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[CYOA] Chaos Quest II (Prologue)

DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss.Registered User regular
Interactive Version

The First Vision

Saoirse crouched near the middle of the ancient subterranean plaza, near a crumbling stone wall. A skeleton hobbled past her clumsily, dim embers in its eyes.

She ignored it, and surveyed the area. The skeletons weren't a huge threat alone, for the most part they could just be knocked over, or if you wanted a laugh, you could grab their skulls and punt them into the pools of milky cave water nearby.

The statues were another story. The stone sentinels patrolled these ruins, even centuries after the fall of their kingdom. Had their creators intended them to wander the dark indefinitely, or was it just an oversight?

Saoirse shook her head. She could ponder the mysteries of the ancients once she'd retrieved the Kingsword from the shrine at the center of the plaza. She set her lantern down and held out her palm.

SAOIRSE: Limini, I need a distraction.

A pair of feline eyes opened in a nearby shadow.

LIMINI: Hmph. Making me do your dirty work?

SAOIRSE: I thought cats were naturally curious. Don't you want to see the Kingsword?

The eyes turned towards the shrine. There was a flicker in the shadow, the merest suggestion of a twitching tail.

LIMINI: ...a little bit.

The spectral cat took on a more substantial form and bounded off towards the patrolling automaton, which mindlessly gave chase. Saoirse grinned and tightened her cloak, then sprinted for the shrine.

see317Endless_Serpents
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  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    Interactive Version

    The Second Vision

    Saoirse stood at the top of the sand dune and looked east, over the rooftops of the fishing village. The ocean was choppy, and summer's heat had given way to more moderate weather. But the wind was high, which was exactly what she wanted. Today was the day.

    She'd discovered the craft while mapping the woods further inland. It had been badly damaged, abandoned long ago. Long ago enough that the forest had almost claimed it entirely, much like its former rider's bones. But it called to her, begged to be restored.

    Several other residents of the fishing village had come to the dune to watch. There was a general sense of optimism - Saoirse's previous attempts had met with halting, cautious success. But today was the real test.

    She pulled her goggles down and knocked back the kickstand with her heel. She placed a gloved palm on the machine's nameplate. The whirring magical engine at the heart of the machine whispered to her.

    ???: Are you ready to fly, rider?

    SAOIRSE: Are you, Branford?

    BRANFORD: I was made to fly.

    The engine flared, and the arc-halo lifted the craft off the ground. This was going to make charting the island much easier.

  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    Interactive Version

    The Third Vision

    Saoirse swatted a tree branch out of the way and gripped her reins tightly. She was on edge - the blood panther had been spotted in this forest only a few days ago. It had killed two cows and wounded a farmer in the nearby village. But she'd pursued it this far, and she wasn't about to let a tangle of scrub and fallen logs stop her now.

    A hart, previously still with fear, darted away somewhere to her left. Her wyvern turned to follow it, and she gently tugged on the reins to bring its focus back to her hunt.

    SAOIRSE: I know you're hungry, Ambrose. You can hunt once we're done.

    She'd taken the job reluctantly. She didn't need the money at the moment, and blood panthers tended to hide during the day. But the village didn't have anyone capable of taking down a beast like this on their own. And left to their own devices, blood panthers would mate with regular panthers, always passing down their voracious appetite and wild strength to their offspring through some cruel trick of heredity.

    Ambrose stopped and sniffed at the ground. His nostrils flared. Saoirse checked the straps on her scale mail and grabbed one of her spear from the saddle harness. Her prey was near. She clenched her teeth and dropped down from Ambrose's back. The growl from the overhang was unmistakable, and she dug in her heels as the panther dropped towards her.

  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited September 2021
    Interactive Version

    Prologue

    Saoirse rolled over in her bed, away from the morning sunlight. She had slept fitfully, and her dreams, though vivid in sleep, began to fade into the clarity of consciousness. She sat up after a moment, throwing off the heavy comforter.

