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Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by treave, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    Where did the chicken wings come from, in prison?
     
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  2. Storyfag Perfidious Pole Patron

    Storyfag
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    :rage:
     
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  3. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Codex 2012
    Which part of that didn't seem like a joke? :lol: Anyway, actual update incoming.

    ***

    The Killer Physician

    Chang’an is a week’s old memory by now, on your lone hike south in search of adventure. Fortunately, it seems that adventure has found you at the beginning of your travels.

    You hear screams. Laughter. You remember the caravan lurching, and then crashing. A heavy boot sinks into the mud in front of your face. A thick stench of wet fur, grime and sweat assaults your nostrils as grubby fingers fumble at your clothes. You stir, groaning. You know it would be a bad idea to get up - it’s good way to get a knife in your throat. Not that you could, anyway. The pain in your chest has suddenly returned with a painful vengeance. Not passing out again is all you can hope to do.

    The other passengers on the caravan are being beaten and kicked into submission. Out of the corner of your eye, you spot two bandits having their way with a wailing young woman. You recall that she was sitting opposite you and that the both of you had conversed, though you do not recall her name at the moment.

    The fingers withdraw with your pouch. With a greedy sneer, the man empties the contents into his palm. The sneer is wiped out and his eyes widen as a flow of silver coins spill out. He must not have been expecting much. “‘ey, boss! We’ve got a rich boy here!” The last thing to drop out of the pouch is a piece of paper, folded tightly. Before he can unfold it, the paper is snatched out of his hands by another bandit.

    The newcomer has a belly that can rival a pig’s and enough hair to be mistaken for a beast. Despite his bloated body, his gaze is anything but lazy; it is sharp and brutal. “What’s it say, boss?” asks the first bandit. The bandit leader’s fingers are surprisingly slender - opening up the paper, he begins to pore over the admission letter. Even though you did not want to use it, you had kept it, just in case it would come in handy.

    The bandit leader shrugs, a strange calm coming over the fat man’s posture. “I don’t know how to read those fancy characters they use. There’s the seal of the Imperial Court, though. This kid’s something. Strip him, see if he’s got anything else interesting.”

    You are roughly hauled up into a sitting position as they remove your clothing in a surprisingly gentle manner. “Wouldn’t want to damage the cloth. It’s good cloth,” explains a rat-faced thug with a scar twisting his lips. There is a collective whistle as your back is revealed.

    “Look at ‘em scars, boss. Thought he was a brat of good breeding,” whispers one of the bandits loudly.

    “Could be an accident,” chimes another.

    “Nah.” The bandit leader shakes his jowls. “Nah. They’re from a beating. Sticks, I expect. This boy is not high-born. They wouldn’t scar one of them nobles, not like that. Found anything?”

    “Nothing nice. There’s this thing around his neck, though,” says the rat-faced bandit as he reaches for your Ashina amulet. Not that. Your hand shoots up and grips his wrist tightly, causing the bandit to give an unmanly shriek. Without warning, you feel a boot land on the side of your temple, jarring your skull. A burst of pain shoots through your head as you are thrown to the ground.

    “Not a docile one, is he, Shuzhui? Leave it. Let the kid have his worthless trinket,” says the bandit leader, laughing.

    “What’re we going to do with this boy, boss?” asks a tall, thin bandit with a pencil thin moustache. “Ransom? Or make him join our gang? Little Mu made a gift of his own head to the guards just last week, we’re short a scout. This one looks like he can handle himself.”

    The fat man looks at the letter in his hands again, his eyes resting on the seal. Then, he rips up the paper. The fragments are scattered across the mud, turning them illegible. “Too risky, Zhang. We are running a tight ship, my brothers. The kid’s bound to be connected. Someone might come looking for him.”

    “Kill him, then?” grunts Rat-Face.

    The leader’s eyes gleam viciously as he smiles. “Not here. They find his stiff here, we’re going to have a hard time making our honest livelihood in the future. Slit the throats of the other passengers, but this one is going missing.”

