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slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Venner and Odessa, you slow down the charging beetle, and rather than try to break through the wall you make and continue towards the glob of rotten olives that smack wetly on its carapace, it retreats. It seems potentially as swift in reverse as it was when it began its charge, but once it is clear of the two of you, it takes a curved trajectory, comes to a halt, then charges at Dominik instead.

Ysolde, you free your legs in your attempt to right yourself, but your hands and arms on which you leaned to do so become so stuck in the rotten olives that you cannot finish the maneuver properly. Instead you tumble backwards into a pushup position, and the soles of your feet strike a tree on the way down. Your view of the retreating Pig-Iron Cauldron is obscured by a cloud of sooty dust, fallen from the branches. Your eyes close in time, but unable to cover your mouth and nose with your submerged hands, you inhale some. The dryness and smell and taste of frass forces you to cough, and the expulsion of breath summons the swarm of Dire Gadflies. As you free your arms and rise to your knees, you feel the beat of their wings. They are about to land on you, and then they will bite.

What do you do?
Soul Bank: 230

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mistaya
Oct 18, 2006

Cat of Wealth and Taste


Dom
HP: 28/32 Armor: 3 Souls: 0 LCK: 11/11 Beads: 5/5 Salts: 2/2

"Oh bother that," I growl as the flies turn off the first beetle. No insect was going to get the better of me, again! I scramble to my feet, flicking olives off my shield and raising my sword high. I bang it once on my shield, a bit of bravado to steel my nerves. "That's right you mindless beast, pick on someone your own size!" I aimed for the crease in the carapace, where the soft bits were hidden and swung overhanded!

H&S this here second beetle. 2d6+1 = 11! Damage roll: d10 = 6!

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 22/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 30 Flask: 5/5 Spice: 2/2 | Rotes, Cause Fear, Charm Person

I turn to give Venner a quick, curt nod, nice one, and then lunge toward the air above Ysolde to smite some dire gadflies. My choice of weapon and fighting style, that is, swinging madly with a mace, is particularly well suited for these foes.

Hackenslash: Dire flies: 2d6 7

By the gods. I've been bitten, and swatted, many thousands of flies and beetles and blood-cicadas in my life, but none so meaty as these. Eugh, and ow.

edits: It Hurts This Much: 1d6 3 damage

There's more crap in the air than I expected, and it's more rancid than anyone would want. I've had the idea in the back of my mind for a while now, that with my new form's abilities, I could quickly manifest a piece of armor in response to danger without having to suffer the restraint of heavy steel except for split seconds at a time. Why not armor for my lungs, too? I try to manifest the cloak I brought for cold nights, wrapped around my mouth like a scarf.

Defy Danger: Int: Manifest Magic Underwear: 2d6+1 8

StringOfLetters fucked around with this message at Apr 8, 2016 around 04:20

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Agerios Lapheusix
HP: 30/30 Armor: 3/3 Souls: 27 Luck: 5/7 Bag of Obols: 5/5 Shears: 2/2

Overwhelmed by the sudden action around me, I stand motionless for a few crucial seconds before I snap out of it. I have to pick a target and stick with them. I sprint towards Ysolde, as everyone seems to regroup there.

"Soon, we will be surrounded by these gadflies!" I give the rest a grim smile. "I like that. It means we can attack in any direction we want."

I inhale deeply, then give a shout that I hope matches Dom's saber rattling. Hopefully, the noise and breath will attract some of them to me. And then I move towards Ysolde, so I can start spearing these disgusting critters as they charge me or her, one by one.

Hack & Slash: 10
Damage: A 9.

DD+Con: holding my breath while I step into the dust cloud to fight: An 8.

Deltasquid fucked around with this message at Apr 8, 2016 around 08:08

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


Ysolde Stormcrow
HP: 18/24 Luck: 8/8 Armor: 0 Souls: 20 Jar: 5/5 Ring: 2/2 | Cantrips, Invisibility, Magic Missile

On some level, it doesn't even make sense to Ysolde that her body would still need air, would still breathe on its own, and would still see its breath fail -- but on another, this is hardly an academic point, nor one she has the leisure to explore at length. Her body is exhaling, apparently lifelike enough to attract infernal insects, and inhaled enough for a lungful of debris. She holds back the coughs she can feel coming, focusing on forcing her body to get to its feet and ready to fight. If she can just bring her magic to bear, she might have a fighting chance...

But maybe, with her lungs still polluted and her will focused purely on survival, calling on magic won't quite be that easy.

DD (Con) because screw nature: 2d6+1 8
Cast a Spell (Magic Missile at the Dire Gadflies): 2d6+2 6

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Dominik, the beetle splits open like a steamed mussel, and a soul flies into you. When your fellow beetles die a natural death, their carapaces split down the middle and your nemeses, the Dire Gadflies consume them in a grisly sky burial. However, a certain gland is ruptured in this death, and it turns the sticky sap they so love to dine on to a slow acting poison. The flies will die seconds after expending their energy taking flight, and then either your fellow beetles, immune to their own poison, will dine upon them, or your nemeses will, and the poison will claim more and more of their lives.

