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Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011


You feel exposed and constrained at the same time; wrapped in cloying layers of pink tafetta and tulle and various other textiles for which you have no ready name or frame of reference. Leather had always been more your speed, a fact of which your Great-Aunt Wendigerd often despaired.
"It's not all bursting into crypts and whipping chandeliers, Winnie dear," she would tell you. "The beasts we hunt wear human nobility like haute couture, and we must be ready to pursue our quarry, no matter in what terrain they go to ground." You can't deny the dancing lessons helped your balance and fighting ability, however, at least until your tutor's head detached from her neck one evening and attacked you.

Other families don't have these sorts of problems, or so you've heard.

Gritting your teeth and girding your dignity, you simply accept your attire as a condition of the battlefield, and turn to the damned servant offering you a questionable libation.
"No thank you," you offer with a politesse that makes your teeth hurt, but can't resist adding a little barb. "I'm still quite full," you explain, tapping your jugular. Pushing past the ruffled servant, you make your way through the throng of revelers, trying your best not to make contact with anyone...or anything. Laughter, the clink of glassware, and music just ever so slightly discordant, all whirl around you in a chaotic maelstrom, and between the overwhelming noise, the close-packed bodies of your ancestral foes, and the miasma of mingled perfumes applied liberally in a vain attempt to stave off the stench of the grave, you find your head spinning, and your heart pounding. Your lambent golden gaze appears to have some warding ability, as a number of young, or at least young-seeming, guests begin to approach you, only to quickly peel off as they behold your withering glare.

Piercing the crowd without giving in to a most certainly suicidal fit of violence is every bit as taxing as fighting the carnivorous plant, and when you break free of the throng at last, you take a great ragged breath. Taking a moment to collect yourself, you scan the walls and decorative arches and panels, searching for anything that might conceal something of value. Instead, you see a trio of revelers, standing apart from the dance, and elect to interrogate them, instead.
You are perhaps an incongruous sight, stalking like a panther in a ballgown, and as you approach the unengaged trio, you quickly draw their curious gaze.



"óso I said to him," a redheaded woman in green masqued as a blue rabbit gossips as you approach, "Prommie, dearest (he hates that, you know...I am Doktor Prometheus Darmstadt, Master of the Clocktower, and I will not be addressed by blah, blah blah,) Prommie, if you had your choice of parts to bolt to the big lug, why didn't you...you know...add a little girth where itóOh! Look what's stalked out of the terrible night!" She smiles with seemingly genuine mirth, though underlaid with the fundamental cruelty of the undead, and a trickle of claret dribbles down her chin from one of the pointed canines surrounding a pair of protruding buckteeth.

"Enter the blush of life, clad in carmine raiment," croons the slender man masqued as a vulture. "No servant, she."

"Not yet," comes the near-whisper of the bat-masqued woman, as a shudder takes her slumped shoulders. "But 'ware when His Shadow falls upon..."

"Oh lay off, Bathilda," scoffs the Rabbit. "We're all quite fatigued with your dour seeress routine by now?" She looks to you with a keen gleam in her beast's eyes. "Wait...Are you a Belmo--"

"No," you assert quickly. "I am most certain not...that."

"But you are a hunter," Vulture declares. "Your coursing nature cannot be concealed by mere fripperies. You can't be here for the Lord of the Manor, because you don't look like a drooling imbecile."

"Oh stop flirting, you awful creature," Rabbit laughs. "Her reasons are her own, I'm sure...of course, it would be ever so fun if she would tell us..." Too-long lashes bat, and you feel a wave of compulsion wash over you, breaking against your Whitegraves Conditioning. "She's strong," the Rabbit purrs, biting her lip and wriggling her hips. "Fun!"

"Salamander," whispers the Bat, "serpent bright with flames white as ash. Creeping across a grave, in the shadow of a great and twisted thorn tree."

"Lay off, Spookerella," Rabbit snarls. "Between your rambling and Viscount Dodo's midnight suitor act--"

"I am a Marquess," he snaps petulantly, "and it's a Vulture..."

"I'm looking for a relic," you quickly interject before the drama can develop any further. "It should be here, in this chamber. Somewhere."

"She seeks to join the dance invisible," Bat shivers.

"The Spectral Espadrilles," Vulture intones.

"What positively awful shoes," Rabbit sneers. "They don't go with anything, and everyone will be sure to see your tacky footwear when you're leaping in midair like a common fleaman?"