    One of these is not a dream, but a memory. Who is Saoirse?
    1. A machine-flying cartographer
    2. A dungeon-delving relic seeker
    3. A wyvern-riding monster hunter

    Delzhand on
    mrpakusee317
  • mrpakumrpaku Registered User regular
    1. A machine-flying cartographer

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    How's the best way to vote, Delz? Through the website, twitter or forum post?

    https://jordanswaytour.com/ https://lolasrescue.com/special-events
    Join me in a fundraiser to benefit Lola's Rescue, a non-profit animal shelter.
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  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    There's no vote on the website, it's just an embedded tweet. Between here and Twitter, it's up to you! I'll be adding everything together, so if you're sneaky, you could vote twice. I think Twitter votes are anonymous, and I didn't want to lose the sense of community we have here, but at the same time, Twitter participation helps grow the audience.

    I really don't have a preference!

  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    1. Wow! What a great set up! 10/10! Let’s fly!

  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    5r6hh17ne5of.png

    What is Chaos Quest?
    Chaos Quest is a Choose Your Own Adventure style story. Each scene will tell a bit of the story and then be followed by a vote. While voting is open, you can influence how the story will change.

    What kind of story is it?
    In case the title didn't give it away, it's a fantasy RPG. At the start of the story, things will be necessarily vague - I'm not starting with a lot of worldbuilding. But depending on how the votes go, the world could be fleshed out any number of ways. Maybe there are castles, crystals and airships, maybe there are guns, railroads and airships, maybe there are time-travel and floating continents and airships... you get the idea. If you've played Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Tales, you know what to expect. It's all on the table.

    Does that mean random encounters?
    I don't know about random, but it does have battles, yes! What would a JRPG be without battles? Of course, as an audience-driven story, it's not combat you can actually play, but each combat will have a vote beforehand where you can choose to boost the priority of one of the party members' abilities. Once the votes are tallied, the next scene will be presented as a 2d sprite based battle that plays out based on a real combat engine - like this!



    How does combat work?
    Units get turns based on their SPD. On their turn, they'll automatically choose an action and perform it. The effectiveness is determined by the unit and target's stats (ATK, DEF, RES, SPD). Some units have reaction abilities, like counter attacks. There are also positive and negative status effects that can affect a character.

    How does voting affect combat? How do characters choose actions?
    When a character's turn comes up, they'll randomly select an action from their pool, which is dependent on votes received. A character who gets no votes has an ability pool that looks like this: [attack:100%, ability1:0%, ability2:0%]

    If a character gets votes to use an ability, it increases the percentage chance of that ability being chosen. Say a character has two abilities: Thrust and Flank. If she gets 3 votes for Thrust and 2 votes for Flank (you can't vote for basic attack), her ability pool looks like [attack:17%, thrust:50%, flank:33%]. Every turn, she'll choose an ability randomly based on those percentages.

    What happens if the party is defeated?
    There will be a vote to either re-attempt the combat following a new ability-boost vote, to lower the difficulty of the encounter, or to accept the consequences of failure and continue the story. The severity of the consequences depend on the margin of enemy victory. If the party gets absolutely stomped, a character could be grievously wounded or even killed, but if it was a near thing, it may just mean a permanent stat decrease, loss of an item, or simply a change to how the story progresses.

    How often will it update?
    Updates are planned to be approximately every 2-3 days, depending on the vote, or if I need to create new assets for the battle engine.

    Something is wrong with the combat engine/website!
    Shoot me a PM with your browser and OS, and a screenshot if you can. It's all HTML and CSS, but some browsers did have issues with earlier versions.

    Summoning friends and allies!

    Mojo_Jojo
  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    Interactive Version

    Saoirse's House | Bolba Village

    Saoirse swung her legs over the edge of the bed and looked blearily around the small thatched roof hut that she called home. Her clothes, rumpled and untidy, lay in a pile. Her cartography instruments, meticulously organized, lay on her desk, along with rolls of paper, maps in various degrees of completion. A pair of crutches stood in the corner, crutches she no longer needed.

    It had been two months since the near-disastrous test flight.

    Saoirse stretched and sat down in a wicker chair by the kitchen window. The fishing village was already bustling with activity - men and women setting sail in one- and two-person crafts, mending and emptying nets, or chatting with one another about this or that topic.

    She noticed a shadow fall across the gap between the canvas flap that served as a door and the floor.

    ???: Saoirse! You awake?

    SAOIRSE: Just a minute, Parzeval!

    She pulled a tunic and breeches off the floor and quickly pulled them on. Parzeval would no doubt be seeking company for some errand. As the village chief's son, he seemed to have endless responsibility, despite being no older than she was.

