[3 / an / cgl / diy / gd / i / n / out / p / po / qst / s4s / t / trv / vip / vm / vmg / w / wg / wsr / ] [Settings]
Board
Settings Home
/qst/ - Mitsuba Archive


Your name is Shu, and though it’s been said some try to make a hell of heaven...you’re going to carve a heaven from this putrid, pulsing hell.

The world as you once knew it is long gone; engulfed and devoured by a being from beyond the stars. Humankind found itself thrust into an alien landscape of endless meat, mountains of bone, and a false sky of scarlet, with the eyes of an impassive alien god staring down at the struggles below.

In the minds of those that awoke here, there is but a single thought—climb the Cord, and change the world.

You are a Daughter—once human, now flesh reforged into a weapon of war and wielding powers that blaspheme what it meant to be human...and now, after all you’ve been through?

You wouldn’t have it any other way.

Though you woke to this hell with little memory of what came before, you’ve gained infinitely more than you lost. A group of friends, a fire-forged family, allies across the Fleshscape, an adorable daughter and the love of your life—you’ll make a heaven of hell, if it’s the last thing you do.

(Greetings, Gentlemen. This Intermission shall serve to open discussion until the opening of Body Horror Quest’s 48th Vein. I plan to catch up with everyone, discuss some system overhauls I’ve done in the meantime, set expectations as to what work there’s still left to do, and also field any questions or concerns you all might have.)

(Looking to catch up, refresh your memory, or get started anew? The links below will have everything you need.)

Previous Vein: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/4430305/

Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Body%20Horror%20Quest

Character Abilities, Ver 4: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1IGq15jshM2iDN8J2yvYF6fdP9yu9JSPDs2FCEYAJ6As/edit?usp=sharing

Trypophilic Hive, Ver. 3: https://pastebin.com/bUWG6TNF

Relics, Ver. 7: https://pastebin.com/kHzW2hbd

Dual Techs: https://pastebin.com/2jZ5Zhyx

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bodyhorrorquest?lang=en

Quest Fan Works: https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/1comL20X2jUrPO0p7QMdFinwAwdXHre2F9A5bdXif7_k/mobilebasic
>>
(System updates; multiple computer issues have kept wiping my attempts to set the updated system in stone, but I’m making slow and steady progress. The system is still crunchier than I’d like without a complete foundational overhaul, but I’ve made enough changes to where it’s not nearly as much of a nightmare to juggle everything on the backend, so that should hopefully eliminate the source of a great deal of burnout.)

(Core Abilities max at Lvl. 10, Hybrids and Secondary powers max at Lvl. 5. Choice is presented when Core reaches Lvl. 3.)

(Each ability tree will not only be compressed for clarity but will also have a ‘cheat-sheet’ card that allows you to refresh yourself on the finer points of an entire ability tree without having to excavate what you need.)

(Each level of resistance grants a 20% damage reduction to the associated damage type, with 100% immunity reached at Lvl. 5. Meanwhile, resistance levels above that grant HEALTH restoration of 20% per level, capping out at Resistance Level 10, or 100% damage absorption.)

(I’m pretty pleased with the changes thus far, at least on my end. I’ve also found/stolen a way to easily depict all the resistance levels of a given character with a setup similar to the SMT series, where it’s a simple line of the damage types listed in a horizontal row with the associated resistance levels below them, with an additional line below that to show the adjustments caused by various enhanced states, such as Shu’s armor or Rath’s Ignition form.)

(Furthermore, I thought it might be prudent to also do the same for the characters’ various damage output types, albeit with a simple, symbol-based legend to show normal, high, and extreme levels of damage outputs at baseline and augmented modes, all at-a-glance.)

(The new combat screen will have all this included in it for easy reference. It'll be a chunkier thing, but at least it’ll have a more horizontal aspect to it instead of the bulky, windy thing it is now.)
>>
>>4974829
Kill yourself
>>
>>4974829
Hello, QM. Good to have you back.

>>4974830
What's your problem?
>>
>>4974827
Kill yourself
>>
>>4974830
>>
>>4974836
Immediately kill yourself.
>>
>>4974832
(It's good to be back! I'm finding this new captcha system a bit of a bear since I literally haven't posted here in the last year, but I think my dyslexic self is getting the hang of it.)
>>
>>4974833
Wow how could I have forgotten the wonderful culture of 4chan

>>4974829
Bhop I only have one question for you.
Are you still rocking a millennia old Chromebook?
Glad to have you back. System changes sound great and much more streamlined
>>
>>4974847
Back 2 tumblr, faglin.
>>4974843
Slash your throat.
>>
This thread isn't even a quest and should be treated as such.
>>
File: Humoral Paladin.jpg (120 KB, 1600x1824)
120 KB
120 KB .jpg
(Gentlemen, given the fact that I’m easing back into the narrative I wanted to see if you would be more open to getting the 48th Vein up and running as soon as possible or if you’d be open to a few side stories from perspectives such as Amara, Francine, and the like to act a bit of a refresher and introduction to the look of the (still very much under work) system.)

(Voting will remain open for the next three hours, Dear Readers.)

>>Finalize the system, and open the 48th Vein to start off immediately where the 47th Vein ended.

>>Amara Side-Story

>>Francine Side-Story

>>Other named character Side-Story

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>4974829
Oh boy, oh boy. Hive girl and co. are back!
What kind of dice will be needed? Do we need a calculator to play?
Will there be a sort of timeskip or are we going to be back right where we left off?
>>
>>4974827
welcome back, bhop!
>>
File: Phantasmal Conduit.png (2685 KB, 2480x3508)
2685 KB
2685 KB .png
>>4974860
(It's nice to be back! I really missed running this quest and reading all the wild and inspired things you and the other players came up with, both in and out of combat.)
>>
>>4974858
>the faggot fears the janny so he structures his trash as a vote
Lmao.
Kill yourself.
>>
>>4974858
>Francine Side-Story

Consider me curious as to what it would entail. I imagine an Amara story would be something wholesome.
>>
>>4974858
>>>Finalize the system, and open the 48th Vein to start off immediately where the 47th Vein ended.
>>
>>4974858
>Francine Side-Story

Good to have you back bhop, I've missed this quest.
>>
>>4974858
>>Amara Side-Story
First time seeing this quest, who dis?

This suicide anon is fire.
>>
File: Calcite Armorer.png (1417 KB, 814x1500)
1417 KB
1417 KB .png
>>4974915
(I have too, and I've set aside today, tomorrow, and a good bit of next week to finally buckle down and hammer out the streamlined system.)

(Also, I went back through the entire quest in these past months, and I compiled everything. We've got 750k words total, and it's all saved in case the archive ever go down. And in doing so, I even went through everyone's fan works again, and they're just an absolute joy to read.)

(Speaking of which, has anyone done any writing of their own since I've been gone?)
>>
File: Heart of the Matter.png (937 KB, 1050x1500)
937 KB
937 KB .png
>>4974920

(The basic pitch is that you awaken in the post-apocalypse as a girl with no memories who has the power to generate fist-sized swarmlings from her spine to combat the horrific Amalgams that stalk the Fleshscape. It's got a focus on alternating story with brutal combat, along with twelve distinct character classes and a core mechanic where you can not only enhance your own original skill tree, you can Mega-Man/Kirby the power sets of your foes as well, in addition to combining them to form totally new powers.)

(This quest had a dedicated troll for a little while, who was so much of a fixture that I actually ended up getting kind of happy whenever they showed up. They were always a little more random and inspired that just 'kill yourself'...I thought it was that classic troll at first and got excited, but ah well.
>>
>>4974927
Wew, thanks for the TL;DR. I'll stick around to see how the quest goes.

It's always heartwarming to see QMs develop pathological relationships with their internet trolls!
>>
>>4974921
I've done a bit of OC daughters, though not in a while. I occasionally note down some ideas for it. Otherwise I worked on other stuff, like sci-fi tech and ship warfare, post-apocalypse fantasy, a magic system, ect. I feel a bit sad that none of that may ever be used for anything.
>>
File: The Birth of Ideas.png (2434 KB, 1072x1500)
2434 KB
2434 KB .png
>>4974944
(Hey, I never thought this quest would ever see the light of day, and I'll admit I threw it out into the world while it was still a grub, but I've had a fantastic time with it. You should show some of it off, or you could try what I've done and wrap a ton of your original stuff into something you can have fun with.)

>>4974933
(I hope you enjoy what you find, friend.)

(There's something to be said for it, indeed!)
>>
>>4974827
Hey BHOP and others. Anon here that made the spreadsheet character sheets and all that.
sadly at this very specific moment you caught me waaay off guard with this, and i only on a whim even saw this was gonna happen last night. as ive shifted back to being a night owl im currently too tired to do much here til after a nap, I still wanted to drop by and say im extremely glad to see you back BHOP and hope you're doing well, aswell as let ya know you still got some old timers you didn't lose from the hiatus.

>>4974858
I'd prefer the system to be where you want it before we continue, but if you think a side story would help you do that, then by all means do one.
im not picky on who though. but if i was going to vote,Rath.
>>
File: TFW The Neuromancy hits.png (7904 KB, 3000x2145)
7904 KB
7904 KB .png
>>4974958
(It's good to see you back! I am doing a bit better than I was, and I do hope you're in good health and spirits. I'm glad I haven't lost everyone with all that's happened in the past year.)

(Like I said I'm hammering out the updated abilities as we speak, but I would also like to get back into the flow of the whole writing-voting-writing loop, and I think a side story might help me do just that over the next week.)
>>
>>4974858
>>Francine Side-Story
Love our science girl
>>
File: Amara and Fuzzbuzz.jpg (74 KB, 500x522)
74 KB
74 KB .jpg
>>4974980
right well so much for my nap, haaaah.
Im doing well enough, considering everything happening in the world, but could be worse. thanks for asking.

>I think a side story might help me do just that over the next week.
then im looking forward to it.

>>4974829
glad to hear at least some progress has been made, and look forward to the finalized project. Know you wanted to try and do your own character sheets for our side of things eventually, but feel free to copy and take what you need from what ive built, as stated in the past.

as for thoughts or questions, all i can think to ask is any changes to leveling, or just amount we gain per kill? and how you plan to balance that difference with the flow of the game(considering some of the absolute units we already are having to face)?
only other concern i can think we had was ability bloat, but i guess thats kinda on us to control for the most part, though my first question here would also affect how much we may or may not be forced by the system(even if necessary) to do so over time.

>>4974920
Amara is pic related. our hyperactive adopted daughter who can make infinite clones of herself and can control others and the terrain with a complex spoken set of spells. she also has a pet giant bee guardian called Sir FuzzBuzz.
>>
File: The Doctor Is In.png (2434 KB, 1280x1336)
2434 KB
2434 KB .png
(Francine it is, Gentlemen. I'm actually finishing up on compressing her skill trees, after which I'll post them here to get your feedback on them in addition to the new combat legend.)

(I'll likely start Francine's side-story tomorrow afternoon or early Monday morning, whichever works best for everyone so let me know what timeframe you'd prefer.)

(Updating during the week will be a slightly more relaxed affair going forward, as I'm functionally the only person in the office and my duties at home have increased, as well, so when the quest gets back into full swing I'll do as much as I can without burning myself out.)

>>4975029
(The amount of points you'll get at level-up is going to be cut considerably, but each level you gain in a given skill tree is going to pack a lot more power in accordance with that, too. I'm hoping that'll help cut down on the nightmare voting marathons we've had in the past, as well as keeping the story flowing without things kind of screeching to a halt in the middle of a Vein.)
>>
>>4975030
>tomorrow afternoon or early Monday morning.
busy with family tomorrow afternoon so Monday would work best for me.

>so when the quest gets back into full swing I'll do as much as I can without burning myself out.
hey i'm just glad you feel ready to try and continue at all. a slower schedule i think worked out overall better anyhow for most people from what i can remember.

>leveling.
Im not sure we will ever be able to fully avoid those insane leveling sessions, but less to spend in them will certainly help.
oh, speaking of, how have the hybrid points changed? is it now only at level 5(plus recycling fully leveled ones at max)? or is it now at 3 and 6 or something?
>>
>>4974827
Oh damn, BHQ. Good to see you back my dude, I almost thought you'd gone for good.
>>
File: BHOP hard at work.png (202 KB, 1180x866)
202 KB
202 KB .png
>>4975039
(Oh god, that image...it cracks me up every time.)

(I think Monday morning might work better for my schedule too, so I'll see what I can get done today and update everyone on when to expect it either later today or early tomorrow.)

(Regarding hybrids, it's as you suspect; hybrids can now be made at levels 3, 6, and 9, in addition to their max.)
>>
>>4975046
(It's so good to be back! And hey, I told you all I'd see this story through 'til the end, and I endeavor to keep my promises. I hate it when stories don't get a proper conclusion.)
>>
>>4974827
Holy shit, we're back? Hey, BHOP. It's good to see you again. How are you doing, friend?

>>4974829
Alright, we're doing the ten-level max system. That should compress the skill trees down a lot, make it much easier to browse through the character sheets when trying to come up with combat strategies. Nice. It might lead to us losing a few capabilities, with how its compressed, but to be honest a lot of them were things we never remembered to use so that loss via streamlining shouldn't be a problem.

Damage resistance system looks excellent, I remember us talking about doing it that way and I think we all agreed that would be the most convenient way to work it. Having a specialized visual interface for it sounds cool, too, I'm definitely looking forward to that.

>>4974858
Agh, this is what I get for sleeping in on a Saturday and then forgetting to check /qst/ until later in the day on top of that. Ah, well, no vote for me. Francine is nice, though, so I'm fine with her winning the vote.
>>
File: Hive Mistress.png (392 KB, 1000x1000)
392 KB
392 KB .png
(What follows is the general formatting I’ll likely be using going forward, with the combat status screen likely being it’s own post from here on out in order to save me a formatting nightmare when combat rolls in. Everything up to where Creation’s Strings is mentioned will be on the new combat sheet, so you’ll be able to see your entire party’s status at a glance. Please note the addition of the ‘Aggro’ status, which shows who’s being targeted by what on the battlefield at any given time, which should hopefully make things more straightforward.)

(Attack type is broken down by a number of arrows that indicate how proficient a given character is at inflicting said damage type. For physical damage this simply indicates no bonus or proficiency, while a dash under elemental damage types shows that the character cannot inflict that type of damage.)

(Defense type is a little more concrete than attack since I didn’t want to clog up everything with too many numbers. Should be self-explanatory, but let me know if you have any questions. The percentage ranges from Lvl 1 to Lvl 10, which will be easily shown as ranging from 20% to 200%, which would be full damage absorption.)

(Francine’s ability summaries are designed to convey as much information about the skill tree they encompass without getting too bogged down in the numbers. Going forward, each skill tree will have their abilities and accompanying flavor text separated, with the flavor text updating on its own card as the ability grows in power. In reviewing everything I realized I blended the two a little too much, and it was much too easy to get lost or overwhelmed, as fun as it was.)

(These summary cards will come before each given ability on the spreadsheet so they can be easily reviewed during combat. If an augmentation significantly alters one or multiple skills, then that info will be included on the summary card. If it’s purely a attack/defense boost, or some sort of other non-combat alteration, then they’ll be left out for the sake of a cleaner interface. However, social abilities will now have their own small status card at the end of updates, so you won’t miss out on triggering Kadath, activating powers that could sway the flow on events, or even, and most importantly, making sure to leave Fuzz Buzzes with every individual you meet.)

(Let me know if you have any concerns, comments, or suggestions regarding this format, and I’ll be happy to make any adjustments that’ll help improve the quality and accessibility of the combat.)

>>4975050
(I am doing better than I was, for certain. Work-life balance is still a bit out of whack, but I'm making due. What about yourself?)
>>
>>4975029
>>4975039
>big fluffy bees
You had my curiosity. Now you have my attention.
>>
File: Hive Mistress.png (392 KB, 1000x1000)
392 KB
392 KB .png
(What follows is the general formatting I’ll likely be using going forward, with the combat status screen likely being it’s own post from here on out in order to save me a formatting nightmare when combat rolls in. Everything up to where Creation’s Strings is mentioned will be on the new combat sheet, so you’ll be able to see your entire party’s status at a glance. Please note the addition of the ‘Aggro’ status, which shows who’s being targeted by what on the battlefield at any given time, which should hopefully make things more straightforward.)

(Attack type is broken down by a number of arrows that indicate how proficient a given character is at inflicting said damage type. For physical damage this simply indicates no bonus or proficiency, while a dash under elemental damage types shows that the character cannot inflict that type of damage.)

(Defense type is a little more concrete than attack since I didn’t want to clog up everything with too many numbers. Should be self-explanatory, but let me know if you have any questions. The percentage ranges from Lvl 1 to Lvl 10, which will be easily shown as ranging from 20% to 200%, which would be full damage absorption.)

(Francine’s ability summaries are designed to convey as much information about the skill tree they encompass without getting too bogged down in the numbers. Going forward, each skill tree will have their abilities and accompanying flavor text separated, with the flavor text updating on its own card as the ability grows in power. In reviewing everything I realized I blended the two a little too much, and it was much too easy to get lost or overwhelmed, as fun as it was.)

(These summary cards will come before each given ability on the spreadsheet so they can be easily reviewed during combat. If an augmentation significantly alters one or multiple skills, then that info will be included on the summary card. If it’s purely a attack/defense boost, or some sort of other non-combat alteration, then they’ll be left out for the sake of a cleaner interface. However, social abilities will now have their own small status card at the end of updates, so you won’t miss out on triggering Kadath, activating powers that could sway the flow on events, or even, and most importantly, making sure to leave Fuzz Buzzes with every individual you meet.)

(Let me know if you have any concerns, comments, or suggestions regarding this format, and I’ll be happy to make any adjustments that’ll help improve the quality and accessibility of the combat.)
>>4975093
(I am doing better than I was, for certain. Work-life balance is still a bit out of whack, but I'm making due. What about yourself?)
>>
Francine, the Repentant Echo

Health; 3,950% (Regen: 630%)
Biomass; 2,910% (Regen: 180%)
ACTs; 2
| SLH | PRC | BLG| CRSH | HEAT | COLD | ACID | RAD |
ATK: | ^^^ | ^^^ | - | - | - | - | - | - |
DEF: | 20% | 20% | 20% | 20% | - | - | - | - |

Buffs: None.
Debuffs: None.
Aggro: None.

CREATION'S STRINGS: For 1 ACT, can siphon foes’ health or heal allies by tethering herself to them, and can copy their CORE abilities, swap places with them, or merge with allies to bolster their stats by ½ of Francine’s own. Can revive downed allies at cost of 9/10 of her current HEALTH and BIO totals. High PIERCING damage.

HAND OF THE QUEEN: Hit foes with melee to stack CURIOSITY, which lets Francine copy powers with greater power or change stacks to CRUELTY, which allows her and allies to deal higher damage but consumes stacks.

UNYIELDING SPIRIT: Buffs last 2x long, debuffs last ½ as long, and first incoming debuff per turn is negated. 1/turn +5 RES against first damage that would actually harm Francine.

VIOLENS TETRASTIGMA: Spend 30% HEALTH to make plant tendrils that restore HEALTH equal to the damage they deal. High slash damage.

GATLING FANG: Summon a massive chain gun for 2 Act + 200% BIO that deals heavy SLASHING and PIERCING damage to select foe upon creation. Firing disrupts foes’ concentration-based effects but does NOT deal damage to/disrupt allies. Initial Creation Cost: 2 ACT, 200% BIO. Further Shots: 100% BIO, or 400% BIO to hit all foes and heal allies.

ASKLEPIAN WARD: For 400% BIO, the terrain round the user heals the user and allies for 200% HEALTH at the end of each round of combat and heals one random debuff from those in range.

PRIMORDIAL SCHOOL: Spend 10% BIO to summon ancient fish to your aid that buff their own CRIT chance/damage, or 60% to summon abyssal shark that debuffs foes’ regen. You automatically create a certain number of fish at the start of combat.

LUOHAN’S HANDS: 1/turn, the first melee or ranged strike that hits Francine is negated, with a portion of the incoming damage redirected at the attacker as they’re pushed 1 movement zone away.

CALCITE HALO: +1 Lvl of SLASHING, PIERCING, BLUDGEONING, and CRUSHING damage resistance, plus stacking bonus against incoming attacks that’s lost at end of turn. Immune to forced movement. You may elect to gain +5 Lvls of resistance to a single damage type before combat.

MURPHY’S MANDATE: Passive 20% chance for a foe's constructs and Relics to be generated as malformed creations.
>>
>>4975119
(I'll have to figure out a way to fix the formatting regarding the attack and defense stats. Which may take a while as graphic design is not my passion.)

(Maybe something like this would work better;)

ATK: SLH, PRC: ^^^
DEF: SLH, PRC, BLG, CRSH: 20%

(Let me know what you think.)
>>
>>4975116
Sir FuzzBuzz is the best bee ever. He's the size of a large dog, is rapidly growing in intelligence ever since we got a certain Augmentation to Shu's swarmlings, and has an organic plasma cannon in his mouth. His purpose in life is halfway between Amara's bodyguard and her living security blanket. Everyone loves him, even superintelligent giant ants. Nobody expected affection for FuzzBuzz to be the key to getting the ants to recognize outside intelligences as something other than food or enemy, but it was.

>>4975117
My life's doing okay. A bit hectic right now, though, one of my grandmothers died recently (we were never close, so at least I'm not too sad about it) and my family is dealing with the mess of sorting out her estate and clearing out her house. People have so many things, you don't realize how cluttered a house is until you have to go through it and divide every single object in it into categories of "cherished memory", "sell in yard sale", and "toss in dumpster". It's exhausting.
>>
>>4975122
That's better, yeah. It's hard to get the grid to line up in the textbox. You could do it with an actual image, I guess. Give me a bit, I'm going to try to make one real quick in MS Paint. We'll see how shitty it looks.
>>
>>4975144
Okay, no, that idea is bunk. I feel dumb for even proposing it, it looked terrible.

How about putting it in a Google Spreadsheet, then? It would work just fine in there. Plus, you'd be able to post all of the combat sheets for relevant characters in the fight at the same time. I'll try to mock it up in there, instead.
>>
>>4975158
(No worries, and thank you for testing it out!)
>>
>>4975119
>>4975122
If you still need the formatting, I think this would be clearer (although could use those QM highlights for ATK/DEF and maybe the percentages):

ATK:
SLH, PRC: ^^^
DEF:
SLH, PRC: 30%
BLG, CRSH: 20%

Alternatively (to better tell apart atk/def from the damage types):

ATK:
Slash, Ranged: ^^^
DEF:
Slash, Ranged: 30%
Bleed, Crush: 20%

Those are Projectile, Bleeding and Crush, right?
>>
>>4975200
(Bludgeoning and Piercing, actually. But still, I like that setup you've made; it's appropriately clear without a ton of visual noise.)
>>
>>4975160
Okay, let's give this a look.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wmN2-0HFbdYeguQmWIzhNpQvKE6urL8owGh34D7Sxto/edit?usp=sharing
>>
>>4975202
Ah, fuck. Gotta say, three letter abbreviations here were too hard to read without context.
What does ^^^ mean?
>>
>>4975225
The arrows indicate proficiency in the damage type. More arrows equals better at attacking with that damage.
>>
>>4975220
(Oh, I like this. I like this a *lot*. Very nicely done!)

>>4975225
(Yeah, that's on me for trying to crunch things down so far. The '^^^' is basically an abbreviation for the degree of damage a Daughter deals with a given damage type. A single ^ means that the Daughter can deal the damage type and deal it fairly well, whereas five of those in a slot means the Daughter is outputting insane levels of damage for that element—to give some context, Doctor West and Marrow Dragoon have 5 stars in several different damage types. It's to give an at-a-glance look at how effective your allies and enemies are at doling out damage, and what kinds.)
>>
>>4975230
I know, but how does it affect the attacks mechanically? Extra dice?
>>
>>4975237
>(Oh, I like this. I like this a *lot*. Very nicely done!)
Thanks. Give me a moment more and I'll compress the abilities list down into one of those compact drop-down lists, make it all fit on a single screen.
>>
>>4975238
(Basically, yes. The system I use is an admittedly unwieldy homebrew that's based extensively on the Nechronica ruleset, since I liked its modularity.)
>>
>>4975237
>>4975242
Oh, guess I'll see it in action then.
>>
>>4975242
>>4975238
(Unwieldy for *me*, I should say. It's constructed in such a way here so that the players simply describe what they wish to have happen, and the dice rolling is done in the background, similarly to how Joker Quest runs combat.)
>>
>>4975241
Okay, I've put the whole thing in one nice compact card that can fit on a single page. I think it looks decent enough.
>>
Just wanted to say I love the quest OP, but I can't participate yet since I haven't caught up. Welcome back though.
>>
>>4975264
(Thank you so much!)

>>4975332
(I'm really glad you've been enjoying it thus far, and it's good to be back!)
>>
(Gentlemen, Francine's side story will begin on Monday, August 30th at 10:00AM Eastern time, and occurs between the time you spent in Arcadia and your return to the Dragon's Roost.)

(Aside from writing, I'll be spending time this weekend updating the ability sheets and trying not to go cross-eyed from numbers-crunching and compression.)

(...and once again, thank you all for your continued participation, enthusiasm, and kindness. I'm glad I can resume this story with everyone, and know that I'll be checking in here over the course of the day tomorrow to drop updates, patch notes, and other art related to the quest. Take care, one and all.)
>>
>>4975396
Good to see you, and glad you're back in action, even if the numerical brain-hurting is still real. I missed you and your storm of wonderfully weird images.
>>
>>4975396
Marvelous. I'm looking forward to it, BHOP.
>>
>>4975117
are many/some of these cards going to be links you update, and just repost for the sake of easy of access?
my worry is while this significantly cuts down on the time in terms of just quick reference(compared to not having such a thing at all before), it does feel like that would still be alot of times you'd be reposting walls of stat cards and the like.
not sure if it would be more or less work(and i think 4chan cut down its global image posting size too?) but posting some info as a picture might not be the worst idea, so long as whats in it and whats in the text post is consistent.

>>4975119
>>4975122
just gotta be careful not to make things too column-y. especially as 4chan kinda prefers bars in terms of design.
maybe adding a 'BSC' for Basic, or something else that makes more logical sense, before the damage types would at least help line things up a wee bit?

BSC: | SLH | PRC | BLG| CRSH | HEAT | COLD | ACID | RAD |
ATK: | ^^^ | ^^^ | - | - | - | - | - | - |
DEF: | 20% | 20% | 20% | 20% | - | - | - | - |

while your second attempt certainly looks better the only concern is its one characters stuff alone. once you add others and others add more damage types at different levels of effect, it might start to get hard to have a reasonable amount of it on screen or being quickly glanced at once, hence my 'column vs bar' thought earlier aswell. mind exactly how much this matters will also depend on my question up top, though even in a separate link its something to keep in mind.

>>4975396
sounds good. and glad to be back.
>>
>>4975220
ah yeah i agree with BHOP, this looks amazing. nice work.
ooonly slight tweak i can think of relates back to my comment to BHOP, but with abilities now. as you add more abilities to that list there, it might look a wee bit awkward with how it stretches thing, so it might be best to drop that part down to below the rest as its own little section? would have to see it once bloated with more abilities to be fully sure though.
>>
>>4975499
Yeah, I know. Don't worry, I already collapsed it down into a data validation table like we had on the old character sheets. All the combat abilities now take up only a single large cell, and you can select between them by clicking on the arrow in the corner. Try refreshing the page and tell me if you still can't see it, if that's the case I'll know I need to do something on my end.

Also, I just realized something: There's no ELEC damage type on Francine's list. Typo, or is Electrical damage now classified as part of Heat or something like that?
>>
>>4975509
I cant but its probably the same problem with mine where if its not on 'everyone edit' mode they cant do it.
my way around that was trust(which was fucked with in this hiatus hence why its not up in the current character sheets) and having a backup version just incase someone messes with it too much, though google docs has the system letting you know and revert edits so its not usually that bad even if someone does make an unwanted change.

and yeah i was wondering about ELEC too, but chocked it up to an oversight i guess. but good catch to ask about.
>>
>>4975516
Okay, I'll see if changing from "anyone can view" to "anyone can edit" changes things. Tell me if that worked, please. And good idea about having a backup sheet.

And yeah, let's link back to one of BHOP's posts so he sees the ELEC question.

>>4975396
BHOP, a question: Francine doesn't appear to have an entry for Electricity damage in her proficiencies and resistances. Is that a type, or a change to the system?
>>
>>4975493
(I was thinking that the summary cards would be the first thing you'd see in the Google spreadsheet, attached to each skill tree for a simple glance to tell you most of what you'd need to know about a power, and then by clicking on the power you could go more in-depth if you wanted to, brows what the individual levels give you, and check out the flavor text if you're so inclined.)

(I wouldn't be posting the actual ability cards directly in the Vein, but simply linking the character sheets when combat starts for easier reference. Now, the party's health, bio, buff, debuffs, and aggro levels will be a similar format to how they were before, as attack types and resistances will be on the actual character sheets, since I realized they won't really be apt to change...and if something does happen to change mid-combat then they'll be depicted on the buff/debuff line of the actual post.)

(That said, does that kind of make sense? I can get in my own head about stuff sometimes, which is one of the reasons I wanted to confer with everyone and get these ideas out here so that they can be aired out for any residual weirdness.)

