Turn 2 Thread

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Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:02 am

A new sun has risen on the village of Imani. The power of magic and change has transformed a village of sickly slaves to a small society of determined men and women, and no longer does Death or the Makuu of the False Emperor hold dominion over them. Yet the Makuu's military forces march ever closer back to their cathedral, and Laval and Vex must soon move on. There is much work to be done if the Makuu is too fall, a great morale blow to be struck against the Imperial forces, and the war for all of Swaadi to be won.

[Which Secondary Objective is the focus this week?]


Last edited by The GM on Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:51 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:38 pm

[Let's work on number two: Compromise the supply of food to the Makuu]

Laval and Vex sit side by side in the shade, chatting silently. Their minds are open to one another, spilling thoughts and impressions without heed for tact or privacy.

What next? Vex inquires, Can we poison the tithe yet? An undercurrent of concern, unsure if he has correctly understood Laval's plans for this region.

Yes and no. A host of half-formed thoughts are pushed aside in favour of addressing one at a time. We have some loose ends to tie first. You need to make up with Gracious' new friends, for Faruha's sake.

Vex's response is non-verbal, disgust and irritation - but acquiescence. What else?

The tree. A series of implausible plans pass between them. Build a big fence around it, burn it (would it even burn?), bind a demon to guard it, surround it with deadly traps, bury it under a huge pile of earth. They laugh a little, acknowledging the impracticality of the ideas.

I don't know, Vex admits, Can't we just hope that they leave it alone long enough for us to finish our business here?

A mental shrug. Next point then - the murder.

Why do we care? Saved us a job.

I don't like not knowing. They could be an enemy. It could be some deeper plot we don't understand.

Boredom, disapproval. Vex doesn't care about this murder. Laval doesn't care about Vex's opinion.

Next? Vex inquires.

Water. When we start messing with the tithe, the zealots may well withhold it from the villages.

Contempt. Again - why do we care?

You like dying of thirst?

Acknowledgement, irritation. The Warp can provide, surely.

Maybe. But even if it can, it's dangerous every time we do that. Laval shares painful, fearful memories of her flight from the demon, her terror that Vex had died. Vex is irked, a little shamed, but he sees the sense in her caution.

Can we steal water? he wonders, How do they transport it anyway?

They have a well, I think. It's not an answer, but she does not need to state explicitly that she has no answer. Maybe the water extends out beyond the boundaries of the Makuu? Maybe we could dig another well.

They contemplate for a minute, thoughts mingling but making no progress on the issue.

We need an agent on the inside. Vex suggests eventually. Laval agrees wordlessly.

Another day, another impossible problem to solve. She stands up. Vex reads from her projected stream of consciousness that she intends to get to work.

Should I go try to make up with the druggies?

Yes. No. Best wait until I'm free to smooth things over. Go learn about how the tithe works.

They part ways. The mind link hangs open between them, comforting, until Laval needs her concentration for something else and lets it fall away.

She goes to work around the village, checking for any medical concerns, observing the health of people and goats alike. Whilst at work she makes subtle attempts to skim the thoughts of those around, looking for clues on any of her current conundrums. There is a funeral to assist with as well - she must be there to support Faruha.

Vex obediently goes to find out about the details of the tithe. The goat farmers, presumably, will know how this all works.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:21 pm

Laval is pleased to see that there is a genuine medical change in the goats. Their coats are fuller, their colour more healthy, and there is more vigour in their movements where there was once lethargy. Though the landscape around Imani is arid, goats are hardy, and without the curse upon them, they are swiftly recovering from their sufferings. 

The people of Imani do not seem fundamentally different. Their health issues largely stem from dehydration, the drinking of dirty water, and starvation. Though the last of these problems may be alleviated by the plummet in the village's population and the renewed health of the goat herds, it will take time for this to mark a change in the vigour of the average villager. On the other hand, there are no immediate concerns flagged, and, thanks to Laval's care, no one's wounds have become infected in the filth of the last few days.

The funeral is a solemn affair, but, due the necessity of work, relatively short. Most of the village gathers to pay respects to the fallen Mkuu, but Kibwa and the majority of his miscreant friends do not bother to show up. 

Faruha decides to bury her father beneath the baobab tree. It is now a pretty place, with precious shade from the sun, and the golden fruits glow with warm light. There is some awkwardness on what to say: the done thing would be to say some words of the Imperial Creed, but the village has thrown off its chains, and are missing a preacher. Instead, it is modest and personal. A few villagers speak to their personal experiences of Tendaji: of his kindness, his patience, how he saved their children from fever, and the like. If Laval wants to speak, she is given the chance. Faruha, her cheeks streaming with tears, recites a short poem at the close of the ceremony:

"The body perishes, the heart stays young.
The platter wears away with serving food:
No log retains its bark when old.
No lover peaceful while the rival weeps."*

The kindly Mkuu's remains are buried in the shade of the baobab tree. There, he rests, unaware of how dramatically his village changed just days before his death.

The gathering of the villagers gives Laval a good opportunity to subtly skim the thoughts of those present, as they make the slow march down the hill to Imani proper. There is concern about what happens when the Makuu learns of their treason - what happens when the cathedral stops sending water from its wells. There is concern who will be the next Mkuu of Imani - but there is enough support and love for Faruha that Laval is sure she will be right for the task. And there is concern about what will happen about Kibwa and the others with the strange mark on their palms. Though these miscreants keep to themselves, and there is a new spirit of tolerance in the minds of the Imani people, their activities grow ever more extreme: the taking of ever more powerful narcotics, and public displays of fornication.

Faruha places a hand on Laval's shoulder. Her tears have dried, and despite the death of her father, she stands taller than she ever has before.

"The Church will come when they hear what we have done," she notes, "We must be ready for them. I have been thinking of a way to kill two ndege with one stone."

She explains her plan. The people of Imani will not tolerate for long the excesses of Kibwa and his friends if they do not contribute something to the village. As it is, those individuals are some of the few villagers who have guns and the willingness to use them. Faruha intends to suggest that they become protectors of the village - it will prevent Kibwa abusing other villagers, defend Imani from the Church, and allow Kibwa and his friends to receive food for honest labour. Faruha asks what Laval thinks of the plan.

Elsewhere, Vex struggles to make inquiries about the wells. His actions and associations with Laval have made him well-liked about town, and the villagers are willing to help. However, asking appropriate questions and having the patience to tolerate the long-winded answers is not Vex's forte. He learns the basics, but nothing more. In the Makuu is a great well that goes deep into the earth to the water beneath. Its waters are delivered in buckets by appointed villagers who often attend the cathedral services.

The information brings home two important points. Firstly, it is easy enough to access the cathedral, if one is unarmed and poses as a worshipper. Many villagers attend services every day. Secondly, there may be an immediate water crisis facing Imani. It is not unlikely that the appointed villager is dead, and it is certain that if the appointed villager is alive, then they are not currently attending services.

