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Let's Catch Jack the Ripper - 3

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by grotsnik, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
    Joined:
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    ...right, let's see how this goes.



    ______________________________________________________________________


    [​IMG]


    PROLOGUE



    "This is not the story of Jack the Ripper.

    This is not the story of the man and the devil who butchered and horrifically mutilated at least five working girls of the East End, and maybe more; the fiend who committed a bloody streak of extraordinary atrocities, as cruel as they were intimate, against those lowest-born of our society that could not raise a hand to defend themselves, and who became both a bogey and the defining legend of Queen Victoria’s reign. Neither is this the story of the women, destitute, abandoned and drunk, who fell to the monster’s knife; Polly Nichols in Buck’s Row, Annie Chapman in Hanbury Street, Lizzie Stride in Dutfield’s Yard, Kate Eddowes in Mitre Square, and Mary Kelly, in her own rooms at Miller’s Court.

    This is the story of the city people, the slum-people, who came face-to-face with a genuine evil, and how those few brief weeks in the autumn of 1888 changed them forever. The investigators and policemen who floundered, struggling to adapt, bickering amongst themselves, finding themselves lost in the labyrinth that was Whitechapel. The newspapermen, ignored by the authorities, who spread sensational stories and lurid lies that they knew would be read and believed by a panicking populace, and whose legacy was to have helped obscure the truth of what happened, perhaps for all of time. The men and women, from the lowest to the highest, who stood up against the murderer, matching their wits and strength with a shadow, a fleeting glimpse of the darkness beneath the surface of London that they could never hope to defeat. Those who were surprised to discover that they had always been heroes, and those who, gazing upon horrors, saw only an event that could be turned to their advantage.

    Even I, who was only a boy, can remember the names that were whispered, in the pubs and the lodging-houses and in Parliament itself, with praises or with revulsion; and I whisper a handful of them now, like a prayer.

    Joe Helson. Charles Warren. Fred Abberline. Black Jess. Wally Sickert. Jack Pizer. Dick Turnbull. Tom Wise. George Lusk.

    I can see to write only by an inconstant, scarlet light; as every shell strikes the ground, far beyond the German lines, the earth itself shivers around me. A steady drip-drip-drip of stale water falls from the tin of the dugout roof onto the rim of my helmet, sending droplets spinning down onto my shoulder. The sound is louder, and more painful to me, than the distant explosions.

    It was a hellish light like this that painted Whitechapel’s alleys and courts in rainy shadows of red, that first late August night when the Ripper claimed Polly, when two great fires were blazing upon the Docks. And, perhaps, it was a bloody light Jack lit himself, as he tore off poor Mary’s clothes to burn in her hearth, the better to see his own foul work.

    It is a matter of hours before dawn. At dawn, I think, more young men will die than Jack could ever have taken with his long-bladed knife; now, he too is a quaint and ineffective killer, a historical figure of fun and a mere hint of what was to come in this black new century. My rifle, as with every rifle, comes with a bayonet-blade that is longer than his. It makes me sick to look at – and even now, my pencil trembling as I write, I have a bleak half-hope that I will not make it to the enemy lines, to have to use it, that some German machine-gun will cut me down the moment I go over the top.

    A matter of hours. I just hope I have enough time to get all of it down...as it truly happened.

    W.J., 1 July 1915, The Somme River."


    __________________________________________________________________________


    INTRODUCTION



    “We are face to face with some mysterious and awful product of modern civilisation.”
    The Southern Guardian




    [​IMG]



    It is the early hours of August 31, 1888. The winding streets of Whitechapel, once the heavy gas-lamps have been extinguished, are often close to pitch-black and unnavigable; tonight, however, the poorer, eastern portions of the city are lit up by occasional flashes of unseasonal lightning, heavy rain that drives back the legendarily dense, dirt-brown fog, and by two great fires burning on the Docklands to the south. A prostitute named Mary Ann Nichols, called ‘Polly’ by her friends, is about to die, brutally murdered, her body heavily mutilated after her death, by an unknown assailant in a poky alley called Buck’s Row, close to the enormous Great Eastern Railway line, a potent symbol of the Industrial era and the steel-driven might of Britain.

