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[CYOA] Ardor & Obligation (Epilogue.)

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    cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    mrpaku wrote: »
    X. Hollos the Shining: Ardor of Judgement, Holder of the Scales, Righteous-Light-Eternal

    bppprcbgl9ew.png

    That inverted pull, though...

    wVEsyIc.png
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited July 2021
    OPTA: Hollos was called the Shining One. Her adherents believed she was an arbiter of justice.
    TIA: Justice...
    OPTA: It's a more ambiguous domain than some other Ardors, isn't it?
    TIA: How so?
    OPTA: Well, judgment implies a comparison, a decision. According to what? Is an Ardor's morality unimpeachable? Are we to conduct ourselves according to their whims?
    TIA: This isn't a fun theoretical for me, Opta. Am I in danger?
    OPTA: I truly don't believe you saw an Ardor, Tia. I don't know for sure what it was, but I wouldn't spend my days fearing divine wrath. The Ardors are dead.
    TIA: What if they aren't?
    OPTA: Then mankind is in for a rough period of adjustment, I suppose.

    Tia sighed.

    TIA: You're the last person I expected skepticism from, Opta.
    OPTA: I'm open to being proven wrong, but you're asking me to ignore centuries of evidence that the Ardors are no longer among us. But if you're worried, the way to appease an Ardor is likely the same for Hollos as any other. Make an offering of Astra.
    TIA: An offering, huh...

    Opta picked up a few squashes and put them in one of his bags, and moved on to a basket containing large orange and purple carrots.

    OPTA: In my younger days I'd have likely jumped at the chance to accompany you, just for the chance to see something like that. But I'm not fit for long periods of travel, and Hollos reputedly favors isolated places. If you're going to try to summon her, you'll want to do it away from civilization.
    TIA: What if she decides to just... destroy me?
    OPTA: Then you'll be cured of many things at once!

    Tia scowled.

    OPTA: Fine, fine. I'll show you the sigil of Hollos. Go out into the wilderness, draw the sigil on the ground, and draw in as much astra as you can stand. I think you'll be disappointed, but it'll be a weight off your mind.
    TIA: And if I'm right?
    OPTA: Then you come straight back here and tell me! Assuming you survive the ordeal.
    TIA: If I accumulate too much astra, I could die anyway...
    OPTA: Well, if you're bent on finding out, maybe the mageblessing recipe I gave you is worth pursuing.

    ----
    Hilda peeled off the sticky, sweet-smelling bandages as Alexei and Stafford watched. She dropped them into the washbasin. Her arm looked much better.

    STAFFORD: It's a lucky thing you had that honey, Hilda.
    HILDA: I'm just glad I have a little left. I barely got to enjoy it.
    ALEXEI: I don't understand how honey helps with grevit rash.
    STAFFORD: It keeps the skin moist while providing a barrier against infection. It also keeps you from scratching, unless you want everything you touch to be sticky.
    HILDA: I'm in your debt, Stafford.

    She smiled at him.

    STAFFORD: I'm sorry you had to use so much of it.
    HILDA: It's a small price to pay. I could hardly sleep at night, and I couldn't focus on anything else during the day. Alexei, if we come across another grevit nest, we should keep walking.

    Alexei made an open-palm gesture.

    ALEXEI: I'm sorry for my part in that. But I'm sure the people of Moldaba appreciated our efforts. I couldn't leave those guards to that fate.
    STAFFORD: You're a walking contradiction, Alexei.

    He'd said it while still checking Hilda's arm, but turned to look at Alexei.

    STAFFORD: But if you'll have me, I'd like to keep traveling with you. For Tia and Hilda's sake, if nothing else. Ardors only know what kind of danger you'll lead us into, but those are the kinds of challenges that will make me a better healer.
    ALEXEI: I'm glad to hear it.

    A few points of interest.

    Firstly, Opta has pointed you towards a pair of side-quests. Side quests can be done whenever you feel the party is strong enough. How will you know, you ask? Well, each side quest will have a Level. The level is the comparison that will be made against the Party ATK in the combat engine. Anyone can propose tackling a side quest, and all it takes is one person to second that proposal. Locations will be dropped onto the map as necessary, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance style, so you can do quests from wherever you are.

