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[LP CYOA] Epic

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by treave, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Chapter 3.22: Hold the Wall

    Three hundred years later, the brief ten years of your doctrine still remain instilled in Sumerian soldiers. Even under Gieloth control – or maybe because of it – they moved remarkably well as a unit, each man forming a firm brick in their shield wall. They did not falter, as normal soldiers would, and this made their formation all the more impenetrable to your ranged weaponry. Were it not for the numerous traps you had laid, they would have made it to the walls with ease. Their bows outranged those of Egyptian make, and soon your own archers, despite their height advantage, were having to duck in fear of being skewered by stray Sumerian arrows. Still, the weather made it far harder for them to hit you, and you figured it would be hard for them to climb the walls in the rain too. You wonder if the Gieloth couldn't stop the rain once he had started it...

    The Babylonians reached the moat, with less men than they had started out with, but still enough to outnumber your soldiers three to one. They began dropping their ladders to span the moat, but the first few who crossed were snapped up by the crocodiles, who proceeded to eat the ladders too. Most of the men moved back, and they began to file into line at the gate. You were fine with that. Arrows and rocks rained upon them, but for every one you killed, two more lined up to take their place, shields at the ready. Their tight formation and sturdy shields made sure that they could well survive your attacks once they had hunkered down into position... and they did not move from their spot, camped in front of the gate. They made no effort to raise their ladders. You move to the top of the gate, wondering if you could get a huge piece of rock to drop on them while they weren't moving. You notice that the rain was getting heavier... the clouds were darkening even further, and gathering above your head.

    Something was wrong. The air began to buzz around your ears. Your eyes widen, and you yell at your men to find cover. There is a blinding flash, and a roaring sound. Fast as you are, you can't dodge lightning yet. You are blown clear of the gate, tumbling back inside the fortress, as a lightning bolt strikes the top of the wall. There is another flash, and another strike.

    That tower was bad news after all.
    Looks like your first guess was right – it allows the Gieloth to do what he does better.
    I suppose it isn't as handy as your Honourblade if he's going to have to lug that big phallic object around whenever he goes to battle...
    No offense to your smaller phallic object that does the same thing, but being shorter certainly makes it more manageable in size.

    “No offense taken.” As you clamber to your feet, you grit your teeth. Your wounds were still healing... but there was no time for pain. You let out a loud yell and charge back to the top of the wall, rallying whichever soldiers you could pick up to go with you. On your way, you pass Menos, who nods at you and begins preparing his militia to reinforce the men on the walls. Many of your soldiers had gathered near the gate to heap rocks upon the Babylonians – that lightning strike would have taken out a few dozen, easily. You need to keep morale high. As you reach the top of the wall, you find that the Babylonians have raised their ladders. Already their soldiers were engaged in battle with your men, and pushing them back. There were many of them already on the walls – you cannot let more up. Focusing on the hooks of the ladders that you can see, you make a silent, gripping motion with your both your fists, and snap them off at the top. That should buy you some time. Then you charge into the fray.

    The rain has made the walls slick, and you watch your footing as you dance into the chaotic melee, reaping bodies with your sword. The Babylonians fought particularly well – they were strong and skilled, but each of them seemed to have a certain rote to their skills. It was not easily noticeable, but they would hold their blades so before a attack, and move there to dodge, and turn just so before a feint. There were several variants to their movements, but it was nothing a really keen-eyed and experienced fighter couldn't spot. Unfortunately, you didn't have even a hundred of these in your army, while they had thousands of good if dull warriors. You kept up the attack, attempting to clear the walls. You just didn't have enough men to guard every spot, and for every ladder you knocked down, more sprang up out of your sight, while you were distracted by more enemies. You are not sure how long you hacked your way through the rain, how many ladders you destroyed, how many men you killed, but you did notice that with every passing minute, the Babylonian soldiers grew better. They had began to adapt to your movements; now, instead of angling their blade so before an attack, they began to angle their blade so before turning their blade thus when you moved to attack their weakness. This was still nothing you couldn't handle, but they were gradually inflicting more and more casualties on your men. All of a sudden, the last Babylonian collapses in a gurgle of blood, and then there were no more. The Babylonians made no further attempts to scale the gates. You wonder if they had given up. Walking over to the edge of the scorched, crumbling wall, you scanned the area.

