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Let's Read Let's build a city fit for all codexers - The Wagie Cage

Discussion in 'Codex Playground' started by GrafvonMoltke, Sep 6, 2021.

  1. GrafvonMoltke Shoutbox Purity League

    GrafvonMoltke
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    Time will tell...
     
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  2. Theodora Arcane Patron Glory to Ukraine

    Theodora
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    ... why is Fluent a fair dame of yore?

    edit:
    On second thoughts, I would like to congratulate you on your success and request that I never be a member of your tales from the Steppes.
     
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  3. GrafvonMoltke Shoutbox Purity League

    GrafvonMoltke
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    All portraits are based on Lutte's original artflowai portraits. Well, most of them.

    There is no escape.
     
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  4. baud Arcane Patron

    baud
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    RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I agree with vazha that it's a bit too long, you should really have split in two or more parts; for example the park inauguration could have easily be its own post
     
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  5. GrafvonMoltke Shoutbox Purity League

    GrafvonMoltke
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    You can see why I said before about this chapter's ever expanding scope. Most future chapters are not planned to be anywhere near this long, and the ones that will be will naturally be broken up, if only for my sanity.

    Also, as GGS and his cohort seem to be unable to grasp why their continued posting is not achieving their stated aims, I decided to make a diagram to illustrate the point:

    [​IMG]

    But they probably secretly love it and can't wait to appear in it themselves. Who knows?
     
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  6. The_Sloth_Sleeps Arcane

    The_Sloth_Sleeps
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  7. GrafvonMoltke Shoutbox Purity League

    GrafvonMoltke
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    It has come to my attention that a number of you are concerned about the length of the last chapter. It's too long! I hear you cry. It took two months to come out! You also have been saying. I know that you guys waited a long, long time for the last chapter, so, to set your minds at ease, I would like to tell you that work is already underway on Chapter 4!

    Here is a sneak preview, the contents of which I'm sure you will all find interesting:

    [​IMG]

    Happy holidays!
     
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  8. Nutria Arcane Patron

    Nutria
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    Strap Yourselves In
    I haven't been this excited since the last time Marvel released their plans for future movies!!!
     
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  9. GrafvonMoltke Shoutbox Purity League

    GrafvonMoltke
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    Considering splitting each chapter up into bitesize chunks, meaning it'll be easy to read and you'll get a more steady stream of updates. Wot u tink?
     
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  10. Nutria Arcane Patron

    Nutria
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    Strap Yourselves In
    You've got to keep the audience engaged by giving us a steady stream of content.
     
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  11. GrafvonMoltke Shoutbox Purity League

    GrafvonMoltke
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    Chapter Four - Brown Gold

    Part One - A Grand New Beginning

    Show Spoiler


    6:02pm. Friday, 21st of November, 2042. High atop the Codexian Plateau, looking down upon the Wagie Cage.

    A seagull flies over the Cage, spraying its purple, berry-infused poop all over the cityscape.

    [​IMG]

    The westside of town is almost unrecognisable compared to a few weeks ago. The slavs, learning an important lesson from their anglo masters, have had the foresight to sell their low-quality, affordable housing to property speculators. The area around Fluent Gardens is a boomtown.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Nestled amongst the new high-rises, a park dedicated to the greatest game company in the world sits. A proud accomplishment.

    [​IMG]

    Codexia's second medical facility has opened next door, offering cutprice boob jobs and benzos without a prescription.

    [​IMG]

    In Prosper Park, a few gazebos have been built, donated by mysterious benefactors. A Costa Coffee adorns the mostly empty Shadilay Promenade.

    [​IMG]

    Class is out at Pepe High, and the track so thoughtfully provided sits empty; perhaps it should have been a benzo clinic instead.

    [​IMG]

    The potato stations off in the distance are hard at work, an army of poorly paid Poles fluttering hither and thither. Closer to the city, a rather inconveniently placed bus depot clogs traffic on the road out of town, Polish kidnappers seemingly unable to bring their girlies to the depot for their nefarious purposes.

    [​IMG]

    Burger King, as predicted, has closed down. Nobody likes Burger King.

    [​IMG]

    At the Drag Storytime Center, the bright minds of the Wagie Cage's future sit down for their state-mandated lessons in tolerance and diversity. Behind that, the new Downtown Bus Station waits to take the assorted dregs of Codexia to their various vices.

    [​IMG]

    The West Gate welcomes all visitors to see the Cage in all its magnificent glory, but soon even it will become consumed by the concrete jungle.

    [​IMG]

    Down on Poland Avenue, in their sparkling new offices, the Moltke Construction Limited team is hard at work on their latest projects sprinkled all over New Codexia. The workers move to and fro, shuffling paper from desk to desk. Stamp after stamp, staple after staple, all of the most important work in the Cage gets done within these four walls.

    [​IMG]

    It is somewhat unfortunate then that these offices are located above a GO NUTS DOUGHNUTS shop, but anything's got to be better than a corrugated metal shack.

