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In Progress The Fall of Tamriel (Court CYOA)

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by MercantileInterest, Dec 14, 2016.

  1. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    A B
    A
    A D
    D
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
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  2. Usury Arcane

    Usury
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    Because it's a completed setting, with which we're mostly familiar. I don't need to spend hours devising history, geography, demographics, etc. and then explaining it all. See II. The Game Map in the original post. The strength of fantasy lies in characterization and story not in uniqueness. Inventing two new continents simply wouldn't allow me to go into the level of detail planned. Besides, I like the thought of a Roman style army battling knights.
     
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  3. Lithium Flower Magister

    Lithium Flower
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    Guys, this is really important. Supporting the marshal's initiative is a massive mistake. He is stronger than the Emperor (just compare their descriptions), he is more popular than him, and he is asking for us to strengthen a legion stationed around the Imperial Capital. This has "military coup" written all over it. I am not an ancient history buff, but I am pretty sure that Roman history was full of cases where generals with more public support and military power than the emperor attempted to take over. The Dominion is a real threat, but this enemy is closer to us than the elves are.

    Also, Runa (or rather, her patron) scares the shit out of me. I am betting that this is work of Varys. His probing worked, now the ball is in his court. Not good.

    So,
    1B - why would we reveal our strengths to a potential coupist? This is stupid. Let's continue to pretend that we are the Emperor's clueless buttboy.
    2A - rejection might mean that he will go to someone else with this plan. That would be a bad thing.
    3D - we must make it so that the plan is impossible. Whether it is going to be shut down by the Emperor or simply slowed down with red tape, we will at least be able to postpone the marshal's plan.
    4E - our inability to deal with Runa proved that we don't quite have the powers of subterfuge on our side. We need Varys' respect and support, and that will allow us to have leverage with the other members of the court. And if he was the one who sent Runa, that means that perhaps he will cease with his attempts to spy on us, or at least be less inclined to manipulate us.

    Hopefully our maid's spying will give us leverage over the master of keys, so we don't need to worry about cozying up to him as much.

    Tamriel isn't the worst fantasy setting, to be honest. The plots of the games are terrible because nuBethesda can't write for shit, but the lore isn't all that bad. AFAIK most of it was written in the Morrowind days, when they had a few talented authors on board, but I could be wrong about that. And MercantileInterest's changes seem to be pretty monocled so far.
     
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  4. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    1B
    2A
    3D
    4C
     
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  5. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
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  6. Gauldur's Bait Learned

    Gauldur's Bait
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    B
    A
    D
    B

    Good points from Lithium Flower. Regarding Varys, however, I don't think the time is right for that yet, and securing support from a veteran bureaucrat can have some synergies with choice 3D.
     
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  7. Usury Arcane

    Usury
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    Technically, the VIth Legion is stationed in the Great Forest, not near the Imperial City. Of course, they do keep moving around. Choices are: (1B) Keep acting. (2A) Agree to speak to the emperor on Domitian's behalf. (3D) Pretend to support the idea but arrange for matters so that it cannot possibly work. (4B) Befriend Vitellius, the veteran bureaucrat.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    "By the divines!" You exclaim. "I hadn't the faintest notion the Empire was in such danger. Simply dreadful. You don't have any wine, do you? Maybe a brandy? Oh, my word."

    "You will speak with his majesty?" The marshal has calmed himself.

    "Oh, yes, yes, of course. The realm depends upon it. Have to strengthen the XVIth Legion."

    "The VIth Legion." He speaks slowly. "Stationed in Cyrodiil. Remember, this is secret. Don't let anyone else know. Lives depend upon it." He lays his hand on your shoulder but turns his eyes away. "I knew you for a capable and trustworthy friend. Many thanks."

    ***​

    Cassia kneels to scrub grime from the tiled floor. It is a task usually given to sculleries. Has she displeased her betters? Dirt soils the edge of her simple dress and sweat drips down her forehead. She wipes her rag across the floor and then in little swirls. The stains persist and the maid grows angry. At last she notices you leaning in the doorway. She looks away and continues to scrub.

