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File 139443722714.png - (15.17KB , 600x400 , dungeoneer_ch2.png )
565839 No. 565839 ID: 256d52

http://www.tgchan.org/wiki/Dungeoneer

I don't think I ever properly appreciated the difficulties inherent in prospecting around the mountains.

But... it's close.
Expand all images
>>
No. 565840 ID: 256d52
File 139443730454.png - (9.83KB , 600x400 , mountain_climbing.png )
565840

Hrrrm, I suppose if a good dungeon site was easy to get to, it would have already been claimed.

As my group drew closer to the mountains, I could pick out other sites but they didn't really speak to me like this one. What I'm really looking for is... potential. And for it to sing to me like this from such a distance, it is deep and untapped. Even with so much work ahead of me to harness it, I could not resist. I know now there is something old and powerful and hidden much deeper into the mountains. I might need to be careful.

The caves are rudimentary near the surface, but starting completely from scratch is far from ideal. The earth pulse can be fickle. So what I need is an accessible site that will at least provide me a start and that won't be too troublesome in terms of procuring food, water, shelter and the other basic necessities while a more permanent set-up is established. It'll be too much trouble trying to lug all the baggage up here until I'm sure it's the right way to go, but I should take a companion with me for a second opinion.

>Hin
>Merud
>Moriko
>Reisarf & Stargazer
>>
No. 565841 ID: a87e3a

>>565840
When are you planning on revealing your true nature to your recruits? Never, aside from Merud? Once we get them set up in a completed dungeon? After they've done some work for us already?

Let's bring Hin. We've been around her the least, and having her for stone analysis could be good.
>>
No. 565842 ID: 0b54f4

>there is something old and powerful and hidden much deeper into the mountains
Do you mean, like, near the middle of your planned spot, or like, farther than you're planning to dig, but still close enough to potentially notice you?

>>565841
>Hin
Agreed. Good point about assessing the rocks. My other choice would have been Reisarf and Stargazer, with the logic that maybe they're good at seeing things otherwise unnoticed, but I actually forget their true specialty.

>telling everybody about you
I kinda forget, what's everybody not-in-the-know think you are? Just a golem, or what? I mean, you'd think they'd have figured out by now that something's odd.
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No. 565844 ID: 53ba34

hin is a smith not a miner. want to talk about ores and metal? sure go ahead. regular rock? doubt she knows much.

go with Reisarf & Stargazer, star may have a very interesting opinion that only her kind could think up.
>>
No. 565848 ID: ebc77d

Probably Reisarf and Stargazer or Hin would be the best choice. We want someone who'll give us an educated survey of our site while being pretty good in a fight. We don't know if there are any wandering monsters that we may have to fight. Hin might be better at finding ore sites while Reisarf and Stargazer would be better at a more magical outlook.

I think it's best to go with Reisarf and Stargazer. We would like our heart to be healed and at full strength faster and futhermore I don't think we can do the blacksmithing thing too quickly. It's more of a medium term goal
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No. 565849 ID: 379075

I'd say Moriko because we're walking into a series of potential ambushes with unknown current residents and hazards. She's also reasonably in tune with the earth pulse so she should be able to grasp your considerations. Otherwise Reisarf and Stargazer between them are most likely to notice or know something you would not.
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No. 565853 ID: 4a75fa

Searching seems to me like the realm of the eye. That's certainly Stargazer's strength. She might see things that aren't obvious, even to you.

...although, you're probably pretty good at the mystical earth aspect of this. Might not be the best choice if you're looking for grounding in human practicalities (supplies, food, getting to, etc. ...although maybe Reisarf's stature would pose a natural restraint on picking too hard to access a site?). Of the others, Hin might be the best for that? She's the only one of them to have actually run a business.

I guess which you go with kind of depends on what you feel you need augmented.
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No. 565858 ID: 8496e6

can you tell if there are any streams or underground rivers in these mountains? because if I recall correctly Stargazer wanted somewhere to swim, it would also give us a fresh source of water, and Hin could use it to cool her weapons once we get a forge going for her.

I also think we should bring Reisarf & Stargazer because they seemed the most willing, know how to fight, and stargazer might be go at seeing things we might miss because she is basically an eyeball on a stick.
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No. 565864 ID: 34b2f2

I'd go with Moriko for the reasons >>565849 stated.
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No. 565869 ID: a7868d

I'd say Moriko since we are as likely as ever to need protection searching random caves, and her connection to the earth pulse should make her in tune with a suitable site same as Deem would be.

But after that uncomfortable moment I think giving the two of you some distance is a good idea. Reisarf and Stargazer seem a likely choice. Alienest magic isn't something we are familiar with but when you met stargazer it clearly was able to see some things about you that weren't readily apparent, perhaps it can lend that same trained eye to this task.
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No. 565872 ID: 6abcd2

Take Reisarf+Stargazer! Reisarf would be the best at understanding what this old and powerful thing is. Stargazer also seems to be very detection-oriented so far, he might might be able to gauge a sites potential for power much better than anyone else.

Whoever you bring might be worth having a chat with. It would also let you explain a bit more about yourself and your motives. Ask a bit about why they agreed to join you. Also ask them what they need for a good site. Suggest somewhere closer to a mountain peak so there can be an observatory for them near or at the top.

Also, are these mountains... volcanic? I think a lava pit would be awesome.
>>
No. 565890 ID: 2e236a

Reisarf + Stargazer
an extra, unique point of view, and reality-rending magic all in one relatively tiny package.

This should also ensure you end up with a place that has a great view.
>>
No. 565997 ID: e31ca1

Reisaf and Stargazer! Who better to notice things you don't or can't? You will have to concentrate more on the physical necessities yourself, though.
>>
No. 566143 ID: 26e322

I say we bring Hin
>>
No. 566153 ID: 99d6f9

Bring Reisaf and Stargazer because it's important to focus on recon for now.
>>
No. 566160 ID: dcd676

Moriko, we should get to know our newest party member a bit better.
>>
No. 567469 ID: a7868d

Yeah, lets bring Moriko.
>>
No. 567539 ID: fa79e9

Reisarf.

ask him if he senses anything from this place as well.
>>
No. 567540 ID: 0ee153

Buddying up with Moriko is all well and good, but let's bring someone who's likely to be useful.

Like, say, the guy with the eye staff when we're looking for shit. Reisarf.
>>
No. 568350 ID: 256d52
File 139635466567.png - (16.62KB , 600x400 , e_rank_vitality.png )
568350

>I kinda forget, what's everybody not-in-the-know think you are? Just a golem, or what? I mean, you'd think they'd have figured out by now that something's odd.
Knowledge of Dungeon Hearts apparently isn't too widespread and an intelligent golem is very rare, but not completely unheard of.

>When are you planning on revealing your true nature to your recruits? Never, aside from Merud? Once we get them set up in a completed dungeon? After they've done some work for us already?
When it's appropriate.

>There is something old and powerful and hidden much deeper into the mountains
>Do you mean, like, near the middle of your planned spot, or like, farther than you're planning to dig, but still close enough to potentially notice you?
The latter. It's significantly deeper into the mountain chain.

>Probably Reisarf and Stargazer or Hin would be the best choice. We want someone who'll give us an educated survey of our site while being pretty good in a fight.
Sound reasoning. Merud and Moriko both seem deficient in one or the other.

>Searching seems to me like the realm of the eye. That's certainly Stargazer's strength. She might see things that aren't obvious, even to you.
>...although, you're probably pretty good at the mystical earth aspect of this. Might not be the best choice if you're looking for grounding in human practicalities (supplies, food, getting to, etc. ...although maybe Reisarf's stature would pose a natural restraint on picking too hard to access a site?). Of the others, Hin might be the best for that? She's the only one of them to have actually run a business.
'Pretty good'? Oh, you wound me. I think I will take Reisarf. You're right about the unknown.

... he seems to be struggling a little.
>>
No. 568351 ID: 256d52
File 139635473054.png - (64.28KB , 600x1240 , and_knowing_is_half_the_battle.png )
568351

>Whoever you bring might be worth having a chat with. It would also let you explain a bit more about yourself and your motives. Ask a bit about why they agreed to join you. Also ask them what they need for a good site.
We stop to rest. I tell Reisarf I'm a little curious about how where he came from and why he's here with me now.

"There's not much to say, really." Reisarf says after he catches his breath. "I was born in a little village on the seaside.

"One day I happened to be away at a remote part of the coast by myself and I met Stargazer there.

"We helped each other but she was lost and very far from home so we decided to stick together.

"The other villagers didn't want her around and I wouldn't be parted from her so they were talking about exiling me too. There were a lot of arguments about it. Eventually they said that, since I didn't have my parents any more, I could live there until I came of age."

He seems so calm. I'm finding it a little eerie. "Don't you hate them?" I say. "Don't you resent what they did?"

He sighs. "No. A lot of them, they were trying to be as kind as they could under the circumstances."

I can't understand him at all.
>>
No. 568352 ID: 256d52
File 139635480041.png - (26.30KB , 600x460 , dungeoneering_is_ok_i_guess.png )
568352

"So why did you decide to join up with me then?"

He half shrugs, leaning on Stargazer for support. "Because you were nice. Because you were interesting." he says, with that strange little half smile on his face. "What about you Deem? Why did you decide to start a dungeon?"

I suppose I should try to get fired up talking about gold and glory and blood and fire and the dark roar of the the earth-power within. But in this clear mountain air, though I know it will not help me to admit it, some imp of the perverse touches me.

"It's all I know." I say.

I start walking ahead. That cave's close, it's close. A measure of urgency creeps into my stride.
>>
No. 568353 ID: 256d52
File 139635486650.png - (47.47KB , 600x400 , need_strength_hm.png )
568353

Ah... here it is.

No wonder it was muffled. There was a cave-in long ago. It goes in some distance. Three forks. One's caved in, one's partially flooded, and the last is a narrow little fissure in the rock that goes higher all the way up to... I think there's a tiny enclosed valley?

And deeper I can feel heat and the dull burn of gold. It sends a shiver through my body. Wild gold that has never felt the hand of man, beginning to be freed from a reef of quartz.

>Also, are these mountains... volcanic? I think a lava pit would be awesome.
Lava's a bit hard to work with just starting out!

>Can you tell if there are any streams or underground rivers in these mountains? because if I recall correctly Stargazer wanted somewhere to swim, it would also give us a fresh source of water, and Hin could use it to cool her weapons once we get a forge going for her.
It looks like water collects higher in the mountains and enters this cave at some point. All these small rocks got washed down because of it. It's dry at the moment. I can easily build a cistern and yes, I think there is something deeper too... I don't have a very good affinity for water.

"What do you think?" I say to Reisarf. The gold is closest here. My mind is more or less made up. "We could try higher? Closer to the peak? You said you'd like an observatory."

"No!" Reisarf takes a breath. "Er, I mean you don't want to make it too hard to get to. There's some things you'll probably need to haul up here as well, wood especially." He turns to look back out at the landscape. "You can see the trail down the mountain fairly easily. You'd have a lot of advance warning if someone's coming. It's so pretty too. You can almost see the town from here..."

>This should also ensure you end up with a place that has a great view.
Oh? I hadn't even noticed.
>>
No. 568356 ID: 256d52
File 139635520039.png - (29.00KB , 750x400 , out_out_damned_slime.png )
568356

This will be the place. We head back down - downhill is much easier on Reisarf - and meet up with the others.

We manage to get ourselves and the golem-horses carrying our supplies up there, it's time we started setting up our camp.

There is one thing I'd like to take care of first though. It's time to bring out the last member of our group.

I get the others to find a pool. It's half dried up and murky with pond scum but that just makes it better for this purpose. We add some moss and a little food, mashed up. This is all to help Alkaline change from a royal jelly into her second instar. You could call it a princess. She still won't be able to bud off slimes, but it's a critical development period.

With the pool ready I uncork the stopper and try to drop the royal jelly in. I think it's stuck? I waggle the inverted bottle up and down experimentally.

"Are you sure you don't need a hand, Deem?" Merud says.

"I've done this before! She, unf, doesn't want to come out and shaking it up is no good for her! Maybe if we put some blood in the water..."

"They're like sharks?" Reisarf asks.

"I don't think it's a good idea to give it a taste for blood!" Hin adds.

"But blood's good for you, right?"

"Snrrrrr?" Charkarchelou purrs.

I tap the top of the bottle with my free hand.

PLOP
>>
No. 568358 ID: 256d52
File 139635531282.png - (14.98KB , 600x540 , you_got_the_slime.png )
568358

The jelly falls in and seems to dissolve, the crown floating on top as the water slowly changes colour. Alkaline starts to pull herself together in the middle, rising up under her crown.

"Everyone, this is Alkaline. She'll be a slime queen one day and provide us with slimes for the dungeon. Until then you'll all have to look out for her." I lean forward pat her on the head. She's a little sticky. "Hello Alkaline."

"Bluuuuu?"

ALKALINE HAS BEEN RECRUITED

"Cute." Hin chuckles.

"Can they learn to talk?" Moriko asks.

"Sometimes." I reply. "It helps if they're encouraged to mimic people while they're growing. There's a critical stage near the end that has a lot of influence on their abilities as an adult too. It's a good sign she's so well formed already. She just needs a little longer to figure out her arms and legs."

I wipe my hand off.

There's a lot of things to start thinking about with designing a dungeon but I need to settle something even more elementary than that for the moment. A work roster. We need to start digging right away, we need guards, it would help to explore the area, and Alkaline needs to be taken care of too.

Oh and food. They all seem to be getting sick of just trail rations. Now we have time I suppose someone needs to cook?
>>
No. 568359 ID: 76b151

Well ask your followers if anyone knows how to cook over a campfire. We shold also see what wild game is around since fresh meat is better then stored goods. Your dragon should be a fairly good hunter if no one else is.

Otherwise you can set up some traps along game trails.
>>
No. 568368 ID: e632fb

work roster: We have Deem and Merud to provide golems that can do gruntwork, which is good...
Hin, I think, should join whatever golems we have on that digging job-she won't be able to start up her forge right away and she should be doing something.
Reisarf&Stargazer probably would make good Alkaline-sitters, maybe with Merud there if he can have his golems work autonomously.
Moriko along with a few of the Deem Golems could gaurd the camp.
Exploring the area...No one seems particularly suited for it but I feel like if we don't put something into this it's going to come back to haunt us...Maybe Deem can do this from time to time.
Food's pretty much going to be an issue. I figure of everyone here...Hin or Reisarf might know the most about this, as for gathering food, maybe Charles could hunt some grub up?
In effect, here's what I think:
Digging: Merud Golems.
Gaurding: Deem Golems& Moriko.
Alkaline: Reisarf&Stargazer.
Exploring: Deem
Food: Hin& Charles (Hin cooks it, Charles gets it-should be declared lest kitchen shenanigans happens.)
>>
No. 568372 ID: ffa549

>I don't understand him at all
He doesn't judge or hate them for being afraid, even though he suffered from that fear.

>work rotation, what do
Digging (at least the main, big thrust of it) seems like that would be your realm. Shaping the earth is your power, and you didn't bring a team of miners. You should probably install your heart in a temporary location near the entrance of your dungeon to be, until you have a proper chamber deeper to move it to.

For construction tasks other than gross magical tunneling, Merud and Hin are the two with experience in well, making things. And conveniently, between Merud's golem stuff and Hin's strength, they may actually be up for the work.

Moriko may have a tactical insight into how parts of the dungeon should be setup (although I'd think you'd have that as well) and is certainly capable of physical labor (though that's hardly the best use of her skills) and Reisarf might be useful in helping set up some of the magical stuff (especially water related? That's more their element than yours. We'll need a good water supply for living creatures, the forge, traps, other things) or seeing hidden things to dig for, but those abilities will be less relevant in the initial stage of the dig.

Developing golems to help with labor (either of your design or Merud's, or both) is obviously a good idea. Anything that requires a lot of repetition, or more strength than the others can supply, is where they'll shine. Might also be worth making the guard and security problem easier by setting up a network of small golems to watch the perimeter and stuff (think security cameras, or if we want to put in more effort, little spy drones).

Do we have sufficient camping gear / shelter for the mortals, or do we need to erect temporary shelters before the dungeon's living spaces are complete?

Alkaline should be taken care of by different people. It will be good for her to be exposed to more than one of you. Reisarf seems one obvious choice (he's water attuned, and already been shown to be good building a relationship with one unusual creature). Merud has the giant golem hands if she proves a handful, and will probably be at least a little interested in her. Plus, if you want her to learn to talk, having your most verbose ally spend time with her is useful. Depending on how well behaved she is, spending time with her could even count as a sort of break from other labor. Obviously you need to spend time with her as well, if she's to be your creature, she should know and trust you.

Exploring (or hunting in) the immediate area might be done by quasidragon (this is sort of it's enviroment) possibly accompanied by Moriko. Another means of exploration might be escorting Reisarf and Stargazer to an appropriate vantage point to scan around.

Golems, Moriko, and the quasidragon are probably the best suited to guard duty as well. Reisaf / Stargazer would make a damn good sentry if they're not doing anything else, and are certainly capable of defending themselves (and his physical endurance is less of an issue standing around guarding some place). Hin's really not a fighter, and Merud would be better putting golems on the job.

>I suppose someone needs to cook?
Well, that would depend on who's actually good at it.
>>
No. 568386 ID: 53ba34

a possibly weirdly effective way to clear out the collapse would be to just turn the entire thing into a golem rock snake, and have it just slither out of the hole.
>>
No. 568395 ID: ffa549

Oh, another possible bonus for slime baby-sitting. Stargazer can certainly teach shapeshifting by example.
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No. 568476 ID: 113912

Yeah, I think main guard rotation is Merud, Chakarchelou and Moriko. Main babysitter/backup/camp necessities rotation would be Reisarf/Stargazer and Hin, and you're on dungeon delving, exploration and digging since you're the only one here who knows how to dig out and build a dungeon properly Deem. Everybody besides you absolutely needs backup and time to rest, and there should always be someone not doing something as reserve in case there's a crisis with raising Alkaline, security or your exploration and delving.

If, and only if, it turns out that my prospective main rotation is under-using someone's talent and leaving them too bored we can add additional duties. Until that happens I really don't want to cause a crisis by leaving people overworked or insufficiently supported however, and I'd really like it if we taught Alkaline some useful skills like speech, literacy and smithing (or maybe even some magic or combat skills if possible) while she's in her formative stages.
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No. 568527 ID: 6abcd2

First of all you should probably TELL people that you can already sense gold underground. That should provide a sense of long-term security. If people get wet and cold then they'll know that there's literally something shining at the end of the tunnel.

A work rota would probably be something like:
>>568368
However it would probably be best to discuss these tasks a bit with the rest. We don't know our comrades very well and they might have hidden strengths or skills we don't know about. How strong is Hin actually in a fight? What can Merud provide in terms of golems?

Moriko should probably lead small exploration and hunting parties during daytime, taking whoever is available with her. She can then do a bit of guarding at night or in the morning with others filling the gaps.

Would Deems avatar body be able to contribute to the digging significantly or can that work be done just as well or better using earth magic directly from the dungeon heart and work golems?

One of the first things to be dug out should probably be temporary accomodations. Don't suppose you have a good trick for making reasonably comfortable beds quickly?

Might it be worth it exploring the flooded cave? You don't need to breathe, right?
>>
No. 568536 ID: 53ba34

actually, when we reach the flooded area, stargazer may be able to help. one of the requests was for an area for her to swim in right? so she must be good at swimming.
>>
No. 568545 ID: 2c6ff1

>>568358
Dig: You and Chakarchelou should be good at that, right? Or do quasidragons not have any earth manipulation ability to make their lairs? Maybe Hin could help too, if she has a special tool for it. I wouldn't expect manual digging through solid rock to work at any reasonable speed so it'd have to be magical. If Merud has something that could work as well. But if nobody else has any earth manipulation then I'm afraid you'll have to do most of the work here Deem. Well, moving the cavein could go faster with a bit of help from Hin.
Guards: Moriko and Reisarf should be good at this. They can take shifts. Hin might be too; you could ask her how good she is in a fight- she looks pretty strong but does she have skill to back it up?
Exploring: Hin or Moriko would be good at this, because they should be able to traverse the mountain easily and deal with any wildlife. Reisarf might notice things the others won't but he's a bit out of shape apparently. On the other hand maybe he could use the exercise? Oh, I wonder how good Merud is at climbing? His robe could help him get around.
Alkaline: uh, I don't know what skills are useful here, but Merud seemed to know about it, so you and Merud can take care of her. Mainly Merud I expect, though you may be able to teach Reisarf enough about her to let him help.
Cooking: Um, nobody here is a specialist on this, so you'll have to ask. Preferably it should be someone who isn't doing much otherwise.
>>
No. 568814 ID: d24ac9

instead of just telling people what to do, maybe first make a list of all the necessities mentioned here and have your party members tell you which of those duties they are most capable and/or willing to perform.
>>
No. 568824 ID: ebc77d

I wonder if Hin might want to inspect the excavated spoil for any minerals or any ores that couyld be there
>>
No. 568889 ID: f290a2

>>568358
Reisarf & Stargazer to watch and maybe teach Alkaline, Merud will cook and when not cooking he can help them with getting her mimicking on.

you, hin and the golems dig/search. Moriko and Charkarchelou will guard.
>>
No. 569063 ID: a7868d

None of these people make an appropriate cook so lets let someone volunteer for that duty.

For other tasks, Moriko and Reisarf should scout the area. You and Merud should start digging (I'm assuming he can shape stone like you can), and Hin should be along analyzing the stone for metal ores and maybe helping, though I don't see her being capable of doing much more than watching.
>>
No. 570631 ID: dcd676

>>568814
>>568545
I agree with the initial suggestion for divvying people up to these tasks, but I still feel a quick explanation and check-in with the group would be nice. People might have some objections or preferences to work with and it'd be best to make sure people are doing what they're alright with/skilled at.
>>
No. 573075 ID: 256d52
File 139921064311.png - (26.43KB , 600x650 , how_does_she_do_it.png )
573075

>Allocations!
Um, from all of that I think I'll manage the golems digging out the cave and get Hin to assist. The golems won't need much oversight for simple tasks like this, so Merud and Reisarf can be the ones to finish setting up the camp, guarding it and watching Alkaline. Moriko and Chakarchelou can sweep the immediate area to make sure anything dangerous gets chased off and hopefully catch something edible. Once we're a little more established I should have people freed up to properly explore the area.

>Might it be worth it exploring the flooded cave? You don't need to breathe, right?
I don't need to breathe air, no. On the other hand, prolonged submersion isn't good for me. I need to take in a little water regularly to stop the clay in my body from stiffening up, but soaking up too much would make my body go strange.

>Actually, when we reach the flooded area, stargazer may be able to help. one of the requests was for an area for her to swim in right? so she must be good at swimming.
I'm not so sure about that. She doesn't seem to do much on her own. There's the option of using her Independent Action though I suppose.

>Reisarf doesn't judge or hate them for being afraid, even though he suffered from that fear.
I just don't get it.

>Alkaline should be taken care of by different people. It will be good for her to be exposed to more than one of you. Reisarf seems one obvious choice (he's water attuned, and already been shown to be good building a relationship with one unusual creature). Merud has the giant golem hands if she proves a handful, and will probably be at least a little interested in her. Plus, if you want her to learn to talk, having your most verbose ally spend time with her is useful. Depending on how well behaved she is, spending time with her could even count as a sort of break from other labour. Obviously you need to spend time with her as well, if she's to be your creature, she should know and trust you.
Hmmm, I'll have to keep that in mind.
>>
No. 573076 ID: 256d52
File 139921073641.png - (40.67KB , 800x550 , chore_allocation.png )
573076

>First of all you should probably TELL people that you can already sense gold underground. That should provide a sense of long-term security. If people get wet and cold then they'll know that there's literally something shining at the end of the tunnel.
I get everyone together and give them the good news. It'll be a lot of work to dig that deep, extract the raw gold and tame it, but I think you're right. The guarantee of a payoff seems to have set a few minds at ease.

After that I explain how I intend to split the duties for the first few days. No-one objects to the roster I propose.

Reisarf doesn't have a very sturdy constitution and is still tired from the climb up here so he'll be watching the camp and Alkaline. Merud will help him. Maintaining a number of golems for a prolonged period of time is draining but they have simple instructions and if he's just hanging around the camp it shouldn't put too much further stress on him. Merud seems a little anxious for some reason but Reisarf seems as laid back at the prospect as always.

Moriko simply nods. I think she's pleased. She's been distant these last few days. I hope Chakarchelou listens to her properly.

Hin sees the logic about there not being much blacksmith work to do while we're getting set up but I'm not sure, she's on guard about something? She does seem to have less reservations when I say I'll be working at the cliff face too.

>Well ask your followers if anyone knows how to cook over a campfire. We should also see what wild game is around since fresh meat is better then stored goods. Your dragon should be a fairly good hunter if no one else is.
It seems no-one is particularly convinced they are a splendid cook, so I decide to make everyone do it in rotation. Except for me, because I do not eat and I do not know how to cook.

Since Merud and Reisarf have fairly light duties, I tell them to work out between themselves who will cook tonight.
>>
No. 573077 ID: 256d52
File 139921079194.png - (29.75KB , 600x450 , wrecking_crew.png )
573077

>Digging (at least the main, big thrust of it) seems like that would be your realm. Shaping the earth is your power, and you didn't bring a team of miners.
Actually, I did!

>Would Deems avatar body be able to contribute to the digging significantly or can that work be done just as well or better using earth magic directly from the dungeon heart and work golems?
Manual labour can do wonders. Earth shaping is... well, it's not the most efficient option. It's good for things that would be otherwise difficult or impossible like repairing or moving stonework, but it's not terribly fast or efficient. I could move a lot at once but then I'd be useless for the rest of the day.

The most efficient use of it is temporarily weakening the stone where I intend to dig. It makes progress much faster.

With the golems and Hin's strength we split the bigger rocks and partially clear the entrance without too much trouble. We squeeze inside to inspect he interior and then rest for a moment. I just stand there, soaking it in. I feel a subtle tension leech out of me. A cave, soon to become my dungeon. What might I make of it, of myself this time?

"You're looking very relaxed." Hin says.

I smile ruefully. "I suppose I've finally realised this is actually happening."

"Well now we've got a moment alone, can I ask you something?"

"Go on." I say, tensing. Where is she going with this?

"You sure this is actually going to work? I've had a closer look at that Dungeon Heart you found. It's cracked and you've just got clay packed into the fracture."

"I'm sure!" I take a breath. I'd best try to be reasonable. "It worked fine when I fought Moriko. A dungeon heart has a lot of spell channels. Most of them shouldn't be affected and it's flexible enough to reroute them in the unlikely event all the specialised channels for a certain purpose are damaged. Besides, this heart is as old as I am." I say, "and I'm perfectly functional."

"...Haven't you blown yourself up twice in the last week?"
>>
No. 573078 ID: 256d52
File 139921086627.png - (30.82KB , 600x620 , lets_talk.png )
573078

"Who told you?!"

I'm proud of my self control, I stopped short of a howl. "Was it Merud? It was Merud, wasn't it? Why was he talking about it? Did he somehow run out of other things to talk about? Oooooh I'll make him regret it! Why would-"

Hin hits me on the top of the head. No, she held back. More of a pat I suppose. "Calm down you dork."

"I... what?!"

"Yes, Merud told me. He wanted to be sure you wouldn't overexert yourself."

Grrrrr. I sigh. "Alright, maybe I'm a little damaged too. If anything, the Heart is in better condition than I am."

"So it is going to work, and it's not going to be dangerous?"

"I'll want to take some care as we activate each function, and the mana leakage-" that numb emptiness inside me - "is higher than I'm really comfortable with but even with that my Heart should be far superior to most dungeons."

"Then that's all I wanted to know." Hin seems indecently amused by all of this.

Time to think about the next step!

I can take some time to investigate the flooded section ahead - using either myself, Stargazer or the both of us. It's going to be tricky to drain though. We can start clearing the caved in branch ahead, though something about the formation is making me a little uneasy - we'll have to be careful not to dislodge more rocks from the ceiling in that part. Finally we can start widening that narrow fissure at the back and see where it comes out higher in the mountains. That would definitely take several days at best though.
>>
No. 573087 ID: e1609c

>>573078
deem you are blushing so hard its tingeing the clay. Lets focus on the water for now, you need to cool off.
>>
No. 573088 ID: a95b2e

>Merud seems a little anxious for some reason
Maybe he's uncomfortable around naked slime girls? More silly human modesty!

Speaking of little slime girls: aww. She's already attached to you and looked sad when you pushed her away to be with them. You'll definitely have to spend some time with her.

>Stargazer doesn't seem to do much on her own
Maybe she can swim if Reisarf is nearby? Kind of hard to bring him along though, I'd think. There must be some way to use their water affinity. Unless we end up designing a waterproof golem for underwater exploration, or we just tame some aquatic monsters and get them to do it for us.

>you respond to accusations of blowing up by blowing up
Welp

>what do
I'd check out the water area before considering draining it, or digging out the other area. As for how we're supposed to explore it- I'd talk with Reisarf and Stargazer. They know their own limitations and abilities better than we do, and maybe you overlooked something in your initial assessment.
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No. 573090 ID: 2f4b71

>>573078
>We can start clearing the caved in branch ahead, though something about the formation is making me a little uneasy
Does it look like a natural cave-in, or might someone have deliberately sealed this cave system?
>>
No. 573106 ID: ca65e6

>>573078
The flooded section seems like the safest and easiest option right now. The caved in section is probably blocking something dangerous. Plus we'll want to reinforce the ceiling with something while we remove the blockage, which could require buying planks from town or something. Unless you can shape some pillars there to hold up the roof?
>>
No. 573120 ID: 2f4b71

>Alkaline
Hey, it looks like she's learning to form legs already!
>>
No. 573130 ID: cf028c

I'm not entirely sure we should totally drain the flooded area. After all it makes for a very nice natural obstacle.
>>
No. 573133 ID: 9ddf68

let's check out the water path first, I'm sure between you and stargazer you'll find something of interest.
>>
No. 573134 ID: cf028c

...Got it. How about instead of draining it completely, we drain it to about half and make a bridge?
>>
No. 573164 ID: a2f9bc

>>573078
>flooded branch
I'm inclined to at least scout this one, seeing as that's something we can do with comparative ease relative the other two branches.

>narrow fissure
This one takes the longest, but it doesn't seem to contain any inherent danger. Probably. maybe something lives in the tiny valley, we don't know. The valley itself seems like it could be useful, if for no other reason than being a stable tunnel for mana respiration that cannot be blocked off by enemy action easily. If it's large enough, security for minion habitats or maybe farms or something. It could come in handy, basically.

>collapsed tunnel
The fastest to clear out, and the cave-iest option available. Some cave-in risk if we're hasty; interruptions would probably be bad. I'll probably favor this one if scouting the water path doesn't turn up anything cool.
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No. 573185 ID: ebc77d

FLOODED BRANCH
Seems easy enough although only Stargazer and Deem can scout it. If it is just a stagnant pool, we might just want Stargazer to go it alone, but still it is safer with a partner.

NARROW FISSURE
Looks safe enough. Just needs a lot of time to break on through to the other side. We can probably let the golems handle this 24/7 with much supervision.

COLLAPSED TUNNEL
Unstable ceiling means that the golems will need constant supervision by Deem or Hin so it doesn't cave in on us. Might want to keep it slow and careful.

Deem and Stargazer should explore the flooded branch first, while Hin and the golems goes through the narrow fissure. That way, Deem and Hin and take turns supervising the collapsed tunnel so we minimise any chances for a cave in.
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No. 573188 ID: a2f9bc

Side note: Hin might have been on guard because she's historically been faced with people who'd rather use her for the physical advantages her heritage provides than the skilled labor she's trained in. Actually finding training in her vocation might have been challenging. Or maybe not, who knows.
>>
No. 573194 ID: 255949

look at that cave-in-y place before it becomes more trouble.
>>
No. 573426 ID: f08e35

For underwater exploration purposes, consider wrapping yourself completely in thin leather (or cloth) saturated with oil. It wouldn't be pretty, or completely watertight, but less water getting in means you can explore further. Once you've got mundane functionality worked out, try enhancing the 'watertightness' with magic.

As a longer-term project, get the blacksmith and golemeter talking about how to craft armor that would let an air-breathing humanoid survive underwater, particularly in conditions of extreme pressure.
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No. 573432 ID: e1609c

new favicon up for approval, yo
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No. 573647 ID: 4d2517

Yeah, how about you get some help with covering yourself in fat or grease before going swimming through the flooded area? That should seal your clay to some extent and hopefully prevent the worst of the water absorption issue. If Moriko catches any animals for food then you can drip lots of fat off while cooking them!

While preparing for the swim try to make progress in the caved-in area. Use your earth magic to reinforce the walls and ceiling and have your own more expendable golems do the digging. See if Hin can throw up some designs for her workspace. Getting her up and able to do smithing is kind of a priority as it helps with everything else.

Also suggest to Merud that he needs to show his legs to Alkaline more frequently! If he goes around wearing his heavy robes all the time it'll take her longer to form limbs.
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No. 575268 ID: 761017

>>573647
>If he goes around wearing his heavy robes all the time it'll take her longer to form limbs.
If you'll look again at the last picture with Alkane in it, you will notice that everyone was wearing leg concealing robes/cloaks.
>>
No. 575270 ID: 761017

>Use your earth magic to reinforce the walls and ceiling

Deem, could you setup a ritual circle on the ceiling of the cavern, and cause the rocks above the meld together?

If you can't reach the ceiling, golemize some stilt arms and stilt legs!
>>
No. 575481 ID: aef4c1

Flooded Branch:
Needs to be explored before a decision can be made. If the water covers only part of the tunnel, a simple siphon might work. If there's a whole network of flooded tunnels, something else will need to be tried.
Until explored, consider that amphibious monsters might well emerge from there; it might be prudent to place some kind of alarm spell at the entrance.

Collapsed Tunnel:
It makes sense to fortify the walls with magic, for example if you can magically drive mud into any cracks, then petrify it into rock. Using golems to work here would make sure no-one's life is at risk if there's another cave-in.

Narrow Fissure:
The fissure seems promising; a hidden valley might be a nice place to forage, saving work in the long run. Or it could be a source of monsters.
How narrow is it, exactly? Could Stargazer or a tiny golem fit through and see what's on the other end? (Possibly with the help of some earth-moving magic directed at the narrowest parts.)
...It MIGHT be possible to widen it with Reisarf's offensive magic, but considering the combination of his subpar control, the risk of the disturbance causing further cave-ins in the other fork, and the possibility of setting this secluded valley on fire... Well, it could be kind of a bad idea. Still, if he takes one go at it - carefully! - before you even start digging in the caved-in branch, then that might save you a few hours of work. Assuming he has a good rock-damaging spell, that is.
You might also use Earth magic to create cracks in the rock at the right places, as the day's work is finished, if night-time will let you recuperate your reserves.
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No. 578008 ID: 256d52
File 140241268352.png - (16.58KB , 600x400 , out_of_the_cave.png )
578008

>You respond to accusations of blowing up by blowing up
>Welp
S-shut up!

>We can start clearing the caved in branch ahead, though something about the formation is making me a little uneasy
>Does it look like a natural cave-in, or might someone have deliberately sealed this cave system?
I... no, I don't think so? How would I know? What I meant is that it's unstable, so there's a risk of further collapse if I'm not careful with clearing it.

>The fissure seems promising; a hidden valley might be a nice place to forage, saving work in the long run. Or it could be a source of monsters.
It would be small if its there. Useful nonetheless. There wouldn't be much living there unless they could fly or climb or there's something else going on though.

>How narrow is it, exactly? Could Stargazer or a tiny golem fit through and see what's on the other end? (Possibly with the help of some earth-moving magic directed at the narrowest parts.)
I could slide my arm into the slit but not my body and it gets narrower in parts. The water filling the flooded section must have accumulated over a long time seeing it entered through here.

The smaller or more poorly formed a golem is, the lower the range it can move from its controller. Extremely small golems aren't particularly useful without specialisation and even then it's a bit of a niche area. Surveillance and detail work mainly.

Stargazer couldn't squeeze through either. Her shape changing isn't particularly developed.

>The flooded section seems like the safest and easiest option right now. The caved in section is probably blocking something dangerous. Plus we'll want to reinforce the ceiling with something while we remove the blockage, which could require buying planks from town or something. Unless you can shape some pillars there to hold up the roof?
Shaping pillars is doable, though its somewhat tedious. I could also cut down some trees and use them for temporary supports.

Investigating the flooded section can be done immediately so you're right, I might as well get it out of the way.

>Deem you are blushing so hard its tingeing the clay. Lets focus on the water for now, you need to cool off.
Right. Water.

Good.
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No. 578009 ID: 256d52
File 140241276612.png - (32.84KB , 800x600 , see_slime_run.png )
578009

I head back toward the tents, leaving the golems behind to clear some more of the loose stone. Hin follows me.

As I draw level to the tents, Alkaline runs past, Reisarf and Merud in hot pursuit. Ah, hmmm.

>Also suggest to Merud that he needs to show his legs to Alkaline more frequently! If he goes around wearing his heavy robes all the time it'll take her longer to form limbs.
I do not believe that will be necessary.

Oh no, wait, she tripped.

Perhaps more time should be spent on that.

>Maybe he's uncomfortable around naked slime girls? More silly human modesty!
I'm starting to think he suspected she'd be a handful.
>>
No. 578010 ID: 256d52
File 140241288603.png - (30.08KB , 800x500 , status_report.png )
578010

I sit down next to Alkaline as she attempts to rediscover the correct configuration for limbs.

"Are you giving my wizards trouble?" I ask her.

"Blooorb?" She looks away, trying to avoid making eye contact with me.

Merud kneels near me as Reisarf tries to catch his breath. He looks tired.

"Ah, hello Deem. I'm afraid we just weren't sure what to expect." Merud chuckles weakly. "She's, ah, she's very curious? While we were unpacking the luggage she seemed interested and tried to help, but we had to shoo her off when it came to the food. Then it was difficult to keep an eye on her because she kept getting into other things or trying to wander off.

"I tried to keep her entertained with a little golem made of leaves but she ate it and a pebble one scared her. We might have to think about toys."

"Did she eat much of the supplies?" I ask.

"Some preserved fruit. She seemed to like it, so we gave her a little more when she was behaving."

Ah. "That was probably a mistake." I say. "She doesn't need to eat very much if she's not budding slimes, and especially not sugary things like that."

"Oh." Merud gives a rueful smile. "Candy to children, eh? I should have realised. Aside from that, she's a sweet natured little thing, but I don't know how much she understands. I think she's a little afraid of Stargazer too."

"Well, she is fresh out of the bottle." I say, looking at her. "She'll learn." I climb back to my feet before she can crawl into my lap.
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No. 578011 ID: 256d52
File 140241294307.png - (33.65KB , 800x520 , E_ranked_vitality.png )
578011

>I'd check out the water area before considering draining it, or digging out the other area. As for how we're supposed to explore it- I'd talk with Reisarf and Stargazer. They know their own limitations and abilities better than we do, and maybe you overlooked something in your initial assessment.
Hmm, he looks as though he might actually die if I get him to do anything else strenuous today. Chasing a little slime around after the trip up here seems to have almost done him in. It might have been useful to have Stargazer along, but her independent action does use a lot of Reisarf's mana.

I'll search the flooded passage alone. While the water does confuse my senses, I am certain it's a dead end. This cave has been sealed up for many years. Of the things that could survive it, I very much doubt I would run into any of them here.

It's my own turn to give a rueful smile. "I'm sorry she's given you so much trouble. There's a flooded passage inside the cave and I'd hoped to ask if I could borrow Stargazer to help me explore it, but I think its best if the two of you get some rest for now."

"But I haven't even started making the dinner." he protests dazedly, leaning on Stargazer for support.

Boy's dedicated, if nothing else.

