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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 li̶k̶e̶s̶ ̶y̶o̶u appreciates your talents, even Richard- the snake who lives in your head. Right now, you are rescuing your retainer Gil from the clutches of your nemesis Horse Face.

"No!" you say a touch wildly. "No, I will not stay to spectate your wicked— your perverse— I'm leaving. We're leaving. We are leaving this instant, Gil, and if you argue I'll— I'll—"

What will you do? You're struggling to think of a punishment you wouldn't feel strange about delivering, not with him all wide-eyed and sad during it. He'd probably be apologizing the whole time. "—you know what I'll do, alright? So come on. Get up, stretch your legs... um, etcetera. Gil?"

He looks confused, which you could construe as a win if you put enough effort into it. (Your sheer force of presence has overwhelmed his mental faculties, or something.) But he isn't moving, which is more difficult to justify, and which is making you fidgety. Surely he doesn't actually want to stay, does he? With Horse Face? Surely he's just going along with it so Horse Face doesn't take revenge, for example by stealing his belongings, or perhaps bleeding him on some gross and unholy altar. Or less charitably, Horse Face has performed dark magycks upon him, so he has no choice to stay, lest he be wracked with excruciating spasms should he leave.

«Ha ha.»
«Or he has simply realized that you are poor company, and even this horse man represents a superior alternative.»

No, he hasn't done so, because that's objectively incorrect, and you think Richard is getting awfully cocky for someone you just made go shopping. Unless he intends to say that was all according to plan?

«I will not be dragged into your childish finger-pointing.»

Uh-huh. Well, the two options you proposed are the only two possibilities, everything else is a vicious and cowardly lie, and this clearly means you must step up your game. Gil's very life is at stake, after all. "I mean, it's urgent," you say. "It's an emergency, really, and I couldn't bear to handle it without you, and if you don't leave right this instant something awful will happen! I mean it! Awful! So let's go, and—"

Gil's confusion has faded, but you can't quite interpret whatever's on his face now. "You couldn't bear to handle it..."

"Without you," you say impatiently. "Since you're my retainer, and you're useful, and I want you around, and stuff. Unlike Horse Face, who's probably plotting to cut your skull open and scoop the god juice out with a teaspoon—"

"The god juice?" Horse Face strokes his chin.

You ignore that. "So let's go already."

"...Yeah." Gil staggers to his feet. "I-I-I don't have god juice, but yeah. Sorry, Garvin, I-I guess I'll, um... I-I-I don't know when I'll be back, but..."

"Don't worry a bit. You have obligations!" You hate the way Horse Face says 'obligations.' "I'll clean up."



When the two of you emerge into the sunlight, Gil's tone is odd. "So what's the emergency?"

Damnit. "Um, it's— it's classified, you know. It's that bad. I of course know about it, being... important, but I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to inform others. Which I did try to, um, fight— you know, I told the emergency people that you were my retainer, that you were trustworthy, and everything, but they put their foot down, and I just couldn't—"

"The emergency people?"

Double-damnit. (And of course Richard's being useless when you need him.) "Um... yes. They're, um— you know what they are. They're in charge of the emergency... situation, and they..."

"Oh, them." Gil scratches his nose. "I-I get it now."

He does? "Of course you do. Um, also, the emergency is taking place in the general store. In town."

"You know, um, that makes sense. Sorry."

Something's off, here, but you can't pin down what. Whatever it is, it's surely Horse Face's fault. "Well, naturally."


The door to the general store jingles a little when you push it open, and the shopkeep glances up at the noise. "Back already? What, did the voices tell you I was gonna—"

"No," you say defensively. "I just— well, it is an emergency, so I'm expressing appropriate haste. That's all. And..."

"Oh! Hi, Madrigal." Gil has slunk in behind you. "Uh, the next shipment won't be in for another week, so..."

You can feel Gil's gaze on your neck. "Ignore her," you say loudly. "I got in here first, and like I said it's an emergency, so you really ought to—"

"What's the problem? Got a ransom note, price is new clothes?" The shopkeep snorts. "Well, if you're paying, you're paying. Come on over."

You do, and fish out your chit, and pay using the little silver scale. (The shopkeep is apparently less comfortable with eyeballing prices than Jacques.) You stuff both outfits into the little rucksack, which holds more than it seems like it ought to, and turn around to find Gil directly behind you. His demeanor is as odd as ever. "You bought clothes?"

"Emergency clothes." You grasp the rucksack's straps tightly. "Which are a regular thing that people have out here, by the way, I know you're new to the..."

"Um, that's cool. I-I-I liked your old outfit, but I guess it's good to have variety. It sucks to be stuck in one thing all the time."

You're unsure what to make of this: he sounds sincere, but why? Is it a particularly awkward brand of small talk? His hands are fidgeting in his pockets. "It does," you say cautiously.

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"I-I used to have a few suits, but then, um..." He trails off. "And now it's just... I-I-I guess I don't need clothes most of the time, which, um, is weird to say out loud. But then the rest of the time I-I have other people's, um, stuff. Which is..."

Uncomfortable, he won't say, but very clearly means— and then the rest of the subtext becomes obvious. He's far too nervewracked to ask for a favor directly, so he's doing a little dance around the topic, but he wants out of Madrigal's clothing.

You can't blame him, considering how whoreish it is, and you do have some remaining chit on you. But...

>[A1] Graciously offer to purchase a new outfit for Gil. He'll probably need one if you ever get him a permanent body, anyhow. [Choose one suboption.]
>>[A] Outfit 1 (Button-down and suspenders)
>>[B] Outfit 2 (Sheepskin jacket)
>>[C] Outfit 3 (Mackinaw coat)
>>[D] Write-in. (You can suggest minor changes or a whole new outfit, but it's subject to veto.)
>[A2] Pretend to not get the hint. His clothing is perfectly wearable (if showing a disgraceful amount of skin), and he *did* nearly pick Horse Face over you.
>[A3] Write-in.

