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File: 1588945313024.jpg (567.97 KB, 1601x2000, 1552780103212.jpg)

 No.738288[Last 50 Posts]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6atrj5MCQDM

The armored skiffs hum low over the gray, humid earth, speeding toward the Castle of Silence. An AI gunship escort follows each skiff, weapons trained on the dark horizon. Inside your skiff's cockpit, the pilot grimly triple-checks the cloaking device to ensure they have enough charge for the ride back. Knight-Brother Mountain unlocks his harness and enters the ship's passenger hold, casting an apprising glare over the lot of you. You may have been hand-picked by Iron King Ischyros himself for this mission – even made to swear an oath of secrecy on pain of death – but the Knight-Brother's judgment was subject to his own insurmountable standards.

"Wake up, soldiers," Knight-Brother Mountain says. "We'll arrive within the hour. Consider it your new home; you're gonna be here a while."

Mountain flicks a button on a terminal in the center of the hold, portraying a holographic projection of a grand ziggurat, countless miles tall and wide, extending far deeper underground: Agatecastle is its official codename, but it is better known now as the Castle of Silence. Once home to millions and millions of souls of every race and walk of life, it is now nothing but a grave.

"For reasons unknown, Agatecastle fell to the Dreaded Ones, millennia ago," Mountain begins. "Either they infiltrated before the Castle's Heart could erect its protective barrier of light, or, worse, they broke through that barrier. If it's the latter, then whatever broke through could still be out there. And they'll come for the other Castles sooner or later. Agatecastle exists on no official records anywhere in any of the nine remaining Castles, so we have little to go on. All we know now is that the place is crawling top to bottom with Dreaded Ones.

"Your primary mission is to discover why the so-called Castle of Silence fell. Data chips, paper records, get whatever you can find that points to something concrete, something we can kill. As for your secondary mission: As you know, every Castle has a self-destruct mechanism, known as the Sword of the Five Gods, located on Layer Zero. It can only be operated by the keys and authorization codes held by the Castle's royal family. These should be located somewhere in the royal Palace, all the way down on Layer One. Find the keys and the codes from Layer One. Infiltrate Layer Zero and arm the Sword of the Five Gods. Then get the hell out of there."

Knight-Brother Mountain looks over his shoulder, through the glass windows of the cockpit, and flicks off the hologram; there is no need for it anymore. The dead steel walls of the Castle of Silence lurk at last upon the horizon.

(1/2)

 No.738289

>>738288
The skiffs begin their ascent, flying toward the topmost level of the ziggurat, entering a makeshift landing bay in the sixth floor of what what was once known as Layer Nine, the Observatory. Cloaking devices deactivate to let engines cool once the shutter doors draw shut behind them. The ships' doors open, and the mission's newest wave of soldiers step out, many silently aghast at finding themselves inside the corpse of a mighty Castle.

The sixth floor consists mostly of old skeletons of buildings, long since destroyed by the Dreaded Ones, and blessed for protection. Holy symbols and icons hang above the doorways, and mendicants of the Abbey splash blessed oil upon the newly arrived skiffs. Several soldiers stop to ask the mendicants for a blessing, but the Knight-Brother of each skiff starts ushering the newcomers toward a chapel near the center of the area.

The chapel is wide with a low ceiling, but it appears to have nearly finished its reconstruction, unlike many other buildings on floor six. Icons of saints and tapestries of their mighty deeds surround you. A mare stands before the altar. facing the lot of you. She wears the armor of a high-ranking Sage, with a heraldic tassel indicating that she holds place in one of the Noble branch families, most likely by marriage. Her eyes are comprised of several rings, not quite concentric, but contained within one another, creating almost a spiral shape; perhaps a mutation.

"Hail, brave souls," she says. "I am Magister Colonnade Reprise. I trust the Knight-Brothers briefed you on the mission's overview on the way here. I will cover the finer details. Before I begin, do you have any questions?"

 No.738290

I remain standing near the front of our group.
"How much of the castle is already secured?"

 No.738291

>>738290
You see that about 25 recruits sit with you in the chapel, and various ranks and Strata are represented. Most appear to be Warriors and Sages, followed by a few Commoners, and the very rare Noble.

"We have secured all of Layer Nine to serve as our forward operating base," Colonnade says. "The bottom three Floors, F-1 through F-3, are being used as a buffer space of sorts between our FOB and the rest of the Castle. We have secured those floors with hardlight turrets and drones. Between F-4 and F-9, you will be able to find beds, commissary services, armorer services, and so forth."

 No.738292

>>738291
"That much already? Okay. No more questions."

 No.738293

>>738292
Colonnade nods, and casts a look about the room. It appears that no others have questions either. "Very well. I just have a few things to add to the Knight-Brothers' briefing.

"As with all other Castles, Agatecastle is divided into nine Layers, which are in turn divided into nine Floors – plus Layer Zero, which comprises only a single Floor. However, Agatecastle appears to have undergone much… rearranging in the millennia since its fall. Whereas our Castles are organized neatly into clear and orderly streets, connected by stairwells, escalators, pedestrian walkways and a trolley system, Agatecastle has fallen into disorder, her streets blockaded by mountainous walls of debris. Many of her buildings have also been reconfigured and rearranged in ways contrary to schematics that we have brought from other Castles for comparison. Secret passages, trapdoors, teleporting brick walls – it all resembles a mad wizard's labyrinth more than a place to live.

"We believe this to be the work of Dreaded Ones capable of rearranging the landscape to their own design. We also have reason to believe that there is a power struggle of sorts between several powerful Dreaded Ones, who our scouts report seem to be undergoing territorial disputes. As such, we will be dividing areas of operation between various groups.

"As you know, each Floor and each Layer is connected by a series of stairwells and elevator systems. Find and secure these places, and we will be able to advance more efficiently through the Castle on our great crusade. Agatecastle's intranet system is down, and most of her electronics are disabled, but our scouts have also reported finding various terminals still online. If you have any technological expertise, you may be able to glean useful information from them."

 No.738294

>>738289
Lost was quiet for the moment as she let the others talk, her focus turned on potential threats that might be dwelling deep within this haunted place and how best she might handle them.

 No.738295

>>738293
I wait patiently to hear which group I am going to be part of.

 No.738296

>>738293
I stand in front of my bodyguard, eyes now closed, and continue listening to the speaker with a smile that hasn't parted from me.

 No.738297

>>738293
https://pastebin.com/td71B38P

"Hm, sounds like fun," Deadweight says to herself as she lounges in her seat.

 No.738298

>>738297
>>738296
>>738294
>>738295
Colonnade taps away at her magicomp. "I'm sending out assignments now. You'll find the names and appearances of your assigned comrades; rest assured that these groupings have been determined based upon your strengths and weaknesses to create well-rounded groups. A few here have not yet been assigned – they are the reserve team; if you feel that your group lacks any particular skillset or role, you can ask one of our reserve members to join you."

When you check your comps for your assignments, each of you sees the others' names, pictures, and their IDs for Concord – a magicomp app meant for sending discrete and secure messages via text and voice… and often used for comp games.

Included with that information is a set of directions for navigating down through the bottommost floors of Layer Nine, toward a particular stairwell that should lead toward the central areas of Layer Eight – also known as the Barracks.

