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In Progress Torment on the Shards, Part 36 - Planescape-inspired CYOA

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by Lithium Flower, Dec 8, 2016.

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  1. Storyfag Arcane

    Storyfag
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    1A
    2B
     
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  2. Lithium Flower Prophet

    Lithium Flower
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    Part 32 – A Power

    Knows nods, eyes cold.

    “Unsurprising.”

    He digs into the capacious pockets of his robe, eventually producing a flask. He drinks in greedy, almost desperate gulps.

    “This isn't a suicide pact, Strider,” he then utters with a cough. “This place is very hard to find, particularly if one doesn't know what they are looking for. Plus I do put some...faith in your discretion.

    “Still, we should wrap this up as quickly as possible. Once my research is complete you are free to do whatever you wish with the items and information you've brought me but regardless we are going to have to lay low and out of touch for a while afterwards. Agreed?”

    You nod. The old bastard is surprisingly optimistic. Or perhaps he hopes that without his involvement, the Officials will be able to pin everything on you so that he can get away scot-free...

    Standing up proves a surprising challenge. You are forced to recall how to walk on two legs.

    “Hmph,” Knows starts again. You mentally prepare yourself for another bout of condescending warnings.

    “Almost forgot. I might as well show you that thing you brought. Now that's a mystery, alright.”

    He bends down, cursing, and picks up a book from the floor near his alchemical arrangement.

    “Come here, Strider,” he continues, “this is the experimentation log. Look at the numbers here – do you see?”

    The herald's bony finger point to a chart scrawled messily on one of the pages.


    TESTS FOR RESPONSE:

    4 prods with wooden instrument - response rate 50%

    8 taps with wooden mallet – response rate 50%

    11 exposures to water – response rate 50%

    3 exposures to light acids - response rate 50%
    ...


    This doesn't make any sense.

    “A response test is how I start the process of distinguishing between animate and inanimate objects. Simply put, I make contact with the object and record frequency of reactions, signs of activity, that's that. But...”

    Knows breaths hard and for the first time you see him slip into something resembling anxiety. He lets the book slip out of his fingers and once again drinks from his flask. When he continues talking he chooses to turn his head away from you.

    “The test object responded exactly half of the time, even when I performed an odd number of tests.”

    How is that even possible? Didn't Know test this himself, observed what it did?

    “I don't know. Or I don't remember. Either one,” He exhales – a long, exhausted sound – before continuing, his voice tinged with embarrassment, “I can hardly explain it further. I must admit that I ceased working on it and concentrated wholly on the distilling solution. Concentrated so well that I could almost ignore the thing's presence.”

    Knows finally gathers himself and faces you. His eyes tell you that which he cannot or does not want to. They speak of uncertainty and fear.

    What could be more terrifying to a proud, learned herald than something that utterly baffles him?

    “Listen. There is much noise on the topic of free will, but I am personally convinced by the rule of causality. Beliefs shape our world, yet beliefs – and the people who hold them - are shaped by events out of their control. Outcomes are weighed heavily and there isn't one that cannot be predicted by a sufficiently advanced mind capable of taking all circumstances into account. Yet this thing you've brought me, it doesn't work like that. It doesn't work like anything else. It either does something or it doesn't, a purer random than a coin flip. In its own right it is a determination to be perfectly random. A perfect contradiction, an ordered chaos, whatever you want to call it. And it is the closest thing I've found to free will.

    “I can't help but... my hypothesis is that it is trying to communicate, to express that somewhere in it is a power, a belief, a conviction strong enough to break fundamental rules. Perhaps is is trying to let it be known that the walls and chains of causality that entrap all people are nothing but fanciful notions to its great will.

    Like I said - just a hypothesis.”

    Implications race through your mind like a pack of hunting beasts as Knows – no longer anxious and philosophical but rather his old matter-of-factly self – continues.

    “I've protections in place – warded circle, imprisonment spells and the like – but I am skeptical as to what good they will do if it turns out this entity has some sort of malicious intent. Regardless, I am prepared to accept this as yet another risk in our arrangement. Now, would you like to see it?”

    You nod. Do you even have a choice, having seen what Whisper did? You can't possibly turn away from revelation knowing full well that he didn't, that he chose to bear the full weight of your collective responsibility.

    You regret your decision almost immediately after Knows pulls the divider's curtains open, revealing the previously obscured corner of the room.

    In the center of a ritualistic circle of candles something resembling a large, smooth stump lies limply like a doll, two elongated branch-like limbs coming off it with vaguely arm-like proportions.

    “It grew,” somewhere someone says.

    The flesh is every colour. Features – alien but recognizable – surface on it like debris in water before swimming erratically and sinking into nothingness at random intervals: tongues, nails, a looping intestine, three stalky ears, many mouths. The latter are gibbering and drooling incessantly.

    You can see its eyes, whatever they are, on a bulbous protrusion at the end of its torso? in the very corner of your vision. Do you dare look directly at them, to see what they have to say?

