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980072 No. 980072 ID: 0640da

Exalted 2.5e (4/4 Players); Using houserules written by James Leng.

== The First Scream ==
Six days ago, an incident occured that shook the very foundations of Malfeas and his inhabitants. This incident would be known by demonic historians as the First Scream-- if, indeed, any historians are left after the events following ensue. The effects of the first scream were felt strongly by demons, akuma and Green Sun Princes alike. Without fail, all of them suffered-- Akuma and Princes felt a flood of Torment, curling into balls or fighting with one another, unable to understand what madness had befallen the Demon City. Demons let out screams of pain, despair and agony, and the city fell to chaos. Were it not for the timely intervention of the other members of the Reclamation, the Demon City may well have eaten itself alive.

A green sheen grew upon its surface from the eighth hour onwards, and the screams subsided into a low sobbing and gibbering, the whispers heard by all residents and fevered madness grinding against their sould. Ligier and other souls of Malfeas were inconsolable, impossible to speak to-- either from rage or despair, none could tell. A Thing was held immediately after control was wrested over the surrounding area by less addled Yozi, and all Infernals who could attend were ordered to. Something was very, very wrong with Malfeas.

== And Their Fears ==
What came afterwards was no shock to those who understood the underlying fears of the Yozi, but caused a great clamor nonetheless. The Ebon Dragon, hat in hand, ordered everyone to stop work on the Second Reclamation, and in turn each Primordial after gave their own orders to do the same. Something much more urgent had occurred-- something that must remain secret at all costs, but which demanded that Malfeas play on the defensive for the next decade, at least-- until the issue could be directly resolved. All hands on deck.

A bright young mind by the name of Blink Twice was brought forth and, alongside She Who Lives In Her Name, demonstrated what it was that caused such fear. A black device was unveiled-- leaking oil, belching smoke. It was a massive drill made of all six magical materials-- spidery limbs and blades spilled from the outside, and the surface bubbled with a black-and-yellow pustule. It wheezed and breathed-- but it was not an automata. While the Unquestionable silently ignored questions as to who they thought might have done this, those knowledgeable on the subject were shaken. Please click the following if you have Lore 4+ or Occult 4+: Was it possible-- Autocthon had returned, and that his weapons were once more trained on the Yozi?

== Of Those Sent To Investigate ==
Afterwards, the Yozi would organize several teams to investigate the matter. While most were formed from homogenous units of akuma from a single Yozi, led by a single Green Sun Prince, several among their number would request particular Green Sun Princes and their retinues. In a rare show of solidarity, the other Yozi granted their requests-- this was no laughing matter. They had seen what horrors this great enemy had wrought before, and they had yet no interest in joining their brothers and sisters in the Underworld.

For their part, they still held some caution towards Metagaos' request. He was, they reckoned, a rather hungry fellow. Perhaps he was hoping to use whatever success he gained from his ploy to make his own caste-- impossible, perhaps, but they'd hacked shards before. Perhaps he, instead, desired to devour their control over their Green Sun Princes-- but so earnest was his request, and so great their need, even the now recalcitrant and withdrawn Ligier granted him the Princes he requested.

You three are mere scraps of what Metagaos had desired-- calling his request impudent might have been appropriate, for he requested dozens of established exalts such as yourselves. He spilled out dozens of secrets, pulled thousands of treasures from his murky depths, and even forgave life debts-- but what he received was well worth the negotiations. Three Green Sun Princes, veterans of the first Reclamation and no stranger to violence. He was sure he had more insight than anyone else into what was occurring, too. His Second Soul rooted before you, now-- a massive flowery alarune with the sickly-sweet smell of meat looking over you, unfolding into a woman-- flesh covered with slavering maws.

Speaks-As-One repeats her words several times, whispering and growling, but her words are as candied locusts, easy to listen to and digest. "I would be remiss as to not introduce myself... I am Speaks-As-One. Welcome to my jungle... though your stay will be short. There is much to do, and act, and feel..." Her leaves twist and part, to make room for her Akuma. "This is John. A little dragon tells me... you know them personally." Speaks-As-One's maws all smile as one, her actions coordinated well. A glint of mischief is in her eyes, and she settles into her thorny rest as she waits quietly for those present to familiarize themselves with one another. The three Green Sun Princes are not strangers-- you've met before, for the most part, but missions requiring the attention of all three of you have been extremely few in number. As for the akuma... you've met them before, as well. Only, last time you saw them, you fought on opposite sides of the war...

"You four will be the tools by which I pursue my greatest prey. And I am no fool... while my siblings scramble for information, I have already learned what it is they have forgotten. I have... a good idea, where it is, you will need to go next." As she speaks, a shambling mass of bramble and brass comes out of the foliage of the jungle, and yet more join... they're carving a map across the ground, flowers growing in the shape of a map of Creation. And yet more-- Malfeas, Yu-Shan. "A moment longer..."

While she carves out this garden for you-- why don't each of you introduce yourselves? If not to one another, to the thread as well.
Expand all images
No. 980076 ID: ac57f8

"I don't know why you expect to be able to order multiple peers by precipitous fiat as you would a lesser. I answered this summons as a peer, not a servant or a tool. I'm similarly not interested in holding up proceedings longer than necessary, given the gravity of the situation, but I would recommend taking a different tone going forward."

Doom also gives a polite bow to the other two Green Sun Princes.
No. 980124 ID: f57349

I am Suuzen, granddaughter of Sextes Jylis, emissary for Mother Bog and the eldest of the Fiend caste. My white scarf has no significance. These are my bound minions:

Iridium Fang and Leaden Fist - clandestine scouts. Those little statuettes aren't their true forms, of course, just anchors I use to see through their eyes.

Quills - my armourer. A firmin of uncommon cleverness, though of course that's a bit of a low bar. I'd be happy to provide resinous equipment for the rest of the team.

Scumsucker - my groomer and medic. We all know how stomach bottle bugs work, yes? Please don't taunt it with things it can't be allowed to taste.

Baldy - hunting cat and lie detector. Normal abscissic plates weren't sufficient there, but if he starts to behave erratically, do NOT flee, just pet behind the ears.

Sixtail and Tarface - tracking, transportation, and shelter. Not exactly demons, and I'd have a devil of a time replacing them (suitable forsaken children don't just grow on trees, you know), so I'll be grateful if you keep both toward the rear of the expedition, well away from hopping puppeteers or any other potential threats.

And the last three are mostly just dumb muscle, pay them no mind.
No. 980234 ID: afdebc
File 160428441086.png - (344.70KB , 466x297 , Green Sun Fairy Princess.png )

rolled 8, 2, 2, 9, 2, 10, 5, 5, 9, 1, 5, 4, 6, 5, 7, 9, 10, 9, 3, 5 = 116

"I am pleased to introduce myself as Precious Maiden Maharani, Eldest of the Malefactor caste. It's a pleasure to see you all again." She pauses and smiles gently. "I'm sure there are no hard feelings, John."

The green sun princess, glowing and luminous with gentle light, is dressed in a blouse in yellow cream with long flowing sleeves and skirt in green, each trimmed with black lace and flowing suggestions of vines. An orichalum necklace sits on her neck, a series of overlarge golden spheres, with a pink hearthstone set in the central node. She cradles a star of glass and metal, and iridescent blue butterfly wings adorn her back. Floating besides her is perhaps the fattest and smuggest passion moray anyone present has ever seen, and standing by her slippers, visibly awed by the assemblage, two chalcothes, brass carapaces covered with a deep green patina.

"As for my own companions, may I introduce Brass Shell Hermit- my locksmith, Red Ribbon Claws- my secretary, and Pumpernickel."

For this social encounter, 'Rani has the orichalum benefit of her Infinite Resplendence Amulet and her anima power both active, for an effective appearance rating of 10.

She also motes committed to Carmine Mantled Emissary, with a dice pool of Appearance 10 + Socialize 3 + Stunt, plus 4 automatic successes from Essence, and another 6 successes purchased with Adorjan's excellency (applicable per "teaching people to let go of attachments and worries rather than continue meaningless cycles of love or vengeance"). That'll kick in if anyone present "attempts to remember any way which they have been wronged or offended by the Infernal, or anything which would negatively affect her judgement of the character".

She's also going to spend 8m personal activating Tragic Love Amusement twice, with John and Speaks-As-One as the targets, forming intimacies towards each. (If we're going to do proper social combat, timing may matter, as that's a simple charm).
No. 980248 ID: d9acdc

rolled 6, 7, 1, 5, 2, 8, 5, 4, 3, 7, 9, 4, 2, 7, 2, 4, 4, 6, 9, 8, 5, 2, 5, 1, 5, 10, 7, 7, 9, 6, 3, 2, 6, 8, 7, 3, 2, 2, 4, 10, 2, 10, 10, 2, 7, 7, 8, 3, 7, 2, 9, 6, 9, 8, 1, 1, 1, 6, 4, 9 = 319

>"This is John. A little dragon tells me... you know them personally."
The Lunar Referred To As "John" steps forward, giving a bow so slight that it may have been imagined. It's short black hair is well groomed, combed back in a way that disguises a receding hairline and thinning crown. Dark glass spectacles hide it's eyes, the only point of "color" on an otherwise pale, gaunt face, stretched into a seemingly perpetual grimace. It's clothes are of a strange sort: layered black and white, to match the contrast created by white skin and black glasses. Formal wear, despite the stepping out from the foliage. Most notable, however, is the three pairs of vitriol-coated tentacles emerging from it's back, like malfean plant life grafted to a corpse-like host.


A tilt of the head is all that is needed to connote the respect the Akuma has for the legendary slayer. It would be wise to keep such allies happy, and turned towards purposes more well meaning that idle conversation.

>And the last three are mostly just dumb muscle, pay them no mind.

Hm, so it seems the secret is not yet made public to the others. Very well then, play along.
"I can procure more servants of this nature at your command. It will be my honor to provide whatever services you need to the best of my abilities, Suuzen."

>That'll kick in if anyone present "attempts to remember any way which they have been wronged or offended by the Infernal, or anything which would negatively affect her judgement of the character".

The muscles in the Akuma's face twist into what passes for a smile- thin, and tight lipped, mostly observable in the corners of the mouth, lips twitching ever so slightly upwards. Despite the... less than exuberant expression, however, The Lunar Referred To As "John" is genuinely expressing happiness.
"I remember well your prowess during the assault on the Sword. Indubitable, as the years have passed, that an agent of your skill has grown, and gracing Us is a great boon indeed.

Spending 3m to activate Flowing the Fairer Face three times, making a (Perception + Socialize) roll to learn what each character expects of John. Additionally, for the rest of the scene I am automatically aware of "all the customs, fashions, taboos, etc that govern his current social situation", as well as increase the difficulty to read my motivation by six if I cater to those norms.

Perception five, socialize one, stunt, six automatic successes, difficulty equal to half the target's (Manipulation+Socialize).
No. 980249 ID: 0640da

= John =

You know that your Yozi patron expects you to be 'elegant' and not 'creepy' or 'crass'. You also know that, contradictorily, she enjoys when you ask her questions about things she loves-- and is not even a little afraid to be creepy, crass and completely inelegant when she goes on a tangent. Still, her demands for you are not terribly high, and her reprimands no more than a lash and a few lost pints of blood. As far as her temperament goes, she's easygoing and enjoys your company in a friendly, 100% non-toxic way. She's also explained these things verbally to you before-- no need to check her every time. She is currently motivated by her Longing, but for whom you are unclear.

= Maharani =

Speaks-As-One keeps quiet, but allows the intimacy to form regardless. If it should cause her any issue down the line, she can devour the intimacy and the infernal with it-- not as much respect for an E4, especially not this E4. Still, Rani is exactly what she needs, so she's going to play nice, and even though she's detestably pretty, she has been a helpful and discrete person in the past. Besides, SAO reasons, nobody would possibly compare her beauty to someone with this... false beauty... not that she doesn't despise this wonderful pͪeͨrͥsͭᵇon regardless. Ah, this friend, this peer, this buddy, her pal, her bestie. She stops the grinding her teeth and regains her composure as the charm does the work on her memory.

