap it around your neck.
Through words fought shall words be won.

And just like that, knowledge crowds your head. But it’s nothing something that pools within you or something you keep. It passes right through you like a lens, much as it had done when you had taken Maccio’s glasses. You can use it but you won’t have the knowing of it.
“There,” you say, speaking words you don’t understand. “Sorry about the confusion.”

He backs up even further, running into the wall of the tiny little room. And he speaks, a fast-paced stream of words you shouldn’t know and don’t know.
“What kind of magic is this? Was that an incantation just before? What do I owe you?”

“Eh? Owe?”

“I know how the fae work.”
That’s interesting, that word still remains what it is. Maybe it refers to something for which you have no concept.
“Anyone who deals with them must always pay a price in turn.”

You blink.
“That’s called economics, Lorrin. We trade quite a lot. But that doesn’t cover literally everything. I’m not going to do anything strange to you just because you owe me something.”

“Then what did you do just now?”

“I challenged you to a game and when you lost, I took this scarf from you as a trophy. Now I can speak your crude language as well as you can. I have, in a sense, borrowed your tongue. That’s not strange.”

“That’s magic.”

“It really isn’t. I’m just a competitive learner. Now, let’s get things started on the right foot. My name is Sofia Pseudonym and I’m a duellist. You have requested my presence specifically because you remembered me from when you were a raven. Again, nothing strange about any of that. What is your name?”

“My name is Ser Lorrin Medewes. I am a knight in the court of the Righteous King Alwyn, ruler of the Belgi, the free cities and the Mur.”
You don’t know what a knight is, nor any of those places or peoples, though you suppose that Gloriana’s late mother probably came from one of them. You do know what a king is however and you have to stop yourself from sneering.

“Hello Ser, I don’t understand a single one of those terms. So tell me, if your first name is Ser, why did you call yourself Lorrin? Is that customary among your people?”

“That’s just a title. But surely those words must mean something to you? Mur and Belgwyn both neighbour your fair city!”

1/3
>>
>>3161178
“Do they?”
That’s news to you. As far as you and most cityfolk who don’t have to trade directly with the barbarians are concerned, the Lesser Realms are just one undifferentiated mass. You all know that theoretically, there are distinctions to be made, politics to be had, wars to be fought. But why should any of it matter to you beyond being an exciting setting for a heroine of a romance novel?
“Nothing really neighbours us, Lorrin. We are above and apart. The world below is not ours.”

“A privilege that may not last,” he mutters darkly. “I came to the lands of the fair folk with dark intent, Lady Nameless.”
Maybe Pseudonym didn’t quite translate over right?
“Surely at least you know of the Soissfolk and their Empire? Their emperor, the cloven Clovis, seeks to paint the map black. He is said to be more beast than man and a master of seven dark magics. And from his dark tower, he commands his armies and few dare ride against them. He is a storm upon the world.”

“It doesn’t storm here.”

“I came here because I wished to beg at the feet of your kings and queens.This is a matter of survival for us all and none of us can afford to stand apart. Please, you must lend to us your magic to match his own.”

Now you just feel bad for him. No matter whatever trouble he’s gotten himself into here, his goal was always impossible.
“I didn’t know of the Soiss until just now and I doubt I am alone. But whoever they are, they can’t touch us. It’s the oldest law. No foreigner with a foul intent against the City can set foot within it. Don’t worry, I do believe you. I believe that this issue is a dire one for the Lesser Realms. But the City stands apart.”

“And that will last forever? I have come to tell your leaders that that cannot be so. All rivers can be dammed. Fairy walls will not withstand forever. If your City stands above and does nothing, eventually the very foundations upon which it stands will crumble!”

“You don’t know a thing about our foundations. But it’s not me you need to convince anyhow. Do answer me one more question however. What is a ‘knight’?”

“A sworn warrior of noble blood. We also take care of the l-”

“Then I am just as you! I too, am a knight of sorts, Ser Lorrin. I am here to fight on your behalf.”

“You must be a far grander swordsman than I,” he mutters, looking frustrated and confused. You wonder what he’s been trying to say to you.

“Probably.”

“But there’s one thing I don’t understand. When I got in trouble, I was far from anyone who could speak my tongue, it took me some time to understand what I was being asked. But I knew your word for ‘sabre’ and I knew where I had seen one so I spoke of you. Are you well-known, Lady Nameless? Everyone seemed to understand me then.”

“I’d rather not discuss that right now.”

2/3
>>
>>3161180

“But what is the purpose of the sword? You are some sort of barrister, are you not? A law-speaker and advocate?”

“What? Are you serious?”

“I’m not stupid,” he says hotly. “I know that I am to be brought up before some sort of law for my misbehaviour. Are you not, then, a barrister of some kind?”

“No! Me, a lawyer? I’d almost take that as an insult. What do you think lawyers are, Lorrin? Whatever you did, it is being settled by the sword. By a duel. The law will rule in favour of whoever strikes the final blow.”

“...Is that how law is done here?”

“Yes. I imagine it’s a bit more civilised than what you’re used to, some nuance might escape you.”


>”So what did you do? Tell me everything.”

>Try to convince him that his goal is pointless.

>Commend him on his ability to keep himself centered in the presence of the City.

>”Wait, you do have coin, right? I need to get paid.”

>”Uh so, don’t read too hard into anything I did while you were a raven. I didn’t know you were a person when I clutched you to my chest like that.”

>”First things first, let’s find you a better place than this. This is for beggars.”

>”Don’t worry, I personally feel bad about what your people are going through.”

>You should tell him about your curse, just to make things easier for him.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3161181
>”So what did you do? Tell me everything.”
>>
>>3161181
>>”So what did you do? Tell me everything.”
>>Commend him on his ability to keep himself centered in the presence of the City.
>”Wait, you do have coin, right? I need to get paid.”

Doesn't sound like he has much in the way of physical coins on him, so it should be fine talking there. I don't think we can convince him to bring a wagon of cheap coins up the mountain unless we promise a retinue of public defenders to mercenary around or something.

....heh, we might ACTUALLY want to call up Gloriana.
>>
>>3161181
>”Don’t worry, I personally feel bad about what your people are going through.”
We totally care, yep.
>"You can repay me with coin or useful skills."
>>
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I sleep now. Vote will remain open until I wake. Goodnight.
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>>3161181
>”So what did you do? Tell me everything.”
>Commend him on his ability to keep himself centered in the presence of the City.
>”Wait, you do have coin, right? I need to get paid.”
>Tell him that all coinage is worth the same here too. So iron and brass is worth as much as gold here.
>>
>>3161181
Supporting >>3161216
Also I've remembered that we have a chest of Lower Realms gold coins that we ought to exchange with Lower Realms merchants to multiply our funds.
>>
>>3161181
>”So what did you do? Tell me everything.”
>Try to convince him that his goal is pointless.
>”Wait, you do have coin, right? I need to get paid.”
>”First things first, let’s find you a better place than this. This is for beggars.”
>Other (Specify)
Tell him all coins are worth the same here, it doesn't have to be gold or anything. Tell him that he's never going to convince anyone the city is in danger, *we* don't believe him and we're a hundred times more open minded than a lawyer, let alone one of the electors.

>>3161224
this is a good thing to remember
>>
I'm curious what the city's actual relation to the world is now. It's seemed so far to truly be "above" the lesser realms and in that sense not really magic per se, but if it has definitive borders within the lesser realms maybe it's a bit more mundane (but still magical) than we've been lead to believe.
>>
>>3161215
So what are the immigration rules into the City like? Are they harsh? Can foreigners freely enter the City and settle or visit? How do they physically get there? Is it atop a mountain?
>>
>>3161247
>if you know the right way, you can follow any river deeper and deeper inland up towards a single point. And rising there higher than any mountain, atop an aquatic plateau whose edges are perpetual waterfalls, is the city.

It's not clear how truthful this is though, because it seems no one ever bothers to leave the city
>>
>>3161253
It may very well be a case of they've been apart so long that things have advanced below and they just never bothered to notice. That and that well their so-called mountaintop might have been the tallest thing knew of, that doesn't mean that there weren't taller ones discovered.

And while there's probably some sort of loophole protection because reasons and un fun, Siege weapons are a thing. You don't have to set foot inside of a city to burn it to the ground.
>>
>>3161289
Yes, it depends on if the first electors really were some kind of enlightened people who raised a city outside of the world or if they were just some magicians with fanciful legends
>>
We don't want to be paid in skills? He's a knight that made it all the way to the city in the skies, he's got to have useful stuff.
>>
I also realized, that if we're going to duel him, it's going to be a very interesting situation in that he has no clue about the rules and the rites and all that stuff. I'm interested to see if he'll basically be playing by different rules than us, in terms of the mechanics. After all, despite what we said, he is a knight. He's trained to fight and kill his enemy as efficiently as possible. Even in one-on-one honor duels, you want the fight to end quickly, not show off and risk losing something you can't get back. Logically, people who get one chance at life would fight both fiercer and safer than people who don't really care. I think it would be neat.
>>
>>3161320
And I just remember that he would be our client. So we wouldn't duel him. Never mind.

...and I just realized.

>>3161196
>The people of the city above have no word for magic in the same sense that fish would have no word for water.

That's actually kind of an insult to the populace. Because we may breathe the stuff and it may be THE fundamental facet of life, but we have a word for and know what the hell 'air' is. Even before we knew specifically what oxygen was, we knew at the very least that hey we can change the 'makeup of the stuff that we breathe in certain ways if we do x y or z.' or at least had theories.

I think the City is more static than it even realizes.
>>
>>3161323
...I don't know why that second link is there, sorry.
>>
>>3161323
I think a lot of anons are misunderstanding how the city works, it's really not magic in the sense you would typically think about it. The aesthetic borrows from Kantian philosophy, especially the noumenon and the idea of the thing-in-itself as opposed to the thing-as-appearance. The essential idea is that we cannot know the thing-in-itself and our minds merely attempt to structure what we perceive in such a way that we can grasp at (though never know) the unknowable, transcendental truth. The cities founders managed to approach the noumenon (though they could not reach it) and so were able to build a city whose people grasped the unknowable closer than those below.

The way this manifests practically is that things exist (or more accurately, are perceived) closer to their essential "thing-in-itself" form. Look at how we treat coins, it's simply as a "coin", an abstract ideal. Or buildings and how they're created by description instead of physical construction. Or how we can completely disassemble our body, or literally reforge ourselves.

It's also why the city is so intoxicating to foreigners, their minds don't know how to process what they experience in the city. It's not just confusing or alien, *reality itself* (as understood by the individual) differs within the walls. Things do not exist in the same way here as they do down there. I imagine if we were to leave we'd experience similar disassociation.

Of course I'm probably reading a lot more into it than Ouro intended, but I like the setting and I like thinking about like I do.
>>
>>3161323
>And I just remember that he would be our client. So we wouldn't duel him.
While true, I want to fight him. He can repay us with a fight.

>>3161449
Got any ideas about water and fountain symbolism?
>>
>>3161181
So what did you do, tell me everything.
>>
>>3161634

Not him, but I think it's rather simple. It's a metaphor for the same idea of reality and what we perceive. We are metaphorically the spring at which the "real" flows to what is "known"

We more commonly use light metaphors for sense data (We see lights and shadows cast from unseen bulbs, lenses and filters), but from a fantastic setting, the idea of man as drinking his knowledge from an invisible spring of the real is relatively valid.

On a tangental note; I'm going to go with the likelyhood that city dwellers must have developed some of their reputation for killing and eating dream-birds.

>>3161181


>”So what did you do? Tell me everything.”
>Commend him on his ability to keep himself centered in the presence of the City.
>>
Will we challenge the reporter to an honor duel? Based on what? We can't say that it's bad art, or that it's embarrassing. We can't express any form of discontent!

Could we say the picture isn't pretty enough to capture our full beauty, and we're offended by it?
>>
>>3161905

We can challenge him for misrepresenting himself. He covered his tracks on the cover by stating that he needed an eyecatch, but made no such defense for the metaphorical centerfold.

Our image is lovely, and the rendition fantastic and well constructed... But unauthorized. Furthermore, we have a record that we have refused renditions in the past due to our exceeding beauty

With small enough terms (Adjust the cover and excise the smut), the only feasable counter is to insist on our blessing or follow up, either of which we can twist to punish him (I think the line should be "A tawdery journal graced but once with worthy content and lacking forevermore in both artistic and erotic appeal.", but I'm pretty sure Sofia would screw that up somewhere.)
>>
>>3161449
>Of course I'm probably reading a lot more into it than Ouro intended

Not by a lot honestly, thank you anon!

Anyway, I'm awake and the vote is called. Writing.
>>
>”So what did you do? Tell me everything.”

You lean back up against the wall, adjusting your coat as you do.
“So what did you do to wind up in all this trouble anyway? Tell me everything.”

“As I said, I came here to speak to your leaders.”

“Yes but I know it can’t be to do with that. If you’d caused some trouble with an Elector, you wouldn’t be getting challenged to just a duel. So something else must have happened before you ever reached that point.”

“Right. I came here with a merchant barge up through the rivers. They told me to stay covered, to stay in your ‘Foreign Quarter’ but they didn’t know of my true goal. Ever since I dreamed of this place, I knew it was my destiny to come here so I would not be harmed.”

“Right. And where from there, do tell?”

He looks uncomfortable.
“I was sidetracked.I chanced upon one of your merchants and recognized him. Vittorino Traverso! Do you know of him?”

Now that’s a somewhat familiar name. This Vittorino is unknown to you but Traverso? That’s the house of Guerino Traverso, one of the City’s preeminent merchant princes. Not a noble but something close and in the case of petty nobles, more powerful.
“Not of him but I know the family. They’re not people you want to mess with.”
You have a bad feeling you know who challenged him.

“He once visited the courts of Righteous King Alwyn as a bringer of trade. It is said that he desired my lord’s youngest daughter of his second wife but when she spurned his tokens, he cursed her to be barren forevermore!”

“Sounds like he did her a favour. But it’s certainly possible, I suppose. People outside the City don’t really count under law so this Vittorino wouldn’t be liable for any sort of damage.”

“I called him out for what he was. A liar, a trickster, a fraud who sells fairy gold and enchantments that only last a day. After Alwyn banished him from his court, I hear he sells to the Soiss now. They eat frogs and snails so no doubt something as slimy as he is welcome.”

You blink.
“What’s wrong with eating frogs?”

“What?”

“We eat frogs here, you know, those we can get. And fish and eels and snakes of course. What’s wrong with that?”

“...Moving on, I shouted all this and more to him, in your tongue as best as I could speak it.”

“What, in the street? With crowds of people around?”

“Yes!”

“No shit you’re being challenged, Lorrin! That’s slander! You can’t just speak it in public!”

“It cannot be slanderous if it is true.”

“It can here. You can’t just say whatever you want about someone and expect no retribution.”
Someone with coin, anyway.

1/2
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>>3162122

“But can’t it work the other way around? Can he be charged for the crimes against my lord’s court?”

“...No, because that didn’t happen here. Selling useless things to foreigners is...well, it’s not unexpected either. I mean, you people pay so much for gold of all things, who can tell what you want? And if your version of events is true, we can’t even accuse him of duel harassment because you clearly incited this!”

And what’s worse, while this Vittorino isn’t the patriarch of his merchant clan, he won’t be hiring a cheap duellist to defend his reputation. There’ll be a real professional and your track record against such...isn’t the best.


>”I don’t think I can take the case.”

>”So how am I getting paid? I’ll take payment in skills if you have no coin.”

>”If you really want to speak to the Electors someday, someone needs to tell you how things around here work.”

>Introduce him to someone else.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3162124
Someone needs to tell you how things work around here.
>>
>>3162124
>>”If you really want to speak to the Electors someday, someone needs to tell you how things around here work.”
>>
>>3162124
>”If you really want to speak to the Electors someday, someone needs to tell you how things around here work.”