You learn how to manifest Cauldron Bubbles, which are specially effective against creatures of high metabolism.

Odessa, you swat three of the smaller, male flies out of the air before two females detect your swatting appendage and snap it in half with their mandibles, leaving you disarmed. As for the soot, your heavy cloak has no trouble shielding you from it, although it does funnel the stench of rotting olives up into your mouth and nostrils.

Agerios, you impale so many flies that your spear becomes noticeably heavier with their corpses, which in turn attract more into the path of destruction. They are moths, your weapon, the flame. Holding your breath protects you from a fit of coughing, but the soot still collects on your eyelashes, weighing them down like the flies on your spear. You are still able to wield it perfectly well, but your eyes are not as well trained as your arms. Little by little, your field of vision flattens into a thin line, but to open your eyes any more would be to invite the black dust in. If your Spectre's raspy coughing is any indication if how much an irritant it is, to do so would blind you more.

Ysolde, your eyelashes are similarly caked with fly frass, and its creators crawl on your body ready to sting as you cast your spell. Trying to keep both out of your mouth alters the effect of your spell, and a particularly plosive consonant causes a spark to come from your hand, as it does with novices. Theirs, however, are not made in the middle of a oxygenated cloud, and cause no dust explosion as yours does. Your flies crack like a campfire log, drenching you in their organs and hemolymph.

Agerios and Dominik, you are able to raise your shields in time to protect yourselves. Odessa and Ysolde, you are knocked to the ground and set aflame, clothes, hair, and all. You both take 6 damage from the blast. Any fire-proof objects survive, but otherwise, they are burned away. The fire begins to spread from tree to tree around the grove, faster behind you where the trees are drier. From that direction comes the screech of harpies and flutter of their wings as they all take to the air, even unwieldy fledglings and arthritic elders. Then you see from the Temple Keep the blinding flicker of rapid bolts lightning, and hear the overlapping, staccato boom of their thunder, striking down those who fly too low.

The flames spread slower in the direction you were heading, deeper into the Pestilential Grove. Once you pass the spiral sword that leads back to the Nexus, you will be in unexplored territory.

What do you do?
Soul Bank: 240

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


Ysolde Stormcrow
HP: 12/24 Luck: 8/8 Armor: 0 Souls: 20 Jar: 5/5 Ring: 2/2 | Cantrips, Invisibility, Magic Missile

Switching from third to first person since I realized it was sort of weird to be the only person posting in third-person tense ICly. Anyway.

Everything burns. My spellbook is warded against flame, of course, but the books around it are all too flammable, and even the glass bottles that hold my stock of potions are likely no longer safe. My robes are starting to catch, and my staff, old wood, is already lit, smoke curling up from the pinprick holes embers are boring into it. All I can do is divest, as quickly as possible: pull my staff from my back and fling it down, drop my bag, and glance around frantically for somewhere to run, somewhere I can drop and roll to kill the flames --

There! A tiny patch of dry soil where the flames haven't spread. I lunge forward and throw myself to the ground, rolling frantically to smother the flames before the debris on the ground can catch. It's messy, there's no dignity in it, and the forest fire is still approaching, but it might give me long enough to grab my spellbook and make a retreat.

DD (Dex) to drop, run, and roll: 2d6 8

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 16/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 30 Flask: 5/5 Spice: 2/2 | Rotes, Cause Fear, Charm Person

A mosquito snaps my sturdy-as-hell iron beating rod in half, loving yikes. I yelp and fling what's left of the handle at the offending bug. And then, suddenly, I'm on fire. My next actions, I have to parse after the fact, because when you are beating flames out you can't really pause to consider anything. I drop to the ground and roll around, covering myself in soothing gross olive juice. I de-manifest the burning cloak from around my face after the first few tugs don't break it free, as well as my over-shirt, pants, and really everything except my chainmail, whose rings are still uncomfortably warm.

I wipe some rotted juice from my eyes, and spit out a chunk of something. I say, "Blech," while I take fresh stock of my surroundings. "Did one of us do that, or was that a lightning thing? In either case, let's get moving. If we can stay just a little ahead of a spreading fire, hopefully this monstrous wildlife will have the good sense to flee from it."

And, onwards!? I'm good with unexplored territory.

mistaya
Oct 18, 2006

Cat of Wealth and Taste


Dom
HP: 28/32 Armor: 3 Souls: 0 LCK: 11/11 Beads: 5/5 Salts: 2/2

There is very little I can do to help deal with the fire, which is spreading alarmingly fast. Not that I mind seeing those harpies get what's coming to them, again. But still...

"Beyond the sword then, there must be something we've missed."

---
not much of a post but uh yeah lets go that-way.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Agerios Lapheusix
HP: 30/30 Armor: 3/3 Souls: 27 Luck: 5/7 Bag of Obols: 5/5 Shears: 2/2

"Very well," I say. "Onwards, then. To the Grove."

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Odessa and Ysolde, you are able to quench the flames before they completely destroy you and your gear, thought the latter may not be as effective as one might wish, and the former are tender and blistered.
fire: 1d6 5

You venture deeper into the grove, and the environment rapidly changes the farther you go. The odor of rot dissipates, now only emanating from where your bodies were drenched. The whirling clouds thin out to nothingness, replaced by a starry night sky with a large half moon near the horizon. And the trees come alive, their leaves become green, branches, clean and fruiting.