    The Babylonians were retreating in an orderly manner. Judging from their number, you might have killed more than five hundred men as they tried to claim the walls, before they pulled back. Your own men did not fare much better, however – even with the advantage of fighting on their own walls, more than five hundred were wounded, with at least three hundred more dead. Of these, many of them were professional soldiers, who had been in the bulk of the fighting. Tomorrow, the militia would have to begin to take up the slack. The civilians have much work to do today. The rain clouds did not let up, and you begin orders for the wounded to be treated and the dead to be buried.

    The Babylonian army did not move for the rest of the day, but you note that they had already set up camps, apparently preparing to be here for at least another night. No chance of them going back immediately with their tails behind their legs, then.

    ***

    That night, you receive a visitor in your head.

    Greetings, mighty immortal.

    The sound in your head was unmistakeably that of a Gieloth.

    I am Nabu, commander of the Babylonian forces currently arrayed against your brave warriors.

    You could not respond out loud, seeing as you were having dinner with your men. You settled for thinking really hard back at Nabu.

    “What do you have to say to me?” Him beaming his voice into your head wasn't really a surprise to you – you had caught a flicker of communications between the Babylonian forces currently outside your fortress and Assyria. You presumed 'Lord Marduk' had something he wanted.

    It has been fun testing your abilities – I was particularly impressed at the way you turned Baran into a little ball, and how you noticed the little learning subroutine I implanted into the soldiers, but I fear the test must end tonight. My lord Marduk has decreed that I should break your mind and take your body before him. He has no interest in Egypt anymore... only you.

    With that, you feel his tentacle on your brain, pressing on your mind. Instantly you realize the sheer extent of his psychic abilities. He would be formidable enough without his tower, but with it, he could shatter your mind with one push. It wouldn't be permanent, but you would certainly go into a coma for quite some time as your mind repaired itself. You resist the urge to break out into a cold sweat somehow, and keep your calm while chewing the tough crocodile meat that were part of the cellar stockpiles.

    “Why have you not done so?” You keep your questions simple and cautious.

    Why, has Sekhenun not told you of me? I am surprised. I would have thought her gossipy enough to reveal all the internecine politics of the Gieloth!

    You hear a slight tone of amusement, but you keep quiet.

    Suffice to say, I have no love for my lord, nor the foolish little errands that he sends me out on. There are far greater concerns we should be facing than dealing with petty little Earthling squabbles.

    You sigh. “Can you get to the point? I'm trying to have dinner here, if you haven't noticed.”

    Sekhenun was right, you are pretty rude. Here is what I propose... I will bring you before Marduk... unbroken. Then you shall take him by surprise, and slay him.

    “What do you get out of this?”

    I will get what I want, you will get a bountiful reward from me, and Marduk will get what he deserves. Is that a good enough answer?

    “Not really. Next question: How can I trust you?”

    It's simple. I could break you right now and send my army to fetch your body once your men are in disarray. I won't. Tomorrow morning, you will come to the Babylonian camp, alone. I will dismantle the tower as a sign of good faith, when you are a hundred paces from the gates, and once you are with me, my army will retreat. Your men might even think you died heroically to chase us away. Wouldn't that be nice?

    This Gieloth was particularly talkative. Then again, the ones you had met since awakening from your slumber were quite chatty, unlike the two you had dealt with before. What should you do? He was holding your mind hostage to try to get you to accede to his demands – on the other hand, could he really deliver on his threat?

    ***

    A. You accept his offer, and prepare to head to Sumeria with this weird Gieloth. Having felt his power, you have no doubt that he could crush your mind should he choose to, and with you gone, the leaderless fortress would fall with the next assault. His words may not be entirely truthful, but you don't think you have any other choice. You can decide what to do next after you arrive in Sumeria.

    B. You pretend to accept his offer. Tomorrow, once he dismantles the tower, you will use his own foolishness against him and destroy his army. He is no threat without that sorcerous building of his, and in close combat, you are confident you can strike him down before he can concentrate his psychic abilities on you.

    C. You grasp the Honourblade tightly and steel yourself against the impending assault – you will reject his offer and call his bluff. You do not trust a single word he says, and if he could have crushed your mind that easily you are sure he would have done it a long time ago. You beat his forces back today, you will continue to do so tomorrow, and the day after that, until every last one of his men is dead.

