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File 155490900580.png - (832.80KB , 1500x1500 , 0000.png )
929271 No. 929271 ID: 5a5548

THIS QUEST MAY OR MAY NOT CONTAIN: adult content, gay and lesbian content, gore, asphyxiation, nonconsensual immolation, necromantic life drain, vivisection by way of mideival weaponry, full on cannibalism through swarms of sapient insects, cube-based dissection, and vaginal fingering.

a girl entered the tavern about a half ago, beaming from ear to ear, and strapped for war.

"a mug of your finest, sir!" she said, "you're looking at the newest initiate of the Crawler's Guild!"

Select a Race:

GARGOYLES: stout of body, stout of soul. gargoyles are as unmoveable as the mountains.

MURDERSCRUBS: Death begins, death ends. Murderscrubs are masters of the fine art of killing.

FURIES: anger within, fury without. Furies burn with a righteous and uncontrolled rage.

ZENLINGS: fleet of foot, fleet of mind. Zenlings move like a cold breeze, and strike like a sandstorm.

LUDELINGS: perfection of self, perfection of the world. Ludelings walk like men, and think like wolves.
Expand all images
No. 929274 ID: e51896

No. 929278 ID: 864e49

>"a mug of your finest, sir!"

GARGOYLE please.
No. 929279 ID: 1a6f80

No. 929280 ID: 90f3c0

No. 929281 ID: 2e3c0d

Goin' with Gargoyle.
No. 929290 ID: 417401

Sure, Gargoyle seems cool
No. 929296 ID: 891b91

I can't think of anything cheeky or clever to say so I will just select GARGOYLE
No. 929297 ID: a9af05

No. 929306 ID: c47c5d

No. 929310 ID: ad51b8

No. 929326 ID: 977456

Glowing skulls are always a blast, but fury won't win and I can't say no to those giant black eyes.
No. 929333 ID: 9876c4

ZWEIHANDER, er i mean Gargoyle
No. 929341 ID: 0eaed4

No. 929342 ID: 4deeaf

Not sure what was wrong with us playing a zenling, but

1) Ludeling
2) Zenling
No. 929370 ID: 2202fb

Thiccer Gargoyle.
No. 929396 ID: 5a5548
File 155497289724.png - (1.12MB , 2000x2000 , 0001.png )

the girl, a Gargoyle of 20 summers, dragged a Ludeling in with her. before long, the Gargoyle was completely sloshed, and clinging to her furry companion like a infant opossum.
No. 929397 ID: 5a5548
File 155497293889.png - (639.37KB , 2000x1815 , 0002.png )

"you should get a drink!" the Gargoyle beams, "I'll buy!"

"no thank you, Ma'am." the Ludeling mutters back.

"you're so beautiful!" the Gargoyle slurs, barely able to keep upright, "like an oil painting."

"th-thank you, Ma'am." she mutters.

"I mean... I'm not into girls! I'm just letting you know. if I were, I'd be in love with you. you're just GORGEOUS!"

"maybe you should slow down on the drinks, miss Gargoyle." the Ludeling says in her quiet, sonorous voice.

the Gargoyle smiles widely in response, "you're so nice. you're such a good friend."
No. 929398 ID: 5a5548
File 155497301692.png - (8.26MB , 6000x6000 , 0003.png )

the Ludeling just sighs as the Gargoyle slumps into her bussom.

"mnnnn... you're really soft..." the Gargoyle mutters happily, "what do you want to do next, partner?"

"uhm... I'm going to rent you a room in the inn, Ma'am." she replies patiently.

"I mean after that!" the Gargoyle giggles, "we're Crawlers! we get to take quests! what kind of quests do you want to do?"

"oh." the Ludeling replies, "I uhm... I was going to... uhm... I was going to go back to the guild and take some solo quests."

"w-whu?" the Gargoyle whimpers in response

the Gargoyle realizes that her new best friend is about to abandon her in a tavern.
No. 929399 ID: 080aaf

Convince her that the rewards and risks of group questing are larger and smaller respectively using your extensive vocabulary.
No. 929401 ID: c8452a

Weave a grand story of victory that's definitely really cool. Also tell her that you'll either stop or double down on complimenting her if one of those will help.
No. 929405 ID: ad51b8

"Oh come now, solo missions sound soooo boring and you can usually get better rewards in group missions anyways. well assuming you don't have some treasure hoarding prick in your party. So come ooooon, let's start off with a good group mission. In fact why not bring some more of your friends? We get to know more people, get more loot, what's not to love?"
No. 929406 ID: 2202fb

Get depressed and start bawling. Then get sent to bed, sober up and get hung over, and then realize how much of a fuck-up you are in life.
No. 929407 ID: 91ee5f

Try to resist the urge to motorboat the Ludeling.
No. 929412 ID: 2202fb

hol up, is that a fucking cricket bat under the counter?
No. 929414 ID: a9af05

Lewd the Ludeling
No. 929415 ID: a9af05

Or at least hug her so that her face is in between your boobs.
No. 929418 ID: 9876c4

Show us your ZWEIHANDER
Then, do something incredibly heterosexual.
No. 929421 ID: 2e3c0d

Scratch your new best friend behind the ears to keep her from leaving.
No. 929422 ID: b1b4f3

Ask her why she doesn't want to co-op with you.
No. 929423 ID: 417401

aww, she's concerned about you questing while drunk, best friend evar.
You should nap it off then you guys can team up after.
No. 929425 ID: 2202fb

idk, she seems more like a dual-wield, swordstaff, or (my personal preference) war scythe (does not look like a traditional scythe, plz look it up) type of individual.
No. 929428 ID: 9876c4

Polearms are minimally accceptable, esp when paired with cute blushes for not having a ZWEIHANDER.
No. 929436 ID: 2202fb

but it is a polearm with a giant cleaver on top!
No. 929483 ID: 719d94

"Would you still want to go do solo quests if I said I was into girls? 'cause I can do that if it means you'll stay teamed up with me!" but with additional drunken slurring and rambling as appropriate
No. 929601 ID: e51896

We might need to get her drunk too. Order more drinks.
No. 929616 ID: 5a5548
File 155516011349.png - (681.06KB , 2000x1708 , 0004.png )

"h-hey, wait!" the Gargoyle starts, "you know, we can group up! we can take on duo quests, or- or we could get a group together and take on some 4 man raids or..."

"...I'm worried that you might be overestimating yourself, miss Gargoyle." the Ludeling replies softly, "you should get some rest and join a rookie group tomorrow morning."

"we're both rookies!" the Gargoyle pleads, "we both did the entrance exam today!"

"...I'm not a rookie, ma'am. I'm level 10." she says, mournfully, "it just looked like you needed me to give you a hand during your exam, so I did. I'm sorry for making you believe we were contemporaries."

the Gargoyle starts the tear up, "I thought... I thought you just wanted to group with me because you thought I was a good partner."
No. 929617 ID: 5a5548
File 155516014224.png - (843.60KB , 2000x2000 , 0005.png )

the Ludeling sighs as the Gargoyle wipes her eyes on her furry cleavage, "please don't cry ma'am. you're just fine for a rookie. I'm just past that level of work, and you don't want to tag along to level 10 quests. they're... something else."

"you could take me under your wing!" the Gargoyle chokes out, "I could be your pupil! I... I could try to be into girls if you want me to!"

"uhm... I'm really flattered and uhm... you are very attractive, ma'am, but..."
No. 929618 ID: 5a5548
File 155516018295.png - (903.55KB , 2000x2000 , 0006.png )

the Gargoyle panics and takes hold behind the Ludeling's ear.

"hey, don't-! aa-aaaAAHH!" the Ludeling lets out a loud pleasured moan as the Gargoyle scratches behind her ears. soon after, the Ludeling leans forward and hugs the Gargoyle tightly around the chest. the Gargoyle feels her hot breath against her chest.

"mmm-mmMmmiss Gargoyle! pl-please!" the Ludeling gasps out in short bursts, muffled by the Gargoyle's ample breasts, "let me go! I'm gonna-!"

the Gargoyle moves her hands from behind her victim's ears and for a few seconds the Ludeling continues to wag her tail manically and pant, dampening the Gargoyle's shirt. the Ludeling pulls away from the Gargoyle, still red in the face and out of breath. the Ludeling stares into the Gargoyle's eyes for a while with a look that the Gargoyle believes she will soon regret. it's a look like a predator sizing up a meal.

"you want to group up?" she pants, with a sultry smile across her face, "ok. get me something to drink and I'll teach you more than you'll ever want to learn, rookie."
No. 929619 ID: daa216

Get that woman that drink! Pronto!
No. 929620 ID: ad51b8

well she is level 10, get her that drink and see how the pros do things.
No. 929626 ID: 080aaf

I don't think she's talking about quests, but I don't think you care at this point.
No. 929627 ID: 3674e7

No, get her 2 drinks.
No. 929628 ID: a9af05

Do this!
No. 929630 ID: afdebc

You aren't going to regret this decision at all, nope.

Get the lewdling her drink.
No. 929641 ID: 91ee5f

No. 929669 ID: e51896

YES! we're gonna both get shit-faced tonight.

Make it wine to ensure the fun will begin.
No. 929689 ID: 719d94

wait, so we're a rookie, but are we also a, uh... "rookie"? I've got the feeling this information could definitely become relevant as soon as we finish seducing this impressively capable and generous lady we have stuffed in our cleavage.
No. 929807 ID: 977456

Get so drunk that you fall unconscious.
Wake up thinking that the ludest possible scenario is what happened.
No. 929810 ID: e51896

like going streaking with the Ludeling.
No. 929902 ID: 5a5548
File 155535906946.png - (1.17MB , 2000x2000 , 0007.png )

"you should get two." the Gargoyle says as flirtily as she can, "try to catch up with me."

"hey, Cinder." she says, nudging a passing Fury, "get me the usual. double on the drink."

he looks from the Ludeling to the Gargoyle a few times, "uh, you want the room too?"

"I said the usual, didn't I?" she smiles back.

he nods, "right. gimme a minute to get the drinks."

the Gargoyle tenses up as the Fury heads down into the cellar.

"t-the usual?"

"yes ma'am," the Ludeling replies, "a bed in the inn and a bottle of Sunshine. have you ever had Sunshine? it's fermented goodberries and holy water. it's fantastic, assuming you aren't a Daemon, of course."

the Gargoyle searches for the words for a few seconds, "how often do you buy a room in the inn and a bottle of wine that it's the usual?"

"Idunno" she shrugs, "a few times a week. I'll help a Rookie Crawler do their exam and come back here for a few drinks and a quick fuck. usually. sometimes they're not interested so I just take the drink upstairs and hop in bed."

"oh." the Gargoyle replies nervously, "this... isn't your first time?"

"no ma'am." she replies, "I was going to offer it to you during the exam but you looked really nervous so I decided against it. you really didn't strike me as the type to want sex with a stranger."

"well this is uh... this is my first time doing this."

"first time with a Ludeling or with a veteran Crawler?" the Ludeling asks, "my advice is to keep your hands clear of my mouth when things get going. Ludes get a bit toothy when we get excited."

"were you serious? when you said you'd take me under your wing?" the Gargoyle blurts out, "or are you just trying to get me into bed with you?"

the Ludeling looks thoughtful, "I'm not trying to get you into bed with me, Miss Gargoyle. if you don't want to fuck I'm not going to make you. I am serious when I say I'll try to teach you about Crawling. I've never trained anybody before, though. I might not be a good teacher."

the Gargoyle sighs shakily, "o-ok! I... thanks. for trying to teach me about Crawling. I really appreciate it!"

the Gargoyle's breath catches in her throat. the Ludeling's tail brushes against her torso playfully, tickling the bottom of her chin. the last bit of her drunken bravado evaporates and is replaced by blind panic. she has just agreed to have gay sex with a woman she met less than three hours ago in a bar in a town she has never been to before. she's not gay. she's not even really straight. she's a virgin, and she is completely terrified of getting naked in front of this woman.

"hey. Miss Gargoyle." the Ludeling smiles warmly, "relax. you should enjoy the night. celebrate, yeah? you passed your Crawler exam! you made a new friend. you're about to learn some new dance moves~."

the Ludeling punctuates her sentences with more caresses with her tail. the Gargoyle smiles back anxiously. her heart is beating out of her chest. she knows she's sweating bullets, shaking, probably looking like a fool in front of this lady. her superior. a veteran in her field. she's looking like an asshole in public and a Veteran Crawler is watching her and probably thinking about how embarrassing she is and it's only going to get worse when she sees her naked and spread out like a fat rack of pork. a fat rack of ugly rotten meat. a worthless hick blacksmith's daughter trying to walk with the authority of someone who people give a shit about. a farce. a fake.

"hey." the Ludeling leans in, looking into her eyes with great concern, "did I do something wrong, miss Gargoyle? you look like you're going to start crying."
No. 929907 ID: 719d94

"Oh, no, you're not doing anything wrong, I'm just nervous and fat. -stressed. Nervous and stressed."
No. 929910 ID: b1b4f3

Tell her the drink wore off. Ask her if you actually did well on your exam or if you only passed because of her. Is she actually interested in you, she's way out of your league and you're a virgin.
No. 929917 ID: 977456

Apply more PANIC!
No. 929918 ID: afdebc

>the last bit of her drunken bravado evaporates and is replaced by blind panic
Well obviously you need to replenish your drunken bravado. Luckily it comes in liquid form, and is readily available at your current location.

>"hey." the Ludeling leans in, looking into her eyes with great concern, "did I do something wrong, miss Gargoyle? you look like you're going to start crying."
Nonono, you didn't do anything wrong. You're not the worthless mess in way over her head.
No. 929923 ID: 9876c4

Get blackout drunk in the name of true romance.

She can't seduce you if you're 500 pounds of dead weight.
No. 929935 ID: a9af05

Tell her that she didn't do anything wrong. Just tell her that you're afraid you might disappoint her with you being a virgin and not being able to please her.
No. 929956 ID: 094652

Snap out of it.

You can wallow in self-pity AFTER you @#$% up. Being born at the bottom trying to work your way to the top is the exact opposite of @#$%ing up. Protagonist material, here.

For now, have a nice night and prepare for your first lesson. If you can survive a mid-level dungeon with a single veteran on your team, you're on the fast track.
No. 929966 ID: c8452a

The faster said the better
No. 929970 ID: 080aaf

Well, you want to do this. You're just not sure how. So, take another drink and get her advice. Double check which Crawler this is and that you won't burst into flames from a bottle of Sunshine. If it means something to her, doesn't even have to be a lot, that's good enough.
You'll need to trade names so you have something to shout in bed besides Miss and Gargoyle.
No. 929995 ID: 864e49

And terrified as all hell, but you are willing to go through with this you think.
No. 930011 ID: 2202fb

Feel really really betrayed, but also know that it is unfair to blame her, so then just feel really sad and run out crying.
No. 930018 ID: 823745

Be completely honest about your all the first time jitters, then offer to let her get hands on you to help with that and as payback for the EARS
and finally tell that voice in your head to quite down she called you very attractive remember >>929617
No. 930019 ID: 91ee5f

>I’m ugly
No, you’re not! She just told you that you were attractive!
No. 930507 ID: 5a5548
File 155576125207.png - (681.29KB , 2000x2000 , 0008.png )

"I-I just need a drink." the Gargoyle replies in a shaky voice.

"if you say so." the Ludeling replies, "if you don't want to fuck, it's ok."

"no! n-no, I do! I just... are you really interested in me?"

the Ludeling tilts her head confusedly.

"you said I was attractive, right? d-did you mean it or-"

"yes ma'am." the Ludeling replies evenly, "I am a Ludeling, though. we have pretty broad tastes. I've lain with every race and gender, and I don't really have much of a preference. well... I guess that's not totally true. I do tend to prefer Armadan women. they always have something to prove, so they really get into it, y'know. plus they got those tight, stringy bodies... you can just pick them up and put them where you want them."

"I can't really compete with that..." the Gargoyle mutters miserably.

"mmmmm... you really can't, but my attraction to Garoyles is different to my attraction to Armada. Gargoyle women are more mellow, they don't squirm around as much, and they're soft. overall, it's a more relaxed experience; really not comparable to the 'fight for your life' kind of sex one can expect from Armada. though, I can never tell if I'm making progress with Gargoyles. if you've tried getting one in the sack you'll know what I mean. Gargoyle orgasms are like a mouse sneezing under a blanket."

"heh heheh. you don't have to worry about that with me." the Gargoyle replies, "I gush like a pomegranite!"

that of course, was a lie. the Gargoyle actually had no idea what to expect. as any devout Guadian, the Gargoyle had abstained from physical or carnal pleasure. in truth, this is the first time she had even considered sex for pleasure as a possibility. the Gargoyle gasps as the Ludeling's tail slaps hard against her chest. a sly smile spreads across the Ludeling's face as she slides closer to the Gargoyle. soon, the Ludeling is pressed against the Gargoyle's side and leaning into her affectionately. the Gargoyle panics. she's not in any way prepared for this. she's still sweaty and dirty from the exam, and the soft, fragrant fur of the Ludeling sticks to her skin uncomfortably. the Ludeling rubs her head into the Gargoyle's neck and sighs contentedly.
No. 930508 ID: 5a5548
File 155576141048.png - (640.32KB , 2000x2000 , 0009.png )

"Miss Gargoyle. don't be so nervous." the Ludeling whispers sensually, lips against the Gargoyle's bare flesh "you are attractive to me, I promise."

"I'm sorry!" the Gargoyle blurts out, "I'm just... scared."

"don't be." the Ludeling replies, "I was mostly kidding about biting you during sex. I have that mostly under control."

"n-no! I'm scared because... I don't have any experience... in sex- with women! I uhm, I'm not going to be a good partner. you're going to be disappointing in me."

"sex with women is a lot like sex with men, except you do a lot more with your hands and there's less cleanup afterward." the Ludeling says, kissing the Gargoyle on the neck.

"I actually... don't have any experience with men, either..." the Gargoyle admits, "I'm... I'm a virgin."

"oh, ok!" the Ludeling says, softly gripping the Gargoyle's breast, "well, I can show you the ropes. I'm good at teaching that!"

"I'm sorry. I know it's going to awful, trying to do anything with me. I'm going to ruin it for you."

"uh." the Ludeling sighs, "you need to understand that you being a virgin does not make me want to fuck you less."

"two jugs of sunshine for the good lady." the Fury says, placing two ceramic jugs on the bar, along with what look like silver cups, "here ya go, Dea. I'll just put it on the tab."
No. 930509 ID: 5a5548
File 155576152679.png - (0.95MB , 2000x2000 , 0010.png )

the Ludeling pulls away and nods affectionately, "you're the best, Cid. I'll pay the tab off as soon as I can, I promise."

