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541850 No. 541850 ID: 5a2deb

"Keep up."
"Spirit Shit on a Spirit Stick. It's cold out here."
"Stomp it out."
"You'd think the wastes would be hot. I always thought they'd be hot, looking at pictures."
"Not up this far north. We're near Old Waan."
"I can never keep track of this plane's weather. Back home it's all the same. Purple and warm-ish. I liked that."
"If you want to go back, I'll send you back."
"I never said that. What's up your ass today, man?"
"Favor being called in. It's why we're out here."
"You don't like the people?"
"The people I like fine. They had a big part in the reformation. Hunter-killers, pushing the old guard out. The problem is it's not them who need me."
"Who does?"
"Their kid."
Expand all images
No. 541851 ID: 5a2deb
File 138001432005.png - (13.57KB , 800x600 , 2.png )

"I don't want to go out there. I look dumb."
"You look great," says Mom.
"I have a cape. Why not just jeans?"
"Not a cape, hon. It's a cloak." says Mom.
"I feel like a supervillain."
"Reckon if you ain't flying the coop and giving us some privacy after fifteen-odd years because of a cloak thing, you're as close to a supervillain as I can figure," says Dad.

Boy, or girl?
No. 541853 ID: fb9515

Normally, I'd say boy, but I think pretty much every bromquest has had a male main protagonist.

So, I'm voting female!
No. 541854 ID: bf54a8

No. 541856 ID: 7e83aa

No. 541859 ID: 2bb9aa

Fem all the way to hell and haven
No. 541881 ID: 07e3a8

No. 541889 ID: 440525

That's a good point.
No. 541903 ID: 001618

let's see what brom does with a female main charter for once
No. 541922 ID: 57a559

Want to tackle complex societal issues and deal with social norms.
Otherwise just girl.
No. 541925 ID: 4f1dac

Les do this. A lady, hopefully someone with the maturity to actually handle an adult descriptor like that without it being a bad joke.
No. 541926 ID: 86b8be
File 138006217350.png - (15.25KB , 800x600 , 3.png )

"Who is this guy?" asks Deanna. "Who goes around calling themselves Ranger, anyway?"
"That's what we were gonna call you, if you were a boy," says Dad.
"I would have vetoed that, for the record," says Mom.
"Clayton Ranger," says Dad, "is a Thaumaturge your mother and I worked with on-and-off a few years back when the Ark was still a thing. He tried to kill us over our eyeballs when we first met and then we got along great."
"Kind of a douchebag," says Mom.
"Why am I going with him, then?"
"Ranger's one of the best independent thaumaturges around," says Dad. Mom coughs. "Besides your mother. He'll teach you plenty and keep you safe."
"Just safe enough," says Mom, "without mollycoddlin' ya."
"Mollycoddling? I kind of want to be mollycoddled."
"That's not what alienation's for," says Dad.
"How do you know? You never went on one."
"We had more than enough danger tossed our way, thank you very much," says Mom. "Now baby, Oren and me love you very much, but after Clayton leaves we're going back into the skiff and I'm going to jump his bones."
"And you can be there for that, or you can leave with the nice man."
"I will puke all over this cape."
"You'll be fine, kid," says Dad. "You're gonna shine." He squints into the horizon. "Clay should be here soon. Follow his instructions, unless they'd get you killed. Then don't do that. Any questions?"
No. 541940 ID: 2bb9aa

(Good god i think we've seen these two befor)
And im with this guy
No. 541941 ID: efa330

allowance: now or later?
No. 541946 ID: 7bbaae

Shouldn't you be wearing a mask for your Alienation?
No. 541955 ID: 2bb9aa

You thinking what im thinking?
No. 541958 ID: 86b8be
File 138008193229.png - (8.72KB , 800x600 , 4.png )

"You're giving me to somebody who tried to kill you?"
"He thought we were Ark," says Dad. "He was running from them, same as us."
"You couldn't trust anyone back then," says Mom. "They were in the Arcanopolis, too. Up in the government, and everything. This was before the Reformation."
"He was one of the ones who turned the tables. Bona fide badass. Rode shotgun with us for a while back in the day. Now they're the ones hiding." Dad points out across the wastes. "There. Spirits, he ain't changed at all."
"That's what oculus magic'll do for you," says Mom. Deanna dutifully fails to notice her squeezing Dad's ass. "You ain't either."

A tall, thin figure in black is coming closer. The wind whips the robe around his feet.
There's a Qal with him, in full plate.
He stops, about fifty or sixty feet away.
"Hello," he says, quietly. The wind carries his voice.
"Clay," says Dad.
"Hi, Ranger," says Mom.
"Oren and Nessie Loper. How long has it been? That there," Clayton gestures at Deanna, "was a baby bump."
"Long time, Clay." Dad puts a hand on Deanna's shoulder. "You look good."
"And you." Clayton doesn't move. "Bump. What's your name?"
"Deanna," says Deanna.
"You're not taking anything more than you can carry, Deanna, and you're going to be carrying it a while. Are you ready?"
No. 541959 ID: 7bbaae

You better bring a camera, and a phone.
No. 541986 ID: 86b8be
File 138009024438.png - (11.33KB , 800x600 , 5.png )

"Now you've got your phone," says Mom.
"Yes, Mom."
"And your camera, and you're gonna take a shit-ton of pictures of you standing next to or on big impressive things."
"Yes, mom."
"Okay. C'mere. Lemme embarrass you one more time." Mom grabs Deanna and folds her into a hug. Her grip is very strong. "You're gonna knock their socks off, Dee," she whispers, and kisses her forehead.
Dad puts a hand on her shoulder. "I'd tell you to do us proud, but I already know you will."
"I'm nervous."
"You're a Loper." Mom pulls back and looks her up and down. "Getting nervous then kicking our nerves in the ass is what Lopers do."

Eventually they let her break away. Clay has already turned on his heels and is striding away across the wastes.
"Let's go, Bump," he says over his shoulder. "You don't want to be out in the open when night hits."
"And if he keeps giving you lip, give him a sock in the back of the head from me," says Dad.
"Heard that, Loper."
"Good," calls Dad. He hugs Deanna too. "Your life's out waiting for you to bull rush it, kid. Get going."
No. 541987 ID: 86b8be
File 138009026775.png - (9.13KB , 800x600 , 6.png )

Deanna has to run to catch up with Clay and the Qal.
"Your parents ever tell you how these wastes came about?" he asks. He doesn't turn to look at her, and it takes her a moment to realize he's addressing her.
"No," she says. "Kind of. A war?"

"A long time ago there was a nation called Elde," says Clay. "Still is, course. Your mother and father are both Eldefolk. But back then, it was bigger. Them and there was another one called Furlaia.

"Now Elde and Furlaia were huge kingdoms, both of them, one about as grand and advanced as the other. Obviously you needed a war to decide which was better."
"It was more complicated than that," says the Qal.
"Not by much," says Clay. "Both of them made something. Or one made it and the other stole it. It was a weapon that could end the war like that, and they were both pointing it at each other. And if either of them pulled the trigger, it would do astonishing damage to the other. They were holding each other hostage."

"But they did pull the trigger, didn't they?" says Deanna.

"They did," says Clay. "In Furlaia. Some wires got crossed, or some scouting party came too close to something, or some letter got delivered to the wrong man. One hour later, 36% of the people in Elde were dead." He snaps his fingers. "Like that."
"Why did this come up?" asks Deanna. She looks back at the skiff, growing smaller behind her.

"Furlaia apologized, of course." Clay ignores her. "Profusely. It was a mistake, they said. They offered to help rebuild. They offered all sorts of things. They said they would all pray to the Spirits each and every day for forgiveness for what had happened. Accident. But the Elde, even though their cities were smashed and their people were toasted, they still had that finger on that trigger.
"What would you have done, Loper?" Clay looks back at her. "If you had the last word?"
"Why are you asking me?"
"What," says Clay, "would you have done?"
No. 541990 ID: bf54a8

"blowing them up too wouldn't bring back the people already dead"
No. 541991 ID: 7bbaae

Accepted their help, forced them to give up their weapons, and destroyed all such weapons. Then rebuild. No point in killing people when they're already repentant.

