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The Drow—so-called ‘dark elves’, the jet-black underground outcast of their race—call this place, their capital city, ‘Wevenore’. According to Jazkarmel, one of the many nobleborn elf-maids to bear the title of ‘Princess’ in this realm, it is also called ‘The Oasis of Crystal and Silk’. In spite of her evident pride in her race, in their survival of the harsh and impoverished isolation of the underdark, Jazkarmel warned you to lower your expectation of this place, even as she guided you here to meet with her people’s highest authorities.

Now, you see why.

This place IS a relative oasis, it must be said. You recognize, intellectually, that it is a wonder: a city built around the shores of deeply-buried lake, expansive in its sprawl and home to more elves than you have ever personally laid eyes on. So, too, do you bear witness to the namesake crystals and silk. The crystals, mostly quartz but also several more precious varieties, blaze with the dim light of magecraft, scattered like beacons through the dark, JUST bright enough to lend colour to the natives’ monochromatic darkvision in the public plazas and to the distantly-glimpsed courtyards of what you take to be powerful households. The silk—threads of corded, treated spider-thread—connect these places-of-power, and you see eight-legged messengers carrying messages and packages in bundles from one home to another in scurrying silence.

“It is as the worms of Glowie’s race,” the Novice Fleshweaver—one f your companions on this pilgrimage—notes.

You nod, but you recognize the limitations at the same time as you recognize the sophistication.
>>
>>5410693
You see the cracks in the crystals, the dimming of the lights.

You see how their network, while obviously refined and purposefully built and maintained in a way your multi-ethnic Dark Empire’s glow-worm based supply chain is not, is rigid and small in scope, inefficient for the limited size and understanding of the spiders.

So too do you see silk garments, with whitest silk worn by the tallest, healthiest elves—Drow nobility, who wear crystals as well, in jewelry or speckled across their garb… But the gems are small, roughly-sculpted. Even the cleanest and whitest silk is a dingy grey. The average Drow in this, their greatest city, dwells in a hovel carved into a stone wall, or a roughshod brick shanty held together with a bug-derived paste, hardly insulated from the cool underwater wind-currents which rise from the darkly-sparkling oasis-lake. The wealthy have larger, more ornately-carved homes, and they have their glowing crystal lamps to lend it depth of colour… But still, their homes are just as roughly constructed, their size limited in both height and majesty by simple building methods and substandard materials.

Even here, in this place of glory and among the social elite, you see paucity of circumstance.
>>
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>>5410699
“It is… Impressive,” Olu the Archer agrees, less enthusiastically, as he offers light support to your injured frame during your first foray into Wevenore.

Olu, a half-human Degenerate Reptilian, has been to the great cities of the Southlands—the warmest and richest lands of the surface, by some accounts. He, like you, sees this place not in the light of the Master Race, who has long suffered in darkness since the bastard surface-mammals drove your once-glorious empire into hiding… But as another bygone empire, a race in decline, suffering scarcity unknown in all but the most forsaken realms of the realms above.

It hurts your heart to see it.

You are the Dragonborn Antipaladin, Champion of the Master Race, self-appointed but thus-far undisputed Copper King of the Bloodrise Mountains. You have allied with these outcast elves against the forces of the Gods of Light, which forsook their race and all but destroyed yours. Together, your peoples have befriend bugbears and worked with worm-folk to dominate dwarves and annihilate adventurers. You have reclaimed ancient secrets of your race—and of the late, once-great Red Dragon King who ruled the Bloodrise Mountain Range before you. Like the Drow, your own people were driven into darkness below, but with the help of the Dark Gods, you will rise again!
>>
>>5410703

You have come here on a diplomatic mission to earn the full support and loyalty of the Drow, on invitation of their ‘Queen-for-the-Season’, Myrymma of House Yvonlace. Through her subordinate Jazkarmel, she has been a distant ally-by-proxy. Now, in the peculiar manner of these elves, she is soon to cede power to a masculine counterpart—a King-for-the-Season, who may or may not prove as willing to treat with you and advance your agenda. You are here to assess these elven leaders, and to secure the friendship (and perhaps faith) of this elven subrace on behalf of the Dark Gods and their Serpent Priesthood.

This alliance is made especially important by two swiftly-approaching threats: that of The Green Knight, the emerald-armoured nightmare-fiend who slew your mother and now haunts your sleep with his inexorable approach; and that of the Kobold Necromancer Hapo, an embittered rival claimant to Bloodrise who stole ancient tomes and has seemingly worked in the shadows to assail your bugbear allies and make deadly, diseased thralls of their war-dead.
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>>5410706
Accompanying you, in addition to Jazkarmel’s retinue of elves, you have brought allies of your own. The Novice Fleshweaver is one of your oldest ‘friends’, though you began as youthful rivals—she, very much your belligerent bully; these days, the tension between you is somewhat… Charged, and a hint more respectful. Olu the Archer—a Degenerate half-breed and former Reptilian Infiltrator—is a stalwart ally an a zealot to your cause, with romantic inroads with Princess Jazkarmel herself. Ivno the Kobold is a former follower of Hapo, long-since subjugated and made loyal, and a cautious (maybe overcautious) attendant. Karz Throat-singer is your dwarven slave, a young and beardless male of his race with a bitter and sullen disposition and a gift for bardic magic, who you have taken as an apprentice of sorts. Then, there is the ‘Junior Novice’, the mockingly-named and long-suffering kobold-like dog-creature who you purchased as chattel and then subjected to the Novice’s tender fleshweaving ‘mercies’ until he became a half-dragon war-beast.

You’ve also accumulated a quite impressive array of weaponized relics, honed an array of aptitudes, and mastered (somewhat) a short-list of sorcerous spells.

[See https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=reptoidqm for previous threads, and the attached image for stats.]
>>
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>>5410707
“We should greet Queen Myrymma’s court, first,” Jazkarmel asserts—and well she might, as a relation or acolyte of this royal house.

“It risks showing favouritism, before we decide on an ally for certain in this mammal power-struggle,” the Novice notes, when he princess is seemingly out-of-earshot.

“It secures a known ally,” Olu the Archer contests, though he hastily averts his eyes and mutters and apology when the Novice—a Serpent Priestess by blood-glowers at him.

What will you do?
>Follow Jazkarmel’s advice, and Olu’s, and pay a visit to House Yvonlace
>Pay a visit to her rival—the soon-to-be-King of Elves, at HIS house
>You are weary (and don’t wish to pick sides yet), and would retire to somewhere comfortably neutral
>It pains you to see the state of the dark elves, and you would visit their poor places and people before attending any kingly welcome
>As Dragon King in perpetuity of the Dark Empire of Bloodrise, you think these SEASONAL monarchs probably ought to come to YOU, actually
>Write-in
>>
>>5410708
>You are weary (and don’t wish to pick sides yet), and would retire to somewhere comfortably neutral
>It pains you to see the state of the dark elves, and you would visit their poor places and people before attending any kingly welcome
>>
>>5410708
>Follow Jazkarmel’s advice, and Olu’s, and pay a visit to House Yvonlace

What's a visit going to do that us walking in here with Jaz hasn't done already?
>>
>>5410708
>It pains you to see the state of the dark elves, and you would visit their poor places and people before attending any kingly welcome
>As Dragon King in perpetuity of the Dark Empire of Bloodrise, you think these SEASONAL monarchs probably ought to come to YOU, actually.

Ultimately our main long term purpose in this visit, is religious conversion. And visiting and conversing the lower class could possibly gain us said converts, and possible our own independent pool of political power in dark elf society.

It is also currently unknown to us what kind of temperament either Nobel faction has towards us. So we should see who comes to us first and what they say, before involving ourselves in any byzantine political pacts.
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>>5410708
>Follow Jazkarmel’s advice, and Olu’s, and pay a visit to House Yvonlace

Yvonlace is the house that most needs our support, we can get the most out of them and have the most rapport with them currently. The future kings house has much less incentive to give us anything because they’re in an advantageous position with the seasons changing.

We are also a stranger in these lands it is not yet time to play politics when we don’t even know the complete picture of what’s going on. Hopefully the Queen can inform us of her (biased) picture.
>>
>>5410708
>Follow Jazkarmel’s advice, and Olu’s, and pay a visit to House Yvonlace
>>
>>5410915
>Yvonlace is the house that most needs our support, we can get the most out of them and have the most rapport with them currently. The future kings house has much less incentive to give us anything because they’re in an advantageous position with the seasons changing.

Snubbing the future king, and being summoned by queen smilingly dance to her tune, may make future faction outright hostile.

A lack of at least the appearance of neutrality could create unknown enemies even before we accomplish anything.
>>
>>5410987
We’re not neutral though?? We already made a deal and are tacitly showing support to Yvonlace just by showing up with Jaz.
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>>5410693
uhh, is there a link to the archives so that i can cacht up with the quest?
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>>5410693
>It pains you to see the state of the dark elves, and you would visit their poor places and people before attending any kingly welcome
>As Dragon King in perpetuity of the Dark Empire of Bloodrise, you think these SEASONAL monarchs probably ought to come to YOU, actually

Im liking this plan, our mom also built her own political network in hawksong, by first gaining loyalty of outcasts. Networking with the poor will also give us a less biased view of the political landscape.

Also i feel that if we go with Myrymma we may become completely dependant on house Yvonlace's faction, to handle drow diplomacy/influence in the future.

Also novice seems to dislike the idea of it.

>“It risks showing favouritism, before we decide on an ally for certain in this mammal power-struggle,” the Novice notes, when he princess is seemingly out-of-earshot

And she has the most political experience amongst us being the Chaplin's daughter. And we will probably end up relying on novice and the drow shape changing infiltrator amulet she built for spy craft.
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>>5410708
>You are weary (and don’t wish to pick sides yet), and would retire to somewhere comfortably neutral
Do pushups until someone calls us.
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>>5411016
[Yep, https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=reptoidqm. Reptilian Infiltrator is backstory you don't really need to know; you can safely start at Dragonborn Antipaladin Volume 1.]
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>>5410726
Supporting this

As another anon said, the religious conversation of the lower classes is vital

Not that I think we should start preaching immediately after arriving - but checking out the city is a good idea
>>
>>5410708
>It pains you to see the state of the dark elves, and you would visit their poor places and people before attending any kingly welcome
>As Dragon King in perpetuity of the Dark Empire of Bloodrise, you think these SEASONAL monarchs probably ought to come to YOU, actually
>>
>>5410708
>You are weary (and don’t wish to pick sides yet), and would retire to somewhere comfortably neutral
>It pains you to see the state of the dark elves, and you would visit their poor places and people before attending any kingly welcome

Good to see ya back, RQM. ALWAYS a blast.
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>>5411194
>>5411102
>>5411022
>>5411017
>>5410977
>>5410915
>>5410904
>>5410801
>>5410726
[Vote locked. Writing!]
>>
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>>5411396
Having recently resolved to follow your heart even to tenderness, you find that it now goes out to those who suffer in this society… Just as, you suppose, it did to those such as Olu in your own, or to trusted lieutenants back in the Bloodrise, like the Thief and the Bastard—their titles tell the tale of their ostracism. Though you yourself have been privileged in many ways, you remember well a childhood of ambivalent acceptance, where abuse but more conventional elites (such as the Novice Fleshweaver) was a commonplace occurrence.

“Before we visit House Yvonlace, I would meet with the people of Wevenore.”

Jazkarmel looks at you strangely, replying: “House Yvonlace is entirely composed of people.”

You realzie that the dark elven tongue uses the same word for ‘people’ in a populist sense as their generic word for ‘elves’, and try again.

“The commoners, the… The basic and poor elves, I mean.”

Jazkarmel’s expression changes subtly, to surprise then a smug smirk of understanding.

“You wish to still hold yourself apart, Copper King? I understand.”

You worry she will take offence, but instead she claps her hands softly together, and two of the largest and most overtly-masculine of her mixed-gender retinue attend to you. Elves are notoriously androgynous creatures by mammalian standards, with none of the obvious chest-and-hip dimorphism which usually sets them apart, nor the tells of scent, throat, and colouration which delineate the sexes in the Master Race, but you feel comfortable assuming these two are ‘elf-men’ and not ‘elf-maids’, or any of the odder subsets and half-genders which the Drow seem to accept as natural.

“These two will attend to you, as guards.”

You shake your head, and gesture to the cadre of loyalist Drow which you brought as part of your own retinue. They have been spending much of their time with the other dark elves—Jazkarmel’s dark elves. This is because they ARE of Jazkarmel’s forces, her subordinates from her military encampment. However, they are converts as well: true followers of the Dark Gods Below and Beyond, turned away from the atheism characteristic of these elven outcasts, forsaken by their ancestral deities. Jazkarmel is as well, but in this place you truly see how divided her loyalties are, and how much they lean towards her flesh-and-blood noble house in lieu of your fresh and foreign dogma.

“I have my own guides,” you counter.
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>>5411407
Jazkarmel frown a little, a cute sort of pout that reminds you of the attraction you once felt towards this elf, though she be thinner and more muscular than you normally like your females. Alas, she is Olu’s claim now… Well, for now. It’s not as if your race believes in lasting couplings, or in monogamy… Right?

“You really ought to take some more highly-ranked elves,” she warns. “These are all good elves, including those you choose, but in Wevenore, birth MATTERS.”

Jazkarmel says these words with seriousness, not with the pride of the high-born but the matter-of-factness of a native daughter of a world she understands in all its highs and lows. She speaks also with concern. You are ignorant of the many elven eyes upon you, staring in horror or fascination... or hunger, seeing the opportunity presented by your obvious wealth and alien status.

You are acceptable targets, loaded with treasure. Only the protection of your noble hosts precludes depredation... Well, and perhaps your imposing size.

Do you accept her offer?
>Yes, take Jazkarmel’s guards with you—though they will no doubt report back to her, and perhaps to the Queen
>No, refuse these meddlers and spies

Do you still have romantic or sexual interest in Jazkarmel?
>Yes—she is beautiful, highborn, and skilled in magic, warfare, and statecraft
>No—she is Olu’s favoured mate, and you would never risk so upsetting a friend just to sate your <appetite> with a comely female
>No… No, you think you might have some interest in a more monogamous course than you have previously followed, and it is not Jazkarmel that you favour for this role

[Write-ins are allowed for both votes, and for any vote where I don’t otherwise specify]
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>>5411409
>Yes, take Jazkarmel’s guards with you—though they will no doubt report back to her, and perhaps to the Queen
until we get a better understanding of the area or our own high born allies

>No—she is Olu’s favoured mate, and you would never risk so upsetting a friend just to sate your <appetite> with a comely female
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>>5411409
>Yes, take Jazkarmel’s guards with you—though they will no doubt report back to her, and perhaps to the Queen
>No—she is Olu’s favoured mate, and you would never risk so upsetting a friend just to sate your <appetite> with a comely female
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>>5411407
>the odder subsets and half-genders which the Drow seem to accept as natural
Huh? What are those oddities and half-genders?
>>5411409
>No, refuse these meddlers and spies
>Take some of your forces as guards
If QM says they are spies, they ARE spies. And we're the fucking DRAGONBORN who gutted the Devourer and scorched a cosmic horror in 1v1.
>No—she is Olu’s favoured mate, and you would never risk so upsetting a friend just to sate your <appetite> with a comely female
>>
>>5411529
>Huh? What are those oddities and half-genders?
[Drow embrace a degree of gender fluidity, transgenderism, and intersexuality which is considered abnormal by the standards of the Reptilian Master Race. I have mentioned before, and some anons even made jokes about whether or nor Jazkarmel had a dick.]
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>>5411409
>Yes, take Jazkarmel’s guards with you—though they will no doubt report back to her, and perhaps to the Queen

>No… No, you think you might have some interest in a more monogamous course than you have previously followed, and it is not Jazkarmel that you favour for this role
>Favour Novice
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>>5411409
>Yes, take Jazkarmel’s guards with you—though they will no doubt report back to her, and perhaps to the Queen

No harm them coming - but our devoted flock shall join us

>No—she is Olu’s favoured mate, and you would never risk so upsetting a friend just to sate your <appetite> with a comely female

We’re not going to cuck him

We’re in that Novice route…but a concubine will likely be required as she won’t always be in heat
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>>5411568
>Novice will self-fleshweave into dragon
>We will fleshweave in our horniness
>Great profit
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>>5411409
>Yes, take Jazkarmel’s guards with you—though they will no doubt report back to her, and perhaps to the Queen
>Yes—she is beautiful, highborn, and skilled in magic, warfare, and statecraft
But I think it’s safe to say that we wouldn’t intrude on their relationship unless they break up or Olu is fine with it. No sense going behind his back over a woman, if if she’s a fine one.
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>>5411409
>No, refuse these meddlers and spies
I’d rather we not have handlers.
>Yes—she is beautiful, highborn, and skilled in magic, warfare, and statecraft
The better elf died, and romancing her would lock down a high up ally to eventually cement the Drow under our rule. It would be the ‘Dragon’ (i.e. ruthless) thing to do, according to the Master Race.
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>>5411409
>Yes, take Jazkarmel’s guards with you—though they will no doubt report back to her, and perhaps to the Queen
>Yes—she is beautiful, highborn, and skilled in magic, warfare, and statecraft…. but not as Olu’s favoured mate.
If it’s attraction, I definitely am, but I’m not about to start pursuing it without Olu’s blessing.
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>>5411409
>Yes, take Jazkarmel’s guards with you—though they will no doubt report back to her, and perhaps to the Queen

>No—she is Olu’s favoured mate, and you would never risk so upsetting a friend just to sate your <appetite> with a comely female

What the fuck? No. Don’t cuck him. What is wrong with this playbase.
>>
>>5411529 here, changing my vote to:
>No
>Yes
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>>5411409
>Yes, take Jazkarmel’s guards with you—though they will no doubt report back to her, and perhaps to the Queen
>No—she is Olu’s favoured mate, and you would never risk so upsetting a friend just to sate your <appetite> with a comely female
>>
>>5411409
>Yes, take Jazkarmel’s guards with you—though they will no doubt report back to her, and perhaps to the Queen
>No—she is Olu’s favoured mate, and you would never risk so upsetting a friend just to sate your <appetite> with a comely female
>>
>>5411409
>Yes, take Jazkarmel’s guards with you—though they will no doubt report back to her, and perhaps to the Queen
>Yes, but no
I like her, and probably would’ve voted to pursue her had Olu not gotten injured and thus claimed her in our absence. I’m not about to simp for a taken girl, the Devora situation left a bad taste in my mouth as is.
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>>5412249
>>5412202
>>5412178
>>5412021
>>5411733
>>5411716
>>5411673
>>5411613
>>5411568
>>5411556
>>5411488
>>5411426
[Vote locked, post incoming!]
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>>5412292
You meet Jazkarmel’s garnet eyes and wistfully recall your earlier flirtation, now almost a year ago. Of course, she is still touchy and feely to a degree unheard of in your race’s society, even among mates—her glances, brushes, gentle squeezes of your hand or arm would be considered positively LEWD in Reptilian culture… But that is just elves being elves. It is has never been quite the same since you first departed her camp, bested the massive rust-monster known as ‘The Devourer’, and sent injured Oluwadamilare back to her waiting embrace in your steady.

Even now, you listen as he rationalizes aloud about the usefulness of the Princess’ proposed protective detail. You see how closely they stand, how she nods approvingly, how he glances back at her. Any other Reptilian who picked up on this back-and-forth would think him compromised. You, with your heart open, see something of the love that you desire for yourself, and the happiness of an ally—no, a friend.

“Very well,” you sigh, shaking your head to clear it of these unproductive musings. “We will bring the guards. Your care and guidance in this foreign realm is much appreciated, Princess Jazkarmel.”

She laughs again, but good-naturedly (you think).

“So formal!” she scoffs, patting your bare chest and trailing her fingernails in a way that sends a tingle across your skin even with the sensation-limiting thickness of your ever-bronzier scales.

“I am here on diplomacy,” you note. “It is best to behave as a diplomat would.”

She nods, but still smirks a little.

“Maybe among dwarves, or lizardmen. This is an elf town. We are… Not like that. Especially not where you are going.”

You quickly learn what Jazkarmel means. You and your retinue—bolstered by Jazkarmel’s finest nobleborn fighters, draw stares and skulking followers as you stride through the wide pathways between the coagulated shanties in the poor area of Wevenore. The elves here are wary, curious, occasionally outright hostile… But you are under the protection of Drow nobility, and even those that would most wish to prey upon your naivety or confusion do not dare to linger long when your protectors draw steel. That doesn’t mean they are silently respectful, though—you learn many Drow tunes, sung with the inherent musical skill of the elven race, with many offensive lyrics that they no doubt believe you cannot understand.
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>>5412314
“Look at the knight/more like the newt/strapped with a warty blade/and a strange sword to boot!”

“Lizardman, lizardman, have you any gold? It doesn’t much matter when your head’s lopped off and sold!”

“Say the word and me and Jaz’s men will end their insolence,” Olu says, hand on his dagger even as his polite, ‘uncomprehending’ smile remains in place.

The Throat-singer at least seems interested to hear their singing, muttering to himself: “Even these silly rhymes have a tingle of magic. Are all elves like this?”

The steel your own company carries, and which your defenders draw to warn off the boldest among the civilians, is the only metal you see here. That is striking to you—just how stone-age this place is. The Drow have the elven touch of magic, and they have proven lithe, agile, stealthy, sharp-sighted, and deceptively strong for their small and wiry frames… But you see none of the fabled craft of the elves, the beautiful things made with uncanny elegance. The material culture of these people is utterly primitive. IN this slum, you do not even see evidence of their arthropod husbandry—these poorest of the dark elf people keep no large beetles, spiders, or centipedes, but only dried mushroom-cap baskets of crab-like wall-crawlers and tiny, squirming food-bugs which they snack upon while they still live, or casually crush in their palms before consuming.

“Pathetic,” the Novice laughs. “Like the kobolds.”

Ivno says nothing, glancing at her and then looking away.

Your assigned guardians lead you to a Drow domicile on the outskirts of this seedy section, where you are to stay. At first you assume it to be a sort of hotel or barracks—temporary lodging, humble but suitable for a short stay. Then, you see the male (?) female (??) and small collection of children-of-indeterminate-sex which stand to the side and stare with resigned melancholy from across the way.

“This is their home?” you ask one of the nobleborn elves.

“There are no empty lodgings in Wevenore,” you are answered. “Empty lodgings invite dark visitors to lurk, and are wasteful.”

What will you do?
>Stay in this family’s home for the night, in what privacy you can manage, so you can consult among your allies and ask questions of the nobles
>Invite the family back, to share in these (somewhat cramped) lodging with you, and lavish them with gifts, rations, and a sermon of the Dark Gods
>Ask your elven retinue if they have somewhere else where you can stay—and if perhaps they can help guide you to the local cultural hotspot
>Let the others rest, and ditch your security detail to roam the streets and meet with the Drow underclass, unfiltered
>Write-in
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>>5412315
>Chastise the Novice for her insult against Ivno's people- they were uplifted, and now live better than many at the forward base

>Let the others rest, and ditch your security detail to roam the streets and meet with the Drow underclass, unfiltered, accompanied only by Ivno

We haven't gotten a good look at our kobold retinue in awhile, and I'm sure he might have something insightful to say. The Drow seem to respect strength; hiding behind our host's skirts will not do us well.
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>>5412315
>Invite the family back, to share in these (somewhat cramped) lodging with you, and lavish them with gifts, rations, and a sermon of the Dark Gods.
>>
>>5412315
>Invite the family back, to share in these (somewhat cramped) lodging with you, and lavish them with gifts, rations, and a sermon of the Dark Gods
where would the family have stayed? communal house or barracks or something?

>Chastise the Novice for her insult against the elves- they could never be as lowly as kobolds
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>>5412451
>where would the family have stayed?
[There is little harsh weather to worry about down here, nor much threat of animals this close to a sizeable settlement of hunters. So... The street.]
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>>5412315
>Invite the family back, to share in these (somewhat cramped) lodging with you, and lavish them with gifts, rations, and a sermon of the Dark Gods
>Chastise the Novice
>>
>>5412315
>Invite the family back, to share in these (somewhat cramped) lodging with you, and lavish them with gifts, rations, and a sermon of the Dark Gods
>>
>>5412315
>Invite the family back, to share in these (somewhat cramped) lodging with you, and lavish them with gifts, rations, and a sermon of the Dark Gods
>Wack the Novice’s ass with our tail as punishment
>>
[Next post may be delayed -- pubbing with a friend after work, so it depends how late I get back.]
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>>5412315
>Ask your elven retinue if they have somewhere else where you can stay—and if perhaps they can help guide you to the local cultural hotspot
>Let the others rest, and ditch your security detail to roam the streets and meet with the Drow underclass, unfiltered
Like, getting in touch with the People without kicking them out of their shacks? The sermonizing potential alone makes it worthwhile.
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>>5412451
Supporting this
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>>5412451
Lmao please don't do this
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>>5412315
>Ask your elven retinue if they have somewhere else where you can stay—and if perhaps they can help guide you to the local cultural hotspot
>Don’t chastise the Novice
Like, come on! Just wack her on the ass for the inappropriate comment, don’t actively make our kobold relations worse.
>>
>>5413194
Changing this vote - didn’t read it properly

>Invite the family back, to share in these (somewhat cramped) lodging with you, and lavish them with gifts, rations, and a sermon of the Dark Gods

>Chastise the Novice for her insult against the kobolds - they are part of our empire and deserve respect, especially if they are around
>>
Rolled 8, 18, 18, 9, 20, 3, 18 = 94 (7d20)

>>5412342
>>5412370
>>5412451
>>5412508
>>5412545
>>5412600
>>5412786
>>5413413
>>5413515
Taking a page from her book, you swat the Novice’s thick rear with your tail. With your tail’s girthiness, spiked back, and flattened spade-tip, it has perhaps a bit more impact than her usual chastisements. It certainly elicits quite the yelp, drawing all eyes and an embarrassed look from your companion.

“What?” she demands in a low hiss.

“Do not be so quick to belittle our allies,” you admonish her.

“I suppose youa re correct,” the Novice sneers. “The elves are filthy mammals, but they still have more autonomy and strength as a race than the kob—OW!”

The Novice Fleshweaver rubs her rear at this second, harder swat. Ivno the Kobold stares bug-eyed at this defence… Then, catching you and the Novice both look back, he hurriedly looks away and busies himself checking his pouch and unwrapping some trail rations to eat.

“Really!’ the Novice sighs, speaking more quietly. “You trouble yourself so much with the feelings of those who simply do NOT matter, Dragonborn. Is it ape-sickness, or a pathology unique to the loser-turned-hero?”

“You think me heroic?” you ask.

“I know YOU do,” she scoffs, crossing her arms and turning her face from you.

Well, if THAT bothered her, you KNOw what comes next will. You do it anyway.

“Guards,” you address Jazkarmel’s honour-guard, “you drive these elves from their home. Where will they go?”

The answer which comes—the streets, or wo whichever extended family will offer them space and succor, IF they have any—is troubling.

“Then where will you stay, Dragonborn?” asks one of your loyal elf-acolytes.

“I amy be able to find space…” another muses.

“This place is fine,” you announce, “but we can share it. A Reptilian of good breeding and sound mind is not a creature which craves comfort. I do not need their bed.

This draws murmurs from all quarters, and an incensed flare of the Novice’s nostrils. No doubt she views it as you giving lowborn mammals ideas above their station, while the elves view it as foreign peculiarity. The Throat-singer and Ivno are the first to accept your judgment for what it is; Olu falls in soon after, and inevitably each of your converted elf-disciples awkward takes a place, squatting or cross-legged, against a wall. The princess-assigned guards hesitatingly lead the evicted family back into their all-to-humble (and by now quite cramped domicile), where they stare at you and your entourage in confusion and horror.

“Be not afraid,” you tell them.

[4d20 diplomacy, 3d20 religion]
>>
>>5413672
You smile. It only seems to make them more afraid. You think you haven’t figured out the matter of the eyes yet—smiling, as humans and elves do, is not a natural thing to you. At least you TRY—the Novice certainly doesn’t, and with her lashing tail and agitated body-language, they seem to fear her almost as much as you despite her being two-thirds your height and a third your weight. You attempt a new diplomatic entreaty to make up for this first impression and the Novice Fleshweaver’s lasting malignance: a gift of shiny (and not invaluable) trinkets from your conquests, food from your stores, and kind words.

“I am a friend,” you say, in careful dark elven, limiting your accent; luckily, elf-speak is easier for you than the surfacer’s Norther Common-tongue.

>18

Gradually, the father—taller than the mother by a head, though just as lean and nearly as wide of hip—seems to warm to you. He sees his children playing with your bangles and coins, his wife marveling at the small gems you afford her, his whole family eating well. He partakes of your food.

“What is your price for this?” he asks, direct and suspicious, but polite. “We cannot pay it, unless it is labour, and we cannot weave, or bug-herd, or chitin-smith. We have no metal, no mushroom-farm, no war-skill.”

>20, 18

“I feed your children because the Mother-Goddess bids that young ones should grow strong, so that THEY can have such wealth one day,” you answer, drawing upon your earlier, almost syncretistic approach to introducing the Drow to your pantheon. “The God-King, who values ambition, would see you and your spaw—your CHILDREN—reach your full potential, if you have the will to do so.”

The father and mother listen intently, even patting the ground so that their children come to join them. As a family, they listen eagerly to your preaching. Even the Novice and guards, those most skeptical members of your audience, grow rapt as you elaborate upon your theological underpinnings. You tell these Drow of the Serpent Ascendant, the Sun-Eater who once swallowed the solar realm of the elf-affiliated God of Light, Oberon; the elves cheer and cheer the defeated golden god, who long abandoned their ilk. You speak of the Mother of Dragons, who embraces all creatures big and small, reptile and mammal (and insect) if they but serve, and who offers fecundity and opportunity; The Novice, Ivno, Olu, and Throat-singer all seem to regard the implicit compassion in this sermon with varying stages of disbelief, but also with growing, fascinated understanding.
>>
>>5413677
“So…” one of the Drow sprog asks you during a lull. “Do these Evil Ones not even care that me and my sibling are dirt-elves?”

You tilt your head at the final term, unfamiliar. One of your retinue, native to this place, enlightens you:

“Elves of a family without noble ancestors, or a familial trade, who can offer little fo value.”

“But… But we COULD, right? The ‘Mother of Dragons’ will give us food and shelter, until me and my sibling are strong? The ‘Serpent Ascendant’ will help us if we work really hard?”

The bigger of these two runty elf-children holds the hand of the other, who stares in rapt quiet, mouth slightly agape. Their parents look between each other, as concerned as hopeful, and then turn to wait for your answer. Your guards, though much less guarded, wait also… As does the Novice, and your other Reptilian followers (and slave Throat-singer).

