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Butt Discussin
Sep 12, 2010



HiHo ChiRho posted:

Ford Percheron Maximum Mad Max

Kenji donates for full karma


Same vote

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Deadmeat5150
Nov 21, 2005

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLAN


I'm the only one who wants the truely amazing truck amd also the only one who specified how to mad max it up

Fellis
Feb 14, 2012

Kid, don't threaten me. There are worse things than death, and uh, I can do all of them.


Ham Wrangler

Dodge Quixote
Maximum Mad for whatever wins


We need Fuzzy to have something fast and tough, she's an honorary Ork after all And when she shows up to hot extract Kenji from a blown run, she'll need that speed and armor.

Also: Fuzzy spends extra on the upgrades to get her boy Tek a foot in the door at the local chop shop completely honest garage

We screwed up this young ork's ambition out of our own sense of morality (and also not wanting Dave's heart to break), it's high time we own up to that and give this guy a hand. We want Tek to do the upgrades cause he's a decent hand with an engine and we can give him a fair wage, but he doesn't have the lift/pit to do some of the nitty gritty work. Some rental fees/mentor labor at the local mechanic can give Tek a chance to impress his way into an honest trade. Plus we'll need a steady mechanic for vehicle repairs and a trusted mechanic to illegally re-install the HMG mount on our new Quixote.

(I initially was thinking we could improve Tek's contact rating, but we never got him as a contact back then )

Deadmeat5150 posted:

I'm the only one who wants the truely amazing truck amd also the only one who specified how to mad max it up

Yeah what this guy said, he sees the light of the Quixote (It should be Rocinante, but Quixote had better recognition with the Ares focus groups)

e: you forgot the winchless tow cable made of high tensile memory metal so you can just attach it and it winds itself!! A steal at 500 nuyen a meter!


Kenji Donates for Full Karma


e:Kenji should also tag along to the mechanic to see if they know any Riggers who need any extra work. Gentoo is a good wheel-elf, but if he's doing an infiltration, they'll need another driver and drones can help with the physical overwatch.

I need dig out my digital copy of SR5 and start thinking of how to spend all of Kenji's karma, I forget what the current plan is but I feel like he has 30 some still unspent/unplanned.

Fellis fucked around with this message at Mar 18, 2019 around 23:48

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


Joyce, Krupa and Olisha - Saturday, August 3rd, 2075 – Late afternoon – Blake Island

Joyce had scoured the island for hours in order to find Krupa. As he searched he grew more and more frantic that Krupa might be avoiding him on purpose. Initially he'd started at her cabin and knocked for several minutes, but as the lights were off she either wasn’t there or she was avoiding him.

Unlike Krupa, he couldn’t astrally project around at the speed of thought to find out where she was. He was perhaps one of the rarest and most magically flexible of all awakened, a mystic adept. The one downside to that was that they couldn't project. He could cast spells and use adept powers, though it also meant that he needed to work harder, and he really needed to. He'd spent so much time working for Tir that he barely ranked as magical talent. He didn’t have any tracking spells either, though he was seriously considering learning one tomorrow and he wasn’t allowed to summon spirits to find her for him without permission which meant explaining his reasoning. That he couldn’t bring himself to do, so asking security wasn't a possibility either.

His cheek ached and like Kenji had told him, he shouldn’t heal himself. It angered him at first that Kenji had presumed to take his wine and a promise of influence as payment. Not to mention concealing the fact that Krupa was watching the entire time. However, he reminded himself that if he’d just talked to Krupa in the first place then maybe none of this would have happened. That cooled his temper. That and the fact that his anger and indignation meant he was probably trying retreat back to a mental space that was familiar to him. He realized that if he was going to make it through this with the person he loved the most, he was going to need to change. How he would change, how much and what that even meant seemed daunting. Even starting seemed impossible because he didn't know where to start.

He huffed and puffed on the trail as the light of the day began to wane as the sun sank lower and lower in the sky. He’d been hiking for almost five hours now and he’d had to take frequent breaks. Belatedly he wished that he’d taken something to eat and he’d run out of water an hour ago. It was humiliating to realize just how out of shape he was. Even a hike on these simple trails was exhausting, and he’d nearly fallen more than once as he stumbled on a rock or root. Krupa enjoyed being active and had invited him more than once to get outside and enjoy nature which as a shaman he was supposed to do, but he almost always found excuses. So as a result he was sweaty, bruised, aching, dirty, ravenous hungry and thirsty. He desperately wished that no one would see him in this state, but then he took that back as he realized that he needed to find Krupa.

After his fifth hour of searching and checking the last of the mana lodges for the second time, he decided to check his commlink. There was a wireless jamming spell on the island, but he could receive simple updates as he moved, though he didn't know how it was possible as the signals decayed rapidly after anything more than a few feet. It was possible that if she didn't want to be found, she may have asked one of the teachers or perhaps security to section off part of the island for her. He could've kicked himself as he found that a piece of the northwestern side of the island was reserved. He’d been there previously, but that was hours ago. Not knowing what else to do and knowing that it might get him in trouble, he approached the very edge of the reserved area.

Heading north was trickier than it seemed because the trails on the island weren’t straight. The path that took him vaguely northward would curved to the south-east, only to split into two more trails, neither of them heading north. He wasn’t lost and this wasn’t some manly bravado though, no. The island was just too small to get lost. What happened was that he grew impatient and decided to blaze a trail. The foliage was thick and there was a small slope too small to be a hill. As he crested the slope between two trees, he lost his footing and tumbled down the opposite side of the slope as he slipped on some moss. He didn’t fall far, but he rolled near a particularly tall Sweetgum tree and its prickly seedpods scratched deeply at his bare skin. He reached for his magic, but bit his lip and decided against it. No, he’d just deal with the pain.

What followed though were a few minutes of pulling the spiky seedpods out of his arms, legs and clothing, though most of these he was able to just brush away without thought. Then he shakily got to his feet, far dirtier than he was before and carefully made his way to the sectioned off area in hopes that Krupa was there. As he came to the edge, he spied a small pile of clothing in the distance on a rock. His eyes went wide at the implication and he saw a brown skinned figure swimming in the Sound. His heart hammered in his chest and he turned around, not sure what to do. He didn’t want to violate her privacy or spy on her and so he thought for a minute before coming to a conclusion. He awkwardly walked backwards up to the beach and sat in the sand in full view of Krupa, though he faced away from her. It was the best that he could do.

The commlink beeped at him as he'd accidentally strayed into that temporarily forbidden area. He wasn’t supposed to be here. Though it pained him to move, he stood up and walked further away until his commlink stopped beeping at him. Then he sat again, but now with sand in his shoes, which he busied himself emptying out. The wet, salty air and coarse sand made every scratch sting all the more. Time crawled as he waited and he kept from consulting his commlink to check the time. For a while all he heard was the sound of the waves, the wind in the trees and if he stretched his senses, the sounds of civilization far off in the distance. He tried focusing on that instead of his fear and pain. It didn’t work. Those sensations of pain, fear and humiliation only seemed heightened now. It would just be something that he had to deal with until he spoke to Krupa- If she spoke to him at all.

His mind began to spin into worse and worse scenarios as he waited. What if Krupa didn’t see him? What if she did and decided that he’d been spying on her while she swam? What if she’d already decided to leave him? What if she listened, but he couldn’t express how he felt? He tried to reach out to Dove for inner peace, but he couldn’t feel his presence. Then Joyce tried to run through his breathing exercises to calm himself, but he only had limited success. He kept trying at it because at least trying and failing gave him something to do.

He didn’t know how much of that time passed when he felt a familiar hand on his shoulder. Krupa’s touch was gentle, but his breath hitched in his throat all the same. Those slender fingers of hers curled around his shoulder. In that moment he felt so very brittle as she let her fingers feel the knots in his slight muscles and of course her hand was soon clammy from his sweat. No magic coursed through her fingers, she did nothing to work through the knots of stress as she sometimes did when he'd had a bad day, but at the very least she was here. He didn’t feel any better. In fact he felt worse. There was a lump in his throat that wouldn’t go away and it felt like a fist was grabbing his stomach twisting him up inside. His mouth was dry and he became aware of the sudden pressure of his bladder.

Then her hand left his shoulder. He waited for something more, but all he could hear were her soft footsteps in the sand as she walked away from him. His heart broke as the person he loved most in life decided he wasn't worth the trouble to even talk to. It cemented what he’d feared in his heart. He’d been a terrible person and Krupa wouldn’t love a bully. He wanted to go to her, to tell her that he’d changed and that he regretted everything. That he loved her with all of his heart and he wanted to change. Instead he felt this ugly, hopeless feeling spread throughout his body. He couldn’t muster the will to move, or to beg or cry or curl into a ball. He sat paralyzed by her rejection.

That ugly, hopeless feeling pooled in his stomach and threatened to overwhelm him, but to his surprise he heard her footsteps once again as she returned. He inhaled sharply, but couldn’t say anything. Again the fingers came, but this time they touched his cheek where Kenji had punched him. He winced and pulled away, and so did her fingers and they both paused, reluctant to try again.

“Dolphin said I should leave you,” she said, “For what you tried to do to Kenji.”

Joyce winced. Kenji had told him the truth. She’d been there, she’d heard Olisha’s accusation and he hadn't denied it. He’d only reframed what he'd done in a better light- Played with words. It was more confirmation of what he was– A user, even a bully which he knew that Krupa wouldn't tolerate. He didn’t bully people in the physical sense, but he did pressure people to bend them to his will often when they didn’t want to be bent. Kenji hadn’t been the first person he’d attempted to bend to his wil. He’d even done it to Krupa a few times when she wasn’t sure about the morality of helping him with his tasks. He'd always said the right thing to get her to do what he wanted, but all he'd had for her were more words to soothe her. He'd abused her trust and he felt so low for using her. There had always been excuses, rationalizations, and other “good reasons” to convince him that his bad behavior was somehow justified. His scheming seemed so small in comparison to what he'd risked. Now he reaped the consequences. He licked his lips and spoke in a small, shaky voice.

“Krupa, I’m…” he began.

“No talking, Joyce,” she said, cutting him off, “If you start talking, you’ll be able to convince me of anything. I can’t risk that. Just nod yes or no. Do you understand?”

Joyce’s mouth hung open. She’d never interrupted him before during the truly important moments. It shocked him. He licked his lips again and then shut his mouth with a small click of his teeth. He tried to control his breathing as his heart thudded against his chest. Eventually he nodded yes.

“Okay, good,” she said, with quiet relief.

She was quiet for a few seconds and he could almost feel how near she was. Then he felt her breath against his neck and the small hairs there all stood on end.

“You’re bleeding,” she said, concerned.

Joyce looked down at his arms and legs. He hadn’t noticed, but some of the scratches on his legs were long and had indeed bled a little with small streaks. He looked up again, away from her as she was still behind him, and nodded. Then to his surprise, he felt her touch again. There was the gentle, familiar warmth of her magic. She leaned over, set her hand on his leg and a few of the scratches closed and some of that pain went away. The blood remained since it was already outside of him and he was sure a few of the thorns from the seed pods were still in him too. He’d have to take them out later.

“Sorry, I…I thought I’d be able to get them all,” she said, awkwardly, “The scratches I mean. I usually do so much better than that.”

He shrugged a little, but smiled. The fact that she still cared, even if it was just a little, made the pain seem all the more bearable. In his peripheral vision he saw that she was in that white, one piece bathing suit that he loved and here he sat, covered in dirt, with blood on his legs, a bruised cheek, a dry mouth and a full bladder. Then his stomach growled as if to somehow complete his humiliation, and he clutched his stomach. He felt so wretched before her and she was resplendent in her bathing suit. The thought of her wearing that was the last thing he needed right now as he very much liked the look of her in it.

“I was there when you were watching the trids,” she admitted, “I didn’t know what to do last night. I couldn’t sleep. So I got up early and took a walk. Olisha found me and I didn’t want to talk to her, but she talked to me and I listened because...Well because I was so desperate that I’d even talk to her.”

Joyce hung his head in shame. He’d ignored her and she'd turned to Olisha. This was his fault.

“She said that you came to her and said that if you watched a trid, she’d stop bullying me,” she continued, “That was…Well it was really nice, but all I wanted to do was talk to you like I’ve been saying. You wouldn’t listen. All you'd do was say the right words so I'd be quiet...I could tell. That really hurt."

Shame prickled up his spine and he squirmed.

"So then I asked her if I could get the same deal for you because I thought maybe you were trying to surprise me," she said, doubtfully, "I didn't think so. Nothing felt like a surprise, so I was pretty desperate. She told me that if I projected in and listened then yes, she’d stop bullying you. I said yes, but not just for that. I wanted to know what was so important that you could talk to Olisha and Kenji, but not to me. I couldn’t see the screen, because I can’t see electronic displays in the astral. The glass gets in the way. So she said that she’d say what was on the screen. If anyone said otherwise, well…It doesn’t matter, no one did say otherwise. I listened and she told me what was on the screen. And it all sounded so horrible.”

He nodded in understanding that yes, what Olisha had said had been real, or at least what he'd recalled. A part of him wanted to muster up some anger or outrage for Olisha, but he couldn’t manage it. He was just too scared and tired, but only now did he realize just how thoroughly he’d been outmaneuvered by her. That didn’t matter though. He wanted to comfort Krupa, but didn’t know how.

“The only reason I’m talking to you right now is because I can tell that you were surprised and horrified,” she said, “You didn’t know.”

He nodded his head in agreement. Krupa inhaled sharply.

“What? You knew about that?” she asked, suddenly shocked.

Joyce shook his head violently in negation. He wanted to speak to her to explain himself, but he didn’t want to risk driving her away.

“You didn’t know?” she asked.

He shook his head no. Krupa sighed with relief.

“Okay, good,” she said, in relief, “You scared me. Sorry, I got confused.”

Joyce sighed with relief a moment later. If she’d misunderstood and hadn’t listened then that would have been the end of it. Now he was scared and didn’t know what to do, so he did nothing. Krupa continued.

“I can tell that you have a heart,” she said, “I felt so bad when you were um…Throwing up. All I wanted to do was hold you. Well, maybe not when you were throwing up, but you know. I knew there were rumors about Tir doing bad things, but I always thought that they were lies. Now I don’t know what to think and I don’t know who to ask about what's real and what's a lie.”

Joyce reluctantly nodded along in agreement with her.

“You too?” she asked.

He nodded again. He’d been lied to for his entire life about his homeland and now he didn’t even know how to educate himself. There was so much he needed to know, but he also dreaded what he may learn.

The conversation lulled to a stop. He couldn’t speak and she wasn’t asking questions anymore. So he waited, but waiting brought him nothing. After a minute, he tried to fish the commlink out of his pocket, but panicked as he remembered that he’d fallen down that slope. What if it had fallen out of his pocket or worse, if he’d crushed it with his body? So he groped in his pocket and to his relief he found it still there and still intact. Krupa didn’t seem to want to be seen by him either. Like Kenji, Joyce had a grasp of his kinesics power as well to read body language, though he was more adept at using it from a year of practice. So without looking up at her, he presented the commlink in a shaky hand. He held it there for a few moments before she tentatively took it.

“What’s this for?” she asked.

He couldn’t speak, so he only made an inarticulate gesture.

“Right, sorry,” she said, “Do you want me to watch something?”

He really didn’t want her to. On that commlink was the secret about Gilbrand and Krupa’s sister as well as his worst self on display in conversation with Kenji. Just the day before last an internal email had accidentally been addressed to him about Gilbrand. It had only hinted that at what he’d done and that he was being reassigned. The rumors around the office that he'd overheard had been far more dire, though though they were just rumors and Joyce hadn’t believed it at first until he'd asked his father just to be sure. That had been a painful conversation to have those rumors confirmed so callously. That was what had given him pause in how to talk to Krupa, because the monster known as Gilbrand had spent so long around her sister. His initial caution and the cowardice in refusing to tell her had come back to haunt him.

