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“…The territory consists of three separate parts; one is inhabited by savages, another by Strangers and Witches, and the third by the people we call Cimmaroons, though in their own languages they have other names for themselves. The savages live in the deep mountainous interior of Outremer, which is poorly known. This red-skinned race is the revenant of a primitive civilization that once ruled over the entire landmass and its outlying islands, before they were violently displaced by the arrival of the Cimmaroons, who began migrating to Outremer more than six hundred years ago. If it were not for a few loan-words that were adopted by the Cimmaroons, and the ruins of several of their ancient megalithic sites, there would be no evidence of any civilization that preceded the arrival of the Cimmaroons in Outremer.

The Strangers and the Witches live in the Great Gloom, a primeval forest that covers almost all of Outremer, save for the coastal regions, the river basins and valleys in the interior, and the mountains in the deep interior. The Strangeness is endemic in the Great Gloom – the flora and fauna from there are Strange from germination or birth, and in some cases, generations of exposure has twisted them into new species. Interestingly however, specimens taken from the Great Gloom – and to a lesser extent, the rest of Outremer – are more resistant to the acute affects of the Strangeness then comparable specimens from across the Ocean. This resilience, or in the parlance of magicians, this stability, helps explains the Cimmaroons seemingly heedless attitude towards Strangers and Witches, who are allowed to live and breed unchecked in the Great Gloom. Witches are even allowed to organize into Covens, the allegiances of which are courted by the tribal potentates.

The Cimmaroons themselves live in the verdant river basins that run into the heart of Outremer. Portions of some of the basins are forested, but those forests are not part of the Great Gloom. The rest of the basins are farmland, enough to support large towns, and along the river, small walled cities. While Cimmaroons do not have anything approaching the industry that the Empire has, they should not be considered primitives in matters of the instrumental sciences. Cimmaroon artisans can compete in quality with the best that the Principalities has to offer, and arguably their Glassers are superior to ours. Additionally, they are also a fairly martial people, as small wars between the tribal nations are common enough for them to develop a disciplined professional soldiery. These armies do field muskets and cannons, though nowhere near the quality or quantity of our own, and they fight beside conscripts and auxiliaries that are still armed with longbows and spears. However, with nearly all of the Inquisitions Mitigators stationed with our tributaries across the Ocean, we have no answer for their Witches
…”

- Prince-Governor Heydrich II Boiohaemum's In Outremer
>>
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>>5120915
Your name is Chlotsuintha, and you are in the process of a particularly messy spot of Life-Weaving. At this stage of the spell, both the piglet – which is dying – and the smuggler – who has been dead for a day – are violently spasming. Unfortunately, at this point, all you can do is trust that your needles are deep enough to stay in place, as your hands are needed elsewhere at the moment. Your right hand is occupied with manipulating the spine as the magic courses through everything. Your left hand is gripping the shuttle, which connects you to the Loom. Beyond a dull and distant pain that throbs in time with your heartbeat, no feeling remains in it. In fact, at this point in the spell, you are probably no longer physically able to loosen your grip on the shuttle. That is one of the things that makes working alone on Life-Looms dangerous. If anything ever goes wrong once the spell is fully active, you are just as strapped in as whatever you are working on. The spell – and with it, the Strangeness – will flow down the path of least resistance, which in theory, should be either the fuel or the raw material, depending on how close the spell is to completion. In practice, the Many Mysteries are often inscrutable. Even if everything is done flawlessly, things can just … go wrong. Really wrong.

Blessedly, this is not one of those times. The spell is progressing at a comfortable rate, and when you snuck a quick look down at the cadaver a moment ago, more illuminated by the glowing light of your eyes than the olive oil lamp you have nearby, you were surprised to see that the pork you stuffed into the skull had already started to turn into something akin to brain. The color was noticeably pinker than it should have been, and the consistency was closer to muscle than the fat – discrepancies no doubt caused by your choice of raw material. You doubt that it would ever properly attach to the rest of the brain or get the look right – and you know that at your skill level, you would never be able to produce working gray matter. But you do not need to get it perfect, you just need to get it good enough so that when you drop the cadaver off of the top of the palisade tonight, the guards that find him splatted do not have any reason to think that he died a day or so ago, so they have no reason to think twice about rolling back the upgraded curfew.

Time passes. Maybe ten minutes, maybe fifteen – you are not sure. If the spell was going to fail, it would have by now. You allow yourself a shaky sigh of relief, as you glace over at the piglet. Here and there, patches of its flesh have begun to turn necrotic, caused by the backwash of the spell. Additionally, it is bleeding from all of its orifices, both of its eyes have distended and the right one, the one you stuck the needle next too have started to smolder. Despite all of this the piglet is still breathing, though you are certain it is being kept alive by the spell.
>>
>>5120918
More time passes. You do not bother looking at the piglet anymore – it is a distraction. When you do glace down from the spine, it is to look at the body. The skull has closed itself up now, and the cracks around the hole are knitting themselves together. Once the knitting is complete, the spell will focus on the smaller cosmetic issues – such as reversing the decay and redistributing the blood throughout the body. This will be the easiest part of the work, as the changes will not be as dramatic as reversing the damage to the skull, nor will they require you to alter the Forms to the extent that you had to do to create the brain replacement. When the skull was shattered, the Form of the skull became the Form of a ruined skull and some fragments of a skull. Reverting the skull to the original Form was relatively straightforward, as the fragments of bone were still recognizably skull fragments, and all you had to do was simply reverse a relatively recent change in the Form. But just because the idealization process was straightforward, that does not mean that it was easy to perform. There was quite a bit of damage to undo, and it takes time. And if the process takes longer, then that means that not only do you have to draw deeper into your magic, but there are also more opportunities for things to go wrong – for your concentration to slip at a crucial moment, for spontaneous fuel or material rejection, or even for something to happen around you that means you could no longer safely be using magic. Working with the brain was even harder, because not only were you replacing instead of repairing, but the material you were working with was further removed from your target. The Form of muscle is closer to the Form of bone, and the Form of pork is closer to the Form of a man’s bone than a man’s brain. You could have tried to pull from the piglet’s brain instead, but that would have almost certainly have killed the piglet, which would have made it harder in the end, not easier.

Probably another twenty or twenty-five minutes. With a final push, the spell reaches completion then as the body heals the last injury – the holes made by the needles. When the last of the needles is forced out, the spell sputters then quietly dies, as you release your death grip on the shuttle. You finally allow yourself to take a good, long look at the prone body of the smuggler. All traces of the injury on the back of his head is gone – though the skull is noticeably flatter in the portion where you repaired it compared to the rest of it, and the skin and the hair that grew over the wound site just look a little bit more … porcine than the bits around it. You unsuppress Strange-Staining and breathe a sigh of relief when it does not activate as you give the cadaver a complete inspection. That feeling of relief is a little soured when you look over at the absolutely mangled remains of the piglet.
>>
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>>5120921
From snout to tail, the beast is completely necrotic – or rather, where the snout and tail were, as they have rotted off. The piglet’s gut and chest cavity both look like they imploded – with enough force that ribs were broken in the process. The pork that you cut from the piglet’s mother has not fared much better – most of it has turned to some really foul looking sludge, though it is transparent enough that you can still see …. something solid in there. Disturbingly enough it is twitching, though when you pull the needles out, it slows, and then stops. You guess that it was just some sort of residual energy … but you really do not know for sure.

As much as you would like to take a break – or even just clean up. But you cannot afford to take the time. You want the body to be as fresh as possible when it is found, but before you can dump it, you are going to need to go out and steal a Spotted Cloak for it. To that end, you spend a minute or so fiddling with the needle in the crook of your left arm, until you are satisfied that it should be able to operate as a temporary socket for your new Wand of Head Knocking. Before you leave the workbench, you grab some salt for the catalyst and the fuel-nodules that you found with the wand, as well as the improvised poke, which you cut the clean … well, the clearer of portions of into binds and a gag.

You hook one of the fuel nodules into the wand, you head into your room to retrieve the stub-club that you took off of the smuggler’s corpse. Your reasoning is that it might not be possible to use the wand at some point … or you might have already knocked someone out, and instead of using the wand again, you could use the club. Options. You want as many options as you can give yourself. There are also the pin-stilettoes … but … you do not think that they would be much help against a guard, and you doubt you have the stomach to use one on a fellow Leper.
>>
>>5120936
You do not like it one bit, but with a needle in your left arm, you are not going to be doing any climbing. So with no other option, you are going to have to use the winch platform as an elevator. If anyone were to come into the belltower, they would obviously see it – and given the upgraded curfew, they would probably have some questions, but there is nothing for it. You make your way down on the platform, which seems to be creaking loud enough to wake the dead, and then you head out into the Midden, eyes and ears peeled for patrols. As you put some distance between yourself and the Belfry, your stomach feels sicker and sicker. Part of it is nerves, no doubt, but most of it is prospect in front of you. Tonight, not only are you going to rob a Leper, but you are also going to hurt one. Actually … now that you think about it, would it hurt? It’s dangerous –Hell, it is potential lethal – but you remember from your lessons that the brain is unusual in that it cannot feel pain from injuries inflicted on itself. Perhaps this wand will not hurt anyone after all?

Feeling marginally better about your purpose here, you look around to get your bearings and hopefully spot a mark. After having to duck and hide from an approaching patrol, you eventually find one who meets all of your criteria. Living alone, far enough away from everyone else, with multiple ways in and out of the residence, and adequately screened from the paths of the patrols by other buildings. As you move in and consider your options, you wonder if this is the best that you could do. This one is still wearing the Spotted Cloak – but if you were to look a bit longer, maybe you would find one who undressed for bed. If you could find such a mark, you might not even need to use the wand – you could sneak on in and swipe it. No magic, no question of hurting anyone, and most importantly, no chance of killing anyone … so long as it all went according to plan. Well … hmm. Your plans have not had the best track record recently, but still … stealing a pile of clothes would be much easier and quicker than stripping someone naked. And if something did go wrong while you were robbing an already undressed Leper, then you would have the wand and the club anyway.
>>
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>>5120937
>Please Choose ONE of the following:
>Save the wand for absolute emergencies and look for an already undressed Leper. Requires three more Stealth Tests [One to find the pre-peeled Leper, one to rob him, one to make it back to the Belfry].
>This is an absolute emergency! You are in range. Use the damned thing right now. Requires one more Stealth Test [One to make it back to the Belfry].
>This is an absolute emergency … but you are worried about the wand. Get right next to him before using it, so if something goes wrong, you can use the Stub-Club instead. Requires two more Stealth Tests [One to break into his place, one make it back to the Belfry].
>This is an absolute emergency … but you are really worried about the wand. This is the first time you have ever used something like this. Maybe it would be a better idea to rely on the stub-club instead? Requires two more Stealth Tests [One to break into his place, one make it back to the Belfry].

Well, it took a little longer than I had hoped, but I am back and ready to run! Here are the previous threads - though idiot that I am dropped the 'The' on the title of the last thread. Thankfully, it still comes up just searching by title for 'Graverobber': http://thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=Graverobber
>>
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Wand of Head Knocking, Second Degree. Kinesiology. Stable. Silent. Targets known living organisms with brains, causing the brain of the target to vibrate violently, causing concussions, disorientation, nausea, and potentially unconsciousness or even death. Can be blocked by lead. LIMITATION: The tip of the wand must be in an unobstructed line to head of the target. Range is up to six yards with casting, up to twelve with overcasting. Catalyzed with eighth-charge of salt with casting, or a fourth-charge with overcasting. Fueled with eighth-charge of an ounce-nodule with casting, or a forth of an ounce-nodule with overcasting. Some Strangeness produced on caster and on fuel source with casting, Strangeness in the Second Degree produced on both with overcasting. One-in-one-hundred chance for some Strangeness produced on target with casting, one-in-five chance for some Strangeness with overcasting. Base DC 5 for hammer cast. Base DC 10 for hammer overcast. Base DC (2+1pC) for each standard cast of a chained casting. Base DC (4+2pC) for each overcast of a chained casting. LIMITATION: Chained casts of Head Knocking, Second Degree do not have cheaper casting costs. LIMITATION: Chained casts of Head-Knocking can target up to three separate targets with seven total separate casts – any more than this requires a second action. Hammer casts and overcasts of Head Knocking has a nineteen-in-twenty chance to completely knock the target out cold for thirty seconds or so, and each chained cast or overcast of Head knocking has a thirteen-in-twenty chance to completely knock the target out cold for twenty seconds. The duration of unconsciousness stacks with subsequent successful casts of Head Knocking that also manage to fully knock out the target. Each successful cast of Head Knocking has a one-in-two-hundred-and-fifty-six chance to kill the target, determined independently from the target getting completely knocked out. For every subsequent successful cast of Head Knocking on a target that is currently concussed, the odds of outright killing the target are doubled, and then run again. Example: Chlotsuintha performs seven standard casts of Head Knocking, in a chained cast, all at one target, with no bonuses or maluses effecting her cast. She rolls seven d100 dice each with a DC of 9. She succeeds at six of them, meaning that the spell reached completion six times, and that the target has become concussed. She rolls six d100 dice with a DC of 2 to determine if any Strangeness is produced on the target. She succeeds at all of them, meaning that no Strangeness is produced on the target, though Strangeness is produced on herself and on the wand’s fuel nodule. She rolls six d20 dice with a DC of 8. She succeeds four times, meaning that the target is out cold for eighty seconds. Then the QM rolls one d256 die, one d128 die, one d64 die, one d32 die, one d16 die, one d8 die and one d4 die, all with DCs of 2. Two of the tests fail, target dies.
>>
>>5120946
Save the wand for absolute emergencies and look for an already undressed Leper. Requires three more Stealth Tests [One to find the pre-peeled Leper, one to rob him, one to make it back to the Belfry].

