When we last left our heroes, they were on the first floor of the Upper Hoof, a three-floor tavern at the center of New Earth.
There was some interest in visiting St. Szwall to the south, and Lilly has four days to find that altar, off the coast to the north. Maeda would like to send her report via mail or internal church channels. You have not read a newspaper recently, given you've been away from civilization. Electronic essence was observed at the "Barbar Shop". Prices seem reasonable. It is not stormy along this coast. Emrille is here. Marina's crew is still waiting on the north coast for her to return and lead the vessel back to the Aquamarine City. No one has asked Marina to stick around long-term.
>>630358 "Well, there would be St. Szwall. Not sure it's so much of a church as a fortress, but they are good Celestials. About half an hour south down the coast to their docks, but the monastery itself is further set into the land a good ways, up in the mountains. You might be able to find a Sherpa around the docks, though."
>>630359 "Fly. Daughter of… uh… Seekkill, I think his father was, before I killed him after he tried to eat Cloudy. Heard she became somewhat of a viscious cunt herself, and she lives right here in New Earth too. Guess I can't fault her, since she got here first."
>>630360 "That sounds rather insulated from civilization. Do they come here often, the Celestials?" Start making a copy of my mail. Adding, at the bottom of the copy and the original, that two copies will be sent, for safety reasons. Again, the letter should go over: -My current mission -The moon heretics -The seaponies and discordians -The debt to be paid at the ship's captain -Red and her hideout -Possible further implications of a revolution Then seal both letters with the appropriate wax seal. "This… Greasing of the wheel, would this suffice?" Push a bag with 10 gold bits towards her.
>>630362 "They don't rely on the MSL for supplies as we do, but sometimes missionaries come in to yell about all the hedonism. Haven't seen one of those missions in a while, though. As for grease, convincing a reliable flyer to make the trip is tricky. I'll need 30, and that's cutting me own throat."
>>630364 Drop the 30 without even beating an eye. "There will be a good deal more if said flier makes it in less than two days' time. I've written so on the letter. Were you saying, about the hedonism?"
>>630370 "New Earth was founded as a frontier enterprise by the MSL. They offer a lot of work to freelancers, but most importantly a program where adventurers with a year contract can get free shipping over and lodging. Not a bad deal."
>>630379 "Turns out that I had a talent for killing, a knack, if you will. Some mad fucker was collecting kids for himself to do it. Problem is, I was… got thrown into some loop, got lost, wandered away from him. That's how I got into the merc business in the first place… and why I got this fucking accent. Did you know I'm Germane? I didn't until then. When I got back to Anniev, he found me and… well, saw I couldn't really be improved anymore. So I got lulled into thinking I live with Tela and have the perfect live, going from one job to the next, but in reality she was out there, looking for me. It wasn't until he killed him that I started to see things for what they are." Sigh. "That's why I decided I had enough killing. That I just wanted to fuck off to some calm place and live the rest of what I have of my life in peace with her."
>>630380 "I'm not even gonna ask what microtransactions are." Furrow my brows and close my eyes in a grimace of tiredness. It's been long since I last slept… "Thank you for your time. Do see to get that mail delivered, if you can."
>>630391 "It was… I was…" Shrug. "I'm just glad I get the comfort of probably dying on my bed of some stupid shit like a stupid old fucking fart instead of bleeding out in a ditch, like most mercs end up doing."
>>630392 Let out a shrill laugh. "Oh, fuck, you know, pirate fleet Emrille would have shot you for that remark. I remember shooting that dumb fucking unicorn for it…" Shake my head. "I was really upset about it, but I never found out what really happened to them. What I believed might have been just a fake memory planted to my filly brain, so I guess I don't give a shit. They just weren't there, tough luck."
>>630395 They are indeed on the first floor of The Upper Hoof. This three floor tavern is packed with reveling adventurers. Most are eating seaweed platters. The higher floors open above so you can see up to the great overlooking bannisters, and the upper levels are surely more elaborately decorated.
>>630405 "Why the fuck do you think I settled down? A mare can only push her luck for so long. I'm amazed they could even scrap me back together after I tried to take that air ballonship down on my own." Smirk. "I shot so many of the fuckers by myself though, almost had it."
>>630406 "Great. Emrille, ex-ruthless killer, current old fart."
>>630407 "Nah, I wouldn't have shot a sexy ass like your mother. Plus she was one of the most amusing pirates to be around, with her sass and all that."
>>630408 What was the vision I had last session about? >>630409 "A pleasure." Look at the empty table. "Will we be having dinner? Our last real meal has been days ag-" >>630410 "Yes thank you." Smile brightly back. "And-" Share a gaze with the table. "Have my companions set up an accommodation yet?"
>>630412 "If and when you make it out of this alive… you could drop by me and Tela sometime, before I bite the bullet." Snort. "I know we haven't been sweethearts, but you're not one to hold grudges, are you?"
>>630413 "I totally wanted to fuck her when she was younger and hotter, yes." Snicker.
>>630414 "Small will do just well, and please do. Bring some ale as well." >>630415 "I was referring to your past affiliation with Belle's parents… And mine. Have you ever heard of a stallion called Flowing Tree? Over the last weeks I've gained an interest in finding his current whereabouts."
>>630416 "Could share a coctail and all that." Raise a brow. "Why are you looking for him, of all ponies?"
>>630417 "Oh, right, the neighpon guy. He had this tiny insect pony totally crushing on him. She was really fucking adorable about it too, and helped with my scopes and guns." Shrug. "Shame I got lost back in Anniev, so I've no idea what came of that."
>>630422 "They haven't been found. Aria is still missing. I'll ask Aira if she knows where Aria is when she wakes up. But we can't wait much longer to help Lilly find that altar. We should do that first, unless Aria is in immediate danger. I'm sorry but then I'll have to leave."
>>631822 Right you are. You head out of the tavern / adventuring center and you can see it straight down one of the very plainly laid-out streets. It looks like a duplex, combined with the port authority near the docks. Someone's at the desk, too, or you could just go in back, since you have a mail key.
>>631823 If news reaches anywhere in the New World, it'd be here – plenty of ships arriving with fresh adventurers. They're the main export, after all.
>>631829 "There is a high roller, up on level three, that goes by Fly."
She chuckles. "They say she's a vampire, but I say she's just a terrible dresser. That being said, you might have to ask the bouncer to try to fetch her if you don't have tickets to go up."
>>631830 Righto! You get the anxious feeling that even now there are black cats circling.
>>631832 This place is cozy – actually larger than the office you're familiar with. The mail bin is kinda full – looks like they don't care to make trips to the mainland very often. That being said, there's an express priority order hanging on the wall, probably going to go out soon.
There's also a stack of newspapers, and the usual accommodations: coffee pot plus beans, cups, stove and pan, plus a box that you presume is full of Unseasonably Warm Pockets – the cheap, complimentary food that the central office provides you with.
>>631835 Let them circle. I'm not a fish. Not entirely. I'm not going to move one step out of this bar until I have someone to go with. So until I've got ponies to help cover my terrible sense of balance, I'll just eavesdrop on conversations.
>>631837 She sits straighter "Err… Sorry… It's just that… Well I think pirates are so cool you know? Sailing the seas, looting ports, singing songs and swordfighting! Man it sounds so awesome…" She smiles, leaning on the counter
>>631842 "that's true Yeah… Does that means you're like, stinking rich?" >>631844 "oh… Well pirates are supposed to be like that right? Uncaring and rude thieves, lonely warriors of the sea with no honor or mercy!"
>>631845 "For a thug, maybe. Look what it got you, though. Being all old and wrinkly on some backwater island full of cultists, and tricking children out of their money." I'll sheepishly nod to the bartender. "No offense intended to you or your town, sir." >>631846 "Exactly. So why on earth would you want to be like that?"
