https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5F2t8QftXo&t=149s&ab_channel=CryoChamberTraversing the uneven rocks underfoot you approach a concrete square, the servants manning it shuffle to assist. The air around you is hot and orange, warmth radiates from deep down beneath the earth. Life slowly trickles back into you, true respite. A cloud of smoke billows out from the Funnel, rising into the cold heavens and blotting out the dead Sun. You need not its light, when The Furnace provides.A skeletal servant greets you with open hands, there is a shroud over its body that drapes down past their feet, spilling slightly over the ground. A soft feminine voice beckons you closer.“Come, Stoker. We see your Harvest. Tell us more, we need to know.”The Machinist stays close to you, anxiety drips off of him in tiny beads of sweat. You pass a worried glance over him.“Just the heat, S-Stoker.” A sad sigh escapes the cloaked figure at the greeting post, she points a lithe digit at the Husks you gathered.“The children… You have passed the graveyard?” She asks.“Yes, it was a difficult escape.” You answer.“It would have been, yes. With that sordid Abomination sat on its fake throne.” Bitterness coats her previously soft voice, a hand is placed on the head of one of the biter Hollows. “Orphans, seeking their family among the caskets. They knew nothing of the cruel world that has been left for them, harm was never their goal. Merely attachment, desperation. A great need for belonging.” She stands again, looking at you. ”6 Husks is a sizeable haul, not to mention him.” Her eyes bore into your artisan friend who shies away from the intense scrutiny.“They call me The Machinist, at your service.” “A Machinist? Oh my, you will serve quite well. It has been a long journey no doubt, please allow them to guide you down to The Furnace.” The 2 other servants stand watch over a staircase leading straight into the ground, your friend and ally looks at you with a pained smile and extends a hand. You grasp him firmly by the forearm, allowing him to touch the gauntlet he made for you one last time.“Be blessed, Stoker. I will never forget you. Until we meet again.” He says with no attempt at bravery, pain wracks his frame.“Serve well, Machinist, and I hope we will.”You let go of each other, and he descends below while you remain above.“Stokers have a tendency of being solitary, how you have touched a soul so thoroughly is as much of a mystery as it is a great accomplishment. Take pride in that, Stoker.” The lady coos.“I do.”
>>4579377“Good, now for your reward. You have earned it.” She waves you over to a stool, it is placed directly above a heat vent. The air seeps into your very core, fueling you for the journeys ahead. You take heart, the life of the world flows through you.“I have noticed your impressive arsenal, and seek to improve it even further.” From a small steel crate she extracts 2 hand grenades, you have seen these only once before. “These devices have been infused with the souls of stillborn, their intensity is considerable but inadequate for The Furnace. As such they have been weaponized, here.” She gently places them into your hand. “They can be used for more than just destruction, each tiny soul represents energy manifest. Use them wisely, and sparingly.”The weight of them is small, but comforting. You store them within yourself and hope you won’t have to use them anytime soon. The lady has produced a piece of actual paper from somewhere and is reading it, the ink is blue.“You have… an opportunity. It is not exactly the specialty of a Stoker but your experience would be very valuable. There is an Abomination residing in that graveyard you passed I have mentioned, it appears you have been tasked with eliminating it. If you so wish, of course. Your service has been above average and The Machine has allowed you to choose, there will be 2 Soldiers at your sides to aid you in this endeavor. The risk is great, even for a Stoker. You could refuse and be on your way back into the dust, or accept and prepare.”You close your eyes, letting a fresh draft of wind flow over you. What will you choose, Stoker?>Accept, you will fight.>Decline, it is not meant for your kind.
>>4579380(Stoker quest is back! I will try to settle into a more steady pace and aim for minimum 2 updates a day, every day. If for some reason I cannot update certain days I will let you guys know in the thread. Let's do this!)
>>4579387http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=stoker(Link to the archive because I forgot.)
>>4579380You gave us abortion grenades. It's good to have you back OP, you beautiful psycho >Accept, you will fight.
>>4579380>Accept, you will fight.>Ask if they have any spare sulfur.
>>4579380>Accept, you will fight.Fortune favors the bold. Can we obtain some sulfur for our gauntlet here?>>4579387Nice to see you back so soon, Sun. Looking forward to another great thread.
>>4579426>>4579423>>4579415Accept, ask for sulfur. Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4579494“I accept. Do you have any sulfur?”“Great, now here- excuse me?”“I require sulfur.” You say, shaking the gauntlet. “That is a most peculiar request, but I think I can fulfill it. It won’t be a lot, but The Furnace used to burn it… A long time ago. Is that an Artifact?” She asks.“It is a gauntlet gifted to me by The Machinist, it can improve my ability to harness flame.”“Magnificent, such an object fashioned out in the wasteland? I can only think of what he can accomplish with all of our resources at his disposal. Take this ticket, present it to the first desk and someone will lead you to a storage room. If there is anything left you are entitled to all of it, The Furnace provides. I will prepare all the information we have collected from our Scribes and Scouts on this Abomination and fill you in when you return.”You bow, and descend. The way down is scalding hot, you breathe in deeper and deeper, there is strength in every step. Life surges into you from all angles, you cannot see it but the presence of The Furnace is overwhelming. It does not weigh you down, the blaze crackles and chirps in your ear, pushing you further. There is the sense of attunement, the earth all around is homely and welcoming, unlike the caves you have traversed on your way to Murdaugh. No threat lurks ahead, only the promise of vitality.You emerge into a small room, two tall figures flank a man sitting down behind a window. There is a functional light bulb Illuminating the surrounding area, it reminds you of yourself.“Hello, Stoker. Your friend came down earlier, he owe you something? Heh.” Silently you hand him the ticket, he reads it and exchanges it for a flat key. “Tall one over here is going to lead you down, place is damn near empty, no clue what you are looking for down there. Off you go.”
>>4579540A groan erupts from your guide as he drags his feet over to you, it is nothing but a mindless Slave. Not quite a Husk, a sliver of soul clings to its shell. It walks headfirst into a wall, and the obstacle melts away as if it was made of wax. You quickly follow when the earth begins to drip from the ceiling and form again into a solid barrier. The corridors are winding but not wholly unfamiliar, shades of red being to stretch out over the walls. A few more minutes of walking and crimson is all around you, it feels like flesh, a steady ripple of energy flows through it like a heartbeat. The space grows wider and wider, you are no longer lurking in tunnels. A slanted building stands in front of you, 3 doorways lead into oppressive darkness. The Slave takes the middle one, but curiosity urges you in a different way.>Take the door to the left.>Take the door to the right.>You cannot risk getting lost, follow the Slave.>Write in.
>>4579543>You cannot risk getting lost, follow the Slave.Maybe when we exit we can check out the other routes. Sulfur first, though.
>>4579543>You cannot risk getting lost, follow the Slave.
>>4579543>>You cannot risk getting lost, follow the Slave.
>>4579581>>4579560>>4579546Follow. Vote is locked. Writing. (last one for today.)
>>4579672There is a time for exploration, and it is not now. The Slave drags itself ever further into the corridor, threatening to leave you behind. A thin line of dust is left in its wake that you follow, light becomes scarce once more and you are swallowed whole by the building. A throbbing is all about you, impossible to ignore if anyone would even want to do such a thing. Sulfur slowly sneaks up into your senses, it is barely noticeable. With no announcement the servant stops. Carefully, you paw ahead in the darkness and feel a door. It is warm steel, there is no key hole. Your travel partner is less than useful here in regards to advice.>Stab the door with the key, it worked for the Slave.>Press against it, you may not need the key yet.>Push the Slave in, he won’t complain.>You are within The Furnace, utilize its gift and immolate your limbs.>Light the room, you can’t see anything.>Write in.
>>4579696>Light the room, you can’t see anything.And, if nothing new is revealed...>Press against it, you may not need the key yet.>Stab the door with the key, it worked for the Slave.>Push the Slave in, he won’t complain.Try these in order.
>>4579696>Light the room, you can’t see anything.
>>4579728Yeah, this sounds about right
>>4580206>>4579784>>4579734>>4579728Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4580290You harness the warm currents flowing around you and direct them to your head, a bright flash bathes the corridor in light. At a first glance it looks in fact like a dead end, no other hallways lead off to the sides. The walls are a deep shade of burgundy, the hue drinks in your glow and gives back just a fraction.You push against the wall and to your great surprise it falls over. Some dust is kicked up and after it settles you notice that the obstacle didn’t collapse fully, it sits at an angle and leads up to an even wider door. This one actually has a keyhole. The newly formed ramp is smooth and you have to clamber over it on all fours, inserting the key is awkward to say the least. A mechanism clicks and whirrs as a great empty storage room is revealed to you, it stinks, but not enough to where you could get excited. A thin film of sickly yellow covers the place, it is most abundant on the ceiling where it has formed small clumps due to the moisture present. The Slave is still down the ramp, waiting. You could fill up half of your gauntlet if you scraped away the material on the floor and walls, but you cannot easily reach the ceiling.>Gather the sulfur you can reach and leave, it is better than nothing.>Attempt to gather all of it. >1 Order the Slave to help you up.>2 Use your spear to pick at the clumps.>3 Write in.
>>4580300>Attempt to gather all of it. >2 Use your spear to pick at the clumps.
>>4580300Pick up the ramp, use it as a scraper. I don't want to risk damaging our spear. We can place the ramp back down when we're done.
>>4580353The ramp is an actual wall, it just fell over and turned into a ramp. It is way too heavy for you to lift and also bolted to the floor. Just wanted to let you know.
>>4580356instructions unclear, cross stuck in the ceiling fanlol ty for letting me know. Seconding >>4580353then
>>4580300>Attempt to gather all of it.>2 Use your spear to pick at the clumps.
>>4580373>>4580358>>4580307Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4580420You reach up and poke at the ceiling with your weapon, flakes glide down as you wrest bigger clump free. They splat on the ground with a squelch, there are quite a few but still not enough to fill up your tank fully. Scratching at the thin veil above proves useless, the substance is rather sticky and you cannot gather any more. Down on the ground the process is much easier, if not a bit time consuming. At the end you are left with a small pile of yellow dust, it should last you for a while if you don’t overuse it. The actual process of entering it into the slot on your gauntlet is downright frustrating, you keep spilling the dust everywhere and have to scoop it up again. The Slave doesn’t laugh at least, you doubt he has a sense of humor. He stands at attention and looks blindly forward, you are probably supposed to let him know when you are done but those other tunnels are still unexplored. You could go looking, this is your home too after all.>Finish up here and return above to be briefed on your mission.>Go down the left tunnel.>Go down the right tunnel.>Write in.
>>4580445>Go down the left tunnel.
>>4580445>Go down the left tunnel.I'd rather not keep the servant girl waiting, but we should have time for one tunnel.
>>4580445>Go down the left tunnel
>>4580551>>4580453>>4580446Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4580589Freshly resupplied with ammo you slide down the ramp and past the Slave, he doesn’t react in the slightest which you take as invitation to explore. The left tunnel is equally dark as the others but you can easily use your aspect of The Sun to light the way, the same shade of blood red as before coats the tunnel walls. There is thumping in the stone, thumping in your body, thumping in your soul. The Furnace is life, and you are feeling every drop of it. You turn a corner, and are shocked into paralysis.A giant red worm is slithering around, soundlessly eating away at the walls. You are not aware of its purpose or designation. What is it, why is it here? It arches its simple body, some sort of goo drips off it and catches the soft glow of a light bulb.>Run, you are not entirely sure if it is in charge of security.>Don’t move, perhaps it will ignore you.>Talk, perhaps it is intelligent.>Bring your spear out, this thing is obviously dangerous. Maybe it accidently dug into The Furnace?>Write in.
>>4580605>Talk, perhaps it is intelligent.Let's not jump straight to murder unless needed. Worst case it starts attacking us and then we can flamethrower it.
