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Myth: A New Age CYOA

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by Fangshi, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. Absinthe Prophet

    Absinthe
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    We want believable and plausible rumors. The rumor you suggest is rather unbelievable. All we have to do is help spread plausible theories about how Eberhardt returned is not as he seems and likely a puppet of darker powers (as mentioned above) so that the dominant narrative becomes dark mutterings about who this "eberhardt" really is and how he can hardly be trusted. That shouldn't be too hard since everyone knows Eberhardt was publicly executed and coming back from the dead is not a good thing in this setting, plus we have three of the finest intelligence networks in the kingdom at our disposal.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014
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  2. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    I believe that Albrecht already tried launching rumors about that, seeing how the Eberhardts were accused of being necros in the first place, and it is not working. People plain don't care for these rumors, and think he was (and is being) accused wrongly.

    Before you start a whispering campaign, you need to deal with whatever made Eberhardt a hero in the first place. We can't be taking people's hero from them without giving them something else to believe in, that's not how it works. Worst that can happen is that people will go into 'they will tell anything nowadays to make him look bad' mode, and stop thinking critically.

    Also, I agree with archaen, people who talk about his resurrection already do not believe the official propaganda, so we might as well divide them by starting a rumor that would go against it (and still be bad for the Eberhardts), rather than provide an explanation that would coincide with it.

    It means that a badly executed campaign does us more harm than good.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014
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  3. Absinthe Prophet

    Absinthe
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    This is getting retarded. Lets keep it simple.

    A) Now that Eberhardt has magically returned from the dead, it is worth noting that the only magic that can do that is necromancy. This means we already have evidence that something is wrong, unlike before. Besides, the two instances reinforce each other. Someone being found guilty of dark magic (nah, can't have been) later returning from the dead? Hmm. Makes you see it in a different light, doesn't it?
    B) Whispering campaigns work by taking away the focus from heroics, casting doubt on the heroics (awfully convenient he came back next to a master necromancer and merely "drove him off" instead of killing him), and putting it on negative shit. Hell, for alternate heroes we have Derryth and Thais (but we shouldn't play that up - too obvious).
    C) I don't see how archaen's idea would constitute a rumor that goes against the official propaganda, and I think overly specific details make for dubious rumors.

    The way I was trying to set it up is so that you have necromancy rumors as the more "obvious" explanation for how he would've come back and then you have fallback theories for what else it could have been if it wasn't necromancy, in which case we conclude that would mean that this isn't the real Eberhardt, in which case we have to ask ourselves what it could be and start speculating on the various possibilities (mostly dark gods because they're the experts at this). All of these theories are more plausible than LAWD IT'S A MIRACLE THE DEAD GOD WYRD CAST SOME MAGIC TO BRING BACK LORD EBERHARDT.

    In this case you would have a ton of theories spreading and the least plausible narrative is the official Eberhardt narrative.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014
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  4. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    :M:M:M

    Then I guess we are foul negrodancers who should be hanged, because exactly the same is being told about us. :lol:

    Not to mention there are several ways to return people from the dead that are not necromantic. The Summoner and the Myrkridia (they are not undead), the Soulblighter and Shiver (an artefact was used), Miosguinn and Isolde.

    We are entering ancient myth territory here, and have to tread carefully, that is what I meant. We are dealing not with rational things that can be explained away with logic, but with beliefs. How 'plausible' is an explanation has little bearings on faith.
    People already know that and they still chose to believe him. No, it did not make them see anything in a different light.

    You might ask yourself why is it not working before proposing to double your efforts.

    There is no point to cast doubt on the E-t heroics if we do not give people another hero to put their faith in.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014
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  5. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Anyway. I won't stop anyone from doing this because I doubt it can hurt us since this is how things already are. I just don't think it will help us all that much, and that for it to do anything useful we'll have to get a bit more creative.

    I would like to raise another issue with you bros.
    Would anyone be interested in contacting Alric directly, bypassing the Brannons (say, via the Heron Guards who are loyal to the Emperor alone), and trying to explain our side of the story to him? I mean, the Brannons seem to suspect that the Kingdom fell to the Dark, and Albrecht is mad at them for trying to depose him, a fact that I doubt the Emperor is aware of as Albrecht and Alric were allies for more than 60 years. I think if we can downplay the whole conflict as a misunderstanding, we may try and restore diplomatic relationships between the Empire and the Kingdom. If it is not Albrecht who wins the conflict in the south, then be it the Watcher, the Goddess, or the ghols, the Empire is going to be at a disadvantage, having no buffer zone between it and its enemies in the southeast.

    I think Albrecht and Brannons are beyond the point where they could cooperate any time soon, but we and Alric still might, as someones who have more or less unbiased and rational views on the situation.

    I know he has other problems to deal with (Mazzarin?), but even a token help in an hour of need would go a long way towards re-establishing the relationships.

    And there is a matter of the stone spearhead. Since we can't use it ourselves yet (and I do not intend to go against archmages or Dark Gods in flesh for a long, long time), I can think of no other man but Alric who might be trusted with it to end the Watcher. We can't give it to Mazzarin, right?

    Something like that would definitely attract Alric's attention and raise the importance of the Kingdom's survival enough for him to intervene.

    I mean, why fight alone when we don't have to?

    If there is interest, I guess I may have a few ideas of how it might be done.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014
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  6. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    So much for twenty four hours... :negative:

    I have managed to get the rolls and roughly half of the update done though. It should be up in the next day or so and I will probably post the interlude twelve hours after that. Should be doable... I think...
     
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  7. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Codex 2012
    And then, Christmas happens. +M
     
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  8. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    The update is done. It just needs options and a few more passes then I will post it.