    "What have you learned of Vitellius?" You ask.

    "Nothing." She mutters, lowers her head and resumes scrubbing. "I'm just a servant m'lord and not much good at this sneaking business."

    You cross the distance between you and tap her chin with your boot's toe. The eyes are key. "None of this whimpering, Cassia. What did you learn?"

    "I don't know aught."

    You slam your boot into her midriff, where the bruises won't show. She lied. The maid tries to strike but you dance back out of her reach. Her eyes moisten as her face contorts.

    "I'll turn you over," she cries out. "I'll rat you out to the Occulatus, I will. They'll know what sort of vermin you are."

    "Do you think it will do any good?" Your lips form into a smile.

    "No." Cassia's shoulders sag. "Why won't you leave me be? I'm sorry for spying. Was cook's idea, not my own. Runa made me do it. "

    "The cook doesn't matter. The Keeper of the Keys does."

    "How am I supposed to get near Vitellius? He's always surrounded by clerks and been out of sorts all week. Having a right tantrum about all them fake coins winding up in the treasury."

    "Counterfeits?" This is new. "Explain."

    "Don't really know much about much that's not cleaning." She wipes a tear from her nose. "But these septims have been cropping up across the city as base metals mixed with the gold. Leastways, that's what folks say has the Keeper upset, although I don't see what cause that is to go getting in a tizzy. Not at all like having a young lordling kicking a body."

    "Stop rambling." You murmur. "Speech is not your strength." Uncovering these counterfeiters would be just the way to impress Vitellius.

    You spend the rest of the day gathering more information on the matter. Since almost three weeks ago, false coins have been appearing in the markets. They appear in small sums which have already traded hands before being detected. No other city has reported anything similar. With great luck, the new mint may be found somewhere inside the capital. By evening, you have charted where all the fake septims have been spent. Tomorrow, there will be time to investigate further.

    You return to your chambers, peal off your coat and fall on the bed. By the eight, what a scorching day. Even in the marble palace, all have sighed and sweated. You dab a moist towel across your face. A knock falls upon the door. Lacing up your shirt, you turn the knob.

    A cold iron blade knicks your throat and two men, both strangers, enter. The one with the knife pins you to the bed. The other uncorks a flask and pulls your nose shut. A whiff of rot emanates from the neck. The fluid forces its way down your throat, tasting even fouler than it smells. Before you can heave it back up, the intruders push your jaw shut. You struggle but cannot help swallowing. They let go of you and you gulp down great gulps of air, even as the evil liquid burns it's way through your veins. One of the men, with a large brown mustache and a spiral tattoo across his cheek, splashes cheap ale across the carpet.

    "Poison. Come with us if you want the antidote and not a word to anyone." He speaks with an affected Nibenese accent. Clever.

    Sharp pangs through the gut put any doubt about the poison to rest. You follow the men out of the palace through a supply door, past any number of guards who could well have helped. Black spots flicker before your eyes. On the paving stones of the street, your knees stumble and the world fades away.

    ***​

    A voice in darkness. "What are we to do with this one?"

    "Drown him." A nasal voice.

    "Seems a cold thing. What's he done to deserve that?" I can't see anything nor move my hands.

    "Dunno. He's the gouger's son. You've heard of that Bruman baron who bleeds his peasants dry?"

    The sound of much running water touches your ears. Tight cords bind your hands.

    "This is the place. Got to make sure no one's looking before we heave him off the bridge."

    Harsh pain still cripples your stomach. Your muscles tremble.

    "Wait half a jiffy now, chum. Wouldn't that Bruman gouger pay a fine ransom to get his son back? Rynalf would take this bloke off us for a few silver septims. We could split the difference, you and I."

    "And what'll we do if the baron does ransom his son and he makes his way back here? Whoever hired the longstrider twins will go after them and they'll go after us. Don't say I fancy crossing the twins."