    And here we find ourselves on this gorgeous codexian afternoon, not in the hustle and bustle of the main office, where the admin workers dance to their own monotonous tune, but in the rather cramped, but still decidely impressive, office at the rear.

    The architect sits behind an impressively carved oak desk, varnished to the highest levels of shine known possible to man, though his chair is still the same old creaky piece of shit that threatens to send him spilling onto the floor at any moment. Though he can probably get a new one, rinsing one out of a convenient slush fund he has set up to fleece the Mayor's office out of anything he can get, he has instead become quite attached to it.

    The viewscreens that once adorned a nasty metal shanty down on Pepe Beach have now proudly been mounted to this new office wall with the aid of real steel brackets rather than old ropes and the most heartfelt prayers. Their shiny screens beam back the real-time rendered city-management software known only mysteriously as "CS"; it is truly a wonder how any of it works.

    He is not watching the elaborate dance unfolding throughout what he has come to consider "his" town, the covorting and prancing and frolicking of the citizens being somewhat uninteresting for the moment. At this distinct moment in time, he's got a lot more than just the worries of his fellow denizens on his plate.

    A Stouffer's chicken lasagna, to be precise.

    He frowns gently, grunting somewhat in disapproval. Though the shacks are gone and the city grows with each passing day, going from a rather paltry 2,000 citizens to a much more substantial 5,000, New Codexia still lacks its own food supply and as such rationing is still in effect. All Codexian citizens are ranked into five distinct tiers, and as a second-tier citizen the architect is entitled to three Stouffer's meals a day, provided courtesty of the US State Department. Though New Codexia is probably doing better than the US right now, which threatens to collapse under its own weight every five minutes, the American taxpayer continues to provide top-quality meals to places that could probably afford to pay for them themselves.

    The architect picks at the microwaved lasagna, poking it with his fork. After a while of continuing this charade, he decides that the thing is simply unedible and throws his fork onto the plate with a heavy-hearted clack. In truth, UNICEF rice would probably be preferable to this. He slides the disgusting mess into the bin, although the heady aroma of MSG continues to remind the blonde man of the thing's presence.

    Naturally, his identity card should identify him as Tier One, entitling him to the finest of Trader Joe's gastronomic delights, but for some unknown reason his applications keep getting lost in the post whenever he submits them to the Mayor's office. Absolutely nothing suspicious going on there.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    I wish I had a pizza


    He considers phoning for one, but decides that he probably couldn't get the forms notorised and apostilled in time for today. He'll doubtless end up eating tree bark once again.

    His intercom system lights up, and the connected buzzer kicks in a second and a half later, only half-startling him this time. He presses the button gently, afraid of what it could mean.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    Shirley?
    [​IMG]Conveniently unavatared Moltke Construction Limited employee:
    Shirley is not here right now.

    Of course she wasn't.

    [​IMG] Conveniently unavatared Moltke Construction Limited employee:
    Sorry to bother you sir, but there's a man here who says he's come for the interview for the PA job.

    The PA job? He had been interviewing candidates all morning for it, and the interviews were only supposed to continue until lunchtime. Whatever excuse this latecomer has, he surely isn't going to buy it.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    Please tell this person that the position has been filled and that next time they should attend their interviews on time.
    [​IMG] Conveniently unavatared Moltke Construction Limited employee:
    But, sir-

    Before his worker has a chance of finishing her sentence, the door to the office comes crashing in off of its hinges, flung halfway across the space of the small room. A well-built, absolute marble statue of a man comes striding into the office, muscles flexing underneath his Walmart polyester suit, presumably purchased for this very interview. Weighing in at 260 pounds, nearly all of them muscle, he stands in the centre of the room, sizing down the fixtures and fittings before bringing his eyes down to the confused blonde man seated in the old chair, his eyes full of poorly-suppressed rage.

    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    I'm here for the Personal Assistant job.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    Oh the PA job? Right of course! Please, come in. Take a seat.

    He motions for the terrified girl, Tracey from legal perhaps, to pull up a chair for this latecomer to begin his interview. She duly obliges, but clearly can't wait to extricate herself from this rather oppressive environment by breaking into a brisk jog as soon as she plants the chair down.

    The architect takes a glance through the pile of resumes that he discarded some time ago, eager to find this hulking mess of a man's paper before he smashes his head like a melon for any perceived impropriety. Though he is trying his hardest to not look intimidated, he is doing a really, really bad job.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    So Mr Fed.
    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    Fedsmoker.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    Mr Fedsmoker. I'm just going to ask a few questions to you, and hopefully we can see whether you are a good fit for our organisation or not.

    He smiles uneasily, shooting a rather nervous thumbs up at the human brickwall seated in his second-favourite chair. The figure just continues glaring.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    I can see from your employment history that you've had a lot of jobs before-
    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    Too many.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    -and that you didn't stay with any of those positions for very long. May I ask why?
    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    When I got out of prison, I was angry. Very angry.

