You are Charlotte Fawkins, noted heiress, detective, adventuress, and heroine, cruelly trapped underwater (in the sticks!) after the completion of your quest to find your long-lost family heirloom. Tragically, nobody here l̶i̶k̶e̶s̶ ̶y̶o̶u appreciates your talents, even Richard— the snake who lives in your head. Right now, you are returning to camp after retrieving your other long-lost family heirloom, The Sword, from the clutches of your shapeshifting time-traveling clone's cop ex-boyfriend. It's complicated.The walk back along the rocky trail is punctuated by random and wanton acts of destruction. What is the saying? "When all you have's a sword, everything looks like a training dummy?" Or better, "when all you have's a flaming sword, everything looks like a tinder pile?"…Were Richard here, he would tell you that's the wrong saying. He would also tell you to not mow down scraggly weeds and thick waxy flowerheads and determined tufts of seagrass, and moreover to immediately cease lopping salt-laden branches off of bowing mangrove limbs, and certainly to stop trying to burn them. It would be unsafe, firstly, and secondly would draw attention, and thirdly would not work. You are underwater. And the fire licking the blade of The Sword isn't even real.Nevertheless, you crouch over a heap of smoldering sticks. Were Richard here, you'd be crowing about your mastery over the feeble whims of nature, but without an audience you're left ambivalent. You have, of course, achieved mastery over the feeble whims of nature. You've created heat from no heat, steam from no steam. But it's not exactly… on fire, no matter how close or long you hold The Sword.Perhaps you just need to try harder. Picking up one of the sticks, you hold it to The Sword and focus. To your delight, the fire weakly catches, blackening the stick's edges. But it won't leap to the rest of the pile, no matter your hissed invocations, and when you pause to wipe your eyes with your sleeve it winks out.So bonfires aren't in your future, most likely. Not out here in cold, unfun reality. (Or semireality?) But it should aid the cutting of flammable objects, probably including people. So that's not all that bad. (That is what you tell yourself, to stave off disappointment.)You stow The Sword in its scabbard for the rest of the brief hike. It is late afternoon when you arrive back, encroaching on early evening, and your tent flap is flapping in the lazy current. God-dammit. Did you forget to tie it up? You weren't in a rush, or anything. God, you're useless. Someone could've broken in. Horse Face could've broken in. He could've broken in, and stolen— he could still be in there! You draw The Sword and gird yourself. You can still make up for this grave error— you must make up for it, lest Richard—(1/2?)
You stifle your urge to yell, lest neighbors (or Monty) ask inopportune questions, and instead pound silently and blindly into your tent. You do not see the figure crouched on your cot before it lunges for you and drives you against your desk, rattling your models. It takes a good few moments before you recognize your assailant, aided mainly by the serrated spearhead she presses against your throat. Madrigal's chief weapon hasn't changed. She has: in your hasty, panicky estimate, she's degraded more in 7-some hours than in the past 10 days combined. She's just bones, at this point, strung together with skin and elastic bands and spite, arranged in a kind of Thallean mélange of juts and angles. She might be taller. Certainly her fingers are longer. And though she's looking at you, her eyes are unfocused and filmy.And there's still four days left, you think. "Okay, come on," you say. "I have a sword. It's in my hand. I could stab you in the gut faster than you could even start to cut my throat, and anyhow I know you don't want to cut my throat. You'd get in trouble. You could knock."Madrigal furrows her brow a fraction but otherwise doesn't move. Her chest rises and falls."I mean, honestly. Barging in is one thing, ambushing me is—" Is she understanding you? "Hey. Hello. I'm Charlotte? I'm your— your, um— I live here, and you hired me to- to investigate your stupid ex? Ellery? Hello? Do you remember—""What?" she says hoarsely. "…You hired me to investigate your stupid ex? Ellery?""I know that, dumbass." It's like you greased a stuck piston or flywheel. She's jittering back to life. "A), he's not stupid, okay, and B), why the fuck do you think I'm here? Remember? You were going to get me in to see him? And then you did not find me again, for the whole day, so guess what. I found you. Better have a plan, or I swear to god I'm going out myself.""…I would be better able to respond," you say delicately, "were your deadly weapon not pointed at my throat.""Huh? Oh." She pulls the spear away and collapses onto your cot. "Spill."> Well, with the loss of the Crown, it's Richard's plan or nothing. Which means you'll have to spend the rest of today and most of tomorrow hanging around with Madrigal, convincing the snake to hatch, or whatever the hell is supposed to happen. But at least you can keep an eye on her.> Spill?? Madrigal broke into *your* tent and **violently accosted** you. You will not stand for this shabby treatment! She wants to poke around a moderately suspicious office building solo while she's a shambling wreck of a person? It's literally none of your business! Let her!> Write-in.
>AnnouncementsWelcome back to Drowned Quest Redux! Nothing new to report. I have finals partway through this thread, so I may or may not have to take a break or cut off early, but we'll play it by ear.>ScheduleOne a day, sometimes more if the first one was short. If I miss a day, I'll try to compensate with multiple updates the next. There may be sporadic half-updates (no options) if I start writing too late in the evening, sorry in advance. I am in the PST timezone.>DiceWe use a 3d100 degrees of success system with crits. The base DC is 50. Modifiers may be applied to the roll or to the DC as are relevant. The # of rolls that match or exceed the DC determine the result. Probabilities may be found in the Dice and Mechanics pastebin.The degrees are:0 Passes = Failure1 Pass = Mitigated Success2 Passes = Success3 Passes = Enhanced Success0/100 = Critical Failure / Critical Success [regardless of other rolls]>MechanicsThe MC has a pool of 10* Identity ("ID"), which may be considered both HP and the measure of her current sense of self. It may be lost through physical, metaphysical, or emotional damage. It may be regained through write-ins, designated options, and at reasonable narrative points, including sleep. It may be spent on a flat +10 bonus to most rolls, as well as on more elaborate metaphysical effects. Dropping to 0 ID is bad.[*The ID cap is typically 13, but prior choices have lowered this until a sidequest is completed.]>Archivehttp://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=drowned%20quest%20redux>Twitterhttps://twitter.com/BathicQM>Pastebins (Who's Who updated)https://pastebin.com/u/BathicQM>"Redux"?This quest is a sort of sequel/reboot of the original Drowned Quest, which ran for eight threads in 2019. Reading the original isn't required.>I have a question/comment/concern?Tell me!
>LAST TIME ON DROWNED QUEST REDUXIn an attempt to “enhanced interrogate” the Yellow-Eyed Thing into coughing up your heart, you administered it a potent hallucinogen. It grows into a huge rose monster, and in fighting it you end up injecting yourself with the same hallucinogen. Inside your own mind. This has... mixed results, but eventually you do retrieve your heart. Instead of putting it back right away, you choose to plant it in your manse to see what it grows into.After you plant it, you continue to work on Gil's body, but are interrupted by the re-appearance of the Gold-Masked Person from thread 3! They kick your ass, steal the Crown with the assistance of Richard's asshole coworker, and vanish to parts unknown. Both you and Richard are fairly depressed by this, but Richard cooks up a stopgap solution: until you can retrieve the Crown, you'll continue to collect Law with the assistance of Gil's highly illegal Law-siphoning machine(s). You finish Gil's body so he'll have the requisite opposable thumbs to build, and Richard sticks around to supervise.Now un-supervised, you traipse off to Wind Court HQ, where you rave like a loon to a desk clerk then pester your gooplicate's old flame Jesse for the return of your old sword, The Sword. Jesse refuses, but promises to consider it if you two can capture the gooplicate first. You agree, but are interrupted by Jesse's boss Lucky, who ties you up, shoves you into a side room, and does some enhanced interrogation of his own. Under the influence of a truth...aura...thing, you admit that the Crown was stolen, and furthermore that you have no memory of any Wind Court involvement. Somewhat chastened, Lucky frees you, and after a little polite extortion from you forces Jesse to hand over The Sword. He then assigns the two of you to check out the gooplicate anyhow.
>TO-DOShort-term goals (Can be accomplished in ~one step):- Speak to Eloise about her job proposition- Speak to Horse Face about his Grande Mangrove findings- Spend your share of the heist $$$- Meet back up with Annie the wormLong-term goals (Require time investment or multiple steps to complete):- Procure permanent, non-melting body for Gil - Regain your missing ID - Finish your model- Investigate your gooplicate with Jesse- Find the Gold-Masked Person and their snake, reclaim the Crown- In the meantime, continue collecting and storing Law - GTFO of this underwater hellhole- Make friends???Mysteries:- Who or what drove Ellery into self-imposed exile?- Who or what is Namway Co.'s “Management”? What did they want with the clone of a snake?- What's the deal with that weird sword training flashback you had?- What kind of company(?) does Richard work for? What is its endgame? What does it want with you?- What is Richard actually like, behind the whole... dad thing?- What is a clone of you doing running around in the Fen? What was it saying about "Human Resources"?- What is the meaning of Jesse's spiral tattoo?- What is Ellery's patent for? Is it connected to his entire deal?- Who is Horse Face investigating, and why?- Who is the Gold-Masked Person? Why did they want your Crown? Where are they now?Ongoing assignments:- Inform Eloise (and the Wind Court?) about anything you discover about Namway Co.- Periodically check on Madrigal to make sure she's not in horrific agony from sort of turning into a snake or whatever--->Don't forget to scroll back up and vote!
>>4781267> Well, with the loss of the Crown, it's Richard's plan or nothing. Which means you'll have to spend the rest of today and most of tomorrow hanging around with Madrigal, convincing the snake to hatch, or whatever the hell is supposed to happen. But at least you can keep an eye on her.
>>4781286>>4782030>1Called and writing.
>You ask for a plan you get a planYou weren't totally sure about this when Richard proposed it, and you're even less sure with Madrigal staring you in the face. But what's the other option? She goes off on her own and passes out in the middle of town? Or worse? At least you can keep an eye on her, if she's stuck as a snake……Not that— not that you care about her well-being. Why would you? What has she ever done for you? No, if she passes out, wakes up in the mud, and tells Monty or whoever that you sent her there alone— well, that'd be another couple hours of lectures. You're just being pragmatic, avoiding that horrible fate. Yeah. You like the sound of that. 'Pragmatic.' 'Charlotte Fawkins, among her other notable qualities, was famed for her clear-eyed pragmatism in the face of—' You clear your throat. "Er, yes. Using my brilliant— my out-of-the-box mindset, I have concocted a—"«<I> have concocted a plan.»Richard is hovering just above Madrigal's head. You try not to let your eyes drift. What happened to his stupid secrecy thing? To making a fool of you in front of Monty, just to—«You don't need help in the fool department, Charlotte.»«As for this one…»«…»«That bridge has been crossed. So how about you give proper attribution.»«She trusts me more, after all.»How? How does she trust— "Richard has concocted a plan," you amend. "So you know it's real… professional.""He has? Oh, that's…" She bends her wrist forward and back. "That's good. That's good. What is it?"'I wring the last drops of fighting spirit out of your emaciated carcass, then my personal punchclock demon stuffs the entirety of you into a beady-eyed pocket-sized reptile'… hmm. "Well, um, it's—">[-1 ID: 6/10]You gag and clutch your throat, which feels as though something's crawling up it. When you speak, your voice is a fraction deeper. "—quite simple. We've discussed how your time is limited, yes? As is your suffering. I know you're suffering, Maddie.""I'm not fucking suffering," she snaps. (You note how sunken her eyes are.) "And, I don't know if anyone's ever told you this, but it's fucking creepy how you just stick your hand up her windpipe and— and puppet her jaw, right? While she's gawping like a dead fish—""Such are the pains of incorporeality," your mouth says evenly. "You are suffering. And for what? Some futile dream of your—" «Make quotation marks.» "—'old life?' It's gone, Maddie. It was gone when you attempted to play games with a snake. This clinging on… it's cowardice. The valiant thing to do is face your future head-on.""My future where I rip my spine out," Madrigal says. "With my bare hands."(1/3?)
Your voice acquires a tinge of annoyance. "No, that's— as I have explained, that is the default scenario, and not relevant to— listen. Here's what we are going to do. We are returning to your tent, we are ripping your festering bandage off, we may allot ten minutes for screaming and/or coping with the situation, and then we are performing a procedure. A safe, temporary, reversible procedure, which will allow for the comfortable concealment of your person, and which you may find yourself enjoying."You are having trouble deciding whether the last segment is an overstretch of the truth or simply a bald-faced lie. Madrigal is leaning back, all the way back, until she's flat against the cot with just her head upright. "You know, if there's one good piece of advice I got from my piece-of-shit brother, he told me, 'Maddie, never believe a man with too many adjectives.'""Am I a man?" "I don't— yeah? I mean, when I saw you, you were—" Madrigal pinwheels her arms. "Shit, don't make it complicated. Point is, is this a trick?""Why would it be a—""Because you're fucking evil?" There is a prolonged pause, during which you clear your throat. Madrigal scratches at flaky skin on her neck. "I am not," Richard says finally, "and that is— that is very hurtful to me, considering the time I have spent, and the variety of ways I have looked out for your best interest, Maddie, of which this is a mere variation on that theme. I have provided you with the best option, not to mention the only option, to see your darling gutless freakshow ever again, and to take that and spit in the face of my generosity— do you know how rare of a chance this is? Do you know how many people on the face of this earth could perform this procedure? I'll give you a clue, Maddie. One. And you are loo— you are listening to him. Do you understand?"->[ID: 4/(10)]You are, for the umpteenth time, locked somewhere in the recesses of your own body… though you've never paid much thought to where. The obvious pick would be your unmoored consciousness drifting to some darkened mind-nook, but suppose you were lodged in one of those organs nobody cares about? The gallbladder? The spleen? It'd comfort you to know you were in your spleen, almost. You don't like not having a location.You are having to entertain thoughts of spleens because it is Hour 10 and the alternative is listening to Madrigal giggle and peel her own skin off. Not even 'peel,' really— she just slides her fingernails across it and it sloughs away in great ghostly sheets, revealing thinner skin underneath it. Richard is reading the Corcass Courier.Where did he get a newspaper? You haven't the slightest, but it does seem to be a real one. Your finger jabs at an inside column. 'BEETLE PLAGUE UNLEASHED,' the headline screams. 'Insects of unusual origin swarm Lea flatland; harass populace; feed wildlife.' "That'd be ours, I'd expect."(2/3?)
Okay, so did you unleash a plague of beetles? Maybe? That's subjective. Is it your problem? They're miles and miles away. Is Richard not concerned by the skin-peeling?"It's just a reflex. Checks that the nerves are dulled. She's not drawing blood, is she?" Richard glances upward. She is not, through her veins are throbbing through her skin. "Then it's no issue. I told you, we got the ball rolling, and now it's just supervising for… oh, I don't know, 12-16 more hours? Just supervising. Not interfering, unless it goes off the ball track, if you will."You absolutely will not. Is he not at least concerned by the giggling?"Would you prefer for her to not enjoy herself?" Richard flips the page. "It's a win-win, Charlie. She's having the time of her life, and the snake obtains a positive feedback loop, which will gain momentum up until…" He mimes something breaking apart. "…we witness the miracle of life."God. You might prefer being drugged over listening to this. Scratch that, you would prefer to—"Just say the…" He trails off, and you spot why immediately: there's a green glow leaking through the walls of Madrigal's tent. It's either a rapid plankton bloom or somebody with a glorb, and it's not plankton season. But they're not here for you. Why would they be here for you? You don't even have a light on. Somebody out for a 3 AM stroll, more likely. The glow brightens and shrinks, and a shadow slides onto the canvas. "Dammit," Richard mumbles, and you are dragged from your spleen(?) and slammed back into the rest of your body. You gasp and blink. Your limbs have gone staticky. Madrigal does not appear to notice.The shadow shrinks too, as the person approaches the doorway, then rises as the glorb is set on the ground outside. To your horror, two hands push through the narrow gap in the doorway and fumble for the inside tie, then set about picking the knot. A thief? Horse Face? The actual Madrigal, and this Madrigal is a reflection or clone? You sit in petrified silence, your heart going a mile a minute, your hand on your scabbard— thank God you insisted on bringing The Sword. The knot loosens, the tie swings free, and the hands withdraw. The flap creaks open. The light of the glorb shines into the tent proper, casting Madrigal in an eerie glow and forcing you to fling your arm up over your sensitive, watering eyes. As a result, you don't see your intruder startle, only hear it: "Holy shit!" Mirror-Ellery's voice. You crack an eye open. He's in a plaid bathrobe and no shoes (just woke up?) and has flattened himself against the wall. The glorb has rolled to a stop against the leg of Madrigal's cot. Madrigal has stopped giggling."Y- y-" Mirror-Ellery is rubbing furiously at his already mussed hair. "Y- what are you doing?"(3/4)
You stand indignantly. "What are you doing? Breaking into the tents of decent women to— what— watch them sleep? That's disgusting! That's perverted! How dare you, Ellery WhateveryourlastnameisIforget, how dare you—""No, I-I— I couldn't sleep, I just wanted to check on— her— hey, hold on, you're the one s-sitting in the— in the dark, like a— what are you doing in here, Lottie? How long have you been here? In the dark?"> Your supreme powers of intuition told you Madrigal's mystery illness was going to… do… something… in 12-something hours… so you're just keeping an eye on her, okay?! God.> Actually, you meant to just watch her for a little bit earlier, but then you fell asleep in here, and he woke you up, actually, so how *dare* he wake you up— [Roll.]> So Madrigal's mystery illness is actually because a snake laid, like, mind eggs in her, and they've been incubating in her brain, and they're going to hatch today, right? So you're waiting for that.> Okay listen it doesn't matter why you're here alright. He can sit with you like a massive weirdo if he doesn't ask questions. Or bother you. Capiche?> Write-in.
>>4783859> Okay listen it doesn't matter why you're here alright. He can sit with you like a massive weirdo if he doesn't ask questions. Or bother you. Capiche?
>>4783859> Okay listen it doesn't matter why you're here alright. He can sit with you like a massive weirdo if he doesn't ask questions. Or bother you. Capiche?This is too horrible not to pick.
>>4783859> Okay listen it doesn't matter why you're here alright. He can sit with you like a massive weirdo if he doesn't ask questions. Or bother you. Capiche?Who knows, maybe this will be the one time Ellery doesn't ask questions about things. First time for everything.
>>4783976>>4784018>>4785170>Do a little quid pro quoCalled and writing shortly.
>>4783859>4A task he will no doubt fail
>Perform a miracleYou look down. You look sideways. You lace your fingers, then relace them, then relegate them to your pockets. Finally, you cough. "Look, I— you can stay if you don't ask questions, alright?""If I don't ask…?""See, you're doing it." You point at his face. "Look, it's easy for normal people, Ellery. Just don't do it. Don't ask them. And don't bother me either, okay?"Ellery glances over his shoulder, despite being against a wall. "I, uh— everything I do bothers you."Damn. He's right. "There's a first time for everything? Just— just sit there, and don't say anything, and I'll also sit here and not say anything, and neither of us will inquire into each other's motives, and therefore we can coexist in peace and harmony. Deal?""I already told you my—" (You shoot him a death glare.) "Shit. Okay, I guess. As long as you're not here to— oh, gods, Maddie." His attention has flitted mid-sentence to Madrigal, whose eyes are wide and bloodshot, and whose knees are half-crooked to her chest. "Maddie, what is that?"«As long as he loses interest before the hatching, I suppose this is acceptable.»Thanks, Richard, you didn't ask— Ellery is holding the glorb in one hand and running Madrigal's shed skin through the other. "Is this your— mmph!"This time, it's not his attention span that cuts him off: Madrigal, sensing opportunity, has hooked her hands around his neck and dragged him into a kiss. He doesn't resist, but he doesn't seem to know what to do with his hands, or with his eyes, which keep flicking at you. You look discreetly away. «I take the 'acceptable' back.»After a painful amount of time, Madrigal withdraws, but she keeps her pincer grip on Ellery's neck. Ellery is red. The glorb is again on the floor. "Y- you- Maddie, we- it's- it's not—""I'm gonna die," she says, and beams toothily."…What?" He draws away. "No you're— you're just ill, Maddie, you're not— (DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS?)" he signs at you."NO QUESTIONS," you sign back.He raises his eyebrows incredulously but is stopped from further action by Madrigal gripping his wrists. "I will. Don't look like that, Ell, don't you get it? I'm happy!" She giggles, as if to make the point. It's objectively a revolting sound, coming from Madrigal, but you've been hearing it for ten hours. It's white noise. "This is the best thing that could've happened. I can start over."Ellery is maintaining full eye contact with you. "…You'll be… dead.""Your dead," she says, and grins wider than a person should. "Your dumbass— I didn't get it, Ell. But now I get it. The dead where you're still breathing, but it's not you who's breathing, yeah? It's someone else, with your face and name, who's gonna go out and fix your fuck-ups— I've hurt people, Ell, you know? And now I can—" (1/3?)
