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Journey to the Centre of Arcanum - CYOA

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by ironyuri, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. oscar Tacticular Staff

    oscar
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    Since it's something our character could reasonably expect to know, do we have enough to afford both a man-servant and a new pistol?
     
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  2. Major_Blackhart Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

    Major_Blackhart
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    Hell, I say the manservant isn't economical enough.
    The good doctor no doubt has some muscle on his adventure.
     
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  3. tuluse Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    tuluse
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    Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    A and D.

    No way we don't collect on that bet, and you don't expect us to carry our own gear do you? We're an officer.

    Also, so far the writing on this has been tremendous, well done ironyuri
     
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  4. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    Serpent in the Staglands Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Fine. Flip from D and E to A and D.
     
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  5. ironyuri Guest

    ironyuri
    Alright, I'm going to close voting for now. I've tallied everything up by hand, as is my preference, so I may have miscounted a vote here or there, but as it stands it seems that the results are: A: 11, B: 1, D: 6, E: 8 (grotsnik didn't submit an additional vote). Will get started on the update.
     
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  6. ironyuri Guest

    ironyuri
    Prologue, Part II.

    You are standing in Kensington Park, quite unsure of what has just transpired. Instinctively you draw a fine silk handkerchief from your jacket pocket and dab at your brow. You’re in a cold sweat. You sneeze, and again, and again—another pinch of snuff to steady your jangled nerves. You need a drink, a stiff drink.


    Handing your five pennies to the railcar conductor, you snort derisively. At least jobs like these keep these low-lives off the streets. The railcar is slow, and the ride uneven. A half hour later, you’re in the open air once more, standing before Vermillion Station. You press on to the Wellington. One of the few remains bastions in which a man, or gnome, of quality in this city might take refuge. Thankfully the nouveau riche and the middle classes seem to prefer the Bentley, something or other about the “local colour” and the romanticism of what was once The Boil attracts those nitwits.


    The doorman bows at your approaching gait and pushes the door open, muttering words of deference and respect. He can save it, he’ll have nothing from my purse. The usual late afternoon crowd is here, some already in high spirits. A few heads turn toward the door as you make your way in.


    “Oh! Look what the cat’s dragged in, gents! Ellie! My, my, don’t you look worse for wear!” Hells, what an insufferable prate.
    ‘Teddy! Old boy! Fancy seeing you here at this hour...’ What day hasn’t passed when this sot hasn’t been here frittering away his family fortune on cards and spirits. ‘You’ll be pleased to know, Teddy, that I have just come from that loon Brockenlid’s apartment.’
    “Ho ho! Capital! Barman, a glass of sherry for Ellie here, ’57 reserve and don’t scrimp like you did last night or there’ll be hell to pay! Now, Ellie, do sit down and tell us all about it... we’ve money on this, don’t forget.” Teddy, or the Earl Edward Baffington Cooper, last surviving member of the Cooper family of Ashbury spends his days drinking and gambling what is left of his dwindling fortune. What his family accumulated across generations through rents and sizeable livestock estates, Teddy has managed to fritter away in a single lifetime. He’s the closest thing you have to a ‘friend’ at the Club, but then, drinking companions can never really be relied upon as ‘friends’. You’ll string him along, let him think he’s won his little wager and then cut his purse strings. What a pleasing thought.
    ‘Now, Teddy let me tell you, that man—calls himself a Professor! The University, the Council, pays his bloody salary, can you believe it? The man is an oaf! Demented! Spun me a cock and bull story of ancient tomes and cracks in the earth! He thinks’ You pause for dramatic effect, ‘He even thinks, unbelievable really, that he might find a passage leading to the centre of the world!’ You burst into raucous laughter, your nostrils flaring larger even than usual. Teddy, too, joins in with his own shrill guffaw.
    “What astounding nonsense, old chap!” He emits another shriek of delight, “Laughable! Now, er, tell me Ellie—and believe me, I don’t want to push and prod you, you know, but we do have a tidy sum riding on this—did you convince the man to take you along for a bit of sport or did he decide those pudgy little legs wouldn’t be up for the job, eh?”
    Bastard. How dare he! Well, this should put the wind up him. ‘In fact, dearest Teddy,’ you take a swig of sherry as if trying to prepare for disappointment, ‘I... well, you see, the fool thinks I’m just the man for the job!’ You break into a malicious grin, ‘I’m afraid you’ll be coughing up, old boy...’
    “Oh drats,” Cooper’s expression drops noticeably, “Well, you win some, you lose some, old boy.” He places a hefty bag of gold on the table, which you hastily snatch away and begin counting, taking delight in every gold piece as the poor sot looks on wistfully. Cooper calls for another round of sherry and the two of you drink for some time, as the hours pass, more of the usual crowd join the table and the atmosphere becomes convivial once more.