    At first, the murder will be connected to a spate of recent deaths, sexual assaults, blackmails and robberies in the poverty-stricken and often criminal district, that have already caused consternation in the press. Only with a second death, and a third and a fourth, will the true, horrific nature of the killer become clear – stunning and, in part, titillating the entire civilised world in the process. And less than three months later, having committed one final, climactic atrocity, the most famous serial killer of all human history will simply stop killing.

    There’s so very little time.

    You can write the ending history will never record; you, alone, have an opportunity to discover the identity of the man known variously as the Whitechapel Killer, Leather Apron, Saucy Jack and, most famously, Jack the Ripper. But you only have nine weeks, from the moment his knife first carves a path across the throat of Polly Nichols, before he will vanish as suddenly as he came.

    Who, in the darkest corner of the world’s most powerful city, is up to such a task? (Please vote below for your preferred choice, as per normal.)


    A: THE MAGUS

    Walter Sickert is still young, but only just beginning; having completed his apprenticeship with the legendary Whistler, his paintings, sombre Impressionist depictions of the hustle-bustle and grime of urban life, are beginning to sell, and he is fast gaining friends in the salons and at the New English Art Club. Handsome, eccentric and confident, sexually obsessed with low-life violence and criminality, Sickert gains thrills and artistic experience by ‘slumming’ it periodically amongst the whores of the East End, betraying his Parisian mistress and illegitimate child without a thought.

    Advantage: Sickert, lacking any gainful occupation, and having plenty of funds, will be able to get more done with every update, gaining an extra ‘choice’ every turn.

    Disadvantage: Sickert is not from Whitechapel, and is neither a journalist nor an authority figure; hence he has no leverage, whether through fear or respect, with any potential witnesses.


    B: THE EMPEROR

    Everyone in Whitechapel knows Richard Turnbull. Tough, brutal and well-scarred, the landlord of the Ten Bells pub goes by the name of ‘the King of Commercial Street’. It’s a title well-deserved; not only does Turnbull take a cut from every prostitute hoping to ply her wares on his territory, but he also commands respect from the locals, runs tricks and pick-pocketing, and organises dog-fights and brawls. His subordinates, the murderous Polish Jew Jack Pizer, who makes shoes in the daytime, and his crony, the towering, jolly Sergeant Bill Thick of the Metropolitan Police, are frequently at hand of an evening to do his bidding.

    Advantage: Turnbull is feared amongst the Whitechapel populace, and has an inside man amongst the police in the burly form of Sergeant Thick. He alone can boast accurate information from both fronts; and should he happen upon the Ripper himself, he is probably tough enough to take the killer on alone.

    Disadvantage: Policemen will be descending in great number upon Turnbull’s turf, searching houses and interrogating the criminal elements. If he wishes to survive the game, he’ll need to devote some of his efforts towards that.


    C: THE HERMIT

    Coming home from Africa, where he was celebrated amongst his mates in the regiment for killing both black men and Boers, it finally dawned upon Tom Wise that he had spent the majority of his life spilling blood, not learning the trades required of a modern man in the heart of civilisation. Now the veteran makes his living any way he can; telling true and invented stories, wrapped in his tatty jacket and with his sabre as a prop, on the street, boxing amongst the sailors in the Docks, gambling… At night, he stays in cheap lodging-houses, or if he cannot, sleeps on the street and pours gin down his throat to keep away the cold. Little does Tom know, tough, tired and apathetic, that on the smoggy streets of Whitechapel he has one final, bloody war ahead of him…

    ADVANTAGE: Tom spends much of his night-time in lodging-houses and on the streets; he will be, therefore, closer to the murders and the victims themselves and more likely to actually witness a murder than any other character. He is also a formidably trained soldier – and more than a match for the killer should it come to a fight.

    DISADVANTAGE: Tom must survive, and none of the jobs he can perform make a great deal of money; he will, therefore, have to repeatedly devote his time to gaining money.


    D: THE DEVIL

    The Irish-American doctor and con-artist known as Francis Tumblety has never cared for women – at least, not whole. In the day-time, he peddles his dubious chemists’ wares – ‘Pimple Destroyers’ and ‘Indian Root Pills’ in Mile-End; at night, he pursues young men to fuck and beat, leers at females in the street, or sits alone in his lodgings, cooing over his most prize possessions; a collection of uteri, preserved in jars, belonging to women from every walk of life. His landlady is terrified of him; none of those few that have got to know him like him. Tumblety is unconcerned. Soon he will discover the presence of something wonderful and strange; a man, stalking London’s foul streets, who shares his unique perspective…

    ADVANTAGE: Tumblety’s horrid imagination and hatred of prostitutes give him a unique insight into the psychology of the Ripper. And since he has no intention of killing or arresting the man, it’s unlikely his pursuit will end in a fight to the death…

    DISADVANTAGE: Tumblety’s bizarre behaviour is being noted; and rumours are spreading about his freakish collection. If he asks too many questions to the wrong people, he’ll very quickly find himself imprisoned for the murders.