    No. You wouldn't. How could you?

    You draw the divider shut.

    Knows offers you his flask.

    ---

    “When you come back from the shard, seek me out as soon as possible. I wish to be done with this business,” Knows says as you go out the window.

    Somehow, you find the filthy Ghetto and its putrid air a welcome change of atmosphere.

    It is the evening of the fifth day. How do you spend it? (choose one)

    A) Take a carriage back home and rest while you can. You still have a day or two of preparations ahead of you.

    B) Spend your hard-earned coin on something useful. Tell me which goods/services you would like to purchase, and from whom (if they don't fall under one of your contacts, tell me how you plan to look for a source).
    B+) Go out and buy a pack of rations, then take a couch back to the Voidship Yards and see if Step-There has an extra Explorer's Kit. Perhaps you can get some advice from him.

    C) Desperate times call for desperate measures. Take the worm to the Termitarium and find the door within an endless hallway. You were promised "assistance, information, and employment opportunities" by an unknown contact and you figure now is about the time to take them up on this offer.

    D) Do something else, please specify what.

    Notes (open)

    :updatedmytxt:
    Added some more up to date notes to the character sheet. Note that at this point Step-There is considered a contact.

    Right now your selection of downtime actions is pretty limited, but I will give you more options on the next day. It is late and the citizens of the City, Strider included, need their rest.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
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  3. Storyfag Arcane

    Storyfag
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    Vote removed
     
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  4. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    I'm on an actual spaceship. No joke.
    We should acquire the following supplies in preparation for our journey:

    Pack of Rations (5 uses, 5 coin, 1 weight)
    Non-perishable, dried foods. Digestible by any race on Demiurge's Shard.

    Explorer's Kit (5 uses, 20 coin, 1 weight)
    Contains mundane items useful for travelling or exploring such as bundles of rope, torches, grappling hooks, etc. When you rummage through your Explorer's kit in search of such an item, you find what you need and mark off a use.

    Fidget's Kit (5 uses, 25 coin, 1 weight)
    Contains mundane items useful for crafting, tinkering....and breaking and entering, such as craftsman's tools, lockpicks, spare parts, etc. When you rummage through your Fidget's Kit in search of such an item, you find what you need and mark off a use.

    The Fidget's Kit should be left at the inn when we head for the shard.

    Might be worth considering a shield.

    Shield (+1-armour, 25 coin, 2 weight)

    +1 armour is twice as much as we've got now, and is a huge boost under this system. Unlike heavier armour, it doesn't downgrade our mobility. Lithium Flower how does weight affect movement speed? How much can we carry?

    Might be worth looking at our options for getting a new eye. A cheap option could also be crafting a smooth orb of suitable size, and get a Builder to repurpose it as a functional eye with a belief move. Maybe it wouldn't be cheap... I'm assuming Mend Something Broken doesn't apply to something that's missing altogether. Can it be used to heal, or is it only for inanimate objects?

    If a crafted eye was usable even when detached, it could be very useful, albeit disorientating, in certain situations. Hide the eye in a room, roll it around a corner etc.

    Come to think of it, what sort of things would be interesting to craft? Experimentation is a key tenet of the Seeker worldview.

    Not voting yet, just throwing out some ideas.
     
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  5. baud Savant

    baud
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    hello friend
    I don't really see the point of a Fidget's Kit, since we have to go meet Veil in less than two days. I think it would be better to save money if we need something when we came back, like a healer. Or a Crossbow (d6 1-piercing, near, two-handed, reload, 15 coin, 2 weight) for the Shard expedition if we need to use a ranged weapon.
    Other than that I agree with your suggestion.
     
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  6. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
  7. Storyfag Arcane

    Storyfag
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    Removed my vote. Before I cast it again, I would like to see anwsers to Hello Friends questions. Hesitant about the Fidget's Kit, everything else sounds solid.
     
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  8. Lithium Flower Prophet

    Lithium Flower
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    Weight does not impact movement speed mechanically, only armour does. Perhaps you will be easier to catch if overburdened, but not if you are within your carry limit.

    You can carry up to 8 weight (8+STR). You are already carrying 5 and something to consider is that loot takes up weight as well as coin.

    Remember that you also have other options for your sidearm, like a second weapon (allows you to re-roll damage die), one-handed ranged weapon for extra versatility, or a parrying weapon which can function as both a shield (against melee attacks only) or as a second weapon.

    -

    Fidget kits are useful not just for crafting but for doing things like picking locks etc. Keep in mind you have a Crafting skill which is useful for both of those things. baud I really don't have a realistic time table for crafting things but making something probably won't take more than a day at most unless it is an excessively complicated item. Also you can pull tools out of a kit and keep them in your inventory (although they will usually be 1-weight at that point) and then leave the kit behind if you wish.