Remember
>With the right arm socketed, she will get a bonus to casting with the wand, but a malus for any combat.
>>
>>5120946
>>This is an absolute emergency! You are in range. Use the damned thing right now. Requires one more Stealth Test [One to make it back to the Belfry].
Fewer rolls, fewer chance of rolling a critfail which we cannot afford at all now.
>>
>>5120946
>Save the wand for absolute emergencies and look for an already undressed Leper. Requires three more Stealth Tests [One to find the pre-peeled Leper, one to rob him, one to make it back to the Belfry].
its the one item everyone im the Midden owns, it should not be too difficult to steal one without assaulting someone.

welcome back Trash!
>>
>>5120946
>This is an absolute emergency! You are in range. Use the damned thing right now. Requires one more Stealth Test [One to make it back to the Belfry].
I’m done with tests. Get it done quick and clean.
>>
>but with a needle in your left arm

I thought we socketed our right arm? I mean, I voted for the left arm, but the right arm won.

Weren't we also supposed to begin this session with a flashback to our mother?

Anyways, I'm glad this is back.

>>5120946
>This is an absolute emergency! You are in range. Use the damned thing right now. Requires one more Stealth Test [One to make it back to the Belfry].

Assuming some catastrophe doesn't occur, nothing happening is acceptable. And if it does work but the time he/she is stunned is low it should still be enough time for us to run up and hit them with the club.
>>
Plus, the wand is silent, so I'm not sure what could go wrong aside from magical mishaps, it isn't like failing will alert the Leper. Also, if we are already within range, and the range is 6 yards, then we are basically already close enough to get the jump on this Leper with the stub club should the wand fail anyways, 6 yards is nothing. You can't really draw a weapon or even react all that much if someone charges you from that close and you were unaware of them until that point
>>
>>5121332
>I thought we socketed our right arm?
Uh ... whoops? You are right. We did. Don't know how I missed that.

>Weren't we also supposed to begin this session with a flashback to our mother?
We were, and I wrote the entire thing up, but then I decided against posting it. I had to give away too much information on her past in her internal monologue - and after some careful thought, I want her to remain a mysterious figure. For now, I think it would be best if the only alternate POV was Odovacar. We will still see her, but for the immediate future, it will just be through his eyes.

>>5121336
On a successful hammer cast, the wand only has a 95% chance [DC 1] of knocking someone out completely cold. On a successful chained cast, the wand only has a 65% chance [DC 7] Otherwise they will just be concussed - and could possibly shout out if they saw you, though if you attacked or tried to sneak by them in that state, you would definitely get bonuses to those rolls.

>>5120990 Three More 1
>>5121022 Three More 1 One More 1
>>5121066 Three More 2 One More 1
>>5121100 Three More 2 One More 2
>>5121332 Three More 2 One More 3
>>
>>5121429
Another mistake. I got the DC wrong there. It should be DC 2 (fails on a roll of 1 on a d20 for odds of 95%) for the hammer cast and DC 8 (fails on rolls of 1-7 on a d20for odds of 65%) for the chained cast.

Anyway, now that we are using the wand, we need to make the decision on what kind of cast we are going to do. Currently, you have eight ounce-nodules of fuel with you for the wand, as well as more than enough salt to cast them all. You are within 6 yards of the Leper, and as overcasting this spell is only done to increase the range, there is no need to vote for that.

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Hammer Cast [1/8 salt and 1/8 ounce-nodule]
>Chained Cast [1/8 salt per cast and 1/8 ounce-nodule per cast]
>>
>>5121447
>Hammer Cast [1/8 salt and 1/8 ounce-nodule]

Ah, I skipped over the post with the description of the wand's properties in this thread because we already saw it in the previous thread, I didn't realise there were additions to it, nor did I think we'd be using d20's. I thought it'd be a unified d100 system for everything.
>>
>>5121511
Yeah, the system is pretty complicated. Probably to the point of being a fault. That being said, there weren't any additions to the description of the wand from last thread to this thread, only a correction, where I switched 'halved' to 'doubled'.
>>
>>5121447
>Hammer Cast [1/8 salt and 1/8 ounce-nodule]
>>
>>5121447
>Hammer Cast [1/8 salt and 1/8 ounce-nodule]
what was the downside to hammer casting again? More straining or dangerous or something right?
>>
Okay, we despite all of the gobbledygook underneath, all I need right now is just ONE roll of 1d100.

>Critical Success: DC 99 and higher. Target receives the concussed malus and is knocked unconscious for 180 seconds. WITH lethal intent target is killed. WITHOUT lethal intent target cannot be killed.

>Success: DC 23 and higher. Target receives the concussed malus and is knocked unconscious for 30 seconds. 50% chance of First-Degree Strangeness being produced on fuel, rendering fuel unusable until the Strangeness is dealt with, or it dissipates. WITH lethal intent 12.5% (1/8) chance that the target is killed by the spell. WITHOUT lethal intent 0.098% (1/1024) chance that the target is killed by the spell. Subsequent casts of Head Knocking on the target double the odds of the initial lethality.

>Partial Success: DC 3 and higher. Target receives the concussed malus. 95% chance of the target being knocked unconscious for 30 seconds. First-Degree Strangeness is produced on the caster and the fuel, rendering the fuel unusable until the Strangeness is dealt with, or it dissipates. 1% chance that Strangeness is produced on the target. ~0.4% (1/256) chance that the target is killed by the spell. Subsequent casts of Head Knocking on the target double the odds of the initial lethality.

>Partial failure: DC 2 and lower. 75% chance of the target receiving the concussed malus. IF concussed, 25% chance of the target being knocked unconscious for 20 seconds. First-Degree Strangeness is produced on the caster, fuel source and the wand, rendering the fuel source and wand unusable until the Strangeness is deal with, or it dissipates. 15% chance that Strangeness is produced on target. WITH lethal intent, 0.19% (1/512) chance that the target is killed by the spell. WITHOUT lethal intent, ~1.6% (1/64) chance that the target is killed by the spell. Subsequent casts of Head Knocking on the target double the odds of the initial lethality.

>Complete failure: DC 1 and lower. 50% chance of the caster receiving the concussed malus. IF concussed, 15% chance of the target being knocked unconscious for 20 seconds. First-Degree Strangeness is produced on the caster, fuel source and wand, rendering the fuel source and wand unusable until the Strangeness is dealt with, or it dissipates. Two separate 15% chances that Second-Degree Strangeness is produced on the fuel source and wand. ~0.4% (1/256) chance that the caster inflicts a permanent brain injury on themselves. Subsequent casts of Head Knocking on the target double the odds of the initial lethality.
>>
Rolled 39 (1d100)

>>5122263
Patternmaker bless my die!
>>
>>5121946 As described in the spell, using any version of Head Knocking produces Strangeness on the caster and on the fuel. If there is Strangeness present in a fuel-nodule, then even if it still has charges left, it cannot be used until the Strangeness has been dealt with, or it dissipates away (at Chlotsuintha's current level at least - once she gets better, she will be able to cast with Strangeness-addled fuel sources). But the presence of Strangeness only becomes an issue after the spell is completed, which is the downside of hammer casting - even if it is more effective, its use of fuel is nowhere near as efficient as chained casting, at least for now.

Currently, Chlotsuintha has eight fuel nodules (and six more that she should be able to revive at some point on the Life-Loom). If she were to hammer cast Head Knocking as many times as she could at the moment, that would be a total of 8 casts, as after every cast, Strangeness would enter into the fuel, temporarily rendering it unusable. However, if she were to chain cast Head Knocking as many times as she could at the moment, that would be a total of 56 casts (assuming that she was in range, and the tip of her wand had an unobstructed line to the head of the target(s)).

Of course, there are going to be times where it is not possible, necessary or desirable to use chain casting. This is one of them.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

If this roll is a 1, then there is Strangeness present in the fuel nodule, and it must be swapped out before you can use the wand again.
>>
Rolled 117 (1d1024)

If this roll is a 1, then the target dies.
>>
So far, so good! Now we just need to get back to the Belfry.

> DC 33: Witchlet Chlotsuintha is a Born and Bred Sneakthief, making a basic Stealth Test like this [Easy]
> + DC 7 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is Hard to Miss, given her size
> + DC 10 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is attempting Stealth during dusk
> + DC 5 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is Known in the Midden
> + DC 3 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is now Tired, and is not thinking as quickly as she should
> + DC 2 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is now Drained, and is not moving as quickly as she should
> + DC 2 Witchlet Chlotsuintha has a temporary socket, and it makes her entire right side stiffer than normal
> - DC 15 Witchlet Chlotsuintha has Complete Knowledge of the Midden
> - DC 5 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is attempting Stealth in an area with some concealment
> - DC 10 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is attempting Stealth in a very poorly trafficked area
> - DC 1 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is currently wearing underwear
> - DC 10 Witchlet Chlotsuintha has knocked unconscious the person most likely to notice her

> DC 21: Anything lower is a failure. [One re-roll available. Guards are on high alert; they have one hostile re-roll available]

>No Passes: Taking a swing at the Bat! One of the patrols recognizes you and gives chase!
>One Pass: A Strange Shadow. One of the patrols sees something, and gives chase!
>Two Passes: A Strange Sound. One of the patrols hears something, and the guards focus in on this area. Next roll in the Midden has two hostile re-rolls.
>Three Passes: A Quiet Night. No one sees or hears anything. You slip right through.

>Three rolls of 1d100 please!
>>
Rolled 89 (1d100)

>>5122306
>>
Rolled 58 (1d100)

>>5122306
>>
Rolled 20 (1d100)

>>5122306
>>
Rolled 1 (1d100)

>>5122310
Using the guards hostile re-roll to potential counter this pass ...
>>
>>5122401
Well thank god crits don't get counted in rerolls. I think we should use our reroll here to counter this nonetheless.
>>
>>5122401
Jesus Christ.

Okay, well, thankfully, there is no criticals on re-rolls otherwise you would have been in trouble. Would you guys like to use your last remaining lucky coin?

Also, here is the missing text from the roll prompt that I have forgotten two times in a row now:
>If ONE of the THREE rolls comes up as a Critical or Near-Critical Failure (Roll of 1 or 2), then you automatically fail this test, and you manage to trip during the chase, spilling the bag and losing the piglet.
>If ONE of the THREE rolls comes up as a Critical or Near-Critical Success (Roll of 100 or 99), then you automatically pass this test, and in the process, you find an old tenth-talent lying in the gutter by the toll gate.
>A Critical Failure overrides a Critical Success and a Near-Critical Success, but a Critical Success overrides a Near-Critical Failure.
>You are STRONGLY encouraged to roll again after fifteen minutes if more rolls are needed, to keep the quest moving.

Please choose ONE of the following:
>Use the remaining lucky coin for a re-roll.
>Do not use the remaining lucky coin for a re-roll.
>>
>>5122411
>>Use the remaining lucky coin for a re-roll.
>>
>>5122411
>>Use the remaining lucky coin for a re-roll.
>>
>>5122411
>Use the remaining lucky coin for a re-roll.
>>
>>5122411
>Use the remaining lucky coin for a re-roll.
>>
>>5122593
>>5122458
>>5122419
>>5122417
Alright. Now we just need someone to roll for it. 1d100, please.
>>
Rolled 79 (1d100)

Here goes nothing.
>>
Rolled 90 (1d100)

>>5122665
>>
>>5122411
Wait, why are we giving up our final reroll by giving the guards two later ones? I know this vote already passed, but if rerolls don't count as crits, would it be better to attempt a chase? I honestly haven't experienced the chase mechanics, so I am asking from a point of ignorance here.
>>
>>5122686
Well, you are not alone. We have not been chased get in this quest but for the few anons who have stuck with me for a while, they might recognize the mechanic from my previous quest, Collapsing (though it has been reworked).

Basically, Chlotsuintha and the guards would have taken turns making rolls. If over the course of these rolls, the collective value of Chlotsuintha's rolls was high enough, she would manage to escape. If the collective value of the guards rolls got high enough, they would have chances to corner her, which if successful, could initiate a fight. Also, if either the guards or Chlotsuintha rolled poorly on one particularly roll, they would suffer some sort of consequence - like being injured or receiving some temporary malus for chase rolls, losing a weapon or an important possession, and in the case of Chlotsuintha, potentially being recognized.

Suffice to say, chases are dangerous - especially for Chlotsuintha, with her innate risk of being identified by her unusual height.

Anyway, I've got four more questions for you guys. First - the original plan tonight was to drop the now fully dressed cadaver off of the palisade - but sneaking up the thing while carrying a body is going to be noticeably harder, and you have just used up your last re-roll. Do you guys want to still go through with it, despite the increased difficulty to that stealth test, or would you rather find a rock and crush the back of the smuggler's skull before you head out, even if it might not look as convincing as the real McCoy? Second - when it becomes apparent that the 'smuggler' has stolen and is wearing someone else's clothes, and does not have his original clothes in his possession, it might raise questions. Should you burn some of the remaining rags somewhere where they will be found to make a red herring? Third - possessions. When you found the smuggler's body, he had the remains of two vials of laudanum in his pockets, and the stub-club. Should you put them back? Should you leave something else? Fourth - where to next? There are two big tasks on the table tonight - stealing the Lifting Oil and investigating the late Aldoin's house, but there are other places that you could check in on too.
>>
>>5122738
>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Carry the cadaver up the palisade before dropping it off, as planned.
>Find a rock, or use the bastards own stub-club to bash his brains in instead.

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Burn the clothes
>Do not burn the clothes

>Please choose SOME of the following [choosing nothing is also an option]:
>Return the shards of glass and the corks from the vials
>Return the Stub-Club
>Plant 150 eighth-talents on the smuggler - the going price for one vial of laudanum.
>Plant two silver twenty-talents on the smuggler

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>After leaving the Midden, head to the late Aldoin's house.
>After leaving the Midden, head to the Refineries to steal Lifting Oil
>After leaving the Midden, head to the South Burying Ground and the remains of the house that the Inquisition burned down.
>After leaving the Midden, head to the [write-in, subject to QM approval]
>>
>>5122758
>Carry the cadaver up the palisade before dropping it off, as planned.

>Burn the clothes
>Return the shards of glass and the corks from the vials
&
the "silvered snuff box" that we took (Thread #1 4949228 & >>4979957) as well seems like a better way to tie the body to a crime so that might also be something else to leave behind, also I would fell better if it was returned before we left since we probably aren't going to be able to "fence" it in time and it would probably considered valuable.