You know this answer will be reported, amongst the Drow underclass and to their upper crust. So too do you know that the Novice and your other longstanding allies will draw conclusions from it. It could build a fellowship of faith, and provide a path to proselytization. It could cause friction, contradiction, even revolution. You are attempting to introduce the True Faith to these people, but yours is a culture of rigid hierarchy and subjugation… And so, in different but familiar ways, is that of the Drow. Will you risk upending this?
>Encourage the underclasses to stay in their place, and do their duty, to earn lesser honours
>Inspire social lessers to strive above their station, for the same glory as the noblest of nobles and most highborn of peoples
>Make it clear that while RARE individuals can transcend their birth, this is VERY much the exception—most are bound to their starting station, and this is right and good
>Dodge the question with waffling answers and unclear innuendo, then flim-flam to a different subject before you are called out
>Write-in
>>
>>5413679
>Inspire social lessers to strive above their station, for the same glory as the noblest of nobles and most highborn of peoples

To be a dragon is to struggle, to covet, to take, to hoard, and to rule. Above all else, however, it is to strive. Strive towards greater and greater heights until no one else is above you, and then to strive even higher because that is the nature of a dragon. Ambition is a must for every worshiper.
>>
>>5413679
Our refusal to off, glowies hybrid kids caused the prosecutor of the weak/ The law giver to break off regular communication with the other dark gods.

As seen by how he refused to show up at our religious performance two chapters ago.

So at this point i doubt social hierarchy matters at all to the remaining 4 dark gods. So we might as well do what gives our missionary efforts the most traction.

>Inspire social lessers to strive above their station, for the same glory as the noblest of nobles and most highborn of peoples
>>
>>5413679
>>Inspire social lessers to strive above their station, for the same glory as the noblest of nobles and most highborn of peoples

This will please serpent daddy. Do we get paladinship now?
>>
>>5413679
>Inspire social lessers to strive above their station, for the same glory as the noblest of nobles and most highborn of peoples
>>
>>5413679
>Encourage the underclasses to stay in their place, and do their duty, to earn lesser honours
Just like in India.
>>
>>5413679
>Make it clear that while RARE individuals can transcend their birth, this is VERY much the exception—most are bound to their starting station, and this is right and good

Not all can be like a dragon…
>>
>>5413679
>Make it clear that while RARE individuals can transcend their birth, this is VERY much the exception—most are bound to their starting station, and this is right and good
>>
>>5413679
>Inspire social lessers to strive above their station, for the same glory as the noblest of nobles and most highborn of peoples

Our entire thing is upending the current social structure and creating a new one. While it might come to be more solidified, this dark crusade is still in progress, so we need our own zealots and boot-strappers.
>>
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>>5413689
>>5413712
>>5413741
>>5413810
>>5413845
>>5413894
>>5413900
>>5413906
It flies in the face of what you’ve been taught, raised to believe… Even the pragmatic prejudice which you have exercised and enforced back in the Bloodrise. With your heart newly-opened, though, and so many hopefully faced turned to yours, you find it difficult to deny these aspirants their ambition. After all, you have less dragon-blood now than the Junior Novice, crouched in a corner and licking himself. Whatever you were RAISED to believe, you have since learned the truth: your power came from the convention-defying meddling of a Degenerate mother, augmented with your own strength of spirit. Is there any reason a dwarf, kobold, or dark elf cannot do likewise?

“A noble bloodline is established by a founder with a noble spirit,” you proclaim, with absolute certainty.

You wonder if the Serpent Ascendant is watching. Does he approve?

“The original elven nobility were the children of gods,” one of Princess Jazkarmel’s assigned attendants says, a little uncertainly.

“Gods who abandoned you?” you ask pointedly. “Gods you reject? Gods who your nobles, souls aflame with righteous fury, turned against and now scorn?”

That silences him. Now those two guards, and all those in your impromptu congregation, listen as you explain the philosophy which you understand to be at the heart of your campaign—your own burgeoning Dragon Kingdom.

“Monsters, mutants, hybrids, the lowborn… They may be born worse, but this simply means they have to work harder to climb. Rise, and take glory for yourselves! Prove your worth! If you have the spirit of a dragon, you can BE a dragon.”
>>
>>5414810
The Novice scoffs quietly, and though she does not interrupt, you can hear her rejoinder as clearly as if she said it aloud: ‘If that is so, why are you wearing that amulet, filled with the blood of dead dragons, to make yourself more like them?’

“A truly draconic spirit matters more than a draconic body,” you assert. “The Mother of Dragons is mother to MANY beings… Not all of them beautiful, or titanic. To be a True Dragon is to struggle, and to strive. Struggle against the limitations of one’s birth, and strive towards greater and greater heights until no one else is above you, and then to strive even higher because that is the nature of a Dragon!”

By the time your sermon is concluded, the Throat-singer and Ivno stare at you with wide eyes, as do the Drow youth. Their parents regard you with a quiet respect and admiration, like… Well, like a Dark Prophet. When you lead a prayer to the Dark Gods Beyond and Below, they all join you—even the Novice, even Jazkarmel’s hand-selected elf-men!

You do not invoke the Lawgiver by name. The King of the Pyramid, Persecutor of the Weak, Lord of Chains and Slaves… If you hadn’t lost him before, you are lost to him now, most certainly.

As you settle in to rest your weary mind, spirit, and body, your fellowship follows your example: you sleep simply upon the floor, back against a rough-cut stone slab of a wall, and even the home’s owners do likewise (though the children settle into their parents’ laps).

Do you dream?
>Yes, of the Serpent Ascendant [Official paladinhood? It’s possible…]
>Yes, of the Baleful Beholder [Learn more of shoggoths and/or elven secrets?]
>Yes, of the Mother of Dragons [A blessing for your converts? A gift for you?]
>Yes, of Davora [Learn the fate of your lost lover? Gain an opportunity unknown from Death Himself?]
>Yes, of the Persecutor of the Weak [A parting gift, a dire warning]
>No [skip the dream sequence, gain a single stat-boost for a good night’s rest]
>>
>>5414812
>Yes, of the Serpent Ascendant [Official paladinhood? It’s possible…]

It's time.
>>
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>>5414812
[Oh, and sorry, I should specify: please only choose one, and no write-ins unless it's a really good one.]
>>
>>5414812
>Yes, of the Mother of Dragons [A blessing for your converts? A gift for you?]
A gift would be nice.
>>
>>5414812
>Yes, of the Baleful Beholder [Learn more of shoggoths and/or elven secrets?]

mah boi
also shog sord
>>
>>5414812
>Yes, of the Mother of Dragons [A blessing for your converts? A gift for you?]
GIFT!
>>
>>5414812
>Yes, of the Mother of Dragons [A blessing for your converts? A gift for you?]

She’s giving our converts shit? That’s a new one and a great sign for our efforts of bringing her back to our people.
>>
>>5414812
>Yes, of Davora [Learn the fate of your lost lover? Gain an opportunity unknown from Death Himself?]
Devora! A chance to get Devora back would be worthwhile.

I am curious at what gift MoD would give us and our converts though, so if Devora doesn’t get any support consider my vote going to MoD. I do hope to get the chance of returning Devora to the living later.
>>
>>5414812
>Yes, of the Mother of Dragons [A blessing for your converts? A gift for you?]
>>
>>5414812
>Yes, of the Persecutor of the Weak [A parting gift, a dire warning]
;_;
I never wanted to push him away, I just wanted a united Pantheon. I’m sorry Prosecutor.
>>
>>5414812
We getting back to the regular weekend updates soon or are you still busy RQM?
>>
>>5414917
[OT shift today, bu tomorrow you'll probably get two updates. Today's shift aside, it's less that I'm busy and more that I'm depressed, and it's worsened when the sunlight is reduced throughout the day. I'm half jungle-person and I live in Canada, and my sad-lamp can only do so much.]
>>
>>5414812
>Yes, of the Serpent Ascendant [Official paladinhood? It’s possible…
>>
>>5414812
>Yes, of the Mother of Dragons [A blessing for your converts? A gift for you?]
>>
>>5414812
>Yes, of the Serpent Ascendant [Official paladinhood? It’s possible…]

It’s time - he’s a bro and we do much in his name
>>
>>5414929
I can relate, I’m practically a sunflower going into winter. Take some Vitamin D and try not to be hard on yourself, alright?
>>
>>5414812
>Yes, of the Serpent Ascendant [Official paladinhood? It’s possible…]
>>
Can't believe all of you are not voting for serpent, aligning most with all our meaningful choices, just for a mystery box gift
>>
>>5415015
I’ve always preferred BB tho
>>
>>5415074
Iniially, I was eye daddy team. But our constent recklessness and action are way more aligned toward pleasing the god of self-made-reptile...
>>
>>5415074
The Baleful beholder turned down our request to become his champion previously. And He mostly just offers information anyway.
>>
>>5415011
>>5414989
>>5414979
>>5414977
>>5414903
>>5414896
>>5414891
>>5414885
>>5414883
>>5414843
>>5414833
>>5414825
In your sleep, you are not alone. Of late, you have dreamed often—too often, for a member of the Master Race, who do not typically dream at all. Worse, you have had not pleasant dreams, but nightmares. You have dreamt of green armour, of a sword engraved with images of dying dragons, of the Green Knight Yosef, the human champion you know you are fated to fight… But this sleep, this dream, is not one of those.

“It is because you are not dreaming, young one.”

The voice is booming without echo, intimate in proximity without tenderness of tone. You open your eyes and perceive a rolling hill, drifting past your vision as if you were astride a basilisk, or carried in a litter by supplicants; it moves, though you don’t. Then, you recognize the voice—The Mother of Dragons—and understand what you are seeing: not rolling hills, but mountainous coils of her tangled and snaking mass, spilling out over a distant horizon, shifting around you as she circles ever closer. You look up, to find her face…

No, not face—FACES.

In previous visions, you have sometimes perceived this dark deity (who is preserver of your people’s fertility and creator of Glowie’s strange race of great glow-worms) with two heads: a reptilian one and an insectoid one. Now, you see a third. At first you think it a twisted mockery of your own, with a mammalian shock of hair atop it and trailing behind, yet stretched and elongated into an almost Reptilian shape; but no, the skin is different, porous and without scales, softer in features and darker in hue.

“You have brought me new mothers, new children,” the Lady of the Rookery notes. “You have encouraged their masses to multiply, and to do so in my name…”

She pauses, her heads looking at one another and expressions scrunching in distaste.

“…And in HIS name, it is true.”

You drop to one knee and bow your head.

“I am but a servant of the Dark Gods, Below and Beyond,” you say.

“A good servant,” she enthuses. “A worthy and worthwhile one… A loyal son of a dutiful daughter-of-daughters.”

You keep your head bowed, avoiding the eye of the trio of terrible and tremendous faces which now approach you.

“You who returned my kobolds to me, who donated your seed to my priestess, and who now work so hard to bring me these pretty little elves… You deserve a reward, I think.”

You bow your head lower in thanks, though your mind whirls as you try to imagine what gift the Dark Goddess might offer you.

“You are generous and good, Mother-Goddess,” you say to her.
>>
>>5415305
The goddess rears up, her head now towering high in the bleak and empty blackness which serves as ‘sky’ to this mysterious place.

“From now on,” she announces, with the weight of history and of destiny, like a commandment or a verdict, “your followers will be most fertile, and their children shall be as YOUR children, as MY children. These elves who you convert shall sire offspring touched by greatness, bearing your mark—the mark of miracle! Generous goddess that I am, I will even grace those elf-children who heeded your words with this gift, though they were born outside of my loving embrace.”

You narrow your eyes.

“Thank you,” you say.

What does that MEAN, you wonder?

“You will see,” the Mother of Dragons chortles, as if hearing or otherwise sensing your speculation.

“…Yes, Great Goddess.”

“There is one more thing,” she coos. “A gift just for you…”

The horrifying maws of the Divine Mother’s three heads are again close—close enough for you to feel the gale-like wind of her hot breath from three directions, like a hurricane. Close enough to whisper, to kiss… To devour you utterly.

“What do you desire, Dragonborn?”

>Her name
To summon her power in the waking world would be a great boon in impressing her might, and your divine right, upon the elf-queen tomorrow …

>Her mark
What commandments does she make of an Antipaladin? Maybe it’s time to find out… And to receive her power in turn.

>Her guidance
You would have the heat of your childhood rival-turned-advisor and aid. Can the Goddess of Fertility induce estrus and desire in a haughty Serpent Priestess? Can she guide you to woo The Novice?

>Her priestess
Glowie the Greatworm, mother of your sons, has become great and terrible as with this ‘Grandmother’ of hers, but you wish to hold her again—to allow her to travel with you, as she did, freed from the trappings of her new queenly mass.

>Her
You would breed a Queen of Queens, the Mother-Goddess herself, and sire a true LEGEND... Even if whispered stories of the Mother Goddess' other mortal lovers do have notoriously dark conclusions.

>Write-in
>>
>>5415309
>Her
Dragon Demi-God Quest is a go. I do wonder what her commandments would be btw.
>>
>>5415309
I'm tied between a perpetual in-heat Novice and Dragon Demi-god Quest.
>>
>>5415309
>Her priestess

We'll need a good representative for the buggos on the Council; Glowie is incredibly loyal and an asset.
>>
>>5415309
>Her name

I see fucking her blowing up in our face massively
>>
>>5415309
>Her name.

We need to covert the bulk of this city for
Our long term alliance plans to work.

And while inspiring words might be enough for the lower classes, the upper classes will require more.
>>
>missed a vote
>yuckiest shit happens
every fucking timeee
>>5415309
>Her guidance
Fuck it, might as well fuck a reptile for once, ye?
>>
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>>5415485
>reptile
>>
>>5415309
>Her
we fugged a god!!!!
>>
>>5415309
>Her
>>
>>5415309
>Write-in

>Eliminate the staggered breeding cycle for the Master Race. Make it so that there is a low-level perpetual heat and desire to mate (just like humans)

Anons, one of the biggest weaknesses of our Race is our low birthrate compared to other races

With the Mother granting our followers more fertility, if we were to change our breeding cycle - this would help ensure that the Master Race is not supplanted by others…
>>
>>5415657
I feel like that goes beyond the scope of our little favor here, though.
>>
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>>5415593
What's wrong? I'm not versed in dragon taxonomy, RQM.
Also changing my vote (>>5415485) to
>Eliminate the staggered breeding cycle
seems it's the only smart choice here
>>5415664
Cry about it
>>
>>5415674
Not crying about it, just don't want to get our godly favor yanked for being a greedy lil guy.
>>
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>>5415674
[Oh, my bad, I totally misread and thought you meant the MoD.]

[We don't have a clear majority yet, and given the implications, I'm going to leave this open a liiiittle longer.]
>>
>>5415690
I'll change my vote to
>Her
to speed things along. A godly son or daughter would be cool, even if it will lead to inevitable complications.
>>
>>5415657
If this doesn’t get support then I’ll vote for:
>Her Name

Breeding her is stupid
>>
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>>5415826
>>5415749
>>5415674
>>5415652
>>5415607
>>5415477
>>5415348
>>5415338
>>5415315
“Maybe…” you pause, musing for a moment. “Maybe a blessing for my own race—something similar to what you offer the elves? Our heat cycles limit us, and our birth-rate declines.”

The Mother Goddess sniffs, and in her chorus of three voices, she tells you “My gifts are what keeps your people fecund at all, little one. I have done all that I can for them. But yes, those who follow you and take my sacrament, they shall bear healthy and strong young as well.”

“And many of them?” you ask, pressing your luck just a little by intruding upon divine mystery for clarity’s sake. “More young than normal? Perhaps an extended season?”

“Oh? I thought you and the so-called ‘Sun-Eater’ values quality over quantity?”

You nod slowly, but then her words spark an idea—a risky, dangerous notion, but one you cannot shake.

“Then perhaps,” you say, lifting your eyes to meet those of the least-terrifying, Reptilian visage of the three-headed Goddess, “I should be mating with he Mother of Might?”

The Lady of the Rookeries coils cease their slithering… And then, like a crashing tidal wave of flesh and bone, then sweep inward to encircle and lift you, trapped and confining you. You feel the urge to struggle, to free yourself and to flee, but you resist it. You hold fast.

“Oooh ho ho?” the Dark Goddess asks through her dragon-face, while the insectoid countenance chitters and the stretched-and-warped mammal one chuckles darkly, sniffing at you with deep whiffs. “You have come to think yourself quite the seductor, haven’t you, mortal?”

In truth, the experience is terrifying beyond words: being wrapped up in the immeasurable power of a God, her divine perception focused on you with a tangible intensity. The pressure exerted by her examination is as if the stars descended from the heavens to meet you… Blinding, burning… Or something still greater and more terrible emerged from Beyond The Stars, to destroy you even more utterly. Her manifestation is hardly a thing of sensuality, either—this dream-vision is, I truth, nightmarish.

“I have heard that great heroes in days of lore… Have been graced with such honours,” you say, keeping the tremor from your voice.

“Dragon Kings and Serpent Priests,” she softly whispers. “All of them came to me seeking my blessing of protection. My price was their seed, to raise up champion children… Vandria, An-Ur, Gorgon, Scylla… Servants and founders of new races. I deemed them suitable for such a trade by right of their accomplishments. And yet you come here, young and yet fresh to the worlds of war and mystic knowledge, and ask for the same bargain?”

“I offer… Request… The mating, nothing more.”

The laughter which rings out is like thundering storm, like roaring flame.

“Very well, bold little boy,” the Dark Goddess says. “I promised you a gift…”
>>
Rolled 8, 18, 13, 13, 3, 5, 2 = 62 (7d20)

>>5415830
Her coils slide over you, but even as they do, her terrible magnificence shrinks, diminishes to something more comprehensible to your limited senses… And much more comely and comfortable. She is like the nagas of the ancient Eastlands, largely snake-like in form but with a limbed torso astride it where a serpent might have a head. She is many armed—arms which now pry and peel away your clothing with simple touches, faster than seems possible, while her tail-torso keeps you bound and all-but-immobile, sliding over your new nudity short-snouted draconic head crowned with scintillating slowness. Her face is… Elven, or dwarven, perhaps, however, though finely scaled and with a crest of horns like a crown; beneath her chin, upon her chest, sits a weighty and distinctly-mammalian chest. This is not the only touch of the non-reptilian races about her: as her slithering mass (still many times your own) glides over you, and her sex finds yours, she locks centipede-like legs around you.

“Enjoy your reward, ‘Dragon-King’,” she whispers, sliding arms around you and pressing her chest to yours. “Let us see if you are equal to the those who have held such title, and made such entreaties, in the past.”

She sinks down upon you with an indescribable sensation—something which transcends conventional, physical sexual pleasure, and for the next few minutes (hours? days? years? AEONS?) you are milked of everything you are: not seed, or not ONLY seed, but your very soul-self is sucked out of you by increments, until you are empty, nothing: dry, dead, a husk, a shell. You—all that you are or have ben or will be, all that your ancestors are, all your future descendant sight be—are drained drop by drop from you, to be contained inside the Goddess.

It is wondrous. It is horrifying. You never want it to end. You want to get away right now, and never return. You understand as you never have before. Your senses, overwhelmed and shattered, can conceive of nothing.

You fear you will perish, or go mad.

[4d20 athleticism 3d20 religion.]
>>
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>>5415832
>18 athleticism

You manage to struggle free from the coils of the Mother of Dragons, to wrestle your limbs free… But not for long.

>3 religion

You meet her eyes—so many eyes! Were there always so many eyes? How many faces does she have? How many eyes, how many teeth, how many laughing mouths full of sharp teeth or gnashing mandibles or rasping tongues, how many damned EYES?! It’s not unlike fighting the shoggoth again…

If ONLY you were fighting!

Horror fills you, and you scream. You cannot hear the scream over the Dark Goddess’ laughter. Unable to look away from the true face of your dark and divine paramour, you are pulled back into her many arms, to her motherly bosom, and back into the depths of her world of pleasure and pain.

“Oh no,” she moans. “You are GOOD for one so young. You are not permitted to leave until I am ENTIRELY through with you, little boy.”

It seems like an eternity—now an eternity of terror without name, rather than of erotic delight—before you wake. Wake you DO though, to find Olu the Archer leaning over you, shaking you. It takes you a moment to realize who he is, who YOU are, and where you are.

“How long has it been?” you ask, voice hoarse.

“Since we arrived?” Oluwadamilare asks, confused. “A few hours, perhaps. You have been in torpor for some time… But we have been trying to wake you. You were thrashing, crying out… We feared poison, or magic.”

“Something like that,” you murmur. “I am fine.”

You aren’t sure you are. The lingering images and sensations sit with you still. The waking world seems an unreal, distant place even as you rise to stand. Your body feels... Foreign. You flex your hands and kick your feet, lash your tail and take a deep breath. Yes, you’re real, and alive, and awake. The eyes, mouths… That soul-consuming warmth and suction-pressure is gone. You shiver.


“The Novice Fleshweaver said as much,” Olu says, with a wry half-smile.

“Is that why my principal physician is not attending to me in such distress?” you sigh.

“There is something else, also-too,” says Ivno the Kobold, and you look to him taking a moment to comprehend the words.

“Fleshweaver is helping,” Ivno says, “but little elf-spawn… They have changed.”
>>
>>5415869

You follow his gaze to the other side of the room. There, the worried-looking Drow parents whose hovel you occupy stand back from where the Novice has clinically stripped their offspring of their ratty robes to reveal bodies which are, indeed, changed. They seem fearful, withing under the Novice Fleshweaver’s attentions, but otherwise unharmed and in no medical distress… But their pitch-black elven skin is now flecked with patches of scale, spreading across their torso and dotting them, like a Degenerate.

Copper scales, like yours. And their eyes, fearful and confused, are the same green as your own.

“What is this?” their father asks of you, interrupting your conversation (spoke in the True Speech) with his elven words.

“A miracle,” you answer.

You guide the Novice away, though she parts from the magical-medical oddity with considerable reluctance, and tell her (some of) what transpired in your vision. When her flummoxed disbelief is addressed, you offer explanation to the dark elves. Perhaps it is because you primed them to embrace your True Faith the night prior, but all those present accept this ‘gift’ for what it is, rather than reacting to the magical mutations with continued horror. You even lead them all in a prayer of thanks to the Divine Mother—they seem a little shaken still, and this can put them at ease AND avoid the Lady of the rookery’s wrath at perceived ingratitude.

“What do we tell Princess Jazkarmel, though?” one of her guards asks.

He seeks your advice? Your permission? Your speechmaking last night, coupled with this demonstration of divine favour, seems to have made a pretty major impression.

>Spread the word of what happened here—of your generosity, and of your deity’s blessing made manifest
>Tell Jazkarmel (and the other nobles) nothing, and keep this secret… At least for now, until you know how they will react
>Let the Novice continue to study them, and delay reporting this (or meeting with the nobles) at all, just for now
>Write-in
>>
>>5415878
>Tell Jazkarmel (and the other nobles) nothing, and keep this secret… At least for now, until you know how they will react
>Offer to take the family with you to our holdings in bloodrise once we leave. Their children are blessed and will be given a role in our kingdom should they grow worthy.

I'd say keep it a secret for now, for non-believers it'd be pretty horrifying for this to happen to children.
>>
>>5415690
>Tell Jazkarmel (and the other nobles) nothing, and keep this secret… At least for now, until you know how they will react
We should at least know what is happening. Getting accused of witchcraft/experimentation/brainwashing of the drow is the last thing we need right now.
>Thank the guards for understanding
>>
>>5415878
>Tell Jazkarmel (and the other nobles) nothing, and keep this secret… At least for now, until you know how they will react
>Let the Novice continue to study them
>Thank the guards for understanding
>>
>>5415878
>Spread the word of what happened here—of your generosity, and of your deity’s blessing made manifest
>>
>>5415878
>Tell Jazkarmel (and the other nobles) nothing, and keep this secret… At least for now, until you know how they will react
>>
>>5416169
Supporting + offer to take them with us when we return home
>>
>>5416169
+1
>>
>>5416169
+1 to this, seems wise.
>>
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>>5416974
>>5416970
>>5416773
>>5416538
>>5416402
>>5416169
>>5416013
>>5415892
[My buddy's birthday was tonight. Sorry for the late update! Vote locked, writing.]
>>
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>>5417092
You thank the guards for their understanding and loyalty to your cause. This seems to fill both the elf-men with ambivalence, as if you have forced them to recognize the new duality of their loyalty…. But the evidence of divine guidance and attention stares them in the face, with two pairs of wide and youthful, lizard-green eyes.

You are not naïve, though. You recognize that this unnatural event could be viewed… Poorly… By those not already swayed to the True Faith. They might see it as some vile, foreign infiltration—something not exactly far-off from your race’s usual modus operandi. To be frank, even YOU aren’t entirely sure what has happened, and that makes you… Uneasy. Your vision of the Mother of Dragons is already fading, suppressed by your subconscious so as to not break your nerve and leave you a shuddering mess. You are aware that this is her doing… And that, in addition to this, she gave you another gift… Something great and terrible.

You instruct all present to keep the secret. Form the guards, and from your packs, you gather cloth; with her medical supplies, the Novice Felshweaver and Ivno work together to sew cloaks for the elf-children, to bundle them and hide their scales.

“What shall we tell the others who see them?” their mother asks, worried. “This is not typical Drow dress.”

It’s certainly a lot more modest than what even the children wear here, which is a confabulation of leather and cloth not unlike your own attire or that of Jazkarmel’s guards; such ample fabric, even low-quality fabric, seems to be reserved for a noble or priestly class.

“Tell your neighbours that your children suffer from a scabrous pox,” Oluwadamilare suggests, without much pause. “This will explain any scales they spy, and encourage people to keep their distance.”

He speaks with the authority of a Degenerate nfiltrator—of a Reptilian who, going amongst his mammalian forebears in the surface’s Southlands, ahs no doubt used the excuse himself. You nod yoru thanks to him, as well.

“Study them,” you whisper to the Novice. “Remain here to render medical aid… But tell me what you learn, what this IS, and how far the mutation goes.”

The Novice tries, and fails, to hide a rattling cackle that draws concerned looks from your elf companions. You grimace and hastily place a hand over her mouth, drawing and indignant-but-muffled hiss.

“Do not touch me, Filthy and Impure One,” she snaps, quietly enough not to be overheard, in order to cover her obvious embarrassment at your familiarity.

“I don’t recall you minding, in private,” you note.

The Novice fumes, but says nothing. As she leaves, you watch the lash of her tail, the way of her rear… But then, unbidden, a half-remembered glimpse of a cavernous and toothy cave appears, filled with staring eyes and dark laughter, swallowing you whole, waist first. Your libidinous interest wanes.
>>
>>5417115
The Novice sets up one of her impromptu field labs, with a hastily-erected curtain to serve as a screen for comfort and modesty, but most of all for secrecy. The elven retinue prays with you again, but then many of them filter back into these slums, or to the relatively-wealthier areas beyond them. They are sworn to secrecy… An oath that, you pray, they will keep. Only the noble guardsmen and a smattering of those who arrived with you remain by your side, as well as (of course) your Reptilian fellows and your dwarven slave.

You partake in a meal—foodbug meal, ground into a mushroom bread and served in a thin and oily broth. It is spartan, and not terribly appetizing. The spices the elves employ are altogether too strong, overpowering the savoury flavour of the meat. The mushroom-earthiness is digestible, but unappetizing to your carnivorous palette. It is, all and all, not THAT unlike the foodstuffs of your youth.

It is not long after that when a contingent of silk-swaddled, dark-elves arrives. They bear no easily-stolen gems, and they watch the skulking sneakthieves of this impoverished area with watchful eyes, hands on their rare surface-steel blades (or, in one elf’s case, upon a witch-stone, iridescent in an arcane way with the subtle magelight visible mainly to your sixth-sense). At first, their coverings are so loose and so complete, their faces so androgynous, that you know not if they are elf-man or elf-maid, but their witchling speaks with a shocking-deep voice, to put yours or even Olu’s deep baritone to shame.

“I come bearing the sigil of Prince-Ascending Corandiirn, of House Sambra,” the elf-mage speaks, tracing that sigil in the air with the gem, and leaving a faintly-glowing symbol for a moment in its wake. “He who is favoured as King-of-Elves by the wise and learned, the cunning and the clever, who wields strength well-born and well-earned.”
“…Greetings.”

Your reply is wary. You shift subtly to block the entrance to the home, automatically, to prevent anyone spying the blessed (or, depending upon perspective, afflicted) youths. You note these elves haven’t yet stated a purpose.

“The King-to-Come would have words,” the mage says. It has the air of command.

How do you reply?
>Accompany the powerful prince’s envoy, and perhaps learn his nature and test the waters of alliance
>Decline, as you owe the Queen-of-Elves a visit first before the MAYBE, SOMEDAY king
>Ask him politely but firmly to speak, and tell you these words, if he knows them—you are content to remain here, until then
>Scoff at this insulting posturing, and reject this indignity in no uncertain terms—you are here as an equal, or better, and will NOT be summoned!
>Write-in
>>
>>5417117
>Feign ignorance and ask them if he’s the Queen’s son if he’s king-to-be. We’re already plan to meet with his mother so we don’t need to see him.
>Decline, as you owe the Queen-of-Elves a visit first before the MAYBE, SOMEDAY king

When you play politics with elves you don’t let your emotions show. Their jab and posturing deserves a response, but not an emotional one. Insult him indirectly and with reasonable doubt as to whether we even meant to insult him. Politics is a game and not a war.
>>
>>5417117
>Accompany the powerful prince’s envoy, and perhaps learn his nature and test the waters of alliance
Bros before hoes. Especially after fucking a literal cosmic horror.
>>
>>5417136
+1

>>5417171
Compare cocks with him to rebound from god mommy??
>>
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>>5417180
>Compare cocks with him
We'd win 2:1
>>
>>5417136
Supportin'
>>
>>5417193
>In b4 elf tournament is giant cock measuring contest
>>
>>5417117
>Ask him politely but firmly to speak, and tell you these words, if he knows them—you are content to remain here, until then
>>
>>5417261
I wouldn’t even be surprised if that’s a real thing, given their weird gender dynamics.
>>
>>5417136
Supporting
>>
>>5417171
+1
>>
>>5417117
>Accompany the powerful prince’s envoy, and perhaps learn his nature and test the waters of alliance
damn i hope godess sex hasn't ruined us for normal women
>>
>>5417261
>>5417318
It would take 2 of them just to be able to compete with our shotgun, lmao.
>>
>>5417117
>Accompany the powerful prince’s envoy, and perhaps learn his nature and test the waters of alliance
>>
>>5417117
>Decline, as you owe the Queen-of-Elves a visit first before the MAYBE, SOMEDAY king
>>
>>5417136
+1
>>
>>5417957
>>5414883
Last vote if that matter fuck university wifi
>>
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>>5417957
>>5417863
>>5417757
>>5417516
>>5417428
>>5417317
>>5417252
>>5417180
>>5417171
>>5417136
[Formulating response...]
>>
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>>5418167
>>
>>5417507
>>
>>5418167
>>5418170
“Your master… This princeling… He is the queen’s son, then, yes?”

Your long-time allies are unable to understand the subtle retort, the insulting ‘misunderstanding’ veiled in false ignorance. He who can, Oluwadamilare, must stifle a laugh; however, with his skilled Infiltrator expertise, you doubt anyone else familiar with him would notice the incredibly momentary slip-up. To the elves in your retinue, though, it is a grave heresy—their eyes widen, mouths part slightly as they stare agape. None correct you, though any who have tarveled logn with you know well enough that Princess Jazkarmel must have explained something of their politics before your arrival.

But the Elf-Mage, emissary of the King-to-maybe-be, does not.

“That is not… Quite how it works.”

“Oh?” you ask innocently. “You do not follow primogeniture, then? He is one son among many? Then… Forgive me, but would it not be more prudent to pay my visit to your crown’s current holder, rather than an aspirant?”