    Also, regarding acquiring all of those things: you guys don't really have a contact for getting a shield or a crossbow, but you can search around the Ghetto and see what you can find. Step-There might have a spare Explorer's Kit or Fidget's Kit lying around. Pack of Rations are not a problem. Bear in mind that you have an unknown contact (mysterious gambeson-gifting Termitarium people) who you haven't met yet.

    -

    Mend something broken is not exclusively for inanimate objects and could be used to heal you. In this case I would say that restoring an absent part of you is a stretch, but perhaps a proper member of the Bureau will be able to do it. They will certainly be able to re-purpose a smooth orb into an eye.

    However, if you actually craft a functional, mechanical eye, then a namer could put it inside you, therefore "mending" you.

    I like the idea of going full Thief with the mechanical eye. I think these changes (some sort of spring mechanism, etc) will have to be incorporated into the eye itself, so some crafting will be required.

    Really the biggest wild card in either plan is dealing with Builders. You might need to convince them of the utility of using their belief on you. And members can use their beliefs on you, only...in a way that you don't want. Also remember that it is plausible that you are a wanted herald on one level or another.

    Incidentally if you had picked Alchemy earlier, you could've grown yourself a magical eye.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, tentatively added Hello Friend's shopping list to options for now. Just Fidget's Kit, Explorer's Kit, and rations for now. Let me know if you feel confident about shield or crossbow.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
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  9. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    I'm on an actual spaceship. No joke.
    Okay. My vote is for B, purchasing rations from wherever and Explorer's Kit from Step-There. Also have a chat with him. The eye can wait, rolling eyes around corners is possibly not too useful in a weird place like the Shard of Curious Depths. A crossbow could be pretty useful, but let's not take any risks right now procuring anything exotic. But we could ask Step-There if he knows anyone who can help us get weapons and/or armour. It will come in handy later on.
     
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  10. Lithium Flower Prophet

    Lithium Flower
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    Cool. This will be option B+) Go out and buy a pack of rations, then take a couch back to the Voidship Yards and see if Step-There has an extra Explorer's Kit. Perhaps you can get some advice from him.
     
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  11. Storyfag Arcane

    Storyfag
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    B+
     
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  12. baud Savant

    baud
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    B+

    Ok, thank you for the explanation.
     
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  13. Lithium Flower Prophet

    Lithium Flower
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    Sorry for the delay - also, I will update this post with a second set of choices (actions to take for the next day) in the next 10-16 hours. Just need to sleep on it and revise the list I have.

    Part 33 - Someone is Watching

    It takes you a while to find a carriage back home – those that live in the Facade Ghetto rarely have reasons or means to leave their home ward unnecessarily – but it takes very little effort to purchase a pack of rations from one of the many provision shops in the Yards, although you do find that there fewer establishments are open at this hour than expected. The sight of food – even the dehydrated, barely appetizing type – reminds you that it has been almost an entire day since you have eaten, so you make a note to hurry to the Last Meal Inn as soon as you are finished with Step-There.

    You pause beneath an oil lamp hanging beside a crooked sign reading “Tempest Provisioners” and take out a piece of paper with Step-There's. It is dark and chilly, though your coat renders the latter a non-issue. The shard's atmosphere might as well be an obsidian shell, solid and black except for the glitter of the Shard of Curious Depths. A low sound resonates through the world around you as a great airbeast floats above, killing the nearby shard's glitter. Thank the Demiurge for these great beasts, or else you'd have no lamp to read this address under.

    Step-There's place is more or less familiar to you, a warehouse-cum-tenement the owner of which had separated its large interior into a dozen or so rooms, with thick walls and the kind of living conditions entirely appropriate for a warehouse but a tad inadequate for apartments. Cheap as a freethinker's word, too, on the account of being right in the middle of the block, surrounded by larger buildings – generally the more turns it takes to get to a property in the Yards, the lower its value, for every turn is an event. The ward makes sure of that.

    Strange. Knowing where to go usually feels you with excitement or at least cautious optimism, but now you cannot help but feel a directionless sense of worry, as if something bad is going to happen if you visit Step-There tonight. Perhaps you could have picked a better time for this trip. It is quite late and while walking the Yards at night is less suicidal than doing the same in the Ghetto or the Termitarium, it is still far from a very bright idea. Still, at least the walk and the potential for adventure might distract you from the recent revelations, you think with some irony, recalling last night's manic journey through the ward. You tighten your grip on the swordcane and take your first turn.

    And step into a nest of vermin-beasts. Wonderful. The tiny things screech and shoot of into the walls of surrounding buildings, trying desperately and unsuccessfully to squeeze themselves through gaps that do not appear to be there. A stench of excrement is in the air, although it is nothing compared to the scents of the Ghetto.

    It is after the third or so turn that you make it halfway down the alley before realizing that nothing of note has happened to you yet. You pause and the first thing you hear is the worry from before, only now it turned to fear, a neurotic voice telling you to run before something finds you, before someone sees you.

