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Your name is Shu, and you've made mistakes on both ends of the apocalypse. Before the world was swallowed by something from beyond the stars you were a monster wearing a human face, a cruel and pitiless girl who led your best friend by a leash made of hollow love and empty promises. Now, as the world beats with an alien rhythm, veins and flesh running across its surface with scarlet, pulsing chaos, you realize too late that you paved the road to heartbreak with good intentions.

You're starting to lose track of how long you've been awake since you opened your eyes to the end of the world. It's becoming less important to you now as the days, afternoons, and evenings bleed together in the sickly yellow haze of an endless dusk.

You wonder how she managed to stay sane all this time, alone at world's end.

You know the answer, and you fear for her all the more since she left your side.

Now, in the aftermath of revelations you set out once more from the home of your close friend, a passionate artist who has promised to take care of the young girl who only exists now as a result of your kindness...

Previous Thread: >>3299300
Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Body%20Horror%20Quest
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bodyhorrorquest?lang=en
Character Abilities (2nd Ver): https://pastebin.com/N7G30PWx
>>
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"Thank you again, Julia." You say, hugging the blonde-haired girl as her arms tighten around you, mere feet from her open door. "I appreciate you looking aft..."

You catch Amara's gaze, a dark eyebrow raised at you from just behind Julia as the diminutive imp sticks her tongue out at you.

"...I appreciate both of you looking after each other for a while." You amend, prompting the little girl to smile wide and grant you a happy nod.

"I-it's my pleasure Shu, t-truly." Julia says, stumbling over her words as she casts a worried gaze into yours. "A-are you certain you all will be alright a-after...after..."

"Yeah, no, we'll be fine. We're good." Rath interrupts a little too loud, turning to Julia from the doorway. “By the way, I've been meaning to ask you; how do you fight, exactly?”

Julia begins to fidget at the question, taking a moment before answering. "Um, so when I touch amalgams, I…uh…I k-kind of turn their skin into spikes, and…s-stab them with the spikes, all at o-once.”

“...Wait, woah, hold the fuck up. You...Julia, are you telling me you turn their own skin into a goddamn iron maiden?” Rath asks, and Julia nods, giving the red-head a weak smile. Rath just stares at her a moment before reaching out and placing her hand on the other girl's shoulder.

“That’s the most metal fucking thing I’ve ever heard, and I am honored to call you a friend.” Rath says solemnly.

“T-thanks, I hate it.” Julia replies with an awkward smile.

"Hey, you coming?" Gina calls from around Rath's slight frame, somehow body-blocking most of the doorway despite her size. You're a little taken aback at the fact that she's refrained from using your thoughtform bond to reach out to you, but ever since you arrived at Julia's it's been a whirlwind of activity on account of Amara's boundless energy.

"Coming." You reply, turning your smile towards Amara as you take a knee, bringing you eye-level with the newly-awakened Daughter. "You take care of Julia, alright? Keep working on your abilities and we'll see you soon, okay?"

"Promise?" Amara asks, and as you glance behind her and up a Julia, you can see the same question in her eyes.

"I promise."

With that, the three of you return to the onyx darkness of the caves that lead to Charon's still-unattended waystation.

(Continued)
>>
>>3320416

Even as you traverse the tunnels, venturing through the silence of the Shrouded City and finally emerging into the xanthous light of day where a verdant garden once stood, Gina's surface thoughts continue to be a dull grey buzz. Her mind persists in a loop of her interactions with B'ni ever since you met, and you find her repetitive thoughts tinged with an emotion you are intimately familiar with.

Guilt.

“What do your elf eyes see?” Rath asks with a smirk, watching the brunette scan the horizon just above the tree line ahead of you. You watch your resident firecracker grin at Gina as you try to put your finger on the odd set of emotions that you keep sensing from the redhead.

“Couple of noteworthy things, actually." Gina replies, her tone flat. "You see that little raised part on the forest? It’s actually the top of a pretty fancy-looking mansion out there on a hill. Second, feel that wind?”

“Yeah?” Rath says after a moment, her short ginger hair tousled by an errant breeze.

“Funny thing about that. First-off, there’s a storm coming that’s crackling with electricity." Gina continues, nodding towards the darkening horizon above the blue-grey forest. "I’m hoping there’s no acid in those clouds, but static might be an issue. Second, those tree limbs aren’t moving with the wind, they’re totally anomalous. I’m not getting any Daughter or amalgam vibes, but I still don’t like it.”

"Spooky, but I’m game for whatever you two are. Let’s go kick some fucking ass, I'm ready to test out these arms!" Rath says with glee as she turns to you, and she lets slip a wave of what she’s desperately holding back, suppressing with a happy face and fiery energy.

Pain, loss, betrayal, and under it all, something that is near and dear to her heart.

Rage.

She keeps her wide grin fixed on you as she and Gina await your verdict, and you wrestle with what and who to tackle first.

>>Proceed through the Forest, taking the long way around to skirt the edge of the Mansion. It may take a little while longer, but you'll hopefully avoid any prolonged interactions in doing so.

>>Cut a path directly towards the Mansion. It's the fastest route to a vantage point you could use to scout what lies beyond, and something tells you it will offer better shelter from the oncoming storm.

>>Write-In

AND

>>Gina's train of thought just keeps looping, and she's not speaking to you over your thoughtform bond. You feel like she blames herself for what happened at the Monastery, and you want to at least try and ease her mind.

>>Rath's being way too cheerful for the waves of barely-restrained fury you're getting from her. Maybe putting on a mask of cheerful enthusiasm is how she deals with stress, but you know that's not healthy or sustainable.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3320417
>>Cut a path directly towards the Mansion. It's the fastest route to a vantage point you could use to scout what lies beyond, and something tells you it will offer better shelter from the oncoming storm.
>>Rath's being way too cheerful for the waves of barely-restrained fury you're getting from her. Maybe putting on a mask of cheerful enthusiasm is how she deals with stress, but you know that's not healthy or sustainable.
Hard decision, both girls need and deserve our attention, so i went with who interests me more ill admit.
>>
im on time this time though im doing homework at the same time

>>Cut a path directly towards the Mansion. It's the fastest route to a vantage point you could use to scout what lies beyond, and something tells you it will offer better shelter from the oncoming storm.

>>Rath's being way too cheerful for the waves of barely-restrained fury you're getting from her. Maybe putting on a mask of cheerful enthusiasm is how she deals with stress, but you know that's not healthy or sustainable.

anyway going with this ima just chill though
>>
(Voting to close in two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3320417
>Proceed through the Forest, taking the long way around to skirt the edge of the Mansion. It may take a little while longer, but you'll hopefully avoid any prolonged interactions in doing so.

The Mansion interests me, but I doubt it's unoccupied we aren't yet used to the hole in our squad if the current tenants aren't keen on sharing space for a night.

>Rath's being way too cheerful for the waves of barely-restrained fury you're getting from her. Maybe putting on a mask of cheerful enthusiasm is how she deals with stress, but you know that's not healthy or sustainable.

I'll likely change if someone makes a good write-in for both of them, but Gina's the one we can speak to anytime even while asleep and she can mentally lean on us, so I'm for paying some attention to Rath for the moment.
>>
>>3320462
My arguement for against avoiding the Mansion is that trees are piss poor cover against a storm, and GG said the trees worried her, which means if fucking flesh tree ents or something are in there, if we head for the Mansion we will spend less time in their forest before the storm hits, and wont have the storm helping them sneak up on us.

Yes it is a bug 'if' but at least we can enter the mansion prepared, the storm and forest will make us alot more blind to something coming after us, even with Gina on our side. Plus, again, getting stuck outside in a storm is a bad idea in general, and imagine its effect on our already downtrodden mood if we do get caught outside in it?
>>
Also my respect for Julia only grows. Was wondering how she fights, and damn thats brutal. Wondering if she hardens the spikes tips via scab like methods or callous like methods?
>>
>>3320417
>Cut a path directly towards the Mansion. It's the fastest route to a vantage point you could use to scout what lies beyond, and something tells you it will offer better shelter from the oncoming storm.
>Rath's being way too cheerful for the waves of barely-restrained fury you're getting from her. Maybe putting on a mask of cheerful enthusiasm is how she deals with stress, but you know that's not healthy or sustainable.
>>
This flesh world probably takes a toll for any daughter that were germophobes, hemophobes, omophagiaphobes (fear of eating raw flesh), and carnophobes.
>>
>>3320497
Sadly id imagine they fall to the hunger pretty quickly, maybe almost right out of the pod.
>>
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>>3320497
>inb4 we come across a daughter who's just burning everything she sees because she "needs to make it clean" or something
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>>3320541
>she gets with the Cyborg Machine God Technomancer guy who's also best bros with Amalgams
>>
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>>3320417

“Gina, could you take point for a little while and lead us directly towards that mansion? We’re going to need some shelter if we’re going to weather what’s coming.” You say, and she gives you a nod before you open up a direct line via thoughtform.

[Hey, I’m gonna take a second to touch base with Rath, too. I’m getting really angry vibes from her]

{Sure, take your time. I’ll let you know if anything feels off, okay?} Gina replies, trotting ahead of you, her long brown hair trailing behind her as she weaves between the dull grey trees, their cracked bark revealing a network of azure strands just beneath the surface.

[I’d like to talk with you too, about what happened. Maybe we could do it in a dream, or…whatever you’re comfortable with. I don’t like you feeling guilty for something that’s not your fault, okay?] You say, and she pauses, turning towards you, her eyes obscured with the hair that cascades around her bare shoulder.

{…Okay} She says after a moment’s hesitation, and across your bond you feel a tingle run down your arm, like a ghostly caress. You didn’t know she could do that. {I’d like that, Shu}

She leaves you and Rath to bring up the rear as you sidle up to the younger girl, fixing her with a pointed stare when she tilts her head up to look at you.

“So, I was thinking if we both spawn a shit-ton of arms, and GG pins some dumb motherfucker with her magic then we can totally go to town and…”

“Do you wanna talk about what happened?” You ask, her excitable grin faltering as she turns away, glaring at the path ahead of you. “I can feel you’re dealing with a lot, and I wanted to know you’re not alone.”

“God, between you and GG’s brain stuff I’m not gonna be able to keep anything to myself, will I?” Rath laughs harshly, still not looking up at you. “Look Shu, we’re all dealing with stuff. I’m not going to add onto the pile of crap you and Gina are dealing with. I’m not interested in being a burden, and I’m damn well not gonna…”

“If I came up to you saying I wanted to vent about what happened, would you say I was being a burden?” You ask pointedly, and Rath goes silent before she mutters a reply under her breath.

“…No, of course not, man.”

“Okay, so what’s on your mind?” You ask again, and she finally turns her freckled face towards you, citrine eyes hard-set and angry.

“She was our friend, man.” She snarls, dropping the façade as her brow knits together in a furious scowl. “She was your *best* friend, and she straight-up lied to our faces with every single thing she said. I thought she and I…I thought we were connecting, I thought we were cool, and now what am I supposed to think? Was all of that a lie to keep things kosher between us, to keep me off the scent? Plus, I just keep thinking that…”

You watch her hands ball into fists, her knuckles white at her side.

(Continued)
>>
>>3320569

“…I got drenched in acid, man. When I sit down I still feel the new skin fucking creak, I still feel it tingle where it was burned right the fuck off with that wave. You got hurt, Gina got hurt, and she did literally nothing to stop it when she had all the power in the world to make sure we were all okay. I just…that’s not something I can forgive.”

The gently undulating trees open up before you, revealing a stark grey hill gated with a crumbling stone gate, somehow still impressive despite the wear and tear of time that shows upon its tattered brickwork. Rath looks up at it a moment as Gina studies the gate, and she turns to you once more.

“Look, I know she’s your friend, Shu. I know you got one hell of a past with her. Just know that when we meet again, she ain’t no friend of mine. Not after how she treated you, and all of us. I totally get it if I’ve just pissed you off, but I…you and Gina are…”

“Rath, I’m not mad. I’m still trying to process all this myself.” You reassure her, putting a hand on her shoulder. “The three of us, we’re friends…we’re a family, alright?”

“What the hell is that?”

You cock your eyebrow at her as she stares past you, having stopped in her tracks. “…Are you asking me what a family is?”

“Ha, no, I mean that cellar-door lookin’ thing over there.” She says with a chuckle, gesturing over to a vein-covered door set in the ground several yards from the imposing gate. “Hey, GG! What is that?”

“It looks like there’s a series of tunnels that lead underneath the Mansion.” Gina replies, staring intently at the ground as the crystal set in her forehead pulses with a gentle amethyst light. “They’re cramped but they eventually open up into a wine cellar and…something else I can’t place. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s like…an engine, or something? In any case, it looks like the tunnels lead up underneath the house, so we can get in through the front door, the servant’s entrance in the back, or through here.”

“I’m not getting any signs of movement, if you’re curious.” Gina finishes, and you can sense she takes just about as much comfort in that fact as you do. You glance up at the mansion, opulent and imperial, gazing down at you from its stoic perch upon the hill.

>>You’re not interested in being perceived as an intruder by anyone that may be residing in the mansion, so you figure the front door is your best bet.

>>Regardless of the existence of any inhabitants, you’d prefer to play it safe by using the back entrance and proceeding with care through the mansion as you weather the storm.

>>The tunnels, while cramped, allow you a good blend of stealth and cover as you sneak up into the mansion proper. Also, you’re curious at what sort of unusual device may lay beneath the aged manor.


>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3320598
>You glance up at the mansion, opulent and imperial, gazing down at you from its stoic perch upon the hill.
I see you've been playing or watching some Darkest Dungeon. Because I recognize those quotes anywhere.
>>
>>3320598
>>You’re not interested in being perceived as an intruder by anyone that may be residing in the mansion, so you figure the front door is your best bet.

And I understand Raths position all too well...
>>
>>3320598
>>>You’re not interested in being perceived as an intruder by anyone that may be residing in the mansion, so you figure the front door is your best bet.
Oh, and try knocking first before going in, too. I'm a bit doubtful anything will happen, but I think it's worth a shot.
I'd rather risk alerting a crazy daughter to our presence now than risk getting on the bad side of a sane-ish daughter by crashing at her place without asking.
>>
>>3320598
>The tunnels, while cramped, allow you a good blend of stealth and cover as you sneak up into the mansion proper. Also, you’re curious at what sort of unusual device may lay beneath the aged manor.

>>3320603
Our favorite local man who ruined everything.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1ybSl2c_J8
>>
>>3320598
>You’re not interested in being perceived as an intruder by anyone that may be residing in the mansion, so you figure the front door is your best bet.
Knock knock open up the door it's real with the non-stop pop-pop the stainless steel
>>
(Voting to close in two and a half hours as I close out the work day, Gentlemen. Does an evening of rapid-posting suit you all, starting when I post the next update and continuing with one to one-and-a-half hour posting windows until the close of the evening?)
>>
>>3320637
Go for it
>>
>>3320637
Sure
>>
>>3320603
(I enjoy playing it immensely, yes.)
>>
>>3320643
There better be a Wayne June Ghost in that mansion narrating combat commentary!
>>
>>3320643
Do you use any modded characters?
>>
>>3320647
(I play it on console, since my computer is terrible as alluded to last thread. I'd love to work with mods, if I had the option.)
>>
>>3320637
im down for it.

>>3320649
pssst, desktop master race. build one yourself, the personal touch makes all the difference.
>>
>>3320598
>You’re not interested in being perceived as an intruder by anyone that may be residing in the mansion, so you figure the front door is your best bet.
Yeah This is gonna be some spooky Neuromancer shit this time, or ghosts.

Oh and this song is what I've been listening tp whenever we get into a fight.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRiBLgOm1mQ
SMT music seems to fit this quest for some weird reason. Btw BHOP whats your favorite SMT game/OST?
>>
>>3320776
The first fight theme I listened to for this quest was https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmycdZOvCYo
i think it's at least part of the reason why i can't help but imagine Shu looking like Aya
>>
>>3320777
Damn thats pretty good. I approve.
>>
>>3320780
>>3320777
>>3320776
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nSqs2gr4Mo would play against who?
>>
>>3320598
>>>You’re not interested in being perceived as an intruder by anyone that may be residing in the mansion, so you figure the front door is your best bet.
It worked with Julia
>>
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>>3320598

“Let’s try the front door.” You say confidently, or at least until Rath casts a withering stare your way.

“You sound like the character that bites it near the start of every horror movie I’ve ever watched.” She says as the three of you trudge up the flight of stone steps leading to the front door.

It appears as though the biomass covering the door has been left undisturbed, and Rath quickly clears it away before stepping back and allowing you to try the handle. To your surprise, the front door remains unlocked, swinging open with a throaty, echoing series of creaks. The dim light filtering in through the shuttered windows reveals a mezzanine of distinctly Gothic construction, the walls lined with worn and tattered photographs.

You walk up to one that depicts a family of four, two parents, and two children. The father, all sharp edges and harsh tones, appears in a dark suit, leering down at you disapprovingly from his seat in the middle of the frame. His wife appears slightly-offset behind him, a frail, ashen-skinned woman with a fragile smile. To his left and right appear a teenager and a younger girl, the teen’s face and torn from the frame while the younger girl’s fearful eyes are frozen in time, forever nervous.

The rumble of lightning distracts you from the frame when your arm is suddenly clenched tight in Gina’s hands, her death grip threatening stop the flow of blood entirely.

{S-sorry} She says sheepishly via thoughtform. {I really hate lightning, it’s stupid}

[No worries] You reply, your hand on hers when she hastily tries to release her grasp. [May I ask why?]

{You’ll laugh}

You cock an eyebrow at Gina as the lightest shade of scarlet works its way into her cheeks.

[I promise you I won’t judge]

{Well, it’s really jarring and all, but…where I lived, whenever we had an electrical storm the internet would go out, and I kind of have…hey! You said you wouldn’t judge} She pouts as you stifle a chuckle.

[It’s cute, but I totally get it] You reply, smiling down at her before you look around the colossal rooms that branch out from the equally large entrance. [From what you said the first time we met, a lot of your interactions were online, right? It makes sense that losing power like that would be scary if it meant losing your friends temporarily]

You squeeze her hand lightly as your eyes meet hers again.

[So don't worry about the lightning, 'cause I'm not going anywhere]

(Continued)
>>
>>3320902

Gina stares up at you, her lips slightly parted. She smiles slowly, leaning into you as her hands wrap around your arm, pulling your limb flush with the soft fabric of her dark hoodie.

{I think I'll keep you close, just to make sure} She says, drawing your arm betw...

“This place is huge.” You say aloud after clearing your throat, leading Gina and Rath into the cathedral-esque dining room. “It’ll take some time for all of us to check it out.”

“If you spout some bullshit like ‘we should split up,’ I’m kicking you in the shin.” Rath says, deadly serious as she fixes you with a wide-eyed golden stare.

You have to admit that exploring this place would be easier if you could pair up evenly...a pang of sadness runs through you as you consider your exploration efforts the three of you have available at the moment.

A large central staircase leads to the second floor, and appears to be in good working order, despite an unnervingly large amount of thin, shattered glass and the remains of large dark-hued bottles that litter the path to the second story.

From your spot in the dining room at the head of the unreasonably large table, you also spy a heavy wooden door off the kitchen, which you assume to lead down into the cellars.

>>Explore the first floor in its entirety.

>>Ascend to the second floor.

>>Descend directly into the basement.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting to close in one and a half hours, Gentlemen.)

>>3320776
(That is actually one of the songs I usually listen to for boss fights, well played. I really enjoy the music SMT3 and 4 in particular, with the SMT 2 Sound Arrange Album being my favorite rendition of the Law, Chaos, and Neutral themes.)

>>3320777
(This is marvelous, I've added it to the playlist. Thank you for sharing!)
>>
>>3320907
>>>Ascend to the second floor.
Let's go top to bottom on this. Bottom seems like it's probably where all the action's gonna happen, and my vidya experience tells me it's better to check the unimportant areas for goodies before progressing.

...Then again, my vidya experience also tells me not to trust myself about whether or not the place I'm going to is progress or not, but I'm just gonna hope for the best and ignore that.
>>
>>3320907
>>>Explore the first floor in its entirety.
I generally agree with >>3320918, but my vidya inclinations make me disinclined towards leaving things incomplete and backtracking, since we already started on the first floor.
>>
>>3320907
>"I think we've all seen enough Scooby Doo Episodes and Horror films to know the cliches. But I think it would be wise to examine the environment for the Mansion's history and the history of the family that lived in it. "


>Examine the Family Photos they will be the key to discerning the Master/Mistress of the house should the host come out.

I think the master/mistress of the house is a Wine taster. And an Alcoholic. Booze does wonders to the mind and dull the stress.
Wine Cellars aren't that common in houses except for those high in the social strata. The disturbing amount of broken wine bottles lining the staircase means the Mistress of the house would be the frail woman in the painting.
>>
>>3320907
>Explore the first floor in its entirety.
>Examine the Family Photos they will be the key to discerning the Mistress of the house should the host come out.

I mean, given this is a girls-only apocalypse, it figures it would be the Mistress.
>>
>>3320907
>>Explore the first floor in its entirety.
>>
(Gentlemen, if it is alright with you all, I may close out voting at the one hour mark to keep things moving along, with one hour voting segments opening up after each post.)
>>
>>3320987
I'm okay with that
>>
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>>3320907
>"Let's split up gang!" Just to fuck with Rath and lighten the mood.
>Explore the first floor in its entirety.
>Examine the Family Photos they will be the key to discerning the Mistress of the house should the host come out.
>>
>>3320987
sure, sounds fine to me.

>>3321004
im for this, i mean i already voted for exploring the first floor, but the joke is something we just gotta do, and see how many arms hit our chin.
>>
>>3320987
sounds like a plan, stan.
>>
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>>3320907

"Okay, Rath? You check out the creepy wine cellar, I'll check upstairs, and Gina can..."

You nimbly dodge the three swinging fists that narrowly miss hitting your upper arm, the two extra limbs receding back into Rath's shoulder as she huffs at you.

"You can go check out the fuckin' basement on your own, asshole." She snarls, despite the twinkle in her eye. "I'm staying up here with GG, you go get yourself axe murdered for all I care."

"Aright, seriously though...let's keep checking out this floor a bit, then we can figure out where to go from there." You say, leading the charge back into the mezzanine and into the adjacent living room. An ornate set of couches surround a classical fireplace, almost every square inch of the room's lavishly papered walls adorned with family photos and portraits, all of them depicting the mother, father, and their young daughter.

You note there are spaces of discoloration where you can tell something occupied it at one time, but a cursory glimpse of the floor beneath each void reveals only carpet, the dust having grown thick with years of neglect. Scanning the walls you find the harsh, judgmental gaze of the family's patron boring into you from every direction as a low, rolling rumble lazily makes its way through the clouds above the unwelcoming house.

"Portraits are boring, they should have more cool shit like this." Rath says from in front of the hearth. You turn, following her upturned gaze to the odd picture out in the den of near-identical portraits. A thin, wiry frame holds a decidedly abstract landscape, twisted violet mountains spearing into skies of
seafoam green. Utterly alien and fantastical, you find yourself staring at the unnatural landscape alongside Rath for far longer than you intend, drawn in to the bizarre blend of unnameable colors.

You're unceremoniously snapped out of your artistic reverie when Gina accidentally kicks the edge of an unseen bottle, sending it clattering into the next room and into several other of its kin, by the sound of it. She grimaces at the edge of the next room, and you tread lightly over to her as you enter some sort of sitting room, an artist's easel set up by an open window, boasting a half-finished landscape. The three of you lean in a bit closer, squinting at a pair of figures that appear to be marching across the sapphire landscape. You'd think little of their vaguely human forms, were it not for a curiously-shaped pistol clutched tight in one being's hand...

The high clang of a metallic picture frame on hard stone makes you turn.

"DORA, SWEETIE, IS THAT YOU?"

