This is it: the big day. Or, well, night. The evening of the Hawksong Mages’ Tower’s annual fundraising gala is upon you. Every year, the Archmage and his arcane disciples issue invitations to the biggest movers-and-shakers of the Hawksong elite, hoping to flatter and impress them with food, drink, and a showcase of mystical ahcievements. In this way, they may build relationships, maintain influence, and earn patronage and special dispensations from the Paladin King and the nobles and merchants of the non-magical population.Little do they know, this year they have invited their very doom.You are a Reptilian Infiltrator, secret subversive agent of a subterranean master-race and servant of the Dark Gods Below and Beyond. In your assumed identity of Ismena Rosgard, you have insinuated yourself into this event through means of mercantile manipulation, seduction, deception, and mind-warping manipulation. You have cased the Tower, placed your influence upon guards, staffers, and investigating Inquisitors thereof, and even arranged to have a number of your fellow Infiltrators—half-human Degenerate-caste ones, whose true nature will not be easily ascertained even with magic—into the event as servants and catering staff. You have everything you need to achieve your objective… And a vial of poison, meant to induce suicide by rapid desiccation of your every tissue, on hand for if you fail.‘We won’t fail,’ coos Irinnile, the succubus within you, offering comfort as best she can. ‘You got this.’Your primary objective, of course, is a rare relic you suspect to be stored on the fourth subterranean level of this veritable magical fortress. The relic in question: a dwarven ‘master-stone’. This rune-covered rocky dodecahedron can be used to enchant, attune, and control constructs and manipulate stone structures for purposes of defence. Worse yet, constructs animated by it are immune to illusion and traditional methods of subversion, and can identify a disguised Reptilian agent without fail. If such a defensive measure is put into place, no Reptilian Infiltrator will be safe to subvert the surface-apes and their laughable society. It cannot be allowed!
>>5083216However, this is not your ONLY objective. You have just left a meeting with an incubus—a so-called ‘greater demon’, who has been enemy to you in the past… But now seems a conditional ally. In exchange for assistance in mastering the occult arts, and a pledge of non-aggression and total honesty, the incubus has gifted you a sample of its ectoplasmic essence with which to infect the second-in-line to the throne of Hawksong—a man named Rufos, who will be in attendance at the Gala. So, too, were you given permission to wield a symbol of the incubus’ authority to help tame and direct any demons you may encounter in the mages’ demonological labs. This is all a great boon… But a part of you still does not trust the mysterious entity who granted you this aid.On top of all this, you have Edwin of Engel to think about. This idle-rich son of a storehouse tycoon is your date to the event—rather, it is HIS ticket which has allowed you to attend. He and his father, Fynn, hope to turn it into a business opportunity. While this is tertiary at best to your other objectives, you cannot help but dwell on your inability to secure a source of abundant shirin spice to market to the social elites, as Fynn had requested. Edwin is…<Affection: 99%>…Special to you. You don’t want to let him down, or appear unworthy in the eyes of his father. Perhaps there is still a way to achieve some mercantile successes for the Engelson Storehouse Company, as well?[ Previous volumes, for those of you just joining us, are at http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=reptoidqm ]
>>5083217LEVEL UP!You have become better still at dance, melee combat, mercantilism, mentalism, seduction, AND occultism! This is based on choices you’ve made.When facing a matter where success is not guaranteed or terribly likely, failure has notable consequences, or I’d feel railroady making you fail or cheap forcing a success, I will roll dice: one d20 for each star next to that aptitude. If a couple apply, you will get a bonus d20 as well.You also have an inherent bonus to disguise attempts when relevant, can use human magic items without your Reptilian race’s usual penalty, and you have a decreased difficulty to rolls wherein you fight an untrained opponent hand-to-hand due to martial arts training. Having formed a symbiotic pact with the succubus Irinnile, you can also shapeshift (including to create wings or natural weapons), sense and influence emotions and even read surface-level thoughts or enter dreams, and you are seemingly immune to permanent injury as a result of fire and mundane weapons.In general, DCs are 15, but disguise, magic item use, and favourable melees as discussed have DC 10. Thanks to Irinnile’s powers, you also currently have this reduced DC of 10 for nighttime or shadowy stealth checks, seduction rolls, and single-target illusion or mentalism checks.Your demonic powers are not without a price: Irinnile has a powerful sense of <WANT> at her core. Every time you use her powers or deny her something she desires, the <WANT> grows stronger, increasing the DC of rolls to control her impulses. Thanks to your soulbond, this isn't as risky as it once was... But could still result in complications. Your current level of <WANT> is DC 12.You have also gained a one-time invocation of your Dark Gods’ <DIVINE FAVOUR>, and access to their <AKASHIC RECORD> of their mortal agents’ past activities; the DC to access it varies depending upon how long ago the event took place, how far away it occurred, and whether you have a relevant focus.You also have limited use of the ectoplasm the aforementioned incubus gave you—enough to place a permanent and subtle influence upon the soul of a single being without fail if transferred to them—and the incubus’ influence and authority over lesser demons.You have acquired a number of items in your inventory, though you may not always have access to all of them: a suit of leafweave armour and a Serpent Priest staff (left in your room at the Engel Manor out of necessity), a protective magical cloak (smuggled into the event by a fellow agent, to be retrieved when the time is right), a magical diadem granting clarity and control when your perceptions are affected by outside sources, a demon-trapping scroll-case, a hidden charm which suppresses your succubus partner’s demonic aura inside you, and your trusty dagger. You also have a very small amount of shirin stimulant, a magical dwarven puzzle-box which has frustratingly eluded your mastery… And the suicide-poison.
>>5083219You have just left the populous apartment block where the enigmatic incubus has set up its little den of iniquity. Traveling on foot with your fellow infiltrator Roth, you could JUST make it to the Engel Manor in time to meet with Edwin and his father, get changed into the evening’s attire, and take a carriage to the event with them.…But then, you could also meet with Inquisitor Felman, your utterly-enthralled agent on the inside, to learn more about venue security and to take another stab at mastering that damn dwarven puzzle-box. The latter in particular could prove a useful aptitude when the master-stone is in your clutches. This would mean arriving a little late for the Gala, and on your own, but perhaps it would be worth it?…Or you could turn around and attempt to understand the subtle control and greater potency the incubus achieves from its use of ectoplasm, and thus to gain access to some of the same abilities through careful application of Irinnile’s own ectoplasm, which you have in greater supply. It would probably be difficult to master such an ability in a single study-session, but you’ve achieved greater feats before. How long could it truly take?And, of course, there is always the option to head in the opposite direction, to where the Eastern Standard Silk and Spice company is encamped, to acquire the shirin you promised Fynn of Engel could be used to begin building demand among the social elite of Hawksong. That’s so far out of the way, though, that you would surely be unfashionably late by the time you concluded that business.What do you do?>Meet with Edwin and get ready—you don’t want to be late, and these other matters can wait>Take a detour to meet with Felman, and to try once more to master enchantment magic (as well as to discuss your planned infiltration for the evening)>Return to the incubus, to demand a crash-course of ectoplasmic manipulation right this instant>Screw it—go see Cuggi of Eastern Standard about hooking you up with more shirin for tonight, timeliness-be-damned>Write-in
>>5083227>>Meet with Edwin and get ready—you don’t want to be late, and these other matters can wait
>>5083227>Meet with Edwin and get ready—you don’t want to be late, and these other matters can waitArriving late and alone would be sus? That puzzle box is unsolvable anyway
>>5083227>Meet with Edwin and get ready—you don’t want to be late, and these other matters can waitActually, none of these matters can wait, but we've run out of time. How the hell are we going to explain this to Flynn and Edwin?
>>5083227>Meet with Edwin and get ready—you don’t want to be late, and these other matters can wait
>>5083416While the other tasks are all important, you don’t want to risk raising suspicions at this critical hour. The other issues will have to wait for tomorrow, you decide. You and Roth travel half-way through Hawksong before you part ways, with the old dragonblood stopping briefly. His human disguise is almost as inscrutably inexpressive as his true visage, and yet you can tell he wants to say something.“What iss it?” you ask.He is silent for a time, but he doesn’t leave, nor turn away. Eventually, frustrated, you sue Irinnile’s empathic succubus-sense to scan the male’s aura and find…“You’re worried,” you say allowed.Roth scoffs, as if outraged, but says nothing.“Compartmentalize your feelings more effectively, oh superior one,” you whisper in the True Speech of your people. “If you cannot get yourself under control, I will mock you most mercilessly in my reports.”Roth grumbles unintelligibly, but turns away and sets off on his own. The last thing he tells you is “You should endeavour to ensure you are alive to compile those reports.”‘I think that’s the nicest thing he’s ever said to us,’ Irinnile says, with a mix of annoyance and amusement. You dwell on this farewell as little as possible, as you make the rest of your journey to the boxy, utilitarian warehouse of a mansion that is the Engel household. Therein, you quickly located father Fynn and son Edwin. Both are well-dressed, and to your shock Edwin is—perhaps for the first time in memory—note wearing his oversized wizard-robes and rumpled mage-cap. Instead, he is in the formal, high-collared tunic, breeches, and snug leggings of formal courtly attire, with hair slicked back by some sort of grease. He’s even shaved his stubble!‘Damn,’ Irinnile comments with a psychic wolf-whistle, ‘our boy cleans up NICE!’That he does… But you can see how uncomfortable Edwin is in his tight-fitting formalwear, constantly fidgeting, fussing with his sleeve-cuffs or touching his hair. Fynn wears much the same outfit, albeit in a dark charcoal grey rather than Edwin’s brighter, youthful blue version, and he wears it with the stillness of practice and comfort.“Izzy!” Edwin greets you. “I was beginning to think you wouldn’t make it in time.”“Yes, welcome back,” Fynn greets you as well… But, businessman that he is, he is immediately cognizant of your lack of obvious packages. “Did the negotiations with Eastern Standard go poorly? I don’t see any shirin.”What do you do?>Lie, saying that you have the shirin supply secured, but that they needed time to retrieve it>Admit that you were busy with vaguely-defined ‘other matters’, and didn’t get around to it>Play at indignance and outrage, and get Fynn off your back that way>Coolly ask Edwin to let you manage your business in your own time and way>Weave an elaborate excuse of some other variety [write-in]>Say nothing on the matter
>>5083460You also need to get changed for the gala. You have a couple options, now: the green velvet dress with its sheer contours and matching gloves is classy and appropriate, while still quite eye-ctaching it its way… But at a Tower Gala, many will be wearing more expensive, magical fabrics. You have no such thing, but thanks to your seamstress friend Agatha Johan, you have a reasonable non-magical facsimile: golden and gauzy, sparkling, slinging, barely there. It’s startlingly avante garde, but very fashion-forward in a way that would attract eyes and impress those it doesn’t incense. And then, of course, there is the option to shapeshift a different outfit with Irinnile’s abilities…What to wear, what to wear?>The classy green dress>The gold quasi-magical ensemble>Shapeshift something else [specify, please]>Wear one of your other outfits [Kamunu bellydancer attire? Floral peasant dress? Leafweave armour? Other?]
>>5083460>There were certain... complications. While Cuggi was amendable to a deal, it couldn't happen due to the authorities' investigation into his affairs. Something about a catwoman attacking an official, unrelated to Eastern Standard.>>5083461>The gold quasi-magical ensemble
>>5083461>The classy green dressMade it for this, right?>>5083460>There were certain... complications. While Cuggi was amendable to a deal, it couldn't happen due to the authorities' investigation into his affairs. Something about a catwoman attacking an official, unrelated to Eastern Standard.This seems like a good write in to back. Yet more blame pushed onto Foxy?
>>5083499Dead foxes tell no tales, as they say. Would've love to see what the pearl would've done though.
>>5083499Also, we made the gold quasi-magical ensemble for this, not the classy green dress.
>>5083460>>Admit that you were busy with vaguely-defined ‘other matters’, and didn’t get around to it>>5083461>>The gold quasi-magical ensemble
>>5083461>There were certain... complications. While Cuggi was amendable to a deal, it couldn't happen due to the authorities' investigation into his affairs. Something about a catwoman attacking an official, unrelated to Eastern Standard.>The gold quasi-magical ensemble
>>5083460>Admit that you were busy with vaguely-defined ‘other matters’, and didn’t get around to it>>5083461>The gold quasi-magical ensemble
>>5083491>>5083499>>5083632>>5083803“There were ccertain... complicationsss,” you begin.“Oh?” replies Fynn, eyebrow arched. You weave an elaborate falsehood, interspersing threads of truth, such as the matter of the investigation and the attack on Felman.“While Cuggi wass amendable to a deal, negotiations couldn’t truly happen due to the authorities's investigation into hiss affairs,” you say, affecting a sheepish grin. “Ssomething about a catwoman attacking an officcial, unrelated to Easstern Sstandard.”“Gods Above, what a mess,” Fynn mutters, rubbing his forehead… But, at the very least, he doesn’t seem frustrated with you on a personal level.“Is that why the Inquisition was at your work the other day?” Edwin asks, eyes widening.Fynn’s attention immediately snaps to his son, then back to you. “Inquisition?”You hold back a sigh. Oh, Edwin. Still, you suppose it was bound to come out sooner or later, being such a public spectacle.Prhaps it’s better to get ahead of Fynn hearing about it elsewhere.“Yess,” you reply, almost-truthfully, “but it hasss been handled.”“I… Am glad to hear that,” Fynn says, expression and aura still revealing a mix of surprise and discomfort at all this negative Tower attention directed at your workplace, other employer, and upon the burgeoning shirin operations.Irinnile giggles. ‘If he only KNEW, amirite?’You excuse yourself to get changed for the Tower Gala. Your eyes linger momentarily on the green dress—the more formal, more traditional choice, purchased specially for this event weeks ago… And then slide off of it, and to the box containing your golden ensemble. You open the case and extract the gorgeous art-piece of an outfit: near-invisible translucent fabric underlying an interlocking mesh of interlocking golden shapes, almost like scales, which disperse into a wave of sparkling stars about your otherwise-bare legs and wrists. You squeeze your succubus-swollen chest and rear into it, it takes perfect advantage of your new measurements to hold itself on, even as you move. It offers a surprising amount of leg mobility, and total freedom of your arms. You indulge yourself with a quick snippet of your exotic dance routine, finding yourself utterly unimpeded. That Gatha Johan really IS an amazing talent!There’s only one problem: there is nowhere to hide a dagger on hip or thigh in this dress, for all such areas are tightly-clad or mostly-exposed. You sigh, stowing the dagger into your pack. You will fetch it later, if you need it. For now, you rejoin Edwin and his father. Edwin is wowed by you, gasping at the sight of you in your new attire.
>>5083886"Izzy, you’re… Angelic!”You smile, feeling a slight blush rise to your cheeks at the praise.“It’s… Certainly a look,” Fynn says ambivalently. You sense disapproval from the older male, but have to resist a smirk at the hypocrisy, for your succubus senses can practically taste his lust for you from across the room. You ignore Fynn’s passive-aggressive commentary, and thank Edwin as you take the younger man’s arm.“Shall we?” you ask.The three of you step into one of the company’s carriages, and set off for the Gala. Along the way, Edwin is chattering excitedly about what innovations and great works he hopes to glimpse—apparently, he has attended only one such Gala before, and it left a distinct impression on the arcane enthusiast.“Don’t forget,” he father admonishes, “this is BUSINESS, Edwin. We’re here to form connections, to make an impression. DO try not to bombard the mages with endless questions this time, hm?”Edwin shuts his mouth, and his aura wavers and wobbles as if struck. It’s not the first time you’ve seen this dynamic between father and son…What do you do?>Change the subject to something more amenable [business proposals? Fynn’s impression of the last Gala?]>Call out Fynn for his treatment of Edwin, and humour your boyfriend’s passions [will max out Edwin affection]>Flirt with Fynn to calm him down, maybe even with a touch of glamour if required [-affection]>Say nothing—more heat upon Edwin is less heat on you [-affection]>Write-in>>5083877Sorry, was already writing... But it seems the results were the same!
>>5083887>Call out Fynn for his treatment of Edwin, and humour your boyfriend’s passions [will max out Edwin affection]We've been so shit to Edwin. We might fucking die here. May as well do right by him for ONCE.
>>5083887>>Call out Fynn for his treatment of Edwin, and humour your boyfriend’s passions [will max out Edwin affection]
>>5083887>Call out Fynn for his treatment of Edwin, and humour your boyfriend’s passions [will max out Edwin affection]Not the best possible time but still works
>>5083887>Change the subject to something more amenable [business proposals? Fynn’s impression of the last Gala?]>wanting to max out affection fighting rather than on the dance floorHonestly, you anons really can't wait can you?
>>5083887If we do call out Flynn, might as well say that we're surprised, as taking an interest in some of the Tower's higher ranked magi could be the connections we need to do more business with the Tower. Just a thought.
>>5084288Does it really matter tho. Isn’t it better to have the benefit sooner than later?
>>5084428I think that it's more of a distraction than a benefit before our main mission tonight, and I honestly don't know what benefits he would bring to the table that would help us complete our mission right now, but far be it from me to dissuade all of you on an action you all set your hearts on.
>>5083887>Say nothing—more heat upon Edwin is less heat on you [-affection]yall really wanna max that affection right before the Gala?like with Iri we don't know what benefits/drawbacks it'll bring
>>5084168>>5084727I mean, you guys think it's too soon, maybe we should agree on a different option rather than maxing out affection?
>>5083887>Change the subject to something more amenable [business proposals? Fynn’s impression of the last Gala?]Yea, best not to be distracted before the Gala.
>>5083955>>5084143>>5084168>>5084288>>5084727>>5085082[Seems we have a bit of split--three votes to call Fynn out, three to not... But with two different choices for what to do instead. I'll try to write up a reply before work if I can, but whether it's in the next fifteen minutes or later today, the current write-up would probably end up with a compromise and affection held at 99.Keep in mind for anyone doing it for the bonus: maxed affection can be a double-edged sword for a secret agent.]
>>5085096You know the smarter strategy is to say nothing—at most, to change the subject. This is the big night: your greatest mission upon the surface! You already have distractions aplenty without adding Engel family politics to the mix.And yet…“Honestly, Edwin,” Fynn continues, “I don’t know why you waste your time trying to play at being a wizard. You realize you are nearly thirty years old, right? You won’t be receiving some familiar-delivered letter of enrollment to the Tower.”“…I know, Father,” Edwin mumbles, looking down at the floor. You can see his emotions flicker through his aura: shame, anger, sadness, loss.“You aren’t going to just BECOME magic because you read enough books, and all that mental space would be BETETR spent preparing to run the storehouses. Do you think I do all this for MY benefit?”“…No, Father.”Fynn sighs, rubbing his forehead. “You know, I honestly wish I believed you that this was going to stick... But for such a smart young man, you can be so stupid.”This is a harsher lambasting than you’ve witnessed Fynn give Edwin before. Maybe he’s just more comfortable around you, or maybe it’s the stress of preparing for the Gala—of this lowborn mammal trying to impress to magical and nobleborn elites. Regardless, it’s not your concern. You take a deep breath, willing yourself not to say anything, but then:“You’re right: he isss ssmart. Perhapss ssmarter than you realize, Fynn.”Both pairs of eyes turn to you. “Excuse me?” Fynn asks, not (yet) annoyed or angry—just confused by the interruption.“I’m ssurprised you don’t ssee it, Fynn,” you say, delicately as you can. “Think about it for a ssecond: Edwin iss well-verssed in the artss of alchemy, in magical theory, in the history and esoterica of the Tower mages.”“A bunch of nonsense that has no practical use to anyone who can’t wiggle his fingers and magically avoid real work,” Fynn scoffs.“Exccept that it hass already been invaluable to our mutual shirin operations,” you shoot back quickly. “You’ve never allowed him to purssue anything of actual interesst to him, and yet in just hiss sself-directed sstudiess, he hass become knowledgeable enough to disscusss alchemy with alchemisstss… And magical theory with actual magess.”You pause for a moment, before pointedly adding: “The magess we have to impressss tonight.”Fynn just looks at your for a time, before inclining his head in a gesture of assent.“You raise a fair point, Ismena,” he acknowledges, then says to Edwin, “Make sure you hang onto this one and just… Try to remember to discuss business as well as your hobbies, will you?”You feel Edwin squeeze your hand. You meet his eyes, full of adoration and appreciation, and he silently mouths “Thank you.”
>>5085150It isn't much longer before you arrive at the Mages Tower. The great ivory spire towers over the weaving and vaguely non-Euclidian disarray of the Initiate's Village neighborhood, and in fact over nearly every other building in the human metropolis around it. If a civilization's priorities can be understood by their architecture, then the power the wielders of magic hold over these humans and their lands is dwarfed only by the Paladin King himself. You are given a startling reminder of the nature of that other great power by the shrieking cry of a great bird of prey, like a tremendous hawk or eagle.“The Paladinss are here as well,” you note, recognizing with a slight shudder the sound of a gryphon—their mount of choice.“Well, Price Rufos is going to be in attendance,” Fynn points out. “It only makes sense.”“The Tower is responsible for breeding tye gryphons, as well,” Edwin adds. “That could have come from one of their mares, maybe?”Regardless, it sets you on edge: a reminder of the many, many dangers you face tonight. Luckily, you come prepared, and well-equipped! You pat your bag for comfort.“What do you mean I have to check in my things?!”You and the Engel men are stepping out of the carriage when you hear the protestation. The outraged outburst comes from a rather overstuffed-looking dandy of a nobleman at the Tower’s main entrance. Behind him are two servants, young porters, each carrying a great trunk in their arms, full of whatever expensive luxury this well-placed male seems to believe he might need for the soiree ahead.“Apologies, Lord Blakely,” the blue-hatted Tower Guardian at the entrance says, with a tone that suggests it is neither the first nor the last time he will need to give this explanation, “but for security purposes, we store all such belongings in the entry hall.”“And what of grubby-handed thieves?” Blakely demands.“Not a lot of those on the guest list, sir,” the guardian mage says tiredly. “And we have people checking in on and guarding the room.”“Absurd….” Blakley mutters, loud enough for you to hear, but he complies.Well, this is a wrinkle. What do you do about your pack, and the many useful tools within?>Attempt to sweet-talk your pack past the guard>Use glamour and mentalism in an attempt to go unnoticed >Get out of the carriage and sneak in the rear entrance instead >Use Irinnile's shape-shifting ability to store two items of your choice within or against your own flesh, unseen [specify the items]>Forget it—give up the bag, you don't need its contents tonight, and you will retrieve it if it comes to it>Write-in
>>5085152>Attempt to sweet-talk your pack past the guard>Use Irinnile's shape-shifting ability to store two items of your choice within or against your own flesh, unseen [specify the items]The second just in case the first doesn't work. Refresher on everything in the bag?
>>5085152>Attempt to sweet-talk your pack past the guard>Use glamourSeconding the bag check for potential utilization of the body horror storage.
>>5085152>>Use glamour and mentalism in an attempt to go unnoticed
>>5085152>>Attempt to sweet-talk your pack past the guard>>Use glamour and mentalism in an attempt to go unnoticedDisguise the blatantly suspicious stuff
>>5085476Ok thanks, last paragraph I see it now.UUUUUMMMMWe should be able to just openly wear the diadem and charm without hiding them.dagger we body horror insuicide poison too
Rolled 7, 10, 13, 3, 4, 2, 10, 15, 4, 17 = 85 (10d20)>>5085177>>5085250>>5085408>>5085450[3d20 for sweet talk (option one, DC 15), 6d20 for illusion/mentalism if it fails (DC 18, 1d20 mystery/reaction roll.]
>>5085875>13As the three of you approach this male mage in his pointy blue cap, you cling ever more tightly to you bag. You have your diadem above your head… But your charm was created with materials and techniques that might be known to mages. Dare you extract it and wear it openly, when you are to be surrounded by such learned magical masters at the Hawksong Tower Archmage? And that’s to say noting of carrying about a long killing knife like your assassin’s dagger, or a stolen dwarven artefact, a foreign ‘spice’, or a vial of suicide poison! You cannot spare any of these tools, but nor can you openly reveal them.“Alright, pass me your things or leave them with your carriageman,” the Tower Guardian says.You laugh girlishly—or, well, like your best impression of a harmless, female, mammalian socialite. “Awww, do we have to?”‘You’re doing it again,’ Irinnile pouts. ‘That thing where you try to act like an idiot, so you do an impression of me!’You ignore the succubus’ tizzy. Unfortunately, so too does the Tower Guardian ignore your appeal. “Sorry, miss. For security purposes, we store all such belongings in the entry hall.”You make your appeals, shifting from ditziness to haughtiness to ALMOST flirtatiousness… Well, insofar as you can, with great subtlety in each so your probing attempts to breach the mage’s defences aren’t too obvious or suspicious a ploy, or seemingly-indicative of some mental derangement. No approach works, however. The Tower Guardian is as much a fortress as the one he stands before, but even less impregnable!‘Maybe, maybe not,’ Irinnile muses. ‘Let’s turn up the heat!’You do so, employing glamour and mentalism in an effort to subtly divert attention and suspicion—to make the bag appear negligible, or disappear entirely. You can only weave such illusions and glamour with moderate effectiveness without overt somatic components… But it seems to be working, causing the man to look away and to yawn!“Think I’m impressed by hedge-magic?” he asks.>15You stop making your fourth appeal to him, and withdraw your magical aura… But it’s too late.“Say… I know you,” he says, squinting at you. “You’re that woman from the…”He flushes, fully realizing where he’s heard of you from: you’re that hedge-mage exotic dancer from the brothel in the slummier part of town, a place a Tower mage may fanatsize over but never partake in due to their vow of chastity.“Look, you’re lucky w-we’re even l-letting in a… You know.”“Danccer?” you ask with a tilt of the head.“…A hedge-mage,” he mumbles.
>>5085891>17Embarrassed by his sudden erotic thoughts, by his very knowledge of your reputation, and by his own embarrassment, he doubles down on dutiful aggression. He seizes your bag from you, which you can only weakly protest against, and hands it off to a tower staffer. She, in turn, carries it away… Presumably to the storage area.“Go on in,” he says authoritatively, as if to brook no further discussion.What do you do?>Do as he says—you don’t need a scene here>Leave the gate, and then sneak back in by other means to retrieve your things, and then to join the festivities>Challenge the Tower Guardian to a mage’s duel, with your right to keep your belongings the stakes>Attempt to intimidate and threaten him into compliance>Write-in
>>5085892>Do as he says—you don’t need a scene hereWe can have our Staff people retrieve it before we explore the basement proper, but hot dam, what an unlucky start.
>>5085892>Do as he says—you don’t need a scene hereI'm going to be optimistic and think that we got all the bad rolls out of the wayplus yeah another operative should be able to get us the essentials later
>>5085892>Do as he says—you don’t need a scene here>Give him the smugest grin we are capable of as we depart
>>5086064>>5085937>>5085924You sigh melodramatically.“Can’t blame a girl for trying,” you say.As you, Edwin, and Fynn step through the gate, you shoot the guard a smug smile. He raises his eyebrows and his forehead wrinkles in confusion. The absolute blunderer has no idea that he has simply placed your belongings under guard until such time as you send one of your fellow Degenerates to retrieve them! At least… That is your hope.The Tower Gala is hosted in a great, two-tiered hall. It is nearly as expansive in length and width as the loading-and-unloading area you snuck into the night prior, but with high, vaulted ceilings that make it seem immensely larger. In character, however, there can be no comparison. The rear entrance was full of caged and crated wonders, the varyingly-clandestine alchemical labs and experimental areas below that were foreboding and fascinating, but this public-facing entrance is a WONDER. It is as well-lit as day, illuminated by three glowing orbs which orbit one another in unknowable ways above everyone’s head—miniature suns, complete with even the feeling of daytime warmth! Everywhere, there are tables, but without legs—floating discs, bearing magical fruits like some great market. There are weapons to be delicately handled and inspected by rigid-spined military men or pretenders to the same martial dash; there small chimeras cooed over by high-society ladies, or displays of new wonder-fabrics with applications protective and sartorial alike. Smaller such floating discs, directed by black-hatted Tower staffers, navigate the crowd, bearing drinks and finger-food; garishly or beautifully-attired humans snatch up what they desire from these as they pass. The attendees wear robes, dresses, brocades, tights… Even the finely-polished armour of Paladin status, you note in one corner.‘This place is…’ Irinnile begins, but cannot finish.‘Yes,’ you agree, sensing her aweTerror creeps in, however, and she whispers even in your mind: ‘We gotta’ keep a low profile, Lispy. At least until we get back our charm.’You unconsciously nod. You’ve never seen so many pointy hats in one place. The hall must play host to many dozens of worthies already, and they are still filtering in. Meanwhile, there are at least a third that many spellcasters, many of them no-doubt skilled and experienced enough to detect demonic activity. You think you can even spot a few of the blue-hatted bastards watching you with idle curiosity, no doubt tipped off to your hedge-mage status and troublemaking arrival. Luckily, they don’t seem overly concerned or attentive… Honestly, given how many other people are staring or stealing sidelong glances, it may just be the combination of your figure and your attire, which is pretty eye-catching even by the standards of the event.‘Gonna’ make it trickier to go unnoticed,’ Irinnile laments.
>>5086317“What do you think, Izzy?” Edwin asks eagerly. “Isn’t it amazing?”You agree—how could you not?—and feel Edwin take your hand.“Come on!” he says. “If I can find Professor Myrthen… Well, let’s just say that his work on multi-elemental blended conjuration spells is nothing short of GROUNDBREAKING. Imagine this: summoning lumps of ice that HEAT water as they melt, or arcing lightning that FREEZES a target inside and out! Plus, he always puts on a flashy show, even outside of the technical dimension…”“Don’t forget about why we’re here!” Fynn reminds the two of you.What do you do?>Let Edwin drag you around the exhibits and luminaries of this Gala for a time—it’s an easy way to case the joint, and it makes him happy>Seek out persons of interest you know to be in attendance [Price Rufos? The Archmage? Miriam Vaz nee Yosef? Other?] for some conversation>Attempt to find and coordinate with one of your fellow Infiltrators, to see about retrieving your belongings and having them ready for you>Do as Fynn asks, and attempt to build some business connections for the shirin trade and Engelson Storehouse Company>Write-in
>>5086319>Attempt to find and coordinate with one of your fellow Infiltrators, to see about retrieving your belongings and having them ready for you>Let Edwin drag you around the exhibits and luminaries of this Gala for a time—it’s an easy way to case the joint, and it makes him happy
>>5086319>Attempt to find and coordinate with one of your fellow Infiltrators, to see about retrieving your belongings and having them ready for youTell Edwin we want something to drink and will be back in a sec, locate a nearby Degenerate and arrange to get that Tiara delivered ASAP>Let Edwin drag you around the exhibits>Try to find someone who might be interested in shirinWe can use Edwin's connections to find alchemists and see if any of them would be interested in this rare new mind-altering powder.Also boost him in Fynn's eyes this way. Make it nothing personnel for that 99%, tho.>Keep your eyes peeled for the Prince and securityHopefully not too late for a write-in.
>>5086434+1Keep our eyes peeled for the Archmage as well.
>>5086434Not just our tiara, but our bag as well, ya?
>>5086434>>5086669Your tiara/diadem is still being worn. What you lack is the charm that hides your demonic aura against close scrutiny.
>>5086673>What you lack is the charm that hides your demonic aura against close scrutiny.Run that by me again? I thought we did a ritual, not a charm? Had I known, I would've voted to shapeshift the charm into our skin.
>>5086990[You have a dark stone that, when in your possession, serves to mask your demonic aura. You created it in volume... 6, I want to say... By sacrificing a goat in a warehouse while consulting the akashic records. The diadem simply grants you greater clarity and mental focus for seeing through illusions and for your mind-affecting abilities, and was created on a whim during your ritual to create a potion for Roth's mortal wounds.See >>5083219 (the last paragraph) for pretty much your full inventory, give or take some assorted coinage and changes of clothes.]
>>5087000I didn't know the charm was something physical, as it really wasn't relevant until this moment. Had I known, I would've voted to bodyhorror it into us, because to not do so is frankly retarded, especially here, in the beating heart of the Tower's power.We need that stone asap.
>>5086365>>5086366>>5086434>>5086659>>5086665You let Edwin take you by the hand and carry the two of you along from one exhibition to the next. His eyes are alight with the swirling patterns of the three diminutive quasi-suns above, wide like a child’s, as he enthuses over the (admittedly quite impressive and potentially-deadly) display of arcane mastery by the professor in question. To your amusement, his wonder is no less when you next stand amidst a thinner crowd watching a damp and sweaty man in a long, thin wizard cap directing a tankful of little, glowing fish with flourishes of a driftwood wand.“They’re so coordinated,” Edwin says. “But how do you direct them? And how did you make them glow? An enchantment?”“Nothing so crass!” the demonstrator replies. “They are chimeras—subtle oens! For all that they appear to be common pond-stirrers, these fish are in fact a tripartite HYBRID of the pond-tirrer, a rare bioluminescent sea-jelly, and…”You both wait while he pauses for effect.“A DOG! They have the intellectual capacity of the latter, the glow of the jelly, without changing the outer form even a little save for the iridescence!”“Amazing…”You smile and squeeze Edwin’s arm. The fish are… Something, you guess. Conceptually interesting, academically, technically, insofar as you even understand the disciplines involved and the challenges in their creation. It’s Edwin’s pure interest, and instant grasping of these concepts, which has your attention, though. You’re so enrapture that you almost fail to spot Wasegun, the strong-jawed and black-eyed Degenerate agent you met the night prior, loading foodstuffs onto one of the floating trays hurriedly.Spotting your fellow Reptilian Infiltrator immediately reminds you of your true purpose.“I’m going to go fetch ssome food and drinksss,” you tell Edwin, who nods and squeezes your hand in a brief sign of acknowledgement and thanks. Then, you slip through the crowd and to Wasegun’s posting.
