Turn 2 Thread

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Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:08 am

The people of Imani cheer the name of Gracious Obscura, and though there was something of a sticky business with Twisby, overall Gracious can count his endeavours a success. A small but blossoming Slaaneshi cult lies at the heart of a liberated Imani, the influences of Nurgle and the False Emperor have been cast off, and Gracious even has an enterprising new friend by the name of Ari.

However, the forces of the Grand Makuu march back to their cathedral, and get closer by the day. Gracious and his new companion must move on, to continue spreading the glory of Slaanesh. There is much work to do if the Makuu is to fall, the Imperial forces to suffer a heavy, morale blow, and the world of Swaadi to be won for the Dark Prince. 

[Which Secondary Objective will be the focus of this week?]


Last edited by The GM on Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:52 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:26 pm

Before Gracious leaves Imani, he hears from one of the villagers that Laval is looking for him. Does he stay to chat, or hasten onwards?

[If the former, feel free to contact Eleanor without me. I'm about to head out, but I will be back in an hour or so.]

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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 wren on Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:24 am

Gracious goes amongst his Slaaneshi cult, looking for recruits. After some asking around and interviewing - [you could describe this a little?] - he gets into a discussion with Ari.

Ari is young, but holds herself with an independent bearing. She has already caught Gracious's attention for her unwillingness to completely give in to the hedonism - it seems she has more commonly got a little high, then stood back and watched her fellows sink further into stupors. This commends her to him. Additionally, she moves with a quickness and dextrousness that could well be exactly what he needs.

"So, uh, Ari, is it, right? Good to - good to talk, yeah, like, I've been impressed, I need someone to do me a - can you use a gun at all - something needs doing, and..."

She stares slightly sullenly, than breaks out into a thin smile.

"Yeah, old man, I can use a gun. Can't you? It's not hard."

Gracious laughs one of his wide open laughs.

"Ha! Well put. I can't, but you can, it seems. Where did you learn?"

"Parents were in the guard, weren't they? Got killed. Fucking Imperials - gods, it feels good to say that, gods..." - she is, for a moment, lost in the freedom of her new heresy.

"Anyway... yeah, so I got their stuff, I learnt how to use it - pretty good with a las rifle, you know?"

"Could you, uh, hit a moving target from far away if they were, uh, travelling this sort of way?" Gracious gives a slightly knowing smile.

Ari's smile splits into an evil grin, and something flashes in her eyes.

"Yeah. I could. I would. I did. What's the problem?"

"Ha! Nothing. You're perfect, you're absolutely perfect. Tell me... would you like to join me on higher things? I work for - at the moment, anyway - a warlord by the name of High Mother Zinnia - and I'm here on a compact. We're going to bring down the Makuu. Want to help?"

"Will there be violence? Will it... will it feel... will it feel good?" Ari asks, almost unsure that this is OK to ask - but it is clearly what she wants.

"Certainly! There's an oath, first, before I can tell you all the plans. That OK?"

"Go for it. S'just words."

"Ah, well... well, we'll see. Repeat after me. I pledge my allegiance to High Mother Zinnia, and to the New Citadel she seeks to build. While the Makku stands and my blood and breath still flow, I shall dedicate my life to its downfall. This I swear in the name of holy Chaos whose uncaring wheel we all sit upon. If I am foresworn, let my heart stop in my chest, and let my bones become ash."

Ari repeats the Oath with Gracious, line by line.

Gracious then explains to her the plan. [He communicates the Objectives to her - and also the short-term plan with Vex.]

"Sound plausible?"

She smiles.

"Let's do it."