Colonnade looks your way. "Your assigned area appears to belong to some sort of necromancer, judging by the number of undead accompanying the Dreaded Ones within. Your blessed weapons should be capable of hitting the ghosts and wraiths with little issue. I would caution against fighting the necromancer head-on, should you meet him. Spellcasters often have phylacteries and magical gems that they use to preserve their bodies against dark magic. Should you have to deal with the necromancer, you're better off trying to find the sources of his power to destroy them."

>If you want to hire an NPC to aid you, you can review the sheet here: https://pastebin.com/ZLRzqRpy

>The party cannot exceed 6 characters, however.
>Otherwise, if you are ready to go, simply indicate as such.

 No.738299

>>738294
https://pastebin.com/ExnY2CUM Forgot to link mine.))

She looked at the data and held her head for a moment as she felt the voice of her partner ripping through her brain, urging her to go alone and do… terrible things.

"I suppose we should add someone else to the group to assist us."

 No.738300

I've not got much in the way of money or connections to hire any help. Instead, I wander my way over to the people whose pictures I just got sent. Assuming they've not already found me since I stick out like a burnt thumb.

 No.738301

>>738298
I signal for my bodyguard to come with me, and I send contact invites through my magicomp device to the others I'm grouped with. With this done I'll leave the building for some fresh air.

 No.738302

Were we supposed to link our sheets?
https://pastebin.com/WP6KGSeF

>>738299
"We might want someone that can patch us up when we get hurt. I don't have enough medical supplies to help anyone else if they catch fire."

>>738301
I accept the invite.

 No.738303

>>738301
You step outside, where you see that the pilots of the skiff are waiting near their ships. Abbean medical workers load up medical pods, cylindrical chambers with glass domes, containing those badly wounded, into the back of the skiffs for further treatment back at their home Castles. Elsewhere, you spy new groups and old meeting with their teammates, exchanging names, intel and their abilities, talking strategy and theories of what befell this so-called "Castle of Silence."

 No.738304

>>738302
>>738298
"Hmm…" Deadweight hums to herself as she taps on her magicomp.

>Hiring Xu


>>738301
Deadweight sees a contact invite from somepony from her group pop up on her screen, and she accepts it. She messages to her, "Sup." Short and sweet.

>>738299
>>738302
"Looks like you're my group, or most of it I guess," you hear somepony say. You see a blue pegasus, clad in black, aerodynamic-looking armor. Her silver mane peeks out of her helmet. "I got some medical kits on me, and I'm getting in touch with someone who's a little more tech-savvy than me."

 No.738305

I write this general message to those who accept my invite.
[Greetings, this may sound sterile for any introduction but I am Lady Firmgold. Pleased to make your acquaintance now, and very happy to be assigned a team with you for the coming assignment!]

 No.738306

>>738305
Deadweight's magicomp buzzes. She texts back, "Cool."

 No.738307

>>738304
>>738302
>>738301
>>738299
A little while after you find one another, an armored and robed kirin with a deadpan look approaches you; her coat is light purple, and her mane a faded red. She lowers the visor on her helmet to get a better look at you as she sizes you up. "…Hiiii. I'm Xu. I've worked with Deadweight before. Nice to meet you."

Every word she speaks sounds like it has to be dragged out, kicking and screaming, like she'd rather be anywhere else.

"You guys ready to go?" she continues. "I'll add you on Concord…"

 No.738308

>>738307
"There she is," Deadweight says, seeing Xu approach.

 No.738309

>>738303
I'll hire Huitlapan using money, assuming there's not an upfront cost to it.

>>738304
"Oh? Good! I think I'm getting in touch with a healer."
You can see a red-robed orange unicorn covered in ugly, and fresh, looking burn scars.

>>738307
"Hello! I guess I'm ready. My guy should be here somewhere, unless I waited too long."

 No.738310

>>738307
"Wonderful! I am Firmgold, this is Steadfast"
I wave to the Stallion behind me, then continue talking.
"And we are ready enough. I believe we are, which is not to say I speak for everyone present, of course."
I wait and clear my throat again.
"Well of course I should let it be known that I'm not entirely someone of combat, sir Steadfast here is I can assure you- however I should expect my words to be of a higher gild towards our more straight-minded enemies."

 No.738311

>>738309
"My medical kits not good enough for ya?" Deadweight jests. She smirks and lightly punches the charred unicorn. "Just playin', I only got enough for myself, anyway."

 No.738312

>>738311
>>738310
>>738299
>>738307
The orange, burnt unicorn smiles at you all. He doesn't blink enough and has a singed red robe worn awkwardly over his new sage's armorsuit.
"I think we're ready to go, right? We need real introductions, not this tech stuff. My name is Conflagration. I set things on fire with magic."

 No.738313

>>738304
>>738307
The quiet hybrid nodded "They call me Lost Hope." she responded with a soft tone as she continued to hold her head as she slowly recovered from the feeling of the throbbing voice

"I am able to move yes."


>>738301
She took the invite and made sure her beat up magicomp was in working shape.

 No.738314

>>738313
>>738310
"Great. Regn knows whiz kid here didn't do well in public speaking," Deadweight says, swinging a foreleg around Xu and pulling her in.

>>738312
She lets go of the poor kirin and introduces herself. "I'm Deadweight. I fly and hit things, and things hit me."

 No.738315

>>738312
"Indeed, sir Conflagration. It's not a noble reason, unfortunately, but I am here to build a name for myself, hahah. As it is, but I do have access to a supplier here and, in time, will become one should we find things of worth in the lower levels. Sir Steadfast behind me will be my shield if things must come to combat."

 No.738316

>>738313
>>738310
>>738309
>>738308
"Aaaah! Hold onM, hold on, hold on!" a small voice cries from the chapel. "Wait for me!"

You're approached by a diminutive bipedal figure; about two feet in height, he is a Rodos, one of the rodent-folk. With a gray, hamster-like body and shiny black eyes, he doesn't cut an intimidating figure, but he has mid-rank Sage armor, suggesting he's decently accomplished. He stops to catch his breath. "Sorry, I only just now saw your message, Mister Conflagration. I'd be happy to join. Nice to meet you all. I'm Huitlapan, if you haven't already heard. Oh, Miss Xu, it looks like we'll be working together again."
"When was the last time?" Xu asks. Huitlapan looks devestated.
"Err… never mind."

Given that you're all ready, you follow along with the directions provided by Colonnade, descending from the sixth Floor of Layer Nine (L-9, F-6) toward Layer Eight. The FOB is heavily fortified and guarded, but all the way through, you can sense a constant atmosphere of apprehension from your fellow soldiers, knowing what evil lurks beneath them.

Eventually, you reach L-9, F-3, the first of the three buffer Floors between Layers Eight and Nine. The guard presence is constant, and you're forced to proceed through a labyrinth of fences and sandbags set up to deter any invasion from below. Hardlight turrets and security bots keep a steady eye on all doorways and staircases.

In time, you reach the final staircase, a very deep and winding one, descending in a spiral shape into Layer Eight: The Barracks. The staircase darkens the deeper you go, as the light from above gets further, and further away…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LbciQTAjJw

At the base of the stairs, you push open a door, and find yourself in a lightless stone room. The tiles are uneven, and the floor is marred by patches of mold here and there. Walls are marked with scratches and gouges, and a faint rotten smell tinges the air; your armorsuits automatically activate their air filters to catch any airborne pollutants. Huitlapan and Xu, who had been making small talk on the way down, immediately fall silent as they look about for danger.