= Everyone Else =

"ʸAͦpͧoˢlͫoͧᵍgiͫeͦsͭ ͪfͤoͬrᶠ ͧmͨᵏy-- indiscretion. I am of two minds at times... may you forgive me? We are in need of your assistance, Doom Inevitable... I hope the gifts I have sent to your manor will make up for this slip of the tongue." Speaks-As-One silences a good fourth of her mouths, who growl and grumble about it.. her head unfolding to show more teeth. "We are working... together. Let us work as peers... and on that note..." She gestures to the now-complete map, her Bramblers skulking off into darker corners of the jungle. "...we might discuss what it is I know the others do not."

The map is divided into five sections... the Underworld, Creation, Malfeas, Yu-Shan and a fifth location. The map is growing and shifting, vines and flowers pulling closer and further from the center of the... well, it's lifting up, and squirming. A mostly flat model of creation, with some organic curves... that can't really be helped. She leans in with a long pair of scissors, made of sharp canines, and cuts the stems free... the flowers remaining, suspended in the air. It's pretty Obvious she just used Calculated Order of Immediate Action, followed right up with Chrysalis of Preservation. She gently flips the map over, trimming it and pruning it into the right shape. "A long time ago... someone I cared about very deeply began... a project."

She leans in, stroking the crystallized petals. "He thought himself quiet, and secret... but I was more quiet, more patient. In those times, I was not so much hungry for flesh... as for knowledge." Her lips lick in unison. "And so... I know of 7 places. 7 secret little hidey holes... but what's strange... no." She strokes the ring which represents the Wyld. "This map may be a little... unconventional. But it is my memory of the shape of things... long, long ago. Before Creation... before now. And I have best placed them next to where I think they would be, in this modern era..."

The first of seven-- the seas of Skullstone. "Long ago, when the sea boiled, he took a fantastic voyage... under a continent, wrapped in magic. That continent is long gone, now... so great its hubris, it sank below the ocean floor. But certainly, in the reefs he thought none could see beyond... I found his scent. And I supped upon his divine stew."

The second of seven-- the Heptagram. "Though the institution itself is new... what fools. They do not know the geomancy, the wisdom beneath the soil. There was a race before-- those carved of stone. And at the heart of their civilization, in a place deeper than any earth, he toiled away... thinking himself unseen, except for his labors, but I would taste gemstones of every variety in this soil."

The third of seven-- Gethamane. "I had a sister, once. Long, long ago... not that you four would remember. But you bled her dry, upon this very altar... memories." Speaks-As-One gives a crooked wave of smiles. "What is lesser known... is that there is a grave to her upon this spot. He could not bear to live with what he had done... or perhaps he felt regret. He carved his flesh as steel, and grew a garden for her funeral... but he can't possibly have imagined that I would ignore him as he intruded on my domain? ...whatever the case, the gardens here are his work. And I can feel, though this vegetation is ancient, some blight has befallen them... I am more sure than ever of its nature."

Her fingers stroke against a city... Nexus, the fourth of seven. "A worm-infested city. It's trampled, ripped open, scattered... but what it does not know is that it is also the location of the highest mountain. Not Qaf... but a mountain in the sky. It imagines itself to be a pillar of commerce... how fragile that pillar is, they fail to recognize. And what weight hangs in the sky above... the Daybreak could not imagine, but he could. But you would be familiar with that, wouldn't you?" Her eyes turn to Suuzen, and sparkle.

The fifth of Seven... Thousand Dragon's Lake. "Ha. What folly and ridiculousness... to build a city here, and there, and all around. In those days... everyone knew this was his manse. And the surroundings were black, rich in oil and iron... I spent many of my days playing in his workshop, enjoying his company... but after so long, his channels of oil became water, and She Who Lives in Her Name has seized all those toys for herself..." She growls again... "Iͭ'ͪmͣ ͭovͬeͣᶰrͨ ͥiͩtᵇ ͥnͭoͨwͪ." That is very much the voice of someone not over it, no read motivation check required.

The sixth of Seven... The Loom. "You may not know this place... it is Yu-Shan. Of course I am unwelcome there... but when we ruled, oh, how glorious our seat of power was... he made this trinket, a toy, really... and I loved to watch it work. They call it... the Loom. No doubt... his influence will be felt nearby. But, so will many... many spiders..." Speaks-As-One salivates from her many maws, tongues reaching out to clean the lips of those around her. "Spiders were my favorite things to eat. I loved spiders. So... crunchy."

The seventh of Seven, last on the table... Stygia. "This place... it is a pale imitation of the Loom. A mockery, even... but it is in a place I dare not tread. Perhaps it would be easier to observe what is going on in Yu-Shan from Stygia... perhaps the inverse. But I have an instinct. An instinct that tells me... he would mine soulsteel. Not from his frame, from the earth. And he would make blades to slaughter us..." She cackles. "But he could not scratch my hide... foolishness upon foolishness. Forgive me if that is unhelpful... but I know his mine. His mine must be on this isle..."

She scratches her face with claws like teeth. "And this is perhaps the most confusing. As you are aware, there was an... intrusion into Malfeas. Normally, we would be joyous for the opportunity, but... it tastes as his work. And none of us could have opened that... that lung in the earth... if you're interested, I can give you permission to look into it. But I would bring protection... of all kinds. The variety of Jouten present... I think you understand. Even if we do not mean to... and you are our greatest assets? Humans are just so... so... fragile."

"...I requested many of you with particular skills which would be perfect for these investigations, and many turned down the call. Perhaps out of cowardice. Again... I must thank those of you who have shown up here, today, for aiding in my hunt of that man." Do you all have more pointed questions for the 3CD, Speaks-As-One?
No. 980298 ID: afdebc

>automatically aware of "all the customs, fashions, taboos, etc that govern his current social situation"
There is a hierarchy among the infernal exalted, and John senses that he is on the second tier. The green sun princes are the rockstars of hell, with great fame, renown, and expectation, each holding suitably impressive personal residences within the exclusive private club of the Conventicle Malfeasant. Exalted akuma hold the potential to be more numerous, but there is a certain expectation of deference towards their greater peers... at least until they prove themselves worthy of greater respect. Consigned to a mere apartment in their shared retreat, an indie performer looking for a breakout hit.

A culture of... strained civility and tolerance exists between green sun princes, more generally. Posturing and maneuvering, even threats are to be expected, but those who survive long enough (and have the requisite patience and sanity) come to realize that as fractious and divided as hell is, they might well be enemies one day, or comrades in arms another. Those who are not consumed by the conflict come to terms with this. It is the comradery and understanding of old spies who have changed sides too many times, who have been betrayed before, and expect both to happen again. The unusual nature of the Conventicle Malfeasant has only fostered this notion that there are times and places for words or blows between peers, and they do not overlap. Even when meeting outside their sanctuary, in the domain of a Demon of the Third Circle, this expectation, though strained, holds.

Within the narrower circle of the eldest of hell's chosen, this perhaps counter-intuitive tolerance seems to apply to an even greater degree.

>making a (Perception + Socialize) roll to learn what each character expects of John
>Flowering the Fairer Face: Perception 5 + Socialize 1, + Essence 6 Automatic Successes
>rolled 6, 7, 1, 5, 2, 8, 5, 4
>8 successes
The Malefactor seems to be expecting, if not anticipating, to see John demonstrate how it has changed as a result of its demonic transformation. There is also the expectation that the akuma may soon share her bed.

Of the two metallic crabs by her feet, one seems to be warily expecting you to create a mess, and the other seems to expect you will do something interesting with your waving tentacles.

Pumpernickel expects you to provide it with a meal. ...that seems to be a plural "you"; it doesn't seem to particularly distinguish you from the others present, lazily regarding you, in aggregate, as uncooked food awaiting preparation.
No. 980310 ID: f57349

rolled 6, 4, 10, 3, 6, 6, 8, 3, 5, 5, 6, 4, 8, 1, 9, 4, 8, 4, 9, 5, 7, 9, 5, 1, 1, 4, 5, 7, 5, 9, 5, 1, 7, 6, 2, 2, 8, 5, 9, 5, 3, 1, 6, 9, 7, 8, 8, 10, 3, 5, 2, 4, 7, 7, 9, 8, 3, 8, 2, 10 = 337

Suuzen is expecting someone other than herself to make most of the strategic decisions.

> "Iͭ'ͪmͣ ͭovͬeͣᶰrͨ ͥiͩtᵇ ͥnͭoͨwͪ."
"Lying," says the hairless cat-minion, while staring blankly at something far away. Any overconfident generalizations or other knowing falsehoods that crop up during the strategic planning process are likewise reflexively pointed out as such with almost mechanistic disregard for tact.
No. 980320 ID: f57349

Suuzen asks the Unquestionable to provide the most complete available dossiers on each of these locations, with particular focus on whatever seems to have happened recently to warrant our attention, and for a review of the relevant available assets and strategic objectives.
No. 980340 ID: ac57f8

rolled 5, 4, 10, 2, 1, 7, 4, 4, 6, 7, 6, 5, 2, 2, 8, 5, 4, 3, 10, 9, 4, 5, 6, 1, 8, 6, 4, 7, 7, 6, 2, 2, 10, 10, 5, 9, 7, 7, 6, 1, 1, 8, 3, 10, 9, 5, 7, 3, 10, 6, 3, 10, 9, 10, 3, 3, 4, 9, 7, 8, 1, 1, 5, 8, 5, 6, 1, 8, 9, 6, 3, 8, 3, 6, 2, 3, 10, 7, 9, 6 = 452

As I had forgotten to do so in the first post because of various reasons to rush, I should go ahead and point out, Doom is about 7 and a half feet tall, and has shoulder length black hair, and has Viridian Legend Exoskeleton active at all times, so he's made of brass and glowing.

"As I said, I have no intention of slowing this down any more than necessary given the gravity of the situation, and your apology is accepted. Now, we're going to Nexus." If nobody is going to give any other suggestions, then Doom is going to just declare his intentions. "Elaborate on the mountain in the sky and it's relation to The Oldest Fiend, if you would."

Doom has absolutely no idea who John is, but since you were apparently one of his enemies in the past, you can feel mild contempt coming from him.
No. 980366 ID: 5f3f48

>Do you all have more pointed questions for the 3CD, Speaks-As-One?
>Suuzen asks the Unquestionable to provide the most complete available dossiers on each of these locations, with particular focus on whatever seems to have happened recently to warrant our attention, and for a review of the relevant available assets and strategic objectives.
The Malefactor titters to herself, "Questioning the Unquestionable are we, then?"

"Our emissary of the dissonant voice has a point. As romantic as retracing ages-old footsteps might be, your briefing so far is heavy on the where, but sparse on the who, what, recent-when and [i]why[i].“
No. 980373 ID: 0640da

"Of course... I got caught up in the moment." Speaks-As-One gives a smile that is not a smile. "Let me prepare what I know... but mind you, we are dealing with corpses. And corpses are fickle things." A few leeches pull forth with seven wagons... from which, flowers and other bits are pried. "I left my eyes on those locations... hoping to see him once more. But then there was a flash... almost all of my young ones perished." She reaches forwards. "When I called out for them by name... one by one, they fell upon my precipice, looking as this." She starts to form a withered bouquet of eyes, made from withered plants and black limbs on the wagon... before smashing it against the jungle soil, and stomping on it with a hard 'leg'. What begins to grow from the mess of fertilizer is a document, wreathed in flowers. This charm is not obvious, but she's just used Memory Mirror. Are any of you part plant?

"The Rest of Daybreak... it was part of a game he, Qaf and I played with that cute, young Sol Invictus. He made a puzzle box, built so securely from the outside, only he could break into it. And then, he led Daybreak inside... ancient history, but the rumors are true. Sol Invictus did make his way through the unbreakable doors that he so lovingly crafted... and at the very end, Daybreak was waiting for him. Resting. It was a soft trial, nothing dangerous... we weren't making him sail upon Kimbery at that time, just testing his puzzle skills, you see. We three were proctors, not enemies..."

She titters. "Since Sol won the game, however, he modified it... and continued to modify it. He prepared for another opportunity with the child that we wouldn't get... because the war came sooner. I'm afraid I don't know more. It's been ages since I set foot in there... you must understand, I've only returned to creation a few times on the beckoning of the Solars."