    "We can say they duffed the mixture and that he swam away. I could use the extra septims, chum."

    The pain becomes overwhelming and consciousness recedes again.

    ***​

    You awake with hard stone under head and back. Your stomach is still queasy but not so poorly off as before. A faint flickering light dances over rough rock stalactites. Your fingers trail through moss. Ahead, a man in furs sits by a lamp. The cave is silent.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    (1A) Attempt to kill the sentry. You've never slain a man before but the circumstances require it.
    (1B) Attempt to sneak out through the darkness. Of course, you know nothing about this place...
    (1C) Beg, whine and bribe your way out. Not like the other options are any better.
    (1D) Sit and wait.




     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
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  8. Storyfag Arcane Patron

    Storyfag
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    1D
     
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  9. Kipeci Magister

    Kipeci
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    C for me.

    So we're suffering from a kidnapping on top of all of that? Yikes. At least mom & dad being dicks to the poor doesn't seem to have stolen our life from us quite yet. To explain my vote:

    A looks pretty dumb. The conversation there pretty clearly demonstrated that the value of our life is only valued a little bit beyond the hassle incurred in not getting us killed; attempting to kill our captors could quite likely shift that balance. For this to work, we'd need to have Coriolanus sneak up on and kill a man probably intended to keep a watch on him without any weapon to speak of before he could alert his friends. Success from there relies on getting away in the darkness in this area that we know nothing about without bumping into one of the scary friends. Coriolanus may be smart, but I don't think it's prudent to treat him as some sort of ninja capable of pulling off a stunt like this with what likely amounts to zero prior experience in any of the relevant fields.

    B is a bit more palatable, but still pretty bad. There's no picking fights liable to go poorly and alert the sentry's friends, but I imagine that it won't take long for the sentry to notice that we're not where we're supposed to be and then you have an alert out while we're trying to make our way through unknown territory.

    D seems fairly reliable, assuming that the parents or the emperor figures out about this we're quite likely to be rescued or ransomed. Probably short some resources or influence this way, but relatively non-risky.

    C has the drawback in that it could irritate our captors, but there's also chance to use it to come to a better deal or gain more information about what the present situation is if we aren't able to outright talk ourselves out. Coriolanus is fortunately a genius, and we've seen that he's a fairly competent manipulator. If we're able to get the sentry to talk to us to stave off boredom, we may be able to figure out more about the numbers of our captors and the nature of the environment where we're being kept, and any number of other factors that could lead to the development of a better plan to get us out of here.
     
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  10. Lithium Flower Magister

    Lithium Flower
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    Map of Cyrodil with the Great Forest highlighted for reference.

    To be fair, the distances in the CYOA are much larger than they are in game, so while the legion is not exactly camping right outside the gates, they can get very close to IC under the cover of the forest. Oh, and Domitian wanting to keep this a secret? Says a lot. Of course, I could be wrong...

    Random thugs don't just waltz into the fucking White Gold Tower, so whoever orchestrated this is probably a member of the court. We need to rape Varys when we get back home. To death. Or perhaps the Nord bitch? She was asking quite a few questions during the council meeting, either from genuine ignorance or merely feigning it so that she could gain information. And Rynalf is a Nord name...

    Trying to fight is suicide (we have zero experience and these people have likely killed before. This is clearly not a hero fantasy, either).

    Staying and waiting will probably mean we might get free eventually but we will lose time at court, and that is a huge disadvantage. If we can't be on top of things, other people will be.

    B for now. Why? Getting back to the court as quickly as possible will limit the amount of influence/matters we are going to miss out on and hopefully our speedy return will put those conspiring against us off-balance, hopefully allowing us to strike back. Also, there is moss in the cave, so we must be near the surface (or at least not in some warrens deep underground).

    Might change to C later. Yeah, we are pretty much the literary equivalent of a social character in Age of Decadence but we clearly have limits as exemplified by Runa. While we might be able to Django Unchain ourselves at best, we might also get drowned/gagged for being a pain in the ass at worst.
     
