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845246 No. 845246 ID: d36af7

My mind is like an alpine lake in spring, alive but nearly inert. Slowly ancient memories begin to thaw.
Expand all images
No. 845249 ID: d36af7

I recall that there are five wholesome elements: air, earth, fire, water, and wood. Each element has three parallel paths of mastery: concrete, abstract, and necrotic.

concrete air: sensory
abstract air: spirit contact
necrotic air: ghoul
concrete earth: shape stone
abstract earth: repair
necrotic earth: void apostle
concrete fire: burning light
abstract fire: fast moves
necrotic fire: corrosive hate
concrete water: tricky moves
abstract water: illusion
necrotic water: vampire
concrete wood: shape plants
abstract wood: shapeshift
necrotic wood: cyborg

Each path has six steps, and each step is a distinct power. The first is petty and trivial, little more than a preview of what's to come, while the last is transcendent, world-shaking. It's possible to 'leap ahead' and use a known path's next step without full control, or even learn it properly through solitary meditation and practice, but taking the first step on a given path almost always requires instruction from a master - that is, one who has taken five steps along the path in question.

In this life I have taken four steps along the abstract path of water, and a total of seven steps along other paths, but no more than three in any single one.

Which were they?
No. 845259 ID: 3d2d5f

concrete air: sensory 2
concrete fire: burning light 3
concrete earth: shape stone 1
abstract wood: shapeshift 1
No. 845277 ID: d36af7

Sensation returns to my limbs, flesh and spirit falling back into synch with the pounding rhythm of my heart. What am I?

Anklok, the breed of fire, are the biggest, strongest, and toughest, the first zealous warrior-priests.

Mosok, the breed of water, are nearly as tough, much better at swimming and trickery, but can't run fast on land.

Pterok, the breed of air, are almost as frail as humans, but far more graceful, knowledgeable, and can fly.

Raptok, the breed of wood, are balanced generalists, natural builders and diplomats, and can digest plant matter.

The breed of earth is long extinct, and irrelevant apart from painful memories of the glories that once were.

If this is the map of my mastery (I'm still not certain), any of the first three breeds are possible, but no raptok at my age would have so little progress along wood-aspected paths.
No. 845296 ID: 33cbe7

Raptok: abstract wood 3, concrete wood 2, abstract earth 2.
No. 845333 ID: 5694dc

Games where you can engineer social solutions are always fun, so I’ll agree with Raptok, and say with 3 in the abstract of wood (shapeshifter), and 2 along both the concrete and abstract of air (sensory and spirit contact).
No. 845342 ID: c88e6d

Abstract Wood 3
Abstract Water 2
Concrete Fire 2
No. 845346 ID: c88e6d

I too agree with Raptok
No. 845362 ID: d36af7

Abstract path of Water has 4 steps locked in.
Abstract path of Wood has at least 1 step locked in.
Six steps remain undefined/unremembered.

>social solutions
Each of the breeds has a favored social approach. Anklok lean toward dance, prayer, oratory, public spectacle, and bold military leadership. Mosok sink easily into espionage and the criminal underworld. Pterok excel at calligraphy, learning new languages quickly, and dealings with spirits.

The raptok gift for diplomacy is not the be-all and end-all of social influence, but specifically diplomacy: discovering the other party's agenda, selectively concealing your own, speaking at length on sensitive subjects in front of a diverse and judgemental crowd without boring them or giving offense. Being 'urbane' or 'courtly' or otherwise blending gracefully into a crowd, fulfilling the symbolic expectations of your role... or sticking out and defying tradition in precise, calculated ways. In a post-apocalyptic or otherwise primitive context, where conflicts tend to be smaller and simpler, it wouldn't always be the best tool for the job.

Of course, most people also develop at least a few skills outside their instinctive inclinations and racial stereotype.

Why am I dwelling on thoughts of devastated infrastructure and desperate battles over scraps? Right, of course. The Contagion.

Before my long sleep, there was... a sickness. None were safe, not the horrors deep beneath the earth nor the very gods in Heaven. Corpses lay in the streets, refusing to rot, for not even maggots and beetles were spared. It seemed as though this might be the end of all life. Even the more optimistic projections held little hope for civilized society.

So, various enclaves sealed themselves away. Entire hidden cities, when and where a city's worth of uninfected people and animals could be found. More often, mere towns, or tiny monasteries. When appropriate tools and materials were available, but food sufficient for a stable breeding population was not, we built stasis chambers. Tombs for the living.

What wonders were buried with me, to aid in my task of rebuilding the world? There's a delicate balance to be struck between immediate necessities of survival and longer-term utility. Many of these were off-the-shelf items back in the good old days, but if I want to make more, I might need to start from scratch. That kind of work tends to be a lot easier with a working model available to study and reverse-engineer.

Transport, choose one among
-awesome rocket backpack (limited range, no cargo)
-land-capable sailing ship (requires crew)
-essence-powered dirigible (requires crew)
-hoverbike (limited cargo)

Dueling weapon, choose one among
-banisher's belt (requires yasal crystals)
-gauntlets of distant touch
-flute/snorkel/staff/poison dart launcher
-power axe (no ranged attack)
-power mace
-powered armor
-skirmish pike
-thorn whip (no stun setting)

Heavy weapons, choose two among
-concussive essence cannon (over the shoulder)
-concussive essence wand (simple but frequent maintenance)
-device which collapses a point of light (not man-portable)
-disrupter lens (best paired with one of the three above)
-elemental pulse grenade (rechargeable, specify an element)
-fire claw (melee)
-fuel bolt launcher (over the shoulder, requires ammo)
-greenwood blade (melee)
-hand of the mountain (2.5 ton stone golem)
-lightning box
-miniature clockwork assassin (remotely controlled)
-wall eater (melee)