There are two doors to the West, two doors to the East, and one door to the North.

 No.738317

>>738316
>>738314
I stay behind Deadweight and follow her through whatever door she takes.

 No.738318

>>738316
Deadweight nods to the Rodos. "Sup."

She moves through the fences and sandbags with ease, leading the group. She opens the door at the bottom of the staircase. She looks at the doors in the room, shrugs, and proceeds to enter the North door.

 No.738319

>>738316
>>738318
>Perception roll

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.738320

>>738316
Lost took a breath and pushed forward scanning the area with a small sigh. Dhampir was being a bit noisy and it was hard to focus on everything especially since he was raging at the presence of an Abbean member.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.738321

>>738316
"Oh, hm, Perhaps I should have bought the goggles after all. Steadfast would you be a dear and walk ahead of me now? I'm unsure of where the walls are in this darkness."
We'll follow Deadweight going north.

 No.738322

>>738316
[1d10]
Perception as I follow Deadweight through the north door.

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.738323

>>738317
>>738318
>>738320
>>738322
>>738321
The door is not locked, and so you are able to exit, stepping out onto a pedestrian street littered with refuse. It's blocked to the east and to the west by great slabs of concrete, asphalt and stone, appearing by their smooth construction to be the work of some kind of earth-magic. High above you, the electrical panels used to simulate the passage of time lay dim, left in an eternal darkness not unlike that of the Castles.

With no passage available to the East or West, you look North again, finding a long wall, possibly belonging to some kind of office building. Three doors it has: One on the Left, one on the Right, and one in the Center. However, Conflagration notices with his magical senses that the Center and Right doors appear to be rigged with some kind of magical rune, with additional charms to make the runes invisible – no doubt some kind of trap.

 No.738324

>>738323
>left in an eternal darkness not unlike that of the Castles.

Correct this to:

>left in an eternal darkness not unlike that of the black sky of the Outlands.

 No.738325

>>738320
"You just had to get sent out here, didn't you? Gotta love the luck. Of course we'd get this assignment…" Dhampir grumbles in the back of your head.

 No.738326

>>738321
>>738320
>>738319
"Stop, stop. There's some kind of rune or magic somethingorother on two of those doors. The…uhh…middle and right ones. They might be traps. Step back and let an Abbean trained monk handle this."

>>738323
I use my unicorn telekinesis to lift a head sized chunk of concrete or asphalt and hover it over, through, and around the center door.
Do I need to roll for this if I'm taking my time to do it?

 No.738327

>>738323
I whisper loud enough for everyone to hear.
"I don't wish to be a bother, but we may have to take some time between areas to map our where we've gone."

 No.738328

>>738323
>>738324
Also, does this mean it's dark but not so dark that we can't see for a distance around us?

 No.738329

>>738328
The visors in your armorsuits automatically adjust for low- and no-light environments, providing you with a limited degree of night vision, allowing you to see your immediate surroundings, but not much beyond that.

 No.738330

>>738325
"Nobody asked you." she grumbled under her breath as she moved along with the others "You only wanna eat and kill when we go out anyway."

>>738323
>>738326
Lost stopped and nodded as she watched the mage do his thing with a curious look on her face.

 No.738331

>>738323
Not noticing anything wrong, Deadweight walks towards the Center door.

>>738326
"Oh, you don't say?" Deadweight says, stopping right as she was able to touch the door handle. Following his orders, she takes a few steps back.

>>738327
One of Deadweight's ears flip up. "Ugh, I suppose you're right," she says. She takes out her magicomp and draws a very messy diagram of the stone room they were in and the space they're currently in, making sure to include the doors.

 No.738332

>>738331
"You're going to want to get a whole lot more back than that. There's a pretty good chance of something exploding sooner or later."

 No.738333

>>738327
She nodded "A wise move," she said opening a mapping program on her magicomp and beginning a basic grid map.

 No.738334

>>738332
"Pff, like a little explosion would knock me down," Deadweight says flippantly as she walks back to the rest of the group.

 No.738335

>>738327
>>738333
"Good idea," Huitlapan says. "I'll try to sketch one too whenever things are quiet. Let's compare ours to make sure we're on the same page."

>>738330
"Oh, that's just mean. I have way more hobbies than that, Reject. Besides, it's not like I'm the only one with a voracious appetite."

>>738330
>>738327
>>738326
>>738331
As soon as Conflagration touches the chunk of asphalt to the door, it explodes – door, chunk and all – with a thunderclap and a blinding flash of harsh blue lightning, a charge so powerful that it arcs straight into the concrete wall across from you. Painful afterimages dance on your eyes for a few seconds afterward, and the air still crackles with electricity. From afar, a harsh gurgling, slurping drone can be heard. Huitlapan and even Xu turn pale with horror. "Bloodhounds," Xu whispers over short-range Concord communications. "Not far from here. Northeast."

Beyond the door, you can see a hallway leading Eastward, at the end of which is a staircase leading downward.

 No.738336

>>738334
"Told you. Hold on."
I grab some more chunks of asphalt and throw them, shotgun style, through the central doorway. Due to the nearby sounds I'm not going to be taking my time with this second highly-technical magical trap disarmament technique.
[1d10]

Assuming nothing happens I dart through the ceneter door.
"Quick, inside! Remember the right one is trapped!"

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.738337

>>738335
Lost winced but as soon as the fireworks went off she tried her best to vanish into the shadows without a sound. Better to strike from the shadows than be a target.

[1d10] Stealth

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.738338

>>738335
"Oh my, a wonderful solution sir Conflagrate."
I then respond through the Concord app to this Xu.
"Please forgive my lack of knowledge but what are bloodhounds? I dare enough to say that information you provide would be of great use to us and our survival here, well and I would be the first to thank you for anything you can provide."

 No.738339

>>738333
Seeing her comrade making a map herself, Deadweight deletes the crude map she made on her magicomp.

>>738335
Right after she boasts about how an explosion wouldn't knock her down, the door explodes, and she freezes in the middle of her gait.

>>738336
>"Told you. Hold on."

She unfreezes. "Alright, alright," Deadweight admits.

>>738335
>"Bloodhounds. Not far from here. Northeast."

"Damn, alright," she whispers back.

>>738336
Deadweight takes flight and follows him through the center door.

 No.738340

>>738339
>>738335
>Knowledge roll

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.738341

Perception
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.738342

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.738343

>>738338
"The fastest, meanest quadrupeds you'll ever see," Xu says. "And you won't see others because of how quickly their proboscis-tongue drains your blood. Come on, let's get to cover!"

>>738337
You vanish without a trace. Even Dhampir shuts up once he hears the call of the bloodhounds.

>>738341
>>738342
The lumbering gaits of the Bloodhounds trample toward you, claws gouging into stone and slavering tongues flicking at the humid, stuffy air. Lost Hope picks up the steady rhythms of two Bloodhounds. Though certainly not a full pack, it could still spell trouble.