Food finds its way to the Makuu, meanwhile, when soldiers of the cathedral come to collect them. They visited a few weeks before Laval and Vex arrived, so they are due any day now (they typically come every fortnight). Their tardiness might be explained by the fact that their military numbers are currently quite low, and there are few mouths to feed.

[*http://www.africanpoems.net/relationships/song-of-the-aged/]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:16 pm

"It's a good plan," Laval agrees, "I was starting to contemplate something similar myself. But we should try to hide our heresy as long as possible. If people can stomach returning to services, they should do so, and we must try to get water from the Makuu as long as possible.

"When the soldiers come for food, I've a plan to use the tithe to poison or frighten them. It seems like a poetic way to get back at them for stealing from you for so long.

"I will need to leave you soon - my work here isn't done - but I don't plan to leave you in desperate straits. I... haven't got a solution to the water problem yet, but I'm working on it.

"Meanwhile, you're right, we need to talk to Kibwa and his people and make sure they know they have a place as part of this community, not at odds with it. They serve Gracious' god, Slaanesh, and we should not be enemies. Will you come with me and Vex to speak with them?"

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:03 am

Faruha nods. She offers to go to the Makuu herself, noting that she is actually curious to appraise the Ecclesiarchy with open eyes. She will tell the priests there that she is now the Mkuu of Imani. With her assistance, they will appoint villagers to make the long trip to deliver water from the cathedral to the village. That way, the people will have water - even if it is of poor quality, and in too short supply.

"Kibwa and I have not seen eye to eye for many years," she admits. "Perhaps this will not be easy, but what is one more great change to the village of Imani?"

Laval and Vex find Kibwa and his friends loitering on the edge of the main thoroughfare. It is in the middle of the day, but they are clearly stoned and barely clothed. Now given not only permission, but religious obligation, to do whatever they want, they have followed their instincts and gone off the deep end rather quickly. Kibwa, naked as the day he was born, guns in hand, points the firearms at his flaccid penis while leering at Faruha. Disgusted, she moves as if to slap him, but stops, glancing at Laval and remembering that she is here to break bread, not faces - no matter how deserved the face-breaking might be.

"Kibwa," she begins, with some reservation, "Imani is changing, and we must change with it. The rest of the village can herd goats and craft what we need, but we need protection from the Makuu. Protection you and your friends can provide."

She continues in her speech, but Kibwa is clearly high and not particularly inclined to listen to her. She makes some headway, but he is being odious, and Laval can tell that her friend is rapidly losing patience.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:36 am

As Faruha speaks, Laval attempts to subtly skim Kibwa's mind. Only when it becomes clear that Faruha is getting frustrated does she try to assist.

"Let's be friends, Kibwa. You need food, we need your skill with a gun. You are strong, fit young men and women," she lets her eyes wander over the undressed youths, feigning appreciation of their physiques rather than the worry over their malnutrition that she actually feels. "You want the free time to indulge yourselves, Faruha wants your support of her leadership. What do you say? Can we get along?"

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Aug 19, 2016 2:26 pm

Kibwa's mind is clouded and hazy, the fogginess of his intoxication distracting and disorientating. It is not long before Laval loses concentration, and cannot delve deeper. However, she learns some information about the young man. He is in a triumphant, taunting mood, like that of a sulky child suddenly spoilt from up high. His physical health is a mixed picture - though he suffers from malnutrition and dehydration, and does little work by which to build muscle, he is lithe and thin. He is deeply addicted to obscura - a problematic state to be in, should the drug-dealer Gracious leave Imani and thus leave Kibwa unable to get his fix. Though Kibwa may try to fill the whole with other, milder narcotics, an obscura habit is hard to kick, and the resultant picture may be quite messy. As for his mental state, he is mildly psychotic with sociopathic tendencies.

Kibwa's friends laugh appreciatively as they feel Laval's gaze upon their bodies. They are preening, self-obsessed addicts, unscrutinising in the face of praise. Kibwa turns his attention from Faruha, and smiles. He points both of his guns at Laval, licking his lips, and waits to see how Laval responds. Laval sees on his face that it is a test, that she simply needs to keep his cool, and waits out this childish display. Faruha steps forward in alarm, but hesitates when Laval shakes her head.

Laughing, Kibwa lowers his weapons and nods. "Sure, we can be friends. If Faruha wants to give us food and stuff, then we can stay out of her hair and kill anyone trying to fuck up this gig."

There are a few points to talk through, but the main task is done. The Slaaneshi cultists will be left alone and allowed to worship in the spirit of religious tolerance, as long as their 'religious practices' (Faruha barely restrains a sneer) do not harm or aggravate any other Imani citizen. In return for their protection against those that would harm Imani, the cult will be given food, water and herbs by which to pursue their downward spiral into the embrace of narcotics. There may be some bumps in the road - especially when Kibwa starts really feeling the withdrawal from obscura - but they can be handled when they come.

[Laval gains 1 Infamy and 3 Corruption for fostering dark cooperation between heretical cults.]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:03 pm

Laval smiles at Faruha as they move on.

"One more problem solved," she observes cheerfully. "Next, the tithe... how much do you usually have to give, when they come asking?"

Ideally, Laval is trying to come up with a way of subtly corrupting the given food such that it spreads corruption and unhappiness within the cathedral walls. She intends to put her head together with Vex on the matter, and likewise on any divine solutions to the water issue (calling forth an arcane storm to bring rain to the region, perhaps...).

"Has anyone outside the Makuu ever tried digging their own well?" she asks Faruha, though she has little idea how long such an endeavour would take.

When she and Faruha part ways to move on to her next task, she has one more request.

"If you see Gracious about, I'd like to talk to him."

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:25 pm

Faruha explains that the tithe of food is rather hard on the villagers of Imani. Though she gives you the exact amounts of goat meat sent to the Makuu, the sheer proportion of Imani's meat sent to the cathedral is the takeaway message. Now afforded a new perspective on these matters, Faruha becomes angry at how much the Church has taken from their village, and how little it has given back.

"They do not deserve the fruits of our suffering," she declares earnestly. "May Tzeentch turn the wheels of fate upon them."

Discussing the matter with Vex throws up some solutions. One is rather more mundane than the other. There do exist chems and poisons that are sometimes used to shatter the morale of an enemy: poisons that leave people listless, dehydrated and beset by diarrhoea, others that produce demoralising and terrifying hallucinations, others that fray people's nerves and leave them agitated or even violent towards their fellows. Such things could potentially be made out of local ingredients, and though the task might be difficult, Gracious certainly seems to have found what he needs for his narcotics.

The alternative is to appeal once more to the daemonic. Perhaps disappointingly to Laval and Vex, however, the slow breakdown of morale and faith lies primarily in the province of the Lord of Decay. The easiest method - though itself hazardous - might be to corrupt the food with the pus of minor Nurglesque beasts, and watch the resultant sickness and plague of unbelief take root. On the other hand, other gods might well be appealed to. Tzeentch is adept at spells that confound victims and leave them bamboozled and disorientated. The love potions and excruciating poisons sometimes gifted to mortals by Slaaneshi daemons are legendary, whilst the fiery blood of a Flesh Hound used to spice a meat has been said to drive entire mobs into a frenzy. With chaos, almost anything is possible with the requisite lore.