    You drain another glass of sherry, and it’s not long before the claret begins to flow... and the bittersweet bubbly white wine they’ve begun importing from Caladon, what do they call that one? Your mind becomes a haze, and the faces with their disgusting grins and snorting laughs blur together. You hear yourself agreeing to something. You can feel a weight in the palm of your hand, about the heft of a purse of gold coins... you’re slamming it down on the table with gusto. By Kerlin what am I doing... I must go home at once, I must...
    ‘I tell you, I’ll bloody well be back at this table in no less than a year from today and I’ll... well... I’ll... I’ll have a bloody great trophy from my adventures, that’s what! The skull of a whopping great subterranean beast that’ll make Franklin Payne’s exploits look like a duck hunt! I’ll show you all, you utter bastards!’
    “HEAR HEAR, ELLIE! We have a bloody wager, gents! Money on the table if you’re for it!” The words fall harshly on your ears, twisted by the foppish lilt that Cooper seems to affect when he’s had a drink or two. One purse after another is slammed on the table, you can barely count them, but your gut tells you that you're up to your nose this time.


    The next hour passes in a haze of cigar smoke and brandy. You stumble out of the Club and into the back of the cab they’ve called for you. A single seater pulled by a frail, grotesque looking orc. Your brain is bursting, but through the stupor you are certain you’ve just dug yourself into a deeper hole than the one you thought you’d climbed out of when you collected your winnings from Teddy this afternoon. Your pockets are deep and the Kleinmann fortune is not small, but your Father has never approved of your wagers... and this one may just tip the boat.

    ********************
    19 Vendémiaire, 1893.

    You wake in your apartment on Devonshire Road, dry-mouthed, with a lair of fur on your tongue that would put the feet of a Halfling to shame. Vague memories of the night before float through your mind. Hells blazes... what a fool I am.
    You prepare yourself for the day ahead, your man-servant has brought you no news, and there are no telegrams from the Military Secretariat. Has the Professor rescinded his offer, you wonder? Regardless, you’ve set your mind on a new pistol. The rumour is that Fassbender, a gunsmith of no small renown who your family personally patronises, has made some great leap in pistol design. The man always was a genius... if somewhat of an eccentric. Middle class gnomes, according to your father, are cracked, and therefore quite unable to raise themselves to the level of security and wealth befitting a truly noble Gnomish dynasty.


    Fassbender’s workshop on Lion’s Head circle occupies the entire second storey of a grand red brick building. Unlike the smoke-belching factories of the east end of Lower Dervish Row, this building is pristine. The ground floor is taken up by a workshop for artisanal millinery and fine leatherware.
    ‘Fassbender! Are you there, Fassbender? I’ve an order for you, you blasted tinker! Where are you?’
    “Mr. Kleinmann, sir! A pleasure to see you, an absolute pleasure! What can I do for you today, sir? What about a fine new revolver, sir? My latest designs have been lauded by the Ashbury Constabulary.”
    ‘Don’t waste my time, Fassbender. My uncle Gottfried mentioned at our latest family supper that you’ve an entirely new design... something very unique, potentially very deadly. He said he saw the prototype at work. More ammunition than a common revolver, he said. Quicker to reload, less... fiddly... than the current crop of small arms we use in the military. I want to see one of these innovations of yours, Fassbender. I want to purchase one.’
    “Sir has fine taste. I’ve always said the Kleinmann family has the finest taste in the city, and so forward thinking! You desire, sir, to be ahead of the curve! Certainly, certainly, sir, follow me, but please do remember, sir, this design is as yet, not fully tested! I can’t assure you tha-”
    ‘You can’t assure me of what Fassbender? Can’t assure me that my family pays you more than you deserve for your work? You’re supposed to be the absolute bloody best! Should we begin to doubt your craft as you do?’
    “I don’t doub-I mean, er, no, sir! Of course not! The design is most excellent, but these things must be tested properly. Here it is, sir, let me tell you a little about it,”
    Fassbender hands you a fairly light weight, long barrelled pistol. The wooden grip feels comfortable in your hand and the design is sleek, like nothing you’ve seen before, “you see, sir, you need not load in your bullets one by one as in a revolver! This is where, I believe we have simplified the use of the firearm! Here, take this,” he hands a metal strip onto which are fixed nine bullets, one atop the other, “I call it a firing clip, sir! Pull the bolt on the right hand side and slot that clip down into the magazine. Follow me, sir, you are more than welcome to put it to the test!”


    You spend some time in the small firing range at the back of Fassbender’s workshop. The pistol is a dream to handle, compared with the clumsy revolvers still in widespread use. What’s more, there is no need to cock the hammer after each shot, to your awe, the pistol is a truly new development. Its semi-automatic action allows you to fire several shots without stopping, and reloading time is cut down by this new “clip” system Fassbender seems to have patented. You must have it. The sum you acquired from Teddy yesterday evening ought to cover the cost, though you’re down to your meagre savings which seem to dwindle ever more quickly with each passing visit to the Wellington.