"…Die? That's insane, Madrigal, you don't deserve— people like you how you— you've got— you're not in your right mind, alright? And it's okay. It's okay. I've- I've been there. But you're gonna regret— I'll fix this, you hear? I-I'll fix this, and you'll— WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER," he mouths at you."NO QUESTIONS," you sign again.He has a look like he's going to hit you, or something (imagine that, Ellery hitting you), but Madrigal clutches at his lapel. "You can't fix it," she stage-whispers. "It's already over. I'm dying."Then she giggles.-She giggles intermittently for the next several hours, then passes out cold just as you were contemplating grabbing a big rock from outside and doing it yourself. Ellery is snoring gently in an armchair he pulled from nowhere, which you find irritating, but it beats him brooding. He's just not cut out for brooding.You're unsure if you ever fell asleep: if you did, it was either brief enough to be dreamless or Richard slipped you a mickey unannounced. In any case, it's morning, your head hurts, and you're bored. >[10/(10) ID]You already asked Richard to knock you out and take over until something interesting happened, but he begged off with some combination of 'boredom builds character,' 'it's unhealthy for me to be in your body for long stretches,' and (unspoken) 'I don't want to sit here and do nothing, either.' So you have resolved to return to your tent, grab your book of cross-words, and try your damndest to forget the solutions. It's not like you're shirking your duty: you'll only be there for a minute or two, and Madrigal isn't due for another six hours, or something like that. Ellery's asleep. So what's gonna happen?You claw through your hair with your fingers to try and make it look like you didn't sleep in a chair and leave. Monty bumps into you.«To be clear, there is no such thing as fate.»«But why tempt it, Charlotte.»"Charlotte!" Monty spreads his arm and entirely ignores your death glare. (Why does it only work on Ellery?) "Wonderful! Just the woman I was looking for. Listen, have you seen Jean?""Who?" You pause. "What, the doctor lady? Isn't she your friend?""…Ye-es, but… well, frankly, I don't know where she is, or I wouldn't be asking. From the look of it, she packed up and left suddenly… didn't leave a note… I'm not saying you know, but you, er, notice things."Is that a compliment? That's a compliment, right? "Uh… yes, I do, but I haven't been— I've been busy." Basically true. "Have you asked Eloise?""She doesn't know." Monty rubs his shoulder stump. "Thank you anyway. If you do spot anything, would you tell me?"He's now ignoring the 'go away' energy you're violently manifesting. "Sure?""Excellent. Thank you, Charlotte. Er— were you coming from Madrigal's tent?"You don't say anything.(2/3?)
"It was very kind of you to check on her… I know she's been in a bad sort of way. Really, I should— I need to pop in. Thank you for reminding me." He pats your shoulder and darts away. You blink.«Good job.»Well, it's fine, isn't it? He'll be gone by the time you get back.-He is not gone by the time you get back, cross-word book and crayon in hand. Rather, he's locked in grave conversation with Ellery, who has apparently woken up at the worst possible time, and— Branwen? What the hell. They all look at you as you come in like you're the third wheel in your very own force-Madrigal-to-birth-a-snake-then-put-her-into-the-snake scheme. "You-" you say, "you can't- you can't all be here— that's not— I was here first, okay? And you're crowding her.""She's unconscious," Monty says reasonably."That's not—" You can't have people here! They'll ask questions! 'Hurr, Charlotte, why is there a snake coming out of her leg.' 'Durr, Charlotte, why are you stuffing her in the snake.' "You are all polluting this space with your— your negative energy, okay, and— I need to be here. Alone. So I can… re-positivize the energy."«That is a new one.»You thought it was decent, but nobody seems impressed. Branwen stops gnawing at a toothpick long enough to level a withering gaze at you. "Don't take this the wrong way… but you ain't her friend.">[-1 ID: 9/(10)]"Oh," you say. "And you are? All of you? Huh?""Yup." Branwen turns back.Monty appears more apologetic. "…Listen, from what Ellery here is saying… things have taken a turn for the worst, Charlotte. It might be best if you, er, stepped out for a while… I don't mean this harshly, but you and her have had a contentious history, from my understanding. And given the circumstances…"You open your mouth.(Choices next.)
> *Excuse* you? They have no right to kick you out of here! Stand your ground!>>[A] You- you don't- you weren't /close,/ or anything, but you and Madrigal had a— a— there was something, okay? "Friends," if you have to call it that. You *deserve* to be here. [Roll, writing-in examples will help]>>[B] A contentious history?! Maybe that's what they, the ignorant, 'saw,' but you were friends. Close friends. Bosom friends. You've always wanted to have a bosom friend. Why wouldn't you be able to stay? (Advanced Gaslighting.) [Tough roll.]>>[C] Listen— listen. You're reasonable, right? You'll compromise. Maybe you can have one of them here. Or two. Maybe two. (Who do you let stay? Ellery/Monty/Branwen) [Roll.]>>[D] No, see here. You *know* what's wrong with her, and what do you also know? That more than one person around is bad. Real bad. So they need to trust your expert advice and clear right out. [Tough roll.] >>[E] Write-in.> Well… the main point of you waiting was to make sure she didn't start seizing up or foaming at the mouth or whatever, and if there's a bunch of people supervising that probably won't matter. Make a tactical retreat and attempt to kick them out when the time is right.> Write-in.
>>4785478>[D] No, see here. You *know* what's wrong with her, and what do you also know? That more than one person around is bad. Real bad. So they need to trust your expert advice and clear right out. [Tough roll.]
>>4785478>2choose our battles?
Rolled 2 (1d2)>>4786407>>4786490Flipping. Full disclaimer: I'll probably get a short update out if  takes it, but I may or may not have to push it off if [1D] does. Got something to do tonight.
>>4787366>2Short update it is. Writing soon.
>Ow your ego…And close it. You can't think of anything to say.«They're right.»Richard coils around your neck.«Of course they're right. You're not her friend, Charlotte.»«She hates you. She only speaks to you because you are useful. A pawn.»Well, that's not— you're sure that's not—«And she'll hate you more for sucking the life from her. As will they. Look at them.»Monty's outward sympathy belies a hard set to his jaw. Branwen is icy. Ellery is avoiding your gaze.«You do nothing but inflict misery on others, and they can sense it.»«They may not know <you> made her take a turn for the worse, but…»«…they aren't far off, are they.»Okay, but— Madrigal asked you to, and— and it was Richard's plan, anyhow, and—«Excuses.»«Now go on. Stand up for yourself, Charlotte Fawkins. Prove them wrong.»You can't think of anything to say. And your throat would be too clogged to say it.«Ah, you can't.»«Pathetic.»«I suppose you'll just have to leave, then.»Branwen has folded her arms. Monty has tilted his head. Ellery looks a bit shamefaced, but— well— it's Ellery. He always looks like that. There's nothing for you here.You leave.>[-2 ID: 7/(10)]->Please select TWO options to get done while you wait for the afternoon. They will be summarized. Rolls may be required if the outcome is variable.> Speak to Horse Face about the Grande Mangrove information.> Inform Eloise about your gooplicate; learn about her job offer. (Optional: trade information with Eloise. What for what?)> Continue work on your model.> ̶Ha̶n̶g̶ ̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ supervise Gil's engineering; check on the status of your heart.> Write-in. (Nothing complex, please! It's a summary)
>>4787568> Speak to Horse Face about the Grande Mangrove information.> Continue work on your model.May as well get some more info out of Horseface before the Wind Court decides to hunt his model-thieving weirdo ass down. Speaking of models though, we should try and finish ours while we're killing time.Damn it, we should've brought it with us while we were watching Madrigal! Kill two gulls with one stone after all. Well, better late than never anyways.
>>4787665>Damn it, we should've brought it with us while we were watching Madrigal!I considered having you do this, but it's not super feasible-- you'd have to haul all your supplies over, Madrigal's tent doesn't have a table to work on, and (even if it's entirely illogical) you'd be too embarrassed to do it in front of somebody.
>>4787568Ah, isolating the victim from other relationships. Classic abuser tactic.> Speak to Horse Face about the Grande Mangrove information.> ̶Ha̶n̶g̶ ̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ supervise Gil's engineering; check on the status of your heart.
>>4787568Ooooph, Richard didn't need to be so mean about it>1>4Model is tempting but we need Gil's toadying to cheer us back up.
>>4787665>>4787846>>4788370>1>>4787846>>4788370>4>>4787665>3Called for 1 and 4 and writing shortly.>>4787846>Ah, isolating the victim from other relationships. Classic abuser tactic.Got it in one.
>>4789676Richard has been really by the book in this regard. And I'm thoroughly incensed by the anons enabling him.
>>4789779>by the book in this regardThat's great to hear, because it's definitely a purposeful characterization.In regards to enabling Richard: I think it's realistic to struggle with breaking free of three years of internalized abuse, so I certainly don't take issue with players going in circles or even leaning into it, but on the other hand... "make friends???" is on the to-do list for a reason. I encourage discussion!
>Gimme the deets>Say hiFor no particular reason, you resolve to check in on Gil. It is certainly not because you're seeking of the company of someone who can't turn you away. And it's not because he's incapable of hating you, either. Or at least saying that he hates you. If you must provide an impetus, Richard, it is because Gil is like a small twitchy dog and gets anxious if he's left alone too long. He'll shred the furniture if you don't say hello.Fortunately, you find the furniture untouched, though Gil has repurposed an entire corner of the manse for his own ends. Among the winches, workbenches, and wrenches he's left scattered about stands an ominous black monolith. It gives you the creeps, but Gil, who has stripped to his oil-stained undershirt, slaps it with the demeanor of a proud father and introduces it as 'Mark II.' And, ignoring your protestations, he opens it up to show you its guts. Mainly, it's delicate wires strung up in a manner that reminds you of a loom, or a complicated harp. Below the wires is a row of clear phials, which feed into a network of tubing and filters, which all drain into a box. You can't make heads or tails of it all, no matter how much Gil attempts (poorly) to explain, and eventually Richard intervenes.None of it matters, he says, because we aren't using the Mark II. Or the Mark III, which is half the size, egg-shaped, and in smoking pieces on the floor. (It used too much glass.) We may use the Mark IV, but only if Gil gets it down to backpack-sized or smaller. And there's been little success on that front, because someone's advice has been repeatedly rejected…Gil says he doesn't know what manner of thing Richard is, but he sure isn't a mechanic or an engineer, and therefore he doesn't take advice from someone's ass. (The effect is somewhat marred by the stuttering.) Anyhow, he says, it will be figured out soon, and you're welcome to watch. As long as you don't offer advice either. And actually, while you're here, he was thinking that if he got it compact enough he could probably wire it up in his chest? Nobody would be able to spot it or steal it that way. And, er, well— seeing the look on your face, he clams up. You say you'll think about it.Watching Gil work is oddly pleasant, and you feel an untoward spark of excitement whenever he politely asks for you to pass him this or that object. Once he asks you if you've ever used a screwdriver. You have read about screwdrivers, you hedge, but whether you have used one, as such— that's, er, that's not— well, that's hardly relevant, is it?Gil remarks that it's relevant when this hatch over here has to be screwed on, but it's okay, he'll do it. You will not let him do it. You let him show you how to do it, pretend that you didn't learn anything, and are thereafter on screw duty. You feel important.(1/4?)
During a break, you sit on one of the toppled columns and reflect. Why did you have fun? It makes no sense. You don't care about Gil's dumb machines, and using a screwdriver makes your wrist hurt. And it's not Gil, who you've decided you don't like as a person very much. So what—It was the same thing with Ellery, wasn't it? And his blood testing. About the only thing you care less about than blood testing is Ellery, and still, it was— it was kind of fun, too. Because it was with someone.Richard is looking at you. That can't be right, you think. You're perfectly capable of independence. You function better alone, without other people's stupid ideas getting in the way. And none of them are worthy of hanging around you, anyways. And you like being alone. You know that, because it's been your mantra for 16 years. You like it. You enjoy it. You prefer it. But then Gil sidles up with beetles where a head should be and you startle and he apologizes profusely if a tad insincerely and scuttles back to grab his head from the workbench, and explains that he was just 'taking a breather,' and asks you with a shade of bashfulness if you would like to see an attachment he was working on— when Richard wasn't looking— you have to deal with that guy? You start to say no, but something hot and irrational seizes you, and you agree. The attachment screws in where Gil's left forearm should go. It is a semi-functional flamethrower. It is, he mumbles, inspired by you.Your day is instantly un-ruined.>[+3 ID: 10/(10)]You do not thank Gil, or acknowledge your deep appreciation of his flamethrower, lest he start getting ideas. You say mildly that it's rather interesting, and that you should probably be taking your leave. It's probably afternoon by now, and if you missed Madrigal's thingy that'd just be embarrassing. "Oh, okay," Gil says. If he's disappointed he doesn't say so.Before you leave, you check on your heart. It has sprouted two velvety leaves that twitch when you poke them. Richard speculates that it will be some time before anything really interesting comes of it. A few days, at least.You leave.—Horse Face is remarkably phlegmatic about you showing up two days later than you promised. It's just the first run, he says. He'll be able to tell you what he dug up before you ask next time. You consider telling him he sounds like a lunatic, but upon further contemplation you decide he knows that, and that's the point. You hate Horse Face.At least he hands you the information without fuss. It's a single typewritten piece of paper. You look skeptical. Horse Face says he condensed it, unless you wanted a dozen ripped notepad pages, in which case he's very sorry for your loss.You thank him begrudgingly (you have little desire to piss off someone with nothing to lose) and clear out as fast as possible. Returning to your tent, you squat on your desk chair and give the paper a read.(2/4?)
"Dear Miss Fawkins,The following is a summation of my knowledge of this 'Grand Mangrove.' I have never been, nor studied the subject in-depth, so I'm afraid this knowledge has some major deficiencies. Still, I hope you find this useful, and wish you the best of luck in your expedition.- Truthfully, I have nothing about a 'Grand Mangrove' by that name. I suspect that is not the common term for it— perhaps it was invented by your source?— or if it is, that the people using it are not the same as those discussing it with me.- However, the motif of a tree that 'cuts the sky and taps the void' (which is strikingly similar to your description of this Mangrove) is commonplace in the religions of the southeast 'Sea-Lung People' (Q!lw) — it is variously described as either their origin or a 'place of dying*,' ie a bridge or ladder to the afterlife.**- As a result, some Q!lw will speak of a dying friend or relative as 'visiting the tree,' in a purely metaphorical/euphemistic sense — but I have also heard of detailed plans being made to visit said tree, so I believe there is at least a tree that represents the 'place of dying,' and that Q!lw visit it as a pilgrimage or ritual(?). I am unsure if this tree has 'true' surface/void properties — perhaps it is symbolic and simply a large tree — but it is the best I have for you.- By my reckoning, this Mangrove is nearly certainly inside Fenpelok Reserve, owing to both to it being a large tree and the significant Q!lw population, but unfortunately I can't provide you with directions. May I recommend asking a Q!lw friend? Either he or she will have straightforward instructions, or if he or she leans more orthodox he or she may offer a 'vision quill' — which I am to understand is the rib bone of a local kind of fish, dipped in a small quantity of venom, often taken recreationally — which will undoubtedly aid you. (If you are offered a quill I highly recommend the experience, at least once.)- On the chance that you are unacquainted with any Q!lw, firstly, fix that (they are a charming and high-spirited people), and secondly, while I have not yet made contacts in this area, I am certain others have.Again, best of luck,C.M.S. GarvinPS. I'd appreciate it if you'd inform me when you leave for this — for future reference*Presumably because both the air of the surface and the null-space or 'nonreality' underneath would be fatal to them? **Which is concieved of as universally negative ("Hell"), at least among the orthodox, as the ocean is considered to be gifted to them by the gods and thus 'the best possible place'"…He's right, you don't know any fish. Well, there's Felicia, you guess. (Wonderful.) It's possible some hang around at the Nothing? And — well — you know Madrigal and Branwen know some. Both are preoccupied at the moment, but… it's a later problem.(3/4)
The now problem: it is definitely afternoon, and you have an itchy feeling that it's almost time. You breathe deeply, fold the letter up, and begin your slow walk back to Madrigal's tent.The first thing you notice is the crowd. Nobody is crowd-ed, per se, but there are a whole lot of people just-so-happening to linger in the space— and you can immediately tell why. Madrigal is wailing. The noise is ragged, pitchy, and inhuman.You rush forward, acutely aware of the dozen pairs of eyes on you, and attempt to burst triumphantly through the flap. The flap is tied. There's no time to stand there and pick it, and you have no interest in speaking to anyone inside. Fine, then! You whip out The sword from its scabbard and slice the flap in two. The two halves swing open. You step through.Ellery stares. Branwen is looking at Madrigal. Eloise chuckles. Eloise? Monty, seated at Madrigal's bedside, stands abruptly. "Charlotte! You— er—"You're not looking at him. You're following Branwen's gaze: Madrigal is bent like a doll on her cot, her shoulders and legs level, her knees bent entirely the wrong way, her back in a perfect U-shape. Her hands are poised stiffly by her midsection. All of this would be grotesque enough were it not for one of her thighs, which is squirming and moving like it's a living thing. Which you suppose it is. Or will be."—we, um— that was a wholly inappropriate way to treat you, and I— and we, of course, owe you an apology, Charlotte—"…A what? Monty is tripping over his words to— apologize? To you? Is the weird look on his face guilt?Huh.> Well, of course you'll graciously accept! You are, after all, owed one. And that means you'll take your place— right— here. (Don't attempt to kick them out yet. They can see the snake, as long as it's you who gets to hang onto it.)> That *was* a wholly inappropriate way to treat you, and they deserve to be punished for it. You want the tent for yourself. (It will be much less hassle if it's just you and Madrigal.) [Roll.]> Whatever. You have just returned after hours of intensive research, in which you have determined that she needs space. Lots of space. Without people besides you. [Roll.]> Okay, maybe some of them can stay. The lowest-maintenance ones. (Who do you let stay? Monty / Branwen / Ellery / Eloise) [Easier roll.]> Write-in.
>>4790025> Okay, maybe some of them can stay. The lowest-maintenance ones. (Who do you let stay? Monty / Branwen / Ellery / Eloise) [Easier roll.]Ellery. He seems ineffectual enough to not screw things up for us.
>>4790025> Okay, maybe some of them can stay. The lowest-maintenance ones. (Who do you let stay? Monty / Branwen / Ellery / Eloise) [Easier roll.]>Ellery and Branwen.Ellery, because he's the one who cares the most about Madrigal, and Branwen, because she knows the most about snakes iirc. She might have insights about it that could help us out.
>>4790025> Okay, maybe some of them can stay. The lowest-maintenance ones. (Who do you let stay? Monty / Branwen / Ellery / Eloise) [Easier roll.]Branwen, maybe she's been a snake midwife before. Ellery too, if it breaks the tie.
>>4790112>>4790349>>4791625>4>>4790702>2Cool. Called for  and kicking out Monty and Eloise. In recognition of the  vote, you'll be attempting to do so via guilt-tripping.>Please roll me 3 1d100s + 5 (+5 Dramatic Entrance) vs. DC 45 (+10 In A Bad Way, +0 Just Spectating, -5 Complexes Out The Wazoo, -10 You're Supervised) to clear out Monty and Eloise without fuss!Spend 1 ID for a +10 to all results? You are at 10/(10) ID.> Y> N
Rolled 87 (1d100)>>4791797> NShould be alright to not spend ID on this. two successes will be enough, and we got a better than 50% chance to roll over it on all three dice.
Rolled 24 + 5 (1d100 + 5)>>4791797>Ywe're at 10/10if we happen upon an ID restoring event right now it would be WASTED
Rolled 1 + 5 (1d100 + 5)>>4791797>N
>>4791992This is beauty in its purest form.
>>4791821>>4791924Good start...>>4791992>1Welp. We're doing this again. Remember when it took you guys like 6 or 7 threads to get your first Nat 1?As usual, I'm going to have to take some extra time to think about what this entails. Good news: you can't lose the Crown twice...?
>>4791996Okay, I have something reasonable. Called and writing.