"yeah, yeah. I'm sure you can work it off somehow, eh?" he replies, mockingly stroking the air with his hand.

"I could. if you let me."

"pass. I'm sweeping up Ludeling hair half the night already." he huffs, "I got enough Dea in my life."

the Gargoyle takes the silver cup and begins filling it, hoping to win back some of her courage.

"hey, lass." the Fury says, "what's yer name, eh?"

"Emerald." she mutters out.

"yeah, Emerald. pace yourself on that stuff. you quaff down too much holy wine you're liable to meet Guad, eh?" he chuckles to himself, as he walks off to serve an other table.

"so, uhm... Dea?" the Gargoyle says after filling her cup, "how well did I do on my exam? do you think I would have passed it if you weren't helping me?"

the Ludeling looks forward thoughtfully and she takes a drink from the silver cup. she is quiet for a while.

"I dunno." she shrugs, "I wasn't paying much attention."

"w-what?" Emerald's breath catches, "you weren't paying attention? I thought you were like some kind of master Crawler! you didn't watch me or anything?"

"I'm sorry!" she replies, "you seemed fine! I'm not good at teaching people, I told you that! I'm good at Crawling and sex!"

Emerald sighs and starts gulping down her drink. it tastes like nothing she's ever had before. it has a slight tang to it on her tongue, but as soon as it makes contact with her mouth, a spreading feeling of... pure... goodness... envelopes her. as she swallows the first mouthful, she feels a warm contentment snake its way down her throat and settle in the center of her. a pulsing feeling of comfortable nostalgia radiates through her. it's as though she is sitting at the foot of her father's arm chair, listening to his fairy tales, enraptured. she can almost smell the iron and black powder from his forge.

"it's good, right?" Dea says, snapping Emerald out of her daydream.

"it's like nothing I've ever had..." she whispers back.

"yeah." Dea laughs, "everyone says that. we can bring the wine upstairs, if you want. I tend to enjoy my Sunshine privately."
No. 930523 ID: b1b4f3

Don't drink too much of it. Getting too drunk makes it harder to enjoy sex.
No. 930532 ID: 0fae41

Yeah, no need to worry about embarrassing yourself in public if it's just you and her.
No. 930541 ID: 91ee5f

Go upstairs with her.

This is true.
No. 930544 ID: afdebc

>"yeah." Dea laughs, "everyone says that. we can bring the wine upstairs, if you want. I tend to enjoy my Sunshine privately."

Let yourself be led upstairs, no way this can go wrong.
No. 930575 ID: 2202fb

This still ultimately seems like a mistake imo. Inebriation, emotion, and morals dont play nice with each other.
No. 930587 ID: 977456

Agreed. Anything that you can't remember was probably a mistake. Try recounting the tales of your heroism that she apparently missed.
No. 930617 ID: 5a5548
File 155583632210.png - (5.67MB , 4000x4000 , 0011.png )

"y-yeah!" the Gargoyle says roughly as she takes an other swig of the divine concoction.

the Ludeling grabs her arm and pulls her from the bar. the two of them snake through the tavern, weaving around tables and drunks, gripping the bottles of Sunshine tightly. Emerald staggers up the stairs, nearly tipping over. the Sunshine hit her like a brick, combined with the previous rounds of booze. Emerald's head spins and the room begins to ooze and soften around her. she feels like she is wrapped in a blanket of sunlight; warm and safe. the Ludeling says something, laughing sweetly, but Emerald can not or chooses not to hear it. she closes her eyes and lets the Ludeling hold her up as the two enter the room of the tavern.

the evening goes like that, Emerald takes small drinks from the silver cup as the night progresses, slowly but surely retreating into her own stupor. the last thing she remembers before shutting her eyes for good was the Ludeling above her looking down into her eyes. she really is very pretty, not at all what Emerald expected from a veteran Crawler. she expected a Crawler of that kind of experience to be scarred and brooding, but not Dea. Dea. Dea. DEEEEE-ah. it's such a pretty name. not like Emerald. Emerald is such a boring name. it fits. fits the boring person. a boring plain Gargoyle named Emerald. Emerald and Dea. she likes that. those names sound good together.

the warmth bleeds away eventually and the sensation of the Ludeling's caress is gone. did Dea stop? the Gargoyle doesn't feel like like opening her eyes to look. she just reaches out and hugs the Ludeling's warm furry body, cuddling her toned, exceptionally sexy form. the Ludeling sighs, saying something the Gargoyle can't understand, sadly. after a few seconds, the Gargoyle opens her eyes and smiles.

"hey, why'd you stop?" Emerald muttered, "I was just getting..."
No. 930618 ID: 5a5548
File 155583635002.png - (794.58KB , 2000x2092 , 0012.png )

the Gargoyle sits up, looking at the midday sun streaming into the window. she looks around the room confusedly. it was only midnight a few minutes ago, she thought. she sees her clothes folded neatly in a pile at the foot of the bed, and a rut formed in the mattress beside her where the Ludeling slept beside her.

"Dea?" the Gargoyle calls, "uhm... hey Dea where did you go?"

the room is silent, save for the muttering of daytime drinkers downstairs.
No. 930620 ID: 977456

Lesson 1: Trust nobody. Party-members always abandon you, always!
No. 930621 ID: daa216

Well we got a one night stand. Dress, bathe if possible and begin the adventure for real.
No. 930622 ID: 0fae41

Off to the guild to do some solo adventures, remember? Probably used your wallet to pay her tab.
No. 930624 ID: 91ee5f

Don’t panic just yet. She could be in the bathroom or she could be getting breakfast downstairs to bring up here.

There are a number of possibilities and her leaving you is one of them, but you should stay positive that it’s something else before you just assume she left you.
No. 930648 ID: b1b4f3

You dumbass you got super wasted and passed out.
No. 930652 ID: 094652

She folded your clothes nicely, so at least you're not a completely disposable hooker to her. Get dressed and look around, maybe she's busy eating breakfast.
No. 930655 ID: 4854ef

Such assumptions! Things happened, but you aren't sure. Just get your things for now, stretch, think about things.
No. 930660 ID: afdebc

She said she'd teach you, and you have no reason to doubt she's gonna bail on that yet. Could be just you slept late with all the booze and stuff.

Get up, get dressed, start looking around.
No. 930662 ID: 719d94

She probably wouldn't have left without a note. Look through the stuff lying around. At the very least she folded up your clothes neatly, which doesn't feel like "abandoning" behavior, so start by getting dressed and don't be surprised if you find a paper tucked in there somewhere.
No. 930663 ID: e51896

If you see her, try not to get overly attached. She needs her space.
No. 930739 ID: 5a5548
File 155595079552.png - (664.76KB , 2000x2000 , 0013.png )

Emerald resolves not to panic. she just needs to start her morning, get dressed and washed, rid herself of her hangover... actually, she doesn't have a hangover. not at all. she feels like she's had a night of studying and quiet

contemplation, not one of carousing and whoring. she does feel as though she's been rolling around in shite, though. her makeup feels cracked and caked upon her face, and nervous perspiration has slicked her skin all over her body.

the Ludeling probably realized how awful Emerald was and bailed. no, the Gargoyle needs to stop bashing herself. Dea is gone, for now. maybe she'll come back. she's... probably running errands! she's downstairs, getting food, or maybe

she's going to get some quests to bring Emerald along. yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Emerald looks at her folded clothes on the foot of the bed. the Ludeling washed them, or had someone wash them. maybe Dea left a note somewhere in

the pile? Emerald grabs her panties and lifts them up. sure enough, tucked under the frilly garment is a small piece of paper. it's probably instructions. oh! is Dea giving her an assignment? she's testing Emerald, the Gargoyle bets.

she tries not to get too excited, and unfolds the note carefully, studying the contents.
No. 930740 ID: 5a5548
File 155595081740.png - (1.46MB , 2000x2000 , 0014.png )

w-what the fuck is this?
No. 930741 ID: daa216

It looks like a recap of what last night was. You both drinking. You both boning. You passing out mid bone. Her going to fight monsters for pay but she will be thinking of you. Aw thats sweet. Should dress and head downstairs.
No. 930744 ID: a9af05

Looks like it probably says: both of you had drinks, started to have sex, you fell asleep on the middle of sex (embarrassing!), she went downstairs and gave Cinder, the Fury, some money (probably paying for your breakfast in advance), and then she went adventuring, where she'll be thinking of you the whole time. And I think the hearts might indicate that she's willing to try having sex with you again.

Maybe if you go downstairs and ask Cinder, he'll tell you where she went?
No. 930746 ID: 0fae41

Well, looks like you get to experience your first time twice. Get dressed and washed, and go out and get your own quests to conquer!
No. 930748 ID: b1b4f3

Well you didn't completely fuck up, at least she's not too mad at you. Next time don't drink such a strong beverage beforehand.

Get dressed, go down, go find some easy job you can do today to get your confidence up.
No. 930749 ID: 891b91

Aww, looks like you gave her a case of puppy love, which is appropriate given that she's a Ludeling. Also, it appears she's impressed by the size of your tits, considering that she went through the trouble to draw them on the note while not drawing hers at all. Better yet, it looks like she wants to see you again! Clearly you should chase after her, so head downstairs and see if you can find out where she went.

Maybe you could see about getting her a small gift, too. Nothing big, since that'd be weird and clingy, but just a little something as a token of your appreciation and to apologize for passing out on her last night. The question is, what would she like? We know she likes that Sunshine wine, but it seems like it might be a bit of an uncouth choice, especially considering that alcohol is what caused you to fall asleep early in the first place.
No. 930760 ID: afdebc

>actually, she doesn't have a hangover. not at all. she feels like she's had a night of studying and quiet
Either that Sunshine is magic, or Dea is. Further testing is needed!

Congrats, you found something you're better at than Dea: writing.

Cinder shows up in the story those pictures tell, so if you're not entirely sure what they mean, you could always ask him what Dea said.
No. 930808 ID: 094652

... She looked smarter when you had booze flowing through your chest.

But yeah, time to go to work. For coin and cleavage!
No. 930812 ID: 2202fb

And with what sort of weapon shall we cleave?
No. 930821 ID: 9876c4

I believe I have made my feelings known on this.
No. 930836 ID: 4854ef

She might not have had a formal education.. Or it's really hard to write with gigantic pawhands. Either way she can still be quite smart.
No. 930843 ID: 2202fb

As did I.
No. 931360 ID: 5a5548
File 155642831379.png - (921.66KB , 2000x2000 , 0015.png )

Emerald smiles as the message of the note conveys itself to her. it's nothing more than charcoal scratches upon a wrinkled paper, but she can feel the care and love Dea must have put into it. she tucks the paper into her coat pocket and slips her panties on before walking into the wash room. the last night's makeup comes off easily enough, thankfully. Emerald applies a new layer quickly. she would normally apply the full face, it's a big day, afterall; but she sticks to the eye shadow. Dea may have her doing physical training today, and she'd be mortified if her meticulous facial art was marred under the judgemental eyes of the public.

Emerald tiptoes down to the first floor of the bar. there are only a couple day drinkers silently lubricating their sinful souls in solitude. Cinder sees her sneaking her way to the bar and grunts a greeting.

"you're not dead afterall, eh?" he says, bemusedly batting about a butterfly knife.

"yeah. I'm sorry if I made a scene last night." Emerald replies politely, as she takes a seat at the bar, "did the Ludeling I was with say where she went while I was asleep?"

"Dea's off on a quest right now." he snorts, "told me to ask you to wait for her if you woke up before she got back."

"well... I'm waiting." Emerald smirks. Cinder grunts grimly. she sits at the bar, tapping her talons to keep the silence at bay; it doesn't work.

Emerald coughs, "so... do you and Dea know each other?"

he grunts affirmatively, "been a regular for the last few years."

"you two must be pretty friendly, then, huh?"

"sure." he grunts cooly, clearly not caring to converse further.
No. 931361 ID: 5a5548
File 155642837436.png - (869.25KB , 2000x2090 , 0016.png )

Emerald pouts in response. he doesn't seem to be interested in small talk, so she just gets to the point.

"I'd like to get her something. a present. something nice, to thank her for being so nice to me and to apologize for last night." Emerald trails off, she doesn't need to tell this guy any details from last night, "I'd like to thank her, at least. do you know what kind of stuff she might like?"

"you know much about Ludeling customs?" he says, ignoring the question.

"uh... not really?" Emerald shrugs, "they live in tribes and mostly get by hunting and selling excess animal product, right?"

"that's pretty reductionist." Cinder replies, "their tribal structure is complicated and steeped in centuries of politics. Dea Silverlude. the last name is important there. normally she'd be a Blacklude, and that would mean she'd be a trapper, but the white streaks in her undercoat make her a Silverlude, which means she's a spiritual advisor. she'd be the one in the tribe that communes with the ghosts of the plants and animals and ask them to give themselves to the tribe. she'd also be the one to advise the Chieftain on matters of the arcane and religious. it's a pretty interesting field of study, Ludeling society."

Emerald nods, confusedly. she's not sure where Cinder is going with this, but she lets him continue.

"anyway, Ludelings don't have a strong grasp of the concept of ownership. they don't normally give gifts to show appreciation. they show appreciation through, you know... physical favors."

"oh... I'm not exactly... the best at physical favors." Emerald shrinks as she speaks.

"yeah, I figured." he says, smugly, "well, there is one thing you could give her. Ludelings DO exchange gifts sometimes; of course, those aren't so much gifts as much as dowry."

Emerald blinks, confusedly, "what do you mean?"

"well, if you hand Dea a little bauble, and she accepts it, that makes you two legally mates; in Ludeling law, that is."

"like a marriage?"

"sort of." he nods, "until the end of the next mating season, at least. you'd be looking at about a year of you and Dea in holy matrimony. I'd suggest clearing your schedule that year, by the way. Ludelings are pretty high maintenance."

he says the last part in a way that makes Emerald blush at the suggestion, then he reaches under the bar.
No. 931362 ID: 5a5548
File 155642840662.png - (444.34KB , 2000x1588 , 0017.png )

"here." he says, "if you're really wanting to go through with that plan, give her this."

"what's that?" Emerald stares confusedly at the little white statuette.

"ceramic elephant." Cinder replies, "I got it off a Sefvling caravan a year or two back."

"...why do you have this thing under your bar?"

"Dea told me a few years back how much she loved the little bone dolls she used to play with as a pup, before she got snatched up by Armadan traders and sold off. she missed all the little bits of her old tribal life that got taken from her. I looked around for a while to find some authentic Ludeling figures, but most wild Ludeling tribes stay the hell away from the cities these days. this thing was made by a Sefvling potter trying to make mass produced Ludeling toys for the northern tribes. it turns out the ceramic lasts longer than bone, and costs less to produce. anyway, he had thought the southern tribes would be interested, but as I said, they were nowhere to be found and so he had a lot of backfill. I bought this piece on the cheap. some fine ivory beer steins, too. real high quality shit."
No. 931374 ID: 094652

Can you do a Lv. 1 sidequest while you wait?

- Kill giant rats in someone's basement (and steal their stuff)
- Scavenge the woods for mushrooms with a team of hunters
- Unearth a conspiracy to destroy the world for use as raw materials for the metaverse to feed their starving bdaobgises
- Bouncy Dance in public and ask for donations
No. 931381 ID: 91ee5f

You shouldn’t give that to Dea. She’s nice and all that, but I don’t think you should be married to her. In fact, you shouldn’t be married to anyone anytime soon!

You should wait a few more years before you even consider marrying anyone!
No. 931384 ID: 0fae41

Keep it and save it until after a few missions (and sleepless nights) with her to spring it. You're very thankful for the relationship advice, though.
Maybe drink something less alcoholic to pass the time.
No. 931388 ID: 719d94

Yeah, let's file marriage, even on a temporary basis, firmly under "to be considered for later" rather than jumping straight to giving gifts that imply things you don't necessarily mean. Right now you've got a different relationship with Dea, and you need to figure out how you actually feel about that before you skip half a dozen steps.

While you're waiting, though, you can probably do some light exercise or something. Don't want to wear yourself out for whatever Dea has planned, but that doesn't mean you want to just sit around either. You've got a crawler-ly figure to maintain. Maybe some stretches, kata, or something.
No. 931421 ID: b1b4f3

Do not marry the ludeling. You don't know her well enough yet to commit to a whole year. Maybe after you've known her for a couple months at least? Or a few days?
You'll just have her if you can make it up to her some other way. Maybe you can help her with paperwork or chores or grooming? OH! What about food as a gift? There's no way that counts as a dowry, since it's destroyed upon consumption. Alternatively you could pay for a service, like a massage or some form of entertainment. Also a gift that could not be considered a dowry.

...it occurs to me that the bartender bought this intending to give it to Dea, but it's more than a bauble isn't it? This is a very well thought out gift. He must like her a lot. Except now he's willing to have you give it to her instead? Ask him why he would do that.
No. 931422 ID: 58b4f3

You might as well eat breakfast while you're waiting for Dea. You have money to pay for food, right?
No. 931444 ID: afdebc

"So... if you know about Ludeling customs... why'd you get this for her? You wanted her to have it, but didn't want to be her mate, so you saved it for someone else to give?"

Maybe think about it, but it seems a little soon to formally cement yourself as her mate. Like, get to know her when you're not nervous about exams and drunk before you make a long term commitment.

Also Dea seems to have a lot of one night stands- it's not clear she would want to be tied down or not.
No. 932108 ID: 5a5548
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"that's sweet." Emerald smirks, "I didn't realize you felt that way about her."

The bartender scoffs, "I don't. I might feel that way for her arse, but as far as I'm concerned she's just a pretty face with a loud mouth. The dowry's just in case I felt like getting myself a personal fuck-puppy for a year, eh?"

Emerald laughs politely at that last line, "you're full of shit, sir."

The bartender furrows his brow frustratedly, "oh yeah? You're so certain of that?"

"You talked to her, learned her story, studied her people's customs, seeked a sefvling trader- not a common sight this far south- and bought a high quality gift for her; Aaaaand you keep it under the bar table day and night, in case you need it, huh?"

He grunts shortly. "Whatever. So I'm in love with the fleabag. Fucking Sherlock."

"best sleuth in my burg." She grins, then perks a brow, puzzled, "but, you're handing this to me. That's... An interesting way to go about wooing the lady."

He shrugs, sighing, "look, I'm an old man. Dea is young, she's got a few years of running about left in her. A few years from now, when she's a bit older, she'll get her dowries. I'll have her swimming in them. Until then... Well, I'd just be holding her down."