“Her time will soon be at an end,” the androgynous sorcerer with the booming voice says, eyes flashing with the willpower needed to hold back harsher words and explosive power. “The season of women and weakness ends. Elf-men stand tall again.”

“But… You are an elf-man, then?” you ask, with feigned shock. “I am sorry, I… I did not realize. Your race’s stature… Your slimness… It is hard for me to tell.”

The mage looks up at you, poorly hiding fury. He must look QUIET a ways up, with your current stature and his own stunted height—though he is tall for an elf, he is still shy of six feet in height, where you have grown to tower at ten, with a broad and muscular frame covered in glistening copper scales which put his drab grey-white silks and mottled grey-black, mammal-sweaty skin to shame.

(Not to mention that, with your hemipenes, you’d win any contest of manhood by a ration of two-to-one…)

“I am,” he says, through a gritted-tooth ‘smile’.

“Well, I am sure you are much beloved by elf-maids,” you say, with casual disinterest. “I seem to be as well, though… In a different way, of course! Ha!”

His eyes narrow.

“I am sorry,” you say, with a low bow of your horned head. “I was summoned by the Queen-of-Elves. I feel… Obligated… To make an appearance at your people’s royal house, first and foremost.”

“I understand,” he snarls toothily, “of course.”

With that, the elf-wizard turns on heel. His swordsmen follow him—if, indeed, they are not swordswomen, or sword-neuters, or whatever-in-the-hells else elves see fit to field in battle.
>>
>>5418213
Then again, perhaps you should not be SO swift to judge, seeing as how you now travel to greet a sultanate of women—MAMMAL women. This, among your won people, would be seek as an illogical and plainly awful arrangement, and your visit to them might well be seen as indignity. Yet together with Olu, Karz, and Ivno, plus Jazkarmel’s two guards (their names are apparently Jhamrius and Sengar), this is where you now go; you leave the Novice to attend to her experiments, and the Junior Novice to keep her company and serve as a guard.

When you arrive at House Yvonlace, you are… Underwhelmed., admittedly. They have the usual luminous crystals ensconced in their walls or suspended atop fungal growths cultivated to lamplike scepters, and they have draped silks about, some dyed with patterns of reddish-brown iconography of some intricacy. You have seen surface-elf art, though, and this is—sadly—pale imitation from their darker, deeper cousins. Even when a pageant of beautiful, black-skinned and pointy-eared young mammals comes to meet you in a strange, symmetrically-choreographed tiptoeing dance, you cannot help but feel they are a mockery of the elven finery you have read of, heard tell of…

Until they pull out their blades, hidden from within their flowing fabric, and begin what you are told by one of Jazkarmels men is called ‘The Dance of Silk and Steel’.

“A good elf-maid, like a good elf-man, must be ready to kill and die,” Sengar tells you.

“But with greater grace, unflinching face,” says Jhamrius.

Indeed, the cold-but-beautiful expressions of the Drow who perform this dance is striking. These women are no soft creatures, but warriors; even in your own race’s harsh conditions, a female of high birth like the Novice can afford to be out-of-shape physically, with her soft body and thick rump; she gets by on charisma, intellect, and magical ability. Here, no elf in these impoverish under-lands dares lose his (or her) athleticism, even among their upper echelons.

But the time that the Queen-for-the-Season arrived, led by a gem-bespeckled Jazkarmel and the e other young and berobed noblewomen, you are unsurprised to find ‘Myrymma’ looks no older than her daughters and nieces, and moves with the precision and strength of an athlete beneath her relative royal finer—a tall and towering trifle of folded-and-stacked silk and string-like lace, dangling star-like gems to frame a beautiful and noble visage, and icy-silver eyes. No elf like these dancers, you sense, would long tolerate any bloated or lethargic queen.
>>
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>>5418216

“Queen Myrmma,” you greet here.

“Copper Dragon, King of Bloodrise,” she acknowledges, smiling only slightly, and speaking with deep dignity.

She stands still before you. Her daughters bow.

She, notably, does not.

Do you?
>Bow—you are a visitor, and not even paramount among your race
>Do not bow—you are racially superior, and a conquering king
>Incline your head but slightly, and ask to speak in private—king to queen, equal-to-equal
>Flirt, complimenting her in faintly-admiring terms [must make a religion roll, or find the words choked in your throat as grimly-erotic memories of the Queen of Dragons return]
>Write-in
>>
>>5418218
>Bow—you are a visitor, and not even paramount among your race
dang we gotta up our religion now
>>
>>5418218
>Incline your head but slightly, and ask to speak in private—king to queen, equal-to-equal
>>
>>5418218
>Do not bow—you are racially superior, and a conquering king.

She is going to stop being the ruler amd be demoted to a mere noble in like half a year. By comparison we are an accomplished warlord and a favored prophet of the dark gods. We can't be kneeling.

And she was the one who asked Jazkarmel to get us an audience with us, not the other way around.
>>
>>5418218
>Do not bow—you are racially superior, and a conquering king.
>>[must make a religion roll, or find the words choked in your throat as grimly-erotic memories of the Queen of Dragons return]
...fucking coomers
>>5418170
what are the red ones for, again..?
>>5418289
>She is going to stop being the ruler and be demoted to a mere noble in like half a year.
Ye and we just roasted prince's men like a retard. It'll come around to bite us in the ass like shagging mommy shoggoth.
>>
>>5418218
>>Incline your head but slightly, and ask to speak in private—king to queen, equal-to-equal
>>
>>5418218
>Incline your head but slightly, and ask to speak in private—king to queen, equal-to-equal

Getting weird kids is a side quest at this point
>>
>>5418218
>Flirt, complimenting her in faintly-admiring terms [must make a religion roll, or find the words choked in your throat as grimly-erotic memories of the Queen of Dragons return]

Does that pussy stank?
>>
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>>5418218
>Incline your head but slightly, and ask to speak in private—king to queen, equal-to-equal
>>
>>5418218
>Flirt, complimenting her in faintly-admiring terms [must make a religion roll, or find the words choked in your throat as grimly-erotic memories of the Queen of Dragons return]
>Incline your head but slightly, and ask to speak in private—king to queen, equal-to-equal
I mainly just want to start unpacking the trauma.
>>
>>5418445
Support
>>
You guys do realize if we fail the religion roll we’re going to spazz out in the middle of an important negotiation, right?
>>
>>5418603
They don't.
>>
>>5418218
>anons vote for Dark Alliance
>anons then spaz out in a dick measuring contest with the future Drow ruler
Why am I not surprised?
>Incline your head but slightly, and ask to speak in private—king to queen, equal-to-equal
Can we not sabotage our diplomacy guys?
>>
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>>5419104
>>5418557
>>5418445
>>5418413
>>5418402
>>5418401
>>5418389
>>5418388
>>5418289
>>5418231
>>5418229
[Votes locked, post incoming!]

what are the red ones for, again..?

1post ID votes without backlinks are tracked, also, and notable swings of the vote are accounted for to head off accusations of widespread fraud
>>
>>5419185
You nod your head in slightest incline-a gesture of an equal, respectful of their host but not deferential nor supplicant to them.

The elves—and their Queen Myrymma—seem to approve. The queen stares at you unblinkingly for some time with those moon-pale eyes, expression impassive, then nods likewise.

“Thank you for accepting my summons,” she offers, an acknowledgement that you are worthy-enough to be shown gratitude, and not to be called up like a subject, nor beckoned like a beast.

“Of course,” you reply in kind. “It was a generous offer.”

“Your Elven is quite good,” she compliments you, only a little condescending.

“I am used to Slithhhsskaah,” you say, “and new to your tongue. Pardon any… Lapses.”

She hesitates, her expression lightly vexed for a moment.

“My race’s language,” you explain, with lightest smugness, “which we call ‘The True Speech.’”

“Ah.”

A moment passes between you two, as you eye her up. This queen is tall for her race, but her physical and magical might and beyond your ken. Her mastery of this dance of subtle, lightly-barbed pleasantries is not unimpressive, though. You feel passingly grateful for the ‘practice’ which the Novice Fleshweaver gave you growing up, with far sharper and more piercing tongue.

“I have prepared wine,” she tells you, “and the flesh of hunted beasts—non-insects. My cousin, Princess Jazkarmel, tells me your people do not much care for mushrooms, and I am certain you have all had your fill of bugs.”

Though you have eaten, you gladly accept the food, though…

>You will not drink the wine here—you have too little constitution for the stuff, and this is an important meeting
>You must drink sparingly, to avoid offending your hosts or becoming too intoxicated
>You will match these tiny elves drink-for-drink, relying on your enlarged body and enhanced constitution
>You will feign a religious aversion to wine, and hope Jazkarmel plays along

Over the meal, there will be little privacy… But, of course, ample opportunity to probe, cajole, size-up and strategize. What subjects (maximum three) will be your focus?
>The Queen’s house, Yvonlace, and its peculiarities and place in society
>The male she thinks is most likely to be the next King-for-the-Season
>The male she would most LIKE to be King-for-the-Season, if she had her way
>Jazkarmel’s place in House Yvonlace
>The alliance in Bloodrise, above and below, and the relative positions of your peoples
>The True Faith and your Dark Pantheon, as a worthy replacement for the Drow’s godlessness
>The Shoggoth and Devourer, who you destroyed
>The ancient Drow monarchs (and their lost moon-sword)
>The relative merits of matriarchy and patriarchy
>Write-in
>>
>>5419197
I think we should use this meal to really emphasize that she needs us to extend her rule and maybe even keep her house in charge with a king. Proper talks of alliance and conversion can be done behind closed doors.

>The relative merits of matriarchy and patriarchy
Then
>The male she thinks is most likely to be the next King-for-the-Season
Then
>The male she would most LIKE to be King-for-the-Season, if she had her way
>>
>>5419212
+1
>>
>>5419197
>You will not drink the wine here—you have too little constitution for the stuff, and this is an important meeting

We have no need to drink, it’s a serious meeting.

Topics:
>The Shoggoth and Devourer, who you destroyed

We need to showcase our individual power first, then..

>The ancient Drow monarchs (and their lost moon-sword)
It’s polite table conversation and brings the list blade to focus m, without suggesting we have it

>The relative merits of matriarchy and patriarchy
Safe topic to discuss in public

>>5419212
Anon, your second and third topics are 100% not things we should be discussing in a public forum. That’s best left to a private conversation
>>
>>5419197
>The male she thinks is most likely to be the next King-for-the-Season
>The male she would most LIKE to be King-for-the-Season, if she had her way

When need to get a rough idea at least, of the current and potential order of succession. If we are to maintain the alliance.


>The True Faith and your Dark Pantheon, as a worthy replacement for the Drow’s godlessness

We also need to find the reason why Jazkarmel, said the queen was hesitant to convert. She claimed it would be a show of "weakness" but i feel like she was being deliberately vague.
>>
>>5419197
>The Queen’s house, Yvonlace, and its peculiarities and place in society
>The male she thinks is most likely to be the next King-for-the-Season
>The male she would most LIKE to be King-for-the-Season, if she had her way
>>
>>5419185
Are you saying my votes are not counted because you're paranoid after Bug Sex Wars? How are phonefags even supposed to know when to backlink?
>>5419197
>You will not drink the wine here—you have too little constitution for the stuff, and this is an important meeting
Issmena momento.
>The Queen’s house, Yvonlace, and its peculiarities and place in society
>The male she thinks is most likely to be the next King-for-the-Season
>The male she would most LIKE to be King-for-the-Season, if she had her way
>>had your fill of bugs
If she only knew...
>>
>>5419197
>You must drink sparingly, to avoid offending your hosts or becoming too intoxicated
One of these days we really gotta build up a tolerance to alcohol, it’d be such a boon for diplomacy.
>The True Faith and your Dark Pantheon, as a worthy replacement for the Drow’s godlessness
>The Shoggoth and Devourer, who you destroyed
>The ancient Drow monarchs (and their lost moon-sword)
Since this is a public meal (with alcohol), we should go on the offensive, really make us (and our Gods) seem indispensable for her realm’s survival and prosperity.
>>
>>5419359
Get a computer and move to a real country
>>
>>5419359
>Are you saying my votes are not counted because you're paranoid after Bug Sex Wars?
[Only if I see activity I deem suspicious, or need to break a tie.]
>>
>>5419197
>You must drink sparingly, to avoid offending your hosts or becoming too intoxicated

>The alliance in Bloodrise, above and below, and the relative positions of your peoples
>The True Faith and your Dark Pantheon, as a worthy replacement for the Drow’s godlessness
>The relative merits of matriarchy and patriarchy
>>
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>>5419425
>No.
>>5419523
Give heads up then, it's unfair.
>>
>>5419781
No like you 1Pbtid shitters, you vote and banwagon brainlessly and add nothing to discussions but cringe.
>>
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>>5419814
Don't care, didn't ask, ESL-kun.
>>
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>>5419781
>it's unfair
[Just backlink if you're worried, friend anon. I'm a phoneposter myself, and I often try to do so if the outcome of a vote matters deeply to me.]


>>5419560
>>5419409
>>5419359
>>5419279
>>5419243
>>5419240
>>5419228
>>5419212

[Votes locked, writing up ASAP!]
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>>5419992
The meat prepared for you is indeed not insectoid, nor crustacean or arachnid. There are bones in amongst the meat, attesting to a skeletal structure—a vertebrate. In spit of this, you have trouble identifying what sort of skeleton they could be assembled into. It is like no reptile, mammal, amphibian, or even fish that you have ever supped upon. Further, the flesh is greyish, and strangely lumpy and tumorous. It tastes good enough—in fact, better-tasting than many things you’ve been served in your own birthplace—and yet the texture is… Off-putting. It is like fresh meat that has the texture of rotten flesh.

“Is it to your liking?”

“Yes,” you lie to the Elf Queen, glad mammal-folk are so bad at reading Reptilian expressions. “What is it? It isn’t like anything I have eaten before.”

“A scampering sort of thing,” she says, with a wave of her hand. “We call them ‘ghouls’, but they resemble… Little goblins, or monkeys, but pale and with big heads and fat bellies. They root through our dead, and we then catch them.”

“Ah,” you say, again reminded of the poverty of these people in spite of their attempts to retain their famed, ancestral sophistication, that even their nobles eat such things.

You had not planned to drink, better to keep your wits about you, but you do so now in order to wash away their slimy grease-jelly which coats your tongue. You see Olu follow your lead, though Ivno declines to do so. The Throat-singer quaffs the elven alcohol with dwarven enthusiasm, reminding you of his race’s reputation in spite of his virtual beardlessness.

You decide that, if you are to eat and drink sparingly, you will busy your mouth with matters of important conversation instead. You skip the usual mammalian small-talk, accustomed as you are to the directness of the Drow soldier-class.

“I understand I was summoned here for a reason,” you say. “your people are going through a transition. Your matriarchy is coming to an end, in some… Cycle. Soon, your race will have a king once more.”

The Elf Queen looks to Jazkarmel, who shrinks and laughs nervously under the look—not a glare, nor glower, yet clearly a form of attention she is uncomfortable with. A subtle expression of the elves, foreign to you? Or is Jazkarmel, confident frontierswoman and military commander, frightened by the silver-eyed matriarch by default?

“This is true,” the Queen says, looking back to you.

“My race holds the males to be the more warlike and purely-logical sex,” you say.

“I had heard you were a race dominated by priests, and not priestesses,” the Queen replies.

A silence passes.
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>>5420011
“I’ve also heard that your court wizard, in the Bloodrise Mountains, is a lizardwoman… A sort of witch who manipulates shapes, and can heal injuries?”

“Yes,” you acknowledge. “The Novice Fleshweaver… She is a skilled mage, and the daughter of an important male.”

“Do you think you would be better served by a male?” the Queen-of-Elves asks. “Do you feel she is overemotional, illogical, overly sentimental?

Suddenly, those silver eyes are fixed on you with new intensity, and you feel your thick, scaled skin crawl with an anxiety you cannot place. Is this what Jazkarmel felt? Is it magic… Or some pseudo-magic, something akin to your Fearsome Presence? Can a mere ELF wield such a thing? HOW, and how over a superior being like yourself?

“How does she compare to her father? To her brothers?” the Queen asks, not sharp of defensive, but probing in a quiet, roguelike fashion which cannot help but raise your own guard.

How do you answer?
>The Novice is a better advisor than any male you know,
>The Novice is well-suited to her role, and appreciated, but you value the council of males like Olu and Ivno over hers
>The Novice is fine for a female, but you’d take even Karz Throat-singer’s advice over hers on matters of state
>The Novice is… Special, and unlike other females ruthless and cunning
>Write-in

[Discussions of possible Elf-Kings will happen next update.]
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>>5420014
>The Novice is by far the most capable advisor in her area of expertise that you've had available.
Our Novice is excellent!
nevermind that we have no other fleshweavers
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>>5420014
>The Novice is a better advisor than any male you know,
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>>5420037
[I will point out you had ample opportunity to reject her and/or hire a male in her discipline, but if this is how you think the Dragonborn would interpret and/or rationalize his decisions, that's entirely fair.]
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>>5420014
> The Novice is well-suited to her role, and appreciated, but you value the council of others over hers
> Refrain from mentioning your race's gender roles to elven females ever again
Yikes, tensions between elves must be at all time high.
>>5419992
You can't expect us to know which vote you will find important and you used to give heads up before lol
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>>5420014
>The Novice is well-suited to her role, and appreciated
>The gender have no real significance in your eyes for the purpose of advice. Advice is advice
>Although, you are more prone to get... distracted... by young pretty female, once again this is not linked with the quality or lack of quality of advice, but to keep being rationale it's better for a young male to avoid an harem of advisor
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>>5420014
>The Novice is… Special, and unlike other females ruthless and cunning

That’s the truth - no other females of our race compare to her. She is unique
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>>5420014
>The Novice is a better advisor than any male you know,
>The Novice is… Special, and unlike other females ruthless and cunning
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>>5420172
>You can't expect us to know which vote you will find important and you used to give heads up before lol

[You misunderstand me. I'm saying if a vote is super important to YOU, backlink or otherwise identify yourself. If I think a vote is LIKELY to stir up accusations of vote fraud, I'll mention it and require backlinking. If I see suspicious activity or need to break a tie on a less-major vote, I may disregard 1post votes without identifiers... But, so far, that's never really come up and I haven't had to do that, despite travking this for many threads, so you probably don't need to worry about having your vote ignored anyway.]
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>>5420014
>The Novice is… Special, and unlike other females ruthless and cunning
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>>5420325
Thanks for explanation. At this point no choice is really that important to me, just didn't want my votes to get zero'd.
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>>5420245
Support
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>>5420995
>>5420424
>>5420325
>>5420245
>>5420216
>>5420177
>>5420172
>>5420104
>>5420037
[Vote locked, writing ASAP (but also having dinner and some brandy to grease the wheels a little.]
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>>5421012
It is a difficult thing for you to answer this line of inquiry, fully and truthfully.

“The NOVICE Fleshweaver who serves me is… Not, by any means, regarded as the pinnacle of her profession,” you begin. “However, yes… She is exceptional at her role. I would not replace her with another.”

It is true: you have had opportunities to seek out a replacement, but why would you? If she is technically a novice, the Chaplain’s Daughter is nevertheless a very capable healer, potionmaster, and EXCEPTIONAL in her experimental manipulations of hybridized blood.

“Unlike the stereotype of her sex, at least among MY race, she ruthless and cunning.”

It is the Novice’s willingness to subvert even your OWN society’s politics, to aid and abet you as you undermine conventions enforced by her own highly-placed father, that make her such a good fit for your retinue, in fact. Who else would have reacted to your alliance with a darkly-designed bug-woman by helping you to smuggle her into your expedition, or to your impregnation of her with already-Degenerate seed by infusing sacred dragonblood into the offspring? She values results, and the opportunity to try new and unusual technique in the advancement of her craft, more than convention and the pursuit of social status… Not at all the impression you had of her when you were both young, nor at all typical of a female of her birth.

“I don’t know that I would say I value females as much as males, in general,” you admit, “but I value the Novice Fleshweaver a great deal more than most of either sex, within her field.”

“It is strange,” the Elf Queen muses. “Among elves, it is said elf-maids are the MORE cunning and ruthless… That we are physically the lesser, perhaps, but undeniably the more dangerous. Those who feel a male should rule often say ‘a female’s blood-minded ambition is not suitable to stability, for she is as the she-spider.’ They feel we always hunger, always plot.”

“Well, that DOES sound something like the Novice,” you admit, with a small rattle of laughter at the mental image of her reaction, were she to hear you say so.

“It is a shame you did not bring this lizardwoman, who you speak so highly of,” the Queen says. “Where is she?”

“She is performing her role,” you say, “with her usual excellence.”

The Queen nods, and turns her gaze from you at last. You sense something approaching approval, and feel that curious pressure release your three-chambered heart.
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>>5421064
“Regardless of anyone’s feeling about matriarchy or patriarchy, it seems the season dictate a king WILL be taking control soon… Is this not so?”

All eyes are on you again as you speak these words, though the Queen takes her time for her next mushroom-cup of red-brown elf-wine to be poured. You sip your own, to steel yourself for that silver weight to settle once more upon your soul.

“In a time of crisis, when signs are right, a season can be longer, or shorter. Spring comes when it comes; some winters are long.”

She hopes to extend her rule for a time. You’d heard as much. So too do you know that this ‘spring’ and ‘winter’ she speaks of are not literal—they last years, maybe decades, not months.

“Corandiirn, of House Sambra, must home that his springtime is coming sooner rather than later.”

The Queen’s eyes widen only slightly, then narrow, as you name-drop the rival whose witch-servant approached you in the slums.

“I have heard some float the idea,” Queen Myrymma acknowledges.

“What are your feelings about him?” you ask. “What are his chances?”

“If you’d accepted his invitation, you could have judges them for yourself,” she notes softly.

You tilt your head. Has she been reported to by Jazkarmel’s spies? You suppose you gave them no instructions to hide THAT event from the princess, or their Queen.

“Prince Corandiirn has more supporters than some, maybe most,” the Queen acknowledges, when you remain silent. “He or Minothel of Tlintear. One is the better diplomat and rumoured to be a skilled assassin, with a mage’s touch. The other is a higher-born, better-connected, probably the smarter.”

“Which do you prefer?”

The banquet grows tense. The other elves, male and female and intermediate, remain still as they can, avert their eyes.

“Neither,” the Queen answers truthfully, with perhaps her first genuine smile—though she still shows no teeth.

“An elf of Yvonlace, then?” you ask with neutral tone.

“Nothing of the sort,” she says quickly. “We are a Queenly house. Our daughters here are wise, our sons strong and supple. It does not do to raise Kings and Queens together in the same household. A strong man produces, enforces, a weak woman… And vice versa.”
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>>5421067
“What of the…” you struggle. “The not-female, not-male, fluid sorts of elf?”

“Some days they are male, in some capacities, and female in other times and place. They are never a King nor a Queen, for to be such, one must be wholly Elf-Man or Elf-Maid, always, in one’s soul. It is the way… As it is the way of Yvonlace to raise Queens, not Kings.”

You suppose it makes sense. You’d wondered how every elven household did not fall into fractious fighting at times like these. Without such arrangements and understandings, the tension between the sexes would surely shake their race asunder!

“Then…?” you trail off, waiting.

“House Lahlabar has a Prince-Ascending, a quiet but thoughtful young man. He cares well for a brood of hunting bugs, which I think You would be fond of.”

You narrow your eyes. What does she mean? Is that a crack about Glowie? It couldn’t be—that matter isn’t known to any elves, not even Jazkarmel or Glowie’s attendants… Right?

She smiles again, clarifying: “Hunting dragonflies.”

…Ah. Because… Yes, the name. You smile back, causing several elves (but not Queen Myrymma) to flinch.

“He who can raise skilled killers of such difficult temperament, with love and discipline and an eye for quality… He can be a good king, I believe.”
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>>5421083
“Do you raise bugs, then?” you ask.

The Queen shakes her head, a slight back-and-forth twist.

“Too busy raising Queens,” she admits. “Though… Some of my sons keep and breed scout-beetles of impressive colouration and wonderful tracking skill.”

You wonder how old she is… How many daughters, and sons, she has birthed. As an expectant father yourself—twice over, you suppose, after… The dream-liaison… You wonder whether she might have advice for a newborn dynasty and first-time parent. But, no, what could a mammal-mother offer a Father of Dragons… Right?

Small-talk resumes after your rather intense and challenging conversational choices are concluded. You tune out, despite your best efforts—even among Drow, better than most mammals, much of this dialogue is chattering, monkey-like ‘social grooming’, meaningless to a cold-blooded and logical scion of the Master Race. Eventually, though, elves begin to filter away, to retire. This includes Queen Myrymma and Princess Jazkarmel.

“You are welcome to our hospitality,” the Queen offers, personally. “It will be much, MUCH more comfortable than that offered by the lowborn labourers, I assure you.”

Do you accept?
>Yes, for you wish to have words with the Queen more privately
>Yes, because you need to discuss some matters with Jazkarmel
>Yes, you’d like to snoop around a little bit
>Yes, you like the idea of some dragon-appropriate luxury
>No, you need to get back to the Novice and your new converts/experiments
>No, you don’t trust this House Yvonlace, and don’t wish to show favouritism
>No, you think you’d like to pay a visit to one of the Princes-Ascending
>No, you’d like to explore more of Wevenore
>Write-in

[“Yes” or “no” votes will be tallied, and the most popular rationale chosen… Maybe two, if they mesh well.]
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>>5421067
>“Prince Corandiirn has more supporters than some, maybe most,” the Queen acknowledges, when you remain silent. “He or Minothel of Tlintear. One is the better diplomat and rumoured to be a skilled assassin, with a mage’s touch. The other is a higher-born, better-connected, probably the smarter.”

which one of the two is the connected blue blood and which is the assassin mage?
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>>5421095
[I suppose you have no way to know... But I'd meant to imply that Corandiirn matched the first description, and Minothel the second; Corandiirn is that deadly diplomat, and Minothel the nobler-than-average.
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>>5421084
>Yes, for you wish to have words with the Queen more privately

I feel like her pussy has teeth. Best to throw our lot in with the thorn pussy.
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>>5421084
>Yes, because you need to discuss some matters with Jazkarmel
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>>5421084
>No, you need to get back to the Novice and your new converts/experiments
Fuck the politics
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>>5421084
>Yes, for you wish to have words with the Queen more privately
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>>5421084
>No, you need to get back to the Novice and your new converts/experiments.
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>>5421084
>Yes, for you wish to have words with the Queen more privately
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>>5421708
>>5421519
>>5421337
>>5421264
>>5421255
>>5421229
You opt to remain at this (admittedly humble and primitive) palatial estate. It’s not a matter of desiring the luxuries these noble-elves can offer; rather, you have not yet finished your politicking.

You are shown to your quarters, to be shared with your servants as you so choose. Any you do not wish to bed in the same room as you are offered a shared accommodation apart. You are wary of how to respond to the request, uncertain as to whether the implication of a servant remaining in your (spacious) quarters is loaded. Some elven nobles seem to take guards into their quarters, for instance, but some take what appear to be courtiers, or entertainers, of somewhat sensual attire and nature. The issue is muddled by what occurs with Jazkarmel’s personal quarters: the warrior-princess brings guards, male and female… But then, she also sends a messenger to request Oluwadailare’s presence. The half-human shrugs, with a sly grin and an excited gleam in his eye; you allow it, for the sake of goodwill. In the end, you allow all your other two attendants the run of your overlarge room, rather than sending them away, so you may have them close-at-hand if you need them.

You don’t intend to spend much of the night in your quarters, anyway. There are many things one can discuss in mixed company, but some which you cannot; as a leader with secrets worthy of social stigma, you know this well. You have matters to discuss with Queen Myrymma, and they demand discretion.

You send Ivno to serve as messenger. He does not speak the elf-tongue, but he has the kobolds’ gift for service, making him an ideal messenger. You give him the message, and he repeats it back; you correct him, and within three cycles of this, he has your message for the Queen memorized perfectly, even in spite of not knowing the meaning of the words. The kobold departs and, when he returns, it is with a short-but-straight-backed Drow servant in a mix of silks and leathers, who offers to lead you to a meeting-place. He has the Queen's silver eyes, and a hint of her facial features; though they look virtually the same age, you suspect this is one of her sons.

You follow the Drow, but bring Ivno with you; he cannot understand the words you will be exchanging, but has proven skilled with a blade, and so makes a perfect attendant in such matters. His cautious character is appreciated, too; he glances furtively into dark corners, moves with soft steps, and generally behaves as a scout, but without overt twitchiness.
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>>5421827
You arrive at a semi-open area, within the royal castle-complex: a sort of courtyard. Its central monument is a kind of fountain, though the dark elves seem to lack the magic or technical expertise to funnel water to it, and so the water which fills it is brackish; were it not perfumed, as it is, it would be foul. The central monument is a well-made one, depicting a nude Drow couple, male and female, engaged in a dance back-to-back; each holds two blades, one pointed outward and one held behind their back, clashing and wrestling with that of the other, even as their backsides rest against one another’s, and their legs intertwine.

At the lip of the fountain-well sits Queen Myrymma. Her headdress sits in her lap, revealing an incredibly long and flowing cascade of silver-white hair, to match her eyes, flowing around her; she carefully sweeps it to one side to avoid dipping it in the water, and lays it in her lap so it does not fall upon the dirty stone of the floor. A flittering of small moth-things flit about her, glimmering touches of green, settling upon the water periodically or fluttering through the spray of the fountain, drawn by the moisture.

“You wished to speak privately?” she asks.

“Yes.”

“Are you worried for your own honour, or for mine?” she asks—not accusing, perhaps teasing, but with careful and cultivated calm.

“It is a sensitive matter, Queen-of-Elves. I…”

The Queen holds up a hand, and you trail off. She smiles again, that subtle smile.

“I will not be calling you ‘Your Majesty’, and ‘Copper Dragon King of the Bloodrise Mountains’ is too long. You may call me Myrymma. What will I call you?”