...but it's not that simple, is it. The public would want revenge. Denying them that could spark civil war, and more death... there's no avoiding death in this situation. But if you hadn't already pulled the trigger on your weapon after finding out it was an accident on their side, you probably won't be pulling it. Did some rebels get their hands on the weapon and fire it?
No. 541992 ID: 57a559

"I'm only fifteen years old, barely have a grasp of death, and like fireworks. Right now, when I'm green as I am, I'd probably just say 'fuck it'. I know the right and moral answer is 'Hell no, don't launch the fucking thing' and its what my Dad and Moms would do. But if they ain't there, they died in that attack... shit would have gone off. Accident or no, it's something you can't let go. We both built those things irresponsibly, lets both suffer the consequences and actually learn something if we're lucky, or make the world a worse place if we're not. Now we're all ugly wastelands and we all pay for it. Not like it's super bad that the whole world's blind, there's four other senses. Shit, maybe it'll make us all humble."
No. 542006 ID: 81f6d3

are you saying I'm such a weapon? are you asking what had i done if i was ordered to shoot back?
No. 542023 ID: f45380

...I'd like to think I wouldn't double down on massive death and destruction just for some hollow revenge, but I've never felt that kind of loss. I can't be sure how I'd react.
No. 542025 ID: 084d53

whelp, if someone has already pulled the trigger and then ask me for forgiveness I'd probably at least give them a black eye, and since I'm a nation now, I'd probably bloody them by asking for a lot of money to help pay for the damages they did and for them to dissolve there military and a whole butch of other crap to geld them. I mean the right thing to say is I'd let it slid and ignore all the people who are now enjoying life as a corpse but I don't think I could.

Then again you never really truly know until you're put in that position so maybe I'd do something that nether of us saw coming. It's easy to say you'll do something but to actually do it is another story.
No. 542032 ID: 4f1dac

"I don't know since I'm not an entire nation of people in the first place and I've never been in that position either. I wasn't there at the time, I don't know how believable the Furlaia claims that it was an accident are or how those claims even got to the people of Elde. I don't know how the Elde leadership worked or how their military command worked. I don't know the history of the two nations leading up to this war you're talking about.

"In short, I think you're asking a question that I cannot possibly come up with a reasonable answer to. Are you testing my impulsiveness, or something else?"
No. 542034 ID: cad45e

Well, i'd probably use their guilt to milk them on money and other resources while still holding the weapon for precautionary measures, then when i would've gone back to my former glory i would probably just anex them.

You know, tacticool stuff.
No. 542036 ID: e607cd

Generally fair sentiment, to this I would add:
"If it were just up to me, I would have accepted their help, forced them to give up their weapons, and destroyed all such weapons. Then rebuild. No point in killing people when they're already repentant. I mean, you've MET my parents, right? They made freaking sure I know the difference between justice and revenge. We rebuild, we find out who is responsible, and we punish the guilty -and ONLY the guilty- to the relative extent of their guilt."

If we start waxing philosophical, then:
"...but it's not that simple, is it. These decisions are never up to just one person. If you waited long enough on pulling the trigger to find out it was an accident, you I guess you probably won't be pulling it. But the public would want revenge. Denying them that could spark civil war, or like, unsanctioned attacks, and more death... The cycle of tragedy and revenge will spiral downward forever if you let it, but Dad told me that people trying to stop it are crossing a gorge on the edge of a knife. One wrong move and you're falling AND bleeding. You have to try though."

>I mean the right thing to say is I'd let it slid and ignore all the people who are now enjoying life as a corpse but I don't think I could.
Somehow, I don't think Oren and Nessie taught their kid to turn the other cheek.
No. 542050 ID: 86b8be
File 138013539617.png - (8.69KB , 800x600 , 7.png )

"I don't know enough about the circumstances."
"Forget the circumstances," says Clay. "Give me your answer."
"I don't know," says Deanna. "Dad always said keep in mind what justice is and what revenge is. I wanna say I'd forgive them, and force them to turn over their weapons and make sure it'd never happen again, but..."
"But?" Clay stops, and turns around.
"But that wouldn't go over well with the Eldefolk, would it? Turning the other cheek?"
"Smart Bump," says Clay. "And so Elde pushed the button. The same day Furlaia did. They didn't even bother to respond any other way. By the time they were all through, and this was just over a week later, more than half the people on Eivr were dead."
"Spirits," says Deanna. "They should have tried, at least."
"What position would Elde be in, to force anything? If you think Furlaia would readily hand over their weapons, that they'd apologize and weep on the outside and on the inside find every opportunity to take over and stay over, you're more naive than you look."
"Do I look naive?"
"Yes." Clay starts up walking again. "Maybe you'll surprise me."
No. 542051 ID: 86b8be
File 138013540103.png - (5.98KB , 800x600 , 8.png )

"Where are we going?" Deanna is having to take two steps for every one Clay and the Qal make.
"Well that's the question, isn't it?" asks the Qal. Deanna detects a softness in its buzzing voice, and a sort of sway to its hips as it walks. She's never seen a real life Qal before, but she thinks this one's a woman. "We were just talking about that."

"You see that tower?" says Clay. "We circle round, there's a subterranean entrance on the other side of the plateau. It'll lead us through the mountains to there. Waani ruins. You know the Waani?"
"We stop and trade and talk with some, sometimes," says Deanna. "They talk like they're clearing their throat."
"As good a place to teach you as any, Waani ruins," says Clay. "Traps, and such."
No. 542052 ID: 86b8be
File 138013540388.png - (23.49KB , 800x600 , 9.png )

"And I say that's bullshit," says the Qal. "We go to the ruins, it'll be night by the time we get there, and bitter cold."
"So we spend the night there." Clay seems impatient. "Set up a fire inside."
"Maybe you think you're badass enough to spend the night in a spooky haunted ruin, but I'd like to find somewhere a little better, thanks," says the Qal. "We passed some Waan in a caravan when we were coming to pick you up. If we hustle we can find them and pay them to bed down in camp, maybe buy a tent and a heater."
"We don't need those," says Clay.
"You can go sleep on a rock or something." The Qal puts her hands on her hips. "Training can wait one day."
"We've got a tiebreaker right there." Clay nods at Deanna. "It's your alienation, Bump. Might as well let you pick."
No. 542053 ID: 1cf691

Remember what yer Ma said, no Mollycoddling. So off to the scary haunted ruins with you!
No. 542056 ID: f45380

I'm for getting on with things. If you thought you needed a tent and heater, you'd have brought one.
No. 542058 ID: 7bbaae

What better place for a thaumaturge than a haunted ruin?
No. 542059 ID: 9ddf68

rather just get this over with so lets hit the ruin, and if the night does prove to be hell then the Qal can say I told you so... speaking of which can we get her name, or at least something to call her by if she doesn't want to give us her name.
No. 542060 ID: 89d726

Wait, what's Deanna's school of magic?
No. 542071 ID: 7bbaae

Her eye is yellow, so thaumaturgy.

Red eyes are caused by a ritual the Arkers use that permanently dye the oculus red. It has a side effect of hiding their main magical affinity.
No. 542077 ID: 2f4b71

>If we hustle we can find them and pay them to bed down in camp, maybe buy a tent and a heater
Point out that you don't have money to pay for those (do you?), so that's not really an option. Unless you're expecting them to pay for you, but that might not go down too well.
No. 542081 ID: efa330

Haunted ruins haunted ruins lets go ADVENTURE!
No. 542246 ID: 6f0f1b

Ah. Yeah, okay, I should have figured this out by now.
No. 542274 ID: 13f1fe
File 138025076511.png - (6.70KB , 800x600 , 9a.png )

"If we needed a tent and a heater we would have brought them," says Deanna. "Let's take a gander at the ruins."
"Good deal, Bump." Clay heads off toward the tower, rising up on the horizon.
"Maybe you people don't need a tent." The Qal clanks after him. "Freakin' mages."
"What's your name?" asks Deanna, following her two new guardians.
"Me?" The Qal slows down a little. "Zola."
"Why are you with Clay?"
"Why is anyone with anyone?" she asks. "Clayton Ranger attracts trouble, and trouble is my business."
"Are you his bodyguard?"
Zola laughs. "Clay doesn't need bodyguards. There's situations you run into where muscle is useful, though, displayed or applied. You'll see. Deanna, yeah?"
"I crossed swords with your mother, once."
"How was that?"
"I was all tooled up to fight a thaumaturge. Fireproofed my armor and everything. Your dad was invisible behind me and clocked me on the back of the head. Out like a light."
"Sorry about that."
"No harm, no foul. He'll stop calling you Bump eventually. He called me Jello Shot for a week or so."
"Keep up, you two," says Clay.
"Blow it out your ass, Ranger." Zola picks up the pace again.
No. 542275 ID: 13f1fe
File 138025077054.png - (10.47KB , 800x600 , 10.png )

"Here it is," says Clay. "This tunnel should take us to the ruin proper."
"You ever been inside?" asks Deanna.
"No. Have you?"
"Of course not."
"Well." Clay walks up the steps a ways. Each tread of his black boots sends up a puff of ashy earth. The subterranean wind yawns up past his cloak, warm and sickly damp. It smells like a marshside graveyard, down there in the dark. "You in first, Bump."
No. 542276 ID: bf54a8

summon hellfire to act as a torch?
No. 542292 ID: 9ddf68

Bump and jello shot... why does this guy sound like a pervert to me?

anyways, have anything to use as a light, and if it's you using hell fire will that weaken your hell based attacks if you use it for to long or since your not really in a fight it doesn't matter?
No. 542294 ID: bf54a8

even if it does we can just use a shield to deflect whatever danger appears.
No. 542304 ID: f45380

So... I assume you already have some ability with your powers, right?