    She pushed past the canvas flap and onto the sand strew planks of her porch. Parzeval awaited her, wearing his customary easy grin.

    PARZEVAL: How's the leg?

    SAOIRSE: I'm still being careful. Probably more careful than I need to be, honestly!

    PARZEVAL: And Branford?

    Saoirse stepped towards the coverend object on the porch and pulled the tarp off. She knocked twice on the aeroframe's headlamp.

    BRANFORD: Good morning, rider.

    Parzeval winced. Branford's left front wing had been torn off completely in the accident.

    SAOIRSE: We won't be soaring until I can figure out how to fashion new wing, but we can still skim along the surface.

    PARZEVAL: Good, then you can come down to the beach and help me clear a nest of ocean jellies. Father said the fishermen discovered it under the pier.

    Saoirse groaned. Ocean jellies weren't dangerous, but they'd cling to the pier supports and calcify, emitting a horrendous odor all the while.

    PARZEVAL: Please? He let me borrow the Stormstaff.

    SAOIRSE: I can see that.

    He wore the staff across his back, its lapis blue gem gleaming in the sun. It was a symbol of the village chief's authority and contained some small amount of magic.

    SAOIRSE: Fine, fine. Let me just grab a shovel. I'll meet you by the pier.

    Parzeval's grin broadened.

    PARZEVAL: Excellent. I owe you one!

  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited October 2021
    Interactive Version

    Pier | Bolba Village

    It took the better part of an hour, but eventually the jellies had all been dislodged. Saoirse had used the flat of the shovel like a catapult, hurling them into deeper waters, while Parzeval had pounded them with magic from his father's staff. Presently they sat on the pier, Saoirse reclining in Branford's seat, Parzeval dangling his legs off the pier.

    PARZEVAL: So let me get this straight. You crashed because you tried to fly over water?

    BRANFORD: Correct.

    PARZEVAL: And you fly using magic...

    BRANFORD: The arc-halo is not magic. It is an elemental construct. I bond with the earth at two points, ahead and behind. The circle on the ground is simply a visual artifact of the energies expended.

    PARZEVAL: That sounds like magic to me.

    BRANFORD: You ambulate by shifting your weight over your legs, is that "magic"?

    Parzeval pondered this.

    PARZEVAL: Nope, still don't get it.

    A lonely gull squawked overhead. Saoirse watched it drift further down the beach, riding the wind, barely needing to move its wings.

    SAOIRSE: ...Branford, are there others like you?

    For a moment, there was silence, except for the waves.

    BRANFORD: Rider, I do not wish to discuss this topic. May we discuss another?

    Branford doesn't want to talk about his origins. What does Saoirse ask instead?
    1. "Why do you call me 'rider'? I have a name."
    2. "So, about your last rider..."
    3. "How far is this island from your home?"
    4. "How can I repair you?"

    Delzhand on
  • mrpakumrpaku Registered User regular
    3. Not ominous that the bot didn't want to discuss it's origins....not ominous at all!

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    Nobody likes discussing their past in JRPGs.
    Let's look at important things, like how to make a wing to repair our buddy.

    https://jordanswaytour.com/ https://lolasrescue.com/special-events
    Join me in a fundraiser to benefit Lola's Rescue, a non-profit animal shelter.
    January 28th, 6-10pm, MST
  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    Status Screen

    The status page will always display the party's current status, but I'll be adding a way to link to snapshots soon.

  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    The twitter poll has ended (man, I was really hoping for some more votes), but votes posted in this thread through the end of the workday will be accepted!

  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    Interactive Version

    Pier | Bolba Village

    SAOIRSE: What's it going to take to get you into the air again, I wonder?

    BRANFORD: I suppose one of your engineers could craft a replacement wing.

    PARZEVAL: "Engineer"?

    BRANFORD: The men and women who fashion your boats out of wood. Is that not the right word? What do you call them?

    PARZEVAL: Anyone can make a boat with practice. We don't have a special name for them.

    SAOIRSE: I suppose I could take the measurements of your right wing and draw something up. It's kind of like making a map...

    BRANFORD: That is logical, yes. Though I suspect the mismatched weight might be an issue.

    SAOIRSE: You're an amazing machine, Branford. I'd love to meet the person who created you originally.

    The seconds stretched out in silence. Parzeval stood up and put his hands on his hips, staring out past the gentle waves.