>Speaking of little slime girls: aww. She's already attached to you and looked sad when you pushed her away to be with them. You'll definitely have to spend some time with her.
I suppose I will but that has to wait for a little later.
>>
No. 578013 ID: 256d52
File 140241298299.png - (28.97KB , 800x500 , slime_minder.png )
578013

"Tell you what." Hin says. "I'll look after Alkaline, get her to burn off some of that excess energy. Then you can explore tht seciton today, like you want to. Take Merud in the cave so he's there to send in golems in case you have any more little accidents," I purse my lips at this last statement, "and since I'm a terrible cook, Reisarf can make dinner. Hopefully Moriko will be back soon and he's found something that's good eating."

I consider it. That seems like a good plan.

"Uh, it is safe to touch her little crown, right?" Hin adds, perhaps wondering if she wants to reconsider putting her hand on Alkaline's head.

"She can't bud yet. It's fine."

"They come out of her head?" Hin raises an eyebrow. "Never knew. And why does she like you so much anyway?"

"What?"

"You don't...?" Hin shakes her head. "Never mind."

>Side note: Hin might have been on guard because she's historically been faced with people who'd rather use her for the physical advantages her heritage provides than the skilled labor she's trained in. Actually finding training in her vocation might have been challenging. Or maybe not, who knows.
I suppose that would explain why she keeps her horns covered. She must file them down too.
>>
No. 578014 ID: 256d52
File 140241303899.png - (9.62KB , 800x450 , spelunking.png )
578014

Back into the cave then.

>How about you get some help with covering yourself in fat or grease before going swimming through the flooded area? That should seal your clay to some extent and hopefully prevent the worst of the water absorption issue.
What? Letting someone rub their hands all over me? No!

It won't be a problem for a short dip. It would only be if I was underwater for a prolonged period of time. Half an hour or more. The flooded passage is short and I'm just going to have a quick look.

>I'm not entirely sure we should totally drain the flooded area. After all it makes for a very nice natural obstacle.
It does have a certain atmosphere. The tunnel descends, the sloping ceiling eventually meeting the water. There's a beach of sorts. Little particles of rock have been carried down here and built up on this rock ledge. The bottom must be very silty.

I wade into the cold, dark water. Merud hangs back. He seems nervous about the water's edge.
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No. 578015 ID: 256d52
File 140241313578.png - (18.19KB , 800x500 , underwater_adventures.png )
578015

The slope steepens. I skid down, a trail of disturbed sediment floating up behind me. It's deeper than I expected. I don't like how the water confuses my senses. The weight of it surrounding me presses in on my body.

The expected silt at the bottom blooms around me when I land in it. It's like sitting in the smoke of a strange, slow bonfire. I let it settle a little.

The distance to the surface is perhaps three times my height. There's jumbles of loose rock down here. Washed down here since the cave in? Something is nagging at my senses here.

I think the passage is shaped in a U-bend - it rises ahead of me. There might be an air pocket there.
>>
No. 578017 ID: e1609c

>>578015
Well? head for the air pocket! If we're lucky it'll be a big cave network we can set up our dungeon in!
>>
No. 578020 ID: c7a241

>Extremely small golems aren't particularly useful without specialisation and even then it's a bit of a niche area. Surveillance and detail work mainly.
A network of tiny Surveillance drone golems sounds pretty useful to me. I assume you have your own sense inside the your own dungeon, but they could be useful for picking up approaching adventures before they arrive, giving us time to prepare, arrange rooms and defenses as we like, etc.

>Hmm, he looks as though he might actually die if I get him to do anything else strenuous today.
Jeeze, we need to put that kid on nutritional supplements, or something. Granted, it's not like we can reverse the effects of his contract with Stargazer, but once we've established I'm sure we can help somewhat.

>why does she like you so much anyway?
That's an interesting question. Did she imprint while you were carrying the bottle? Because you were the one to open her? Is it because you're blue? Because you're the only other person here not made of meat? Is the monster in her drawn to the dungeon in you? Or did she just fall for your winning personality?

>Skid down the slope
You'll be able to walk back up that, right? You're rather too heavy to swim.

Anything unusual or different about the rock / rocks down here, compared to what you explored above?

>u-shaped bend
Might as well see what's around it. Keep your eyes sharp.

I hope you've got a decent mental sense of time, since there aren't many good references in an underwater cave, and you'll want to double back before Merud assumes something has gone wrong.
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No. 578026 ID: 14faaf

Could 'something nagging at my senses' be an active enchantment of some kind, or you noticing someone watching you? A U-bend like that seems like it could be a very useful security barrier for a fortified cave/tunnel system set up here. It would be a geologically-maximized ambush point as an obvious way into a hidden place that sets up visitors/invaders for observation and attack either inside the water or where they leave it, and a perfect trapped bottleneck for any conventional invasion force.
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No. 578038 ID: 7f9410

>>578015
...what is that dark patch next to your hand?
>>
No. 578041 ID: e1609c

>>578038
If I had to guess, I'd say its the top of a rock.
>>
No. 578043 ID: 450b06

Looks more like an eye slot to me.
>>
No. 578046 ID: 9ddf68

>>578011
ok we're defiantly going to have to get this kid to do some morning jogging or something just to build his stamina up a little. I'm not expecting him to be able to run marathons or something but I still think he needs to do something so he's not winded every time he has to move at a brisk walk past or faster

>>578013
I also think you should find some time to spend with Alkaline as she does seem to be really attached to you AND you seem to be the only one in your little group that has any idea on how to rise a slim child.

>>578014
Did you have some kind a signal to give Merud if you need help?

>>578015
is the nagging feeling just you not being use to water since it's not one of your elements or something else, anyways might as well head towards the u-shape bend. We are exploring are we not?
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No. 578094 ID: a2f9bc

>>578015
>Nagging senses
If this is related to the jumble of rock, poke around the floor a bit before moving on to the u-bend. Something small like a gem or the like. Even just walking around to narrow the range of whatever's bugging your senses is worth the time, especially if there is an air pocket further on you can dry off a bit in.

>>578046
She should be able to direct one of her golems to get help if the need arises. Our best bet for assistance is part of an exhausted pair at the moment though, unfortunately. It's too bad we forgot to remember the knife, since slashing or stabbing attacks would be less hindered by the water than the bludgeoning she's left with, but maybe she can pull off the bone-sword enchantment, even improvisationally, in case of an emergency. I'm not too worried.
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No. 578116 ID: ccd544

You should have made a hamster-ball golem with an eye on the outside. That would have kept you dry and safe, and you could have also created a ballast-layer for sucking in and spitting out water for depth control.

Deem, get out of the water and do that shit right now. You've got the golemeter Merud there to help you set that up, no excuse for not being smart!
>>
No. 578117 ID: ac14c0

After this, it's looking like the best person to take care of Alkaline is you. Do you need to be present while the golems work?

How soon can we get a forge running, anyway? We can't just have Hin doing grunt work.
>>
No. 578118 ID: 68cad8

Unless what's nagging you is farther in, look around, the bottom till you can pinpoint it
>>
No. 578530 ID: f08e35

If your safe immersion time is half an hour, do NOT continue exploring for more than ten minutes, especially if anything might be interfering with your sense of direction or making you lose track of time. Rule of three for diving: one third for the trip out, one third for the trip back, one third for emergencies. If your fingers and toes start to get squishy in a way that impairs your ability to climb back out, that could be bad.

Should a rescue become necessary, who can see in the dark and operate under five yards of water for a useful period of time? Stargazer, presumably. Anyone else?
>>
No. 579124 ID: f2732f

Well try to go further and explore as much as you can. Try to keep a mental map of the underwater area.
>>
No. 580320 ID: 256d52
File 140353920908.png - (14.69KB , 500x600 , lets_talk_about_minions.png )
580320

>How soon can we get a forge running, anyway? We can't just have Hin doing grunt work.
For something extremely basic, as soon as we can get under cover. Hin brought a basic set of tools. It's more about when there will be raw material and when will it be useful to start producing items, be they swords or hinge pins.

>Reisarf
>Ok we're defiantly going to have to get this kid to do some morning jogging or something just to build his stamina up a little. I'm not expecting him to be able to run marathons or something but I still think he needs to do something so he's not winded every time he has to move at a brisk walk past or faster.
He did climb a mountain this morning. Chasing Alkaline around seems to have been the final blow. I can create special rooms for training which would help in that but, well, it comes to down to a question of playing to strengths or reducing weaknesses.

>You should find some time to spend with Alkaline as she does seem to be really attached to you AND you seem to be the only one in your little group that has any idea on how to rise a slime child.
Later then. Now's definitely not the time. Bodies of water, especially running water, can be dangerous when they're young, since it dilutes them and they don't really have the control to stop it happening. Hmm, I suppose I'd better make sure she doesn't run into here. Perhaps I should have said something. I suppose I should keep someone with me while I watch her to mention these things as they occur to me.

>Why does she like you so much anyway?
>That's an interesting question. Did she imprint while you were carrying the bottle? Because you were the one to open her? Is it because you're blue? Because you're the only other person here not made of meat? Is the monster in her drawn to the dungeon in you? Or did she just fall for your winning personality?
If I had to guess, it's probably the last two.
>>
No. 580321 ID: 256d52
File 140353927754.png - (21.44KB , 800x500 , look_around.png )
580321

>Skid down the slope
>You'll be able to walk back up that, right? You're rather too heavy to swim.
I'll be able to climb back up.

>Anything unusual or different about the rock / rocks down here, compared to what you explored above?
More loose rock and sediment. It's mostly gotten washed down here. This and the blocked entrance were the lowest parts of the cave accessible, so water flooding through the fissure is what's moving it down here. It mustn't have flooded for a while - water wouldn't go to the entrance until this flooded section fills a little higher.

I think the section blocked by the cave-on goes deeper underground, but the entrance is well above the water line. I'm still not used to running around like this, I couldn't get a clear read of it. I'll have a far more precise understanding of my surroundings once I establish my Heart.

>If your safe immersion time is half an hour, do NOT continue exploring for more than ten minutes, especially if anything might be interfering with your sense of direction or making you lose track of time. Rule of three for diving: one third for the trip out, one third for the trip back, one third for emergencies. If your fingers and toes start to get squishy in a way that impairs your ability to climb back out, that could be bad.
A sensible precaution. I will keep it in mind. This isn't exactly a substantial cave so I don't believe it will take too long unless I find something truly unusual down here.

>Did you have some kind a signal to give Merud if you need help?
IF it comes to it, I will use a golem to alert him. I'm not particularly worried. This place has been sealed up for years and I personally opened the only entrance. A cave breathes. I'd know if there were any other passages in or out of here.

I pick my way forward across the rock strewn floor, steadying myself with one hand on the wall. The alien sensation of the water pressing on me is still disorientating and I have the irritation of that nagging feeling about my surroundings, but there is still something pleasurable about being here, alone down in these secret places under the earth. I have slept more than a thousand years and now only a few days after awakening, gathering companions and gaining some measure of freedom for myself, I'm happy to be alone again. I suppose there's irony in that.
>>
No. 580322 ID: 256d52
File 140353931332.png - (14.03KB , 600x400 , found_a_thing.png )
580322

>If this is related to the jumble of rock, poke around the floor a bit before moving on to the u-bend. Something small like a gem or the like. Even just walking around to narrow the range of whatever's bugging your senses is worth the time, especially if there is an air pocket further on you can dry off a bit in.
I advance slowly, sweeping side to side and am able to roughly locate the origin of this sensation in one of the larger piles of rock, half blocking a little cul-de-sac. I dig through it, lifting the smaller rocks and rolling the larger ones aside.

I've found it.

There's some remains and some sort of large medallion or plaque. I pick it up, the plaque still tickling my senses.
>>
No. 580323 ID: 256d52
File 140353939526.png - (22.04KB , 600x640 , you_got_the_thing.png )
580323

It's made of silver, it's magic and it's damaged. That flickering, tiny release of mana as it tries to store mana to recharge and then immediately loses it as it tries to activate is what I was sensing. I'm not sure what exactly it's for or how it's supposed to be used. Perhaps it's a broken cloak clasp or supposed to be a piece of armour?

The decorations on the front don't make much sense to me. It's circular, has a crescent of five engraved circles on one edge, with a smaller raised circle in the middle shape, then a recessed channel leading to another larger circle on the opposite edge that's been divided into three. An anchor? A key hole? A cousin of Stargazer?

I suppose I'll need to examine it further when I have the opportunity.

Hmm, perhaps I should have brought a bag along.
>>
No. 580324 ID: e7d222

Bring it back up, and have Merud take a look while you Check out the rest of the passage
>>
No. 580328 ID: 53ba34

there seems to be something on the back of it. check that and then lets keep going. unless we find something else we can deal with only one hand being free.
>>
No. 580329 ID: 50338d

>>580323
I might be wrong, but it looks like there's writing on the back. I don't know if the light down here is good enough to read though, or if it's even in a language we know.

>Hmm, perhaps I should have brought a bag along.
Well, if you really need two hands free, I suppose you could stick it in your mouth.

>I suppose I'll need to examine it further when I have the opportunity.
Probably the best approach. We'll have time to examine it back at camp, and it's possible one of the others will recognize it's purpose.

All right, how much time do we have left? Assuming we haven't burnt through your ten minutes yet, continue forward, see if this underwater passage leads anywhere. If we're past or at a third of the dive time, turn back.
>>
No. 580351 ID: e1609c

>>580322
spooky.
>>580329 is right, there's writing on the back.
>>
No. 580359 ID: 2f4b71

I wonder if it's a (damaged) Resurrection Talisman, like the ones meant to work with the Revive Fountain.
>>
No. 580376 ID: e1609c

>>580359
Just in case, we should get the bones somewhere safe in case we can resurrect us a nice new ally.
I mean shit, he's been down here for AGES if his bleached bones are any cue, who knows how much information we can prize out of him when he's up and going again?
>>
No. 580485 ID: a2f9bc

The way resurrection was described, it catches people before 'true' death. I'm guessing it's too late for this individual.

>Patterns
Wild speculation: it depicts 5 elements sealing the 6th.
>>
No. 580502 ID: 9ddf68

>>580376
we can't resurrect things long dead, the whole resurrecting thing is simply grabbing the person's soul AS they die and then pull them back before the soul passes on. you have to be there when it happens or not at all if I recall correctly.

Also read the back if you can and move on ahead if you can. We can worry about exploring the blocked off section of the cave after we see all the sections we can reach first.
>>
No. 581025 ID: f08e35

>>580329
>Well, if you really need two hands free, I suppose you could stick it in your mouth.

Supporting this idea. Also, next time you go into town for supplies, ask about what sorts of waterproof fabric (or leather, etc.) are available. It's a port city, so they've got to have something, and customized flexible watertight containers could have a lot of uses.

Could a diving suit be animated as a golem, and carry an unresisting person inside itself?
>>
No. 581075 ID: aef4c1

>>580502
Well, if the thing grabbed the soul AS the owner died, but the "and transmit it to the Fountain" part is disabled, I guess it might be possible?
Or it might be, say, a "breathe underwater" charm, explaining the death of the wearer by the very fact that it malfunctioned.

It IS probably worth considering what might have caused the death of the wearer (Trap? Monster? Unstable ceiling?) in case whatever it was is still dangerous.

On the other hand, what was this person even doing here in the first place? What's the history of this place?
If they were here looking for something valuable, but died before they could get it out - might it not still be here?

Bringing the bones back (and perhaps performing a burial rite?) could be an objective for a later trip, when you have a suitable bag with you. If nothing else, having a bunch of bones strewn around your dungeon is untidy...
>>
No. 583053 ID: 256d52
File 140464856632.png - (17.43KB , 750x501 , complete_gibberish.png )
583053

>Could a diving suit be animated as a golem, and carry an unresisting person inside itself?
It's possible but it would be exceptionally clumsy - there'd be no coordination between the golem and the passenger if either attempted to move. Unless the passenger was the golemeter, of course. Some of the more martial doll mages do exactly that in fact. They ride inside an armour golem to remain protected.

>I might be wrong, but it looks like there's writing on the back. I don't know if the light down here is good enough to read though, or if it's even in a language we know.
I turn the plaque over. There are some markings here. I can't read them.

>Just in case, we should get the bones somewhere safe in case we can resurrect us a nice new ally.
Resurrection only functions if it is able to intervene at the time of death. That moment is long past.

>Bringing the bones back (and perhaps performing a burial rite?) could be an objective for a later trip, when you have a suitable bag with you. If nothing else, having a bunch of bones strewn around your dungeon is untidy...
I suppose they do need to be disposed of. I have never been especially fond of the idea of leaving such grim tokens lying around a dungeon.

>What was this person even doing here in the first place? What's the history of this place?
Whatever the history of this place is, it has lain lightly on it. There's no sign of any sort of man-made alterations so far. Perhaps it was a hiding spot or they were simply exploring the cave.
>>
No. 583054 ID: 256d52
File 140464861969.png - (20.63KB , 750x500 , now_to_find_the_key.png )
583054

>If they were here looking for something valuable, but died before they could get it out - might it not still be here?
Hmm, I believe you may be right. The answer lies ahead then.

I follow the tunnel around and reach the position of the air pocket. The slope here is easier than it as coming down. The rocky surface gives me no trouble climbing up.

A treasure chest. It reeks of mystery. In a true dungeon it would serve as a locus of the earth pulse, a prize to be wrested from it. It is a finely crafted one, made of thick, heavy wood, banded with metal and decorated with a dragon motif.

The chest's obdurate impenetrability defies my senses. I do not know what is inside it. It's locked, of course.

A single person couldn't possibly have moved this here unaided, unless they were exceptionally strong. I doubt I could even budge it.

I suppose I might have to just leave it here for now.
>>
No. 583056 ID: a2f9bc

So the token says "Ersa, may this token help you shed your burdens and fly far from here", and you're holding it upside down, Deem.

Crazy idea, perhaps this item aids in the bearing of heavy loads? It could be a way to transport the chest out if it could be patched up to functionality.

That's probably a long shot though. A much more feasible course of action is unlocking the chest by putting a finger up each nostril. The chest's, not yours, though you never know....
>>
No. 583057 ID: 09abdb

>>583054
so.. there was a dragon here once, i take it?
>>
No. 583061 ID: ebc77d

I would suggest we not use the medallion until Merud and Reisarf have examined it further. It could be like a teleport beacon that might move the chest to who knows where. Let's just go back out and show the others the medallion and tell them about the chest. Then we can make a plan on how to extract the chest
>>
No. 583072 ID: 53ba34

try opening it, and yeah, you held the medallion upside down. :V
>>
No. 583073 ID: 9b57d3

>>583054
I don't see a keyhole. I'm thinking there's a secret button or something to open it. If you can't feel it out, we can just come back later with someone who is good at opening locks. I wonder if our blacksmith has any experience as a locksmith?
>>
No. 583074 ID: 50338d

...okay, is it just me, or does this chest here scream trap.

I wouldn't open it yet. You're cut off from your allies, they're mostly worn and tired, and there's no one else in the area who can readily access this thing. We can afford to come back later to investigate it further.

If you want to be really paranoid, you could seal it beneath the rock or leave a golem sentry to watch over till we return, so we're doubly sure no one gets to it before you.

Go back, get your mages to investigate the medallion, if they're still up for anything, tonight.
>>
No. 583090 ID: a2f9bc

>>583056
Whoops, looking again, it says "Esra" not "Ersa". This is significant because Esra is arse backwards. A vital clue to opening this chest, no doubt!

Gotta put your butt on it, then. Might need to bring in a bigger butt to open it though.
>>
No. 583107 ID: bdfecc

Look around the room, but be wary of the chest. Are there any other passages leading anywhere?

Don't touch the chest with your bare hands. It might be a mimic or some other kind of trap. Form some stone into a rob and give it a prod perhaps. Do you know how to tame mimics?
>>
No. 583114 ID: 9ddf68

is that what a mimic looks like?

Deem, you are a dungeon, how does one go about opening trapped chest to get the loot without any harm coming towards the one who opens the chest?
>>
No. 583409 ID: 256d52
File 140484820378.png - (26.92KB , 750x550 , mimimimimi.png )
583409

>So the token says "Ersa, may this token help you shed your burdens and fly far from here", and you're holding it upside down, Deem.
Well maybe I can't read, alright!?

>Is that what a mimic looks like?
I know a mimic when I see one. Not a psuedopod in sight. They can hibernate for a decent time, but a mimic would have dug itself out and found a better place to impersonate a chest in by now.

Ones that could impersonate a finer made chest like this are quite rare. They're usually not too good on the details.

>...okay, is it just me, or does this chest here scream trap.
That seems like it would be needlessly elaborate!

Unless you can think of a reason why someone would place a trapped chest in an otherwise undeveloped cave which has had its entrance sealed for many years by rubble?

>Deem, you are a dungeon, how does one go about opening trapped chest to get the loot without any harm coming towards the one who opens the chest?
By disarming the trap? Sometimes there's a puzzle built into the lock and failure triggers the trap. A terrible person could smash it open, but that might damage whatever is inside and is terrible.
>>
No. 583410 ID: 256d52
File 140484825894.png - (22.17KB , 750x550 , tell_me_your_secrets.png )
583410

>I don't see a keyhole. I'm thinking there's a secret button or something to open it. If you can't feel it out, we can just come back later with someone who is good at opening locks.
I sit down in front of the chest and investigate the front. Part of the snout's a cover for the keyhole. It flips up on a hinge.

>Unlock the chest by putting a finger up each nostril. The chest's, not yours, though you never know....
No good.

No secret catches as far as I can determine.

>I wonder if our blacksmith has any experience as a locksmith?
She does. I asked her on the way here. It's a very useful skill in a dungeon.

>So.. there was a dragon here once, I take it?
This cave is a bit small for a dragon. I'd expect to see shed scales or claw marks on the stone or perhaps a bone pile if one had lived here for any amount of time.

I suppose a greater dragon might be vain enough to decorate with its own face. They're not an uncommon heraldic symbol either though.
>>
No. 583411 ID: 256d52
File 140484830737.png - (23.23KB , 400x700 , booty.png )
583411

>Crazy idea, perhaps the plaque aids in the bearing of heavy loads? It could be a way to transport the chest out if it could be patched up to functionality.
That would seem to fit. But then was that person trying to move the chest into here, or out?

>Whoops, looking again, it says "Esra" not "Ersa". This is significant because Esra is arse backwards. A vital clue to opening this chest, no doubt!
No doubt.

>Gotta put your butt on it, then. Might need to bring in a bigger butt to open it though.
Hmmm, I think I will need Hin after all.

>Are there any other passages leading anywhere?
There's just this little shelf out of the water. That's all there is to this air pocket. As this chest shows, it could be useful to hide something here as part of my dungeon's design, though it isn't as well hidden if I do drain the passage.

I'm at the end of the flooded passage, so it's time to head back.
>>
No. 583412 ID: 256d52
File 140484835237.png - (23.62KB , 550x640 , not_again.png )
583412

A shiver runs through me, I feel a whisper of cloth and then something burns, blinding me for a moment. Is there a trap? I stagger away from the treasure chest, feeling strange phantom sensations run through me.

My Heart! It's supposed to be packed safely away with the other goods we brought. Something has my Heart!
>>
No. 583413 ID: 256d52
File 140484839573.png - (21.54KB , 650x500 , only_a_matter_of_time.png )
583413

Something's happening outside! My Heart is moving, exposed to the air and the Sun. I gulp uncontrollably, panic sending a burning pain throbbing in my chest. It reminds me of how broken I truly am, sweeping around the numb ache inside me where my mana, my consciousness slowly bleeds away.

I can't walk, I can barely think. This unexpected twinning of sensation is confusing me. I stagger drunkenly and pitch forward into the water. I thrash at its embrace, the return of that cool pressure adding to my disorientation.
>>
No. 583414 ID: 256d52
File 140484842792.png - (36.79KB , 750x600 , a_conspiracy.png )
583414

"I really don't think this is a good idea!" Reisarf says.

"I'm just looking at it. Deem doesn't have to know." Hin says. My Heart. She has my Heart! "She watches over this thing like a hawk. This might well be the only chance to have a proper look at it before she tries to mount it. See how damaged it really is."

She looks at Reisarf. "Aren't you curious?" He rocks on the spot, indecisive.

Hin turns my Heart over in her hands. Pins and needles at every contact. I can't stand it. She shakes her head and clucks her tongue. "A rare relic like this and its got a lump of clay plugging a crack... The density of the spell channels is just insane. How would you even begin to repair something like this?"

I'm bare, vulnerable, wounded. A prisoner in her hands. I shiver. I have to get out. I haven't even the most basic of dungeons to support me. My mana churns inside me, I can feel it bleeding away, the broken parts inside me wanting to shift and slide and spill it all away. I'm broken, I'm bleeding and this intolerable sensation and it's all rising up like it's going to choke me and this needs to, THIS HAS TO STOP.
>>
No. 583417 ID: 53ba34

a fall to floor from that high can't damage it any more correct? can you have it release a burst of flame to startle them.
>>
No. 583418 ID: 2fd516

>>583414
Shit. Uh... can you make your Heart glow or raise its temperature or lower its temperature? Anything immediately obvious, really? You need to make Hin think she's disturbed something and cause her to put it back.
>>
No. 583420 ID: 9ddf68

can you flash or do anything with your heart to make her put it down?
>>
No. 583423 ID: a2f9bc

>>583414
Deem, calm down. It's fine, you can fix this. There is nothing to worry about. Just send one of your golems over to take it from her. She wont resist, she'll probably even look suitably embarrassed by her transgression.

Golemetry is your strength, use it instead of reckless fire.

This is a minor setback that you can handle with grace and confidence.
>>
No. 583425 ID: 159c08

>>583423
this!
>>
No. 583426 ID: 2fd516

>>583423
Oh right yeah we can do that.
>>
No. 583427 ID: 2f4b71

>its got a lump of clay plugging a crack
>Golemetry is your strength
Embed a frowning face into the clay. The frowningest face.
>>
No. 583428 ID: 88960e

You're a dungeon, and you may be helpless, but you have exactly one monster within your range who can help.

Reach out to your slime, and get her to interfere. Something as simple as a hand in Hin's wrist, or a shake of her head, might be enough to dissuade her. And failing that, if the child reacts to your distress, that will likely be enough of a distraction to draw her from your heart.

It seems there's a disadvantage to keeping some things from some of your followers.
>>
No. 583452 ID: a7868d

Make the clay stoppage form a mouth and tell her to carefully and gently return the heart to where she found it.
>>
No. 583462 ID: 26941a

>>583414
Vocalize your pain in a pure, wordless form. Do not use your voice, as there is still a chance to retain the secret.

... didn't you have the quasidragon guarding your core?
>>
No. 583482 ID: 50338d

>Well maybe I can't read, alright!?
Interesting that you can't read, but we can. More fragmentation from your damaged heart, perhaps?

Or is it just the language? Could you read anything you saw or where shown back in town?

>Unless you can think of a reason why someone would place a trapped chest in an otherwise undeveloped cave which has had its entrance sealed for many years by rubble?
Only reason I can come up with is this may not have always been an underdeveloped cave with the entrance sealed by years of rubble. Although I suppose if there had been time for the geography to have radically altered, the odds of the chest not being buried in the process is pretty low.
>>
No. 583507 ID: 321d85

Well, if you're gonna place a chest in a secluded place so no one finds it, I see no reason you wouldn't ALSO trap it, just in case.
>>
No. 583536 ID: ccd544

>>583423
This.

Your golems are still around, use them to signal at Hin; let one of them act panicked, let the other go up to Hin hold out their hands to receive the orb.

Taking it by force while being non-threatening would be a bad idea.
>>
No. 583694 ID: aef4c1

Is Merud around? If you got him into the tent, he would likely realize right away what the problem is.

As an aside, maybe devising a method of ranged communication between team members - or just a danger signal - would be a good idea for the future.
>>
No. 584035 ID: 256d52
File 140526736087.png - (29.84KB , 800x500 , externalities.png )
584035

>Deem, calm down. It's fine, you can fix this. There is nothing to worry about.
There is everything to worry about! She has my Heart! It's all I have!

>A fall to floor from that high can't damage it any more correct? can you have it release a burst of flame to startle them.
As long as I have mana, my Heart is virtually indestructible!

Fire, fire, fire. Once, perhaps, I could have but even that is a lost element to me. I have only the earth. I've lost so much, I cannot even remember, and the irreducible core of my being is in another's hands.

>... didn't you have the quasidragon guarding your core?
Chakarchelou is a creature of the earth pulse and completely subservient to me. That's an entirely different situation!

Hin's touch. I can't stand it. Uninvited, unprovoked, unfamiliar. She's yanked me from where I rested to soak in the earth's pulse, if only weakly. A life that owes nothing to the earth pulse, driven by strange compulsions. It stirs up my thoughts,
and makes me keenly aware of my unsightly, broken form. Of my vulnerability. I can't ignore that flaw inside me. My mana is ebbing and she has me and I can't stand it!
>>
No. 584036 ID: 256d52
File 140526741130.png - (25.23KB , 700x600 , calm_in_a_crisis.png )
584036

>Golemetry is your strength, use it instead of reckless fire.
What? But I can't-

>Make the clay stoppage form a mouth and tell her to carefully and gently return the heart to where she found it.
The clay stopping up the leak in my heart is completely saturated with raw mana! I can't make it do anything.

>Just send one of your golems over to take it from her. She wont resist, she'll probably even look suitably embarrassed by her transgression.
The golems, of course! There's nothing to stop me from doing such a thing.

Go, run! It's a way to go, but agh, what are you doing?! You useless dolls. That's the wrong way. I can't focus. Go, go! Crawl if you have to.

It's useless! I can't wait that long!
>>
No. 584038 ID: 256d52
File 140526748178.png - (11.07KB , 800x500 , kinda_spooky_here.png )
584038

>Is Merud around? If you got him into the tent, he would likely realize right away what the problem is.
I don't know. How would I know?! He should be further into the cave, waiting at the flooded passage's edge.

>Interesting that you can't read, but we can. More fragmentation from your damaged heart, perhaps?
I never learned!
>>
No. 584039 ID: 256d52
File 140526750749.png - (30.07KB , 750x680 , take_control_of_the_situation.png )
584039

>You're a dungeon, and you may be helpless, but you have exactly one monster within your range who can help.
>Reach out to your slime, and get her to interfere. Something as simple as a hand in Hin's wrist, or a shake of her head, might be enough to dissuade her. And failing that, if the child reacts to your distress, that will likely be enough of a distraction to draw her from your heart.
"Glburglulll!" With an urgency spurred by my own, Alkaline jumps at my Heart and wraps around around it.

"This isn't a toy, Alkaline! Let go!" Hin says, trying to pry her off.

>Vocalize your pain in a pure, wordless form.
She shakes me, trying to loosen Alkaline. I shiver, this is all too much. A thin, crystalline keening. The closest thing to speech my Heart is capable of.

"What the hell is that noise?" Hin presses on Alkaline more urgently to try and dislodge her. Alkaline presses back - if she goes she's taking me with her.

"Reisarf, can you put her to sleep or something?! Don't want to hurt her, but she's triggered something!"
>>
No. 584040 ID: 256d52
File 140526754843.png - (28.26KB , 800x500 , luckily_deem_cant_drown.png )
584040

"Glburglulll!" I release the air in my lungs. Chill water takes its place. A disquieting feeling.

I'm at my limit, I need to escape this chaos. She still has me, I'm thrumming with tension, like I'm going to burst, spilling mana. My helplessness threatens to overwhelm me. I have to get away.

Enhancement, reinforcement. I could boost Alkaline. Earth magic. I could strike at the ground. I could cry out, draw monsters to me. A dark pressure sluggishly stirs in the back of my mind. I am not tightly bound. I am not prevented from striking at Hin. I could curse her.
>>
No. 584041 ID: ef7fd2

>>584040
No, no curses. As much of an idiot as she is being right now, hin IS still our friend. We are definitely going to yell at her for this, though.
See if you can build another golem right in front of her to take it. Failing that, keep scooting outta there.
>>
No. 584043 ID: 34d0c0

Boost Akaline's size, but also if you can give her some of your armor plates or otherwise something to indicate that this is your doing and not hers...
Could you reinforce the core itself? enarmor it and give it spikes, but direct Akaline to drop it first so it doesn't stab her in the process?
>>
No. 584044 ID: 53ba34

uhhh... a a chunk of dirt/rock from the floor, smack hin in the gut with it.
>>
No. 584047 ID: 2fd516

>>584040
Reinforce Alkaline. You can control her more than anything else. Unless you can straight up make a golem or something where Hin is? THAT would be an obvious sign you know and disapprove. Or, y'know, any sort of obvious earth magic directed at Hin.

The key here is being obvious and getting the Heart under your control. Doesn't matter at this point if she realizes you're a Dungeon.
>>
No. 584048 ID: 89b2a2

You're struggling back and forth and yanking on a crystal. If it gets dropped, bad things are gonna happen.

Deem. Get up. You need to get out there.

Tell Alkaline to swallow Hin's hand (and your heart). The heart is probably immune to the acid and the clay resistant; living flesh, not so much.

If you can, use the heart to boost her immediately to prevent them from being grabby.

Get UP Deem! Get out of here!
>>
No. 584049 ID: b5130d

Lets' avoid solutions that solve the short term problem at the cost of fucking us over longer term.

For instance, bringing every monster in range running with a mindless scream would probably get Hin to drop your heart. But monster attacking your would be allies and minions would definitely set you back. We'd have injuries, deaths, possibly. And a long term betrayal of trust that would undermine things when the people who know what you are figure out what happened.

You never mentioned you could do curses! Still, cursing her would probably cause more problems than it fixes. Yes, you'd be free, at the cost of doing who knows what to Hin, and very likely loosing her trust and cooperation, and possibly that of the others.

Shaking the earth might get her to drop it, but the collateral damage would be unknown. Someone could get hurt, or we could deny ourselves the progress we made today (collapsing tunnels, burying the chest). Worst case would be triggering an avalanche.

Enhancement seems the most surgical option. How specific can you be with that? Could you say, use Alkaline as a blackboard, writing out a message on her? Hmm. Although if you can't read, you can't write. Guess you'd be limited to pictograms.

Failing that, you could get your heart released with some very simple tweaks. Like, what if you added a temporary numbing agent to the slime? That would cause Hin to lose her grip. Or maybe extra slime or oil- make Alkaline and your heart too slick to hold onto.

Whatever you do, cut off the keening as soon as she's not touching your heart, and turn it back on if she reaches for it. Teach them it doesn't want to be touched.

>when this is over
...please don't go charging up to Hin all in a rage. I know you feel violated in the worst way, but she had no idea what she was doing.
>>
No. 584075 ID: 244e80

Use magic to give Alkaline the same coloration as your golem body. Failing that, making her spiky would be a good way for Hin to let go. At this point I'm not particularly concerned if Hin gets a few scratches.

Also, as soon as you use magic on Alkaline, Reisarf is likely to clue into your awareness of the situation.
>>
No. 584208 ID: a7868d

Stop right there.

You are weak, helpless, and you want to attack one of your own followers? They would all leave you in a moment if they found out.

This unwelcome molestation is bad, yes, but worse would be you being left alone with none to help you. You need them.

When you were a dungeon, a power unto yourself with no equals and only servants, you lost. You lost and were struck down, with all the time in the world to build and prepare, you lost to a band of, as Hin would put it, wandering murder hobos.

This is not an affront and not an attack. You need to calm yourself and regain your self control.

The heart is you. The Deem your companions know is just a vehicle for your consciousness. Return your mind to your heart and use it's power to create a new golem from the turf nearby. It needs only warn the to return the stone to it's resting place.

Perhaps... in the future... honesty with your companions may be a better tact. I know you were hiding your heart for fear of further damage, but this gross violation of your most central bit of self could have been avoided if you were honest.
>>
No. 584210 ID: ef7fd2

>>584208
not much to add, this right here.
>>
No. 584211 ID: 321d85

Reinforce Alkaline. Try not to go too far overboard, if you can help it.

For the record, I interpret this as being a situation (from Deem's perspective) most closely analogous to rape. I feel that similar tact and carefulness should be observed in addressing the subject, especially in regards to who's at fault, or "this wouldn't have happened if".
>>
No. 584354 ID: 257e78

Reinforce Alkiline such that she looks as much as possible like your golem-body did when you first met Hin. Stone armor plates in the right places, spider-leg skirt (probably just slime tentacles, but the silhouette is what counts here), bluer complexion if you can do that without stunting her growth.

I don't think we should completely rule out the option of laying some kind of curse on Hin. She knew messing with the Heart was potentially dangerous and directly against Deem's wishes, but did it anyway. Letting her off too easy sets a bad precedent, encourages future misbehavior. That being said, probably better to save the irreversible stuff for some sort of judicial proceeding after the crisis is resolved. What sorts of curses are we talking about here, anyway? I mean, if we could hit Hin with something that's the equivalent of pepper spray in the short term, but gives her some inconvenient superpowers and an indefinitely extended lifespan, leaving her otherwise functional, that might not be so bad. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CursedWithAwesome
>>
No. 584432 ID: a7868d

Are you kidding me? You are really want to give in to Deem's tantrum?

No Curses and for that matter, no reinforcement magic, since that'll do more to flip out our nascent slime than anything. We need to animate a new golem and stop them. Randomly attacking our followers is going to backfire, terribly. These people followed deem for varying reasons, but none of them did it in the pursuit of power or out of fear, and if Deem expresses herself as a power hungry tyrant they'll never develop any kind of loyalty.

We need to handle this a bit more subtly. Abandon Deem golem for now and make a new golem, have it take the heart back. From this point maybe we should encase it in a stone shield, assuming that doesn't interrupt the flow of mana into it.
>>
No. 584445 ID: f461c5

>>584432
Deem gollem operates the way it does because it has a fragment of her heart. Abandoning it to create a new one will be just as ineffectual as anything else. And Hin herself has been unhelpful at best and a threat at worst. If any of them require negative conditioning, it is her.

My suggestion is that you enhance Alkaline such that her slime is denser, preferably increasing her surface tension, thereby forcing Hin's hands out of her body. Then shape the earth to form a wall between her and the others, Hin, and everyone else in that tent. The likelihood of your other allies following Hin's lead in disabling or harming Alkaline is enough that you shouldn't take the risk.
>>
No. 584476 ID: 257e78

>These people followed deem for varying reasons, but none of them did it in the pursuit of power or out of fear, and if Deem expresses herself as a power hungry tyrant they'll never develop any kind of loyalty.

Your argument is flawed at several points.

First, I'm pretty sure Merud and Hin were both pursuing power in their own fields of expertise. Deem knows things about golemetry and forgework that are otherwise lost to the world, and recruited them with the promise of those secrets.

Second, Deem is supposed to be the leader of this group, which got together to found a dungeon, accumulating vast wealth and power in the process. Being at least a little bit of a power-hungry tyrant is Deem's job, just to follow through on those promises.

Third, we're not smiting Hin for an accidental insult or failure to complete a task that turned out to be impossible or something stupid like that. It was entirely premeditated. She knew disturbing the Heart was a violation of trust, so she waited until she thought Deem wouldn't find out. Reisarf told her it was a bad idea and she went ahead anyway! This is a matter of self-defense.

>And Hin herself has been unhelpful at best and a threat at worst. If any of them require negative conditioning, it is her.

No. Hin has useful skills, she just hasn't had the chance to exercise most of them. We shouldn't drive her away or hurt her if there's a reasonable way to resolve the situation without doing so.

Remember that question about blowing up? Hin joined when she was at the end of her rope, and is thinking of this whole dungeon plan as a desperate, stupid gamble which can't possibly be any worse than the situation she was stuck in before. Hin doesn't respect Deem, because Deem seems to lack control, all bark and no bite. The fix for that is a show of strength. Precise, efficient strength, not reckless cruelty! Boosting Alkaline into a recognizable likeness says, clearer than words, "You thought I wasn't looking? You were wrong. This is my domain."