PRICE "REVOLUTION" Canterlot, 3:20 PM. Top economists are still trying to explain a sudden shift in prices experienced by the whole of Equestria that has left the country reeling over the past two months. The cost of an apple alone has risen from 4 bits to 6 bits in the last month alone, which would not be as troubling if they didn't start the year at 2 bits. Our interviews with merchants in Crystalport, Teat, Anneiv, Lubuck, Manehattan, and Stonebriar City lead to the same answers: they suggest they are merely keeping up with demand. Many merchants and merchant guilds place blame squarely on the shoulders of the now mega-entity the Middle Seas League, which has gained control of many of the guilds and has considerable influence over (and membership including) city leaders, such as mayors and prince mayors across Equestria and other sea-faring nations from the Confederation to Eggster. This reporter spoke recently to trade prince Bogsborough, a Novdogodian dog who spoke on behalf of the MSL position. Bogsborough insists that price fluctuation are a natural part of capital enterprise, and that there has been no market manipulation. "This is a natural rise in demand that always accompanies an increase in population." But if the population is truly increasing rapidly - the question would be what is the cause? Why is the population increasing now as opposed to in the past? Some remain skeptical. We spoke to concerned economist Tax Avoidance who spoke at length about the shift in the economy. His assessment summed up? "The Middle Seas League has too much power."
>>631846 "Sort of. I don't care about gold like I used to, but when I did…"
>>631847 Take out my pistol from my holster and spin the cylinder around. "I shot more ponies than you probably know, I was feared and awed, I was the phantom of Anniev, and I was, and still continue to be…" Point the gun at you and whisper a 'Bang!'. "-One hell of a good shot." Holster it. "You're lucky being the friend of Selena and Light Heart Junior compensates for your insults. Oh, and I also have my sexy marefriend, do you have one? No? Fucking thought so."
>>631850 "Well, that's okay, I guess. As long as you don't start acting like some salty seadog." >>631851 I'll just roll my eyes. "You assume I want one. And that's a whole lot of past tense you're throwing around." I'll look around, make sure I'm not in anyone's way where I'm sitting at, and then look back at Emrille. "Still, don't you think a mare your age should be a little more conscientious of what she drinks? I don't know how many you've had today, but you should be sure to drink some water from time to time."
>>631856 "…what? Like in the air? I've seen ships like that."
>>631857 "That's a lot of nerve for a little shit like you to throw around. Oh, and Fuck you, I'm like… younger than Selena. I think. It's been a while…" Shake my head. "Fucking age magic biting me in the ass, I'd shoot Abilio in the dick for this if I knew where he was right now, if he's still even alive."
>>631859 "An equally dangerous, but I'm sure more profitable, career." >>631860 "Well, my nerve's probably the reason I'm up here instead of still at home." I'll shrug. "Why were you even playing around with something like age magic anyway? And who's Abilio?"
>>631855 Unrest Continues Reptil Porttown, 11:10 PM. We continue reporting on unrest wracking the free city of Reptil, which has long resisted benevolent Equestrian rule. We spoke with Captain Salt Shaker on the bulwarks above the main defensive garrison which protects Porttown from the rest of the island – known to house terrifying deer and monstrous gang rule, truly a lawless land. Currently there is no legitimate authority recognized by foreign authorities which holds power in Reptil, but there are two main controlling gangs: the populist Cloud Street Families and the radicalized Red Army Faction. Smuggled imports of weapons that utilize electrical essence have exacerbated already high tensions, and following a shootout yesterday, some are saying that the enigmatic leader of the Red Army Faction, known only as the Peoples' Dictator, may be wounded and could already be dead. Our reporters were stonewalled when trying to speak to RAF sources, but high spirits can be said to characterize CSF camps, which have rallied in the main plaza of Reptil yesterday. Following the disturbance, which caused two major fires, a number of unauthorized seafaring vessels took flight from the island on its northwest coast – likely civilians fleeing the conflict. Royal guard captain Silver Shield, who graduated top of his class at the paladin academy only six years ago, reasserted his earlier expansionist opinion that it is the duty of Equestria to take over the island for the good of its people.
There are more articles if you want.
>>631858 >>631861 She remains in the bar, you find her with Emrille at the Upper Hoof.
>>631860 "No no… Beyond that… Way beyond." point up to the sky "imagine that, landing on the moon!" >>631861 "as dangerous as it's awesome! I promise you right here Marina, someday you'll be hearing my name everywhere, ponies will be in the streets, shouting 'Rhanna, Rhanna, Rhanna' while they see me sailing in the stars… "
>>631861 "I knew a pony back in the day who always kept running his fucking mouth, and bloody hell if it wasn't for Spring I'd have shot him in his dumb fucking face." Sip from my drink. "It was some weird as fuck experiment of his. He was a… uh, something, but became a Commodore after the whole calamity with the dragon. He shrunk me to filly size once, we got attacked, I shot and killed a guy, and earnt a cutie mark over my old cutie mark. He wanted to test shit about that, and in return taught me even more magic to kill ponies with."
>>631863 Look at you like you are insane. "Why in the teaty-fucking hell would you ever want to fucking go there?"
>>631863 "That's a good dream. I hope you can make it happen." >>631865 Roll my eyes again. "Well, that obviously worked out for you, then." >>631864 I'll nod. "Yep, lemme just… see if I can't make it to the door without tripping, bumping into someone, or starting a fire." And to the door I go.
>>631867 "Why, what do you have in life, huh? I've got my blood money, my fuckbuddy, my calm and peaceful resort to relax until the end of my fucking days… what more could you ask for? And don't you fucking say adventures because I've been there and done that."
>>631865 "Well, there's all sorts of stuff here right? Like seas, plants, and all kinds of things. Do you know what there's on the moon? Of course you don't, no one does! That's what I want to find out!" >>631867 "it will be a lot of hard work…but I believe in myself and all that flibber flabber"
>>631868 "Friends are a good start. A home with a family waiting for your return." I'll think a minute. "And the common sense not to buy an old salt a drink she doesn't need." I'll finish that by sticking my tongue out at you. >>631869 "Yup. But don't forget to get the facts down, otherwise everything else will go all… uh, down? Up in smoke."
>>631871 "I'm sure my friend are around, somewhere, the ones that didn't die." Snicker. "Okay, I'm going to let that slide, because… pfft, holy fuck, do you take me for a family mare? I fucking despise kids. Not that big a fan of stallions either."
>>631866 Order Receives Rites Autumnsreach, 1:50PM. The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Autumnsreach received its holy orders today, which is held from a religious perspective to be more important than its legal recognition which was signed off on by the Princess last Tuesday. Official sources suggest that this new order has been created, now under direct order of the Grand Crusader in Autumnsreach until an official monastic grandmaster is created to hold the office, in order to combat a rise in heresies along the south coast. We spoke to Sunlight Spear, one of the founding members of the society earlier this morning, who said that the creation of the order was tied to typical church expansionist efforts in order to encourage missionary work in the New World and beyond – not specifically tied to any one event. He also explicitly denied rumors that the order's creation could be linked to the earlier catastrophe at the Autumnseach catacombs last month - a major embarrassment to the ecclesiastical city. Spear said that the creation of the order was officially decided upon last year, and that it would be unreasonable to associate it with recent events. Secular sources remain skeptical of the events last month, and the inquisition remains tight-lipped about conclusions of their investigations, but a number of potentially dangerous ancient Nightmare demons, long contained deep within the catacombs, are rumored to be turned loose. As with earlier allegations, however, Spear maintained that these rumors are false.
>>631870 "Bah, these guys are dumb and can't see the scientific side of things! Besides, I don't plan on stopping at the moon ya know? There's much more around space, but I'll need help to get this plan in work. You can't get a ship working with just 10 bits" >>631871 Nod "that's why I'm studying all about ships and space since back in the ship!"
>>631876 "Yeah, yeah, I'm sure you'd love to go home to your screeching and screaming little brats so you could lock yourself in your bedroom and suck the cock of whoever you decided to breed with. Lovely idea, ain't it?"
>>631875 "I don't think you can make it work anyhow, kid. I mean, fuck, even I dreamt big when I was a filly, but what you are saying is just fucking stupid."
>>631884 >>631874 I'll read over it. "Hmm. Well, that would explain why the thing is chasing Lilly instead of immediately going after her mother all those years ago." >>631885 "You said this started last month, right?"
>>631887 Hurray. >>631889 "Then who else knows what's going on. Your mother couldn't have been the only one who looted things from Moon temples in recent memory. So why is it only going after you?" I'll ponder a minute. "I suppose the other ones that broke out are fulfilling similar roles, and these particular inquisitors were mobilized to deal with that." I'll hoof the paper back. "So, once we find what was stolen, do you know where it needs to go?"