>>738339
>>738340
>>738336
Xu and Huitlapan follow after you as you head down the staircase. It continues for quite a while, zig-zagging until it becomes a full-on stairwell. You realize that this isn't heading for a basement or a storage area; it's heading for the Floor below you: L-8, F-8. Perhaps owing to good fortune, you've come across the first of the stairwells between Floors that you'll need to find.

Eventually, you reach the bottom of the stairwell. A door lies to the East. It does not appear to be locked, nor trapped, and it is in fact slightly ajar, hanging partly off its hinges. You're able to peer through the gap and see that what lies beyond is a cafeteria / commissary, with many overturned tables and chairs laying about. Craters in the floor suggest that this was the site of some intense battle or battles over time. You cannot see from here if there's anyone around.

 No.738344

>>738341
I float my red cape over to you.
"Put me out with this if something happens, okay? You seem pretty competent."

>>738343
I take a moment to catch my breath then take a few safety steps away from the others.
"I'm going to arm up in case they follow us or something else jumps out."
I summon up some good old homing fire magic.
[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.738345

>>738343
I follow the group downstairs at a near tumble, then make jot down our path in my magicomp- quickly writing notes for what we encountered and what the rooms look like.
"Goodness!"
>>738344
"I hope it doesn't come to that, sir Conflagration."

 No.738346

>>738343
She remained silent aside from firing a message to the rest through concord that it is only two at the moment. She followed along in the shadows waiting for one of the blood hounds to emerge so she may strike it.

 No.738347

>>738344
You conjure a single magical bolt.

 No.738348

>>738345
"It will, don't worry."

 No.738349

>>738343
"Score," Deadweight says to herself, realizing the stairs bring them down to the next floor. She enters through the East door without peeking through the gap. "Damn, the janitor's not doing their job," she quips.

 No.738350

>>738347
I'm going to use normal TK to grab one of the chairs and float it over to stand on the stairwell where anything coming down will have to move it or knock it over. I also put it high enough up the stairs so that it'll make a racket once it starts to fall down them.

>>738349
>>738343
I follow Deadweight through the east door.

 No.738351

>>738346
The drumroll of footsteps cease for a moment, before a shadow passes overhead, silent and swift – the ground quakes once two towering shapes, about six feet tall each, come and land before you. They are ghastly, with black, desiccated bodies, patchy-furred skin clinging to bones and misshapen muscle, bulging in some places yet dreadfully thin in others. With a bulbous torso and legs, and a snaking neck that resembles a thick worm more than a dog's head, the things can only be faintly called "Hound."

A split forms along the outer edge of one of the Hounds' eyeless, worm-like heads, splitting about a foot up the neck. A long proboscis droops out, nearly touching the floor. Needle-like teeth glint with saliva, and the thing has no eyes, merely pausing to taste the air…

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.738352

>>738346
I change apps and respond through Concord
[I've made a note about the creatures but please do not engage them. We are downstairs, having taken the east-door.]

 No.738353

>>738351
Lost knew that this wasn't going to end well so she took the moment to strike now before they fell upon her with no chance of fighting back.

She activated her mutation and formed a pair of claw like gauntlets with the biomass of Dhampir and then lunged forth to strike it

Mutation: Symbiosis Evolved

[1d10+2] Rupture

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.738354

>>738350
>>738349
>>738345
The commissary is fairly barren, besides all of the debris and rubble scattered around. Nothing really useful seems to be sitting around for the taking. There's a door in the Northwestern corner, leading West, and two doors to the South, adjacent to one another. One is labeled as a janitor's supply closet, while the other is unmarked. Finally, on either side of the stairwell door are two more doors, a male and female bathroom.

Your eyes pick up on movement in the corner of the room… you turn and see a lone pony skeleton with a broom and a dust pan, sweeping at nothing in particular, seemingly heedless of the massive damage that the commissary has taken.

>>738353
Bloodhound A makes a quick leap to the side, making a ghastly droning-gurgling sound as your attack meets air. It flicks you with its tongue, and an avalanche of pinpricks shoots through your arm as it strikes you.

>Lost Hope 5/7


Bloodhounds A and B quickly dart around you with their long limbs, encircling you like prey as they go for quick tongue-strikes.

[1d10] BHA
[1d10] BHB

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 8 = 8

 No.738355

>>738354
Lost quickly shouted to try and alert the others as she prepped her dual claws and decided to eat the damage and rush down the one who had struck her first.

[1d10][1d10] Dual attacks on Bloodhound A

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 10 = 10

 No.738356

>>738354
I watch the skeleton.
"Are we sure this is a bad necromancer and not a run of the mill necromancer? Skeleton janitors don't seem like a good first line of defense for an evil master of the dead."
I wave at the pony skeleton then walk over to the janitor's supply closet and check it out.

 No.738357

>>738354
"Oh dear."
I say out loud.
"Miss Lost Hope has engaged the bloodhounds, I believe. I apologize everyone but I must return to assist one of our teammates."
Then remove the chair blocking the stairwell before going up a level again.

 No.738358

>>738354
Deadweight spots the pony skeleton. "Oh, I guess he is," she says to herself.

>>738356
She stays put and watches Conflagration wander over to the janitor's closet.

 No.738359

>>738357
"What?" She pulls out her magicomp and looks at the messages. "Numbskull," she mutters before following Firmgold up.

 No.738360

>>738358
>>738356
"Could just be one of his lower-level flunkies," Huitlapan says. "Even evildoers and megalomaniacs require a staff to take care of their laundry and do the cooking."

As you go to the supply closet, you find that it possesses mostly empty bottles of cleaning solutions, gunk coagulated around the rims, and broken equipment, things that were beyond repair decades ago and never replaced. The janitor approaches, sticking his broom between you and the cleaning supplies, as if to say that it's dangerous to touch that stuff. You notice now that his broom barely has any bristles… but now it's uncertain whether he's even aware of that.

>>738357
>>738355
>>738359
Lost Hope manages to endure another strike upon her arm, the appendage nearly flopping limp from the pain and the numbness that follows each hit. BHA tries to wrap its tongue about her neck, but she ducks and jabs her claws into the beast's side, scoring deep hits through bone and muscle. BHA falls to the ground, scampering and kicking as it shuffles back to its paws. Deep purple blood gushes from its wound.

>Lost Hope 1/7


With a droning gurgle, BHB rushes forward to strike Lost again.

[1d10]

BHA stands, but raises its neck and screeches to the skies, spitting blood as it howls for help.

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 6 = 6

 No.738361

>>738359
>>738357
Just as BHA begins its cry for assistance, you make your way back up the stairwell, legs burning from your sudden sprint, and see Lost fighting with the Bloodhounds. Huitlapan, panting, arrives moments later.

 No.738362

>>738360
This time Lost made a jump back as she wished to avoid taking a hit again.

[1d10] Dodge

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.738363

>>738360
What a polite skeleton. Mom was right, I should have gone into Necromancy. Now that's a field of magic you can make a living on.
"Oh, sorry. Hey, guys…guys?"
I cock an ear then follow them back up the stairs. I replace the chair as I go up and see what the holdup is.