>[B1] Fess up that there wasn't an emergency. It's become a bit ridiculous, trying to maintain the pretense.
>[B2] Quietly let the 'emergency' thing drop.
>[B3] "Become informed" that the 'emergency' has been resolved and inform Gil of that excellent and surprising piece of news.
>[B4] Write-in.
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Welcome back to Drowned Quest Redux! As mentioned in the previous thread, this thread will be cut off early to make way for my crushing workload. It will definitely not be cut off early for an April Fools oneshot.

One a day, occasionally more if the first one was short. 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.

We use a 3d100 roll over degrees of success system with crits. The base DC is 50. Modifiers may be applied to the roll or to the DC as 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 = Failure
1 Pass = Mitigated Success
2 Passes = Success
3 Passes = Enhanced Success
0/100 = Critical Failure / Critical Success [regardless of other rolls]

The MC has a pool of 13 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 rolls, as well as on more elaborate metaphysical effects. Dropping to 0 ID is bad.




This quest is a loose sequel to the original Drowned Quest, which ran for eight threads in 2019. Reading the original is nice but not required.

>I have a question/comment/concern?
Tell me!
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You wake up from saving Gil's life and have a pleasant conversation with Richard, who certainly did not threaten and intimidate you, regret it, and wipe your memory of it ever happening. Coincidentally, you learn that you can't remember anything that happened between drowning and arriving at camp; you also finally get your heart (and ID) back. You go to sleep. In the morning, you pop in on Horse Face, who seems to be feeling better after his hypothetical accidental dead-god summoning: you grill him about Namway and locitis. He gives some cursory information on the latter, but is cagey about the former, claiming to have heard about it from a source he won't reveal. You don't get a name, but he promises to set up a meeting with said source this or next evening.

You leave Gil with Horse Face and head out to town, stopping at the local archives. Richard attempts again to browbeat you, but you forcibly un-snake him and inform him you're calling the shots now, being a heroine and all. He appears ambivalent about this. In the archives, you learn that Anthea might live or work in the Mud Flats, that Richard has written at least one scientific paper under your name, and that Eloise has been ghostwriting all of Ellery's research-- but not the patent you found, which she offers to look at later.

You move on to the general store, where you go clothes shopping. Richard's ambivalence continues. After discovering you don't have money on you, you decide to head back to camp, grab said money, and retrieve Gil.


Immediate goals:
- Poke around Headspace

Short-term goals:
- Meet back up with Annie the worm
- Have Eloise look at the patent
- Bother Ellery

Long-term goals:
- Rescue Madrigal
- Procure permanent, non-melting body for Gil
- Regain your missing memories (...some of them)
- Finish your model
- Find the Gold-Masked Person and their snake, reclaim the Crown
- In the meantime, continue collecting and storing Law (4/16)
- "Convince" Richard to be nice to you
- Make friends???

- 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 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 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?
- Why is Ellery going around assassinating people?

Ongoing assignments:
- Inform Eloise (and the Wind Court?) about anything you discover about Namway Co
- Meet up with Horse Face's mystery contact
- Escort Eloise to Hell


Don't forget to scroll up and vote!
>>[A1] Graciously offer to purchase a new outfit for Gil. He'll probably need one if you ever get him a permanent body, anyhow. [Choose one suboption.]
>>>[A] Outfit 1 (Button-down and suspenders)

>>[B3] "Become informed" that the 'emergency' has been resolved and inform Gil of that excellent and surprising piece of news.
left is most gilish

Welcome back!
+1 to this. You know how efficiently those Emergency People take care of business, after all..
>[A1] Graciously offer to purchase a new outfit for Gil. He'll probably need one if you ever get him a permanent body, anyhow. [Choose one suboption.]
>[C] Outfit 3 (Mackinaw coat)

>[B2] Quietly let the 'emergency' thing drop.

Didn't you promise a "dates revelation" in the last thread, Bathic?
I did and I haven't forgotten about that! The right time just didn't present itself. This thread, pinky promise.
Rolled 2 (1d2)





Rolling between the Bs and writing.
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>Spread the wealth

...Well, if you think hard about it, it becomes obvious that buying Gil a new outfit would do far more to benefit you than it ever would him— and you don't just mean covering up those exposed thighs. After all, a well-dressed retainer is sure to reflect well on yourself, and a man's shirt would do wonders to dissuade mix-ups. What a wonderful idea you've come up with!

"Well," you say munificently, "we are in a general store. Alas, the selection is limited, and mostly horrifically ugly, but with my keen eye..."

Gil attempts to conceal his relief, but it doesn't take. "Oh, um, you don't have to... I-I-I didn't mean... sorry. I-I, um, would pay, if I, uh—"

"Shut up, moron." While he processes that, you grab his wrist and yank him with you down the aisle: he mumbles protests but doesn't resist. When you reach the end (just past the column of barnacle-encrusted cans and jars: you're not sure anyone's bought these since the shopkeep was 16), you pivot and flourish. "So this is it."

The racks are all mussed up from your and Richard's previous thorough examination, which you're sure doesn't help Gil's appraisal: he's become a bit squinty. "Um... yes."

"What did I tell you? Horrifically ugly. The proprietor of this establishment ought to be ashamed of himself." You say the last part louder, so you're sure the shopkeep hears it. "But anyhow, there's bound to be something, so..."