>After leaving the Midden, head to the Refineries to steal Lifting Oil
It's the next step and 2nd last thing we will need, if we have any time left after we have everything then we can go investigate.
>>
>Find a rock, or use the bastards own stub-club to bash his brains in instead. (crouch when doing so to leave the impression of a shorter assailant)

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Do not burn the clothes

>Please choose SOME of the following [choosing nothing is also an option]:
>Return the shards of glass and the corks from the vials
>Return the Stub-Club (stash nearby)
>Plant 150 eighth-talents on the smuggler - the going price for one vial of laudanum.
>The Silver Snuff Box

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>After leaving the Midden, head to the Refineries to steal Lifting Oil
>>
>>5122758
>Carry the cadaver up the palisade before dropping it off, as planned.
>Return the shards of glass and the corks from the vials
>Plant 150 eighth-talents on the smuggler - the going price for one vial of laudanum.
>After leaving the Midden, head to the Refineries to steal Lifting Oil

we are not going to fix the bashed skull of a corpse only to then re-bash it with a rock goddammit!
>>
>>5122758
>Carry the cadaver up the palisade before dropping it off, as planned.

>Burn the clothes

>Return the shards of glass and the corks from the vials
>Plant 150 eighth-talents on the smuggler - the going price for one vial of laudanum.
>The Silver Snuff Box

>After leaving the Midden, head to the Refineries to steal Lifting Oil
>>
>>5122758
>Carry the cadaver up the palisade before dropping it off, as planned.
>Burn the clothes
>Return the shards of glass and the corks from the vials
>After leaving the Midden, head to the Refineries to steal Lifting Oil
>>
>>5122758
>>5123294
Eh, I'll also include the silver snuff box and 150 eighth-talents in my vote as well.
>>
>>5122758
>>Please choose ONE of the following:
>>Carry the cadaver up the palisade before dropping it off, as planned.

>>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Do not burn the clothes

Burning is too much mess and smoke and noise. Let the question go unanswered

>>Please choose SOME of the following [choosing nothing is also an option]:
>>Return the shards of glass and the corks from the vials
>>Return the Stub-Club

>>Please choose ONE of the following:
>>After leaving the Midden, head to the Refineries to steal Lifting Oil
>>
>>5122758
>Carry the cadaver up the palisade before dropping it off, as planned.

>Burn the clothes

>Return the shards of glass and the corks from the vials

>After leaving the Midden, head to the late Aldoin's house.

Patternmaker, I hate the risks that we're taking. Also, want to explain the reasoning behind investigating the South Burial Grounds and the burnt down house? I'm curious as to why Chlot would want to go there.
>>
>>5122823
I oppose giving the body the Snuff Box, and not just because we don't know what's in it. If we plant the Snuff Box on the noticeably smaller Leaper smuggler, all we'll be doing is painting a target on our backs for the Thief-takers to take interest in us, which is the absolute last thing we need. We don't need to connect our foreign ship heist to the Leaper smuggler's murder and illicit dealings, especially since our height problem is a dead giveaway that we committed these illegal acts instead of our framed small smuggler. I'm not about to let y'all increase the risks of us getting caught and punished as uncloaked Leaped thief over some asinine plan to frame our large crossdressing crimes on the smaller Leaper smuggler, which will cause more heat to focus on us and Midden by the authorities, not lessen it as is our intention.
>>
>>5123881
The thing is that we know that the box has "value" to someone who doesn't match up with our description and didn't steal it since it could be turned in and have the money turned back over like an "IOU".

The Crier (Thread #1 >>4979957)
> – and the honorable captain will pay another one hundred twenty-talents for the safe return of his late father’s silvered snuff box, no questions asked.

So it has a known value, which would mean that it "could" be used by someone to purchase something in place of coin, so could have been traded in by someone who bought, or was used to purchase the laudanum the smuggler "had" on him which would explain multiple vials since they would be needed to decant doses appropriately.

This may do two things, bring interest onto the body which we want, tie things in circles that don't make sense, and indicate that the "Crossdresser" will have already fenced the goods and so have likely already managed to move on, or even that they use / want laudanum for whatever reason, which we don't which is one more thing that won't add up and could draw resources further into a wild goose chase, that the guard doesn't have.
>>
>>5123934
You're ignoring the obvious point, which is the height of the thief matches our height. Even if drawing more attention to the dead smuggler is what we want (and we don't want more attention, we want less), all you'll end up doing is painting a bullseye on our large back for not only the thief-takers, but the Midden guards as well, and I'd be surprised if the Inquisition was left in the dark about all this. It's like you're trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it, it's just gonna make the scrutiny worse on us, not better. They'll need to investigate this large Crossdresser, and our family holds the reputation of being large and eccentric in Midden. It's a bad idea to plant this Snuff Box so close to where we live, operate, and are very well known.
>>
Heads up, my ID will have changed.

>>5123864
>Also, want to explain the reasoning behind investigating the South Burial Grounds and the burnt down house? I'm curious as to why Chlot would want to go there.

Chlotsuintha is understandably curious about the mysterious university student and his machine that appearentally exists only to attract Hook Gulls. It is possible that even after the Inquisition is done with the site, there might be some sort of clue that only a Witchlet could find. As for what Chlotsuintha could do in the South Burying Ground ... well, all I will say is that the Inquisition still has not discovered the Strangeness in the Morgue, and that Chlotsuintha has options right now that she wont have when the Inquisition starts to do their due diligence.
>>
>>5124102
>Chlotsuintha has options right now that she wont have when the Inquisition starts to do their due diligence

Options like what? I genuinely all for taking this opportunity, but I know from experience how hard it is the change anons' vote after they've voted. I personally think that this would merit more discussion on what should be our next move.
>>
>>5124114
I don't want to just come out and say what to do, but since you asked, I guess I could explain what I am getting at a little more directly.

Eventually, the Inquisition is going to realize that there is all this Strangeness around the Mount. Once they find some, they are going to try to track down all of it - and those breadcrumbs are going to eventually lead them to to the coffin, a coffin that should be Stranger than it currently is, as Chlotsuintha magically remediated it. (The Inquisition will have seen the effects of the Strangeness in the Morgue, so the will be able to approximate how Strange the coffin should be, based on level and length of exposure.) There is also the fact that they are going to be able to tell that the coffin was magically remediated, as mundane remediation requires the application of pressure and dramatic changes in temperature, which leaves evidence in the form of crush and burn marks, neither of which are present on the coffin at the moment.

As soon as they exhume the coffin, they are going to realize that at some point, it was in the possession of a magic user. From there, they will look at whoever could have been alone with the coffin as a suspect - and it is no secret that Chlotsuintha was alone with the coffin. So pretty quickly, Chlotsuintha is going to become their primary suspect. If she manages to pack up and leave the Mount before the Inquisition realizes all of this and tries to take her in to perform a much more through and invasive test to see if she is a magic user, they are going to correctly assume that she is a Witch(let). They will also assume that she is responsible for all of the Strangeness that they are dealing with, possibly even Aldion's death, so they will definitely be coming after her.

To avoid this, Chlotsuintha would need to come up with a plan to obfuscate her role in all of this, so even after she left, she was not a suspect. She would also need to implement that plan as soon as possible, as it is only a matter of time before the Inquisition finds the Strangeness and starts an investigation that will lead them to the coffin.
>>
>>5123881
this anon is right, snuff box write in does more harm than good.
>>
>>5122758
I'm willing to change my travel vote >>5123864 to
>After leaving the Midden, head to the South Burying Ground and the remains of the house that the Inquisition burned down.

>>5124231
I'm definitely up for that. What are our options for obfuscation, if you don't mind me asking?
>>
>>5124375
Well, speaking generally, there are two points of concern here: the condition of the coffin and Chlotsuintha herself. To obfuscate this mess away, a plan would need to either address the condition of the coffin (make it look like the Strangeness was dealt with mundanely instead of magically, or alternatively, hide the coffin elsewhere) or to address Chlotsuintha (make it look like she died or was killed)
>>
Couldn't we just drop him off the opposite side of the wall? Or wouldn't the place where he was coming from be the real object of any investigation if he had the snuff box?
>>
>>5124626
You can drop him off of either side of the palisade, but either way, the smuggler is going to be tied to the Midden.

Anyway, I am going to go get something to eat, and then I'll be back to close the vote and get to writing. I'll also need some rolls at some point, but I'm not ready for them yet.
>>
Dumping the body:
>>5122823 Drop 1
>>5122886 Drop 1 Bash 1
>>5123102 Drop 2 Bash 1
>>5123275 Drop 3 Bash 1
>>5123294 Drop 4 Bash 1
>>5123456 Drop 5 Bash 1
>>5123864 Drop 6 Bash 1

Burning clothes:
>>5122823 Yes 1
>>5122886 Yes 1 No 1
>>5123275 Yes 2 No 1
>>5123294 Yes 3 No 1
>>5123456 Yes 3 No 2
>>5123864 Yes 4 No 2

Placed with the body:
>>5122823 Shards and Corks, Snuff Box
>>5122886 Shards and Corks, Eighth-talents, Snuff Box, Stub-Club (nearby),
>>5123102 Shards and Corks, Eighth-talents
>>5123275 Shards and Corks, Eighth-talents, Snuff Box
>>5123294 Shards and Corks, Eighth-talents, Snuff Box
>>5123864 Shards and Corks

As per the votes, the shards and corks, eighth-talents and the snuff box will be placed with the body.

Afterwards:
>>5122823 Lifting Oil 1
>>5122886 Lifting Oil 2
>>5123102 Lifting Oil 3
>>5123275 Lifting Oil 4
>>5123294 Lifting Oil 5
>>5123456 Lifting Oil 6
>>5124375 Lifting Oil 6 South Burying Ground 1
>>
> DC 33: Witchlet Chlotsuintha is a Born and Bred Sneakthief, making a basic Stealth Test like this [Easy]
> + DC 7 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is Hard to Miss, given her size
> + DC 5 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is Known in the Midden
> + DC 3 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is now Tired, and is not thinking as quickly as she should
> + DC 2 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is now Drained, and is not moving as quickly as she should
> + DC 25 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is carrying a stiffened, dead body up a wall.
> - DC 15 Witchlet Chlotsuintha has Complete Knowledge of the Midden
> - DC 10 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is attempting Stealth in unlit area at night
> - DC 5 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is attempting Stealth in an area with some concealment
> - DC 5 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is attempting Stealth in a poorly trafficked area
> - DC 1 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is currently wearing underwear
> - DC 5 Witchlet Chlotsuintha has successfully manged a similar stealth test recently

> DC 34: Anything lower is a failure. [No re-rolls. Guards are on high alert; they have two hostile re-rolls]

>No Passes: Caught Dead to Rights! The guards see you dumping the body, so the deception fails. To make matters worse, they recognize you and give chase!
>One Pass: Just Dead Weight. The guards see you dumping the body, so the deception fails. To make matters worse, they give chase!
>Two Passes: Deadlifts. The guards hear you dumping the body, and one of them swears they hear something on the other side of the palisade after they find the body. The deception works, but anything sufficiently suspicious will ruin it.
>Three Passes: You're Clean, and He's the Jerk. By the time that the guards find the body, you are already on way.

>If ONE of the THREE rolls comes up as a Critical or Near-Critical Failure (Roll of 1 or 2), then you automatically fail this test, and you sprain your ankle as you flee the guards, complicating your escape.
>If ONE of the THREE rolls comes up as a Critical or Near-Critical Success (Roll of 100 or 99), then you automatically pass this test, and in the process, stumble across a new way in and out of the Midden.
>A Critical Failure overrides a Critical Success and a Near-Critical Success, but a Critical Success overrides a Near-Critical Failure.
>You are STRONGLY encouraged to roll again after fifteen minutes if more rolls are needed, to keep the quest moving.

If there ever was a time for your luck to run white, this was it! Three rolls of 1d100, please!
>>
Rolled 23 (1d100)

>>5124920
>>
Rolled 26 (1d100)

>>5124920
>>
fuck...gg no re

If we get 0 we'll just have to take the coins and our father's notes and run.
>>
Rolled 85 (1d100)

>>5124920
Patternmaker fuck my arse
>>
>>5124978
Bless you! Now lets hope the hostile rerolls don't fuck us.
>>
Rolled 78 (1d100)

>>5124978
First re-roll
>>
Rolled 25 (1d100)

>>5124978
Here we go. Second re-roll.
>>
>>5124977
Burn everything down, take the clothes we ordered and gtfo as far as possible.
>>
>>5124984
Fuck. Well, so much for all that. I actually don't think we can even get our father's notes, but I'd like to try. We may be on the lamb but we can still hide in the city. If we get the notes we still can learn more magick with time, and if we take a significant quantity of money then our immediate future will be secure assuming we can escape.
>>
>>5124984
Would killing the guards at least prevent immediate detection of our identity?
>>
>>5124985
Yeah, we'll have to use that hiding spot we found earlier. Take some essentials, food, water, enough to let us survive a day, get the notes, if we have time and carrying capacity get some money, if not we can just steal some or mug people. Hide in places like the well or other hiding spots or that one busted building. Get our dresses, escape town.

If we can't get the notes then we must not go crazy and go for the most insane choices like anons often do, we can try and escape with our life to the Great Gloom and find a teacher there, we won't be independent, but we'll have our life, hopefully.
>>
>>5124991
You wanna fight professional fighters? I mean, I can't remember but I think our fuel nodule on our wand is strange now, I guess we could take the strangeness into ourselves(?) to spam chain-cast it and then stab everyone to death.
>>
Well, shit.
>>
>>5124998
It could still be worse if only slightly.
>>
>>5124996
It counts as an emergency and would buy us valuable time to retrieve our stuff.
>>
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>>5124984
Fucking black luck. Now there is nothing left to do but run. Not to worry, she can climb much better than the guards can, so she should be able to avoid them - but she will have to leave tonight, with nothing more than she can carry on her back. There is nothing else for it.

Or ...