= Document Alpha =
Location: The Rest Of Daybreak, Approx Location the Skies of Nexus.
Approximate Threats: None that Speaks-As-One knows of.
Potential Issues: The Rest of Daybreak is a puzzlebox designed to stump Sol Invictus. It's located in the sky as well. All of her available scouts perished in some sort of blast of deathly essence.

A mischevious portion of her mouths whisper to the hairless cat and the hairless cat alone-- "I'm ͥteͣlͫlˡiʸnͥᶰgᵍ tͭhͦeʸ ͦtͧruth..." She's curious to see how it responds.
No. 980389 ID: f57349

> Are any of you part plant?
Suuzen and about half her minions arguably are. Does Sprawling Marsh Indulgence count?

> whisper to the hairless cat and the hairless cat alone-- "I'm ͥteͣlͫlˡiʸnͥᶰgᵍ tͭhͦeʸ ͦtͧruth..."
Baldy stretches and yawns, casually displaying a mouthful of slightly yellowed fangs, then paces around to Suuzen's other side, declining to sow needless confusion by audibly dissecting the deliberately contradictory message that nobody else could hear anyway.

> Threats: None
This gets called out as a lie, though. Whatever mysterious force obliterated all scouts ought to be acknowledged as a potential threat.
No. 980403 ID: 0640da

"That... is a strange inaccuracy." She frowns. "...it would only occur if all of my scouts were to die... without a chance to learn more information. This dossier is formed from their memories, after all... so... be on the lookout for assassins and such. I would also be careful on the way upwards... you will have to cross the regular path of the Daystar, briefly. Your manse, Suuzen, should be able to make that distance before the Daystar crosses paths... just time it properly. Leaving just after the sun crosses the skies above Nexus should be enough."

Speaks-As-One doesn't read any of their minds, but she does start doing some mental math to make sure the manse can make that distance in time.
No. 980404 ID: 0640da

rolled 7, 4, 6, 2, 3, 3, 3, 6, 8, 7, 7, 5, 6, 9, 9, 1, 1, 7 = 94

((I would also like to formally apologize and issue a correction; it's called the Daystar. +1 XP to everyone, hopefully I don't make huge mistakes like this again.))
No. 980422 ID: d9acdc

rolled 9, 2, 2, 6, 5, 9, 2, 9, 7, 5, 4, 6, 8, 9, 5, 9, 8, 10, 1, 3, 9, 10, 10, 4, 5, 2, 10, 1, 5, 6, 2, 9, 10, 8, 6, 5, 6, 8, 6, 3, 4, 10, 3, 7, 2, 1, 1, 10, 8, 9, 3, 4, 5, 9, 8, 9, 10, 4, 6, 7 = 364

> Why?
Arms folded behind it, stepping forward on limbs of projected essense, "John" raises up to hight with Speaks-As-One, close enough that one might have trouble distinguish branch from flesh if they lost focus.

"If I may join my voice with your chorus, Speaks-As-One, the concerns of less storied lives seem to have escaped your roots."

Tentacles then lower the Akuma into a deep kneel, forehead almost brushing the dark loamy soil, one hand laid across it's chest with the other folded behind it's back, meant as a symbol of subservience and loyalty for the honored guests in attendance.

"Our goal is merely to extract information on the Black Machines. While anything that can be learned is of great value, we specifically hope to gather intelligence on their origins, hence a sweep of the relevant sites. If we can rule out, or in a more grim outcome, confirm the involvement of Autocthon, that will serve to motivate. I am not as well informed as the Unquestionable, but I have, perhaps, a more focused perspective. My patron has lived a great many lives, and counts the tallest trees growing the way you or I might notice weeds growing thick in the garden again. Perhaps, once we are ready to plan our approach, I would be permitted to entertain the esteemed guests as company within my villa. It is, of course, not as hospitable as you all are deserving of, but the scrying pool and summoning room may allowed for more extensive preparations, and I have the resources available to me there to prepare a meal, should you all permit me the honor."

Aiming for three ticks, then making a monologue as a social attack to everyone present in an attempt to assuage tension, and fulfill certain expectations of deference.
No. 980423 ID: 0640da

"...the math works out..." Speaks-As-One mumbles to herself, zoning out.


"Right. Ah, how could I have forgotten to gaze upon the trees..." Speaks-As-One looks quite pleased with the face she has saved. "If you can find involvement of that man... I want to see him again." She looks pleased with herself, continuing to harvest and grow new dossiers for each location. Some are not formed of corpses, but other materials-- those ones are marked as 'speculative'.

= The Rest of Daystar =
Location: The Rest Of Daystar, Approx Location the Skies of Nexus.
Approximate Threats: None that Speaks-As-One knows of.
Potential Issues: The Rest of Daystar is a puzzlebox designed to stump Sol Invictus. It's located in the sky as well. All of her available scouts perished in some sort of blast of deathly essence.

= The Metal Reef =
Location: Western Sea, Approx Location Skullstone Waters
Approximate Threats: Pirates, sea creatures, the living dead.
Potential Issues: A great engulfing of darkness before suffocation. High pressure environment, a behemoth created by the Great Maker patrols these waters.

= Ruins of Sortzen =
Location: Beneath the Heptagram
Approximate Threats: The Realm, Sorcerers, Ayesha Ura, Several Solars, Children of Jade
Potential Issues: It's located beneath the Heptagram some distance, nearer to the Pole of Earth. Used to be an ancient city made of stone, that was beginning to show fruit once more. As the ground stirred, her scouts were swallowed up... pressed flat.

= Garden Tomb of Sanctuary =
Location: Below Gethamane
Approximate Threats: Insects, Illusions
Potential Issues: My scouts here have knowledge of a second garden, but they have long had to fend off invasions from bugs. Their last memory is of turning to ash... and a black shifting mass, pounding on a circle of light. The Garden Tomb should have been safe from it, but its protections have pulled back considerably... few of the ancient plants she feels survive. Her scouts have all perished.

"It cannot harm you, so long as you repeat a warding mantra... but you best have layers up, to protect the speaker." She adds, noting the warding mantra is included in the dossier.

= Mines of Stygia =
Speculation: They will be involved. Investigate. The Great Maker mined minerals from this place, early in the war-- when the Underworld was still being forged.
Speculative Threats: Deathlords.
Potential Issues: It's in the underworld, and none know if its location save for those of the Maker's own making. His manse may have more information.

= The Loom =
Speculation: Our ambassador in Yu-Shan reported a similar phenomenon to the strange happenings, merged partially with the Loom itself.
Speculative Threats: Yu-Shan.
Potential Issues: Yu-Shan.

= The Forge of Wonders =
Location: Underneath Thousands Dragon Lake
Threats: The manse itself. Possibly.
Potential issues: Her scouts in this region have always watched this manse, waiting for the arrival of its host... and they were never able to view the arrival. Sparks coursed in the sky, and then they were eliminated by bolts coursing through the earth. All of them were fried. The manse should prove deadly, on an order similar to the Sword of Creation, but his creations were always welcome.

= Looming Threat =
Speculation: Someone has tried to kill our dear king Malfeas. What a shame.
Threats: All of the Unquestionable are investigating personally.
Potential Issues: The area is choked in black smog. Seeing further than a few feet in front of yourself is impossible.
Request: Please prevent the death of Malfeas. Try a little, at least.
No. 980444 ID: afdebc

>Aiming for three ticks, then making a monologue as a social attack to everyone present in an attempt to assuage tension, and fulfill certain expectations of deference.
So (Charisma or Manipulation) 4 + Performance 1 + Aim 3 + Stunt, at least 8 dice, with appearance 5.

"The personal attention of the Unquestionables, united, is a far greater investigative force than our humble number can bring to bear, and they lack the option to explore other realms. We should leave the site of the Malfean disaster in their hands."

"I'm afraid it would be not end of trouble trying to smuggle dear Doom into the Celestial city... and perhaps, we can trust our counterparts across the aisle to put out any fires in their own house? We should begin with one of the sites in Creation."

>Now, we're going to Nexus
>Location: The Rest Of Daystar, Approx Location the Skies of Nexus.
"Oh, did you learn how to fly?"
No. 980590 ID: ac57f8

"There's not terribly much to really discuss, we should already be discussing strategies, and we can plan out details on the paths to creation. To mean no disrespect to your request."

> "Oh, did you learn how to fly?"

No. 980622 ID: f57349

rolled 3, 10, 1, 1, 7, 1, 1, 8, 8, 7, 4, 5, 1, 3, 6, 3, 6, 7, 5, 8, 2, 6, 2, 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 4, 7, 2, 9, 7, 2, 1, 6, 8, 6, 8, 3, 5, 4, 4, 3, 3, 1, 4, 10, 7, 1, 10, 8, 5, 5, 8, 9, 1, 7, 10, 6 = 304

Based on those descriptions, and knowledge of our own capabilities, the Metal Reef seems least likely to get us all killed with no warning. Through a prearranged code of coincidental-seeming ear twitches, John and/or Suuzen are prompted to direct any further discussion and planning accordingly.
No. 980628 ID: d9acdc

rolled 10, 10, 3, 3, 7, 8, 1, 7, 4, 9, 6, 10, 5, 9, 10, 10, 7, 3, 6, 4, 2, 5, 1, 8, 9, 10, 6, 2, 4, 10, 4, 1, 10, 3, 7, 7, 4, 10, 7, 2, 4, 1, 5, 9, 8, 8, 10, 5, 9, 3, 1, 4, 9, 6, 5, 4, 2, 2, 5, 10 = 354

"I appreciate your focus on the mission at hand. Very well then- if we are to bring it to a vote, I am most comfortable with the water; the metal reef suits my strengths and would give me time to shore up deficits relevant to other sites of interest."

My attack from earlier still stands to be resolved, although it is a somewhat nebulous idea to impart.
No. 980646 ID: ac57f8

rolled 3, 2, 5, 7, 4, 10, 4, 7, 9, 6, 3, 3, 2, 1, 3, 4, 7, 5, 4, 7, 9, 5, 9, 8, 6, 1, 10, 1, 8, 8, 2, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 9, 1, 10, 10, 4, 5, 7, 3, 2, 5, 2, 10, 8, 10 = 277

"I can definitely appreciate the desire to work to your own strengths first to work to better yourself for the trials you're lest skilled at. My own insistence for going to Nexus first is a personal reason and my own urge.

"But, I'm nothing if not patient regarding the inevitable, so a detour to the Metal Reef is fine enough."
No. 980686 ID: afdebc

rolled 2, 1, 5, 5, 8, 6, 9, 7, 3, 10, 10, 2, 6, 7, 6, 4, 9, 6, 6, 10 = 122

The pixie hums. "There are charms of the Great Mother I might wish for if embarking on a adventure beneath the waves... but I can hardly fault my companions for playing to their strengths."

'Rani bends down gently, placing the glass-and-metal star she has been cradling on the ground. She pulls a brassy wand with her sleeve and it gives it a tap, and it begins to grow, sprouting leaves and roots, until it hangs suspended in air and wreathed in leaves and fruit of the same material, a bizarre cross between metal bush and living sculpture.

"It would seem our path is decided. Think fondly of us, would you, once we are gone?"

'Rani is making a social attack, directed at Speaks-At-One, attempting to compel the Unquestionable to count this as a scene spent building a positive intimacy for the infernal.

That's Manipulation 5 + Performance 5 + Stunt. Plus she'll channel Compassion for 8 successes, per Tragic Love Amusement. As SAO is a demon, Rani's anima power adds another success.

As Rani currently has effective appearance 10, SAO is almost certainly suffering -3MDV from the difference in their respective appearances.
Thanks to Tragic Love Amusement, this stunt gets an automatic upgrade in rating, as if it resonated with Rani's motivation. TLA also imposes another -8 on SAO's MDV.