Deem, you are being challenged here. Not by honorable force, like Moriko did, but through subterfuge. Thieving rogues play the labyrinth game too, don't they? This one went too far. You can handle this; your young, sticky champion is in position. All you have to do is show everyone how amazing you are.
>>
No. 584531 ID: a7868d

Oh great, now you are encouraging her to make an example. Here's the thing, Deem is going to do something stupid, no matter what. She's used to doing things a certain way and lashing out in fear and anger is a big part of that. She's showed poor judgement as an emotional response a number of times.

If you think Deem is going to respond appropriately to Hin's intrusion you haven't been paying attention. Deem is going to put all the force she can muster into punishing the insolent meatbag, and this is what we need to stop her from doing, and make her realize is the wrong way to go about things.

Also, in regards to the assertion that Merud and Hin came here seeking power, Merud came here seeking knowledge, and Hin came out of desperation.

Finally, I personally don't want Deem to return to being the Tyrant she clearly was in a past life. We should be guiding her away from lashing out in anger and fear.
>>
No. 584587 ID: f461c5

>>584531
And that is why we are advising her, you dope. Stop counselling inaction, and actually do something helpful.
>>
No. 584646 ID: 89b2a2

>>584587
>>584531
>>584476
>>584445

Sounds like a topic that should go into the discussion. Open it up there.
>>
No. 584831 ID: 256d52
File 140584404670.png - (32.64KB , 750x600 , take_control_pt2.png )
584831

>Could you reinforce the core itself? Armour it and give it spikes, but direct Alkaline to drop it first so it doesn't stab her in the process?
Impossible! Unthinkable! Forbidden! I can't use magic on my Heart at all.

>Deem. Get up. You need to get out there.
My head is spinning, I'm circling deeper into the maze inside it. Hin has my heart and there is so little I have ever been able to do to protect it. I have always failed. My mind races, old associations carrying me to places I do not want to go. I feel as if I might be swallowed by the impenetrable, imponderable armour of history. There's things buried here in this grave of memories. Things I don't want to know. Things I can't know. I shiver again.

>Tell Alkaline to swallow Hin's hand (and your heart). The heart is probably immune to the acid and the clay resistant; living flesh, not so much.
"I think she's trying to eat it!" Hin says to Reisarf, rising panic in her voice.

"I don't want to try magic, it might set her off." Reisarf says.

"Well get in here and help pry her off! I think its leaking!"

"Alkaline, be a good girl!" Hin says, trying to mask her alarm. She pats Alkaline tentatively, unwilling to use force. The slime child just gurgles angrily and squeezes tighter at this attempt to calm her down. "That's no good for you. Let go!"

>We need to handle this a bit more subtly. Abandon Deem golem for now and make a new golem, have it take the heart back.
No. I will never give up anything that is mine so lightly. My focus is ungainly, splintered, useless. I can barely command what I have, let alone create more.

Hin's still holding me. I can't feel the earth pulse. Only flesh and blood and bone marching to a different beat. It titillates me. It repulses me. I can't stand it. I must act.

Tap, tap, tap. Each beat of her pulse is like a tiny hammer blow. As though a web of cracks is spreading through me, fracturing at each strike. Flushes of heat and chill rock me and something rises up from deep inside of me. Something insatiable.

>If you can, use the heart to boost her immediately to prevent them from being grabby.
In spite of her loyal attempts, Alkaline is only a slime child. I struggle for a moment to open the way to supply of mana within me. It rises up burning and raw, threatening to slip through my grip. I clutch my old anger to me and strangle the flow down to something I can manage.

"I think you should drop her, Hin." Reisarf says slowly. "Something's waking up."
>>
No. 584832 ID: 256d52
File 140584409167.png - (39.85KB , 750x500 , light_em_up.png )
584832

>Get UP Deem! Get out of here!
I force my heart and body to coarsen, lose sensation like dumb rocks and climb slowly, clumsily to my feet.

>Enhancement seems the most surgical option. How specific can you be with that? Could you say, use Alkaline as a blackboard, writing out a message on her?
Reinforcement is not a subtle art when used like this!

>Boost Akaline's size, but also if you can give her some of your armour plates or otherwise something to indicate that this is your doing and not hers...
Size, strength, armament. I focus on what I want. Stone isn't a part of a slime's nature. Armour of any kind is troublesome. I circulate my drawn mana, a volcanic flow of power through my numb body.

>Reinforce Alkaline. Try not to go too far overboard, if you can help it.
Tch, my channels flare, mana battering down unintended paths. I am still damaged. I feel the medallion grow hot against my chest as I struggle to shut them again. Wasteful, but at least I managed to wrestle some of the excess to Alkaline. The ragged edges of my heart sting coldly, I can feel the mana seeping out.

I can't abide my own lack of control. I want to lash out.

Alkaline knows what she is to do - protect my heart and prevent Hin from escaping. I feel old and brittle and hollow, but my anger drives me on.
>>
No. 584833 ID: 256d52
File 140584413938.png - (31.26KB , 750x800 , happy_to_see_you.png )
584833

In a cloud of silt, something is coming toward me. Merud's golem. I let it carry me, as it turns and returns the way it came.

>Stop right there.
>You are weak, helpless, and you want to attack one of your own followers? They would all leave you in a moment if they found out.
>This unwelcome molestation is bad, yes, but worse would be you being left alone with none to help you. You need them.
They are helpful to have but no, I don't need them. I don't need anyone. All I need is the earth pulse. It sustains me. I have been alone before. I shall show a measure of restraint, for the others are not involved, but that is as far as it goes.

>When you were a dungeon, a power unto yourself with no equals and only servants, you lost. You lost and were struck down, with all the time in the world to build and prepare, you lost to a band of, as Hin would put it, wandering murder hobos.
You don't know anything. You don't remember anything. Don't presume to lecture me. I won't let myself be betrayed again.

>This is not an affront and not an attack. You need to calm yourself and regain your self control.
I am calm!

>Perhaps... in the future... honesty with your companions may be a better tact. I know you were hiding your heart for fear of further damage, but this gross violation of your most central bit of self could have been avoided if you were honest.
...

Merud splashes forwards into the pool, wincing at the cold. "Deem you're bleeding!"

"It's nothing."

"It's not noth-"

I cut him off. "Hin has meddled with my Heart. I had Alkaline stop her. She's guarding it for me. I'm going out there now."

"What?! Deem, you could be seriously hurt, take it easy!"

"It's nothing." I repeat, slipping off the golem and splashing ashore. "Hin has to be dealt with immediately."
>>
No. 584834 ID: 256d52
File 140584418949.png - (36.32KB , 750x800 , everyone_is_ok_with_this.png )
584834

>...please don't go charging up to Hin all in a rage. I know you feel violated in the worst way, but she had no idea what she was doing.
Ignorance is no excuse. She knew she shouldn't have done it.

>You never mentioned you could do curses!
Something so foundational that I'd entirely forgotten... After all, what is a monster if not a manifested curse?

"What did she do?" Merud says. "I've known Hin for years and I can't believe she'd go rooting through someone else's belongings or be so thoughtless as to tamper with a powerful magic item like your Heart."

"So quick to jump to her defense? If you want to learn anything from me, you'd best stay on my good side."

"This isn't like you."

"Oh, you are so familiar with me after just a few days? If you must talk, boy, then walk with me."
>>
No. 584837 ID: 53ba34

be sure to reward alkaline for her loyalty and willingness to jump in on your command.
>>
No. 584838 ID: ef7fd2

>I wont let myself be betrayed again
Oh boy, there is no way to reroute this freaky-deaky shit is there?
Well, be gentle deem. Don't kill her over this mistake, that's the path that leads to bond-villainy. And bond-villains ALWAYS get destroyed in the most terrifying ways possible.
You are acting like the you that, quite possibly, got you into whatever catastrophe that shattered your heart. You don't want to be that person, deem. That person clearly made mistakes, possibly in anger, much like you are trying to do now. Avoid that.
>>
No. 584839 ID: 0f4497

He's in perfect health, you're not. Send him to recover the heart and chew out Hin for you.
>>
No. 584842 ID: 22d852

Great, so there's going to be an angry, confused and hulked out baby-slime when we get up there.

>wouldn't be so thoughtless as to tamper with your heart
She didn't understand that just touching it would tamper with it. She didn't know it was active, or more importantly, that it was you. Because you didn't tell her.

>There's things buried here in this grave of memories. Things I don't want to know. Things I can't know.
Things you can't be, I think. Merud's right that you're not acting like yourself. You woke up something else, something I don't think you want to be.

>Ignorance is no excuse. She knew she shouldn't have done it.
She had concerns over the damage to the dungeon heart. Obviously the way you blew off those concerns when you spoke to her convinced her you weren't going to take them seriously, so she decided to take a look herself.

That's a responsible action for a follower. You have to call your boss on their shit. A leader needs to count on their people for that- they can't trust anyone else to do that. She was trying to help, worried you were too gung ho.

She would be horrified to realize what she has done to you. She didn't mean to hurt you, she didn't mean to rape or violate a fundamental part of. If anything proves that, it's that she's not letting go, despite Alkaline, because she doesn't want to allow anything to happen to it.

If there's a betrayal here, it's going to be your betraying her. You're about to betray the trust and faith she put in you, and the intent of her actions. You're about to make yourself a monster to her, and make her one to herself.

>I don't need them. I don't need anyone. All I need is the earth pulse. It sustains me
Sounds awful lonely. Any animal can be satisfied with mere sustenance. I would have thought you were greater than that. That you needed more.

And for the record? Merud is calling you on your shit right now, too. As are we. Maybe stop and think why everyone around you thinks there's something you need to listen to. And think about just where these feelings are coming from.
>>
No. 584843 ID: dc4b80

You have lost your calm connection to the earth pulse and are running off blood magic right now Deem. Its making you a bit power mad and sort of horrible.

While you might have been a power in the old days look where that got you. Even in your prime you needed powerful minions and people you could trust.
>>
No. 584849 ID: a2f9bc

Deem, you are absolutely right. Hin has to be put in her place; they all do. They are instruments of your will, and this kind of betrayal isn't acceptable. You wont accept it. She has hurt you and so you will hurt her.

However, she is still yours, and you will never give up anything that is yours so lightly. No, she wont be killed, and her use of her craft wont be lessened; her skill is yours too. Death or maiming, these take from you.

It is her conscience that will suffer, as you have no use for it. Hin believes herself to be a basically good person and while right now she may be scared or in pain, she is not suffering because of thin justifications that she "meant no harm" or "tried to fix her mistake". You will strip these from her and expose her actions for exactly what they were. Explain the violation she willingly perpetrated with her own hands and watch as her mind turns on itself. Fitting for what is yours to punish itself, is it not?

Once she has sunk into despair, she will be detained, ideally by Moriko but by someone else if she isn't back yet, until such a time as her period of torturous remorse has gone on long enough for you to deign to conclude with the rest of her punishment.

Once crazymode has worn off a bit, we can bring her around to not doing anything rash. For now, deferring rashness while only acting cruel is the best I can reasonably hope for.
>>
No. 584851 ID: 76b151

Deem. We are your advisors, but we cannot help you if you won't listen to us. Almost as one we are saying that punishing her harshly for this accident is a mistake. You've done this before, where your emotions have led you down the wrong path. Please remember that and listen to us. Please.

Hin isn't betraying you. Nor is she is trying to harm you. Every action she has taken is to try to help you. Not once has she has declared malice or thoughtlessness.

Look here where she stated what her intentions were:
>>583414
How would you even begin to repair something like this?"

Does this sound like betrayal?
>>
No. 584858 ID: 1f2a28

Punishment ideas:

Slime duty.
Getting that chest into the open on her own.
Deferred wages.
Breaking reinforced rocks.
Building a trapped alter of some sort to protect your heart.
Exile from your presence.
Get more ideas from Merud.
Concurrent of any of these.
>>
No. 584860 ID: ebc77d

Deem, I know that you'd like to reprimand Hin and I'm not going to convince you against that. All I like you to do is first praise Alkaline for protecting your core and then ask her to leave the tent before you start with Hin. The dressing down should be private.
>>
No. 584862 ID: 874468

If you plan on reprimanding Hin, I suggest the following words:
"Congratulations, you nearly managed in a few minutes what didn't happen in thousands of years: If Merud hadn't rescued me with one of his golems I would've drowned.
"The reason why I need you to never ever touch that dungeon heart is because my abilities as a magic-casting golem come from it. You're not aligned to the earth pulse so when you touch it this disrupts the magic significantly. When the dungeon heart gets moved this also disrupts the magic. If I'm using the magic at the time for something, like trying not to drown underwater, that can be a problem; if I'm distracted enough the problem may be explosively flammable as disrupted magic spontaneously ignites the air and everything else around the dungeon heart. You're lucky that Alkaline was there so I could influence her to remove it from your grasp.
"If you're so unstoppably curious about how the earth pulse management of a dungeon works I'll explain what I can while we work together, but until you've redeemed yourself I want you to dress up as a cat and repeat to yourself each morning, 'curiosity killed the cat.'"
>>
No. 584867 ID: 2fd516

>>584843
Blood magic?! I think you're right!

>>584834
DEEM. Do not do ANYTHING to Hin before you re-attune your heart to the Earth Pulse and let it flow through you again. You are not yourself right now. I can see it in your eyes. There are pits of blackness in them now, where before they were pure and red.

As for an appropriate punishment, I would say take suggestions from Merud for that. We don't know her, we don't know what she doesn't like.
Out of curiosity, what sorts of curses can you do?
>>
No. 584897 ID: 761017

Deem, prioritize the order of events!

1.) Direct your attention/energies on re-establishing yourself to the earth pulse, check yourself for secondary damages hidden by primary symptoms!

2.) When 1 is complete, counter attack the aggressor!
>>
No. 584899 ID: 276edd

Not sure what the limits of curses are, but if you can rescind them as easily as you place them, then perhaps a simple one will do some good.

Make her agoraphobic. Take away the comfort she has being in open spaces, make her seek the comfort of the caves.
>>
No. 584993 ID: 864b03

Can you curse her so that every time she messes with your heart, she feels something akin to it?

Every pounding, paid in kind. Just be sure to avoid making it so that it's all damage. I doubt Hin would be able to withstand feeling the pain of a missing chunk.

It's a shame you can't communicate in any way. Either by vibrating the ground around them or a scream out from your heart.
>>
No. 585063 ID: 89b2a2

Considering your heart is bleeding now's not the time to show off. Lean on Merund or at least let him carry your form back via a golem. Hustle a little.

Expand a little as to why Merund is ignorant, imply past history?

Use it to cool down a little. Not become less angry, but cooler and more... focused. One step at a time.
>>
No. 585114 ID: e6f4c6

How about this... now that you are in control, make a large golem. Have it pick her up, handle her like she did your heart. Have it poke her and examine her like some inanimate object.
>>
No. 585539 ID: aef4c1

Deem, be logical! Hin didn't *know* that holding your Heart would hurt you - because YOU kept that fact secret from her! Furthermore, she is interesting in repairing your Heart, and you're interested in getting it repaired. Getting rid of her would be counterproductive at this point.

That said, some advice on impressing the meatbags:
Firstly, if you're going to make an example of Hin, everyone else should be there so they can watch and be suitably cowed. Anything truly impressive should be saved for later, when it has the most effect. Shouting, cussing and magical fireworks for effect are still on the table.
Secondly, when you verbally lambaste Hin, open with a "THAT HURT!" to let her know WHY you're so angry and to put her on the defensive for the rest of the interaction.
Thirdly, make sure to reestablish your connection to the Earth Pulse before you really start laying into her - you don't want a trifling issue to distract you from giving her what she deserves.
(Lastly, if you have enough control to do it, growing to the same height as Hin before confronting her would make you seem more impressive.)
>>
No. 586122 ID: 256d52
File 140647730418.png - (25.84KB , 750x560 , walk_with_me.png )
586122

>You have lost your calm connection to the earth pulse and are running off blood magic right now Deem. Its making you a bit power mad and sort of horrible.
Of course I have lost that connection! Hin's moved my Heart! But don't be absurd. I have only what little scraps of power I have gathered inside myself. If anything, you might call the earth pulse blood magic given bloodshed stirs it.

Merud hasn't moved yet. He seems strangely uneasy. "What are you going to do when you get out there?"

"What am I going to do?" I laugh. The sound seems brittle to my ears, an edge of hysteria to it. I cut it off and glance backwards at him. "You know, I haven't decided yet. Amazing, you really are that concerned on Hin's behalf? I didn't realise the two of you were so close!"

"I'm worried about you, Deem."

"Don't try to change the subject!" I start walking, letting that ridiculous red coat of his slide through my fingers. "You'd better come along if you want to have any say in her fate. I don't intend to kill her, if that's what you're so worried about."

He starts moving. "Kill?! Deem, wait!"
>>
No. 586125 ID: 256d52
File 140647740545.png - (17.24KB , 600x528 , still_got_that_robe.png )
586125

>There's things buried here in this grave of memories. Things I don't want to know. Things I can't know.
>Things you can't be, I think. Merud's right that you're not acting like yourself. You woke up something else, something I don't think you want to be.
Who am I going to be but myself? This ancient feeling, it focuses my thoughts, strangles my fear, lets me thrust distractions down into the darkness. First Hin. She has to pay for what she's done.

>How about this... now that you are in control, make a large golem. Have it pick her up, handle her like she did your heart. Have it poke her and examine her like some inanimate object.
My abilities and my mana are hardly limitless.

>If you have enough control to do it, growing to the same height as Hin before confronting her would make you seem more impressive.
Do you mean to imply that I am not impressive enough to command her respect in my natural form? That I lack something?

My reinforcement is hardly cheap in terms of mana and as my spell channels have closed slowly I am bleeding the excess as raw mana from my Heart.

>DEEM. Do not do ANYTHING to Hin before you re-attune your heart to the Earth Pulse and let it flow through you again.
I won't have that until I've reclaimed my Heart and let it sit back where it belongs to re-establish its connection. An hour, at least.

>Not sure what the limits of curses are, but if you can rescind them as easily as you place them, then perhaps a simple one will do some good.
If a curse was easy to remove, that would rather defeat the purpose of a curse!

Curses are siblings of enchantment and reinforcement, a power that aggravates flaws and blunts strengths. It is the manifestation of the desire for harm to befall another. To extinguish the light of blessing and draw misfortune upon them.
>>
No. 586126 ID: 256d52
File 140647748730.png - (26.49KB , 750x600 , do_you_ever_shut_up.png )
586126

>Considering your heart is bleeding now's not the time to show off. Lean on Merud or at least let him carry your form back via a golem. Hustle a little.
No.

>While you might have been a power in the old days look where that got you. Even in your prime you needed powerful minions and people you could trust.
I was too trusting!

Merud's following. "Can you tell me what Hin did?" he says, a forced calm in his voice.

"I told you! She took my Heart!"

"What did she do exactly, She cast a spell on it?"

"No."

"She hit it?"

"No."

"She just picked it up then?"

"Don't say it like it's nothing! She hurt me. She has to be punished!"

"You've carried your heart around, your quasidragon has slept on it, and now Alkaline's holding it for you? Even I've touched your heart fragment. What makes Hin any different?"

Endless questions from him again. It's intolerable. "Do you think I enjoy having my link to the force that allows me to think and take action casually severed? Or having to suffer someone toying with the most precious thing I have, forcing me to confront just how terribly broken I am?"

>Hin had concerns over the damage to the dungeon heart. Obviously the way you blew off those concerns when you spoke to her convinced her you weren't going to take them seriously, so she decided to take a look herself.
Th-that's irrelevant! I didn't tell her to do that! She's brought this down on herself!

>She didn't understand that just touching it would tamper with it. She didn't know it was active, or more importantly, that it was you. Because you didn't tell her.
...
>>
No. 586127 ID: 256d52
File 140647753908.png - (21.24KB , 750x480 , can_handle_this.png )
586127

>Expand a little as to why Merud is ignorant, imply past history?
"Do you have any idea how old I am, boy? What I have experienced, what I have been subjected to? I have lain beneath the earth for an eternity. Deprived of gold and the earth pulse, I am voiceless, mindless and at the mercy of my dreams."

>You are acting like the you that, quite possibly, got you into whatever catastrophe that shattered your heart. You don't want to be that person, Deem. That person clearly made mistakes, possibly in anger, much like you are trying to do now. Avoid that.
S-shut up!

"Deem." Merud says taking my hand.

I whirl around. "You dare?!

"Has, has this happened before?" Merud says slowly, as if he's looking for the right words. "Has someone taken your Heart? Someone you trusted?" He's looking at me strangely. Does he pity me? I can't stand it!

He's guessing! How do those wizard eyes of his see these things?! I feel paralysed.

"Deem." he comes closer.
>>
No. 586128 ID: 256d52
File 140647759014.png - (20.62KB , 750x600 , meanwhile_kallia_started_choking.png )
586128

The golemeter wraps his arms around me. "I'm sorry if this too familiar of me," he breathes in my ear. "But seeing you so angry and afraid like that, I just couldn't stand it. Your Heart's going to be safe here. I won't let anything like that happen to you. Hin, Reisarf, Moriko, they're all good people. From what I've seen of Alkaline and that quasidragon of yours, they love you."

My body, rigid with shock, slowly untenses as he speaks. I don't know what to say.

"Do you need a moment to yourself?" Merud says.

"No, stay."

"Never been hugged before?" There's a hint of amusement in his voice.

"...It's not intolerable."

>I don't need them. I don't need anyone. All I need is the earth pulse. It sustains me
>Sounds awful lonely. Any animal can be satisfied with mere sustenance. I would have thought you were greater than that. That you needed more.
I... I don't want to be alone.
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No. 586129 ID: 256d52
File 140647767384.png - (21.24KB , 750x577 , oh_im_terrible_after_all.png )
586129

>Hin would be horrified to realize what she has done to you. She didn't mean to hurt you, she didn't mean to rape or violate a fundamental part of. If anything proves that, it's that she's not letting go, despite Alkaline, because she doesn't want to allow anything to happen to it.
She was trying to protect me?

>If there's a betrayal here, it's going to be your betraying her. You're about to betray the trust and faith she put in you, and the intent of her actions. You're about to make yourself a monster to her, and make her one to herself.
...I didn't know.
>>
No. 586130 ID: 256d52
File 140647772978.png - (32.46KB , 750x700 , i_have_you_now_my_pretties.png )
586130

>Be sure to reward Alkaline for her loyalty and willingness to jump in on your command.
I... yes, she should be rewarded. I suppose I will have to spend some time with her later.

"Ah, Stargazer, calm down." Reisarf says.

"Rei," Hin says, "I don't want to give any credence to those jokes they make about alienists but was 'Let everyone get captured by the tentacle monster' really your entire plan?"

"She's quieted down, hasn't she?"

"Look, we don't know what else it might do to Alkaline." Alkaline burbles at the mention of her name. "She's not that strong. I can break free and-"

"Fight a child?"

"Do you have a better plan?"

"We wait. It's not ideal, I know, but you might trigger more things if you try to fight her."

"Getting reaaaal tempted to punch a child right now..."

>Deem. We are your advisors, but we cannot help you if you won't listen to us. Almost as one we are saying that punishing her harshly for this accident is a mistake. You've done this before, where your emotions have led you down the wrong path. Please remember that and listen to us. Please.
...

Fine, I'm listening. What should I do next?
>>
No. 586131 ID: 53548a

Go back and tell them what happened.
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No. 586133 ID: 53ba34

need to at least explain why picking the heart up is a bad thing. explain that the heart connects to the earth pulse, and uses it as a source of energy. picking it up without the right preparation causes it a LOT of distress. in this case it called for help from the nearest monster gave it a power boost to help defend it.
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No. 586134 ID: e6f4c6

I can't see any path except explaining that touching the heart is touching that most central bit of yourself, and that her intrusion was both painful and inappropriate. You have to let her know she hurt you by doing this. Shame her for not trusting that you were keeping the heart concealed for a good reason, and that this callous action hurt you.
>>
No. 586140 ID: 6d3b18

Thanks for listening, Deem. Know that wasn't easy.

>What should I do next?
Well, for one thing, you do need to get back to your heart, actually. The stalemate between Hin and Alkaline is only going to last so long before Hin starts believing it's worth the risk to try something.

So priority one: get up there and defuse the situation. Reclaim your heart, get Hin and Reisarf released, calm down / disenchant Alkaline.

Disentangle yourself from Merud, thank him for calming you down, and have him help you up there.

>tell them
Explaining that the heart is you might be enough to explain what happened, and prevent it from happening again. I'm not sure if you want to go into the full detail of what you experienced, though. Deal with a deep seated emotional wound one on one with Merud is one thing- being open with your pain to everyone is another thing all together.

...that and hammering home to Hin that she inadvertently raped you when she was trying to help seems disproportionately cruel. I think they're going to be shaken when they see how haggard you look, even without all the details.

>He's looking at me strangely. Does he pity me? I can't stand it!
I'm not sure pity is the best word for it. He recognizes that you are in pain, and he cares about you. That demands an emotional response. A sympathetic reaction to that pain, an attempt to offer comfort.

Part of not being alone, really.

>He's guessing! How do those wizard eyes of his see these things?
Doesn't have anything to do with being a wizard, I think. Dungeon or no, you're a person. And someone in a position to understand can tell a lot about a person from their reactions, especially from a reaction as raw and powerful as what you just went through. You might as well ask how his eyes missed the sun.

>She was trying to protect me?
From what she saw as your own hubris, and then an unexpected magical reaction, yes. Technically incorrect, but she was acting with good intent.
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No. 586141 ID: 874468

If you don't want to tell them you're a dungeon you should at least say that her touch nearly caused you to drown because of how the earth pulse works, and explain why she shouldn't touch the stone, or even get too close to it.
When she understands that she might figure out what happened with Alkaline for herself, and if she works that out she will gain a greater appreciation for just how sensitive this is.
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No. 586158 ID: 2fd516

>>586130
First off, have Alkaline release Hin at this point, put your Heart back where it belongs, then stand guard in front of it, preventing anyone from coming close to it. Hin will stick around, don't worry about her "getting away". She doesn't even realize she did anything wrong.

Once you arrive on the scene I think you'd better tell them that you're a Dungeon, Deem. Also, try to find out why Hin touching your Heart disrupted your connection to the Earth Pulse. I didn't realize it before, but that IS unusual. Once everything is explained and Hin has some inkling of what she did, she can decide her own punishment.
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No. 586179 ID: 945fb0

>>586130
>Fine, I'm listening. What should I do next?
Calmly explain what happened and why. Let them know you are the Dungeon. Trust has to be given to be received.
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No. 586180 ID: e28723

If you still really don't want to tell them that you're actually the consciousness of the dungeon itself, you should at least explain to that your are intricately linked to the heart.
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No. 586244 ID: e6f4c6

This shouldn't be a debate. They need to understand who you are and why you do this. It's part of your nature, and while I know that nature doesn't make it easy to trust meatbags, that companionship is going to be important in the coming days.

Be honest, let Hin know she hurt you. You don't need to reveal how much if that makes you uncomfortable, but the remorse that comes from knowing what she did might result in her becoming closer to you. The choice is yours, but honesty is the route most of us recommend.
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No. 586249 ID: a2f9bc

Revealing everything about your nature as a Dungeon isn't strictly necessary. Explaining that you use the heart's connection to the Earth Pulse to fuel your locomotion and very consciousness is both completely true and communicates everything relevant about the situation.
>>
No. 586279 ID: 761017

>>586128
>meanwhile_kallia_started_choking.png
Is kallia allergic to sappiness, corniness, or cheesiness?

>>586249
>Explaining that you use the heart's connection to the Earth Pulse to fuel your locomotion and very consciousness is both completely true and communicates everything relevant about the situation.
Supporting this explanation.

>Also, try to find out why Hin touching your Heart disrupted your connection to the Earth Pulse. I didn't realize it before, but that IS unusual.
Maybe minions to the dungeon are "attuned" to he dungeon heart and therefore to the earth pulse, and hin is not yet minionized?
It could be a bloodline thing, some anti-magical trait that hardens her kind against passive magic flow, which would be helpful in forging powerful enchanted items. Energized items are harmless as long as your ohmic resistance is greater then the voltage potential of the current flowing through the object.
Investigate!



Deem, thank Merud, if you can. Not for anything specific, but because the thing to thank him for is something beyond/below what words can convey.
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No. 586330 ID: 9b9f12

Remember how explaining about the gold helped quiet some doubts among the team? Similar principle here. There are some very basic operational parameters which are obvious to you, but not to most people.

So, you don't necessarily need to explain everything, but you do need to lay out enough of the underlying principles that loyal minions can avoid making boneheaded mistakes. What the earth pulse is, the degree to which you depend on it (meatbags depend on breathable air and potable water, lot of room for metaphors there), what makes it work better, what messes it up. While you're getting the heart re-seated, narrate your thought process about arranging the gold and so on out loud, in enough detail that, say, Merud would be able to follow those guidelines and usefully patch things up by himself if something even worse happened.

Consider suspending or drastically revising the previously-scheduled duty roster. Prepare to spend the rest of the day getting yourself re-centered, answering stupid questions from people who've never heard of this 'earth pulse' concept before, and nurturing Alkaline as thoroughly as you possibly can - she's earned it.

Your group has some privacy up here on the side of the mountain, and adequate supplies. Eager though you may be to get a proper defensible complex set up, digging out a dungeon is not done in a day. Discussing fundamental priorities now, frustrating and humiliating though it may be, will save even worse trouble down the line.
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No. 586362 ID: ebc77d

>>586330
Speaking of the gold, we might want to inform the rest of the gang about the chest and the amulet we found. It's a good morale boost as now there's concrete proof that there's a reward for all the effort put in.
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No. 589286 ID: 256d52
File 140794489294.png - (24.74KB , 800x600 , an_end_to_hugs.png )
589286

>You do need to get back to your heart, actually. The stalemate between Hin and Alkaline is only going to last so long before Hin starts believing it's worth the risk to try something.
I have to get back out there. No matter what good intentions Hin might have, I don't want anyone going off and doing something stupid. Again.

>Explaining that you use the heart's connection to the Earth Pulse to fuel your locomotion and very consciousness is both completely true and communicates everything relevant about the situation.
Hmm, I suppose I must concede I haven't explained terribly much to them thus far.

>You should at least say that her touch nearly caused you to drown
I can't drown.

>Dungeon or no, you're a person. And someone in a position to understand can tell a lot about a person from their reactions, especially from a reaction as raw and powerful as what you just went through. You might as well ask how his eyes missed the sun.
What?! What else did he see?!

>Disentangle yourself from Merud, thank him for calming you down, and have him help you up there.
Back to business. I use Merud's shoulder as a support to steady myself as I stand.

"That's enough." I say. "Time to see to this mess outside. Untangle everything and explains some things."

"You don't need another moment?" Merud asks.

I blink. Water. "I-I must have soaked up more water than I thought." I scrub the tears from my eyes and frown at him. "You shouldn't have squeezed me so hard!" I glance at him and look away, shifting on my feet. "But thanks."

The golemeter gives a snort of what I assume is exertion as he climbs to his feet. "I'll try to be careful about that in the future," he banters. "But you're welcome. If you need to talk about anything, just ask."

"G-good!" I turn and march at the entrance. Why does this all have to be so difficult?
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No. 589287 ID: 256d52
File 140794506379.png - (39.21KB , 800x750 , the_touch_of_the_monster.png )
589287

>So priority one: get up there and defuse the situation. Reclaim your heart, get Hin and Reisarf released, calm down / disenchant Alkaline.
Alkaline seems calm enough and I'll have to wait for the reinforcement magic to wear off. I hope I did not overdo it. She's young. It had to be done, I suppose, and slimes are resilient.

>First off, have Alkaline release Hin at this point, put your Heart back where it belongs, then stand guard in front of it, preventing anyone from coming close to it. Hin will stick around, don't worry about her "getting away". She doesn't even realize she did anything wrong.
My Heart is painfully limited without a dungeon. I can't talk, I can only communicate the vaguest of orders to nearby creatures of the earth pulse. Without the, ah, added encouragement of my reaction to Hin, Alkaline seems more interested in following her own desires.

I suppose she is only a child, after all. She hasn't set my Heart down but at least Hin hasn't made any escape attempts.

"Alkaline, sweetie, you can't hug things all day." Hin tries. "Put the gem down and let us go."

"Blllluu?"

"You doesn't understand a word I'm saying, do you?"

Alkaline squeezes her captives again and strokes Hin's head. I'm almost there. Merud's a little behind me.
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No. 589288 ID: 256d52
File 140794519174.png - (34.84KB , 600x800 , danger_a_giant_slime_is_approaching_fast.png )
589288

She's spotted me approaching out of the corner of her eye. She's suddenly moving.

Alkaline turns, Hin, Reisarf and Stargazer stumbling and falling away from her as she releases them, her face brightening. The slime's still fast and much, much bigger, swelling in my view as she charges.
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No. 589289 ID: 256d52
File 140794521476.png - (17.66KB , 600x600 , if_you_stand_still_she_cant_see_you_deem.png )
589289

I may have made a terrible mistake.
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No. 589290 ID: 256d52
File 140794524861.png - (20.30KB , 600x600 , game_over.png )
589290

I should have remembered how clingy she's been.

Alkaline. Stop. I can barely croak a word out. Between her size, exuberance and added limbs she threatens to engulf me entirely. I try to reach for my Heart.

Movement outside.
>>
No. 589291 ID: ef7fd2

>>589289
>Become one with the slime
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No. 589292 ID: 256d52
File 140794530691.png - (39.10KB , 800x600 , picking_up_girls.png )
589292

A few moments of confusion and I find myself, golem body and Heart together, hauled free.

I find myself tucked under one of Hin's arms like a load of laundry. Is everyone going to be too familiar with me today? She's facing down Alkaline, voice sharp and finger raised.

"Alkaline! No! Bad slime! Don't go around grabbing people like that!"

"Blub?" Alkaline shrinks back, picking up on Hin's tone.

Hin glances at me. "Are you alright, De-?"

"Put me down. Now."

The only small mercy is that everyone wasn't here to see this.

"Snnrrr?"

Chakarchelou is behind me, isn't he?

>Also, try to find out why Hin touching your Heart disrupted your connection to the Earth Pulse. I didn't realize it before, but that IS unusual. Once everything is explained and Hin has some inkling of what she did, she can decide her own punishment.
She moved it! That cut my connection and left me with the frightening prospect of being at her mercy.
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No. 589293 ID: 256d52
File 140794534713.png - (174.20KB , 1000x600 , explain_yourself.png )
589293

>Consider suspending or drastically revising the previously-scheduled duty roster. Prepare to spend the rest of the day getting yourself re-centered, answering stupid questions from people who've never heard of this 'earth pulse' concept before, and nurturing Alkaline as thoroughly as you possibly can - she's earned it.
I find my feet with ill grace. I need to talk about this, but any plans I might have had for my entrance have been thoroughly ruined. Moriko approaches warily, coming after Chakarchelou. Alkaline seems content to sit there for the moment. My quasidragon must have reacted to my distress as well. How to start?

Hin speaks first, cutting into my reverie.

"OK, what the hell is going on?"

I look at her with irritation. This is her fault! I bite back a sharp reply. Instead I take a deep breathe. "I can explain everything."

>Calmly explain what happened and why. Let them know you are the Dungeon. Trust has to be given to be received.
>Revealing everything about your nature as a Dungeon isn't strictly necessary.
Actually... I only have to tell them about my reliance on the mana supply to my heart, right? They don't need to know I am really the dungeon. If I tell them, they might tell someone else. Merud shouldn't say anything if I tell him not to. I clutch at my Heart. It's slippery with slime. One of my fingers feels the jagged edge of my wound. This is my secret. I don't know much about how widespread the Dungeoneer's Guild is, or the Harrowers, or how hostile either group would be to me. Maybe I should have insisted Kallia come too...

These thoughts are making me tense, jittery. Should I tell them I am the dungeon?
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No. 589294 ID: ef7fd2

>>589293
Well I mean, I expect the golemeters among you have already figured THAT much out. And I wouldn't be surprised if captain stare over there does too.
On the other hand, compartmentalization is key to keeping important secrets from getting out.
On the OTHER other hand, showing trust is good.

I say plan to tell them, but maybe not yet. Perhaps later, when they have all proven themselves fully trustworthy. For now, let's talk to Hin and everyone else about the extraordinarily important new "No touching the dungeon heart" rule.
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No. 589303 ID: 4b571b

>>589290
...well, I see possibilities for some kind kind of slime based constrictor trap, in the future.

>This is my secret. I don't know much about how widespread the Dungeoneer's Guild is, or the Harrowers, or how hostile either group would be to me.
To be fair, if you assume either group would threaten you, or oppose you setting up a dungeon here, they're going to investigate as soon as they hear about the dungeon, anyways. And word spreading is going to be inevitable, if you want to attract adventurers. Maybe you can conceal your true nature from them when their agents come sniffing around. Maybe not. But if you leave questions unanswered, there's a good chance they'll provide those answers to your allies when they come asking.

Yes, ideally, your allies can't betray secrets they don't know. But they're liable to say the wrong thing in ignorance, or have their loyalty tested if and when they recognize the deceit.

>Maybe I should have insisted Kallia come too
Trying to contain people almost inevitably backfires in some way. I'd trust for the moment that she doesn't have a reason to betray you to those who might do you harm.

>Should I tell them I am the dungeon?
Yes. This is just the first of many many possible confusions, and mistakes that could be made by their failure to understand what you are.

>OK, what the hell is going on?
...you couldn't have know, but when you picked it up, you interrupted the dungeon heart's connection to the earth pulse. My heart. It's not just some damaged relic, that's me. Alkaline reacted to my... distress. (Massive, deadpan understatement).

The obvious follow up to whatever variant of "you couldn't have said this before": I didn't exactly wish to make a weakness obvious. And I think I'm hardly the first person to worry about how people might react to what I am (we've got a Tiefling, half-ogre and alienist. Pretty sure that kind of judgement will resonate with their own experiences). I don't know this age.
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No. 589305 ID: cfe8e5

>>589294
You should probably tell them; they're going to find out eventually anyway, and it's important they know your nature so everyone can avoid similar incidents in the future.

Plus, what happens if, in the future, someone gets ahold of your heart and you get nearly immobilized again, or worse? If they don't know that you ARE the dungeon heart, they might get the wrong idea and just try to help your golem body, without knowing to address the real threat.

Help them help you; let them know what you are.
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No. 589307 ID: e6f4c6

I don't see anyone here going to a dungeoneers guild and I don't know what harrowers are. Hin is clearly not interested in adventurers, Merud already knows about you to some degree, and distrusting reisarf or stargazer would be silly, they wouldn't betray you.

I think you can trust Moriko as well, for different reasons.
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No. 589315 ID: 2fd516

>>589293
Merud already knows. Hin is half-ogre. Reisarf is an Alienist. Moriko is part Tiefling- DO NOT MENTION THIS OUT LOUD THOUGH. Everyone here understands what it's like to be an outcast. I think you should tell them. Also there's really no way for you to communicate fully to Hin why you're angry without telling her what you are.

Start by saying you didn't want to risk telling more people about this until you were more set up, but you didn't anticipate a problem like this happening. At this point you can drop the bomb- you aren't the golem, you're the Heart. Then tell Hin that you heard what she was saying- that she wanted to fix your heart, and there's nothing you would want more than that. However, she took your heart without permission, without warning, severing your connection to the earth pulse and leaving you at her mercy. That is an unacceptable betrayal of trust and akin to physical assault.
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No. 589353 ID: 53ba34

yeah, setting up the dungeon is going to attract everyone interested in dungeons anyway, so may as well get it out now.
>>
No. 589365 ID: 187d9a

>>589293
tell them your a dungeon, its not really something you can hide from them long term since both golems and dungeons are fairly well understood.
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No. 589469 ID: a2f9bc

Don't tell them now. Trust is great, but as someone above me graciously pointed out, it has to be earned. Normally, I would be willing to extend the courtesy to them because they're a generally trustworthy group, but consider what just happened.