    I'm also making a few small change to A Postful Time - mail delivery will now succeed on 5s and 6s, carrying capacity will go up to 15, and a d10 will be rolled for available mail. That should give you all more PostTokens to play with.

    Lastly, @mojo_jojo provided the voting option that won. I've rolled for a reward (using Geth is a bit cumbersome), and it came up as a 2, which is Smoky Spices! This small jar of spices imparts a warm, mesquite flavor to many dishes. Someone is sure to appreciate it!

    What is our next course of action?
    A. What's most important is warning Valta of what's to come. We'll continue south, into the mountains.
    B. The people along the border are the ones who'll suffer if we can't stop the war. We should focus on helping them.
    C. Dhara's right, we have a better chance at preventing the assassination if we find out who's behind it.

    Options
    Y. Use item (specify)
    Z. Side quest (specify)

    Status
    Party | Inventory | Allies | Key Items | Quests (0/2) | Shop

    Delzhand on
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    mrpakumrpaku Registered User regular
    edited July 2021
    B.- When these upheavals occur, it's the people caught in the middle who get hit the hardest. Better to go where we'll do the most good now

    mrpaku on
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    Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo We are only now beginning to understand the full power and ramifications of sexual intercourse Registered User regular
    Z Ruins of Bleda

    Never risk progressing the main quest if a side quest needs doing

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
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    see317see317 Registered User regular
    Mojo_Jojo wrote: »
    Z Ruins of Bleda

    Never risk progressing the main quest if a side quest needs doing

    This logic seems sound. Clearly, if there's no timer displayed on the screen, the time crunch is just a narrative device to increase the tension and move the plot forward.

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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    That's a motion and a second - the party will head for the The Ruins of Bleda!

    You can continue to vote for A/B/C as well, the party will pick up there after the side quest. You can also vote for A/B/C in addition to Y/Z, too!

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    zekebeauzekebeau Registered User regular
    B

    Save the border, already hints that Valta is just as hungry for war

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    see317see317 Registered User regular
    B
    Evacuate the border, loot the abandoned homes before the armies can do so.

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    Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    b3n551wn852j.jpeg

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    discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    C - We need to stop or at least appropriately reassign blame for the assassination first and foremost

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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    Outbound Mail: +3

    Post-sidequest result: Warn the people living near the border
    On the wind, astra. Under the waves, astra. Deep within the soil, astra. Invisible to the naked eye, it suffused everything. Utterly neutral, mankind had learned of it from the Ardors, and with awareness came study. From study, experimentation, and from these experiments systems were divined.

    The rules of magic were a gordian knot. Many people attempted to pick and pull, teasing out enough understanding to light a campfire or fill a water bucket. But for those daring enough to slice through the knot, incredible power was waiting. Tia has been one of those students willing to push past the rote memorization of pattern consequence and gain an intuitive knowledge of the nature of astra.

    And the price to be paid was that she would eventually be consumed by the flame she wielded.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YnvsRuIuQw
    But now it seemed that even that rule might be bent, if not broken. Opta was a student of astra as well, though he'd been free of the arrogance that pushed many to plumb it's deepest depths. But what he lacked in understanding, he made up for in thoroughness, and he often found things that others had missed. Patterns that appeared in nature were often fractals, influenced at every level by astra. For example, the spiral of the boda vurga's leaves was a near perfect inverse of the whorls that were foundational to creating elemental effects.

    The boda vurga, alas, only grew in one place, but blessedly it hadn't been too far out of the way. A half day's journey off the path, the ruined city of Bleda sat on an island in the middle of a caldera lake, accessible only thanks to a rowboat left sitting at a makeshift dock.

    ---
    Alexei, Hilda, and Stafford looked at Opta's drawing of the boda vurga. It was inked in dark blue, with the crisp lines of a practiced naturalist.

    ALEXEI: Everyone get a good look. We need to find as much of this plant as we can and be gone before sundown.
    STAFFORD: What happens at sundown?
    ALEXEI: There's some kind of sentinel that's supposed to awaken at night. Details are sketchy, so let's not tempt fate.