 No.738364

>>738360
I shout loud enough for Lost Hope to hear.
"It is but a fleeting moment of pain!" (Lay on Hands: Ranged)
[1d10]
As Steadfast rushes past me, and (Slam)s the large bloodhound creature! (Crit: 8+)
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 7 = 7

 No.738365

>>738364
Oh wait, LoH is instant, I double up this shout to reverberate through the room! (Word of Power!)
[1d10+2]

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12

 No.738366

>>738362
>>738360
"You dummy!" Deadweight shouts, seeing the mare engaged with the bloodhounds. She unsheathes her claymore and swiftly flies between Lost Hope and the bloodhound still standing, then charges into it sword-first.

>Tactician 2

>Protect Lost Hope
>Slam BHB roll

[1d10+2]

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10

 No.738367

>>738362
You narrowly step back in time to dodge the second strike, the tongue darting in within an inch of your face.

>>738364
BHA interrupts your assist with Lay on Hands by striking you with its tongue (as the space is quite packed as mentioned before, there is only the single Melee range for this combat).

>Firmgold 2/6


But then, you shout so loud that BHA gets sent flying back, crashing against a nearby shelf of rubble with a crack. Stone is dislodged from above, splattering onto BHA, ending its soulless unlife.

Steadfast cracks BHB on the head, but that just seems to anger the thing more than anything else.

>>738366
>>738363
Conflagration comes up just in time to see Deadweight stabbing her sword into the remaining Bloodhound. Deep purple blood drops from its wound, steaming and stinking like sewage as it hits the ground. With a groan and a growl, the Bloodhound raises its tongue. An arc of red lightning crackles down the tip, covering the tongue with a deep red aura that takes a sharp point near the tip. It arcs the tongue back, and jabs it into Deadweight.

[1d10+1] Autocrit

In the distance, you can hear the sounds of approaching Dreaded Ones. One sounds to be a Bloodhound… but more, that you can't make out just yet, sound like different varieties, drawn by the shouts and crashes of bloody combat.

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.738368

>>738367
"Those were pretty close, weren't-hey! Stop that!"
I hit the last remaining Bloodhound with a burning magic bolt.
[2d10]

Roll #1 9, 1 = 10

 No.738369

>>738367
"Damn it, sounds like more are coming," Deadweight says, her sword lodged in the Bloodhound. "Agh!" she yelps, seeing its tongue coming straight for her. She pulls her sword out and flaps her wings to get out of the way.

>Dodge roll

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.738370

>>738367
"Ow…"
I lean against a wall and hold where I was struck, speaking into my magicomp attached to this leg..
"Everyone I implore you, we must leave this floor."

Steadfast attacks BHB if it doesn't go down from everyone else laying on damage.
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.738371

>>738370
"I like that idea!" Deadweight shouts as she dodges.

 No.738372

>>738367
Lost panted heavily and moved to the corpse, jamming a claw into it and allowing Dhampir to feed on it "Ok, we need to leave now. Two is hard but if there's more than that I think we might die here." she said as she urged the symbiote to aid in her recovery with a few thoughts

"As is I made a mistake trying to fight alone. I'd rather not get us all killed."

 No.738373

>>738368
You feel a fire building up inside you in the same way that a burp sometimes gets caught in your throat and won't come out. This will only end in disaster, you realize. Your bolt strikes the remaining Bloodhound, and burnt flesh and muscle drop to the ground in a smoldering heap off of its shoulder.

>>738369
With little room to spare, you duck and parry the strike, avoiding what looked to have been a deadly attack.

>>738370
BHB trips Steadfast before his attack can connect, slamming him against the ground.

>Steadfast 5/7


>>738370
>>738369
>>738368
>>738372
Injured, burned and on the brink of death, BHB makes a break for it, running away from the site of the combat by scampering up a hill of debris before it can take any further punishment.

[1d10+1]

Huitlapan and Xu both double-take at Lost Hope, as the crumbled, bloody remains of BHA start to be sucked into it, bones crunching and flesh shredding into pulp as it's drawn into the claws. But, as the howls and calls of various incoming Dreaded Ones get louder, they snap out of it. "Let's move, come on, come on!" Huitlapan urges.
"I'll cover us, grab the injured!" Xu says, her horn glowing with magic.

>roll for escape if you wish to leave the battle


Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.738374

>>738373
I wish to escape with my minion
[2d10]

Roll #1 7, 6 = 13

 No.738375

>>738373
Lost decided to similarly make tracks. She hated to feed him with witnesses but there had to be some compromises right now.

[1d10] escape

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.738376

>>738373
I join the doubletake.
"Is that supposed to be happening? Should someone stop that? Screw it. Watch out for the chair on the way down!"
I escape back down the stairs and try to move the chair back out of the way as I do.
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.738377

>>738373
"Well, that's new," Deadweight nonchalantly comments as she spots Lost Hope absorbing the fallen Bloodhound. She then notices the still standing Bloodhound try to run away. "Oh, no you don't!" she says as she dives at it with her sword.

>Grappler roll

>Escape roll
>+2 bonus from Tactician

[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4 / Roll #2 5 + 2 = 7

 No.738378

>>738376
"I believe so but we are not great enough in number to stop them!"

 No.738379

>>738376
"Hounds travel in packs, its to be expected it would cry for help."

 No.738380

>>738376
>>738375
>>738374
>>738377
Firmgold, Steadfast and Lost Hope manage to get past the doorway, but when Deadweight makes a break to grab the thrashing BHB, she and Conflagration notice a shadow passing overhead.

A massive hand with seven fingers, the skin gray as flint, covered all in shaggy, gnarled tufts of briar-patch fur, touches down upon the stone ground, just before the doorway. The wrist is so large that it completely seals off the passage. You follow the trail of the wrist upward, until your eyes lock onto the mountainous head looming above. A giant, all covered with a shaggy head of hair that flows down into its forest of a beard, studies the two of them. Its eyes, perfectly round, are two pale discs of gold.

The giant merely stares at the two of them, but a pressure begins to build up in their temples.

>Deadweight, Conflagration must roll mental fortitude, instant, in addition to their actions this turn.


Meanwhile, in the doorway leading to the stairs, Xu gulps, before charging up a spell.

[1d10+2] Magic Bolt

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.738381

>>738380
Lost leaned against a wall and looked at the giant hand "We… We should try and get that out of the way…" she panted as the pain started to get to her a bit. She debated striking it now but she wasn't sure it would help.

 No.738382

>>738380
>>738381
Deciding its better to try and fail than never try at all, she tried to rip open the back of the hand.

[1d10+2] Rupture

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3

 No.738383

>>738380
[1d10] Mental Fortitude

I brace myself and light my horn.
"BURN!
I launch my single homing magic fireball at one of the eyes.
[1d10]
And I strike the wrist with three burning storm bolts.
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 7 = 7 / Roll #3 10 + 1 = 11

 No.738384

>>738380
I speak to everyone on the magicomp
"Please excuse my volume everyone."
I then take a large gulp of air and scream (Word of Power)
"LEAVE US!"
[1d10+2]
As Steadfast follows up here with a (SLAM, Crit:8+) attack on the creature's arm blocking our stairwell.
[1d10]

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 8 = 8

 No.738385

"What the…" Deadweight looks up to what's casting the shadow. She stares at it for a second, then looks down at the doorway. "Crap," she mutters, seeing that its hand is covering the way down. Then, her head starts to hurt. "Damn it, this isn't good." She looks back towards the stone room they came from.