You need a light. Time for a good old fashioned magelight. Make yourself a will-o'-the-wisp.
No. 542308 ID: d2995c

Yep; hellfire for lighting because we will most likely want to shield if we encounter any traps.
No. 542317 ID: 13f1fe
File 138026210720.png - (11.21KB , 800x600 , 11.png )

Deanna is a thaumaturge. She deals in the dualistic magic of the Divine Gradient, from holy to infernal.

She snaps her finger and pulls a flickering ball of fire up from Hell.

She takes a step inside the cave and takes a deep breath.
Time to show what she can do.
No. 542318 ID: 13f1fe
File 138026211506.png - (4.57KB , 800x600 , 12.png )

Her light is the only source of illumination inside.

It picks out a shallow carving on the wall. The tower she saw from outside, casting long angular rays into the air around it, that form into the shape of a stern eye.
The roof of the cave is natural, and brown, limp vines hang from it in places.
Further off, Deanna can see a staircase down, and the outline of a squat statue hewed from stone.
No. 542321 ID: bf54a8

examine statue
No. 542324 ID: 7bbaae

That might not be a statue. Keep an eye on it while moving forwards.

Is that a gleam of light further in, in the darkness? An eye? Or something shiny?
No. 542325 ID: 9ddf68

the wall carving is probably meant to tell the purpose of the tower or at least hint at it. Either way I think the only we to find more is to head deeper inside.

Also check out the statue. And does anything here look familiar and have you ever heard anything about this place or no?
No. 542326 ID: 2bb9aa

(Errr can we get a spell list for dean?)
Toss a ball of hell fire close to the stairs so we can see better
No. 542331 ID: a9fcd5

Any thick sticks on the ground? You could make an improvised torch if you wrap dried up vines around one end and light it up with your hellfire.
No. 542335 ID: 13f1fe
File 138027168524.png - (10.34KB , 800x600 , 13.png )

Deanna's mother has taught her the following spells, through repeated sparring and consistent ass-whooping:

Fireball: Self-explanatory and classic. Tier II: The fireball explodes on impact, pushing opponents back and doing area of effect damage.
Hellkite: Push oneself or one's enemy with a heated blast of wind. Tier II: The blast can be superheated to scalding levels, causing injury and a great amount of discomfort.
Demon Lance: A close-range melee strike. Punishing but risky. Tier II: The lance materializes for a moment as a throwable, wieldable weapon.

Aegis: Shield yourself from physical attack. Tier II: Redirect the energy of the attack against the attacker, knocking them off their feet.
Crusader Bolt: Any ally struck with this bolt is filled with zeal that improves their skill. Any enemy struck gets an arrow sticking out of them. Tier II: The bolt now frees allies from mind-affecting illusions and hexes. Enemies still just get poked.
Nectar: Produces a perfumed liquid that nourishes the drinker and alleviates pain. When splashed on an enemy, it sizzles like acid. Tier II: The liquid heals physical wounds, and can be pressurized to act as a ranged attack.
No. 542336 ID: 13f1fe
File 138027170354.png - (4.82KB , 800x600 , 14.png )

Further off in the darkness, something is catching the light and reflecting it back. Good eye.

Squat, stone, and rough-carved. Deanna can't make out many details from here. Looks like an armored warrior.

Deanna catches a hanging vine and wraps it around a branch, setting it alight.
Now she no longer has to maintain the fireball burning in her hand.

She sinks into the ground, and hears a voluminous click from the dark beyond.
No. 542339 ID: bf54a8

No. 542340 ID: 2bb9aa

No. 542344 ID: f45380

Aegis, and try to get out of the way, too.
No. 542346 ID: bd48c5

No. 542356 ID: 9ddf68

quick question, where's clay and zola? shouldn't they have came in after you did?
No. 542366 ID: 7bbaae

The trap is probably that shiny thing you saw, so expect a projectile to be coming at you near the floor.
No. 542620 ID: 5c9e53
File 138052386145.png - (191.52KB , 800x600 , 15a.png )

Deanna drops the torch and spins a shield out into form just as the harpoon arcs out from the darkness, with a guttural twang.

It slaps into the blue hemisphere of aegis Deanna brings up and ricochets haphazardly behind her, dragging a long length of chain behind it.
No. 542621 ID: 5c9e53
File 138052393949.png - (5.02KB , 800x600 , 15.png )

Deanna looks around and ungrits her teeth.

The harpoon has embedded itself into the stairs behind her.

"Clay! Zola! Where are you?"
"Outside," calls Clay. "Was that a trap I heard?"
"It was. Spirits, there was a-"
"You're okay?"
"Yeah, I-"
"Good. Keep going."
No. 542622 ID: 7bbaae

The middle statue moved. Fireball it. Also, beware the chain, it might retract and catch your legs.
No. 542624 ID: 4f1dac

No. 542630 ID: 5c9e53
File 138052849960.png - (15.68KB , 800x600 , 16.png )

One of the statues has moved.

"Howdy, beastie."
Deanna claps her hands and snaps a finger, and a miniature inferno twists roars to life between her palms. Her wrists vibrate and curl with power.
"Let's dance."
No. 542631 ID: 5c9e53
File 138052850649.png - (17.93KB , 800x600 , 17.png )

Deanna has cast an infernal spell, and has gained positive energy. As she casts more infernal spells, her infernal spells become weaker and her divine spells become stronger. This process works both ways.

The more she attacks the stronger her defenses get, and vice-versa.

The fireball screams toward the statue, or where it was standing a moment ago.

It leaps into the air and soundlessly bounds across the gap in the floor, twirling its stone halberd and closing the gap between them with unnerving speed.
No. 542633 ID: d2995c

The first rule of being a mage vs a melee is to not be in melee range. The enemy appears to be a golem or something and is therefore likely heavy, so we should propel ourself away with hellkite. (We are practiced in landing from hellkite-jumping, right?)
No. 542634 ID: 1cf691

Can you use hellkite to push yourself under the beastie to the other statues?
No. 542638 ID: 4f85d6

Alternately, we could try using HellKite to shove the beast away. While I know Divine spells aren't exactly good finishers, I'm wondering if we could flip around to a Nectar stream to finish this opponent.
No. 542643 ID: 001618

use a one two punch, hit it with a hellkite in the air and as it's falling blast it with another fireball.
No. 542645 ID: 2f2cd6

Helkit might work to knock it off course. Or failing that, you can always throw up an aegis and tank the hit.

...or we could take advantage of the fact the thing jumped right at you and has no way to stop, and summon a demon lance for it to impale itself on.

You know, it's kind of odd the entrance to the cave is this heavily trapped. These ruins have been here a long time, and the cave is easily visible from outside. You'd think they would have been tripped by some unfortunate soul a long time ago.

Which would seem to imply someone has been resetting the traps.
No. 542652 ID: 5c9e53
File 138057994388.png - (11.40KB , 800x600 , 18.png )

With a ripping yell that cracks her upper register like a china plate, Deanna hellkites, propelling herself back and out of range. The hiss of air nearly pops her eardrums and blasts her face with dry heat, pulling her lips out into a gritted Cheshire cat leer, but she's safely out of the way.

The blast also pushes the stone man off-course, and sends him tumbling down the stairs. His head meets the ledge, and smashes straight through it, raising a cloud of darkened dust and chips of rock.

He seems unfazed, standing and issuing a raspy roar like a turning grindstone.
No. 542653 ID: c23ab0

You've got him pinned. Flood that pit with suppressing fire!
No. 542654 ID: dbe0e9
File 138058198066.png - (11.03KB , 652x293 , breakdaplatform.png )

Assuming this platform is made of wood, we can lob a Tier II Fireball or Lance onto it and attempt to break it and drop the second statue onto the first one's head...
However if it's also dormant, we might have more problems than solutions.
No. 542658 ID: 7bbaae

Ugh, a stone man. I'm not sure fire will work, but see if you can hit it with a fireball anyway. I'm thinking you might want to save up for a tier II acid attack though.
No. 542659 ID: 2f2cd6

Using nectar to flood the stairs with acid could be cool.