>”So how am I getting paid? I’ll take payment in skills if you have no coin.”

What's the punishment for slander?
>>
>>3162124
>Someone needs to tell you how things work up here. I actually happen to know this goddess incarnate who might be able to help...

I also vote for doing this pro bono, like most of our work.
>>
>>3162124
>>”If you really want to speak to the Electors someday, someone needs to tell you how things around here work.”
>”So how am I getting paid? I’ll take payment in skills if you have no coin.”
>>
>>3162124
>>”So how am I getting paid? I’ll take payment in skills if you have no coin.”
>>”If you really want to speak to the Electors someday, someone needs to tell you how things around here work.”
>>
>>3162186
>I also vote for doing this pro bono, like most of our work.
Taking payment in skills is pro bonoish.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>3162205
I believe so. Not like he's losing anything except trinkets. We can buy him clothing or jewellery to take as prizes if it's an issue.
>>
>>3162124
>>”If you really want to speak to the Electors someday, someone needs to tell you how things around here work.”
I guess it's time for us to be an author. Maybe we can write a real basic how to stuff and get Gloriana's input on shit.
>>
Apologies for delay.

>”If you really want to speak to the Electors someday, someone needs to tell you how things around here work.”
>”So how am I getting paid? I’ll take payment in skills if you have no coin.”

“So how am I getting paid for this? If you’ve got no coin then I’ll take payment in skills.”

“I have with me a purse of silver cein but-”

“What’s a cein? Is it a little metal disc with things stamped onto it that you could exchange for objects of arbitrary value? Can you toss it into a fountain?”

“Yes,” he says, looking flustered at your interruption.

“Then that will do. But if you have anything that matches that description but is considered to be less value, you can give those to me instead.”

“Wouldn’t you want the silver?”

“Why? A coin’s a coin, why does it matter what they’re made of? Why is silver or gold more useful than brass? The fountains take them all the same.”

“I thought you people had a lot of gold,” he splutters.

“True. But we only value it because we know foreigners go crazy over itl. That’s all its good for, outgoing trade! Lorrin, I can literally take you to a fountain that will give you gold coin. For free. Because that’s how much worth gold actually has.”

“Really?”

“Well not now probably, you’ve got bigger things to deal with. But yes. It’s becoming plain to see that you foreign folk say a lot of tall tales about us but if you ever want to speak to the Electors...you’re going to need to learn a whole lot.”
And is that really any of your business? He’s a prospective client sure but it’s not up to you to educate him outside of that. His silly little crusade has nothing to do with you. And besides, isn’t it better for the people of the Lesser Realms to be as ignorant as possible? You’ve really got no obligation to be his teacher or his translator or his guide. And yet….


>”Why don’t I give you a little tour of things?”

>”What do you know about our history?”

>Sit down and tell him about Law.

>”Your mission really is pointless.”

>Arrange someone else to explain things.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3162319
>”Why don’t I give you a little tour of things?”
>”What do you know about our history?”
Cause I'm curious too.

Is it even possible for this dude to go see and Elector or do they just not bother with foreigners?
>>
>>3162319
>”What do you know about our history?”
What crazy things has he heard about the city?
>>
>>3162319
>>Sit down and tell him about Law.
This guy is so screwed it's not even funny. He's probably going to get into more trouble unless we can talk to him about the city.
We don't want him to go mad... like Gloriana's mother. Holy crap I feel bad about that.
>>
>>3162319
>Tell him about history and Law, and your birthright.
>>
>>3162319
>Sit down and tell him about Law.
we can tell him that much as a freebie, and so he doesn't end up as a tree the next day.

>Can you show me how you fight?
take that in exchange. Who knows, maybe some Lower Realm techs might be useful. It'll certainly be unexpected in duels.

>Figure out what we'll negotiate for, first.
I'm guessing some manner of "receive platinum coins" or "vouch for this man's honesty". "let him show you just how bad the dark lord is" might be pushing it, though.
>>
Vote called and writing.
>>
Wait no, this is a tie. Nevermind. Vote is reopened.
>>
>>3162417
3 for law
3 for history
1 birth right
1 fight
1 negotiation

So either law or history. Or both
>>
>>3162421
Oh missed one
1 tour
>>
>>3162421
I'd say just do both. They aren't mutually exclusive and more exposition can't hurt.

I relate to this guy.
>>
Fair enough. I can just do both. Vote called.
>>
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Sorry guys, my first shift back at work starts real soon. This is going to have to sit for a few hours. My bad.
>>
I came home from work quite a few hours ago but I am very tired and this post is long. Soon.
>>
>Sit down and tell him about Law.
>”What do you know about our history?”

“Then help me.”

It’s true, you have no reason to help him. But you can’t help but feel bad for him. And if you just let him walk off after the duel into whatever problem he’s bound to run into next without telling him anything, won’t it be your fault? You became a public defender to help people and even if this is out of that duty, it doesn’t change who you want to be.
“Okay, I suppose I can spare some time. I’m not going to take you on any tours or anything though. But...hrm, where to begin?”

“How about whatever I’m getting wrong?”

“That doesn’t narrow it down as much as it should. I think...there’s just been a gap of understanding here. I don’t know what they say about us down there but it’s almost certainly wrong. What do you know about the Law?”

“What law? You mean like a royal decree? Or something for watchmen to uphold?”

You bury your face in your hands.
“Well you see...It’s a bit....where do I start? Firstly, let’s drop this ‘fae’ thing. I’m still not sure what it means but we’re all people here. I’m just as human as you. And don’t tell me I’m magic ‘cause I don’t know what that is either.”

“When you took my scarf and learned to speak. That was magic.”

You shrug.
“What does it even mean? Is it magic when I reach out and pick something up? Or use my feet to walk around? Or when I cut something open with my sabre? There’s no difference between those acts and what I did. Now listen up. The City wasn’t always here. This place was, this plateau, the source and terminus of all rivers. But before us, there was nothing here but water and Truth. They say that once upon a time, people used to dream of it, a flat expanse of water beneath the Noumenon.”
You think back to Lorrin’s story about the raven.
“I guess people still do. We are drawn to the unseen. And that’s where the Founders come in. They were seeking the Font.”

“...What is the Font?”

“I don’t know! It’s not something you can sense, I think. You just have to know that it’s there. It’s a...thing. Something not defined by perception. That’s why it’s the Noumenon and not the Phenomenon.”

“What are you talking about? Nothing is defined by perception.”

1/3
>>
>>3163450
You raise an eyebrow. This is all basic stuff here, philosophy that any City kid knows as a fact of life. But how to explain it?
“On the contrary, Lorrin. It is known that the only thing we can know is our perception. Certainly the idea of the world existing exactly as we see it seems to make sense but we know that’s wrong. Otherwise everyone would always see the same thing. The fact of the matter is….the world around us exists…probably...but we can never know the truth of any of it. Take this scarf I have, for example. All you can know about is what you sense of it. But all of those senses can be subjective or altered, the actual thing of the scarf is forever beyond the both of us. We are all pools of ego, separated from the world and each other by an impassable void. So yes, the world probably exists but we can never actually experience it, we can only know the representation of things in the world as they are placed into our heads by our senses. This is phenomenon. But the phenomenon of a thing is not the same as the noumenon of a thing. And all things have qualities that are both phenomenal and noumenal. Is this making sense to you?”

“Vaguely.”
You hope he’s not saying that because of your curse.

“Good. It’s like meeting another person. Barring certain circumstances, you can’t truly know them. All you can know is the representation of that person living inside your head. But anyway, the Founders were in search for the Noumenon.”

“So to the fae, the world is just an illusion.”

“No! Well, whatever. The Noumenon is a thing that is itself and nothing else. It doesn’t have a representation because it can only be itself. It’s...I dunno, up there,” you say, making a waving motion at the sky up past the ceiling. “It is the Truth, the invisible sun. I don’t really know the theory but all the world is just radiating from it. Emanations and all that. We are close to it and sometimes, if I aWake, we can be even closer. That’s what the Founders were seeking and instead they found the furthest edge of the world. They were learned men and they were running from kings. With their knowledge, and a lot of doves, they came to physically step among a place people normally only dream. And here, where all things are possible, they knew that they and others could be safe. That a City could be founded away from the grasp of kings and other greedy men. It was founded on the principles of libertas for all who would become its citizens and has always held scholarship, art and law above all other pursuits.”

“And then they built this place? What ground is there to build on?”

2/4
>>
>>3163453
“Why would you need to build on ground? The foundations of the City are nothing but water. It’s water all the way down you know. And the first part of the City wasn’t built. No, they understood how things worked. Instead of building a City, they wrote one. The founding document described the City and its bounds, its first laws and its guiding principles. And so, Aquitae Cogituum rose from the water.”

“Then all this, in its entirety, is a ritual?”

“Eh?”

“Magic.”

“Things don’t just flow one way. If a city can move someone’s heart to make someone write of it, thus bringing forth writing, can’t it work in reverse? Can’t writing bring forth what is written? I have never seen the founding scrolls but I’ve been told that it was all so detailed, so thoroughly described, so already intricate with laws, that just the suggestion of it alone was so real that reality had to take notes. And so it has always continued. Ever since that first moment, the City has been self-defined. How the City records itself is itself because it is, and always will be, a written thing. Law literally defines us so we have to be careful with it and keep it at arms-length. So do you get it now? This isn’t some whimsical place you can just traipse around and expect to go well. This is a place of absolutes and none of those absolutes care if you’re ignorant of them. And you really don’t want to wind up in front of High Court!”

“So how does this relate to duelling?”

“Alright. That law I just described now, the stuff that defines us all, that’s High Law. That’s lawyer stuff, like it being forbidden for citizens to sink in public waterways. What it says it goes. From what I understand it’s mostly a lot of paperwork. But like I said, the freedom of citizens is sort of important so they don’t actually make law restricting people’s thoughts and actions. So things like murder and theft and all that is Street Law, which is handled by the constabulary. And...well fuck it, look. The High Court has neither the time nor the inclination to handle accusations and slander from one peer to another so that’s all been delegated to Sword Law. Which means I have to swing a sword at another person and that decides your fate. There’s a bigger and better explanation but I don’t fucking care anymore.”
You’re sick of fucking talking. Your throat hurts and the barbarian doesn’t look like he really understands more coming out of this than he did going in. What’s more, the wave of enthusiastic indignation that you’d been riding atop of ever since you saw the booklet has dipped into a more quiet anger, leaving you just feeling tired. Why does any of this matter?
“I should have taken you on a fucking tour or something,” you mutter. “Anything better than just sitting in tiny little room and talk at you about stuff you don’t understand.”

3/4
>>
>>3163455
“No,” he says, surprising you. “I think I do understand. So why is it that I cannot fight on my own behalf?”

“It’s complicated. Weird shit happens in the duel, it’d break your brain. Just take my word for it.”

“Could you at least explain it?”

You give him a reproachful look.


>”You know what, I’ll show you.”

>”No, I’m serious. You’ve held up well so far but the Wake is not for the likes of you.”

>”Just shut up and let me do the talking before you slander anyone else.”

>”So where’s your sword then?”

>Other (Specify)
>>
Infodumps are garbage and never good ideas by the way. I blame myself for this abortion of an update.
>>
>>3163457
I actually enjoyed it.

>”You know what, I’ll show you.”
Lets see if he breaks
>>
>>3163456
>Well first of all, you already named me. I'm not letting you turn this into a gigantic waste of time for me.
>Second, I probably can't get anything worthwhile out of you if you try it and break. Would you ask for payment from someone who drank himself unconscious?
>Third, we've wasted enough time and I'm not even sure what terms to negotiate for in the duel.
>>
>>3163456
>”No, I’m serious. You’ve held up well so far but the Wake is not for the likes of you.”
Not even every citizen can survive that, and we don't want to accidentally break our client's AT field.
>>
>>3163456
>"It involves getting closer to the Noumenom I mentioned before. To the point that you lose your own body. Still want to try? You might never come back."

>>3163457
I liked it.
>>
>>3163456
>"It involves getting closer to the Noumenom I mentioned before. To the point that you lose your own body. Still want to try? You might never come back."

Fuck it. If he is idiotic enough to follow through, no matter what we do, he will never survive the City
>>
Sorry guys, I keep falling asleep. Vote will remain open until tomorrow morning.
>>
>>3163456
>Because Waking to duel nearly always involves you skirting ego death. Self erasal. Imagine the normal issues foreigners have Time ten or even a hundred. That’d be what you deal with just to start the duel, then you have to face someone whose entire living is predicated on dueling and dueling well. And they do use “magic” in the fight.
>>
>>3163456
>>”No, I’m serious. You’ve held up well so far but the Wake is not for the likes of you.”
>>
Actually OP, I'd like to know, what are the legal ramifications of showing a foreigner like this the Wake assuming he doesn't survive it? Would we be liable for his death? Would the city care since he is not a citizen? If he is forever mind fucked but still alive are we responsible for that?
>>
>>3163517
Sounds good.
>>
>>3163587
We ain't going to go for it anyways, the way things are voted for.
>>
>>3163456
>>”No, I’m serious. You’ve held up well so far but the Wake is not for the likes of you.”
You are my client, you have better more important to worry about. I will do my utmost to fight for you in the upcoming duel... but I can't help an idiot who has the self preservation instinct of a suicidal fruit fly.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>”No, I’m serious. You’ve held up well so far but the Wake is not for the likes of you.”

You shake your head. It had been tempting to suggest that you show him how it is but that wouldn’t be useful. It’d just be mean.
“No, I’m serious. You’ve held up well so far but the Wake is not for the likes of you.”

“The Wake?”

You sigh. Right, you hadn’t even mentioned that yet. Why are there so many things to explain?
“The Wake is like...another place. It’s not but that’s an easy explanation. It’s when the City is watching you. And to see it is to invite ego death. I guess you could say that it’s to the City how the City is to the Lesser Realms. It’s a higher phenomenon.”

“I don’t think I quite understand.”

“That’s fair. I didn’t really understand until my first time either. It’s not a place you can describe and expect others to get. You have to see it for yourself but in your case, seeing it would probably smear your identity into a thin paste sooooo you’re just going to have to take my word for it. Now-”

You are interrupted from further exposition by a knock on the door and you have to scramble out of the way as it swings open without waiting for a further response. The tiny room grows ever more crowded as a man who can only be your opponent stands in the doorway.
He’s not the most striking or exciting looking of men, shorter than Lorrin and barely a fraction of an inch taller than you. He’s covered in a long black cloak but it’s not even an exciting or glamorous black, it’s just dusty. What can you see of his clothes beneath it is the same, the only colour a tasselled belt of red cord from which his sword and scabbard hang. Both the sheath and the protruding handle are simple, undecorated wood.
“Is this Lorrin, the foreigner?”

“Right,” you say, struggling to speak in the proper language again. “My name is Sofia Pseudonym. I’m his defender.”

He looks you in the eye with dark blue eyes, the same shade of blue that you imagine you might see if you drowned in a canal. If there is a spark of life to be found, it is somewhere else.
“Yes, I’ve heard of you.”
You can’t help but cringe a little.
“My name is Marzio Pesce, representing Signore Vittorino Traverso.”

Despite his unassuming appearance, he must be a real professional. Else why would he have been hired?
“So how are we going to do this?”

“My client has dictated the following terms to me,” he says, ignoring your question. “The foreigner is to publicly apologize and recant all of his words. After which he must pay a sum, to be determined later, to recompense for any damage his words may have caused my client’s professional reputation.”

“Are you kidding me? For slander?”

1/2
>>
>>3164215

“As I’m sure you’re aware, a merchant’s repute is his life.”

“My client likely doesn’t have the money for this.”

“Any further debt can be cleared through indentured work or, if he would prefer, an appointment with the High Court.”

“Well, if that’s what he’s chosen to go with, then I’ll dictate my own terms in return right now. When I win….”