Gil's browsing could hardly be called that: it's brusque and efficient. He skims past the pea-green jumpsuit and the pink (faux?) furred vest with nary a mean comment and pushes aside anything remotely feminine like it bit him. You're less put out than you'd usually be, having made your share of comments less than an hour ago— still, you fold your arms when he shoves aside some perfectly good pants. "You'd look good in those."

"They're blue," he says, like that's some kind of counterargument.

"They're dark blue, and hello? What are you wearing now?"

"I-I-It's not my color." He lifts up a pair of brown corduroys. "This i-is more..."

You hadn't any idea Gil had any comprehension of colors. With your limited experience of men, they usually didn't. But this doesn't make him right. "Okay, it's not your color, but you're not—" («You have company,» Richard informs you flatly. You switch to handsign.) "—you're not you, stupid, and blue's obviously her color, she has the complexion for it— and you want brown? You always wear brown. Brown's so—"

"I-I like brown. And... oh, hey." He pulls out a basic white button-down. "Thank god. Thought I'd be stuck with..."

"You always wear that too. I'm buying you a whole outfit— a whole outfit, with my chit, that I earned, and you just want to wear the same thing?"

He says something inaudible.


"I-I..." He rubs his nose. "Sorry. I-I-I guess I'll... I'll get those. The blue ones. Sorry."

Is he attempting to trick you? Because apologizing once— well, he should apologize. But two is suspicious. "Are you sure?"

Gil's shoulders hunch. "I-I-I-I... what do you want me to say?"

Oh, great. So he's just apologizing because he thinks he ought to, not because he's correctly surmised that the blue pants are superior. There's a nasty little knot in your stomach. "Well, don't lie to me, alright? Why do you even want the stupid brown pants? They're exactly like your old—"

"That's why."

"Oh," you say.

"I-I-I just want something normal. I-I-I-I-I know it won't make anything normal, but I just— i-it's something I can control, okay? But if you think the other ones are better, then..."

You think of hollowed-out Future Gil. Possible-Future-Gil. You swallow. "The stupid brown pants are probably cheaper, anyhow. Since they're worse."

Gil looks at you uncertainly. You glare back. "So it's only practical that—"

"Oh." He takes them off the rack, and after another glance, takes the button-down too. "Um, that makes sense."

"Of course it does. But since we're going with the practical outfit, I really think you should..." You fish your second impulse purchase out of your pocket and dangle it in front of him. (You'd intended to make Richard wear it, but desparate times, measures, etc.) Gil's expression is blank. "It's a bow tie. So people don't go around thinking I just scraped you off the street. Even if I did, basically."

"I-I got it. Um, I've never worn one before, but... I-I-I guess I wouldn't mind?"

Well, you don't really care if he minds, but that's still good to hear. You nod decisively, re-stow the bow tie, and escort Gil back over to the counter. The shopkeep attempts to mention the incoming shipment again, which you ignore, and remarks on Madrigal's uncharacteristic silence, and you tell him she's been sick and to shut up. He shuts up, but when you ask if you can change in the side room he tells you you can go do drugs somewhere else.

It's Gil who drags you this time (you were about to draw The Sword), mumbling things about not raising a fuss and changing elsewhere. What he doesn't seem to realize is that there's not much of anywhere else: you'd ask Jacques about using his side room, but you're not sure if the Nothing's reopened. If it hasn't, he might not even be in; if it has, it probably has the entire town inside it (it'd explain how empty the store is), and the side room will smell like body odor and vomit. Else you could head back to your tent, but that'd be another walk. Else you could duck behind a tree, but that sounds absolutely ripe for all manner of chicanery, including the odds of spotting Gil taking his shirt off: your desire to see Madrigal unclothed even further is firmly in the negatives. God. You suppose you could just wait, but...

«I can help.»

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Richard can help you change your outfit in public?

«I cannot if you phrase it like that to yourself.»
«I am always astonished at how you dramatize things of no greater, or indeed lesser, relevance.»
«But yes, I can solve this ridiculous little issue. Move out of sight and shut your eyes. Do not open them until I tell you. Tell your pet to do the same.»

God, you don't even— it's not like you have better options, you guess. If this ends with him possessing you and stabbing Gil, or something, you are going to make him your father so hard.

«I would simply rather you not waste your day on this non-issue.»

You're going to make him your father and you're going to make him wear the bow tie with his vomit sweater. You want him to know this. "Gil," you say. "We're going this way."

You mean around the back of the store, instead of out into the main street, which is still cluttered with makeshift shelters— though considerably less people, which advances your theory that the Nothing's reopened. Gil, quizzical, follows, and closes his eyes when you tell him to, though he does ask rather impertinently if it's for the emergency. You do not respond to that. You close your own eyes.

«I have been wanting to—»

Richard does not tell you what he's been wanting to do, or alternately you don't hear him, because something inside you twinges, and your gums begin to ache, and a deep malaise steals over you. You stumble, or you think you stumble: there's the start of a motion but no end, and you become numbly aware you can't feel your legs. You can't feel where your legs are. You have been cast into the thoughtless, whirling void, and you drift there long enough that you start to wonder if it'll be forever, or if forever's come and gone, and—

>[-1 ID: 11/13]

«You've changed your clothing.»

You— what?

«You've changed your clothing.»
«Open your eyes.»

Your eyes had been sutered shut but they open easily. Normally. You are wearing the new vest. Gil's eyes are still closed, but his hands are in the pockets of his brown corduroys. He's bowtieless, though.

Richard is perched (smugly, you think) on your shoulder. «See.»

What? Wh— how long has it been?

«10 seconds. I only tweaked a few of your sensory inputs.»
«None of his. Don't get riled up. He is simply... part of the scenery.»
«You are the pebble I tossed, he is the pond.»