Or use the acid against the ledge above the stairs, and collapse it on your opponent.
No. 542665 ID: 4f85d6

Hang on a second guys. While Necter DOES burn enemies like acid, I don't think it works like acid normally...I think of it more like a 'heal hurts Zombie' type thing where it ONLY hurts something that the mage in question views as an opponent-so no direct acid attacks, as far as I know.
...Besides, we'd cave in the way forward doing that, and I don't think removing that debris would be easily or quickly done.
No. 542667 ID: 9ddf68

damn... think we may have to hit it with a demon lance to take this thing out so if you see an opportunity to do so stab the hell out of that thing
No. 542756 ID: ba844c
File 138066645352.png - (18.25KB , 800x600 , 19.png )

Deanna squares her feet and drops her center of gravity, like her mother taught her. She blinks away the flash sweat that the hellkite brought up and takes a deep breath.
She couches her arms in close.

The stone man bounds rasping up the stairs and takes a fireball right in the face for its efforts.

The percussive force of the blast pushes it a few steps down and back, but it proves as resistant to fire as Deanna feared.

Deanna's divine attacks are now able to be cast tier 2.
No. 542757 ID: 7bbaae

Nectar next. See if acid does better.
No. 542759 ID: 9ddf68

well we can spray it with acid now so lets try that, and even if that fails it will power our demon lance a bit cause that's kinda all we have left if the acid trick doesn't work.
No. 542767 ID: 2f2cd6

Acid bath time. It's downhill, which makes flooding it easier. And if the splash is messy enough, we might be able to collapse that ledge over the stairs on it.
No. 542777 ID: bd48c5

No. 542792 ID: cf2bca
File 138069508294.png - (17.82KB , 800x600 , 20.png )

Deanna splays her fingers out and lets the jittery explosiveness of negative energy flow out like water with her breath and twist into positive energy. It curls between her finger tips and deep in the pit of her chest, filling her with a shaped and silky glow.
It reminds her of her mother, and she wouldn't admit it to anyone but that's comforting.
No. 542793 ID: cf2bca
File 138069509058.png - (14.16KB , 800x600 , 21.png )

She releases it in a torrent of glowing liquid.

It catches the stone guard full force, and he stumbles further down the stairs.
He stands shakily to his feet, and Deanna sees him starting to fizz and melt on the edges.
A coiling blue smoke rises from his craggy shoulders.
No. 542794 ID: d2995c

He seems weakened but still at it. Fire doesn't do much to him but kinetics should, and we now know that he isn't too heavy to hellkite and there is a convenient hole right behind him from the last hellkite.
What I am saying is to wait for him to get near the top of the stairs, then hellkite him to toss him back down to the floor below.
No. 542795 ID: 7bbaae

That seems to be working. Hit him with a fireball and then another Tier II Nectar.
No. 542811 ID: 001618

does the thing look slow enough to be able to be hit by a demon lance? if not I say use Crusader Bolt to fire at his joints to slow him down further while building up for a tear 2 demon lance that you can toss at it.
No. 542812 ID: 2f2cd6

He's cracked. Now we try to shatter him. Smash him.

I'm not sure if Hellkite's push or a fireball's explosion would dump more kinetic energy into him. ...I'm guessing fireball? Or hey, if this is mean to be a finishing move, we could go for the demon lance.

If infernal attacks to kill him don't work, then we'll have charged up enough for another acid bath.
No. 542821 ID: f0c8ac

Considering we're still positively charged I'd think a Crusader bolt would be better but tier 2 of the spell doesn't seem to be any stronger offensively speaking...
Ok, crazy thought that probably will be more useful later- can Crusader bolts be used on ourselves?
No. 542834 ID: 47d311

Block an attack with a Tier II Aegis. If he's cracked and weakening, let him break himself on your shield.
No. 542835 ID: 2f2cd6

We can't do tier two divine spells at the moment. That last one pulled the bar back below the boundary.
No. 542841 ID: 47d311

Tier I is fine too. The idea is that rockman smashing his rockfist into the big invincible shield will probably generate more kinetic force than a demon lance to the chest will, and it also does not leave us open for attack like a demon lance will.
No. 542980 ID: a316b9
File 138087308216.png - (86.45KB , 800x600 , 22.png )

Deanna rocks backward a little and keeps her weight centered. There is a tidal pull rolling through her arms, and she moves with it. Her fingertips feel cool and liquid.

"Come on, big fella," she says. "Hit me."
The stone man obliges.

She pulls up another shield as he lunges up the stairs.

Where his spear hits the shield it splinters and cracks. The vibrations travel up his arm, which crumbles off at the elbow.
No. 542981 ID: 7bbaae

Hah! Toss him back with a Hellkite. See if you can crumble the rest of him against a wall or something.
No. 542988 ID: 2f2cd6

Yeah, hellkite. Knock him down the stairs again, and see if he goes to pieces this time.
No. 543002 ID: 9ddf68

Hellkite or demon lance whatever will get the job done.
No. 543021 ID: da4ec6

You're in a pretty good position to lance him.
No. 543099 ID: 39d3e7
File 138095854286.png - (11.84KB , 800x600 , 24.png )

With a brief puff of breath and a snap of her wrist, Deanna sends the stone man flying into the uneven ceiling.

He bursts apart into chunks of stone and sludgy dust.

"Good job, girlie," says someone over her shoulder.
No. 543100 ID: 2f2cd6

...that silhouette doesn't match either of your companions.

Turn to face this new person, and keep your guard up.
No. 543103 ID: 9ddf68

and your are? Get ready to use your shield if he tries something.
No. 543105 ID: 39d3e7
File 138096160007.png - (49.66KB , 800x600 , 25.png )

"Who are you?" Deanna whips round with a fist full of hellfire.

She pushes it into the face of a tall, dark-eyed demon.
He is wearing a loose-fitting black robe, opened up enough to show the sinewy muscles on his chest. Deanna hasn't seen many guys with no shirt on and she can't help but let her eye wander a little. It would look good, if his skin wasn't red and his head wasn't on fire.
"I'm Kybex," he says. His claws drum against the slate-iron staff leaning on one shoulder. "Do you really think hellfire can hurt me, little vidder?"
"As a matter of fact, yes," says Deanna, whose mother has taught her more than a little about demons and seraphim. "I do, Kybex."
"Then you're smarter than I thought you were," says Kybex, slightly deflated. He takes a small step back. "That was a good fight."
"You want to take a shot, Smoked Sausage?"
"Nooo sir," says Kybex. "I'm fine. I'm here for a heart-to-heart, hotshot."
No. 543106 ID: bf54a8

"then start talking, better not involve souls."
No. 543107 ID: 7bbaae

Alright buster, whatcha want?
No. 543109 ID: 39d3e7
File 138096307145.png - (9.65KB , 800x600 , 26.png )

"What kind of deal?" asks Deanna.
"What kind of deal do thaumaturges make with demons?" asks Kybex. "One about power, shortstuff."

"Kybex," says Clay, entering the cave. "I should have known you'd come running as soon as she broke out the fireballs."
"You didn't tell us your new student was a chick, boss." Kybex takes another step back to stand by Clay. "And an itty bitty one, too."
"Least I ain't wearing a pretty dress like you, redhot," says Deanna.
"Feisty," says Kybex.

"Kybex is one of my vassals," says Clay. "He's a war demon. And I reckon he's come looking for a contract."
"A contract?" asks Deanna.
"You don't go far as a thaumaturge without making a few friends," says Clay. "In the Infernal Courts and the Holy Primacy both. Most thaumaturge warmages favor the red half of the equation. I'm a Margrave of Hell. Kybex here is one of my barons."
"What's he do for you?"
"He sources some infernal power for my spells," says Clay. Kybex slaps him on the back. He is unmoved. "The more demons you have at your command or by your side, the stronger your infernal magic. Same thing with seraphim. Your mother's got a bunch of connections with the bishops, I'd assume."
"That's right," says Kybex. "I'm here to help you, girlie."
"You call me girlie one more time, you'll see what happens."
"My bad." His leer never drops off his face. "How 'bout it? You used those hellkites good. Want to sling a bunch of that boring holy bullshit, or you want to start down the primrose path to the fun stuff?"
No. 543110 ID: bf54a8

"while hellkite finished it off, a divine spell was what really hurt it."
No. 543112 ID: 7bbaae

What, can't we do both?
No. 543113 ID: 469e5a

what's the price? what do you get out of it?
No. 543116 ID: da4ec6

I assume that would end very badly for the mage if either party found out about it.
No. 543117 ID: 7bbaae

I don't see why. It's not like the two factions are in open war or anything. Not all demons are really evil.
No. 543128 ID: 2f2cd6

Two obvious questions here.

First of all, what's he get out of this kind of deal. Obviously there's something he wants, because he's so gung ho.

Second of all, what's the cost or downside of contracting with him? I presume there is one, or else this wouldn't be much of a choice. (Does contracting a demon making contracting a seraph harder?).

Frankly, given the dual nature of our powers and the whole sliding attunement thing, it would seem stupid to me to favor one side over the other. We're not about infernal or divine- we're about pendulous balance and juxtaposition. Exploitation of opposites.