[Ari now goes and finds Vex. Meanwhile, Gracious goes to Laval to confirm the plan - I'm not sure there needs to be an interaction here? Him and Shen will then set about, getting Kibwe's assistance, preparing to make more of that smart drug. Indeed, there are a number of things I'd like to be making while this gun emplacement business is going on - obscura, the stuff Vex and Laval wanted, the nootropic, anything else I think of - I guess we'll run that alongside?]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:20 pm

Gracious walks among his new devotees, enjoying their hollow-eyed looks of utter dependence upon him. They are beautiful in their complete surrender, broken by pleasure, husks between the life of being high and the death of sobriety. Most are intoxicated, but they cannot replicate the intensities of a skilled chymist, and are listless and unsatisfied. Some are naked, fornicating with bored faces. It is only a matter of time before their boredom leads them to more perverse acts - acts of debasement, acts of cruelty... acts of pain.

Ari makes her way to Vex as Gracious and Sten begin a new cook. They are followed by members of their pleasure cult, who clutch at their bodies and stroke their hair, desperate for a better fix. Goodnaturedly, Gracious tells them that he needs to work, and, powerless before him, they obey. Pleased by his power, delighting in the praises of his cult, and well-used to working with Sten, Gracious exceeds himself.

The obscura is first. He makes enough for every member of his cult to have six hit-ups each, and more besides. It is crafted to perfection: the narcotic is made to a purity that will drive his cultists wild, to an intensity that will utterly claim their bodies and minds, and they will never be able to get such a high from anyone else. It is the best batch that Gracious and Sten have ever made, and Sten seems almost in terrified awe of the majesty of what they have created.

[Gracious has made a lot of Best Craftsmanship Obscura. Giving it to your cult will mean that it will be nigh impossible for them to turn against Gracious, so reliant will they be upon him. However, Gracious may become a victim of his own success if he doesn't keep them in check. Furthermore, Slaanesh is pleased with this perfection. Gracious gains 1 Infamy and 3 Corruption Points. Sten gains 3 Corruption Points.]

The nootropic is next. Still on a roll, Gracious and Sten make a powerful batch, perfect for cementing their ties with the two wyches Laval and Vex.

[Gracious has one batch of the Addictive nootropic, which confers Unnatural Intelligence (2) and Unnatural Willpower (1) for approximately one hour, and 1d5 Fatigue and -20 to all Intelligence, Perception and Willpower Tests for the 1d5 hour comedown. Gracious is a skilled Chymist and so can improve the batch four times. Here are his options, each for one improvement.

  • Improve the amount of the batch (first improvement gets 4, second gets 10, third gets 100 (which is the maximum).
  • +1 to an Unnatural Characteristic (must be Intelligence or Willpower)
  • +30min to the positive effects of the drug.
  • +1hr to the negative comedown.
  • +1 Fatigue.
  • Increase negative modifiers to one of Intelligence, Perception or Willpower Tests by 10 on the comedown.

What do you choose?]

Finally, it is time to make the invisible paint. It is a relatively ordinary request, and Gracious and Sten make it with trivial ease. They even have the option to tinker about with the compound a bit, should they choose.

[You have made enough invisible paint for their needs. You have many (6) degrees of success, so if you have any improvements or modifications in mind, let me know. Examples might include making it highly flammable, or not at all flammable, or making it poisonous, making it explosive, etc.]

[I need to know a bit more about what the plan is with Ari and Vex. Can you spell out some specifics?]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by wren on Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:41 pm

[JESSIE IT'S TIME TO COOK]

After the obscura is finished cooking, I let the cult have a dose - putting me on 5/6 enough to supply everyone?

I make 10 doses of the nootropic (I don't think I had any left from before, so I have 10 now?), give it +1 Unnatural Willpower when on it, -10 Willpower on the comedown.

For the paint: I'd like to make it highly flammable and explosive, but only when exposed to a secondary compound which I will also make - otherwise inert.

I was also making smoke sources or something for them?

For the plan with Ari and Vex: I'd like to assess the situation with regards to the gun emplacements. Does it looks like there's a way of getting access to them from the outside, possibly by scaling the walls?


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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:54 pm

Eyes twinkling with joy, Gracious makes his own special formula just in case he wants the invisible paint to become a bit more interesting. As he works, Sten follows his master's instructions to the letter, gathering herbs and mixing compounds that will produce thick, blooming smoke when ignited.