(Continued)
>>
>>3321068
oh god oh fuck pickman im sorry I kicked your bottle collection
>>
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>>3321068

You stumble back from the edge of the living room you were just in as a thin, twitching figure stoops low in the doorway. Vaguely feminine in form, its skin is a molten, shifting palette of mind-bending hues as it rises to full height in the sitting room you currently occupy. It cocks its head to one side, its face featureless save for a too-wide mouth crammed with needle-like teeth.

"YOU'RE NOT MY DORA. YOU'VE BEEN A BAD INFLUENCE ON HER, I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW."

Something like a scream echoes from the creatures body, its skin undulating, rippling like a pool of water disturbed by an errant stone.

"I'LL HAVE TO ASK YOU TO LEAVE." The deafeningly loud yet polite request is followed almost immediately by a downward sweep of her lengthy talons, missing you by inches as her claws carve four gashes into the floorboards as though they were freshly fallen snow.

"Where the fuck did this bitch come from?!" Rath yells, a set of six iridescent arms erupting from her shoulders and back, your hive thrumming with activity. A pair of cords slip from undeneath Gina;s sleeves, her brow knit in confusion.

"I...I don't know!" Gina shouts back, her diadem shining with activity. "This thing, it's some kind of construct. It wasn't active before, that's why I couldn't sense it!"

"YOU LEAVE MY DORA ALONE!" The figure screeches, lunging across the small space directly towards you, its talons intent on shearing your face from your skull.

Shu the Defiant & Gina the Heartbound

VS.

THE COLOR OF MADNESS

HP: 100% (Ignition Gauntlets: Equipped)
BIO: 190% (0/18 Active)
CONTENDER: Empty, Basic Form
RAVENOUS MAW: Primed and ready.
ACT: 2/2
Threat: Close, closing the gap. Room setup: living room behind it, window to your left, path to kitchen to the right, small library to the rear.
GG HP: 140%
RATH HP: 160%

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3321087
>"YOU'RE NOT MY DORA. YOU'VE BEEN A BAD INFLUENCE ON HER, I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW."

Hmmm. . . .

>>3321085
>oh god oh fuck pickman im sorry I kicked your bottle collection

You know, that's a helpful reference to point out since Julia's surname is Pickman. Maybe she's connected to this place? Maybe we can talk to this construct as we dodge its attacks?

The main concern is, if Julia was one of the daughters, which one would she be? Do we know her age? I'd assume that if she is one, she's the older one that's been stricken from the record.
BHOP, what's Julia's age range if we don't know the specific number?
>>
A COLOR, UNLIKE ANY SEEN BEFORE-

Anyway, I bet those constructs come from the weird paintings and a new one will show up after we dispatch this one (unless people want to pull a "we're guests" card right now and it works), so we should cover them up/flip them over or destroy them once we have the opportunity. Destroying them will probably upset our host even more, as I imagine artists don't like seeing their works be destroyed.
>>
>>3321101
(Julia is twenty years old.)
>>
>>3321087
huh, Ginas name is there now. also nice lovecraft reference, finally understood a reference haha!

>SHU; Armor up, Raths gauntlets and all. Attempt to lap up its leg with your tongue, pulling it off its feet.

>RATH; Use your enhanced strength to toss an extra arm at the creatures head, using boils built up on the back to turn it into a sorta rocket fist, to help aid Shu in knocking it down. dont go too wild with the explosives though, were inside and its a wooden structure.

>GINA; if the othe girls knock it down, jack in and see if you cant scramble its connection to its owner, or at least hold it down.

>SHU; once its down, if Gina has stunned it, spawn two Banelings and have them ride along your fists, as you rush up the things chest and slam both gauntlets and both Banelings down on its throat, to try and sever its head.

>RATH; have your Stringy body ready to toss and and pull Shu to safety if things go south.
>>
>>3321131
At least based on what we know about the setting, if the paintings have anything special about them, Gina should probably be able to tell unless it's based on an alien Relic or something.

We should probably try opening with "we're guests." Maybe we can just tell her we don't know a Dora, so she doesn't need to attack us?
>>
>>3321087
THE COLOR OF MADNESS

DARKEST DUNGEON INTENSIFIES.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzJYa9Z15-I
>>
>>3321131
>>3321157
im fine trying to rationalize with them first, but worse case i like my plan for if it does come to a fight.
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3321177
I'd say you're fine other than the first Rath part. both because of physics and because any explosion will probably cause a housefire because of her the way her boils work now. I'd suggest focusing on multi-arm and tensil limbs. IIRC, she can use the tensil as razor wire now, which can be very useful in enclosed spaces like our current location.

That and add to Gina's to-do trying to figure out who the owner is/where she is if there's an active connection.
>>
>>3321231
And, as always, I should have checked for updates before posting . . .
>>
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>>3321087

"We're guests!" You say, platelings crawling their way out from within your hive, slowly covering you in armor. "We don't know any Dor..."

Vermilion claws are deflected mid-stroke by the armor that slides into place on your head, completing the Chitinous Stalwart in the nick of time. A glowing fist rockets by your head at the same instant your stomach splits open vertically, a lightning-fast tongue lashing out from within your second maw and tearing the construct's left leg from its body.

It barely has time to process the missing limb before Rath's fist makes contact with its chest, burying knuckles deep inside its sternum. There's a throaty pop, and the living room is suddenly splattered with iridescent liquid as the rocket punch detonates within the creature's amorphous body.

Razor-tipped talons claw frantically at Rath's tensile strands to no avail, the red-head smirking to herself just before Gina's cords sail past you as the construct drops to its knees, GG's tether strobing with Amethyst light.

{Shit, it doesn't have a proper nervous system, and it's too liquid to...wait, I think I...}

Her cords are suddenly severed by a sweep of its nails as the creature's rapid regeneration continues, its severed leg bubbling as colors shift and contort to reshape it. You don't have a second to spare as you dash forwards, leaping atop its chest as a pair of Banelings take flight and land on the thing's chest.

You bring your Baneling-reinforced Ignition Gauntlets down on its head, your brood's corrosive payload jettisoned directly into the being's gaping maw. Its face boils, foul-smelling liquid pouring from its semi-solid skull as it flails wildly before you dismount, getting out of the way of its claws as you watch it slowly begin to pull itself back together, the droplets splashed over the adjoining room crawling back as it reforms.

"ARE YOU HERE TO BULLY DORIAN AND MOMMY?" calls a high-pitched voice from the room behind you. You turn, revealing a smaller though no less grotesque version of the construct, taloned hands on psychedelic hips as she fails to wait for your answer.

"YOU'RE JUST LIKE DADDY. THEY'VE BEEN BULLIED ENOUGH!" She screams, charging at you with claws at the ready. "BROTHER JUST WANTS TO PAINT, SO LEAVE HIM ALONE!"

{Shu, the Daughter controlling these things is in the bedroom upstairs} Gina says, the larger of the two constructs slowly rising to its feet. {These things are persistent and I have no idea how many more there are, but we just need to clear a path to the stairs and down the hall and we can reach the source}

HP: 96% (Ignition Gauntlets: Equipped, Chitinous Stalwart Active)
BIO: 187% (4 Platelings, 2 Banelings Active 6/18 Active)
CONTENDER: Empty, Basic Form
RAVENOUS MAW: Primed and ready.
ACT: 2/2
Threat: Close, regenerating, flanked. Room setup: living room behind it, window to your left, path to kitchen to the right, small library to the rear.
GG HP: 140%
RATH HP: 157%

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3321245
RATH; Toss out Two Extra limbs, Razor Stands aiming to trip up the two Constructs.

>EVERYONE; dash for the stairs/hallway once the constructs are down.

SHU; Have two Double Sized Swarmlings hide on the opposite side of the door to the room, so once the Constructs follow they can swoop down for their faces, keeping them further off our trail.

>RATH; Keep Fists ready to hard toss at our foes at the back, the goal to keep them back if they manage to keep on our tail.

>GINA; lead the way, if both Rath and our Traps cannot keep them back, try Cancer Bombing the big one, as Constructs are pure BIO so it may be enough to end it, at least long term.
>>
>>3321245
this this this >>3321260
Also BHOP, I feel like this video clip is super fucking appropriate for this situation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjHGTeTtaac
>>
>>3321245
>Shu: Spawn 2 elite Swarmlings, configure contender into Lion Heart Sabre. Load up the B.33 Special. You'll guard the rear.

Gina: House is made of wood. Wood is Bio. Terraform the floor/doorway so that so that the painted constructs are forced to take the long route. Give us directions.

>Rath: Take point. Your punches could probably one-shot the paintings.

>Everyone: Up the stairs.

Looks like she's the scared daughter of the family and misses her family. And she's a generator type.
>>3321245
BHOP. What's the Camo Shroud's condition? Did we get it repaired?
>>
>>3321311
(Yes, it automatically repairs itself between session unless a session ends mid-combat.)
>>
>>3321314
you answered the second half of the question, but not the first. what is the shroud's condition?
>>
>>3321320
(Ah, my apologies. It is fully repaired and ready to be used.)
>>
>>3321311
i kinda like parts of both our ideas, with one exception being i just cant see wood being enough to slow the big one down at all, considering it ate into the floorboards like it was paper. i just feel Gina trying to plug the route over other actions might be a waste. this is assuming old world Wood and Flesh is the same as the Fleshscape Biomass, considering our bodies were specifically changed to fit the new world and be interact able with eachother, i do actually wonder if old biological materials are compatible with our abilities?
>>
>>3321245

"Get down!" Rath yells, and both you and Gina duck a half-second before she flings an additional two limbs out on razor-thin strands. You watch as they wrap around the legs of the little girl and the torso of the larger one, Rath's glowing arms gripping the strings three at a time. They give a single, impossible powerful tug, and the smaller figure's legs are instantly shredded between the merciless wires, the other's torso cleanly diced as it collapses into a formless puddle on the floor.

"Run bitch, run!" Rath howls, and neither you nor Gina need extra prompting as you help your friend to her feet. The three of you tear out of the room as fast as your legs will carry you, even as the two constructs begin to pull themselves back together behind you. Another, large pair of Banelings awkwardly tear free of the gaping holes in your spine, flying off to flank the threshold between the sitting and living rooms as you all race up the stairs.

You feel your over-sized Banelings detonate, the screams of the constructs echoing through the house as you crest the top of the stairwell.

"End of the hall!" Gina pants, struggling to keep up with you and Rath's frantic pace. "That big door, right there!"

You're the first to reach the ornate door in question, your hand on the knob when Rath roars from behind you.

"MOVE!"

You jump back and out of the warpath as she rears back, four fists that surging forwards as one and effortlessly tear the door from its hinges.

(Continued)
>>
>>3321358

The door clatters against a massive four-poster bed, around which is strewn a countless assortment of bottles that are shattered the moment the oak board crushes them beneath its weight.

"Mrph, just a few more minutes."

A figure stirs on the bed, slowly waking on top of the covers. Its arms and legs appear similar to those of the constructs you fought past to get here, but as opposed to the mad, schizophrenic jumble of eye-grating colors, this one's hues are more subdued, a clear distinction between laguidly shifting tones. The figure rises lazily from the bed, and you hear something splatter on the stairwell behind you.

{The constructs...they stopped} Gina says, her gaze unblinking as the Daughter smooths wrinkles out of the stark white suit they wear, tremulous limbs ending in half-formed hands. They suddenly become aware of your presence, turning to look at you with half their face a spiral of color, the other half androgynous.A single, dazzlingly sky-blue eye stares at you from behind stands of light silver hair, utterly dumbfounded at your entrance.

"Oh...oh my god, it's a people."

They scramble out of bed, kicking aside several bottles in the process of attempting to make themself more presentable.

"Hey, hello, oh shit, I'm sorry. Where are my manners? Gardner. Dorian Gardner, at your service." He says, bowing low, limbs drooping slightly from the effort as he struggles to maintain balance. Whether from the alcohol or his unusual physical form, you're not quite sure. You reach out to Gina across your bond with the question that's on your mind, ever since you scuffled with the amorphous creatures in the lower part of the house.

{Daughter} She replies with certainty. {There's no doubt about it. I can tell this person had a hand in the constructs too, they have a similar vibe}

"Hey asshole, were those things downstairs yours?" Rath demands angrily, only to be met with a befuddled and hungover stare from Dorian's single eye.

{I legit don't think they know what we're talking about, Shu}

"Um, no? Hey, are you hungry? I'm afraid I don't have much in the way of food..." Dorian mumbles, squinting around the room as he continues to brush the wrinkles out of his suit. "I really haven't needed to eat the past two weeks, so that's pretty cool. But, ah...oh, here we go."

His right limb snakes out, snatching a sealed bottle from the window sill and bringing it back to the front of his face, where he squints at the faded label for a moment before he shoots you a satisfied grin.

"I have no idea how old this is, but the last bottle that had this label was fantastic!" He says, extending the bottle to you with an earnest smile. "Wanna share? I think I can scrounge up another glass or three, whadd'ya say? We could have a toast to surviving the end of the world!"

Combat: Ceased?

You are, for a moment, at a loss. Whatever you were expecting to find at the top of the stairs, this certainly wasn't it.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Gentlemen, I shall be pausing here for the evening. I shall be round for another hour or two to address questions, comments, and criticisms, and thank you all so much for your participation. I shall resume in approximately twelve hours, and take care.)
>>
>>3321369
my guess; Daughter who either really cared for her brother so took on his persona, or something went amiss in the Daughterfication process due to him being near her, maybe even in direct contact with her when the pod formed.

>"Uh, sure? I mean...ok. Dorian? were fine being friendly and all that, but you gotta know, we just got attacked downstairs and my friend here, Gina, has some pretty nifty powers telling us they were under your control, or at least are connected to you in some form. im sorry to be accusatory but we kinda wont be able to not feel on edge if you dont reel them in, or if you cant, well, im sure you can understand our concerns?"

>stay prepared but lets try and be friendly here. they might just not be all there, dealing with grief of drunkenness or something.
>>
>>3321369
Why the fuck are Rath and GG using they/it pronouns.
>>3321395
Backing this but maybe try and slide in some way of asking if they're a dude. Like who knows, maybe Dorian Grey- I mean Dorian Gardner might be the shiny version of Julia just because they're a dude. They've got the psychedelic colour scheme down already.
Or maybe they're a reverse trap. pleasepleaseplease be a reverse trap.
>>
>>3321373
have a good night BHOP. fun time as always. also what is with Generators and having such a lack of control over their bloody creations? even Rath can be argued to fall into that category, considering the chaotic nature of explosives.
>>
>>3321373
Goodnight!
>>
>>3321369
backing this >>3321395
>>
>>3321369
>To Gina [A boy? I thought all the boys were gone in the apocalypse. Either she's secretly a reverse trap, a Transgender, or actually a boy.]

>"Now now Dorian, Toasting to our continued survival of the apocalypse isn't simply enough, one can't properly toast if you can't brag about how long you've survived."

>>3321395
Well the context clues are there based on the construct dialogues. We need to play detective as to how long Dorian's been awake.
Let me gather some context clues.
>>
>>3321442
she did say she hasn't had to eat for the past two weeks, which considering so far, despite what it staves off, most dont consider consuming the same thing, its a pretty clear implied timeline in my opinion for how long she has been awake.
>>
>>3321412
>>3321418
Here's what I've pieced together so far.

>You walk up to one that depicts a family of four, two parents, and two children. The father, all sharp edges and harsh tones, appears in a dark suit, leering down at you disapprovingly from his seat in the middle of the frame. His wife appears slightly-offset behind him, a frail, ashen-skinned woman with a fragile smile. To his left and right appear a teenager and a younger girl, the teen’s face and torn from the frame while the younger girl’s fearful eyes are frozen in time, forever nervous.
Family of Four. Mother, Father, Dora and "Dorian".
Father seems to be the man of the house who rules with an Iron fist. Mother seems to be barely keeping it together. Teen's face torn from the photo implies that the Father disowned the son. Daughter is frightened of her own family.

>An ornate set of couches surround a classical fireplace, almost every square inch of the room's lavishly papered walls adorned with family photos and portraits, all of them depicting the mother, father, and their young daughter.
That's strange. "Dorian's" Portrait is missing from the living room. Something happened that caused a falling out.

>They scramble out of bed, kicking aside several bottles in the process of attempting to make themself more presentable
>A large central staircase leads to the second floor, and appears to be in good working order, despite an unnervingly large amount of thin, shattered glass and the remains of large dark-hued bottles that litter the path to the second story.
Dorian's a wine enthusiast alright. But he ain't no Sommelier (a wine steward.) He's a painter first and foremost.
>YOU'RE NOT MY DORA. YOU'VE BEEN A BAD INFLUENCE ON HER, I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW
Mother construct dialogue, 'Mother' is protective of Dora. Presumably the 'Daughter (Dora)' of the family. Dorian (the son) presumably had a falling out with the parents.
>ARE YOU HERE TO BULLY DORIAN AND MOMMY? YOU'RE JUST LIKE DADDY. THEY'VE BEEN BULLIED ENOUGH! BROTHER JUST WANTS TO PAINT, SO LEAVE HIM ALONE!
The paint constructs that have appeared so far is the Mother and Daughter. Which leaves out Dorian and the Father. Dora loved Dorian and her mother, but hates her father. The father is a great source of stress in Dora's life pre-Crucible. Dorian apparently despite the rich philanthropist lifestyle he grew up in wanted to be a painter. Something that did not sit well with Dora's father. Dora's mother deemed Dorian's painting hobby a "bad influence" on Dora as apparently it seems Dorian is implied to become a family hermit.

>Dorian's Image filename: Dorain Gardner; Artist, Philanthropist, Wine Enthusiast.
Artist checks out, Philanthropist implies the mansion setting, Wine Enthusiast waves a red flag.
Dora's core abilities is a Generator type. She makes constructs out of bio-fluid that have the closest consistency to paint. She's taken on Dorian's Body form with the Bio that she has to honor his memory.
>>
>>3321499
>>3321450
>>3321412

Dora's been binge drinking. To drown out his/her sorrows and to kill time until the hunger claims her. With the amount of wine bottles strewn about the mansion. I can deduce her daily routine so far.
>Wake up. Hungover.
>Deal with the hangover pain. Rage at the memories the drinking has triggered. Rage at the dreams you've had that you wished you never dreamed.
>Spend time faffing about in the mansion, going over habits of the life before the apocalypse
>Honor her dead brother by painting.
>Get triggered by a catalyst in the house that triggers an unpleasant memory.
>Rage. Throw insults at nothing in particular.
>stomp down to the wine cellar and pick a bottle.
>get shitfaced, drink until the bottle's empty then smash the bottle on the stairs or drop it carelessly because drunk
>crawl into bed
>sleep the drunk off.
>dream about all the horrible family events while subconsciously making constructs that protect you while you sleep.
>wake up hung over.
>rinse and repeat.
>>
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>>3321369
>>3321373
>>3321395
>>3321412
>>3321418
>>3321419
>>3321424
>>3321442
>>3321450
>>3321499
>>3321523
Hold the phone.
>body of eye-catching multicolors
>design incorporates white as well
>has an extreme fondness for wine
>bishie and androgynous as fuck
Pic related?
>>
>>3321552
SMT Context stat!
>>
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>>3321559
...What?
>>
>>3321568
I don't know how Dionysius acted in Digital Devil Saga.
>>
>>3321523
well, thats no way to live. looks like someone needs some FRIENDSHIP in their life.
>>
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>>3321571
He's just an SMT demon design, dumbass. You don't even encounter him as an enemy in either DDS game.
https://megamitensei.fandom.com/wiki/Dionysus
>>
>>3321587
what is with you DDS fans and being jackasses?
>>
>>3321571
>>3321587
(Actually, I didn't even realize how much Dorian's design reflects Dionysus' until you mentioned it. It's incredibly appropriate, though.)
>>
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>>3321590
>what is with you DDS fans and being jackasses?
>you DDS fans
lmao
it's just me
>>
>>3321590
(While this isn't a defense of some SMT fans' behavior, it is an incredibly niche series that certainly garners die-hard fans for its incredibly unique story telling elements and twisting storylines. I would recommend either the main SMT series, starting with Nocturne, or staring with the Digital Devil Saga series, or the Avatar Tuner novelizations in pdf format if you don't have the time for watching a Lets Play. If you enjoy this quest or Joker Quest, I would say you might enjoy the themes present in the series.)
>>
>>3321628
nah i mean, fair enough im sure its a good series, its just not exactly the best method to garner any attention or love for something via constantly treating anyone unfamiliar with it like garbage like a few anons have done is all.
>>
>>3321650
(Agreed, as >>3321621 alluded to.)
>>
>>3321650
Alright I guess. You could just emulate it yourself, or go watch a non-commentary youtube playthrough. Your choice.

>>3321654
Yeah yeah...
>>
>>3321499
>That's strange. "Dorian's" Portrait is missing from the living room. Something happened that caused a falling out.
Maybe they're a FtM trans. It would explain how they appear male if the daughterification process just checks chromosomes.
>>
>>3321675
you assume i have the time to do that, or interest to do it over other things i already wish to allocate my free time to.
>>
>>3321710
(That's fair, anon. I don't have half the time I'd like to allocate to things I'd like to pursue, so I understand. Time is a precious thing, so that just makes me all the more appreciative that you spend time participating in this quest. I appreciate your time, and thank you for being awesome.)
>>
>>3321724
take your credit where its due, as you give me something worth sinking my teeth into, as the saying goes. im otherwise just another green man among the crowd. or well, i guess the I.D.s are mostly yellow-reds this time around.
>>
What were Maron's relics?
>>
>>3321702
If that's the case, maybe we should avoid asking him about his gender, then. There's no telling how close he is to the tipping point and whether or not bringing that up could push him over that point, especially with how the only things left on the planet are girls and eldritch horrors.
It'd basically be telling him that the world itself doesn't give a shit about who he wants to be, he's a girl and that's that.
>>
>>3321702
I'd been wondering what became of trans people here, though I was a little reticent about bringing it up.
Alright, the clues and the similar names make sense now.

>It'd basically be telling him that the world itself doesn't give a shit about who he wants to be, he's a girl and that's that.

I agree that we should wait to bring it up, but I do feel the urge to mention that, while the setting may be uncomfortable (because it basically means he can't pass), from what I know trans people generally don't try to "be" the opposite sex, just "be" their gender, which has no bearing on chromosomes (which is why it's called transgender). My point is just that this setting doesn't make him some kind of tragic quasi-trans.
Actually, in some respects this might be a good setting for him in that he has a lot of leeway with altering his physical shape to be what he wants it to be, depending on what powers he has access to. We should introduce him to Julia.
>>
>>3321369

"Uh, sure?" You reply, taking off your helmet as you step into the room, careful of your footing. "Listen Dorian, we're fine being friendly and all that, but you need to know that we just got attacked downstairs and my friend here, Gina, has some pretty nifty powers telling us they were under your control, or at least are connected to you in some form. I'm sorry to be accusatory but we'll be a little on edge if you don't or can't reel them in. I'm sure you can understand our concerns?"

Dorian's expression falls, the bottle hanging limp in his grasp as he struggles to comprehend what you've just said.

"I...I'm not sure what you mean...I'm so sorry you were attacked, but you're saying I was responsible? I don't...I'm so sorry, but I don't understand what you're..."

"Dorian, how long have you been awake?" Gina asks gently, stepping ahead of you as she picks her way through the sea of empty bottles. "How long has it been since you woke up to the world like this?"

"Um...about two weeks. It's kind of hard to remember since...yeah." He replies, casting a guilty look at the bottles surrounding the four of you. Gina turns to you and Rath, motioning to Dorian's bed as she sits on the edge.

"Dorian, as someone who's been awake a little longer than you...I think you'll want to hear what we have to say."

The three of you tell him the cliffnotes version of what he's missed, cooped up in this secluded manor. He takes it well, all things considered, his eyes misting over only once or twice as you tell him the hell the world has descended into, his sapphire eye glinting with hope as you describe what you're trying to accomplish with what little you have left.

He thinks on it for a long moment, punctuated by sips from his wineglass until he finally speaks.

(Continued)
>>
>>3322495

“That’s…wow, that’s a lot.” He says, a humorless chuckle on thin lips. “Could, ah…could we go down to the dining room? It’s a little less messy, if you don’t mind?”