>”...your client must pay a sum, to be determined later, that will cover all possible physical, mental and emotional harm that this delay in his trip has caused my client. He is a foreigner after all, the City is not for him.”

>”...your client must publicly apologise to the people of, well, I forget their name but the ‘country’ that my client hails from.”

>”...your client must submit his outgoing trade license to a High Court review due to unprofessional conduct with foreigners!”

>”...your client must aid my client in his efforts to gain an appointment with the Electors!”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3164220
>>>”...your client must aid my client in his efforts to gain an appointment with the Electors!”
>>
>>3164220
>"elector appointment"

It's actually what our client would want for once.
>>
>>3164220
>”...your client must pay a sum, to be determined later, that will cover all possible physical, mental and emotional harm that this delay in his trip has caused my client. He is a foreigner after all, the City is not for him.”
>>
>>3164220
>>”...your client must aid my client in his efforts to gain an appointment with the Electors!”
>>
>>3164220
>>”...your client must aid my client in his efforts to gain an appointment with the Electors!”
Oh god, I know this is what he wants but it's terrible. You just know he's going to screw up somehow if he does manage to meet one. Let's hope the electors will just kick him out of the city after listening to his spiel for a few minutes
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
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>”...your client must aid my client in his efforts to gain an appointment with the Electors!”

“Then your client must aid my client in his efforts to gain an appointment with the Electors.”
It’s what Lorrin wants, though you doubt he’s following your fast-paced conversation in a language he only somewhat grasps. It’s probably not the best terms. Is it really kindness to help him on a quest that will likely only end in despair?

“Your terms are acceptable,” Marzio says. “Now, if you will, the time and place?”

“If you insist!”

“I do not insist. It is your right as the defence to specify the preceding.”

“Right. You’re a fun guy.”


>”Right now!”

>In a few hours. That will give some time to prepare.

>Tonight. That will give you a lot of time to prepare.

>Tomorrow. You should have plenty of time to do whatever you want then.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3164296
>>Tomorrow. You should have plenty of time to do whatever you want then.
>>
>>3164296
>>Tonight. That will give you a lot of time to prepare.
>>
>>3164296
>Tomorrow. You should have plenty of time to do whatever you want then.
>>
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I've got something on today so this is going to have to sit here for a while. Vote will remain open until I return.
>>
>>3164296
>>Tomorrow. You should have plenty of time to do whatever you want then.

I have to admit, I have reservations about this guy meeting an elector. It may have been a better kindness to have just encouraged him to bail from the City and avoid legal repercussions. Or bluntly telling him outright his quest was pointless and use our Tyrant Power to get him the very next merchant train out of the city.
If we lose, I expect he'll go insane from being in the City for too long.
>>
>>3164296
>>”Right now!”
I'd want to wait, go challenge the interviewer to a duel, but now is better because our client is in the middle of going nuts/dying.
We might want our knight to pay us now, though, with a skill we can use in this duel.
>>
>>3164296
Tonight.
>>
>>3164296
>in a few hours

>>3164334
He should be fine as long as he chills in this room. He seemed to take to our explanation pretty well.
>>
>>3164296

>Tomorrow
>>
>>3163991
That doesn't stop me from being curious homie

>>3164296
>Tomorrow. You should have plenty of time to do whatever you want then.

As always when we rush into a duel blind we end up getting fucked. Taking time to research this guy properly is the smart move
>>
>>3164296
>Tomorrow. You should have plenty of time to do whatever you want then.
>>
>>3160263
>Lorrin, your client, stands before you. He’s pale and dark-haired, his hair cut short close to his scalp in a style wholly unfamiliar to you. He’s clean-shaven as well, leaving his angular face to be defined by the three scars running up his cheek and across his nubby wreck of a nose.
>He’s over six feet tall but not quite as tall as your godmother and you could say that he’s pretty well built. It’d be like saying that the canals are wet. Technically true but not really a statement in need of saying, you know? His threadbare black tunic clings to the contours of his chest, tracing the musculature with loving detail. It’s probably because he’s sopping wet.
Why is everyone so hot? Is Sophia just that thirsty?
>>
>>3165233
Sophia is thirstier than even the average 4channer.
>>
>>3165263

Sophia has never had a confirmed genuine human contact in her life.

This paradoxically makes her both thirsty as fuck, and entirely unable to drop her guard to enjoy someone's company.

So she's fundamentally emotionally starved as fuck.
>>
Alright I'm back. Vote called and writing!
>>
>Tomorrow. You should have plenty of time to do whatever you want then.

You stop to think for a moment. How much time are you going to need to prepare? You’re usually fine with just a few hours but alas, life doesn’t just stop happening because you’ve got a duel on. Things keep happening and will probably always continue to happen and there’s nothing you can do about it. And because of that, it means you’ve got the issues with Maccio, this stupid fucking booklet deal, a foreigner wandering around with a head full of rocks and you haven’t even seen Adriana for a few days either!

And yes, you do have to do some preparation for this duel. You can’t afford to skimp on that because it’s not your ass that’s on the line. Even if you think ill of Lorrin’s plan, you still have to do your best to fight for him.

“How about this time tomorrow?”

Your counterpart nods.
“Acceptable. And where?”

“Just the canal outside should be fine.”
Marzio turns and leaves without another word. You sigh and look back to your client.
“Alright. You just stay here, alright? Don’t go making any trouble. It’ll all be settled by tomorrow.”

You’ve got a day. What are you going to do with that time first?


>Preparing for your opponent.

>Visiting someone you know.

>Lorrin needs someone to make sure he knows the ropes so he doesn’t do anything stupid.

>Settling things with this Signore Remo.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3165309
>Preparing for your opponent.
>Lorrin needs someone to make sure he knows the ropes so he doesn’t do anything stupid.

>He can pay and watch the fountains with us.
>>
>>3165309
>>Lorrin needs someone to make sure he knows the ropes so he doesn’t do anything stupid.
we can show him a duel at the fountain, right? I think seeing the duelists as color vomits will go a long way to discouraging him.

And while we're at it, we can get a read on his moveset.
>>
>>3165309
>Preparing for your opponent.
>Lorrin needs someone to make sure he knows the ropes so he doesn’t do anything stupid.
>>
>>3165314
Supporting.
>>
>>3165309
>>Settling things with this Signore Remo.
Because it's what I want to do most. I don't mind if Lorrin gets into trouble, I like him and want more plot with him.
We should also try to do something with Adriana. I don't like her, but we had this whole romantic tourettes attack with her last thread.
>>
>>3165309
>Complain to Maccio and get him to settle things with Remo
>Prepare for the fight meanwhile.
>Show Lorrin a duel at the fointain
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Preparing for your opponent.
>Lorrin needs someone to make sure he knows the ropes so he doesn’t do anything stupid.

Lorrin frowns.
“I would prefer not to stay in this place all day. Is there any possibility I can come with you?”

“I’m going to be busy and- well, I suppose that’s not a bad idea. You’ll probably wander off anyway so it’d be better if you did so with me. But just promise me something, alright?”

“Gladly.”
What else can he say to you?

“Don’t eat anything given to you. Don’t drink anything given to you. You’ve lasted this long but let’s not take chances. Maybe it’s just a late reaction. Maybe you’ll find something that makes you want to stay forever and friend, you are not suited for that.”

“And this place isn’t fae?”

You shrug.
“You know what? Think what you like. But I’m going to take you sightseeing.”

“Where are we going?”


>”To a very special fountain.”

>”To meet an old mentor of mine.”

>”To a certain special bar.”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3165375
>>”To a very special fountain.”
>>
>>3165375
>>”To meet an old mentor of mine.”
>>
>>3165375
>”To a very special fountain.”
We can hit the bar later, if we want.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>”To a very special fountain.”

“To a very special fountain. It’s got something I need to prepare for the upcoming duel. I think it’s something you’d be interested in seeing too.”

“I’ve noticed that this city has a lot of fountains,” Lorrin says, master of the understatement. “What are they for?”

“Just about everything. Some of them, as far as I can tell, don’t do anything but a lot have a function. Just put a coin and wow! You get something out of it.”

“So a wishing well?”

“I don’t quite know that term but not...not really. People say that there’s a fountain out there somewhere that really does grant wishes but nobody can agree which one it is. If it actually worked people would have figured it out now.”

“What makes the fountains so special?”

“Because they’re fountains? Do they not do this in the Lesser Realms?”

“No. People say they do but as far I’ve known, they never actually do.”

“Maybe those stories came from here. And I’ve never really thought that much about they why of fountains. I guess water is important.”

“And this fountain will make you prepared? Does drinking from it give you knowledge?”

“Of a sort.”

******

You derive a certain pleasure from watching Lorrin’s jaw drop as he gazes up at the Court of Swords. You’re willing to guess that he hasn’t seen many fountains the size of a city block before and taller than all the buildings around it.
You find a spot without too many people and sit down on the edge of the lower basin, you and Lorin reflected in the waterfall ringing the Court’s inner layer.
“This is the Court of Swords.”

“A fairy court…”
You decide to let this one pass.

“The City sees all duels and the Court is a function of that. I can learn as much about dear Marzio as I have time.”

“Do you drink the water?”

“You can. Don’t though, that might make you mad. Or at the very least, it’ll probably make you high.”

“High? As in, far up?”

“Oh sorry, that’s a local term. I forgot which language we were speaking. Don’t worry about it. Here, watch this.”
You flip a coin into the water.

“All these fountains are full of coins. What stops someone from taking them out?”

“What, grab something through the water? That’s absurd. And even if you did, it wouldn’t end well. The coins here have only one fate: to be forged into duelling sabres.”

“Really? A sword from gold, silver, tin, copper, miscellaneous runoff? It would not be very good sword.”

“It would be only the best. It seems you still don’t get how things work around here, Lorrin. Metal is metal. Now if you don’t mind, I have a reflection to watch. You may watch too.”

1/2
>>
>>3165411

Your only limit to how much you can learn about your opponent is how long you are willing to spend studying the Court. And this is the most time you’ve ever had before a duel. Hopefully Lorrin can stay patient throughout.


>Keep it quick. You’ve other things you want to do, just a few important details will be enough (Learn one facet of his fighting style)

>Put in the hours watching and analysing. It’s not the same as meeting him blade to blade but sight alone can uncover all eventually. (Learn most facets of his fighting style).

>You will stay here until nightfall and if need be, you will bottle some to learn more while you sleep. (Know the full capacity of your foe.)
>>
>>3165413
>You will stay here until nightfall and if need be, you will bottle some to learn more while you sleep. (Know the full capacity of your foe.)
I think defeating this guy will do more for our reputation than complaining about that booklet. It's probably late to recall it anyway.
>>
>>3165413
>>Put in the hours watching and analysing. It’s not the same as meeting him blade to blade but sight alone can uncover all eventually. (Learn most facets of his fighting style).
getting Lorrin's take on this might actually be helpful. He might suggest more moves of the Crushing Grip sort.
>>
>>3165413
>>Keep it quick. You’ve other things you want to do, just a few important details will be enough (Learn one facet of his fighting style)
>Ask for Lorrin's thoughts.
>Hurry off to the La Ressagna Mensile office. You've got a complaint to make!
>>
>>3165413

> Until nightfall
>>
>>3159609
>You watch for a few minutes more, dumfounded, as she sneaks a coy glance back and forth before pushing her already-open shirt just a few more inches to the side to expose a nipple.
>What the fuck? This is agonizing, a humiliation you hadn’t dreamed was possible.
>This is you. This is what Sofia Pseudonym will soon represent in the eyes of the people. You’ve been entirely replaced by the unreal.

This isn't the internet. We still have time to stop this. We don't have time to spend all day at the fountain.
>>
>>3165413
>>Put in the hours watching and analysing. It’s not the same as meeting him blade to blade but sight alone can uncover all eventually. (Learn most facets of his fighting style).
>>
Ugh. Now we have to figure out an in-character reason for Sophia to not go storming over to the magazine to challenge them to an honor duel. We could have made them stop the presses. We could have forced them to stop distributing the booklet that stole our dignity. What possible reason could Sophia have for not trying to stop it?
>>
>>3165466
We can do that whenever. The damage is done, the booklets are out there and we need to study for a duel. She is probably still seething but can't ignore the fool who is in need. After all, this is the whole reason she became a public defender.

We can demand an honour duel after we finish this one
>>
>>3165481
>The damage is done, the booklets are out there
No, they're not. They're still being printed, this isn't the age of instantaneous propagation. We spent an hour talking to this guy, there's still time to stop the presses. We can grab a bottle of water and leave.
>>
>>3165486
I don't mean there are no booklets out there, I mean that they're not finished printing yet.
>>
>>3165486
I mean they literally are. Maybe not all of them yet but it seems like a large portion has already been distributed and it turns out they're more popular than we realised. It sucks, and we'll make up for it with a duel and our curse but we have more pressing things to attend to
>>
>>3165486
It's a morning journal, it's been printed at night and already delivered to the distributors
>>
>>3165491
Is it impossible to have them recall the booklets from the distributors?
>>
>>3165500
Consider that as we are the one making the challenge, the defender is able to set the time of the duel. They have absolutely no incentive to be quick about it and we can't demand a recall until we win the duel
>>
>>3165413
till nightfall

Afterwards, we will bring the guy to Gloriana. She is the best person to help him.
>>
Alright now that the tie has finally broken, vote called and writing.
>>
>>3165517
How exactly would she help him?
Consider that Gloriana only knows about the Lower Realms from her mother's tales. She also doesn't care for them from what I could gather; she just hates the City for depriving her of her mother.
>>
>>3165530
Well,could at least advice him of ways to cope with the city, as well as letting him crash in her couch, more precisely her mother´s room. Also, I need no reasons for more Gloriana
>>
>>3165546
Seems weird to involve her in this for no reason. Seems a little unprofessional as well
>>
>You will stay here until nightfall and if need be, you will bottle some to learn more while you sleep. (Know the full capacity of your foe.)

You can’t afford to let yourself worry about yourself. Not even about those accursed booklets. For as bas as they are, you have a duty to your client! You have to protect them! You have to win! And, though it pains you to admit it, it’s easy to throw yourself into your analysis, watching duel after duel, just to avoid thinking about what’s going on with you.

And so watch you do and while Lorrin is initially enraptured by the moving reflections displaying the duels of Marzio Pesce, he loses interest after the first hour. But you don’t and you keep hold of his hand to stop him wandering off as you would to a child.

But as for Marzio himself, the first thing you learn is that his surname is way too apt. Though he doesn’t display the insignia, he’s a Ring member. The Fisherman’s Ring, specifically. But as far as you can tell, he doesn’t make use of his Ring’s terrain. Instead he uses other Techniques of their style, all focussed along baiting the opponent, giving them enough rope to hang themselves and then reeling them in.
You watch his duels over and over as the hours slip past, eventually learning his techniques as if you’d faced them yourself.

It’s a strange fighting style, aberrant even for the rest of his Ring. But you’ll have to respect it if you want to beat him.

>Drowning Doubt: [ABILITY] Whenever an opponent has more than 4 dice of single type in their technique pool, siphon those dice to your Strike pool.

>Still Waters[STANCE]: When an opponent attempts a Strike, ignore all dice equal to or lower than the lowest value dice in your Composure pool; these dice remain in the opponent's strike pool. This stance is broken when the opponent makes no strikes in a queue.

>Abyssal Tooth: [STRIKE] Siphon all of the lowest value dice in your technique pool to your strike pool. Raise the value of one of the lowest value dice in your strike pool by 2 sides. Roll the lowest value dice in your strike pool.

>Scent of Blood: [FLOURISH] Add dice to your technique pool equal to the number and value of the lowest dice in your opponent's technique pool.

>Drag Down: [STRIKE] Siphon no dice. Tally the number of dice in your strike pool and deal that much damage.

>Lay Bait [Trick]: Add two dice equal to your lowest value composure dice to your opponent’s technique Pool. At the end of the turn, if your opponent selected a Strike this round, add two dice of equal value to your own Technique Pool.