    The mechanics post will likely come soon after.

    The interlude might still be out within fifteen hours or so since I do not have that much to do to finish it but if it is not then it will likely be three days or so before it is out. Essentially it will all come down to whether or not I can get it done before I have to step out for all the Christmas Eve/Day festivities. If I can then great, if not it won't go up till I sober up enough to finish it.
     
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  9. archaen Arbiter Patron

    archaen
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  10. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Codex 2012
    Sober up? One heck of a christmas. :hero:
     
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  11. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    Chapter 63: Changes

    The sinking sun casts long shadows between the peaks. Hopefully this battle will be quick as you have no wish to fight against the White Mage's creatures in the dark.

    "Looks like our bait just left," Ceannard coolly remarks as he lowers his spyglass, "Should only be a few more minutes."

    So far your plan has gone off without a hitch. Lyssa's eagle reached its destination unimpeded. Your message to Nanshe was delivered and she quickly met you in the Dreaming to discuss strategy. What she told you was encouraging though some of it worried you slightly.

    She still has over one hundred and fifty braves at her disposal and a half dozen priests capable of throwing a little magic. Your shared enemy numbers only about fifty, and only twenty five or so are mages. They are outnumbered more than three to one but these are mages and even if they have been fighting all day and without leadership you do not want to take any more chances than you need to.

    Odd howls pierce your thoughts.

    Those would be the 'hounds'. Nanshe told you all she could of the creatures: they are undead, the reanimated remains of dozens of species fused together and given malicious will by the necromancers of the Watcher; they are fast, they are strong, they are reasonably intelligent but Nanshe has informed you that they are also irreplaceable. The facilities needed to construct them were raised with the rest of the Watcher's temple in the north and she is certain that he lacks the means to create more quickly. They will be dangerous enemies but if you can kill most of them here then you will have robbed the Watcher of even more assets and further weakened his legions.

    "Here they come," Thaïs notes quietly. She points into the distance and you follow her finger as a pack of ten hounds pour out of the shadows of the mountain and across the valley between you. They make for your decoy at top speed.

    This is all part of the plan. You have hidden your forces in amongst the cliffs of this mountain, a near neighbour to the one currently inhabited by the ghôls. The idea is a simple one, the ghôls will send out a party of warriors carrying a fake Thin White Mage. This bait group will do their best to flee away from the mountain and past your forces. When the enemy pursues, you will spring your trap and thin out their numbers while the ghôls sally forth. You will trap the enemy between your advancing forces and obliterate them.

    Everyone liked the plan.

    Nanshe did have one concern though and her fear is playing out before you now.

    The hounds are on the move and they are far faster than the ghôls.

    The bait group is going to take heavy casualties but there is little you can do about that. Nanshe has assured you that her people will manage to pass through your ambush point, one way or another.

    When you asked her to elaborate she merely winked at you. She said that her people are accustomed to sacrifice and suffering, they are born to it, they live it, soaking it up every day of their lives and they will die in it. She said they will not let a little more suffering stop them now.

    You are still not sure exactly what she intends to do but it matters little, you can not afford to reveal your presence until enough of the enemy are within range to make a difference. You watch as the group of thirty ghôls are overrun and begin a desperate fight for their lives. The hounds cut off their advance slithering, slinking, bounding around them in loose circles. The ghôls close ranks and press on at top speed, forcing an opening with fist and spear. The hounds dart in, in pairs; they strike out with barbed tendrils, keen claws and clacking mandibles. The ghôls fall quickly, dragged down and pulled from their formation by the clucking, squeaking, roaring beasts. In under a minute they have already lost a third of their number, pinned under their attackers.

    Then something curious happens.

    As the hounds tear into their struggling prey an explosion resounds from the valley and a pair of combatants blink from existence. This explosion is soon met by a second and a third.

    You focus in on the closest struggling figures and you quickly realize why. From within his armour the downed ghôl draws a wight chunk and punchtures it. The ghôls are killing themselves to thin out the hounds and you are struck by just how far they are willing to go to achieve their goals. You watch on with a mixture of admiration and anxiety as the fleshy bomb detonates and both ghôl and beast are consumed by the toxic cloud thrown up. Their flesh is ripped from their bones by the blast and what little is not dispersed is consumed by the corrosive waste. Paralyzed, the pair can not even scream as they die.

    Ten hounds for ten ghôl, a bargain really.

    Half of the mages have also broken off from the main assault. They are quite a bit slower than the hounds but they should reach the ghôls within moments.

    Sure enough they begin to fling bolts of magic toward the fleeing formation. One bolt of vermilion energy strikes a ghôl and punches a half metre hole through its chest, he tilts forward, falling to his knees as the life runs out of him. The mage that threw it, an old man in matching vermilion robes, has definite skill even if he demonstrates little in the way of finesse.

    "We should take out that vermilion mage in the first volley," Ceannard remarks, "A lot of power behind that one."

    As cold as it is Ceannard has the right idea. Identifying the most powerful mages in that pack of twelve will definitely increase your odds should they fall into your trap. Speaking of which...

    You focus in on the other eleven mages.

    You watch on as a mage with a large chunk of amber around her neck begins to scream. The three ghôls closest to her fall to their knees, blood seeping from their eyes and ears. You draw Ceannard's attention to her, "Another one that needs to go down quickly. We do not need to lose half our number to a scream or two."

    The Mercenary Captain nods without taking his eyes from his spyglass, "So that is two that need to fall immediately-"

    Thaïs cuts him off, "Three I think. Look at that green blur on the right."