>>5087320Wasegun’s eyes are immediately on your body, though his expression seems less enamoured with your curvaceousness and spectacular attire than it is… Skeptical? Disapproving, even.“You draw much attention,” he says quietly.“I hide in plain ssight,” you say, picking hors d'oeuvres off of his tray. You pop one meaty morsel of some spiced mammalian appetizer into your face for appearances. It’s… Not bad, but humans really cover up the flavour of their meats too much for your liking.“Anything but plain,” Wasegun says. You ar eusnure whether to take it for flirtation or further criticism.It is true that, with all these eyes on you—many capable of gazing beyond the material to see the demonic magic beneath your skin if they were to look closely enough—you feel practically naked.‘And not in the fun way,’ Irinnile quips.You need your bag as soon as possible, ESPECIALLY the black stone charm in its concealing wrappings. Only when it is in your possession again will you feel safe navigating among these mages. Without giving Wasegun too many unnecessary details, you communicate as much.“And you will carry thiss bag with you as you travel among these hum—thesse people?” he murmurs.He raises a good point. You are not done here yet. “Bring me my charm,” you command, describing the object.“Iss there anything elsse which you require?”It would need to be inconspicuous, as he noted. You consider the request, and tell him…>Just fetch the charm, and have the bag ready with your cloak for when you give the signal>Bring the shirin, too—you plan to talk shop with interested mages next>Bring the dagger—you will conceal it within you if you must, but you will not be unarmed in an emergency>Write-in something else
>>5087321You return to Edwin’s side, carefully carrying two stemmed glasses of some sweet-smelling alcoholic concoction in one hand and a small platter of those spicy meat-balls in the other.“Thanks, Izzy,” he says. “And, err, not just for the meat-balls and bubble-brew.”“Hm?” you reply, eyeing the ‘bubble -brew’ with a bit more suspicion now that you know the name.“For what you did earlier for me… With father. In the carriage.”“Oh!” you say, smiling easily. “It wass nothing.”You still aren’t sure what moved you to do that—guilt, maybe for not treating Edwin as well as part of you feels he deserves? Annoyance at Fynn’s tone? A sense of sympathy for a fellow underdog, aspiring beyond his means?“It was far from nothing,” you assures you, and raises his glass with a mix of sincere affection and playful mischief in his eyes. “A toast, to… Very dear company?”You narrow your eyes at the drink, which only seems to amuse Edwin further. He is hardly able to hold back laughter, clearly anticipating… Something. Knowing Edwin, whatever he is up to is no doubt tame and harmless… But you aren’t a trusting sort by nature. Furthermore, your alcohol tolerance is still not the greatest…Do you drink?>Yes>No, you refuse>No, but you’ll pretend to and dump your drink in a convenient location to hide the lack of imbibing>Write-in
>>5087321>Bring the shirin, too—you plan to talk shop with interested mages nextNot just the mages though.>>5087322>No, but you’ll pretend to and dump your drink in a convenient location to hide the lack of imbibingI wouldn't mind drinking if this wasn't so important.
>>5087321>Fetch the charm and shirin, have the bag ready with your cloak for when you give the signal>>5087322>No, but you’ll pretend to and dump your drink in a convenient location to hide the lack of imbibing>>5087335Too bad Ismena's organism is this weak to intoxication.
>>5087322>Bring the dagger—you will conceal it within you if you must, but you will not be unarmed in an emergency>No, but you’ll pretend to and dump your drink in a convenient location to hide the lack of imbibingyeah we're the type to black out from one drink
>>5087321>Charm + Shirin>>5087322>>No, but you’ll pretend to and dump your drink in a convenient location to hide the lack of imbibing
>>5087888>>5087661>>5087491>>5087335 It’s not that you don’t want to have a good time but… Well, you’re a lightweight. If your tolerance for alcohol has improved slightly, it is still notably less than that of the full-blooded humans of this city, even innocent Edwin of Engel. You smile, and raise your glass… But the moment Edwin swigs his back (closing his eyes as he does so), your bubble-wine is tossed into a nearby garbage receptacle.“Deliciouss,” you say with a smile.Edwin says nothing, staring at you expectantly.“...Yesss?”Edwin opens his mouth as if to say something, but instead a small torrent of pearlescent bubbles explode from his mouth. You leap backwards, reaching for a dagger which isn’t there, as the cascade tumbles towards the ceiling. Your eyes follow it upwards, and then lower back down to meet Edwin's confused and disappointed expression.“You didn't drink yours,” he notes.Well, there's no point in denying it, you suppose. You were vaguely familiar with bubbling, so-called ‘sparkling' wines and ciders from your coworkers at The Pretty Kitty, and your earlier training. How were you supposed to know that ‘bubble-wine' was something else entirely?“I jusst wanted to sstay sharp and professional,” you say, truthfully. “You know how low my tolerancce isss!”Edwin sets his glass down gently, and you follow suit.“Your father hass ssome quite high exxpectationss,” you say, also technically without falsehood.“You didn't need to pretend to drink it,” Edwin says, with a sigh. “You know you can be honest with me, right? You don't need to hide things.”You get the feeling that he is talking about more than bubble-wine. You are still plotting a response when Wasegun flags you down subtly, out of the corner of you eye.“I'll be back in a moment,” you abruptly excuse yourself from yhe awkwardness. You start towards Wasegun, but he nods his head, and you follow the signal to meet up with another of the Degenerate agents. You can't quite remember the female's name, but she beckons you into a momentarily-empty adjoining hall. There, you blissfully retrieve your charm—and some sense of safety, thank the Dark Gods!—as well as your small collection of modified shirin.However, there remains the question of what to do with them to avoid attention. The shirin in particular presents an issue for, while you could use shape-shifting to store the items within you, you cannot then exactly present the shirin to those you hope to market it to… Nor would you have a good explanation for carrying it openly if questioned by a Tower Guardian. It isn't illegal… But it's something they would well know you should have had confiscated and stored away until after the Gala. Damn these surface females and their dress code, which seems to afford such little accommodation for pockets!
>>5088202‘We DID also pick the sluttiest dress,’ Irinnile acknowledges, noting the sheer amount of exposed skin and lack of places to hide things on your person that has resulted. ‘But you gotta’ admit, we look DAMN fine! Are you FEELING all these looks we're getting??’What do you do?>Shapeshift the charm and shirin into your body, save a very small amount to offer as a sample>Carry the shirin openly, relying on your natural charisma to avoid questioning—nobody asks someone what they are hiding when they are making no effort to hide it!>Forget the shirin—Engelson financial objectives are not YOUR objective, or at least not your primary ones tonight, and if it comes down to it you can probably sell the IDEA of shirin just fine>Have this Degenerate serve as a porter—her servant's attire, at least, includes a jacket with pockets>Write-inAs for who you plan to market your shirin TO, you have not been remiss in scanning the hall for potential candidates. You have a few options lined up. The first is a mage who seems to be demonstrating an array of exotic, perhaps magically-modified, plants; perhaps he could help to enrich or cultivate your ‘spice' locally, or source ingredients? Another is a high-society noblewoman, whose ornate and gaudy attire marks her out as uniquely frivolous with her wealth; her sheer quantity of accumulated glasses and cups attests to an addictive personality, which may make for an easy mark to obtain a wealthy client and financier.And then, of course… There is Prince Rufos, flanked by Paladins. Young, thinly-bearded, tall and with brilliant green eyes. You were quick to spot him at the far end of the hall, and you have kept tabs on him ever since. The thought of him brings the undefinable feeling of the incubus essence within you to pre-eminence. You have other business with him tonight. Two objectives could be met, perhaps, in one fell swoop?Who do you approach?>The plant-mage>The dilettante noblewoman>The Prince>Keep looking for other marks>Forget the shirin, damnit!
>>5088203>Shapeshift the charm and shirin into your body, save a very small amount to offer as a sample>Have this Degenerate serve as a porter—her servant's attire, at least, includes a jacket with pocketsI don't mind either.>The PrinceThe plant-man is totally Edwin's mark. Also, we'll drink some bubble-wine with Edwin after we accomplish our main objectives, as a celebration to our success.
>>5088203>Shapeshift the charm and shirin into your body, save a very small amount to offer as a sample>Forget the shirin, damnit!primary objective firstas an incentive having the master control might help us solve the puzzle box
>>5088232I think getting the Prince under our influence gives us a Get Out of Jail Free Card if we're caught, and I can only hope that the master control helps with our efforts there.
>>5088203>Shapeshift the charm>Give shirin to EdwinHe has pockets and asked for us to be honest with him, so yeah.>The PrinceFuck it.
>>5088214>>5088232>>5088714[I'm running a little late today, so the next post will come later, after work.]
>>5088203>Shapeshift the charm and shirin into your body, save a very small amount to offer as a sample>The Prince
>>5088214>>5088232>>5088714>>5089153You cast a quick glance around, to ensure nobody is watching—well, besides your fellow Infiltrator, you suppose. Then, you take a deep breath, shut your eyes, and allow Irinnile to work her magic.The other female chokes down a yelp of shock and surprise as you slip the charm and most of the shirin into your body. The means by which you hide these illicit objects: an opening which splits above your sternum, where your skin peels away to reveal empty hollows in your demon-enhanced chest. You face away from the party, of course, and in this instance your flashy and revealing attire helps to make the manoeuvre easier and less conspicuous.<WANT: 13>“B-but how did you…?” the other Reptilian Degenrate stammers.You smile and wink. “The ssurfacce iss a very peculiar placce.”You turn on heel, the remaining shirin pouch palmed carefully to hide it from passing glances. You scan the crowd briefly, seeking your primary target: Prince Rufos. Second-in-line to the throne of Hawksong, son of Paladin King Archos, he is a secondary objective in this entire venture… But perhaps he could also serve as a truly monumental score for your shirin business? If you were to use the shirin to lure him, you would be able to deliver the incubus’ payload of mind-affecting ectoplasm in private. If you were to thus ensorcel him, you would have someone who could buy and spread your ‘spice’ through the city and TRULY put Fynn’s concerns to bed, even while raising your profile and obfuscating your activities!You finally locate him again, standing on the second, tiered level of this grand hall, milling with many others both literally and socially above you. At the base of the stairs between his milieu and your own, there is a Tower Guardian at half-attention. Closer to the Prince himself, you see his Paladin escort, paying closer attention perhaps than the Guardian. The Prince seems at ease, not overly attentive himself—eager to interact with his people, or at least the wealthier and more prestigious humans among them. An easy mark, maybe, if you can find a way to get past the obstacles between the two of you, and to hold his attention.What is your approach?>Signal the Degenerates to create a distraction, hopefully luring the Guardian away and holding the Paladins’ attention while you slip past them and approach the Prince>Flag down Edwin, rejoin him, and talk your way past the Guardian and up to the Prince with an exciting new intoxicant and an equally exciting business proposition>Attempt to smooth-talk and seduce your way into his orbit, to catch his eye, and to thus lead him into privacy where you can act>Write-in
>>5089475>>Flag down Edwin, rejoin him, and talk your way past the Guardian and up to the Prince with an exciting new intoxicant and an equally exciting business propositionLol, captcha TGT2K. Big time target.
>>5089475>Attempt to smooth-talk and seduce your way into his orbit, to catch his eye, and to thus lead him into privacy where you can actWe're better at seduction and stealth than we are at mercantilism, and while I wouldn't mind combining mercantilism and seductive together, Edwin will be a distraction rather than an asset, and I don't want to unnecessarily get him doubts or jealously while we seduce the Prince into buying out shirin (and injecting him with the ectoplasm and our other machinations in private).
>>5089475>Attempt to smooth-talk and seduce your way into his orbit, to catch his eye, and to thus lead him into privacy where you can act
You should start backing up your updates QM, one janny is going around deleting random QM updates and anon votes, and no one in QTG knows why.
>>5089669Context in case other anons here don't read QTG: (>>5081756)(>>5089556)
Also lads, the Grand Husbando Tournament has begun, and our boy Edwin has been nominated! Let's try and make this a good showing, eh?>>5090058>>5090058>>5090058
Rolled 14, 8, 4, 15, 15, 13 = 69 (6d20)>>5089669>>5089675Has anyone noticed anything like that happening in this thread? Please speak up if so.>>5090096Good luck, all!>>5089869>>5089662>>5089545>>5089498>>5089487[Seduction, with a bonus for politesse]
>>5090107>collective 69 on a seduction rollHoly shit, is that considered a crit here? Either way, the Dark Gods approve!
>>5090107With easy grace, you step towards the small staircase leading up to Prince Rufos and his higher-than-high class entourage. Predictably, it is not so easy—the Tower Guardian moves to stop you, albeit without great enthusiasm.“Sorry,” the man in the pointy blue hat says, crossing his arms.You have to stifle a laugh. You know such guardians are no small threat due to their magical abilities, but… Does any bullyable little manlet of a male in the Tower consider himself physically imposing enough to pull off such a manoeuvre? The mages of this realm are no exactly physical adepts or naturally-dominating figures, you’ve noticed. Edwin, were he admitted to the Tower, would TOWER over his contemporaries. Felman, as effective a combatant as he proved to be, is still scrawny and barely taller than you. This man lacks even that.“Ssorry for what?” you ask innocently. “Delaying me? Never fear, all isss forgiven.”“Sorry to say that there’s no room up in the Very Important Personages area of the upper echelon.”You make a show of looking up and beyond the Guardian for a moment, before turning back to him with a charming smile. “Lookss as if there isss to me.”“Not without an invitation or an escort,” he says, standing firm.You tap a finger to your chin. “An invitation or esscort BY ssomebody important, I assssume?”“Uh, yeah…” he says, with a shrug.“Then problem solved!” you say, slipping your arm around his own and allowing your chest to squeeze up against him, nearly in this short male’s face. His eyes widen in surprise and aroused fixation.“Hey!” he says. “I can’t just walk some… Hedge-mage right up to the Prince of Hawksong and his friends. The Archmage will—”“The archmage will be impresssed by you showing ssuch initiative in keeping me on my bessst behaviour and averting a sscene.”He looks unconvinced, even if more than a little distracted by your proximity.“Come on,” you wheedle. “Jusssst a quick fly-by, sso I can ssee how the rich and famousss live. I can hardly be a threat with you watching my every move, and sso many other powerful and elarned arcane masssterss presssent, right? And I’d be SSO grateful…”
>>5090197>15: marginal successThe gambit works. The Tower Guardian leads you up the stairs without even the need to attempt a magical push. With subtle guidance, you lead him to believe that HE is leading YOU, even as you close distance with the Prince, his Paladins, and the rather important-looking male and female with whom he is speaking.‘Irinnile, catch some eyes.’Irinnile increases the bounce of your bust, insinuates herself into the sway of your hips, and increases the shine of your already meticulously-oiled skin. The combination of these touches and your eye-catching golden garb catches more than a few eyes—Prince and Paladins among them. The Paladins’ gaze is as suspicious as it is hungry, if not moreso. The Prince’s own eyes slide up your body once, down once, and he smiles appreciatively, meeting and holding your gaze for a moment… Before turning back to his conversational partners.‘That son-of-a-royal-bitch barely even eye-fucked us!’ Irrinile screeches, outraged at the lack of more careful attention to her hard work.‘Well, it’s not as if we have a glamour or you aura actively at work,’ you acknowledge. ‘And this is a high-value male, of great status and… Not unattractive features. He surely has many opportunities for sex.'
>>5090200You wait until the conversation with the two lesser humans draws to a close—or, at least, a pause while they go greet another mover-and-shaker of society. Then, seizing the opportunity and slipping out of the grasp of your protesting Tower Guardian escort, you approach Prince Rufos.“Your Highnesss,” you greet him with a curtsy.“I’d suspected you weren’t up here on your own status,” he muses with an arched brow and a small smile. “Everyone on this level saves the ‘highnesses’ for my elder brother and father.”You return to smile and stand tall. The Paladins don’t seem to appraise you a threat, not bothering to step into intercepting position or assume stances of battle-readiness… But then, appearances can be deceiving, can’t they? You’re certainly deadlier than you appear. Perhaps, so are they.“Maybe I wasn’t invited to thiss level,” you admit. “ But do I look like I belong down there?”“No,” Rufos admits with a laugh and a subconscious lick of his teeth. “Certainly not. Now, what can I do for you, Miss…?”“Rosssgard,” you offer. “Isssmena Rosssgard.”He holds out a hand, you extended your own. He takes it in his strong, but utterly uncalloused, fingers, and kisses the back lingeringly.“I wass thinking it might be nice to sspend ssome time where my worth might be better appreciated,” you say suggestively.“Alas!” the prince laments. “I am in high demand this evening. However, I’m sure you will find the company up in this echelon to your liking…”The prince gestures in dismissal to the miffed blue-cap who guided you up the stairs, and he returns to his post. Prince Rufos looks back to you, and winks.“I won’t tell,” he says.What do you do?>Ask if he’d like to try this marvelous and exotic spice you have on your person>Dial up the seduction, daring to touch the prince in order to deliver a dose of succubus-energy to him… At the risk of being detected by the Paladins>Signal the other infiltrators to create a distraction, so you can get the prince alone>Just make easy, natural conversation with the prince and hope for an opening>Intimate that you have dire and important news about a plot to undermine the city defence project… That you need to discuss in private>Write-in
>>5090203>Ask if he’d like to try this marvelous and exotic spice you have on your person>Just make easy, natural conversation with the prince and hope for an openingIf that fails>Signal the other infiltrators to create a distraction, so you can get the prince aloneThen when his guards are gone>Dial up the seduction, daring to touch the prince in order to deliver a dose of succubus-energy to him… At the risk of being detected by the PaladinsMight as well try all of our tricks here.
>>5090219I will do as people vote, but just be aware: choosing every single option (or ALMOST every option) makes updates trickier, longer, and less frequent. It is a sad truth of quest-running.
>>5090232Ah. Well, in that case...>>5090219Just these>Ask if he’d like to try this marvelous and exotic spice you have on your person>Just make easy, natural conversation with the prince and hope for an openingI'm not exactly happy with our previous rolls, but I can deal with it. Hopefully we can make at least make an impression on him this time.
>>5090203>Ask if he’d like to try this marvelous and exotic spice you have on your person>Just make easy, natural conversation with the prince and hope for an openingI wanna point out that we shouldn't spend too much time on the Prince. We need to descend tonight while the Gala provides distraction and cover.Preferably when the staff is under the most strain.How long is it gonna go for, RQM? Approximately what hour is it now and what time will it end?>>5090219>>5090232Well, it's not like we have to throw everything into one update, might just as well enjoy the Gala for longer after all these real life months of buildup.Let's see what happens and then decide the further course of action.Please vote and roll for Edwin to pay off out debts to Dice Gods and start rolling the 20s on Gala: >>5090082
>>5090253>How long is it gonna go for, RQM? Approximately what hour is it now and what time will it end?[You arrived in the late afternoon, early evening. The sun was setting, but by now it has very nearly set. Dancing will begin, as you understand it, when the sun sets. This is likely to be the busiest time of the evening, when you could most easily escape... Though, depending on your timing, Edwin may miss you. It will go, in some form, until midnight.]
>>5090289I don't think we can leave prince before completing our tasks with him. Should definitely deal with our humans before we move on to the dirty work, so we don't have to worry about them later.So ideally we wrap it up with the Prince asap, hit Edwin to dance and maybe talk with Fynn to keep the facade, then slip away somewhere mid-dance. Ideally.Idk if there's better course of action we can take.Push It To The Limit started playing as I was typing this, lmao.
>>5090203>Just make easy, natural conversation with the prince and hope for an openingEven if we don't get one right now, it might lead to one later on.
>>5090203>>Ask if he’d like to try this marvelous and exotic spice you have on your person>>Dial up the seduction, daring to touch the prince in order to deliver a dose of succubus-energy to him… At the risk of being detected by the Paladins
Rolled 12, 13, 20, 19, 7, 4 = 75 (6d20)>>5090237>>5090253>>5090363>>5090437You step back from Prince Rufos with a slight bow of the head. This is a man who must surely find himself at the centre of a great many attempted manipulations and half-baked powerplays, so it does not do to appear too cloying. You do as he suggests, doing an unhurried lap of the upper tier of the great hall. At the banister, you take a moment to spy upon Edwin and Fynn. The latter hardly seems to notice your absence, hobnobbing with other respected merchants, the tower’s secretary, and the Zikas—his partners, at your urging, in the recent excavation-and-storage business with the Tower. Edwin is not too far from him, but the younger Engel man is clearly distracted, neck craning about as he searches the crowd… Most likely for you. He doesn’t think to look up, or perhaps he already did and missed you in the crowd. There will be dancing when the sun has fully set and night has claimed the outside world, or so you were told. It would be… Nice… To be down there in time for that.Not just yet, though. Your route has carried you back to the Prince, just in time to greet him anew.“Did you find the high-life to your liking?” he asks, perhaps a little teasingly. He seems to have you pegged for a social-climber. He’s not ENTIRELY wrong, you suppose… But you are so much more. “It’ss sso glamorous. How could I not?” In reality, you barely even paid attention to these other, lesser stars to the Prince’s brighter moon.“It musst sseem like nothing to you, though,” you note. “How many of these thingss have you been to?”Prince Rufos laughs and finishes his drink. “Well, it depends on if you mean Tower Galas or such parties more broadly. Either way… A few. The Tower always does a good job of keeping it fresh, though, at least by comparison to NON-magical social obligations.”“I’m ussed to a different ssort of party,” you admit, and begin to regale the prince with a slightly-sanitized retelling of the events of the City Guard’s own gala weeks earlier. [Rolling for politesse and mercantilism]
>>5090542oh man we're polite and merchantile
>>5090542Fuck, who knew the Prince was a Coke fiend?
>>5090559I’d be more surprised if he isn’t
>20Your Infiltrator training was always more focused on the sorts of broad, political conversations which appeal to caste like that of the Prince than those with whom you have lately been associating, and it shows. Though it takes you a moment to shift from the earthy interests of the lower-born back into international politics and philosophy, it is perhaps the sheer CONTRAST between your appearance and initial approach and your knowledge you now espouse that comes to captivate the human prince. From orcish troop movements on the eastern front, trade difficulties with the erratic and arcane Southlands, and goblin raiders between here and the Elvenwood, you are undeniably learned. On matters of ancient human and elven philosophy—learned from tomes kept as teaching aids for many generations of your people’s infiltration specialists—you are as well-versed as any student of the classics born and raised on the surface… And much more than the commoner you at first appeared.For his part, Prince Rufos is an effortlessly charming man, but one with a streak of cynicism and arrogance. You get the feeling he sees this whole exercise as artificial, and his role in it as that of a professional diplomat without real emotional attachment to anyone else in attendance. He finds some of them interesting playthings or reasonable enough company, but he is flippant about revealing their personal foibles, and speaks of everyone else—even himself—with a detachment. You, at least for the moment, seem to be an exception.“Where did you COME from, Miss Rosgard?” the Prince asks, leaning in eagerly. He has long since gestured for his Paladins to stand further back, and found you both a seat in a richly-cushioned lounge area at the back of the upper half-floor, far out of the view of the rabble below.“A border provincce to the Easst of your realm,” you say quickly. “It’ss of little note… Ssave, perhaps, for one exxxport.”>19The Prince rolls the small pouch of shriin in his palms, as you expound at length about the benefits of the wonder-drug—the far-eastern ‘spice’ which improves energy, confidence, and mental acuity when ingested.“I can’t say I’ve ever heard of it,” the Prince admits.“Why not give it a try?” you egg him on with a snake’s smile, reaching out to touch his hand, and to guide it to undo the string holding the pouch closed. “There’ss sso much I could show you…”Prince Rufos’ guard is already lowered by your careful conversational manipulation, by your subtle touches and flirtatious batting of eyelashes, and by the general atmosphere of near-romance you have cultivated. This IS, after all, one of your specialities. It is a small thing to push him to ingest some of the spice, and you can already tell that—should he enjoy the experience—it will be just as simple to earn his patronage for further spice in the future!
>>5090561Which variant of the shirin do you offer him?>The sedative, to give him the pleasant sensations without stirring his passions>The unpredictable-but-powerful psychoactive variant, to weaken his mental defences so you can better insinuate your mental influence (or the incubus’ ectoplasm) into him>The diluted strain of the original, to spike his energy levels and lower his inhibitions JUST enough to inflame his passions and drag him somewhere private>Write-inThe sun has set during the course of your conversation with the second-born Prince of Hawksong. Down below, you can hear some high muckety-muck of the Tower giving a speech, and the three swirling false-stars above have dimmed. You can hear someone tuning a lute of some sort, while another nervously taps a drum. Dancing will begin soon… And Edwin will be wondering where you are. What do you do?>Focus on the seduction, infection, and manipulation of the prince—the mission comes first [-affection]>Hurry this up, and go see Edwin for the first dance of the evening [+affection]>Leave the prince and Edwin to their devices and sent a signal to your fellow operatives—it’s time to begin your TRUE mission in the Tower’s subterranean levels [-affection]>Write-in
>>5090565>The diluted strain of the original, to spike his energy levels and lower his inhibitions JUST enough to inflame his passions and drag him somewhere privateWith a spike of>The unpredictable-but-powerful psychoactive variant, to weaken his mental defences so you can better insinuate your mental influence (or the incubus’ ectoplasm) into himNot enough for him to completely lose his mind, but more that enough to weaken his mental defenses for our manipulations, when we're alone.>Focus on the seduction, infection, and manipulation of the prince—the mission comes first [-affection]I probably would've went with Edwin first, had we not been on the cusp of full affection and in the middle of actual completing our side-mission and capitalizing on our success. We shouldn't waste that at 20 after all.
>>5090565>The sedative, to give him the pleasant sensations without stirring his passions>Hurry this up, and go see Edwin for the first dance of the evening [+affection]Slow burn. We have our snares set. Just waiting until the right time for him to enter fully.
>>5090589Just remember, we are on a bit of a time limit here, and I do want to complete our secondary objective in this Gala, alright?
>>5090565>The diluted strain of the original, to spike his energy levels and lower his inhibitions JUST enough to inflame his passions and drag him somewhere private>Leave the prince and Edwin to their devices and sent a signal to your fellow operatives—it’s time to begin your TRUE mission in the Tower’s subterranean levels [-affection]
>>5090706Not to be insistent, but I think ensuring a Get out of Jail Free card via the Prince would be well worth the time we spend turning him into our creature. That's just me though.
>>5090565>The diluted strain of the original, to spike his energy levels and lower his inhibitions JUST enough to inflame his passions and drag him somewhere private>Focus on the seduction, infection, and manipulation of the prince—the mission comes first [-affection]
>>5090565>The diluted strain of the original, to spike his energy levels and lower his inhibitions JUST enough to inflame his passions and drag him somewhere privateFuck it, not everyday do we have a chance to do the Prince. See? No need for the incubus.>Focus on the seduction, infection, and manipulation of the prince—the mission comes first [-affection]We will catch Edwim soon. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity so I'm sure he will understand.
>>5090585>>5090589>>5090706>>5091195>>5091204You have this highly-placed male around wrapped around your little finger before he even has the drugs in his system. Eager to sample your wares—in more ways than one—Prince Rufos dismisses his guards and the two of you navigate a side corridor towards the restrooms. There’s nothing cozier and more private, alas, but the Very Important Personage area is at least outfitted with several areas with locked door for individuals to relieve themselves. Better yet, the music starts up down below, easily masking any sounds you or the Prince might produce.Somewhere, down below Edwin of Engel is without a dance partner… But that’s just business.<Edwin Affection: 94%>The prince enters the restroom first, and you latch the door behind you as you follow. It is well-furnished, to be sure, with ornate fixtures and a great deal of space. You honestly aren’t sure what to make of some of it—what appear to be raised basins with taps or faucets, such as for a water pump laced above. Is it some sort of indoor, in-wall, plumbed contrivance? Or straight-froward magic?You have little additional time to contemplate the confusing fixtures. Almost immediately, Prince Rufos is upon you, pressing his weight into you and pinning you to the door. His hand grabs and roughly squeezes your breast as he seizes you with the straightforward insistence of a man sued to taking what he wants, and the certainty of a man used to being desired and appeased.“Careful,” you gently admonish him. “You’ll rip my dresssss.”“Bah,” he replies dismissively. “I’ll buy you another.”His pushiness is… Off-putting. You prickle in instinctive arousal at the desire radiating from him—Irinnile is practically bouncing up and down—but you, yourself, have always preferred to take the lead, and to be in control. Being at the mercy of a larger and more aggressive partner’s pawing is hardly your style… And anyway, you LIKE this dress! Still, it suits your purposes. You merely need to remind him of the other reason the two of your came here: the shirin.
>>5091510You dangle the pouch in front of Rufos’ strong, aquiline nose, catching his gaze and slowing his rapacious advances. You settled upon the shirin cut with relaxants, and now you’re doubly thankful for having done so: it’s a means to curb this entitled male’s dominant instincts. “It’sss even better with a bit of thiss in your sssystem,” you promise.The prince acquiesces. He steps back, and you pull yoru dress back over your touch-hardened nipples, then untie the small pouch and lick your finger suggestively before dipping it into the faintly blue-tinted powder. When you pull your fingertip out, it is coated in a layer of the spice’s fine granules. Utterly tantalized, Prince Rufos gladly suckles the drug from your extended digit.You do not sample the spice yourself—not yet. Instead, you seize the initiative, pushing the prince up against the opposite wall and beginning to massage his body, to kiss and lick at his throat and face as the drug’s effects seep through him. As with the first of The Pretty Kitty’s clients to try this particular admixture, the prince’s ambition to rut is cooled slightly, even as you watch pleasant sensations radiate through his bloodstream and nervous system from his centre. He is not without lust, certainly, but now HE is YOUR plaything… AT your nearly non-existent mercy.The question is: what will you do with him?>You have a pact to keep: implant the incubus’ ectoplasm, allowing your demonic frenemy to subtly guide and influence the prince with little chance of detection [no roll, low risk, low control]>Attempt to enthrall the prince yourself [DC 19 for permanent enthrallment, DC 10 for temporary control, possibility of detection]>Sate some WANT with a quick fuck, and manipulate him with sex and drugs the old fashioned way>Extract some coin, and the promise of more, and depart… Leaving Prince Rufos wanting more, later>Subtly interrogate him for information [on what subject?]>Write-in
>>5091514>You have a pact to keep: implant the incubus’ ectoplasm, allowing your demonic frenemy to subtly guide and influence the prince with little chance of detection [no roll, low risk, low control]that pact is big for us
>>5091514>You have a pact to keep: implant the incubus’ ectoplasm, allowing your demonic frenemy to subtly guide and influence the prince with little chance of detection [no roll, low risk, low control]
>>5091514>You have a pact to keep: implant the incubus’ ectoplasm, allowing your demonic frenemy to subtly guide and influence the prince with little chance of detection [no roll, low risk, low control]>Sate some WANT with a quick fuck, and manipulate him with sex and drugs the old fashioned way>Extract some coin, and the promise of more, and depart… Leaving Prince Rufos wanting more, laterIf we went with the relaxant, it's probably better if we make him eat us out. Besides, sitting on the Prince's face as it if it was our throne, have the Prince kiss our ass and brown nose us instead? It just too amusing to pass up.
>>5091572>>5091609>>5091641As useful as a prince under yours and Irinnile’s direct control would be… It would also be an unmistakable risk. The danger is threefold: you could fail and be caught in the act or forced to take drastic action to avoid such; you could have your spell, less subtle than the deep-buried incubus essence, detected and traced back to you by some Inquisitor; or, even if you were successful, the failure to deliver your payload of demonic ectoplasm could result in a break in your pact with whatever being dwells in that eerie and smoky mid-town apartment complex, amassing power. No, best to keep to your end of the bargain. So it is that, as Prince Rufos leans against the wall and allows the sensations to wash over his drooping form, you deliver the incubus’ ectoplasm to him as it was delivered unto you: with a kiss.The kiss is long, and intense in its own way. It hardly sates your <WANT>, for more power is leaving you than is being drawn in, but the sensation of that fragment of the incubus awakening within you is its own special heaven and hell. A roiling sensation swirls and tumbles through you, out of you, from your gut into your throat, then out your lips and into the prince’s. From there, you track it seeping down into him, until it escapes even your Irinnile-upgraded second sight. The Prince slumps further down the wall as you release him, twitching slightly and then settling once more into even breathing. His eyes are glossy, dull, but his vitals regular. You pat his head gently, your job here done, and leave.“Until nexxxt time,” you say. “There’ss more where that came from.”You leave him in the restroom, adjusting your dress and returning to the party. There, you are surprised to see the upper echelon of the great hall almost emptied out—it seems the siren song of the magicians’ musicians has called even these oh-so-important persons down to dance on the floor below, closer to the sound’s source. However, among those who remain on the floor above, you see a familiar face that you didn’t expect: Lord Isaac Yosef!Lord Yosef is a character of no small interest to you, personally, religiously, and professionally. HE is an old human, a nobleman from a long lined of well-heeled men. His ancestor was instrumental in bringing down the Green Dragon, a great and powerful servant of your Dark Gods; for this, he and his entire bloodline have been consigned to extermination.
>>5092013Moreover, Lord Yosef ihimself is privy to your conspiracy, though he has not yet been taken seriously—his suppositions of a shapeshifting and ever-meddling race of subterranean lizardfolk serving unknown and sinister gods is so far-fetched a polemic to most as to only be published by the scandalous and lascivious Gray Press publishing house, and Yosef himself was so aware of the lack of evidence as to publish it under a pseudonym. Still, there is ever the risk that he will use his newly-acquired glasses of true-sight to uncover compelling evidence, or else find some other way to make someone believe him…Oh, and there is also the matter of old Lord Yosef being your paternal grandfather, you suppose. It is a dark and shameful truth that must be acknowledged. Looking at him now, in light of this revelation, you cannot help but see him differently… To see a few of his features, perhaps, an unsettling reflection of your own.A conversation with the well-established Reptilian contact Dame Albacete had tipped you off that Lord Yosef’s disbelieving daughter Lady Miriam Vaz would be here. Peering over the banister to the dancefloor below, you see her there, with her husband Lord Vaz, waltzing. So too do you briefly spy Edwin, standing near to the wall; he has stopped searching for you, and is instead taking long draughts from a glass of some libation, looking utterly dejected even from a distance. Hovering at strategic points around the room, always with at least one in line-of-sight to your last spotted location, are your fellow Infiltrators, awaiting your signal to regroup for your main objective: the invasion and burglary of the floors below.…But closer still, there is Lord Yosef, speaking to a wizened old man with a thick white beard and rosy cheeks, but with cunning eyes and rich robes. His tall, black cap with medallion upon it marks him out as someone important… Someone IMPORTANT, and MAGICAL, speaking with Lord ‘V. Rilney’ Yosef!What do you do?>Inject yourself into Yosef’s conversation with the old wizard, to shame and discredit him>Listen in on the conversation, but do not intervene>’Bump into’ Miriam Vaz, and let her know that her crank of a father is busy ruining her family reputation with conspiracy theories upstairs>Send a signal to your fellow Reptilians to begin the true mission—the rest can wait>Write-in
>>5092015>’Bump into’ Miriam Vaz, and let her know that her crank of a father is busy ruining her family reputation with conspiracy theories upstairs
>>5092015>’Bump into’ Miriam Vaz, and let her know that her crank of a father is busy ruining her family reputation with conspiracy theories upstairsKek
>>5092015>>’Bump into’ Miriam Vaz, and let her know that her crank of a father is busy ruining her family reputation with conspiracy theories upstairs
>>5092015>>Send a signal to your fellow Reptilians to begin the true mission—the rest can wait
>>5092425>>5092276>>5092066>>5092596You aren't yet ready to expend or dispel the clout you've built with old Lord Yosef just yet—you might yet need to exploit that connection to more climactic and lethal ends, after all. No, better to let Yosef's daughter take point on this.You descend the stairs, shooting the somewhat sullen Tower Guardian from earlier a wink and a smile as you pass him by. Without Irinnile's empathic sense, you still have the benefit of her more passive night-vision, as well as your own keen sense of direction. You find Miriam Vaz swiftly, and with little difficulty, and engineer an ‘accidental' bump into her.“Ah, I’m sorry, I didn't see you,” she begins, looking towards you with a somewhat-forced smile… But then, she narrows her eyes, registers your features, and even that false politeness slips away.“Hello,” you greet her cheerfully. “Lady Vaz, yesss?”“You!” she nearly shouts in surprise.