Emerald puts the ceramic elephant back in Cinder's hand, "you should hold on to it. I think I might end up holding her down myself."

he flashes a genuine smile, for only a second, "I doubt anyone could hold her for long, not Dea."
No. 932110 ID: 5a5548
File 155714391723.png - (974.31KB , 2000x2000 , 0019.png )

Emerald leaves the old barkeep to his nostalgia and returns to her room. there, she puts on her adventuring gear. the chainmail hauberk, overcoat, and various weapons her father left her before she set off. the longsword, Drakkunmesser, is quite heavy, but she had grown accustomed to its weight. the blade is made from Bluesteel, a metal that holds its edge uncannily well. the two swords on her hip are much lighter. one is made from Chasmiron, a metal which is softer and lighter than steel, but has strange properties, it strikes Daemons and Devils truly and sends them careening back to hell all the sooner. the other blade, her father told her was made from an alloy called Fellsilvar, which he spent a great deal of his wealth obtaining from a Sefvling merchant. the blade can slice cleanly through ghosts, specters, and other such spirits. the arsenal she has lain out before her could be sold for a small fortune. her father, afterall, was quite the craftsman in his time. Drakkunmesser itself was originally a commission from the king of the county east of her home village, and she is certain if the king had lived long enough to pay for the blade, it would have been a price measured in tonnes of gold, not grams.
No. 932111 ID: 5a5548
File 155714394376.png - (706.61KB , 2000x2000 , 0020.png )

she hears the doors of the tavern open and quickly attaches the rest of her gear before bounding down the stairs.

"hey, Dea?" Emerald takes the last few steps quickly, beaming, "I'm ready to get to wo- w-"

Emerald's breath catches in her throat.
No. 932112 ID: 5a5548
File 155714398148.png - (397.46KB , 2000x2000 , 0021.png )

"h-hey there... Miss Emerald..." Dea says through great effort, each ragged breath bringing a look of agony upon her face, "you look... great..."
No. 932113 ID: 0fae41

You look worse than I did this morning. Why'd you go to the bar before a doctor?
No. 932114 ID: 5f3f48

"Oh no! What happened?! Wait no, medical attention first, story time later, c'mon."

Get that lewdling patched up! Need some potions or bandages or to get her to the local doctor.
No. 932115 ID: 094652

"You need medical attention or those scars and wounds will congeal! Come on, I'll help you pay for medical."
No. 932117 ID: 91ee5f

I wonder if she came here because Cinder's food and/or booze has healing properties? Because if that’s why she came here instead of going to a healer, then maybe that means it’s cheaper for her to come here instead of the healer, where it’s a lot more expensive.
No. 932127 ID: 062b08

Is that a missing arm i'm seeing?

Anyways, medical attention.... IMMEDIATELY
No. 932128 ID: a9af05

Try not to panic. Remember, she's a professional, so she knows what she's doing when she came here instead of going to a healer.
No. 932145 ID: ad51b8

... ask her if she would like another drink right now because not to be mean or anything but god damn she looks like she could use a drink right now... and maybe a doctor... and about a week of rest.
No. 932263 ID: e51896

we gotta take her to get medical attention.
No. 932269 ID: ea82cb

She's already here, so just get some cloths and start making makeshift bandages for now. She's not worrying so you shouldn't either.
No. 932272 ID: 4854ef

Get her a drink, I doubt she'd come to a bar just to chat.
No. 934056 ID: 5a5548
File 155886771570.png - (864.74KB , 2000x2000 , 0022.png )

"OH GAUD!" Emerald rushes to the Ludeling and looks over her wounds, "what happened to you? are you arlight? what am I saying, of course you're not alright!"

"I'm fine... I'm fine." the Ludeling groans, "I just... need to sit down... for a while..."

"you're not fine at all." Emerald scolds, "you're going to bleed out if we don't get your arm stitched up! that's not to mention whatever is bleeding under your tunic. oh Gaud, it's completely soaked."

she smiles and shrugs, "I know. I've got a litle while... before blood loss gets me... the expedition leader... is looking for a new healer... right now."

"oh-oh?" Emerald lets her shoulders droop, "ok. well, how long until he gets back?"

"I dunno." she mutters, "an hour... or two?"

"an ho- Dea you can't just sit here bleeding for two hours!"

"yeah." Cinder says, putting a bottle of Sunshine on the bar, "you'll ruin that barstool."

he has that same look on his face Emerald saw last night. the sarcastic, know-it-all smirk; but only now she realizes the effort he is putting into it. he's just as worried as she is for the Ludeling, but for whatever reason, he refuses to show it.

"wouldn't be the first time... I've ruined your furniture." she laughs, then doubles over into a howl of pain.

"nfff... yeah, I was worried about that." she squeaks, "I got a bit of rib... stuck through my lung."
No. 934057 ID: 5a5548
File 155886775931.png - (1.18MB , 2000x2000 , 0023.png )

"we're not waiting for the expedition leader." Emerald says, sticking her breast out commandingly, "you're a high level Crawler. you have to have some kind of contingency, right? if you need help?"

"uhm... I have this." Dea produces a small light blue gemstone. Emerald takes it and looks at it confusedly.

"it's a Ghost Lattice." she starts pouring the Sunshine into a glass painfully, "Crawlers use it... to talk to each other. whisper into it... then knock it."

she mimes tapping it on the countertop.

"huh..." Emerald taps it against the counter incredulously. immediately the room is filled with the howls of ghosts, parroting the words of Crawlers in the area, all of them speaking into the Lattice in a dull roar of mindless small talk. Emerald taps it against the bar a second time and the howling ceases. she sighs, relieved, then puts the small stone up to her lips. the thing smells... off. it doesn't smell bad, but it smells like something that should not exist. it simultaneously smells mildy sweet, like fresh flowers, and overpoweringly sanitary. she ignores the weirdness of the stone and whispers.

"looking for a healer on short notice. emergency."

she taps the stone and the cacophony starts up again for a few seconds, until one voice overpowers the others.

"healer here. tell me where you are and I'll be there immediately."

Emerald gasps excitedly, "ah! the Ashen Virgin tavern. please be by as soon as you can. I can pay very well."

"no payment necessary." the ghost responds, "I know where you are. if I am not accosted on the way, I shall arrive within ten minutes."

"thank you!" Emerald beams, "you have no idea how much this means to me! thank you so much!"
No. 934058 ID: 5a5548
File 155886780551.png - (767.09KB , 2000x2000 , 0024.png )

there is no response. the healer likely tapped their stone right after sending their last message, Emerald reasoned. well. she looks back at Dea. ten minutes is still a long time for someone with that much blood loss and a pierced lung. Emerald needs to think of something.

the only clean cloth she has available to her are the clean clothes on her back. without giving it a second thought, Emerald pulls the coat and hauberk off and lets them crash to the ground in a heap.

"what are you doing?" Dea says, confusedly.

"you need bandages." Emerald says, unbuttoning her shirt.

"oh. Oh! no you don't need to-" Dea tries to stand from the stool but her grip on the bar gives out and she slumps back down, defeated.

"I just washed that..." she mutters pathetically as Emerald wraps it tightly around her arm. the fabric soaks through in seconds.
No. 934059 ID: 5a5548
File 155886785339.png - (587.26KB , 2000x2000 , 0025.png )

Emerald sits beside the Ludeling, trying to comfort her, as each minute waiting for the healer stretches on to agonizing eternities. Cinder, not wishing to run that kind of establishment, gifts Emerald with a top that certainly does not fit her Gaudian physique. it presses uncomfortably against her chest. just another niggle to add to the pile, she thinks. Dea smiles at her with great effort, hoping to lift her spirits. why would Emerald need her spirits lifted? Dea is the one bleeding out, Emerald should be the one comforting her, and she's sat here angry over a scratchy shirt 'gainst her nipples like some kind of done up church trollop. no, stop feeling sorry for yourself, she thinks, there are more important things to worry about right now. not that worrying about Dea is going to fix anything. Emerald could worry herself sick and it'd do just as much as farting into the wind to help the Ludeling.

"are you mad at me?" Dea mutters.

"what? of course not!" Emerald snaps out of her mind as the Ludeling whimpers, boring into her with her golden hued eyes.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get beat up like this." she pleads, "the healer, she got hit with a necrosiphon early on and I had to take the hits. the expedition leader needed me to take the hits..."

she trails off, looking pitiful. Emerald sighs. "it's not your fault. just stay calm. the healer's due any second."
No. 934060 ID: 5a5548
File 155886791988.png - (917.27KB , 2000x2023 , 0026.png )

after a few more minutes sat in tense quiet, the front door of the tavern creaks open. Emerald looks over anxiously to the figure standing in the doorway. her hopes are dashed at the sight. the gangly, bone white figure stares expressionlessly forward, like a corpse sat up and stuffed to stand as a grisly trophy room curio. she is one of the southernfolk. an Armada. a Daemon laying slave taker, and a war criminal at that. gripped in one of her hands is the haft of a Bleakscythe, more a weapon designed for sadism than war. Emerald saw many such mechanical weapons of the slave takers brought back by the haunted-faced soldiers of her homeburg. the Armada's dead eyes scan over the bar, the patrons doing as best the can to avoid her malicious gaze. Emerald glares back as their gazes meet. the two of them stare each other down in silence for what must be several seconds, before Cinder speaks up.

"excuse me, ma'am. I'm sorry, but Armada aren't allowed in the city. there's a bar just outside the gate that-"

"I was told a healer was needed here." she does not so much interrupt Cinder, as it seems she was unaware he was talking at all. she speaks directly to Emerald, unblinkingly staring into her eyes. her tone is flat and dead as her skin, but with a certain smugness that to Emerald sounds as though she is daring her to speak her mind. the Armada knows Emerald is no friend of her kind and she wants to revel in the hatred between their peoples.
No. 934063 ID: 0fae41

"Over here, quickly. Punctured lung, et cetera."
So, what's the catch?
No. 934066 ID: 91ee5f

>the Armada knows Emerald is no friend of her kind and she wants to revel in the hatred between their peoples.
Don’t give her that satisfaction.

Just ignore the fact that she’s and Armada and focus only on the fact that she’s a healer! Tell her that she’s needed over here and point to Dea.
No. 934067 ID: 094652

"Cinder, I don't want Dea to bleed out in your bar. Madame, how much will this cost in all currencies and metaphysics? Thank you."
No. 934070 ID: 58b4f3

Just because there is tension between your races, that doesn't mean that you need to be hostile to her.

Don't forget that she's the medic, so if you drive her away, Dea isn't going to get the treatment she needs.
No. 934075 ID: b1b4f3

Put aside all bad blood, for the good of your friend.
No. 934077 ID: ad51b8

sigh and wave her over and point to Dea. This isn't about you and her, this is about getting a healer for Dea. Any bad blood can wait tell after Dea is patch up and I say just ignore any attempt she may give to start something and do try not to start anything yourself. After all, business before pleasure and all that. Healing first, then you can bitch at each other.
No. 934099 ID: 4854ef

Bite back any comments, your friend already thinks you might be mad at her right now and you don't want any bad blood to be thought of because of her.
No. 934107 ID: afdebc

>an Armada. a Daemon laying slave taker, and a war criminal at that
How can you tell she lays with demons and has committed war crimes just by looking at her? Do you recognize her personally? If you're just going off her race, and can't assume every Armada is guilty of the same sins. (For example, as a matter of simple practicality, you can't be guilty of war crimes without being involved in a war, which not ever member of a species will have been. Not everyone involved in a war will be guilty of war crimes. Etc).

And honestly, even if she is a terrible person and guilty of everything you fear she could be? That doesn't matter right now because you need her. Get Dea patched up now, save the moral indignation for later.

>Armada aren't allowed in the city
>I was told a healer was needed here.
"A healer is needed here." *gesture at Dea* "Your patient."

Sumaarize injuries you're aware of, stand by to act as a second set of hands if the healer needs help, and otherwise stay out of her way.
No. 934151 ID: ea82cb

"Huh, makes more sense than I'd expect. But we don't have time to play at being enemies, please come here." Then tell her what you know is wrong IF she asks.
No. 934202 ID: 977456

>How can you tell she lays with demons and has committed war crimes just by looking at her?
There is a race with floating? flaming skulls for heads, some biological weirdness is possible. Maybe they are like butterflies, there is some sort of caterpillar thing, demon laying and war crimes are like a chrysalis, and then an armada comes out! Or they might just execute everyone who tries to leave their homeland, and castrate+banish everyone with over a dozen counts of war crime who also has a history of demon laying, so that those are the only ones that exist in the wider world. It could be religious... instead of birthday candles they have sacrificial prisoners of war. By the time they have any independence they already have a healthy count of war crimes under their belt and have spent so much time dancing naked in demonic fires that their eyes glow from the hellfires in their brain. Remember: life always finds a way... to be terrible!
'course, she might be reformed? She's a healer! You can't do anything naughty with healing!
No. 934209 ID: 44f6f3

Fix now, be racist later. Got a little more to worry about than standing on your cultural presuppositions right now.
No. 934252 ID: ea82cb

It's hardly racist. A generalization maybe, but the Armada apparently keep slaves on the whole, and this one's weapon is designed for torture.
No. 935133 ID: 5a5548
File 155999603865.png - (0.97MB , 2000x2000 , 0027.png )

Emerald can only assume the Armada is as much a monster as her kin simply due to the fact that she is standing here right now. the nation of Armistice is a cruel and horrible place, and its people are made to match. an Armada is expected by their peers to be brutal, merciless, and unerringly vile. if this Armada lived to adulthood, it certainly means she has proven herself to her kind, and that certainly means she is no friend to Emerald, or Dea, or anyone. Emerald reasons, however, that right now is not the time to air her grievances with the Armada. she keeps a suspicious eye upon her, but she will let the Armada work, as long as she doesn't try anything weird.

"yeah." Emerald grumbles, "over here. it's an emergency."

"yes. an emergency. you mentioned that earlier." the Armada replies, still staring at her as she approaches the bar, dragging the edge of the Bleakscythe on the smooth stone floor as the rest of the patrons stare at the unwelcome guest, "this is the one? the Lude?"

Emerald blinks incredulously, "y-YES! of course she's the one needing healing! she's got a pierced lung, there's a deep gash on her arm, and probably a lot of other injuries I can't see."
No. 935134 ID: 5a5548
File 155999611038.png - (846.62KB , 2000x2000 , 0028.png )

"hrmm." she replies, turning her back the Emerald and leaning over Dea. she studies her up and down quietly for a few moments while pulling the gauze down from her face. her face is a mix of soft white skin and tough scar tissue. the marks around her mouth especially seem to be purposeful. Emerald was told once that Armada scar themselves to mark important occasions. the Armada leans in close to the Ludeling.

"Lude." she whispers, "what's your blood type? the Red Lady would like to know."

"uhm." Dea pouts, "I don't know, ma'am. I'm sor-"
No. 935135 ID: 5a5548
File 155999615556.png - (888.59KB , 2000x2000 , 0029.png )

"-MMFF!" Dea is caught off guard as the Armada grabs her and kisses her roughly. after a couple of seconds, Dea leans into it, her ears fluttering happily.
No. 935136 ID: 5a5548
File 155999619183.png - (791.26KB , 2000x2000 , 0030.png )

"h-HEY!" Emerald grabs the Armada's shoulder and pulls her away, "what are you doing?!"

"A-negative. my favorite. a bit sugary, though." the Armada wipes her bottom lip and sucks the blood from her index finger, making a sickly pleasured sound as she does, "the Red Lady should be amicable."

"was that necessary?" Emerald accuses.

"no." the Armada says, removing her hood and showing her naked back to the bar, "I do enjoy it, though. it is important to find simple pleasures in one's work."
No. 935137 ID: 5a5548
File 155999623941.png - (937.12KB , 2000x2000 , 0031.png )

Emerald studies her bare back as she continues to look over Dea's wounds. she has a brand of a jackal on her shoulder. Emerald recognizes that brand. she belongs to the house of Akhunkhet. they're slave traders, if Emerald remembers correctly. they have a reputation for eating their own stock. Emerald physically bites down upon her tongue as she watches the Armada continue to leer fetishistically at Dea.

"if you have not received favor from the Red Lady, it is important for me to mention that her blessings may be high in caloric content." she says as she sets her weapons on the bar, "under normal circumstances I would recommend refraining from eating or drinking for 6 hours prior to healing, but we don't have much time before you expire, so I will instead say you should expect to vomit between 1 and 3 hours from now, Lude."

"oh. ok..." Dea replies, then flinches, "ma'am! y-yes ma'am."

"hrmm..." the Armada rubs her chin thoughtfully, "house trained. poorly."

"I'm sorry, ma'am." Dea mutters.
No. 935138 ID: 5a5548
File 155999628996.png - (882.29KB , 2000x2096 , 0032.png )

"hrmm." the Armada produces a small, sharp blade from under her bandages.

"h-hey! hold on!" Emerald speaks up, "what are you planning on doing with that?"

"the Red Lady needs tithe." she replies cooly, "she is a generous master, but not one to forget a debt."
No. 935139 ID: 5a5548
File 155999633245.png - (666.03KB , 2000x2000 , 0033.png )

Emerald starts to inquire futher but the Armada cuts her off.
No. 935140 ID: 5a5548
File 155999636390.png - (951.26KB , 2000x2000 , 0034.png )

"Red Lady, Red Lady, bringest me thy blood.
for mine sap leaks free from tainted wood
forgive mine scars, forgive mine sins.
forgive my foes, forgive my kin.
I seekest peace, I seekest silence
I wish for quiet, my spirit's violence.
Red Lady, Red Lady, bringest me thy heart.
as you have mine, in whole and in part."

the Armada sings the poem out calmly as her blood sprays out wildly. Emerald is caught off guard by the Armada's singing voice. she expected that a healer would be a good singer, but she still found herself captivated by the woman's performance. an ominous glow emanates from the blood dripping from her hand. bits of her blood swirl around above her palm and congeal into a strange and horrible sigil.
No. 935141 ID: 5a5548
File 155999641020.png - (747.99KB , 2000x2000 , 0035.png )

the Armada places her hand, slick with blood, around Dea's cheek. after a few seconds, the bruising vanishes. her cuts begin to seal up, and the color returns to her face. the Armada runs her hand down Dea's side and to her shoulder, each spot healing over after a few seconds of contact with the glowing blood. she pulls away her shaking hand. Dea is simply slathered in blood, but free of injury.

"that was amazing!" Emerald gasps out, despite herself, "erm... I've not seen healing magic of that kind before. it's quite unique."

"hrmm." the Armada replies shortly, dressing her wound, "if that's all, I'll be on my way. Armada aren't allowed in the city."
No. 935142 ID: 5a5548
File 155999652163.png - (546.38KB , 2000x2163 , 0036.png )

"toss that." Cinder says, "you're welcome here. have a drink, lass."

she stares at cinder silently for several seconds, then glances back at Emerald, fear in her eyes. she looks her up and down quickly. Emerald realizes she's looking for a weapon. she nods to Cinder as she shrinks down into a barstool, her weapons close.

