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File: GunsNGeists.jpg (255 KB, 1261x1600)
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It is the year 1837, and you’re on a small boat drifting down the Mississippi on its route towards what was once Louisiana. Your only companions on this journey are your pack bulging with supplies and the churning waters of the river. A few years ago you might’ve hitched a ride on a steamboat down to the south, but ever since the Devil’s Grasp encircled Louisiana and Texas two years ago, the only people heading this direction are the insane, heathens, and escaped slaves and criminals. Which begs the question: which are you?
>A father of the Church, excommunicated for the sin of lying with a bride of God and nearly arrested for the false accusation of rape from your former lover. Your faith in the Almighty is still strong, but in your fellow man? Not so much. When the government offered you a new life in exchange for scouting deep into the heart of the Devil’s Grasp, you took the chance readily.
>For most, the Devil’s Grasp was a nightmare, but for Andrew Jackson, in his pondering of the “Indian problem,” it was a godsend. You are of the Muskogee, and once the Devil’s Grasp opened it didn’t take long for the American government to sign the orders for your “relocation”. When your people attempted to resist, almost everyone you knew was slaughtered, and the survivors herded into the Devil’s Grasp, hurt, alone, and utterly lost.
>You were a stage magician and con man playing the role of the negro sorceror in a circus down in Lousiana. And yet, when the Devil’s Grasp opened, the pendant given to you by your grandmother started acting real strange and you found yourself with some real magic of your own. An accident from when you were still experimenting with your new found powers landed you into some real trouble, and you figured the only way to get to the bottom of this was to follow the source of your sorcerous abilities.
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>>5240844
>A father of the Church, excommunicated for the sin of lying with a bride of God and nearly arrested for the false accusation of rape from your former lover. Your faith in the Almighty is still strong, but in your fellow man? Not so much. When the government offered you a new life in exchange for scouting deep into the heart of the Devil’s Grasp, you took the chance readily.
>>
>>5240844
>You were a stage magician and con man playing the role of the negro sorceror in a circus

Starting off strong
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>>5240844
>>You were a stage magician and con man playing the role of the negro sorceror in a circus down in Lousiana. And yet, when the Devil’s Grasp opened, the pendant given to you by your grandmother started acting real strange and you found yourself with some real magic of your own. An accident from when you were still experimenting with your new found powers landed you into some real trouble, and you figured the only way to get to the bottom of this was to follow the source of your sorcerous abilities.
>>
>You were a stage magician and con man playing the role of the negro sorceror in a circus down in Lousiana. And yet, when the Devil’s Grasp opened, the pendant given to you by your grandmother started acting real strange and you found yourself with some real magic of your own. An accident from when you were still experimenting with your new found powers landed you into some real trouble, and you figured the only way to get to the bottom of this was to follow the source of your sorcerous abilities.
I love all of these, but you gotta go wizard.
>>
>>5240844
>For most, the Devil’s Grasp was a nightmare, but for Andrew Jackson, in his pondering of the “Indian problem,” it was a godsend.
Got too many magic users as quest MCs these days.
>>
>You were a stage magician and con man playing the role of the negro sorceror in a circus down in Lousiana. And yet, when the Devil’s Grasp opened, the pendant given to you by your grandmother started acting real strange and you found yourself with some real magic of your own. An accident from when you were still experimenting with your new found powers landed you into some real trouble, and you figured the only way to get to the bottom of this was to follow the source of your sorcerous abilities.
>>
Stage magician
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>>5240844
>Father of the Church
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>>5240844
>For most, the Devil’s Grasp was a nightmare, but for Andrew Jackson, in his pondering of the “Indian problem,” it was a godsend. You are of the Muskogee, and once the Devil’s Grasp opened it didn’t take long for the American government to sign the orders for your “relocation”. When your people attempted to resist, almost everyone you knew was slaughtered, and the survivors herded into the Devil’s Grasp, hurt, alone, and utterly lost.
>>
>>5240964
>>5240915
>>5240898
>>5240860
>>5240859
>>5240855
>>5240850
>>5240848
>Votes closed, writing
>>
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>>5241029
You flip the pendant that hangs around your neck over, in the shape of the evil eye with the addition of devil horns on each end. It was passed down to your mother by your grandmother when she died on the plantation, and you took it off her corpse when she died on the streets, leaving you poor and alone. The only reason you didn’t sell it was the connection you felt with it. The very same connection that flared up that terrible night, and propelled you on your current path.

>Gained an Arcane Pendant! Can cast Incantations in combat and Rituals when resting. Learn new Incantations and Rituals from other arcanists in the Devil’s Grasp.
>Gained Incantation: Hellfire, Incantation: Devil’s Whispers, and Ritual: Scrying

The first indication that you’ve entered the Devil’s Grasp is the red sky above your head. There was no stark change, but rather a gradual thickening of the air, until it felt like you were choking more than breathing. It took some getting used to, but eventually you adjust to the change in atmosphere, and just in time for your dinghy to hit the end of a dock, leading into a small town. You are utterly amazed that there is still some sign of civilization here from all you’ve heard of the Devil’s Grasp, but you suppose you’re still on the outskirts of these hellish lands.