"I think I've heard of them," you comment. "At least, they were in St. Wigelius's Enchiridion. They let you walk on air?"

"Not walk," Rabbit rolls her eyes. "That would be...useful? They just let you keep jumping without touching the ground? Why anyone would come up with something so trivial and pointless is beyond me, but I'm not a Byzantine artificer? Anyway...Fred's got them."

"Fred?"

Rabbit points to the dance floor, or rather, above it, where two ghostly dancers twirl in impossible patterns.

"Frederick, Earl of Ascare," Vulture declares. "Master of Revels. To claim the Spectral Espadrilles, you must challenge him."

"Or..." Rabbit purrs, gesturing vaguely to the wall on the right, "you could take a walk in the terrace garden with me? It's a secret place, good for reading and I think someone like you might find it...enchanting?

Is she suggesting what you think she's suggesting?

"If you're interested in artifacts," Vulture adds, "I could introduce you to Doktor Darmstadt. His inventions are the talk of pale society, and I'm sure he could outfit a fierce hunter like yourself with something...innovative."

Doktor Darmstadt the notorious disgraced physician and graverobber?

"Rats...rats in the walls, chewing out the eyes from behind, to reveal the true path," Bat mutters.

Or...that. Passages hidden behind paintings, perhaps, or just rambling?


You're beginning to feel dizzy, and weak in the knees. Being this close to so many vampires is taxing your Conditioning to the limit. If you don't leave the ball soon, you may not be able to leave at all. But to follow a path offered you, or to blaze your own?

A. Challenge Fred Ascare to combat, to claim the Spectral Espadrilles.
B. Challenge Fred Ascare to a dance battle, to claim the Spectral Espadrilles.
C. A or B, with a twist. Overt spellcasting may be impossible, but you're sure you could surreptitiously heat the kelo nuts in your palm to the point of bursting, then hurl them at Ascare to seize the advantage in battle.
D. Go for a walk in the garden with Rabbit, and perhaps claim a Grimoire page?
E. Accept Vulture's introduction to the mad Dr. Darmstadt. He's sure to have useful tools, if you survive.
F. Go do...whatever it is that Bat is suggesting. It might provide more detailed intelligence on the castle layout.
G. Enough of this. Surmount the balcony above and exit via the upper floor.
H. G, but first go shake down the valet for your gear back!

Bee Bonk fucked around with this message at Mar 13, 2018 around 18:11

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Nyaa
Jan 7, 2010

Q.E.D.



B then E

dont be mean to me
May 2, 2007

I'm interplanetary, bitch
Let's go to Mars




Nyaa posted:

B then E

Slaan
Mar 16, 2009

Why, yes,
I will poke your Gushing Spring Point!


Pillbug

D then A

We need magic a little more than double jump

dont be mean to me
May 2, 2007

I'm interplanetary, bitch
Let's go to Mars




But double jump is magic, and grants access to more magic!

Zybourne Clock
Oct 25, 2011

Poke me.

B, then H. Get the prize, then get out!

Nyaa
Jan 7, 2010

Q.E.D.



I heard you need to learn dancing before you can double jump. Vote B for dance!

Lord Zedd-Repulsa
Jul 21, 2007

Devour a good book.



Nyaa posted:

B then E

Zybourne Clock
Oct 25, 2011

Poke me.

The voting phase has ended. The winning option is to challenge Fred to a dance-off (1B); his Spectral Espadrilles being the prize. I also counted everyone's second vote; the winning option is to accept Vulture's offer and have him introduce us to mad doctor Darmstadt (2E).

Lord Zedd-Repulsa, you're up next!

Lord Zedd-Repulsa
Jul 21, 2007

Devour a good book.



I have to work tomorrow afternoon, so don't expect anything before 9 MDT (GMT-6 currently).

Lord Zedd-Repulsa
Jul 21, 2007

Devour a good book.



As you hope the dancing standards of this group haven't advanced in the last couple of centuries, a song begins to play in the background that immediately dashes those hopes. Maybe your opponent hasn't studied anything since that song was released decades ago? You certainly haven't studied much of it in years because focusing on combat skills has always seemed more important than trying to carry a conversation about things you know or care nothing about or...having a dance-off with a vampire for his magical shoes.