    E: THE TOWER

    Charles Warren’s long and mostly distinguished career as a Major-General, with the army in Africa (as well as time spent on archaeological digs in the Holy Land) has culminated in this; Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. His military attitude and sense of humour have endeared him to many amongst his men, as did his defence of their aggressive behaviour in tackling the socialist demonstrations in 1887. However, as a Liberal and an honest man with little taste for politics, Warren has made powerful enemies in the Conservative government, chief amongst them James Monro, ‘assistant commissioner’, master manipulator and spy. Resignations will flow, thick and fast, in the highest echelons of the police – and if Warren doesn’t successfully capture the murderer, he will be amongst them.

    ADVANTAGE: Whereas most of the characters will only be able to piece together clues and evidence, Warren can actively direct the behaviour of the police, implementing any number of strategies to force the Ripper into the light.

    DISADVANTAGE: Warren will be the face and the guiding force behind the police for the duration of this crisis – responsible for preventing panic, false accusations and rioting as much as anything else. If he makes a poor decision, it could mean any number of deaths – as well as his political enemies forcing him to step down.


    F: THE HIGH PRIEST

    George ‘Bagster’ Phillips, an elderly gentleman, old-fashioned in his manners and well-loved by the police, has held the position of Police Surgeon for London’s ‘H’ Division for more than twenty years. Few men in the city know corpses as well as Phillips – although the art of forensics is still in its infancy. Living in Spital Square, close to the heart of the tragedy, he will have a closer and more expert examination of the hideously mutilated corpses than any other character. And, fond as he is of amateur psychology, he may hope to know the Ripper by his grisly works.

    ADVANTAGE: Phillips will have free and unrestricted access to all of the corpses, both to examine them and to perform autopsies. He will also, moreover, be present at the coroner’s examinations, giving him a chance to speak to and hear from any witnesses.

    DISADVANTAGE: Phillips is old, and hardly used to physical labour. Should the Ripper become aware of his pursuit, he will be in consistent danger.


    G: JUSTICE

    Inspector Joseph Henry Helson has always worked in Whitechapel, using his cunning, knowledge of the area, and dogged persistence to, along with his partner-in-crime Fred Abberline, spy on socialist and Irish-nationalist gatherings, catch pornographers and petty criminals. But now Fred has been moved on to CID; and Helson is increasingly bored and irritated by the lack of leadership at the top, considering an early retirement, listening to the advice of his Freemason friends who think he might have a career in property investment. Soon, however, Joe will find himself busier than ever before…

    ADVANTAGE:/DISADVANTAGE: Joe is the ‘standard’ character, with good access to witnesses, bodies and clues, plenty of resources, and manpower at his command, as well as the influence of the Masons. His difficulty will be in choosing between all of these potentially useful avenues…


    H: THE LOVERS

    Felicja Woititz cannot go on like this. Her lover, Seweryn Klosowski (or ‘Ludwig Scholski’ as he chooses to call himself for the benefit of the authorities’), thickly-moustached, skilled with a knife and bloodthirstily mad, likes to beat her – to threaten her, coolly, with poisoned drinks, to spit on her and kick her. There are those in the ever-growing community of Polish Jews in Whitechapel that are sympathetic to her – but the authorities can be of no help. Felicja, hardly venturing outside the house, hardly speaks English; and it is only recently that she has begun to notice her lover leaving at odds times, late at night…

    ADVANTAGE: The killer tends to avoid men and solicit women. Felicja has, perhaps, more of a chance than anyone of coming face-to-face with him on the street or tempting him out into the open; besides which, she can gain knowledge from her fellow Poles that would hardly be available to the native Londoners.

    DISADVANTAGE: One way or another, Felicja needs to deal with the brutal and possessive Klosowski; whether this means taming him, murdering him or abandoning him remains to be seen. Besides which, local anger at the Jewish immigrants is rising, perhaps coming to a head...