"something with orange juice." she mutters shakily, "and I would like you to drink it first, sir."

he takes a swig of the drink before setting it gently on the bar. she stares at it fearfully, glancing around the barroom at the day drinkers, now fully aware of her audience.
No. 935145 ID: ad51b8

...fuck it, you can hate her later. She showed up and did what was asked of her. Plus now is probably the best time you'll ever have to learn more about her because despite your dislike for her kind I can tell after that little show you are at least a little curious about what she just did.

So might as well sit down and distract her by asking about her magic and maybe how she got involved with the crawlers.
No. 935146 ID: 44f6f3

Seconding this. And don't forget to thank her. Manners never hurt anyone, and people do like to know when their work is appreciated.
No. 935148 ID: b0b724

She'd have less to fear if she commented less on how well she knows her slaving practices and brought them up less to former victims of it.

Not that you could do anything. You're a rookie and she's clearly experienced. She did her work, free, and in fact at a cost to herself. Maybe get a drink of your own and toast her. See how that goes, maybe you can get her talking about why she's actually afraid, and why she'd come here if she's scared.
No. 935149 ID: 4854ef

Tell her you are not going to harm someone who has done good work, that much at least she's earned yes?
No. 935153 ID: afdebc

>if this Armada lived to adulthood, it certainly means she has proven herself to her kind
Raises some complicated moral questions. If there was no way to survive but to meet the tenants of a horrible or abusive background (at least long enough to gtfo), can you really blame someone for that?

>Emerald realizes she's looking for a weapon.
Given your own visceral reaction to her appearance, she's probably more than used to everyone hating her by reputation alone, and just about anyone being willing to attack her.

Definitely thank her, that and the drink is the least you can offer her for saving Dea. Especially since it seemed like she planned to heal and go without asking for anything in return, for people she expected to hate her.

Stand or sit somewhere where she can see you easily (since she's apparently leery you might attack her), put your back to the bar so you can glare at the rest of the room and watch her back. She did you a solid- a big one. No one gets to fuck with her before she leaves.
No. 935154 ID: b1b4f3

Ask her about the poem. Is that standard for an Armada healer?
No. 935169 ID: 094652

They saved your friend. Maybe they'll sacrifice a baby to the blood goddess in a month, but right now, you owe them an extra five rounds of smoothie.
No. 935170 ID: 7fb87a

looks like she's expecting the same sort of treatment you've been expecting of her.
No. 935191 ID: 977456

Give thanks for the heals, and consider paying for her drink. Then go hug Dea, whisper in her ear that she's her own person who deserves to choose her own path, and promise yourself that you'll talk to her in private about that "house trained" stuff. She seemed to get very submissive once she was being inspected by someone who knows their way around the slave trade.
No. 935203 ID: a9af05

She came here knowing that people would hate her. You should go over there and thank her for coming.
No. 935233 ID: 8346a9

>ma'am! y-yes ma'am
..what was that cinder said about her being sold off? looks like some of her 'training' was coming back.
that's creepy as fuck, poor Dea.

i bet Dea feels awfully conflicted right now. on the one hand, the armada helped. on the other hand, i bet this brings some bad memories.
she did mention she fucked armada before though. maybe she's over it. or maybe the fucking was during the capture. who knows.
better stick close to her and see how she's doing.
No. 935317 ID: 2202fb

It almost seems like she used to be a fairly stereotypical armada but then something happened that convinced her to steer away from that. Her deity may be responsible for that, especially if they aren't a typical armada deity.
No. 935756 ID: 5a5548
File 156051417428.png - (717.10KB , 2000x2000 , 0037.png )

Emerald embraces Dea as the Armada silently hunches over her drink. the Ludeling jumps at the sudden touch before she returns the embrace, wrapping her massive arm around Emerald's midsection affectionately.

"hey." Emerald whispers, "are you alright?"

"yes ma'am." she nods, "my tummy hurts, but I feel better."

"hey... don't get hung up on what she was saying. you're not housetrained anymore. you're your own person now, ok?"

"yeah... I know. thank you Miss Emerald."

"not necessarily." the Armada mutters, evidently she heard the whispers from Emerald, "Housetraining is not simply training one for their life of slavery. it is a systematic process of psychological and physical conditioning rendering them broken and battered in mind, body, and soul. housetrainers enact undue cruelties upon their victims until all that remains is an obedient snivelling thrall. it is the first and most terrible death of the Beastling spirit before the yoke of servitude weighs upon and snaps their neck. once trained in such a way, the victim always carries it, like a tick."

Emerald looks back at the Armada, who shows no outward emotion. her composure has returned to her. she finishes her drink and digs a few coins out of her bodice.
No. 935758 ID: 5a5548
File 156051429266.png - (620.21KB , 2000x2000 , 0038.png )

"bartender. payment owed for the drink."

"it's on the house, little lady." Cinder replies.

"last time a bartender told me that it was not three days past when a gaggle of snipes came to collect my head for a tab unpaid."

Emerald places a few coins on the bar, "I'll pay it, then. I need to pay you for the healing."

"the Red Lady's tithe is paid in iron, not gold." the Armada replies shortly, placing the coins back in Emerald's palm firmly, "the Tithe was paid. I payed it. the Lady's thirst hath been slaked."

Emerald sighs, "well, how about I buy us a round of drinks instead? what's a drink or two between friend...ly acquaintances? or at least fellow Crawlers?"

"hrmm." she relents, letting Emerald place the money down, "I'll have an other of these; and please drink first, miss."

Dea scoots up next to the Armada on the other side, "uhm. thank you, ma'am. for healing me. I'd like to return the favor if- IF you'd have me... that is. that is, uhm... I'm spoken for tonight, but- but if you were interested in it I could perhaps..."

the gaze of the Armada doesn't shift from Cinder as he mixes her drink. she studies every movement he makes as she mutters in response, "I sleep not with Ludelings. my bed has aged ruts in it weighed down with corpses long since rotted away and any bed partners hence are likely to lay in them and rot so themselves. 'tis unjust a once free beast must yet be yoked and suffer at the hands of such a god damned bastard as I."

"oh." Dea replies sadly, "sorry, miss Armada."

"one musn't grieve the loss of my caress." she says, passing her drink the Emerald to sample, "my tastes are malefic. my heart blackened and sinful. my climax a pox upon thee."

Emerald laughs at the image of this woman cumming. she seems so self serious Emerald struggles to imagine her lying back and enjoying herself. she gives Emerald a puzzled look as she takes the glass back.

"my name's Emerald, by the way." Emerald takes a swig of her own drink, "what's yours?"

"I've not had one for a few months." she replies, "last recollection I believe I was under the name Harvess. assumed, of course."

"my name is Dea!" the Ludeling beams, "we're friends now, right, miss Harvess?"

"I'd advise against Ludelings seeking companionship from pale skinned Armada." Harvess replies cooly, "we are god damned bastards, all of us. unloved and unloveable. untrusted and untrustable. such lifestyles rarely produce good souls. rarer than paxgold art a southerner with pure intentions."

"how did you get in the Crawling business?" Emerald asks as the Armada takes a small sip of the drink, swirling it in her mouth a few times before swallowing.

"the Guild hall has beds, and lax rules regarding those who fill them. oft it is that my options are to stay curled in the hearthheat of the guildhall or huddled in the gutter with rain soaked vermin nipping upon my extremities. 'tis the lot in life for Armada. we are god damned bastards, all of us. hurting people is the only thing we excell at, and the Crawlers allow us such privilege and venerate us for such malefaction."

"though you don't hurt people. you're a healer."

"so certain? the Lady giveth many bounties. my blood is as potent a weapon as any. do not think to disarm me so easily with your labels."

"tell me about the Red Lady." Emerald says finally.

the Armada looks at her for a few seconds, studying her.

"are you perhaps familiar with Arsenal, the Father of Carnage?"

"aye." Emerald nods. she is well aware of the Daemon Prince Arsenal. the Armada were once a mortal race, like the Beastlings, the Kiramashi, the Zenlings, even the Gargoyles after their ascendence. it is said that a group of Daemon worshippers of that race performed a dark ritual to the Father of Carnage in exchange for immortality. the Armada are the bastard spawn of that eternally cursed race. they are doomed to spread misery and fear as their Daemonic Father wills it. they must sacrifice mortals to the Father of Carnage to pay something called the Soul Tithe. those regular sacrifices are what drive the Armada to pursue war and slaves so aggressively.

"the Red Lady is a Daemon Prince. kin to the Father of Carnage." the Armada explains, "the 102nd circle is her domain, the Sanguine Gardens. her portfolio is the exaltation of holy sacriment, divine blood. it is through such exaltation and devotion to the sanguinary arts that I can borrow the Lady's blood. of course, as expected from a Prince of hell, the Lady will require reparations. the Tithe, paid in whole. many followers of the Lady will take the Tithe from others; either the patient, or perhaps bystanders. I expect no such payment. the Tithe is mine to pay and mine alone. these wrappings are proof of my debts paid to the Lady."

Emerald watches a certain fire in the Armada's eyes when she talks about the Daemon goddess she worships. she's not exactly happy, but she seems altogether more alive when she speaks about her patron.

"the debts owed by the Armada can never be payed in full. Arsenal can never accept enough from us god damned bastards. the Soul Tithe can never be paid. not fully. it is the fate of all Armada to one day be dragged down to hell to pay in earnest our sinful existance. the Lady, though, gives me hope that I can pay some debts before the desert sees fit to swallow me."
No. 935759 ID: e75a5f

Holy crap, someone needs a hug and a few hours of watching Bob Ross or something like that.
No. 935760 ID: ad51b8

So you're trying to make the most of what you got before your time is up. I can respect that if nothing else.

So how long have you been in the crawler business? You look like you've been around for at least awhile if your gear is anything to go by.
No. 935764 ID: 977456

She mentioned "housetrainers" breaking "souls". Was that a metaphor? Or... Well, if soul magic exists, then maybe soul repair or fortification is a thing that is not completely impossible/reprehensible.
In the mean-time, perhaps we could work on her mind. Maybe coach her to make demands of us while she is still submissive? If we can get her fighting back against her "masters" then it will probably stick more firmly than any number of compliments and denials.
No. 935769 ID: 094652

Does Harvess tolerate using the blood of the dying or the guilty, or is she committed to using only her blood?

How would Harvess feel about teaching other mortals blood magic with a strict ban on using the blood of others?

And of course, ask for her calling card. Having a healer for a friend will be useful, no matter their origins.
No. 935772 ID: b1b4f3

That's admirable. I'm guessing those Armada that serve the Red Lady are still in debt to Arsenal?
Why do Armada even try to pay the Soul Tithe if it can never be repaid? Does Arsenal send demons after those Armada that aren't paying it? Is she paying it? If she is, then I guess that would sour any potential friendship.

Her change in demeanor either means she's *more* relaxed, or that glimpse of vulnerability was a trick to make you let down your guard.
No. 935791 ID: 8eaf98

obtain friendship with depressed Armada! We must construct a group the unites the races! Starting with the hard(est?) races.
No. 935794 ID: afdebc

She's a lot more self effacing than I expected. She casually condemns herself, and her kind, and their actions.

Are debts transferable between demons, I wonder, or has she simply taken on multiple deals / debts?
No. 935823 ID: b1b4f3

Uh, I would hesitate to try and form a real friendship with the Armada lady. It might even be risky to recruit her as a healer for Crawling, because she could betray the party to sell them into slavery. On the other hand... are Armada even that sneaky and deceptive? She'd have to be a rather convincing actor to pull that off, and I expect Armada can just raid villages for slaves instead of doing long cons on Crawlers.
No. 935844 ID: b0b724

I don't know about the literal, but sins aren't made up for by the number of good acts you do. Chances are that's impossible, especially metaphorically. But if you do good for its own sake, there's a chance you'll be able to live with yourself and a chance that others will be glad you existed.

I think someone wise said that once.
No. 936905 ID: 5a5548
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the Soul Tithe is something Emerald is familiar with from living so close to the southern border. once a week, every week, at the apex of the midday sun a number of mortals must be sacrificed in the center of the Armistice capital temple. as she understands it, if the Tithe is not paid, Arsenal reaps the half immortal souls of the Armada instead. there can only be so many Armada souls, Emerald understands. Armada born without souls are called Immortals, and they are cursed. as far as she understands, eventually all of the Armadan souls will be reclaimed by Arsenal and only the forever cursed Immortals will remain. it would be tragic, save for the untold thousands of innocent people the Armada sacrifice to extend their own people's existence. Harvess may not have actively contributed to the Tithe, but it is certainly possible. she does have the mark of a slave taker, and the eventual fate of most slaves is the Tithe. Emerald briefly considers if she should try to befriend this Armada, but she does not entirely trust her. this could be a trick, Armada are known for their underhanded tactics.

"how long have you been a Crawler? your gear is quite impressive!" Emerald says, trying to bait more out of the Armada now that she seems in more of a mood for conversation.

"I assure you my equipment is nothing more than the tools of a peasant. gifted to me from my company comander in the hopes I would turn them to the throats of peasants my junior." she says, lying.

"huh." Emerald replies, "well you see, those blades are Pax Electrum. I've seen that alloy a few times before. it's Paxgold and Fellsilvar melded together with Daemon magic, right? my Dad used to tell me all about it. the Armada used to use it in their weapons because it can conduct electricity. the thing is, the alloy is so expensive to produce that it fell out of favor about a century ago and production of it ceased in any sort of official capacity, so I'm guessing those weapons are antiques, right? I wouldn't call those 'peasant tools.'"

"miss Emerald. I'm sure she just purchased the uhm... Pax Elect-y something blades recently. the weapons themselves may have just had iron or bronze heads originally." Dia says, trying to clear the air. the Armada exhales shakily and nods quietly in agreement. Emerald eyes her suspiciously. she knows Harvess is lying about those weapons of hers, but she's not sure why, and she's not got any reason to push any further.

"yeah, that makes sense." she relents, "so then, how long have you been Crawling, then?"

"I've been a guest of the Guildhalls for three years under the next full moon." she replies.

"you must be pretty high level then."

"nay." she shakes her head, "I've no interest in the business, I fear. I've not gone on any true adventures. it is my blood most Crawlers care for, not my company; and so I heal those in need of it when such needs arise, but I shan't accompany them to the caves and dungeons they are so eager to leave me for. 'tis for the best, of course. rarely it comes to pass a Crawler with any patience for a god damned bastard such as I walks through the threshold of the guild entrance."

"can I ask about your blood magic? would you be willing to teach it?"

"there was a time when that was my singular purpose." she replies, "I was the Parson Prima of the 102nd choir, under Company Commander Kazztek Kain. 'twas my duty to teach the hymns of the Red Lady to the children of my choir, and to direct their voices toward the wellbeing of our countrymen, and the slaughter of our enemies. children rarely have the blood to pay the Tithe for what we forced them to sing. oft we drained the slaves and prisoners to give them more blood to work with, but sometimes there was no blood to bleed. of course, the Tithe must be paid, and so it was paid."

she trails off for a few seconds. Emerald thinks to change the conversation from child soldiers and prisoners of war.

"well it was good to meet y-"

"I have little interest in teaching the Sanguine hymns. no good comes from it but the small deeds I choose to do with it. anyone else is likely to attempt to use it for ill or evil intent, and likely to be very successful, 'till the lady comes to collect and they find themselves unprepared to pay. such is justice, I suppose, but my talents lie in healing, not in teaching morality."

she digs her Ghost Lattice out of her bodice and sighs as it blinks insistently, "it appears I am needed elsewhere. I am thankful for the drinks, 'twas the first polite conversation I've shared in a fortnight it feels."

she gathers her things and begins to get up to leave.

"uhm. miss Harvess, ma'am." Dea says, "would you be interested in joining a party? my friend here-"

"Dea!" Emerald hisses, "we've got a healer already. it was good meeting you, Harvess. I hope to see you around the guild."

"...yes, of course." she mutters, "may the Lady be kind."

as the Armada leaves the tavern, Dea perks a brow, "did you find a healer already? o-or were you just lying to her?"

"what was I supposed to say?" Emerald retorts, "she just spent the last ten minutes telling us about how awful her life is. I'm not just going to kick her out the door like that... but I can't have an Armada adventruing with me- with- with the amount of experience she has. you heard her, she's never been on a real Crawl before."

"neither have you."

"that's not the point! she's never been on a Crawl, but she has a set of blades worth as much as a house? and she's from the Armada army? AND she was the squad leader of a bunch of kids that kill people using OTHER people's blood! and you're saying I should just let her handle the job of keeping me and you alive in a dungeon?"

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything." Dea mutters.

"no. no I'm sorry." Emerald sighs, "I just... I've got a lot of history with Armada. I'm not comfortable with keeping one so close to me... but that doesn't mean I should be such an asshole to you. you've got a lot of history with them, too."

she nods, "she seemed really nice. most of the Armada I meet from the guild are really nice and sometimes they want to talk and eat and drink with me instead of just having sex... and I like to do that instead of just the sex part sometimes."

"you think someone could reverse 'housetraining'?" Emerald asks after a few seconds, "Harvess said it was permanent, but that can't be true. it's not magic. at least, I've never heard it being magical. it's just psychological conditioning."

"I don't know. I've never heard of anyone trying to break the training." Dea says.

"well... maybe if you just tried to be more dominant? what if you started trying to give me orders? or- or Cinder? or that Expedition leader of yours?"

"I don't think that's a good idea." she mutters, "Ludelings that don't do what they're told don't go to Elysium Fields. my Mom is there waiting for me. I couldn't do that to her."

"that's... that could have just been something they told you so you wouldn't rebel against them." Emerald says, "the Wild Ludelings up north don't do what they're told. they made the King of the Sefvlings give them the Taiga when they needed new hunting lands."

"the Free brothers and sisters all go to Elysium." Dea replies, "they don't have to do what they're told because they are already good Ludelings, but if you have the collar on, you have to prove to the old Bitches and Studs that you deserve to join them in the Fields."

"you're already a good Ludeling." Emerald sighs, "you're the best. trust me."
No. 936906 ID: 5a5548
File 156127098399.png - (1.48MB , 2000x2000 , 0040.png )

"if I were a good Ludeling then I wouldn't have the collar. I would have gotten away from the Slavers, or someone would have rescued me, or- or... or I would have died before they put the collar on me."

"ok. ok, fine." Emerald says, trying to calm Dea down, who is now starting to look rather haggard, "I'll drop it for now. we should look into a way to get you back in the good graces of your uhm... bitches, though. for now, what should I be doing?"

Dea tilts her head confusedly.

"uhm... you're supposed to be teaching me about Crawling. what should I be doing right now?"