Countless campfires light up the valley, and you hear soft, barely audible music coming from them. A voice calls out to you and a man who appears to be a goat from the waist down approaches with both hands aloft, "Ho there, travelers! Welcome to Revel Valley! You must be tired, hungry, thirsty and dirty after escaping the Grove, I will lead you to the Newcomer Springs!" He points and capers down the way, where you see round pools glowing in the moonlight, some lightly bubbling, some full with bathers. He greets you all, introducing himself as Sweep. "I see some of your arms--and bodies--are battered, tattered, broken and fouled. Water can't help with all of that, and can even rust some of them! Also, itwouldmakemyandyourfellowsabituncomfortableforyoutowalkaroundwiththem. But! There is a way around that: sell them to me, I will 'bank' them until you wish to return to the adventuring--no charge. Oh, and I forgot to mention: this way you won't have to hurt yourself to repair them. 'Selling' them two and fro between non-Mistborne has that effect. Oh and also--I am a little drunk and forgetful--your bodies will be rejuvenated down below, from the spiritual food and drink. So, is that okay?"

What do you do?

He means everything you own. Even poison and adventurer's gear and such, all of which could theoretically be used criminally--at least as a bribe. Recovery items, however, cannot be sold, so you would keep them.

slydingdoor fucked around with this message at Apr 17, 2016 around 15:08

mistaya
Oct 18, 2006

Cat of Wealth and Taste


Dom
HP: 28/32 Armor: 3 Souls: 0 LCK: 11/11 Beads: 5/5 Salts: 2/2

The strange goat man seems very friendly! But I saw nothing of this place when we looked down on the gulch from the vista. And... I recall the madly dancing satyrs in Philkronos' death-vision. Crossing these folk would be unwise.

Quietly, I ask God for guidance. What we do now could put us all at great risk.

---

Using my Human skill to ask "What here is evil?"

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

God instructs you to value in charity, hospitality, and service, but your true and ultimate quest, that is to be your highest priority. Your purpose. God warns you of temptors, and that the Mist was not sent to you nor you to it so that you could stop here. Revel Valley is evil, not to be entered unless you would redeem it, or destroy it.

What do you do?
Soul Bank: 240

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Agerios Lapheusix
HP: 30/30 Armor: 3/3 Souls: 27 Luck: 5/7 Bag of Obols: 5/5 Shears: 2/2

I, myself, am simply glad to have met somebody or something here that isn't trying to kill me. I'm somewhat suspicious of this all too friendly fellow, but I'm willing to at least humor him for now.
Also, real friendly of him to mention he is drunk and forgetful after asking us to let him watch over our stuff!

Avoiding the question, I say: "I am somewhat surprised to come across a friendly face here. Happy as well, of course. Where are we, exactly? Is there some sort of community in Revel Valley, or did you simply make camp for the night?"

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

"We Satyrs have always been a community, but only ever since the the Mist, and from it, Siberay--our spiritual leader--have we opened up to Humans and Spectres and such. As for camping for the night, well, newbie, time has worked all weird since the Mist, so it's always night here. At first that meant huddling around our fires, watching out for those dogs... but then one of you beat them up, kindled more fires and told us that only by become a peaceful, open, loving community could we really defy the Mist, and what it did to everyone. So now our community's got more fires and food and wine and members and spread across the whole valley, pretty much. Pushed those dogs and monsters and whatnot to the...to the...out."
Soul Bank: 240

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


Ysolde Stormcrow
HP: 7/24 Luck: 8/8 Armor: 0 Souls: 20 Jar: 5/5 Ring: 2/2 | Cantrips, Invisibility, Magic Missile

Haggard as I am, this is all immensely tempting, but it's also immensely confusing. How could a grove like this be maintained next to such rampant decay, let alone the all-consuming mist? And they want me to let my things go? Yes, they're ruined, mostly, but they're also a part of me. I confess, I have some doubts.

"Wait, there was another before us? Can you describe them? And how do you fuel your lives here so adequately that you welcome guests?" I let my eyes wander, trying to focus on my surroundings, even if I'm distracted by my own problems.

Discern Realities about Revel Valley: 2d6+1 5
Guess I got my one good roll of the game first, huh?

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Sweep walks you around the Springs that you might inspect them. In the dim light of the lantern-like torches atop poles, you see many Humans and Spectres relaxing in smallclothes. None of them speak of adventuring, only the food and wine on their trays, songs, and Souls. They have won and lost gambling with them, and the selling to and buying of... something. They stop themselves from saying. At that point, some of them look at you all, then at one another, then pull themselves from their pools and race towards the fires.

What all of them say at some point is how they pity you for what you have been through, the burdenand strongly believe for any number of reasons one could think that you all should join them, at least for a little time. They admit hours, days, and weeks all blend together of course. Once you do, you will be family, and they will keep no secrets from you. Sweep smiles at them.