>>4975509
>>4975533
(No worries; ELEC is still an element, I just quickly whipped that table up for the sake of example.)
>>
>>4975533
yeah changing it to edit made it work.

>>4975539
that all sounds good and makes as much sense as possible without seeing the whole, complete final product in use, yes. thanks for the answers.
>>
So has Shu gotten her shit together and leveled up her personal combat abilities yet? Maybe at least figured out how to actually use her stuff to the fullest in case she's ever caught solo? Or is she still relying on the same old tricks that will only become more hazardous to use with time since she's coming under more and more scrutiny from actually powerful individuals?

I had to drop around the time Shu was resolving...I think it was issues with a mob of daughters that had started worshipping her as a god. The spreadsheet for her definitely doesn't look any different from then.
>>
>>4975539
>(That said, does that kind of make sense? I can get in my own head about stuff sometimes, which is one of the reasons I wanted to confer with everyone and get these ideas out here so that they can be aired out for any residual weirdness.)
Yeah, sounds perfectly reasonable. It's actually super easy to do, too. You can just put all the characters' combat cards in the same Google file, and then just hide the sheets for the characters not in the scene. And you could make the Abilities header a link to a character sheet like the old ones, with each skill being a separate drop-down data validation table. Give me a minute or two and I can set my example card up for that.

>(No worries; ELEC is still an element, I just quickly whipped that table up for the sake of example.)
Ah, good, that actually fills up some blank space in the card I didn't like having. Perfect.
>>
File: Angry Shu Noises.png (219 KB, 275x387)
219 KB
219 KB .png
>>4975539
oh, speaking of, as i said i had to move alot of documents off of 'edit' or even 'comment' due to... well im not even exactly sure what was going on but ill simplify it to we either had a troll or a broken hearted wanderer messing with things during this hiatus, so i did what i had to to both protect the documents and also not have as many random emails in my inbox.
while i know you long term plan to make your own versions, what all would you need/want me to get back to normal functionality for Monday? (the character abilities being the obvious one unless you have your own version good enough in the background.)

I suppose this question goes out to others aswell, i know we had a few fan compilations going on, like i think for relic ideas.
>>
>>4975553
(Well, that depends—are the character sheets you have access to different than the one I linked in the header?)
>>
>>4975550
my memory is a wee fuzzy on exactly where we left off, but i think BHOP had to call the hiatus soon after that?
that being said whiles certainly not the best on her own i dont think shes outright defenseless, probably middle ground in terms of viability. But no, regardless of delving into opinion shes not changed drastically i dont think.
>>
>>4975561
no they are the same.
though its currently on 'only can view' so the drop down arrows shouldn't be working for others(Hence background info not being hidden so others can still view the info) unless theres something else going on between mine and the other Anons Francine example.

would basically just need to double-check my backups and then flick things back onto 'edit mode' so they work properly.
>>
>>4975550
(While she's not the Absolute Unit that Rath, Julia, or even Francine are right now in melee, she can more than hold her own if she uses the Drill and Spiralis in tandem, to say nothing of Hundred-Handed's silliness.)

>>4975569
(Okay, if you'd be able to open those up on Monday, I would greatly appreciate that...as long as there are backups in case anyone tries anything weird. Once again, I really appreciate all you do; it's a tremendous help, and a huge load off my mind. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to assist.)
>>
>>4975581
And I just updated the sample sheet I made to allow linking to another sheet with in-depth ability data. You can have each different combat card link to a different sheet in the overall wider spreadsheet, too, it's a string at the end of the URL.
>>
>>4975581
will do, and its no problem.
nothing jumps to mind at the moment help wise, but i guess that will also depend on exactly how things pan out once you got things in a more proper order.
for now though, its all good and you focus on just getting your own side of things in order for sure.
>>
>>4975594
(Words cannot describe the terrible cackle of laughter that image prompted from me. Well played, my friend.)
>>
>>4975565
>>4975581
I guess I implied her technical feasibility in a fight was lower than it actually is, but she's certainly got the ability to deal damage.

My complaint is that even though she has the ability she doesn't seem really to know how to use it! And it's frustrating! I recall at one time BHOP mentioned that in his own playtesting (at the time) Shu was fully capable of winning against Rath with only a smidge of luck. At the time this caught the players' completely off guard, and just illustrates the gap between what Shu is actually capable of and the level at which we know how to utilize her abilities.

The Midnight Crew or whatever's leader is going to rape Shu's face in the duel she's owed since she's got that Hyper-Artifact sword thing, unless we figure this shit out or upgrade quick.
>>
>>4975396
Oh my god. BHOP, you're back.
I've been following this quest since the Third Vein, and it's been my favorite piece of work on this entire site, hands down. I was worried that this quest had disappeared, like so many others, and I've been checking the board regularly, just in case something like this were to pop up. I can't tell you how happy I am that you've returned, I hope you've been well.
>>
>>4976034
(Hey, that really means a lot, and thank you so much for your kind words. I'm sorry it's been so long—I was in kind of a dark place for a while, and I almost forgot how fun it is to create and share it with people that are just so cool and engaged with everything, and who have amazing things of their own to share.)

(I'm doing much better now, and I hope everything is good with you, as well.)
>>
>>4976008
I think at least part of that problem is the foes we face. Shu's ideal for spacing play, with the mobility and mid-range attacks to hypothetically keep any foe constantly frustrated trying to get at us. But we fight so many ultra-fast melee combatants who rush right up to our faces, or foes with really good ranged attacks, that we don't get to play our ideal role as often as we'd like. I think we need to use more Rooks in our battle plans. That tele-swapping would let us get away from fast attackers more easily. And we've got enough Bio now that we can spawn them more or less with impunity.

>>4976037
Well, I'm glad to hear you're feeling better now, BHOP. Your stuff has helped me through some dark times of my own, give me something to look forward to, so it's good to hear that doing this is good for your mental condition, too.
>>
>>4976037
It's been some time! But nothing that you need to apologize for, everybody deserves to take time for themselves. I've been in my share of dark places as well in the past, same as a ton of other people on this site. Pulling oneself out of that place is a major struggle, and people who find the strength to do that are champions. If you're feeling better, I am so very glad to hear that.

And I've been doing really well this past while, thanks for asking! You're honestly the most wholesome QM ever, it's so refreshing to see.
>>
File: Patch Notes.jpg (130 KB, 579x600)
130 KB
130 KB .jpg
(Hello, Dear Readers. In the next two posts you'll find the header cards for most of Shu's abilities, minus Trypophilic Hive as I'm re-working the Swarmling cheatsheet to be a lot clearer and concise. Let me know if anything feels off or could be explained better, and I appreciate your time.)

(The post after this will hit some of the high points of how some trees were altered in the intervening months, and as before, let me know what you think.)

(Continued)
>>
>>4976070

TRYPOPHILIC HIVE: **Link updated Hive Mistress Cheat-Sheet here**

RAVENOUS MAW: An abdominal mouth whose teeth inflict SEVERE SLASH + PIERCE DAMAGE and deal more damage the lower a foe’s HEALTH is. Also boasts a tongue that can be used to augment mobility or yank foes into melee, an action that deals an automatic CRIT for 6x damage,

HUNDRED-HANDED: Spend 3% BIO to summon additional limbs from yourself, your constructs, your allies, or even the limbs themselves. 300% BIO encases you in a defensive barrier or arms that boasts its own HEALTH pool, and each active limb grants a small stacking bonus to their own ATK, CRIT, and to Shu’s evasion.

MURDEROUS FLOCK: Spend 10% BIO to spawn a single murderous crow that deals HIGH SLASH + PIERCE damage. Crow Max: 10.

SPIRITUS EX TESTA: Out of combat, can craft a humanoid shell occupied by one’s own Dream Daughter that is able to use an echo of the powers they wielded in life. They benefit from any powers that boost Swarmlings, have HIGH resistance against ALL damage types, and acts before anyone else when acting to protect you.

PSYCHICA SPIRALIS (Fear to Tread + Neurotic Halo): Spend 200% BIO to make a short-range field that protects you and allies, negates involuntary movement within the AoE, and trumps other terrain effects. NEUROTIC HALO counter damage is doubled if triggered in this field.

NEUROTIC HALO (+ Fear to Tread = Psychica Spiralis): 2 modes; prime a 1/combat counter that automatically evades an attack and deals a devastating counter OR make yourself immune to mental intrusion and Neuromancy recoil. Also grants Truesight and Longvision up to 1km away. +5 DREAM resistance.

FEAR TO TREAD (+ Neurotic Halo = Psychica Spiralis): You may distort the ground around you to make it difficult terrain for anyone but you or your allies, and foes caught in this shift are knocked prone and potentially stunned. Allies moving through this zone are sped up considerably.

DOMINUS BLOODLINE (Amethyst Jack + Exsanguinating Leash): Can tether yourself to allies, increasing their HEALTH REGEN + BIO REGEN by ½ of baseline. Tethered constructs auto-activate regen when damaged. May shuffle ACTs between yourself and allied tethered targets.

EXSANGUINATING LEASH (+ Amethyst Jack = Dominus Bloodline): Can tether yourself to foes to reduce their HEALTH and BIO REGEN by 1/2 and transfer it to you, dealing SEVERE BLEED damage over time. Max Target: 2.

AMETHYST JACK (+ Exsanguinating Leash =Dominus Bloodline): Spend 10% BIO per unit to make tendrils that can exert limited control over Daughters, Amalgams, Constructs, Terrain (permanently, if you so choose), and Liquids. Can lock down a foe’s random skill or try to hijack them entirely. Cord Range: Medium.

(Continued)
>>
>>4976071

HEAVEN’S DRILL: Spend 80% BIO or 50% HEALTH you transform a limb into a bio-mechanical drill that deals MASSIVE PIERCING damage that IGNORES all PIERCING resistance. When attacking, you may move up to 2 zones towards a foe, bypassing any barriers in the way and gaining a bonus to your attack for each one you break through. If it hits, the damage this ability deals cannot be reduced. Attempting to block or counter this attack will instead make it an auto-CRIT dealing 3x damage.