Stepping off the boat, you slug on your pack with every possession you own, and walk towards the biggest building in the town. It would seem it’s a saloon of all places, although from the stairs to the sides and the extra two stories above it would seem this place also serves as an inn. The bartender doesn’t bother looking up as you take your seat, simply slinging a cup of something warm towards you. “First drink is free, staying upstairs will cost you $1.50 a night, $2 if you want a meal with it. If you can’t pay, talk to me and I’ll find something for you to do, there’s always problems somewhere in this hellhole, if you’ll excuse my language. You want equipment or supplies, go talk to Geryl at the general store and armory, and Mr. White can get you to Taylor’s Point, but it’ll be pricey.”

You nod in understanding at the rapid flow of information. Seems like this is a common first landing spot for newcomers to the Devil’s Grasp, and you’ve got options as for what do now. You know that you’ve got $10 in your possession after everything you’ve spent escaping Louisiana and preparing to enter the Devil’s Grasp, which won’t last you long here it seems.
>Ask about a job from the bartender.
>Ask the bartender about the town and the Devil’s Grasp.
>Go shopping at the general store.
>Go see Mr. White about his transportation and Taylor’s Point.
>Explore more of the town.
>>
> Ask about a job
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>>5241092
>Ask about a job from the bartender.
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>>5241092
>Ask about a job from the bartender.

Need that almighty dollar.
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>>5241092
>Ask the bartender about the town and the Devil’s Grasp.
We need info asap
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>>5241092
>>Ask about a job from the bartender.
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>>5241107
>>5241108
>>5241144
>>5241170
>>5241363
>Votes closed, writing
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>>5241390
“I do need to start earning some cash again, so I suppose I should take a job.” you finally decide. The bartender looks away from the bar he’s wiping down for the first time and squats down, pulling some parchment from some compartment under the bar and scattering them in front of you. Turning them around, you read their descriptions. They all seem to be some kind of request.

The first has tucked with it a picture of a young girl sitting in front of a stern gentleman, both dressed in dapper suits. It would seem Mr. White’s apprentice, a Mary White, went out a few days to hunt down some materials for a ritual they were working on, and hasn’t returned. Mr. White has offered a choice of $50 or $25 and some arcane tutoring to anyone who can bring her or her body home.

The second is a simple written request, from the sheriff. Some of the local “wildlife” has spiraled out of control, in this case apparently the living dead. He’s requesting some help with clearing out ghouls amassing outside the southern walls, and offers a free rifle and related accessories from the sheriff’s armory and $20 for your troubles.

You suppose you could head out now, but it might be a good idea to go learn some more before going into the wilds of the Devil’s Grasp for the first time.
>Nah, let’s head straight out.
>Ask the bartender about the town and the Devil’s Grasp.
>Go shopping at the general store.
>Go talk to Mr. White about his apprentice.
>Seek out the sheriff and ask him about his ghoul problem.
>Explore more of the town.
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>>5241397
>>Ask the bartender about the town and the Devil’s Grasp.

then

>Go talk to Mr. White about his apprentice.
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>>5241397
>Seek out the sheriff and ask him about his ghoul problem.

I want that gun. Once we have it we can search for the little girl. Magic shit can get dangerous.
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>>5241397
>Ask the bartender about the town and the Devil’s Grasp.
>Seek out the sheriff and ask him about his ghoul problem.
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>>5241428
>>5241400
>>5241399
>Votes closed, writing.
>>
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>>5241511
You tuck away both of the requests for now, you can decide on which to pursue after you’ve met the men. “Tell me about the Devil’s Grasp; anything that a skinner like me should know before I start heading deeper in.” The bartender rolls his eyes. “Well the first thing you got wrong is no one should be heading deeper in. There is a reason this place has earned its name - it draws in young folks like you trying to make a quick fortune and squeezes them dry. The best thing you can do is beat it as fast as you can out of here, but considering you’re here in the first place I assume that was never an option.”

The bartender pulls out another glass to polish as he flicks his head towards a map mounted on the wall. It seems to depict the Southern United States, with a giant red blotch depicting the area of the Devil’s Grasp. “Trying to just walk through this place is suicide. In between the towns the miasma gets so thick, it causes all sorts of nasties to gather up, so instead each settlement has a trained hex--er, arcanist like our own Mr. White here in Yellowrock, maintaining a network of secure pathways called the Twisted Crossroads. Monsters still show up on the crossroads, but it’s a hell of a lot safer than trying to brave the wastes. Course, the government and others pay mighty kindly for monster parts, so maybe that’s just a bonus for you.” He lays down his rag and points across the saloon to a board on the wall. It’s covered in portraits of various people, none very good looking. “Course, the monsters aren’t the only threat here. Some of the worst scum lurk on the crossroads, and there’s a standing bounty on them, dead or alive. Bring them or proof of their demise to any sheriff’s office to claim their reward.” You thank the bartender with a quarter tip, and with a nod bid your ados.