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.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by wren on Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:20 pm

[I think Ari and Vex probably want an interaction at this point?]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

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

[I have contacted Eleanor.]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:28 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 briefly, frowning.
 
*****
 
And at that moment, Gracious receives a thought from Vex: "You need anything before we go?"
 
Gracious looks up at Sten. "Did you, um, hear that?"
 
Sten looks back at Gracious, somewhat dazed from the heavy drug fumes. "... Maybe?" he replies, slightly in a stupor.
 
"Idiot,” Gracious murmurs. "Hmm. Back, uh, back in a sec. Don't let that" - he points to a bubbling vial - "start overflowing. Decant it, uh, yeah, put it in... pour it out before that happens."
 
Sten nods. He is high, but he's a skilled chymist, and won't let Gracious down.
 
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.
 
Soon, Gracious is back with Sten, his mind already fixated on the newest drug he will cook. Its name is Satrophine, a deeply dangerous compound said to be hazardous not to the body, but instead to the soul. Those on the narcotic have performed feats of legend, but are said to disappear from the inside out, the Screaming Vortex slowly claiming their due and leaving hollowed out, soulless husks. It is a difficult drug to craft, but Gracious is in his element, and excels in his newest creation.
 
[Gracious makes 100 batches of Satrophine. He has modified it so that it gives +50 to Strength, Toughness, Agility and Perception Tests, but the Test to resist Addiction is Hard (-20).]
 
*****
 
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.
 
[Ari now has a primitive camouflage that gives +10 to Stealth Tests, and confers -15 to Ballistic Skill Tests against her when she is standing still. However, it is a specific camouflage and only works in the arid plains of Swaadi. She also has a primitive climbing kit, which gives +30 to Athletics Test to abseil, and has a 75% chance of catching her if she falls.]
 
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.
 
The corridors of the Makuu’s perimeter walls are quite unlike the central nave that Ari dimly remembers from when someone forced her to attend sermons. Though the trappings of Imperial architecture are still evident in the stone columns and candlelight fastenings, there is none of the grandeur, none of the grand paintings of saints and battles, none of vast statues and ornately carved ceiling. Her immediate surroundings are much more practical, suited to the business of defence rather than preaching, and with few options it is not difficult for Ari to make her way to the first gun. She inhales sharply as she hears two guardsmen turn the corner, but – almost before she intended to – she is pressed behind a column and watching the back of their helmets as they control their patrol. Her reflexes are extremely sharp, and it is difficult not to be distracted by the thin bead of sweat moving from one guardsman’s helmet down the back of his neck. It is a relief when they move through a door, and Ari quickly moves on.
 
The first gun is through the next door, and two bored-looking soldiers lean against it. High on Satrophine, Ari can see the tiredness in their eyes and realises that they must soon be for a change of shift. She moves through like a ghost, positioning herself behind another column as she waits for the shift-change. It takes a couple of minutes, and none of the soldiers notice her in the darkness.
 
It has taken Ari barely fifteen minutes to complete all this, thanks to the wonder drug that Gracious has created. Before her are two Swaad soldiers, lasguns slung on their backs, Imperial Guard Flak armour shining polished off the candlelight. They are currently talking about how it will soon be time to take tithes from the local villages, and that they hope that they are assigned to enact the tithe in order to get out in the open air. The gun, large and imposing, sits between them. What does Ari do?


Last edited by The GM on Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:06 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by wren on Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:39 am

Ari decides to make a noise in the corridor to distract at least one out. She then intends to get access to the gun and as quickly as she can, remove it's essential parts. If she ends up in combat, she will aim to be quick and effective, perhaps using grappling to knock the guard(s) out before killing them.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:03 am

Loosing a candle from its holder, Ari throws it out of the doorway, hearing it clatter and roll along the corridor. The two soldiers look immediately, but are loathe to abandon their positions. They seem well-trained and sensible. It is only after a brief discussion that one decides to put their head out of the door to check if anything is going on. 