    ‘Well, Fassbender, I’ll admit you’ve come up with something novel. An adequate piece of work, but nothing truly remarkable you understand. I’ll take one... if only as a display piece. Now, you might have one packaged and sent to my address this afternoon. You may include two boxes of ammunition, should I decide to put it to use for sport. Payment on delivery.’
    “Certainly, sir, certainly! Please do give your father my most humble and sincere regards, and if you would, inform him of my work! Good day, sir!” Fassbender scrapes and bows as you exit, such fawning is pitiful.
    The man will never make anything more of himself than a tinker... but quite the tinker he is. He best just pray he doesn’t get too full of himself or we’ll have to trim his nose hairs down to size.

    ************

    En route to your Devonshire Road home, you are halted by the cries of the paper boy to whom you usually give no notice. “Brockenlid’s home burgled! Expedition jeopardised! Read all about it! Get your paper here! The Tarantian, Tarant’s best source for news! Brockenlid’s home burgled!”
    Some damned fools trying to foil this whole thing before it gets off the ground! I’ll be damned if I lose this bet... damned and shamed. This explains the absence of news from Brockenlid.


    You turn around and head for the Professor’s home at a run (something your stumpy legs are entirely unused to) arriving shortly after four in the afternoon. Brockenlid answers the door after several minutes of hammering.


    ‘Brockenlid! What in the hells is this I’ve just heard about burglary? Is the expedition to go ahead? Out with it man!’
    “Oh, Lieutenant-Colonel! Dreadful luck, absolutely dreadful! Do come into my study and take a seat.”
    Damn this meandering fool, why must he take such pains to get to the bloody point!
    “Lieutenant-Colonel, you see, my home was burgled last evening. I have been thoroughly unable to contact any of the candidates selected yesterday afternoon as I’ve been tied up with the Constabulary. Please do accept my apologies, sir. It seems a mage, or conspiracy of mages, teleported into my study sometime in the late evening and made off with the Mysterium Orbis! Dreadful business. The constables could find no trace of them.” He leans in closely, his face brightening up, “But what the thieves don’t know is I’ve a carbon copy of the map and passages from the book stored out of sight in a safety deposit at the Hall of Records under another name! Ha-ha! The expedition will go ahead, my dear man, worry not! This is but a minor setback. My only worry is that we may now find ourselves with a little more... competition than I had anticipated.”
    To the void with competition, all that matters is you return with a trophy. You need not reach the centre... that fool Cooper will believe whatever tale you spin, just as long as the Professor doesn’t return to contradict you.


    “My dear, Mr. Kleinmann, we must make final preparations. I shall hold a conference this evening with the successful applicants, including yourself. I had hoped to set forth at the end of this week, but due to this unfortunate turn, I feel we must depart immediately! Tomorrow morning, therefore, I propose to travel to Ashbury, whereby we might board a seafaring ship to our destination. I shall expand on the exact details tonight. In the mean time, sir, I suggest you say your goodbyes to those you hold dear, and arrange for your luggage and provisions to be sent on to Ashbury!”

    Your visit to the Wellington has been rewarded with a windfall of some 1,500 gold pieces in winnings from your original bet with Earl E.B. Cooper... Unfortunately, you have proposed another drunken wager, this time against many of your acquaintances at the Wellington, from which you stand to gain an exorbitant 25,000 gold pieces, or lose the tidy sum of 5,000 gold pieces, should you return with(out) a trophy.


    Using your winnings and the original sum of the wager, you have paid some 3,000 gold pieces to Anton Fassbender for one of his early production model semi-automatic pistols. He will have this sent to your apartment, along with two boxes of ammunition and a manual for its ownership and care.

    You may make your final preparations before the Professor holds conference this evening, do you:
    A) Visit your family estate that you might bid farewell to your Father, he may also provide some material assistance.
    B) Visit the office of the Company Quartermaster, he owes you a favour (and a small sum of money), which you might recuperate in misplaced provisions for the expedition.
    C) Visit the office of your Uncle, Gottfried Kleinmann Sr., as a sitting member of the Industrial Council he may be able to order a more thorough investigation into the theft of the Mysterium Orbis. Your Uncle has always taken a keen interest in the advancement of your career and may be moved to provide some form of support for this venture.
    D) Return home, you require no further preparation.

    If you so wish, you may wire a telegram to one of the following:
    1.Your father, if you do not wish to visit him in person, you may inform him of your departure through less formal means.
    2.Your Commanding Officer, Brigadier General Acton Smythe. You have not yet informed him of your proposed departure. He may not be pleased to hear about it through the newspapers.
     
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  7. oscar Tacticular Staff

    oscar
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    B2. Supplies, money and not jeopardizing our military career.
     