Tools, choose four among
-dreamscape tutor gem (specify skills or Paths of Mastery)
-energy weapon maintenance & repair kit
-essence accumulator/capacitor
-folding servant (semi-autonomous, versatile but weak)
-geomantic power adapter
-hand of the mountain (semi-autonomous, strong but blunt)
-healing orchid
-lightning box
-mini holoprojector ring
-moonsilver hunting horn
-orichalcum chain-dagger
-pair of scrying coins
-perfected xylophone
-perpetual motion machine (mostly useless w/o machinery)
-power armor maintenance & repair kit (not man-portable)
-preservation spindle
-rod of cleansing the body
-scouter goggles
-vegetech diagnostic & modification kit
-video recorder
-white jade anvil (not man-portable), hammer, and tongs
-windslave disk (levitates 500lb at 10 mph)
-yasal crystal (basically a pokeball)

Synergy bonus: essence accumulator/capacitor + geomantic power adapter + preservation spindle allows long-term storage of a thousand cubic feet of fresh fruit, meat, seed corn for restarting agriculture, or other mundane perishable goods. Without this, food may be an immediate concern.

Synergy bonus: awesome rocket backpack + powered armor + powered armor maintenance & repair kit combines and upgrades into a 15' tall flying bipedal armored fighting vehicle, docked in an appropriately-scaled hangar. Using it to it's full potential will require capturing and tapping sites of geomantic power.
No. 845378 ID: d22dc0

>Six steps remain undefined/unremembered.

I still suggest that we have 3 in abstract wood (shapeshifting) and 2 in both concrete air and abstract air (sensory and spirit contact)

>You can be more than a racial archetype
Well said; On the flip side, in a setting where we are making choices based almost solely on a racial archetype, that idea may hold merit as we develop than it does now.

As for dealings with spirits, could you elaborate more on what spirits are, and how those dealings work? What do they entail?

>What did I bring

If we were buried alone, it seems pertinent to base our choices on that. Therefore,
Because it provides long distance transportation of heavy materials, without a crew.

>flute/snorkel/staff/poison dart launcher
Because it has many uses, and doesn't have to be our primary weapon since we also brought...

>hand of the mountain (2.5 ton stone golem)
To deal with hauling materials and heavy defense, as well as bringing a...

>miniature clockwork assassin (remotely controlled)
Mostly because it sounds cool and fun. Sometimes you need subtlety, and clocks are cool.

As for tools, essence accumulator/capacitor + geomantic power adapter + preservation spindle sounds like a good start to me; food is essential for personal survival, but more importantly, agriculture provides the resources necessary to develop sustained hubs of life an activity, and also serves as a useful foundation for basic structures of government and long term journeys.

For our last tool I'm not really sure. Perhaps another weapon, since this load out is fire-power light? Perhaps a folding servant, to help us start making food before our colony has grown much? Healing is always useful, but if the tutor gem can push us to level 5 in water, you made it sound as though having that ability would be something truly awe-inspiring.

Can you explain whats a dictabrush is? It sounds as though it's related to recording audio,
No. 845418 ID: 33cbe7

-Apocalypse buuuuus!
-Powered armor
-Wall eater
-Concussion cannon

-energy weapon repair or essence accumulator, whichever is needed for the cannon
-power armor kit
-hand of the mountain
-rod of cleansing (it's a suppository) or the energy weapon kit if both are needed
No. 845443 ID: d36af7

>hoverbus because
It should be noted that the hoverbus's lack of a crew requirement corresponds to extensive magitech automation, which makes it less damage-tolerant, and more difficult to repair with crude tools or limited spare parts. Land-ship, by contrast, only needs a single piece of idiot-proof solid-state enchantment (the jade keel), everything else being plain replaceable wood. The dirigible, likewise, is all mundane material apart from an upscaled perpetual motion engine.

Hoverbike can fold up small enough to hide it in a backpack and leave room for two dozen pounds of supplies on top. Not as relevant, but fun.

>As for dealings with spirits, could you elaborate more on what spirits are, and how those dealings work? What do they entail?

Every discreet thing in the world (that's not a self-aware being in it's own right) has a god. The vast majority of gods represent things like pebbles or drops of rain or grains of rice, and function on a level barely above insects. Greater gods, representing categories, or regions, or particularly significant singular things, are self-aware with full personalities and agendas. Sometimes they become corrupt, neglect their responsibilities to the Celestial Bureaucracy, and must be corrected or replaced. There are also spirits from outside the world, which must be dealt with even more firmly.

The greatest single obstacle to this task is the naturally immaterial state of spirits: ordinary senses cannot perceive them, nor ordinary weapons strike them, unless the spirit willingly manifests. The exorcist must use magic such as the Paths of Air, or enchanted tools such as the Greenwood Blade, that scouter monocle, and spirit-trapping yasal crystals, in various combinations, to have any chance of success in combat. Spirits can also retreat to sanctums burrowed into the perverse geometry of Elsewhere, and in some cases recollect themselves a year or so after seemingly being killed. (Dragon Kings, by contrast, take around fifteen to twenty-five years to reincarnate and regain adult faculties after lethal violence, a century or more to fully rediscover the final step of a path, even under ideal conditions.)

The second-greatest obstacle is their alien mindsets. When some volcano divinity offers to heat an iron bar 'til it glows cherry-red and then ram it up your cloaca, is that a threat, or ill-considered "do unto others" flirtation? In past lives, I have seen tragic misunderstandings go both ways on that single issue and countless others. Study of occult correspondences is often necessary to decipher, empathize with, or exploit such an esoteric perspective.