Thanks to Unwoven Coadjutor 3, resisting this natural mental influence is going to cost at least 2 wp. For every 3 successes by which I beat her MDV, that's going to go up by 1, to a maximum of 5.
No. 980720 ID: 0640da

Speaks-As-One isn't easy to read, being that she's made of tongues and teeth which often disagree with one another, but her eyes regard Rani strangely as they leave. She holds her tongues, but whispers to herself about what to do now. Her branches part and shift, and the way out of the jungle becomes clear again.

The trip back to the Demon City is unusually uneventful. Typical dangers of Malfeas don't rear their heads, as demons cower in their dens and don't drift far from their cities. The sounds of music, like chimes in the distance, are stressed and not at all joyous-- if there's any music at all. Word says the wind isn't out in force today, but many demons are playing it safe regardless.

Stopping by a few checkpoints on the way and getting seriously vetted by a number of demons each time, it can't help but be said that this mood is nothing like the party you signed up for. Even demons who would normally fawn at your passing have to put on a stiff upper lip-- they desperately try not to cry as they attempt to pat down your team, looking for celestial agents. How many died for following orders and seriously vetting all intruders is really up to your party to decide.

The last checkpoint before Suuzen and her entourage can reach her manse is guarded by an army of demons, dressed up for war. The demon city is on high alert, and you have to walk past the watchful eyes of thousands on your way home. Before you can reach your destination, you see a large, black iron gate. I'd ask for an Occult roll, but you all clearly know that this is Benezet, Seventeenth Soul of Oramus, The Dragon Beyond the World. Benezet is primarily concerned with identities, so this must be some high-level check to make sure you are who you say you are. Should you try to move to the left or the right, the gate moves along with you, preventing your passage forwards-- what's the approach here? She'll probably just eat up some time if you go along with her. Also of note, to those of you do who know of Benezet-- she may be able to craft an identity for you before disembarking, if you desire it.
No. 980723 ID: ac57f8

rolled 10, 2, 5, 2, 8, 8, 4, 1, 9, 8, 1, 8, 2, 2, 4, 9, 8, 7, 6, 2, 1, 10, 7, 4, 3, 5, 8, 2, 5, 9, 5, 9, 1, 4, 9, 10, 1, 7, 5, 1, 8, 6, 6, 10, 5, 7, 7, 9, 6, 4 = 280

Doom has no qualms with an identity check, so he pushes forward through the line, trampling smaller demons underfoot, and pushing others to the side, hurled hundreds of feet away and out of line. As he comes to the gate, he's already demonstrated Isidoros charms, but if the gate doesn't answer, he's going to just keep walking.
No. 980724 ID: f57349

Before reaching the gate, I'm using Hungry Devil-Weed Growth (or if necessary a casting of Raising the Earth's Bones), somewhere that won't block traffic, to create some temporary privacy. Suuzen (without Illusion of Life active), the creepers, and anything else small and valuable will ride inside a palanquin carried by the shamblers, while the actual Fiend uses Loom-Snarling Deception to assume the fictitious identity of "Suuzen of the Fiend-caste," with a fictitious destiny to convince Benezet that "it's cool, they're with me." Flashing caste mark as necessary. Since we're here on official business, any serious interference by demons should result in botches for the perpetrator due to passive anima-power diplomatic immunity.
No. 980728 ID: f57349

rolled 7, 8, 1, 9, 4, 5, 10, 3, 6, 3, 3, 4, 1, 2, 6, 4, 10, 3, 10, 3, 9, 8, 7, 4, 6, 7, 4, 5, 9, 10, 4, 2, 6, 8, 1, 2, 8, 3, 9, 9, 9, 1, 9, 7, 7, 6, 6, 8, 2, 3, 10, 7, 7, 7, 4, 6, 6, 6, 6, 10 = 350

So we're doing fake IDs to pass inspection in the Silver Prince's territory? Simple option might be to say we're on a semi-secret survey for submerged mineral resources. Suuzen's backstory could be a ghostly bureaucrat/geologist bound to her own corpse by an embarrassing ritual-suicide mishap, nominally in command of the expedition. John Connant can be her husband, a living DB (maybe emigrated from the Realm?) with medical and demonologu licenses and the spell Viridian Mantle of Underwater Journeys. Other boglings are siblings, children, and/or coworkers, while cat-thing, firmin, and sesselja are duly registered demonic minions.

If Benezet is handing out two-dot artifacts like Halloween candy, some Masks, and vegetech Gill Cloaks upgraded for protection against deep-sea hazards (just in case Fathomless Poison Haven fails) could surely be useful, plus something to help John fake anima flux when needed.
No. 980766 ID: afdebc

rolled 9, 8, 7, 7, 7, 5, 7, 3, 4, 10, 8, 5, 9, 3, 3, 4, 1, 7, 2, 5 = 114

The green sun princess, silver hourglass shining on her forehead, sensually trails one hand down a spiraling metal fence post, in a manner that appears familiar, if not intimate.

"Passing through on business today, I'm afraid."

'Rani adds her own attendants to the fictional survey company's list of duly registered demonic minions. As for herself, she requests documentation supporting a false identity as the expedition's political officer, a ghost-blooded liaison assigned by Skullstone. Nominally in a diplomatic capacity, to spy on and keep-in-line assets of dubious loyalty in truth.

Doom, of course, serve's as the company's muscle.

Suuzen's suggestions for artifacts seem good, I can't think of anything else low rated that's as immediately mission relevant. If Benezet is in a generous mood, I certainly wouldn't turn down an infernal prayer strip.
No. 980774 ID: 0640da

rolled 2, 8, 5, 1, 1, 6, 8, 1, 10, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 6, 7, 1, 2, 5, 7, 5, 5, 1 = 102

You push right through Benezet, who bends out of your way as you press into her, but does not break-- snapping back into place like rubber. She uses a few auxiliary charms to check your identity, but that seems good enough for her. Doom's behaviors and mannerisms match the face she knows, so it's a clear pass. She then turns her attention to Suuzen and her group.


"Suuzen... this might be a little invasive. But we can talk business." Benezet opens up, and Suuzen (and her henchmen) pass into a quiet garden. She utilizes NATURAL PROGNOSTICATION as they speak, casually examining her destiny as carved by Loom-Snarling Deception-- she tuts. "This examination would go faster if you lowered the Loom-Snarling Deception, as a favor to me. I understand the need to secure your identity. Everyone here should move to another garden." A table, filled with papers, begins to organize itself. "The forms you desire will be prepared by the time you need them. As always, a small portion of your operations budget should be enough." To be exact, each identity purchased is a Resources 2 purchase, while artifacts will cost Resources 3-4 to rent for a single mission. She'll mutate you for free, or a discount on another purchase.

When the gardens have separated the minions out for their own individual checks, Benezet continues to hold her gates shut tight, until she's resolved this situation. "...I've read your destiny before now. I know that isn't the right one, tricky child. I respect that. But which one of you is the green sun prince?" She maintains a soft gaze... "...if you want to remain silent, I'll understand. Ligier just asked me to confirm a few things. Your identity isn't one of them... and this is clearly the Ebon Dragon's charm, so you get a pass there." She doesn't push more than that, since she has to process the whole group and doesn't want to take away what makes you special by force. She's actually not going to make a social attack or use any more charms than necessary, just softly ask for cooperation.

"Of course, dear Maharani." The gates open for Rani next, allowing her through while her henchmen are filed out into other gardens to examine. "I could make a prayer strip for you, as a favor, but... it might take some time, so be patient. Your aura is special as always." As previously mentioned, renting artifacts for a single mission is a Resources 4 purchase for 2-dot, Resources 3 for 1-dot, and each ID she has to issue is a Resources 2 purchase. "The paperwork should be done in a matter of hours. Agents are visiting Skullstone frequently, lately... are you going to join the war effort? I thought there were orders to put the war effort on pause." A vine loosens from a statue, brushing at Maharani's hair and fixing it into the right shape. Benezet is attempting to gather information from Maharani, so I'd like a social defense if you can manage it.

= A Note on Benezet =
Benezet is a figure who might crop up multiple times in the story, depending on when you need her. She can issue 1-dot and 2-dot disguise artifacts, 5-dot mundane disguises, mutations, general information about how to play the part right and organize some of the nasty details for you. Her services will put a dent in your operations budget-- if you want to keep your venture profitable, and avoid owing favors to the wrong demons, you'll want to keep your finances in mind. Her assistance may help against, but cannot stop, supernatural senses. Try to use your own charms to fortify whatever disguises you purchase from her. She'll offer her wares on discount if you let her mutate members of your group.

= A Note on Other 3CD =
3CD in general will all have services they can provide, besides being dangerous and keeping malfeasants out of Hell. Relying on John will let you summon them outside of Malfeas, but if you want a good or service from a 3CD, you'll typically have to visit hell. Please keep in mind that a lot of the 3CD are busy for the next in-game months, at least-- try to keep your requests to a minimum, although Speaks-As-One, Ligier and Benezet will usually be free and available. Ligier's currently occupied, but he'll be able to issue high quality artifact weapons and armor in a hurry once he's back on it (bring exotic ingredients on your own). Among the other 3CD, Madelrada will help with military matters (if you need an army), Suntarankal can get his hands on some martial arts for you, Amalion will help if you need a hearthstone or a manse, and Munaxes will assist you if you need to get your hands on a particular language, book or translator-- or one of her 2CD, at least. None of those 3CD are currently available, but they have easily contacted agents you can work through if you need something during normal operation hours. Other 3CD have niche things they can assist you with, but try to ask in the Discord before posting around in the thread about whether 'x 3CD/2CD' is available for your needs.

= A final note on other mission-specific resources =
You can always ask for more resources than provided, like how Rani is asking for a prayer strip-- but if you give the person you're requesting very little time, they won't be able to do what you need. Try to ask for resources the mission before doing something, if you think you want a high value artifact or have a large request to make of them. A prayer roll should let them know ahead of time what you're looking to grab.

If you frequently operate well under budget (are left with more Resources and Backing than you could have spent), there will be opportunities to increase several backgrounds (including Resources, Favor and Manse) during the next arc of the Story. Make sure to grab what's reasonable from investigation locations to cash in in with Hell, make up for the losses spent on conducting the investigation.
No. 980775 ID: 0640da

Storyteller: I'm getting word I messed up with the pricing, one moment.

...Artifacts generally sell for (Rating +2) resources on the open market, (rating +3) if they have significant military or tactical applications. So, the price to rent is Rating +1, and it'll last you 6 months, rather than a single mission. So that's the going rates for rent and purchase. Sorry about my terrible understanding of prices >w<
No. 980869 ID: afdebc

rolled 1, 10, 10, 6, 8, 8, 8, 7, 7, 3, 2, 10, 2, 1, 5, 9, 3, 4, 7, 8 = 119

>Benezet is attempting to gather information from Maharani, so I'd like a social defense if you can manage it.
Compulsion-keyword social attack to share information? Not going to resist. Given that 'Rani has a preexisting relationship with the Gardener of Identities and that Speaks-as-One did not designate this a secret mission, it seems in the Infernal's interest to court favor with the Seventeenth Soul of Oramus. Beyond the personal, Benezet is also acting in an official capacity supplying equipment, cover and assets for a Reclamation mission- mission critical information could be important to that. (And if the Unquestionable acted to physically isolated the group, or possibly engaged multiple Worldly Illusions, it's not as if the others are in a position to object).

>Agents are visiting Skullstone frequently, lately... are you going to join the war effort? I thought there were orders to put the war effort on pause.
'Rani laughs, gentle and sparkling, like dappled light scattered by water. "Have the yozi ever spoken with one voice? The All-Hunger Blossom's appetite turns towards information, and there are sites in Creation relevant to our recent... disruptions.

"How can the war be paused if we have been attacked, after all?"

Trailing one hand across her neck, she continues in another language. "I could use help with the accent. My seatongue wouldn't pass for native."
No. 980921 ID: 0640da

"I'm on good terms with Metagaos' souls, I'm sure he won't mind if I take a look." Benezet smiles and shifts one of her roots closer. It's true she meets with Speaks-As-One regularly, she does work in Benezet's garden as her... hairdresser? Leafdresser? Florist.