The wind blew gently across his empty hand as he finally realized that she’d taken the commlink while he'd been thinking. The burner commlink had no screen, so she strode towards her pile of clothes, grabbed her into her own commlink, downloaded the file and was in the process of watching it as she returned. He listened to Kenji and himself as they argued. There were his denials, the punch, which made Krupa gasp, accusations and more arguing before he finally broke down. She stopped the recording several times and this prolonged his anxiety as he imagined what she was thinking about. He wished he hadn’t claimed that Gilbrand had been his and his family’s monster, but it was true. What was said was said. In a distant part of himself, the part that wasn’t freaking out, that Kenji had excluded the advice for Joyce to keep his bruise and also how he’d procured his wine and services.

He had time to muse on that fact because Krupa wasn’t talking. As the time stretched he found himself growing even more and more nervous. Then he heard it, not quite believing that it came from her at first. Krupa growled angrily, low and long in her throat.

“They promised me that they wouldn’t do it again,” she said, slowly, “They promised me.”

Joyce closed his eyes. This was the side of her that connected most strongly with Dolphin. The spirit mentor despised bullying in all of its forms- The abuse of an imbalance in power. Joyce had shared his own story with Kenji about how Dove had contacted him, but Krupa didn’t share her own. Not since the first and only time where she’d been laughed at in class, though she'd framed it as her parents being mean to her sister and she'd stood up to them. What actually happened as he'd learned later was that she’d stood up for her sister when she found out that her parents were abusing Saanvi. Krupa had said it had been the hardest thing in her life to stand up to her parents, who’d always treated her well and thought the world of her. While she'd been laughed at, apparently, Dolphin had taken her seriously. Attracting a spirit mentor wasn’t a matter of doing great things, or at least that wasn't a requirement. That first step meant doing something you’d considered not only hard, but impossible before you did it. It was the breakthrough that called the great spirits, or so Julian speculated. To Krupa, the impossible had been standing up to her parents as they bullied and abused her sister, though he felt like she hadn't shared everything with him.

The sick feeling returned. He should have known. Even though her parents weren't here, he silently berated himself for not knowing. Then heard the sand shift as she raced towards the woods. A barefoot, brown skinned figure in a white swimsuit clutched a small, thick branch as she raced back towards the shore. With an overhand throw, she tossed the stick high into the air and shouted as loud as she could.

“Gosh darn it!."

The branch went far before splashing harmlessly into the Sound. In fact she’d tossed it so hard that she wobbled and toppled into the surf onto her knees. Waves lapped at her, but they were gentle. She stood up before Joyce could and in full view of him now, stalked towards him, eyes filled with anger.

“Did you know?” she asked.

Joyce shook his head furiously.

“But you said you knew something,” she continued.

Joyce wanted to speak, to scream what he knew. Yes and no wasn’t enough. He was trapped by her rules and his fear that he'd lose her. He saw Krupa close her eyes, breathe deep and speak.

“Tell me why you didn’t tell me. Talk to me, Joyce,” she spat.

“I thought it was a lie!” he blurted out, “I got an email by accident! It just said that Gilbrand had been dismissed! And then there were rumors around the consulate! I didn’t know what to believe! Gilbrand has worked for my family for so long and I didn’t know! And then I asked my dad and he said it was true! I was scared to talk to you because I’m responsible for Gilbrand and Saanvi!”

He’d leaned over from the force of his words, shivering, face nearly in the sand. Only his scratched up arms had caught him from pitching fully forwards. The force of his words seemed to take her aback, because when he finally pushed himself upright again, the anger had all drained out of her.

“You didn’t tell me because of this law thing?” she asked.

Joyce nodded weakly and she frowned in consideration.

“That’s really, dumb,” she said, simply, "You're smarter than me, but that's just so dumb."

Joyce felt suddenly relieved and annoyed, but at least it was better than than fear.

“My parents are bad people," she continued, Your dad is a bad person. Gilbrand is a really, really bad person. They can’t make you do bad things. It’s your choice to listen to them or not. If you can’t make a choice because you don't know, then you got tricked, because my parents didn’t tell me what they were doing to Saanvi. If this is what it means to be a noble, then I don’t want to be one.”

And that was it. This was her rejection of him. The life he envisioned with her at his side would never come to pass. That knowledge tore at him. The strength drained out of him and he fell on his side in the sand.

“It’s over then,” he whispered.

What?” she asked.

He grasped at the sand and watched it slip through his fingers.

“You hate me,” continued.

Krupa paused to look at him as he continually grasped at the sand. When he held on loosely, most of it stayed. When he grasped it would slip away. He’d squeezed too hard and now he had so little left. Krupa sat down next to him and laid a hand on him.

“I don’t hate, you Joyce,” she said, with a sigh, “I love you.”

His heart soared in response.

“Really?” he asked.

“But I don’t like you very much right now,” she said, testily, ignoring him.

The aborted flight of his heart bit the dirt, leaving him confused.

“I don’t want to be a noble anymore,” she said.

“But…Why?” he asked, “I don’t understand. Why wouldn’t you want to be one?”

“Uh…While you were in the bathroom throwing up, Kenji and Olisha told stories. I didn’t really want to watch you throw up so I listened in on them,” she said, awkwardly, but her lips firmed, “She said stuff about how the first nobles got their titles. If that’s true and those are the sorts of people that got titles, the abusers, then they’re not noble at all and I don’t want to be around them. Joyce, I’m not mad at you because you got tricked. I’m mad at you for doing what they do. You tried to hurt Kenji, but it's not just about Kenji. I'd be mad if you tried to hurt anyone if you're not defending yourself. That was wrong, but at least you see that it’s wrong now. I can see that much.”

She looked away from him, no longer able to keep her feelings stable.

“I don’t think I can stop loving you, but I can stop liking you,” she said, seriously, “And then I’ll leave you even though it'll hurt. Dolphin said to leave you, I asked if I could listen in case you changed. He said you might not, but I wanted to try.”

“I can change,” he promised.

“No!” she shouted.

He flinched before her sudden forcefulness and squirmed on his side in the sand. His bladder felt something was sitting on it.

“No, those are just words and promises,” she said, firmly, “Don’t tell me that you'll change. Show me. It’s not just going to be some changes and then you’re done and then everything goes back to normal. I need you to show me the person I fell in love with and he needs to stay.”

She caressed his cheek and smiled sadly.

“He’s in there somewhere,” she said, sadly, “And even if you find him, things aren’t going back to normal. There’s going to be a new normal. I don’t know what it looks like yet, but it won’t look like what we had, because if you are the kind of person who can do something like...Like that, to Kenji, who's been so nice to us, then what we had wasn't good enough. But I know that if you want to, you can do it. You can change, because you can do anything. I believe in you.”

That sad smile brightened just for an instant and he fell in love all over again with her. He didn’t imagine that falling in love would hurt so much, but it did when her smile turned sad again and he knew that he’d been the cause. He’d loved Krupa in large part for her goodness, but being with her from now on would demand much of him. It would mean standing up to people in power when they abused it, passing up opportunities because they conflicted with the morals he’d been suppressing and maybe even giving up his title. That last part sent a thrill of guilt and terror through him though. He was the only child since his older brother died, though he’d been too young to remember him. All of the hopes of his parents were pinned on him and his marriage to Krupa. This may mean betraying his family and he didn’t know how to feel about that.

“If this is the end, then…” she began, as she looked away.

“No!” he shouted.

She jumped as she was startled, but suddenly smiled at him.

“No, I’ll show you,” he said, quietly this time, “Not tell you. I'm...I'm not sure how yet, but I'll show you.”

She smiled gently at him and stroked his hair.

“Good, I’m glad,” she said.

Then she tossed a look over her shoulder to look back out at the surf.

“I’m going to try and talk to Dolphin, again,” she said, “There’s a spirit in the water, so I’m not swimming alone, but it’s getting late and it’ll disappear by sundown. I don’t want to summon it again. I'm going back in.”

They both stood up, though Joyce’s body complained from the strain. Five hours of hiking while looking for Krupa had not been kind to him. He hurt in places that he didn’t know could hurt.

“I’ll go then,” said Joyce, with a grunt as staggered to his feet.

She reached out and steadied him, but then jumped back.

“Uh...Okay, I’ll swim then,” she said.

“And I’ll show you,” he said, and then quickly added, “Not just words.”

“Good.”

“Great.”

“Uh…Great.”

“I’ll just…Go...Then.”

“Yeah, okay.”

“Uh…Right, okay. I'll...See you later then?

"Uh...Yeah, small island, right?"

"Small island, yeah."

After the awkward exchange, she turned around and he tried not to think about her in her bathing suit. That’s when his bladder screamed at him for attention and he retreated to the woods.

Minutes later on his way back he saw Olisha from her cabin on the senior row. He was unlucky that she had the cabin closest to the trail. She sat bonelessly on a lawn chair with a what looked like an extra-large sports drink to tame her hangover. He felt his cheeks blaze as her attention turned towards him.

“Holy poo poo, you look like you got thumped,” she said, her voice somewhat weak, “Did you get beat up?”

Joyce wanted to walk past her, but he stopped. This was potentially a moment for change. What better way to start than talking to his bully? So he turned around and strode up to her. Olisha’s eyes widened as she took in his dirty, sweaty, lightly injured self. He even smelled bad he realized and he certainly didn’t feel like a noble at the moment.

“Kenji punched me” he said.

“Nice!” she exclaimed.

She clutched her head and winced. Then she took another drink from her sports drink before speaking again.

“The boy continues to surprise. Oh well, he’s your problem now. At least until he gets expelled for hitting you anyway,” she said, quietly and nonchalantly, “Maybe suspended if he's lucky.”

“No, I deserved it,” he said.

She eyed him suspiciously and sipped her drink to buy time.

“Did he drag you out into the woods to do it?” she jibed, “Rub your face in the dirt? Hit you with some magic mojo whammy to make you think you deserved it?”

“No, no magic, I was looking for Krupa,” he said, “I couldn’t find her. The hike went for a while.”

She smiled smugly up at him from her lawn chair.

“What did she say?” asked Olisha, with a knowing smirk.

“Nothing I didn’t deserve,” said Joyce.

The smirk died and she frowned heavily at him. It occurred to Joyce that he was robbing her of her fun and he took a sort of perverse satisfaction in that. He wouldn't be awful to her, but if she responded to his him owning his actions and being honest negatively, he decided that would be her problem. And that's when he decided what to do next. It would be humiliating, but it would show Krupa that he was serious.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try and find Julian or whoever is on staff. I have a hole to dig,” he said.

“A hole,” she repeated, “For what?”

He’d turned to walk away from her, but paused and came back. She squirmed in her seat as he blocked her sunlight by accident, but he hadn’t meant to do it. If she wanted to talk she could be deprived of her sunbeam.

“For my shame pole,” he said, “I’m going to admit what I did. I don’t think I can change otherwise.”

Her mouth made a little O as she undoubtedly imagined the gigantic, intricately carved shame pole that would go in front of his cabin. Then her look of surprise transformed into a wicked grin.

“Oh poo poo, really? Christmas came early? Aww, you shouldn't have. I know Santa isn't real, Joyce. You don't have to try. Now I think I’ll just get some big, strong guy to bring my lawn chair so I can watch,” she purred, “I’ll order fruity drinks. Maybe I’ll even throw a little party.”

“Okay,” said Joyce, simply, “If that’s what you want to do.”

“Oh I will, count on it,” she said.

She was putting up a front, but Joyce could see the satisfaction bleeding out of her. This didn’t seem to be going like she thought it would.

“Now don’t forget, you need to come by to watch tonight,” she said, “Our little monster movie marathon. We still need to go get the duplicate though...”

“No need, I believe that the movie was real, but I’ll be there anyway if you want,” he said.

“Admitting I’m finally right?” she asked, smugly.

Joyce shook his head.

“No, you’re still mean, spiteful and cruel,” he said.

“You know it, baby,” she said, “Unlike some people, I don’t pretend.”

She lifted her drink up to him and then took long, satisfied gulp through her smile.

“I didn’t know anything about what you showed me and you didn’t even try to talk to me. You just bullied Krupa and me,” he said, "We would have listened if you'd done this in the first place."

She rolled her eyes at him.

“I talked to you all of last year in class,” she said, dismissively.

“No, just because I was wrong doesn’t make you right. At no point did you really try to talk to me,” he said, “I believe in peace, Olisha. It would have been so easy for you to sit down with me and try, but you let your own hangups get in the way. Today hurt, but I think I’m going to look back at today as a good day. Maybe not for a while, but eventually.”

She rolled her eyes at him.

“Of course I wasn’t going to talk to you,” she said, dismissively, “You would’ve just used the moment to try and recruit me for fashland. You should thank me, I’ve been helping you refine your aristocratic sneering. Now get out of my sunbeam.”

"Fine, I have a hole to dig anyway," he said.

Without another word, Joyce left his bully behind.

--

So to start off, Joyce looks for Krupa. She is actively avoiding him for a while. They roll survival off against one another. Krupa is a sporty, outdoorsy girl and Joyce is a waifish artistocrat. He has 4 dice and she has 8. 1 v 1. She successfully avoids him. He tries to take a shortcut when he finally thinks to check his commlink, but critically glitches his survival roll. He takes 1d6 physical damage and can only resist with 2 dice for body since he's pretty thin. I roll a 3 and he gets 1 hit, taking 2 physical damage from cuts and scratches as he tumbles down the hill. Ironically, this works in his favor as he just looks even more pathetic.

I do however roll 3 dice for luck to see if he loses the commlink or destroys it, which would deny him an item bonus. He gets 2 hits and he's good.

Krupa rolls a composure roll. If she fails, she refuses to talk to Joyce. She gets 3 hits, she's able to speak to him. This was the real roll right here, because her failing this would have meant she would have just walked away from him. Possibly for good, possibly not, I'm not sure. I take their loyalty 6 into account as her being willing to give him a chance at all seeing as he literally tried to enslave Kenji which was intensely hosed up, but she also saw him being capable of empathy so she decided to give him one last chance as she argued with Dolphin on his behalf. Krupa is naive and wants to see the best in people. Lucky for her, Joyce actually wants to change, though what that change will look like in the future is up in the air. Probably a positive one though, or at least more positive than he's been before.

Some rolls. Joyce has 5 charisma + 5 etiquette + 2 for the bruise + 2 for looking pathetic + 2 item bonus - 1 for injuries from stun (he never rested to recover, too busy hiking and none from his physical wounds because he didn't eat enough damage). Krupa has charisma 5 + etiquette 1. Joyce gets 6 hits and Krupa gets 4. She still loves him, but she doesn't like him. She knows that in any social encounter, she's going to fail because eventually he'll convince her of anything. Unbeknownst to Joyce and Krupa, this is because her parents are clinical narcissists and she's the golden child which means she gets all of the positive attention. So they constantly either praise or gaslight her which is why she'll probably believe anything if someone challenges her view of reality. She's not really equipped to deal with confrontation, which is why Dolphin took notice of her for confronting her parents. Krupa thought that her parents abusing Saanvi and her then standing up to them was impossible until she did it. And that realization made for fertile ground for Dolphin to mentor her as her idea of what was possible exploded in size.

Krupa rolls her heal spell with magic 3 + spellcasting 3 + Dolphin healing bonus 2. She gets 1 hit. He just has some scratches left. She rolls charisma 5 + will 5 and gets 4 hits, no drain.

She decides not to engage in social rolls/combat with Joyce. His task is to show her that he's changed, not tell her. And not as a single, big display, but to make real changes in his life and stay changed.

Joyce rolls composure and gets 1 hit for peace with Dove. He is extremely confused about his role as nobility, their history of violence and his role in the family as the sole child of nobility who is half of a pair to bring together two families of apparently terrible adults. He can't square it with himself and has mixed feelings. This will have effects down the road.

