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If there's one thing you hate about the Mapless it's the unpredictable weather. Things are especially bad near the Lich's former domain. Rain clouds can gather in seconds to obscure a perfectly blue sky and ruin an otherwise good day--or as the case may be, a restful night.

You climb down from the tree, cursing your luck and your forespawn and trying to remember which way that cave you passed by was, when you hear voices speaking in mantongue..

"Boss you sure she's going the right way?" Says one. "You know where we're going Lucy?"

"..."

"She don't talk much does she boss?" Says another.

"I didn't buy her to talk you imbeciles. Besides, why would an elf understand our speech?"

"Guess that's true."

"Of course it is, now be silent and keep your eyes peeled for the goblin. 200 gold pieces are at stake...as well as our lives."

Two hundred. They upped the bounty again. You never should have let that manling walk. He must've gone back and told them all about you. Do they know about your magic? You're low on mana anyway, only enough for one shot. You should run. But if they have an elf tracking you--running or hiding is only a temporary solution. They'll just find you again.

>Ready a spell and face them head on
>Attempt a surprise attack from above
>Flee the scene to more advantageous terrain
>>
>>2196645
>Flee the scene to more advantageous terrain
>>
>>2196645
>>Attempt a surprise attack from above
>>
>>2196645
>Accept that you're evil by nature and the world would be better without you and surrender.
>>
>>2196645
>>Flee the scene to more advantageous terrain
>>
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You briefly consider fighting them here. The darkness, the ground turning to goop, the pouring rain, none of these things are in your favor. You can hear them getting closer, they'll be popping through the trees any second. You think the cave was to the west--it'll be dry there if nothing else.

You make a run for it. You can hear the hunters scream after you. "That's him! Go, go!" You struggle to keep your balance in the slippery mud, even a single misstep would be fatal. You don't dare look behind you but keep your eyes pointed straight in front of you. You see the vast opening of the cave come into view. The rain starts to come down even harder, the fat droplets hit your eyes and blind you. Still you run.

"He's gone in the cave boss."

"I can see that you fool. Blast!"

"I'll go in boss." You can hear the sound of a blade retracting from its sheath.

"Stand down. Lucy. Jaoanno ke. Jaoanno ke."

"..."

Light footsteps, so light that if you were not a goblin you would not hear them, patter upon the stone and dirt floor. You've finished drying off. A bolt of lightning crashes behind the elf, illuminating her small, petite body, throwing it into shadow. The glowslime dripping from the ceiling lights her blonde hair in a blue-gold glow. You ready yourself, your hand closing around the long knife at your waist, drawing it out and waiting.

There's a sudden whoosh past your head. A line of black fire collides a foot from where you stand, obliterating a conical protrusion of rock and slime and sending shrapnel flying toward your face.

You
>Dodge the attack and close the distance
>Take cover from the shrapnel and move deeper into the cave
>Cast a spell of your own
>>
>>2196760
>Take cover from the shrapnel and move deeper into the cave
A bit deeper before we strike back
>>
>>2196760
>Cast a spell of our own
>>
>>2196760
>Take cover from the shrapnel and move deeper into the cave
>>
>>2196760
>>Take cover from the shrapnel and move deeper into the cave
>>
>>2196760
>>Take cover from the shrapnel and move deeper into the cave
>>
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>>2196760
You leap over some rock formations for cover. Razor sharp points of stone break harmlessly against the rocks. An Elf firecaster, just your luck. You have no time to catch your breath, another firebolt blasts the ceiling loosening dust and rock and forcing you to roll and and seek cover again, to move deeper and deeper into the cave.

The she-elf follows without hesitation. Elf eyes are not as great as a gnome's in the dark but they're better than a goblin's. The glowslime quickly reduces to nothing and the only light is the occasional firebolt hurled by the Elf. Her mana seems nearly inexhaustible--unsurprising for an Elf, but she must've also tapped into a leyline recently. She's fresh and you're almost bottomed out.

Another firebolt splits the ground at your feet, throwing you backward against some rocks. You vision blurs and you taste blood and bile. You fall on your back. The Elf walks over calmly and looms over you, her shadow enfolds you and around her neck you can see a small choker with an inset gem, a sapphire, glint in the darkness. It's gemcraft--a slave collar. They've Bound her. She points the first two fingers of her right hand toward your chest, threatening fatal injury. You can hear the rest of slavers enter the cave.

>It's now or never, cast your spell
>Surrender, there's no way you can win this fight
>Try to deal with the slave collar
>>
>>2197184
>Try to deal with the slave collar
>>
>>2197184
>>It's now or never, cast your spell
>>
>>2197184
>Try to deal with the slave collar

Lets get that fucker off her.
>>
>>2197184
>>Try to deal with the slave collar
>>
If you can destroy the slave collar or at least get it off her, there's a chance she might quit the fight. The problem is she'll try to resist any attempts to get it off. The collar is designed so that she'll blow a hole in your chest before you can even reach for it. You unconsciously rub your throat, even if she herself wants to be free of the collar's influence, the collar will compel her otherwise. An insidious device, the craft of the noble gnomes twisted toward horrific ends.

Still you have to try. The others will be upon you in a moment and then there will be no escape. You refuse to be captured again and collared. You refuse to return to the leymines and subsist on rice gruel. You'd rather die.

>Manipulate the binding spell on the collar (Sets Bind as your starting spell, DC 60)
>Attempt to cut the collar off her neck (DC 80)
>Just kill the master instead (DC 90)
>>
Rolled 87 (1d100)

>>2197235
>Attempt to cut the collar off her neck (DC 80)
>>
Rolled 85 (1d100)

>>2197235
>Attempt to cut the collar off her neck (DC 80)
>>
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>>2197249
>>2197254
>Get it twice in a row
Fate wants us to fuck elves, boys.
>>
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>>2197268
Please no. We are a simple and innocent goblin who wants freedom. Waifus aren't welcome.
>>
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>>2197293
We only want freedom, but waifus will be dragged along because determined guys being bothered by tag-alongs is funny and endearing.
>>
>>2197301
Very well, I can work with this.
>>
>>2197235
You eyes move to her eyes. Perfect crystalline blue, yet without any emotion or thought behind them. Dead eyes. You raise your hands, slowly, as if to surrender. The Elf keeps her fingers pointed toward your chest. You get to your feet. Your left hand is still holding your knife, braced against back of your wrist, hidden.

"Lucy. Hois. Valokors!" The hunter yells behind her. This creates the slightest gap in concentration, the only opportunity you need. You flick your wrist and jump back. She fires. The flames lick across your shirt like a blade, leaving a coarse cut in its wake but it is a small price to pay. The knife has embedded in her throat, cutting clean through the collar. She pulls the blade out and the collar falls from her pale flesh onto the floor.

She screams a prayer to MM, the Lord of Entropy. A terrifying yawp of rage, joy and exhilaration. She's forgotten all about you now, her back is turned, her attention is on her former masters.

"Boss!"

"Run you fools!"

They don't get far. She is thorough in her work, a surprising professionalism given such a sweet and innocent face. The legs first, then quick bursts to the head. Brain matter and blood all over the cave floor like a broken cantaloupe. Then she kneels to the earth and clasps her knee in formal prayer. "Tumeholo sheshere bezarak. Tumeholo zurant. Prozonsha MM." She says. Then she reaches forward into the hunter's pockets and searches until she finds a rolled up pouch of tobacco and some paper and carefully rolls a cigarette. This she places in her mouth and lights with a flaming fingertip. She drags deep and lets the cigarette hang from the corner of her lip, still muttering the prayers beneath her breath all the while.

You watch this entire procession in complete paralysis. Finally she turns to you, squints her eyes and draws them across your small body. A trickle of blood flows freely down her neck.