    You always had a mercurial relationship with this voice.

    Just now you hear it – a muffled echo coming from somewhere. You follow it, walking back the way you came, careful not to turn or even peer around the corner, and stop before a sewer grate perhaps half meter in diameter.

    A deep, mournful sobbing – as deep as an airbeast's call – echoes from within the grate.

    Without sparing another second you turn and proceed towards Step-There's home, almost running, though not quite – mustn't run, musn't be heard is what your fear is telling you now.

    ---

    It takes you a while to make out Step-There's room number in the gloom of the alley but once you do you proceed to knock lightly on his rough wooden door.

    You hear just the slightest hint of a shuffle behind the door a minute or so later, and nothing else.

    You draw back your fist to knock with more force this time yet at the last second you let it fall gently on the door - it seems wrong to be heard, to draw attention to yourself at this time.

    A few minutes pass.

    You can almost hear Step-There's muffled breath on the other side of the door, his many hands fumbling for a weapon.

    You tell him that it's you.

    “Who? Speak up,” he says, his own voice barely above a whisper, almost completely muffled by the door, “What's that? Strider? W-what do you want?”

    Fear and mistrust run through his voice. This comes at no surprise after what you did.

    You tell him that you were looking to buy an explorer's kit, if he has one available, and maybe drop in for a chat. You also start feeling a little bit awkward.

    “Uhm, maybe?” Step-There sounds more confused than anything, “that's, I...listen, Strider, it's late. I can help you out tomorrow, just come by in the morning...alright?”

    Evidently, with all that's happened between the two of you Step-There does not feel comfortable letting you in his home in the late evening and you doubt that you can make a convincing argument as to why he should.

    Before you leave, you ask if Step-There knows of another route back to the dockside besides the path you just took.

    ---

    A few turns and surprises later and you stop dead in your tracks.

    You were sure that you took a different route this time.

    Staring at you is the same stretch of filthy ground between two buildings you had walked previously, but now there is a spot of darkness in the middle of it staring at you, the criss-cross shape of a bent grate lying beside it.

    Leaning against the wall, right by the open sewer, is a shape you can clearly discern despite the lack of light, almost as if the figure is darker than the shadows around it. No features, just the silhouette: a short, fat thing terminating in something like a cowl, like a lurk wrapped up in a robe.

    Yet the sounds the silhouette is emitting are nothing like a lurk's characteristic growl. They are instead that same sobbing you've heard, terribly deep and shaky in spite of the figure's perfect stillness.

    You think of turning back but hesitate. What if whatever uncertainty awaits around the corner behind you is even more terrible than this?

    Silencing the screaming in your head, you press on, ignoring the strange shape. The sobbing gets louder as you approach, pressing almost unbearably into you as you pass the dark thing, until – for but a moment – it becomes indistinguishable from mad, wild chortling.

    The void stares at you when you emerge onto the dockside and that is when you remember to breathe.

    Walking the turns made you dizzy, exhausted.

    This is not normal.

    ---

    Never before have you been more relieved to see the interior of the Last Meal inn. When you enter Boxes is the sole person in the entire common room and looks to be just about done tidying up. The old hammerite startles as if you caught him doing something wrong.

    “Strider? At this hour, again?” he you chides in a whisper, sighing as he does. “Well...I suppose I better prepare you a quick dinner. I haven't seen you at all these last few days.”

    You tell him you appreciate it, feeling compelled to say so in a lower voice, as if afraid of disturbing the sleeping tenants through the thick walls of the inn's common room.

    After settling down you watch as Boxes boils a pair of lardfruit, known for their soft, filling consistency.

    “Don't think me doting,” the marble-skinned hammerite says as he brings you a steaming puree, “it's just that a lot of folk have been moving on, what with all that's been going on in the ward. It would be a shame if you dropped dead from hunger and deprived me of my well-earned rent.

    Speaking of, rent is technically due as of few minutes ago, so whenever you are finished...”

    Right. After finishing your meal, you put seven stacks of ten coins each on the table, and the hammerite moves quickly to scoop them up into his pouch.

    “Oh, and one more thing,” he says as he sits down across from you.

    To your surprise, Boxes looks around before proceeding, as if expecting that someone is watching.

    “A fellow came by a few hours past the midday. To-”

    You cut Boxes off, asking if he means the person who visited you in your room.

    “What? You mean your lady friend, you know, last night? Nah, t'wasn't her.”

    Taken aback, you tell him you didn't have a "lady friend" in mind but rather a wigged manus surrounded by scarlet-robed serving dead.

    “What the Tri-” he begins before visibly regretting it, “what are you saying? Company like that I would have remembered seeing for sure, or at least the girls and guys in the kitchens would've told me something. You're joking, right?”

    You sigh. Fucking thoughkills. Yes, of course you are joking – you urge Boxes to continue.