"Ah... so you'll need passage into Yu-Shan, the Heptagram, Stygia... this is an interesting list. I hope you consult me when you're thinking about disguises." Benezet peers over the documents, and seems to be thinking of something, by the way the leaves on the bushes glow and fade. "I have a way in to the Heptagram, if you were experiencing any difficulty... but I'd like you to get someone while you're there. I've been thinking about making them my akuma..." She tabs through the documents with a stray vine, and then closes it up. "While it would normally be difficult to infiltrate, one of the administrators belongs to me, or will shortly after you escort her away. I can enroll you into the school directly-- it might be a good opportunity to learn sorcery, and right under their noses."

A shift in your throat occurs as you begin to mutate... take Disturbing Voice (Ethereal), Rani. She's granting you an artificial specialty as well, helping you feign native Seatongue-- you will not be mistaken for an outsider. You may lock that in with earned XP down the line, or not, but it's tied to your Disturbing Voice. "That should help you blend in a little better, little Maharani... sound the part. I'll have my personal prayer strip ready the next time we see each other, since I know that's what you desire. But, maybe I can show my favor with this..." She presents a small 2-dot strip, one suitable for calling forth the gates of Benezet into creation and getting some relief when things get hot.

Her personal strip serves as a means to add a large number of mutation dots to one individual in one sitting, so long as her themes are followed. The target does not need to consent to this transformation, but a perfect social dodge or parry can help them escape the application.
No. 980944 ID: c1606e

rolled 9, 8, 6, 4, 3, 5, 2, 7, 10, 7, 1, 3, 6, 8, 1, 9, 9, 4, 7, 7, 10, 4, 10, 7, 9, 9, 8, 5, 1, 6, 2, 2, 8, 5, 7, 10, 3, 4, 9, 9, 7, 3, 1, 7, 9, 4, 5, 2, 3, 7, 4, 7, 4, 4, 8, 6, 6, 2, 8, 6 = 347

>I'm on good terms with Metagaos' souls

It is at this point that John steps in, assuming the true form of an Eristrufa, one Benezet is intimately familiar with. The ability to harmlessly manipulate organic matter with such speed and skill has been useful in past garden-socials. Speaks-As-One may run the shop so-to-speak, but she knows when to let her contractors do the specialty work.

Paper Tiger Arrangement is used to conjure a speaking fog, whispering to Bezenet from all directions at once, creating what would almost certainly be a disorienting display to one of weaker mental fortitude and prowess.

"Speaks-As-One would be more than willing to lend personal assests to this mission, as you can see by my presence. On her behalf, we request you offer your services to us on credit, knowing that compensatory services will be rendered in the future as payment."

Hoping to trade in my dots in Patron this scene to cover some of the supplies requested here:
and potentially go further, offering to trade future favors and services to cover whatever else is required for the mission, if permissible.

That'd be a social attack I assume, enhanced by the First Metagaos Excellency, as I'm attempting to take from others to get what I want now, rather than give up what I own or lose out on toys; justifying manipulation mainly because I haven't *actually* been given permission to speak for or leverage the resources of Speaks-As-One this way, and am making deals which I could negotiate better trade rates for with traveling companions and Benezet later on.

Manipulation four, presence one, excellency five.
No. 981040 ID: f57349

rolled 3, 9, 4, 4, 7, 7, 10, 4, 4, 4, 4, 7, 7, 5, 5, 2, 10, 3, 3, 9, 5, 7, 1, 7, 10, 7, 3, 7, 5, 1, 3, 3, 3, 2, 5, 9, 7, 2, 10, 5, 6, 8, 8, 10, 1, 10, 1, 7, 2, 3, 6, 1, 8, 6, 3, 4, 7, 8, 5, 9 = 326

Can I use Theft As Release to supplement an action to, say, personally inspect the masks and vegetech rebreathers before signing a rental agreement? Sneaky stuff involving disguises and diving equipment (and possibly setting myself up to get hurt later) sounds mostly compatible with Kimbery's excellency, Cracked Cell Circumvention should be applicable insofar as Benezet has been blocking our route out of the Demon Realm and would almost certainly continue to do so in the event of failed shoplifting, whereas convincing her (and all witnesses) she never owned that stuff in the first place will enable swifter escape without needing to haggle.

"Now, as to payment..."
"Indeed, O Unquestionable One? I eagerly await your judgement as to what would be a fair price for adding such fine examples of Mother Bog's crafts to your own garden."
"...these... are indistinguishable from my own work, to the finest detail."
"High praise, to some! Alas, if you're not the least bit interested, I'll just take the rest of those samples back and be on my way."
No. 981112 ID: 0640da

Benezet snorts, and kicks Suuzen's entire entourage out of her garden unceremoniously after spending 4 WP to resist. One of them, Baldy, notices that they're still holding onto a set of four rebreathers, and a half-dozen masks clatter onto the ground around Suuzen.

Benezet, weighing the facts, has agreed to put it on her hairdresser's tab, sighing with a tinge of anger. "Of course. I'll make sure to add what your companion attempted to 'acquire' to the costs of the trip as well. You can leave now, I'll sort this out with Speaks-As-One. Maharani has the documents you asked for and require for your excursion to Skullstone. I'll also prepare the other documents you require for your other excursion and have them ready as soon as you next consult me... ah, do you think you could trim my sixth garden on the way out? I'm feeling a bit under the weather."

If you have any last words about her Heptagram offer, feel free to make them. She's going to let you go with a stack of papers, documents and false identification, and Maharani will come out to Doom's side.

= XP Totals =

Everyone should have 9 XP total, now-- 2 successful social encounters, 1 bonus experience point. Every time you all reach a milestone and get time to train, I'll disperse rewards for all completed events. Usually, this will take place after missions. I'll mark it with = XP Totals = each time, in case you needed to double check the amount you currently have against the amount you've spent so far.

= Once More, In The Sky =

The four of you and your entourages arrive at the flying manse no sooner or later than you need to-- nearly a week was lost on this whole trip to the manse, including the trip through Cecelyne, and you're probably feeling mentally and physically exhausted. Well, you're in luck-- the manse is already close enough to Skullstone it'll be a mere 5-day trip. If there's any training you all want to get started on, you have 10 days worth of training to do so.

= The Currents of the West =

The skies of Western Creation are a blood red-- miasmatic fog clouds run across the open seas, raining acid, and demons lash out from the surface-- and oftentimes, even deeper. A large number of seas and islands are cloaked in shadow and fog-- the death essence so steeped into the land, it chokes the life out of everything it touches. Besides the increased frequency of demon encounters and bleak, dead oceans, the West is in some ways safer than it has ever been. With two armies on the sea, piracy is almost unheard of, and the only passers by are smugglers. This was the most successful front of the Reclamation-- Creation will have to spend centuries undoing the damage done here, even if the demons are too weak to make a second strike on the Blessed Isle.

On the approach to Skullstone, I'd like each of you to make a Perception + Awareness check, and tell me what visual and mental acuity charms you have active, as well as what stealth charms are currently active-- Abyssals are a real threat, and there's a high chance of meeting one in the former Lintha territory of Scag. The threat of Mosok attacks are still very real for the residents here, from what you can read in the documents Benezet left you. Allegedly, as a reward to his faithful, the Silver Prince has given Scag to one of his lackeys as a domain to use as they please.

Getting closer to your intermediary destination (which is, as mentioned, Scag, now controlled by an abyssal), you have an option of changing to a quality ship with Skullstone sails or maintaining your flight until you're over your true destination. Once everyone has agreed on the exact course of action (please specify whether switching to a boat, staying in the manse or both, and which henchmen are staying behind), we'll proceed.

You are all now in Shadowlands. Essence respiration is impaired, but you've had a full rest. Everyone, restore your Willpower and motes to their maximums.
No. 981113 ID: 0640da

rolled 1, 7, 1, 2, 7, 8, 8, 7, 7, 1, 4, 3, 6, 6, 8, 3, 6, 5, 7, 10, 7, 5, 3, 10, 2, 2, 7, 9, 4, 9, 7, 1, 2, 4, 2, 8, 5, 7, 5, 6, 9, 9, 7, 2, 2, 4, 3, 2, 6, 8, 2, 6, 5, 10, 10, 10, 7, 3, 9, 10 = 336

No. 981116 ID: ac57f8

rolled 10, 6, 5, 8, 2, 4, 3, 3, 3, 5, 6, 5, 2, 1, 2, 7, 1, 4, 8, 7, 2, 1, 4, 2, 10, 3, 2, 1, 5, 8, 3, 7, 5, 2, 7, 10, 3, 9, 5, 3, 2, 3, 3, 9, 4, 3, 10, 10, 2, 8 = 238

> Perception 4 + Awareness 6

Doom gazes over the blood red sky, and let out a sigh. "What a shame, that so few people remember the west as it was before everything. Unspoiled by the crushing omnipresent taint of the Underworld. How much more a shame it is that I'm not among them."

Doom is going to entertain conversation, but if nobody tries to stop him, he will jump into the oceans below with a perfect swan dive, and emerge onto the beaches of Scag by just walking and emerging from the ocean.
No. 981122 ID: f57349

rolled 9, 2, 8, 7, 5, 2, 2, 4, 2, 6, 10, 6, 10, 2, 10, 1, 5, 3, 7, 10, 7, 10, 2, 8, 6, 6, 5, 7, 4, 3, 7, 2, 7, 1, 1, 4, 6, 2, 5, 6, 9, 6, 4, 3, 6, 7, 9, 7, 3, 5, 8, 6, 8, 8, 4, 2, 2, 3, 8, 6 = 324

In terms of sensory powers, I've got Hellscry Chakra, Fogsense for ignoring or reversing mist-related concealment, Shark Sight (inconveniently short-ranged), a Dark Rider (assuming I can keep away from bright light so it stays attuned), and one of the creepers could conjure a Hound of the Five Winds whenever we're expecting trouble within the next eight hours/hundred miles.

Have I heard anything in the Conventicle Malfeasant about Lintha strategic plans or secret weapons?

If Doom already ran off, that frees up my local cultists to act a bit more like Guildsmen than might otherwise be survivable. Suuzen proposes we gather up some trade goods - whatever we've got in adequate abundance that folks in Scag are dying for lack of, based on my bureaucratic and medical knowledge - and sail there in a flat-bottomed sky barge. Build it out of lumber from Vitalius (scavenged from the platform we rode down the cable to get here), stalk of tree-grain for a mast, firmin resin for caulk and nails. Launch from a broad bowl on the stone floor, pouring out teakettles until there's just enough buoyancy and mist for Keel Cleaves The Clouds. Present ourselves as a diplomatic mission, under flag of truce, bearing moderately extravagant gifts, to negotiate safe passage through the Silver Prince's acknowledged sovereign territory - and possibly make a few other mutually advantageous deals as long as we're there.
No. 981174 ID: 5f3f48

rolled 8, 10, 4, 3, 9, 8, 4, 2, 1, 3, 8, 10, 8, 5, 8, 5, 2, 10, 1, 9, 5, 4, 2, 7, 8, 8, 5, 3, 4, 6, 8, 4, 3, 7, 3, 4, 7, 5, 9, 3, 5, 2, 10, 2, 1, 8, 7, 10, 3, 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 4, 4, 10, 3, 4, 1, 1, 4, 1, 1, 6, 4, 3, 10, 9, 7, 8, 9, 6, 7, 8, 3, 2, 1, 1, 10, 1, 2, 2, 5, 5, 8, 9, 2, 3, 6, 4, 5, 10, 8, 8, 8, 10, 9, 8, 6 = 546

> I'd like each of you to make a Perception + Awareness check
Okay, base dice pool is Perception 3 + Awareness 3 + 2 from my Coadjutor + Stunt. The description of the environment makes it sound like there's not a lot of direct sunlight (fog, fell red light, shadows, darkness), so no penalty from Witness to Darkness. Fogsense adds another +2 to see anything concealed in fog. Shark Sight is also relevant, though shorter range. Since we're in a shadowland, a Place of Desolation, 'Rani suffers no penalties from the environment or visual impairment thanks to Transcendent Desert Creature.

If anyone is trying to actually hide (using stealth to not be noticed, rather than just passively being out there in the environment) Witness to Darkness gives +4 successes to try and pierce that deception.