    ---
    Mid-way through the day, Stafford found a cluster of the succulents thriving in what seemed to be an long-forgotten window planter. This must have been someone's home, once upon a time. The collapsed masonry and timber suggested simple craftsmanship. A twisted wrought iron gate, sturdy timber, flaking stucco over what little brickwork still stood. He found himself wondering what the last days were like for the people of Bleda, and why they resisted the empire so mightily.

    He gathered the plants gingerly, taking care to preserve the roots. As he finished, he heard Alexei shouting.

    ALEXEI: Tia! Hilda! Stafford!

    It sounded like he was a few blocks away, his voice carried on the still afternoon air, echoing eerily. Stafford slung the satchel over his shoulder and began making his way back to the group.

    ---

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYL1Ufgw3gw
    So this, then, was the nature of Bleda's sentinel. A towering bird of prey, carved from a slick white material none of them had ever seen. A pair of fierce, thick horns curled around the sides of its face and came to points, making a trident of the creature's gleaming black beak. Its wings were folded in, the pinions alternating gold and red. Cruel looking talons clutched its perch, a stately altar in what must have once been a place of worship.

    All of this would have been suitably concerning on its own. But there, on a plinth below the creature, lay a girl in tattered rags. Her arms and legs were shackled and chained to the four anchors at the corners of the monument. If she was breathing, it was too shallow to see from this distance.

    Though it looked a statue, the guardian's head subtly tracked them, its eyes glittering black jewels.

    STAFFORD: We're going to help her, right? The guardian only awakens at night, I thought.
    HILDA: It seems awake to me.
    ALEXEI: Stafford's right, though. If she's still alive, we need to get her out of here.
    TIA: That's a big if. I didn't see anyone else here.
    ALEXEI: Yeah, I don't understand. Is she supposed to be a sacrifice?

    Stafford took a step towards the altar.

    TIA: Whoa, hey, let's think about this!

    The statue-bird shook violently, discharging a coat of ancient dust. It let out a grinding, hoarse scream. The girl stirred and sat up.

    GIRL: Voluh es obela?

    She jabbed a finger up toward the sentinel.

    GIRL: Voluh es na na obela! Na na obela!

    It spread its wings menacingly, preparing to take flight.

    Action Order?

    Same rules as last time. Choose any 3 of MOVE, ATTACK, TECH, or DEFEND (no duplicates) in any order. If you want to be a total boss, you can put them in JSON format for me, for example:
    {p: "see317", a: ['defend', 'tech', 'move']}
    
    I also want to point out that this a pretty evenly matched fight and could go either way. This game auto-saves, so be prepared for consequences if you lose! Might be worth checking the inventory to use item?

    Status
    Party | Inventory | Allies | Key Items | Quests (0/2) | Shop

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    mrpakumrpaku Registered User regular
    edited July 2021
    Is there still time for the party to consume a Vigor Drink?

    Actually a Veil of Night might be a better idea... fighting a giant bird, we'll probably need the extra HP pool for fly-by nonsense, and be relying on TECH more for our offense

    mrpaku on
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited July 2021
    I think you're looking at the shop, not the inventory. Those items both cost 2 PostTokens, and you're 1 short! But otherwise yes, items can be used at any time.

    Delzhand on
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    see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited July 2021
    Eat the grevit

    Move
    Attack
    Defend

    Edit: Should have read the inventory. Eat that grevit meat.

    see317 on
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    zekebeauzekebeau Registered User regular
    Grevit meat

    Move
    Defend
    Attack

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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    Under the hood, for the curious
    Attack vs Attack: both attacks roll for damage*
    Attack vs Defend: contested roll, attack deals damage or defend heals**
    Attack vs Tech: attack interrupts tech and rolls for damage
    Attack vs Move: contested roll, attack deals damage or move gains advantage
    Defend vs Defend: both defends roll for heal
    Defend vs Tech: tech interrupts defend and rolls for damage
    Defend vs Move: contested roll, defend heals or move gains advantage
    Tech vs Move: tech rolls for damage, move rolls for advantage***
    Tech vs Tech: contested roll, winner deals damage
    Move vs Move: both moves roll for advantage

    * rolls are xD6, where x is the roller's ATK +/- any (dis)advantage, 4 and above are successes
    ** defend never heals above max HP
    *** vs fixed value (3)

    Player rounds are randomized for order until all players have had a round, then reshuffled
    Enemy actions follow the same rules and are randomly determined round by round

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    discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    {p: "discrider", a: ['move', 'tech', 'defend']}
    

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    Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo We are only now beginning to understand the full power and ramifications of sexual intercourse Registered User regular
    {p: "mono", a: ['move', 'tech', 'defend']}
    
    And eat the meat

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    The grevit meat 🍖 is eaten! Party Max HP increased to 6!