[Given the Forbidden Lore (Daemonology) Test is passed, you can choose a god and the desired effect, and I will create a ritual. Nurglesque rituals may be easier - though given Vex's mark, maybe not.]

Meanwhile, the water shortage also admits of supernatural solutions. Controlling the elements and harnessing the power of the rain and clouds does indeed represent one route, and those gifted with the magic of Tzeentch have been known to subvert the natural order in this way. Alternatively, there are tales of priests endlessly bleeding pure water when sacrificed before Slaanesh, and of villagers loyal to Nurgle living centuries without any kind of sustenance at all.

[Again, the Forbidden Lore (Daemonology) Test is passed and so you can choose a god and a specific goal, and I will make a ritual for you.]

"We have not tried to dig a well," Faruha shakes her head. "I have not even heard of anyone trying such a thing. We have been told that the earth is dry, but only by the Church and its liars."

Faruha has not seen Gracious for a while, but there is a chance he is somewhere about. She notes that she will try to get the message to him.

[I'll ask Wren.]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:00 pm

[Predictably, I am interested in the Tzeentch options for both rituals. No hurry on interacting with Wren, but I would like to consult Gracious on a couple of points.]

Laval suggests to Faruha that, if the villagers ever find themselves in a good enough position that they have labour to spare, that it may be worth digging for water, but she does not press the idea. Faruha will know the equation of risk vs reward better and Laval has no desire to wait around while people dig holes.

Once she has spoken with Vex, she goes out to search for herbs for poisons, particularly seeking those that affect the mind to produce confusion and fear. Such a route is safer than calling on the daemonic, and if they decide to undertake the ritual then a mundane poison seems a good focus for further empowerment with magic.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:02 pm

In response to Laval's suggestion, Faruha has her concerns.

"I worry that the churchmen will come and be angered by our independence," she says. "I worry that when they come, Kibwa and his goons will not be able to stand up to them."

Having gone away to think on matters further, Vex returns to Laval with some notes on what they jointly remember about Tzeentchian rituals. The magisters of their warband have often rambled happily about such things, and, especially in the wilds of Swaadi, knowledge is power.

If they were to take the route of spreading confusion, paranoia and disorientation with a hex, there is one such ritual that may be assistance. It is the Ritual of the Disordered Betrayal, said to be the doom of the Moon Cult of Malfi, and proceeds as follows. First, the occult bounds of the ritual circle are painted in a substance invisible to the naked eye. Due to the nature of the ritual, this circle can be drawn very widely to cover a large space. Second, a member in the circle who is not aware of the ritual must be chosen as sacrifice for the hex, and be marked with the Mark of the Nine Angles. That which is meant to be infused with the Disordered Betrayal must similarly be given this mark. Third, the sacrifice must be bamboozled and misled by the ritualist until they act in a way that leads to their own death. This is often accidental suicide, but can also involve leading the victim to act in ways that will get them killed by others. It is said that when the victim dies, the marked substance will be infused with whatever is going through their mind - so the more confused the sacrifice is, the more effective the ritual will be.

[The Ritual of the Disordered Betrayal requires a Hard (-20) Forbidden Lore (Daemonology) Test to set up, modified as usual by ritual modifiers. The rest of the ritual may well involve Interaction Tests and a scheme to mislead the sacrifice. The cost of failing the ritual is to infuse the madness that the ritualist would summon into the ritualist: instead of Contempt of the Warp, the ritualist must take a Challenging (+0) Willpower Test, with a -10 penalty for every Degree of Failure after the first (at the Forbidden Lore (Daemonology) Test, or suffer a Mental Disorder.]

Alternatively, Laval could search for a more mundane solution... Vex accepts this point. While Laval searches, he begins making notes on a ritual for bringing rain.

Searching in the undergrowth, Laval struggles to find the herbs that she might need. It is a dry season, and though Laval would soon recognise what she needed if she saw it, she does not have the survival-craft skills that would help her find where such things grow. She asks a few local farmers if they would help, but they are very busy now that the goats are recovering and do not want to spend their time looking for flowers. Perhaps she could make a more concerted effort to find a survivalist, or else another approach could be taken to finding what she needs. It occurs to Laval that the old Mkuu's hut has many herbs and ingredients in it, but it may be a little insensitive to go raiding through his things so soon after his death. On the other hand, perhaps the practical people of Imani would understand that nothing can be wasted.

Disappointed, Laval returns to the village, where Vex has prepared notes on the Ritual of the Change. It is said to require great magical energies, but can have miraculous effects. A huge, enchanted bonfire should be put together, and coaxed by certain vegetation or wychcraft to produce vast quantities of smoke into the sky. It should be surrounded by nine braziers of similarly enchanted flames, planted at random points around the bonfire. As the ritual begins, cultists must begin chanting in daemontongue to coax the spirits of nature. They must be clothed such that no skin shows, in fabrics that are unblended and entirely natural. This will direct the magical power of the ritualist, who must themselves be a wych and harness their own magical energies with that of the ritual's to produce magical change that can shift even the seasons themselves. 

[Only a psyker can perform the Ritual of the Change. It requires a Very Hard (-30) Forbidden Lore (Psykers) Test, but all modifiers for having wyches present are doubled (Psykers with an effective (they can push) psy rating of 4-6 give +20, whilst those with an effective psy rating of 7+ give +40). The cost of the ritual is two rolls on the Psychic Phenomena Table at +20, and if failed, the Contempt of the Warp.]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:25 pm

"I have some ideas," Laval announces. "Vex, be so kind as to go through the dead preacher's things for me? I need some censers - you know - for incense and smoke and such. Obviously check that anything you find isn't tainted with the Plaguelord's influence. And I guess take anything else of hers that's left and looks useful. Robes. Paraphernalia of the Imperial Cult."

Meanwhile, Laval seeks out Faruha again. She explains the basic principles of the Ritual of the Change, recalling Faruha's interest in learning magic, and charges the young cultist with finding the mundane materials required: things that will burn with a lot of smoke, and cloths and clothing of the requisite specifications.

"I don't intend to do it immediately - it will involve a dangerous amount of energy. But we may need it when the Makuu cuts us off, and I want to be ready to perform the ritual at short notice."

"Secondly, I wish to create a poison for the tithe, with which to strike back against the church when the time is right. I don't know where to find the right herbs... would you permit me to look through your fathers' supplies? And do you know anyone who could help me search the wilds for more?"