Finally, he meets Olisha. He looks thoroughly disheveled, but he knows what to do. He's going to ask for a shovel so he can dig the hole for a shame pole. He's going to own what he did. Olisha stops him. I roll her loyalty x 2 for Kenji, which is 1, to see if her esteem goes up for him. Critical glitch. Nope. He loses Olisha as a contact. She'll still be around, but she's washed her hands of him. Even him punching Joyce doesn't make up for the fact that he went behind her back it seems. They verbally spar for a bit, but it's more gentile since Olisha is drank way too much. Joyce has 10 dice for etiquette, Olisha has 8 - 2 for being nauseous and also working on that hangover. Joyce gets a 3 and Olisha gets 1 hit and a glitch.

I play this as Joyce playing it straight. He admits fault and owns his actions, but doesn't humiliate himself before Olisha. He still doesn't like her. He still doesn't believe that she's right. Instead he believes that she's primarily driven by petty cruelty. Their entire dynamic up until now was him being pretentious and her poking holes in that pretention, but now the dynamic shifted and she's not feeling good enough to adapt.

End scene.

Kenji loses Olisha as a contact.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Mar 20, 2019 around 04:46

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


Fuzzy and Jayvon - Saturday, August 3rd, 2075 – Late afternoon – Blake Island

Fuzzy had enjoyed time with her friends, plenty of trash had been picked up and she'd even briefly visited Sasha, but she was exhausted from learning her spells. All she could manage was a kiss a promise to help Fuzzy learn her own spells tomorrow before going into her cabin to pass out.

However, something else was on Fuzzy's mind. Kenji had pulled her aside and explained that she and Sasha had been targeted by Human Nation and it was Jayvon who learned about it. The threat was over and it left her feeling strange. She was glad that she didn't suddenly get jumped with Sasha and Julian by thirty gang members during a protest. If they'd been cornered it would have gotten ugly. So that was why they took a boat from Council Island to school that day.

It concerned Fuzzy that there were people talking about her and especially Sasha, but those people had been defeated without a single swing of her staff or throwing a single punch. So Fuzzy walked to the docks and sat down as the school boat approached. She watched as people departed and all eyes were on her. People whispered and she overheard about how she'd defeated a toxic spirit from the lips of others. No one approached, though some hung around for a while in hopes that she might talk to them. No, she waited for Jayvon who was the last off the boat as he needed to use his crutches. She approached him as others watched.

"Hey," she said.

"Oh hey," he said, happily, "Good to see you're in one piece. I saw you on the news. That was impressive stuff."

She shrugged a little.

"I guess," she said.

"You guess?" he said, and barked out a laugh, "You fight and beat a toxic fire spirit with no scratch on you and you guess that's impressive? It makes me wonder what's actually impressive. You know near everyone on the boat was talking about what you did?"

Fuzzy frowned in response. She didn't really care about that.

"Okay," she said, "Can we talk?"

Jayvon raised an eyebrow and steadied himself on his crutches.

"You beggin' off training me or something?" he asked.

"What?" she asked, "No."

She looked at the conspicuously large number of students who hung around and she remembered how Kenji worried about being spied on. One of the security crew walked off the boat and Fuzzy stopped her. He smiled at her and nodded.

"Hello Miss Smith," he said, respectfully, "What can I do for you?"

"Can you make sure we're not overheard for uh...Two minutes?" she asked, "I'd really appreciate it."

"For you? Sure," he said, with a knowing grin, "There's a small office on the boat that we rigged against magic. I'll let you in."

And so Fuzzy, Jayvon and the security officer went back onto the boat and he let them into the office. It was tiny and had all sorts of monitors on it, though Fuzzy didn't pay attention to them. Instead she paid attention to Jayvon as the door closed.

"What's up?" asked Jayvon.

"Are you um...How did you know about uh...Sasha and me?" she asked.

"What about you two?" he asked in response.

"About um...Getting jumped?" she asked, nervously.

Jayvon's mouth made a little O as he understood, and he nodded his head.

"Kenji tell you?" he asked.

"Yeah," she said.

He steadied himself on his crutches as he thought of a response.

"Well I suppose that you got lucky," he said, "I needed someone to train me on the island or I wouldn't be able to go to school this year, or at least not until after Christmas and that’s if there was a spot open. My physical therapy sessions take a long time and then there are the checkups to make sure that what’s left of my body isn’t going to reject the tech again.”

He trailed off for a moment before he came back to the conversation.

“Anyway, this is pretty standard corporate hiring stuff for someone freelancing,” he continued, “You're close to my size and you were pretty much the only person who might reasonably work for my needs. It was down to the wire whether I'd actually show up this year or not or at least be in as late as next semester. I got cleared, had someone research you and talk of you turned up on a bunch of human supremacist boards and chat rooms. I had people do some more digging and they were planning to kick your head in along with anyone with you. I told Coach Bolt, who I met through the matrix and we both went to Julian. And then he just took you out of the way, but he just told me everything would be okay, so I thought I'd ask some cool folks to show up and they did just in case. Not for me, but because they heard about what you do."

"What I do?" asked Fuzzy.

"You punch Nazis and lovely corp princesses," said Jayvon.

Fuzzy had no idea what a not see was, but he knew he was talking about Minuet.
"Those people that showed up? Are they a gang too?" asked Fuzzy.

"What? No," he said, "People might say that about them, but no, they're not a gang. Maybe I'll introduce you at some point, but things are weird and bad in the metroplex lately from what I hear and I promised Julian not to involve you. Maybe I'll tell you later if you're really interested, but not right now. I don't want to break a promise."

Fuzzy's knuckles whitened in anger as she made fists. She was angry and had a hard time understanding why.

"You didn't tell me," she said.

"No, I didn't want you feeling like you should train me because you felt like you owed me. Me swooping out of nowhere and claiming you owed me felt weird, so I didn't do that," he said, "It was already a little weird when I tried on my own. I'm better with people through the matrix when I'm not talking in real time. I like being able to think about what I'm saying before I say it."

"I wish you'd told me," she said.

"Why?" he asked.

Fuzzy tried to think of why she wanted to know and arrived at the answer.

"So I could've done something instead of being saved," she said.

Jayvon winced, but nodded his acceptance.

"Yeah, I get that," he said, "If it makes any difference, this wasn't personal. It wasn't about you exactly. It was more that I didn't want to see someone get stomped by fascists. That's all."

"I don't know what a fascist is," she said.

That took him aback and he frowned.

"You've been punching them," he said, "And hitting them with that stick of yours."

"lovely people?" she asked, her tone confused.

"Well yeah, but a specific type of lovely people," he said, "I mean I'll explain later if you want, but look, I was a lot like you for a while, but a jerk. I was a bad person. For the life that I lived I got my entire body stomped and then some. It's why most of me below the neck is mechanical now. Sometimes you don't win. Sometimes you lose hard. If I'm being honest with myself, I deserved to lose for what I've done in life, but I don't think anyone deserves to lose most of their body and if they jumped you, then something bad was going to happen. I learned about the worst lesson someone can learn and live through it. I just didn't want someone else getting stomped like I did or worse. That's all."

Fuzzy quietly considered this for a while and slowly she uncurled her fists.

"So it wasn't you um...Looking for me specifically?" she asked, critically.

"Uh, no," he said, awkwardly, "You just fit my needs is all and I found out people were looking for you. Bad people. I could've had someone come to you and make an offer and make a big hullabaloo about what everything, but I didn't want to put on airs. The rest was so out of my hands that I didn't know if anything was taken seriously. I'm weird sometimes since my uh...Kicking. Sorry."

"It's okay," she said, "I'm sorry you got uh...Kicked."

Jayvon nodded once and said nothing more about the subject.

"Hey, do you want to go on a walk?" asked Fuzzy.

"I thought we were starting training after you learned your spell," said Jayvon.

"No, I mean just on a normal walk," said Fuzzy, "We were going to do it eventually anyway, but I mean...Yeah, just a normal walk."

Jayvon smiled at her.

"I'll hobble with you, sure. If you don't mind going slow," he said.

"Slow is okay," she said.

"Then you walk and I'll hobble. I guess that means more time to talk," said Jayvon.

Together they left the small office to go on a walk together.

Gun Jam
Apr 11, 2015


Ice Phisherman posted:

D. The Dodge Quixote

*snort*

quote:

They verbally spar for a bit, but it's more gentile since Olisha is drank way too much
Oy.

quote:

Kenji loses Olisha as a contact.
So long. In case of regrets, you know where's the address.

quote:

Kenji had pulled her aside and explained that she and Sasha had been targeted by Human Nation and it was Jayvon who learned about it
And that's it, or did he told the whole story?
At least tied up that loose end.

quote:

so I thought I'd ask some cool folks to show up and they did just in case.
Too bad our cool folks are faster on the draw.

RabidWeasel
Aug 4, 2007

Cultures thrive on their myths and legends...and snuggles!


Defining fascists as "lovely people" is a pretty strong starting point tbh.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


Apologies for the lack of response. The last update took seven and a half hours (with breaks) and editing/response was difficult after all that.

I did go back and do some editing though to break up the big paragraphs now that I'm rested.

Fellis posted:

Is there any chance Olisha sees Joyce later today before he heals off the bruises? I think she’d feel a little bit better about Kenji if she saw the fash got bashed.

Yes! A few people asked about it. I liked the idea. I rolled up the scene and it turned out that Olisha just flat out didn't expect Joyce to accept blame without explaining it away. And he got to enjoy wrongfooting her by being open and honest.

As someone who used deflect blame and have endless explanations and generally being something of a poo poo, owning your failure instead of deflecting just feels so good. I mean it sucks in the moment because when you stop explaining away your failures, you either change, which is hard, or you accept your failure. And by working to change myself, my life improved. In the long term it was extremely positive even though owning my failure each time is uncomfortable and the temptation to explain away failures is always there.

quote:

Also kinda sad to have caught up after these past two weeks of constant reading. The content is incredible, I told all my friends!

Welcome to the thread! I'm glad that you enjoy my work. Thanks for telling your friends.

quote:

Truck Chat

So the Armadillo (regular truck) and Percheron (big truck) are tied at 4, Quixote (fast truck) is at 2. Looks like the Mads have been Maxed though. Feel free to break ties.

quote:

Also: Fuzzy spends extra on the upgrades to get her boy Tek a foot in the door at the local chop shop completely honest garage

We screwed up this young ork's ambition out of our own sense of morality (and also not wanting Dave's heart to break), it's high time we own up to that and give this guy a hand. We want Tek to do the upgrades cause he's a decent hand with an engine and we can give him a fair wage, but he doesn't have the lift/pit to do some of the nitty gritty work. Some rental fees/mentor labor at the local mechanic can give Tek a chance to impress his way into an honest trade. Plus we'll need a steady mechanic for vehicle repairs and a trusted mechanic to illegally re-install the HMG mount on our new Quixote.

(I initially was thinking we could improve Tek's contact rating, but we never got him as a contact back then )

We'll be seeing Tek in the next book as it'll feature Touristville fairly heavily as I've currently planned it as the next book is Julie's book.

Tek was screwed out of his ambition, yeah. It wasn't a good one, but it was probably the only job with real advancement ahead of him. It's difficult to go from a solid path to a job that pays, gives him a sense of personal freedom, values his violence and throws biker chicks at him. Now he's just some guy in Touristville. Currently he hangs out with Fuzzy sometimes at punk venues, but he's not doing that great right now.

quote:

Yeah what this guy said, he sees the light of the Quixote (It should be Rocinante, but Quixote had better recognition with the Ares focus groups)

I would love to call it the Rocinante, but that's the name of the ship from The Expanse. I'd feel weird lifting the name as it's an ongoing series.

quote:

Kenji should also tag along to the mechanic to see if they know any Riggers who need any extra work. Gentoo is a good wheel-elf, but if he's doing an infiltration, they'll need another driver and drones can help with the physical overwatch.

I need dig out my digital copy of SR5 and start thinking of how to spend all of Kenji's karma, I forget what the current plan is but I feel like he has 30 some still unspent/unplanned.

I like this idea. I've been going through the kinds of archetypes for Shadowrun: Shaman, adept, face, etc. I've talked a bit about drone riggers, but I haven't showcased what a swarm of drones can do for firepower, surveillance or as a getaway driver.

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002


Dodge Quixote is too good a pun, keep it.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


Volmarias posted:

Dodge Quixote is too good a pun, keep it.

Trying to break the tie from behind? Now you're just tilting at windmills.

Fellis
Feb 14, 2012

Kid, don't threaten me. There are worse things than death, and uh, I can do all of them.


Ham Wrangler

Ice Phisherman posted:

Yes! A few people asked about it. I liked the idea. I rolled up the scene and it turned out that Olisha just flat out didn't expect Joyce to accept blame without explaining it away. And he got to enjoy wrongfooting her by being open and honest.

As someone who used deflect blame and have endless explanations and generally being something of a poo poo, owning your failure instead of deflecting just feels so good. I mean it sucks in the moment because when you stop explaining away your failures, you either change, which is hard, or you accept your failure. And by working to change myself, my life improved. In the long term it was extremely positive even though owning my failure each time is uncomfortable and the temptation to explain away failures is always there.

It was a good scene! I think you struck the right tone with Olisha wanting to crow about winning, but being deflated that Joyce is beaten and changing. Fortunately, I haven’t stuggled with personally having to flip someone from fascism, but what Joyce said about Olisha’s approach is something I’ve thought about when being angry online

The die roll for Olisha’s loyalty was a fair way to figure that, sorry Kenji ya blew it.

quote:

We'll be seeing Tek in the next book as it'll feature Touristville fairly heavily as I've currently planned it as the next book is Julie's book.

Cool! I felt bad for Tek because it was moral to get him away from the gang. But like you’ve said, saving him is the first step, now he has to live with it. The tricky thing is to do it in a way where it isnt a handout so he can regain some pride.

quote:

I would love to call it the Rocinante, but that's the name of the ship from The Expanse. I'd feel weird lifting the name as it's an ongoing series.

Oh yeah I get that, that’s why I made the joke about focus groups (although i missed the pun )

Now we just need people to flip from this weird flatbed work truck to the Trukk so we can continue making Quixote references

DreamingofRoses
Jun 27, 2013


Nap Ghost

I’m going to be an rear end and vote for the truck de La Mancha, mostly because I like chasing after hopeless causes but also because mobility is a priority in a dangerous place like the barrens.

Dr Subterfuge
Aug 31, 2005


"Gosh darn it" being the worst thing that a furious Krupa could think to yell is just precious. Completely fits with her character.

Joyce still mentally trying to hang on to some part of Tir/nobility is good. Leaves things nice and roomy for character growth. Assuming the dice are kind. Also I guess as a mystic adept he's better at talking than Fuzzy is, but drat does Joyce beat her in literally anything else?

So now the social dynamics of Julian's spirit mentor class are totally upended. Olisha can't bully Joyce and Krupa anymore, which only leaves Kenji as a potential target. Perhaps that one's up to the dice, but I think Kenji would be fairly equipped to deal with it. Joyce and Krupa are probably going to be kind of awkward around each other for the time being? And they aren't going to be angling after Kenji like they were. I imagine Joyce is going to have somewhat conflicted emotions about Kenji and Krupa is going to like him just about as much as she did before. So if anything, Kenji might be caught in the middle of them sometimes, but not between Olisha and fash. Julian noting just how completely the dynamics in his class have changed might be interesting.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


Dr Subterfuge posted:

Also I guess as a mystic adept he's better at talking than Fuzzy is, but drat does Joyce beat her in literally anything else?

Well, Fuzzy's been neglecting her spellcasting and summoning to focus on her mundane education, so he's probably better at both of those. Adept-wise, though, Joyce is definitely more social - like Kenji - than physical. Plus, wherever boon and guidance Dove gives him.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


Dr Subterfuge posted:

"Gosh darn it" being the worst thing that a furious Krupa could think to yell is just precious. Completely fits with her character.

