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[LP CYOA] A Springtime of Lies

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by treave, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. treave Arcane Patron

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    Skanian Border, 3420 A.C.

    Through the spyglass you see a city. Its walls have crumbled away from the fires of war, exposing its naked vitality. Commerce, banking, smiths and factories. The wealth of a city is in its people – they are its lifesblood, and it is the people that you see, herded into the city squares, awaiting the frightful hammer that might befall them at any moment.

    “The Skanians did not evict all of the citizens from Olympia,” you hiss under your breath. “That is going to make things a lot harder.”

    “The cowards! To hold innocent Shinari civilians as hostage in their very own homes… are there no lows these dishonourable northerners will not stoop to?” Your aide does not take the news lightly. Her pony-tail swaying from left to right in outrage, she grips the hilt of her saber tightly, as if prepared to draw at any moment. “What shall we do, my lord?”

    “We’ll have to do something. If we could just lure them out… Oh, and how many times have I said it now, Marie? Stop it with the ‘my lord’ thing when we’re in private.”

    “That would be improper and a breach of etiquette,” she replies stiffly.

    “You outrank me if we are talking about social etiquette, my lady Lieutenant Marie Camna,” you say sweetly. “Your father is the most powerful lord on the Council of Nobles, and I am a lowborn commoner.” Yet here she is, seconded to you as your aide. You know quite well that it is not a matter of talent – she was the top student in the academy, outscoring you – and it still amazes you to this day that she would want to serve as your lieutenant instead of taking up a command of her own.

    Marie protests, unwilling to lose the argument. “My father has adopted you into our family, so you are as good as any noble. And besides, you are-“

    “That’s enough, Marie.” The seriousness of your voice is enough to make her stop, and she gives you a quick apology before turning her gaze back to the occupied city of Olympia.

    “The… enemy numbers about fifty men. The colours indicate that they are from the Skanian 166th Regiment, a veteran unit that has seen combat since the war began five years ago,” Marie reports, taking on a more disciplined manner as she flips through her clipboard. “And…”

    “Ean’s breath!” You curse, spotting one through the spyglass just as she says the word. Steamknights.

    The three gigantic armored figures are dormant, slumbering in one of the squares, but you have no doubt that they is ready to awaken should you make your presence known. A man who wears one of these suits of armor, even if he is the most scrawny and useless specimen of humanity to ever live, will be transformed into a juggernaut on the battlefield. Powered by steam and electricity, these 8-foot tall monstrosities – quite often more nimble than their bulk would suggest – are armed with large swords and cannon. Each knight is said to be easily the equal of a hundred men in battle. The Skane Republic had unveiled these weapons of theirs to devastating effect in the initial days of the war. Shinari scientists had rushed to close the gap, but at the moment industrial production of Imperial steamknights still lagged behind that of the Skanians even if quality-wise they are now equal.

    All that is irrrelevant to you, however, as you did not have a suit of your own. Imperial armor can only be worn by someone with the minimum rank of captain – an edict from the Council of Nobles, one which you suspect is aimed at enhancing survivability of the nobles in war – and though you do happen to be a captain, you are also a very fresh one, untested in combat.

    And then there are the political considerations from that worthless Council… You frown, but stop yourself before it turns into a scowl. “Very well then. Lieutenant, I think it is about time we got back to our troops.”

    “Yes, my lord. I’ve identified the best routes we can take into the city. Will we be engaging the steamknights?”

    “Whether we want to or not, we will likely have to, in order to liberate Olympia.” Whirling your horse around, you ride down the hill, where your regiment is awaiting your orders.

    The city’s liberation is precisely why you have hurried here with your hundred men before any of the other regiments could arrive. A long, drawn-out siege is out of the question. Just like how the First Emperor defeated Zeus and Marduk to begin his path to empire, just like Diogenes Camna’s Miracle at Euphraxes… you too need a powerful feat of your own if you are to achieve your goals. You look at your men, who have put all their faith in you to lead them to glory, and know that not all of those faces will be standing here again when the sun sets.

    Sacrifices.

    Bricks to pave your road to the world’s peak.