He leads the three of you back downstairs as you continue to be slightly on edge, though it’s abated somewhat by Dorian’s slightly awkward manners. You and your allies wait patiently as he pulls out chairs for you all before sitting down himself opposite you, interview style.

“I…I'm still just amazed anyone managed to come here.” He says, running a hand through silver hair with a heavy sigh. “I have to ask, how did you all make it through the forest?”

“Uh, we walked?” Rath replies, much to your host’s confusion.

“I, uh…I watched those trees take hold of people that got too close and never let go.” He says, his single eye reflecting on a sight he’d much rather not recall as you and Gina share a worried glance. “It’s part of the reason I haven’t been able to leave this place, so…”

He clears his throat awkwardly, half-smiling as he runs his hand once more through his hair, his multi-colored arm leaving not the slightest trace of liquid behind.

“Listen…please feel free to stay as long as you like.” He says finally. “It’s the least I can do since you filled me in about what happened, and…you know, it’s nice to know there are still nice people putting around in the end times.”

He smiles weakly at you, as a lull begins to grow in the conversation. You can tell he’s still struggling to process everything, so maybe bringing up something about himself will keep him from going lower than he is right now…then again, what he said about the trees has you worried, now. You thought getting here was a little too easy...

>>Ask him about his family.

>>Ask him about the house, and where the cellar leads.

>>Ask him about his art and inspirations.

>>Go back outside and investigate the trees.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3322496
>>Ask him to explain in more detail about what happens to people when trees grab them. Do they get absorbed? Taken somewhere?
>>Has he ever seen someone not get grabbed?
>>Ask about the house, and where the cellar leads.
>>
(Gentlemen, voting shall close on one and a half hours. Today looks to be somewhat busy, so it will be a moderately relaxed day of posting as much as I can. Thank you so much for your patience, once again.)
>>
>>3322496
This >>3322501
>>
>>3322496
>>>Ask him about his art and inspirations.
Specifically, ask him about the half-finished painting we found before getting attacked. While we're talking to him about it, try pulling out the contender (base form) and just kinda fiddling with it, see if he notices/recognizes it.
>>
>>3322501
Ill back this up. I knew the trees were bad jews, but im wondering why we weren't grabbed. Maybe something to do with the nuromancer like strands under the bark and Gina?
>>
>>3322496
>open up that empathy channel. Calm reassurance.
>"Hey, I know it's hard to deal with the apocalypse we're in. I myself woke up a few weeks ago. Gina's been awake for several months. Rath was awake for a few months. We're all struggling together Dorian."
>>
>>3322496

"Hey, I know it's hard to deal with the apocalypse we're in.” You say softly, opening up the empathic channel to Dorian. When your aura reaches out it prompts a quiet gasp from his lips as you send calm waves of reassurance across the circuit. “I myself woke up a few weeks ago. Gina's been awake for several months. Rath was awake for a few months. We're all struggling together Dorian. We may be struggling, but at least we’re together."

Your gaze meets his bight azure eye, and some of the nervous tension seems to leave him. Gina’s hand finds yours under the table, giving your fingers a quick squeeze of companionship.

“Dorian, I know you probably don’t want to think about it, but could you tell me what happens to the people when the trees grab them?” You ask, leaning forward. “Do they get absorbed or taken somewhere? Have you ever seen someone not get grabbed?”

“They, um…the trees just grab anyone that gets too close, usually pulling them between several different trees until they…they can’t take it anymore, and uh…yeah.” He explains, swallowing hard as his actual skin goes a shade of sickly green. “Then the…pieces…are sucked into the bark. I hope this…helps, I guess?”

“What about the cellar? Where does that go?” Rath inquires, fidgety in a chair that’s a little too large for her.

“That door over there leads to the wine cellar, but there’s a door in the cellar itself that originally led to the docks behind our property, but I have no idea if that’s still true.” Dorian answers with a shrug, prompting Gina to arc one full eyebrow.

“What do you mean by that?” GG asks, tucking a strand of brown hair behind one ear.

“I tried leaving that way early on when I realized what the trees had become, but the tunnel’s brickwork had gotten twisted, wrapping in on itself and going deeper into the earth than they ever did.” Dorian explains, looking fearfully at the cellar door just off the kitchen. “It’s become something different. The old stones are now these hard, black things, all sharp angles and glossy, and…I heard screams, and the rumbling of something huge from somewhere deep below. I grabbed as many bottles as I could and kept the second door locked tight. I haven’t gone down there since.”

You nod, and you decide to work on a hunch you’ve had since you saw the half-finished painting in the other room. You gingerly unholster the pistol-form Contender, placing it on the table as you open your mouth to speak.

Your question is interrupted by Dorian’s sudden exclamation.

“Oh my God.” Dorian gasps, eye wide. “It…that’s…from my dreams.”

(Continued)
>>
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>>3322618

Rath’s eyebrows shoot up, and Gina’s mind is a flurry of activity as you lean back, considering the implications.

“Dorian, if I may...could you tell a little about these dreams you’ve been having?”

“Absolutely.” He replies excitedly, shifting in his seat as he tries to sort out how to begin. “So, every time I go to sleep I’ve been having really vivid dreams. I was never a huge dreamer before all this, mind you. When I did manage to get some sleep it’d usually be me just sleeping straight through until my alarm went off, but now…it’s amazing. My art was always abstract, but the things I’ve seen are just…it’s absolutely incredible. It’s a whole other people group, an entirely different way of life, so much stuff I’ve never imagined before.”

Dorian leans forward in his seat, marveling at the bio-organic weapon before speaking again.

“The dreams are pretty random each time I go to sleep, but it always has me following two people, and one of them…”

He nods at the Contender.

“…uses that.”

{I’m sensing something weird super deep below the house, but it doesn’t feel like a waystation or anything like that} Gina says, her mind troubled. {Whatever that thing is, I don’t like it…something feels wrong, in a way}

You and Gina share a glance, the open kitchen looming behind her as you look to your right.

{Maybe whatever’s down there is influencing his dreams?}

You glance into the kitchen towards the locked cellar door, somehow ominous in the utter silence that has settled among the four of you.

>>Ask more about Dorian’s dreams and the two figures he’s seen. They’re too familiar for any of this to be mere coincidence.

>>Try to lead Dorian off the property and to Julia. They’re both artists, and you get the feeling with all the empty bottles around that leaving Dorian to his own devices here isn’t going to end well.

>>Whatever is wrong with this place, you know it has something to do with whatever’s below this house. Explore the cellar and what lies beyond.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting to close in roughly one and a half hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3322623
>>>Ask more about Dorian’s dreams and the two figures he’s seen. They’re too familiar for any of this to be mere coincidence.

And hopefully it might do something to clarify about the constructs. Otherwise, we should probably ask him a little more seriously about them.
There's also the matter of his mother and little sister. What happened to them?
>>
>>3322623
>Write-In
>>Tell Dorian you would like to help him, and you have a place, with a friend whos a fellow artist, who may be over thrilled to have his company.
>>But before you help him get past the trees to safety, you want help him gain better control over his powers, so he not only can help Julia out, but wont accidentally be a threat to, well, anyone.
>You would also like the key to the below, he doesn't have to come with, but his dreams point to someone you would like more information on, and the below might hold such anwsers.
>>You would prefer to check out the below before heading back to Julias, but if he feels too uncomfortable waiting we can lead him through first.
>>
>>3322634
>>3322644
Seconding both of these.
>>
>>3322618
>>3322623
>"When did you start having these dreams? Did they start after you went to the cellar or did they start after you woke up?
A thing that must not be named hidden under a mansion with a dark secret? That one darkest dungeon quote? This has darkest dungeon written all over it.
>>
>>3322623
Seconding >>3322634 and >>3322644
Those must be visions of the current Mother and Charon back in the previous ayylien world's Crucible, wherever that is.

>>3322674
As long as it's not as lengthy and tedious as DD tends to be
>>
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Speaking of Darkest Dungeon, I hope pic related doesn't happen to anyone anytime soon. ;_;7
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
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>>3322623

“Could you tell me a little more about the figures from your dreams?” You ask, and you get the feeling Dorian doesn’t get asked about his thoughts all that often. He reminds you of another artist you know, in that respect.

“O-of course! So, the one with that gun is really cool and tall, and defends the other person as if their life depended on it. Seems to prefer close-range stuff, but will use the gun on occasion. The other one doesn’t seem to need much protection, though. They’re really hand-off, they just whisper to the environment and it does what they want, it’s incredible to watch.”

“Can you make out what they’re saying when you have these dreams?” You ask, and you’re met with a shake of Dorian’s head.

“No, though I really wish I could. It would help me a lot, but even just with context clues I’ve been able to figure out a little bit. It seems like they set out to save their world, but it was like they were expecting the end to come. Almost like their whole civilization was banking on something coming to them, or maybe they called it to them? I’m not sure, but in any case things went south and they’re on their own, and everything’s breaking down around them. They’re the best of friends though, thick as thieves. They’ve known each other their entire lives and they’re unstoppable together. Most of the dreams come to a close when they find something from their old world, something that was meant to be used early on and then lost, I think. It’s…hard to describe, but it always ends with them arguing for the first time, fighting over whether or not to use it, or how to use it, maybe? Every time I have those dreams though, I get more of a ‘feel’ for what the thing is for.”

“And what’s that?” You ask.

“It’s an engine for making a champion.” He replies simply.

“So what about the two paint-like constructs that we encountered earlier?” Gina asks pointedly, redirecting the conversation back towards the waking world. “One looked kind of like an older woman, and the other took the form of a little girl.”

“Those things you fought…I think they may have been...” He pauses, taking another long drink to finish his cup off before he continues. “I’ve been dreaming about my Mom and my sister, too.”

“You don’t seem to like it here.” Rath says, the bluntness of the question tempered by her uncharacteristically kind tone. “What are you doing in this old place? Were they here with you?”

Dorian’s face falls, just a fraction.

(Continued)
>>
>>3322960

"I, uh...my old man kicked the bucket about a month before the world became like this. He was a grade-A asshole, but that didn't stop Mom from having a breakdown when he died. My little sister Estelle, she...she was always so supportive. With me, with Mom's mood swings...so when I dropped out of Cranbrook to come back home and help out where I could, God help her, she was trying her best. She was always...she always t-tried to...I'm sorry, p-please excuse me."

Dorian pours himself a too-full cup before offering some to each of you in turn. He swallows hard from the chipped glass, and stares into the dark red liquid for a moment before speaking once more.

"It's funny, you know? Dad wanted a son. He got one, just not the way he wanted." Dorian says with a harsh bark of laughter. "Mom begged him to not disown me, and he decided to shuffle me off to art school instead. I was happy with that sort of banishment...I got to do what I loved, and it was better than being cut out of the will entirely, I guess. So I was off doing what I always wanted, too far away to realize what was going on until it was too late. I still can't believe Mom never called to tell me what was going on."

You watch him take another deep, full sip from the glass, half-choking on the sheer amount as he struggles to continue his dijointed tale, a tale you realize he's giving voice to for maybe the first time.

"He was always so stubborn, always so...he just ignored all the signs, content to just get sicker and sicker until he just up and fucked right off, leaving us to pick up the pieces. I came here to help, and I...guess it didn't work out the way I hoped."

The words spill out of him as he rambles, speaks like it’s the last thing he’ll ever do. It hits you across the empathic channel that he’s not scared of dying alone up here, in a mansion full of soured history and fetid memories. He’s afraid he’ll just disappear, another story no one’s ever read, a painting that never sees the light of day.

You see him in that moment, and you think you may be the first person that ever truly has.

Dorian swirls the wine around in his glass, bringing it to his lips, then swirling it again. It's a loop of hesitation that ends when he sets it down hard on the table, scooting it away before turning to face you.

"I came back to this shitty house to try and do some good, and that isn't going to change. Mom and Estelle may be gone, but I know exactly what they'd want me to do." Dorian says, voice hard as he utters the most sober thing he's said since you arrived. "You know this world. You know what it needs. So my question to you is a simple one."

A single, determined azure eye fixes on you.

"What can I do to help?"

(Continued)
>>
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>>3322967

You think on it a moment, and an idea hits you. You tell him about Julia, how you met and the kind of person she is, passionate and ceaselessly kind. You tell him you’d like to bring him past the forest and back to meet her, but before you can do that you want to help him get a better hold of his powers, and he’s incredibly eager to do so.

“But before we can do any of that,” You say, casting a glance into the kitchen. “I want to investigate whatever is beneath this house. You’re welcome to join us, if you’d like.”

“I appreciate it…and don’t get me wrong, I really want to help, but…” Dorian begins, and you feel a wave of guilt brush past you from within him. “…you were right when you said I really don’t have a full grasp of what I can do yet. I’m worried I might get in your way, or worse.”

“Hey man, don’t sweat it.” Rath says with a toothy grin, slapping a hand on his shoulder. “We’re a well-oiled machine of pure kick-ass, you just chill up here and we’ll be back after we wreck face, ‘kay?”

He matches her smile with one of his own, placing the cellar’s ornate, aged key into your open palm.

You have the means and a team at full power. How will you tackle what lies beneath, and is there anything else you want to ask or attend to before you do so?

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3322973
>Bid Dorian farewell, you'll be back soon. Maybe give him a hug, that always seems to help people.
>Rath at the front right, Gina middle and back, you to the front left if room, back left if not. Be prepared for something strong to he guarding this place, or for it to be one big death trap. Each step taken with care. No words, only thoughts.
>>
>>3322973
>Have Dorian show you what he can do with his power and try training him a little, just to get him started.
>Find out a little more about the trees by making a swarmling and sending it to attack a tree to see what happens.
>>
>>3322973
>"Do you have a map of your Estate grounds? The place may be twisted, but there will always be hallmarks of familiar landmarks. You are the young master of the house. But we're not so familiar with your home."
>Do what you can to help Dorian discover his Bio abilities. Give him tips and tricks regarding the possible Bio-ability that you have deduced so far.
>"Your abilities seem to revolve around your hobby: Painting. Specifically manipulating the paint liquid to make creations of your will. Do what comes natural when you paint, but be aware of what you are doing. Your abilities are yours, you have control. And please, as much you are a sommelier of wine, you're better off sober when you test your powers."
>Send two swarmlings, one to test the forest. Another to check the cellar.
>>
>>3322973
this >>3323016
>>
>>3322973
>>3323016
Supporting this.
>>
>>3323016
>>3323021
>>3323023
Wait. He might be a flesh artist as his base class, but the "flesh" he manipulates takes form of paint. Paint pigment back in the olden days were made from crushed herbs and colorful plants. Essentially Bio material.
>>
(Gentlemen, voting shall close in one and a half hours as I close out the business day. Thank you, and take care.)
>>
i just got here and noticed that we are talking to a guy? is this the first sane male weve met :? just curious. i may have misssed a few things skimming through but i found it intresting weve encountered a male
>>
>>3322973
>You’ll help us by giving us what information you have on your home and the place it was built upon. We’ll help you by teaching you the ropes in surviving the cruel new world.
>>
>>3323072
>"It's funny, you know? Dad wanted a son. He got one, just not the way he wanted."
I'm pretty sure he's trans and it seems the daughterification process cares more bout genetics than identity.
>>
>>3323072
(Welcome back Gen. >>3323088 is correct in that the Crucible determines eligibility for Daughters by a strict biological criteria. The anon who spoke earlier about the dream he had regarding someone essentially 'glitching' into being a Daughter is entirely possible, given that the system has no regard for the participant's emotions or identity.)
>>
>>3323091
so you’re saying it’s possible for someone who sexually ID’s himself as male while genetically identified as a female to be “glitched” into the Crucible even after the trans-surgery.
>>
>>3323091
>>3323102
in that case, what template would the system take when reconstructing the daughter? the original “girl” template or the “male” template post-surgery?
>>
>>3323091
wait. that means that boys do exist in the world post-crucible. but the boys aren’t actual “boys”
>>
>>3323102
>>3323107
>>3323111
(It is entirely possible, yes. The template would reconstruct the Daughter as they were physically just before the world is shifted into the Crucible state, whatever that may be.)
>>
>>3323115
Then why didn't Shu wake up as a bloody pulp?
Nah, I get what you mean, I'm just fuckin' with you.
>>
>>3323116
And, now that I think about it, there very well could be actual story-related reasons for that that would be too spoiler-y to reveal...
Or maybe not. iunno.
>>
>>3323115
>>3323091
>>3323102
>>3323111
Not gonna lie, I'd rather have Dorian be a reverse trap instead.
>>
>>3323125
(Then a later character should please you greatly, Anon.)
>>
>>3323091
>>3323088
thanks thats what i thought guys i just wanted to confirm. sorry im currently in class so couldnt speak imidiatly but ill be lurking around
>>
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>>3323126
>>
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>>3323091
oh joy, my dream was canonly possible. hear that guys? just scarf down hormone tablets and get various kinds of cancer and you too can survive the end of the world! fool proof plan nothing could go wrong with it.
>>
>>3323169
That's the opposite of what is being said. It's not about your anatomy, whatever surgical or hormonal changes it might have undergone, but genetics. That's why Dorian is just Dorian (plus the BHQ mutation), because he's genetically female but seems to have had surgery/hormone therapy, so he passes now like he did just before the apocalypse.
>>
>>3323180
(I would like to point out that multiple ways exist to subvert the election process of the Crucible, but I am afraid I cannot go into more detail than that at the moment.)
>>
>>3323180
i was mostly making a joke based on him mentioning my dream and how the scenario that allowed the man to survive in it was far from worth the cost, but okay.
>>
well id probbably end up as a daughter in this universe funnily enough

same situation as dorian in a way

but thats not cheating the system really then though
>>
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>>3323126
>(Then a later character should please you greatly, Anon.)
AW SHIT REVERSE TRAP CONFIRMED
>>
>>3323189
(In a stunning turn of events, blocks of tofu became Daughters. The prevailing theory is that this happened because they contain phytoestrogen, which has "estrogen" in the name, and that means they're girls, right? When we asked Charon, another divergent Daughter, about this strange phenomenon, he only gave us a string of numbers and letters. We attempted to reach Mother for an interview to learn more about this apparent record-keeping error, but She declined to comment.)
>>
>>3323213
>body horror quest: tofu survivor
>>
>>3323213
>>3323216
ok but like, imagine being fucking tofu and suddenly your entirely sentient and aware of how the world works, except you also know you were just a pile of fucking tofu before.

THATS some fucked up mental trauma right there.
>>
>>3323220
I think there might even be another layer, because the conversion process makes everything "compatible," which I think might involve going from being onions-based to whatever the closest analogous animal feature is, like a soft tissue with high liquid content.
So the tofu wakes up as a sentient rectangular prism of fat. What class do you think she'd be?
>>
>>3323251
Generator or Flesh Artist.
>>
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>>3323251
>>3323253
>>
>>3323251
fibromancer? closest i can think of to controlling ones own fat.

speaking of, if i had to guess, id say hemomancy or something blood related is one of the class types we have yet to encounter, if i had to guess. its just about the only body part i can think of that doesn't have a class. well, and maybe organs, though some could be rolled into other classes.
>>
>>3323260
There's also Skeleton anatomy manipulation. It could be a subcategory of Calcite Armory/Vitruvian, but it would mainly involve manipulating the skeleton of an organism and rearrange it into an entirely different animal. Like Animorphs.
>>
>>3323257
sigh. . . .
I probably should have thought that one through.

>>3323260
I'd assume that blood powers are under Generator like Rath's explosives coming from bodily fluid. That's just a guess though.
>>
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>>3323268
I'm still waiting on that totally-not-a-necromancer daughter that just has a goddamn skeleton army
>>
>>3323268
i can see the logic, but it does feel like it would be rolled into Calcite Armory, or if there is one, a class fully based around full body manipulation, which technically we have not seen, though i suppose combine most of the class types and you get that more or less anyways.

>mfw turns out certain ability/class combinations unlock hidden unique/special class types and we have utterly missed the opportunity at least once already.
>>
>>3323273
maybe, but generator seems very all encompassing and much less specific than other class types. if you can generate it, its generator class, unless it falls under another class type, is how i have so far seen it. though actually out of the three generator types i think we have seen two have been constructs, with Rath being the odd one out.

or maybe not, if you take into account potential level upgrades, or just want to be utterly disturbing in implications.
>>
>>3323278
>tfw hindsight said that B'ni was the best candidate for such a class.
the break up still hurts my soul.

>>3323276
dead master from BlackRock Shooter anyone?
>>
>Calcite Dart/Arrow power
>At high levels, the development paths are either increasing the speed they're fired and the number of projectiles by reducing the BIO cost per shot for a bone machine gun, or increase the range and damage/crit rate for a bone sniper rifle.
>>
(Headed home, and I shall post when I arrive, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3323292
>mfw finger guns of doom
i love it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZIM_ySFcpI
>>
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>>3323292
>firing fingerbones at extremely high velocities at your enemies
YES
>>
>>3322973
>Search the Mansion for any relics. There may have been some family heirlooms that have been turned into Crucible World Relics.
>>
>>3323318
Oh, good point.
>>
>>3322973
this too >>3323318
>>
>>3323318
>>3323325
>>3323326
(I shall address this after the next section since voting closed a little while ago, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3322973

After inquiring after a possible map of the grounds and being met with a disappointed shrug from the master of the house, Dorian and Gina move to the living room while you hang back in the kitchen and Rath moves to the front door.

You unlock the cellar as a pair of swarmlings rip free of your back, one flying off into the dark while the other flits out the front entrance. Rath shuts the door behind it as a much louder peal of thunder rumbles overhead, the windows trembling in their panes.

"Your abilities seem to revolve around your hobby: Painting.” You say once you join everyone in the living room, watching Dorian shake out his limbs in advance of a demonstration. “Specifically manipulating the paint liquid to make creations of your will. Do what comes natural when you paint, but be aware of what you are doing. Your abilities are yours Dorian; you and you alone have control, never forget that. And please, as much you are a sommelier of wine, you're better off sober when you test your powers."

He smiles sheepishly before closing his eyes, his limbs splitting into a multitude of tendrils, each one stretching out and plucking a picture from the wall before rearranging them in different spaces.

“I can see through any one part of my paint, to a degree.” Dorian explains, his limbs shrinking as they rejoin his core. You watch as he tosses a little glob from his arm onto the carpet, and you marvel as it contorts into a little person and wobbles around the room. “It doesn’t have to be directly connected to me for me to maintain control, either. I, uh...I admit I’ve been using it to get art supplies and stuff from other rooms.”

“That…that’s amazing, Dorian.” You say, in awe of the possibilities his ability opens, both in and out of combat. His face lights up at your compliment as Gina whistles beside you, speaking into your mind via thoughtform.

{He’s versatile as all hell} She says, impressed. {His power is like Julia’s, only with a more liberal notion of what constitutes ‘flesh,’ I’m guessing. I thought his powerset was sort of like Bella Nervosa’s at first, but I’m starting to think that something else if affecting his abilities when he sleeps}

[If I was a betting kind of girl I’d put money on it being the same thing that’s giving him those dreams] You reply, switching your vision back to the swarmling in the depths. A chill runs down your spine when your eyes adjust to your swarmlings’, hovering in the dark wine cellar in front of an open door, a pile of chewed metal shavings the only evidence a lock ever existed.

A scream of horror echoes up through the tunnel, and your swarmling darts into the abyss.

(Continued)
>>
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>>3323403

You push onwards through the nigh-pitch blackness of the obsidian tunnels. Snatches of dialogue between two parties echo up from below you, as you spiral down, deeper into the void. You finally emerge into a wide, cavernous chamber at least ten meters in height and thrice as long, at the heart of which lies something…other.

It is a thing comprised of seven disparate monoliths, hewn of abyssal black stone and marbled with gleaming bismuth. You think for a moment that your eyes deceive you as you watch the stones shift, churning in place, contorting into impossible angles before resuming their semi-solid form.

The moment your gaze fixes on the workings of the device, you feel the Contender shudder at your hip with something like revulsion.