    “Well, I was trying to. So, anyway, this fellow, see, they're a rare breed...” (choose 1. Your choice will add a new race and ward or location to the game.)

    1A) “...a Stoneperson.” Few in number, these are tall, round humanoids. Naturally stoic, slow to action, and long living, they are fairly departed, usually staying away from the affairs of others, particularly those of other races, and expect similar treatment. Stonekin are not born but rather magically created by altering a gem or stone through sorcery, a process that is strictly illegal unless sanctioned by the Bureau of Builders. Although very few, numbering perhaps in the hundreds, at most a thousand, Stonekin live in a sort of cast-based feudal society where one's rank is dependent on the rarity of the rock they were created from. Stonekin are refugees from the Shard of Living Stone, where there was no distinction between animate and inanimate. After being consumed by the Demiurge's City, the shard turned into the infamous Screaming Quarry within the Gambit Badlands, where earth lives. (genderless)

    1B) “...an Orphaned Reflection.” The true form of these people is a mystery to everyone but other shades, as they are perceived to look like their beholder – if a buzzer, a herald, and a lurk all look at an orphaned reflection, the buzzer will see themselves, the herald would see themselves, and the lurk would, too, see themselves. To add to this uncanny effect, the perceived form will be imperfect, resembling a reflection in slightly cracked or stained glass. Despite these imperfections, they make for excellent spies and infiltrators. These people are refugees from a Shard of Equal Representations, where any representation possessed power and essence equal to that which it was representing. After being devoured by Demiurge's City, the shard turned into the House of Mirrors ward, in part a jail and in another a secondary garrison made from one-way mirrors, in which all reflections are alive – the garrison can clearly see outside while anyone approaching it is faced with an army of reflections. The jail is reversed, meaning that anyone from the outside can look in, while prisoners are guarded by their own reflections. (genderless)

    1C) Write-in your own race! (plus the ward/location in the City that became of their home shard after it was consumed.) As always, I have veto so if the idea is too dank I won't accept it. The race should be sufficiently distinct from the ones present already in the game, and the same goes for the wards – look at the race descriptions in post 2 to see what I am looking for, and note that your race needs 2 unique belief moves, again sufficiently different from those of other races.

    “...anyway, they said to give this to you. Discreetly, you know? Here,” he produces a small wooden ring from the pocket of his apron and leaves it on the table for you to take.

    “And Strider – with all that's been going on, the Guard tearing up parts of the ward and all, I don't want anything illegal happening in my inn. You've been a good tenant, always paid me on time, but I won't be able to turn a blind eye anymore.” His voice drops even lower, “Else they will take me away with you, to the College, where they'll kill us or maybe do something even worse. And for what?”

    You nod and thank the old innkeeper before heading up to your room. It looks exactly as you left it, that is to say a total mess. The room stinks of sex, vomit, and you think there's a tinge of blood in there, too. Knowing that you left so many clues and tracks here makes you feel extremely vulnerable.

    The bloody clothes, rags, and sheets, plus the broken alchemical glass – it would be difficult to get rid of all of this if you weren't living so close to the Void. A part of you thinks its hopeless either way, that someone must already know who you are and what you did, but you push that part of you side.

    Besides, you now know that your recent crimes are nothing compared to your past ones.

    After lighting a candle you sit on the edge of your bed and examine the wood ring. It is quite large, large enough to fit around a hammerite's finger. The wood's grain is very smooth, and its outer surface is inscribed with a tiny symbol of the Seekers' Guild: superimposed sensory organs of various races that form a curious diagram that resembles something different every time you look at it.

    Huh. It must have been Studious after all – the veteran member of the Seekers was always satisfied with your performance in the dozen or so times that you've worked for them. But why contact you now? They were climbing the ranks pretty quick, last you remember.

    Your finger traces along the ring's inner side. The smooth surface here is broken up into lines – something is inscribed on it. Turning the ring, you look closely and can just barely make out a tiny print etched into the wood.

    You squint – reading this would be much easier with a looking glass, or perhaps a spyglass – and begin reading the line of words, the surface of the ring clearly holding more letters than should be possible on such a small circumference:

    To continue our relationship, please take this ring to the hidden square outside of evening hours and set it down on the ground. -S”

    The hidden square? You know the place.

    Putting the ring in your pocket, you lie down on the bed, trying to ignore its smell.

    It takes some effort to get back up and undress before slipping under the covers, and more to fall asleep in spite of all the questions and worries rattling around in your head.

    What do you do come the morning? (choose 1)

    2A) Come back to Step-There's place to see if he has an Explorer's Kit you could buy, plus consult him on the Shard of Curious Depths.

    2B
    ) Spend your hard-earned coin on something useful. Tell me which goods/services you would like to purchase, and from whom (if they don't fall under one of your contacts, tell me how you plan to look for a source).