Someone with no ill-intent messed things up something fierce. The point being that none of them is infallible and that mistakes should expected as a matter of course, especially outside of their areas of expertise, which all things Dungeon related are. It's true Hin's mistake was driven in part by ignorance, but the specific issues are easily addressed without revealing the broader, more sensitive, secret of Deem's, and it was Hin's willingness to go behind Deem's back, a typically but unfortunately not in this situation benign level of untrustworthiness, that is ultimately responsible. Hin is the one that needs to earn trust, and the onus isn't on Deem to extend it first.

The only one really equipped to discover Deem's secret already knows it and has proven himself capable of keeping it to himself. I had suspected the Alienist duo of knowing, but recently they've been less savvy on the matter than expected. I put them down as a maybe.
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No. 589492 ID: 53548a

Just tell Hin that she shouldn't have touched your stuff, and explain what you said about your reliance on the heart. Say that you felt it when she moved it and felt violated. Tell her to never do it again.
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No. 589514 ID: e6f4c6

Just tell the damn truth. These people are gonna work for you, they gotta know the deal.
>>
No. 589523 ID: dcd676

Tell them. If you're going to trust them at all, if they're going to work with you they need to know how the situation is set up and what is and isn't out of bounds.
>>
No. 589688 ID: 257e78

First of all, explain that moving the Heart disrupted it's connection to the Earth Pulse, and aggravated the mana leakage, which yes, [sarcasm] thank you Hin, [/sarcasm] you were already fully aware of. That disruption is what incapacitated your golems and provoked a defensive reaction from Alkaline. You're uncomfortable with the heart being touched at all, but unseating it like that is what caused an actual crisis. This is information these people will need to know if they're going to be strategizing rather than acting strictly as obedient minions; if, say, the dungeon were besieged and a tactical retreat became necessary, that distinction could have enormous significance for the allocation of forces and exact timing of such a retreat.

Then ask Reisarf what he thought you meant when you said "It's all I know." Before you can even consider strengthening your informational security, you've got to figure out who's already figured it out.
>>
No. 589698 ID: 36f29f

>>589293
Something along the lines of.. "I am bound to this heart. You saw the somewhat crude patch made upon it? Would you so callously jostle around a person with a wound in their body, patched in such a delicate way? Dungeon hearts are more than simply a magical oddity: they live."

They might take the hint without directly telling them that you're the Dungeon. Perhaps thinking that she's harmed or frightened a separate entity that isn't familiar with her will temper her curiosity in the future
>>
No. 599416 ID: 256d52
File 141434172143.png - (14.18KB , 700x450 , not_to_scale.png )
599416

>This is just the first of many many possible confusions, and mistakes that could be made by their failure to understand what you are.
I suppose it was foolish to believe I could hide it forever.

"This happened because you stole my Heart."

"Stole?" Hin bristles with indignation. "Is that what you think happened? For your information, I was trying to help you." She glances behind her. "Tell her, Rei!"

Reisarf's distracted, struggling with Stargazer. She seems to be trying to move away.

She makes a little noise of frustration, seeing no help from that quarter. "It's damaged, Deem. The crack is plain to see and it's acting erratically. I wanted to make sure you weren't understating the dangers. It shouldn't be casting spells by itself. We got lucky with Alkaline, but what if it starts affecting hostile monsters? The earth pulse isn't something to be meddled with lightly!"

I do not appreciate being disparaged or talked down to like this at all.

I find myself grinding my teeth in frustration. "Did it not occur to you to ask me about it?"

"I did ask!"

>Merud already knows. Hin is half-ogre. Reisarf is an Alienist. Moriko is part Tiefling- DO NOT MENTION THIS OUT LOUD THOUGH. Everyone here understands what it's like to be an outcast. I think you should tell them. Also there's really no way for you to communicate fully to Hin why you're angry without telling her what you are.
And I am angry.

>Start by saying you didn't want to risk telling more people about this until you were more set up, but you didn't anticipate a problem like this happening. At this point you can drop the bomb- you aren't the golem, you're the Heart.
Well then, the facts. I close my eyes for a moment to steady myself. Just looking at Hin is making me mad. I shift my hold on my Heart to show the fragment embedded in my golem body.

"Fine. I had hoped to wait until things were more settled, but my hand has been forced. I am more closely linked to this Heart than you realise."

"Long ago, my Heart was damaged. I don't remember how. I awakened because Chakarchelou-" "Snnr?" he rubs against my leg - "brought gold near my Heart. I was able to embed the broken fragment into this body." I run a finger over the fragment. It's an eerie sensation.

"Wait, you're saying you are the Heart? How is that possible?"

"That's irrelevant!" I say. Sharper than I intended. I'd best push on.
>>
No. 599417 ID: 256d52
File 141434180043.png - (37.16KB , 800x550 , hin_dun_goofed.png )
599417

>Then tell Hin that you heard what she was saying- that she wanted to fix your heart, and there's nothing you would want more than that. However, she took your heart without permission, without warning, severing your connection to the earth pulse and leaving you at her mercy. That is an unacceptable betrayal of trust and akin to physical assault.
"I need the mana supplied by the earth pulse to remain awake. Moving my Heart breaks this connection."

Hin shakes her head. She seems agitated. "Look, I know I did something I shouldn't have but that heart-" it seems she doesn't truly believe me - "still had a ton of mana in it. It'd be maybe an hour's disruption. Not a problem at all."

"So it would be fine for me to unexpectedly strangle you, because you can hold your breathe for a time?" An unfair comparison, perhaps, but I want it to hurt her.

"I- shit."

"Imagine being kidnapped!" I say, voice rising. "No, imagine dying. You are attacked, struck, wounded. Perhaps mortally. Your limbs are robbed of power, your senses overloaded, you can feel your vital force leeching away. The terror of knowing that a tiny span of time is all you have left to act, to save yourself, and the terrible uncertainty if not knowing if you'll ever wake up again when the last of your strength gives out."

I slash my hand downward for emphasis. "That is what you did!" I hate the shrill edge to my voice.

Hin recoils as if I'd actually struck her.

Merud moves between us. "Deem, wait. Just take a moment, calm down."

"Blooooorb." What is that? A sound of utter tragedy, like finding a bag filled with gold to really be nothing but pyrite.
>>
No. 599418 ID: 256d52
File 141434185507.png - (30.11KB , 650x540 , i_need_an_adult.png )
599418

Alkaline is huddled up, pawing at Hin's belt to get her attention. There's a dark stain inside her. Part of her is bubbling. Has she swallowed something?

Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no.

My heart was leaking raw mana as well.

Raw mana. Bent magic. Bad magic. Curdled power all tangled up on itself.

Not dangerous, unless it's allowed to interact with something. It'll harmlessly effervesce away if left alone. You could almost bathe in it. Under controlled conditions, it's even potentially useful for that spark of chaos, altering items or creating different types of monsters.

She had my Heart inside her.
>>
No. 599419 ID: 256d52
File 141434188420.png - (25.00KB , 700x600 , deem_dun_goofed.png )
599419

I clutch my Heart to myself. My thoughts are churning. Dread is welling up from the hollows inside me. I keep returning to one question: Am I to blame for this?

Alkaline didn't do anything wrong. She's done nothing but help me. Why is this happening? I feel a thickness in my throat and swallow compulsively. This isn't fair. Is this... this is my fault.

What have I done? Isn't there something I should be doing?

Why am I just standing there?
>>
No. 599421 ID: 9ddf68

well crap, so could we just remove the slime bits that are bubbling or would that not do anything? I mean unless you have something to counter the magic inside of her the only thing I can think of is removing the infected parts of slime. But with little to no idea about the workings of magic I don't know if either are viable choices.
>>
No. 599424 ID: 2fd516

I think you'd better take out the infected slime, then. Time for slime surgery!
>>
No. 599428 ID: 4d85c5

>Why am I just standing there?
Shock, conflicted emotions? You just went from desperate fear for your life to murderous rage to cruel anger to sudden guilt and despair. That takes a toll on the mind.

>Isn't there something I should be doing?
Yes, there is.

You're probably the person here with the most familiarity and knowledge with monster biology and injuries. Who has the most intimate understanding of raw mana. You are the single most qualified person here to attempt to treat Alkaline. That's what you need to focus on. Let the anger and grief fall aside, set your heart to the side, and focus on the task at hand. You have a patient at hand. An injured monster you need to tend to.

What do you need to help her?
>>
No. 599429 ID: 2ec61a

poke your finger into the mana blob and leech it away into something constructive.
>>
No. 599453 ID: 600b2e

>>599419
calm down, she's not dead yet. move and fix her.
>>
No. 599482 ID: a5bd6c

Is alkaline too young to split? We could force her to split off the chaos infected bits and then confine the chaos slime. Hell, a chaos magic infused slime would make for an excellent disposable monster in your dungeon.

We do want to make sure it doesn't corrupt her though. She's too valuable to have acting erratically. If you have to cut it out or siphon it off do it quickly, as when the reinforcement magic fades it's likely to be a much larger percentage of her total.
>>
No. 599486 ID: a2f9bc

Moriko looks angry~

>>599419
Empathy and guilt can be a paralyzing mixture. If you're really worried, you can make it up to her later by hanging out like she wants. After you fix her.

Would reinforcing her further in any way help her endure the raw mana, Deem? Enchantment? Merud got any batteries he can siphon it off into? Might break them, but I doubt he'd be worried especially given the circumstances.
>>
No. 599534 ID: ccd544

turn your hand into a large cup/plunger shape, stab with great force through Alkaline, to remove the bad blob.
>>
No. 599602 ID: 8f01e8

I'm gonna take a wild guess here and say, yeah, part of it is conflicting emotions, but the other part is that thing you were telling Hin about a minute ago. Are you still, figuratively speaking, holding your breath, turning blue, and about to pass out? Yes, I'm aware you're already literally black and blue, and that doesn't spoil the metaphor at all.

Priority one is to get your heart re-seated.

Priority two is emergency surgery for Alkaline. Scoop out the thaumotoxins, use reinforcement to replace the scooped-out bit with healthy slime, rinse off the scoop, repeat until she's stabilized.

Everything else, guilt and blame and earthshattering revelations and all that crap, can wrestle for the lower slots. Tactics, right? You know how to do tactics. Don't argue about which way to expand the tunnels while the kitchen's on fire.

On a more strategic note, Hin is now aware of the magnitude of her error. Errors happen, and an effective organization has ways of dealing with them. This problem with Alkaline is a perfectly timed opportunity to teach your subordinates the CORRECT way to respond in the immediate aftermath of discovering their own culpability for a teammate-endangering mistake, by demonstrating the procedure yourself. Fix it! Move!
>>
No. 604561 ID: 256d52
File 141675000371.png - (28.43KB , 750x600 , very_important_mission.png )
604561

>Why am I just standing there?
>Shock, conflicted emotions? You just went from desperate fear for your life to murderous rage to cruel anger to sudden guilt and despair. That takes a toll on the mind.
I have no use for guilt or despair. I don't want to feel like this.

>You're probably the person here with the most familiarity and knowledge with monster biology and injuries. Who has the most intimate understanding of raw mana. You are the single most qualified person here to attempt to treat Alkaline. That's what you need to focus on. Let the anger and grief fall aside, set your heart to the side, and focus on the task at hand. You have a patient at hand. An injured monster you need to tend to.
I need to act. I do not wish for Alkaline to be punished for my failings.

Here, Chakarchelou. Guard my heart.

>I'm gonna take a wild guess here and say, yeah, part of it is conflicting emotions, but the other part is that thing you were telling Hin about a minute ago. Are you still, figuratively speaking, holding your breath, turning blue, and about to pass out?
It will take up to an hour to re-establish my connection to the earth pulse. I still have a moderate chunk of the - admittedly dregs of - mana I started with when my connection was severed. Unless I try another high power reinforcement, I will be fine.

>Yes, I'm aware you're already literally black and blue, and that doesn't spoil the metaphor at all.
I don't see what this has to do with anything.
>>
No. 604562 ID: 256d52
File 141675008962.png - (22.26KB , 600x800 , chaperone.png )
604562

I move away and Chakarchelou settles protectively over my Heart. Moriko remains in place but moves into a guard stance. Chakarchelou gronks. He tosses back his head and stares at her, jaw wagging. I don't think he likes her standing so close.

She gives the quasidragon an aside glance. He shifts nervously, trying to decide if he's in trouble.

>Moriko looks angry~
No, I am fairly sure that is her normal face. She's very intense!

>Is alkaline too young to split? We could force her to split off the chaos infected bits and then confine the chaos slime. Hell, a chaos magic infused slime would make for an excellent disposable monster in your dungeon.
Far too young.

'Chaos' is a little misleading. Raw mana is more congealed potentiality. It's looking for a way to express itself. It is unpredictable but its effects are manipulable by adjusting the environment of its exposure and what it is allowed to interact with. Creating a path of lower resistance, if you like.

That being said, cutting parts off a slime does relatively little harm to them...
>>
No. 604563 ID: 256d52
File 141675018427.png - (35.28KB , 800x500 , stain_removal.png )
604563

>I think you'd better take out the infected slime, then. Time for slime surgery!
"We need to get that raw mana out of her." I say. "It shouldn't hurt her if the slime around it is removed too." Especially if it is done it while she's still reinforced.

"Right!" Merud says. No further words. He steps forward, motioning Hin aside. He activates the golem spell embedded in his robes, and twists one half of his split over-robe into a hand. Another step and he pushes the hand into Alkaline's quivering body, where the raw mana is bubbling and boiling like an infected wound. Fingers of flat, reinforced fabric close around the raw mana like a scoop and then he pulls the whole dripping, bubbling mess free.

Alkaline flops onto her back with an indignant squeak. I will take that as a good sign.

>Poke your finger into the mana blob and leech it away into something constructive.
If only it were that easy. Raw mana isn't in a usable state!

>Would reinforcing her further in any way help her endure the raw mana, Deem?
Letting raw mana come into contact with a half formed spell is the absolute worst thing I could do!
>>
No. 604564 ID: 256d52
File 141675031093.png - (26.20KB , 800x600 , the_utility_of_containers.png )
604564

Reisarf and Stargazer rush up with pots from the camp.

Merud dumps the slimy mess of raw mana into the pot Reisarf holds out for him. Reisarf fumbles a moment then jams the pot's lid on. He holds it tight, bubbles escaping from one side as he fights to press the lid in place and seal it properly. Good thinking, it shouldn't have anything else to react with.

Stargazer pours water over Alkaline to rinse out the wound.

A few seconds more and the reinforcement spell ends. The extra tentacles fall apart and Alkaline shrinks back to her normal size, though it leaves the ground around her treacherous with slimy residue. It smells vaguely of citrus.
>>
No. 604565 ID: 256d52
File 141675039121.png - (27.69KB , 800x550 , no_escape.png )
604565

I carefully pick my way across the slippery ground. Alkaline seems to have bounced back though I can't yet know if the exposure to raw mana has had any long term effects.

>On a more strategic note, Hin is now aware of the magnitude of her error. Errors happen, and an effective organization has ways of dealing with them. This problem with Alkaline is a perfectly timed opportunity to teach your subordinates the CORRECT way to respond in the immediate aftermath of discovering their own culpability for a teammate-endangering mistake, by demonstrating the procedure yourself. Fix it! Move!
I didn't do anything...
>>
No. 604572 ID: d90668

Stop saying you didn't do anything.

You did not directly cause this mess. And its really not your fault that it happened. It came about because of a complex mess of innocent errors and mistakes.

But you are the leader here. When something happens you are the final authority and have to make the tough decisions. Stop trying to place blame and worry about finding who is at fault. Instead work to fix things and make sure that the chain of events that caused them can not happen again.

Your people will learn from this little fiasco. What they learn from it depends on how you handle things.
>>
No. 604573 ID: 2ec61a

you are the commander and your troops executed your will in an efficient manner. they were staring at the problem without any idea of what to do until you said something. a well oiled machine needs very little effort to get it to do what you want.
>>
No. 604580 ID: 07a835

>>604565
You told Merud how to deal with it. You still helped. Now go apologize to Alkaline for putting her in danger. Give her a hug, maybe.

Then, I think you'd better address the group. They know you're a dungeon now. Does this change anyone's mind about helping you set up? You have no intention of posing a threat to the town if anyone's worried about that. You just want to do what you were meant to do.
>>
No. 604603 ID: eda819

>I have no use for guilt or despair. I don't want to feel like this.
Generally the point of negative emotions. You're not supposed to want to feel that way.

>contaminated slime in a bucket
Besides keeping that sealed until it cools down, is there any use for that? I don't know if magically radioactive sludge is a reagent we might have a use for later, or if it's just dangerous waste to dispose of.

>I didn't do anything...
You gave the orders, and you recruited competent people able to act quickly on them. That's how a leader deals with problems.

>what do
Thank you people for their efforts, see about getting things back in order around here, and then suck it up and spend time hanging out with the little slime girl who just took a big risk for you. After what happened she could use the emotional support of getting time with you, you're not in good shape to do much else, and you can use the opportunity to watch for any symptoms or problems.
>>
No. 604718 ID: a2f9bc

>>604565
Go feel sorry for yourself with Hin. You're both screw-ups! Together!
>>
No. 604951 ID: 256d52
File 141682952301.png - (25.63KB , 600x750 , deem_is_bad_at_hugs.png )
604951

>Generally the point of negative emotions. You're not supposed to want to feel that way.
I am aware of that. That doesn't mean I like it.

>You told Merud how to deal with it. You still helped. Now go apologize to Alkaline for putting her in danger. Give her a hug, maybe.
I am sorry for putting you through that after all you did for me, Alkaline.

She is still very clingy. I will allow this.

>Besides keeping that sealed until it cools down, is there any use for that? I don't know if magically radioactive sludge is a reagent we might have a use for later, or if it's just dangerous waste to dispose of.
It's potentially useful, but I'd want to wait until I had an arcane workshop set up before opening it up again. Hopefully that was not an important pot.
>>
No. 604952 ID: 256d52
File 141682958124.png - (34.81KB , 1000x500 , wheres_waldo.png )
604952

I try ruffling what passes for Alkaline's hair. She makes a high pitched noise - "Bleee~" - and nuzzles me. She's so easy to please. What on earth did I do to inspire this level of feeling.

>You gave the orders, and you recruited competent people able to act quickly on them. That's how a leader deals with problems.
I suppose so, though some core of discontent still gnaws at me.

>Go feel sorry for yourself with Hin. You're both screw-ups! Together!
Wait, where's Hin gone?

Has she run off? Should I send someone after her? Maybe I should go after her. But I don't want to leave Alkaline just yet. I need to watch to see if there's any complications and I did say I would spend time with her...
>>
No. 604955 ID: dcd676

Merud is trustworthy and wanted to mediate when he saw you come out. See if he can talk to her, at least to explain that you want to see her again and discuss things more calmly while you keep an eye on Alkaline.
>>
No. 604957 ID: a2f9bc

>>604952
Maybe Alkaline thinks of you as a mother figure? You're the one who unstoppered her bottle. Plus you're magically impressive and that's something she should be able to sense to some degree, right? You probably have a comforting and pleasurable presence to her, like the sun... has on people who aren't you. Boo sun, the sun is bad.

As for Hin, ask if anyone saw where she went. If she headed to camp or the caves, you should be able to talk to her with Alkaline along without issue.

If Hin went off in some unknown direction, send Moriko after her with the message that you'd like to talk things over before she makes any decisions.
>>
No. 604959 ID: 89b2a2

>>604951
>>604952

Moriko is the one most likely to know where Hin went, and most capable of getting them back here if they get lost or fall in a hole.

Stargazer may have seen where Hin wandered off, so inquire to her first.

As strange as it seems, however, Charkarchelou may be the best one to fetch back Hin. He's friendly and doesn't talk, but listens good. Moriko is too standoffish. Merund is wishy-washy.
>>
No. 604965 ID: 2ec61a

it's hard to tell but, stargazer looks... sad?
>>
No. 604981 ID: 07a835

>>604952
Ask Moriko to stop looking at you like that. You're not her enemy. She should know more than anyone here not to judge someone based on what they are.
>>
No. 604987 ID: eda819

If you don't talk to Hin, soon, I doubt she's coming back. This a situation that needs resolving.

>what do
Thank the others for their help, and ask if anyone saw where Hin went. Sending someone is probably reasonable. Just knowing you want to talk may be enough.

>>604965
Maybe? I read it as tired, especially since Reisarf looks beat.

>>604981
I'm not so sure she is looking at her like that. It's a little hard to distinguish her taking a guard stance over what was just revealed to be her employer's weak spot, or her taking a guard stance against us where she happened to stand. She always looks intense, anyways.
>>
No. 605004 ID: 07a835

>>604987
Oh, in that case, I suppose we should ask if Stargazer is alright. She looks weakened, and was distressed earlier when Alkaline was in trouble.
>>
No. 605025 ID: a19cd5

>>604952
Ask merud to go find hin, I figure some words are in order with her, settle this whole mess down a bit so we can get back on track.
>>
No. 605164 ID: 1730ba

I think you are going to need to go after Hin yourself now. Being in charge means taking responsibility for what happens.
Ask Merud to look after Alkaline, and then Stargazer if she saw Hin leaving.
>>
No. 605557 ID: 8f01e8

Didn't do anything? You're a dungeon heart, under normal circumstances a smooth sphere. When something physical needs to be done, issuing orders to someone with actual hands is a perfectly appropriate response on your part, and absolutely counts as 'doing something.'

Ask Moriko where Hin went, since she was on guard rather than participating in the cleanup so she's the most likely to have noticed.

Chase after Hin, and bring Alkaline along when you do. Having a slime princess cuddling up to you will make you seem less threatening to your blacksmith, and watching you reconcile things with a blacksmith will help your slime princess develop her social skills.

As for how to approach Hin... you basically accused her of sneaking up on you and choking you half to death. She may be under the impression that you don't want her around anymore. Would you still be willing to set up a Primal Forge and let her work there, once she's apologized and gone over all the safety procedures and so forth? If so, start by telling her that.
>>
No. 606719 ID: 256d52
File 141731906714.png - (22.68KB , 800x550 , deem_is_bad_at_parents.png )
606719

>Maybe Alkaline thinks of you as a mother figure? You're the one who unstoppered her bottle. Plus you're magically impressive and that's something she should be able to sense to some degree, right? You probably have a comforting and pleasurable presence to her, like the sun... has on people who aren't you. Boo sun, the sun is bad.
What. That, no. That's crazy. I am not motherly at all. I am entirely unsuited to that purpose. No.

I have to... I have to go do things now.

>Didn't do anything? You're a dungeon heart, under normal circumstances a smooth sphere. When something physical needs to be done, issuing orders to someone with actual hands is a perfectly appropriate response on your part, and absolutely counts as 'doing something.'
And yet this time I had actual hands and still I did nothing with them.
>>
No. 606721 ID: 256d52
File 141731911749.png - (36.29KB , 800x600 , consort_with_wizards.png )
606721

>I think you are going to need to go after Hin yourself now. Being in charge means taking responsibility for what happens.
Yes. This is something I've got to do myself.

I'd better check nothing else is going to blow up on me while I'm off resolving it though. I move over to where the others are gathered, Alkaline clinging to me like a shadow.

>Oh, in that case, I suppose we should ask if Stargazer is alright. She looks weakened, and was distressed earlier when Alkaline was in trouble.
Reisarf and Stargazer both look exhausted.

"Is Stargazer alright?" I ask. I prod her rubbery substance experimentally.

Stargazer flinches, startled. She curls around Reisarf tighter and glances over at me. Her eye slides over my shoulder and then she relaxes a little.

"Please don't do that." Reisarf says. "She's feeling a little stressed out."

Well, at least I am not the only one.

>Stargazer may have seen where Hin wandered off, so inquire to her first.
"Did she happen to see where Hin went?" I ask.

Reisarf closes his eyes for a moment. "Down, back the way we came up."

"You're going after her?" Merud asks. He's holding the pot with the raw mana tightly clamped shut.

"I need to fix things." I say. I shake my head ruefully. "The second time's the charm, right? She can't have gotten too far."

"How's Alkaline?" Merud asks. The slime princess makes a noise hearing her name.

"Fine so far. I want to keep her with me in case she develops any adverse symptoms."

"She's lucky." Reisarf adds.

Something else occurs to me. "I thought you said Alkaline was afraid of Stargazer?" I say to Merud. "She doesn't seem to be having a problem now."

Merud looks like he was about to say something then looks at Reisarf and shrugs. Reisarf doesn't say anything. Maybe he didn't hear me? He's barely standing.

"I'd better head off. Just hold on to that pot and make sure nothing gets out."
>>
No. 606722 ID: 256d52
File 141731917550.png - (31.90KB , 800x600 , maybe_actually_angry.png )
606722

>Ask Moriko where Hin went, since she was on guard rather than participating in the cleanup so she's the most likely to have noticed.
I'd better check on my Heart.

>Ask Moriko to stop looking at you like that. You're not her enemy. She should know more than anyone here not to judge someone based on what they are.
>I'm not so sure she is looking at her like that. It's a little hard to distinguish her taking a guard stance over what was just revealed to be her employer's weak spot, or her taking a guard stance against us where she happened to stand. She always looks intense, anyways.
Moriko lowers her hammer and slings it over her shoulder as I approach. Brrrr, maybe she really is angry. I feel immediately on the defensive. She waits until I speak.

"Hello Moriko, thank you for watching my Heart."

"Snrrr?"

"You too, Chakarchelou."

"It was my duty." she says stiffly. A moment's awkward silence. She looks at Chakarchelou. He fidgets on the spot. "You must value your beast very much." she observes. "Entrusting him with your Heart as you did."

I think I've offended her.

>If you don't talk to Hin, soon, I doubt she's coming back. This is a situation that needs resolving.
I don't have time to settle this properly with Moriko.

"I have to find Hin now." I tell her. "It shouldn't be too long but I need you to watch over my Heart a little while longer."

"Understood."

More problems. I need to get out of here and solve this problem with Hin before someone spontaneously combusts.
>>
No. 606724 ID: 256d52
File 141731949831.png - (13.15KB , 800x500 , hin_lookout.png )
606724

>Chase after Hin, and bring Alkaline along when you do. Having a slime princess cuddling up to you will make you seem less threatening to your blacksmith, and watching you reconcile things with a blacksmith will help your slime princess develop her social skills.
I don't think Alkaline understands much of what is happening.

>Would you still be willing to set up a Primal Forge and let her work there, once she's apologized and gone over all the safety procedures and so forth? If so, start by telling her that.
I have not even the gold to gather the mana to produce a single pair of tongs that would be suitable for a Primal Forge. Call it an aspirational goal. But yes, I definitely need a blacksmith and Hin is still the person I have chosen for that role.

Hin hasn't gotten too far after all. She's sitting looking out at the mountains on the last steep stretch before the cave site.

A twig snaps under my foot as I approach.

Hin sighs. She doesn't turn around. "I hoped it was going to be different, y'know?" she says. "Get out of that old town and really be someone. New sights. New friends. New Hin. But no, nothing's changed. I can't even get out of bed without ruining someone's life..."

I'm not sure how to start.
>>
No. 606727 ID: a19cd5

>>606723
"It's fine. I overreacted a bit. Well, ok, maybe I didn't actually overreact so much as react poorly, considering, but everyone's ok now. Nothing's broken, and I still want you as part of this whole thing."
>>
No. 606728 ID: 9b57d3

>>606723
Everybody makes mistakes. You are willing to forgive her for this one. You still want her help. Also, uh, thanks for not freaking out about you being a dungeon? Nobody freaked out, what's up with that? Well, maybe Stargazer did, but she's attached to Reisarf, who doesn't seem to care.

Once you get back to Moriko, just tell her you gave the orb to Chakarchelo out of habit, mostly, but also because you weren't sure how she would react. Tell her you are very glad she didn't react negatively to you revealing your true nature.
>>
No. 606735 ID: 2ec61a

"you didn't know, i was, am, scared of people finding out and reacting negatively.

and i think you should now know that i already tried to fix the damage, this thing right here" point to your chest shard "is the missing piece, i tried to put it back in, but it caused an explosion of energy. so i've moved to try something else, but fixing my heart is still on the list of things to do."

when you get back up explain to Moriko that Chakarchelou is like a very strong, loyal dog.
>>
No. 606769 ID: a2f9bc

>>606724
"You aren't the only one accustomed to... setbacks. We work with what we have, especially ourselves. Losing my smith would be the largest setback of the day."

If she brings up Alkaline, it was your decision to involve her, regardless of the reason for it. Everyone was acting in good faith.

As for Moriko, explain to her you experienced a tiring ordeal and rather than question how others would react to your hidden nature when issuing orders, you went with the the easy, simple choice: Chakarchelou. Moriko is also a more flexible unit capable of independent tactical analysis and could be trusted to react to the situation as needed beyond simple duty. She has left no doubt as to her loyalty.
>>
No. 606782 ID: 86d5f3

you didn't ruin my life, just made me very upset. BUT, this only happened because I don't tell you everything up front so I'm welling to forgive you. But I'm going to have to ask then in the future when you wish to use something that isn't your's to ask before you take it.
>>
No. 606852 ID: 4c5cf2

>I think I've offended her.
...oh, because your first response was to ask the quasi-dragon to guard you when weak, not her.

Damnit, why do people's feelings have to be so easy to hurt! We can't keep ahead of it at this rate!

>I can't even get out of bed without ruining someone's life...
You didn't ruin anything. You had the misfortune of tripping over something already broken.

I could have warned you that crack was there before you put your foot in but I was foolish and suborn and kept it to myself. And it's something of a... sore spot, as I'm sure you noticed. I didn't want to bring it up, which only made it messier.

Look, you stood up to me when you thought I was being an idiot. Maybe you didn't know what you were doing, but the intent was good. If this mess today proved anything, it's that I can't think of everything. I should have known not telling you would be a problem. So I need people to tell me when they think I'm being stupid, or ask why the hell I'm doing something, sometimes.

Next time you have a concern, I'll give you a real answer, okay? And you won't mess around with stuff behind my back.
>>
No. 606884 ID: 256d52
File 141734048186.png - (33.14KB , 800x600 , blue_on_blue.png )
606884

I clamber onto the rocks and sit down beside Hin. Alkaline flops down next to me. I can't help but feel a measure of kinship after her little soliloquy.

"You couldn't have known." I tell her. "Your intentions were good."

She stays silent.

"Alkaline's going to be fine. It looks like we acted in time."

Still silent.

I doubt such platitudes will really get through to her. I must think of the right words. The right approach. This wall of silence is the enemy. I must cut through confusion.

>You didn't know, I was, am, scared of people finding out and reacting negatively.
Though it rankles, I will confess to my own wrongdoing. I take a deep breath and let it out.

"You didn't know about me because I deliberately hid that fact from you. My Heart is extremely vulnerable outside of a dungeon. I was, I was afraid of what might happen if anyone discovered the truth of me."

>"I think you should now know that I already tried to fix the damage, this thing right here" point to your chest shard "is the missing piece, I tried to put it back in, but it caused an explosion of energy. so I've moved to try something else, but fixing my heart is still on the list of things to do."
I raise my hand and look at it. "Each day since I reawakened has been strange and new to me as well." I tap on the fragment embedded in my chest. "I would not normally have a body such as this. It would be much harder for me to act on my own behalf or even communicate.

"When I woke up, my Heart was broken. I attempted to piece it back together but I -" I blink and shake my head. The glare from the Sun annoys me for a moment. "-but I failed. Instead I embedded the fragment into a golem I created.

"I am smaller and weaker than I've ever been. I reacted poorly at the thought of anyone doing something to my poor, broken Heart.

"When Alkaline-" she burbles next to me - "sensed my distress, I lashed out blindly and used reinforcement magic on her. It was a stupid thing to do. I should have remembered about the raw mana my Heart was leaking. Instead I risked getting her and everyone else seriously hurt."

We sit silently for a minute. The stone is warm and afternoon air is pleasant.

"Would it mean anything if I said I was sorry?" Hin says eventually.

>Everybody makes mistakes. You are willing to forgive her for this one. You still want her help.
"Everybody makes mistakes." I tell her. I look down. This feels like a confessional. "I don't know if my forgiveness would mean much though. I should have handled all of this better. But what I don't think I couldn't forgive, what I couldn't abide is the thought of losing my blacksmith."

I turn to her and lean in. "There's so much ahead of us, so much to be done. I want you by my side. We can find that new day, your new life together. You'll come back with me, won't you?"

Hin looks at me for a moment, struggling to keep a straight face. She snorts, covers her face and, and, is that giggling? Does she think this is funny? That is entirely inappropriate!

"Sorry, sorry." she says, shaking her head. "Deem, has anyone ever told you that your offers sound-" She shakes her head harder, and struggles to compose herself. "No, I appreciate the sentiment." she says, voice deliberately flat. "Yes, I will stay on as your blacksmith."

That's settled then.

I don't think she's ready to head back just yet though. Should I stay here and talk a little longer?
>>
No. 606888 ID: 2ec61a

naw, let's let her think alone for now. still have people back at the camp that need talking to.
>>
No. 606889 ID: a2f9bc

>>606884
Yeah, I think these two will benefit from some more time in your matronly presence.

Don't stay too long or Moriko will probably be grumpier though. Hmm... about that, there might be something you can do. After a little while, give Charkarchelou the suggestion he doesn't need to guard your heart anymore. She may be placated by the gesture.

But while you are still here, you shared your backstory, what's Hin's? Besides 'unsatisfied craftswoman'?
>>
No. 606970 ID: 9ddf68

eh, stay for a bit longer but head on back before to long, I'm thinking it might be a good idea to put your heart in a more secure location.
>>
No. 606984 ID: 4c5cf2

>Deem, has anyone ever told you that your offers sounds...
Silly meat people, reading into things that aren't there. No wonder communicating properly is such a challenge!

>Should I stay here and talk a little longer?
Yeah, stay and sit a bit. I'm not sure what to say, though. Or if much needs to be said.

(Maybe: the next time you think I'm being an idiot, I'll give you answer without all the drama).

>Yes, I will stay on as your blacksmith
(Joking) Good, us mopey blue gals gotta stick together.
>>
No. 607029 ID: 8f01e8

Stay another couple minutes. This gives Hin a chance to think over what you said and possibly bring up some other issue, and even if she doesn't have anything to say, makes it seem like you're not just running off as soon as you've got what you want.

As for Moriko... she takes honor pretty seriously, right? Start by saying that you refrained from giving her explicit, narrow orders because you trust her loyalty absolutely and her tactical instincts possibly more than your own, and didn't want to put her in a position of having to choose between obeying your direct orders, or doing what would be more advantageous for your interests in the course of a rapidly-developing situation.

As for the prestige of being assigned specifically to guard your heart... Chakarchelou rescued you from insensate slumber which might otherwise have lasted until the end of all things, and as a result has seniority both in your organization as a whole and at heart-guard duty specifically. If Moriko wants to upstage that, all she has to do is singlehandedly save your entire dungeon from certain destruction, more than once. Shouldn't be too much trouble for a hammerai of her caliber, right?

You're really bad at lying, but all of that is at least technically true, and more importantly it might be what she wants to hear. Hin needed to be told that she's good enough, so she can have the chance to pull herself back together, but Moriko seems more like she expects to be held to an unreasonably high standard and would be disappointed by anything less.

Speaking of which, make sure you're completely calm when you talk to Moriko, because, seriously, she'll be able to tell. Maybe rehearse the words a bit on the walk back.

>I don't think Alkaline understands much of what is happening.

Of course she doesn't. Your dungeon hasn't attracted any adventurers yet, either. In both cases, the foundations are still being laid. How much up-front cost in strain and indignity would be justified, to prevent your slime queen's personality and social skills being built on a rotten foundation?
>>
No. 607035 ID: 4c5cf2

I don't think we really need to go hold a heart to heart with Moriko about this. She's miffed we didn't act as if we trust her, we just have to be careful to make sure we do so in the future. That'll smooth it over quicker than more throwing words at things. Deem's probably a little sick of talking over feelings, anyways.
>>
No. 607039 ID: d5f3c4

We should definitely go talk to Moriko. She's not on board for the hell of it like the rest of them, and if you nurture that bond with her I'm sure she'll be your most trusted ally.

Simply put, we should've told Moriko about the heart, and probably would have if there'd been a moment alone with her. You should say this to her. She miffed because you didn't trust her, and her role is to protect you, something she can't do because you didn't tell her.
>>
No. 607581 ID: 72f29a

Try to talk fun shop to cheer her up. What sort of things do you want to make together? Weapons? Traps? Decorations? Metal golem bodies? Try to list some tricks and techniques your previous blacksmith servants have used to see if she has heard of them.

Also go over the forge plans together. It needs to start strong and expand with time. Any thoughts on ventilation systems? Perhaps a mountaintop water basin could be tunneled to a valve that would let you power a waterwheel as necessary while providing fresh, cool water. How many workers can she use effectively?

If she gets into it then just start walking back while talking.
>>
No. 619460 ID: 256d52
File 142097902843.png - (23.82KB , 540x800 , hin_history.png )
619460

>Silly meat people, reading into things that aren't there. No wonder communicating properly is such a challenge!
What?

>I think these two will benefit from some more time in your matronly presence.
I told you I don't have one of those.

>(Joking) Good, us mopey blue gals gotta stick together.
I am not mopey.

>You shared your backstory, what's Hin's? Besides 'unsatisfied craftswoman'?
"How about you?" I say to Hin. "I still don't know much about where you came from."

"Don't know if you'd find it very interesting." Hin says. "My mother was an adventurer so I was mainly raised by my grandmother. Sweet little old lady." She shakes her head. "Don't know how she put up with me. I was an angry teen. Suddenly grew like a weed, always hungry, always angry about something, always getting in fights." She sighs. "She passed away about ten years ago. Lived with an aunt after that. Big city. Didn't get on with anyone."
>>
No. 619461 ID: 256d52
File 142097905958.png - (32.60KB , 800x550 , let_me_tell_you_about_dungeons.png )
619461

"How'd you end up becoming a blacksmith?" I ask.

"Ah, just wanted to make things." Hin says. "Apply myself more. Something you can pour your effort into and at the end of it you've got something to be proud of." Again she shakes her head. "Lots of competition though. Hard to get recognition."

>Try to talk fun shop to cheer her up. What sort of things do you want to make together? Weapons? Traps? Decorations? Metal golem bodies? Try to list some tricks and techniques your previous blacksmith servants have used to see if she has heard of them.
"Little fear of that here." I tell Hin. "I wouldn't hesitate to say that what you're doing will be the most recognisable features of this dungeon. The treasure. The traps. The puzzles. The decorations of the dungeon itself. Swords, doors, mechanisms, even torches. The signs will be everywhere.

"The enchanted items in particular are very important. Useful ones can create a running theme the whole dungeon uses. Even simple seeming ones like a fan that makes a gust of wind or a ring that can freeze things."

"What, like a staff that extends?" Hin says.

"Oooh, I like it. I haven't used that before. Let me think, you could use it to prop open entrances or use it as a lever to turn things or have socketed buttons on opposite sides of the wall to line up. Or even pole vaulting something?"

"It's not that exciting."

"Nonsense." I say to her. "Think about it. An item like that would be found quite early into a dungeon. That means its design has to be very efficient in terms of the effort to produce it since so many would be lost to adventurers. That needs a lot of skill. And it's an uncommon enchantment too!"