You watch Fred Ascare for another moment or two before he and his partner float down near you. Fred shoots you a predatory glance that heats you up in a strange manner for several seconds, but shake it off to tell him what you want.

"A dance-off, dear? I hope you understand that I'll claim your throat if you lose." The warmth his looks gave you changes to an ice bath through your veins. "But to keep it from being too one-sided, you can choose what decade's music you wish to dance to."

What decade?
A. 1970s
B. 1980s
C. 1990s
D. 2000s
E. 2010s
F. Something older! (insert your choice)

I apologize for this being incredibly short but my autoimmune disease is kicking my rear end at the moment and writing takes precious brain cells better spent on sleeping and cuddling cats.

Prince of Space
Apr 17, 2016

Went Full Retard, killed 14 dudes. Pride of the 69th Awful Company. R.I.P.

Dinosaur Gum

B !

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011


F: The only song for a vampire dance-off is Johannes Brahms' Hungarian Dance No. 5.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016



E Time for the revenge of T-Swift.

MinutePirateBug
Mar 4, 2013


F Camille Saint-SaŽns - Danse Macabre

Nyaa
Jan 7, 2010

Q.E.D.



F. 0000 AD. Dance of Savior

Dance this and you get turn to ash!

Dog Kisser
Mar 30, 2005

But People have fears that beasts do not. Questions, too.


Bee Bonk posted:

F: The only song for a vampire dance-off is Johannes Brahms' Hungarian Dance No. 5.

Yeah, that's a good one!

Zybourne Clock
Oct 25, 2011

Poke me.

B!

Lord Zedd-Repulsa posted:

I apologize for this being incredibly short but my autoimmune disease is kicking my rear end at the moment and writing takes precious brain cells better spent on sleeping and cuddling cats.

Don't apologize, everyone should write as little or as much as they please. Although I can't feel your pain, I have an immune disease myself that sometimes flares up out of nowhere. When I'm at my worst I really don't feel like doing anything at all. You're an absolute champ for still contributing, and I hope you feel better soon.

Zybourne Clock
Oct 25, 2011

Poke me.

The voting phase has ended, and we have a tie between dancing to Brahm's Hungarian dance no. 5 and the soulless robotic farts of early-80's synthesizer music. The results are going to be, uh, interesting. Stay tuned for an update later today.

MinutePirateBug
Mar 4, 2013


Changing vote Brahm's Hungarian dance no. 5... you fuckers

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

lmfao hooboy

Nyaa
Jan 7, 2010

Q.E.D.



Hungarian Souless Robotic-#80 Brahm 5-synthesizer-fart ?

Zybourne Clock
Oct 25, 2011

Poke me.

"Tell me then, what will we dance to?"

"You wouldn't happen to know Brahm's Hungarian dance, would you?", you ask confidently.

Fred chuckles softly. "O-ho. A fan of the classics, are we? I do hope you realize I've been a dancer longer than you've been alive. Very well, show me your best". Fred snaps his ghostly fingers. Levitating instruments suddenly appear out of nowhere and begin to play a familiar tune, which catches the attention of a few dozen nearby masked revelers. Both you and Fred waste no time to bust out your flashiest moves.

Pictured: a pitched dance battle

Mid-way through the song, as you strike a pose you notice that the crowd has grown considerably in size. Crap, that isn't a good thing. The fact that they wear masks doesn't make you forget that they are all abominations that are out for human blood. If there was any hope of leaving the ballroom with being noticed it's surely lost now.

"It's been a pleasure. No really, you're quite good." The ghostly figure's facial expression changes to a deeply disturbing grin. "For a complete amateur, that is. Try to keep up with THIS!"



Fred Ascare squats down on the heel of one foot, his other leg stretched out in front of him. With the practiced grace of a true Hungarian cossack he makes a little jump from one heel to the other and in the blink of an eye he switches back again. One, two, three, kicks, all in under a second.

"Faster, Fred! Faster!" yells his ghostly partner and personal hype-man, who's floating several feet above the gathered ring of masked onlookers. "Fred, Fred, Fred!", he shouts from the the top of his ethereal lungs. All of the gathered vampires begin to clap in unison as the ghostly dancer begins to kick faster. Some even chant along.