>>5092812“Dearest?” Lord Vaz is puzzled as his wife leaves his arms, practically squaring up with you. “Do you know this… Uh, young woman?”You tilt your head. “We've met. A pleasssure to meet you as well. Lord Vaz, I presssume?”No need for presumption, of course: in astral form, you watched the two of them and their infant spawn dream, all the while contemplating their demise. He confirms it, anyway. Miriam Vaz's response, though, puzzles you.“You sseem… Upsset, Lady Vaz,” you note. “I hope I haven't done ssomething to offend?”“What are you DOING here?” she demands. “Did Father somehow smuggle you in here somehow? And in such a dress… Where is that dirty-minded old coot? What does he think he's playing at?! I knew e had some ulterior motive to actually attend the Gala this year, after so many missed…”“Oh, no, not at all!” you assure Lady Vaz as she scans the crowd for her father. “I'm here with… Another. Though if you're looking for your father, I think I ssaw him upsstairss, sspeaking with ssome important-looking old mage.”Miriam's attention immediately fixates on you once more. “Pardon me?”You smile brightly, explaining further: “Yes, up in the ares up the sstairss… I think he had a medallion on hiss hat? It looked like Lord Yossef wass getting quite enthussiasstic! Maybe he'ss makinh ssome real headway with… You know…”You lean closer, and whisper conspiratorially: “The Reptiliansss.”Miriam Vaz's right eye twitches. “Oh Gods, he's going to RUIN our name!”Without another word, she has hiked up her dress enough to practically bound up the staircase. It is a testament to her family’s reputation, you suppose, that nobody moves to stop her.You turn back to her husband, Lord Vaz, who still looks utterly confounded and disoriented by what just happened. You grin helplessly, and shrug.What do you do next?>Offer a dance to Lord Vaz—maybe you can seduce or enthrall the man, to grant you opportunities to infiltrate his household later, or just further annoy Miriam?>Go listen in on the chaos you have created upstairs, to make sure all goes as planned>Seek out Edwin—it may cut things dangerously close but, damnit, you took dance classes for this! You will have that dance!>Attend to something else at the Gala (write-in)>Move along to the main mission--it’s time to give the signal
>>5092814>Go listen in on the chaos you have created upstairs, to make sure all goes as planned>Seek out Edwin—it may cut things dangerously close but, damnit, you took dance classes for this! You will have that dance!If we can't do both and our mission, prioritize the dance please.
>>5092814>Go listen in on the chaos you have created upstairs, to make sure all goes as planned>Seek out Edwin—it may cut things dangerously close but, damnit, you took dance classes for this! You will have that dance!Like the other anon said. Just try to overhear her giving poor Isaac shit before finding Engels.Oh, and we might want to not specifically mention the Prince until after the Gala, since I don't want to send Fynn into overdrive and get any crazy ideas or pester us. Just tell them we've got a big fish, but want to leave that discussion for later cause muh dance.
>>5092814>Seek out Edwin—it may cut things dangerously close but, damnit, you took dance classes for this! You will have that dance!
>>5092866Seconding thisIf he asks where we’ve been - answer with a half-truth. Getting the Prince to try shirin
>>5093294Hell the fuck no, don't tell her ANYTHING about what we're doing here and don't get anywhere close so Isaac can't see us.
Rolled 20, 2, 17, 20, 3, 9, 3, 2, 7 = 83 (9d20)>>5092866>>5092917>>5093294It may not be the most professional decision you ever made… But by the Dark Gods Below and Beyond, you spent DAYS learning this dance, and you're going to make use of this otherwise-useless skill! Besides, Edwin looked miserable. The mission can wait.“I'll ssee you again, Lord Vaz,” you bid your unwitting uncle an enigmatic farewell.‘What about, you know, your crazy grandpa? Shouldn't we go see how that whole thing went?’ asks Irinnile.‘There's no time for both,’ you say.In fact, there's scarcely even time for this dance… You have already lingered later than you planned, and every moment you now spend politicking or dancing is a moment you could be exploiting the business and noise to slip away unnoticed and burgle the basement. This doesn't dissuade you, though, as you sift through the crowd. Luckily, the glimmer of your avant-garde dress has caught Edwin's attention as well—he finds you before you find him.“Izzy!” he cries. “There you are! Where were you?”“It wass a bit more of a processss than I anticcipated,” you admit, putting it lightly, “but I think I have found uss a truly sspectacular cussstomer for our shirin.”Edwin frowns slightly. “You left to go… Work?”‘Oh Eddie, if you only KNEW!’ Irinnile giggles to herself.You shrug. “It wass too good an opportunity to passs up.”“Who is it?” Edwin asks, curious despite himself.“You'll ssee,” you tease.“Why didn't you bring me?” he asks.You don't answer, instead placing your hands upon his shoulders as the bards begin to play a faintly militaristic intro to an unfamiliar waltz.“Nevermind that,” you say softly. “Let'ss both take a break from work… Jusst for a moment.”You meet Edwin's uncertain eyes, channeling your inner Irinnile into a pleading pout that makes the man burst into laughter. He sets a hand on your hand on your hip, and take your other hand in his.“Fine, later,” Edwin agrees. “May I have this dance?”[Four dance dice, three politesse dice to see how suspicious or insecure Edwin is feeling, and two mystery background event dice. The rest of the post may have to wait for after work, alas!]
>>5093516What the hell dice
>>5093516Come on, two crits? Would that mean the opposite of insecurity, or at least help manage it? Ugh.
>>5093576both crits were in the dance sectionso I'm hoping it means we dance so hot that even though edwin is insecure he forgets all about it
>>5093599I know, I hoping for the same thing. Like fuck, if we danced THAT well together, surely he'll realize that we that we're made for one another and calm down.
>>5093570>>5093576>>5093599I think that the outcome of Albacete's lessons got double 20s is a sign to cut the crap and start the infiltration. Those degenerates are probably questioning our choices already and Roth might hear about our slugging from one of them later.Unless we ace it so hard they think there was no chance of us failing and we knew it so well we didn't care.
>>5093516Dame Albacete may be a secret Reptilian shapeshifter helping to engineer the downfall od their entire race, but let it never be said that the humans aren't getting their money's worth with their children's dance lessons! Or, perhaps, you are simply a natural talent, you suppose. Whatever the reason, you find yourself effortlessly slipping into the rhythm of the waltz. It is a surprisingly fast tempo, but your ear and your soul are trained to the improvised rhythm of an elven bard—adjusting your speed to what is essentially the same basic rhythm is nothing to you!Edwin struggles at first, gangly and lanky man that he is… But he's been taking lessons, too, and this is hardly his first waltz. With a only a few false footings, and your gentle guidance, the quickly find the same pattern. His eyes cease to flit downwards, settling on your own. You smile and nod approvingly, squeezing his shoulder. You have been using Irinnile's abilities sparingly, to avoid attracting the attention of mages or paladins, but even her passive sense for attention and desire tells you that others have taken envious notice of the elegant grace of yours and Edwin's dance. It all falls into place: your waltz, your spirits, even your very breathing is in sync with his. It's almost, ALMOST as if you were made for this—for each other!…But, of course, you were made for darker purposes than this, and it is those purposes which call to you as the song fades away and the dance approaches its end.“Izzy, that was FANTASTIC. It was like we were…”“In perfect harmony,” you finish.“Yes,” he agrees, voice hushed and husky and eyes alight with wonder.You catch sight of one of your fellow Degenerate Infiltrators, Chika. She is holding a bundle under one arm, which you know to be your enchanted cloak. It is time—you have already dallied for hours, and you must leave before the opportunity is gone if you are to take full advantage of this Gala. Regretfully, you step away from Edwin's embrace.“Izzy?”You smile apologetically, and tell him: “I'll be right back.”It's a lie, of course. With all the Tower's security and their maze-like hallways, a proper infiltration will take over an hour, even with your advance scouting and your preparations taken into account.“We only had a single dance,” Edwin points out. “You already found a buyer… A big one, you said. Can't we set work aside, just for a little while longer?”“I'm ssorry,” you say, and start to leave.
>>5094059Edwin follows after you, though, as you navigate the crowd. “Then let me help. I' not incapable. You said so yourself: I know this place, these people!”He's overstating things somewhat, of course: Edwin is no Tower Mage, no mage at all. It wouldn’t matter if he was, though. You aren't attending to that sort of business.“Edwin…”You can see Wasegun, staring at you from the opposite side of the hall with an expression that all but screams “Move it along--we're ready to move!” The other Infiltrators only await a signal… But how you can signal them, let alone slip away, when Edwin is hot on your heels? This damned persistent, attentive male won't let you go! Under other circumstances, it might even be flattering. It's not as if you wouldn't enjoy another dance.“I told you before, there are things I can't tell you,” you say to Edwin. “I need to step away for a moment, but I will come bavk to you.”“I don't understand,” he says. “What's so important? Can't you, I don't know… At least give me a hint?”You shake your head.“Ismena,” he says, “taking your hands in his before you can withdraw them. “Please… I love you.”W-what did he just say? You feel your heart hammering in your chest.What do you do?>Kiss the fool, and say it back—damnit, you love him too! [maxes affection]>Stay for one more dance, and hold him a while longer [+ affection]>Apologize, but leave, and try to lose him in the crowd>Make up an excuse [what?]>Tell him the truth >Tell Edwin to back off, in no uncertain terms – this is too much [-affection]>Write-in
>>5094061>Kiss the fool, and say it back—damnit, you love him too! [maxes affection]>"Edwin.. I love you too, but I am beholden to something greater than all of us. I can't hint to you anything more, but we WILL be together, over my dead body. Nothing will stand in the way of our life together. But I have to do something, and I have to do it now. Trust me. Please.">Depart for your infiltration posthaste
>>5094087+1 to this, makes sense to me. Edwin deserves it; hell, he could even bail us out if this goes badly.
>>5094061>Apologize, but leave, and try to lose him in the crowdIf we have kids with Edwin would they be half degenerates?
>>5094161"kids with EdwinDegenerates are are rare. This small screw of Southern human-Reptilian hybrids are the first you've ever encountered. You may be sterile, for all you know.
>>5094061>Apologize, but leave, and try to lose him in the crowdor>Tell Edwin to back off, in no uncertain terms – this is too much [-affection]
Oh god oh no
I'll be real with y'all, I'm conflicted. One one hand, I don't want any distractions when we go down into the basement, and I don't know if Edwin will attempt to follow us if we admit our love for him. On the other hand, I'm a bit of a hopeless romantic at heart, and this is sort of just screaming as the perfect time to reciprocate his love. I'm divided on this issue, and the only think I know for sure is that I ain't giving up our hedonistic lifestyle even when we admit our love for him. I'd be open to kiss him and reciprocating/showing his love with action instead of words, but I'm definitely afraid to speak out feelings aloud, especially in the word spaghetti such as >>5094087, which I disavow hinting at the conspiracy for his own safety.>>5094250If that turns out to be true, that will sadden me immensely.
>>5094392Ngl, if Ismena hooks up with Edwin for real-real cause muh feelings, then I'm leaving the quest myself. I know all too well to where it will lead and the volumetric ton of puke it will induce in me isn't worth pretending to be a cool reptilian agent every x update that isn't taken up by your slice of life larp.
>>5094533There aren't that many threads left after this one anyway, likely one or two.
>>5094087>>5094121>>5094161>>5094372>>5094381You know you have higher priorities than… This. Whatever it is you and Edwin have, it is artifice. It is a cover-story. It is founded on lies, and deception, and secrets, and half-truths. It isn’t REAL, damnit! You are not human female, to become besotted at some silly man’s ineffectual wooing. You are an INFILTRATOR, scion of a Reptilian master race, dedicated to scouring the surface and enslaving those who remain to the Serpent Priests and the Dark Gods!And yet, here you are, and here he is. His eyes are so kind, so earnest. His hand is so warm in yours. And he wants you, wants to be with you. He values you as nobody—maybe not even Irinnile—does. He is no desirous soul-parasite, locked in a partnership of mutual benefit and hedonistic pleasure. Edwin of Engel just… Loves you.<Edwin Affection: 100%>And you love him, too. You know it as soon as you kiss him. You squeeze him close, holding him in an embrace. You shut your eyes and let him lift you high. There are murmurs of disapproval from the crowd around you, and a few snickers or quiet jeers at the impropriety of this dramatic showing of affection in a public space. You do not care. For that one, sweet moment, you need nobody else’s approval or acceptance: Edwin is enough.>UNLOCKED: [The Power of Love]—Edwin’s presence, and in particular any physical affection from him, if enough to motivate you to greater heights. When working together with him, the difficulty of rolls made to overcome mutual challenges is decreased by 2. >UNLOCKED: [Ties That Bind]—You cannot take action which would directly or knowingly lead to Edwin’s suffering or death; where this conflicts with your duty as an Infiltrator, a roll is required to overcome this, but even then you will feel compelled to come up with ways to mitigate harm to him>UNLOCKED: [Do It For Him]—When rolling for any event that puts you or Edwin in mortal peril, the difficulty is reduce by 2 (stacks with “do it for her”)But, of course, that too is a lie. Edwin is not all that matters, not even close. Would that your life could be so simple."Edwin… I love you too, but I am beholden to sssomething greater than all of uss. I can't hint to you anything more, but we WILL be together, even if it’sss over my dead body. Nothing will sstand in the way of our life together. But I have to do… Ssomething, and I have to do it now.”“Izzy, why can’t you just tell me what’s going on?” Edwin presses, even as you break your embrace.“Trusst me. Please."Edwin stares for a moment… But he does not step forward to follow you. Finally, he nods.“But we’re going to talk about this later, okay?”You smile reassuringly. Edwin’s tone is infirm, uncertain. His worry, his… His LOVE… Is greater than his annoyance or insecurity. You can only hope it also eclipses his boundless curiosity.
>>5094553The taste and warmth of Edwin's lips lingers on yours as you slip through the crowd. Eventually, you spot the lightest-skinned Degenerate, Alhazred, and give him the signal. It is time to begin the real mission.What would you have the Degenerates do?>Knock over something big and expensive, capturing everyone’s attention while you and your two chosen allies slip away>Engineer the lethal poisoning of some high-profile person, so you can make your escape AND take out a target [Yosef? Miriam? Lord Vaz? Someone else?]>Fake a medical emergency, and have one of the Degenerates ‘get you some fresh air’>Create an spectacle outside, luring everyone (including security) away from some of these valuable exhibits—you play to take something for the mission from one of these displays>Explode one of the three false suns, cascading light and flame down onto the partygoers below [requires that you either stick around to ensure Edwin’s safety, or else take some other measure to warn or protect him]
>>5094541Ouch. Are you gonna run something else after RIQ?
>>5094554>Create an spectacle outside, luring everyone (including security) away from some of these valuable exhibits—you play to take something for the mission from one of these displaysWell, I'm glad me passing out did lead us astray. Let's see what we can steal.>>5094541Shame, but expected. Getting mastery over our core skillset would indicate the maturity of this quest. Hoe that you ain't too burned out from this RQM.
>>5094673>Well, I'm glad me passing out didn't* lead us astray.
>>5094554>Explode one of the three false suns, cascading light and flame down onto the partygoers belowI'm sure Edwin can fake care of himself.
>>5094916Free shit if we get everyone outside anon. You can't beat free, especially when you can steal cutting edge wiztech.
[Looks as if we have a tie! I will await more votes and post tonight either way.]
>>5094554>>Create an spectacle outside, luring everyone (including security) away from some of these valuable exhibits—you play to take something for the mission from one of these displays
>>5095170>>5094673>>5094916Almost immediately once you give the signal—a snap of the fingers, and a spark of blue and green light, Alhazred nods. He slips away, and Chika too vanishes from sight. For a moment, not a single one your fellows Infiltrators can be found in the hall…And then the explosion goes off. Mutters of confusion and concern immediately ripple through the crowd, as people move towards the entranceway and the windows along that side of the building. Not you, though. Part of you regrets this—it must be quite the spectacle, you reckon. After all, it was your idea, dreamed up while thinking back to one of your dates in the Initiate’s Village, when you first met Paula… By the Endless Fountain. That semi-illusory pillar of water, like an endless upward-flowing waterfall, has been sabotaged, its powerful magic shattered and disrupted by not dispelled. You had theorized about how it might look: perhaps the water now seems to shoot off in all directions, or loops in on itself, or fractals and crumbles in peculiar ways. You smile, thinking back to how majestic a work it truly was, and how much more beautiful the chaos of its disruption must be to hold the attention of so many.You have eyes for another prize, however. Chika and Alhazred renter by a side entrance, lingering at the entrance of a hallways and beckoning to you urgently. You wave them off, and scan the now half-empty hall. Many humans are pouring out into the commons outside, and the Tower Guardians are scrambling. Nobody, not even the most diligent mage, is managing their various booths and displays. It’s the perfect opportunity to steal…>A magical weapon>Some magical accessories to augment random abilities>A floating disc>A small, cute, and ideally useful chimera>Magical plants which could be useful for shirin modifications>Lord Yosef’s magical glasses [further away, risky, will result in higher possibility of being noticed]>Something else [specify what you’re looking for; also risky, with a heightened chance of failure or detection]>Forget it--just leave while the getting is good>Write-in
>>5095334>A magical weaponObvious choice>Some magical accessories to augment random abilitiesWould be nice to have>A small, cute, and ideally useful chimeraHonestly? Cute really sold me on the idea. I'm hopeless against cute pets.
>>5095348[If you try to grab multiple things, your chance of detection increases. Careful getting greedy! But, hey, you may pull it off...]>>5094555[Almost certainly! I already have a few ideas... Though I'll probably take a couple weeks off. I may even use setting elements or do a dirwct successor quest, depending how this all goes. We'll see.]>>5094673[Not burning out yet, though this month is a tricky one between seasonal depression, work stress, a busy schedule, and lots of opportunities to overimbibe. Sorry of I've been less regimented in posting, buds.]
>>5095393Honestly? Wouldn't have expected anything less, otherwise I would've also added the floating disk as a gift for Edwin. Would've made for a wicked desk to bang him on.>>5095348This sorted by priority. I ain't expecting a pet, but I would love it forever, and clean up after it, and take it on trips, and....
>>5095334>A small, cute, and ideally useful chimera>>5095348We have a magical dagger already, anon.
>>5095515I thought it was just the shirin and the black stone?
>>5095518We didn't get all the contents of our bag back. Just grab it and we have our dagger.I'd rather not touch the Tower's toys, because we're not trained or supposed to engage in melee combat down there.
>>5095515>Magical dagger[I may have forgotten something, but I'm pretty sure your bag only contains your original, non-magical dagger. The enchanted bone dagger you stole off of the goblin scavengers was later taken and used by Felman to almost kill Roth... And never reclaimed, to my recollection.]
>>5095634Oh fuck, well this needs clarification then.If the dagger isn't magical, I'll change my vote (>>5095515) to:>A magical daggerAnything lightweight and small if there are no shivs on display.>A small, cute, and ideally useful chimera
>>5095334>A magical weaponA small and concealable one
>>5095334>A magical weapon>A small, cute, and ideally useful chimeraCan’t resist a chimera
Rolled 13, 15, 1, 11 = 40 (4d20)>>5095348>>5095638>>5095687>>5095963[DC 15 stealth (no darkness, reduced to 13 by your distraction... But +2 because you're truing to grab multiple things. Specifically...>A magical weapon>A small, cute, and ideally useful chimeraOn a 14, you get the first item and escape scrutiny, but don't grab a chimera. On a 15, you snag both. If you don't roll above a 10, you are forced to escape before you can grab either. On a crit fail, combat it initiated.Likely won't get written up for another few hours, though.]
Rolled 33, 93 = 126 (2d100)>>5095994>a 1>but ALSO a 15[Whew, that was close. Rolling for quality of items snagged.]
>>5095996>kino petThe Dice Gods are based.
>>5095996>>5095994You decide to take your chances, and to stage a daring raid of two separate displays while the foolish humans' backs are turned. What is it Roth said of his cover profession? ‘Strike while the iron is hot'?First and foremost, you'll need a weapon. Your usual dagger is a fine implement for killing mortals, but you know it is no good against truly eldritch enemies. Too many have made that error when facing you and Irinnile for you to repeat their folly! >33Sadly, though, humans are not dwarves. The table of weapons reveals fine ornamentation and flashy aesthetic enchantments, but no truly deep and powerful magic embedded in the iridescent metals or glittering gemstones. At least most of the items on display are compact, being display pieces. You settle for an ornate, bluish blade with a sapphire-studded hilt. A prick of its tip on your finger reveals a capacity to draw your blood and a strange ability to draw heat from a target to icy effect. You give your numb hand a shake to get the feeling back in your fingertip, and move along.‘Well there ARE demons down there,’ Irinnile remarks.<Frost Dagger +1, acquired>
>>5096141However, your magical senses tell you that there IS something truly worthy in this hall—besides the false suns, you mean. You follow your sixth sense with nictitating membranes shut, physical eyes dimmed, and let the arcane energies guide you to your prize. It's… It's…>93‘Gods be DAMNED, that's cute.’Irinnile isn't wrong. Sitting atop a golden platform, staring out of a platinum cage, is the masterwork of the Tower's miniature bestiary: a golden chimera of impeccable craftsmanship. The curious hybrid is scarcely larger than a housecat, and covered in shimmering feathers to match its folded wings. Its feet are talons, like an eagle's. But it’s the face, and the eyes, that hold you captive. It has no gryphon's beak, but a head like a drake's… And with the eyes like Roth's. The eyes of a dragon! Behind those eyes is a curiosity, and intelligence… An understanding.“What flesh was woven to create you, little one?” you hiss in True Speech.The creature tilts its head, recognizing speech, but curious at the unfamiliar language. It seems docile enough, as you unlatch its cage, but as you extend a hand, it makes a croaking rattle and spreads its wings in a warning. Father fluff up, and you wince at a sudden a burst of light. Heat washes over you, and flame, as this beauteous little beast sets itself ablaze without apparent concern. The entire cage glows and hums with power.“Sshhh, sshhhhh.” You soothe the strange little dragon-thing. You takes few uncertain steps back as you reach through the fire, unharmed thanks to Irinnile's affinity for the element. The cage begins to melt and buckle as you extract the creature, lifting it up gently under its armpits. At your touch, it immediately relaxes—your mentalism is more than enough to set its tiny mind at ease. Before long, you are stroking its feathers back to smoothness.“Sshhh, sshhhhh.” You soothe the strange being. ‘Can we keep it?’ Irinnile asks.You look to the melted slag of the cage. Obviously! Imagine if this entity, capable of generating such intense heat as to melt metal to a molten state in seconds, could be properly trained and what sort of Reptilian would leave a dragonling in the hands of humans, anyway? The creature nuzzles its head into your caress, and the matter is settled on an emotional level as well.<Golden Feathered Greater Drake, acquired>What do you name your new minion?>Write-in
>>5096143Unfortunately, for all your new acquisitions, you find RE-acquiring your old possessions a trickier proposition.“What do you MEAN you don’t have my pack?” you demand of Chika, who flinches slightly.You and the two Degenerates you hand-picked to accompany you in your return to the Tower’s subterranean levels have gathered away from prying eyes, near a servant’s hallway leading between a cool storeroom full of wine and food and the hallways, to which a few guests and wizardly hosts have begun to return.“The humans still have a guard posted over the belongings of these decadent surface-rulers,” Alhazred replies calmly. “It seems the man who they have placed there realized what those in the hall did not: that this disturbance provides the perfect cover for thievery. He did not join the other sin investigating the distraction, and so Chika and I could not retrieve further items from your pack.“Why did Wasegun or whoever even return it to that room?” you demand.“I assume it is because carrying your bag around would have drawn attention,” Alhazred replies stonily.You sigh. A fair point.What do you do?>Go get your bag and its contents from the storeroom with a charm offensive>Slip in stealthily, if you can, to retrieve your things>kill the Tower Guardian—no doubt a low-ranking one, given his inauspicious duty—and take your belongings back>Forget it, you have what you need and you’ve already wasted too much time—delve down into the basement levels!>Write-in
>>5096143Name it Drakey>>5096146>Go get your bag and its contents from the storeroom with a charm offensiveWe want that cloak and diadem for sure, and maybe the puzzle box.Really we should have just worn the diadem in.
>>5096156>cloak and diadem[Good news! as mentioned, you did wear your diadem in. You also have your charm and some shirin. Better yet, Chika has your cloak! It wasn't in your pack, because the other Infiltrators had to go pick it up from Agatha Young to bring it to the gala.]
>>5096143Count Drakula. But if you really want a non-meme answer>Hirschel>>5096146>Forget it, you have what you need and you’ve already wasted too much time—delve down into the basement levels!I think we already got what we need- after all, we probably don't need the Cube here, right?
>>5096169oh pogsomeday I'll learn to readin that case just save time and head right on down, the magic dagger we got trumps our normal one and we never did figure out the puzzle box anyway
>>5096143>Spiky>>5096146>Go get your bag and its contents from the storeroom with a charm offensiveIf fail, kill
>>5096169*Agatha Johan[My phone is fickle.]
>>5096314Gonna have to corrupt our gal one of these days.
>>5096146>Call it BlizzardCool and nobody will expect it to blast them with fire.>Forget it, you have what you need and you’ve already wasted too much time—delve down into the basement levels!Tell the degens to pick it up later, since only two of them are coming with us.Man, I hate name votes. Feels like they leave almost everyone dissatisfied lmao.
>>5096146>Forget it, you have what you need and you’ve already wasted too much time—delve down into the basement levels!
>>5096653>>5096611>>5096313>>5096181>>5096179>>5096156It seems you must abandon your bag out of necessity. Well, nevermind—you will return for it later. Chiak hands you the rich, elegant blue cloak—Agatha Johan did a marvelous job of extending it, as she always does—and you press on. You allow Chika and Alhazred to guide you down through service passages into the more familiar storerooms of the mages’ underground complex. You didn’t exactly take this route during your scouting mission into the bwoels of the Tower, but it isn’t long before you are once more in a realm familiar to you.‘Hey, we fingered Paula in that room,’ Irinnile wistfully recalls of one storage closet as you pass.Indeed you did, but this is no time for fond remembrances of sneaky sexual escapades. As with even that evening, your true purpose here is much greater than any illicit liaison...And anyway, this fluffy, golden chimera-drake on your shoulder still needs a name. If you’re being honest, petting its curiously snub-nosed head and mulling over possible appellations for the little creature occupies at least as much of your conscious thought as planning the operation to come.What will you name it?>Blizzard >Spiky>Hirschel>Drakey>Count Drakula[/spoiler[And on a (perhaps) more important note… How do you plan to approach this infiltration?>Have Chika use her lockpicks and skills to lead you through the elss-familiar, but likely less-dangerous, storage and maintenance areas when possible>Use your mastery of shadow and stealth to cloak your party and to make a direct run through the route you plotted before>Send a psychic missive to the Tower Guardian who you enthralled on your last visit, and have him serve as your guide>Advance cautiously, floor by floor—you can never say for certain that security or patrols haven’t been modified, even in such a short time>Write-in
>>5096709[Damnit, pardon the botched spoiler text. Was doing that post up in a hurry. That'll teach me, I guess.]
>>5096709>HirschelI think it's be a neat throwback to Father desu.>Count Drakula will be his true name, if enough support is gathered>Use your mastery of shadow and stealth to cloak your party and to make a direct run through the route you plotted beforePlan A.
>>5096709>Blizzard>Have Chika use her lockpicks and skills to lead you through the less-familiar, but likely less-dangerous, storage and maintenance areas when possibleWe must leave as little magical trace in others' brains as possible. No joke this time.
>>5096728>>5096752[Just remember: if everyone votes for their own name, this little scamp isn't going to get named anytime soon.]
>>5096709>Count DrakulaDrakey calls to me, but I can accept this too
>>5096709>Drakey>Send a psychic missive to the Tower Guardian who you enthralled on your last visit, and have him serve as your guide
>>5096728If it lands on Dracula, can we skip the "count" part? This is not a vote, btw.
>>5096876[I mean, if the vote is for Count Drakula, so shall your new pet be called. I call my dog by short nicknames and such all the time, though.]
>>5096899Oh god I hope it doesn't get called that, then.
>>5096728>>5096752>>5096859[We seem to have three way tie... But also, it's Christmas, so I'll wait to do a post.]
>>5097571Then conside me officially supporting>Count Drakulaif Hirschel doesn't receive any support.
>>5097595[Noted! But we also have a tie on method of approach.]
>>5097598I'm willing to try psychic missive just to expedite this, but I want us moving under the cover of stealth and shadow when he gets here as an added caveat, that cool?
>>5097595Okay I (>>5096752, >>5096876) will support>HirschelIt's cool and keeps the 4th wall intact for me.
>>5097652I can agree to>HirschelThough my heart will be forever set on Count Drakula, if only for the meme of it.>>5097598If you're looking for official confirmation of my change of vote as stated >>5097630, then this is it.>Send a psychic missive
>>5097691They're so gonna know who we are when they unfuck that guy's memory...
>>5096709>Use your mastery of shadow and stealth to cloak your party and to make a direct run through the route you plotted beforeDon't go full retard with the psychic shit.
>>5096728>>5096752>>5096802>>5096859>>5097652>>5097691>>5097963[So if I'm counting the votes correctly, we're leaning towards Hirschel for name, but tied between stealth and a psychic missive. However, as >>5097630 changed it to break the tie and was orig8nally also leaning stealth, stealth is the actual preference. Correct?I'm tryptophan'd to a near coma, but I'll post before I go to sleep.]
Rolled 11, 18, 20, 13, 1, 20 = 83 (6d20)>>5098088‘Hirschel?’ you suggest across your mental link.‘What, like your dad?’ Irinnile asks.‘Why not? It amuses me, and it's the name of a noble. Does this creature not look noble to you?’Irinnile is quiet for a moment, then asks: ‘He on your mind a lot? This because old Yosef and Miriam were at the party?’‘Don't read so much into it,’ you shoot back haughtily.“What do you think of the name ‘Hirschel’?” you ask aloud, scritching the greater drake under its chin. It croaks and tilts its chin up. That's close enough to approval for you. The two other Reptilian hybrids exchange a look, which you pointedly ignore.“Infiltrators,” you say, speaking up authoritatively in the True Speech. “I have scouted the route ahead. Our destination is a storage facility or laboratory four floors below the surface. However, to reach it, we must pass through a number of hallways wherein there may be a security presence. Mages, chimeric creatures, demons, security wards…”“I have some experience with wards,” Alhazred volunteers. “If you can perform the actual spellcraft, I can likely advise you on the principles and mechanisms underlying the spells, so you may unweave the..”“And you, Infiltrator…” you turn to the one who goes by ‘Chika’, “you will be able to handle any locks we encounter upon our arrival on the third floor?”“I…” Chika hesitates. “Are they likely to be magical in nature as well?”“I’d suspect so,” you say.“I can also assist with that,” Alhazred says, with the same easy confidence.‘Pretty cocky for a guy who can’t even cast a spell,’ Irinnile notes.‘Hopefully it is confidence well-earned.’“I will use my… Tamed demon… To cloak our approach. Stay close, stay quiet.”They are fellow Infiltrators they don’t need to be told twice. Irinnile doesn’t, either, despite blowing a psychic raspberry at your less-than-flattering cover story for your peculiar relationship.[5d20 for stealth with some illusion thrown in, DC 11 (10 for stealth in darkness, +2 for your companions, -1 for having scouted it before). 1d20 reaction dice for if you fail.]
>>5098108>duo nat 20s on stealth and reactionsNice, knew stealth was the right path!
Rolled 5, 1, 19, 20, 18, 11 = 74 (6d20)>>5098108You shroud the three of you with shadow and glamour, and follow the same course you did on your previous visit to the Tower. It is a simple thing to retrace your route, and the knowledge you gleaned from the Tower Guardian you bested on that same visit now serves to allow you to easily dodge his fellows who are on patrol—you know their schedules, their familiars, everything!“Not many mages seems to be patrolling this evening,” Alhazred notes. “This Gala has proven most useful indeed.”“We aren't entirely alone, however,” Chika notes quietly.She’s right: a patch of moving light in the dark of the winding hallways reveals that you have happened upon a Tower Guardian off of his scheduled patrol route. No… Wait! By the emblem on his hat, similar but not identical to that of the man who Lord Yosef was speaking with, you can tell that he is some sort of administrator or authority here—no mere Tower patrolman. Despite no doubt impressive magical acumen, he seems utterly unaware of the three of you, even as he seems to descending to the second level as wellWhat do you do?>Stay focused on the mission, slipping right by him and down past the second floor before he or any other mage is the wiser>Create a distraction with glamour to lure him off of your route, then carry on without any risk of his interference>Assassinate him while the foolish mage is vulnerable—they will know someone was here regardless, once the artefact is taken, so you may as well take out some of the leadership as well [lowered DC for your critical success on stealth, and the assistance of your allies]>Attempt to mesmerize him—imagine having someone like this in your pocket [unknown DC, but high reward]>Write-in
>>5098127>Assassinate him while the foolish mage is vulnerable—they will know someone was here regardless, once the artefact is taken, so you may as well take out some of the leadership as well [lowered DC for your critical success on stealth, and the assistance of your allies]We're three on one here, with the drop on him. I don't wanna deal with this dude later.