Ari realises she will not have time to choke someone out - cursing silently, she draws her powerblade. As long as she is quick, it will be relatively quiet: just the low hum of the blade, and the squelch of it entering a body. She goes for the soldier by the gun first, a serious-looking woman with Imperial charms hanging around her dog-tags. 

She drives the blade towards the back of the soldier's neck, but the woman unexpectedly tilts her head to the side at the last moment. It is a deep, critical wound, but it is not lethal, and Ari must react quickly to stop her enemy crying out. She spins free the blade and rams it through the soldier's back. The body is completely encased in fire, her skin melting and her eyes popping. It isn't loud, and Ari catches the body before it hits the floor. The other soldier, unaware, sniffs at the strange smell of burning flesh.

"What the -?"

Ari grabs him into a headlock, covering the soldier's mouth and choking him out. He struggles for a while, but Ari is infused with narcotic-fuelled strength, and he cannot escape the hold. Soon, he goes quiet, and Ari slits his throat with clean efficiency.

She makes her way over to the gun. She knows something of how these things work, and remembers the tiny parts within that, when missing, render the gun incapable of firing. She could take the gun apart, but there is a risk she could not put it back together again. Instead, she opts for reaching in with dexterous, slender fingers. Horrendously conscious of every slight movement, she removes a crucial pin and retrieves it, examining it in the dim light. The gun is rendered inoperable.

Ari turns back to the bodies. The enemy makes quite frequent patrols, and though there are shadows in which to hide, corpses make poor hiders. What does she do?

[So I don't want to make you do this eight times. This encounter can be reflective of the majority of Ari's attempts to disable the gunnery. I propose that to complete the set, she has to handle one more encounter. Sound fair?]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by wren on Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:57 am

She drops the bodies off the walls, letting Vex know where they are so he can catch them as they fall. Happily he is also on drugs...

To get to all the guns, she jumps deftly from wall to wall, using acrobatics to land quickly and neatly.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:20 pm

Why catch? Vex responds, refusing in the same thought. If you want quiet, lower them on the ropes. Maybe I could catch one, maybe we'd miss. Too much risk of noise.

Unused to filtering his thoughts, Vex is unable to hide from Ari his conviction that he'd be crushed by the falling corpses, the unwillingness to risk the imagined injury.

Though lowering bodies with rope would certainly be safer, it might also be slower. On the other hand, Ari is strengthened by the drugs channelling through her system. What does she do?

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by wren on Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:28 pm

She will make an assessment. If she thinks she can get them down in time to get to the other guns also before the drug wears off, she'll lower them. If it looks like it's taking too long, she'll lower them partway and drop the rest.

She is thinking overfast due to drugs and is likely to react on instinct.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:57 pm

Roping the bodies together, she begins lowering them down from the windows as quickly as she can. The corpses are heavily equipped and armoured head-to-foot in heavy Guard Flak, and it takes all of Ari's bolstered strength. In her haste, she almost lets go of the rope entirely, and she has to half-catch it, straining her muscles and the rope burning at her hands. Nonetheless, she lowers them down swiftly, and moves on to the next gun.

[Ari takes 1 level of Fatigue]

She works like this across the Makuu, her reflexes as razor sharp as her blade, hiding in the shadows of columns before leaping out to take the kill. But no matter how fast she works, the disciplined soldiery of the cathedral soon notice that men are missing. Regular patrols find individuals missing from their posts, and flecks of blood and ash on the ground. By removing the bodies, Ari has bought herself time, and she only has a couple of the autocannons left, but she is dealing with a professional military force, and they respond swiftly. She takes a hiding position as two squads of soldiers march towards each other, blocking her from her immediate path.

"Lieutenant Mwenye," the woman leading one squad salutes. A lean, slightly-hungry looking man returns the salute, wearing the stripes of an officer.

"Sergeant Macha," he replies. "The gun posts are under attack. Double the guards there and triple the patrols. Prepare off-duty personal - this assassin may be taking out gunners in preparation for a coordinated assault on the Makuu."