    PARZEVAL: I suppose I've rested long enough. Father will expect me back before too long.

    Saoirse started Branford's engine and he rose gently to idle a foot or so above the pier.

    SAOIRSE: I think I'll ask Garven to help with the wing.

    PARZEVAL: You might be waiting a while. He's deep-fishing with Yuda today. Why don't you ask your grimma?

    Saoirse sighed.

    PARZEVAL: You can't avoid her forever.

    SAOIRSE: I can try.

    She revved Branford's engine and shot down the pier, then took a hard turn, kicking up sand. Parzeval watched her fly down the beach, shaking his head.

  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    Interactive Version

    Hoay Cliffs | Northern Bolba

    BRANFORD: What is a "grimma"?

    Saoirse was crouched by a fallen tree, holding a knotted string against it.

    SAOIRSE: It means your father's mother or your mother's mother.

    BRANFORD: I see. A "grandmother".

    SAOIRSE: It sounds weird when you say it like that. Gur-and muth-err.

    BRANFORD: And you dislike your "grimma"?

    Saoirse frowned and stood up. She'd ridden Branford north to where the cliffs pushed up sharply, enclosing the tiny village of Bolba against the forest to the east. A recent storm had pushed over some of the trees here, and while the ones large enough to be carved into canoes had all been dragged back to the village, she hoped to find a leftover piece suitable for whittling down into a wing.

    SAOIRSE: I don't dislike her.

    BRANFORD: But you are avoiding her?

    SAOIRSE: I do not wish to discuss this topic.

    BRANFORD: I understand.

    Saoirse bit her lip and walked past Branford to another log. She brushed off the sandy soil and held the measuring string against it.

    SAOIRSE: I think this one will work. What do you think? It won't be as shiny as your original wing, but we can paint it! Maybe blue?

    BRANFORD: Can you describe blue to me?

    SAOIRSE: Describe... blue?

    BRANFORD: Rider... I do not have eyes. I do not see as you do.

    Saoirse sat down on the log and stared at Branford. This machine, this evidence of a world beyond the island... She had so many questions, and yet every time she pressed...

    SAOIRSE: Well, if I was going to describe a color, blue is probably the easiest. It's the color of a clear sky, the color of the ocean when the sun is high... the color of your stripe, if we can get the hue right.

    BRANFORD: If you find the color pleasing and it allows me to fly again, that will be enough for me.

    Saoirse nodded.

    SAOIRSE: Then that's what we'll do. We'll bring Garven out here this evening and he can help me get this log back to the village.

    SAOIRSE: In the meantime... let's see. We could try to get rid of the mossfox that's been attacking the chickens. Or we could try to map some more of the forest.

    BRANFORD: I could instruct you in some ground maneuvers, if you desire.

    How will Saoirse spend the rest of the day?
    1. Fight the mossfox (+XP)
    2. Map the forest (+ITEM)
    3. Rider training (+SKILL)

    mrpakudiscrider
  • mrpakumrpaku Registered User regular
    2. Maps before anything else are my personal priority going way back

  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    (I am pushing the button on the Twitter things fwiw
    It seems impersonal though, and I'm not sure I like this method of interacting with the story)

    Steam Community page: http://steamcommunity.com/id/discrider/
    Why is this cloud here?
    Why must it spite me?
  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    I may drop the polls from the thread, yeah.

  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    I got a pretty decent spread of votes thanks to posting this to another community online, so the final results are:
    Fight the Fox: 57%
    Map the forest: 14%
    Rider training: 29%

    Interactive Version

    Joban's Farm | Bolba Village

    Saoirse eased up on the throttle as she approached the farmhouse, and the arc-halo shrank below Branford's floating chassis. Joban was tending to the raised beds, rows of neat wooden boxes filled with sprouting vegetables. He pulled a wagon behind him, heaped high with the dark, rich loam Joban mixed every spring. He stopped at one of the beds and scattered a few handfuls of the stuff.

    SAOIRSE: Joban!

    Joban was a man of middle age, broad shouldered and tan. He stood and dusted off his hands.

    JOBAN: Afternoon, Saorise. Heard you and Parzeval knocked those slimes on the pier into next week!

    SAOIRSE: Sure did! I thought we'd swing by and see if we can help with your pest problem, too.

    Joban looked past her.