>>5098135Though, non-lethally if at all possible. There may be alarms for his death, so we don't wanna set those off- we can always stuff him in a closet and slit his throat on the way out.
>>5098127woah new 6d20 at the top there>Assassinate him while the foolish mage is vulnerable—they will know someone was here regardless, once the artefact is taken, so you may as well take out some of the leadership as well [lowered DC for your critical success on stealth, and the assistance of your allies]worried about if he's expected somewhere else, but with the distractions already in place him missing should just add to the confusion which is perfect for us
>>5098127>Attempt to mesmerize him—imagine having someone like this in your pocket [unknown DC, but high reward]Another 20? Can't be insanely high, and having a man on the Tower's leadership is invaluable to the Grand Design.
>>5098149>>5098161[Sorry, the second 6d20 was in error. My mobile app doesn't clear the options field between posts. Still... That 20 I rolled should count for SOMETHING. Won't be an auto-success, but I'll reduce your DC on whatever option you choose by an extra point.]
>>5098127>Assassinate him while the foolish mage is vulnerable—they will know someone was here regardless, once the artefact is taken, so you may as well take out some of the leadership as well [lowered DC for your critical success on stealth, and the assistance of your allies]>>5098135I agree to non-lethal, but only if we can avoid being seen. Get rid of him so he doesn't get alerted if we fuck up later. Leave as little trace as possible and avoid our standard techniques, if we have to fight.
>>5098127>>Assassinate him while the foolish mage is vulnerable—they will know someone was here regardless, once the artefact is taken, so you may as well take out some of the leadership as well [lowered DC for your critical success on stealth, and the assistance of your allies]>>5098183I like freebies as much as anyone else but that’s unnecessary
>>5098183>randomly rolls extra 20>wants to give it to playersNot right. Here's a hella lizard for you instead.
>>5098139>>5098246>votes to assassinate>wants it to be nonlethalClearly you want to knock the fucker out and mesmerize him, right? So he can lead us straight towards our objective and tell us more about the monster on the third floor?>>5098149I'm mainly worried about the patrols finding the body and raising the alarm. It's why I also voted to mesmerize the guy, avoids raising any alarms.
>>5098339>so he canNO
>>5098370Frankly, I don't see the benefit from just knocking the fucker out and not mesmerizing him, so it's either elite capture him and put him to sleep in a storeroom, or kill him and potentially raise the magical alarm.
>>5098183I was more worried about the 1 in the first 3 lollet's say they cancel each other out
>>5098444Just accept the gift from Snek Nick and move on, it not like we're using it to fight a boss battle.
>>5098444This quest has no critical fails, so the highest roll always wins regardless of whether there are 1s or not.
Rolled 1, 20, 2, 16, 20, 17 = 76 (6d20)>>5098457[Point of order: there are critical fails, but only if none of the other dice pass the difficulty threshold.]>>5098135>>5098149>>5098161>>5098246>>5098252[Rolling to assassinate. 3d20 for melee combat, 1d20 for each ally, 1d20 reaction d20 for if you fail. DC 12 (-3 for having the drop on him. If you beat it by at least 5, you have a nonlethal option, per you accidental crit. Fair enough?]
>>5098493We'll, I'd be damned. Time to control this fucker.
>>5098493>rigged christmas dicewhere's the roll for Hirschel
>>5098493“Chika, Alhazred,” you whisper. You need say nothing more—a gesture suffices. The others move into position. Under cover of darkness, the three of you move like a pack of wolves or a shoal of sharks. You may never have operated in the field together, but you are Reptilian Infiltrators, taught in the same martial arts and methods of approach. It is as if you had trained together since birth. It is… Oddly familial.“Hm… Something wrong with the lights?”It seems your target, this senior mage is not oblivious by any means… But seeing a patch of darkness in the hallway, where lanterns fail to ignite by sorcerous means in their sconces, is an entirely different matter than suspecting the cause or what dwells in the darkness ahead. He slows down, but without wariness, and when he waves his hands to cast a spell, it is one of simple illumination. It is perfect timing to strike: while he is focused on that spell, he can neither cast another, more dangerous one, nor protect himself from your blade or your allies fists and feet.The wizard cries out as Alhazred jumps upon him. The male Degenerate is a moment too early for perfect coordination, but the shock of the assault draws all the spellcaster’s attention to him. Chika yanks down his hat over his eyes from behind and sweeps his legs out from under him. He catches himself, but the jostling reveals a silvered charm about his neck on a length of entwined bark: an anti-demon charm! Alhazared’s eyes are keen, and he is at least knowledgeable enough to recognize the gem-and-herb configuration in its enchanted glass bauble. Drawing a knife of his own, he slices the protective item away from its owner. A lucky break: that could have been dangerous in opposition to you, had the three of you not uncovered it.The mage whirls about and, with a swiftness you didn’t expect, begins to summon crackling lighting about his fingers and to coalesce a powerful elemental spell in the palm of his wizened hand… But it is then that you strike, and from an angle he couldn’t have possibly expected.With Irinnile within you, it was a simple thing to materialize wings of enmeshed flesh and shadow, and to soar to the ceiling to suspend yourself from the unlit lighting fixtures. Now, tangled in his baggy robes and blinded by his hat, tumbling to his knees, he doesn’t even get the chance to cry out, let alone to cast another spell. Like an angel of death you descend, crashing down upon him and smothering his art. Then, with a blow from the hilt of your blade you end the threat.“Is he dead?” Chika asks in hushed hiss.“No,” Alhazred says, checking his pulse. “The human spellcaster is unconscious, concussed, but he yet lives.”“Perfect,” you stay, standing up and folding the demonic wings back into your body to reabsorb beneath your cloak. “Leave him to me.”
>>5098528Hirschel the Drake, disturbed by this sudden flurry of movement, stares down from one of the unlit sconces and tilts his head in curiosity. You loom over your victim, mirroring your pet’s reptilian movements as you consider what to do with the old human.What do you do?>Slay him swiftly with your frost-dagger, stuff the body somewhere inconspicuous, and move along>Feed the man’s mana to Irinnile with an erotic and life-draining dream>Attempt to enthrall the unconscious man and reawaken him as a guide [DC 12 for a temporary enthrallment, DC 18 for a permanent one, given his uncosnciousness]>Check his mind for useful intelligence about himself and the facility>Write-inWhat is your next move?>Descend methodically, floor-by-floor, and looking for opportunities for further mages to incapacitate or items to steal>A straight shot to the third floor, bypassing the second as swiftly as possible and aiming for the dwarven artefacts forthwith>The third floor is your destination, but you desire to free the demons there and to use the incubus’ symbol of authority to request their aid>The fourth of fifth floor and their dangerous chimeras call out to you; Hirchsel almost looks like a dragon, and that makes you wonder what lurks in those lower quarters…>Write-in
>>5098531>Attempt to enthrall the unconscious man and reawaken him as a guide [DC 12 for a temporary enthrallment, DC 18 for a permanent one, given his uncosnciousness]>Check his mind for useful intelligence about himself and the facilityTurn this arcane master into our pawn. Could we use our green shirin to help with the enthrallment?>The third floor is your destination, but you desire to free the demons there and to use the incubus’ symbol of authority to request their aidMight as well get some backup if we need it.
>>5098531>Feed the man’s mana to Irinnile with an erotic and life-draining dream>Slay him swiftly with your frost-dagger, stuff the body somewhere inconspicuous, and move along>Descend methodically, floor-by-floor, and looking for opportunities for further mages to incapacitate or items to stealMight as well go on a murder spree and decapitate the city’s magical line of defence.
>>5098531>Check his mind for useful intelligence about himself and the facilityThen>Feed the man’s mana to Irinnile with an erotic and life-draining dream>The third floor is your destination, but you desire to free the demons there and to use the incubus’ symbol of authority to request their aid
>>5098531>Check his mind for useful intelligence about himself and the facility>Feed the man’s mana to Irinnile with an erotic and life-draining dream>Stuff the body somewhere inconspicuous, and move along>The third floor is your destination, but you desire to free the demons there and to use the incubus’ symbol of authority to request their aidBreak them free and order to start a total shitshow on our call. That way we'll have a comfy cover for our demonic traces here and there.>>5098566>>5098603You anons realize that our demonic magic, even the "permanent" option (like with Felman), can be broken by as little as a protective amulet and then the thralls regain all the REAL memories, including our face, right?
>>5098531>Attempt to enthrall the unconscious man and reawaken him as a guide [DC 12 for a temporary enthrallment, DC 18 for a permanent one, given his uncosnciousness]>Check his mind for useful intelligence about himself and the facilityI deplore senseless violence, I only approve of cunning violence.>Pick the Gardian's mind over useful items to steal, then steal them.>The third floor is your destination, but you desire to free the demons there and to use the incubus’ symbol of authority to request their aidIf this gets mess, this'll be a good cover.>>5099079>not installing preventive measures and a suicide switch in a high ranking officialHonestly? Even if it's temporary, this would be more than enough to frame him for a mess and shift the blame if this turn into a shitshow. Besides, I think having a master magi fighting and potentially dying to the Tower's monstrosities and other defense mechanisms is infinitely preferable to killing him and stuffing him in the supply closet, if only for the investigation to focus on him and his dealings and social circle.
>>5099094I'd rather we kill him before we leave, once his helpfulness has run out. Aka throw him to the demons.
>>5099095I personally think keeping him as a pawn for future subversion of the Tower would be better, but then I'm considerably less risk adverse than some of the anons here.
>>5099103It's because choices have consequences here and QM will most definitely use this crack to expose Ismena later.
>>5099121Choices always have consequences, and being worried about every perceived crack of exposure is Stalinesque paranoia. I would say that having an mole inside of the Tower's leadership, that can keep tabs on and influence investigations into our matters, is more than worth the added risk of exposure, especially with preventative measures to stop such exposure from coming out, not to mention all of the other Tower's research projects and security network of Hawksong.It really just comes down to risk tolerance, because having an operative penetrating into the Tower's leadership is invaluable to the Conspiracy in of itself, and I don't see this individual subversion as an end goal in of itself, but of a greater plan to gain control of the Tower's leadership itself, and turn it to our and the Dark God's ends.I don't expect this to convince you, since this is a question of risk tolerance at it core, but I just wanted to explain where my thoughts are in this situation.
>>5099149>quest about reptilian spy>trying to cover up and not leave trace after yourself is a bad thingUsing deadswitch on Felman is one thing, but trying to leave a Tower's higher up enthralled by a demonic spell and expecting nobody to notice is too risky.We were just worried about Ismena getting detected herself, because there was a fuckton of mages around, who she did not even directly interact with, but we will expect them to just glance over him after he was on security during Gala, during which the Master Stone from one of deepest underground levels was stolen?We also expect them to not use all the antidemonic firepower after the demons from -2 have broken free at the same night?And please don't tell me you are 100% SURE he can kill himself before a bunch of mages cast exorcism on him and thus remove the deadswitch. At that point you're just taking risks mindfully.
>>5099158I never said trying to obfuscate ourselves to the Tower is a bad thing, I'm merely pointing out that having influence of the magical security apparatus that's a threat to the Conspiracy is invaluable, and that if you are risk adverse then infiltration in general isn't for you.Ever heard of the term, 'who's watching the watcher'? It applies to the Inquisition leadership. Is there a risk of exposure? Sure, but no more than us traveling though these levels and failing to neutralize a patrolling magi, and this leader knows all about their security measures against demonic influence. Hell, he may have even wrote the book on it. It isn't inherently more dangerous to us to have his enthrallment noticed than it is going down through the Tower's basement of horrors and past their patrols of magi.Beyond that, they may not have realized what the Master Stone is yet, or it's importance, and in all likelihood they'll at least consider that someone misplaced it (assuming we don't start a killing spree during our stealthy infiltration mission), or better yet, that this archmagi took it out to conduct more research on it in one of the lower floors. It's not like his subordinates will question his authority on the matter.We can also expect them to be understaffed in the basement level while the Gala is ongoing, which was why this night in particular was chosen instead of all the other nights. There's also a Chinese proverb that comes to mind- A thief cries "Stop thief!" It means that he who is causing mischief should accuse others of his crimes, to give him an appearance of innocence and obfuscate the truth. That applies just as much in this situation as it would in any other, probably more so to an authority figure such as the archmage.Also, I'm pretty sure he can kill himself if necessary before they exorcise our influence, assuming they ever find out. I'm planning on a failsafe killswitch as well, just in case the first one fails, though that'll require us learning Zivic's ectoplasm trick tomorrow. I'm not taking risks without considering the consequences anon, I just consider them acceptable tradeoffs for the opportunity this allows us to springboard from.Again, the core argument is about risk tolerance, and I just have a higher threshold than you. I've long ago accepted that fact.
>>5098566>>5098603>>5098691>>5098712>>5099079>>5099094[We seem to be tied between enthralling and killing this mage, though a majority wish to go recruit some demons to the incubus' cause afterwards, before acquiring the master stone. I will wait a bit longer for a tiebreaker before I roll.Also, a reminder: when you first gained the ability to make permanent thralls, it was noted that they still couldn't be made to take action that would obviously result in serious harm or death to themselves or a loved one.]
>>5099214>when you first gained the ability to make permanent thralls, it was noted that they still couldn't be made to take action that would obviously result in serious harm or death to themselvesOh, for fuck's sake.
>>5098531>Check his mind for useful intelligence about himself and the facility>Bind, gag, and stuff the fucker in a closet
Rolled 19, 3, 14, 17, 19 = 72 (5d20)>>5099248I'm counting this as a vote to leave him alive, and, given every vote to leave him alive involves enthralling him, to do that as well.
>>5099248I opposed binding and gagging him. Instead, we should tell him to get drunk and then pass out in the closet with a bottle of booze. That way it avoids suspicion.
While leaving this man alive presents its own suite of difficulties, you can’t just pass up an opportunity like this. You should at LEAST take the time to search this mage’s mind for what valuable intelligence may dwell within it.“Alhazred, Chika, watch for any further unscheduled interruptions,” you instruct.“What of scheduled ones?” Alhazred asks pointedly. “Even with their patrols reduced, we should expect Tower Guardians to come down this pathway in less than ten minutes.”“I won’t need ten minutes,” you say with some confidence… And, to your credit, you do not.>19Though it is difficult to keep track of time while you are navigating even an unconscious mindscape, it takes you next to no time to locate the male human’s foremost thoughts and memories… Which, given where you assailed and incapacitated him, of course deal with the Tower’s basement and his purpose here. His name is Frederick Federigo, a ‘Magus Auctor’—a mage of authority, in charge of overseeing internal projects of great importance and coordinating between departments. He had been descending the many stairways and passages of the labyrinthine basement to inform the Tower Guardians and project leaders—specifically, the Head Demonologist and their ‘Head Chimericist’, who you take to be the fleshweaver—of the commotion upstairs. You sense that, until the three of you fell upon him, Magus Auctor Federigo wasn’t inclined to take the threat terribly seriously.‘Oops,’ Irinnile giggles mockingly.Given the expedience with which the old man’s mind relinquishes its secrets, you decide to dig a little deeper. The Head Demonologist in particular is of interest to you, for you plan to overcome this man to liberate his army of hellish creatures, to serve as distraction or assistance in this raid. At your bidding, Federigo’s mind reveals the slim build and sharply-cut beard of a dour, grey-eyed middle-aged man named ‘Stefano Pavlov’, dressed in deep burgundy robes and with a short black cap with a wizard’s signature point. He is apparently not well-liked, considered unpleasantly short in passing conversation and unpleasantly detailed in his reports of demonic manifestation, behaviour, and the cruel methods by which he curbs their tendency to rebellion and channels them to useful purposes. Federigo feels no sympathy for such agents of evil, of course, but he and his fellow mages cannot help but recoil in near-equal disgust from the fawning descriptions of peeled-based flesh, scrambled ectoplasm, and weeping, screaming devils which Pavlov presents them periodically.‘I think I’m gonna’ be sick,’ Irinnile gags melodramatically.‘A pet monster,’ you remark, with some interest. A man like this… Alien in his proclivities to his fellows, with such power over demons… Maybe he could be an ally?
>>5099363You open your physical eyes for a moment, and find Chika and Alhazred fidgeting with nervousness to leave this place. You must be approaching the ten minute mark. You shut your nictating membranes, staying half-alert to the material plane, and sink back into the Magus Auctor’s mind once more. There, you align his thoughts and feeling to your own, carefully and meticulously. You do not hurry, for you do not need to. By seduction or illusion or mentalism, manipulation of senses and feelings was Hawksong’s greatest gift to you, and you have squandered no opportunity to make use of it. In turn, you have become a master of minds—even minds as old, trained, and magically-reinforced as this male’s. His psychic defences are navigated around with only the slightest difficulty, and dismantled from within, one by one.“Ismena!” Chika hisses. “The next patrol is on its way! I can see the lights.”You open your eyes, and look down into the placid, slightly-confused face of the old man below you. You and Magus Auctor Federigo both stand up as one, without even your conscious bidding.What do you do?>Have Federigo send the patrolling Guardians back from whence they came, and redirect other patrols, so you may descend to level three>Use Federigo as a guide, to give the three of you cover while you travel the rest of the way, and to arrange a peaceful meeting with Head Demonologist Pavlov>Create a panic, with Federigo ordering an evacuation of the entire basement—this will create chaos to cover your theft, and disrupt security procedures>Just command federigo to have a brief and insubstantial conversation with the Tower Guards, then leave and await further commands from you in the future—you don’t want to risk the discovery of what you’ve done to the man, or what you plan to do below>Write-inWhat is your plan for Head Demonologist Pavlov and his demons?>It remains the same: free the demons, use the incubus’ symbol to cow them into submission, and use them to aid in finding and acquiring the master stone post-haste>Release the demons, and turn them against their masters in a bloody massacre>Negotiate with Pavlov, to see if he can be an ally to your people (or against the incubus)>Incapacitate and enthrall Pavlov as well, if you can—it’s worked so far!>Write-in
>>5099366>Have Federigo send the patrolling Guardians back from whence they came, and redirect other patrols, so you may descend to level three>Give him an order to create a fake amulet and wear it instead of his real one>Make sure the Degenerates took his amulet and didn't leave it lying aroundPerfect, perfect. He wasn't even supposed to be here.>Release the demons, and turn them against their masters in a bloody massacreTell them to wait for us to return from level -4. Then, they will start chaos and divert staff's attention from the theft from as long as possible.
>>5099366>Have Federigo send the patrolling Guardians back from whence they came, and redirect other patrols, so you may descend to level three>Release the demons, and turn them against their masters in a bloody massacredefinitely take/destroy the demon charm
>>5099386Actually, having Chica and Alhazred each wear a charm from now on is a good idea.
>>5099366>Use Federigo as a guide, to give the three of you cover while you travel the rest of the way, and to arrange a peaceful meeting with Head Demonologist Pavlov, then leave and await further commands from you in the future—you don’t want to risk the discovery of what you’ve done to the man, or what you plan to do below>Have him create a fake demon charm after this.Get us there and get out.>Incapacitate and enthrall Pavlov as well, if you can—it’s worked so far!I'm mainly interested in his research, as I think it would be invaluable to us, especially against the incubus if need be. Whether he gets killed afterward in a massacre when the demons 'break out' depends on the circumstances of whether we can legit stealth this mission without resorting to attention-seeking actions.
>>5099366>Have Federigo send the patrolling Guardians back from whence they came, and redirect other patrols, so you may descend to level three>Give him an order to create a fake amulet and wear it instead of his real one>It remains the same: free the demons, use the incubus’ symbol to cow them into submission, and use them to aid in finding and acquiring the master stone post-haste>Release the demons, and turn them against their masters in a bloody massacre
>>5099921>>5099399>>5099386>>5099377“Maguss Auctor,” you whisper, “be a dear, won’t you, and ssteer these two away from uss.”“Of course,” you murmurs, forehead still wrinkled as if in confusion as to why he’s agreeing. “Is there… Anything else I can do to assist?”“How kind of you to asssk,” you say with a smile. “Make a falsse charm for yorusself.”The high-ranking mage exits your bubble of darkness and into an area unaffected by your spells, where his movement triggers the torches to magically ignite. The two patrolling Tower Guardians stop short at his sudden appearance. You wait a moment, observing the interaction… But it seems your enchantment ahs held, and gone unnoticed. The old man and these younger mages make friendly conversation, though you can’t quite make out the particulars. They turn around at his instructions and leave, as if dismissed. Federigo follows them part of the way and then turns about to descend to the second level.“Let’s go,” you say, reverting once more to your first language.Alhazred still holds, and now wears, the Magus Auctor’s original charm-against-demons, but sadly there is little chance to obtain one for Chika—at least, not right now. This is unfortunate, given your next destination: the third level, home to the most dangerous devils and their master, Pavlov. You easily breeze through the second level of the tower without much difficulty. Once, you nearly encounter a patrol… But you find the man and his peculiar little frog of a familiar speaking with your newest puppet.“Quiet t-terrible about the fountain,” Federigo says, stammering slightly as he improvises on your behalf. “Th-they say that… They need all Guardians at the ready, to ensure the safety of the Prince and others of great importance, until they ascertain a cause.”“Of course, Magus Auctor,” the younger man he is speaking to says, and the amphibian on his shoulder croaks as if in agreement. “But… Are you quite alright?”Briefly, Federigo’s eyes find yours in the darkness, as you and your accomplices slip by. His face freezes as if in fear, or deep remembrance… Then it smooths itself again, into calm compliance.“Just shaken up,” he says. “The… The fountain as quite… It was historic.”
Rolled 13, 1, 20, 7, 14, 16, 18 = 89 (7d20)>>5099963You reach the door to the third level thereafter. You find that, unlike floors above, it is no simple matter of using a stolen amulet or duplicated magic thereof to enter. It is a wall of unknown and arcane-looking mechanisms, with a great circle upon its centre point. “We should have taken the old mage’s amulet, to open the door,” Chika mumbles. “No,” Alhazred says, lightly running his fingers over the side of the door. “Wards, mechanisms… The previous entrances were a simple spell away from opening. This one is… Otherwise.”“Correct,” you confirm. You had learned as much from the Federigo’s mind. He didn’t even carry such a security amulet—his own spellcraft was sufficient to open the doors above, and so with those below. You suppose it makes sense: the bottom three floors are host to the most dangerous and confidential of the Tower’s projects and prisoners, beyond anywhere Paula the Tower Staffer had showed you before. Luckily, you have two other Infiltrators with you, one with the skills to pick locks and one with some knowledge of wards… And then, of course, there is your own skill.‘Hey, what am I, sacrificial urns full of pickled liver?’ Irinnile whines.<WANT: 14>…And Irinnile. Naturally. The lot of your set to work. You recount your knowledge of the wards (the most powerful and intricately-woven you have ever encountered, cross-referencing the unfathomable architecture you glimpse with your second sight with the Magus Auctor’s stolen memories. Where the knowledge is incomplete or your grasp of the first principles is weak, Alhazred shores you up, describing similar spells he has encountered and the words of a movements which can be used to circumvent them. [4d20 for this, DC 11 thanks to your success at raiding Federigo’s memories and Alhazred’s help]Where more physical, clockwork mechanisms aid in protecting the third level from invaders, you deploy Chika and her lockpicks; she looks less than confident at such an undertaking with his skills and tools, admittedly, but none in your party is better suited. She will have to do.[3d20 for Chika’s attempt.]
>>5099964>13>18Your team is well-chosen, Chika’s fears unfounded. You not only best the wards and mechanisms, you utterly deconstruct them with such precision that you are fairly certain that you could do so again in half the speed and without assistance, given a second shot. You might even be able to, with a bit of aid from the Akashic Record and some collaboration with these two, set such a trap yourself!‘You sure ‘bout that, Lispy?’ Irinnile asks pragmatically. ‘Wards haven’t exactly been kind to us in the past.’You’ll brook no naysaying. Enchantment magics might still stymie you, but with Alhazred’s explanations of the workings of various wards which alarm, attack, erect barriers, or otherwise—not so calm as Edwin’s, but informed by a practical experience relevant to this task in a way his lessons are not –you feel you’ve made a real breakthrough in your approach to wards and the disabling thereof. You open the door to the third floor of the Tower’s basement without so much as a single impediment or forewarning. Where spells threaten to alert Pavlov or other Tower mages to Chika’s mechanical meddling, you prevent those as well. You even reset the wards behind you, so that no patrolling mages will detect anything amiss! Why not, when you can disable them again with a thought and a moment?As the three of you step inside, you find your confidence immediately vexed by a feeling of extreme discomfort. It is as if the air is heavy and thick, an extreme humidity; your breathing becomes laboured. A weight falls on your shoulders, threatening to buckle your knees. Your skin prickles, as if experiencing great cold or a light electrical charge. You stagger back, while your companions look at you with evident confusion and no discomfort of their own.‘What was that?’ you ask Irinnile. ‘Look up at the ceiling,’ Irinnile replies.You do so, and see what Irinnile ahs already sensed: further wards, meant to depower demons and alert to their entry or exit, protect Pavolv’s research chambers and the demonic entities trapped therein. Had you not detected them so readily, they would have trapped you and alerted to your presence! Federigo didn’t know of these… A new addition, perhaps? Or something Pavlov installed without reporting to his fellows, and which they never took note of, being literally over their heads?“Alhazred?” you whisper, and direct his gaze.“Ah,” he mutters. “Intelligent. We face a crafty human. Do as I instruct.”>20And so you do, disabling this ward as well. It consumed valuable time, but you do so, taking care not to trigger any contingencies in this instance either. No mage-torches exist here to light the path of a visitor or to require your magic to snuff out; you and your fellows are guided only by Irrinile’s eyes, yet repeatedly slowed in your progress by wards set against her kind on walls or ceilings.
>>5099978Angry now at the delays and impediments, you almost march—well, you creep stealthily, but the intent is there—towards the most concentrated source of dark energies on this floor. You will find the demons who dwell in darkness here, and free them to exact bloody revenge upon the humans who entrapped them. It will be a fitting retaliation for Pavlov’s obstructions, fulfill your obligation to the incubus, and cover your true purpose here.This thread carries you to a room more like a crypt of a mortuary than any of the more pristine and sterile laboratories of the rooms above. Holes like grave niches, plugged with metal lids and adorned with wax seals bearing demon-sealing circles and sigils, sit in row upon row, though many more remain open and empty, awaiting an unwilling occupant from the underworld.You hear movement, a rustle, and direct the other two Infiltrators to hold back. You, too, slip away from the entrance, peering inside carefully. A mage, young and female and with bags under her dark eyes, sits at a central desk flipping through a book and taking notes in another. An apprentice?“What?” Chika whispers. “What is it?”You realize that you are still in utter darkness—darkness which neither Alhazred’s eyes nor Chika’s can penetrate. How does this female mage at the desk read her tome or take her notes? You narrow your eyes, trying to focus upon her glasses—magic, perhaps? There is no way of knowing, you realize, for there is so much ambient magic in this demonic prison that your sixth sense can draw no bead upon this mage apprentice or his accoutrement. Does she have a familiar waiting nearby? Wards set up? Is she armed? There is now ay to know…‘Lispy, I don’t like this,’ Irinnile whines. ‘This place is a creepshow, and there’s no way she’s just sitting here all… Vulnerable. Right?’What do you do?>Use your illusion magic to illuminate the room, allowing a three-on-one assault against this mage>Attack the mage yourself, while the other two hold back, hoping the element of surprise will carry the day>Sneak in solo, hoping to avoid detection and to free one or more of the demonic captives before the mage detects you>Attack from range, throwing your frost dagger to slay this girl from the doorway before she can react>Attempt to negotiate under glamour, then mesmerize her>Write-in[Sorry for an overlong update. I know I've been busy the last couple days, and I didn't want to drag this out with play-by-play minutiae, OR to make it feel rushed or half-assed.]
>>5099980>Attempt to negotiate under glamour, then mesmerize herThe tome interests me, but I'm sure an apprentice will have more knowledge that I'm just itching to have.Also, don't worry about it RQM, the holiday season is time consuming for us all, so don't worry too much over a delay or two here or there.
>>5099980>Attack from range, throwing your frost dagger to slay this girl from the doorway before she can reactShe feels like a pet demon. Freeze the bitch and>Use your illusion magic to illuminate the room, allowing a three-on-one assault against this mage
>>5099980>Use the incubus' symbolshe's giving off demon vibes
>>5099980>Attempt to negotiate under glamour, then mesmerize herIf it turns out to be a demon though, supporting >>5100356. Gotta trust those vibes sometimes, yea?
Rolled 5, 17, 14, 8, 19, 3, 15, 3, 19 = 103 (9d20)>>5100574>>5100356>>5100159>>5099996>>5100463[5d20 for glamour, DC 19. If that fails, 3d20 for politesse, DC 12. If THAT fails, 1d20 reaction roll.]
>>5100643Prudence dictates that you should draw your dagger and plan an assault. This is, by all indications, a magically-inclined human woman who has been specifically tasked with the interruption and prevention of operations just like the one which you are presently engaged in. However, something about this situation strikes you as... Wrong. What normal human, even a mage, opts to read in utter darkness? What mere apprentice evinces such clam when surrounded by the overpowering aura of evil which permeates this place? ‘Irinnile, what do you think?’ ‘You mean... Like, is this bitch a demon?’ Irinnile replies. ‘Maybe. I dunno’. If she is... She ain’t in one of those holes in the wall. Means she’d have to been bound to a pact, right?’ A fair point... But you’re here, in this particular chamber, to free demons. Why not start with this one, if that is what she is? You have no hard evidence for it... But sometimes, you just have to trust your gut. You whisper to your fellow infiltrators to hold back, ready to offer aid if required, and you step inside, turning on the magical and personal charm as you do so with a flash of your pearly smile. The woman at the desk glances up at your idly, eyebrows rising up her forehead slightly. She doesn't seem to have been expecting you, but not nor is she very animated about it. Perhaps your glamour is really that good! ‘Hmmm,’ Irinnile sends, a psychic missive of uncertainty. “Greetingss,” you say aloud. “Curious,” the woman replies, returning to her book. “By all rights, I should be duty-bound to kill you, and already be acting upon that impulse. To do otherwise should be... Unpleasant.” >19 “Yet here I am, unbothered,” she continues. “Does it have something to do with that... Blurriness about you?” “My glamour,” you reply. “Yess, mosst likely.” “A powerful glamour indeed,” the woman notes, flipping the page. “Still, I should warn you: you have no doubt set off a half-dozen wards entering this place. The master likes to place them randomly, and to change them up periodically.” “Dissabled,” you reply with no small smugness. That gets her attention again, enough so that she closes her book. “Who or what ARE you?” “An envoy of the Dark Godss,” you say. “And... of another.” You trace the sigil of your incubus benefactor in the air, leaving a glowing symbol hovering there for a moment. The woman blinks twice, then looks at you appraisingly. “A greater demon has sent you? And... Gods, you say?” It seems you have judged her correctly: this is no mage apprentice, but a bound demon. You smile welcomingly, spreaidng yoru arms. “I come as a liberator!” you proclaim. The demon-woman sighs, closing her eyes and pushing off from the table as she forces herself to her feet. “I wish you hadn’t said that,” she says.
>>5100672“...Sssay again?”She rolls her shoulders, explaining “I am sstill under a pact. If I didn’t KNOW you were working for a demon, or what you were here for... I wouldn’t need to act. Your glamour did that much. But now that I know... Well, I have to kill you and devour your soul” You take a step back, recahing for your dagger. “You know how it is,” the demon-woman says apologetically, her clothing beginning to rip away and her face expanding into a wide, toothy visage somewhere between that of a bear and a crocodile. Her hands become great, wide paws, ending in gripping fingers and killing claws. A second set begins to emerge from her abdomen as she doubles over, assuming a far less human-like posture. Unnervingly, the demon's voice doesn’t change—its tongue and inner mouthparts flex in unsettling ways behind her torso-wide cage of teeth, forming the same easygoing, placid female human voice: “If you can survive me, and free me, I’d be happy to help you with your task, if only to leave this place. Guard duty is so much hassle...” What do you do? >Attempt to devade the demon’s blows while undoing the binding spell placed upon it >Call to your allies and battle the demon back with your frost dagger and your cloak, slaying its physical form >Use Hirschel the Drake as a distraction while you unweave the binding spells >Attempt to redirect the demon’s strikes into the sealed canisters along the wall, freeing additional demons in the process >Write-in
>>5100674>Attempt to devade the demon’s blows while undoing the binding spell placed upon it >Attempt to redirect the demon’s strikes into the sealed canisters along the wall, freeing additional demons in the process Liberator has a nice ring to it.
[I'll wait to see if any more votes roll in, and post later today either way.]
>>5100674>Light up the room>Attempt to blind the beast with concentrated flash of lightI never gave up on the flashbang>Use Hirschel the Drake as a distraction while you unweave the binding spellsUnpocket the dragon>sees incubus' symbol>pact is more importantwell shit who coulda seen this coming>>5100692Can we wait to get her under control before unsealing the rest? I dunno how well we can communicate the symbol in all the chaos that'll ensue.>>5101128Hello there!
>>5101131I mean, sure if you want. I was merely wanting to create additional distractions, but I'm more than willing to scratch that option for the sake of expediency.>>5101128Considering me also supporting >>5101131's plan, just to get the ball rolling.
>>5101136I think we are capable of taking her down ourselves and doing so will give us a better control over the situation. Sorry if my general pessimism is annoying, this one is more of a personal preference really.
>>5101148That's a fine assumption. Don't worry about it, if I was annoyed by it I wouldn't consider supporting it ;^)
>>5101151Meant in general.
>>5100674>Attempt to devade the demon’s blows while undoing the binding spell placed upon it
>>5101155While it is a pain to deal with sometimes, it's not like it's without merit. I'm just more aggressively opportunistic in this quest.