>Introduce yourself and offer to heal her wounds (Sets Heal as your starting spell)
>Get out before she gets any dangerous ideas
>>
>>2197347
>Get out before she gets any dangerous ideas
>>
>>2197347
>>Get out before she gets any dangerous ideas
>>
>>2197347
>Ask for a cigarette.
>>
>>2197347
>Get out before she gets any dangerous ideas
Watch as we keep our starting spell secret right up to the endgame, when we reveal it to have been ___Wish___ the whole time.
>>
>>2197347
>>Introduce yourself and offer to heal her wounds (Sets Heal as your starting spell)
Without knowing how common heals are in this setting this seems like a good choice
>>
>>2197347
You move forward, trying not fold under her gaze. You walk past her. You can feel her eyes pressing into the back of your head. You're almost to the mouth of the cave. Just a few more steps."Dar. Wait." She says with a heavy Elvish accent. You freeze and turn.

She catches up to you and hands you your knife. You take it and immediately sheathe it.The smell of smoke surrounds her. Her eyes squint into yours without hesitation or shyness. "Heading out?" She asks, moving the cigarette from one corner of her mouth to the other. You nod. Her eyes flick to the outside, where the rain is still pouring down like a hurricane and lightning breaks the sound of the whipping wind. She looks back at you. "Into that?"

>Introduce yourself
>"Goblins are waterproof."
>"Point taken. You mind?" Remain in the cave until the storm passes
>>
>>2197434
>"Point taken. You mind?" Remain in the cave until the storm passes
>Introduce yourself
>>
>>2197434
>"Point taken. You mind?" Remain in the cave until the storm passes
>Introduce yourself
>>
>>2197434
>"Goblins are waterproof."
>Introduce yourself
Better to die by our own choices than live by others'.
>>
>>2197434
>"Point taken. You mind?" Remain in the cave until the storm passes
>>
>>2197434
>"Point taken. You mind?" Remain in the cave until the storm passes
>Introduce yourself
>>
>>2197434
>>"Point taken. You mind?" Remain in the cave until the storm passes
>Introduce yourself
>>
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>>2197434
You look behind you. It's practically a flood. "Point taken." You move back inside. "You mind?" She finally takes the cigarette out of her mouth and taps it, discarding the ash. She shakes her head and gestures toward the bodies, then brushes past you and begins searching their bags. She takes out some paper packages and drops them on the floor.

"Hungry?" She asks, throwing you one of the packages. Inside is some hardtack, dried jerky and fish and some kind of sweet-tart. Thus far you've been living on squirrel meat, crabapples, and pond water--this is a welcome change. You set down to eating while the elf starts a fire from nothing and warms up the cave.

"Name's Mook by the way." You say. She stares at you and puffs her cigarette. You try again. "You're Lucy right?" Still nothing. You finish your meal in silence.

"You really worth 200 gold pieces?" She finally asks.

"Wouldn't know." Which is the truth. To know something like that would require entering Citadel, in which case you might as well just hang yourself, it'd be just as certain a suicide.

"What'd you do?"

You rub your throat. "Ran. Killed a few guys."

"Collared?"

You nod. She nods. "Any family?"

"Family?" A bigmen concept. The goblins believe it takes a tribe to raise a gobling. So that in sense your whole tribe was your family. The Yellowtoes. You shake your head. "No."

"Tumeholo sheshere bezarak." She mutters. She squints into the flames, lost in her own thoughts. "Where you headed?" She finally asks.

>Citadel, city of the bigmen, to seek a way to clear your name
>Underland, realm of the Goblins and Gnomes, to meet with Gob the Revolutionary
>Zedspire, former home of the Lich King, to learn more about magic
>>
>>2197539
>Underland, realm of the Goblins and Gnomes, to meet with Gob the Revolutionary

That's the safest place for Gobbos.
>>
>>2197539
>Muckmire, a complete shithole, where that bastard who got you into this mess is holed up.
>>
>>2197539
>Zedspire, former home of the Lich King, to learn more about magic
Trusting bigmen is suicide, and taking commands from a leader to follow is just shackling ourselves beneath another. The only path is to seek out enough power to be our own lord and master.
>>
>>2197539
>Zedspire, former home of the Lich King, to learn more about magic
>>
>>2197539
>Underland
>>
>>2197539
>Underland, realm of the Goblins and Gnomes, to meet with Gob the Revolutionary
>>
>>2197539
>>Underland, realm of the Goblins and Gnomes, to meet with Gob the Revolutionary
>>
>>2197539
>Zedspire, former home of the Lich King, to learn more about magic
>>
>>2197539
>>Zedspire, former home of the Lich King, to learn more about magic
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>2197539
Tiebreak roll

1 - Zedspire
2- Underland
>>
>>2197641
"Zedspire." Even saying it out loud feels ridiculous. The Elf stares at you and squints her eyes further. A thin smile finally breaks on her lips.

"You got guts at least."

"It's more that I don't have much of a choice." You say. "The Citadel is filled with Peacekeepers that'd like nothing more than to put my head on a pike. The Underlands promises safety but only at the expense of freedom. And I...I won't be anyone's slave again. Never again. But to do that I need power."

"You're maybe the strangest goblin I've ever met."

You laugh. "I've heard that. I've always been a little different."

"Can you cast?" The question takes you by surprise. Then you remember that Elves can smell mana, it's how she was tracking you in the first place.

"I'm just a Onecore." You say. "I only know one spell." She chews her cigarette and closes her eyes.

"There's managems in that tower." It comes out more like a question than a statement, so you nod and say yes. She's suddenly focused and serious. "How'll you get past the Remnants?"

"I'm not going for the managems, just the library and study."

"That's a waste. All that stored mana, just waiting to be tapped, lying there, untouched."

"I can't get any spellbooks from Citadel. And venturing too high in the tower is suicide. I don't really have much choice. Any choice."

She nods again. "I'm going the same way. Wouldn't mind raiding the Lich's lair either." An ally like her is volatile. She's more powerful than you are, both a blessing and a curse. But she seems trustworthy enough.

>Let her join you
>Politely decline
>>
>>2197747
>Politely decline
>>
>>2197747

>Let her join you

She owes us and we are not competing for resources. Better two than one and maybe the elf can teach us something or another.
>>
>>2197747
>Let her join you
>>
>>2197747
>>Let her join you
>>
>>2197747
>Let her join you
>>
>>2197747
>>Let her join you
>>
>Let her join you
>>
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Sorry about the wait, I fell asleep
>>2197747
"Alright. If we're headed the same direction...but to be clear I won't be venturing past the library." You warms your hands by the fire and watch her finally spit out the nub of cigarette into the flames. The wound in her neck has congealed but the blood has soaked the top of her dress."I'm just there to get a spellbook or two. Nothing more."

"Well." She draws out the word and spits into the fire. "That's alright. How'd you learn to cast anyway?" You hesitate, unsure of how much you should trust this elf. Finally you reach into your breast pocket and pull out a small book, its cover is in tatters and half of it has been burnt away, but the corners of the pages are dog-eared and well-worn. She leans over the fire and takes the book from your hands. You wince as memories of banishment and betrayal resurface in your mind. The look of pity in the Chief's eyes, pity you had decided long ago, was fake. She returns the book and you put it back in your bag. "Never once met a goblin smelling of mana." She says. "Let alone one that can read."

"Goblins don't read." You say, automatically. A practiced phrase, one you've heard many times before; a contradiction. She raises an eyebrow, spitting once again into fire and then leans back on her palms and squints her eyes at distant thoughts.