    ***

    After an hour’s trek through the forest, you find yourself bound and gagged, stripped of all possessions except for your amulet and standing on the precipice of a very steep cliff. Your heart is pounding furiously as you stare at the drop. It would take many seconds to reach the bottom. Sharp, jagged rocks and stunted tree branches line the cliff’s side. A man could easily end up broken before he hits ground. The bandit leader places one hand on your shoulder, standing quietly behind you.

    “If you’re lucky, the fall will kill you. There are wolves in this area. You don’t want to be alive when they find you.”

    You scream a muffled curse at the man.

    “Curse the misfortune of your birth, dog of the Court.” His voice is a low and lethal whisper, spoken for your ears only. Then, he gives you a shove.

    It is a long way down.

    ***

    You feel something warm being placed over your forehead. You are lying down on a straw mat - still naked - but where? The last thing you remember is hitting the ground, having broken more than a few branches - and much of your bones - on your way down. Then, in the mists of pain and darkness, you heard a faint growling.

    Strangely, your body doesn’t feel shattered to you. In fact, you feel better than you have ever been. Was it all a dream? Are you going to wake up back in the palace?

    Your eyes snap open. You meet the gaze of a girl swaddled in rags - between her messy long hair and the amount of cloth wrapped around her, you can only make out her large, glistening eyes. She seems flustered at your awakening. Making a ghastly croaking sound akin to that of a dying frog, she backs away from you and flees.

    You seem to be in a hut somewhere in the woods. You can hear birdsong; judging from the brightness, it is early morning. The hut is unfurnished - it doesn’t look like it has been lived in.

    Moments later, a tall, old man whose hair has turned entirely white walks in. His posture is upright and his face is stern. The girl follows behind him, taking care not to look at you. The old man kneels by the side of the straw mat and grabs your right wrist roughly. Gripping it with two wrinkled fingers, he closes his eyes and takes your pulse.

    You wonder if they saved you. Remembering your manners, you open your mouth to thank the old man, but he hisses at you. “Silence! Do not make a peep, you brat!” Surprised, you swallow your words of gratitude. With a harrumph, the old man lets go of your wrist.

    “You would be dead if not for me,” he states flatly. You bow your head. “Thank-”

    “Do you know what is wrong with you, boy?” snaps the old man before you can finish your sentence.

    “I... fell off a cliff?” you conjecture.

    “Oh, that,” snorts the old man dismissively. “If I couldn’t fix that I might as well retire. Your body should be as good as new, though I can’t do anything about the old scars that have already set in. No. What is wrong with you is inside you.” He jabs at your chest painfully with his finger.

    “Your qi is a great big mess! I’ve never seen internal energy so chaotic. Yes, all people have both yin and yang within them, but yours are not only equal, they are in constant opposition with each other! It’s a freak of nature, that’s what it is. Let your qi rage uncontrolled and your meridians would blow up and kill you. No wonder they were congested, you would be long dead if they weren’t!”

    “Meridians blow up?” That’s something new to you - you thought they were merely channels for qi. The old man turns the full force of his glare upon you. “Of course they do. Are you questioning my knowledge, boy? I am the Killer Physician, Yao Shunshi! Ignore my advice at your own peril.”

    Stroking his beard rather smugly after having declared his identity - though you have never heard of him in your life - he continues. “The energies from your core, your dantian, are now impossible for me to seal up or control. It would be like attempting to tame a raging ocean by slapping it. I doubt even the Taoists at Wudang, experts that they are at harmonizing yin and yang, can fully subdue your wayward internal energy. I have given you pills that will suppress your qi for now, but I am afraid this condition is rather permanent. It’s unfortunate that I accidentally cleared the congestion in my attempt to heal you with my qi in the first place.”

    “You… what?”

    “Now, boy, don’t take that tone with me. You were about to go down and meet King Yanluo when I got to you. I had to stabilize your vital signs. Besides that, you also had the poisonous remnant of another person’s internal energy circulating around your system, like a drop of oil mixed into a lake. I had to expunge it to heal you.”

    That must be an effect of the woman in black’s palm strikes. This would be a good chance to ask about it, you think. “I… was attacked by someone and wounded by their palms,” you say. “Do you know anything about the internal energy you found?”

    “Hmph,” sniffs Yao as he strokes his beard again. “As if I wouldn’t! You have been whoring, haven’t you, boy? No need to be shy about it. I suppose you are of that age...”