>Taunt: [TRICK]Move the lowest valued dice from your opponent’s Composure Pool into their Technique Pool.

1/2
>>
>>3165548

You can already see a few nasty things to watch out for! He might be slow to get going but when he does get going, he is inexorable. Opponents who lose their nerve never have the chance to regain it again as they are battered over and over by attacks that never lose strength or falter.

But you will be ready.

*****

Night has fallen. Lorrin is sitting beside you, his eyes closed and his hands folded as if he is warding the rest of the City away from him. Several times now you’ve had to motion away an urchin from approaching him, sending the little vortices of citystuff careening off in wild directions.

As you have been doing this, the world has continued to turn. Situations have unfolded. Certain things, such as ever retracting the booklet, might have slipped beyond your grasp. But you don’t want to think about that. You want to think about duelling, pure and plain and simple.

“Get up Lorrin, I’m done.”

“That took a while. Where are we off to now?”


>Introduce him to someone you know.

>Take him back to the almshouse. You want to get some sleep.

>The almshouse isn’t right for him. He can stay at your place for the night.

>Try to track down Remo. Where would he be at this time of night?

>Fuck it, you’re not going to get anything done now. Let’s go drinking!

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3165547
I already explained my reasoning. She might be the person who we know which has been closest to her situation. Also, why unprofessional? We will figh the duel ourselves. Helping out the client outside of that is just a kindness we offer.
>>
>>3165550
>The almshouse isn’t right for him. He can stay at your place for the night.
Gloriana is an option, but we don't know where her house is and asking the mafia doesn't sound like a good idea.
>>
I have to sleep now. Vote will remain open until the session resumes in the morning!
>>
>>3165548

>Drowning Doubt: [ABILITY] Whenever an opponent has more than 4 dice of single type in their technique pool, siphon those dice to your Strike pool.
We'll have to go easy on Elegance.

>Scent of Blood: [FLOURISH] Add dice to your technique pool equal to the number and value of the lowest dice in your opponent's technique pool.
His only Tech-gen. Provides a lot of small dice

>Still Waters[STANCE]: When an opponent attempts a Strike, ignore all dice equal to or lower than the lowest value dice in your Composure pool; these dice remain in the opponent's strike pool. This stance is broken when the opponent makes no strikes in a queue.
Will interfere with striking after using Crushing Grip. He's likely to use this stance as a defence after we acquire some Tech, and to prevent us from removing the dice he could use for Drowning Doubt and Scent of Blood. Makes him tougher the more Comp he loses, so he should be defeated by a single strike if possible.

>Abyssal Tooth: [STRIKE] Siphon all of the lowest value dice in your technique pool to your strike pool. Raise the value of one of the lowest value dice in your strike pool by 2 sides. Roll the lowest value dice in your strike pool.
Slowly accumulates bigger dice in the Strike pool, or increases them, depending on what dice he has in Tech

>Drag Down: [STRIKE] Siphon no dice. Tally the number of dice in your strike pool and deal that much damage.
A weird strike that seems too weak. Unless not rolling the Strike dice means they remain in the pool, in which case it's pretty insidious.

>Taunt: [TRICK]Move the lowest valued dice from your opponent’s Composure Pool into their Technique Pool.
Better than Professional Provocateur since it always targets Composure. Synergizes with Drowning Doubt and Scent of Blood.

All in all this guy should be vulnerable to Flashing Steel to clean up his Strike pool. Counting Coup is good here because it provides different dice. Elegance is not very good since it always gives a d4. Professional Provocateur shouldn't be used, as it improves Still Waters (unless we commit to using PP to remove ALL his Comp).
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>>3165550
>>The almshouse isn’t right for him. He can stay at your place for the night.
No funny business.

>>3165548
I like this Technique list. I don't understand it yet, but I like it.
>>
>>3165550
>The almshouse isn’t right for him. He can stay at your place for the night.
>>
>>3165568
Also note Marzio has only 5 Techniques. Could it mean he has a secret 6th one that he never used? Or is it his Ring tech?
>>
>>3165568
Additionally:
Crushing Grip would be not effective since he generates several Tech dice at a time. Underhanded Deflection should be very effective since those dice are generally small.
Anti-Tech abilities won't be to strong in general because he has ways to strike with empty Tech pool.
>>
>>3165550
>>Introduce him to someone you know.
>>
>>3165576
What about using our Test your luck ability to reroll an eventual d10 from counting coup? That way, we would have already decided:

-Test your luck
-Underhanded
-Flashing Steel
-Counting Coup

Since he generates small dice, what about Undefeatable Rookie?
>>
We're a good match for him, I want to keep Brute Strike up our sleeve. It would allow us to use Flashing Steel as well, keeping the pools separate.
Elegance can be kept in conjuction with Skin Unthorned. In fact, it should be kept, since it ensures that the lowest value Tech die we have will always be d4s.
>>
>>3165594
Regarding that, perhaps we don´t even need Flashing Steel. If we have a build that ensures he can only generate d4, we would have all the time in the wordl to accumulate a pool big enough to finish him in one swoop, with test your luck as a way to ensure we get a good roll on at least one of the dices.

If grittet teeth moved the lowest value dice from our Technique Pool to our Strike pool, we could use that to counter his Taunt, which would leave us without d4s in our tech enabling him to use.

Shit, just read Abyssal Tooth. We cannot lock him into place.
>>
>>3165568
>>3165576
>>3165587
>Abyssal Tooth: [STRIKE] Siphon all of the lowest value dice in your technique pool to your strike pool. Raise the value of one of the lowest value dice in your strike pool by 2 sides. Roll the lowest value dice in your strike pool.
>Drag Down: [STRIKE] Siphon no dice. Tally the number of dice in your strike pool and deal that much damage.
He can only roll one die at a time period. All our stances are effectively useless.

Circle Guard is only effective against Abyssal Tooth. Preventing the Strike pool from gaining dice completely sounds like a very tricky strategy.

Brute Strike can potentially be used against Still Waters to collect dice in our Strike Pool that are immune to Drowning Doubt. It leaves us very vulnerable, but the moment we break Still Waters he's a dead man. Wow, Brute Strike and Maccio's Ability would fucking wreck him.

I think we can safely remove Elegance from our loadout.

Drag Down can be used to precisely Rattle. Be Concerned.

Overall I think we've got a good shot at winning, but our main winning strategies will have very poor dice efficiency. If he had Focused Blow we'd be screwed.
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>>3165613
Elegance still has use, as when we lose comp dice it power scales up.
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>>3165606
>Shit, just read Abyssal Tooth. We cannot lock him into place.
And Drag Down would have killed our Stance eventually.

>>3165613
>He can only roll one die at a time period. All our stances are effectively useless.
Dammit.
>Skin Unthorned: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, any Strike pool targeting you cannot roll d4s. They remain in the Strike Pool unrolled. Can only be active while you have a d6 in your Composure Pool.
Even Flashing Steel would be hard to get past Still Waters. Not that hard, since two CCs could get it done, but it would still be a risk.
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>>3165624
Yes, and also give him d4s by the truckload.
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>>3165613
>He can only roll one die at a time period
Not true. He rolls all his lowest dice except one.
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>>3165638
Ooooooh!

Still dangerous, since he might roll a d6 or turn it into a d8, but ooooh.
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>>3165626
Yeah so we'll need to be careful. As with elegance in general.
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>>3165648
Or we drop it for this fight and use a smarter load out rather than help our opponent crush us
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>>3165651
if our dice econ is shit, we'll lose anyways.
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>>3165606
Gritted Teeth moves the highest die.

>>3165613
>>3165625
It should be noted that Marzio's only source of dice is our own Tech. But since Scent of Blood doesn't destroy our Tech, he can copy the same dice over and over again.

It should also be noted that Still Waters has a critical vulnerability: as a Stance, it's slower than a Strike, so if we spend a queue not striking, then strike as the first action, we are guaranteed to ignore it. He has nothing to counter a Strike even if he knows it is coming.

Based on this, I propose the following plan:
>Gather some Tech (maybe CCx3. This will give him at most 3d4 in Tech, no chance to break our Comp)
>Strike to break some of his comp and make Still Waters better
>Start CC+FB to accumulate dice in our Strike pool (the better Still Waters are, the bigger dice we can accumulate)
>Break Still Waters as described above and win.
The problem is countering Taunt with Gritted Teeth and keeping our Tech as empty as possible. If we can limit our Tech to at most 1 die at any time, then we can destroy the dice he copies with Crushing Grip. Alternatively, we can keep a d4 in Tech then use Flashing Steel to destroy its copies with our larger dice.
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>>3165550

>The almshouse isn’t right for him. He can stay at your place for the night.
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>>3165668
Addendum: if he doesn't put up SW in the first queue (we probably can't break it in the same queue it was activated), CCx4+FB will murder him.
If he does, we go CCx4+FS and continue to accumulate dice.
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>>3165668
>It should be noted that Marzio's only source of dice is our own Tech.
>
>Lay Bait [Trick]: Add two dice equal to your lowest value composure dice to your opponent’s technique Pool. At the end of the turn, if your opponent selected a Strike this round, add two dice of equal value to your own Technique Pool.
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>>3165686
Holy crap, how did I miss this one.
This changes the dynamic a bit. Just accumulating dice with strikes is no longer as attractive.
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>>3165686
Still, this makes us more likely to break him with that strike, especially if his Comp is banged up a bit.
>>
File: Them rules.png (388 KB, 1366x768)
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ABILITIES

>Professional Provocateur: [ABILITY]At the end of each round, if you have successfully performed a Trick and have not lost any Composure dice, the single lowest die in your opponent’s Technique Pool is moved to their Strike Pool. If there are no dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool, the lowest die in their Composure Pool is moved to their Technique Pool instead.

>Test Your Luck: [ABILITY]You’re a pro at games of chance and other such swindles, no matter how well they’re performed. Once per thread you may either reroll a single dice or automatically succeed at a game of chance.


TECHNIQUES

>Brute Strike: [STRIKE]Siphon the lowest value dice from your Composure Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value die from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a die of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Unassailable Rookie: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, all dice that your opponent rolls out of their Strike Pool take a -1 penalty to their final result. Can only be active while you have a d4 in your Composure Pool.

>Underhanded Deflection: [TRICK]Lower the sides of all the dice currently in your opponent’s Technique pool by 1.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value die in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.

>Skin Unthorned: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, any Strike pool targeting you cannot roll d4s. They remain in the Strike Pool unrolled. Can only be active while you have a d6 in your Composure Pool.
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>>3165764

>Flashing Steel: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. Damage from this Technique is dealt first to your opponent’s Strike Pool, treating the dice within as if they were Composure dice for the purposes of destruction. The difference between the highest dice value in the Strike Pool and the damage rolled is then dealt to the Technique Pool in the same fashion. And if the damage continues to overflow, the remainder is inflicted upon the Composure Pool in the same way.

Fuck me in the ass, I cannot even fucking crop an image. We really should tr to make a pastebin out of this.

Does anyone else have issues with the captcha using Torbrower?
>>
I would rather have it all together, so there it goes

>Drowning Doubt: [ABILITY] Whenever an opponent has more than 4 dice of single type in their technique pool, siphon those dice to your Strike pool.

>Still Waters[STANCE]: When an opponent attempts a Strike, ignore all dice equal to or lower than the lowest value dice in your Composure pool; these dice remain in the opponent's strike pool. This stance is broken when the opponent makes no strikes in a queue.

>Abyssal Tooth: [STRIKE] Siphon all of the lowest value dice in your technique pool to your strike pool. Raise the value of one of the lowest value dice in your strike pool by 2 sides. Roll the lowest value dice in your strike pool.

>Scent of Blood: [FLOURISH] Add dice to your technique pool equal to the number and value of the lowest dice in your opponent's technique pool.

>Drag Down: [STRIKE] Siphon no dice. Tally the number of dice in your strike pool and deal that much damage.

>Lay Bait [Trick]: Add two dice equal to your lowest value composure dice to your opponent’s technique Pool. At the end of the turn, if your opponent selected a Strike this round, add two dice of equal value to your own Technique Pool.

>Taunt: [TRICK]Move the lowest valued dice from your opponent’s Composure Pool into their Technique Pool.
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>>3165780
>>3165764
>>3165770

Now that we have all of it gathered together we have to determine:

What is his game plan? What would be the optimal way to use this kit to defeat a duelist?

What are the GENERAL ways to defeat him? What general counters does this build struggle with?

What tecniques and abilities do we have to counter his build? what would be our general strategy during the duel? How do we pressure and react to him?

Now, the most important part. How, putting ourselves in the shoes of our oponent, cna we try to defeat us? After we determine that, we can get into the nitpicky stuff, making small changes to the strategy and loadout.
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>>3165799
If he's going to watch us lie we watched him? He'll expect us to elegance, a lot which can play into his style.

I am thinking
Tempered CC
UD
Cir Gau
FB
SU
and elegance
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>>3165825
I'd take at least Gritted Teeth to counter Taunt and Flashing Steel to clear his Strike.
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>>3165825
Fighting this guy without flashing steel is full retard anon.
>>
He's a patient fisherman, but if he wasn't, he could do Lay Bait x3 and Abyssal Tooth, hitting us with 4d4 immediately, assuming we're going CCx3 FB.

Good news, Flashing Steel is faster than Abyssal Tooth, it'll kill his d4s and d6 faster than he can use them. As fast as Drag Down, I don't know what Ouro will do about that.

I don't think knocking off his lowest Composure dice is good for us, any tech dice equal or lower than that level basically belong to him. I'd rather try to keep us all at the d4 stage. Which is one reason why I want to keep Elegance.

I want Elegance, Counting Coup, Skin Unthorned, Brute Strike, Focused Blow, Flashing Steel.

Crushing Grip does nothing fast enough, Rookie can be broken in three turns without even losing his dice, Underhanded does nothing against Drag Down, better to just use FS or SU.

Gritted Teeth could be very useful if we get stuck with a high lowest die and we think he'll take it with Scent of Blood, but Elegance defends against it. If we want to use the Counting Coup/Gritted Teeth combo, note that he builds faster than we do and can use it better.

Say he's at d10 Comp and just smashed us at the end of last round. He gives us 2d10, then another 2d10, then another 2d10, all of which we can't use because his Stance is still up. Then he's got 6d10 vs our d6 and d8 which we just stuffed into Composure, and a d6 isn't going to beat a d10 in Comp. He puts up his Stance again, uses Taunt and Drag Down over and over for the moment we stop CCing.

...This example got away from me, but basically he's already won if we're up to the CC+GT combo.
Which is why Elegance is better than Gritted Teeth.
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>>3165873
Why Brute Strike though?
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>>3165550
Take him back to the almshouse.
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>>3165912
I mean, my feel our only chance to win this is trying to put up forth as much dice as we can and later try to get a good hit going thanks to Test your luck. Maybe try to use Skin Unthorned to make his d4s shit. We are fucked if he doesn´t has a d4 as his lowest Composture though
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>>3165912
It bumps off his Stance, building up our Strike dice until the moment he's open. We're throwing d4s, d6. It allows us to Rattle him if necessary. Builds up Elegance. The dice we pile up in Strike can't be stolen. If we're desperate, we can toss a d10 or a d12 if we're really really desperate.

But yeah, using Brute Strike when he has Taunt is dangerous. Might just be better to go Elegance the whole way.
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>>3165841
Look at it the other way, he's got Taunt to counter our Gritted Teeth.
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>>3165873
>any tech dice equal or lower than that level basically belong to him
Nope. They go to Strike and stay there, where he can't touch them.
> He gives us 2d10, then another 2d10, then another 2d10, all of which we can't use because his Stance is still up.
See above. They don't remain in Tech, they are shunted to Strike. This is crucial.
Gritted Teeth is for using after he Taunts us, to put that tech die back.