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    Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    Aw yeah, meat eaten.

    Defend, Attack, Tech

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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited July 2021
    The sentinel took wing, fairly blasting away from the ground with a speed that belied its construction. Alexei ran past Stafford to the girl on the plinth.

    ALEXEI: Let Hilda and Tia deal with it, Stafford! Help me free her!
    GIRL: Ademu, ba redaya!
    STAFFORD: I'm sorry, we don't understand! But we're here to help!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzsqX8bnQPY
    Obela, if that was the sentinel's name, streaked towards the ground and agilely touched down between Tia and Hilda. Tia could feel astra accumulating - was this thing alive? It fixed its eyes on Hilda, and shimmers of heat began to stream from its beak.

    TIA: Hilda!

    She grabbed a chunk of stone laying on the ground and hurled it with all her strength. It smashed against Obela's head, shattering one of its eyes, and causing the blast of flame to scorch only empty stone as Hilda rolled out of the way.

    She fired off a pair of arrows as she sprang to her feet, which glanced off the creature's armored form. It clipped her with a wing, knocking her back into a shattered stone pillar.

    ---
    Alexei and Stafford hammered at the rusted iron with slabs of heavy red-gold stone. The girl watched them with wide eyes.

    GIRL: Pan un baela?

    Stafford brought down the slab on the pin anchoring her right hand, and it snapped. The girl pulled her freed hand to her chest.

    GIRL: Orunda obela! Orunda messats na na!

    She pointed across the hall. Obela flung itself away from the women and hurtled towards Stafford.

    STAFFORD: Felathas!

    He leapt backwards from the plinth, avoiding impalement on the sentinel's trident-beak, but it nimbly adjusted position and raked across the flesh of his back.

    It swept its unreadable gaze from Stafford to the girl.

    TIA: No!

    She sensed the building astra in Obela's body, some furious engine driving it. Their weapons couldn't hurt it, there was only one way to end this. She reached out, seizing the flowing energies inside it. Even from the other end of the hall, she realized the truth of things - this sentinel was itself no living thing, but a machina animated by the astra inside it.

    She pulled hard, and the it kicked, jerking as if its component pieces were moving against each other. It's chest began to bubble and melt, and Tia could feel the heat creeping up her own arms as well. The sentinel's chest exploded outwards, a crystal flying into the air.

    GIRL: Lomo... shuluthah...

    The girl raised her free hand, and the crystal floated gently towards her. The party could only watch as it passed harmlessly into her chest. Her eyes glowed bright for a moment, and she sighed.

    GIRL: Yuba essme?

    She gestured at the other anchor pins.

    ---
    ALEXEI: Do you have a name?

    He pointed at himself, then to Tia.

    ALEXEI: Alexei. Tia.

    He pointed at her. She rubbed her wrists and looked at the inert sentinel.

    GIRL: Atma...
    ALEXEI: Is that your name? Atma?

    She looked at him.

    GIRL: Korobi enmi?

    She pointed at herself and rubbed her belly.

    STAFFORD: I think she's hungry.

    Stafford pulled a piece of hard bread from his satchel and held it out. She reached out eagerly and sank her teeth into it ravenously, tearing off a hunk and swallowing it almost without chewing. She sat on the floor and let out a long breath.

    She suddenly looked contemplative. She gestured at the city.

    GIRL: Bleda. Bleda booladuh... mun lon.

    She placed a hand on her chest.

    GIRL: O Atma. O orunda na na...

    Alexei shook his head.

    ALEXEI: She knows this place is Bleda, but that's all I've got.
    HILDA: Atma?