    I: JUDGEMENT

    Gabriel Hynes has only come recently to the Central News Agency – sure, he’s heard the stories of their underhand tactics, the outright fabrications they publish (like the invention of the battle of Weihaiwei). But money is money, and Gabriel, a desperate young writer with a growing opium problem, is happy to sacrifice morals for the sake of a full belly and career prospects. The story of the Ripper will become the most important story of the century – and whoever can come up with the scoop that clinches the case will be a rich man indeed. There will be plenty of attention-seekers and delusionary fools coming forward with information; a clever man will be able to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    ADVANTAGE/DISADVANTAGE: Gabriel will receive a free bulk of information every update, from witnesses that have come forward of their own accord. However, while there will be genuine clues, there will also be a great deal of misinformation and lies that might not only send Gabriel out on the wrong trail, but which would, if printed, disrupt the police investigation too…


    ________________________________________________________________________


    [​IMG]



    HOW WE’RE GOING TO PLAY:

    The identity of Jack the Ripper will be chosen from the beginning. It could be a real-life suspect, an invented character, a man or a woman or even several people in conspiracy.

    Every update will come with an option to visit a location, a witness, a suspect, examine a corpse (if possible) or carry out a strategy of some kind. As usual, people will vote on which they’d like to go for.

    Once we’re ‘at’ a location or in front of a witness, players will be able to ask any questions or request any basic examination they like, within reason, time restrictions and the abilities/personality of the chosen character, by posting in the thread. I’ll give an answer to each question, then collate them all at the end of the update.

    For obvious reasons, to prevent individual dumbfuckery ruining it for everyone, these questions/actions/examinations are going to have to be strictly information-based in terms of consequence. So ‘ask the prostitute if she had a grudge against the murdered woman’ or ‘examine beneath the corpse’s fingernails’ will be taken as asked, but ‘collar-grab the shit out of her, then toss her out of a window’ or ‘steal the corpse, then have sex with it repeatedly on the roof of Windsor Castle’ won’t – for that kind of thing, we’ll have to have a vote.

    Poverty-stricken characters (C, D, H, and I) will have a Sustenance score, marking out how many days they can survive for on the money and resources they have left. Once the score enters the ‘minus’ phase, they will begin to suffer, losing energy and choices, until they finally collapse. Sustenance can be regained by engaging in a money-making activity unrelated to the case; for instance, Tom Wise may go bare-fist brawling, while Gabriel Hynes will have to write a thrilling Ripper article. All other characters, having a steady living, will not be required to keep up Sustenance – their disadvantage is that they are further from life on the streets of Whitechapel, and several of them will have their own less easily quantifiable troubles to worry about…

    At any point, a player may propose arresting or confronting a suspect, and give his reasons for suspecting them; if there’s sufficient interest, it’ll be put to the vote. Ordering an arrest, or confronting a suspect, takes up the time of a standard update and will have far-reaching effects; arresting the wrong suspect, for example, might make serious enemies, waste police time, and cause a riot. Confronting the right suspect might mean the death of the player if they haven’t brought help with them (which would take up another update).

    There will be three chances in total to arrest or confront a suspect. If they’re all gone, they’re gone – and the investigation is effectively over. Likewise, time will pass with every update (most likely a couple of days at a time) and if the killer has not been caught by the 9 November, the game will be lost, and Jack the Ripper will disappear forever.

    The game's details will be based as closely as possible on real-life history, including clues, characters and locations – however, players will be able to radically alter ‘history’ depending on their actions and choices, perhaps even to the extent of catching the Ripper before he gets through all five of his kills.

    Sound good? (If this all sounds too complicated, or you were sick of London after my last one, or it just doesn't appeal, let me know; we can always try going with something else.)


    The game’s afoot!
     
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  2. SoupNazi Arcane Patron

    SoupNazi
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    Serpent in the Staglands
    D: THE DEVIL

    Makes for an interesting need for balancing inquiry and avoiding too much attention, while also possibly improving our insight into the whole story.
     
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  3. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
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    L)The high priestess, another prostitute investigating on her own or with the help of others. :M

    If not:
    I)Sounds fun, even if I fear that only the Sherlock Holmes types will play that.
     