MURPHY’S MANDATE: Passive 20% chance for a foe's constructs and Relics to be generated as malformed creations.
~~~PATCH NOTES~~~

**Gluttonous Brood now has the tag that if you have a Humoral Paladin ability, you automatically siphon the HEALTH gain to you directly without the healing getting lost with the swarmlings' death. Just makes a lot less things to track, and I hated how useless the original power ended up being.

**Ravenous Maw crit chance increased from 4x to 6x, will just keep increasing. Damage buffed as well..

**Hundred-Handed’s damage boosted, levels compressed further as tree’s future capabilities have been drastically expanded.

***Exsanguinating Leash now siphons both HEALTH REGEN + BIO REGEN, Cleaned up some wording.

**Spiritus shells now boast 2 Lvls (later 3) of Resistance against all damage types, in addition to the resistances your other Hive Mistress trees already grant. Made much studier across the board, with less fiddling to deal with overall.

***Removed REV-UP mechanic from Fear to Tread and its later hybrid Psychica Sprialis; it was never really used, and Spiralis has been buffed to compensate.

**Heaven’s Drill damage *cannot* be reduced by resistance from any source. However, it may still be evaded.

(And there we go. I'm updating Gina's next as I keep an eye on the Vein. Francine's short story is ready to post tomorrow morning, and I'll be spending the rest of the day updating as I go along. Thank you for your advice, input, and inspiration, and I do hope your day is going well.)

>>4976038
(I'm truly glad to hear that I've helped, Anon.)

>>4976041
(Ha, I'm glad to hear 'wholesome' is something that can be associated to this particular slice of the internet. People can't believe it when I tell them I've found such kind people here, but hey—you and the other players are just that great.)
>>
>>4976038
I think that your thoughts on Shu's ideal role is part of the problem. If Shu invested more points into Ravenous Maw and Heaven's Drill then she'd be absolutely ridiculous in melee combat, more than able to go toe-to-toe against the best ones we've seen.

Instead we get pedestrian spacing tactics like you describe against melee foes, and awkwardly employing currently melee attacks against ranged specialists. It's just such a bland way of fighting.
>>
>>4976076
(Also, before anyone asks; the stars next to each patch note mean nothing, they're just shorthand to let me know 'hey, look at this thing!' That's all.)
>>
>>4976077
(In the players' defense, I feel like having the skill trees be so lengthy has made it so that they're worried about investing too much into certain skill trees, or there's kind of an analysis paralysis going on with so much to juggle.)

(Part of the reason I want to compress and streamline everything isn't just for voting and combat; it's also to encourage the sort of experimentation that the system encourages.)
>>
>>4976077
Sorry for the late response, had some stuff to take care of:

I think in a sense we're both right, because the real problem is that Shu is built for a style that we never really remember to use. Shu should be an amazing spacer. We never use her spacing kit right. We get rushed down and we respond by trying to melee back with the occasional awkward dodge, instead of re-locating and forcing the enemy to waste their time and get hit by our auto-attack Ravenous Maw again. So we're doing the worst of both worlds, really. We don't have the build for pure melee, or the tactics for proper spacing.

How about we try playing Shu as a striker character, then? I think that could fit both her capabilities and our predilections when playing her. Fast melee action, bursting in and out of enemies' melee range. Cover ourselves with Hundred Hands for the evasion bonus, Ravenous Maw bungie-tongue into melee ignoring terrain with Psychica Spiralis, hit with the Maw, Drill, or a Lionheart stab injecting a bunch of parasites, then teleport out with a Rook to avoid the enemy's counterattack. It would be dynamic and let Shu set the pace instead of awkwardly responding to others, it would make good use of her kit, and it would look cool.

And yeah, we'll get some more points into Ravenous Maw and Heaven's Drill, because you're right that we need some more investment in those. I think we just got so invested in the idea of finishing out Trypophilic HIve and Spiritus Ex Testa. Those have definitely been worth investing in, but they're also a level sink. Hopefully with the trees being compressed down now, we'll be less obsessed with improving our constructs and let Shu's other toys get some upgrades
>>
>>4976071
So does Ravenous Maw no longer have its auto attack on enemies entering our melee range for the first time in a round? What about its bonus damage to constructs? I kind of liked how that made Shu a blender against enemy swarmlings, eating up anything that tried to swarm her. Are those parts just not on the quick sheet, or moved into later in the skill with how it's been compressed, or what?
>>
>>4976346
(It's been shifted to further down the skill tree, but not by much. It's also been drastically enhanced, in that if the tongue destroys a construct with its auto-attack, it automatically does off cool-down and triggers yet again. There are no limits to how many times this ability can activate consecutively.)

(I really liked the concept, and it's expanded even further the closer you get to the tree's capstone.)
>>
>>4976371
Ooh, neat. Yeah, let's definitely put some points into Ravenous Maw, then. Be a swarmling-blending machine. Possibly literally, if we hybridize it with Heaven's Drill and wind up with rotary cutting action.
>>
>>4976379
(And I'll say this to remove any ambiguity; what I've described is acquired by ravenous Maw's next level, so you're not going to have to do much to get it into better shape. It's the Maw's Lvl 5 ability, and due to compression it's Lvl. 4 currently out of 10, total, as it was Holly's Core.)
>>
>>4976071
maybe its just because im the one who has to stare at the sheets constantly to update them, but just comparing these snippets vs the whole knowledge we currently have my brain at least isnt really picking up on major differences in the first place, with the only instant one stnding out is

>deals a devastating counter OR make yourself immune to mental intrusion and Neuromancy recoil.
>OR
as i dont remember this being and OR before.

otherwise i guess ill withhold judgement til i can compare the actual levels to the actual levels. sorry i know thats not that helpful BHOP but i think its just a 'auto gap fil' and too much of being used to one thing to compare a snippet version and be able to properly tell whats different over possibly just simplified for a quick rundown, or something.

oh, i guess the only other thing that i might be seeing is some abilities having more damage types, but that part im unsure of if thats whats happened or if they gained both and i just didn't remember due to them gaining one or the other at different levels.

>>4976076
as for this one...

>Gluttonous Brood
huh, i mean this was a more or less semi-automatic thing so i guess on our end we never could even tell if it was working much or not.
>>
>>4976436
>huh, i mean this was a more or less semi-automatic thing so i guess on our end we never could even tell if it was working much or not.
Yeah, we were never really clear how much Health we had stored up in the brood, so we never made much use of it. Making it fully automatic makes it a lot simpler on our end.
>>
>>4976077
Shus the leader though and we cant ignore that while she should be at least viable on her own, she also needs to fit into the team well too. as both the tactics leader and a swarm user, it just doesn't make sense for her to focus on always dashing into battle when others have plenty of that going on and Shu can often very legitimately spend her action points in more meaningful ways for the team. hers kits kinda exactly where it needs to be. spaced out well enough to where shes providing multiple avenues for ranged and support actions while also having melee options available for when she needs it. it may be 'boring' but well, for one thats just an opinion, but more importantly, it isnt as much so(again, an opinion) when taken into account the teamplay we usually do.

its also ignoring at her core shes a swarm user who in theory could fight without even being on the battlefield at all. obviously for character reason if nothing else, not her style, but we cant ignore how much everything built off her core, both as an individual and as a leader. even alone trying to be too aggressive goes against a big part of her kit at times. and just as importantly, it goes against her uniqueness as a character to try and shift her harder from an 'all arounder' to heavily into her melee build. she just doesnt need it. Maw and Drill are supplementary skills good enough where they are. she has plenty of options under her belt and would do better trying to keep them balanced, which i think we've actually done pretty well at.
lord know neither Drill nor Maw are weak right now even against strong opponents, once we are able to get a solid hit in. especially Maw. I think the issue moreso is you see us not USE them that often, not that they cant currently do anything, but again, that wraps back around to the point that they're supplementary to both Shus role in the team and to her core power itself.
>>
>>4976444
>>4976436
(With Gluttonous Brood, you'll also know exactly how much you heal each turn, so you'll also have a decent idea of how much damage your swarm's doing overall.)

>>i think its just a 'auto gap fil' and too much of being used to one thing to compare a snippet version and be able to properly tell whats different over possibly just simplified for a quick rundown, or something.

(No worries, and I think for those of us that've been so immersed in it for so long, it's not going to really feel different until you look at the skill trees that used to be half a dozen levels deep with all this fluff in the way as opposed to a handful of easily-read cards.)

(I always appreciate input—like I said, sometimes I just need to air things out and get different eyes on them in order to get on the right track, when it comes to systems and the like.)
>>
Wait what? Holy fucking shit he's actually back.
Welcome back, BHOP!
>>
>>4976854
(It's great to be back! I'll be posting the start of an interlude starring Francine in about an hour from now, and then after maybe one or two more side-stories I'll open Vein 48, resuming where we last left off with Shu and crew.)
>>
>>4976445
You make fair points, but let me bring up some counterpoints. If you feel like I misconstrued any of your points please mention it, but I'm not necessarily going to 'refute' your points because they're all valid just explain why I feel they miss the mark.
>Shu's the leader, and uses her actions meaningfully with toolkit as is
Shu is the team leader, and so far she has certainly been able to undertake meaningful actions in every fight whether team based or solo. However, let me point out a few things
-In any team fight Shu is a priority target since she's the leader
-Even aside from being in fights Shu's a priority target since she's the leader, and accordingly is the single most likely person in the crew to be deliberately isolated from support
-In a world where you can never truly be safe the most important person to a group should feature the best toolkit in order to give them the best chances of survival
-Although Shu's been able to meaningfully support the team so far, that is not rendered untrue by investing more into abilities that have been relatively unloved up til now. In fact I'd argue we MUST do that since Shu's a skinternet celeb and her main toolkit is only going to be increasingly analyzed and known as time goes on.

>it goes against her uniqueness as a character to try and shift her harder from an 'all arounder' to heavily into her melee build
My point is that right now she's not an 'all arounder' she's significantly weaker in melee than anywhere else, it's a problem that could be easily fixed by putting points into those two two trees (and hundred-handed too) and so we should do that ASAP before continuing down the lines that our enemies expect us to go down.

>>4976334
I think Shu as a striker character is a much better paradigm than how we've been playing her so far.
>>
File: The Doctor's Plan.jpg (420 KB, 1170x1500)
420 KB
420 KB .jpg
You open your eyes and come face-to-face with what you truly are.

Muscle. Veins. A pair of lungs, frantically expanding and contracting a meter away from your open chest. Your heart’s pounding. You know it is, even if you can’t feel it—you can see it, just to your right as it thrums away in the dim golden haze, held in place by an artificial cradle of raw bone and shimmering thread.

A wide mirror throws your own tortured form back into your unblinking gaze, lids peeled back along with the rest of you. You’d turn away if you could, but you’ve been stripped down to something that shouldn’t be alive. You can’t move. You can’t turn away. All you can do is stare at your own flayed reflection as a figure steps from behind you, white coat turned a sickly yellow by the organic amber light cast from something out of sight.

“Ah, there’s a good girl.” Purrs the woman before you, eyes alight with glistening pride at the thing you’ve been reduced to. “Tell me your name, won’t you?”

Your jaw works somewhere below your eyes. You can hear it grinding, struggling to utter your name despite every neuron howling from an agony held at bay, just far enough away from your mind to allow you to comprehend your position.

Your name…

Your name is-

Oh God.

“Marvelous, Darling! Simply marvelous! ” The woman declares, clapping her gloved hands in front of her as she spins in place. “You’ve come a remarkably long way! Now tell me…”

Reaching out with utmost care, she pivots your skull to the left to reveal the source of the flaxen light. It takes you a few long, terrible seconds to comprehend what you’re looking at, even as it returns your gaze with a pair of pleading eyes.

“...who’s that~?”

A woman’s form has been entwined with something that defies definition. A pair of radiant spheres pulse gently, nestled within her hollow frame as a quartet of obsidian spires curve towards her in terrible silence. She’s like you—torn asunder, picked apart, remade into an unspeakable thing for some arcane purpose.

But despite everything—despite the pain, the fear, the nightmare of it all?

You know her.

You could never forget her eyes. How could she be here, too?

You could never forget your REDACTED.

Your jaw works, and a sound comes out that you can barely hear...and it’s one that causes the doctor’s face to darken with chilling disappointment.

“Ah. Another reset, then.” She sighs, turning you back to stare helplessly at her furrowed brow. She reaches behind your head, and you feel an impossible pressure as she pulls something shiny and grey from just out of sight, running her finger along the raw material of thought as she looks for something only she can see.

With purpose, she places her index finger on your unraveled grey matter, and you can feel more of you slipping away as your world goes white.

“Try and get it right this time, won’t you Beta?”

(Continued)
>>
>>4977120

She takes, and she takes, and she takes.

She stole your name.

She erased your life.

She took REDACTED from you.

She hollowed you out, and filled you with her. It used to be that you didn’t have anything left to lose. You made certain of that. But now?

Shu, November, Gina, Rath, Julia, Dorian. Kind little Amara, too.

You…

You can’t bear to—

You jolt awake, and for a single panicked moment the yellow light of your desk lamp reminds you of the woman whose face you can’t escape. Breathe in, breathe out. Hands on your knees to stop the trembling. Focus. You’ve weathered this before, and you can do it again. Where are you? *Who* are you?

Your gloves are on your desk, and as you stare down at your white-knuckled hands the details you find there fill you with relief. Your fingertips are frayed, slowly pulling themselves back together as golden thread winds itself back into your own familiar digits. Verdant tendrils squirm just beneath the skin on the back of your hands, their agitation slowing with every measured breath you take. The sound of familiar voices just outside help to root you in the here and now, as they always do. Gina’s talking with November about something you can’t quite make out, and a high-pitched squeal of laughter makes you wonder what Amara’s getting up to as Johanna looses a hearty laugh. Shu will be back soon, and then you’ll all debrief. She’ll tell you the plan, and it’ll all be okay.

You’re here. You’re whole.

You’re home.

Your first name is Francine. Your last name is one you’d much rather forget.

And despite your best efforts, the apocalypse is starting to wear on you.

True, you’ve only been conscious for the better part of three or four months, your previous identity stripped from you and replaced with the mental paradigm of the world’s most dangerous psychopath. The relative brevity of your existence has been fraught with more events than normal humans typically cram into a lifetime, but you certainly can’t discount the good that’s come at the end of the world, either.

“Doc?”

When you were at your lowest, ready to throw your life away to strike a blow at the heart of evil, a figure appeared to lead you down a different path.

“Doctor?”

Shu, the Defiant, Hunter of Gods. A savior, born from nothing, and yet who’s found herself at the very heart of—

“DOCT-”

“Hrng?!”

You nearly topple out of your chair when you’re snapped back to reality, your self-reflection cut short by the sudden interruption of…

“Orwell. Forgive me, I must’ve dozed off.” You hastily explain, re-establishing your center of balance as you settle back into your office chair. “How may I assist you?”

(Continued)
>>
>>4977122

Orwell simply raises a finger to her lips with a conspiratorial ‘hush’, glancing back to the living room of the Dragon’s Roost before gingerly closing the door behind her. The lanky teen shuffles closer, hands held behind her and glancing about the room guiltily as you cock an eyebrow at the suspicious young woman.

“Hey, uh, so...nothing to worry about, and don’t make a big fuss, but…” The blonde mutters, presenting you with…

...good heavens.

Orwell’s brought her hand into the dim light of your desk lamp, illuminating her bruised and battered left hand. It takes barely a glance to surmise from size and discoloration alone that she’s suffering from a compound fracture, her hand swelling by the second as it shifts into an ever-darkening shade of purple before your eyes. For such a formidable young woman, Orwell doesn’t seem to have prioritized physical regeneration in the slightest...or more troublingly, perhaps this is after her natural healing’s run its course.

“So tell me, how’d this come about?” You murmur, gesturing at the seat beside you. Orwell obliges you, extending her trembling hand and wincing when you gently take it in both of yours.

“...Amara.”

You raise both eyebrows, this time.

“She didn’t mean it!” Orwell adds hastily, hissing as you turn her hand over and trace the growing bruises with the gloved fingers of your right hand. “She was just so excited after everything went so well with the Flies, and she led me by the hand all the way back here, and-”

She winces again, from even as slight a touch as your expert handling.

“Shit...she doesn’t even know she hurt me, actually. Superfan’s too strong for her own good...or maybe just for mine.”

“It’s a simple enough job. Hold still Darling, that’ll only take a moment.” You say, ignoring her timid explanations in favor of delicately removing your right glove, bare fingertips unfurling into golden tendrils, gossamer threads that shimmer in the quiet lamplight. Painlessly, they weave into the younger girl’s tender flesh, probing for damage and leaving bits of themselves behind as your biomass moves to repair the damage that’s been done. A few seconds pass, and by the time you withdraw your hand from Orwell’s, no trace remains of the shattered digits and bruised muscle. It’s clean, perfect...surgical.

You can’t help but glower a little at how good you’ve been made to be. At the fruits of skills that aren’t quite your own.

(Continued)
>>
>>4977123

“Th-thanks.” Orwell says, the teen’s sheepish chuckle forcing you back to the here and now. “Think I’ll be a little more careful around superfan for the time being…’least until I get a little stronger, myself.”

“You do seem rather under-leveled. The nature of your powers, Shu mentioned.” You reply, leaning back in your chair as you give the girl a once-over. It’s impressive, really—one of the Crucible’s most well-known figures, and she’s only about as strong as you were when Shu first extended the offer of companionship.

“Eh, I really do need to step up my game if I’m gonna hang with the big leagues. I mean, you’ve been seriously amping up, and you’ve been hanging with the Defiants, what...like two months, now? Maybe three?”

“How did...ah.”

The Fleshscape’s premier entertainer and reconnaissance expert. Of course she’d have kept tabs on you.

“It’s not like I've been stalking you or anything!” The teen suddenly exclaims, waving her hands in front of you as if to dispel any bad impressions. “Just what’s been posted on the forums and whatnot.”

“Well-informed as always.” You muse aloud, retrieving your gloves from the table and tugging them back on. “I assume there are files on me and the rest of the West Collective?”

“It’s all just rumors and snippets, mostly. I’d much rather get my info straight from the source.” Orwell slyly counters. Ah, there it is. Giving the girl a once-over, you briefly wonder if she broke her own hand for the sake of an ‘in’ before shaking off your suspicions.

“Would you be open to talking? Doesn’t have to be anything super-formal, or anything.” She continues innocently. “I figure the more I know about everyone...like, *really* know...the more I can set my fans straight, y’know?”

To your surprise you find the urge to dismiss this child’s clumsy prodding isn’t as overwhelming as you’d thought it would be. Maybe it’s the fact you just woke up from that same damnable dream, or maybe you’re just tired...but you’re entertaining the notion, nonetheless.

>>...Fine. You may as well give the girl what she wants, here and now. It’ll be a while before Shu, Dorian, and the others wrap up in Arcadia, after all.

>>You need to clear your head. Invite the girl for a walk outside of the Dragon’s Roost, and maybe some ‘fresh’ air can help you get a better sense of her intentions.

>>You’ve no interest in anything resembling an interview, but the prospect of a conversation does sound nice, if just to get out of your own head for a moment. Maybe someone else would be up to talking? (Choose another ally or Dream Daughter to converse with.)

>>You just need to be alone for a minute. Send Orwell on her way, and reflect on things until Shu gets back...maybe take a walk by yourself?

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, Dear Readers. I hope this Monday morning finds you well.)

(As Mondays typically go I'll let you know when to expect the next update, though I expect it to be shortly after the voting period closes. Given my increased responsibilities at work and my unusual home schedule I'll have to find a new rhythm to settle into, so thank you all in advance for bearing with me.)
>>
>>4977124
>>...Fine. You may as well give the girl what she wants, here and now. It’ll be a while before Shu, Dorian, and the others wrap up in Arcadia, after all.
>>
>>4977119
well honestly this just boils down to pure opinion differences between us, so i apologize if it feels like a cop out but,
>My point is that right now she's not an 'all arounder' she's significantly weaker in melee than anywhere else,
the fact i just dont at all feel this is true along with
>investing more into abilities that have been relatively unloved up til now.
just gives me nothing to say, because, well, its just pure opinion whether these are true or not.

but i also at least didn't want to leave you hanging with no reply at all.
>>
>>4977152
I suppose it does just come down to differences in opinion, doesn't it? Oh well.
>>
>>4977120
I think I remember Francine suggesting that she and Alpha had some sort of prior relationship, given that they were captured and converted into Proxies at the same time. Looks like she was going off of more than just supposition, there's some emotional connection she can barely recall.

>>4977124
>>You need to clear your head. Invite the girl for a walk outside of the Dragon’s Roost, and maybe some ‘fresh’ air can help you get a better sense of her intentions.
Sure, we'll talk. But not right here. What if someone else overheard? Amara has super-senses and is the next room over. At least outside, it's only Skin Talkers who can hear us, and Orwell can scramble those.

Also, wow, Amara managed to fracture Orwell's hand? Jesus, Orwell, this construct-body you're using (I refuse to believe this is the real you, after Mara and Magpie) needs some levels put into it. But also, we need to give Amara a talk about not accidentally ripping people's hands off. That's a very real possibility for children these days.
>>
>>4977124
The first vote in so long. God, it's good to be back.

Combine these two:

>>...Fine. You may as well give the girl what she wants, here and now. It’ll be a while before Shu, Dorian, and the others wrap up in Arcadia, after all.
>>You need to clear your head. Invite the girl for a walk outside of the Dragon’s Roost, and maybe some ‘fresh’ air can help you get a better sense of her intentions.

Have an interview while going for a walk. Some movement can really help to get a good conversation going.
>>
(I'll be updating in the next hour and a half or so, everyone, and I do hope your Monday is going well.)
>>
>>4977124

…Fine, you’ll bite.

“Very well, though I’d prefer to conduct this in relative privacy.” You decide, rising from your chair and plucking your white lab coat from the tan calcite hook it hangs from. “Care for a walk?”

The teen gives a quick, enthusiastic nod of assent, and as you open the door to the living room of the Dragon’s Roost—once the domain of the enigmatic Marrow Dragoon, and bequeathed to Shu after she and her allies proved themselves capable of not only felling titans but also working alongside the obstinate (if formidable) Midnight Crew.

From the sleek bar setup just to your right to the modern-chic design of the furnishings, and even down to the overly-plush couches and the ever-stuffed FuzzBuzz pit, it’s all so very stark. It looks so clean, so domestic, and so…delightfully normal.

A glance to out the windows to your right reminds you where you really are.

The viscous scarlet light of the Fleshscape is held at bay just outside, endless fields of meat curving into the horizon. Amalgams, Daughters, and other alien terrors stalk those imposing plains…and somewhere off to the distant west lies the end of it all; the Cord. The Crucible’s pinnacle and Shu’s final destination, there was once a time where you thought it wholly irrelevant to your mission of revenge. But now? You know you’ll one day bear witness to whatever lies in that cursed spire…it’s inevitable, really. If at first you’d hoped to deal as much damage to your creator as possible from afar, you know now that your path and hers are on an impending trajectory. Two vectors, destined to meet before the end of all things.

She’s there.

She’s waiting.

“So, what would you like for me to clear up?”

You only feel comfortable voicing the question once you and Orwell have put some considerable distance between you and Shu’s home, you and the young woman having matched each other’s pace as you walk north in the shadow of the Calcite Cliffs.

“Nothing too out there, but there was something I was kinda curious about.” She begins as you glance up at the jagged spires of bone that loom over you both, the regular spacing of the spines reminding you of the spine of some ancient beast. “What do you want to do after this? There’s a ton of speculation on the net.”

“I’d very much enjoy a dreamless sleep.” You reply wearily. When a response doesn’t come, you turn to the younger girl to find her rather perturbed, and your unfortunate choice of phrasing becomes clear. “I meant nothing so macabre, darling. I have the sneaking suspicion that Shu wouldn’t let me even if I wanted to…”

“Ah. Good.” Orwell says, a little relieved sigh escaping her drawn lips before her brow furrows a bit. “…and you don’t want to, right? Not anymore, anyway?”

“No.” You reply quietly. It’s not always the truth, but it’s truer than it had been before you got wrapped up with the Defiant, at least.

(Continued)
>>
>>4977408

“To answer plainly, I’ll do everything in my power to assist in whatever course of action Shu deems necessary.” You continue, sliding your hands into your pockets as an unusually chill breeze rolls down from the ivory cliffs and across the raw terrain. “After the debrief I’d imagine that further westward exploration will-”

“No no, I mean after the Crucible.” Orwell quickly interjects, and you’re not sure what sort of expression you make but it’s one that has the girl opposite you once again waving her hands frantically in front of her grimacing face. “No need to panic, this isn’t a test or anything! Actually, this isn’t really even an interview…I’m sorry if I came across like it was.”

“You did.” Comes your curt reply, though you have to admit that you you’re a little intrigued by her course of questioning. “Come to think of it, you asked Shu the same thing in your interview with her. Why echo it here, with me? Do you devote that much thought to what comes after all this?”

“Don’t you?” She counters, and you’re a little taken aback by just how earnest the question is, coming from this miniature media mogul.

“I’ll admit that I haven’t, no. Between my duties and studies, I haven’t had much bandwidth to think about the future, insofar as it concerns me. I mean, I’m functionally only a few months old, and most of that time’s been devoted to progressing the plans of others, or my own self-destructive pursuits.”

It’s this last comment that prompts Orwell to smirk before asking; “So waddya wanna be when you grow up? Come on, first thing that pops into your head!”

A sound escapes your nose that’s only slightly more laugh that snort, if you’re being generous…but she brings up a good point. With everything that you’ve busied yourself with, you haven’t given much thought to the future past whatever lies at the Cord…to what *your* future could really look like, if you gave it a chance.

>>…Physician, if such a thing is needed in the world to come. You have the know-how and the skill set, all wrapped up with a bow when you woke up in the Crucible…far be it from you to turn your nose up at such an obvious path.

>>Maybe some sort of…orientation guide? To help get people up to speed on whatever world Shu ends up creating? It sounds kind of silly now that you’re thinking about it, but that might be helpful, and you’d certainly have no shortage of work…

>>…You’re a little embarrassed to admit it, but you had more fun working with November’s shells than you expected. Metal over meat sounds like a refreshing change of pace in the long-term, actually…

>>Skirt the question for now and ask Orwell something instead…she said this is more of a conversation than an interview, so here’s her chance to prove it. Something about this line of questioning make you uneasy for reasons you can’t quite place.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next four hours, with posting to resume in roughly five as I finish a few end-of-day errands.)
>>
>>4977414
>>>…You’re a little embarrassed to admit it, but you had more fun working with November’s shells than you expected. Metal over meat sounds like a refreshing change of pace in the long-term, actually…
>>
>>4977414
>>Write-In
>>You hadn't considered the future, but... once the Crucible is over, this is how things are going to be. Humanity, possessing inhuman powers and impossible bodies. There is so much to discover and learn, if people are to use these abilities responsibly. Maybe a researcher, to delve into the secrets of the Crucible for the sake of ensuring that humanity can benefit from them. If West relentlessly pursued the truth, regardless of how many lives she destroyed along the way, then you shall be her opposite - a scientist who wishes to better the lives of others, as opposed to a destroyer.
>>
>>4977414
>>…You’re a little embarrassed to admit it, but you had more fun working with November’s shells than you expected. Metal over meat sounds like a refreshing change of pace in the long-term, actually…
this one stuck out to me personally as a nice kinda middle ground. a good way for her to take Wests natural curiosity and make it her own, rather than fully fighting it as if it has to be a bad thing.
>>
>>4977414
>>…You’re a little embarrassed to admit it, but you had more fun working with November’s shells than you expected. Metal over meat sounds like a refreshing change of pace in the long-term, actually…

This quest is fucking mood.
>>
>>4977414
>>Write-In
>For all that you hate the mania that West gave you along with it, you do love satisfying your curiosity with the world. You'd like it if you could channel that into productive ends. Become a researcher or engineer. Solve problems, find ways or make things that help people. You're not sure of the specifics, yet, the thought is still forming. Perhaps machinery? You do enjoy the time you've spent working on November's cybernetics...
>Also...while it's a little silly, you'd also like to try your hand at art. Maybe you could even merge it in with your more practical pursuits. There's nothing saying that form must be sacrificed for function, surely? It would be nice if your creations weren't just things that made people's lives better, but also made the world more beautiful. The world could use it, after the Crucible.

I think that Francine is a very artistically-minded person. It might be some spillover from West Prime's "mad artist" schtick, expressed without the sociopathy, but the origin doesn't matter so much. When she was showing off the cyberframes to November, she presented them like they were her latest fall fashion line. She also clearly enjoyed herself playing MC to our little body horror promenade show. And in this little mini-story, she's focusing a lot on aesthetic details of her environment, like the furnishing design of the Dragon's Roost or how a line of bone spikes resembles the vertebrae of some giant creature. I think that whatever she does, she'd enjoy herself a great deal more if she could express that artistic leaning through her work.
>>
>>4977552
will say regardless of anything else, seeing Julia and Dorian go all giddy over the idea of Francine wanting to try her hand at art would be pretty cute.
>>
>>4977559
Oh, that would be adorable. I wasn't even thinking of that. Nice catch.
>>
>>4977414
Supporting>>4977552
>>
(Ah, for once my timing estimates are holding true. I'll post the next update in the next 45 minutes from this post, and that will likely be the one to close the evening out. Does 10AM work for everyone as a tentative start time going forward?)
>>
File: 79761543_p8.png (31 KB, 850x500)
31 KB
31 KB .png
>>4977667
works well enough for me.
>>
>>49775522
Supporting this, sounds cute
>>
File: Heather Neeson, Mk. 2.jpg (326 KB, 756x1121)
326 KB
326 KB .jpg
>>4977414

“I…I like machines. Working on them.” You begin, the awkward declaration prompting a tinge of red in your cheeks.

“Oh, from your time with the Disassociated, right!” Orwell exclaims excitedly, connecting the dots as her eyes light up. “What’cha like about it?”

“Organic systems are perfectly serviceable, certainly…there’s just something about the rhythm of machines that’s…comforting, in a way?” You begin, trying to put into words something that had been largely unconscious action. “Tinkering with biomass for me is typically a restoration of form, the repair of damage, and a return to the status quo...but with machinery, I feel as though I can really push the limits of both form and function. It's a sort of algorithm, if that makes sense? it’s always a challenge to pinch and prod it to get the most out of it with the least amount of energy loss. A strive for perfection that’s easy to lose oneself in.”

“There’s a level of artistry there too, yeah?” Orwell gently prompts. “Superfan told me about the work you did on November’s shells, and I gotta say her current body is sophisticated as all hell compared to the first one you cranked out. She said you gave November a pick of several in addition to providing the frame Shu let Sam run around in, so did you do anything else like that with the Disassociated?”

“I...I did, yes. Until Prime stationed me there most upgrades were pure function, no form. No finesse, I suppose.” You admit, reflecting on your spent time with those that sought to abandon the flesh entirely. “Once I realized I had a talent for weaving biological and mechanical into fluid, cohesive forms, something about my particular style drew a fair amount of requests.”

“Such as?”

“Demands for mobility typically revolved around simple treads or wheel-based platforms if there was work to be done within the base, and a variety of legs for whatever assignments the Disassociated demanded of their scouts. I tended to lean more towards multi-use limbs, with a variety of functions combined into an elegant form. Two weeks in I was commissioned to construct a frame built for endurance but with enough dexterity required for precise fieldwork and sample-gathering, I interviewed the young woman they were sending out to get a feel for what would best serve her in her duties, and as we talked she…well, she kept making references to cats. Big ones, small ones, about how nimble they were. She wanted a frame that could move like that, and I constructed a variable frame that resembled...a cheetah. To this day I still don’t know what I was thinking.”