"oh. OH I FORGOT!" Dea barks, "I'm sorry I didn't mean to blow you off! I was going to teach you but the quest ran on too long and I got hurt and then the Armada lady kissed me and said nice things to me so I forgot about everything! I'm really sorry miss Emerald!"

she grabs a sheet of paper and scribbles on it with a stick of charcoal muttering apologies the whole time.

"it's ok, Dea. it's... what are you doing?"

"you need to get a party together. I have to go back to the Expedition leader soon and he wants me to buy a new sword because his old one broke while we were on the adventure so I can't come with you but I have to give you some notes. notes are good for adventurers because they help you remember important things. I write notes all the time because I forget things a lot."

she hands Emerald the note. it's... well it speaks for itself. Emerald supposes this is to mean she should look for a thief, a warrior, a mage, and a healer.

"uhm. Dea, I'm already handy with a blade. I don't think we'll need an extra warrior."

"you're the Expedition leader." dea replies, "you have a lot to do already. you keep the party together and focused, you take the quests and represent the party to the quest givers, you negotiate the prices, provision the supplies, divvy up the loot, and make the calls in battle that may be the difference between one or more of the party members living or dying. you can't spread yourself too thin. you might be a good fighter, but your job as the expedition leader is to be a good manager."

Emerald nods, gulping hard. she was really hoping Dea was going to tell her she needed to join a preexisting party and let someone else be the leader. she was honestly hoping Dea would be the leader.

"you'll do fine. find yourself a party, get yourselves some equipment, and I'll be there at the guildhall once I'm done with my adventure, and we can all get to know each other. it will be a lot of fun, I promise!" Dea hugs Emerald tightly, sighing happily. Emerald returns the hug, still rather nervous about this whole deal, but she trusts Dea. if Dea thinks she's able to do lead a Crawler expedition, then she will simply have to.

Emerald needs to find:
A Rogue
A Warrior
A Speller
A Healer

which should she look for first?
No. 936910 ID: 0fae41

A Speller. Good spelling is important!
No. 936913 ID: 094652

Look for a healer while the hiring pool is still fresh. However, try to find hybrid classes so everyone can compensate in the event of an emergency. Here's a priority list:
1) Cleric (Healer)
2) Sorceress (Spellcaster/Rogue)
3) Paladin (Warrior/Healer)
4) Ranger (Rogue/Healer)
No. 936915 ID: ad51b8

A Speller

start with the magic people first as I'm guessing they're harder to come across then we can work down the list.

Also think your red "friend" might be one of those immortals you were talking about?
No. 936927 ID: 977456

>Ludelings that don't do what they're told don't go to Elysium Fields
>I was going to teach you
>Expedition leader soon and he wants me to buy a new sword because his old one broke while we were on the adventure so I can't come with you
Ouch. I can't help but think that a good ludeling would hold the commitments it makes above the orders it is given, but I'm no expert in the matter. It does feel like two steps back on the Free Dea project. There must be SOME limits to what she is supposed to obey. Contradictory orders are a thing...
No. 936931 ID: 787abc

Potential healer just left not too long ago. Call Harvess back and say there was a change of circumstances. Seems like she's trying to find some sort of redemption or absolution through the healer gig, may as well be with you. She's already shown good results, all things considered, plus her gear and militant background suggest that she probably won't need as much babysitting as the usual squishy caster type. One would assume anyone with military history knows how to keep themselves out of trouble at least a little better than their civilian contemporaries.
No. 936934 ID: b1b4f3

Hey you should apologize to Dea for passing out last night. Does she want to try again later?
No. 936952 ID: 5a5548
File 156129605242.png - (907.46KB , 2000x2000 , 0041.png )

that Armada. Emerald supposes she could be an Immortal. it would explain where she got so much Pax Electrum. if she's an Immortal it's possible she was alive when the stuff was getting produced in bulk. if she is an Immortal, though, that's plenty of reason for Emerald to stay the hell away from her. Immortals serve the high priesthood directly, from birth until they finally go mad and are sent to wander the desert for eternity. Harvess was certainly not mad, which means if she's an Immortal, she's an agent of the Temple.

Emerald flicks Dea's ears playfully, "hey, Dea. I'm sorry I fell asleep during the fun last nihgt. I guess that Sunshine was a bit too heavy for me."

"hmm?" Dea's ears flutter away from Emerald's fingers, "oh. oh we didn't do anything last night. I didn't know if it was going to be ok with you. you were really drunk. I just tucked you in and we cuddled for a while."

"oh Gaud." Emerald groans, "I must have ruined your whole night!"

"oh no it was great!" Dea smiles, "you kept telling me how happy you were and how much you like me. it was really cute! you uhm... you also told me some stuff about your dad... but mostly it was the first thing!"

"I don't remember any of that." Emerald mutters as she places her palm against Dea's cheek, "well... maybe we can try for round two sometime later? I'll uh... try not to get so drunk this time."

"Okay!" Dea beams as Emerald caresses her, "I'd like that! you're a really good friend, miss Emerald! usually people stop talking to me after we have sex."

feel free to continue voting. the previous party member votes are still counted
No. 936953 ID: ad51b8

>which means if she's an Immortal, she's an agent of the Temple.
or an immortal that went rouge... or did go crazy and some how wound back up sane again. But yeah, either way, if you run across her again I suggest trying to stay on her good side... or at least don't try and piss her off without a good reason. And by good reason I mean more then just what she is.
No. 936955 ID: b0b724

Aw, I can't imagine ever wanting to stop talking to Dea.

The Armada was very strange. Mysterious, even. What was she hiding? There's only one way to find out, and that's to get her to trust you. And the only way to do that is to keep her around, to work with her. It's a bad idea, you take her on and it'll be much more difficult to hire anyone else.

Try to hire Harvess. Risk and reward often go hand in hand, and she's so interesting besides that.
No. 936992 ID: 977456

I... would like to know more about Dea's party. It is probably nothing, party members go on fetch quests all the time, and crawlers tend to be an independent lot, but she was left alone in ill-health and the whole "fetch me a sword before you drop dead" thing seems like a low-commitment relationship. And if there is one armada around then there might be more, or just slavers in general, and I am sure they would offer coinage for a ludeling. We need to check up the local Crawler scene anyway for potential recruits, so it isn't out of the way.
Glance around for prospective crawlers while spying on Dea.
No. 937015 ID: b0b724

It's clearly not nothing, but we'd have to be prepared if we're planning to poach Dea for our team or something. Having an almost full team and a spot for her ready would probably be best. Assuming teammate poaching isn't a bannable offense or something.

So I guess to add on to my other comment, ask Dea what her role is, so we can keep it in mind.
No. 937042 ID: afdebc

>usually people stop talking to me after we have sex
Well that just seems rude.

>who find
Well, you're a manager/warrior, Dea seems like a warrior, and if you're desperate enough, the Armada is a healer.

So even if you need all 4, let's start by trying to cover a discipline you don't have an option for at all yet. Speller.
No. 937078 ID: 5a5548
File 156138398524.png - (1.01MB , 2000x2000 , 0042.png )

Emerald raises her concerns to Dea, but Dea assures her she's going to be fine. she's been Crawling for years, and she's in no danger of getting snagged by a slaver or hamstringed by her Expedition Leader. she explains that the Guild keeps the Crawlers safe, discounting the inherent danger in trudging through dank dungeons. she's not a snipe, afterall. she has a Ghost Lattice if she needs to call for help, and the Guildhall has a bunch of Leyline readers ready to track her down if she gets nabbed. Emerald feels a little bit better. it makes sense that so many Ludelings that escape from Armistice end up Crawling, she supposes. there's a certain security in it. Dea also assures her that the hard part of the adventure is over and they just need to finish off the Nightwitch before she raises an army of swamp zombies, which she assure Emerald is the easy part.

Emerald relents. Dea is sure she'll be alright, and Emerald just has to trust she knows what she's talking about. Emerald asks her about the party members she needs to collect, and Dea explains the four roles in detail for her. Emerald keeps her descriptions memorized. she asks what role Dea would play in the party. Dea explains she's too high level to really fit into a rookie party, but if she were to call herself anything, she supposes she would be a Rogue. she says when she first joined the guild she got snagged by a high level party because her fuckbuddy was the Expedition Leader and somehow she managed to survive long enough to rank up in the guild. she tells Emerald that the different roles get kind of muddy when you start to rank up in the guild and people tend to study the areas they have a deficit in. high level Crawlers usually learn some form of Sorcery or Hymn because high level threats require arcane solutions and the mortality rate for high level Crawls is high. she smiles saying she's always wanted to learn how to Ghosttalk like her ancestral bitches but she's never had the time.

Dea realizes the time as more patrons begin to fill in the bar.

"Oh darn it!" she yelps, "I really need to go, I'm sorry! I'm really sorry, I promise I'll be back soon and we'll get all kinds of teaching done and it will be great and we can fuck too if there's time."

Dea hands her a Ghost Lattice and gives her a quick kiss on the cheek, "I'll see you again soon, ok? if you need to get ahold of me just tap the stone and whisper my name. I'll be listening, ok?"

Emerald nods, nervously. "yeah. yeah I know. I'm not worried. I'll see you soon."

Dea begins to leave the bar, waving at Cinder as she goes.

"oh. Dea." Emerald says as Dea turns to the door, "um... that Armada. do you really trust her?"

she furrows her brow, thoughtfully. she stares down pensively for a good few seconds before replying. "I do."

"well then, I'll try to trust her, too." Emerald sighs.

"hey, that's the spirit!" Dea says, her ears jumping happily, "we're all Crawlers! that means we're all friends!"

Emerald wanders around town for a while, rolling the Ghost Lattice around in her knuckles. it took Cinder a while to wash her shirt. he did it for free, though. Emerald was pretty sure he was too embarrassed to ask for his shirt back, so she now has an incredibly small Fury shirt in her possession. the occasional rattle of her scabbards and the low twinkling crinkle of her chainmail feels rather therapeutic right now. it's something she can expect, and something she can effect, if she really wanted to. dealing with that Armada has really dredged up some shitty memories. she hopes that will subside eventually, especially if she's really considering partying up. she can't spend this whole adventure moping around. she's the Expedition Leader, probably. unless someone else decides to do it. maybe she could find a Speller or a Fighter with a big ego that will demand the reins of the adventure and tell Emerald to shut up and do her job. Gaud, what she wouldn't give to have someone tell her what to do. Emerald is good at swinging the Drakkunmesser. she's no good at telling other people what to do.

the shadows on the ground begin to creep ever further. if she doesn't get a move on, Emerald's not going to have time to find anyone. she swallows her pride and taps the Lattice against a cobblestone wall, whispering the name Harvess into it.

"um. Harvess? it's Emerald. the Gargoyle from earlier. from the bar. my other Healer bailed on me. would you be interested in coming along on a Crawl? Dea will be there, too, and some other Crawlers. it will all be Crawlers, if you were worried about that. they won't be uh- well... I don't think you'll have to worry about anybody being unkind. just let me know if you're interested, ok? this message is getting long, so I'll just leave it at that. ok. uh... bye?"

she taps the stone a second time. real smooth. she sounded like she was recruiting for a children's Gausenbaum pageant. a natural born leader, she is. Emerald lets out a gruff laugh. Dad used to call her the High Priestess of Bullies when she was a Goyling. she had her own little gang of toddlers she would boss around and lord over as the oldest and meanest in her prayer circle. she kind of longs for that talent into adulthood.

her thoughts are interrupted. the Ghost lattice blinks insistently. she knocks it quickly.

"Emerald. busy." the Ghost says boredly. Emerald sighs. part in frustration, part in relief. she tried. nothing she can do but try to find a healer elswh-

"have a patient. serious case. will be free soon. will return to the guildhall. perhaps discuss terms then? keep Lattice near. will contact soon."

huh. well that's... probably the outcome she should have been hoping for. she pockets the stone, sighing. she supposes she'll need to look for some Crawlers while she waits for Harvess. first thing's first. she needs to find a Speller. she tries to remember what Dea told her about Spellers.
No. 937079 ID: 5a5548
File 156138417504.png - (796.47KB , 2000x1748 , 0043.png )

"Spellers! they're really cute! they can read, usually! I've seen some of them write, too! Crawling is a job that puts you in the direct way of a lot of weird things that don't make sense. stuff that you can't really figure out. that's Spellery! floating rocks that shoot lasers! skeleton snakes that bite you and make you forget your locker combination! one time I saw a guy who could piss six feet straight up in the air and not get wet! the world is full of magic and Spellers are the people that study it. when you are looking to recruit a Speller, you want to look for someone with experience. it can be a college education, or an apprenticeship with a master Sorceror, or even experience in Spell duels! the more they know, and the more they can identify, the better off your expeditions will be! consider their skill set. there are loads of disciplines of magic! maybe more than we have names for! definitely more than I have names for!"

right. find someone with experience. Emerald guesses she should just go down to the Guildhall and see about finding a Speller.

she enters the Guildhall. the main hall is a massive wooden room flanked with oak log pillars. at each side of the central path is a long table. sitting at the tables are the many Crawlers of the guild. Emerald has been here a few times before but she really didn't take the time to look around. she was busy worrying herself sick about the exam. now that she has the time to sit and appreciate the scenery, she takes a few moments to take it all in. the guildhall is certainly centuries old. the wood is weathered and darkened by the passing of countless Crawlers before her. the low murmuring din of aimless conversation makes Emerald nostalgic for the cafeteria hall of her Burg's cathedral. she feels as though she could sit by anyone and simply become part of the dialogue. there is an atmosphere of camaraderie that flavors the air around her.

she walks down the way to the other end of the hall. there is a sturdy wooden desk in front of a large set of shelves filled with parchments and scrolls. several men rifle through the papers, handing them around silently, sometimes foisting them into the waiting arms of an impatient Crawler. sitting atop the desk, upon a small leather cushion is a Ludeling pup. a young looking boy, who sees Emerald approach and perks up, happily wagging his tail.

"OH! Hi! Hello! welcome to the Crawler guild!" he speaks in a voice that is much too excited and he runs out of breath before he finishes. he takes a few breaths and slows his tail before resuming, more calm, but still clearly very happy to see her.

"welcome to the Guild, ma'am! are you here to put in a request or are you taking a quest as a Crawler?"
No. 937086 ID: 7fb87a

Hold onto your professionalism with both hands so you do not use them to pet the receptionist for the rest of the day.

"I am here to form my first expedition"
No. 937088 ID: 787abc

That's the goodest of boys right there, give the little guy a headpat. Also see if there's maybe any sort of info packets or listings available to look through instead of just tossing a LFG into the ether, as it were.
No. 937091 ID: b1b4f3

Don't headpat the Lude, he'll get the wrong idea.
Tell him you're forming a group to take a quest, and you're looking for a Speller at the moment.
No. 937096 ID: 977456

I am perfectly willing to believe that Ludelings can read... but that one? Eh, stranger things.

Take a look around the room and try to guess what the newer crawlers' professions are. A good leader has good judgement!
No. 937099 ID: b0b724

"And the first step is finding a Speller. Is there an official form for that or a way to identify those looking for a party?"

Or as close to that as you can get. Remember, the key to speaking with authority is to act as a character that has the authority you need! It's all acting, until eventually it isn't. You had the talent for it once, it'll feel natural again with time.
No. 937111 ID: ad51b8

building a team and hoping to start by finding a speller.
No. 937127 ID: f9b5d6

"I'm an entry-level looking for an expedition to join. You know, 16-party team, extremely low payout, gain an understanding of the layout of these meat grinders so we know how to prepare for them in actual runs."

Pet the Lude! Pet the Lude!
No. 937396 ID: 8eaf98

FULLY on board with operation pet the exited lude. except for the part where that is probably wrong. =/
No. 937554 ID: 9c15a7

Don't pet this lude, save your pets for the lude you just left she needs them more.
No. 937562 ID: 0fae41

Pets aren't a zero sum game. Just be sure to wash your hands before and after.
Looking for Spellers counts as the former, right?
No. 937601 ID: 977456

They're good ludes Saggestion.
No. 940384 ID: 7fafab

You better be giving him headpets.
No. 940491 ID: 5a5548
File 156414585361.png - (857.54KB , 2000x2000 , 0044.png )

"c-can I pet the scribe on duty?" Emerald says, against her better judgement.

No. 940492 ID: 5a5548
File 156414586793.png - (971.04KB , 2000x2000 , 0045.png )

"Yes!" the Ludeling beams.
No. 940493 ID: 5a5548
File 156414605940.png - (672.00KB , 2000x2000 , 0046.png )

Emerald puts her hand forward and scratches the grateful Lude behind his ears for a few seconds before shaking her head, "er... uhm! I am an Expedition Leader! and uhm I am looking for some Crawlers!"

"an Expedition Leader!" the Ludeling gasps, "so exciting!"

"it's not so exciting!" Emerald pleads, "I'm just looking to do a rookie level adventure!"

"oh wow! rookie level Expedition Leaders are very brave! you should be proud!"

"oh, well, I don't think I-"

"most Crawlers can't take the pressure, you know, having the lives of so many people in their hands." the Ludeling continues, "ma says that Expedition Leaders must have a second dick in their pocket. she said that most Crawlers can't fuck a housefly, but Expedition leaders may as well be packing sausages like god damned tree limbs."

"UH!" Emerald replies, "your mother has... an interesting dialect..."

"we're from the north!" the Ludeling replies happily, "Ma says there's fuck all to do up north but watch the Sevflings buy all the land and wave their fuckin' dicks around, though. that's why we moved to the south. Ma says that I'm as sharp as a Murderscrub's cunny and half as big, so I'd be a good scribe!"

"what's your mom do?"

"she's a Crawler! an Expedition Leader, too." he is obviously quite proud of his mom, "Ma says she's only good for fighting and fucking and her tits are sagging so's she's got to put blade to bastard for us to have anything worth eating on the goddamn table!"

"I should mention, I am looking for a Speller. level one, preferably." Emerald says, trying to move the Ludeling child's attention from his rather provocative mother.

"WOW! a speller!" he continues to be very excited as he digs through the shelves behind him for Crawler records, "my Ma is a speller. she's a Ghost Talker. she used to be the Chieftan of our tribe but she said the small minds of the Confederacy only cared about what went in her cunny lips rather than what came out the other pair, so she came down south to make her fortune working the shit jobs that southerners are too pussy to try. let's see if I can find what you're looking for! here we... uh. oh. uhm..."

the Ludeling gets a worried expression on his face as he thumbs through the papers. "uuuuuh. there doesn't seem to be... that's doesn't make sense. there are no low level Spellers! oh crap I forgot!"

he covers his mouth ashamedly, "I mean. darn it. our spellers were all sent north to Ravencliff to help put out a Linefire. it was the low level spellers mostly, so they could learn to deal with Linefires in a controlled environment. I'm sorry."