"You're so cute when you're mad." Adorable even in a moment of rage even though that's probably the last thing she wants to hear in that moment.

I thought it would stand out in a story that is pretty heavy with swearing. Especially as this is Kenji's story. Kenji swears a moderate amount, Saanvi swears a lot, but someone like Julie or Fuzzy basically doesn't swear. So in their stories, Krupa's outburst wouldn't stand out as much.

I think it's the small touches that make a story feel so much more alive. It's why I strain to create so many of them.

quote:

Joyce still mentally trying to hang on to some part of Tir/nobility is good. Leaves things nice and roomy for character growth. Assuming the dice are kind. Also I guess as a mystic adept he's better at talking than Fuzzy is, but drat does Joyce beat her in literally anything else?

I haven't designed a lot of Joyce's skills yet. He has more of a simple character sheet with the needed skills on there and some notes. Joyce however is literally better at every social skill than Fuzzy except for intimidation, which he defaults at. He's great at perception too, on par with Fuzzy.

However he basically has poor physical and outdoor skills which as a country noble shows his almost total disconnection from outdoor life. He became a shaman primarily by default, because he was never particularly interested in the rational pursuits that made someone a hermetic wizard (logic based caster). He's thin and has basically no extra muscle mass too. I've dumped most of his stat points into charisma, intuition, logic and willpower and I skimped on body and strength. If I were to stat him out some more there are special rules for magic pacifists which I think are really neat. He's also only got a magic rating of 2 as a result, which is exactly average of where he ought to be coming into his second year. He's been ignoring his magic because his main goal isn't to learn, but to gain influence. His spells are mostly geared towards healing, subterfuge and environmental cleanup while his adept powers are mostly geared towards social stuff, and are largely unfilled. He's probably the least connected to his spirit mentor out of the five (Julian, Kenji, Olisha, Krupa and himself) on the island as a result of his lack of being outdoors, his lack of focus on his studies and his limited understanding of peace.

Krupa on the other hand has a magic rating of 3, which is above average for year 2. It's also where the least interested students or just the least talented ones (lots of crossover here) stop their magic education. A few adepts do get some high grade cyberware and bioware and stunt their magic back to 1 or 2 though and need to play catch-up as it messes with their essence which permanently degrades their magic. Anyway, Krupa's skills are primarily geared towards the physical: Running, jumping, swimming, tumbling, dancing, etc as well as decent outdoors skills despite having been from the city. Most of her attributes have been spread evenly logic being a little low and charisma and willpower being high. She's the girl who loves to climb trees when she thinks no one is looking and when she's away from Joyce. So unlike Saanvi, who bucks authority to its face, Krupa acts out by quietly working around it when she wants something like doing things in secret. Her social skills are stunted because her parents are narcissists and never really challenged her or taught her how to develop socially, which is why she comes off as naive. Like Joyce, her spells are geared towards healing and environmental cleanup. And with the help of Dolphin's ability for magic healing and her power focus 3 (because she's rich) she's actually fairly talented at healing with her magic rating being the only thing stopping her from going from good to great. So she's going to work on that.

Krupa overall is someone who is average. In a story filled with exceptional characters I wanted to have someone who has a slight edge in one area, but is overall just a normal person. She's got the brave quality. And this doesn't make sense with her hiding behind Joyce when being bullied by Olisha until you get their dynamic. It's not about cowardice, it's about trusting him and knowing her limits. She's just not good at talking to people, but he is, so she relies on him in those moments. In those moments when Joyce can't help or when Joyce is the problem, she runs into the terrorist attack or stands up to Joyce when he's being Mr. Negative Peace. Krupa and Joyce are a team and she helps with spreading fairness through him and he helps spread peace with her help, even if their power dynamic was uneven before and even exploitative because he treated her as more of a subordinate or extension of himself rather than as an equal.

I really like their dynamic which is what I'm saying. Not personally, I think it was lovely and exploitative, but the way that they interact with one another and how they tackled problems was made far easier because they had one another. And Joyce's devotion to peace and her devotion to anti-bullying and the environment made for the perfect camouflage for Joyce both in the story and in the narrative as one of the story's antagonists. Every fascist organization has its thinkers and planners and schmoozers if they grow large enough. Most peoples' interactions with fascism are the people on the street throwing out Nazi salutes and doing violence. What you don't see, and this is intentional, are the people like Joyce who courted the wealthy, the well-connected and the talented to fold into the organization. He comes with the caveat that he bought into the propaganda and he was primarily interested in kicking wealth back to Tir either in the short term or in the long term, by forming bonds with the children of the elite. Joyce's words go into a student's ear, that student goes home and talks about Tir at dinner (when mom or dad actually show up) and this or that corporate executive thinks about Tir the next time a multi-billion nuyen deal goes down. Maybe Tir would be the right place for their new pharmaceutical lab. And this sort of influence harkens back to the days of monarchy where success had a lot to do with who you knew and who you had access to. Not that it isn't that way now, but as corporations are now nation-states, they continue to grow into something like say, merchant kingdoms like say Venice. And Joyce's hunt for money is decently effective in the short term and would probably have been stupidly effective in the long term if Kenji, Olisha and Krupa hadn't pressured him to stop shilling for the fash.

Back to Krupa. I really wanted to have a normal character (for the setting anyway) who lives their convictions about being anti-bullying (and not just high school level, but all negative exploitation of power dynamics), pro-fair play and pro-environment. Just an average girl doing her best. She doesn't grasp the larger picture of how bad and broken the world is. This is something of a blessing because she'd try to fix the entire world and probably despair. But if you put an obvious problem in front of her she'll rush to help. I think as she matures she'll go from annoying little sister, saint in paradise and naively condescending from her lack of understanding to someone who is dependable and quietly does positive things. You know, Hufflepuff shaman. People like her make sure that the world is a better place and keeps on spinning while others squabble.

A bit on magic. Blake Island usually churns out students with magic 3-5 by the end of their education with 6 being about the maximum for maybe one or two graduating students a year. Someone initiating and getting to magic 7 would basically be a once in a decade thing. They'll often peak in their second or third year as magic is easy to develop in the early stages (experience/karma wise) and it takes more time and grows harder to develop more as time goes on, so many don't bother because of the diminishing returns. For example, Sasha has gained as much magic as she's over going to want/need. I've decided that her favored magic is going to be the buffing magic to increase her attributes, and you can't go past +4. So that's all she'll ever require and now she'll focus on improving her other skills. So Joyce's low magic rating is because he's not isolating himself, not spending much time in nature and doesn't understand his place in the food chain. Krupa understands isolation pretty well, enjoys being out in nature, but also doesn't understand her place in the food chain, so her magic is more developed. Fuzzy understands isolation, being out in nature and her place in the food chain, so she's at a 5. Kenji understands isolation, not nature, but definitely his place in the food chain with a 4 and Julie blew past all of that to a cap of 6 by violating taboo by killing her dad with magic in an act of kinslaying, but without going toxic. So she'd actually probably be at a 3 or maybe a 4, as she'd understand isolation and her place in the food chain (prison), but is only beginning to grasp nature.

quote:

So now the social dynamics of Julian's spirit mentor class are totally upended. Olisha can't bully Joyce and Krupa anymore, which only leaves Kenji as a potential target. Perhaps that one's up to the dice, but I think Kenji would be fairly equipped to deal with it. Joyce and Krupa are probably going to be kind of awkward around each other for the time being? And they aren't going to be angling after Kenji like they were. I imagine Joyce is going to have somewhat conflicted emotions about Kenji and Krupa is going to like him just about as much as she did before. So if anything, Kenji might be caught in the middle of them sometimes, but not between Olisha and fash. Julian noting just how completely the dynamics in his class have changed might be interesting.

I hadn't thought of this. It'd make sense that Olisha would want to vent her cruelty somewhere. She did promise not to take vengeance on Kenji, but I can see her messing with him more because the teens from Tir aren't options anymore. Not some protracted campaign of bullying, because that's not her style, but the occasional jab at Kenji would probably be in order. They'd been something approaching friendly once and had used one another, but Kenji spurned her right in front of her subordinates and that caused offense and an offended Cat never forgives (even when it appears to). So I can see her being bitter towards him and messing with him in the future. Not an enemy, but someone who will occasionally mess with him in a playful and occasionally cruel way.

jagadaishio posted:

Well, Fuzzy's been neglecting her spellcasting and summoning to focus on her mundane education, so he's probably better at both of those. Adept-wise, though, Joyce is definitely more social - like Kenji - than physical. Plus, wherever boon and guidance Dove gives him.

Joyce and Fuzzy are actually on par with one another for casting spells and he's just slightly better at summoning than she is. Fuzzy does need to develop her casting skills at some point though. Her casting/summoning hasn't developed at all since the first page, though she has about maxed out her adept powers, so she's not a slouch. Joyce has a casting skill of 2, a magic skill of 2, a power focus 2 and a +1 in healing magic from Dove. So he's about as slightly below average at his magic as Fuzzy is, but without the adept powers.

Fuzzy could go for a power focus like Joyce does, but at a 5, and just pay a shitload of money and karma (like 30) for +5 to all of his magic skills (except adept powers) instead of learning, but this is school and she's got to learn something about magic.

I don't mind though. Adept class was basically gym class for her and she likes that and she was focusing on learning how to read and catching up on education and not being a total barbarian, but kept a lot of the good barbarian qualities. She's been more active on the school part of Blake Island rather than the learn magic part, and that's okay, because it's not Hogwarts where your mundane education apparently stops after the sixth grade.

I've been playing around with ideas for Julie's book in year 3 and talking in depth about institutions and the education system interests me. Institutions tend to produce standard results and rarely anything interesting or great, and this includes education. Something like homeschooling produces wildly variable results where you can produce someone brilliant and wild or you can produce idiots or religious pod people.

To break the British Boarding School genre I'd really like Julian to take the teens on a road trip and show them that there's so much more to learning than a classroom and that too much institutional education without the education from life will stunt or even ruin a person. A lot of the best lessons in life are the ones that are taught outside of classrooms and institutions. And instead of trying to manufacture lessons, you take what life teaches you and run with it.

That's way off in the future though and needs a lot of development to turn into a book. I think that learning in that manner as a theme would work well for Julie's year and subvert the boarding school genre of which this series is in part, which I like very much. Having seen the inside of classrooms both as a student and having almost been a teacher, but close, I can talk about why I pulled out of that particular profession. I'd have to go back into education theory again though, but it would be fun to read. Something a bit philosophical while Julian runs around with the teens around the NAN or Native American Nations, because they don't get explored very much.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Mar 23, 2019 around 17:11

Dr Subterfuge
Aug 31, 2005


Ice Phisherman posted:

"You're so cute when you're mad." Adorable even in a moment of rage even though that's probably the last thing she wants to hear in that moment.

I thought it would stand out in a story that is pretty heavy with swearing. Especially as this is Kenji's story. Kenji swears a moderate amount, Saanvi swears a lot, but someone like Julie or Fuzzy basically doesn't swear. So in their stories, Krupa's outburst wouldn't stand out as much.

I think it's the small touches that make a story feel so much more alive. It's why I strain to create so many of them.

I actually laughed out loud when she shouted. I totally understand being so furious that you want to use all your strength to throw something. I've definitely been there. But yeah I'd be in trouble if I met someone who expressed anger with those kind of words, especially if it wasn't directed at me.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Joyce however is literally better at every social skill than Fuzzy except for intimidation, which he defaults at. He's great at perception too, on par with Fuzzy.

More or less what I expected. Diplomats have to be good at social skills, and Fuzzy is passable to terrible at most social skills. I am actually surprised that even after Fuzzy ignored most of her magic stuff (for good reasons) he's still basically at her level. He really did ignore a lot of school for his diplomat job.

Krupa's a mage, right? So her being average means having a lot of karma devoted to being a well-rounded person who is good at physical activity, which has little to do with being a good mage?

Ice Phisherman posted:

I hadn't thought of this. It'd make sense that Olisha would want to vent her cruelty somewhere. She did promise not to take vengeance on Kenji, but I can see her messing with him more because the teens from Tir aren't options anymore. Not some protracted campaign of bullying, because that's not her style, but the occasional jab at Kenji would probably be in order. They'd been something approaching friendly once and had used one another, but Kenji spurned her right in front of her subordinates and that caused offense and an offended Cat never forgives (even when it appears to). So I can see her being bitter towards him and messing with him in the future. Not an enemy, but someone who will occasionally mess with him in a playful and occasionally cruel way.

I didn't think of it until I was thinking about the rest of the dynamic, but yeah it made sense to me that Kenji would become some kind of target for Olisha. Not straight up bullying, that would require too much caring. But he's her only viable outlet when she's annoyed in class and she has a reason to poke at him, so it made sense.

Ice Phisherman posted:

I've been playing around with ideas for Julie's book in year 3 and talking in depth about institutions and the education system interests me. Institutions tend to produce standard results and rarely anything interesting or great, and this includes education. Something like homeschooling produces wildly variable results where you can produce someone brilliant and wild or you can produce idiots or religious pod people.

To break the British Boarding School genre I'd really like Julian to take the teens on a road trip and show them that there's so much more to learning than a classroom and that too much institutional education without the education from life will stunt or even ruin a person. A lot of the best lessons in life are the ones that are taught outside of classrooms and institutions. And instead of trying to manufacture lessons, you take what life teaches you and run with it.

That's way off in the future though and needs a lot of development to turn into a book. I think that learning in that manner as a theme would work well for Julie's year and subvert the boarding school genre of which this series is in part, which I like very much. Having seen the inside of classrooms both as a student and having almost been a teacher, but close, I can talk about why I pulled out of that particular profession. I'd have to go back into education theory again though, but it would be fun to read. Something a bit philosophical while Julian runs around with the teens around the NAN or Native American Nations, because they don't get explored very much.

That could be interesting. My first inclination is to suggest some kind of B plot back at the school to lighten the narrative load on the road trip and cash in on a setting you've done a lot to develop. Not sure how that would work from a CYOA perspective though.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


Dr Subterfuge posted:

More or less what I expected. Diplomats have to be good at social skills, and Fuzzy is passable to terrible at most social skills. I am actually surprised that even after Fuzzy ignored most of her magic stuff (for good reasons) he's still basically at her level. He really did ignore a lot of school for his diplomat job.

Yep, Joyce is not well rounded. He's a specialist and as soon as he's outside of his specialty he's prone to failure. No combat skills, no physical skills, no outdoor skills, just a collection of social skills and probably knowledge skills. He's not fat, because that would be looked down upon, but physical labor is not what a noble should do. Which is silly, because what constitutes what a noble "should" be is completely arbitrary, as if there is no set standard for inherited nobility and the concept is inherently bullshit.

So for example, Jayvon comes from a culture that definitely has an entrenched aristocracy and because the South wants to differentiate itself from other cultures and they praise martial values (As the UCAS would love to reabsorb them and Aztlan wants more of Texas), their corporate nobles regularly challenge one another to duels and either shame them in contests of skill and strength or occasionally butcher one another like psychopaths with blades and smooth bore pistols. And in reality, that's just an extension of the corporate backstabbing because it allows for the novelty of being stabbed in the front. This is completely created out of my own head, but the idea of having your head of marketing and your chief financial officer square off with swords at dawn for an insult not only tickles me, but I could see the South eventually reverting to dueling culture if they were to break away from the US as they reached into their history to find their own distinct culture. And I think that there could definitely be a Shadowrun set up around the whole metagame around dueling as there is sabotage, intelligence gathering, counter-intelligence and of course training in the lead up that's just as high stakes as the fight itself.

Joyce on the other hand is the kind of noble who doesn't care for physical exertion and I imagine that a culture of fantasy elves would have room for someone like that. Dueling would be seen as barbaric, because elves don't duel other elves. What if one died? That would be simply awful they might say. Best to conserve our strength to face ever outwards. Plus a state that values diplomacy would definitely value someone like Joyce. You can definitely degrade and even destroy an enemy with peace, or better yet, conquer them without firing a shot.