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  8. ironyuri Guest

    ironyuri
    Just to clarify: the Professor will be arranging provisions and supplies for the trip. Anything we organise is over and above, and presumably used at the whim of Kleinmann as they would be 'his' supplies. Each option, except possibly for D, has some chance attached of acquiring supplies or some form of material support, though obviously, B, would net you the most overall material gain in terms of pure provisioning. (food, ammunition, survival equipment [some of which you may not be trained to use... you are not here because of military talent, remember]). It's also possible you might encounter your CO while visiting the company quartermaster, though the chance is much decreased in comparison to making direct contact. While I won't discourage ignoring your immediate family, Arcanum gnomes are, sentimentality aside, supposed to have two primary concerns: material security and the advancement of their family name. So ignoring your family may have consequences for your career just as much as ignoring your CO (it is due to family influence that you've made it this far, after all). Returning home to do nothing may have unexpected consequences, or you might simply return home and do nothing until tonight's meeting.
     
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  9. agentorange Arcane Patron

    agentorange
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    Codex 2012
    The sentimental in me tells me we should inform our father that we are going on a possibly life-threatening adventure. And he may have some interesting family heirloom that could be of use...or just some spare ammunition.

    So A and 2.
     
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  10. Kalin Arcane Zionist Agent

    Kalin
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    A
    2
     
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  11. Erebus Arcane

    Erebus
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    C1

    We should not alienate our father, but I doubt he will approve of our endeavour (especially if he suspects it has to do with a bet). Our uncle may bring more useful help.


    Whoever stole the book has access to Conveyance spells and will almost certainly be able to get to the caves ahead of us. They may not even have to bring a lot of supplies with them, as they can simply teleport back to a city to resupply when necessary (unless being underground somehow hinders teleportation).
     
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  12. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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  13. ironyuri Guest

    ironyuri
    I think one of the drawbacks of Teleportation is that your ability to teleport is restricted to "known" areas, I've never had a character with master conveyance in Arcanum, but presumably you'd be unable to teleport to a location simply by knowing of the location from a description in a book (who knows what might be standing on the spot you arrive at, a giant boulder brought down in a rock fall, a wild beast, etc.), so while the thieves or whoever they are working for will have a slight advantage in time, they may not necessarily reach the destination before the Professor's party.

    For the sake of balance, I'd also adjust the rules to state that a single mage would be unable to teleport an entire party loaded with supplies for an extended trek, it could be possible if, say, a group of highly trained Conveyance masters got together and formed a ring, or some such, but a single mage should have issues. In the base game, we shouldn't forget, magick use wasn't as clearly fleshed out in terms of its role in the world/its effects or drawbacks apart from its relationship to technology.
     
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  14. Erebus Arcane

    Erebus
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    Yes, you can normally only use teleportation to get to a place you know. What I meant was that the thieves could use teleportation to get to a city much closer to the caves than Tarrant. Of course, if their own expedition is not ready, that may not be enough for them to get to the caves first.

    That's quite sensible. There has to be a limit to what a teleportation spell can carry.
     
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  15. Gondolin Arcane

    Gondolin
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    A 2
     
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  16. tuluse Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    tuluse
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    Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    We've always said mages were a menace to society and now a law abiding citizen can't even keep a book in his own home. Should have threw the lot of them out years ago. C

    And we should let out father know about the expedition, 1

    If we end up visiting our father, obviously it would be redundant to telegram him too, in that case 2.
     
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  17. ironyuri Guest

    ironyuri
    If Votes to visit and telegram him win, I'd automatically defer the second vote to the second option. I put in two options to talk to Kleinmann Sr. because of the character's race (it made sense to me at the time).
     
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  18. dumdum Cipher

    dumdum
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    A2 please
     
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  19. ironyuri Guest

    ironyuri
    Welcome to the Codex.
     
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  20. dumdum Cipher

    dumdum
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    Thank you, sir!
     
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  21. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    This is pretty fun.

    My vote goes to C2.
     
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  22. Stygian Lurker Scholar

    Stygian Lurker
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  23. ironyuri Guest

    ironyuri
    Current voting tally: A: 5; B: 1; C: 5; D: 0 -- 1: 2; 2: 9. I'll keep voting open until I start writing the update, probably Thursday morning (though I've been working on some images in preparation already).

    I'm toying with the idea of giving a rough outline of what outcomes options not picked in voting rounds might have had (or the ideas for outcomes I had floating around at the time), at the end of each chapter (chapters will be divided into numbered parts, rather than each update being a chapter unto itself). Does that appeal?
     
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  24. Hoaxmetal Arcane

    Hoaxmetal
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    Do share, most definitely.

    C 1

    The thieves are the main threat at the moment and we have to deal with them as soon as possible.
    Father also should be informed but there's no time now for face-to-face.
     
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