    JOBAN: Did you leave Parzeval in the dust?

    SAOIRSE: Huh?

    JOBAN: I thought you said "we"?

    SAOIRSE: No, me and Branford.

    Joban frowned, and Saoirse was reminded that not everyone viewed Branford the same way she did. There was a merchant who visited the island on a modestly sized ship about once a year to trade for the various crafts the village produced. He had a machine similar to Branford, though it didn't speak - or perhaps it only spoke to the trader, in that strange, fluttering native tongue of his. The villagers regarded even that with suspicion.

    When she'd first discovered Branford in the forest, Joban had helper Saoirse get them back to the village, suggesting that he could be fitted with a plow and used to till the earth. Saoirse had argued against it, and, well... the tension had never really been resolved.

    Still, though, Joban was a friendly sort, and not a holder of grudges, even if he didn't quite accept the Branford as a real member of the village.

    SAOIRSE: So... what's the story with the mossfox? Have you seen it recently?

    Joban leaned on the raised bed and scratched his nose.

    JOBAN: Yeah, it was here... three nights afore. I set up a whole mess of strings and bell-shells around henhouse, and sure enough it got to janglin'. I ran outside and chased it off before it could snatch up another chicken. It ran off to the southeast. If you're gonna chase it down, the first place I'd look is Shalebed.

    Shalebed was a series of flat stones that jutted out of the beach along the island's southern edge. As low tide, a small grotto could be accessed, perhaps a decent hideout for a fox to grow fat on pilfered poultry.

    SAOIRSE: I'll head that way then. Let's see if I can frighten that thing off for good.

    JOBAN: Well, don't be afraid to smack it with that shovel if you have to. It's still a wild animal, and it's got teeth as pointing as anything.

    Saoirse nodded, and swung Branford around in a tight circle.

    SAOIRSE: Just you wait! We'll take care of it!

    For the second time that day, she sped away from someone who was left quietly shaking their head.

  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited October 2021
    Interactive Version

    xtbty0ftbjoq.png

    Victory! Saoirse gained 18XP! Saoirse leveled up, increasing her VIT by 1!

    Delzhand on
  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    Interactive Version

    Shalebed | Southern Bolba

    BRANFORD: Rider, should we not have consulted the tide-charts before coming down here?

    Saoirse clenched her teeth and she pressed a scrap of cloth to her arm. Despite Joban's warnings, she hadn't been prepared for the fox to actually jump up on Branford and begin biting her. She had flung the creature away long enough to safely lower Branford onto the wet rock of the grotto's floor, and then taken a few swings with her trusty shovel. She had missed it each time, craftly little bugger, but when she struck the stone hard enough to make the metal spade head send off a few tiny sparks, the creature decided it had had enough, and darted away down one of the cave's passages. She had let it go.

    Her hand wasn't bleeding badly, but she could probably expect some redness and swelling. She emptied a canteen of fresh water over the wound and pulled the cloth bandage tight using her teeth. She flexed her fingers experimentally. Her leg had only just healed, she did not like the prospect of being laid up unable to ride Branford should there be any sign of infection.

    BRANFORD: Rider?

    SAOIRSE: We'll be fine. High tide shouldn't be for another few hours.

    BRANFORD: Perhaps, but we are not at the high tide waterline, we are far below it. And I'm detecting an increase in elemental water energy.

    Saoirse's eyes went wide. How could she be so foolish?

    SAOIRSE: Damn it!

    She jumped on Branford's seat and started his engine, but foamy water was already beginning to slosh into the cave entrance.

    BRANFORD: I may not be able to generate enough lift to carry us over the water at anything less than full throttle, rider.

    SAOIRSE: What if we crash again? I dropped you on land last time, but you told me that if your core is flooded with water...

    BRANFORD: I will become inert, yes. But we have little choice. If this cavern floods, the same fate awaits for certain.

    Saoirse looked over her shoulder at the cave. The fox had gone down a passage that was large enough for Branford, barely. There was another passage that seemed to lead upwards. She'd never mapped this cave, but it stood to reason that there might be an exit that way.

    There was no time to wait. She gripped Branford's handles...

    How will Saoirse and Branford deal with the rising tide?
    1. One wing, full throttle, let's fly.
    2. Trust to nature. Follow the fox.
    3. The passage upwards is the only logical choice here.