Whether Faruha suggests a survivalist or not, Laval does indeed put more effort into seeking one out. She does not raid the Mkuu's herbs openly without permission, but if denied she will start keeping an eye out for opportunities to look over the herbs covertly.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:17 pm

Vex makes his way to the hut that Preacher Miriam called home. It has become a shunned place in Imani, but Kibwa and his friends seem to have sprawled graffiti across its external walls. Vex makes a mental note to recommend having it cleaned up: the graffiti is pretty heretical, and Laval had said something about Makuu soldiers often coming by to collect the tithe. 

An aquila constructed from braided grass marks the entrance to the hut, and Vex pushes it aside as he makes his way in. The internal of the hut seems to be a typical pilgrim's abode: there are books on the Imperial Creed piled on a makeshift desk, whilst there are a couple of sets of Imperial robes made from pure cotton on a rusting hook. Much of the room has already been disturbed, back when the village were looking for the three-ring marks. He comes across some candles, and an incense burner with enough incense to be feasibly separated across a few braziers. Vex rounds up all the obvious items that seem useful, and then goes searching for more. However, if there is anything hidden, he does not find it. 

Faruha notes to Laval that she is very familiar with the surrounding wilds of Imani, and suggests that she might find herbs and flowers for what the heretic needs. She had been trained by her father to find such things, and easily directs Laval to the kind of flora that is required. When she is asked about her father's possessions, Laval is surprised by a slight laugh.

"Of course," she responds, as if it is the most trivial request in the world. "My father gathered these herbs to help the sick and the suffering, to help his village. The Makuu is our enemy, and though those herbs may be put to a use that he would find strange, I am the Mkuu now. It would insult his spirit to hoard such things."

With Faruha's help in finding the flowers in the wild, and with access to Tendaji's supplies, Laval quickly finds what she needs. Finding no reason to tarry, she copies out a recipe from memory and then begins following the steps. However, there is something wrong with the recipe, and the creation of the toxin is rapidly going awry. With a spark of imagination, Laval may be able to improvise, but with the recipe only half-remembered, there is no reason to think that following it will work again.

[Laval has failed her Trade (Chymist) Test at 76. Do you want to re-roll?]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:39 pm

[Yes please.]

When he brings her the items, Vex will mention the graffiti to Laval and she will mention it to Faruha, and trust that it is in good hands.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:54 pm

Improvising swiftly, Laval works to fill out the recipe as she goes along. Finding inspiration in the glory of Tzeentch and the necessity of the task, she works well and ends up with a compound that is more effective than she ever expected.

[An individual imbibing the toxin must take a Challenging (+0) Toughness Test or lose 1d10 Willpower per Degree of Failure, becoming fearful and suggestible. Laval has done well and so can improve the toxin four times. An improvement can either make upgrade the Difficulty of the Toughness Test (i.e. impose a -10 modifier) by one, allow the toxin to be administered in another way than food, or upgrade the Difficulty of any Awareness or Medicae Tests to notice or diagnose the toxin (both currently Challenging (+0)).]

Faruha thanks Laval for the insight, and goes to deal with Kibwa to make sure that he will not kick up a fuss if the graffiti is removed. It is the first test (if a minor one) of the partnership between the two cults, and Faruha is happy to report that Kibwa doesn't care less about the graffiti. A couple of villagers remove it safely ahead of time.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:27 pm

[One on the Awareness test and the other three on the Toughness test, please. I'm also buying Psy Rating 4 for Laval, and Bolt of Change and Daemonology +10 for Vex.]

Laval's main objective is to produce the toxin in quantity. She does not hugely care if the toxin is noticeable - whilst being noticed early on could introduce difficulties, in the long run she imagines that the choice between poisoning and going hungry will itself not be good for morale.

With that done, the next thing to be done is to pack up to move on.

"I'm going to Kidofini for a few days," Laval tells Faruha, "Stay safe for me, Faruha. I'll return to you soon, but Vex and I have work to do. Make ready so that we can call the storm as soon as we get back, if we must. Dig only if you think you can get away with it. Be careful. We need to keep our freedom secret as long as possible."

Laval hopes to have enough poison that she can leave some with Faruha and still have enough to take with her to Kidofini, but if she must choose then she takes it with her. She also takes food for herself and Vex for the road, and herbs to supplement her medi-kit.

The pair leave the cotton robes with Faruha to be kept with the other ritual supplies, but takes the candles and the incense burner (with some but not all of the incense), hoping that she can use the smoke to conceal, at least partially, the Warp-stuff that seeps from her soul. Vex's hand is perhaps more readily concealed under a flak-cloak or with bandages - if he remembers to keep it out of view.

The only thing left to do before leaving for Kidofini is to speak to Gracious, if he can be found.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:39 pm

The poison is made. Armed with the new recipe and the on something of a roll, Laval spends a few hours making enough toxin to cover the entirety of the fortnightly batch of meat, with more besides for the people of Kifodini. If she wishes, she can teach some villagers how to inject the poison into goat meat, and instruct them to prepare the batch accordingly when the soldiers come. 

"I will, my friend Laval," Faruha responds. She puts on a brave face, but Laval knows that her friend is worried about her going to Kifodini. The stories of refugees and travellers being lynched grow by the day, and the coils of magic about Laval's pores mark her for doom by the mob. "You must keep safe too. We will see each other again soon."

Trying out the incense burner, it does the job well. Filling it with leaves that burn with a lot of smoke, while worsening the smell, helps conceal Laval's mutation, and the pair are all but ready to travel to Kifodini. There is no word yet from Gracious, but perhaps he can be found on the outskirts of Imani.

[The incense burner makes a Disguise Test possible against the Scrutiny of the Kifodini people. However, Laval can use Trade (Chymist) instead of Deceive for such Tests.

Wren has not yet responded. I'm fine with it being a retroactive thing, if you want to proceed and we can do it another time?]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:43 pm

[I'm going to bed now anyway, so I thought I'd see if Wren's available tomorrow then decide.]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:31 am

A member of the village approaches Gracious and tells him that Laval wants to see him. Ever happy to oblige, the smiling heretic makes his way over to the main thoroughfare where Laval and Vex are standing with Faruha. Faruha says hello to Gracious with a warm smile, before leaving to attend to her daily tasks.
 
"Laval!” Gracious exclaims. “Hey, wow, we, we did it, you know!" He opens his arms in a manner offering a hug.
 
"Yes!" Laval grins and moves forwards to accept. "We did."
 
"So, uh, what's next for you?" Gracious queries. "... if I might ask?"
 
"I was going to ask you much the same." She shrugs. "I've some errands to run in the other villages, I suspect."
 
"Have you seen my new Mark?" Vex presses. He looks to be half-ready to start taking his armour off. Laval rolls her eyes, but with humour.
 
"Oh, go on, show me your flesh!" Gracious smiles good naturedly. He turns his head back to Laval. "Perhaps we could try to coordinate, or not... so that we don't step on each other's toes for now, I mean?"
 
Laval stifles a snort, but Vex is keen to show off, unbuckling his breastplate and struggling out of a shirt to show the Mark of Tzeentch underneath proudly. It makes Gracious a little dizzy to look upon, a little like the fumes off a good cook, but with more of a sense of vertigo. Meanwhile, Laval is thinking carefully.
 