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  4. Esquilax Arcane

    Esquilax
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    Fuck yes, the return of grotsnik! This looks fucking awesome man, I can't wait until this show gets on the road. That being said, I'm still butthurt that you can't continue the VtM goodness, but I'm sure this will tide me over until you can continue it again.

    B for BRO. This is my first choice; Damn it feels good to be a gangsta. Playing as hard-ass gangster seems like a lot of fun.

    C is also great, another bro choice. D sounds depraved and very unique. Hopefully this handy New Vegas mod will provide us with some tips on playing a uterus-dissecting psycopath:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJ_xM7ksH54

    The High Priest and The Lovers also sound like great choices too.
     
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  5. WetWorks Arcane Patron

    WetWorks
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    Project: Eternity Codex USB, 2014
    Looking good.

    D: The Devil could be an interesting narrator.

    Barring that, The Hermit.
     
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  6. Ulminati Kamelåså! Patron

    Self-Ejected
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    Motherfucking :incline: of LPDex. Lemme think about this one for a while. Tough choice.
     
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  7. Quetzacoatl Liturgist

    Quetzacoatl
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    B for the Emperor of course.
     
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  8. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    Serpent in the Staglands Torment: Tides of Numenera
    B seems most 'practical' in terms of us playing the game, but what the hell, I'll put D as my first vote too. :smug:
     
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  9. Ulminati Kamelåså! Patron

    Self-Ejected
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    I guess my vote is for G even if it'll never win. Because motherfucking freemasons.
     
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  10. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    15,021
    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
    I or C.
     
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  11. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
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    I know I've literally just initiated an LP based on a disembowelling, organ-stealing misogynist serial killer, but I can honestly say that is the worst thing ever conceived of by man, beast, or mineral. The helpful illustrated six-part set of instructions only adds to the sheer primal horror.

    Fool! This is the purest representation of how my mind works:

    :retarded:
     
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  12. anus_pounder Arcane

    anus_pounder
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    Yiffing in Hell
    Even though I know I won't win. C
     
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  13. CappenVarra phantasmist Patron

    CappenVarra
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    Excellent :obviously:

    Voting for C, practically a recruiting poster for the codex. I was tempted to rewrite the character description to involve spending the majority of his life spilling blood in turn-based battles, not learning the self-deceptions required of a modern player in the heart of decline, but that would constitute a crime of messing up perfectly fine prose...

    A could be an interesting alternative, an extra choice per turn could even be worth having to be a lazy Toreadordandy.

    E would also be great, but *knowing* the nature of codexian LPs, we'll just horribly fuck up the entire police effort, so yeah.
     
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  14. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
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    The tally at the moment, between parenthesis the second choices:

    (A)

    BB (B)

    CC (CCC)

    DDD

    E

    G

    II


    (L)proposed by me. :M
     
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  15. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
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    To be honest, even the most demented codexian scheme couldn't really be much worse than the efforts of some of the real-life policemen.

    Like this fine chap,

    http://www.casebook.org/police_officials/po-ander.html

    who spent the majority of the crisis on holiday in the Alps, then came back just as the situation was escalating and immediately insisted it was 'indefensible and scandalous'' that the police should be trying to protect prostitutes ('those wretched women') and that the coppers should stop doing that and start arresting as many of them (thousands of them) as possible instead.
     
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  16. Gondolin Arcane

    Gondolin
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    My vote for the Emperor.

    B
     
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  17. Storyfag Arcane

    Storyfag
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    Votan for teh Emprah!

    B
     
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  18. Esquilax Arcane

    Esquilax
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  19. Breaking Axe Educated

    Breaking Axe
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    Voting A, Oscar Wilde interviewing Jack the Ripper for artistic inspiration sounds interesting.

    Edit: If A doesn't take it, then E.
     
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  20. DwarvenFood Arcane Patron

    DwarvenFood
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    Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Wasteland 2 Codex USB, 2014 Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    D.
     
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  21. Excidium P. banal

    Self-Ejected
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    C). Looks like an interesting character.
     
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  22. Angelo85 Prophet

    Angelo85
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    Is the vote for the Character still open? If so I'd like to vote for
    G: JUSTICE
    Also I vote for Helsong to pull his gun, shoot the Free Mason King and crown himself Emperor of all of London's whackjobs - should flush out Prof. Moriarty Jackie boy in no time[​IMG] ;)
     
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