What do you do?
Soul Bank: 250

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 11/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 30 Flask: 5/5 Spice: 2/2 | Rotes, Cause Fear, Charm Person

By the gods and every star in the night sky, this friendly temptor could not be raising more red flags without a literal blood-soaked banner planted in the ground. Most damning among them, that their 'spiritual leader' came from the mist. Nothing good comes from the mist. My skin is crawling.

Still, there is a possibility of getting through - or away from - this valley without violence, so I will try to remain polite. And very, very aware of anyone standing behind me.

I will explain to mister Sweep that, "I'm afraid I have nothing left to wear besides this iron maille, and I..." my eyes stray off the path, to some revelers in their underwear, "...hope you can respect my wish to remain, um, modest. And I'm quite unarmed. Although, since I won't need it, you could hold on to this shield for me?"

I'll offer to "sell" him the sigil of my shield, which was originally Agerios's shield, which I have barely made use of. If he's remotely trustworthy, this can be an opportunity for him to prove it to us by eventually returning it. If he is not, I won't really miss the bulky thing.

Then, Ysolde asks some pointedly reasonable questions, and makes the revelers nervous as hell. They actually get up as if to leave, to avoid answering her. That's... scary, in a way that flesh-eating beetles aren't.

I see a chance to do damage control. I am going to call out to the running revelers, and try to seem as impressionable as I can be. I'll say, "H-hey, wait! What's the hurry? We don't need to worry about, um, that other stuff. I wanted to hear more about that wine pairing! I've never even tasted real wine. Would it be alright if I tried some? Uh, what's a good one to start with?"

Defy Danger: Charisma: We're not a threat? : ): 2d6+1 6

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Odessa, the runners, previously prancing and laughing at one another while looking back at you, turn pale and begin to sprint urgently towards their destination, screaming in terror, crying out for help. The slowest one trips and falls prone, then nestles their face in the crook of their elbow and holds up a warding hand at you blindly, weeping, "I don't want to die. I just wanted to be the first to tell the Mistborne of your arrival..." The other bathers stare at you, petrified in fear. Some cling to each other and shut their eyes hard.

Sweep softly speaks your name and walks into your view, ushering you away from the Human, "Odessa, telling them you just gave me your shield won't make them any more at ease. Put yourself in their place: the last time they were chased down by a Spectre loaded for bear with big weapons and shiny armor to help them kill without the possibility of the weak fighting back they were shown no mercy. I understand if you don't want to give up what's kept you safe all this time, but if you insist on it, I must ask you to keep to the boundaries of the Valley. Oh, and if any of our revelers are in the woods, please don't approach them. Even if you demanifest your arms and armor, you still... smell of them. Most of our revelers have grown quite sensitive to it, having been without them for so long. That's why I am here, away from the fires and tables, as the Greeter. It is my burden to hold all sorts of dangerous stuff until their owners wish to leave, so I smell like you. To be a Spring-goer, these ones agree to hide their sensitivity to your and my odor, and to be accommodating and hospitable to us while they bathe. What you've done... has overwhelmed them a little. I don't think there will be any more Spring-goers for a while..."

He wilts, crestfallen, "I think I already know your decision, but I--I just want you to know how much it saddens me to think of what might happen to you on the Thin Paths outside our borders, where the hungry monsters prowl. Please be safe.. Oh, and you're always welcome back, if you change your minds. You don't have to stay with us at all if you don't want to. Many adventurers just pass right through the Valley, collecting their equipment on the other end, not staying any longer than they have to. You wouldn't even have to slow down passing through either way..."

What do you do?
Soul Bank: 250

Siberay is Mistborne, I was unclear.

slydingdoor fucked around with this message at Apr 18, 2016 around 22:36

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Agerios Lapheusix
HP: 30/30 Armor: 3/3 Souls: 27 Luck: 5/7 Bag of Obols: 5/5 Shears: 2/2

After what Odessa did, I'm convinced these people are, at the very least, poorer fighters than we are. I'm willing to bite the bullet and give Sweep our stuff, provided we keep close to him in case he tries anything fishy. In a worst case scenario, Dom and I could probably shake our equipment out of him again if necessary.

I say to sweep: "Hold on, friend. Forgive us for being a bit on edge. We haven't had the warmest welcome in the mist so far, and we are rather taken aback by a situation that frankly looks too good to be true right now. I'm willing to temporarily part with my equipment, but I would feel more comfortable if you stayed close to us so we could retrieve them if necessary."

EDIT: adding Parley roll, which is a 6. Somebody help me out?

Deltasquid fucked around with this message at Apr 18, 2016 around 23:31

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Roll Parley, he wants you to pass through Revel Valley but as a Greeter, he cannot go with you. He has equipment banked and the smell would frighten people.

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 22/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 30 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 1/2 | Rotes, Cause Fear, Charm Person

What in the world... can these fools see me? I'm hardly an imposing figure. I'm taken aback by their fear, I hold up my palms and try to say something reassuring, but it's no use. I sigh.

I'll muster up some sincerity, and say, "I'm sorry about that. Agerios, you're quite right - I think we're all a bit too on edge to have faced such a warm welcome with the manners it deserves. Of course it's fair to disarm ourselves to pass through your valley."