What? God, you don't even— okay. Okay, great. Clothes taken care of, nothing awkward happened, Richard just shut off your sense of time briefly, Gil is a pond. "Gil," you say impatiently. "Gil. Open your—"

He does, and looks down at himself. "What the fuck? How—"

"My powerful magyck bloodline," you say tiredly. "And probably your god juice. It doesn't matter. Let me put your bow tie on."

He lets you, though he squints down at you the whole time. "Um, where'd you learn to—?"

You try to remember where you learned how to tie a bow tie and can't. Maybe it was your father who taught you. Maybe it was Jesse. Maybe it was Richard, for all you know, and all he does. "Don't worry about it. There. It's your color, even."

Green, like his jacket and his eye color, and also half his beetles. (Though it feels somehow rude to mention that.) He fidgets with it when you finish. "I-I-I like it."

"You do?" You hadn't wholly expected that.

"I-I-It's snappy," he says approvingly.


At length Gil asks what's happening next, at which you inform him you're going to ask some questions at Headspace. At which he asks (definitely impertinently) why you hadn't told him that before, and you mutter something about emergencies taking precedence, and so on. To cover yourself, you lecture him on not misbehaving.

"And you can't be a jerk to them, even if they deserve it, and you can't go around talking about technical stuff, and you should probably act like Madrigal, if you can handle that— I mean, I'm going to be asking questions. I need them to be nice and not busy arresting you."

"They can't arrest me," he grouses. "They're not goddamn cops, and I-I-I-I'm not doing anything, so... I-I mean, I'm retired."

"Okay, but they don't know that, so just be Madrigal, okay? So... be sort of mean to everybody, especially me, and short-tempered, except when it's serious business stuff and then you get all serious and business-y... I think this would be a business-y scenario, if that helps." Your mental description of Madrigal is less articulate than you thought it was. "Um, I believe in you."

"I-I-I'll just try and stay out of it."

"Or that. But I want you in with me, since you know about them, so you can probably tell if they're lying, or... we'll figure it out. Plans are for suckers."

«This mentality explains how you are the way you are.»

You pat Gil jovially on the forearm and stare up at the Headspace office doors. The building cuts a striking contrast to everything in the vicinity, and indeed everything you've ever seen: it's no architectural style you know of, being all gleaming silver and lines and curves. It looks like something out of a dream, which you're sure is the point. It was certainly not built by manual labor.

"Well, here goes," you say, and push the smooth doors in: they open like they've been oiled. The interior is exactly the same as the exterior, only there's an untended bushy plant in the pot in the corner and a stack of old newspapers on a low-slung table. The space (the reception room? lounge?) is far, far larger than it needs to be, considering that you've never heard of anyone going here, much less sticking around. You've heard hardly anything about the Headspace office, in fact, except sodden mumbling about the deal they cut with Margo to move in here.

The whole thing is of course empty, except for a solitary woman behind a gleaming desk to the side. Your heels click on the floor as you walk over. "Hello," you say.

She startles a little at your voice, which makes you feel better, then readjusts. "Ah... hello. Have you made an appointment?"

There's a taped-on notecard over the name placard. "IDA" is scrawled on the notecard.

>(You can pick multiple.)
>[1] Uh..... yes. Definitely. Um, she knows for a fact that you have. (Advanced Gaslighting.) [Roll.]
>[2] ...You might be interested. An appointment for what, exactly?
>[3] Maybe, but you definitely have questions. What's the official Headspace stance on locitis?
>[4] What's the official stance on Namway Co.?
>[5] (Point to the notecard.) Some receptionist turnover, recently?
>[6] Actually, you're here to file a formal complaint about the shoddy nature of their manses, one of which turned *multiple* people into beetles, another of which took your eye out and stole some of your memories. They need to fix that.
>[7] Write-in.
>[5] (Point to the notecard.) Some receptionist turnover, recently?

What's going on? New to the desk? Hopefully people haven't been too dreadful to her, a lot of . . . Erm, "sensitive" types in the industry.
>[1] Uh..... yes. Definitely. Um, she knows for a fact that you have. (Advanced Gaslighting.) [Roll.]
Do we need an appointment? They don't exactly look busy
>[1] Uh..... yes. Definitely. Um, she knows for a fact that you have. (Advanced Gaslighting.) [Roll.]
Imagine not picking <<advanced>> gaslighting.
Rolled 2 (1d2)

>So how's the job going


You have no reason to not do [5], so I'll just be rolling between "yes gaslighting" and "no gaslighting." Here goes.
>No gaslighting

Small talk it is. Writing in ~40 min.
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>Get down to business(?)

"Uh, I might have one." You drum your fingers on the desktop. "What's that?"

"Pardon me?"

Never mind: you're not asking for permission to lift a notecard. You do. Underneath the "IDA" is the silver surface of the name placard, into which is engraved "Cora W." Huh. "Are you new here, by any chance, Ida?"

Ida the receptionist looks uncomfortable with you using her name, though you haven't any idea what else she expects. "Uh... I am, yes, miss. What's your name? I can check the—"

She has small, sharp features and a pert bob cut and you feel certain you would've recognized her if you've seen her before, even in passing. But you haven't. Perhaps she's one of the people who fled in recently? "That's interesting. How new? As in a month, or a week, or..."

"A week," she says, and smiles nervously. "Well, a bit less than. 5 days. Are you sure you won't—"

"That is new. Why'd they hire you on?" You think. "Wait, was the old receptionist killed by the gooplicate?"

You can see her bottom teeth. "...Pardon me?"

"The gooplicate? Have you not— the evil clone? Who looked like me?" No recognition, just a glimmer of terror. "No, it isn't me, it's— it's taken care of, alright? It's not going to murder you. And I won't, either, so stop looking at me like—"

«I see you're as on top of your game as ever.»

Did Richard forget about being nice to you? Because—

«That was factually a compliment.»