I would also like to note there's no pressure on us to decide now. We're going to be traveling with Clay for a while. That means if we want to get in contact with his vassal later we can.
No. 543134 ID: 57a559

What, can't make connections with both sides?
Seems a bit limiting. I'm guessing because of the whole hell vs. divine thing there's extreme political tension, but you never know, a charismatic thaumaturge could get quite powerful both ways.

I bet your ass there's like a James Bond thaumaturge out there, schmoozing his/her way into both parties like a boss.
No. 543140 ID: 9ddf68

don't see why we should pick now, I mean this guy was just the first choice that appeared in front of us, I think we should find out what our options are first then see what and who we can pick.
No. 543165 ID: d2995c

>In the Infernal Courts and the Holy Primacy both.
Sounds like most do deal with to some extent but only really specialize in one.

At the moment I'd say we aren't decided enough to make a long-term commitment just yet. As an internal side note, we have been getting a lot of mileage out of Hellkite, but more as position control than direct damage, which are where its upgrades seem to point judging by its tier 2. (Or maybe we can customize our upgrade path by the specific contracts we make?)
No. 543168 ID: 1151a4
File 138100636034.png - (229.49KB , 800x600 , 27.png )

"I killed it with hellkite, but a divine spell really did most of the damage."
"Normally you won't be fighting rocks, pal," says Kybex.
"I'd still like to be able to do both."
"Course you'll be able to do both," says Clay. "That's the point of thaumaturgy."
"So what would this do for me?" asks Deanna.
"It'll nudge the scales a little bit more in the infernal direction," says Kybex. "You'll have more potential storage for negative energy and less for positive energy, which means you'll be able to cast more infernal spells and power them up more. Maybe I'll toss in a spell or an augmentation or something. If I'm in a good mood, and if you do something for me."

"What are you getting out of this?" Deanna steps forward, cautiously.
"That's the question, isn't it?" Kybex's grin narrows. "What can you do for me?"
No. 543169 ID: 1151a4
File 138100651884.png - (7.31KB , 800x600 , 28.png )

"There's a few different ways you can get a demon to give you more power," says Clay. "The bargain, the favor, the vassalage, and the challenge. Bargains are you give up something you value, favors are you owe the demon a task, now or later, vassalage is you become an underling for an agreed-upon amount of time, and challenge is you face the demon and take his power."
"So why not just beat the shit out of this guy?" asks Deanna.
"Because unless you're in Hell and of high standing when you challenge a demon, they set the terms of the challenge," says Clay. Kybex stands behind him, idly scratching himself and grinning. "It can be a competition in just about anything. And that can be very dangerous. The reward is usually a nudge of your energy alignment, one way or the other, and in some cases a spell or an improvement to a spell you already have. If you want to take it."
"So, Miss Thaumaturge," says Kybex. "Whaddya say?"
No. 543173 ID: 2f2cd6

So if we have enough demons or seraphs on call, we lose tier 2 of one school and gain access to tier 3 of the other.

Honestly, I kind of think the more interesting approach would be to make contracts with both sides. Go for more spells, and improvements to existing spells, rather than sliding the scales for a one-sided power boost. Potentially very powerful with our creative use, and going for a different build from the traditional warmage gives us some advantages.

>Normally you won't be fighting rocks, pal
Depends on how long we hang out in these ruins.

>means of contract
We have nothing with which to bargain, I don't trust owing a demon an unspecified favor, and surrendering our agency to a vassalage is even worse.

The challenge is more our style and somewhat tempting, but really seems like it would be foolishly walking into a trap. You know he's going to pick terms for the challenge we wouldn't be able to (or be willing to) win at. Especially since we don't know this character's personal weaknesses yet, and he might.

>obvious questions
I assume the means for contracting a seraph are very much the same?

And what's the penalty for failing a challenge?

>what do
I say for now we should thank him for the offer, but pass. Perhaps we'll reconsider later, but you see now reason to rush into anything now.

(Obviously it's to his advantage for you to rush into an agreement without thinking, greedy for power. We can afford to wait).
No. 543177 ID: f0c8ac

I'd rather work the heaven angle moreso then the hell one.
Might just be Deanna here but I think the heaven powers look more fun anyhow.
No. 543178 ID: d2995c

Can favors or challenge terms be negotiated in advance?

>Depends on how long we hang out in these ruins.
We should keep in mind that in the long-term, the most dangerous thing we fight will generally be other spellcasters.

>I say for now we should thank him for the offer, but pass.
No. 543179 ID: 735f4f

Tell him you will think on it. Would like to see how contracts with the other side work first.
No. 543180 ID: 2f2cd6

>I'd rather work the heaven angle moreso then the hell one.
I'd point out that we wouldn't necessarily like the things we'd be asked to do in a Divine favor or vassalage any more than an infernal one. Nor might someone raised with Oren's sense of justice agree with what a demon or seraph wanted or thought right was right.

Still, we have time to decide whether we lean divine, infernal, or neutral.

>the most dangerous thing we fight will generally be other spellcasters
True. But that still raises of the question of the best way to counter that. Clay said most warmages favor red- implying the defacto solution would seem to be the firepower to overwhelm the other guy first.
No. 543190 ID: 9ddf68

pass for now, we have nothing to bargain for, we don't really know this guy enough to just lend him a favor, It's never a good idea to leash yourself to someone unless you have no other options and even then it's still iffy, and they guy most likely just saw our fight so has a pretty good idea on what we can and can't do so he has a good chance to screw us over if we challenge him.

Plus I believe our skills are fine for now and I highly doubt having one more spell or having our heaven/hell bar slightly tipped won't really help us enough in a fight that we're getting our ass kicked in. I mean if you can build enough people on either/both sides over time then sure but just one guy probably won't do much.
No. 543204 ID: 1151a4
File 138104976325.png - (10.97KB , 800x600 , 29.png )

"Maybe some other time." Deanna turns from the demon and conjures up another ball of hellfire. "I don't got nothing to give you, Kybex."
"Aww, come on," says Kybex. "I'm sure we can find something."

"Kybex is one of my vassals," says Clay. "He won't be difficult."
"That's all the better reason for me to refuse him, then," says Deanna. She backs up a little then hops across the widened gap to the other side of the room. She turns back and looks at Clay. "Unless my mom was wrong, Mr. Ranger, and you're just gonna make it a cake walk for me."

Clay stands at the other edge of the stairs. His response is unreadable in the dark and behind his smooth helmet.
"Hmmm," he says.
"Well," says Kybex. "If you change your mind, I'll be here."

"Kybex," says Zola, clanking in from the entrace. "Wasn't expecting that."
"Just a dreamfolk and we'll have a party from all corners," says Kybex. "Happy to see me?"
"Do you really want me to answer that?"
"How good a liar are you?"
"You may hold your peace."
"What'd I miss?"
Kybex folds his arms. "New kid just schooled the bossman."
"Stow it, Baronet," says Clay. "What next, trainee?"
No. 543205 ID: 9ddf68

look around here real quick to see if we can't find anything worth looting then head on down since we really don't have anywhere else to go at the moment.
No. 543207 ID: 7bbaae

Alright, now check out the ground a foot or so ahead of that second statue. That's where the shiny thing was.
No. 543213 ID: 2f2cd6

Investigate that side of the chasm as you talk. Maybe we can find something of that which made up the trap, or something useful.

How well traveled is this area? It seems odd to me that such an aggressive trap, right at the entrance, had not been triggered before. This place is old. You'd think someone would have been here before. (And I don't see bones or other evidence of hapless travelers being killed).

Which might imply someone or something has been keeping the traps reset and in working order, or that the rockhead ignored other comers but attack me (mage targeting?). Or that we're the first people to come this way in a very long time.
No. 543293 ID: 1151a4
File 138112675791.png - (18.83KB , 800x600 , 30.png )

"I haven't seen a lot of vidders without helmets on," says Kybex, from the other side of the gap. "She's got big ears, hasn't she?"
"From her mother," says Zola. "That's considered attractive, among people on Eivr."
"Is it? I ain't got any."
"Don't worry, Ky. That's not why you're ugly," says Zola. "That's the least of your concerns."
"Nice, Ms. Bald-and-Gooey."
"Anyway her ears are her mom's, but she's Oren's kid, no question. I'll bet you that's what he was like, when he was younger."
"Tiny and angry, you mean?" asks Kybex.
"And with such excellent hearing," says Deanna. "Must be them big floppy ears."
That quiets them down.

She examines the shining spot on the ground. It's an ugly, low-slung apparatus for launching those harpoons that nearly skewered her earlier. There's one still lying in the firing slot, which she takes.