    His poor concealment of his own anxiety had become obvious long ago.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    And you didn't like those jobs?
    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    No.

    He decides to move on.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    Why do you think that you would be a good fit here?
    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    The parole officer said I had one more chance before they send me back to jail.

    Very informative, the architect attempts to say but all the comes out is a weak croak.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    What is your biggest strength?

    The muscle man says nothing, just raises his arms slightly.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    And your biggest weakness?
    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    Time.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    Where do you see yourself in ten year's time?
    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    Prison.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    Well, I think that's enough questions for now, hehehe.

    He laughs nervously, trying to regain some semblance of composure. After a second or two of quiet contemplation, he decides to lay his cards on the table.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    So, Mr Fedsmoker. I'm going to say some things-

    He slides open the desk drawer in front of him, laying his hand on something hidden within.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    -some constructive criticism, if you will. Bear in mind this for your own benefit, so please try to take what I'm about to say in a good humour, without any kind of drama.

    He draws his fingers around the grip of the Webley revolver, his great-grandfather's old service weapon, clutching it tightly. Though old, it is in perfect working condition, and the mere touch of it fills the architect with every drop of imperialist conviction that it had brought to his great-grandfather when he massacred those thirty-three fisherman in Victoria Harbour, one sunny Hong Kong afternoon.

    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    Fine.

    He even smiles a little.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    You have no skills, no real experience to speak of. You go in and out of jobs like a revolving door.
    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    Yep.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    You're a career criminal who's one footstep away being locked away for good, presumably with a penchant for bouts of ultraviolence.
    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    Uhuh.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    You come here, smash my office door, intimidate my staff and attempt to scare your way into a PA's job!

    His voice rises now, loaded with indignation in much the same way as his revolver is loaded with .45 hollow points.

    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    All true.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    So why on EARTH would I give you the job?!

    He throws that last question at this strange, muscular figure, his white finger tips buried into the grip of the revolver. The man in the chair smiles, answering clearly.

    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    I will crush anyone who stands in your way.

    He smiles now, full-on. The architect smiles too, the weapon in the drawer forgotten in an instant.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    When can you start?
    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    Right now.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    Good. Get your coat. We've got work to do.

    And thus a friendship was born.

    --------------------------

    Show Spoiler


    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    It might be late in the day, but we've still got a busy day ahead of us.

    The architect and his new, oversized PA stroll down Poland Avenue, heading eastwards towards their first task of the afternoon. He had considered taking his old Toyota Camry, but instead decided that the walk would do the both of them good. That and the rattle of the back wheel has been unnerving him for a while now.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Fedsmoker:
    Where are we going?

    The architect nods indistinctly down the avenue.

    Another beautiful Codexian afternoon ascends to its pleasant but wearisome crescendo. The humdity, a hulking, beastlike predator stalks them as they follow the steps on the pavement towards the newest monolith that has made itself at home here in New Codexia. The Kodex Kontinental Khronicles, the city's only media agency with a circulation of more than five newspapers, has set up shop in an absolutely gargantuan spire of polished metal and endless photocopying. The one thing this eyesore doesn't have within its glass-coated walls is common human decency; they are journalists after all.

    [​IMG]

    Where exactly this thing has come from is anyone's guess. While the city is growing fast, and high-rise apartment blocks plop-up every day like weeds, this total monstrosity of a building must have sprung up from somewhere. Nobody knows exactly how or when it appeared in the city's skyline, but now it overshadows utterly everything, looking down from lofty, idealisitic heights. The Lord alone knows whether this building is up to city building regulations. Do we even have building regulations?

    The architect takes out his notepad, adding "Build a city building regulation department" to his already over-crowded To Do List.

    Anyone with a sense of idealism would probably think this news agency having a clear view of absolutely everything in the city would be beneficial to the political heartbeat of the city: a probing panopticon of journalistic honesty and integrity. Anyone with even half a brain knows otherwise; they are journalists after all.

    As they draw closer, this tower of darkness and light towering over them, they start to become aware of something other than the oppressive heat choking the air: the pollution from the industrial buildings north of here is starting to spill out over Poland Avenue. This would have to be a problem for another day.

    [​IMG]

    They approach the newspaper office, pausing for a second outside to appreciate the horse fountain outside. Truly a great appreciator of equine prowess is the master of this house. Either that or some kind of furry.

    [​IMG]

    At the peak of this mountain of lies of deceit, the Chief Editor of the Kodex Kontinental Khronicles stands, admiring the view from his office. A cigar sits in his mouth, half-smoked away, the ashes of the other half lying on the floor next to the the glass window. His office tells us everything we need to know about this character, the newest entry in an already burgeoning cast of characters: decorated in art-deco style, harkening back to some imagined golden age of journalism. The office is all bronze globes, ceramic busts of birds of prey and wooden panelling. Ayn Rand would undoubtedly be proud.