Though I make some differentiation between low and high nobility. The low nobility are your thugs, like Gilbrand. High nobility don't dirty themselves.

quote:

Krupa's a mage, right? So her being average means having a lot of karma devoted to being a well-rounded person who is good at physical activity, which has little to do with being a good mage?

Yep, she has spellcasting and summoning skillsets all at 3 at the moment, but these have very little to do with casting spells. However they do have a lot to do with Krupa's attachment to Dolphin, who values play via physical exercise. She's not even great at physical exercise like Fuzzy is at say, running. But she's above average. I really need to display that more at some point though. I haven't given her time to shine on her own or away from Joyce yet.

quote:

That could be interesting. My first inclination is to suggest some kind of B plot back at the school to lighten the narrative load on the road trip and cash in on a setting you've done a lot to develop. Not sure how that would work from a CYOA perspective though.

From a CYOA setting I could let the thread choose what they want to visit out in the former Western part of the United States. So I'd take ideas from the thread about where to go and what they might learn in these places. So the ever changing scenery outside of Seattle as well as say, an RV or a truck or motorcycle would be the setting. Endless campsites, going to historical places, Julian asking the teens what they learned, that sort of thing. And yeah, I'd have to think about the B plot. The idea for this book is still in its infancy though.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Mar 23, 2019 around 20:55

Dr Subterfuge
Aug 31, 2005


Ice Phisherman posted:

From a CYOA setting I could let the thread choose what they want to visit out in the former Western part of the United States. So I'd take ideas from the thread about where to go and what they might learn in these places. So the ever changing scenery outside of Seattle as well as say, an RV or a truck or motorcycle would be the setting. Endless campsites, going to historical places, Julian asking the teens what they learned, that sort of thing. And yeah, I'd have to think about the B plot. The idea for this book is still in its infancy though.

Oh sorry I get how a road trip could work from a CYOA perspective. I was talking about my spitball of an idea for a B plot. It would probably mean making decisions for someone other than our main three, which would be fine.

Fellis
Feb 14, 2012

Kid, don't threaten me. There are worse things than death, and uh, I can do all of them.


Ham Wrangler

The B plot for a roadtrip with Julian’s orphan squad is obviously Kenji’s runner squad having a long term escort/delivery roadtrip that is running somewhat parallel. And at some point when the poo poo goes down, the two groups get scrambled and have to make it out with their half of the macguffin

Mr Apollo
Jan 1, 2013


Fellis posted:

The B plot for a roadtrip with Julian’s orphan squad is obviously Kenji’s runner squad having a long term escort/delivery roadtrip that is running somewhat parallel. And at some point when the poo poo goes down, the two groups get scrambled and have to make it out with their half of the macguffin

With the mischief Kenji & Co. regularly get up to the clear solution is to have the runner team hired as chaperons. If they do a little moonlighting on the side, well, who could blame them?

atrus50
Dec 24, 2008


Just caught up, thanks for the stories ice. The Voice of Dog was great, and it felt like a stand alone book a lot more than the Year One novels. I don’t know if it would make more sense once the edit happens to spread out the timeline of events a little more (although you could go even further in the other direction and stress more how much of a nightmare month it has been).

Throwing my vote of it still counts towards the Quixote Max’d.

Cyberpunk is prob my favorite genre of thing, mostly because I like synth pop https://youtu.be/jb88mzLyITs so it’s great to see someone trying to do the punk side of it justice.

Cyberpunk is basically dead as a genre; you can go to your local supermarket and buy prepackaged preground cyberpunk to cook with yr hamburger helper. It’s an understood aesthetic (like what steampunk immediately became) instead of a punk movement. It generally does as much artistic damage as the Mona Lisa. It’s definitely not future-looking anymore, mostly still chained to the corpse of the 80s vision of neon and flying cars.

RickVoid
Oct 21, 2010


Fellis posted:

The B plot for a roadtrip with Julian’s orphan squad is obviously Kenji’s runner squad having a long term escort/delivery roadtrip that is running somewhat parallel. And at some point when the poo poo goes down, the two groups get scrambled and have to make it out with their half of the macguffin

And the whole time Kenji and Julian are independently doing their best to make sure neither group ends up running into the other (cause Kenji is running the Op and Min-Yun ran into Julian at a rest stop and they keep making plans to secretly hook-up along the route).

Like, Kenji keeps trying to steer them away and Julian keeps dragging them back into its path, inadvertantly.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


atrus50 posted:

Just caught up, thanks for the stories ice. The Voice of Dog was great, and it felt like a stand alone book a lot more than the Year One novels. I don’t know if it would make more sense once the edit happens to spread out the timeline of events a little more (although you could go even further in the other direction and stress more how much of a nightmare month it has been).

Thank you. I'm glad that you liked it. The Voice of Dog is still not done yet. There are a few more posts for the epilogue. But I'm slowly working through them.

I like the tight two weeks as the narrative where a lot of things happen at once as things do in "interesting times" and I don't think I'd change the timeline overmuch. Kenji deals with a Seattle metroplex which is quickly spinning out of control, but is still managing for now, discovers Dog, plays a small part to help mitigate the damage to a terrorist attack, gets courted by fascists, has his first crush, gets busted with prescription drugs by his guardian/teacher, sends his first crush on a shadowrun for purposes of self-actualization, stops a toxic shaman and rearranges his Feng Shui with bullets while taking on the demons from "Journey Into the West", learns that fascism is actually bad, punches the fash and helps Joyce from ruining his life in the process.

And yeah, it feels more like a standalone book. I wrote book one and two in the space of about a month. I was writing them more in a web novel format as I was taking heavy inspiration from the format of the web series "Worm". Also this book is probably like 350,000 words long which is ridiculous I'm not doing that kind of length for a book ever again. I'd like to keep novels to around 100k to 150k from now on so I can actually finish this series at some point.

quote:

Cyberpunk is prob my favorite genre of thing, mostly because I like synth pop https://youtu.be/jb88mzLyITs so it’s great to see someone trying to do the punk side of it justice.

Cyberpunk is basically dead as a genre; you can go to your local supermarket and buy prepackaged preground cyberpunk to cook with yr hamburger helper. It’s an understood aesthetic (like what steampunk immediately became) instead of a punk movement. It generally does as much artistic damage as the Mona Lisa. It’s definitely not future-looking anymore, mostly still chained to the corpse of the 80s vision of neon and flying cars.

I will agree that it is currently a dead genre. Not that it's gone, but that not a lot is being put out right now. There was that show from netflix that was pretty good, but it was something I really only watched once. It did have some social commentary, but cyberpunk is seriously at threat of becoming a full aesthetic like steampunk. There was a move away from the punk aspect of Shadowrun in fourth and fifth edition and more on being a cool, fantasy future mercenary.

I will say that it being a dead genre is probably going to change soon. Cyberpunk 2077 is coming out in the near future and interest in cyberpunk is going to explode as it becomes the new hotness. CD Projekt Red produces some great stuff and I think that the game is going to make people very hungry for new cyberpunk. Amazon is going to explode with hastily poo poo out novels to capitalize on the new hotness. And I'll just be sitting here with a shitload of professionally made content for people to enjoy. I'm okay with technically being a fanfiction writer if the content is good. There have been a number of successful fanfic writers in the last decade and a half and I'm okay with what I have right now. If that expands then I'm okay with that. If not, I'm okay with that. I'm writing what I like to write, saying what I like to say and in the process I'm meeting some really cool people who actually enjoy my work. One of the biggest problems with writing what I did was that I didn't have much interaction and I have to say that the community that's built up around my work makes me legitimately happy. Also the way I used to write was cooperative and performative, because I was used to writing for people, even if that was just one person. So I do better with an audience who I can respond to. I don't do as well on my own.

Cyberpunk goes through boom and bust cycles and I think we're about to have a new boom again with 2077. It'll set the tone for what cyberpunk as a genre becomes for a while. But I think that there's room for whatever the hell I'm writing too. Cyberpunk is ever malleable. You go from the sprawl trilogy and all of the books that either aped or deconstructed it to Ghost in the Shell which is a police procedural to the gumshoe style novels. And despite this being about teens at school and it having fantasy elements, I wanted to write what I know: Politics and people. 2016 onwards has been weird and scary for a lot of people and they don't know how to understand the context of the new political system. I do my best to explain what's happening and what forces are at work at a very basic, very digestible level.

And basic isn't bad. Everyone needs an introduction if they're interested in a subject. I know that I'm not writing something profound, like say Chaucer might, but that's okay. I want this to be an introduction to cyberpunk and politics and maybe some well written characters while also deconstructing not just cyberpunk, but a lot of cultural trends which I see as negative. So for example, the love interest as object trope. Where at the end of the show or movie the male lead demonstrates his prowess and wins her over, but you don't see the relationship. You don't see what it means to love and care about someone and be love and cared about in return. You see dysfunction all over media because many writers and people in board rooms assume this is what people want. And once upon a time it was what people wanted in the wake of the saccharine sitcoms of the 50's, 60's and 70's. And then came the Simpsons and the dysfunction of the family just blew all of that out of the water. It was transgression. Now it's not. It's been done to death and still being done to death.

There was the irreverence and nihilism of the South Park era which sadly also brought back "ironic" racism. The creators wanted Cartman to be an Archie Bunker style racist, but forgot that Archie Bunker actually faced consequences and would occasionally change his mind about stuff. Cartman would get yelled at, but his friends would largely tolerate him and outside of being beaten up a few times, he wouldn't suffer long term consequences for his bad behavior. South Park was a gateway for "ironic" racism which is actually just racism because you can't be ironically anything. You are yourself and your actions at all times.

After that we moved to the non-sequitors and oddness of family guy and its spin-offs. Again with the racism, but it was more geared towards nostalgia and fifteen second bits to keep peoples' attention.

After that we went full nihilism with Rick and Morty. At first I loved Rick and Morty's nihilism, but now it's grown fairly tiresome. If the new seasons do anything interesting I might watch it, but the moments which truly interested me were the human moments when things mattered to the characters. They were feeling their feelings and even though they knew for a fact that nihilism was just how this universe operates, they still wanted to live their lives and take joy. And I liked that.

So this list is by no means comprehensive. It's just what I've consumed in the last few years and I noted some general trends for popular shows which people in my age bracket either watched or grew up with. Thankfully Rick and Morty dropped the racism, but the nihilism is boring now. I'd like to unironically care about things and if the world seems to be in a downward spiral of nihilism, instead of being trampled over, I'd like to stand up and spit in the face of the forces that tell me that life is meaningless and that nothing matters. If life is truly meaningless, if the world is indifferent and hostile, if there are no moral absolutes, that just frees me to assign meaning to my own life and I rejoice in that fact. I set the goals. I can establish my own moral code. Instead of conforming to the morals and mores that are commonly accepted, I can challenge myself to be better and perhaps inspire others to be better and think differently.

I also tend not to make explicit value statements beyond suffering is bad, treat people with respect so long as they do no harm and gently caress fascism. Instead of telling people what to think, I try to lay out a sort of grab bag of what might work for different people in terms of philosophies. So for example, Julie's argument with Kenji about cleaning up for the sake of the environment and Kenji cleaning up because he gets a reward is a legitimate philosophical discussion. Some people will pick up trash on their own. There's a meme on reddit right now which I feel is very positive where people go about picking up trash, and that inspires other people to pick up trash. I think it's great. Kenji on the other hand needs more motivation to pick up trash. He doesn't flat out refuse, but he wants incentive. And I think it's okay to give that incentive to people. Even Fuzzy wants to clean up, but she's often busy and can't stop her morning run. Maybe she'll do it with Jayvon, maybe she'll do it when she's walking, but she will take time when she can even though it's not often.

Not all ideologies and motivations have to be pure and not everyone has the time to really dig into a project, but every little bit helps. And in the narrative, I don't prejudice one philosophy over the other. What I do state in the subtext is that it is a worthy goal to clean up your environment which I believe that everyone would agree with. People like their environment clean.

So if anything, I'm trying to write cybperunk where the forces that drive the punk party, the corruption and violence are present. But the point is not to somehow work within this system to get by. No, the point is to push back to undo the horror. That real change is possible. That life can be hosed up and horrible, but you can still enjoy time with friends and go on dates and fall in love and live your life. And not in a dysfunctional way as mentioned above. The relationship between the friends and the school and such is actually pretty good. Not perfect at all, but what is? Sure there are disagreements and people make mistakes and have moments of weakness, but that's okay. They mean well and better yet, they attempt to act well. For example, Julian having an affair and maybe even a relationship with Min Yun is an extremely bad idea in so many ways. She's a former gangster who might backslide, she could mess up his career, not telling Kenji would violate his trust even though Julian doesn't know about Kenji's crush. But Julian works a high stress job surrounded by teens almost every day and he doesn't really have time for anything serious. But it doesn't matter, he's lonely and she promised to help with Kenji and he really, really needs that help. He's got four teens and he's one dude with responsibilities which conflict with his ability not just to watch them, but to even be close to them while also being objective and professional.

Also as far as Min Yun goes, she's got that apple booty and it's really hard to say no to that.

I limit myself in writing physical intimacy with the teens because I don't want to be a creep. Even when they turn eighteen I don't want to change that policy because I don't want people to fetishisize the characters. Julian and Min Yun are adults though so I can give myself more latitude in what a semi-healthy adult physical relationship would look like. Julian is actually socially adept and Min Yun is confident in herself, so the power dynamics don't end up with one dominating the other. I'm not going to write full on erotica, but I can push way further because both are legal and I'm really showing my romance and erotica history here with one parting shot.

In an age where hookup culture is increasingly the norm and we are continually atomized and dehumanized by corporations who want to sell sex, they continually fumble with intimacy. Closeness and honesty and trust and kindness are largely anathema to large, sociopathic, money driven corporations. Even Disney, which can sometimes come off as genuine if you're not looking too closely and really squint still has an socially conservative, extremely profit driven motivations. And I just want to tell stories and maybe guide people towards positivity in a genre not known for it. Who knows? Maybe there is room for warmth and kindness even in cyberpunk. You know, nestled between all of the gun porn and pictures of dudes screaming and firing off fireballs and byzantine matrix rules.

--

Anyway, to close, I'll do some writing for the next update tonight. I really want to finish this book soon, but every time I give a date I let it blow past me. On a different note, I've changed the working title of Julie's book from "Code Black" to "Cascade" which I think is a much better tittle as Code Black wouldn't be descriptive of everything that I want to write. Not only is Cascade or The Cascades the names of a specific part of the Washington area which the story takes place in, but it also speaks of a cascading failure event as I describe how society can become just so thoroughly corrupt that it can fail to handle a crisis as every safeguard to prevent said crisis fails. And hopefully if the thread chooses the right choice at a specific event (crossing my fingers for you guys) I get to talk about a bunch of cool stuff about my ongoing research of traditional, social and alternative media which I've been doing for the last four months in preparation.

Xarbala
Feb 13, 2011

Rolling Thunder: War to the Knife, Knife to the Hilt

Why? , that's why.

Don Don Don Donki

Don Quixote

Max Mad.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


Note, talk of PTSD.

Also I decided to drop this unedited as I'm exhausted and have been writing for five hours and need to sleep. I'll fix it when I wake up. Please excuse the mess. I just want to get content to everyone here.


Kenji and Julie - Saturday, August 3rd, 2075 – Evening – Blake Island

After Fuzzy left, Kenji decided to walk to with Julie for a while. Normally he wouldn’t allow himself to be completely alone with her, but he had something on his mind.

The sun was in the process of setting and since they were on the western side of the island and cleaning up the last of the garbage from the day that washed up from the metroplex, they were treated to a lovely sunset. Kenji had Julie’s grabbing stick which she used to pick up trash and she levitated what she didn’t want to pick up by hand into the bag. Instead of casting the spell each time, which would have exhausted her, she managed a neat trick where she’d cast on a single object, bumped that object into others and transfer the levitation effect. The cluster of refuse would coalesce into airborne piles after a few minutes of leisurely floating. The hardest part in the end hadn’t been pickup up the trash, but getting it into the mouth of the bag after she picked up too much.