  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    edited October 2021
    2.
    If all else fails we can take the core and leave Bradford's shell
    And the Fox is unlikely to run somewhere flooded

    discrider on
    Steam Community page: http://steamcommunity.com/id/discrider/
    Why is this cloud here?
    Why must it spite me?
  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    Final vote total:
    Let's fly: 0%
    Follow the fox: 60%
    Head upwards: 40%

    Interactive Version

    Shalebed | Southern Bolba

    Saoirse flipped the tiny metal switch that activated Branford's headlamp and pointed him down the descending passageway.

    SAOIRSE: If that fox has been living in here, I bet it knows another way out.

    She rode Branford forward. The opening was barely wide enough to accommodate his lone right wing. He was definitely not designed for such small spaces. However, past the initial squeeze, the cavern widened somewhat. The headlamp illuminated a long, fairly straight shaft that descended slightly, with a few stalactites as the only notable features.

    Branford's lamp was the lone source of light after a minute of slow riding. The luminous yellow cone revealed no further landmarks, and Saoirse released the throttle. Branford decelerated to a stop.

    SAOIRSE: This seems like a safe place to wait out the tide. It doesn't look like anything else is living in here.

    BRANFORD: I detect no dangers, as well.

    Saoirse kicked down the stand and hopped off Branford. The arc-engine's humming ceased.

    Saoirse rummaged through the machine's panniers for a moment, muttering to herself.

    SAOIRSE: I can't see a damn thing.

    She pulled the saddlebags free and dragged them in front of Branford's lamp.

    SAOIRSE: I've got flint and tinder, but I doubt we'll find enough kindling for a fire. I've got a lantern with a tiny bit of oil. I'm going to look around. Get a sense of what's in here. I can't believe I never thought to map this place.

    BRANFORD: Rider, do be careful. If anything should happen to you...

    Saoirse nodded, despite knowing that her companion couldn't see the gesture.

    SAOIRSE: I'll be careful.

  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    Interactive Version

    The lantern's dim light reached far shorter than Branford's arc-lamp, but what it lacked in brightness, it made up for in range. While Branford's lamp illuminated a lengthy cone in front of him, it did little for anything behind or beside the rider. Saoirse raised the lamp, illuminating a circle around her, broken only by her own shadow.

    She could see Branford's light some distance away, and made a note not to stray so far that she ever lost sight of it. Underground, it was her only compass.

    She walked perpendicular to the path she'd taken into the cave, counting her steps. What she'd assumed was a narrow tunnel was actually a fairly wide open cavern, the few stalactites they'd passed on the way in were in fact a small number of many. Eventually she reached a wall. It was slick with cave-water, layered green and orange and white stone. She turned to confirm that she could still see Branford in the distance, then began counting steps along the wall.

    It eventually curved away, and something blocked her line of sight to the aeroframe. She walked back until she could see it again, and held her lamp out, but couldn't see what it was that had blocked her view only a few steps back.

    SAOIRSE: Branford?

    There was no response. She could see the bright yellow path of his light, but heard nothing. It occurred to her that she'd never communicated with him from anything more than a few feet away. Perhaps his hearing was more limited than hers, or perhaps he was simply unable to raise his voice? She began walking back towards him.

  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited October 2021
    Interactive Version

    She kept her lantern trained on the hard edge where Branford was blocked from view, and about halfway back to the spot where he was, Saoirse gasped as the obstruction caught the lantern light.

    What is the object in the cavern?
    1. An ink-dark crystal containing a human figure
    2. A sturdy metal door set into the cave wall
    3. A mausoleum carved with strange symbols

    Additionally, Saoirse has gained a new combat ability: [Arc-Flash]! Arc-Flash stuns all enemies, delaying their next turns.

    Delzhand on
    mrpaku
  • mrpakumrpaku Registered User regular
    1., Mainly because it puts me in mind of:

    sp6ogugwbwbb.png

    Delzhand
  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    edited October 2021
    Unsure which I like the most, but locking in 3.

    discrider on
    Steam Community page: http://steamcommunity.com/id/discrider/
    Why is this cloud here?
    Why must it spite me?
  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited October 2021
    Plenty of votes all around, this time:
    Figure in crystal: 3 (20%)
    Metal door: 4 (27%)
    Mausoleum: 8 (53%)
    I think Halloween is in the air.