>>738383
"Wait, what are you⁠—" she shouts at the unicorn before he casts magic on the giant. She groans loudly.

>Mental fortitude roll

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.738386

>>738382
>>738381
>>738383
>>738384
The quarters are close and tensions high; it's not clear who fails, but in any case, Lost Hope is struck from behind by Xu's magic bolt, but there is little time for apologies, for Firmbold, Steadfast and Conflagration assail it with everything they have, slamming and striking the wrist and the giant with blessed weapons, commands and flame magic alike…

The giant's hand seems inhumanly durable, enduring the strikes and even the burning magic that sears its hide, but the bolt that strikes its eye elicits some reaction from it. A deep, deep bass droning rocks the area, shaking all that surrounds you, even rattling the bones and the very thoughts in your head, and the giant draws back its hand, covering its wounded eye. Before you can see where it goes, another drone echoes out, causing your very eyes to vibrate violently, dilating your vision. By the time your sight and hearing are back to normal, all has gone still…

>>738385
…Except for you. Something feels like it's… wriggling inside of your skull, swimming through the grooves in your brain. The feeling is brief, and the feeling is gone, as quickly as it came.

>Paused

 No.739155

Last time, on TCS…

A clandestine mission was underway in the ruins of Agatecastle, often referred to now as "The Castle of Silence." What was once designed to be an impenetrable bulwark for the millions of living souls against the brutal and loveless denizens of the Outlands now languished in total decay. A monthlong operation coordinated by Iron King Ischyros the Far-Seeking resulted in the establishment of a forward operating base in the Castle's topmost layer. Some weeks later, a collection of skiffs arrived, bearing approximately 100 souls that would venture forth into the bowels of the Castle of Silence and uncover the truth of what fate befell it.

One of the groups entrusted with this mission was a team of four, composed of Lost Hope, Firmgold, Conflagration and Deadweight. They had been assigned a subsection of Layer Eight that was believed to be under the control of a necromancer, given the presence of undead in addition to the Dreaded Ones roaming the grounds. To assist them, they hired a Kirin Sage by the name of Xu, and a Rodos Sage named Huitlapan. Together, they descended past the barricades that comprised the bottom three Floors of Layer Nine, and entered Layer Eight: The Barracks.

Once inside, their investigation began. The intelligence reports given by Magister Colonnade Reprise were accurate, for what had once been a sprawling and well-connected intelligence office designed to be used by Agatecastle's Warriors was now a ruinous and tightly-packed slum, the streets and tramways cut off by great and immovable pillars of upended concrete and heaps of trash.

Fortuitously, they quickly found the stairway to L-8 F-8, but while the others went on, Lost Hope was set upon by a pair of Bloodhounds, prompting the rest of the party to come back and assist her in battle. Though they triumphed against the monsters, the shouting and the clamor of violence that accompanied the battle attracted more Dread Ones, and so they made the decision to retreat. But before Lost Hope, Conflagration and Deadweight could enter the stairwell to the Floor below, a giant appeared, blocking off the exit with naught but his massive hand. Conflagration blasted the giant's eye, forcing it to move, and it unleashed a mind-rattling droning from the pain, before vanishing from sight.

 No.739156

>Everyone
The quarters are close and tensions high; it's not clear who fails, but in any case, Lost Hope is struck from behind by Xu's magic bolt, but there is little time for apologies, for Firmbold, Steadfast and Conflagration assail it with everything they have, slamming and striking the wrist and the giant with blessed weapons, commands and flame magic alike…

The giant's hand seems inhumanly durable, enduring the strikes and even the burning magic that sears its hide, but the bolt that strikes its eye elicits some reaction from it. A deep, deep bass droning rocks the area, shaking all that surrounds you, even rattling the bones and the very thoughts in your head, and the giant draws back its hand, covering its wounded eye. Before you can see where it goes, another drone echoes out, causing your very eyes to vibrate violently, dilating your vision. By the time your sight and hearing are back to normal, all has gone still…

>Deadweight

…Except for you. Something feels like it's… wriggling inside of your skull, swimming through the grooves in your brain. The feeling is brief, and the feeling is gone, as quickly as it came.

 No.739157

>>739156
I scamper down the stairs fast as I can.

 No.739158

>>739156
I move back down the stairs and clear them for the others to follow suit. I then take this time to attempt to lift Steadfast's spirits (restore Hits) via encouraging words.
"Dear Steadfast, this is but a moment of pain's sake."
[1d10] MIN6

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.739159

>>739156
The poor girl groaned and tried to shake the cobwebs out as she made to get up and escape.

[1d10] to Stand

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.739160

>>739159
"Come on, up you get! Hurry!" Huitlapan cries, holding up the arm wearing his magicomp in your direction.

[1d10+2] Heal

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.739161

>>739156
Still aloft, Deadweight holds her head in her hooves. "Damn. Damn damn damn damn damn. Damn it!" she exclaims, shaking her head from side to side like she's trying to get water out of her ears. "I felt something in my head. Know what it could be?" she asks no one in particular, hoping to get a reassuring answer.

 No.739162

>>739161
>>739156
Would I know?
[1d10] No knowing what I know now

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.739163

>>739161
>>739157
>>739158
>>739159
As Conflagration, Firmgold and Steadfast head down the stairs, Huitlapan's spell fizzles out, making weak sparks as his magical energy fails him. Lost Hope stumbles, her head spinning, voices and sounds coming in distant around her. The shrill, piercing whoops and low timpani bellows of of oncoming Dreaded Ones sets off a pain in her head, and a hunger in her stomach. Something crawls up the back of her neck, very familiar…

That sensation is cut short by Xu, who with a mighty groan, grabs both Deadweight and Lost Hope in her telekinesis, pulling them along into the doorway, before she shuts it. Huitlapan grabs the chair that Conflagration set up earlier, and jams it under the handle, before the two follow after Conflagration, Firmgold and Steadfast.

Eventually, the aforementioned trio make it down into the cafeteria area once more. The skeleton janitor, still sweeping, has put on a pair of headphones, the cord of which trail into his pocket.

>>739162
You recall fragments of a phenomenon in the data logs you studied as part of your training to be allowed into the Outlands. The haphazard scientific term is "Psychosites," and the common term is "Brain Worm." It is a result of a Dreaded One's direct psychic influence planting its seeds in the minds of its victims. Certain supernatural properties of the Dreaded Ones can cause it, and it is known to be capable of causing Mutations. It hasn't received much study, because the eponymous "Brain Worms" are very clever and capable of hiding themselves within the victim's psyche, overwriting mental processes in the process.

 No.739164

>>739163
"That thing seemed psychic, so maybe it's brain worms? I'm not sure if they're actual worms or some kind of memetic thought construct, but if I had to guess I'd say it's the later. Want me to try burning them out?"

 No.739165

>>739163
Lost let Xu carry her as she slowly looked up to the to source of the sensation "Please… not now."

 No.739166

>>739163
"Yipe!" Deadweight yelps as she's suddenly whisked away by Xu's magic.

>>739164
"Ah! No, no, I'm okay," she says nervously, throwing her hooves up in the air. "I'll just look it up," she says, whipping out her magicomp. She looks anxious as she stares at its screen.