You— okay. Great. You'll negotiate the sarcasm clause later. Ida's hands have dropped below the desk (for the pistol or the panic button, presumably), but she hasn't cut and run yet. "...I haven't been terribly on top of the news, miss."

"You mean you heard nothing about the gruesome murders that've—"

"I've been undergoing training since I was hired," she says stolidly.

"What does that mean? Do you not go outside to sleep, or get drunk, or—"

"Headspace keeps dormitories of its own, miss."

Really? You guess that'd explain why you've never seen anyone go in or out— but still, weird. (Gil, to your right, is rhythmically twanging his suspenders.) "Okay, um, fine. Can you just tell me if Cora got murdered? Or did she just quit, because I hear that your job sort of sucks... I mean, think of all the odd people you probably have to deal with."


You flick Richard on the snout. Ida has scooted her chair backwards. "Er, I'm not privy to all the details, miss, but I believe Ms. Waldrop fell ill."

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Ill? You flash immediately to locitis, and are about to say something when your better judgment rouses itself. If she's only been here for 5 days, she probably doesn't know about it, and if she does, know about it, she'll start wondering why you do. And that's how you wind up knocked on the head and stuck in a barrel going over a cliff, if you're remembering several Josey Hatchcock novels correctly. Certainly you could come out of that unscathed (especially if you pack a folding saw in your boot), but it seems prudent to avoid the potentiality.

"Ill 5 days ago?" you say.

"Yes, miss." Ida looks annoyed. "Though apparently she'd been sickly for some time, so one does have to wonder why she left such a disaster behind. I mean, honestly, the bugs..."

Your eyes meet Gil's. "Um, what sort of bugs?"

"Damned if I know... pardon my language. I mean, look at this." Her fear apparently forgotten, she pushes some official-looking stationary over the desk. You lean over it: the margins are crowded with lovingly rendered sketches of beetles.

Ida takes your widened eyes as commiseration. "I know. I don't know what sort of person would—"

Beetles. "Cora." 5 days ago, give or take. The Sword in your hand— though it wasn't really your hand, was it? You lick your lips. "Er, would you mind if I took a moment?"

She thinks it's strange, visibly, but shrugs. "I'm not in a hurry."

You nod and drag Gil away with you, over toward the plant. "You were stuck in her manse," you hiss.

"I-I-I-I what? I-I was— you mean—" He looks unsubtly at Ida.

"Not her, stupid! The old one! The— Cora. Cora. With the beetles, and the..." She was in the bottom layer, and you stabbed her, and drained the Law from her blood. (Which wasn't a bad thing to do, or an evil thing. It was for mercy, really.) But it had to be her. What other Coras are there? "I swear to God it's her."

Gil studies your face. "I-I-I mean, there has to be hundreds of identical shitty loc— um, manses... are you that sure? Because, um, coincidences do happen, but this'd be... i-i-it'd be a fucking coincidence, if you know what I..."

"A-ha. There you go. It's destiny, Gilbert, not a coincidence, and—" You're still signing, but you've drifted onto other thoughts of coincidences, and dates, and locitis. Did Cora have locitis? Because she was sickly, apparently, and she definitely seemed all screwed up when you met her, hence the mercy. But then again she only fell properly ill after you, er, delivered said mercy, and that certainly didn't take place within the 3-month window Horse Face claimed for locitis... though that did seem awfully short. Has it still been going on, all this time, and something just happened 6 months ago to make people think it stopped? Did the symptoms change? Did everyone just forget? Poor Madrigal, broken up with and hit with a mystery mass mind-wipe, all in the sa...me...

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...It's sort of funny that those coincide, isn't it? And of course Gil or even maybe Richard would tell you that no, it isn't, any number of things can happen in a month, you may as well say it's sort of funny Madrigal was broken up with during the peak of the annual false-god migration, or just as a Flats skimmer tripped and fell and broke her neck in a sinkhole, or just as old cans were 50% off at the general store. But you don't think those are the same thing at all, especially when— especially when the Day of Reckoning happened nine months ago, didn't it? Just when the whole thing kicked off. (Or at least became public knowledge.)

It's sort of funny. That's all you can say about it, right now, lacking any evidence whatsoever of a tie. But you'll hold it to your dying breath that it's sort of funny.

And you intend to march back over to the desk and ask Ida if she's ever heard of a Mr. Routh when someone new comes waltzing down the long glossy hallway— a man you've also never seen before. He's crammed into a navy suit, plainly untailored: the man's shoulders are too broad for it, his neck and wrists too wide. His face is handsome like a hard drinker's, weathered and swollen and slightly askew, but his teeth are as straight and white as the walls. "Ms. Fitzgerald!" he thunders, the instant he sees you.

Gil is blank until you kick him, and then he jitters into unconvincing action. "Uh... hi."

"Or is it Madrigal? Can I call you Madrigal? Are those suspenders new?" The man, stopped right in the threshold of the doorway, spreads his hands. "And who's this? Howdy! I don't believe we've met."

"N—o." Though there's some quality of his voice you can't place. Have you heard him on the radio? "Er, hello. I'm Charlotte. I'm a local..."

You struggle. "Detective" is true-ish but seems, well, imprudent. (Barrel, waterfall.) "Heroine" is true but can hardly be used with "a": you should be the local heroine, full stop. "Heiress" rings oddly. "...adventurer. -Ress. Adventuress. Slash solver of problems."

"An adventuress! And a solveress of problems!" The man roars with good-natured laughter. (You fume quietly.) "Well, I'll be gosh-darned, I think the world needs a lot more of you around. Pleasure to meet you. I'm Casey Kemper, though please just call me Casey. Wouldn't dream of anything else. Are you Madrigal's +1?"