    You redirect your attention, attempting to catch sight of the mage in question. At first you can not focus on it, it darts back and forth quicker than you can move your spyglass, however eventually it does slow down and come to a stop. It pauses right before driving a pair of knives deep into the side of a fleeing ghôl. For that single moment you take it in, its proportions are vaguely human, two arms, two legs, a torso, a head and that is where the similarities end. It's pair of jaws unhinge as it emits a single high pitched scream and tears two large chunks from its prey's shoulder.

    The ghôl falls, seemingly paralysed, as the mage moves on to a new target.

    Only five of the ghôls remain, their decoy mage flung limply over the shoulder of the lead ghôl. Thankfully they are almost within range.

    "That one might be difficult," Ceannard admits with a little reluctance, "But you are right, if it reaches our lines it could do a lot of damage."

    "How should we-" you begin to ask but the Arrow raises his hand.

    "I will deal with it myself," he reassures you, "It will not be a problem."

    "Well it better not," you answer, "As we are out of time."

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

    He stands triumphant.

    In this cave, smeared with dirt, covered in filth, his clothes torn, his hair dishevelled, he is triumphant!

    He begins the ritual:

    In this age of grand illusion

    You walked into my life out of my dreams

    I don't need another change

    Still you forced away into my scheme of things

    You say we're growing, growing heart and soul

    In this age of grand illusion you walked into my life out of my dreams

    He has them all now, a full set for his collection and though he should feel magnificent all he has are so many doubts. Still he sings, binding them to him:

    Sweet name, you're born once again for me

    Sweet name, you're born once again for me

    Oh sweet name, I call you again

    You're born once again for me

    Just because I believe don't mean I don't think as well

    Don't have to question everything in heaven or hell

    This victory cost him an army, it cost him his pride and even now he is not quite sure how he is going to make his report to the Old Goat.

    From what Vermillion tells him it was a very close thing. That trio of human mages were not present with the traitor Nanshe, that much he realized himself though it came too late to prevent his capture. No, they waited in safety while he fought the rebels and it was only after he had been removed that they came to- to what? That is the question isn't it?

    He spins on his heels and commands the four of them to speak. They sing sweetly to him in unison:

    Lord, I kneel and offer you my word on a wing

    And I'm trying hard to fit among your scheme of things

    It's safer than a strange land but I still care for myself

    And I don't stand in my own light

    Lord, Lord, my prayer flies like a word on a wing

    My prayer flies like a word on a wing

    Does my prayer fit in with your scheme of things?

    Hmm, a good start. They aim to please and to follow and yet they echo his own doubts. It will take many sessions to fully bind them and he will have to clear his own mind first. For now he settles on lashing their minds and picking up the scraps that fall out.

    Death.

    Trap.

    Purged.

    Removed.

    Freedom.

    Reward.

    He continues to slash at their consciousness as they whine and beg for him to stop.

    Does he have enough pieces now?

    Yes. They sought to kill him, permanently, for a reward...

    Permanently? He turns the idea over in his mind. So, Mazzarin revealed to these four how to permanently end his life? Yes, that makes sense. Clearly the old Avatara knew that the Watcher could not fail so long as he was around. Surely the Great Mage sought to strike a crippling blow to his old rival by murdering his only competent agent...

    It is brilliant plan really and one that would have succeeded had his followers not proven their worth in battle. When the three humans struck and the traitor's forces sallied down from their holes his own minions were hard at work. They bound every beast within a day's travel of the battlefield to their will, they conjured up demons, devils, horrors from the very ether. They sold what was left of their souls and minds into a double slavery merely to buy their master's freedom and they succeeded though at great cost.

    They forced their way into his cave and they liberated him and once free he unleashed his full fury on his captors. He purged every last one of the filth and chain Nanshe to the bare rock of her own cave.

    Then he went hunting and though they fled they could not escape him. He punished those dear ladies and stripped from them all distractions.

    Yes, he lost a great a great deal to gain them but he does not mourn his servants. They did precisely as was expected of them, no more and no less. They fulfilled their purpose and earned their peace so he will not dwell on them for a moment more than is necessary.

    Now he must turn to more pressing matters. Now he must know how these four planned to do it, how they planned to end his life. He begins to form another command for his new servants. They will tell him everything, every contact they have, every secret they know, every scrap of-

    Amber intrudes upon his interrogation, dragging a pair of young bodies behind her, "What should we do with the corpses Master?"

    He grins, it is that little brat from the battlefield and her, sister?

    Well, they shall make delightful little thralls won't they?

    He instructs Amber to gather them all: the ghôls, the human mercenaries and those children and prepare them to be raised. He should be able to get a necromancer up from the south within a day or two, it will not be enough to replace what he has lost but it is a start.

    Amber salutes him. He waves her off, always such the soldier that one. He supposes that such habits are hard to break, bred into the very bones as they are.

    She withdraws and once more leaves him with his latest conquests.

    With a sublime smile he calms his mind and begins again:

    In this age of grand illusion

    You walked into my life out of my dreams

    Sweet name, you're born once again for me

    Just as long as I can see, I'll never stop this vision flowing

    I look twice and you're still flowing

    Just as long as I can walk,

    I'll walk beside you, I'm alive in you

    Sweet name, you're born once again for me

    And I'm ready to shape the scheme of things

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

    Amber weaves her way through the smoking remnants of the ghôl camp. She is all smiles today for she has achieved all that she desires, at least for now.

    Behind her she drags Biliku and Uttu's corpses, each by one foot. Such dear little girls, it will be good to get to know them properly in the coming days.

    So bravely those girls fought and the mercenaries too. To the last man, she is sure of that, to the very last they fought and their captain was the bravest of them all. He, hmm, he stepped in front of Uttu, shielding her from a blow that would have cleaved the child in half and for her part she struck down his murderer with a trio of arrows.