>Knowledge

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.739167

>>739163
I hastily mark down what's on the level above us before perking an ear up to what Conflagration says.
>>739164
"Mister Conflagration was it? I don't believe now's the best time for… well, excessive countermeasures to what may sound psychic. With all respect to your august knowledge of course."

 No.739168

>>739165
The sensation lingers for a few moments, like a sprawl of fingers spreading all around your neck and shoulders… but after a moment, it starts to recede. All right, whatever you say. But if you can't keep us safe, I'm taking the wheel, Reject, his voice growls.

>>739164
>>739166
>>739167
You eventually make it down to the cafeteria as well. The skeleton janitor gives you a dirty look for tracking hoofprints in where he just mopped.

>>739166
With a trembling hoof, you scan through the magicomp's data records, trying to find something, anything relating to the Psychosites phenomenon. But you turn up with nothing. After a few seconds, you realize that your hoof trembling is not a result of your emotional state, but truly involuntary…

 No.739169

>>739166
"You sure? Well, good luck. You take the lead."

>>739167
I shrug.
"I figure it's a sooner or later deal. There's worse ways to die. Like getting your teammates stuck into a fight we could have avoided."

>>739165
I shoot a dirty glance your way.

 No.739170

>>739168
She winced and slowly climbed out of Xu's grip and taking to her hooves before taking a seat "I… I apologize for endangering everyone."

 No.739171

Posting a recap of the description of the Commissary area for a refresher:

The commissary is fairly barren, besides all of the debris and rubble scattered around. Nothing really useful seems to be sitting around for the taking. There's a door in the Northwestern corner, leading West, and two doors to the South, adjacent to one another. One is labeled as a janitor's supply closet, while the other is unmarked. Finally, on either side of the stairwell door are two more doors, a male and female bathroom.

 No.739172

>>739169
"Perhaps that is true Mister Conflagration, but perhaps we would have needed to deal with them upon our return to the more civilized parts of this hiv- castle. I believe that we are still better off than before."
I turn to look at the available paths leading out of this commissary.
"I believe we should first examine what these passages lead to before making a choice whereupon we should take. Miss Lost Hope, Miss Deadweight, would you be so kind enough as to weigh your input here?"

 No.739173

>>739171
Lost decided to take the moment to take a peek in the unmarked door.

 No.739174

>>739168
>>739168
Deadweight's gaze drifts from the screen to her trembling hoof. "Shit!" she exclaims, almost dropping her magicomp. She stuffs it in her saddle bags then tries to keep her composure. Nothing she can do now. "Uh, let's go there," she says, pointing at the door in the Northwestern corner.

>>739170
"Just don't lag behind again," she chides the crystal pony.

 No.739175

>>739173
Beyond the unmarked door to the South, there is a long corridor. It has many short, almost zig-zagging bends, probably to move around things like pipes and cables, but ultimately, it leads south for some distance, and then to the west; beyond that, you cannot see.

 No.739176

>>739171
>>739174
I follow Deadweight.

 No.739177

>>739172
Deadweight imparts her words of wisdom, "We'll just keep going. If it's a dead end, we'll go a different way."

 No.739178

>>739177
I close my eyes and nod.
"At your lead, Miss Deadweight."

I'll follow the group and continue mapping these rooms to the best of my ability.

 No.739179

>>739170
"Be that as it may, what matters it that you're alright, dear soul," Huitlapan says. "Any injuries I can assist with? I know I mangled that last attempt… their cries gave me an awful spook."

>>739174
>>739176
>>739178
You head past the Northwestern door, and there is a short corridor after it, which ends after no more than 10 meters in another door, this one locked. Xu raises her hoof for silence and caution, and uses her telekinesis to test the door from a distance. No traps, magical or otherwise, go off, but the handle does not turn, and the door itself does not budge; the door is locked.

>"Anyone good with lockpicking? And quietly this time?" Xu asks via Concord text message. Following her message is a string of annoyed emojis.

 No.739180

>>739174
The mare quietly winced and remained silent as as she turns to join the others

>>739179
It seems we have two options for how to continue. The other one doesn't have a door from what I can see."

 No.739181

>>739179
>>739180
"Really? Alright, maybe we should go that way," Deadweight softly replies.

 No.739182

>>739179
I switch apps and respond.
I do have the lockpicking tools for just such an occasion! Unfortunately I've not made an effort to learn the skill for it. Perhaps someone else does?

 No.739183

I text back.
"Afraid not."

 No.739184

>>739182
>>739183
"Well, let's go the other way, then," Deadweight says, already walking back.

 No.739185

>>739184
>>739179
I switch apps again and follow Deadweight

 No.739186

>>739181
Lost nodded and lead them back over to the other door.

 No.739187

>>739179
>>739184
I continue to follow.

 No.739188

>>739180
>>739182
>>739183
>>739181
Huitlapan responds with: (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

And Xu follows that with naught but a single face-hoof emoji.

Deciding not to pursue whatever's down the Northwestern door, you proceed South, coming to the corridor that zig-zags to the South and West. What follows from that door is a long and winding path, curving and snaking this way and that through the guts of the rearranged Floor. After a little while of heading West for a time, the hallway eventually turns North, and after about 10 meters, it ends in a West-facing doorway.

The doorway is ajar, allowing you to peer through its gap. The door leads to a small storage area, set up in what looks like it used to be some kind of repair shop for weapons. The tools hanging from the wall are rusted beyond repair, and many foul-smelling and partly-rotted crates are stacked up from floor to ceiling.

A pair of skeleton Puroa, or catfolk, hang out in the storage area. One is sitting on a treasure chest, an unlight cigarette in his mouth. There is another treasure chest sitting beside him. The other skeleton inspects the crates with a clipboard in hand, which doesn't even have a sheet of paper upon it. Both skeletons are equipped with holstered firearms.

 No.739189

>>739188
Deadweight sighs in frustration. "Another dead end. Maybe we should just bash through the locked door."

 No.739190

>>739188
Huh, Looks like we might be able to salvage a few things from this place."

>>739189
Maybe there's a key in here?"

 No.739191

>>739188
"Oh my."
I cover my mouth with a hoof
"I certainly hope this behavior is only the work of magic."

 No.739192

>>739188
I wait to see what the others do.

 No.739193

>>739188
>>739190
"Maybe…" Deadweight looks around the storage area.

>Perception

[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.739194

>>739192
"Exceuse me, Mister Conflagration, I hope this isn't presumptuous of me to ask but would you know if this type of… monster be reasoned with? I must admit I ignored the janitorial one prior as it posed no threat, as such this is a matter out of my knowledge."

 No.739195

>>739189
>>739190
>>739191
>>739192
Huitlapan raises his paw. "It looks like it's only the two Puros skeletons in there. If they're going to react negatively toward anyone, it'd be toward me. Why not I go in there and make of myself a distraction, then if there's something amiss, you can come in and help me, eh?"

>>739193
You see one door in the room's South wall, and though you can't see further without actually entering the room, you see the farthest edge of a North-facing doorway in the room's Northwestern corner.

 No.739196

>>739195
Perhaps I can slip in silently while you do so.

[1d10] Stealth

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.739197

>>739195
"Mister Huitlapan, I don't believe putting ourselves in a position towards unnecessary danger should be the first choice. If these things show no aggression then perhaps they can be reasoned, or bargained with."