“You’re not going to fit it in,” said Kenji.

The loose ball of trash was still stuck together. Sticking it all together had been the easy part, but either her control or the limitations of the spell didn’t allow for her to drop pieces without dropping everything.

“I can,” she said, defiantly.

She held the bag open, heavy gloves on her hands, but the excess kept spilling over the sides. After a few false starts of this Kenji took Julie’s grabber and began to pick the plastic bits of trash away from the pile. As they came away the spell it stopped affecting them and he placed them in the bag. After a minute of him doing that she finally deposited the smaller trash ball into the bag and then released the spell with a sigh of relief.

“We can,” he said.

Julie smiled at him and playfully rolled her eyes.

“Thanks for helping,” she said, “Doesn’t it feel nice to have a clean beach?”

The western beach was almost clean now. All that was left was the northern side. They hadn’t exactly been efficient in how they’d gathered the trash, opting to spend time with one another first and picking up trash slowly as a sort of afterthought. There was no rush because sadly, there would be more tomorrow and then next day after that too. The Puget Sound was polluted and that was just the current state of things. Mr. Peters and Chip weren’t picking up the lion’s share of beach trash anymore. Mr. Peters didn’t because he wasn’t getting any younger and Chip didn’t because he had responsibilities as Touristville’s third shift medical care and he’d mostly picked up trash at night.

“It does,” mused Kenji, “Though I think I’ll be happier if I could save up for a cool focus. It’s fifty bags for what I want. I’m surprised that he lets it go for so cheap.”

“Don’t be so sure,” she countered, “The students here are rich. They want a clean island. I’ve caught a few of them picking stuff up, but mostly it was just Mr. Peters, Chip and me doing the work. If too much trash builds up then not only does the island look bad, but it slowly sours the local magic and makes it harder to work with. We’re doing something vital here. Also there’s all sorts of red tape about getting someone here to do just this and I think Mr. Peters doesn’t want to pay nuyen for it.”

“He’s paying you,” he countered.

“In a focus, yeah, I guess so, but I’d do it anyway. I like my home to be clean,” she said, “So why not do it?”

“Home, huh?” he asked.

Julie and Kenji paused in consideration and looked about the beach lit by twilight and the full darkness of the forest. To the west across the Puget Sound were native Salish lands, not the Seattle metroplex, and lights dotted the shoreline here and there from single and double story houses, not the imposing skyscrapers of the downtown area. Some were stationary, some were vehicles or flying drones and would move, but it wasn't some city of lights like the metoplex was. Kenji’s low light vision was failing him, so he tapped his smartwatch commlink, flicked through some menus and raised his commlink up to his smart contacts to make sure that the wireless signal didn't degrade over the distance. The world tinted a light green and his problems with seeing in the dark were gone. As an ork, Julie could just see in the dark like it was day, and he envied her just a little for that.

“I guess so,” said Kenji.

Technically he felt like he could go back to the ACHE, but he’d been away most days for over a year now. It might as well be a lifetime. Min Yun had left, he wasn’t sure what she was doing now, and he didn’t know what Clever was doing either or what that would mean for him. His moms’ apartment, as filled with needles and trash as it was as his moms had slipped from habitual user to full burnout addict, had never really been home. His room had been Edward’s, not his. Even Clever’s place, which had felt safe to him, hadn’t been his. Kenji’s freshman cabin was the first place in life that he’d truly been able to call his own. Now it was occupied by someone else in their freshman year and he was in a nearly identical cabin on the sophomore row. It was almost, but not quite the same. No, even if he went back to the ACHE, he wouldn’t really be able to go back. Not because it wasn't there, but because he’d changed too much, and he wasn't sure how to feel about that yet.

Together they walked to the northwest side of the island and worked in the dark. Bainbridge Island was just off to the north and its south side was lightly illuminated. There was more trash here as it faced further towards the metroplex than away. Kenji used the long grabber and Julie levitated. It was in this moment that he decided to ask the question which had been burning at him.

“Hey Julie, I’ve got an awkward question,” he said.

“I’ve probably got an awkward answer,” she joked, “You know me.”

They both had a light laugh, but Kenji’s smile faded first.

“I um…At risk of messing things up, I’d like your permission to uh…To date Saanvi,” he said.

Her head didn’t whip around to look at him. She didn’t panic. The trash she was levitating didn’t drop. Instead he saw her small smile in the light green of his night vision through his contacts.

“I thought we already talked about this,” she said.

“You ran away to an emergency session with your therapist and sent me a letter,” he said, carefully, “That’s permission, but not you being okay. I want your blessing because you’re my friend- My pack, you know?”

She thought about it for a moment.

“I don’t,” she said, sadly.

Kenji’s heart sank. It was over. Julie disapproved. He had no idea how he’d tell Saanvi and suddenly he felt so much worse. His heart ached and he’d seen so much in his life, but that pain was so foreign to him.

“I guess I understand,” he said, his voice suddenly rough from grief.

Julie cocked her head and then realized what she’d done. Her long arms waved in violent negation.

“Oh! I mean I do!” she exclaimed, “I mean I don’t, but I do! I mean…Awkward sorry.”

The rollercoaster of emotions that this took Kenji on from heartsick to elated to confused was emotionally jarring.

“You’re giving me mixed signals here, Julie,” he said.

“I know, I know,” she continued, “I meant I still don’t know what pack is. Not that I disapprove. Kenji, I want you to be happy. Of course I approve.”

And the burden off his heart was lifted. He still wanted Sasha to meet Saanvi, but he felt like that would probably go well and that the problem would be getting them both in the same room.

“It’s okay,” he said, “Are you sure?”

She nodded seriously.

“I am,” she said, “I know I had a bad reaction, but I was going through a rough time in therapy. Any other time I would’ve just dealt with it. Mr. Brand’s knows what he’s doing, but the sessions could get intense.”

Kenji was feeling giddy at the news, but he pushed that aside. He could tell that Julie wanted to talk. Thoughts about his second topic, initiation, could wait. The bag was full now and the nearest recycling bin was near the school since Mr. Peters was most likely not in his office as it was so late. So off they traveled. Kenji carried the bag.

“Want to talk about it?” he asked.

She stayed silent as she walked before she slowly nodded.

“Just don’t tell Fuzzy and Sasha this time, okay?” she asked.

Kenji winced. He’d gone to Fuzzy and Sasha with Julie’s letter. It felt like a small betrayal of his friendship with her his connection with Dog suddenly doubled his shame.

“I’m…I’m really sorry,” he stammered, “I didn’t know what to think…”

“It’s fine,” she said, smoothly, “I know I was being confusing. I was confused and you’ve been going through a weird time too. There’s no need to feel bad.”

Kenji nodded, not really feeling any better. Sensing this, Julie swept forward and gave him a hug. Unbidden, the sense of smell granted by Dog kicked in and he smelled her. Julie smelled like the ocean, the slight scent of her makeup, of her sweat of her skin, of her soap and deodorant and the chemically fruity smell of her shampoo in her long, dark hair. It was strange to him in that moment for her to be covered in so many artificial smells when she was fine just the way she was.

She let the hug linger, but suddenly pulled away from him as she remembered herself. After backing away a few paces, she put her hand to her heart and leaned up against a tree.

“Promise?” she asked.

“Promise,” said Kenji.

The smell went away on its own before he could take in much of the night. The flash of uncontrolled power from Dog was gone just as fast as it came.

“So I had a bad time on my first day of school,” said Julie, “I was with Mrs. Maureen. She’s the summoning teacher since you don’t do any summoning.”

Kenji nodded his head. Adepts just didn’t do that. Most of their magic tended to be internal and so he didn’t have much to do with Mrs. Maureen.

“Well she noticed I was in um…Distress,” she continued, “A lot of bad things have happened to me and I guess the wrong button got pushed. When that happens I sink into myself. I feel numb in those moments and for this one everything felt like a threat which is bad because I’m just powerful enough to be dangerous. She made a call and Julian got me emergency psychological counseling.”

Julie looked down at the ground and dug her toe into the dirt. Kenji put down the bag of trash.

“Mr. Brand isn’t some super powerful expert or anything,” she said, “He’s a specialist in PTSD. That’s post-traumatic stress disorder. A lot of bad things have happened to me in my life. Yours to I guess, but I came to a point where it wasn’t just about me anymore. I was a danger to others. Chip talked me down but…Well I got evaluated and I talked to him about everything. He’s really nice. Again, Chip helped me be honest because I didn’t really want to be. Normally sessions are one on one, but Chip kept me on target too. And what he was doing was preparing me for treatment.”

“Treatment huh,” said Kenji.

“Uh yeah. It turns out that my PTSD was pretty bad. I’d have flashbacks and sometimes I’d just get into these loops where I’d feel bad and then feel worse for feeling bad and on and on,” she said, as she trailed off for a moment, “We did the prep work, got the okay from Julian, made double sure that I don’t have any family history of mental illness even though I told him that I don’t and we did our first session. I took what’s called psilocybin. It’s a mushroom based hallucinogen.”

Kenji held up a hand as he looked at her.

“Wait, you did shrooms?” he asked.

Julie wrinkled her nose at him.

“Psilocybin is perfectly acceptable in shamanic practice for thousands of years,” she said, with a dainty sniff, “And people have been treating PTSD victims with psilocybin and MDMA for over fifty years. It’s perfectly fine as medicine. This wasn’t recreational, Kenji.”

“Okay, okay,” he said, “It’s just hard for me to imagine my nice, straight laced Christian friend doing shrooms is all. I’ve never even done them, I’ve only heard of them.”

“Hmm,” she grunted, and then grew somber, “The practice of guided therapy is…Hellish.”

She bit her lip and dug her toe hard into the ground.

“And I mean that in all of its implications,” she said, sadly, “The only way to deal with pain like that isn’t by learning mental tricks or with magic. I couldn’t avoid it anymore. So with the help of a licensed professional, I experienced a lot of the bad things that happened to me.”

Julie closed her eyes and put a hand up to her throat. She shivered in response.

“I relived the bad things that happened to me, Kenji,” she said, her voice distant, “I felt my body change as magic just ripped through me. My human self got changed into what you see now. I remember seeing my dad enter the room and hoping that he’d love me and all he had was hate. How he tried to choke me and how I wanted to let him right up until I didn’t, and I pulled something deep out of me and killed him with it. And then…And then…You won’t tell?”

He nodded his head at first, but her eyes weren’t open. He gulped down the lump in his throat.

“I won’t,” he said, quietly.

Julie nodded slowly.

“When I killed him, there was this sort of backwash,” she said, “I felt whatever that was rush back into me. And Kenji, it was real power. It almost overwhelmed me, but I didn’t want it and this seductive, ugly feeling came and went. The power stayed though, so I think my magic comes from a really ugly place.”

That was when she opened her eyes and looked at him. Kenji didn’t know what had happened to her, but he had the feeling like his friend was someone who could be truly terrifying in a way that he and Fuzzy might never be. In his experience, people who are used to violence learn how to ration it out with practice. Sure that violence might escalate in a moment’s notice, but different situations deserved different amounts of violence. Not all situations were kill or be killed. There were times where something less than a life was called for, but doing nothing was weakness. And as Fuzzy was a huntress, she was well acquainted with death as she killed animals for food. In fact she’d gone on for a few minutes about the deer she was going to kill and butcher after she learned her spell.

But Julie, she didn’t strike Kenji as someone who understood how to ration her violence. Given her power, that made her truly frightening. If someone pushed her too far too fast, or worse, if she flew into a rage, he shuddered to think of what someone with that much power and too little understanding of violence would do to another person or even people. If she snapped, she would rip through her victims and the odds were bad that they would survive. She had instinctively known how to cast a spell that could kill and could summon spirits that a normal person would have no defense against. If she set them on a normal person and told them to kill, then that person would die.

The realization came while she looked at him with pleading eyes. There was desperation in her and a hope that he of all people shouldn’t reject her. He was an ACHE delver. He’d killed someone because he’d had a feeling that if he didn’t, others would die and had been shot in the chest for it, though his armor and Min Yun had probably saved him. The others had been mercy killings. Someone who’d just gotten so injured that they couldn’t go on. Leaving them to the Delve would’ve been worse than killing them and no one else would do it until Min Yun started to in order to spare him.

He paused the thought, approached Julie and took her hands with her long, thin fingers in his own. She closed her eyes and breathed out a shuddering breath, relieved that he hadn’t rejected her. After all, he’d admitted all of that to her, save for the part about Min Yun taking the burden when he’d no longer been able to, but had been unable to leave them. His soft heart had stained hers even more and he suddenly felt like he owed her far more than she owed him.

“I went through all of that,” whispered Julie, “Through it, you understand. Not around it, no waiting, because then you’re just stuck in that moment when you’re being urged to go through it because through is the only way forward. To accept that it’s a part of me, but break the loop that was ruling and ruining me. I could almost feel the loop like it was dead flesh clinging to me and Mr. Brand and Chip, who guided him, just scraped it away. I thought the PTSD was bad, but this wasn’t just a flash. It felt real and the only direction that made sense was forward. I um…I have an appreciation for what hell is like now.”

She squirmed a little and squeezed his hand hard. He squeezed hers back.

“Maybe just a little,” she admitted, “But when I was done I felt good. All the dead parts of me, the loop, it was gone. Those bad memories are still a part of me, but they don’t rule me anymore. When the bad thoughts come, they leave just as fast. It doesn’t feel great, but that feelings leaves. I could breathe again.”

She half giggled, half sobbed in relief.

“Like now. And then…Then I did it again just two days ago on Friday,” she said, ruefully, “A longer session. That was prison. You know, there were cavity searches at gunpoint, grown women making passes at me, this one riot where…Well it got really bad. I went through all of that. My cellmate, Big Rita, she got me through that, but she got me through it mostly with a weird mix of motherly affection and hate. A hate which I’ve now let go, at least I think so. See, it’s a nice side effect. I feel raw, sure, but I also feel connected to everyone and everything. The trees, the grass, the sand, the island and the school, even the metroplex. I’m connected to my friends and to Julian and my teachers and even people I don’t like very much. And then there’s you. Kenji, I feel so very connected to you right now.”

Kenji couldn’t help it. Perhaps there was a world in which he didn’t hug her, but he didn’t exist in that one. He folded her into a hug and her arms folded around him. As a tall girl, she put her cheek against his own. And in that moment, despite the danger of being close to his packmate who liked him very much, he felt safe that she wouldn’t do anything to ruin their friendship. He finally relaxed.

“And that’s why I can be happy that you found someone just for you. I’m connected to you right now, and where you’re happy, I’m happy,” and her voice turned just the tiniest bit reproachful, “But when the island is unclean, I feel just bit unclean too because I’m connected to the island. When the trash washes up, I feel that carelessness and want to recycle it because that’s where it was supposed to go or maybe it would be better if it didn’t get made in the first place. I don’t know. So when you talk about money for cleaning, I get a little heated because I want you to be the person I know you can be. What Mr. Peters offers is nice, but it’s just stuff. It comes and it goes. But this place, this is our home, Kenji. It’s not just stuff. We need to treat it right. I don’t mind if you get rewarded for doing a part, but what I want for you is to respect your home because you’re connected to it. When you respect your home, you respect yourself. Okay?”

“Okay,” whispered Kenji.

She pecked him on the cheek. Her slim orkish tusks that jutted from her lower teeth and lips brushed his cheek, and he felt his own cheeks warm in response. They broke the hug and she smiled at him in a way that cut his heart. He reached down, grabbed the bag of trash and gave it a shake. It rattled with a hollow sound was mostly empty plastic bottles, but also other mixed plastics.

“Good talk,” said Kenji.