>Press your luck>92, 29, 1 vs. DC 45 — CRITICAL FAILUREThe thought seizes you: this is an opportunity. Monty is pinning a target square on his own back and offering you the darts. You already know about all his stupid hang-ups, and you know how flustered he gets he thinks he's done something bad— which, of course, he has. So if you give him a friendly reminder of just how guilty he ought to feel, he's bound to clear right out, and that's one of them down—"Yes," you say. "You do owe me an apology."Monty's grin is strained. "…I am trying to issue one, so…"«You don't believe him, do you.»"That? You call that an apology?" You scoff. "Those were words. Empty words. Look at you. Look at that- that- that fake smile. You don't care, do you? You're numb to the fact that you drove me away, me, an- an innocent, well-meaning lady of considerable status, who came only to pay my respects to a good- an acquaintance of mine! You drove me away! And there is not a single drop of remorse in your entire—""Um, I don't think that's—" Ellery says. Monty cuts him off. "That's not true, and I think you know that, Charlotte. If you honestly came back with the intention to provoke—""Not true?" you spit. "Then prove it. Go on! Leave! Oh, wait, you can't, because you have no empathy. You don't have anything, Montgomery. You're all handsome and wholesome on the outside, but cut you open and you're just a— a husk! And I don't know if you've always been that way, or if it bled out of you when you were doing all that murdering, or if that mask—"Monty's grin has collapsed into… nothing. He has no expression at all. But his shoulders are hunched, and when he takes a plodding step forward your gut tells you it's high time to reverse course. "…But, uh, you know, maybe that's not true, and you really could prove me wrong very easily if you just left for a short period of time, maybe 20 minutes… maybe… Monty?"Is it dark in the tent? It shouldn't be, it's broad daylight outside and the canvas isn't that thick, but certainly it's true that you're finding it hard to see much. Perhaps more time passed than you thought? Or there's a solar eclipse? But you can see Monty quite well, as if he were spotlit. Beads of sweat are forming on his forehead. "…Monty?" you try again. "Um, I didn't mean to—""Didn't mean to what, Charlotte?" Something dark is leaking from his nose."Didn't mean to—" Well, you can't just say it. "—you know— cause any, um, harm? I was just kidding around. …Haha.""You weren't. But it's okay. Please, don't worry about it." There is nothing kind in his voice. "You're right."(1/3)
You step backward. He steps forward. "You're right, Charlotte. My apology was empty. I felt nothing when I kicked you out, an innocent, well-meaning lady of status. I never feel anything. I have no empathy. I am hollow. I am a husk. All my humanity bled out from all the FUCKING killing I was doing and the FUCKING mask took the rest. You're right! You got it bang on. Everything you know is a façade."He is now advancing rather quickly, and you are backpedaling as fast as your legs can take you. Either the tent has become remarkably large and empty, or neither of you are actually moving, or you are not in the tent any longer. "There's no need to get ironic," you plead. "It was just—""I'm not being ironic, Charlotte." His nosebleed(?) is trickling onto his collar. "I'm perfectly serious. You're right about some other things, too, as a matter of fact. I have never stuck my neck out for you. I have never stuck my neck out for anyone, as I only look out for myself, and I don't care about anybody else. I don't care about anything, really. I certainly don't care about anything I've ever done. It doesn't eat at me. It doesn't haunt my every waking hour and it doesn't haunt my dreams, either. Why would it?! Why would I give a FLYING fuck, Charlotte. I'm asking."He may be asking, but you are becoming acutely aware that he is gaining on you, so you skip the answer and break into a sprint. A mistake. It's like running through tar. Monty, sweaty, eyes shining, catches you and wrenches you around. "I'll tell you why I wouldn't," he says. His black-gloved hand is around your neck. "It's because I'm a murderer, aren't I? On any scale you care to look at. And that is permanent. And unchangable. And irredeemable. I could cry and beg and swear up and down and beat myself blue and repent and repent and repent for the rest of my life and the stain would NEVER leave me. And people I know would NEVER, EVER stop bringing it up."You can't respond, as he is choking you."So why do I bother!" he says. "Tell me what the point of this is, Charlotte. It's not easier, that's for fucking sure. It doesn't accomplish anything. I still feel terrible. And it's not like the alternative has consequences. What'll happen. I die again?"Your gargled 'please stop choking me' noises give way to a scream as Monty's hand— his other hand, tenebrous and four-fingered— braces against your face. It burns like acid. It is extracting from you a promise.>[MALUS GAINED: Exploiter's Brand — -15 to rolls attempting to prey on Monty's weaknesses, -5 to rolls attempting to prey on anybody's weaknesses]>[-3 ID: 7/(10)]And it may have stayed there forever, or at the least Monty might have said more, if a clamor had not broken just then through the blackness: "Monty!!" "MONTY!" "What the shit!" "Get off—" (2/3)
Monty whips around, and then you're inside the tent, gasping for breath, as three people wrestle Monty off you. He bears the dazed expression of a sleepwalker even after Ellery wrenches his hands off your throat, and only seems to start back to reality after Eloise cuffs him in the jaw. "Whuh—""Tried strangling her," Branwen says. "I—?" He stares at you, then winces. "Oh, God.""Yup.""Oh, God. I have to—" He shakes off Ellery's grip, brushes his hair from his forehead, and speedwalks out the sliced door. Eloise snorts. "I'll keep an eye on him. Have fun, kids."She leaves, too, and then it's just you and Ellery and Branwen and— and Madrigal, who at that moment screams and collapses from her rigid position. A second later, she's bolt upright, clutching her thigh— which is peeling open on its own. Pus and blood ooze out around a nearly head-sized chunk of fatty tissue, which falls unceremoniously to the ground. If you weren't looking, you may not have spotted the black-and-white shoestring worming its way out. «<Catch it.>»You fling yourself to the ground in the nick of time and capture the snake between your cupped hands. It wiggles reproachfully. "…Maddie?" Ellery says. "Maddie, are you—""Lotta buildup for not much," Branwen grouses, as she picks her way over to you. "Got anything there?"> Let Branwen and Ellery take however long they need before having Richard start. It'll waste good time, but you'll get them out of your hair.> Start immediately, but don't explain what you (/Richard) are doing. You don't want interference, and you don't want to burn daylight. It shouldn't look too weird, you think, at least not at first.> Now that Madrigal is officially not harboring a freaky mind parasite, she can probably talk, right? Get her to explain that she's on board with what you're doing. So it's cool. Start immediately, though Ellery and Branwen will know what you're up to, for better or worse.> Write-in.
>>4792336> Let Branwen and Ellery take however long they need before having Richard start. It'll waste good time, but you'll get them out of your hair.
>>4792336>1Dang we should apologize to Monty. If we don't he might apply more maluses that guide us towards being a better person.
>>4792698Wouldn't that be an empty apology though?
>>4792728Maybe, but we gotta start somewhere
>>4792698>>4792583>1Called and writing shortly.>>4792698>Dang we should apologize to Monty.You'll certainly have the chance to talk to Monty after you wrap up the S.A. stuff, though realistically that might be in another thread or two. I'll leave the matter of apologizing up to a vote when the time comes.
>Wait it outIs there a point to keeping it secret? You can't think of one. The contentious part is putting Madrigal in the snake, not the snake itself, and anyhow you have no doubt she'll be waving it in everyone's face once she's feeling better. "Yeah," you say, uncupping your hands a fraction. "It's the—"Branwen bends down to look. "The diawl bach. Yup. Would like to handle it, if'n you don't mind.""It's kind of… squirmy." It's still bashing against your hands. "I mean, as long as you'll give it back—"Branwen prises apart your fingers and scoops the snake up by its midsection, hoisting it up to eye level businesslike. "Good specimen. Alert, good luster, temperate settles down when it grows, or so's I've heard. Could sell for a lot.""Um, I don't think it's yours to—"She shoots you a dirty look. "I know. I'm jus' saying. It's Fitzpatrick's, since it was her leg, and if I recollect properly it's s'posed to have bits of her in. So if there's anyone to decide— hoy, Patty." She waves the snake in Madrigal's direction."Bran? I- I can't—" Madrigal's eyes are unfocused. "Where are you? Come here.""Wh—" ("She's blind," Ellery signs. "I think.") Branwen glances at you. "I'm on my way," she says louder, and carries the snake to Madrigal's cotside. "I'm right here, Patty. Left." Madrigal, who was patting the empty air on her right, switches sides and prods around until she finds Branwen's free hand. She grasps it earnestly. "Oh, Bran, I was telling Ellery here that I don't know what the heck I'd do without you guys. Thank you for being with me… I've been such a darn wreck, I don't know how I was upright. Is Monty around? I thought I saw him—""He tried to choke—" Ellery signs, then stops. "He tried to choke Lottie to death, then he left," he says aloud."Gosh." Madrigal furrows her brow. "Really?""Yeah.""Does he have rabies? Charlotte, are you— she's here, right?" (Ellery mm-hms.) "Are you alright? Gosh, I mean, I know we've had our differences, but… that's not just right. To death?""She's fine, Maddie, you're the one who just— I don't know what the fuck just happened, to be totally honest— but it didn't look good, is what I'm trying to say. Are you alright."Madrigal interlaces her fingers. "Well… I can't see squat, so that's not too great, but I can move around, and talk, so I'd call that a proper win overall. Thanks for asking, Ell. I really do appreciate it." She smiles.What is wrong with her? Maybe you were right, and she is a clone. Madrigal isn't sweet. Madrigal isn't appreciative. It's possible you could argue she had a near-death change of heart, but that doesn't remotely explain the 'heck's and 'gosh'es, not to mention the thickening of her formerly subtle accent. You start to sign, to ask if Ellery or Branwen has noticed, but their backs are both turned to you. Branwen is handing the snake over to Madrigal. "Here's your kid.""What?" Ellery says.
"Oh… hi, buddy." Madrigal grips the snake clumsily. "Hi there. She's warm."Branwen scratches her nose. "Did just come outta your leg.""I guess that makes sense. Hey, there. Did you just come out of my leg? Did you? I'm gonna call you…" She shakes it gently. "…Matches, since you came from a matchbook, didn't you? Didn't you, buddy? You— ow! Shit!"The newly christened Matches has sunk its (her?) fangs into Madrigal's pointer finger. "Motherfucker! You little bastard, you—" She blinks. "You— what? What's…"As Ellery fidgets and Branwen watches skeptically, she pries Matches' fangs from her finger and squints. "Frick. Shoot. Heck. Gosh-darnit. Son of a gun?" She jams them back in. "Damn. Shit. Okay… okay, what the actual… the fucking thing is censoring me.""Why is there a snake," Ellery breathes."It came out of my leg, dumbass. I'm serious. Is this— is this normal? Charlotte? Where's—"You clear your throat. "Er, I think it's actually… uncensoring you, to be specific?""Okay, the fucking snake is uncensoring me, Charlotte. Thank you. Why is the fucking snake uncensoring me, Charlotte? And why can't I see?" «I told her she wouldn't come out unscathed.»«And so she hasn't. I don't know why she's surprised.»"Um…" you say. "…I think the snake stole your cuss words. And your sight. And your… bitchiness.""Oh." She doesn't seem to know what to say. "Well.""Sorry," you say. You're not that sorry. It was her own fault this happened, from what Richard has told you, and if she's a little nicer when she doesn't have a snake around you're hardly calling that a loss. However insincere your condolences are, though, Madrigal seems to accept them, and her attentions turn back to Branwen and Ellery. She's standoffish toward Ellery, probably because she remembered the not-real part, but he doesn't seem to notice. After some persistence, he extracts from her a full explanation of why there was a snake in her leg and how it has anything to do with curse words. They get into a miniature spat over Madrigal not telling him sooner (Madrigal: I tried to!), which is defused by the snake unclamping from her finger. Branwen offers some interjections here and there, but eventually wanders back to you. You ask her if there was any chance she overheard Monty furiously monologuing in your direction. She squints. "He jes' sorta walked over and grabbed you.""Oh," you say. You don't know what you expected.It takes a good 25 minutes before Ellery has worn himself out, and Madrigal's clearly getting antsy. She brushes off his offer to check on her, then makes a big deal of how horribly exhausted she is. He takes the hint, clears his throat, and leaves. Branwen offers a last few snake handling tips (support the midsection, don't grab the neck) and shuffles out behind him. Madrigal collapses onto her back and stares blankly at the ceiling.You tap your foot. "So—"
"Gah! Heck!" She jolts. "Charlotte! I thought you left. You were very— quiet.""So, um, we have to do the— the thing. The Ellery thing." You lower your voice. "The real Ellery thing.""Oh…" She rubs her eyes. "I was thinking, and I don't know if that's… the right thing to do, you know? He left, he made a decision, we should— respect that. We're just going to dredge up the bad old days if we mess around."You scan around the tent until you spot Matches coiled around a cot leg. Carefully, you unwind it and thrust it into Madrigal's bare arm. Reflexively, it bites, and she winces. "God! Do you have to—""We have to do the Ellery thing, Madrigal.""…Yeah. Yeah, okay. I don't know what I was…" She shakes her head. "Yes. Shit. So what's happening?"You attempt to explain the plan. She shakes her head. ("I already did that a billion times and it fucking sucked.") Richard hijacks your vocal cords and explains how temporary and painless it all is, and didn't he go over this before? She's not getting cold feet, is she? Is the New Madrigal leaking through? That does it: she agrees half-heartedly.The actual process is obtuse, in part because Richard refuses to explain anything. ("That would ruin it.") As best you can tell, he's trying to induce in Madrigal a kind of self-hypnosis. Feel the sacred bond between you and Matches. Now imagine transferring your sense of touch along that bond. Now, if I touch Matches, you feel it, don't you? Etcetera. It's all a bit hokey, and you're certain he's playing it up for attention (Richard and "sacred bonds" don't mix), but you'll admit his voice is very soothing. And it works. You are surprised; Richard is smug; Madrigal is comatose, or at least her body is. The snake in your hand is freaking out."Madrigal?" you say. "Madrigal? Can you—"«Don't be stupid. She can't talk. She's an animal.»«Wait for unreality.»You sigh through your nose and stuff Madrigal in a coat pocket. There is a matter of her body, still, which you solve by pulling the blanket up over her head and leaving a note on the sliced-open tent door: "ASLEEP - DO NOT DISTURB". Back in your tent, you triple-tie your own door, flop down on your cot, and close your eyes.
-#Fuck you, Charlotte.##Was this really the best you could do.#You are beginning to wish Madrigal couldn't talk, after all. #Where are my goddamn hands.#"Gil coped just fine without hands," you mutter. #I don't know who that is.#"Gil!" You whistle. He turns around. "Come here. Meet Madrigal.""Oh, I— oh." Gil clanks over. "Wait, who? There's nobody—"#Why does this guy have lines on his face.##Why is there a guy in your head. That is bizarre, right. It's not just me.#"—I-it's a modular— the snake? Is this a— a me situation? I-I-I mean, not me, but you know—"#His voice is irritating as shit.#You cough. "Gil, you coped just fine with not having hands, right? Tell her.""I, uh— well— I-I don't know if I'd—" He cringes under your gaze. "Sure, okay, yes. Um, listen, I had a— am I going? On wherever you're going. I could be… useful… and, um, what did you decide about the siphon? The Mark VI's ready to go, I just need the— you said you'd talk about it later—">[A1] Bring Gil, in person suit. It's a whole other person to wrangle, and explain to Real Ellery & co, but with the upgrades he made (not to mention the flamethrower) he *could* be genuinely useful. And you'd be throwing him a bone.>[A2] Bring some of Gil: a dozen beetles, enough to form a consciousness when away from the rest of him. He'll be lacking firepower and opposable thumbs, but you can use him for scouting and still claim you're getting him out of the house. Plus, he'll be much easier to conceal.>[A3] Leave Gil behind. You don't want the hassle of dragging him around, much less trying to explain him to everybody. He can survive.>[B1] (A1 ONLY) Have Gil install the Mark VI siphon in his chest. It'll be concealed, and having all that raw power in him is bound to do /something/ interesting… but on the other hand, do you trust him with it? >[B2] Don't totally shut down the siphon-in-chest idea, but push it off for now. You'll bring the backpack version and see how it goes for a first run.>[B3] Shut down the siphon-in-chest idea and bring the backpack. It may draw attention, but at least it's safely in your hands and your hands only.>[C] Write-in.
>>4794175>[A2] Bring some of Gil: a dozen beetles, enough to form a consciousness when away from the rest of him. He'll be lacking firepower and opposable thumbs, but you can use him for scouting and still claim you're getting him out of the house. Plus, he'll be much easier to conceal.>[B2] Don't totally shut down the siphon-in-chest idea, but push it off for now. You'll bring the backpack version and see how it goes for a first run.Going with these two, because trying to explain Gil's whole thing will take too long when we link up with S.A. If anyone asks why we have a dozen beetles and a snake, we've always had them. They're just shy.No sense in shutting down the siphon idea all the way yet. We should make sure at least the backpack one works though, before installing the Mark VI in his chest. That way, he'll have some data on it for any final tweaks, and if it doesn't work, it won't run the risk of destroying his construct body that we sunk a bunch of time and effort into. If he whines about it, ask him how much he'd like to not have thumbs, hands, and only two legs for however long it'll take to re-make it, that'll shut him up.
>>4794174Ok, _why_ did we go through with the Ellery thing? Weren't we only going to do this because Madrigal insisted on it?>>4794175>[A1] Bring Gil, in person suit. It's a whole other person to wrangle, and explain to Real Ellery & co, but with the upgrades he made (not to mention the flamethrower) he *could* be genuinely useful. And you'd be throwing him a bone.>[B1] (A1 ONLY) Have Gil install the Mark VI siphon in his chest. It'll be concealed, and having all that raw power in him is bound to do /something/ interesting… but on the other hand, do you trust him with it?
>>4794175>A2>B2>>4794310We've put in too much prep work to stop now! Plus I'm curious.
>>4794310>Why did we go through with the whole Ellery thing?Sunk cost fallacy and spite, essentially. You did *not* just spend ~22 hours sitting around to give up at the very end because Madrigal suddenly became concerned with """morals."""
>>4794196>>4794602>A2, B2>>4794310>A1, B1Called and writing in a little while.
>Taking it halfwayYou suck air through your teeth. "Right. I don't know about that one. Didn't one of the versions explode?""The Mark III, but I— that got fixed, so—""Right, but what if it didn't? And it explodes? And I have to rebuild you from scratch? No way. Let's give it at least one test run before we do anything drastic. I'm not saying no—" Gil looks crestfallen— "but a test run, okay? That's reasonable.""…Yeah. I-it's reasonable." He rubs his nose. "So is that a yes on me coming? Because—""Nnnnnnot exactly." You've been envisioning trying to explain to Anthea that the beetles you smuggled out are now equipped with a flamethrower. "Weren't you saying something earlier about splitting yourself up? Like, if half of you went to one side of the room, and half went to the other side—"#He'd be fucking dead.#"—no— no, shut up, Madrigal. You said the halves could function independently?""…I-I said it gave me a goddamn headache," Gil qualifies. "Two goddamn headaches. I'm not sure I like where you're—""And what's the minimum number to—" («Generate consciousness.») "—generate consciousness? Don't tell me you've never checked— you had years—"He sighs. "Sixteen.""Sixteen! I can hide sixteen beetles." Probably in the backpack. "Problem solved. I'll just bring those, and it'll be like you're really there. Because, like, 5% of you is. C'mon, it'll— it'll be fun." Gil appears deeply skeptical. "Also, it's an order. You're my retainer, aren't you?"You can't quite catch what he mumbles before prying open a hatch in his neck, but you're sure it's nothing polite. He brightens slightly at the sight of one of the beetles scrambling out. "Aw, hey, it's my second favorite."#Why is this man infested with bugs.#"He's not— he is the bugs, okay, Madrigal. This is Gil, he's bugs, Gil, this is Madrigal, I know her from real life, she's not a snake, she's just in one. Okay. Is that all settled? Can we go? And why do you have a second favorite beetle? That's— that's you.""…I-it's not that weird… it's like having a favorite body part. Which I-I have also developed a new appreciation for. Um. You really kind of take it for granted when—"#Okay. Bugs man talks sense.#"—Thanks?"#Even if his voice is annoying as shit. Which it is. Ear-grating.=#…##I don't have ears, do I. Damn.##I guess you really do take things for granted.#"Okay, enough with the— you guys can commiserate off the clock. Richard!" Where is he? "Richard, have you got the thing set up?"#I have to ask. Is he, like, your evil dead ghost uncle.##Because he looks like your evil dead ghost uncle.#Maybe this was a mistake. "He's not a ghost, or my uncle, so—"#So he's evil and dead, is what you're saying.#"I thought you liked him," you mutter.(1/3)
#If I picked people to like off of some dumb moral standards I'd fucking hate everybody. We are surrounded by petty criminals, Charlotte.##I bet on my life that bugs man here is a petty criminal. You sure are. Breaking into places, stealing shit.##See, I don't give a damn about that. Your ghost uncle, totally evil, cool guy. So he's cool. You, kind of sketchy, a bitch. You're not cool. You're a bitch.##See.#"You're a bitch," you hiss, hands in pockets, having decided that if someone's going to trek over to Richard it's going to have to be you. #Yes. But in a cool, likable way. Like 'damn, she's a +bitch+.'##You are a bitch in a bitch way. Like 'damn. +She's+ a bitch.#Probably a mistake, yeah. At least Gil is prudent enough not to comment. Richard, all the way over by the back wall, is fiddling with the doorknob of one of the dozen doors littered aound back here. You'd forgotten about the doors, honestly. "Hi. What's with the doors?""Useful things, doors." Richard presses his ear against the black-painted wood of his current door. "Hide places, guard places, open places. Don't bother with most of these, they're very locked… we're taking this one. I've tuned it up. How's Madrigal treating you?""Uh… she's mean.""Of course she is. Not a lot of room for compassion in there. Or tact." He smiles grimly and adjusts the collar of his polo shirt. "Shall we?"-Richard offers to carry the portable Mark VI, on account of you being "irresponsible." "Though," he adds, "you'll still have it in the end." The 'because I'll be smashed into you by the horrible pressure of a living mind' is obvious but unstated. You pour Gil into the backpack, which he's initially miffed about, but he discovers that it's dark and pleasantly warm from the Mark VI and settles down. You keep Madrigal in your pocket. The door is opened with the application of one of Richard's (many, many) keys. You begin to have second thoughts when you're blasted by an icy draft of wind, which Richard solves by pushing you through the doorway. You stumble, fall 15 feet, and land face-first in—Ice? But it's soft. Soft ice? Is this snow? You have of course read about snow (it is found in the Frozen North, From Which No Man Returneth Alive), but the climate back at home was far too temperate to support such a thing. It is colder than you were expecting. And wetter. You are now cold and wet. God-damnit, Richard.#Where the fuck is this.##Where's Ellery.#You've picked yourself up and are now sucking on your fingers, trying to restore some feeling. Your coat, which you thought was rather high-quality, now seems wildly inadequate. Where is Ellery? Where is anyone? All you can see is snow, snow, and snow. "I, uh— good question."#Did you fuck this up, Charlotte.#"No, I— hey!" Someone is jamming something onto your head. "What the heck!"(2/3)
"Charlie, it's a hat." Richard, shin-deep in snow, appears unaffected by the cold. "And here's a jacket. Put these on and stop thinking about it. Nobody did anything wrong, we're just late to the party, if you will. They already left the meeting place, and now they're here. Somewhere.""Somewhere." You had a hard enough time finding Ellery the last go-around, and that was without zero visibility. "Great. So we're going to freeze before we find anybody, right?""Not if you put your jacket on." He smirks. "And not if we follow the flags. See these?""…No?""See these?" He kicks some snow away to reveal a small post with a red ribbon tied to it. "There's orange and green ones there and there, too. I expect they split up to scope things out. If we don't find them, we'll at least find something, which you may agree is a start."> Follow the red trail. Your voice echoes when you shout in that direction.> Follow the orange trail. Maybe it was the snow, but you thought you saw something moving over there.> Follow the green trail. For a second, you saw lights of several colors blink on down that away, but they've since vanished.> Write-in. (Would you like to send Gil scouting?)
>>4796247> Follow the green trail. For a second, you saw lights of several colors blink on down that away, but they've since vanished.
Is this quest dying out? You are putting effort into the updates, but there are few votes and no write-in's. The quest doesn't spark any conversation or anything other than mild interest.QM, you are a good writer and also, I love your drawings. I have been waiting for you to develop your potential, but it never happened. I don't want to believe that you have no creativity, but as it is, the quest is not fun or creative.I hope you don't take my post too personally, I'm making the post not to complain or insult you, but because I believe in you and want to "wake you up". I will still check the quest from time to time.