>It'll be a long day tomorrow, try to get some rest (skip to next morning)
>Study your tattered spellbook (exposition on magic)
>Ask the Elf for her story (exposition on character)
>Plan out your trip to Zedspire (exposition on world)
>>
>>2199471
>Ask the Elf for her story (exposition on character)
>>
>>2199471
>Ask the Elf for her story (exposition on character)
>>
>>2199471
You watch the pretty elf girl recline backward and stretch her legs. Her lips are mouthing silent prayers. She is like a manling, not much taller than a gobling. Her white dress is matted with sweat and blood and mud. Her golden hair likewise. Fair skinned and fair faced, every small feature hinting to an innocence her eyes, crystalline and hard, destroy. Eyes as out of place as her presence in this dingy cave, sitting on a mound of corpses, across a member of a race said to be a corrupted version of her own; beauty and the beast.

But goblins don't understand beauty and they don't understand ugliness. It is a boon--and a curse--a gift to them by their creator, MM, Lord of Entropy. So that they cannot know their own disfigurement and cannot covet the sight of others. It is the best He could do, for only AH, Lord of Order, can create beauty.

It is also a lie.

"Lucy."

She sets her eyes upon you.

>"How did you get captured? Being a spellcaster and all."
>"What are your plans now that you're free? After Zedspire."
>"Where are you from?"
>"Why do you pray to MM? I thought Elves only worshiped AH, their creator."
>>
>>2199471
>Study your tattered spellbook (exposition on magic)
we dont even know what our one spell is yet
>>
>>2199576
>"Why do you pray to MM? I thought Elves only worshiped AH, their creator."
>>
>>2199576
>>"Why do you pray to MM? I thought Elves only worshiped AH, their creator."
>>
>>2199576
"You're a firecaster." You say, wrapping your arms around your knees. "I thought elves worshiped AH?"

She sits up and places her hands on her thighs, smoothing her dress. "Most still do. Some don't. Some had a change of heart."

"Well I guess spells aren't as closely connected to the gods as they used to be, so it doesn't really matter. It's just strange to see a MM worshiper that's..." You catch yourself. You almost said beautiful. "...an Elf."

She clenches her jaw. "Don't see AH in the world anymore. No use praying to a god that doesn't listen."

"But the Lich King lost. Doesn't that mean--"

"It doesn't mean anything. Nothing's changed." She clasps her hands on her knees and closes her eyes. "Prozonsha MM. Prozonsha MM."

Her prayers continue late into the night, until you eventually fall asleep to the sound of them. You are shaken awake in the morning. The rain has stopped but the earth and trees still smell of water. You have a quick meal while Lucy stuffs the rest of the food into one of the bigmen's bags. You note that she's changed her clothes.

She's replaced her soiled dress with a shirt one of the bigmen were wearing--it reaches down to her knees and the sleeves have been torn off to accommodate her shorter limbs. She's wearing a padded vest over the shirt and has turned one of their sweaters into something like a poncho.

You also note that the corpses are gone. They've been stripped of all they had and their possessions thrown into a pile.

"Fastest way to Zedspire is through the road." She says. She takes out the bag of tobacco and casually rolls a cigarette. "But they mentioned some Remnants were wandering around there, so a tunnel might be safer."

"I know."

She lights the thin cylinder and draws smoke. "Could also go through the forest." She says. "It's longer. But there's a leyline nearby." She mentions it for your sake, it's unlikely that's she's dry. You still have enough mana for one shot, but it might be wise to replenish.

>Choose the forest, for the leyline
>Choose the road, for the speed
>Choose the tunnel, for the safety
>>
>>2199643
>Choose the forest, for the leyline
Strolling into a Lich King's former domain with near depleted mana? No thanks.
>>
>>2199643
>>Choose the forest, for the leyline
>>
You nod and get to your feet, brushing the dirt and dust from your clothes. "You know where the leyline is?"

"No. But I can sniff it out." She slings the pack over her shoulder and moves toward the mouth of the cave. You note the new shortblade now hanging from her hip and head for the pile of loot to see if there's anything else worth scavenging. It's mostly clothes and a few pieces of armor, stained with blood and too large for your frame. There are some lesser gems--empty of mana and therefore useless--a few bags, a pack of throwing knives in a leather rolled up case, a longsword that's almost as big as you are and (after thoroughly checking the pockets) another slave collar, intact but with a dead sapphire.

"Hurry up." She says.

"Coming." You look at the goods again. Should you take anything?

>Take the longsword
>Take the slave collar
>Take the throwing knives
>Don't take anything
>>
>>2199700
Take the knives. If we can wield the longsword effectively with two hands, take that too.

Destroy the necklace.
>>
>>2199700
>Take the throwing knives
>Take the dead slave collar
in case one of us need to masquerade as a slave
>>
>>2199700

Seconding >>2199731
>>
>>2199700
Take it all
>>
>>2199700
>take it all
>>
.
>>
>>2199700
>>2199731
second
>>
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>>2199700
You pocket the slave collar and the tie the belt of throwing knives around your waist. The longsword is too large to use appropriately so you leave that but you switch out your ripped tunic for one in the pile. It's several sizes too big for you but a few strokes of your knife soon takes care of that.

>Obtained:
>Throwing Knives (3/3 uses)
>Slave Collar (Needs managem)

That done, you venture back out into the forest and head eastward, following the she-elf as she tilts her head up in the air like a dog and smells for the mana. About a half hour into the forest and still no sign of any leyline. Your surroundings are starting to look familiar as well, have you been traveling in circles?

Suddenly the she-elf stops. You her arm. "What's going on?" She waves you off and begins sniffing rapidly. Your sensitive ears pick up what her sense of smell already has: distant moaning, shuffling feet, shambling limbs. Remnants.

The first one appears like an eagle swooping for fish, bursting straight out of the trees with its arms outstretched. It's head has been completely devoured by the neurofungus and flecks of white tendrils peek out from its skin like the stitches in a leather shoe.

Lucy bites down on her cigarette, flashing her white teeth in a disgusted grimace. She raises the first two fingers of her right hand and points them at the Remnant. She waits for it get closer. The Remnant leaps forward and she splits its mushroom head with a beam of black fire. It falls backward, limbs akimbo, bleeding green and white. Lucy blows out a puff of smoke from the side of her mouth, teeth still grit.

"There's more." She says. On cue, a dozen more Remnants stumble out of the trees of various races and stages of infection. Lucy raises her left arm. The Remnants charge.

>Draw your knife and cut a path through them
>Follow Lucy's lead and keep your distance, use your throwing knives
>Channel the last of your mana for a spell
>>
>>2201989
>Follow Lucy's lead and keep your distance, use your throwing knives
>>
>>2201989
>Follow Lucy's lead and keep your distance, use your throwing knives
>>
>>2201989
>>Follow Lucy's lead and keep your distance, use your throwing knives
>>
>>2201989
>Channel the last of your mana for a spell

We're close to the leyline and I don't want to be a fungusbrain.
>>
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Really sorry for updating at random odd times like this. Just got back from overseas so I'm really jetlagged

>>2201989
Both your hands move to the belt at your waist. Your forefingers hook the loops at the ends of the throwing knives and with a spinning flourish you throw the daggers at two oncoming Remnants, a bigman with neurofungus that creeps down from the crown of his bald head like hair and a goblin whose entire body is encased in white tendrils.

The first knife buries itself in the goblin's temple like a pencil through pudding dropping him instantly. The second hits the bigman in the chest, slowing him only slightly as he simply plucks the blade from his chest, tosses it aside and then rams into you at full speed. He knocks you off your feet and pins you against tree, his forearm presses hard on your windpipe, his eyes, now merely sockets by decay, are level with yours. Sensory tendrils peek out of the hollow holes like writhing maggots. The stench of fungus and decayed flesh is enough to make you gag--if you weren't already choking.