>Can you explain whats a dictabrush is? It sounds as though it's related to recording audio,
It is a perfect and indestructible calligraphy brush which never runs out of ink in any desired color or thickness, and (for someone who knows the magic words) can autonomously perform the duties of a stenographer, translating every nuance of tone or inflection into equivalent handwriting details for later analysis. It cannot reproduce sound, or record anything other than coherent speech, though I dimly recall some experiment on the hypothesis that certain earthquakes were modulated as messages between mighty-yet-immobile earth elemental lords.
No. 845464 ID: c88e6d

-Rocket Backpack

-Powered Armor

-Greenwood Blade
-Elemental Pulse Grenade

-Moonsilver Hunting Horn
-Yasal Crystal
-Vegetech Diagnostic and Modification Kit
-Video Recorder

We NEED our Vegetech Diagnostic and Modification Kit, because if all Vegetech plants die in the future we'll need a way to modify them.

Power armor because power armor is awesome.

A rocket backpack because that's awesome too.

The Greenwood Blade for fighting Spirits, as is the Yasal Crystal, while the Elemental Pulse grenade is for fighting crazed mortals and dangerous animals.

The Moonsilver Hunting Horn can possibly be used to summon the Stewards of Creation, should any of them yet live.

And a video recorder, so that we can record journals for young Dragonkings to recover from our horribly mangled body in future. Yaknow. In case.
No. 845484 ID: 4f16cd

We don't know how many other survivors there might be, nor how long we might have to go it alone. The hoverbus will let us haul things long distances without a crew. If we could be assured there are others then a landship would be better, but since we can't...

>Powered Armor
Something that can make a feeble body strong. We don't know what state our health - or the healths of others - will be in after sheltering from the Contagion. Once we get a foundry up and working, it can also serve as an ideal template to copy and manufacture more of the same.

>Concussive Essence Wand
>Disrupter Lens
A man-portable weapon with some extra kick, it requires regularly maintenance but its simplicity of design will make it an ideal pick for this brave new world. With time, it should be fairly easy to produce copies, if we end up with allies in need of arms.

>Energy Weapon Maintenance & Repair Kit
>Power Armor Maintenance & Repair Kit
>Vegetech Diagnostic & Maintenance Kit
>White Jade Anvil, Hammer, & Tongs
Repair and construct. All of the fancy toys in the world are pointless if you can't keep them maintained, and rebuilding is impossible if you have to start from scratch. With Pre-Contagion magitech tools of all kinds, we'll be able to not just keep our personal equipment in good repair, but will be literally centuries ahead of schedule where rebuilding is concerned.

With these basics, we can survive in the short term, and have the resources we desperately need to rebuild in the long term.
No. 845495 ID: fc3fc0

Personally I think that food is an important enough bargaining tool to procure most of the other basics we need. We could pay a smith in food and shelter for their services, using our hand of the mountain to move supplies; we could gain followers, travel long distances, and also satisfy immediate dietary needs. Without it we have to hope someone else is producing food, and bring our services to them, cross our fingers that they give us a good deal otherwise we end up starving, our fancy production supplies useless in the end.
No. 845498 ID: d36af7

>powered armor
Few different models to choose from here:

Ashigaru series, meant for scouts
-imperishable materials: zero maintenance, tricky to replicate. Inferior substitute would need weekly maintenance.
-NBC filter, 1-hour air reserve
-night vision
-basic adaptive camo
-unenlightened-compatible with minor accelerated aging

Gunzosha series, meant for elite commandos
-maintenance every 100 hours uptime
-no air tank
-night vision
-improved active camo
-augmented strength
-augmented reflexes
-medical support to resist NBC threats, recover from blunt trauma in seconds rather than hours
-unenlightened-compatible with major surgery and severely accelerated aging

SDF Sentinel series, meant for police
-maintenance every 150 hours uptime
-no air tank
-night vision
-stealth-defeating cape and helmet plume
-augmented sprint speed
-medical support to resist NBC threats, recover from blunt trauma in minutes rather than hours
-short-range force wall projector
-unenlightened-compatible with minor accelerated aging

Yoroi series, a no-frills infantry model
-imperishable materials: zero maintenance, tricky to replicate.
-no filter, air tank, or medical support
-night vision
-basic adaptive camo
-augmented strength
-very comfortable, easily march 100 miles per day
-not usable by the unenlightened

Myrmidon series, developed under the mountains
-maintenance every 150 hours uptime
-modular design specifically optimized for ease of production and repair
-regenerative air supply
-aura sight superior to standard night vision but little support for secondary senses
-squad linked comms (work best underground)
-augmented strength
-very comfortable, easily march 100 miles per day
-not usable by the unenlightened

Artilak series, armored cavalry/heavy support
-maintenance every 5 to 15 hours uptime, depending on intensity of use
-requires essence accumulator/capacitor for minimum useful functionality, or geomantic power core for best results
-no filter, air tank, or medical support
-no sensory augmentation, limited field of view and poor acoustics greatly impair situational awareness
-15' tall, cannot fit through human-sized doors
-massively augmented strength & leverage
-armor twice as thick as anything else listed
-can march 100 miles per hour like it's nothing
-clumsy, exhausting to wear for extended periods
-unenlightened-compatible with major surgery and severely accelerated aging
-interchangeable between human and raptok with relatively simple interface adjustments, rather than needing a major refit/redesign
No. 845507 ID: d36af7

Certain (3+)
-Abstract water 4
-Abstract Wood 1
-either a second step in Abstract Wood or the first in Concrete or Necrotic wood
-some sort of power armor

Plausible (2, possibly indirect)
-Concrete Air 2
-Concrete Fire 2
-Concrete Earth 1 (with further development, this path could make it much easier to reinvent crystalline tech)
-Abstract Wood 3
-Concrete Wood 2 (this could substitute for basic vegetech tools, and allow ordinary plants to survive harsh conditions)

-some sort of concussive essence weapon
-energy weapon kit
-hand of the mountain
-powered armor kit
-vegetech kit

Tenuous (1)
-Concrete Fire 3
-Abstract Earth 2

-disrupter lens
-clockwork assassin
-elemental pulse grenade (no element specified?)
-greenwood blade
-wall eater