“Well? Did she like it?”

(Continued)
>>
>>4977718

“Oh, she did. It feels rather childish of me to have made something so exotic, in retrospect, but even though she’d given up her face for an armored casing with an embedded sensory array I could tell she was thrilled.” You recall, smiling despite yourself. “The council was hardly pleased with how long it took to construct, so I didn’t get to go all-out like that very often, but I received quite a few requests to spruce up pre-existing shells or tweak ones fresh out of the forges...it certainly made me popular with our scouting teams, if not with R&D.”


It’s only after you finish your musings that you realize at some point during your discussion you stopped trudging forward, content to stand still and reflect, hands in your pockets as a cool breeze continues to blow in the calcite peaks’ welcome shade. Turning to your traveling companion, you find that Orwell’s fixed you with a look; you’re not quite sure what to make of the soft smile on her thin lips, or the wistful look in her large eyes.

“That’s really beautiful.”

“Pardon?”

“You made something that’s so wholly, uniquely *you*. Form and function as one? That’s art, Francine. You’re an artist.”

“I would beg to differ.” Comes your dismissive reply, even as something strange works in your throat. “Julia and Dorian are the artists. I like to tinker, and that’s—”

“You were a mecha fashion designer. The most *popular* mecha fashion designer in the Disassociated, might I add.” Orwell suddenly says with a wide grin, and you scrunch up your nose at the comparison.

“What? No. Goodness no, I—” You begin to protest before the reality of what you were doing settles in. “...I...suppose I was, wasn’t I?”

“I suppose you were.” Orwell nods, still smiling. “And it sounds like you were really good at it, too."

“It was a niche sort of thing, though. I don’t even know what the world will look like after all this, but if we retain our powers in part or in whole then the need for my hobby wouldn’t—”

“It’s not just me that sees you’ve got a style all your own.” Orwell interrupts, her voice firm even as it’s laced with a smile. “I read up on your forums, and everyone’s really impressed with the work you did on November. There’s a lot of them on there who’d love to see what you can do with fashion, architecture, or even prosthe—”

“*My* forums?” You pointedly interrupt with a scowl. “Are you telling me there are multiple slices of the Skinternet for discussion about me?”

“Wh...yeah. Yeah, totally.” Comes Orwell’s incredulous reply, as though you drawing the attention of strangers during the end of the world were a matter of course. “I mean, all of Shu’s crew are pretty famous on there, but you’ve got a hell of a following. Bigger than November and Amara, actually.”

“Why? I assume it’s due to some sort of West-based cult, no doubt?”

Orwell blinks.

(Continued)
>>
>>4977720

“N-no? Well yeah, West’s got her own sub-forums and shit filled mostly with nihilistic assholes, and I set up the Collective with their own private server to chat and talk to each other without Big Sister sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong…” Orwell reluctantly admits, experimentally flexing out the tension in her recently-repaired hand. “...but you’ve got a following all your own, Doc.”

“I...why?” You repeat, curiosity piqued as your initial vitriol begins to fade. “Why would they care, if not for me being an offshoot of West Prime?”

“Dude...are you serious? I mean, do you want to see what they’re saying?” Orwell replies in disbelief, extending her other hand, fingers undulating with a haze of pepper-gray lines as her hybrid power springs to life.

“Right here? Now?” You reply incredulously, and it’s Orwell’s turn to snort as you glance around.

“I’ve already got us cloaked, but I’ll keep an eye out. If I couldn’t manage that by now I’d be, like...SUPER dead. Besides, dipping a toe in doesn’t take a ton of processing power, and I’ve spent enough time in the flow to help guide a newbie. You wouldn’t even have to say or share anything, if you didn’t want to. Just nod or shake your head, and I’ll do the rest.”

You’re quiet, mulling over her offer and hating yourself for the temptation. Coming out here, rambling about yourself...and for what? For a child to drag you into some sort of neural construct to validate your feelings with random bits of gossip?

Orwell’s static fades, but not completely as she turns both her palms upwards. She senses your hesitation...but she also knows you haven’t rejected her offer out of hand entirely.

“Hey, it’s okay. There’s no pressure...I just want you to know that it’s not just Shu and her family that see you’re your own person.”

>>...Do it. Take her hand, and see what this is all about.

>>Not right now...but perhaps another time. At the very least it’s nice to know there might be an audience out there that’s interested in your tinkering, but this is all a bit much. Head back to the Dragon’s Roost and maybe spend time with someone else to help clear your mind.

>>You’ll decline for now, and you’d like to make this conversation a little more balanced. [Ask Orwell something about herself]


>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, and posting shall likely resume tomorrow morning at 10AM Eastern time.)
>>
>>4977724
>>Not right now...but perhaps another time. At the very least it’s nice to know there might be an audience out there that’s interested in your tinkering, but this is all a bit much. Head back to the Dragon’s Roost and maybe spend time with someone else to help clear your mind.

>>4977734
hope you have a good rest BHOP.
>>
>>4977552
(Also if you don't mind, there's some superb things in this write-in that Francine still grappling with at the moment, but she's right on the cusp of embracing the heart of this write-in - to that effect, the lion's share of this write-in will fully 'occur' to her shortly, if that makes sense?)
>>
>>4977734
>>4977744
(I'll also be posting a proper Goodnight after I finish some late dinner.)
>>
>>4977744
Oh, sure. I expected most of it to be subconscious stuff that would be interpreted through the dialogue you wrote anyway, I'm fine with Francine not being able to articulate the thought yet.
>>
>>4977724
>>Not right now...but perhaps another time. At the very least it’s nice to know there might be an audience out there that’s interested in your tinkering, but this is all a bit much. Head back to the Dragon’s Roost and maybe spend time with someone else to help clear your mind.
>>Write-In
>Thank Orwell for her offer, though, of course. And have some light conversation on the way back to avoid it being awkward, maybe ask her about what sort of Skinternet presence her own celebrity has gathered.

Baby steps. I wouldn't want to expose someone with a still-forming sense of self to an internet forum. Even if Orwell can probably keep the memes and porn away from Francine.
>>
>>4977762
...you know, theres something alot worse about the fact porn almost certainly exists on the skinternet given its based off p2p instead of server hubs... and said peers are literal people.
>>
>>4977778
Thinking about it, "files" for the Skinternet are probably stored in the Daughter's dreamscape. Which means that somewhere out there there's a dream Daughter who's dealing with overflow errors from all the smut commissions their host has been working on taking up all the room in the dreamscape. They're just living in one big xenophilia porn art gallery at this point.
>>
>>4977789
(*impending Kosi side-quest intensifies*)
>>
>>4977789
that poor girl.
or very lucky girl, depending on her tastes i guess.
>>
>>4977792
I've made a terrible mistake.

>>4977794
True. I was thinking of it from a "that poor girl" standpoint, but maybe she's into it. Maybe she's a collaborator with the host Daughter, I don't know. Probably best not to delve too deep into that line of thinking.
>>
>>4977797
...what about those Dream Daughters who may be able to connect without help from their host(or at least active help) due to the mix of abilities present?
can you imagine wondering why you keep thinking about... things... then visiting your dream daughter to find shes filled your shared dreamscape with commission work?
>>
(Dear Readers, thank you all for your participation, kindness, enthusiasm, and patience. I hope you rest well, and I shall see you in the morning.)

(Take care, one and all.)
>>
>>4977827
Good night, BHOP. It's good to have you back. See you tomorrow.
>>
>>4977724
>>...Do it. Take her hand, and see what this is all about.
>>
>>4977794
Kosi, whenever an overflow of smut occurs:
>>
>>4977724
>>>You’ll decline for now, and you’d like to make this conversation a little more balanced. [Ask Orwell something about herself]

I think this is something Francice needs to properly prepare herself mentally for. Let's postpone it and find out more about Orwell.
>>
File: Orwell.jpg (195 KB, 1280x960)
195 KB
195 KB .jpg
>>4977724

Reaching out with care, you place a hand on the girl’s shoulder and prompt a quizzical expression to cross her wan features.

“I appreciate the offer, Orwell...perhaps another time.” You say, adding just as she’s about to protest; “It’s not that I don’t believe you. It’s nice to know there are people interested in these sil...these things that I enjoy. You say I’m an artist? There’s nothing that says form has to be sacrificed for function. I could dabble a little more than I have been. Be more intentional.”

“Maybe talk to Julia and Dorian?” Orwell adds optimistically, and in that moment she looks so much like Amara with those big eyes that you can’t help but chuckle.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves...but it’s not off the table. Would you be open to making our way back?”

She assents, with a nod, and as you start walking back you take the moment to make a bit of small talk.

“So what sort of presence has your Skinternet presence gathered?” You venture after a few moments to pacing back to the Dragon’s Roost. “I assume your level of fame comes with its own set of duties, so what do you have to deal with?”

“Oh jeez, uh...a little bit of everything all of the time, if I had to put it in the nicest terms.” She replies with a groan that turns into a good-natured laugh. “I haven’t defied any eldritch abominations or slain any gods, so I have to build up clout the old-fashioned way.”

“And how’s that?”

“Having all the irons in the fire. All of them.” She fires back with a very practiced smirk and a wink. “It’s not that I *make* a lotta stuff per se, more like I make the connections and get people where they’re going. I trawl through a lot of junk to get the good stuff—the latest updates on Daughters and Amalgams of note, settlement status updates, storm patterns. Stuff that helps people live a little while longer if they play their cards right, at least. It’s an absolute beast to slog through, just mountains of content. Some better, some worse, but now that I’ve delineated some of it it’s not nearly as overwhelming as it used to be.”

“Who’s helping out?” You ask, a cursory glance showing the City of Rust growing closer.

“Ever since I established a volunteer first-responders unit that keeps tabs on any newly-awakened Daughters, we were able to help a bunch of Skintalkers get to settlements or to other safe havens, so their life expectancy jumped considerably. A bunch of them later turned around and pitched into the network, so the whole effort’s snowballed pretty efficiently. In fact, they recently—”

You have to admit that the more Orwell explains what she's done, you’re staggered by the sheer scale of it all...yet despite the current topic of conversation, you can’t help but think about what she said about being seen.

About art.

(Continued)
>>
>>4978423

You won’t lie; the curiosity, the hunger to know and understand that burns in your chest always served as a reminder of how you were born, of who hollowed you out and poured herself into the vacant mold that was someone’s body...but now? For all the hatred you have for your creator, you’re starting to wonder if perhaps a fraction of that desire is something that belongs to you, and you alone. Maybe you could channel it into something that will outlast you, a thing that will improve the lives of those you’ll never meet.

You also can’t help but feel that little flutter in your stomach, the afterglow of when the word ‘artist’ was applied to the thing that brought you so much joy when you were with the Disassociated. Joy. It really, truly made you happy in a place that you had no choice in being stationed, and the thought of joining your professional and personal pursuits is...an overwhelming one, but certainly not unwelcome.

It’s with a guilty start that you realize you’ve arrived back home so wrapped up in your own thoughts that you’re just barely able to catch the tail end of Orwell’s monologue.

“...so after I figured that part out, I tweaked the whole paradigm so now you can just project your thoughtform into a sublimated Skintalker’s mind without either of you getting a nosebleed or even a cerebral hemorrhage!” Orwell triumphantly declares, oblivious to the fact that her victory is wholly lacking in context thanks to your mental wanderings.

“I’m impressed.” You say solemnly, a tap of your finger prompting the sheer calcite fluff face to slide back, revealing an organic lift of polished bone and taut muscle. “How long have you been working at all this?”

“Ever since I hybridized.” She immediately answers, the lift jolting to life the moment you’re safely inside. “Once I realized what was out there and what I was capable of, I knew I had to basically crowdsource my own survival.”

“It certainly sounds like you’ve made yourself indispensable.” You muse, the elevator swiftly delivering you to the main living quarters of the Dragon’s Roost.

“Ha, not really. The only person I think deserves that title is—”

“Shu! You're back!!!"

Amara’s screech of delight is immediately followed by joyous laughter as she’s swung around by the Defiant herself, laughing in kind as her celestial dress flares out as she spins in place. As for the family members Shu brought with her to Arcadia, Dorian stands primly beside the Defiant, hands behind his back even as he grins from ear to ear, dazzling blue eyes sparkling with amusement. Rath just breezes by them, flashes them a grin and you a salute before she strides off to her room. B’ni slinks by them, trying her best to draw as little attention to herself as possible—at least until Holly screams her name, bounding across the living room floor to tackle the horrified girl.

(Continued)
>>
File: Francine, Pensive.jpg (162 KB, 470x600)
162 KB
162 KB .jpg
>>4978424

Like the machinery you so admire, the chaos that rapidly unfolds in your home has a particular rhythm, too. Shu and Gina doting on Amara even as Orwell rushes forward to urge the youngest member of your family not to spoil anything before the debrief. Uzu and B’ni are flanked on either side by Holly and Johanna, the latter’s sheer volume drowning out anything that can be heard of their conversation. Dorian finally leaves Shu’s side to go behind the bar, deft hands bringing out a decanter and filling it with the contents of one of his nigh-endless bottles. Even Sir FuzzBuzz is present, his downy posterior planted in the middle of the pit filled with his kin, never allowing his ward to leave his sight.

November’s the odd one out, your friend’s absence a likely sign that she’s tending to the Metall Geschoss deep within the bowels of the mountain you call home.

“Take some time to rest, everyone!” Shu declares, her voice cutting cleanly through the din. “Take an hour and we’ll meet back here to debrief.”

“I gotta wait to tell you all about how-” Amara starts to wail before getting cut off by Orwell.

“All about how your life got flipped upside down, yep! No spoilers until debrief!” The teen quickly affirms, hauling Amara away before she can protest further. She retires to her room with Gina, leaving Dorian at the bar and Shu’s quartet of dream daughters talking animatedly on the recessed couch in the center of the room. Orwell and Amara talk conspiratorially near the Fuzzbuzz pit, and as for you?

You stand there, hands in your pockets as your survey the scene. You feel out of place, somehow. Caught between two states of being, or perhaps on the cusp of something—but of what, you couldn’t say.

>>November’s due for an check-up, and that usually means a check-in as well. Find out what she’s up to and catch up a bit before it’s time for everyone to meet back here.

>>You and he haven’t talked all that much, but try to sit down with Dorian before the debrief to see if he can offer any guidance on the artist’s path.

>>Retire to your room until the debrief, and perhaps take a moment to reflect with your own Dream Daughters.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Hello and Good Morning, Dear Readers. Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four. I hope you rested well and that your day is progressing smoothly, one and all.)
>>
>>4978427
hrm... split between Dorian or November. the whole artists path thing would be a fun thread to continue exploring, but i feel some of the clout attached to it would be better suited with a closer friend like November.
>>
>>4978427
>>4978437
>>November’s due for an check-up, and that usually means a check-in as well. Find out what she’s up to and catch up a bit before it’s time for everyone to meet back here.
willing to switch but gonna just go ahead and put down a vote just incase.
>>
>>4978427
>>>November’s due for an check-up, and that usually means a check-in as well. Find out what she’s up to and catch up a bit before it’s time for everyone to meet back here.
>>
>>4974827
Holy shit, it's back?!
Lurking with great interest!
>>
>>4978427
>>November’s due for an check-up, and that usually means a check-in as well. Find out what she’s up to and catch up a bit before it’s time for everyone to meet back here.
Outright saying to Dorian "please help me be an artist" is a moment for a little further down Francine's path to self-actualization, I think. But definitely something she needs to do eventually.
>>
>>4978530
(Indeed it is! I'm running a few side stories and working on streamlining the levels and combat system before I open the next Vein soon. Glad to see you back!)
>>
>>4978427
>>November’s due for an check-up, and that usually means a check-in as well. Find out what she’s up to and catch up a bit before it’s time for everyone to meet back here.
>>
File: Metall Geschoss.jpg (37 KB, 474x381)
37 KB
37 KB .jpg
>>4978427

Lost in thought, you find your feet carrying you down the spiraling onyx staircase to November’s workshop, the scent of iron and oil thickening in the warm air as you descend. You find the soldier’s feet sticking out from under a slightly elevated Metall Geschoss suspended from reinforced intestines that hang from the ceiling, obsidian shards shimmering in the light cast by bioluminescent orbs embedded at every corner of the room. A clicking sound draws your attention to somewhere just behind the semi-organic tank, and a sand spider almost your height peeks around the corner, having noticed your presence seconds before his creator does.

“Hey, that time already?” November says, sliding out from under her pride and joy with a smile, evident in her tone if not her helm. “Are we getting the gang together now, or-?”

“In a little less than an hour, so we have time.” You reply, watching the woman rise to her full height. She cuts an imposing, yet altogether very human figure in the body you crafted specifically for her…one that you lost sleep over, giving her enough options across the three frames to cover your bases. You wanted it to be perfect, for when she was finally ready to cast off her shell and step into something new. To be something more than a wandering vagrant, living just one day to the next.

You wonder if you’re on the edge of doing something similar, as November gestures you your usual spots; hers in a chair, yours next to a table with your diagnostic relics all neatly arranged on its shining surface.

“You want to talk about it?” She intones as you remove your gloves, November's clear, calm voice a far cry from her previous frame’s voxel-tinge.

“About what?” You ask, sliding a finger along her frame’s shoulder, watching the machinery of her right arm blossom to reveal a garden of circuitry.

“About what’s bothering you.”

“It’s that obvious?”

“Not to everyone.”

With a sigh you lean against the workbench, your bare hands finding the polished calcite pleasantly warm to the touch. Drawing in a weary breath, you quickly hit the high points of your discussion with Orwell, her offer to show you the net, and the storm of doubts a few simple questions have unleashed.

"I feel like...as though I'm on the edge of something." You conclude, relaxing your gradually-tightening grip on the table's edge. "Like a threshold, of sorts."

"Maybe it's a change of how you're defining yourself?" November posits, prompting you to arch an eyebrow in silent query. "You used to define yourself by what you were against, right? Prime, her plans, your own existence. Maybe you're starting to define yourself by what *you* like to do and what really matters to you."

"I've been defining myself with negative space instead of building something new." You murmur, and November ratchets her arm closed, standing up just to cross the space to lean gingerly against the table beside you.

(Continued)
>>
>>4978589

"I was doing the same thing.” She admits. “I thought I was what I'd lost, instead of seeing the people around me that were there to build me up into a better version of myself."

"What changed you?"

"You did, ya goof." She answers with a warm chuckle. "If I'd have kept going the way I had been there, there wouldn't have been enough left of me to appreciate what I have now. You talked to me every step of the way, even while you were helping me replace bits of myself with parts that wouldn't feel. You always were checking in. Yeah, it was up me to take the hands that were offered me, but the fact that you kept asking me if that was what I really wanted to do? I didn't realize it until recently, but I don't think I could've said 'yes' to Shu asking me to talk to Rachel if you hadn't been as persistent as you were."

"That's me, all right. Banging my head against walls." You fire back with a smirk.

"Hey, this wall appreciates it." She laughs, placing a hand on your shoulder. "So, about the other thing Orwell said; what're your thoughts?"

"The whole 'art' thing? I think...I think I'd like to test the waters. I don't necessarily consider what I do art, but-"

"Oh ho!? You deny the splendor wrought of your own two hands?!" November suddenly bellows, flexing dramatically and forcing a bark of laughter from you despite your best efforts at composure. "C'mon...you make cool shit, you're good at it, people appreciate that, and most importantly? It makes you happy, and it's *yours*. Sounds like something worth pursuing."

"Where would I even start?" You ask, starting to pace about the room as Marco tracks your circuit, gleaming eyes casting your reflection back at you.

"We've got two honest-to-god artists right upstairs; why not start with them?"

“I couldn’t possibly bother Julia or Dorian with-“

“Why not? You know them just as well as I do, and we both know they’d be thrilled to hear you out.”

“I…maybe?” You groan, scrunching both eyes closed as you rub the bridge of your nose with thumb and forefinger. “I know we’re about to get marching orders, but I’ll think about it. After we get done with whatever’s next up on the docket, I’ll consider talking to them about…whatever it is thing is.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” November says as you finally bring your circuitous pacing to a halt with a guilty sigh.

“I’m glad you were willing to hear me out as I just rambled on about all thi-“

“Francine?”

“Yes?”

“You’re my best friend. I’m always willing. Okay?”

You blink.

“…T-thank you.”

“Don’t mention it.” November breezily replies, flexing her arm experimentally. “Also, no real issues to report, so I’m up for skipping the usual check-up if you are?”

>>Stick around a little while longer…maybe ask November a question or two before it’s meeting time.

>>Head back upstairs to review your findings before the debrief.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in approximately four.)
>>
>>4978590
>Head back upstairs to review your findings before the debrief.
Just cant think of any questions to ask.
>>
>>4978590
>“You’re my best friend. I’m always willing. Okay?”
Awww. God, I have the biggest smile on my face reading these two interact. It is adorable. Just the absolute cutest thing.

>>Head back upstairs to review your findings before the debrief.
Yeah, let's go and get our notes in order, organize our mind by organizing our environment.
>>
>>4978608
yeah its a nice little line.
easy to gloss over how much it actually probably means to November that Francine got her to think and not throw her old life away.
>>
>>4978610
Yeah. It's understated, and I like that. Just these two people who found support in each other, and are making each others' lives better for their presence. It's great, I'm glad that we recruited Francine and the two of them get to hang out together.
>>
>>4978590
>>Head back upstairs to review your findings before the debrief.

Can we pet that huge spider? Pet the spider before we leave, if we can pet the spider.
>>
>>4978590
>finish up the actual check-up, then go upstairs
We might be trying to be an artist but we still need to do our duty. Especially if it concerns the wellbeing of a friend.
>>
>>4978590
>>4978606
>>4978616
im down for petting the spider too.
>>
>>4978590
>>Head back upstairs to review your findings before the debrief.
>>
>>4978616
Oh, right, of course. How could we forget to give Marco a scritch? He is a good boy.
>>
>>4978616
(You absolutely may, and he would like that very much.)
>>
>>4978619
>>4978621
>>4978630
Great, we're petting Marco then!
>>
>>4978590

“I think we’re good for now. Your systems achieved harmony with the new forge core at an unprecedented rate, after all.”

“Oh, it’s because I’m zen.” November says as-a-matter-of-factly. “I’m zen as *fuck*.”

You can’t help but laugh as you make your way to where the staircase begins, Marco waiting patiently beside it, three sets of claws folded primly in front of him like a little gentleman.

“Well, once you’re through with your meditations, I’ll meet you at the debrief.” You say with a smile, one that’s only widened when you start scratching Marco’s head and he begins emitting a low, pleased chatter.

“You keep an eye on that one, won’t you Marco?” You say sternly, trying to force down a chuckle. “Don’t let her worry about too many goofs at once, alright?”

Marco gives you a prompt and professional three-hand salute, which November immediately mirrors as you start to make your way back upstairs.

“Quit being a goof and maybe I’ll stop worrying about you, Doc.” The kind soldier retorts with an audible grin.

“At ease, Soldier.” You say with a salute of your own, before adding. “…and I’ll work on that.”

“You better.”

After waving goodbye to the pair (returning Marco’s enthusiastic three-fold wave with an equally enthused one of your own) you make your ascent back to the living room, crossing the space in silence as you’re careful not to disturb B’ni, Uzu, and the rest of Shu’s dream quartet as they converse on the couch where you last saw them. You assume the rest of the family’s retired to their own spaces, and you prepare to do the same as you close your door behind you, the soft light of your desk lamp illuminating the familiar furnishings of your laboratory-slash-office.

Taking the gloves out of your pockets, you toss them on your desk before doffing your coat, and you’re about to slip it back on its hook when you pause. You stare at it for a long moment, then to the gloves, and back again before you realize that something just doesn’t fit.

They’re perfectly tailored for you of course, but it’s just at this moment that it hits you; you’ve been wearing them more out of habit, out of some sort of obligation to an image that’s no longer what you see in the mirror. Taking both gloves and coat, you fold them neatly in on each other and place them on a far table before returning to your chair, settling in to review your notes on the Gemeinschaft.

…and yet you keep getting distracted by your surroundings.

At first, it’s your lamp. You crafted it when you first made this room as a mere afterthought, a simple cylinder with an opaque bulb of crystallized humors, lit from within by candescent biomass similar to Rath’s explosive boils.

Which is to say it’s just a bare goddamn light bulb.

(Continued)
>>
>>4978756

You start by weaving a simple shade out of a few sheets of calcite shaven from the underside of your desk and melded together as you would a wound to form a sleek cone. A flick of your finger transforms the bare surface into a filigree-covered thing, and when you settle it in place the light shines through to showcase your spiraling design. It’s a simple thing—a little random, a little antiquated, a little experimental…but it’s yours.

The desk comes next, a slight indentation at stomach-level allowing you to get closer to your work. It’s such a little thing, but you realized that you’d been hunched over and uncomfortable despite being able to force your space to make you comfortable instead of the other way around. And as you sit back down after a few minutes of decisive adjustments to settle in and review your notes, it strikes you just as your cheeks start to ache…

…you’re smiling.

You’re comfortable here, having solved a few small problems you convinced yourself weren’t worth the time to fix…but weren’t you really just telling yourself that you were the one that wasn’t worth the effort?

You like solving problems, finding ways to improve systems or make things that help people. Maybe you could merge this burgeoning interest in art with your more practical pursuits. There's nothing saying that form must be sacrificed for function, surely? It would be nice if your creations weren't just things that made people's lives better, but also made the world more beautiful. The world could use it, after the Crucible…and so could you, as you quietly resolve to meet with Julia and Dorian sooner, rather than later.

It doesn’t take long before the Dragon’s Roost starts to come alive again, with Rath and Amara chasing each other around the room as Gina helps Dorian get the seating arrangements ready. There’s a surprised yelp from Uzu, followed by a rapid-fire apology from Tailor before she strange tinkerer shuffles back off to the Forge. You grin as November bellows a hello and the entire room responds in kind as she emerges from her cozy little workshop, followed by Johanna demanding an arm-wrestling match, intent to prove her ‘self-actualization’…whatever that means. You hear Holly bounding about the room to join in on Rath and Amara’s fun, their laughter almost drowning out B’ni’s polite, yet firm declination of Orwell’s request for an interview. And then, the reason you’re all here; a voice above the chaos, not one of command or control…but of kindness, and of patience.

You rise and take a breath, notes in hand.

You’re here. You’re whole. You’re home.

Your first name is Francine. Your last name is still one you’d rather forget.

But for the first time since you arrived…

…you’re starting to feel like maybe your last name doesn’t matter at all.


>>FRANCINE INTERMISSION: END
>>
(Gentlemen, I believe I have another short story in me before buckling down and finishing the rest of the ability streamlining. That said, please choose another character to see through the eyes of—this list is by no means comprehensive, hence why I’ve included a write-in option. Anyone is fair game. Yes, even Sir Fuzzbuzz. Voting shall remain open for the next four hours, with posting to resume at approximately 10AM tomorrow morning, Eastern time.)

(I wish you a restful evening, and thank you all for your enthusiasm, participation, and kindness.)

>>Rath

>>Amara

>>Holly

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>4978762
>making me choose between Sir Fuzzbuzz and Rath.
you DO have a cruel side BHOP....
>>
>>4978774
(Given the quest's bamboozles, was there ever any doubt?)
>>
>>4978757
Good to see that Francine is practicing self-care. That's the way to do it, Francine.

>>4978762
>Anyone is fair game. Yes, even Sir Fuzzbuzz.
Don't you tempt me, BHOP.

In seriousness, though, I'm torn between Rath, Amara, and doing a write-in vote for Julia. Could be neat to see what she's been getting up to back in town with her new biker chick friends. Maybe I'll roll a die.
>>
>>4978779
you're right, i bamboozled my self here.

>>4978780
ooooh, Julia is a good one too. now im three-way split, dangit Anon!
>>
>>4978762
Actually, another interesting idea presents itself: Didn't Holly and Uzu go to speak with that group of plant-themed Daughters? They could be interesting to see the perspective of. Ah, there are so many cool things to see in the Crucible, and so little time/BHOP's writing focus.
>>
>>4978762
>>Rath
I'm just going to cut my indecision and vote for Rath. Rath's cool, if she wins I won't be unhappy. Well, I wouldn't be unhappy with any of these options, but you know what I mean.
>>
>>4978762
bah, my vote is;
>Rath
>Sir Fuzzbuzz
>Julia

in terms of most wanted to least if it matters, but otherwise wholly ok with any so BHOP can count it as any of the three as he pleases to break a tie or just because he prefers one over the others.
sorry for the absurdity of this votes caveats but i just cant actually fully and truly decide on exactly which.
>>
>>4978762
>Sir Fuzzbuzz
The rightest choice here.
>>
File: Voice of the Eyes.jpg (765 KB, 1920x1279)
765 KB
765 KB .jpg
>>4978808
>>4978806
(Rath it is, Gentlemen. I'll have you all know I listened to the Megalobox theme on loop while writing the opening to her interlude, so I hope you enjoy.)

(I hope you rest well, and thank you for your participation, as always.)
>>
File: Spoiler Image (157 KB, 910x1024)
157 KB
157 KB .jpg
>>4978863
(Sir Fuzzbuzz is never the answer to the question.)

(Sir Fuzzbuzz IS the question.)

(The answer is always 'yes'.)
>>
The acrid scent of sweat and bloodlust washes over you as you try to keep your breathing steady. Your heart’s hammering in your ears as you try to see your foe past the haze of the ring. The glare of the lights, the roar of the crowd are the only things that fill your mind as you narrow your eyes, locked as they are on an enemy whose caliber far exceeds your own.

Most of you have seen her with a smile, her breezy attitude easily drawing in friend and foe alike. But you? You’ve seen her when she’s gunning for blood, when she’s in her element—raw and crackling, like a power line cut loose in a storm.

She shifts her feet a fraction of an inch, and you hiss, a sudden exhalation that fuels your forward lunge as you match her blinding speed. One step, two steps brings to right in her face, and by now you two know this dance by heart.

She leads with her left, a gunshot fired point-blank at your nose that misses you by a hair, clipping your right ear as you lean left, hips fueling the devastating haymaker that hurtles your left hand to your opponent’s temple. She dips low, left arm already back in the chamber as her right erupts towards your chin like fuckin’ Vesuvius.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

It feels like your spine’s gonna snap as you lurch back, abs aching as her knuckles slash past your nose. The blast of wind almost makes you blink, almost makes you miss the shot she takes with her left once more, a sniper’s bullet fired at your chin. Right hand to parry, your block barely holding itself stable between your ear and her fist as you drive yours into her sternum.

Her right hand’s already there to buffer the blow, her left recoiling back into position. You’ve got the blink of an eye before she caps you, her fist already drilling its way across the space and aimed right between your eyes. A lunge down and to your right, her left arm blocking you from view as you swivel in place, legs screaming as they help drive your left hand up, up towards the other girl’s chin. It’s perfect.

And you fucked up.

Air is there to greet you as she dodges by millimeters, her tiny frame working as one to pull off a haymaker that you don’t see coming until it’s too late, its lethal arc obscured by your over-committal to an uppercut that’s left you wide open. Left-handed by nature, you fancy the thought for a split-second that maybe you can tank it, maybe you can come back from this.

You’re on the mat before you can finish the thought, her savage right having ended the match with the decisive punctuation only a fist can bring.

Game, set, match.

Or however that goes.

You may have lost, but with all the bullshit running through your head right now?

There’s something to be said for losing yourself in this, even if it’s just in the hour or so until the debrief.

(10)

(9)

(8)

(...)
>>
>>4979260

When the count fades and the lights go up, you open your eyes to find your opponent looming over you, her scarlet gloves fading to nothing as she leans down to offer you a hand with a smile.