>>4580605>Don’t move, perhaps it will ignore you.I doubt we'll have a nice talk with this monstrosity but we may learn something by observing it.
>>4580605>Talk, perhaps it is intelligent.Clearly state that we mean no harm, and are simply curiously exploring. Book it at the first sign of hostility.Side note: I'd like to try and get a flute or some other instrument while we're here in the Furnace, there's been like four occasions now where having something musical could have been handy.
>>4580605>Talk, perhaps it is intelligent.
>>4580675>>4580663>>4580657>>4580608Talk. Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4581411“I mean no harm.” Your words curiously don’t echo. A cursory glance is paid your way, the worm bobs one of its ends up and down slowly, wave-like. A mess of teeth ring the orifice it probably uses as a mouth, that viscous substance hangs like spit. No noise escapes it, if it can even produce any.“Hello?” You ask.The creature does not understand, or perhaps not care. It returns to its previous business of eating away at the walls, grinding its fangs against something hard enough for a few occasional sparks to fly. Perhaps you could help it? >Walk past it and deeper into the tunnel, at least it didn’t attack you.>See what it is struggling with, perhaps you can befriend it?>Back away, you want nothing to do with it. Meddling was probably a mistake.>Write in.
>>4581416>See what it is struggling with, perhaps you can befriend it?ABORTION GRENADE THROWINCROSS WIELDINWORM TAMINROBOT BARD QUEST
>>4581416>See what it is struggling with, perhaps you can befriend it?We don't really have any mining tools, but it's worth taking a look.>>4581419Based summary.
>>4581416>Walk past it and deeper into the tunnel, at least it didn’t attack you.
>>4581419+1The world might have ended, yet the Furnace shall burn bright with the power of FRIENDSHIP
>>4581462>>4581438>>4581435>>4581419Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4581475With steady step you approach the work site, the worm coils its long body and strikes again. A hellish grind fills the otherwise empty corridors, something cracks. You peek around and see a massive scarred boulder resting firmly in the middle of a wall, the one this worm is trying to go through. The intensive biting caused the rock to develop an interesting texture, it reminds you of clouds. The obstacle is obviously too big to whittle down, but perhaps with enough force you could crack it. Your temporary partner seems to have trouble realizing it could just dig around and wait for it to fall out. Without any proper tools it would take you a significant amount of time to excavate the boulder, but it could be done in time to return for your briefing. The worm dejectedly pokes at his foe, at a complete loss.>Smash the boulder, brute force always works. (Roll)>Take the time to dig it out, you won’t be able to continue exploring for lack of time.>This is really not your problem, continue on.>Write in.
Rolled 68 (1d100)>>4581479>Smash the boulder, brute force always works. (Roll)I hope the strength upgrade from double crit last thread and proximity to the Furnace is enough to break through.>inb4 spear breaks
>>4581482(I have not been clear enough. The roll will be after if everyone votes for that option, my bad. Your vote is still counted.)
Rolled 46 (1d100)>>4581479>Smash the boulder, brute force always works. (Roll)>>4581484You can't tell me what to do!
>>4581484>Smash the boulder, brute force always works. (Wait to Roll)Trying to be respectful of OP lol
>>4581498>>4581488>>4581482Smash the boulder. Vote is locked. Roll will be 1d100, average of 3.
Rolled 45 (1d100)>>4581510
Rolled 28 (1d100)>>4581510
>>4581516SEE WHAT YOU DID?!
Rolled 77 (1d100)>>4581510HALLOWED BE THY FURNACEO GREAT WORM GRANT US YOUR FRIENDSHIP AND THE TENACITY WE REQUIRE IN THIS TRYING TIMEBIG BUCKS NO WHAMMIES
>>4581518>>4581516>>4581514Average of 3 is 50. Writing.
>>4581540Strength surges through you, The Furnace has blessed you with power and you will reward it in turn with your labor. You clutch your cross and bring it to bear, there is a fire in you. The worm anticipates your strike and slithers back, giving you room to swing. The first hit is resounding, vibrations run up your cross and into your own body. A scuff mark is all you see for now, so you strike again. A crack. Once more and the boulder has a hairline fracture running down its entire length, the final strike breaks it apart fully and causes the rest of the rubble that it was holding up to come flooding down over you. Struggling against the gravel you realize that you are stuck, you try making a pocket of air with your hand but it is to no avail.You are approached by the worm, it hangs above you, oozing . Gently it begins crunching at the rocks holding you down, bite by bite you find yourself free again. The substance it is leaking seems to moisten everything enough to chew through, it nudges you up onto your feet. You dust yourself off and watch as it plunges itself into the stone ahead, whipping the rest of its body into the wall and vanishes. One of its teeth seems to fallen off, you pick it up as a good luck charm. Perhaps you will find each other again.>Continue down this tunnel, more awaits.>Turn back and try the other one.>Return to Slave and carry on with your mission.>Write in.
>>4581553WORM: BEFRIENDED>Return to Slave and carry on with your mission.We are on a time limit.
>>4581553>Turn back and try the other one.Side quest item got. Now to explore the rest.
>>4581553>Return to Slave and carry on with your mission.
>>4581578b-b-b-but the loot!?
>Continue down this tunnel, more awaits.I think it'll be faster if we head down this tunnel than changing tunnelseither way I have been infected by a lust for adventurewe must go deeper
>>4581586Fine >:(Switching to >>4581600
>>4581553>Return to Slave and carry on with your mission.HELLO??? ABORTION GRENADES??? You guys got to keep your eyes on the prize here. Lucky worm tooth acquired, we don't need to get greedy.
>>4581611>>4581606>>4581600>>4581582>>4581581>>4581578(It seems that there is a tie between going back to the surface and continuing down this tunnel. I will use the third vote to change tunnels as a tiebreaker and call it for further exploration down the path you have already taken, as such: )Continue down this tunnel. Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4582356You shake off the remaining dust off of you and head deeper into The Furnace, the dark tunnel beyond embraces you once more. Time is hard to keep, especially below ground. Moments pass, a voice startles you.“Are you lost, Stoker?”Turning around there is a thing in front of you, one of the Foremen you would guess. Its face is fully shrouded in red cloth, a segmented yellow crown floats above its head. There are no eyes to look into, just a dark pit where they should be. You sweat profusely, it feels like the entire hallway is going to collapse in on you. There is a slight tremble in your limbs, and a mist in your eyes.>Lie, you are indeed lost.>Confess to being curious.>Run down the tunnel as fast as you can, perhaps you can lose it.>Write in.
>>4582375>Confess to being curious.Also,>one of the Foremen you would guess.Seems like we're familiar with these guys. Who are they? How do they serve the Furnace?
>>4582379(You know they are essentially the leadership of The Furnace and oversee all of its activity. You personally don't interact with them that much because you almost never come down into the actual Furnace let alone this deep. This is one of your bosses, basically.)
>>4582375>Confess to being curious.
>>4582375>Confess to being curious.Sorry
>>4582412>>4582387>>4582386>>4582383>>4582379Confess. Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4582427“No.” You barely manage. ”I was just curious.”“Well, I should have expected as much. Your kind hardly ever get lost do they? The wasteland out there must be a lot more confusing than a few corridors. Where are you heading?”“I don’t know.”“Ah, so you are lost after all. While I will not blame you for wanting to spend more time in your home, I do believe you have work to do. Go. Now.”You snap straight and it lets you go for a second before clutching your forearm.“Look for me when you come back. You did something, we ought to discuss it at length. Do not forget. The Furnace provides.”With a curt, terrified nod you pick up the pace back to the Slave. It is still sitting in place, stupidly staring at nothing. You gestures for it to get moving but it does not comply.“Return me to the surface.” There is an authoritative tone to you. It works, the Slave drags itself once more down the winding hallways and corridors up to the front desk from where you ascend by yourself. The servant is waiting for you with a single paper sheet, she is inscrutable.“Time is hard to keep, but please do try.” She clears her voice and begins the briefing. “The graveyard near here is inhabited by an Abomination named “The Duke”, he has the ability to influence the weak willed to do his bidding, possessing an uncanny air of authority. Husks bend to his whim and even the more fragile People who pass his lair.” She looks up from the paper and flicks her wrist upwards. “The pillar, he resides as the top. We sent a Scout over to get more information but it appears he has not returned, the layout of this building is therefore unknown. Proceed carefully.” She beings reading again. “Your allies in this mission will be 2 Soldiers, one has been reached by The Machine and is en route to the graveyard while the other is as of yet unreachable. Your first task will be to retrieve and bring him to the rendezvous point, from there you must coordinate and eliminate the Abomination at any cost. The location of the Soldier you have to find is in Morsink, north-west of here.” She puts the sheet down and clasps her hands together. “That is all. Good luck.”This is much more information that you usually get, but you could always ask for more.>Any other types of Husks you should worry about?>Does The Duke have any known weaknesses?>How far is Morsink from the Funnel?>Ask nothing, and leave.>Write in.
>>4582447>Does The Duke have any known weaknesses?
>>4582447>Any other types of Husks you should worry about?>Does The Duke have any known weaknesses?
>>4582447>Does The Duke have any known weaknesses?If the Duke does NOT have any known weaknesses, ask for advice on how to use our ability and the soldier's to overcome his strengths.
>>4582447>Any other types of Husks you should worry about?>Does The Duke have any known weaknesses?>How far is Morsink from the Funnel?
>>4582555>>4582488>>4582476>>4582466Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4583013“Does this Duke have any known weaknesses?” You ask.“Well, I do not know. Our Scribes can only speculate, no one has been able to approach it since its creation. Some people think it is incredibly frail physically and that is why it needs an army to do its bidding, others think it might be a very capable combatant and that is what creates the air of authority. A few have supported the theory that it isn’t even a person, but rather a sort of common driver for all these Husks, like a soul that split itself up and infected all of their minds.” She blinks, you continue.“How can its strengths be overcome?”“Oh, Stoker, these reports don’t really say much. Abominations are a mystery you know, that is why The Machine wants them dead so bad, can’t have any questions without answers.” Her eyes widen slightly and she covers her mouth. “Or who knows what The Machine wants. Perhaps it will be wise to avoid most open conflict so they don’t whittle down your strength? Seems wise.”“I have encountered some of these Husks, the orphans. Are there any others?”“Certainly, The Duke is a magnet for empty vessels and there has to be some diversity. Be careful, you can rely on the Soldiers to deal with the brunt of it, they are built for this purpose.”“What might these new Husks be?”“Unclear. Scout didn’t come back, remember?” She fidgets with her robes, and shifts her gaze around.“How far is Morsink?”A relieved sigh escapes her. “2 days in fair weather, 5 at most with any complications. Nothing you can’t handle, you crossed the salt flats after all.”You nod. The desert outside is still obscured by the thick smoke flowing from the Funnel, as you prepare to leave a torrent of flame shoots up directly into the sky. A violent whistle makes your eyes water and head ring after the fact, you look to the servant one last time.“Your friend is in good hands. Safe travels, Stoker.”
>>4583017You take comfort in the feeling of dust underfoot, you soul has been revitalized and your arsenal upgraded. A thought at the back of your head can’t stop but assume the grenades are related to the mission you have received. Heavy duty weapons are usually reserved for the Soldiers, you saw them work only once and it was nothing short of overwhelming force. The Abnormalities they combat on a regular basis are incredibly more dangerous than Husks, to be working alongside not 1 but 2 Soldiers is slightly worrying.Do not despair, Stoker. Your strengths combined could topple any fake despot. Breathe in, listen.The Machine speaks to you, their words resonate in your chest. Staggering for a second from the intensity of their presence you find the time to breathe and shut off the outside world.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLQN6VEK3ew&ab_channel=CryoChamberWe have witnessed your service to us. The Last Herd reunited, a great mind brought into our fold. The Machinist insisted we keep you more company, and we could only oblige with our ranks now swollen. A debt is due. We offer you sight, knowledge. 2 favors, no more. A vision of the present, a memory of the past or an answer. Choose, Stoker.>A vision of the present, you could use some perspective.>A memory of the past, probably lamentable.>An answer, to one of you many questions (Write in a question you would like answered.(You have 2 favors to spend with The Machine thanks to your service. You can chose 1 prompt twice or pick 2 different ones. E.g 2 visions, 1 memory and an answer etc.)