>>631895 Frown "I'll show you… I'll be the first dog to ever land in the moon without magic or tricks, just science, and a lot of hard work. Look!" pull out a bunch of papers with drawings of boats, notes, materials and lists "I just need money to get the stuff I need, I can start a project and then build it. I'll call it… Uh… The moonship!"
>>631902 Well, I still need to work on this curse I'm under, since my luck would cause the boat to spring a leak, no doubt. >>631901 "Say, where was that temple here? If we're getting ready to head out, I should probably find out what spell those cultists threw at me before we go underwater."
>>631903 "I have no idea really… Well… If you don't want to help, I will find a way to make my own money. But you're making a big mistake not trusting me with this. This idea is going to be revolutionary to the whole world"
>>631908 "You say that because you're too broad minded to see how great it will be for the society. Conquering a whole new world, can you imagine the good this will bring to everyone? Or are you such an old hag to the point where your mind is too burnt out to understand?"
>>631913 Nah, this is just a random encounter roll.
Not long after you leave town, you see approaching figures emerging from the forest – breaking out of the underbrush. Pretty big by the looks of the flora they're disturbing. As you are following the coast south, the plants are to your left. In the distance, over the treeline, the volcano is still visible. You are about ten minutes away from town, behind you. In the distance, you can see a little pier on a peninsula beach – it's about 20 minutes away.
>>631916 >>631917 There appear to be three of them. The first thing that strikes you is that they are really tall – some kind of foreign, and very fluffy. Their backs are sloped kinda strangely. They don't appear to be armed, and are wearing loose-fitting orange robes. They're also squinting against the sun setting behind you.
They look like lama llamas, monks from the distant land of Shangri-Lamb. Though, from here, they are only across a sea…
>>631935 It looks like a really raggedy doll – the kind that might be put together on the fly to calm a child while traveling. It gives you a bad feeling, but you can't pinpoint why exactly. Maybe it's just pity for whatever child left this behind.
>>631946 >>631945 >>631943 You continue onto the pier. Unfortunately, there is no sherpa as suggested by the townsponies. Still, that doesn't mean too much: there's a pretty well-worn path up further into the forest, it looks clearly demarcated.
>>631940 She moves back slightly in surprise, but doesn't resist the hug.
"It has been a while since someone has done that. I'm surprised at how how emotive you remain – and how unscrupulous."
>>631950 "Hah." She tosses her cape over one shoulder. "Even as a child I had a reputation for being a little bit creepy. I just make a business of it now. And incidentally, I was up to your chin when I was something like a year old, if you recall. I really couldn't move on with my life until the good Commodore sorted that out."
>>631949 So it would seem. At least the path is well defined… surely over one of those hill crests, St. Szwall awaits.
>>631958 You head deeper into the jungle. There's a wooden sign you pass as you begin the hike that reads: Leechwood. Ew.
After little time has passed, you arrive at a small settlement, but it looks like it has been abandoned for some time. The houses even look looted. There are five of them from the looks of it, though more might be spread out into the brush, with how unkept it is around here. Something sounds like it's moving around here – maybe wild animals, looters, or just the wind. In any case, there's no real need to stick around here.
>>631959 "It is a lot of work, being fortunate, I am sure you know. I am filled with wonder though. Wonders like your reason for being here."
>>631962 You see ghostly figures moving around. A distant scream. There's an older pony – maybe 30, male. Looks strong. Long beard. He has a young girl with him, trying to save her… probably not the father, she seems distrustful. Panicked. He drags her away. There are twins here. One of them takes an arrow in the throat. Their voices merge and become one. A black crow eclipses the sun. The moon rises and sets in the course of fifteen seconds. A clock ticks, but the minute-hand doesn't move. Four minutes until midnight. The screaming becomes a dull moan and a shriek erupts from the east. The volcano boils over. The poetry book again. Annals of Yore, page 203. You can barely read the first line… "Far away…"
>>631961 "Daughters? I didn't realize. Remember, I split pretty quickly after I was fixed. Wait, now that I think about it, I seem to remember you getting pregnant. Right, right… yeah, that's kinda sick the way ponies carry eggs inside them, don't you think? Eh, whatever."
>>631963 Right. You head out, while Maeda stays behind to drink wine and meditate.
>>631967 "What? Oh, yes, but you know, that's transient. Doesn't even really matter. The volcano itself is more interesting, too bad it's dead. I wish I could raise it, but the world doesn't work that way. Anyway, my point is those ponies will come and go, but the mountain will stay. It's just an extrapolation. I'm getting distracted, though. Did you just call me to catch up is all?"
>>631968 >>631965 >>631966 Right, you keep going. You still hear sounds of movement, but it's hard to tell if you're making them.
You make tracks up to a bridge ahead. It looks a little worn, but it has probably been around for ages. Far below, you see a busy river at the base of a crevice. There are bird nests dotting the cliffs.
>>631980 "Not… per se. That is, I know that a lot of ships crash there because of the reef. Stupid ponies. You'd think they would learn by now. Anyway, it's a good fishing ground, and a popular treasure diving place. All out of dice, though… Like that dead volcano. What a waste."
>>631979 When you take to the air, the pelicans below start to screech uncomfortably below.
>>631981 "Yeah, but what if there are rocks? And you know, things that eat seaponies? It's also really, really far down. Hitting water from this high would probably hurt." I'll shoo Maeda towards the bridge. "You'd better hurry up, those birds don't seem to like Lilly in their air space."
>>631983 "Yeah, but it would be vibrant. A source of adventure. That's how you make your fortune in the world."
>>631985 The bridge holds no problem. It doesn't even make the cliche squeal as you cross it, and you're pretty much running across in chain mail.
>>631986 The pelicans have been disturbed. Some are flying right for you!
Now that they approach, it becomes clear that it was a trick of perspective that they appeared to be the size of usual pelicans down below on the cliffs. These things are huge – big enough to fit a pony in their large scoop-like beaks!
>>631988 The bridge shakes, and as you charge across you accidentally knock a pebble off the side of the bridge. It falls down twenty feet where it hits a branch, which catapults a seed across the ravine into a particularly large bromeliad nearby. The water that was collected in it was a kind of pristine still, like a mirror, until you broke it. Aww, bad luck.
>>631990 >>631991 Only one of them actually bothers to chase all the way to the top of the bridge, but it's huge. It gives a bone-rattling screech before closing with you.
>>631989 "No, this time I mean the other kind of fortune, uh, good luck. That's how you fashion it."
>>631992 And once I'm over there, I'll realize my character sheet is on my laptop instead of my PC, so I'll have to fix that in a minute. I'm pretty sure I had Slam as a temporary skill, though the pelican. '1d10'
>>631994 You graze its beak as it swallows you. You're sure it looked VERY heroic, but you're now about one wrong move from slipping down a giant throat! At least there aren't teeth.
>>631995 "Places where the world is alive and free are where you can find luck – normal every day luck gets taken up by towns. Spread too thin to notice. You can get more if you go out and find a place where no luck is in use, like a dangerous volcano. Understand?"
>>631996 You only glancingly strike the skull with your polearm as it jerks its head to the side to swallow Lilly! Hey, that's YOUR charge!
>>631997 You only glancingly slam into the beastie, but it looks pretty exhausted from your concentrated attacks.
>>632006 She clucks at you. "I know more about luck than you know. Dice are my birthright. I gained their power when I devoured the flesh of my father, who in turn ate otherworldly dice to gain their power. You should listen to me."
She pauses. "That being said, I don't work with poison so much. Beyond, of course, those beyond. The pale, the grave."
>>632007 "The world is not just a bunch of dice you throw. When you work hard and train, you can stack the odds in your favor" pfffhahahaha "I hope she wakes up soon. She was terribly hurt. We had to bring her to this barber in town."
>>632017 "Every time something might work or might not – it's a throw of dice. With more dice, you get more chances. Bigger dice can be more helpful, but smaller dice have a higher chance of big payoff. Yes?"