“You were freaking brutal out there, dude!” Meg exclaims, shaking her sandy blonde hair out of her cherubic face. Your gloves have already dissipated by the time you accept her offer, the smaller girl hauling you up from the mat as you catch your breath.

“If I'd've thought ahead a second or two more I wouldn’t have bet the farm on that dumbass upper.” You fire back, running a hand through your hair as you pace the ring. The pain from Meg’s hand rocketing against your skull’s already fading, which makes training in the Dreamscape infinitely preferable to the real deal...even though you feel like maybe a good hit or two would dislodge all the crap that’s been buzzing around you head the past few days.

“Something on your mind?” The stocky young woman suddenly asks, and when you turn to face her you find a water bottle thrust in your face.

“You know we don’t actually need this in here, right?” You ask with a grin as you practically tear the top off the container.

“It’s for the realism, y’know?” She replies happily, absolutely crushing her bottle in a series of long, determined gulps before she fixes you with an arched eyebrow that hits almost as hard as she does. “And you’ve gotta work on your dodging.”

“I overcommitted.” You protest with a sweaty scowl. “I wouldn’t call that a dodging issue.”

“Really? ‘Cuz you dodging my question was real sloppy, my dude.”

Ah, shit.

“Yeah, I...I got a lot on my mind, and it’s kind of messing with me.” You reluctantly admit, finishing your water bottle just as it dissolves into the air around your now-empty hand. “Sorry.”

“Nothing to get all Canadian on me for, man! We can totally keep at it until you gotta go, it’s up to you!” Meg replies with a good-natured shrug as she leans against the ropes opposite you. “I’d be totally happy to hear what’s on your mind, if you wanna hash it out that way. Whatever works for you, friend.”

Your fists are clenched at your sides, and you wonder if maybe coming clean will do your head a bit better than a haymaker or two.

Couldn’t hurt any worse, right?

>>”...I’ve been thinking about my family, and what comes after all this...I know I need to talk to Aunt Heather about it, but I feel like an asshole for even bringing it up…”

>>”Look, there’s this...this girl. Who’s a moth. And really tall. I...I kinda think she likes me, and I don’t really know where to start with that.”

>>”It’s...it’s about Shu and Gina. I...Christ, I feel dumb for even thinking about it…”

>>”Gloves back on. Let’s keep going...it helps me think, if that makes sense? I’ll just talk at you, whatever comes to mind. How’s that?”

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Good Morning, Dear Readers. Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four.)
>>
File: Spelling Error.png (498 KB, 544x544)
498 KB
498 KB .png
(Pictured; me noticing a spelling error and desperately trying to resist the urge to bamboozle.)
>>
>>4979263
>>”...I’ve been thinking about my family, and what comes after all this...I know I need to talk to Aunt Heather about it, but I feel like an asshole for even bringing it up…”
though in terms of comedic value im pretty tempted to go with the moth one.
>>
>>4979263
>>”Look, there’s this...this girl. Who’s a moth. And really tall. I...I kinda think she likes me, and I don’t really know where to start with that.”

After dealing with Francine's existential identity issues for her side story? We need this.
>>
>>4979263
Not a vote yet, just kind of stream of consciousness thinking about Rath's character.

As I see it, Rath's problem is that she has no experience with admitting to her needs. There's a vulnerability in saying that you need something. It opens yourself up to judgement, or refusal, or even just well-meaning but awkward questioning. It's something that you have to learn to be able to do, to push past the fear and say "I need this". And Rath has spent most of her life in an environment where she wasn't able to learn that. After her sister's death (I vaguely recall it being a drug overdose, but whatever it was it was something that wouldn't happen to a "good girl") Rath felt pressured to be the good little preacher's daughter who would never shame her family like that. She did not feel like it was an option to pursue her own desires, so she never acquired the skills to do so.

Now it's the end of the world, and Rath is free to be whoever she wants. No societal pressure because society is dead. And she's trying, she's renamed herself and reinvented herself as a badass rough-and-tumble brawler. She's got friends who she's pretty sure care about her. But she's being kind of passive about it. She's still not coming out and admitting to what she needs, because she's scared that if she does she'll mess up what she's got going. She's guaranteed some happiness staying quiet, but risks losing things if she comes forward. Telling November that she doesn't want to see her parents again risks losing November's approval and the bond they've forged. Asking Lara out or asking Shu and Gina about polyamory risks her losing the friendship she has with them. Even just acknowledging that she has these desires to a third party is scary for her, because it makes them more real, less a thing that she can pretend isn't eating at her.
>>
>>4979263
>>”Look, there’s this...this girl. Who’s a moth. And really tall. I...I kinda think she likes me, and I don’t really know where to start with that.”
>>
>>4979263
>>”...I’ve been thinking about my family, and what comes after all this...I know I need to talk to Aunt Heather about it, but I feel like an asshole for even bringing it up…”

I just think that the family one would probably be the easiest for Rath to talk about right now, since it's the furthest-away concern. Lara, Shu, and Gina are a bit more immanent. Also, they kind of feed back into the family one, since one of the points of contention Rath has with her family is that they were apparently rather homophobic, so thinking about smooching on cute monstergirls would just make that problem worse.
>>
>>4979263
>>>”...I’ve been thinking about my family, and what comes after all this...I know I need to talk to Aunt Heather about it, but I feel like an asshole for even bringing it up…”
>>
File: Meg, the Enigma.jpg (205 KB, 728x1029)
205 KB
205 KB .jpg
>>4979263

“Yeah.” You finally relent, the tension easing out of your shoulders. “Yeah, I think hashing it out’s probably better.”

“Okay! I know just the place!” Meg excitedly declares with a twinkle in her eyes. You still haven’t really gotten used to how mutable the dreamscape is to those living in it, how malleable reality is in this place between life and death. You simply wait for reality to coalesce into whatever memory Meg’s got in store for you, and you don’t have to wait long before the smell of river water and the sound of lapping waves replace the sensations of the ring.

She’s brought you to the long stretch of a stone walking path, flanked on one side by a massive river to your left and a looming city to your right.

“Wait…is this-?”

“New York!” Meg affirms with a wide grin, hands planted on her hips. “This was my favorite running path when I lived here for a couple of years! We’re right on the Hudson!”

“No offense, but I thought it would, uh...smell? A bit worse?” You say a bit sheepishly, and the girl opposite you just looses a hearty laugh.

“Oh, it's awful! That’s why I changed it!” She replies before taking a deep, indulgent breath as you start to realize the air smells vaguely of lavender. With that, she beckons you to follow her as she starts walking along the empty footpath. “So what’s up?”

”It’s just...I’ve been thinking about my family, and what comes after all this.” You start uneasily, finding it harder than you’d like to start disentangling what’s been all balled up in your head for a while. “I know I need to talk to Aunt Heather about it, but I feel like an asshole for even bringing it up…”

“After the Crucible’s over, y’mean?”

“Yeah. Shu said she’s gonna bring everyone back, and that’d include them.” You answer with a sigh. “They’re…they’re not bad people. They really tried to be good parents—I think? It’s just with the church and everything happened with Grace, they…they tried. And I think they’d want to see me when this is all said and done, but…shit. It feels like I’m selling them short, but I can’t just…I mean, I know Aunt Heather wants us to all be a family again and I get that, I really, really do. After the hell she went through overseas and how distant she got from everyone, I know it's coming from a good place, but no matter what I can't imagine Dad and Mom being able to...to just...”

Trailing off as you pass yet another of the walkways regularly-spaced lamp posts, you feel a lump in your throat as your words start to fail you.

“It’s okay.” Meg gently offers.

(Continued)
>>
>>4979437

“…I just don’t think that whatever they’re going to wanna do is gonna be good enough, y’know? And I feel awful saying that, but I can’t imagine how they’d accept me as I am now. I mean fuckin' look at me!" You say, gesturing to your smoldering form, your arms pulsing bright white and leaving trails of distorted smoke as you do so.

"I'm a living fucking bomb who can turn into some mythical-lookin' multi-armed badass who still flips her shit every time a girl with an inch or two on her looks at her sideways! Back before this my blood ran cold whenever Mom and Dad got all pissed about some maybe-queer side character on a show they watched, and now I'm like...like everything they thought was wrong with the world, I guess. And even if I go up to them and say 'hey, go fuck yourselves, I'm gonna go be me' there's still this...this weird fucking feeling in my gut that I just can't shake, and I fucking hate it."

"What's it like?"

“It’s like…" You start, and it's a second or two before you can begin to give it shape. "...like even when I’m doing stuff that makes me happy, or when I should feel really good about…attention...I get from some people, there’s this part of me that feels guilty. Like I’m disappointing them, even when I don't give a shit about what they think. And I like the attention. I really do, but every time I think I'm getting somewhere that stupid voice in my head just goes and fucking ruins it by saying 'Hey they like you as a friend, they're just being nice, they don't mean it like that' and I chicken out 'cause I don't want to fuck all this up! I mean, shit Meg! I've got a chance for a big fluffy moth GF, and here I am freaking out like an idiot! I should want this! I DO want this, but I…fuck!"

You right hand lashes out at the lamppost near to you, and with a screech of metal followed by the stench of molten wiring, the things sent tumbling into the river, it's ruined stump still smoldering from the impact.

"...I wanna be honest with Aunt Heather. With Lara. With…everyone." You groan, the image of a Hive Misitress and Neuromancer flashing across your minds eye before you shake them out. "But I keep thinking this is all just so stupid, you know? It's the motherfucking apocalypse. The end of days. And what am I agonizing over? Whether Mom and Dad will ever speak to me again after this? If this really cool and funny girl thinks I'm cool and funny right back, and if...if that's even what I want, or if I'm just a fucking deluded third wheel on this weird-ass tricycle of...whatever's going on between us."

"You feel pulled in a lot of different directions, yeah?" Meg murmurs.

"Yeah."

"Like your Core?"

"Ugh...yeah. Yeah, well played." You admit with a sigh. "More like everything's just bundled together in this big dumb Gordian Knot that I can't just cut through."

(Continued)
>>
File: Rath, Pensive.png (342 KB, 511x800)
342 KB
342 KB .png
>>4979438

"So why can't you?" The boxer simply retorts. "You got a list of people you gotta talk to that are here in the present, right? Make a list of how you wanna tackle them, and even if you fumble your way through talking to them, they all care enough about you to work with you in figuring out what you wanna say."

You level a radiant, withering glare at the sandy-haired girl. "Yeah, no. I'd much rather solo Marrow Fucking Dragoon, at this point."

"Why not?" Meg repeats with a shrug, as though it were the simplest thing in the world.

"Because I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about...literally everything that's going on around me and in me, for one? I'd much rather get my head and heart on straight before I overcommit and get clotheslined by something I thought was true but turned out to be bullshit."

"Hey, shadow-boxing's all well and good for a warm-up, but you're never gonna get any better if that's all you do." Comes Meg's surprisingly sage reply as she looses two quick jabs into the air in front of her. "Gotta get out there and throw some hands for real if you wanna see what's up."

You just stare at her a moment before she falters.

"...Emotional hands." She clarifies, suddenly unsure of herself. "It was a metaphor."

"Yeah. Yeah, I got it." You sigh, leaning on the railing as you look out over the river’s gently undulating waves “Man, I don’t know. Feels like half the time I’m just spinning my wheels and kicking up a lotta dust for nothing. Like none of this’ll even matter if I just give it some time.”

“Maybe…maybe not.” Your sparring partner murmurs, stretching her arms over one shoulder, then the other. “All I know is that there’s only so far in your head you can get before you can’t see what’s right in front of you.”

“…that’s pretty good.” You admit.

“Thanks! I stole it.”

At least that gets a chuckle out of you, despite everything you’re mulling over.

>>As stilted as it is, you feel like you’re getting somewhere with Meg. She seems pretty open, so maybe you could talk out your feelings about…(Write-in)

>>Nothing against Meg, but this just isn’t working. Wake up in the real and seek out one of your allies there to bounce some ideas off of…preferably one that won’t snitch.

>>The Dreamscape just isn't cutting it, and you're still itching for a brawl to work out this tension...maybe someone in the real would be open to a quick spar before the meeting?

>>You appreciate Meg being willing to hear you out, but you don’t want to dump all this on her all at once. Choose another one of the inhabitants of the Dreamscape to vent to...Shu and Gina left the lines open since everyone's home, so anyone is fair game.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(I do hope everyone’s day is going well, one and all. Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in roughly four.)

(As a bit of a touch-base, how is this update schedule working for everyone?)
>>
>>4979443
>>As stilted as it is, you feel like you’re getting somewhere with Meg. She seems pretty open, so maybe you could talk out your feelings about…
this or the fourth one i think fit the best. I mean, I could see Rath still sparring more but i think at least continuing to talk would be preferable.
as for the topic... open to changing it but ill just go with;
>...Big Fluffy Moth Girls.

>>4979446
the day is technically going well, but i cant properly answer your second question because i currently have a set of chicks hatching and thats fugged up my ability to get any longterm sleep. but it worked well before so it probably is now its just bad overlap of things going on a bit.
>>
>>4979463
+1 for moths
>>
>>4979443
>>As stilted as it is, you feel like you’re getting somewhere with Meg. She seems pretty open, so maybe you could talk out your feelings about…(Write-in)
>Shu and Gina

>>4979446
Update schedule is working fine for me. My own schedule is currently fairly flexible, so I can fit this into it fine with the length you set for voting periods.
>>
File: Lara, Evolved.jpg (624 KB, 1920x1920)
624 KB
624 KB .jpg
>>4979443

“Well, if there’s one thing I do know it’s that big fluffy moth girls are the fucking best.” You chuckle, leaning back while keeping your hands clutching the guardrail and hearing something pleasantly pop along your back. “Nice bit of downy silver lining in all this, at least.”

“What’s she like?” Meg asks, leaning her back against the railing and stretching idly. “Lara, right?”

“Lara, yeah. She’s…god, she’s really freaking cool.” You say, and you’d be angrier at the big dumb grin that spreads across your face if you could help it in the least. “There’s just something about her when I met her that just…clicked, I guess? Like when I first met…but Lara, there’s something about her that’s so chill, right? She’s just really sure of herself and her purpose. She used to be a park ranger, y’know? When she was telling me about it and how she’s protecting that same forest to this day, I was just in awe. I mean, how is that not the coolest thing ever? You loved a place so much that you vow to protect it like some sorta…druid-knight, or something? So freaking badass.”


“And the fluff?” Meg prompts with a conspiratorial wink.

“God, I’m just a sucker for floof.” You confess, feeling your cheeks start to glow. “And when she let me touch hers, it was just....fucking transcendental, man. Just wanna bury my face in there and just...hrng.”

“You’re a regular floof-goof.” Meg helpfully supplies.

“A marshmallow-fluff slut.” You counter guiltily.

“A cotton-candy harlot.”

“A memory-foam simp.”

“A swaddle-thot.”

“It may be better than Sir FuzzBuzz, even.”

Meg gasps.

“Heresy!”

“Ah shit, don’t tell Amara I said that!” You laugh, shaking your head. “Got carried away, sorry—Sir FuzzBuzz is the man, I can’t go disrespecting him like that.”

“So Lara’s tall, dark, and fluffy, and she sounds super cool…” Meg says, marking off each point in Lara’s favor with a finger before pointing them squarely at you. “...what’s really stopping you?”

“...I don’t want to close another pair of doors if I try and start something. I feel like a piece of shit, but there it is. It’s the whole reason I haven’t done anything yet, with anyone...and if that’s the way I feel, then if Lara even likes me like that then it’d be pretty shitty of me to lead her on.” You confess, riding the wave of laughter into one of stark honesty, if for just a few moments of boldness. “But they’re at such a good place right now, I just...they’re our family’s rock, y’know? And we’re right on the edge of the Disassociated leaving, figuring out whatever the fuck Mara and Magpie were up to, and then there’s the Cord sticking out there like the Crucible’s middle finger aimed right at us. Why bog them down with my shit when I don't even know if it's what I really want?"

(Continued)
>>
>>4979698

Dragging in another lavender-tinged breath of air, you hold it in your lungs for a few seconds before exhaling deeply. “I dunno…it feels like I’m talking in circles about all this.”

“Well hey, guess what?”

“Wh-?”

You’re turning towards her when you feel the blow coming, before you well and truly see it. Her opening jab, bare knuckles instinctively swept aside by the taut muscles of your right arm forged into an iron-clad block. She’s re-chambered faster than thought, a right hook arcing towards your left temple, but a step brings you none-to-nose with your aggressor, your right fist held just short of her chin.

An upper, cut short.

“Your head’s cleared up! See?” Meg grins, her chin a hair’s breadth from your white-hot knuckles.

“Yeah…shit. I guess it did.” You mutter, impressed by your own speed…and maybe even more by your level of restraint. “Thanks.”

“No one’s telling you that you’ve gotta deal with anything right now, Rath.” She says, the two of you stepping out of the others’ space as you shake the excess heat out of your hands. “Cut the knot. Take your time untangling it. Either way, you gotta do what’s comfortable for you. Swarmers shouldn’t force themselves to outbox, and outboxers shouldn’t try and be a slugger if they’re not feeling it.”

You just nod, the prospect of either giving you knots in your stomach…but it’s not nearly as painful as it was before.

“Hey. Want a piece of non-boxing-related advice?” Meg offers.

“Shoot.”

“Too bad. Don’t have any.”

“Motherfucker.” You say bitterly, narrowing your eyes at the other girl before you both crack at the same time.

This...this has been nice. It’s been a relief to air out all this shit over the course of...actually, come to think of it all this has been, what? A minute or two in the real? You try not to stick in here for too long since time gets all janky, but you have to admit that this has helped to settle the buzzing in your skull.

For now, at least.

>>Go ahead and ask Meg a thing or two about herself...you’ve still got time until the meeting, thanks to the Dreamscape’s time-fuckery.

>>Wake up in the real, and seek out one of your waking-world allies to chat with (Write-In).

>>Hit up one of the other dream inhabitants...if not for a chat, then maybe a spar?

>>Only one way to test if you’re up for whatever’s coming next; challenge Meg to a rematch...powers enabled, this time.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Hello one and all; voting shall remain open for the next four hours, with posting to resume promptly at 10AM on September 2nd, Eastern time. I do hope you have a restful evening, and thank you again for your patience and participation.)
>>
>>4979699
>>Only one way to test if you’re up for whatever’s coming next; challenge Meg to a rematch...powers enabled, this time.

>>4979701
oh i probably will not have a restful evening for the rest of the week but i appreciate the thought.
>>
>>4979463
>>4979705
(Sorry to hear your chick's are messing with your sleep schedule, and I do hope they let you get some rest soon. I had a friend of mine back in Georgia who kept up with farm animals, and it was a full-time job.)
>>
File: EWDZsxOUcAM43RK.jpg (432 KB, 1000x1000)
432 KB
432 KB .jpg
>>4979709
indeed it is. thanks and ill be fine... eventually.
>>
>>4979699
>>Only one way to test if you’re up for whatever’s coming next; challenge Meg to a rematch...powers enabled, this time.

>>4979701
Thank you too, BHOP! I still have no idea what's happening, but it has been a very comfortable and fluffy ride so far.
>>
File: 1595512027531.jpg (1078 KB, 2048x1942)
1078 KB
1078 KB .jpg
>>4979728
if you need any form of summary of the story feel free to ask us or Bhop.
these past two stories are just warm-up side stories so they're a bit more disconnected than the main story because of that.
>>
>>4979699
>>Only one way to test if you’re up for whatever’s coming next; challenge Meg to a rematch...powers enabled, this time.
Meg's right to have Rath focus on the fundamentals, but at the end of the day she's going to be boxing with six arms instead of two. I think that changes things.

>>4979728
I've got to go deal with dinner, but once I'm done I can write up a summary if you'd like.
>>
>>4979730
>>4979739
Yeah I remember they're side stories. The biggest issue here is not knowing the characters, actually.
I'd appreciate a list of names with short descriptions and some vague summary of the story/events to better navigate the quest, if it's not a problem. Thanks in advance, anons.
I'm going to sleep now so take your time.
>>
>>4979748
Okay, back from dinner. Give me a few minutes and I'll get you a Dramatis Personae, with a summary taking a bit longer.
>>
File: ES_ioQqUYAIHTMF.jpg (630 KB, 3000x3000)
630 KB
630 KB .jpg
>>4979748
>>4979772
ill let the other Anon handle the bulk then and fill in what details i think were missed and such.
>>
>>4979772
Sorry, this is taking longer than I thought. I forgot how many characters we have. Even with me doing really short descriptions for some of them, it's taking a while.
>>
>>4979803
yeah our party alone is pretty big. add in the dream daughters and its a bit silly(in a good way though). then add in friends, passing but not unremarkable characters, enemies....

it works if you've read the story, because BHOP is good at conveying characters in what time he gives them. but in a summary the list gets long.
>>
>>4979813
I'm skipping most of the Dream Daughters. A lot of them are throwaways, since we've only had one interaction with them. I'm mostly mentioning the repeat appearances. It's still a ton.
>>
Okay, this took way longer than I was expecting it to. Here you go, Body Horror Quest Dramatis Personae. Tell me if I'm missing anything or misremembering anything.

https://pastebin.com/Bw88JiAm
>>
>>4979868
Alpha, I forgot Alpha. Just realized that. Derp.
>>
>>4979868
(Oh my word, this is wonderful. It was an absolute pleasure reading these, very well done.)
>>
>>4979880
Oh, good. And now I need to make an actual summary of the plot, but that could take a while. You don't realize just how dense the quest's gotten until you sit down and actually try to sum things up. Well, maybe you do, since you're in the process of doing a massive overhaul of mechanics, but I didn't.
>>
>>4979868
(If I may be so bold; would you be averse to me adding this to the opening links of each Vein?)

>>4979886
(It's a lot, so I'm honestly amazed you were able to pull this together in such a short period of time.)
>>
>>4979891
>(If I may be so bold; would you be averse to me adding this to the opening links of each Vein?)
Sure. I just threw it together as a quick thing, but if you think it's good enough to be in the intro, go for it. Though I'm sure I'll have to update it eventually.

>(It's a lot, so I'm honestly amazed you were able to pull this together in such a short period of time.)
Arrogant fool that I was, I thought it would take even less time.
>>
>>4979699
>>Go ahead and ask Meg a thing or two about herself...you’ve still got time until the meeting, thanks to the Dreamscape’s time-fuckery.

I'd like to find out more about what Meg went through pre crucible. We don't know much about her even though she's one of the dream daughters we've known the longest
>>
>>4979868
look good. nothing major to say honestly.
though one line on Novembers could be worded better as it technically could be read as he losing happiness since she came to be with us.
perhaps the only other thing i an think to say is some sorta... i dunno, way to properly bring attention to people like B'ni. they're just so much more important even as someone who knew beforehand them just being randomly in the middle of the dream daughter section with an important description like that was kinda whiplash. you did a good job making it obvious she was more important, but that also makes it strange how shes just thrown in there willy nilly like everyone else. to be fair though too the fact she was a previous party member probably does alot to make her place there feel odd too.
not mentioning Marrow Dragoons current place guarding the Cord for us seems like a very big oversight, as otherwise her lack of... ever being around may seem odd.

all that being said, very nicely done Anon. I applaud your work heavily.

would've responded sooner but my computers suddenly giving me problems. hopefully that will be fixed later today.
>>
File: Submerged.png (315 KB, 552x543)
315 KB
315 KB .png
(Good Morning, Dear Readers. Due to some rather catastrophic flooding in my state, I've arrived at work to find the internet down, phones out, and two feet of water in the basement. Given today's unusual circumstances, I shall be postponing the next update until I can get a better handle on how this situation is going to progress, but I'll be posting regular updates here until I have an idea of when I can resume.)

(Thank you for your patience, one and all.)
>>
>>4980268
It didn't even cross my mind you're in the east and the east is currently getting hurricane'd.
you take care of that and whatever else you need to, yeah. hope things end up alright.
>>
>>4980268
Oh my. My condolences, BHOP. I hope things get resolved soon, I know it's a mess in general in that part of the country.
>>
>>4980133
Took your advice into account. Fixed the wording in November's entry, moved B'Ni into a designated Former Party Members section with a longer entry, and added Marrow Dragoon's current location. Also included that we had to kill Magpie but she erased her mindstate, the fact that A is probably named Alicja and is Polish, and added an entry for West Alpha.

https://pastebin.com/eL2zTZ4f
>>
(Cleanup is going slowly, so thank you all for bearing with the delay. Systems are still out here, so I'll likely head home at some point. I'll let everyone know when I do.)
>>
>>4980276
>>4980279
(Thank you for your kind words, truly.)

>>4980340
(Ah, very nice! Quite welcome additions, and thank you for writing all this up.)
>>
File: 1630609173876.jpg (377 KB, 1200x798)
377 KB
377 KB .jpg
>>4979868
Horee fook that is a lot indeed. Thank you anon. Sorry for not checking it out sooner.
I'll probably read it when the characters come up to organically absorb the info.

>MC's a lesbian and her geek GF writes smut in the first two paragraphs
kek, quality
>>4980340
>Full name is likely "Alicja". Polish, often peppers speech with Polish phrases.
It's always the polish, kurwa. Do you remember in which thread was her name implied?

>>4980268
>>4980353
Sorry to hear that you're submerged OP.
>>
>>4980487
>It's always the polish, kurwa. Do you remember in which thread was her name implied?
It was one of the interlude threads, which get blood vessel-related names instead of numbers. Looking it up, it's thread Capillary. http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/3933303/

A figure in her memory called her @/!(J@, the l33t speak representing how her memory was garbled. Translating that, @=a, /=l, !=i, (=c. ALICJA. Together with her being Polish, and Alicja being a Polish woman's name, I'm assuming that's what the A stands for.
>>
(Back home as of five minutes ago, and I'd like to put something to a vote.)

(If I start the next combat section now, there's no guarantee I'd be able to conclude it by Friday, as plans have materialized over the long weekend. Furthermore, I'm actually in the middle of updating all of Rath's abilities and compressing them into the new format so starting sooner would basically be a blend of relying on the old character sheet but with the new combat legend.)

(Alternatively, considering that work is likely to be a wash ha tomorrow as well, if you like we can instead pause here briefly and begin combat on Tuesday of next week with Rath's skill trees fully compressed.)

(Please let me know which you would prefer, and if it's the former then I already have the post ready to go so I can upload it wither tonight or first thing tomorrow morning at 10AM—once again, whatever works better for everyone if that's what you'd like to go with.)

(I'll leave voting open for the next three hours, and I hope everyone's day is going well.)
>>
>>4980514
Thanks once again, infoanon.
I couldsee that ¥337 speak and I'm polish, but thanks for the elaboration anyway.

>>4980546
I'm neutral, but since you're in the middle of 7zipping Rath, maybe waiting till the Tuesday would be better?
>>
>>4980546
I'm fine with waiting.

>>4980572
>I couldsee that ¥337 speak and I'm polish, but thanks for the elaboration anyway.
I assumed, but figured I should spell it out anyway for the benefit of anyone else wondering about the logic.
>>
File: Goth Rath.png (2717 KB, 1800x2100)
2717 KB
2717 KB .png
>>4980546
Waiting sounds like it would work better yeah.
>>
File: Spoiler Image (891 KB, 800x1130)
891 KB
891 KB .jpg
>>4980340
looks good.
nice job, and thanks aswell(even if im not the one who needs it).
now chop chop on adding an entry for EVERY character ever introduced!
im joking.

>>4980546
oh, also, look what i still have.
no its not THAT image other anons but i DO still have THAT image too.
>>
>>4980546
I'm fine with waiting until Tuesday, BHOP. It sounds like things are busy for you at the moment, take as much time as you need to get things sorted and enjoy your weekend.
>>
>>4980546

I'm happy to wait until Tuesday.
>>
>>4980687
wait WHAT image
>>
>>4980773
the original image for Shus core ability. want it?
>>
>>4980572
>>4980660
>>4980677
>>4980690
>>4980727

(Okay, I believe I will and focus on buckling down to finish Rath's 7zipping. Thank you all for weighing in, and thus the next update will post on September 7th, 10AM Eastern time.)

>>4980775

(I thought you were referring to Ivey's original character art, actually.)
>>
File: Spoiler Image (322 KB, 2048x2048)
322 KB
322 KB .jpg
>>4980780
i think you were too quick on the deletion for me to even consider saving it BHOP. I do have this in my BHOP Quest folder though.
>>
>>4980785
(Oh, I still have both the SFW and decidedly NSFW versions. The last thing I needed that day was a ban, so many thanks for the anons who pointed it out.

(Also, that image is hilarious, well played.)
>>
>>4980775
Sure?
>>
File: Spoiler Image (202 KB, 620x800)
202 KB
202 KB .jpg
>>4980809
you asked.
>>
>>4980815
Oh, I remember that one. Yeah, that was gross. The commonality of trypophobia means that Hive Mistress powers have some of the most potential to be unsettling to people.
>>
File: 1630625534386.jpg (1300 KB, 1600x1200)
1300 KB
1300 KB .jpg
>>4980815
Thank, that was both oddly fascinating and disgusting.

The bottom one be like
>>
Didn't you guys vote to give yourselves a brain injury?
>>
>>4982069
sorta?
you talking about the device we used to block out Sam?
>>
>>4980815
Super cute!!!
>>
File: Abyssal Stare.jpg (373 KB, 1191x839)
373 KB
373 KB .jpg
>>4980815
(Adorable.)

(Also, more art to share.)
>>
>>4982070
They may also be referring to our decision to willingly nerf the Fool's choice of our Core ability, as we felt our growing abilities of insight were a violation of the privacy of others.
>>
>>4982141
Ah, i guess i could see someone thinking that too even if its a decision i agreed with.
>>
>>4974921
Hi OP here Euro Anon with Mina

Sadly i did not have the time to write anything much since my new DND Campaign started and i am writing a custom campaign to play 40k with my friends

i only wrote down some notes but it might be difficult right now. I also had a smallish problem with my computer recently that whiped quite a lot of my custom rules progress for my 40K campaign and much of the artwork i had collected for writings and campaigns

>>4974829
Buttt- Butt Selenes nice necromancy Hybrid......... note to self cut some features and compress Skilltrees for the crew when my crazy self finds some time to really do it

>>4975030
and nice its Francinces time to shine

sadly i think i will be having trouble being very active... i have to remove an old thorn from my familys side and that might get messy since the dude is notorius for being lazy and slow to respond

>>4978762
a truly hard choice to bad i don't check twitter or /qst that regularly

but Rath is a fine choice

>>4980572
OP taking more time if it is needed is always fine

(on another note that new captcha system is kinda trippy the first time around)
>>
>>4974827
>>4980780

Holy shit Bhop! You're back!

Tis I, Archive anon.

A LOT has changed in the interim. Suffice to say as much as I cherish your return, events irl have greatly soured my outlook to that of depressive nihilism. my mood best exemplified by art related. My schedule is very packed and I won't have as much time as I'd like to actively participate as I did before in the years and months prior.

The muse for Cradleton's story unfortunately has been mostly silent but from time to time, but time willing, I won't hesitate to pick the pen back up and finish that plot ridden mess. I have been mulling over the plot that in with the passage of time in hindsight it was clear that I've been somewhat over-complicating things and the plot should've been going in a direction that isn't it's current heading up to a certain point.
>>
>>4982707
While i am not Op I am glad to see some other familiar face.

Though i am saddened by the way your outlook has shifted. I hope that it will get better in the future and Life gives you some more positive things.
>>
File: Creation Crawls Forth.png (2223 KB, 1072x1500)
2223 KB
2223 KB .png
>>4982594
(Euro Anon, it's great to see you! I had a fantastic time re-reading your story in the interim to get my own creativity jump-started.)

(I feel you onyour 40k notes getting wiped...I had Shu, Gina, and Amara all compressed a month or two ago and due to my own lack of backups they got wiped. I'm still salty about it, and they've summarily taken longer than the others to compress, paradoxically.)

(Best of luck in your thorn removal - I had to do something similar to a particular thorn this time last year, but I'm better for it.)

(Also, given my dyslexia the new captcha is hysterical to me. Every post I make is just me staring at the screen for a few seconds wondering 'what the fuck am I looking at?')

>>4982707
(Archive Anon, welcome back!)

(Hey, I'm just glad you're here, and I wish you the best in fighting the nihilism. I got in such a low place over the interim that it took everything I had to come back, but it's radically altered my mood for the better, and seeing everyone's return [yourself included] is just fantastic.)

(I can't express how much my re-read of Cradleton, Euro Anon, and the other writings in the fan work archive helped spur my return. You made something really cool, and if my writings helped inspire you then I hope you know that you did the same for me. So for that? Thank you, truly.)
>>
File: flesh pit park.png (3013 KB, 1521x2048)
3013 KB
3013 KB .png
>>4982594
>>4982707
oh hey, glad to see two more returning 'faces'. a bit late but you still made it back. hope you both find the time you want to participate at least a bit here.

oh god, Cradleton. i didn't forget it existed but i certainly forgot how unfinished it had been left off. were you waiting on me to read the next chapter or anything? if so, my apologies, but if nothing else im sure most understand mood surrounding things relating to the quest were dulled by its hiatus, especially given the dubious nature of if/when it would return.
>>
>>4982736