“Yeah,” she agreed, “Want to finish up the north side? I mean it’s dark but…”

“No problem. I’m going to be up tonight for a while,” he said, “I’ve got that ritual spell to learn and I don’t know how long it’ll take, but I can’t think of anything better than to spend tonight picking up garbage with you.”

And he meant it. Julie seemed to sense that too and she nodded. They walked towards the school and dropped the contents of their garbage sack into a recycling bin. Kenji gave a few lightfingered twirls of the grabber and turned around. Julie followed. Once they were off school grounds, he asked the question.

“So how long are you going to feel connected to everyone?” asked Kenji.

“Mr. Brand said a few months, but I also did two sessions in two weeks, so it might be a little longer,” she said.

“Nice problem to have,” said Kenji.

“It sure is,” she said.

“Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask…” he said, “What can you tell me about initiation?”

Kenji and Scrapper - Saturday, August 3rd, 2075 – Night – Blake Island

As it turned out, Julie had a lot to say about initiation.. He explained that he wanted to get the dust out of his system, though he didn’t explain the why of that, only that she hold him accountable to get it out of his system which she agreed to. The process for initiation would take a month at the very least. It called for a time of deep introspection and could be accompanied by an ordeal of some sort, though the creation of the magic group would do so he was covered on that end. There was also education, so help from a teacher that could guide him there and luckily being connected to a group would ease the way as well. The ordeal, education and group weren't necessary, but they did help.

The introspection wasn’t something that Kenji was used to. If he could take his negative feelings and just bury them forever, he’d be okay with that. However that wasn’t compatible with initiation. The dust was killing his soul and though the damage wasn’t permanent, not yet at least, he needed to get it out of him. Initiation meant he'd get metamagic, and a particular one called masking would help hide the damage that had been done by the dust by creating a false aura like the dust did, though he may need to initiate more than once. Metamagic, like all magic, isn’t perfect.

He stepped into his cabin and upon seeing the mess that was his room, he decided to take Julie’s words to heart and clean up. His leather jacket still had Min Yun’s magic liquor in the pocket. This was his second mason jar as he still had his original. Most spirits disliked being bound for long periods of time, but she’d informed him that a water spirit being bound to alcohol was like being on vacation. Kenji could appreciate that.

He was feeling good and he took a tiny sip to receive a tiny memory of water and happiness. He remembered finding an unopened bottle of water just lying in a corridor in the ACHE, being thirsty and then drinking it. It had a pleasant immediacy to it. He wanted water, he found water, he drank the water and his thirst was quenched in a place where clean water was at a luxury. Then he screwed the cap of the mason jar back on, stowed it in his closet next to the other one and began to stuff dirty clothes into his hamper. However, he paused when he saw the box that Scrapper, Saanvi’s bomb defusing robot and friend/pet was in. Julian had said that Scrapper would have a restraining bolt, so he wouldn’t be allowed to move around, but powering up Scrapper was okay. So he opened the box, struggled to pull the heavy, tank treaded robotic drone out of it and set him on his sturdy desk, which was empty because Kenji largely didn’t use it for anything but writing letters.

It took a minute to find the power button, but when he did, Scrapper booted up in seconds. There was a whirring sound as he tried to move, but he couldn’t. Those were just the treads though. His robotic arm could move and camera head could turn, and that that seemed okay.

“Hello Kenji!” called Scrapper’s chipper, tinny voice, “It’s nice to see you again!”

“It’s nice to see you too, Scrapper,” said Kenji.

“Are you aware that I can’t move?” asked Scrapper.

“I am,” said Kenji, with a nod, “Sorry, those are the rules. Saanvi wanted you to stay with me for a while, but you can't roll around while you're here. Sorry aboutthat.”

“Okay,” he said, completely unflappable, “What do you want to do? I can’t connect to the matrix, so we can’t play Combat Biking ’74 unless you’re okay with two player offline mode. I hope that’s okay.”

The single arm gesticulated at him in what Kenji interpreted to be a palms up, “What can you do?” motion. Kenji smiled. He was in a good mood and Scrapper reminded him of Saanvi, which put him in a better mood. It made him think that he could tackle the next month.

“Maybe we’ll do that later,” said Kenji, “I wanted to ask, do you have the therapy program downloaded into you right now?”

“I do!” he chirped, “I have the Scrapper Personality Program and Mobility Matrix version 1.0 installed and running. I have the Therapy Ahead program version 6.0 installed and running. I have the Lyrebird Impersonation program version 6.0 installed, but it is not running. I have the Brainworms.exe installed, but it is not running. Would you like to swap programs?”

Kenji couldn’t help but chuckle at the name of the program that Saanvi used to trick her parents into thinking that they were talking to her instead of Scrapper.

“No, that’s perfect,” said Kenji, “I’m going to clean for a bit. Can we talk while I clean?”

“Of course!” said Scrapper, “I love to talk! What do you want to talk about, Kenji?”

Kenji threw the last of his clothing into the hamper and changed his sheets, which he felt like he probably should’ve done that at least a week ago. Oh well.

“How about the therapy program,” he said, “I feel like I want to understand myself. Can you help me?”

“I’ll do my best!” said Scrapper, “Would you like to continue profile: “gently caress My Life Forever Just Run Me Over Already” or start a new profile?”

Kenji tried not to laugh. Somehow he managed it, but it was a near thing.

“New profile,” he said, “Actually, wait a second, I need to write a letter to Saanvi. You uh…You let me know if you want to say anything to her, okay?”

“Okay Kenji, I’ve never helped write a letter before, but it sounds like fun,” said Scrapper.

Kenji nodded to Scrapper and the bomb defusal drone waved its single arm at Kenji in reply. He changed into something more comfortable for sleeping, enjoyed the feeling of new sheets on his skin and composed a letter as he did every day like he'd promised her. Scrapper would of course say hello.

--

Kenji gets 8 hits v 4 hits on etiquette. Crit. No roll necessary for Julie to say yes to Kenji's request to date Saanvi. As it turns out, her PTSD treatment was with hallucinogens under her therapists's directions. Julie is feeling great after the hellmarch through her own memories.

Kenji does not need to roll loyalty to comfort Julie when she talks about her therapy and her magic. In fact he doesn't really have a choice. Trying not to would require rolling against composure and Dog would not be happy.

I roll for Kenji to learn his spell. He gets 4 hits, so it'll take 3 days. That's great. I roll Kenji's intuition 5 + arcana 2 + facility bonus (library) +2. He gets 4 hits, not a crit, because he needs 1 hit and that would be 5 hits. He'll be primed to initiate in a month or some other narratively convenient time if it may be a little earlier.

Scrapper crits on his etiquette roll to impress an already happy Kenji and successfully rolls his therapy knowledge skill. Kenji gets with the program and he's able to initiate due in part to Scrapper's help. Also he writes letters for Saanvi.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Mar 25, 2019 around 21:34

Dr Subterfuge
Aug 31, 2005


Now, I've never been popular enough that I've needed to worry about this, but Kenji being afraid to be alone with Julie seems kind of unhealthy and definitely represents a long term issue between them that can hopefully be resolved. He had that paranoia with Krupa as well, come to think of it. But it was nice they could share a close moment without it getting overshadowed too much by his fears.

I've heard of people using shrooms to deal with PTSD before. Definitely sounds like a nightmarish experience that could go horribly wrong, but people wouldn't do it if it didn't seem to help. Julie working out where her power comes from is positive. Now when Julian finally works up the courage to tell her he won't have to feel bad about devastating her! He'll just feel bad about being useless instead... Or maybe he'll realize she got there through therapy he helped provide? Maybe that's the positive dice roll outcome.

The “gently caress My Life Forever Just Run Me Over Already” profile name is great. And Kenji using Scrapper's therapy program is a neat idea. Though he'd probably want to get Scrapper back to Saavni as soon as possible since it's no longer in danger, and Saavni needs Scrapper more than he does.

Dr Subterfuge fucked around with this message at Mar 25, 2019 around 16:21

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


Dr Subterfuge posted:

I've heard of people using shrooms to deal with PTSD before. Definitely sounds like a nightmarish experience that could go horribly wrong, but people wouldn't do it if it didn't seem to help. Julie working out where her power comes from is positive. Now when Julian finally works up the courage to tell her he won't have to feel bad about devastating her! He'll just feel bad about being useless instead... Or maybe he'll realize she got there through therapy he helped provide? Maybe that's the positive dice roll outcome.

Using psilocybin and MDMA under controlled circumstances (and if you don't have a medical history of mental illness) can be a consciousness altering experience. My friend Jim, when he was alive, would talk about it from time to time as allowing him to "sweep out the mental cobwebs" and so he'd do it about once every three months until he began to live with me.

While MDMA was not around in the times of our ancestors, psilocybin and a few other consciousness altering drugs were such as marijuana. So while a drug like cocaine will permanently block pleasure receptors in your brain and permanently lower your ability to experience happiness, we do have cannabanoid receptors in our brain as we co-evolved with marijuana. This is not such radical news as it used to be and it really only shocks conservatives and boomers these days, who've been programmed to hate illegal drugs in the wake of the so called drug war. And thankfully I'm seeing those restrictions begin to unwind as I saw a CBD shop in my hometown recently and that was pretty shocking to me. Once medical marijuana rolls in, it's really just a matter of time before legalization follows. This goes along with exploration of hallucinogens in treating veterans with PTSD as a lot of political will and money is being used to deal with PTSD, and eventually after we stop clutching our collective puritan pearls I think the methods will filter down to the rest of the public for legal consumption under medical supervision.

But in terms of our history, and I mean pre-history paleolithic era onwards, using psychadelics was just something that a ton of cultures did because psilocybin is just all over the world. I suggest to people that if they're depressed or stressed which is to do what your ancestors did: Go outside, enjoy the sun, take walks or go running, be social, have sex, eat food that doesn't come from a box or a bag and if you're feeling adventurous, enjoy some of the lighter drugs with the knowledge that it isn't entirely safe or legal, and that you should not use marijuana or psychedelics if you have any family history of mental illness as that can flip certain genetic switches from off to on. I'm not an expert in this past the historical and beyond what I research though, so I suggest checking out TCC for more information if you're interested to talk to more experienced psychonauts. Just you know, be careful. You're not immortal, bulletproof and you can go to jail. But I feel like people should have adventures while they can.

And again, pearl clutching aside for those who aren't comfortable with some drug use, I come at this from a medical and historical perspective that is currently being studied and in the process of moving towards legality. You're also enjoying Shadowrun, a series about mercenaries who engage in hyper-violence, theft, murder, arson, etc, and I view violence as way more negative than mildly addictive drugs. Also teens using drugs is just part of them exploring their world and I did my share of drugs while growing up too. And I think that one of the largest failures of the war on drugs era were extremely bad faith narratives about drug use. I was told that using drugs was bad and there was no distinction made between them, that it didn't feel good and that I'd go to jail. As it turned out, most of what I was told was a crock of poo poo. There are definitely different kinds of drugs with different kinds of side-effects, some mild, some moderate, some potentially life ruining and life ending. I some of the drugs on the lighter end of the scale and I never want to jail. And the DARE officer was absolutely full of crap, that I'd been lied to and many of my friends just did more drugs because the cops were all liars, why not find out for myself? Aaaaand I had friends that experimented with crack and cocaine and heroin thankfully I didn't lose any, but I knew of people now going through my old high school are getting sucked into heroin and they don't come out again after getting hooked on pills. My friend George fled Reno because he was something like forty pounds underweight from doing drugs. And he chose either to keep doing them and die or flee. So he fled.

quote:

The “gently caress My Life Forever Just Run Me Over Already” profile name is great. And Kenji using Scrapper's therapy program is a neat idea. Though he'd probably want to get Scrapper back to Saavni as soon as possible since it's no longer in danger, and Saavni needs Scrapper more than he does.

I wanted to write Scrapper as someone who is intensely cheerful and positive, but he shows Saanvi's influence on him in mildly absurd ways. I do want to get Scrapper back to Saanvi, but maybe Kenji could get his own copy of Scrapper's personality, etiquette and therapy software. It'd give Sasha something interesting to check out too.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Mar 26, 2019 around 09:08

Gun Jam
Apr 11, 2015


Man, this is the second time Juile takes shrooms - both times "above board", with an authority figure, and it went mostly fine (aside from, y'know. That. Not happens normally).
Meanwhile, Fuzzy eats one cookie she didn't even know was enchanced, and it went wrong on a several levels. Did Julie stole Fuzzy's luck in the mind-altering substances department?
...Okay, not all drugs - just most.
*opens a beer, ponders more coffee*

quote:

gently caress My Life Forever Just Run Me Over Already
"I'm sorry, Saavni. I'm afraid I can't do that"
"...drat three-laws robots..."

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


Gun Jam posted:

Man, this is the second time Juile takes shrooms - both times "above board", with an authority figure, and it went mostly fine (aside from, y'know. That. Not happens normally).
Meanwhile, Fuzzy eats one cookie she didn't even know was enchanced, and it went wrong on a several levels. Did Julie stole Fuzzy's luck in the mind-altering substances department?
...Okay, not all drugs - just most.
*opens a beer, ponders more coffee*

"I'm sorry, Saavni. I'm afraid I can't do that"
"...drat three-laws robots..."

Goofus eats marijuana edibles at a party without regards to dosage and has a bad time.

Gallant does shrooms with his medically licensed therapist and expands his consciousness.

Dr Subterfuge
Aug 31, 2005


Dammit we need to get you your avatar back. The default one is throwing me off.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Dr Subterfuge posted:

Dammit we need to get you your avatar back. The default one is throwing me off.

What happened to his Avatar?

Dr Subterfuge
Aug 31, 2005


CourValant posted:

What happened to his Avatar?

No clue. I just know I miss the old one, and I looked at Ice's post twice before realizing whose it was.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Dr Subterfuge posted:

No clue. I just know I miss the old one, and I looked at Ice's post twice before realizing whose it was.

I leave you guys unattended for a week or two and the whole thing skids into the ditch.

@Ice: What's the deal, Dad-e-o? Someone Avatar Bullying you?

Groetgaffel
Oct 30, 2011

Groetgaffel smacked the living shit out of himself doing 297 points of damage.

Cybernetic Crumb

Ice voiced an opinion to change the default avatar to something not trump.
So naturally someone gave him a trump avatar.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Groetgaffel posted:

So naturally someone gave him a trump avatar.

What say we thread, shall we change it back for him?

Gonna need his original avatar pic though.

mcclay
Jul 8, 2013

Oh dear oh gosh oh darn


Soiled Meat

Oh poo poo Ice, are you also from Reno? Small world!

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


Oli – Thursday, August 8th, 2075 – Morning – Blake Island

Oli woke up bright and early, feeling a little groggy, but positive. Then she panicked as she checked her commlink, the one that Julie had given her, as she checked the time. She almost flew into action, thinking she'd be late for class when she relaxed as she remembered that it was Thursday, that she’d learned her new adept powers and that she had no new responsibilities for another week. And she now knew German! Granted it was German at a very basic level, but still, German.

She took her blankets with her as she moved around the room in her little cocoon of warmth. Bare feet slid across the treated wooden floor, creaking ever so slightly. Then she moved the few feet to her kitchen and as far as she knew she was the only student to have one as it was for her education. Cooking and painting were ways to exercise her powers after all. As she opened the fridge she found the bread dough she’d made last night and smiled as she saw that it was ready.

“Ich habe hunger,” she said, in German, and then in English, “I’m hungry.”

What she ate was rarely what she wanted, but from long habit of not having much in the fridge to eat, she instead ate was about to go bad next. So she checked her soy milk, the date on the eggs, the vegetables she used primarily for cooking, the fruit and some soy meat. The answer came to her in the form of an apple that had a soft spot on one side, which was luxurious in a way as she'd eaten far worse in far smaller quantities before. Even then that had been something, and something was better than nothing in the days after...