I talk a little longer with Hin. She seems a little happier but I think she needs some time alone so I head back with Alkaline in tow.
>>
No. 619462 ID: 256d52
File 142097909939.png - (27.11KB , 800x550 , special_assignment.png )
619462

>As for Moriko... she takes honor pretty seriously, right? Start by saying that you refrained from giving her explicit, narrow orders because you trust her loyalty absolutely and her tactical instincts possibly more than your own, and didn't want to put her in a position of having to choose between obeying your direct orders, or doing what would be more advantageous for your interests in the course of a rapidly-developing situation.
That would be lying.

>I don't think we really need to go hold a heart to heart with Moriko about this. She's miffed we didn't act as if we trust her, we just have to be careful to make sure we do so in the future. That'll smooth it over quicker than more throwing words at things.
So far she hasn't put much stock in just words. I don't really have much of a justification for what I did in any case.

>We should definitely go talk to Moriko. She's not on board for the hell of it like the rest of them, and if you nurture that bond with her I'm sure she'll be your most trusted ally.
I should see her though. I need to do something. I have at least something of an understanding of her type, which does present an idea to me. Given this day so far, it is not one I am particularly enamoured of but I think it may be necessary.

On return to the camp, I walk over to Moriko and retrieve my Heart from the ground.

"Moriko, before you rest, I need you to do one other thing for me." I say to her.

"Yes?"

I swallow. My Heart has been moved before and doing so would normally require the assistance of my servants. I should not be so anxious about this.

"I would like you to move my Heart into the cave." I tell her, forcing my voice flat. "You should have the right sensitivity to find an appropriate temporary resting spot."

Moriko tenses, holding her hammer like she's trying to bend the shaft. "Your, I, yes, I understand."

I watch with some bemusement as she swaddles my Heart back in the wrappings I'd been keeping it in and carries it off as if slowly and carefully as though it was made of glass. My Heart isn't as fragile as that. Her concern alleviates most of the anxiety I felt at allowing my Heart to be handled again so soon but still I watch until she enters the cave.

I'll talk to everyone a little later. First there is something I have been needing to do today that has been consistently delayed.
>>
No. 619463 ID: 256d52
File 142097912132.png - (27.08KB , 800x550 , here_slime_wat_do.png )
619463

OKAY I HAVE THE SLIME. WHAT DO I DO?
>>
No. 619464 ID: 89941a

>>619463
You pet it of course!
>>
No. 619465 ID: 6c42b7

>>619464
upvote petting the adorable slime girl
>>
No. 619472 ID: 9ddf68

well I don't really know much about slims but I guess maybe find something for her to eat just encase she becomes hungry later and I guess... teach her how to talk? Don't really know how fast slims grow up but hey, got to start somewhere. Only other thing I can think of is playing with her but not really sure what to play.
>>
No. 619486 ID: bd1216

you mold a mustache into her face.
>>
No. 619509 ID: 768e0f

use the earth pulse and words to help her understand the meaning of words.
>>
No. 619512 ID: 69ab8d

She's a child. Typically playing is good. As is talking to her.

Kids just want your attention and recognition. And not to be condescended to like they're idiots.
>>
No. 619537 ID: 687279

>>619463
Teach her how to shapeshift into different forms!

Oh, did you put your golems back on mining duty?
>>
No. 619540 ID: 8f01e8

Play patty-cake.

As prep, sit down cross-legged, facing each other, close enough to touch palm-to-palm. Move your hands around until she gets the idea that she's supposed to be imitating your actions. Think up a grammatically valid but meaningless sequence of words, with a strong rhythm to it. Ideally, rhyming couplets.

For each beat of the rhythm, assign a move. Any asymmetrical move should be followed by the mirrored version no more than two beats later, and no repeated series of moves should be less than six beats long. Valid moves are: slap left knee with left hand, right knee with right hand, both knees simultaneously, left shoulder with right hand, right shoulder with left hand, clap own hands together, both players' left hands meet in the middle, both players' right hands meet in the middle, each player's right hand meets the other player's left hand simultaneously.

Go through it slowly until she seems to remember the sequence and is making noises in the right rhythm. Every time somebody makes an obvious mistake, laugh and start over from the beginning. Every time the sequence is completed correctly, start over and go a little bit faster than last time. Keep going at least until your heart is properly re-seated, ideally until she gets tired or one of your other subordinates interrupts with something important.

Apart from being fun, this will help her practice following orders without skipping the tedious bits, moving her limbs quickly and precisely, working in close coordination with a teammate, and making noises that could, in time, be refined and arranged into coherent speech.
>>
No. 619598 ID: a2f9bc

Ask her what she wants to do!

Also give her piggyback rides.
>>
No. 627886 ID: 11d040

Something that makes her feel capable and useful. They want to know that what they do matters and they can make a difference. I'm not sure how that applies to slime-babies, but I suppose you could start with some basic life-skills like speech. Start with your name, and those of your companions, and some other basic words, and give her a simple task to do.
>>
No. 628055 ID: 10dbd3

well, she's doing pretty well for someone who was born today. She's having a little problem articulating her body? Some coordination games like patty-cake was mentioned... you can do something that also includes some planning and plays to your strength like building sand dirt castles? While she can't earthshape like you she could gather up particulate matter inside and then deposit it into certain shapes. Maybe she can form sedimentary rocks with adhesive from her sticky goo form? Get your materials from the loose rock and junk from the dig site, that stuff needs to be taken out of the way anyhow so people wont have to climb over it or trip. Plus, you can plan out the first parts of your dungeon that way! That, or you both can carve into the wall little petroglyphs of you and the gang, like a group photo w/ handprints.
>>
No. 632839 ID: 901996

You could use some practice showing/feeling affection. Try and hug her and then talk about your thankfulness.
>>
No. 633584 ID: 2a7417

Learn to cook while the rest of your crew is recovering from the slime shenanigans. It'll be a... learning experience... for all of you.
>>
No. 635407 ID: 041bf7

you can both be class mates as someone qualified teaches you how to READ
>>
No. 649337 ID: 26d95a
File 143471050094.png - (27.08KB , 550x800 , who_are_you_even_talking_to.png )
649337

>You can both be class mates as someone qualified teaches you how to READ.
I'm not a scribe, a priest or a philosopher.

>Give her piggyback rides.
I'm not a beast of burden either.

>Learn to cook while the rest of your crew is recovering from the slime shenanigans. It'll be a... learning experience... for all of you.
I don't need to learn that's a bad idea.

>Ask her what she wants to do!
She can't talk.

>Use the earth pulse and words to help her understand the meaning of words.
Next do you expect me to use the earth pulse and my feet to teach her how to walk? I can make myself understood but she's too young to talk.

>Teach her how to shapeshift into different forms!
I'm not an expert on that.

>Mold a mustache into her face.
For what possible purpose?
>>
No. 649338 ID: 26d95a
File 143471053493.png - (24.88KB , 800x600 , hold_still_you.png )
649338

I suppose I should begin by giving her a full examination. Things should have settled down since her initial exposure to the leakage from my Heart.

Physically she seems fine. Her aquamarine slime is formed up into a small and thin body. Tougher green fronds emerge from around her little crown to protect her head. Perhaps I should give her a little more water. Young slimes tend to have trouble controlling their consistency. It's why large bodies of water are dangerous to them. They soak it up easily and if they're diluted they become very uncoordinated. If it's deep or fast moving they can drown as a result.

I need my lens but she's still so clingy. She jiggles and quivers as I look at her, shifting foot to foot. She probably still has some energy to burn off. I should tire her out a little. Hmmm, there's a lot of loose stones along the little gully from the cave mouth.

"Alkaline, can you find me a pretty rock?"

"Bloo!" She darts away and crouches in front of a pile of pebbles, picking them up one by one and judging them base on whatever criteria is running through that little jelly head of hers. I am so clever.

I move to the nearby camp site and dig through my meagre possessions for the lens. Reisarf is absorbed in his magirics and Merud is off a little way, checking one of the golem-mules. I don't have that many things why can't I, ah there it is. Alkaline shuffles carefully back towards me, bent over and both hands wrapped around one of the larger rocks. Slimes aren't very strong. With an effort she holds it out to me, making more of her unintelligible noises and smiling wildly. I accept the rock, set it down, and scan her.

... What. This is not right. This is abnormal. This must be a joke. I'm not laughing.

----------------------------------------
Alkaline
Lvl 1 Royal Jelly

----------------------------------------
Power: E
Vitality: E
Accuracy: E
Speed: E
Wits: E
Skill: E
Spirit: E
Luck: A

An immature slime with the mark of royalty. A childish level of development in almost every respect. It remains to be seen what she'll grow up to be.

----------------------------------------
Detected Abilities
----------------------------------------
Gelatinous Body: An amorphous form that's soft but can easily heal injuries and reabsorb lost pieces. The weak point is the head.

Inimical Inversion: Degrades and consumes curses affecting Alkaline with a high probability of converting them into a positive effect.
----------------------------------------

This is absurd. All this stress and worry about lingering effects and she actually gained a useful ability from the raw mana exposure? That's, that's just not fair. In the future I might have considered using raw mana in such a way, with appropriate safeguards, but now isn't then. I don't even have a fraction of the thing I'd-

"Blorb!" Annoyed, Alkaline butts me.

>She's a child. Typically playing is good. As is talking to her.
>Kids just want your attention and recognition. And not to be condescended to like they're idiots.
Alright. I can do this. I've seen it done thousands of times.
>>
No. 649339 ID: 26d95a
File 143471058239.png - (28.33KB , 800x600 , playing_pattycake.png )
649339

>Play patty-cake.
>As prep, sit down cross-legged, facing each other, close enough to touch palm-to-palm. Move your hands around until she gets the idea that she's supposed to be imitating your actions. Think up a grammatically valid but meaningless sequence of words, with a strong rhythm to it. Ideally, rhyming couplets.
>Go through it slowly until she seems to remember the sequence and is making noises in the right rhythm. Every time somebody makes an obvious mistake, laugh and start over from the beginning. Every time the sequence is completed correctly, start over and go a little bit faster than last time. Keep going at least until your heart is properly re-seated, ideally until she gets tired or one of your other subordinates interrupts with something important.
She seems to be a quick study, realising she's supposed to mimic me. A rhyme isn't too difficult to modify. Give her attention you said?

"I am a pretty little slime girl,
As pretty as pretty can be,
And everyone around the hill
Comes chasing after me.
One day they gave me peaches,
One day they gave me pears,
One day they gave me three presents,
And took me to the fair!"

She likes it. The noises she makes are somewhere between a squeaky family of mice and a bubbling cauldron. I have discovered she is not very good at clapping, but seems determined to master it.

It is starting to get dark. Everyone will be eating soon. Then it'll be time to talk about what happened today and what the plan is for the next few days.
We need to clear out the caves a little more. I need three basic structures to be put in place: my Heart Chamber, a treasury and the Resurrection Matrix to safeguard the lives of my servants. I'm feeling a need to prove myself and I need to decide how much to explain about my history and my capabilities.
>>
No. 649341 ID: e114bc

>>649339
Well I'm not sure there's a lot to say as far as your history is concerned. You should outline your capabilities so that they have a good idea of what you'll be doing here.

How far should the Heart Chamber be from the Treasury? Shouldn't both of those be deeper in the dungeon, behind some traps and stuff? Set up the Resurrection Chamber first, for safety's sake, and because we won't have to secure it quite as much. ...wait can you even set up specialized chambers without a Heart Chamber?
>>
No. 649343 ID: d3be40

>>649338
Well, her Luck stat IS grade A while all her other stats are abysmal, which explains the Abnormal Ability Acquisition. Yep.

What are the requirements for dungeon upgrades? You should probably plan out your next two raids so that you obtain the Resurrection Chamber requirements in a single adventure.
>>
No. 649346 ID: 89941a

Low stats with A luck? She's protagonist material!
>>
No. 649348 ID: 88960e

>I'm not a scribe, a priest or a philosopher.
Don't dungeons often have signage? How can you provide signs of you're illiterate?

>This is absurd. All this stress and worry about lingering effects and she actually gained a useful ability from the raw mana exposure? That's, that's just not fair.
Look like there's an advantage to a high luck score! How useful. Your minion is skilled in an area you are not.

>Then it'll be time to talk about what happened today and what the plan is for the next few days.
>We need to clear out the caves a little more. I need three basic structures to be put in place: my Heart Chamber, a treasury and the Resurrection Matrix to safeguard the lives of my servants. I'm feeling a need to prove myself and I need to decide how much to explain about my history and my capabilities.
Heart chamber and res matrix first. Safety for everyone involved is a good thing.

Hmm. We need to obtain some lesser critter that can be safely used to test said matrix. You want to know it works before any of your people die.

Explaining why you're making your descions, when possible, is a good policy for a leader. Intelligent followers who know your interests beyond immediate orders can adapt, if necessary. And come up with new ideas and suggestions.

Sharing your basic capabilities would prevent another mess like today. Informed minions act better than uninformed ones, unless they're stupid or untrustworthy.

Not sure how much history you can share. It's very old, to them. And you don't remember it all either.
>>
No. 649351 ID: 9ddf68

I say set up your heart chamber first to stop incadents like today from repeating and to help you build up power sooner, then the Resurrection Matrix since that is a must have.

As for what to tell them, I say let them know you woke up in the mountains and a few how the body you're using to talk to everyone isn't actually you, your the red orb with a crack in it, this body just has the messing piece imbedded in it and you use it as your avatar. Then leave it open to a Q&A and answer whatever you feel comfortable with.
>>
No. 649352 ID: bd8b82

you could talk about how it used to be done and ask for anyone to signal if they know something has changed, like if dungeons are still expected to mostly lethal with their res tokens being the main way to survive.
>>
No. 649358 ID: 042299

Well, first things first. Heart chamber must be placed first. You can't have a Dungeon with out a Dungeon Heart, can you?

One thing, Miss Deem, you seem to have forgotten about the treasure chest you've found and that's why the treasury is second. I mean immediately after you build one, you can surprise everyone with the chest,giving a gold and morale boost.

Also, please don't look down on reading. You say it's for priests, scribes and philosophers. Well, priests are in the sky god church and knowing about them or what they will do gives you the ability to counter whatever scheme they might cook up against you.

Scribes can spread the word of your Dungeon to Dungeoneers or worse, Harrowers, so knowing if they might come would be good to know.

Philosophers, well, ... ... ... mostly harmless.

So don't look down on reading. Two out of three is pretty decent.
>>
No. 649364 ID: c39e56

>Heart Chamber, a treasury and the Resurrection Matrix
Since these will be towards the end of the actual dungeon but we want to place them now, can we put them at the end of a relatively short tunnel for now then close that tunnel later in favor of a proper dungeon entrance somewhere else when we make some more rooms?

>The weak point is the head.
Would it be cheating to eventually get her a helmet?
>>
No. 649366 ID: 88960e

>>649358
Philosophers can be used to study and understand human nature and behavior, as well as the world around us (natural philosophy). At least, when they don't have their heads up their asses. Better understanding the beings who would run your dungeon and the world around you both have obvious practical applications.

Reading's strength is that of communication- over distance and time. It allows information to be preserved beyond the limiations of mind and memory- a weakness you should be well aware of, Deem.
>>
No. 649368 ID: b5b419

>>649339
Get comfortable with them. One of the things about working with a group of people (or gaining loyal servants) is a back-and-forth talk about your history and normal things; while that does serve to learn about just their backgrounds, it's also useful for getting a firm grasp on the sort of characters they are.

It's never a one way street. Building up trust and loyalty is important. Haven't you noticed that they share their background with you when you talk to them?

Try discussing something less painful, like... oh, your past dungeon, perhaps one of your pet monsters, or a particularly spunky hero that interested you at one point.
>>
No. 649374 ID: d4a543

Does the heart need to be on display in a relatively large chamber to work properly, or can it be sealed away in the equivalent of a wall-safe somewhere that no intruder would think to look?

My first thought is to set it up on the ceiling of the room beyond the submerged passage. Reshape the stone to almost completely enclose it, with the damaged bit facing down, both for ease of access when you figure out how to do the repairs and so leaked mana doesn't get trapped and accumulate in some dangerous way. Push it deep in there, so it's only accessible through a hole about a handspan wide and a cubit deep, and then semi-permanently reinforce the surrounding stone for increased durability.

Set up a wide bowl on a tripod directly under the heart to catch leaked mana, so you can find something to use it for later, and carve some ominous runes in the walls deep enough to be climbable.

All that should be reasonably quick to set up, except maybe the long-term stone reinforcement but that's something you can add over time. Once in place, even an ally with full knowledge of the layout would likely need hours and hours of tedious chisel work, while hanging from the ceiling, to do anything more to your heart than touch the clay plug with their fingertips.

Once you've got Hin set up for blacksmithing, slip a +1 vorpal axe-blade up in there and rig it to some appropriate mechanisms so you can cut off any hand that gets more inquisitive than you're comfortable with. You can be willing to open up a bit and forgive honest mistakes without getting stupid and taking needless risks.

Have Merud take over patty-cake duty if he's not in the middle of something more urgent. As punishment for giving her candied fruit, he gets to help burn it off. Find out how she likes the taste of the water inside the cave, too.

Set Reisarf and Stargazer to figuring out variants on the Curse of Formlessness optimized to play off Alkaline's new ability. Make it very explicit that they are not to attempt any actual experiments on Alkaline without a clear theoretical framework and detailed plan approved by both Merud and yourself. Mostly it's just an excuse to give the poor kid an opportunity to sit down and rest while still feeling like he's doing something useful, but there's a chance of inventing something really interesting.

Once you've got the heart chamber settled, next priority is to widen the passage up to that little isolated valley and bring all the supplies up there. That way, you can close the front door for siege resistance, and whenever somebody needs something heavy from the stockpile they're hauling it downhill rather than up.
>>
No. 649390 ID: 0fc976

Invite Merud to have a three-way... pattycake game with you and Alkaline.

At the meal tonight, you should reassure the whole group that you're worked things out with Hin. To clear up any misunderstandings about the incident, just be straightforward about where your consciousness resides, and how you were instinctually frightened by being handled by someone other than yourself. Speak to them 'from the heart,' as it were.
For planning: Will the resurrection matrix work before your heart chamber is in place? If so, prioritise that to show you put your servants' well being first. The treasury can be built last. There isn't much to put in there at the moment.
>>
No. 650072 ID: e114bc

Oh, and since you're not an expert on shapeshifting... maybe you can get Stargazer to help on that front. You'll have to get them working together though. Ask Stargazer (through Reisarf) why she's so uncomfortable around Alkaline, see if it's a solvable issue or at least able to be worked around.
>>
No. 650158 ID: c3a57c

>I'm feeling a need to prove myself and I need to decide how much to explain about my history and my capabilities.
Ask them how much they think they need and want to know. Remember, aside from Alkaline the people you've brought along are all experts in (at least) one aspect of what a dungeon can and should do or another: We brought them along to make use of their talents, and we would get the best use if they understand enough to act without prompting and make improvements to the plan. Their being adequately informed requires that we have a plan that they know and can refer to, and enough understanding of dungeons and the plan that they can productively think independently about it.

For larger organizations (like I expect your dungeon will become) coordination is difficult and requires a lot of information, organized into different parts, and recorded to provide versions that don't change to be referred to at need. Those recorded versions are useful for people because their memories can drift or otherwise be inaccurate, but marks on paper and engravings don't tend to change unexpectedly without someone intentionally doing that. In the case of building a large structure like a dungeon that would involve a list of goals, layout drawings and models, an ordered list of planned steps for completion, staffing assignments and organization, inventories and budgets of what people have access to and what they have used, and individual task lists. The overall and individual task lists are generally also organized according to time to make sure that people are given enough time for each part and make sure that the various needs over time are properly accounted for in the plans: For example, if the plan includes developing dungeon structures, trading arrangements and staffing to handle farming/hunting/cooking/storage of food within two months that would leave a defined amount of time to require alternative arrangements for food.

I suggest you start by explaining the basics of what a dungeon absolutely needs first and why, and briefly listing and explaining what you need to accomplish to support the dungeon, and your people in the short-term. That will involve layout drawings, and Merud would probably be quick to suggest what else in the way of documentation could be useful at this stage. You also want your people to have a grasp of what middle term and longer term goals and capabilities for dungeons are, and how the layout of a dungeon works in general. We want to gradually build up that knowledge to limit the conflict and confusion from the differences between the short-term needs and the long-term needs.
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No. 650461 ID: 38685c

>>649339
Remember to take Alkaline's pretty rock! Treat it as valuable because she selected it. Maybe do something nice with it.
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No. 650637 ID: 2a1897

>>650461
She is lucky, after all. Lucky rock, maybe?
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No. 650639 ID: fab78f

>>650461
this, also examine it with the glass?
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No. 650642 ID: 38685c

>>650637
>>650639
Probably just a rock. But we asked her for a rock so we have to value the rock she selected for us, ya know?
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No. 650643 ID: 0fc976

Make a tiny golem with Alkaline's rock.
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No. 650824 ID: ad7bba

>>649339
Deem, you look very centered and serene when acting in the role of a mother big sister Dungeon master. Could you shape the rock she brought you into a little figurine of her? If nothing else, it should be good practice for fine control of magical energies through your golem body and at smaller scales than you are used to working with.

As for what to tell them, the basics seem fine. You're a dungeon. You're super awesome, super old, and super badass. Once established, you will be able to build structures within yourself that allow you access to spectacular feats of magic. You run on earthpulse from gold and violence. I dunno, is there anything that would be particularly impressive to any of them? Hin and Merud are already well seduced by your mastery in their respective fields.

First though, you'll have to caution them that it'll be a tight fit at first. It's been a long time since taking more than four people inside you at once, you'll need time to spread yourself properly.
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No. 654898 ID: b19c84
File 143659885417.png - (23.11KB , 800x550 , deems_least_favourite_stat.png )
654898

>Well, her Luck stat IS grade A while all her other stats are abysmal, which explains the Abnormal Ability Acquisition. Yep.
>Low stats with A luck? She's protagonist material!
>Look like there's an advantage to a high luck score! How useful. Your minion is skilled in an area you are not.
An A ranking in anything is rare at such a low level but Luck's not the most reliable of attributes. At least there'll be lots of options for training up her other attributes.

>Remember to take Alkaline's pretty rock! Treat it as valuable because she selected it. Maybe do something nice with it.
>She is lucky, after all. Lucky rock, maybe?
Don't be ridiculous. It's just a rock.

...

It's a garnet.

"G-ood work Alkaline." I manage, weakly.

"Blall!" She seems annoyed.

I try patting her head again. That seems to go down better.

>Deem, you look very centred and serene when acting in the role of a mother big sister Dungeon master. Could you shape the rock she brought you into a little figurine of her? If nothing else, it should be good practice for fine control of magical energies through your golem body and at smaller scales than you are used to working with.
Speak up, I can't hear you when you mumble. Using only this body I don't have fine control full stop.

>The weak point is the head.
>Would it be cheating to eventually get her a helmet?
Her hair is a helmet.

>Don't dungeons often have signage? How can you provide signs if you're illiterate?
I'd have servants for that. You aren't actually saying I should be concerning myself with minor details like that are you?

>Reading's strength is that of communication- over distance and time. It allows information to be preserved beyond the limitations of mind and memory- a weakness you should be well aware of, Deem.
I don't know of very many thousand year old texts. If I really need to know it, I can have servants read it to me.
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No. 654899 ID: b19c84
File 143659892610.png - (28.91KB , 800x550 , sick_of_these_smiling_people_getting_in_my_face.png )
654899

>Have Merud take over patty-cake duty if he's not in the middle of something more urgent. As punishment for giving her candied fruit, he gets to help burn it off
>Invite Merud to have a three-way... pattycake game with you and Alkaline.
Doesn't look like he's very busy. I wave to him. Merud ambles over.

"Hello again Deem. Hello Alkaline."

"Blall!"

He looks back to me. "How's she doing?"

"Sit down." I order him. "Start clapping."

We shuffle around to accommodate a third person. Merud holds out his hands and, after a moment's hesitation Alkaline copies his motion and claps back. After he runs through a starting sequence with Alkaline I answer his question. "She's doing better than anyone has any right to." I say with a little sigh of exasperation. "She actually gained an ability from it."

Merud stops clapping. Alkaline taps his hands again, annoyed at the interruption. "Really? What does it do?"

"It's... interesting. I'll announce it to everyone at dinner after we get the plans down." Perhaps I shouldn't tease him like that but I don't want to get bogged down in talking about it right now. I take over the clapping.

He looks at her burbling along with me. "She's a bright little thing. It wouldn't surprise me if she's talking inside of a month. Do you think she could learn to read?"

"For what purpose?"

Merud shrugs. "Well if slimes are anything like puppies, teaching them that books aren't something you should chew on is a good thing to do at the very least. Don't you want to see if you can teach her?"

"I can't do that." I tell him.

He pauses a moment "Oh, that was thoughtless of me. The letters have changed since you were last awake." I remain silent. He looks at me closer, a slight frown on his face. "You can't read at all?"

"Agh not you too."

"What?"

I start clapping with Alkaline again. "Ask me no more questions/I'll tell you no more lies."

Merud shakes his head and joins back in. "The boys are in the girls' room/pulling down their-"

"What!?!" I glance at him and settle my voice back down to its normal register. "Don't go putting weird ideas in her head!"

"You haven't heard that one before?"
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No. 654901 ID: b19c84
File 143659914203.png - (51.97KB , 800x680 , cozy_campfire.png )
654901

It's been a long day, so everyone bar me (and possibly Stargazer?) eats in silence. I watch the camp fire, the warmth is nice. Time to settle down to the meat of the business.

"I'm not sure what's best to tell you, so I will be brief and then you can ask questions." I say to the assembly. "I am a dungeon. The core of my being resides within my Heart and moves out to connect with and occupy the dungeon structures around me. A very long time ago, I was damaged, breaking off this shard. I don't have any clear recollection of what caused it. I remained dormant until Charkarchelou brought some gold near to me. I was then able to create a golem around my shard to move my Heart and hopefully set up a new dungeon. In the town I discovered there were new organisations such as the Dungeoneer's Guild and the Harrowers and I didn't know what they might do to someone such as me. It seemed best to conceal it for the moment. I had intended to tell you at a late date, once we were fully established here."

"The Harrowers are supposed to prevent abuse of the capabilities of dungeons by those with bad intentions. Magic item creation, deliberate spawning of monsters, there's even been attempts to create armies of them..." Merud says in support. "But it's hard to say what they might do with someone who can't be separated from that sort of power." A pall seems to settle over our group.

Reisarf puts his hand up. "Do you intend to flood the world with monsters and cover it in darkness?"

I blink a few times in confusion. "No."

"OK."

Merud and Moriko smile. I don't think I will ever understand that boy.

"What did you intend to accomplish by making a dungeon?" Moriko says. "You are clearly capable of functioning without a full dungeon. Exposure is a risk. You reek of old magic. Would it not be safer for you to remain as a golem?"

I sigh. "I want to exist again. Without a hoard and a dungeon around me I'm crippled. Without gold I can't even stay awake. I don't want that to happen again." I feel shivery, I wrap my arms about myself. "Merud tells me I was asleep for at least two thousand years. Do you have any idea how long a time that is?" I don't want to keep thinking along those lines. I move on to safer ground.

>As for what to tell them, the basics seem fine. You're a dungeon. You're super awesome, super old, and super badass. Once established, you will be able to build structures within yourself that allow you access to spectacular feats of magic. You run on earth pulse from gold and violence. I dunno, is there anything that would be particularly impressive to any of them? Hin and Merud are already well seduced by your mastery in their respective fields.
"Besides, it's what I know best. The purpose of a dungeon is to accumulate things. Gold, mana, knowledge, and, yes, power. They stir up the earth pulse and prevent it from stagnating. They stir the heart to greatness." I smile a little, wistfully. "They help people to realise their own potential. To teach them to think that every challenge can be overcome, that every problem has a solution. To watch them strive."

"Wait." Merud says. "Do you mean the adventurers or the dungeon dwellers?"

I give Merud a long look. "Why do you say that as if it's one or the other?"

"I have some questions." Hin says quietly. "How were you created? Just how old are you? Are all dungeons like you?"

That is painfully direct. I don't want to dwell on this. "I can't tell you." I say. "I am several thousand years old but -" I affect a careless shrug. "I haven't exactly kept count. I was not always as... coherent as I am now, especially at the... beginning. Lastly no, it's... not common. There were perhaps a few dozen I was aware of. Other dungeons have the same abilities but there is no mind to organise it."

"Oh! Can you see what's happening inside you?" Reisarf says.

Hin has the look of someone whose line of thought just fell off a cliff. "Wait, does that mean you can see people when they're bathing or getting dressed?"

"I, what? Why would I... no I wouldn't... just-" I shake my head to banish spluttering incoherence. "No! I only have a vague sense of what's going on unless something happens to focus my attention of an area. Why would you think I'd do that!?"

"Well, I uh, it's not that I..." Hin rallies. "Hang on, what counts as 'something happening'?"

"A fight or something! It's not important!"

"Deem, you're blushing again."

"W-what kind of questions are these?!" The tension in the air seems to have evaporated at least. Once everyone's calmed down, I move on.
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No. 654902 ID: b19c84
File 143659932473.png - (18.47KB , 800x500 , dirt_map_not_actually_purple.png )
654902

"We need to talk about the next few steps."

>First though, you'll have to caution them that it'll be a tight fit at first. It's been a long time since taking more than four people inside you at once, you'll need time to spread yourself properly.
I'm well aware of that. You also forgot about Stargazer, Alkaline and Charkarchelou.

"The most important thing to understand is there's two faces to a dungeon. There's the side that any invaders see, and then there's the areas that are locked down during such a siege. Storerooms, anything fragile, private areas. It's essential for the protection of non-combatants. I'm sure you don't want wandering adventurers traipsing through your bedrooms. These sealed off sections can only be a small part of the dungeon proper. The existing tunnels are rudimentary here so it's going to be cramped for some time."

"To begin, the three essential features are my Heart, a treasury for the gold to let me harness the earth-pulse and the Resurrection Matrix to safeguard the lives of my famuli."

"Is that like the church fountains?" Moriko asks.

"They work on similar principles. I could use a pool or fountain if I wished. It's a useful medium. Sarcophagi, pits or even a bonfire are possibilities too. It definitely will have to be placed in a sealed area for safety. The chamber for my heart can be double as a treasury for the time being."

I make a rough sketch in the dirt. "There's currently three easy areas for expansion. There's this caved in section on the left, this flooded section on the right and a fissure which I believe will come out in a closed valley higher in the mountains."

"How do you know that?" Merud says.

"I'm magic." I say. "Some consideration is going to be needed to be given to the layout for anyone entering the dungeon. Generally the sealable doors should be put far in so they can be easily shut in time. We will probably have some time before anything serious comes here, so it can be a little ramshackle for the moment. The simplest design has a guard post at the entry long detour that any invaders must follow. This buys time to get everyone into position. My Heart can cast heavy reinforcements and it'll be holding all the gold, so it should probably be the final adventurer accessible chamber for now. It's currently in the open area just before the flooded section."

>What are the requirements for dungeon upgrades?
With basic structures such as these my Heart does most of the work. I will just need some furnishings and features to anchor the function and those can simply be made here. Advanced structures will start to take gold and other special materials.

>Does the heart need to be on display in a relatively large chamber to work properly, or can it be sealed away in the equivalent of a wall-safe somewhere that no intruder would think to look?
Do you think I can make the most important room a closet? No it needs to be a large room. Usually in a pedestal or wall mounting, though I could try the ceiling. I would need something to deal with the raw mana leakage however. There will be much more of it once I am set up and have a modest amount of gold.

"There's a few other considerations though." I say. "I've explored the flooded section and found a locked chest and a damaged talisman. Long abandoned hiding spot I think. I don't want to try opening it until I can move everyone inside, as the area will get more dangerous as my hoard improves. So we need to decide which branch to focus on and a basic layout."

"If it's just loose rock in the collapsed chamber, it should be fairly easy to haul it out with golems without risking anyone." Merud suggests.

"Stargazer and I have some magic that we could try to help move all that water." Reisarf says.

"Moving everyone to this closed valley would be more defensible while the other work is done." Moriko says.

I should also try to make as much use of the space as possible, so any functions that can be combined into the same room are useful.
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No. 654912 ID: 0fc976

Eventually, you could do some sort of mana-fountain piece with your core at the top, with the red tinge and thick consistency it would look like a fountain of blood. (Which it is, in a sense.) How delightfully morbid!
To get a basic setup now, focus on the caved-in section. We could establish an arena like the one you fought Moriko in, combining the heart chamber with the area most of the fighting will be done in. Resurrection matrix could be in the antechamber of the flooded section for now. The adventurers use it too, right? And know not to kill the revived minions and... famuli? once they've had their go?
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No. 654914 ID: bd8b82

let's put internal areas on the left and battle areas to the right.
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No. 654915 ID: e114bc

>>654902
I like Moriko's idea. The valley is a good location to set up camp.

With the space we have here... we could set up a guard post at the intersection, put the Heart/treasure chamber in the collapsed area, the private area will be in the back towards the valley, and have the flooded tunnel be part of a path that will eventually curve around to gain access to the treasure room. Gonna have to dig through like 100ft of rock to make it rejoin the path though.
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No. 654920 ID: 0fc976

Traps. Any good dungeon has a lot of traps. Using the vast amounts of it available, taking a page out of dwarf fortresses we could set up falling rock traps along the entryway. Urist likes rock traps for their simplicity and... effectiveness. We might even enchant them to reset themselves, so as to reduce rearming time and not block adventurers' exits from the dungeon.
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No. 654923 ID: 9ddf68

the caved in part of the cave is the circle right? If so I say we make that part of the dungeon proper and later down the line we can make it a chamber room with many paths for adventures to chose from. For now if we want to keep things simple we could turn it into an arena and just throw monsters and minions at adventures until we can expand. Seeing how the flooded chamber already has treasure at the back we can turn that into the treasury and the fissure can be used for rooms and stuff for now.
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No. 655008 ID: d4a543

You could take the loose rock from the caved-in section and pile it up into a little maze of defensive walls out on the flat area in front of the entrance. That could get you additional layers of security without nearly as much work as boring out rooms from solid rock, and might even help extend your awareness of the surface world, since there's less of a hard border.
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No. 655052 ID: ab7529

>>teach her to read
>"For what purpose?"
You know, if she could read, she might spend some of her time reading books. And learning from them so you don't have spend as much time personally teaching her. It frees you up a bit.

>What did you intend to accomplish by making a dungeon?" Moriko says. "You are clearly capable of functioning without a full dungeon. Exposure is a risk. You reek of old magic. Would it not be safer for you to remain as a golem?
Ultimately, the answer to that is the same reason she's living by the sword hammer, instead of settling down somewhere. This isn't something you have it in you to turn your back on.

>It's... interesting. I'll announce it to everyone at dinner after we get the plans down
You haven't announced that, yet. Hin might be relieved to know Alkaline is fine. ...although it should go without saying no one should be hitting her with curses to see if they improve her, for now.

>Stargazer and I have some magic that we could try to help move all that water.
That's useful, but until we have somewhere to put the water (powering trap mechanisms? Plumbing? Water levels?), it seems like it would be a waste just to say, dump it down the mountain. Unless we really need the space, that water is a resource.

It would be interesting to see if Stargazer could explore it better than you did.

>I like Moriko's idea. The valley is a good location to set up camp.
Yeah. A hidden, exterior location is useful for minions that won't necessarily be happy or healthy being underground all the time, and/or structures that might be easier to build in the open air. (Like a forge, until we set up a ventilation system). Plus, it's easier to be self sufficient if the valley can provide food.

Although we should still have interior quarters / safe zones for the people who are more comfortable there, and out of sheer necessity. If we're attacked from the air or over the mountains, they need a place to retreat to.
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No. 655059 ID: ebcefd

> What Build?
Posting proposed basic layout in questdis.

>But it's hard to say what they might do with someone who can't be separated from that sort of power.
This means we need a cover story. We should either work with the golemeters to devise a more convincing version of the "I am an old golemeter with proxy golems" shtick or pass off one of our followers as the "real" dungeon mastermind.

>Generally the sealable doors should be put far in so they can be easily shut in time.
Would it work to have a shortcut entrance for denizen use if we use a short corridor with an entrance that seals before the exit opens like an airlock?
(As a side note, I suspect that as dungeon-killers the Harrowers might have anti-sealing powers, so we should eventually rig shortcuts to be able to collapse entirely in an emergency.)
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No. 655674 ID: d4a543

>>655052
>You know, if she could read, she might spend some of her time reading books. And learning from them so you don't have spend as much time personally teaching her. It frees you up a bit.

This argument applies to Deem herself, as well.

Another reason for Deem to learn to read is paranoia. Writing is a silent communication channel through which disloyal minions could organize a betrayal; if she can't read the notes they're passing for herself, and the interpreter may have been compromised, trying to root out the conspiracy could get ugly fast. Literacy cuts out the middleman for interpreting intercepted messages.
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No. 657103 ID: 63ba7a
File 143740600331.png - (22.54KB , 800x520 , lets_make_a_maaaaaaap.png )
657103

>With the space we have here... we could set up a guard post at the intersection, put the Heart/treasure chamber in the collapsed area, the private area will be in the back towards the valley, and have the flooded tunnel be part of a path that will eventually curve around to gain access to the treasure room. Gonna have to dig through like 100ft of rock to make it rejoin the path though.
"We need space most urgently of all." I say. "As much as I'd like to have that valley accessible, widening the fissure into even a narrow tunnel will take more time than either of the other options. We'll clear the caved in area first and work on mostly draining the flooded section."

I make some adjustments to my rough map.

"To get started, we can make a simple dungeon with a guard post at the intersection, a locked door blocking access to the Heart Chamber, and a key for it at the end of the flooded passage. By the time that's ready we can have it mostly drained. It's a suitable spot for slimes so somewhere along here is a good spot for to put a sealed chamber for the spawning grounds."

>Unless we really need the space, that water is a resource.
"There's more water there than we can honestly use, but we'll see about making a cistern to hold onto some of it. Seeing we need to get rid of most it, drink and bathe as much as you like. Reisarf, when you have time, I'd like you to experiment with that magic you mentioned to see what our best options are."

>Later down the line we can make it a chamber room with many paths for adventures to chose from.
"The caved in room is of a good size so it might also work well to re-purpose it as a hub room later. Might also consider boring a tunnel straight from where the key is to the final room. Currently I think that the Resurrection Matrix should be placed off it behind a Sealing Designation for safety."

"Sealing Designation?" Moriko says.

"Ah, a seal-able entrance." I say. "There's conditional ones like a locked door or a puzzle door." I tap the door blocking off the final chamber from the rest of the dungeon. "And others that are not intended to be opened by adventurers at all." I tap the slime chamber and Resurrection Matrix. "The area I can seal off like this is limited and it works better if they're several small annexes like this. I can go a little beyond this amount but it would certainly be crowded."

>Would it work to have a shortcut entrance for denizen use if we use a short corridor with an entrance that seals before the exit opens like an airlock?
Definitely but it would be a weaker seal and more obvious than a full power Sealing Designation. Ideally doors that aren't supposed to be accessible by adventurers are invisible to them.

>You could take the loose rock from the caved-in section and pile it up into a little maze of defensive walls out on the flat area in front of the entrance. That could get you additional layers of security without nearly as much work as boring out rooms from solid rock, and might even help extend your awareness of the surface world, since there's less of a hard border.
"We'll also look at expanding the front using the stone we're pulling out." I shrug. "We'll have to see how much usable material's in the caved in chamber."

>Traps. Any good dungeon has a lot of traps.
It's a little premature at this stage.
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No. 657104 ID: 63ba7a
File 143740606744.png - (27.64KB , 800x560 , you_two_get_to_work_hard.png )
657104

I look at Merud and Hin.

"Most of this initial work is going to fall on your shoulders." I tell them. "We're going to be working the golems hard to get the first chamber cleared and Hin, I'll need you to make some parts for the doors and the matrix. I can get by without a proper mount for my Heart for now but that'll be the next major dungeon structure after those."

Hin nods.