    Interactive Version

    Saoirse stared at the structure. In the color-devouring blackness of the cave, it appeared to be a burial chamber of some sort. It seemed desperately out of place - all polished marble with a wrought iron gate, untouched by moss, rust, or even time.

    Most strangely of all, though, was the angle. It was tilted ever so slightly, as if it had sunken into the ground on one side.

    She lifted her lantern above her head. The top of the mausoleum was hidden, engulfed by the cave ceiling - no, not engulfed, it looked as if it had displaced the very stone.

    SAOIRSE: Branford?

    BRANFORD: I am here, rider.

    Branford's voice was quiet at this distance. She set the lantern down near the iron gate and walked back to the aeroframe.

    SAOIRSE: I found something strange. Come on. I need your light.

    She hopped onto the seat and let the engine's idle float them gently towards the mausoleum.

    SAOIRSE: What do you think?

    BRANFORD: Whatever it is, it seems incongruous with the environs.

    SAOIRSE: What does it look like to you?

    BRANFORD: I can perceive only the outside. That's strange. Usually I can identify internal structures, though not with high accuracy. Here, though... nothing.

    SAOIRSE: There's nothing like this anywhere else on any part of the island that I've found. These carvings don't look like our language.

    She traced her hands over the carvings.

    SAOIRSE: Though skulls are a pretty universal symbol, I suppose...

    Her gaze drifted to the gate.

    SAOIRSE: I want to see what's inside. Parzeval's gonna love this.

    She grabbed the handles of the gate and pulled. It was heavy and cold to the touch, and the blood soaked bandage on her right hand prickled as she strained.

    Suddenly, the resistance fell away and the gates swung open easily on silent hinges.

    BRANFORD: Rider, watch out! I'm detecting-

    A skeletal figured burst from the open crypt and barreled into Saoirse.

    SKELETON: CAN MY MISTRESS FIND NO RESPITE?

    The skeleton was taller than any man Saoirse had ever met, and carried itself with a prouder bearing than one expected of animated bones. It brandished a long, needle-like blade.

    SKELETON: OPENED BY BLOOD WAS THE GATE, ONLY BY SELFSAME BLOOD MAY IT BE RE-SEALED.

    It thrust its sword at Saoirse, who threw herself backwards towards Branford and grabbed for her shovel. She tightened her grip and readied herself as the skeleton lunged.

    There's no escape and only one chance to gain an advantage. What will Saorise do?
    1. Swing low, for the legs (-SPD)
    2. Swing high, for the head (-DEF)
    3. Swing mid, for its weapon/arm (-ATK)

    Delzhand on
  • mrpakumrpaku Registered User regular
    3. Go for the disarm!

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    If I learned anything from the MCU...

    2. Go for the head.

    Surely, a shovel would be a blunt instrument, and skeletons take extra damage from bludgeoning damage.

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  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    3.
    What's he going to do, gnaw our kneecaps off

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  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited October 2021
    Sorry, @discrider, your vote came in while I was working. Your next vote will be worth double!

    Saoirse gains the reaction skill [Skull Smasher]! Skull Smasher counters the target, reducing their DEF by 2 for the next turn.

    Interactive Version

    d1d30cjtbaeo.png

    Victory! Saoirse gains 30 XP and levels up, gaining +1 RES! Saoirse acquires [Regal Rapier] (+3 ATK)

    Interactive Version
    Bleeding and exhausted, Saoirse dropped the shovel and watched the embers dim in the skull's eye sockets.

    SKELETON: PROTECT... HER...

    The command bounced off the cave walls and faded into silence.

    SAOIRSE: Branford, I...

    She swayed dizzily.

    BRANFORD: Steady on, rider. Don't collapse down here or we'll both be stuck.

    SAOIRSE: I'll be okay. I just need... a moment.

    She slumped against the mausoleum wall, streaking it red. The skeleton's sword lie next to her. She picked it up, admiring the intricate details etched into the basket hilt. She felt her eyes growing heavy.

    BRANFORD: Rider?

    There was no response.

    BRANFORD: Rider, I don't want to go dormant down here...

    BRANFORD: Rider?

    BRANFORD: Rider?

    BRANFORD: Rider?

    Interactive Version
    Soairse drifted in and out of consciousness.

    She heard a voice, or maybe two, calling her name.