>>3165935
With the difference that Taunt works fine on its own.
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>>3165934
The thing is, we are not piling up dice in the Strike cathegory. We are dropping the lowest dice from our Technique pool into basically nothing. Even worse, it will count as a Strike, triggering Lay bait and renovating and/or geting negated by Still Water
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>>3165873
>Lay Bait x3 and Abyssal Tooth, hitting us with 4d4 immediately
Lay Bait doesn't work like that. He'll need to insert Scent of Blood first.
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>>3165934

A question. If we manage to Rattle him, would the effect continue during the whole duel?
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>>3165959
>The thing is, we are not piling up dice in the Strike cathegory. We are dropping the lowest dice from our Technique pool into basically nothing
You'll have to explain this to me, anon.
Still Water can be reliably negated to take advantage of all the dice we have accumulated in Strike.

>>3165962
Rattle only affects the current queue
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>>3165964
After Brute Strike, dice are rolled into damage. They won´t accumulate. We have no way to keep a dice from keeping a dice get rolled inmediately once is put on the Strike pool
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>>3165981
>Brute Strike: [STRIKE]Siphon the lowest value dice from your Composure Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Still Waters[STANCE]: When an opponent attempts a Strike, ignore all dice equal to or lower than the lowest value dice in your Composure pool; these dice remain in the opponent's strike pool. This stance is broken when the opponent makes no strikes in a queue.

As you can see, the dice that are countered by Still Water remain in the Strike pool, and the dice from Brute Strike aren't an exception.

I think Brute Strike is too risky though. With Lay Bait he can game it.
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>>3165780

>Still Waters[STANCE]: When an opponent attempts a Strike, ignore all dice equal to or lower than the lowest value dice in your Composure pool; these dice remain in the opponent's strike pool. This stance is broken when the opponent makes no strikes in a queue.

Remember that Stances are last on the priority. So long as we use a Strike in the first action of our queue, there's nothing to fear from this Stance.

>Drowning Doubt: [ABILITY] Whenever an opponent has more than 4 dice of single type in their technique pool, siphon those dice to your Strike pool.

>Abyssal Tooth: [STRIKE] Siphon all of the lowest value dice in your technique pool to your strike pool. Raise the value of one of the lowest value dice in your strike pool by 2 sides. Roll the lowest value dice in your strike pool.

>Scent of Blood: [FLOURISH] Add dice to your technique pool equal to the number and value of the lowest dice in your opponent's technique pool.

>Drag Down: [STRIKE] Siphon no dice. Tally the number of dice in your strike pool and deal that much damage.

>Lay Bait [Trick]: Add two dice equal to your lowest value composure dice to your opponent’s technique Pool. At the end of the turn, if your opponent selected a Strike this round, add two dice of equal value to your own Technique Pool.

>Taunt: [TRICK]Move the lowest valued dice from your opponent’s Composure Pool into their Technique Pool.

These Techniques, combined with his Drowning Doubt Ability, are the main threat from him. He can do Lay Bait twice and even if we haven't used a Strike or generated any tech dice of our own he's gonna proc his ability anyways and give himself 4 dice for it. Between that, Scent of Blood getting stronger the more d4's we have, and Taunt which'll pull our d4's first, Elegance is an extremely bad pick for this duel. As for Skin Unthorned, all he needs is 7d4 in his Tech Pool and he'll be two actions, Abyssal Tooth + Drag Down, away from a Rattle and a Broken Stance.

Personally, Counting Coup is going to be our best bet for this. He's likely to have d6's as his lowest Comp Dice, I'm guessing 'cause Ouro's emphasised the fact that he's a pro more than once this thread, but because of what I've mentioned under Still Waters, we don't actually have to care about this so long as we open a queue with a Strike as he won't have priority even if he opens with the Stance.

For this duel, I say we go with:
> TYL(A)
> FB(S)
> CC(F)
> GT(T)
> CG(S)
> CG(T)
> FS(S)
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>>3165825
>Cir Gau
Doesn't help us much. It'll hold off his Drowning Doubt until the beginning of the next turn and will hold off Abyssal Tooth, but he generates too many dice for Circle Guard to be worth it.
Neither Circle Guard nor Underhanded Deflection will hold off Drag Down.

>>3165799
>What is his game plan? What would be the optimal way to use this kit to defeat a duelist?
Stall, lose all but his highest Comp die, he wins. Build 10-12 Strike Dice, he wins. Blow away most of the opponent's Comp dice, use Taunt for the rest, he wins.

>What are the GENERAL ways to defeat him? What general counters does this build struggle with?
Techniques that generate high dice faster than he gens low dice. Techs that ban genning Tech dice, Tech/Abilities that disallow siphoning, (Circle Guard doesn't lastlong enough to be useful.)
>How, putting ourselves in the shoes of our oponent, can we try to defeat us?
We both are mostly endgame duellists, if I were him I'd keep us from using Elegance by just not taking our bottom layer of Comp. Just plain steal all our d4s. By the second round, I should have a monstrous amount of d4s. Rattle to spice.

>>3165955
>Nope. They go to Strike and stay there, where he can't touch them.
>See above. They don't remain in Tech, they are shunted to Strike. This is crucial.
Hm. That just means that we get d10s in our Strike pool. He still gets equal dice because of this part of Lay Bait:
>At the end of the turn, if your opponent selected a Strike this round, add two dice of equal value to your own Technique Pool.

>>3165955
>Gritted Teeth is for using after he Taunts us, to put that tech die back.
It's a waste. We'll have to predict every Taunt and attack in order to survive. One mistake, we're dead. If we roll to attack when he attacks, if we let him build more dice for Drawn Down while we're spamming Gritted Teeth, we're dead. Better to avoid getting into that position in the first place.

>>3165960
>Lay Bait doesn't work like that. He'll need to insert Scent of Blood first.
You're missing his ability, Drowning Doubt. The moment we have 5 or 6 tech dice of the same sort, he gets them all.
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>>3166016
>> TYL(A)> FB(S)> CC(F)> GT(T)> CG(S)> CG(T)> FS(S)
I can't read this.
>>
>>3166017
Lay bait and his passive are ridiculous. If he could use a normal strike he'd be head rose tier.
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>>3166020

> Test You Luck (Ability)
> Focused Blow (Strike)
> Counting Coup (Flourish)
> Gritted Teeth (Trick)
> Crushing Grip (Strike)
> Circle Guard (Trick)
> Flashing Steel (Strike)

Looking over what you've said, though, I'm more than willing to change them around as you've got a point about Circle Guard and Gritted Teeth.

Only thing I'd like to point out is that if we do get our composure broken, but don't immediately die, we will be able to spam Counting Coup up to a d10, then Gritted Teeth it into our Comp. Only issue is see is if he Taunts us, which considering both Tricks share both move and line position idk how they'd interact, but even then he still wouldn't have us beat if we end the queue with GT.
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>>3166028
Why crushing grip though?

It is only worth it to pick at his tech dice and he is going to have his highest die in the Strike Pool, where he can use Abyssal Tooth to enlarge them. We are not fighting against a big die opponent, but a machine gun type
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>>3166046

Mainly to use it for Double Tapping, as we did versus Gloriana, since, if we fail to break his composure entirely with the initial strike we'll still potentially break a tech dice with the follow up.

You're right that he's going to be building up a lot of a small dice into his strike pool though. What would you suggest we take to deal with that anon?
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>>3166023
Maybe he can, but just likes fishing? The benefits of having insane skills is being able to do whatever you like and look cool.


>>3166028
Thanks, I can read it now. Lay Bait twice isn't going to be enough for him to grab them unless we have another die of the same kind, since it works on 'over four dice' not 'four or above'.

Elegance isn't a bad move for us in this duel, exactly. If he's gonna get 7d4, we pull out our d6 or d8 and Flash him. Tada, all gone and he has to do it all over again. It'll suck if we break his Comp d4 too, but we can deal.

I don't think Crushing Grip will help us much at all? Like, say, we have d10 and he uses Scent of Blood to copy it. We then use Crushing Grip and then he just does it again. It just doesn't seem very useful?
I went over Gritted Teeth before with an example, my case wasn't like, a slam dunk or anything, but it seems like if we need to use it it'll already be desperation. It's too easy for him to build dice, Drag Down over and over.
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>>3166023
Lay Bait x2 is very dangerous, but if we can predict it we can counter it with Gritted Teeth, leaving us with 3 dice and him with nothing.

Also in general I think it's better to strike into bait, to at least use the dice he gives us.
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>>3166051

I just remembered that's why I put down Flashing Steel, to deal with a lot of small dice in the Strike Pool.
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>>3165964
Actually, when I updated the rules a few threads back, Rattle was updated so that if you're rattled on the last turn of a queue, it extends to the next one.

Vote called, writing.
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>>3166054

Misread Lay Bait, but considering that we'll be utilizing either Counting Coup or Elegance, both of which generate d4's in the first place, he'll still be able to get his Ability proc off if we use it at any point during those two turns. Although, if I'm right about my guess that he's got d6's as his lowest dice, that won't actually be an issue unless we use Counting Coup or just lose our d4 Comp dice. However, I'm not too certain about this being the case anymore.

Flashing Steel is going to be our best bet in this duel to keep him in line, but I do still think that there's reason to consider taking Gritted Teeth. If there's a move that has better utilization then I'm all for taking it, though having a back-up plan for the worst-case scenario is something to consider as well.

Revising my list with what you've said comes out to:
> Test You Luck (Ability)
> Focused Blow (Strike)
> Counting Coup (Flourish)
> Flashing Steel (Strike)

Even taking both Elegance and Gritted Teeth means that we've still got one open spot to fill for our techniques.
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>>3166051
Well, I would suggest, for once, putting up a stance. But both are absolute shit.

Undefeatable Rookie is shit because he has an ability thta allows him to basically circunvent him, Striking without actually rolling his dice. The other ability he has only allows him to roll the lowest of his Strike Pool, so I am not too worried about that. Skin Unthorned has the same problem. It he doesn´t roll, it is complete and Utter shit.

Anything but the Stances we have would be good to be fair. We should be looking at a way to deliver a devastating blow and end the match there. I will review the list again.
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>>3166068
Excluding estances, which are horrible shit as I mentioned earlier >>3166072
, that would only leave us Underhanded reflection, Brute Strike, Circle Guard, Elegance and Gritted Teeth as our remaining techniques yes.

We would have to choose three, two because Gritted Teeth is an obvious addition
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>>3166072

I'd actually say going with Unassailable Rookie could work, because he can not use Drag Down unless he has dice in his Strike Pool and he cannot move dice there without using Abyssal Tooth, which requires him to roll all of his lowest value dice. With just how many d4's he's going to be throwing at us at the start, having a -1 to all of them could aid us in surviving the attack.
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>>3166088
Elegance is a good one because it adds dice of different sizes and is our signature move. Circle guard would be my other choice, or Brute strike. Definitely not UD.
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>>3166072
>We should be looking at a way to deliver a devastating blow and end the match there.
Almost easy. Spend a turn not Striking, then hit him at the start of the next turn.
That's when our Stance Skin Unthorned is helpful, by the way. When he has more than 4 and less than 12 d4s, he won't be able to hit us hard enough to stop us from taking him out.

So say, first four rounds is frantically building CC with one Skin Unthorned, then we hit him with all we've got.
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>>3166088
>Excluding estances, which are horrible shit as I mentioned earlier
Yeah, but they're not. Skin Unthorned is going to be excellent protection for the first couple of rounds.
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>>3166090
Shit, I didn´t thought of that. I read it as rolling the single "lowest" dice, not all the low dice he would be keeping there. That changes things, significantly so. Perhaps Skin Unthorned isn´t so shity even.
>>
>>3166094
More than 6, I meant. So he can't precision Rattle us, but has to take out more than one Comp die level.
>>
>>3166088

Underhanded Deflection is simply not as effective as Flashing Steel in this case, so it's a pretty easy pass.

I'm not too certain about Brute Strike, given how it doesn't siphon tech dice and as such would require us to throw a FB or FS in while he's got his stance up to load up our Strike Pool.

Circle Guard is also not as effective as FS, so pass.

Elegance I'd take as a back up plan in case he does only have d6's in his Comp pool which we'll only know for certain once the duel starts. If he's got d4's, we stick to Counting Coup, but if he's got d6's he use Elegance.

>>3166097
>>3166094

Yeah, looking it over again Skin Unthorned has some serious merit. Plus, reading Abyssal Tooth properly makes me realize that UR isn't as strong if he's got d4's than SU and is less vulnerable to DD given how he only can 'store' one strike dice per AT.

Does this set work for everyone?
> Test You Luck (Ability)
> Focused Blow (Strike)
> Counting Coup (Flourish)
> Gritted Teeth (Trick)
> Elegance (Flourish)
> Skin Unthorned (Stance)
> Flashing Steel (Strike)
>>
>>3166111
>Does this set work for everyone?
Works for me. I personally just plain like Brute Strike, but I understand that other people hate my love and want us to be apart.
(It's basically just for precision Rattles. No biggie.)
>>
>>3166118

Brute Strike has it's uses, but we need a way of siphoning tech dice into the strike pool without immediately spending them or bumbling into an enemy's Stance to do so.
>>
>>3166064
Ouro, could you please clarify this: if Still water is put up during a queue where there were no Strikes, will it break immediately?

>>3166111
This is what I also would take.

>>3166118
Brute Strike uses our lowest Comp die. Basically, it only works when we're close to death, and brings us even closer. And it can't even rattle reliably unless the opponent is completely healthy, in which case we're fucked anyway.
>>
>>3166124
Correct. It would break at the end of the queue.
>>
>The almshouse isn’t right for him. He can stay at your place for the night.

“I don’t think the almshouse is the right place for you. You’re not a beggar or anything, are you? But if you think that I’m letting you go anywhere without my permission, think again. You’re staying where I can keep an eye on you so why don’t you just come home with me? You can stay at my place just for tonight.”
And you’re not even thinking of any funny business, are you? You’ve made a promise.

“Your home? The interest is appreciated, Lady Nameless, but I am sworn to another!”

“Is that a no?,” you snap as motion for him to follow you.

“Of course not but-”

“Good. And so am I. You really don’t have to worry. Now come with me and keep your hands to yourself.”
He doesn’t even understand that if that had been your intention, and if you had been a worse person, you could have had him anytime you wanted. There’d be no need to invite him anywhere.

********

“This is a remarkable home,” Lorrin says, as he stares at the mess of your three rooms.

“Yeah isn’t it fantastic? Oh, don’t touch that!”
You pull him away from the ambisilk curtain, still lying in a rumpled heap in the corner of the room. You’ve been storing the mirror in there on the grounds that it’s better to keep them in unknowing stasis rather than deal with the complications of three berserk reflections and a mirror liable to trap even more.
“You’ll have to sleep on the floor by the way. This bed only fits one and it’s me. Just uh, pile up some clothes or something and lie on that.”

“You’re so gracious,” he says, doing just that and looking confused. “Kings would gladly take the chance.”

“Yeah yeah,” you say, taking off your coat and getting into bed. You’re not going to actually change clothes, not while he’s here. “Blow out the lantern, alright? We’ve got a long day ahead of us.”

Before he does however, you slide the booklet out of your pocket and, angling it away from him, stare at the cover Sofia with a grimace. She gives you a lewd wink. You really wish she was less pretty. It’s distracting. It’d be easier to hate her if she wasn’t.

*****

You wake up in the morning with the booklet lying on your face. But your dreams were only of duelling.

>Choose your loadout! You may select one Ability and six Techniques from the following list:

1/2
>>
>>3166139
ABILTIES

>Professional Provocateur: [ABILITY]At the end of each round, if you have successfully performed a Trick and have not lost any Composure dice, the single lowest die in your opponent’s Technique Pool is moved to their Strike Pool. If there are no dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool, the lowest die in their Composure Pool is moved to their Technique Pool instead.