-food synergy set (accumulator, power adapter, spindle)
-moonsilver hunting horn
-rod of cleansing
-video recorder
-white jade anvil, hammer, and tongs
-yasal crystal
No. 845509 ID: 2fe26a

Can you get points in abstract and concrete wood without causing interference? Shapeshifting and cyborgs are both pretty cool.
Enlightened compatibility seems unfeasible to attain. Pick the Myrmidon - we want to be a power armor pilot foremost, not a power armor mechanic.
No. 845512 ID: d36af7

Paths of elemental mastery run in parallel; they do not interfere with each other. Necrotic paths have various unpleasant side effects, but these can generally be avoided, or at least minimized, by simply not using the power. The Necrotic Path of Wood focuses on integration of magitech with the user's body, and the second step allows such items to be repaired and maintained more easily, in some cases even without any tools, supplies, or technical proficiency whatsoever. As a raptok, I would be able to take the first step on any of the Wood paths without outside training, and progress along them more quickly from there. I have a similar but more personal affinity for the Abstract path of Water, which explains how I'm so near to mastery.
No. 845513 ID: 3f99eb

i think our equipment loadout should be influenced by our powers. If we have enough advancements down concrete wood, we don’t need as much of an emphasis on food tools. If we have sensory and spiritual powers, we don’t need weapons or tools to deal with spirits. If we have stone shaping powers, manufacturing tools aren’t as important, and if we we have magical fire power we don’t need to emphasize heavy weapons, and can choose stuff with utility instead.

If I’m honest, given that we’re a dragon and already have resilience and capabilities most mortals could hardly dream of, power armor seems redundant and wasteful. We’re already extra strong and tough, so I’d lean towards anything with extra utility like the cavalry armor for fast travel, spec ops armor for stealth, or some other capacity we might struggle in otherwise. We wanna be able to cover our bases and shore up any weak spots we might have
No. 845521 ID: 4f16cd

Ashigaru, for sure. The possibility of easier replication, lack of periodic maintenance, and ability for mortals to use it with minimal crippling is ideal.
No. 845522 ID: fc3fc0

To clarify, it does say "tricky to replicate"
No. 845527 ID: d36af7

>stealth, or some other capacity we might struggle in otherwise
The third step on the Abstract Path of Water is the ability to disguise oneself as other species of vaguely comparable size and shape, including but not limited to humans. The fourth step is invisibility.

Ashigaru armor minus the self-adjusting and self-cleaning features would be easier to build than any of the power armors listed, comparable to items on the 'tool' and 'heavy weapon' lists.
No. 845528 ID: 2fe26a

How do you have NBC-protected armor with no air tank?
No. 845544 ID: d36af7

Rather than attempting to maintain an airtight perimeter and filter out potential threats, Gunzosha and SDF Sentinel armors interlock with the wearer's metabolism, directly augmenting the body's natural ability to resist and recover. This gives protection comparable to conventional NBC filters (such as those in the Ashigaru series) without trapping sweat, restricting breath flow, or creating other issues typical of a sealed suit. It also remains fully effective against contaminants applied directly to an open wound, or when the suit's helmet is off, and many other situations. Even boosts general health in ways that help with chronic disease, hard labor, or malnutrition. Control circuitry, miniaturized drug factories, and other such hardware occupy the space that would otherwise be used for an air tank. This does, however, put them at a disadvantage in environments where no air is available at all.

The Ashigaru series only needs to use it's reserve air tank underwater, or in choke-damp, hard vacuum, or when there's otherwise nothing at all to breathe. Upon returning to a region of breathable air, or contaminated air which the filters can cope with, the tank automatically refills itself inside twelve minutes... assuming it's in good working order, rather than suffering from deferred maintenance.
No. 845702 ID: d36af7

Summarizing paths which have been suggested so far, to aid in prioritizing between them:

First step along Concrete Air heightens natural senses, but not all of them at once.
Second step allows direct perception of magic, comparable to Myrmidon-series visor.
Scouter goggles have the same capability, and can also see around corners, displacing one eye's point of view to any point within line of sight up to sixty yards away.
Third step is a combat buff, tracing potential attack trajectories to improve weapon accuracy and dodging.
Fourth step analyzes flaws in a target to deal more damage.

First step along Concrete Earth provides a broad bonus to work with stone or earthen materials, and negates penalties for lack of tools, even to the point of chiseling hard stone barehanded.
Second step accelerates such work, to the point of potentially constructing crude but effective fortifications mid-melee.
Third step makes it easier to build or repair crystalline magic items and appropriately aspected geomantic power stations, potentially in days rather than months.
Fourth step lets the user temporarily transform into an animate stone statue.

First step along concrete Fire produces harmless light.
Second step produces fire at touch range, which persists without fuel and cannot harm the user unless it spreads to naturally flammable material. Particularly helpful as a damage boost to claws or teeth.
Third step launches a bolt of fire. More range than the fuel bolt launcher (30 yards vs. 60-plus), but less damage. Concussive essence weapons have comparable or longer range, but cause knockback rather than ignition for ongoing damage.
Fourth step lets the user seize control of pre-existing flames within firebolt range.

First step along Abstract Wood is effectively just a minor natural armor buff, though it improves as the path continues.
Second step is flexibility, increasing height and reach by 50% and making it possible to squeeze through four inch wide gaps.
Third step is a much more significant defensive buff.
Fourth step is the ability to temporarily change to one of the other breeds.

First step along Concrete Wood is similar to concrete earth, but for living plants.
Second step blesses plants to survive and thrive in otherwise harsh or implausible (but not utterly impossible) conditions.
Third step makes it easier to grow or repair vegetech magic items and appropriately aspected geomantic power stations, potentially in days rather than months.
Fourth step is comparable to the second step of concrete earth, but for living plants.
No. 845704 ID: c88e6d

Abstract Wood 4 and Concrete Fire 2
No. 845744 ID: 5694dc

Now that I know we can disguise ourselves as other races, shapeshifter seems less useful. I also don’t see the need for natural weapons if we’re getting power armor and such- that should do a reasonable job.