>>4796247>1Always trust red>>4796402It's the same amount of votes we always get, outside of that one mysteriously popular thread. You might want to read farther back if you think there aren't any write ins.
>>4796402>QM, you are a good writer and also, I love your drawings.Thanks!As for the rest:I'm sorry, my man, but what the shit are you talking about? I don't know how long ago you dropped the quest, but for a period of a year or more my average vote count was two. I'm pulling 3 votes this thread, and I was pulling 4, 3, and 6(!) votes the threads before that. This has never been a popular quest, I highly suspect it never will be a popular quest, and worrying that the quest is dead because I'm getting (checks notes) an above average amount of votes is, if you'll excuse me, a little absurd.There's been zero write-ins this thread because the options provided have been fairly binary and straightforward, and the thread is barely a week old. Go back to any other recent thread and you will find plenty. (The entire first third of Thread 16 was caused by a write-in!) I understand the confusion if you pop in like once a month, but this is a non-issue. As for discussion... I dunno what you call this: >>4792698 >>4792728 >>4792782. If you're looking for something longer or more involved, I'm not sure what to tell you, except that with the long vote periods and odd update hours it's not exactly conducive to having a lot of people lurk in the thread at once. For the first six threads, I didn't have any discussion.>I don't want to believe that you have no creativity, but as it is, the quest is not fun or creative.But, like, that's just your opinion, man.Seriously, though, I can't change anything if all you're telling me is vibes. That's like looking at a broken-down car and going "oh, okay, the problem with the car is that the driver sucked." I'm also not certain this is a broken-down car, as by most objective measures the quest is doing better than ever. There's more voters, more discussion, and I used to be happy if I cleared 200 posts in a thread-- now I'm clearing 300 and 400. I respect your viewpoint, but all you've given me is a viewpoint, and not one grounded in any particular facts.Now would you like to toss me a vote? :^)
>>4796931>Now would you like to toss me a vote? :^)If you post a picture of your hand, I'll join the quest back.
>>4796247>> Follow the orange trail. Maybe it was the snow, but you thought you saw something moving over there.
Rolled 2 (1d3)>>4797027Sure thing. Pic related.>>4796387>>4796532>>4797054Rolling and writing.
>Seeing redThe jacket Richard foisted upon you is enormous and puffy and has a scale pattern on the outside. Does he reflexively make everything snake-themed, or did he do it to irritate you? Still, it's warm, so you don't say anything about it. "Does it matter which one we pick? They all look the same.""Of course it matters. They go in different directions. We'll find different things." Richard is deadpan. "Maybe the red flags go to someplace warmer. Or maybe the orange ones do, and the red ones go off a cliff.""That's my… point… ELLERY!" you scream in the direction of the red flag. "ANTHEA! WHOEVER ELSE IS HERE! CAN ANYONE—""—nyone— one— ne—" comes your distant response. "Ah!" Richard says. "An echo. Thataway lies a cliff or cave.""Or a monster that mimics the human voice?" After Ellery turned into a giant beetle and tried to kill you, through— to be clear— no fault of your own, you no longer trust manses.#Where the fuck did you take me.#"Also possible!" Richard pats your shoulder. (Why is he so chipper? Is he excited for a change of scenery? Or is it for Madrigal's sake?) "We won't know until we get there, I'm afraid. Still, the idea of a landmark is promising, wouldn't you say?""I guess." You tug your hat down over your ears. "Let's just go. It can't hurt."-The walk is arduous and not particularly rewarding, as the only change in scenery is Richard pointing out identical stakes in the ground. For all you know, you're going in circles, and it's the same stake every time. Your boots are soaked through. The bottom of your pants are soaked through. You try to amuse yourself by engaging Madrigal in conversation, which is ineffective: she changes the subject to how humiliating it is to be carried around in someone's pocket, and you ask her whether she'd rather be dropped in the snow, and she doesn't respond. Gil is either deaf to your questions or asleep. Richard is too jovial to be trusted. It is not an auspicious start to the trip. It's only a little better when you finally stumble upon the landmark you were promised: a colossal stone wall, twenty feet up at least. (Likely taller, but the snow blocks much of your view.) Curiously, some of the stones of the wall have runes carved in them. Embedded in the wall is an equally colossal gate, rimed in frost and chained with three ominous-looking padlocks the size of your head. Past the gate, a rope frozen solid hangs down from the top of the wall, and past the rope a large chunk of wall is missing. Light flickers from within the hole. >Wat do? Exploration refresher: bolded objects are examinable or interactable.> Write-in.
>>4798028Check if the rope is solid enough then climb.
>>4798028>Peek inside the hole.
Leaving this open until tomorrow... sorry, I know it's short! I'll see if I can crank out two or three tomorrow depending on what you guys do.Here's an appropriately dressed Charlotte.
>>4798028>check out dem runes
Rolled 2 (1d2)>>4798034>>4798044>>4798629You'll check out the runes regardless, but hole and rope are mutually exclusive in the short term, so let me roll for it.
>HoleKay. Called and writing. (You can still climb the rope after this, provided you have the desire to.)
>EXAMINE: Runes, Hole The runes in the wall aren't glowing like the ones on the obelisks around the Landing, but they pique your interest nonetheless. You trace your finger around one at eye level. Nothing in particular happens."They're meaningless drivel."You make a face at Richard. "You're just saying that because you hate magyck. And fun. Maybe I just need to say the right—""No, you don't understand. They're meaningless. Gibberish. It's just interesting-looking lines. You'd freeze before you made anything happen with these, jacket or no jacket."Suspicious. "Are you just trying to get me to not—""Yes, because it's a waste of daylight, Charlotte." He sounds sincere, though it's always difficult to tell. "Let's go."#Yes. Let's go.##Why are you looking at rocks.#You snort. "Okay, then, if you guys are so smart, what's the point of carving fake runes into a big wall? Why not just spend the time to carve real ones? Or do anything else? They could've made, like, five more locks for the gate.""We don't want more locks." Richard checks his watch. "And I suppose they're meant to lure foolish girls into looking at them for far too long. Or perhaps they lend the illusion of mysticism without any of the necessary research or talent. Shall we?"You find these explanations to be in turn insulting (albeit comforting — there's Richard) and unsatisfying, but have little choice but to accept. Cramming your stiff fingers back in your pockets, you press yourself against the wall to keep off the wind and march along it until you reach the hole, which is large enough to hop through and— more importantly— shedding heat. You hover nearby for a while, soaking it in, before peeping through.Either the inside of the wall is larger than the outside, or the wall isn't a wall at all, but a rampart for some enormous dwelling: inside the hole is a high-ceilinged room lit by an enormous bonfire and populated with… people? A good dozen people, standing stiffly or pacing back and forth. A large key is framed on the wall. In the back corner of the room is another person, seated and bound hand and foot. But, crucially, not gagged: their head jerks, and they scream "HELP! HELP ME!!"Startled, you step back from the wall, but it's too late: the heads of all dozen people turn toward their prisoner, then, slowly, toward you. One of them, a smooth-faced blond man, walks mechanically to the hole and leans out into the cold. "Hail, Traveler! What brings You to our Most Esteemed Realm? How might I, your Humble Servant, assist you?""HEY! HELP!" the woman in the corner screams.You shift your footing uneasily. "Uh… yes… why do you have someone tied up?""Why do we have someone tied up?" Humble Servant's cheerful expression doesn't waver. "We are performing a Sacrifice to hasten the swift return of Our Lord, [IGNATIUS FLICK], Glory Be His Name.""Glory Be His Name!" the rest of the people chorus.(Choices next.)
You try to look sideways at Richard, but he has vanished.> Perform further questioning on your Humble Servant. (What? Write-in.)> Yell something back at the tied-up woman. (What? Write-in.)> Attempt to hop into the room to better scope out the situation (and defrost somewhat).> Stab your Humble Servant. He's an obvious lunatic and appears unarmed, as do the rest of the people. Play the rest of your heroic rescue by ear? [Roll.]> This is too much hassle. Back out and do something else. (Refer to last update for options.)> Write-in.
>>4799351>> This is too much hassle. Back out and do something else. (Refer to last update for options.)Go back all the way to the orange lights.
>>4799351> This is too much hassle. Back out and do something else. (Refer to last update for options.)See if the rope is brittle, try to break it if it seems possible.
>>4799356>>4799441>Do I look like a fish? No? So why would I fall for one of your plot hooks?!Called and writing for both attempting to break some rope off and skedaddling back to the green flag trail (the color of the lights were never specified but I assume this is the intent).
>>4799351Since we're leaving>1Ask if he's seen any members of the delving club before we go
>>4799589...I'll write up the answer to this one real quick then reopen the vote, since it may or may not cause a change of plan.
>Plot narrowly unavertedYou scratch the back of your head. "Okay, that's… cool. Have you seen any members of the delver's club?""Have I seen any members of the delver's club?" Humble Servant repeats after you. "I am afraid I do not know the term, Delver's Club.""It's a— it's complicated— it's called Spelunkers Associated?""I am afraid I do not know the term, Spelunkers Associated."It's like speaking to a brick wall. "Uh, I don't know, there's a tall guy, sort of… pointy face, talks a lot, there's probably a lady with half her face floating off, and there's, uh, someone else, I'm not sure who, but they probably talk about—""WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?"You pause. "What?""ARE YOU THE COPS? IF SO, FUCK OFF, I CAN HANDLE—""Uh…" Wait a second. "Are you the third person?""ARE YOU THE COPS?""No, I'm—" Humble Servant is entirely frozen. You're not sure he's breathing. "—I'm a new member? Were you not at the last meeting?""…" The woman in the corner leans forward as far as she can and squints. "I had other… obligations.""Wait, so you are the third person?"She slumps back. "What's it to you?"> Well, shoot. You should probably rescue her, or something. You don't want to piss Ellery off, and it'd probably be the right thing to do, etc.>>[A] Just mosey right in and scope things out first. You don't want to jump the gun.>>[B] Screw that, you do want to jump the gun. You have a sword, these people are psychotic and dubiously human. Go to town. [Roll.]>>[C] Ask somebody some more questions. (Who and what? Can be combined with either option.)> Okay, but is she Ellery? No. Do you care about her? Not really. Turn right around and go somewhere else. (Where?)> Write-in.
>>4799671> Well, shoot. You should probably rescue her, or something. You don't want to piss Ellery off, and it'd probably be the right thing to do, etc.>>[B] Screw that, you do want to jump the gun. You have a sword, these people are psychotic and dubiously human. Go to town. [Roll.]https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SDTZ7iX4vTQVote theme
>>4799682>>4799684>Resort immediately to mass murderOkay! Cool. I need dice.>Please roll me 3 1d100s + 15 (+10 Good With A Sword, +5 On Fire!, +5 Insulated, -5 Cold Fingers) vs. DC 55 (+15 Strength In Numbers, +10 ???, -10 Not Designed For This, -10 Flammable) to murder the hell out of these people(?).
>>4799704Oh, and you can spend ID if you want. You're at 7/(10).> Y> N
Rolled 22, 60, 9 + 15 = 106 (3d100 + 15)>>4799704
Rolled 67 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4799704Just here to roll so won't vote on the ID thing
Rolled 54 + 15 (1d100 + 15)Let's try this again!
Rolled 93 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4799704I don't know what ID is because I haven't read anything other than the greentext options, but here you go
>>4799715>>4799723>>4799724If these ones are all counted, that sounds like a bunch of ganked cultists to me.
>>4799715>>4799723>>4799724>72, 69, 108 vs. DC 55 -- Enhanced SuccessNice job. Called and writing.>>4799748Yup.
>72, 69, 108 vs. DC 55 -- Enhanced SuccessWhat's it to you? On a personal level, not much. You don't know this woman, and evidently she doesn't know you. But if she's in the S.A., and you're in the S.A.— well— that clears up any moral ambiguity, doesn't it? She is on the Good Side. She was kidnapped and tied up by this particular group of lunatics, who are— it is very obvious— on the Evil Side. So what are you going to do? Talk to certifiably Evil people? Negotiate with them? What are you, stupid? That's not what you do.You draw The Sword and run it through Humble Servant's chest, which curls and blackens like paper. He combusts shortly after, and falls to the floor, and as you vault inside the room you trample on his hollow chest. The other people make no notice of this, which suits you just fine: whirling about, you gut one from neck to groin, lop off another at the shoulders, and slice a great 'X' through a third. They all crumple without a whisper of protest (convenient, but takes some fun out), and you kick their bodies into the bonfire. The remaining eight cry curiously generic phrases ("Intruder!" "Sieze him!") all at once and draw identical swords from nowhere at all, but continue to pose you little danger: they rush you slowly, in a straight line, and you mow they down as they come. In a short time you are surrounded by bodies.You are no longer cold.>[+1 ID: 8/(10)](TBC) Suddenly remembered something else I had to do today, and it is... 1 AM... so I have to stop here. Sorry about the shortness, but I got two others out today so I don't feel tooooo bad about it. The rest is coming tomorrow.
>>4800087Paper people aren't real people. Real people don't combust like that, they sizzle and pop when they burn. Hopefully this damsel in distress is appreciative, without being excessively appreciative. We should be deep enough to avoid the /u/boat menace.Yea, sucks that I missed most of it, but hope I get into the next voting without issue.
>>4797883>Sure thing. Pic related.That's the opposite of how I picture you to look.
>https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SDTZ7iX4vTQ>Cont.#Holy shit.#Brushing your hair out of your face, you turn triumphantly toward the woman. "Well, you're welcome."The woman is not overflowing with gratitude, as she clearly ought to be. Rather, she appears stricken. While this may be from awe, as would also be richly deserved, you have not known awe to contain quite so much resentment or seething distrust. "Charlotte?" she says.#Wow. Even this random woman can't stand—#You clamp your hand over your pocket. "…Wait, I thought you didn't know me."Her stricken expression intensifies. "I— uh— well, yes, you're right, I don't know… you. But I did just remember that the guys were, uh, talking about a Charlotte who was a real nifty swordfighter. Real good at… killing things."You brighten a fraction. "They were?""Yeah. Yeah, they were. So, you know, I see the carnage you wreaked— nice job, by the way— I made some assumptions. Which have, clearly, paid off, so all's well that ends well, right? Would you get me out of here?""Oh!" You scamper over and cut the rope binding her hands and feet. It's left a sizable indent in her wrists, which she shakes out in relief. "Hey, thanks. I had a good feeling, you know. I saw you peeking in, I thought— now this is a lady who can provide some help. Hence the 'HELP,' and all that. Now, I could've done it myself, but there were about a dozen of them and the first thing the bastards did was take my gun— I think it's still on one of them. Good thing they don't know a trigger from a turnpike, yeah? Excuse me." The woman darts past you and begins to rifle through the inner pockets of the corpses. You watch with some bemusement. "So, if you know who I am after all, who are you?""Me?" The woman laughs, though you're unsure why. "I can't tell you that, Charlotte. You should know this. But if you're looking for the code name, 'Nettie' will be fine."You squint. "That isn't a month.""'The Month Of The Netmaker Eight Of Eight' is a mouthful, unfortunately. A-ha." Nettie pulls a small pistol («.32 Tiffith.») from the belt of one of the corpses and, unexpectedly, points it at your head. You freeze. She holds it there for a few moments before holstering it like nothing happened. "Just kidding. Who was talking earlier?""What?" Your hand goes reflexively to your pocket. "Nobody. Me.""No, it wasn't your voice. Said something about a random woman." She's eying your pocket, now. You shove your hand down to your side. "You must've been hearing things. Really, I— do you see anyone else? Obviously not. So why would—""Okay, I was hearing things." Nettie seems amenable to dropping the subject. "You know, it's a good thing you didn't let any of this lot escape, or that would've screwed us a lot faster. Might still screw us, though. The manse isn't going to care for you murdering a big chunk of its population, and it's going to notice sooner or later."(1/3)
"Its population, huh?" You consign the rest of the corpses to the flames."Oh, yeah. These were unpeople, and real rudimentary ones, at that. Attempting to sacrifice me was probably the first original thought of their unlives, so I guess I can't blame them too much. Not that it would've worked to bring that guy back." She points toward the wall to the outside. Above the hole to the outside is an array of fine portraits, all of the same inexpressive double-chinned man. "Ignatius Flick, as I was told roughly a hundred times. He's long gone."Ignatius Flick, who has twenty portraits of himself, and who is god-worshipped by fake mind people, and the S.A. spelunks abandoned manses— "He's the owner?""Yeah. Extremely so.""Do you know what happened to him?"There's a prolonged pause. "It's none of my business, really. But, ah, let's see. We shouldn't stick around the crime scene… and it'd be nice to regroup. And we need those keys, which— well, here's one down." Nettie gestures to the framed key. "But there's two more out there, and we don't find those 'til we look. Are you with me?""…How do you know there's three keys?""Three locks on the gate. There won't be a lock without a key, that's not how it works. And, by conjunction, there won't not be a key wherever we look, provided it's a reasonable place... If there's one perk about a manse, it doesn't waste your time. But you know this, don't you, Charlotte."You vaguely remember Earl telling you something similar. Or maybe it was Richard? "…Yeah?""Of course you do. In any case, it's likely Ellery and Anthea have one each. But it's also likely that, if we head down this tunnel right here— you like tunnels, right?— we'll find another. Or if we head east along the wall, we'll inevitably encounter something to do, which of course will have a key involved. So it's just a matter of deciding which sounds most fun."You process. "How do you know it's east along the wall?""Door is always north. Always.""…And what happens if we find two, and everyone else finds one? There's only three—""Then one will inevitably reveal itself to be poorly made, and fall apart; or be counterfeit; or have never been a key at all, and never was, and then it'll turn into a bird and fly off. The specifics aren't relevant. How new are you?""Uh..."(Choices next.)
>[A1] You didn't even notice the tiny little tunnel, but Nettie's right, you /do/ like tunnels and caves and sewers and various other dark cramped earthy spaces. Maybe there'll be a secret vault down there. Or a torture dungeon.>[A2] Returning outside is okay with you, but— despite your stated purpose coming here— you're not *that* keen on facing patronizing Anthea or loose cannon Real Ellery again. Push that off and go wandering eastward with Nettie. Maybe you'll find some kind of natural landmark, like a haunted forest or magyckal pond. Really, anything but snow.>[A3] Take the red flags back to your drop point and follow the orange trail to Anthea. Presumably you'll find something moving. Another battalion of unpeople? Or a beast?>[A4] Take the red flags back to your drop point and follow the green trail to Real Ellery. Presumably you'll find something with flashing lights. A lot of glorbs on the fritz? Muffled firecrackers? You have no idea, frankly.>[A5] Write-in.(The [B]s are both optional.)>[B1] Wake Gil up when Nettie isn't looking and send him to do something. (What? Write-in.)>[B2] Expect to find something very hard. It can't hurt. (What? Write-in.) (this will influence whatever you find if it wins enough support or I like it, I reserve the right to veto)>[C] Write-in.
>>4802535That's just meta-quantum ogre.>>4802537>[A4] Take the red flags back to your drop point and follow the green trail to Real Ellery. Presumably you'll find something with flashing lights. A lot of glorbs on the fritz? Muffled firecrackers? You have no idea, frankly.We need to find Ellery sooner or later.>[B2] Expect to find something very hard. It can't hurt. (What? Write-in.) Some Law.
>>4802537>A4>B2some badass flaming Armor to go with our badass flaming Sword
>>4802537>[A4] Take the red flags back to your drop point and follow the green trail to Real Ellery. Presumably you'll find something with flashing lights. A lot of glorbs on the fritz? Muffled firecrackers? You have no idea, frankly.Let Madrigal get it out of her system right away. Let her know that we weren't lying about knowing where he was.>[B2] Expect to find something very hard. It can't hurt. (What? Write-in.) (this will influence whatever you find if it wins enough support or I like it, I reserve the right to veto)A horrible snow monster, ala Yeti or the like. Or interrupting a yeti abduction by aliens given the flashing lights leading towards Ellery. Messing around with cultists in the not!Arctic is bound to something stupid, loud, and grumpy like that around. Plus, given that Ellery attracts weird shit like shit attracts flies, it's not THAT farfetched.
I'm starting pretty late today, so while I'll do my best to crank this out at a reasonable hour there is a possibility I'll have to push out another half-update. Sorry in advance.>>4802550>Some LawLaw is by definition everywhere (even in unreality-- it's still present, just extremely weak). You're looking for a sufficiently concentrated, powerful source of Law, and keeping that in mind would... lead you in a circle right back to the gate. >That's just meta-quantum ogre.:^)>>4802550>>4803341>>4804009>A4Cool.>>4803341>Flaming armorI will keep this in mind. If it doesn't show up this update, expect it (or something like it) in the future.>>4804009>a yeti abduction by aliensCharlotte has no conception of aliens, and for decent reason. Minor cosmological spoilers, able to be pieced together at this point but not stated explicitly in text, read at your own risk: The world, as it's currently known, is a staggeringly huge (though not Earth-sized) curled-up god-serpent with a whole lot of dirt and water and human people on its back. Everything outside said serpent is anti-reality (void)-- no other worlds or sapient creatures are thought to exist, at least not by the reckonings of most skientists.That being said, yetis are fair game.Called and writing.