    2C) Desperate times call for desperate measures. Take the worm to the Termitarium and find the door within an endless hallway. You were promised "assistance, information, and employment opportunities" by an unknown contact and you figure now is about the time to take them up on this offer.

    2D)
    Get all the incriminating junk out of your room while you can. With your skills and the Void so close by, this shouldn't be too risky.

    2E)
    Go to the Hidden Square. Sounds like the Seekers are offering you a job, so why not hear them out? Unless, of course, it is another set up...

    2F) Take the worm to the Gambit badlands and visit your most recent employer. Lord-Foreman Steel is powerful and well-connected - and, more importantly, he agreed to stay in touch with you for future mutually-beneficial arrangements. Perhaps he can help your situation with the Officials, or else provide some valuable insight. He might even known something interesting about Lord-Inquisitor Schism in particular.

    2E)
    Now that you don't owe Boxes anything, you might as well move out, try to hide from the Officials. If Lord-Inquisitor Schism is truly investigating you, this may raise many red flags as you would be leaving his jurisdiction. Choose where you would like to move: (This entails moving into a cheaper property, thus your lifestyle and HP recovery chance will suffer. Renting costs 5 coin per day while purchasing the cheapest property available costs 250 coins + upkeep of 10 coin a week and if you choose the latter you won't have to deal with a bothersome landlord.)
    i) No need to stray far from home, nor leave Schism's jurisdiction. Rent a crappy shack in the Yards.
    ii) No need to stray far from home, nor leave Schism's jurisdiction. Buy a crappy shack in the Yards.
    iii) Rent a tiny room in a Facade Ghetto flophouse.
    iv) Buy a tiny room in a Facade Ghetto flophouse.
    v) Rent a small cave somewhere in the Termitarium - the place is just as dangerous if not more chaotic than the Ghetto, but you might blend in marginally better there.
    vi) Buy a small cave somewhere in the Termitarium - the place is just as dangerous if not more chaotic than the Ghetto, but you might blend in marginally better there.

    2F) Do something else, please specify what.

    Notes (open)

    Total expenses: 78 coin. 70 coin rent, 5 for provisions, 3 for carriage.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
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  14. Storyfag Arcane

    Storyfag
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    1A
    2D
     
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  15. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    1A
    edit
    2D
     
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  16. baud Savant

    baud
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    1B

    Edit: 2A

    The races are cool
     
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  17. Lithium Flower Prophet

    Lithium Flower
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    Ok, I added the second set of choices plus some more text at the bottom of part 33. Sorry for splitting it up like that.

    Both were created by players in my PnP campaign (as were the buzzers, actually.) This setting/system works very well for player-GM collaborative worldbuilding.
     
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  18. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Codex 2012
    1A
    2D
     
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  19. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
    Joined:
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    5,273
    Location:
    I'm on an actual spaceship. No joke.
    Tentatively 1B. I'd like to try my hand at inventing a race, but if I don't do it in time for the next update just go with 1B.

    2D - That hidden square thing is very intriguing, and I'd very much like to follow up on that, but first things first. Don't need to make it easy for the investigators, and people seem to have no trouble getting into our room. Our next priority should still be getting the kit and talking to Step-There. The day of our departure is coming up soon, and given what we know so far about the Shard of Curious Depths I imagine we'll be very happy for that kit once we get there.
     
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  20. Lithium Flower Prophet

    Lithium Flower
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    hello friend if you are still up to invent a race, I will just go ahead and wait until you guys decide to go to the Hidden Square, then have a re-vote to decide Studios' race. If you don't come up with a race idea until then or if you do not visit the Hidden Square, we will roll with rockbois.

    Part 34 - Keeping up Appearances


    The darkness shifts above the mass of churning clay, revealing things that are alive yet still, like animated statues. Within them you see both the curiosity of a child and the vigilance of a father.

    Heavy tears drop from these mischievous eyes.

    ---

    You are awoken by pangs of remembrance.

    This could have been a usual morning for you - stagnant and quietly desperate - but the strange dream, still clinging to your mind, gives it an air of importance. You are clearly trapped in the middle of overlapping plans and schemes which are slowly progressing towards an inevitable conclusion. Dark dreams, voices, and paranoia are nothing more than puzzle pieces, gradually clicking into their places in your mind.

    First, let's consider paranoia.

    ---

    After neatly sweeping up all of the glass into a small pile, you set upon cutting up your old, bloody clothes into rags. When that is done you gather the fragments into the rags, tying the latter into a dozen or so small pouches which you then stuff into various parts of your coat and trousers. Everything else can be cleaned or aired out. After the stench is gone, memories of crawling back here wounded and abusing illegal substances will become increasingly more distant, until you will forget it all and it will be as if such things never took place...

    Descending into the unusually quiet common room, you skip breakfast and exit the inn, heading to the nearest market square. You avoid looking at people in the street, watching the void instead. The dock is busy with voidships and one of them - a free ship, perhaps two stories high and the length of three or four Last Meal Inns - slowly flies towards the nearby shard, turning into an ever smaller blotch in the distance with each passing minute.