"it's fine, it's fine." Emerald sighs.
No. 940494 ID: 5a5548
File 156414615921.png - (934.96KB , 2000x2000 , 0047.png )

"hey, fido." a Fury slaps down a set of papers beside the Ludeling, "got your test done. gimme my coin now."

"ok let me see your results." the Ludeling skims over the papers, "wow! your scores are great! you should be proud!"

"expect nothing less." the Fury huffs smugly, "now let's get that coin. I've got crypts to crawl and bitches to brawl!"

"yes ma'am!" the Ludeling beams, "here's your coin. it's bronze! bronze smells really weird and it means you're a level one Crawler!"

the Fury takes the coin and chuckles smugly as she pockets it.

"oh hey." Emerald speaks up, "you wouldn't happen to be a Speller, would you?"

"who wants to know?" she replies shortly.

"my name's Emerald. I'm leading a first level expedition."

"oh. an Expedition leader? you should have said so! name's Corona, Devoted of Atrue." she says, "and I'm not just some Speller. you're looking at the champion of the last three Invoker Games."

"oh wow!" Emerald gasps, "thats-! that means nothing to me..."

"it means I'm the best." she crosses her arms, "no Speller can best me in a duel."

"is an Invoker some kind of Sorceror?"

"huh!" Corona puffs smugly, "Sorcerors. a bunch of posh schoolboys. I've never studied a day in my life! how is it then that I manage to force those wizened educated narcissists to bow their bearded heads so easily? it's because when it comes to spellery, the only thing that really matters is who's best at flinging fire and fury! I might not be the sharpest at identifying the difference between a Bootscafe and a Dalkaff, but that doesn't stop me from making all those prissy college boys call me-"
No. 940495 ID: 5a5548
File 156414636112.png - (760.72KB , 2000x1852 , 0048.png )

"DADDY!" the two of them nearly collide with a Zenling as she barrels through the hall. behind her, an aged Fury, "Daddy, please! I can take care of myself!"

"you've no experience with these Crawlers, my little sugar cane." the Fury speaks with a voice like a sledgehammer crashing through Emerald's skull, "I've played their games, drawn from the cards they deal. these are scoundrels first and foremost."

"they are worldy, Daddy!" she cries, "more that I could ever be in that dank tower!"

"the tower is safe, and its libraries contain more knowledge than you'd get crawling through the muck with these savages. if you simply sit and listen to my lessons you could someday be the greatest sorceress that ever lived!"

"and it'll be worth naught if I can not use it to help those around me!" the Zenling crows back, "all those lessons, all the knowledge in the world and yet I've no reference! nothing to hold on to! I'm adrift in a sea of theories and rules and and-"

"uhm... excuse me." Emerald snakes her way into the conversation, "I couldn't help but notice your uhm... daughter? is a Speller?"

the Fury looks at Emerald for a few second before turning back to the Zenling, "Speller... Sugarcane, these are hillbillies. you may as well spend your time playing with bugs in the forest."

"I'm sorry, I meant to say Sorceress." Emerald says, brushing off the hillbilly comment, "as I was saying, if you want your uh... Sugarcane here, to learn about the world in a safe and controlled environment, I have a fantastic proposal! you see, I'm leading a newbie expedition. with my guidance, the guidance of a 10th level Crawler, at that, she'll be totally safe, and she'll get the world experience she's looking for."

"hrmm..." the Fury rubs his chin thoughtfully, "a level 10 Crawler, you say?"

"uh... yeah!" Emerald lies through omission, "this whole operation will be under a very experienced eye. I can promise you that!"

"hmm..." the Fury nods, putting his hand on the Zenling's shoulder as she steps forward awkwardly, "Dance, talk to the lady while I get some paperwork sorted out."

"yeah. hi." the Zenling says, "uhm. so you're a Crawler? wow. I uh. this is the first time I've ever met one. my name is Dance. uhm. Dances-Nude, that is."

"Uh?" Emerald perks a brow.

"It's not what it sounds like!" she say defensively.

"huh. right." Emerald smirks, "so you're a Sorceress? what kind of skills do you have? any specific schooling? what kind of Sorcery do you practice?"

"Oh I'm a Line Writer." she replies, "I read and write Leylines. I can affect aspects of the world by selecting a Leyline and rewriting its coding. it's complicated, but in short, I can make things that aren't supposed to happen... happen. in a small area. for a short time. under certain circumstances dictated by where the Leylines happen to run."

"and how about your schooling?"

"I learned from the great Pyre himself!" she beams, "Daddy has been teaching me Sorcery since I was able to walk. he taught me everything I know, actually. all about math and science, history, society. Daddy is a great teacher."

Emerald nods and pulls away noncomitally. she needs a Speller, and it seems like if she doesn't jump on this opportunity, they'll be shipped up north to deal with a Linefire, so she needs to make a decision now. one of these girls is going to be coming with her. Emerald reasons that she should interview the two of them to figure out who the best fit would be.
you may submit a question to either Dance, Corona, or both. you may ask as many questions as you like, but afterward, you must make a decision between the two.
No. 940497 ID: ad51b8

the Ludeling said we should look for someone with experience and the description he gave of spellers made them sound like the guys we turn to find out what weird shit does what and how to deal with it.

From what I can tell from the first glance Corona seems to be a better fighter seeing how it sounds like she knows how to handle a fight but seems a bit lacking in the other part of the job while dance seems to have almost no real experience out on the field but does seem very book smart so she'd probably be better at identifying any weird magic things we may come across.

As for questions ask them more about the sub-class(?). As in what kind of tricks can a line writer pull off? Can it be used in a fight or is it not really viable to use during battle? If you aren't near a layline how does it affect you ability to cast? What kind of schooling did you receive as in were you taught how to fight, how easily can you identify unknown magical items, those sort of things?

and for our Devoted of Atrue, care to fill us in a bit more on what the invoker games are? What kind of spells do you know? Seeing how you just got done with a mission what are some other missions you've been on? How well do you think you could figure out what some random magic do-dad we may come across does?

right now I'm leaning more towards Corona since she seems to have some real experience under her belt but Dance seems like she'd actually be able to figure out if the magic sword we found along the way is actually useful or if it blows up if you put it back in it's sheath without telling it a bedtime story or something.
No. 940505 ID: 4854ef

It'd be nice to see what sort of abilities they have in their repertoire. One seems more knowledge based but dependant upon leylines and one is able to do a fair bit on her lonesome but is headstrong.
No. 940515 ID: 9876c4

Grab sugarcane, crack the surface, apply heat and pressure until its a lovely cinnamon roll.
No. 940517 ID: 977456

Dance. Glasses. Do you need them? What would break them? How easily can spares be acquired?
Also do the box test, where you ask someone to put their hand into something they can't see while you assure them that it is safe buy make disturbing implications at every opportunity. The point being to see if she will shy away from the unknown or face potential danger at the command of the leader. Do not let anyone put anything bad in there.

Corona: Can you demonstrate any sensory magic? Please provide an estimate of Dance's dangerous strengths and vulnerable weaknesses as a combat opponent.
No. 940536 ID: 8eaf98

first impressions the fury seems a bit headstrong and hard to control (might just be racial) and ultimately growth limited due to shuning traditional learning, the Zenling seems like it will be able to better learn and expand their coverage, and seems much more directable as a team member.

First impressions TL;DR:
Fury poor team member high start strength low growth.
Zenling lower start strength better team member better growth.
No. 940542 ID: 0fae41

Dances: You ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?
What's the subject you're weakest in?
Corona: You have any experience putting out fires with your magic instead of starting them?
The interview's a formality, unless her weakness is too great to ignore I'm going with the zenling.
No. 940544 ID: 094652

Brash and unruly, but the 'talented' are the kids who build their fundamentals early on through their own will, and get solid training about teamwork and real-world skills as their egos are chipped. If her psyche survives a few major blows, you could lower her arrogance and make her a powerful asset in the long -
>I've never studied a day in my life

Well learned, extremely talented, but has no real-world self-defense experience. And more importantly, her father will crush your skull with his bare hands if anything happens to her.

Sadly, my vote's for Corona. She has a higher probability of survival due to her self-defense training, we just need to show her that Crawling is no place for the arrogant and she can learn so much more if she takes the time to read. As for Dance, consider taking her on an exp-run when the rest of your party is 3 levels higher. Later on, if you can get Dance to convince Corona to learn, and Corona to teach Dance some basic training techniques, you might be capable of hiring them as a duo. But not now, while only one party member is high level and the rest are just begging to trip a single deathtrap.
No. 940567 ID: 7fafab

So far, Dance seems like the much better choice.

-Corona has outright rejected education on magical subjects, while Dance clearly desires some combat experience, meaning she'll become more well-rounded
-On a first-level crawl, it's doubtful you'll be facing anything that'd require advanced combat tactics and a cool head under ridiculous pressure.
-Corona isn't trying to convince someone she can Crawl, while this may be once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Dance, given her father's insistence she shouldn't.
-Everyone needs to learn to fight, but she mainly needs to be good at what a speller is needed for, and Dance clearly has the advantage in magical education. Having some combat experience is useful, but that doesn't matter if you're all dead before you can fight due to picking up some terribly accursed item or do something that causes an anomalous magical shitstorm.
-Corona -> "Devoted of Atrue" -> Highly religious -> Almost certainly not compatible with our Armada friend.
-Gooder girl
No. 940570 ID: 7fafab

Also, being inexperienced and probably a bit more timid means she's more likely to tolerate an Armada teammate - she won't be as likely to fight against it.
No. 940572 ID: 977456

I would really like Corona, mostly because she seems like she more immediately needs someone who won't try to take advantage of her(which is ironic considering she is probably less naive about other people). We could probably get-by by looking for someone else with expertise (like a thief who dabbles in runes or something). End-of-the-day though, Dances just seems like the better choice. 'm just hoping she stay cinnamon roll and doesn't turn try-hard bad-girl as soon as her father stops looking (Personal preference 'course. If you want that then go for it.).
Although for now we are asking question. I will reserve final judgement until we have answers.
No. 940585 ID: 2df440

My genre experience is telling me to vote Dances. The education she has will only be strengthened by real world experience.
No. 940593 ID: b5bc34

I do want to ask what it actually is of her name isn't what it sounds like
No. 940601 ID: 5a5548
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Emerald doesn't need to make a decision just yet. she reasons that right now she should focus more on coming up with a good set of questions for these Spellers, rather than try to figure out which of the two to recruit right now.
No. 940610 ID: 4854ef

Dances-Nude: How often do Leylines come up that your specialty comes into play often enough to see use? You say you can direct things, but how far can you push them would you say?

Corona: How much power can you direct outward? You say your the best, but that doesn't give me much indication of how much strength you can output into your spells, or how long.
No. 940614 ID: 094652

Question 1: Suppose you accidentally trigger a trap and don't dodge in time, wounding you. What would be the first three things you would do?

Question 2: Are you willing to stay in close contact with anyone for extended periods of time, even if they are the most disgusting person you have ever met, if your leader orders you to use them as a meatshield?

Question 3: How many days are you willing to starve yourself on partial rations and drops of water?

Question 4: If you see a strange object, what will you do first?

Question 5: BOO! Alright, calm down. As fast as you can.
No. 940615 ID: 9876c4

Swimsuit, eveningwear, and talent segments.
No. 940620 ID: b1b4f3

Ask them both how interested they are in putting out Linefires.
Also ask them both if they have any knowledge about monsters. You're probably gonna be fighting some.
Ask Corona if she does anything other than blow things up. Does she have any utilitarian or buff/debuff spells?
Ask Dance how reliable her sorcery is exactly. It sounds like her magic changes depending on where she is. Is she guaranteed to be useful in any location? Can she do a variety of things at all times, or only one thing depending on location? We'll need some examples of what her magic can do exactly, her description is very vague so far.
No. 940629 ID: 7fb87a

have either of you defended yourselves before? Magic or not.
No. 940792 ID: 7dc36a

If you need a test for this impromptu job interview, just take out your big ol' familiar sword:

Dance: What can you tell me about this?

Corona: If I swing at you with this, what would you do?
No. 941167 ID: 7fafab

Well, I feel like I don't need any special questions.
Dances seems to me like she'll be the far better choice in the long run.

Corona seems hot-headed (totally original joke) and arrogant, plus has rejected magical education.

Those are much harder problems to solve than "lacks experience" and "timid".

Our warrior's the one for whom in-field experience is most important, I'd say, as no amount of training will teach you to keep from cracking under pressure when something is stabbing at you, even if you're in armor, the way experience does.
No. 941168 ID: 7fafab

Oh, one question:
"Are you willing to work with members of any race?"
No. 941557 ID: b5bc34

honestly, figuring out how open-minded and brave they are would probably be the most important thing, considering the circumstances. though i also want to know how useful the different schools can be in both combat and non-combat situations, more than we already can infer.
No. 941693 ID: 5a5548
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Emerald begins interviewing Corona.

>care to fill us in a bit more on what the invoker games are?
hah. the Invoker games. real barbaric shit. it's a week long tournament held between Spellers of all kinds. Hellfire Invokers started it, so it's called the Invoker Games. the games are split into several brackets. there are the trials, which are really more of an entertainment for the kids, there's rarely much blood spilt there, it's just a lot of hopping over obsticals and casting your way out of traps. the doubles, in which two teams of two Spellers are pitted against each other. then there's the grand melee. that's the big event. it's six rounds. the first two rounds are 30 man brawls. the spells fly like hunks of spit and fuckers get KO'd left and right. you have to be quick and stay low or you're liable to get your skull rattled by a necrosiphon or a severbolt. after that, the top 16 are put together and the next 4 rounds are duels. those are the real tests of mettle; and thrice now I've come out on top. past the Necromancers, and the Bleeders, the Gorepriests, the Dragonspeakers, the Paladins, the Elementalists... every school comes down to the games and no one is treated unequal. at the end of the day, the victor is the better caster.

>What kind of spells do you know?
huh? well I don't really cast spells. I invoke Hellfire. I can pull Hellfire from hell and will it to the shape, temperature, and size that I want. Invokers know a few tricks with Hellfire that we use to make it do what we need it to. I can wreath my hands in it, that's called a Wrathshroud, and I can use it to deal with melee combatants; the fire creates a bubble of pressure so I can turn blades if I need to. if I shape the fire into a dart and send it flying we call that a Malicespike, and we normally use it to poke someone between armored plates. a Spiteblossom, that's just when I cause a small eruption of Hellfire, that can originate on any surface or living creature so we usually use it to disperse crowds of people. if I create a small pocket of it and blast that outward in a cone, we call that Grieve Flechette, and it's how I get people to back off if I need them to. I've been looking into more tricks but those are the ones I can do no problem. there is a trick I've been meaning to learn called Spitemare but it's pretty risky, and I'm just as flammable as anyone else.

>Seeing how you just got done with a mission what are some other missions you've been on?
oh that was just a starting mission. some test Crawlers need to pass to earn the coin. mine was clearing out a crypt of some ghouls. I just rang the dinner bell and got them all close together before roasting them. the other chick who was on assignment with me mostly set up behind me and picked the more resilient ones off with her throwing knives. that was my first Crawl, but I've done a bit of dungeon crawling here and there, nothing too major. I mostly just do these dives to pass the time between Invoker Games or Atrue Services. if you're asking if I know what I'm getting into going down there, I'm well aware of the risk.

>How well do you think you could figure out what some random magic do-dad we may come across does?
that's not really my skill set, but if you need someone to identify a spell, I'm pretty good at that. I've dealt with enough Spellers that I can pretty easily size up a spell just by seeing and hearing it get cast. that kind of skill is important when you're in the Grand Melee or Doubles. in Doubles if your partner can trust you will know what they're casting without them having to spell it out for you beforehand that's a few seconds you don't have to waste while dodging Power Words and Cinder Sigils. of course, magic items are just normal items with a spell cast on them, so if I fool around with it for a bit I could at least narrow down the enchantment.

>Can you demonstrate any sensory magic? Please provide an estimate of Dance's dangerous strengths and vulnerable weaknesses as a combat opponent.
nah I can't really cast a spell that makes me see better or whatever. you want me to size up that Zenling you were talking to? sure. I'm guessing she's a Linewriter. the glasses are likely crystal lenses, and that's something only Linewriters tend to use. if that's the case... it's not really fair for me to size her up as an opponent. Linewriting is a slow and tedious kind of magic. not something you use in combat a whole lot. if she's quick with her writing she could try to Linebite me, but that's hardly a match for a Hellfire Invoker's combat abilities in a one-on-one scrap. then again, I did see a Linewriter make it to the finals one year, but that guy is maybe the best Linewriter there ever was, and he was still knocked out in the last round by an Invoker. if she were to want to fight me, her best bet would be to prepare ahead of time and set some Leyline traps, but if I just jumped her and starting hucking fire, nah. forget about it.

>You have any experience putting out fires with your magic instead of starting them?
hmm... maybe I could do that. something like a firebreak. Hellfire doesn't need fuel to burn but I think it still consumes the fuel it comes in contact with. I know that I can start normal fires with Hellfire if I will it to burn cold enough. I'll say I haven't tried it, but it's definitely possible.

>How much power can you direct outward? You say you're the best, but that doesn't give me much indication of how much strength you can output into your spells, or how long.
I can make a Hellfire as big and as hot as I want, but if I go too far I start to get burned since I am the conduit to Hell that the fire is coming through. same thing happens when I manifest for too long. I can keep a fire hot enough to melt steel and make stone glow, but I can only make it so big and hold it for so long. that's why I usually channel that into a dart and toss it through armor plates. that's also why the big explosions I can manifest are usually a bit colder.

>Suppose you accidentally trigger a trap and don't dodge in time, wounding you. What would be the first three things you would do?
well I assume we'll be taking a healer along with us, I'm thinking that they will be the one to handle injury. I've taken a few blows before so I'm not too worried I'll start panicking or go into shock over a caltrop or something. if there isn't a healer around, I've cauterised a wound a few times before. it's not exactly my favorite way to spend the day but it works.

>Are you willing to stay in close contact with anyone for extended periods of time, even if they are the most disgusting person you have ever met, if your leader orders you to use them as a meatshield?
I'm not a big fan of meat shields to be honest. I don't like having to lob malicespikes over their heads. honestly I don't have much trouble dealing with anyone. if they get out of line, start acting like a shit head, I'll remind them of the pecking order real fast.

>How many days are you willing to starve yourself on partial rations and drops of water?
oh now we're getting into the real shit, Horns? I was wondering when you'd quit with the softball. I can outlast any of the chuckleheads you put in front of me. most of these preppies in the hall here are used to mommie's fresh baked bread and thick sliced bacon. they'd likely keel over if they went a night without a flagon of midshelf wine. I grew up in the gutter, I spent days and weeks eating what I could catch and kill in the sluices and drinking what little clean water I could forage for in that shit bowl of a city. before I started claiming my winnings at the Games I lived like a rat. now that I do have money, I live like a rat in the clothing of a churchmouse. I still go without, because I know one day it might not be something I can choose to do. let me ask you, how many days do you think you could go without food and water?