>>4583018>A vision of the present, you could use some perspective.>A memory of the past, probably lamentable.Unless anons have specific questions
>>4583018>A vision of the present.>Is it possible to obtain abilities other servants of the Machine possess e.g. become as strong as a Soldier, as perceptive as a Scribe, yet remain as resourceful as a Stoker?If this is known to us already,>A memory of the past, probably lamentable.
>>4583087>>4583074>>4583048>>4583026A vision of the present and a question. Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4583220“An answer.” You muse. “How can I become as strong as a Soldier, as perceptive as a Scribe, without losing myself?”Stoker, you have nothing to lose. Your strength is your own, if it is improvement you seek ask those who you would learn from. A Soldiers strength does not come only from their design, a Scribes mind is sharpened by years of listening to the dead wind. Learn, Stoker. True power is derived from knowledge. Was it raw force that carried The Machinist to us? No, it was lessons accumulated over a lifetime of labor. You must endure, Stoker. We know you will. Their voices are a choir, calm washes over you. The lesson grounds you, the wasteland holds many secrets, you will draw wisdom from them. You will learn.“A vision of the present.” You murmur to the great collective.Look up, Stoker. Past the clouds, beyond the dust storm. What heights can your mind reach? We will take you higher, farther.Your soul is plucked from you by a thousand gentle fingers, their hands lift your very essence into the cold heavens. There is the Funnel, belching smoke over the wasteland, it swirls and spills over the dunes of dust and gets ripped apart by the wind. Above it are the grey clouds, your spirit shivers and The Machine holds you tighter. The world below is dead and dry. Continents of nothing stretch out below you as you rise, grim peaks jut from the mantle of the earth. The horizon is dark, so so very dark. The collective brings you above it too and lets you gaze upon infinity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRcO-MlX3p4&ab_channel=CryoChamberThe true sky is empty, you look into pure absence. Only a blood speckled star remains, it hangs dimly in the darkness, sullen and dying. A corpse, all you have left is a corpse.A pang of pain pierces you, there are no eyes for you to cry with, no mouth to scream from. You trash against the souls keeping you in their grasp. With a motherly tone they whisper to you:This is all there ever will be. All that ever was. Time is running out. For us, for the Universe. Everything must come to an end, and this is it.You look beyond into the blackest abyss and see nothing, nothing but the end. A story of millennia in its final moments. Existences epilogue. You sob. What else is there to do? You search for meaning in the cosmic dust.What do you find, Stoker?>Beauty, in the death throes of the Universe.>Regret, this cannot be. What have you done? You must go back.>Acceptance. The world is dead. Let it rest. Perhaps you should too.>Write in.
>>4583246oh fugg it's the total perspective vortex>Beauty, in the death throes of the Universethe only sexy choice
>>4583246>Expect some kind of insight into what difficulties are to come>The Sun pulls an existential crisis on usI love this. As for the actual vote,>Regret, this cannot be. What have you done? You must go back.Struggle until the end, just like we told the Grandfather.
>>4583246>Acceptance. The world is dead. Let it rest. Perhaps you should too.Can the furnace really do anything? The machine is magical beyond imagination, but on a universal scale...
>>4583246>Beauty, in the death throes of the Universe.>You must go back.We can appreciate this gift that The Machine has granted us, and take heart in this vision as we continue our work. This is not the end.
>>4583246>Regret, this cannot be. What have you done? You must go back.
>>4583432>>4583301>>4583282>>4583257>>4583249Tie between beauty and regret, will try to mix the two. Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4583684You see beauty, in what is a unique moment in time. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, only a dark red sun and a cold world. You are a solitary witness, a crowd of one to the Universes last masterpiece. Finality does not have to be filled with sorrow.It does not have to be final either.This is not the end, not yet. Not while you still draw breath, not while The Furnace burns. The Machine is cradling you this very moment, there is purpose. There is a mission you must fulfill. You must go back, spark life into this dead place. You cannot wither and fall, there is still so much to be done.Fret not, Stoker. With each passing moment we remember more, we learn.You are dragged back into your body. The ground is still warm due to the Funnels proximity, a slight breeze is breaking on the side of your body. You gasp, air exists again. You exist again. There are spots of blue in your eyes, you are on your knees. Remember for us too, Stoker. Witness, study, grow. Until we bring back the past.You shiver, everything feels infinitesimal. Nothing more that grains of sand, suspended in empty space. Rising to your feet you dare look ahead to the path that awaits you, 2 days. We will be watching.The choir of voices is gone, silence floods your mind. It is impossible to meditate with how shaken you are, how do you pass the time to Morsink?>Think about the vision, extract all of the wisdom from it that you can.>Run. You will get there faster and put a burn in your limbs, you will also be more tired.>Formulate a plan of attack for The Duke, revise what you know.>Write in.
>>4583723>Think about the vision, extract all of the wisdom from it that you can.
>>4583723The Machine should totally figure out mind upload and go full Matryoshka Brain. If you slow down the calculations, you can exist comfortably even around a black hole or an iron star.
>>4583723>>Think about the vision, extract all of the wisdom from it that you can.
>>4583883>>4583764>>4583741Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4583931There must be more to the vision, infinity cannot be that easy to comprehend. You march on, and ruminate on your experience.The Sun is dead, the world is ash. But something else cast a shadow on the earth, you try to focus on what it was. Something was wrong with the light coming from the red star, it was obscured. Deathly dim as it may be there should not be a total absence of it in places where it is daytime. You close your eyes and try to relive those critical moments, you see the astral corpse floating grimly in front of you. There is a dark rim around it, multiple. Straining your mind you focus in on them, snapping your memory into razor sharp focus. The rings have jagged edges and right angles, metal charred by the impossible heat of The Sun. They are beyond a doubt manmade and old, older than anything you have seen so far. Motionless they circle the only source of light the world has, strangling it. You gulp.Who killed The Sun?“Hello?” A voice asks. You open your eyes, someone is in front of you.“Yes.” You answer half startled.“Greetings, fellow Stoker. I have interrupted your march trance, I apologize.”There is one of your own kind in front of you. He has a bandaged face, his clothes shroud most of his form in darkness with the exception of the repentant on his chest. You cannot tell if it is attached to a weapon, a white bead is embedded in his off hand. His Harvest seems to be one singular Person, it is leashed and looking up at you with beady eyes, its head is the shame yellow as yours with the addition of a wick protruding out of the scalp.“Headed to Morsink?” he asks, you nod and try to not stare at the child in his care.“Indeed. You come from there?”“I do. Got The Candle here from there, an aspect of The Sun. I deemed it rare enough to return without anything else. You seem… similar.”The Candle, with its manacled hands whispers towards you. “Do you shine?”>Yes, give a demonstration. Should answer a lot of their questions.>Yes. Leave it at that.>No. It wouldn’t be a full lie, you don’t have a flame on your head.>Ignore the scrutiny, cite your important mission and leave.>You have a few questions to distract them with. (Write in what you want to ask)>Write in.
>>4583936>Yes, give a demonstration. Should answer a lot of their questions.
>>4583936>You have a few questions to distract them with. Did they see a Soldier in Morsink?
>>4583936>>Yes. Leave it at that.
>>4583957>>4583958Changing my vote to ask this question as well as answer theirs.
>>4584491>>4584473>>4584114>>4583969>>4583966>>4583958>>4583957Give a demonstration, ask a question. Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4584533Gradually you start radiating light, it casts itself upon the faces of the Stoker and his Harvest. With his covered face your brother in service is inscrutable but the child is teary eyed with joy. it trembles in its restraints with awe, you redouble your efforts. The glow is blinding, everything else seems pitch black compared to your head.“Y-you do shine!” The Candle tries to approach you but is yanked back by the neck, this does not stop it from trying again and again. Slowly you dim your incandescence back to normal.“Interesting.” Your fellow Stoker says. ”Most impressive, you are truly blessed.” His tone does not seem as enthused as his words.“Indeed. Have you met a Soldier in Morsink?” You deflect.“One was there. Didn’t talk much, you know how they are. He was very busy with something, would be constantly on the move. For what purpose I do not know, nothing was being killed. Perhaps you know more about it?”You don’t, but pretend that this makes sense anyway. “I am supposed to meet with him.”“In that case I will stop wasting your time, safe travels.” He bows slightly, you honor him with the same and are back on the road. Night finds you on the outskirts of the city, the tall square buildings rising above the horizon. A vast graveyard expands inward, one of the gravestones is glowing blue. No, it is empty.Not empty. Cracks in time. We framed history in all of its glory, it is now stuck in place, a gallery unattested. Our greatest success. Find strength it their halls, it will bolster your service.A comforting breeze blows from within and caresses your face, beckoning you within.>There Is no time for this, you have a mission to fulfill>Take the detour, the Soldier seemed to have his hands full anyway.>Write in.
>>4584534>Take the detour, the Soldier seemed to have his hands full anyway.Not about to ignore that message
>>4584534>Take the detour, the Soldier seemed to have his hands full anyway.
>>4584534>>Take the detour, the Soldier seemed to have his hands full anyway.
>>4584676>>4584579>>4584568>>4584561Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4584973You answer the call and approach, a different world stretches out within. Void of doubt you step through, your foot does not touch the ground. It sinks, the rest of your weight follows. Everything is cold, you blink but cannot see anything. There is a strange sensation on your skin, you can’t place it, it is familiar and yet so foreign.You are wet.Fully submerged underwater your body sinks to the ground, it is made of greenery. Everything is dark, for the most part. A dim glow pierces the veil, it approaches and you can feel the water around you shift.A great many beasts emerge, their bodies are gigantic yet float seamlessly above you. Among them is one particular creature, smaller and aglow. It lights up the surroundings and its fellows. Pillars of green crystal jut from the floor, causing the animals to weave between them gracefully.This was the ocean, once. You crossed its remains not too long ago, the salt flats serve as a poor reminder of the beauty they once contained. The plants beneath your feet are called sea grass, the beasts above are sharks. In the middle is a glow jelly, unknowingly guiding the herd in search for prey.Their voices are reverent, emotional. A great sense of pride swells within The Machine, this is what you serve for. To bring back the ocean.>Follow the herd.>Light your own head and explore independently.>Stay put, let them pass and return to the wasteland. You have seen enough.>Write in.
>>4584980>Follow the herd.We can always break off later if it's boring.
>>4584980>>Light your own head and explore independently.
>>4584980>Follow the herd.
>>4585201>>4585041>>4585003>>4584989Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4585678https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwFz5rVml34&ab_channel=MikkoTarmia-TopicWith lurching steps you give chase to the herd, walking in their wake as they zig-zag around the monoliths. Smaller creatures lurk in the thick undergrowth, bumping into you occasionally. You don’t dare shoo them away, you glance at their smooth bodies in admiration. When was the last time you saw water? Have you ever seen water? These questions remain unanswered. The sharks descend down to your level and lunge onto their prey, one appears to be eyeing you down.They cannot see you, Stoker. This is but a memory, you are safe.Carefully you step out of the way and watch as the hunter ruthlessly mangles a smaller animal. There is some strange beauty in the ferocity of the attack, its full of life and yet so distanced, as if nothing happened at all. You reach out and caress the form of this beast, even if it doesn’t know you exist there is a link, of two parts in the same machine.Something is born within you. Something feral, yet calculated.A Predator Instinct.It passes by you, and proceeds deeper into the ocean. The herd follows, you intend to join them.Don’t lose yourself. This world is beautiful, but unreal. A mere imitation. Your service is still needed.>Keep going, you have never seen such life before.>Snap out of it, return to the exit.>Stop and inspect something else.>1 The sea grass.>2 The monoliths.>Write in.