We still have the Head Knocking wand with us (the plan was to unsocket it at the last possible second, right before the climb) and the pin-stilettoes and stub-club. We could try to stand our ground and fight - get them downed and unconscious ... then slit their throats, or bash their heads in.

It is not guaranteed to work, but there is a chance - if she kills these men. Men that she could just as easily run away from.

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>The Last Night. Chlotsuintha will run away, initiating a chase.
>The First Blood. Chlotsuintha will stand and fight and kill.
>>
>>5125011
>The First Blood. Chlotsuintha will stand and fight and kill.
>>
>>5125011
>>The First Blood. Chlotsuintha will stand and fight and kill.
We need the dresses. We stick out like a fucking pimple in the forehead with our rags, the only way to get it is by buying as much time as possible.
>>
Wait...fuck...argh...this directly increases our chances of being followed very quickly by the inquisition and killed if we don't kill them, so our life is in danger in a sense if we don't commit these murders, and this is our father's and our legacy we are talking about. But, we also established that we were willing to risk pretty severe consequences if our life wasn't in immediate danger, we don't have to kill these men and we can easily escape. This is giving me anxiety. I also thought that we'd have to kill eventually, and I even wanted to just to get Chlot the experience she'd need to live alone in the world as a witch, but I wanted to kill fucking scum bags or people we had absolutely no choice but to kill lest our life be taken from us.

I need some time to think.
>>
>The First Blood. Chlotsuintha will stand and fight and kill.
>>
>>5125011
>The First Blood. Chlotsuintha will stand and fight and kill.
If the alarm doesn't go up, and we manage to contain things somewhat we could blame things on the body if we wound it before we let it fall.
>>
I guess I'm fine with this, we really need the time to get our affairs in order. I'd at least want enough time to get some essentials and a few more coins and the dresses, and I doubt we'll have that time if we don't kill these men.
>>
>The First Blood. Chlotsuintha will stand and fight and kill.

It is time.
>>
>>5125011
>The First Blood. Chlotsuintha will stand and fight and kill.

Kill the guards with the stub club and plant it on the body later. We have no other choice. It should delay their investigation somewhat.
>>
>>5125090
Also we should probably take the snuff box since leaving it here doesn’t give a benefit now.
>>
>>5125011
>The Last Night. Chlotsuintha will run away, initiating a chase.

Also, I want a referendum on the snuff box shit again, because that was clearly a stupid idea that shouldn't have been entertained to begin with, especially since we're about to commit serial murder to compound our crimes that will be connected to us via height autism.
>>
>>5125028
>This is giving me anxiety.

Welcome to my entire quest experience. For a couple months there's been nothing but increasing anxiety on my end as the bullshit keeps piling without any break or release. I don't want to die, but I'm being blackmailed by our Father's legacy into staying here when our luck is clearly as black as coal and all these plates that we're spinning will inevitably fall on our head, potentially killing us in the process. I just want something to go right for once without something else happening to render our efforts insignificant, or worse, retroactively fucking us over. We're just grasping at sand, struggling in quicksand, and I'm getting tired of struggling.
>>
>>5125011
>The First Blood. Chlotsuintha will stand and fight and kill.
Here goes nothing
>>
Okay. Before I let the next update balloon any further, I am going to write everything up to the start of the fight.
>>
>>5125280
I'm serious about the Snuff Box referendum, it was a bad idea before this turned into a shitshow, I'm not about to let this slide as we get fucked over into oblivion by our Black Luck.
>>
No, you need to stop messing around here. The patrols could change, or someone could wake up and see you. You need to strike while the iron is hot. This Le – this mark sleeps in a crude hovel, built leaning against the walls of a larger stone ruin. Pulling off and then pocketing your gloves, you get yourself into a position where you can see right into it, to where he is sleeping on a pad that from here looks identical to the one that you were issued, down to the stains and patches. Right now, he is snoring just loud enough that you can hear him from where you stand. The wand is already socketed in your right arm, and the fuel is already hooked in. All there is left to do is measure out the salt necessary to catalyze the spell … and take out the wand. The streets of the Midden are dark and standing outside of your mark’s hovel and inside a larger ruin, it is darker still. But even so, the yellow-white of the bone seems to gleam. The salt is coarse on your hands, and you are careful not to grip the wand too tightly, lest you risk damaging some of the inscriptions.

As you bring the tip of the wand to bear on the greasy brown mop of your mark, you swallow in a dry throat. You are acutely aware that your knowledge of wands is strictly theoretical, though you try to convince yourself that it should be exactly just like using the Life-Loom. There is a sudden noise behind you that scares you so much that you are only just able to keep yourself from crying out. Panicking, you look over your shoulder – but you see nothing. You strain your ears – but you hear nothing – aside from the regular breathing of the mark. You stand and stare and strain for what seems like a full minute, but when the noise does not repeat itself, you force yourself to turn around. Once more, you point your wand, and before you can lose your nerve, you reach into the wand, feel the power there, and call to it.

And just like that, the wand casts its spell.

Immediately, you can tell that it worked flawlessly when your target shudders and his breathing becomes noticeably more shallow. Besides that, the only evidence that you just cast a spell is the slight heat in the wand that matches the cool numbness in your arm, the wisps of smoke from the salt that was consumed … and the fact that your eyes are gleaming like stars, enough to throw light in the near total darkness. At first, you are worried about the light as you pocket the wand approach the now completely unconscious target, but once you get to work gagging and blindfolding him you are thankful for the illumination. You start to tie his arms up, but then you realize that if you do that, then you will not be able to undress him. Swearing under your breath, you start to strip him instead. You get the Spotted Cloak off of him and are in the process of unbuttoning his jerkin when he starts to regain consciousness. You strike him hard in the head with your elbows, just as your father taught you to do.
>>
>>5125649
Between your blows and the gag, you are able to keep your mark quiet as you pull off the rest of his clothes. You take everything off of him, though you leave his boots, as you will reuse the ones that you took off of the smuggler. Before you get up and leave, you take a second to switch out the ounce-nodule attached to your wand - and while Strange Staining does activate as you look at the temporarily compromised fuel source, you are pleased to note that nodule is not smothered in the white and gray and black splotches caused by the spell, indicating that this nodule is not as far gone as you thought it would be after use. With any luck, you will be able to use it again within the day. For a moment, the unpleasant work you have done here is forgotten, and all you are thinking of is the six nodules that you left behind in the Life-Loom’s workbench, the ones that were deformed or depleted, and you wonder if you will really be able to repair – and more importantly – recharge them. If you can, you should save one of the working nodules, you know, keep it as a template.

Underneath you, the Leper moans piteously, drawing you back into the moment, and you kick yourself for getting distracted all because you are a little queasy about this. As you bind his feet and his hands, however, you notice that he is bleeding from underneath the gag, and you find yourself hoping that you just split his lip. Anything more than that – like getting a tooth knocked out, or Pattern’s Perdition, something internal – could be really serious for a Leper. Feeling kind of woozy yourself, you get to your feet and check the bonds in what remains of the dimming illumination from your eyes.

The bonds are sound, though you cannot say the same for the body they are tied on. This Leper is rail thin, and there are these painful looking pockmark scars around his neck, armpits, and crotch. Whatever is wrong with him, it seems to either originate from or attack his lymph nodes. You can also tell that he is having a hard time breathing under the gag, even though his nose is clear. Oh, wait, was he snoring because he is congested? Is he sick? Or rather, sicker than usual? You did not think it was possible, but you feel even worse about what you have just done. You resolve to pray for this man – hopefully when the guards announce that they found the body, they will mention this Leper by name, so you know who exactly to pray for. If you get a chance, maybe you could even leave him a coin, like you are going to do at some point for Vaclav. As you leave the poor man shivering on his pad, now that your eyes have finally stopped glowing, a worrisome new thought comes to you. The smuggler – who you are pretending to be right now – killed Smil and is the subject of a substantial manhunt. He would be looking to make a clean getaway. Would the guards wonder why he took the time and the risk to leave this Leper alive?
>>
>>5125937
You think about it for about a second. You think about it as he lies there, trussed up, just like the piglet was before you muster what resolve you have left and put your foot down. It does not matter what the damned smuggler would have done – his Red Thread has run its course. This is you and your soul you are talking about here, and you know that you cannot just kill some completely defenseless Leper … not because of some needless and heedless fear that slipped into your head. Plotinus and the rest of the guards here in the Midden will want to make an end of this, not to escalate it. Besides, they cannot expect to get clear answers for all possible questions in an investigation like this. You bundle up the stolen clothes, turn and stalk away into the night, but instead of taking a weight off of your shoulders, all it does is press down harder.

You are worried that all of the work you have done tonight is going to be for naught because you left him alive while at the same time, you are sick to your stomach that you seriously thought about killing him. You clutch the bundle tight to your chest, and you try to focus on the delicate matter of sneaking through the Midden. In the narrow streets between hovels and ruins, there is very little light – so little light that you almost wish your eyes were still beaming white, just a little. Obviously, you are glad that they are not, but you certainly wish you could see better. You make your way back to the Not-Temple without incident and you use the winch platform to get you and your purloined clothes back into the Belfry, to spare your socketed right arm.

Once inside, you immediately head over to the workbench, where you left the cadaver, and get to work dressing him. Even though he is not stiffening yet, he is cool to the touch, so you have to move fast. Once you have dressed him – and checked to make sure that you dressed him correctly – you hustle into your room to retrieve the shards of glass and corks that you found on him, the ones that almost certainly came from one of the vials of laudanum that he was peddling. You carefully scoop them up and slide them into a pocket of your pocket jerkin, then you go over to where you dropped the swag you purloined from the Euthyphro. You fish out a little more than 150 eighth-talents, which based on the conversation that you overheard is the going price of one vial. Unfortunately, the monies from the haul are almost all in the largest denominations, so it takes some doing, finding enough the eighth-talents. You kick yourself for not doing this before reversing the decay on the Life-Loom, and you kick yourself even harder when you realize just how much time you are spending on this. Racing against the clock as you are, you decide to include some larger denomination coins. Not that large, mind you, just fourth and half-talents, but large for a Leper.
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>>5126028
For a moment, you consider giving him some serious money, twenty-talents. Narcotics are supposed to be a profitable trade, after all – but you decide against it, partly because this is your money, and partially because you do not want raise any more questions – such as why this smuggler was selling laudanum in Midden to Lepers at great personal risk to himself for a fraction of what he could sell it for to some “distraught” widow or something. No doubt that guards would be asking themselves that anyway, but there is no need for you to draw attention to it. It is a fair question though, and the answer that you have come to – that the smuggler was here because of your father, just leads to a lot more questions. Was this smuggler one of father’s ‘professional friends’, or … well, suffice to say that none of the other obvious answers are appealing, though you feel really conflicted about hoping that a confederate of father’s died. Not to mention that he sold drugs and murdered a Leper.

After some thought, you decide to hold on to the stub-club. It is a well-made weapon, and you would feel much more comfortable about going into a fight with it than the pin-stilettoes. It will just have to be another mystery for the guards. There is something else though … the snuff box that apparently belonged to the late father of the captain of the Euthyphro. You swiped the thing just on a whim as you left the cabin with your swag, but the crier that you passed earlier specifically mentioned this thing in his spiel, with a reward for its return equal to the price on you head – one hundred twenty fraying talents, equal to a decade and three months’ worth of wages for a gravedigger. That is a life changing sum for any Imperial Subject, and even an Imperial Citizen would not scoff at that kind of money. A reward that large makes this thing dangerous, dangerous enough that you are seriously considering just giving it back – in a way that would hopefully tie the knock-over of the Euthyphro to the smuggler. Now that would definitely raise some questions too, but that crop of questions would have to lead any investigation away from the Midden. Before you make any decision though, you decide that you should investigate the thing first, to make sure that there is no other reason beyond sentimentality that it is so valuable to the captain. You unlatch the lid and take a look inside. You have no experience with tobacco, and you have never even seen snuff before, but the dark brown, finely ground powder matches the description you have in your head. It is dryer than you imagined, however. You poke around inside, looking for something, anything … but there is nothing. There is nothing in the snuff, no hidden compartment, no secrets. What etching there is on the box is not particularly ornate, and there is not even any inscription on the inside. He really must want the thing just because it reminds him of his father.
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>>5126327
So, then should you leave it with the Smuggler? If it would mean that no one would be looking for a piratical crossdresser after tonight, then it would be an obvious ‘yes’. Your issue is that you are not convinced that it is going to work that way – in fact, the only thing you are convinced of is that you are dawdling here. Unable to come to a decision at the moment, and acutely aware that the body is presumably stiffening up again right now, you decide instead to decide later, at the scene. Hopefully, once you get everything in position, the right answer will come to you. You snap the snuff box shut, latch it up, and then slide it into an empty pocket in your pocket jerkin. You then shovel the coins you are going to plant on him before you return to the body and drag it down the stairs to the winch-platform.

Carrying the body is a real pain, especially with the needle in your right arm, but you have already decided to leave the needle in until the last possible second, so you just grimace through the pain as you move slowly and steadily through the Midden. As you do, you blink your eyes bit – which have long since adjusted back for the near darkness of the narrow streets, lit only by the moon and stars overhead. As you make your way to the palisade piecemeal, going from concealment to concealment, you find yourself reflecting on how different your experience with the wand was from your experience much earlier in the day, casting Salt-Remediation and Salt-Mitigation spells. Really, it was a complete night and day difference. With the wand, you barely felt anything – to the point that the first indication that the spell was finished was that the target spasmed when it hit. Compare that to the spells that you cast without assistance. The strain on those hit you hard, really hard. to the point that one of them made your damned nose run blood like a pump.