It's mouth opens and in place of its tongue, which has long since rotted away, a fleshy flower structure composed of entwined tendrils that pulsate and open and close like a mouth, inches toward your face. It's trying to implant its spores in you.

>Call for help
>Draw your knife and stab it in the side of the head
>Channel the last of your mana for a spell
>>
>>2205274
>Draw your knife and stab it in the side of the head
And try not to breathe in just now.
>>
>>2205274
>Channel the last of your mana for a spell

Stranger danger!
>>
>>2205274
>>Channel the last of your mana for a spell
>>
>>2205274
You can feel the world start to fade into black. Strength leaves your limbs. Your lungs are burning for air. You gather your last dregs of mana, feeling pinpricks in your hands as though the fingers had fallen asleep. You ready the only spell of the Fourcore that you know...

>Choose a starting spell, and gain two free elementary Insights into that spell
>[Shield] (a spell associated with the creation and manipulation of barriers)
>[Heal] (a spell related to the manipulation of biological material and life essence)
>[Bind] (a versatile spell with varied effects)
>[Fire] (a spell dealing with the manipulation of fire and heat)

>You are slightly injured
>You have 0/5 mana remaining
>>
>>2205654

>>[Bind] (a versatile spell with varied effects)
>>
>>2196645
>kill myself
>>
>>2205654
>[Shield] (a spell associated with the creation and manipulation of barriers)
>>
>>2205654
>Shield
>>
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>>2205654

Through study and contemplation of your spellbook you've gained elementary Insight into the nature of the Shield spell, choose 2:
>Barrier Matrix Control - You've learned to manipulate the standard spherical shape of the barrier into other similarly simple shapes (cubes, cones etc.)
>Mana Hardening - You can use additional mana to harden the shield beyond its standard cohesion
>Remote Shield Generation - You can generate a static shield outside of your own body
>Shield Expansion - You can expand a shield beyond its standard size (i.e a sphere with diameter equal to your height)
>Efficient Manaflow - You've learned to minimize mana leakage and can sustain a shield for long periods without needing additional mana
>Radiation Shielding - You've learned to manipulate properties of the shield which block out parts of the EM spectrum
>Anti-mana Shieldflow - You've learned to reverse the flow of mana across the shield, creating an anti-mana barrier that negates positive mana.
>>
>>2205751
>Remote Shield Generation
>Efficient Mana Flow
>>
>>2205751
>Efficient Manaflow - You've learned to minimize mana leakage and can sustain a shield for long periods without needing additional mana
>Remote Shield Generation - You can generate a static shield outside of your own body
>>
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>>2205751
You try and remember what you learned from the spellbook but the pain and the fear and the smell cloud all sense and reason. Instead, you simply cast the [Shield] on yourself and as the barrier materializes from your chest it throws the creature backward. You drop to the ground on your knees, coughing and wheezing for breath.

Your spellbook described a technique for mana conservation by plugging up holes during circulation of the mana across the shields surface--a technique you use now to sustain the shield without any additional mana. A useful trick considering you're now completely dry.

You rub the pain from your throat and get to your feet. Lucy is still firing into the crowd of Remnants but soon has to resort to the shortblade she picked up in the cave. Headless Remnants lie scattered around her in semi-circle, a few of them still burning and smoking.

The Remnant you just knocked away gets back up and charges at you again. This time you let him. The Remnant cannot penetrate the shield and simply slams against it over and over without progress. You almost smile, but your would-be mirth is cut-short by an earthquake that nearly topples you.

Except it's not an earthquake. The trees are swept aside like toothpicks as the source of the vibrations emerges: a Remnant Hulk, a single neurofungus that has spread to several hosts and lashed them together in a horrific abomination of flesh and fungus. The terror of the Lich King's army. It stands nearly 12 feet tall, three times your height, with three mushroom heads peeking out of its fused chest. The ground trembles with its every step and the putrid smell of rotten skin and muscle emanates from its every pore. It's body is covered in hideous orange-red caps, like little shields of various shapes and sizes dotted across his body and limbs.

Lucy casts her [Fire] against it, but the Hulk raises its arm, deflecting the fire with a cap growing on its forearm.

"Well shit." Says Lucy. Spitting at the ground.

>Draw your knife and attempt to kill it yourself (+3 EXP)
>Help Lucy in beating a hasty retreat
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>>2205856
>>Help Lucy in beating a hasty retreat
>>
>>2205856
>Help Lucy in beating a hasty retreat
A good goblin always knows when to run.
>>
>>2205856
>>Draw your knife and attempt to kill it yourself (+3 EXP)
>>
>>2205856
>Help Lucy in beating a hasty retreat
We need to find its weakness.
>>
>>2205856
You decide its time to get the hell out of here and make a beeline opposite the incoming Hulk. Lucy however, seems to have other plans. She's on one knee, grasping it in the prayer posture and muttering in Elvish.

"What are you doing!" You scream.

"MM won't let me die." She says. Her eyes have gone wide, the pupils shrunk to little dots, her mouth twists into an insane smile. A crazed expression. The Hulk lets out its call, three high-pitched tones coming in sequence, one from each of its three heads. You grab Lucy's arm and try to pull her to her feet, but she bats you away. "The leyline isn't far." She says, her prayers completed. "Just head south, listen for the river." She takes off her pack and her shortblade and throws them to you, then ties her golden locks into a knot atop her head. Then she turns and faces the Hulk.

"You--this is insane. You'll die!"

She steps forward, meeting eyes with the great beast, standing fully erect. Flickers of black flame engulf her hands and feet, burn away her shoes. "MM won't let me die." She says again, with absolute conviction. "Prozonsha MM. Praise MM."

You hesitate. The obvious thing to do here is run. There's no way either of you can take down a full Remnant Hulk--especially not one that's also resistant to [Fire]. You should run. It's how you've survived thus far. It's the smart move and you've always been smart. And you barely even know this she-elf, you don't owe her a thing.

>Get the hell out of here
>Help her fight the Hulk
>Knock her out and take her with you
>>
>>2208501
> Get the hell out of here.
We don't owe this girl anything, and fighting as we are is suicide. Just make way to the leyline and hope she lives.
>>
>>2208501
>Help her fight the Hulk
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>>2208501
>Help her fight the Hulk
"You're fucking insane and I can respect that."
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>>2208501
>>2208586
second
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>>2208501
>Help her fight the Hulk
Its big and dumb and slow. We're small and smart and fast. Lets try and get on top of the fat bastard.
>>
>>2208649
uh QM, theres 3 votes for fighting
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>>2208661
>>2208662
Oh shit. I had auto-update turned off and was writing from the first vote.

My bad. Just ignore that update. I'll redo it.
>>
>>2208501
The Hulk swings its fist downward, seeking to crush Lucy's body into powder. Lucy rolls forward between it's legs. The ground shakes from the impact. Again the Hulk lets out its three-toned cry. Again it rears its fist back.

"You're fucking insane!" You scream, moving backward. You squeeze your eyes, hating yourself for your own powerlessness. It's happening again. It's Yellowtoe all over again.

No. This is different. You are different. This isn't weakness, it's cowardice. You drop the pack and open your eyes and let out a long breath. You won't run.