"Mm, well, that's one reason for asking each other's business, I suppose..."
 
"Cards on the table,” Gracious tries, “I'm going to be talking to my little gaggle, seeing if any of them are any good at sneaky violence. Corruption with the silver tongue is all very well, but the Makuu... it's very well defended."
 
"Are you planning to stick around?” Laval asks, “They're not going to do very well without you..."
 
"Oh, I'm going to stick around here for now - the Mkuu should be back at some point, that'll require some quick talking."
 
Laval raises an eyebrow.
 
"But I'm going to try and send someone out to investigate those gun emplacements..." Gracious continues.
 
"You haven't heard, then?" Laval finally responds.
 
"Heard what?"
 
"Tendaji is dead. I assumed..." She glances around. "Well, that it was one of yours."
 
Gracious looks surprised. "Not that any of them have told me. … How did he die?"
 
"Las round,” Laval returns.
 
Gracious thinks. "... well, if I find out anyone in the village can handle a las... Guess it could be someone from another village. Vaguely, uh, worrisome. Least it's probably not fucking cultist of the Bloodied One. … In my experience they tend to be rather more up close and personal."
 
Laval nods. "I'd expect them to make more noise about it, yes."
 
"Alright,” Gracious remarks, “Well, all the more reason for me to stay. Does the village know?"
 
"Yes, or at least, word must have reached most people by now. At least... those sober enough to hold a conversation."
 
"How are they taking it?"
 
Laval looks sad at the question. "Well, considering."
 
"Mmm." Gracious looks only momentarily sad, then smiles. "Ah well! Onwards and upwards, I always say!"
 
"I don't suppose you have a magical ewer of eternal water about your person?" Laval tries hopefully.
 
"Nah, customs confisicated it when I got here. Why?"
 
Laval giggles, caught slightly off guard by the joke. “Well, if the church catches on to what we're doing here, we're likely to be cut off. Assuming that you still need water to live... that should be something we can cooperate on without fear."
 
"Of course, yeah, yeah, they provide the people with water," Gracious muses. "I had planned to get into the Makku at some point, see what I could do to turn some minds on the inside. That what you're thinking?"
 
"The pair of us are going to have some trouble with that."
 
"Why in particular?"
 
Laval looks pointedly at Vex, who is fiddling with his tentacle hand and looking bored, then sweeps a hand past her own face to leave trails in the Warp-smoke that seeps from her eyes.
 
"Ha!” Gracious laughs. “Luckily for me... Well, have you noticed? I saw it in the mirror a few days ago... I suppose you might not."
 
“Hm?"
 
Laval doesn't see it, but Vex does. Looking upon Gracious with his third eye, he sees the darkness that stains the heretic's soul. In time, that darkness may creep out, may change Gracious into a roiling mass of tentacles and horror, but no one will ever see with their natural eyes. He presents himself as he was, but the gods know what he has and will become.
 
Vex grins. "Hey, congratulations." Laval frowns.
 
"Yeah, like, I couldn't wish for something better. It's a blessing."
 
"Now you can help us out with all the rituals," Vex decides.
 
"Hah!” Gracious returns. “Still don't know anymore, you know."
 
Laval looks mildly irritated, but brushes it aside. Vex, meanwhile, presses on. "Well, we always need.... volunteers." He grins.
 
Gracious smiles back, returning to the matter at hand. "So, uh... as I say, I've got various things I can do. I think these'll be fine here for now - we should encourage them to stockpile a bit of water, just in case, though. Not that there's loads spare. But still."
 
"I'm planning to visit the other villages,” Laval tells him, “Sow a bit of mischief, but we should be back here frequently.”
 
"Alright. Makes sense - I imagine I'll be here too... Which village first?"
 
“Kifodini. Oh, and I almost forgot. A couple more minor chym things I wanted to consult you about..."
 
"Oh?"
 
"More combustibles - I need lots of smoke. And something invisible to draw with."
 
"Wait, what do you mean by the latter?"
 
The pair share a look. Vex shrugs. Laval shrugs. "Something invisible that we can use to paint on things with."
 
"So you want the paint to be visible... but invisible while they paint?"
 
"No. Always invisible."
 
"Ah, but you want to be able to see it?"
 
"No. Well, with the mind maybe, but that's not really your domain..."
 
"Alright... do you... do you want it to feel a certain way? I've got to be honest, I'm struggling to see the point, ha ha!"
 
"It needs to stay in place, mostly. I've got clear colourless solvents in the medi-kit, but they evaporate."
 
"Ah, like, uh, like a varnish?"
 
"But the less noticeable the better,” Vex chips in. “I mean, ideally you'd use some warp-stuff that was properly invisible but... where do you even get that?"
 
"What sort of surface is this going on?"
 
"All kinds of things," Laval responds.
 
"Skin," Vex suggests. But Laval shakes her head.
 
"I think the skin one can be visible? Wait, did you take notes?"
 
Gracious looks deeply confused.
 
Laval sighs. "I need an invisible ritual circle. This is... not trivial."
 
"Ah! Right, right, OK, so it needs to be there, but, uh, also not."
 
The two wyches nod in agreement.
 
"OK, I think some invisible paint should, uh, suffice. It's more of a laquer, right, and with the right chyms - or weirdness!  - you could show it - but it's the best I can do. This for Kifodini?"
 
"Yeah,” Vex confirms. “I don't think it needs to be proof against chyms or tech-priests or magic. Just not to look at."
 
"Alright, I'll do this for you... if you tell me what you're going to do with it."
 
Vex opens his mouth as if to answer, then looks at Laval, who answers for him. "I want to... magically poison the tithe flowing into the Makuu."
 
"Alright, uh, so, the paint goes round something?"
 
"I will use it to mark out a ritual circle, yes." She frowns. "Why?"
 
"No, I'm just trying to work out your plan, yeah? You going to paint it round somewhere where people would otherwise see it?"
 
"...." Laval looks suspicious. "Yes, but that isn't the problem. It just needs to be invisible."
 
"Hey, no need to look suspicious, what am I going to do?"
 
"I don't know, alter the chem so that it fails in some crucial way..."
 
"Oh that would be trivial if I only knew exactly what it is that you want,” Gracious continues, ignoring the last remark. “But, I don't! So I'm going to make the best guess and it might still be wrong."
 
"A substance invisible to the naked eye,” Vex intervenes. “To paint a ritual circle. Is it really that complicated?"
 
Laval sighs. "I'm sorry."
 
"You can't make substances which are invisible out of chyms,” Gracious notes. “Do you mean a colourless liquid, that'll harden into a present but transparent lacquer? I can't literally make a paint which makes stuff disappear."
 
"No, no, the thing that's being painted on doesn't need to disappear. It's just the paint itself."
 
"Right - yeah, it's totally doable. Make a very thin paint that dries hard but thin, and colourless. So you've got a proper layer - it's not evaporated - but no-one can see it."
 