    The girl looked up.

    HILDA: Atma, O Hilda.

    Her face lit up.

    GIRL: O Atma, zo Hilda!
    HILDA: I think that settles it. Her name is Atma.
    TIA: I have so many questions.
    ALEXEI: Well, the sun is setting, and if that isn't the sentinel guarding this place, I don't want to be here when the real one wakes up. Let's take these plants and get out of here with all haste.
    ATMA: Bo ademu?

    Alexei gestured. This wasn't how he'd expected the day to go.

    The party followed his lead and headed for the rowboat.

    Atma has joined the party!
    However, only four party members may participate in combat at a time. You know how it goes.

    What did the party take from wrecked machina? Choose 2.
    A. Several of the large metal pinion feathers. They're both lighter and harder than expected.
    B. The uncracked eye. Who knows what you could see through such strange glass?
    C. One of its horns. It could be fashioned into many things by a craftsperson.
    D. A talon torn from its foot. It fills you with a sense of power.
    E. A collection of gears and widgets from its chest opening. Maybe we can learn more about Bleda?

    Combat Log
    Party HP: 6 / Atk: 5
    Enemy HP: 5 / Atk: 5
    === see317's round ===
    Alexei move vs Obela? move
    Enemy disadvantaged!
    Party disadvantaged!
    Tia attack vs Obela? tech
    Enemy tech interrupted!
    The enemy took 1 damage. HP reduced to 4.
    Stafford defend vs Obela? defend
    The party's HP remained the same.
    The enemy's HP remained the same.
    === endless_serpents's round ===
    Hilda defend vs Obela? move
    Enemy failed to gain an advantage.
    The party recovered 1 damage. HP increased to 6.
    Hilda attack vs Obela? attack
    The enemy's HP remained the same.
    The party took 1 damage. HP reduced to 5.
    Alexei tech vs Obela? tech
    The techs cancelled each other out!
    === discrider's round ===
    Stafford move vs Obela? attack
    Party failed to gain an advantage.
    The party took 1 damage. HP reduced to 4.
    Tia tech vs Obela? defend
    Party tech cancelled enemy defense!
    The enemy took 4 damage. HP reduced to 0.
    The enemy was defeated!
    Party HP: 4/6

    @discrider landed the killing blow. The enemy dropped a Unique Seashell! Someone is sure to appreciate the beauty of this iridescent shell!

    Status
    Party | Inventory | Allies | Key Items | Quests (2) | Shop

    Delzhand on
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    I've reverse engineered the combat stats from the player stats I basically made up. So going forward, character HP will actually matter, as will level. Instead of increasing party ATK/HP, you'll find items that increase character levels/maxHP. Party ATK is Math.floor(total_active_characters_levels/4), Party HP is Math.floor(total_active_characters_hps/100). Items that grant direct bonuses to either of these stats will be calculated after that math.

    You guys flirted with death here. While debugging a new engine feature, I generated what might be the most cursed combat log possible, in which the enemy shut you down in two turns.
    Party HP: 6 / Atk: 5
    Enemy HP: 5 / Atk: 5
    === discrider's round ===
    Tia move vs Obela move
    Enemy disadvantaged!
    Party disadvantaged!
    Hilda tech vs undefined attack
    Player tech interrupted!
    The party took 2 damage. HP reduced to 4.
    Alexei defend vs undefined tech
    Enemy tech cancelled player defense!
    The party took 3 damage. HP reduced to 1.
    === see317's round ===
    Stafford move vs undefined move
    Party failed to gain an advantage.
    undefined attack vs undefined defend
    The enemy's HP remained the same.
    undefined defend vs undefined tech
    Enemy tech cancelled player defense!
    The party took 2 damage. HP reduced to 0.
    The party was defeated...
    Enemy HP: 5/5

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    discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    edited July 2021
    A, E and Atma
    Because I am the best at not giving gifts to Stafford

    But yeah, armour and weird astra mechanisms seem good

    discrider on
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    see317see317 Registered User regular
    B: The eye.
    C: The horn
    Atma can warm the bench for a while. We seem to be doing well with the Fighter/Rogue/Caster/Healer mix.