    “No, not recently. What does that have to do with anything?” you ask in puzzlement.

    Yao sighs and shakes his head, an elegant gesture that seems to perfectly exemplify his disdain for the ignorance of youths nowadays. “You were struck by the Yuhua Duqing Palm (玉花獨情掌, Jade Flower Sole Love Palm). It’s a technique particular to the ladies of Yuhua Hall, the most popular brothel in Jiangnan. Did you cross one of their ladies? You must have. Here’s some advice. Pay up when you’re done.” You hear an embarrassed squeak from the girl sitting in the corner. She seems to be staring intently at the floor, drawing circles with her finger.

    That sounds interesting. It looks like Yuhua Hall is your next destination. Turning back to the Killer Physician, you begin to smile. “I don’t know how to-”

    He interrupts you by grabbing your left wrist. You feel a sharp, aching pain shooting through your arm. “Oh, I know exactly how you can repay me. Do you know why they call me the Killer Physician? When I save a life, I take another as payment, to balance the world. I spent half my cache of herbs to save your life… and unfortunately, the one who begged me to save you was my idiot apprentice Cao’er over there.” He jerks his thumb at the girl, who shakes her head furiously and continues staring at the floor, as if it will open up and swallow her into a nice hiding spot if she looks at it long enough.

    “I can’t go killing my precious heir and inheritor of my knowledge, boy. So, I will make a once-in-a-lifetime exception and have you work it off in other ways. You came at a right time - I will need an extra hand for some dangerous work in the future. From now on, you will be my second apprentice. Now... I can see that you are a wild one. If I let you be, you will flee in the night, thinking that you are some sort of untameable stallion. Young people. Hah.”

    You had considered that, but you keep your eyes steady and focused on him without saying anything in return. He lets go of your wrist, the one that had hurt.

    “Take a look at that purple dot on your skin. It will grow day by day, turning into a ring that encircles your wrist. When it is complete, you will die. Horribly. The only way to prevent it from growing is with a temporary antidote that I have, and I am the only person who knows how to remove the poison entirely.” His hand stops stroking the damnable beard, and a sly smile sprouts on his face. “You will work for me until the day I deem your debt repaid.”

    Who knows how many years that will be? Even so, from the confident look on his face you know that it is useless to protest. You will have to bide your time for now and follow. The old man gets up, grinning crazily.

    “Now, if you are done being surprised, get up! You are perfectly healthy now and have no excuse lying around being an invalid. We have work to do, places to go. There is an old woman with a cold in a nearby village that needs my attention.”

    “Who are you going to kill for that?” you ask. Master Yao gives you a glare. “Are you dense? The bloody woman isn’t going to die from her cold. I take payment for minor ailments, taels only. How else would I eat?”

    ***

    Yao turns out to be a rather tough master. The three of you wander from place to place according to his whims, curing little ills as you go. Apparently, it is rare that someone actually seeks him out in order to save lives - his price is known and few are willing to pay it. However, you cannot deny that his skills are bordering on the realm of the divine; he makes even the most reputable Imperial doctor look like a quack in comparison. During your travels, you perform many odd jobs and learn many things about herbalism and acupuncture, but you find yourself being relied upon to do a certain type of task in particular.

    (Herbalism +2, Pressure Points +2)
    (Neigong +1, but cannot be raised any higher for now)

    A. Both Yao and Cao’er are really quite bad at talking to people. Horrendous, actually. You find yourself often being the face of your little physician troupe in socializing, negotiating and haggling for payment with stingy peasants and rich merchants alike. You begin to talk more smoothly and think more quickly, being forced to mentally calculate the proper compensation for the value of the herbs used and services rendered... and in some sadly frequent cases, especially when it comes to the merchants, acquire the unpaid monies subtly. (CHA +1, INT+1, Speech +2, Sleight-of-Hand +1, Sneak +1)

    B. You often take the job of travelling deep into the wilds in order to gather rare herbs and animals. The isolation of the mountains sharpen your senses. You become more perceptive of colours and sounds and movement, as you set traps for snakes and other animals - but more commonly snakes. You become able to identify your target herbs and animals from a distance. The long treks in the wild also improves your endurance, as you frequently find yourself returning under a heavy load of materials collected for Master Yao. (PER +1, END +1, Herbalism +1, Sneak +1, Traps +2)