    Yes, Amber likes that, nice and dramatic.

    The girls themselves? How did they meet their ends?

    Why they perished together, surrounded by wolves and bears and demons in the dozens. They fought with skill and with bravery but their position was overrun and they were separated from their 'charges'. They were pulled away from the mages and hacked down by a six headed monstrosity with a sabre of whistling bone in each of its twelve hands-

    No, twelve is far too many, six hands?

    Six hands, it had six hands and in each a blade of whistling bone.

    And that Berty fellow? Disappeared. Dead perhaps but if he did die then it was in some mysterious fashion. An end that matches perfectly the life he led.

    Of course the mages could not perish. The Master would be furious if that happened. No, they all lived and he got exactly what he wanted, much easier that way.

    Much easier if he is happy.

    If he is happy then she is as well, happy enough to sing even:

    The lover of life's not a sinner

    It makes her master more confident.

    The ending is just a beginner

    It makes him less likely to question the little details.

    The closer you get to the meaning

    And it makes him far more entertaining.

    The sooner you'll know that you're dreaming

    Amber steps out into the cool mountain air and drops the two little corpses. As they hit the ground they dissolve into mist.

    So it's on and on and on, oh it's on and on and on

    From her back a pair of wings burst forth, dark as the night, as the last bits of her illusion dissolve to reveal the true master of this land. He takes to the air.

    It goes on and on and on, Heaven and Hell

    He laughs and sings as he disappears beyond the mountains. Morpheus, the Lord of the Dreaming has added one more piece to his collection.

    I can tell,

    Fool, fool!

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

    You have some truly bizarre allies. This observation is so painfully obvious but it only really hits you as you sit here with your better half and the other members of your conspiracy. To Thaïs' right sits Lyssa, the former necromancer, to your left sits Nanshe, the ghôl empress, and across from you all sits Sparassidae, the White Lady and wife to the demon lord Morpheus.

    A necromancer.

    A ghôl.

    And a demon Lady of the Dreaming.

    Ah well, you will take what you can get. Lyssa has proven to be a faithful ally and a good friend. Nanshe has demonstrated herself to be a reliable co-conspirator and the Lady has proven quite charming and useful even if you do not trust her. Now if only her husband would arrive so that you can conclude your business h-

    They say that life's a carousel

    Spinning fast, you've got to ride it well

    The world is full of kings and queens

    Who blind your eyes and steal your dreams

    It's heaven and hell, oh well

    Morpheus bursts forth into the meadow, gliding down in an amber skirt and vest that are far too tight for him. Sparassidae taps her fingers on the table, bobbing her head slightly as her husband sings. Seems like she wants to start dancing but lacks a partner.

    And they'll tell you black is really white

    The moon is just the sun at night

    And when you walk in golden halls

    You get to keep the gold that falls

    It's heaven and hell, oh no

    Morpheus touches down next to his wife and greets you all with a wide grin.

    Fool, fool

    You've got to bleed for the dancer

    Fool, fool

    Look for the answer

    Fool, fool, fool

    Those razor sharp teeth still send a shiver down your spine.

    He takes a moment to catch his breath and unwind then he begins, "And how are my beautiful ladies this evening?"

    You answer with a question, "How is our prisoner?"

    The Demon Lord grunts, a little deflated, "Good, great in fact. He is currently interrogating you about your connections to the archmage Mazzarin. He seems to think he is the target of a grand conspiracy orchestrated by the Great Mage himself. He also thinks that you are Mazzarin's apprentices."

    Sparassidae gasps and gives you a questioning glance, "Are you dear ladies actually apprentices to the Great Mage himself? Why you should have told us that..."

    "We are-" you begin.

    "Acquaintances of his," Thaïs diplomatically answers for you, "Is that a problem?"

    The Lady smiles warmly, "Not at all, not at all..."

    You turn your attention back to the Demon Prince, "So he suspects nothing then?"

    The Demon grins, "Of course not! The Dreaming has him comfortably bound and even as we speak my goblins are seeing to additional security measures to ensure he remains safely enveloped by his own dreams and delusions. He will be 'conquering the world' for the rest of time."

    A fitting fate for the Watcher's Creature, to carry out his master's campaign for the rest of eternity.

    Of course, this means that you have completed your side of the bargain. Now Morpheus has to complete his, he owes you a favour.

    You do not have to remind him, one quick scan of the four of you tells him everything he needs to know. He sighs, "Time to collect your favours I suppose."

    "Metal," Nanshe declares, "I want you to teach me this Metal of yours."

    The Demon Prince winces, "What about wealth? I know of a great many unguarded treasures, caches of gold and artefacts, ancient tomes of forbidden knowledge, anything really."

    The ghôl glares at him but he presses on, "I could even teach you some of the Nightmare that allows me to manipulate the Dreaming. It would give you a fraction of my own power and-"

    The White Lady places a single lace covered hand on her husband's forearm, "If that is what your ally wants dear then that is what we must give her but..."

    "But?" Nanshe questions.

    Morpheus nods, "The secrets of musical magic are worth a great deal to my people and they could do a lot of harm in the hands of mortals. You have only a one fifth claim to the prize on the Thin White Mage and that is not nearly enough to cover the cost of learning our ways."

    You think you understand where Morpheus is headed with this, "So some of what you can offer us is available on an individual basis and some of it will require us to pool our favours, is that correct?"

    "As you say," Morpheus nods, "The secrets of our magic take years to master and cost a great deal, should you wish to acquire them I will require unanimity amongst you."

    Lyssa grumbles, "Sounds like a good way to make us all burn through our favours at once."

    The Prince grins, "You are of course free to choose something else."