    The intercom buzzes the soothing tune of a ditty by Renato Carosone, nobody born north of the alps having any idea what it is. The editor marches across the spacious office aggressively to the intercom, equal parts Benito Mussolini and Tony Soprano, never once losing grip on his cigar. He smashes the button with the palm of his hand.

    [​IMG] NJClaw:
    What?
    [​IMG] Conveniently unavatared news monkey:
    Sir, your 6:30 is here.
    [​IMG] NJClaw:
    Mamma mia.

    He says under his breath, the sounds slightly muffled behind the cigar. The time now is 6:43, but the editor has a running policy of keeping everyone waiting by at least fifteen minutes...

    [​IMG] NJClaw:
    Send them in.

    ...but the truth is that right now, he simply doesn't have the time.

    He sits in his leather chair, resting back on it somewhat. He puts his hands together in front of him, fingers interlocked, but then thinks better of it and turns his chair so that he is facing away from the door instead. He picks up the receiver of his 1920s-esque telephone, pretending to have an important call on the other end.

    As the architect and his new sidekick walk through the door, the chief editor of this sprawling media empire begins to speak.

    [​IMG] NJClaw:
    Yeah, I don't want to hear about it, Ed. Just finish this evening's broadcast. Get it DONE for God's sakes!

    He slams the phone down menacingly.

    [​IMG] NJClaw:
    Now what exactly can I do for you....gentlemen?

    The architect takes a seat in front of the plush desk. Though the seat is nowhere near as luxurious as the one in which the editor currently sits, it is by no means cramped or uncomfortable. The absorbing leather puts the blonde man at ease, and maybe that's the idea.

    The muscleman cracks his knuckles and takes a seat in the corner, picking up a magazine. His intimidation tactics hasn't seemed to phase the editor.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    You can start by explaining this.

    He slams down a copy of yesterday's edition of the Kodex Kontinental Khronicles on the table, an uneasy headline brimming with lies.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] NJClaw:
    So?
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    The city doesn't even have an orphanage!
    [​IMG] NJClaw:
    Not anymore, it doesn't.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    The Cage has never had an orphanage! We hardly have any kids at all!
    [​IMG] NJClaw:
    Can you prove that?

    He grins widely, a seemingly common reaction to absolutely any personal conflict in New Codexia with the architect.

    [​IMG] NJClaw:
    Of course we had to twist the truth a little, Mr Moltke. We're a news agency after all; we're trying to give the people what they want.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    What the people want? Is this really what the people want?

    He turns the browning newspaper to the centrefold style section. Another stark headline greets them, this one not even attempting to hide its disdain behind a veil of half-truths.

    [​IMG]

    The editor's grin turns into a small chuckle, enraging the architect further.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    What is your problem?
    [​IMG] NJClaw:
    I can't see any untruths here.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    How dare you write this utter drivel?! You know that what you're writing is a load of crap, yet you continue to try and antagonise me and my office. I demand an immediate retraction of this total load of rubbish.
    [​IMG] NJClaw:
    How about...no.

    He leans back, chewing on a pencil that he has picked up from his desk. The muscular round of beef in the corner looks up from the magazine, giving the editor a deadpan stare.

    [​IMG] NJClaw:
    Your dog won't scare me, Mr Moltke. We are crusaders for truth and justice, and where truth doesn't exist, we make it ourselves.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    This is libel! This is an outrage!
    [​IMG] NJClaw:
    So sue us.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    You know damn well that we don't have a goddamn courthouse in this town!

    NJClaw raises his eyebrows in delight, smiling gleefully. He continues chewing on the end of his pencil.

    Outside the door, the architect pulls his worn notepad, his old friend through thick and thin, out of his suit pocket. Opening the pad on the page that contains his To Do List, he scribbles "Build a courthouse" somewhere underneath "Avenge Father Pedro" and "FUCK PORKY".

    --------------------------

    Show Spoiler


    The second stop of the day would, with some hope and a lot of prayers, turn out more fruitful than the first. At least, that's what he hopes.

    Poland Avenue is about to get a makeover. More than just that though, an entirely new district is about to be plucked out of the air, conjured if you will, by sheer willpower alone. That and a hell of a lot of money.

    City Hall, like most things in this downtown district, has grown far beyond the confines of its original nest, spilling out of the post office building and into the nightmares of every codexer within a hundred metres. Clearly, this grotesque malformation masquerading as a city administration needs its own place to operate, its own containment zone. That, and the heavy concentration of all of those high-ranking civil servants in such a small space is making the postmen rather nervous.

    [​IMG]

    So here the architect finds himself, outside the front door of this overcrowded municipal barracks, the air wrapped thickly in pollution. He has come to attend the Mayor's weekly city-planning session, which more often that not ends in a laundry list of demands being imposed on the architect by a series of off-hand remarks. How these remarks are to be interpreted is often anyone's guess, and he couldn't help wondering if the Mayor might have something against him. Shaking off his sense of trepidation, he opens the door and steps inside, his new companion following in his wake.