Laval nods, looking relieved. Vex just looks vaguely irritated. "Yes, exactly that," Laval confirms.
 
"Basically, I was wondering who you don't want to see it,” Gracious explains. “There's a difference between something that's not visible until you get up close, and something which you'd need proper tools to see. If you were, like, painting a circle around the whole village or something, I'd recommend the former. If there's some deeper arcanity or summat, well."
 
"You shouldn't be able to see it with your eyes," Vex notes.
 
"It's not about whether anyone sees it,” Laval continues, “It's just what's specified in the ritual."
 
Gracious smiles broardly, and snaps his fingers at Laval. "And there it is! OK, right, you need it to be invisible for wibbly purposes."
 
"Oh good grief, that was the piece we were missing?” Laval asks. “Yes. Sorry."
 
Gracious laughs. "It's, uh it's been a long week."
 
"Yes. Did you see me bind the daemon?" Laval grins. "Of course you did, sorry…"
 
"I did... Anyway, I see what you're asking now. Alright... but actually, could I ask another favour?"
 
"Yes?"
 
"I want to deal with the guns on the Makuu. Might need someone who can take a bit of gunfire...” Gracious gestures to Vex.
 
Laval looks at Vex. Vex looks unimpressed. "Not from one of those I can't," he complains.
 
"Hey, you're a durable guy. Weren't you covered in daemonfire a few days ago? Anyway, obviously the plan is not to get shot at."
 
Vex grins. "Yeah, well."
 
"But, uh, in the process of disabling those guns, there might be some shooting."
 
Vex frons. "I'm not walking in there without my armour on, and I don't think they're going to let me in with it on."
 
Gracious grins. "... So I was wondering about climbing the walls... I mean, surely tentacles have excellent grip?"
 
Vex also has other concerns. "Also you're probably taking Kibwa and I don't trust him." He frowns. "He already shot me once."
 
"I'm not sending Kibwa. Bless him, but he doesn't have the brains."
 
"If he ever did, he certainly won't when you're done with him..." Laval remarks.
 
"Hey,” Gracious protests, “As you well know, chyms can have a positive effect on the intellect. … Though I fear Kibwa's poison won't do that."
 
“Obscura ruins people." Laval smiles at Gracious. "Not that I care, I suppose."
 
"Oh, it's an awful, awful drug. I'm going to find one of them who's not interested, and take them."
 
"Charming though, or so I'm told," Laval responds lightly.
 
"The first step on the true path of the Dark Prince is realising that it's about the pleasure of control, right?" Gracious leans forward. "Too many get stuck on the lesser levels... but in their beauty and sin we gather strength!"
 
"Well I shall try not to get too hopelessly addicted." Laval laughs. Vex frowns.
 
"Oh, we're all addicts in the end,” Gracious responds conversationally. “Just choose your poison wisely." There is a pause. "So how about it? If Vex helps one of my lot with a bit of gun-based violence, I'll come to Kifodini with you and make your stuff. Not sure the paint'll last that long, so I'd best make it in situ."
 
The wyches speak simultaneously. From Vex: "I'll do it." From Laval: "Vex, I need you..."
 
"Sounds like we have a deal!" Gracious suggests.
 
Laval sighs. "Yes, one after the other then."
 
"Look, we can stay here, make some plans, keep things steady. It's no bad thing, eh?"
 
"May I?" Laval smiles, gesturing briefly from her temple towards Gracious.
 
"Ha! Sure."
 
"What can I say? I like the inside of your head..." She looks almost embarrassed. Vex frowns again. Gracious sticks out his tongue, and then sits back and relaxes.
 
Well practised in the scaffolds of the chem-dealer's mind, Laval reaches out and familiarises herself with the outer reaches of Gracious' psyche. His name is Gracious Obscura, and he is in good (if perhaps a little thin) physical health. His mind is unfettered by the lies of the Imperial Creed. Concentrating further, Laval feels fading frustration, an undercurrent of flirtation, and a mind scheming and racing.
 
Laval delves deeper into Gracious' mind, uncovering his fears and concerns. There is sadness at the prospect of possible confrontation between him and Laval, and there is no obvious deceit at the forefront of his mind.
 
Delving deeper still, there is something of a drug-fuelled haze for the last twelve hours of memory. Laval feels the contentment, the relaxation, and the constant, ticking mind. Beneath the haze, there is a dim desire to travel to Kifodini, that it would serve Gracious well to go there.
 
And then, Laval feels resistance, and the power ends. She drops back into her own thoughts with a short intake of breath, smiles widely and openly. "Thank you."
 
Gracious smiles broadly. "Always a pleasure! Are we good?"
 
"I should have asked earlier, I'd quite like to have seen my ritual reflected through your eyes..." Laval nods. "More than good. It's... nice to have friends."
 
Gracious continues smiling. "Yeah? Yeah."
 
Vex glares at him, openly sulking, but says nothing.
 
"How are things going with Faruha?" Gracious queries.
 
"She's grieving for her father, of course, but she's doing very well. Faith works wonders..."
 
"It does, rather. So, we're agreed: Vex and one of mine'll tackle the guns in some manner, then once that's done - or it just looks like a bad job - off to Kifodini?"
 
"Agreed,” the two wyches respond.
 
"Meanwhile,” Gracious continues, “We'll stay here, you can do any prep you need to do, so will I? I can definitely be making some more chyms - you need any more of the smart drug? You didn't say if it helped before."
 
"It did help,” Laval confirms. “Thank you. Without it... well. Things could have gone poorly. I suppose it can't hurt to have more..."
 
"Great. Well, it's not easy to make, so that gives me and Sten something to be busy with. I'd best go and ask around, see who I'm sending with Vex..."
 
Laval smiles again. "The future is bright! Stop by when the plan's finalised."
 

"Shall do!"

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:34 pm

[Buying Favoured by the Warp for Vex and Unnatural Healing (the Biomancy power) for Laval.]

Laval is not best pleased to be forced to wait for the trip to Kidofini, but she sees the sense in waiting for Gracious' assistance with the invisible paint. Maybe she could create such a thing herself, but she's never ventured beyond the bounds of medicines and poisons, and is not confident.

The notion of sending Vex off into danger scares her. She frets constantly over him, irritating him with her cautions and misgivings. He is reckless, overconfident, eager to turn his substantial powers to killing and sabotage. She fears that he will be spotted and killed on the approach, or will fall from the walls, or any number of other unfortunate fates.

"Oh for the gods' sakes, leave off!" he snaps eventually, and she sulks out into the village.

Unable to put it from her mind, she asks around the people of the town for anything that might be of help - any climbing gear, makeshift or otherwise, anyone with the bushcraft to create simple camouflage for the heretics.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:32 pm

The lands around Imani are sparse, lifeless arid, and there is little need for camouflage to hunt non-existent beasts, or climbing gear to climb non-existent obstacles. However, Laval is beloved about the village and soon finds individuals who can put something together to help her and her friends. Implicitly leveraging her fame about Imani to get what she needs, she is soon pleased by the results. Climbing ropes of thick twine and metal hooks, along with simple camouflage for those traversing the Swaadi wilds, are presented to her.