    The market is not busy. Today's crier is a female buzzer dressed in fashions cut for male heralds, hose and all. You are surprised that you can actually hear her from the edge of the square, which would be impossible on a busier day. You move through the stalls, mostly looking, occasionally stopping to buy something cheap and mundane - all to kill time and blend in, give anyone who might be tailing you a vision of something resembling a normal life. The notice board is bare save for a few scraps of parchment.

    "Denizens of the Voidship Yards ward, do not hesitate to report unusual, distressing, or threatening happenings to the local branches of the Bureau of Builders, local Temple Guard posts, or Lord-Inquisitor Schism; remember that change is sister to chaos!"

    The ward continues reminding everyone in it that it is changing, yet somehow you doubt that the Officials are going to be getting many enthusiastic reports any time soon. As they say, the folk of the Yards are an adventurous lot, and the Officials hold adventure in contempt on the best and most merciful of days.

    "The Auspicious Assembly declares herald Steel, formerly Lord-Foreman, to be the next Seneschal of the Gambit Badlands ward!"

    You can't help but shiver slightly. Steel works fast, the bastard.

    "Now, news pertaining to the Shard of Curious Depths, graciously released by the noble Censors College..."

    You try to catch all of the crier's words while pretending to examine the bellmaker's wares. You learn that the first expeditionary ships returned a day or two ago, but that most of the independent ones are still being examined by customs. Such a holdup is not terribly unusual and bodes well for the future independent exploitation of the shard, as the Officials would have set up a blockade and forbid any access to it if they thought it was necessary. As for the shard itself, the College's statement - one that is typically made from expeditionary reports, constructed most carefully to support whatever agenda the Censors feel like pushing at any given time - claims it to be a place very difficult to navigate, one that actively deceives the senses. Apparently, the first missions have revealed that the shard possesses properties that may or may not be useful to the City. How wonderfully vague. The matter of the shard's absorption is, of course, solely up to the Demiurge's judgement.

    Suddenly alarmed by heavy, approaching steps, you turn to find a shambling hammerite fast-approaching. You are draped with shadow as a hideously ugly male of an indeterminant age, a complete giant nearly twice your height - hunched over - towers over you and lunges with a surprising speed, pressing a single crooked finger into your gambeson-clad chest. Your hand flies to your swordcane's handle but the hammerite swiftly draws back.

    "Nice gahr-ment," the hunchback sneers, revealing a maw of blackened, rotting teeth. "Me sister's a seem-stress. Belike ye like-ta visit'er?"

    Having said his little bit, the hardhead shuffles away, though his stench lingers. You curse under your breath. Of course nothing is free in the void. Looks like one interested party or another wants you to drag your ass all the way to the Termitarium.

    Oh well, you've spent more than enough time keeping up appearances; time to find some place along the dock where you can throw away your trash. You return to the dockside strip and head nowhere in particular, going where your legs take you. How can anyone track you when you have no idea where you are going?

    You pass a trio of of freebooter voidships absolutely infested with mailed guardsmen.

    Outside your inn, a familiar preacher fails to get your attention.

    Time passes and you find yourself staring at a rough metal floor which turns abruptly into nothingness. You imagine, idly, the disused dock that was one here. Over there, after two or three turns, you've met the kid, the young pimp. And right there Seamstress' shack stood at the very edge, surrounded by frayed metal. Was it first to crumble? Was it the catalyst for the dock's collapse and the ward's peculiar change? It was, after all, a place that concealed all manner of sins, including Whisper's.

    Or was it your own suicidal curiosity? Did you steal that which the void was meant to claim, quietly damning your little world?

    You chuckle grimly. These sorts of thoughts make the void seem almost tempting.

    Is there a bottom to the void - perhaps an abyss of some sort? How many of your sins has it accumulated? How many regrets, dead friends, lost dreams, these little deaths of yours? You throw some of the most recent ones off the edge. Let sins and garbage pile on.

    You close your eyes and stay still. With no buildings between you and the void, the shard's magical atmosphere shines directly on you with its light and heat, the kind that makes you forget everything, if only for a moment. You bathe in its caresses for a while and as soon as you begin to lose balance you step well away from the edge.

    ---

    The morning of the sixth day has passed. Choose one:

    2A) Come back to Step-There's place to see if he has an Explorer's Kit you could buy, plus consult him on the Shard of Curious Depths.

    2B
    ) Spend your hard-earned coin on something useful. Tell me which goods/services you would like to purchase, and from whom (if they don't fall under one of your contacts, tell me how you plan to look for a source).

    2C) Desperate times call for desperate measures. Take the worm to the Termitarium and find the door within an endless hallway. You were promised "assistance, information, and employment opportunities" by an unknown contact and you figure now is about the time to take them up on this offer. Not to mention they may or may not have sent someone to "remind you" of this little favour...