    They know it themselves, but that knowledge does not make you feel any better. If it were not a necessity…

    But you close your eyes, and yet again you see the face of your half-brother, sitting upon the throne of Ankida, and the face of your dead mother, wasted away in the cramped, dirty shack the both of you spent ten happy years in… and you raise your sword, the black metal gleaming dully in the sun, to the deafening cheering of your soldiers.

    The spring breeze whips your blood-red cloak into the air. It is time for you to take your first step into this spiral of madness, from which has borne a springtime of lies and the deaths of nations...

    [​IMG]

    Major powers in 3415 A.C., at the start of the Great Civil War

    ***

    A. You conduct a multi-pronged full frontal assault at the highest speed. The aim is to free the civilians, and then cut down as many enemies as you can before the steamknights come into play.

    B. You use your main force as a diversion while you, Marie and a small hand-picked squad attempt to sneak in and hijack the dormant steam-powered armors. You have worn it once before, during academy training, and you are relatively confident you can do it again.

    C. You challenge the leader of the Republic forces to a duel for the fate of the city. If he refuses, this can be used to impact his forces’ morale. If he accepts, however, he is likely to come striding out in steamknight armor…

    D. You attempt to negotiate with the Skanians. Be it the release of all the civilians, or their own retreat from Olympia, you are hopeful that you have the skill in words to succeed at a bluff, pretending that your strength is far greater than they think.

    E. What use is ambition? You throw your sword into the ground, grab your pretty childhood friend, and run away into the wilds where you will make babies and live out the rest of your life in relative peace.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
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  2. Night Goat The Immovable Autism Patron No Fun Allowed

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    B, of course. Steeeeamkniiights!
     
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  3. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    A.
     
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  4. Azira Arcane Patron

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    No run away option? :troll:
     
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  5. treave Arcane Patron

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    Added by request. :troll:
     
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  6. Grimgravy Augur Patron

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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
  7. Elfberserker Liturgist

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    B!!!

    It has been too long since I have seen or read robot fights :bounce::bounce::bounce:

    Then again, it's now april's fools day
    :negative:
     
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  8. asxetos Augur

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    I dont know if this is the worst or best kind of joke for 1st of April

    :negative:
     
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  9. treave Arcane Patron

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    Okay, B wins. Let us see what GabeN has in store for us...
     
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  10. tindrli Arcane

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    Crap, C was better
     
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  11. treave Arcane Patron

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    Olympia is a new city, planned out in neat squares by Shinari architects according to the design principles popularized at the end of the last century. The lanes are wide and there are plenty of them. The Skanians have only brought fifty men to this battle – it was all they sent out from Fort Wulfer. The marshal of Olympia and his army are currently bogged down by an allied force of Skanians and Gallians at Democritus Fields, a day’s ride from here; the fool had been lured away from the city he was to defend. The light garrison had done no more than offer token resistance before surrendering to the Republic.

    At the moment, you outnumber the Skanians two to one: in a straight fight, your chances would be more than good, but they have the advantage of cannons and steamknights; two of the former and three of the latter. These were the weapons that had allowed them to take the city easily.

    “Assaulting their fortified position would require a five to one advantage,” recites Marie, seemingly echoing your thoughts. “They have picked a good square to defend, and by taking the remaining citizens hostage, it means that we will have to pick our moves with care.”

    If there were no witnesses, you could blame all the non-combatant casualties on the Skanians. But that would be a step too far. Besides, there is no need for such an act. You say to Marie, “They have placed the dormant steamknights a fair distance away from the civilians for security reasons. We can afford to be a bit more aggressive when seizing their armor. Now we just need to wait for Sergeant Modok to get into position…”

    ***

    “Fire!” Marie swings her saber forward, pointing at the enemy. Your squad’s row of muskets barks sharply as they let loose a volley of lead towards the enemy. “Cover!” she shouts again, and they take a step back to reload, allowing the next rank to step forward, aim, and fire again. To your chagrin, the Skanians had not been caught flat-footed by your surprise attack. It is almost as if your presence was expected, and they are now putting up a tough fight. There is a loud whining noise in the air, coming from a nearby steam generator. You can see wisps of smoke rising from the exhaust pipes at the back of the steamknights that are being supplied by it: they are powering up, getting ready to join the fight.