>Find Ellery :["Not that new," you say uncomfortably. "And, uh, I think we really ought to see Ellery, uh, as fast as possible. If that helps.""'As fast as possible?' Are you sure you have the right guy?"#…#You blink, unsure how to take that. "…Yes. Uh, I— he's the one who invited me, so— I actually came here to come see him.""He invited you? Are you sure you have the right guy?" #…#"Yeah. I'm sure." Nettie is starting to irritate. "So can we just go? What color marker did he have?""Green. And sure, it's no skin off my back." She shrugs and hurdles out of the hole.You emerge and instantly regret it: you'd forgotten the depth of the cold. Nettie, like Richard before her, seems remarkably unaffected. "We'll just head south, then southeast a ways. Shouldn't take long.""I-i-i-i-it t-t-t—took—" You bite your finger to try and keep your shivering under control. "—it took forever to get here, and it's Ellery, he's probably gone off the path—""Did you have a destination in mind, walking this way?""…No, but—""Alright, then. No need to complain before anything's happened yet." Nettie half-smiles. "Just don't think— should be easy for you— and we'll be there before you know it."-Nettie is wrong about the not-thinking: it's not easy at all. You can keep your mind off the distance, and (if barely) the cold, but to do so you have to wander onto other trains of thought. Richard and Madrigal don't help: one of those trains is about whether Richard is lying to you about snakes, and their limited capacity for emotion, and the truth of the matter is that they're all just dicks. All of them. It would explain Madrigal, who was caustic, sure, but not… Richard caustic. She mocks your jacket, and your trembling fingers, and the fact that, by killing all those guys, you ruined te whole—Even Richard is more even-handed. «You might realize that a lack of emotion precipitates, as you call it, 'dickishness.'»«Or, rather, a lack of interest in the emotion of others. A similar phenomenon.»Okay, but doesn't make it not sting. It's worse from her. You expect it from him. And he doesn't say it out loud, where Nettie, several paces ahead, keeps glancing back at you with an odd expression—>[-1 ID: 7/(10)]You cough to distract. "Hey, uh, Nettie, I was wondering if you knew— that's a bad question. Um. What do you think of Ellery? Since we're, uh, going to see him. In a few minutes.""You are a nosy one. Are you looking for the civil answer or the honest answer?""…The honest answer?""Ah." She stops, casually, in her tracks. "And how do I know you won't turn around and tell him?""…Why would I? There'd be no—""I just don't know." She clicks her tongue. "You just don't have a trustworthy look about you. Seems to me like you're the kind of person who'd promise to do something then turn around and do the opposite, royally fucking me over."(1/2)
"What are you talking about?" Did she hear all this from Real Ellery? And what cause did you ever give him for it? "I- I don't even know him that well, okay? We're barely friends." And that is overstating it considerably. "Honestly, I think he's kind of weird. So why would I go and tell him stuff?!"She smiles with her mouth, but not her eyes. "Good point. Ellery is… like a party.""A party." "Yeah. You spend a short time with him, and it's great, everyone's having fun, nobody wants to leave. You spend more time with him, and everyone gets a little drunk and a lot obnoxious. Even longer, and suddenly people are leaping off the roof and playing 5-Finger-Fillet and something in the corner is on fire. And if you're still there at the end, everyone's passed out in their own puke except for one guy who won't stop crying. He's like that.""Wow," you say.#Go fuck yourself.#Nettie raises her eyebrows. "Your pocket is insulting me, Charlotte."#I'm not insulting you, you smug bitch. I'm telling you to go fuck yourself. Get that through your skull, you +insipid+ flat-faced c—#Madrigal fails to impugn your delicate sensibilities further not through lack of sustained effort, but because she is at that moment interrupted by a bestial roar. Seconds later, an enormous white-furred creature thunders face-first to the ground. Its head and back are peppered with crossbow bolts and streaked red.Seconds after that, Ellery races out of the snow. Real Ellery. As far as you can tell, entirely unbeetled, and— you are swollen with unmitigated horror— wearing mixed patterns. The audacity of the man! Not unexpectedly, he's wielding a crossbow.#I—#You curl your hand tightly around Madrigal just in time for Real Ellery (…Reallery?) to swivel around, spot you, and swell with his own unmitigated horror. "You—" he says, then plummets through the ice.That's not what happened. It was what happened, but not all of it. You left out the gunshot crack as the creature hit the ground, and the series of tiny lacy cracks after, and the gradual tilt of the creature's dying body, until at once the thin ice under the thick pack of snow caved, and the creature sent up a wave of mucky water as it rolled in— but, in your defense, the mixed patterns. And you didn't leave out the important part, which was Ellery plummeting into the frozen lake right behind it. And look, you're not leaving out the fact that the ice below you is cracking, too.>Please roll me 3 1d100s - 15 (+5 Warm Jacket, -10 Brrrr, -10 Caught By Surprise) vs. DC 55 (-10 Snow Pack, +15 Thin Ice) to not fall into the lake!>[A] (OPTIONAL) Do anything in particular? (Write-in.)>[B1] Spend 1 ID for a +10 to all results. You are at 7/(10) ID.>[B2] Do not spend.
Rolled 99 - 15 (1d100 - 15)>>4804843I think leopard prints don't mix well with anything. And don't look good on their own either.>Spend
Rolled 13 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4804843>[B1] Spend 1 ID for a +10 to all results. You are at 7/(10) ID.>>4804905The samples from History in High Heels are horrible and leopart prints don't look good no matter what. The woman who runs that blog is fat and has an ugly pig face, she's genetically incapable of having any sense of fashion.
Rolled 11 - 15 (1d100 - 15)>>4804843>[B1] Spend 1 ID for a +10 to all results. You are at 7/(10) ID.Freezing to death would not be conducive to our current plans.
>>4805031Good, I was afraid I lost what little fashion sense I had.
>>4804905>>4805031>>4805087>94, 8, 6 vs. DC 55 -- Mitigated Success>SpendCould be better, could certainly be worse. Writing coming... maybe sooner than average, but not for a good chunk of hours at least.>>4804905>>4805031>>4805152Honestly, I picked that image from Google search at 2:30 in the morning. We here at Drowned Quest Redux (tm) do not endorse the use of leopard print, especially in conjunction with herringbone and plaid(?!?). Charlotte would have convulsions if she saw someone wearing that.
>>4805709>maybe sooner than averageClearly this did not happen. Writing.
>>4807326Take your time. It's not easy to type on a keyboard with just 4 fingers.
>Oh god oh fug>94, 8, 6 vs. DC 55 — Mitigated Success>SpendYou have no experience with snow, but some with ice, so you're acutely aware that panicking and running will only hasten your bitter end. Still, it's all you can do to not take off as ice groans and splinters somewhere under your feet. How far under? How far does the lake extend? Where is the shore? Is there a shore? All you can see, except for the jagged crater the creature left, is snow.So running will make it worse, and walking with no destination— or even the knowledge there is a destination— feels remarkably pointless. It's for this reason that you hunker down, shield your eyes, and wait for a reprieve. Nettie raises her eyebrows, but she isn't moving, either, just staring at the little hole Ellery left.#That was him.#"Yeah." Is the cracking getting louder?#He doesn't look any different.##You said he was 38.#You consider saying something about the precipitous drop in fashion sense but decide it wouldn't be well-received. "It's not a real body, so— I don't know— I guess he doesn't have to age? It's not like he was doing a lot of that earlier, so I'm not sure why you're surprised. Now could you—"#I just thought he'd look different somehow.##Like, you know, abandoning everybody +meant+ something.#"Okay, that's great, but—" Is it your imagination, or is the snow under your feet sifting away? As if, for example, into an invisible crack? "—could you please stop talking? There's company, and slightly more pressing—""Your pocket know Ellery?" Nettie calls. "No? Nobody's— nothing's in my— and did anybody mention Ellery? No? I didn't think so." You blink rapidly. The crack is now visible, and though you try to skitter over it as lightly as possible it widens like a maw. The soft crackle of snow pouring into the lake and the dry staccato wrenching noise of the ice is getting to you. The crack near you is gaping, now— you can see the blue water underneath— and worse it keeps snaking under your feet, no matter how you dance to avoid it. One wrong step, and you're slipping, falling, smacking your chin, biting the inside of your lip wide open ("Hell!"), scrabbling for purchase on the exposed ice and finding little, as freezing water sucks at your ankles, then your calves, then your—>[-1 ID: 6/(10)]—the shock at your spine makes you buck so hard you nearly roll all the way into the lake, but before you get too far your hands clamp like a vise onto the exposed ice, into the ice— your fingers are making indents. Your wrists tremble, but with some frenzied kicking you lever yourself back onto the safety of the packed snow.«You're welcome.»(1/3)
Yeah, yeah, he's— you flip over to your belly, prop yourself up by your elbows, and discover— to your surprise and disquiet— that Nettie has vanished. Or— no, not vanished, but you can barely make her out through the falling snow. She is much farther away than she used to be. And you are surrounded by water and chunks of ice.You piece it together. All that kicking broke off your ice from the rest, and moreover pushed it farther out into the lake. Okay. Okay. This isn't good, but it's— survivable? Which is better than dead.If you're careful, you could probably use The Sword to paddle back. Or… Careful not to tip the whole floe over, you lean out over the water. With much of the initial tumult over, it's a gemlike green-blue and ostentatiously clear. The creature is still sinking, trailing blood like ribbons. You're not sure where Ellery went, but he's probably fine. He might be under one of the twisted rock structures that obscure the bottom of the lake, or hidden by some of the gauzy white stuff down there. What is that? It's swishing around. A mesh net? A lot of very tiny fish? The thought of goo crosses your mind, but it doesn't look gelatinous enough. Whatever it is, it's moving around the tallest of the rock structures, where a— is that a sword, stuck in there? No. No, it's a massive key. Dozens of feet under the cold, cold lake."God-dammit," you hiss."The excellent news is that you can breathe water." Richard stands over you, inexplicably not tipping the floe. "Not this water, maybe, but that can be fixed. I'll take Madrigal for you."#I don't need to be 'taken.'#"She would not appreciate the cold much." He smiles.You scoff. "And I would?!""You are, fortunately, warm-blooded. Though I take your point. Perhaps some preparation is—""What is that," you interrupt. Some of the gauzy stuff has broken off and is floating to the lake's surface. As it ascends, you can make out more features— are those arms? Is that a face? Is that a— you are looking meaningfully at Richard— a water nymph? Something that you're certain he would mock you for if you even brought it up?"It doesn't exist, Charlotte." Richard is less perturbed than you'd hope. "You're just imagining it, like everything else. Do I have to explain the most basic of basic concepts for something like the fifth time?""Well, I—" You flinch as the nymph surfaces. She's all lacy and frost-rimmed, and you suppose she's pretty, but you'd be able to appreciate it better if it didn't just shower you with cold lake droplets. "Um, hi."(2/3)
She tilts her head jerkily and chitters, which unnervingly you comprehend as perfect, accented Inglish. She tells you that it has been such a long time since there has been visitors, especially fair maidens like yourself, and she and her sisters are overjoyed at your arrival, and were wondering if you may like to come down and join them, to celebrate, and it's quite safe—"So, she's going to eat me if I go, right?" you sign at Richard.Richard remains placid. «Or it may flip the floe over and eat you if you refuse. Or, perhaps, this is the intended route to obtain the key. Or it's an invasive species that's blocking off the puzzle. Difficult to say.»«I suspect that whatever you choose will be risky, so you may as well choose what you like. I will be monitoring regardless.»He will be monitoring. Normally that phrase sparks some dread in you, but for once you're grateful. You're not terribly keen on being eaten.> Accept the nymph's offer.> Reject the nymph's offer. Make the swim a different way.>>[A] Attempt to disassociate juuuuust enough so you don't feel the cold. [Roll.]>>[B] Attempt to make The Sword even flamier so you can hold it out in front of you and heat the water to tolerable levels. [Roll.]>>[C] Let Richard do something weird. (-2 ID.) (Or make it permanent for -3 ID.)>>[D] Write-in.> Attempt to convince the nymph to retrieve the key for you. (Writing-in arguments or methods may add bonuses to your roll.) [Difficult roll.]> Write-in.
>>4807771>Ask the nymph for more details about the celebration.>Make her promise that she won't hurt us.>Accept her offer.
>>4807771> Accept the nymph's offer.Let her try to eat us. We have the Sword.And if she doesn't maybe we'll make.. a fr..
>>4807822And we can safely rely on plot armor.
>>4807760I was referring to this picture.
>>4807771>1We already found live sacrifice cultists. If this guy had another group with the same shtick that would make him boring, and I'm sure he doesn't want to be boring.
>>4807787>>4807822>>4808197>1>Verify the safety first thoCalled and writing. Also, I meant to have this image on the first post, whoops
>Party timeYou suppose that, if you're going to be eaten whatever you do, it can't hurt to accept. Worst case, you do have a sword, and Nettie is presumably out there somewhere, still owing you a massive favor. Even so, you squint. "…What sort of celebration?"A wonderful one, the nymph says, with singing, and dancing, and gamboling, the playing of games, and at the end a surprise—"Is the surprise that you'll eat me?"«Very graceful.»No, the nymph indicates with reproach, she and her sisters do not eat fair maidens like yourself, only—"Okay, is the surprise that you'll hurt me, or kill me— by, I don't know, rending me from limb to limb— or attempt to drive me insane, or in general harm me in— in any way I didn't think of earlier? And you can't lie."The surprise is none of that, the nymph gripes, but she can't tell you what it is or it wouldn't be a surprise.You hesitate and look at Richard. Richard shrugs. "Things like this omit and evade, but they rarely lie. It may have good intentions. I see little harm if you don't stay long— and of course I will be there to intervene."You squint. "You're going to crash my party.""Yes. Now, go on, we don't have all day."Waved along by Richard, you turn back to the nymph. "Well, okay, I guess. What do I have to-?"Wordlessly, the nymph vanishes under the surface of the water, and returns clasping a pile of sheer white fabric. She offers it up to you. Wear this, she communicates, and you will be protected from the cold, and breathe water like air—You fail to note that you had the latter part on lock already, and instead wrap the sopping-wet fabric around yourself. Then, thinking better of it, you fish Madrigal from your pocket and offer her to Richard first.#Hey. What the shit.##You're honestly going with this wet bitch. And giving me to your evil uncle.#"I'm going to get Ellery," you mutter. "You can't go. It'll be fine."#How will it be—#Richard's fingers close around her. "Thank you, Charlotte. Run along.""…Alright." For the second time, you wrap the fabric around yourself, shut your eyes tightly, and slide headfirst into the water.-If the nymph was lying— and you don't trust her within an inch of your life— it didn't extend to the effects of the fabric, which is exactly how she described it. Certainly you're breathing water, though whether you need the fabric for that is unclear. And more relevantly, you're not freezing to death, you think. If you are, it's too insidious to notice. In any case, the nymph has taken your hand and is dragging you down to the bottom of the lake, which surprises you: you didn't think she could drag anything anywhere, given how insubstantial she looks. But maybe she has to be strong, so she can drag unsuspecting fishermen into the water and eat them. You're pretty sure that's how it usually goes.(1/2)
«Consider: that's a myth told to widows when their husband falls off the dock drunk and smashes his head on a plank of wood.»The party hasn't even started, and Richard's already crashing it. Typical. You try to focus on the scenery, instead, which you're ambivalent about: the lake is objectively more beautiful than the muddy waters of the Corcass, but it's a stark, unpleasant kind of beauty. For all its striking rock structures, there's not a single barnacle or starfish. No shrimp scuttle along the sandy bottom, and no minnows school around the rusted key. There's no plants, either. It's just dead.Except for the nymphs, who pull away from their watchful guard to swarm you en masse. You reach for your scabbard, but all they do is beset you with compliments: they admire the blueness of your eye, and the ruddiness of your cheeks, and they tug curiously at your hair— they've never seen curly hair before, evidently— and call it gold. They say your hands are finely shaped, and they pull apart your lips and chatter approvingly at your sharp teeth. You attempt to maintain your suspicion, but you can't remember another time you've been praised so effusively, and in time you're fully swayed. They are right, after all.>[+2 ID: 8/(10)]You're unsure how long you remain on the lakebed. It's all swept up in one blurry idyll: you, laid out on the sand, three nymphs braiding your hair into an elaborate updo; you, weeping at the inhuman clarity of nymphsong; you, laughing infectiously, atop the corpse of the white-furred creature; you, cavorting. You never once see Richard, despite his threats, but twice or thrice you feel his cold gaze on your neck, and only then do you regain the presence of mind to ask the nymphs some questions.> How do you put this… the nymphs are brighter and more articulate than the cultists you slaughtered, despite them both being entirely unreal. Why?> What's the deal with the key? How do you get the key out of the rock?> Do they know of an Ignatius Flick? The other guys sure did.> Where'd Ellery go?> Do they have any advice for the rest of the manse?> What? You didn't ask any questions. You were insensate until they brought you the surprise.> Write-in."OP! Why did it take you 9 hours to write a relatively short update!"I got majorly interrupted about an hour in and only got back to this recently.
>>4809516>> How do you put this… the nymphs are brighter and more articulate than the cultists you slaughtered, despite them both being entirely unreal. Why?>> What's the deal with the key? How do you get the key out of the rock?>> Do they know of an Ignatius Flick? The other guys sure did.>> Where'd Ellery go?>> Do they have any advice for the rest of the manse?>> What? You didn't ask any questions. You were insensate until they brought you the surprise.
>>4809519 is mutually exclusive with the rest of the options.
>>4809522I saw the 'what?' and thought it was another question. Disregard that 6 then.
>>4809516> What's the deal with the key? How do you get the key out of the rock?> Where'd Ellery go?Eyes on the prize. It's flattering that they seem to like us, but I have a sinking feeling that they're trying to persuade us to stick around. The advice option can probably be answered by Ellery once we dredge his soggy ass up, and if Ignatius Flick is braindead or just dead dead, we can ask around later about him. Otherwise, if we waste too much time here, having fun around other people, Richard will almost certainly force us to leave. May as well make it on our own terms.
>>4809516> What's the deal with the key? How do you get the key out of the rock?> Where'd Ellery go?> Do they have any advice for the rest of the manse?
>>4809516>2>4>5seems like the set that gives us the most info while being least likely to set them off
>>4809519>>4809558>>4809588>>4810207>>4810490>What's the deal with the key? How do you get the key out of the rock?The nymphs do not answer your question, not at first. Then they say they are not supposed to talk about the key. Then they say they are not supposed to let anyone get the key. Why? you ask, and they have no answer. They want to know why you're so concerned about the key. It's just a key. It's not special. Wouldn't you rather stay here? It's such a long way up. How do you get it? Why would you need to know that? It's not like they know. They've never tried. Nobody's been here in so long. Not since the ice came. But it's supposed to be for someone worthy. You? Why would it be you?>Do they have any advice for the rest of the manse?They do not know what a manse is. They do not understand when you explain. You ask more generally, and they're still uncertain. They don't leave the lake. Why would they need to? Where would they go? They have everything they need right here. (Even in your muddled state, this seems wrong. The lakebed is desolate.) You press, and one of them ventures that they weren't always from this lake, that once they called a river their home-- and then they all talk over themselves. Don't cross the river at the bridge, they say, ford it upstream, by the fallen trees. You can catch the silver pike by poisoning it with possumwood sap. There is a particular bend in the river where lost items wash up. The hermit's cave may only be reached by water.You haven't a clue what any of this means, or indeed whether it means anything at all, but you thank them regardless.>Do they know where Ellery is?They do not know what an Ellery is, either. When you describe him, their eyes widen, and they exchange knowing glances. One takes your hands, another wraps her arms around your shoulders, a third fixes the fly hairs in your updo, and the rest, returning a minute later with Ellery.He is encrusted with ice, and his lips and fingers are quite blue, but he's still breathing shallowly. His eyes are open but glazed, and they don't track your movement. His wrists are bound with white fabric, though it's hardly necessary with a dozen nymphs restraining him. One of them speaks gravely.This, she says, is the thick-headed, bungling, idiot man who has disturbed our placid lake. He has polluted our crystal waters with filth and blood, and the rotting corpse he has deposited-- she gestures to the white-furred creature-- will leach death for weeks. How typical of a man, to think of nothing but himself. Sad, disgusting, but typical. Nothing like our new friend here!(1/2)
As retribution for his crimes, we will fall upon him and devour him. (The nymphs open their mouths, which are packed with hundreds of long, needle-like teeth, and let their white tongues loll from their jaws.) We would have done so immediately, but it would not be polite to do so in front of a valuable guest, without inviting her to join. But we did not know if you would be ready to join us. Now we do. Would you do us the honors?> Fall upon Ellery and devour him. It's only polite. And you know for a fact he won't *die.* [?????]> What?! God, no, what the hell!? You don't eat people, whether they die or not! Except that one time, with Jesse, but you weren't thinking straight and you stopped right after. So that doesn't count.>>[A] But decline respectfully and let the nymphs do it without you. While they're distracted, make a beeline for the key. [Roll.]>>[B] Draw The Sword and put another notch on your 'rescuing tied-up people about to be killed' belt. This was all very nice, but you will not brook with murderous abominations. [Roll.]>>[C] Attempt to non-violently talk the nymphs out of devouring Ellery. You don't want to draw even more attention onto yourself, but you don't want him to ask why you stood by and let him get eaten. (What do you argue? Write-in.) [Roll.]>>[D] Write-in.
>>4811252> What?! God, no, what the hell!? You don't eat people, whether they die or not! Except that one time, with Jesse, but you weren't thinking straight and you stopped right after. So that doesn't count.>>[A] But decline respectfully and let the nymphs do it without you. While they're distracted, make a beeline for the key. [Roll.]Ellery lives to suffer. Well, "lives".