You look at Gil, who wavers. "Y-es. Yeah."

"Fan-tastic. Happy to have you along. You're a little early, actually, but I'd have no problem shuffling things around... are you ready right now?"


(Choices next.)
>[1] Yeah! Yes. Yes. Very ready, for whatever is happening, before he changes his mind or figures out something's up with "Madrigal."

>[2] Uh... yes. It's just that you're a clueless newcomer, you know, and Madrigal being Madrigal she didn't tell you anything, ahaha, so...
>>[A] Who is he?
>>[B] How does he know Madrigal?
>>[C] What was scheduled, exactly?
>>[D] Has he ever been on the radio?
>>[E] Just randomly, has he ever heard of an Ellery Routh?
>>[F] Write-in.

>[3] Uhhhhh... well, actually, could you come back at the appointed time? You are early, after all. (And maybe you should do some background checking before jumping straight into whatever this is.)
>>[A] Find Eloise. You have that patent to show her, and— bonus— she knows everything, so surely she knows more about this than you do.
>>[B] Find Jacques. 30 seconds of exposure to Casey Kemper is enough to make you itch for a drink, but more importantly, getting Gil relaxed will improve his acting. Also, Jacques is second to Eloise for knowing everything, since he overhears all of it.
>>[C] Find Ellery. You just think it's sort of funny, okay.
>>[D] Write-in.
>[3] Uhhhhh... well, actually, could you come back at the appointed time? You are early, after all. (And maybe you should do some background checking before jumping straight into whatever this is.)
>[A] Find Eloise. You have that patent to show her, and— bonus— she knows everything, so surely she knows more about this than you do.
+1 to this.

We might never get another chance to stick our nose into Maddies business like this again


Called for [3A] and writing in a little bit.
>Well, now that you say it

Are you ready right now? Your first impulse is that of course you are! You're ready for anything, fit as the proverbial fiddle, with a brand new tooth and outfit and Gil in your debt and Richard firmly under your heel: if you exclude the minor hiccup of forgetting your entire adult life, things have never been going better. So how could this be any different? You'll go in, you'll go do whatever the hell this is, you probably won't end up in a barrel. It'll be fine. You can add another ticky-mark to your list of illustrious accomplishments, you can probably uncover yet another conspiracy—

«How many conspiracies have you uncovered thus far.»

Oh, well, you don't know... there's the big one, with Richard and his stupid coworkers and whatever they're doing with the Crown, and then there's the one with Namway and Madrigal and cloning a snake for some nefarious purpose, and then there's Real Ellery going around and killing people, which— you guess isn't a conspiracy in and of itself, but you have met Ellery before and you feel certain there's some strings being pulled there. And there's the whole business with the mysterious forgettion of locitis, and there's some cult doing stuff somewhere, and cults always have conspiracies attached. (Or so you have gleaned from extensive readings on the topic.) So that's... five? Five conspiracies. No wonder you've been busy.

Wait, maybe six, if Monty's spooky mask stuff qualifies. It should qualify— it's practically textbook, what with the weird magyck artifacts and secret society and murder and so on— it's just that you're not sure it's relevant to your life at the moment. Except for him strangling you, which is... yeah, it's close enough. Six conspiracies. Nice!


Was he not expecting you to actually list them?

«'Forgettion' is not a word.»
«And your definition of 'conspiracy' is laughably broad, though I hardly know what I expected from you. Is it any wonder you waste your time chasing—»

"Madrigal? I presume you're speaking for the party, then?" Casey Kemper has taken your protracted silence as a deferral, and has pivoted. "Are you ready? It wouldn't be a problem to take you through, not a problem at all, I'd just need to notify the—"

"I-I think—" Gil says, and cuts himself off, and takes a deep breath. "I think we'll have to defer, um, Mr. Kemper. We—"

"Please, it's Casey! We're all buddies around here, I tell you what— right, Cora?"

Ida the receptionist startles. "...Yes, sir."

Casey's smile falters a bit. "So formal, that one. In any case, you were saying, Madrigal?"

It's eerie how Gil's slip-slided straight back into her voice. "We, um, really should defer, since we came early— I mean, that was rude of us. I'm very sorry, and I-I— I know Charlotte is too. Isn't she?"

Not in the slightest, but what can you do? Publicly argue? If you had some kind of mind-link with Gil, you'd be using it to melt his brain out his ears about now, but all you're capable of is a burning glance and a faint acquiescing nod. What the hell does he think he's doing?

"She is," he says hastily. "So anyways, we're both very sorry, and we'll be leaving..."

"No need to apologize!" Casey mostly seems befuddled. "It's an honest mistake, is all it is. It's the darndest thing to keep track of the time, you know. Not a lot of clocks. That's what we're working on next, after the V2, you know. Will you be coming back at the time we settled on, or—?"

"What is the time you settled on?" You don't intend to be left out of this, even if Gil's a coward.

"Should be... oh, let's see." Casey examines a wristwatch. (How does he have a wristwatch? Richard does, but Richard isn't...) "90 minutes from now, give or take? But like I said, it's the darndest thing, so if you're late or early that won't be a problem. Not at all. It's just that now's a tad too early, if you know what I—"

"We know," Gil says, as you say "We'll be back then!", and then things become a blur of waving and polite goodbyes (yours less polite than Gil's) as you're practically frogmarched out: Gil's striding with more purpose than you've ever seen him, and you have no choice but to follow. As you emerge outside and the doors click shut, he stops short.

You whirl upon him. "Um, who the hell do you think you are? Because that was a free invitation into— into whatever shady business is going on, and we could've gone in there, and unraveled stuff, and you just— you—"

"Lottie, that was goddamn Casey Kemper."

You pause. "What?"