The black boon of magical implements is the white curse of unassisted casting. You can push yourself much, much further when you are working with implements, but not only is it more dangerous because you are calling upon more magic, it is dangerous because during operation, the implement itself is the one that is being strained, not the caster – and the feedback from strain is crucial safety net. Not only does strain indicate when you are approaching, at and past your limits, when your body is under enough of it, you will just go into shock, and the spell will end. To get to a point where a fatal or even just a debilitating incident is possible with unassisted, you have to take yourself there deliberately – baring some freak cases, of course. But with implements, the painful safety of strain is not present. You can comfortably draw and draw and draw and draw no problem, then when you disconnect from the implement, you receive a fraction of the strain the device experienced, but it that fraction is still enough to be fatal.
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>>5127325
To your surprise, you manage to get to the palisade without running into any patrols. As you cut through the shell of a villa you do not recognize, picking your way through the debris and detritus, you reflect that while you would like to just chalk this up to white luck, you are worried that the patrols that should have been in this portion of the Midden have already discovered the Leper that you robbed … though perhaps not, as they would probably signal to the other guards with a whistle or horn, and you have not heard anything. Maybe you missed it? Oh, what if they signaled while you were in the Belfry, or fumbling on the winch platform? Would you have heard it then? You are not sure. Well, either way, you must remain on guard.

Encumbered as you are making you way to wall takes a little bit of doing, as the ground around here is just the basalt bedrock ubiquitous to the Mount– it is rough and uneven under your feet. Not to mention that there is even debris and the remains of walls in the belt that the guards typically keep clear on both side of the palisade. But shortly, you manage to make it to the fence, and after checking to make sure that you are hidden from the distant street by the unexpected cover, you put the body of the smuggler down, leaning him up against the wall. You are going to give yourself just a moment to recover and plan your way up. And now that you think about it, you should make a decision about the snuff box now, because if you are going to plant it on him, then it should be on him when he falls. There is also the question of just how high you will need to take up the –

From behind you, there is a roar, and less than a foot from your head, a portion of the wall explodes into splinters. As the small shards fly, you just stare at the divet in the wood dumbly, not comprehending until you hear the horn – and the shouting. Making up for lost time, you shift into a crouch and fling yourself back towards the dubious cover of the walls. Your heart pounds and your mind races as you peek out towards your assailants and your stomach drops straight into your ass when you count three guards – one with a musket, presumably the one who shot you, one with a lantern on his pike, and an officer, with the horn in one hand while the other digs at his belt for a pistol.

How the Hell did this happen? You … you were so careful! Panic is setting in as the guards begin to pick their way through the ruins towards you, and you shoot a quick glance over to where the body of the smuggler is hidden. Even if they did not see it, the fact remains that you are not going to be able run away with him on your back – you will have to leave him here. Which means all of your work tonight is going to be for naught – if anything, this will bring in even more guards. As you get ready to bolt from cover before the guards get too close, you finally are able to understand what the guards are shouting.

“Sty, stop!”
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>>5127856
Your heart skips a beat, and you actually feel as if you are going to faint for a moment before fear brings you back into the moment. It is over – it is all over. Even if you escape, even if they are not sure it is actually you – the first thing they are going to do afterwards is check on the Belfry. Maybe you could beat them back there, but you are not going to be able to hide all of the magical equipment and paraphernalia. And even if somehow you were able to hide or explain everything away, it still would not matter, because your father is missing! You are already known to the Inquisition – in fact, they might be coming for you this morning to take a statement about South Sexton. There is no way out of it now, not only are you going to have to abandon most of your father’s equipment, if you do not want to get yourself mitigated and harvested for material, you are going to have start running. Right now. And not stop for the rest of your life.

The guards are going to be on top of you soon, but at the moment, the ruin of the villa is between you and them. You shift into a position to run … but as you do, the needle in your right arm tweaks you a bit, and with a dull, sick feeling, you realize that there is actually a way out of spending the rest of your life running. A way to buy you precious time to save your father’s legacy. You would still have a chance – for everything you have ever wanted or hoped or dreamed of.

And all you need to do for that chance is to kill these men.

Down them with Head Knocking, then slit their throats of bash their skulls in.

For a split second, the face of the piglet flashes in front of your eyes – twisted in pain and terror, then twisted even further in death – and you feel yourself relenting, but you stop yourself. Instead, you force yourself to think like father, to think a man would, and not some soft, weepy woman. If you let them live, these men will be the death of you. They will not be the ones to kill you of course, unless they got preposterously lucky, but they will be the death of you all the same – unless you kill them.

That is it. That is all there is to it. You need to kill them, and you need to kill them now.

You feel numb and cold as you reach for your salt. You do not bother measuring out the charge, you just coat the palm of your hand and then grip the wand. It is not good for the engraving, but you have more important concerns at the moment. Specifically, your range. Casting will only work up to six yards – beyond that, you will need to overcast your spell.
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>>5127897
>Please choose ONE of the following:

>Take this opportunity to press in as close as you can (while still remaining in cover) before line of sight is established. You will have the most opportunities to use your wand, but if anything goes wrong, the guards will be right on top of you.

>Stay where you are and engage them at the overcast range of 12 yards. This option is the best for personal safety, but it presents issues with fuel – as overcast spells require 1/4 of a fuel nodule, meaning that you will only have a maximum of four casts instead of seven to spread across your three targets (as per chain casting rules) before having to reload, giving any still combat capable guards the opportunity to counter attack, and it means that if they disengage without drawing any closer, they will be out of range, and you will have to chase after them.

>Stay where you are and engage them at the casting range of 6 yards. While this provides a mixture of benefits from the first two choices, it also means that the guards will have the opportunity to attack you first.
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>>5127901
>>Take this opportunity to press in as close as you can (while still remaining in cover) before line of sight is established. You will have the most opportunities to use your wand, but if anything goes wrong, the guards will be right on top of you.
Wand success probabilities are large enough that we want to achieve the most hits possible with least fuel required
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>>5127901
>Take this opportunity to press in as close as you can (while still remaining in cover) before line of sight is established. You will have the most opportunities to use your wand, but if anything goes wrong, the guards will be right on top of you.

...I think this is best, less chance of them getting away, no second degree strangeness, we initiate, high chance of success, have spare casts for a second turn though they will basically be on top of us. Though I may be misunderstanding the way the wand of headknocking works.
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>>5127901
>Take this opportunity to press in as close as you can (while still remaining in cover) before line of sight is established. You will have the most opportunities to use your wand, but if anything goes wrong, the guards will be right on top of you.
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>>5127901
>>Take this opportunity to press in as close as you can (while still remaining in cover) before line of sight is established. You will have the most opportunities to use your wand, but if anything goes wrong, the guards will be right on top of you.
The Patternmaker sees fit that once Chlot is given the power to fight that she must fight
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>>5127901
>>Stay where you are and engage them at the casting range of 6 yards. While this provides a mixture of benefits from the first two choices, it also means that the guards will have the opportunity to attack you first.
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>>5127901
>Take this opportunity to press in as close as you can (while still remaining in cover) before line of sight is established. You will have the most opportunities to use your wand, but if anything goes wrong, the guards will be right on top of you.

Welp. Here we go
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Alright, almost unanimous for getting in close.

Now, everyone hold on, cause things are going to get Strange.
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You need to move - get as close as you can while still remaining in cover, to give you the chance to get multiple casts off without resorting to overcasting. As you break cover, fearing a musket ball, you instinctively bring an arm up in front of your face and close your eyes, but as soon as you realize what you are doing, you force your eyes open and arm down. As terrifying as it might be, you have to look – and you cannot let whatever you may see break your nerve.

Blessedly, all you see for the moment is wall, as the guardsmen are blocked from sight by the shell of the villa. Your feet fly over the basalt as your eyes settle on your destination – a free-standing portion of the outermost wall of the villa. Between the wall and raised foundation, you are certain that it will provide the most possible protection out of all of the available cover. You are moving so quickly that you actually run straight into the wall, but you are able to keep your feet – and more importantly, keep the wand in your hand. Taking this last opportunity to prepare, you pull the stub-club out of your Spotted Cloak. If the guards do manage to close on you, you will want the weapon at hand, ready to go. Luckily, the piece of wall you are hunkered behind was built on top of a raised foundation, which juts out a little bit underneath the wall – forming a crude shelf. You rest the club there as you also reach into your pockets to withdraw two more fuel-nodules to hold in your left hand at the ready. You peek out of your new cover and suck your breath in as you get a good look at the trio of guards clanking and clattering their way through the empty interior of the stone shell. By your best guess, they going to cross the outer limit of the overcast range any second now. But when you realize that they are running towards the piece of wall that you originally dove for after first being shot at, you realize that you have enough of the advantage here that you should actually be able to pull this off. Considering your purpose here, you have conflicting feelings about that thought, but before you even start to articulate them, much less tell yourself to pull your head out of your ass and get ready, you are distracted by the stub-club starting to slowly roll towards the edge of its improvised shelf. As you glance down while you push it back into place, you realize that you are moving slowly as well, and when you look out at the guards, somehow … they are running slowly.

Before you are able to even try to make sense of this, you are hit with this inexplicable feeling of vertigo as you look out at the incomprehensible scene, then instantaneously every strand of hair on your body tries to stand on its end and there is this undeniable feeling that you are being watched from above.

Reflexively, you look up. Understanding dawns, while your heart skips another beat as you can feel your face slowly and steadily twists in terror under your lead-lined mask.
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>>5130319
The clouds that darkened this night are gone. As is the moon. As is the night sky itself – replaced with something closer to shiny, shifting oil. There are no stars anymore either, save for one – the Lodestar. At least three times larger than the sun and sitting much higher in the sky, though it does nothing to illuminate the world below as it gleams angrily down at you, with long undulating tendrils of light emanating from it.

The Lodestar is not just the Keystone of the Firmament – which you suddenly realize is what appears to be the oil that has replaced the night sky – it is the lens from which the Patternmaker scries into the Realms of Flesh. Right now, He is using it to look directly at you. Perhaps at the guards as well, but all you know for a fact is that He is looking at you.

And where His gaze falls, Judgement comes.

Earlier, after that Leper appeared from nowhere to witness you attempting to enter the tunnel out of the Midden hidden in the dried up well, you were worried that he had been sent there as a form of Retribution for you refusing to even attempt a Trial that had been laid out for you – saving the Coroners and whoever else they came in contact with from the ravages of the Strangeness … and the Inquisition. And after that, when the Dressmaker Hortingea, in a bid to get you to accept charity, spoke kind and gentle words about the responsibility of those with lighter burdens to help the deserving with heavier burdens – in effect castigating you for your dereliction, you feared even the idea that perhaps the Patternmaker was directly eying your Red Thread for Judgement through Trials. Or that he was directly implementing Retribution on you for daring to ignore His challenge.

But by its inherent nature, the Great Pattern is subtle enough that the appearance of the Leper and the words of Hortingea could have just been black luck and coincidence. Without even articulating it, you let yourself believe that – doing everything you could to push the thought of a failed Trial and Retribution from your head. Things have been so hard, and you have been so deep over your head, but surely, all your problems were just … problems of this world. But now, you can plainly see that this is not the case – and that is putting it mildly. Still, more terrifying than the thought of having your Red Thread examined by the Maker right after having failed Him, is that by throwing back the curtain like this, He wants you to know that He is watching you, and that at least some of what has happened to you is caused by His direct intervention.

Wondering how you could have ever attracted His attention in the first place, you are just about to try to fling yourself to the ground and start praying, guards or no guards, when you notice that one of the tendrils of light from the Lodestar is stretching longer and glowing much brighter than others.
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>>5130322
As you watch, the tip of the tendril pushes through a spot in the Firmament, and the shifting and swirling in that portion begins to get noticeably more agitated. Soon you can actually feel the immeasurable power of the Patternmaker flow through the Firmament, similar to how you can feel father’s casting if you are close enough and the spells were of a sufficient intensity. He is changing something in the Pattern – and for you to feel it, then that means whatever the change is, it is either a radical divergence from the existing Forms around you, or it is a change directly on your Form. It is even possible that it could be both, a small change to you and everything around you. That would be preferable, because if all of this power was just used on your Form, then that would mean that it was some massive, life-changing alteration – and you intuitively know that any Transformation that you put through here is not going to be an improvement, it will be an act of Retribution. A punishment.

As suddenly as it started, the tendril withdraws – His work, whatever exactly it was, completed. You do not feel any different, but the change might be so subtle that you it will not be immediately obvious. You instinctively move to pat yourself down, and even though you stop yourself before you risk dropping the wand of the nodules, you notice that you are able to move a hair faster than before – presumably whatever effect the Revelation of the Patternmaker has had on the flow of time is coming to an end.

As you do, you inadvertently glance out of cover, and your heart skips its third beat tonight. Like the previous Retributions you have faced, this one has a distinctly mocking quality to it – but this one has teeth as well.

There are now four guards. And you have gotten in as close as you can … with a wand that can cast on a maximum of three targets at a time.

You are completely numb – for all intents and purposes, you are in a state of shock. There is no way that you managed to overlook him, none. More than that, you intuitively know that this is not some guard that was running behind the original three, that the Patternmaker moved up with the rest of them. No … no. The Patternmaker made a fourth man, dressed and armored him, put a pike in his hand, and filled his head with memories of a guard’s life that he did not live – that no one lived. He must have given the other guards false memories too because the new guard is in front of two of them, and they are not reacting in any way. With the way the Forms work, it is possible that hundreds of people have memories of this man now. In fact, that could have been why you could feel the Patternmaker’s power. Not because he was changing you, but because he was holding you constant as he changed the rest of the Firmament. If you did not remember that there were originally just three guards before you ran in, then this would not be Retribution, it would just be a terrible decision.
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>>5130325
But whether this was a mistake or retribution, or whether you have true memories or not, either way, what can you possibly do now? Even if you were to try to hide from them instead of fight, the moment they pass the wall, they will see you, and you will have lost both all of the advantage offered by surprise and cover, and probably the initiative as well. So that’s no good. You get a full body chill as you realize that you still are going to have to fight – and with more targets than your wand can deal with in one chained cast, that means you are going to have to accept that even in the best-case scenario, where all of the casts land, and you knock all three of them out, one of the guards is going to have an opportunity to counterattack.

It suddenly occurs to you that this must be part of a new Trial you are facing here. You need to figure out which three of the four guards are the biggest threat, and hit them with the wand first, then overcome the remaining guard, as well as any of the first three that were not completely downed with your wand, if you can, and your weapons, if you must. But which three do you hit first?