    ***

    In addition to medicine, the Killer Physician also proves to be rather adept at the art of killing. There are those who would refuse to pay his price after his work is complete. These he would end; by force if necessary, though he takes only the life he is owed. You have yet to encounter Master Yao putting his reputation as the Killer Physician in practice, as all you have dealt with so far are common ailments, but you know he is of considerable skill as a martial artist. The first technique he imparts to you is the Jinshetuipi (金蛇蛻皮, Golden Snake Shedding Skin). It is an unorthodox qinggong technique that specializes in avoiding an enemy's clutches via erratic movements - he perceived your high agility and deemed it useful for you. You accepted the technique with little hesitation; you had lost your scroll for the Yinglang Step together with the rest of your possessions when the bandits attacked. You had memorized many of the drawings, but what you could replicate was an incomplete technique.

    This was not the only skill you learned. You were also offered the chance to learn:

    A. Duancao Legs. (斷草腿, Grass Breaking Legs) A physician's hands are to cure, not to kill. So said Master Yao's own master, though Yao doesn't seem to abide by that maxim. The Grass Breaking Legs is a kicking technique that is quick and sharp. True masters of this ability would be able to cut pliable grass by the force of their kicks alone.

    B. Jiudu Silver Needles. (九毒銀針 Nine Poison Silver Needles) A deadly poison technique created by concocting nine basic poisons. One strike in the proper point will kill any man not versed in the art of self-defense. The needles soaked in the poison can be used in close combat, or thrown, if the practitioner has skill with throwing weapons.

    C. Yuhe Finger (癒合指, Healing Finger) A neigong dependant finger technique that transmits internal energy to a pressure point when struck. Practitioners will focus on the ability to cure ailments and manipulate a person's qi into a healthier arrangement.

    ***

    Votes for each choice will be counted separately.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
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  4. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Hold up on voting, I figure I can squeeze in a bit more 'goodies' to dole out.
     
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  5. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    :bro:
    Also, B.
     
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  6. LWC1996 Learned

    LWC1996
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    I'm going with 1.A. and 2.B

    Since his next target should logically be YuHua Hall in the city, then the improved stats for A will stand in him good stead. As for money, I'm thinking since he has ahem, extensive experience acquiring unpaid monies subtly, he could still do the same when he needs to acquire money to go to Yu Hua Hall. It's a brothel, not a charity house. They want cold, hard cash. So that's one less worry. And I still get my Pressure Point and Herbalism stat from being forced to stay with the goaty duo, I'm happy with this choice.

    I would loved to go with B for the sneak and trap stats, but it wouldn't be of much use in the city and in a brothel house. Unless you wanna set a trap to trap a lady of the night in your bed...but um, that would be overkill wouldn't it? Have money, will stay in bed with you how ever long you want.

    On another note, I'm beyond delighted to finally meet the Killer Doctor since I like the Goat Doctor character. LOL

    ETA : Going with 2.B because I've always like those flying poison needles type kungfu. *shrugs* consider it an indulgent choice. And I figured that since I'm THE face for the Goaty Duo, my rep with the orthodox sect is already hit, so might as well learn something useful that I may or may not use.
     
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  7. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Okay, can't into editing. Retracting my vote.
     
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  8. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    ALRIGHT! We got to meet up with the doctor's apprentice. Not quite sure she's a goat, but still awesome! :yeah:

    Gonna wait a bit with the voting, though I'm partial to the endurance and percetion boosts in B. Remember, pressure points tie into perception...
     
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  9. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    :lol: This is awesome. I guess our luck may be somehow connected to the mess our qi is, eh? I guess it's a good thing we didn't go Wudang, then. I'll consider this for a while.
     
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  10. LWC1996 Learned

    LWC1996
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    Well, I figure that since Jing's PER is already at 5, I should be okay for normal basic pressure point usage. So yeah, I'm good to go with A.
     
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  11. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    If there's an INT + PER option I will go with that. I'll probably end up going with A though, since I want us to be competent with handling people. The reason I'm prioritising INT is that I think it's important that we're smart enough to adapt the scattering of techniques and skills we're going to learn from the sticks into effective tactics.
     