A little more interesting is the stonework coming from the wall nearby. A blocky black altar, chained with rusting iron to the rough-hewn cave wall. Two snarling beast heads are chiseled into the front, in the same style as the carved man Deanna fought a moment ago.
No. 543298 ID: 2f2cd6

So... is the altar connected then? It powered the guardian? Could it be used to restore it, or will it restore it if left to it's own devices? There's also the chance the altar is some kind of trap in its own right- a snare to catch an inquisitive mage strong enough to overcome the physical guardian.

I'd say to investigate carefully, but I'm not sure what means we have to do that.

Maybe consult your companions. What do we know of the people who once inhabited the ruins, and who left us these traps?
No. 543299 ID: 7bbaae

Now why is it chained to the wall...? Do the chains go into the wall, so that the altar might be possibly pulled up by some mechanism? If you can't find any hidden switches on it, let's check the bottom passage.
No. 543302 ID: 1151a4
File 138113080367.png - (10.63KB , 800x600 , 31.png )

"What's this chained thing?" asks Deanna.

"Couldn't tell you." Clay takes the gap in one long step and investigates. "Them things carved into it are little Pullhounds. Waani traders used to ride them around on sleds."
"What is this place, Mr. Ranger?" Deanna steps away from the snarling heads. "Ain't no bodies around, and that trap would have to be reset, if it wasn't fired off before."

"That's the question, then, isn't it?" says Clay. "The Waani still in the area have a great many superstitions about places like this. They leave them well enough alone. But with a door like that, anyone can get in. So has this place really gone untouched for hundreds-on years, or is something living down here? Something that can reset the place?"

Deanna loosens the tension that's been building in her shoulders and goes to check the lower floor.
There's a short passage that is cut off by a thick stone door, with metal bands wrapping their way across it, decorated with simple pictograms of old weapons.
There is no visible way to open it. When Deanna puts her hand on the lowest band of metal, it slides an inch into the door.
"What the hell kind of door is this?" she says.
"I see how you could get it open," says Clay.
"How?" asks Zola.
"You heard her," says Clay, watching Deanna run her fingers across the halberd-shaped indentation. "No cake walks."
No. 543304 ID: bf54a8

the statues, the first two had halberds the third has a sword. so try halberd halberd sword on one band, if nothing happens then try it spreading it so each band has one weapon.
No. 543305 ID: 57a559

Why put a brain teaser into a freaking ruin temple whatever whatsit?

I'd say shoot the buttons in from afar, just to be safe.
From what Clay says, he's either the spook living here reseteing the traps, he expects an Ark dude resetting the traps, or something really, really awful is deep down that he has no idea about.

Which, gotta say, terrible idea for a trial run. I mean, what if we set free an ancient extinct species locked away for hundreds of years that can eat minds or open a portal to a horrible fifth plane? Or god forbid a bioweapon. Or maybe a sentient dire dragonbear protecting her young using her proficient traps skill.

I swear to god Clay we will double kill you if you didn't know there was a dire dragonbear that we wake, get killed by, and unleash its wrath on this plane.
No. 543307 ID: 7bbaae

Ah, nice catch. Judging by the orientation of the weapons, I'd say the order is top-down.
No. 543312 ID: d2995c

We might have a bit of trouble reaching up to those top buttions... I guess we could push it with a fireball or something.

>From what Clay says, he's either the spook living here reseteing the traps, he expects an Ark dude resetting the traps, or something really, really awful is deep down that he has no idea about.
That or the golem guards are accompanied by less conspicuous golem janitors.
No. 543314 ID: 001618

so each row has a sword, a halberd, and an ax or hammer. Well the only thing we've seen that might have given us a clue were those statues so lets do what >>543304 said.
No. 543315 ID: 2f2cd6

Yeah, it has the appearance of a combination lock. If we go by the statues from before, the combination is halberd halberd sword.

Unless we're supposed to push the symbol of the one we killed, which would be middle halberd. Or push the symbols of the two remaining, which would be halberd space sword.

>hard time pressing the highest button, fireballs
Weren't we carrying a javelin? We could just use that to push the uppermost button.
No. 543368 ID: b0d4ec
File 138122333698.png - (7.40KB , 800x600 , 32.png )

The top halberd Deanna needs to toss her harpoon to press.
The middle she pushes into place with a soft click.
The bottom is the sword, and as her palm slides it into the door, it vibrates with a low, threatening frequency. The bars slowly file into the wall, and Deanna steps back as the great stone door opens.
No. 543369 ID: b0d4ec
File 138122334285.png - (10.31KB , 800x600 , 33.png )

This next room is a lot more clear-cut and angular, as opposed to the roughshod entrance hall.

It is lit by a pale violet marshlight pulsing in the center of a pillar on the far side of the hall, in front of a huddle of dark satin curtains.

Between her and the pillar is a wrought-iron cage, tied loose to a strange black formation of stone on the ceiling, and a wide, dark pit.
No. 543370 ID: 5eea01

Directly in front of you is a swinging blade mechanism. Or an impaling mechanism. Anyway, comes from above, there's a little groove which I assume is to give the blade some clearance.
No. 543378 ID: 2f2cd6

Yeah, looks like a blade drops down from the ceiling right in front of you. There's even an indentation in the floor. I suppose you could trip it with your javelin?

After that there's an L-shaped gap in the ceiling. There's a rounded edge at the end of it. Maybe a boulder is meant to roll along and down?

Not sure about the cage. Maybe it's some kind of elevator, and it will move over and down the shaft? Although, I wouldn't just get in until we're sure it's not a trap.

A weak hellkite could be used to move the curtains aside so you could see past them.
No. 543379 ID: e31ca1

Doubt it's an elevator, considering somebody apparently used a rope here. Though if it's a cage trap, why isnt it reset? Extremely suspicious.
No. 543381 ID: 001618

I say use a hellkite or a fireball to move those curtains to make sure we're not about to be hit by another trap like that javelin near the entrance. Then deal with the other traps
No. 543384 ID: e9769f

is that thing in front of you the door that just opened? if not it's a trap.
also i don't like the chimney thing that's right in front of it.
No. 543385 ID: bd48c5

It's a Bunker. I think you found an old Weapon storage facility. Or maybe a deployment facility. Point is it's probably filled with ancient magical doomsday devices. Let's go pillage them!
No. 543722 ID: ed5374
File 138147855391.png - (8.39KB , 800x600 , 34.png )

That don't look like a swinging blade mechanism.

There's a grilled indentation on the floor, which Deanna steps smartly around. She raises a handful of hellfire to see what the thing up above is.

An ugly brass pullhound, like the ones on the sled up above. It's sort of slotted into the ceiling here, its mouth agape.

The cage further along is built flat into the floor. There's no way for it to be pulled up that Deanna can see.

The curtains are a little far away to use Hellkite on. If she wants to blow them back she'll need to get closer.
No. 543723 ID: e3aff6

Not really much we can do with unactivated pullhounds, so lets move closer to the curtains.
No. 543756 ID: 2f2cd6

>ugly pullhound
Huh. Maybe it's like a gargoyle- something is supposed to come out of it? That would sort of make sense with the grate, below. It could dump water, or oil, or acid, or breath fire, or who knows what.

Could we toss a stone or something over or onto the grating to test?

>cage and curtains too far away.
That's fine, we have a closer threat to investigate. There's another opening in the ceiling between the pullhound and the cage. Take a look at that, I expect it's another trap.
No. 543778 ID: 228d4c

I'm gonna guess that's a flamethrower.
No. 543780 ID: 62a3c2

Hrrrm... Seems too obvious and too easily avoided to be a trap. Still, should be cautious should we activate it...
No. 543865 ID: 9b043d
File 138156009740.png - (11.93KB , 800x600 , 35.png )

Deanna shrugs off the pullbeast and walks by the grille.

As she gets closer to the curtains, the weird thing on the ceiling opens up and a torrent of water crashes down into the cage.

She springs back, but it appears not one drop of water is flowing out of the cage, despite its obvious gaping holes.
No. 543873 ID: 7bbaae

Poke at a hole with your poking device.
No. 543874 ID: e3aff6

Watch a moment to see what it does. Does it fill up, or stop pouring, or just pour and drain at a constant pace (with the water presumably draining out the bottom to somewhere)? It it stops changing or stops, try poking the gap in the bar with the harpoon to see if it is just water that can't pass through.
No. 543895 ID: 9ddf68

I have a feeling this thing is more of a puzzle piece then a trap so watch it and see if it does anything noteworthy before you make your next move. Also be wary of traps
No. 543896 ID: 9b043d
File 138156699355.png - (11.54KB , 800x600 , 36.png )

Deanna cautiously extends the harpoon and pokes the water.

It springs up and into a sweeping giant of liquid, which howls at her with the voice of a waterfall.

Deanna squawks and leaps backward, clutching the harpoon.

Clay ambles into the room behind her.
"Big fella," he says.
No. 543899 ID: 7bbaae

First earth, now water?