With no way of realistically keeping up the pace you stop moving, opting to simply gaze at your competitor as he begins to Kazotsky-kick his way to the ballroom wall without skipping a single beat or losing the smile on his face. He lifts a hand above his head and snaps his fingers. The enchanted instruments levitating around the ballroom come to a frantic crescendo, but Fred keeps up the pace without breaking a sweat. Where a normal dancer would fall flat on his rear end for trying such a stunt, your opponent somehow manages to re-orient himself mid-kick as if the wall were a second floor. The crowd goes wild as he kick-dances a full lap around the entire ballroom wall at an astounding speed and they loudly cheer when he jumps back onto the floor with a graciously executed double Rittberger.

"Well then. I think the question of who is the better dancer has been settled. Now, I will claim my prize. Give me you-- hey!", Fred yells out as he sees you running for the doorway to the spiral staircase.

poo poo. This sure as hell wasn't the desired outcome! At any rate you're not going to surrender your life willingly. Before you've taken three steps, twenty vampires already block off your escape. One tries to grab you by the arm. A clumsy attempt which you deftly dodge. With a punishing strike to the neck the undead monster crumples to the ballroom floor. Another dives at your legs. You sidestep the attacker and pull the rusted chain from your trouser pockets. It's less than an ideal weapon. Surely not as good as your knife, which they took from you when they forced you into this puffy pink dress. But it makes a swooshing sound as it swings through the air and then produces a loud, satisfying "CRACK" when it comes down on the blooddrinker's skull. The foe joins his friend on the floor.

But it is no use. There's hundreds of them and only one of you. It doesn't take long before they have you surrounded and, eventually, pinned to the ground.

"Easy, my adoring fans. Easy!", says Fred as he floats down in front of your face. "Please don't damage my prize. I've waited eons for a second chance at life, and wish to enjoy it for longer than just a few minutes!" His features begin to distort and melt into a puddle of ectoplasm. A puddle that suddenly leaps onto your face and enters your body through your ears. Memories and thoughts not your own begin to flood your mind and displace your own.

A few moments later, you cease to be you.

Game over
























---
We have just run into our first game-over, but the story goes on! Whenever Winifred dies or is incapacitated in some way that prevents her from continuing her story, we rewind back to the last update and proceed from there. Which is currently this post by Lord Zedd-Repulsa.

However, because we obviously were all such terrible wrong-voters the first time around we're not going to vote on Lord Zedd-Repulsa's questions a second time. Instead the next GM gets to ignore the available options altogether and writes what Winifred obviously should have done all along! Maybe she'll cheat and trip up Fred during their dance-off? Maybe she'll back off on challenging Fred once she hears he'll have her throat if she loses? Maybe she dances better than Fred and wins the dance-off fair and square? All of that and more is possible.

This comes with two restrictions:
* A game over can't be followed up with a second game over. Whatever happens next should progress the story in some way.
* Although the next writer full control over what our character does next, Winifred is still limited by what she knows and what she can do. She can't suddenly turn into a fire-breathing dragon and destroy everything in the room, because that's not something she currently knows how to do.

Who gets to GM next after a game-over? Since there's no new voting phase, anyone can claim the title. If you're the first person to claim it, you have 48 hours to write the next update.

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

He slimed me

That was a hell of a Cossack dance performance. The mental image of him slav-squat kicking his way up a wall and around the ballroom was awesome.

Dog Kisser
Mar 30, 2005

But People have fears that beasts do not. Questions, too.


See, our mistake was fighting him on his own terms. Of course he's an amazing dancer, and those shoes just make him even better. We should fight fire with fire:

Do we have any wraiths that are good dancers?

Nyaa
Jan 7, 2010

Q.E.D.



Dance of Savior would have owned him.

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011


We're a fighter, not a lover. Thinking too far outside the whip is a mistake. Pick something solo-heavy, and challenge him to show us his fancy moves, then, when he's popping and/or locking in the center of the ballroom, surrounded by his admiring throng, drop a giant goddamned chandelier on them. While everyone is distracted or crushed, call forth our fiery entourage to clean up.

Zybourne Clock
Oct 25, 2011

Poke me.

Dog Kisser posted:

Do we have any wraiths that are good dancers?


I know that Hexen doesn't want to GM, so you're up next if you wish to. Who knows, maybe a set of back-up dancers makes all the difference.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016



I, the Great Evil King, shall seize the GMing reigns and continue this story!

MinutePirateBug
Mar 4, 2013


TheGreatEvilKing posted:

I, the Great Evil King, shall seize the GMing reigns and continue this story!