>do you have any knowledge about monsters? You're probably gonna be fighting some.
I've picked some things up. I know that undead don't take kindly to fire. I know that Daemons can't be hurt directly by Hellfire but you can certainly choke them out by burning up all the air in their lungs. I know that most every bandit, beast, and bastard creeping around in those dungeons would very much not like to be immolated. most of my knowledge comes from fighting the various cretins I've faced off against. I've not got much scholarly information though. don't expect me to know the Estrus cycle of a Scythedrake, but if you need me to roast one I can.

>Ask Corona if she does anything other than blow things up. Does she have any utilitarian or buff/debuff spells?
huh. none yet. I know there are a few Hellfire tricks for buffing party members. I can Wrathshroud your weapon if you don't mind having Hellfire that close to your face. there is an other Trick I'm trying to get down where I can use the Hellfire to heal minor wounds, but it's a tough one, and it's not easy finding volunteers to help me practice.

>have you defended yourself before? Magic or not.
get a load of this chick. asking me if I can defend myself. yeah tough guy, I'm easy pickins, go ahead and throw a jab.

>If I swing at you with this, what would you do?
I'll fuck up your face pretty bad. but seriously, let's see here. a longsword like that is pretty heavy, so I'm not going to want to try and parry it with a Wrathshroud. I'd probably either want to pop your noggin with a Malicespike before you got in swinging distance, or, if I couldn't do that, I'd dodge the swing and spray you with a Grieve Flechette. that'd either kill you or knock you on your ass so I could finish you off. really, swinging a sword at an Invoker is a bad idea. it's like bringing a knife to a hand grenade fight. not to say that you couldn't outplay me with that blade of yours. it looks pretty well smithed and you don't exactly look like a rookie when it comes to swinging it around, but I'll say you're going to be at a disadvantage.

>"devoted of Atrue"? are you religious?
huh. you've not met many Furies, I guess. yeah, I have a Patron. I don't worship her, though. I'm courting her. when I eventually burn out, Atrue is going to take my fire to her realm, and when she does, if I impressed her, I'll get her hand in matrimony. really I could care less about the living happily ever after part, I just want a handful of that ass. the ass of the original flame. the oldest fire. the first light that once illuminated the world. that, my friend, is the most heavenly of asses to sink one's fingers into.

>what do you think of Armada?
what kind? are we talking about a Bleeder? a Gorepriest? some kind of other Speller? or are we talking about a boring one with no magic? I like Bleeders a lot. I used to do Doubles with a Bleeder. he was a firecracker. you would hear him throwing out those dumb ass poems and then suddenly he'd be chucking little needles of blood from his fingers like shuriken. Bleeders don't give a fuck about their own safety. little dude would jump in the way of spells all the time and just keep spitting lines and psalms like it was nothing. I think he had a crush on me, but I'm pretty sure most Bleeders get their cocks cut off. as far as Gorepriests go? eh. I'll pass on that. I've seen enough people get turned inside out. they're certainly effective combatants, but I was not sad to see them go when I found out they would be banned from the Invoker Games. the Games aren't supposed to be fought to the death. sure, sometimes when the spellcraft is flying about an unluck sod buys the farm, but Gorepriests? nah. they put you underground like you're nothing. well, the put most folks underground. I had little trouble with them. it's not so easy popping my ribs out when you're sucking in as much hellfire as air.

Emerald thanks Corona for her answers and then interviews Dances-Nude.
No. 941694 ID: 5a5548
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>what kind of tricks can a line writer pull off?
oh well. like I said I can rewrite the code of a Leyline. where the Leylines intersect I would be able to change the physical properties of that area. for instance, there are Leyline intersections down your spine. those are called Chakras, and I can change the properties of your chakras to make physical changes to you. uhm for example I can select your heart chakra and change the properties of it to make you stronger, or dull your pain, or uhm... I'm sorry I am trying to remember the code for it, but I could change the code of your heart chakra to do several things that would make you a bit stronger. same goes for the mind chakra, or the spirit chakra. I can also effect other intersections that aren't attached to people. any magical item has an intersection, there are static intersections in the world, there are intersections everywhere, and I can change the code to , for instance, reverse gravity in an area, or create a magic bubble that nullifies other spells in the area. there's no limit to the codes I can learn. of course, I am still learning, so I don't know a lot of codes, and I still have to memorize a few before I can start writing them freehand, without my books.

>Can it be used in a fight or is it not really viable to use during battle?
uhm... well, it is not very easy to use Leylines offensively. when people move around, their chakras become harder to track, and writing these codes take some time. I would have trouble, for instance, using someone's heart chakra to stop bloodflow and make them pass out. the main way that Linewriters can cast offensively is through a Linebite. I will write garbage code and attach it to their chakras, and when the Leyline tries to run that code, it will be unable to, and will expunge it from its directory, which will cause damage to that chakra. it isn't as effective as a Firebolt or a Necrosiphon, and it's still slower than many other offensive spells, but it is something that any Linewriter can do without trying to keep a bead on a shifting chakra while writing code.

>What kind of schooling did you receive as in were you taught how to fight, how easily can you identify unknown magical items, those sort of things?
Daddy taught me all about the Magical theories. he wants me to become a Sorceress Supreme, like he is. you know, master all the schools of Sorcery. I'm an apprentice Linewriter right now, but I plan to learn the other schools as soon as I can. can I identify magical items? sure! some of them! Daddy taught me some Artifice. I know a lot of common enchanments. I can usually identify if an item is enchanted or cursed, unless it has a strong glamour or is something foreign, but Daddy has a large library of exotic cursed items. he has a pair of vintage Fuck Up Boots, a Howling Headsman's Axe, a Sword of Shearing, Meatclown, and loads of other knick knacks. he... uhm... never taught me much in the way of fighting, though. he said that only fools and farmers fight their own battles when Daemons are so cheap.

>Glasses. Do you need them? What would break them? How easily can spares be acquired?
o-oh. these? uhm. yes I need them. they're crystal lenses. I use them to see the Leylines, and also to read. th-that part's not an enchantment, they're corrective lenses. they are pretty hardy. Daddy forged them from sand he got from Hell. they're not easy to replace, though. I should be able to get a new pair from Daddy, but I'd be unable to Linewrite until I got them back.

>You ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?
oh! uhm. aheh. well... Daddy has a lot of Daemon summoning equipment and I... it's perfectly normal, you see. Daemon pacts are not anything to be ashamed of! of course, if that pact had anything to do with dancing, that wouldn't be weird either! heheh... heh...

>What's the subject you're weakest in?
Daddy has tried to tutor me in public speaking. I'm afraid I'm talentless there. he says that strength of personality is vital for a Sorceress. I hope he's wrong...

>so... Dances-Nude. not what it sounds like?
uhm! w-well. you see... I uh. Zenlings collect names as we grow older. my full name is Snow-Upon-Fresh-Earth Sugarcane Reads-From-Kings Dances-Nude. so, you see... Dances-Nude isn't even that relevant of a name! it is in fact, completely irrelevant. m-meaningless. h-has no meaning. none!

>How often do Leylines come up that your specialty comes into play often enough to see use?
Leylines are everywhere, and so Leyline Writers have utility anywhere they go. we mostly see use in the civilian sector, though. there, you have all the time you need to write out codes. Leyline Writers are the reason why the Ghost Lattice works, we are the reason why enchantments can be placed upon items, we are the reason why the mail can get delivered so quickly. in combat, Layline Writers usually prepare ahead of time. they rewrite the chakras of their allies to give them an edge, and they set Linetraps on the battlefield to try to disrupt the enemy.

>You say you can direct things, but how far can you push them would you say?
right now I have to make the changes sort of small. if you push the code too much without proper syntax, you could risk getting Linebitten yourself, so novice Linewriters have to keep the code simple, and therefore the effects are less powerful than a more experienced Writer.

>Suppose you accidentally trigger a trap and don't dodge in time, wounding you. What would be the first three things you would do?
o-oh! uhm. I uh! oh no. I would uhm. first thing to do would be to try to uhm. elevate the wound, apply pr- E-elevate the wound, apply pressure, staunch bleeding. I would uh... alter the heart chakra to lower my heartrate, which should...make me pass out. no that's no good...

>Are you willing to stay in close contact with anyone for extended periods of time, even if they are the most disgusting person you have ever met, if your leader orders you to use them as a meatshield?
oh! uhm... I would hope I would get along well with everyone! do you think I would have a problem with one of the party members? did they say they didn't like me? I will try to be good to them if that is the case!

>How many days are you willing to starve yourself on partial rations and drops of water?
oh no! I would... if you need me to I would go without for a while. I uh, I've never done that before, though. I can't say for certain. I uh... Daddy has always provided me with food. Zenling metabolism is quite high, so I should hope that we won't run too low. if needed, I could go without as long as you need, though. m-ma'am

>If you see a strange object, what will you do first?
I would, uhm. I would read the Leylines. it might have some code on it that could be referenced. that's how I normally Identify enchantments. the Item will have a code that binds the enchantment to it. once that's done I can try to figure out what the enchantment does.

>do you have any knowledge about monsters? You're probably gonna be fighting some.
oh yes I have studied several Monster Manuals. I know a good amount about Undead, Daemons, and Dragon-alikes. they come up a lot in Sorcery. I know a lot of miscellaneous facts about many creatures as well. mostly what kind of reagents you can obtain from them; that's important for Alchemy. I'm not so good at actually fighting the monsters, but in theory I should be able to point out weaknesses or warn you about natural abilities of many monsters.

>What can you tell me about this sword?
o-oh is that the Drakkunmesser? made by the blacksmith Drakkungall? where did you get that sword? Daddy told me about it. he said that it was considered one of the most powerful nonmagical weapons ever crafted! it's a shame that the blacksmith died, he made some really amazing pieces... uhm. are you okay? you seem upset. d-did I do something wrong? I'm sorry! it's uhm. it's a bluesteel bladed longsword. bluesteel is a little heavier than steel, but it holds its edge incredibly well, and can be shaped to be much sharper than traditional metals. this means that Bluesteel swords have a lot of shear strength and don't require as much maintenance.

>Are you willing to work with members of any race?
oh. hum. I think so. that's really more of a question of whether the individual is someone I'd wish to associate with. I've only ever had much interaction with other Zenlings and Daddy. I am interested in learning more about the various races of Alt, though.

>even an Armada?
an Armada? oh. those are the southern people, right? Daddy told me about them. I was told not to associate with them. they take Zenlings as slaves. I... suppose, hypothetically, I would be ok working with an Armada... would they be a Crawler? I would hope a Crawler wouldn't have any interest in working with slavers... r-right? I've got nothing to worry about, right?

Emerald thinks about the responses she's gotten so far. she thinks she might be ready to make a decision, though she might have a couple last minute questions.
if there are any followup questions posted there will be a quick update to answer those, otherwise now is the time to vote for a party member.
No. 941695 ID: ad51b8

so from what I'm getting Corona is a MUCH better fighter and while not to great at figuring out whatever magic thing we may come across is or be able to tell us what kind of monster we're fighting she can at least be able to tell us how to deal with fighting any possible enemy spell users and can probably fight any monster quite handily as long as it needs to breath and isn't hell fire proof.

Dances on the other hand sounds like she'd be almost useless in a fight but if given some for warning could at least boast everyone else in the party to make them all better fighters. So basically a buff/debuff spell user whoooo happens not to be so good at the debuffing part of her job. However she does sound like she is VERY knowledgable so assuming she has some time to study something their would probably be very little we wouldn't be able to figure out.

So Corona is a better fighter but her spell list seems a bit more niche as their is only so much you can do with fire. Dances on the other hand is very much a support member and since she is being pushed to become sorcerer supreme will probably have a lot more options available to her in the future then Corona.

Honestly since this is our first run leading people I'm honestly leaning towards Corona as she seems much more capable then Dances-Nude and I would very much hate to see what would happen to us if daddy's little girl got hurt.

As for questions 1 for Dances. "Why doesn't she just call herself snow instead of Dance's Nude?"
and 2 for KultKanser. "are these team mates permanent members to our team or we go our separate ways once the mission is done and unless we find them available for future missions won't run into them again? Also if we don't pick someone now might we be able to see them again in the future when building a different team... or at least trying to replace fallen members?"
No. 941710 ID: b1b4f3

This seems like kindof a blowout for Corona honestly. She's no support caster and is somewhat more likely to cause party friction, but is extremely good in a fight, is good enough at dealing with magic and magical items, and can easily tolerate hardship.

Also Dances hasn't even passed her entry exam, she needs to do that before she can join. How long would that take?
No. 941715 ID: 0fae41

Dances would summon demons, buff allies, and has an interest in multiclassing? Yes please and thankyou. Don't worry, we won't be working with any slavers. (This run, at least...)
No. 941720 ID: 977456

>I'll remind them of the pecking order real fast.
This sounds like a problem, voting Dances. We're new at this leadership gig and she sounds like she has already decided that she is the most important member of the team and will resort to violence to prove it. We're just too green to handle her. Also, it sounds as though Dances could pull off some crazy stuff if we can lure monsters into a prepared trap. Maybe we can set up some portable traps? A low-quality magic shield with a reverse-gravity code on it that can be tossed into a passage to mess up anyone who steps on it?

I have this weird feeling that the invoker games are fought while wearing elaborately-painted masks and making speeches mid-battle.

>I use them to see the Leylines
I wonder if it is possible to train to see leylines without lenses. It'd be something I would like her to look into. Maybe we could get her a corrective monocle and a cheap crystal monocle and she could train to adapt to blurry leylines and...
No. 941722 ID: 094652

At this point, I think we should hire Corona now, but plan to frequently hire Dances in the long term.

Corona is independent and has high survival skills, at the cost of being slightly shortsighted. If things go pear-shaped she will survive long enough to get everyone out of a few sticky situations, just enough time to retreat. She also has real Crawler experience, so she'll keep herself from making rookie mistakes, which means her arrogant short temper isn't a real threat in the short-term.

Dances, on the other hand, is an all-round improvement with high maintenance. If she's well protected and given time to learn, she'll be an outright force multiplier and overall intelligence boost to your party. That's essential in the long run, when starvation and bad decisions are exponentially more of a threat than a horde of murderhobos. But right now, she's simply too under-prepared to act independently; all it would take is one bad turn to get her killed. Level up first, then grind her levels until she's your second brain.
No. 941724 ID: 10c408

Alright, I like Corona. Lots of experience fighting other spell casters, decent knowledge about determing what type of creature she's targetting before killing it with fire and unlikely to freak out.

HOWEVER, we're dungeon crawling. We're not signing up to fight casters in an arena or going into a hostile area to neutralize enemy combatants. For those tasks sure I'd pick Corona in a heartbeat but I'm voting for dances for the following reasons.

1: Corona admitted that she's never studied and her best method for determining spellwork is hearing it being cast. Good for fighting casters, bad for literally everything else we probably will come across. No point in one person on the team knowing that we've accidentally set off an explosives rune trap right before it frags everyone in the group.

2: friendly fire isn't actually very friendly, and as she so clearly stated, she doesn't give a crap about causing it. And considering that anyone on the frontline is most likely going to be wearing full body armor, getting splashback because the fire mage didn't care at all is far too much trouble to take along.

3: authority issues. We are the expedition leader and we have to make the hard decisions. Corona doesn't sound like she'll respect this at all and if there's any in-fighting on the crawl, she'll probably win it decisively. And that's not something we can afford.

So, for those three reasons I'm voting for taking the Dances. Yes, she's inexperienced but it sounds like she can do some amazing shit with ample prepr work and in a pinch she can still attack while we defend her.
No. 941738 ID: 8eaf98

Dances hands down. My original reasoning still stands and is reinforced by the interviews
No. 941748 ID: b5bc34

I mean, first off tell Dances-Nude that her idea about the heart-rate would only be a problem if she was alone. Slowing the bleeding by lowering the heart-rate would be really useful, on her or on others. She's got good instincts.

And you asked about the sword, it's not her fault she knew more than you expected or that it affected you, she should be told it's okay.

This decision is super difficult. Corona is an excellent fighter and you need that, but you have yourself, and maybe the Armada as capable fighters, and you really need someone with a lot of knowledge on your team.

I'm convinced we need Dances-Nude. You're not really in a position to hire someone who's such an investment, but your whole M.O. at this point is hiring hidden potential, so go for it.
Just make sure she agrees ahead of time to not tell Daddy about the Armada on the team and we're good to go.
No. 941773 ID: 7fafab

Corona can fight, but so can everyone else. She would only be useful in combat, unlike Dances. For example, if you were doing recon or setting up an ambush, Corona could only describe the appearance of an unaware enemy. Dances could tell you far more than that by looking at their "code", and perhaps even perform subtle chakra manipulation to make them less effective if/when you fight them.

Dances will get better at combat with time, while Corona has rejected education.
Dances has stated her desires to improve where she is lacking, while Corona has outright refused to do so.

Corona seems more egotistical, which is never a plus in a group-based activity. Dances has established that she's friendly.

Corona points out that Dances would be useless in an ambush, but I believe the insect would be quite useful in preventing an ambush. If she can manipulate things in the way she says she can, she could make your eyes see with far greater precision in the darkest of caves.

In the end, Corona is a magical fighter. She doesn't bring anything particularly special to the group.
Dances brings a unique set of skills with their own application that other team members are unlikely to be able to cover.
Dances is my choice. I doubt our first run will be one that involves starvation and amputation.

"I just want a handful of that ass. the ass of the original flame."
Dick Souls

No. 941775 ID: 0091dc

How long do leyline buffs last?
No. 941793 ID: 5a5548
File 156523427838.png - (389.95KB , 1500x1500 , 0052.png )

>are these team mates permanent members to our team or we go our separate ways once the mission is done and unless we find them available for future missions won't run into them again? Also if we don't pick someone now might we be able to see them again in the future when building a different team... or at least trying to replace fallen members?
the character that is unselected will not be appearing later in this story, but they may be seen again sometime in an other story. the character that is selected will be participating in the adventure hopefully to its conclusion. they will at least be an active participant until their personal conclusion...

"why don't you go by Snow? if Dances-Nude is a problem." Emerald asks.

"y-you want me to go by my birth name?" Dance replies confusedly.

"is that a problem?"

"it's a bit tacky." Dance explains, "Zenlings don't generally go by their old names. it's a social faux pas. we usually go by our most recent name. unfortunately until I do something noteworthy, I'm just... Dances-Nude."

Emerald nods unsurely, then asks "how long do Leyline effects last?"