>>632016 >>632018 >>632019 All in all, you're glad when you clear the trees and see St. Szwall (pictured in OP) sitting on a clear hill – no trees surrounding it. They've likely been culled back to give a strategic advantage and clear sights for the sentries.
From this distance, it seems quiet and peaceful, but at its size, it's probably like a small town.
>>632022 "No, the dice just store the luck. They break after being used. I am not sure how the universe decides when to use them, but it seems to happen at excruciating moments, when you would have otherwise failed. Sometimes you still do. Father's ghost tells me it has to do with the strange ponies from the astral place, but I still do not understand fully. I did not see it with my own eyes. He says there are strings that control us, or maybe guide us. His language was not very good at times, unfortunately. The strings seem to decide when dice are used. However, this is good for us, and make them a valuable commodity. Make your strings are listening even now."
She pauses. "This is recognized by thinkers. They call it string theory."
>>632021 >>632023 >>632024 It's a bit of a hike up the main road, and when you finally reach the great doors, there are no guards. They're huge, and bolted from the inside, though.
>>632023 Knowing monasteries, at this hour, they're likely gathered in the mess hall. It's technically against procedure to not leave guards, but if the area is particularly peaceful around here, it wouldn't be too surprising. Many Equestrian monasteries in cities stop leaving guards entirely because their only job became to direct tourists.
>>632036 Fly raises a floofy brow. "So you've never felt like you failed when your training should have made you successful? Never found a puzzle where the expert is outsmarted by the idiot by random chance? Where the muscular pony loses an arm wrestle to the wimp by sheer providence?"
>>632037 Hm. Some kind of loft up here. There's ladder down, and also a big bell. You can see the inside of the gate below you. Should be easy to unbolt.
>>632043 "I doubt they would be, since we're interrupting dinner. No one likes unexpected callers at dinner time." I'll scrunch a bit. "Funny story about that, you wouldn't expect a door-to-door salespony on an underwater giant crab, but that's how the Discordians got their hoof in the door for an oddly bloodless takeover of one of the crab sections."
>>632038 "Hmmm, yes that happens sometimes, but if that's true, what's the point of any training or education. Why should I bother learning alchemy, or teaching my daughters alchemy if it's a throw of the dice in any case? That doesn't seem like a fair world to me."
>>632050 "Well, it's not like they can make things that can't be remade. How hard can it be to freeze cream and put some diced fruit in it for flavor?" Sink into serious thought… >>632051 Which is abruptly derailed.
>>632053 "Pshaw. Not if it's made from all-natural ingredients and tastes like sunshine." >>632054 "Aw, c'mon, Lilly. It's not so bad. It could be worse! You could be a cursed moon-follower whose luck is so abysmal it would take several years to sort out the full effects."
>>632059 "Oh, hey, before we go too far in, here." I'll hoof Lilly a vial of Liquid Luck. "Drink this, and if either of us gets into a pinch, we can swap places." >>632065 "Or it's a surprise party! Those happen in Sun churches, right?"
>>632063 "How can anypony be neutral? It all depends on why they do the things they do. Somepony who's neutral isn't really neutral, they're just not very pious or very evil. I haven't always done the most pious thing but I like to think I always did it with a good heart."
>>632065 >>632066 >>632069 You are in the grand hall. This is where monks would take their meals in a monastery life. There is a thin layer of dust - like no one has been here in a few days, perhaps a week. The tables are long and made of wood – they are still set for the next meal, with simple wooden bowls and utensils.
Near the large door to the left, there are suits of armor flanking each side. You see a staircase alcove in the back with routes up and down. There is a spatter of blood here, at the bottom of the stairway up. There is a large hearth – unlit.
From here, you can return to the courtyard, head downstairs, head upstairs, or head through a large door to the left.
>>632500 "Yes, business is good here, if you know how to make use of it. Come back and see me if you want to buy or barter dice. I purchase them as well, if you think it's just superstition and would rather be rid of them."
Pirate Dice Explained After seeing a die result, you can roll your Pirate Die to increase that roll. If the Pirate Die is a maximum (e.g.: 4 on a d4), your roll is a crit. Otherwise, add the result to your original roll (but this can't make it an unnatural crit). Large dice are better for ensuring victory, whereas small dice give you a smaller bonus but have a higher chance of crit.
d8 = Potential +8 to roll, average +4.5, 12.5% chance of crit d2 = Potential +2 to roll, average +.5, 50% chance of crit
Once you use a die, it's spent. Find more – they could save your life.
>>632503 "There's no such thing as bad luck – only the absence of luck. You can't be cursed with bad luck. I know those cultists dabble in some magic of those kinds of specialities, but the most they can do is paranoia, not real bad luck."
>>632511 You left her passed out on a bench near the door. She's still out of it. She groans in her sleep but makes no intelligible sound.
>>632512 This room appears to be a bunkhouse – it's lined with beds and stretches on along a curve, which bends to the left. The beds are made. No signs of a struggle here. At the foot of each bed are chests – the meager possessions of monks.
As far as your vision can see before the curve, you count fifteen beds – you can see one more on the right than the left.
>>632515 >>632517 You prowl through the room around the curve. You can't see Lilly from here. The room continues on for another five beds. At the end, there's another door, which you presume exits to the courtyard.
>>632519 The beds are neatly made, but also have the same thin layer of dust.
You check the first chest on the left. You find a mirror, a prayerbook, an extra set of four shoes, and beads.
>>632516 At first, your hoof seems to stick. You grunt and pull harder, and finally the pseudopod lichen pops out of the head. Sunny mills about on the floor and, after some rotation, attaches itself to the wall near a lit lantern.
You glance outside. Sunset really slipped past you. The barbar's sign glows in the darkness.
>>632521 she rubs her arms ''I really don't know…it sounded cool but then I saw miss Selena die in a hole and I couldn't do nothing about it…then I realized how being a pirate is dangerous, we both almost died to some bums, imagine if we were against actual pirates?with guns and swords? I think I decided I want to help ponies have a better life than that, really. even if I can't go to space, i'll at least try to make life a little sweeter for me, you, everypony!''
>>632524 There are similar contents in each chest. Not a single cherry bomb or earnings clipboard.
>>632525 Sunny is warm, as always. Not because of natural body heat, but because it was likely busily decomposing something. Sunny needs to be pruned, too. It gets tumorous growths that aren't dangerous but are valuable to sell.
>>632532 She glares at you ''I'll prove it to you and you'll swallow your words, miss Emmy! you'll be like 'Oh gosh Rhanna you were right, you were an amazing genius and I was a big dummy to say you weren't' and then I'll forgive you and then we'll go out for cake or something, what's your favorite flavor?''
>>632542 "One of the adventurers who has been around a long time, maybe. Mama Anne might remember. She kind of points the greener adventurers in the right direction. She has a cabana on the northern beach, and does lessons during the morning and early afternoon here in town."
>>632543 >>632541 This is an old stone staircase. There's a blood smear between the cases up and down. The walls are wooden and sporting a stained glass window headed up, but stone going down. Which way?
>>632555 ''hmph, you're pretty stubborn saying I'm dumb, you know what, I'll study a lot and then I'll be way more intelligent than you, then we'll see who you'll call retarded.'' ''Sooo…changed your mind about the gun? can I take a look at it now? pretty please with honey on top?'' Her tail wags behind her on the seat
>>632557 This appears to be the rectory - the administrative heart of the monastery. The halls are comparatively well furnished, with carpets and a number of similar looking doors that are unlabeled. The doors themselves have been finely carved into scenes from Celestia's life. The Conflict. The Ascendance. The Guidance. The Passion. The Conquest.
At the end of the hall there is a door whose frame is in marble.
>>632573 ''now, you're wrong there miss Emmy, I'm really intelligent, as intelligent as you are, I didn't have the chance to take a bath so I smell as bad as miss Selena, Lilly and the others, and…well…Do you really thinik I'm awful to be around?…''
>>632591 "For the most part, stallions want to put their cocks into… well, anything really. The cunt of a mare, the ass of a mare, the mouth of a mare, the hooves of a mare, the wings of a mare, wherever. Never tried that, thank fucking god. Anyway, that's fucking, most would say, but fucking can be two mares licking each other out, or rubbing their vags together, all sorts of beautiful stuff."