>Use the Shortblade and go for his feet
>Shift your [Shield] to the Hulk's leg and ground it, immobilizing it
>Shift your [Shield] to Lucy, protecting her
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>>2208686
>Shift your [Shield] to the Hulk's leg and ground it, immobilizing it
How creative are we allowed to get with our Shield?
>>
>>2208686
>Shift your [Shield] to Lucy, protecting her

>Use the Shortblade and try to climb up his back
>>
>>2208697
A pastebin on the ruleset is in the works. Here's what I have on the magic section so far, it should give you an idea of the limitations and versatility:

= MAGIC =

In this quest there are only 4 spells, known as the Fourcore:
1. [Shield]: a spell associated with the creation and manipulation of barriers
2. [Heal]: a spell related to the manipulation of biological material and life essence
3. [Bind]: a versatile spell with varied effects
4. [Fire]: a spell dealing with the manipulation of fire and heat

The use of these spells is governed by ones Insight into them. Having different Insights can result in completely different ways to use each of the spells. You acquire Insight through Experimentation, which requires a roll against a DC dependent on the degree of the insight: Elementary, Deep or Profound. as well as some kind of description of the Experiment you're conducting. You can unlock new Insights by reading spell books, receiving direct instruction, or through Experimentation itself (i.e write-ins).

---

The shorter answer is that creativity is encouraged and the spells are all extremely flexible.
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>>2208706
I'll keep my vote as it is now for simplicity, but for future reference:

How is our Shield anchored in space? Remote Shield Generation permits generation of "a static shield outside of your own body"; would this mean that we would only be able to Shield Lucy while she's stationary?

Additionally, how is our Shields's permeability determined? The Shield presumably allows EM radiation to pass through it until Radiation Shielding is obtained. But is flow of air, sound, heat and so forth blocked or permitted - or is this a variable that can be controlled by the caster?
>>
>>2208741
>How is our Shield anchored in space? Remote Shield Generation permits generation of "a static shield outside of your own body"; would this mean that we would only be able to Shield Lucy while she's stationary?
The anchoring effect with your current Insight would be as you described. Lucy remains shielded so long as she's stationary.

>Additionally, how is our Shields's permeability determined? The Shield presumably allows EM radiation to pass through it until Radiation Shielding is obtained. But is flow of air, sound, heat and so forth blocked or permitted - or is this a variable that can be controlled by the caster?
With your current Insight the [Shield] is more of a force-field that blocks physical objects. All of the things you mentioned you can control (given greater Insight into the spell).

In short, your powers are bounded by your Insight.
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>>2208758
>With your current Insight the [Shield] is more of a force-field that blocks physical objects
>Lucy remains shielded so long as she's stationary.
Would this mean that Lucy would actually be trapped within the Shield, or is the Shield one-way only?
>>
>>2208758
>Heal
When you say >manipulation of biological material and life essence
Does That mean we can use it in a way to reverse the effects? Like decaying biological matter?
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>>2208764
That bit you can control. If you want to trap her you can, or you can let her walk move through it, but the [Shield] will not follow her.

>>2208774
It's certainly possible, but it would require a Profound Insight into the spell (to essentially reverse its very nature)
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>>2208775
Should have picked heal, I vote
>Shift the Shuler to Lucy
Tell her not to move or it won't work, unless she already knows
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>>2208782
Don't worry it's possible to learn all the spells. The vote was only for which one you start with.

Thanks for the tie-break. Writing.
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>>2208797
there wasnt a tie though
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>>2208686
You shift the [Shield] to Lucy's small form just as the monster swipes its arm across her body. The [Shield] buckles as the blow connects but manages to hold. The Hulk steps back in confusion.

You grip the shortblade, take a deep breath and charge the Hulk. It redirects its attention to you, reeling its fist back to hit you head on.

Lucy glances over to you, still wearing her face of insanity. She actually starts laughing when sees you. "Praise MM!" She yells, readying her black fire once more.

>Roll d20 please
>>
Rolled 4 (1d20)

>>2208820
>>
Rolled 10 (1d20)

>>2208820
Quick, Shield its fist. Prevent it from striking.
>>
>>2208697
How do you mean?

>>2208817 voted to immobile Hulk
>>2208698 voted to protect Lucy
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>>2208826
oh yeah you're right, i misread the other post.
>>
I just need one more roll
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>2208820
>>
Rolled 2 (1d20)

>>2208837
>>
>>2208820
>Rolled 4, 10, 13 -> 1 Success

There's not enough time and you're not agile enough to dodge the fist that's coming toward your head. Instead you shift the mana once more, this time encapsulating the monster's hand trying to stop it in midflight. The [Shield] strains against the knuckles and with the earlier blow it is too much to sustain its cohesion. It shatters and dissipates.The fist continues its arc but its temporary pause bought you enough time to roll out of the way.

A blast of fire hits the creature's back, forcing it to turn its attention away again. You can see circular scab of scorched flesh where the fire hit, not nearly deep enough to do any real damage. Nevertheless, its distracted and you take the opportunity to get closer. You run up and jam the short blade into the back of its leg. It doesn't even feel it. Instead it simply walks forward, pulling you along with it.

>Keep hold of the blade and try to climb the Hulk
>Try to wrench the blade out and strike again
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>>2208866
>Keep hold of the blade and try to climb the Hulk
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>>2208866
>Keep hold of the blade and try to climb the Hulk
Also throw a Shield about its head, preventing it from moving forward.
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>>2208872
You're out of mana. You can't generate another shield.

>Roll a d20
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>2208875
Note to self: get Barrier Matrix Control soon so we can manipulate our Shield across the room while still technically using the same Shield, and hence benefitting from Efficient Manaflow.
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>2208875
>>
Rolled 19 (1d20)

>>2208875
>>
>>2208866
>Rolled 13, 14, 19 -> 3 successes

You tighten your hand around the blade and pull yourself up. You wrap your arms around the creature's leg to prevent being thrown off and draw your knife. You use the knife and the red caps growing all over its body as supports to climb up its back.

Meanwhile Lucy continues to pelt the creature with her [Fire], drawing upon a seemingly bottomless supply of mana. The flames leave similar wounds on the creature as the one on its back, superficial wounds that don't really harm it or slow it down.

You reach the creature's shoulders and wrap your arms around it's neck. One of the three heads turns completely backward and cries out in its singular tone. Its arms reaches up to try bat you off. You swing your body around its neck, pulling out the knife from the Hulk's shoulder as you go.

The other two heads now cry out as well. You stab one of them in the eye, gouging the white tendrils wrapped around its face. Blood spills out covering your hand in vile green and white and the creature falls to its knees. Another arm reaches up and grabs your body and the whole world swings back as it pulls you off of its head. You can't move. You can't do anything. The Hulk raises you and squeezes your torso with its fingers and pain fires down every limb. You scream.

Stupid. You should have just run. You were supposed to be smart. Why didn't you just run? You can feel your sternum start to strain. Again you scream. Again and again.

You are suddenly released. The Hulk's other two heads are gone, just two moldy neckholes now in its place. You're falling. In the distance you see Lucy with both her arms outstretched, two fingers on each hand pointed directly where the beast's heads used to be.

You land on your back. The wind gets knocked out of your lungs and every part of your body is aching--but you're alive. You squeeze your eyes and take in a breath. You're alive. You can feel a delicate hand, still warm, grab your shoulder. You open your eyes, Lucy's, fair, squinting face, greets yours. She pulls you up.

"Alright?" She asks. You look behind you at the Hulk you've just helped slay and then at the bodies of the other Remnants.

"Never better." You say.

She smirks and spits at the ground and turns away."I'm bottomed out, let's head for the river."