Before the machine looms a towering figure, its three meters of height cloaked in a shawl of crudely woven skin, bits of hair still stuck to the scalps of screaming faces. In a single meaty fist squirms a terrified young woman, frail hands straining to free herself from fingers as big around as each of the youth's six insectile legs. Her hoarse, pleading cries issue from a throat run raw with screams.

“It is a fine thing indeed, to be fuel for a god.” A calm voice echoes from beneath the shawl. “Do not cry. Refinement takes pain, pain leads to progress, progress to...something more."

Heedless of her final, frantic scream, the towering figure flings the girl into the center of the device where she's suddenly floating, suspended mid-air by forces unseen. The pillars move as one, swiftly and without mercy as the girl's skin is ripped from her body without hesitation, muscle strands, veins and arteries unraveled from the spool of her skeleton and drawn into the angles of stone. Her innards are plucked free, leaving her bones an empty cage as organs are compressed into ruby-like stones, her skeleton reduced to a fine dust, until only the nervous system remains floating between the seven cold spires. Neuron by neuron, thread by thread, she is undone until there is nothing left what she once was. The base of the machine yawns open to reveal a bright scarlet undulation, from which emerges a quintet of what appear to be rubies. They thrum with the being, the very essence of the girl sacrificed to the machine.

You know she felt every moment of her death, for it was a thing made for the raw material to feel what it becomes.

The five glittering stones hover in the center of the device for a mere moment before they are plucked from the air by the girl's executioner, and absorbed into her massive palm.

{Shu? Shu, what's wrong?!}

Gina's voice is faint and far away, a seething rage welling up within you as the Contender burns white-hot in your shuddering grip, and you're not sure when you drew it from its sheath. A name for the blasphemous machine reverberates in your mind, the name of a device of incredible power and terrible cost.

The Sparagmos Engine.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3323417
>"FUUUUUUCK YOUUUUUU!"
>Load Contender with one of our three bullet types
>Fire at the Engine
>Rinse and repeat until fired six times total
>Slash its remnants to bits with the Contender
>>
>>3323428
Shu isn't physically present. She' spying through a swarmling.
>>
>>3323435
I'll still vote to do it if we ever reach it in person.
>>
>>3323428
(Shu is currently still in the house with her allies and Dorian. She is watching through her swarmling's eyes, though I certainly appreciate that level of gut reaction to the Engine.)
>>
>>3323417
im guessing the trees are part of this. i...fuck. this feels like looking at the face of pure, refined evil itself, but, can we even do anything about this.

>Tell the others what you saw, and what it is. let them know about the contenders reaction.
>let your anger out as you do.
>You want to destroy that device, but you do not know if you are strong enough to face this thing, or the beast that guards it, but you wont deny putting the option on the table.
>Suggest perhaps getting more firepower, both in allies and gear, before you try to take this on, or simply going the round about route of caving the cave in on the thing, burying it and the monster in rubble, though to do such a thing would still require alot more then you have now.

kinda both giving a Write-In and spit-balling at the same time.
>>
(Gentlemen, voting shall remain open for two hours as I attend to some business this evening.)
>>
>>3323417
>>3323439
okay fine, backing this >>3323443
We might as well say "fuck this" and come back to this later. This makes Location #2 to backtrack to for future exploration so far.
>>
>>3323417
>Get your swarmling out of there quietly. You don't want to alert the thing that runs the Engine.
>Relay the information to Gina via Crimson Cord or through a physical jack. The group needs to see this.
>To the group: "I found what's causing the screams. It's the engine that Dorian described in his dreams. It rips daughters apart and turns them into purified biomass as FUEL for MOTHER. This gun remembers the engine. It wants the engine destroyed."
>*Any rage that you feel, channel them into a tranquil fury.*

>>3323428
Anon. We're looking at the scene through a swarmling. we're not physically "there yet.
>>
>>3323447
what was the other one? i may just be being forgetful but i cant think of a place we have not gone back to so far. the only two i can think we did that for was Kosis city and the Shrouded Town, both now visited, and funnily enough, waypointed.
>>
>>3323457
The other one is the bunker the Sororitas were in, as well as Mara's crew were prepping beforehand to take on Kosi. We never explored down that elevator shaft into the lower levels.
>>
>>3323417
Connect with Gina and Rath, let them feel every ounce of revulsion and rage that we are experiencing.

"Something's down there. Two things. A monster, and an engine. It... it fed a woman to the engine, to make something. It unraveled her into her atoms, and she felt every moment."

Raise the Contender.

"We need to destroy them both."
>>
>>3323461
ah, yes thats fair. damn that feels like forever ago though now...
>>
>>3323455
is it fuel for mother? the creature seemed to eat it itself. i mean, it could be some work around process sure, but for all we know this is just a highly mutated Daughter, or highly advanced Amalgam, or something new entirely, who just thinks itself a god and is acting independently using a left over artifact of immense power. simply saying it feels like jumping the shark to go that route with so little information.
>>
>>3323417
This calls for BOSS MUSIC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6cSbof7Pik
>>3323428
Backing this, I say firing the Bursting Bullet.
>>
>>3323417
>Giant proportions
>Magic stones
>Sacrifices for a "god"
So, is this Meat Thanos?

More seriously, I say we take full advantage of the fact that Shu and Rath both have a strong incentive to prepare ahead of time. Shu should generate a full swarm (including armor and using combining because of the cap) and both she and Rath should generate as many arms as they think are practical, before feeding on whatever biomass is around to try to get back to full.
Gina can try and help Dorian figure out a little more about his powers, because if he can have a construct come with us while he stays in a safe spot, an regenerating paint banshee could be very useful.
>>
>>3323494
This is good.
>>
>>3323465
>>3323417
I like this speech. It's simple. It's succinct. it gets the point through while retaining all of the horror that befits the world.
>>
>>3323465
this but also connect Dorian
>>
>>3323478
(Your choice of music concerns me, as this was the exact track I had as the theme for this character.)
>>
(Gentlemen, before I proceed; are you all voting to armor up and venture into the chamber with the Sparagmos Engine and attempt to destroy it, or wait until you are at a higher level?)
>>
>>3323777
(It seems to be the former, but I just wanted to make sure before I start writing.)
>>
>>3323777
I think we would like to vote on it not hastily rush into it and consider our options.
>>
(Tell you what Gentlemen, I'll leave voting open for an additional half hour to help resolve the issue, as engaging this enemy would be a considerable challenge, though not without equivalent rewards.)
>>
>>3323804
compared to Hecaton, is it more challenging or less?
>>
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>>3323756
This song used against an appropriate enemy in Body Horror Quest when?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fylg8zp4Pzo
>1:04

>>3323777
I would rather tell everybody the rundown about what we saw and the situation, then decide to leave it to a future assault when we've grinded further. This is pretty fucking close to the Shrouded Cityway station anyhow, so it's easy to get to. Better to take Dorian with us as we leave to go wherever.
>>
>>3323806
(Much, much more so, though not outside your ability to conquer at your current status given careful planning and forethought, alongside a little luck. I am afraid that is all the spoilers I can give at this point, Gentlemen.)

>>3323811
(While this write-in did lean heavily towards a challenge, I did wish to confirm with you all before proceeding. I hope that is alright with all of you.)
>>
>>3323777
the most voted option >>3323465
does not specify, but the emotion behind it would imply going now to destroy it, while i think mine had two to put the option of waiting to our allies >>3323443 (You)
and this one was just to plan before we go down there now >>3323494

so it seems going down now is the winner, but split between rushing in or planning ahead, unless my vote would wrap around to win out planning first?11

>>3323819
nah i get it. i think maybe a good middle ground would be simly explaining the situation to our allies, which all votes were for, then letting the team IC decide? i mean, on one hand, this is a powerful enemy, we just lost a teammate, and if we wait just a wee bit, we can double our party size theoretically, if we come back.

ON THE OTHER HAND, we wait, it grows stronger, more potentially innocent daughters get killed. which sucks in double ways, and makes even me hesitate to leave.
>>
>>3323804
>>3323819
>>3323777
>>3323784


I hate to say It guys, but with how BHOP Is repeatedly trying to give us an out here I say we take It. Let's come back after a fight or seven. He's proven to me by now that he's not afraid to fuck us up If he needs to.
>>
>>3323832
heres my thought; as much as it suck to leave this alone and leave more daughters to die, we do no one any good sacrificing ourselves in a fight we cant win either.

lets do this;
>Leave, etch a note into the cellar door and other places warning of what is down there, it wont do much but it might stem the tide.
>Go the monastery, warn MOTHER SUPERIOR and Sister Uzu so they can spread the word to avoid the place as too hostile.
>Take Dorian to Julias, explain to the group as a whole we wish to destroy it, together, once our newer and less blooded members feel up for it(Dorian, Mara, and Julia obviously, Julia being strong but not used to exploring or team fights.)
> Vistis the Monestary, talk to Uzu about a more potent forge, so we can search it out and get better gear, it gives us a goal and were gonna need said gear.

Just an idea though.
>>
>>3323819

>>3323686 Changing my vote to >>3323443
Or to something that implies that Shu and friends powerlevel or prepare for the Engine Raid. I'm not one to rush in like a foolharded fellow.
>>
>>3323859
I don't think the Engine is a viable forge. It's a forge that works only when one sacrifices a living daughter in order to create essence gems. Charon's Contender wants it destroyed.

Aside from Talking to Uzu about selling the idea of the The Sparagmos Engine as another potent Forge which I generally disagree on after seeing what that THING did to an unwilling daughter, I'm all game for this general plan.

>>3323417
Also, have that swarmling gather more information while keeping quiet. if it's going to sneak away, do it slowly.
>>
>>3323883
What? I never implied it was a forge, only that we should ask the only fleshsmith we know if she knows where a higher level one is.
>>
>>3323887
oh.
>>
>>3323859
While not a bad idea, here's a thought about the ramifications of your vote.

We tell the Monastery about this place and what lurks within, and no one goes near as to not feed the place. Word gets around. Time passes, and a certain someone returns. Someone who frequents the monastery and has a gargantuan amount of power. By the time we return to the place, she's already found out about It and solo'd It, taking the power for herself. Maybe not the worst outcome, but are we *sure* that's what we want?
>>
>>3323905
I cant see her going back to the monestary at all actually, and i kinda wanted to tell Superior and Uzu so they could somewhat control and decide how to hand out the info, rather then letting rumors run wild.
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3323905
>>3323909
or wait, do you mean Marrow Dragoon? if so, id still rather her get it than someone we dont know, or B'ni like i thought you meant.
>>
>>3323417

You take a deep, shuddering breath, readjusting your white-knuckled grip on the Contender as you recall your swarmling without incident.

[Patch me in to Rath and Dorian. They need to know what's down there, Gina] You say, and she looks up at you with concern even as a pair of jack snake out from her sleeves.

You show them exactly what happened with the help of GG's cords, and while Dorian's hand flies to his mouth in horror, Rath's face is a mask of cold fury. You raise your sidearm, staring at it as it thrums in your hand with a furious pulse.

"Every inch of me is screaming for me to destroy that thing down there, and the Contender's happy to oblige." You say, finger caressing the trigger. Slowly, and with utmost care, you lower the gun and take the deep breath you so desperately need.

"But as much as that thing and its guardian deserve to die, I'm not willing to risk your lives to make that happen." You say, giving equal care to the focus you give each of the three sets of eyes trained on you. "We're going to get stronger, and we are going to come back here and destroy that thing once and for all."

(Continued)
>>
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>>3324045

You turn to Rath, putting a hand on her shoulder that seems to snap her out of the anger-fueled spiral she was falling into within herself. "Take this key and go lock the cellar doors. Mark them up to say there's something best avoided down there, and maybe we can spare some wanderers a meeting with the Engine, alright?"

Rath runs off as you turn your attention to Dorian. "Mr. Gardner, pack your things. If it's all the same to you, I have some people I'd like you to meet and I'd much rather not leave you here. Are you alright to come with us?"

Despite the horrors you've just shown him, or perhaps because of it, he beams at you, racing back upstairs to gather his belongings and leave this house of gnawing memories. You turn to Gina, aware that she's been clasping your hand tight in hers ever since you witnessed what the Engine is capable of.

{Shu...please talk to me, are you going to be okay? What can I do to help?} She asks, reaching up and pressing a soft palm against your flushed cheek. You feel the Contender slowly begin to cool in time with your own leveling pulse.

[Yeah, I...I'll be alright] You say, managing to smile. [We just need to get Dorian out of here and get stronger. I'm not going to allow things like the Sparagmos Engine to exist if I can help it]

You're not sure how many more Daughters will be sacrificed to that infernal machine...but at least you can be certain it won't be any of yours, today. Right now, the only thought that needs to be on your mind is the best route to take in gathering power, while being mindful of the resources available to you.

To that end, you know where you need to go next.

>>Take Dorian to Julia and Amara. You think introductions are in order, and this might be an opportunity to see if Amara would like to join you for the time being.

>>It would be worth it to go ahead and take Dorian to the Monastery. He needs to know there are more good people out there, and you can get some valuable information there and inquire about stronger forges to tackle the Sparagmos Engine's guardian on your own terms.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Gentlemen, I shall be pausing here for the evening and resuming in approximately thirteen hours from now. Thank you all so much for your continued participation and for being fantastic. I hope you all rest well, and take care.)
>>
>>3324050
>>Take Dorian to Julia and Amara. You think introductions are in order, and this might be an opportunity to see if Amara would like to join you for the time being.

Time to Join the club, kid.
>>
>>3324050
>>Take Dorian to Julia and Amara. You think introductions are in order, and this might be an opportunity to see if Amara would like to join you for the time being.
>>It would be worth it to go ahead and visit the Monastery. you can get some valuable information there and inquire about stronger forges to tackle the Sparagmos Engine's guardian on your own terms.

i mean, he can visit the Monastery sure, but i dont think that is as important as checking him in with the rest of the group, then checking up on a better forge. he did say he wanted to help us, not blend in and get lost among the Sisters of the Monastery afterall.
>>
>>3324053
have a good night BHOP, this was certainly a tough decision to have to make. hopefully not too many daughters succumb to curiosity...
>>
>>3324073
(Thank you for the well-wishes, Anon.)

(Gentlemen, I shall be around for a short while to address questions, comments, and criticism as always, and take care.)
>>
>>3324157
so, it was said by Gina that Dorians Class type was Flesh Artisan. while i understand its probably a heavily spoiler based question, to at least SOME degree, can you explain, or say, just how hard coded or loose the rules for how something is classified is?

it seems pretty loose in the rules, at least with what we know about them so far is all, and while i understand you wont explain them all in detail or anything, id like to at least know just how broad the definition is, if that makes any sense, not that such info will help much without knowing the rules behind them haha.
>>
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>>3324050
>Take Dorian to Julia and Amara. You think introductions are in order, and this might be an opportunity to see if Amara would like to join you for the time being.
>It would be worth it to go ahead and visit the Monastery. you can get some valuable information there and inquire about stronger forges to tackle the Sparagmos Engine's guardian on your own terms.
I just want all the Daughters back at the Monastery to swoon and faint the moment Dorian struts in and poses, smiling so perfectly his paint body gleams and sparkles, straight out of anime.
>>
>>3324169
(I will say that Flesh Artisans, Generators, and even a few types of Neuromancers will appear similar at early levels, which I believe has led to some bleed-over between classes at first glance. However, when you actually look at their skill trees and they start getting up in levels, their differences become apparent.)

(Without going into egregious detail, their general themes can be summarized as follows. Generators are a class of extremes. They take and inflict more damage, and innately have a higher critical hit and critical failure threshold with their abilities. In addition, while most skill tree augmentations offer slight modifications, Generators' augmentation will often wildly alter how their entire system works, as you've already seen with Rath's Cystemic Burn Augmentation.)

(Flesh Artisans on the other hand are more akin to monks in the more recent D&D mechanics. They boast a solid balance of offense, defense, and mobility, and their skill sets are often coupled with either devastating burst abilities or a selection of minor debilitations that can be tacked on to their regular attacks. However, that comes at a cost of perception and more esoteric resiliences, making them vulnerable to more indirect forms of attack as they are prone to getting in their own heads about things, which serves as a Neuromancer's playground.)

>>3324206
(This is beautiful.)
>>
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>>3324210
SMT 1 Hero had a hard life.
>>
How convenient is it that not long after B'ni leaves we find a new ally.
>>
>>3324218
(Hello Anon, my apologies for not replying to your earlier comments about Mara's relics. She has several on her person at all times, though I'm afraid that going into details would be spoilers st this point.)

(Also, you were already pretty close to Amara's awakening, and Dorian's been planned out for a while as potential party member, so it all worked out better than I anticipated in all honesty.)
>>
>>3324210
ah, that makes sense. honestly im the type who would absolutely love reading the entirety of the Class Types descriptions like it was a Players Manual, but i understand its too chock full of spoilers sadly to allow that as of yet. maybe, someday...

this also really helps explain how the CONSUME ability has ended up working, aswell as even some of the inconsistencies in standard Tree Upgrades, at least a bit, considering just the difference between those two. neat, and thank you.

>>3324218
as i said earlier, the daughter we just so happened to spare has the perfect ability to join a team of willing protectors and happened to wake up three days early after we lost b'ni, SUCH COINCIDENCES, RIGHT BHOP?
>>
>>3324235
(Haha, I'm the same way in reading the player manuals over and over. It's my pleasure to help, and I appreciate your interest. And regarding the timing of your newest allies, I'm never fond of leaving my players without options for very long, so you got me there.)
>>
>>3324233
But at what cost? That is the question.
>>
>>3324268
(You'll soon see, Anon.)
>>
>>3324265
nah its fine, and it was in a way a good story moment. lose an ally, but have our mood uplifted with a new friend, and reminder of why we are doing this. it was nice, and a oddly warm tone to end the last Vein on. she was also a cute kid, but man, i can tell shes gonna be a slight brat and an handful, which is gonna be great entertainment.

now the interesting moment, will be, even if only temporary, when we get all six of our party together for a fight. i wanna say itll be a sight to behold, but at the same time i just know when that moment comes it wont be against anything easy to take down, regardless of our numbers or teamwork.
>>
>>3324050
>>>Take Dorian to Julia and Amara. You think introductions are in order, and this might be an opportunity to see if Amara would like to join you for the time being.

With the very important addendum that we need to know how to stop his powers from creating autonomous killing machines when he falls asleep! If we can't find a sure conclusion to that at the shack, we should take him to the monastery, where they'll definitely have a holding cell for him while he learns to not be a constant death threat.

>>Also, tell Julia and Amara that they need to tell Mara about this if she ever reappears in the shack so she can destroy the Engine if we haven't yet.

I think the best bet might actually be to backtrack to landmarks near waystations that we skipped over before so we can gain levels while still being easy to contact by Mara if she gets back and wants to collaborate. [We might also be able to get volunteers from the monastery, in which case the same idea applies.]
>>
>>3324363
i like your second bit, but im still of the notion trying to find a better forge, or the process to upgrade the monasteries, is a better and more useful goal, and certainly one in which Mara would still be able to find us, through her contacts at said monastery.

>>3324064
which i am also minorly amending my vote, to be willing to help Uzu upgrade the Monasteries Forge, not just look for a better one. whichever option is possible or can work of course.
>>
>>3324387
Oh, yeah, assuming there's even a basis for improving it, that might be more viable busy work. My main concern is that it might also lead to a fetch quest, which might make us harder to find again.
While there are probably other things we can do for the monastery, I'm concerned that it won't help us gain any kind of advantage against the Engine.
Our best hope for efficient progression is if there's some rat-amalgams-in-the-basement RPG tripe that lets us level up while staying nearby and also help the monastery.
>>
>>3324437
i am 10000000000000000000% positive whatever method we are given to upgrade/find a better forge will involve combat and a chance to level up. and honestly, the gauntlets were pretty good for being a level one forge, so id imagine even a single higher level would give us plenty to make to gain an advantage.
>>
>>3324363
>>3324387
You know. I think this warrants us reserving a few hours of our time maintaining and upgrading our social links.
Dorian needs to sort out his mental nightmares. If he subconsciously creates paint constructs from his nightmare/dreams with his mother and sister, then some company in his dreams should help lessen that.
Gina needs a one-on-one to calm her growing guilt.
I think both of these can be addressed by doing some dream therapy on Dorian while giving Gina some heart to heart on her guilt.
>>
>>3324454
Thank you for pointing that out

I think the list of priorities is:
>Alert people about the Engine
>Get Dorian's problem resolved or contained
>Gina pow-wow (since the dedicated part should be fast but will fester horribly if we ignore it)
>Be accessible for coordinating with Mara/volunteers
>Gain power
>Help the monastery

I think availability is definitely more important than power, because getting help from Mara or even a few of the monastery refugees would represent a greater increase in our ability to destroy the Engine.
>>
Maybe it will be worth looking into the arena now.
>>
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I just had a thought.
B'ni was (supposedly) awake for 2 years or so, right? That means the crucible's been going on for
at least 2 years, and nobody's finished it yet.
That means that either A) a lot more daughters are unwilling to play, like the ones at the monastery or B) we've REALLY got our work cut out for us.
>>
>>3324865
It could also mean that C) The Crucible is too brutal.
>>
>>3325066
>>3324865
There's also the problem that there's only so many people still on Earth during this Crucible. Daughters and Amalgams are finite unless there's a biogenerator or something that manages new Daughters/Amalgams being created somewhere else? A form of Fleshscape Recycling of those not CONSUME'd?
>>
>>3325129
Nah Charon said there was a limited number, in order to force a winner eventually no matter what.
>>
So for leaving the Mansion after the storm.

We can try to brave the trees, though I don't think the second swarling Shu sent reported anything out of them yet.
Or we can navigate through the underground to that dock Dorian mention, sending swarmlings to explore and map out a path for us while having one or two other spy on the Sparagmos Engine's Keeper to avoid her as we're navigating.

Then we can either go back the way we came or forge ahead to the next Charon Station.
>>
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>>3324050

When Rath completes her task and Dorian slides down the bannister to your side, you open the front door to the quick-moving storm still buffeting the land, rumbles of thunder and flashes of azure lightning darting through the clouds. Given its trajectory and your best guess, you’ll arrive at Julia’s place just when the storm is about to hit there too, but at least you know it’s not as obviously destructive as the acid monsoon you weathered about a week ago.

“Shu…the trees.” Gina breathes at your side, clutching your arm tight. You look to see the limbs have formed a tunnel-like trellis, shielding the path ahead from the wind and lightning.

You’re on even greater guard as you slowly make your way down the stone steps and to the forest’s edge, and it’s then that you notice something that must have escaped your notice when you were conversing with Rath the first time through here. The tree limbs that aren’t shielding you from the storm are straining towards you, reaching out before being gently rebuffed by a steady pulse. A quick shift of vision to your swarmling scout reveals that the covered trail extends all the way to the forest’s exit, an unnervingly neat and tidy path to your goal.

You readjust your grip on your weapon, realizing with a start that the pulse keeping the limbs at bay beats in time with the Hexane Contender’s own rhythmic thrum.

You look at Charon’s old weapon, the spaces between its bone-plate exterior glowing with a faint sapphire light. Glancing up, the blue neuron strands just beneath the tree bark glow with a similar hue. The bark, the core…you wonder if these things had some part in the creation of Charon’s favorite sidearm, and if you should linger for long enough to find out.

>>Investigate the trees up close, with the Contender at the ready. The Contender is connected to them in some way, and you’re starting to realize that maybe it was the reason you weren’t torn asunder like the other Daughters that tried to brave it.

>>Hurry on through to the Shrouded City’s waystation and then on to Julia’s. You don’t want to waste any time getting Dorian in a better headspace, and you really think he and Julia could hit it off. What’s more, you want to hit up the Monastery and ask a few questions about the forge.