[Laval has 4 sets of primitive climbing gear, and 4 sets of primitive camouflage. The primitive climbing gear counts as a Climbing Kit, conferring a +30 bonus to climbing Tests to descend, and preventing failure being fatal. However, because it is primitive, there is a 10% chance that whenever someone falls, it fails to catch them. The primitive camouflage gives +10 to Stealth Tests, and when the wearer is standing still, all Ballistic Skill Tests to hit them are at -15. However, it only has any effect in the wilds of Swaadi (for example, it will be no help on the walls of the Makuu, but it will help in the surroundings around the Makuu).]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:27 pm

Meanwhile, Vex is gazing upon the cathedral up on the hill...

The walls of the Makuu are visible even from this distance, looming tall and menacingly in the evening light. The great autocannons, protruding outwards like barbed tongues in the mouths of monstrous gargoyles, are situated just below the main parapets. Hazy figures that are probably soldiers patrol those battlements. The walls themselves are fashioned of local sandstone, the surfaces rough and weathered by the elements over hundreds of years. It is a perilous climb, and a climber would do well to evade the attention of sentries, but it is certainly achievable.

Vex is shaken from his reverie by the approach of a young woman, just a teenager, but with a determined expression on her face and armed to the teeth with weaponry. She has the look of one of Kibwa's people, and Vex narrows his eyes at the long-las she carries, reminded of the Mkuu's painful end. However, perhaps he should keep an open mind: she seems to want to talk.

[Are you available for an interaction?]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:10 am

The young woman makes her way up the shallow hill to where Vex stands, staring at the Grand Makuu. He turns as she approaches, expectantly raising an eyebrow.
 
"What do you want?" he demands.
 
"...it's Vex?"
 
"Yeah, that's me."
 
"I'm Ari."
 
Ari is a short young woman, young, perhaps no more than 17? She is one of those who Vex has seen with Kibwe and of late, Gracious. She wears a sullen expression, and behind her eyes is the cold expression of someone for whom violence is as easy as breathing. She is quick-moving - skinny, yes, but also possessing of a grace that means she hops from step to step almost, it seems, without appreciably moving. She is armed with a Long-Las and Carapace armour - they bear the insignia of the local Imperial Guard regiment.
 
"What do you want, Ari?" Vex frowns at her. "If it's help with your louse-ridden goats, go ask Laval."
 
"Heh. No. I'm to help you. With that." She points towards the Makuu.
 
"Oh? You immune to bullets?"
 
"Oh, I tend to not let them hit me."
 
"That works. Any good at climbing?"
 
"Am I?" She laughs - it is not the rich laugh that Gracious favours - it is short and harsh.
 
"Well I don't bloody know, do I?" Vex complains.
 
Ari jumps up to a nearby tree. With a single movement, she clambers up it. In no time, she has reached the top. She falls as she reaches the top... and then, just as it seems she'll hit the ground, she touches off the tree and seems to land as if a cat, spinning in mid air.
 
"Great." Vex sounds unimpressed, but his expression belies a certain admiration. "Gonna distract them with your stunt flips?"
 
"No. Let's go up at night, so they won't see. Gracious said you can pack a punch. He didn't say with what."
 
"Yeah, no shit. What is the plan?"
 
"We get up, do a scout around, get an idea of the layout, get out then, probably. The next night, same again, but we go for one of the guns, maybe two. Keep doing as much as we can. No killing unless we need to. But if we fuck the guns up, they won't have the parts."
 
"I reckon they're gonna catch on pretty quick, fill us with bullets."
 
"Ha. Maybe. We could always hide out, sabotage them slowly, I don't know. But I'm not scared."
 
"There's a lot of ground between scared and stupid," Vex observes.
 
"You got a better approach?" Ari returns.
 
"This is Gracious' idea,” Vex complains, “He's meant to come up with the damn plan."
 
"That's his plan. The first part's to get up there and see what's what. I can do that without being seen. Can you?"
 
". . ."
 
"Look: if it looks impossible, we won't go any further, you can be happy."
 
"I don't want to not do it, I want a decent chance of shredding the bastards." He stares out at the distant cathedral. "Say... how high do you think those guns are?"
 
They both do the mental maths, and arrive at about fifty metres.
 
"I can totally hit that from the ground," Vex remarks.
 
"What'ya got?" Ari asks, interested.
 
Vex glances around, looking for a suitable target, and settles on a nearby stump. He looks like he is intense focus, and a searing bolt of red warp-flame appears from his hands and towards the stump. It blasts it into ash, and strange, tendril things begin recoiling from the remains, suckers gasping at the air.
 
Ari gasps with delight, in spite of herself. "Ha!"
 
Vex turns back to Ari with a huge grin.
 
"Oh, clever, clever," Ari continues. She smiles a little wider. "Alright, looks like we might be able to get somewhere. There's eight guns though. I see what you mean about it being hard to do lots..."
 
"Pfeh, eight's a terrible number."
 
"It is?"
 
Vex nods, attempting to appear sage, but possibly just looking a bit full of himself.
 
Ari pauses. "Right. Well. Hmm. Gracious is busy cooking right now - but I bet I could get him to make us something if we needed it, maybe a little."
 
"What kind of something?"
 
"Not sure. Something to help with stamina over the climb? And I wonder if we could jury rig together something that'd go bang."
 
Vex frowns, thinking. "Laval thinks this would go way easier if we poisoned all the gunners first."
 
Ari looks at him funnily. "...how does she..."
 
"... what?"
 
"That's a clever idea,” Ari presses on. "Gracious could definitely do that..."
 
"I mean, that was going to be our next move before Gracious came up with this guns thing,” Vex notes, “Get it into all the tithes, start them going crazy in there."
 
"Hey, Gracious just told me to go do this. I wasn't... listen. Why don't we go up, do some recon?"
 
"He's holding out on us for invisible paint." Vex sighs, nods. "Yeah, makes sense."
 
"No engagement. Then we know, we can plan, and your boss and mine can sort things. ...what colour is invisible paint?"
 
"She's not my- ..." Vex sighs. "It's invisible-coloured, obviously."
 
"Oh, right, yeah, sorry." Ari nods, comprehendingly.
 
"She says she's sorted some rough camo for us. And ropes and stuff if you feel like climbing."
 
"Alright. You reckon we need to bother Gracious for anything?" She pauses. “… him and Sten seemed really happy when I left, I don't want to bother him..."
 
"Unless he has magic stealth drugs? Probably not. I can ask if he's got anything to say?"
 
Ari thinks on it. "Sure?"
 
Vex concentrates, frowning.
 
*****

Elsewhere, Gracious goes to find Laval. She is sitting against the side of a building, looking through a dataslate. She's not hard to find, since everyone knows who she is.
 