Personally I think we should get up to path 3 in either concrete wood or earth, and then make up for our shortcomings with either forge tools or agricultural tools.

On the flip side, I think we could get a bunch of equipment for dealing with spirits, and go heavy in both concrete wood and earth.

You can hire skilled fighters if you have food, but if you’re a skilled fighter you have to hope someone needs your services. I think it’s better to be a founder than a follower. Control the food and you can control pretty much everything else.
No. 845755 ID: d36af7

>In this life I have taken four steps along the abstract path of water, and a total of seven steps along other paths, but no more than three in any single one.

Fourth step powers are only listed for purposes of further development, or occasional 'leaping ahead' from the third step.

How about 2 steps each along the Concrete Paths of Earth and Wood, 1 on Concrete Fire as an eventual backup weapon (and for it's own sake in case the bunker's lights have gone out), 1 each in Abstract and Concrete Air to reliably notice spirit-meddling, a Greenwood Blade for when such behavior must be discouraged, and a water-aspected Elemental Pulse Grenade, for crowd control, emergency refrigeration or fire suppression, and any miscellaneous combat situation where neither hand-to-hand, nor setting everything on fire, nor slipping away invisible, are satisfactory tactical solutions?

Then, as for tools, the food preservation set you advocated previously (which could easily enough be transferred to the hoverbus's cargo compartment), plus the power armor maintenance and repair kit, including some semi-portable machine tools with potentially broader applicability?

That sounds like the kind of training and supplies I might have agreed to carry through a long sleep, and it would settle everything except the specific model of power armor.
No. 845769 ID: 76db35

Sounds good to me!
No. 846166 ID: d36af7

One vote for Myrmidon,
one vote for Ashigaru,
one vote for... everything else?

Gonna need some sort of tiebreaker, or at least further discussion of priorities and acceptable compromises, to settle this.
No. 846198 ID: 33cbe7

Abstract wood gets a little less interesting after stage two but my element votes remain unchanged.
Squad linked comms from the Myrmidon are redundant with no squad, but the ease of fast travel and ease of reproduction make it very desirable. I'll go with that one. Why isn't the Ashigaru armor designed for long distance travel if it's a scout suit?
No. 846208 ID: fc3fc0

If you want ease of travel, Artilak seems like the best options. If you don't like the high maintenance cost, I'd say Yoroi is the better choice- no maintenance, and super strength instead of coms and air supply. Harder to replicate shouldn't be a problem since we shouldn't need to really build a bunch of power armor; Myrmydon is already un-usable by the enlightened, so I don't know who we'd be building more them for.

I'm also not sure how abstract wood is super helpful- if we're wearing power armor it seems like that whole chain is rendered useless. Can't really bend out of the way of attacks, or octopus ourselves into small holes if we're wearing a big heavy weapons suit.
No. 846290 ID: d36af7

>Squad linked comms from the Myrmidon are redundant with no squad
Third step along Concrete Earth can be used to duplicate the comm unit as a standalone item, given a few hours of work and some parts that could be found in any city worthy of the name. Recruiting a team enlightened enough to actually use those echo jewels would be the hard part.

>Why isn't the Ashigaru armor designed for long distance travel if it's a scout suit?
It's comfortable enough to hike long distances in, but rapid movement isn't easy to combine with stealth. When a unit of scouts needed to redeploy more quickly, they'd most likely be picked up and dropped off by skyship. Serious military hardware like that would have been way beyond our bunker-stocking budget, sadly.

The hoverbus is a civilian type, with weak armor and no integral weapons, but it seats more than a hundred, plus six tons of cargo, and cruises efficiently over ice, snow, shallow water, loose sand, or rubble less than ten feet high, all at a nice steady thirty miles an hour, twenty hours a day, if I can stay awake or find someone else to take shifts. Steep slopes, narrow bridges over deep water or canyons, or trees less than twenty feet apart might still cause trouble.

>Myrmydon is already un-usable by the unenlightened, so I don't know who we'd be building more them for.
Roughly one human in a hundred deliberately attains enlightenment by some mix of their own efforts, pilgrimage to remote sites of power, strange drugs, a spirit's personal attention, etc., but those few are almost all heroic alchemists, formidable martial artists, high priests, sorcerers, or otherwise potentially valuable allies. Many more come close enough that they need only a few days of skilled assistance to break through, though this does carry some risk. There are half-spirit dynasties and humanoid species to whom enlightenment comes as naturally as it does to dragon kings such as myself, but who are nonetheless weak enough as individuals to benefit greatly from power armor.

If I mastered the Necrotic Path of Wood, I could teach any human to bear and use Myrmidon-series armor (or many other items) by a simple act of will, even without true enlightenment. There might be very good reasons not to, but it's an option.
No. 846858 ID: d36af7

I'm awake. Time to get out of bed and...

Stasis chamber's lid won't open. When I push the button, it slides a couple inches, makes an ugly grinding noise for ten seconds, then slides back.

Emergency release latch snapped off in my hand.

Main maintenance access panel is outside of the stasis chamber, since that would be far more convenient under normal circumstances. Power-assist suit and tools are in a cabinet twenty feet away. Might as well be on the moon.