    Well, this will take a bit of discussion and negotiation so without wasting another moment you begin.


    1. Your reward: You have successfully given the Thin White Mage to Morpheus. For this service you are entitled to a favour or favours depending on what exactly you choose. The Demon Price has promised you anything it is in his power to give so you take:

    A) Metal - Or more generally the secrets of the demons' musical magic. This will require you to undergo a number of training sessions under Morpheus and perhaps other demons that he trusts. It is likely to take years, if not decades, to master and it can be quite dangerous both to you and the world at large but there is definite power to be had there and it is unlike anything you have encountered before. Morpheus insists that all four of you select this favour if you want it so if this option wins it will expend all the favours the Prince owes your group.

    B) Morpheus' Nightmare - Morpheus will teach you the basics of the Nightmare he uses to control his realm. Should you choose this option you will be able to manipulate the Dreaming to a degree normally impossible for mortals, you will also gain greater control over your own form and the forms of others. Additionally you will become more powerful in general within the Dreaming. It will likely take multiple sessions to learn all that Morpheus is willing to teach you and you will likely have to perform other favours in the future to gain all of the knowledge necessary to master the spell. Morpheus will only teach your group the Nightmare should all three of you choose to learn it though he is willing to teach Nanshe by herself should she desire. You are not sure why he is giving her preferential treatment in this regard though it is interesting. Should this option win it will also expend all of your favours.

    C) Individual favours: Morpheus knows a great deal that a mage and adventurer might find interesting and he is willing to grant each of you individual favours as long as they are 'reasonable'. As such if you pick this option then please list which three favours you would like. The most popular three will be chosen should this option win.

    i. Favour of Wealth - Morpheus will give you the information necessary to find a cache of gold buried southeast of Stoneheim. The cache is probably worth abotu 700WPs.

    ii. Favour of Power - Morpheus knows where an undisturbed cache of artefacts made by the Swimmer are located and is willing to give you this information in exchange for a favour. He does not know exactly what is in the cache, only that it was thought to be quite powerful.

    iii. Favour of Knowledge - Morpheus knows of an abandoned tower several days to the east of your current location. It was home to a Circle of reclusive mages that were wiped out when the Dark pushed into the west. They specialized and mental and illusion magic and were known to also practice demon summoning and binding. He is not sure exactly what you will find but it should be interesting.

    iv. Favour of Adventure - Morpheus has heard rumours about the location of the Dream Soulblighter used to mould the earth. If would be willing to tell you all he knows in exchange for a favour.

    v. Favour of Aid - Morpheus will hold a favour in reserve until you call upon him. He will then do his best to protect you or your people and/or destroy an enemy of your choice. With one exception, he will not fight Mazzarin for you, he does not wish to die. You may choose this option as many times as you like.

    D) freeform - If you want to request something else then list it and I can tell you whether it will expend a single favour or all of them.


    2. A whispering campaign: With your business in the mountains concluded Ceannard and his remaining Arrows will return to Myrgard. You might want to give them some parting instructions. In particular you might want to advise Mayer and Timo to try and undermine the Cultists by spreading rumours that Eberhardt's resurrection was the work of the Dark. It might be to your advantage to try and further muddy the waters though it could also have other consequences.

    A) Yes, you might as well pursue every option at your disposal to discredit your enemies. It is possible that this is an avenue your people have not yet tried and even if Mayer and Timo have already undertaken similar efforts it is always best to be sure.

    B) No, you do not want to spend time and resources on this. Better to just let your people in the city do what they think is best.

    C) freeform


    3. Calling Alric: You have had a strange idea. If the Kingdom and the Empire could reconcile their differences then you might be able to get additional support from the north. If the Emperor is made aware of the presence of the Watcher on his southern border he may even come in person to help quash this old enemy. There are a number of ways you could try to contact him should you desire.

    A) You do not bother. You doubt anything meaningful will come from the effort and Albrecht may resent you bargaining on behalf of the Kingdom behind his back like that.

    B) You directly contact the Emperor through the Dreaming. This might be quite dangerous as the Emperor likely has substantial defences in place to prevent demons and other entities from entering his mind or dreams.

    C) You will contact Eagle through his dreams. He should be easier to reach though he may be difficult to convince. However, as a Heron Guard he should be able to get word through his superiors directly to Alric.

    D) You will contact Gareth. He should also be easier to reach and he should also be easier to convince. He could then attempt to use his contacts within the Legion to get a message to the Heron Guard or the Emperor himself. This might serve to draw the attentions of the Brannons to Gareth's company though.

    E) Send a letter by eagle directly to the Emperor. He likely has even more physical protection than he does magical protection and the Brannons might intercept such a message as well but it would not involve any of your people or your contacts/allies.

    F) You will contact Albrecht and convince him to send a letter to the Emperor with an official envoy through the proper channels.

    G) Operation: An Unknown Wellwisher:

    This plan comes in two alternative options:


    i) You wait for Albrecht's go-ahead before you proceed with the plan. It would only be polite to ask him beforehand. This could be done with an eagle or via other means.
    ii) You proceed without the King's explicit permission. It is stupid to concern yourself with formalities when so much is at stake, and you think you might need to act fast.

    H) freeform


    4. Calling Mazzarin: You think the demonic host that has been lurking in the south is the product of something Mazzarin has done. You could try using your necklaces to call to the Great Mage and demand an audience, of course you may have to use up your last favour to get him to do anything worth while and there may be consequences should you annoy him again.

    A) You will call Mazzarin and ask for an explanation on why he is not helping to fight the Watcher.

    B) You would rather not draw the Great Mage's attention again unless you absolutely have to.

    C) freeform


    5. The Spoils of War: Nanshe's people have claimed all the spoils from your ambush. You could contest their claim to the loot should you wish.