>Follow her lead
>Examine the Remnant Hulk
>>
>>2208983
>Examine the Remnant Hulk
Surely there must be something of worth to take from this battle.
>>
>>2208983
Let's take some of the mushroom caps from the body, goblin alchemy and herbalism (as well as Gobbo engineering and gob science for that matter) are cool as fuck, don't require mana, and have their own fun quirks. I imagine a goblin alchemist makes overly potent mash liquors in dangerous stills, funny potions, and a lack of interest in side effects. much like a Tijuana pharmacy, "this makes you rage, and gives you a boner" "that one burns like eating live red ants but it makes you see ghost"
"That one is my private reserve, makes you talk fancy like a pink skin and makes the gobbettes want to mate, but dont take too much, sure it feels great when it wears off you wont be able to see for 3 days, good for festivals"
"got these red ones from a human caravan we raised, pink skin made, very rare, mix it with your booze to prevent hangovers, says he-ling pot-ion what ever that means"
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>>2208983
>>Examine the Remnant Hulk
>>
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>>2208983
"I'll be with you in a second." You say, moving closer to the Hulk corpse. Lucy goes to pick up her belongings while you examine the Hulk. Something doesn't make sense, regular Remnants might be able to autopilot on old instructions--as long as they're kept simple--but a Remnant Hulk requires a master.

As you kneel down to pull out the shortblade from the Hulk's leg you notice part of a crest on the Hulk's back. It's been partially burnt away by Lucy's fireballs, and is hard to make out between the white tendrils and the red caps growing all across its body. You cut them away to get a closer look. It's a single letter. The letter "W" in the mantongue. It also appears to be a [Bind] crest. Someone was controlling this creature. But that makes even less sense, the only one who could [Bind] a creature like this would be its creator: the Lich King. And he's been dead for years. You scratch your ears. Something doesn't sit right.

"Ready?" Lucy calls out.

"Just a minute." You take out your knife and carefully cut out the scrap of flesh with the crest. Then, on a whim, you cut out a few of the red caps--they appeared to be fire resistant, maybe you can fashion something out of them later. They might even have alchemical properties.

>You've gained some EXP!
+1 for freeing Lucy
+2 for helping Lucy kill the Hulk
+2 for roleplaying
+1 for just surviving
>You have 6 EXP
--

"What are you gonna do with those?" Says Lucy. You're both at the river now, washing up and replenished of all your mana. Lucy points to the pile of caps you brought with you, then returns to rolling her tobacco.

"Don't know yet, but they could be useful." You say.

"So you're an alchemist."

>"That's right." (costs 2 EXP, grants Tier 1 Alchemy, allowing you identify alchemical reagents and conduct basic Experiments)
>"No, but the fire resistance property has some utility."
>>
>>2209090
>"No, but the fire resistance property has some utility."
Gotta save the EXP for the important things.
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>>2209090
>"That's right." (costs 2 EXP, grants Tier 1 Alchemy, allowing you identify alchemical reagents and conduct basic Experiments)
This seems pretty useful for the price
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>>2209095
Plus being able to conduct experiments means more ways to gain XP.
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>>2209090
>"That's right." (costs 2 EXP, grants Tier 1 Alchemy, allowing you identify alchemical reagents and conduct basic Experiments)
Alchemy is super useful, we'd be retarded not to take it
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>>2209090
>>"That's right." (costs 2 EXP, grants Tier 1 Alchemy, allowing you identify alchemical reagents and conduct basic Experiments)
>>
>>2209090
You consider what Lucy just said. Chief would probably disagree given that you were only a few months into the apprenticeship before the attack, but you know more about alchemy (or "mixings" as the goblins call it) than the average goblin and certainly more than any bigman so it's not entirely inaccurate. "That's right." You say, throwing your chest out. "I was. I am."

But she's already lost interest. She's now busy chowing down on sweet tarts between muttered prayers and puffs of her cigarette. You look up at the sky. The tail of the Wandering Light is past its zenith but it will be several hours before it sinks below the horizon. As you gaze up at the glowing meteor of crystalized mana, alighting the sky and the world with its radiance, you are reminded of the day you first discovered your spellbook. It was lying among bits of bark and dried tree branches in the tribe's fuel stores. You were drawn to it instantly, in part because you had secretly learned bigmen letters just a few days earlier from the book Chief kept hidden in a hole under his hammock and in part because you knew that if anyone ever discovered you reading it, you'd be ostracized, maybe even punished.

The sense of danger excited you and when you discovered what the book actually was and that you could channel mana and feel the warmth of leylines and cast spells, your excitement redoubled. You felt special. Powerful. Though, of course, it wouldn't last.

You catch Lucy staring at you as she chews and you realize that you're crying. You quickly wipe your eyes and look away. "So you're a Shieldcaster." She says. "Funny. A goblin using a spell of AH with an elf using one of MM."

"I didn't have a choice." You say. "It was the only spell in the book."

"Right." She goes silent and looks down, suddenly pensive. "Guess I owe you one." She says quietly.

"What?"

"Nothing. I'm gonna rest a bit. Keep watch." And with that she takes off her makeshift poncho, folds it into a pillow and goes to sleep.

Looks like you have some time to yourself. What will you do?

>Perform an Experiment with the red caps (reveals information about the red caps)
>Study your spellbook for new Insights (unlocks more Insights)
>Experiment with your [Shield] spell (grants an Insight)

>You have 4 EXP
>You have 5/5 Mana
>>
>>2209330
>>Perform an Experiment with the red caps (reveals information about the red caps)
>>
>>2209330
>>Experiment with your [Shield] spell (grants an Insight)
>>
>>2209330
>Perform an Experiment with the red caps (reveals information about the red caps)
Cooking shrooms like a real gobbo
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>>2209330
>Experiment with your [Shield] spell (grants an Insight)
>>
>>2209330
>Experiment with your [Shield] spell (grants an Insight)
>>
>>2209330
>>Perform an Experiment with the red caps (reveals information about the red caps)
>>
>>2209330
>Perform an Experiment with the red caps (reveals information about the red caps)
She owes us two actually.
>>
>>2209330
>>Perform an Experiment with the red caps (reveals information about the red caps)
>>
>>2209330
>Experiment with your [Shield] spell (grants an Insight)
>>
>>2209330
>Experiment with your [Shield] spell (grants an Insight)
>>
>>2209330
>Perform an Experiment with the red caps (reveals information about the red caps)
>>
>>2209330
>Perform an Experiment with the red caps (reveals information about the red caps)
>>
>>2209330
>>Experiment with your [Shield] spell (grants an Insight)

>>2210100
>She owes us two actually.
Nah, she saved our ass from the Hulk.
She owes us one.
But never trust a crazy elf to repay their debts to a goblin.
>>
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You grab a few red caps from the pile. It's going to be a pain to carry them
all the way to Zedspire, better you figure out whether they're worth the
trouble now.

Design an experiment by arranging some or all of the following (you'll unlock more options with tools and better skill):
>Break apart/Cut
>Grind into powder
>Apply heat
>Add solvent
>Shake/Stir
>Collect
>Imbibe/Eat

Examples:
>Cut cap from stem, grind cap into powder, add water, shake, imbibe
>Apply heat directly to cap
>Break cap into pieces, apply heat, collect ash, eat ash
>>
>>2214022
>Peel/cut away outer layer
>Grind into powder
>Eat
First check what their inherent properties are before trying to do anything weird with them.
>>
>>2214022
>Cut the Cap, and apply heat.
This thing is probably fire resistant due to Lucy's fire not harming it. Save the stem for later
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>>2214022
>Cut steam from the cap. Grind the cap and stem and add water to each.
>Appply heat
I figure that the stem and the cap may have different properties. It is an iffy thought.
>>
>>2214056
I'll change to this. I didn't know we could do two at once.
>>
>>2214022
You try and recall the Chief's lessons. Goblin "mixings" is a crude art, one
primarily concerned with fireworks and liquor and sustatined by the unusually
strong stomachs of goblins. But it is also an ancient art and time has tempered
goblin alchemy into something potent.