>Write-in your three targets. Indicate the one that you think is the most dangerous; they will receive three casts of Head Knocking, while the others will just receive two.
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>>5130322
It is scenes like this that make me want to become a god-fearing person...

Well, perhaps not, I'm not sure how to convey how I feel.

>>5130325
What in the f-

>>5130326
I swear that if we get out of this alive I will vote in every capacity to pursue goodness no matter the cost, not from the moment we hypothetically escape with all the workbenches intact and our father's notes, our misbegotten wealth, and our life, but from the very next moment after we maybe escape this encounter, in fact I don't think we should steal at all, I think we should just work to restrict the spread of Strangeness from the coroners and whatever else is going on in this city.

I'm sorry anons, I'll vote how to kill these men, but after that if you want to be pragmatic you'll be doing it without me. It was a mistake to go against god.

>The new Fourth guard that is armoured and has a pike, the guard with a lantern on his pike, and the officer with a horn in one hand and a pistol in the other. The officer is most dangerous.

My reasoning is the fourth new guard is specifically called out as being armoured, the officer is likely a better fighter, more disciplined and can coordinate his men to be more effective and has a ranged weapon that can be maneuvered in close-quarters and can call more guards, the lantern-pike guard because I'm hoping if he falls the lantern will sputter out - it is a thin hope but perhaps possible - but also I am targeting those with polearms because they have good ranged and are versatile and deadly weapons and most importantly to me, they have a higher rate of attack than firearms of this era. The musket guy may still be reloading and doesn't seem to have a melee weapon in his hand. I think going after what I perceive to be the most vulnerable guard is the most efficient so as to be able to finished off the hopefully stunned remaining guards quicker afterwards. Going after say, the armoured pike guard as the only unstunned one may take so long as to allow the other guards to get back in the fight, hence going "weakest" to strongest is best in my opinion.
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>>5130354

Supporting this well reasoned plan.

Also. WTFLOLGOD pic related.
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>>5130354
Point of clarification about the armor - all guards are issued singular cuirasses* and helmets. The 'new arrival' is not any more or any less armored then the others.

*which replaced segmented curasses - Lorica Segmentata - from the early history of the Empire. Pic related.
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>>5130326
The Officer is the most dangerous, then the two guys with a pike. The guard with a musket has to reload so leave him for the last.
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>>5130326
>when you realize there is a God, and that he hates you

I knew we should've tried to mitigate the Corners when offered the choice. I'll vote to pursue mitigating the Corners of it isn't Patternmaker TM (autisticly hard).

>Armored lad was created specifically to fuck us over, it stand to reason that he's the most dangerous. Officer and Pike dude get secondary priority, leave the musketeer for us to deal with personally.
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>>5130354
Support. We should aim to incapacitate. Tie them up or whatever. God is fucking watching!!
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>>5130496
Does that not beat the point of fighting these men? We’re here to kill anon, not run.
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>>5130605
the point is to buy us time to grab daddies stuff before running. After the musket ball fuckup we'll soon have the inquisition on our heels and there are some strong hints that the whole city will go to shit very soon. There is no fixing this, this was only ever about time.
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>>5130496
>>5130774
same anon btw, don't want to appear to samefag.
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>>5130774
Dead guards can't tell people what they saw, and it would be pretty easy to adjust things to make it look like the Smuggler got caught by the guards, though I do think at this point is probably in the noise and we're planning on leaving ASAP.
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>>5130432
+1
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>>5130774
I don't think tying these men up would get us enough time, we'd have to escape with just the notes and wealth, plus essentials. We would not be able to take the workbenches or dresses.

The point of fighting was from the very beginning that killing them with no witnesses would essentially offset the consequence of having been spotted entirely, aside from the corpses we'd leave and the damage to our soul and effects of the loss of their lives on their families.

Even just getting the dresses before leaving would make escaping a lot easier, or would even open up a lot of options for us if we for whatever reason chose to stay in the city using crime or honest work to sustain ourselves as a non-Leper.

Regardless, if we escape this encounter in decent condition my personal priorities have changed due to my change of heart. I think we should do what we can to alleviate the effects of the spreading Strangeness, we should not have refused our trial. If there are concerns about our own life or a lack of focus on escaping or general pragmatism, I still think we can look after ourselves by fiddling with the coffin or replacing the musket ball or something, though it may involve incriminating the Sexton, which I may not be okay with anymore. If it would help us retain the original purpose of taking the musket ball, I suppose we could copy the glyph on the ball down or do a quick preliminary examination so we know what bath to go down if we want to replicate it. We probably don't have the time though.
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Okay, let us count the votes.

>>5130354 Targets both Pikemen and the Officer, the Officer is the most dangerous 1
>>5130362 Targets both Pikemen and the Officer, the Officer is the most dangerous 2
>>5130432 Targets both Pikemen and the Officer, the Officer is the most dangerous 3
>>5130461 Targets both Pikemen and the Officer, the Officer is the most dangerous 3 Targets both Pikemen and the Officer, the second Pikeman is the most dangerous 1

So that settles it. There does seem to be a question if we still want to kill these men. We will need to get that resolved before the fight, as the effects of Head Knocking change if the caster has lethal intent or not. I'm going to open a quick little vote while I write up an intermediate scene. Once done, I'll post the scene, and close the vote, unless it is tied. This is important enough that I am not comfortable rolling for it.

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>You still intend to leave no witnesses here.
>Being watched as you are, you have lost your nerve for killing.
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>>5131339
>>5131188
Just realized I missed this one, but it does not affect the outcome of the vote.
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>>5131339
>>You still intend to leave no witnesses here.
Look, if we kill these guards, we can make it so that it appears that the smuggler killed them before falling to death from his wounds. Sooner or later they will figure out that something doesn't add up but by then we have bought valuable time and are hopefully a thousand miles away from this hellhole.
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>>5131339
>>You still intend to leave no witnesses here.
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>>5131339
>Flip a talent for it
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>>5131339
>You still intend to leave no witnesses here.

I did say I would vote only for good, but after we escape this encounter, if we do.

Leaving them alive basically renders the entire point of confronting them moot. Well, not entirely, as the other anon says it'll buy us time. Enough time to MAYBE get our father's notes and some essentials and wealth. But it would be safer to kill them. Plus, we cannot stay in this city to assist with the Strangeness or other things going on if we are forced to escape and run around as a hobo, though I admit that is a bit myopic to want to kill people in order to do good later on.
>>
>>5131339
>You still intend to leave no witnesses here.
I'm not sure that the other option would provide enough time for us to do the rest of the stuff we need to, without seriously compromising our time table and what we manage to take with us.
>>
>>5131433
The other option would be to tell them what is up before booking it / knocking them out, so the Cleansers could follow up on things.
>>
>>5131339
>Flip a talent for it

Though taking a body or two of the dead guards would aid us in creating a red herring for the other guards to distract themselves with, and in creating our body double to fake our death with. While killing is still amoral and shouldn't be our norm, another body or two would ease a lot of headaches while diverting attention and bringing focus on the guards themselves instead of a killer running amok in Midden.
>>
Alright, just … keep calm, and think it through. Who is the most dangerous? Well, it would have to be one of the two guards armed with – wait, no, it would have to be the officer, because the musketeer has already taken his shot. In fact, that means the guard with the musket is the least dangerous of the four. So two for each of the pikemen, three for the officer and then distribute the second cast as needed. With some white luck, you should still be able to down them all before they are all on top of you. You shift position one more time to peek out of cover at the approaching men, and you notice that the flow of time has continued to speed up. Still not at normal speed, but it is definitely getting there.

However, as you position the wand for your cast where it should be able to connect with all three of your targets, suddenly, you are doubting your read on the situation. Could the officer have been the one who shot you? If he was, then that would mean that the musketeer still was ready to shoot. You only got a very brief look at the officer – at all of the guards really – after you realized you had been shot at. Instead of trying to pull a loaded pistol from his belt, could he have been shoving a discharged one back in? Or what if he had a second pistol with him? From the new, closer position that you moved to, you have not been able to get a good look at the officer. He might have another – Hell, he might have several others. It is not uncommon to carry multiple pistols after all, considering that it is impractical to reload them during … oh, Pattern’s Perdition. What if, as an act of Retribution, the Patternmaker … reloaded the musketeer’s musket?

Judging by how the guards are moving, the flow of time has returned to normal. They are all within casting range now, and if you keep delaying, they are liable to find you. ‘Under the gun’ as you are, you make a split-second decision to stick with your original judgement, if only to get you going before you completely lose the initiative here. Acutely aware that you could be captured – or dead – in a matter of moments, your last thought before reaching into the wand is wishing that you had the time to pray.
>>
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>Critical Success: DC 99 and higher. Target receives the concussed malus and is knocked unconscious for 180 seconds. WITH lethal intent target is killed. WITHOUT lethal intent target cannot be killed.

>Success: DC 27 and higher. Target receives the concussed malus, 95% chance of the target being knocked unconscious for 30 seconds. 50% chance of First-Degree Strangeness being produced on fuel, rendering fuel unusable until the Strangeness is dealt with, or it dissipates. WITH lethal intent 12.5% (1/8) chance that the target is killed by the spell. WITHOUT lethal intent 0.098% (1/1024) chance that the target is killed by the spell. Subsequent casts of Head Knocking on the target double the odds of the initial lethality.

>Partial Success: DC 7 and higher. Target receives the concussed malus. 65% chance of the target being knocked unconscious for 30 seconds. First-Degree Strangeness is produced on the caster and the fuel, rendering the fuel unusable until the Strangeness is dealt with, or it dissipates. 1% chance that Strangeness is produced on the target. ~0.4% (1/256) chance that the target is killed by the spell. Subsequent casts of Head Knocking on the target double the odds of the initial lethality.

>Partial failure: DC 2 and lower. 50% chance of the target receiving the concussed malus. IF concussed, 15% chance of the target being knocked unconscious for 20 seconds. First-Degree Strangeness is produced on the caster, fuel source and the wand, rendering the fuel source and wand unusable until the Strangeness is deal with, or it dissipates. 15% chance that Strangeness is produced on target. WITH lethal intent, 0.19% (1/512) chance that the target is killed by the spell. WITHOUT lethal intent, ~1.6% (1/64) chance that the target is killed by the spell. Subsequent casts of Head Knocking on the target double the odds of the initial lethality.

>Complete failure: DC 1 and lower. 50% chance of the caster receiving the concussed malus. IF concussed, 15% chance of the target being knocked unconscious for 20 seconds. First-Degree Strangeness is produced on the caster, fuel source and wand, rendering the fuel source and wand unusable until the Strangeness is dealt with, or it dissipates. Two separate 15% chances that Second-Degree Strangeness is produced on the fuel source and wand. ~0.4% (1/256) chance that the caster inflicts a permanent brain injury on themselves. Subsequent casts of Head Knocking on the target double the odds of the initial lethality.

As per the vote, Chlotsuintha still is casting with lethal intent. The order of the rolls are: Officer, Officer, Officer, Pikeman I, Pikeman I, Pikeman II, Pikeman II. We will need seven rolls of 1d100. Once you roll, wait fifteen minutes. If there are still rolls needed, please roll again. May our luck run white.

>Please, I need seven rolls of 1d100.
>>
Rolled 86 (1d100)

>>5132141
>>
Rolled 13 (1d100)

>>5132141
>>
Rolled 64 (1d100)

>>5132141
number 2
>>
Rolled 9, 5, 16 = 30 (3d20)

>>5132148
>>5132157
>>5132169
Let's see what happens to the Officer.

DC 2, DC 8 and DC 2
>>
Rolled 63 (1d100)

>>5132141
>>
Rolled 6, 33, 20 = 59 (3d100)

>>5132175
Officer is unconscious for 60 seconds. Please note that I screwed up the duration of unconsciousness for chained casts. After this combat, it will be corrected, but it should only be twenty seconds for Success and Partial Success. If there ever is a discrepancy, the spell description will be considered 'controlling'.

Now, rolling to determine if the Officer becomes Strange or not. DC is 2.
>>
Rolled 3 (1d8)

>>5132183
No Strangeness is produced on the Officer. As one of the three casts on him was only a Partial Success, then that means that Strangeness is produced on the fuel (and the caster) regardless, so there will not be any rolling for that.

Initial odds of lethality are 1/8, will double two times. DC is 2.
>>
Rolled 3 (1d4)

>>5132186
Odds of lethality double. DC remains at 2.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>5132188
Odds of lethality double again. DC remains at 2.
>>
>>5132190
The Red Thread of the Officer is plucked.
>>
Okay, well I'm going to get lunch. By my count, we still need three more rolls of 1d100.
>>
Rolled 20 (1d100)

Pikeman I, Roll 2
>>
Rolled 61 (1d100)

>>5132141
Pikeman II
>>
Rolled 20 (1d100)

>>5132141
>>
Rolled 6, 7 = 13 (2d20)

Okay, moving on to Pikeman I.

DC 2, DC 8.
>>
Rolled 92, 81 = 173 (2d100)

>>5132446
Pikeman I is unconscious for thirty seconds (should just be twenty, but as per >>5132183 I screwed this up, so you get the extra duration).

Now rolling to determine if the target becomes Strange or not. DC is 2.
>>
Rolled 3 (1d8)

>>5132460
No Strangeness is produced on Pikeman I. As Strangeness has already been produced on the fuel source, there is no need to roll for that.

Initial odds of a lethal outcome are 1/8, will double once. DC is 2
>>
Rolled 4 (1d4)

>>5132471
Odds of a lethal outcome double. DC remains at 2.
>>
Rolled 14, 18 = 32 (2d20)

Pikeman I will live a little longer. Moving on to Pikeman II.

Also DC 2, DC 8.
>>
>>5132477
Pikeman II is unconscious for sixty seconds.

Rolling to determine if the target becomes Strange or not. DC is 2
>>
Rolled 34, 27 = 61 (2d100)

>>5132480
Would help if there were dice.
>>
Rolled 7 (1d8)

>>5132485
No Strangeness is produced on Pikeman II. As Strangeness has already been produced on the fuel source, there is no need to roll for that.