    2D)
    Go to the Hidden Square. Sounds like the Seekers are offering you a job, so why not hear them out? Unless, of course, it is another set up...

    2E) Take the worm to the Gambit badlands and visit your most recent employer. Now-Seneschal Steel is powerful and well-connected - and, more importantly, he agreed to stay in touch with you for future mutually-beneficial arrangements. Perhaps he can help your situation with the Officials, or else provide some valuable insight. He might even known something interesting about Lord-Inquisitor Schism in particular.

    2F)
    Try to track down sailors and/or freebooters who have been to the Shard of Curious Depths and learn what you can from them.

    2G)
    Now that you don't owe Boxes anything, you might as well move out, try to hide from the Officials. If Lord-Inquisitor Schism is truly investigating you, this may raise many red flags as you would be leaving his jurisdiction. Choose where you would like to move: (This entails moving into a cheaper property, thus your lifestyle and HP recovery chance will suffer. Renting costs 5 coin per day while purchasing the cheapest property available costs 250 coins + upkeep of 10 coin a week and if you choose the latter you won't have to deal with a bothersome landlord.)
    i) No need to stray far from home, nor leave Schism's jurisdiction. Rent a crappy shack in the Yards.
    ii) No need to stray far from home, nor leave Schism's jurisdiction. Buy a crappy shack in the Yards.
    iii) Rent a tiny room in a Facade Ghetto flophouse.
    iv) Buy a tiny room in a Facade Ghetto flophouse.
    v) Rent a small cave somewhere in the Termitarium - the place is just as dangerous if not more chaotic than the Ghetto, but you might blend in marginally better there.
    vi) Buy a small cave somewhere in the Termitarium - the place is just as dangerous if not more chaotic than the Ghetto, but you might blend in marginally better there.

    2H) Do something else, please specify what.

    Notes (open)

    For the record, I did roll the rest dice. Got a 3 and a 4, so you do not recover any additional HP.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
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  21. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
    Joined:
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
  22. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Messages:
    5,273
    Location:
    I'm on an actual spaceship. No joke.
    Okay, this is what I've got so far. I'm worried it might be overly exotic, but here goes:

    The Transit (Transits), (Stinkers) are from the absorbed shard of Shard of Possibility. They are bipedal creatures of potential; At any moment, they'll split into several incarnations, typically between 3 and 5. These incarnations are translucent, and become gradually more transparent over the course of up to ten seconds before vanishing, except for one which grows more opaque before again splitting into multiple incarnations. Which incarnation remains is not consciously chosen. They are known to be industrious, due to their labour capacity, and are overrepresented in occupations such as manufacture, farming and theatre. A Transit is always visibly changing, and will fluctuate in height somewhat, although not dramatically, and will gradually change colours, becoming more or less hairy. Their two fingers and two opposable thumbs end in claws. They have two eyes, although their eyesight is poor, and four elephantine trunks that pick up the nuanced smells extruded through their sweat with which they communicate. A small toothless mouth beneath the trunks. Not a race naturally lent to emotion, it became at some point a point of fashion among them to affect nuances of emotion and change them in much the same way as people change clothes - these fashions change quick, and a Transit that appears to be angry but hopeful the one day will be euphorically impassive the next. The more fashion conscious will also be judgemental of unfashionable displays of emotion, even in non-Transits. Similarly, trends are constantly changing in all clothing and all sorts of cultural pursuits. Festivals and musical styles, and so on, can spring up and disappear overnight.

    The Shard of Possibility was more ephemeral pre-absorption, in keeping with the shifting expectations the Transits had to their environment. After being absorbed by the demiurge, Shard of Possibility solidified into a realm of dull clay. This collapsed their way of life, but grass and vegetable seeds were brought over from other wards. Dirt and sand was, and still is, brought in from the Badlands in order to cultivate workable soil. Most Transits lead simple lives in clay brick huts, as farmers or crafters. The ability to commit long term to complex endeavours is a rarity, and few rise to significant wealth or power. Those that do are very influential in their feudal communities, being the most strong willed and least flighty of the bunch. This influence can be exploitative, but tend to be in a form more along the lines of a manager being well compensated for herding cats rather than any sort of totalitarianism.

    Belief move:
    *do several things at once
    *pinpoint hidden creature, object by smell (if applicable)
     
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  23. Lithium Flower Prophet

    Lithium Flower
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2016
    Messages:
    960
    Damn hallo freund, if only you were one of the players in my campaign. It would have been a real bitch to run then, that's for sure, but also much more interesting.

    If I come up with any comments/questions/concerns regarding this concept, I will share them later this week.
     
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  24. baud Savant

    baud
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2016
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    828
    Location:
    Septentrion
    2A too.
     
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  25. Storyfag Arcane

    Storyfag
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    Messages:
    5,591
    Location:
    A Dark Place
    2A
     
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