    A) You let the ghôls keep all of the valuables they have looted.

    B) You demand the possessions from the vermillion, amber and green mages. Those three were the most powerful you noticed and your people killed them. By right their possessions should be yours.

    i. You will take everything including their Watcher fragments.

    ii. You will take only their spellbooks and artefacts, you will leave the stones.

    C) You will claim all of the artefacts and spellbooks taken from the twelve mages your people killed.

    i. You will also take their stones.

    ii. You will leave their Watcher stones.

    D) You will claim all of the loot from all enemies killed in the ambush.

    i. You will also take their stones.

    ii. You will leave their Watcher stones.

    E) You will take half of the loot and everything from the vermillion, amber and green mages.

    F) freeform
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2014
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  12. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    Organizational/Party Changes:

    Party Changes:


    Show Spoiler
    Derryth:

    - Gained ten energon cubes

    - Used two energon cubes

    - Gained a steel cape

    - gained the remaining gliding cloth

    - Martin gained a gliding cape

    Thaïs:

    - Gained ten energon cubes

    - Used two energon cubes

    - Gained a steel cape

    Lyssa:

    - Gained ten energon cubes

    - Used four energon cubes

    - Gained a steel cape

    - Poppy, Mirra and six other mice recieved gliding capes

    Uttu:

    - Used up twenty arrows

    - Gained a steel cape

    Biliku:

    - Gained a steel cape

    Berty:

    - Gained a steel cape

    Ceannard:

    - Used three black arrows to take down the green mage

    - Used eight regular arrows

    - Gained a steel cape



    Organizational Changes:

    Show Spoiler

    - Lost 1 WP as a bribe to the Hounds to let Lyssa collect elephant hair.

    - Lost four Black Arrows: killed by enemy mages.


    Rolls:

    Show Spoiler
    Not much to say here to be honest. There were a fair number of rolls in this update and most of them went against me, er, I mean against TWM.

    This was to be expected really. You lured them into an ambush, you were using elite ranged troops against enemy targets that were suffering from a complete lack of leadership and which were already rather beaten up and you had the weight of Nanshe's numbers to further pressure them.

    Still, it was possible to lose at least a few people if you rolled poorly though losing a named character would have been difficult given your many advantages.

    The update opened with rolls to see if Nanshe would receive the message and your eagle passed those without much difficulty.

    Then Nanshe's decoy party had a number of rolls to see how far they would get before the hounds noticed them and gave chase. The hounds are about one and a half times faster than Nanshe's warriors so it was only a matter of time until they were caught. There were a few rounds of combat here in which the hounds demonstrated why the ghols fear them. They easily overpowered their opponents and dragged them down at which point Nanshe's people began to detonate their bombs.

    So far everything went exactly as I thought it would and the mages began to roll to try and catch your decoy party.

    Again, everyone rolled about what they should have though a few of the mages managed to exceed my expectations. The three mentioned in the update accounted for over half of the decoy party's casualties by themselves so your people watching the action unfold really locked on to them for the first round of combat.

    As soon as the enemy mages were in range I had you open fire and the Arrows were absolutely devastating against largely unarmoured targets. Most of the enemy mages fell in the first two rounds of combat. Ceannard himself managed to drop the green mage (the hardest one to hit) after only two shots. He fired a third shot just to make sure.

    About three of the mages managed to live long enough to fire back and you lost four Arrows as a result, none of your named characters were injured though.

    At this point Nanshe's hundred plus braves poured down the mountains and butcher the remaining dozen mages and about two thirds of the remaining hounds. A few hounds managed to slip away but beyond that you left none of the Thin White Mage's forces alive.

    Nanshe's people then set to work stripping the bodies of the mages of any valuables and Watcher's stones they possessed. The ghols took all the loot from the battlefield, they claimed that they did all of the dying so they should get all of the loot. If you want D&T can try to argue for some of it, just let me know.

    Following that you had a number of rolls to open the gate and send TWM through but they all went off without any difficulty and that is it for the rolls in this update.

    In fact everything went off so well that I decided to go a different way with the update as seen above. :troll:

    Once TWM was through you entered the Dreaming as a group to claim your reward. As soon as that is done you will part ways with Nanshe and her people and then with the Arrows once you are well clear of the army.

    If you want to ask Nanshe, Ceannard, your the demons any questions or give them instructions/suggestions then feel free to and I will see what I can do. If you want to pursue an entirely different course of action (for example try to assassinate Nanshe) then you need only propose it and I will add it to the list. Finally if you feel I neglected to mention something you think would be interesting then again feel free to ask though I can't guarantee anything.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
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  13. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,060
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Eh, I wanted to have a say about the conditiouns the TWM will be kept in. I have a wonderfully mad idea of turning him against his peers and the Watcher himself, but that would likely require him to know how truly fucked he is. I don't want him happy, I want him to be conscious of his failure. I hink he is prideful and spiteful enough to want to make his former colleagues - that are no doubt laughing at him behind his back now - fail even harder, if only to prove that without him they are even less than nothing.

    Forget Timo's efforts to root the Watcher's agents out - we have got our hands on the Watcher's general.

    I think I have at least a basic grasp of TWM's character, and know the right buttons to push. I'll think about it some more.

    What is in it for Morphy? Well, they say the necromancer TWM broke out of the prison is nigh indestructible, and if it's true we might consider confining her instead... I am sure he might like where this is going.

    As for Alric, none of the choices on offer appeal to me, but I do want to contact him. Do remember that we have Gullveig's reports in Muirthemne to show just what kind of armies the enemies have at their disposal. 17 shades is not something you see every day.