Rolled 17, 11, 15, 16, 19, 15, 1, 2 = 96 (8d20)>>5101158>>5101131>>5100692Better not to involve the other Infiltrators just yet, you decide. They aren’t protected by demonic resilience or regeneration and, without magical equipment, they have no means to directly harm or incapacitate this being. Instead, you decide to engage indirectly, with Hirschel serving as your support as to distract the guardian demon and evade its attacks.The drake croaks in confusion as you close distance with what even an artificially-created companion animal can recognize as a terrifying and unearthly apex predator. A mental push is sufficient to obtain the compliance and understanding of your feathery little minion; it was created to serve mages, after all. Hirschel flutters above as you lunge low, dodging a crushing blow tipped with puncturing claws from above. You could probably survive such an impact thanks to Irinnile’s possession… But with the magical nature of a demon’s physical attacks, you can’t be sure of that.‘So why in all the Hells are we doing this?!’ your succubus demands fearfully.‘Liberator of Demons… It had a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?’ you muse.‘Lispy!’You ignore your cowardly companion’s concerns, focusing instead on effective evasion of a second impact. Luckily, with Hirschel harassing the beast from above with repeated divebombs, the demon is seemingly unable to focus. Less lucky: the little plumes of flame the drake belches forth seem to have and effect upon the thick and warty hide of the demon. Still, it gives you an idea…‘Don’t worry,’ you reassure Irinnile. ‘I don’t plan to fight fair.’You begin to spin mana about you in a sweeping motion, crystalizing the light of Hirschel’s flames into a spectral iridescence around you. Then, when the embattled demon returns its attentions to you… You release them, in a sudden and blinding explosion of gold-and-crimson![4d20 for illusion, DC 15. If you pass, dodge DC will be reduced to 10 for the next 3d20; 17 otherwise, in deference to your distraction while casting. The 1d20 after that is for Hirschel's performance. If you succeed in the dodge, I will roll to see if you pass the check to break its bindings...]
Rolled 20, 15, 1, 9, 10 = 55 (5d20)>>5101240>17 The flash causes the creature to squint is beady, black eyes against the sudden brightness, crying out in a rattling roar distinctly more appropriate to its form than the woman’s voice from before. It swngs at you with its many limbs... >19 ...But, given its inability to aim and your training and practical experience in close combat against monsters in close quarters, you deftly dodge the devastating downswing. The reddish-grey stone of the demon-prison's floor is cracked by the impact, the claws sinking deep into it and embedding the beast. Hirschel, seeing an opening to do its duty to you, lands upon the demon and bites at its tough hide. It’s not terribly effective—the drake’s fangs are small and fine, the demon’s hide anything but delicate, but the display is endearing at least... And, hey, it’s one more distraction as you set to work examining and (hopefully) ‘liberating’ this demonic guardian from its existing pact. [5d20, DC 18]
>>5101275damn we lucky
>>5101275'This spell is so intricate,’ you marvel.‘Not a spell,’ Irinnile corrects you. ‘That’s a pact. You see why they’re so gods-damned tough to escape!’Indeed you do. While the demon struggles to free its entrapped claws from the floor so it can fulfill its duty to its master, you work to free it from that very same obligation. Unraveling such a deep magic is no easy thing, however. It isn't even about the power or finesse of this Chief Demonologist Pavlov—the strength of the magic lies in how intrinsic the demonic pact itself is to the nature of a demon. You suppose that’s reassuring, insofar as it guarantees neither Irinnile nor that dreaded incubus will be easily escaping their agreements with you through clever spellcraft.‘But how’re we gonna’ free this fat fuck?’ Irinnile asks.That is the question… But in the workings of the pact, you spy an answer! Tangled in the complex web of promises and obligations which form the latticework of this magic are number of subjects and predicates, clauses and subclauses… Like in written language, or even a formal legal contract such as a human might form! Between your sixth sense and your ever-more-intimate familiarity with demons and their dealings, you spy a loophole.“You ssaid earlier that if you had plausdible deniability, you could ssimply fail to regard me as an intruder, or my actionss as ssomething requiring your intervention,” you muse aloud.The demon slows in its struggles, and in a that unsettlingly-mundane voice, it says, “That’s right.”“Well it sseemss your masster only inssttucted you to prevent any intruder from entering, or any demon from being freed, from ‘your prissson’… But he failed to define the nature of the prisson in formal, magical language. You merely inferred it to be thisss room.”“Inferred it correctly,” the demon says sadly. “I can’t just pretend that he meant the whole material plane to be my prison. It isn’t so easy.”“Ah, but what prisson hass open doorss, no lockss, and… No wardssss?”After all, you had disabled or circumvented all of these.“So what you’re saying is… I can roam wherever I’d like, rooting out hypothetical intruders, as long as neither I nor the otger demons hit a lock or ward?”“The exxact nature of the ritual sseemss to allow for thiss,” you say.
>>5101362And, indeed, with a bit of modification of magical ‘terms’ around the hazy edges of the pact, it plausibly does!The demon frees itself finally from the floor. Rather than attacking anew, it plucks your drake from its shoulder, returning struggling little Hirschel to his perch upon your shoulder. Thw chimera-drake preens itself awkwardly, returning mussed feathers to their former glory. Meanwhile, with a groan of exertion and a sigh of relief, the demon deflates and contorts itself once more into a much smaller, more humanoid form.“I’m still bound to my pact in broader strokes,” the guardian demon notes.“Only until I sslay your masster,” you say cheerfully. “Or until I use the true name I sspied in that ppactss inner workingss to forge a new one, with a proper ritual to undo the old.”‘Hot damn,’ Irinnile enthuses. ‘I scored myself a ten-out-of-ten sexy prodigy for a host, huh?’You allow yourself to soak in the praise and the well-earned self-satisfaction for a time. Meanwhile, Chika and Alhzared step into the darkness of the room with careful and uncertain footsteps.“Is it over?” Chika asks in tye tongue of your people.“What happens now?” Alhazred asks, calm but curious.“Now,” you say, “the fun begins.”One by one, you liberate the trapped demons from their prisons in the wall. Without their guardians, it is as simple as undoing each simple ward and defacing each physical seal, before finally uncorking the caps from the holes like so many bottles of wine. What emerge are demons unbound, without pact but with great hunger… But, before the sigil of the incubus, a greater demon with many souls bound to its service, they relent from their obvious desire to tear your soul apart, or to simply pass you by and leave this place. Countless eldritch entities hang hazily in the air about you, shapeless or occupying only the vaguest of visages.‘Poor dumb bastards probably haven’t fed in forever,’ Irinnile notes.What do you do?>Transfer some of Irinnile’s stored energies into your new demonic entourage>Sic the demonic horde upon the mages of this layer and those above, to create a distraction and sate their hunger>Lay in wait to ambush Pavlov and his apprentices—they can aid you in taking down the Head Demonologist if they want mana>Proceed down to the fourth floor, where chimeras await and where your true prize is kept>Write-in>>5101308[You really, really are lately. Sorry for long and gradual post. It was a complicated manoeuvre, and I was writing it up between work responsibilities. ]
>>5101365>Proceed down to the fourth floor, where chimeras await and where your true prize is keptFeeling pretty confident that they can't possibly stop all of us
>>5101365>Proceed down to the fourth floor, where chimeras await and where your true prize is kept
>>5101365>Pet the drake>Pet the drake again>Lay in wait to ambush Pavlov and his apprentices—they can aid you in taking down the Head Demonologist if they want manaCause if Pavlov returns and the floor is empty, we're gonna have the entire Tower on and up our ass in no time.Another reason for this is that lack of Head Demonologist will make investigating what happened tonight much harder. And if we let him live, he will easily figure out something shady happened, since his pet guardian broke the pact and someone disabled the military-grade traps in here.We really need the fucker dead.
>>5101365>>Lay in wait to ambush Pavlov and his apprentices—they can aid you in taking down the Head Demonologist if they want mana>Specifically, utilize your magical talent, Chika and Alhazred's unique skills, and advice from the guardian to invert the traps you've disabled so they blast Pavlov
>>5101534>>5101570I'll tentatively +1 these (assuming it doesn't set off our plausible deniability friend/lacky, in which I'd -1 until we set up our pack with her), but I'd like to keep things as nonlethal as possible, to use their knowledge and possessed bodies for the other floors.
Rolled 19, 17, 14, 3, 10, 13 = 76 (6d20)>>5101390>>5101477>>5101570>>5101870“Infiltratorss, would you help me plan a little ssurprise for a friend?” you ask..“I certainly hope you don’t mean anything dangerous to my master, to whom I am pledged to offer lethal protection,” remarks the demonic guardian with a yawn.“Obviousssly not, no,” you lie casually. “I’d never do anything to jeopardize our sstatuss as friends and alliess to the Demonologisst Pavolv.”“Good,” says the demonologist’s pet, returning to its seat and its (her?_ reading. You get the feeling it doesn’t believe you but, evidently, this counts as due diligence. You maintain your disruptive glamour nevertheless, just to play it safe.“Here’s the plan,” you continue, beckoning Alhazred and Chika closer and switching to your native tongue once more.>Specifically, utilize your magical talent, Chika and Alhazred's unique skills, and advice from the guardian to invert the traps you've disabled so they blast PavlovYou pet little Hirschel soothingly as you explain your plant to hoist the enemy by his own petard. The drake croaks and narrows his eyes, fixing the feathers which your touch musses anew, but he does not move from your shoulder. Alhazred strokes his thin beard, while Chika nods along, looking like a deer in the light of a hunter’s lantern at times as you and the well-read Alhazred exchange more technical, magical ideas for how to recalibrate the traps to target humans.“One problem exists with this plan,” Alhazred says softly.Chika grimaces, catching on. “WE are humans, in part.”A shameful silence falls over you three half-breeds at this unfortunate truth. However, you quickly brighten, clapping both of them on the shoulders. “But not entirely. We’re better, smarter. Superior to even the highborn mammals. We can avoid setting off our own traps, surely?”And so the three of you set about laying tripwires, modifying sigils and setting them to renewed activity. The lurking shadows of a dozen powerful demons watch you, licking at spectral lips like a pack of ravening wolves. The demon at the table—you need to think of something to call it/her, besides its/her true name—pays you little heed, as if to avoid noticing any activity which she’d (it’d) need to do something about.[4d20 for arcane studies, DC reduced to 12 thanks to previous experience and Alhazred's aid. Chika has 2d20 for trapmaking and setting.]
>>5101893Your uncanny skill—‘And luck,’ Irinnile interrupts your thought.—secures your victory yet again. Or, rather, it allows you to set and reset all manner of magical and mundane traps without any injury or failure, and with great speed and stealth. You cannot help but scoff a little at Chika’s work, which is altogether less arcane—she brought several deadly yet compact mechanisms along, clever mechanisms of Southerly design. The tripwires may trigger arrows tipped with deadly venom, while a toothy-looking mechanism set upon the ceiling by a dangling cord threatens to drop down like a descending fury to bite off the head of a foolhardy traveler down these dark halls. However, the hallway offers little opportunity for strategic placement where they cannot be seen, unless you are to actively push or lure humans into them.“Our work was most excellent,” you comment, referring primarily to that of yourself and Alhazred.“Agreed,” the green-eyed Infiltrator concurs. “Especially yours. I have never known another of our caste to know such magic, let alone such an array of disparate disciplines. Tamer of demons, destroyer and recreator of wards, artist of illusionary arts… It is quite the arsenal at your disposal.”“You flatter for diplomatic purposes,” you say with a smile, adjusting your hair slightly to hide some embarrassment. “I have spent much time studying.”“As have I,” he remarks. “Stolen tomes… Human and otherwise. Even Reptilian.”You raise your eyebrows at this last remark. Does Alhazred hint at having read something of the Serpent Priests’ magic? It would be—‘Kinda’ hot, in a bad-boy way?’ Irinnile suggests.—Heretical.‘Fooey,’ the succubus pouts. ‘All this magicking is gettin’ my appetite up, too…’<WANT: 15>
>>5101928You have little time to probe Alhazred (in either your intended sense of the word or how Irinnile gleefully interprets it), for it is only a short while later that you hear footsteps approaching. You duck into the darkness around a pre-scouted hallways, your infiltrators at your side and Hirschel crouching into the nook of your neck, wings tucked tight. The demons dutifully fade from corporeal reality and into some adjunct half-way space between, save the one at the table, who looks up and blows a strand of hair from her face with a huff. You can only hope she does not have any undetected compulsion to reveal your presence…As for Pavolv, you instantly reocgnzie him from the Magus Auctor’s memories. He has cruel eyes, a pallid complexion, sunken eyes and stony expression. He looks… Displeased. At either side of him is a young human—male and female, cowed by his presence. Before him, on a chain, strides an unmistakable creature: a hound of hell, black and terrible, with burning coals for eyes and a massive long maw only vaguely resembling an earthly canid’s. It sniffs the air and whines—not a dog’s whine, but a shrill whistle, like escaping steam and the wails of children.“Something is wrong,” the Head Demonologist says…>19But too late for his assistants. The traps go off, instantly one in ice before he can so much as scream. The girl, SHE screams, but as she stumbles back she sets off the tripwire, and only narrowly evades the snapping jaws of Chika’s trap. However, it catches her hat, and the hair underneath. She cries out again, cursing and pulling at her hair in frantic desperation. The shades demons are upon her in seconds, like so many flies upon a carcass. A carcass, she soon becomes.Alerted by his hellhound, the Head Demonologist is able to erect a defensive barrier in time to batter back a sigil’s blasted lighting, and to reflect it into the demons. Several of them recoil back into the shadows, looking only slightly more substantial for the divvied-up mana of the girl-mage. Her body is practically exploded and immolated by the redirected bolt of electrical energy, but he pays neither of his apprentices any heed.“Siz-Gamid, you slothful creature!” he bellows. “Where are you?!”You jump a little at the sound of the true-name of the demon at the table—the one reading its/her book. You could tell in your earlier confrontation that a direct blow from that creature’s limbs would have likely been near-fatal to you, and would instantly have ended either of your allies… And the demon is yet pact-bound. None of your other demon allies are strong enough to strike down a master demonologist.Oh, and there’s the hellhound, standing as snarling sentinel between you and Pavlov.
>>5101930‘His barrier’s flickering, though,’ Irinnile whispers. ‘Should we go for it, before he, ya’ know, reinforces it or whatever?’You’re surprised at her bravery.‘I just don’t wanna’ be this sadist’s little plaything like Siz over there, or all those suckers in the wall!’ she protests. ‘I’m still down to just, like, run away, too.’What do you do?>Draw your dagger, dodge the hellhound, smash through the barrier, and assassinate this mage>Send Chika and Alhazred to distract the hellhound while you use magic to defeat the mage’s magic—unweave the barrier and turn the traps upon him>Sacrifice some mana (and increase WANT) to power up your demon entourage, and sic them upon the mage and his mutt>Try to interrupt the mage’s command over Siz-Gamid with a hurried work of illusion>Use the chaos to escape
>>5101931>Draw your dagger, dodge the hellhound, smash through the barrier, and assassinate this mage>Send Chika and Alhazred to distract the hellhound while you use magic to defeat the mage’s magic—unweave the barrier and turn the traps upon him>Try to interrupt the mage’s command over Siz-Gamid with a hurried work of illusion
>>5101931>Draw your dagger, dodge the hellhound, smash through the barrier, and assassinate this mage>Mesmetize and stab the houndWe're immune to fire, they aren't.>Try to interrupt the mage’s command over Siz-Gamid with a hurried work of illusionIf we kill him then she has nothing left to protect, right?>19 didn't kill himdamn, the spike in difficulty
>>5101931>Draw your dagger, dodge the hellhound, smash through the barrier, and assassinate this mage>Try to interrupt the mage’s command over Siz-Gamid with a hurried work of illusion
>>5102062>>5102108>>5102265This is a fairly split-second combat decision. You can't do all of these simultaneously. Should I take these to have been listed in order of priority, so that your initial course of action is...>Draw your dagger, dodge the hellhound, smash through the barrier, and assassinate this mage?>>5102108>damn, the spike in difficultyThese are boss-level confrontations. A single failure or success barring a crit, isn't going to win or lose the day.
>>5101931>Draw your dagger, dodge the hellhound, smash through the barrier, and assassinate this mage
>>5102279I (>>5102108) basically wanted to>stab the mage>stab the dog>try to stop Siz before it absolutely rapes usFelt like we could chain these, but if we can't, then stab the edgy cuck first.No reason to waste demons on this fucker as he knows every single one of them.
Rolled 18, 17, 16, 19, 1, 7, 6 = 84 (7d20)>>5102307>>5102324>>5102108>>5102062[Alright! 4d20 to breach the barrier, DC 12. 3d20 melee combat, DC 15 to get past the hellhound, DC 17 to assassinate the demonologist in one fell swoop. If you fail to breach the barrier, the DC to fend off the hellhound is 15, 18 to defeat it. Will post when I can.]
>>5102358looks like we're breaching but getting mauleddamn the head demonologist can throw handswe got too cocky snekbros
>>5102358You draw your enchanted dagger, the frost icing the tip automatically as you grip the hilt—it seems to be activated by the touch of your lifeforce, or perhaps even by your killing intent. The intent IS there, and so is the capability. You are trained Infiltrator, a martial artist and experienced (sort of) assassin! This man, this ‘demonologist’, is... What? A forty-year old scholar? A balding, pointy-hatted bookworm, past his unenviable physical prime. You are a demon-powered Reptilian killing machine. You’ve got this! You lunge forward, sprinting in for the quick kill like the ambush predator you are. The hellhound sees you instantly and, following the pact which no doubt binds it even as Pavlov has lost his grip on the beast’s physical chain, the demon dog moves to intercept your course. No matter—you are already almost at the barrier. When Head Demonologist Pavlov falls, so shall his command of these sundry entities be broken! You reach the barrier, focusing all your mystical energies into the palm of your empty off-hand even as you ready the dagger in your dominant one. You close your eyes, focus upon the already half-formed enchantment that has erected the glowing blue barricade of solidifed mana, and... >19 Break it! It unravels like string, dispersing into utter nothingness. The crowd of demons cheer and jeer from their half-reality as you close the distance with their jailer, all of them clamoring for his death and their liberation. You are an instrument of fate and consequence, the Dark Gods’ reminder of man’s hubris! You grin a dark grin, the thirst for blood filling you as you meet the man’s eyes, coveting the fear and death that will soon overtake his expression... >1 ‘He don’t look afraid,’ Irinnile notes nervously.
>>5102515She’s right. The smug confidence in this man’s expression is almost enough to give you pause. It doesn’t stop you, not actually... But then, you suppose it doesn’t need to, for a sudden explosion of pain and vertigo does a fine job of achieving the same effect. “Wh-what?!” you cry, staggering back and falling to your knees as Pavlov strides forward. ‘It’s... Oh fuck, he’s got some kinda’ charm!’ Irinnile cries, writhing and thrashing inside you. ‘Oh shit, oh fuck, this hurts so fucking... Unnghh!' She isn’t wrong. You feel the same pain Irinnile feels as whatever array of anti-demon protections this master of occultism has adorned himself with send wave after wave of agony and nausea through you both. You feel as if you’re being torn asunder, from the inside out—like your very organs are thrashing about inside you, your viscera trying to pull itself free, and your brain is being shaken about by the internal struggle. “Do you think you are the first little minion some ambitious demon has sent here?” the demonologist asks. It’s obviously rhetorical, for he continues: “You’re not. You all make the same amateur mistake: coming to rely on these abominations. Forgetting that they are TOOLS, WEAPONS, and above all... LIABILITIES.” Head Demonologist Pavlov looks down his nose at you. You glare back, struggling to rise, to strike at him... But whatever lead you had on the hellhound is long gone. Massive paws, more like grasping hands, grab your shoulders and sink deep into your already-tortured flesh.
>>5102517Your face is smashed into the stone blocks of the floor with such force that you feel your nose collapse and your teeth loosen; the added pain is hardly even noticeable in light of all you are already feeling, and at least those injuries are beginning to mend. Not so for those inflicted by the hellhound’s claws, which clearly are magical enough to bypass Irinnile’s protections. “Another lost soul, to be banished to the same confinement as the demon you foolishly make yoru bed with,” Pavlov tuts. Then, he looks up and calls out: “Siz-Gamid! To me, NOW!” You cannot so much as turn your head to look towards the demon-woman—not with the hellhound’s burning breath so close to your throat, and its teeth likely as magical as its talons--but you can hear its footfalls. Siz-Gamid's human guise has especially high heels. What you don’t hear is any sound of a struggle with Alhazred or Chika. Perhaps, still playing your game of loopholes, Siz-Gamid has failed to capture these other threats? And what of your pet drake—where is Hirschel? He necessarily left your shoulder when you dove in for the kill, but he can’t have gone far... 'But what are they gonna’ do against two demons and THIS fucker?’ Irinnile wails. ‘We’re fucked, Lispy! We’re fucked, and BAD!’ What do you do? >Try to struggle free, and then to attack>try to struggle free, and then to withdraw>Call out to Hirschel to attack [specify a target: the hound, or the demonologist] >Signal Chika and Alhazred to attack—perhaps they’ll get lucky, or at the very least create a distraction and draw fire >Sic the half-formed demons upon their jailer >Negotiate your way out of this, hinting at your incubus benefactors and secrets you will share in exchange for leniency >Write-in
>>5102518>Try to struggle free, and then to attack>Sic the half-formed demons upon their jailerAll we can do really.
>>5102518Fuck it, adding>Call out to Hirschel to attack [Demonologist]if at all possible.I'm just gonna hope that our luck hasn't turned yet.
>>5102518>Sic the half-formed demons upon their jailerHopefully our two mundane allies get a chance to off him in the chaos
>>5102518>Call out to Hirschel to attack the houndHumans have low chances against it and I bet Pavlov has fire protection so this drake wouldn't do much against him.>Signal Chika and Alhazred to attack—perhaps they’ll get lucky, or at the very least create a distraction and draw fireHopefully Chika has something useful in her pockets. Or maybe they'll just hurl the fucker into traps.>Sic the half-formed demons upon SizThis is extra in case we can still use Irinnile to communicate with demons.It's do or die.
>>5102523>>5102540>>5102581>>5102610[So far, you seem to be leaning towards commanding Hirschel and the demons to attack, but we have disagreement on what other steps to take, and who to target. I'll wait to see if we can get a majority decision by the time I am ready to go to bed and, if we don't have one by then, I'll set them upon their default targets: the demonologist]
>>5102610+1 to this, seems like a good call.
Rolled 18, 17, 7, 13, 7, 1, 2 = 65 (7d20)>>5102940>>5102610>>5102581>>5102540>>5102523[Alright! It seems you have a plan, albeit with a divided focus for the demon’s target. As such, I’m compromising with…]>Call out to Hirschel to attack the hound[1d20. DC 15 to distract, 18 to wound, 20 to actually seriously injure; the hellhound, as a demon, also resists flame and is difficult to harm with mundane means.]>Sic the half-formed demons upon Siz & Pavlov[4d20; 2d20 against Siz with a DC 15, 2d20 against Pavlov with a DC 15 to distract, 18 to harm, 20 to kill.]>Signal Chika and Alhazred to attack—perhaps they’ll get lucky, or at the very least create a distraction and draw fire[1d20 each; DC 16 against the hellhound if Hirschel doesn’t have it distracted or incapacitated, DC 15 against Pavlov. If they both get at least a 14 and the hellhound is distracted, I’ll give them a bonus for teamwork.]
>>5103007Well, I hope Chika is just critically wounded here. Glad to know that us struggling or Hirshel attacking Pavlov could've worked well, but hot damn do the dice gods have it out for the reptilians here.
>>5103007yeah we really shouldn't have split the demons between siz and pavlovpavlov was the lynchpin, we needed to hard focus him
>>5103023Funny shit is that the majority vote before >>5102908 was in favor of sicing the demons on their jailer, and >>5102940 only seemed to tie that vote, not flip it into the majority like >>5103007 here indicated.
“Any last words, while you have a tongue, a mouth, a FACE to speak them?” Pavlov asks, taunting you with a certain amount of almost perverse anticipation.“Three,” you whisper.“Hm?” he murmurs, leaning forward. He fears you so little he does not even try to avoid proximity; no wonder, for his drawing closer only serves to harm you. “Speak up. This is for posterity.”“Hirschel,” you hiss. “Alhazred. Chika. Now!”“That was four,” the human male corrects with a scoff. “And anyway, what does—”He gets no time to finish the question, for your glamorous little pet is already launching itself down from the ceiling, where it had been clinging unnoticed. Hirschel the Drake explodes into golden brilliance, startling the hellhound into an unearthly cry… Which in turn moves its attention from you, and its mouth from your shoulder.>18The divebomb’s impact hits far above Hirschel’s weight-class. The hellhound, nearly five times the feathery drake’s weight, is bowled over, its claws ripped from your blood-drenched shoulders. The hound makes a sound that is very nearly a yelp, snapping and slashing at the drake ineffectually as the much smaller chimeric creature evades the demon-dog’s ungainly limbs and bites over and over at its throat and what passes for its face. Though the fiery heat of the tiny dragonling has no effect, it seems to imbue its natural weapons with the requisite magic to harm a demon—amazing!“Wait, I recognize that,” Pavlov mutters, stepping back and beginning to erect a barricade of magic once more. “From the Gala, one of the chimericists’ public projects. How did you—AH!”
>>5103047Again, the Head Demonologist finds his questions (rhetorical or otherwise) interrupted by a supernatural ally—or, rather, a spectral horde of them. The half-formed, wavering shapes of a half-dozen long-jailed and long-suffering demons descend upon the mage who imprisoned and abused them. A wave of Pavlov’s hand and a flash of energy is enough to scatter them, but not to destroy, disperse, or banish them. Harried as he is, Pavlov is unable to form a physical barrier at first—he is driven to retreat, despite his charm, as the sheer number of demons threatens to overwhelm his defences!“Siz-Gamid!” he howls. “Do something, you useless creature!”Siz-Gamid sighs, hanging her head and allowing the blonde locks of her human form to hang before her eyes. She takes a deep breath and begins to swell and warp once more, begrudgingly following her master’s command. The pact remains, and so it is that a great, size-limbed ogre of a demon quickly enters the fray on Pavlov’s behalf.The shapeless demons swirl about this singular, more robust and materially-bound one, holding Siz-Gamid’s attention as it swipes at them with claws and gnashes at them with teeth. It sucks in deeply, inhaling entire clouds of demonic energy, threatening to swallow up all they are… But, beset like a single eagle by many crows, Siz-Gamid cannot seem to focus long enough to complete the process. In fact, you think you see a few of the shadow-like demons growing more material, more definite, while Siz-Gamid begins to shrink and waste away as if rapidly starving.>17, 13The great demonic defender of this place is distracted, losing form an substance even as it desperately tries to invert the flow of demonic power… But Siz-Gamid’s intervention is enough to draw all but a few of the less-powerful demons from assailing the demonologist. Without the full brunt of their assault, Pavlov’s hidden charm and mystical arts are more than sufficient to seal, banish, or blast away the remaining spectres that torment him. So it is, that, when Chika and Alhazred draw their knives and charge down the hallway towards him to flank the mage, they do not find a weakened or distracted opponent.No, they face the full focus and fury of a sorcerer’s spite.
>>5103048>2“ENOUGH!” Pavlov roars, eyes aglow with power. He waves his hand in a quick circular motion, turns the gesture into a spiralling one, and the chain which once held his hellhound detaches from the distracted dog-like demon to wrap and springs upon the two operatives. Chika ducks, dodging it, but Alhazred is hit with the full weight of the cold iron, which coils about him like (ironically) a serpent. He is utterly entangled, and the force of the impact hurls him into the wall. Alhazred is dazed, immobilized, and has dropped his weapon—he is effectively out of the fight, unless you can stall for time.But poor Alhazred, oh, he seems lucky compared to Chika. The female Degenerate Infiltrator scrambles to her feet, but finds herself face to face with Pavlov, who has swept forwards with surprising speed to close the distance. Her eyes widen with a sudden panic, and she swings her blade in a lethal arc…>1…An arc that never finds its completion, for the mage strikes first. His palm finds her face, his other hand drawing a quick squiggle in the air. You recognize its generalities even from where you still kneel: a spell of mortal sacrifice, and of demonic summoning. Chika opens her mouth as if to scream, but what emerges in no human or Reptilian sound, nor anything of this material realm. It is a howl of a soul being torn asunder and fed to the void. Her skin greys as if aged or diseased, her skin shrivels and rips and then is sucked… Inward. All of her implodes to a single point, and then is snatched up by something unseen… And swallowed whole, never to been seen again.Chika is not dead. She is WORSE than dead.And now… Now, Head Demonologist Pavlov is looking back at you. You don’t even have your suicide venom to swallow, to spare yourself what awaits you.What do you do?>Weave a distracting illusion and flee towards the fourth floor—you must complete your mission, and with Alhazred to perhaps buy you time, you can regenerate your wounds>Snatch up your frost dagger from the floor and attempt to strike the Demonologist down in one final, desperate bid>Surrender, and place yourself at Pavlov’s mercy; maybe diplomacy can yet buy you precious time, even victory?>Scramble to free Alhazred—together, maybe you can take him >Abort the mission—cloak yourself in shadow and leave the Tower while you still can>Write-in
>>5102523>>5102540Demons to attack jailer, with other elements>>5102581Demons on jailer (2)>>5102610>Demons on Siz, Hirschel on hound, Degenerates to do what they can[A slight lean to demons attacking jailer, but no clear majority consensus on what the general approach should be; would have probably had demons attack Pavlov, Hirschel attack either hound or Pavlov (with a roll to determine which), Degenerates would have been caught up with unoccupied Siz, while you would have maybe faced a hellhound alone.]>>5102940[This vote solidified targets for Hirschel, but divided up the focus of the demonic horde. As you're about to see, that actually cleared the way for Chika and Alhazred to target the lynchpin, while keeping all other heat off of you. Of course, with their poor rolls, they wouldn’t have fared well either way, but I don’t know that scenario one would have placed you in a better position. The 17 that worked on Siz-Gamid would have failed to find purchase agaisnt the better-protected Pavlov, so you would still be facing him in all likelihood, just with EITHER a hellhound still tearing at your flesh and soul and a small chimera-drake attacking Pavlov as well, OR in the exact same scenario but with Siz ready to move on you.]
>>5103050>Snatch up your frost dagger from the floor and attempt to strike the Demonologist down in one final, desperate bidDo or die.>>5103052I just baffled that no one voted to help with the general assault, as we're clearly the only heavyweight here. I feel like we've wasted our element of surprise and numbers advantage doing nothing but watch our reptilian allies get fucking wrecked. I don't want to doompost, but I'm starting to get worried about our chances.
>>5103087>no one voted to help with the general assault[The upside is nobody targeted you, which they would likely have done if you'd moved. You might have been the one spiritually-imploded, potentially.]
>>5103118I would that being in mortal danger would lower our DC, but being spiritually imploded would've been a real sour anti-climax, not gonna lie.
>>5103050>Snatch up your frost dagger from the floor and attempt to strike the Demonologist down in one final, desperate bidFucking hell.Rip Chika.>>5103087>no one voted to help with the general assaultI can't speak for others, but to me it seemed that we had limited options after getting totally fucking raped by Pavlov's spell and with the hound biting us into the floor.Couldn't tell if struggling wouldn't take up precious time and come with severe disadvantage after all the damage we suffered and being pinned down. Hell, wasn't even sure if calling 3 actions was possible, but given the shittiness of the situation I decided to give it a shot, obviously.tl;dr: took guaranteed support over gambling with votes
[A personal crisis has occurred, but I took the day off work as a result. I will still endeavour to post.]
>>5103050>Weave a distracting illusion and flee towards the fourth floor—you must complete your mission, and with Alhazred to perhaps buy you time, you can regenerate your woundsThis encounter got pretty fucked, let's try reengaging on better terms
>>5103373Shit man, I'm sorry to hear that. I hope things turn out for the better. Don't update if you don't feel like it.
>>5103500I don't mind trying to pull some illusion magic to help us kill him, but we cannot let him leave here alive.
>>5103515A suicide attack ends with him leaving here alive and us also dead.
>>5103552And us leaving allows for him to call in reinforcements while interrogating Alhazred and recontaining our demon backup.It's a shitty situation we're in, but we do ourselves no favors by retreating and letting the enemy recoup and receive reinforcements.
>>5103593I think I'm gonna stick with the option that lets us regroup and recover as well, instead of risking everything from a losing position.
>>5103671We're already risking everything by trying to continue the mission, and any R&R efforts will be subpar in comparison to our enemy's R&R. We'll only be digging our grave deeper, not getting out of it. I choose to attack from our desperate position because if retreat, our position will only get worse, not better.Just wanted to make my point clear on this before you continue your stance on retreating.
>>5103770How do you know for sure that our position will only get worse? We've found more stuff in this tower than we're found over the rest of the quest. Sure, backing off now and hoping we'll run across something is a slim hope, but pressing the attack is even slimmer and has worse consequences for failure.
>>5103861The problem isn't coming across something, the problem is the Tower Magi waking up and locking down everything while being aware of our demonic nature. Hell, they've got our face now- the pin on the grenade is pulled, and we either shove the pin back into the hole or we will get blown up when our time runs out. It's do or die, and if we don't do now, we'll just die later.
Rolled 6, 9, 19 = 34 (3d20)>>5103087>>5103242>>5103500>The Dagger>DC 17, due to the repulsive sensation of the anti-demon charm
>>5103919Oh thank the Dark Gods, I was afraid that we'd start out the New Year on a sad note.