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  11. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    C - Maybe we can turn them against those longstrider twins if we offer a sweet enough pot. This could potentially net us some more information as well as freedom.
     
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  12. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    C
     
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  13. Gauldur's Bait Learned

    Gauldur's Bait
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    C)
    Although I have a feeling its not gonna work...
     
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  14. Usury Arcane

    Usury
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    (C) Beg, whine and bribe your way out.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ​

    A clammy dew forms on your face and hands. Moss crumbles under you and dusts your skin. The darkness and the air are heavy. The man in furs looks back, with his face painted by the lamplight. Chance or good ears? He approaches. A sword hangs from his belt. He looks with a blank face and then turns away.

    "Oh, don't go." You yawn. "I'd get lonely." He does not reply. "I appreciate you not tying my hands."

    "No need. You won't escape."

    You stand almost upright under the low roof and work your way through the stalagmites to sit across from the guard. Your fine coat and shoes are gone. The guard's rough hands and well tanned skin suggest a life spent outdoors. His Cyrodilli face is weathered and chipped at the nose. He wears fox fur and a deer hide kilt over a linen undershirt. A number of pouches wrap his waist, one of which clinks faintly with every movement. A faint smell of sausage and eggs emanates from the garments but not the man. His captive sitting so near does not trouble him. Those lean muscles could easily draw that sword from its scabbard or that knife from the left moccasin. You reach forward but a foot of bright steel rings from the scabbard and you draw back. Fine metalwork but a cheaply wrapped hilt.

    "Can't keep a tight purse, eh friend?" You smile. "Say, you fried up quite a few eggs yesterday. You don't owe me anything of course but I would be grateful if you'd cook me up something today."

    "Don't want your gratitude."

    "How about my money? Am not carrying anything, of course, (lost everything worth trading somewhere between you and the longstrider twins) but I could pay you back later."

    The man stops with his hand in one of the pouches. "How do you know that name?"

    "I know a great many things. You know, they've a number of clever disguises. I didn't recognize them at first." Let him think I know about his seedy little world.

    "Some folks have tongues long enough to hang themselves." The guard strikes a tinder and lights his pipe.

    "Some folks hire the twins to do in an innocent man. I would get the hangman to do the job. So much cleaner to murder within the law."

    Something inscrutable crosses the man's face. He walks down the cave. The lamp in his hand winks away around a corner. No light illuminates the hollow chamber. You navigate the cave by touch, taking care to avoid the way your guard went. No sense actually getting tied up over what is seen as an attempted escape. The cave consists of two rooms, one three times the size of the other but they appear to contain nothing.

    You try to sleep. It is difficult to discern how much time passes until you realize you've grown quite hungry, after which the hours seem to slow as the pangs increase. It presents a perfect opportunity to jest about killing yourself, except no one would hear your wit.

    Much later, the man in furs returns with a naked sword in his hand. He does not sit.

    "I've been doing some thinking. You're a sharp fellow and you already know about the twins. If someone pays your ransom, you could most likely track your back your way back here and then..." He tugs at his neck. "So, I'm thinking it would just be safest to kill you now. You have a better idea?"

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    (A) Boast about your father's wealth. With his share of the loot, he can relocate where you'll never find him.
    (B) Offer a deal. You will return and kill his friends but he gets payed to join another robber gang and act as your link to the bandit world.
    (C) Same as above but without his gang getting killed. Disadvantage would be his possible fear of the longstrider twins.
    (D) Offer to help them out with a heist. Your skill at smooth talking could allow a theft on an armed manor. If you're also incriminated, you won't rat out your accomplices.
    (E) Something else____.
     
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  15. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    B - Could be win win.
     
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  16. Storyfag Arcane Patron

    Storyfag
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    B
     
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  17. Gauldur's Bait Learned

    Gauldur's Bait
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    Agree. B.
     