    D. Rather than having him crush your mind, you'd rather sacrifice yourself to destroy him! YOU UNLEASH THE EARTHQUAKE! If the tower was still parked where it was, he'd plummet, along with it, into the abyss.
     
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  2. m4davis Scholar

    m4davis
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  3. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

    Lambchop19
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    A

    edit: I have a feeling that b leads to a, but with an angry gieloth who orders all our troops killed as punishment for our failed assualt. I just don't see how we can win when we have only around 1000 healthy soldiers - mostly militia and they have 4900 pros...

    Flopped to D. Let's send Nabu straight to hell.
     
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  4. Zero Credibility Arcane

    Zero Credibility
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    Well shit. D would destroy us right now, right? What about tomorrow? If we stall for time and then trigger the quake tomorrow (maybe by pretending to agree), will we heal enough to survive? Can he actually read our mind and know we are lying or are our mental defenses preventing him from doing that?
     
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  5. Bloodshifter Educated

    Bloodshifter
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    A if he is true to his word we get to kill a master class tentacle and set up the perfect thing to return to Egypt as Ean the Undying! or what whatever we decide to call ourselves. even if he is lying at least his "larger" phallic device will no longer make us inferior with our "smaller" phallic device.

    I loled so hard at that reference fell out of my chair
     
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  6. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    I suppose at this stage it won't matter to your body whether you trigger it now or tomorrow. The recovery period would only be a tad longer... relatively speaking. You were at your absolute weakest right after killing Baran, up until the battle ended. Expect a pretty long recovery period, though. No, whatever ails you, it won't be a coma, which is my way of telling you option D isn't a joke option that puts you out for a thousand years. :)
     
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  7. Bloodshifter Educated

    Bloodshifter
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    *tears at hair* SEE I knew it wasn't a coma
    :excellent:
    Well played Treave well played we missed our chance to really F them good.
     
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  8. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

    Lambchop19
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    Yet you are pretty clear that we'd be sacrificing ourselves... Hmm. Considering option D...

    edit: the option says "If the tower was still parked where it was" - can we not see it?
     
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  9. Zero Credibility Arcane

    Zero Credibility
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    What, triggering the quake would bury us along with him? What about mind reading - will he know if we lie to him? Can he read all of our thoughts or just those we send to him?
     
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  10. m4davis Scholar

    m4davis
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    I feel the need to tell you we would be killing him first
     
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  11. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Ean isn't exactly sure what it'll do to him. He's never had to use this much power before. So he has to assume the worst that can happen. There will be a drawback, but it won't be as serious as going comatose for three hundred years, though you can expect the recovery to be very, very, very lengthy.

    You could ask Nabu to wait while you go out the halls, up the walls, and look for the tower... he's the sort who would be arrogant and amused enough to indulge you. But yes, it is actually at the same spot right now. Hasn't moved, author's fiat, you won't need to go up and spot it.

    Well, as far as mind reading goes, you don't know if he can actually read your mind, or tell if you're lying. It's a gamble. Lying to him might or might not pay off... just as trusting him might or might not be ill-advised. Can't say anything more than that.

    edit: Gotta say having Netzi in charge of the men instead of Kharun pretty much prevented a total rout on the walls just now - he had your soldiers fight together more defensively, which bought them time until Nabu ordered the retreat. The update was too lengthy as it is so I snipped that part out. Kharun would've been too aggressive, which is commendable but would ultimately backfire by taking too many casualties against an opponent with an advantage in numbers, overall skill and unbreakable morale. At least, that is how I saw it.
     
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  12. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    We can't abandon our men, so that leaves A out. The question is, do we choose B, C or D? I have no idea. I'm tempted towards B, but... eh. I'm out of my depth here.
     
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  13. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

    Lambchop19
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    A isn't abandoning them. It's sacrificing ourselves to insure they live.
    Hmm. So we'll be gimped for a century or so? Marduk could just raise another army, but at least Egypt would be prepared - ourselves, maybe not.

    The only thing is d and b both seem out of character for Ean wielder of Honourblade.
    Actually, d isn't out of character because Ean hasn't agreed to anything yet.
    Would we? It says we'd "destroy his army" and that we think we could kill him in close combat, not that we'd be assassinating him - assuming he wouldn't be able to read our intent.
     