You know without even attempting it that your name is unpronounceable to mammalian vocal chords; even Olu butchers it, with his hybrid larynx. Perhaps more importantly, a name is a… Private, intimate thing, in your culture. The Novice Fleshweaver is ‘The Novice Fleshweaver’, or ‘Chaplain’s Daughter’, even to you who knows her true-name and has nestled your body against hers and laid your head in her lap; she, in kind, refers to you exclusively by an array of belligerent insults or, in public, as ‘Dragonborn’, a title you share with one other and with more to come.
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>>5421829
What name will you adopt for dealing with mammals?
>The Bugbear’s leader—he who may or may not be alive—first called you ‘Copper’ as a name, in elven-tongue… ‘Theral’ has a good ring to it
>In your meditative meetings with your Dark Gods, you have heard whispers of the pseudonyms of your mother, and of your father; a patronym is more appropriate to a male, so you shall be the son of your father, ‘Rothschild’
>You keep what you kill, conqueror of kingdoms that you are; you slew two ancient enemies, Shoggoth and Devourer, and so you shall take their titles: ‘Hopolis’, a word you’ve heard used for both, meaning ‘horror’
>Though she does not know it, you ebar the balde of an ancient elven king—a demigod, long-dead, Son of the Moon; you will take his auspicious name, and tell her to call you ‘Endymion’
>Write-in

But you are not here for games and names, but for important and vital discussions, far from prying ears; the queen keeps a single trusted courtier, the short-one whom she sent for you, as you keep Ivno. There are no others here to hear, and so speak freely on the subject which brought you two together…
>Parenting and/or bug-rearing advice, though only you know the two subjects are related
>The conversion of the Queen and her court—nay, her race—to the True Faith
>Your offer to help install the Queen’s favoured candidate for King, by means legitimate or otherwise
>Your offer of sanctuary for her House Yvonlace and her supporters… In the Bloodrise
>Your possession of the fabled moon-blade of King Endymion
>The threats which approach: necromancer Hapo and the Green Knight
>A sexual proposition [religion roll needed]
>An assassination attempt [swordsmanship roll needed[
>Write-in
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>>5421830
*religion roll to even attempt a sexual proposition; seduction needed to succeed, btw
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>>5421830
>The Bugbear’s leader—he who may or may not be alive—first called you ‘Copper’ as a name, in elven-tongue… ‘Theral’ has a good ring to it

>The conversion of the Queen and her court—nay, her race—to the True Faith

We can bring the Drow out of their squalor, and this pitch is important to that.
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>>5421830
>The Bugbear’s leader—he who may or may not be alive—first called you ‘Copper’ as a name, in elven-tongue… ‘Theral’ has a good ring to it

>The conversion of the Queen and her court—nay, her race—to the True Faith
>Your offer to help install the Queen’s favoured candidate for King, by means legitimate or otherwise
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>>5421867
Supporting

But also add:
>The current state of our alliance
>The threats which approach: necromancer Hapo and the Green Knight

With more of a focus on Hapo
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>>5421830
>Dovahkiin
I'm used to everyone calling us Dragonborn. Using names is a cringe mammalian custom anyway.
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>>5421830
>The threats which approach: necromancer Hapo and the Green Knight
Forgot second vote
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>>5421830
>Though she does not know it, you ebar the balde of an ancient elven king—a demigod, long-dead, Son of the Moon; you will take his auspicious name, and tell her to call you ‘Endymion’
big dick

>The conversion of the Queen and her court—nay, her race—to the True Faith
>Your offer to help install the Queen’s favoured candidate for King, by means legitimate or otherwise
>>
Kinda would be funny if we went for name that means "two blades" or something similar, cause two dicks and two swords lmao.
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>>5421916
[In fairness, while this makes you remarkable among elves and surely was a contributing factor Davora's lasting physical affection, to a reptoid it's pretty much to be expected.]
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>>5421830
>>The conversion of the Queen and her court—nay, her race—to the True Faith
>The current state of our alliance.

>>5421903
>>5421867
we shouldn't be promising anything that major yet. we haven't even meet the lady's favored heir yet. (for all we know House lahabar's heir is a total meager fop.)
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>>5421983
Well, it's supposed to be a name for elves, not reptilians. We're the only specimen they've met.
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>>5421867
+1
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>>5421830
>>The conversion of the Queen and her court—nay, her race—to the True Faith
>The current state of our alliance
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>>5422577
>>5422535
>>5422138
>>5421903
>>5421894
>>5421891
>>5421883
>>5421867
>>5421842
[Writing up!]
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>>5422708
“My kind do not use names the way yorus do, in such interactions,” you explain. “If I must have one, ‘Theral’ will do.”

“‘Theral’?” asks Queen Myrymma. “I ask to call you something other than ‘The Copper Dragon-King of Bloodrise’, and your answer is that I may call you… ‘Copper, the Dragon-King of Bloodrise’?”

The Queen-of-Elves laughs, exposing her teeth in a full-hearted guffaw for the first time since you have encountered her.

“You are a funny one… Theral.”

You sense it is meant as a compliment, even if a bit of a backhanded one, and you choose to take it as such. You do not dwell on Myrymma’s laughter, but instead move onto other business.

“I wish to discuss the current state of our people’s alliance,” you say.

“Ah, yes,” the Queen says. “I understand that you were quite generous with seized territory, which you gave over to Jazkarmel in exchange for our forces’ aid… And that, with the disappearance of the bugbears, you have come to rely quite heavily on elves for your approach to conquering such forts.”

You DO have a tendency to implement Drow in your infiltrator-assassin parties, this is true, though you can’t help but feel she overstates your reliance. You say as much.

“Oh?” she asks innocently. “But did my Princess and her forces not care for your injured… Shelter your secret?”

Again, the full force of the silver eyes bears down on you. You do not flinch, but must suppress a small shudder. She refers to Glowie, of course… But how much does she know? How much does even Jazkarmel understand of the… Relationship… Between the great-worm and yourself?

“It seems a fruitful alliance for you and for Jazkarmel both,” the Queen says, looking away and granting you relief from the inexplicable intensity of her eyes. “How would you improve upon it?”

You regulate your breathing calming yourself with meditative techniques before answering:

“The Dark Gods have sent me as their instrument,” you say. “They would have our peoples bound in faith.”

“I have heard murmurings of your conversion efforts,” Myrymma acknowledges. “You may take the minds and souls of any elf weak enough to offer them.”

You shake your head. You remember Jazkarmel’s warning, that conversion would be seen as weakness, but you MUST pursue it.

“It is not weakness,” you dispute. “The Dark Gods offer strength to those who will earn it and seize it. They offer health, and bounty.”

Queen Myrymma waves her hand through the air, brushing away some of the fluttering moths.

“Let them have it,” she says. “An elf who earns and seizes power is already strong. She does not need a god to approve of her to know this. Health and bounty… With magic, these, too, can be seized by one’s own merit.”

“Why do you so reject the Dark Gods?” you ask.
>>
>>5422723
She stares at you again, and your brace yourself against the quiet fierceness in her eyes, her voice.

“I reject all gods,” she whispers, “as the gods rejected my ancestors.”

“Those were Gods of Light,” you point out.

“Yes, they were... The very gods who made my people, from whom my line descends! And yet they trhew us away for rebelling against a false king..."

The Queen takes a moment to collect herself, though even this outburst of passion was rather controlled, by your estimation.... Well, for an elf. They ARE a passionate, warmblooded race.

"And where were the Dark Gods for my people, then, when we were harried into the dark places and forced down into this pit? When we feasted on our own young and old to keep our strongest alive… Were there Dark Gods Below in those days, down here in what is supposedly their realm? When we prayed desperately for relief, did they fail to hear us? Or just ignore us, because we brought them no gifts? Perhaps, if they seek us out now, it is only because NOW we have something that they want?”

You hesitate. You, yourself, have actually been the driving force in forming a union of faith between your Master Race and these outcast elves… But the Dark Gods HAVE shown appreciation, most recently the Lady of the Rookery. You remember your vision, many months ago now, of a multiracial Dark Alliance, where your great and terrible successors are served by dark elven guards and courtiers, by dwarven smiths and miners, by kobold attendants, in a vast and hive-like network filling the entirety of the mountains and the underdark below... These elves are an integral art of the New Age of Darkness, you KNOW it!
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>>5422726

You recall again the recurring nightmare of flashing steel and green armour… Of murals of dead and dying dragons, and the sheen of green steel… You remember the pallid and empty eyes, hanging mouths, and deathless persistence of the zombie bugbears on the path, and the simmering resentment and hatred of their hidden necromancer master, Hapo.

“Threats emerge which demand a deeper alliance,” you say.

“Maybe,” Myrymma acknowledges, noncommittally. “Perhaps it is something to discuss with the next King-of-Elves… But I think you will find that every candidate shares my feelings on this matter. The Drow remember what it is like to be alone in an eternal night, Theral.”

How will you persuade the Drow Queen of the necessity of an official alliance? What alliance do you even desire?
>Show Queen Myrymma the moon-sword and shoggoth-sword, and tell her of your vanquishing of those great beasts... With the aid of the Gods!
>Abandon talk of religious conversion (for now), and instead focus on practicalities: an official alliance, and declaration of war on the surface, to extend this ‘season’ of Queenly dominion
>Offer to demonstrate the value of the Gods, and of your alliance, by completing labours for the Queen-of-Elves—tasks of her choosing, requiring great mighty
>Threaten to interfere in the kingly selection process, and to support a rival and weaken her own house’s position, if she does not heed you
>Pray to one of the Dark Gods [which one? Specify!] for a direct manifestation… Though you know it will come at a price, or with unexpected consequences...
>Write-in
>>
>>5422730
>Offer to demonstrate the value of the Gods, and of your alliance, by completing labours for the Queen-of-Elves—tasks of her choosing, requiring great mighty
Dragon!Hercules baby!
>>
>>5422730
>Show Queen Myrymma the moon-sword and shoggoth-sword, and tell her of your vanquishing of those great beasts... With the aid of the Gods!

>Offer to demonstrate the value of the Gods, and of your alliance, by completing labours for the Queen-of-Elves—tasks of her choosing, requiring great might
>>
>>5422730
>Offer to demonstrate the value of the Gods, and of your alliance, by completing labours for the Queen-of-Elves—tasks of her choosing, requiring great mighty
What a bunch of pussies. If they didn't get driven underground, they wouldn't have to live like rats... oh wait.
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>>5422730
>Pray to serpent-daddy
Time to put a paladin in the paladin-quest
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>>5422730
>Show Queen Myrymma the moon-sword and shoggoth-sword, and tell her of your vanquishing of those great beasts... With the aid of the Gods!

I feel like these are pretty big labors already.
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>>5422730
>Pray to one of the Dark Gods {Serpent ascendant.} for a direct manifestation… Though you know it will come at a price, or with unexpected consequences...

she wants a display of power in order to believe, that the path of the dark gods isn't one of weakness. Who better for this task then the serpent ascendant?
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>>5422730
>Abandon religious talk for now
>>
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[Hmm... Well, we have a slight lean, but I think I'll leave this open until later, partly because we don't have a majority and partly because I am having an off day, with low energy, and I worry I won't write anything of quality right now.]
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>>5422730
>Show Queen Myrymma the moon-sword and shoggoth-sword, and tell her of your vanquishing of those great beasts... With the aid of the Gods!

We were going to show her them anyway…
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>>5422800
+1
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>>5422749
+1
>>
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Rolled 17, 1, 17, 2, 16 = 53 (5d20)

>>5423234
>>5423127
>>5423122
>>5423097
>>5423060
>>5422895
>>5422800
>>5422763
>>5422749
>>5422733
[Locked and writing!]
>>
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>>5423851
You gnash you teeth, passing the gesture off as a smile with a small nod. These elves—nearly as haughty and as full of themselves at the Novice, but with only half the charm! Maybe if they hadn’t been so pitiful as to lose their war and get driven underground, they wouldn’t be living like…

Like…

Ah, right. Like you.

You take a breath, calming your automatic reaction of outrage and vitriol. You maybe be a devout follower of the True Faith, but you are no zealot, unable to see the virtue in outsiders or the faults of your own traditions. You can understand the Elf Queen’s skepticism, even if you resent it (and the difficulties thus presented). You are equal to such a challenge—and you’ll prove it!

The Elf Queen watches with interest—not alarm, just interest—as you draw your shoggoth-sword. The descendant-attendant who she permits to observe this affair starts to move towards you, raising his hands and beginning to draw mana up through his body and into his flexing palm, but his Queen-Mother stops him with a look and a slight gesture of the chin; Ivno, who was watching him, returns his dagger to his belt.

The watches as you take a deep breath. Humming quietly to focus upon the feeling which your bard-servant once drew forth, and focusing your Fearsome Presence, you will the shoggoth-sword’s dagger-length to extend…

>17

And extend it does! The blade unfolds into a panoply of sharp and jagged edges, eyes sprouting forth across its length and flitting about the room. The Queen of Elves shrinks back, but only slightly, then settles in to regard it curiously.

“You and your people know the ‘shoggoth’, Myrymma?” you ask.

Queen Myrymma fixes you with an expression of mild bemusement, and perhaps slight annoyance.

“You know we do,” she answers. “I know you slew the thing… Or at least, took a portion of it for your own, and drove the rest back into the shadows.”

“I did,” you agree, “and I did it with the help of the Dark Gods Below and Beyond. This is the strength they offer. It is no empty promise.”

“You did this with their strength?” Myrymma asks pointedly. “Or they USED your strength, YOUR strength, and pretended that it was a gift rather than the result of your own struggle? Theral, a god can command or take credit for any task, but what do they really DO?”
>>
>>5423883
She will not be convinced. You will not be deterred. One of you must relent… But a dragon does not submit so readily! With a hiss of frustration, you pull the moon-sword from your belt and lay it upon the table. Still swaddled in silk, it provokes an arched eyebrow, but no other reaction from the Elf Queen.

“Fine,” you say through hostile grin. “That doesn’t convince you, Myrymma?”

She simply watches as, with dramatic flourish, you unwrap the blade…

>17

And then, her silver eyes go wide, and her deep-purple lips part with a gasp of genuine shock. For the second time, and far more dramatic than the first, you see this Queen-for-the-Season’s cultivated calmness broken by a burst of true, irrepressible emotion.

“That is—”

“The sword of Endymion,” you say, with small satisfaction. “The blade of a king, of a false God of Light before him!”

“It was lost,” The Queen murmurs, reaching out to caress the broad blade of the elven sabre, her pitch-dark fingers smoothly gliding over the faintly-glowing white of its untarnished stone.

“The Dark Gods found it,” you assert, with some embellishment, “and guided me to it. From the throat of the Devourer, your other ancient enemy, I drew it forth! I slew two of your greatest threats, liberating your people, and I did it under the protection of the True Faith. I am an Antipaladin of the Dark Gods, Queen Myrymma… And perhaps, now, you understand what that means!”

You stand tall and proud, having (you now realize) risen from your seat to loom above the others in the room. You worry for a moment that this might be perceived as a threat, and your gaze drifts to Myrymma’s attendant… But he, too, so too stunned by the moon-sword of Endymion to do much but stare.

“I… I understand,” the Queen says, looking to you with renewed wonder and respect. “You are…”

She stops herself, shakes her head.
>>
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>>5423888
“To bow to a god—any god—is heresy here. It will ruin the chances of my favoured candidate, destroy my house. Unless…”

“Unless?” you press.

“You must show the other elves your might,” she says.

You hesitate, but shrug.

“If it is a matter of flashing these swords, … And if they will all understand MY claim to them…”

“They won’t,” she interrupts. “If the Drow see this sacred weapon in your hands, they will deny the truth of it… Especially and Prince-Ascending whose claim it threatens.”

“I’ll MAKE them acknowledge it,” you growl.

“Then they’ll swarm you, and take it by force.”

“They can TRY!” you all but bellow… But then, you calm yourself again.

“What do you propose?” you ask.

“A trial. A… Great labour.”

“Is slaying two ancient elven enemies with my own hands not enough?” you scoff.

Really, now…

The Queen laughs, a small sound, and regards you with a touch of the old bemusement. Your youthful impudence, perhaps, reminds her that you are not a god yourself—just their champion.

“Nobody saw the one, and only MY supporters saw the other. You must undertake a task which ALL Drow of merit and worth can see—every Prince-Ascending and Princess-Consort with potential to one day be a Queen or King-Mother.”

She offers you a few options, which she things would be worthy. What do you choose?

>There is a terrible beast who dwells in the lake—oasis that it may be—and has been known to snatch up Drow from the shores… You could swim out, or boat out, and slay it [Lowest difficulty, least dramatic]

>Among the ghouls who stalk the Drow graves, there is a greater-one, a Ghoul Supreme, who is said to have intelligence and great might… And even some necromantic power. Maybe you could put an end to it for good? [Medium difficulty, mysterious implications]

>Among the surface-elves, there is one forest-glen hated more than all the others—a group of pink-hued surface-elves who remembered the Drow, when all others forgot, and who dedicated a sacred order to their suppression… And order with a gateway-keep, and a stalwart old ‘paladin’ of sorts, who has never been bested [Higher difficulty, mysterious implications]

>You hear the Elf-Queen’s words, but you are not satisfied with any mere labour to prove your worth indirectly—you will take your blade to the meeting-place of the Princes-Ascending, unveil it, and challenge any of these ‘worthy’ elven males to take it… On penalty of submission to YOUR rule!
>>
>>5423890
>Among the surface-elves, there is one forest-glen hated more than all the others—a group of pink-hued surface-elves who remembered the Drow, when all others forgot, and who dedicated a sacred order to their suppression… And order with a gateway-keep, and a stalwart old ‘paladin’ of sorts, who has never been bested [Higher difficulty, mysterious implications]

Let's get some gainz in vs. paladins of the Light. We'll need it to face the last Yosef.

very compelling writing as always RQM, you're a champion, whatever that means from one random anon
>>
>>5423890
>the ghoul supreme
I don’t wanna get shit on by pink elves

Plus good prep for Necro hapo
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>>5423890
>Among the ghouls who stalk the Drow graves, there is a greater-one, a Ghoul Supreme, who is said to have intelligence and great might… And even some necromantic power. Maybe you could put an end to it for good? [Medium difficulty, mysterious implications]

Needs some anti-necro training
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>>5423890
>Among the ghouls who stalk the Drow graves, there is a greater-one, a Ghoul Supreme, who is said to have intelligence and great might… And even some necromantic power. Maybe you could put an end to it for good? [Medium difficulty, mysterious implications]
>>
>>5423890
>Among the ghouls who stalk the Drow graves, there is a greater-one, a Ghoul Supreme, who is said to have intelligence and great might… And even some necromantic power. Maybe you could put an end to it for good? [Medium difficulty, mysterious implications]
>>
>>5423890
>Among the surface-elves, there is one forest-glen hated more than all the others—a group of pink-hued surface-elves who remembered the Drow, when all others forgot, and who dedicated a sacred order to their suppression… And order with a gateway-keep, and a stalwart old ‘paladin’ of sorts, who has never been bested [Higher difficulty, mysterious implications]

>You hear the Elf-Queen’s words, but you are not satisfied with any mere labour to prove your worth indirectly—you will take your blade to the meeting-place of the Princes-Ascending, unveil it, and challenge any of these ‘worthy’ elven males to take it… On penalty of submission to YOUR rule!

Do the hardest difficulty, then challenge them all into submission. Simple enough.
>>
>>5423890
>Among the ghouls
>picrel
dios mio, rqm
>>
>>5423890
>Among the surface-elves, there is one forest-glen hated more than all the others—a group of pink-hued surface-elves who remembered the Drow, when all others forgot, and who dedicated a sacred order to their suppression… And order with a gateway-keep, and a stalwart old ‘paladin’ of sorts, who has never been bested [Higher difficulty, mysterious implications]
Palaloot for the antipaladin. An this will please serpent daddy
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>>5424509
What if we fail and the surface apes learn there be dragons underground? Reptilians/Drow aren't strong enough to fight against the surface races at this point, that's why we only send trained spies and infiltrators up there.
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>>5424532
What if we fail walking while leaving the city, fall and break our neck?
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>>5424538
>[Higher difficulty, mysterious implications]
Walking while leaving the city has no DC and wouldn't result in instantaneous death even if we rolled two nat 1s in a row.
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>>5424544
[Just instantaneous humiliation.]
>>
>>5423890
>Among the ghouls who stalk the Drow graves, there is a greater-one, a Ghoul Supreme, who is said to have intelligence and great might… And even some necromantic power. Maybe you could put an end to it for good? [Medium difficulty, mysterious implications]

We might be able to ise this to pay off some the the debts we own to death.
>>
>>5423890
>You hear the Elf-Queen’s words, but you are not satisfied with any mere labour to prove your worth indirectly—you will take your blade to the meeting-place of the Princes-Ascending, unveil it, and challenge any of these ‘worthy’ elven males to take it… On penalty of submission to YOUR rule!
I just like the CHADNESS of this idea. I would like to take the head of the Ghoul Supreme and the Elven Paladin as trophies however, and become the Drow’s heroic savior on the level of Endymion.
>>
>>5424782
>>5424731
>>5424509
>>5424218
>>5424215
>>5423987
>>5423961
>>5423938
>>5423909
[Locked and writing!]
>>
>>5424876

One tale the Queen of Elves shares with you raises the most interest, though it is truly more of a rumour. Among the monkey-like ‘ghouls’ lurking among the Drow dead, there is allegedly a greater power. They allege a greater size and strength than its kin, which is sensible enough if it is a formidable beats getting the choicest corpses for its feast… But the Queen of Elves also tells of the recent funerary procession, for a dead Prince of an allied house, and this tale is what most piques your interest.

“The pallbearers who carried the Prince’s body through the tunnels to the funerary caves, to make preparations for the division of the Prince’s body and the preparation of his soul for the journey beyond this life… They reported that as they approach the caves, the Prince’s own body begin to twitch,a nd to jerk.”

“He was still alive?” you ask.

Queen Myrymma shakes her head, fixing you with a subtle look as if to say: ‘Do you think we are fools?’

“He had been laying out upon a slab for a wake of three suns and three moons, as is our way. His heart did not beat, his chest did not rise. But as the journey continued... They say that he began to laugh.”

You nod, and bid her continue.

“The bearers grew nervous, suspecting a demon or evil spirit. After a fashion, it may have been, for as they got within eyesight of the funerary caves, the body leapt from the litter they carries and sprung into the tunnels. They pursued…”

She pauses, glancing to her attendant, who fidgets nervously, though he clearly ahs heard SOME of the tale by his expression—not just dreading, but EXPECTING, what comes next.

“The pallbearers who pursued the prince ran right into a waiting nest of ghouls. Some, they say, wielded the rusted and broken grave-weapons of dead Drow. And the prince… He ran right into the arms of a taller, stronger sort of ghoul, who lifted him up and carried him away, while the ghouls set upon the pallbearers.”

You recall the pitiful, doughy flesh you recently supped upon—the scrawniness of the limbs.

“Was it… MUCH bigger?” you ask. “And these ghouls… They were well-organized, to fend off your forces?”

“They did more than ‘fend them of’,” Myrymma admits with a sigh. “They slew all but two, of six who pursued. They chased and drove back six more. All were skilled, respected elf-men and elf-maids. The survivors were shamed, embarrassed, and… Afraid. They may have embellished. But…”

“But the death of four warriors at the hands of ghouls, and frightening of a small platoon of Drow, was enough to make you consider what they had to say.”

The Queen does not speak, but meets your eyes. This, and her proposal of the slaying of this spectre as a possible labour, says enough.
>>
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>>5424896

“We have not taken any of our noble dead to conclude the ritual which releases and protects their souls, since that day,” she admits. “The noble houses preserve our dead, rare as they are, with magic and desiccation, so we can perform the ritual later… When it is safe.”

“And the lower-born?” you ass.

She quirks her eyebrow, and looks to her attendant.

“They leave them to rot, as close as they can get,” he supplies,” and it is here we hunt for ghoul-meat.

Well, you may have learned to respect the skill of Drow as assassins and scouts, but they are no dragoons—let alone dragons! You relish the opportunity to prove your worth by eliminating another enemy of the elves, and if it proves suitable practice for facing Hapo later… And maybe even earns you some small measure of relief from your debt to the God of Death, incurred early in your journey? Well, that’s just a bonus!

“I will do it,” you declare. “I will end this… Ghoul Supreme, and bring you his head. Your caves will be emptied of threat, and sanctified anew… To the Dark Gods, Below and Beyond, who will welcome the souls of your nobility into a grater communion!”

The Queen smiles at you indulgently, and rests a hand upon your raised fist.

“One step comes before the other, King Theral,” she suggests, not harshly or tenderly, but with the heir of a peer offering advice.

“A dragon travels great distances in a single wingbeat,” you counter brashly.

She looks at your excitedly-wiggling fin-wings, still underdeveloped, but is tactful enough to say nothing more of them.

Bah. She hasn’t seen you use your flight-magic. She hasn’t seen ANYTHING yet!

Of course, she is right: you must accomplish this great deed before you can boast of it in a bid to convert the populace of this city.
>>
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>>5424897

How will you prepare?

>Your party contains all those you will need—the Junior Novice as a hunting dog, the Novice as a mage and medic, Ivno as a loyal attendant, Oluwadamilare the Archer your trusty sidekick and slayer-of-giants already. You will set forth immediately!

>You will rest before you set out, and pray to Death—he called Lord of Endings—to guide and even aid you in hunting this necromancer, since… Well, necromancy IS a cardinal sin against the Emperor of Entropy and Sovereign of Stillness, right?

>You will request Jazkarmel and her best Drow scouts accompany you, to bear witness and lend their proven aid—this is THEIR realm, after all, and they know the rites and routes better than you do, and presumably know more about ghouls besides which

>A hunt of this magnitude, against a cleverer foe than Devourer or Shoggoth, requires an expert hunter… And occultism is afoot… Though it will mean staying here longer, and delaying your hunt, it is better to send Ivno and Olu to fetch the expert Hunter and the Dragonblooded Researcher, who you recruited for tasks just such as this

>This could be a good excuse to make overtures to the general populace of the slums, and maybe even to rival houses, to build a greater base of support here… Though this would also attract a lot of attention to your activities, and potentially alert rivals and produce ire about the aggressively-antitheist

>Write-in
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>>5424901
>You will request Jazkarmel and her best Drow scouts accompany you, to bear witness and lend their proven aid—this is THEIR realm, after all, and they know the rites and routes better than you do, and presumably know more about ghouls besides which
>>
>>5424901
>You will rest before you set out, and pray to Death—he called Lord of Endings—to guide and even aid you in hunting this necromancer, since… Well, necromancy IS a cardinal sin against the Emperor of Entropy and Sovereign of Stillness, right?
>Take Novice and your strongest allies
Olu, Hunter and whoever else we trust. Oh, and the dwarf for buffs since bossfight is coming.
>Use [Guidance] to track down the big gross guy
This will give us extra credibility and Novice is no fighter + she has to check on the dragon hybrids.
>>5424576
Buut we don't have DC for walking so it's totally never going to happen!
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>>5424937
>tfw you forget to describe Karz
>tfw it's pretty in-character for his (admittedly sort of cool) slave to slip the MC's mind, too
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>>5424940
I just find singing lame and as a bard he didn't even once try to dick down a dragon. Although maybe it's for the best.
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>>5424901
>You will rest before you set out, and pray to Death—he called Lord of Endings—to guide and even aid you in hunting this necromancer, since… Well, necromancy IS a cardinal sin against the Emperor of Entropy and Sovereign of Stillness, right?

He HATES necromancy after all…
>>
>>5424901
>You will rest before you set out, and pray to Death—he called Lord of Endings—to guide and even aid you in hunting this necromancer, since… Well, necromancy IS a cardinal sin against the Emperor of Entropy and Sovereign of Stillness, right?
>This could be a good excuse to make overtures to the general populace of the slums, and maybe even to rival houses, to build a greater base of support here… Though this would also attract a lot of attention to your activities, and potentially alert rivals and produce ire about the aggressively-antitheist
We should build up our support while we’re at this, maybe we can convince a couple our heirs to our way of thinking.
>Send a messenger to fetch the Dragonblooded Researcher
We’re gonna need some insight for when we deal Hapo, and we’ll gain greater insight after we bring back the ghoul’s body.
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>>5424901
>rest and pray to death
If we’re advertising godly benefits we should actually use godly benefits
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>>5424901
>You will request Jazkarmel and her best Drow scouts accompany you, to bear witness and lend their proven aid—this is THEIR realm, after all, and they know the rites and routes better than you do, and presumably know more about ghouls besides which
>>
>>5424901
>This could be a good excuse to make overtures to the general populace of the slums, and maybe even to rival houses, to build a greater base of support here… Though this would also attract a lot of attention to your activities, and potentially alert rivals and produce ire about the aggressively-antitheist
>>
>>5424901

>This could be a good excuse to make overtures to the general populace of the slums, and maybe even to rival houses, to build a greater base of support here… Though this would also attract a lot of attention to your activities, and potentially alert rivals and produce ire about the aggressively-antitheist

Im liking this option, we could use more allies amongst the drow.
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>>5425036
+1
>>
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>>5425785
>>5425690
>>5425507
>>5425247
>>5425106
>>5425036
>>5425009
>>5424940
>>5424937
>>5424907
[Post incoming, voting locked!]
>>
>>5425936
If you’re going to show these Drow the might of your gods, two things MUST happen: the Drow must be aware of your undertaking, and they must know that it is the power of the Drak Gods which facilitated and aided in your victory.

The first step—less easier, less risky—is appealing to the elves. Perhaps this, in and of itself, says something about the Dark Gods. You lack the dark elves’ pathological rejection and anathema towards the Powers Divine, obviously, but you were not raised some coddled Child of Light. You KNOW that invoking any deity, even an allied one, is a risky proposition which comes with strings attached and a steep price. Even an alien populace, potentially hostile and suspicious, is less dangerous than a ‘friendly’ god.

You return to the slums, explaining your plans: to take a force of Drow, at least formally unaffiliated with any house, and to lead them in the conquest of this Ghoul Supreme.

“It’s pointless glory-seeking foolishness,” the Novice scoffs, glaring sidelong at you from where she examines blood-samples from the ‘blessed’ Drow-spawn and their parents. “What do god-haters even need with some sacred cave? Their souls are just food for The Lord of Endings, or for whatever wandering spirit or demon decides to snack upon them.”

“I think it would be wise to bring a long-good ally,” Ivno suggests, gently and without pressure. “Elves are sneaky-sneaks, untrustworthy.”

“I will stand at the ready, if you want my bow or blade, oh Dragonborn!” Olu declares, hopefully; you are almost sad to let him down.

Karz just watches you, curious; happy to remain, content to attend to you…

But no. You must leave these friends and allies, on this leg of the journey. This is a mission to prove YOUR merit, YOUR mettle, YOUR divine right to be spiritual leader of these lost elves.

You decide to cast your net first and foremost to…
>The poor and disenfranchised—offer them divine blessings and transformations akin to what you granted the Drow children (the Novice might be able to clarify the details of THAT matter)
[low DC diplomacy role, draws a great deal of heat]
>The elven warrior-class, soldiers elect of middle-high birth who seem to occupy a special and intermediary role as professional soldiers and scouts, but who are nominally loyal to a given house
[risk of spies and saboteurs, but medium DC and potentially useful]
>The rival noble-houses, especially those lesser ‘princes’ and ‘princesses’ akin to Jazkarmel, who might desire status and influence beyond that the Princes-Ascendant or current Queen of Elves afford them
[high DC diplomacy role, complicates existing alliances and rivalries, means sharing credit… but potentially huge inroads]
>Write-in

[Your appeal to Death will follow]
>>
>>5425953
>The elven warrior-class, soldiers elect of middle-high birth who seem to occupy a special and intermediary role as professional soldiers and scouts, but who are nominally loyal to a given house
Divine spellswords will be kino.
>>
>>5425953
>>The elven warrior-class, soldiers elect of middle-high birth who seem to occupy a special and intermediary role as professional soldiers and scouts, but who are nominally loyal to a given house
>>
>>5425953
>The rival noble-houses, especially those lesser ‘princes’ and ‘princesses’ akin to Jazkarmel, who might desire status and influence beyond that the Princes-Ascendant or current Queen of Elves afford them
>>
>>5425953
>The elven warrior-class, soldiers elect of middle-high birth who seem to occupy a special and intermediary role as professional soldiers and scouts, but who are nominally loyal to a given house
>>
>>5425953
>The poor and disenfranchised—offer them divine blessings and transformations akin to what you granted the Drow children (the Novice might be able to clarify the details of THAT matter)
>>
>>5425953
>The elven warrior-class, soldiers elect of middle-high birth who seem to occupy a special and intermediary role as professional soldiers and scouts, but who are nominally loyal to a given house
>Offer a spot to the Prince-Ascending of House Lahlabar

The Queen recommended him might as well see what he's about.
>>
>>5425953
>The rival noble-houses, especially those lesser ‘princes’ and ‘princesses’ akin to Jazkarmel, who might desire status and influence beyond that the Princes-Ascendant or current Queen of Elves afford them
>Offer a spot to the Prince-Ascending of House Lahlabar

We’ll bring that queen bitches crush so she doesn’t cbt our dragon dick
>>
>>5425953
>The rival noble-houses, especially those lesser ‘princes’ and ‘princesses’ akin to Jazkarmel, who might desire status and influence beyond that the Princes-Ascendant or current Queen of Elves afford them
>>
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>>5426026
>>5426028
>>5426042
>>5426059
>>5426118
>>5426272
>>5426410
>>5426467
[Vote locked, a post approacheth!]
>>
Rolled 16, 8, 2, 6 = 32 (4d20)

>>5426549

You look around at the slums, at the skulking and scurrying Drow underclass. Your heart geos out to them—it really does, to your surprise. Your compassion ahs grown. How better to help them, though, than to uplift and improve their entire race, and their position in the world, by succeeding in this mission? And how better to succeed than with the aid of their best warriors—their martial elite, their trusted guards and scouts?