What do I do?
No. 846863 ID: 33cbe7

Use Reach to access the maintenance hatch in the window it's open.
No. 846929 ID: fc3fc0

I assume this is a problem because you're not confident you can use brute strength to kick/pry the door open, correct? If the pod's already damaged, I don't see a good reason to try to keep it intact in this situation.
No. 846968 ID: 94bef7

What's the lid made of? Is it glass? Try smashing/kicking it.
No. 846974 ID: d36af7

>you're not confident you can use brute strength to kick/pry the door open, correct?
I could pry the lid open, but I'm not some great hulking anklok who can kick bricks all day without getting sore toes. Bad leverage and no warmup means I might pull a muscle or face some other overexertion-related injury.
>If the pod's already damaged, I don't see a good reason to try to keep it intact in this situation.
If the stasis chamber were completely broken, at this point I'd be dead instead of thawed out. Crystalline tech tends to work better the fewer moving parts it has. The main structure is intact, or at least repairable. Even if I end up needing to cannibalize it for some other project, that tends to be easier and more productive the less random damage it's already taken. So, I'd like to consider possible alternatives before smashing something I don't quite know how to replace.

With only one step along Abstract Wood, I'll need to either Leap Ahead, which has a subtle spiritual cost that may take months to fully recover from, and even then is unreliable, or first use the Concrete Path of Earth to persuade this stasis chamber to keep me alive and conscious for a week of meditation (at the end of which I'd likely be dehydrated and starved half to death) so I can internalize the second step of Abstract Wood.

Good news is, either way that would let me slip completely through the gap in the partly-opened lid and thus solve the immediate problem without collateral damage.
No. 846976 ID: 33cbe7

What, only one step? What did we throw away points on instead then?
No. 846988 ID: d36af7

>What did we
Abstract Air 1
Concrete Air 1
Concrete Earth 2
Concrete Fire 1
Abstract Water 4
Abstract Wood 1
Concrete Wood 1

>throw away points
The first step on a Path requires outside instruction. Broad but shallow training up front means a wider range of powers available to grow into. If we'd grabbed dreamscape tutor gems instead of machine tools and food preservation infrastructure, that would have made heavier specialization in a narrower range of Paths easier to justify, since I could eventually pick up others from that archive.

Every tool on the list, however frivolous it might seem, was something I could easily imagine bitterly regretting the lack of.
No. 847019 ID: fc3fc0

So smashing it open may have physical consequences along a similar line to the spiritual consequences from jumping ahead, correct? Basically, if we push ourself past our normal capabilities, repercussions will ensue, and even then we might not accomplish what we were hoping to do.

You mentioned that the emergency handle snapped off in your hand- can we invoke our concrete wood aspect and attempt to work around that problem? I don't know how this magitec stuff works but I would imagine having tools like pliers and fine manipulators would allow us to work around not having a handle, and I believe our competency along the path would allow us to emulate some of those tools, right?
No. 848209 ID: 3abd97

>When I push the button, it slides a couple inches, makes an ugly grinding noise for ten seconds, then slides back.
Push the button again. You show that button who's boss! Reiterate how important this is!
No. 848219 ID: d36af7

While I hold down the button, the grinding noise continues. I smell... smoke? No, rock dust.

I think about rock. I know rock. I understand the differences between different types of stone and soil and clay and sand so well that if I really concentrate, if I say that some particular chunk of rubble ought to be melting at room temperature, the essence of the world will agree that I'm right and the pathetic little god of that fist-sized bit of debris is wrong to insist that it ought to be however many thousand degrees instead.

I shove the crystal coffin lid aside, my clawed fingers leaving a row of shallow round dents in it's steel-hard edge. Gravel squishes out of the lid's way like a pile of overripe strawberries.

How long has it been since I've eaten fresh fruit? At least a few decades now, technically. I should check. Turn around, flip open that maintenance panel. Diagnostic mode. I've been in stasis for exac... that can't be right.

Exactly eight hundred years.

More than ten times as long as intended. The crisis I meant to return on the trailing end of must be long over by now, one way or another. The world has moved on. But... why was I not found, awoken sooner?

This bunker may have been hidden, but not that thoroughly. There's a significant geomantic power station at the top of the hill these tunnels run under, and I can tell from here that it's still intact. Currents of power on that scale are perceptible from miles and miles away. Even the unenlightened could notice it with thaumaturgical surveying equipment, if somehow the permanent lightning storm lingering overhead wasn't enough of a clue.

Most of the tunnels here were abandoned rather than secured. They would've been re-explored by treasure hunters, the walls tapped and hollow noises investigated within such a timescale. Someone would be recolonizing this place. It's too good a location to leave empty. The alaun may be gone, the lintha cursed to fade away, the pelagials content to languish in the deeps, but surely at least humanity survived! Or if they shun the tunnels, then mountain folk, or cephalids, or the... violet-eyed glass-cutters lurking in dark places and taking treaties far too seriously, whatever their unpronounceable term for themselves was.

Am I the last?

No. Even if I am the only sapient mortal remaining in a dead world, that's too heavy a thought, too far before dawn. First, inventory.

Health 7/7 - this is my distance from unconsciousness and possible death due to injury. Even minor wounds may continue to bleed, or become infected, without prompt treatment.

Discipline 5/5 - this is my distance from miserable incapacity, whether by lack of sleep, ill-fitting armor, or prolonged hard labor. Some factors, including starvation, thirst, or disease, can kill outright, but only on a scale of days, not minutes. I have a lot of room for improvement with practice and training on this.

Hope 10/10 - this is my distance from dissociation and possible despair, and the currency of achieving the impossible. Pleasant dreams during restful sleep, meaningful progress toward major life goals, heroic improvisation, or basking in the adoration of a cult can all restore it.

Dragon 27/34 - this is elemental power, the primary currency of magic. Two motes are committed to the first step on the Concrete Path of Earth, five more to the second step. Recharging that much shouldn't take more than an hour or two in any healthy part of the world, though obviously I can't start refilling the pool without de-committing first, which would turn off whatever technique or artifact those motes were powering.

With those two steps active, I could spend the next twenty minutes or so building up or tearing down stone construction, as much work as a mundane mason would be able to do in a full day, most notably opening up the sealed walls of this room. Not sure I want to do that yet, though.