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  14. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    Guys, B is not going to work. No way. The Gieloth has made this offer at his own initiative, and he is a very powerful being. Why would he leave such an obvious weakness in the plan he presents to you? Either he is sure that even without the tower he can subdue Ean at will, or he already has a plan to deceive him in some way once he has left the safety of the fortress. There's no way that he would provide this window, and he knows our own capabilities well. My guess is that when we are near him the distance factor makes the tower unnecessary, or once we're outside he'll just knock Ean out in some way.

    We might as well go for one of the other options. My impression is that the Babylonians retain the advantage, especially due to the tower, but that we have done pretty well, and have certainly killed a lot more, traps included. The problem with C, though, is that it's pretty likely the Gieloth can harm or incapacitate us at least to some degree; the next few days will then see the Gieloth still powerful and with the tower, us without traps and with an even more weakened Ean.

    Basically, I think it comes down to A or D. We either accept his proposition, or we call his bluff in the most Shepardian manner possible. I'd have liked to hear more about just why Nabu needs Ean, whom he says he could easily destroy, to kill Marduk, but I assume that he is one of the most psychically talented Gieloth, and thinks with a powerful warrior in on his plan he can do it - which then assumes his now deceased brother was not up to it. There's a lot of questions there...
     
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  15. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

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    Well, it could be political - he needs someone to pin the blame on so he won't take the heat for the assassination. "Oh, no! That immoratal assassinated Marduk. Woe is me. Didn't see that coming. Arrest him!"
     
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  16. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    I'm tired of psychic bastards like Shulgi and Nabu thinking they can walk all over Ean. Let's not stand for his manipulation, let's be firm. We want to have a strong will, we want to be resilient against psychic influence? Then we need to take a stand.

    C

    We'll kill Marduk, but on our terms.
     
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  17. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

    Lambchop19
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    :lol: We'd die. And our men. And we'd be taken in anyway. If you want to fight, pick D, bro.
     
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  18. Bloodshifter Educated

    Bloodshifter
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    more likely then not his brother supported Marduk without his brother to support him there is no other Gieloth except Marduk meaning once he is finished Nabu takes the throne. These tentacles value self over the common good If I am better off what does it matter that everyone else is dead?
     
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  19. Zero Credibility Arcane

    Zero Credibility
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    I could live with being weakened for a long time. It's the put entirely out of commission for a long time scenario that I loathe. Just as we get to know the setting and the players, we get throw into the future.
     
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  20. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

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    There's also the matter of Nabu. If we help him take power, he'll either betray us and try to kill us afterward and/or we'll have helped a very powerful enemy become even more powerful...

    Flopping to D. Let's take the renegade option. :shepard:
     
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  21. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

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    Off-topic. There seems to be three sides currently in this struggle, the Masters, the Gieloth, and the humans who are their pawns. I like the idea of us championing humanity and trying to nurture civilisation to one-day be a player to contend against the Masters and the Gieloth both, and carve out our own destiny to the cries of despair from tentacles and Naram.
     
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  22. Urist McLurker Learned

    Urist McLurker
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    So far we've been somewhat friendly towards the Gieloth, at least compared to what we could be like..Though in our experiences so far, the arrogant ones aren't the ones we want in positions of leadership.

    D I hope that removing the enemy leader in a fucking earthquake after having killed their general will be enough to cause a rout and win the siege.

    Edit: Flipped to C
     
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  23. Bloodshifter Educated

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    Remember we get stronger after every "near" death encounter I doubtful he wants to betray us before he is certain we can't win also we could not break the shield he implanted into his brother without using the tower what makes you think we can beat him when we are the defender? and he has a "larger" device?
     
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  24. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    I like it too, and it seems to offer the most interesting role for us story-wise. As we can see in the Tjaru siege, our support of humanity means we're always the underdogs, but we get to play with conventional combat tactics and logistics as well as the supernatural, which makes it easier for us to discuss good and bad. I felt that in the Sekhenun womb it was much harder to judge which option would be better, like playing a fantasy RPG where you don't have a ruleset - I'd say out of the violent engagements this siege has been the most interesting, although it's been a great CYOA throughout.

    Anyway, in light of that, D, though I also like C if someone can show we could pull it off (Esquilax?)
     
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  25. Zero Credibility Arcane

    Zero Credibility
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    I'm still fuzzy on what we expect the results the earthquake would be - wouldn't we also take out the fortress and everyone in it? Or would the effect be somehow localized to the enemy encampment?
     
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