>>5103919You entire body trembles with pain. But is it pain?No…With loss, maybe—these Degenerates, the first of your mixed caste you have ever encountered are almost, ALMOST like siblings to you, insofar as you even understand the concept. Chika… You could see yourself in her eyes when the darkness claimed her.No…With fear. You are trembling because you are afraid you are about to die.This could very well be the end. Your gaze settles upon the floor as you fully understand that. Pavlov is winded, his mana reserves low, his lackeys obliterated or otherwise engaged…But you’re in even worse shape.Your arms are weak, head woozy with bloodloss and the residual hangover of that damned, blessed charm the demonologist carries beneath his robes. You loo up at him, not meeting his gaze but glaring at his body. If only, if ONLY, you could sense it… But charms do not typically radiate magic. They are reactive, a protection against fell magics, but not a projecting force. You cannot sense them.‘Wait, Lispy…’You squint a little more. There IS something, SOMETHING there beneath the robes. You can’t quite make it out at first, its aura fuzzy and unclear as if dampened but…‘Occultism,’ you and Irinnile say as one.Head Demonologist Pavlov has dwelled in darkness too long. His charm, that oppressive projector of purest pain, is no holy relic or protective enchantments. Nothing of that ilk could endure the forces washing over it in this dark pit of cursed relics and demonic forces. No, Pavlov has crafted it using tools of the trade—some fascinating and brilliant inversion of the circle that keeps a demon in, but projecting its fundamental spell-workings outwards to inflict the agony of a broken pact upon any demon which moves to strike him. It works on different principles.It works on principles you can detect!You take up your dagger, and Pavlov moves into some rudimentary fighting stance. This mage is no untrained combatant, but your brief skirmish has taught you much of his rather unimpressive martial art. It is some form of defensive casting, focusing on dodging and deflecting blows in order to create openings for his devastating spells. It projects little force, makes no forward motion. It will flounder against an opponent who retreats at an opportune moment, and enters into the guarded area within his reach. You just need to bait and dodge one spell.‘Babe… Are you sure?’ Irinnile asks. ‘We can just, like, weave an illusion. We can run!’‘We can’t,’ you say. ‘If we retreat, they know my face.’‘We can CHANGE your face, Lispy!’‘They will know I am Kamunu, Ismena,’ you reply. ‘I would need to start from scratch’‘We already have that half-orc identity though, remember? Zithra, ‘member? Remember dickin’ down goblins, babe?’‘Edwin will know no peace,’ you say. ‘Nor will Madam Mina.’‘Babe…’
>>5104018‘We end this here and now,’ you assert. ‘Lend me your energy.’Irinnile protests no further. Through concerted will and demonic magic, you mend the shredded flesh and tendons of your shoulder blades. It takes more effort than is usual—the effect of damage rendered by a fellow demon, you suppose.<WANT: 16>You circle, waiting for Pavlov to begin his somatic component of his next spell. He doesn’t disappoint. With you maintaining your range, you ensure it will be no demoniac implosion, such as took Chika. No, he begins to manifest a ranged spell. You follow his hand movements, identifying it as a spell of cold and frost—sensible, against one such as you, playing host to a fireproof denizen of the underworld. You make a show of widening you eyes, beginning to turn and flee…>19But when Head Demonologist Pavlov thrusts his hand forward to direct the cone of cold, you instead donkey-kick his wrist, willing Irinnile to manifest a long stiletto blade from your foot. It extends like a rapier, piercing the man’s wrist and forcing his hand up. The cone balsts and freezes the ceiling, not you. The demonologist cries out in pain and outrage.The pain of his charm spills over you.You vomit in your mouth, but you swallow it back. You force your rattled mind to quiet, to soothe itself as you did so many times on dak, lonely nights following training or abuse in your youth. You shut down the pain, compartmentalize it, store it away. You feel Irinnile’s arms, spectral but warm, around you, holding you together even as the same spell-effect threatens to undo everything that she is.‘Soulbound,’ she whispers. ‘We’re in this together.’You whirl about, staring daggers at Pavlov and snarling like a tiger. Your eyes, once more, are not on his startled and confused face, his arrogant expression of shock that you could even resist him. No, they flit over it in passing, and settle upon that damned charm. You withdraw your stiletto heel, reforming your foot once more into a more typical shape, and with your dagger you trust downward. It’s an amateur attack, easily blocked by someone faster, younger, better trained for close-quarters combat…But Pavlov is none of those things and, if he has the training to block the blow, you are too quick and fast, and he is too disoriented by your uncanny resistance of his anti-demon aura. Your dagger comes down and strikes him in the chest.In the charm, smashing it with an audible tinkle.Stabbing through… Into his heart.
>>5104021The hellhound he once commanded leaps up, jumping away from little Hirschel, who stands with feathers fluffed up, rattling angrily, the drake’s mouth full of ectoplasmic skin.Siz-Gamid falls prostrate, assuming its human-girl guide again as if in surrender, and pleads for mercy: “Call off the demons! It’s done! He’s dead!”You breath deeply, and look down into that now-locked expression of surprise, pain, and dismay. Siz-Gamid is right: Pavlov, Head Demonologist of the Third Sublevel of the Hawksong Mages’ Tower… Is dead.What do you do with his soul?>Capture it and feed it to Irinnile, to reduce your WANT>Feed it to one of the demons in your command [Siz? The Hellhound? The most powerful or useful prisoner from the shapeless mass?]>Offer the mage a pact, as the incubus made a pact with dead Lady Zivic, and thus increase Irinnile’s prestige [what conditions do you assign to the pact?]>Let his soul pass—he was a worthy foe, and you have other matters to attend to>Attempt to destroy or unravel it out of spite, sacrificing it to The Dark GodsWhat do you do next (keeping in mind that multiple choices mean more chance of reinforcements arriving)?>Rouse Alhazred—you still need him>Send the horde of demons upstream, to harass and hold at bay any Tower Guardian mages headed this way>Seek out cursed artefacts you can use>seek out an infirmary—there must be one, and likely healing potions which could prove invaluable if you can locate it>Speak with Siz-Gamid or the other demons, to learn what they know about this place and the floors below>Pet/Reward Hirschel>Head down to the fourth level, where the chimeras, the Head Chimericist, and the dwarven defence project await[Write-ins are acceptable for either vote.]>>5103963[Honestly, I think I would have been crushed if you guys got my planned, patented Bad End (TM) tonight of all nights.]
>>5104022Welp, good thing we rolled a 19 because I was right about the bad end being lined up on a fail.>Feed it to one of the demons in your command [Siz? The Hellhound? The most powerful or useful prisoner from the shapeless mass?]Siz, and in exchange it holds off any pursuers>Rouse Alhazred—you still need him
>>5104022>Offer the mage a pact, as the incubus made a pact with dead Lady Zivic, and thus increase Irinnile’s prestige [He will live, akin to Zivic, but as a slave to our will, and his knowledge becomes ours]Imagine if we had that charm or something similar as insurance against Zivic. Pavlov's knowledge is invaluable to us.>Seek out cursed artefacts you can use>Speak with Siz-Gamid or the other demons, to learn what they know about this place and the floors below>Head down to the fourth level, where the chimeras, the Head Chimericist, and the dwarven defence project awaitHave the demons carry Alhazred while we move onwards, we can talk and pet Hirschel while we're on our way down.
>>5104022>Capture it and feed it to Irinnile, to reduce your WANTWe need energy for next floor and mending. Don't want any pacts with this trash.>Rouse Alhazred—you still need himYup. Tell him to take Pavlov's charm, it might be useful.>Speak with Siz-Gamid or the other demons, to learn what they know about this place and the floors belowand>Ask SIZ about cursed artefacts you can use and an infirmarywhile>Petting HirschelTrying to not waste time here.Question: did lack/presence of charm decide Chika's and Alhazred's fate?Hope things get better soon QM.
>>5104097+1, don't leave Alhazred behind.I would've been so crushed about Bad Ending it here, don't even want to elaborate on it further, and just wish everyone a Happy New Year in 2022.>>5104501I think the shit rolls done more to decide their fate than any charm. For supposedly trained degenerates, I would hope that they'd be slightly better than a Bo1, especially considering that we got our ass handed to us by a miniboss instead of the main course that around the corner. I never felt so underprepared and outclassed for this mission, and we're arguably at the height of our power right now.
>>5104600May I ask why do you want to leave Alhazred unconscious? He's the brains here.Also I'd much rather take the +3-5 uses of demon power and healing to full before floor that is likely going to be even WORSE than what we just went through over inquiring that cripple about charm we'll never use or trying to twist Incubus' nipples with disregard for the danger up ahead that might kill us for good.Besides, we can figure out how the Demonologist's charm was constructed with the help from the degenerate and/or Bianchi.>I think the shit rolls done more to decide their fate than any charm.S'cuse me anon, cause I don't mean to be a twat, but you can't give definite answer to that question. I was just asking QM for his background thinking after I realized that the spell used on Chika was likely demonic in nature and that rolling 2 could've very easily been fatal for Alhazred instead of just knocking him out. That got me wondering if the charm he wore had anything to do with it.>I would hope that they'd be slightly better than a Bo1Actually valid logic, but I don't mind gamey things like followers having simplified rolls/limited capacity. Unless they've grown on me.>I never felt so underprepared and outclassed for this mission, and we're arguably at the height of our power right now.OP is going full D&D after 8 underbaked breads. While I don't have much to say about it, I wish the change wasn't so bold and obvious. I think it also took us by surprise and didn't allow to change the thinking from careless "we can totally take Felman out and fix our horrible mistakes in span of 2 updates while suffering no losses" to "oh fuck, we need to roll between 18-20 and also what can we do to avoid direct confrontation at all cost and use items we gained to exploit this faggot's weaknesses?"I actually wonder if the demon dungeon was normal or hard mode, since we passed everything with crit wins.
>>5104022>>Capture it and feed it to Irinnile, to reduce your WANT>Rouse Alhazred—you still need him>Speak with Siz-Gamid or the other demons, to learn what they know about this place and the floors below>Ask SIZ about cursed artefacts you can use and an infirmaryThe only bad end™ I want to see is as an alternate addendum to the good end™
>>5104501>>5104600>>5104501[I try not to instantly off a follower or destroy an asset without either multiple failed rolls or a crit-fail; sometimes not even a crit-fail, depending on the circumstances. Chika only died because she rolled a 1. As to why neither of your Degens roll more than Bo1 in combat… Neither did YOU, until you trained up your martial skill. You brought a lock-and-trap specialist and a scholastic specialist, not a combat specialist; even he would only have had Bo2, though, because your NPCs aren’t going to overshadow the main character you’ve spent ¾ of a year leveling up and who is the protagonist of the story.][DCs on this floor were MOSTLY normal, with the heightened DCs in the boss battle were due to you notable disadvantages from being demon-possessed while facing people and facilities specifically calibrated to battle against demons. Over all, and I think this is fair, you can expect difficulty to be higher on average when infiltrating a high-security area of a government-sponsored research-and-defence facility versus screwing around with random city-slickers and businessmen, or attacking lone, low-to-mid-ranked police officers and criminals.>>5104093>Feed soul to Siz>Rouse Aalhazred>>5104097>Offer a pact>Seek out artefacts>Learn about this place>Head down>>5104501>Eat the soul>Rouse Alhazred>Learn about the place>Seek infirmary>Pet Hirschel>>5104600>Offer a pact>Seek out artefacts>Learn about this place>Head down>>5104822>Eat the soul>Rouse Alhazred>Learn about this place>Seek infirmary and cursed artefactsAveraging these out to:>Eat the soul (three votes for SOME demon to eat it, majority of THOSE for Irinnile to eat it)>Rouse Alhazred (majority)>Learn about this place[Writing!]
Rolled 4, 8 = 12 (2d20)>>5104844You snatch the ephemeral flicker of the (former) Head Demonologist’s soul out of the air and slurp it down with a satisfying tingle. Pavlov’s soul goes down surprisingly easy—like it was already used to a demon’s embrace. Perhaps it was, come to think of it.<WANT: 14>“Demonss,” you raise your voice, “leave the former guardian be.”They do so, begrudgingly, floating away from Siz-Gamid. You can tell that these assorted entities would rather be tearing apart this pet demon guardian apart to harvest its energies… But you had a deal and, more importantly, you need information.“Tell me what you know of thiss placce,” you command Siz-Gamid, standing over the demon’s unimpressive and by now haggard-looking blonde, humanoid form. “Thiss floor, and those below uss.”“Trading one boss for a new one?” Siz-Gamid mutters, lifting herself into a sitting position and flipping her hair up disdainfully.“Perhapsss,” you hiss, smirking, “but I am more fun, as bosssses go.”Regardless, Siz-Gamid quickly capitulates, for you have freed her, and you bear the symbol of a greater demon. As she describes it, the floor you are on is relatively small in terms of numbers of rooms, boasting one room for the storage of imprisoned-but-unbroken demons—those not bound by a pact, their true names unknown. There is a chamber for ‘interrogation’ to learn such, through torture. There are two labs which Siz-Gamid describes as being for ‘dissection, or necropsy’. Three further rooms are intended for training exercises and experimentation with demonic abilities… Or with cursed items, which have a long corridor of shelving units dedicated to them, and a room for their examination and restoration.“No infirmary?” you ask, your gaze flitting over unconscious Alhazred.“The necropsy rooms,” Siz-Gamid says. “They keep their medicines there, in case a demon’s corporeal form explodes into flame or melts a fleshling with acid.”Well, that might be worth a visit, but for now, you settle for rousing Alhazred yourself. The male Degenerate has a lump on his head from where it impacted the wall, and some chafing and bruising from the chains, but it doesn’t seem that his injuries go much deeper. Hopefully his brain has not been too rattled to be of use…[Rolling for medical skill, plus for Alhazred's natural tenacity]
Rolled 58 (1d100)>>5104853[Rolling for reinforcement chance (low)]
>>5104858The Reptilian does not rouse, despite your best efforts. He’s not dead, just… Unconscious. You extract him from the chains, cowing the demon inside them with your conquest of its master and with the incubus’ symbol, and it slithers to Siz-Gamid, who pets it idly upon the collar which serves as de facto head while she watches you.No reinforcements have yet arrived. Perhaps your incursion ahs still gone unnoticed? The fourth floor, and your true mission… They call to you. But Alhazred would be a most useful ally. An extra pair of hands, a keen mind, an aptitude for disabling wards… You may have need of him, conscious.What do you do?>Visit the Infirmary, grab a potion for Alazhred, and get out>Send your new demonic allies to go head off any reinforcements, and do a more thorough exploration of this floor>Screw it, have Siz-Gamid carry Alhazred, and descend to the fourth floor—you will tarry no longer here>Write-in
>>5104861>Visit the Infirmary, grab a potion for Alazhred, and get out>Reinforce the anti-human wards again, empowering them with demonic substance- you've done it once before, it should be possible again>Set the demons, except for Siz-Gamid, in an ambush for anyone who passes this way
>>5104886To clarify, I'd like us to first get Alhazred up, then set the traps again and emplace the demons, and then head down to the next floor.
>>5104675>May I ask why do you want to leave Alhazred unconscious?Because taking time to wake him up would risk further reinforcements, and while his brains are useful, he's hardly the brains of this operation.Demon pack is more personal taste, Pavlov's knowledge of the occult was invaluable, and that anons decided to eat it instead of the other patrol mages that we may face? Just a tragedy of opportunity-cost.>but you can't give definite answer to that questionAnon, it was the rolls that save him and ate Chika.
>>5104861>Visit the Infirmary, grab a potion for Alazhred and us, and get out.>If there's a cusred artifact that calls out to us, grab it on the way out.If resetting >>5104886's anti-human wards won't take too much time, I would support it. Otherwise, we should stop wasting our time and move on.
>>5104861>>5104861>Have Siz-Gamid carry Alhazred, and descend to the fourth floor while you swing by the infirmary and grab as may potions as you can conveniently carry before catching up
[There will be an update today, but maybe late. Verified I was getting divorced last night, hanging with a bud to clear my head.]
>>5104974Best of luck with it, man. The quest is enjoyable but life is important too.
>>5104974I'm sorry to hear that. If you need a break, take it. I'm sure the others won't mind if you do.
>>5104844Holy shit, this is what happens when we don't get autistic enough.Thanks for all the answers, QM. I do enjoy understanding mechanics and behind-the-curtains rules.
>>5104861>>Visit the Infirmary, grab a potion for Alazhred, and get out>>Send your new demonic allies to go head off any reinforcements, and do a more thorough exploration of this floor>>5104974Holy shit the curse is so fucking powerful. Go and take a short break if you need to. We’ll all remain here forever anyways.
>>5104861>Send your new demonic allies to go head off any reinforcements, and do a more thorough exploration of this floorGet them to plunder this floor for anything sharp or otherwise lethal to arm themselves, since they've not at full capacity.>Visit the Infirmary, grab a potion for Alazhred, and get out>Visit the Infirmary, grab a potion for Alazhred and us, and get out.>If there's a cusred artifact that calls out to us, grab it on the way out.I'll also support the >>5104886 if we can strengthen the wards quickly... or ask demons to do it.>>5104974Fuck, sorry to hear that RQM. Please take a break if you need to, like other anons said.
Rolled 95, 77 = 172 (2d100)>>5104886>>5104919>>5105062>>5105135>Majority vote to visit the infirmity and explore the floor more fully (at least to the extent needed to get artefacts)>Anti-human wards supported by a minority... If time (no guarantee of that, so skipping)[Two probability rolls--one for quality of items found in the search, one for reinforcement chance (medium)]
>>5105618You can’t just forsake an opportunity for magical items of great power—not when they could prove useful! You have to check out these archives of cursed items.‘Babe, shouldn’t we, you know… In-and-out this situation?’‘Since when do you stymie desire?’ you tease Irinnile.‘Since it might get us caught and killed, or wore, by weirdo mages!’You do not heed the succubus’ anxieties, though—you press on. Leaving the demons to watch the main hall, you follow guidance provided by Siz-Gamid in exploring the floor and seeking out the richest quarters of the long, dark hallway which holds the Tower’s most accursed relics. You see cloaks and rods, time-weathered crowns and blood-dripping swords (why is it still dripping, unused for so long?!). Most are, after all, accursed—you would no sooner pick them up than a gold coin at the bottom of an acid bath.‘See? We should get moving!’ Irinnile whines.‘Wait….’ >95Your keen eye spies the reflection of (ironically) a gold-and-silevr coin. Electrum, you think it’s called. You approach, delicately extracting it from a shelf, and turn it over.‘This is a soul coin,’ you murmur.You recognize the symbology on both sides from one of Lord Bianchi’s occult tomes. On one side: a grinning skull, coin in each eye socket, not quite human; on the other side, two crossed scythes, and a motto in an ancient, long-dead language; a flash of memory from the Akashic Record reveals the meaning “Against the Stream of Fate”.‘It carries one soul to the afterlife of its choosing,’ you murmur. ‘Or back. Once.’‘What’s the catch?’ Irinnile asks, skeptically.You aren’t sure—no reading elaborated beyond that, no memory from the Record carries past the precipice of an agent’s death. You pocket it.>Acquired: Soul Coin“Liberator…”You hear the whisper of a demonic spectre, once of the prisoners you liberated. You don’t turn to face its terrible visage.“What isss it?” you ask.“I slipped up to the next floor… Heard that regular patrols will check on this floor, knocking upon the door, in an hour’s time if no word is sent.”>77“Undersstood,” you acknowledge, “but no not asscend beyond thiss level without my ssay ssso again.”The spectre nods once, and is gone once more. You sense the gesture, or at least the intent, and its departure. Then, without further ado or any additional items from this dread place. No other can be trusted not to backfire. You aren’t even wholly trusting of the coin… But something about it feels potentially invaluable, so you keep it.
>>5105662You also keep three potions, glowing faintly in their vials, found in the infirmary. One, you pour down Alhazred’s throat. The other two, you retain for future use; your own injuries are fully healed, and your stunning custom dress mercifully unblemished save for some blood which (you hope) will wash right out.“What was… What happened?” Alhazred groans, nictitating membranes sliding side as his eyes open. He looks around. “Where are we? Where… Where is the other?”“Chika is dead,” you answer in the True Speech, morose but frank.“…Ah,” is Alhazred’s only, delayed, acknowledgement. “The corpse?”“Gone, also. No evidence.”“Good,” he says, standing unsteadily and rubbing his head. “Shall we proceed?”“Yes,” you agree, then turn around and revert to more broadly-intelligible language: “Watch for mages. Deviate their courssse. Alert uss if it failsss, and they desscend.”“We should reset the traps,” Alhazred suggests.“If we have time,” you agree.And luckily, you do… Just enough time, before a knock comes at the door—ahead of schedule!“All is well,” Siz-Gamid answers, in the voice of the demon’s former master.“There’s been… Commotion up above,” the mage on the other side of the door says, voice muffled by steel but carried through by magic.“That’s a problem for you people up ABOVE, then,” Siz-Gamid mimics haughty hostility. “Do not bother me again until it requires an expert in the field of deomonology!”Siz smiles at you and shrugs. It seems to do the rick, though—the patrol is put off, with no other scheduled to arrive for nearly an hour. You and your fellow Infiltartor finish resetting the anti-human traps,.“Shall we?” Alhazred asks.“We shall,” you concur.“Careful,” warns the devil in the chain, its voice a death-rattle. “Below the fourth floor… Dwells danger.”“Big. Strong.” This is the monosyllabic, panted advice of the hellhound, similarly brought under your power by Hirschel’s defeat of it, and the incubus’ symbol. It lazes now, like a tired greyhound. “Too much.”Nobody seems to have further details beyond this magical impression, and so, with that in mind, you descend… TO a door mechanical and magical in equal measures. Damn, and without Chika, even retrieving the lockpicks would not entirely remove the obstacle!How do you approach the next door?>Knock upon it, and attempt to bluff your way in as a patrol with a shapeshifted face and modified vocie>Disabled the magical components with Alhazred, and force the mechanical locks>Send a spectral demon through to scout, and to unlock the door from the other side>Try to unlock the mechanical aspects as well, as an amateur>Write-in
>>5105665>Knock upon it, and attempt to bluff your way in as a patrol with a shapeshifted face and modified voiceDon’t shapeshift back though. Dark Gods below, I pray that this is the right call.
>>5105682+1, adding to use Pavlov's voice in the bluff if necessary
>>5105665>Knock upon it, and attempt to bluff your way in as a patrol with a shapeshifted face and modified voice
>>5105665>Send a spectral demon through to scout, and to unlock the door from the other sideIf we end up talking, do NOT use Pavlov's voice. That means the second we get there, we'll be exposed.
Rolled 8, 13, 8 = 29 (3d20)>>5105682>>5105692>>5105695>>5105830>Knock upon it, and attempt to bluff your way in as a patrol with a shapeshifted face and modified voice[Politesse roll, DC 12]
>>5105904SQUEEZED by it, nice.
>>5105905Knocking on the door seems easiest, and least risky. The last thing you need is to narrow that hour-long window by summoning a patrol with a triggered alarm and… Without Chika… Well, neither you nor Alhazred has great mechanical aptitude. For a time, you toy with the idea of borrowing Pavlov’s voice and face for the task. However, the Head Demonologist was a very peculiar man—you saw as much in the Magus Auctor’s memories, and gathered as much in your fight. He would be a difficult human to convincingly impersonate. Too much could go wrong: mistakes made, red flags raised. No, not Pavlov. You instead close your eyes, and reflect on the cowed assistants or apprentices who Chika’s traps and yours and Alhazred’s wards slew so efficiently. When you open your eyes, you are the female of the pair: brown-haired, blue-eyed, lightly-freckled. You only heard her scream, but you have Irinnile modify your lips and tongue to replicate the range of her higher voice as best you can. You can only hope those behind the door knew this lapdog of the Tower’s demon-wrangler as poorly as you did.You nod to Alhazred. He steps back, and with a gesture and a mental push you send Hirschel to settle upon his shoulder. You knock.…Nothing.You knock again, and the second time, a ward flickers across the surface with rippling, disjointed mana dispersing in all directions as a seal is broken. A narrow slat opens at the centre—one that had been virtually imperceptible before, save to your shrewd attentions.“Yes?” a masculine, human voice asks, accompanying the darting brown eyes.“I’ve been asked—” You pause. Your higher voice, and without even your learned accent which is so frequently mistaken for a lisp or impediment in this place, sounds strange to your ear. Irinnile must not have just reformed your facial muscles, but must be actively compensating for your natural tendency to shape words differently than the norm among this region’s humans.‘And you thought I was just a pretty face and a tight little ass,’ she giggles, sending a mental image of both, as manifested in her most commonly-manifested form.
>>5105915“Sorry, I had a tickle in my throat.” You cough, partly to back up this lie and partly to stifle a laugh, and continue. “I’ve been asked by Master Pavlov to bring some materials from the latest necropsy.”“He has you interns calling him ‘Master’ now, huh?” the human on the other side scoffs. “At least Madame Henzler doesn’t do that… But why would we want necropsy materials?”It was a cover story crafted on-the-spot, but not one without rationale behind it: “He said he was ‘done with it’, but that Madame Henzler might have use of what was left in weaving a chimera.”“’Weaving?’ What? I mean… Yeah, I guess that makes sense.”You giggle nervously. The term had slipped out—‘fleshweaver’ is the literal translation of your people’s term for the closest analogue to a Hawksong ‘chimericist’: one who manufacturers disguises from stolen biological material and magic.The brown eyes dart downwards. “What’s with the, um, dress, though?”Your own eyes dart down and… Shit! You forgot to change out of your gilded Gala attire. You’re just lucky that the light cast through the narrow slat doesn’t show off the blood splatter… Or perhaps it has, and he takes it for a side-effect of observing the late, great Head Demonologist Pavlov performing a necropsy.“I was supposed to be working with our display at the Tower Gala,” you say, with a performative sigh of disappointment.“Didn’t even know your department had a display,” he says… But without suspicion, or even great interest. “Alright, grab the materials. I’ll open the door.”And so the human mage on the other side begins to disjunct—temporarily, you assume—a dozen wards, and to noisily undo many mechanisms meant to secure this place. The sheer level of security, you muse with a small smile, would probably make Roth green-scaled with envy.What do you do when it opens?>Use mentalism and illusion to create the impression that you have the materials requested, and ask him to guide you to the Head Chimericist—this Madame Henzler>Knock him out and search his mind for useful intelligence, then shuck your dress and assume his shape to infiltrate the level without rousing suspicion>Slay him immediately, and stealth your way straight to the city defense project and its dwarven master stone>Write-in[Please note: the Head Chimericist, if a proper battle is engaged with her, would be similarly tough as Pavlov was... Albeit in different ways.]
>>5105916>Knock him out and search his mind for useful intelligence, then shuck your dress and assume his shape to infiltrate the level without rousing suspicion>Stab himSure, we have someone else's body now, but that just means this dude can figure out he encountered a shapeshifter later down the line if he survives. Minimize the risk.>[Head Chimericist]Actually, what do we know about her so far?Is our ice dagger considered a magical blade or is it just a regular weapon with an effect?How long are the spikes that Irinnile can make and how fast do they manifest?Do we have to roll for acrobatics to snipe that hoe with a spike?We need to see what magic she uses, whether she has a demon condom, what types of entities she controls, where is the golem controller... what else?
>>5105916>>Slay him immediately, and stealth your way straight to the city defense project and its dwarven master stone>>5104974What the others say. This thread and your players will still be around in a month's time.
>>5105930>Actually, what do we know about her so far?Very little. Much like Pavlov, Madame Henzler has a reputation that precedes her, both for results and for eccentricity bordering on madness. Her experiments also spook people, in some ways more than a pitch-black archive full of bottled and tamed demons and cursed relics.>Is our ice dagger considered a magical blade or is it just a regular weapon with an effect?It is magical, and can harm demons and other such creatures.>How long are the spikes that Irinnile can make and how fast do they manifest?She doesn’t know, and neither do you. Probably, the more energy she is fed and the more pacts she forms, the stronger she would get, like the incubus… Though she is weaker by default. Succubi are considered lesser creatures by many demons, albeit not so much as an imp or a hellhound.>spoilerLike, to throw a spike created from your own body? It would require a roll, yes. It may be difficult, too, as it’s not a manoeuvre you or Irinnile have attempted before.>>5106096>>5104977>>5104982>>5105062>>5105135[I appreciate the kind words and commitment to the quest, but honestly, having something to do is extremely, extremely helpful right now. Pain makes good art, they say. I hope it also makes internet trash art!]
>>5106189>spoilerI was toying with the idea of doing what we did to Pavlov, but stealthily and maybe from a few meters away. Not necessarily considering doing it for real, though.
>>5105916>Knock him out and search his mind for useful intelligence, then shuck your dress and assume his shape to infiltrate the level without rousing suspicionI say that we turn him into our creature, at least temporarily, to hold off any advance into the lower levels by the Tower. Maybe after this we can get some people to sign a pact with our succubus, become a greater, more powerful demon to leverage power and influence from. I know when we finally learn that ectoplasm trick, we can ensure operational security while making a snacc for later.
>>5106196If we meet, we just talk with her instead of trying to kill her? I'm not look forward to fighting after the last fiasco, we clearly needed 4d20 or higher against these bastards, and our seduction and mentalism are 4d20 and 6d20 respectively, we should be leaning more on those skills first rather than trying to engage it combat with Masters of Magic.
>>5106267Yeeeah alright, but how do you plan to convince this floor's staff to give up the Master fucking Stone, anon? We're still that rando girl and have nothing to support our claims even with guard on our side.I honestly don't see a way out of this that doesn't involve perfect stealth, wiping the floor or leaving copious amounts of signature characteristics of Ismena.
>>5105930>>5106096>>5106248[Currently, two votes involve slaying him, two votes involve assuming his identity. I would average that out to slaying him and assuming his identity, if nobody else wants to add or modify their vote within the next hour or so.]
>>5106437>copious amounts of signature characteristics of IsmenaLol, what?Consider our combat skills are 3d20, we stand a better chance of success relying on our non-combat abilities, such as seduction and mentalism in order to convince others, or at least gives us more options before resorting to violence. Besides, if we capture this poor sap, we can make him run interference or grab the master stone himself without letting him see Ismena, only apprentice girl.
By talking I meant our persuasion, sweet talking, you get the point. My brain as 2% rn.
>>5106489Anon, that doesn't immediately out us as Ismena specifically, only as demonic associate, and only if we out ourselves as a demonic associate. At best, we'd be considered as just another Tower mage, especially with the man's knowledge of the Floor, Madame Henzler, and his personal knowledge/relationships with everybody here. Killing him solves nothing, leaving him as a diversion grants us valuable time.>>5106494Our persuasion is better than our combat abilities, and RQM said that>Head Chimericist, if a proper battle is engaged with her, would be similarly tough as Pavlov wasThat is NOT the battle I want to recreate. Better to beguile and persuade than do or die, whenever possible.
Rolled 7, 1, 11, 7 = 26 (4d20)>>5105930>>5106096>>5106248>>5106448[Alright, going for it!]>3d20 for combat, DC 10 thanks to ambush; 1d20 for Alhazred's assist, same DC.
>>5105916>Knock him out and search his mind for useful intelligence, then shuck your dress and assume his shape to infiltrate the level without rousing suspicion>Use mentalism on himHe's more useful alive than dead methinks.
>>5106572As a useful tool and potential snack later, but mainly because combat clearly isn't working for us, if >>5106537 and Pavlov were any indication of the Dice God's displeasure with our choices.
>>5105916>Slay him immediately, and stealth your way straight to the city defense project and its dwarven master stoneWe’ve spent enough time here - time to get in and then get out
>>5106537The doorway opens to a hallway faintly-lit. The same mage-torch system as above exists, but each is alight, albeit at a dimmer glow. The floor here seems reinforced, coated in tiles of a hard material you don’t immediately recognize, but which resembles ceramic. Despite this, in some places you see… Markings. They almost look like the marks of great claws.No time to think, though. You step inside swiftly, closing distance with the male human opening the door… >7But to your surprise and dismay, he too is studied in the defensive casting as the other high-ranking mages of this place. He steps back, unsteady and startled but not helpless.“Hey! Moroth and Marese, what are you DOING?”The gods he invokes won’t protect him, though—not from two Infiltrators! You sidestep, circling him and drawing your dagger. You keep his eyes on you, watching over his shoulder as Alhazred moves into position to take advantage of the distraction and cutting off his escape route. Then, with slightest movement, you signal your compatriot. Alhazred moves to place a blade to this mage’s throat…>7But finds a strange creature—a small chimera, likely a familiar—has emerged from the mage’s hooded cloak. It resembled a monkey, but with segmented eyes and a webbed frill about its neck. It hisses, spitting some whitish fluid at Alhazred, and the male Degenerate narrows avoids it with teeth gritted to stifle his own cry of dismay.It is unexpected, another unplanned-for complication in your plan. You curse yourself—you will remember to plan for each member of this Head Chimericist’s entourage having familiars on hand, given their superior’s specialty. Still, despite his loyal minion saving him, the mage is too disoriented by this second attacker to focus on you. He turns his head, and receives a hard palm-strike to his ear drum and a chop to his neck for his troubles. He falls unconscious…>11: Narrow success…But his simian familiar does not. It leaps away from his falling body and, with only a quick backwards glance, shrieks and bolts.
‘Oh fuck oh shit,’ Irinnile says. ‘Babe, it’s getting away!’‘I see that,’ you shoot back irritably across your mental link.‘Babe, those claw marks on the floor…’You were about to pursue the bug-eyed monkey when the succubus gives you pause. You remember the rumours you heard of this floor in particular… Of what protects these halls. A bolt of fear shoots up your spine, instinctive and deep-rooted in your reptile mind.“The Owlbearsss,” you say aloud.“Th-the WHAT?” Alhazred hisses, uncharacteristically rattled.Suddenly, chasing a monkey around a corner into hostile territory seems altogether more daunting. You can just picture those huge, predatory eyes… Their hunger…What do you do?>Pursue the familiar, 'tag' it, and stun its simple mind with mentalism before it can sound the alarm>Throw your dagger and hope to kill it from a distance>Send Hirschel to attack and slay the familiar>Forget the monkey—you and Alhazred shall drag the mage into a side-room, scour his brain, and go about your original plan>Take a different route than this monkey, and seek out the defense project’s master stone before it can summon any reinforcements>Write-in>>5106583>>5106567[Already wrote it up, but luckily (?) these votes sort of balances out anyway, and the plan I was writing for got interrupted part-way.]
>>5106593>Send Hirschel to bring you the familiar>'Tag' it, and stun its simple mind with mentalismIf other anons decide to pose as this mage, then lack of his devoted spider monkey will be a dead giveaway something isn't right. It's a creature floor, after all.>Drag the mage into a side-room, scour his brain, and go about your original plan
>>5106593>Pursue the familiar, 'tag' it, and stun its simple mind with mentalism before it can sound the alarmThen>You and Alhazred shall drag the mage into a side-room, scour his brain, and go about your original plan>>5106615I agree, we need that monkey.
>>5106593>Send Hirschel to attack and slay the familiar>>5106615How will we get it to cooperate with us for the disguise? I don't think our mental powers work on magic monkeys.
>>5106642If you consider Hirschel a test-case for mentalism working on chimeras, then it should work on the monkey.
>>5106649That's a good point actually, I'll swap to Hirschel subduing it.
Rolled 5, 3, 14, 20 = 42 (4d20)>>5106642>>5106630>>5106615[1d20, DC 12. For Hirschel to catch the familiar; the chimeric drake is untrained and quite young, but on the wing and faster as a result. If he fails, 3d20 is YOUR roll to catch the monkey-thing, DC 15... But if it comes down to that, you get a possible encounter around the corner without at least an 18.]