> as well as what stealth charms are currently active
For personal stealth, base pool is Dexterity 5 + Stealth 1 + 2 from my Infinite Resplendence Amulet + Stunt. In addition, thanks to Transcendent Desert Creature, increase the difficulty of anyone trying to notice me with an Awareness roll by 4 unless I turn it off.

In a tracking contest, which may be more relevant if someone or something crosses our trail and tries to locate us instead of bumping into us directly: base pool to evade tracking is Wits 4 + Survival 2 + Scales 2. Furthermore, Transcendent Desert Creature means non-supernatural tracking attempts automatically fail, and supernatural tracking suffers a -4 external penalty.

Of course, neither personal stealth or tracking resistance are very relevant for hiding the mountain we've flown up on. They might be more relevant once we disembark and decide on mode of transit!

> Back in Creation
After the successful ascent across the Endless Desert, 'Rani will avail herself of whatever ritual space the manse provides and use thaumaturgy to summon her cute widdle familiar... who by the vagaries of the demon realm being outside fate, would have felt the beckoning 5 days earlier, and this arrived at the manse at about the same time as the rest of the group.

Intelligence 2 + Occult 4 + Stunt. Buying 3 auto successes with the second Excellency (so two rolled successes needed for difficulty 5).

Could be additional bonus dice if any of the other occultists wish to assist. Maharani would be more than glad to return the favor and assist Suuzen of the Fiend caste in beckoning her familiars.

I'd like to make an academic knowledge check. What's the nation of Skullstone like sixty years on? In the default setting, it's held together by lies and ignorance of what the Silver Prince is up to, but now, his soulsteel fleet has sailed. Does Creation know who's running the show now? Do the people here? Did the Deathlord maintain his propaganda and indoctrination hold on his people, or did he have to resort to harsher methods?

Intelligence 2 + Lore 5 + Stunt. Again, willing to buy 3 successes.
No. 981192 ID: 0640da

rolled 3, 8, 9, 2, 5, 9, 5, 7, 6, 7, 8, 6, 9, 2, 2, 7, 7, 9, 3, 9, 2, 2, 8, 8, 2, 3, 6, 2, 9, 2, 1, 3, 7, 4, 3, 1, 9, 2, 7, 2, 2, 3, 3, 7, 5, 9, 1, 6, 2, 4, 3, 4, 1, 10, 9, 7, 7, 9, 8, 5 = 311

Doom: 3 successes.
Baldy: 3 successes, you see it.
Maharani: 12 successes, you definitely see it-- even moreso, you can make out details. From your aerial view, beyond a fog of obscuring nature, you can definitely see a second city on Scag. The creatures there, unlike the ones you can see in the town below, are not human-- highly likely to be Mosok Dragon-Kings. What's more, you can see that they're clearly locked in conflict with an additional person, and essence is pouring out from that location desperately.

Baldy: 4 successes for the knowledge check, 3 successes for the market check.

Baldy gathered some additional intelligence before setting off-- he's aware Dukantha is under the weather after one of his pets was slaughtered by a soulsteel warship. Tears of Acid seems to be summoning demons to Creation as normal, the flow of 1CD and the rare occasional 2CD remains steady, even as Malfeas enters lockdown. Oliphem remains on standby, protecting the fleets if you should make it back to Lintha territory, but you're not overly familiar with patrol routes and such-- only that right now, everything is moving on the defensive. Further tactical information was impossible to gleam, but you're very likely to not have backup.

You've managed to grab a number of goods that would sell well in the West, but may betray your demonic origin if you're not careful about it. We'll say Resources 4 worth of trade goods, but if you have to return them to Hell, you'll only get Resources 3 back.

Maharani: 8 successes on your history check, occult check pending.

Skullstone is a broken place. The Shining Prince's deception, undone by a single mouse and a lunar who broadcast her findings to the world, destroyed the well of faith that had been built up over centuries. The Silver Prince is, in fact, the Bodhisattva Anointed By Dark Water! This challenged a lot of precepts and caused his people to experience no end of crisis to their faith. No other secret was uncovered, especially not about some secret island which doesn't exist; but who knows what vile truths are hidden in that web of lies the False Prophet has fabricated?

His cultural hold on his territory is largely diminished, and though he tries to this day to convince people of his kindness, he has been ousted as a liar. Many of the holds he maintained on his trusted servants are now transactional relationships, so far as Hell is aware-- so transactional they were able to subvert two of his agents, a solar and an abyssal who now work for the Lintha, famously. Anyone who would still have faith in that man is a fool.

That is not to say the project to conquer Creation failed-- far from it. The Silver Prince, to this day, maintains a fleet of not-so-secret ships, although in his haste to make up for his lost secrecy he deigned to fix their flaws, a decision that would bite him in the ass down the line. So far, 3 of his 8 warships have been sent down to the sea floor to rest. It's unclear where he's getting these warships, but speculation is that he's bringing them over from the Underworld. Beyond that, he controls the western nations of the Neck and the Coral Archipelago nearly totally, and has created the largest Shadowland in Creation. Only small pockets of resistance and islands held by the Lintha armies remain, and his attention is turning to devour the rest of the Western Sea. Besides the Thousand Streams Alliance, he holds the most territory of any warlord in creation at this very moment. No doubt when the dust is settled, the fragments of the Realm will come together again and form a larger nation-- and he is certainly not the largest per capita-- he's still the second most accomplished Deathlord on Creation. First place prize goes to whomever made the Great Contagion, but the Silver Prince should come right after that.

In the wake of his fall as a spiritual leader, new religions have moved in, trying to take advantage of the void left behind-- and his already fairly authoritarian culture becomes bleaker by the day. Thankfully, Malfeas took advantage of this crisis of faith to plant a number of their worshippers among his people. Still, there are two other competing religions that make getting a firm grasp possible-- the state-ordained religion that has always existed is still believed in by the most faithful, and a new religion about making peace with the underworld seems to be gaining significant traction. Even more surprising, Skullstone has done little to prevent these churches from popping up.

You can't help but feel like you're forgetting something important.

John summoned a bunch of fun demons in the Combat thread-- none of which were exceptional.
No. 981214 ID: 0640da

Maharani: 7 Successes on your Occult roll. Your familiar is now present.
No. 981333 ID: f57349

Did 'Rani learn the Kimbery charm Acrid Slipstream Assist while crossing the desert? That'd make an order-of-magnitude difference in travel speed, which any sort of plan will need to take into account.

Simplest way to rescue those Mosok (if we decide that's a priority) would probably be for Suuzen's entourage to barge in technically under flag of truce and suffer an unprovoked attack from the presumed deathknight, then let punitive cosmic auto-botches take care of the details.
No. 981389 ID: 0640da

rolled 6, 6, 6, 8, 8, 1, 6, 3, 4, 7, 9, 8, 7, 5, 4, 4, 5, 8, 1, 10, 10, 4, 5, 3, 2, 9, 5, 7, 6, 5, 9, 1, 4, 10, 6, 10, 7, 6, 2, 6, 6, 10, 5, 3, 2, 1, 8, 4, 10, 9, 7, 9, 6, 7, 4, 10, 7, 3, 9, 1 = 354

At JL's request;

The manse is parked a comfortable five to six miles from the island in a convenient cloud cover. It should remain concealed for some time, given its height, but eventually someone will notice it-- and not do much about it, if you send it back to rest in safer territory.

The island itself is a round surface with a large valley, opening up on one end to show a port town. There's a massive mountaintop city about two miles upwards from Scag's port proper that Maharani spotted with a spyglass, and she's shared any information she was able to discover gazing at it with Suuzen and John-- including a darkly illuminated Dawn Caste, blaring occasionally iconic. Making them out with the telescope, I'd appreciate some insight checks into who they are, but you can see their iconic anima as they cleave through someone with a grand grimscythe. Maharani, you'd only know surface details, but you're free to make the check too.

Doom, you snatch the spyglass away and see what they're looking at-- it looks like fun, for sure. More reason to take a dip in the water, though a boat might get you there faster. You weren't able to make out the iconic anima, just a little too blurry.

Maharani, I need a compassion check if you want to intervene, which is on the table. John, your urge is feeling pretty itchy right now. Don't scratch it and we're looking at Limit. Anyone else with Compassion above 3, there is very clearly a party who is in need of help, and it is the Dragon Kings.

As part of a noted ruling, there is space to intercede in this conflict as a Fiend-caste, Baldy. And the kamaitachi Abyssal is a creature of death, and therefore vulnerable to your interceding-- the Mosok, not so much.
No. 981427 ID: 5f3f48

rolled 1, 8, 10, 1, 5, 10, 10, 6, 4, 9, 4, 3, 5, 3, 10, 3, 9, 8, 7, 3 = 119

>Stuff leading up to our arrival
> If you have any last words about her Heptagram offer, feel free to make them.
As a flighty amnesiac with the Silent Wind's excellency, it should surprise no one that the quartz bull isn't going to plan that far ahead, or make long term commitments at this point.

Passion Moray once again in hand, Precious Maiden Maharani will take the first opportunity over the next 5 days of mountain-flight to seduce the Lunar akuma (and if successful, she will naturally follow up by feeding her memories of the event to her familiar). If rebuffed, she'll try instead for Doom or Suuzen. Given she's know both of them for years, they've probably been together before, not that she can be sure.

Got a lot of dice for this, but it's NMI to resist, and it comes down to what other players are comfortable letting relationships be, so I'm not gonna declare pools for this now.

>Did 'Rani learn the Kimbery charm Acrid Slipstream Assist while crossing the desert?
Yes, the Great Mother's secret for playful ocean travel seems especially relevant, and the Malefactor is glad to learn it.

>Suuzen proposes [...]
`Rani adds that she could produce as fine a ship as is required from the pumpkin of the Vitalius-wood platform. This does raise another option, though. Instead of traveling openly in disguise, cutting deals, we might sail beneath the waves in a sealed container instead, hidden from many eyes, and only needing to rely on false papers should we cross paths with a patrol capable of detecting or intercepting us.

How openly do we wish to travel? Should we trust to disguise or stealth, foremost?

>Once we're at Scag
>but you can see their iconic anima
...and what is it?

>Maharani, I need a compassion check
> Anyone else with Compassion above 3, there is very clearly a party who is in need of help, and it is the Dragon Kings.
What suffering, injustice, or pleas for aid has the Malefactor borne witness to? Is one side in the observed conflict visibly helpless?
No. 981432 ID: ad5598

rolled 7, 4, 3, 7, 9, 7, 8, 10, 10, 6, 4, 3, 1, 1, 7, 2, 7, 4, 9, 4, 4, 7, 10, 1, 9, 6, 4, 4, 6, 6, 10, 5, 8, 3, 5, 5, 2, 4, 10, 3, 4, 3, 2, 8, 3, 8, 10, 7, 2, 9, 4, 2, 9, 5, 2, 7, 10, 6, 3, 5 = 334

>Suuzen proposes we gather up some trade goods - whatever we've got in adequate abundance that folks in Scag are dying for lack of
>ah, do you think you could trim my sixth garden

Whilst the others are shopping for bribes and supplies, John attends to the Seventeenth Soul of Oramus.

>Everyone should have 9 XP total
Purchasing the second dot in socalize for two xp, banking the rest.

>Well, you're in luck-- the manse is already close enough to Skullstone it'll be a mere 5-day trip. If there's any training you all want to get started on, you have 10 days worth of training to do so.

Five of those ten days are spent in creation, giving my time to summon five demons. They are as follows:
-Nachash, a Perroneles, abscissicly bound under the Vizier plate, bent on corrupting me to serve the will of Lucian.
-Apple, a particularly willful Sesselja, abscissically bound under the Horror plate, fearful of the strange portion of hell it's master now traverses.
-Chereb, one of the rarer, equanimous Tomescu abscissically bound under the Courtesan plate, who no long screams, having long since accepted it's mortality.
-Lahat, a Gilmyne, abscissically bound under the Killer plate, seeking to learn new forms of dance unlike those in Malfeas.
-Tyre, a Radeken, abscissically bound under the Hunter plate, summoned to direct creation's weather to serve the Yozi.