    Albrecht have shown himself to place the fate of his kingdom above his pride or even his own family, he would not have trusted us with finding a trator in their midst otherwise. If what we do helps the kingdom survive, he'll accept it, and if it does not, then it would not matter, would it?

    Finally, I would like to have a talk with Nanshe about our respective futures. Last thing I want is to fight everyone in the south simultaneously.

    Things are about to get interesting.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
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  14. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,264
    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    1)C ii, iii, v
    2)B Let them use their own initiative.
    3)A Don't want to go behind the kings back on this.
    4)B Leave him be.
     
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  15. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    9,500
  16. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,060
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    I am not sure how not reconciling with the Empire benefits anyone. Weren't people upset that Alric pulled his support right before the Watcher hit the Kingdom?

    If you don't want to go behind the King's back, well, inform him, ask him for a permission, or something, but twiddling our thumbs is not going to help.

    So far these 'strange ideas' have worked mostly in our favor. I'll try to come up with an acceptable freeform plan.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
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  17. Absinthe Prophet

    Absinthe
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Messages:
    3,191
    1A: Those song magics sound quite powerful and Thais has a monster Cha while Derryth has a skill bonus to singing. (B) Morpheus's Nightmare sounds cool but we could use Metal both inside and outside the Dreaming, so I think it tops. Plus, (Ci) money is too mundane at this stage, (Cii) we already have artifacts of considerable power that we still need to figure out - like the halcyon stone, (Ciii) the tower is just going to delay us even more from reaching the army and we already have enough spell(book)s atm, (Civ) the dream adventure is tempting but we already have a dream adventure map in our tower and we can trade another favor for this later, and (Cv) saving up a favor for later is decent but calling in Morpheus for a fight can also cost us by marking us as dark mages to any witnesses.

    Alternatively, we might go triple Cv and then collect one more favor to get the song for just ourselves; however, we likely cannot give Morpheus anybody while the Seekers are in our company, and Nanshe might try to collect favors on her own to get Metal anyway, but it would be harder for her and she would likely expend favors on Morpheus's Nightmare. Strongly tempted to do triple Cv to be honest.

    2B: In hindsight I think these rumors will result in the destruction of the cloning facilities before Ceannard can obtain the evidence.
    3F>A: Let Albrecht send the letter. He's got the best men for the task. 3G involves lying to Gareth (I don't like this.) and the Heron Guard (elites) are capable enough that they could catch our men when they try to sneak a message.
    4B: If Mazzarin is not handling the demonic host I am guessing he is busy enough that we will hate us for wasting his time unless we want to expend our favor. I'd rather hold on to that favor right now.
    5Bii: May as well help ourselves to the only loot that seems useful short of demanding more than they're likely to give.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2014
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  18. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,060
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    1A. Metal.

    Anyone who thinks otherwise shall be redirected to reread Chapter 50: Elf until they reach Enlightment. :salute:

    We don't need no favors from stinking demons. We have Mazzarin to clean up after our mess.

    3 smoking hot beauties and a ghol. What better band could you wish for?
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
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  19. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Messages:
    8,175
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Codex 2012
    Would be fun to use a favour to have Nanshe killed though. :troll:

    Not voting yet. Need to consider the options.
     
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  20. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,060
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    First off, about Alric and Albrecht.
    If someone thinks he is a-ok and does not need anyone's help to deal with the problem, then they are delusional. Even though he turned Alric down when the Emperor listened to the Brannons and ordered the embassy closed, he did that before all hell broke loose in Stoneheim, and he surely regrets his arrogance now.

    And if Albrecht's kingdom falls, it would be the Emperor's turn to regret it, as none of the enemies of the Crown mean well for Cath Bruig.

    It is in everyone's best interests that the two old allies get over their wounded pride and/or ignorance in the face of a greater threat.

    I did not think that it would be considered 'going behind King's back', seeing how he gave us full powers to act as his representatives in the interest of the Kingdom as we see fit. What does he think we asked those letters for, eh? Just a formality?
    But if people are so scared of hurting the King's feelings they are ready to risk throwing his country out of a window, fine.

    Let's specifically ask for his 'go-ahead'. Sure, it'll waste us two days, but at least it'll clear our conscience and we would follow the court etiquette, which I am sure is very important at a moment. :lol:

    So we will send the Arrows back and give them an eagle. Ceannard will talk with Albrecht on our behalf and will explain our position to him. He would be a fool to refuse - if the Emperor turns us down, he doesn't lose anything, and if we manage to strike a deal with Alric, the Kingdom will gain at least one ally back.

    Why am I still using 'we'? Because if we want to contact the Emperor, we should not do this through the Empire's official channels. Those are controlled by the Brannons - who were proven to have a say in the Empire's foreign policies - and they would be able to put a 'right' spin on the letter. No, we should go straight to the man, and the only way I can see of doing it reliably would be to contact the Heron Guards, who a) are loyal only to the Emperor b) have had contact with us and thus can at least vouch that we aren't the spawn of satan Damh claims us to be.

    If the Heron Guard receive the news about what happens in the Kingdom and if we can convince them that those events are important enough to get the Emperor's attention (and I think they are), we would have a chance to pull it off. Albrecht does not have that kind of channels available to him, that is why I insist we do this.

    How best to contact the Herons, though? Why, through Gareth, of course. Let him write a letter, grab those Gullveig's documents at Mabd's place detailing the scope of the Watcher's operation, and have him send this letter to our good friend Six-Winds-Soaring-Eagle anonymously - and I mean anonymously in a sense that no one would connect it to Gareth and our company, as of course we would make it clear it was sent by us in the text. Let the letter speak for itself whether it contains imformation that would be important for the Emperor to know.