Aid: Agerios: 2d6+1 7

And, unless the simple act sends somebody else into conniptions, I will take a breath through my mystical vessel to re-constitute my burnt goddamn clothes (+equipment, -spice, -11hp) and then take a deep pull from my flask of light. (-2 flask, +22hp) And then, with something to wear, I'll be willing to relenquish my armor and my mace.

I once thought it was a valuable thing, of solid construction, the likes of which I shouldn't part with until somebody pries it from my cold, dead hands. But now I'm immortal, or something, and a mosquito can bite my mace in half, so what the hell do I know?

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Odessa, as soon as he sees your spice and flask come out, Sweep tries to get your attention, "Ah, uh, there's no need to hurt yourself to do that for I'm guessing just some burnt fabric, just exchanging them with me will fix it right up. Also the food and drink and pools and such, they can all heal you. Without wasting any of your... stuff."

What do you do?

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 11/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 30 Flask: 5/5 Spice: 2/2 | Rotes, Cause Fear, Charm Person

Eh? Alright, I'll bite. I don't buy that he's just so concerned for me, though I'm very keen to find out why that makes him so nervous. I will refrain from partaking of my mystical bounty, and do as gracious Sweep suggests. I'll say, "Very well. Thank you, Sweep, I would be delighted. Though, there's no short supply of my 'stuff. I'm still surprised, I suppose, to see such kindness and hospitality, given the lands nearby. How is it that you've made peace with the harpies? They attacked us on sight."

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Odessa, Sweep 'buys' all your items. You forget how to manifest them, and exactly what they were, but they are listed and described on a claims ticket that you are 'payed.' The Satyr even manifests them on his person so you can see that they match what is on the claims ticket. Everyone else, you recognize they are exactly as they were when Odessa manifested them anew. It goes the same for anyone else who takes him up on his offer.

"Siberay learned the Harpy tongue and negotiated a truce! I don't know what were the terms, but they only come and go in peace. It's a pretty rare occurrence."

He strokes his chin, trying to be accommodating to your troublesome request. "Um, to be able walk with you and your stuff through town, I'd have to ask Siberay for permission. That means calling over another Greeter giving all the stuff I'm holding to them, then going to the middle of the Valley, then coming back with the answer. It might take a while. Does that work? In the meantime, you could bathe! Or chat more people up maybe apologize! Or head to one of the outside fires, where Greeters hang out. Then you could bother them with all your questions, ehh?" The last part is obviously in jest, and Sweep is already making an otherworldly whistle, ostensibly to summon another Greeter.

The bathers who have stayed even after your frightening chase are back to relaxing and trying their best to smile, but those who are keeping an eye on you are obviously trying not to flinch at your approach. The only ones who do not do so keep their eyes closed altogether. Out of sight, out of mind.

What do you do?
Soul Bank: 250

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 11/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 0 Souls: 30 Flask: 5/5 Spice: 2/2 | Rotes, Cause Fear, Charm Person

I won't deny Agerios's request to keep his spear-carrier nearby. I snicker a little at the sight of me-sized armor on the burly goat man. I say, "I think I'd like to chat some people up."

And I will! Bearing nothing, now, except a shirt and pants, I will smile and slowly approach one of the bathers with the 'courage' to keep an eye on me. I wave a little, and walk up only close enough to be heard speaking. I'll say, "Hello! I'm sorry for startling you. We mean you no harm, we've just had a very stressful day and weren't, um, ready to calm down yet. My bad. Is it alright if I join you over there?"

Defy Awkwardness: +Cha: 2d6+1 7

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Odessa, the bather is a Spectre trying to hide their unease. They rise out of their pool when you approach, "HiI'mAlex. Was just finishing my bath. So, uh, relaxed now. T-take my pool, and my wine, and my food. I haven't touched them yet, they're clean, I'll get some more, back at the--"

They turn and leave for the fires. The cup of wine and plate of hors d'oeuvres are indeed untouched. An apathetic Human bather, with eyes closed, chuckles, "Don't sweat the Spectres. They're skittish. After all, if they're destroyed and no one's around to restore them, from their original group, it's back to the Nexus, all but naked, with no Souls, trying to find another Human willing to take them back and leave them here. I can tell you: a Human who didn't stay here isn't gonna take on a useless Spectre they know isn't even 'helping' them into the deadliest part of this world, past the part with the least number of deaths--it's not dangerous here per se, but drunks get up to some stupid poo poo, especially when it's been ages since they were able to find even a little wine just to take the edge off... "

They almost have a moment of reflection before their countenance changes back to the facile one from before, "As I was saying, some of they try to jump over a fire, or wrestle, or climb something tall, you get the picture.

"I'm Rory, by the way. You should know, Alex and you have something in common. Both can cast spells. I can smell it on you. Greeters can't bank those! Yet. You could make some friends trading them or bartering them or whatnot. Some former casters pawn all their spells here for Souls, gamble, win big and buy them all back and more. Haha, if you tried to pull that outside you wouldn't be holding onto those Souls for long. Some greedy ones would smell it a mile away, be pleased to see they didn't need to group up and try to take down a real Great Soul, just a weak little Hoarder. So I've heard."