>>4585685>Snap out of it, return to the exit.Express our gratitude for the memory.
>>4585685>Stop and inspect something else.>2 The monoliths.
>>4585685>Snap out of it, return to the exit.
>>4585685>>Stop and inspect something else.>>1 The sea grass.
>>4585685>Stop and inspect something else.>1 The sea grass.
>>4585685>Stop and inspect something else>1 The sea grass
>>4585798>>4585785>>4585718>>4585714>>4585713>>4585711Inspect the grass. Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4585822You take the advice to heart and decide to ground yourself by kneeling down in the grass. Imperceptibly, a few voices sigh. The grass is rubbery to the touch, miniscule creatures crawl up each individual blade and wave their legs. A few are plucked off by the fish, the others don’t have the awareness to hide. You rip out a patch and recoil as a variety of worms wriggle up into the water in front of your nose. They would resemble the one you helped in The Furnace, were it not for the considerable size difference. You grab one and it attempts to drill into your palm, the tiny being runs itself ragged in the process and stops. Suddenly all of its fellows move to assist, plunging into your hands with reckless abandon. You easily shake them off and watch as they swarm around their fellow worm when you let it go. Interesting. They are more aggressive than the big one you encountered, and seem to live in collectives. The similarities can’t be ignored, perhaps the two animals are related? You realize that once the herd has moved on you are plunged into total darkness, this is not conducive for study.It is time. Return, Stoker.The choir sounds tired.>Oblige The Machine and leave.>Use your aspect of The Sun to light your investigation.>1 Into the worms, there must be something else you can learn.>2 Into the crystals, you have seen similar substances.>Write in.
>>4585850>Use your aspect of The Sun to light your investigation.>1 Into the worms, there must be something else you can learn.
>>4585850>Oblige The Machine and leave.
>>4585850>>Use your aspect of The Sun to light your investigation.>>1 Into the worms, there must be something else you can learn.
>>4585850>Use your aspect of The Sun to light your investigation.>1 Into the worms, there must be something else you can learn.WORMS
>>4585850>Oblige The Machine and leave.inb4 we stay too long and can't find the Soldier.
>>4585850>Oblige The Machine and leave.As much as I love worm quest we should go. Maybe the surface will have even more worms
(Going to let this tie simmer for today and hope it gets broken until tomorrow. As thanks for participating here is a very poorly edited pic of the Stoker and Worm.)
>>4585984(This is a treasure and so are you OP)
>>4586029>>4585963>>4585949>>4585924>>4585902>>4585883>>4585877Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4586101You have seen enough and rise to leave. Pleased chatter fills your ear as you retrace your steps back to the exit, if you were to follow the herd more this would have been quite the undertaking. You reach it promptly and step back out into harsh winds of the wasteland, a part of you wants to shake off water that isn’t there.“Thank you.” You murmur to The Machine, no one answers you.The trek to Morsink is rather short and boring in comparison to you underwater journey. As the tall pock marked buildings come into view you spot people peering at you from around corners and balconies, a few young spirits cheer from a balustrade before their elders silence them. Perhaps the Soldier made a good name for Servants of The Machine. The streets are rather empty, the citizens merely ghosts looking down on you from up above.>Talk to some People.>Proceed deeper into the city and look for the Soldier.>Try to see if anyone has something to trade.>Find a Scribe and trade information.>Write in.
>>4586114>>Talk to some People.
>>4586114>Find a Scribe and trade information.so what's the deal with the big worms huh
>>4586120I don't know but the scribe might give us some goodies for it
>Find a Scribe and trade information.>Talk to some People.Soldier can wait a bit, hopefully
>>4586114>Find a Scribe and trade information.w o r ml o r e
>>4586114>Find a Scribe and trade information."hey scribe, did you know that worms are cool""..."
>>4586114>Talk to some People.
>>4586114>Find a Scribe and trade information.
>>4586672>>4586567>>4586518>>4586299>>4586176>>4586120>>4586118Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4586862Seeking a Scribe is usually an easy enough affair, they place themselves centrally so that they may best inspect the world around them. The Morsink Scribe has taken up residence in an office building near a major intersection, confused murmurs spill from the upper levels. You knock politely and are allowed entrance.“Stoker? What are you doing here?” The man bristles anxiously. His forehead is wrinkled with worry and his hands are clasped. There are too many fingers. The clothes he is wearing are subdued, not a spot of blue on him. Perhaps he only wears his robes outside.>Ask for information.>1 About the Soldier.>2 About Morsink.>3 About worms.>4 Write in.>Offer information.>1 About the Crack In Time.>2 About your mission.>3 About the dead Universe. (This is very heavy information, he might not take well to it.)>4 Write in.(Choose one prompt from the top and one from the bottom, you are trading information. If you wish to exchange multiple pieces of information that is also possible, you can negotiate as you see fit.)
>>4586867>1 About the Soldier.>2 About Morsink.>3 About worms.>1 About your mission.>2 About the encounter with the Last Herd>3 About the Crack In Time.
>>4586867>Ask for information.>2 About Morsink.>3 About worms.>Offer information.>1 About the Crack In Time.>2 About your mission.
>>4587012This is awesome and so are you
>>4586879>>4586940>>4586943>>4586955>>4586964>>4586987Vote is locked. Writing.>>4587012(This is adorable and I will treasure it forever. Thank you so much anon.)
>>4587029“Exchanging information.” You state blankly.“Very well. About what?”“I am on a mission to eliminate the Abomination known as ‘The Duke’, I have been instructed to recruit a Soldier that is present here in Morsink. I would like to know his location.”The Scribes eyes light up, he seems joyous.“Yes, yes of course Stoker. Why didn’t you say so? He has been fighting that thing for who knows how long, he is in the eastern quarter. Everyone else evacuated on his own orders, I hoped someone would show up.” He fumbles with his many digits while delivering this information.“Fighting?” You ask.“Y-yes. Something, I don’t know if it is this Duke you speak of or something else but it started a few hours ago. I tried asking him about it but you know how Soldiers are, can’t get anything out of them. Hopefully you can handle it together.” He has picked up a bundle of parchment and is unfurling it on the desk, one of his impossibly numerous fingers points at a building. “Here. Good luck and report back, if you wouldn’t mind.”“I have more questions.”“Later, please. This is rather urgent. I will answer if I must, but I fear he might be in danger.”>Move to assist the Soldier now, you are not a born warrior but he probably needs all the help he can get.>Ask all of your questions, you would rather not risk yourself in combat with something you have no information on. If the Soldier survives you will deliver his new orders, this is not your mission after all.>Write in.
>>4587050>Move to assist the Soldier now, you are not a born warrior but he probably needs all the help he can get.We can get first-hand information about whatever he's fighting from the Soldier himself.
>>4587050>Move to assist the Soldier now, you are not a born warrior but he probably needs all the help he can get.we will ask our worm questions SOON
>>4587050>Move to assist the Soldier now, you are not a born warrior but he probably needs all the help he can get.
>Move to assist the Soldier now, you are not a born warrior but he probably needs all the help he can get.TO BATTLE!
>>4587050>Move to assist the Soldier now, you are not a born warrior but he probably needs all the help he can get.Worm lore remains top priority tho, swear we will return for those sweet deets
>>4587050>Move to assist the Soldier now, you are not a born warrior but he probably needs all the help he can get.Great! We can give more info to the Scribe after our fight
>>4587050>>Ask all of your questions, you would rather not risk yourself in combat with something you have no information on. If the Soldier survives you will deliver his new orders, this is not your mission after all.
>>4587235>>4587188>>4587151>>4587134>>4587097>>4587084>>4587063>>4587055Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4587239You commit the map to memory and leave the office in a flash, this Soldier is supposed to be an asset for the mission and you can’t lose him before you even begin. The People whisper excitedly as you move with purpose down the empty streets, all noises die down as you enter the eastern quarter. Nothing is around, no soul or sound. The huge building block out any wind, even the wasteland is more noisy. The building you were instructed to enter is clearly residential, many of the rooms have the doors locked and a few personal belongings are strewn all over the ground. Everyone left in a hurry, it means casualties are likely at a minimum.It is hard to know where to look, all the corridors look the same and lead in circles. There isn’t enough light to figure out where the sun is or where you came from, the symmetry of everything is dizzying. How can People live here? You think about calling out to the Soldier when a wall a few meters in front of you erupts into shrapnel, the force of the explosion causes the air and clouds of debris to rush past you. Hugging one of the intact portions of the architecture you drop into a low crouch, and spot your ally smashed opposite of the newly formed hole. He is not obviously armed and very injured, fluids leak from his battered form as he struggles to stand up. The eyeless helmet turns to you with a snap, you are clearly being addressed.“SIERRA ROMEO ALPHA. NOVEMBER OSCAR WHISK-“A cacophony of steps echoes throughout the claustrophobic hallways, something is coming and it sounds like an entire army. You must act, Stoker.>Charge forward and pick the Soldier up, ask him to drop the code and get somewhere safe.>Throw a grenade into the hole and hope for the best.>Bring your spear to bear and protect the Soldier.>Run, this is a compromised position.>Write in.
>>4587260"SRO NOW"?Does anyone know what SRO might be?
>>4587260>Charge forward and pick the Soldier up, ask him to drop the code and get somewhere safe.Severe Reality Adjustment?Must retreat and see what's happening first
>>4587260>Charge forward and pick the Soldier up, ask him to drop the code and get somewhere safe.Something Rapidly Approaching?
>>4587260>Charge forward and pick the Soldier up, ask him to drop the code and get somewhere safe.
>>4587260>>4587299SRO might be Sensitive Reconnaissance Operation; Senior Ranking Officer; Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Observation; or a few other things. Could be something setting specific. He got cut off from saying NOW which could be a number of naval terms, but since this is an operation on land I'm wondering if it was him taking the time to clarify the first acronym, or an order we might have needed. Strongly suspect that there's something fishy with communication here.Grab him and run. Seek shelter further away from this. If we need to, throw a grenade behind us to buy a minute of time and create a distraction from the approaching enemy forces.
>>4587401We only have 2 grenades and they seem to be extra rare. Not something you waste on a minute's distraction.
>>4587260>>Charge forward and pick the Soldier up, ask him to drop the code and get somewhere safe.
>>4587322>>4587335>>4587347>>4587401>>4587862>>4587910>>4588069Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4588084There is thrum all throughout your body, a pure burn floods into your limbs as you dash ahead and pick up the injured Soldier. He is surprisingly light, a red trail of what is possibly blood leaks behind you, the front of your chest is covered in crimson. You have no idea where you are headed, simply putting as much distance as you can between yourself and this unknown enemy, your ally yells at you in code you don’t understand.“I do not understand.” You say breathlessly.“PAPA MIKE DEL- STOKER STOP.” You skid on your heels and lay him down at the end of a long corridor, his distressed coding gives way to a very succinct and abrupt tone.“Abnormality engaged. Civilians evacuated. Machine unaware. Confirm reinforcements.”“Confirm.”“Assistance required. Neutralization failed. Target details: Physical collective, violent, melee, fast, unmaneuverable. Structural weaknesses unidentified. ”“Are you alright?”“Unit status: Functional. 60% efficiency. Arsenal: Smoke grenade. Physical enhancers. Specialty: Covert operations.”Hundreds of pained screams shake the walls, a ceaseless march is out for your blood. You have scarcely interacted with Abominations beside the occasional report, nominally you and the Soldier are of equal rank. Who do you task with leading?>Yourself, his methods have obviously failed.>1 Order a full retreat outside the building, you are not comfortable operating in cramped spaces.>2 Hold the hallway, funneling them into a tight spot might give you a chance to wear them down.>3 Play to his strengths and plan an ambush, with more firepower perhaps you can take it down for good.>4 Keep moving and try to get as much information out of the Soldier as possible.>5 Write in.>The Soldier, this is his expertise.>Take equal responsibility. Communicating will be paramount without a chain of command in place, this will slow down decision making.(Feel free to strategize and add to the prompts as you see fit. Stokers are known for their resourcefulness and flexibility.)