"There's also the talisman and chest I found. I don't want to open up the chest just yet since any additions to my treasury are going to be accompanied by an increase in monster activity and we don't have the time or the space to get clever with modifiers for it. The talisman, however is damaged and I... what did I do with it?" I spare myself the absurdity of patting down pockets as I have none. I must have left it in the flooded passage.

Merud pulls it out of his robes. "I think it's supposed to make things lighter." he says, handing it back to me.

"That would be very useful." I say. That might explain how one person could haul a treasure chest around. I give it to Hin. "In that case, I'd like you to have a look at fixing it."

She's still very subdued.

>But it's hard to say what they might do with someone who can't be separated from that sort of power.
>This means we need a cover story. We should either work with the golemeters to devise a more convincing version of the "I am an old golemeter with proxy golems" shtick or pass off one of our followers as the "real" dungeon mastermind.
I'll bring that up with Merud later.
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No. 657105 ID: 63ba7a
File 143740617051.png - (29.25KB , 800x581 , and_my_axe.png )
657105

>It's... interesting. I'll announce it to everyone at dinner after we get the plans down
>You haven't announced that, yet. Hin might be relieved to know Alkaline is fine. ...although it should go without saying no one should be hitting her with curses to see if they improve her, for now.
I'm getting to it! Grand strategy first.

Obviously I can't have everyone hauling rocks all the time. There's other work that needs to be done.

I can focus on the boss design. Until I can build a separate treasury, any invader has the chance of taking everything. It's highly unlikely I'd be found until I'm well established, but it's a possibility. This would focus on finding what reinforcement strategy would be suitable to use on Moriko and Reisarf, as they are my primary combatants, and a general assessment of the fighting capabilities of the others.

Alternatively I can focus on minions. Step up exploration of the area for anything that might be tameable and for things that would be useful to feed to Alkaline when she reaches her critical developmental phase. That is still some time off however. I would also work with Merud about coordinating golem designs so they can all be effectively controlled in defence of my dungeon.

Finally, I can concentrate on mana. Resources are strapped so the main advantage we have to leverage at the moment is magical ability. This would focus on working together with my wizards, optimising my output with the current amount of gold I have, exploring the area to identify resources and looking at mana transfer techniques, to allow myself or others to make more use of spells. There's some magic I can use to make construction and excavation go faster but it's extremely expensive in terms of mana. I can also work with Hin to make temporary enchanted tools.
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No. 657108 ID: 88960e

>She's still very subdued
Still guilty / upset about what happened earlier. That won't heal instantly, but you'll have to be careful mending that fence. Sharing Allaline's condition might take a little guilt off when you get there.

That, and it was sort of for the best. It forces you to acknowledge hiding wasn't going to work well, before consequences had a chance to grow.

>>657105
I don't like option 2. Minions need to be managed, organized, sought out. There's logistics. And accelerating Alkaline's development would increase her demands on time, and make the margins on raising her well tighter. I don't think we have can afford the manhours (golemgalhours) that would pull away from other work right now.

I like the other two approaches. You need more mana, and working in concert with your fighters to establish a boss encounter will build team relations, strengthen them, and prepare them to graduate to mid-bosses or other roles.
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No. 657109 ID: bd8b82

a mix of boss deisgn and mana. more mana means you can pile more/better reinforcements on the boss when the time comes.
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No. 657110 ID: 9ddf68

well with Merud and Hin being the two that are going to be working on the dungeon the most I feel like we should probably go with focusing on the boss design with also a bit with minions. Now with bosses, would the end dungeon boss have to be the same every time or would you switch off with the others so you can rest as well? Because I'm thinking You will act as the final boss since you don't need to rest as much as our companions but depending on whether Moriko or Reisarf is acting as the dungeon's mini-boss I think should depend on what reinforcements we should give ourselves as well as them.

Reisarf said he does well with water right? if so I say we (if possible) slightly reflood the flooded chamber when he's acting as the mini boss and have it go up to about waste hight and place him near where we're going to put the key. The idea here is to use the water to slow adventures down so Reisarf can chip away at them from a distance. Hell we could even put some kid of an archway along the sides of the flooded tunnel above where the adventures can't reach and put some cheap golems on them to hurl rocks or something down to try and slow the adventures down even further. Reinforcements to give him would probably be something to let him move around easier and quicker as to not get pinned.

With Moriko I say have her wait in the guard room but have her appear after the adventures get the key. Not sure if we should add a gimmick here since if the adventures do beat her they'll be right outside the final boss room and I'm not sure how fair it would be just to have one tough boss fight almost immediately after another. Just have her reinforcements be something that would make her a pain to a whole group of enemies.

As for the others, Hin I feel probably isn't going to be involved in the dungeon fighting at all... well at least not directly unless she can fight as well as smith and actually wants to be a fighter which I don't think she's to keen with. I believe the main plan is for her to forge weapons and armor to be used as treasure to lay around the dungeon for the adventures to find. Could also have her craft some armor for us to turn into more powerful golems. This is of course further down the line once we get the dungeon actually set up. Merud of course will be working with you in the dungeon to fill it with golem minions. Since it seem for now the best minions (at least in terms of time it takes to make them and resources available) are the cheap rock golems we've been using. Think we could forge them some simple stone weapons and even have some curl up to look like normal boulders only to "reveal" themselves when adventures come near or even have a spot where the adventures walk pass into more enemies and then have them stand up and attack the adventures from both sides? Don't think he's going to be fighting directly much, at least not at first at any rate. And as for Alkaline, well when she actually get's big enough to fight I did have an idea but I'm not sure how realistic it is. I was thinking we could use our golem powers to make her a suit of animated armor for her to control and fight in to make up for her lack of defense and other skills by having the adventures first having to chip away her armor before they can get at her. That is still a ways off but thought I'd ask since it's still relevant at the moment.

As for the minion thing. I would suggest sending some of your golems to scout the area just so we know where to look once we do actually start trying to find minions. That and it would be helpful to know where to find food around here at the very least.

As for your final boss form, again depending on who is acting as the mini-boss I think that should decide what form you'll take. with Moriko I feel you should use the same form you used to fight her since we'll probably have a more warrior theme going on anyways. Just have a few better crafted golems with actual weapons to back us up in the fight... or our little dragon and just cast a few spells on him to make him bigger. And if Reisarf is the mini-boss think we could also flood the treasure room slightly and have your boss form have the spider legs you had in town plus one or two other things? Idea here is to have the water be about knee deep to slow adventures down again while you move around unimpeded because I can't see the water being much of an issue of the long spider legs and if you could also climb the walls you could run circles around the adventures.

These are some of my thoughts anyways.
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No. 657112 ID: 89941a

I may be a bit out of touch with how things are going, but could you use the raw mana that your heart leaks as a component in a trap? How long does that stuff stay around?
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No. 657113 ID: bd8b82

>>657110
Moriko is going to be the final boss. deem doesn't want to be the boss herself. reinforcement makes a good fighter better, and deem needed the reinforcements to stand against moriko. moriko with reinforcements would be REALLY strong.
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No. 657116 ID: 2a7417

Boosting your mana economy to promote faster growth is tempting, but you should focus on your defenders first. I bet your denizens will be eager to find out what sort of powers they will gain from their reinforcements!
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No. 657137 ID: 0f4536

A balance between bosses and mana sounds good.

My thoughts on encounter/boss layout in the order seen by adventurers:
Guard Room: Some cheap golems to watch the entrance and serve as disposable first fight minions.
Water Tunnel: Slimes as minions lurking in shallow water. Possibly emerging from a small hole in the floor or wall connected by a tube to the sealed off slime pool.
Water Runnel End: Reisarf/Stargazer miniboss room. Widen this some to make into a miniboss room with shallow water concealing deeper pits and treacherous footing beneath the surface to trip up adventurers while Reisarf teleports between and shoots from several small platforms just above the surface spaced around the edge of the room. If he is defeated, the key appears in the small raised room at the end of the water tunnel (optionally with "key get" noise).
Guard Room (with key): Charkarchelou with some reinforcement or a few more golems as backup emerges from the unlocked guard room door for another fight.
Short Corridor: Maybe a puzzle door before the final boss room?
Heart Room: Moriko with reinforcement as final boss.

As a side note, if our final Heart mounting is going to be in the final boss room we should definitely have it in the ceiling, since that would make it much harder for someone to tamper with or steal. Maybe we could have it as the iris of a huge stone eye animated to go from initially partly open to dramatically fully open and brightly glowing during the boss fight and then closed afterwards for both atmospheric effect and extra protection against would-be Heart snatchers.
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No. 657471 ID: d4a543

Immediate priority is boss design. So many startups fail by trying to add more bells and whistles, losing focus on the minimum viable product. Sure, the odds that a dangerously competent group of adventurers will show up in the next week is slim... but would that chance be modified by Alkaline's luck, or Deem's?

Reisarf's the glass cannon, so don't put him out in front. If he's stationed by the key, attack spells could use the flooded passage as a backstop so there's less worry about damaging the walls with full-power Starlight Destroyer. Chakarchelou can be the final boss, lots of fun reinforcement options there. Moriko can guard the front gate. Honorable challenges, assessing capabilities, and cracking heavy armor are her stock in trade. She might be able to drive off weaker threats all by herself, or cripple a stronger party's frontline tank and relay tactical insights. Reisarf might be able to exploit the weak points she finds (or inflicts), but more importantly, this maximizes your time for last-minute customization of Chakarchelou's suite of reinforcements.

Once you've got perimeter security up to an adequate level where some gang of three-to-five rowdy teens couldn't just waltz in and rob you, and some plausible contingency plans for more serious threats, then start focusing more on mana.

Temporary enhancements on tools? Talk to Hin about ways you could make her picks and hammers work better. Best thing to rebuild confidence after a crushingly stupid mistake is practicing core competencies, such as the visceral satisfaction of pounding a stone wall or bit of cast-iron bar stock and seeing it yield before her might like soft clay. Won't relieve the guilt directly, but you gotta start somewhere. It'd also aid progress on mission-critical excavation and construction work, practice at stabilizing weapon reinforcements which could apply just as well to Moriko, and probably a useful lead-in to forging permanent magical weapons.

No more minions until you've got enough surplus space and revenue to support them. A tunnel up to that valley at the very least. Also, build up a solid base of loyalty and teamwork among the existing group before adding more random factors. Potential interpersonal conflicts increase as a combinatorial function.
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No. 657500 ID: 1cebc8

Test the dungeon by having each of your squad members take a practice run, with all your other squad members attempting to stop them before they get to the sealed room. This should help you detect minor weaknesses in your strategy.

For the time being, I suggest that you use the flooded area to store your heart because you can sink your treasure for the time being. That way, it will be hard for adventurers to collect the stash, even if they bring enchanted caravans with treasure magnetism. You can register your squad on the left path to lead the adventurers away. If they figure out where the gold is hidden, Alkaline can use some mana from your core and the water in the tunnel to beat the hell out of any idiot who dives headfirst instead of using magic / tech to siphon or quake drain the water out.

Exploration should be your first priority; the area around your dungeon will be vital to future growth, and you should take the opportunity to map the place while your notoriety is low. Finding areas that may sponsor future colonies or pack migration trails will determine what types of defenses and raids you should prepare for. You also need more minions - two golems and a lizard won't cut it.

Given Alkaline's propensity to skill acquisition, you should look for stuff to feed her while she's still young in development; her skill growth might decrease as her levels approach the mid-20s. Given that pure mana has an effect, you may want to experiment with small doses of pure mana combined with various mixtures - see if giving her potions that mimic spells will end up giving her said spells permanently.

Look for nearby secondary areas for dungeons. In addition to a fallback plan, your late-game status will require sub-dungeons to infiltrate enemy encampments and flank kingsguard armies. Look for places that might be connected to your main dungeon in about ten years.

See if you can fortify the cave walls, they seem eager to collapse.
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No. 659765 ID: 5c9255
File 143848602344.png - (27.88KB , 800x600 , sleep_is_for_the_weak.png )
659765

Everyone's asleep. I dare not move.

I don't mind. I need to conserve mana and I need to think.

I wrapped up the camp-fire discussion up by going over the rest of the day's events. I explained about Alkaline's new curse eating ability. It definitely deserves some investigation, but I want to wait until she's old enough to explain to her why we'd be burying her in curses. Reisarf is the only one practised in curses, but Merud seemed interested enough to try to cobble together something.

Moriko managed to search the local area. Nothing large or aggressive nearby. She did emphasise that her fieldcraft is basic and this is an unfamiliar land to her however. She thought she saw signs of something bigger down the mountain, there's a stream. She did have a complaint that Chakarchelou is not trained at all. He'd usually stay near her but not understand any of her commands.

>I may be a bit out of touch with how things are going, but could you use the raw mana that your heart leaks as a component in a trap? How long does that stuff stay around?
There's better uses for it. A base for potions, for a start. It shouldn't interact with clay or stone and slowly evaporate if left exposed to open air. There should perhaps be a phial full of it presently at equilibrium. I should start bottling it, contingent on enough suitable containers. It keeps for a long time if stored properly.

>I don't like option 2. Minions need to be managed, organized, sought out. There's logistics. And accelerating Alkaline's development would increase her demands on time, and make the margins on raising her well tighter. I don't think we have can afford the manhours (golemgalhours) that would pull away from other work right now.
This is true. Since supplies and space and time are all currently limited, this will have to be shelved for the moment.

>I like the other two approaches. You need more mana, and working in concert with your fighters to establish a boss encounter will build team relations, strengthen them, and prepare them to graduate to mid-bosses or other roles.
I can work on mana for the moment by being very particular with the arrangement of treasure in my temporary Heart Chamber to squeeze every bit of power I can out of the earth-pulse. I am, once again, tempted to open that chest right away but with such an incomplete layout I'd mainly cause a significant spike in monster activity. Once we have a working set of reinforcement spells to use for defence and a proper chamber set up, I'll open it.

>Now with bosses, would the end dungeon boss have to be the same every time or would you switch off with the others so you can rest as well?
Rotation is best. Repeated reinforcement or repeated defeat puts a lot of strain on the body and also this means variation in tactics.

>Moriko is going to be the final boss. Deem doesn't want to be the boss herself.
I never said that.

>Reinforcement makes a good fighter better, and Deem needed the reinforcements to stand against Moriko. Moriko with reinforcements would be REALLY strong.
Not exactly. She's much higher level than I am. In terms of raw strength, the benefits would be subdued.

So for now I need to start casting the groundwork for what spells to experiment with tomorrow. I have less mana to spare for this boss practice than I did for the duel with Moriko. I have to reserve mana for golems.

As I have experienced, Moriko's a very effective all-rounder. She's mobile, she has powerful and accurate physical attacks and she has several uncommon special abilities, allowing her to temporarily raise her already high attributes, assess enemies, break through strong defences and interrupt spells. Defensively she's focused on evasion and could hold her own against two strong simultaneous enemies. However, she has no ranged attacks, she's lightly armoured and she would have trouble fighting off debilitating effects.

Reisarf has a number of vulnerabilities. He's small, physically weak, lacking in stamina and he has bad aim. This is offset by his powerful magic and rapid casting. His Spatial Warp allows him to teleport away from attackers and his curses focus on restricting mobility. Curse effects bypass his low accuracy, his attack magic focuses on strong explosive or multi-projectile attacks and they are quite damaging. Stargazer helps defend him from physical attacks, acts as a spell focus and opens other possibilities with her ability to operate separately. After being fed some of Reisarf's mana, she's almost as effective as a second combatant of his level. With that in mind, I would assess his main weaknesses as being ranged attacks, enemies with high mobility and prolonged battles.

It's a little problematic that Moriko is much stronger than Reisarf. I might need to pull in someone else to help stress test things in an actual duel.
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No. 659772 ID: 225f37

>>659765
Sounds like if Reisarf was given a couple of golems as back-up to put melee pressure on ranged attackers that'd help balance things out. Against someone with high mobility they could act defensively instead of offensively to make it harder for the attacker to directly get to Reisarf or restrict their movement. In either case their primary jobs would be harassment and soaking up damage, so they'd have to be built reasonably tough and somewhat mobile, putting actual offense a distant third priority
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No. 659774 ID: 9ddf68

well if we can change the "boss room" a bit or at least switch it's location around we could adjust things to help both of their strengths. like with Moriko we could probably give her a speed boast and have her room be a flat wide open room to let her close the distance between any range attackers/spell casters/healers while giving her plenty of room to dance around whoever else might be fighting her at the time.

As for Reisarf, again if we can mess with the dungeon's layout at well I would say flood the area he fights in to slow down opponents and rise some stone pillars for him to teleport between that are well above the water line so he isn't slowed down by the water, and have reinforcements that either let him take a few more hits or maybe even give him something that would have his spells take up less mana or at least give him more mana to throw around. Maybe we could also give him potions or throw some minions to support him as well if you want to make his boss battle a little tougher to match Moriko.
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No. 659775 ID: e114bc

>>659765
Would it tire you out for the boss to include you every time? Rotate you with Moriko and you with Reisarf/Stargazer. You can cover their weaknesses.

Also, work on teaching Chakarchelou some basic commands soon. You seem to be able to communicate with him so you can teach him, right?
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No. 659780 ID: ab7529

>Reisarf is the only one practised in curses, but Merud seemed interested enough to try to cobble together something.
Don't you have some curse-practice too?

>She did have a complaint that Chakarchelou is not trained at all. He'd usually stay near her but not understand any of her commands.
Something to work on. Your beasts should be capable of working with / following commands from your lieutenants.

>bottling leaking mana for potions and alchemy
Seems reasonable.

>Moriko higher level, makes useful reinforcement harder
Then you don't reinforce to make her stronger. You give her more options to leverage her strengths.

Basic endurance so she can tank hits it she has to take them or evasion fails. Some kind of point defense to smack away ranged attacks. You could apply golem animation to the scarf or other bits of cloth to slap away ranged attacks, or to give her reach / ranged / grapple something for a hammer smash. (Also, it's just too appropriate not to work your favor she's wearing into the enhancements).

>Reisarf has a number of vulnerabilities.
Seems to me they can largely be offset by boss chamber design. Disconnected platforms and barriers would make teleports more potent, and make it hard for the enemy to pursue. Making movement easy for him and tiring for them (slopes, bad terrain) will cut down on their ability to out-endure him. Baffles and blocking and obstructions could limit direct ranged attacks (but not explosions or homing attacks or curses that can go around them).

Other obvious buff would be to provide him with the endurance he needs for the fight (in a way that doesn't leave him weaker after. Maybe a cloth golem-exoskeleton under the robes to help support him?) Maybe a temporary mana battery to let him be more aggressive and blow them up faster?
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No. 659782 ID: 0fc976

For Moriko: Give her tougher skin with a chance to deflect attacks and status effects. It's good to have a backup to her evasion. For ranged attacks, enchant her hammer to return to her hand when thrown. Hammerang!
also >enhance knockers

For Reisarf, A second wind enchantment of some kind would effectively double his stamina, and homing projectiles could help his aim. Tying some sort of burst attack to his teleport would counter someone predicting his movements.
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No. 659784 ID: ab7529

Oh, misdirection might work with Reisarf, too. If his spells aren't directional, he could be concealed or invisible blasting the enemy, while stargazer acted as a decoy, drawing fire and attention. (Or a powerful golem, or any powerful fighter, so long as the enemy believes they're responsible for the spell effects). This assumes the enemy party doesn't have anyone who can track the spells to a source. (Or we give them phony crystals or 'artifacts' producing the spells to destroy. Turn it into a puzzle fight).

Could we put a golem with a scanner spell at the front of the dungeon? To warn anyone who enters without a resurrection talisman of the risk they're taking. ...could we offer to sell adventurers access to the in-house res system? At a steep markup? (There would have to be a separate exterior res-point for that, though. Although maybe it wouldn't be worth the money to advertise we have that capability at all).
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No. 659796 ID: 1cebc8

For now, try adding some basic traps and defenses to keep foes where they are least effective. You can focus on character development once you have enough resources to upgrade everyone at once.
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No. 659841 ID: 3663d3

one thing to remember is Reisarf is always with stargazer, have to take what she brings to the table with him. what can stargazer do? what powers do they have together? can you reinforce her as well?
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No. 659846 ID: fbc59e

Hrrm. What can be done with Chakarchelou in terms of fighting?
He might not be a bad compliment to Resinarf, in terms of balancing out the two of them.
As for his reinforcement...I feel like there's a few ideas.
We could reinforce so that he can quickly dig throughout the earth, enabling quick tunneling for surprise attacks, maybe by focusing on his claws.
Another idea is the thought of armoring his scales, especially to the point of being able to reflect attacks upon him, essentially making him a stone wall fighter who wins through a prolounged fight.
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No. 659849 ID: d4a543

>>659784
>could we offer to sell adventurers access to the in-house res system?

Rather than advertising such services directly, would it be possible to quietly cut out the church's involvement altogether (now that we understand how it works), resurrect defeated adventurers into a prison, and then ransom them back to their allies or stir up the earth pulse even more with an escape sequence? Instead of just a morsel of gold, such a system would let us capture all their gear, and even nibble at wealth they left behind in town, while also undercutting the sky-power's influence and presenting the appearance of being an ideal dungeon for noobs: life insurance talismans are probably a significant up-front cost, but at your place, there's no need.
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No. 659854 ID: 3663d3

>>659849
the talismans are binding. to negate their pulling power would probably use a LOT of mana. perhaps more then we could stand to gain from it.
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No. 659855 ID: ab7529

>>659849
That pretty much sums up my doubts with the idea, really. Cutting out the church and attracting their attention or ire for it is probably more than we want to mess with.

And holding people for ransom changes the whole tone of what we're doing.
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No. 659862 ID: e114bc

>>659849
>>659854
>>659855
I believe that would attract the attention of the Harrowers as well.
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No. 659881 ID: 99cfa8

>>659849
While there's a lot of issues with this, I like the idea of an escape sequence for defeated adventurers (that don't have their own resurrection method). Probably it would be safer if we made them think they were KO'd and captured rather than killed and revived.
We'd have to theme the whole dungeon in a way that that's believable though. I'm thinking some kind of mad scientist medical thing (to explain away the lack of injuries) but I dunno for sure.
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No. 659987 ID: 13ff66

>>659849
>>659855

>>659849
While there's a lot of issues with this, I like the idea of an escape sequence for defeated adventurers (that don't have their own resurrection method). Probably it would be safer if we made them think they were KO'd and captured rather than killed and revived.
We'd have to theme the whole dungeon in a way that that's believable though. I'm thinking some kind of mad scientist medical thing (to explain away the lack of injuries) but I dunno for sure.

>>659881

We've been through this territory before. Please See:
>>/questdis/75613
>>/questdis/75616
>>/questdis/75619
>>/questdis/75624
>>/questdis/75640

> And holding people for ransom changes the whole tone of what we're doing.

You'd have to ask Deem about that; better not to assume. Regardless of her reception to the idea, we can't pretend that we can do this without it being seen as an act of hostility by the neighboring populace. These sorts of decisions carry consequences. If we want to go ahead with this route that's alright, so long as we are prepared for their natural outcomes.

>>/questdis/73535
Personal opinion states we should operate the dungeon in a spirit of sportsmanship. We run it and present it as more of a recreational arena and training facility than a small and territorial sovereign nation.

>>/quest/521969
>"As for wars and things, there's a lot of saber rattling going on between the Empire of Leogadia and the Witchocracy of Vaya. They've even been sponsoring adventurers and relic hunters to beef up their elite units and magical armament in case it comes to war. I guess if you were a dungeoneer in these sort of times you'd either be doing very well, or going out of business."
Besides, there's a war coming on and we want to be considered an asset to our surrounding polities rather than a liability.
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No. 660043 ID: 5c9255
File 143859969182.png - (32.13KB , 400x420 , advice_8.png )
660043

I could have been sure I asked for input on boss design. I don't recall saying 'Tell me how to run my dungeon.'
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No. 660047 ID: 7dc3ab

Try to stop us with our never ending thoughts on what could possibly be achieved and what can happen if we do so and so.
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No. 660048 ID: f67386

I'm fairly certain our job is to overthink everything.
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No. 660049 ID: 715feb

Yeah this happens sometimes, give us a bit to get back on track. Though it would be appreciated if you at least did consider some of what was mentioned though, that escape sequence thing could make a nice change of pace at some point.

Regarding the boss suggestions, perhaps we should consider setting up several, ah, "templates" for general boss reinforcement. That way we can avoid the hilariously random changes you experienced last time. Perhaps several different templates for each boss, based on different strengths and weaknesses? Like say for Moriko one that emphasizes speed, and the other strength.

On that note it may be helpful to write down or at least review the limitations and capabilities of reinforcement magic can provide for everyone else to look through when getting their input on a possible template... It'd also help us a bit with ideas if we can decide how much would be too much.
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No. 660050 ID: 715feb

Oh right, and we still need to figure out exactly which spell channels are still safely available for use. It'd be bad to find out that something got crossed and instead of reinforcing someone you end up exploding them.

(..."random"...Psssssssssshhh.)
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No. 660051 ID: fbc59e

an idea-can Stargazer let Resinarf breathe underwater? Alternatively, could we do that with reinforcement?
The thought is if water is good for those two we can just flood the boss room, and force heroes to either defeat Resinarf before they drown or he blasts them, plus the whole 'suddenly aquatic!' thing should send anyone unprepared to a watery grave...
Another idea is some sort of...Leadership Reinforcement, to allow Moriko to grant her hammerskill to some golems accompanyying her. we could possibly do some sort of...powerlink? Where you have to choose between trying to fight Moriko while the golems are up, or beating down the golems and then facing off against an empowered Master Moriko.
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No. 660063 ID: 2a7417

>>660047
She's not there to stop you. Just take it to the /questdis/ thread.

With bosses, the bigger the better. What about size reinforcements for Moriko and Reisarf? As a plus, we already know that spell is possible.
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No. 660064 ID: 89941a

Well, I guess you could leave the boss encounter optional? Like, just straight up ask them if they desire a boss fight, or to destroy the dungeon/claim the heart. If they answer in the positive, have them fight you in boss mode?

If they answer no, lead them out without granting them any of your treasure?
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No. 660065 ID: 1cebc8

I suggest you construct a golem that is smart enough to construct its own golem. If they obtain enough neural mass through linking and stone-mana circuitry, they can result in an endless cycle of golems. Make each golem in the recursion recognize that the smarter it can make its successors, the less likely they will be called upon to fight.

I would also suggest that you capture wild monsters for the time being to serve as bosses and enemies. You don't have much to upgrade with, so an angry flailing monster should be easy to capture with your varied squad, and hard to kill for beginner adventurers.
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No. 660080 ID: 13ff66

>>660043
But we are your waifu, telling you how to run your life is one of our many functions
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No. 660125 ID: d4a543

How fast does the resurrection pool work? Would it be plausible for, say, Moriko to be guarding the front door, get taken down by adventurers, then arrive in the boss chamber ahead of them?

I noticed a lot of the boss upgrades from the original mana battery incident involved extra limbs. How about taking that as a theme? Barbed tentacles to shred soft targets or tangle in shifting hedges as area denial, maybe a pair of giant hands and some spidery spears, all descending from the ceiling as needed. Moriko dances through that maze, using shared sensitivity to the earth-pulse to stay out of each others' way.

Could you put some spell on Moriko that turns incoming blades and arrows away from her? That might be more useful than enhancing her agility directly or armoring up, since it achieves the same effect as dodging but by a different mechanism. A strike that's half dodged and then half absorbed by armor still draws blood, but half dodged plus half deflected is a 100% whiff.
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No. 673353 ID: 42ee36
File 144342395068.png - (36.88KB , 800x500 , legend_of_deem.png )
673353

>I guess you could leave the boss encounter optional?
There's going to be a big, important looking door with a special key for that exact purpose.

>Could we put a golem with a scanner spell at the front of the dungeon? To warn anyone who enters without a resurrection talisman of the risk they're taking. ...could we offer to sell adventurers access to the in-house res system?
Only those bound to me can use my resurrection system. I have often set up a detection structure in a main room, preferably one that is visited multiple times. The purpose there is to asses their strengths and weaknesses. According to Merud those talismans are extremely common. The church subsidises them. If the intruders are that careless that's their own problem.

>Well if we can change the "boss room" a bit or at least switch it's location around we could adjust things to help both of their strengths. Like with Moriko we could probably give her a speed boost and have her room be a flat wide open room to let her close the distance between any range attackers/spell casters/healers while giving her plenty of room to dance around whoever else might be fighting her at the time.
An open space would probably work well for her, yes.

>As for Reisarf, again if we can mess with the dungeon's layout at well I would say flood the area he fights in to slow down opponents and rise some stone pillars for him to teleport between that are well above the water line so he isn't slowed down by the water
Again, I can't do much with water.

Reisarf's teleport has a random element to it. I can place structures that would redirect his exit location to one of the marked points most of the time and pillars would be a good use of that to keep him out of reach. They're not especially difficult to create, so I will put them into the finished chamber.

>Can Stargazer let Reisarf breathe underwater? Alternatively, could we do that with reinforcement?
>The thought is if water is good for those two we can just flood the boss room, and force heroes to either defeat Resinarf before they drown or he blasts them, plus the whole 'suddenly aquatic!' thing should send anyone unprepared to a watery grave...
No, no and no. I have no affinity for water. I can't do anything that would involve breathing underwater or flooding the chamber. I can develop in that direction but I really need to get these basic rooms done first.
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No. 673354 ID: 42ee36
File 144342399706.png - (36.04KB , 800x600 , boss_and_friends.png )
673354

There's a few ideas involving extra fighters so I will go into more detail.

Having multiple bosses isn't as common as one big one. The participants need to work together well since the full reinforcement is split between them but it does open some interesting tactics.

>We could possibly do some sort of...powerlink? Where you have to choose between trying to fight Moriko while the golems are up, or beating down the golems and then facing off against an empowered Master Moriko.
A vengeance enchantment is simple to do. It grants the remaining guardians an increase in power or perhaps an ability of their defeated ally. It works better the more powerful the defeated creature is.

>Would it tire you out for the boss to include you every time? Rotate you with Moriko and you with Reisarf/Stargazer. You can cover their weaknesses.
Repeated reinforcement is bad for anyone. It puts a lot of strain on the recipient so rotation of bosses is best. Having multiple people trained for the role also means I have options if someone's sick or doing something away from the dungeon.

>Hrrm. What can be done with Chakarchelou in terms of fighting?
>He might not be a bad compliment to Reisarf, in terms of balancing out the two of them.
I intend to use him as a watchdog in an earlier room. He's reasonably tough for what he is but he's a very basic monster. He can claw and bite things and breathe some smoke and sparks.

For weaker assistants, first of all, I would need to supply all the combatants. This would probably be golems right now. Replenishing them mid battle can be a little difficult. Low quality golems aren't too difficult. I need to get more clay come to think of it.

Typically they're either all sent in at the start and used as a screen or a number of them are sent in at critical moments. A period of vulnerability for the main boss, for example. Later I will be able to create a dragon's tooth enchantment. It would let me create a number of weak monsters automatically.

>Another idea is some sort of...Leadership Reinforcement, to allow Moriko to grant her hammerskill to some golems accompanying her.
It's not very worthwhile using reinforcement on the rank and file golems unless I intend to just have one or two elite ones.
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No. 673355 ID: 42ee36
File 144342403621.png - (18.61KB , 800x500 , treasure_inspector.png )
673355

>How fast does the resurrection pool work? Would it be plausible for, say, Moriko to be guarding the front door, get taken down by adventurers, then arrive in the boss chamber ahead of them?
Fast but the recipient takes a while to recover. I could do something like that later, but I'd need some special structures to pull it off.

>With bosses, the bigger the better. What about size reinforcements for Moriko and Reisarf? As a plus, we already know that spell is possible.
It's an efficient way to enhance strength and toughness. It wouldn't be very effective on Reisarf as his physical attributes are very low. Someone like Hin I could make enormous because of her giant blood. Given Moriko's focus on evasion, it would not be the best choice to go to extremes with it.

>I noticed a lot of the boss upgrades from the original mana battery incident involved extra limbs. How about taking that as a theme?
Frankly, it was an uncoordinated mess. Half of those limbs got in the way of the others. I'm fortunate it mainly ended up making things bigger. It could have been even more of a mess.

>For Moriko: Give her tougher skin with a chance to deflect attacks and status effects. It's good to have a backup to her evasion. For ranged attacks, enchant her hammer to return to her hand when thrown. Hammerang!
That's something I've used many times before. I can do it easily. Returning, hmm, I'll get Moriko's opinion.

>Some kind of point defense to smack away ranged attacks. You could apply golem animation to the scarf or other bits of cloth to slap away ranged attacks, or to give her reach / ranged / grapple something for a hammer smash. (Also, it's just too appropriate not to work your favor she's wearing into the enhancements).
Hmm, she wouldn't have any ability to control the golem is the issue, it'd have to be myself or Merud. That'd need some practice. There's something similar I might try first though - animating her hair.

>Regarding the boss suggestions, perhaps we should consider setting up several, ah, "templates" for general boss reinforcement.
I intend to but I need a starting point before I can work on variations.

In the morning I go to my temporary heart chamber ahead of the others to check on the condition of my Heart.

This hoard truly is pitiful.

I return to the campsite to get dressed as everyone else finishes their breakfast and then we head back her. I keep Alkaline with me for the moment.
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No. 673357 ID: 42ee36
File 144342412188.png - (42.01KB , 800x600 , promising_student_commits_classic_blunder.png )
673357

>On that note it may be helpful to write down or at least review the limitations and capabilities of reinforcement magic can provide for everyone else to look through when getting their input on a possible template... It'd also help us a bit with ideas if we can decide how much would be too much.

"Today we're going to be experimenting with the final boss design." I say to Moriko, Reisarf and Stargazer. "In essence I'll be using a considerable ammount of magic to temporarily improve your abilities. Boiling it down to the basics what I can do is enhance your raw attributes, augment or modify your skills and graft on additional abilities. The idea is to play to your strengths and compensate for any weak spots."

"I can finesse more power out of conditional enhancements but I feel that is overcomplicating things at this stage. The classic example is toughened armour with a vulnerable spot. We need to work out at least a basic framework for boss designs first."

"I think the set of spells to use is fairly straightforward for you Moriko." I say. "First, a weak size enhancement. That should ensure you have the edge in strength and reach without hurting your mobility. Next an enchantment known as dragon scales - it'll toughen your skin and provide resistance to hostile magic. Next, I am considering a returning spell on your hammer so you can throw it, if you think that would be of use to you."

"I would prefer to keep my weapon in hand."

"Alright, last is an animation spell, which should help give you more options with offense and defense. This will all take a little while to set up. Are you ready to start?"

"This is safe, is it not?" Moriko says.

"Why wouldn't it be?"

"I do not mean to be critical but I am told you managed to become fifteen feet tall by accident."

...

I take a deep breath. "Is there anybody who Merud didn't tell about that?" I say.

There's a moment of awkward silence.

"No." Reisarf says.

I grind my heel on the ground. "It's not my fault everything's so tiny. Hmph!" No, that's not terribly productive. I clear my throat. "We are using my Heart for this. The same way I used it for my duel with you, Moriko. It is far more stable than my shard." I stand in place and pivot on one heel, scratching a circle with my other foot. "All you have to do is stand in this circle while I get the magic ready. If it goes wrong, just leave the circle."

She stands and I fiddle. Forming the connection, visualising the effect, casting the spell. It goes relatively smoothly. Size, armour, hai-

Her hair's going out of control.

"Moriko, stop. Moriko. Moriko! Calm down! It's just a spell!"
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No. 673358 ID: 42ee36
File 144342419057.png - (113.40KB , 800x601 , braiding_a_story.png )
673358

Moriko looks ashamed of herself. I think quickly.

"Reisarf, I think Alkaline's still hungry. Could you take her outside and get her a snack? Moriko, sit down over here." I move behind her to try and get things back under control.

"You shouldn't have to do this." she mumbles.

"I have tamed dragons. I have tamed heroes. I have tamed bears. Some unruly hair is hardly a match for me."

"Heroes seem out of place in that list."

"Oh they are wilful creatures. You would not believe the sort of mess a hero can create. One needs to take a firm hand with them. Speaking of which, I believe I have tamed this hair of yours somewhat. Part of the reason for this is to check compatibility with types of spells. Teething issues always come up." I chuckle. "I once had someone not tell me they were afraid of heights until after I'd upsized them."

"High stakes, I see."

"Was that humour I detect there? But I should have warned you it was coming. A phantom limb must have been an odd experience for you. What went wrong?"

"It, you surprised me." Moriko says. "It's a... ghost story. A possession of a woman by an unclean spirit. It brings their hair to life. Dungeons are still strongly associated with demonry in my homeland." She pauses. "You must think me terribly superstitious."

"Not at all." I say. "Demons are the first monsters and dungeons do create monsters. But you make it sound as if there's something more to it?"

"The, er, the former dynasty made heavy use of them. Dungeons. Demon summoning. It caused a civil war. They're still not well regarded."

"Ah." I nod. Stupid of me. She can't see it. "Well Moriko, I fear you'll find all we have here is golems and eventually slimes. Oh, and a lizard and whatever exactly Reisarf's staff is. No-one is spontaneously going to be transforming into demons." Perhaps it's a little rash of me to be promising that. She does have demon blood after all. But it seems to be what she needed to hear.

"If that's the case, I suppose you don't have much experience of dungeons?"

"A very limited amount. I had to return home to take charge of my family's dojo after my father passed away. It was in a remote area. Traveling was difficult."

"It's impressive you've become as strong as you have just through training." I say. "Particularly developing that sensitivity to the earth pulse."

"There was a special cave to practice that."

"Ah, so it runs in the family?" Not surprising. "I take it that you found another successor to this training school seeing that you are now here?"

"No. It burned down."

"Ah, I'm sorry to hear that."

"It's in the past now."
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No. 673359 ID: 42ee36
File 144342431355.png - (36.21KB , 800x500 , surrounded_by_smug_midgets.png )
673359

Hin comes in along with Reisarf, Stargazer and Alkaline.

"Oh wow, that's boss Moriko huh?" Eager. Perhaps worryingly eager. "Are you going to fight again?"

"Hmmm."

"Hmmm?"

"Well, I was going to just have her run through her paces and then try out some golem concepts. But if you're volunteering and I can rush putting together something for Reisarf we might have a decent practice bout going here." I will be extremely light on mana though. "You do know how to fight, don't you?" I ask Hin.

"Deem, I'm seven feet tall and spend most of my day beating pieces of metal into shape. I can take care of myself."

"Well, quickly then, Reisarf, stand here would you?"

>One thing to remember is Reisarf is always with Stargazer, have to take what she brings to the table with him. What can Stargazer do? What powers do they have together? Can you reinforce her as well?
Stargazer is strange. She's Reisarf's tutor and she assists with his spell casting but doesn't have any magic of her own. She lives off his mana supply and can take on a more powerful form by being fed more mana. There's not much she can do alone unless that's done.

"I've been needing to ask you how exactly that Independent Action ability of Stargazer's works. How much mana does it take and how long can it be sustained?"

"Well, it used to be for emergencies only since I couldn't cast very well if I didn't have her with me but I've improved a lot since then." he says, obediently moving into the circle. "It takes quite a decent chunk of my mana, but I can sustain it for several hours."

"Hmm, that's good. How much variety in form?"

He exchanges a look with Stargazer. "She can customise it a lot. Simpler forms are bigger, and she can add limbs but too many starts to get hard for her to coordinate."

"Good, I just need to think a moment."

>Maybe a cloth golem-exoskeleton under the robes to help support him?
That's a bad idea for anyone except a specially trained golemeter.

>Maybe a temporary mana battery to let him be more aggressive and blow them up faster?
I spoke ambiguously. His lack of physical stamina is the problem.