re-reading....... god dang i will need to do that. I had some ideas but those probably wont make any sense if i completely forgot which things i had set up and which still need set up... another thing on the pile of things i need to do.

But i am glad you still like the story

I am pretty sure i don't have dyslexia....... but i also have to stare for two or three seconds before i can unravel what exactly is happening in that Captcha
>>
>>4982736
>(Also, given my dyslexia the new captcha is hysterical to me. Every post I make is just me staring at the screen for a few seconds wondering 'what the fuck am I looking at?')
man if i dont get that feeling too. still faster than the old one, but sometimes im baffled by the fact i got it wrong because i have no idea what else it could be.
>>
>>4982594
>>4982707
Hey, old faces, nice to see you again. Sorry to hear you've been having difficult times of things. I hope you manage to find the time and energy to engage in the activities you enjoy. It sucks when you're too busy or despondent to do what gives you happiness.
>>
>>4982776
Being a phoneposter I used to solve the old captchas in a flash. Google trained my brain to detect taxis, chimneys and parking meters like it was the very purpose of its existence.
>>
>>4982748
don't read the latest chapters as of now, I've been mulling over it for the last 7 hours and I've deemed that it needs another set of overhauls which once again...needs to be addressed.

I realized that the story focus was drifting away from Carter being the proactive agent of plot progression in the last several chapters and several character elements didn't quite align well to the intended climax event. again.
>>
>>4983194
alright. and gotta say, respect to your continued commitment to the story.
but i also wouldn't blame you if it was something you wanted to move on from after all this time.
>>
File: Eae4LOWWkAA7K94.jpg (768 KB, 2048x1761)
768 KB
768 KB .jpg
(I do hope everyone is doing well today. Tomorrow I may post some of Rath's 'patch notes', as I've made some previously toggle-able states automatic since no one ever remembered to trigger them, and I've made the Sui Tormentis work with the streamlined system, along with a host of other minor buffs and tweaks.)
>>
>>4984121
I'm doing well today, the past 2 weeks have been grueling back breaking labor in the Logistics Industry. It's a shame that I don't have Labor Day off. Hard times are here, but today I have a small reprieve.

And my muse is back again on the writing side. I've been positively brimming with ideas (daughters, Amalgams, Relics, you name it) and spent quite some time burning the midnight oil jotting it all down.
>>
>>4984168
(Ah, while I'm sad that you don't have Labor Day off, I'm glad to hear you've been on a creative streak! I'd love to see some of what you've been working on when you're up for sharing.)
>>
File: ERoOLDFVUAISRr4.jpg (126 KB, 1234x805)
126 KB
126 KB .jpg
>>4984121
doing alright. lazy sunday at least. all the chicks finally hatched and have calmed down, so i can actually sleep without earplugs now, so things are certainly looking up.
>Sui Tormentis
as its creator, im very interested in this, considering its design while still useful, was extremely flawed towards having very different expectation for stat grow early on when it was made.
>>
>>4984121
uhh sounds interesting. what did we forget to toggle? Yeah those abilities truly were getting to big to handle.


I just had a small get together with family to celebrate my birthday from last week and as such i am filled with Cake and a pretty good mood for my sunday evening even if i have to go back to chasing down an error tomorrow....

The vendor informed me last week that the printed instruction Manual for one of their products is apparently not really what it should be...... read as(complete and utter nonsense printed to kinda look like they know what they are talking about)
>>
>>4984121
Been mostly okay. Didn't sleep well last night, though, been dozing off throughout the day. At least it's happening on the weekend. Otherwise, I'm alright.

>>4984168
Sorry to hear you don't have Labor Day off, anon. Glad to hear that your imagination is fired up, though. I look forward to seeing what you've got.

>>4984332
>uhh sounds interesting. what did we forget to toggle? Yeah those abilities truly were getting to big to handle.
I remember we went nearly the entire quest without realizing that one of Julia's abilities had a toggle, and thought it was just useless.. Turns out it's actually really strong and we just never had it properly on.

Oh, and happy birthday.
>>
File: 90980217_p0_master1200.jpg (579 KB, 912x1200)
579 KB
579 KB .jpg
I have imported a terrible monster from Lobotomy Corporation. It fits all too well within the Crucible.

"Mimi-grade"

Age: Colossus rank
Size: (depends on the target it attempts to impersonate)
Class: Flesh Artisan

Appearance: An ever shapeshifting "thing" that is a mockery of the human body, always shifting in an attempt to make itself appear fully human, yet never quite succeeding.
Behavior: It is capable of surprisingly accurate mimicry when it impersonates a person related to the daughter it intends to hunt, the uncanny valley factor increasing in magnitude the closer it gets to its target before it makes its ambush strike. Even more unsettling, Mimigrade can talk, but its vocabulary is limited to "hëLLò?", "GôDdBỹÉ", and "I LòvÉ ỹÉoô".

Stats:
HP: 800%
Regen: (1st form: 0%, 2nd form: 400%, 3rd form: 60%)
Bio: ???%
ACT: 4

Resistances:
>1st Form "Nothing there" (after losing 200% HP, immediately enter 2nd form):
Slash: 80%
Pierce, Bludgeon, Crush: 40%
Elec, Acid, Heat, Cold: 40%
Rad: 20%

>2nd Form "Cocoon" (after 2 turns, set hp to current + 400% hp and enter 3rd form)
Pierce, Rad: 20%
Elec, Acid, Heat, Cold: 80%
Slash, Bludgeon, Crush: IMMUNE

>3rd Form "Mimicry" (take on appearance and damage proficiency of target prey)
Slash: IMMUNE
Pierce, Bludgeon, Crush: 80%
Elec, Acid, Heat, Cold: 60%
Rad: 40%

Unique passives:
>Shell: Ignore debuffs that would normally result in ACT Loss
>"I LòvÉ ỹÉoô" (1st form only): Inflict 2 stacks of "Terror" upon a successful hit, when target reaches 6 stacks of "Terror", they become immobilized and cannot act for the rest of the current turn until they take damage. Terror stacks reset after Immobilization wears off.
>Hardness (3rd form only): Ignores instances of damage (after resistances are applied) that deal 20% hp or less (including DoT status debuffs that fail to exceed that threshold)
>Regenerative (3rd form only): If character took less than 120% hp damage at the end of each round, recover 10% of max hp.
>"hëLLò?" (3rd form only): Each round, the first attack this creature commits to recovers HP/Bio equal to the amount of damage it dealt.
>"GôDdBỹÉ" (3rd form only): Double the power of its last ACT each round.
>>
>>4984462
>I have imported a terrible monster from Lobotomy Corporation. It fits all too well within the Crucible.
Yeah, got to agree with that. Terrible monster, and would definitely fit in here. I'm imagining it attacking our party and being smart enough to realize that impersonating Amara is its best option. She's got so many clones hanging around already, most of whom don't talk much, that it could get pretty close before we realized something was wrong.
>>
(Also, before I forget again; Mrs. BHOP says hello, and that she's very happy we're back at it. She's been privy to every bamboozle along the way and it does her heart good to have the Quest back up and running.)
>>
>>4984462
(Oh this is PHENOMENAL.)

>>4984332
(Happy Belated Birthday, Anon!)
>>
>>4984601
let her know the thought is appreciated and give her a 'howdy' back from me then.
>>
>>4984601
That's nice of her. Give her our best regards,
>>
File: EytOQTgXEAE9g6Z.jpg (184 KB, 2048x931)
184 KB
184 KB .jpg
>>4984601
And hello to you too. I believe this picture best exemplifies how we sometimes imagine the two of you.
>>
>>4984661
...actually BHOP has done a great job of making me think hes a giant meatball that somehow does daily life tasks while no one around him questions his existence, so i try my best not to think about how that works with his wife.
>>
>>4984665
I always assumed that it was kind of like Kirby, where BHOP's meatball avatar looks like a sphere with a mouth when he's at rest but when he starts moving you can see that there are limbs there that he just has folded in. It's all the same bloody meat color, so it kind of blends together.

There's definitely some bloody meat-monster Kirby fanart, right? I know how the internet works, it would be weird if nobody had made that.
>>
File: file.png (241 KB, 400x400)
241 KB
241 KB .png
>>4984673
I mean, there's this, but I don't think it's what you meant.
>>
>>4984675
now THATS an image that should be spoiler'd for sure.
>>
>>4984675
Not quite, but still absolutely horrifying. Congratulations, I guess.
>>
Name: "Hearse", the Mourner
Class: Hive Mistress (Butterfly)

Appearance: Three things immediately make Hearse stand out. The coffin she carries, the third arm that juts out of her chest like a tie, and the white Butterfly that makes up half of her face. Always dressed in pre-crucible formal attire and has a face befitting of a person who is no stranger to funerals.

Behavior: A cheery woman who enjoys silence and gallows humor. Enjoys sugary drinks. Has a habit of entering scenes after any sort of recently finished combat to offer her "funeral services".

Fighting style: Her swarm of white butterflies scatters fragility inducing powder that weakens muscle and nerve that spawn from her Butterfly head and from the massive bone-black coffin she carries as her primary strategy, before pulling out 3 pistols; One of Ebony, One of Ivory, and One of Silver to finish off her opponent(s), the gunshots sounding off more akin to a soft chime echoing in "pings" elude to its eldritch nature.

Pre-crucible life: The lonely pessimistic owner of a Funeral Home who maintains a butterfly garden as her side hobby.

Crucible life: She now sees the journey to the Cord as one of a Journey to host the world's largest Funeral service for the planet itself. -"Earth is beyond saving, why not give it hospice care and a funeral?"
>>
>>4984766
Neat idea. I take it from the quotes around "funeral services" that she's actually ambushing weakened Daughters to still their kills and/or finish them off? I'm surprised we don't see that sort of behavior more often. As for her journey to the Cord...come on, lady. Don't be like that, that's not good palliative care. Though I do like the idea of a well-intentioned Cord-seeker.
>>
File: hearse's symbol.png (115 KB, 351x352)
115 KB
115 KB .png
>>4984778
>I take it from the quotes around "funeral services" that she's actually ambushing weakened Daughters to still their kills and/or finish them off?

yes, but she also does the actual funeral service bit, eulogy speeches and all. In her words: "Having someone to mourn for you after your death is a blessing."
>>
File: Colchiu_ terriblis.jpg (237 KB, 1600x1131)
237 KB
237 KB .jpg
Name: "Vitalili" The Toxic Smoker
Class: Unnatural Predator (Nature Spirit)

Appearance: The most obvious thing one notices about Vitalili is the creaking of wood. The second thing people notice is the dirty yellow fog heralding her arrival. The third thing they notice is a choking and burning Sensation in their throats as Vitalili's spores send their immune response into Overdrive to fight off the fungal infections she is constantly spreading.

Behavior: Quiet and mostly unresponsive unless directly talked to. She loves cheese and has been known to trade artifacts and even levels trading to secure whatever cheese can still be scrounged up and has been known to even work as a Hitwoman.

Fighting style: Increasing her Spore Production is her first call in every fight obscuring everything in a wide area around her that simultaneously chokes out her enemies and infects them with her spores. She then closes in like a Shadow while Fungi sprout across her latest victim and drain them of their vitality. If this tactic does not work she can switch to explosive elemental powers that scorch and burn her enemies into submission. After such outburst she becomes quite aggressive for a while and will actively go out of her way to hunt down Amalgams and other Daughters even those she might have helped in the past, killing and melting them down for consumption through her Mycellium.

Pre-crucible life: The daughter of a Cheesemaker with a fable for the different types of Fungi that she kept small samples of and was often bullied for in school.

Crucible life: She seems to wander around at random always seemingly following a call only she can hear. Wherever she goes she spreads her spores which gives a large Mycelium network, even when patches of it are eliminated due to acid rains or big fights, that allows her a kind of fast travel across the land where she can send part of her Consciousness across the World when she finds something she wants. When she comes across someone in need she tries to keep her distance unless directly asked for help.

I had this idea at work today when i was thinking about this thorn in my side and how his shit is probably at least partially moldy and what havoc Fungi can wreck on things and people once they take root.
>>
File: Sui Tormentis.jpg (149 KB, 1280x1149)
149 KB
149 KB .jpg
(A few quick patch notes for everyone.)

(First off the Sui Tormentis has been reworked to keep the HEALTH/ability tradeoff while streamlining the actual numbers involved, at least on your end, in addition to compressing the original tree from five stages to a mere three. Let me know what you all think, especially >>4984273 as the Relic's original creator.)

>>SUI TORMENTIS (Lvl 1); Rath may spend one or more increments of ⅕ of her max HEALTH to add +1 proficiency to all damage types per increment spent. The increases granted by this tree may break their respective ability caps.

>>(Lvl 2); HEALTH may be spent to increase proficiencies OR resistances. Also, Rath may root herself in place to gain +3 RES to all damage types until the start of her next turn. No movement, attack, or counter actions may be taken after this, but Rath counts as cover for allies.

>>(Lvl 3)[MAXED]; HEALTH may be spent to increase proficiencies OR resistances OR speed/CRIT RATE/CRIT DAMAGE. Passive: +1 RES against all damage types.

(Please note that the original tree's ability to spend HEALTH to access a single tree's next level has been removed in favor of of breaking the damage cap and the ability to not only increase speed, but also crit damage + chance at the same time. This decision was made a as result of compression, given that skill tree stages pack more punch per level, and I believed that the two buffs would help to mitigate the tradeoff. Additionally, this more cleanly combos with Alabaster Endoskeleton's reversal as well as Bloodied Stand. Let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or criticisms, as I'm always happy to hear them out and adjust things accordingly.)

>>KNOWABLE KADATH (Phantasmal Conduit Augmentation): 1/Vein, when the holder of this ability enters the Dreamscape and converses extensively with one of their allied Dream Daughters, they may level up any ability they possess.

(I've eliminated the Core requirement of the tree in exchange for a slightly more restrictive trigger.)

>>4984675
(My wife's been exposed to Kirby goatse, and her reaction was hysterical laughter. Well played, everyone.)
>>
>>4985361
Well, that's a rather nasty character idea. A neat one, though, I like the idea that she's an oenophile and is hunting for the perfect cheese. Characters in this disgusting flesh-apocalypse who aren't on some grand quest but just trying to fulfill personal goals are fun.

>>4985437
Tying it into the proficiency/resistance system does streamline things a bit by getting rid of the percentage defense bonuses as a separate system. Having the offense boost now apply to all damage types should also boost Rath's output considerably when she's Ignited. I like it. How do Rath's other offense and defense boosters work now? Herculean Might and Hideous Strength scale with Bio and Health, so I'm guessing they get +1 Proficiency per a certain increment of the stat? And what about Alabaster Endoskeleton's splitting damage between Health and Bio, how does that work?

As for Knowable Kadath, giving it a more restrictive trigger is probably advisable for the sake of balance. Smaller skills means that each individual level is worth more, so making it a bit harder to get Kadath levels seems fair. The ability to put the level into any skill, not just Cores, has some interesting potential, though. Should be nice for those members of the party who have fewer Cores, like Rath.
>>
>>4985437

Kadath seems to be absolutely fine. Also allows us to have an in Game reason to spend more time with people and talk with them to explore their storys and wants.

The Sui seems fine to me. Gives me a better idea and we all have to do less math. That's great. I do enough math already for my job and i was never quick at it...... i got a lot of very bad marks due to not being able to calculate as fast as the rest of my class
>>
>>4985462
(Herculean Force was altered to provide a flat +2 bonus to Bludgeoning + Crushing damage, instead of being so variable.)

(Meanwhile, Hideous Strength now reads as follows;)

>>HIDEOUS STRENGTH (Augmentation) At 50/75/100% of max HEALTH, Rath gains +1/2/3 Proficiency in all physical damage types. (HEALTH +60%)

(Finally, Alabaster Endoskeleton now works as follows;)

>>ALABASTER ENDOSKELETON (Lvl 1): Subdermal armor converts ¼ of incoming HEALTH damage to BIO damage and automatically inflicts equivalent damage to foe’s HEALTH. (HEALTH +20%)

>>ALABASTER ENDOSKELETON (Lvl 2): The first hit Rath takes in combat has its damage reduced by ½ instead of ¼, and the retaliatory strike deals the full incoming damage. (HEALTH +40%)

>>ALABASTER ENDOSKELETON (Lvl 3): HEALTH to BIO conversion rate is now ⅓. Repeated attacks from the same source grant the armor’s retaliatory strikes a small boost that lasts until the end of combat. (HEALTH +60%)

>>ALABASTER ENDOSKELETON (Lvl 4): REVERSAL unlocked. Free action; reduce all Rath’s RESISTANCES to zero for the remainder of combat to convert each point of resistance into an equivalent PROFICIENCY. (HEALTH +100%)
>>
>>4985474
The Endoskeleton sounds brutal. MAD if the enemy has enough power behind their swings.

The Strength seems fine to me. No longer so crunchy where you need to break down every single part. Still somewhat crunchy but the picture is so much clearer at what it does now.
>>
>>4985474
Ah, I see. I'm a little bummed that this means that we can no longer keep raising Rath's strength into the stratosphere just by boosting her max Health and Bio, but that does make things substantially simpler to keep track of. Also actually gives her better endurance, since her output won't drop quite as fast when she takes a hit. It does, however, mean that the Gutgrab Daggers are no longer as effective for Rath to wield if Herculean Force doesn't provide a boost to punching with them. Unless they've also been modified to have a clause of "counts as Bludgeoning damage for skills that granted increased Proficiency from high strength".

Alabaster Endoskeleton looks really good. Still gives a defensive option separate from Resistances, which I like. There should be at least some fiddling with different modes of defense. It's a much more streamlined form, though, again easier to keep track of. Getting rid of a defense boost and just having the Health to Bio conversion makes it more focused in concept. REVERSAL mode is going to be brutal, too.
>>
>>4985480
(Regarding Rath and Relics, please see the summary card for Vulcan's Hand.)

>>VULCAN'S HAND (Erupting Grasp + Forgemistress' Fingers Hybrid, Lvl 2 of 5): Relics Rath wields are UNBREAKABLE. If they inflict physical damage, they have their stats boosted by an amount that scales with her equivalent physical damage proficiencies. +1 HEAT Proficiency on top of ERUPTING GRASP’S bonus.
>>
>>4985486
Cool. So even though she gets the bonus to Bludgeoning, Vulcan's Hand lets her apply her strength through the daggers anyway. Nice. Also, Unbreakable Relics, very useful for her given that her skin is one, now.

Also, I don't know how I never thought of it before: Vulcan's Hand is basically Rath imitating November's Etain frame, isn't it? They can both enhance Relics they've bonded to, now, that's kind of adorable. Totally unintentional, but I love how Rath has converged with November's themes in a lot of ways.
>>
>>4985492
>>Vulcan's Hand is basically Rath imitating November's Etain frame, isn't it?

(Indeed! The commonalities between the two is rather sweet, actually.)
>>
File: BHOP.jpg (90 KB, 1200x1039)
90 KB
90 KB .jpg
(Also, as a quick test before the side story continues tomorrow morning at 10AM; can everyone open and read this alright? I'll admit I'm not the best with Excel, but I just want to ensure that it's readable before combat initiates.)

>>https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NtC05crrHDsxWmXBbl90hIOqeNn6bW3a4RXUjao762s/edit?usp=sharing
>>
>>4985564
I can't open the data validation drop down menu for the abilities. From what I know that's a symptom of having it locked, if you want it visible to everyone you've just got to unlock it and hope that nobody accidentally messes it up.

I also noticed a holdover that you missed: If Kadath applies to any skill now, not just skills acquired from dream Daughters that character has in them, then the [Kadath] tag on Indignant Ignition is unnecessary.

Finally, just as an aside, if you put all the combat cards on one sheet you should give each one a different color instead of all grey. It would make it a bit easier to flip through them and remember which is which.
>>
>>4985614
(I'll make myself a private copy and open it up.)

(Thank you for the catch on Indignant Ignition. Fixed!)

(Maybe red or orange for offensive, blue for support/defense skills, and yellow for augments?)
>>
>>4985628
>(Maybe red or orange for offensive, blue for support/defense skills, and yellow for augments?)
Oh, I actually meant giving each individual character's card its own color, like we have with the current character sheet. Makes it more visually distinct, so you know (for example) that you're looking at Shu's card even without reading the names because Shu's is green. I actually meant that to be the case with the example I made for Francine's, it's just that by coincidence the color assigned to Francine is, in fact, grey. Whoops.

Color-coding individual skills sounds like it would be too complicated. A lot of skills have overlap between offense, defense and utility, so sorting them into color categories wouldn't work well.
>>
>>4985564
>>4985628
I do have a question though. How would the char sheet streamlining be reflected in-universe/quest?

I could imagine something akin to a planet-wide hormonal/neural change that everything on the planet feels with an instinctive shudder.
>>
>>4985673
I was assuming it would just be a retcon. Like when we shifted to all skills granting bonus Health or Bio, and backlogged the levels characters had already gotten. It's not a huge enough change to have dramatically altered the vents of the quest, so it can be handwaved as "it was always like that, what are you talking about".
>>
>>4985673
(As the Anon above me mentioned, I'm planning to simply retcon it. I'd considered making something in the fiction, but much like the original alteration to Health and Bio gain, it will simply be handwaved at this point.)
>>
>>4985437
>Sui Tormentis
looks good, seems to fit much better into you trying to compress everything down a bit in terms of numbers. given the compression of levels the temp gain would probably be way more than it needs now yeah.

only major issue i see is the missing new ability gained once it fuses with you. I guess i get if thats a bit much due to technically copies of the suit being possible, but i guess there at least needs to be an explanation as to why specifically Raths suit did that.

>>4985474
damn, that last level of ENDO is the definition of going full glass cannon, but neat.

>>4985765
speaking of Health/Bio, im noticing something(albeit all you've shown us is one relic and one ability, you seem to be shifting to a fractional system, and one where things are clearly a bigger chunk than they were at times before(not always but certainly sometimes).
this just a happenstance of less levels and a coincidence too a bit to what you've shown off, or are you actually trying to address things like the fact that sometimes we could basically ignore the possibility of ever having our Biomass really be drained(aka the fact our regen stats had kinda made things crazy efficient at times.)
>>
>>4985884
(Since the scope of the game's far surpassed its original intent, the fractional system's proven to make the 'DM Screen' calculations much easier on me, which in turn should make combat a bit smoother and, more importantly, ensure I miss less with all the things I'm juggling.

(The next few Quests I have in mind all use only slight modifications from the various systems they're planned around, so at least I won't be bamboozling myself like this the net time around...)

(...hypothetically.)

(Also, the Sui Tormentis' granted skill tree is still part of Rath's suite of abilities, no worries! Tormented Drive is still there, I just removed the wording on the summary card for brevity.)
>>
>>4985900
well if it helps you on your end, go for it. kinda thought that anyways, just was wondering the reason is all.
as for Sui, if thats the reason then alright. guess you did say you were splitting info on that stuff a bit and i guess a new permanent ability is a bit outside the norm.
>>
Relic Idea:

Printing Prescript: A typewriter made of Brass iron and Ivory bone. The typewriter's key hammers are constructed from bones of various Index fingers. The parchment paper it uses come from freshly flayed human skin that is seemingly grown out of the typewriter. There is no keyboard. When the holder of this relic enters combat, the Prescript automatically activates and prints out Prescripts that are handed out to all combatants involved with specific instructions that all must follow. Completing the Prescript during combat grants the combatant a buff that aids them in combat. Failing or refusing the prescript invokes penalties wherefore the prescript screams in a skintalker language that curses the disobedient participant.

The instructions upon the prescript vary in content, but the result of the prescript always ends with the fight taking a most unexpected and chaotic turn.

Some examples of prescripts include:
>Fight using only your non-dominant side. Failure results in full body paralysis for 1 minute, success results in complete ambidexterity.
>Spill the insides of an ally within 30 seconds, failure results in your own disembowelment.
>Challenge your opponent to "Rock paper scissors" and play rock, If you win, pull out 1 of their eyeballs. If you lose, you become blind in one eye.
>Run to the nearest settlement, aggravate all amalgams you encounter along the way.
>Until combat ends, do not use [insert ability here] more than [insert number here] times.
>Take all attacks on your ass and only your ass.
>Rip out your skull during combat and land the killing blow with said skull.
>Chug the "Bloody Bottle Relic" in one go and do not vomit.
>Survive the fight while lobotomized
>Place a hat on your opponent's head
>Do not let your opponent touch your head
>etc.

Creator's note: I hope BHOP and the anons gets to go hog wild on some of the ridiculous prescripts that could be generated.
>>
>>4985361
>>4984766
(Also, my apologies for not addressing these magnificent creations sooner. Ever since I was young I always loved character breakdowns like this, and these two are truly something special. Thank you for sharing!)

>>4986245
(Oh, this...this is absolutely devilish. I do believe that this will have to make an appearance...and I'll have to devote some time to thinking of some good Prescripts.)
>>
>>4986245
Makes me think of how Supergiant Games' games will let you activate various options to make the game tougher in exchange for more XP. Nicely done, I like it.
>>
>>4986265
(Oh, I knew it reminded me of something. Modifiers like that are so fun, thanks for pointing that out.)
>>
>>4986258
>>4986265

Tis shameless of me to shill and admit, much of the inspiration comes from a "Library battle simulation game" called "Library of Ruina", which is the sequel game to and made from the same folks who made "Lobotomy Corporation".

But goddamn is the game so good, the lore, the setting, the gameplay, and especially the soundtrack. They had Mili make several songs for the game.

The one I linked is simply the introduction to the game.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofmYqXfjFs8
>>
>>4986284
I've heard of this game a bit. Sounds interesting, but not my preferred play style. The lore is neat, though.
>>
(I wish everyone a good rest, and I shall see everyone at 10AM on September 7th to continue the Vein.)

>>4986284
(Ah, I'm familiar with Library of Ruina! The OST was the first thing that caught my attention, and then I learned about Lobotomy Corp shortly after. Should I complete the first game before trying to get into Library of Ruina?)
>>
>>4986284
huh i actually got that game recently because i thought the concept was neat.... i am just busy with playing bravely default so i have not gotten to play Library of Ruina. just not enough time.

>>4986245
and i think i could come up with some insane stuff

>>4986325
Sleep well BHOP
>>
File: 86362591_p1_master1200.jpg (724 KB, 1200x807)
724 KB
724 KB .jpg
>>4986325
In all technicality, you could play Library of Ruina blind without knowing much about Lobotomy Corp.

But if you play Lobotomy Corp before Library of Ruina, you'll have a different perspective of Library of Ruina.

Narratively, Playing Library of Ruina first gives you an Outsider's perspective of the world much akin to Roland (who is your stand in audience surrogate)

While playing Lobotomy corporation first gives you the insider's perspective of the world akin to Angela's perspective (with all of the emotional baggage she and you will carry over from Lobotomy Corporation).
>>
>>4986325
you won't really miss out on the main story beats of L-corp if you play the Library first as the Library will give you a pretty good recap as to the events of L-corp.
>>
>>4986325
Good night, BHOP. I should head to sleep now, myself. See you tomorrow, everyone.
>>
File: Rath, Angered.png (486 KB, 556x1000)
486 KB
486 KB .png
>>4979699

A clear mind, a clearer heart. It’s with this fleeting lucidity that, if just for a moment, you know exactly what you want.

“...Meg?”

“Hm?”

Your eyes meet her starling blue gaze, and you realize that you and she are kindred spirits, in a way. You don’t even have to voice your question before she settles into her fighter’s stance, fingers popping as she curls them into fists.

“You wanna go right here? I’m game.” She answers with a smile, bouncing on the balls of her feet even as her eyes dart around you, sizing up the potential obstacles in the way of her victory. “What’re you feelin’? Best of three, TKO, or-?”

“Powers. All natural, no Relics. Hexane allowed. Deal?”

She blinks, azure eyes searching yours for a second or two before she nods.

“...Alright. Keep the Sui Tormentis, though.”

Meg simply levels that same kind smile that she always does.

“You’ll need it.”

The girl fades from your sight, merely the first constant to disappear as the world around you is swept into an impossible storm of concept and memory with you in the eye of the hurricane. You close your eyes, only daring to open them once you feel a gentle breeze against your cheek. You're greeted with an expanse of rolling hills, their pale flesh home to a golden field of hair that’s caressed by the Fleshscape’s warm breath. A crown of jagged mountains looms large over the horizon, the opposite side of the Calcite Cliffs that you’re used to seeing.

A quiet chuckle makes you turn to find Meg staring up at a titanic corpse—a behemoth centipede whose segments more readily resemble flesh-stripped skulls than chitinous joints. Its head is that of a gigantic deer or moose, herbivorous teeth replaced with carnivorous knives, each scythe-like blade longer than your leg. Meg’s fingers trace a human-shaped hole in the center of the thing’s skull that allows you easy line of sight into its hollowed-out husk.

“This is where I met Shu. And Gina. And B’ni. And then...” Meg says quietly, hand dropping to her side as she turns to face you with that same serene smile.

“...they killed me.”

The heat inside you begins to boil over at a thought, your skin barely containing the nuclear fires that churn just beneath the surface. The atmosphere roils around you as three pairs of arms emerge from your back, the smell of charred flesh filling the air as each one’s solar musculature contorts into a mirror of your own hard-fought strength.

“I wonder sometimes, what my life would’ve been like if I’d never met them. How far could I have made it? Would I have fought Julia in crossing the cliffs? Killed her? Eaten Amara’s pod before she ever woke up? I think about it a lot, actually.” She ponders aloud, her own simple tank top and gym shorts starting to smolder from your sheer presence a mere five meters away.

“Is it weird...” She asks, quietly. “...to be relieved that I’m dead?”

(Continued)
>>
>>4986871

The Sui Tormentis manifests between your skin and the furnace beneath, warped thorns merging with your flesh and threading through your bones, twisting your shape into an infernal thing—a nightmare that’s crawled its way up from the depths of hell, desperate for a chance to display the strength that will carry you and those you love to the end of all things....and beyond.

“I’m glad of where I ended up. Really, I am.” Meg admits, taking a step forward. Flesh churns at her feet as a sea of obsidian worms tear through the skin of the earth, surging up their master’s legs and across her torso.

“Because without Shu? Without meeting Eloise, and you, and the others?” She says, shrugging as the worms overtake her body completely “I think I might’ve turned into something terrible.”

Their oily black bodies weave together over her petite frame to form a baroque armor to contest your own—a shimmering oil slick clinging to a human frame, her musculature grossly exaggerated by the pulsing, squirming suit. A slender ivory thread begins to wind its way around Meg’s forehead just as the worms swarm across her face, her piercing blue eyes the only trace of her cherubic features. The inimitable form of the Neurotic Halo pulses just beneath her armor’s forehead, a single signing diadem blazing like a third eye in her armor’s helm.


“I’ve found people I love. You’ve found people you love. I’m glad we are where we are, Rath.” She continues, voice echoing in your mind and slithering around your thoughts, her Halo flickering with a wan, milky light. “But still, I’m in here, and you’re out there. The Cord’s coming up fast, dude. So I need you to show me…"

>>COMBAT INITIATED

“...that you have what it takes to protect our family.”
Rath, the Radiant Goddess

VS.

Meg, the Enigma of Possibility


HEALTH: 3,600% (Regen: 660%)
BIO: 2,440% (Regen: 260%)
CALCITE HALO: No immunity selected.
NEUROTIC HALO: Counter=Primed.
ALABASTER ENDOSKELETON: Establishing defensive matrix, REVERSAL ready.
PANGAEAN ARSENAL: Active; Heat/Radiant. Reserve; Cold
PHANTOM LIMB: x6

ACT: 3/2 (Bonus ACT granted by SILVIS’ RADIANCE)

>>CALCITE HALO: Please choose damage type to assign +5 Lvls of resistance to.

>>Rath ABility Sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NtC05crrHDsxWmXBbl90hIOqeNn6bW3a4RXUjao762s/edit?usp=sharing

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Good Morning, Dear Readers. Voting shall remain open for the next four hours, with posting to resume in five. It's a busy not-Monday, but I'll endeavor to keep a steady update schedule.)
>>
>>4986880
just a reminder/question that Raths Card isnt set to allow us to change what ability we're looking at.
>>
>>4986882
(There's a tab at the bottom that should show everything in a list, is that unable to be interacted with?)

(If it continues to be an issue, please see the below Pastebin for Rath's ability list.)

>>https://pastebin.com/YukN7kav
>>
ill ask if anyone remembers much of what Meg had. im pretty sure she was mostly just Blunt damage no? maybe a bit of Crushing but i dont think she ever really had attacks big enough to become Crushing. what i cant remember is if she had Acid or not.

anyways, biggest problem is Megs ability to dive underground that i seem to recall giving us some trouble the first time around. my thought would be to use our boils lay out a minefield to try and force where Meg can properly come out at, though with the nigh infinite biomass of the dreamscape her worms might just clear a path anyhow. still though, we could still use them basically as depth charges to either force her route someplace we want, or force her to surface.

this is actually a pretty interesting matchup. Rath is actually pretty bad for Meg to get in close to even ignoring any strength differences, but Rath actually doesn't have extremely good tools to force Meg close or to surface. i mean... shes Rath, so she could probably just explosion punch her way underground, but still.

>>4986884
it was not there but is now after refreshing, thanks.
not sure if you changed its viewability or google docs was just taking me for a spin.
>>
>>4986890
(Please also note that this version of Meg has been scaled to fight Rath, but she still fights like she used to in Vein 3 just tremendously upscaled.)