    Past the drowsy post-sorters and unresponsive secretaries, the governing cabal responsible for suprisingly few of the cities' numerous municipal functions gathers in the Mayor's office and adjoining conference room, along with their yesmen. The room is overflowing with the sound of foul-mouthed annecdotes, locker-room banter gravely offending any females who might happen to find themselves nearby today. A thick blanket of smoke coats the room with its rich, tobacco aroma, despite the fact that no-one seems to be smoking.

    [​IMG] Rean:
    And that's when the cheerleader said "please don't rip my eyeballs out".

    The crowd of sycophants hustled around the Mayor erupts into boisterous laughter, the punchline of this repugnant joke apparently finding its mark, though its teller's identity is something of a mystery to the architect.

    He enters through the doorway and notes all the usual suspects in attendance: the Mayor of course, the Chief of Police, the Treasurer and an assorted handful of various other minor and certainly unimportant bureaucrats and dignatries.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    I apologise for my slight tardiness.

    The Mayor doesn't seem even remotely bothered.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    Ahhh, Mr Moltke! Just in time! Allow me to introduce the newest member of, ahem, club. This is Rean, the spokesman for the recently formed Codexian Business Association!

    Why exactly Codexia would need such a garbled mess of agendas disguised as a forum for business is anyone's guess.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    GrafvonMoltke.

    He reaches his hand out for a brief handshake, although this businessman apparently has no intention of letting his hand slip away so quickly.

    [​IMG] Rean:
    Charmed, I'm sure.

    He continues shaking the architect's hand for what must seem if not an eternity then certainly exceedingly close to it. In that time, he has more than enough time to take stock of this man and his absurdities: his Zegna suit, his sharp haircut, his killer smile. All wrapped in a thin veneer of respectability, his office concealing the dark forces that lay behind it. The blonde man starts to wonder if he is the pupper or the puppeter. Perhaps he is something in between.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    You already know our esteemed Treasurer of course.

    Jason Liang, the Wagie Cage's infamous penny-pincher. Truthfully, he has never met the man in person, although he has certainly sent enough invoices for payment to his office. Only about half are ever fulfilled.

    [​IMG] Jason Liang:
    Good to see you again, Mr Graf.

    He shakes his hand for a few seconds, hardly enough time to regard the man at all. His evasiveness is typical of all bean counters, conveniently out-of-the-office whenever money needs to change hands, but whenever a snack platter is on offer they always magically make an appearance.

    Today's snack platter is lavish, as the Mayor's usually are. The human/orc hybrid that functions as his right-hand salivates at the sight of the salmon puffs.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    Right, of course. Gentlemen, I'd like you to meet the newest addition to my team: my personal assistant, Fedsmoker.

    The assistant says nothing, still staring at the smorgasbord of tasty, bite-sized treats.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    Please, help yourself.

    The hulking assistant snaps up the entire plate of salmon puffs with a rather immediate swipe, sending a number of breaded mushrooms from a neighbouring dish flying against a nearby wall. If anyone notices, they pretend not to. He takes the plate to the corner, where he sits on a small stool, munching away slowly.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    You remember Rusty, of course.

    The Chief of Police tips his hat, declining any further interaction. He clearly hasn't forgotten their altercation in the helicopter.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    Is the colonel here?
    [​IMG] Gregz:
    He's feeling a little under the weather.

    A slight sadness builds up behind his eyes, and he pauses for a few seconds, unknown emotions weighing down upon his soul. A few seconds later, he continues.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    Anyway, I'm sure you'll become acquainted with the others in time. If no-one's against then shall we get started?

    No-one is. They all sit in their pre-arranged chairs around the oak conference table, polished to a mirror shine. The Mayor takes his seat at the head of the table, taking a gavel in his hand.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    I'd like to call this meeting to order.

    He slams the gavel down with all the subtlety of man slipping on a stick of butter on the sidewalk. The crash leaves everyone's ears ringing, a frequency they'll most certainly never hear again.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    Before we start, I'd just like to say a big thank you to the newest member of our little cabal, Rean, for so thoughtfully providing the new, much more attractive palm trees to make our city a much nicer looking place.

    [​IMG]

    The Mayor starts clapping and the other sycophants join in, the self-congratulation making the architect feel nauseous. At the other end of the table, the rapturous applause makes the newcomer smile unduly. Palm trees? Big deal! It's not like this budget televangelist-looking stack of hair gel ever built an award-winning park, known for and wide for being free of ladies of the night. No, these trained chimps are impressed by some green swaying things.

    [​IMG] Rusty Shackleford:
    Great job there, partner.

    He shoots him with his finger, further elevating the unstable escalation of smiles going on in the room.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    Great job there. Now, our first order of business is...