    If need be, I can write what I think would make for a good letter to achieve our goals.

    For the moment, the plan I propose is 3G - Operation: An Unknown Wellwisher:

    - Contact Gareth in the Dreaming. Morpheus should assume his human form for that, and since Gareth is not a mage, it should not raise too many questions. Morpheus is the one we hired to cast this spell to contact him, end of story.
    - Have Gareth write a letter to Eagle with all the necessary information about the severity of the situation and the extent of the Watcher's invasion. Having it written by one of us ensures that we have full control over its content and that it won't get 'altered' on the way to Muirthemne.
    - The letter should mention that we are the senders, as we rely on our connection to Eagle to eventuially get it to the Emperor. I will give an example of such a letter if needed.
    - Complement the letter with physical proof as necessary. Nephila should be carrying Gullveig's documents to Muirthemne as we speak.
    - Have the letter and the documents delivered to the Heron Guard headquarters anonymously. Gareth can hire a homeless brat for a silver piece, or Brigit can do something fancy like firing an arrow in their courtyard, or whatever - the point is that the connection between Gareth's company and the letter should not be exposed. We should not teach this to someone who have made discretion their motto.
    - The end result of this is that a letter mysteriously ends up at the Heron Guards headquarters, and Eagle is the one who gets our message without us contacting him via the Dreaming or letting him know about Mabd or Gareth.

    I'll also propose 2 alternative options:
    i) You wait for Albrecht's go-ahead before you proceed with the plan. It would only be polite to ask him beforehand. This could be done with an eagle or via other means.
    ii) You proceed without the King's explicit permission. It is stupid to concern yourself with formalities when so much is at stake, and you think you might need to act fast.

    If we manage to do everything correctly and make a strong case for Alric's interference, we might gain one extra ally in the south. To me, it's worth it.

    And I'll vote 3Gi
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
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  21. Jester Arbiter

    Jester
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Messages:
    1,493
    :kwafuckyeah:


    Happy Christmas. Hope you will enjoy them surrounded by friends and/or family.

    vote for now:
    1A
    2B
    3A
    4B
     
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  22. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    "Mostly Harmless" planet
    1. Your reward: You have successfully given the Thin White Mage to Morpheus. For this service you are entitled to a favour or favours depending on what exactly you choose. The Demon Price has promised you anything it is in his power to give so you take:

    A) Metal - Or more generally the secrets of the demons' musical magic. This will require you to undergo a number of training sessions under Morpheus and perhaps other demons that he trusts. It is likely to take years, if not decades, to master and it can be quite dangerous both to you and the world at large but there is definite power to be had there and it is unlike anything you have encountered before. Morpheus insists that all four of you select this favour if you want it so if this option wins it will expend all the favours the Prince owes your group.



    2. A whispering campaign: With your business in the mountains concluded Ceannard and his remaining Arrows will return to Myrgard. You might want to give them some parting instructions. In particular you might want to advise Mayer and Timo to try and undermine the Cultists by spreading rumours that Eberhardt's resurrection was the work of the Dark. It might be to your advantage to try and further muddy the waters though it could also have other consequences.

    B) No, you do not want to spend time and resources on this. Better to just let your people in the city do what they think is best.



    3. Calling Alric: You have had a strange idea. If the Kingdom and the Empire could reconcile their differences then you might be able to get additional support from the north. If the Emperor is made aware of the presence of the Watcher on his southern border he may even come in person to help quash this old enemy. There are a number of ways you could try to contact him should you desire.

    3G - Operation: An Unknown Wellwisher: Gi) You wait for Albrecht's go-ahead before you proceed with the plan. It would only be polite to ask him beforehand. This could be done with an eagle or via other means.


    4. Calling Mazzarin: You think the demonic host that has been lurking in the south is the product of something Mazzarin has done. You could try using your necklaces to call to the Great Mage and demand an audience, of course you may have to use up your last favour to get him to do anything worth while and there may be consequences should you annoy him again.

    B) You would rather not draw the Great Mage's attention again unless you absolutely have to.


    And Happy Christmas to everyone!
     
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  23. archaen Arbiter Patron

    archaen
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2014
    Messages:
    621
    1. A
    2. A
    3. Gi
    4. B
     
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  24. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    Added

    Also added.


    I will probably leave the vote open till the weekend as I doubt I will have much time to do any writing before that. As always if you have any questions for the characters or myself feel free to ask them. Also should you have any freeform plots you wish to pusue you need only put them forward and I will add them to the list.

    The Interlude might still be up before Christmas (at least on my end ;)). It will either be up in seven hours or so, before I have to step out, or it will be up in roughly forty eight hours.

    Finally a merry Christmas to everyone as well, may you find the day enjoyable or at least not too stressful... :lol:

    Current Tally:

    Show Spoiler
    Grimgravy:
    1)C ii, iii, v
    2)B
    3)A>Gi
    4)B

    Baltika9:
    1)A
    2)A
    3)A
    4)A

    Absinthe:
    1)A
    2)B
    3)F
    4)B

    Nevill:
    1)A
    2)x
    3)Gi
    4)x

    Kz3r0:
    1)A
    2)B
    3)A
    4)B

    Jester:
    1)A
    2)B
    3)A
    4)B

    Karwelas:
    1)A
    2)B
    3)G
    4)B

    archaen:
    1)A
    2)A
    3)Gi
    4)B

    1. Reward:
    7 votes A
    1 vote C: ii,iii,v

    2. Whisper Campaign
    5 votes B
    2 votes A

    3. Alric
    4 votes A
    3 votes G (2 votes Gi, 1 vote general G)
    1 vote F

    4. Mazzarin
    6 votes B
    1 vote A
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
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