    Any chance we could get some idea what Atma does besides absorbing crystals, eating bread and speaking gibberish?

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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    All will be revealed! She won't be included in combat until more is known about her. She's dressed in rags, starving, and completely unarmed. But aside from not speaking the language, she seems lucid?

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    Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    A, E.

    She is clearly a fragment of the reincarnated dream of the original goddess’s wish’s second cousin and also a cyborg.

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    Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo We are only now beginning to understand the full power and ramifications of sexual intercourse Registered User regular
    B, E

    I think we've started a timer to shadow monsters

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    Just what the party needs, more enemies

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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    A and B were tied, so a dice roll has chosen B. The party has received Bledan Widgets, and the eye functions as a Lens of Truth!

    Also, gifting the Unique Seashell to Atma has increased her loyalty from 3 to 4!
    It was overcast and humid in Dooreyt. A summer storm ws moving in.

    Atma had taken a liking to Hilda, whose skills as a teacher were coming in handy as she attempted to teach the young woman the common language On the journey back to Dooreyt she had quickly learned numbers and other simple concepts. Despite this, Hilda hadn't been able to determine much about Atma herself, such as how she came to chained up in Bleda, or anything about the crystal or mechanical bird.

    ---
    ATMA: White cloth top, black cloth bottom.

    Among the wares in the outfitter's shop, Atma pointed to a cream-colored tunic, then a charcoal pair of trousers. Hilda had given her a spare set of clothing, but it fit poorly around Atma's rail-thin figure.

    HILDA: Yes, okay. And cloak?

    She gestured to her own cloak. Atma nodded and looked at the rack containing several different lengths, cuts and colors.

    ATMA: O ufta...

    She unfolded one and pulled it around her shoulders. It was an asymmetric wrap wrap in bright red, with five flat silver buttons.

    ATMA: Oda kimo. Red cloak?
    HILDA: Yes, red cloak.

    Hilda paid the shopkeeper for the goods and a small assortment of school primers. They were undoubtedly below Atma's level, but the way she gawped at everything in the city suggested she had grown up isolated, and they would help with the language barrier.

    Sorry for the short post, I'm uncharacteristically tired tonight. Rest of this will come tomorrow. In the meantime...

    What constellation is highest in the sky right now?
    A. Tyrole, the cup-bearer
    B. Naito, the scarab
    C. Emeraude, the bound queen
    D. Khuve, the crow

    Status
    Party | Inventory | Allies | Key Items | Quests (0/2) | Shop

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    see317see317 Registered User regular
    Just to check, is this clothing store also providing Atma a truly ludicrous quantity of belts, or are we going to have to stop at a belt store as well?

    Also, C. The Bound Queen is ascendant tonight.

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    discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    B - This story needs more mummies

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    Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo We are only now beginning to understand the full power and ramifications of sexual intercourse Registered User regular
    A shots shots shots

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    see317 wrote: »
    Just to check, is this clothing store also providing Atma a truly ludicrous quantity of belts, or are we going to have to stop at a belt store as well?

    If you were to look at any article of clothing in this world under a microscope, you'd see that it's made entirely of belts

  • Options
    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited July 2021
    Opta listened with great curiosity to Tia's tale. The three of them sat in his garden, enjoying the cool evening breeze.

    TIA: ...and so here we are.
    OPTA: Most curious. Atma, can you tell me where you're from?

    Atma cocked her head to the side, thinking.

    ATMA: Bleda?
    OPTA: No, where from.

    He made a gesture with his hands that he probably thought was helpful. Atma shrugged.

    TIA: Hilda is teaching her common, but it takes time.
    OPTA: Well, at least you seem to have gotten plenty of boda vurga. I'll see if I can propagate some cuttings, and I'll have the rest processed for you. It might take some time, though. Will you be here long?
    TIA: No, we've got to continue on towards the border. Alexei thinks we can do the most good warning the common folk living there.
    OPTA: I wish I could hasten the process, but alas. I understand you pushed yourself pretty hard in Bleda. How are your arms?
    TIA: I've had better days. If I took my gloves off I could probably melt candles at five paces.
    OPTA: That's a lot of astra. Are you sure you can't-
    ATMA: Astra? O von astra!