>>4811252>2CYo you really don't want to eat this dudeyou don't know where he's beenI guarantee you'll all catch something super badhe's toxicbetter let me take him far away or he'll leech a whole lot of nasty stuff into your lakehe'll make that other body look pristine
>>4811252> Fall upon Ellery and devour himThe only choice possible
>>4811314>>4811543>2C>>4811271>2A>>4812243>1Called for 2C. >Please roll me 3 1d100s + 5 (+10 Trusted Guest, -5 Exploiter's Brand) vs DC 60 (+20 Against Their Nature, -10 Ellery Looks Unkempt) to convince the nymphs to not eat Ellery!Spend 1 ID for +10 to all results? You are at 8/(10) ID.> Y> N
Rolled 89 + 5 (1d100 + 5)>>4812288>Y
Rolled 54 + 5 (1d100 + 5)>>4812288Dice dice baby
Rolled 55 (1d100)>>4812288>Y
>>4812295>>4812306>>4812333>104, 69, 65 vs. DC 60 -- Enhanced Success>SpendyExcellent job. I was going to have another vote here to pick what you do after convincing the nymphs, but with the Enhanced you're not gonna need it.Writing... on either Thursday or Friday, the 20th or 21st.>What? Why?I have a big fat finals-shaped roadblock in my schedule that I need to prepare for. We will resume our regular one-a-day schedule afterwards and ideally run until the thread dies. Hope you guys have a nice week!
>>4812342good luck with finals my dude
>>4812342good luck bathic, remember that getting good sleep is an extremely important part of studying
I'm back! And writing shortly.
>>4823281How were finals?
>>4823281Fucking A, hope ya killed it on your finals.
>>4823287>>4823289I thought they went pretty well, though I've found it's best to reserve judgment until I get actual scores back... avoids any unpleasant surprises. Thanks for asking, though!
>Safety precautions>104, 69, 65 vs. DC 60 — Enhanced Success>SpendyWould you eat Ellery? Well… it's not that you couldn't. Physically, you mean. You're starting to think that Richard had the right idea about your teeth. And it would be polite. And certainly avoid conflict. And it's not like Ellery would be hurt, not really, he probably wouldn't even know it—know it— it— happ—What? What the hell are you thinking? Why are you— you do not eat people! You will be the first to admit that you have, on occasion, made decisions that felt right at the time, but were not, possibly, er… but eating people?! Eating Ellery?! You'd be having nightmares about it for the rest of— he'd probably give you diseases! Parasites! And he wouldn't even— he'd be stringy! You have limits. That's the fact of it. You have limits, and eating people is that limit. Simple. Your head feels clearer already. You will not eat Ellery.…But the nymphs are still sharp-toothed and goggle-eyed and Ellery's still frozen stiff in front of you and you have to do something. You blink rapidly. "Um… what if he has parasites?"The nymphs do not know what parasites are. They shove Ellery toward you, in case you were confused. In demonstration, one picks up his arms and nibbles gently on his fingers. "You know…" you elaborate. "…parasites. Or diseases. Deadly, contagious—">[-1 ID: 7/(10)]«You can ask for help, you know.»You grit your teeth and grab your wrist to still its involuntary twitching. He could ask before helping. Or at least make it not hurt.«No. I have little interest in seeing you eviscerated, which was your immediate future.»«Carry on.»Reluctantly, you clear your throat. Even that sounds more dignified than usual. You hate Richard. "What I'm trying to say is that this man—" you put some venom in that— "is disgusting. Look at him! Look." You shake the nymph off his fingers and hold his wrists up. "Note the grit under his fingernails. Note the sheen of grime on his skin. Note the— you see how his hair sticks up? That is grease. You tell me he polluted this lake? I hate to tell you this, my dear friends, but to eat him would be to pollute our bodies. And I can think of nothing worse."The nymphs startle back, then converge into one tangled mass— a huddle, you assume. You take the opportunity to examine Ellery's fingernails. They are kind of grimy, actually, but besides that he's much cleaner than you remembered him. Do the nymphs have poor vision, or just little frame of reference? When they separate again, the largest speaks. You are very wise to notice this, she says. Rather than suffer this ill fate, they will merely disembowel him. And, as the now even-more-honored guest, you are invited to—(1/3?)
"No!" You cut her off. Disemboweling Ellery is far preferable to eating him, but now that you're invested you're not planning to settle for less. "No! That's not all. Don't you see how pale and withered he is? Arms like sticks! And— the most crucial detail— did they fail to understand his clothing? Its hideous coloring, its clashing patterns? They may not be versed in the horrid ways of man, but you are— and this is a warning. He is signaling that he is poisonous. And if you rip him apart, he will expel a great cloud of poison, uh, befouling the lake forevermore. Trust me! Would I— your beloved guest— lie to you?"The answer is "yes, obviously, you are not convincing in the slightest," but the nymphs are gullible and your voice sweet. They clamor; you raise your hand and soothe them. "But never fear! I know how to safely handle such a creature, and I will remove him from your midst. But, I, uh—" Inspiration strikes. "—I require that key yonder to purge him of this taint. It possesses powerful magyckal… anti-poison… properties—"You could just say anything, couldn't you? The nymphs are shocked, the nymphs are overjoyed, the nymphs help lift Ellery onto your shoulders (he is unwieldy but weighs nothing), the nymphs gather around you and drag you to the top of the tallest rock structure. You prop Ellery up with one hand and pull at the key with the other.It doesn't budge. You shrug Ellery to the ground, plant your foot on his chest to keep him steady, and pull with both hands. Nothing happens.«It's a key, idiot.»You know that. Idiot. And the nymphs are beginning to look anxious, and maybe hungry.«Turn it.»…Oh. You turn the key, which slides out with a gentle click. You hang it around your neck and flash a thumbs-up toward the nymphs, who still seem anxious. Maybe because you promised to purge Ellery of his imaginary poison, and that has not yet happened. Hmm. You flash a second thumbs-up, just in case, and crouch down over him. "Hey!" you hiss.No response, which you expected, but it was worth a shot. Slapping him across the face doesn't work either. You have to kick him square in the side for him to cough. It's enough for you: you lean down. "It's fine if I stab you, right?""Wh—" He tries to sit up, but you shove him back down. "Charlotte?" "Yes. Can I stab you? It won't kill you, right?""N— no, but—""Great." You slide the key off your neck, wind up, and drive it into his chest with all the strength you can muster. It punches through with little resistance, and— as a last-minute dramatic flourish— you wrench it 90 degrees. There's another click, much more pronounced than the first, and Ellery goes limp.(2/3?)
The nymphs cheer. You have saved them— you are the best thing that has ever happened to them— now you can stay with them! Forever! Most of you that would've wanted that died when you contemplated eating Ellery and the rest died with the key in your clutches, so you laugh and shake your head and with the last of Richard's alterations tell them you must dispose of the body on the shore. But after that you'll be back! Right back! You promise!You are bad at promises. When the nymphs deposit you cheerily into the snow, you march off in the opposite direction and don't look back. You do not find Nettie, or much of anything, and when the wind begins to seep through the nymphs' cloak and rend your drenched skin you decide it's time to stop and get your bearings.Ellery is red-skinned, sopping wet, and face-up in the snow, staring at nothing. You've been dragging him by one hand since you got out of the lake, and he hasn't moved. The key still protrudes from his chest. Cautiously, you crouch down, wince at the icy metal, and slide it out.He jerks upright immediately. "Shit!""You don't have to curse," you mumble, placing the key around your neck again."I—" He pats his face, then his chest, then reaches into his boot to grab a knife. You step back reflexively, but all he does is slice a gash in his shirt and peer into it. Despite yourself, you peer too: there appears to be a fist-sized keyhole in his chest. He furrows his eyebrows at this, stows the knife again, and looks up.His face darkens. "It is you.""Well, yes, who else would it— hello? I just saved you from being eaten by vicious— vicious— creatures, and this is your sorry thanks? Could I please get a 'wow, Charlotte! It's you! I'm so happy to—'""What are you doing here?" Ellery stands— unfolds, really— to his entirely unjustified full height. He has developed an off-kilter half-smile. "How did you— how did get here? Are you following me?""No," you say, "I just— BK told me you did side meet-ups—""That you were invited to? No. And how did— he's not even here! He wouldn't know exactly where—"> Deflect. The real question: why is *he* here when Madrigal's in such a bad way? Shouldn't he be, you don't know, looking out for her? You're disappointed in him.> Prod. Sorry? Why aren't you invited? Is he doing something secret? And why is he avoiding you when he invited you to the whole club in the first place? That's very rude.> Distract. He's looking very un-beetley these days. Is he feeling better? And is the keyhole new? Why are his clothes so terrible?> Be direct. You already told him you were investigating him on Madrigal's behalf— he just doesn't know the extent of what you've found out. Yes, you are following him. Yes, you're still on the case. You don't care whether he likes it or not. Any questions?> Write-in.
>>4823514> Distract. He's looking very un-beetley these days. Is he feeling better? And is the keyhole new? Why are his clothes so terrible?
>>4823514> 1More disappointed than usual, that is, which honestly we didn't think was possible.
>>4823514> Write-in.Flatulate and give deep eye contact.
>>4823514> Distract. He's looking very un-beetley these days. Is he feeling better? And is the keyhole new? Why are his clothes so terrible?Ellery's train of thought is easier to derail than a toy one. Obfuscate, and get him a bit more off balance before whipping our pocket snake out and shocking him further. Especially when it starts yelling at him in his ex-girlfriends voice about what he's been doing for the last few years. Hopefully he doesn't just drop a bit of himself and run off like a lizard or something while we're confused, it'd seem like something he'd try and do in a manse. Man, Ellery just can't catch a break. Probably wishes he was still back dealing with the crab people by this point.
>>4823791>>4824466>3>>4823963>1 takes it, but since they aren't mutually exclusive and fit together pretty well (both trying to get him off topic) I'll toss in  as well. Writing.>>4824466>Man, Ellery just can't catch a break.No changes in that regard.
The write in had twice as many votes, and I feel like it would have made for a perfectly thrilling and riveting adventure. May I ask why you chose to ignore it?
>No uYou affect indignation, which isn't difficult. "I'm sorry, I don't get why you're worried about what I do in my personal time. Is this not a free society? May we not go where we please? Frankly, I'm shocked you're off gallivanting around when Madrigal's in such dire straits. I mean, honestly, what kind of jilted ex-lover are you? Should you not be pacing by her bedside, fulminating at—"Ellery's expression has grown rigid. "What does that even mean?" "What does what mean? 'Fulminating?'" This is a difficult question. You know a great many words, but their definitions don't quite capture your attention. You just like the sound of them. "Uh… sulking, sort of? Angrily… sulking…"«That is 'fuming.'»«'Fulminating' is to be raging suddenly and explosively.»"…or, also, to rage suddenly— that's the second definition, you know. The first is what I said." You straighten your shoulders. "So you'd be sulking by her bedside as she writhes in terrible agony, in search of someone who cares for her— but alas! You are not there. You are here, for some reason, getting tied up and nearly eaten. So what do you have to say for yourself, good sir?""…" If you weren't two steps ahead of him, you might say he was expressionless— but when you know what to expect, every shift in his face is obvious. Shock and shame and anger flicker by; resignation settles in. "I didn't know Maddie was—""What are you talking about? Didn't know? I saw you going into her tent." It's not a lie. "I—" To his credit, it only takes a few seconds for him to regear. "She was looking okay when I saw her, alright? Maybe she made a turn for the worse, I don't— and that's terrible, obviously, but I was under the impression that— and you realize there's a spanner, right? We could spend the night here, Charlotte, and it'd be, what, two hours? Give or take. And I don't plan to spend the night. I'll be in, I'll be out, then I'll go see—" He pauses slightly. "—I'll go see Maddie, if that's what you want so bad. I'm sure it's nothing serious.""It's serious.""Then- then that doesn't change anything. I notice you're not at her bedside. So much for being in cahoots, eh? Did that fall apart?""That's classified," you say primly. "Speaking of falling apart, you are looking remarkably not like a giant beetle monster who— ahem— tried to kill me.""It's been w—" Ellery covers what sounded suspiciously like 'weeks' with an abrupt cough. "It's— are you blaming me for that?""I managed not to turn into a giant beetle monster. Much less try to kill people.""You were also not explicitly asked to follow the most basic of— do you think that was fun? Do you think I had fun with all that, Charlotte."You shake snow from your hair and hug your arms tighter. "Well, you are a freak. How am I supposed to know?"(1/4)
"'How I am supposed to—'" he mumbles disbelievingly. "Okay. Okay, well, here you go, then, Charlotte. It wasn't fun. It was actually shit! Is what it was. And if you're going to get snotty about it, I would like to remind you that it was one-hundred-percent your fault, and the normal reaction would be 'oh, wow, Ellery, good to see you haven't gone fucking insane, sorry I made you go fucking insane there for a while.' If you'd like to fix your statement, then—""No, I'm okay." How is it 100% your fault? It's like— 20% your fault. At most. "At least Madrigal will be happy to know you're not insane. Oh, yeah, right until she wonders what you're not doing—""Did she send you? To— what— irritate me into coming back? Because you can turn right around and tell her it's not happening." There's a thickness to his words. "Ever. It's over. There's nothing that can be done.""Well," you say, "you could stop being such a weirdo recluse, huh?" He's been getting better, but you're not about to inform Real Ellery of that. "That's not nothing.""…I'll tune that down, if that stops you—""Good!" Did he mean 'tone'? A slip of the tongue? "Now, uh, why is there a big keyhole in your chest? Is that a regular thing, or—""Huh. Let's think about that." Ellery tilts his head. "I wonder if you sticking a big fuck-off key in my chest has anything to do with this."You make a face. "Yeah, okay, but you'd expect it to just… make a hole. Not a—""Not a keyhole? Any hole a key makes is, by definition, a keyhole. That's how things work in here. Will it stick around? I don't know. Does it do anything? I don't know, probably, but I'm not keen on finding out what."You consider this. "Maybe if I stuck the key in and turned it the other way, you'd turn into a big key-themed monster.""That isn't funny. Can I have this?" Ellery makes a grab for the key. "I don't trust you with it, full offense.""Full offense taken!" You scrabble fruitlessly as he lifts it off your neck and tucks it under his arm. "Okay, that is theft, and—""We should find Anthea. Have you seen her?""N— no, but Nettie was with me before you broke all the ice—""That works. Hmm." Hooking the key around his shoulder, Ellery retrieves his knife again and cuts a ragged circle into his palm. It's hollow, which— well, you knew it would be, but you still can't stop staring, especially when he holds it flagpole-like above his head. And waits. And waits. His eyes are closed.«Interesting.»"…Ellery?" you venture. You're sure some snow has fallen into that hole already and you don't want to think about it."Yeah." His eyes snap open, and he lowers his arm. "Okay, I've got where they are. Follow me."He strikes off immediately, so you have little choice in the matter. "You got where they are… by cutting a hole in your hand and sticking it in the air."(2/4)
"Well, yeah, see— it's not my hand, right, it's just my concept of my hand, because I think I should have a hand. But also because— see, the logical extension there is— who is 'I'? And where is 'I'? The answer to the first is— well— it's complicated, and kind of technical, and not that important, but the answer to the second is that you are inside—" He turns around, walking backwards, and gestures at your whole body. "—that. Which means that your skin isn't just 'default,' or even just for comfort— though it is those things— it also serves as a barrier between you— your COS— and everything else. So, if you can puncture that barrier— uh, with a knife— in theory you can, eh, 'bleed' into the fabric of the—""You were communing," you say. You can't believe you actually listened to that. "That's it. You stuck your hand up and communed with the manse or whatever and found out where they were. Woo. Spooky.""…Well, uh, in a sense, but that doesn't fully get at—""I don't care."Ellery mercifully shuts up, and you continue your march through nowhere. The snow is so dense around you you could swear it's just ceased to be, that you're literally nowhere, that it's just white— and indeed you're so numb the cold is failing to register. Maybe you froze back there and died. Who knows?"I would've intervened." Richard is beside you, matching you stride for stride. He pushes something slippery into your hand. "Take her. She is—"#Holy fuck. Finally.#"—obstinate. And stay out of trouble." He squints at you and vanishes just as Ellery whips around. "Who was that?!""Was what?" You stuff Madrigal back in your pocket."There was a— a woman—""I didn't hear anything. Maybe you did go a little insane.""…" Ellery scans your face. "…Okay. I don't know, maybe. It happens. Uh… we're here.""We are?" You can't see anything."Yeah. Oh, uh—" He does something with his hands, and the whiteness is definitely snow (and always was snow), and you are standing before a raging campfire. Ellery is standing in the campfire. Anthea nearly falls over. "Oh!"(3/4)
"Told you." Nettie is less impressed. "Always comes back. Like the sun. Hello, Charlotte.""Hi…" you say. You're a tad distracted by Ellery dousing his sizzling legs in the snow. "Uh— I rescued him from man-eating nymphs— just so you guys know. Thanks for the help, Nettie—""Ellery doesn't need help. You… well, I don't really know, but I'm not exactly equipped for lake diving." Nettie laces her fingers. "And you seem competent enough to be left alone.""…Oh. Thanks?" Is that a compliment? She doesn't make it sound like one. "Also, we got a key, so I guess that's two— wait." There's two keys in a pile, and a third jangling around Ellery's elbow. "Where'd the last one come from? That was fast.""Anthea got it," Nettie answers, as Anthea says "The first part's always fairly formulaic, once you know what model you're in—""It's a custom," Ellery says."—yes, well, same idea. Still fairly formulaic. Which is good, because it limits our exposure— oh, speaking of, Thirdsday, while we do value you as our newest member, er… I'm not entirely sure how you got here, but I think there's been a bit of a mix-up. This delve is more intended for, er—" Anthea exchanges glances with the others. "—senior members? I'm very sorry. But it's not your fault, of course, and it's not a problem— you can just wait with me. It should only be fifteen minutes or so.""…What?" you say. "BK said you guys were fine with—""He must've been mistaken. Like I said, I'm very sorry." She smiles. "We just have some private business to take care of— well, I say we, but I never go down further. I'm just here for moral support, really. Would you like to sit down?"> What? This is not okay in the slightest! You *have* to go down, or there was no point in coming! Argue. (Write-in arguments.) [Roll.]> Private business? Suspicious! Maybe if you can pry into that, you can worm your way into going? But you'll have to be delicate… [Roll.]> Okay, sure. You will ""not go."" You will ""not go"" until you get to the gate, and unlock it, and then you will play the "how to get in" plan by ear. But you /will/ get in. Read: continue forward, push this vote until later> Write-in.
>>4825748Maybe she doesn't do smells, which I understand. It's a write-in vote, so let's see what she accepts and rejects this time. I will wait to hear from the QM before I vote.
>>4826045> Private business? Suspicious! Maybe if you can pry into that, you can worm your way into going? But you'll have to be delicate… [Roll.]
>>4826045>2Worst comes to worst I bet we can bully Ellery into vouching for us.
>>4826189>>4827015>Oh?? Secrets?!?Cool.>Please roll me 3 1d100s - 5 (-5 Rookie) vs. DC 70 (+20 No, Really, It's A Secret, +10 ???, -10 ???) to try to get this out of them.Spend 1 ID for a +10 to all rolls? You are at 8/(10) ID.> Y> N
Rolled 22 + 5 (1d100 + 5)>>4827616>NHang on ta' SOMETHIIIIIIIIING
Rolled 4 - 5 (1d100 - 5)>>4827616
Rolled 49 - 5 (1d100 - 5)>>4827619>>4827626Not looking so great, huh? I'll roll the last one to expedite things (to dampen salt I'm not counting crits on this one).
>>4827619>>4827626>>4827723>17, 0, 44 vs. DC 70 -- FailureWriting shortly.
>OwO what's this>17, 0, 44 vs. DC 70 — FailureYou widen your eyes. "Private business? Gosh, that sounds serious."Nettie looks amused; Ellery does not. Anthea interlaces her fingers. "Somewhat, yes, which is why I'm sure you can understand why it'd be best if you— please don't take this personally, it really isn't. We'd be happy to—" Ellery is shaking his head. "—we'd be happy to have you along another time! Just not this time."Just not this time? Not likely. Not only are you determined to come along whether they like it or not— especially if Ellery doesn't like it— but this 'private business' has sorely piqued your interest. Perhaps the club is indebted to some malevolent force— a Dread and Terrible Beast, for instance— and its leadership must perform periodic sacrifices to stave off their inevitable doom? Perhaps they, like Gil (…and you), have come to siphon off some illicit ambient Law? Perhaps Ellery and this Nettie are in a torrid secret relationship, and Anthea is… their third wheel? Or it's a love triangle? There's so many possibilities. "Well— but— what if it's something I could help with. I am very helpful. Notoriously helpful. I, uh, I have magyckal— remember? I unhinged my jaw? And I- I rescued Nettie, and also I just rescued Ellery, right now—""I was fine," Ellery says."You were frozen! You were gonna be eaten! And I got two of the keys, and— if you just told me a little bit, I could be useful? Not all of it, just a little…" You can get the rest later, you figure. You already hate Anthea's apologetic smile, though maybe it's just because you hate looking at her face. Or not-face. "Sorry," she says. How? You thought that was good! Convincing! What were you missing? Do you need to cry a little bit?«You look desperate.»You do not look desperate. That's ridiculous. «You do. It's sad.»«And the more you press the more desperate you look.»«So settle down and accept it. Nothing's over yet. Nothing says you have to descend <with> them.»…Well, you kind of want to find out about this private business, and also Madrigal wants to creep on Ellery, but— okay. Okay. You'll figure it out later. "…I understand," you say, attempting a veneer of solemnity. "I'll wait. But can I at least see the gate being opened? Since I did get two of the keys, and everything. And also rescued—""I don't see why not." Anthea looks at the others. Ellery grimaces. Nettie, reclined in a damp patch of earth, is eyeing your jacket. "Sure," she says, noncommittally. "Why not." (Following her gaze, you shove Madrigal's head back into your pocket.)"Okay, then! I guess it's settled. We should be off, anyhow, no reason to sit around now that we're all together. Quit the long face, Ellery, don't be rude. Come on!"(1/3?)