>>Use the entrance near the gate to try and get to the dock Dorian mentioned, and cross the River of Tears Uzu alluded to. You don’t trust this forest, and you’re sure you’ll find another waystation on the other side of the shore.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3325202
>Hurry on through to the Shrouded City’s waystation and then on to Julia’s. You don’t want to waste any time getting Dorian in a better headspace, and you really think he and Julia could hit it off. What’s more, you want to hit up the Monastery and ask a few questions about the forge.
>Talk to the weapon. "Finally came home after all this time Contender? Don't worry, we'll come back here later to kill the engine lurking beneath the forest floor."
>Announce to the Trees in the forest. "I'm no Skin Talker, but thank you. We'll be back later to kill the engine that Contender despises so much."
The forest and the Contender are sentient/self-aware to a degree. We should treat them like a person instead of a tool. Charon had put her heart and soul into crafting this magnificent relic.
>>
(Voting to close in two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3325202
This >>3325220
Contender has been based so far, and we might as well treat them like another party member too.
WAIT CAN'T WE HAVE GINA PLUG INTO THE CONTENDER? WE JUST DISCOVERED DAUGHTERS TURNED INTO RELICS ARE STILL SENTIENT IN THERE FOR FUCK'S SAKE
>>
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>>3325250
>WAIT CAN'T WE HAVE GINA PLUG INTO THE CONTENDER? WE JUST DISCOVERED DAUGHTERS TURNED INTO RELICS ARE STILL SENTIENT IN THERE FOR FUCK'S SAKE
oh fuck
We should do this once we get back to Julia's.
>>
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>>3325220
Thirding

also, meme
>>
>>3325220
Ill support this.
>>
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>>3325274
nice meme
>>
The Sparagmos Engine
>Sparagmos (Translates into Greek meaning "to rend", "to pull apart")
>The Forest Literally tears daughters and amalgams apart.
>The Contender was made from the wood of the Forest.
>At the sight of the engine, The Contender burns white hot with rage.
It seems that the forest is Corrupted by the Engine's activation and Contender wants to free its kin.
>>
>>3325286
Or the contender has the consiousness of one of the engines victims, and they want it dead.
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
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>>3325202

There’s too much you want to accomplish to get bogged down here any longer, but when you walk up to one of the alien elms and press your palm to the metallic bark, you feel a reassuring calm come over you from arbor and weapon, both.

"Finally home after all this time?” You say, whispering to the gun held firmly in your right hand. “Don't worry, we'll come back to kill the engine lurking beneath the forest floor.”

You turn to the trees, their willow-like branches caressing your shoulders as your allies stand close by, buzzing with nervous energy.

"I'm no Skin Talker, but thank you. We'll be back soon, I promise." You say, and you turn back to your allies to say something that tumbles off your lips as easily as breathing.

“Let’s head home.”

You only have to knock once on Julia’s door before it swings open, the smell of bergamot wafting pleasantly through the air. Julia turns from the stove and waves, and you look down to see Amara beaming up at you.

“Miss Shu, you’re back!” She chirps happily, looking from you to Dorian before thrusting out her hand. “Hello new friend! I’m Amara!”

Dorian kneels down and takes her hand with a smile, and the little girl looks absolutely thrilled with Dorian’s abilities, marveling at the shifting hues of his arms.

“It is my sincere pleasure to meet you, Lady Amara!” He says gallant flourish. “These fine warriors have regaled me with tales of your incredible powers, and it is an honor to meet you.

Amara is just eating it up when Rath sticks her head around the corner behind you and Dorian.

“Yeah, I told him you were fuckin’ awesome, kiddo!” Rath pipes up with a cheeky grin just before getting elbowed in the ribs by Gina, who murmurs something about watching her language.

“And you must be…” He begins, faltering as Julia steps into the light of the open door, curtsying gracefully to your newest ally. “…I, uh…h-hello, Miss…”

“P-please, call me Julia!” She says with a warm, inviting smile, and you realize he’s been completely disarmed of whatever auto he was trying to project as he just stares at her in awe.

Huh.

“So what brings you back so soon?” Amara asks from your waist, and you become aware of the Contender in your grasp along with your new ally by your side.

>>You’d like some time alone with Gina to address the feelings of guilt that still plague her mind. She’s been incredibly supportive and you want to ensure that support remains a two-way street.

>>Ask Gina to patch you directly into the Contender. You’ve been treating it like a tool, but you’re beginning to understand that this work of art is so, so much more. It’s time you had a chat face-to-face.

>>If you’re going into Dorian’s mind and try to get at the root of whatever’s causing his powers to misfire, you may as well try and talk with Gina while you’re both in the dreamscape. Two minds, one stone.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3325681
>>If you’re going into Dorian’s mind and try to get at the root of whatever’s causing his powers to misfire, you may as well try and talk with Gina while you’re both in the dreamscape. Two minds, one stone.
>>Make sure you explain to Julia and Amara what you encountered and what is goin on too though. Allies dont keep allies in the dark, and they deserve to know that however nice Dorian is, he still is a potential hazard, and we cant guranteed one mind session will fix his woes.
>>
(Voting to close in two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3325681
>You’d like some time alone with Gina to address the feelings of guilt that still plague her mind. She’s been incredibly supportive and you want to ensure that support remains a two-way street.
Rath's anger has been addressed from the get go.
Dorian's nervousness have been relieved since Julia and Amara have entered the picture in his life. So he's fine for now. But the issue still remains.
Also, Kek. Dorian found himself a "waifu".

That leaves Gina. We have time for ourselves and shelter. After helping her de-stress and vent about her guilt we can then go talk to Contender.

>Write-in: "A spooky mansion in the middle of a haunted forest Amara, where a monster kidnaps daughters and feeds them to a terrible machine that corrupts the forest. Mr. Gardner woke up two weeks ago trapped his mansion in that very forest with a dark secret."
>>
>>3325681
BHOP, none of us voted to go see the docks, so I don't know why you've started showing us a new ship!

Their collaborative art will be terrifyingly gorgeous!
>>
>>3325681
Supporting >>3325708
Maybe it will lead to our first kiss. It's a day for shipping, after all.
>>
>>3325681
>>3325708
Backing this as well. Gina is probably the nicest one out here. Besides us, of course.
>>
>>3325725
(This made me laugh out loud at work, so well done, Anon.)
>>
>>3325794
BHOP, I know we told Dorian of the world outside and all, but how much does he know about our journey specifically? Did we tell him the whole thing, including stuff about MOTHER? Did we tell him about our own personal fuck-up-edness and B'ni? I Imagine we probably didn't dump everything on him but I wanted to know one way or another.
>>
>>3325708
I still think we should at least be upfront about Dorians problems, rather then just guessing hes better and risking Julia waking up to find rogue constructs attacking her cause the dude had a nightmare.
>>
>>3325850
(I intentionally left it vague, but suffice it to say Shu did not go into detail about her past or B'ni.)
>>
>>3325912
I figured so, thanks for clarifying though.
>>
>>3325918
(Any time, Anon.)
>>
>>3325725
so would JuliaxDorian be the straightest ship so far, or he gayest?
>>
>>3325946
Does Dorian have the required equipment to go all the way with Julia?
>>
>>3325956
i mean, he is a flesh artisan, so, it would be entirely up to him, no?
>>
>>3325946
yes
>>
>>3325972
I leave the thread for a few hours and come back to speculation about pseudo-penises made of colorful liquid skin penetrating skinned vaginas.
Then again, Dorian can always give her a fresh coat of paint to supplement the skin she removed.
>>
>>3326003
hardly the strangest conversation i have started or joined, by far.

i have many things to regret in my life.
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3326015
(Work day ended on a busy note, so I shall be posting when I get home, Gentlemen. Thank you for your patience.)
>>
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>>3325681

You ruffle the little girl’s dark hair as you take a knee next to Dorian.

“He came from a spooky mansion in the middle of a haunted forest Amara." You begin, garnering her rapt attention. "Where a monster kidnaps daughters and feeds them to a terrible machine that corrupts the forest. Mr. Gardner woke up two weeks ago trapped his mansion in that very forest with a dark secret."

Amara’s eye go wide, and she promptly takes Dorian’s hand in both of hers and drags him inside.

“I want to hear EVERYTHING.” She says, and Julia chuckles as she turns back to her stove.

“The water’s almost ready, will you all be staying for tea?” Julia asks over her shoulder, pouring the streaming liquid into a fresh set of cups.

“We will, but do you mind if Gina and I have the side room for a little while?” You reply, leading GG to the room where you and B’ni picked out new outfits…something that feels like it happened months ago. “I had some things I wanted to run by her, if it’s all right by you?”

“Of course!” She says happily, and you turn to Rath.

“Go for it, man. I’m gonna chill here and teach Amara so choice new words.” She says, chuckling until she realizes Julia is staring daggers at her from across the room. You lead Gina by the hand into the side room, shutting the door behind you and leaving your allies to their own devices.

“Is everything okay?” She asks, sitting on the edge of the bed, looking up at you with gold-flecked eyes.

“Hey now, I should be the one asking that." You reply with a half-smile, sitting down next to her. "I wanted to talk about what's been on your mind since the Monastery."

"Ah." She says simply, picking at a loose string on the sleeve of her hoodie.

"If you don't want to talk about it, I respect that." You say, watching her eyes focus intently on keeping her fingers occupied. "I just want you to know that I..."

"No, I know we need to talk about it." She interrupts, plucking the strand free and tossing it to the floor. "I don't want this to pollute the air between us, if...gah, that's a stupid metaphor, but you know what I mean."

"I do...so how are you feeling? Inquiring Daughters want to know."

“I feel...pretty shitty, if I’m being honest.” She says with a hollow chuckle. “I feel guilty as hell about what went down. I lied to someone I just called my best friend out of lip service, you know? I...I didn't really know her...like, at all.

"None of us really knew her, Gina. I think that's as much her fault as it is ours, so please don't beat yourself up about that." You reply, putting a hand on her bare shoulder, her too-large sweater hanging loose off her arm.

"I still..." She begins, meeting your eyes with her own as she blinks away tears you know she'd rather not shed. "...I still lied to her, Shu."

(Continued)
>>
>>3326245
>her too-large sweater hanging loose off her arm.
What happened to the wardrobe choice that we painstakingly spent about a third of a thread on in the 5th vein?
>>
>>3326245

"You remember the blizzard, right before we met Julia? When you, me, and B'ni were climbing up there?" She asks, continuing as you nod. "She told me then and there how much she cared about you. That was what she yelled at me about. She thought I was being too forward, to...flirty, I guess?"

Your mind wanders back to when you gave Gina a revelatory piggy-back ride up the mountain, before you train your focus back to the matter at hand.

"I told her she had nothing to worry about. I told her that I'd never do that to her, that I didn't like you like that." She says, shaking her head. "But I did, and I do...I really, really do."

"You know, I always kept people at arm or screen's length, if I could help it." She says, running her fingers through her cascade of brown hair. "I figured if we kept things light, then no one would see the shitty parts of me, no one would hate me for what I didn't want people to see."

Shes quiet for a moment, and you allow her the time to gather her thoughts as you rub small, reassuring circles against her shoulder blade.

"This bond?" She says, breaking the silence as she taps her chest. "As much as I feel it scares you, it scares me so, so fucking much, Shu. I'm...just, I'm goddamn petrified of what happens when you realize the kind of person I am. How I've been so fucking selfish my whole life, how I've used people, and...that scares the shit out of me...but another part of me is...I don't know...happy, relieved, I guess?"

She looks into your eyes as you gaze back, feeling her heart pounding, her pulse racing across the bond you both share.

"I'm relieved that you haven't run away screaming about all this." She says, choking out a laugh that makes you smile, despite the waves of fear that buffet you. "Because I...because if there's anyone in the world, before or after all this, that I'm okay with having in my head...in my heart..."

"It's you."

She laughs; a small, uncharacteristically shy thing as you realize through your bond that she is, at this moment, perhaps the most open she's ever been.

Regardless of the cord that binds you both, the trust she has for you is implicit, her admiration unquestionable.

The only question is how you respond.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3326270
Hooooo boy.

I can't help but remember what happened the last time we found out the full truth regarding someone's dark secrets.

So Gentlemen, how are we gonna approach this?
>>
(Voting to close in one and a half hours, Gentlemen.)

>>3326269
(Oh make no mistake, she's still wearing the big black hoodie with purple flame skull you all picked out. It's just that her black Avatar Tuner shirt is tucked away in a nearby drawer from the last time you all slept here.)
>>
>>3326276
Okay. hold the fuck up. Is it me or am I seeing a HUGE parallel between Gina and "Sam"?

Before we think up of a response, we need to figure out what kind of message we need to convey to Gina.
Keep in mind that Shu's personal feelings also matter. Shu's got more guilt and regret on her shoulders than Gina does. To Shu it's more personal than ever. We confessed our feelings to Gina. We nudged Gina into making the Fool's choice when we could've easily preserved our relationship with B'ni and let Gina make a different choice like mastery of Terraforming.

>>3326279
BHOP I don't think 1.5 hours is enough for us to decide an appropriate response.
>>
>>3326287
(Perfectly understandable, I appreciate your honesty. Thus, voting shall be open for two and a half hours, as this is a free-form response for a good reason. I shall attend to some business on my end and try to be available for questions in the mean time.)
>>
>>3326287
I don’t see any parallels. Did I miss something?
>>3326270
I’m sure she can’t be as bad as she thinks she is. How about we just hear a bit about who she was, or thought she was, before the apocalypse.
>>
>>3326287
True. We need to approach this carefully.

Gina's laying a lot of her cards on the table right now, and we can't screw this up. Not like with what happened to B'ni.

With that in mind, let's review. Lay the facts on the table so we can figure out how we're going to respond in the best way possible.

- Gina has dark secrets as well, apparently. Enough to raise the possibility that people might run away from her if they ever found out.
- She says she's been selfish and that she's used people. Similar to Sam?
- She feels guilty about what happened to B'ni. She feels as though her own feelings towards us partially lead to B'ni leaving our group.
- More than anybody else in the world, we're the one person she wants to share this bond with. She loves us.
- She trusts us implicitly, 100%, and she's at her absolutely most vulnerable right this moment.
>>
>>3326270
>"Gina...yeah, ok. you did wrong. that was kinda messed up to do." sit down on the bed, pat it to get her to sit down too.
>"But no ones perfect. no one does nothing but good their whole life. im not gonna say something like, 'whats important is that you feel bad and dont do it again', or 'yeah, but you learned from it so just dont do it again, ok?' or some nonsense like that."
>Smile and give her a shoulder pat. "All i can say is, that i dont hold it against you. that i understand how you feel, how it feels to mess up, to feel like everything is your fault. and let me tell you,i understand, that everyone telling you to let something go? that it wont make everything better. Gina, dont let this eat you up, dont let this pull you down and drown you. you, and you alone have to find out how to come to terms with this, and move on. have to decide how wrong you were, and what you have to do to overcome it, to fix it, or to ignore it."
>"But no matter what you decide, know Ill be there, unjudging, happy to lend you my shoulder and support along the way, just like you have always done for me. just, please, be honest with me, us, and yourself, ok? lets not let lies, no matter who we tell them to, leave anyone else to drown alone until its too late..."
>>
>>3326346
for the record i understand everyones still trying hard to bake up a perfect response, but i might be sporadic in responses today, so that was my idea and please feel free to use and carve it up as it helps.
>>
>>3326309
Sure thing. I don't think this is a bad idea.

>>3326328
We also need to examine the cards that we have in our deck right now.
The only issue is that with the persona we had right now, We don't know much about Shu's past. The parts that we did find out about, our sociopathic true nature, the cause of our death, and B'ni's yandere behavior stemming from her dedication. Everything else such as the hobbies that "Sam" had, her likes, her habits, and the like, Much of that content is locked out due to B'ni's departure,

>>3326346
I'm liking this response, it's an answer that Gina "wants" to hear. But is it the answer that she "needs" to hear?
>>
>>3326357
only change i cant think of is being much harder on her about lying, like much much harder. but i feel even with putting down the lying the rest of the points still mostly stand.
>>
>>3326346
It sounds melodramatic to me. I don’t think she needs a speech. Real people rarely appreciate big speeches about their feelings. Even before the little lie with B’ni, she thought she was a piece of shit. I think we should get the whole story before we rush to judge or absolve her of her sins. Part of what we did wrong with B’ni was throw big speeches at her before really trying to get to know her.
>>
>>3326385
well, i mean she said what she did wrong. she lied to B'ni about having feelings for us when she did, and lied about not making moves on us. what she seems to really be upset by(at the moment) has been put on the table pretty cleanly i feel, if nothing else.
>>
>>3326409
That is such a small and incidental thing though. If B’ni wasn’t a crazy person it wouldn’t have mattered at all. It’s also blatantly not true. She seemed to fully intended on staying out of the way. She didn’t realize the fools choice would tie her to us. When she realized she literally couldn’t hide her emotions she came clean. That’s not a betrayal. She shouldn’t be knocked down for having feelings for someone.
>>
>>3326441
Anon ,you're thinking of this wrong, too OOC logically. it doesn't matter what it actually was, only what it meant to HER ic, and she has literally told us its hanging over her head.
>>
>>3326456
sometimes people cling to small things, and make them seem like problem or mistake that is a mountain they can never climb, its just how people are when they are hurting.
>>
>>3326270
>"Gina, you did wrong. That much is clear. But more importantly, I'm happy that you're honest."
>"I'm happy that you're honest with yourself, and relieved that you're honest with me. Both of us have a lot of guilt and regret on our shoulders, and it's not healthy. And I speak from first hand experience as someone who once had lied to and exploited a close friend for 10+ years and gotten her comeuppance by unbridled fury and a lava lamp to the skull."
>"I understand how you feel. To be terrified out of your own wits from finding out the dark side of yourself. What went down in the Monastery was something I feel shitty about. It's something that I still regret."
>"The only way to get rid of that burden of guilt and regret is to be honest. To look back on our mistakes, on the things we regret, acknowledge that we fucked up, learn from it, and move on."
>"And to be honest, even though we're connected by the Crimson Cord, and despite what both of us have been through, I still don't know anything about you, nor myself."
>"So lets start small by getting to know each other and getting to know our friends, one step at a time. Start fresh with a clean slate."
>Walk out the door then walk back in. Wave at Gina. "Hi! I'm Sam! But I prefer to be called "Shu!" My super power is making bugs and BEES from my back!" Spawn a large Bumblee Bee Swarmling that looks like pic related.
>"What's your name?"
>Get the clean slate introductory. Re-establish our connections and do a little back and forth talk about ourselves.
The purpose of this response is to acknowledge that Gina did do
>>3326441
>>3326456
Can you two gentlemen read and critique my response for Gina?
>>
>>3326493
>The purpose of this response is to acknowledge that Gina did do,
What I meant to finish was "help her acknowledge that she dun fucked up, and to move on. Help her start becoming honest with herself, and to grow the relationship between Shu and Gina than just being connecting by a mythical red string."
>>
>>3326493
its good, up until the end for me. just feels too silly for Shu to me. the getting up and leaving the room bit at least. maybe just clear her throat and then do the introductory a tiny tiny smidgen more seriously from where she is? the bumblebee can stay though, but his body better be fucking FLOOFY as all getup Anon!
>>
>>3326506
Also i think we can and have a right to disregard ourselves as sam. We are shu, and the mind we have really never was anyone else
>>
>>3326506
>“I mean, come on? An amazing smile, a killer ass, and an unwavering moral compass are like, three of my five boxes ticked off right there,
>[a killer ass]
>>
>>3326493
>>3326270
amending part of my write in
The part where Shu goes "Hi! My name is Sam!" part? Replace that part with just "Hi! My name is Shu!"
>>
>>3326270
This is good
>>3326493
>>
>>3326546
What? Is the point of walking out the room for us to give our hips a good back and forth so Gina get in a good show?
>>
>>3326591
The point of walking out of the room is to establish the introductory setting. But the fan service to Gina is a bonus.
>>
>>3326596
Still find it too silly and unnecessary for my liking.
>>
>>3326346
>>3326493
i suppose ill support this, but with a non get-up less silly spin on the end.
>>
>>3326681
that, or if we ARE going to be silly, actually go full on with it, and take our time leaving putting a little hip into each step out to tease the poor girl ruthlessly.
>>
>>3326596
You know, if we were really serious about helping her feel better, we have a giant prehensile tongue embedded in our torso that we can deploy whenever we want to.
>>
>>3326724
whew, my I.D. may start with a 'u' but even i think the implications here might be too steamy my friend.
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3326493
I vote for this.Maybe ask specifics about situations of the past that make Gina feel "selfish", then systematically debunk them. And please, let´s inject a bit of levity in the conversation. Either the hip-swaying, or plain up steal a kiss. Gina has been great into injecting levity & flirtatious jokes in our quest, and this situation would be far bleaker (for us & everyone in the crew) if she wasn´t here.
Let´s try to return the favor and put some nice vibes to this whole conversation.
>>
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>>3326270

You think on it for a moment, carefully weighing your response...and you reply.

>>3326493

"...And to be honest, even though we're connected by the Crimson Cord, and despite what both of us have been through, I still don't know anything about you, nor myself....well, I do know three things on your 'list', at least." You conclude, rising to your feet, swaying your hips back and forth as you walk away from her. "So lets start small by getting to know each other, one step at a time. Let's start fresh, with a clean slate."

You turn to face Gina on the bed, amused when you catch her eyes shoot back up to your face, scarlet working its way into her cheeks. You put on a winning smile and stick out your right hand as a greeting.

"Hey, I'm Shu! My super power is making bugs and bees from my back!" You say, and she laughs as she takes your offered hand and shakes it. You feel your hive squirm with creation as a swarmling crawls over your shoulder, and you wish you could take a picture of Gina's face as it lights up at what you've made. It's a wide-eyed and fluffy thing, all fur and fluff. It flits over to her before she snatches it from mid-air, cuddling it close as it stares up at her with oversize, multifaceted eyes.

"So, you know my name." You say, plopping down beside her. "What's yours?"

"...Gina." She replies, trying and failing to hide her smile behind the fluffiest thing you think you'll ever spawn.

"That's a really pretty name." You say, and she can't hide the blush any longer. "It's good to meet you, Gina. I'd like to get to know you."

"...I'd like to get to know you, too."

You talk. You laugh. You bond.

You grow, together.

>>DUAL TECH UNLOCKED - SCARLET DRONE

>>SCARLET DRONE: the bond between you and Gina now allows you to generate a new class of small swarmling with a specialized stinger. At the cost of one of your actions and a total of 30% BIO in any portion from you or Gina, you may create a Scarlet Drone that boasts a perfect marriage of armor and speed, along with a unique talent. When the Drone impales the enemy with its stinger, Gina may utilize her Neuromancy abilities as though she was tethered directly to the target, with the sheer speed and armor density of the swarmling making it difficult to avoid and incredibly resilient when tethered to your foe.

(Continued)
>>
>>3326824

"Thank you for this, Shu." Gina says, hand on your knee as she smiles warmly. "Being open is...nice, actually."

"I'm glad you feel that way. If you hated it, this would be incredibly awkward for all parties involved." You reply, utterly deadpan, and Gina tries to stifle a laugh. It's the laughter on the other side of the door that draws your attention away from each others' eyes and to whatever's happening in the next room.

"They seem to be enjoying themselves." The girl beside you notes with a smirk, and you can just make out Rath hotly debating with Julia regarding the 'proper verbiage for a young lady.'

Julia's phrase, of course.

"Do you want to head out there?" Gina asks, turning from the door back to you. "I'd love to keep you to myself for a little while longer if I'm being honest..."

She winks.

"...but I can share."

A warmth pulses at your hip, and you remember the other item of business you wanted her help with.

>>You think you have a good thing going here, so if there's something you've wanted to know about Gina or share about yourself, now's as good a time as you're probably going to get anytime soon. (Write in a question for Gina and/or a fact you wish to establish about yourself)

>>Rejoin your allies in the living room. You'd like to see how they're all are getting along before you see if Dorian is willing to let you and Gina into his mind to help him with his powers.