>>632574 "Well, you can work that out when you get there. The Vignette Apple is nonparty, and you can find it third on your right when exiting the bar. The Winking Mare is party, and it'll be on the opposite side of the bar. It's the first one on the left side of its street. Look for the big sign."
>>633011 But we can't exactly rest. Also, I'm sure the adrenaline flowing through our bodies right now prevents us from sleeping anyway. What a wonderful machine we are. So. OPEN THE DOOR GET ON THE FLOOR EVERYPONY WALK THE DINOSAUR
>>633030 ''Oh wait I'll go with you!'' She hops out of her seat and tags along ''I'm getting sleepy to, so I'll just say bye to miss Emmy'' She turns back to the green mare ''Bye miss Emrille! I know you didn't really meant those things, deep inside I know you're a nice mare. I hope I can see you again alright?'' And with that, she walks away with selena
>>633043 Her eyes light up ''Ooh…I never saw one of these at home'' '1d10' appraise because yes >>633045 ''Hey miss Selena, what were you up to while I was talking with miss Emmy? I was sitting there with her for a while and when I realized everyone was a goner, I feel kinda bad for leaving her alone there too''
>>633048 >>633044 With a crash and a boom, the door pops loose from its frame and slams into the floor.
This room is empty, but it's surprisingly nice. Wood paneling. The ceiling is mosaic, and depicting The Battle, perhaps the most well known of the scenes from Celestia's life.
The chestnut desk inside has a stack of papers and something golden and egg-shaped. There's a letter opener on the desk that appears to be wooden, too.
This room has a window view into the lower courtyard. There are a couple of bookcases, but they're empty, which seems a little odd.
>>633049 It appears to be a mechanical device full of metal parts. There's a scale inside which weighs the bits, and, based on that, determines if you have paid the right amount. If the scale is tipped by at least fifteen bits, it slides up, releasing a key from where it is snagged between a chute and the other side of the scale.
You realize you could cheat the system if you had stuff shaped similar to bits and could slide enough inside to tip the scale.
>>633045 You have 229 in your purse. Pay for a room?
>>633051 ''Oh…that's…neat? But what does it do?'' >>633056 ''hmn…Hey I think I could uh'' She starts whispering ''I think I could cheat this thing so we didn't have to pay the bits'' She smiles up at Selena
>>633065 ''I can try it! I just need…hmn I just need something that the machine would accept as bits, but I wonder what could we use…'' She ponders ''But I don't have anything like that with me, do you?''
>>633089 "The chills? Yeah, but that happens when you hear a noise you don't like sometimes. Like a horn scraping on the ground or something." >>633090 "What?" I'll get my spear ready. "I thought the place was deserted!"
>>633081 ''hmn…You know I have a plan but… Could you get some small rocks of your hat? they should be as heavy as bits are, probally, If I sharpen and shape them up enough, they would be thing enough to go through and the machine would not be able to tell the difference, what you think?'' Wf can I actually pull that off with Sharpen?
>>633101 >>633096 ''Err…I…I can fix that, hold on'' She tries figuring out what could have possibly gone wrong, but she knew she could fix it! '1d10' tinker >>633104 ''I got it I got it!'' She says, sweating nervou- no wait dogs don't sweat
>>633103 >>633106 In ushered voice, try to steel my companion's resolve. "Whatever lurks this place, it senses light. It hunts light. Don't expect any equine form to emerge from the shadows. Do not give in to fear." >>633107 Is it time to pop some dream wine about the battle yet? My flesh should still be all shiny and chrome! '1d10'
Something dark swings in the window at a rapid pace. There's a hiss from the darkness. It's hard to tell here in the dark, but it seems roughly shaped like an octopus. It lashes at at each of you with shadowy limbs!
>>633115 ''O-oh, uh…yeah sorry it's just that miss Selena put her bits in here and the machine wasn't working for some reason! It's probally broken off, really. so I tried reaching in with a finger, sorry…we're both sorta new to these technological advances you know?''
>>633121 Okay I have absolutely no skills that'd let me slow or incapacitate that thing even in if I went on and did double backwards logic hoops to justify it. Instead, defend myself and look for things in the environment. '1d10'
>>633134 "It's obviously here since before we reached the monastery. They are not after you." >>633136 "You seem on edge. Very on edge about things nopony even began to question you about. Let's get out of this alive first and think it through later. If you still feel the need to." >>633142 "Okay girls, no lollygagging. Let's keep on moving." Push further in. And take the egg.
>>633141 The room is modest, but at least it's clean. Two beds, and a little stove setup complete with fresh cut wood. It's pretty dark, so you don't even need to draw the drapes to block out the light.
>>633145 "Well excuse me for not enjoying the fact a beast from some bygone era decided to just pop back into being and try to eat me! Not to mention I still have no idea what those cultist ponies cursed me with. So you'll just have to forgive me for being a bit edgy." I'll harrumph.
>>633151 ''I think it's better yout took it, I can sleep on the couch just fine. I'm smaller and all…besides I should try to make up for making you spend more than you should because of a mistake I did…Again…Sorry Miss Selena…''
>>633156 You creep down the stairs. You just need to shift around the corner and take the next flight down, but you can hear something moving around in the mess hall, shoving aside the wooden benches and sending pewter plates clattering to the ground. Sneak by?
>>633163 >>633159 >>633161 The creature continues overturning tables and ambling through the hall. It has reached the far end of the tables, but the stairway is right in the middle, opposite the great door that lead to the bunkhouse.
>>633171 We can't turn the light on. Not until we have a good distance and at least two doors between us and that thing. "Use your sense of touch to direct yourselves." Keep going down the stairs, keeping a hoof on the wall at all times.
>>633175 >>633174 >>633173 The words and sharp 'ssh' echo down the stone corridor. Since Maeda is leading, she's the first to notice when the surface of the wall turns. Feels like the room is bigger, or possibly an opening to another room.
It looks like this is a large crafts chamber – looms, forges, workbenches. The monks probably had to make everything they used, so as to avoid contact with the outside world. This place, at least, seems abandoned, if big.
The only place you haven't checked is the large separate building accessible through the courtyard. By elimination, you assume it's the library.
>>633182 She blinks and gently touches your face with a hoof.
"What? But… why? Or, I mean, I'm glad to see you."
>>633186 "Are there no windows?" I'll peer into the corners of the room. "Besides, I don't think being outside is that good of an idea while there are shadow beasts prowling around. We should probably get a more defensible position…"
>>633202 >>633203 >>633204 This narrow tunnel gives you barely any space to move around, so you scoot along on the dirt. At least it's not stone: that would annihilate your legs, as they shift around on the surface below.
>>633205 Yes, there was a storm and we ran up against a reef, but most of the ponies made it out of that okay. We had to take lifeboats, but the storm was too intense. Most of the groups were split up, but we see other ponies we know were on the ship occasionally, so we're not the sole survivors."
You bump your nose into Lilly's butt. She must have stopped.
>>633208 You bump your nose into Maeda's butt. She stopped.
>>633209 "We started taking up work here, like the plan, but when we went to Enkilj, we got captured by those cultists. We thought it would be an easy job, we were just supposed to recover some artifacts."
>>633247 Knock the harp out of her hooves. Tickle her if I have to, since that usually makes ponies let go of things. Strange black harps that play music only the holder can hear generally can't be good for you.
You appear to be in what may be some sort of treasure hoard. The walls are draped with decorative papers that are covered in praye– oh it's a cursed item vault.
The egg was probably being examined by the abbot or some other official and wasn't placed in here. The walls here are stone, but there is a wooden trapdoor at the top.
The room is filled with strange pieces – glassware ranging from alembics to drinking glasses, instruments, a big, gilded chest, a large slab of flattened rock in the corner, fine silks rolled up onto bolts, strange mechanical devices that seem to have thin strands of metal laced about inside, and a large picture hanging on the wall with a sheet covering it, concealing whether it contains a painting or not.
>>633250 You snap back to reality, on the ground in the room.
>>633264 >>633265 >>633266 Marina and Maeda swing unevenly, so when Maeda makes her swing wildly and falls off, at least Marina doesn't touch anything.
Maeda falls onto a magic carpet and gets turned into a stuffed ponoe. Your best chance is probably just to get out of here and get any outstanding curses cured outside instead of playing around in here.