Seven days are dedicated to training the afformentioned dot of socalize.

>I'd like each of you to make a Perception + Awareness check, and tell me what visual and mental acuity charms you have active, as well as what stealth charms are currently active
Perception four, Awareness one, and a two die specialty in hunting, if that's relevant. Amethyst Awareness is always up, that's the equivalent of All Encompassing Sorcerours Sight, giving me Essence Sight. My only supernatural stealth based capabilitites are based on staying still and lying in wait, unless Spider's Trap Door could be applied to some portion of the base?

>you have an option of changing to a quality ship with Skullstone sails or maintaining your flight until you're over your true destination. Once everyone has agreed on the exact course of action (please specify whether switching to a boat, staying in the manse or both, and which henchmen are staying behind), we'll proceed.
>`Rani adds that she could produce as fine a ship as is required from the pumpkin of the Vitalius-wood platform. This does raise another option, though. Instead of traveling openly in disguise, cutting deals, we might sail beneath the waves in a sealed container instead, hidden from many eyes, and only needing to rely on false papers should we cross paths with a patrol capable of detecting or intercepting us

Ships are trivial to aquire for us, given our array of magical capabilitites. John is obviously most interested in supporting "Suuzen" and her case- OOC I feel like actually going through checkpoints would be more fun, getting to try and roleplay and interact with the setting. We have been warned that time is a vital commodity though, and as such we may wish to speedboat under the waves and immediately attend to our investigation.

>Precious Maiden Maharani will take the first opportunity over the next 5 days of mountain-flight to seduce the Lunar akuma
John has a particular interest in hunting for new forms and crafting from flesh. Should the precious maiden frame the secduction attempt as a game of bird-and-crab, ending in a meal of living flesh (is is still cannibalism if you can be more than one species?) that would certainly entice The Thing into a evening tryst. Judicious application of Flesh-Weaving Tendrils, and the fact that the tentacles have a mind of their own allowing for flurries with fewer penalties, would no doubt make the event one to forget. Healing of course would be rendered at the earliest convience, once desired.

>John, your urge is feeling pretty itchy right now.
The would require me to have a target I'm aware of which is lost in fog.
No. 981473 ID: 0640da

rolled 7, 2, 8, 9, 5, 4, 7, 9, 2, 7, 5, 10, 5, 3, 8, 3, 8, 2, 3, 6, 8, 2, 5, 3, 2, 2, 2, 6, 4, 1, 2, 3, 6, 3, 10, 7, 7, 8, 3, 9, 7, 10, 3, 3, 6, 3, 4, 6, 4, 8, 5, 6, 9, 7, 10, 4, 6, 9, 4, 7 = 327

Roll looks good enough, I see some early successes and you didn't need much. The iconic anima banner of a weasel makes it very clear who you're looking at-- a bit of rooting around and trying to recall is difficult, but the Tomescu, Chereb, wanders by and tosses out a mundane scythe to jog your memory-- before deciding his attention best serves elsewhere.

Ah, right-- Whirling Blades Cleaving. She's a peculiar abyssal. Not a major player by any means, but not a minor player either-- hair parted down the center, divided into white and grey bangs, before going to a black bob cut. No, wait, wrong details-- she likes dividing things in half. Notably, other people. She seems to prefer bisection exclusively, and she's rather implacable, difficult to hit. Her most notable social quirk is that she speaks some terrifying language and is, for that reason, difficult to talk to-- many have tried to figure out what she's saying, but it must be some physical taint or flaw. She does not speak any cardinal language, nor Old Realm, nor tribal languages. She's important enough to get a tactical document written on her, but she's managed not to die this whole time, despite being on the front lines regularly.

If you're planning to converse with her, you better have some tricks up your sleeves.
No. 981498 ID: 0640da

Following up; the Abyssal is clearly cleaving her way through dragon kings, based on what you can see. There's a number of crocodile shaped noncombatants trying to flee out the back, and into the fog-- they take byzantine paths down the mountain, holding onto one another and clutching precious eggs in fear. A few remain back, clustering together and gathering dragon kings on all fours as best they can.
No. 981510 ID: ac57f8

rolled 8, 2, 9, 5, 10, 6, 1, 2, 4, 2, 6, 2, 9, 7, 7, 5, 7, 9, 5, 5, 3, 2, 7, 7, 6, 7, 2, 7, 10, 7, 9, 2, 1, 3, 9, 8, 6, 5, 1, 9, 9, 7, 6, 5, 2, 9, 7, 9, 5, 9 = 290

Doom has seen enough, even if he's only actually seen an anima banner. "I'm going to go deal with that. Feel free to join me." He's going to take a beeline directly towards Whirling Blades Cleaving, sprinting directly off of the flying manse, moving at full keel directly at the fight, running through buildings, crowds, and anything unfortunate enough to be standing in his way.

Mechanically, in the first 3 seconds spending 1m per tick to boost Dex for dashing speed, so starting at 16 ticks per second, 17, then 18 for the entire rest of the thing, discounted to 0m/second by Effortless Isidoros Dominance for 1.5 minutes per mile, so 7.5 minutes, or ~8 ticks on the long combat scale.

Wits 4 + Awareness 6 + 10 Excellency for join battle, 7m spent on that (10-3 from Effortless Isidoros Dominance discount at -4m on Isidoros Excellency now)
No. 981717 ID: 04d278

So, updated mechanics since I was wrong on some key assumptions.

Doom is going to be making the Join War roll first, and so that is a full 10m spent from Peripheral.

Then, since the Dice pool for Infernal Excellencies when it is only an attribute or an ability is the respective ability +Essence, that means Doom will spend 8m on speed boosting to get to 21 speed, x100 for acting as a solo unit in mass combat, which means 4 long ticks to cross the 8,800 yards between the Manse and the ongoing fight

The first 12m are peripheral to get Anima Power pumping and the other 6 are personal
No. 981731 ID: 0640da

rolled 5, 4, 6, 5, 4, 9, 8, 3, 5, 3, 8, 10, 6, 6, 2, 5, 2, 5, 2, 4, 2, 6, 8, 10, 8, 2, 5, 1, 6, 5, 9, 5, 1, 7, 6, 1, 9, 7, 9, 1, 9, 6, 9, 5, 1, 10, 10, 1, 5, 1, 6, 2, 2, 4, 1, 4, 4, 5, 4, 10, 1, 3, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, 6, 4, 8 = 371

The abyssal Whirling Blades Cleaving gets Wits 3, Awareness 2 to Join War. She is working as a solo unit. The muck around her is providing an additional penalty to her movespeed, but she is zooming in on the Mosok expedition team as quickly as she can manage it.

Atl, bedazzled and wealthy-looking unit leader of the Mosok raiding party, gets Wits 4, War 4 (minus 2 for his magnitude). He has two Apprentice officers (a relay and a champion), and a few humans working for him-- the feral dragon kings seem to know not to attack those marked. Some of them even wear jewelry, which is a good a sign as you can get they're close to reaching E2. His weapon looks to be an artifact.

Ollin, magically inclined and refined unit leader of the Mosok expedition team, gets Wits 4, War 2 (minus 2 for his magnitude). There are no feral dragon kings under his employ, but he has a highly unbalanced team-- two sorcerers. They're currently preparing a spell of some kind, and Whirling Blades Cleaving is certainly attempting to advance on them.

Acatl, warpainted unit leader of the Mosok hunting party, leads the largest army here-- magnitude 3 of feral dragon kings, giving him Wits 4, War 3 (minus 3). His unit is disordered. Among his number, they are spread out, stalking Cleaving and trying to attack her from all angles as she advances through muck. It's slowing her down, but each cut cleaves through more of them. He has one Relay, and a number of sorcerers training their bows on the abyssal and firing. All his champions lay in bloody puddles on the soft banks of the lake here.

Cipactli, stout, powerful and head-feathered unit leader of the Mosok religious movement gets Wits 5, War 5 with only a few attendants around his person, enough for Magnitude 1 at most. He's overseeing the conflict and trying to hold out as long as he can. Prayers to the Unconquered Sun can be heard loudly on the approach-- they empower the dragon kings here, and make Cleaving wince and scowl in black tongues. It's unclear if the staff and shaker he employs are artifacts, but it certainly makes Cleaving hiss with each shake. He has two E3+ Relay officers.

Lastly, a Magnitude 3 unit of noncombatants is fleeing. Their mobility is not hampered by the soft marshy grounds of the mountain bog, nor is it affected by the thick fog-- but their path is byzantine, and easy to get lost inside. We won't roll for them unless it gets really down to the line. They are guided by Broodmother Calli.

Anyone else who wants to join should form a unit before rolling Join War, or join as a solo unit.

= A note on Names and Unit Names =

Named figures are not extras, and named units are not known by those unit names in character-- it just makes it easier to tell them apart when making actions if I say 'religious movement' rather than 'Mosok army D'.
No. 981770 ID: d9acdc

rolled 3, 1, 2, 4, 9, 4, 6, 4, 6, 8, 2, 7, 8, 2, 3, 9, 8, 9, 4, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 4, 8, 6, 2, 6, 8, 2, 6, 10, 7, 5, 8, 10, 1, 2, 6, 1, 3, 7, 9, 10, 9, 1, 10, 10, 9, 3, 3, 10, 9, 7, 2, 3, 6, 4 = 339

As Doom flexes and prepares for his kill, John responds similarly, intending to indulge the urge to hunt and consume those lost below. Before this however...

The Thing attempts to bargain with it's sapient relic, and forstal the hunt for a brief few minutes.
"I do intend to hunt, but I believe if I rally allied demons first, then we may yet sow more confusion; as the Radeken descend, panic may set in, causing the Mosok to loose their way in the chaos. Would you find it amenable to wait to descend until I make my case to the demons nearby?"

Then, assuming the relic agrees, John heads to find Tyre. The Radeken is bound under the hunter plate, and I do not believe that compells it to follow specific orders I give:
>At low Limit, the Killer is sated and on its best behavior, seeing the sorcerer as the path to opportunities for satisfaction.
Given that it is at low limit though, it seems likely pursuasion attempts will be easy enough.

"I wish your aid; I intend to ride into the sky and create a fog bank which will attract the nearby Radeken. If you allow me to ride upon your back and add your voice to mine, I shall grant you the smoke from my bonsai tree, burned from tip to base."

The plan is to fly a few miles into the sky and activate Weather Control to spread a bank of fog which will hopefully attract the numerous nearby radekn, who will want to steal my weather. Then, after activating Flowering the Fairer Face, I'll attempt to make a social attack based on what they except, with the eventual hope of getting them to descend and help spread chaos for us. Happy to make that attack in detail as a second post once I have more information from FtFF/confirmation the preceeding steps worked.
No. 981776 ID: f57349

rolled 5, 3, 4, 8, 1, 6, 5, 9, 2, 7, 8, 10, 10, 10, 4, 10, 5, 8, 2, 2, 2, 2, 4, 3, 8, 7, 10, 10, 5, 5, 2, 5, 4, 4, 2, 9, 6, 9, 3, 8, 2, 8, 1, 8, 5, 2, 8, 6, 8, 8, 2, 8, 4, 2, 1, 6, 5, 3, 10, 6 = 330

> If rebuffed, she'll try instead for Doom or Suuzen
Suuzen is fully amenable to spending a few hours alone together with Precious Maiden Maharani, provided the pleasant diversion doesn't interrupt any mission-critical responsibilities... but since that would be a separate scene, where she's trying to relax and let her hair down, you'd better be prepared for some clingy cuddles from a fungus-infested bog mummy.

>How openly do we wish to travel? Should we trust to disguise or stealth, foremost?
All else being equal I'd prefer submerged stealth. Normally the major tradeoff is extra suspicion if discovered, but our false papers were calculated to minimize that, and it's already a war zone anyway.

However, this looks like opportunity being dropped in our laps to recruit a significant force of local guides, so, Money In The Street Stratagem takes precedence. How about pumpkining up a vessel suited to threading steep, swift-flowing rivers, then sailing it off the side of the manse while casting Keel Cleaves The Clouds, and continuing "downhill," gaining speed all the way, for a dynamic entry? Make sure to include some padded racks suited for safely transporting mosok eggs in the ship's interior - frees up hands and reduces risk of breakage during the excitement, plus it puts us in a better negotiating position once the battle's over without being obviously dickish up front.