Initial odds of a lethal outcome are 1/8, will double once, just like last time. DC is 2
>>
Rolled 3 (1d4)

>>5132488
Odds of a lethal outcome double. DC remains at 2.
>>
The remaining guard is attempting to disengage. You will roll for initiative. If above the DC, Chlotsuintha is able to get the wand operational before the guard leaves the overcast range. If below the DC, the guard is able to get out of range, and you must either let him escape or attempt to run him down. If it is at the DC, then the test is won by the side that had the initiative last, which in this case would be Chlotsuintha. If neither side had initiative, then re-roll the test.

> DC 50: Witchlet Chlotsuintha and Musketeer [Name Unknown] are equally fleet of foot
> + DC 15: Musketeer [Name Unknown] is Mortally Affeared
> + DC 5 Musketeer [Name Unknown] has Some Knowledge of the Midden
> + DC 5 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is Light Blind from the lanterns
> + DC 3 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is now Tired, and is not thinking as quickly as she should
> + DC 4 Witchlet Chlotsuintha is now Drained II, and is not moving as quickly as she should
> + DC 2 Witchlet Chlotsuintha has a temporary socket, and it makes her entire right side stiffer than normal
> - DC 6 Musketeer [Name Unknown] is Winded, and is not moving as quickly he might otherwise
> - DC 20 Musketeer [Name Unknown] is Encumbered by his armor
> - DC 5 Musketeer [Name Unknown] is Light Blind from the lanterns
> - DC 40 Musketeer [Name Unknown] is running over uneven ground at night with no light.

> DC 13: Anything above means Chlotsuintha can overcast Head Knocking immediately. Anything below means that the musketeer gets out of range. At DC, revert to whoever had initiative. If no one had initiative, then re-roll.

>One roll of 1d100 please!
>>
Rolled 88 (1d100)

White luck, white luck.
>>
>>5132562
Okay, now you guys just need to decide how many casts you want to loose at this poor bastard. In case it was not clear - he is out of range of typical casting, which means that you are going to have to overcast if you want to hit him - so you have a maximum of four casts, not seven, the DC will be higher, you are more likely to produce Strangeness on the target (20% per cast compared to a 1%), and you will probably produce Second Degree Strangeness on yourself and the fuel (guaranteed outcome with partial success, 50% chance for just First Degree Strangeness with success, no Strangeness with Critical Success).

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Hammer Overcast
>Two Chained Overcasts
>Three Chained Overcasts
>Four Chained Overcasts

If you fail, you will have an opportunity to chase him down and get in range for regular casting, but you must remember that the Pikemen are just unconscious.
>>
>>5132589
>Two Chained Overcasts
>>
>>5132589
>Three Chained Overcasts
>>
>>5132589
>Two Chained Overcasts
>>
>>5132589
>Three Chained Overcasts
Play it safe
>>
>>5132589
>>Three Chained Overcasts
play it safe, chlot can't afford to chase too much
>>
>>5132589
>>Three Chained Overcasts
Better to have to clean up strangeness than to have a chase.
>>
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>>5132614
>>5132650
>>5132655
>>5132731
>>5133109
>>5133127
Okay, Three Chained Overcasts.

>Critical Success: DC 99 and higher. Target receives the concussed malus and is knocked unconscious for 120 seconds. 50% chance of First-Degree Strangeness being produced on fuel, rendering fuel unusable until the Strangeness is dealt with, or it dissipates. WITH lethal intent target is killed. WITHOUT lethal intent target cannot be killed.

>Success: DC 32 and higher. Target receives the concussed malus, 95% chance of the target being knocked unconscious for 20 seconds. 50%/50% chance of First/Second-Degree Strangeness being produced on fuel, rendering fuel unusable until the Strangeness is dealt with, or it dissipates. WITH lethal intent 12.5% (1/8) chance that the target is killed by the spell. WITHOUT lethal intent 0.098% (1/1024) chance that the target is killed by the spell. Subsequent casts of Head Knocking on the target double the odds of the initial lethality.

>Partial Success: DC 12 and higher. Target receives the concussed malus. 65% chance of the target being knocked unconscious for 20 seconds. Second-Degree Strangeness is produced on the caster and the fuel, rendering the fuel unusable until the Strangeness is dealt with, or it dissipates. 20% chance that Strangeness is produced on the target. ~0.4% (1/256) chance that the target is killed by the spell. Subsequent casts of Head Knocking on the target double the odds of the initial lethality.

>Partial failure: DC 11 and lower. 50% chance of the target receiving the concussed malus. IF concussed, 15% chance of the target being knocked unconscious for 12 seconds. Second-Degree Strangeness is produced on the caster, fuel source and the wand, rendering the fuel source and wand unusable until the Strangeness is deal with, or it dissipates. First-Degree Strangeness is produced on target. WITH lethal intent, 0.19% (1/512) chance that the target is killed by the spell. WITHOUT lethal intent, ~1.6% (1/64) chance that the target is killed by the spell. Subsequent casts of Head Knocking on the target double the odds of the initial lethality.

>Complete failure: DC 1 and lower. 50% chance of the caster receiving the concussed malus. IF concussed, 15% chance of the target being knocked unconscious for 20 seconds. First-Degree Strangeness is produced on the caster, fuel source and wand, rendering the fuel source and wand unusable until the Strangeness is dealt with, or it dissipates. Two separate 15% chances that Second-Degree Strangeness is produced on the fuel source and wand. ~0.4% (1/256) chance that the caster inflicts a permanent brain injury on themselves. Subsequent casts of Head Knocking on the target double the odds of the initial lethality.

>Please, I need three rolls of 1d100.
>>
Rolled 19 (1d100)

>>5133583
>>
Rolled 53 (1d100)

>>5133583
>>
Rolled 36 (1d100)

>>5133583
>>
Time to club Pikeman I then Pikeman II and finally the Musketeer to death.
>>
Rolled 14, 12, 20 = 46 (3d20)

Okay, here we go - let's see what we do to the musketeer.

DC 8, DC 2, DC 2.
>>
Rolled 2, 5, 3 = 10 (3d5)

>>5133657
Musketeer is knocked unconscious for 60 seconds.

Now, to see if Strangeness is produced on the target.

DC 2.
>>
Rolled 48 (1d256)

>>5133661
No Strangeness produced, though now both you and the fuel nodule are Strange in the Second Degree.

1/256 chance that the target dies, doubles two times for both completed casts.

DC 2
>>
Rolled 44 (1d128)

>>5133667
Odds of a lethal outcome double. DC remains at 2.
>>
Rolled 2 (1d64)

>>5133670
Odds of a lethal outcome double again. DC remains at 2.
>>
>>5133672
Praise the patternmaker
>>
>>5133672
The Patternmaker is giving me mixed signals...
>>
>>5133679
I think he lives (just for a little longer) anon
>>
Congratulations are in order! Excluding your sparing with the sow, you have just won your first combat - for all intents and purposes, a flawless victory. That being said, this could have gone the other way easily. If even one of the three guards that you initially target managed to keep their feet, the Musketeer would have rushed in to save him. And while you were right - he was the one that shot at you, that does not mean he was a going to be a wallflower for this fight. His musket has a bayonet, and more than that, it has enough weight and length to it that it can be used quite effectively as a club in a pinch. If he managed to close before you had the spell ready, he would do serious damage. Possibly fatal. Even if it wasn't, in this fight all he needed to do was to down you. You would have been captured, the wand would have found, you would have been turned over to the Inquisition, and it would be a Game Over.

But that didn't happen. You downed all three of his fellows in one go, and as none of them were responsive he thought they had all been killed. He turned tail, he ran, and he got laid out for his trouble. Now, it is time for some messy work. Also, you guys need to make a final decision on the Snuff Box. Either way, after this you are heading out into the Mount to go pay a visit to the Refineries.

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Leave the box
>Keep the box
>>
>>5133752
>Keep the box
>>
>>5133752
>>Keep the box
With the bloody mess we are going to make, I doubt they would care about the box.

>you would have been turned over to the Inquisition, and it would be a Game Over.
What kind of Bad End would an inquisition Game Over entail?

>Either way, after this you are heading out into the Mount to go pay a visit to the Refineries.
Shouldn't the place be swarming with guards after the horn was blown?
>>
>>5133752
>Leave the box
We don't really have a reason to keep it at this point, it may as well end up back with the captain.
>>
>>5133752
>>Keep the box
I see little reason to tie our dock escapade to this.
>>
>>5133776
Wouldn't we be harvested for parts?
>>
>>5133752
Combat always sits at that edge between success and failure, it should be avoided as much as possible
Men break, and no one puts them back together again
>>Keep the box
>>
>>5133752
>>Keep the box
>>
>>5133752
>Keep the box

Thank the Patternmaker for our White Luck, even if he did decide to fuck is over intentionally because he hates our guts.
>>
Closing the vote, as it was practically unanimous for keeping the snuff box.

Writing!
>>
By your estimation, the officer of the guards is the most dangerous of the thr – of the four here, so naturally, you target him first. He still has the horn in his off hand, but since it was blown when you were first discovered, it has not been sounded again – probably because he was the one that was shouting your name. At some point during his charge through the night, he managed to get his pistol into his hand, but he is not holding out at the ready. It might be that is considering the possibility of taking you alive, and the shot was actually the guard with the musket firing reflexively. So you feel even worse than you thought you would when you see him start to convulse. At the speed that he is moving at, getting the shakes practically guarantees that he will lose his footing. And he does. While that is happening, he drops the horn and starts to raise his left hand, possibly bring it towards his head, but before it can even clear his chest, he goes limp as he is knocked out cold. Convulsions from the second and third cast are progressively more violent, and he hits the uneven basalt face first.

The wand is completely silent, so the original guard with the pike, who was ahead of the officer and to the left does not even realize that his boss has been downed until he hears the clattering. The guard with the musket and the … other guard with a pike, however, they were in a position where they could see what was happening. More importantly, however, is that all of them can now see the light that your eyes are putting off – though as none of them are screaming ‘Witch’, it seems that they just assume whoever just downed their commanding officer has a head mounted lantern. The original pikeman moves to close the distance, shifting the head of his pike down, so the lantern that he has hung around the bill falls free. It does, but by the time that the lantern hits the ground, he is doubling over, as if he was punched in the gut, and trembling with convulsions. The other pikeman was moving to close on you as well, but as soon as he saw his fellow downed, he changes course to put himself between the two of you while still advancing. As he levels the head of his pike – unencumbered by a lantern – directly at your chest, you realize that he is swearing at you to the point that in the light from your eyes you can see that he has gone red in the face. Several steps shy of thrusting distance however, the final two casts of Head Knocking reach completion, and he goes down, with his knees locked straight.

Not understanding how three of his fellows have been downed silently, but perfectly understanding the danger, the musketeer dumps his firearm and starts to flee. Even if he is still encumbered by the weight of the cuirass and winded from sprinting all the way over here, he is still moving quickly. You will have to make haste, otherwise he will be out of overcast range before you are ready to cast again.
>>
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>>5135375
But you are prepared to make a quick turnaround. You have much more salt in your grip than you would need for five or six chained casts – let alone the two that you have planned, and you already have two fuel nodules in your left hand, waiting to go. Judging that you will only get the opportunity here to use one of them, you drop one while you use your thumb and forefinger to rip the almost depleted fuel nodule out of the wands’ fuel socket while you watch the fleeing guard. As you glance down at the plucked nodule, Strange-Staining activates, but you know as it was just used for a typical cast that it should not be communicably Strange, and you let it drop to the ground as well. You cram the fresh one in and take a deep breath, before stepping out of your cover, pointing the wand directly at the fleeing guard’s head and reaching much deeper into the wand to perform your first overcast with it.

Three chained overcasts produce a little more heat in the wand, a little more coldness and numbness in your arm, but substantially more smoke and fumes from the depleted salt than seven chained casts – though perhaps that has to do with you oversalting the wand than any increased strain in the spell. Either way, you send the final guard sprawling. After sparing a glance at the other three guards, and checking to make sure that there are no more coming, you remove the second fuel nodule. Without even looking at it, you know that because you used this nodule for overcasting, this one is going to be Strange in the Second Degree – in other words, communicable. Worse than that, you will be communicable as well, though thanks to your natural stability, not anywhere near as long as this nodule will. The important thing is to not get the wand Strange. If the wand becomes Strange, then it will become unusable – at least for a Witchlet*.

Luckily, even after being depleted by the spell, the salt on the handle of the wand is still an effect barrier against the transmission of Strangeness. Moving quickly, as it is only a matter of seconds before the guards begin to come to, you pull your left glove on, take the shaft of the wand in your left hand, use your right hand – which is just as Strange as the nodule, so you do not have to worry about one contaminating the other – to pull the near-depleted fuel out. You slip the ounce-nodule in your pocket-jerkin, which as it is in direct contact with your skin, will become Strange anyway, and not your Spotted Cloak, as it is not in direct contact with your skin, and with any luck will not become Strange. Using your left hand, you stuff the wand in Spotted Cloak, and then pull your other glove on while trying to keep the salt still in your hand – partly to protect at least some of the glove against the Strangeness, and partly to not leave any salt behind. You doubt that anyone would notice, but with the Inquisition sniffing around it pays to be careful.
>>
>>5136135
Enough dawdling. You only have a matter of seconds before the guards start to regain consciousness. You grab the stub-club from its perch and trying to not think about what you are going to do here, you walk over to the where the guards lie, sprawled over the rough-hewn ground. As you make your way over, you notice with a start that the Lodestar is no longer in the sky. You do not know what to make of that – if His disappearance constitutes acceptance, or if he has already seen enough to Judge you. It is not said that sins are committed in the Forms, not in these fleshy Shadows? That one’s intent is what is Judged, not one’s action?

In a really twisted sense, that sentiment actually makes you feel marginally better. If you have already sinned, why worry about it?