>>633687 ''Oh! she finally did? Amazing!'' >>633688 She jumped from the bed and walked up to Aria, stumbling a bit in the rush ''Hi Aria! I'm Rhanna, I…woah…I helped miss Selena find you, yep. and I'll help finding your sister too!'' She picks up one of Aria's hoof and shakes it
>>633693 >>633695 She huffs proudly ''Yeah, I'm super smart too, hey, I'm even going to make my own ships when I grow up too!'' ''Also there's others like- Yeah like what Miss Selena said, a buncha other ponies are helping us find your sister ya know?''
>>633703 You have Maeda's lantern, I assumed you grabbed all her gear.
The room is filled with strange pieces – glassware ranging from alembics to drinking glasses, instruments, a big, gilded chest, a large slab of flattened rock in the corner, fine silks rolled up onto bolts, strange mechanical devices that seem to have thin strands of metal laced about inside, and a large picture hanging on the wall with a sheet covering it, concealing whether it contains a painting or not.
>>633706 You slash straight through the rug that was covering the trap door!
>>633708 ''One of the peeps that are helping us'' >>633713 ''It's okay, Papa used to do bad things when he got drunk as well ''Also I think Aria doesn't know you…'' >>633714 Noting the scrunch, she pulls on Flagon's arm ''Oh by the way mister Flagon, you want to see the town with me? we might be leaving soon and I didn't see all of it ya know?'' She says trying to pull him out of the room to let Selena have some private time with her daughter
>>633715 Whup. "Well, it looks like we're out of it for now. Of course, now we're lost inside a Celestial monastery without our guide." I'll think a minute. I don't suppose it's possible for me to set up a tiny moon shrine somewhere to at least pretend we're safe?
>>633720 I've got my necklace, and that questionable slab in the lockup. I doubt that's going to work, though. But there's no harm in trying… Not that I'd know what to do, in the first place, aside from pray. >>633723 I'll follow, for now.
>>633724 ''yeah, everyone knows your name now also'' She motions for him to come closer before she whispers ''I think Miss Selena will want to have some time with just her daughter…Maybe we should let her…''
>>633729 >>633730 ''Well it looks like Miss Selena will be leaving soon so I dunno. I think we'll go after someone or something she found out before, so we could wait for her for a minute'' She climbs up on Flagon's back then sits on his neck, leaning on his head ''Yeah, I wish my mom was so caring about me too…''
>>633726 The problem is that it could. If that slab has been tainted by the Nightmare, then it wouldn't listen to me, even if it worked… >>633731 "What's the matter? Are there more of those shadow creatures?"
>>633731 This library is pretty huge, with desks spread out. It looks like the figures are hard at work, bent over their desks. Each is robed. You can't see faces because they're bent over their desks.
>>633740 I'll pace a few steps. "I saw a slab down in the lockup there with a lunar symbol on it. If… If I pray to it, maybe I could get a bit of help from Luna? But I don't know if it'll work, of if it's been touched by the Nightmare." I'll scrunch a little. "I mean, we could just wait until morning, but… I'd like to at least try?"
>>633739 ''Hey, sorry to snoop in your business, but do you mind if I ask what you do with your bits, Flagon?'' She absentmindely plays with his ears as she rides him, using them like levers of a vehicle, that vehicle being Flagon >>633741 ''Enkiji? that sounds like some Japonese stuff''
>>633747 I'll bristle a bit at that. "Don't you ever say that." Turn around and head towards the hole. "Besides, it's either try this, or go talk to those creepy desk clerks, because I don't see any windows in here." >>633749 And then I'll hop down the hole.
>>633746 ''Oooh, sorry, I'll remember that!'' >>633748 ''Really? well what do you like to eat the most? Candy? Soup? Fish? I love salmon but I actually think Tuna is not that good compared to it ya know?''
>>633751 My smile goes from one ear to the other. "Oh I really like a lot of kind of delicacies and food preperation, not to mention drinks. From nabe to Sukiyaki up to Kaiseki and Tsukomoni! Man anything with broth or grilled those are the foods that I like. Hell Beer is good but I really do miss Sake."
>>633753 "Boats? Well I travel with boats but I do know a thing or two but that is not my forte you see. Well I do know a lot on brews and how to cook meals that is."
>>633766 ''hmn…Might need to be a sheep then…or at least a really big boat, but you can count on us to get one for ya Miss Selena!'' >>633768 ''Oh Shiban…So there are other dogs that look like you? I never saw someone with your features back at home''
>>633769 I then scratch my head. "Yeah that sounds good if you ask me, but we do have sufficient bits at hand right? Getting a good sized boat for all of us will not be cheap." I then scratch my nose. "If you want you can come with us for boat hunting, how about that?"
>>633781 >>633782 ''I really am, yeah! You're smaller than usual dogs, I mean in a few years I'll be bigger than you! And I was always told I was a bit big for my age too. oh and I couldn't be readier, let's go!''
>>633792 I then think for a moment. "How many of us are there? I think we need a boat that can house you, me, all of the ponies, supplies of food that will last for 3 to four months and the stuff that are needed. Also rooms for sleeping area's and stuff."
>>633790 "Well, I sure felt different, and my sense of balance is kinda weird and my voice got deeper, but… Wow, this must mean we're both guys right now." I'll look at the altar, then think a second. "You know, we should be able to carry it pretty easily as colts, right? We just need to rig up a harness or something to drag it with. You didn't happen to see anything up there we could use, did you?" >>633791 Not anymore it isn't.
>>633795 ''That's really good planning ahead mister Flagon! also there is me, you, Miss Selena, Marina, Lilly, Maeda, Aria and Aira…so that makes 8! we'll need lots of food too! so we might have some extra expenses aside fro the boat…I wonder if we'll have enough money for that…Maybe miss Selena and I could find a little job to raise the money?''
>>633798 "Are you kidding? They're probably the ones that chucked it down here in the first place. And didn't you need to put it back wherever it came from to get rid of your curse thing?" I'll head back over to the altar. Am I capable of moving it by myself? '1d10'
>>633811 >>633803 I look at the desk clerk with a smile "We are finding a boat… or a ship that can house 8 up to 12 people, perhaps something that is sturdy yet not fancy, also it has to be able to traverse the sea's and have a good or perhaps an adequate space for food and the crew in it. Is there any ship that met that criteria?" I then look at Rhanna. "Is that right Rhanna? I think that sounds sufficient for what Miss Selena is asking for."
>>633812 >>633813 Every item originally in the vault (e.g.: these cursed items) all begin to shake visibly
You feel like you've been slammed in front of the face and suddenly feel extremely tired.
Marina is coated in a thin layer of liquid chocolate.
Marina feels dizzy.
>>633815 "Ya, well ain' that just a good mornin' mood? I guess yer so chipper because ya want in on tha class? Well no worries little lady, we got plenty of lessons to take ya from green ta mean quick as a bunny, dun cha know! Come on, first lesson's free!"
>>633817 >>633816 "Sounds like you want a small sailing vessel… a sloop or something? The cheapest I can get you one for is 600 bits."
>>633823 "Well, there ya go. All dashing heroes need a sword, don cha know. Now, classic hero weaponry does include the longsword and scimitar, but we're working on rapiers today, my pretty little pupil. Ya feelin' up for some fencin, ya?"
>>633825 It blasts you off once again. Roll avoid magic items.
>>633824 Yes, you are. Everything is coming up shenanigans.
>>633822 My eyes widen and I give off a comical grin. "A sloop? That really sounds like a slurp if you ask me. Now I miss soba noodles, you have to slurp to acquire the best taste that the soba noodles can give. Its a really delicious yet really simple fast dish."
…. "Ah right about the sailing vessel, a sloop right? I think as long as it is economical and comfortable, I dont think we are really finding a fighting ship so perhaps a sloop do sound good." "Say can we see how Sloops look like?"
>>633827 Urgh. Well, I'm big, so grab the altar and shove it through the trapdoor up to the top. The shaking things can't be good. Lilly goes up next, assuming I don't throw up due to dizziness, and then it's my turn to try and squeeze up the hole.