Now that you’ve learned some things about the Devil’s Grasp, it’s time to decide what to do.
>Take on the sheriff’s request
>Take on Mr. White’s request

Course, you can still do some things around town.
>Go shopping at the general store.
>Explore more of the town.
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>>5241673
>Take on both, pursuing the sheriff's errand first and consulting with Mr. White on the dangers of the area Mary disappeared on before moving off that way

>Check out the general store for provisions
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>>5241720
Supporting if the QM is cool with it
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>>5241720
>>5241721
You can learn about the requests at the same time, but you will most likely only have time to complete one request before someone else tries to take care of the other.
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>>5241736
I would like to learn about both requests, but am down with going for the sheriff's errand first then.
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>>5241739
Same, Sheriff errand's first
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>>5241673
>Take on Mr. White’s request
>Go shopping at the general store.

Question, what do our incantations do? It seems like we'd want to accumulate a good variety as soon as possible.
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>>5241673
>Take on the sheriff’s request
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>>5241720
>>5241721
>>5241750
>>5241946
>Votes closed, writing

>>5241750
I'll go over you incantations whenever we get to combat since it'll be easier to explain then, but Hellfire is a straightforward damage spell while Devil's Whispers is a debuff spell.
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>>5241983
It’s time you started to gather some information on those requests. You ask for quick directions to the sheriff’s office from the bartender, and he kindly points you in the right direction. Not that it’s very difficult to puzzle out in a town this small, there’s only around 20 buildings in this place.

The sheriff’s office is rather ramshackle, and you can even spot a few gunshot holes scattered around the front door. Either this sheriff is very good, or very bad at his job. Just to be safe, you knock on the door. “Door’s open.” a gruff voice tells you, and you open it to find a middle aged Irishman flipping through some papers, a very hefty rifle leaned against his deck and a virtual armory hanging behind his back on the wall. On the far side of the room are the jail cells you’d expect to see in a sheriff’s office, but also a copy of the bounty board you saw in the bar.

The sheriff captures your attention again with a faux cough. “Name’s Donald Mattock, Sheriff Mattock to you. I’vent seen you in town before, and since you’re not in chains or a string of ears around some neck, I assume you’re not the unlawful sort, or at least not the kind that matters in the Devil’s Grasp, which means you’re probably the hired gun I asked Bart to keep a lookout for.” You nod accordingly, which causes the sheriff to jump out of his chair with surprising agility and grab a hand cannon seemingly at random from among those on his wall, slipping it into his holster. "Meet me at the south gate when you're ready. Best prepare for an overnight trip, it's about half a day's walk on the Crossroads and there's a lot to clear out." With that, the sheriff grabs his hat from a hook near his desk and opens the door for you both to leave. As you step out, you see one last bullet hole almost exactly where the man's head was a few moments ago.

The general store is not hard to find either, being one of the larger buildings in Yellowrock. A sweet matron greets you as Madame Clarabelle as you enter and pulls out a sheet with the price listings.
>You have $19.75
>A day's rations (Lets you fully recover during resting points): $0.50
>Sleeping bag (Allows you to rest outside of an inn): $1.00
>Cloak (Provides protection from the elements and your identity): $0.25
>Sedative and Bandages (Recovers a small portion of health at resting points.): $0.75
>Hand Axe (Moderate damage one handed melee weapon): $1.50
>Revolver (Moderate damage one handed firearm. 6 shots until reload. Full action reload. Uses medium caliber ammo): $5.00
>Shotgun (Moderate-high damage two handed firearm. 2 shots until reload. Full action reload. Uses medium caliber ammo): $9.00
>Medium Caliber Ammo (Used in most standard firearms): $1.50 for 6 shots
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>>5242242
>Sleeping bag (Allows you to rest outside of an inn): $1.00
>Sedative and Bandages (Recovers a small portion of health at resting points.): $0.75
>Cloak (Provides protection from the elements and your identity): $0.25
>Hand Axe (Moderate damage one handed melee weapon): $1.50

We don't need to be worried about ranged since we'll get the rifle
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>>5242242
>A day's rations (Lets you fully recover during resting points): $0.50
>Sleeping bag (Allows you to rest outside of an inn): $1.00
>Sedative and Bandages (Recovers a small portion of health at resting points.): $0.75
>Cloak (Provides protection from the elements and your identity): $0.25
>Hand Axe (Moderate damage one handed melee weapon): $1.50

I think that's all we'll need for a little while.
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>>5242249
+1
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>>5242249
>>5242764
>>5242243
>Votes Closed, writing.