Shove it with a Hellkite.
No. 543900 ID: 9ddf68

right now an exploding fireball would be nice but we're more charged for divine power so try to back away from it and use your shield where you can and just cast some of your bolts at it just to can infernal power to hit it with a more powerful hellkite or fireball.
No. 543936 ID: 761017

No. 544001 ID: 0f6f63

I bet I see the trap, now. That thing in the ceiling will probably act to block our retreat if we try.

Biggest problem we have immediately is I don't think we have a good way to fight it. I'm not sure a level 1 hellkite will really move that big mass of water (especially if it can brace against the 'walls' of that cage), and fireballing it would likely just result in a lot of blinding steam for us, and minimal damage for it.

My immediate tactic would be to go on the defensive, and try to charge to tier 2 infernal. A tier 2 hellkite would evaporate mass of that thing while pushing the scaling steam away from us (...and cleaning the curtains). We might even be able to knock the water thing off the edge of the cliff.

>Big fella

>First earth, now water?
Elemental dungeon, maybe.
No. 544064 ID: e3aff6

Its lower half is still in the cage. Can it actually follow you if you back out of arm's reach?
No. 544558 ID: e92bf4
File 138208261133.png - (64.06KB , 800x600 , 37.png )

"Yup," says Deanna. "It's big."

She wheels backward, and the water monster follows, coursing out from between the metal bars.

Its arm comes hissing through the air and connects with Deanna's shield. She feels the impact shake the field around her, and water droplets fleck her face. The shockwave ripples through the monster's body, and it roars again.
No. 544561 ID: 7bbaae

I think a tier II shield might produce good results here. We'll need to let loose with some abyssal magic to get there, though.

Hellkite the shit out of it. You could also try luring it over to that "trap" we bypassed... but I'd also like to see if you could push it into the pit.
No. 544577 ID: 75a612

Keep the shield up. Another hit and we unlock tier 2 infernal moves.

I think we want to hit it with tier 2 hellkite. Evaporate off a bunch of mass and knock it back, possibly off the edge of the cliff. A tier 2 fireball might do more direct damage, but with the splash damage, probably shouldn't be used at this range (or in a tight corridor).
No. 544586 ID: 9ddf68

get another shield up and after it hits that one and gives you access to the tier 2 hellkite try and get some distance as to not burn your face off and unless hell on that thing.
No. 544587 ID: 9ddf68

No. 544720 ID: bff21a

Quite literally, in fact.
No. 544768 ID: 9fa9cb
File 138225597543.png - (19.79KB , 800x600 , 38.png )

Deanna brings up two shields in quick succession, as the rain of hammerfisted blows pushes her back toward the entrance. Her shield starts to flicker and flag as it's pushed toward negative charge, and one of the punches nearly scythes through, leaving her gasping and her arms trembling with exertion.

"Focus, bump," calls Clay. "Breathe."
"I know to breathe," Deanna snaps. The warm prickles of Hell energy well up in her joints. Her tongue dries as a thick heat starts to rise through her breath.
No. 544769 ID: 7bbaae

Let him have it. Hellkite!
No. 544777 ID: 75a612

Hell to the kite, baby.
No. 544778 ID: 9ddf68

a hellkite should do some damage. Might get lucky and push it off the edge, wouldn't get your hopes up to much for that one.
No. 544782 ID: 53ba34

wait until it starts pulling back for another hit, momentum will help you. then hellkite.
No. 544797 ID: 4f5fb6

No. 558172 ID: 988e10
File 139003541636.png - (27.43KB , 800x600 , 39.png )

Deanna lets out a high, gusty wail. With the torrential exhale, the Hellkite fans out of her throat, lashing her cloak back against the force and flash-boiling the water monster's face.

It stumbles backward, lowing like an enraged whale, as the loose membrane keeping it together hisses and sublimates. It's blinded, deafened, and thoroughly distracted.

Behind her, Clay folds his arms.
No. 558173 ID: a87e3a

Nice. Try a Demon Lance now against your disabled opponent.
No. 558174 ID: 53ba34

finish it with a demon lance
No. 558176 ID: 988e10
File 139003745033.png - (51.84KB , 800x600 , 40.png )

"Eat this!" Deanna balls her fist and cracks a knucle. A brilliant flare of fiery energy roars from her hand as she leaps into the air toward the water monster's face.
No. 558177 ID: 988e10
File 139003746585.png - (11.78KB , 800x600 , 41.png )

Where the blade hits, the water monster explodes. Its flesh sizzles into billowy water vapor, and shreds of its skin curl and drift away.
All that's left is a sizable puddle of warm water.

Deanna is soaked from head to toe.

"Well struck, Bump." Clay strides past her and gives her an approving cuff upside the head. He looks into the pit. "Hmm. Deep. Can't see the bottom from here."

"What did I miss?" Zola enters the room and leans on a sword Deanna's never seen before. "That was a trick question. I know what I missed. I'm just calling attention to the fact that I didn't help at all."

"Don't worry," says Deanna. "I noticed."

Zola gives her a cheerful salute.

"Marvelous murdering!" Kybex is over her shoulder again, out of the blue. He needs to stop doing that. "D'you see the kind of pyrotechnics you can generate with the Demonic side of the coin now?"
He holds up one red claw for a high-five. "Teeeeam Infernal!"
No. 558178 ID: 53ba34

roll eye. "this ain't binding" give him a high five "but it was pretty cool"
No. 558179 ID: 9ddf68

got anything you could burn to toss down the pit to see how far down it goes?
No. 558183 ID: 53ba34

oh, and ask if anyone else thinks the pink spot on the beams across the pit looks like a target.
No. 558198 ID: 8ea63b

you're not part of team infernal, don't touch that thing's hand.
No. 558203 ID: 9ddf68

how about instead of shaking his hand you just shake like a dog and get water everywhere
No. 558204 ID: 379075

I think we like our flexibility.
No. 558205 ID: a87e3a

I don't think a high-five is going to kill anyone.

Toss a fireball at the glowy spot.
No. 558218 ID: 4a75fa

How are we doing with our reserves? You've been throwing a bit of magic around here. In addition to worrying about attunement, do you have to worry about mana, or exhaustion?

>"Teeeeam Infernal!"
If your entire presence here is going to be one long sales pitch, you're going to get annoying fast. More annoying, anyways.
No. 558367 ID: 988e10
File 139012161196.png - (95.91KB , 800x600 , 42.png )

"This isn't binding, but okay, that was cool."
Deanna extends her hand.

Before she can take it away, Kybex has snatched it.
Orange light pulses around her hand and down her arm.
"Don't worry," he says. "That was a-" and then Deanna's knee connects with his dick.
No. 558368 ID: 988e10
File 139012163167.png - (10.97KB , 800x600 , 43.png )

"It was a gimme," he says, to keep her from stomping on his face. "Auhhg. Free of charge."

"I like my flexibility, thanks," says Deanna. "Take your whatever-it-was back."

"It wasn't changing your attunement." Kybex props himself up with his staff. "It's just giving one of your moves some extra juice. One of the orange ones. For free. I promise."


"Because you're one of Clay's friends? And I thought you could use the help? And that you wouldn't kick me in the dick?" Kybex readjusts the family jewels. "What the fuck is in your pants, platemail?"

"Kneepads." Deanna stands back and lets the demon get to his feet. "This won't affect my divine casting?"
"No. Ow."

>Choose one infernal spell to improve.
No. 558370 ID: 53ba34


help him up, and say "sorry but my parents told me to kick first ask questions later."
No. 558371 ID: 57a559

"Sorry mate, wasn't raised to trust many people. Especially businessman, lawyers and politicians, which are like, all denziens from the divine plane. My Mom and Dad basically lost their natural eyes and mundane life all because of Material politics, you know. And insane wizards. And corruption. Can't really trust anybody, I guess."

Heal his pain if you can through nectar. I figure if your infernal powers can hurt him all the same, so can divine, right? Well, don't use nectar if you have to actually apply it to the hurting area because that's awkward as hell. If you do have to apply it directly to the painful area, like, maybe you have a little vial on you that you can put nectar into and then he can apply it himself.

I dunno why I suggest healing him I just feel bad.
No. 558374 ID: 57a559

whoops forgot to vote
upgrade hellkite
No. 558375 ID: 9ddf68

"sorry reflex"

as for what to boast I can't decide between fireball or hellkite, I mean Demon lance is pretty strong already but is kinda high risk high reward sorta deal and we kinda use it as a last resort so boasting something we don't use much is kind of a waste. Fireball is our basic attack spell and we use hellkite for the lest normal or to close enemies, so I have to say fireball. Good solid choice

also how are the other 2 reacting to Kybex becoming a soprano?
No. 558376 ID: d2995c

Hellkite. (Can we specify what about it we want to upgrade, or is it just treated as permanently a bit higher attuned?)