>4588095>Take equal responsibility. Communicating will be paramount without a chain of command in place, this will slow down decision making.Propose>3 Play to his strengths and plan an ambush, with more firepower perhaps you can take it down for good.The most obvious choice would be to lead it somewhere higher and let the Abomination throw itself out onto the street. It is umaneuverable, so a simple bait in front of the window would work I'd guess. Anyone got better ideas?
>>4588095>Yourself, his methods have obviously failed.>3 Play to his strengths and plan an ambush, with more firepower perhaps you can take it down for good.Sounds like a swarm. We migh have to drop the whole building on it.
>>4588095>>4588128+1But I support >>4588109's strategy
>>4588095>3 Play to his strengths and plan an ambush, with more firepower perhaps you can take it down for good.Trying to gauge what environmental resources we have and what new strength is at our disposal. OP can you elaborate on the corridor we're in? Are there windows? Are we on the ground floor? Is the building made of any material we're aware of? Lastly I'd like to ask him about his capability with the physical enhancers if it won't compromise our position too.
>>4588215You are at the end of a straight corridor looking down it, there are other corridors to both your left and right that lead to the edge of the building where there actually are windows. Currently you are in the middle of one of the higher floors. The building plan is very confusing, especially to you as you are not accustomed to such spaces. The walls are made of stone and metal. If you want to ask the Soldier more questions you would need to choose: >4 Keep moving and try to get as much information out of the Soldier as possible.The Abomination is tracking you down so there isn't much time to talk to the Soldier about his abilities. The way he speaks also makes it harder to understand, the Scribe said it's pretty hard to get anything out of them and this is him trying his best.
>>4588244Thank you very much for clarifying. Seconding >>4588109 and >>4588128 then.
>>4588109>>4588128>>4588210>>4588215>>4588239>>4588246The general consensus I am getting here is taking command and leading the Abomination into an ambush where it throws itself out of a window. Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4588095>>The Soldier, this is his expertise.
>>4588281“I lead. Ambush it so it crashes out the window.” You try to emulate its distinct manner of speech to some effect. The Soldier prepares a rebuttal but quickly complies.“Orders received. Follow.” Your brother in arms flexes the entirety of his body and ejects a wave of liquid before shutting off a plethora of valves. He is down the corridor in the blink of an eye, you struggle to follow in time. He has placed himself in a crouched position in front of a large window leading out into the main street, looking down you would estimate you are probably on the second floor. He smears the blood on him around the walls and drops to his knees faking a mortal injury.“Secure rope. On signal pull. Target engaged in charge cannot turn.” He says pointing at the length of cord tied around your waist, your almost forgot you had it. “Target inbound. Prepare.”Both hands gripped tightly around the lifeline you hide around a corner and wait on the signal. The steps you hear are so close one to another you cannot imagine how many feet there must be, they are overlapped and echoing. It makes your head hurt. The thing screams so loud you struggle to register it at all, what feels like the entirety of The Last Herd charges down hellbent on obliterating your ally. He raises his fist and you pull with all of your considerable might, the Soldier slides across the floor past you.The impossible procession does not stop, you finally see the foe with your own eyes. A centipede of bodies stuck one to each other, their limbs wriggling in synch. Each move seems to be a blur, becoming more and more incomprehensible the longer you look at it. You don’t get to look for long, the creature destroys the wall with the window and falls two stories down. It flounders and attempts to grab at anything it can but it is far too late, the composite being shatters on the street as its many bodies come loose from whatever law was holding them together. As you look out the massive hole you see that around a quarter of its original size remains, the rest scattered.“Structural weakness detected. Fragmentation possible. Entity still not neutralized.” The Soldier recites next to you.Every person that was split apart is attempting to crawl back into the writhing mass that birthed it, the closer ones seem to reintegrate seamlessly while the ones who took longer seem to move with a time lag once re-assimilated . You gaze at your now unreachable enemy, you are in charge.
>>4588326>Personally intervene.>1 Throw a grenade and end it once and for all.>2 Descend and pick off the stragglers with your spear while they don’t pose a threat.>3 Descend and incinerate the remains of the Abomination.>4 Write in.>Instruct the Soldier.>1 Order him to attack the stragglers, you have seen how fast he is.>2 Order an attack on the big mass, perhaps h can tear it apart.>3 Order him to use his smoke grenade to stop the stragglers from joining back. It will give you more time to reach them.>4 Write in.(Pick one action for yourself and one action for the Soldier.)
>>4588329>2 Descend and pick off the stragglers with your spear while they don’t pose a threat.>3 Order him to use his smoke grenade to stop the stragglers from joining back. It will give you more time to reach them.Let's take care of these first and then deal with the big guy.
>>4588329>3 Descend and incinerate the remains of the Abomination.This way even if the stragglers rejoin the mass, they'll simply burn along with it. If that's possible, stay away from the Abomination and use the sulfur gun. I'm afraid if we get too close it'll pull us in.>3 Order him to use his smoke grenade to stop the stragglers from joining back. It will give you more time to reach them.After throwing the grenade he may as well help just in case we fail at setting it on fire.>1 Order him to attack the stragglers, you have seen how fast he is.
>>4588329>Personally intervene.>4 BURN THEM IN HOLY FIRE
>>4588351this seems good
>>4588530>>4588389>>4588370>>4588351>>4588344Going with >>4588351. Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4589155“Deploy smoke and kill the stragglers.” You order.“Roger.” The Soldier pulls out his grenade and throws it with pinpoint accuracy, it goes off in the middle of the returning bodies and obscures their sight. He crouches down and leaps out of the building landing feet first on an enemy, it is crushed into the dirt below. Before you get the chance to try and find a way down he has beheaded 2 more with his open palms and vanished into the smoke. The path you take down is as direct as you can manage, the floor plan is convoluted but using some of the objects on the ground as guides you reach the door from which you first entered. It leads directly behind what remains of the Abomination, the monster is trying to set itself upright with the limbs it still has. With so much missing mass it seems to have a hard time getting accustomed to its new weight, stumbling around like newborn. You seize the opportunity and raise your gauntlet, a feeling of absolute control washes over you. You are a hunter, and this is your prey. Heat floods into your palm and with a flick of the wrist it sprays forward showering the collective in hot flame, the screams are not as dizzying in open space.The smell is sickening, you fight not to retch as flesh sticks onto flesh and charred bones grind against each other. Head pops, skin sloughs off onto the ground. The entity is dying but will not give up yet, the pain helps it find its legs somehow and it charges you with reckless abandon. You cannot dodge to the sides, the entryway is too tight and only leads to a corridor behind you. There is no time, Stoker.>Evade it.>1 Jump over it as it charges you down.(A roll will be required if this prompt is chosen)>2 Try to outrun it down the hallway, it does not handle corners well and you have a head start. (A roll will be required if this prompt is chosen)>3 Write in.>Fight it.>1 Pull up your spear and let it gorge itself.>2 Pull the pin on a grenade, you know they are not just explosives. Let it figure out its own utility.>3 Immolate all of your limbs, tackle it back and wrestle it down. (A roll will be required if this prompt is chosen)>4 Write in.
>>4589178>1 Jump over it as it charges you down.(A roll will be required if this prompt is chosen)
>>4589178>1 Jump over it as it charges you down.(A roll will be required if this prompt is chosen)Wrestling an Abomination to death sounds very tempting, but let's not.
>>4589204>>4589202>>4589198>>4589187Vote is locked. Roll will be average of first 3.(Sorry for missing an update and happy new year everyone!)
Rolled 86 (1d100)>>4589994
Rolled 44 (1d100)>>4589994Happy new year op!
Rolled 55 (1d100)>>4589994
>>4590013>>4590007>>4590003Average of 3 is 61. Writing.
>>4590064No way to go but up. Your legs have seen a lifetime of labor, carrying many Harvests over the barren ash fields. Crouching down you push off the floor with all your might, the force is sufficient but your timing could have been better. Almost fully clearing the Abomination one of its hands manages to grab at your feet and pull you out of the air. You are slammed to the ground behind it, the air is knocked out of you but are not at risk of being trampled. The beast who is now significantly lighter manages to stop before slamming into the far wall, flames lick up its sides and smoke floods the building. The bodies are slowly melting, shedding parts and organs as they try to put themselves out.Outside the Soldier is still culling stragglers but 4 of them have managed to find their way out of the smoke and into the apartment building. You are stuck between the Abomination down the hallway and the bodies at the entrance.>Push out into the street and try to reunite with the Soldier.>1 By killing the stragglers blocking the way with your spear.>2 By killing the stragglers with a grenade.>3 By setting the stragglers on fire too.>4 By ignoring the stragglers and running past.>5 Write in.>Finish off the Abomination, you don’t know how the stragglers will react after it dies.>1 Via grenade.>2 Via more fire.>3 Write in.
>>4590077>Write in.Charge the stragglers with the spear but don't stop to finish them off. Main goal is to get out of the confined hallway and to reach the street, killing any of them is just a bonus
>>4590077>>4590078+1. Seems smart.
>>4590113>>4590091>>4590078Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4590185You hold the cross flat in front of you, gauntleted hand first to shoulder charge out of this suffocating corridor. Barreling into the group of enemies you manage to fully impale one and ram the others into each other, their bodies feel like they are simultaneously made of lead and nothing at all, the weight changing from one second to the other. The corpse is slid off your bloody weapon as you check around for your ally. The Soldier has created a sea of bodies, viscera that is not his own coats the street. He seems to be handling himself until a group of 3 enemies stop looking around for their main body and charge viciously into him. Bits of meat are pulled out to reveal chrome machinery beneath, he does not seem to be affected by this in any way. You charge to his aid, prying people off of him with the point of your spear when the Abomination stumbles back out into the street. The new bodies seem to have extended its lifespan for an extra minute, enough for it to drop down in the middle of the street and explode.The blast is not as bright as it is incomprehensible. Multiple shock waves rush forward but retract a few seconds later only to reappear from thin air again. The result is devastating, you and the Soldier are blown away multiple times and crash down on top of each other. Bodies are scattered in every direction, a few are still intact. You are severely dazed but still operational, you friend appears to be bending his limbs back into their correct positions.“Target neutralized. Damage sustained. Please hold.” A crater has appeared down the street, a few buildings have pieces missing. Some survivors remain drawn in on themselves, unresponsive. What are you going to do with these pieces of an Abomination?>Kill them. You can’t risk them forming into something that dangerous again.>Spare them. They don’t pose a threat to you anyway, bring them to Scribe.>Let the Soldier decide.>Write in.
>>4590193>Let the Soldier decide. He almost killed himself fighting this thing also idk what's optimal
>>4590193>>Let the Soldier decide.Really don't have enough information here to tell if they're a threat or not. He likely has more experience with this than we do. If there's any risk of them actually being a threat I would change my vote to kill them, though.
>>4590193>Kill them. You can’t risk them forming into something that dangerous again.
>>4590193>Let the Soldier decide.
>>4590193>>Let the Soldier decide.