>Test Your Luck: [ABILITY]You’re a pro at games of chance and other such swindles, no matter how well they’re performed. Once per thread you may either reroll a single dice or automatically succeed at a game of chance.

TECHNIQUES

>Brute Strike: [STRIKE]Siphon the lowest value dice from your Composure Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Tempered Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Sofia cannot be defeated during this turn. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value die from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a die of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Unassailable Rookie: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, all dice that your opponent rolls out of their Strike Pool take a -1 penalty to their final result. Can only be active while you have a d4 in your Composure Pool.

>Underhanded Deflection: [TRICK]Lower the sides of all the dice currently in your opponent’s Technique pool by 1.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value die in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.

>Skin Unthorned: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, any Strike pool targeting you cannot roll d4s. They remain in the Strike Pool unrolled. Can only be active while you have a d6 in your Composure Pool.

2/3
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>>3166111
There are three likely situations, regarding his lowest composture dice:

1-It is a d4. In that case, Skin Unthorned is real fucking noice, as it would allow negating him the ability to roll. However, in that case, Elegance would be a bad choice, since it will cause us to get only d4s. I would suggets exchanging it with Brute Strike.

2-It´s a d6. Skin Unthorned is shit, pure and simple. Elegance is good, since it can be used to control our d4s.

3-It is a d8. We are fucked. Throw the match.

I wonder, since Still water allow us to accumulate our dice, perhaps we might need to rethink our strategy, even the one above, Use it to put d4s or d6s in the "safe zone" so to speak to later unleash a devastation strike. That would allow us to circunvent his ability.
>>
>>3166141
>Flashing Steel: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. Damage from this Technique is dealt first to your opponent’s Strike Pool, treating the dice within as if they were Composure dice for the purposes of destruction. The difference between the highest dice value in the Strike Pool and the damage rolled is then dealt to the Technique Pool in the same fashion. And if the damage continues to overflow, the remainder is inflicted upon the Composure Pool in the same way.
>>
>>3166123
>>3166124
Bringing us closer to death isn't that bad if we're talking like, d8.
Like, say, he's got a d6 in Comp and we've got like, 3d4, 1d6 in Strike. We could use the d8 for rattling, and it would leave us... very vulnerable to two Taunts. But he'd be rattled when he already knew we had only three Comp left, so maybe it's worth trying to keep him from Taunting through Rattle instead of keeping quiet and hoping his stance comes down before we die.
>>
>>3166139
>complications of three berserk reflections
Wait, three?
>>
>>3166154

The Client who I'm forgetting the name of, Sabino, and Sophia.

>>3166143

Yeah, we'll have to see what comes.

>>3166141

> Test You Luck (Ability)
> Focused Blow (Strike)
> Counting Coup (Flourish)
> Gritted Teeth (Trick)
> Elegance (Flourish)
> Skin Unthorned (Stance)
> Flashing Steel (Strike)
>>
>>3166141
Test your Luck
Counting Coup
Focussed Blow
Flashing Steel
Gritted Teeth ar a sure bet, as >>3166068
said.

A question Ouro. Would using Gritted Teeth after a Counting Coup where we have been depleted of Composture dice count as being still in the duel?
>>
>>3166143
>I wonder, since Still water allow us to accumulate our dice, perhaps we might need to rethink our strategy, even the one above, Use it to put d4s or d6s in the "safe zone" so to speak to later unleash a devastation strike. That would allow us to circumvent his ability.
I thought that was our strategy. Might not be worth banking, though. Use the time to get another die, maybe, then use the presented dice on the fourth or seventh round.

>>3166141
> Test Your Luck (Ability)
> Focused Blow (Strike)
> Counting Coup (Flourish)
> Gritted Teeth (Trick)
> Elegance (Flourish)
> Skin Unthorned (Stance)
> Flashing Steel (Strike)

Because we might want a faster dice gen+attack than any of our other abilities can give us.
>>
>>3166165
Uh, I meant to type Brute Strike instead of Gritted Teeth.
>>
Please do not take Gritted Teeth. The win condition of Drag Down is to build a massive Strike Pool that never empties. Stop taking shit that'll drag on the match. Ouro literally explained his gimmick is to slowly snowball into an unstoppable strike.
>>
>>3166164
>A question Ouro. Would using Gritted Teeth after a Counting Coup where we have been depleted of Composture dice count as being still in the duel?
I'm not Ouro, but the answer is yes. We'd still be in the fight, but there are Techniques to prey upon that loophole, Like Executioner's Blade.
>>
>>3166164
Yes. Just having broken Composure doesn't mean you're down.
>>
>>3166168

We have Flashing Steel to take out lots of small dice. Besides, he needs a Tech Pool and Abyssal Tooth just to get 1 dice into his strike pool for Drag Down to start building up momentum. We can cripple his entire strat with FS.
>>
>>3166141
> Test Your Luck (Ability)
> Focused Blow (Strike)
> Counting Coup (Flourish)
> Gritted Teeth (Trick)
> Elegance (Flourish)
> Skin Unthorned (Stance)
> Flashing Steel (Strike)

>>3166168
Ah, but we can empty his Strike pool with Flashing Steel.
>>
>>3166158
Fuck it. I support this. Brute Strike won´t do as much good.
>>
>>3166174
>Besides, he needs a Tech Pool and Abyssal Tooth just to get 1 dice into his strike pool for Drag Down to start building up momentum.
You're saying that like it's hard for him to build Tech. Two or three Lay Baits and an Abyssal Tooth, he's got a nice Strike pool of 5d4 to start off with. (Which is enough to end the game, if he wasn't one to drag things out. If we didn't have Skin Unthorned.)
>>
>>3166179

That's 3-4 actions over the course of which we can do two CC's and a FS to reliably knock him back down to 0. Between that and SU we should be fine against his strat.
>>
>>3166141
> Test Your Luck (Ability)
> Focused Blow (Strike)
> Counting Coup (Flourish)
> Brute Strike (Trick)
> Elegance (Flourish)
> Skin Unthorned (Stance)
> Flashing Steel (Strike)

>>3166174
>>3166175
Personally I think Flashing Steel is a mistake. At best, it'll leave both duelists with nothing. At worst, we roll 1's and do nothing. It's something to be used when we're behind and resets our own win condition.
>>
1 Counting Coup Lay Bait

2 Counting Coup Lay Bait
3 Skin Unthorned Lay Bait
4 Counting Coup Abyssal Tooth/Drag Down

5 Focused Blow (1d6 +1d8) + Try Your Luck
It's not a great strategy/success. Not enough dice built. We should probably try to land our full power on the 9th turn.
>>
>>3166192

>It's something to be used when we're behind and resets our own win condition.

That is exactly why I'm in favor of taking it. We need a back up plan in case we fall behind and FS is the best at destroying lots of small dice in the Strike/Tech Pools.
>>
>>3166195
8th.
>>
>>3166195

He can't use Drag Down on the 4th turn, as he won't have dice in his Strike Pool.

Other than that, if he's got d4's in his Comp pool i'd say this is our best bet.

If he's got d6's though I'd go with something like this:

1. Elegance (Trick)

2. Elegance (Stance)
3. Focused Blow
4. Elegance (Strike)

We'll be able to move up to 4d4's into our Strike Pool without his Ability proc'ing and then we can go for a Focused Blow at the start of the next turn with a potential of 6d4's, plus whatever other dice he'd give us with a Lay Bait, to rock him with.
>>
>>3166195
He can already rattle us on turn 3 with LB, LB, Drag Down, then end the round on LB again. Before we can even strike he can use LB to siphon the 2d6s with LB as it's a trick.

>>3166204
His ability moves the LB generated dice into his pool.
>>
>>3166204
Wait what the fuck are you doing?
>We'll be able to move up to 4d4's into our Strike Pool without his Ability proc'ing
It's going to proc as soon as you make the fourth dice.
>>
>>3166206

You're right about his ability, I misread that.

>>3166209

It's only when the number of dice is greater than 4, other than that you're correct.

>Drowning Doubt: [ABILITY] Whenever an opponent has more than 4 dice of single type in their technique pool, siphon those dice to your Strike pool.
>>
>>3166215
Oh my bad. In any case, CC or Elegance automatically feeds into 2x LB into a DD which fucks us
>>
>>3166218

If he has d4's as his lowest Comp dice, yes.

If he has d6's and we don't use CC more than once, no.

Either way, we need to wait and see what his lowest Comp dice is and how the opening move goes.
>>
Vote called, despite windows doing its best to update my computer. Writing.
>>
>>3166195
How about
1 Counting Coup Still Waters

2 Counting Coup Lay Bait
3 Flashing Steel (1d4+1d6) (Maybe Test Your Luck to keep from killing his d4 in Comp.) Lay Bait
4 Counting Coup Scent of Blood

5 Skin Unthorned Lay Bait
6 Counting Coup (Writing in Lay Bait because if it was going to be Abyssal Tooth, Skin Unthorned would block it.)
7 Doesn't matter what we pick, as long as it's not a Strike that he can Rattle to mess up the next turn. Elegance would be nice to score 2d4 from. Drag Deep, probably, for the Rattle.

8 Focused Blow (1d6 +1d8+1d10+1/2d4) + Try Your Luck?

>>3166204
>He can't use Drag Down on the 4th turn, as he won't have dice in his Strike Pool.
Yeah he will. In that hypothetical, he'd have 5-6d4 in his Strike Pool, because Drowning Doubts gens directly to it.


>Rattled is a status effect that automatically applies when a duellist loses one or more Composure dice all of the same size due to damage. Their Technique for this round is immediately cancelled if it hasn't already activated. This will cancel Techniques mid-Step if needed. Additionally, the type of Technique they were using during the turn they get Rattled is recorded and any time the duellist attempts to use a Technique of the same type during the rest of the queue, that Technique is automatically cancelled. If a duellist is Rattled in the last turn of a queue, this restriction instead applies to the first turn of the next queue (but not the second and third turn of that queue).
>NOTE: Rattled will not apply if you lose more than one type of dice to the damage. Rattled will also not apply if the Composure dice is removed through non-damage means.
>>
>>3166236
Sorry, 8 is actually
>8 Focused Blow (1d8+1d10+1/2d4) + Try Your Luck?

The 1d6 has already been used.
>>
>>3166236
Why would he use still waters for it to instantly break
>>
>>3166247
I don't think it would count! It's not a full queue.
>>
>>3166236
At 4 in the worst case, he'll have 1d8+2d4, so 5 is kind of hopeful that he doesn't just start wrecking. Skin Unthorned is in the second queue so that he doesn't just start doing Scent of Blood instead of the other tech gen moves.
>>
> Test Your Luck (Ability)
> Focused Blow (Strike)
> Counting Coup (Flourish)
> Gritted Teeth (Trick)
> Elegance (Flourish)
> Skin Unthorned (Stance)
> Flashing Steel (Strike)

You pluck the booklet off your face and toss it into the corner of the room, rising from the bed in the same action. Lorrin is still asleep. You’re not really sure what the connotations of you making him sleep on a pile of your used clothing are but you hope it’s not too gross. But it’s better this way. It’d be bad if something were to happen to him before you can deliver to him all he desires so with that in mind, you’ve been playing babysitter to a grown man.
An attractive man, whispers something horrible inside.

You tiptoe out of your apartment and lock the door. Between the forging and the duel, you haven’t bathed in the last two days so you’re feeling filthy.

*****

The boarding house bath is, of course, nothing but a communal arrangement so you have to keep it quick. And after you’re done, you ruin it by getting back into the same clothes you’d already been wearing. You only have one duelling outfit, after all!

And as you get dressed, you adorn yourself with the trophies you’ll need. A coin to give you luck, a preserved rose crammed into a glass vial. A weighted ribbon that you tie around your abdomen. With all you’ve learned of Marzio, these three should be enough. They’ll have to be.

When you unlock your apartment, Lorrin is awake. Awake and paging idly through the copy of La Ressagna Mensile that you had thrown into a corner. He says something you don’t understand because you’re not wearing the scarf but you think you can get its meaning.

Flushing bright red, you go to snatch it out of his hand but he just pulls away, holding it up out of your reach. But his attitude quickly fades when you draw your sword. He drops it and you kick it away. Sheathing your sword, you go grab the scarf and wrap it around your throat.

“What’s wrong, Lady Nameless?”


>”...It’s none of your business. Never mind.”

>”Could you wait until you’re out of my house before jacking off or whatever you were doing?”

>”Don’t you dare do that again. You stay here in my house, you rely on my sword and yet when I want to take something off of you, you pull that shit?”

>Tell him about your interview with Remo.

>"She's very pretty, isn't she?" Sigh.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3166271
>”...It’s none of your business. Never mind.”
>>
>>3166271
>Nothing, just some magazine writer that took some liberties.

While going to the duel, unload all the frustration from the article onto him. What won´t kill him would make him stronger and, after all, he cannot really refuse to listen. (talk him about the interview)
>>
>>3166271
>Rant to him about your interview with Remo.

He's a knight, right? Is he like a Chosen Hero type? Probably not a noble, they know better than to yell at others.
>>
>>3166271
>Writer and drawer of that dueling magazine took liberties with me appearance and behavior. It annoyed me, and had you not called me I'd be dealing with him or his representative for an honor duel. Thus the rag annoys me.
>>
RANT > Measured complaints.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Complain

“It’s...it’s complicated. But I suppose we’ll have time on our way to the duel. Shall we talk while we walk?”
You’ve already started walking regardless of his answer. You know he’s not going to say no.

“The writer took some liberties with my behaviour and my appearance,” you say as the two of you go down the stairs.

“Wait, give me just one moment. That was supposed to be you?”

“What? Isn’t it obvious?”

“Not to me. You are both exceptionally beautiful but there are...differences.”

“No kiddings. For starters, my boobs aren’t the size of my head. But anyway, isn’t she the sexiest thing ever?”
Fuck. You’re not used to having to navigate around your own curse while talking about something else. Now it sounds like you just want to fuck your own drawing. You mean, not that you’d be opposed to it but…

“I’m still not used to drawings being alive.”

“What are drawings like in the Lesser Realms?”

“You draw them. Or paint them. And they stay like that.”

“You mean they don’t do anything?”

“Right.”

“Then what’s the point? What’s the use of art if it isn’t alive?”

“I don’t know, I’m no painter. But back home, fae paintings command quite a high price.”

“I imagine they would, considering. But anyway, I don’t really want to be seen as some smart and sexy lady!”

“Why not?”

“I...I meant to say something else.”
You’d intended to say ‘brainless sexpot’, which is what the picture, with its stupid gimmick sword, invokes. But how do you say it?

“So you don’t like the picture.”

“I love the picture! I especially adore how lewd it is! It’s an amazing work of my likeness and I’m going to do something awful to the artist because of it! If it hadn’t been your request I would be duelling his representative right now?”

“So why? If you like it so much, why are you angry?”

“I’m not going to answer that question Lorrin.”
You’re done making a fool of yourself.

*****

The walk takes longer than you’d hoped, Lorrin having to stick to the pavements and what few bridges there are, unable to walk on the canal. A few times you have to pick him up and carry him across a troublesome canal on your shoulder, an experience that is no doubt awkward for both of you. He’s a heavy fucker. Makes you wish you’d found the opportunity to learn how to bottle people.

You spot quite a few of the booklets on your way to the duel, some of them accompanied by people whispering and pointing at you. You hear a few occasional mutters of ‘she looks just as good as the picture!’.
Maybe they did a second print run? Good grief.

1/3
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>>3166466
Marzio is already waiting there when you arrive, standing in the canal outside the almshouse. A crowd of people have gathered and you spot even more booklets. You do your best to ignore them, patting Lorrin on the name and pushing him back a little.
“Just stay back and stay on the side. When I start duelling I won’t be able to stop you from drowning.”
You are aware that, at some point, you’ve transitioned into treating him like a very large child. But what else are you to do with a foreigner?
“Now Marzio, you ready?”
You draw your sabre.