>Other obvious buff would be to provide him with the endurance he needs for the fight (in a way that doesn't leave him weaker after.)
Well, let me think. A weak size enhancement like Moriko is doable but not terribly effective. That'd basically push him out of 'puny child body'. Defensively I could try to boost his speed and wits, to pursue evasion instead. I could also reinforce his luck to improve his chances of a successful Spatial Warp or high power curse but Luck isn't a reliable attribute. Enhancement on Stargazer should help her block attacks on him too.

>For Reisarf, A second wind enchantment of some kind would effectively double his stamina, and homing projectiles could help his aim. Tying some sort of burst attack to his teleport would counter someone predicting his movements.
Those are all workable too.

Independent Action is really begging for a multi-stage battle. The changeover point would be good timing for a healing burst.

Two options present themselves to me.

One option is fight as normal but then apply a revenge effect when either Stargazer or Reisarf gets taken out. They have a close bond so it should be very effective. I'd specify Stargazer for defensive assistance and let Reisarf mainly focus on spell power. Homing attacks, that retributive teleport, and similar sorts of thing.

Alternatively I could have Reisarf open by activating Stargazer's Independent Action and have him keep his distance and keep using curses to soften up the opposition. In that case I'd focus on defense, evasion and curse effectiveness for Reisarf. Stargazer would receive physical reinforcement and perhaps an ability to further weaken the enemy. A curse effect added to her attacks maybe? If either takes too much damage they can join back together and start using his powerful offensive magic.
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No. 673360 ID: 1b358e

I'd probably go with the second option, they don't seem like they'd be too efficient on their own. So best keep them together for as long as possible.
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No. 673365 ID: 3663d3

the first one sounds interesting, could have unexpected results. which would make it good to practice first.

also, can you tell what kind of demon that demonblood comes from? ether now or eventually?
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No. 673392 ID: 2f4b71

IIRC one of Reisarf's difficulties is with spell aiming; he goes for wide area effects in order to guarantee a hit. Maybe some sort of targeting enchantment: Stargazer closes in and lands a physical hit on a target to 'mark' them, which allows Reisarf to focus a ranged attack to pinpoint that target with a more intense hit.
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No. 673408 ID: 9ddf68

The first choice could be a good surprise tactics for weary adventures who think they've finally beat the dungeon only to find out this is a two stage boss battle. The second one however sounds like it could be devastating to any group that doesn't have a someone to debuff the curses but then again if they do have someone or something to remove the curses though it suddenly becomes a lot less effective.

Ah hell with it, let's go with the first option and see what happens.
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No. 673412 ID: 88960e

>If the intruders are that careless that's their own problem
Not really. If you kill unprepared people, you might attract attention you're trying to avoid. And you might suffer problems with minions who are less comfortable being cavalier with mortal life. We should at least post some kind of cursory warning at the entrance.

>I have tamed heroes
Pff. Now, does Moriko see herself as a hero?

(She'd qualify in the more classical sense, although in the more modern sense, she'd pretty clearly have reservations).

>>673359
Both options sound like Reisarf and Stargazer are fighting as separate combatants, just with a range difference. Is it worth considering a scenario where they work in close tandem, as a single unit? An archmage option.

Option 1 is a straight up tag team battle, with two bosses. Option 2 has Stargazer as the boss, with sniper support.

I think I like the first one better, but it might be possible to combine the two with the multi stage battle idea. You'd get a three stage fight: (1) Warm-up fight against Stargazer while Reisarf harries at range, (2) Stargazer retreats or is driven back or Reisarf teleports in. She gets the refreshment enchantment and maybe changes form, and fights in tandem with Reisarf, who should be almost fresh, sans some mana. (3) One of them goes down, revenge enchantment kicks in. FINAL FORM versus pissed off limit breaking mage or hulked out guardian monster.

Hmm. I'd note the revenge enhancement is the hardest to practice, since unlike most training you'd have to push someone to the point of collapse or knockout. And we'd have to do it multiple times so each gets a shot.
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No. 673434 ID: a107fd

It'll distort the tactical planning a bit, but I'd say keep curses to a minimum in the friendly training bout unless they're completely trivial to reverse once it's over.
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No. 673438 ID: 88960e

>>673412
Oh, actually, you might be able to trip the revenge enhancement with a sleep spell, if you purposely left a hole or susceptibility in the defensive enchantments. Much more benign knockout for training purposes.
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No. 673443 ID: 2a7417

A shame about Moriko's dojo. I hope she's able to forge a new legacy for her family name.

Assuming that Stargazer cannot actually become meguca, she should take a serpentine form that constricts opponents and snakes around their attacks. It's very simple, and limbs can be projected as needed. Her head or tail should be hammer shaped (or shift into shape as needed) in order to deliver stronger blows. That does leave us with two hammer-wielding bosses, but Stargazer could shift to barbs if needed, I guess?
Boost Reisarf's luck. You're trying things out, right? Just give it a shot.
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No. 673471 ID: 2a7417

>>673443
*facepalm* In case it wasn't clear, I meant to say I was endorsing the second option. They can use teamwork in both phases of the fight, rather than having to fight on alone after one of them drops.
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No. 673485 ID: 3663d3

>>673412
we have had a big discussion about what killing people without talismans means in the long term in the dis thread, please read and post your thoughts
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No. 673675 ID: 99ca2b

I wonder if Reisarf can do Shade of Aran's flame wreath, forcing adventurers to stop moving for 10 seconds. Maybe Stargazer could turn shape herself into a rune and if anyone moves, they blow up.
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No. 673682 ID: e04e36

The second option! Two bosses that start fighting separately then combine for this final phase. It's a classic!
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No. 673912 ID: b5b419

>>673359
Revenge effect sounds interesting.
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No. 673926 ID: 89941a

Well, two heads are better than one. So I'd suggest the second method, as it keeps two people for more time.
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No. 673933 ID: 715feb

>>673926
True, but it would also tire all of them out faster. And let's not forget that Deem herself can act as the dungeon boss.
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No. 674137 ID: 2a1897

>>673359
open with independent action.
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No. 684105 ID: 6f009a
File 144759168763.png - (30.79KB , 800x540 , second_opinion.png )
684105

>Combine the two ideas.
If it was practical to do both right now I'd have gone ahead and done it.

>The first choice could be a good surprise tactics for weary adventures who think they've finally beat the dungeon only to find out this is a two stage boss battle. The second one however sounds like it could be devastating to any group that doesn't have a someone to debuff the curses but then again if they do have someone or something to remove the curses though it suddenly becomes a lot less effective.
Yes, the race condition of the second one should make it frantic if they've got effective curse removal. Never underestimate a boss's abilities though.

>The second option! Two bosses that start fighting separately then combine for this final phase. It's a classic!
It has a nice build up to it. I'll go with it.

>Assuming that Stargazer cannot actually become meguca-
Become what?

> -she should take a serpentine form that constricts opponents and snakes around their attacks. It's very simple, and limbs can be projected as needed. Her head or tail should be hammer shaped (or shift into shape as needed) in order to deliver stronger blows. That does leave us with two hammer-wielding bosses, but Stargazer could shift to barbs if needed, I guess?
"Stargazer is very simple to set a reinforcement plan for." I tell Reisarf and Stargaer. I'm never sure how well she understands me, which is a disconcerting feeling, but Reisarf should be able to correct any misunderstandings.

"For the first part of the battle, her main point is to be a distraction. I'll reinforce her to make her a large, threatening and tough enemy. I'd like the form she shapes to focus on size so have it be something relatively simple. Serpentine I think. Something agile and versatile. She'll need a weapon as well. Perhaps have her follow Moriko's example and use a bludgeon."

Reisarf nods along to all this. Stargazer bobbing along too. I suspect she might just be copying him.

"I think I'd like to give her a curse effect as well. There's various eye attacks that might be worthwhile." I pause significantly to see if he suggests anything. Still nodding. "Or perhaps you could donate one of your curses?" Silence. I frown. "Or perhaps a spell to bombard them with fluffy pillows." Nod nod nod. "Are you even listening to what I'm saying?"

"Oh, it seemed a little strange to me," Reisarf says, "but I felt that you're the one who knows all about this so I should probably trust your judgement."

"Reisarf," I say, trying to keep the strain out of my voice, "I would like to have your involvement in this to best match something with you and Stargazer. Do you have any ideas at all what might complement your abilities?"

The pair stare at each other. "Oh, um, I think neither of my curses would work too well against spell casters since they often wouldn't need to get close. So something for that would work well on Stargazer. She thinks she might be able to accept some sort of mana disruption or mana drain effect?"

"Hmm, doable. Would that increase the effectiveness of her Independent Action if she absorbs more mana?"

"Er, not really?" Reisarf says. "She's already pretty much at her limit with what I give her. It'll give her a little boost of energy."

"Well, we'll try it." Minor mana drain on strike. It should interfere with a lot of abilities and defenses. It sounds like a good area for experimentation later. "Step over here, both of you."

It's time to begin reinforcement. I make an eyeball giant and then move on to her wizard.
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No. 684106 ID: 6f009a
File 144759171604.png - (39.23KB , 800x600 , boss_prep.png )
684106

>IIRC one of Reisarf's difficulties is with spell aiming; he goes for wide area effects in order to guarantee a hit. Maybe some sort of targeting enchantment: Stargazer closes in and lands a physical hit on a target to 'mark' them, which allows Reisarf to focus a ranged attack to pinpoint that target with a more intense hit.
That seems needlessly complicated. It'd be far simpler to just inhibit their movement, which both of Reisarf's curses already do.

>Boost Reisarf's luck. You're trying things out, right? Just give it a shot.
It's worth a try I guess.

"Reisarf, what I am doing for you to top of the boost to your raw magical power is an increase in luck to hopefully increase the effectively of your defensive warp and curses. Secondly, to make sure one unlucky hit doesn't end everything I'll be doing some physical reinforcement. Finally, again to help with defense and hopefully your spell accuracy, I'll be enhancing your senses. The extra awareness should help you look out for yourself I hope. Any questions?" He shakes his head. "Alright, casting."

I'll explain the next part while that stabilises.

>They don't seem like they'd be too efficient on their own.
"While you said you've improved at casting without having Stargazer there, I think I would prefer to give you a casting implement as a surrogate. It's not a spell I use often, it's a bit limited in application, but I can give you a physical manifestation of your connection. Do you have anything that's some sort of token or memento that you feel has a tie to Stargazer." I look up slightly. "Your hat perhaps?"

"Oh no, that was a gift from someone at my village." Reisarf says. "Um, Stargazer did help me make the rest of my clothes to go with it?"

"That might work. Give me your shirt." He complies.

"Deeeeem." Hin says, bending over and steadying herself with one hand on my head. It's not very dignified. She continues, voice a stage whisper. "Did you make him hoooot?"

"I, what?"

"Just saying, I thought Stargazer was supposed to be the distraction. But I like this shirtless plan." She glances over at Reisarf. He undoubtedly heard. "No offense, Reisarf, but you're usually more cute than hot."

"Oh, thank you, Hin." he says. "I think you're cute too." Can anything get under that boy's skin?

"What do you think, Moriko?" Hin calls over her shoulder to where Moriko's waiting.

"What?"

"Is Reisarf hot or not?"

Her animated hair thrashes with agitation. "That is entirely beside the point!"

"Stargazer, what do you think?" Hin says.

"..." Stargazer stares at Reisarf and wiggles.

"See, she agrees."

This crosses a line. I have to protest. "You have no idea what she's saying!"

"Reisarf does. She agrees, doesn't she Reisarf?"

"She's wondering why I look different." he hedges.

I finish transforming the shirt and hand the temporary staff back to Reisarf. "Well, now that Hin's curiosity is appeased," I say. "On to the fight."

I had originally thought of tinkering a little more with Reisarf and Stargazer's abilities but my mana is critically low. Any more and I fear I might collapse. This setup should prove workable.
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No. 684108 ID: 6f009a
File 144759180177.png - (42.70KB , 800x800 , keep_on_posing_team.png )
684108

>It'll distort the tactical planning a bit, but I'd say keep curses to a minimum in the friendly training bout unless they're completely trivial to reverse once it's over.
They don't last that long.

>Can you tell what kind of demon that demon-blood comes from? Either now or eventually?
It has given her an affinity for shadow. More than that I can't say. The development of demonic blood's hard to predict. Demons are not an especially stable lineage of the earth-pulse.

"Hin, I want." Wait, no. I want to push Reisarf out of his passive observer stance. "Actually, Reisarf, I want you to call the plan for this."

"Oh really, but you have all the experience don't you?"

"Only one way to learn, Reisarf." I'll tell him everything he did wrong afterwards.

His plan's simple. Moriko's quite agile so they'll have to keep her penned in. He'll throw curses in, Stargazer's the linchpin as she is the strongest fighter and has an enormous reach so she should move in aggressively and it'll be up to Hin and me to hem her in from the sides.
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No. 684109 ID: 6f009a
File 144759191790.png - (32.16KB , 800x600 , what_kind_of_sick_man_sends_babies_to_fight_me.png )
684109

Moriko focuses on attacking me first.

It doesn't hold a candle to our last match. I am almost depleted of mana and this time she is the one swathed in my armoury of reinforcement magic. She lands far more than that one hit she managed last time, and I am able to offer nothing in exchange. Stargazer is hanging back and covering Reisarf very closely, which leaves Hin and myself somewhat exposed.

I'm by far the weakest fighter Moriko's fighting so she's aiming to eliminate one distraction from the start. It's a sensible tactic.

I suppose I should have seen this coming though. Alkaline runs into the fray.

"Er, ahem, Deem." Moriko says, a hint of embarrassment in her tone as she weathers the quivering assault of a royal jelly. The others have stopped their attack. "While the bravery and devotion of your youngest servant does her credit, I don't think the battlefield is a place for children."

I suppose I will retire from this match, though I'd have preferred to see it through to the end. I can barely move this golem body of mine. Spectating with Alkaline on the sidelines will have to be enough.

"You're right." I say to her. "I fear I'm unable to continue. I'll keep her with me and watch the rest." I turn and wave wearily to Reisarf, Stargazer and Hin. They'll have to manage what they can from here.

No longer being in the battle makes me feel tired. I'm aware of how achingly low on mana I am. As I shuffle off, holding on to Alkaline, I'm not sure how to handle this little slime princess of mine. I'm torn between chastising her for interfering and praising her for loyalty.
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No. 684111 ID: 225f37

>>684109
Half of loyalty is not just knowing when to stand up for someone, but when to let them fight their own battles. I think a gentle chastising is in order.
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No. 684113 ID: 0fc976

Gentle chastising, then ruffle her helmet hair.
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No. 684115 ID: 3663d3

>>684111
yes, thanks for helping, but she needs to know when to jump in and when to hang back. once she starts spiting out the little slimy troops, hanging back will be a big part of what she does. a queen running into a battle, while noble, is foolish.
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No. 684117 ID: edfee3

Give her a hug and then gently explain the situation to her. It's clear that her actions are the result of her not understanding the situation or her own limitations.

Try to patiently explain what was going on. Praise her for what she attempted, but also make clear that you don't want her to endanger herself recklessly. As has been pointed out, she's a child and your approach should be one of a caring parent, no matter how much you try to deny your role.
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No. 684118 ID: 89941a

Reassuring cuddles
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No. 684130 ID: 4e78b4

Eh, just sit there for now and rest while watching the fight, we can tell her what she did wrong while we're telling everyone else how they could have done better once the fight is over. Speaking of which how are the fighters doing?
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No. 684138 ID: 12b273

>>684106
Huh. The enhancement changed his eye color. They were always a dark brown, now there's an orange, almost yellow.

>I'm not sure how to handle this little slime princess of mine. I'm torn between chastising her for interfering and praising her for loyalty.
I've always favored the school of thought that one shouldn't talk down to children, or write off explaining things for fear they won't understand. Honesty is the best policy, and you'll be surprised how much they actually pick up.

So both. Her loyalty is a good thing, but she needs to recognize to stay out of other people's training fights.
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No. 684145 ID: a107fd

Alkaline's loyalty has never been in question, so praising her for it (particularly while nobody else is paying attention) would be wasted breath. Instead, gently chastise her for interfering with the training exercise, then cuddle up with her and relax while narrating your play-by-play analysis. She'll probably be able to figure out that you think she made a well-intentioned mistake just from the tone.

This is a training exercise, right? If Alkaline were involved in a real battle, her most likely role would be rear-echelon support and tactical coordination for the slimes, so take this chance to train her in those skills.
>>
No. 684224 ID: 799984

>>684109
Reassure her and explain, then scold her for interfering because it could have been dangerous.
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No. 687101 ID: 5f1171
File 144932533844.png - (28.14KB , 600x800 , chastising_rebuke.png )
687101

>As has been pointed out, she's a child and your approach should be one of a caring parent, no matter how much you try to deny your role.
It doesn't seem it sinks in no matter how many times I say it: I am not mother material.

>Give her a hug and then gently explain the situation to her. It's clear that her actions are the result of her not understanding the situation or her own limitations.
I pat her head. "You shouldn't have done that, Alkaline." I chide her. "I wasn't in any danger and you could have gotten hurt."

"Bloh!" she touches the cracked rock on my shoulder.

I think about trying to explain just how replaceable this crude body of mine is and give up. "I'm not that fragile, Alkaline. It's practice for if there's real danger." I tell her. "We have to know that everyone can fight, and fight well together because eventually we will have to defend our home here."

>Yes, thanks for helping, but she needs to know when to jump in and when to hang back. Once she starts spitting out the little slimy troops, hanging back will be a big part of what she does. A queen running into a battle, while noble, is foolish.
"It was very brave of you to jump in like that-"

"Blee!"

"-but also very foolish." I put both of my hands on her shoulders. "You'll be a queen one day with very important duties and you can't afford to fling yourself into battles without a very good idea of what you're doing."

"Glob." she protests.

We sit down. She squirms into my lap. "Wanting to defending me is all well and good but Moriko's very strong. What were you going to do to her? You were just putting yourself in danger. Even in this state I bet I'm more than a match for you." I wrap my arm around her neck and rub my knuckles into her gooey hair.

Alkaline squeals and burbles in protest.

"What if you'd gotten hurt? Don't worry me like that."

She lowers her head. "Bluh."
>>
No. 687102 ID: 5f1171
File 144932544898.png - (29.98KB , 800x600 , mines_bigger.png )
687102

>This is a training exercise, right? If Alkaline were involved in a real battle, her most likely role would be rear-echelon support and tactical coordination for the slimes, so take this chance to train her in those skills.
"You have to pick your fights." I say, patting her head instead. "You have to know what you're getting into. This here is just practice. Moriko's very strong, so I'm hoping they can learn something by her example. It's to help keep everyone safe when the danger is real."

I look at the fight. "Even though it's three on one, they're losing. Can you see why, Alkaline?"

"Blee?"

"Moriko's strong, but that's not why. Reisarf's plan was solid, but they're struggling to enact it. It's not unexpected. They're not used to working as a team. Moriko is fast and strong so they needed to keep her on the defensive to stop her concentrating that power on a single opponent."

I point at the giant noodle. "Stargazer isn't being aggressive enough. She's too protective of Reisarf. That's what allowed Moriko to eliminate me so easily. I'm a little surprised she's not focusing on Hin yet."

"Moriko hasn't made any obvious mistakes as far as I can see. She's using her mobility to set the terms and focusing on reducing Stargazer's defenses. Stargazer's covering Reisarf and he can teleport away so it'd be difficult for her to corner him."

"She should be trying to interfere with Reisarf more though. Perhaps she's putting too much faith in the protection I've woven for her. Those curse spells of his add up over time."
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No. 687103 ID: 5f1171
File 144932551429.png - (31.22KB , 800x600 , laser_is_difficult.png )
687103

Stargazer takes a surprising amount of hits to go down but then she returns to being Reisarf's staff and this training battle enters its final phase.

"Ah, now I see it." I say to Alkaline. "She wanted to force things into the second phase. Hin's less effective now, because if Moriko keeps Hin near her, Reisarf will have trouble attacking. His battle magic is indiscriminate and a chaotic melee is where she excels."

She's slowed from the evil eyes and curses of formlessness Reisarf has been using on her, but she's definitely going to win.

>Huh. The enhancement changed Reisarf's eye color. They were always a dark brown, now there's an orange, almost yellow.
Yes, that's from the sensory enhancement. His ears are a little longer too. He's a little taller and healthier from the physical reinforcement as well. Reinforcement tends to have some cosmetic side effects like that when used at this strength.
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No. 687104 ID: 5f1171
File 144932572676.png - (33.37KB , 800x500 , battle_talk.png )
687104

"Weeeuh! That was pretty crazy." Hin says, flopping down heavily next to me and Alkaline. The battle's over. Moriko won. "So how'd we go? I felt I was getting in the way half the time to be honest. Just not fast enough to keep up. Some of those spells were a bit close for comfort, Rei!"

"Sorry." Reisarf murmurs. He looks tired. Stargazer's draped over him. She looks half deflated.

"Is Stargazer alright?" I ask.

"She's just tired." Reisarf says. "We don't use Independent Action very often."

"You seem like you're in a lot better condition."

"Well, I used up a lot of mana but I'm used to it." He pats Stargaer. She twitches weakly. "I have to keep her fed, after all." Hmmmm.

"You were not a liability." Moriko says to Hin. "Simply inexperienced. Against multiple opponents its essential to break their coordination. It was dangerous but by keeping you close, I was limiting your wizard's options."

"Well being right about it is a small consolation I guess." Hin says.

"Reisarf," I say, "on that topic is there anything you think should change for a next time?"

"Oh, I suppose I should kept up the curses a little longer. I felt I wasn't making much headway with them. Having Stargazer back was making me impatient to use my attack spells but I suppose I should have been thinking about Hin's situation more.

"That was a good thought." I tell him. "Something very important in the first part of the fight was you let Moriko set the pace of the fight too much. An effective boss should dominate. Force the enemy to respond to him. Stargazer wasn't willing to let you be uncovered, even though your warp gives you better protection than myself or Hin."

Reisarf frowns a little and then nods. "Oh, I think I see what you mean."

"Moriko." I say. "You didn't seem to make very effective use of the animate hair. I think we'll have to discontinue that reinforcement for now. I had a thought for a golem ribbon we might trial instead."

"Understood." she says.

With Reisarf and Stargazer it's seeming obvious there's two areas of improvement to be focused on given they are lightly tasked at the moment. I think I should focus on one for best results.

The first option is fitness. I'm a little surprised to find they're both lacking in physical endurance. Conditions are going to be very basic here for quite some time so perhaps I should work out some sort of physical fitness program for them. Having Stargazer as an extra pairs of hands(?) might be useful.

The second option is teamwork. They're not used to working with others and their battle spells can be hazardous. That wasn't just 'too close for comfort'. Hin actually did get at least glancing hits from a few spells. I don't think golem boss assistants would be worth pursuing as an option until they know how to coordinate better.
>>
No. 687107 ID: 3663d3

fitness. while having them able to work together would be nice, as bosses they will more often be working separately as you swap them around so no one has any resurrection sickness.
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No. 687129 ID: 5ad4a7

Yeah, fitness for now. We can't predict how much teamwork will happen in the near future, and fitness training will make teamwork more effective later anyway.
>>
No. 687133 ID: 86cfc3

>It doesn't seem it sinks in no matter how many times I say it: I am not mother material.
Yes, but she's still a child, so you're still stuck doing a certain degree of parenting.

>what train first
Teamwork. You're going to have your people working together in different configurations as your dungeon grows and to meet different adventurers who challenge it. They need to be good at that to excel in it.
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No. 687139 ID: 7f917c

Fitness! With Hin as their instructor!
>>
No. 687143 ID: a22f87

>fitness
they need to be able to cover there own asses before they start worrying about covering the teams.

So how much of what you said do you think Alkaline understood?
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No. 687149 ID: fbc59e

Personally? Teamwork seems better.
Teamwork's really what messed them up in this fight, and frankly, they'll always at least have each other to lean on more often than not. With that in mind, it's probably best to focus on Teamwork.
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No. 687170 ID: a107fd

Fitness. Remember how much of a wreck Reisarf was after climbing the mountain to get here, or chasing Alkaline around when she got into the candied fruit? Tight tactical coordination is difficult, and mostly only relevant during actual fights. Stamina will reduce the chances that some mundane setup-and-maintenance chore incapacitates him before a fight even starts.
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No. 687238 ID: 99ca2b

Right now fitness would be better. We want our main guys to be bosses so they need decent HP and Endurance. They can tag in or out but usually they'll be alone.
We can do a few teamwork days but fitness has to be priority here.
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No. 687245 ID: 0fc976

Hmm, reducing the danger for others or reducing the danger for themselves... Tough choice, but we should focus on their fitness. Unfortunately, I think that means it's going to get worse for Reisarf's life force before it gets better.
>>
No. 687296 ID: ca183f

>>687101
>It doesn't seem it sinks in no matter how many times I say it: I am not mother material.
It's my understanding that nobody is, until they've been a mother for a while.
>>
No. 687302 ID: 799984

Fitness. Gotta get dem gains.

As strange as it is to say, we don't have the resources at the moment to ensure situations where teamwork comes into play. Better to strengthen our individual pieces, for now.
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No. 687316 ID: 0fc976

Wait! before you attempt a fitness montage, you should swap out your chipped and cracked rocks for new material. (Too bad you can't do that with your heart.)
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No. 687321 ID: 13f362
File 144940740880.png - (30.20KB , 800x550 , split_the_wonder_team.png )
687321

>So how much of what you said do you think Alkaline understood?
I'm very good at making myself understood so I should hope that it was most of it.

>>It doesn't seem it sinks in no matter how many times I say it: I am not mother material.
>It's my understanding that nobody is, until they've been a mother for a while.
Then I never will be.

>Fitness. Gotta get dem gains.
>As strange as it is to say, we don't have the resources at the moment to ensure situations where teamwork comes into play. Better to strengthen our individual pieces, for now.
>Fitness. while having them able to work together would be nice, as bosses they will more often be working separately as you swap them around so no one has any resurrection sickness.
We're very thinly stretched at the moment. I suppose you're right, they should focus on not getting themselves in danger before worrying about working with the others.

>Wait! before you attempt a fitness montage, you should swap out your chipped and cracked rocks for new material.
This body of mine is easily repaired.

The next day I take Reisarf aside.

"Reisarf, since you're not too busy at the moment, I think I'd like you and Stargazer to work on improving your fitness. Acting as a boss is going to be putting a lot of strain on the two of you, so I want you to be ready for it. Today I want you to accompany Moriko on her patrol. She'll show you the local area and then I'd like the two of you to look higher up the mountains. See if there's any other small caves you can find as they're likely to become monster dens."

Reisarf nods.

"I want you to use Independent Action on Stargazer as well. She's going to stay behind and help clear rocks."

Oh, it seems I've finally shocked him.

"Is that a problem?" I ask him.

"I, I suppose we can do that." he says. "You just surprised me."
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No. 687322 ID: 13f362
File 144940749934.png - (31.64KB , 800x500 , mine_crew_consultation.png )
687322

Reisarf and Moriko will be patrolling, Chakarchelou is guarding the camp and I find the rest of the mining crew: Merud, various golems, Hin and Alkaline.

"You sure this is a good idea?" Hin says. "I don't think the two of them have been separated for even a day since they met."

"Well, it shouldn't cause them any physical distress." Merud says. "Alienists have been known to send their familiars off on missions. I think Reisarf was more upset than he was letting on though."

"Blorb." Alkaline mimics them.

"There's method to my madness." I tell them. "We're short handed and the sooner we can set up the basics of the dungeon the better. Having Stargazer here to help is good for that. Secondly, I need to get a better idea of how exactly she's leeching off Reisarf. The occasional separation could be good for his health. I also don't want him relying on her as too much of a crutch.

"Stargazer's not used to operating independently either. Her unwillingness to leave Reisarf uncovered was a major weakness in the mock battle yesterday. She needs to learn he's not going to burst into flames if she takes her eye off him for one second."

I put out my thumb for a fifth point. "Next, I want everyone to get familiar with the area eventually. This is just a good use of time getting Moriko to act as guide. I'd like to be sure everyone's fighting fit but I can't exactly offer a gymnasium at the moment so it's mostly going to be long walks and hauling rocks."

"Oh joy." Merud says.

"A healthy body means a healthy mind." Hin nudges him.

>Fitness! With Hin as their instructor!
Healthy as she is, I need her to haul rocks instead. Maybe when we have less rocks to move.
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No. 687323 ID: 13f362
File 144940753369.png - (16.81KB , 800x500 , rebel_noodle.png )
687323

Where is Stargazer, come to think of it?

Hmmmm.

Stargazer is all curled up near the cave entrance. She hasn't transformed yet. Reisarf gave her mana before he left.

"Is she sulking?" Hin says.

"I don't think she's very happy with you." Merud says.

"Bluh?" Alkaline contributes.

I take it Stargazer doesn't like my plan. How annoying. I suppose I'll need to motivate her.
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No. 687324 ID: 0fc976

Silly Alkaline, you're a slime, not a mimic.

Motivate her with hand-holding. She and Reisarf must do it all the time, right? Give her your best puppy-dog eyes and ask nicely, too.
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No. 687328 ID: cf8d0f

I don't think we can convince her, and trying could very much provoke her to lash out and to try to follow him.
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No. 687334 ID: d9d503

Give the reason of
>Her unwillingness to leave Reisarf uncovered was a major weakness in the mock battle yesterday. She needs to learn he's not going to burst into flames if she takes her eye off him for one second.
and also say that she saw herself how strong Moriko is, so he will be well looked after.
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No. 687338 ID: 7f917c

We'll tell Reisarf that you just sulked while he was gone~
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No. 687348 ID: 3663d3

could you feed her the raw leaking mana? if she can get mana from a separate source that would free up Reisarf's.
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No. 687350 ID: ca183f

>>>It doesn't seem it sinks in no matter how many times I say it: I am not mother material.
>>It's my understanding that nobody is, until they've been a mother for a while.
>Then I never will be.
What, no, my point was that you're learning and you'll get the hang of it eventually. Although maybe not with that attitude.

> separating the inseparable
...mmmmmaybe shouldn't have done this on the first day of fitness training. Hopefully neither of them will hold a grudge. Well, it's for their own good. (Probably tell her that.)
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No. 687357 ID: d9d287

How do we motivate her? By appealing to her interest in Reisarf and herself. Adjust as necessary:
"I'm pretty sure you know why I want to do this, and you ought to understand why I think it's a good idea for both of you. Surely you've had a long enough lifetime to notice how human children prevented from taking independent action tend to fail to develop the necessary judgment, perspective and skills through lacking the experience. Since it's clear and obvious to me why this is a good thing you need to explain why it isn't in language I understand, or just help make the most of it by working on your ability to act independent of him, with the rest of us. Surely you noticed that failure was why your side lost during yesterday's spar, and that if we don't address it that would be bad."
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No. 687367 ID: 86cfc3

>>687323
Ask her if she wants to disappoint him. How will she feel, if he completes his task, and finds she haven't done hers?

And if you want to protect him, exercise is good for that. The more in shape you are, the better you can protect him. The more in shape he is, the less you'll have to protect him, and the safer he'll be to start with.

That, and practicing being apart when they have to means she'll be ready and able to go into danger for him, without his getting close enough to be at risk at all.
>>
No. 687390 ID: 5ad4a7

>>687323
She must really like him.

Alright how about a compromise. She gets to tag along with Reisarf but she has to carry a rock while doing so. She still gets exercise, but they stick together.
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No. 687438 ID: 799984

>>687323
Motivation: Fine, if she doesn't want to help mine rocks, she can watch Alkaline instead.
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No. 687677 ID: 13f362
File 144957721232.png - (28.50KB , 600x800 , get_fired_up.png )
687677

>separating the inseparable
>...mmmmmaybe shouldn't have done this on the first day of fitness training. Hopefully neither of them will hold a grudge. Well, it's for their own good. (Probably tell her that.)
Look, I know what I'm doing.

I step toward Stargazer and look down at her, my arms crossed. "Really Stargazer, you disappoint me! Don't you want to be strong enough to protect your boy? Insight's supposed to be your specialty." I shake my head. "I won't believe you can't see it! If you're going to strengthen your bond, you need to learn how to work apart. It's about trust! Building your strengths and pushing against your weaknesses. That way you can trust in your own power and trust in your partner when you stumble to grow even closer together!"

>And if you want to protect him, exercise is good for that. The more in shape you are, the better you can protect him. The more in shape he is, the less you'll have to protect him, and the safer he'll be to start with.
>That, and practicing being apart when they have to means she'll be ready and able to go into danger for him, without his getting close enough to be at risk at all.
"In battle you'll have to be Reisarf's guide and his shield. This isn't going to just be about hauling some rocks, it's about the pursuit of strength. You're exercising your power to affect the world around you. The better you are able to exercise your will on the battlefield and the better he can endure the conditions of battle, the better off you'll both be!"
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No. 687678 ID: 13f362
File 144957725264.png - (23.10KB , 800x500 , negotiation_strategy.png )
687678

...

She's ignoring me.

"You continue to astound me, Deem." Merud says.

"You have no idea how many heroes I've had to deal with." I groan.

>I don't think we can convince her, and trying could very much provoke her to lash out and to try to follow him.
That's stupid. I'm very convincing. That should have worked.

>Motivate her with hand-holding. She and Reisarf must do it all the time, right? Give her your best puppy-dog eyes and ask nicely, too.
No.

>Alright how about a compromise. She gets to tag along with Reisarf but she has to carry a rock while doing so. She still gets exercise, but they stick together.
I'm not compromising with one eighth of an octopus.
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No. 687679 ID: 13f362
File 144957730069.png - (26.85KB , 800x500 , an_offer_you_must_refuse.png )
687679

>Motivation: Fine, if she doesn't want to help mine rocks, she can watch Alkaline instead.
I sigh. "Fine." I say to Stargazer. "If you don't want to be part of a team and build team spirit and muscles hauling around heavy rocks, I need someone to watch Alkaline."

That got her attention.

"Blee!" Alkaline clenches her little fists in excitement.

>We'll tell Reisarf that you just sulked while he was gone~
"And what is Reisarf going to think if I have to tell him you just sat around all day while he was working hard and climbing mountains? Do you really want to disappoint him like that?"

I win. She's transforming.

>She must really like him.
I suppose so.

>Could you feed her the raw leaking mana? if she can get mana from a separate source that would free up Reisarf's.
Ah, hmmm, she naturally eats mana and farspawn are very resilient. I'm fairly confident that would work.
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No. 687680 ID: 13f362
File 144957754219.png - (38.95KB , 800x600 , mining_team_assemble.png )
687680

"Huh, she looks different this time." Hin peers at Stargazer. "Smaller. More or less two arms. Legs. Still pretty wiggly. That's her idea of a human form?"

"Well, she's not reinforced and she need hands this time." I say.

"I think you should get her to just move rocks until you can show her how to hold a pickaxe right." Merud says, shepherding Alkaline away.

"Deeeeem." Hin says as we set to work. "So are you going to be getting everyone to turn into boss monsters and get in fights eventually?"

"The timing makes it a little tricky." I say. "It's best to use mana harvested from a dungeon invasion right away. While it's still flowing, easy to shape. If I'm over capacity it bleeds away quickly." I rub my heart piece. "Especially with my injury. Ritual spells, item crafting... it's a bust if the specialist I need has been fighting and is injured or incapacitated by resurrection."

"Right, so only if you're still building up your mana, or not planning to use that person?"

"That's it." I snap my fingers. "Speaking of that, I need to ask if you had any luck with that talisman I found?"

Hin shrugs. "My kit's pretty basic at the moment. Fixing things like that is always finicky work. I was going to wait a few more days until the full moon for the best chance of repairing it. Bit of a shame. It looks like it attaches to an object and lightens it." She nudges a large rock with her foot. "Be handy right now, huh?"

I look around the cavern. "We're still making good progress. There's one little spot where I'm worried about an unstable ceiling her, but the place isn't as bad as I hoped."

"Maybe a week to clear it, if that!" Merud volunteers, calling over from where he's directing the golems.

"Hmmm, I really need to get you started on parts for my Resurrection Matrix then." I say to Hin. "I can do without a proper mounting for my Heart for the moment but that's really essential."

"You don't have to dedicate the room to that sole purpose, right?" Merud asks. "You said you're eager to get people living in the dungeon for safety so can we use the revival room as a bedroom or something as well?"

"Well, the revived people need a bit of space and some peace and quiet to rest and recuperate," I say, "but a bedroom?"

"The novelty's started to wear off sleeping in tents." Merud says.

"Bathroom." Hin says. "More privacy."

"Kitchen." Merud tosses back. "People will probably want a hearty meal after an experience like that."

"Storage basement?" Hin says. "Though not the most romantic use of an underworld I guess."

Meud smiles. "Laundry. The've been put through the wringer and want a clean start."

I suppose I should make a decision before this devolves entirely into awful puns.
>>
No. 687684 ID: 1b358e

Those who die may respawn in the slime pit! That should get most people in here off their ass right away.
>>
No. 687685 ID: 99ca2b

Bedroom seems pretty good to be honest and later on we can turn it into an infirmary.
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No. 687688 ID: 2a7417

A travel agency, so our minions can make a clean getaway.
A sauna, so they can throw in the towel.
Maybe a jail. Do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollars.

If the resurrection process isn't loud, and Merud doesn't snore, then making it the sleeping quarters significantly reduces how far they'll have to walk. Good plan.
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No. 687689 ID: fbc59e

Bedroom/infirmary sounds like a good starting point.
From there...
I dunno.
As for Hin: We're just gonna make you huge. Basically, Moriko's the skilled fighter, Resin&Star are magic, you're probably the strongest and you've the blood of giants within you-making you the size of your ancestors is both easy and cheap.
Oh, and you don't have a problem with heights right?
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No. 687700 ID: a22f87

some real beds and a solid roof over your head would probably make people happy. So a bedroom isn't to bad of a place to start. That and I'm sure it would be to hard to make a small bathhouse at some point. Little luxuries like those will do wonders for your teams morale.
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No. 687718 ID: a107fd

Rez matrix should go in the bathroom. As in a room for actual bathing, not the latrine. Best place to relax, least likely to be otherwise in use during a siege.

If you want to get everybody out of tents and inside a more secure perimeter ASAP, make efficient use of your finite rock-moving resources by boring out a minimal barracks with bunk-bed niches in the walls. New recruits stay there, and if it's the first indoor sleeping area all the old timers can truthfully say they had to do the same when they were starting out.
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No. 687722 ID: f23c1e

I think the most important thing would be some basic sanitary systems. Meaning a seat with a hole leading to a overhanging cliff outside or a deep cavern. Also a bucket to toss some water down the hole.
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No. 687729 ID: 86cfc3

You ever gonna get dressed again, Deem?

>"You have no idea how many heroes I've had to deal with." I groan.
Apparently the alien isn't a hero, since hero-coaching didn't work.

>"Deeeeem." Hin says as we set to work. "So are you going to be getting everyone to turn into boss monsters and get in fights eventually?"
Sounds like she wants her turn.

>Ah, hmmm, she naturally eats mana and farspawn are very resilient. I'm fairly confident that would work.
Well that's the first real use we've found for the mana bleeding off of you.

Could the eventual mount for your heart include some kind of reservoir to catch and store the bleeding mana?

>I suppose I should make a decision before this devolves entirely into awful puns.
A walk in fridge for those who have been put on ice.
A woodshop, after being cut down to size.
A stable to return to after being put out to pasture.
A dance floor to walk off of when their musical number is up.
A classroom to start over with a clean slate.
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No. 687777 ID: f7a64f

Don't forget that Hin isn't here to fight, she wants to be a smith and this an opportunity for her to be a famous and powerful one instead of someone making horseshoes for the rest of her life. You should reassure her that once things are set up she will not need to be involved unless that's what she wants.