>>4590479>>4590439>>4590342>>4590293>>4590209>>4590199Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4591227Whatever the Soldier decides you will accept. This is his business anyway, you were here to assist.“What about the survivors?” You ask.“Termination. Secure subject for experimentation.” He says stomping over to a straggler and kicking its head in, many more follow and meet the same grisly fate. All except for one, the most meager looking one, curled in on itself and shaking. The soldier picks it up like a brick and starts walking into the direction of the Scribe. “Operation successful. Reporting.”You take your time following him, the damage from the explosion has left you slightly off balance. Your feet aren’t as secure as you remember them and you often misjudge the length of your step, this will be a problem in the future if you decide to use agility.The modest office is crowded by People trying to get as much information as possible, the whispers compile themselves into a low rumble as you approach. The Scribe is trying to fend everyone off, his many fingered hands keeping the door from flinging inwards under the weight of the bodies pressing against it.“I don’t know anything at the moment, please leave. There is nothing I can tell you, go.”“ACCESS REQUESTED!” The Solider bellows over the din, scaring everyone in the process. The two of you look quite imposing while covered in blood, ash and injuries. A deathly silence falls over the group as it parts and makes way for you, the door is gently pulled open.“Please enter, thank The Sun.” The Scribe ruffles himself up and produces multiple writing instruments that he wields in both of his hands at once, a few titles are jotted down. “Spare no details, what occurred?” He is looking mostly at you, the Soldier will give his own truncated report if you let him.>Let the Soldier deal with this, you have your own deal with the Scribe.>Tell the full account>1 and use it as leverage for your own negotiation.>2 and stick to your previous agreement with the Scribe.>Write in.
>>4591277>>Let the Soldier deal with this, you have your own deal with the Scribe.
>>4591277>>Let the Soldier deal with this, you have your own deal with the Scribe.Let's honor our bargain. The soldier can give his report.
>>4591277>Let the Soldier deal with this, you have your own deal with the Scribe.
>>4591321>>4591309>>4591303>>4591285Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4591397You glance towards the Soldier, much to the Scribes dismay. Your brother in arms begins explaining.“Aberration suspected. Proceeded with investigation. Ambush planned. Failed. Damage sustained. Information inconclusive. Stoker reinforces. Trap planned. Successful. Abnormality damaged through physical fracture. Main body incinerated leading to explosion. Fragments terminated. Sample collected for research.” The whimpering body is dumped on the floor, the Scribe manages to fill entire pages from the short descriptions.“Right, I know that is not all but it will have to do. One more thing, did this specimen have a name?” The robed man asks.“Name?” The Soldier asks. “Utilize Archive numeric designation.”The Scribes pleading eyes beg for a better name.>The Residents.>The Collective.>The Centipede.>Use the numeric designation used by the Archive.>Let the Scribe come up with something.>Write in.
>>4591405>Write in.The Choir
>>4591405>>Let the Scribe come up with something.
>>4591405Ask him if he wants to come up with something, otherwise the choir.
>>4591495>>4591473>>4591471>>4591444>>4591438>>4591436Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4592456“The Choir” You say.“The Choir! Perfect, that will do just fine. Now I believe we had a deal?”“Yes, I require information abou-“ The Soldier is making his way out of the office, you stop him. ”I have new orders for you, please wait for me outside.”“Affirmative.” The door clicks softly and you are left alone with the Scribe.“So, what was it that you wanted to know?”>Stick to the original questions about the worms and Morsink in exchange for the Crack In Time and the Last Herd.>Ask what it is he has written so much of already, surely he must have added something to the account of the Soldier.>Ask what “experimentation” means in the case of the fragment you brought back.>Ask more about the Archive.>Write in.(Feel free to alter the deal as you see fit. The general rule is still tit for tat. You have helped the Scribe a lot by getting rid of the Abomination so he is more inclined to helping you.)
>>4592460>"Getting rid of the Choir is worth another piece of information, wouldn't you agree?">Stick to the original questions about the worms and Morsink in exchange for the Crack In Time and the Last Herd.>Ask more about the Archive.
>>4592468>>4592478>>4592527>>4592600Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4592627“Morsink.” You say simply.“Ah, the city. It is mostly residential as you can see, the nature of the Abomination seems to have been influenced by that fact as well.” He motions over to the shivering form. ”A lot of people, I keep notes on as many as I can but there is only so much one person can do. There are some things I could use some help with, but I need not worry you with these details. The city has a few markets if you have something to trade, there is a concert hall of sorts if you want to enjoy some rare music and I believe there is also a rather lively bar. The concentration of People reduces the amount of Husks that appear but apparently does not lend any protection against Abnormalities. “He clasps his hands. ”Thank for your help with that.”“It is worth another piece of information, wouldn’t you agree?”“It would be. What are the other 2 things you wished to know?”“Do you have any information on worms?”He blinks multiple times. Impossibly even more wrinkles appear on his forehead. “Worms?”“Yes.” You produce the chipped tooth and place it on the table, a few ideas visibly come to the Scribe.“I have heard of some wandering the wasteland, allow me just one moment.” He buries himself in cabinets of paperwork and scrolls, his many fingers rush over folders like centipede legs. One is produced and consulted. “One of the few life forms left. Fully biological and apparently well adapted to the wastes. Usually solitary but attracted to people in certain circumstances. Huh. In a certain case one appeared to assist a caravan with a few feral Husks, unsure if it was benevolence or coincidence.” He snaps the folder shut. ”That is all. One of the stranger requests I have received to say the least.”“The Soldier mentioned an Archive.” You mutter.“You wouldn’t be familiar with them. The Machine is composed of all the great minds we could collect, but burdening them with simple recollection would be a waste of brainpower. As such these Archives have been constructed to safeguard information. Few souls have access to the knowledge within and none of them can probably even make sense of it, The Machine has a very unique sorting system. Soldiers ironically enjoy it, I for one cannot tolerate it. Don’t tell anyone I said that. Now, I believe I am owed some explanations as well.“You go into as much detail as you can about your exploration of the Crack In Time and the creatures you encountered there, the Scribe is enthralled by the end of it.
>>4592663“I knew of its existence but I never had the bravery to venture within. To think there was once so much water. I cannot remember the taste of it on my lips, the cool dampness on my skin. Just dust. Dust and ash.” Your retelling of the way you handled the Last Herd is not as interesting in comparison but jotted down just the same. The paper goes into a cabinet labeled with big blocky letters. “PERSONAL” it reads.“Good to be in the loop, even if the report has been filed already. You are always welcome here, Stoker. Please feel free to look around if time allows you to, come back and tell me all about it.” He flashes you a grin as you turn to leave, nodding respectfully.Outside it appears that the crowd has dispersed. The Soldier is crouching, gently pushing his hand into the dust. “Orders?” He asks.“Meet a second Soldier outside the graveyard where we must slay an Abomination known as ‘The Duke’. It resides in a Pillar surrounded by Husks cowed to its authority, I have personally slain one of the type of Husks and as such been assigned to this mission.”“Acknowledged. Stoker in charge. Departing?”>Yes, no time to waste.>No, you would like to visit a few places.>1 The bar.>2 The concert hall.>3 The markets.>Write in.
>>4592665>3 The markets.Hear me out guys we buy the worm a present
>>4592665>>4592667YES I cannot second this harder and am also advocating for an official worm conservation effort
>>4592665>>3 The markets.
>>4592665>2 The concert hall.We've only got glass shards to trade iirc, better see if we can get a spare musical instrument. We're a bard at heart, after all.
>>4592857>>4592839>>4592828>>4592667Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4593935“To the markets. Some acquisitions are in order.”Significantly more people are roaming the streets now that the threat of the Abomination is gone, you see people of all ages milling about the city seeing to their daily business. The amount of life here makes you forget about the crushing solitude of the wasteland. You ask for directions a couple of times and everyone is more than happy to assist, their skin is milky white and are built like ghosts, with your improved strength you wager that you could shoulder charge the entire avenue if needed. It is not. These People are not enemies, you try to relax a bit. A tightly packed square opens up in front of you, market stalls litter the place in no real order alongside some nomad carts, the People who escorted you so far finally leave with a respectful bow.The nomad carts are bound to have a wider variety of items due to their travels out in the dust, they will also be the hardest to bargain with. More local traders will have less diversity but also much lower standards, your help with killing the Abomination will also likely improve your odds of getting the best deal possible. You currently have the mirror shards, grenades and rope to trade. There is also the worm tooth, but you cannot get yourself to let it go.>Check the local stalls.>Check the nomad carts.>Write in.
>>4593946>Check the local stalls.I don't want to trade away the grenades and the rope, so we only have the shards and need the best deals.
>>4593946>Check the local stalls.
>>4594037>>4593967>>4593960>>4593957Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4594102The locals stalls are rather empty, you browse the wares with the Soldier at your side and manage to find a few thing that might prove useful.There is a stall with a rusty red carpet hanging over it as a roof, the vendor appears to be an old woman, wrinkly grey skin drapes off of her while the black balls of her eyes stare off listlessly into the middle distance. Among a few other knick knacks there is a lidded jar of colorful beads, in an enclosed space you could utilize them as traps. Hanging from it is a strange penchant, the securing mechanism appears to be more akin to that of a manacle than any jewelry. It has a metallic sheen, but you cannot tell what material it is made of.Two rows behind the old woman is a spritely young child, sitting on top of one of the supports jutting out from the small shed he is using as a storefront. The items on display are very obscure and look like they could only hold personal value. Swinging from a nail in the wall a pair of pearl earrings get your attention, those can only be found in the salt flats by those who dare venture out and search.Hidden in a dark corner of the plaza there is an apparently unmanned store tucked away into the dead end of an alley, all of the wares have lethal potential. A few weapons inferior to your own sit in metal supports deep inside, a plethora of metal boxes deck the rest of the space.Who do you bargain with, Stoker?>The old woman.>The child.>The empty stall.
>Old womanWorm necklace??
>>4594122>The old woman.
>>4594122>The old womanThat carpet would make a fine burrowing site for a worm
>>4594122>>The empty stall.
>>4594126>>4594187>>4594212>>4594294>>4594888Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4594912You walk up the woman and lean down to greet her. “Hello.”“Yes?” She squeaks. “Do you want something?” Her gaze is still unfocused, you suspect she might be blind.“The jar and…penchant.” You murmur.“Oh, I wouldn’t know what you mean by that. Do you mind handing them to me?”You do, and she begins drawing her thin fingers over the objects. She frowns, nods and then fails to look at you before she speaks. “I am willing to part with these, what do you have to exchange?”>The mirror shards.>The rope.>A grenade>Ask the Soldier if he has anything on him.>Nothing, take them and leave. Not like she can point out the culprit anyway. These will serve a greater cause.>Write in.
>>4594915>The mirror shards.
>>4594916>>4594933>>4594979Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4595005“I have a few mirror shards. Careful, they are sharp.” You press the biggest one flat into her palm, she runs a finger over the smooth surface.“How many? Give them all.”You oblige, she makes a little stack of them in her hand and weighs them.“Is it satisfactory?” You ask.“No. But I do like not having that thing running around anymore, some of my boys told me you two were the ones who did it in. I may be sightless but I am not a fool. Take them both, be safe in your travels. May you bless others as you have blessed us.”You have not noticed, but a few people around the stall seem to be running security for the woman. They all bow respectfully as you gather your goods and turn to leave.The penchant is actually some sort of decorative manacle, the form is odd and obviously not for normal use. You try to wrack your mind for any clues but come up with nothing and stash it in one of your compartments. The jar of beads is quite mesmerizing to look at, a few of the colors you haven’t seen in a very long time. A certain shade of green you have only witnessed in the Crack In Time, multiple shades of blue and red swirl around inside. There is even a rare purple pebble, extracted from who knows where. You are rather satisfied, the shards cutting function became redundant with the addition of your ivory spearhead.“Transaction complete. Departing?” The Soldier asks.>Yes, as much as you like the city you cannot get complacent.>No, there are a few other things to explore.>1 The bar.>2 The concert hall.>3 Write in.