Once we're deployed and acting in mass combat time, Raising the Earth's Bones could carve a more convenient line (canal?) of retreat, bypassing the bottleneck of those "byzantine paths." If I'm understanding right, the island is a dormant or extinct volcano, with a swampy area in the caldera at the top from which the mosok are fleeing? Might be possible to use some combination of intel from the Metal Reef dossier, general geological knowledge, and Dragon of Smoke and Flame to identify a spot where some combination of earthmoving sorcery and Doom Inevitable's characteristically excessive force could open up a natural stone wall and drain the caldera, turning some long-forgotten lava tube into a tactically advantageous waterslide - which, ideally, could allow us to disengage with most of the surviving mosok in tow before WBC gets a good look at us.
No. 981783 ID: f57349

Also going to give John some explicit orders: these mosok are potential allies, and they're known in general to have great powers of illusion and disguise (as well as potential access to superhuman senses through the Clear Air Path), so DO NOT personally kill or eat any of them, nor allow your bound demons to do so, if there is even the slightest possibility of being observed.

If anyone is trying to use soul-destroying charms against the mosok, take all reasonable measures to make sure they don't succeed, and also that some surviving sapient mosok see you doing so. Actual results are more important than grandstanding, but stealing that artifact scythe may be useful for both.

Sapient adults are the main priority for rescue efforts, but reckless endangerment of stalkers or eggs is strongly discouraged. Mind games or minor injuries are fine, worst case I've even got options for fixing up amputees, just try to avoid chasing any of them into greater immediate danger, disrupting the retreat, or messy premature hatching.

Against the deathknight or accompanying undead, gloves are off, go nuts. Ideally, avoid letting any creatures of death escape who might then be able to accurately describe your Tell, iconic anima, or other identifying details to their boss. Feel free to take prisoners whenever the opportunity comes up and containment seems feasible, and remember that "dead men tell no tales" does not necessarily apply where necromancy is involved.
No. 981825 ID: afdebc

rolled 2, 4, 6, 6, 2, 3, 6, 8, 2, 5, 2, 8, 10, 4, 6, 9, 5, 2, 4, 5, 6, 1, 5, 3, 2, 1, 1, 9, 7, 4, 1, 8, 4, 5, 4, 8, 8, 3, 3, 7, 3, 1, 2, 7, 8, 4, 4, 3, 4, 9 = 234

>you'd better be prepared for some clingy cuddles from a fungus-infested bog mummy
Cuddle buddies!

>ship plan
Over the last few days, between a combination of Maharani applying Corrosive Pattern Inflection, and John's crafting skills, a vessel comparable an Iceholt Barge has been created. It's not the sleekest thing in the world, but such things matter little when it relies on Acrid Slipstream Assist for propulsion. While capable of being submerged, today it will ride the waves rather than sail before them. Today marks the maiden voyage of the HMS Great Pumpkin! ("In Hell's Majestic Service" of course, not to confused with the "in Her Majesty's Service" prefix favored by the Realm navy).

In preparation for this rescue mission the fairy godmother spends 8m on Corrosive Pattern Inflection, reequipping the vessel with accommodations for the refugees- especially dragon king scale bunks, and secure egg cradles.

That's Manipulation 5 + Lore 5 + Transformation 2 + Stunt, and the stunt upgrades by resonating with 'Rani's motivation. I'll buy a single successes with the Second Adorjan Excellency (part of our sudden attempt to derail the Abyssal's attack), which means I only need to roll 3 successes or more.

(So -10m personal, and then assuming an upgraded stunt 2, +6m back on the next action).

Forming a Magnitude 2 mass combat unit to crew the rescue ship with 'Rani as the commander, Baldy as relay, two creepers as sorcerers, and Suuzen as champion. The rank and fire are Baldy's minions: the three Shamblers, his two demonic familiars, the several additional demons he has beckoned with thaumatugry, and possibly any of the yozi cultists living on the mountaintop manse that tag along. As unit leader, the malefactor's IRA boosts drill, moral and might.

Join War: Wits 4 + War 3 - Magnitude 2 + 2 from Unwoven Coadjutor + Stunt = 7 dice + stunt. I'll buy 2 successes with my excellency, discounted to only count 3m.

(So -3m personal, and then +4m or +6m on next DV refresh).

Finally, 'Rani earlier committed 8m peripheral to Acrid Slipstream Assist to her beloved vessel, which means its base move rate is twice 'Rani's own swimming speed, or 120 yards per tick.
No. 981826 ID: afdebc

> the several additional demons he has beckoned with thaumatugry
On second thought, no, we're not bringing those guys.

>Newly beckoned demons I was planning to leave behind at the manse, see if they can behave themselves and make a positive contribution before risking their presence out on an important mission.
No. 981953 ID: f57349

rolled 1, 10, 5, 8, 2, 3, 7, 1, 7, 1, 8, 3, 1, 8, 7, 2, 2, 10, 1, 10, 1, 2, 9, 4, 9, 9, 9, 5, 6, 10, 8, 3, 9, 4, 8, 2, 3, 4, 2, 4, 7, 3, 6, 7, 6, 3, 1, 4, 8, 3, 3, 9, 3, 6, 10, 2, 2, 7, 2, 9 = 309

Rolling for rapid geological survey of the volcano in question, particularly any currently-sealed lava tubes leading down toward the ocean which a casting of Raise The Earth's Bones (or other readily available force) will be sufficient to open up, and which the mosok could then use as additional lines of retreat.

Baldy's Perception 5, Intelligence 5, Lore 5, Survival 1, Kimbery excellency, Theft As Release (insofar as I'm trying to steal away the deathknight's prey), Cracked Cell Circumvention (insofar as finding such a route would aid escape from the caldera, though that certainly doesn't apply until we're actually down in there), and henchmen with higher Survival skills and the spell Dragon of Smoke and Flame (Wits 3, Occult 5 for the caster), and maps of the area from our original mission briefing may be relevant assets.

Stunt is thinking back to a lifetime of experience cracking open Eastern landscapes so Mother Bog could chew on the good parts more easily. Maybe she's never gotten her head caught in a bucket quite like this before, but caring for a nonsapient swamp should follow most of the same basic principles. If that qualifies as a 2-die, and such a thing would be permissible within the dramatic editing, I'd like to add a lava tube wide enough for the barge we're in to fit through safely, like a log flume, and further specify that once a massive stone plug at the top is removed the whole caldera will start to drain.
No. 982095 ID: 0640da

rolled 7, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 5, 2, 8, 10, 5, 3, 4 = 68

= Post-Combat =

The Abyssal, Whirlwind Blades Cleaving, gave in after seeing her mote consumption wouldn't keep up. It's unclear to what extent she's given up, but she formally surrenders to Doom Inevitable in a bid for her life.

From the combat thread...

She's used Infinite Blasphemy Glossolia to choke out words in Old Realm. "Why... here." She strains, her willpower lowering. and holds her blade steady at Doom's neck. She's breathing heavily. "...mine... mine to leave... you leave, it." Her voice is wheezing. She can't keep this up for much longer-- her kit is built for assassinations, not confrontations with strong men, and her circle isn't present. She wants to end combat and talk.

Doom doesn't even flinch and is practically inviting her to try for his head, but he's not making any motions to leave. "My reason for being here isn't terribly important, but why wouldn't I come rushing in when clearly there is some very big fight going on?"

"...my fight... you... interfered." She lowers her scythe, arms drooping. "Again... Doom Inevitable..." She growls and groans.

As Doom captures the Abyssal (or lets her go, I'm not in charge), Cipactli is going to approach the pumpkin, while the other DK watch over Doom carefully. Broodmother Calli still hides among the crowd that is trying to flee, but they are then surrounded by the force of Radeken that John is currently hitching a ride with. Nobody is quite sure what's going on, but there's a ceasefire.

I'd like Maharani to complete her rally, to see if she can encourage some hostages onboard, even before Calli and Cipactli have their discussion. Calli is going to use one of her integrated artifacts to resist control of her people-- but she's not far enough down the Dark Paths to do anything more than give you a -3 penalty, Maharani.

Functionally, the combat is over-- you'll all get 8 XP from the experience and the following social encounter, as soon as you get actual downtime. I'd appreciate if someone did a recap, but there's no need. I learned a lot, thank you for putting up with how fresh a Storyteller I am!
No. 982097 ID: 0640da

At least 6 successes. There is, oddly, no record of this volcano having a city inside it-- nor any record of the strange, artificial plating at the bottom of the caldera. Past that plating, a network of tunnels and a river runs through the mountain, like a geomantic array... the whole mountain hums with a hidden power, but the array is damaged. Further surveys to determine the extent of the damage might be required.

The Dragon of Smoke and Flame returns in several tens of minutes with information about a sealed vault in the tunnels, obscured by great magic but impossible for the dragon to see beyond. It's clear something's up.
No. 982156 ID: f57349

rolled 5, 10, 10, 7, 10, 3, 9, 6, 1, 10, 9, 6, 3, 9, 7, 1, 2, 5, 1, 2, 2, 8, 10, 4, 10, 6, 3, 10, 10, 4, 6, 1, 1, 5, 1, 6, 9, 8, 8, 6, 9, 10, 7, 8, 5, 7, 5, 7, 8, 8, 9, 3, 5, 2, 4, 10, 7, 5, 2, 3 = 358

So, fight's over, we won? Let's formally accept that surrender in the form of a unilateral nonaggression treaty sanctified by the Fiend anima power, clearly specifying the defeated former governor not just as an individual but as an agent of the Silver Prince, then draft some papers saying the island belongs to Mother Bog now (while incidentally implying it always did) and get the deathknight to sign those with a social attack backed by Theft As Release. Maybe convert some existing gubernatorial mansion into an embassy.

Can we upgrade our various demonic familiars to the 3-dot level by naming them as official residents in the real-estate paperwork, thereby metaphysically establishing a foothold for them in Creation?
No. 982344 ID: afdebc

rolled 3, 1, 2, 6, 3, 2, 1, 7, 2, 9, 1, 8, 1, 9, 9, 4, 1, 2, 1, 7, 8, 6, 10, 8, 10, 5, 8, 6, 3, 8, 5, 6, 9, 3, 3, 1, 1, 5, 4, 2, 1, 9, 8, 1, 1, 5, 3, 7, 5, 2 = 232


>There is a flash of green and silver in the distant sky in response Cipactli's prayers, and within mere moments a shooting star begins to draw near. As the illumination draws nearer and larger, it reveals itself as a glorious and radiant barge descending from the heavens, more beautiful than those present have seen before. At its brow, the living figurehead is a breathtaking woman, a glowing siren or mermaid adorned in pearl, coral, and gold. As the celestial vessel descends from the clouds and comes to rest on the waters by the broodmother's party, she spreads her arms in open invitation, wordlessly beckoning them aboard.

Right, so I'm just gonna try resolving this as social combat at this point.

Dice: Charisma 4 + Performance 5 + Stunt + Compassion 8 (+ another 2 for any of them who might happen to be yozi cultists)
Successes: +1 from Malefactor anima power, +4 from First Adorjan Excellency

Social attack is wordless and pretty simple, so language doesn't matter. Dropping out of the sky and offering rescue may be enough to make this count as unexpected. 'Rani currently has appearance 10, so anyone with appearance 7 or less is at -3 MDV from relative appearance. If the Dragon Kings are currently under an Emotion effect of fear from exposure to the Dusk anima power and fleeing for their lives, that also probably penalizes MDVs for resisting rescue. Furthermore, a chance to save their own lives, the lives of the children, and their community may resonate with the motivations, virtues, or intimacies of those in the crowd, further reducing MDV -3, -2 or -1.

The social attack is NMI, and can be resisted as normal, though the wp cost increases with every 3 successes by which 'Rani beats MDV. However, to think about resisting that, the refugees likely first have to spend 3wp to resist the Unnatural Illusion caused by Grotto of Sweet Songs Shintai that this perfectly normal and reasonable.

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