You start with a simple examination of the caps. They look like ordinary Red Amanita caps, that is, if they grew 10 times their normal size and didn't have any spots. Using your fingernail you peel away a waxy layer covering the top of the cap. It's about as thick as a leaf and feels like moist cheese under your fingertips. You crumple it up and grind it into a transparent power, like shards of glassy sand. Then you give it a slight taste. It's surprisingly sweet but with an intensely bitter aftertaste. It might make good seasoning for certain kinds of soup, but otherwise you don't feel any different, nor recognize any unique property.

You separate the stem from the cap next and work on grinding both in turn. The cap becomes a nice silky powder but the stem turns into a pasty mess. You add some water to both from the river which makes the paste thicker but does nothing to the powder. Then you light some deadwood from the campfire and apply heat.

The effect is immediate in both cases. The cap powder instantly melts into a liquid and then suddenly becomes a hardened, clear solid. When you move the heat away, the solid phases back into liquid and then back into a powder. You play around with this effect, moving the fire back and forth and watching the powder go through its cyclic changes. You try controlling the temperature by putting a barrier between the container and the heat source which proves fruitful. It seems there's some kind of temperature threshold for the transition to occur, The solid itself is quite hard, you are unable to make any dents in it with your knife.

The paste is even more bizarre. No matter how much or how long you heat it up, it never gets hot. On a whim you try covering your finger in the paste (it's sticky like tree sap) and plunging it into the flame. Nothing. Not so much as a slight warmth.

You guess that the two parts of the mushroom work in conjunction. The cap must resist structural damage and the stem somehow absorb the heat. The question is, what are you going to do with it?

>Make the paste and coat your knife with it
>Try to apply the powder to Lucy's shortblade--maybe she can heat it up with her spell and make the blade harder
>Make both and save them for later use
>>
>>2214179
>Make both and save for later use.
>>
>>2214179
>Make both and save them for later use
>>
>>2214179
>>Make both and save them for later use
>>
>>2214179
You grind up the remaining caps and store the paste and powder in some folded up leaves. You can think of no immediate use for them, but they may come in handy later--at the very least you might be able to sell them somewhere.

Lucy wakes up. She washes her face at the river then takes the kneeling posture and offers prayer to her god. You find it a little odd that an Elf is so devoted to MM, especially one so pretty, but you enjoy novelty. "We can follow the river out of the forest. Zedspire is only a short way after that." You nod and gather your things, trying hard to ignore the fact she caught you staring at her.

You move to the border of the river and walk along the glittering manainfused soil. Lucy has another cigarette in her mouth. The tip glows like an amber droplet as the meteor above you sheds its light and the stars begin to appear.

"Where you headed after?" Lucy suddenly asks.
"After Zedspire...I'm not sure. I haven't thought that far ahead. Maybe the Underland. I've always wanted to see Gnominion."
She draws smoke and exhales it through her nose. "Gonna join up with Lord Gob?"
"No." Your answer is firm and hard. It's something you've thought about many times before. Lord Gob the revolutionary. Lord Gob the savior of the goblin race. All you see is another form of servitude, another master. You will not bend your knee again. "I just want to follow my own path. There are things more interesting in the world than petty mortal squabbles. The Mapless is full of secrets and wonders. Take the Fourcore. The bigmen write that it was granted to mortal kind by the Great Duality, AH and MM, yet the spells themselves seem to operate independent of their will. Did you know that the gnomes do not believe in the Duality at all? Yet they can manipulate mana in their gemcraft all the same."
She spits into the river. "Did I mention you're about the strangest goblin I ever met?"
You sigh."Yes."
"Well you are. But that's all right. I like you anyway." She grins. It's the first time you've seen her smile.
You scratch your ears. "Well, what's your purpose then?"
"Purpose?" She blows out some smoke rings, held in thought. She frowns. "I have some people to bring into judgement."
"Bad people?"
"Bad people." She nods.
"Bigmen?"
"...some of them."
"What did they do?"
She stops, and stares out at the river. Prayers come automatically to her lips. She shrugs."What do bad people do?" She says and continues on in silence.

---
>>
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>>2214476
You follow the river out of the forest and into a barren marsh. It too was once a part of the forest but the Lich King tore down the trees and siphoned life from the soil until nothing was left. You can see the faint outline of Zedspire even here, through the stinking mist and fog, throwing a shadow over the whole land. It is a great tree, the only one in a hundred leagues, tall enough for its top to be hidden by cloud and sky, wide enough for it to appear as the base of a small mountain. The earth rots here, the waters are filled with poison and bile, the skies are eternally gray and shaking with unloosed thunder.

You climb atop a small hill and look out. In the distance you can see a camp with white bigmen tents. The points of their campfires come clear through the fog. Behind you, you can hear a sharp intake of breath. Lucy's face is a pale, livid white. She brushes past you squinting her powerful eyes at the tents. "Peacekeepers." She says. She bares her teeth in a furious grimace, grinding the nub of cigarette between her molars, then flies down the hill.

>Chase after her and stop her
>Follow her
>Let her go and head alone to Zedspire
>>
>>2214481
>Chase after her and stop her
>>
>>2214481
>Chase after her and stop her
This is a fight we can't win.
>>
>>2214481
>Chase after her and stop her
>>
>>2214481
>>Chase after her and stop her
"If you are wanting to kill them so bad what until you are better equipped and more experienced so that you can take more of them out easier."
>>
>>2214481
>Chase after her 180 degrees and head to Gnominion
>>
Another fight she can't possibly hope to win. You have a mind to just let her go. She isn't anything to you. What does it matter if she gets herself killed? She's clearly more trouble than shes worth. But you're running down the hill after her all the same. It takes a few minutes to catch up, she's quicker on her feet than you are, being an elf. You manage to stop her only by tackling her to the ground and pinning her with your body.

"Get off." She says. You take a moment to catch your breath. She tries to push you back but you pin her arms.

"You're doing something incredibly stupid again." You say, sitting up on her torso.

"Get. Off."

"No. Not until you agree to stop acting crazy."

She closes her eyes, her words shaking by the barely restrained rage. "Those are Peacekeeper tents, goblin. I know the mark."

"And? You can't take on a Peacekeeper patrol by yourself. Do you want to be collared again?" She's silent.

"I have to bring them into judgement." She finally says, eerily calm. Then she rams her head into your face and throws you back. You clutch your head. Blood flows freely from your nostrils. Your eyes water. She flips backward onto her feet like an acrobat. "I'm doing what my god wants." She sasys and then she turns to leave.

>Let her go.
>Trap her with your [Shield]; she doesn't get to just break your nose and leave
>>
>>2218320
>Trap her with your [Shield]; she doesn't get to just break your nose and leave

We need to get to Zedspire quietly.
>>
>>2218379
>>
>>2218320
>Trap her with your [Shield]; she doesn't get to just break your nose and leave
>>
>>2218320
>>Trap her with your [Shield]; she doesn't get to just break your nose and leave
>>
>>2218320
>Let her go.
Trapping a zealot isn't a good idea.
>>
>>2218320
>Let her go.
>>
>>2218320
>Trap her with your [Shield]; she doesn't get to just break your nose and leave
>>
>>2219051
>Trapping a zealot isn't a good idea.
Letting a zealot be captured and letting these fucks know your in the area with a bounty on your head is a worse idea, we've already almost gotten caught once.

>>2218320
>Trap her with your [Shield]; "There's doing god's work, and then there's suicide. At least make a plan larger than 'Run in and kill as many as possible.'."
>>
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Here's those pastebins I promised:

Ruleset - https://pastebin.com/zgRwiegf
Character Sheet - https://pastebin.com/6JfGP6w3

We're also finally going to have a real session at 3 PM today. Hope everyone is enjoying the quest so far.
>>
>>2218320
>Mana Pool: 4/5

No. She doesn't just get to hurt you and leave. She doesn't get to just let herself get captured and put you at risk. If there's one thing you can't stand, be it in goblins or anyone else, it's stupidity coupled with violence. She doesn't get a pass for that just because she has a pretty face.