>>4595015>>Yes, as much as you like the city you cannot get complacent.
>>4595015>Yes, as much as you like the city you cannot get complacent.
>>4595015>Yes, as much as you like the city you cannot get complacenttfw we got kinky handcuffs
>>4595015>>Yes, as much as you like the city you cannot get complacent.To adventure!
>>4595986>>4595192>>4595103>>4595081>>4595071>>4595056Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4596088“Departing. Are you capable of long distance travel?”“Affirmative.”Night begins to descend as you slalom between People and finally make your way out of Morsink, the Soldier seems to have no trouble matching your pace. The wind picks up slightly and begins to whip at your bare skin, the wasteland embraces you once more. Your ally makes for silent company, his head spins on a swivel literally, keeping an eye out for any threats. It is a few days trek to the graveyard, the path you are taking is unknown to you and the dark will make it harder to spot any landmarks.Steadily the soil begins to harden and rise, the flat wastes give birth to rocky hills. Their faces are covered with the decayed remains of what looks like other Soldiers, helmeted skulls hand limply from their bleached forms and sway imperceptibly in the dead gale. The air passing through the narrow spaces manifests as a shrill whistle, the ascent becomes too steep at certain points to walk up. You would need to climb.The living Soldier at your side shows no emotion at the sight of his fallen brethren, merely looking to you for direction.>Climb up. It will exert yourself the most but will be the fastest route.>Go around. It will take longer but will not tire you out.>Try to scavenge for anything useful as you go. This will take the longest but might get you some items.>Use your headlight to navigate or search. If anything is hiding here you will be easier to detect. (Can be chosen with any of the other prompts.)>Write in.
>>4596094>Go around. It will take longer but will not tire you out.
>>4596094>Try to scavenge for anything useful as you go. This will take the longest but might get you some items.>Use your headlight to navigate or search. If anything is hiding here you will be easier to detect.The Soldiers' corpses could have weapons on them.
>>4596094>Go around. It will take longer but will not tire you out.We are awaited
>>4596094>>Use your headlight to navigate or search. If anything is hiding here you will be easier to detect. (Can be chosen with any of the other prompts.)
>>4596094>Go around. It will take longer but will not tire you out.The last thing we want is to be attacked on our way, opposing using the light.
>>4596094>Go around. It will take longer but will not tire you out. We can search on the way back
>>4596274>>4596152>>4596143>>4596136>>4596123>>4596098Go around. No lights. Writing.
>>4596342You use your pointer finger to gesture that you will be going around the obstruction, unwilling to risk an ambush in such difficult terrain. The Soldier moves around the perimeter and keeps an eye out, hard as it is in the growing night. For the next few hours you hug the stony walls, bodies hang off of them like macabre drapes. A few of the corpses still have some remains of uniforms, you can’t help but feel like these are different from your ally. He is made of metal insides and these ones are flesh and bone…mostly bone now. There is a chance he knows something although extracting information might be a bit of a challenge, you have some time to kill.>Ask the Soldier if he knows about the bodies.>Ask the Soldier about his previous missions.>Ask the Soldier about the code he uses, perhaps he can teach you?>Remain silent.>Write in. (Any other questions you might have.)
>>4596349>Ask the Soldier if he knows about the bodies.
>>4596349>Ask the Soldier about his previous missions.
>>4596349>Ask the Soldier if he knows about the bodies. >Ask the Soldier about his previous missions.
>>4596404>>4596375>>4596360>>4596354>>4596353Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4597205“These bodies look like you. Do you know anything about them?” You ask.“Affirmative. Previous generation of Soldiers. Pre Sun death. Inadequate. Their forms perished. We took up their legacy.”You nod, prompting him further. “Why are they all here?”“Battleground. KIA. No side survived.”“Who were they fighting?”“Each other. Wasteful. Ignorant. Imminent collapse sparked tensions. Fear.”“Fear of their enemy?”“Fear of the end.”You gulp, knowing better than most exactly what that looks like. Flashes of red trickle in at the edge of your vision, shadows flit over an astral corpse. Emptiness. Someone killed The Sun.“What other missions have you participated in?” You desperately try to deflect, your ally ponders the question for a bit.“Nomad interdictions. 5 Abomination details. Raid on Paragons Of The Blaze temple. Accelera-“ His jaw snaps shut, a few teeth audibly crack as if someone slammed him mouth closed. He cringes from some invisible pain, he straightens back up after a few tense moments. “That is all.”>Ask more about the Nomad interdictions.>Ask about the other Abominations he has fought.>Ask about the raid. Who are these Paragons?>Push him on the last point, you are VERY curious.>Pass the hill in silence.>Write in.(Spoiler image is a word cloud of the quest so far. Hope you guys like it)
>>4597220>Push him on the last point, you are VERY curious.I'd like to ask about all 4, but this seems the most interesting. Is he bound to secrecy? By whom? For what purpose?
>>4597220>>Ask about the other Abominations he has fought.This might be practically useful, and pushing for top-secret info probably won't turn out well.
>>4597220>Ask about the raid. Who are these Paragons?
>>4597220>>4597231+1Stress to the soldier though that if any of this information could be classified as need-to-know to aid with the mission ahead, he needs to disseminate it to us now.
>>4597220>Ask about the other Abominations he has fought.
>>4597227>>4597231>>4597232>>4597255>>4597300>>4597301Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4597314“These Abominations you have fought, what can you tell me about them? Anything that could aid in our next battle?”“Affirmative. Engaged Anomaly ‘The Collector’. Reanimated Husks to a more functional form. Domain was vast and well-defended. Covertly infiltrated and neutralized the threat. Husks became feral and retreated. Mission success after less than a day.”“Do you believe we could apply the same tactic to The Duke?”“Unclear. Abilities of third combatant unknown.”You sigh. Stealth has proved fruitful before while sneaking past the graveyard Husks, the inside of the Pillar might be an entirely different beast. The layout is totally unknown, security could be doubled or non-existent. If you were to use this method it wouldn’t hurt to ask for some guidance from an expert. The mountain of bodies is safely passed, you continue into the dark. What do you focus on, Stoker?>How to plan an ambush.>How to move silently.>How to kill without noise.>How to best utilize your grenades. He should be more experienced with weaponry than you.>Write in.
>>4597318>How to move silently.
>>4597318>How to plan an ambush.
>>4597318>How to best utilize your grenades. He should be more experienced with weaponry than you.I will be deeply upset if we don't make the most of these abortion grenades.
>>4597318>How to best utilize your grenades. He should be more experienced with weaponry than you.
>>4597896>>4597614>>4597432>>4597391>>4597382>>4597329Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4598740“I would like to learn how to move silently, it is your specialty.”“Now?”“Yes. It would be useful for infiltrating the Pillar and avoiding detection. I am sure you wisdom will be more than enough.”There is no response. You turn your head and he isn’t there. You turn fully around and he isn’t there either. In an empty wasteland it would be fully impossible to hide, the wind is strong enough to create a low whisper. A full spin reveals more of the same orange dust, you are truly baffled and slightly scared. Can he turn invisible? It could very well fall into the “physical enhancements” he has. The night certainly isn’t helping either.>Keep moving, if he is camouflaged it will force him to change position.>Shine as bright as you can, he should still have a shadow.>Look around in the dust for tracks.>Write in.
>>4598744>Shine as bright as you can, he should still have a shadow.
>>4598744>Look around in the dust for tracks.Don't shine, it'll give out our position if anyone is looking.
>>4598744>Look around in the dust for tracks.
>>4598767>>4598756>>4598752Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4598893You look down at the dirt and try to track him, it is absolutely impossible as there are a single set of prints and they are definitely your own leading all the way back to the corpse hill. Was he a figment of your imagination? Every piece of evidence points to that fact. Stepping back to try and gain a clearer picture of everything you bump into something. Turning around it appears nothing is there at all, your ally is obviously around somehow and toying with you, the wind whistles feverishly as if to mock you even further. A cold rage builds behind your eyes, something primal and fierce. Your senses have failed you, all except for one. Smell. Old blood and grease. Oil mixed with sweat. He is behind you. Reaching around your back you manage to grab onto his arm, he is taken by surprise.“Impressive. Unknown method of detection. Please clarify.”“Smell.”“Smell?”“Yes.”“Most impressive. Lesson complete.”“You didn’t teach me anything.”“Extending lesson. Questions?”>Why don’t you have footprints?>Where you behind me the whole time? Why didn’t I see you?>Why couldn’t I hear you while you were behind me?>Write in.
>>4598928>Write-in: Combine all three and ask what he did to evade the senses (well, most of them)
>>4598928>Where you behind me the whole time? Why didn’t I see you?>Why couldn’t I hear you while you were behind me?No footprints because he's been stepping in ours the whole time - that requires a lot of foresight!
>>4598928>Why don’t you have footprints?>Where you behind me the whole time? Why didn’t I see you?>Why couldn’t I hear you while you were behind me?
>>4598928>Where you behind me the whole time? Why didn’t I see you?
>>4599156>>4599016>>4598982>>4598951>>4598950Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4599969“How did you evade all of my senses?”“Identified blind spot. Mimicked movement. Smell usually atrophied. Impressive sharpness.”“Where are your footprints?”“Physical enhancements include low weight. Footprints not visible in dark conditions. Overlapped with yours.” You blink and remember being able to lift his entire form off the ground with a single hand, at the time you over estimated your own strength.“So were you behind me the entire time? Why couldn’t I hear you?”“Affirmative. I don’t breathe or have a heartbeat.”“I can’t do that.” You murmur dejectedly, this lesson wasn’t as enlightening as you would have hoped.“Negative. Possible for short periods of time. Attempt.”“Breathing is one thing but I cannot stop my heart with-““Attempt.” He insists.>Attempt. (A roll will be required after the vote.)>Do not attempt.
>>4599973>Attempt. (A roll will be required after the vote.)
>>4599973>Attempt. (A roll will be required after the vote.)Predator instincts GO!
>>4599973>>Attempt. (A roll will be required after the vote.)
>>4600042>>4600025>>4599978>>4599975Vote is locked. Roll will be average of 3. 1d100.
Rolled 64 (1d100)>>4600048
Rolled 88 (1d100)>>4600048
Rolled 27 (1d100)>>4600048
>>4600062>>4600061>>4600058Average of 3 is 59. Writing.
>>4600162You hold your breath in a normal fashion and keep it in for as long as you can, the Soldier nods.“Heart is similar to lungs. Mechanical torso shares similarities with mine. Increase heart rate.”“How?”“Fear.”The sensation of danger floods into you, memories flit past your eyes in pictures. The thrill of combat, the risk of losing your life. A steady pound is throughout your veins, it beats in your head so hard you can hear it.“Focus on instances where it is not beating.”It is difficult to concentrate on the absence of something but you manage, even if takes the entire night. Time becomes truly meaningless, seconds or hours you cannot tell them apart. Your heart stops. It stays still for a couple of minutes before your excitement gets it to pump again.“I stopped my heart.”“Adequate. More training required. Total time: 2 minutes 42 seconds. Subsequent attempts will become effortless. Maintaining the state is most difficult.”With a sense of pride you continue onwards into the new day, eager to put this new skill to use. The Soldier continues to give you tips on how to induce a “stealth state”, it seems like he is so good he can maintain it at all times, his anatomy being specifically tailored to this purpose. A loud bang erupts over the din of your conversation, unquestionably gun fire. A sound you only hear coming from other Soldiers, it came a bit off the path you are on. It is still too far to be the ally you are supposed to meet, perhaps another?>Approach the scene carefully.>Give it a wide berth, you need to conserve your stamina for the mission.>Write in.
>>4600181>Approach the scene carefully.
>>4600181>>Approach the scene carefully.