The warrior class seems to mostly draw from the lower rungs of the local nobility, though you learn that some members of the lower start a ascend through sheer effort… At least, when a noble with the ability to grant such rank takes notice. This (limited) meritocracy has a distinct appeal to you, and the flaws of such a system—nepotism and toadyism—are limited by the generally dire straits of the dark elf society as a whole. There is no fat-and-lazy Drow housecarl or scout, because there are really no fat or lazy Drow at ALL, let alone among those of their race most likely to face the deadliest threats.

“none of them are specially bright, either,” the Novice Fleshweaver notes disparagingly.

This much is true. For all their natural grace and physicality, and the alleged poetry of their language—much of it lost on you, anyway—these elves seem largely illiterate and uneducated, with limited experience in true warfare. Their tactics among to great caution, basic squad tactics augmented with some small measure of illusion magic, exploding combustible mineral compounds (such as the bomb which very nearly killed you in a cave-in when you first encountered these barbarians)… And, of course, the training and deployment of their precious insects and arachnids.

The last discipline is held in high regard, and it is to this end—and to maintain relations with the Yvonlace’s queenly matriarch—that you reach out to House Lahlabar’s Prince-Ascending—the dragonfly-breeder—to join you as a guest of honour, among the slingers of sword-and-spell.

[Diplomacy roll; DC 15/17/18]
>>
>>5426561
You spend the rest of the day with Jazkarmel’s assigned guards, Sengar and Jhamrius, and some of the other members of her scouting party who you had previously converted. Jazkarmel sadly cannot accompany your herself, busy as she has now become ingratiating herself to her household’s dominant female, and reporting in greater detail upon the many happenings towards and above the Bloodrise-adjacent underdark. Her elf-men lack the Princess’ effortless charm, and despite your best efforts and previous successes, you feel your own stirring rhetoric is not translating as well as you’d hoped.

>16

Still, your mission is a noble one, and has a certain appeal to the elven natives. Destroying such an abhorrent threat to their traditional lifeways and funerary rites—a threat, one might say, to their very SOULS—is a worthy task for brave young elven warriors on the face of it. Elf-males, elf-females, and elf-androgenes join you from among the lower rank-and-file of the warrior-class. They are strapped with leathers, with stoen blades; they are accompanied by beetles and spiders of unusual size; a few even bristle with an aura which speaks to limited spellcraft.

A messenger from Lahlabar, however, ‘regrets to inform you’ that the Prince-Ascending is too busy with preparations for the changing of seasons and potential kingship to attend to such a quest at this time… Nor, to you consternation, does he even offer a token of support. Jazkarmel and her men had all seemed fairly certain that he would at least bestow a fine steel weapon or offer a warrior of his house’s retinue in his stead, as a show of mutual aid… But he does not.

Perhaps it has to do with the many squinting-eyed, glowering elves, in their white noble-robes, who you see on the outskirts of your small rallies, watching you with wariness and irritation. You are, by now, widely known to be here on invitation of the outgoing Queen. Perhaps Lahlabar’s candidate for kingship is reticent to hitch his fortunes to a foreigner, a non-elven monster… Or two a queen with so many enemies?

You must make do with those you have attracted thus far, you suppose: a dozen-and-a-half elven warriors, small and lithe and deadly, and their menageries of chitin-clad little war-beasts. It is still a reasonably-impressive force, to one who knows the ferocity and tenacity of Drow soldiery!

And besides… You have one more trick in your arsenal: a <DIVINE FAVOUR>.
>>
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>>5426587
“That would be one way to earn my support,” Death admits dryly, when you encounter him in your dreamful torpor, while you restfully meditate.

The God of Death is no stranger to you, though neither is he an intimate friend. He was the first Dark God you ever invoked and encountered directly, at the start of your journey… But the Lord of Endings is an enigmatic entity. He is a Dark God, an ancient being predating the coming of Light, and sibling-of-sorts to the pantheon which your race traditionally worships… But so too is he alienated from his kin, and feared. In ancient days, when Light rose and Darkness was driven back, he played both sides—so it is said, at least. In present days, unique among the Dark Gods, he grew stronger… But at the cost of neutrality. He made a pact with the Gods of Light who, seeing his necessity, permit him to roam freely where his kin may not. Neither does he favour any race or philosophy over another—he treats all mortals equally, without cruelty or kindness.

“But I face a necromancer!” you protest, appealing to his one known bias: a hatred of those who muddle the line between his realm and that of life.

“You owe me a favour already,” Death reminds you darkly.

That you do. Calling upon a Dark God and requesting aid or answers ALWAYS exacts a price—this you know, and this you knew when you last called upon him.

Besides, it is tough to argue with what, to your present perception, appears to be a towering mass of ribs and vertebrae, splayed open as if to form a great and many-legged beat, with hundred of skeletal dragon wings rising and falling in a terrible undulation across its back. It is a more fearsome visage that Death has previous appeared in, even with his small, almost comically-mundane HUMANOID skull. Is it that of a man, like your unknown and disgraceful grandparent? An elf, like those you visit?
>>
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>>5426590
“You will destroy this ghoul who meddles with sacred death,” the Emperor of Entropy commands. “You shall undo the damage which Hapo the Kobold’s escape wrought to reality, when you let him attain his forbidden knowledge. Then, your debt will be paid. Anything more… Incurs further debt.”

“Yes, my lord,” you murmur, bowing low, almost flattening yourself.

And yet…

>No, this is fine—accept his lack-of-blessing, and the possible release from your debt, and ask nothing more of this most terrible and mysterious divine
>Offer to resanctify the funeral-caves of the elves in DEATH’S name, in DEATH’S faith, and to induct a special priesthood among the Drow if he will aid you [high DC, low consequences (but not none) for failure]
>Suggest a sacrifice most dear to you—one of your own soon-to-hatch children, the life which you created—if Death will bless your expedition [guaranteed success, consequences????]
>This is wrong—Death asks TWO favour to relieve ONE debt! Protest, proudly and fiercely, king-to-king! [intimidation check, DC 20, BIG consequences for failure]
>Just straight up invoke your mother's one-time <DIVINE FAVOUR>, thus guaranteeing Death's help and ending your debt... Though you will never, ever again be able to invoke this right
[LOCKED OPTION: you CANNOT offer to become a Death Knight, and forsake or slay all your offspring, because you have chosen LOVE too many times]
>Write-In [make it clever, or invoke divine fury and disfavour!]
>>
>>5426591
>No, this is fine—accept his lack-of-blessing, and the possible release from your debt, and ask nothing more of this most terrible and mysterious divine
>>
>>5426591
>>No, this is fine—accept his lack-of-blessing, and the possible release from your debt, and ask nothing more of this most terrible and mysterious divine


Allright boys, when are we becoming serpent antipaladin instead of doing stupid shit like fucking the allmother of the pantheon?
>>
>>5426591
>Offer to resanctify the funeral-caves of the elves in DEATH’S name, in DEATH’S faith, and to induct a special priesthood among the Drow if he will aid you [high DC, low consequences (but not none) for failure]

>>5426717
We are a coomer first, an antipaladin second.
>>
>>5426591
>>Offer to resanctify the funeral-caves of the elves in DEATH’S name, in DEATH’S faith, and to induct a special priesthood among the Drow if he will aid you [high DC, low consequences (but not none) for failure]
>>
>>5426591
>No, this is fine—accept his lack-of-blessing, and the possible release from your debt, and ask nothing more of this most terrible and mysterious divine
Resanctify the funeral-caves after our debt is resolved. Maybe we can eventually buy Devora’s life back.
>>
>>5426591
>No, this is fine—accept his lack-of-blessing, and the possible release from your debt, and ask nothing more of this most terrible and mysterious divine

We need no divine boons
>>
>>5426591
>Offer to resanctify the funeral-caves of the elves in DEATH’S name, in DEATH’S faith, and to induct a special priesthood among the Drow if he will aid you [high DC, low consequences (but not none) for failure]
We gotta learn to bargain with these entities or we'll be a shit antipaladin. Also giving religious morale to the drow is kinda important.
>>5426590
>disgraceful grandparent
tfw you breed a reptilian spy and then get scorched by roth, disgrace indeed
>>
>>5426717
When we start communing with Death&Co instead of the Sslut.
>>
>>5426591
>Offer to resanctify
>>
>>5427213
>>5427117
>>5426861
>>5426819
>>5426761
>>5426729
>>5426717
>>5426614
[This is a close one! I'll leave the poll open a BIT longer. Backlink your one-post IDs, cast your vote if you haven't, and I'll post before bed or early tomorrow.]
>>
>>5427449
>>Offer to resanctify the funeral-caves of the elves in DEATH’S name, in DEATH’S faith, and to induct a special priesthood among the Drow if he will aid you [high DC, low consequences (but not none) for failure]
>>5425507
This was me.
>>
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>>5427492
[Huh.]

>>5427213
>>5427117
>>5426861
>>5426819
>>5426761
>>5426729
>>5426717
>>5426614

[Given how close this is... Gonna' try to meld 'em a little. Post incoming!]
>>
>>5427535
>>5427449
“I require no blessing,” you acknowledge. “Nor can I demand one. You, who could smite me with a touch… A thought… And who I owe a debt already… I yield to your unending and ever-ending might.”

“A poetic prayer,” Death notes. “I have heard it before. But you are not done, are you, mortal?”

“I ask for no boon, no respite,” you reaffirm, standing up even as you keep your gaze respectfully lowered. “But these caves… Know that they will be sanctified. In the name of the Dark Gods… Of Death Amoral and All-Consuming… And the elves of this place shall serve as a priesthood to the natural order of things which you rule as Maintainer Below!”

When Death says nothing for a time, you dare to look up… And you find a cloaked, elderly figure, with scaly skin sloughing off a curiously hybrid face, eyes hollow and dark, clad in black robes. No more fierce bone-horror, but simply… Age Incarnate, a gentler end.

“You know,” the Lord of Endings says, “I never understood your mother’s piety either. Why do you feeble and fleeting things worship gods at all? The dark elves seem to have the right idea, to me… And yet, when you feel this faith in us, your little sparks catch such a fire that even I hesitate to suffocate the flame.”

For a moment—a brief, shining moment—you think your faith will be rewarded with the boon you declines, a token gesture from this most-distant of dark deities. But no, his only gift is to turn, leaving you unblessed, but also not cursed; unharmed, alone.

“Good luck,” the Reaper of Life says, before you awaken from your torpor.

“It is time,” Ivno says, acknowledging your awakening.

“I wish you would bring me, Dragonborn,” Olu sighs, as you don your snug, Drow-crafted leather, chitin, and silk.

Karz just watches you curiously, making no comment on this expedition but plainly interested in your purpose, and your renewed posture of religious importance.

The Novice pointedly avoids you, huffing when she must acknowledge your presence; she does not wish you well, or ill, seeming to consider this entire enterprise another of your foolish flights of fancy.

(Flights which are usually quite fruitful, you both must logically acknowledge.)

The closest she gets to demonstrating any care is suggesting you take the Junior Novice, 'to get the blasted creature out from underfoot.'

Do you?
>Yes, the dragon-dogbold can serve as a hunting-hound
>No, you don't want him under YOUR foot either
>You actually want to bring someone else... [who?]
>>
>>5427551

The elf warriors whom you have assembled wait for you outside. You greet them and, in keeping with the religious bent of your mission, lead the already-faithful in prayer. The uninitiated, the passersby, and the eyes of the other houses watch with confusion and wariness, and a few even begin to mock your piety… But not too loudly, not within reach. You are a fool to them, perhaps, but a fearsome one. You know tales of some of your deeds—and capabilities—have surely begun to spread, growing in the telling.

Without any specific protection or vigor granted by any god of Darkness or of Light, you lead your elven expedition in the direction of the funerary caves of the Drow. Only when to draw near enough that the broad-strokes instructions which Jazkarmel and her house-mother gave you lose their value do you cede to your scouts, most especially Sengar and Jhamrius, whom you have seen fight and know can be trusted well-enough between their loyalty and their fervent attention to your sermonizing—and the secret of the scaled-children, which they still keep.

How do you busy yourself during this early stage of the expedition to slay the Ghoul Supreme?
>Lead from the front, using <Guidance> to scout and displaying martial dash and athletic prowess to inspire the troops and earn their respect
>Learn more of the ghouls themselves, as a race of… beasts? Beast-men?
>Speak of the dark elven view of death and the soul, that you might better understand it
>Pry for information about these sword-slinging elves’ view of their nobleborn masters, especially the king-candidates
>Attempt to make more conversions, espousing in particular the virtues of the neutral and fair-minded God of Death, and explaining his antipathy to necromancers and those who chase immortality
>Get to know the elves who accompany you better, on a personal level
>Get to know the (most attractive) elves who accompany you, on a… Personal level
>Write-in
[Choose two, max]
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>>5427552
>Get to know the elves who accompany you better, on a personal level
>Pry for information about these sword-slinging elves’ view of their nobleborn masters, especially the king-candidates
>>
>>5427552
>Yes, the dragon-dogbold can serve as a hunting-hound

>>Learn more of the ghouls themselves, as a race of… beasts? Beast-men?
>Attempt to make more conversions, espousing in particular the virtues of the neutral and fair-minded God of Death, and explaining his antipathy to necromancers and those who chase immortality
>>
>>5427551
>Yes, the dragon-dogbold can serve as a hunting-hound
We can take the poor dog. And while we're at it, how does Junior Novice look like currently, is he any intelligent? Been avoiding him because of how he came to be, the body horror was too real.
>>5427552
>Lead from the front, using <Guidance> to scout and displaying martial dash and athletic prowess to inspire the troops and earn their respect
>Learn more of the ghouls themselves, as a race of… beasts? Beast-men?
They will be telling the first confirmed story about us, so I'd say it's important to show our best form and use of divine guidance. As for ghouls, we need to know if they have any weaknesses, maybe get something on the Ghoulmancer.
>>5427449
>backlink at 4am
How about say it when the vote is opened? Pretty please? Thanks for merging, tho. Was a nice post.
>>
>>5427552
>Yes, the dragon-dogbold can serve as a hunting-hound
>Attempt to make more conversions, espousing in particular the virtues of the neutral and fair-minded God of Death, and explaining his antipathy to necromancers and those who chase immortality
>Get to know the (most attractive) elves who accompany you, on a… Personal level
>>
>>5427552
>Yes, the dragon-dogbold can serve as a hunting-hound
>Get to know the elves who accompany you better, on a personal level
>Speak of the dark elven view of death and the soul, that you might better understand it
>>
>>5427552
>Yes, the dragon-dogbold can serve as a hunting-hound
surprising that she's willing to risk her valuable research specimen

>Lead from the front, using <Guidance> to scout and displaying martial dash and athletic prowess to inspire the troops and earn their respect
>>
>>5427692
see >>5420325
[If you're very concerned, backlink always when posting from a dynamic IP. Otherwise, when votes are close like that and I need a way to break the tie, that's often the easiest. At a certain point, after explaining the way in which I approach this matter repeatedly, you can't really claim to be caught off-guard without warning.]
>>
>>5427551
>Yes, the dragon-dogbold can serve as a hunting-hound
>>5427552
>Attempt to make more conversions, espousing in particular the virtues of the neutral and fair-minded God of Death, and explaining his antipathy to necromancers and those who chase immortality
>Get to know the elves who accompany you better, on a personal level
>>
>>5427552
>Speak of the dark elven view of death and the soul, that you might better understand it
>Get to know the (most attractive) elves who accompany you, on a… Personal level
>>
[Tonight's update may be delayed. Thanksgiving weekend! Been a busy day. I'll try to do one up tonight, but tomorrow wt the latest.]
>>
>>5427923
Supporting this
>>
>>5428389
>>5427939
>>5427923
>>5427763
>>5427692
>>5427587
>>5427558
>>5428943
[Vote locked! Posting soon.]
>>5428581
>>
>>5429063
You let the scouts lead from the front, along with your makeshift hunting—hound, the Junior Novice. The creature—his original nature still unknown, still unable or unwilling to speak—has grown still larger, so that he now outweighs the elf-men who accompany it. His sutures and patches of melded flesh have healed over with patches of rough and lumpy scales, like long-accepetd skin-grafts patching the draconic wings to the dogbold’s central body That body, too, has become more even and less gangly in its development. The elves are still watchful and wary of him, as if he were an enemy.

You can hardly blame them, for it is still evident that the Junior Novice is a created thing, a thing of alchemy, and that this has taken a physical and mental toll on… Whatever the base being was. He moves awkwardly, ape-like, moving from two paws to four and back—something he did not do before the wing graft and the redistribution of his proportions. He chitters and snaps at nothing, furtively glancing around like the rodent that, for all you know, he might well have once been. Sometimes, when you stop to rest, he whimpers and growls, curling into himself; he only stops when he notices you watching him, at which point he goes silent, staring bug-eyed, awaiting your next command and fearful of your wrath. At least you have impressed your Presence enough upon his dragon-touch mind that he do not need to keep him chained to prevent him bolting.

With the Junior Novice under control and native guides leading the way, you are free to indulge in some cultural exchange with the soldiery who accompany you. Even those converted loyalist who have followed your teachings for months are, honestly, still strangers to you-you have learned few of their names and none of their peculiarities. Now is as good a time as any to rectify that, you reason. Besides, if you’re to convert this populace—and you fully intend to—then it behooves you to learn something of the natives quaint local customs, right? Syncretism is the first step towards total subversion, as the Infiltrators say!

“These funeral caves,” you inquire, “what is their significance? You have no gods, yes? No afterlife? What does it matter what happens to the dead, or where you perform rites?”
>>
>>5429093
The more helpful and knowledgeable among the elves explain to you their beliefs, as they understand them:

“Our people have rejected the gods, just as they rejected and abandoned us,” one tells you. “but we know they exist… And demons, too. The Gods would punish us, if they could—turn our souls to ravening wolves, and set their ‘virtuous’ dogs to hunt us.”

“If they even remember us well-enough to perform such punishments,” another scoffs bitterly, with the usual vitriol of a Drow discussing their distant cousins. “More likely, without their ‘protection’, we would fall prey to Demon Princes, snatched up by spectres and dragged down to the Hells to be traded like currency, tortured, enslaved, raped, and eaten.”

“In that order if we’re lucky!” chimes in another, to a chorus of grim laughter.

You nod. This IS the terrible fate which awaits a soul without divine protection. Your own Serpent priesthood teaches as much, and you know that even the surface-scum and their false gods concur.

“And yet you STILL opt to go without divine protection?” you ask.

“That’s where the caves came in, King Theral,” one of your more loyal members explains. “They were blessed with a benediction of blood, and ancient magic, to keep out ALL entities from the Otherworld—the gods and demons, the faerie, the aberrations of the deep such as the shoggoth…”

“And what of when the spirits of the dead leave the cave?” you ask. “How do you keep them safe beyond that place?

A sullen silence falls.

“They do not leave the cave?” you infer.

The elves murmur a chorus of agreement.

“But…” you pause. “Among my race, our Serpent priests teach us that A soul which is cut off from the flow of life-to-death is like… Like an underground stream which leads to a blockage. It hits the barrier and stops, sitting stagnant, growing… Unclean. If more souls flow to the same place, it grows to become a place of curse and disease. The very lifeforce of the region becomes contaminated and unnatural, and the world itself becomes poorer for it—the Gods weaken, and their creations weaken with them.”

One of the elves yet-unconverted scoffs and spits, calling this ‘deist propaganda’.

“This is why Death Incarnate so despises necromancers,” you say, attempting to segue back towards your common cause, “like this Ghoul Supreme. Capturing and enslaving souls, even souls of hated foes, creates vortexes in the even flow of life-into-death, the threads of fate and the working of magic. The interruption threatens to disrupt, warp, and destroy… EVERYTHING, Light and Dark. It is why the God of Death is so strictly neutral—to prevent mages and clerics of rival gods from damaging this vital flow.”
>>
>>5429094
Many of the dark elves still seem unconvinced. Even among your converted, this is new ground: you won them over to the banners of strength flown by the Serpent Ascendant, to images of plenty and safety promised by the Lady of the Rookery in exchange for tending to her chosen children… But the God of Death is not one you have spoken much of. Now, though, you reconsider whether the Lord of Endings might actually be just as vital—or moreso!—to their spiritual well-being.

Could it be that the abundance of terrible adversaries in the Drow’s underdark territories are a result of this? Be they spawned by the stagnant swirling of undead energy in the area, or simply drawn to it, there really ARE an unusual number of horrors harrying the lost elven tribe.

As you consider this possibility, and continue your discussion, you find some elves more open to the idea of a death-hallowed purification f their sacred chambers than others. You converse with them as a group but, inevitably, a few prove to be of especial interest, standing above their peers in their understanding or argumentation, or else demonstrating particular skillsets and features which drawn you to them. These include…

>NPC CREATION GAME (Courtesy of Schizo QM of Goblin Assassin Quest)
Name:
Appearance:
Experiences/Skills:

[Keep it short and simple. Include some form of reference picture if you’d like. Must be a dark elf, and must be a capable warrior of some description, though a combat-mage is fine too. Two of these will be chosen – either those with multiple votes which warrant it, or I’ll roll for it.]
>>
>>5429096
Name: Azonia
Appearance: Big booba, big eyes, bright ear-length hair, leather armor with metal plates and round shield on the back
Experiences/Skills: Veteran sword-dancer: dual wields basic-ass shortswords, gets close/in between the enemies and uses the hard pieces of her armor and positioning to deflect incoming attacks
>>
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>>5429096
Name: Idril
Appearance: Long white hair, bright red irises, phat ass, ninja-like bandages and ragged robe
Experiences/Skills: Prodigy Shadowmancer, can turn into and bend shadows and darkness to her will, can also travel/teleport between dark spaces, was a illegitimate love child from a powerful noble house.
Maybe something like Raven from Teen Titans, where the father was a powerful demon. I’m not too picky, you can have some fun with it RQM.

>>5429170
Support, we need someone to teach us how to dual wield our nat 100 swords.
>>
>>5429228
Fucked up on the spoiler, so just to reiterate

>>5429170
Support, we need someone to teach us how to dual wield our nat 100 swords.
>>
>>5429170
>>5429228
>Big ass, big titty
[Looks like Novice isn't definitively winning the waifu wars anytime soon!]
>>
>>5429096
>Name: Azmael
>Appearance: Androgynous, almost unnaturally so. They’re face seems to have almost no distinguishing features aside from a mole above the lip
>Experiences/Skills: Expert at scouting and stealth. Good with daggers too. They’re the last scion of a once powerful Drow noble house whomst was purged for cavorting with and worshipping demons. You suspect her coming on this trip is to clear herself of any lingering suspicion.
>>
>>5429236
Why would we shag someone who regularly undermines our best efforts and goes in heat like once a decade (accounted for all the times she'll have a headache)?
>>
>>5429246
+1
We made one waifu before and look how that turned out

Name: Hamaraska
Appearance: Really dark, dark elf. Darker than Oluwad
Skills: Bug tamer. Rides atop a giant centipede with a spear.
>>
>>5429268
[I can only surmise, but I've been led to believe that it rhymes with "dotty javas mocha"]
>>
>>5429285
[All the Drow are darker than Olu already. They are pretty pitch black. Olu is... Like, Nigerian dark brown.]
>>
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>>5429285
>>5429246
>>5429228
>>5429170
[I'm going to leave this poll open until tomorrow (either the morning), to see if our other regulars have a preference. If you don't have any character ideas, please at least vote for one of these four proposals if you care one way of the other/ If nobody else votes, we're looking at Azonia and Azmael as-is.]
>>
>>5429583
>>5429170 backlinking to >>5427692
>>
>>5429170
Supportin'
Am>>5413741
>>
>>5429583
Oh pardon me, I forgot we have 2 character slots available.
I'll support >>5429228 in addition to proposing Azonia.
Perfectly balanced, as all things should be.
t.>>5429590
>>
>>5429583
I'll back >>5429285
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>>5429654
Oh, I have a second slot.
>>5429285
Bug tamer go
>>
>>5429170
>>5429228
Support
>>
>>5429285
>>5429246
Support
Coomers begone
>>5418401
Backlink
>>
I for one like cooming but making our own coomsocks is too cringe.
>>
>>5429832
[Just a reminder that, just because an elf has a thicc booty or big boobs, doesn't mean she'll be receptive to sex with a dragon-man.]

[I'm head home from the holidays, will post by day's end!]
>>
>>5429832
I mainly voted for the training potential. Duel-wielding our magic swords while teleporting in the dark sounds insanely more useful than us larping as an scout/assassin and attempting to tame and ride Glowie.
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>>5429855
especially since we've already tamed and ridden Glowie

HEH
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>>5429892
HEYO!
>>
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>>5429832
Azonia is not a coomsock, it's just the first autistic idea that came to my mind + boobs so there is actually chance she'll get picked.
Backed the other one partially for coomer reasons, that much is true. Cause if I wanted a coomsock I'd actually go for big ass, not big booba.
>>
Rolled 3 (1d3)

>>5429818
>>5429755
>>5429750
>>5429740
>>5429735
>>5429654
>>5429285
>>5429246
>>5429228
>>5429170
[Locking Azonia, rolling for our second significant elf NPC]
>>
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>>5430006
Boog lanser it is
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>>5430006
There is Sengar and Jhamrius, of course. These two are the Drow with whom you are most familiar, besides Jazkarmel herself. They are loyal, both to her and now to you, and dependable. Both of elf-men of masculine muscular build… Well, as elf-men go. Jhamrius shaved his head bald, lending extra prominence to his long and pointed ears, while Sengar wears a hairstyle similar to yours, but with a ,long hanging braid. Both are skilled with dagger and bow, though Sengar favours the blade and a shortbow, and Jhamrius the long-bow and a sort of misericord for decisive, singular thrusts.

Among those newer additions to the group, though, two stand out in particular. First is an elf-made named Azonia. You won’t pretend that the first thing which drew your eye to her was not her chest—even heavily bound by overlapping, tightened strips of silken cloth, her truly tremendous bosom strains with each leap or short jog. The attention this brought her highlighted other charms, though: a streak of bright dye through her otherwise white hair, to match her almost unnaturally-bright purple eyes, for one thing; much more importantly, her truly-impressive martial prowess. The elven soldiers often spare during rest-periods, and Azonia dominates each training match in which she partakes.

Though her chest and abdomen are undefended, Azonia wears pauldrons and bracers, as well as greaves, made of chitin and studded with sharpened shards of metal. AT first this strikes you as a silly, stylistic choice, but watching her carefully-and with only a manageable amount of >appetite>--allows you to really appreciate how she uses this curious equipment. She wields two simple-but-effective shortswords, both made of flint and with silk-wrapped handles, using these to poke and prod and hold a foe at bay; only when they overextend does she sweep in close, entering their range and going for the ‘point’—a mock kill-shot. Those who try to back up and away find themselves tripped with a swift kick from the greaves; those who lean into the attack to grapple her flinch away at the spikes armour, and find that she skillfully pivots these armoured extremities in the way of any sword-strike.

“I fought the spiked-men,” she explains curtly when you ask about her peculiar technique. “An elf can’t match their reach, strength, or speed… But we can imitate their spikes, and technique can make up the rest.”

You tilt your head, realizing the dual implications of what she says by the way she is sizing you up: she is stating, in the subtle manner of an elf, that she thinks she could take you. Stating that she does not FEAR you, even at twice her height. If you didn’t know better, you’d ALMOST think it was a challenge…
>>
>>5430023
The other Drow who capture your attention does so more for their animal companion than for their own aptitude: Hamaraska, the centipede lancer. This dark elf is no notable specimen at a glance, not exceptional in any physical way except perhaps for a particular darkness of skin and eye, but of all the arthropod allies you have glimpsed among the Drow thus far, none hold a candle to his (her? their?) centipede.

The bug is truly MASSIVE, a fifteen-foot-long creature by your estimate. Though its thin body—like overlapping plates—renders it likely closer to your own weight and strength, it is capable of supporting the small elf. It obeys its riders clicked or whispered commands unfalteringly, and with swiftness and precision that allows the Drow knight to travel up and down the line of soldiers with great ease and expediency... Even upside down, for Hamaraska’s IMPRESSIVELY thick and powerful thighs allow the Drow to cling it the centipede through any contortion of its flexible body, and the lancer never seems to grow dizzy from the rising and falling , flipping and twisting which accompanies such a peculiar mount. Wielding a long lance—dried and treated mushroom stock, with a surface-dagger for a head—you surmise that Hamaraska is not just a deadly cavalryman, but the ONLY sort of cavalryman who could exist and succeed in the often narrow and circuitous tunnel-systems of the deep places.

You ask Hamaraska how they thus tamed the creature so effectively, and how long they have owned the centipede.

“I don’t own Honemdyn,” the dark Drow softly speaks. “We are friends, since we were young. “

It… Doesn’t really answer your question, but Hamaraska doesn’t elaborate, and soon enough you are too occupied to inquire further.

“Ghouls!”
>>
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>>5430030

‘Ghouls.’ This is the hushed hiss which travels down the line from your sturdy scout-elves, alerting your entourage to quiet and slow. Sengar uses the strange military sign-language of the Drow to signal his fellows; though it is foreign to you, you follow their gaze to spot several small creatures, like greyish, hairless monkeys or deformed and shrunken-headed goblins, hanging from stalactites above. They are still, almost camouflaged with the stone, but once you move up to meet with Sengar and Jhamrius---and the whining Junior Novice—you are quick to identify the three they have spotted.

“How far are we from the funeral caves?” you ask.

“Not far,” Sengar answers.

“But not there, not yet,” Jhamrius clarifies. “Nearer to… Where we have been leaving bodies since the caves were lost to us.”

Indeed, as you turn your gaze downwards, you see that not all the spikes along the widening, lowering cavern before you are stalactites; some are bones, ribs and others, jabbing up into the stagnant, foul air of the place. You glance back up at the ghouls, staring wide-eyed down at the picked-clean corpses below, and watching your company with the same eager hunger. Do they expect you to deliver another grisly feast to them?