    Once they do, the battle will be lost. Thankfully, you have not yet heard the enemy cannon fire.

    “Captain, we cannot tarry any longer! Do we advance to capture our objectives, or do we retreat and rejoin the sergeant?” Marie asks, as she ducks under a Skanian volley.

    “Oh, damn it all!” You raise your sword to get the squad’s attention. It is a commissioned gift from Lord Camna, a beautiful longsword forged out of blacksteel, and it has never tasted blood. That is about to change. “Suppressing formation! Cover me, men! And toss me a pistol, for the love of the Emperor!”

    You charge, sword in one hand and pistol in the other. The sharpshooting of your soldiers forces the enemy to get under cover. By the time they pop out again, attempting to take advantage of your squad’s reloading time, you are already in range.

    Your bullet hits the furthest Skanian, while you dispatch the closest with a swing of your sword. They try to turn their guns on you, but you whirl around the battlefield like a dervish: at this range you are too fast for an accurate shot. Your swirling cloak obscures your form and further disrupts their aim. You swing and fire, remembering all of the training and drills you have undergone in preparation for this moment. Two more fall, after having drawn their swords in vain. Without further prompting, the frightened Skanians break their line and flee from you, leaving the empty steamknights unguarded.

    “Cowards!” shouts Marie gleefully as she catches up to your side. “Come, let’s claim our prizes.”

    It’s too easy. These were supposed to be veterans. And those steamknights…“No, wait!” You grab Marie’s wrist, jerking her back. “There’s something off-“

    The whining of the generator grows rapidly in pitch and intensity, until it finally gives way in an explosion of super-heated water and broken metal. You push Marie to the ground, shielding her from the blast with your own body. As Captain, you are more heavily armored than she is. As a commanding officer, you should-

    A large cog strikes your helmet, rattling your skull and knocking you unconscious.

    ***

    When you awaken, the battle is over. Marie is the first person you see at your bedside, apologizing profusely for your injury. “If I wasn’t so eager…” she mutters, red-faced and shamed. “I should have been the one to protect you. I’m just a lieutenant, and you’re-“

    You interrupt her quickly. “Don’t worry, Marie. It’s not going on the report. Speaking of which… we… won, right?” You recognize the room you are in: it is the governor’s palace in Olympia, which you have visited on one occasion in the past.

    “That’s right, my lord. The rest of the men were fired up at the sight of you p-p-protecting me… and I managed to rally them to meet up with Sergeant Modok and defeat the Skanians.”

    “How many casualties?”

    “Fifteen injured, three dead, my lord.”

    You exhale. Of course, it was impossible to get through a battle and keep everyone alive. Still, losing men under your command hurts. “And the civilians?”

    “They are perfectly fine,” smiles Marie wanly, having caught the expression on your face. “Don’t beat yourself up over it. I think things went really well, for our first battle. As it turns out, only one cannon was real, the other was fake and so were the steamknights. They were only shells, made to look like the real thing on the outside.”

    “Pretty ingenious, then,” you mutter.

    “Yes, my lord,” nods Marie. “They were meant to act as a deterrent. Any force fast enough to have arrived at Olympia so soon after its fall would be under-strength and under-equipped for a real battle. The Skanians must have thought to use these to frighten us off from attacking until their reinforcements arrived.”

    “And when it didn’t work out, they tried to use it as a trap.” A thought comes into your mind. “Do you know who was responsible for this? Where is the Skanian captain?”

    “Ah, about that…”

    ***

    Marie leads you to the dungeon underneath the palace. There is only one prisoner in the jail cells: a black-haired, unkempt young man about your age, whose regulation uniform would have been the cause of multiple heart attacks amongst the Skane Republic’s commandants, if they had seen him. There is a casual, impish grin on his face, and his relaxed posture seems to imply that he does not mind his surroundings and his chains much, if at all. There is a smell of alcohol about him, even in the day-time.

    “This is Ensign Erestes Shulgi Zhang of the Skane Republic. He was the only soldier to surrender to us. The others ran or were cut down.”

    “I’m not much of a fighting man, if I did anything else I’d just get killed. I’d be silly not to surrender to a pretty girl, either,” he laughs.