Rolled 20, 14, 11, 14 = 59 (4d20)>>5106843“Infiltrator, take the human to a side-room,” you say in your private shared tongue. “Ensure that there are no… Hybrid surprises.”“Owls that are bears also…” Alhazred murmurs, with a shudder. However, he is a professional. He does as you request.“Hirschel,” you command thee drake then, “FETCH.”The feathered reptile does not understand your words, of course, but it understands the mental push which accompanies them: grab and sudbude the familiar of this unconscious mage, and retrieve it. It soars, hovering and circles, swooping and rattling excitedly.>5However, the monkey-thing is too big, too swift, to aggressive in its defences. Hirschel cannot get close enough, for long enough, to grab it. It occurs to you that Hirschel is SMALLER than this monkey, and perhaps could not bring it back if it so desired.>20Lucky, then, that Hirschel’s harassment impedes the other schiemra from rounding the corner. You close the distance yourself, snatching the creature up with a swift blow to the head and a hand on its tail. It struggles, but weakly and numbly for the impact you delivered. You summon Hirschel back to your shoulder, and hurry with your prize to where Alhazred has brought the unconscious man. There, you enact your plan—to raid the man’s mind for useful information, and to thus assume his identity and infiltrate this floor as one of its own high-ranking mages.
>>5106852Alhazred has already stripped the young man of his anti-demon charm (he works beneath the third floor, after all) and has laid him out, with his sundry work-equipment organized at his side in his hat.“Excellent work,” you say, eliciting a nod from your subordinate.>20You take from the mage… EVERYTHING. His name, Jules Mayhews. His face, squarish and fair, set with brown eyes and with a distinctive chipped tooth and split lip from a youthful altercation. The names of his coworkers and colleagues, his relations to them. Knowledge of his duties: procuring and transporting samples and creatures produced therewith, delivering notices and reports, and helping to control the more troublesome beasts. You learn the layout of this entire floor, and the means to open each and every door hereabouts. For all intents and purposes, you ARE The Mage Apprentice Mayhews…And Mayhews, opening his eyes with a quiet groan and a familiar dullness in his eyes, is your thrall. He will be for so long as you desire him to be, and no other mage has the suspicion and puts forth the effort to free him. So too is his little primate-like chimera companion—its mind is weak, semi-conscious , and your powerful will travels along the mystic bond between mage and familiar, like a flame down a wick connecting two candles.<WANT: 15>They rise, and await orders.What do you do with the man?>Kill Mayhews and feed his soul to Irinnile, to reduce WANT>Set Mayhews as a sentry at the door, to reassure anyone who approaches that all is well on Basement Floor Four>Send Mayhews steer owlbears and other nasties away from your charted course>Have Mayhews distract his employer, the Head Chimericist>Have Mayhews attempt to abscond with the Master Stone in your steadWhat do you do with the monkey-thing?>Leave it with Mayhews, to avoid suspicion>Kill it and consume its pitiful soul, for fun and pleasure—it will offer little material or spiritual benefit [+hedonism]>Assign it to Alhazred’s service>Keep it as your own pet—you find it ugly-cute[Write-ins are accepted for either, of course]
>>5106881In the swirling mass of memories which have been funneled into yours and Irinnile’s consciousness, you found the Head Chimericists’s whereabouts. You found the location of the specialised rookeries where owlbears and (shudder to think) the Hawksong Paladins’ signature gryphons are bred. You also received an inkling of something… Stranger, more fearsome. Something that makes you look at Hirschel, your little stolen pet, with a new interest.The rumoured secret project beneath the fourth floor, in the deepest Tower basement… The source of that peculiar prideful look in the little feathered drake’s eyes…Is the preserved remnants of The Green Dragon which, hundreds of years prior, besieged the city. The dragon your Yosef ancestors helped the Paladin King’s predecessor to defeat and slay, shaming and spiting the Dark Gods… It lays mere feet beneath you, sealed in canopic jars and with blood distributed in glass vials, serving as… As GRIST, as raw material for HUMAN blasphemies! They use it sparingly, secretly, so much so that Mayhews himself knows that he should knot know of it… But having peeked at reports he was to deliver, he does. And now, as he knew this grim truth, so do you.…But that isn’t why you are here. You are here, originally, first and foremost to put an end to the more urgent matter of the city’s new defence plan, of surveillance by sentries of stone who cannot be scintillated or subdued with subtle arts and subterfuge, even by Serpent Priests.…But still, STILL, can you truly leave this INSULT, this ABOMINATION against your gods and your noble race’s champion, unanswered for?What is your next objective (choose ONE, though you may assign any of your thralls or allies to the others)?>Attack and defeat the Head Chimericist>Sabotage the nests of owlbears and/or gryphons>Check out the experimental chimera-creation laboratories, and the cages of bizarre hybrids>Investigate the city defence plan and acquire the dwarven master stone—no more delays!>Descend to Basement Floor Five, to investigate and liberate (or destroy) the remains of The Green Dragon>Write-in
>>5106883>Knowing that the chimera can be mesmerized, use Mayhews' knowledge and his presence to ensorcell them as an army against the Head ChimericistI'm so hyped for this, let's go.>Employ the monkey to protect Alhazred; he may prove useful with his magical knowledge in combat against the Chimericist
>>5106881>Send Mayhews steer owlbears and other nasties away from your charted course>Make sure Jules creates a fake charm afterwards>Assign it to Alhazred’s serviceThis is assuming we don't want them to distract the Head Chimericist, in which case the monkey is better off with Jules.>>5106883First priority, us and the hellhound>Investigate the city defence plan and acquire the dwarven master stone—no more delays!Jules' priority>Sabotage the nests of owlbears and/or gryphonsAlhazred's job, some demonic assistance>Check out the experimental chimera-creation laboratories, and the cages of bizarre hybridsSiz's job, preferably liberate>Descend to Basement Floor Five, to investigate and liberate (or destroy) the remains of The Green Dragon
>>5106881>Send Mayhews steer owlbears and other nasties away from your charted course>Keep it as your own pet—to further increase your believability>Leave Hirschel with Alhazred for nowLet these three stay on guard and tell Mayhews to answer all Alhazred's questions and obey his orders. This way our degenerate can get up to speed on what's going on around here as well.>>5106883>Descend to Basement Floor Five, to investigate and liberate (or destroy) the remains of The Green DragonWait, OP. If we have EVERYTHING he knows, then give us a rundown on the Head Chimerist and the Golems/MS.
>>5107196>Wait, OP. If we have EVERYTHING he knows, then give us a rundown on the Head Chimerist and the Golems/MS.That would be quite kino desu.
>>5107212I expect nothing less after maxxed memory suction of someone who's been here for some time, knows the staff and worked around all these things.
>>5107196>Head ChimericistQuite right! You now know a great deal about Madame Henzler... At least, that a courier and assistant working under her would know>Golems/MSWell... Less tyan you might think. As a high-security project, they made space to work on this on this floor. You know where these experiments have taken place, and the highest-value materials stored; you have access to Mayhew's memories of these items being carries or rolled down hallways and into an area of this floor previously reserved for chimera byproduct analysis. You know that the people on the staff of this floor resent the imposition. But the people let into the room when work is to be done? Those are the Archmage and Head Inquisitor, and a team of scholastic mages seemingly formed for this purpose rather than organically gathered from a single department. Mayhew was not on that team, and knows little of what they've done, though he has heard grinding of stone and loud crashes and booms once or twice.
>>5106891>>5106896>>5107196[I will write up a post in an hour or so, but so far we seem to be leaning towards...>Have Mayhew steer owlbears and such away>Assign his familiar to Alhazred>Descend to the next floor
>>5107398“Infiltrator, with me,” you direct Alhazred. “Plans have been altered.”“What?” he asks, confused. After all, he wasn’t privy to what you just learned through your mental link. “Forgive me, but… DO you really think we should continue to delay our main objective. The humans—”“The humans have a champion of our gods dissected in the basement, and are harvesting him for materials.”That puts a quick halt to Alhazred’s objections.“I will elaborate further as we travel downwards. Come, now. And bring the monkey.”“And… The owl-bears, you spoke of?”You glance back at him with a sly smirk upon your face—or, rather, Mayhew’s face, which you wear. “My double here will see that they stay clear of our path. My disguise will ensure that no humans obstruct us.”You two Reptilians split off from the true Mayhew, who blandly carries on in the other direction, keeping heat off of you there.At an unhurried pace, so as to avoid attracting attention, you navigate the fourth floor. Your eyes linger at one point upon a hallways which you now KNOW leads to the dwarven master stone you are here to retrieve… But you carry on. You will return to that but, for now, a greater duty calls. As you travel, you brief Alhazred in hushed tones, pausing only when you encounter a Tower Guardian.“Mayhew?” the female guardian asks, looking confused. “Weren’t you running a report up topside, to the Magus Auctor?”“Done,” you say swiftly.“But you only just left!”You smile easily, and draw upon your stolen knowledge of this place and the people here: “Surprised I avoided Federigo talking my ear off with follow-up question, is that it?”The guardian-mage (you know her name to be Pohl) laughs. “You’ll have to tell me your secret,” she says, before more seriously adding: “But how did you get up there and back so fast? And, sorry, who is this?”She means Alhazred, of course. Luckily, you are prepared for this as well:
>>5107456“See this little guy?” you ask, gesturing to Hirschel. “I met Federigo coming down already. I guess this chimera was… Agitated, gastrically-speaking. Puked on someone important.”“No!” Pohl gasps, and laughs again.“Yes! And this man here—”“Abdul,” Alhazred offers.“Abdul, yes… He just happened to be visiting with the entourage of a southern diplomat. He’s a senior natural philosopher for the menagerie of the Nyarlanthian Mage Tower.”“At your service,” Alhazred says with a low bow and a charming smile.You lean in knowingly to Pohl and say: “Special dispensation was given to bring this chimera back to Level Five, to consult with Mister Abdul about the… Source material. See what went wrong, and if maybe it’s nutritional or if we have to… You know, dissect the thing and start fresh.”Pohl’s eyes widen more. “You eman to say that… That thing is part…”“Dragon,” you whisper. “Yes.”Hirschel croaks, and stops preening himself as Tower-Guardian Pohl stares at him in a mix f awe and horror.“And… They’re letting you and this, uh, nice foreign gentleman down there?” she eventually asks. “I didn’t know you had the permissions.” You puff up your newly-flattened chest and grin. “Just promoted, I guess! I mean… How else would I know about the D-R-A-G—”“Shush!” Pohl says, clapping a hand over your mouth. “Everyone here can spell! I get it, I get it. Go on ahead.”And so, unimpeded by any further interference, you follow the winding passages to the doorway of the fifth floor…Where you find interference in abundance, in the form of a surprisingly broad, bearded mage, in a blue mage’s cap and thick robes… Flanked by two creatures out of your very nightmares. A mage-guardian clearly tasked with preventing unauthorized entry into the fifth floor’s sanctum, and flanked by huge white-and-brown creatures with massive, staring eyes, tearing beaks, and claws like knives, humped with muscle and sluggish with the calm of one of nature’s great killing machines.“Owlbears,” Alazhred squeaks. You can’t even bring yourself to say that much—you just freeze, and stare.What do you do?>Keep your cool and bluff your way past this man—you don’t actually have any clearance or evidence of it save your knowledge, but if it worked on Pohl, it can work here as well… Probably>Use Hirschel or the monkey as a distraction, to try to lure the guardian and his monsters away from the door so you and Alhazred can break in>Duck back, draw your weapons, and attempt to slay the man and the owlbears with a sneak attack>Mesmerism has been your friend so often, why not once more? The consequences for failure here would be dire, but you will not fail!>Write-in
>>5107460>Use Hirschel or the monkey as a distraction, to try to lure the guardian and his monsters away from the door so you and Alhazred can break inowlbears scary
>>5107460>Keep your cool and bluff your way past this man—you don’t actually have any clearance or evidence of it save your knowledge, but if it worked on Pohl, it can work here as well… Probably
>>5107460>Mesmerism has been your friend so often, why not once more? The consequences for failure here would be dire, but you will not fail!
>>5107466>>5107499>>5107773[The three way tie. Always a classic! I must be doing alright at presenting viable options, eh? I'll post again tonight, so we'll see if it's broken by then.]
>>5107816I, on the other hand, let my creative autism really drop in quality. There used to be constant write-ins and now I can barely keep up with the action!Probably because we're winging everything as we go.
>>5107816Sorry for holding us up, I'm honestly undecided on the optimal play here.I assume bluff is a politesse check, distraction a stealth check, and mentalism self-evident? I'm partial to either stealthing this or trying to bluff and then attempt mentalism if that fails. I'm sorry for being so uselessly undecided on this lads.
>>5108066[Remember: there isn't a right answer and it isn't all a numbers game; sometimes, a good write-in explanation can lower a DC, while circumstances can raise another. Sometimes two approaches can both be successful, but how far they get you can vary. Just do what seems fun.Even the Bad End (TM) will generate at least one more thread. I've even commissioned art for it.>>5107995[No worries, anon. We've had plenty of write-ins and neat combo-votes lately. Just as long as you're having fun! Let me know if you ever need a recap.]
>>5108087Problem is, if don't have any ideas that can really assists us here. It also doesn't help that I've basically been out of it today with sickness.>spoiler>concern intensifiesFun would be not fucking up and getting a Bad End (TM), but if you're referring to the options that most appeals to be disregarding the risk, I'd have to go with the politesse/mentalism check, even though my spidey-senses (reptilian-brain?) tells me that stealth is preferable.
>>5108133>politesse/mentalism[I'll take that into account if nobody else votes (and you don't alter your vote) by the time I go to bed.]
Rolled 10, 9, 5 = 24 (3d20)>>5108150>>5108133>>5107773>>5107499>>5107466>Keep your cool and bluff>Mentalism if it fails (and you get the chance)
>>5108346>when you realize you just damned this quest to the Bad End (TM)Dark Gods below, I hope this just stays a meme.
You approach the man and his… Things. The entire way, you stifle a tremor. Alhazred can barely even advance, and even little Hirschel puffs himself up and rattles. The owlbears immediate shift and change posture—subtle, but incredible and immediately noticeable to one, such as you, who is hyper-aware of their every move.“Hm?” says the bearded man, giving one of the big beasts a swat to sit it back down as it starts to rise. “What is it, lads? What do you want?”“Lord Sharpe,” you say with a bow of the head, addressing the man by the hereditary title you pull from your mind. This gruff customer, despite looking very much the part of a man who might associate with monstrous bear-hybrids all day, is a rare example of one of the aristocracy of this city being allowed by their family to join the celibate orders of the Tower.“Yes, I am,” Lord Sharpe says, raising an eyebrow. “And who’re you?”You gesture to your hat and robes. “I’m Jules Mayhew, Mage Apprentice.”This doesn’t seem to satisfy him, so you add “Of this floor?”Still nothing.“And this is Abdul, who—”“Yes, fine,” Lord Sharpe says, scratching his beard and the owlbear at his side as one. “And what do you want.”You begin to spin the yarn about Hirschel’s health once more, but Lord Sharpe—a chimericist of some repute himself—steps forth almost immediately. The owlbears come, too.You yelp with alarm, and Alhazred’s visibly pales.“Easy, easy,” the mage-trained nobleman soothes the monsters. This Sharpe is the wrangler and trainer of these beasts, on many occasions… But you know well why he looks at you queerly.“You’re acting like you don’t deal with these beasties every day,” he says.“Just got startled by something coming down from Flour Three, earlier. You know… The screams. And… Other sounds.”It’s a plausible cover, but it earns only a “hrm” as the large mage seizes Hirschel and pries open his mouth to peer inside.“You were saying vomiting occurred? Well, there’s certainly something on the inside of the mouth and on the teeth…”Bits of ectoplasmic manifestation from the hellhound the brave little drake savaged, you would wager. “No reason to bring something like this down to a high-security area. It’s just a drake-chimera with a bit of indigestion from eating some sample. Take it to the lab, put it in a cage, keep it on the usual feed, and we'll monitor it right there.|The man’s focus is on Hirschel, not on you. It would be the perfect time to strike. The owlbears, though… They’re still just standing there, eyes black pits to an abyss beyond even your bravery. You can’t even tell where the damned things are looking for sure, let alone their emotional state. It’s absurd, but you could swear they suspect something…THOSE DAMNED EYES!
>>5108369‘Suspect somethin?’ Irinnile asks, holding back a laugh. ‘Come on, babe, these bird-brains don’t know shit. Chill. You’re freakin’ me out!’You shake your head and try not to look at the owlbears as you take Hirschel, visibly mussed and very miffed about it, back from the big human.“The instructions I got were that it should be brought back… You know, from whence it came?”Lord Sharpe glances in confusion at Alhazred, and then at the owlbears, as if they might clarify your statement.“You know…” you lower your voice. “With the other draconic materials?”Lord Sharpe narrows his eyes. “Who told you about that, then?”You begin to explain, but Lord Sharpe interrupts: “They’ve got me playing guard tonight with the lads, and any instructions… They’d be given to me, too.”You freeze. Oh Gods Below and Gods Beyond, he knows! The owlbears, they’ll be upon you any moment! You begin to reach for your frost dagger…The man claps you on the shoulder and huffs a wheezing laugh—he must smoke. “Heard the rumours and got curious, huh?”“Uhh…” you stammer.“Shouldn’t be bringing friends down here, though,” he says, nodding to Alhazred. “Run along, before I right you up.”His hand is on you. This Lord Sharpe is within range of an easy dagger-stroke, and completely at ease. His mind is likely protected, in the same way as the Guardian at the entrance to the Gala, but that too is within your reach. But if you slay him… Or if you fail to mesmerize him…‘The owlbears are right, RIGHT there,’ Irinnile completes your thought, not laughing at you anymore. ‘Maybe we should just turn around, huh babe?’What do you do?>Draw your dagger and strike the man [DC 10, due to surprise and proximity]>Draw your dagger and attack the owlbears, the bigger threat [DC ???]>Attempt to mesmerize this man and his chimeras [DC 18]>Turn around and forget the Green Dragon and Floor Five for now>Write-in
>>5108370Considering he's so close, can we see if he's wearing an anti-demon charm?
>>5108375[Nothing so potent as the Head Demonologist, but yeah, he has a little one. You could cut it from his throat and kill him with one swift blow--it's merely a charm against possession and curses, but physical attacks. Even your mentalism might succeed, but that's art of the high DC.]
>>5108370>Draw your dagger and strike the man [DC 10, due to surprise and proximity]If the wererats could overcome their instinctive fear and roll us and Roth a couple times, so can we.
>>5108370>Draw your dagger and strike the man [DC 10, due to surprise and proximity]>If successful, use Irinnile's powers to shapeshift into his form immediately, hopefully throwing off the owlbears
>>5108370>>Draw your dagger and strike the man [DC 10, due to surprise and proximity]
>>5108370Supporting >>5109017If we succeed, then I also vote to:>Send monkey back to its mesmerized ownerLast thing we need is someone asking him where is his familiar.Wish we could stun and pull off the Mayhew trick on this guy here, so he kept his post.
And while we're at it, I also want to add that I do appreciate the irony of reptilians being shitlessly scared of anything resembling birds of prey while shitting on humans for being too primitive and animalistic.
>>5108370>Attempt to mesmerize this man and his chimeras [DC 18]Foolish play? Yea, but unless we can mesmerize him, we'll be dealing with two angry owlbears, and I honestly wonder if we should've just focused on our main mission instead of risking our life fighting owlbears for a corpse.Since we're obviously going for the daggerplay though, I like >>5109017's idea of shapeshifting into him. Maybe they'll be easer to mesmerize than their master?>>5109133I wish that too, and Sharpe seems like a cool dude OOC. Maybe we can stun him into unconsciousness on a crit, assuming that's reasonable and we wouldn't get mauled...Actually, I'm wondering if our green shirin could be of use here?
Rolled 9, 20, 2 = 31 (3d20)>>5109215>>5109133>>5109081>>5109017>>5109006There’s no time to lose! Any hesitation could alert this man—or, worse, his owlbears—to your intent. The robes which Irinnile shapeshifted you are… Unsettling in their particulars, an outgrowth of skin and hair that resembles a cloak. You feel unpleasant reaching into the warmth of what is essentially a cowl of skin. However, it is a perfect hiding place for a dagger, even flexing and parting to allow you to easily grab it, and to draw it and slash upwards in one fluid motion…
>>5109405The blade severs the nobleborn spellcaster’s throat, splitting it wide and spilling blood across his chest in a great spurt. He opens his mouth, but nary a croak emerges, for the deep wound is almost immediately crusted with red frost. The bleeding stops, the white chill spreads forth. Like a great oak, Lord Sharpe totters backwards.The owlbears begin to pivot towards the man—your dagger was so swift they didn’t even see the strike with those damnable eyes, perhaps? Or are they just more concerned for their master, the man who you gather may well have raised this pair from their hatching, than about striking back against you? Whatever the case, the beasts’ lack of judgement is your opportunity, for before they CAN react and avenge the mage, your flashing dagger is buried deep in one of their eyes. The owlbear lets loose a sound that is not quite screech and not quite roar, rearing up and taking you with it… But the frost dagger is a magical weapon besides its icy enchantment, with a spell that makes it sharper than any mundane blade, and guides its course deeper. The bane of winter digs into the owlbear’s brain, and it stumbles backwards and crashes upon its master.You land upon the fluffy, terrifyingly muscular mass, your own landing cushioned by the sheer size of your slain predator-turned prey. You turn your head to the remaining adversary. Alhazred is still stunned by the suddenness of the slaughter, but his gaze soon follows yours. The monkey-thing upon his shoulders goes to screech, but your fellow infiltrator muffles it with one hand; Hirschel, fluttered far away and puffed with alarm, simply beats his wings and makes a rattling croak.The last owlbear could cry out for help. It could flee your killing blade and the bloodlust in your eyes. But… It is an owlbear. You know, without even consulting the stolen memories, that these guardian-beasts are chimeras made to defend, to press on, to kill. And so, as it lurches forwards, you focus all your efforts upon shapeshifting a form it will not WISH to kill: Lord Sharpe.
>>5109436It is not a swift or tidy process, but the gruesome and unnatural display of your flesh remoulding is a source of confusion and delay in and of itself.The owlbear pauses, confused by the sudden swell of your body and change of your face. You are Sharpe, its master… And with the corpse upon the ground obscured by its own compatriot’s bigger body, yours is the only Sharpe-like visage in view. Still, you know enough about animals to know this ruse cannot last—you cannot accurately replicate the fallen mage’s robes, more ornate than the simple brownish-grey cloak of Mayhews. You cannot mimic his smell, not without illusionYou must act swiftly. What do you do?>KILL KILL KILL! Strike again, while your dagger sings and your blood boils, before the beast can swat you with a great paw!>Use illusion to befuddle this owlbear, then mesmerize it—make a mighty and fearsome enemy your ally>Flee back towards the dwarven master stone’s room—there are dead bodies here, and you cannot possibly hide the corpse of a man and an owlbear from any mages which might come this way>Attempt to open the way to the fifth basement floor while the beast is confounded>Write-in
>>5109439>Use illusion to befuddle this owlbear, then mesmerize it—make a mighty and fearsome enemy your allyIt'd be nice to have a big body to throw around, and this one would probably throw off other bugbears.
>>5109439>Use illusion to befuddle this owlbear, then mesmerize it—make a mighty and fearsome enemy your allyShame about Sharpe, he seemed like an alright bro.
>>5109439>KILL KILL KILL! Strike again, while your dagger sings and your blood boils, before the beast can swat you with a great paw!We overestimate it, and having it around would just distract us.
>>5109439>KILL KILL KILL! Strike again, while your dagger sings and your blood boils, before the beast can swat you with a great paw!Stop fucking around.>>5109450>sympathizing with humanswho are you and what did you do to anon?!
>>5109439What year is this quest taking place, QM?
>>5109444>>5109450>>5109497>>5109787[Two for illusion, two for combat. If no other vote is placed by the time I finish work to break this tie, Ill resolve it with illusion and (if it fails) an owlbear retaliation chance, and then combat.]
>>5109902522 AoK. That's Age of Kingdoms, as opposed to the earlier Age of Empires of the still-earlier Age of Temples, each so-named for the dominant social structure in the Northwest at the time. Of course, those Easterners use one long continuous calendar with no breaks from when they reckon the gods formed the world, and the Southland kingdoms each use a different calendar (or so it seems), with their scholars keeping meticulous cross-reference for diplomatic purposes.
>>5109439>>Use illusion to befuddle this owlbear, then mesmerize it—make a mighty and fearsome enemy your allyfugg it
Rolled 16, 3, 3, 11, 3 = 36 (5d20)>>5109444>>5109450>>5109497>>5109787>>5110068[Mentalism it is. Rolling! Will post soon.]
>>5110349Fighting against your fear, you push forwards and place your hand upon the beast’s forehead. It shuffles backwards slightly, but it is too late: the connection is formed.>16For all its upsetting physical and mental architecture, the owlbear’s mind and soul are no fuller or more complex than little Hirschel’s, or the monkey-thing’s. Its instincts and urges and fierce, surprisingly intelligent for an animal… But perhaps that is its downfall. A simpler creature might never have recognized or imprinted upon a human handler, granting you the opportunity to brainwash it… And one opportunity is all you need. You rewire its connections of affection to be specific to you, and the feeling you create in its mind by your proximity, regardless of visage.When you open your eyes, you find the owlbear relaxed and seated upon its rear, staring dopily at you with its head uncannily rotated. It is…Nope. You still hate it. It’s terrifying.“Is it… Compliant?” Alahzred whispers.You nod. Then, both you and your male counterpart turn and look to the two corpses upon the floor, both large… Both incredibly difficult to move.“Do you think anyone heard the roar?” Alhazred asks.“Our time is limited,” you say by way of reply. You don’t know what anyone heard, or how they might have interpreted it… But you know that you have cut down your available time for this operation dramatically. The only question is by how much.And still, the gate to the fifth floor: a more lightly-reinforced but no-less complex latticework of wards and mechanisms, lays before you.‘Wonder if LARD Sharpe there knew the way to open it?’ Irinnile muses, with a nervous laugh.You shoot her a psychic glare.What do you do?>Attempt to open the door through magic and cunning, with Alhazred’s aid>Have the owlbear brute-force the door>Bring both Alazhred and owlbear and beeline it for the reliquary where the master stone awaits—you can tarry no longer>Leave the Tower altogether, before you are caught red-handedWhat form do you assume?>Maintain the uncanny form of a Lord Sharpe-faced flesh-monster with an ever-more-unconvincing robe>Attempt to resume the form of young Mayhew>Assume a demonic war-form, with talons and wings, lest the heat come down upon you>Assume a different form [write-in]
>>5110393>Attempt to open the door through magic and cunning, with Alhazred’s aid>Maintain the uncanny form of a Lord Sharpe-faced flesh-monster with an ever-more-unconvincing robeYea, I'm not exactly satisfied fucking with our main objective for what ultimately amounts to a side-objective, but I'll learn to deal with it.
>>5110393>Maintain the uncanny form of a Lord Sharpe-faced flesh-monster with an ever-more-unconvincing robe>Attempt to open the door through magic and cunning, with Alhazred’s aid
>>5110393>Attempt to open the door through magic and cunning, with Alhazred’s aidBrr.>Have Alhazred take the body of Sharpe and the owlbear take the other owlbear inLet's not leave behind the bodies of guards to Tower's biggest secret, okay.>Maintain the form of a Lord Sharpeand once in there:>TAKE SHARPE'S ROBEShift into his naked form and put it on. It's this easy.
Rolled 9, 17, 7, 4, 8, 14, 5 = 64 (7d20)>>5110625>>5110414>>5110412>Maintain the uncanny form of a Lord Sharpe-faced flesh-monster with an ever-more-unconvincing robe>TAKE SHARPE'S ROBEIrinnile reshapes your flesh slightly, pulling int onto yourself as you hurriedly undress the somewhat-rotund, surprisingly-muscular mage of his robe. It’s at least a more convincing disguise that you wear now, and infinitely more comfortable… But the small spatter of red-brown down the front of it is a bit of a giveaway. Your dagger’s freezing effect was not immediate enough to halt the gushing of the man’s lifeblood immediately.Do you wear the robe?>Yes>No>Have Alhazred take the body of Sharpe and the owlbear take the other owlbear inAlhazred doesn’t even attempt to obey this instruction, merely shaking his head. “I cannot move that human,” he says. “He is… Too large.”“Surely you could drag him?” you press.“Yes, given time, and a great deal of energy, and no concern for discovery,” he explains. “I imagine the same is true of the owl-bear, even if you should assign your new… Assistant.”It’s true: for all its strength, the owlbear cannot carry its sibling’s corpse in its arms. It is simply not built to travel or lift things in such a way. It would need to drag it, slowly and noisily, through the halls with its mouth, possibly leaving a blood-trail as it went.You sigh in defeat and say : “I acknowledge your point. AT elast help me move them up against a wall and out of plain view.”That much, Alhazred and the owlbear are capable of. These matters thus addressed to the best of your ability, given limited resources and timeframe, you move onto the next step:>Attempt to open the door through magic and cunning, with Alhazred’s aid[4d20 for arcane studies, 2d20 for Alahazred, 1d20 reaction/probability roll in the event of a failure]
>>5110816These wards prove difficult, but not impossible for the two of you. You genuinely feel you are beginning to get the hang of disabling and enabling such things! In the future, you might even be able to recreated some of these alarming and disabling spells—or some illusion-based variant of them—from scratch!>17It isn’t easy, not yet, but with only a small amount guidance from Alhazred, you are able to remove or disable the magical wards against your entry.Unfortunately, Alhazred is no Chika. He is clearly somewhat familiar with lockpicks, but lockpicks alone are a poor substitute for a full suite of safe-cracking tools such as would eb advisable for such a door. Chika was able to make do, but even she struggled after all. Alhazred… Alhazred’s specialties lie elsewhere.>14“I apologize for my failure,” Alhazred says, standing up from his squat and gripping the thieves’ tools tightly in a white-knuckled grip. His tone isn’t apologetic, though: it’s furiously frustrated, and maybe a little frightened.You glance over your shoulder nervously. No footsteps yet approach, no voices sound the alarm. You scan the air for detectable traces of magic, but to your relief, no alarm spells have yet been triggered by your activities or by anyone else. You are not yet discovered.“Try again,” you hiss.“I have tried!” Alahazred shoots back; the owlbear and the mounting likelihood of being apprehended clearly is compromising his usual cool demeanour. “I cannot.”Still, he stares at (or past) the door with hunger in his eyes. Alhazred wants the secrets beyond that door as much as you do…>Have the owlbear force the door—the mechanisms cannot withstand such brute force, surely?>Snatch the lockpicks from Alahazred and try it yourself [1d20, DC 17]>Try to find and ambush a Tower mage who you can coerce or enthrall to let you into the chamber>Bang upon the door and hope to bluff someone on the other side again>Turn around and head towards the master stone’s room instead—this is a bust>Write-in
>>5110833>Have the owlbear force the door—the mechanisms cannot withstand such brute force, surely?
>>5110816>Yes>Put our cloak on to cover the bloodExplainable.>Snatch the lockpicks from Alahazred and try it yourself [1d20, DC 17]attempt to>Shapeshift a feeler to learn about the lock's construction from the insideto lower the roll
>>5111007>>5111057[The tie yet remains unbroken! Will await additional votes, and post late tonight or tomorrow. I will probably be hanging with some friends for the weekend, though, so I may not post much or at all after that, until Sunday.]
>>5111057So long as this isn't a single dice and a Hail Mary DC, I'll support this just to get the ball rolling. All I legitimately want to do is achieve our objectives and get out of here.
>>5111057>>5111007>>5111310At your request, Alhazred hands you your new cloak, which you don once more; not the golden dress, though, which you can’t help but feel would… Clash… With the face and physique you’ve borrowed from your recent victim. You stroke your imitation of Sharpe’s beard as you stare at the lock, trying to work out a way through this damned door. You don’t have long…‘I’ve got it!’ you and Irinnile announce as one, within the echoing inner chamber of your being. Then, you set to work.You press your hand to the key-hole on the great door—a rather odd sort, actually large enough to accept a finger. Irinnile titters immaturely as you slip a digit inside. You lean against the door, pressing your other hand to the cold metal and your ear to the metal as you squirm the finger about inside and begin to shift its shape. Your probing phalanges sprout up and out like a beansprout, thinning as they go to fit into tight nooks and crannies—“Pfffft,” snorts Irinnile.—rotating and twirling in search of a better understanding of this implacable iron foe’s inner workings. You listen intently to each rattle and click, trying to work out the trick to it. You can only assume, given how little the insides of this door actually resemble a traditional lock, that no key ever WAS involved. This is meant to be manipulated by some sort of telekinetic force or other magical phenomenon! Of course!‘We ain’t telekinetic, though,’ Irinnile notes.“How is it coming along?” Alhazred asks, voice as calm as he can manage. He is standing ell away from your enthralled owlbear, despite its continued docility, and you can sense his nervousness about a possible interruption at any moment.“We are—I am working on it,” his hiss back.Irinnile is right, though. You aren’t a telekinetic mage. You will need to manipulate the mechanisms by means of your fingers and your mechanical tools… If it can be done at all.>>5111310>So long as this isn't a single dice and a Hail Mary DC[I'll lower the roll by 2 for clever use of shapeshifting, but it IS a single d20, as noted.]
Rolled 9 (1d20)>>5111356You slide your other hand down the door to accept Alhazred's lockpicks, and with one hand shifted to spindly spider-legs and the other utilizing the clever but mostly-unfamiliar tools Roth made for this very purpose, you make your last attempt upon the door...
>>5111356>[I'll lower the roll by 2 for clever use of shapeshifting, but it IS a single d20, as noted.]Then not trying to bust this door down with the owlbear was silly on our part. I don't want to waste time, and that's exactly what we're doing fucking around with shit we don't know about.