    She stood suddenly. She seemed to steady herself, placing one foot nearly perpendicular to the other, and reached down with both hands to touch her toes, exhaling. The she straightened quickly, thrusting both hands into the air. Her hair lifted and tossed, and a strong wind seemed to whip around her, scattering dust and pebbles in the ground in tight eddies. Then, just as it had started, the wind died down. Atma beamed.

    TIA: You can use magic?
    ATMA: Magic, yes! Zo fire, O fala! Wind, yes?

    The three votes cancel each other out. Turns out that the Crow was ascendant last night. As the crow soars on the wind, so does Atma's soul. Atma is a Wind Mage!
    Alexei, Hilda, and Stafford were shocked to learn of Atma's abilities. She seemed proficient in more than common cantrips, yet if she was affected by the mages' curse, it wasn't evident how.

    The next day, the group made their preparations to head south. No one had even suggested that Atma remain in Dooreyt - she seemed perfectly happy with the group, though it wasn't clear if she understood the dangers ahead. But if she was not an adult, she was certainly close enough to make her own decisions.

    With their supplies acquired and route planned, they left via the southern road around mid-day. By tomorrow they would be in the Yaldroth foothills.

    Well, that was their plan anyway. Dover scratched behind his ear with a pointed fingernail and pulled his cloak tighter with his other hand. Adjin would want to know this. On the other hand, it was a particularly bright and cloudless day. Perhaps he could sneak in a nap and put off tracking down their quarry when the sun was a little less merciless. Not like anyone would know...

    The battle in Bleda has rekindled Stafford's bond with the party. His loyalty increased from 2 to 3! His level increased from 3 to 4!

    Since it has only been a few days, there isn't as much outbound mail. However, I rolled a D4 and it came up 4. The party is now carrying 9 parcels! Maybe some of them are destined for a settlement in the hills!

    What's the biggest danger in the hills?
    A. Frequent rockslides can force you to venture off the known roads.
    B. Mountain bears are notoriously aggressive, with claws the length of your forearm.
    C. Precariously narrow land bridges that traverse gaping chasms.
    D. Swarms of flying pterosaurs, with venomous barbed tails.

    Also, a slight addendum to my earlier comment about only having 4 party members in combat. All party members will be present, but only the stats from the 4 active party members will be counted towards Party ATK/HP. If at any time you want to swap party members (for example if someone has low health), all it takes is one person to motion and one person to second it (same as sidequest rules). Active party members have a teal border around their avatar on the status screen.

    Status
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    Delzhand on
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    Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo We are only now beginning to understand the full power and ramifications of sexual intercourse Registered User regular
    C

    Precarious chasm crossings killed our entire family and it's time we had our revenge

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
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    discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    D
    Precarious pterodactyl crossings killed our entire family and it's their own fault really.

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    see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited July 2021
    B. Mountain bear meat is good eating. Let's go kill some bear families.
    Precariously.

    see317 on
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    TipharethTiphareth Registered User regular
    D - poisonous pterosaurs is precarious eating and we should definitely throw in some eggs in the cook pot to make a family dinner.

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    Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    discrider wrote: »
    D
    Precarious pterodactyl crossings killed our entire family and it's their own fault really.

    It’s true!

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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    Alright, you jokers put me in a precarious position...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSlMyc_-iF4
    The first cliff razor began circling overhead before they even reached the hills. It was a flying reptile with a four foot wingspan with a triangular dorsal sail and a barbed tail. A single cliff razor was a nuisance - it would feign a dive, but pull up at the last second, trying to provoke its prey to exhaustion, but it wouldn't commit to attack until it had safety in numbers. Hilda watched the sky warily, slinging arrows and curses both any time it came within range. But they were incredibly agile despite their size, and easily evaded the arrows. The curses had even less effect, though Atma picked up a few of them and joined Hilda in taunting the creatures.

    The second and third began circling as they entered the hills. The grass and trees of the flatlands gave way to scree and shrub. Cliff razors were ground-nesters who preferred to lay eggs near water, so the risk of stumbling into a nest was high - the road through the Yaldroth foothills followed the headwaters of the Stera. A steady stream flowed alongside the road, only occasionally deviating out of sight, flowing around some stone formation or falling in tiny waterfalls into pools at lower elevations.