    An aide opens a window and a breeze blows in a foul odor that could knock an elephant dead: sewage, rotten food and coal smoke all rolled into one nostril-singeing stench.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    ...of course this. We've stood by for long enough and endured this hardship, as we Codexians endure all hardships, but this has to end. Today.

    Nods and murmurs of approval from the yesmen. The others in attendance who work in other parts of the city say nothing but smile politely, not having to endure the hardships of the harsh, domineering mistress known as Poland Avenue. The smell that hangs over the Krakovian Shopping District like shoutboxers over a spilled beer is an intermingling of industrial pollution, garbage and clogged human waste of the more...brown variety. The source of all of these odours are-

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    The water treatment plant and landfill, which our dearest architect so thoughtfully provided for us...

    He glances at him for a second, a wry smile painting a picture of a thousand words and all of the brown.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    ...are rather incoveniently located in this neighbourhood.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    While that might have made sense when we are small settlement of mostly shacks, as a growing metropolis, a beacon of light for the rest of humanity, our lofty ideals elevated to the highest possible plain for all of the galaxy to see as we bask in our own magnificence-

    He loses his train of thought, derailed by a pompous trail of ludicrous statements.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    I'm sorry. So they need to be relocated, and ideally the industrial zone needs to go too.

    The architect doodles a picture of an asian man wearing a triangular hat sitting on the toilet, a B52 dropping a daisy cutter on his hut.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    Graf, I'm sure we can entrust you with this task.

    He shoots a finger pistol in the direction of the Mayor, not looking up from his doodle. Clearly, he was expecting this plot-twist.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    Our office will provide all the funds, seeing as how this is clearly a city responsibility. Jason, can you arrange that?
    [​IMG] Jason Liang:
    Well, I'm not sure the budget will-
    [​IMG] Gregz:
    Great! Now, on to the next order of business, which is kinda related to the first. As I mentioned before, New Codexia is becoming a true global-tier metropolis, and we are now soaring high in the annals of humanity...
    [​IMG] Rusty Shackleford:
    Oh, Lord. Here we go again.
    [​IMG] Rean:
    Mr Mayor, as much as we all enjoy hearing about the extraordinary accomplishments of our city, might I suggest that we move on to something more pressing?

    He smiles politely, not a hint of sarcasm or malicious intent detectable in his voice. His impossibly white teeth shine in the sunlight creeping through the window, setting the room at ease.

    [​IMG] Jason Liang:
    I think he wants to say that we need to get out of this post office.
    [​IMG] Gregz:
    What? Yes, he's right, but let's not try to limit our way of thinking here. We don't just need a new City Hall, where the Mayor and his staff can play. A grand City Hall, to celebrate all the accomplishments of Codexians, far and wide, oh no-

    Eyes start to roll.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    What we need is an administrative center worthy of our new capital, our mythical city on the hill, so to speak. Like the beating heart of a great beast, beautiful and deadly in equal measure.
    [​IMG] Jason Liang:
    So a complete redesign of the district? Sounds...expensive.
    [​IMG] Gregz:
    We can dream a little, can't we? Don't we deserve that?
    [​IMG] Rusty Shackleford:
    We surely do.
    [​IMG] Rean:
    I'd say.
    [​IMG] Jason Liang:
    I suppose.

    The architect continues doodling, nodding without really listening; by now, an entire platoon of Vietcong has been annihilated on this chronicle of a scribble.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    Moltke, we're gonna need your direction on this.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    Whatever you want doing, just tell me. I'll make a list.

    He flips the page over to his to do page, the laundry list of half-baked ideas and revenge plots remaining mostly undone.
    [​IMG] Gregz:
    The most pressing concern is City Hall. It must be grand.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    I know.
    [​IMG] Gregz:
    And there are a number of other government departments and city services that need to be housed. The usual ones of course: sanitation, education, citizen surveillance, bla bla bla.

    The architect writes it all down.

    [​IMG] Rusty Shackleford:
    Our brave boys in blue need a headquarters they can be proud of. A real place to hang their hats and saddle their horses.
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    Right.

    He scribbles away, the point on his pencil starting to wear down. The markings on the page get thicker with each stroke, like a fat pop singer hitting her 40s.

    [​IMG] Rusty Shackleford:
    And plenty of donuts. How many times I gotta hear that shit about there not being enough donuts?
    [​IMG] Jason Liang:
    The Treasury Department could use its own building. And of course the Central Bank, nobody wants to share a building with those...things.

    Scribble, scribble, scribble.

    [​IMG] Rean:
    A stock exchange, of course. The triumphant march of capitalism must bring peace and prosperity to all!
    [​IMG] Gregz:
    The whole area needs a Grand Plaza, as well. Everything must be grand!
    [​IMG] Rusty Shackleford:
    A Ministry of Defence, for the Colonel of course.
    [​IMG] Jason Liang:
    A zoo would be nice.
    [​IMG] Rusty Shackleford:
    In the government quarter?
    [​IMG] Jason Liang:
    Well, no. Not necessarily, but still.
    [​IMG] Rean:
    How about a giant monument erected to commemorate all the brave men and women who laid down their lives in the heroic pursuit of a brighter future for Codexian industry?