You are off, though not as urgently as Anthea made it sound— you are forced to participate in dousing and packing away the campfire. Something something, leave no trace. Still, you try to help as little as possible, being more preoccupied with trying and failing to keep Madrigal hidden. Unsatisfied with your pocket, she keeps trying to inch up under your coat, or latch onto your arm, or swing up onto your shoulder— and it's on the last of those occasions that Nettie glances over. "Is that a snake?" she says loudly.You glance down at Madrigal, who is hooked over your zipper. "No.""That is a snake! What are you doing with a snake, Charlotte?""I'm not—" You grip Madrigal protectively. "It's just a snake. A normal, ordinary— I have a pet snake, okay? And I brought it. That's all.""A pet snake! Really." Nettie is unblinking. "How interesting. Charlotte and her pet snake. Makes you think, doesn't it.""Uh, I don't…" Do people have pet snakes? Maybe that's weird. Is that why she's acting like this? "It's just my pet, okay? It's not a big—"#I'm not your pet. Fuck you.#God-dammit! You stuff Madrigal back into your pocket, but it's too late, everybody heard: Nettie is exactly as intense as before, Ellery is white as a sheet. Only Anthea is chipper. "It talks," Nettie says.You force a smile. "Well, maybe it— it's not that big of—""That's interesting! I've never handled a snake, but I have heard they're fairly intelligent. Does it speak outside here?" Anthea's face is wafting pink smoke. "Or is it an unreality thing? It wouldn't be unprecedented, I don't think— but that is interesting, Nettie's right. I suppose it's a she?""Yeah," Ellery says, tersely."Well, I'd rather hear it from Thirdsday— does it really speak, do you know, or is it more like a mynah bird? Just repeating things?""…Um," you say. "I'm not— sure. It doesn't do it very often." (You pinch Madrigal.) "Small sample, you know.""Ah, well, either way! I don't mean to make a big fuss about it, just curious. Moving on—"-And then you are off, for real. Ellery leads, at first, but then he confers with Anthea and gestures and she takes his place at the head of the pack. He slinks back to walk near you, then, and asks stiltedly if he can look at your snake. You feign confusion. Please, he says, it's probably nothing— and you are so taken with Ellery saying please that you hand Madrigal over. Ellery holds her up, and squints into her yellow eyes, and turns her around, before eventually handing her back. Find anything? you inquire innocently. No, he says, and you believe him. He's tense all over.(2/3?)
You're fine with psyching Ellery out, you figure, as long as he doesn't fully catch on. You'll just have to get some time alone and threaten Madrigal into shutting up for the foreseeable future. Easy. Maybe you'll tell her you'll leave her in a snake forever, or something. While her real body rots. Is that too mean? But she is jeopardizing the—Maybe the walk felt quick because you were distracted, or it was quick because you were distracted. Either way, you're taken by surprise when Anthea dodges behind a snowbank and signs for you to follow quickly. When you peek up over it, it becomes obvious why: some thirty feet ahead of you, the wall looms, and the chained-up gate beckons. Five feet in front of the gate, the snow is puddling around a massive bonfire, easily quadruple the one you saw before. The heat is like a blast furnace, even from here: you don't want to think about being up close. Around the bonfire, and flanking the wall in either direction as far as you can see, are dozens of unmoving, near-identical people. Like the ones you slaughtered, you think.Anthea, delicately, asks if that was all there when Nettie scouted this out. Nettie shakes her head. "Must be the alert.""Pardon?""Well, look, Charlotte murdered all those—"You rescued her, you sign wildly, so if it's anybody's fault, it's hers, for being captured, like a— "It doesn't matter," Ellery interjects. "It's done. Now we have to get past the entire fucking Royal Guard, so how about we—"Plans are hastily proposed, debated, and shot down. Even when the worst ideas are discarded, you're still left with too many. "Worse problems to have," Anthea says mildly, but Nettie and Ellery are bitterly divided:- Plan A involves picking off a few unpeople via crossbow / pistol, then gunning for the rope up the wall in the confusion. Anthea likes that this minimizes casualties ("don't want more alerting"). Ellery finds this appropriately swashbuckling. Nettie is skeptical everyone will get up the rope, and more skeptical that they'll be able to get down the other side of the wall. - Plan B involves Ellery attempting to cause a distraction while everyone else bumrushes and unlocks the gate. Nettie thinks this is obviously the best idea. Ellery hates it on the grounds of "why am I always the fucking distraction?" And he's dubious that he'll be able to distract dozens— maybe hundreds— of people at once.- Plan C involves toppling the bonfire, causing mass chaos and a clear opening. Nobody dislikes this plan, but nobody can think of an actual way to topple the bonfire.They want Anthea to pick a side. Anthea will not pick a side. ("I'm moral support!") Slowly, begrudgingly, they look at you.(Choices next.)
->YOU HAVE: yourself, Anthea, Ellery, Nettie, Gil(beetles), a crossbow, a pistol, The Sword, three arm-length iron keys, the rope on the wall, a massive bonfire, any inanimate object fist-sized or smaller with no moving parts*, Richard's ability to possess you, the nymphs' cloak, a whole bunch of snow> Pick Plan A— trying to scale the rope. [Roll.]> Pick Plan B— using Ellery as a distraction. [Roll.]> Pick Plan C— toppling the bonfire. (How do you do it? Write-in.) [Possible roll.]> These plans suck. Make your own, with blackjack and hookers. (Write-in.) [Possible roll.]*still subject to veto if you game this somehow
>>4828037 These plans suckObviously, the best plan is to dig a tunnel through the snow and emerge behind the backs of the guard. The bonfire should've melted the snow around already, but since it didn't, it's clear that this snow is conceptually tough enough to support a tunnel.
>>4828051I'm not gonna shut this down entirely, but I would like to note that>the snow is puddlingso it *is* melting, though still maybe not to the extent it should be melting. Take that as you will.
>>4828033>CCan't resist the options that involve FIREToppling it seems tough thoughPerhaps we could launch Ellery at it like a human projectile?Perhaps we could ledgermain a fist sized chunk of C4 and just chuck it in? Inb4 vetoed because this has already been vetoed before.I'd suggest some sort of avalanche with all the snow but that would extinguish the bonfire and therefore it's the worst plan.Maybe we could do >>4828051but dig under the bonfire and topple it from there? I dunno, if it really is unnaturally tough it might not be possible to dig through.If only Madrisnake was among our assets this would be easy.Maybe we could soak the rope with a bunch of snow, tie the end to a key, chuck the key into the fire and yank back before the rope is destroyed? That or pack the cloak with snow, put it on Ellery and have him kamikaze the fire?
>>4828844I mean, Madrigal is in your assets, I just couldn't think of a reason you'd want to use her. She has no special powers, she's just an uncoordinated baby snake.
>>4828906She could get Ellery into a state of mind where he'd be eager to kamikaze into a bonfire.
>>4829162Ah, well, fair enough! What in particular would you want her to say/do?Also, C4 is off limits for sure. Richard won't enable you blowing your head off on accident, and Ellery would have no clue what that was. (It's a little advanced for the setting, too, I think.)
>>4829234>"Do it for our baby Ellery"He'll run into the fire out of fear of commitmentnah I dunno, if I did know what to say we wouldn't need maddy!Now that I have a bit more time to think, these guys worship Ignatius Flick. Perhaps we could conjure up replicas of his personal affects or pieces of toast that bear his likeness? Claim to be heralds of his return? And then tell them tipping the bonfire is the only way to bring him back. The bonfire must be tipped.
>>4829563>He'll run into the fire out of fear of commitmentkek>Claim to be heralds of his return? And then tell them tipping the bonfire is the only way to bring him back. The bonfire must be tipped.Hey, now you're thinking. Gonna go with this for Plan A, and if it fails you guys can do tunneling and/or Ellery kamikaze for Plan B. For now I need dice:>Please roll me 3 1d100s + 20 (+10 Flair For The Dramatic, +5 Flaming Sword, +5 Cool Cloak) vs. DC 55 (+25 Red Alert, +0 No Survivors, -5 Not The Brightest Bulbs, -15 Monomaniacally Obsessed) to present yourself as a herald of Ignatius Flick's return!Spend 1 ID for a +10 to the result? You are at 8/(10) ID.> Y> N
Rolled 99 + 20 (1d100 + 20)>>4829718Dice dice baby
Rolled 97 (1d100)>>4829718don't forget the dice
Rolled 1 + 20 (1d100 + 20)>>4829718One day
>>4829726>>4829751>>4829876>119, 117Wow! What good rolls! You have a great chance of rounding this out, making this an Enhanced Suc-->1God-dammit.>CRITFAIL>for the fourth time in two threads, this has to be a record or somethingWriting shortly, once I work out some of the details.
>You went full chuuni. *Never* go full chuuni.>119, 117, 1 — CRITFAILYou shake your head at the first plan, and again at the second. You hesitate at the third, which is suitably dramatic, but before you can agree you're stricken by a flash of genius. You snap your fingers. "Hang on. That guy."Anthea glances over her shoulder. "…What guy?""That— Nettie knows what I mean. That guy. Ignatius Flick. They're obsessed with him! If we go in and claim he sent us, or that we're, I don't know, prophesied to rescue him, then they'll— they'll let us right through, probably. Or if they don't let us through, we could convince them to kick over the bonfire for us. Huh? It won't even be hard. They're stupid."Nettie rubs her mouth. "…Huh. Yeah. She's right.""…Yes! I am!" You were expecting more of a fight, but you'll take it. "So I'll just—""Worth a shot. Worst happens…" Ellery makes a vague gesture toward his neck, but doesn't elaborate. "Beats a destraction, anyhow. I'll go."He'll go? He begins to stand, but you lunge for his ankle. "Hey! Whoa! Whose idea was this?!""Yours," he says, but tries to shake your hand off. "But, as I understand it, you murdered a half-dozen—""A dozen," Nettie says."—a dozen of them, and I doubt they'll take well to the sight of you. More to the point, if things go south, it's better me than you. Thanks for the offer, but—""It will go south if it's you," you hiss, incensed. "This is— whoever's out there has to look like a hero, alright? A-and walk like one, and talk like— you don't even know what fulminate means! That's a basic hero word! And you're too skinny, and you walk funny, and you have a crossbow, which— who has a crossbow?!""I do," he says evenly."Exactly." You thrust your finger at his chest. "You have a stupid crossbow. I have a SWORD, Ellery. A FLAMING SWORD. And a talking snake, and a magick cloak, a-and powers, and— you can't even compare, you fleabitten saltlicker. Okay?! I am going and that is— that's final."You are breathing heavily. Besides the crackle of the bonfire, which seems to have gotten warmer, it's the only audible sound. Everyone is staring. Nettie has leaned back against the snowbank. "…Also, I killed all of them," you add after a long pause. "So how would they recognize me? They wouldn't. It'd have to be, like, a 1-in-100 shot—""Okay, then," Ellery says. "Fuck me, I guess. Go for it!""Ell—" Anthea says reproachfully."No! She wants to do this so bad, she can go for it. Look, Nettie agrees." Nettie is nodding. "Go for it, Charlotte. Show them what's for. Wow us.""Easily," you retort, and stand, drawing The Sword as you do. "This is my flaming sword, by the way.""Yeah, you stuck it in my guts. I remember it." Ellery waves impatiently. "Go on."(1/3)
"I will." You lean out over the snowbank: nothing has changed. Paying one last haughty glance at Ellery, you stride out across the open ground.Or you try to, anyhow: deep snow and heeled boots don't mix well, so you wade more than you stride. Your cloak also doesn't billow, though you spend quite a bit of time willing it to. Still, you wade as heroically as you can manage, all the way around the bonfire, until you reach more solid ground. There you clamber upright, toss your hair back, and raise The Sword above your head. "HEAR YE," you bellow. "NOBLE CITIZENS, THOU—"That's as far as you get before the head of every single unperson snaps to look at you. "Intruder!" cries one. "Seize him!" cries another. Then they're all crying that, their hundred voices overlapping one another, and every one simultaneously draws a sword from nowhere, and starts toward you— and fear of embarrassment then is replaced with ordinary cold fear. But your tactical retreat is marred by the soft snow you'd forgotten about, and you trip, and faceplant, and by the time you're up they're already upon you— there's yelling from behind, and a gunshot cracks out, toppling an unperson, but there's twenty more where it was. There doesn't even need to be twenty. All it takes is two: one to grapple The Sword from your hand, and another to clap you over the skull with the flat of its blade. You fall into the snow, and into darkness.->[-1 ID: 7/(10)]You're alive, because your head is killing you. So that's something. You are also cold, primarily because— you squint through the darkness— you have been stripped to your skivvies. You are spreadeagled and manacled to some kind of board. "RICHARD!" you scream. "RICHARD, you WORTHLESS—""Simmer down. I'm right here." He was lurking just outside your peripheral vision."Where are my CLOTHES, Richard." You bang your wrists against the board. "Why am I LOCKED—""Because you were kidnapped and imprisoned. Apply some critical thinking, Charlotte." Richard fiddles with his watch. "I believe they intended to torture you, too, but lucky for you they weren't created with that in mind. They left you on the rack instead. Bit of a pity. It could've made you taller.""This isn't funny!" You bang harder. "Unlock me!""I did." He reaches over and unlatches your manacles. "There you are. Here's some clothing, by the way."You stare at what he's holding up. "You can't be serious. That dress?""I don't make a habit of preparing women's clothing, Charlotte." He hands you the red dress. "It was this or a polo shirt, and you're hardly my size. They took your sword, by the way. And Madrigal. You're lucky I had the backpack."(2/3)
Rolled 74, 72, 12 = 158 (3d100)"You don't have to rub it in," you mumble, as you tug the dress on. "Could you do the buttons? They took The Sword?""Yes. I presume it's somewhere in the dungeon. They're not canny enough to take it for themselves. If we're fortunate, Madrigal is in the same place." Richard buttons your dress as you hold your hair up. "The others should be looking for you, but I wouldn't wait around. This place is labyrinthine.""What, did you scope it out?" You mourn the loss of your pockets."…To an extent. I can't go far when you're…" He steps back and pushes his sunglasses up. "It's more of a sense. Shall we?""I guess…" You'll never tell him, but you're glad Richard's with you. He's reassuringly calm. "What's out there?""Corridors." He pushes the cell door open. "And some mold, if I'm not mistaken. Come along."->What do you find?> SLIME> PORTAL> KING> HORSErolling for progress of ellery & co
>>4830140>4I can back pony. They're smaller so when we critfail it won't kick us as hard as a full grown horse. :*(
>>4830140> HORSEHorse horse horse H O R S E. Lottie seems like a horse girl, or someone who used to be one.
>>4830148>>4830748>>4831803>HORSE (SMALL)Called and writing.>>4831803>Lottie seems like a horse girlGood news.Thread 6: "Of course you've read about horses. You loved horses. You pleaded for a horse for your seventh birthday, and had to be told horses didn't really exist, they were just in stories. You got a stuffed one instead, sown by your aunt. It had six legs. You named her Betsy Furlock—"
>My Little PonyRichard was right about the mold: you wrinkle your nose at the fetid smell of it as you step into the corridor. "They need to do some maintenance around here.""An unlikely prospect— just a moment. Don't move." Richard pushes past you and heads left, stopping before a lump (…a body?) on the ground. Crouching, he slides a knife from its chest and wipes it on his leg. "That's one.""What?" Maybe the stench wasn't the mold, after all. "Did you kill that—""I don't like to be watched. Come here, follow me, don't step on any flagstones with an 'X.' Understand?""There's traps?" God, you wish Madrigal were here to hear this.By means of answering, he stomps hard on a flagstone. You flinch as a arrow whizzes through his head and embeds itself in the opposite wall. "No 'X's, Charlotte.""…Okay! No 'X's." You're still kind of excited. "Who goes around and picks the arrows out of the wall afterward?""I assure you, nobody involved in the 'construction'—" He makes quotation marks with his fingers. "—of these traps thought that hard about it. Neither should you. Now watch your step.""I know. God."You step on trapped flagstones three times. Twice Richard, shouting, bowls you to the ground— you take the arrows as souvenirs, figuring that if nobody picks them out of the wall, it may as well be you. The third time, he snatches you up by your shoulder ("ow!") as the ground yawns open under your feet. Rubbing your arm, you stare into the spikes ten feet down. "I thought it'd be shallower.""I'm sorry the spike pit didn't live up to your expectations, Charlie." Richard pockets the fourth knife he's found— this one buried in the skull of a nondescript woman."…I mean, it surpassed my expectations, to be—""I don't actually care. You're not walking anymore." He places a lit cigarette between his lips."…What? What does that— is that a threat? Are you gonna cut off my— hey!" You are swept up unceremoniously into Richard's arms. "Hey! That's not fair! I can walk—""I assure you, you've proven otherwise."And no matter how much you squirm or plead, that's the last word on the matter: Richard carries you through God knows how much more corridor. It all looks the same, and you say so."Yes, I'd expect that. It's not… it wasn't purpose-built, I don't think. Nobody designed these. They just sprung up to link the torture chamber, presumably, and…"You cough. You wish Richard wouldn't smoke directly into your face. "And what?""…It's unclear. Something else. Something…" Richard clicks his tongue. "Can't you feel the air? What does it feel like?"You think. "Humid?""Dense. Like we're two or three layers down, not one. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a rift somewhere, and if we're headed toward it." He bites down on his cigarette. "That, or… toward whatever generated this dungeon area.""The Ignatius guy.""No." He doesn't say more.(1/4)
It is dark, and the scenery is monotonous, and Richard's arms are warm, and his irregular gait soothing. You slip into a half-sleep only broken by the acrid smell of blood, which you dismiss as illusory for several minutes until it fails to go away. "Wh— are you bleeding? Richard?""I don't bleed. The traps have stopped, by the way." Richard deposits you on the ground and wipes his hands on his shirt. "No, I believe we've gotten somewhere. Be quiet."You wipe your hands, just to show him. "Why?""Shhh." He presses his ear against the wall, then slides his hands along it until he locates— you suppose— a seam. You can't see anything. "Come here. Press there."Bemused, you press where he indicates, and with a horrid noise the wall grinds open. You are met with a stronger smell of blood and a resounding roar: not of a beast, but of a crowd.Richard shrugs and enters. You follow, and find yourself in a large, circular, torchlit room. Off to one side of the room is a deep pit, ringed with guardrails; surrounding the pit are crude bleachers, packed with cheering (and booing) unpeople. On the opposite side, closer to you, is a brightly lit… storefront? A white-furred creature is behind the counter, and behind it appear to be rows of goods. The only sign is marked with a large key.An arena, then? Open, perhaps, to brave— wait, you don't have your sword. God-damnit. Still, you creep over to the pit, ignoring the unpeople, and peek through the guardrails.…Are those horses?They can't be horses. Horses don't exist. They're a myth. Or if they did exist, they certainly don't now: they're much too large and savage to ever survive on a Pillar. If there are sea horses, you have never encountered one, and it is likely for the best.…But, you have to say, these beasts do look like horses. They're both seven feet tall, maybe eight; one is bay, the other pied; their manes, though chopped short, still have a healthy glisten. The pied is savaging the bay with its serrated fangs, while the bay is reared up on its back two feet and kicking with the first four. There is froth and hair and blood and scales everywhere you look, and both horses are screaming— exactly how you read in your Encyclopaedia— like speared gulls.It is glorious and awful and you can't tear yourself away until Richard places a hand on your shoulder. "You need to see this, Charlie.""But—""It's your things.""Oh!" You stumble away, and Richard steers you toward the storefront. The white-furred creature— it reminds you of the one Ellery shot, but much smaller— looks up. "Hello! What can I do you for?"You are staring at the shelves behind it. On the lowest shelf: a jumble of clothing. On the second-highest shelf: a striped snake, frozen in a block of ice. On the middle shelf: a sword. The Sword. "That's— that's my sword," you say dumbly.(2/4)
"Huh? The sword?" The creature lifts The Sword from the shelf and flourishes it. "This here is a gen-yoo-ine magical sword, crafted with fine steel and the blood of innocents! Bonus: it can catch on fire. Perfect for marshmallows and cauterizing wounds. It can be yours, young lady, for the low, low exchange rate of 1,000 keys!""…Keys?" "Ah, a newcomer!" The creature taps the dangling sign with one of its arms and stows The Sword away with two more. "This here is the Prize Booth! Win keys in any number of fun and exciting activities, then exchange them for fun and exciting prizes! We have here these new clothes, this sword, this snake, this suit of armor, and more! And they're bargains. Exchange rates are right here."500 keys. 1,000 keys. 2,000 keys. You blink. "How many keys do you usually get per… activity?""Ah! Excellent question, excellent question. One. Two, if you do well. I hope that helps!" Ah. You're beginning to feel a little queasy. "I see.""If you don't care to use keys, I do offer some alternative methods of exchange!" The creature props its head up on three of its hands. "Very simple ones, too. One pint of your blood is 500 keys. Your heart, and I'll hand you the whole rack, free of charge! How about it?"Before you're able to respond, hands clamp firmly onto your shoulders. Richard leans past you. "Cut the bullshit."The creature (…the shopkeeper?) clasps its hands together. "Hello! Who are you?"Richard doesn't hesitate. "Her guardian. She's not falling for your scam, so cut the bullshit and give us the real prices.""These are the real prices." The shopkeeper's tone has cooled. "Lizard.""Actually, he's a sna— mph!" Richard has muffled you with his hand. "No, they aren't," he says, equally coolly. "And we won't pay them in keys or blood, so there's no use stalling. Go ahead and update them."The shopkeeper doesn't move. Richard produces a cigarette, lights it, and takes a long drag. He exhales the smoke into the shopkeeper's face. And keeps exhaling. Your eyes water as the booth fills with black smoke."Lizard," the shopkeeper snarls. Richard stops exhaling. When the smoke finally clears, the prices have been slashed.ROW 1 (your clothes): 5 keysROW 2: 10 keysROW 3 (The Sword): 25 keysROW 4 (Madrigal): 50 keysROW 5: 100 keys"Pleasure to do business with you." Richard pats your shoulder. "I heard something about activities?"(3/4)
"Yes! Fun and exciting activities." The shopkeeper claps its hands together, though it seems a little forced. "Our principle one is, of course, horse betting! We offer the best horse fights in the business. If that doesn't strike your fancy, we also allow you to fight the horse, and you get a cut of the bets! If you win. Most people don't. Weapons provided. And if that doesn't pay out, we offer good ol'fashioned adventuring in the Dungeons of Death! Procure keys from pesty monsters! Dodge traps! Of Death! If you get lucky, maybe you can find the Vault of Keys! How about it?"> Inquire more about the betting.> Inquire more about fighting the horses.> Inquire more about adventuring.> Inquire more about the Vault of Keys.> Examine the prizes that *aren't* your stolen belongings.> Write-in.