    Having gained allies and courage, one of the cliff razor screeched and fell into a full dive. Alexei, Tia, and Hilda dropped their packs and took arms, Stafford looked up just in time to see it buzz over Atma's head. She yelped and dropped into a crouch.

    He pulled a handaxe free of his pouch and handed to her. She shrugged and took it. But when the creature wheeled around and made another pass, she reached out with her free hand and brought her open palm down like she was slapping the air, and the cliff razor slammed into the ground with a crunch. Stafford lept towards it and buried his shortsword in its neck. It let out one last screech and died, falling limp. The other two gained altitude and drifted away.

    Atma smiled at Stafford, and he felt himself blush. The older adults all noticed this as plain as day, and Alexei politely ignored it, complimenting his quick reflexes, then showing him how to remove a razor's venom sac so it could be safely cooked. Hilda winked at Atma, who smiled shyly.

    HILDA: I think someone has a crush.

    ---
    Alexei had planned their travel well. They had gained quite a bit of elevation over the course of the day, and the evening air had a chill to it. They arrived at the hunting village just after sundown. There were only a small number of people living and working in the area, perhaps a few dozen. Alexei negotiated with the community leader for a place to spend the night, and was directed to the cabin of a widower near the center of the village. They spent the evening talking to the locals, except for Atma, who busied herself with the school primers and a chalk slate Hilda had purchased for her. Her communication skills were improving day by day, but she understood that her native tongue marked her as an outsider.

    Roll for mail delivery: [6, 6, 5, 4, 2]. That's three successes. You've earned 3 PostTokens, for a total of 4. New items have also been added to the shop!
    The widower's name was Helmuth. He'd lived in the hills for most of his adult life, but had been born in the far north. Over a meal of cliff razor eggs and bear steaks, he told his story, from meeting his beautiful wife in Runo, to their building this very cabin, to her unfortunate death. She'd slipped while crossing a precarious chasm bridge, and he'd been unable to catch her in time. He'd been a formidable hunter, but the best hunting lands lay across the bridge. Even though a safety rope had since been hung along the walkway, he still couldn't bring himself to cross it. During his grieving, he'd come across his wife's recipes, and taken to cooking the dishes for himself that she used to cook for him.

    HELMUTH: It helped me through my grief, it did. And I even discovered I had a bit of a talent for it.
    ALEXEI: So now you cook for the entire village?
    HELMUTH: You better believe it! And the occasional stranger, too!
    TIA: It's delicious. I'm sure your wife would be proud.
    HELMUTH: Thankya, thankya. But if I'm bein' right honest, she'd probably be mad that I "improved" her recipe!

    He let out a hearty laugh.

    Helmuth's cooking increased all party members' max HP by 20!
    STAFFORD: Do you have any clue how to prepare a cliff razor?
    HELMUTH: Yeah, throw it into a ravine and search for eggs instead.
    STAFFORD: Is it really that bad?
    HELMUTH: Well I'm being a bit dramatic. It's not my favorite. Tends to cook too dry over a campfire, but if you've got time to simmer it low and slow in broth, then maybe crisp it up in some bear fat, you'll have something worth eating.
    STAFFORD: That sounds complicated...
    HELMUTH: You need a right good kitchen like mine. Hard to do on the trail. But I'll tell you what, if you've got a cliff razor, I'll trade you some bear jerky. Much better for long journeys. And I hear you're heading into the mountains.
    ALEXEI: We are.
    HELMUTH: Can I ask ye why? It's not a journey many people make.

    Tell Helmuth the reason you're heading south?
    A. Yes
    B. No

    There's a trading post here. They don't have much of interest, but there's a...
    1. Deepsteel Longsword (Alexei Lv up)
    2. Hunter's Bow (Hilda Lv up)
    3. Bearclaw Gauntlets (Tia Lv up)
    4. Silver Shortsword (Stafford Lv up)
    5. Mountain Hatchet (Atma Lv up)
    6. Nothing

    This village doesn't have much use for imperial credit. What item are you willing to trade?

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