    They all stare at him; nobody seems to like this idea. The architect, not looking up, writes it down anyway.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    And to tie it all together, an exquiste new public transport system linking all of fair Codexia to our newest and grandest of-
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    -white elephants-

    He murmurs under his breath.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    -achievements. They will come from far and wide to see our grand new world, I'm sure.

    Grand. Grand. Grand. Grand, grand, grand, grand, grand, grand. It must of course be grand.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    Would a new metro network suffice?
    [​IMG] Rusty Shackleford:
    A "metro"? What manner of namby-pamby homosexuality is this?
    [​IMG] Gregz:
    I believe our dear architect meant to say subway. Yes, we will need one of those. But you think so small, architect. I'm not sure that's a good trait for someone in your business, to be frank. Think bigger! Codexia requires a grand boulevard to project itself up to the heavens! And when I say boulevard, I don't just mean a road, dear friends. There will be a farmer's market! With French baguettes! And French cheeses! And Chinese noodles!

    One of those certainly doesn't belong. He keeps scribbling regardless.

    [​IMG] Rusty Shackleford:
    Gosh darn it! I forgot about donuts! My boys are gonna need plenty of those sweet lil' morsels!
    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    You already said that.

    [​IMG] Jason Liang:
    We'll need restaurants too. Our lunches can go on preeeeeetty long.
    [​IMG] Rean:
    While we're at it, how about mansions for us all.
    [​IMG] Rusty Shackleford:
    Now yer talkin'!

    The list is so long now that it could easily provide a day's worth of toilet paper for a fat man. The architect makes a mental note not to leave it laying around in the presence of shoutboxers.

    [​IMG] GrafvonMoltke:
    Ok, so, where am I going to be finding the funds for this project?

    Silence. The architect finally brings his eyes up to size down the likely candidates. The Treasurer? Of course he has the power to unlock the funding, but bean counters cannot be trusted to pay even their own mothers on time. The Police Chief? Undoubtedly the Codexia Police Association's secret slush funds hold enough cash, but the man in the oversized hat is sure to keep hold of them tighter than a whiny brat on christmas morning. The man in the overpriced suit? Presumably his own personal account contained more than enough to foot the bill, but why the hell would it be his responsibility?

    He looks then at the Mayor, not finding anything resembling a reassuring look. In his expression he only finds a sardonic smile, rattling around the cage of his empty soul. He would find no help here whatsoever.

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    We're confident in your abilities to secure those funds yourself. After all, you're putting up new construction projects all over the place. You must be making a fortune.

    He knows damn well most of those projects won't see a dime for a very long time. Moltke Construction Limited is lucky to be breaking even here.

    But then, a premonition hits the blonde man whose soul tells him he's a butterfly who happens to inhabit the frail body of an overtaxed architect. A dark vision of a future that could almost certainly come to pass if he let it. A Moltke Construction Limited sign wrapped in an out of business banner, a Gregz Construction LLC sign being put up in its place. A meeting between the Mayor and a caffeinated demigod: "well it just couldn't be helped, he should have been more careful. But I've been hearing great things about this other construction firm...."

    No. He can't let that happen. Show no weakness here, but he'd have to find that money from somewhere else, before it's too late.

    The clock outside chimes 9pm as the walls close in.
     
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  12. supervoid Self-Ejected

    Self-Ejected
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    this is what you get when you crossbreed reddit and 4chan "humor"
     
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  13. GrafvonMoltke Shoutbox Purity League

    GrafvonMoltke
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    So what's your point?
     
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  14. Rean Ask me about Sen no Kiseki Patron

    Rean
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    Strap Yourselves In
    Excellent. My mansion will surely serve as the city's premier catgirl meet n' greet spot... Also, I'm loaded!:bravo:
     
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  15. baud Arcane Patron

    baud
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    RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    :lol:
    :D
     
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  16. 111111111 Savant

    111111111
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    [​IMG]



    :lol:
     
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  17. Rean Ask me about Sen no Kiseki Patron

    Rean
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    Nov 14, 2020
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    Strap Yourselves In
    This is high effort/budget stuff. Aside from an active imagination and writing, the man's got image editing skills he's willing to enrich this with. You could make a great tabletop GM GrafvonMoltke .
     
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  18. vazha Prophet

    vazha
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    Good update, especially the first half (until the mayors office). Still a tad too long for my taste. Also, less exposition, more dialogue. More ENTERTAINING dialgoue, that is.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2021
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  19. GrafvonMoltke Shoutbox Purity League

    GrafvonMoltke
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    Glad you're liking it so far. Hope you still like it after the next update!

    Yeah some great lines in that one, some I'm really proud of.

    Who said one can't laugh at one's self once in a while?