She shook her head to clear away the thought. No, she decided, she'd have a good day today. No thinking about that. Sure she could go down to breakfast and get food, but throwing away food made her sweat even though she could get three square meals a day which was just so nice to be able to count on that. So she munched the apple, doing her best and failing to keep the heat of the blanket against her skin. This only made it slowly escape.

“Mir es kalt” she said, in German, and then once again in English, “I’m cold.”

It was good practice to repeat, though she didn’t need to save to work on her accent. The magic of linguistics was hers now and forgetting a language once learned would be next to impossible. Her teacher had told her that she’d soak up new languages like a sponge if she let it happen, but unlike a sponge, those languages couldn’t be “wrung out” or lost. They wouldn't come to her as easily after learning the basics, but she'd still be able to learn fast if she tried.

Oli hadn’t told Kenji or Julie, but she’d really wanted to learn magic that felt more like magic. Sure she was good with her hands, and could wield almost any handheld tool with skill, or was skilled with working with just her hands for that matter. And sure she had her magic necklace, made by Mr. Peters and gifted to her by Julie, but none of it felt like magic. Not like that moment where Julie levitated her on the first day of school.

Learning basic German in a day did feel like magic and for practice, she’d been assigned to learn two more languages. She’d hoped for Sperethiel and Or’Zet, the languages of the elves and orks, but she’d been told that she needed a few more languages to get a feel for the magic of linguistics before she learned more difficult languages. So she’d briefly been confined to the romance languages of Western Europe as they’d be easier to learn together.

She tapped her commlink and selected the language program that her teacher had given her, put in her earbuds, put the blanket back on the bed and slipped into some heavy pajamas. Basic French began to play in her earbuds and she began to repeat the words, soaking up new words and phrases, conjugations and declensions, syntax. All while warming the cold lump of dough from the fridge with her hands.

“Être,” sounded the program in her ears, in a lightly accented feminine voice, “I am, you are, he is, she is, we are, you all are, they are and they are, feminine.”

Oli repeated the words while kneading the dough. It was light, almost satiny and grew more so by the moment. A home cooked meal would be a surprise for her friends for breakfast. Julie and Chip had gone to Touristville, so she’d have fewer people to cook for than normal. Jayvon had been nice enough to buy her a few supplies in exchange for tasty food as the prices for real food could be murder. So long as she kept feeding him and everyone else at the table, he’d pay for the ingredients. Kenji had strained not to sell her services as a cook to the rich as that would make her seem like a servant, but she wasn’t making money off this. She was being friendly and that had been okayed. So she listened to the program say the words and repeated when called.

“Être,” said Oli, “Je suis, tu es, il est, elle est, nous sommes, vous êtes, ils sont, elles sont.”

The surprise would be a simple French breakfast as a reward for finishing her magic training early. She’d actually learned two adept powers, but empowering her intuition was so subtle that she could barely feel the difference, even if it had been more taxing on her magic to learn. The three days in that mud hut while sitting on a log learning how languages were put together had been awful, but she’d been motivated to learn. After all, she needed to paint, but making food worked her hands and working her hands exercised the magic she’d grasped instinctively before she'd known she'd had magic at all.

“The cat,” said the program, “Le chat.”

“The cat,” repeated Oli, “Le chat.”

She plopped the dough down on the counter after learning a few dozen more words. The bread was called brioche, which would turn out tender and sweet if she made it right. The recipe came with suggestions for jam and apparently French people really liked jam for some reason, or so the recipe had said near the bottom. Maybe someone was just trying to sell jam, because the jams she’d bought were local and not French at all: Huckleberry and marrionberry. Those had cost her almost fifty nuyen, but if Jayvon was paying…

“Un homme et un garçon,” said Oli, “A man and a boy.”

She preheated the oven and turned on the stove. One of her clean pans, so new and so strange that it was hers, soon heated up and real butter greased the pan. She’d read a dozen articles about how to make the perfect French toast, but one had been dismissive of French toast as actually Austrian in nature. Oli didn’t really care. She just wanted French toast. Her mom made French toast sometimes, and as she thought of that, she had mixed feelings about going home. She still wanted to, but she remembered her tiny room with the bare, stone walls, the foam bed and the crate that was her nightstand. That had been two weeks ago and she still wasn’t used to Blake Island yet. She felt like an imposter and wondered if Julie would let her stay over at her place.

“Une femme,” said Oli, “A woman. Une fille, a girl.”

She set the heat on low and mixed up the liquid mixture for the French toast in short seconds with quick, efficient movements of her hands, deciding to add just a hint of vanilla. She soaked six pieces of bread in that mixture until there was no liquid left. Then she put them on the pan at medium low heat, briefly washed her hands, quickly shaped the brioche dough, put it on a large pan and then into the oven it went to bake

“Pause program,” she said.

The program paused and Oli thought.

“Program, what is French for French toast?”

“Pain perdu,” said the program.

“Pain perdu,” repeated Oli, carefully, as she tried to replicate the accent, “Thank you. Please resume.”

And so this was Oli’s morning. She made breakfast for her friends while learning French for class. She remembered belatedly that she wanted to put a little sugar on top of the brioche, so she put on an oven mitt and pulled the tray out just long enough to sprinkle some powdered sugar on top before closing the oven once more. Then she sprinkled some cinnamon on top of the pieces of French toast before turning them over as the butter sizzled. She bounced happily from foot to foot as she saw the caramelization on the top side of the toast. It smelled amazing. When it was done she turned off the heat, took the toast off the hot pan with a new spatula and put each piece onto a plate. They looked perfect and smiled happily. Everyone would be so happy with her. Each of them was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and not the least bit undercooked or burnt. She knew because cut off a piece, blew on it and snacked.

"Mmm..." she groaned, happily, "Pain perdue."

Definitely perfect.

She put a cover on them, put on a pot of soykaf as she’d seen the exhaustion at dinner yesterday and wanted everyone to have a good start for the morning, checked the time on the oven and decided to grab a five minute shower. So she turned off her French program. Minutes later she came back, drying her pink hair with a towel and with a minute to go she checked her brioche and turned off the timer. She pulled it out, slid a knife into the bread to check and it came out clean, but went in easy which she understood as normal for the soft, sweet bread. So she turned off her oven and decided to go get Kenji. It was breakfast time and she needed help with the platter. Her face fell as she thought about what she’d do if he didn’t show up to the door. People tended to steal food from her when she cooked if she was alone. They were always polite about it, except when they weren’t, but her tray would empty out and her hard work would end up in the bellies of other people who usually treated her like she was a servant or wasn't even there.

And then she remembered that Kenji was going to cook with her tomorrow and her spirits lifted. Friday mornings would be her time with Kenji, though she hoped that he was done with learning his magic by now so he'd actually show up, which made her anxious. If he didn't show up one week, he might stop showing up altogether. And then her eye candy would be gone. Her cheeks flushed as she thought of the handsome elf who actually spent time with her. She knew deep down that she wasn’t pretty, but she could pretend that he liked her instead of just pretending to be nice to her like everyone else was.

Oli – Thursday, August 8th, 2075 – Morning – Blake Island

Over half an hour later she came back with a spring in her step. Her food had been amazing and everyone had praised her, which made her so happy. The breakfast had been simple, but simple meant it was hard to mess up. No one had stolen any food, though a few had tried. Kenji kept that from happening. Fuzzy had second and third helpings as had Kenji. Jayvon had enjoyed her selection of jam as he'd never had huckleberry before. Neither had Oli, she'd just heard about it. Sasha had even smiled which was nice too. That acceptance made Oli feel less like an intruder.

Everyone had already finished their spells too. Fuzzy could shift shapes now, which was amazing, though she’d been cagey about what animal she could turn into. Kenji had learned his ritual, though Oli didn’t understand what the ritual was for exactly as he'd been vague. Sasha had learned some sort of confidence spell, which Oli desperately wished that she had. Jayvon had even gotten his magic back, as he’d lost it with the…

“Rest of his body,” she groaned, “I really said that, didn’t I? Stupid…”

She hated herself for mentioning it and had almost forgotten. The one time she’d contributed to the conversation and she’d stuck her foot straight into her mouth. He’d said it had been fine, but her intuition told her that it hadn’t been fine, and now her intuition was aided by magic so she couldn't be wrong because it was magic. Now she knew when people disapproved of what she did instead of only being able to guess.

“Stupid,” she sighed.

She didn’t want to be Oli anymore, but she smiled as she realized that she didn’t have to be. In moments she was on her hands and knees as she checked under her bed for her makeup kit, released the secret compartment underneath her normal makeup and found her elf ears, ork ears and tusks. Oli felt bad, but Mazoga the ork didn’t feel bad about anything and Moryggan the elf was so airy and light that she could just let everything go. Eventually she decided that it was a Moryggan day. Her “elf self” could just let it all go and get started on her painting instead of agonizing for hours over being insensitive to Jayvon. So she went to the mirror, attached the pointed ears over her dumb, round ones and shifted her hair ever so slightly so the tips stuck out.

“Guten tag, Moryggan,” she said, in lightly accented German, and then in English, “Good day, Moryggan.”

And then a smile overcame her as inspiration struck her suddenly. It had to be the ears! She scrambled into her room and fumbled for her magic necklace. The hemp rope was a little scratchy, but fine and the colorful seashells that were attached to it rested lightly against her skin. Then carefully, oh so carefully, she prepared her canvas, brushes, paint, jar of water and cleaning rag. She looked at the canvas, and there was a sort of tyranny to it. When inspiration didn’t come, the blank canvas would mock her, but now she could see the entire painting in front of her in her mind. Was it the magic? Of course it was, it couldn’t be her. She would need to be careful, and maybe work all night, but what she saw in her mind’s eye would be amazing. Moryggan was amazing after all. Much more amazing than plain old Oli. She’d need to be Moryggan more often.

--

Oli rolls artisan to cook breakfast! She’s feeling fantastic, she’s more aware of her surroundings and she learned basic German in a day in that little mud hut. Today she’s going to work on her French for her assignment while cooking for her friends as she’s in a good mood.

I roll intuition 5 + artisan 4 + nimble fingers 3 + edge 7 (yes, seven, most of Oli’s skills aren’t good but her luck is amazing) for 19 dice. After rerolling sixes she gets…lol she gets 12 hits. That is ridiculous. Okay, she’s doing the immersion thing today and that means she’s trying her hand at cooking a French breakfast. She ordered some custom food last night as cooking French food is just going to be part of her immersion into the language. And it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg because it comes in on the boat instead of being delivered special. And she has money now, which is WEIRD for her. Not a lot of money to be sure, but enough to splurge a little on special occasions. Plus maybe Jayvon might pick up the tab again if he really likes the food.

She makes a brioche, which is a type of bread (kind of like a buttered baguette, very sweet and soft) from scratch, topped with sugar. However, this is just a vehicle for jam. Oli doesn’t have time to make jam from scratch nor the tools, but maybe one day (actually Sheepdodger mentioned that making jam at home is easy and cool, who knew?) What she did get wasn’t the classic French jams, but local. She decided to splurge on real huckleberry jam, real marrionberry jam and the classic strawberry jam.

So she makes a French breakfast to prepare as she learns French. She makes pain perdu, or French toast. Technically from what she’s reading is that this is a pastry and it’s actually Austrian and not a breakfast food at all, but a pastry. Oli wanted French toast anyway and so that’s what she would have.

To finish, she makes fresh squeezed orange juice and real coffee, which she figures will probably attract people who haven’t finished their spells yet.

Finally, I roll her logic 3 + intuition 5. 2 is a failure, but I reroll her edge and she gets 3. So she remembers to take off her elf ears which she’d been wearing this entire time, ditch the Moryggan persona and become Oli again. And she just thoroughly berates herself because she doesn’t want to get mocked like she did last year at school for being a poser. So she heads off to knock on Kenji’s door so he can help her carry it to breakfast.

--

Oli wakes up with new powers! She can barely control them, but they’re there! She wanted to do something that didn’t have to do directly with her art, but that made her feel more “magicky”. So she picked up the linguistics power for .25 power points. This allows her to learn the very first level of a language after being immersed in it for about eight hours. She then makes a logic + intuition roll and based on the difficulty of the language, if she rolls well she gets the first level of that language for no karma spent. The goal assigned to her by her teacher was to be basically fluent in at least three new languages by the time break is over. Oli thought this was crazy at first, but then she learned basic German in class. So now she just has to learn two more in a week and a half. Painting is cool, but she wants to be better than plain old Oli and do more than just paint. She wants to be magical.

So I took a look at Oli’s character sheet. I’m going to make some slight adjustments which shouldn’t change rolls at all. Her +2 total bonus to artisan skills is terribly inefficient when I compare it to nimble fingers which does the exact same thing, only better, with more skills affected (artisan, performance with instruments, sleight of hand, anything with a tool that I’ll say is less than a pound per point of magic) and for half the cost. So I’ll be reassigning those because nimble fingers is objectively better in every single way in comparison to improved skill (artisan).

Oli also took improved attribute (intuition) which gives all of her intuition based skills a +1 bonus. This will go towards upping her mental threshold which keeps her from making truly great rolls with art. Technically this doesn’t exist in SR5, but it did in previous editions so idgaf. So she’ll get a bonus to all of her intuition linked skills (artisan, disguise, perception and her knowledge skills) as well as help get her limits up.

Also I checked out her way that I bought for her on her sheet (the artist’s way, currently locked), and the reduction for costs includes nimble fingers which doesn’t make sense because that’s a .25 skill and that can’t be cut in half which means that it’s not designed correctly. I instead give her the “choose one power” patch that’s in the beast’s way as a template and stick to the attribute boosters. So instead of spending a whole power point for attribute boosters, she’ll only need to spend half of one for every two power points she gets. Speaking frankly, I don’t understand why adepts can’t get +1 to logic, charisma, intuition and willpower and it struck me as that just getting kicked down the road for a supplement. Oli is not a combat character, so I plan on diving into the less useful skills to see how a normal person with magic would function when they’re not a healer, an academic or any violent profession. Just a normal person. She has 2 of her 4 power points filled and once she gets some outdoors experience she’ll be able to get her magic up to 6, because she is a person who very much understands the food chain and isolation as I’ll explain when I get to her backstory in Wolf Tickets (the novelette) after Cascade (Julie’s story). And those power points have already been assigned. So once she gets that experience in nature she’s going to be someone seriously powerful…As an artist. And we’ll see how little that means once we start taking a look at just how hosed up the art world is, because as it exists today it’s basically about generating prestige for the rich and money laundering, again for the rich. Quite a few people in the art world wouldn’t know art if it bit them.

Seriously, a large chunk of the art world is basically a criminal enterprise and it’s loving fascinating and horrifying at the same time.

Anyway, I roll to see what Oli unlocks in terms of her potential. I roll and she gets…Automotive mechanic unlocked. This actually works out pretty nicely with Tek’s subplot which will be a possibility in Cascade. Apparently Oli spent a lot of time watching him mess with motorcycles. She wanted to be like her stepbrother because he was this cool, older guy and learning how to fix things…Theoretically at least…Was a good way of getting close to him without actually being close. And when he found out that she was a poser, that all got messed up.

Oli gains the linguistics magic and gains German 1, French 1 and Spanish 1 without spending karma, improved ability (intuition) and automotive mechanic 4 as she tries to patch up her relationship with her big brother. She also gains 2 karma for making an exquisite piece of artwork with an average of 10.5(!) on two rolls. So she made a small, exquisite work of art.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Mar 26, 2019 around 20:18

VanSandman
Feb 16, 2011
SWAP.AVI EXCHANGER

Oh Oli no

Dr Subterfuge
Aug 31, 2005


Oh Oli . How naive of me, not seeing the through line from wanting to learn the Ork and Elf languages to the end.

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Butt Discussin
Sep 12, 2010



Is it possible for Oli to learn something like Kenji's face morphing power? Not that that's a good idea, but it seems like something she would be interested in, that might cause some drama.

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