>>633836 Yay. This is gonna feel gross in a little while, though. >>633837 "Right, so, now what? We've got the altar, now we just need to get out of here alive." I'll yawn widely. "Or at least have a safe point to wait until Maeda turns back into a pony again…"
>>633839 >>633836 >>633840 She doesn't seem very impressed ''Hmn…I really don't know…I thought you would have a good idea of what we would need, since you travel around a lot and such…But those sound good…though I'm kinda worried…if we run into pirates and have no way on how to defend ourselves…''
>>633843 >>633840 I pout. "Hmmmmm….. for me I think we need small vessel that will meet our needs first, if it cannot meet our needs then pirates would not be the first thing that we would worry while at sea. I dont want to starve in the middle of the sea you know." "Well we can capture fish but that is incredibly dangerous in the middle of a wild sea."
"as for defense then yeah we need Selena and the other to judge on that."
I then walk toward the smaller 8 vessels that looks like a sloop. How does these ships look? How good are they?
>>633848 >>633851 ''hmn…It should be good…you know…Maybe I could read and try to find if there would be a way I could attach a light cannon or maybe a balista on the sides…what you think? that could provide us with at least SOME defense…''
>>633850 Well, as long as it doesn't explode, it's fine, right? Right. And currently I'm starting to be too tired to really care about those Celestials. I'm big, so that means I can cover a lot of ground, right? So maybe I can outrun them, if nothing else. >>633852 "Yeah, but if you don't give it back, then they still get to kill you. That's how demons work. Besides, we're already so close, so why risk it now?" I'll start moving towards the door. "I'm gonna try and run past them all, okay? So you hold on tight, and don't drop Maeda." Twist my head around a bit and grab the alter in my mouth like a pretzel stick. "Hrr ee go!" And I'll open the door and run through.
>>633851 I smile at the looks of the boat, the sleek design and the… minimalistic design of it… it really emphasizes the simplistic aesthetics that my shiban side really admire. "Hmmmm…. that looks good for travelling around the world, what do you think Rhanna?"
>>633853 I pout with a comical look, clearly irritated at what the full diamond dog kid is saying. "You will be adding guns on it? How rude! Just look at the beauty of it, why ruin it by adding something that is not meant to be part of it? You need to just admire its endurance and simplicity Rhanna. A ship that is capable of carrying all of us around the world." I grin admiring at the ship.
>>633855 She looks down, rubbing her arm ''Yeah… I guess you're right…Sorry Flagon…It's just that I'm worried…If we get attacked by a sea monster or pirates…'' She eyes the boat ''I don't want anything bad to happen to us or miss Selena now that she can finally find her daughters…''
>>633854 None of the robed figures at the desk even get up to try to stop you. You slam into the door, and which point you have to stop to open it, and bust through. No demons out here, but the sun is shining brightly. Based on its position, it's maybe 10AM?
Were you really down there so long? No, something is up…
Anyway, demons have definitely dispersed.
>>633856 "Are we going to fight, or is this banter bootcamp?"
She comes at you with a slashing offensive!
"No, no, love, that's all wrong! Rapiers aren't fer wavin' around, use a STAB! All in one fluid motion, dun cha know? I swear, ponies today. It's not a paintbrush or a feather! Okay, let your partner have a go."
>>633857 >>633858 I raise my eyebrow and then snicker. "Well if you are worried for pirates then we should not be looking a sloop in the first place, I really dont want to destroy the image of a sloop by adding guns on it silly, it destroys the enduring and simple aesthetic that a sloop gives off." "If you want defense then we need to find a proper ship that can both carry us around and carry cannons with it."
Besides the sloop, are there other ships here that are also on the docks? Preferrably a shipping vessel that can carry guns.
>>633870 Yeah, I don't think she'd forgive me for that. >>633871 "With rope, or a cart, or something!" I'll plunk myself down. "I mean, if you want to fly back to town and send somepony back to pick me and the altar up, that'd be great! But we're not just leaving it here after all the trouble you've had tracking it down."
>>633864 >>633865 I then smile at the look of the Cutter. "Now that is a ship meant for war! it has guns that can defend and fight off anyone that threatens us." I then grin. "That is how one must get a ship a Rhanna, instead of converting a ship into a gunship that is not meant for fighting, one must get a ship that is designed to both carry us and fight if indeed a fight has come to us out there in the sea."
….. I then scratched my head. "But with guns added I can only imagine that the price will go higher because of it. Say we can tell to Selena that the cheapest price of a ship that can carry all of us is 600 bits and from there it will only get more expensive. What do you say?"
>>633881 >>633882 Head over to the port authority office with a smile at the clerk. "I really like the looks of the sloop, really looks sleek and comfortable. Say I do notice the ship with guns, Cutters it is called right? It kind of looks dependable too, what is the price of it in the dock these days?"
>>633887 >>633885 ''Uh…sorry miss, we'll remember that… Come on mister Flagon, let's go find Miss Selena…Geez what bit that lady?'' Rhanna asks as she walks besides Flagon, holding his paw with her own
>>633898 Finally, you lose that pono. You probably could've lost them sooner weaving through trees or something, it occurs to you.
Roll one more encounter – you see the town in the distance.
>>633900 You keep hearing the word 'artifacts' crop up. So much so that you don't think THEY know what they're looking for. Cultists keep bringing personal items to the shouty leader, who keeps shaking her head in disapproval. Then, they return to search for more.
>>633901 ''Sure!, go right ahead mister Flagon, i'll tell her'' >>633906 ''Well we found a few ships, and our best options should be either a sloop, which is 600 bits, or a cutter, which is 800…problem is, a sloop is cheaper, but has no weapons if we run into trouble, but the cutter have weapons, but it's a little more expensive…''
>>633915 "Pretty soon – I'll have to. Living here is expensive. 10 bits a day shelter, 15 bits for three square meals, 10 bits for lessons. 35 bits a day adds up – and that's not even expenses like gear."
>>633913 One of the cultists moves over to it to investigate the sound.
>>633912 You fly past them and ignore them. Ominous.
You arrive back in town. Lilly isn't at The Upper Hoof where you left her…
>>633922 "Oh, ponies have tried that before. It's a pretty high level quest though… Plus the Quest Rating council said they're re-evaluating missions regarding the Dead Empire this week based on recent developments, so who knows what would happen to the reward and challenge rating?"
>>633923 "Oh, she came in asking about Mama Anne last night, if I remember right. Maybe she's still out with Anne on the east side of the town, near the jungle."
>>633924 The cultist scratches his head with a hoof.
"Wait, which deity and or spirit are we angering here? It's getting hard to keep track."
>>633925 … "I'M A BIT NEW, ACTUALLY. THAT'S WHY I'M SO MIFFED YOU LOUTS ARE MUCKING ABOUT ON MY FIRST REAL SUCCESSFUL SMITING SITE." I'll rustle the bush ominously. "BUT IF YOU KNOW WHAT'S GOOD FOR YOU, YOU'LL LEAVE AND NEVER RETURN, SINCE I'VE GOT THE HANG OF THIS MASSIVE DESTRUCTION THING."
>>633941 ''What?…Lilly what are you talking about?'' Rhanna turns to Miss Selena, scanning her attentively to see if there was really something wrong that she missed '1d10' appraise >>633942 ''Oh so that's what it is…''
>>633939 "I'm new too. I took up culting because they offer free food and board. It's really not too intensive, just some chanting and maybe rummaging through some abandoned houses. You have to serve for like a year before they make you do anything REALLY nefarious. And it's either this or try to find some application for my art history degree. You don't happen to be a spirit of an impressionist painting or something, do you?"
>>633940 "I'll think about it, but I still need that sailing course. You can't survive out here if you can't handle a ship."
>>633942 Technically he also decomposes dead plantlife, but she doesn't need to know that.
>>633942 Gape at her for a moment, then blink and shake my head. "Whatever! We found it Selena! The altar was in the monastery, but the Nightmare servants are onto us and overran the place! We need you guys to back us up now!"
>>633950 "YES, BY QUITE A BIT. I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU DID LEAVE, SINCE THERE ARE NIGHTMARE BEASTS THAT ROAM THE WOODS AT NIGHT, AND EVEN ONE SUCH AS I DARES NOT TANGLE WITH OLD MAGIC LIKE THAT. AND SHIP COSTS AREN'T SO BAD IF YOU WORK FOR YOUR PASSAGE. WHO KNOWS, YOU COULD PICK UP A FONDNESS FOR THE SEA."