http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/3102295/
>>
>>4986872
Plan: Icy Hot Hurricane
>Abuse Pangaean Arsenal's Element ability by rapidly toggling between Heat/Radiant and Cold between attacks
>Throw Freezing boil bombs and Fiery boil bombs as the standard minefield tactic while spinning your limbs and extending them with your Tensile strand into a weed whacker hurricane.
>Grow Boils over your body but do not release them, instead let them settle on your body and have them gain potency so when Meg goes for the hit-Run tactic, the boils will act as claymore mines and detonate when Meg hits close range.
>If Meg does find a path and enters close range, retract your limbs to abuse centrifugal force and momentum and throw out a nasty haymaker/Lariat.
>>
>>4986941
to clarify, half of the boils grown will be sent out as mines while the other half will stay on Rath's body as claymore mines.
>>
>>4986872

Supporting This >>4986941
but make sure that you detonate several mines with Cold damage just when Meg closes in while using Northern Lights to blind Meg and make sure she can not see the haymaker coming

I sayy just in case we can control the precise timing of switching the types of damage just when needed so we get out the maximum effect from that.
>>
>>4986941
this feels too sporadic. Megs got a halo, so we shouldn't underestimate her ability to see attacks coming. the random nature might help, but i cant see it overpowering her.
really, the biggest issue here, and with this, is actually things like Unrelenting Cold, which Meg absolutely knows about. I cant see her getting in close to risk anything and getting stacks unless shes sure she'll land a blow. shes also used to the minefield at least a bit from Shu.

its why my suggestion was actually to go on the offensive. trying to stand still and bait her out or force her to get close is exactly what shes expecting. im not sure how she could or will overcome this mind, only shes smarter than you would think and wont just suicide rush us or fall for the bait in my opinion.

its why im for a hunting strategy. Use our Strands and Halo together to try and cope out a feel of where she is underground, and use our absurd and ever growable strength mixed with bigger boil clusters to basically make being underground in general not actually safe. once shes actually on the surface(or we've basically blown the underground into being aboveground), her options are alot more limited and we wont even need an AOE effect compared to forcing her into a more linear brawl.
>>
File: Vira.jpg (104 KB, 500x647)
104 KB
104 KB .jpg
>>4986956
I think we still should make the Minefield as an opening move. the Terrain is not exactly good for us as well. It could make for a good fallback option to then follow up with your proposed Hunter strategy and just depthcharge the hell out of her if she does not want to get close to us.

I also had another Idea while at work.it might be a bit too crazy though.

Name: „Vira“ The glowing Shadow

Class: Generator/ Unnatural Predator Hybrid (Radiant Dinosaur)

Appearance: Appearing to be a cross between a very angry Lizard and a Chicken that fell into a vat of neon green paint has led to Vira being confused for a thieving Amalgam plenty of times. Her green eyes nervously dart around constantly and she even seems to sleep with at least two pairs of eyes open at all times, if she finds it in herself to actually go to sleep.

Behavior: Trying to avoid daughter and Amalgam alike unless being confronted with her insatiable Hunger or being dicovered has led to Vira adopting a Stealth approach on her journey towards the cord. This had been made pretty difficult due to her constantly emitting a pale green light from her skin which she has to release on Occasion to not overheat underneath her feathers.

Fighting Style: Usually trying to avoid fights mean that she does not have a massive amount of combat experience instead preferring to use her superb senses of smell and hearing to find isolated prey and then pouncing on them with a devastating first strike assault using her feathers like mirrors to concentrate the radiance from her skin and scorching her enemies to charred corpses before swooping in to finish them off with sicklelike claws fit he first assault did not do it.

Pre-Crucible Life: Born to a pair of abusive parents Vira became supremely self reliant at a young age while sticking to the shadows to escape her parents drunken wrath when she stole form them just so she could feed herself before bed. She ran away at a young age and was discovered relatively soon when she stole from a shop to sustain herself. Before she could be returned to her parents or put into an Orphanage the crucible hit earth and her entire past was wiped from the surface.

Crucible Life: After gaining her powers Vira stuck to her old ways. She had never wanted to stand out. A plan that was thoroughly ruined when she was practicaly paralyzed with fear when Mother approached her to make her choice. Annoyed at the girl that was like paralyzed Mother decided to pervert the choice making Vira stick out wherever she went while massively boosting the damage she could deal with her core but also painting a target on her back. Her current form came about when she managed to merge an Unnatural Predator, that had tracked her down, with her Core Power finally allowing her to turn off the light even though she would slowly cook herself with it if she stayed hidden for to long.
>>
>>4986872
I notice that Indignant Ignition doesn't have its "pay all abilities from Health instead of Bio when active" part anymore. Something it lost in the revamp, or not enough room on the card?

>>4986890
Meg was mostly Blunt, yeah. Gladiatorial Swarm probably counts as Piercing, though, all those little mouths chewing away. But Rath's already good on Piercing resistances, so yeah, let's put Calcite Halo into Blunt. Let's not forget to prime the Neurotic Halo, too. Meg has one of her own, so we want to be able to cross-counter when that time comes.

Laying Radiant Boil landmines is a good idea. Rath can also teleport to them when Ignited, so it gives her an ability to rapidly relocate that Meg might not be expecting. I think our mobility-denial should also include activating Unrelenting Cold, slow Meg down a bit more every time she gets in close.

We might not have to punch our way through the ground. We've got Caster's Curveball, Boil attacks might be able to chase down Meg's tunnels if she doesn't close them fast enough. But yeah, we'll probably have to find out if Burrowing Blast lives up to its name. I like the idea of shattering the earth and leaving her without easy cover.

>>4986956
Agreed. She's a mobile opponent, we don't want to cede too much initiative to her. Rath is immune to her own damage, so there's no reason to stand still after laying a mine field. Wade through it while Meg has to watch her steps, it's a much better course of action.
>>
>>4986958
(Just QM oversight, is all. The full 1st level ability should read as follows.)

>>INDIGNANT IGNITION (Lvl 1): IGNITION STATE Unlocked — Activation detonates all terraformed terrain in medium range. Contact with Rath’s body inflicts CATASTROPHIC HEAT + RADIANT damage, and sticks foes with blight that deals Radiant Boil’s DoT over 3 turns and cannot be purged. BIO costs deduct HEALTH instead + Rath’s HEALTH REGEN becomes BIO REGEN. +2 HEAT RES, +1 RES against ALL OTHER dmg. types.
>>
>>4986872
my vote;
>add 5 resistance levels to bludgeon.
>thread out several tensile strand limbs in a wide area, pulling them tight. combine the halos enhanced senses with any vibrations to figure out exactly where Meg is underground.
>While waiting, buildup strength with a Sui health offering aswell as making extra arms and boil clusters.
>once found, quickly use the strands to drag yourself into Megs perceived path, combing extra arms and Ignition to punch as deep a hole downward to Meg as you can, before detonating the Boil cluster to try and blow her out, or at least the terrain out from the area she is in.
>Once Meg is out in the open, try and feint her out, but instead burn and harden the surrounding terrain further to try and prevent or slow down any attempts for her to escape.

theres more that can be built on this but i still feel its a much more solid idea. Raths a force of nature, and not just probably, but almost certainly stronger than earth movers and earthquakes if she tries. Meg will expect us to try and make her come to us, so we go to her. take away her digging advantage at its source will do her much worse than trying to punish her for coming to the surface.
>>
>>4986956
>>4986958
So change the strategy then... how about this instead?

Change of plans from >>4986941 to >>4986872

>Abuse Pangaean Arsenal's Element ability by rapidly toggling between Heat/Radiant and Cold between attacks
>Grow Boils over your body, release half of them and let them either be detached or thrown about as mines while the other half settles on your body and gain potency so when Meg goes for the hit-Run tactic, the boils will act as claymore mines and detonate when Meg hits close range.
>Create your own Tunnel by explosively drilling your way through the ground, instead of engaging Meg, Actively avoid Meg, Cover as much area as you can underground while planting FrostFire Boil mines within the Earth and behind you. Break the environment that Meg relies upon.
>>
>>4986962
A thought. Why are we limiting ourselves to 6 Phantom Limbs when we could create so much more due to the Dreamscape settings? We could create Limitless numbers of Phantom Limbs and increase the ground covered while also abusing Pangaean Arsenal's Element Ability switch. Cold restricts her mobility while Radiant/Heat applies High DoT stacks.
>>
>>4986961
Darn. Ah, well.

>>4986962
Looks pretty good. We should add in grappling with Meg once we manage to get in close with her, keep her from getting away. Rath should be able to tank Gladiatorial Swarm's damage, especially if we Ignite and start our own contact-damage right back at her.
>>
>>4986957
>>4986958
i would say use the minefield as i thiiink we can teleport to boils, but those still wont help us find her, and a spiderweb of strands will basically work just aswell for the job while allowing us to find her.

...i mean, ignoring Rath is a fast enough and potent enough bomb at wherever Meg shows up anyways, we can just spawn them on the arms anyhow without having to have alot of boils laying around otherwise being wasted. its basically the same thing just putting our resources to mixed uses and not leaving anything around to be potentially wasted.

>>4986968
good idea. not like we lack the limbs to try and grapple her too yeah.

>>4986967
I didn't put a number? was kinda implying we were abusing that limitless number part yeah, though i apologize if my wording was too vague.
>>
>>4986962
Wait, I have a better idea to add to your plan.

>Have Rath Dig herself underground, and then spawn numerous Phantom Limbs that each stretch themselves out throughout the ground like a Fungal network, growing explosive boils alongside each limb like seeds in the soil. instead of waiting above ground.
>Prioritize growing the Volume of underground terrain covered. The more terrain we disturb and detonate, the more terrain that is rendered unusable to Meg.

thoughts?
>>
>>4986975
I'm not sure the Phantom Limbs will be able to spread fast enough through the ground. No particular burrowing ability, so they'd have to big on their own. Better to cover the top of the ground with strands, it would be faster and have much the same effect since Meg has to emerge to attack.
>>
>>4986970
>>4986968
any speculations as to how upscaled Meg's Gladatorial swarm will be in this fight? I can imagine that given the ability upscaling, Meg might be capable of creating Living Armor decoys out of her own swarm.
>>
>>4986970

i was just thinking that she could fake us out as well maybe being able to send swarms in all directions that might throw us off so that we hit something on accident that isn't what we actually wanted to hit.

but you do have a point about Rath being a bomb herself in more ways than one.

Planetcracker bomb with enough windup time, napalm and rapid fire fisting that would put the Fist of the Nortstar himself to shame are good reasons to seek an engagment

>>4986975
This sounds pretty creative a Network of explosive roots to maybe then blow up to deny meg the Chance to dive back down because everything is a massive pit of hellfire

might be worth it to do two things at once to deny ever more area to be attacked from becausé in the end we could probably blow up the Dreamscape with enough preptime and would survive it if Meg can not attack us during that time.
>>
>>4986978
Depends on how high-level it is. We can look at what Gina has to see a preview some of the way up its tree. Better able to handle terrain obstacles, faster dodging back into the ground, and yeah, leaving decoys with her swarm. Shit, that last one is a good point, the decoys are intended for tremorsense and we're trying to feel out the vibrations of Meg's movement. Okay, we need to account for that in our plans.
>>
>>4986978
BHOP said it was upscaled but that she will still fight the same, which implies no new abilities just the ones she had before are more potent. so we shouldn't expect any new ABILITY tricks, just in how she applies what she already had.
>>
>>4986983
well creating decoys might have been something she never did out of an economic sense outside.

but the Armor is something that is part Hive Mistress so she might be able to pull out tricks from that Skilltree and employ them now that her BIO is pretty much uncapped.
>>
>>4986983
>>4986982
(I will say that since Meg is level-scaled to Rath, she does have some new tricks that you wouldn't have seen before - however, she's not going to throw anything out at you that's not something she could access with her Core or the Neurotic Halo at max level. Anything she whips out will very much be on-brand for those two powers.)
>>
>>4986962
wouldn't the nature of Meg's swarmlings make those worms deal Piercing damage? So why not allocate those resistance levels to Pierce instead?
>>
>>4986989
Is her Neurotic Halo still a separate target? I remember us destroying that in the fight with her and that weakening her some. Technically all the Neurotic Halos except Shu's, Gina's, and Amara's are individual targets that can be hit by called shots, but we've been ignoring that possibility for the sake of streamlined combat for so long that I'm not sure if it would be fair to use it against an opponent.

>>4986990
Rath already has 100% Piercing resistance and can't have her resistances lowered thanks to the Calcite Halo. She should be fine with that. If they start spewing Acid damage, then maybe it would hurt her, but I think the bigger priority is protection from Meg's punches.
>>
>>4986975
as >>4986977 said, im unsure of how quickly they could dig, its probably not fast enough. the strand themselves have little if any push power, their extension always relying more of Rath wind up from what we have seen, so the ground would impede their spread pretty heavily i think even with Raths strength.

>>4986981
>>4986984
can Meg send out swarmlings? she might not really be able to. She didn't before. i mean, the question would be 'why couldn't she"/ which is a very fair question, but its not like abilities haven't ever had odd caveats before. not saying its for sure she cant only its not assured even if it would make sense. she never used them as mines like Gina now can either from what i remember, so that might give an indication she never got it high enough to shed them and still be able to keep proper control of them over a distance, given its main application is as armor.

we also know she got the hive mistress part when it was already hybridized, which she should still have but might also be an unusual one, which could imply why she doesn't use said base swarmlings-

>>4986989
>this appears as im typing.
well then. still, given what we know from Gina i think the most likely we will see would be a form of the mine slugs. does complicate things but could still be distinguishable from Meg herself. even if not, it feels like all giving her time would do is allow her to counter mine us. letting this turn into a mine vs mine war still feels like a bad idea, if not just super tedious.

>>4986990
it says damage type no? not damage types.
aswell as i dont remember the worms ever attacking much if at all. even if they're mines now like Gina, i think those deal something other than Piercing.
>>
>>4986994
(It does count as a separate target, yes. That said, it is max level so doing so may or may not be repercussions for doing so.)
>>
>>4987001
speaking of, will everyones new ability levels be based purely on what they were in the previous version(aka direct number transfer; if there were 25 levels as example, then each 5 would be condensed into 1 level), or somewhat not be a "one to one" based off how you had to re-balance abilities?
>>
>>4987001

>so doing so may or may not be repercussions for doing so

>doing so doing so

(A good summary of my day and mental state, thus far.)
>>
>>4987001
Huh. Interesting. Some sort of psychic backlash?
>>
>>4987008
you have NO IDEA how often i type like that, and have to catch and correct myself.
it just feels oddly right to repeat things like that sometimes, even if upon re-reading it usually reads weirdly or at least as unnecessary.
>>
>>4987005
(It's not necessarily one-to-one, if there's a lot if chaff or easily-condensed items in a given tree. That said, in my time condensing the trees I've noticed there's a tend for a 2-1 or 3-1 compression.)
>>
>>4987010
Yeah, it's something everyone does when they're not paying attention. Start a sentence with a qualifier, then forget they did that and end it with the same qualifier. It just feels natural, somehow.
>>
>>4987010
(Same! It just feels right in the moment, and then if I don't catch myself I'll have repeated things.)

>>4987009
(No way to tell at current. If I were DMing in person, this would be a 'you are welcome to try' moment.)
>>
>>4987012
alright, makes sense, thanks.
will be interesting to see how much progress we've 'gained' or 'lost' in some places.
>>
>>4986872
>Assign Calcite Halo to Bludgeoning
>Activate Unrelenting Cold
>Activate one level of Sui Tormentis on offense

>Create a mine field of Radiant Boils to limit where she can safely emerge from
>Use Ignition to teleport to the Boils if needed for a rapid relocation

>Spread a network of Tensile Strands and Phantom Limbs to feel the ground, combine with Neurotic Halo's senses to try to find her location. Don't be fooled just by tremors, look for movement
>Once we have a good sense of her location, blast her out into the open with Ignition and a Phantom Limb punch

>When it gets into melee, bait out her Neurotic Halo's counter and then grapple. Keep her from getting back into the ground by any means necessary.
>>
>>4987019
One place I've noticed we've gained a fair bit of progress, just from Rath's combat card, is maxing out some of her defensive skills. Even if levels are in shorter supply now that each individual one is worth more, we could still get Calcite Halo and Alabaster Endoskeleton maxed out and hybridized with just three more levels. Two, if we put the Kadath level we're going to get from this fight into one of them now that Kadath doesn't care about Cores. I could be persuaded otherwise if someone thinks we really need to put work into another skill, but I'd like to make creating that hybrid a short-term goal for Rath's leveling.
>>
>>4987016

>>'you are welcome to try'

yeah i love those moments as a DM....... even though it can hurt my playersone of my players noticed when he went evening out debts he had with a powerful Archfey...... needles to say he lost thousands of his most loyal and curageous troops to the Feywilds before even engaging the enemy.

In the end they won because one of their allies managed to get ahold of another powerful Feylord who send them help but still the Character was shattered because he could not even remember the people he had lost but knew he had lost them. He came with roughly tenthousand troops. He left with less than a thousand. he lost Vetrans that survived the goddamn magic apocaplyse to the fey trying to even things out and then fell even deeper into the Archfeys trap that they had sprung. In the end a Godly Shard that owed them a thing or two bailed them out of the deal before they lost absolutely everything.

Good thing this was pretty much postgame of the last campaign otherwise i think the player would have quit on me


>>4987024
hmmm if we can use Kadath here. but sure that soudn supremely useful to make sure we boost our defenses up to the ceiling and then catapult them through said ceiling
>>
>>4987022
still feel the minefield is just wasted time.
at the veeeerry least, combining the action with spreading out the tensile strands would make more sense.

...also we keep forgetting we need to turn on our own Neuro Halo.

>>4987024
I am unsure mostly because i'd like to see final numbers and more importantly, new levels gained upon consuming.
also i dont think this fight counts, considering its a side story. or maybe more importantly, timeline wise we already did gain this kadath.
>>
>>4986872
>>4986962
editing vote;
>add 5 resistance levels to Bludgeon from our Calcite Halo and prime our Neuro Halo. Get Unrelenting Cold up and running.
>thread out several tensile strand limbs in a wide area, pulling them tight and covering them in boils to act as mines/deterrent to messing with them. combine the halos enhanced senses with any vibrations to figure out exactly where Meg is underground.
>While waiting, buildup strength with a Sui health offering aswell as making extra arms and boil clusters.
>once found, quickly use the strands to drag yourself into Megs perceived path, combing extra arms and Ignition to punch as deep a hole downward to Meg as you can, before detonating the Boil cluster to try and blow her out, or at least the terrain out from the area she is in.
>Once Meg is out in the open, try and feint her out, but instead burn and harden the surrounding terrain further to try and prevent or slow down any attempts for her to escape.
>Also attempt to Grapple Meg so she cant escape.
>>
>>4987029
>...also we keep forgetting we need to turn on our own Neuro Halo.
It's already on, check the status at the start of the fight.

>>4986872
>NEUROTIC HALO: Counter=Primed.

>also i dont think this fight counts, considering its a side story. or maybe more importantly, timeline wise we already did gain this kadath.
You know, that's a good point, this is technically the past, isn't it? We may have already voted on a Kadath point from this time period. Well, still, even if we don't get a level from it, it's only three to the hybrid. I think it could be a good investment.
>>
>>4986872
changing vote from >>4986954
to supporting >>4987035

but still stay alert for possible trickery using her core power and the Neuro Halo combined
>>
>>4987037
ah, my bad. think someone else mentioned something about it so i just assumed we must not of had it one.

as for the hybrid. sure i guess. dont really remember most of our plans for our abilities actually, but i do think i remember Halos like being hybridized with their own class, so that sounds like a natural hybrid to make. for some reason i kinda feel like we were aiming for a triple there though but if so i certainly dont remember what else.
>>
>>4987055
i think maybe with the Neuro Halo.....

but i have absolutely no idea anymore its been nearly a year since those plans were drawn up and were still contentious and fought over even then.
>>
>>4987055
Yeah, that was my thinking. Hybridize the Calcite Halo with another Calcite skill. The fact that they're both defensively focused should make it even stronger. Also, I kind of want to max the Calcite Halo out just to see if we can get that kaiju mode ability that Yurei had. Maybe it was an interaction with her other skills and wouldn't work for us, but boy would I love it if Rath could grow into a forty meter-tall flaming bone mecha.

As for a triple hybrid, I vaguely recall something about Trypophilic Hive with a Neurotic Halo and the Hive Halo if we ever found it. But then we put the Neurotic Halo into Psychica Spiralis, so we cut those plans.
>>
>>4986957
By the way, didn't comment on this because we were focused on strategizing, but neat character. Her power has a fun image to it, and I feel some pathos to her backstory. Mother really screwed her over.
>>
>>4987063
i was specifically talking about Rath but that does sound correct for Shu.
>>
>>4986957

(Indeed,I was rather intrigued by...)

>>(Radiant Dinosaur)

(...oh, this is absolutely marvelous.)

(A tragic backstop, and really unique power set, and a thematic Choice warped by Mother's infinity capacity for dickery? An excellent Daughter across the board, I must say.)
>>
>>4987077
just saying BHOP

i have not seen enough dinosaurs in this Quest.... so i will just make my own.

But seriously i was quite bored today at work after fixing that error i found so i was thinking about creating something ludicrous to throw at my players.

For Information it had to beat a rubbergoose Hydra that is the patron of a warlock wearing a pink dress and throwing around glitter from a used bag of holding that covers everything inserted into the bag and then removed
>>
>>4987035
(To clarify, are you not activating IGNITION at this time?)
>>
>>4987115
the plan calls for doing it once we are attacking Meg, as the Ignition description says it detonates terraformed terrain, which may work on terrain near Meg due to her tunneling ability, and even if it doesn't waiting might catch her more off guard.
>>
>>4987120
>>Plan says IGNITION, plain as day.

(...it's a Monday of Tuesday, and I need a scotch. Thanks for bearing with me.)
>>
>>4987132
hey i understand.
if you'd like, ill CAPITALIZE it from now on. to be fair i can imagine Rath probably thinks very loudly anyhow so its probably very fitting to do so.
>>
>>4987133
In a kinder world, more allowing of silliness during combat, Rath would absolutely call her attacks like she was in an anime. But alas, she lives in this one.
>>
(Considering the day's events, I will need a bit extra time to get the update out. The ETA is roughly 5:00Pm Eastern time, and once I get home I should be able to get another update out tonight as well in a much shorter time frame.)

(Thank you for your patience, one and all.)
>>
>>4987154
(If I'd been able to take a break today I'd have been able to get it out on time, but ah well...)
>>
>>4987154
No worries. Quality before quantity.

sadly i wont be able to join later.... the chocolate butter cream tart i ate today seems to maybe have gotten a bit to warm.....

So have a good day everyone and BHOP make sure you sleep enough and take breaks when you need them.
>>
>>4987154
No problem, BHOP. See you later, then, and I hope the rest of your day goes well.
>>
>>4987161
Ooph. Well, get some rest and I hope your guts calm down, anon.
>>
File: Rolling Battlefields.jpg (319 KB, 1499x1125)
319 KB
319 KB .jpg
>>4986872

Your own Halos are the first of your abilities to flare with life, your body swiftly shielded by hardened calcite to deflect Meg’s savage blows and a wreath of pure instinct courtesy of the Hexane artefacts. From the wretched flames of Phlegethon to the frigid depths of Cocytus, fire and ice entwine as one as your natural heat blends with the impossibly frigid air that billows from your armored form.

Meg darts forwards, heedless of your overwhelming strength as your phantom limbs are cast across the battlefield, streamers of molten muscle fibers pulled as tight as a spider’s trap and glistening with white-hot cysts, ready to blow at the slightest touch. She dips low, lower, and lower still as she disappears beneath the pale flesh of the terrain, tunneling beneath you while your web does its work.

Your Halo-enhanced senses turn your strands’ silence into a symphony, the vibrations below your feet tracing your foe’s path as her tunnel’s vibrations dance along your strings. You wait, heat and power reaching a violent crescendo as the Sui Tormentis siphons your health to fuel your growing fury. Your powerful arms replicate themselves across the battlefield, each limb studded with glowing, explosive pustules.

You have to admit, you’re impressed. Meg’s footwork aboveground pales in comparison to what’s below, her incredible speed and maneuverability on full display as she weaves beneath your feet, sending tempting decoys left and right to throw you off the scent…but there are patterns, the same patterns that you’ve seen her use time and time again in the ring.

Your web recoils, pulled back to the sun at the center of it all as you compress fire and fist into a single radiant point...but it’s not nearly enough power.

>>IGNITION: TRIGGERED

There we go.

The very ground you race along blisters red then scorches black as you converge with your subterranean foe, arm arched back before you bring your knuckles down in a blow that shatters ground and sound, alike. Flesh erupts around you, the surrounding skin seared to ash as a crater blossoms across the battlefield, your boils infused into a singular tunneling strike…and thanks to the Neurotic Halo, you see your target clearly past the smoke and cinders. She’s somehow unscathed, her bulging suit of onyx worms writhing around her as she falls to the depths of the crater, her Halo flickering with its own milky light. The moment you land the heat and cold work together to warp your sloping battlefield into a warzone of smoldering meat and shriveled gristle, foul smoke billowing up from the crater that’s now your ring.

(Continued)
>>
>>4987255

Her worms roil underfoot as she glides around you, weaving left and right as the two of you dance around each other, your movements designed to bake the crater into a terrain Meg can’t just slip back into…but for every fire that breaks out around you, it’s extinguished the moment her grotesque armor passes by it, the ground healed anew with every bob and weave she makes, obsidian armor starting to vibrate as the flames reflect off-

You make your move, intent to grapple when a lone gunshot rings out.

>>RATH—NEUROTIC COUNTER: TRIGGERED

You have no idea what just happened as Meg’s left gauntlet explodes with flame, her worms enveloping her blackened limb before you can process what triggered your Halo’s defenses. Your alabaster armor spears out a moment too late, magma loosed from your torso in answer to a blow that sped by them both, your right arm aching from a blow you didn’t consciously make. Meg’s armor has dimmed even as she continues to glide back and forth, tracing your steps and devouring ground as her armor starts to shimmer once more.

She’s keeping her distance, tip-toeing just outside the paradoxical range of your blistering heat and unrelenting cold with a speed that meets—and maybe exceeds—your own. Her armor’s somehow devouring the charred ground to fuel her trademark jabs, now at medium range…but the strike just now is what worries you.

Faster than sight, outracing thought with enough power to trigger your Halo’s defensive measures. She’s shuffling elements with that armor, her first devastating jab a test of what she’s gathered. You know her range and at least a little more of what she’s capable of as the two of you circle each other, waiting for the moment to strike. The way she moves, the bounce in her step—despite her words to you earlier, you know she craves this just as much as you do. This freedom in ferocity.

You can’t see it, but you’re certain…

…she’s smiling.

And so are you.

HEALTH: 2,880% (Regen: IGNITION) – (Only dmg. was 1/5 HEALTH for TORMENTIS BOOST)
BIO: 2,440% (Regen: 920%)
CALCITE HALO: +5 Bludgeoning Resistance
SUI TORMENTIS: +1 ATK
NEUROTIC HALO: Counter: SPENT
ALABASTER ENDOSKELETON: Establishing defensive matrix, REVERSAL ready.
PANGAEAN ARSENAL: Active; Heat/Radiant. Reserve; Cold
PHANTOM LIMB: 0

AGGRO: Watching, waiting, testing. Strike Range: at least MEDIUM. Speed; equal to yours. May be immune/capable of absorbing terrain effects into her own attacks. Max-Level Neurotic Halo: triggered?

>>IGNITION: ENGAGED

ACT: 2/2

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Thank you for waiting, everyone. Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in approximately four.)
>>
>>4987258
(Upon further reflection, I believe I will in fact leave voting open for the next six hours, with posting to resume at 10AM tomorrow morning. Today was a lot, and I've realized that in pacing myself I'll be able to devote a better version of myself to the quest instead of risking burning myself out.)

(If this revised time frame amenable to everyone?)
>>
>>4987300
It's fine by me, but my opinion doesn't mean much since I'll be only reading until the combat ends.
>>
>>4987307
(Hey, then it matters to me. Thanks for reading up to this point, at least!)
>>
>>4987257
Well, that's impressive. We knew from Gina that Gladiatorial Swarm could consume terrain hazards to add elemental damage to itself, that's nothing unexpected. But the speed she's getting off of her Neurotic Halo is a major surprise. We know the Halos tailor themselves to the user, I guess that's what you get when you give the neural augmentation Halo to a boxer. Maximum speed punch.

>>4987300
Works just fine for me. I need some time to figure out a plan against this.

Okay, so, recap. She's got access to Heat and Cold elemental damage, and evidently some means of penetrating resistance given that Rath has 100% or greater resistance to Bludgeoning, Piercing, Heat and Cold right now but the Neurotic Halo still saw it as a threat worth triggering against. She's moving fast, too, her Neurotic Halo triggering doesn't appear to be completely a one-shot, has some lingering effects.

Questions: Did Tormented Drive proc, or did the Neurotic Halo intercepting the attack make it not count as a hit? And do we still have any Boils on the field, or did we use them all up to blow that crater?
>>
>>4987325
(The Neurotic Halo counter doesn't allow the attack to hit, so Tormented Deive did not proc, no. In plastering I had considered it, but since more effects trigger on hit than on miss, it just made more sense to have the counter make the incoming strike miss completely, so as to not grant your foes positive triggers off abilities even if the strike did no damage.)

(There's still some boils around the lip of the crater, but none remaining in the main arena.)
>>
>>4987334
(...playtesting, not 'plastering'. Thank you, autocorrect.)
>>
>>4987336
Oh, that makes a lot more sense. I assumed it was some euphemism I wasn't familiar with.

Okay, so Meg being as fast as us is without us having boosted speed. That's good, means we can raise our speed to exceed her. Unless her Halo lets her scale her speed to meet her opponent. And we've still got some Boils around that we can teleport to, good. I've got an idea that we can feint with that, give me a moment to compose it.
>>
>>4987257
>Regrow your Phantom Limbs
>Lunge at Meg, then mid-movement teleport to a Boil behind her
>Lash out with Tensile Strands at range. Aim to tangle more than to deal damage. Keep one arm for punching her with.
>Reel yourself into Meg, get her in close range of auras. Punch repeatedly, preferably at head or liver.

Thoughts, anyone?
>>
>>4987358
I have a thought. Meg's getting her regen by staying in contact with the terrain.

So what if we yeet her into the air and start juggling her?

Keep her into the air by repeatedly tossing her into the air and then rocket jumping (using our own explosive boils) up to her level for some DMC styled air combos?

>>4987257
>Turn Elemental Aura to Radiant and keep it there, grapple and cook her by attrition.
>Bait Meg's jab into over-extension, Then grapple her arm so you can Yeet her into the air or at least keep her 10 feet above ground at all times
>maintain a grapple hold and start whipping her around like a human-sized nunchuck. Do not let any body part touch the ground either by tensile strand extension or repeated air juggling.
>>
File: operation Baki.jpg (316 KB, 728x1191)
316 KB
316 KB .jpg
>>4987257

Modifying my plan >>4987382

Plan: Pull a Baki
>Regrow Phantom Limbs and spread out your boils, don't detonate them, use them as teleport points
>Wait for Meg to over-extend her jab or out-maneuver her before going for a full body grapple.
>Once you've grappled her, Start whipping her around like a human-sized Nunchacku by the feet, using your Tensile flexibility to keep Meg off the ground and disoriented
>Switch your aura to Radiant and keep it there, cook and disorient Meg. She can't fight if she can't tell what's up and what's down if we keep her moving in 3 dimensions.

Pic related as the example of what I'm trying to have Rath pull on Meg
>>
>>4987397
Yeah, you know what, I like it. Rath's strong enough to air juggle a person, let's take advantage of that. Toss her into the air, keep her swinging around. Even if we only get a single swing before she breaks out of it, she'll land hard.

>>4987257
Supporting >>4987397
>>
>>4987300
>>4987258
considering i overslept for this vote, i cant really complain.

>>4987358
>>4987397
im worried she could absorb the boils like the terrain. or their explosions if they get set off, which she might just skate over them to do herself even if we otherwise dont want that.

I agree with trying to grapple her overall though, but i think making a web of our Strands to fill up the Crater will both help us do that aswell as impede her chances of dodging us greatly.