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  12. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    Guys, guys, guys. The choice is about street smarts (A) versus forestry and survivalism, plus poisons (B). Then again,
    there'll be more shit coming, so we should wait for a bit.
     
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  13. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Alright, done. I figured I'd throw in some techniques now instead of doing it in the middle of the next update. The next update will take place about a year later, when you are fifteen, and we won't be having any major time-skips for a while.

    Bear in mind that this one year will also influence your personality, and both A and B will create a slightly different Xu Jing in behaviour.
     
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  14. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    Can we use the Yuhe Finger on ourselves if the situation warrants it?
    Poison is out for me, on principle.
     
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  15. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Your internal energy is crippled. Yuhe Finger won't have any real applications in the near future, I just thought it'd be nice to offer the choice. It would be very useful if you ever figure out a way to deal with that mess inside you, so it's a long term choice. But you might find better stuff along the way. It's up to you.
     
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  16. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    I figure we can use the Yuhe Finger technique to affect our own qi alignment when we have a greater mastery, allowing us to minimalise our weakness. If that's not the case, or there's no benefit for our own qi management, I'll flip to AA. I'm definitely not interested in the second B.
     
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  17. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    So, we won't even be able to use it on others? Also, will going for forest stalking give Xing the chance to practice what he can in the way of the Mongolian Ninja?
     
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  18. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Pressure points, yeah!

    BC
     
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  19. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    You can use it on others, but the effect won't rise beyond level one as long as you have your own internal energy issues. Using it on yourself is possible only when you solve those problems too. Remember, Master Yao is adept at this skill, and he can't use it to fix you.
     
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  20. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    And this part?
    Just want to clear up any confusion I have, because I don't see why he couldn't do it.
     
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  21. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Both choices involve sneaking. Since he's lost the manual and pretty much has to improvise on his Yinglang Step based both on his experiences and what he can recall, he can practice it anywhere. There'll be a single increase in level for the technique, though I didn't want to clutter up the choices even further by putting it in.
     
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  22. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    Gotcha. We really need to invest in an offensive style, we have stealth and evasion covered. Basic fistplay isn't going to cut it, excuse the pun, from here on out. Definitely going for 2C, will hear arguments on 1, both paths seem viable to me.
    A makes us better at interpersonal skills, haggling and pickpocketing, so we won't starve on the streets once we break off from this guy (as cool as he is, we have more important shit to do). The charisma and intelligence bonuses are pretty good too (8 INT, are you kidding me?)
    B gives us even more herbalism skills that will help us with curing ourselves down the line, since qi isn't an option, trapping that will allow us to live off the land, as opposed to the pockets of other people, which in turn will lead to less run-ins with the local law enforcement and less stints in jail (although finding a hardass criminal Master in Chinese prisons and learning from him could be pretty awesome as well). The perception and endurance bonuses will also make us a beastly straight-up fighter.
    Sadly, no.
    We're fifteen and won't be able to put up a fight against those courtesans, if Sarkeesian's little demonstration is anything to go by, so I wouldn't worry about going there for quite a while.
    Aaand we found our psycho stalker. Great.
     
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  23. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Tell us treave, is she of the goat sign? :lol:
     
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  24. LWC1996 Learned

    LWC1996
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    Well, many didn't think he was too young at 14 to be wandering out in the world alone. I think that if he can be sent off into the dangerous pugilistic world at the young age of 14 unprepared and with no street smarts, I see no reason why I should spare any thought for his tender age of 15 from going to the Yu Hua Hall. Many were all gungho about him looking for adventure and finding that psycho woman-in-black, right? So that's what I'm going to do. But having said that, we shall have to see what choices we have in the next update from treave.

    And also, one does not go there to beat up the courtesans...that's why Jing has increased stats for Charisma, Speech...you sweet talk them with your words and also with money. 'sides their Yu Hua Palm is for idiotic customers who think to run off on them before paying. *shrugs* they deserve it actually if they're gonna do something that stupid.
     
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  25. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    If Cao'er is a goat apprentice, she would truly be a psycho stalker. Which would you prefer? :lol:
     
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