Now they lower their voice, "Reminds me of the way Alex got here and got back: finding a Human who didn't know about this place, then offering to 'scout out ahead' while they were getting all antsy about giving up their equipment... but you didn't hear that from me. That secret--one of many--is complimentary, by the way. Just something I noticed while I was relaxing here, all alone."

What do you do?
Soul Bank: 250

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 11/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 0 Souls: 30 Flask: 5/5 Spice: 2/2 | Rotes, Cause Fear, Charm Person

This person's familiarity with how 'life' as a spectre works is blowing my mind. Gods, I dared to think that we were a special handful. But apparently there are enough of them - that is, enough of 'us' - and there have been for long enough, that there are idiots getting drunk and hurting themselves! So much for questing for answers to existential questions and maybe saving the world.

I entertain the idea of trying to 'play it cool' and act like a veteran spectre, but I'm sure my ignorance will betray me soon enough and Rory will see right through me. (Ha) I'll say, "Charmed to meet you. Odessa."

I'll have a seat on a soft spot on the ground, de-manifest my boots, roll up my pant legs, and set my feet into the pool. I say, "I confess, I'm actually quite new to this life. Such as it is. This is my first day as a spectre, and until moments ago, I had no idea there were so many more of, um, us. And what you're saying is fascinating. I hope you'll indulge me for a few very basic questions?

"Now, you said I'm a 'weak little hoarder,' which I could not have disputed even in life. Do you also mean to say that my ability to act as a conduit for the Gods' miraculous intervention - that is, my 'spells - could be bartered and gambled with?"

If I think about it, I'm sure I could distill the memories and separate them from myself, just as I did with my armor. I don't want to try.

I will also say, "I hope you can forgive me if I trample on any etiquette, and chalk it up to being rather a foreigner, but... how long have you been here? How long has this been going on?"

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Rory's head shakes, and they try to explain again, more clearly. An attempt not to sound patronizing nearly succeeds, "Oh no, you're not a weak little Hoarder, I was referring to spellcasters who showed up here, banked their equipment, kept their spells, then sold those spells for Souls to other Humans and Spectres in yon settlement. There's also gambling that happens over there, among the many sorts of entertainment that Humans and Spectres alike enjoy. With the 'seed money' from spells, or anything else you can manage to get past the Greeters--theoretically-- one could potentially win a ton of Souls. Problem is, if they aren't someone who wants to stick around and rest on their laurels, and instead want to get to a bonfire and use those Souls to empower themselves, that one more often than not will picked off by other Humans and their Spectres, who steal all their Souls. Sort of like a pack of hunters, they are. Or bandits. They are equipped to handle big game, but they won't turn down a fat, slow, weak, bloated, stupid little Hoarder. It'd be a low-risk high-reward kill. Theoretically. Then they use those Souls to become stronger. Make sense?

Then Rory's face goes blank, then their eyes look away and to the side, "I, how long? Well, you know how time flows oddly around here and all. Ha ha ha!"

What do you do?
Soul Bank: 250

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


Ysolde Stormcrow
HP: 7/24 Luck: 8/8 Armor: 0 Souls: 20 Jar: 5/5 Ring: 2/2 | Cantrips, Invisibility, Magic Missile

I may have grown up in an abandoned wizard's tower, but that doesn't mean I was raised under a rock. This Human is "hinting" -- practically screaming -- that we should give our spells up to the Greeter, or else. I'm still getting used to the idea that everything from our memories to the clothes on our backs are part of the same Soul economy, but magic, too? This feels like a lie, but even if it weren't, I can't imagine casually handing my entire life's study to some broker. I can only imagine Odessa, with her divine devotion at stake, feels much the same.

"And how are we safer without our spells? What if we don't care to sell or gamble? I've never been a lucky one." That much is honest enough. "But beside that, if you'll indulge my asking... How are you human here? Was this city your home? Who were you, before the Nexus?" It's legitimate curiosity, although I expect a lie. This one doesn't have the air of being one of Agarios's countrymen. If there is a way to be human in another's land, though... Well, that's interesting.

mistaya
Oct 18, 2006

Cat of Wealth and Taste


Dom
HP: 28/32 Armor: 3 Souls: 0 LCK: 11/11 Beads: 5/5 Salts: 2/2

There is no doubt in my mind that this place is as rotten as the olives in the Gulch, but saying so in front of the Greeter is difficult. I try not to worry too much about Odessa when she takes the satyr's bait so quickly, and plan my own course of action instead.

"This place has a fair face and a foul heart," I whisper to Agerios. "If we are to get involved it should be to rid the pools of their erstwhile master, not to partake of the pleasures here."

I am not particularly pleased to find more people like us. Perhaps we are not as special, as Chosen, as I thought? No, I have stronger Faith than that. I trust in Him, who made all things, and now seeks to unmake them.

"Actually," I say to Sweep, "If Siberay knows the Harpy tongue I would very much like to meet him. We seek the inventor of the thunderous stairs, and it seems the Harpies are holding him above the clouds. If Siberay could assist us in this we would be able to proceed back the way we came without passing through your valley at all."