>>Have Gina patch you in to the Hexane Contender while you have some time to yourselves. You're curious to see what's inside, and if you can commune directly with whatever intelligence the weapon may possess.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Gentlemen, I shall be pausing here for the evening. Thank you all for your continued participation and fantastic enthusiasm, and I shall be resuming roughly thirteen hours from now. I shall still be present to address questions, concerns, and criticisms as always, and I hope you have a fantastic evening.)
>>
>>3326837
Thanks for running. You’re great as always.
>>
>>3326837
Every fucking time you say "Gentlemen" I cannot help but imagine you as the TF2 Spy,.
>>
>>3326830
>Have Gina patch you in to the Hexane Contender while you have some time to yourselves. You're curious to see what's inside, and if you can commune directly with whatever intelligence the weapon may possess.
>>
>>3326830
>>Have Gina patch you in to the Hexane Contender while you have some time to yourselves. You're curious to see what's inside, and if you can commune directly with whatever intelligence the weapon may possess.

Is that why the contender hates the engine?

>>3323417
>You know she felt every moment of her death, for it was a thing made for the raw material to feel what it becomes.
>>
>>3326830
>>Have Gina patch you in to the Hexane Contender while you have some time to yourselves. You're curious to see what's inside, and if you can commune directly with whatever intelligence the weapon may possess.
>>
File: 1552005211771.png (1.58 MB, 1600x1200)
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On the left, Shu
On the right, Gina
>>
>>3326830
>>Have Gina patch you in to the Hexane Contender while you have some time to yourselves. You're curious to see what's inside, and if you can commune directly with whatever intelligence the weapon may possess.
Also
>Send fluffy Drone out to play with Amara, let it bring forth the chaos of a kid with a new pet in a small house. you may never gain Julias forgiveness for the act, but you will live with it.

>>3326837
thanks for running BHOP.
>>
>>3326908
so, Shu has the ass, Gina the boobs, B'ni had the thighs, and Rath is a redhead. so what does Julia have?
>>
>>3326943
oh, and Amara is the token loli, and yes i will see myself out for even mentioning it.
>>
>>3326830
>(Write in a question for Gina and/or a fact you wish to establish about yourself) "Even though I never remembered any details about my past aside from the ones with B'ni, I think I've always been a bug enthusiast Especially bees. There's something adorable about them when you see them fly from flower to flower."
>"FuzzBuzz (the Fluffy bumblebee swarmling we just spawned) is adorable isn't it?"
>"That's one thing about myself. What's one thing about yourself that you've been an enthusiast of?"
>Then segue the conversation topic to having Gina patch you into Hexane Contender. "As much as I'd love to for us to chat until Amalgams raid the house, getting to know each other better in the process, I think it's time for us to get to know about Mrs. Contender here."
>"When we're done here, can you talk with Mr. Gardner to see if he's willing to allow you to help him with his powers? he might be suffering nightmares of his past life which might the reason why he subconsciously uses his powers to spawn paint constructs in the form of his mother and sister. I've got a story to entertain to an enthusiastic 10-year old."

>>3326915
I'm seconding the motion of sending FuzzBuzz to play with Amara.

>>3326858
BHOP's classy and we all know it.
>>3326943
Julia's got the pretty face. The body proportions and the skin that goes with the Golden Ratio of Fibonacci. Have you even seen Dorian's reaction when she walked down those stairs?
>>
>>3326830
thirding >>3326915
>>
>>3325725
>>3325794
(Warms my heart, BHOP, glad you liked it! Thank you for running this HORRIBLY SQUICKENING Quest!)

Petition to make FuzzBuzz a permanent companion, or at least a pet that can buzz around this home/studio we got going here.

Alternativly, the Scarlet Drone could look like FuzzBuzzes. ((This drone is arguably one of our most powerful, since Gina gets WAY more dangerous if she gets a stable jack into enemies, and I don't see ya'll freakin out about this enough))

The idea of our deadliest attack looking like BuzzFuzz pleases me greatly.
>>
>>3327002
oh no, its a bloody great ability, especially because her greatest weakness is how risky and vulnerable she is in CC(BECAUSE NO ONE WILL VOTE TO GIVE HER AN ACTUAL OFFENSIVE OPTION STILL).

i think maybe its just that 'end of session' lull has set in, which seems to often have people kinda mellow out, if they stick around at all.

>>3326958
ah, face, yeah. she probably does look pretty when she actually has one.
>>
>>3327010
funny thing about Neuromancy. They usually fight (well the ones that we've fought so far) by using some form of CC before using their specially made Neuromancy to do Neuro-damage. Like how Carla blew up her own head to put the party to sleep before feasting upon us or that one Neuromancer that infected Bella with the parasite resurrection power.
>>
>>3327048
Bella was an idiot who tried to eat a live Nuromancer, though i do see your point. Brain girl was a coward who was fucked if she ever missed anyone with her splatter, judging from the fact it was implied she herself was also knocked out by it, as she had no idea she was getting dismembered at first.

Nuromancy is powerful in its unconventionality, but i feel its fair to say that when it fails, it fails much harder than most other classes, hence having a backup more conventional ability is a good idea.
>>
I find a disturbing lack of Dual Techs involving Rath. And from the apparent mechanics we've seen, Dual Techs are created when we level up bond links between daughters. To date, there are have been no Dual Techs made that involve Rath, Julia, Dorian, or Amara.
>>
>>3327098
to be fair, only Rath we have been around long enough to even argue for one, two of the other three are basically new to us, the other one a homemaker we only see on occasion so far.
>>
>>3327098
>Rath + Shu = White Phosphorus Suicide Bomber Swarmlings to go full Spec Ops The Line on our enemies
>Amara + Gina = WHY IS EVERYTHING SCREAMING AAAAAAAAAAAAAA MY BRAIN
>Julia + Dorian = ?????????
>Rath + Dorian = Paint explosions? Paint fumes?
>Shu + Dorian = Paintlings? Banelings but with paint injections to fuck up the enemy?
>>
>>3326943
Nice Skin.
:)
>>
>>3326830
supporting >>3326958
>>
>>3327136
>>Shu + Dorian = Paintlings? Banelings but with paint injections to fuck up the enemy?
Banelings that can reform (and/or split?) after getting destroyed
>>
>>3327002
Thirding this. The milisecond of "what the fuck, is that a teddybear?!" before they get fucked by our deadliest arsenal option so far is great.
QUESTION: can BuzzFuzz perform the CANCER BOMB attack?

If so, we have adorable TEDDYBEARS with obscene armor that throw themselves at the enemy to MINDRAPE them before exploding them with a CANCERBOMB.
It is official, our party right now must be the sentient, ambulatory equivalent of Australia. Around us, everything wants to kill our foes, be it crushing them under skyscrapers, eating them whole with torso maws, poisoning them with banelings, incinerating them with cysts or killing them with weaponized cancer. All of this while clad in biological power armor.

We are Australia 2.0 now. It´s fricking beatiful.
>>
>>3327920
Y'know, you mentioning Australia made me think of how absolutely fucked the daughters on any islands must be, assuming the oceans are still liquid and don't have any kind of weird shit to act as a path floating on top or anything.
>>
>>3327136
>Rath + Gina = SENTIENT, MINCONTROLLING NAPALM.

You may have not considered this one yet. Upgrades may involve the mind-controlling napalm of doom sprouting sentient razorwire that tries to strangle paralyzed enemies while they burn under the combined fury of a thousand suns.

Dual Techs have so many delicious possibilities to make even high-level terrors like Mara suffer a serious case of "NOPE!" .....

Combining Gina/Rath with Amara/Dorian can be VERY rewarding in the future.
>>
>>3327925

If BHOP remembers this, we are going to have a serious case of flying Maori daughters performing a quite impressive Haka before challenging us.

Seriously enough, it makes sense that daughters from other countries may start appearing (there is only 1 cord so far?), and if so, it is likely that they will have good mobility options (endurance flyers/swimmers) and armor (to survive acid storms & leviathan amalgams during trans-atlantic flights)
>>
>>3326958

I am supporting this too. Contender, then Dorian. Also supporting FuzzBuzz shenanigans with Amara
>>
>>3327931
Actually, I think a better synergy between Rath and Gina would be VOLCANO CANNONS. Gina Terraforms cannons from the ground, Rath sticks her arm into the barrel, and then sets off a bomb in a controlled explosion that fires pyroclastic napalm at the target.
>>
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>>3327956

I Like this.
>>
>>3327935
Actually, thats an interesting thing to think about. There's probably waystations all over the planet, so imagine the stockpile of locations a daughter from a far off country would have by the time they reach america, not to mention accumulated levels.

Doesn't help the islanders though, as you gotta unlock the stations by visiting them or trading them out...unless ones power somehow circumvents that...
>>
>>3327977
Flesh pirates.
>>
>>3326830

"Even though I never remembered any details about my past aside from the ones with B'ni, I think I've always been a bug enthusiast, especially with bees.” You say, watching Gina aggressively pet your newest swarmling. “There's something so cute about them when you see them fly from flower to flower. FuzzBuzz is adorable, isn't it?"

“I’ve only known FuzzBuzz for one minute.” Gina says, her face suddenly deadly serious. “But if anything happened to him I would kill everyone in the Crucible and then myself.”

“Holy shit, what?” You ask, alarmed until Gina bursts out laughing.

“I’m kidding, but I think Amara would love him!” She says, hopping up and opening the door to the main room at your prompt and smile.

The room stops in its tracks as you command FuzzBuzz to take flight, drifting lazily to the center of the cozy space in relative silence…until Amara promptly breaks it.

“HE’S. SO. FLUFFY!” Amara screams as she races out and leaps to grab him from mid-air, running laps around the house with your fuzzy creation held aloft. Your eyes meet Julia’s, and through her forced smile you realize she is a woman of iron will, coupled with a saint’s patience. You feel a pang of regret for visiting such chaos upon her humble home.

"So, that’s something about me…what's one thing about yourself that you've been an enthusiast of?" You ask, turning to Gina as you both return to the side room for a little bit of relative quiet. She ponders your question for a moment, resuming her seat on the edge of the bed before she answers.

“So…I played a lot of PC games back in the day, which you already know.” She says, tucking a brunette strand behind her ear. “Tactical stuff mostly, but half of the fun was tinkering with my setup.”

“Setup?” You ask quizzically, and she just chuckles.

“I built computers, among other things.” She replies, turning her arms over to see a pulse of amethyst light run along her veins. “I have to wonder if all that has something to do with me being able to interface with so many different people and devices.”

"Speaking of which…” You begin, pulling out Charon’s sidearm. “Do you think you might be able to help me talk to the Contender?"

“You…you think that’s possible?” She asks as her eyebrows shoot up in curiosity. “Do you think there’s something in there?”

“There’s only one way to find out. After this, do you think you could talk with Dorian and see if you can get to the root of his abilities? I’ll keep Amara busy with a story or two so you two can have some peace, not to mention Julia and Rath.”

A single, thin cord emerges from Gina’s wrist, with yet another snaking out alongside it. The first jabs into the base of your neck, the second hovering above the Contender’s barrel.

GG looks at you, and you nod. Her jack spears true, and your world goes pitch black, then blinding white, and then…

(Continued)
>>
>>3328089
god dammit gina stop memeing
>>
>>3328098
Meme queen keeping our culture alive, i respect it.
>>
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>>3328112
Humanity may perish, but its memes shall persist until the universe dies.
>>
>>3328135
Truly, memes are the DNA of the soul.
>>
>>3328089

A world of limitless color stretches before you. You stand at the peak of an azure mountain, clouds of sea foam green rolling along below you, just out of reach. The light of three far-off suns caresses your face, the air you breathe crisp with a scent you lack the vocabulary to describe.

It is a place beyond words.

“I was starting to worry you’d never realize we could speak, Honored Daughter.”

You turn to face the source of the voice behind you, revealing a distinctly humanoid form floating in the clean mountain air. Tendrils of black, smoke-like hair undulate around a pale white form, pieces of its limbs missing as though it was hewn from something like marble. It studies you with a featureless face, save for a pair of alabaster gems in place of eyes.

“My previous Master requested I adopt a form that would put you at ease.” She says, her svelte voice echoing in your mind. “This is what I came up with. I apologize if I didn’t get the particulars quite right, but in my defense you all look the same to me.”

“You…you’re the Contender.” You breathe, and the form it’s taken bows, tucking a fragmented arm underneath its chest in a formal gesture reminiscent of Charon’s habitual greeting.

“Indeed, and unlike the one you call Charon, I am not bound to the rules of the Crucible.” She replies, rising to a height that matches yours. “Thus, when you indulged my Master in a bit of nostalgia and allowed us to come in contact, they took that opportunity update my database with everything they have learned up to this point. It was a stroke of genius, though they are capable of nothing less.”

“Wait, so are you saying that…”

“Indeed.” She says with an air of pride in both herself and Charon. “Thanks to their quick-thinking, I am now able to speak on my Master’s behalf where they could not. There is a particular word Master learned that they believe appropriately described how they intend to subvert Mother, something they heard a while ago that they quite enjoyed the sound of…ah, yes.”

The corners of her not-eyes crinkle in something like a smile.

“Bamboozle. Charon intends to bamboozle Mother, if I am using that word correctly.”

“That sounds like a word Charon would like.” You say, chuckling. You decide to mirror her formality, and take a short bow. “Well, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Contender.”

“Likewise. While my previous Master and Creator is irreplaceable in their genius and talent, you are…impressive in a variety of ways.” She adjusts her posture haughtily as she pauses for a fraction of a second. "My Master finds you a worthy successor, so I shall do my best to honor you both.”

“I am at your command, Current Master. What do you wish to know?”

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3328145
Whew boy, uhh, hrm.
>Tell us about mother, both the person who is her, and her role in this game. How powerful is she, how much actual control does she have? If we kill her before we accept taking her place, what happens?
>>
>>3328160
>>3328163
BHOP I SWEAR ON FUZZBUZZ WHY!?!?
>>
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(Voting to close in two hours, Gentlemen.)

>>3328165
>>
>>3328160
BHOP, is Hexane Contender its proper name or is it just a title name?
>>
>>3328160
>Tell us about mother, both the person who is her, and her role in this game. How powerful is she, how much actual control does she have? If we kill her before we accept taking her place, what happens?
>What exactly is the Sparagmos Engine?
>What do you think killed the Sister Superior in the Cord?
>>
>>3328160

>I can't help but notice you burning white-hot with rage when you saw the Engine through my mind. As well as the influence you had on the Forest. What's your origin story?
>>
>>3328183
This
>>
>>3328160

>Do you have a name? You're like a...tsukumogami? Can't quite remember the exact details but I know it's Japanese. I think. A spirit housed in a tool. Anyways, I think you need a name. A personal name. One to call the ego that is yourself, not a title like Hexane Contender. How does Anima sound?
>>
>>3328182
(It is merely a title.)
>>
>>3328200
Ah well then that solves things. She needs a name!
>>
>>3328160
>>3328183
I'll add
>How did you end up in the Shrouded City where I found you?
>>
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>>3328160
>“Bamboozle. Charon intends to bamboozle Mother, if I am using that word correctly.”
BHOP I think this image is appropriate here
>>
>>3328160
backing >>3328183 and >>3328206
>>
(Gentlemen, I am writing now. It has been something of a busy afternoon, so thank you for your patience.)
>>
>>3328574
No problemo.
>>
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>>3328160

“Tell me about mother, both the kind of person she is and her role in this game.” You ask, giving voice to a question that’s plagued you ever since she came to you in your moment of Choice. “How powerful is she, and how much actual control does she have?”

“Mother is…a complex thing.” The Contender’s replies, her choice of words feeling deliberate and restrained, though more from difficulty in explaining Mother than any outside restriction. “She was what you call a Skintalker. She had your skill with interpersonal matters...people listened when she spoke, hung on her every word. She possessed Gina’s curiosity and brilliance, Rath’s vigor and flame, and Isabelle’s…"

She hesitates.

"...Pragmatism.”

“As far as her role in the Crucible, she could be best described as a hands-off administrator. She may reach out to speak with Daughters whenever she wishes, though she prefers to only do so when presenting her Choice. Aside from generating more Amalgams if they happen to run short or giving orders to her Emissaries such as my Master, she is bound to the Cord, and quite powerless.”

You ponder this a moment, pacing a bit before throwing out your next question. “If we kill her before we accept taking her place, what happens?”

“It would ultimately change nothing.” She replies curtly. “Killing her outright would merely render her Throne vacant, though once you reach the top of the Cord she is doomed to pass, regardless. All of her energy has gone to generating the Favored’s Reward.”

“Which is?” You ask, remembering a nested sphere, a work of Julia’s from when you first saw her gallery.

“The bodies of Daughters, the material that was used to reconstruct you…it is but a fraction of the native biomass on your planet. Your flora, your fauna, and every living thing that was not deemed an eligible participant is now raw material used in the construction of a new body…a body that gestates deep within your planet, awaiting the one that would become Mother's new vessel.”

“New body…” You echo, the true meaning of Julia’s prophetic art dawning on you.

“Yes, Honored Daughter.” The Contender says, head hung low. “Your world is now an incubator for a vast and terrible thing. When the Crucible finds its winner and they take their place on the Throne, they are transferred into it. They will then hatch from this planet and repeat this accursed process anew, sailing the stars in search of another worthy host.”

She looks up at you, a mixture of rage and grief in her pure white eyes.

“The Crucible is the eternal cycle of corrupted life, a virus on a planetary scale…”

“…and like any virus, it is but one of many.”

(Continued)
>>
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>>3328733

“…Jesus. I…okay.” You say, shifting gears to avoid considering the point further, for now. “You got angry when I first saw the Sparagmos Engine. So what is it, exactly?”

“It is a remnant of a civilization that saw fit to turn a virus into a tool, and failed utterly…there were many such Engines set up in advance of the Crucible’s coming to capitalize on the unique properties it grants Daughters, but the one there had been tampered with by Mother in the previous game.” The Contender explains. “They were meant to act as devices for the optimization of the mutations you accumulate during the Crucible. Additionally, it can fuse two or more Daughters together in harmony, to create a more perfect participant to end the Crucible as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, Mother warped it to distill the individual powers of Daughters into a consumable resource, allowing her to amass a vast amount of powers. Winning was easy for her after that, but it came at the cost of what she valued most.”

“Which was?” You ask.

“My Master.” She replies.

“When Mother saw how Charon looked at her, how disgusted they’d become with her decisions and path to victory…it broke her, just before they were to complete the Crucible together. They fought, Mother won, and the rest became the beginning of your world’s end.”

“How did you end up in the Shrouded City, where we found you?” You ask, your mind still reeling from the earlier revelations.

“I was somehow spared destruction, no doubt due to my Master’s kind intervention.” She explains, staring at past you at the gently wafting clouds. “I was found early on in the Crucible by the elder Uzu. Despite her vast intelligence, she never realized I had a deeper existence than a mere weapon. Thus, she left me by her construct’s side as she was never able to understand me, and I was discarded. I was picked up by a group of Daughters that ventured into the Shrouded City…suffice it to say, my wielder was a terrible shot, and then we met.”

“Uzu…what killed her?” You ask, and she ponders your question for a moment before she gives her reply.

“If she only made it a few tiers up, then she most likely attacked by a True Tindalos, a leftover from one of the earliest Crucibles. It’s a nasty thing, though it poses little threat to one such as my Master.”

You sit down, cross-legged on the mountaintop as you try to wrap your head around everything you’ve been told. The Contender hovers over by your side and sits awkwardly, merely hovering lower as she brings herself eye level with you.

“I am sorry to have to burden you with this knowledge, but please know that my Master places a great deal of trust in you. You souls are very much alike…as are your regrets.”

Is there anything else you want to ask or say before you disconnect, and go take Amara off everyone’s hands?

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3328737
>"Thank you. i know you probably dont have the answer, but i have to ask. a virus can be cured, or if the worst case happens, the host can be killed to prevent it spreading any further. i....one of those is my goal, as painful as the second one may be. what can you tell me, even the smallest fraction of help, as to how best to accomplish either?"
>Make sure to give her a hug before we leave, its against the rules not to.
>>
(Voting shall remain open for two hours as I close out the work day, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3328737
>Give her a name. Calling her "Contender" sounds a bit impersonal.
I'll go with 'Karma'. Any better ideas?
>>
>>3328737
>Do you have a name? You're like a...tsukumogami? Can't quite remember the exact details but I know it's Japanese. I think. A spirit housed in a tool. Anyways, I think you need a name. A personal name. One to call the ego that is yourself, not a title like Hexane Contender. How does Anima sound? You're the soul of the relic you inhabit, and one given life by Charon.
>If we see Charon again, do you have any words you want to pass on to her?
>Is there anyway for us to communicate besides direct connection via Neuromancy? Is it possible to communicate via Dreams?

>>3328760
How does Anima sound? She's the soul of the gun relic that she inhabits, and one given life by Charon.
It seems to me that Mother is a victim of the Cord System. She's just a bench warmer or a Regent. No, more akin to a steward who is forced to follow the protocols by design. One that she found too late that she can't do anything to change it.
>>
>>3328746
though thinking about it, its kinda obvious, though a difficult task. if we sever the (umbilical)Cord, it stands to reason the baby inside the giant womb-planet would die.

destroying the throne itself might also help, or at least potentially slow things down. Nuke Anon might be on the right track for both of these, buy who knows if theres another way.

id also like to pose a question both IC to Haxane, and ooc too.

>"What is the point of winning the crucible anyways then? i get the hunger forces someone to win, but willingly, its a false victory, no? you win, you get a wish, but regardless of the wish, you are forced to continue the cycle, dooming another planet and yourself, as you become the new, powerless mother who will eventually die and be replaced. no matter your 'wish', you will hardly get to enjoy it, and would eventually lose it all the same."

>>3328760
honestly Hexane itself is not a terrible name at all, though i can see the reasoning behind at least spinning it into a more proper name i suppose.
>>
So let me get this straight, the crucible taking place on earth is only one of many? If so, i advocate we take a page from BALME!, and create the city. No organics, nothing to feed on.
>>
>>3328896
easier said than done though.

the virus is all about taking organic matter, and changing how it works. the virus itself is organic matter. the virus in order to work, to some degree, must give daughters the same abilities it has. it is therefore entirely possible, though may be difficult, to overpower and change the virus itself. just another thought and idea, though i understand it has holes in its concept.
>>
>>3328924
We should turn the virus into a virophage and become a civilization that turns its whole planet into a fleshy spaceship that hunts other Crucibles.
>>
>>3328949
>Shu the Defiant, captain of the S.S. Earth
i can dig it
>>
>>3328949
im down for it, becoming the virus to the virus sounds kickass. like becoming a biohazard extermination doctor for existence.[/spoiler
>>
>>3328737
>"What are my blind spots, patterns, or weaknesses? In more than just combat."

>>3328760
>>3328776
>>3328784
Pretty sure she should just be called Contender.
>>
>>3329090
Contender is boring though. least Hexane sounds like a viable name.
>>
>>3328737
backing >>3328746 >>3328760 and >>3328784
>>
(Gentlemen, I just got home so I shall begin writing after dinner. Thank you for your time and your patience, as always.)
>>
>>3328737

"I'm just trying to wrap my head around all this...I mean, what's the point of winning the crucible anyways then? You win, you get a wish, but regardless of what you wish for, you are forced to continue the cycle, dooming another planet and yourself, as you become the new, powerless mother who will eventually die and be replaced. No matter your 'wish', you will hardly get to enjoy it, and would eventually lose it all the same."

"You are correct." She says, looking out upon the sea of clouds that stretch into the horizon. "But if one were to lose sight of hope, and lose the support of the ones they love, then perhaps, like Mother...clinging to a hopeless wish is all one has left, in the end." She muses.

You spend a moment in silence with her, watching the three suns set on the endless tidal clouds.

"Thank you for telling me all this." You finally say, turning to her as a cool breeze caresses your skin. "I know you probably don't have the answer, but I have to ask. A virus can be cured, or if the worst case happens, the host can be killed to prevent it spreading any further. I...one of those is my goal, as painful as the second one may be. What can you tell me as to how best to accomplish either?"