But as you bend over the first downed guard, that flimsy shield falls to pieces. Even if you have already transgressed by deciding that you are going to murder these men, that does not mean that the action itself should not be Judged as well. This is wrong – the thought, and the deed – deeply, deeply wrong. If you had been cornered, and you were forced into a fight for your life, and in the process, you killed these men, then that would be one thing. But choosing to fight them when you could have run away, and then killing them while they are as defenseless as babes … these men are not brutes, fit for nothing more than laboring into infirmity, then being cast into an Eternal Starlight as an oblation. These men all have souls – more than that, their souls are no doubt in much better condition than yours.

Underneath you, bathed in the harsh white light from your eyes, the guard moans, startling a shriek out of you. Instinctively, you bash him with the stub-club. You can feel the shock from the hit reverberate up your left arm. Realizing that you do not have time for this, you stifle a sob as beat him to death, repeating in your head over and over again that murder is not an unforgivable sin. It is, however, harder to commit than you thought it would be. Not to mention that it is hard to judge when you have done fatal damage, as your victim is unconscious. Still, when you stand up, feeling as woozy as if you had been clubbed yourself, you are certain that you have finished him off. You force yourself to move – to hurry – over to the next nearest guard, the officer. He is already dead, but you give him a couple of whacks, just enough until you feel the skull break.

By the time you get to the third guard – the original pikeman – actually stirring, shakily trying to lift himself off of the ground. Before he can regain his feet, you stomp on his face, then you bring the club to bear against him. As you do, you notice that he looks like a slightly younger version of the first pikeman, and somehow, you instinctively know that the pikeman the Patternmaker created – the one you have already murdered – was made as an older brother to this one.
>>
The first kill is always the hardest, but don't worry Chlot! It gets easier afterwards.
>>
>>5136184
The logistics of spontaneously creating life, then imbuing them with memories of a life they have not lived, and then rewriting other people’s memories to include them is hard enough to wrangle with – but the idea of the created person being made as a relative to an existing family, there is something deeply unsettling about that. You instinctively think of the created guards as somehow being different than the guards that were produced by the Firmament, but … really, besides their true age, is there any actual, fundamental difference? It suddenly occurs to you that the reason that the older pikeman, the one that Patternmaker just made, diverted his charge – it was to protect his younger brother. The older brother was created behind the younger one as the group of guards were moving through the ruins – it is possible that never actually saw him with his own eyes before he got downed. And yet … who are you to question their bond? Or if this older pikeman should be considered real? Its insensitive, not to mention probably blasphemous – which with everything else affecting the condition of your soul right now, is the absolute last thing you want to be.

All of that being said, however, it does make you wonder just how frequently the Patternmaker does things like this. No one would ever be any the wiser – unless He held their memories constant as well, and you doubt that you would ever be able to tell anyone about this. Or should, for that matter. It also begs another question – a much darker one. If the Patternmaker adds people to the Firmament as He pleases, does that mean He does the opposite? Just … cut people out from the Firmament, not even leaving memories behind?

You look down, and realize that at some point, you have stopped beating the guard. Once you check to make sure that you have murdered this one too, you get up and head over to the final guard, the musketeer. Even if you could have run away from this fight, what happened with the other three … you do not want to say it was better, but it was … closer to fair. They were armed, and they were coming for you. And when you come for someone like that, there is an implicit understanding that things might not go your way. That you might just get killed like the officer was. Or if you are downed, you might not be allowed to get back up, like the pikemen were not. But with this musketeer, there was none of that. He was unarmed and running away. He did not pose a threat – an immediate threat at least. You could have –

No, what are you saying? You could not have ‘just run’. Not after downing three of his fellows with a fraying wand with your eyes blazing like beacons. Even if he did not understand what happened, there would be a report, and with the Inquisitors on the alert, it would only be a matter of time before they got their grubby fingers on it. What would you do then, huh? Let those bastards run you into a Leadbelly grave?
>>
>>5136799
It changes nothing! It changes not a single solitary thing if this fourth transgression is even a whit more serious than the previous three. You – you pause, as you realize that you have committed four transgressions already tonight. You knocked over that stockyard, stole the piglet, and slaughtered the sow. As it dawns on you that you are so far gone from normalcy that you have to remind yourself that stealing is wrong, you get mad – perhaps as mad as you have ever been. Mad that you have to resort to this, mad that you have to live as you do, mad that you have sin as you have and are going to have to again. The Many Mysteries are supposed to bring you closer to the Wisdom, not to the Pits of Hell. So why does it have to be so damned fraying hard! You unleash on the pikeman – hitting him as hard as you would if you were hewing basalt with a toothpick. And while the stub-club might not be able to do the damage a ‘pick could, skulls are nowhere near as strong as basalt is either. One swing goes a little wild, and you bash his mouth open – leaving a bubbling, red ruin as shards of teeth go flying. After several more hits that are on target, another one goes wild, and you burst his eye as cave in his orbital. By the time that you are through, the smuggler’s head was in better condition when you found it. Much better condition.

Having vented enough of your anger to think coherently once more, you leave the musketeer where he lay and survey the scene of your crime – your crimes, rather – in the still blazing light of your eyes. All of the guards are still. Beyond that, you might hear something in the distance that could be a patrol … but you have excellent hearing, and even with straining your ears you cannot tell for sure. It probably is a patrol, but this portion of the Midden is an absolute maze, trying to find your way through it at night, without knowing the streets – if they are guards, then they are hopelessly lost, at least for now. The officer should have hung back and kept blowing for back up.

A terrible thought comes to you. What if the reason the officer was not blowing the horn was because he knew that reinforcements were being called in some other way? Could he have sent a guard off as a runner to find nearby patrols before the first shot was fired? If this hypothetical runner had been paying attention to where the guards were patrolling, and actually had an idea of what streets to take, then he might have better luck at bringing in reinforcements than just a horn. You stare out through the shell of the villa for a little bit, thinking on this, before you realize that your eyes are liable to give your position away, and you advert them to the ground. Keeping your gaze downward, you return to where the first three guards fell within a stone’s throw of your cover.
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>>5137130
It has been what? A minute and a half already? More? Assuming the officer did send a runner, there would be no way you could catch up to him. So there is nothing you can do about it – except of course, worry. You look down at your left glove and watch as the Strangeness slowly spreads from existing spots and shows up in new patches here and there throughout the canvas. You experimentally press one of those patches into the Spotted Cloak, to make sure that the Strangeness is not communicable. When it does not spread, and when you cannot find any on the stub-club, which you were holding in your left hand, as your right arm is currently socketed, you are satisfied that you can safely touch the bodies to stage the scene however you wanted it. Obviously, you should injure the smuggler in some way. It will have to be with one of the pikes, as shooting him would be no good – if that is another patrol you are hearing trying to find you, the shot might draw them towards you – or if there was a patrol going around the perimeter of the palisade, that could alert them.

Now that you think about it, an outside perimeter patrol should have been able to hear the blast of the horn. And even if a patrol in the Midden got lost, all they would need to do is get to the cleared away belt and just go in the right direction, and they would eventually find you. Hell, if they went in the wrong direction, they would eventually find you. This place is supposed to be just swarming with guards – how is it possible that it is taking this long to respond to a call? Did something happen?

For now, you cannot bother with any of this. You need to finish up here and get the Hell out of the Midden. So, let’s see – you are going ‘injure’ the smuggler with the pike, plant the cork, glass shards and low-denomination talents on him, but not the snuff-box, then drop him off of the palisade. Are you forgetting anything?

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>No, you are not forgetting anything
>Yes, you are forgetting (write-in)
>>
>>5137225
>>Yes, you are forgetting (write-in)
Plant the stub-club. How can we let the murder weapon go missing?
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>>5137225
>Yes, you are forgetting (write-in)

If the officer has a spare pistol or two, take them and half the ammunition. Same for any daggers. And don't forget any cartridges or witchlet paraphernalia.

I'm very tempted to grab a body, just to create our body-double for us to throw the Inqusition off our trail. If not these lads, then we'll have to break into morgue or something, because I am not having the Inquisition on our trail after we just gotten out of this hellhole of a situation we're in.
>>
>>5137225
>Yes, you are forgetting (write-in)
Chlot dropped a fuel nodule or something, didn't she?
>>
>>5137232
Supporting. We bashed those guards with the stub club, now we plant it on him. Circumstances have changed.
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>>5137246
I think you're right anon.
>>
Good work - you guys caught both of the traps. I will get to writing this up, but here is another question for you. Once you are on the other side of the palisade, do you want to take the time to re-socket your arm? If you were discovered in the Mount, or in the Refinery, then it means that you could not simply climb your way to freedom - which is a perfectly legitimate strategy to prevent or prematurely end a chase. On the other hand, if you got cornered, you would not be able to use the wand to fight your way out.

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Re-socket your arm as soon as you can, even if it means that you cannot climb your way out of trouble
>Leave your wand in your pocket, even if it means that you will not be able to use it if you are caught by surprise
>>
>>5137735
>Re-socket your arm as soon as you can, even if it means that you cannot climb your way out of trouble

We aren't an experienced fighter, if we are truly cornered such that we cannot run (we'd have to run far enough away to have enough distance between them and us to be able to climb safely) then we'll need the wand to fight because we cannot fight anyone that is not weaker than us, has a firearm or polearm or long blade as those are too lethal and quick for us to comfortably have a chance of fighting with daggers or wrestling with. Plus fighting normally will take longer than with the wand, people may come and interrupt us and we won't have time to put in the wand if more than one person encounters us.

The trouble is not escaping per se, but scouting or infiltrating. If the best ways to do those are by climbing, then we deny ourselves those options.
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>>5137735
>Re-socket your arm as soon as you can, even if it means that you cannot climb your way out of trouble
>>
>>5137735
>>Re-socket your arm as soon as you can, even if it means that you cannot climb your way out of trouble
>>
>>5137735
>Re-socket your arm as soon as you can, even if it means that you cannot climb your way out of trouble.

The right tool at the moment.
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>>5137735
>>Leave your wand in your pocket, even if it means that you will not be able to use it if you are caught by surprise
>>
>>5137735
>Leave your wand in your pocket, even if it means that you will not be able to use it if you are caught by surprise

Literally planning on climbing our way out with a shit ton of lifting oil lads.
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>>5137735
>>Leave your wand in your pocket, even if it means that you will not be able to use it if you are caught by surprise
Chlot might prefer to have the option to run over the option to fight and kill again...
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>>5138085
Changing my vote to
>Leave your wand in your pocket, even if it means that you will not be able to use it if you are caught by surprise
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>>5138250
I mean...won't we just un-socket it then? The point of this choice is whether to rely on climbing or the wand in an emergency, we can use either if we have time to prepare but not in a pinch, at least if I understand things correctly.
>>
Pattern’s Perdition, you are forgetting something alright. Not only were going to leave two of your fuel nodules behind where you dropped them, after going to all of the trouble of staging the guards as if they had been beaten to death with the stub-club, you were about to wander on off with it still in your pocket. Still ill-at-ease from the inexplicably continued absence of reinforcements, you grab the two discarded fuel-nodules before you do anything else – just in case they were to show up, they are the absolute last thing that you would want to just leave around. You make sure to pocket the full ounce-nodule with the rest of the full ones, and the nearly depleted and Strange one from you first chained cast here in its own pocket in your pocket-jerkin, just like the nodule you just plucked from the wand. Satisfied that no matter what questions the guards may have when they finally do come across the mess you have left them here, they will at least have no cause to wonder if any magic was involved, you nod to yourself, then grab the nearest pikeman’s pike, and hustle over to the smuggler’s corpse.

As you make your way over there, your steps still illuminated by the harsh white light beaming from your eyes, you reflect on the story that you are trying to tell here. You got three guards, pretty much one right on top of another, who were fighting, and then one a little further off, who was running away. So with that in mind, just how injured should this bastard be – and perhaps more important, where should he be injured?

>Please choose ONE of the following for EACH of the targeted body parts that you choose
>Mortally Wounded
>Seriously Wounded
>Barely Wounded

>Please choose ONE of the following
>Head and neck
>Chest
>Gut and groin
>Arms
>Legs

I'm still working on writing up the Refinery update, but I don't know when I will get it finished. I keep going back and forth on how I want to work it, both in terms of dividing it up, and mechanically.. Hopefully, I will have the next post up later today - maybe around 5:00 pm, Eastern Standard time.
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>>5139351
If we have the option having him fall off the Wall might be necessary still be an idea

If he was to have killed these four, in the way we "did", he is going to need to have taken the three on, then run down the riflemen after they booked it. So nothing to bad could have been inflicted since he needed to have caught up, maybe some to cuts of the legs and arms to provide a reason for the fall.

To that end

>Head and neck
>Barely Wounded

>Chest
>Barely Wounded

>Gut and groin
>Barely Wounded

>Arms
>Barely Wounded

>Legs
>Seriously Wounded
>>
>>5139351
We still going with the original plan, or did this fight do the smuggler in? If he's supposed to climb, his arms and head need to be relatively unharmed. His legs must stay unharmed throughout the encounter, because he must chase down the musketman, and we're using a pike to damage him, not a musket. So, baring trying to climb and break the smugglers neck again.

Mortally Wounded
>Chest

Seriously Wounded
>Head and neck
>Gut and groin

Barely Wounded
>Arms
>Legs

Make sure you avoid the lungs, so he can still run and exert himself in chasing down and beating the musket man to death. I'd say pierce the stomach, but I don't know how long it'll take for the acid to liquefy the other organs, if it's immediate then that's a no-go. I trust Chlot's judgment in this matter.
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>>5139383
supporting
>>
His legs cannot be seriously wounded or else he wouldn't be able to give chase to the musket-man. The bayonet on the musket isn't bloody, if we are going to tell the story of him bleeding out or trying to climb and falling then his leg wounds should be the last wounds inflicted in this story and the wounds should be by bayonet.
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>>5139351
Supporting >>5139383

Didn't stop to read the anon's post before typing before.
>>
I'm a bit too tired to properly think this through, so I'll just drop a few thoughts:
>The story we are telling is that our guy beat up and killed 4 trained armed guards with a club, he must be some sort of berserker or on crazy combat enhancing drugs for this, and he better be properly fucked up from the fight
>we should impale him on the bayonet
>>
>>5139383
+1
Just make sure to make it appear as if it’s the fall from the wall that broke his neck and killed him





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