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  18. Lithium Flower Magister

    Lithium Flower
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    B
     
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  19. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    B
     
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  20. Usury Arcane

    Usury
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    (B) Offer a deal. You will return and kill his friends but he gets payed to join another robber gang and act as your link to the bandit world.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    "Any idea which doesn't involve my death is a better idea." You grin. "I don't want you dead either. Yes, the others must die when I track them down but you're too sharp of a fellow to waste. So, why don't you ransom me, I dispose of your compatriots, you take all the ransom money (no need to divide it) and then I pay you to spy on another mob of robbers."

    "You want me to betray my friends?" The sword point nicks your throat.

    "Alright then. We'll think of something else."

    The scrape of leather on stone rasps through the tunnel. A clean shaven man in a fine but dirty coat approaches. He stops and pulls out a knife.

    "We have to kill this one, chief." Your captor speaks. "He's too smart by half. If we let 'im go, he'll find us through the longstrider twins."

    "No one finds us, if I don't want him to." The chief's words roll with an affected laziness. He walks nearer, slowly raising his left hand. Then he slaps your face with his right. "Ha! Slower than a salted slug. Not altogether useless, though. If we were asleep, he could sneak up and stab us." He knocks your chin. "Asleep and tied up. By the eight, you're a real drooler. Don't you nobles practice fencing? Shut up. You're probably not any good at talking either. You impressed him," he jabs his thumb at the other man, "but that's like outrunning a turtle. So what are you good for? Chess?"

    "I have some small skill."

    "Really? Let's see about that." He spins his knife. "Come on."

    You set off down the tunnel. The man in furs mumbles and follows without sheathing his sword. The passage continues only a short way, past another hollow where a number of barrels and sacks sit. Daylight dazzles your eyes as you pass into the broad cave's mouth. The enclosure shelters from rain and all winds except the north. Outside, entolama mushrooms sprout under the oak trees and grass ripples in a light breeze. Every so often, a bird cries out. Bundles and satchels line the walls of the cave, along with blankets and three rolled up sleeping pads. No crates or large barrels. This lot probably sticks to extorting lone travelers. A table sits in the middle of the bandits' lair with two rude chairs. Outside, two pillars hold up a roof over a cold cookpot.

    The chief unfolds a chess set and sets it on the table. You take up opposite positions. He gives himself the white team and begins the game. Your captor leans against the wall with the sword still in his hand. The chief rocks forward and back in his chair, with a slow grin on his lips. The game proceeds. He knows how to play but does not possess as much talent as you do. You notice one of the pawns you took earlier has made its way back onto the board. The chief leans back on two legs and crosses his arms. The robber in furs puts a canteen to his lips, shakes it a few times and holds it upside down. Nothing falls out. He goes back up the tunnel.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    (1A) Kick the chief's chair over and run. He'll take a little while to get back up. You may never have a better chance to escape.
    (1B) Let the chief win the game. He's not above cheating and it may be important to him.
    (1C) Win the game anyway. You're clever enough and the chief may decide he can use you.
    (1D) Wait for the underling to come back and then expose hiss boss as a cheater. Might make him wonder whether he's been cheated in the past.
    (1E) Something else____.

    We'll also need to pick a weakness for Decius Coriolanus. I don't want to write him acting stupid for no particular reason but realism requires a character flaw. Choose wisely.

    (2A) Lust
    (2B) Greed
    (2C) Sloth
    (2D) Wrath
    (2E) Envy
    (2F) Pride
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017
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  21. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    1C
    2D
     
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  22. Storyfag Arcane Patron

    Storyfag
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    1C
    2D
     
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  23. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    B - swallow the below pride for now a rub it in when we get the better of this peon.
    F - Decius has been more prideful than anything else thus far.
     
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  24. Kipeci Magister

    Kipeci
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    1C 2F

    Oh, yes, I can almost feel the smug sense of superiority enveloping as a warm blanket when we best the cheater.
     
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  25. Gauldur's Bait Learned

    Gauldur's Bait
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    1C
    2F

    Good social skills are always important.
     
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