    “Y-You! Watch your mouth in front of the Captain!” Marie flushes, gesticulating angrily at the prisoner. “Do you think we’ve forgiven you for trying to blow us up?”

    The man shrugs. “Sorry, I was just following orders.”

    “And your orders were?” you ask.

    “To take Olympia while it is undefended and fend off any assaults by any means necessary, to the death if need be, until you are relieved.”

    “You didn’t exactly defend it to the death,” you point out.

    “Well, I’m not stupid enough to follow all of those orders,” he grins. “I’m not even Skanian. They forcefully conscripted me while I was drunk. One night you’re in the bar, the next thing you know there’s a musket in your hands and they’re asking you to charge a line of sharp pointy ends.”

    You laugh. “Yes, I know how it is. Don’t you think your orders were a bit harsh, if they asked you to do it with fifty men and no heavy armor whatsoever?”

    “That’s why I had to improvise… but truth be told, I don’t think they expected us to succeed at all. The higher brass had something else in mind.”

    “And what might that be?”

    “I guess we’ll find out soon enough. But to be honest, I don’t think they expected you to succeed here, either. It was a pretty ballsy move, Captain. This might change things.” The man smiles, and leans back against the cold stone wall. “So, what next? You really can’t get any ransom for me, so if you would just give me a bottle of wine and some coins, and send me on my way, I’d be really grateful. Trust me, I’m definitely not going back to an army I didn’t want to join in the first place.”

    “You impertinent scoundrel!” scolds Marie threateningly. “Do you have any idea of your own predicament?”

    ***

    A. You give orders for Erestes to be executed. He seems to be something of a quick thinker, and you are uneasy with his relaxed attitude. The man is too dangerous to be left alive.

    B. You attempt to recruit Erestes. You think he could do more good than harm at your side… it would be a waste of talent if you killed him or let him go free. If you want to climb up in the world, you need talented men loyal to you, and you alone.

    C. You give Erestes what he wants and set him free. You think he can be trusted, at least in that he won’t fight for the Skanians if he doesn’t have to. Perhaps your paths will cross again.

    D. Why are you even down here, talking to some wastrel in a dingy dungeon, when you can be out there under the sun, in the wilderness, making babies with your willing and waiting pretty childhood friend? You grab Marie and flee the city.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
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  12. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

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    B.
     
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  13. tindrli Arcane

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    C
     
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  14. asxetos Augur

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    B>C

    :yeah:
     
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  15. GreyViper Arbiter

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    What an Epic comeback . Tempted with A, but hes slippery as a eel .
    So B for now.
    By the way can we pick his brains how he knew about Steam knights. I mean to set up this trap requires a bit more knowledge then knowing they exist.
     
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  16. Azira Arcane Patron

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    Shulgi.

    B
     
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  17. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    A
     
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  18. Nevill Arcane

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    Argh, I am too late to vote for babies. I guess we will have to go the long way.

    Never plot against Shulgi. But never hire Shulgi, either.

    C. He promised, how can we not believe him? He has a trustworthy face.

    Where is Marie on the hotness scale, anyway?
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
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  19. treave Arcane Patron

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    The trap only needs him to know how sought after steamknights are on the battlefield for a force without its own, which is relatively common knowledge by this point, and how to overload a steam generator. Also, timing, but that part didn't work out perfectly. :troll:

    Babies are always an option. :troll:

    Sekhenun - TENTACLES/10
    -
    Marie - 9/10 :troll:
     
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  20. Nevill Arcane

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    D. :salute:

    What about Sekh's daughter?
    Can we get a proper love triangle going? Can there be a harem ending?
     
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  21. oscar Tacticular Staff

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    Any chance of a lore refresher?
     
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  22. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

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    A Shulgi AND a Zhang?! He must die at once!

    D>A
     
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  23. Kipeci Magister

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  24. Nevill Arcane

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    Maybe we can compromise?

    Order zhang-Shulgi to be sent to his death and on that note run away to the wilderness to make babies, as our mission on Earth would then be complete.

    Can we unite the people behind A and D on that basis?
    Show Spoiler
    :M
     
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