>>5111358…And with a sickening snap of metal and bone, the mechanism breaks under your not-so-gentle caress. So, too, does the lockpick… And, to your muffled scream, your morphed hand.‘FFFFF-‘ Irinnile hisses in sympathetic, shared psychic agony.Your hand is caught, crushed and mangled… But luckily, not by any enchanted weapon or energy. Squeezing your eyes shut, you begin to extract the sludge that was your left hand carefully from the mechansims, drawing it back to your wrist and resuming its normal shape.‘FUCK SHIT CUNT BITCH AAAAGGH FUCKFUCKFUCK!’ Irinnile screams inside your soul, not exercising such restraint as you, by necessity, must. ‘How do you mortals DEAL with this shit, knowing it won’t even HEAL?’‘How do you demons deal with charms such as Pavlov’s?’ you snap back. ‘Now calm yourself, and fix it!’<WANT: 16>You flex the fingers of your hand as it stitches itself back together by demonic energies and effort. The pain, still throbbing in your body and mind, is more a memory of pain than the urgent scream of an obliterated section of nervous system, now. Alhazred stares as if marvelling, as if he has questions he aches to answer… But you have no patience for such a debriefing, and silence him with a motion and a look.You can tell by the feel of the door’s inner workings that you have damaged it beyond easy repair, let alone entry. You will not be picking that door now—nobody will. It won’t be opening without a machinist of some skill, or the destruction of the mechanism and forcing of the door itself. You turn to the owlbear, contemplating this option.“…”Alhazred says nothing, but the sudden change in his posture and shift of his body tells you volumes of actionable intelligence. You follow his gaze, and focus your hearing and mystic senses alike…‘Someone’s coming,’ Irinnile says, suddenly very quiet again.“Someone is coming,” Alhazred says.You can sense the energy, hear the faint footfalls from far down the way. Someone, a human mage, is coming. No—two someone’s, with chimeras’ smaller and simpler spirits accompanying their own; you cannot tell by sound and psychic sense which sort of chimera.The owlbear makes a sound between a chirp and chuff and rotates its head back to normal. It starts to stand as if awaiting instruction.What do you do?>Knock down the damn door with the owlbear, rush down to the fifth floor, and make your stand there>Send the owlbear to maul the approach mages and their chimera familiars, while you make a break for the reliquary where your primary objective awaits>Attack WITH the owlbear, for maximum chance of success and in hopes you can defeat them before they raise the alarm>Set the owlbear to maiming Lord Sharpe’s body, in an effort cover up your murder of him, and make your escape while you still can [specify if toward the reliquary, or up and out of the Tower]>Write-in
>>5111375>Attack WITH the owlbear, for maximum chance of success and in hopes you can defeat them before they raise the alarmNow I'm just pissed.
>>5111375>>Attack WITH the owlbear, for maximum chance of success and in hopes you can defeat them before they raise the alarmShouldn't have fucked around lads
>>5111375>Attack WITH the owlbear, for maximum chance of success and in hopes you can defeat them before they raise the alarmIf they have small and agile familiars, then>Send the spider monkey to tackle the chimeras>>5111381>>5111608I was working with what we had anons. Breaking this door would be noisy as fucking hell and attract attention, too.
>>5111645Ordinarily, I would agree with you, but considering that our attempt still amounted to one die instead of multiple dice, we had shit odds of lock-picking working out in our favor even with your ingenious write in. I'd rather get in and do what needs to be done before finally focusing on our main objective.
Rolled 2, 17, 2, 11, 7, 9, 19, 5, 1 = 73 (9d20)>>5111381>>5111608>>5111645>>5111743You’ve had just about enough of this.“To me,” you hiss in the Reptilian True Speech. Alhazred understands; the chimeric animals follow by your force of will.You grasp your dagger tightly, your spirit awash in frustration that only victory and blood can sate. You walk quietly, or quietly as you can with so many followers… But then, Alhazred is trained in infiltration, Hirschel and the monkey-thing—a spider/monkey, perhaps?—are perched upon your shoulders. As for the owlbear… Well, it is uncomfortable to you just how stealthy that massive creature is. Nothing so large should be so quiet when it moves.[Rolling stealth to see what sort of bonuses you get to your attack. 4 for you, 2 for Alhazred, 3 for the owlbear]
Rolled 5, 1, 6, 14, 15, 8, 1, 1, 8 = 59 (9d20)>>5111917>17 for you>9 for Alhazred (failure, but not bad enough to throw off the stealth of your group given how high the other rolls are)>19 for owlbearIf the approaching humans hear your entourage at all, they show no sign of alarm. Alhazred is the noisiest of the three of you, thrown off-balance perhaps by the monkey on his shoulder… Or maybe by how divided his attention is between the owlbear and the approaching humans. You shoot him a glare, and he nods and corrects his gait, forcing himself to remain near the 700-pound lump of fur, feather, and muscle that so silently stalks alongside him.You gesture to the others to hold back a step as you peer around a corner, spying two female humans. Neither are dressed in the attire of Tower Guardians, but instead that of mage apprentices, similar to Mayhew. Still, they do not speak as they walk. They stare straight ahead. One clutches something like a length of tapered wood—a wand, you gather from Mayhew’s memories, meant to focus an offensive spell and direct it for greater accuracy and potency. One of them has a strange, canid creature padding alongside her, with sucker-tipped tenacles rising from its shoulder blades and curling forward like the outstretched hands, ready to grab. The other has a slim, dog-sized felid with her, its face and ears elongated strangely; curled under its belly, you spy some sort of chitinous tail.>Send the spider monkey to tackle the chimeras>Attack WITH the owlbear, for maximum chance of success and in hopes you can defeat them before they raise the alarmBoth these creatures look swift and dangerous… But you have chimeras of your own. Furthermore, while it’s clear that these two are on their way to respond to some important matter, they hardly seem to be expecting and ambush by a lethal assailant. You still have the drop upon them.“Now!”[3 dice for you, 1 for each chimera, 1 for Alhazred, 3 for the owlbear. DC 10, will go up if they aren't finished off this round.]
>>5111923Almost funny in how bad it is
>15The spider-like monkey proves, perhaps, to be more mixed with some sort of caterpillar or worm: it spits forth a sticky white fluid from its mouth in an adhesive stream, petering down to a glob. The blast impacts one of the chimeras—the hound—and pins it immediately. However, though it hops down and makes to do the same to the felid, the monkey-thing clearlys lacks the ammunition for another such attack… And brave though it is, it screams and flees in terror when the feline leaps upon it.“Horace!” cries one of the mages, stopping just short of tearing at the canid chimera’s bindings and trapping herself.“What… Is that Mayhew’s chimera?” the one, the one with the wand, says. “What is going on?”“It must be an intruder after all!” the first one replies, beginning to work a spell to free her pet.Well, your cover is blown… But only in part. You yet wear the countenance of the late Lord Sharpe as a protection against identification. Better yet, you wear a cloak to defend against their spells, and command a small army of creatures and infiltrators!“Owlbear!” you cry, and point in wordless command. It charges forth and leaps with startling agility, landing between the feline and the monkey-thing. The feline draws up short, yowling furiously, and is forced to leap back and dodge a swing of the great owl-bear hybrid’s talon-tipped paw.You and Alhazred move next. With an outstretched arm, you send Hirschel forth, and with a psychic push you fill the drake with a furious rage that ignites its plumage. >14Hirschel flaps its wings furiously and crash-lands upon the face of the human to whom the bound tentacle-dog belongs. She screams, swatting and grabbing at it, but only suffering burns to her hands as WELL as her face for her troubles as her grasping and smacking further aggravates Hirschel.>8Unfortunately, neither you nor Alhazred are so lucky with the other mage. She points her wand and speaks an incantation—so much faster than a somatic component would allow her to be!—and fires forth a blast of lightning. Alhazred ducks as it obliterates a chunk of wall behind his head, but with the wand alternating between the two of you, he is loathe to draw closer.“Stay back!” she cries. “I don’t know who you are, but you WILL not get away with this! You are in my custody!”“Are we now?” you sneer with Sharpe’s face.“Lord Sharpe?” the mage asks, wide-eyed.You seize upon the momentary hesitation to lunge…
>>5111943>1…But it was, truly, only momentary. Before you can close the distance, you feel pain explode through your abdomen twice: one when the blast of lightning surges through you like a lance of fire, and once when the kinetic energy which accompanies it hurls you back like a cannonball to the pelvis. You feel yet a third impact when you smash into the wall behind you. You are too winded and disoriented to even cry out. You press your hand to your stomach and find… A hole, filled with cooked organs. You draw your hand back instinctively, willing yourself not to hyperventilate.The other mage-girl who Hirschel accosted is still out of the fight, still screaming and clutching at her face as Hirschel swoops victoriously above her. Her hound remains bound. However, the battled betwixt fleid and owlbear has gone… Suboptimally.>1With a crash, the owlbear toppled over as if drunk. Its mouth hangs open, drooling; its unreadable eyes still, somehow, seem glossy. You recognize the symptoms of poisoning immediately, and your suspicions are vindicated as the feline chimera hops atop its fallen adversary with a long, scorpion tail lashing behind it.The monkey-thing looks ready to flee, and its payload of silk is expended… But monkeys are deceptively strong. Alhazred is yet unharmed, still on his feet… But he is neither mage nor warrior.And you… You are dying, but thanks to Irinnile, you can fix that. However, it will take time, without interruption.What do you do?>Force yourself to your feet and ATTACK! You and Alhazred can take down a girl and a cat!>Send Hirschel to assail the cat-thing, and trust Alhazred to handle the mage-girl>Use the others as a distraction to flee [specify a destination]>Call in the [DIVINE FAVOUR]>Write-in
>>5111948>Send Hirschel to assail the cat-thing, and trust Alhazred to handle the mage-girl>Throw your dagger at the mage with all your might, hopefully helping Alhazred a bit
>>5111948Nooo not the fucking owlbearr. I liked it.Who will open the fucking door now?!Oh.>Crawl to the owlbear and give it our healing potion.Time to stop fucking about using only the default inputs and start utilizing everything we can to our advantage.This feathery fuck's massive body should deal with the poison if we help it. >Send Hirschel to assail the cat-thing, and trust Alhazred to handle the mage-girl>Throw your dagger at the mage with all your might, hopefully helping Alhazred a bitHopefully it doesn't hit him.Man, this dungeon goes from 100 to 0 to like about 76 to 0. Fucking drunk dice combined with the fact that we're going through one continuous chain of events really make this whole endeavor feel like risky gambling.Better save the Divine Favor for that fucking dragon.
>>5111948>Force yourself to your feet and ATTACK! You and Alhazred can take down a girl and a cat!>Send Hirschel to assail the cat-thing, and trust Alhazred to handle the mage-girlMy rage is apocalyptic now.
>>5111948>send Hirschel to attack cat thing and trust Alhazred
[Will post when I can, but as mentioned, there me be a delay. For now, enjoy a sneak preview of the next thread header image.]
>>5112603>All aboard the hype train!
>>5112603if we live to tell the story :”)
>>5112845*switches your MC to the dragon*
>>5112845>>5112959What makes you think that death would be the end?
Rolled 3, 16, 10, 4 = 33 (4d20)>>5112512>>5112138>>5112132>>5112013“Hirschel,” you croak.Your voice is upsettingly weak with pain to your own ear, but the flying chimera gets the message loud and clear. It ceases to alight upon is conquered foe—the mage clutching her face and keening in pain—and awaits your instruction. You nod towards the car-chimera, and the tiny golden drake ignites anew and swoops down upon this new target.For your part, you know you cannot just lie here. You consider drinking your healing potion… But by necessity of your frrquently-shifting shape during this infiltration, Alhazred currently carries your pack. Attempting to power through the pain to stand up, you only succeed in discovering new ways to hurt. In fear and shame, you lay back down… But still, STILL, you cannot do nothing.‘Babe, please,’ Irinnile pleads. ‘Stay still and let me fix ya’.’But if Alhazred fails, and falls… You doubt you will be given the luxury of time for your succubus to mend your wounds. You frankly doubt you OR Irinnile will ever leave this place in such an eventuality—certainly not alive.>Do It For Her: Conditions MetYou’ll never see Edwin again. His last memory of you, your dance, will be tinged with bitterness as he discovers your true nature… If he ever learns what happened to you at all, if the Tower doesn’t simply disappear the Infiltrator once called Ismena Rosgard by the man who loved her.>Do It For Him: Conditions MetYou flip your dagger over in your hand to grasp the tip. Tears well in your eyes, but you wipe away this pathetic weakness and squint one shut. As Alhazred dodges another blast of magic, you line up your shot… And throw the dagger, with all your subtle arts and all your might![1d20 Hirschel, 1d20 Alhazred, 1d20 you (ranged attack, but 9 due to stacked bonuses, distractions, and enchantment), 1d20 mystery die]
>>5113206Oh no not Hirschel, how will we recover from this chimera bros.Fucking piece of shit cat.
>>5113206The dagger sails end over end over end in a perfect, flawless arc. You watch it, praying to any of the innumerable and nameless Dark Gods Beyond or Below who may hear you, who might listen. The female human turns her head, eyes widening. She starts to move, to dodge it. You curse yourself for not calling upon those Dark Gods directly with a divine favour. It's going to fail! You are going to die here!>10But the blade course-corrects in mid-air, enchanted as it is to strike true. It descends upon her as if plunged down with great force by an unseen hand. It is no lethal strike, alas. It hits her shoulder… But as the freezing and numbness of the frost dagger spreads, she drops her wand and cries out.>16And that is the end of her, for Alhazred's dagger now find the mage’s lungs and heart with two swift stabs from behind. Her eyes narrow, in fury, in recognition… Maybe in acceptance. Perhaps she felt she died honourably, having fought well and done her duty. Perhaps she is simply beyond caring.Perhaps your musings about her mental state have to do with how closely you feel death is to claiming you, too.‘Don’t be a drama queen!’ Irinnile says, not sounding wholly convinced. ‘I’ll have you patched up like nothin’, or my truename ain’t Irinnile. Just stop MOVING, damnit!’>3But you don’t. You turn your head swiftly at the sound of a high-pitched, rattling whine. You fine Hirschel pinned beneath the paw of the scorpion-cat, its stinger dripping venom and poised to impale the little drake.‘It’s not worth it!’ Irinnile exclaims. ‘It’s just a newt, Lispy!’What do you do?>Force yourself to your feet and leap to Hirschel’s defence>Let Alhazred handle it and focus on healing>Call Alhazred to you, to administer the potion, and leave Hirschel to live or die as fate sees fit>Call in a [DIVINE FAVOUR] for a chimera-drake you just met and named after your dead human dad>Write-in
>>5113224>Try to weave whatever feeble illusion you may from here without overly straining yourself, to give Hirschel the best chance possible
>>5113224>Focus on healing
>>5113224>Force yourself to your feet and leap to Hirschel’s defence>>5113215I like this chimera.
>>5113232Actually +1ing this instead, we have illusion dice to spare.
>>5113224>Try to weave whatever feeble illusion you may from here without overly straining yourself, to give Hirschel the best chance possible>Force yourself to your feet and leap to assist HirschelIf that overgrown housecat survives it might run after us or just cause more ruckus and get more faggots on our ass.
>>5113329Yea, you're right. We need this cat situation under control pronto, one way or another. Will support both actions if they become necessary.
Rolled 18, 6, 14, 17, 14, 18, 11 = 98 (7d20)>>5113329>>5113374>>5113300>>5113269>>5113232Was naming Hirschel a mistake? A part of you is pained to see the cat-creature tormenting the little drake-dragon. You know you should focus upon healing, but you can't just leave it…‘LISPY, lay back DOWN!’ Irinnile screeches, unable or unwilling to force the matter by taking control of your body.Regardless of any personal reasons, though, you have practical concerns with letting this cat get away. It could come for you next, obviously, or poison Alhazred (who, you note, it keeping his distance as if afraid to enter melee with a scorpion-tailed artificial abomination). Worse yet, it could escape to bring still more mages down upon your head—perhaps even the Head Chimericist herself!‘Babe, if you DIE, you also ain’t gonna’ avoid discovery,’ Irinnile reminds you.She raises a valid point. Sitting up is somewhat possible, but even that small movement undoes some of the good work Irinnile has done mending you—you can feel your flesh rend anew. Entering combat directly would lead to some serious damage, which the succubus might not be able to repair. Instead, you lay back down and focus your energies. Moving your hands in patterns meant to focus and direct your energy, you help the only way you can, as best you can: you attempt to befuddle the brain of the blasted cat-chimera, sabotaging its senses to give Hirschel the best chance you can.[5d20, DC 11 due to the distraction of pain, but also the simple and pliable animal mind involved and your Irinnile bonuses to single-target illusion. 1d20 for Hirschel, DC depends on your illusion. Death save d20, DC 5]
>>5114367Even the simple movements you are making are enough to set your injuries—and your soulbound succubus—to screaming. Worse, for a moment they don't seem to be working! The scorpion stinger comes down in a deadly descend doomed to destroy poor, innocent Hirschel…>18But it misses, and wildly! Again and again the cat-creature (now slightly wobbly, as if poisoned itself) misses its mark, yowling and thrashing about. It hops off of Hirschel, crouching low and turning this way and that as if surrounded and cornered by unseen assailants.>18Though clearly injured by the way it holds itself, the feathered drake you thus liberate wastes no time in avenging its early humiliation. Hirschel makes a furious reverberating croak, as close to a roar as it can, and lights ablaze one more. It leaps forward, fluttering wings weakly to remain aloft as it crashes like a living fireball spell into the cat-thing. Its yowls become more frantic, more pained, and then die down as the much smaller drake sinks many tiny teeth into its throat, and heat sears fur and cooks chitin.You breathe a sigh of relief, even as the mere act of breathing seems further injurious to your delicate-but-stable state. To one side, the tentacled dog-chimera struggles in futility against he monkey-chimera’s silk, whining pathetically. Its mage partner yet lives, is even conscious, but can do little but softly keen and clutch her flame-ruined face with blistered hands.“Infiltrator!” Alhazred calls out, hurrying towards you. He has already retrieved your healing potion from your backpack, and struggles to uncork it as he crouches as your side.Do you accept the potion?>Yes>No, give it to Hirschel>No, give it to the owlbear—it may yet live>No, give it to the burned mage to earn her loyalty and make her useful>No, save it for laterWhat do you do about the surviving mage and her dog?>Kill her swiftly and move on, before another patrol arrives>Search her mind for intel, to learn what danger you might be in>Attempt to enthrall her as useful pawn to aid in your next move>Offer her a pact with Irinnile, if she desires to live and to regain her lost looks and abilities>Steal her dog and wipe her memories, leaving her a ruined huskWhat is your next move?>Back to the Fifth Floor door—you WILL reclaim the sacred blood and flesh of The Green Dragon>To the reliquary where the dwarven materials are kept—you have drifted too far off mission>Escape this place—more patrols may well be on their way, and you have clearly underestimated the mages of the Tower[Write-ins are permitted for all three votes.]
>>5114384>yes>Kill her swiftly and move on, before another patrol arrives>To the reliquary where the dwarven materials are kept—you have drifted too far off mission
>>5114384>No, give it to the owlbear—it may yet live>Search her mind for intel, to learn what danger you might be in>Back to the Fifth Floor door—you WILL reclaim the sacred blood and flesh of The Green DragonShe might know of a key or a way to open the damn door.
>>5114384>No, give it to the owlbear—it may yet liveIt's a stealthy, easy to control killing machine. Perfect for the job.>Search her mind for intel, to learn what danger you might be inSeconding this if we can do it swiftly, then>Steal her dog and>Suck the life out of herWe need fuel, not another 1d20 pawn. Mayhew's knowledge is still with us.>Back to the Fifth Floor door—you WILL reclaim the sacred blood and flesh of The Green DragonIs it possible to drag the bodies in Irinnile's demonic form?If we somehow manage to open the fucking door we could just drag "everyone" in there to avoid detection.>>5114610We fucked the physical part of the lock, didn't we?
>>5114626+1 to this. We can substitute that healing potion for the energy we get from the living mage, so it makes sense to hold onto the owlbear.
>>5114384>No, give it to Hirschel>Search her mind for quickly then>Kill her swiftly and move on, before another patrol arrives>To the reliquary where the dwarven materials are kept—you have drifted too far off mission
>>5114384>No, give it to the owlbear—it may yet live>Search her mind for intel, to learn what danger you might be in>Offer her a pact with Irinnile, if she desires to live and to regain her lost looks and abilitiesI'm abstaining from the next move vote.
>>5114770Also, if we offer the survivor a pack, we can get her to grab the master stone that we should've grabbed before we went down to the fifth floor.
>>5114384I will say RQM, I appreciate you and this quest, even as I'm scared that we spinning our wheels with a sickle hanging over our MC's head. I don't want to go out like this, but it's been an enjoyable ride if we do bite the bullet here.
>>5114790Now we're talking.But what if she tries to spin this against us?If we're making a pact, then let's pretend that Irinnile is the only one in Ismena's body.That way if the pact gives her immunity from the demon, Ismena can still stab her.Unless soulbond. Unless she knows a lot about demonic possession.>>5114384Alright, so if taking her life force would not provide us with much power/lowered WANT, consider my vote (>>5114626) merged with (>>5114770):>Potion the Owlbear>Search her mind for information>Offer a pact with a catch so we can stab her later on>(If possible) "Borrow" her dog >Proceed towards the 5th floor door
>>5114834>like we wouldn't pretend to be just a demon using an empty bodySure, I don't mind putting that cheeky clause in the pact, but this its a pretty clear cut deal (her life and her beauty in exchange for her service and fealty).
Rolled 20, 10, 5, 6, 11, 17 = 69 (6d20)>>5114480>>5114610>>5114626>>5114643>>5114748>>5114770>>5114834>Potion to owlbear>Search the survivor’s mind for intel, then drain her to deathYou push Alahazred’s hand away, drawing a confused expression form the male Degenerate.“I can… Heal…” Your voice comes out in a wheeze, almost a whimper, and you curse your weakness. “The owlbear… We need the owlbear still.”Alhazred stares at you, then at the owlbear, then back at you. You can see that further time in the enormous, bird-faced chimera’s company is the last thing he desires… But he accepts your instruction, like a good soldier.While he is doing that, you finally force yourself up, onto your hands and knees. Ignoring the disgrace of it, you crawl towards the human mage who still lives. Her tentacle-dog snarls and attempts to bark, but the adhesive cocoon around it muffles its protests. This distraction, and the pain, you also ignore. You struggle with the human woman, pulling her ruined hands from a blistered, black-and-red mask of a face. One terrified eye stares milkily at you—the other is burned away.‘Yeeeesh,’ Irrinile cringes, not in sympathy but in a shallow disgust. ‘Not so hot, huh? Killing this one’s gonna’ almost feel like a mercy.’‘Not yet,’ you reply. ‘There is one more thing that she must do for us, first.’You place your hands gently upon the human’s face, quietly shushing her whimpers, and search her mind and soul for answers—about what further threats await you on this floor, and what might yet await you on the Fifth Floor below, for you still have not surrendered hope.[Rolling, then continuing! Mystery dice is for probability of further trouble.]
>>5115237>11The mage’s mind opens up to you, revealing first the most recent events of her life: the battle that just occurred, and what preceded it. Mayhew’s mission was largely a success, as he mustered owlbears and redirected patrols away from what he described as a ‘messy spill of dangerous materials’ in the direction where you were performing your spaycraft. It was only when he was unable to provide an adequate expiation for why none of his colleagues on this floor could aid in clean-up, nor where his chimeric familiar was, that his unusual demeanor became an issue. He was determined to be behaving strangely, and was detained while this woman and her colleague were sent to investigate… Which is wear you entered her life, and where that life came to its current, unfortunate end.>20You delve deeper, casually severing the connection between this mage and her strange hound and reconnecting its threads of loyalty and psychic conditioning to your own identity instead. That isn’t all you find, though: you also find the answer to the riddle of the Fifth Floor’s door! It seems this mage was actually a recent transfer from the Tower Guardians, who had served in the same guard duty capacity as the man whose bearded face you still wear… And she thus ALSO knows how to open the door!‘Huh, score.’Irinnile sounds less than enthusiastic, and you know why, for you BOTH learn what this Mage Blanchet female knew of what lies beyond that door: no mages, but a different and possibly MORE fearsome guardian. You recall what the chain-devil and hellhound on floor three said, not so long ago:>“Careful. Below the fourth floor… Dwells danger.”>“Big. Strong. Too much.”Now you understand, and your gaze lingers on proud little Hirschel, standing atop the smoldering corpse of the cat-chimera and peacefully preening himself. While he might have an inkling of dragon in him, that which guards the corpse of the Green Dragon owes far more of itself to the fallen champion of the Dark Gods which it now defends. The Fifth Floor is home to a creature truly draconian… Something dragon-born. Blanchet never saw it, not up close, for no mage but the Head Chimericist or her equals and superiors is permitted to be alone with it… But it is something truly terrible, the stuff of nightmares, but her imperfect reckoning.You remove your hands from the mage’s head, and beckon her to her feet. She sniffles, whines, but obeys. You will drain her, but first… First, she must use her magic in service to you. She falls in with Hirschel and the owlbear, another creature of yours, and you set Alahzred to freeing her dog so it may be likewise.
>>5115273“Where is the monkey?” you ask.“Fled when its life was endangered,” Alhazred says. “I presume you did not wish for me to chase it down mid-battle?”You huff, but nod. “A sensible presumption.”He looks you up and down. You’d be flattered, perhaps, were you nod wearing a warped imitation of Lord Sharpe’s body… And if your stomach was not still hemorrhaging blood through the hand which holds your organs in.“You are still wounded,” he notes.“I will heal once I have taken time… And eaten the female’s soul.”“Eaten—Ah. Your demonic assistant.”You say nothing. You sense something like approval and admiration for unconventional Alhazred.“Why not consume her energies now, then? Do we need this human to retrieve our objective?”“No,” you say. “The fifth floor.”>Return to the fifth floorAlhazred’s eyebrows shoot up his forehead. He finishes freeing the dog, saying nothing more for a time. You take Mage Blanchet by her claw-like, burned hand and guide her along with your strange menagerie of Tower-made monsters back to that door. Your psychic inquisition of the woman revealed her aptitude for using electrical and telekinetic magics to manipulate the inner workings of the great door to allow entry… And now, under your instruction, she begins to do just that.“Infiltrator…” Alhazred says quietly, close at hand. “I am curious also, but surely we must surrender to practicality, and prioritize our main mission.”“We must not allow an opportunity to retrieve our gods’ champion from these filthy surface-apes to slip through our fingers, Infiltrator,” you reply. “We may never have such opportunity again.”Alhazred nods slowly, but his hunger for knowledge is still clearly tempered by an abundance of pragmatic caution, and a desire not to die here. You empathize… But whether he is right or wrong to worry, you cannot let this go.“Perhaps… We should split up?” the other infiltrator suggests after a moment’s silence.The door unlocks. The gate to the fifth floor opens, just a crack, before the metal mechanism you rendered rigid and unworkable on your last attempt catches. Still… That, THAT, is going to be child’s play for your reinvigorated owlbear to smash open with a single swat of its paw.What do you say to Alhazred’s suggestion?>Split up—Alhazred can secure the master stone and abscond with it, while you tend to business on the fifth floor [specify if you send any of the chimeras with him]>No, you need all available allies to face the fifth floor’s draconic sentryHow do you enter the fifth basement level?>March in boldly with your small army of chimeras, and take what you want>Send in one of the chimeras first [which one?] to scout and draw fire>Sneak in yourself, using your superb succubus stealth to explore>Write-in
>>5115277>Split up—Alhazred can secure the master stone and abscond with it, while you tend to business on the fifth floor [specify if you send any of the chimeras with him]Sounds good to me. Give him everything but the owlbear.>Sneak in yourself, using your superb succubus stealth to explore
>>5115288+1 to this. We still have our Divine Favor.
>>5115277>Split up—Alhazred can secure the master stone and abscond with it, while you tend to business on the fifth floor [He can have any chimera he thinks will aid him in his mission]>Sneak in yourself, using your superb succubus stealth to exploreDark Gods, what I'd give for a mental break right now. Let's get our cube secured, this dragon shit sorted, and finally escape from this nightmare of a mission.
>>5115277Also>Grab that health potionI ain't leaving without an emergency health potion.
>>5115273>where his chimeric familiar wasAs I said, we should've let the stupid monkey return to its owner because it would raise suspicion.>Split up—Alhazred can secure the master stone and abscond with it, while you tend to business on the fifth floorLet him pick any chimera if he wants. Don't think the dog or Hirschel would help in stealth and he might be too distracted by the owlbear.>Sneak in yourself, using your superb succubus stealth to explore
>>5115529>As I said, we should've let the stupid monkey return to its owner because it would raise suspicion.I honestly thought we did that. No use crying over spilt milk now though, thins entire dungeon crawl was a mess from the start. This is the reason why I wanted more time to prepare, less mess, more polish.
>>5115277And before I forget to ask (and assuming that this won't become relevant in the future), what was that fox pearl thing, and what would've happened had we been successful in getting that? I know this hasn't come up in a while, but I figure that if I don't ask now, I'll forget about it later and never get an answer for it.
>>5115540Not crying, just saying.But since we're on topic of spilt milk, please consider what we're going to do about both our thralls (if not all three).I'm thinking feeding the demons of floor 3 would work the best if things don't escalate much beyond what they're now.>This is the reason why I wanted more time to prepare, less mess, more polish.Yeah I've been feeling that too for a while, but it's honestly hard to expect /qst/ to take anything seriously, analyze things, devise complex plans and then agree on things when it comes to execution. It was mostly just arguing over fucking Edwin or something.Also QM was constantly throwing new things at Ismena, which isn't bad, but kept us constantly busy elsewhere. We *barely* wrapped things up by the last day and couldn't even decide whether to visit cat dealership or Felman. Preparations for this dungeon were like completely out of the picture.
>>5115559Never meant to imply that you were, just a saying that popped into my head.Speaking of the thralls, I think creating packs with them would be nice, but I'll settle for the unknown thralls to remain hidden and for the suspicious ones to be dealt with. We may need to deal with this security problem before it becomes a bigger issue though.As for the qst stuff, anons are definitely more ADHD memesters than delayed gratification guys. Really would've killed for more time to prepare ourselves, maybe lay some more groundwork for this final dungeon delve, but that may just be the perfectionist in me talking. I know now that I live in mortal terror of what horrors the Dice Gods decide to subject Ismena to next, and it's not exactly the most charming mental space to be in. Final stretch now, I hope. Let's try and make it outta this mess with our soul intact, ya?
>>5115578I meant after we're done here. There is 0 reason to leave potential trace behind if we're never returning here, no matter how unlikely you think the detection chance is.>ADHD>memesters>delayed gratification guysI mean, you get gratification from seeing an update and seeing your prompts in it, not writing down this instead of that or thinking in the now as opposed to thinking ahead. Focus or delayed gratification has nothing to do with an activity that takes up 10 minutes of your life per day, where you don't even know if your vote will be chosen.I think some, if not most people subconsciously expect QMs to have a hand on pulse when it comes to providing situations adequate to the skills of MC and players' knowledge. Maybe even railroading into certain events if exposition or prep is necessary.Leaving a crucial avenue (tower preparations) as a thing that players *can* do, but don't have to, all the while throwing short-term goals at them is almost never gonna result in anyone being like "hey guys, we should focus on that one thing that doesn't concern us right now, because if it was real life I totally would like, try to focus on that because it seems fucking hard to pull off blibdly".I was pretty involved in the whole thing and whenever gala came to my mind I brushed it aside, because it never felt like an important thing on meta level. Everything just felt like we could cartwheel through it. Even first visit on floor 2 wasn't that worrying. Basically my mind was effectively somewhere else.I'm down for panic planning rn, but we're kinda in the dark:We dunno what's the situation on F3, if more people will come looking for our latest victims after their patrol failed, if Alhazred will succeed, what exactly to do on F5 or what the dragonborn is gonna be like.
Rolled 1, 20, 11, 15, 14, 4, 10 = 75 (7d20)>>5115288>>5115295>>5115299>>5115529You agree to Alhazred’s plan, saying: “I require the owlbear. Take whichever chimera or chimeras you deem useful to your task, infiltrator.”Somehow, Ahazred hardly seems fazed by your refusal to lend him the owlbear—maybe even relieved. You can empathize, you suppose, for you still try to avoid looking at that particular minion for too long. Ahazred departs with Hirschel—he’s seen firsthand how tenacious and useful the little feathered drake is, after all—and you set the owlbear to a task which only such a beast could perform: pushing apart the doors.You have the great chimera lean upon it, applying pressure gradually and gently. After all, you still intend to approach this stealthily, so a door slamming apart and off of its hinges is not in your carefully cultivated (and totally not seat-of-your-pants) plan.[Three dice for owlbear's efforts, three for stealth, and a mystery roll]
>>5115796>20The weight and force of your oversized owl-faced assistant works wonders, with the mechanism screeching and groaning quietly before finally pulling apart with a quiet snap and tinkle. It is so quick and quiet that even someone a room or two over would likely think little of it. You gesture to owlbear and tentacle-dog to hold back, and both sit down upon their rears like trained animals… Which, after a fashion, you suppose they are. Then, you turn to the blind, burned mage who made this all possible.“Thank you,” you whisper into her ear, and grant her… Release.‘Mmm,’ Irinnile murmurs pleasurably once you are done. ‘You know, the desire for, like, death and an end ta’ pain or whatever? Also pretty good. Didn’t realize it had such a… Different flavour from the sexy-times kind, ya’ know?’You don’t comment, but you aren’t sure how to feel about the squirmy heat traveling through your body and especially between your legs at the sensations you and the succubus just shared. At the very least, that same roiling, stimulating heat floods your wounded abdomen and begins to patch up the damage done earlier. Meanwhile, you have the owlbear casually flip the body onto the pile in the corner before returning to its post. No <WANT> is abated, all energy gathered by your slaying of Blanchet being used to mend your half-ruined, failing organs… But before Alhazred left, you took back your pack. You have two more potions for if things get especially dicey.‘For all the good it’ll do us if we get our head knocked off our shoulders,’ Irinnile pessimistically gripes.‘You’re in a mood,’ you note.‘A big mutant DRAGON?’ she exclaims. ‘REALLY? We should just be getting out of here. Let Alhazred get what he’s getting and get out. We’ve done enough! This entire gig has been a MESS right from—’‘Irinnile,’ you interrupt gently, and she sighs and stops.‘Just… Let’s be careful, huh?’>15And careful you are, moving through dimly (and greenly) lit chambers. The torches upon the walls are not terribly bright, but obviously are magical, and by dust motes gathering around them you get an impression of great age and rare visitation. Luckily, you don’t need much light to see, and less chance of interruption is exactly what you need!