What will you do?
>Sick the Junior Novice upon them—with his wings, he may be able to flutter or glide up to snatch one or more of the ghouls
>Draw your bow and loose some arrows at the creatures, while your allies do likewise
>Instruct one of the dark elves to ‘play dead’ and serve as bait, to lure the ghouls down to the ground, where you can more easily engaged and capture them
>Frighten the ghouls away… And then send Hamaraska on his crawling centipede-mount to pursue them into whatever hole they hide in, and report back on their numbers and whereabouts
>Write-in
>>
>>5430034
>Sick the Junior Novice upon them—with his wings, he may be able to flutter or glide up to snatch one or more of the ghouls
>Draw your bow and loose some arrows at the creatures, while your allies do likewise
>>
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>>5430034
>Sick the Junior Novice upon them—with his wings, he may be able to flutter or glide up to snatch one or more of the ghouls
>Draw your bow and loose some arrows at the creatures, while your allies do likewise
If we can do so without using mana:
>Set the arrows ablaze with short streams of Firebreath
Burn the filth, show them elves we mean business
>>5430023
Damn, RQM. It's amazing to see a character concept I wrote take life in your writing. And also fucking cool. Take good care of my donut steel. Was tge idea of deflecting blows with strategic plating scrapped?
>>5430030
>IMPRESSIVELY thick and powerful thighs
fucking madman did it anyway
based bug rider
>>
>can't delete post to fix typo
damn clover
>>
>>5430065
>Was tge idea of deflecting blows with strategic plating scrapped?

[I actually alluded to this!]

> those who lean into the attack to grapple her flinch away at the spikes armour, and find that she skillfully pivots these armoured extremities in the way of any sword-strike.
>>
>>5430034
>Frighten the ghouls away… And then send Hamaraska on his crawling centipede-mount to pursue them into whatever hole they hide in, and report back on their numbers and whereabouts
Shame I missed the character generation vote, I would’ve voted for the discount!Raven. The Bug Tamer and Jugs McStabbyface seem decent though.
>>
>>5430034
>Frighten the ghouls away… And then send Hamaraska on his crawling centipede-mount to pursue them into whatever hole they hide in, and report back on their numbers and whereabouts
>>
>>5430034
>Frighten the ghouls away… And then send Hamaraska on his crawling centipede-mount to pursue them into whatever hole they hide in, and report back on their numbers and whereabouts

then we can firebreath them all at once
>>
>>5430095
Sorry, I got too fixated on the spikes. This concept was loosely based on books I've read that had some of the most practical approach to combat (but still somewhat unrealistic), where the main character only wore a leather overcoat with metal handguards sewed on the inside to preserve his speed. He relied on his agility, decades of expertise (actually fits for an elf, hmm) and luck to avoid, parry and block most attacks, depending on the situation. He also used surrounding objects if he couldn't reach his weapon.
This 'build' also hinges on sometimes opportunistic(chaotic?) nature of swordfighting - when you reflect an enemy's weapon, you break their rhythm and slow them down, giving yourself an opening and McJugs being there up close and personal can eliminate such exposed and confused targets easily.
And of course, getting in the stabbing distance gives her additional advantage over enemies with heavy/long weapons who just won't be able to swing and hit for shit if the target is in their face.
[/awootism]
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>>5430030
Nice mini, where is it from?
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>>5430034
>>Frighten the ghouls away… And then send Hamaraska on his crawling centipede-mount to pursue them into whatever hole they hide in, and report back on their numbers and whereabouts
Firebreathing anon got a point.
>>
>>5430034
>Instruct one of the dark elves to ‘play dead’ and serve as bait, to lure the ghouls down to the ground, where you can more easily engaged and capture them
>>
>>5430527
>that had some of the most practical approach to combat

>the main character only wore a leather overcoat with metal handguards sewed on the inside to preserve his speed
>and luck to avoid, parry and block most attacks

read better books bro
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>>5430767
>Tries to discredit a book series based on what some faggot wrote taken out of context
Thick leather with hindguards was the most practical in his situation and luck was the very last thing that saved his skin. Right after the agility and expertise in wielding his weapons after years of using them, which you ignored.
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>>5431035
found the author
write better books bro
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>>5431104
Oh, I see. Unfortunately I'm not the author, but it's a great honor such a treasured intellectual as yourself thinks I could write such masterpieces and still encourage me to get better. I truly appreciate it, anon.
>>
>>5430574
https://www.reddit.com/r/ageofsigmar/comments/e8aw7b/dont_let_your_dreams_be_dreams_grot_centipede/

>>5430040
>>5430065
>>5430110
>>5430139
>>5430217
>>5430580
>>5430632
[Looks like we have a strategy locked! Will begin writing soon.]
>>
Rolled 2, 5, 10 = 17 (3d20)

>>5431435
You considering unleashing a hail of arrows upon the blighted things… But then, these are three pathetic little ghouls. How many more lurk in the depths? You remember the Elf Queen’s tale, of a horde of ravening ghouls harrying and through sheer numbers overwhelming a team of Drow warriors not unlike your own. It’s not something you wish to face, which COULD happen if these ghouls were able to escape and somehow alert their fellow vermin…

But maybe they could instead lead you to their nest, and to the so-called Ghoul Supreme?

“Centipede Lancer,” you address Hamaraska, provoking a quirked eyebrow at the formality. “Follow the ghouls when they flee.”

The Drow nods, and you step forward, taking a deep breath and then unleashing a blast of firebreath. You deliberately hit none of the watching ghouls, instead blasting the stalactites around them with heat and light. This sends them shrieking and skittering—their actual depth of intelligence remains unclear, but even an animal knows to flee fire, and so they do.

“After them!” you command.

If Hamaraska the Centipede Lancer resents your assumption of command, they do not show any sign of it. Rather, they hope aboard their mount, which moves swiftly and near-silently up the wall while the Drow atop it tightens their grip with arm and leg alike, hugging their body close to the beastly bug so as to better fit into the stone gallery above the grave-cave. Maintaining what you hope is a safe following distance to avoid detection, the bug-rider pursues the ghastly little creatures beyond your sight.

[Stealth roll for Hamaraska, DC lowered to 14 by your Leadership bonus]
>>
>>5431457
>10
You and your elven accompaniment await the Lancer’s return. At first it is a calm affair, as well it might be. None of you have ever seen any supersized ghoul necromancer, and you have the feeling that some of the Drow do not even entirely trust the tales—they laugh and joke about sending such a massive force to ‘collect a few grave-monkeys’. While you believe in the thing, you do not fear it—your investment in the affair is not so personal, and you have fought worse.

But then, Hamaraska does not return.

You continue to wait, but the dark elves grow uneasy. They fondle their weapons nervously, and their ears begin to twitch ad swivel unconsciously, their eyes to flit to face any dripping of water or shifting of stone. One jumpy elf even looses an arrow upon a chalk-white, eyeless rodent—something no bigger than a surface-rat and only half as threatening, to the mockery of her fellows…

But none of them put their own bows away, do they?

“Something has gone wrong,” Jhamrius states plainly.

“Perhaps it is simply further away than we thought?” Sengar hypothesizes aloud, sounding as if he is trying to convince himself. “Does any elf know how deep those damned pests rose from?”

“How much deeper can the earth even go, before one reaches the Realms of Hell?” Jhamrius speculates.

“We can’t stand here all day,” Azonia interjects into the conversation, stepping up to you and your two not-quite-advisors. “Do we continue our hunt along the planned path, or go after Hamaraska?”

All eyes are on you. This is YOUR hunt, in the end.

>Go after Hamaraska with all your forces, through tight quarters and along an unknow route
>Forget Hamaraska for now—press on, descending deeper into the true funeral caves
>Wait a while longer, and cast <Guidance> to find fate’s ideal path—maybe you’re worrying over nothing?
>Command the others to wait while you cast <Lesser Dragon’s Wings> and, together with the Junior Novice, go after Hamaraska alone
>Write-in
>>
>>5431489
>Wait a while longer, and cast <Guidance> to find fate’s ideal path—maybe you’re worrying over nothing?

After her or the planned route?
I'd default to the planned route
>>
>>5431514
>After her or the planned route?
[<Guidance> will guide you to your ultimate goal: the Ghoul Supreme.]
>>
>>5431489
>Command the others to wait while you cast <Lesser Dragon’s Wings> and, together with the Junior Novice, go after Hamaraska alone
>>
>>5431489
>Wait a while longer, and cast <Guidance> to find fate’s ideal path—maybe you’re worrying over nothing?
We should've zero'd those bastards and used clairvoyance to find the rest from the beginning. Now we're down a good soldier and in for fuck knows what.
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>>5431489
>Command the others to wait while you cast <Lesser Dragon’s Wings> and, together with the Junior Novice, go after Hamaraska alone
Gotta get Thicc Thighs back.
>>
>>5431489
>Command the others to wait while you cast <Lesser Dragon’s Wings> and, together with the Junior Novice, go after Hamaraska alone
>>
>>5431489
>Command the others to wait while you cast <Lesser Dragon’s Wings> and, together with the Junior Novice, go after Hamaraska alone

>appetite
Just thought of something relating to this - is it because our mum soul-bonded with a succubus?
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>>5431489
>Wait a while longer, and cast <Guidance> to find fate’s ideal path—maybe you’re worrying over nothing

We definitely should not be splinting up. A ghoul assault was already able to force a dark elf contingent to flee.

If we split up, it may result in them flanking our forces to force them to retreat. Then dog piling us alongside their master.
>>
>>5431489
>Go after Hamaraska with all your forces, through tight quarters and along an unknow route
>>
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>>5432381
>>5432379
>>5432309
>>5432127
>>5431825
>>5431781
>>5431592
>>5431514
[Thick thighs incentivize succubus-tainted dragon-men to save lives. Writing it up!]

But the Infiltrator was plenty horny before she ever bonded with Irinnile. We all know it.
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>>5432522

You hesitate for a moment. Maybe it would be best to seek <Guidance> first? In fact, perhaps while you are casting the spell, Hamaraska and their bug-friend will simply… Return? You don’t actually KNOW that anything bad has happened to the elf…

But no. Look at these pensive faces. The Drow are obviously no strangers to loss, no soft-hearted and sentimental surface-mammal. Tender hearts do not survive the world below. Still… They feel fear, though they may hide it, bury it, work through it. So too do they feel hope, when moved to do so—you’ve SEEN the rapturous joy of possible salvation from these dire and deadly climes lift their weary spirits. And now, they look to you for that hope…

And imagine the political goodwill, the missionary potential, of vindicating such hope?

“Stand guard,” you command. “Await my return.”

“What are you—?”

Jhamrius holds out and arm and guides Azonia back. She resists on general principal, but half-heartedly, resenting his attempt to impose himself more than the actual order. She, like all her compatriots, is more concerned with watching you transformation.

This is the first time you have deliberately cast <Dragon’s Wings> in a field setting. You know this line of transformative spellcraft is still in its early stages, for you; biological manipulation is not your primary focus, and you so often rely on the Novice Fleshweaver to enable its reliable deployment. Even now, though, she is with you: her Amulet of the Dragon around your neck, bolstering and aiding you as you summon forth the magic from within, and the blood swirling within the amulet and deep in your father’s ancestry. With a roar of victory and fleeting pain, you will your burgeoning fin-wings to grow and expand into something larger, mightier, more articulated. You stretch your draconic wings to a gasp from the Drow, and flap them once, then twice.

“Junior Novice,” you command in True Speech, and the whining creature turns his head on hunched neck towards you. “Fetch.”

He understands your intent, and dares not disobey. Your loyal (?) hunting-hound precedes you into the narrow, vent-like crawling-tunnels above. You follow, grateful you did not assume your <Dragonshape> in full—even now, at your current size, your wings make it difficult to squirm through the tight spaces in the rock. It’s enough to make you wish you had more precise control of stone and earth… But here, an imprecise <Earth Tremor> could mean death, and a <Wall of Stone> is best used as an escape-measure.
>>
>>5432541
Your wings prove useful as you progress, for the tight tunnels open up periodically into wider space, whereby you and the clumsily-sailing Junior Novice can glide or fly across to avoid an arduous climb down and then back up. Frequently, you see signs of the ghouls’ passage or prolonged presence here: gnawed bones, strung-up strands of hair dangling collections of shells and cave-rat bones, filthy and matted ‘nests’ of tattered cloth and soiled fur. Stolen grave-goods are present, too, appealing briefly to your greed… But no, your hoard is already too great to trouble yourself with trifles.

(Maybe on the way back?)

You eventually find your missing scout, and almost kick yourself—or the Junior Novice or, most deservingly, Hamaraska. The androgynous elven lancer is unharmed, still armed, and yet has not returned!

“Where were you?!” you demand, as you approach, only for the dark-eyed elf to hush you with a finger to their full lips. The indignity! The… The SASS!

“I don’t speak Drow sign-language,” you huff, when the elf begins to explain by that peculiar method.

They sigh, and settle for whispering: “They have taken Honemdyn.”

“Honem-who?” you ask, confused.

Wait…

“The centipede?” you ask.

The Drow nods, and gestures down, over the up of the tunnel through which you both squirm, just like bugs, just like Honemdyn.

The Junior Novice chokes a wailing whine before it begins, smart enough to realize this is not the time and place to make much noise. You can feel the tingle of the chimeric creature’s emotions—draconic will to destroy and dominate battling a natural ‘dogbold’ cowardice.

Or… A ghouls’ cowardice?
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>>5432542

You peer over the ledge and see a whole slew of sights you did not expect. Firstly, the small and monkey-like ghouls you’ve seen before are there, but not as you expected to see them. These naked, scrambling creatures—like mammalian maggots, like monkeys bred with rats and half-skinned, who dwell in matted and natty piles of debris… Here, you see them wielding simple stone tools, but also pilfered knives and crudely-crafted spears, and with at least kobold-worthy skill! They have tied nets of woven hair and cloth, knotted and strong, and have thrown them over Honemdyn the Centipede, and with their cruel implements the poke, prod, and stab at it…

And at the back of the cavern, you see something more shocking: another thing, ghoul-like yet… Different. It has a short, but many-jointed tail, a long face, sunken-yet-bulging eyes. It stands taller than the Junior Novice did when you first purchased him, is more muscularly-built, but still… It is unmistakably the same species, with the same dog-like nose, rat-like twitching, kobold-esque silhouette mirrored in mammalian flesh.

You look between at being, towering over the other ghoul-things, barking what you must take for commands. You look to the Junior Novice… Whatever it he is, whatever he once was. They are of the same species, or at least close cousins. But… What ARE they?

“It commands the others,” Hamaraska says. “I think it is the Ghoul Supreme.”

Can it be? You see no evidence of magic here, of necromancy… But it DOES seem to be organizing this attack.

“We must save Honemdyn!”

Well… That’s a matter of opinion. What SHOULD you do?

>Screw the centipede, you’ll buy the elf a new one—burn the whole panoply of deep-dwellers with dragonfire!
>Attempt a targeted assassination by bow-and-arrow of the ‘Ghoul Supreme’, if indeed that IS this creature’s identity
>Leap down dramatically, and assume <Dragonshape>; scare and scatter the foes, and chop down those who remain with your shoggoth-sword!
>Descend with the Junior Novice, and attempt to use your experimental slave-pet to broach negotiations
>This is valuable intelligence… But being swarmed by smaller enemies in close quarters does NOT play to your strengths as a towering Dragonborn Hexblade, so you’re leaving ASAP
>Write-in
>>
>>5432543
>Descend with the Junior Novice, and attempt to use your experimental slave-pet to broach negotiations

I doubt killing it will be the end of this problem so let’s try to figure out why it’s doing this shit first then kill it
>>
>>5432543
>Ask Hamarasaka how is it that the centipede is trapped, but she's hanging out here just fine
>Descend with the Junior Novice, and attempt to use your experimental slave-pet to broach negotiations
This fucking drow. What was she even hoping to accomplish all alone, exactly? Should've come for us ASAP instead of staying in here.
>>5432379
Seems that using basic logic is destined to fail in this quest.
>>
>>5432543
>Leap down dramatically, and assume <Dragonshape>; scare and scatter the foes, and chop down those who remain with your shoggoth-sword!
Let's do a big-hero move to save the bug.
>>
>>5432543
>Leap down dramatically, and assume <Dragonshape>; scare and scatter the foes, and chop down those who remain with your shoggoth-sword!
>>
>>5432543
>Leap down dramatically, and assume <Dragonshape>; scare and scatter the foes, and chop down those who remain with your shoggoth-sword!

>>5432594
I assume she managed to dodge the nets but her giant ass bug was too big and got caught
>>
>>5432911
I doubt she'd let them grab the centipede without a fight, and even if she did I find it unlikely the ghouls didn't notice her at all.
>>
>>5432543
>Descend with the Junior Novice, and attempt to use your experimental slave-pet to broach negotiations

Don’t be retarded let’s use this chance
>>
>>5432543
>Leap down dramatically, and assume <Dragonshape>; scare and scatter the foes, and chop down those who remain with your shoggoth-sword!

Violence is always the answer
>>
>>5433061
Let's use what chance exactly?

The chance to attempt to negotiate with a creature which has already attacked an ally and taken her pet hostage, in front of that very ally?

The chance to do the above while relying on goodwill gained from showing it another creature that used to be of the same race, before we bought it as a slave, mutated it into even more of a freak, and abused it regularly?

The chance to do all of the above while blowing any element of surprise we might have?

Is that the chance you're referring to?
>>
>>5433061
Don't you sometimes feel like they vote shit purely out of spite? RIQ players at least cared for reasoning at the end of the day, this is just a complete mess.
>>
>>5432543
Frankly I’m tempted to try diplomacy, if only to access the deep lore behind the dogbolds, but I’m also tempted to kick ass to help out our bug lancer.

Thinking logically, this clearly isn’t the ghoul supreme, just some dogbold scavengers eating the Drow’s dead.

I’m willing to let Hamaraska know about our suspicions and potential diplomacy and let them decide the best course of action, since this is their pet. Even if diplomacy fails, we won’t leave without the bug.
>>
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>>5433336
>>5433129
>>5433061
>>5432911
>>5432780
>>5432669
>>5432594
>>5432546
“You ar eatatched to this… Creature,” you whisper to Hamaraska.

“We were together from when we were both young,” the Lancer reiterates.

“And yet it was captured,” you note. “Youe scaped. How?”

Hamaraska narrows their eyes in a glare, but you are untroubled.

“Now?” they demand. “Youw ant me to tell this tale… NOW?”

“The ghouls do not seem to have noticed our presence, or your absence,” you reply.

The soft-spoken dark-elf sighs again, and nods.

“I ride back from Honemdyn’s head, by necessity,” they explain, with a touch of condescension. “Honemdyn enters spaces, and exits tunnels, before I do. As we pursued the fleeing ghouls, on your instruction… There was a trap. Two ghouls dropped down with a sort of… String. A Net. They entangled Honemdyn and dragged him them down to the floor below, where they and the Ghoul Supreme emerged and pinned Honemdyn in place.”

“And you allowed this?” you ask pointedly.

“I could not prevent it,” the lancer says through gritted teeth, squinting now in tearful shame.

You suppose that makes sense. ‘Honemdyn’ is a heavy thing, even without an endoskeleton, and Drow are small, even thick-thighed warrior-Drow.

“You have remained undetected,” you note. “The ghouls did not come looking for you?”

“A few,” the Lancer allows. “I evaded them. They quickly stopped their search for me, and returned to…”

Hamaraska trails off, and both of you look back to the harrying of the massive centipede below. Honemdyn is tiring, and translucent, faintly-bluish blood is seeping out from the spear-inflicted wounds in its carapace.

“I followed them back, to attack when the opportunity is right,” Hamaraska says, crestfallen.

The Drow clearly feels very attached to the bug, but a heart that grows TOO soft is quickly ripped out and consumed by the cruel vagaries of the underdark. You know this well enough, even from your position of sheltered privilege. Still, the truth remains: you need to intervene, if you wish to save your ally’s pet… And damnit, you DO wish to save the stupid bug for the dumb elf. Curse your bloody and bleeding heart!

How will you do it?

[The vote remains open. Backlink your posts, as the tie-breaking method leans towards diving in with shoggoth-sword at the ready. If you haven’t cast your vote yet, do so!]
>>
>>5433422
*are attached
>>
>>5433422
>>Attempt a targeted assassination by bow-and-arrow of the ‘Ghoul Supreme’, if indeed that IS this creature’s identity
>>
>>5433422
>Descend with the Junior Novice, and attempt to use your experimental slave-pet to broach negotiations
Explain to Hamarasaka the JN's relations to the dogbolds, tell her what we'll try to do and to be ready to cut the bug free and RUN if things go south. Then we can safely scorch the place if necessary.
t.>>5432594
>>5433470
That is very likely not our target and he's the only shot at communication we'll get in this place. He could potentially help us find the real target and save a few headaches along the way.
>>
>>5433422
Adding
>Use <Guidance> to determine whether the dogbold important to our mission or not
to my vote >>5433529
>>
>>5433570
[This would take considerable time, hence why it was only an option before if you stayed put and waited.]

>>5433470
[This one doesn't really do much to break the tie, but in the clash between diplomacy and violence, I'll count it as a vote for violence. ]

[The vote remains open, though! Also, I'll likely be busy for the next couple evenings -- punk concert, then a friend is visiting. I'll try to get in a daily post, though!]
>>
>>5433422
>Descend with the Junior Novice, and attempt to use your experimental slave-pet to broach negotiations
>>
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Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>5433774
[You, uh... Retired it, friend.]

>>5433774
>>5433529
>>5433470
>>5433336
>>5433129
>>5433061
>>5432911
>>5432780
>>5432669
>>5432594
>>5432546

[Rolling for it!]
>>
>>5434164
You call the Junior Novice to you, and the mutated being cringingly obliges. To his credit, he only flinches and growls slightly when you produce your presently dagger-sized shoggoth-sword.

“You understand me,” you say, in the True Speech. “How well?”

The Junior Novice nods, and pulls his lips back in an uncertain grimace. You’re not sure if it indicates that he is uncertain about his translation abilities, or simply unenthusiastic about your apparently plan to use him as an interpreter. Does he even understand what you desire of him, for that matter? For all his ability to understand your tongue, you have never felt the need to learn his. This oversight, while understandable given your positions in the hierarchy, now puts you at a disadvantage. Having decided to negotiate, you are entirely at the mercy of the Junior Novice to convey your words.

You keep your sword at the ready, just in case.

You instruct Hamaraska to remain in place, ready to leap to your aid, abscond with their centipede, or run to retrieve reinforcements as required. Then, together with ‘Junior’, you descend into the cavern.

The ghouls instantly scatter, even the larger ‘dogbold’ staggered back a few steps and sneering uneasily at you. Many of your adversaries drop their weapons to scamper bestially on all fours. You click your tongue in disapproval of the lack of discipline—though of course, tactically, it delights you. You can’t say it does much of your opinion for the dogbold race (whatever that race ACTUALLY is called) that the barking, babbling ‘leader’ must shout and stomp to stop the stampede for safety.

The dog-ghoul DOES manage to muster a small fighting force, however, and the ghouls have the wherewithal to take up spears and knives while the circle and sway around you.
>>
>>5434171
“Tell it that we are here to negotiate the release of the centipede,” you tell the Junior Novice, hoping he understands the gist.

The ghoul leader watches you uneasily, making quiet chuffing sounds. Its eyes constantly flit to your enslaved translator, and linger there; it clearly recognizes its own kind, beneath the patchy scales and grafted appendages. For his part, the Junior Novice seems no more comfortable here, looking between you and his fellow dogbold with clear discomfort. Eventually, he rattles and croaks and series of squeaks and coughs. The leader of this ghoul back reels back as if struck, and stares with eyes even more bugged-out than before.

A conversation begins, which you are not privy to. You realize, with discomfort, that the Junior Novice could be discussing ANYTHING… And that your slave, even if he understand and remains loyal to you, has no way to communicate the words of his compatriot in any tongue you understand.

Fuck.

What do you do?
>They’re still just talking, and no hostile action has been taken—trust in the process
>Promise the Junior Novice freedom when you return to the surface, if he negotiates the centipede’s freedom and an audience with the Ghoul Supreme
>Threaten to torture and slay the Junior Novice if he crosses you
>Take the distraction as an opportunity to free the centipede and escape
>Immolate the bastard dogbold’s ghoul-crew while they don’t expect it, then use your Ring of Elemental Command to freeze him fast for capture
>Write-in
>>
>>5434172
>They’re still just talking, and no hostile action has been taken—trust in the process
welp, this got chosen
let's pray we roll high
>>
>>5434172
>They’re still just talking, and no hostile action has been taken—trust in the process
>Promise POWER to the Junior Novice later

Appeal to Juniors draconian side. Make it feel superior to its former kind. Divide and conquer works in diplomacy too.
>>
>>5434172
>They’re still just talking, and no hostile action has been taken—trust in the process
>Let him know that if he succeeds to our satisfaction, he’ll be favored and rewarded for his contribution.
We bested him, the rock-monster, and the reality altering mega-slime, and he knows it. We have nothing to fear.

Still, we might as well incentivize him to do his best, and build up a rapport with him.
>>
>>5434172
>They’re still just talking, and no hostile action has been taken—trust in the process
>Try to use Reptilian Empathy on Novice to understand his intentions any better
I mean, dogbold or not, he now has scales. Let's try that shit on him. Don't promise him anything tho.
>>
>>5434172
>They’re still just talking, and no hostile action has been taken—trust in the process
>Support the write ins
In for a penny…
>>
>>5434884
>>5434398
>>5434347
>>5434227
>>5434183
[All the write-ins are pretty mutually-compatible and seem to have support. Since my friend's gone now, we're back in action! Writing now.]
>>
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>>5435786
perfect timing, just as im about to sleep
>>
Rolled 16, 8, 10, 6 = 40 (4d20)

>>5435786
You decide to trust in the process a little while longer. You committed to this diplomatic approach, so why abandon it before you have to? Of course, there’s no reason toa assume that you will achieve any lasting peace with thee THINGS, even more primitive and pestilent than the already-barbaric Bogbarri bugbears… But a false front of pantomimed peace-talks can easily allow access and assassination to the TRUE Ghoul Supreme!

However, as the ancient Reptilian saying goes: ‘trust, but verify.’ You aren’t exactly comfortable letting the Junior Novice take the lead while you stand idly and dumbly by, oblivious to his true intentions. With scales on his skin and dragonblood in his veins, your semi-mystical affinity for reptilian empathy is capable of reaching him, of parsing his purposes… Though the connection is dim and dull, muffled and distorted, relative to a true member of a Reptilian lineage.

You sense hope.

It’s promising, but the more you focus, the more you sense that the locus of that hope rests not with you, and your strength… But with this other dog-faced ghoul-thing. You sense also shame, and pride, mixed into a complex emotional milieu. Your vague, speculative interpretation is that the other ‘dogbold’ has evinced awe and horror at the Junior Novice’s transformed state, and that Junior is thus aware of his alienated status as an artificial hybrid, mightier than typical of his obviously-scrawny race but also physically bizarre to them.

Does he hope for a life among them, in whatever passes for dogbold society?

“Do not be foolish,” you hiss to your slave quietly, interrupting the chattering, nattering conversation of the dog-faces. “You have strength already. You have POWER, as a result of your dragonblood. Stay with me, and you will grow larger, stronger… You will be rewarded, live well. Look at how this one lives… Would you prefer that ‘freedom’ to the comforts you could be offered at home?”
>>
>>5435819
The dog-rat turned dragonoid pulls back his lips and hisses quietly through his teeth. The other greater-ghoul looks between you two with confusion and wariness, as uncomprehending of your speech as you are of its own. Eventually, though, Junior continues his conversation… And after a short time, the ghoulish taskmaster with whom he is conversing gestures to the lesser, more monkey-like creatures and shrieks a command.

>16

With whines and chitters, and uncertain body-language, the near-hairless, clammy creatures set about liberating Honemdyn the Centipede.

“Good boy,” you chuckle, though the Junior Novice merely slouches lower at the praise.

The centipede snaps poisonous mandibles and spits at the ghouls, who scatter as it uses its newly-restored freedom to rear up angrily. At a whistle from above and behind you, though, the great insect’s thrashing ceases. With only a brief pause it lowers itself an quickly scurries up the cave wall, and into the tunnel from whence you came—returned to Hamaraska, its companion.

“And what of the Ghoul Supreme?” you ask. “The Necromancer?”

The Junior Novice and the leader of this ghoul-pack have a second, briefer back-and-forth, and Junior bows his head and shakes it slightly, shifting his wings in a peculiar shrug of helpless failure.

No go. Either the ghoul-leader does not understand the request, does not know where that leader is… or refuses to tell Junior.

Do you…
>Admonish Junior for the failure
>Pat his head and congratulate him on the success
>Ignore him for now, lest he get any ideas

And what of this ghoul, now looking to you expectantly. You surmise that the Junior Novice must have suggested that you would reward the freeing of Honemdyn. What reward does this grostesque dogface deserve for such an act of cooperation and mercy?
>Offer some food and coin
>Allow the ghouls to go free, if they hurry—their lives and freedom are all the reward they deserve
>You will grant him capture, and servitude to your glorious Dark Alliance… As a slave and test-subject, obviously
>A swift death is more reward than these disgusting grave-pilferers deserve; you’re here to earn elven loyalty, not to pet every stray graveyard dog!
>Write-in
>>
>>5435835
>Pat his head and congratulate him on the success

>Offer some food and coin

saved by dice again
>>
>>5435835
>Pat his head and congratulate him on the success
>Offer some food and coin
Let's not antagonize them now.

Having finally read about these "dogbolds" I feel awful for torturing Junior Novice. He was just a pride somewhat-doggo and we made that fucking psychopath do to him what human Fleshweaver did to the original Dragonborn (yeah, funny how it happened), but that one was a failed dragon experiment, this here is a dogbold who had an identity and whose body was cut and twisted in a completely alien direction. Having seen Scorn doesn't really help me either.
>>
>>5435835
>Pat his head and congratulate him on the success
>Offer some food and coin
>>
>>5435835
>Pat his head and congratulate him on the success
Ear scratches as well. Who’s a good boy? You are!

>Offer some food and coin, and tell them that if they choose to serve us, there would be more rewards to come
>>
>>5435835
>Pat his head and congratulate him on the success

>Offer some food and coin
>>
>>5435835
>Pat his head and congratulate him on the success
>Offer some food and coin
>>
>>5435837
>>5435845
>>5435875
>>5435892
>>5436158
>>5436832
You see no reason to antagonize either dogbold. Honestly, you can’t help but feel a pang of sympathy for the Junior Novice, in particular. Upon his return to his race, now carries something of the same stigma which dogged you as a young male, as a result of procedures not unlike those which created—and traumatized and disfigured your treasured ‘older brother’, the first Dragonborn. On sympathetic impulse, you reach out to pat Junior, who flinches, but does not crawl away. It’s tough to know whether this is because he understands and appreciates the gesture or, having submitted to your will, understands this physical contact as mandatory.

It makes YOU feel a bit better about things, anyway.