In terms of food, if I'm alone here, I could hold out for thirty years without agriculture or even particularly strict rationing. That's about a tenth of my remaining natural life expectancy, so going outside to plant crops or hunt for meat will still be sensible even if... no. No matter what, I'll survive and rebuild. The industrial lianas on the walls and soft carpet grass on the floor in here (fed by pleasantly reddish glowing crystals on the ceiling) can recycle water indefinitely, but aren't suitable for eating.

My hideout is a repurposed hoverbus repair garage, with the entrances bricked over. Space for two of them to park side by side, which is pretty impressive since each one is sixty feet long and twenty feet wide, but where the second bus would go, there's a stockpile. Ten by ten by ten stacks of five-pound metal ingots, looks like, copper, tin, zinc, nickel, gold, silver, lead, platinum, various standard structural alloys including... ooh, yes, they managed to secure that load of feathersteel!

No such luck with the really valuable stuff, though. Less than half a stack of assorted substandard jade-steel, no pure jade or orichalcum bar stock at all. Three ingots of moonsilver, one of which looks like it might be contaminated somehow. A dozen yard-long blades of adamant glass, far too brittle and thin to be proper swords. For any project that requires significant quantities of the Magical Materials, I might need to smelt the stuff myself. I know how, but building the necessary facilities from scratch is not an appealing prospect. I've got a decent selection of prefabricated parts and alchemical reagents in those other cabinets and barrels, at least.

My preserved food, weapons, armory toolkit, and armor are already loaded inside the bus. Which type of power armor did we settle on? Was it the user-friendly Ashigaru stealth model, the easy-to-fix Myrmidon with it's unlimited air supply, or the massive, wind-racing Artilak? I still don't quite remember.
No. 848222 ID: 33cbe7

The Myrmidon. For all you know, clean air could be a commodity! A giant hoverbus doesn't really compliment a stealth suit.
So, with all these supplies and your freedom from the stasis chamber, how feasible is that meditation on the second point of Abstract Wood?
No. 848308 ID: 0e104f

Well, I wrote up a response but it doesn’t seem to be here, so I guess I’ll write it again. The basic essence goes as follows:

Myrmidon is my second choice, but I’m fine aquiessing to ya taking it if I’m just dragging things out by being obstinate. Super strength and speed seems more valuable to me, but the Mrymidon has its own uses.

We should check the condition of the bus and the supplies within- no telling what’s still good after such a long and unexpected extension to our stasis.

My gut tells me getting food production up and running is more important that unlocking new aspects right now, but it’s more of an unfounded hunch than a logical assumption at this point. It might be a better idea to meditate while we’re still safe within our sealed bunker than trying to do so after we’ve opened it up and made the area more appealing to investigate. Anyone else have thoughts on the subject of unsealing or not?
No. 848386 ID: c88e6d

Take the Artilak, it's definitely the best choice, as it's unlikely to be stolen by berzerk human raiders in case the entirety of Creation's government has fallen.

Also, assume only from what you know: There are no Dragonkings or any other sapient lifeforms in the near vicinity. Regardless of whether or not they are alive or dead, this region is not inhabited by an advanced tool-using civilization.

Or maybe it's just full of Raksha or something. Either way, poke your head out the door and see what happens.

Also, Author, please add an avatar image or something to your posts so that people browsing the thread have an easier time picking out which posts are yours.
No. 848399 ID: 2fe26a

If power armor is merely an aspect of our multifaceted apocalypse survival plan, then stealth is one aspect not covered by our magic. Pick the Ashigaru and hope any unenlightened underlings you reproduce it for don't notice the early grey hairs.
It'd also be handy for a quick peek outside right now.

A subject in red would help too
No. 848945 ID: d36af7
File 151209102127.jpg - (332.91KB , 800x1130 , __original_drawn_by_sukabu__8c0d1f0e54d8da185b8d0b.jpg )

Art by https://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=728801
Inside the hoverbus's cargo compartment, there's an incomplete set of Myrmidon armor with spare parts, schematics, and assembly instructions, and an Artilak suit, laying prone so the rear hatch is accessible, which seems to be fine apart from both hands being soaked almost up to the elbow in crusty, foul-smelling tar.

Myrmidon will take months, if not years, to get in working condition, apart from the breath mask which is usable separately (hurrah for modular design), but once that's done I'd know the design inside and out well enough to jump right in to making more. Probably need some unusual ingredients to fabricate those little hexagonal composite-laminate scales, though, if I was working from scratch.

The Artilak works as-is, apart from effectively having boxing gloves on (which would take at least a day per arm to fix, mostly tedious internal cleaning) but it's sixteen feet tall. Most of the surrounding tunnels are only 10' high, and in some cases as little as 12' wide, so there'd be a lot of awkward crawling. I could use the hoverbus to transport it through the underways, and disembark above ground, but that would mean leaving one or the other unattended out in the open, which seems like tempting fate. Maybe I could set up a temporary secure parking space by using the Concrete Path of Earth to pile up a cairn around whichever I'm not using, or something along those lines, but I'd rather find out what I'm up against before committing to such a plan.

The passenger compartment is packed with fresh fruits and vegetables, sacks of grain, rabbits and muskrats and fish and sparrows and other creatures, either field-dressed or in labeled glass specimen jars. Preservation spindle is splayed out on the ceiling, with the essence capacitor, geomantic power adapter, and a tangle of improvised inhibitor vanes, crude filters, and prayer strips dangling from it like a chandelier. The whole mess is in surprisingly good shape, considering what a rush job it was to begin with and how much longer than expected it went without maintenance. Probably could have kept going for another century or three.

I'll need to either dismantle that to get the capacitor out, and charge up the spindle manually from now on (one mote from my pool, or three minutes plugged into the capacitor and adapter with no inhibitor vanes or filters in the way, keeps food fresh and vermin out for 70 hours, internal battery holds 150 such charges) or find some other power supply for the Artilak suit. Operating it with no power core would be possible in short bursts, but expensive in both motes and Hope, which are precious commodities under combat conditions.