"...When my Master and Mother resolved to scale the Cord, it was with the intent that Mother use her accumulated power to do what our civilization set out to do in the first place; take control of the Crucible, bring back those they had lost, and harness its power to improve their planet and themselves." She explains. "Mother lost sight of that goal in favor of making a world of her own design, but the basic principle of their idea remains the same. It requires a vast amount of Neuromantic power to overtake it, along with enough firepower to fend off its natural defenses, but it could still be possible...if Mother hasn't fixed that in her time at the top of the Cord."

"In the short term, I understand you've resolved to destroy the Sparagmos Engine. To do so, you require power, and there exist two things that are in reach to help you to that end. The first is a Forge, at least two tiers higher than the one at the Monastery. It lies on the other side of the River of Tears, and I can direct you to its location once you reach the shore. It is not well hidden, so there is a chance that it is currently in use, but it will give you the edge you need. The second..." She says, giving pause as she considers whether or not to continue. "...is an untainted Sparagmos Engine, hidden deep beneath a factory just outside of the Envious City. Odds are high that is remains untouched, though the descent may prove treacherous."

You rise, and as she does the same she's caught off-guard when you give her a hug.

(Continued)
>>
>>3329415

"Thank you so much...uh..." You stutter, stumbling over the space where her name should be. "...may I call you Karma? It seems fitting, in a way."

"You granted my Master a name, and I would be a fool to refuse one so fitting." She replies, stepping back and giving you another bow. "...And my Master made me many things, but a fool is not one of them. If you wish to speak further, then you need merely ask. Gina has opened the gateway; all you need to do is speak my name, and I shall answer."

"Got it. Is there anything you'd like me to tell Charon, when we see each other again?" You question, feeling the dreamscape around you begin to dull, fading away as you are gently pulled back to reality.

"Please tell Master to have faith. I am in capable hands...and I am not the only one."

"Is that a compliment?" You ask as a smile creeps across your face, and Karma merely shrugs, the hues that make up the world slowly washing out, fading into nothingness as she speaks to you one more time.

"Please do not lose hope, Shu....for you have so much left to lose."

You open your eyes to see Gina before you. You hear the laughter of Amara and Rath in the next room, and you can sense Julia and Dorian talking animatedly over their respective cups of tea.

This.

This is worth protecting.

You and Gina exit the room, with her making a beeline for Dorian to address his powers, as you stride over to Amara, who is aggressively running a slightly worn comb through FuzzBuzz's thick fur.

"Shu! FuzzBuzz is the best, thank you so much for letting me play with him!" She says, looking up at you with a huge grin.

So, you told Gina you have a story to entertain a ten-year-old...or at least, you think you do. Now, looking into those two-tone, expectant eyes, you really hope you have a knack for storytelling.

>>Stay here with everyone as you tell her a story. You have a feeling that the time between these visits are going to grow further and further apart, the closer you get to the Cord.

>>Go for a walk around the town a bit. You could certainly stretch your legs, and you have a feeling that would bring some peace and quiet to the house for a little while, at least.

>>On second thought, there's something else you'd like to attend to with the time you have (Write-In)

CHOOSE A STORY

>>Tell her about the Shrouded City, and the mysterious laboratory of the curious Doctor West.

>>Tell her about the Envious City, and your first fight against the legendary Marrow Dragoon.

>>Tell her about powerful, yet melancholy warrior that waited for their princess to wake from an endless slumber.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3329489
Is it me, or is the purpose of the story that we're telling amara the key to helping her grow her character and bio-ability? If so, I can't decide. The stories are too good.

>Stay here with everyone as you tell her a story. You have a feeling that the time between these visits are going to grow further and further apart, the closer you get to the Cord.
>>
(Voting to close in one and a half hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3329489
>>Stay here with everyone as you tell her a story. You have a feeling that the time between these visits are going to grow further and further apart, the closer you get to the Cord.

>>Tell her about the Envious City, and your first fight against the legendary Marrow Dragoon.

Good story about the power of teamwork, that not everyone Is a badguy even If they act bad, and that sometimes victory Is bittersweet.

Wait, why did you have to write It as 'First fight'? We've only ever fought Mara once, right? OP IT ISN'T FUNNY TO FORESHADOW LIKE THIS.
>>
>>3329590
ill support this, including the spoiler question.
>>
>>3329489
>Tell her about the Envious City, the daring heist to rescue a damsel in distress, the fight against the legendary Marrow dragoon, and the Damsel's final moments.
>End each story with a few aesops that can be learned from the story.
>Write-in: If possible, ask everyone if they can pitch in on the storytime. Gina can Terraform a portion of the ground to remake a diorama of the city. Dorian and Julia can sculpt figurines and Rath can do small-scale special effects with her boils. Make it a group-play. Family time is the best time when it comes to story time.
>>
>>3329661
i feel like everyone pitching in kinda defeats alot of the purpose? such as Gina and Dorian going into the other room to try and stop him from spawning death puppets in his sleep...
>>
>>3329661
>>3329489
amending my vote to not include having everyone pitch-in for the story-time play.
>>
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>>3329415
>...is an untainted Sparagmos Engine, hidden deep beneath a factory just outside of the Envious City.
I KNEW IT
I FUCKING KNEW IT
I FUCKING KNEW THAT FUCKING BUNKER HAD SOMETHING GOOD IN IT
>>
>>3329489
THIS >>3329590
>>
>>3329691
eh, im not sure its the better option of the two.
>optimization.
this may be that 'reallocation of ability points' option BHOP said would eventually become available, and while far from useless, its not as useful at Tier 3 gear would be in my opinion. even if the optimization is a bit more than that, i still think its not as potent in its possibilities.

>Fuse two daughters
and this? against it in its entirety myself.
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>>3329590
>>3329613
>>
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>>3329759
I was waiting for your Image reaction you bastard, I'm wise to your tricks somewhat by now!
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
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>>3329489

"You're quite welcome." You say as you gingerly free your swarmling from the girl's fawning clutches. "Hey Amara, do you want to hear a story?"

Her eyes lighting up is all the answer you need. You settle down next to her under one of the shack's many windows, and you tell her a tale of a secret mission, of a pair of friends making amends, and of a titanic clash between a rag-tag group of Daughters and the legendary ivory warrior of the wastelands. She's on the edge of her seat with every blow, every desperate parry, she's forgotten to breathe as you tell of your break-neck escape, and you finally bring a tear to her eye with the friends' final parting words. You try to be a responsible adult and sprinkle in a moral here and a bit of pithy wisdom there, but you're fairly certain she ignores those in favor of the high action and drama.

The story's a big hit, at least. Even when you finish weaving your tale, she's sitting expectantly, waiting for more until she finally speaks up.

"So what's Marrow Dragoon trying to do?"

You find yourself a little taken aback at her question. "What do you mean, Amara?"

"You and everybody are the heroes, and she's the villain, right?" She says as-a-matter-of-factly, steamrolling your attempt to interject. "Villains always have a master plan, especially if they're super calm and stuff like she was. So what's she planning to do?"

"Well, I..."

Salt on your tongue, your throat working against so much water.

Why do you cross? An old joke, a worn punchline. To get to the other side.

Your lungs on fire, filled to the brim with that which deals you a thousand deaths.

You live. You love. You live because you love. Because you have no other choice.

Everyone is suddenly by your side as you struggle for breath, your mind swimming with pain and fury and triumph, because...why? Why do you feel like...

Why did the rabbit laugh?

No. No, how could you still be connected to...

Because she made it to the other side.

You take a full, deep breath of air...

...and wonder just what the hell happened to you.

>>Thirteenth Vein: Closed
>>
(Gentlemen, thank you so very much for your participation and enthusiasm. I shall be pausing over the weekend to work on the next character sheets and update everything with your new allies. Additionally, I shall be available to answer questions intermittently over the weekend, as well. While I know this Vein was light on combat and upgrades, I am very much so looking forward to what is to come in the next one, as the decisions you all made have essentially put you all on the cusp of several things I am looking forward to implementing. Thank you again for your time, patience, and enthusiasm, and you all are the best group of readers I could ask for. Have a great weekend, and take care.)
>>
>>3330151
whoa, shiit. is B'ni mocking us? saying she made it across the river? fuck.

>>3330165
well, that leaves me excited to see what is to come for sure. while i love a good scuffle, you made this vein interesting enough,so no worries. im sure well get our fill of blood anyways.
>>
>>3330151
Those spoilers:
Did B'ni just swim across the River of Acid Tears all by herself? We felt that empathetic connection. The connection with B'ni is still there.
>>
>>3330151
>Oh no, something fucked up Is going on In Shu's head

I expect every thread to have us having an Internal crisis at some point, so I'm not even surprised. Not even a little. What was that though, some remnant of connection to... someone. I'm sure I'll get It In a second. The easy bet Is It's Sam. Time to call her a Bitch and let her drop some other revelation on us which we won't even bat an eye at.

Seems very focused on B'ni though. Is It actually her somehow, despite the difference? Did she leave something Inside us that we didn't know about? *Sigh* Shit just keeps piling up.

>>3330165
No problem BHOP, you keep on giving us a quest to be enthusiastic for and we'll keep being enthusiastic about It. Have a good one BHOP, see you next time.
>>
>>3330193
No, it's not that anon. we're getting feedback thoughts from B'ni. Remember a property of our empathy bond is that we can read surface thoughts of those we are close with.
>>3330184
More importantly, the empathetic connection between Shu and B'ni is still there. We're experiencing feedback from the empathy bond. We've got the biggest empathy bond with B'ni due to our history with her.
>>
>>3330193
Distance. Despite the Distance.

>>3330185
>>3330184
Yeah that's almost certainly what It Is, didn't even think of that. She's got a bajillion HP and absurd regeneration so she probably can afford to do so.

That's pretty metal of her.
>>
>>3330151
I'm gonna laugh when/if we run into Isabelle again sometime after River of Acid Tears, and we find out that all her muh hidden powerlevels couldn't save her from being BTFO and barely escaping an enemy out of her league alone.
>>
>>3330201
my worry is, her thoughts coming to us seemed far too intentional, meaning she either knows how it works(Strong emotions send forth her surface thoughts.), or shes found a way to purposefully force them on us, and considering our unusual reaction to the thoughts, well...
>>
>>3330201
Yeah, I was just surprised that we can get anything from so many miles away. I always our empathy radius was relatively short ranged, I'm actually pretty thrilled to know It's got such a sick range, even If It's just for B'ni right now, I guess that means eventually we won't *have* a range. If we can draw power from everyone we have a bond with we could literally punch god In the face with humanity's hopes and dreams.

What a pleasant thought.
>>
>>3330205
honestly? anything that can BTFO of isabelle is one fucking terrifying motherfucker. like, if she loses a battle that badly, in a way it would be putting another issue on our plate.
>>
>>3330202
>>3330205
>>3330209
As much as it is being fucking metal for Isabelle, it's bad for Shu. If you read the text without reading the spoilers, it's showing that Shu's also experiencing the same sensations of gulping air and acid as B'ni swims across the river. that sort of feedback sensation is crippling to Shu, but not so for B'ni. It might get to the point where any abuse B'ni takes in her solo journey will transfer over to Shu via empathy feedback to the point where the empathetic pain kills Shu outright.
>>
>>3330219
I just want to see Isabelle BTFO after all the shit she pulled, man.

>>3330226
>lol you're not MY Shu (even though you totally are) (my expectations are perfectly realistic, you're just a fucking bitch) you can go fucking die for all I care
>friendship? what friendship? XDDDDD
>>
>>3330234
nah man i understand what you mean, but that doesn't change the fact of how dangerous someone who can beat her badly is.

>>3330226
oh fuck ,you're right. thats fucking terrible. and like i said, even worse, the wording would imply she MEANT to send those feelings to us. shes potentially being petty and spiteful to us, not a good sign at all.
>>
>>3330234
>>3330242
If that's really how It Is then dealing with Isabelle and her Issues Is going to be even worse than I thought, If she's trying to antagonize us like this. Then again though, If she can send us stuff Isn't It probably two-way?

I know It might not sound very satisfying, but we need to still take the highroad here If we want any other ending to B'ni's story than murdering her. If she can send us suffering, willingly or unwillingly, then lets send her something positive.

Something wholesome like tonight, next time lets attempt to literally beam the good feelings and thoughts right Into her. That's right, lets fight psychopathic Insanity with literal friendship beams.
>>
>>3330285
i mean, my thought was, shes Consumed a power we didn't know about allowing her to do this, despite if you read that on our side the empathetic channel shouldn't be that powerful yet.

and honestly? im perfectly ok if she gets a bad end, im only resisting pushing for it to be true to Shu IC, though if B'ni pushes too hard against our allies, not just us, i wont hold back.
>>
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>>3330285
I hope we get to do pic related to her when we meet her in person again.
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>>3330297
>>
>>3330313
>>
>>3330319
(The fact that you apparently just had that on hand, ready and waiting to use it in response to an image I associated with B'ni for weeks now, just makes me happy.)
>>
>>3330285
>Be Isabelle
>torture yourself by swimming through the River of Tears without giving a damn about breathing properly
>lungs fucked, fuck lungs, keep swimming
>lungs are taking in acid saltwater
>fuck tears, keep swimming
>get to the other side, send all sensations at that bint of a friend Sam.
>sleep on the shore
>get dreams of Shu doing wholesome things. like her giving storytime to pod-loli, playing with Fuzzbuzz, surrounded by friends
>wake up cold, miserable, angry.

>>3330313
BHOP. your taunts imply that we've already Game Over'd and you're simply sadistically giving us controllable helplessness. Also, Wigglytuff is a fitting pokemon image for Isabelle.
>>
>>3330313
give Hexane a few more levels and we'll give you your one shot, little bunny girl.
>>
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>>3330344
no no no. She's literally indestructible given the level gap she lords over Shu. You've got to hit her where it hurts.
>>3330313
I've got just the place BHOP where that one shot will count. I hope you get the reference/meme
>>
also the irony of personal past events making me despise rabbits, and isabelle having numerous character traits that hit my alarm bells and i despise on a personal level, also because of personal past events, coupled with the fact said traits of hers are because of her own personal past events, literally only just hit me, and i have no idea how i didn't notice this before.

fuck me its a friday night i didn't need these sudden existential feels.

>>3330357
well to be fair id hope by the time we are even close to my statement being possible, we ourselves will be stronger too. i mean, we're gonna have to find a way to at least hold our own against her eventually. even if we can talk her down, it probably will be during her trying to cave our head in again.
>>
>>3330339
(If I may be so bold, I will say that you all keep making decisions that are putting you on the path to the best ending. Only time will tell if you all stay on that track, though.)

>>3330357
(Ah, Bleach. The manga whose name ultimately referred to what happened to any backgrounds it once had.)
>>
>>3330381
That manga is best known for making Kimonos and Hakamas look like topclass designer fashion, swords, kubo bullshit. best cat, best shark, and sadbat.
>>
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>>3330381
>The manga whose name ultimately referred to what happened to any backgrounds it once had.
>>
oh shit, guys. i did just think of an issue. we just gave a kid a cute, adorable new pet. but one that is temporary and will eventually die if we get too far away from it, or need to spawn other swarmlings.

a regular kid having a meltdown at a dead pet is bad enough, both emotionally and in volume of sound, but were doing this to a kid who can make the surrounding terrain scream along with her...
>>
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>>3330297
>>3330297

Certainly a possibility. Do you think she's using neuromancy to hijack the empathic connection?

It's possible that redeeming her Is impossible, but I genuinely want to try. As someone who's had horribly fucked up Internal crisis's and come through the adversity a better person It hurts to see someone fail In a fight against themselves. It would make me genuinely happy If I/we were able to help her with her baggage and her come out the other side a better person. I'd be delusional to think that It's not a serious possibility that through circumstance or actions, we'll be unable to help her and have to kill her though. I also completely understand the hate some of the playerbase has for her, but I consider her more of a product of her environment (Sam, and the new world) than a natural monster, not that she hasn't done actually monstrous things before and after the fall of the world. If you think about It though, had her life been different maybe she'd have been just lonely and weak minded with Sam our of the picture, or possibly even In a better state rather than broken desperate and self loathing. I don't like who she Is but I *get* why she Is what she Is. I suppose If I had to pin one sin entirely on Isabelle It's for being too weak to grow and think for herself, she quite literally *let* outside forces mold her Into a monster and I have to admit that's pretty pathetic. Ah well, I'd still like to hold faith that with the right words and actions she can see the light again, I'll play the fool to believe In a dream I suppose.

>>3330381
>That spoiler

My faith Is solidified.
>>
>>3330431
>I'll play the fool to believe In a dream I suppose.
Well, we DID take the Fool's Choice, after all...
>>
>>3330425
It's fine we can just make a new one
>>
>>3330425
Nah man, just take FuzzBuzz with us and If It dies we make an Identical copy. This way the girl never has to go through the trauma of losing a pet and this way every time we come around we get to hear "EEEEE, MR. FUZZBUZZ IS BACK!"

That of course Is assuming she doesn't want to go on a road trip with us soon.
>>
>>3330431
B'ni DID reject the combined actions of Gina and Shu's efforts to save her from what appears to be THE HUNGER. And from what we briefly saw of her stats, it's not a stretch to think that her core ability gave her the the side-effect benefit to resist and immunize herself against Neuromancy. That core ability is an amazing Vitruvian ability afterall. Preservation of the human self by sacrificing BIO to regenerate back to ideal human form devoid of any damaging influences is a really awesome defensive and offensive ability. I also find great irony that although her body is strong as fuck, her mind is weak and susceptible.
>>
>>3330431
hey man i get where you're coming from, and in some ways i relate. the lying for instance, is because i used to be a fucking lie out my ass all the time when i was younger, so now i kinda understand how fucked up it was and how worthless it was. the difference i guess is, i learned and was willing to learn from my actions, isabelle seems to double down, and knowing personally the damage lying can do, it sickens me a bit. i also can understand 'why' she is like she is, but im pretty harsh when it comes to the fact, in the end, with extremely few exceptions, every single action you take is your own, plain and simple. she chose to be this way, chose to do what she did, and weak willed or not, in my eyes its all on her, not her circumstances, and well, its not a pretty picture. ive also been personally stabbed in the back by more than one friend too, so i personally have NO sympathy for traitors, none at all.

>>3330445
>we can just replace your dead dog you loved dear, no biggie!
i get she only had him for like a day, but still, not even adults are ok with being told that, let alone a kid.

>>3330453
that is a not too bad way around it.
or we see if Gina cant pump it full of Nuro-cords so it can survive on its own or something. actually the FORGE allows us to build fully autonomous swarmlings, maybe whatever process allows them to survive on their own accord we can mesh into FuzzBuzz?

new Quest my fellow players;
>save FuzzBuzz
>priority status, main quest level
>>
>>3330472
>>3330453
>Toss FuzzBuzz into an uncorrupted Engine.
>Turn it into a hero unit.
>???
>Profit
>>
>>3330486
>>3330381
heres a silly idea that is TOTALLY not stretching the believable limits of anyone's power at all, nor a waste of duel tech, not at all!;

>SHU X AMARA

>FUZZBUZZ; through sheer will and some well placed words and love, Amara has talked to the very base biomass making up her new favorite creation of Shus, solidifying its ability to exist without Shus aid, but thus making it wholly resistant to changes a normal swarmling may undergo. the fluffy, adorable creature however still keeps its connection to Shu, acting as a sorta long distance alarm clock should Shu be found in dire need of aid from far off friends.

Eh, its stupid but what ya gonna do?
>>
>>3330518
I'd be totally down for us wasting a dual tech slot (assuming those are even things?) on this, if it's not stretching Amara's ability strength too far or anything.
>>
>>3330472
I completely understand everything you've said. I too learned the hard way about lying after many years and I've been stabbed In the back by every person I've ever built a significant bond with. I also agree that at the end of the day you most certainly are accountable for your own actions no matter what life throws at you even though I failed to realize that for a long time. However, when I said she's a victim of circumstances I still sort of stick by that. Just because everyone Is accountable for their own actions doesn't mean everyone Is strong enough to fight the tide of their own life. Being wronged doesn't excuse lashing out or descending down a darker path, but It Is something that's understandable. That's all I'm trying to say. Isabelle's Sin was really just a common one, she let the world twist her for the worse and then did some horrible things all on her own.

Not everyone realizes the truth In a day. I spent a very large portion of my life being defeatist and hateful because of things that had happened to me, and many people never realize their mistakes until they die. So that's where I'm coming from, and It Is admittedly a little bit personal. If I can change, If WE can change then so can a fictional character In a story where we've fought tooth and nail to champion the triumphs of the positive side of the human spirit.
>>
>>3330567
nah thats fair, maybe i cant help but feel maybe isabelle has become a metaphor for the negative side of humanity, the things we can never truly fix or overcome, only push down and defeat for a time. eh, we will see, for what its worth, like i said, i strive to play Shu as she would be now IC, regardless of my personal convictions. though i dont feel its out of bounds for her to choose her loyal friends over saving isabelle, if it does come down to it.
>>
>>3330431

I also support GOOD END for B´ni. I mean, our character used to be a scociopathic asshole & we were "saved" through liberal application of LAVA LAMP to the face.
We can return the "favor". And for the most (justifiably) bloodthirsty of us, it will mean a good deal of cathartic "punching common sense to the face" deal
>>
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>>3328160

Sweet, sweet info. All the psychological profiling of MOTHER we want, several solid handles to seriously mess up the crucible without risking the "One Wish", and solid ways to level up.

Now we only have to ensure that no daughter climbs up the fucking chord before we have a nice, life-threatening chat with Mother and we are golden.

Should we rattle the info to the monastery and give facts to people on how the "winning the Crucible" nonsense is demonstrably a BAD idea, or can this backfire nastily in our faces?
So far our next problem seems that several contenders (Dr.West, Mara, B´ni) seem able to make their move for the chord, better nip that in the bud on the mid-term.

I propose to use GINA + AMARA to create the world´s biggest, baddest trenchline around the chord at some point, including sentient razorwire.
One is never careful enough...
>>
>>3331442
so what you are saying is, we should head back to the starting area, and retrieve the most powerful relic of all, the LAVA LAMP BASE?

>>3331454
i dont think telling them how pointless the crucible is to the average, not insane individual is, is going to backfire. those who hear the truth and still wish to complete it, already were broken enough to where they probably wanted to complete it, or were evil enough to already be a threat.

Mara also might not actually be a threat to us in that regards, MIGHT. she attacked Kosi over her plan based around lessening the crucibles grip on everyone's lives, and generally seems to support the monastery and it trying to do something different than intended. that being said, we still need to know more about her to know for sure.
>>
>>3332191
we still need to solidify the moral of the story for Amara. we were about to get to the big sticking points of the story but then B'ni had to go for an 1500 meter olympic swim in a river of tears and acid.
>>
>>3332284
Moral of the story; sometimes good people do bad things with good intent. it does not mean you shouldn't fight against them and their bad actions, but doesn't mean you must always see them as the bad guy in the future.
>>
oh it finished still busy but hey im here

i didnt miss too much but dame still connnected to her
>>
>>3333529
your thoughts?
>>
>>3333741
love amara shes adorable. Sort of getting more concerned with the fact that there might be multiple of these viruses so we may not be able to stop the cycle completly. we will only stop one cycle if we finish this one. and even if we do this world is entirely doomed. and so are many other worlds...


also i just realized random curiosity bhop. What did the race that charon and mother come from look like. i mean we probbably wont see it or havnt but it might be intresting to look into because they arnt exactly human right or are they. eh just a weird thought on what other sentient species have gone through this proccess
>>
>>3331442
I too share those sentiments that we owe her. It may have been a very screwed up series of events, but without her FURIOUS LAMPENING we would have remained a monster wearing a human face. She gave us a chance to live anew where we otherwise had none, and that's worth something.

>>3332191
Truly, the LAVA LAMP Is the most powerful weapon In-setting. I theorized before, that Sam as she truly was Is now 100% dead because of how daughterification works.

LAVA LAMP: 1
God: 0

I don't think we should go out of our way to look for It, but If we ever stumble near the dorm I think It would be worth checking out. BHOP seems like the kinda person that would give us something for It, even If not right away.