She's the one who got all indignant thinking we wanted her to be a "murder hobo".
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No. 688479 ID: 4488b8
File 145000996308.png - (30.02KB , 800x500 , bedroom_plan.png )
688479

>A travel agency, so our minions can make a clean getaway.
>A sauna, so they can throw in the towel.
>Maybe a jail. Do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollars.
>A walk in fridge for those who have been put on ice.
>A woodshop, after being cut down to size.
>A stable to return to after being put out to pasture.
>A dance floor to walk off of when their musical number is up.
>A classroom to start over with a clean slate.
Oh you. What did I just say?

>You ever gonna get dressed again, Deem?
I'm moving rocks in a cave. I don't want them to get dirty.

>Those who die may respawn in the slime pit! That should get most people in here off their ass right away.
I have one slime. It'd be a slime pot-hole at best.

>If you want to get everybody out of tents and inside a more secure perimeter ASAP, make efficient use of your finite rock-moving resources by boring out a minimal barracks with bunk-bed niches in the walls. New recruits stay there, and if it's the first indoor sleeping area all the old timers can truthfully say they had to do the same when they were starting out.
>Bedroom seems pretty good to be honest and later on we can turn it into an infirmary.
I sketch out a map in a patch of dirt.

"We've cleared out a fifth or so of the rubble in this chamber." I say, tapping the circle. "I think we'll concentrate on the north end and start carving another room in the top like this. We'll dig some niches for six bunk beds in the walls, then have a larger space on the end for three sarcophagi for the Resurrection Matrix."

"Coffins?" Merud says.

"It helps to separate it. A controlled space, with some division from the surroundings. Sarcophagi work for that. I'm sure people would prefer to avoid a bonfire or mud pit in their sleeping quarters."

"Wouldn't that last one ruin your clothes?" Hin says.

"With some care, no. Or some Resurrection Matrices have the users reappear naked." I shrug. "It's useful to be able to grab their gear and do any repairs needed while they're recuperating."

"Shirtless wizards, mud pits, being reborn as naked as a babe." Hin trails off. "Are you sure you're not trying to run some sort of sexy dungeon here, Deem?"

"Shirtless wizards?" Merud asks.

"She had Rei take his shirt off for reasons. Magic reasons." Hin says.

"Ah, distracting the enemy, Deem?" Merud says. "And when are you going to be putting some clothes back on?"

"You know, I'll be deciding who gets beds first." I say.

This terrible threat does not quite get the reaction I hoped for.

>Some real beds and a solid roof over your head would probably make people happy. So a bedroom isn't to bad of a place to start. That and I'm sure it would be to hard to make a small bathhouse at some point. Little luxuries like those will do wonders for your teams morale.
It's the little things. Beds may be tricky. It might be possible to get proper mattresses on the first supply run into town.
>>
No. 688480 ID: 4488b8
File 145001014180.png - (32.54KB , 800x500 , a_boss_to_surpass_big_boss.png )
688480

We set back to work.

>Don't forget that Hin isn't here to fight, she wants to be a smith and this an opportunity for her to be a famous and powerful one instead of someone making horseshoes for the rest of her life. You should reassure her that once things are set up she will not need to be involved unless that's what she wants.
>She's the one who got all indignant thinking we wanted her to be a "murder hobo".
Bitten by the dungeoneering bug perhaps.

"Back to boss monsters." I say during a breather. I still don't know if I like that term. "It would be useful to have a reinforcement set for everyone in case of emergency but normally you wouldn't have to be involved unless you wanted to. You're here to be my smith, and Merud's here for his magical expertise. Why did you ask?"

Hin shrugs. "Just seeing Stargazer change again made me think. We've seen Alkaline" - my slime princess turns from the pebble pile I asked her to sort through, hearing her name - "would be a cuddly tentacle monster-"

"Not necessarily!" I say.

"-but what would you do with someone like Merud?"

"I'm not that much of a fighter!" he calls over to us.

"Well, he's got a point. He's a craftsman so we'd probably be making a big golem or something and enhancing that. Most types function a lot better with a golemeter on hand to direct them and use spells on them. Wizards can be a little tricky to design a good reinforcement set for. A lot of intangibles. Easier golem summoning and control perhaps."

>As for Hin: We're just gonna make you huge. Basically, Moriko's the skilled fighter, Rei&Star are magic, you're probably the strongest and you've the blood of giants within you-making you the size of your ancestors is both easy and cheap.
"You'd be very simple, on the other hand." I say. "Your giant blood would make size enhancement very effective, so I would just use as much of that as I could get away with, probably combined with a weak point vulnerability to boost efficiency, and whatever other tricks I could throw in that you'd have a good compatibility with."

"Stomping around, breathing fire or something huh?" Hin chuckles.

>Oh, and you don't have a problem with heights right?
I pause a moment. "You don't have a problem with heights, do you?"

"No?"

"I found that out the hard way once. It was a mess. We had to build scaffolding."
>>
No. 688481 ID: 4488b8
File 145001033726.png - (29.03KB , 800x550 , patrol_report.png )
688481

The rest of the day proceeds smoothly. Many rocks cleared. Stargazer's Independent Action wears off early in the afternoon so I let her rest. I make sure to keep Alkaline away from her.

We've found a few semi-precious gems and nuggets in the rubble. None as large as that garnet Alkaline found. Moving them to my treasure pile makes me feel like a magpie.

Moriko and Reisarf return. Stargazer's immediately attached to Reisarf, they both look tired.

"Deem." Moriko bows. She's looking very severe today. I hope they didn't have any troubles. I feel unusually happy to see her for some reason.

"There, there, I missed you too." Reisarf says to Stargazer.

"Good afternoon Moriko." I nod to Reisarf as well. "I hope you had better luck with Reisarf than Chakarchelou."

A very slight smile. "He can follow instructions, yes." She turns serious again. "We were not able to look higher in the mountains today. We covered ground much slower than I had originally expected."

Ah, it seems Reisarf was slowing her down.

She pulls out a bag. "I can, however, report we were able to find gold."

My eyes widen. I scent it, I feel it. Gold, precious gold. Combined with those tailings from before I would estimate that increases my hoard to an approximate value of 489 gold, an increase of almost half again as much gold as I had setting out for here. I mentally set aside 75 gold for purchases for our next supply run.

"That's great news!" I say. My warmth is unforced. "How were you able to find it?"

Moriko shifts on the spot. She seems embarrassed. "Reisarf was very proficient at searching for it."

"How so?" I look at Reisarf.

"Oh, shaking bushes, rolling aside rocks, looking in holes. That sort of thing." Reisarf says. "In a wilderness like this, it wants to be gathered. It wants to be found." I glance askance at him. That's a surprisingly insightful thing to say. "We also fought a big slimy frog and it had gold."

"I believe we saw another creature." Moriko says. "It resembled a bear but with dark fur and burning eyes."

"Hmmm." I say. "That sounds like a devil bear. They can be nasty. You'll need to put a priority on finding its lair. Established monsters grow much more dangerous if something starts stirring up the earth pulse." Like me, for example.

We have a relaxed dinner. Everyone seems a little tired but happy about the progress we're making.
>>
No. 688482 ID: 4488b8
File 145001049260.png - (12.47KB , 800x500 , gone_swimming.png )
688482

Over dinner I let Reisarf know he has the next day off. The journey here was hard on him and its clear Independent Action is a strain for Stargazer so I don't want to be overworking the two of them. I ask them to experiment with techniques to drain the flooded tunnel if they feel up to it, but otherwise they're on light duties today.

>>Feeding raw mana to Stargazer.
>Well that's the first real use we've found for the mana bleeding off of you.
Well, it would also serve as a useful potion base but we haven't the equipment or any trained alchemists. I can at least teach them the basics of potion making if we get a kit.

Reisarf's confirmed it shouldn't do any harm to Stargazer so from today we're giving her some in lieu of him feeding her and we'll use it for her Independent Action if needed as well.

>Could the eventual mount for your heart include some kind of reservoir to catch and store the bleeding mana?
Yes, that is the plan. I currently have a small phial buried under it to catch the raw mana but we only have so many containers. It would be best to use some of it rather than stockpile it.

Reisarf comes to me in the morning while I'm working at clearing rubble with Hin and Merud. "Deem." he says. "Stargazer had a swim in the tunnel just now and she says there's a skeleton down here!"
>>
No. 688483 ID: 4488b8
File 145001050402.png - (25.08KB , 800x500 , skeletons_in_the_closet.png )
688483

Oh right, I completely forgot about that.

I suppose I should do something about it.
>>
No. 688484 ID: 7f917c

>>688483
Eh, leave it as decoration.
>>
No. 688487 ID: a22f87

so do you want me to burry it or something? I mean with the water and everything I figured it would be better just to leave it until it got in the way then figure out what we want to do with it.
>>
No. 688489 ID: fab78f

>>688483
stuff it into a golem armor, for spookyness
>>
No. 688496 ID: 99ca2b

Tell them you found the medallion on him when we explored the flooded channel. Would the group like if Deem and Stargazer excavate the remains and bring it up for burial or something. Let the group decide on this. If should make them feel better, I think.
>>
No. 688497 ID: 0fc976

What do you want me to do, ask if it's comfortable down there?
Fine, jeez, let's go down there and dig it out, already!
>>
No. 688501 ID: b09376

Okay...
Hey, we couldn't animate that skeleton somehow right?
But yeah... I dunno, maybe use it as decoration? Like what even is the issue of there being a skeleton in the water.
>>
No. 688513 ID: 5ad4a7

>>688483
RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE
>>
No. 688528 ID: 86cfc3

>Ah, it seems Reisarf was slowing her down.
She's annoyed at not being able to do her task as well as she thinks she should with him slowing her down. Maybe we should reassure her later that such a mission is as much about the overt objective of patrolling as it is about making sure he gets some training in?

We're limited in personnel and just starting out- tasks that serve multiple purposes instead of excelling at just one will be the norm.

>Moriko shifts on the spot. She seems embarrassed. "Reisarf was very proficient at searching for it."
Also annoyed at being shown up.

So... Reisarf is good at looking for things? Eh? Suppose we shouldn't be surprised.

>better at directions than Chakarchelou
That reminds me, what was the lizard up to today?

>devil bear
Hmm. Kill or capture? Is the name an affectation, or does it really have a demonic heritage? In the later case, Moriko might be less than happy about using it.

>skeleton?
What was standard dungeon practice for dealing with the remains of sapient creatures uncovered in excavation anyways?

Obvious options now would either be burial and/or other respectful disposal (depends on culture and/or race. Can we tell what they were?), to treat the bones as a resource to be used (some magic items must require bone, and there's dungeon decoration too), or to use the bones as a base for some kind of undead or golem.

A side option might be to preform some kind of divination. Try to figure out who they were, how long ago they died. Returning the remains to next of kin seems like a long shot at this point though.
>>
No. 688567 ID: 3663d3

a skull on a pole at the entrance can be a good intimidation enhancer.

but let's try other things. important point is how intact it is. if most of the bones are broken then it wont have many uses. and still, draining the water somewhat would help us dig it up.
>>
No. 688622 ID: a107fd

>>688528
>devil bear
>Kill or capture?

Capture if at all possible. One more minion, and the lair might eventually be linked up through tunnels to become an alternate entrance.
>>
No. 688624 ID: a22f87

>>688622
>capture
we didn't get that beast tamer guy though, I mean unless we pick up up our next supply run into town (which I would hold off on until we have some more space to work with personally) I don't think we could capture... well we probably could but I'm not to sure how we'd tame it.
>>
No. 688628 ID: 3663d3

we need a scout report on the devil bear before we can tell, as in you deem need to look at it and use your natural dungeon affinity for monsters to decide if it can be captured. and should be bring our dragon? give him a mild reinforcement and have them fight it out as animals until the bear is weak enough that you can use "i am the master of the one that beat you, join me and you too and become strong"
>>
No. 688629 ID: 0fc976

>>688624
We should just slay it to level up our bosses.
>>
No. 688644 ID: 773f4a
File 145009084305.png - (24.99KB , 800x500 , people_die_when_they_are_killed.png )
688644

>What was standard dungeon practice for dealing with the remains of sapient creatures uncovered in excavation anyways?
It doesn't come up that often.

>Hey, we couldn't animate that skeleton somehow right?
I have no particular talent or fondness for necromancy.

>So do you want me to bury it or something? I mean with the water and everything I figured it would be better just to leave it until it got in the way then figure out what we want to do with it.
I shrug. "Well with the water and everything I suppose it would be better to drain the tunnel then get rid of it? They're not very decorative. I personally don't particularly care to leave that kind of thing lying around cluttering up the place."
>>
No. 688645 ID: 773f4a
File 145009088522.png - (36.45KB , 800x600 , bee_in_his_bonnet.png )
688645

"It's a human skeleton." Reisarf says as if that's particularly important. I blink.

>Tell them you found the medallion on him when we explored the flooded channel. Would the group like if Deem and Stargazer excavate the remains and bring it up for burial or something. Let the group decide on this. If should make them feel better, I think.
"I know." I say. "I saw it when I found the medallion."

Merud steps in. "You knew it was there? What is wrong with you?!"

What a horrible thing to say. I clamp down on my impulse to snap back at him. "We can bury it if it would make you feel better." I offer.

He looks like he's about to say something else then turns and stomps off.
>>
No. 688646 ID: 773f4a
File 145009094905.png - (24.82KB , 800x550 , miner_dispute.png )
688646

Merud hasn't come back yet. I'm seething. I'm taking it out on this rubble.

How dare he say something like that to me! I'm crippled and broken and starved of mana and he throws a cruel line like that at me over some pitiful cluster of bones that once belonged to some long dead person he's never even met. Rarrgh.

>>Better at directions than Chakarchelou
>That reminds me, what was the lizard up to today?
Guarding the camp!

>Moriko: She's annoyed at not being able to do her task as well as she thinks she should with him slowing her down. Maybe we should reassure her later that such a mission is as much about the overt objective of patrolling as it is about making sure he gets some training in?
I jumped to conclusions about it being due to Reisarf's fitness. It was because they were checking the area Moriko originally scouted more thoroughly.

>Annoyed at being shown up.
>So... Reisarf is good at looking for things? Eh? Suppose we shouldn't be surprised.
They're very basic techniques! I'm surprised Moriko didn't know to look in hiding places for gold! I thought she was just unlucky yesterday.

>Devil bear: Kill or capture? Is the name an affectation, or does it really have a demonic heritage? In the later case, Moriko might be less than happy about using it.
I want to kill it! It's a kind of possessed bear. They're absolute nightmares to manage!

>We should just slay it to level up our bosses.
Hmph, exactly!
>>
No. 688649 ID: 3663d3

ah, merud isn't used to your lifespan. he doesn't know you have seen a lot of people die. corpses kinda blur together after a few hundred of them. seen one human, skeleton seen them all.

i mean, this revival fountain thing the church set up is new. used to be challengers would show up and and it would be a fight to the REAL death and you had to peel them off the floor and figure out what to do with the body.

i suppose this is another sign he is treating you like another human, a human cares about human corpses.
>>
No. 688659 ID: a22f87

eh, let him be for now. Plus with you being as worked up as you are right now you'd probably pass out again like you did the first time you met. Speaking of which once we get this dungeon thing up and running we seriously need to look into getting your heart fixed.

for now Just have a few of your golems roaming around the camp to keep an eye out for the bear. Maybe we'll get lucky and it will wonder by so we can kill it. Hell I bet if we take it down we'd also get some nice things from it's corpse. I mean if nothing else it's pelt would probably fetch a nice price... maybe. Not to sure how valuable things are after a few thousand years of basically being dead.
>>
No. 688661 ID: 99ca2b

I got a feeling that Merud forgot about the fact that you've been out for a very long time and that the church revival fountains were made when you were out and became something that is built in every town.

He'll come back when he realises that you're from the past and doesn't know about most of the advancements of this time.
>>
No. 688662 ID: 1b358e

I think you might need to reiterate to your followers that you're *very* old, and not exactly alive by most of their standards.
>>
No. 688664 ID: d0373c

Ha, looks like you aren't the only bleeding heart in this dungeon. What did he expect to find in a cave in the wilderness? This may have to do with the nigh-ubiquitous resurrection fountains of the sky church.
Ask Reisarf about all the fuss?
>>
No. 688672 ID: 88960e

>"It's a human skeleton." Reisarf says as if that's particularly important. I blink.
>Merud steps in. "You knew it was there? What is wrong with you?!"
The important context you're overlooking here is they're human. They see themselves in human remains, and your apparent indifference or disrespect towards said remains offends and troubles them. It marks you as other, and calls into question your respect for those who chose to follow you.

I mean, how would you feel if you'd found a dead dungeon heart, and they'd casually dismissed it?

Respect for the dead is nearly universal in every mortal culture. It is not something to be cavalier about if you don't want to lose points with followers you wish to trust you.

You got broken bridges to mend here. You can offer the excuse that you were rather drastically distracted before you could report or deal with the remains, but the lack of respect is on you.
>>
No. 688736 ID: a107fd

Possibly track him down. In any case, next time you see him,

"Merud, you know perfectly well what's wrong with me. I'm old, working in a dangerous business, and badly wounded. I've seen dead people before, day after day, for centuries. Some very distracting things happened after I saw that particular skeleton but before I had a chance to discuss anything. Next visit to town, we'll do some detective work, see if we can figure out the dead person's name and background. I'll even add a full crypt to the dungeon layout so adventurers will have reason to remember it."

Think of the extra sarcophagus as a test run to make sure key components of the resurrection matrix are being built up to spec.
>>
No. 688886 ID: 69176f
File 145019015212.png - (33.63KB , 800x600 , sulk_time_is_ogre.png )
688886

>Ah, Merud isn't used to your lifespan. He doesn't know you have seen a lot of people die. Corpses kinda blur together after a few hundred of them. Seen one human, skeleton seen them all.
He needs a thicker skin, that's what he needs! I swing my pick at the rocks. We are breaking into the bones of the earth here and that holds no horror for him!

>I suppose this is another sign he is treating you like another human, a human cares about human corpses.
I don't care!

>I mean, this revival fountain thing the church set up is new. Used to be challengers would show up and and it would be a fight to the REAL death and you had to peel them off the floor and figure out what to do with the body.
At the time of my injury, I wasn't that merciless! There were safeguards, methods of revival, methods of surrender, methods of escape. They just weren't as reliable as this new method.

>For now just have a few of your golems roaming around the camp to keep an eye out for the bear. Maybe we'll get lucky and it will wonder by so we can kill it.
They can't travel far from me without interrupting their mana supply and they're terrible fighters. And I need them here to move rocks. Especially with Merud's golems bumbling around without him here to direct them. Hmph!

I swing again. Something stops it. Hin's holding on to my pick.

"Deem, you should take a break." she says. "If you get yourself too worked up you might, you know, explode again. See how Rei's doing or take Alkaline for a walk maybe?"

Hmph! I try to wiggle my pick free. It doesn't even budge. Why is she so cursedly strong?! I can't fight her. My Focus Medallion is hot against my chest. Maybe she does have a point.

>The important context you're overlooking here is they're human. They see themselves in human remains, and your apparent indifference or disrespect towards said remains offends and troubles them. It marks you as other, and calls into question your respect for those who chose to follow you.
...

"I didn't handle that very well, did I?" I say.

"Well, it was pretty insensitive Deem. Did you really decide to just not mention it?"

>You got broken bridges to mend here. You can offer the excuse that you were rather drastically distracted before you could report or deal with the remains, but the lack of respect is on you.
"I was a bit distracted on the way back from exploring that passage." I point out.

"Oh, um. Yeah. Right." Hin looks away. We stand there awkwardly.

I break the silence. "I'm going to check on Reisarf."
>>
No. 688887 ID: 69176f
File 145019026269.png - (35.53KB , 800x600 , problem_solving_skills.png )
688887

>Ha, looks like you aren't the only bleeding heart in this dungeon. What did he expect to find in a cave in the wilderness? This may have to do with the nigh-ubiquitous resurrection fountains of the sky church.
Very funny. And clearly not a skeleton. I certainly wasn't expecting it either. But they died at least a decade ago. There's no sense in worrying too much about it.

>Ask Reisarf about all the fuss?
I find Reisarf in the section leading up to the flooded passage. Alkaline comes with me. Perhaps I should get the others to look after her as well, lest she merge into my shadow. Reisarf is staring at the water.

"You're not upset by all this, are you?"

"Hmm?" the alienist turns around. It seems to take him a moment to put it in context. "Oh no, no. I just thought you should know that Stargazer found a skeleton."

"A human skeleton." I echo him from before.

"It's very strange, isn't it?" he says. "Why was that poor person down there?

"Probably trying to recover that chest and trapped by the cave-in." I venture.

"Do you think it would be very hard to dig them out of the rubble?" Reisarf says. "I'm sure no-one likes being surrounded by reminders of mortality like that."

What an ugly phrase. "I'm accustomed to it." I say. "I think we'll have to wait until we drain the passage though. It'll be awkward working underwater."

"Oh I was just thinking about that." Reisarf says. "I tried freezing some water but that's not much good without someone to move the ice. We can make a little ice house for storage." I nod. That would be very useful. "A gravity spell might do some good but it'd be very fiddly and I'm not sure how long I could hold it together. The last idea, though, I'll show you now."

Stargazer needs mana for it. We give her a jar of the raw mana and she drinks it. I think I'm becoming desensitised to her strangeness. The chimerical staff stands at the water's edge, base fanning out into a tentacular fringe and drops a root-like structure into the water.
>>
No. 688888 ID: 69176f
File 145019038955.png - (21.71KB , 800x550 , barrel_mode_activated.png )
688888

Stargazer swells up like a balloon. She's soaking up water?

I can't help it. I giggle. She looks ridiculous. It's most unbecoming for the mistress of a dungeon. Alkaline copies me.

"Is that it?" I say.

"Yes!" Reisarf says. After a moment he detects my need for more of an explanation. "She can't move very fast but she can carry a lot of water like this."

I circle around Stargazer. It makes a kind of sense I suppose. "Blooooh?" Alkaline follows me. Stargazer eyes her. I'm still not sure why Stargazer is so nervous around her. It was the other way round just a few days ago.

Alkaline reaches out to touch Stargazer's flank and Stargazer squirts water at her. I'm not sure if it's in terror or excitement but Alkaline shrieks and jumps back.

Stargazer begins undulating sedately towards the exit. She's faster than I though she'd be.

Alkaline stares at her and then gets down and stares at the water's edge. I quickly get down too. I don't want her to fall in. She points at the water. "Bluh?"

"You want to help too?" I say to her. It can't hurt I suppose.
>>
No. 688889 ID: 69176f
File 145019058094.png - (21.93KB , 800x600 , what_did_you_think_would_happen.png )
688889

"Glub." Alkaline flops weakly, struggling to keep her shape.

I haul her back from the water's edge. "See, silly slime." I tell her. "If you soak up too much water you'll have trouble holding yourself together." She needed to find this out sooner or later.

She flops in my lap, slipping sideways. "Bluuuuble."

I steady her. "I can't have you turning into a puddle. You're supposed to be a princess!"

She makes that giggling sound again. It's more of a gurgle really. Maybe I should keep her drinking a lot of water. It'd be good exercise for her. And tire her out.

Hmmm, I feel calmer now. I suppose that ridiculous orange barrel plan of Reisarf's was good for that much at least. I still haven't seen Merud. Should I leave Alkaline with someone and track him down?
>>
No. 688890 ID: 1b358e

Keep an eye on that pudding, and maybe get her some protein/meat to better hold the water she just got in, unless you want to wait for her to get rid of it naturally.
>>
No. 688896 ID: 2a7417

A slime needs to drink lots of water to grow big and strong! Still, she should take a break for now. Hand her off to Hin and meet the moody Merud.
>>
No. 688935 ID: a22f87

while some training for her might not be a bad idea maybe you should have her move a little slower then having her help cleat the passage, well at least for today. I mean it's probably going to take more then a day to get all that water out plus all the little pounds and rivers around here she could practice on. As for Merud, I say give him some time to cool down and then talk to him.
>>
No. 689051 ID: 86cfc3

>>688887
Pff, she mimics your pose and everything.

...you're sure we didn't pick the mimic, right?

>Should I leave Alkaline with someone and track him down?
Yeah. You might as well apologize, try to make things right. It wouldn't due to lose your first (non-pseudo-dragon) minion in this era to something as silly are careless boning.
>>
No. 689055 ID: 3663d3

no matter what the slime does she needs supervision otherwise she could hurt herself by going to far. she doesn't understand her limits.
>>
No. 689225 ID: 799984

Do you want to stop spending time with Alkaline?

In any case, Merud is or has probably talked to someone. There's a decent chance he'll come talk to you. Or maybe not. I don't think it's an urgent issue; the overall situation isn't in crisis mode and the conflict didn't revolve around anything particularly personal.

Probably. Merud might have a few skeletons in his closet.
>>
No. 689555 ID: 38685c

>>688889
You steadied her instinctively. you're more motherly than you think. I suppose you've got some bad memories of motherhood though.
>>
No. 689556 ID: 1ec4ae
File 145052500815.png - (25.80KB , 800x550 , this_way_to_the_egress.png )
689556

>Do you want to stop spending time with Alkaline?
Not particularly.

>In any case, Merud is or has probably talked to someone. There's a decent chance he'll come talk to you. Or maybe not. I don't think it's an urgent issue; the overall situation isn't in crisis mode and the conflict didn't revolve around anything particularly personal.
There's no-one else for him to talk to. Hin was with me, he didn't speak with Reisarf, Moriko is off exploring the area and Chakarchelou isn't much of a conversationalist. But I suppose it isn't especially urgent.

>Pff, she mimics your pose and everything.
>...you're sure we didn't pick the mimic, right?
I would expect much more of an affinity for boxes if that was the case. The only thing she's tried to get into is my lap. It's common for slimes like her to mimic those around them while they're still developing.

>You steadied her instinctively. you're more motherly than you think. I suppose you've got some bad memories of motherhood though.
This is getting tiresome. No, I don't have any such memories!

I walk Alkaline to the cave entrance and out to the camp. She's still very unsteady on her feet due to her diluted consistency so I give her some support as she goes.

Reisarf's just outside the entrance so I ask him to let Hin know she can take a break, and to see if he and Stargazer can do a few more of these water carrier trips. I'll push the urgency on this a little so we can retrieve all of the skeleton and bury it properly. That will make everyone happier, I should hope.
>>
No. 689557 ID: 1ec4ae
File 145052511794.png - (24.80KB , 800x600 , baby_steps.png )
689557

>Keep an eye on that pudding, and maybe get her some protein/meat to better hold the water she just got in, unless you want to wait for her to get rid of it naturally.
Not a bad idea. It will take her a little while to get rid of it. "Come on Alkaline," I say to her, "let's get you something to eat." Perhaps some jerky.

"Blee!"

Well, that's certainly made her happy. Alkaline clutches it to her mouth with both hands, trying to nibble it into easier to digest chunks. She makes contented noises as she does. I give her some time to let the excess water out of her body and then get her up again.

>A slime needs to drink lots of water to grow big and strong!
"Come on, let's try to again." I say, "A slime needs to drink lots of water to grow big and strong!"

Alkaline seems a little reluctant.

"Don't you want to be all big and strong like Hin?" She probably will not actually grow that big.

"Bleem!"

With a little more encouragement I get my little slime princess to make another two trips before she gets too sleepy to continue. We have one awkward moment with negotiating a narrow section of passage while Stargazer is trying to go one way and we the other. Perhaps I need to get to the bottom of what's going on between those two.

About time for a late lunch now, as it takes Alkaline quite a while to get rid of extra water. It's been a few hours since I saw Merud. Time to find him, at least to remind him that humans need to eat. I ask Hin to watch Alkaline while she sleeps.
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No. 689559 ID: 1ec4ae
File 145052544437.png - (12.87KB , 800x500 , sad_rock.png )
689559

I swear does this particular rock have some sort of magnetic pull for brooding? At least Merud hasn't wandered off too far.

How should I handle this? He seemed to be upset by my dismissal of that skeleton and the fact I forgot to mention it. But on the other hand maybe he does need to be reminded that dungeoneering is a dangerous undertaking.
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No. 689560 ID: 7f917c

>>689558
Go toss your nubile clay body all over him.
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No. 689561 ID: 799984

A good icebreaker would be to mention that Reisarf and Stargazer are working on draining the water. Alkaline helped too.

Then maybe you could carefully explain that after untold eons of lying in the ground dead to the world, not to mention the multitude of people you've seen die in your time, you aren't particularly sensitive to human remains. But being stuck like that, unremembered, tantalizingly close to their prize, it isn't like you're without sympathy, right?

Oh yeah, speaking of the treasure and junk, did you ever show that disc thingy to Merud?
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No. 689562 ID: 632b0f

Just sit next to him, so he knows you're here. Let him start the conversation. Perhaps, if you want to kickstart start the conversation say something like "explain". Dont just freely accept any kind of guilt. Argue, but stay calm.
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No. 689564 ID: a22f87

just go sit next to him and wait, if he doesn't talk after about a minute might as well tell him how the draining of the cave is going and ask him how he wants to bury the skeleton cause I have no idea what sort of burial customs have developed since you've been out.
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No. 689566 ID: a107fd

He asked what was wrong with you. That's a tricky question. In fact, it's very nearly the entire subject he came here to study.

Appeal to his pride, and professional standards as a scholar. Is he going to pass up this unique opportunity to learn ancient secrets of golemetry (and, incidentally, acquire riches untold), just because he's scratched the surface and found something distasteful?
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No. 689577 ID: 5ad4a7

>>689558
Ask him what taboo you broke. I mean, you've been asleep for centuries so things may have changed.
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No. 689585 ID: b5b419

>>689559
It's a broodstone, a very valuable object associated with any dungeon - where adventurers can stand on and announce their flashy plans, or lurk near to hide while they get interpersonal drama sorted out.

It's perfect.
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No. 689589 ID: 86cfc3

>>689558
A good place to start would be to admit you think you handled that pretty poorly.

So... we're draining the cave to get at the remains.

>>689585
If that's true, we should probably bug the location with a small surveillance-golem.
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No. 689590 ID: 5ad4a7

>>689589
>poorly
Oh right I just realized what went wrong. Deem talked about it as if it's just clutter, and mentioned using the bones for decoration. That's the taboo she broke. Lack of respect for the dead.

Deem, would it be disturbing if someone used a shattered dungeon heart for decoration, or referred to it as trash?
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No. 689603 ID: 0fc976

It must have something to do with the view. Make a mental note to hang up motivational tapestries by this rock.
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No. 689612 ID: 1ec4ae
File 145058344374.png - (16.50KB , 800x550 , we_need_to_talk.png )
689612

>Go toss your nubile clay body all over him.
Don't be ridiculous.

>Oh yeah, speaking of the treasure and junk, did you ever show that disc thingy to Merud?
I did. It lightens stuff it's attached to. Hin's going to try to repair it at the next full moon.

>It's a broodstone, a very valuable object associated with any dungeon - where adventurers can stand on and announce their flashy plans, or lurk near to hide while they get interpersonal drama sorted out.
That's absurd.

>Deem, would it be disturbing if someone used a shattered dungeon heart for decoration, or referred to it as trash?
They have great value, even broken. Fragments aren't unheard of. A Dungeon Heart accretes layers as it develops and sometimes it may be necessary to deliberately regress them.

>Just sit next to him, so he knows you're here. Let him start the conversation. Perhaps, if you want to kickstart start the conversation say something like "explain". Don't just freely accept any kind of guilt. Argue, but stay calm.
"Please don't come any closer. I'd like some time to myself."

I pause. "Fine, but I have some things to say to you first."

"Are you sure it can't wait for later?"

"It's important!" I say. "It's about how I acted before! I could have handled that better, so I suppose I should apologise for that."

"Deem, you don't have to-"

"No, I'm saying this now! First of all, we'll be putting more of a priority on clearing the flooded passage so we can get those remains out and give them a proper burial. I realise it's not much of an excuse, but due to the problems we had that day, mentioning finding the remains completely slipped my mind."

"-do this right now." he finishes weakly.

>Then maybe you could carefully explain that after untold eons of lying in the ground dead to the world, not to mention the multitude of people you've seen die in your time, you aren't particularly sensitive to human remains. But being stuck like that, unremembered, tantalizingly close to their prize, it isn't like you're without sympathy, right?
"I've seen people die and I've seen lost bodies like that many times before. I suppose I'm desensitised to it. That doesn't mean I'm without sympathy. To end stuck like that, some prize just out of reach. It is a tragedy."

>Oh right I just realized what went wrong. Deem talked about it as if it's just clutter, and mentioned using the bones for decoration. That's the taboo she broke. Lack of respect for the dead.
I sigh. "It's just, many times it's difficult to retrieve them or to do anything about them. Often there's no resolution to who they were or what they were doing there."

>He asked what was wrong with you. That's a tricky question. In fact, it's very nearly the entire subject he came here to study.
"I don't want you or anyone here to think I don't care about them. You are important to me and I do need and appreciate your help. So let's go back. Together."

"I need some time to think things over." he says.

"Aren't you going to at last come back to the camp and have something to eat?" I ask him.

"I will a little later. For now, I'd like some time to myself." Merud says.

Wait a minute.
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No. 689613 ID: 1ec4ae
File 145058347988.png - (26.06KB , 800x550 , nobody_here_but_us_golems.png )
689613

It's a golem in a wig!

So Merud didn't hear anything I just said. What... Why would he...

NYARGH!

I'm going to find him! I'm going to hunt him down and do cruel and unreasonable things to him!
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No. 689615 ID: 3663d3

take it, he will have to talk to you to get his hat and cloak back.

make it stand and walk but taking over the links.
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No. 689616 ID: 0fc976

This means Merud is running around in his skivvies somewhere. Alert the camp, we'll start sweeping the mountainside so we can return his dignity to him.
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No. 689617 ID: 2ccbb3

Wear his clothes inside-out.
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No. 689618 ID: 799984

Reprogram his golem to be a jerk to him.
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No. 689619 ID: 4780ef

steal golem and everything on it, he left it here so it's yours now. He doesn't want us to apologize to him then fine, we can focus on other things then. Like tear this golem apart to see how he builds his golems. Probably not as good as yours but it might give you some ideas with your own golems in the future.
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No. 689623 ID: 86cfc3

...how much time and effort would it take to program a golem capable of responding to speech in a reasonably intelligent manner like that? Is it possible he's been a golem the whole time, just under some kind of disguise or illusion enchantment?
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No. 689627 ID: 7f917c

..Does this mean Merud is naked?

I'll reiterate what I say about throwing your body all over him, but only when you find him.
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No. 689628 ID: b5b419

>>689612
But it is true! Plot is the least known and most powerful fundamental force in the universe.

>>689613
He's taking a bath to calm down, and you should definitely go find him while he's naked. You wouldn't want him to lose his clothes.
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No. 689635 ID: 1f8505

>>689613

Wear his space toilet and do a dance.
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No. 689636 ID: 5ad4a7

>>689613
It's because you waited so long before talking to him. This is his way of leaving a note.

If you want to be cruel and unreasonable, steal his golems and clothes so he has to come around undressed when he returns. Honestly I would recommend not being cruel at all.
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No. 689638 ID: d9d503

>...how much time and effort would it take to program a golem capable of responding to speech in a reasonably intelligent manner like that?
From what we have heard, he has been working on talking-simulator golems for some time. Which means he is quite likely hidden nearby to listen in on how long his golem fooled us.
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No. 689645 ID: 195a8f

>>689613
maybe the golem can tell you where Merud is.
or maybe Merud is brooding on the other side of the brooding rock, listening.
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No. 689655 ID: ca183f

>>689613
Or maybe you should actually leave him alone to think about it like the golem said.

Sometimes people just need space.
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No. 689659 ID: 38685c

>>689613
draw a mustache on it
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No. 689740 ID: a107fd

Shout "alright, Merud, I'll give you as much time as you need," then steal his hat and add it to your treasure hoard.

Also, send Moriko and/or Chakarchelou out checking for footprints, scent trails, etc. to make sure he's not running back to town half-naked with the intention of informing the Harrowers of your weakened state and apparent disregard for mortal life.
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No. 689785 ID: e8bf76

>689659
clearly the most sensible choice
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No. 690781 ID: 7ae8e1
File 145137204728.png - (25.37KB , 800x600 , i_will_take_your_outfit.png )
690781

>...how much time and effort would it take to program a golem capable of responding to speech in a reasonably intelligent manner like that? Is it possible he's been a golem the whole time, just under some kind of disguise or illusion enchantment?
Don't be absurd. Speech is one of the most complicated areas of golemetry. The power of communication, to wring meaning from sound and motion, is thought to be one of the necessary elements of a soul. If it's done at all, it's usually brute forced through imprinting them with a small repertoire of phrases.

>Draw a mustache on it
That's a incredibly childish thing to do. Also I don't have the materials.

>Take it, he will have to talk to you to get his hat and cloak back.
I ransack Merud's golem. It doesn't protest. Its limited conversational capabilities don't allow it to protest. It asks I come back later then falls silent.

How does he walk around in this thing all day? It's heavy. And doesn't fit me at all.

>..Does this mean Merud is naked?
I don't know! I assume he wears something under that robe.

>I'll reiterate what I say about throwing your body all over him, but only when you find him.
Oh, I'm going to throw something at him, alright!

>Maybe the golem can tell you where Merud is.
>Or maybe Merud is brooding on the other side of the brooding rock, listening.
It can't and no, he's not hiding on the other side of the rock like the puppeteer in a travelling play. I'm going to go find him.
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No. 690782 ID: 7ae8e1
File 145137223312.png - (24.95KB , 800x600 , dragon_whisperer.png )
690782

>Or maybe you should actually leave him alone to think about it like the golem said.
>Sometimes people just need space.
He can have some space after I've had my way with him and hauled him back to the camp!

>Also, send Moriko and/or Chakarchelou out checking for footprints, scent trails, etc. to make sure he's not running back to town half-naked with the intention of informing the Harrowers of your weakened state and apparent disregard for mortal life.
He wouldn't do that!

I change into my normal clothes at the camp. I keep Merud's hat. Moriko's still out. I get Chakarchelou and my sword, and tell Hin I'm going looking for Merud. She requests I don't do anything rash. Hmmph!

I set off with Chakarchelou to follow Merud's trail. Back to the brooding rock and then down the mountain a way to a mountain stream. Chakarchelou seem to know his way it must be the path he's mapped with Moriko. He's tracking it fine, although occasionally he gets distracted and sniffs at trees or dirt. At one point he scratches, digs some more and unearths a pair of tarnished coins. He swallows them. He must be keeping them in his crop.

Wait a moment...

"Chakarchelou." I say, "Moriko didn't find gold the first day, but she said you kept running off. You didn't find any gold, did you?"

The quasidragon shifts on the spot and eyes me nervously.

"You should have told me!" I swat his nose. "Bad dragon!" Is everyone keeping secrets?!

He whines and bumps against my leg.

"What, no, I'm not that angry. It's just I need it too." He still looks unhappy so I scratch his chin. "I know I said I'd give a hoard of your own, things are just tight at the moment." He wags his tail tentatively. "Fine. You can keep what you've found so far -" It can't be too much or I'd have known - "but you have to show me anything else."

Chakarchelou brightens up but then he growls again. "No, I don't think gold will cheer Merud up." He looks at me blankly. "It's complicated!"

Something rustles in the bushes near the stream and Chakarchelou goes on guard, moving forward to place himself between me and the unknown threat. He growls, this time angrily.
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No. 690783 ID: 7ae8e1
File 145137228313.png - (17.62KB , 600x800 , grin_and_bear_it.png )
690783

"GRRRRRRRARRRRROUGH!!"

Oh.

That's the devil bear.

I'm in trouble.
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No. 690784 ID: 2ccbb3

You're made of stone and that bear's teeth aren't made of steel. Let it chew your head and summon Alkaline and any others to dogpile this bear!

Try to capture the bear for dungeon use.
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No. 690785 ID: 3663d3

you have