    Thanks a lot! Just wanted to say though that my image editing skills suck balls. All the wonderful photoshop work on the portraits was done by TZ3K and that beautiful newspaper is in fact some rando powerpoint I found on the internet.

    But I love exposition. Nothing I ever do is good enough for you!:despair:

    Thanks anyway guys. Gonna try and get the next one out before Christmas, so expect it some time between Christmas and New Year!
     
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  20. The_Sloth_Sleeps Arcane

    The_Sloth_Sleeps
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    There's some good stuff but also some of it needs reigning in. A decent editor could really fix up this mess.
     
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  21. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
    Joined:
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    I'm on an actual spaceship. No joke.
    A little protip GrafvonMoltke, a lot of criminal activity, such as money laundering, can be done discretely from a donut shop. The KKKops will never suspect their favourite place, and will ensure it's always protected from unsavoury characters. The possibilities are endless, you could be smuggling bootleg tuna fish cans and olive oil, do all kinds of VAT shenanigans - maybe even start up a window washing front for a private intelligence network. No one suspects the guy outside the window of having listening devices stashed in his buckets. Many opportunities overall for a struggling construction entrepeneur. You need to branch out. Diversify.
     
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  22. vazha Prophet

    vazha
    Joined:
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    Didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Let me try and explain more in detail what my 2 cents worth of critique entails:

    The first half of the update is really good, brisk writing, with some excellent one-liners strewn about. The journalism bits were hilarious and also very, shall I say, codexian? The second half feels kind of a padding to an already established narrative that I feel you are kind of unwilling to let go, and suffers in comparison to the fresh goodness that is the first half. Similarly, while exposition in the first half helps the forthcoming dialogue to be more impactful and nuanced, in the second half it's there for its own sake mostly.

    As for length, considering the fact that the only thing that ties the two halves is our main protagonist, I don't see why you couldn't have divided this long ass text into two, or maybe even three updates.

    In general, a marked improvement as far as the FUN read rating is concerned. Some excellent suggestions too, from your readership (myself excluded ofc). Looking forward to the next chapter, keep up the good work!
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2021
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  23. GrafvonMoltke Shoutbox Purity League

    GrafvonMoltke
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    Put your money where your mouth is.

    Interesting idea. I actually had some interesting plans already for the donut shop, as you shall see. Maybe I can combine that with this and see what crazy results ensue.

    Vazha's post is quite lengthy, so I'll break it down a bit.

    My feelings are very easily hurt and you should be more considerate!

    Seriously though, don't worry about my feelings; you've already given me some great feedback that I think helped this chapter to be better.

    Some of my best work, definitely. It was an absolute ton of fun to write; I was giggling the whole time while writing it.

    I can see where you're going with this, and I agree reluctantly. What's interesting is that the parts you identify as weaker are the parts which I don't enjoy writing as much, so it's clear to me what the weaker parts are. This specific one I couldn't let go; it sets up me actually PLAYING THE GAME later. This is supposed to be an LP, and I would actually like to build something at some point. Otherwise it really will become just a cringe forum fanfic (yes, I know it is already, Maxie Cultists).

    Now, this is where I must draw some contention. I know that in general the chapters are long and I have taken onboard the advice to write shorter updates more frequently. This update is a third of this chapter; to break it up further would be to create 6-9 updates per chapter, which to me seems a little too much. I do try to break up each part by creating separators between them; if it's not too much to ask, maybe you could all just try to remember which part you read and just come back to it later?

    I'm glad you enjoyed it in general, and yes there absolutely has been a lot of great suggestions which I will take on board. Except that Sloth guy, cause he can't cook.

    PART 2 IS COMING! GET HYAEP!
     
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  24. Thac0 Time Mage Patron

    Thac0
    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Arborea
    Pretty good, not a lot happened, but a lot of promising new characters are introduced. Brisker pacing is definitly an improvement.
    One thing which I would like to see for easy readings sake is to not repeat avatars when the same person speaks in turn. So:

    [​IMG] Gregz:
    While that might have made sense when we are small settlement of mostly shacks, as a growing metropolis, a beacon of light for the rest of humanity, our lofty ideals elevated to the highest possible plain for all of the galaxy to see as we bask in our own magnificence-

    He loses his train of thought, derailed by a pompous trail of ludicrous statements.
    I'm sorry. So they need to be relocated, and ideally the industrial zone needs to go too.

    The architect doodles a picture of an asian man wearing a triangular hat sitting on the toilet, a B52 dropping a daisy cutter on his hut.
    Graf, I'm sure we can entrust you with this task.

    He shoots a finger pistol in the direction of the Mayor, not looking up from his doodle. Clearly, he was expecting this plot-twist.
    Our office will provide all the funds, seeing as how this is clearly a city responsibility. Jason, can you arrange that?



    But I don't read many LPs, so maybe that is just the LP style. Its a bit cumbersome to read when the portrait is repeated four times.
     
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  25. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
    Joined:
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    I'm on an actual spaceship. No joke.
    I disagree
     
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