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Agerios Lapheusix
HP: 30/30 Armor: 3/3 Souls: 27 Luck: 5/7 Bag of Obols: 5/5 Shears: 2/2

I whisper back to Dom: "Indeed. This place does not put me at ease. But I'd rather avoid it altogether if we can, rather than get sidetracked and have these denizens throw spanners into our works down the line."

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Ysolde, Rory laughs at the first question, "Safer without your spells? Not in the least! Being one of the few with spells in the Valley makes you much more... respected than the many without them. In a fair fight, a naked spellcaster usually beats a naked anything else. That, on top of their worth in Souls does mean everyone will be trying to buy those spells off you, but if someone breaks the rules and tries to fight you or anyone else for their spells or Souls or whatnot, you aren't breaking the rules if you use your spells to stop them. Self defense, or defending the Peace suspends the normal zero tolerance laws against aggravated assault.

"This has never come up, of course, but it is comforting that anyone could stop any violence from breaking out at a moment's notice. Huh, now that I think about it, having spells is somewhat of a responsibility, too. Perhaps that, as well as the gambling spirit, is why so many sell theirs to the Broker--whose ability to use spells is sealed somehow. Probably because casting all sorts of spells is a little more dangerous than manifesting all kinds of weapons and armor--only have so many hands! So the Broker is dfferent from the Greeters, who can manifest the equipment they "buy" to show you that you aren't being ripped off."

The one about the past causes a split second of looking away and furrowing eyebrows, but then Rory comes back with, "Haha, I can tell you one thing about that: I am not from this dreary land. Mine is much better, but not as good as Revel Valley! That must be why I'm here. To take a load off of being Rory from... ah, you wouldn't know it."

Dominik, Sweep smiles and nods rapidly up and down, "Siberay knows at least something about everything! And loves to trade in secrets and Souls for that knowledge. If you're a little low on those things, never fear! you can always exchange a little equipment for the Souls you need, at market value. They'll just get stricken from your claims ticket, easy as pie!... I wish someone would get me a pie."

Agerios, he turns to you, "If you agree to my terms about carrying your equipment through the Valley with you: I take you to the Greeters' Table, I give one of them all your stuff, then I go ask Siberay personally about your request! It's never happened before, but Siberay is very considerate. Worst case scenario, you'll have to offer something in exchange. Souls, of course. What you all have would cover it. Probably."

What do you do?
Soul Bank: 250

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Agerios Lapheusix
HP: 30/30 Armor: 3/3 Souls: 27 Luck: 5/7 Bag of Obols: 5/5 Shears: 2/2

I try to read my companions' faces before answering Sweep: "Uh, sure. Do you mind if I wait for my companions to finish whatever they're doing?" I'm not really used to positions of leadership and initiative being thrust upon me, so I'd rather discuss it with my wiser comrades.

I move to Odessa, hoping the rest joins us near her, and talk in a hushed voice: "Okay, I say we agree to the deal. Fortune favors the bold, and we don't have a lot of alternatives but to trust them. We can improvise if it goes wrong."

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 11/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 0 Souls: 30 Flask: 5/5 Spice: 2/2 | Rotes, Cause Fear, Charm Person

At Rory's explanation, I squinted for a moment to digest it all, and said, "Perfect sense. I appreciate the heads-up. So, there isn't a proper sacred bonfire in this valley? I imagine that might make big winners apprehensive about ever leaving." After a moment's further thought, I add, "And more cautious about stirring things up."

"It seems like everybody here has mentioned that they can 'smell' souls, and even de-manifested equipment. Is there a particular technique to that? Or is it just some awakened sixth sense that we probably haven't stopped to think about yet?"

Rory posted:

"Safer without your spells? Not in the least! Being one of the few with spells in the Valley makes you much more... respected than the many without them. In a fair fight, a naked spellcaster usually beats a naked anything else."

I smile at Ysolde, and hold up a hand, poised to be slapped. Don't leave me hangin'.

I overhear the gist of Agerios's and Sweep's conversation. At first, I thought this place was dangerous like a hive of viper-bees; full of sweet honey, and then once you're in and let your guard down you get stabbed with a thousand venomous knives. Now, I'm starting to think that's it's dangerous like a simple pot of honey - that is, it's not, except you can get stuck, and there are bears somewhere else in these woods.

Without hushing my voice much at all, I'll reply, "I agree, for the same reason." And with a glance to Rory, I'll add, "While this is a fascinating conversation, I could spend hours by this pool and not be 'finished.' As such, I'm ready when you are, ser."

StringOfLetters fucked around with this message at Apr 22, 2016 around 21:30

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Odessa, Rory gives you one last answer before Sweep takes all of you to the Greeters' table, "Right you are: no sacred bonfire in Revel Valley. It's not perfect. As for your sense of 'smell,' it's more just a—you're right—inscrutable, intuitive sense. Everything's got souls, and they all want to come together. It's not just the stranded ones with the tails, that make it obvious what they want to do: 'you' and yours want to meet 'them' and theirs. My advice? Try to 'smell' the latter because chances are they're sniffing out the former."