>>633968 "I stole nothing, interloper." Narrow my eyes. "If you know what is good for you, you'll give up this foolishness and stop trying to muck up my island with your rituals and artifact hunts. Get a real job. I'm certain you'd at least make a decent manager at a store."
>>633975 "Nah, that's just an inquisitor who got turned into a doll back at the monastery, thanks to a Nightmare Beast. They are out there, actually, and they wiped out the rest of the Celestials up there some time last night." I'll frown. "It's a really terrible way to go, and I don't think they deserved that, really." I'll shrug. "Are you sure what you're looking for wasn't destroyed?"
>>633981 "A negotiation? Stop stalling. This is your last chance. The next words out of your mouth better be, 'Okay, you can have a look.' I try to be fair – give our people a good reputation, but you adventurers ALWAYS make it go the hard way. I swear."
>>633986 "No, this." I'll gesture with my front leg again, dripping some of the chocolate. "It's chocolate. And do you know what chocolate can do in the hooves of a Discordian cultist? Hmm?" I'll look amongst them for dramatic effect. "It can explode! And I'm covered in the stuff. So how about we all just go our separate ways, and I don't turn this whole place into a crater."
>>633998 Glancing Full hit Miss Miss Full hit Miss Miss Glancing
I've never seen so many 1s in a row. You're the luckiest ever. Unfortunately, it still adds up to 10.
They beat you into submission and tie you up. It occurs to you that if you had scared off just one more foe, you would've been okay.
They pick through your bags and find both dolls.
"Which one do you think it is?"
"Duh, the haunted one."
"We better take both just to be sure."
"No, no, we KNOW which one is the right one. I'm sending YOU to fly ahead with it, because you're the pegasus. Everyone else: loot whatever else you want out of her bag and we can take it back on foot."
>>633999 >>634000 >>634003 You head further down the beach, and arrive at the docks. You're almost there, as Lilly knows but no one else does.
>>634011 "See, you could've kept the purse if you hadn't insisted on doing this the hard way. Have you learned a lesson? Next time you tangle with us I'm cutting your throat instead of tying you up. Please, please learn your lesson you idiot adventurer. And tell your friends, too. Tell them to STOP DOING IT THE HARD WAY."
They head off into the forest, southeast. Not on a course for the volcano OR monastery.
>>634020 "It's here, I hid it under this underbrush before those stupid cultists showed up again." >>634021 >>634023 "Apparently the doll that Maeda picked up yesterday on our trip up to the monastery was some sort of divine artifact or something." I'll put my face in my hooves. "Ah jeez, they took Maeda too. She's still a stuffed doll at the moment." Groan heavily. "She's never gonna let this go…"
>>634032 "Another magical mishap in the contraband room." I'll sigh. "Apparently these cultists up here have never seen a pony explode twice because they walked into a puddle of chocolate milk, otherwise they would have run away."
You tilted, fell back, and poof! With a dread flash, you knew that you had accidentally touched one of those cursed items.
Finally, you've come to. It feels like you're moving… There's cloth all around you, a collapsed wagon's top, maybe? You're also laying on a pile of what feels like junk, maybe equipment, so that matches the 'in a wagon' narrative. You can hear ponies talking nearby. Indeed, the movement of this wagon has the uneven pace of pony trot: likely whoever is pulling it.
You give yourself a pat down and don't feel any of your gear or bags. Ugh… maybe it's in the pile? You don't feel bound either, but it's too dark to see anything. In any case, not being bound up is a good sign.
>>634356 Not a lot of room to roll in here, it's like trying to move in a tent that fell over in the night.
You dig through the pile by feel and find a big bean-bag chair filled with metal, a huge sword case containing several rapiers, and the biggest leather sheathe you've ever seen containing what you imagine would only be classed as an "ultra-greatsword".
>>634358 You struggle out of the 'top' of the container, and it appears that you have, indeed, been captured by giant ponies and are lost in a giant forest. There are just two of them here, and it looks like you're being transported in a satchel.
>>634361 …I've been cursed. Goddamnit that room! Guess I will have to use the needles, doubt I can actually wield the ultragreatsword in any useful manner. Take two, stabbing them through my forehoof's cloth just to make sure I don't lose them, and then be ready to jump off!
>>634362 On the plus side, being made of cloth seems to have given you pain immunity. That could come in handy. That would have been excruciating if you didn't have it handy.
You better make sure there's nothing else worth looting out of this satchel while you're here, because you doubt you're getting back up.
Scoping out the position from the bag, it looks like you're approaching a bridge ahead. There's only one major river you know of in the area, so either you're nowhere near the monastery and you've been out for ages, or you have a great idea of where you are.
>>634365 The coinpurse would be as big as a burglar's sack on you. It looks like… hey! Your inquisitorial documents are in here. There is another coinpurse that looks more familiar than the first – it's yours! Unfortunately, even more heavy than the other one. Marina's necklace, some spice containers, the sewing kit that was mentioned before, and what appears to be an elaborately designed prayerbook. You can probably only carry one item and hope to be able to defend yourself at all, due to balance considerations.
Also, there's another thing in here. It's a three-sided die. It seems to pulse with power. You feel drawn to it. It would fit in one of the coinpurses, if you took one of those.
>>634366 Good question. Maybe one of the ladies will tell you.
>>634367 Marina filled you in, remember? Cultists robbed her and tied her up, but left behind the altar because they were only interested in the doll that Maeda found before.
Unfortunately, Marina relates Maeda is now a doll herself, and stolen alongside the other items!
Pirate Dice You can spend a pirate die any time after seeing the result of your roll. Add the pirate die's result to your normal result (this can't cause an unnatural crit). If the die lands on its maximum side, the roll becomes a critical no matter what.
Once you spend a die, it's gone.
Example 1: 2 + (1d4=3) = 5 (Glancing) Example 2: 2 + (1d4=4) = Critical! Example 3: 7 + (1d4=3) = 10 (Hit)
You hit the ground with a light and springy plop. You are pretty stealthy right now due to your light weight, doesn't look like you were even noticed.
It seems they're headed to a bridge over a big crevice. The route they came from was deep through the woods, so you'll have to do some cross-country if you want to head back the way they came.
>>634376 Your scope falls apart, you can't seem to rebuild that old filter you had before.
>>634384 >>634386 ''Woah…miss Selena how did you do that?'' She asks taking the potion and using this opportunity to make sure her crossbow is as sharp as it was before as she goes '1d10' sharpen >>634388 ''Alright, I'm right after you!'' she rushes after Lilly
>>634388 >>634389 >>634386 You head deeper into the brush, and spot the rear guard left behind by the cultists up ahead. They seem to be lost and consulting a map.
>>634390 You spring over the root with relative ease. Ain't nothin' gonna keep you down. You even manage to avoid landing in the puddle on the other side and getting your fabric all muddy. THAT would be annoying.
You trot along through the big woods for what feels like a pretty long time until suddenly, you're beset by a swarm of moths! Now this is a job for a hero!
"You go for him, and you won't reload that pea-shooter before you've got three swords in your belly!"
>>634400 The needle fell out of your left arm, so I'll just take the 6.
You badly damage the moth's wing, and it flits off in search of easier doll prey.
Ugh… you're hurt. But you might be able to make it out of this with some of your wild alchemy. You still remember your roots, right? Weren't just cribbing off old, well-known recipes all these years?
You open your eyes to your surroundings… eucalyptus tree, dripping oil… a big bromeliad filled with fresh water… on the trees, locks of wolfsbane and sournettle. You see a braid of wild onion nearby. You squint your buttons, revealing a warren of rabbits not but a couple of skips away. It looks like this earth is rich, too – saltpeter mixed in with the sands.
This jungle is a bountiful place. Maybe with a good Survival check you can throw some gear together.
>>634410 Not going to stock up on your other magical reagents so you can use your spells?
In any case, you keep moving. It sounds like there's a scuffle up ahead, the kind that it would be nice to be at full strength for if you wanted to get involved and not just cheer on one side – not that you can see who is fighting.