>Heal his pain if you can through nectar.
Healing is a decent way of apologizing for hitting someone, but we should REALLY ask if it works that way before trying, considering how if it doesn't we would be splashing him with acid.
No. 558391 ID: 4a75fa

Helkite, and this is totally the line we should use.
No. 558777 ID: 988e10
File 139029553344.png - (69.37KB , 800x600 , 44.png )

Deanna's Hellkite can now be widened or narrowed at her discretion, from an entire 360 degree area of weaker gust to a narrowed, fist-sized windblast. The more concentrated the area of effect, the stronger and hotter the Hellkite. Her control when moving herself with hellkite has also improved.

"Sorry," says Deanna. "My parents always said kick first and ask questions later."
"That's a healthy philosophy," says Zola.
Kybex gets shakily to his feet. "For some, maybe."
No. 558778 ID: 988e10
File 139029553728.png - (11.53KB , 800x600 , 45.png )

"Hold still and I'll help," says Deanna. She twists a cool spray of nectar into reality, then splashes it on Kybex's crotch. From a safe distance.

"Ha!" Zola leans on her sword. "The demon pissed himself."
"Shut up, Zola," says Kybex. "Uh, thanks, Deanna."
"No problem. Ask next time."
"I just wanted to help." Kybex shrugs at Clay.
"Be less cute about it next time," says Clay.

Deanna looks away from Kybex (noticing with some satisfaction how clingy whatever fabric his robes are when they're wet) and up to the thing on the pillar.

A fireball blasted at it turns it a brighter, more vivid shade of purple. Deanna hears it humming, but nothing else happens.
No. 558779 ID: 988e10
File 139029554793.png - (3.15KB , 800x600 , 46.png )

She lights a torch and tosses it down into the pit below.

After about thirty or forty feet, a gust of wind blows it off-course, and a split second later extinguishes the flame. Deanna can hear an echoey whoosh from where she's standing.
No. 558780 ID: 53ba34

test rope
No. 558789 ID: 3e1409

have another blast at the thing, see what that does.
No. 558799 ID: a703cb

...Crazy thought but maybe that thing responds to whatever magic we toss into it?
Let's test that thought with a Crusader Bolt.
No. 558813 ID: 9ddf68

if you just threw a fireball down there, think that would light things up enough for you see how deep the hole is so we might just be able to use a rope?
No. 558818 ID: 4a75fa

I don't suppose we can use our improved hellkite to blow that curtain on the other side of the bit out of the way, so we can see what's past it?

Our choices at this point are either finding a way across the pit or climbing down the rope.
No. 558946 ID: 8eb1e2

Torch blown out by a gust of wind... echoey whoosh sound...
There's a wind elemental at the bottom of the pit.

Hellkite will either be really effective against a wind elemental, or actually make the thing stronger. Wish there was some way of knowing before we have to fight one.
No. 558961 ID: a87e3a

Couldn't we just Hellkite over the pit? I have no desire to climb a rope down into a dark and windy pit without reason to.
No. 558997 ID: 988e10
File 139038138316.png - (12.48KB , 800x600 , 47.png )

The stake holding the rope in looks drilled into the floor. It's very stable. The rope itself is a thick hemp about the thickness of Deanna's wrist, although she can't see how it looks all the way down.

Hitting the little circle with a Crusader Bolt turns it from a bright, dazzling violet to a dull, sheenless purple.

Deanna bridges the gap with a staccato Hellkite blast.

As she lands on the other side a sharp gust of wind rips the curtains from their hooks and sends them twisting and flagging into the pit below.

"Just so we're on the same page," says Deanna, "there's a spooky wind elemental waiting for me down there, in all likelihood?"

Clay nods. Zola shrugs. Kybex flashes her a broad grin and a thumbs up.

"And that's where y'all think I should go."

Clay nods. Zola shrugs. Kybex flashes her a broad grin and a thumbs up.
No. 558998 ID: 988e10
File 139038141589.png - (9.80KB , 800x600 , 48.png )

Deanna shakes her head and turns her attention to the far wall.

The clump of curtains was hanging around a thick strut of wood with a chain wrapped around the center.

Deanna approaches it cautiously. "Any idea what I'm looking at?"

"Looks like a pullhound yoke," says Clay. "Like that sled statue upstairs would have in front."
"There's little grooves in it."
"That's for the mouths. The Waani would douse the whole thing in chicken blood when they were saddling up, to get the pullhounds to clamp down and tow the sled."
"It smells like a shitpole."
"That would be the chicken blood."
No. 558999 ID: 53ba34

take it, put it in the ceiling pullhound mouth..
No. 559016 ID: 17ac98

what's further to the right?

oh, and before you drop down, throw some holy spells around so you can just start off with a maximum power hellkite. it's the only spell I can think of that would be effective against air.
No. 559031 ID: 4a75fa

A puzzle element? Yeah, maybe. Problem would be getting it back across the gap. It looks a little heavy to carry, and I'm not sure she could skip across surfing on a hellkite, again.

>for when one of the party inevitably complains
Exploring ancient ruins and solving puzzles always requires backtracking.
No. 559034 ID: e9e331

might as well see if it does something if we can figure a way to get it across the gap. I mean it gives us more time before we have to fight windy down there. Also it might be a good idea to maybe test your improved hellkite by sending that pole flying over the gap. warn your "friends" first though
No. 559223 ID: a8b169
File 139055487809.png - (8.92KB , 800x600 , 49.png )

"Heads up." Deanna grounds her footing and hoists the yoke to a standing position. She focuses her hellkite to a narrow, vicious push. "This here whatever-it-is is taking the express route to the other side."

The yoke goes sailing over the gap, chain whistling in the wind, and embeds itself a good six inches in the far wall.

"Damn," says Zola.
"All me, baby," says Kybex.
No. 559224 ID: a8b169
File 139055488616.png - (10.64KB , 800x600 , 50.png )

Zola helps her bring it up in the air toward the pullhound on the ceiling, but its mouth isn't the right shape and there's no way the yoke is going to fit in the gap.

"Sorry, Di," says Zola. "Looks like this puppy isn't biting."
No. 559225 ID: 8ea63b

obviously you're not shoving hard enough
No. 559230 ID: d2f04f

go back to the thing. use a whole bunch of divine spells on it. then use a whole bunch of infernal spells on it. you gotta know what it does.

what's up with Kybex's staff, anyway? it looks hella cool and if it does anything useful I want one.
No. 559237 ID: 53ba34

what about the first pullhound in the other room? if that still isn't it i suggest we take it down the hole. it's obviously part of some weird puzzle shit.
No. 559241 ID: 4a75fa

Yeah, the thing has two mouth grooves, and there were two dogs side by side back here >>543293

Makes sense that it wouldn't work on one lone dog. Backtrack, try it on the statue from before.
No. 559245 ID: 6afdbb

might as well try the other pull hound you past, either that or find some chicken blood. I mean if we're right we may have found an easier why down, and if we're just wasting time with this it's not like the wind element is going anywhere.
No. 559254 ID: a87e3a

It's probably for the pair of pullhounds we found earlier in the ruins.
No. 559665 ID: a8b169
File 139081587340.png - (13.73KB , 800x600 , 51.png )

On the upper pullhounds, the yoke slots in perfectly. Deanna notices a narrow linkup on the ground where the chain from the yoke can attach.
She's pretty sure that below the floor in the other chamber this chain links up to that ceiling hound. There's no going forward with whatever this mechanism is until she can find out what to do with that one.

She's got a feeling the answer's probably down there in that pit.

The thing just keeps flashing from lit to unlit and back again. She's not sure what else to do with it, although by burning off infernal or divine magic before going into the pit, she can choose where she wants her levels to be upon her descent. Does Deanna want to have extra kick in her infernal spells or her divine spells as she goes down the rope?
No. 559667 ID: 53ba34

i think we should be charged so we can give it a good hellkite to the.. whatever it uses as a face.
No. 559669 ID: 21fafa

hellkite's the only thing that'd hurt air. so charge up those eldritch juices and spam it like a hammerdin spams blessed hammer.
No. 559698 ID: 9ddf68

I say charge up or infernal spells to tier II so we can blast the wind element with a strong Hellkite, We've seemed to be a bet infernal based in our stagy so far so might as well start out strong.
No. 559756 ID: d2995c

Would it work to just drop fireballs or acid on it from above rather than worrying about climbing while fighting?
No. 559796 ID: 8eb1e2

We don't need to use the rope to climb down. Hellkite should suffice to slow our descent and give us a decent getaway option. Better charge our infernal spells.

Using helkite on a wind elemental is a bit all-or-nothing. It might work wonderfully, or it might backfire horribly. I think it is worth the gamble though.
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