The fisherman just raises an eyebrow.
“Not quite the sword I was lead to expect.”

“Shut up! You’re a fucking fish!”
Your cheeks are burning, your mind is buzzing and you’re fully aware of the crowd’s stares. They feel more invasive than usual, no doubt because most of them have probably been staring at your naked body on paper. It makes you feel like you just want to shrink away to nothing but not literally because you’ve been there, done that and it’s really not fun unless Gloriana is around.
“Draw your sword!”

Marzio just nods and sweeps his dull black cloak aside, revealing the inside of it to be a glossy white. He tosses it to the side and draws his sword from its wooden scabbard. The curved blade almost appears to be entirely undecorated at first but the moment it catches the light reveals blued grooves running up the entire length of his sabre in diagonal straight lines. It’s a surprisingly subtle effect but when it moves in the morning light, it makes the metal almost appear to ripple.

Advancing, you touch the end of your blade to his and let it briefly slide down the length. And with the kiss of the blades, you see each other.

>Sofia’s Composure: 3d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d12

>Marzio’s Composure: 3d6, ????

And then, with the ease of long-practiced ritual, the two of you turn away from one another and pace back ten steps. And now, any moment now, Marzio will turn back to face your back and speak.

“Representing the challenger, I claim right to offense! Should I win, the challenged must publicly apologize and recant his slanderous words. He shall also pay a fine, to be determined later, to provide recompense for any financial damages he may have caused. Failure to comply shall be punished under High Law!”

And before the echoes of his proclamation have faded, you turn and declare your own.
“Representing the challenged, I claim right to redress! If I win, the challenger must in good faith assist my client in his goal to gain an appointment with the Electors!”
Now that gets a stir from the crowd. People will be talking about that one.
“Failure to do so to the best of their ability is punishable in High Court!”

You raise your sword and he raises his and across the canal, your eyes meet. You might as well be making eye contact with a shark. So all together now…
“See and be unseen!”

2/3
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>>3166467

You See.

The crowd and the houses around you flatten out and darken, becoming thin shadows parading all around. The City itself inverts and climbs into the sky, dark landscape rising to meet the falling sky. The sky is full of shadows.
But if it wasn’t, there would be something there. The gaze of the City fills the air with a keening sigh. The thing behind the shadows descends and you cannot know it.

You are Unseen.

And standing still in the midst of the ever-dancing shadows are two duellists. One is a gray man, painted over in ten different shades of nothing. There is an eye high on his brow, above the others, but it is a black featureless orb.
The other is the very definition of a belle sabreuse. Though her skin is green, her hair pink and the whites of her eyes blue, she is a sight to behold. Her body is practically bursting through her outfit or at least, what little of it she deigns to wear. She is crowned in candleflame.

*!

And you rise from the depths of ego death and struggle back onto the shore of You. You will not drown to the City, not today. You are Sofia Pseudonym, public defender, duellist and-what the fuck is this?

You look down at yourself in outrage. Sure, you’re used to looking and feeling different in the Wake. It’s just something you have to get used to and hopefully ignore. But this is-! Why are you like the other Sofia?

The crowd of shadows swirls around you, suspended in the sky above just as much as they are along the water. The Wake changes. And right now, this Wake is defined by gaze.
At least you’ve still got your proper sabre. The City recognises it from the kiss and knows it to be real. Small mercies.

Marzio looks unfazed.
“Shall we begin?”

“Fuck it.”
You charge.
>>
>>3166469
It's time to commit to your opening strike! Instead of the usual queue, this will just be one action for both you and your opponent.

>Duel Rules: https://pastebin.com/6eTp737y

>Choose one of the following:

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>>Tempered Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Sofia cannot be defeated this turn. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Skin Unthorned: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, any Strike pool targeting you cannot roll d4s. They remain in the Strike Pool unrolled. Can only be active while you have a d6 in your Composure Pool.

>Flashing Steel: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. Damage from this Technique is dealt first to your opponent’s Strike Pool, treating the dice within as if they were Composure dice for the purposes of destruction. The difference between the highest dice value in the Strike Pool and the damage rolled is then dealt to the Technique Pool in the same fashion. And if the damage continues to overflow, the remainder is inflicted upon the Composure Pool in the same way.
>>
>>3166476
Does his stance wear off after this first move?
>>
>>3166480
it would
>>
>>3166480
Yes.
>>
>>3166476
>>>Tempered Counting Coup
>>
>>3166476
>Elegance: Trick
>>
>>3166467
>lowest composure isn't d4
I knew it. Skin Unthorned just lost half its value.
>>
>>3166494
I don't know why people took skin unthorned. The guy wants to build up dice in his strike pool until he kills us with one sure fire hit. It helps him. It's the same people who took PP vs Terenzi I'll bet, they don't think about what their opponents can do and how their moveset works.
>>
>>3166476
>Skin Unthorned.
>>
>>3166502
but why
>>
>>3166500
Heck, even if the stance does its job, you're only powering up Drag Down and his eventual 12d4 strike when he taunts the stance away.

>>3166502
case. in. point.
>>
>>3166476
He's either going to scent of blood or taunt.

>Elegance Trick
>>
>>3166513

Supporting
>>
Also apparently Remo's shit makes us look and possibly act like that bimbo he printed. Win, lose or draw after this we need to fix that picture.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>3166476
>>3166476
Counting Coup

Okay, I understand that Crushing Grip is not very high value right now, and that Gritted Teeth has SOME use here.

But you all took Gritted Teeth, Elegance, and Skin Unthorned but still somehow DIDN'T bring Brute Strike, which was mentioned, TWICE, to be able to build up a kill pool by using Still Waters against him?

I was about to complain about turn1 elegance, but I guess since Lay Bait can only give d6, we're pretty set on a Flashing Steel very soon. Possibly even the next action.
>>
>Elegance: Trick

You know him! You know how he fights! So your ‘charge’ is nothing more than a feint, your free hand ready to take advantage of even the slightest chance of foul play. Because really, what else is he going to do?

>Marzio uses Taunt!

He blocks your feinting strike easily and spares you a glance as he does so. And here, in the Wake where all rules are relaxed, he speaks.
“I expected you to be wearing something more appropriate.”

Sudden anger clouds your vision but even as it rattles your Composure, you won’t let him shake you! You’ll use this emotion for your own benefit!

>Sofia’s Composure: 2d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d12

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4

“Is that all you’ve got?”

>ELEGANCE: TRICK

As he turns your blade aside, you swing out your off-hand and grab hold of his other arm, throwing him to the side!
“Is that all? I see right through you!”

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 2d4

He disenages with a quick backstep, avoiding your followup strike with ease.
“Hrm. Do you?”

>Elegance Prediction Bonus: 1d4

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 3d4
>>
>>3166569
DUEL STATUS: https://pastebin.com/U82tXNjK

It's time to choose your first queue! Please select three Techniques.

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Tempered Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Sofia cannot be defeated this turn. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Skin Unthorned: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, any Strike pool targeting you cannot roll d4s. They remain in the Strike Pool unrolled. Can only be active while you have a d6 in your Composure Pool.

>Flashing Steel: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. Damage from this Technique is dealt first to your opponent’s Strike Pool, treating the dice within as if they were Composure dice for the purposes of destruction. The difference between the highest dice value in the Strike Pool and the damage rolled is then dealt to the Technique Pool in the same fashion. And if the damage continues to overflow, the remainder is inflicted upon the Composure Pool in the same way.
>>
>>3166571
>Tempered Counting Coup
>Tempered Counting Coup
>Tempered Counting Coup

Setting up FB next move. He either takes the d4s or d6s.
>>
>>3166575
He's going to taunt twice, bringing our d4s to 5 and activating the ability. We CANNOT generate any more d4s, we have to use them now.
>>
Anyway I got work. I'll be back tonight.
>>
>>3166579
Well I can't let elegance voters down, can I? I have to use their momentum, even if it were to kill us.
>>
>>3166571
Ok if I were him.....
I would taunt for d4 steal via ability predicated on us either predicting him or CCing
That would put him at 5d4 Good but not enough to beat us
Drag down next for rattle and flourish breaking

we'd have a d6 or maybe 2 d4 and it'd stop CC building

Assuming that he'd likely use Scent of blood to get some build while we get nothing for 3rd.


So Focused Blow/Flashing Steel
Counting Coup
Counting Coup
>>
>>3166571
>Gritted Teeth
>Flashing Steel
>Skin Unthorned

Damnit, we're commited. Let me go case by case on what he could do:
>Taunt
>Taunt
>Tooth
That let's us hit him with 4d4, either winning the fight or dealing 6/8 damage. Honestly, this is the worst trade because Still Waters becomes superstrong.

>Lay Bait
he's fucked

>Still Water
we bank the d4s, safe from his ability, but we'll need to Gritted Teeth spam to break the stance without triggering the ability.

>generate dice
Flashing Steel will remove those dice, and hopefully reduce the composure damage we deal.


Skin Unthorned is really just there to make him think we're afraid of d4s, but honestly there's not much dice advantage we can get without just letting him make the dice for us.
>>
>>3166571
>Focussed Blow
>TCC
>TCC

He's gonna Still Waters us right off the bat, but we can't even predict it because that'll give us 5d4 and he'll steal them. Best bet is to hit ahead of it and rattle his composure so lay bait gives us big dice. I normally hate CC and prefer Elegance, but while we have a d4 as our lowest composure dice CC is better against him.

All things considered our loadout crushes his and we should win as long as low IQ posts like >>3166575 don't get a majority.

>>3166585
5d4 actually is enough to beat us. Range from 5 to 20, average value 12.5, our highest comp die is 12. Of course, he'd only roll 4d4 and keep one as a d6, but that's still a max of 16. He's not gonna taunt twice because that might also kill him. He's gonna stance first for sure. Then taunt, then scent of blood.

>>3166587
No Skin Unthorned. Like PP against Terenzi, it only helps him. He doesn't want to roll dice. He wants to collect 12 and Drag us Under.
>>
>>3166596
>No Skin Unthorned. Like PP against Terenzi, it only helps him. He doesn't want to roll dice. He wants to collect 12 and Drag us Under.
true. Right now I'm trying to figure out if he can be encouraged to Lay Bait or if the stance would make him doubledown on d4s. In the interests of playing safe:

>>3166571
adjust >>3166587
to

>Gritted Teeth
>Flashing Steel
>TCC
>>
>>3166571

>Focussed Blow
>TCC
>TCC
>>
>>3166596
>I normally hate CC and prefer Elegance, but while we have a d4 as our lowest composure dice CC is better against him.
Then why did you vote for elegance?
>>
>>3165780
His skills.
>>
>>3166608
Because our tech pool was empty back then and now we have 3d4 in it? Try to keep up, low IQ anon. I can't spell everything out for you.
>>
>>3166614
So you made 2d4s just so he can force you to empty them?
>>
>>3166616
Can you read my post here >>3166596?
Can you read at all? I made 3d4 to break his d6. Lay bait with a d8 or d10 is gonna put him in big danger with even a single use, because it'll give us huge dice that can OHKO him.
>>
>>3166626
Why would he ever use Lay Bait without his stance? He'd be a fucking idiot to even use it once and give you a 2d6 while you can strike.
>>
>>3166628
Yes! It's good to see that you're trying to think, but I wish you'd try a little harder. Again, if you read my post, you see that the very first thing I predicted him doing was setting up a stance. Naturally, it follows that his stance will be up in the future, and will protect him if he wants to use Lay Bait. Unless! Again, referring to the post you refuse to read, we kill his lowest comp dice now, forcing Lay Bait to give us Big dice that can kill him. In that case even the Stance, which again I believe he will have established by this point, will not protect him. He'll need to be a lot more careful. I still won't rule it out completely since duels work on a queue system and because of his passive, but all that might be a bit too much for you to wrap your head around.
>>
>>3166596
Backing this
>>
>>3166646
So what you're saying is that you're expecting him to stance, LB not once, not twice, but threetimes in a row so the ability can proc to move the d6's over. In other words, you expect Ouro to play him as a fucking idiot. Good to know.
>>
>>3166675
Um, you're right about the stance but I don't know where the hell you got any of the rest of that from. I don't see where I'm going wrong, this is as simple as I can explain things. What part confuses you anon?
>>
>>3166696
He would never Lay Bait to give you free dice so you can strike him with it. That's dumb. Why would he ever give you d6s, much less d8s? His stance will either be up so you can't take advantage of his LB generated dice, or to push our existing d8s into his pool.

Your entire prediction is based on him on the off-chance he LB this very turn while rattle cancels his stance, which make utterly no sense. It would give us a 2d6 for no purpose, which again, he has no reason to do, unless he plans on LBing twice afterwards to get the d6's back. This is a plan dependent on him doing nothing for 4 turns to set up a killer blow on the 5th. He's not going to LB now, and he's not going to later while you can still strike. Turning his d6s into d8s serve little purpose when you've wasted a turn and lost a potential d4.
>>
>>3166706

You say my entire prediction is based off him using LB this turn. I've told you like 3 times now to read my post. Right here >>3166596
Seriously, read it. It has a prediction for his turn, and LB doesn't feature in it even once. Where are you getting that I think he's gonna use LB? The whole point is to make sure he can never use LB.

>This is a plan dependent on him doing nothing for 4 turns to set up a killer blow on the 5th.

Coming from the guy who queued 3 CC. Stop being so salty Elegance won you absolute brainlet.
>>
>>3166726
>The whole point is to make sure he can never use LB

Read my post again. He would never use it in the first place when it'll give you free dice.

>>3166726
>Coming from the guy who queued 3 CC
What's wrong? I'm just going off of the momentum you've built.
>>
>>3166730
Momentum has a nasty tendency of getting tripped up and disrupted.
Our opponents are not passive things that we can pull shit on as if they are dumbasses.
>>
>>3166755
It was in jest, anon.
>>
>>3166730
Is it easier for him to give us 5d6, or 5d8?
Is it riskier for him to give us 5d6, or 5d8?

>What's wrong? I'm just going off of the momentum you've built.
You're voting like a retard out of spite, because you're mad Elegance beat out your CC fetish, and even madder that it succeeded so you can't even comment that we messed up the prediction. All you have left is trying to intentionally sabotage us by voting for stupid shit and making strawman arguments against good strategies.
>>
>>3166730
Dealing damage does not remove Still Water. The only way to prevent it is rattle, and its not hard to queue Still Water again later.
>>
>>3166814
>Is it easier for him to give us 5d6, or 5d8?
>Is it riskier for him to give us 5d6, or 5d8?
Exactly the same risk. Read my post again.

>>3166814
>madder that it succeeded
You mean the part where because you were right you are forced to strike at the start of this turn though you excuse it by some arbitrary reason you're trying to give while grasping for straws?

>>3166818
I never said it did?
>>
>>3166596
Rather than break his composure die, id rather bank those d4 in the strike pool. The moment we break Still Water, it wont really matter if weve charged up d6s or d8s.
>>
>>3166819
Its really not hard for him to pull out still water. I dont see why you think lay bait is so unlikely.
>>
>>3166822
issue is he could easily taunt us first turn to try and yoink all our d4s
>>
>>3166758
Jest or not, it's preferable that before you create your queue of moves to think carefully of the abilities of the opponent before us first and what you think he will logically do if he knows some of our techniques and what is to his advantage.
We were infamous for spamming CC all the time in our pursuit to get d10s and other big dice. It was incredibly predictable.
I kinda worry though we might become too predictable in turn now for wanting to attack all the time as soon as we get dice. But fortunately this is only our second duel thus far after we have decided to be more aggressive in our duels so no one has established a new pattern in our tactical thinking.
>>
>>3166827
I'm saying it's unlikely for him to give free lay bait. Stance and then lay bait to push dice into his pool is not unlikely. Singular lay baits to push dice into into his pool without a stance are likely. Using lay bait to give us dice that sits in our pool is unlikely.