 No.739198

"Looks like there're a couple of other doors in there, actually," Deadweight relays to the rest of the group.

 No.739199

>>739195
"Right, well I don't wish to bear unnecessary pains but please excuse me."
I walk into the room and clear my throat to get the skeletons' attention.
"Good Evening, I don't wish to be rude but I am quite interested in knowing if you two are sentient? Please excuse this faux pas as I'm not well versed in your magic."
Word of Power?
[1d10+2] MIN6

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12

 No.739200

>>739199
>>739197
>>739196
>>739198
As Lost Hope attempts to subtly enter the room, her forehoof catches upon a upon a bit of debris from a rotten crate littering the floor, and the stumbles forward, throwing open the door with a BANG in the process as she tries to grab onto anything to stabilize herself. She skids to a halt without falling, but ends up uncomfortably close to the skeleton with the cigarette.

Speaking of which, the two skeletons jump in shock as Lost Hope stumbles in. The one with the cigarette draws his rusted, antique gun and levels it at Lost Hope, while the other one backs away, using his clipboard as a shield. Xu grits her teeth and charges a spell upon her horn–

It is at this moment that Firmgold steps in as if all that was happening here was perfectly natural. The two skeletons relax and sigh, and the one with the cigarette holsters his gun. The two skeletons chatter away, rattling their jawbones and periodically looking at one another and nodding, but their conversation is completely one-sided; you cannot understand a word that they are saying, and judging by their confused expressions, neither can Huitlapan or Xu.

"The question, then, is whether they can understand us," Huitlapan whispers.
"Looked like it," Xu whispers back. "They seemed to pick up on what Firmgold said."

As you get a fuller view of the room, you can see that there is actually another door; one in the center of the Northern wall, leading North. That makes for a total of four doors: The one on the East wall, which you are at now, the Southern door, the Northern door, and the Northwestern door.

 No.739201

>>739200
Lost groaned and rubbed her head sheepishly as she made her way in "Do you uh… do you mind if we open those chests you guys have?" she asked curiously.

 No.739202

>>739200
I let out a disappointed sigh, then forcefully perk up as I speak with some hoof gestures to see if we can communicate this way.
"I must apologize first because I cannot understand your dialogue. However it would benefit myself and my compatriots were you to assist us in allowing our passage through here. I would be greatly thankful for such an allowance."

 No.739203

>>739199
>>739200
"No! What're you⁠—" she loudly whispers before Firmgold waltzes in. Finding that the skeletons are actually quite sensible, she goes, "Huh," then enters the room.

 No.739204

>>739200
If they don't get shot right away I step out of cover too.

 No.739205

File: 1590204651905.jpg (137.48 KB, 631x827, L-8 F-8.jpg)

>>739204
>>739201
>>739202
>>739203
The two skeletons stand aside, allowing you to get at the treasure chests if you so wish. As Firmgold makes her request for help, they nod.

"If there are no objections, I'd like to make the first request," Xu says, stepping forward. "You guys happen to have a map we can use?"

The clipboard skeleton nods, ushering her over to the desk, where you see an old tablet. The screen is cracked, but it seems to have some juice left. The skeleton powers it on, and hands Xu one end of a universal connector cable, connecting the other end to the tablet. He taps away at the tablet for a moment, and Xu nods with gratitude. "Can I borrow that for a sec?" she asks, gesturing to the cable. The skeleton nods, and so she disconnects it from the tablet.

Xu then turns to you. "Here, I'll transfer the floor layout to the rest of you," she says, holding out the cable.

If you agree to let her initiate the file transfer, you receive a blank map of the local area, like so:

 No.739206

Lost decided to investigate the chest that the skeleton had been sitting on first.

 No.739207

>>739205
I'll save my map and agree to have this one sent over for reference.
"Thank you very much Miss Xu, this is a great help."

I then close my eyes and bow my head to the skeletons.
"And to you two as well, I offer my thanks. We shall be out of your way as soon as we can."

Then turn to the group.
"We have a map, where should we go next? I must advise that knowing this level doesn't absolve us of the enemy's whereabouts."

 No.739208

>>739205
Deadweight plugs into Xu. "Huh, well that makes things a little easier."

>>739207
"It looks like there're stairs down there," she says, pointing to room 8. "Gotta figure out where we are first, though…"

 No.739209

>>739206
>>739207
>>739208
"Wait, I'm not so sure," Xu says. "I wish this map was annotated, but everything looks all out of date around here– who knows how old that tablet is. But I'm alsmost positive, based on the path we took to get here, that we came from Room 8. We should be standing in Room 3 now, don't you think? The shape of the doors is definitely the same."
"Yes… makes sense to me," Huitlapan says. "So the closest rooms would be Room 7 and Room 2, right?"

>>739206
You investigate the chests, and they are mostly full of junk, but you find a few noteworthy things.
The first is a bag of Schillings: 85 in total. The second is a toolbox with a rusted-shut lid you manage to pry open after a few tries. Inside is a set of metal components that someone back at the Forward Operating Base might pay for, along with a few gemstones for magical engineering – 3 in total.

And finally, there is a set of keys, similar to what a custodian might carry with them. Quite a few keys dangle from the ring, as well as a single security keycard. You might be able to use that upon some terminals, if you find any.

 No.739210

She grinned and pulled the keys out "JAckpot." she said as she put the gems in her pouch for now considering that to be her cut for now.

 No.739211

>>739209
Meant to tag this))

 No.739212

>>739208
"Hm, correct me if I'm wrong but we took a southern pass to get here. There are only two stairwells here, one of which we came down."
>>739209
"Honestly I'd like to believe that you're correct. We should operate on the idea that we're between rooms Seven and Two. Would that make us in room Three, or perhaps that's wishful thinking?"

 No.739213

>>739209
>>739212
Deadweight stares at her magicomp. "Ah, I see. I guess the stairs down are in Room 6, then," she brings her eyes closer to the screen. "Which is in the opposite corner of this floor," she says. She groans in frustration.

 No.739214

>>739213
>>739212
>>739210
"It looks like the quickest route would be to pass through Rooms 7 and 9," Huitlapan says. "Then, take either 1 or 5 into Room 6 and head downward."
"Should we even bother with the other rooms?" Xu asks.
"Well, there's always the chance we might miss an elevator if we try to get through too quickly," Huitlapan says.

The skeletons go back to chilling.

 No.739215

>>739214
"It would serve us well to know what lies in each room, in case we need to scour them for safety's sake."

 No.739216

>>739214
>>739215
"Should we just backtrack to Room 8 and go through Room 11 then either Room 1 or 10, whichever looks clear?" Deadweight suggests, cautious despite her cocky attitude. A good Warrior is an alive Warrior.

 No.739217

>>739214
>>739216
I concede to the group here. Hopefully the keys I found will be useful. There's also some schillings and parts in those chests if anybody wants to nab them."

 No.739218

>>739217
"You found some keys? Nice," Deadweight says as she takes a look at the chests, nabbing whatever's left.

 No.739219

>>739217
"Noted, thank you Miss Hope."

>>739216
"Trying the door from room Eight to room Eleven may prove easier with the keys Miss Hope found. I agree that it's possible for us to fast track our passage down."

 No.739220

>>739218
>>739219
She gave them both a small grateful smile


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