You are only allowed to refer to yourself in third person from now on.

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

MinutePirateBug posted:

You are only allowed to refer to yourself in third person from now on.

Seconded.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016



"By the words of unmaking...we shall turn back time!" a voice rasps as Fred flows over your face.

Then you are once more before Fred. "A dance-off, dear? I hope you understand that I'll claim your throat if you lose."

You shake your head, feeling like there is something that happened that you should remember. Oh well, nothing had happened between you entering this room and talking to Fred, so...

There was a little voice telling you that Fred was probably pretty drat good at dancing. But there was one thing these immortal noble types prided themselves on, and that was taste. Fred probably knew all the old dances, all the old classics.

"I think it would be fairest if we each picked a song for each other," you say.

Fred grins like a cat sizing up a mouse. "Of course. Would you like to pick first?"

As a matter of fact you would. "I can even provide my own music", you say, hoping this works.

"Oh?" Fred says with barely concealed amusement. "This ought to be amusing. Go on then."

With a sound like a crackling flame, you cast The Remembered Flame Avenges, followed by The Ember Ignites a Thousand Flames. A host of wraith musicians appear, clad in flame and wielding all manner of instruments - violins, a keyboard, guitars...

Fred's smirk reappears on his face. "Go on then. Pick the music".

You turn to the gathered orchestra and announce:

"Rockstar, by Nickelback", you cry exultantly. As the first horrid chords of the abomination settle over the vampires, a wailing comes from the audience. Fred staggers to his knees, clutching his ears. "Make it stop, make it stop, MAKE IT STOP!"

"Concede!"

"Never", says Fred, attempting to rise.

A crescendo from the spectral orchestra stops him

I need a a credit card that's got no limit
And a big black jet with a bedroom in it
Gonna join the mile high club
At thirty-seven thousand feet
(Been there, done that)


Fred finally capitulates, tossing you the Spectral Espadrilles, which possess the power to cause all witnessing you dancing to join you in a song and dance routine of your choice. "Now leave, before our contract expires and I slay you here and now."

You gather your possessions from the cloakroom and reflect gratefully that Nickelback didn't require a lot of musical talent to play.

As you exit through the balcony, you are confronted by a different sight - a hall of mirrors! Each mirror shows a different Winifred - one a WInifred triumphant over the vampire, slowly becoming what she hates - one a broken, bleeding Winifred lying at Dracula's feet - the worst of Winifred's memories - make it stop, make it stop, make it...


How shall we defeat Dracula's hall of madness?
a)Smash the mirrors. Will probably attract some hostile attention, at least.
b)Run really fast down the hall.
c) Steel your will and ignore them.
d) Turn back into the ballroom of angry vampires and attempt to kill them all with Nickelback music.
e) Something else you came up with that we hope is a good idea...
f) BURN

Nyaa
Jan 7, 2010

Q.E.D.



E) Taunt the ballroom vamp into the mirror room, then Bruce Lee Enter the Dragon them.

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

G: Follow up with My Darkest Days - Pornstar Dancing ft. Chad Kroeger while immolating the ballroom

Prince of Space
Apr 17, 2016

Went Full Retard, killed 14 dudes. Pride of the 69th Awful Company. R.I.P.

Dinosaur Gum

C) Vampires cannot be seen in mirrors. Ignore the madness the mirrors offer by closing your eyes and exploring without using sight!

MinutePirateBug
Mar 4, 2013


d nickelback is lethal, also might as well make life as hard on the next gm as possible by evenly distributing the votes

dont be mean to me
May 2, 2007

I'm interplanetary, bitch
Let's go to Mars




A

Also if I happen to be the last voter for the next 12 hours I punt. No one needs to see another one of those.

Zybourne Clock
Oct 25, 2011

Poke me.

E. We have a spell that might help!

Winifred's Grimoire posted:

* Eldritch Flame, also known as Will-O-The-Wisp. It creates a floating blue-green flame that follows Winifred around and lights things of interest with a harmless cool light

Cast it and hope it can point us to the exit!

Nyaa
Jan 7, 2010

Q.E.D.



^
change to that

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WereGoat
Apr 28, 2017



Zybourne Clock posted:

E. We have a spell that might help!


Cast it and hope it can point us to the exit!

This sounds good!

(Not up for any gming at the moment)

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