He has no problem creating d8s just as he would d6s because he would never give us a chance to use them.
>>
>>3166828
Hence the gritted teeth to buy one more turn of safety net incase he taunts instead of stancing up immediately.
>>
>>3166861
if he taunts he gets hit with 4d4 as tricks go first which might very well cost him the duel. So if he does he dies, if he does not we hopefully rattle him and get a leg up.
>>
>>3166832
Look, here's what's going to happen. He's going to get his stance up, generate dice. Those dice are no risk while his stance is up, but if it falls? Suddenly he has to worry about them. His stance falls when we don't use a strike for all 3 turns in a round. He's going to try to predict the round we do this in, so he can do LBx3 and grab the 6 resulting dice. But guess what? the counter is simple. End one round with a strike to empty the tech pool into strike, enough to kill him, and use GTx3 next round. His stance will die without a strike, and his passive won't proc because we leech dice out of tech too fast with GT. Suddenly those big dice that weren't risky before are risky now. Like I've been saying all along. A strike at the start of the next round kills him before stance is back.

Obviously he now knows all this will happen so he won't use it, unless he didn't bother to do research because we're a lowly public defender in a porn magazine. But there's no way we should lose. I gotta sleep now, so remember the above strategy and try not to retard us into a loss.

>>3166822
That bank until we have a certain kill pool is what's killed us in the past.
>>
Finally the autist is going to sleep. Now we can all CCx3 in peace.
>>
>>3166895
Mate you're the biggest autist of all
>>
>>3166895
>bait this low quality
>>
>>3166861
Maybe in the next queue of moves gritted teeth is a good idea. But right now in this round, I feel that it's unlikely he will taunt us to give us another d4. He knows we've got 3d4. He has to be careful about how he lays his moves out to steal our dice. He knows if he screws up, it's going to really hurt him.
Of course, intuition is just my opinion. He's like a counter puncher type, he needs us to build up and then he strikes. But passiveness before an active opponent is dangerous for him.

So let's say he does taunt again in round 1.
If he taunts, he gives a d4 to us. Now we have 4d4. This assumes he thinks we are not going to strike at him but rather we go for a coup or some other move that will not damage him. Maybe he thinks that this is a nice set up for stealing 5d4 situation.
2nd move in this situation, what would he want to do. Would he try for a drowning doubt to steal our d4s? But he needs to worry about if we decide to strike in rd 2. or he might go for scent of blood to try and gain 5d4 as well in his tech pool but that makes little sense if he can get rid of our dice in one go.
3rd move, after stealing our d4s will he strike? Or will he try to add more dice to his advantage before he strikes?

This is of course if we were completely passive and bent on building up our dice as we used to do. I'm not sure if a duelist would make such a reckless assumption and put himself at such risk.
>>
>>3166571
>Focussed Blow
>TCC
>TCC
>>
>>3166910

His ability to steal more than 4 of the same kind of dice is a passive ability that automatically procs once the condition is met. It is not a technique.
>>
>>3166910
Look dude, i already laid out his possible queues above. Just look for the one with gritted teeth.
>>
>>3166571
>>Gritted Teeth
>>Flashing Steel
>>TCC

Well I need to vote anyways. I'll go for this.
>>
>>3166936
>>3166918
>>3166916
>>3166914
>>3166909
>>3166909
>>3166908
>>3166895

>>3166467
>Marzio’s Composure: 3d6, ????
Guys, in the past duels the number of question marks corresponded to the number of the dice tiers.
THIS FUCKER HAS A D20 IN COMPOSURE GUYS
>>
>>3166941

We’re playing in the big leagues now then boys; dig in for a long, painful slog.
>>
>>3166941
Awww yeah, we can smack him for 4d4+4d20
>>
>Flashing Steel
>Counting Coup
>Counting Coup
>>
>>3166941
Dice go in plus 2 increments I believe. Most likely he has a d14. Hard, but doable.

>>3166881
Shit. Perhaps, in that case, we should have grabbed Circle Guard as a way to hol our ground for a turn.

Gather the dice, use 3 Circle Guards and then begin the turn with CC to evade his strike and counterattack with Focussed Blow next turn.
>>
>>3166941
Actually, the number of question marks has corresponded to the number of dice left total. Nothing to do with tiers.

Anyway, vote called and writing.
>>
Ughhh, I really hate the caustic assholes who pop up. Why can't you just be nice? It kind of ruins the fun if you're throwing insults everywhere.

Half the time you're not even right.
>as long as low IQ posts like >>3166575 don't get a majority.
TCCx3 and FB on the next isn't even bad. Marzia will get our d4s, and in the worst case of Taunt, Scent, Taunt he'll have 4d4 in Tech and 5d4 in Strike, but we'll have a d6, d8, d10 we can hit him with faster than Abyssal Tooth and as fast as he'll hit us with Drag Down. It's not untenable, though it will be harsh.

>Best bet is to hit ahead of it and rattle his composure so lay bait gives us big dice.
Not necessarily. One of our lose conditions is him losing Comp to a point that his lowest Comp is higher than we can generate.
>Try to keep up, low IQ anon. I can't spell everything out for you.
> you absolute brainlet.
>You're voting like a retard out of spite, because you're mad
What's the point of this? It's needless assholery.
>>3166626
>Lay bait with a d8 or d10 is gonna put him in big danger with even a single use, because it'll give us huge dice that can OHKO him.
Not sure I follow your logic, there. Any time we spend three turns not Striking is dangerous to him.
>>
>>3167290
>Ughhh, I really hate the caustic assholes who pop up

My theory is it's because of that one anon back in the beginning who seemed to understand the system better than anyone else. Dude knew what he was doing, was able to analyze and breakdown moves and combos and provide really good strats for beating opponents. But he was a raging asshole about it. Now people act like they can't have legitimacy without being dickheads about it
>>
>Focussed Blow
>Counting Coup
>Counting Coup

“Do I?”
As he evades your followup, you’re already stepping forward and keeping pace with his disenage.
“Do you really think I don’t know exactly what you’re going for?”

And there! Just as expected, he’s moving into a defensive position. Too slow!

>FOCUSSED BLOW

Stretching forward on your lead foot and leaning forward until your head is nearly level with his waist, your upthrust sabre crosses the distance in a powerful lunge!

>Roll 3d4 for damage!
>>
Rolled 4 (1d4)

>>
Rolled 3 (1d4)

>>3167293
>>
Rolled 4 (1d4)

>>3167293
Okay then. This will make his estance null, allowing us to continue on the offensive
>>
Hoowee. Noted and writing.
>>
>>3167296
>Okay then. This will make his estance null, allowing us to continue on the offensive
We took down too many dice for him to be Rattled. Rattling only takes effect if you remove a single tier of Comp.
>>
>>3167294
>>3167295
>>3167296
Also, fucking good rolls anons. Maybe too good, since now we cant roll anything against him as long as he's in the stance.
>>
>>3167301
That's not what I said.
>>
>>3167301
>The stance will be valid this queue, but break after it ends, according to >>3166133
I don't think that's what it means, since our Focused Blow was part of this queue.

>>3167302
>Maybe too good, since now we cant roll anything against him as long as he's in the stance.
Yep. We'll have to spend an entire queue not attacking and not letting him take our dice. It's gonna be interesting.
>>
>>3167303
>>3167304
I realized it, but too late.
>>
>>3167304
What do you think should we do for next queue?
An anon suggested Gritted Teeth all the way to avoid him getting any extra dice
>>
Wait wait wait.
>>3167303
Can we use Test Your Luck now to roll worse?
>>
>>3167306
Useless since we need to get some tech to defeat him. GT is just stalling and doesn't work agains Lay Bait.
>>
>>3167307
Wait, it's useless. We beat d8 in any case.
Shit.
>>
>>3167307
Sure, but it's probably not worth it.

>>3167306
>An anon suggested Gritted Teeth all the way to avoid him getting any extra dice
Possible, if we think he'll be kind enough to use Lay Bait.
I think he will, incidentally, but let's wait until the end of this queue.
>>
>>3167309
GT is our only lifeline for breaking Still Waters without dying instantly.
>>
>>3167313
It's no use to break Still Waters if we have no dice to attack with.
>>
Regarding the magazine, I was thinking: what if after we duel over whatever gutter duelist the writer or editor coughs up, we force the publishing house to add a section, only visible to public defenders (like, use special ink or something, it shouldn´t be hard to find only readable by the eyes of certain people in the city) where we explain techniques and abilities that our opponents have used agaisnt us in the past, in order to level the playing field. We promise to write some articles (paid, of course) and other public defenders can contribute, getting paid depending on the amount and quality of the info. Taking into account what we said in the interview about why we became a public defender, it might make the public see us in a better light, perhaps even admired, which is something Sophia yearns for.

Also, we need to get drunk and into a competition to get the ability (Drunken Master, I believe it was) that lets us block mind reading and control, just so we can snuggle with Adriana.
>>
>>3167315
That's exactly what I'm saying? If we don't GT at least twice against a full queue of Lay Baits, then those dice go to him.
>>
>>3167316
If we do this the professionals will be out for our head.

Also yuri is trash.
>>
>>3167317
>That's exactly what I'm saying? If we don't GT at least twice against a full queue of Lay Baits, then those dice go to him.
Those dice are going to him anyway, because there's nothing stopping him from Laying Bait yet again on his first move of the queue. His ability activates the moment we get five or more, and Tricks are faster than Strikes.
>>
>>3167318
Duelists share info all the time. What do you think all those fancy clubs (like the one our master invited us in, but we declined, when were looking for info in the quickpig case) and Rings are for? Besides, we are protected by the Laws of the City, with the added benefit that we serve it directly, so the crime would be throughly investigated. And take into account duelists fancy themselves as professionals, no hitmans. Even Gloriana didn´t turn a blind eye when the Handprint where going to kill us.

I have to admit, Adriana would not be my
>>
>>3167324
-first choice, but she confessed our love for us. Unconditionally. And we promised to be back with an answer. And if delivering that answer means we have to be pissed out drunk, we will drink ourselves to death.
>>
>11

You don’t score blood yet but the speed and force of your lunge is enough to send him scrabbling back into a faulty disengage, all but stabbing him in the gut!

>11 damage.destroys 3d6, 1d8, 2d10!

>Marzio’s Composure: 1d12

“How about that?” you gasp as you push yourself right back upright and keep pace with him.

But you don’t close the distance far enough and, despite the considerable stress he must now be under, the defensive stance he switches into is ironclad! The strike intended to finish him off is deflected without effort.
“I have underestimated you,” Marzio says, breathing hard. “But that ends now.”

>Marzio uses Still Waters!
>Dice that are d12s or smaller no longer get rolled in Strikes made against him while Still Waters is up!

You’ve seen this stance before, during the hours you spent analysing him. It’s a tightly wound thing, no doubt a closely guarded secret of the Fishermen because as far as you can tell, through some mental trick, it only grows stronger the more frayed his nerves get.
But he can’t keep it up forever! You’ve watched him long enough to know that the desperate mental focus required fades the moment his opponent stops getting right up in his face. But that window, that tiny window you may need to pierce his defences, will only be there for an instant.

“The game is over now. There’s nothing left for you to do.”
You know he’s just trying to get under your skin and provoke you into crashing against his impervious defence but fuck, something about the dead-eyed way he says just sounds so certain.

>Marzio uses Taunt!

>Sofia’s Composure: 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4

“Think again!”
You angle forward as if you are about to try an attack anyway but instead you pivot and, your coat shrugging down into your off-hand as it was tailored to do, you whip it right into his face!

>TEMPERED COUNTING COUP

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 2d4

“It’s good enough that you came this far,” he says calmly. Or faux-calmly anyway. “Nobody expects more from you.”

“Shut up!”

>Mazio uses Taunt!

>Sofia’s Composure Pool: 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 3d4

You pull the coat back and as you do so, it hides your vision just enough for you to get around his side! Not enough to break through his defence but enough to keep your momentum despite it all.

>TEMPERED COUNTING COUP

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 3d4, 1d6

Your eyes lock once more and you find yourself with a choice. Just how are you going to go about this?

>Still Waters will continue for another queue!
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>>3167331
>Drowning Doubt: [ABILITY] Whenever an opponent has more than 4 dice of single type in their technique pool, siphon those dice to your Strike pool.

>Still Waters[STANCE]: When an opponent attempts a Strike, ignore all dice equal to or lower than the lowest value dice in your Composure pool; these dice remain in the opponent's strike pool. This stance is broken when the opponent makes no strikes in a queue.

>Abyssal Tooth: [STRIKE] Siphon all of the lowest value dice in your technique pool to your strike pool. Raise the value of one of the lowest value dice in your strike pool by 2 sides. Roll the lowest value dice in your strike pool.

>Scent of Blood: [FLOURISH] Add dice to your technique pool equal to the number and value of the lowest dice in your opponent's technique pool.

>Drag Down: [STRIKE] Siphon no dice. Tally the number of dice in your strike pool and deal that much damage.

>Lay Bait [Trick]: Add two dice equal to your lowest value composure dice to your opponent’s technique Pool. At the end of the turn, if your opponent selected a Strike this round, add two dice of equal value to your own Technique Pool.

>Taunt: [TRICK]Move the lowest valued dice from your opponent’s Composure Pool into their Technique Pool.
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>>3167319
Let me think about that. If we triple GT, and GT on the next queue, it'll leave us at 4d12. It won't do a thing if he does ANOTHER lay bait, though.

But that leaves him with a glaring weakness: Still Waters is down for longer than he might want. We can use that. It does seem pretty risky, though. Way simpler to just CC and punch him with whatever we'll have left.
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>>3167331
>DUEL STATUS: https://pastebin.com/v6xt4n2c

>Choose three of the following:

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>>Tempered Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Sofia cannot be defeated this turn. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Skin Unthorned: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, any Strike pool targeting you cannot roll d4s. They remain in the Strike Pool unrolled. Can only be active while you have a d6 in your Composure Pool.

>Flashing Steel: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. Damage from this Technique is dealt first to your opponent’s Strike Pool, treating the dice within as if they were Composure dice for the purposes of destruction. The difference between the highest dice value in the Strike Pool and the damage rolled is then dealt to the Technique Pool in the same fashion. And if the damage continues to overflow, the remainder is inflicted upon the Composure Pool in the same way.
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>>3167335
We can forget about Taunt. It won´t be of any use to get any more d4s for him,as he cannot get 5 into our Tecnique Pool.
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>>3167336
SU
CC
Gt
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>>3167340
Um. If we don´t do at least one GC, he might be able to Taunt us to hell and back.
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If he pulls three more Taunts, he wins. Gritted Teeth is necessary, and I apologize for voting for Brute Strike instead.

We need at least one Gritted Teeth, and two is better.
How will it play out if he does Lay Bait x3?
Gritted Teeth Lay Bait Tech:1d12 +1d6
Gritted Teeth Lay Bait Tech:2d12 +1d6 +1d8
Gritted Teeth Lay Bait Tech: 4d12 +1d6 +1d8

Next turn:
Focused Blow(1d6+1d8) +Try Your Luck vs Lay Bait, he's got 6d12 in Tech, can't use Tricks this queue.
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>>3167340
Yeah, but it he Taunts us thrice, we'll have no Composure left.
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>>3167341
I don´t think SU is reasonable here. Every d4 he rolls will be upped by two dice, so they virtually don´t compute as d4s
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>>3167344
Just realized that
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>>3167341
He's not going t oget any more d4s and our d6 is as good as done for, so SU is useless.
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>>3167343
>Focused Blow(1d6+1d8) +Try Your Luck vs Lay Bait, he's got 6d12 in Tech, can't use Tricks this queue.
You know, this isn't such a bad outcome. He'll need to hit us twice and we only need to hit him once.
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So, SU, FS and FB are out of the picture. And if Elegance gets us two more d4s, we are done.
Anything that we release should be a combination of Griteed Teeth and Counting Coup
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