"Casey Kemper! The Casey— Casey 'Dream Big' Kemper? Casey 'I assure you, we do not have security vulnerabilities..." He covers his mouth with both hands. "Casey Kemper is in this shitty mud patch. I-I-I-I can't— I-I can't—"

He goes on like this for some time, even as you start walking, pausing only when you order him to ask someone if they've seen Eloise— you don't want to have the murderer conversation again. They haven't, he reports, and the second and third people he asks haven't either, and then he launches straight back into it as you meander back towards camp. (Eloise is nothing if not distinctive— if she were still in town, someone would know.) "How did you not tell me?"

"I don't know who he is!" you protest. "I've never seen him before! How am I supposed to—"

"Lottie, he's the goddamn— he's— he is Headspace. He's the Headspace guy. He's— he's— he's in the papers, he's on the fliers, I-I-I-I-I have drank to his health probably a hundred times, and he's just here. He's here! He is a real person—" Gil rubs his temples. "I-I-I honestly thought— I-I mean, that was the joke, though it wasn't really a joke, that Casey Kemper was made up. I-I mean, nobody had ever seen him before, in person, so he was a— a marketing thing, you know. Or a squid in a suit, that was a different... that's not funny out of context. Never mind."

Having had your own reality fall to considerably bittier pieces recently, your sympathy is limited. "Okay, but did you have to kick us out? He was offering—"

"I-I-I-I was panicking! There was no way I could— I-I would've looked like an idiot the whole time, and he kept calling me Madrigal— you should go back without me."

"Why?" you say, affronted. "You're the one who knows about all this dumb—"

"I-I-I can't act in front of Casey Kemper, I'll fuck it all up! I-I can't— even when I was normal, I don't think—"

God. "I'll consider it."

He just needs to calm down, you figure: of course he can't act well in a tizz. But 90 minutes is plenty of time for that. (Can you find him a cigarette? Probably. A lit cigarette? Hmm.) Right now, you're more preoccupied with locating Eloise, who is proving elusive. Of a poll of the random loiterers about camp today, three haven't seen her, while a fourth jerks his thumb over his shoulder. "Boss's tent."

IE Monty's. Just the person you wanted to see, and vice versa. Fantastic. But destiny takes you where it will, which is, er, right outside Monty's tent.

There's no sign of Eloise, meaning she's presumably still inside. So you could burst in. Or you could eavesdrop, an even more appealing option, except for the prospect of getting caught and strangled. God, if only Gil was beetles right now.

...There is Richard?


Well, you're just thinking that he's very narrow and inconspicuous. And black, so he blends in easily with shadows. And also invisible. (You should've mentioned that first.) So you're thinking that if you slipped him through a hole in the canvas, he could—

«You have proposed this before.»
«What makes you believe I will be any more willing to enable you now.»

Because now he's a person? Who likes to know things? Via eavesdropping?

«I think you are confused.»
«I am a snake.»

When he says it like that, he's practically asking for it.

(Choices next.)
This is why I should not write at 3 AM. Anyhow.

>[1] Un-snake-ify Richard and make him eavesdrop for you. Because it's the practical option, not because you're power tripping. You wouldn't do that. [Roll.]
>[2] Restrain yourself: after all, wouldn't making Richard do it be equal to saying *you* couldn't handle it? You're a great eavesdropper. Flex that skill. [Roll]
>[3] Restrain yourself and simply bust through the door. You shouldn't mess with the classics.
>[4] Restrain yourself super extra hard and just wait until Eloise comes out. Become bored. [-1 ID]
>[5] Write-in.
>[3] Restrain yourself and simply bust through the door. You shouldn't mess with the classics.
we might even be out of practice
>>[3] Restrain yourself and simply bust through the door. You shouldn't mess with the classics.


Called for [3] and writing. I expect this one to be on the shorter side.

You glare menacingly at Richard, who flicks his tongue back at you. He appears nonchalant. And you have to admit it, this concerns you: what if he's invented a way to defend himself? If you focus really hard, is it going to bounce off him and turn you into a snake? (Would that work?) Or is there a timer on it? It hasn't been all that long since you did it the first time...

There's too many variables. That's your decision. And while you wouldn't normally be cowed by any number of variables, the thought of breaking your winning streak is enough to get you to play it safe. To take the route with the least possibility of error or obstruction: the one practically guaranteed to get you what you want.

You bust through Monty's door without knocking.

Or rather, you attempt to, but the door is tied from the inside, so you have to thrust your hand through and work the knot blindly, and when that fails you duck down and sort of shimmy underneath. But when you spring up, shoulders squared, you think the desired effect is still achieved.

After all, look at the pair of them: Eloise, mouth agape, half-risen out of her seat; Monty completely out of his, his fingers gripping loosely at the handle of his trident, his face waxen. You couldn't more obviously be the dominant force here.

"Hello," you announce.

Eloise stands all the way up, slowly. Monty sighs out his nose, lays the trident down, and sits. His fingernails click against the desk. "Charlotte."

"Um, that's me." You got the reaction you wanted, mostly, but you hadn't planned out where to go from there. You thought it'd sort of fall into place. "So—"

"Please leave." His tone is icy. Too icy, he must gauge from your expression, and he click-click-clicks with his fingernails and looks down and looks back up again and his face is suffused with warmth and understanding. (But clearly a warmth and understanding calculated to get you to leave.) "...Charlotte, I'm sure whatever you're involved in is urgent, but we're, er, occupied. I'd appreciate it if you could—"

"If you run it through the Monty translator," says Eloise, "he's telling you to piss off! Which I'd have to agree with. Not that the whole crawling under the door thing wasn't funny on its own, but your comedic timing is off, if you catch my meaning? We're smack dab in the middle of—"

"Of what?"