"until the Leyline purges itself. it's usually every couple of minutes that the Leyline resets its code to the unmodded state, though some codes are designed to be self replicating and permanent. I don't know any of those yet, but those codes are how the Ghost Lattice is set up."

"have you done your starting crawl yet?" Emerald wonders.

"oh. uhm. I was talking to Daddy about it when I came in. I had just gotten through the exam and Daddy felt that the Skirmisher I was working with was trying to take advantage of me. we had a bit of a miscommunication about it and I was just explaining to him my stance that having a jury of Daemons beat the crap out of her was an overreaction. b-but the point is that I have my coin, or I will when Daddy gets back from dealing with the Scribe."
No. 941794 ID: b1b4f3

Wait, can she summon demons to help with fights too?
No. 941798 ID: b5bc34

We heard that Linewriters can make traps in the environment to catch enemies in, what are those like and which ones can you do?

I still want to pick her but I'm curious about this too.
No. 941810 ID: af0014

I'm gonna ask a few more questions just for curiosities sake since I already voted.

Exactly how close would you have to be to a leyline in order to write with it? If you and the line are close enough but your target is elsewhere, what are your immediate options? And if we came across a room full of, say, floating rocks shooting lasers at intruders, how would you handle it?
No. 941812 ID: 864e49

Can "one-trick" Corona find and disarm hidden traps or read ancient text? If no then go with Dances.

I mean we're going dungeon crawling not to war, and anyway we already have two blades for dealing with demons and spirits, a claymore for anything else, a healer who is a blood mage and quit possibly once a high level member of her armada clan and we still have to find a Rogue and a Warrior. We do not need another fighter.

Also Dances cute and needs the experience.
No. 941816 ID: 864e49

>pair of vintage Fuck Up Boots
HAha ha wait waht

Also should we inform her that she looks really hot in that school uniform? And why is one sleeve different?
No. 941817 ID: b1b4f3

I think our rogue is gonna be dealing with the traps, not the speller.
No. 941820 ID: 864e49

But what if hidden MAGIC traps!?
No. 941821 ID: d6afc2

This is pretty much the question if we want JoCat or Zee Bashew be our wizard.
No. 941827 ID: 7fafab

"Well, three of your fellow teammates aren't Zenlings, so if you're more comfortable with Snow, I'll address you as such and ask them to do the same. Fair warning: I can't guarantee that losing the lewd name will stop me from teasing a cutie like you."

"And yes, your teammates - you're welcome aboard, if you would have us alongside you."
No. 941828 ID: 7fafab

Do Zenlings have an equivalent of Ludeling petting? If you don't know, ask her; if so, do it.
No. 943376 ID: 5a5548
File 156654531614.png - (602.64KB , 1500x1444 , 0053.png )

"I think I'm going to go with the Sorceress. I'm sorry." Emerald says to the Fury after some thought, "you seem powerful, but I'm looking for someone with more book smarts right now. maybe some other time we could group up?"

"sounds like a date, horns." Corona says seductively, "I'm probably going to be off somewhere else pretty soon, though. say, how about you come down to next year's Invoker Games? you could watch me do my thing. if the door guy gives you any shit, you tell him you're with me."

she punctuates this by clapping a hand on the small of Emerald's back affectionately. her tail springs up in response to the sudden touch. Emerald realizes that Corona has been coming on to her this whole time, she starts to blush as Corona waits for her answer, eyes narrowing.

"yeah! s-sure. I'd love to see more of you- to see more of what you do, that is. heheh."

"yeah, same." Corona flashes a genuine smile before turning away, "see you around, Horns~"

Emerald gulps down her nervous stutter and tries to lose her blush as she returns to Dance, "uhm. ahem. I have decided to take you on as our party's speller."

"really?" Dance beams back.
No. 943377 ID: 5a5548
File 156654551573.png - (541.18KB , 1500x1500 , 0054.png )

"yes. after some thought I decided that you wou- ACK"

Dance wraps her arms around Emerald and squeals in excitement. for a scrawny girl, Emerald can't help but notice she's got some serious grip. Emerald eventually wriggles out from Dance's grapple.

"s-sorry!" Dance gasps, "I got too excited. I'm really sorry!"

"it's ok. before you go to get your paperwork sorted, could you answer just a few more questions? they'll be quick, I swear."

"yes, of course!" Dance beams, "no one past Daddy has been so interested in me! it makes me feel a bit conceited, if you must know."

"you said you could lay traps?"

"oh yes!" she nods happily, "I only know a few right now. I can make a Siphon Trap which makes all magic in the area fizzle out, a Gravity Trap which can increase or lower gravity in the area enough to either ground or levitate those who enter the area, and I can also make a ghostfire trap which will cause a small explosion of heat in the area which can singe skin and burn flammable objects. the trigger for these traps is based on Leyline ripples, which means that the closer they are to the intersection I put the code in the better."

"interesting." Emerald says, "you said you have summoned Daemons before?"

"oh yes, but I wouldn't be able to do it again without a stocked laboratory." she explains, "truenames are long and complicated so I need to read them out of a special tome until I can memorize them, I need a lot of supplies to prepare for the ritual as well. Daemonists eventually learn how to summon Daemons without salt circles and anitholy artifacts by bartering souls with them, but Daddy hasn't taught me how to do that yet. he says Daemonism and Necromancy are too dangerous for apprentices to meddle with. actually, if he asks, I never went into his laboratory and summoned a Greater Daemon of Song, ok?"

"how far away from a Leyline can you still affect it?"

"I have to be able to touch a Leyline to write its code, but Leylines are very long and intersect everywhere. the longer the code has to travel on a Leyline the more likely I will get packet loss on the new code, so I would say optimal range would be... 20-30 meters before some of my codes begin to fizzle out. and uh, obviously I need to see where the intersection is. trying to write coordinates blind is tricky, and Linebites hurt a lot!"

"well. that's all I can think of for now." Emerald says, rubbing her chin, "welcome to the team. is there a Zenling equivalent to petting a Ludeling?"

"uhm? you mean f-foreplay?" she stutters, "w-well yes we h-have a certain uhm. ah, r-ritual that..."

"what? no I meant like a friendly gesture!"

"OH!" she turns beet red, "mnnn. sorry. I misunderstood. y-yes we have several gestures of endearment. usually we sing for our friends. that, and dancing. Zenlings dance for many occasions."

"you sing for your friends?"

"yes! like this." she clears her throat, "Emerald caldi evne akku ie veraika talvikkii!"

it's a short little diddy, but Dance sings it incredibly sweetly, and with a volume that Emerald did not expect from her.

"it's in old Zeni, sorry." she mutters, rubbing the back of her neck apologetically, "usually we sing in old Zeni."

"what did you say?"

"Emerald the Gargoyle, stout and stoic, Crawler queen." she says, "oh it sounds so dorky in Commoner Tongue! I'm sorry Zenling songs are usually better I promise."

"it was good!" Emerald laughs, "you've got a much better singing voice than I do. I'll have to work on mine and give you a song of my own, how's that sound?"

"sounds lovely!" she giggles, "I'll work on my lyrics as well, maybe we can make a duet together?"

Emerald watches her as she trots away to finish her paperwork with her father. was... was Dance also trying to flirt with her? Emerald is beginning to worry that everyone is secretly trying to fuck her. she banishes the thought. she needs to find a Warrior and a Thief. she quickly checks her Ghost Lattice. it seems Harvess is still busy for now, so she should still have some time to find more companions. where to next?
No. 943379 ID: b1b4f3

Let's find us a big ol warrior.
I'm guessing you can find one at a training hall or blacksmith?
No. 943381 ID: ad51b8

might as well go warrior. Figure if we can grab one now it will let us figure out what kind of skill monkey we want for our thief.
No. 943383 ID: 0fae41

Let's get ahold of a rogue before they're all 'called away' to deal with the aftermath (i.e. looting) of that runaway wildfire.
No. 943387 ID: 094652

See if you can get a sniper-class long-range archer for your rogue slot. With Dances-Nude laying traps and your 'Paladin' Harvess scaring the ^&*( out of the opposition, most of your higher-level threats are going to stay the @#$% away from your killzones and take potshots until you stop moving. Hire someone who can take potshots at them first.

Rounding out this party, get a Defender who focuses more on mass-defending the team than aggro-tanking.

Suggested Crawler re-name: Killzone.
No. 943401 ID: b5bc34

I don't know if Dances-Nude was flirting but she seemed really ready to be flirted with and at that point the distinction isn't that important.

Okay, let's check out the Rogues. A fighter is a fighter, as variable as that can be, but a rogue is variety as a job description. Don't want to miss out on any possible members by waiting too long.
No. 943484 ID: 10c408

Dea was going to meet up with us when she was done with her current adventure and help ensure that the expedition goes as smoothly as possible since we're a rookie at leading them.

And since there's quite possibly two warriors or at least one warrior and one unarmoured bruiser in the party...

Look for a thief next. We've got any assortment of weird magical shit covered
No. 943485 ID: 32b5ec

I don't believe Dances is flirting with us. To me, she simply seems very earnest and friendly.
This, however, should not stop us from being friendly and flirtatious with her when given an effective opportunity.

I'd say we find a warrior first. You've got a more passive spellcaster; we need to find a big ol' fleshwall-in-training.

Also, is Dea coming with us? What role is she covering? Have I mis-interpreted/remembered things?
No. 953338 ID: 5a5548
File 157893743677.png - (1.79MB , 1943x1704 , 0055.png )

a Rogue! I'm one of those! sort of! the thing you want to look for in a good Rogue is adaptability. they need to be ready to handle any kind of situation, and keep a cool head when doing it! their role in a party is both combat and support. they skulk around the sidelines of the fight, keeping the rest of the group safe from hidden threats and dispensing targets in a more precise way than a fighter or Speller. there are a lot of kinds of rogues, too. thieves and acrobats, assassins, scouts, brigands; there are all kinds, my first group called me a uh... Brawler? maybe you can find one of those! when you shop around for a Rogue always remember to look for adaptability, applicable skills, and self reliance! it's the cornerstone of good Roguery.

Emerald thinks on what Dia told her about rogues as she walks down the hall and out into the Guild courtyard. the courtyard is quite big, just like the guildhall. Emerald thinks that it's odd that a smallish city like this one has such a massive guild. maybe this is just a central location for Crawler related activities? she shrugs it off and refocuses on the task at hand.
No. 953339 ID: 5a5548
File 157893745866.png - (510.39KB , 1500x1500 , 0056.png )

"now just where am I going to find a Rogue?" she thinks aloud, rubbing her chin. as the words leave her lips, a rumbling overtakes the ground.
No. 953340 ID: 5a5548
File 157893749585.png - (879.00KB , 2000x2130 , 0057.png )

"you need a rogue?"

"hey Rogue here!"

"Rogue looking for group!"

"hey I'm a Rogue! please! Please!"

Emerald gets bowled over by a mass of Cutpurses and Backstabbers as they all vie for a spot in her party.
No. 953341 ID: 5a5548
File 157893763919.png - (927.32KB , 2000x2000 , 0058.png )

"hey there, sis!" Emerald hears a voice as someone grabs ahold of her collar and yanks her out from under the crowd, "you've look like a proper mark, calling out for Rogues to come to you, eh?"

Emerald stands and dusts herself off. the person who pulled her free from the mob is a Gargoyle. shorter by a bit than her, and about half as wide, sporting a grin and a thick coastliner accent.

"Yeah, we've got a reputation for eagerness." The Zenling cuts in. Emerald looks the two of them down. They both look young. Good looking, too. She had always thought of rogues as shifty, unsettling figures, grown old prematurely from hard lives in the gutters, but these men seem almost like school boys. she supposes it only follows logic. Dia is a Rogue as well, and she looks more like a dancer or a fancy noble lady, when she's not bruised and battered...

"But, hey. 'long as we've got you here... Word is you're looking to hire." The gargoyle smiles as he holds out his hand to shake, "name's Flynt. Strauss clan."

Emerald shakes his hand, her palm clammy from flynt's warm gaze. he really is a rather charming man. his demeanor is disarming.

"And you can call me Red-feather." The zenling says, "it's been a while since Flynt and I had a partner. And a lady of high blood no less."

"High blood? No I'm just a village girl."

"Village girls don't carry around Bluesteel choppers, m'lady" Flynt mockingly tips the brim of a mimed hat. Emerald turns to show the blade on her back.

"This? Oh thats just-"

"Drakkunmesser" Red-feather finishes, "yeah, that's a fine thing. Who'd you nick that from? You know you could fence that thing and retire from it?"

"I didn't steal it!" Emerald Huff's, "it's mine! And I'm not looking to sell it."

"So you're Drakkungart, then?" Flynt rubs his chin, "alright. Whatever you got brewing, I'm in."

"Hey now, friend. The lady's not looking for rogues. She looking for a rogue. One. That means you're redundant." Red-feather sticks his togue out derisively as he says so.

"I'm redundant eh?" Flynt scoffs, "s'that's your expert opinion, then? you're gonna turn this into an other contest, then?"

"may as well." Red-Feather gloats, "I always win anyway~"

"you've Dementia, old timer." Flynt counters, "last few times as memory serves I was on top and you were eatin' shite."

"then you're delusional. you've contracted a head sickness from your constant whoring and carousing."

"Aye and you've contracted a parasite in your mush filled insect brain."

"and you've had a concussion in your bald, empty head."

"And your cock has rotted off."

"And your arsehole has fallen out."

"and you-"

"Guys!" Emerald barks. the two of them jump and turn back to her, "how about instead of you two fighting like Goylings, I just decide? let's start with your class, ok?"
No. 953342 ID: 5a5548
File 157893766705.png - (436.30KB , 1500x1500 , 0059.png )

"right." Flynt grins, "I'm a Brigand. grew up as a pup in m' dad's raider clan. we would skulk up to unsuspecting merchants and preppy richfolk as they set up camp for the night and pull 'em off their horses and drakecattle, then have off with their tatt as quick as we came. 'course, I'm not in the raidin' life no more. I'm a legitimate sanctioned throat slitter these days. I do most of my work side by side with your warrior. while they keep the riff raff occupied I find m'self a foe that's suitably froggy and I make an opening, then when they're off balance, I bring up m' hatchets and find soft meats. if things get hairy, I'm no wilting daisy, either. I can take a knuckle to the jaw as good as any knight or merc you can find in the guild house. 'course, I know my way around the tools of the trade as well. I can pick locks, pop traps, and skulk about as well as keep my head down when our travels get hairy. also, not to brag, but I've not met a better cook 'round any campfire I've been in."

"and you?" Emerald turns to Red-Feather, who has been making mocking gestures the whole time Flynt has been talking.
No. 953343 ID: 5a5548
File 157893774564.png - (498.98KB , 1500x1500 , 0060.png )

"hehehe. well, since he set the bar as low as he did, let me just say, it's not totally his fault. I would be the better choice even if my opponent was half decent."

"aye, I'm decent enough to polish the cobblestone with your teeth, beanpole." Flynt retorts.

"my, how disrespectful." Red mocks, "well, let's see. where do I start... I'm a classically trained Velagunn Autendelaide. that's a long and complicated Zenling way to say I'm a Ranger. I have been to and killed people in every province in this continent. above ground, I am imperceptible as I fly from tree branch to tree branch, tall grass to sand dune, rocky outcrop to snow drift. in a dungeon, I am a ghost, flying silently through the hewn stone hallways and stalking the hapless beast guardians like a specter. I'm most comfortable with a bow in my hands, and an enemy at my front to skewer, but if it's a close encounter I've got my daggers, and the sharpness of mind to push them through the gaps of my foes' armor. if it's a trap or a blocked door, I'm just as capable as my friend here. outside of such filthy shitholes and into the wide world of nature, I can keep the party from stumbling into trouble, or having trouble stumble onto us as we sleep. let's be honest, the choice is obvious."

"maybe to you." Emerald replies, "but I need a minute to think about it.
just like last time, Emerald may ask the two questions before she decides between them.
No. 953346 ID: 2202fb

So he seems like the obvious choice, however one question we must know the answer to: can he cook?

That is a main selling point of our other candidate. As an outdoorsman and a ranger I would imagine that while his cooking may not be as great, he is probably experienced with scavenging and cooking with wild ingredients, not to mention hunting.

So, can he cook (also hunt and/or scavenge)?
No. 953353 ID: e7c7d3

You seem to know each other quite well. What would you say is the other's best feature?
No. 953358 ID: b1b4f3

Sword's not visible. You do still have it, right?

I'm pretty set on Red since we picked the support caster and thus need someone who can do reliable damage at range, but I guess we may as well look closer at their abilities.
Ask Flynt if he has any ranged options, and how good he is at dealing with mages or monstrous opponents. Does he have any other special tools or tricks or is it just the one-two combo he described?
Ask Red if he can take a hit. What kind of opponents is he used to?
No. 953362 ID: 0fae41

Brigand's made a good first impression, but talk is cheap. The Zephyr has some catching up to do.
On a scale of one to rogue, how quick are you to cut and run if the raid starts going downhill?
Seems they have a bit of a friendly rivalry going on. Ask both of them to name one good quality about the other guy.
No. 953364 ID: 5b0071

"Tell me about me."

A good test of their perception and a good way to filter out ass-kissers.
No. 953368 ID: 2aa5f0

So Flynt seems more like a duelist. He can sneak and find and disarm traps but also can get into a fight and not crumble like a wet paper bag. Sounds like he works better when fighting with a partner since it sounds like he good at taking advantage of openings and also seems found of ambushes. And since I don't know if we can cook having someone able to cook could actually be good for party moral.

Red on the other hand seems to be your more typical rouge and he sounds better a being able to stay hidden and attacking from the shadows and so far seems to be the only person we've come across that can attack at range.

Guess you could ask Flynt how good he is in a ranged fight and red if he knows how to cook. And seeing how our healer is someone that people might have trouble with ask how they feel about Armada. If they're going to be in the party it's best to make sure everyone can get along.
No. 953369 ID: 094652

"If I paid you a princess' ransom to kill your friend right now, how would you go about it?"

Hire the one that doesn't try to kill the other, or kills the other in a split second, or manages a feat of skill (ninja teleportation or sniper shot) while bragging about it.
No. 953397 ID: cfc80f

Have 'em tell you about their greatest achievements and worst failures. What was the largest contributing factor to the victory and what could have been done to avert the loss?

Try not to entertain the notion of having them make out with you or each other and awarding the job to the one who can go the longest without coming up for air.
No. 953417 ID: 0efe8e

No. 953418 ID: 37896a

Maybe prompt them to also respond regarding fighting, but the question is good even if that part is a wash.
No. 953438 ID: 9876c4

The skillsets of a ranger and a rogue have some overlap but not a lot. Let's just hire them both and keep the sexual tension sizzlin'.
No. 953487 ID: 977456

Ask if they are willing to return your stuff.
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