"Hey, uh, Laval, I, uh..."
 
"Hm?"
 
"I got a message from Vex?"
 
"Oh?"
 
"He, uh, seemed to be expecting a reply... He asked me if I needed anything before they left?"
 
Laval chuckles, shakes her head. "Oh, sorry. He only ever usually speaks to me...." She shrugs. "I think he and some girl are planning to carry out your crazy idea."
 
"Ha! It is pretty crazy. We'll see if it works.”
 
Laval sighs. "I don't think this is the right time. They're going to get themselves killed. Well, no stopping them..."
 
“As it happens I have a spare hour on the chymset..." Gracious begins, "Does he need anything to make him a little more agile?"
 
"Probably. But honestly, which is more dangerous? Anti-vehicle guns, or accepting drugs from you?" She smiles.
 
"Hey, my drugs are of the highest quality. You don't even - we've achieved things today." He looks visibly proud.
 
"It's not the quality I'm worried about. I trust your skills."
 
"...it is true that the only drug I know that boosts your agility has a HECK of a withdrawl...” Gracious admits, “...but I was sort of assuming you psykers had the will to resist any addiction."
 
Laval sighs. "If it will keep him from getting killed out there... it's probably worth it."
 
"Sure?"
 
Laval hesitates, then nods.
 
"Alright. Made the smart drug, by the way. Looks like we're going to get a bunch of doses out... and the paint's coming along nicely. Well, I assume it is. I keep mistaking the glass it's in for an empty one."
 
Laval giggles. "Glad to hear it."
 
"See ya!" He wanders off.

*****
 
Back on the hill, Vex mutters irritably about stupid non-wyches for a moment, then goes silent as the response finally reaches him via Laval. "Oh, if we wait around an hour apparently we get drugs. .... and we do need to wait for it to get dark, I guess."
 
Ari gets out a cooking kit and begins preparing food. Staring daggers at the distant Makuu, Vex sits beside her. Ari eats quietly, occasionally staring at Vex and at the blackened stump. She is clearly thinking to herself. Later -perhaps around eleven, maybe later? - Gracious appears. He is carrying two twists of brown paper, each no longer than a little finger and about as wide as a thin cigarette.
 
"You really ought to learn telepathy," Vex advises.
 
"Hey, uh... here you go,” Gracious says, not really hearing Vex. “It... look, I'm not sure what I'm on right now, but this stuff is really, really... like, you don't even know. Fucking PRAISE Slaanesh."
 
He tosses the twists to each of them and heads down the hill. He is - uncharacteristically for Gracious - not that sober, and stumbles more than a little. He looks pretty exhausted, sweat - and other residue - covering his body. He turns. "It's really good is what I'm saying! Just... you've got about 90 minutes, I reckon."
 
Vex picks his up and looks at it suspiciously. "Right. Well. Thanks!"
 
Ari looks amused. "He's funny, isn't he? I like him. God, those other idiots are so dependent... ha! It's funny."
 
Darkness is falling over the Swaadi wilds. If the pair made their way to the Makuu now, it would be night by the time they were to arrive.
 
"Well, Ari remarks, “Let's go."
 
Vex tilts his head, frowns, shrugs, looks mollified. His gaze lingers in the middle distance, but his expressions suggest an unheard conversation. "Sure," he says eventually. "Let's swing by Faruha's and get the kit, then get moving."
 
Ari scowls at Faruha's name. "Ugh. Must we? Stuck-up little one."
 
"Hey, no smack-talk, she's ours."
 
“Fine." She continues to look disgruntled, but follows Vex.
 
The pair quickly acquire their kit – primitive camouflage and hooked, twine ropes – from Faruha. Faruha smiles at Vex, but she doesn’t know him as well as Laval, and she is a little cold towards Ari. In any case, it is a quick affair, and soon Ari and Vex are trekking their way in the evening light towards the Grand Makuu, joined for much of the distance by Laval. The air is cool and pleasant, and between Imani and the cathedral, there is a calm silence interrupted only by the slight sound of crickets. The Grand Makuu, the eyes of its gargoyles illuminated by powerful glow-globes, stands triumphant over the wilds of Swaadi. Though it is comparatively ablaze with light, there is still plenty of darkness available over the walls and surrounding grounds, and Ari and Vex do not struggle to reach the base of its tall walls, leaving Laval a couple of kilometres behind. This close, the cathedral is a mighty beast, its bulk massive, its skin impervious, its power absolute.
 
Through Laval, Ari and Vex can communicate through thought, silent and swiftly. For Vex, it is as natural as breathing. For Ari, it is a deeply disturbing experience. The conversation flows and overlaps in a way that would simply lead to confusion with spoken words, and there is the strangest feeling of itching in the middle of her head. Nonetheless, it seems efficient, and the two communicate that it is now time to take the drug Gracious provided. They empty the powders onto their outstretched tongues and swallow.
 
The effects are near instantaneous and brutal in its kick. The first sensation feels like a mule kicked them to the brain and sent it flying from their skulls, leaving the body behind. But then, the brain springs back, like attached to a bungee cord, and everything is different. There is a tightness in the arms and legs as veins begin to pop, muscles bulging against the skin. There is a burning fire of energy in the heart and lungs, the sensation of terrible power. They are hyperaware of every movement, as if careful so that the slightest step does not leave great furrows in the ground. The pair can taste the sweat of soldiers above, hear murmurs of their conversations fifty metres away, smell the ancient, sandstone and the tang of metal that forms its architectural skeleton. Gracious seems to have outdone himself this time.
 
Ari begins to climb. To them both respectively, it feels and looks effortless, and she barely bothers to set up hook lines in the case of a terrible fall. The sandstone is old and weathered, providing excellent handholds, and Ari’s natural athleticism and acrobatic ability is taken to superhuman levels by the effects of the drug. She climbs silently and quickly, and like a contortionist squeezes herself through the thin opening of a window on the level of the big guns.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:57 am

Vex's thoughts flicker constantly at the edge of Ari's mind, demanding that she show him impressions of what she's seeing, oblivious to the notion that projecting one's thoughts might not be effortless. Simultaneously he enthuses at Laval about the fantastical effects of the drug, Ari's impressive skill, the thrill of being so close to the enemy.

He stands against the base of the wall, hoping to stay out of the soldiers' line of sight yet still be ready to come to Ari's help with ranged support if things begin to go wrong.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:18 pm

Ari is gone for a long time. Though she does not quite give a second-by-second commentary, it becomes apparent that she is taking her chance to disable the weaponry while she is up there. She is moving like a ghost, bloodily slaughtering soldiers that guard the guns. She is left with bodies, and her thoughts communicate that she intends to drop them out of the window - and for Vex, in his enhanced state, to catch them. It is quite a drop, and such a prospect is rather perilous for Vex: does he agree?

[I'm going to say that catching a body going that fast does 3d10 damage to the arms. Each Degree of Success at an Athletics Test reduces the damage by 1d10, to a minimum of 0.]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

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