Geomantic power adapter needs an hour of simple maintenance every fifty hours of use or it'll get less efficient and eventually stop working. Essence capacitor needs an hour of significantly more complicated maintenance every year, or when relocating to an area with a different geomantic profile (usually meaning several thousand miles of travel or a different plane of existence), or it might explode, minimum safe distance twenty yards. Some of these inhibitor vanes could be repurpossed as mods for the Artilak suit, adding a low-performance, high-efficiency mode - half movement speed, and other limitations, but three times as long between...

I hear something.

Knocking on the door. The wall, rather, bricked-up vehicle bay door. Activating the first step of the Concrete Path of Air (three more motes, reducing my available pool to 24/34) to heighten my hearing and, incidentally, touch, I press an ear against the wall.

Sounds like two bipeds, fighting. One is taller and heavier, wearing hard-soled boots, wielding a chopping sword, occasional mechanical clicks but no audible breath or heartbeat so it's either an automaton, or wearing power armor with auditory stealth. Other one is naked (or nearly so), wielding a stone-tipped spear, also no heartbeat, but some breathing, wounded, two or three claws on the feet... squishing noise when it moves is more like fungal material than meat.

That second thing might be hruggha. Biological weapon, three-stage life cycle. Vaguely anthropomorphic warriors produce spores. Spores can infect open wounds or raw meat, but that's a reproductive dead end; they're meant for infesting, corroding, and demolishing geomantic power stations. Resultant spawning pit produces more warriors. Fire or direct sunlight sterilizes at any stage, so they wouldn't be able to hold the power station at the top of this hill... but they're stupid enough to try anyway. It has automated defenses, but those could be overwhelmed by sufficient weight of numbers. If they get inside - a single drop of blood could be enough - the power station would explode a week later. I'd be able to feel the final collapse coming a few hours before it hit, but that probably wouldn't be enough time to do anything besides flee. This bunker would not be safe at that point.

So, I should probably get involved somehow, soon if not immediately. Unfortunately, I don't have a fully sealed suit, or a flamethrower, or a Healing Orchid symbiote or Rod of Cleansing the Body to help me shake off infections, so wading in to melee is a big risk. Normally I'd go for it, but right now there's a little bit more than just my own life at stake. Closest thing I've got to a proper ranged weapon is that rechargeable cryogenic pulse grenade.

Should I remove a brick, opening a hole to see exactly what's going on out there? Switch heightened senses over to vision, first, at the cost of three more motes? Tie the grenade to a piece of string, chuck it through the hole on a short fuse (it can be set for up to an hour) then pull it back and clean it off somehow? Use the Abstract Path of Water to make myself invisible, or merely supernaturally unobtrusive (the latter would be compatible with peeking through a hole or possibly even walking out in plain sight, but not participating in combat), or leap ahead on that Path to either conceal the hole or disguise the grenade as any other imaginable creature or object, up to the size of a moose? Or leave the wall intact, at least until the fight's over, to minimize risk of contamination?
No. 848956 ID: c88e6d

There is another possibility other than an Automaton or Power Armor User out there. Technically two. It could be a Mountainfolk using their arts to avoid breathing in the spores, or it could be an undead. This is bad news either way. We need to begin preparations to lug our little bunker's gear to safety.

Is it possible the Artilak could dig through the ceiling in combination with your arts of Concrete Earth? Failing that, waiting till the battle subsides might be wise.
No. 848963 ID: d22dc0

Knowledge is power; lets prep that grenade, heighten out vision, remove a brick, and get a better read on the situation before we toss it out there, just in case that changes anything.

It's not a bad plan, proven we can execute it, and we gain more by running than by fighting. If it turns out to be some sort of fungal creature that risks giving us an infection we can't sweat out we might want to suit up and move out- or suit up and move in for the kill. I think we gotta see what's out there first though.
No. 848965 ID: d36af7
File 151209827433.jpg - (248.51KB , 600x400 , gimme that old time religon.jpg )

>another possibility
Mountain folk on a combat mission would probably be wearing power armor. I hadn't considered undead, but that's true, all sorts of unpleasant things might be leaking out of the dark places.
>Is it possible the Artilak could dig through the ceiling in combination with your arts of Concrete Earth?
Absolutely, yes. With the suit's superior strength and leverage, and my own abilities to bypass durability (and the limitations of the suit's manual dexterity), I could tear through almost any stone or earthen wall as swiftly and dramatically as the God of Dehydrated Beverage Mixes in his 'crimson ewer' aspect. That could includes ceilings, but doesn't provide me with any particular protection from the structural consequences of knocking out load-bearing stuff.

A crouching posture would likely work better for tunnel fighting than just tearing space open as I go, or... hm, with all that tar, I could stick some short stone pillars onto the fists and try knuckle-walking.

However, strapping in to the Artilak and powering it up would take five minutes, by which time this action out in the hall may well be over. Plus any time allowed for retrieving and installing the capacitor, and crawling out of the hoverbus.
No. 848974 ID: 33cbe7

Wait until the fight's over to open a hole and snipe the survivor.
No. 848986 ID: fc3fc0

>what’s the plan

Same as before. Gotta do recon before we decide anything else. Prep the grenade, enhance your vision, take a brick out and see what you see before deciding to do anything else
No. 849009 ID: 3abd97

I feel like we want to intervene before the fight is over. If one of the two is an intelligent tool using biped, it would be nice if (a) they survived and (b) they were positively inclined towards you as a result of your intervention. Such a person might be a useful source of badly needed intelligence! You're very out of the loop.

The suspected hruggha sounds like a direct threat to your interests, so helping to eliminate it serves a dual purpose.
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