You dole out some food and coins to the leaderly, dog-faced ghoul, who greedily seizes it in his paw-like hands—but only after you have laid it down and backed away. This thing really is like a feral animal, and you again find yourself wondering whether or not this race, or any of the ghouls, are properly sapient. Perhaps this is just what dire desperation does to a people without traditions or faith? Maybe it could be an object lesson for the Drow…

The dog-faced ghoul proves willing to linger for the promise of more such gifts, but attempts to use the shiny coins or greedily-devoured food-morsels as a means to lure the ghoul back to your waiting party of elves prove fruitless. Unlike the boss of the Bogbarri, who could be reasoned with and whose machismo and need to prove himself could be leveraged for negotiations, this verminous vagabond seems to desire naught by small and simple things, and seems to fear direct contact with the dark elves on their own terms, rather than on that of him and his little militia of cowed runts.

Ultimately, unwilling to take hostile action and unable to further advance negotiations, you and this dog-face part ways amicably. Your wings having receded to their former finlike status by now, and not wishing to waste any mana, you climb back to where Hamaraska and their centipede-mount await.
>>
>>5436861

“You did not slay the Ghoul Supreme,” the elf notes.

“That was not the Ghoul Supreme,” you reply.

“What is it, then?” Hamaraska the Lancer asks. “And where IS our quarry?”

Unknown and unknown. You do not reply, simply shaking your head.

You, the Drow lancer, and your two pets watch the ghouls disperse, scurrying off in many directions. A few, shouted at and beckoned, follow the dog-faced leader as he vanishes into deeper darkness, beyond the abilities of your Darkvision to pierce.

“We could follow them,” Hamaraska suggests.

You tilt your head.

“It is dangerous,” Hamaraska allows. “I would prefer to regroup. But…”

But this elf trusts your leadership now, having managed to negotiate with a heretofore unknown monster to rescue their beloved insect. Even now, they continue to stroke Honemdyn’s face idly, and the centipede quietly wheezes in a strange, lethargic contentment.

What do you do?
>Attempt to trail the dog-faced ghoul, stealthily, back to his lair… Though stealth isn’t your strong-suit
>You won’t risk antagonizing the ghouls again unnecessarily, let alone the threat of ambush and capture—it’s time to return to the group, and the main route
>Take advantage of this brief respite to cast <Guidance>, in hopes of seeking out the Ghoul Supreme by supernatural means
>Seal off this area with your earth-shaping magics, to further secure the pilgrim-path to the funeral caves from ghoul predation
>Write-in
>>
>>5436863
>Take advantage of this brief respite to cast <Guidance>, in hopes of seeking out the Ghoul Supreme by supernatural means

let's find this thing already
>>
>>5436863
>You won’t risk antagonizing the ghouls again unnecessarily, let alone the threat of ambush and capture—it’s time to return to the group, and the main route
>>
>>5436863
>Try to pet the centipede
>You won’t risk antagonizing the ghouls again unnecessarily, let alone the threat of ambush and capture—it’s time to return to the group, and the main route
Back to plan A.
>>
>>5436863
>Try to pet the centipede
>You won’t risk antagonizing the ghouls again unnecessarily, let alone the threat of ambush and capture—it’s time to return to the group, and the main route
>>
>>5436960
Support
>>
>>5436863
>Take advantage of this brief respite to cast <Guidance>, in hopes of seeking out the Ghoul Supreme by supernatural means
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7olVDwbX8ao
>>
>>5437615
>>5437505
>>5437031
>>5436960
>>5436934
>>5436877
>>5436877
>>5436934
>>5436960
>>5437031
>>5437505

You consider your options and, as you do so, you reach out to Honemdyn the Centipede. The creature goes stiff at the approaching talon, and its handler pauses as well, looking at you strangely. With a click of the tongue, though, Hamaraska indicates to their pet to settle down and accept the touch. The centipede still seems uncomfortable, but gradually finds its ease once more.

“We should return to our group, and to our first plan,” you say. “I do not wish to ruin the goodwill I just paid for, nor risk our capture.”

“You are… Not what I expected, from a lizardman king,” the Centipede Lancer tells you flatly.

You look up from the by-now ‘purring’ bug.

“You have… Softness. Tenderness. This is… Typical of your kind?”

You shrug, saying nothing… But you reject your learned impulse to hide your heart, to recoil from this ‘weakness’. You have embraced the concept of love twice over, and you will not flee from the choice now, hiding it like an embarrassed child. A Dragon King need not fear the judgment some elven knight… And regardless, Hamaraska’s tone is not condescending or mocking. Nor is it the fawning affection of your late dwarven lover. The elf is merely… Observing.

You find yourself a little uneasy despite your resolution not to, and begin your return journey not long after.

The return trip is more arduous and lengthy than the journey to rescue Hamaraska, for you continue to clamber and climb rather than spread your wings (an a not-insignificant cost to your daily mana reserves) to fly. The other Drow are still waiting when you return, and many seem palpably relieved to see you and the Lancer in one piece.

When you report what you encountered, however, some of that relief dissipates.

“A tall, dog-headed ghoul?” Azonia asks, hand sliding idly over the hilt of one of her swords and eyes narrowed. “I’ve never heard of such creatures.”

“And it spoke?”Sengar asks, incredulous.

You nod, and ask: “Do ghouls not normally speak?”

“They chatter,” Azonia notes.

“Like beasts chatter,” Jhamrius clarifies. “They don’t… Speak.”

“The dog-headed one spoke,” Hamaraska speaks up, not loudly but with a clarity and certitude which lends credence to your tale with even the more skeptical of the elves. “It spoke with this one.”

The Centipede Lancer nods to the Junior Novice, who seems to belatedly notice all the eyes upon him and freezes, growling.

“What is that pet of yours?” Azonia asks, newly suspicious of Junior. “Where did you get it?”

“I purchased the Junior Novice from a merchant,” you answer truthfully. “I don’t know where it comes from, originally.”
>>
As you and the Drow continue your quest deeper into these dungeon-like depths, the elves give the Junior Novice a wide berth. The dragon-dogbold seems to regard this with some relief, actually; though he grows warier as well when forced into close proximity, he seems to prefer greater space between he and the Drow warriors.

As you advance, the naturalistic caverns give way to more squarely-carved ones, and to cenotaphs, catacombs, and other markers of the dead. Most have been pilfered—pried or broken open, their contents stolen by greedy little hands.

“Ghouls,” Azonia sneers in outrage and disgust.

“The would need to work together to do this,” Jhamrius notes.

“They do, when commanded by the dog-heads,” Hamaraska again speaks up. “And they use tools.”

The other elves grow quite uneasy at this knowledge, and redouble their vigilance… But neither they, nor you, see any sign of the tiny invaders of this holy sanctum. Your <Danger Sense> is at the edge of a tingle, though—you can’t be one hundred percent certain, but you THINK you’re being watched. It makes you wary even to cast <Guidance>, lest lowering your guard to focus upon the spell signal vulnerability to your arcane adversary.

What do you do?
>Camp here for now, and set traps to bait ghouls out—flaunt your wealth, your food
>Proceed to the deepest ritual chambers—you can sanctify this place to Holy Death
>Split your forces to scout the surrounding ritual chambers and places of royal burial
>Leave the Junior Novice with offerings, in the hopes the Ghoul Supreme—maybe another dog-headed ghoul?—is less-wary when the rest of your forces seem to depart
>Well... If the tombs are being looted ANYWAY, maybe you can scrounge through what remains to 'save' it from the ghouls?
>Write-in
>>
>>5437628
>Cast Guidance already
Unless it has like an hour casting time the elves should be able to guard us
>>
>>5437728
[The longer and deeper the trance, the broader and more detailed the results on a success. Otherwise, it can be used with lesser time and divided focus to do simpler things like guide a strike with sword or arrow.]
>>
>>5437759
guh

>Split your forces to scout the surrounding ritual chambers and places of royal burial
>>
>>5437628
>Split your forces to scout the surrounding ritual chambers and places of royal burial
>>
>>5437628
>>Proceed to the deepest ritual chambers—you can sanctify this place to Holy Death
You guys never watched a zombie movie? Do not split in the tombs.
>>
>>5437628
>Proceed to the deepest ritual chambers—you can sanctify this place to Holy Death
>Well... If the tombs are being looted ANYWAY, maybe you can scrounge through what remains to 'save' it from the ghouls?
L00T!
>>
>>5437628
>Proceed to the deepest ritual chambers—you can sanctify this place to Holy Death
>Tell the drow you think you're being watched
This ain't that kind of horror movie. Make the boys, girls and centipede stay on high-alert and ready.
Also, if we get a chance, apologize to Hamarasaka. I've been a fucking retard (>>5432594)
>>
>>5437628
>Cast Guidance already
>>
>>5437979
>>5438291
Support
>>
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>>5437783
>>5437909
>>5437979
>>5438291
>>5438387
>>5438479
[Vote locked, writing begun!]
>>
Rolled 8, 20, 13 = 41 (3d20)

>>5438636
“We are being watched.”

You speak the words quietly, but the response is immediate. Two dozen pointed ears twitch. Azonia’s eyes flash their vivid violet, and she produces her dual shortswords immediately. Hamaraska is aboard their bug-mount, lance at the ready. Sengar is at your side with his knife-blade flashing; Jhamrius is at the outermost flank and astride a large stone, bow drawn and arrow notched, one eye squinted.

“Calm yourselves,” you hiss. “They haven’t yet struck.”

“Then we strike them first,” Azonia announces.

“If we disperse, they will draw in on us, separate us, flank us, and END us,” Jhamrius snarls.

“Oh come on,” Sengar laughs, “they’re GHOULS.”

“Yes,” Hamaraska says darkly, with the grimness of full understanding. “They are ghouls… And ghouls are not what we believed them to be.”

The Drow grow uneasy—even these four champions of their race.

“What do we do, then?” Azonia the Duelist demands, impatient and anxious.

“Flee?” Sengar suggests. “We can regroup…”

“Lay down bait, draw them in…” Jahmrius speculates.

“Send one force away,”Azonia pitches. “They flank us, we flank THEM… We will lose fewer lives than they.”

Hamaraska pets their bug, remaining quiet, ready to follow your elad.

“We go deeper,” you declare.

All eyes are suddenly on you.

“WHAT?” Azonia gasps. “They will cut off our escape and—”

You begin striding forward. The Junior Novice follows you, whining and growling but still obedient.

“The Dark Gods will protect us,” you announce. “We need merely prove ourselves worthy.”

The elves murmur amongst themselves, chattering almost like ghouls. What could you mean by that, they wonder? You do not clarify, do not hesitate—you advance, shoggoth-formed shortsword at the ready. The Drow follow, with Hamaraska the first to follow, Sengar and Jhamrius behind the androgyne, and the others filing in after. Azonia, bright eyes narrowed, is last to follow.
>>
>>5438637
You travel through this place, dark in a way beyond mere absence-of-light. There is glory here—fallen glory, like that of your race. The murals are fresher, relief less worn by time and nature. Still, it echoes your early experiences of what it means to be a race in decline—driven down, ostracized and isolated, surrounded by the ruins of better times. This is what the surface elves took from them!

But… No. The artsyle is angular, brutalist, and crude—carved with softer materials than steel, by minds (and with hands) which knew no formal training. The proportions are fluid, experimental or amateur. The features stretch and warp, conveying vivid emotion but no sense of refined, naturalistic realism, such as surface-elves might employ. These visages—depictions of elves in states of battle-rapture, righteous rage, ecstasy and agony… They are DROW leaders. Not their ancestors—them. These were created by the outcast elves long AFTER they were cast out.

Surface-scum didn’t steal this place from your allies. GHOULS did.

The elves walk these halls with reverence. They stop to whisper words of thanks or appeasement to several worthy royals—figures of respect or terror, you gather. You, however, move ever onward. Eventually, you come to the centre of the place.

You behold a great chamber, with galleries of stone seats set with dried, half-decay mushroom-cap cushions. They overlook something like a gladiatorial chamber, or an operating table... Or maybe an altar. You realize, after a moment, that it is all three, after a fashion.

“This is where your dead are prepared,” you say. “Their souls released.”

“Yes,” Hamaraska agrees.

The unease—the darkness and silence which confound even adapted or augmented sight and hearing—it all makes sense. What you feel on your shoulders, a weight like water-pressure in this musty air… It is the weight of death, or undeath. Of lingering souls, deprived to the Emperor of Entropy. Lives without end, in defiance of the Lord of Endings. It is the weight of ages, of lifetimes that measure in the centuries, all pressing down in a chamber that—though cavernous—is too small for the abandoned and forgotten souls of kings and warriors who fill it like so much stagnant waster.

You force yourself to draw breath, realizing you have forgotten, and slap the Junior Novice on the back so that he does the same. Though none of your elven companions are mages, exactly, all elves are magical enough to sense the wrongness here, in a way a human or dwarf might not. So, too, Junior—a creature of biological alchemy most potent, infused with an ancient and powerful bloodline.


“Why have you brought us here?” Azonia asks—nearly whimpers, despite her usuals elf-assured and abrasive attitude.

“To fix it,” you announce.
>>
Rolled 3, 11, 8, 20, 5 = 47 (5d20)

>>5438641
You kneel before the altar for a time, murmuring prayers to the Dark God most suited to exorcising these spirits. Praying to the God of Death is unusual, even among worshippers of the Dark Gods. It is done in desperation, or to placate a particularly ill omen, but he is feared—not favoured. His sibling reject and revile him at times, so to worship Death is to invite their scrutiny and disfavour… And what does he even offer for it? A meaningful or peaceful end? It is hardly a worthy trade for the devotion of a life…

>20 for Religion

But right now, it’s exactly what you—and these miserable, misplaced souls require. You pray to Death, but so that these lost souls can hear. It. You see hazy, gaunt faces in the corner of your vision, sunken eyes and drooping ears. You speak of rest, of an end to their entrapment in half-remembered forms and long-dead emotions.

“Go to the Lord of Endings,” you say, speaking their own tongue and with a genuine kindness. “Leave this place in peace. Give it over to Holy Death, and take your place in oblivion.”

One by one, the lean and lithe spirits of the dead elven champions and rulers stride past you. They go not to the realms of the Dark Gods—the rookery of unborn souls belonging to the Mother of Dragons, the great pyramid-spire of the Sun-Eating Serpent Ascendant, the Library Akashic belonging to the Master of the Insightful Eye. No, they go to their end—their absolute end. You look up and see, with your divine sight, these souls march into the gnashing, insatiable jaws of a great elven skeleton. As they go into an endless night, you swear these long-dead elves grow younger, taller, stronger. In their finality, no longer purposeless echoes, they find vigor and purpose…

One last time.

“They’re coming!”

You open your eyes—your physical eyes, not your spiritual—to find your elven company less oppressed by the atmosphere of the hall, which is now TRULY empty. Despite this, they are not at ease. All the Drow in your company are ready for battle…

And well they might be, for you are surrounded by ghouls.

Rolling athleticism, with a bonus for <Danger Sense>
>>
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>>5438642
Around you lurk chittering, chattering ghouls—the smaller sort. Some hold stones or blades, some scratch madly at the floor and shriek. They are all agitated, unhappy. In one or two corners you see their taskmasters and masterminds—the dog-heads, taller and more muscular, but still no match for you.

But then, outnumbering you with their sycophantic monkey-minions a dozen-to-one, why should they NEED to match you individually?

“Get ready!” Azonia shouts. “They’ll come all at once!”

“No,” Jhamrius groans unhappily. “Look.”

You all see it at the same time: skeletons and corpses, some longer-dead than others. Skeletons lumber and rattle towards you—spooky, scary even. It especially unsettles you because, well… You FELT the unclean and unhappy spirits leave this place! All necromancy relies upon Undeath—the slaving soul-force of a lingering half-dead thing, animating the remains of itself or another with negative energy, or ‘antilife’. What, then, animates these? You sense no demons either… Well, aside from the demon yet trapped in a ring within a box in your pack, won as a prize in your war on the kobolds’ false prophet almost a year ago.

>20

You sense it before you see it—a knot in the thread of your fate, hurtling towards you along dimensions temporal and spatial. You dodge it—a massive stone, almost half the size of your body and MUCH heavier! You cast your gaze about for the source of it, but see no ghoul, nor skeleton, mighty enough to heft such a thing! What, then?!

“Are you alright?” Sengar asks.

“It came from nowhere,” Jhamrius mutters, eyes flitting constantly in search of the source, bow ready.

“No,” Azonia announce,s pointing with a blade.

“From the dark,” Hamarask concurs. “But not from nowhere. It was thrown from out thgere, past where Darkvision ends.”

“No,” Azonia insist. “It came in a straight line, and if you squint, you can see that it MUST have come around the corner of that tunnel”

“Impossible,” Sengar scoffs.

The ghouls shriek, a hundred tiny wails of displeasure at your cleansing of their happy home giving way to one wail—one will. The dog-heads direct their forces with sweeping gestures, and the horde surges forth in great arcs, like a spreading cloak before their masters.

You wonder if the ones you ‘befriended’ are in this horde… And where their so-called ‘Supreme’ is, in all this? Down the tunnel, around the corner, behind this mystery-boulder?
>>
>>5438649
>DOUBLE TWENTY

“What you face is no necromancer.”

The voice speaks the True Speech. It comes from no one around you—no living being—but in the sound of shifting ash and done-dust across ancient, foot-worn stone.

“I saw what you saw,” speaks Death, in a voice without speech. “What they saw. I see what you all see… Here, now, in THIS… MY temple.”

“Then what is it?” you ask hurriedly, drawing the confused eyes of the elves who can bring themselves to look away from the incoming assault.

“A mortal,” Death speaks enigmatically. “Just another mortal… Doomed to die.”

What do you do?
>Stand with your elves, together as one, fighting defensively to hold this place [+Mother of Dragons]
>Turn your shoggoth-sword to a full-sized greatsword, and wield your spells and weapons, to dismantle the spellcraft around you [+Baleful Beholder]
>Assume <Dragonshape III>, to become a one-lizardman army, wading into the fray to demonstrate your ultimate might [+Serpent Ascendant]
>Draw and reveal the Sword of Endymion, the moon-blade, and use a channeled <Moonbeam> to cut through these hordes [++elven respect, ++elven controversy]
>Give a part of yourself to Death evermore, in exchange for a great, new power [???, +Death, +CONSEQUENCES, + BENEFITS]
>Write-in
>>
>>5438650
>>Assume <Dragonshape III>, to become a one-lizardman army, wading into the fray to demonstrate your ultimate might [+Serpent Ascendant]

Alright; time for an antipaladin in the antipaladin quest

Great update RQM
>>
>>5438650
>>Assume <Dragonshape III>, to become a one-lizardman army, wading into the fray to demonstrate your ultimate might [+Serpent Ascendant]
Serpent Ascendant is the best! (followed by Mother od Dragons)
>>
>>5438650
>Give a part of yourself to Death evermore, in exchange for a great, new power [???, +Death, +CONSEQUENCES, + BENEFITS]
Let's be honest, Death is the only god who's not just trying to increase their Instagram following by using us. He has a purpose unlike his selfish siblings and doesn't try to lure us with promises of power.
but I'll also support
>Draw and reveal the Sword of Endymion, the moon-blade, and use a channeled <Moonbeam> to cut through these hordes [++elven respect, ++elven controversy]
as secondary.
It's good to see update go this hard once in a while, RQM.
>>5438641
>You force yourself to draw breath, realizing you have forgotten, and slap the Junior Novice on the back so that he does the same.
lmao
>>5438649
>picrel
good game, good game
>>
>>5438650
>Turn your shoggoth-sword to a full-sized greatsword, and wield your spells and weapons, to dismantle the spellcraft around you [+Baleful Beholder]
Also would support
>Draw and reveal the Sword of Endymion, the moon-blade, and use a channeled <Moonbeam> to cut through these hordes [++elven respect, ++elven controversy]
>>
>>5438650
>Turn your shoggoth-sword to a full-sized greatsword, and wield your spells and weapons, to dismantle the spellcraft around you [+Baleful Beholder]
>>
>>5438650
>>Assume <Dragonshape III>, to become a one-lizardman army, wading into the fray to demonstrate your ultimate might [+Serpent Ascendant]

last time we got rewarded by the serpent ascendant he gave us raw power, by comparison the other gods usually just gave us information, or miscellaneous rewards.

thus I feel his blessing are the most useful for a warrior.
>>
>>5438650
>Turn your shoggoth-sword to a full-sized greatsword, and wield your spells and weapons, to dismantle the spellcraft around you [+Baleful Beholder]
>>
>>5438650
>Turn your shoggoth-sword to a full-sized greatsword, and wield your spells and weapons, to dismantle the spellcraft around you [+Baleful Beholder]

Elves like magic
>>
>>5438650
>Assume <Dragonshape III>, to become a one-lizardman army, wading into the fray to demonstrate your ultimate might [+Serpent Ascendant]
>>
>>5438663
+1
>>
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>>5439205
>>5439163
>>5439132
>>5439094
>>5438981
>>5438963
>>5438755
>>5438712
>>5438681
>>5438663
[Alright, it's go-time.]
>>
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Rolled 18, 11, 20 = 49 (3d20)

>>5439239
You know what you have to do. To accomplish you mission, to live up to the legends of old, and to rise to level of the Serpent Ascendant, you have to do this—YOU, not just as an agent of the Dark Gods, as a servant of the God of Death or any other. These figures are important, and you DO serve them, but to hold the lasting respect and fear of the elves, this can be no mere victory of faith. Nor, you decide, can it be a show of strategy—something clever and tricky, which the Drow could emulate. Your victory must be direct, complete, devastating, and uniquely personal. It must show why YOU are unchallenged master—someone and something aspirational, but unsurpassable by mere mammals.

You assume <Dragonshape>, and feel the spirit of your legendary ancestors and personal aspirations, married as two intertwined serpents, coiling up from within as your body twists, grows, and strengthens. The Drow, already tightening rank to repel the approaching invaders, now look back at you… And automatically, instinctively, recoil TOWARD the ghouls and away from YOU.

You are memory. You are myth. You are nightmare. You are DRAGON!

And lucky for these foolish little elves, you’re on their side… For now.

The dark elves part before you like two white-frosted black waves parting before a leviathan shark. You were already a head or two taller than most of them; now, you grow still larger, looming over your acquiescing allies and truly towering as if a titan against your hapless, shrunken foes. The ghouls bear witness to you and scream in terror…

[Fearsome Presence check]
>>
Rolled 14, 6, 7, 1 = 28 (4d20)

>>5439241
You feel a force warring against your own Fearsome Presence. Even in the face the essence of your self, your dragon soul made manifest, another will wars against yours… From behind these ghouls, from the tunnels whence came the boulder. In fact… You sense small auras of such presence about each of the dogbolds in this pack of carrion-creatures, as well. These are some sort of… Psychic dogmen, then, driving forces of lesser cousins forward with mental command? Curious…

But no match for a true King. You turn your gaze upon each dogbold in kind, and fix them with the grin which so unsettles the mammals. Each of these field-commanders—well, such as they are—withers and wilts before your terrible smile. You stride forward, and drawing shoggoth blade, swing it like Death’s own scythe through a field of squealing ghouls. You smash and dash them, chop and mash them. You crush them beneath titan footfalls the rumble the cavern floor—with a bit of <Earth Tremor> for emphasis. The monkey-rat things break, their terror of facing you overwhelming their commanders’ control.

>20

…And when the dog-headed ghouls see their army abandoning the field, leaving fewer and fewer tiny bodies between you and they, they break and run as well.

You roar in mockery and triumph, rage and righteousness, and fire follows.

[Firebreath check...]
>>
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Rolled 1, 20, 17, 10, 13, 2, 11, 20, 8 = 102 (9d20)

>>5439246
>14

…But to your shock and anger, the scurrying leaders of this pack of grave-robbers erect some sort of… Shield… They holds your flames at bay. Yelping and crying out, they nevertheless endure the onslaught long enough to evade. With uncanny agility, they leap—almost seem to fly—in each and every direction, dodging gouts of fire and swings of you twisted, twisting aberration-blade. For a moment, you and the rolling eyes of the shoggoth-sword are focused with hateful irritation upon a shared prey.

>6

But it is this very distraction that allows the skeletons—almost forgotten, to catch you by surprise. They have resisted the fire, though they are brittle and blackened. Those which you broke apart with mighty cleaves and boast-worthy bashes of your powerful limbs or swooshing sword now stand, reconstitutes, lumbering and lurching haphazardly and hurling themselves upon you in a great horde. The dead and dying ghouls now join them, some crying out in pain and panic even as their bodies betray their terrified mind to attack you en masse.

You thought Death said there was no necromancer here? What IS this, then, if not necromancy?!

>1

Well, it seems likely to involve the giant boulder which now hurtles towards you—not quite a twin to the first, but still much larger and heavier than even your newly-enhanced body can easily battle against! Swarmed and swamping through stabbing skeleton and a grisly mass of ghouls, you can’t escape in time…

Unless…

3d20 Religion, 4d20 Athleticism, 2 mystery dice
>>
>>5439254

You close your eyes and put your faith in the Gods… In one Dark God in particular. You utter hurriedly a prayer—not a prayer of supplication and pleading for mercy, nor a beggarly begging for boons undeserved.

“Serpent Ascendant, God of Glory,” you whisper quickly, “witness what I now do in your name, and in mine.”

You flex your back, WILL your inner truth to become flesh and bone and solid reality…

>20

…And, like the Serpent, you ASCEND.

>Divine Boon: Dragonshape IV
>>Your Dragonshape now automatically includes the Wings of the Dragon, and resist all nonmagical weapon

You rise into the air, beating great and powerful wings which blast away the light bones of the ashen revenants. The rodentine ghouls are likewise flung, to crash and break upon the rocks below… And then to be dashed and scattered most brutally by the very boulder which sought to end YOU.

Ironic. Almost LITERALLY hoist by their own petard!

The great hurled rock does something then—something unexpected. It… Curves. To your shock, it changes course and rises to meet you in mid-flight!

>13

You are still clumsy in the air, not used to manoeuvring in three dimensions, and even a cavern this big provides less vertical space than you would like. Great carved pillars block your course as you try to avoid the hurtling one-ton lump of stone which now pursues you like a predator.

Luckily for you, you have a little help from your friends. Throughout the battle, the Drow have been behind you—sometimes quite far, gawking in awful awe at you monstrous reign of destruction over this newly-blessed battlefield. Now, though, they move from providing support and clean-up to leaping to your defence.

“Now!”

Azonia shouts the cry which alerts you to your allies’ aid. You see a massive movement to your left,a nd realize what is happening: Hamaraska’s great bug has wrapped around one of the obstructive, half-decorative pillars in this ancient grave. While Azonia, Sengar, and the other stronger-bodied frontline fights aid them in pushing it from an angle, other Drow—Jhamrius foremost among them—apply an acid to the pillar’s base, weakening the supports. Together, with Honemdyn the Centipede’s not-inconsiderable assistance, they topple it…

>20 for your allies

You narrowly avoid the pillar’s plummet, but the pursuing boulder is not so lucky. It is pinned by the collapsing column, and smashed apart even as the column is smashed. The Drow raise a cheer, with the enemy army dead or in disarray, the skeletons still, and the stone stopped.

You land, catching your breath for a moment. That hurtling menace nearly caught you! And the stone… The skeleton warriors and gnarled ghouls… They weren’t moving themselves, obviously. There is some great force… The Ghoul Supreme… behind all this chaos.

“ONWARD,” you roar. “WE END THIS!”
>>
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>>5439264

“ONWARD,” you roar. “WE END THIS!”

You march forward, towards the tunnel which has now twice produced such powerful projectiles, animated by some unseen initiative. Your Drow allies quickly follow suit, emboldened by your display thus far. Azonia, skeptical though the swordswoman was before, bounds and bounces up to stride at your side now, grinning evilly.

“We will kill this thing which threatened the elven race!” she declares boldly. “None can defeat us…”

She looks to you, brow scrunches slightly… Then smiles wider.

“Now with the Champion of the Dark Gods with us.”

“Theral!” Sengar shouts.

“KING THERAL!” the others respond.

>8 for foes

You can’t bask in the praise forever, though. You knew it was coming, inevitably, before the volley was lobbed. Another boulder rolls like thunder from the tunnel ahead. And… yes, it’s rolling Uphill, against the slope. Another huge and hulking cannonball thrown by an unseen, slinking foe. But it’s predictable, by now. You have ample time to react, and you know just how to do it…

>Use a <Wall of Stone> to block it, even bounce it back the way it came from
>Rely on <Danger Sense> to evade it with your athleticism, and then use <Guidance> to beeline it for the Ghoul Supreme
>Blast it apart with a <Moonbeam>, and then unleash another wave of fire down the tunnel
>Use <Earth Tremor> to collapse the complex ahead, hopefully crushing anything within and ending the threat once and for all
>Save your mana for direct attack; tank the boulder with your increased strength and durability, shielding the Drow behind you
>Write-in

[Note: your Dragonshape still won't last forever, and the more mana you expend, the faster it will wane.]
>>
>>5439267
>Rely on <Danger Sense> to evade it with your athleticism, and then use <Guidance> to beeline it for the Ghoul Supreme

another rock magic wielder I see
>>
>>5439267
>Save your mana for direct attack; tank the boulder with your increased strength and durability, shielding the Drow behind you

Shield the drow
>>
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>>5439267
>Use a <Wall of Stone> to block it, even bounce it back the way it came from
Strike
>>5439283
>rock magic
it's telekinesis
>>
>>5439267
>Save your mana for direct attack; tank the boulder with your increased strength and durability, shielding the Drow behind you
>>
>>5439382
telekinesis that has only been used on rocks
>>
>>5439515
>telekinesis that has only been used on rocks
Bones and ghouls aren't rocks
>>
>>5439519
none of them have been thrown through the air at us yet, which I figure the controller would do if he could, so either he's dumb or it's some type of mind/body control on them
>>
>>5439527
if he throws the zombie's at us they might break upon impact.
>>
>>5439527
>throwing ghouls
For what purpose.
>some type of body control
Like telekinesis?
>>
>>5439267
>Blast it apart with a <Moonbeam>, and then unleash another wave of fire down the tunnel
>>
>>5439583
not hard enough to splatter them, just to get them in grappling range

>>5439642
>For what purpose.
if you don't see the tactical advantage of flying your minions right on top of an opponent I don't know what I can do to help you anon

like we're already ignoring how much more complex it is to manually control the movements of an entire horde

and if they are using telekinesis like that, exerting force on their limbs directly, then why haven't they done the same to us or our drow allies? would be much more efficient than throwing boulders. just hold us in place, or dangle us upside down in the air, or even break our limbs directly. it wouldn't make sense.
>>
>>5439267
>Save your mana for direct attack; tank the boulder with your increased strength and durability, shielding the Drow behind you
>>
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>>5439952
>>5439811
>>5439405
>>5439382
>>5439296
>>5439283
[Locked and writing!]
>>
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Rolled 16, 10, 9, 1 = 36 (4d20)

>>5439981
You think you now understand what you’re up against… And to best the mammalian menace behind this attack, you will need to maintain your <Dragonshape> and reserve all the mystic force which you yet have in reserve. Besides, with the Serpent Ascendant’s boon, you have successfully endured the hurled stones and scraping blades of a dozen skeletons and twice-a-dozen ghouls. Your shining scales are not merely thick and sturdy—they are magically impervious to most non-magical blows! Perhaps… Perhaps that might include the incoming boulder?

“Stand back!” you bellow.

The elves oblige, though Jhamrius looks concerned, and Azonia as incredulous as she is impressed.

“You can’t be serious,” the buxom swordswoman says.

But you are—dead serious, emphasis on the DEAD if you are wrong.