>>4600596>>4600560>>4600281>>4600192>>4600184Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4601291“Investigate carefully.” Your order the Soldier. He nods briskly.You move single file closer to the source of the sound, making sure nothing can sneak up on you, the light of day is beginning to shine through the dust clouds. Contrasted in front of the orange horizon are 2 long lines of carts facing each other. The forms of the nomads manning them fret up and down the improvised wall, most of them are armed. In the middle of the field is a wounded person clinging to their side, its allies don’t dare approach. The leaders of each caravan seem to be screaming at one another from across the no man’s land. It is currently a stalemate, but tensions might rise enough to cause a charge. Few things can get nomads so angry. The side to your right seems to be the one with gun while the one on the left has had a member shot.>Stay put and observe.>Walk up to the wounded person and attempt to mediate the conflict.>1 Alone, the Soldier can stand by and assist in case things turn bad.>2 Together. A Stoker and a Soldier wield enough respect to maybe pacify such a big crowd.>Talk to the side with the gun.>Talk to the side with the wounded member.>Write in.
>>4601304>Talk to the side with the gun.Better to be on the side of the people with weapons.
>>4601304>Talk to the side with the gun.
>>4601550>>4601420>>4601386Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4601676You point to the caravan on the right, making sure you and the Soldier appear as non-threatening as possible. A few members of the line are spurred into a flurry of activity, trying to get hold of people further up the wall. Each caravan has a different hierarchy, it seems like the chain of command of this one has been rattled. “We mean no harm.” You state. “What is the issue here?”A nomad barges her way out of the bundle of people gathered , she wields a halberd made from a mix of stone and steel.“I have never seen a Soldier do no harm. Who sent you?”“No one, we were travelling when we heard the gunshot. It appears someone has been injured.”“Yes, someone did get shot for being a treacherous little liar! We had a deal and they did not respect it, so we shot their envoy before it could make off with our vial. I don’t know much about your kind but if you aren’t going to help we don’t want you arou-“ A firm slap strikes her across the back of the head. She struggles to maintain her footing as a second much taller individual takes a curt bow.“Apologies. Tempers are aflame. Welcome, Servants of The Machine. You have found us during troubling times, your assistance would be appreciated. The martial skill of Soldiers is the stuff of legend. Please follow.”Everyone instantly parts to make way for you, whoever this is has significantly more authority and knowledge. The 2 of you are led deeper into the caravan, up to a cart with a wide variety of tools and charts. The senior nomad begins explaining.
>>4601781“A handoff has gone awry. Our caravan was supposed to receive 20 crates of ammunition in exchange for a vial of water. The runner bleeding between the two groups currently carries it, the carts with our munitions are nowhere to be seen. Obvious deception, we took matters into our own hands. Currently our Chief is attempting to negotiate, but I am afraid it will come to blows after all. We have the advantage due to our ranged weapons you no doubt have heard already, the loss of the enemy would not be entirely beneficial though.”You raise your eyebrows in surprise. “How so?”“Our opponents are the biggest risk takers when it comes to scavenging, the loss of their numbers would ultimately mean one less source of items. This hurts everybody, but we cannot let the word spread that we keel over whenever cheated. You have already met one of the people that think we should just take off their heads, it is a difficult position to be in.” A long sigh escapes the figure in front of you, their tone runs as cold as the dead sky. “We will end it. One way or another.”Diplomacy is something you have a bit of experience with, even if the scale of this is rather extreme. Both clans seems incredibly influential, whatever transpires here will affect most settlements in the region. As a frequent traveller in these parts, this also concerns you to some extent.>Side with the scavengers. Offer to retrieve the vial as long as they don’t attack.>Side with the gunfolk. Offer your aid in any form they request.>Ask to talk to the Chief first, perhaps you can have more of an impact talking to him.>Offer to act as a neutral party between the two clans, it will put the focus on you but also give you the most leverage.>Leave, you would rather not be involved.>You have a few more questions first. (Write in what you would like to ask.)>Write in.
>>4601782>Offer to act as a neutral party between the two clans, it will put the focus on you but also give you the most leverage.
>>4601782>Ask to talk to the Chief first, perhaps you can have more of an impact talking to him.
>>4601782>Offer to act as a neutral party between the two clans, it will put the focus on you but also give you the most leverage.I can only hope we don't fuck this up.
>>4601782>>Side with the gunfolk. Offer your aid in any form they request.
(IRL stuff had we swamped today. No updates until tomorrow. Sorry. Vote is still open.)
>>4602900>>4602735>>4602556>>4601968>>4601792Vote is locked. Writing.
>>4604115“We will end it together. Allow us to act as a neutral party, to ease tensions. It is in the best interest of everyone.”The gruff senior is deep in thought, a pained grimace betrays his skepticism. “I will trust you for now, Stoker. But I did not put you up to this if anyone asks, it would be my skin getting whipped if anything goes wrong. Everyone will stand down for now, I assume you wish to meet with the other clan to extend them the same offer.” He pushes past the throngs of people and lets you and the Soldier vault over the line of improvised shields and barriers, tens of nomads seem to be decorated with long strings of casings to denote their role as shooters. The military might of this clan is impressive enough based on that alone, if everything came to war it would be a one sided massacre. You shudder thinking about the potential bloodbath.Hands raised, stepping gently over the built up tension and yelling of leaders you pass the injured nomad on the ground. He is cradling a clear glass vial, now covered in his own blood. The quantity inside is miniscule, the vessel not even filled a quarter of the way. Incredibly valuable still, perhaps handed down from generation to generation. “Help…” The crumpled man begs, you must ignore him for now.The opposite side is reached shortly, a very small and callused nomad shouts at you.“What do you want, Stoker? Fuck did the bastards get you to do? Sun be damned!”“To speak, I am here to facilitate negotiations. They don’t want bloodshed, but are upset at being cheated.”“CHEATED?! They promised us a VIAL of water, and what do they show up with? Barely a drop! We didn’t spend Sun knows how long digging through Husk infested corpse piles for this! They even shot our damn envoy! And they feel cheated? We will defend ourselves if the need arises, we aren’t afraid of them.”A crowd has gathered. They all look like veterans, used to the worst of the horrors the wasteland has to offer. Many eyes are on you, Stoker.>Try to exaggerate the threat of their weapons, what use is honor if you are dead?>Ask him to think of the fallen nomad, surely no more lives need to be lost for this.>Agree with his feelings, but beg for a compromise. It might embolden his defiance OR placate him enough to give you the upper hand.>Ask to speak to a leader, if they even have one. The majority of the caravan would still need convincing but perhaps you can start top to bottom.>Write in.
>>4604124>Ask to speak to a leader, if they even have one. The majority of the caravan would still need convincing but perhaps you can start top to bottom.
>>4604124>Acknowledge his feelings, but note that this is not a reason to steal the vial.>Remark that the vial is still insanely valuable and not something you'd give up if you intended to cheat.>Propose them to exchange 1/4 of their ammo for 1/4 of the vial.
>>4604124>>Ask to speak to a leader, if they even have one. The majority of the caravan would still need convincing but perhaps you can start top to bottom.
>>4604620>>4604313>>4604263>>4604208“Do you have a leader? I would like to talk to them first.”“Eh? Well we don’t really brown-nose around here, but I could show you to someone. Keep up.”The loud nomad shuffles back into the crowd and pushes past everyone with you and the Soldier in his wake, you are led up the line right next to where a heavily scarred nomad is running out of breath screaming at the other side.“YA SHOT MY DAMN MAN AND YOU STILL WANT THE BULLETS?! DO YOU WANT TO SHOOT US SOME MORE? YOU SPINELESS CURS, COME SHOW ME WHAT YOU ARE MADE OF AND STOP COWERING BEHIND THAT STICK YOU WORTHLESS BAG OF DUST!”Your guide loudly clears his throat and gestures to you. “They wanted to talk.”“WHADYA WAN- Ahem. What do you want. We are a bit busy as you can see, out with it.”“We are acting as a neutral party, I would like to hear your own side of the story.”“Well didn’t he tell ya already?” The man nods to the affirmative. “See? You know everything, bunch of bullies trying to take advantage of us hard workers. They roll around with their guns like they are some sort of Servants. Your friend there doesn’t even have one, for Suns sake! I have lived too long to back down from this, fuck the water and fuck their ammo. It’s about PRINCIPLE.They want to threaten us with a fight? We will give it to them, have a few tricks up our sleeves too. Don’t sell the best thing you find, Stoker. Sometimes you have to sling something yourself.”He hobbles over to a covered cart. The tarp is moldy and has been degraded by ages out in the dust, with a flourish it is removed. There is something you have never seen before, a long bunch of metal tubes strapped to a stand. A few boxes are stacked on top of each other next to it, all the labels are torn and the paint is chipped off, you look to the Soldier for help.“VREK-456 machine gun. Older model. Incredibly lethal. Clearly out matches single shot rifles.”You blanch. What have you walked into, Stoker?(END THREAD)This is going to be the end of the thread for now, many thanks to everyone who participated! Next thread is not going to come for a while, school has been kicking my ass lately and I need to focus on that for a long while. I will try to start thread 3 in around 3 weeks if I can, I will announce it in the QTG a few days before to let you guys know and gauge interest. Sorry if you feel like this thread was cut short but I could feel that the quality was dropping and I couldn’t focus on it properly anymore. Any feedback is as always GREATLY appreciated, any questions that the Stoker would know in character I can answer now. I will hang around until the thread falls off the board.
>>4605613Good luck with the school, and thanks for running!
>>4605613Thanks for running, take your time if you need to.Regarding questions, we've met a few 'castes' of the Machine's servants, but how many are there in total? What are the functions of each one?
>>4605676So far you have interacted with all castes that you know of, there is a very high chance there are more with specialized roles you don't yet know of. The Machine is in charge of the world, you cannot begin to guess at how many different types of Servants there are but it is safe to assume you haven't met most of them. With that being said here is the bulk of The Machines manpower:Stokers: You and others like you. Combing the wastelands for whatever precious resources you can find and bringing them back to be processed. Known for their versatility and resourcefulness and a lot of times extensive knowledge of the world, as they are not shackled down like...Scribes: They are assigned to posts in different cities and are tasked with collecting ALL possible information that then gets stored in Archives. The only source of fact checked information in the world short of The Machine itself, weird frenemy relationship with Stokers. Some Scribes appreciate your caste for your work in the field and their aid, others are envious of your freedom, some simply see you as a vector for intel gathering. A lot undertake personal "research" when they have free time, almost like citizen scientists. The first Scribe you encountered had a lot of things he was apparently working on while the Scribe in Morsink was so swamped by work he had a very spartan office and couldn't handle anything else besides his primary duty.Soldiers: The muscle, obviously. They are born and bred for combat, you know for a fact they are all incredibly durable. You are lucky and have an armored chest, they are FULLY armored in some way even if its not plate. They can take a beating and live to cryptically tell the tale. The code language they speak is only known to them, it facilitates faster communication during combat, with you however it comes as an impediment. Usually utilized as assets with very specific goals they rarely interact with other castes, the language barrier does not help with their isolation. You got an idea of what they do from asking your own friend Soldier about his former missions.Slaves: Extracting souls from someone is possible and something all Stokers can do, however things don't always work out properly and a sliver of life remains. Not enough to make a Person, but enough to make a Slave. They handle all the menial tasks and minutia, usually only found in Funnels or Archives and places with good security as they are incredibly gullible and could be used for nefarious purposes. Basically a step up from a Husk.Servants: Probably the second largest group, first being Slaves. They handle typical office work and administrative things, like the girl that gave you your orders back at the Funnel, some of the best ones go on to become Scribes and are assigned a post. MOST miscellaneous roles fall under this category. Sometimes utilized as a general descriptor for Machine assets.Hope this helped clear things up!
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