As he says, if your Souls have any familiarity with theirs, try to trigger Spout Lore. Some retroactivity can be at play here, but that is easily resolved: I will ask you how you might know what we find out you know.

At the Greeters' table, Sweep introduces you to Torgo, a thick, dour satyr who grudgingly banks your equipment while the more friendly and accommodating one trots off to Siberay.

Your new Greeter silently chews what must be the giant bite taken out of a turkey leg lying on the greasy plate before him. He has not risen from his seat nor looked at any of you even while you were introduced. In the distance, you all can make out a ring of revelers sitting around a smaller campfire. A Spectre in the center is using Prestidigitation to amuse the others, and has a Human hanging on each arm. The two are rivals, staring each other down. A Spectre and Human in the circle discreetly point to the left one or the right one and shake hands. At least two wagers are at play.

Torgo gulps, burps, and grumbles to you, back still turned, "If the clerk 'mong you's god likes gambling 'tall, yer gonna get rich, er famous, er both. "Nless all you just fart around here waitin. Sweep's prolly already 'diverted'–heh–so'f yer ask me better 'divert' yerselves befer boredom destroys ye." Then he washes it down with an interminable pull of wine straight from the bottle.

What do you do?
Soul Bank: 250

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 11/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 0 Souls: 30 Flask: 5/5 Spice: 2/2 | Rotes, Cause Fear, Charm Person

Interesting, interesting. "All souls want to come together, eh? That's beautiful, in a way." I thank Rory for the advice, find something to wipe my feet off on, and re-manifest my boots to go.

When I see the greasy turkey leg, my first thought is, how rich was that bird's soul?

I smile back at Torgo, and say, "Alarai has been known to appreciate a wager made in good faith, but he makes a point to never intervene or tip the balance of chance. No more likely for me than for anyone else. That said..." I eye over the wager in progress.

It's a lie in all but the most technical sense. A divine hand never reaches down from the night sky to make a die land on 'six,' but I can remember at least three stories off the top of my head where he gives his favored a hint in the right direction, or a short-cut in a long race between cities. If I am Alarai's chosen, then he'll surely want me to be well-equipped and strong for whatever is to come, and I have every intention of cheating to at least double my current soul pile.

To my boon companions, I will say, "Even if mister Sweep has gotten distracted, I think we ought to respect the leisurely way things are run here, and not make a stink about it. For a while, anyways. Shall we 'blend'?"

I'll join the ring of revelers, smile and wave, chat if anyone makes introductions, and mostly try to figure out what the heck is going on. Is this just some teenaged-level showmanship and courtship, with bored onlookers trying to squeeze out every drop of drama by adding stakes to the question, 'will they or won't they?'

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Odessa, roll Discern Realities.

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 11/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 0 Souls: 30 Flask: 5/5 Spice: 2/2 | Rotes, Cause Fear, Charm Person

Okay!

Discern Reality: By Mingling: 2d6+2 12
What here is useful or valuable to me?
What here is not what it appears to be?
What is about to happen?

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slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Odessa, you find out the Human on your left competing for the Spectre is Reanne, who has a stable of all different kinds that she takes 'big game hunting' outside of Revel Valley so she can come back and expand her collection or otherwise gamble at the high-stakes tables. On the right is Aster, a newcomer seeking to find the strongest bully in the area and undermine them via public humiliation. He is quite mysterious due to an unusually high competence in hiding his Souls–and Spells, if he has any. The Spectre in question is Jeen, a mighty cleric flabbergasted by being in the spotlight, unaware that it is due to the presence of perhaps inadvertently broadcast Spells, numerous and powerful.

You recognize in Jeen a general unease with the place, and know as a cleric that Gods rarely instruct their disciples to submit to the powerful instead of allying with the like-minded. Aster will surely be the choice, should he take advantage of his status as a fellow newcomer.

The wagers are being flashed like numbers in an auction, and you sense two tiers: some are betting Spells, which will be taught to the winners, free of charge, then forgotten by their owners; others are betting Souls. One such gambler, though, is wagering a Spell as collateral for more Souls than they have, and looking quite desperate doing so. Word is this Irvine is a wizard or cleric in need of Spells to continue on the Journey, Spells they lost trying to pass through Revel Valley with more Souls than they came in with, much like the gamblers Rory mentioned to you. That or a debtor trying to pay back a Sponsor, who would never let them leave or get far until they were paid what was due. Because he is betting an apparently undesirably Spell and only a few Souls, 23, no one is willing to take his bet, which he has placed on Reanne. What Spell is he betting?

Then you notice something odd, with a sense other than the 'smell' all the rest are relying on while they try to talk among one another to disguise their betting. Since you are the only one frankly staring at the courtship, you are the one who sees the wind blow Aster's tunic to the side for a moment before he rearranges it. What lies beneath are many claims tickets taped to his very skin. At least nine, if they were arranged symmetrically, including the one that everyone wore rolled up in their belt. There are also a number of other Spectres at a table not far away who are not betting, drinking, eating, or reveling together, but still oddly nervous about the competition. When you mingle their way, you see that their rolled up 'claims tickets' are fake. They only hold their equipment, Souls, and Spells.

What do you do?
Soul Bank: 250

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