"A conversation." Monty's tone has chilled again. Maybe he sees which way your eyes are traveling: to his stump-arm and down. The black goop has thickened, it looks like, and stabilized, and when it twitches behind his back you catch a glimpse of four slivered fingers.

(Choices next.)
>[1] Stick around.
>>[A] Continue prying. (Make it implicit you won't leave without answers.) A conversation about what?
>>[B] Congratulate Monty on his brand new arm.
>>>[1] Inform him you think it looks cool (tell the truth).
>>>[2] Inform him you think it looks cool (lie).
>>[C] Attempt to convince Eloise to drop her current conversation and talk to you instead. [Roll.]
>>[D] This has become, um, a smidge awkward. Convince them they're the ones who invited you in! So there's no reason to be annoyed at you! [Advanced Gaslighting. Roll.]
>>[E] Write-in.

>[2] Piss off.
>>[A] Loiter outside until Eloise wraps up her stupid boring Monty conversation.
>>[B] Well, you didn't want to talk to her anyhow. Do something else to kill time.
>>>[1] Talk to Ellery.
>>>[2] Work on your model.
>>>[3] Lie on your cot and attempt to psychologically batter Richard into submission for a while.
>>>[4] Write-in.

Also, a side note: I am feeling very nervous about the amount of work I have due soon, so there's an off chance I will have to wrap up even earlier than planned. Sorry in advance if I decided on doing so.
and then 1A after if we're still not kicked out
What's your [2] pick if you do get kicked out? This isn't a commentary on whether you will or not, I just want all your bases covered.
I guess
>[B] Congratulate Monty on his brand new arm.
>>>[1] Inform him you think it looks cool (tell the truth).

> Offer to help/We knew that they needed us/Advanced Gaslighting

We *do* have magyck powers, and at the very least a bullyable snek who KNOWS THINGS and loves to show that off. Alrernatively, we can also convince Richard as snek to work for us in exchange for us putting some time towards the crown. We are perfectly reasonable of compromise and civil partnership as much as we are of pulling everyone around us down out of spite. Not that we've ever done that before. But we could, just saying

Rolled 18, 69, 52 = 139 (3d100)

>[1B1] / "You can be of use here"


Called for 1B1 and write-in. Since it's late, I'm going to do a few rolls for this myself.

First up is a composure check: 3 1d100s + 5 (+10 Let's Not Repeat That, +5 Got Company, -10 Barged In On) vs. DC 65 (+15 Sore Spot)
Rolled 39 + 5 (1d100 + 5)


wait, I'm rarted and misread the post and I take that roll back.
Rolled 100, 41, 69 = 210 (3d100)

>I'm going to do a few rolls for this myself.
I appreciate your enthusiasm, but that's a Mitigated Success regardless. Monty keeps it together, if not well.

Kek, you got it.

I was going to use that 39 for the next roll, but since you took it back, I'll be generous and reroll fresh. Rolling for Advanced Gaslighting "I am of use in this situation" / "I am just what you needed" / along those general lines.

3 1d100s + 10 (+10 Known Weirdness) vs. DC 72 (+20 Advanced Gaslighting, +5 Monty: Irritated, -3 Eloise: Amused)

I will assume you spend 1 ID if doing so would bump you up a result.
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Ouch. To keep impartial, QM-rolled crits don't have any extra effect... even if they're good crits.

That being said, you still pass without spending ID.

>110, 51, 79 vs. DC 72 -- Success

...I'm not sure how to put this other than I just had a stress-induced mini-breakdown, and I think I'm going to take that as a sign to



>What the fuck? We're not even past bump limit?
Yeah, I'm sorry. I thought I could tough it out through a shorter thread and end in April, but my workload this week is horrific and I need my evenings free to have a hope in hell.

>Okay, but that's one week, and you were supposed to run until the 5th? Can't you take the week off and come back?
I'm booked until the 28th and then there's barely any time until the 1st. For better or worse, I will be back on the 1st, and I'm not running two threads at once.

>What about this vote?
We'll begin Thread 25 with the results of this vote. It's not the best starting place, but I'm not sure I can put myself back together enough to finish this one tonight and wrap things up better.

>Quest's dead pack it up boys
Quest remains not dead. I will update on my Twitter, etc., if anything unusual happens, but more realistically this thread will be up forever and I'll just post the new thread here.

We are archived here: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=drowned%20quest%20redux

Feel free to post any other questions here and I'll give them a look. Hope you have a nice just-under-two-weeks!
Hey man, life gets like that. You gotta prioritize your mental health brah.

Uhhh shit. Feel better man!

Take your time on the next thread-- /qst/ isn't going anywhere, and self-health should always come first!
crits break the QM
perhaps our bad luck is a good thing

good luck with life
oof, good luck and take care of yourself!! we'll be here when you're back in action :)
Thanks for the well-wishes, folks. I won't blogpost, but suffice it to say that breakdown or not I would've had to cancel the thread anyhow for lack of free time. I'm excited to see you guys again when things are a little more settled on my end.
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Happy 2019.


In other news:

1) Officially confirming that Bathic !!bJ2ehLCKW10 is me. If a post under my name and sounds like me but has a different trip from that it's probably me on my phone, but feel free to ask if you want a confirmation.

2) I have realized that I made an error with the modifiers on >>5201977: your [Exploiter's Brand] malus absolutely should've applied here, since you're trying to manipulate Monty and that's what it's designed to punish. This adds an extra -15 to your roll, bumping it down to a Mitigated Success. Sorry! If I'd already written it up I'd let it slide, but since the results are a month out I feel justified in making that correction.
baby QM need a bottle? need twitter time? TOP KEK
Ignore him, he's mocking you. Do you feel better, QM?

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