[Athleticism roll.]
>>
>>5439986
>1

Oh gods, you miscalculated. The boulder hits you like—well, like a falling shoggoth. Like a cave-in might hit you, maybe? You have no frame of reference. You throw your shoulder into it, and feel your shoulder tenderized like the face of the Bastard’s enemies, beneath the maul you gifted him. The dark elves cry out and stumble backwards. Some cling to the walls and attempt to flatten themselves, that the boulder might pass them by. Others run away, hoping to outpace it. To her credit, Azonia does not shrink or flee—she throws her miniscule weight into your back, pushing with you.

>9

The boulder slows, but you begin to stumble. Your footing slips; you nearly fall. To tumble now, even with the momentum of your implacable stone adversary waning, would mean being crushed and dying. This was a bad idea. A bad, terrible, no good, fool-headed idea. You can hear your inner Novice Felshweaver admonishing you quite vividly.

>10

The boulder’s momentum is further reduced, though. You open you eyes, squeezed shut, to see the reason why: Hamaraska and Honemdyn, Lancer and Centipede, have joined the effort to push It back!

“For… Our… People…” Azonia grunts.

“For my debt,” Hamaraska says quietly, through teeth gritted in exertion.

Sengar joins next, and Sengar not far behind.

“For King Theral!” Sengar cries.

“FOR VENGEANCE!” cry the Drow, now rallying to you en masse, returning to aid your titanic effort.

“For Bloodrise,” you rumble, your skid coming to a stop with the assistance of this troupe of strange, black-skinned and pointy-eared mammals on indeterminate sex.

>16

“FOR THE DARK GODS BEYOND AND BELOW!”

With a mighty heave, you drive the boulder FORWARDS. All at once, its terrible weight returns to gravity’s embrace, the spell which drove it forward breaking beneath your collective muscle and unified will. As it tumbles down into the distant darkness, you follow hot on its heels—a charging, screaming mob of warriors, hurtling towards a hated common enemy, motivated by the glory bestowed upon those who walk the path of True Faith!

As one—well, almost, for you are at the head of the group—you burst into a honeycombed cavern of nooks and crannies. You glance back, realizing you charged right through a gallery of small shrines and sconces, which hold ash-bearing urns and effigies of those burned to fill them—a place of ancestor-worship and tribute, perhaps. It, like much of the Drow’s ancient funeral-caves, has been ransacked…

And ahead, you see the ones responsible.
>>
>>5440009
The ghouls must emerge from opening like this—once-plugged, now-reopened entrances into the raw and unformed darkness outside of elven settlement. Anxious dog-heads skulk about, peeking out uneasily from behind pillars and from holes in the stone, ducking away from your banishing glare. As you and the Drow fan out and pursue them, they flee, often leaping with agility and athletic ability which their thin limbs should not provide.

Yes, you think you understand now…

As you proceed, you come upon increasing evidence of the Ghoul Supreme’s presence. There are piled bones, scattered effigies and broken-open containers which might once have held grave-goods. As you grow closer, you find the one-time contents: a small hoard, assembled into small pile or curious and haphazard displays and dioramas. The freshest bones are piles near to these, where the newest owner of the plundered treasures could eat while savoring their stolen wealth.

And there, at the centre of all of it, stands the Ghoul Supreme.

The creature is much like any other dog-headed ghoul, honestly… But for the size of the cranium, the massive saber-teeth, and long claws. It is now towering behemoth, such as you have faced and bested in the past. It is a small thing—barely taller than an elf, perhaps a BIT larger than a typical human man—and thin, except for its bloated pot-belly. It lingers in an uneasy half-crouch, and wipes some blood and other meal-filth from its gnashing mouth… And grins.

You recognize this grin-of-threat. You think you understand now why the elves and dwarves sometimes shrink from your own well-meaning smile.

“Monster,” the Ghoul Supreme barks, in butchered mockery of the derived elventongue spoken among the Drow. “Invades! Takes! Thief!”

The Ghoul Supreme slides down its pile of treasure, and the other dogbolds lingering nearby scatter to give it wide berth as it approaches you, standing up at its full height with confidence which seems, frankly, ill-founded.

“You not belong,” it snaps, and smiles again as—you the horror of your allies—a host of defleshed-but-fresh, still armed-and-armoured elven skeletons lumbers awkwardly from the shadows nearby, to surround you.

“You die here,” the Ghoul Supreme declares.

What will you do?
>Attack the Ghoul Supreme with your sword, and attempt to end this immediately
>Attempt to negotiate this thing’s departure—there is no need for further bloodshed, and your force can EASILY handle its own
>Get some distance by flying up, and draw your bow and arrows for aerial archery
>Call out to the Junior Novice, and have him relay an offer of clemency—and food, and coin—to whichever dogbolds turn now against their doomed master
>Light the area up with fire—damn this thing, its fellow dog-heads, its ghoul slaves, and even whatever elves are too slow or stupid to escape
>Write-in
>>
>>5440010
>Attack the Ghoul Supreme with your sword, and attempt to end this immediately

I'd try diplomacy but it might just give it time to get us more surrounded
>>
>>5440010
>Attack the Ghoul Supreme with your sword, and attempt to end this immediately
Just kill this filth already
>>5439868
Goddamit you're right, I always miss something. I've no fucking idea how it could animate skeletons and control ghouls against their will then.
>>
>>5440010
>Call out to the Junior Novice, and have him relay an offer of clemency—and food, and coin—to whichever dogbolds turn now against their doomed master

Lmao add dogbolds to the dark alliance, why not? We can give the Junior Novice authority over them so that he can feel like he has power. It'd be easier than actually giving him more freedom.
>>
>>5440010
>Call out to the Junior Novice, and have him relay an offer of clemency—and food, and coin—to whichever dogbolds turn now against their doomed master
And after the turncoats betray him.
>Attack the Ghoul Supreme with your sword, and attempt to end this immediately
>>
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>>5440010
>Attack the Ghoul Supreme with your swordS, and attempt to end this immediately
>>
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Rolled 10, 12, 8, 12, 14, 14, 18 = 88 (7d20)

>>5440022
>>5440204
>>5440227
>>5440271
>>5440351
While the idea of absorbing these strange, psychic dogmen into your ever-growing Dark Alliance is an amusing notion, it’s hardly the priority here. These ‘people’ are no Drow, not even Bogbarri—they live in filth, they do not wear clothes, their strengths are limited to numbers and to some sort of telekinetic magic you barely understand. Diplomacy can wait, if you engage in it at all. They are enemies of your allies, and you came here for the specific purpose of proving yourself a worthy foe-slayer to the dark elves.

Lashing out with your shifting shoggoth-sword, that’s exactly what you set out to do.

DC 16, two dice for enemy retaliation
>>
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Rolled 17, 16, 14 = 47 (3d20)

>>5440736
>14
You are practiced with a blade now, so that even the unfamiliar and oblong shoggoth-sword is not so awkward as it might have bee. Besides, you’ve tested it out on many of the lesser ghouls and skeleton sentries! This master-of-puppets is no martial match for your precision and prowess…

>18

But perhaps it does not NEED to be. The Ghoul Supreme makes no effort to dodge, or to counter-attack—he simply raises his hand and, splaying his clawed fingers… Stops the swing. You lean into it, gripping the sword’s hilt with both hands and roaring with exertion… But the blade hovers inches from the dogman’s grinning face.

“Is nice loot,” the Ghoul Supreme notes of the sword… And then, with a casual swat of his free hand, he sends you hurtling backwards into the mass of advancing skeletons. You lose your grip on the sword and it remains where you left it: hovering, still-living aberration-eyes darting about in confusion and alarm as it hovers towards the waiting, grubby paws of the Ghoul Supreme.

You struggle to stand, disoriented by the unseen force which batted aside your four hundred-odd pounds of <Dragonshaped> muscle so easily. The effort is complicated by clawing, grabbing hands of bone, which pull you back and down. Swords slash and stab at your wing membranes; you hiss involuntarily in pain as they find purchase, even if these non-magical weapons can only do so much. You lash your tail, beat your wings, and scatter them… But they return.

Perhaps worse, you hear the cries of your allies as Junior and the Drow are similarly assaulted on all sides. These armour-clad skeletons are heavier and stronger than the long-dead, dust-dry ones which you smashed apart on the way here, and their weapons are mightier. Squinting, you try to make out the root mechanism by which they are animated with your second-sight…

[Spellcraft, DC 14]
>>
>>5440749
>17
It’s definitely not necromancy… But nor is there a direct tether of control between the Ghoul Supreme and these minions. Rather, these things are like… Like machines, constructs, animated by a command and given a spark of mana. For as long as it burns, they follow the simple instruction which gave them false life. Perhaps “protect me” or “kill them”?

You think you could disrupt it… With concentration, effort, and luck. Then again, that would mean taking your eyes off the uncannily-calm, snickering dogbold who just STOLE your SWORD… And who is clearly a threat even without his army.

There’s also the matter of the other watching ghouls—the little monkey-things and the larger-headed dogfaces. They see the tide turning in their master’s favour, and have begun to emerge from their hiding-places, eager to pick your corpses clean when the battle is done… Maybe even to join in, in hopes of landing a killing blow and stealing the choicest loot before any others get the chance.

What do you focus on first?
[Choose one—the others will also be addressed but will be considered of second priority, left up to allies in the interim]
>Slay the Ghoul Supreme and reclaim your blade!
>Protect the Drow at all costs!
>Break the spell, and still the skeletons!
>Intimidate the other ghouls, to keep them from joining the battle!
>Write-in

What weapon will you use?
>The Ring of Elemental Command
>Your elvencraft bow and arrows
>Your back-up elvencraft balde and assassin’s dagger—dual-wielded!
>Natural weapons and fire-breath
>The Moon-Blade of Endymion—unveiled at last!
>Your earth and moon magic
>Write-in
>>
>>5440763
>Protect the Drow at all costs!
we need them to witness our glory

>Your earth and moon magic

>>5440204
Looks like we were both right, and he's the kind of weirdo who casts animate object on perfectly good skeletons

maybe we can capture him alive for research purposes
>>
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>>5440763
>Break the spell, and still the skeletons!
They are the most dangerous force of our enemies currently and also threaten the Drow, don't they? Bones rattling the bucket will benefit all of us. Plus untangling magic spells is the stuff our mom used to do.
>Try to command Shoggoth-blade to shrink/render itself useless/stab the boss
If we can sneak that in there.
>The Ring of Elemental Command
I kinda just want to use it already, no reason to hoard cool one-time game mechanics when we can nuke a motherfucker.
>>5440778
Shall we hand its brain to Novice and demand answers?
>>
>>5440763
>Slay the Ghoul Supreme and reclaim your blade!
>>
>>5440837
damn i also just noticed he's grabbing an eldritch entity directly with his mind and not going insane

poor shoggy has seen better days, he's an embarrassment now
>>
>>5440903
[It is a tiny, dormant, conquered and hungry remnant of a once-great monster... But with tender loving care and some magical persuasion, you could probably reactivate its mind-warping properties.]
>>
>>5440903
Yeeeee, what RQM said.
>>5440935
>But with tender loving care and some magical persuasion, you could probably reactivate its mind-warping properties.
Cute. The only good cosmic horror is domesticated cosmic horror.
So anyway, how's the *main* Shoggoth? Surely its remnants aren't being collected by kobold necromancer and helping him become a superboss, ready to fuck our ass soon™ because we neglected both of them? Hmmm?
Man, I need to stop thinking about Ismena (I won't), it only makes me sad again, that we're not working to discover what happened to her and hunting that green bastard down.
>>
>>5440763
>Slay the Ghoul Supreme and reclaim your blade!
>Your earth and moon magic
>>
>>5440763
>Break the spell, and still the skeletons!
>Your back-up elvencraft balde and assassin’s dagger—dual-wielded!
Our best skill is in swords lads. It’s either this or the elf-blade.
>>
>>5440763
>Protect the Drow at all costs!
>Natural weapons and fire-breath or Moon-Blade

>lost nat 100 sword to a non-crit
Well, isn’t that foreboding. Can we still use Hexblade magic with our talons? Otherwise we should just bite the bullet and go full Moonblade because of the 5d20 special skill we have to augment the Lunarpower.
>>
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>>5441361
>>5441098
>>5441054
>>5440952
>>5440844
>>5440837
>>5440778
[Three-way tie! I'll check in later. Backlink your 1-post-idvotes, and anyone who hasn't voted, please also do so.]
>>
>>5441575
>>5440952<>>5440837<>>5440204
chainsu
>>
>>5440763
>Slay the Ghoul Supreme and reclaim your blade.

We kill the ghoul the corpse puppets might stop still, or collapse without any commands.
>>
Rolled 2, 17, 6, 20, 5, 1 = 51 (6d20)

>>5441777
>>5441692
>>5441361
>>5441098
>>5441054
>>5440952
>>5440844
>>5440837
>>5440778
[Tie broken! Locked, rolling and writing. 2d20 Elementalism, 2d20 for the Ghoul Supreme, 1d20 for each of your factions (yours has a slim advantage)
>>
>>5441785
well that didn't work out
at least their faction did really bad
>>
>>5441777
You should’ve voted for a blade, that nat 20 could’ve been ours.
>>
>>5441785
>>5441788
>>5441796

You wish to protect your allies, of course… But to save the elves from being torn apart, the spell animating these skeletons must be broken… And you don’t ACTUALLY know how to do that. You THINK you have an inkling how to break that connection, but it’s theoretical at best. You don’t have the experience, training, or time and focus to reliably pull it off. What you DO have, though, is the direct mind f a warrior, and one well-known and tested method to resolve this conundrum:

Kill the caster, end the spell.

>1 for enemies, 6 (secondary roll) for Ghoul Supreme
You trace your hands through the air along well-studied courses, adjust your stance, and with a roar and a carefully-choreographed stomp of your mighty foot, you summon an <Earth Tremor> The cavern shakes and rumbles, causing the advancing ghouls to pause and the already-shaky skeletons to tumble and fall. The Ghoul Supreme is distracted from his tracing of your disarmed weapon as well, losing its concentration and dropping the shoggoth-blade unceremoniously upon the ground. It growls and turns its attention back to you—just where you want it.

“That’s my sword,” you hiss in elventongue, that it might possibly understand, “and so are you, mammal.”

The Ghoul Supreme barks, a single laugh, and levitates off of the ground-avoiding the splits formed by your mystical quake.

“Come!” you shouts back.

You don’t disappoint. You charge for the psychic savage, who in turn raises its hand and with spindly fingers directs weapons, coins, and stones to elevate off of the ground in the same manner by which it floats. A hail of such items fly towards you from all angels, with chaotic haphazardness at a glance. You dip, dive, and dodge… Only to realize that, like the great stones before, the damned barrage is arcing in mid-air, course-correcting to target you!

>17

A <Wall of Stone> puts an end to that, rescuing you from the onslaught by all-but encasing you in a shell of raised rock. Cowering is not a posture that you are well-accustomed to, though. It does not suit one such as you—a Dragon King—to hide like vermin in a hole. You burst forth, summoning forth your mana for a <Moonbeam>…

…But the Ghoul Supreme is nowhere to be seen.

>20 for the Ghoul Supreme

“Mine.”
>>
>>5441801

You whirl about to face the source of the sound—uncomfortably close—and feel your face crumple as if hit by a giant’s blow. Your nose and mouth fill with blood, your spell squandered and lost—and the corresponding mana with it. Worse, your chest, and lungs, are similarly compressed. Your limbs feel heavy, as if weighted with iron shackles. You kick your legs and lash your tail, but find no purchase.

You are hovering in mid-air, held by the Ghoul Supreme’s power. Your Drow allies were saved by your actions from immediately set-upon and destroyed, but are still rather occupied with fending off the other ghouls. These foes, too, were delayed and demoralized by your display of power-; they poke and prod, harass and harry, but fear to draw too near. To your forces. Still, the Drow are understandably so concerned with fending them off as to make them ignorant of your plight..

Not until the Ghoul Supreme, with insulting frivolity, expends some of his own mana to alert them. He swings his free hand wide, letting his control over the various hurled objects dissipate, and setting the skeletons and corpses filling this place to hollow, cackling laughter. The Drow look up—well, those not immediately engaged in life-or-death struggles—and a few cry out your pseudonym.

The Junior Novice looks between you and your psionically-inclined captor, and whines.

“You die now,” the Ghoul Supreme explains, condescendingly, with a hyena-like chuckle. “Bye.”

You cannot draw a weapon… Cannot breathe flame, or cast a spell. Your options are terrifyingly limited. Your <Dragonshape> is already beginning to crack and crumble, your mystically-charged bones and muscles beginning to tremble and shrink back to their natural dimensions as your mystic energy ebbs. Can you really be about to lose—to die—at the hands of a pestilent little twerp like this, after having slayed such monsters as the Devourer and Shoggoth?

What do you do?
>Call out to the Junior Novice
>Call out to Azonia
>Call out to Hamaraska and Honemdyn
>Call out to Jhamrius and Sengar
>Call out to the shoggoth-sword [guaranteed success, but also, REDACTED]
>Call out to the Dark Gods Below and Beyond [expends <DIVINE FAVOUR> for an insta-win miracle]
>Summon one of the remaining elementals from your Ring of Elemental Command [Expends one gem, you will not have direct control of the elemental]
>Attempt to negotiate [How?]
>Write-in
>>
>>5441801
>“That’s my sword,” you hiss in elventongue, that it might possibly understand, “and so are you, mammal.”
[Gah. Rather...]
>You nod towards the fallen sword.
>“That’s my ine,” you hiss in elventongue, that it might possibly understand, “and so are you, mammal.”
>>
>>5441803
>Call out to the shoggoth-sword [guaranteed success, but also, REDACTED]
YES
CORRUPTION AHOY
TENDER LOVING CARE
>>
>>5441803
Y’all are fucking morons
>Summon one of the remaining elementals from your Ring of Elemental Command [Expends one gem, you will not have direct control of the elemental]
I want this ring dead, it’s been more of an impediment than the fucking demon ring.
>>
>>5441840
it's been as much of an impediment as our divine favor
>>
>>5441803
>Call out to Hamaraska and Honemdyn

>Summon one of the remaining elementals from your Ring of Elemental Command

Please no eldritch corruption
>>
>>5441803
Wtf my post was eaten.
>Summon one of the remaining elementals from your Ring of Elemental Command [Expends one gem, you will not have direct control of the elemental]
I want ring used, too. Assblast the motherfucker.
>>5441777
>votes based on assumption that killing the main ghoul must cancel its zombie spell
>ignores the horde of ghouls that aren't controlled by magic
This is a certified retard moment.
>>
>>5441803
>Call out to Azonia
>Call out to Hamaraska and Honemdyn
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>5442193
>>5442033
>>5441984
>>5441840
>>5441823
[Vote locked.]
>>
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Rolled 14, 1, 6, 5 = 26 (4d20)

>>5442567
You can barely move your hand, so lifting the Ring of Elemental Command to aim and fire its energies is out of the question. Your magical energies are quite depleted—probably enough for one or two weaker spells. However, it takes no somatic component, and scarcely any effort at all, to release the holding spell currently keeping the elementals captive in the ring…

There’s just the matter of what to DO with the damned thing, once it’s free.

Bah, no matter. You need to act decisively! The rest, you will take as it comes. You squint your eyes, hiss a command word, and focus your energies down your arm, to your ring finger. With a tinkling as of broken glass, the deed is done. The Ghoul Supreme doesn’t even realize what’s happened…
>>
>>5442582
I fucking hate this ring now
>>
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>>5442594
>>5442582
…Not until it’s too late.

The water in the air around you begins to condense into misty, cloud-like formations. The psychic dogbold watches them swirl with less fear than idle curiosity—the fool. For a moment, the haze makes you think you have summoned the ice elemental, and you brace for a chill… But then an explosion of electricity hits your already-stunned body. You convulse involuntarily, shielded from some of it by your shamanic resistance to the elements but still affected—you’re at ground-zero of a forming stormfront, after all. The next wave of pain is more physical: drop in a disheveled heap, as the Ghoul Supreme bares the brunt of the hostile weather.

>14

The psionic creature attempts to form a shield—perhaps COULD have repelled the spell, in fact—but for the surprise nature of the attack. No barbarian troglodyte could reasonably have foreseen the sudden appearance of a powerful nature-spirit an inch from its face—not without divination, anyway. You look up as you wait for the burning sensation shooting through your fried nervous system to settle, and watch the havoc you wrought.

The cavern flashes with cracking bolts of raw power, forcing ghouls and dark elves alike to shield their sensitive, dark-adjusted eyes; your nictitating membranes prove protection enough. The hovering Ghoul Supreme is in the clutches of an almost-humanoid shape—a constantly-flickering explosion of electricity, wreathed in a halo of greyish fog, shifting in its precise dimensions but for the concentrated power which forms a claw-like hand; this limb, crafted of force rather than matter, clutches the struggling, wailing Ghoul Supreme in its grasp, as the bastard dog-thing shudders and forth at the mouth. The laughter of the skeletons ceases as the erstwhile master of this place is fried crispy by its elemental assailant.

“Bye,” you chuckle darkly, imitating the thing’s smug taunt in ironic echo.

The elemental finally releases the Ghoul Supreme, who lies twitching where it lands. You aren’t certain whether the ghoul-lord is dead, or will soon die—it seems likely, by the look of it, by you know precious little about these dog-heads.
>>
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>>5442609
What you DO know however, is that the elemental’s attention is now focused upon the rest of the cavern’s occupants—yourself, the Drow, and the other ghouls. The enemy forces, seeing tides turn once again and their fearless, formidable leader felled, flee in shrieking terror. As you struggle to rise to your feet, you fear that the Drow will do likewise and leave you to face down the furious force of the lightning elemental alone…

“Theral!”

… But it is not so. Honemdyn scuttles towards you, and atop the great centipede sits Hamaraska the Lancer. Without even realizing it, you called out to them… And, to your small surprise, they came, braving the storm to grab hold of you and—primarily with the aid of their mighty bug-friend—haul you up to your feet. Still, it is slow going, and for a moment you fear you will both perish beneath the violent outbursts of the explosive storm-spirit.

Luckily for you and for your allies, it is busy gleefully zapping the flighty lesser ghouls, slaughtering them with great arcs of chain-lightning. It seems, in fact, to be making sport of trying to kill as many as possible with a single bolt. You almost—almost—feel sorry for them.

“We need to go,” Hamaraska hisses.

You nod, but in truth, you feel a second wind coming on. Your limbs have stopped trembling, the pain subsided. You glance at the worried expression of the androgynous Lancer supporting you. Hamaraska shakes their head, as if to tell you nothing could be worth remaining here any longer than necessary, and thus risking the lightning elemental’s wrath.

You reply…
>“We’re not leaving without my shoggoth-sword.” [You may lose your sword if you don’t choose this.]
>“We’re not leaving without the Ghoul Supreme’s head.” [The Ghoul supreme MAY live if you don’t choose this.]
>“We’re not leaving until I tame this damned elemental.” [Spellcraft check; on a success, you may command the lightning elemental, but on a failure, your allies may pay a terrible price.]
>“You’re right, we need to leave immediately.” [May lose the sword, the Ghoul Supreme may live, and the elemental will go free to become wild… But you and your allies will live and avoid being maimed.]

Prioritizing multiple things will increase the DC versus just choosing one.
>>
>>5442612
>You right we leaving

Don’t want to lose shoggy but lives are irreplaceable
>>
>>5442612
>“I’m not leaving until I tame this damned elemental.” [Spellcraft check; on a success, you may command the lightning elemental, but on a failure, your allies may pay a terrible price.]
>Pray to the Beholder
or
>“I’m not leaving without my shoggoth-sword.” [You may lose your sword if you don’t choose this.]
I’m already unhappy that we’re leaving that Mewtwo fuck alive, but I ain’t leaving that damn nat 100 Slogsword behind. Fuck that.

The others can retreat.
>>
>>5442612
>>“We’re not leaving until I tame this damned elemental.” [Spellcraft check; on a success, you may command the lightning elemental, but on a failure, your allies may pay a terrible price.]
Once this is succeeded, pick up the sword and cut the head of the future-problem
>>
>>5442612
>“We’re not leaving without the Ghoul Supreme’s head AND my fucking sword"
>Spellcheck to tame the Elemental
Do whatever we can to get extra dice. Pray to Death or whatever, he hates the ghouls so he might find invoking the ghoul-zapping elemental based and make an appearance to help tame it. Now that I think of it, we are VERY close to Death right now, so he's gotta be nearby and it might work?
>Tell others to back the fuck off
>>5442609
I fucking love this ring now.
>>
>>5442612
>“We’re not leaving without my shoggoth-sword.” [You may lose your sword if you don’t choose this.]
>“We’re not leaving without the Ghoul Supreme’s head.” [The Ghoul supreme MAY live if you don’t choose this.]
>>
>>5442821
Support, even though that 3d skill completely cucked us before. Anons should remember that Sword Mastery is our best skill, and should be abused during boss fights over shitty spells.

Our allies should save themselves beforehand though.
>>
>>5443301
>>5443120
>>5442850
>>5442824
>>5442821
>>5442735
[Locked and writing!]
>>
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Rolled 5, 3, 20, 16 = 44 (4d20)

>>5443439
“I’m not leaving yet.”

Hamaraska looks at you as if you are speaking in some unknown language, rather than their own elvish speech.

“I’m not leaving without my sword and the head of this so-called ‘Ghoul Supreme’,” you explain patiently. “And that means that I need to deal with this damned elemental.”

“It’s suicide.”

You stand tall, and spread your wings—even as the membrane begin to disintegrate, and the wings to shrink and shrivel.

“It is the essence of being a True Dragon,” you announce.

Hamaraska looks at you uncertainly… But stays.

“What are you doing?!” Azonia shouts over to the two of you.

“Go,” the Lancer suggests. “Get out.”

Azonia looks to you, and you nod. She chokes back a laugh, and shakes her head.

“Madness!” you pronounces, but takes command of your elven entourage eagerly and readily enough, leading them away.

“I hope you know what you’re doing, King Theral,” Hamaraska says quietly.

So do you, honestly… But you have to try. You step forward, emboldened by the vestiges of your <Dragonshape> and by the Fearsome Presence which you thus project. You’ve done this before—once, when you released another elemental in a similarly-desperate situation back in the Bloodrise mountain range, you were able to cow the powerful fire-spirit with your will. Now, you face down the crackling, arcing energeis of the barely-cogent lightning elemental, and try to remember how it was done…
>>
>>5443444
So… new pet?
>>
>>5443451
>>5443444
The faintly-humanoid shape towers over your slowly-shrinking form, but you do not flinch. Lighting sizzles the air around you, filling your nostrils with the stench of zone and burning ghoul-flesh, but you continue to keep your chin raised, looking into the sun-like brightness of its blank face, as if to maintain the gaze of unseen eyes.

“You have my things,” you begin, nodding to the shoggoth-sword and the corpse(?) of the Ghoul Supreme alike.

The electrical entity says nothing, simply twitching and shuffling about with pent-up energy, flexing and coiling its ‘limbs’ in a peculiar and unsettling jitter-dance.

“Return them to your master,” you assert, impressing in your tone and stance all your willpower.

The lighting sparks and crackles—angrily? In amusement? You cannot say. Then, to your surprise, the storm-sprite speak, and in the True Speech!

“By what right do you call yourself ‘master’?”

“I am called Theral, the Dragonborn,” you announce. “I am Bronze Dragon King of the Bloodrise, where you were captured and bound to this ring.”

You lift the ring, now set with only a single, icy-blue gem. The lightning elemental flinches slightly, then twitches forward as if to seize it. You do not step back, but INTO the electrical embrace, even as it singes and sizzles your scales.

“I am descendant and heir of the Red Dragon King, your first master,” you say levelly, biting back the pain and resisting the involuntary tremor of your electrified muscles. “I released you, and I can bind you again. You are MINE, elemental… And you WILL yield.”

There is a pause, the energetically-charged mists flowing over and around you as the elemental lurches forwards…

>20

…And then, with a sound like a displeased hiss, the elemental collapses to the floor, spreading and dispersed with a few final arcs, and granting you access to your prize. Hamaraska watches, barely restraining Honemdyn from fleeing at the explosive final display of your elemental. In the Drow’s eyes you see awe, amazement—yet another true believer and convert.

In the eyes of the Junior Novice, also watching quietly from a safe distance, you see terror blossom into a sort of fearful reverence. You sense no more chance of rebellion from that one, having witnessed you tame a living storm.

With a quiet sigh of relief and no small sense of self-satisfaction, you take up your shoggoth-sword. You pat its blade until its rolling eyes blink shut and its squirming dimensions settle back into sword-shape, with cutting edge. Then, with a final stroke, you claim your ultimate victory.

You leave the chamber to meet the retreated dark elves, shoggoth-sword in one hand and decapitated, overlarge Ghoul Supreme head in dangling from your other by its whiskers. Hamaraska walks on one side of you, with their pet and your following close behind.

A mote of sparking light follows a short distance behind them: your newest recruit, of sorts.
>>
>>5443471
It has been a long journey, and the battle has taxed you all a great deal. Even the whooping cries of the celebrant elves upon your reappearance cannot wash away the exhaustion from you. You see many such haggard expression, uplifted by your total victory and yet no less weary for the means by which it was won.

“We should rest,” Sengar suggests.

“The ghouls would have our guts while we slept,” Jhamrius points out.

“We can schedule watch-elves,” Azonia suggests.

“No need,” Hamaraska suggests more quietly.

“What do you mean by that?” Azonia demands.

“The Lancer is right,” you concur. “Look around.”

You all do so, and listen also. Apart for the quiet chattering of the other elves, there is no sound. No squealing or skittering, no shifting of stones caused by scurrying scavengers. The ghouls have fled this place, leaving Death’s new domain in peace, and with all the solemn silence of a hallowed grave.

“It’s still unsettling,” Sengar complains, shivering.

“They could come back,” Jhamrius says, and though you aren’t convinced by the argument, you sense that he shares his fellow warrior’s discomfort.

What will you do?
>Press on, and return to Wevenore post-haste
>Rest here, and pay formal tribute to Death in a meditative prayer
>Uncork a bottle of dark elven mushroom-wine, and raise a toast (and your elves’ spirits)
>Go ghoul-hunting—to make SURE they’re gone, once and for all
>Write-in
>>
>>5443481
>Set your untiring, newly mastered elemental on guard

>Rest here, and pay formal tribute to Death in a meditative prayer, leading the elves in a communal ceremony
>>
>>5443444
>“Madness!” you pronounces

*she pronounces
>>
>>5443481
>Go ghoul-hunting—to make SURE they’re gone, once and for all
>>
>>5443481
>Go ghoul-hunting—to make SURE they’re gone, once and for all
>>
>>5443481
>Rest here, and pay formal tribute to Death in a meditative prayer
>>5443471
So, do we get a boon for elemental control after having aced control over both fire and storm elemental now?
>>5443492
You weren't here when we got that ring, I assume? Fire and storm elementals are gone, one ice charge is left.
>>
>>5443481
>Rest here, and pay formal tribute to Death in a meditative prayer
>Uncork a bottle of dark elven mushroom-wine, and raise a toast (and your elves’ spirits)
>Have Junior on guard to talk to any dogbolds into joining us if any come back
Between Junior, the bug, and Electroball, we can afford to cut back and improve morale.
>>
>Go ghoul-hunting—to make SURE they’re gone, once and for all
>>