You spit out the blood pooled in your mouth and raise your right arm, pointing the palm at her small form. You channel mana outward, projecting it where she stands and enfolding her in a spherical barrier of swirling energy the color of clouds. She presses her hand against the borders and seeing that she has no escape, turns and faces you.

She grinds her teeth and scowls. "Let me go."

"I can't do that. You're going to get us both killed." You wrap the mana into itself, letting the [Shield] propagate without any additional input.

"I'm doing my god's work." She says.

"There's doing god's work and then there's suicide. What exactly is your plan here? Run in, try to kill as many as you can, get taken down, get captured and then get collared? Is that what MM wants? No, wait--is that happened before I found you? That's how you got collared in the first place isn't it? How stupid can you be?"

She throws her poncho behind her in response, revealing the pale flesh of her arms. The first two fingers of her left hand join together as she points them toward you, the fingers of her right, grip the shortblade at her waist. "I won't ask again." She says. She looks entirely serious.

A bead of sweat crawls across your scalp. The [Shield] won't hold up against another spell, her [Fire] will simply cut through it and while you can reform the [Shield], you'll have to channel more mana to do so. And she has a lot more mana to spare than you do.

>Release the [Shield] and part ways, it's not worth it
>Try to parley again
>Draw your knife and prepare for a fight, you'll just have to beat some reason into her
>>
>>2221000
>>Try to parley again
"Don't go charging at their camp either to die or become a slave again because I wont be there to free you. If you want to do this we sneak up and attack when the don't now we are there."

>>Then release shield. If she doesn't listening to us this time their is not much we can do besides either leaving her or rescuing her again later.
>>
>>2221000
>Try to parley again
>>
>>2221000
>Release the [Shield]
>Try to parley again
>>
"On second look, the Peacekeeper camp appears less dangerous than Lucy...."

Let's ambush the camp using yourself as bait!
Rub paste over entire body. Apply powder over fingers.
You go in, let yourself be disarmed. While, they're occupied with the "funny goblin", Elf companion firebombs the distracted camp.

The paste saves you from being burned. The powder drips down into claws harder than steel. The fire-goblin legend is born.
We leave no prisoners. Ok maybe, leave ONE prisoner...
>>
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>>2221000

Well since no one showed up to the 3 PM EST session I had planned, we'll try again at the same time today. In the meantime...

Fighting her attracts attention, wastes mana and most of all sends the wrong message. Just because she's acting stupid doesn't mean you have to. You wave your hand and the [Shield] folds into itself and disappears.

Lucy slowly lowers her arm and relaxes her battle stance. She looks surprised, even confused. Was she really expecting a fight? You begin to wonder exactly what kind of life she's led that she can so easily turn on--if not a friend, at least an ally. You find yourself pitying her; sympathizing. And you catch yourself. Sympathy is a weakness, maybe the greatest weakness and you have no room for weakness. Power does not allow for emotion. .

"You want to kill those people, fine. But when--not if, when--you get captured, I won't be there to free you. So you have two options." You raise a finger. "One, go by yourself into certain failure." You raise another finger. "Or two, come with me to Zedspire and help me find some spellbooks. Get stronger. And fight your enemies without fear."

"I'm not scared." She says. You don't know when she rolled another cigarette but there's a fresh one in her mouth now.

"You should be. Fear is good, it tells us our limits. Keeps us sharp. It's a gift from MM." You hope this will be enough to convince her because you know you cannot stop her if it isn't. She pulls at the cigarette and pulls at the poncho, and covers herself again. She smiles but it is not like before, there is no mirth here, only a pursed thinness--like a scar.

"See you later, goblin." She says and turns slowly. "We'll meet again." And you find your heart sinking. Stupid. How easily you get attached to transient things.

"Why is this so important?" You yell. "That you would risk death and slavery for it?"
>>
>>2222621
She stops but doesn't turn. "They took my babies from me." She says, quietly. "My god wouldn't give me the power to punish them so I turned to another god. A more severe god, praise him. And I learned things. I learned that power has to be used--at every opportunity, absolutely, without exception--or else what good is it?" She kneels to the earth, one leg upon the mud and water, the other flexed solid behind her, her hands grasping the pale shin, her head bowed, her poncho falling about her. Silent prayers pour from her lips, carried away by the winds and answered by thunder from above.

Your sensitive ears pick up the sound of her breath, slow and deep and rapidly gaining speed, her teeth pressing down on the flesh of the cigarette, her muscles tightening to the splitting point. You can actually feel the heat of the mana swirling around her. And you find yourself trembling. She's like a living leyline now, a power so vast it makes her displays against the Remnant hulk seem like parlor tricks. A thought occurs to you: what if you weren't the only one bottomed out before? What if what you saw was her at her weakest?

Then all releases, muscle and magic all at once. You plant your feet and bring your arms up just in time. Chunks of mud and water explode around you and turn into steam. A superheated wave of black fire propels Lucy a hundred meters into the air, creating a neatly semi-spherical crater where she stood only an instant before. You look up. She's gone, only a faint black dot in the distance now, getting fainter, falling in a gentle arc toward the white tents.

You actually feel a little bad for the Peacekeeper patrol--but it doesn't last long--they aren't exactly good people.

>Follow after Lucy, see what you can scavenge from the soon-to-be ruins of the camp
>Head for Zedspire alone, Lucy will catch up to you when she's done
>Wait for Lucy where you are
>>
>>2222621
I'm here. GM likes single moms, I'm out.
>>
>>2222622
>Head for Zedspire alone, Lucy will catch up to you when she's done
Doubt her fight will last too long either way. See if we can't find some high ground along our trek to survey the results of her handiwork.
>>
>>2222621
>>Head for Zedspire alone, Lucy will catch up to you when she's done
>>
OK we'll be starting in 5 minutes if anyone is actually here this time
>>
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>>2222622
You decide to head for Zedspire. You don't think the fight is going to last long and Lucy can just meet you there. You wrap your tunic about you as a frigid swamp wind cuts through to the bone. You're still in a bit of shock over what you just witnessed. You're not even sure if it was real.

As you return to the hill, you peek over at the camp. Night settles and the Wandering Light drifts to the other side of the world. Breaking the black is fire. Black and yellow flames on the tents. You can make out shapes moving at great speed away from the camp in straight lines, a few feet above the ground. [Shield]cycles. To your surprise they move not toward the forest, but deeper into the marshland. Toward the mountainous form of Zedspire where your feet must follow.

---

It takes several more hours of trekking through the mud and water before the vast bulk of Zedspire looms before you. While it appears as a great tree in the fog-obsucred distance, close up its true fleshly form is in clear view. It is like a great strand of pink and red sinew standing straight up, coiled into itself a hundred times and branching like nerve endings at the very top. It's entrance appears like an open wound, an orifice, a gaping vertical slit 20 meters high into the spire flesh. Within you can see a pinkish tunnel, with soft walls and a floor which curves upward.

The entrance is eerily quiet. No sign of life except for the pulsating spire itself, the opening contracting slightly like a mouth taking in breath. Just in front of the slit are two [Shield]cycles gemless of course, as a security measure, but also without passengers.. You guess they've taken refuge inside.

What do you do?

>Check out the [Shield]cycles
>Head inside the opening
>Wait here for whoever went inside to come out
>>
>>2223358
>>Check out the [Shield]cycles
>>
>>2223358
>>Head inside the opening
>>
>>2223358
>>Check out the [Shield]cycles
We need to move slow while gathering as much information as possible.




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