CONTENDER FINAL FORM: AD LUCEM
>>
>>3333529
>>3333789
(Good to have you back, Gen! The race that Charon and Mother came from have not been seen properly yet, though I will say that I am keeping certain aspects of them close to my chest for now. I will say that they are vaguely humanoid, and quite literally wear their feelings on their sleeves. As seen in the flash back when the Contender was acquired, they are chitinous and their shells shift color depending on their mood, which let to a curious society. They actually had a particularly brutal Crucible on account of every member of their race meeting the Daughter requirements, which is fairly rare.)
>>
>>3334012
huh thats pretty intresting i thinkk I kinda wanna try to draw what i think they would look like then XD maybe later i got more homework to do
>>
>>3334012
>everyone gets turned into a daughter
Jesus. You can't even imagine the chaos that is the first 3 days when the crucible begins. a population of 6.7 billion people, everyone gets to play the crucible battle royale, and the Cord had to spawn fucktons of amalgams just to start the culling.
>>3333789
You know. I just had a thought as I was making my double decker cheese burger. Cord Protocol dictates that the cycle must continue right? And Mother has all the power of making the system changes to the Cord save for the core tenet (the game must continue). So what if we keep the game, but change the objective? Basically rewriting the Win-condition. And another thing, If the Crucible is completed, there aren't any rules stating the favored daughter must immediately depart upon ascension.
>>
>>3334100
the problem isnt that though. the problem is that. there are multiple cords. so even if we dont leave there will be other challenges

bhop. i mean you probbably cant answear this one but. if we change a rule. does it change the rule across all of the cords or just the cord we create?

if this is answeared then maybe there can be a change.
>>
>>3334003
actually he did mention we missed a relic very early on, though i do agree there no reason to go back just for that. our list of issues and places to go is already quite high as it is.

>>3334012
oh? well that actually rules out some of the rules for daughter-hood i thought of, hmmm.

>>3334100
whats even more interesting is, her species expected it and even built things based around it. so the chaos would probably even more brutal, due to pre-existing plans and groups having already been formed, and more willing to slaughter everyone, rather then many people panicking or trying to figure out what is going on.
>>
>>3334127
I'm thinking that the cord that's infecting earth is simply one of the many "virus cells". Like a individual of a species. That's why Karma said it's just one of many.
>>3334346
We can go back for the lava lamp and the other Sparagmos engine near Kosi's city, but keep in mind that Shu's health will probably be on a timer given the recent events (experiencing Feedback from B'ni's Olympic swim in a river of acid and tears). I can't say for certain, but we'll find out what BHOP has in store for us since he did mention that all of our decisions so far has put us on the threshold where he feels it is time to introduce several additional mechanics that he had been holding back for quite some time.
>>
>>3334488
indeed.
though my vote is still gonna go for the upgraded forge for pre-mentioned reasons.

plus, it might be the most likely way to save FuzzBuzz, considering a lvl 1 forge can make independent swarmlings, which actually might not of been a bad idea to pick some of those up honestly last time we were there.
>>
>>3334512
Hmmm.... Here's the thing that's being presented. Karma said there's 2 ways that we can get enough power to destroy the corrupted forge.

One is crossing the river and having to wait in line for the T-3 Forge use. This method will mainly be getting stronger through the use of Relics and tools. Chances of encountering B'ni will probably be high, but we can at least prevent her from attempting to do shenanigans. It's likely there will be waiting times and any fight that breaks out at the T-3 Forge would cause collateral damage to the forge and shut it down. B'ni might do this in her single-mindedness. We'll be facing against more daughter enemies and we won't have that big of a time window to use the T-3 Forge. The downside is that we risk having to pass through the forest and Dorian's Mansion again. The other big question is crossing the river.

The other method is back tracking to find the untainted Sparagmos Engine. This method in contrast to the T-3 Forge is getting stronger by refining our stats and bio-mutations. We'll be encountering Amalgams more than daughters if we take this route, and we avoid having to deal with B'ni coming in and Kill Stealing or something like that. But when we make it to the Engine, we can afford to take our time and have almost everyone take a turn in the Engine and get upgraded. But the downside is that we're leaving B'ni to her own devices on the other side of the River.
>>
>>3334685
i dont think its unfair to say B'ni might, MIGHT, not be a worry.. she seems pretty determined to simply march forward towards her goal, which is in a way an issue, but probably means she wont stick around the forge or specifically hunt us down or anything, and will be 'long' gone by the time we get to the forge.

but you are right that it will otherwise be awkward in some way. while i think the forges usability will be safe, it will be quite a difficult situation if other daughters already have laid claim to it. if they are outright hostile, it might actually be simpler than if they are not, because they might simply tell us to fuck off as its theirs, but otherwise not want to fight, which would leave us fiddling our thumbs ill admit.

still though, id prefer new and better gear and pushing our maps boundary forward a bit, than the engine, which while yes im sure its more than just this, im still thinking is mostly the 'stat reconfiguration' options BHOP mentioned, which im not seeing as a big deal, and its other use is basically off the table as far as im concerned.
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>>3334012
BHOP, do you happen to have heard of Mad Chimera World?
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>>3335147
(I never heard of it, and I'm actually very surprised I haven't given I like titles like BLAME! and Jagaaaaan.)
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>>3335220
It seems like the manga got axed awhile ago, unfortunately. I'm a huge fan of settings like this quest's though, so keep up the good work BHOP.
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>>3335311
(Thank you so much for your kind words Anon, I appreciate it!)
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>>3335147
>>3335220
just finished watching in the mouth of madness myself, and while i disagree with some of its underlying philosophy, its certainly one hell of a ride, or as certain others might put it, 'likes to bamboozle you.'

good hype material for sure.
>>
>>3335220
Liking BLAME! huh? Then where is my GBE?
>>
(Gentlemen, I shall be posting an individual skill sheet for Amara shortly for your perusal, as her class is one of the most mechanically unusual that exist. I figured that posting it here in advance of the next Vein would be prudent to allow you time to ask questions and bat around ideas that would otherwise might take up a large amount of space next thread.)

(Additionally, I shall open the next Vein in two days' time on Tuesday, March 12th, at 10:00 AM Eastern time. I look forward to seeing you there, and I hope you all are having a great weekend.)
>>
>>3337474

(Gentlemen, you shall find Amara's character sheet below. I will be available to answer any questions you may have, and I hope you have a great day.)

https://pastebin.com/8SKWGqWu
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>>3337474
looking forward to it!

>>3337820
so, it actually seems at its base not too difficult to understand, though i can see the exact effects being interesting to learn. or so i think, lets find out.

so, hrm...
TER RHO VUL
this one would effectively be saying "Terrain, Hinder Enemy" no?

while only saying
RHO VUL
or, "Hinder Enemy", would result in much more chaotic outcomes, though of course is cheaper.

im specifically saying 'hinder' even though RHO can technically mean something good, due to VUL specifically meaning 'foe', which would then imply a negative meaning to the target, and thus negative results.

hrm, and would say;
SUTH RHO VUL
or, " Soothing Hinder Enemy" or to make it proper English, "Soothingly Hinder Enemy", basically be akin to a sleep or numbing spell, breaking their concentration and the like?
>>
>>3337851
(You are quite correct. While not nearly as precise or consistent as a Gina's terraforming, Amara's effects last the entirety of combat, do not require a tether or concentration to use, and are far cheaper overall.)
>>
>>3337851
(To clarify, your example of TER RHO VUL makes the terrain the focus, resulting in a section of ground that specifically targets your foes and does not hinder your allies, while something like TER RHO is difficult terrain that hinders indiscriminately.)

(Meanwhile, switching up the order to something like VUL RHO TER specifies a foe first and foremost, making their specific movement hindered no matter where they go. Whatever word comes first becomes the primary focus of the following effects. Thus, while TER SAN makes terrain that hastens all characters' movement, TER SAN THA only quickens allies' movement, while THA SAN TER is a movement buff to a specific ally.)
>>
>>3337875
awesome, im liking this alot actually. really interesting system for sure.

im assuming doing something like, just saying "RHO" would actually be quite dangerous, as leaving the word to its own whims, with MAYBE the only thing you could rely on is it not directly targeting herself. my thought here is something akin to this might be useful in specific circumstances where someone manages to get near her, so she says a simple one word Action, in an attempt get get quicker results and save her other actions to run away, and thus potentially auto targeting the nearest enemy, or simply causing the terrain around her to flip the fuck out randomly. or so im guessing.

hrm, the order also matters, and as it says, she can talk to Biomass in general, including a daughters own so...

would say...
VUL RHO VUL, or "Enemy, Hinder Enemy" basically be akin to the joke of "why you hitting yourself?"
Because if so im gonna have ALOT of fun with this adorable little snotbag haha.
>>
>>3337893
ah, yes that makes perfect sense.
>>
>>3337896
(Amara is a being of pure, unbridled chaos with her trickster nature, so she can certainly cause unexpected weirdness on the battlefield.)
>>
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I just had an thought.

Would B'ni be classified as VUL or THA?
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>>3337905
it entirely depends on the situation, but if she is acting hostile or of course outright attacking us, VUL without a doubt. considering her goals now outright go against ours, she is probably default VUL unless specific circumstances change this.

i mean, c'mon, she mocked Shu while making her feel all the pain of swimming across an acid river, what do you think?

>>3337903
glorious.
>>
>>3337896
>>3337893
So if I'm reading this right, Amara is a word-caster that affects the terrain.
tldr; She's a loli druid/witch/bard fusion.
I swer the word casting's almost straight out of TES Skyrim Dragon Shouts.
>>
>>3337930
Hell, we even already have one of the word for the meme shout (RHO/Ro).
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>>3337930
no no no, my friend.
you are thinking too SMALL.
she doesn't effect the terrain, or, more importantly, JUST the terrain. she effects BIOMASS. in the terrain, in allied daughters, in enemy daughters, in amalgams.

she literally can turn an enemies own body against themselves with the right words, or make an allies limbs bulk up like a fucking steroid user. albeit with the word choices right now such things are still limited in use, but get a few more words under her cute, bratty belt and...

like i put forth earlier, she could theoretically make an enemy punch themselves in the face.
>>
>>3337930
(Druid/Bard fusion is exactly what I was going for, so yes.)

>>3337950
(...And this Anon properly clarified that she effects biomass in general, so she can work as a buffer, debuffer, and battlefield control depending on the situation. However, as you'll note her HEALTH and BIO reserves are low as to be expected from the Skintalker class, hence why I mentioned earlier that they play best with others and have short life expectancy if they can't find a decent group.)
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>>3337962
oh, i thought those were so low because she is a literal tiny child, but i guess that makes sense too.
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>>3337962
So having less than 100% health/bio is normal for skintalkers? I figured that was just because she's still a kid.
Or is it a bit of both?
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>>3337971
(It's strictly an aspect of the class, actually. You'll have creative Calcite Armorers that are younger than Amara who begin with HEALTH and BIO at 140% and 100% as per their class. The stats have nothing to do with age.)
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>>3337985
Ah, okay. I guess that makes sense.
Speaking of age, do daughters even age at all? I'd imagine not, but I'm not too sure.
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>>3337993
(They do age at a pace roughly equivalent to their original body, but it's typically not an issue during the Crucible for obvious reasons.)
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>>3337971
>>3337970
>>3337985
>tfw MOTHER's primary class in the previous crucible was a SKINTALKER
if B'ni and Mara were examples of Endgame players (having about 6 acts solo) the damage caused by a end-game skin talker would be huge. Imagine the amount of fleshfuckery skin talkers can cause with having up to 10 syllables of flesh words to play with.

Also BHOP, may I interest you in Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem? Their Spellcasting system isn't that different than the dragon shout casting system. It's also a really good horror game.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJLnDq6f2eM
https://eternaldarkness.fandom.com/wiki/Magick
>>
>>3338011
(Eternal Darkness is a genius game and one of my personal favorites! I am very glad you brought it up, as anyone reading here that enjoy this sort of setting and these themes would definitely find something worth their time.)
>>
One more question, although I understand if this might be just a bit too spoiler-y to answer.
How exactly will we be gaining new words for the lexicon? Will it be through special things like learning them from other skintalkers or whatever, or will it just be from leveling up? Maybe a bit of both, perhaps?
>>
>>3337985
huh, makes sense but didn't even think about different starting classes having different starting stats.

>>3338011
i do wonder how one gets more ACTs, id assume certain rare abilities might naturally do it, or maybe main tree abilities grant them after certain levels? they max at 20, and Shu hasn't gotten even 1 at lvl 7, though Hive Mistresses might get less of them than other classes.

hrm, im not gonna even try to guess, we just dont have enough information on the class system to know how this might work honestly. where the fuck is the relic 'diary of a nerdy girl who recorded literally everything about the crucible in grand detail' at when you need it?
>>
>>3338025
>inb4 Amara uses curse words like fuck or shit in her fleshy lexicon
>Gina and Julia give Rath a LOOK.
keks aside, she's a young girl, so her vocabulary is growing. It wouldn't be out of place if Shu's storytime sessions lets Amara learn a new word and inadvertantly craft a new Lexicon vocabulary for her powers.
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>>3338028
I'd imagine ACTs are tied directly to a class's starting stats and can't be upgraded at all unless you are/have eaten a Vitruvian, but that's a complete guess.
>>
>>3338025
(A few come through leveling up, but the vast majority come from discovering them in the world or learning them from other Skintalkers, promoting exploration and conversation among those of their class.)

>>3338028
(ACTs are rare, and are usually contained as a bonus in a capstone of a skill tree. However, it is possible to gain an additional ACT through the simple and savage process of Consuming a Daughter that is allied to you.)
>>
>>3338039
>>3338041
er, i think ill personally stick to trying to get more through levels yeah...
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>>3338033
>Amara: "TER FUCK VUL"
>Everyone else:
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>>3338050
>>3338033
>mfw Amara keeps confusing curse words and similar rare words as Lexicon Words.
that would be absolutely adorable but potentially a problem haha.
>"but if 'fucking shitstain cuntbag' isnt a lexicon spell then what does it mean?"
>>
>>3338054
>>3338050
>Gina tries to "help" by adding 'safe' vocabulary to Amara's lexicon
>Amara starts spouting meme words in her lexicon spells
>TER KEK SENPAI
>PEPE VUL MEME
>DEUS VULT SENPAI
>>
>>3338060
......dammit 4chan. why must the word censors screw with the spellcasting?
>>
>>3338060
>Shu engages Chitinous Stalwart
>Amara: "THA BIGEYE FORYU"
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>>3338060
>Amara spends literally less than three days with us
>visits Julia again
>"FUCKING HELLO SENPAI JULIA WE KICKED A BITCHSHITS MEMETASTIC FACE RIGHT IN, ITS WAS DAMNED FUCKING FUNNY, KEK, DUES VULT!!!!!"
>Julia is stuck between utter shock and holding herself back from murdering us all.
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>>3338070
>julia falls completely to the hunger right then and there
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>>3337820
No sheets for Dorian or Julia?
>>
>>3338076
if we ever cause poor sweet Julia to fall to the hunger, we honestly deserve the worst of fates she bestows upon us.

>>3338078
im curious on this too, but my guess was he was gonna wait til the new Vein, as theirs are alot more straight forward.
>>
>>3338078
>>3338085
I figured it was because they haven't actually joined our party yet. From what it seems, BHOP is gearing up for Amara to join our party for real and not just sit in the sidelines with the others.
>accidentally misspelled "sidelines" as "dielines"
>>
>>3338095
that might be fair, though he said Dorian would be a party member eventually, and Julia id think is at least a close enough ally now to get to see what she can do, but we shall see.
>>
>>3338113
>though he said Dorian would be a party member eventually
Ah, did he? I must've missed that.
>>
>>3338078
>>3338085
(They'll be in the next Vein, as there is a vote related to the party composition that's coming up.)
>>
>>3338182
sounds good, cant wait to see what they can do, though i imagine thats gonna be a hard vote as it implies leaving someone behind...
>>
>>3338190
>>3338182
No doubt about that.
I'm somewhat worried that leaving someone out on a trip means they'll be stuck at that same level. Hey Bhop, will our other allies keep up in terms of levels and stats?
>>
>>3338320
They'll probably at least get some levels just so they own't be dead weight when we take them, but they probably won't keep up completely. Julia had been gone to fend off(/hunt?) some amalgams when Amara first woke up, after all.
>>
>>3337820
oh, one last question; does doubling up on a word increase its effects, not do anything, or only work for certain words?

Like would SAN SAN THA give a more potent speed bonus, or TER TER RHO increase how much terrain is effected?

my personal guess is, a word we can unlock is a size/potency increase word, but never hurts to ask.
>>
(You other allies will continue to level up, albeit slower than active party members and the chance of them Consuming new abilities from errant enemies will be low and up to rolls of the dice.)

(For your consideration, I will be opening the vote at the beginning of the next Vein to change your party composition for Shu plus a team of three of your choice between all your currently available allies. I think it's only fair, as I've seen more interest than I anticipated in having Julia and Dorian playable sooner rather than later.)
>>
>>3338340
(Doubling up is not something Amara can do yet, and your suspicions about enhancement-based words is in line with what's down the line.)
>>
>>3338345
>3 secondary character slots
>5 secondary characters
>two will be left behind
>need new characters to level up for end game and want to see them grow in level and development, but have such great bonds with current characters.

oof, this is gonna be a fucking difficult one for sure.
>>
>>3338347
ah, makes sense yeah. thanks for answering all my probably seemingly obvious questions.
>>
>>3338357
(It's no trouble at all. I appreciate the questions since I want you to have the necessary information to make educated decisions about how to proceed.)
>>
(Dorian's Character Sheet, after a little bit of revision. And don't worry, I'll post all of these again when I open the vote next thread.)

https://pastebin.com/4du0MhzA
>>
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>>3338401
fucking glorious.

well, i haven't even seen Julias sheet yet, but my mind has been changed and made up. while id still adore going for the T.3 Forge, i think i want to take all our newbies for a spin towards the Engine, where not only is it potentially safer, though no doubt still hold the stray amalgam, but unlike the forge, our Link to Gina and the proximity to way-stations means if things go south on our lil training expedition, we might be able to both get aid and/or fall back much easier.
>>
>>3338401
>Checks Dorian's sheet
>Liquid offensive multi-limbed razor claws as offense
>Amorphous liquid evasion form for defense
>Endless paint familiars (no slots, but determined by the amount of paint he has) for support.
well then. He's got multi-form balancing as his core kit.
But the playstyle is leaving me befuddled.
BHOP, he's still classified as a flesh Artisan as his core class right? And another question, is transforming between each form a free action for Dorian?
>>
>>3338401
Would effects similar to what happens to the farms in the original Color Out of Space story be considered Skin Talker or Flesh Artisan?
>>
>>3338520
(He is a Flesh Artisan like Julia, yes. And transforming between forms is a free action, a fact that I shall note on his sheet. Thank you, Anon.)

>>3338563
(I would say it would be a blend between those two, yes.)
>>
(And last but most certainly not least, Julia Pickman's character sheet. I hope you all have a good rest of your evening, and take care.)

https://pastebin.com/U1nR7LcP
>>
>>3338691
Damn, Julia looks strong as hell.
>malleable flesh
malleable skin* (?)
>>
>>3338691
oh holy baloney, i knew she had some melee potential but didn't know she was basically a kung fu attrition warrior.

neat as hell, and not at all what i was expecting.
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>>3338717
(Ha, I figured one would get tired of reading flesh over and over so I thought I'd mix it up a bit.)
>>
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>>3338691
>Evading such a relentless barrage of precise strikes in close combat is useless, utterly useless.
>relentless barrage
>close combat
>useless, utterly useless
>>
alright, well i thought long and hard about whether or not to post this, so i guess i will and see how it goes. made it solely based off the fact i tend to spend half my time playing during the week on the phone, and needed a personal format that worked better for that, and while i dont want to steal attention or control from BHOP or his own work, i also felt like i'd be amiss to not help anyone else out if they too need a better format. but if asked ill delete this and not post it again.

regardless, id recommend anyone wishing to use it to copy and save their own version, so no one is reliant on me for its updates if they wish to use it, or obviously if for some reason it got lost on my end. i also have absolutely no idea how to organize Relics nor Duel-Tech so yeah that important tid-bit is kinda missing.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15ctgm_liaNO0e0B6zAcIUrmfDN0tWiXds3L4FvogI2M/edit?usp=sharing

so, yeah there is a thing. i apologize if it again seems out of line to make my own, and it was not my intention to do so, merely something i enjoy making and had personal use for, though nothing meant against BHOPs own way of doing things mind you.
>>
>>3338882
(This is absolutely fantastic, Anon! I greatly appreciate your work on this, as this would have been impossible to make on my terrible computer and incredibly unweildy on mobile. As we discussed earlier, a Google-based spreadsheet like this is ideal for making a better character sheet, and this gives me the perfect template for when I get a laptop that is not garbage.)

(Once again, thank you so much for taking the time to create this, and please know I do not feel like you're stepping on my toes in the least. Rather, I am honored that you enjoy the quest enough to make something that makes it easier for more people to enjoy.)
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>>3338973
well, glad you like it and can find use for it for sure. making things like this is something ive always enjoyed a bit, so its no issue on that end. i just never know how to approach these things, as i never know the balance between how much things like this is over the line for one author or not, if that makes any sense.
>>
Quick question, BHOP.
Artisan's Peak is what Julia was describing earlier where she can basically turn a fucker's own body into an iron maiden, right?
>>
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>be trans girl

>realize I want to be a magical cancer girl so I can undo my penis through mutations

yes i know i would just get absorbed on Mother's arrival
>>
>>3339270
(Indeed, it is.)
>>
I hope whichever allies aren't in the party at the time still get occasional level ups from hunting amalgams near our home base.
>>
>>3339691
(No worries, they certainly will continue to gain levels, and there is also a few bonuses for leaving more than one character behind. I always disliked systems that make you bench party members with no benefit for doing so, thus I've tweaked it to be a little more interesting.)
>>
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>>3338724
Also worth noting
>Pinpoint strikes
>By the time they take notice, they will already be dead
>Relentless barrage
>>
>>3339709
Glad to hear it BHOP. With all these cool and interesting party members, I would hate the idea of anybody being left behind strength-wise.

(An idea - in case we were to gain more party members, could we form a second group? Say, four other daughters who could venture out and go on their own adventures off-panel and do stuff that helps us out?)
>>
>>3340802
(That is absolutely possible and heavily encouraged.)
>>
>>3340802
>>3340815
oh, well thats pretty helpful actually. gives me IDEAS for sure.
>>
>>3341297
>>3340802
>>3340815
>BHOP actually encouraging Shu to recruit fellow daughters
>The makings of a Defiant Army.
>>
>>3341489
i think, knowing him, hes more of saying its a viable option he wont outright hinder, that doesn't mean its going to be easy.

but hey, im still all for the idea.
were gonna need them for later when we fuck up and lose one of the main group members anyways.
>>
(The 13th Vein is archived, Gentlemen.)
>>
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>How I imagine Amara
Also, is it possible to have Gina knock Dorian out and puppet his body around to make use of his passive?
>>
>>3341705
Probably, but considering it uses up all of his BIO when it procs it wouldn't really help much.
>>
>>3341715
Actually, wait, I forgot about Gina's dominion leash or whatever that lets her use her own BIO for other people's shit.
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>>3341705
>>3341715
kinda sounds like a dick move unless the situation is super fucking dire. but i mean, i will admit its not a bad ability to have in our folder.
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>>3341795
>>3341728
>>3341705
The Paint Sentries that Dorian subconsciously makes when he's incapacitated or sleeping is useful in the fact that he can sleep soundly without fear of night time ambushes. The problem is when the ambushers are stronger than the sentries (i.e. Shu and co. busting into Dorian's bedroom)
It's very handy, but the downside is that he's completely vulnerable because of the fact that all of his BIO is channeled into those sentries.
>>
Gentlemen, the 14th Vein is open.

>>3342376



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