    She was aware of being hauled up by gentle hands, carried over someone's shoulder. She saw Branford's headlamp growing distant, and then nothing.

    Then, later, soft blankets and salt breeze. In the distance, arguing voices.

    Later still, pain and bitter herbs, and the smell of medicine...

    While Saoirse recovers, another player takes the stage. Who is it?
    1. Hanya, a flirtatious catgirl monk
    2. Galfred, a merchant himbo who loves travel as much as profit
    3. Azakir, an aging hermit swordsman

    Delzhand on
  • mrpakumrpaku Registered User regular
    3. Azakir

  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    3. Sure, Alexei, why not

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  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited October 2021
    External votes differed again, pushing Hanya into the lead - however, Azakir will appear later!

    Interactive Version
    Ao Monastery | Northeastern Bolba

    Hanya's tail flicked back and forth as she sat atop the sandstone wall surrounding the monastery. She wasn't technically allowed up there, but she'd proven time and again to be the most agile of Master Ilyon's disciples, the the chances of her getting caught we almost nil.

    She watched the younger monks practicing their basic forms in the courtyard. Brother Fang walked among them, straightening shoulders, bending arms, adjusting footing. He knocked his staff against the shin of one student who kept falling out of time with the others.

    Hanya had felt that staff many times. Brother Fang was sparse with praise and quick with discipline, but this was nothing compared to how Master Ilyon trained the older students.

    Hanya's ear twitched and she instinctively flattened down, out of sight. Someone had said her name, though the YAH!s and HA!s from the courtyard obliterated the context. She caught another voice.

    ???: ...Hanya. She's the...

    ???: ...Bolba in two...

    Hanya hopped down on the exterior side of the wall and tried to look nonchalant as she re-entered the monastery via the heavy, studded iron gates. Master Ilyon and Brother Bagan stood just inside. Ilyon was slender with muscles like iron cord and his once luxurious mane was now thinning and gray. Bagan was as different as was possible - heavyset, closely cropped black hair, full hume with no Felid traits.

    Bagan had a piece of paper in his hand. Hanya bowed respectfully to her master, and nodded to Bagan.

    HANYA: Adana, Master. Adana, Brother Bagan.

    BAGAN: Adana, Sister Hanya.

    ILYON: Hanya. Stay off the monastery walls. You set a bad example for the youths.

    HANYA: Was it that obvious?

    Ilyon reached out an picked a tiny chip of sandstone off sandstone, and flicked it away.

    ILYON: To me, it is. However, in place of punishment, I have an important task for you. You can thank Bagan later, it was he who recommended you for the task.

    ILYON: You will go to Bolba village, on the far side of the island. One of the villagers, a young woman, has been wounded badly, and they have requested our healing arts.

    Hanya looked at Bagan. Any chance to get out of the monastery was not to be turned down, especially if it meant avoiding punishment, but a task like this was hardly her specialty.

    HANYA: Why me? My mantra is... not the strongest.

    BAGAN: It will be enough. The injured villager's strength is failing fast. Better to have a competent healer in two days than a strong one in four.

    Master Ilyon nodded in agreement.

    ILYON: That which is not tested grows no stronger. Your mantra cannot be practiced on the already healthy.

    ILYON: There is one thing I would like you to have before you go. Bagan?

    Bagan pulled a capped ceramic cylinder from his robe and held it forward with both hands. Hanya recognized it instantly. She turned to Ilyon.

    HANYA: Master...?

    ILYON: You are ready for this technique. Study it well as you travel, and demonstrate your mastery of it when you return.

    What secret technique does Master Ilyon offer Hanya?

    n5m65nj4d3un.png
    1. Blazing Fist
    2. Lion Dance
    3. Haste

    8ih32kt6re20.png

    Delzhand on
  • mrpakumrpaku Registered User regular
    Normally I'd choose the Haste option, but in this case I feel like needing to get attacked to activate the ability might cause some problems with bigger monsters later on

    Whereas Lion's Dance feels like it has the potential to be an Ace in the Hole in a lot of situations!

  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    I think I like the spike more.
    Blazing Fist

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  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    As far as haste goes, you're getting your next turn immediately if you've got more than half CT (but it won't push you past 100, so your next turn won't come any faster). It could add up to a lot of extra turns!

    It's hard to say, I haven't done hardcore theory crafting on it, necessarily.

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