we can also increase our speed with Sui if necessary. not sure if its worth another whopping 1/5 our health but at the same time im sure the speed increase would be worth said health, plus the extra CRIT wouldnt do us harm. but we can hold off on that if we think its better or we can overcome her speed otherwise, just not an option to ignore.
>>
>>4987415
(I hope you got some good rest, at least! Lord knows I need some after today, myself.)

>>4987161
(Sorry I didn't see this earlier—I hope you feel better soon!)
>>
>>4987257
guess ill go ahead and vote;

>Regrow your limbs and spread them out to make a tight spider web to hinder Megs movements and try and ensnare her. add boils to the limbs to be able to use as teleport points to instantly shift your entire mass and web towards her when the moment strikes.
>Wait for Meg to over-extend her jab or out-maneuver her before going for a full body grapple.
>Once you've grappled her, Start whipping her around like a human-sized Nunchacku by the feet, using your Tensile flexibility to keep Meg off the ground and disoriented
>Switch your aura to Radiant and keep it there, cook and disorient Meg. She can't fight if she can't tell what's up and what's down if we keep her moving in 3 dimensions.

Like i said, i just feel the Tensile Strands are much more likely to help us get her. hinders movement, gives us several angles to grab her from, and doesn't mean we cant teleport, but keeps our teleport points potentially safer from being used against us.
>>
>>4987513
Eh, I suppose. Sorry for not responding earlier, by the way, was at dinner. Anyway, I can see a Tensile Strand network being useful, though I'm not sure how teleporting would work when we've Rath unspooled like that. Would the entire net move with her, and suddenly re-orient? Actually, that would be a really good way to snare Meg, if that works, instantly shift the grappling lines. Let's ask BHOP:

>>4987257
Hey, BHOP, how does Rath's body re-orient herself through a fire teleport, when she's all extended via Tensile Strands? Would the whole mess come along, instantly changing the position of every strand as they center on her new center of mass?
>>
>>4987517
(The whole mess tracks her, suddenly snapping to their creator's new location.)
>>
>>4987525
Neat, alright, new vote, then:

>>4987257
>Regrow our Phantom Limbs, spread them out into a net with Tensile Strand covering the entire crater.
>Teleport between the Boils at the crater's edge, snapping the Strands along from various angles to snare Meg with.
>Retract the Strands to reel her in, grapple with Meg.
>Once in a grapple, keep whipping her up in the air and unable to get either leverage or more terrain to absorb, while she gets hit with our auras.
>>
>>4987531
Also, that's exactly what >>4987513 proposed, isn't it? Derp, I am a dumb. I don't know why I didn't just link to their vote with a "support". Gonna do that, sorry for my apparently-poor reading skills.

>>4987257
Supporting >>4987513

God, I'm dumb tonight.
>>
>>4987536
(No worries at all!)
>>
File: EooaoeXVgAAwh2l.jpg (99 KB, 945x1237)
99 KB
99 KB .jpg
>>4987536
more or less i suppose yes.
and hey i understand, like i said i overslept so not like im doing all much better.
>>
>>4987257

okay,.... what is that Gunshot that rang out... that seems relevant... but the plan seems good to try and ensnare her

>>4987417
>>4987166

i slept like a rock and i do feel better now... still a slightly upset stomach but i do hope that gets better as the day continues
>>
File: Shining Hearts....jpg (345 KB, 1000x1500)
345 KB
345 KB .jpg
>>4987257

An idea strikes you in a sudden, inspired moment...one born from admiration.

A Hive Mistress’ coordination, a Neuromancer’s foresight, and your own overwhelming power.

With sudden, explosive force several new sets of limbs erupt from your back, their radiant muscles unraveling the moment they’re created. Hurling them to the far reaches of the battlefield, in mere moments their radiant strands hang above you and your foe, with you at the center of the ethereal display. Meg’s hands are up, that damnably stubborn guard the bane of many a clever assault...but not today.

“Ready to dance?” You bellow across the battlefield, grinning at the armored figure opposite you.

“With this mood lighting?” Meg laughs as she subtly lowers her center of gravity, preparing to strike. “It’d be a shame not to!”

You and she kick off at once and suddenly you’re hurtling towards each other, two unstoppable forces on a collision course at the heart of the smoldering crater. She jukes right, a shudder up her left arm your only warning before her obsidian fist is launched at your chin—or where your chin would be, if you hadn’t blinked out of existence. Reconstituting at the lip of the crater, it’s only Meg’s Halo-enhanced senses that let her evade your blisteringly fast dive a split-second before you annihilate the spot where she just stood. She’s immediately on the move, backpedaling in order to get you back in her preferred range and stay out of yours.

That’s her first mistake.

She’s backed into a strand, a glowing line moved into place by your teleportation. She lashes out but you’re gone, reappearing at the lip ninety degrees to your foes’s right before you dive again. A third shift, a fourth, and by the seventh she’s acclimated to the rhythm of your predictable assault... and it’s in that moment you realize just how satisfying it must feel for Shu when everything starts to come together.

With one last charge down the canyon you barrel towards Meg, feet digging into the ground and Halo flaring to counter your attack. She’s prepared, braced for a strike that never comes as you speed past her, using your strands to yank yourself to a teeth-shattering stop that serves to pull your trap closed. The strings snap shut at her feet, and she has nowhere to go but up. She jumps, and that’s her second error. You’re there to catch her ankle as your second set of strands yank you both into an upward swing and you’re both sent skyward. You fling the girl out into an arc, merging even more of your arms together into a vice-grip on the girl’s leg as you swing her around at terrible speed.

Your aura shifts to pure radiance, and as you spin in midair with your helpless foe you’re transformed into a nexus of heat, light, and centrifugal force, the world rendered little more than a scarlet blur.

(Continued)
>>
>>4988176

Meg’s trapped between abyssal cold and stellar light, body freezing and melting all at once as her armor begins to rapidly fray from the strain, her slugs turning a shining blue, seemingly glassed over from being trapped between two impossible extremes. Still she endures, spending obscene amounts of biomass to keep a barrier between her and your aura. You compress your form, the sheer rotational force you’ve accumulated starting to strain even your insanely resilient form. Meg...she’s just tanking it, almost as if she’s-

>>EVACUATION PROTOCOL—ACTIVATED

...motherfucker.

Your grip never falters, even when the onyx swarm violently ejects its wearer and she’s sent tumbling to the crater’s center. You open your hand only to find the armor latched onto you, the obsidian plate shifting from sky blue, to dazzling azure, to-

You shed your arm a half-second before her armor detonates with the full force of the accumulated radiance and freezing cold. It’s the sort of chill that spears into your marrow as you plummet to the crater’s heart once more, a few quick tugs of your strands slowing your fall and allowing you a relatively graceful landing...and you immediately see that Meg wasn’t nearly as lucky.

She’s at the very epicenter of the arena, her armor nowhere to be found as struggles to stand. Meg’s bright blue eyes lock with yours and she simply raises her fists, arms blackened from frostbite and char.

“Get your armor back on!” You demand, curling your own fingers into fists to match her own as she just coughs out a chuckle. “Heal up!”

“Armor’s a one-trick pony...” She replies, teeth chattering. She firms up her stance, wincing as she does. “...and unlike you and the rest of our family, my health regen isn’t bullshit.”

“We don’t have to keep going.” You say, faltering. “We don’t-”

“Nope.” Meg cheerfully interrupts. “Besides, would you stop if our family was in danger? If your enemy looked like they were on their back foot? Come on, Rath—I thought I trained you better than to give your foe a leg to stand on, and look at me! Two legs! TWO!”

She slaps her knees, a series of hairline cracks immediately splintering up her legs as she turns a hiss of pain into a bark of laughter.

“Why won’t you give up?!” You roar angrily, and her Neurotic Halo pulses, just once, with a clear white light as your own whispers an echo of warning across your mind’s eye.

>>MEG; DEUS EX ANIMO—PRIMED


“Would you?” She asks with a grin.

HEALTH: 1,923% (Regen: IGNITION)
BIO: 2,440% (Regen: 920%)
CALCITE HALO: +5 Bludgeoning Resistance
SUI TORMENTIS: +1 ATK
NEUROTIC HALO: Counter: SPENT
ALABASTER ENDOSKELETON: REVERSAL ready.
PANGAEAN ARSENAL: Active; Heat/Radiant. Reserve; Cold
PHANTOM LIMB: 5

AGGRO: FROST STACKS: 6. ACT -1, Movement halved. SEVERELY WOUNDED.


>>IGNITION: ENGAGED

ACT: 2/2 (Tormentis Drive: +1 movement zone/MOVE ACT)

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>4988178

(Good Morning, and I hope everyone rested well. Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four.)

>>4987892
(Glad to hear you're feeling better! Also, the gunshot sound was Meg's punch breaking the sound barrier.)
>>
>>4988178
GOD OF SOUL... or GOD OF THE SOUL......

okay whatever this power is it sounds absolutely bullshitty

kinda like..... Yurei great a full on Neuro Halo uff this is gonna suck

it is however good to see her regen unlike our truly is not bullshit
>>
>>4988178
I just had a very foreboding realization. Rath's gonna have to kill/delete Meg in the dreamscape to complete the side story isn't she?
>>
>>4988197
(By no means. Meg's just trying to keep things as close to the real as possible.)
>>
>>4988197
probably not delete. Knock down yeah but we probably can stop before outright deleting her..

This is also the Dreamscape and i think she made the battlefield so if she falls everything else is also probably going to collapse.

However accidents can still happen....... yeah that maxed neuro halo is pretty much a massive wildcard right now
>>
>>4988178
right, well we know better than to not expect further tricks. i mean... unlike most fights we know she probably actually doesn't have much left, due to somewhat knowing our enemies kit for once, but still.
the dues ex is probably gonna be an annoying comeback move but those often seem unavoidable so it might be best to just trigger it then keep hitting.

damn though, those worms. may not be able to stop all damage but that elemental absorption's still terrifying.

vote;
>spend a point of health on the Sui for a speed buff.
>use your strands to keep doing 'drive bys' with newly made arms, pulling yourself along to keep pounding away at Meg to put her down, while building up movement stacks. Your goal to to force any last tricks or moves she has to trigger or face death.
>Assuming she does have a last trick, use the built up Tormentis Drive bonus from all the 'drive bys' to quickly try and put down any last stand or trick Meg tries to pull before she can put it to good use, burning all extra limbs you have aswell in the process to try and burn it out before it can begin again.
>>
>>4988178
>If she's not gonna give up, she's probably gonna be like you yourself, fighting to the bitter end and prepping herself for one last hay-maker that will leave a sting on whoever's gonna kill her.
>Bait it out by deliberately leaving an opening in your fighting stance and style, pulling punches and baiting her to commit all-in while we now play the dancer this time and keep our distance to wear her down with jabs and spacers.
>Rocket punches? Rocket punches. Throw out phantom limb punches that detach themselves from your body and are propelled by explosive boils. Give Meg something to play ball with to see what her halo's new trick is.
>>
>>4988178
>“Would you?” She asks with a grin.
In a training situation, yes. Meg, we need to talk after this, girl. You're clearly going through some stuff of your own and it would be irresponsible of us to leave it at just punching you out. You having some issues feeling powerless and needing to reassure yourself you won't go down without a fight?

>>4988193
Makes me think of "deus ex machina", god of the machine, the literary term for a sudden convenient resolution coming out of nowhere. It's definitely some sort of powerful last-ditch save ability.
>>
>>4988230
to be fair i think this is just a bit of how Meg is, over any direct issues. not that thats a good thing, mind, but still.
also a bit strange as by this point we very much have the spiral shells and Meg has one, so yeah they arent the strongest but are far from worthless, so its not like she cant directly help out the family.
>>
>>4988232
Well, Meg can't yet. BHOP has said that Spiritus Ex Testa can use other people's dream Daughters eventually, but for now she's only got access to her own residents. Meg's in Gina, so she's currently stuck just hanging out and only contributing via boxing lessons. I can see her still feeling some worry over that. You're right that it's probably just who she is and not her having some particular trauma, but that doesn't mean she isn't feeling some anxiety over having to sit still.
>>
>>4988178
Supporting >>4988203. Seems like a sound strategy, though Deus Ex Animo has me worried.
>>
File: crab.png (765 KB, 636x635)
765 KB
765 KB .png
Name: "Yams" (Yamato), The Shipmaiden
Class: Unnatural Predator/Flesh Artisan (Naval warship/Shark/Giant Crab)

Appearance: Initially a shark-like daughter who underwent an unholy fusion with a boat, she now has evolved and grown in size to a 110 meter long Daughter who is part-shark, part-Warship and part Crab. One would mistake Yamato for an Amalgam (although rather uncreative by certain circles of surviving daughter) were it not for the one-dozen crew of daughters who willingly stick with Yamato (despite her protests) and man various parts of her body and the other fact that her voice is stuck at Foghorn level volumes.

Behavior: A Demure woman contrasting her terrifying and unnatural appearance. She is kind in manners yet will also turn ferocious at the drop of a hat should something threatens the core values she personally holds sacred or those under her protection (usually the latter)

Fighting style: It should go without saying that she fights like a warship. At range, she hosts a terrifying arsenal of naval bio-weaponry from cannons that fire swordfish to torpedo tubes that release homing sharks, She is capable of walking on land, sail on the acidic seas, and even dive into the ocean's crushing depths and survive. But that does not mean she has the weakness of one, the dirty dozen crew of daughters who stay by Yamato's side are each hardy in their individual right to hold a fight, supported by the swarm of Crabs Yams can spawn internally. And should her opponent be at an equal or greater to her massive size? There is a good reason why she developed Crab Legs and Claws.

Pre-Crucible life: A small waif of a Japanese woman who was very into naval history and spent much of her life-savings playing Azur Lane and Kantai Collection. Frequently daydreams and wishes to become a shipgirl.

Crucible life: Ozmas saw fit to grant Yamato's pre-crucible dreams in a twisted manner by integrating her core and biomass with that of a local coast-guard patrol boat and a shark. Ironically this shattered Yamato's outlook and view of the Journey to the Cord. Deeming herself as a sinner, Yamato refuses to make the journey to the cord and instead tirelessly labours to repent for what unknown sin only she herself percieves by providing passage for those who wish to cross the oceans and other hazardous terrain.
>>
>>4988258
I absolutely love it. That's an amazing character. It's got some really cool imagery (swordfish cannon? Awesome) and adds a cool element to the setting. Living Daughter warship patrolling the seas guarding against pirates and leviathans, it's great

If there's one thing I'd critique, it's that she needs to have a really powerful Generator Relic weapon that does enormous amounts of Radiant damage but has a long cool down. You just don't deserve to call yourself "Yamato" if you don't have a Wave Motion Gun. https://youtu.be/vV0x4XHdbyc?t=163
>>
>>4988242
(This...this is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Bravo, just...bravo. An absolutely incredible concept, my word.)
>>
>>4988267
I fuckin forgot about that. Goddammit.
>>
>>4988258
huh nice. How long has she been around for? If she is that powerful i could imagine that she has been around for quite some time and running around in the sea might have allowed her to sate her hunger quite a lot on Leviathans.

But the start must have been super rough

But yeah like >>4988267
said she really is missing the super Wave Motion Gun. I still love the concept though
>>
>>4988279
Thank you. I won't be able to participate in any further updates today. I've got a busy shift ahead of me.
>>
File: Undying_Slasher.jpg (793 KB, 3000x3000)
793 KB
793 KB .jpg
I had an idea for a relic due to a Oneshot i recently ran where my players were hunted by an undying slasher through an old camping ground. Its not balanced in any way but something some daughters might want to create when they are getting desperate for vengance.... or just go insane wishing to end it all and not caring who might get caught in the crossfire.

Slashers Mask

A hateful tool created by daughters that have lost too much or are just disgusted with what the world has become and now wish to see the World burn while not caring anymore for themselves. When this relic is forged the daughter that forges it needs to imagine the faces or features of up to five creatures be they Daughter, Amalgam or Relic while intoning their names or Nicknames in case they don’t know the true name of their targets.

Once completed the Mask fuses with it's creator permanently and constantly shadows their face except for one paradoxically glowing eye. It constantly informs its wearer of the exact location of the targets while they are in the Fleshscape. If the daughters can not be reached through traditional means the wearer of the mask may immediately teleport into close proximity to their target where no one is watching. This might lead them to just appear during an eyeblink if nowhere else is available.

While wearing the mask the Daughters Health and BIO Stats are doubled as well as the Regen for those stats. Also no attack may deal more damage than ⅕ of the wearers Health or BIO at any one time. Any attack that would do so or would inflict instant death mysteriously misses the daughter as long as at least one target the creator designated is still alive. The Wearer gains two Levels of proficency with any damage type they already posess and three Levels of resistance to any damage type that can not be reduced to below three. If a daughter is brought to 0% HEALTH by the wearer of the mask they immediately die regardless of any abilities and must make Deathsaves to resist deletion in the Dreamscape.

If the Daughter wearing the mask dies and is completely destroyed for any reason, (consumption would qualify) the mask just falls off and disappears when unobserved just to appear close to another daughter that it might be able to convince to put it on to continue the hunt.

If the Mask is destroyed or all targets that it was intended for are no more the wearer immediately dies, can not be restored to life and her mindstate is completely wiped from the fleshscape and the Cord itself. A new Amalgam is created that hold sthe Powerset of the deleted daughter and will hunt anything and everything until it is destroyed while retaining the benefits the mask gave while the daughter was still alive.

Sometimes to hunt a monster you must become the monster that stared back at you from the abyss and took everything you ever cared about. Oblivion is your only hope.
>>
>>4988366
I like it, but I feel like it's missing something. Specifically, it needs a clause for the Final Girl. You know, how the lone survivor of a slasher film is a girl who was to some degree more pure or innocent than the rest of the victims, and so manages to escape the slasher's attacks until the end of the film. I'd say that the offensive benefits should only apply against the targets. That way if there's some innocent girl along with them she has a higher chance of survival until the vengeance is complete and the slasher fades away. That would fit for the Final Girl, I think.
>>
File: Blinding White.jpg (398 KB, 1028x1600)
398 KB
398 KB .jpg
>>4988178

As you will it, the Sui Tormentis drains yet more of yourself to fuel your earth-shattering strength as your smoldering limbs fray at the joints. You lunge, sling-shotting around your stalwart foe and throwing jabs from every conceivable direction…and she’s doing her best to weave in and out, each obliterating fist missing her by mere inches as her Halo emits an almost blinding light. It’s wearing her down, her enhanced perceptions only doing so much with a body that’s at its limits, but even still…your Halo warned you of what’s to come, and you’ll be damned if you’re walking straight into some sort of counter-attack without trying to bait it out first.

Speeding around the battlefield, the Tormentis Drive pushes you further and faster than you even thought possible…and you hope that, with this final move, it’s enough to out speed whatever Meg has in store.

When you kick off from the sloping edge of the crater you leave another in your wake, the explosive quake’s cacophony drowned out by the wind in your ear and your heart in your throat. Your mass of arms compress into your right arm; an obliterating straight that crosses the gap to your target faster than thought. She can’t react quick enough…

…and she doesn’t react at all.

She’s half-turned to you, defiance writ large in her sky blue eyes as she meets your fierce expression. Her guard’s in the opposite direction, her Halo shining with a radiance that matches her own.

Gleaming, pure light overtakes you-

>>DEUS EX ANIMO: The perfected form of the Neurotic Halo’s counter. When a foe’s attack or effect reduces you to 0% HEALTH, combine your MAX HEALTH, MAX BIO, HEALTH REGEN, BIO REGEN, and every point of both PROFICIENCY and RESISTANCE you possess with each point adding 1000% to the final total. Deal this total amount as non-elemental, unblockable, unavoidable damage to the triggering foe’s HEALTH and BIO totals. This damage may not be reduced in any way by any other effect.

Alteration, on the fundamental level. A simple binary’s been inflicted upon you, the Halo’s manipulation of form expressed in a function that doesn’t hurt in the least. Life is simply zeroed out in the span of time it takes for you to understand what’s happened...it’s a thing so indescribably powerful, it makes you wonder just what the other Halos are capable of.

But it’s not perfect.

>>BLOODIED STAND—TRIGGERED

>>COMBAT: Ceased

(Continued)
>>
>>4988380

You’re on your feet, held fast by a power that spits in the face of death itself as your entire being still buzzes from the utter, incalculable bullshit that was Meg’s final gambit. Your false arms and shining strands begin to fade, leaving you standing over the collapsed form of your foe, and as you kneel to her side and flip her over, you’re suddenly gripped with the overwhelming fear that maybe she went too far, maybe she threw herself into something she didn’t fully understand, or maybe-

…maybe she’s still wearing that same damned smile.

“You didn’t pull your punches…thanks for that.” She grins weakly as the charred flesh underneath the two of you gives way to the well-worn concrete of a walking path. Lavender replaces flame and fury, the sound of lapping waves a welcome respite to your own hammering heartbeat.

“Christ, Meg…are you okay?”

“Yeah man, I’m good! It’s my own Dreamscape, it’s not like I’m gonna let myself bite the dust!” She chuckles, just before her blonde brow suddenly furrows. “I’m not sure if I can in here…huh. Anyway!”

She sits up, brushing off some dust that’s settled on her arms—there’s no sign of the fire and ice you brought to bear against her, and judging by your own condition, what just happened feels like little more than a fleeting daydream.

“Sorry I couldn’t put up more of a fight.” Your friend begins apologetically as you help her back to her feet. “I hope I helped, at least!”

“It…yeah, I think so.” You begin, her words at the start of her fight still ringing in the back of your mind.

“So now that your mind’s a little clearer, do you wanna keep walking, or-?” Meg trails off as she catches your eye once more. She’s smiling like always, even as she raises an eyebrow at your look of concern. You know full well that masks come in many shapes and sizes. Defiance. Flirtation. Professionalism.

Anger.

You wonder if you should press the issue, or if she, like you, would even be able to articulate what’s preying on her mind or weighing on her heart.

>>”Meg…you’ve heard me out all damn day, but I can tell you’re hurting, too. You wanna talk about it?"

>>Hey, I hope you know that I couldn’t have protected our family without you sparring against me and honing what I’ve got…you know that, right?”

>>Something about that fight didn’t sit well with you, but knowing Meg she’d probably just deflect…but you know someone close to her who’ll shoot it to your straight. [Go speak with Eloise, the Chevalier]

>>”…It’s nothing, I’m fine. I think I’m good for now.” [Wake Up]

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four. Apologies for the delay - a particularly wordy client needed some time, so I appreciate your patience.)
>>
>>4988378
hmm good idea. to be honest i rarely watch horror movies but yeah that clause sounds like something good.

maybe i will add it that it can also trigger against those that attack the wearer of the mask first and unprovoked. so they pretty much become obstacles

>>4988383
ah no worries BHOP stuff like that happens..... i know that i sometimes like to talk to much
>>
>>4988380
Ooh, cross counter. Unfortunately for Meg, we know quite well that Rath has a tendency to burn through her Health and gave her a ton of abilities to keep her on her feet. Sorry, Meg. You did good, but we cheat.

>>4988381
>You wonder if you should press the issue, or if she, like you, would even be able to articulate what’s preying on her mind or weighing on her heart.
She probably won't be. But having someone come right out and say "you look like you need to talk, do you want to?" helped us, so let's give her the same consideration.

>>”Meg…you’ve heard me out all damn day, but I can tell you’re hurting, too. You wanna talk about it?"

>>4988383
No worries, BHOP. A good story is worth waiting for.
>>
>>4988391

>>Sorry, Meg. You did good, but we cheat.

(Hey, you and everyone else have made Rath a force to be reckoned with.)

(BLOODIED STAND triggered, followed by FONT OF SUFFERING augmented by RESILIENT SPIRAL. BLOODIED STAND prompts three automatic Death Saving Throws at 0% HEALTH that already have advantage, with said advantage boosted further by her and all her allies having RESILIENT SPIRAL, and once she gets three successes she's back up at full health as per FONT OF SUFFERING. )
>>
>>4988393
Yep, that's what I mean. Rath is very hard to keep down, even if you manage to punch through all her defenses and Health. She's kind of OP. Not actually OP, because OP is relative and the party is nearly always fighting people just as strong as them if not stronger. But Rath is still very impressive.
>>
>>4988381
Let's reach out to Meg. She helped us now lets try to help her. Maybe she wants to talok now that the fists are silenced for once

>>”Meg…you’ve heard me out all damn day, but I can tell you’re hurting, too. You wanna talk about it?"
>>
>>4988378
While wearing the mask the Daughters Health and BIO Stats are doubled as well as the Regen for those stats. Also no attack may deal more damage than ⅕ of the wearers Health or BIO at any one time. Any attack that would do so or would inflict instant death mysteriously misses the daughter as long as at least one target the creator designated is still alive. The Wearer gains two Levels of proficency with any damage type they already posess and three Levels of resistance to any damage type that can not be reduced to below three

which they may only be used against the targets of the mask or if the wearer is attacked first without any provocation.

If a daughter is brought to 0% HEALTH by the wearer of the mask they immediately die regardless of any abilities and must make Deathsaves to resist deletion in the Dreamscape.

WOudl this be better?

also where would you place this relic. I would guess Tier 4 or something like that
>>
>>4988434
Looks good, the Final Girl will be safe this way unless she tries to get involved in the fight (and someone who tries to stop the slasher directly is almost never the Final Girl). As for Tier, yeah, I'd say Tier 4. It's pretty big bonuses and can mess with some fundamental mechanics of the Crucible, if in a purely destructive manner.
>>
>>4988437
do we still have a central sheet we Anons can use to write down relic ideas in?

i can only find one in my history that is locked
>>
>>4988451
I don't think so, no. Guess we should start a new one.
>>
>>4988453
Well i still had a copy of the old Sheet if your interested.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1k3HT9oRvmACdySCUdxFXO-C91gkNdgVAde0W2HaB1Ss/edit?usp=sharing
>>
>>4988381
>>Something about that fight didn’t sit well with you, but knowing Meg she’d probably just deflect…but you know someone close to her who’ll shoot it to your straight. [Go speak with Eloise, the Chevalier]
>>
>>4988383
ah, just missed the vote by a bit. still nice end to the fight and im fine with hearing out Meg anyhow.
still, that Halo. utter bull.

>>4988451
>>4988453
we do, though its probably still locked and despite repeatedly saying to others they may add their relics to it(though to please keep it clean and formatted), im the only one who ever really tried to collect them.
grumble grumble.

heres the original instead of a copy so we can avoid having like 5 versions of the thing.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1b_-8s0tin7DCQxITm6C69QULRnM_ibDfg18iV4dc7Fc/edit#heading=h.z8rqypgtrq2s
>>
(Posting shortly, everyone.)
>>
File: Rath, Waking World.png (415 KB, 852x800)
415 KB
415 KB .png
>>4988381

”Meg…you’ve heard me out all damn day, but I can tell you’re hurting, too.” You gently begin, Meg’s smile faltering for just a moment. “You wanna talk about it?"

“N-no man, I’m good.” She replies breezily, gesturing for you to join her in continuing to pace the river’s edge. “I’m sure you’ve g-“

“This is a two-way street, Meg.” You interrupt firmly. “You’ve given me all the time in the world. Hell, you gave me a brawl to help clear my head, but whatever you’re dealing with is valid, okay? You can’t just keep it all locked up while you look after everyone else but yourself. You’re almost as bad as-“

“You?” She offers pointedly.

“…I was gonna say ‘Shu’, but okay.” You grumble.

“Same difference.” Meg shrugs, turning to stare out at the river’s choppy surface. “Look, I’ve got all the time in the world in here, but you and the others? You’ve got bigger fish to fry than babysitting all of us. Uzu, Holly, and the others are a different story ‘cuz of Shu’s whole Spiritus thing, but if the best I can do is help you hone your natural talents and fight with a sound mind, then that’s what I’m gonna do. And I’m gonna make sure I’m *great* at it.”

“You are.” You admit, reflecting on how your own skills have grown through your sparring. “But that’s not all you’re good for, Meg. Fuck it, you don’t have to be ‘good for’ anything! You’re you, your own person, and regardless of whether you’re in the dream or the real you deserve to be listened to.”

“I...Eloise and I talk a lot, and we-”

“Do you actually talk to her about what’s bothering you, or do you just shoot the surface-level shit?” You ask bluntly, and Meg answers with a guilty glance aside. “See? You and I both know she’d be happy to listen to you, so what was that you said to me earlier? ‘Shadow-boxing's all well and good for a warm up?’ Get out there and start swinging with your feels, girl! We can take the hit! Hell, we’re happy to!”

“That...that’s a pretty bad analogy.” Meg snickers, a sound that turns into a high laugh when you throw your hands straight over your head in mock frustration.

“Yeah, well! I’m not fuckin’ Shu, alright? You get what I got. Point is, if all you’re doing is letting people pour their hearts out to you without doing any pouring yourself, anyone with a conscience is gonna start feeling like an asshole for just spilling their guts to someone that’s clammed up tighter than Mother’s asshole.”

“Really?” Meg asks softly, and she’s met with your fervent nod.

“Yes, really! Look, I don’t know Eloise all that well, but I can tell she thinks the world of you. If being in here is getting to you, then she or I will be happy to hear you out. Hell, hit up Shu! I don't know how she finds the time to listen to literally every fucking body in the Fleshscape, but she does! Somehow!”

(Continued)
>>
>>4988753

She snorts at that, gazing out at the river’s surface.

“There’s three whole people that want you to tell them what’s on your mind…’cause we care about you, Meg. You’re awesome, and...yeah. That’s that. It doesn’t have to be now, and it doesn't have to be me...but please let it be someone, sometime. Okay?” You plead, and when she finally turns to you it’s with a sharp, firm nod.

“I think I do want to shadow-box with myself a bit more to figure out how to say some things—but!” She adds just as you’re about to protest. “I think I’ll start with El, and then...if you’re up for it...I’ll come to you when you’re free, okay?”

“Deal. And hey, I’m going to hold you to that. Got it?” You demand, holding out your hand at and angle to offer a proper agreement.

“Loud n’ clear.” She grins back, clapping her hand with yours.

“Meg! You son of a beech!” You say with your best accent, and with a burst of laughter she throws your hand aside, flipping you a good-natured bird while she’s at it.

“This has been fun, but you gotta get back to the land of the living and kick some ass! Go on, get outta here!” She says, waving you on with a smile before adding, softly; “And thank you, Rath...for everything.”

Her smile feels more real, even as it fades from your vision as reality swims into focus in front of your freshly-opened eyes. You’re lying on your bed, the arched ceilings of your room catching the light from the lambs that flank your headboard. Sounds like you were out a while, judging by Shu’s voice slipping in through the slightly open door. Amara volunteers to come and get you for the meeting, and you leap out of bed to hide just behind the door before it opens a bit further. Amara’s ears twitch, and you know full well she can hear your heartbeat, even if she’s acting like she has no idea where you are...but when your hand darts out to tickle her neck and she squeals with joy, the chase is on. You practically rip your own door of it’s hinges as you start chasing Amara around the Roost, catching Gina and Dorian getting the meeting table ready and laughing as they watch you give chase to the Defiants’ youngest member. Your Aunt’s finally back from her workshop as she bellows a hearty greeting that’s mirrored by all present. Holly’s on your and Amara’s tails soon enough, the three of you racing circuits around the room...and here, in this moment?

All your worries don’t seem all that big. You’ll figure out your feelings when you’re good and ready, because no matter what your parents think, no matter who returns your feelings...for the first time in your life, you feel like a part of something that accepts you for who you are, rough edges and all.

You hear that, Mother? You hear that, Crucible?

Your name is Rath, and you’ve got everything in the world that’s worth fighting for, right by your side.

>>RATH INTERMISSION: END
>>
File: Clickety Clackety.png (139 KB, 563x540)
139 KB
139 KB .png
(Everyone, I'd like to put one more vote up for discussion this evening. I've got one more short story in me, as this is doing wonders for getting my writing brain back up and running in a regular fashion. That said, I'd also like to leave a voting option for if you'd like for me to adjourn here and finish everything up to open the 48th Vein, which will likely go live on Monday, September 20th at 10AM. II have to admit that the compression ahs been going much faster with this Intermission than without, so the tentative start date is set for the 20th, regardless. The possible votes are down below along with the Write-In option, in case you'd like to suggest anyone else in the Quest to put a microscope on.)

(To give myself a bit of time, if you choose a third short story then I'll likely post tomorrow at 2:00PM instead of the usual time.)

(Voting shall remain open for the next eight hours, and thank you all for your patience, participation, and encouragement.)

>>Amara

>>Julia

>>Jackie

>>West Alpha

>>Sir FuzzBuzz

>>48th Vein

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>4988764
if you feel the intermission helps you continue to work, then sure lets do another. though if you have to end up choosing between working on stuff for the vein vs the side story due to real life nonsense, i wont put it past you to do what you need to keep that 20th start date.

with that said, my votes still split between;
>Sir FuzzBuzz
>Julia

with really not being able to choose between either again ,sorry, but at least its still narrowing it down to just two?
>>