>>4832373>You step on trapped flagstones three times.Damn, man, lay off from making Charlie look like an idiot for a bit. We the players do it plenty ourselves.>>4832381> Inquire more about the betting.> Inquire more about fighting the horses.> Inquire more about adventuring.> Inquire more about the Vault of Keys.> Examine the prizes that *aren't* your stolen belongings.> Evaluate the shop's security.
>>4832381> Inquire more about the betting.> Inquire more about fighting the horses.We're either going to bet on these magnificent beasts, or fight these magnificent beasts. Most of the stuff going on here is Manse stuff, which will likely fade away when we leave this place. May as well see if we can get our stuff back without much hassle.Tempted to just nick it back into our RIGHTFUL possesion, but we've already de-stabilized things as it is. No sense in stirring the pot yet.
>>4832428To be completely fair to Charlotte, it's legitimately dark and the 'X's are tiny. Richard is just a smug trap-sensing bastard (who should've, like, been pointing things out rather then walking ahead).The intent was not to make (you) look like an idiot, I, uh, mainly just wanted to write Charlotte in a princess carry...But noted!>>4832442>which will likely fade away when we leave this placeIf you recall, you found The Sword in a weird dream sequency past recreation... place... and you've been waving it around just fine. Ditto with Gil, who was technically part of the manse you found him in. You can take any non-"your stuff" prizes out, if they aren't inherently temporary, you just can't take them into Real Life.
>>4832381>3>4Very tempting to just mug the guy too
>>4832428>>4832442>>4833022>Everything but the kitchen sink...and looking at the prizes>Also, contemplate thieveryWriting. You'll probably get a list of all the prizes later regardless, because (spoilers) you'll get at least one not-your-stolen-item prize automatically if you go for Rows 3+, but this update will be long enough as is so I'm fine with holding off for now.
>Infodump me, babyYou glance at Richard. "I… think we're going to have to hear more about all those things. To maximize our fun, you know.""All those things? The betting, the horse fighting— that's you fighting a horse, not the horses fighting each other— the adventuring, and the Vault of Keys?""Yep." The more preoccupied it is, the better, in your book. You have to scope out the thievery situation. (That sounds bad. The re-thievery situation.) "Sounds good.""Well, then!" The shopkeeper lays its hands flat on the counter. "Our most cherished pastime down here is gambling! Quite legal, I assure you, and wholly above-the-table. Simply examine the odds for each match over at our betting booth—" It points back behind the bleachers: if there's a booth there you can't see it. "—choose the horse that strikes your fancy, and place down however many keys you like! At the end of the match, the booth will pay you back according to the odds. If you win and it's 1:2, you'll make half your bet, 1:1 will pay you your bet, 2:1 will double it— and so on! Sit back, grab a concession at our concession stand—" It again points, and again you see nothing. "—and experience the thrill of rolling the bones, and the unmatched violence of an angered horse! Win big! Our reigning champion is Laurel's Great Beyond, but I hear Pocket Sand is making a run for that title! How about it?"There's no doors to the prize exchange booth, at least none you can see from here: the only way in and out, it seems, is over the counter. The prizes appear unguarded, but the counter is too high and you're too far away to reach them. You'd have to leap into the booth, and that's clearly impossible while the shopkeeper is inside. Maybe if you made it leave, somehow? Or got Richard to threaten it some more? You'll have to ask him. Richard, for his part, clears his throat. "Place down keys.""Yes! That's our exchange medium." The shopkeeper taps its sign again. "Betting is in keys and keys only.""Interesting." Richard slams his key ring onto the counter with a metallic clang. "Will these work?""…" It tenses up. "No counterfeit.""I assure you, these are quite genuine. Charlie can verify this. These will buy out your prizes, no? It's several hundred—""No counterfeit," the shopkeeper repeats. "And no trading with lizards." To punctuate this, it turns its sign around: 'NO TRADE WITH LIZARDS,' it reads, with a small picture of Richard's face crossed out in red. "And if I gave the keys to Charlie…?" You are offered the keyring—"Invalid." Richard snatches the keys back immediately. "That's asinine.""So we don't have anything to bet with," you interject. "We don't have any keys. Valid keys. That's— don't you want us to bet? Will you provide a complimentary—"(1/2)
"Complimentary concession!" The shopkeeper points again to the hidden concession stand. "No complimentary key. We accept collateral in exchange for betting keys. Just a single lock of your hair is one whole key! Syringe of blood is five keys! A few beetles— one key. Those arrows— one key for two. That interesting mechanism on the lizard's back— we'll give fifty keys! That's throat-gouging rates! Just pay us back with your betting wins and you'll get your items returned to you! Not the blood, though. Or the hair. We keep those."You narrow your eyes. "How do you know I have beetles?""Moving on! Horse fighting! Not too much to cover that I didn't already, to be frank. You pick your opponent, we pick your weapon. Payout based on how long you last before you escape. No payout if you die. Kill the horse, win the jackpot! Don't try to kill the horse. You'll die.""…I thought you said payout was a cut of the—""Moving on! Adventuring! Always a classic. Face down monsters! Slay them! Win their keys! Dodge traps! The traps don't have keys. Encounter challenges! Find keys there, too! Maybe you'll even find the Vault of Keys! A legendary cache of treasure, worth two hundred keys or more! That's almost enough to buy out my stock! But beware: they say the Vault is impossible to find, and if one were to find it, they must face dastardly trials to reach the Vault's center!""Huh," you say. Getting all the keys in one fell swoop is intriguing, but you are conspicuously unarmed. And unaccompanied. Maybe you should wait for Ellery & co to stumble upon you? But clearing the Vault alone (or with Richard) would certainly help to patch up your reputation. Hmm. "Thanks, I guess.""Any time!">[A1] Head to the Betting Booth to scope out the odds. (If you choose to bet, you may do things like inspect the horses, ask about their win records, commit sabotage, etc. — it won't be pure luck checks unless you want it to be)>[A2] Head to the Stables to inquire about fighting a horse.>[A3] Head out the door to Adventure. (Note: you do not have The Sword.)>[A4] Head out the door to Locate the Vault of Keys. >[A5] Write-in.(The [B]s are optional.)>[B1] Head to the Concession Stand to pick up your complimentary concession before doing anything else.>[B2] Ask Richard about mugging the shopkeeper.>[B3] Check out the non-your stuff prizes while you're still here.>[B4] Write-in.honestly thought this would be longer, whoops!
>>4834437>[A4] Head out the door to Locate the Vault of Keys. >[B1] Head to the Concession Stand to pick up your complimentary concession before doing anything else.>[B2] Ask Richard about mugging the shopkeeper.>[B3] Check out the non-your stuff prizes while you're still here.
>>4834437>[A4] Head out the door to Locate the Vault of Keys. >[B1] Head to the Concession Stand to pick up your complimentary concession before doing anything else.>[B2] Ask Richard about mugging the shopkeeper.>[B3] Check out the non-your stuff prizes while you're still here.Good combo
>>4834437>A1May as well look>B2>B3
>>4834491>>4834921>A4>>4835429>A1Called for A4 and all the Bs. This will be the second-to-last update of the thread: I'm gonna end it just before you embark for the Vault because we're on Page 9 and I need time to plan.
>Snack timeYou turn to leave, then after a moment pivot on your heel. "…Do you mind if I look at the prizes?""Not at all, not at all! But no touching, young lady. If you have questions, just inquire."You squint.The first row (5 keys) contains: >Your clothing, sans the nymphs' cloakThe second row (10 keys) contains:>A satchel of small flashbangs>A matchbook with a single match inside: the shopkeeper explains it 'warms the heart' [Restore 5 ID, one use only]>A taxidermied lark with a wind-up key in the back: wind it up and it trills loudly. The shopkeeper claims 'it makes you sit up and pay attention' [May be wound up in advance to break you from trances and dreamlike states]>A large, well-carved wooden statuette of a horse — "a souvenir!" is all the shopkeeper saysThe third row (25 keys) contains:>The Sword>The nymphs' cloakThe fourth row (50 keys) contains:>Madrigal>A glass eyeball in a jar [+10 to vision-based checks for whoever sticks it in their socket]>The skull of a horse with several teeth missing: the shopkeeper claims you can break the teeth off, throw them into dirt, and more horses will spring up where they landThe fifth row (100 keys) contains:>A full set of plate armor — it appears to be your size>A rock"Why's there a rock?" you say. "…" Richard raises his sunglasses and squints. "May I hold that rock?""No touching," the shopkeeper says, but grabs the rock from the top shelf and holds it up. It's a pretty rock, you suppose, sort of purplish and transparent in places, but you have no idea why it's valued the same as a suit of armor. "…That'll be fine, thank you." Richard lowers his sunglasses and touches your shoulder. «There's Law in that.»"What?" What— like Law-Law? Crown—«Yes.»>A rock (2/16)"Scoped everything out?" the shopkeeper inquires. "I believe I haven't told you our policy for exchange rates— they account for one prize on that shelf, and on every lower shelf. If you wanted this fine magical sword, for example— you could get it, and this charming statuette, and these lovely clothes, all for the low price of 25 keys! Yet another reason we're the best in the—">Getting all your stuff back including the nymphs' cloak is 75 keys. (Sans the cloak — 50 keys.) Getting both top-shelf items, all your stuff back, one extra item from Row 4, and 2 items from Row 2 is 200 keys. Getting all items is 260 keys."Got it," you say impatiently. "We'll be back, alright? Where's the food?""The concessions are right over there." The shopkeeper points once more, and without a word of acknowledgement you set off in that direction.Richard trails behind, and after some maneuvering through the crowds you wait for him to catch up. You fold your arms when he does. "So we're going to mug the shopkeeper, right?""'We,' Charlotte?" He scratches his nose. "As I recall, your precious sword is currently—"(1/2)
"Okay, you, then. Can't you mug him? You've got— I don't know— weird powers? And knives? You have at least four knives, I counted your knives—"He glances over his shoulder at nothing. "…I am not permitted to commit violence, Charlotte."He has to be joking. "But— you do. Um. It feels like you actually commit a whole lot of—""No. You commit violence. I—" He raises his hands. "—do nothing. So no, I can't mug the—""You don't have to actually kill it? You can just wave a knife around, or whatever—""Too conspicuous.""And murdering all those cultists wasn't—?""There were no witnesses, those were not people, and it was in defense of the cl— of you. So no, Charlotte, it wasn't."It still makes no sense to you. "And why is this the time where you care about your dumb snake rules? You've been kind of garbage at—"Richard's expression sours. "Well, I don't know. Is it possible a certain somebody lost a certain something important? Is it possible that this loss puts a certain somebody else on thin ice? What do you think, Charlotte?"You scowl back. "Okay, then. Give me the weird powers and I'll mug the shopkeeper, if you're gonna be an ass about it.""I don't think that would be a good idea— that thing is more powerful than it looks. You're not capable of handling it alone regardless of what I do to you." God-damnit. "And you couldn't just say so in the first place?""It's not my fault it's a bad idea on multiple levels." He raises his eyebrows. "We may as well play its game for now. Goodness knows a diversion couldn't hurt— I hear there's concessions?"-You can't place the smell wafting out of the concessions stand, except that it's inarguably food. The stand looks much the same as the prize booth, and the attendant looks so like the one at the prize booth that you have to peer behind you to make sure you didn't get turned around."Hello there!" it says, in the exact same voice as the previous shopkeeper. "Have you come for your complimentary concession, young lady? I'm afraid we don't serve lizards." (It taps a 'WE DON'T SERVE LIZARDS' sign.) "…Yes?" Is it the same shopkeeper? But you're way across the room. "What do you have?"(Choices next.)
>What do you order? Pick one. You can order more later, but it'll cost keys.> GREEN JUICE: It's made of green. [+5 to the next three rolls.]> RED JUICE: It's made of red. [+15 to the next roll.]> CHOCOLATE COIN: With shiny gold foil. [Double the earnings of your next bet, if you win.]> POISONED HOCK OF MEAT: Why is this on the menu? [For horse sabotage.]> STEROID-INFUSED HOCK OF MEAT: Why is /this/ on the menu? [For horse reverse-sabotage.]> HAPPY PILLS: You are seriously doubting the reputability of this establishment. [+1 ID each, you get 3]> BUG FOOD: Not made of bugs, probably. Food for your bug(s). [??? buff to Gil]> Write-in. [You can't write-in concessions. This is for anything else you may want to do before you go.]
>>4836636>Nothing. We'll choose later.There's a potential for a good combo to multiply our keys by horse betting, but we have no keys right now.
>>4836644You're going to the Vault of Keys at the moment, and if you succeed there you won't need to bet (or if you want to bet to get those last 60 keys and buy out the place, you'd have more than enough $$$ to buy extra chocolate coins or meat). Would you like to vote to check out betting first instead, or are you fine with going to the Vault and just want to hedge your bets (heh) with concessions right now?
>>4836645I voted for goint to the Vault, I just can't decide what to get. Also there's always the potential to fail at the Vault.
>>4836661>I voted for going to the VaultYeah, no problem. Just wanted to double check if that was still the plan.>Also there's always the potential to fail at the Vault.Certainly. I intend for it to be high risk/high reward. There will also be a freebie [Escape] option no matter how deep you get, though, so I'll be interested to see where you guys draw the line for risk.
>>4836636> GREEN JUICE: It's made of green. [+5 to the next three rolls.]We've got enough bad luck to spare, may as well get some bonuses on the next few coming up.
> GREEN JUICE: It's made of green. [+5 to the next three rolls.]Lets get it in green, but hopefully a nicer shade. Less puke or algae, more lime, aloe, or dare I say mint.
>>4837941>>4838210>Green Juice>>4837504>Bug Food>>4836644>NothingCalled for  and writing. This will be the last update of the thread.
>GREEN JUICEYou blink at the proffered menu. "…Is the meat cooked?""Does it say it's cooked?""Um…" It just says 'a hock of meat.' "No, but… and is it just one coin?""Does it say there's—""Got it." Just one coin, then. "What does the green juice taste like?""Green!""It tastes like…" You're starting to see why you're getting these for free. "…What shade of green? Like, is it a nice shade, or is it vomit-colored? I don't want to drink—"The attendant reaches behind its back and, with a noise like a squeaky doorhinge, whips out a metal goblet. "One Green Juice, right here. You have used your complimentary concession. Have a great day!""Oh, uh… alright." You take the goblet and peer inside. The Green Juice is a striking red-orange and has the precise consistency and smell of paint. "Um, is this safe to—""Green Juice is 100% guaranteed to not cause significant harm to the user! It will not cause rapid hair growth or colorblindness, either."You look plaintively at Richard. Richard picks at his gums. "Don't let your complimentary concession go to waste, Charlie.""Thanks for the help." You swish the goblet around, watching the Juice slop up the sides, then summon your courage and take a tiny sip. It's less unpleasant than you expected. It just tastes like… green.>[EFFECT GAINED: Green Drinker — +5 to your next 3 rolls]You don't notice any colorblindness or hair growth, either, though you continue taking sips as you stroll away. If anything, you feel a little sharper. A little quicker on the draw. What's in this stuff? No. It's best you don't know.Richard has been eyeing your goblet for several minutes, at least, and finally you hold it out to him. "Did you want some?""…No." He is not convincing. "What were you intending to do after this?""After this? I don't know… the Vault of Death or whatever sounded interesting.""Of Keys. Are you certain that's wise?" (He must be in a decent mood. Normally he'd just call you an idiot.) "You are unarmed. Your would-be rescuers don't know where you are. Wouldn't you rather pursue something safer? Or at least sit tight until we have company?""Are you saying I can't handle this?" You scoff. "I— I can handle a stupid Vault, okay? Sword or no sword. Can't you just give me a sword?""A knife, maybe—""And I don't need anyone— especially not Ellery, okay? And none of the rest, either. I can handle this— and I have you, alright? And I have Gil, I guess. That's basically a whole— I can handle this. Stop looking like that. I can."Richard's expression doesn't budge. "Certainly.""I can! I'm going to go in, and win, and it'll be easy, and you'll have to apologize— you'll have to get down on your hands and knees, and look at me, and go 'oh, Charlotte, I'm so sorry I ever doubted you, you are the most competent, and skilled, and charming young future Queen I have ever met, how will I ever make it up to—'"(1/2)
"I'm not doing that. But I will reserve a 'I told you so' if it ends in tears.""So you're not stopping me!" That, in itself, is a victory. "Very well. Onwards!"[THREAD END]---And that's it! Thanks for sticking around.Drowned Quest 18 will return on... Monday? Tuesday? Something like that. Maybe even sooner. Keep an eye out in the QTG for a link.We are archived here, votes are appreciated: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=drowned%20quest%20reduxMy Twitter is here, follow for new threads and updates during hiatuses: https://twitter.com/BathicQMHope you guys have a nice few days! I'll stick around in here to answer questions and whatnot until the thread drops off.Also, I am an absolute sucker for dumb charts, so here is a dumb chart for Ellery and Madrigal, Drowned Quest's favorite(???) disaster couple
>>4838708Thanks for running!
>>4838708Thanks for running!Wow they didn't answer the most important question.Pretty wack how Ellery would consign Madrigal to an eternity of hellish suffering tho
>>4839470>Pretty wack how Ellery would consign Madrigal to an eternity of hellish suffering thoYeah! I like that question because I think it really gets down to the core of who Ellery is. He wouldn't do it on *purpose,* he's not malicious or evil, he wouldn't want Madrigal to actually suffer... but he's selfish enough to put his emotional needs over hers, arrogant enough to think that whatever he's doing is right, and impulsive enough to do it without considering the ramifications. I think he'd be horrified if he actually saw her in agony, but it's a coin flip if he'd actually do something or if he'd dig in his heels and convince himself everything's fine....He means well, but he has a whole lot of issues.
>>4839570>selfish enough to put his emotional needs over hers, arrogant enough to think that whatever he's doing is right, and impulsive enough to do it without considering the ramificationsRemings me of a particular other person.
>>4839590...I might have a type.Ellery is an order of magnitude more self-aware, though, and also a whole lot more... tolerable? He's a lot to handle, but you can get used to the motor mouth pretty fast, and it does a good job of disguising his less-charming traits. You could easily walk away from a conversation with him thinking he's just a harmless eccentric, not an egocentric self-destructive loon. Charlotte, meanwhile, is less than covert... it's like she's actively trying to be as unpleasant as possible. Or like she has something on her shoulder *telling* her to be as unpleasant as possible.But that would be silly!
>>4839740> it's like she's actively trying to be as unpleasant as possibleLike?
>>4840236The "like" is from the perspective of an IC outside observer. I also don't think that Charlotte is consciously trying to make herself unpleasant, for what it's worth... mainly, she doesn't think of herself as unpleasant. (Circling back to the self-awareness deficit.) She can tell that people don't like her, obviously, but how is that her fault? It's their fault, because they're plebs. Or they're jealous. Or they just don't understand her. That's what Richard tells her, anyhow, and whatever else Richard is, he isn't wrong...
>>4839590>>4839740>>4840236>>4840345>all this shittalk about CharlotteLottie is a good girl who dindu nuffin wrong. Anything wrong that was done was either snake-controlled, or snake-influenced. Have to seen snakes? Sneaky things, with hypno-gazes and such.Jokes aside, we do kinda play up her obstinate stubbornness, but that is what a dashing heroine is all about! Gumption, stubbornness in the face of dangerous odds, and the excellent powers of positive thinking to get you through the hard times! Too bad we're a bit less Fem!Alan Quartermain and more Fem!Captain Nemo in terms of how people view us.
>>4844663>Anything wrong that was done was either snake-controlled, or snake-influenced.I mean, that's certainly what Charlotte, if she performed any self-reflection whatsoever, would tell you! And it's not... incorrect: she's been so thoroughly manipulated that just about anything by now counts as "snake-influenced." But that would require acknowledging she's been manipulated, and that wouldn't make any sense. Because she's *smart,* and *capable,* and *independent,* and smart and capable and independent young ladies don't get manipulated, much less suckered into permanent arrangements with scheming reptiles...Really, though, if I had to assign blame for "Charlotte being a unlikable bitch," it's probably 60/40 Richard/Charlotte... Richard is obviously and intentionally bringing out the worst in her, but that requires an existing 'worst' to bring out. Even in a best-case "no Richard not stifled in an arranged marriage" scenario, she'd still be snitty and obnoxious, just probably not in a "garner an enormous folder of behavioral complaints" way. In general, I try to present her as sympathetic without teetering over the line to "passive, blameless victim," which she isn't. Maybe it works! Maybe it doesn't! I'm just rambling because I'm always excited to talk about my characters...>we do kinda play up her obstinate stubbornnessWell, how else are you going to assert your dominance? You're just gonna *cave*? To *those people*?>Gumption, stubbornness in the face of dangerous odds, and the excellent powers of positive thinking to get you through the hard times!Don't forget the spunk! (Though that might fall under gumption.) Magical powers are encouraged but optional.
>>4844789>60/40 Richard/Charlotte>0 the playersRight
>>4844852I'm speaking IC here. You're right in that you guys often pick the bitch option, though... I'm not complaining. Wouldn't include them if they weren't fun to write.