"Yes sir," Macha responds, "Though not too smart, are they? Any soldier here can man those guns. To simply take out the gunners will do them no good."

"If they were wise, they would not be traitors," the Lieutenant agrees. They salute again, and the squads separate to perform their ordered tasks.

Ari breathes quickly, considering her options. She could continue her current strategy and accept a much bloodier and more dangerous confrontation at the next gun. Alternatively, she might try and disrupt the soldiery in some way to force them to abandon their posts. She could leave, satisfied with her current progress. Or perhaps there is another, imaginative solution available. What does she do?

[To clarify, there are two guns left, both on the same wall.]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by wren on Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:24 pm

She'll message Vex, and ask him to create psyker attacks on the opposite wall - loud and distracting. He's then to run. Meanwhile, she'll get to the other gun and deal with that: she's not as bothered about taking out the gunners here. Once the last two guns are down, she'll flee.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:16 pm

Vex has been a constant contact in the back of Ari's mind, asking for updates and on her current progress. He suggests that she passes down the gun parts, but Ari assures him that she has removed the pins crucial for their operation. Not only will it be very difficult to determine what has gone wrong with the guns, these are not easily replaceable parts, and should render them inoperable until new military supplies are brought in.

Ari positions herself near the next gun on the eastern wall, allowing patrols to stumble past her as she stalks in the shadows. She reaches out to Vex, telling him about the increased patrols, and asking for his aid. Now, she must wait for Vex's distraction, and deal with the rest as she can.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:00 am

Vex confirms that he will make a distraction, and goes quiet in Ari's mind for a few minutes. The silence is followed by an assault on Ari's mind, a shouting voice that sounds like Vex:

Cower, fools! We are come at last to destroy you!

Ari sniggers as several of the soldiers she is watching visibly jump, nervously checking their weapons. It is soon followed by a quieter voice in her mind, this time reminiscent of Laval's voice.

It is too late, the voice whispers. Any moment now your gates will open and the daemons will pour in.

The telepathic intrusions are followed by the sound of whooshing flames, and it seems like the distraction has well and truly begun. Ari watches as the patrols run past to bolster the off-duty troops, somewhat clearing the way forward. 

Yet there is a problem. Ari thinks over what Lieutenant Mwenye ordered. The off-duty troops are being mustered for an assault on the Makuu. It seems some of the patrols are going there too. But the reinforced positions on the autocannons don't seem to be moving, and Ari is left to contend with two groups of four professional soldiers. What does she do?

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:16 pm

Ari is about to leap into action before there is the sound of heavy gunfire from outside. Even from inside the Makuu, it is very loud - a cacophony of lasfire whip-cracks reverberating in the very walls. The soldiers guarding the guns have a quick back-and-forth about how they are unable to assist where they are, and decide on abandoning their position to reinforce the platoon. They file out in haste, leaving the guns entirely defenceless. Ari grins.

The rest of the task is easy enough for someone of Ari's speed and dexterity. She swiftly removes the crucial pins, and sprints from one gun to the other, abandoning stealth for speed. Unaccosted, the gunfire is still raging by the time she has finished. She could leave, but, on the other hand, she could try going deeper into the Makuu. What does she do, and does she inform Vex?

[The Secondary Objective is completed at Gracious and Ari gain 2 Infamy. They also both gain an additional 2 Infamy for assisting in the Secondary Objective of another heretic. Ari gains 1 additional Infamy and 5 Corruption Points for this impressive display of skill.]


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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by wren on Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:22 pm

I think the drug is probably going to wear off soon, and I think she needs that to reliably leave safely: so I think she will leave now, climbing down the wall that the soliders are not shooting from as quickly as she can, letting Vex know as she goes.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:33 pm

Elsewhere, Gracious feels the gaze of the Dark Prince on him yet again. His body changes and bends to the will of Chaos. It is an agonising gift, a pain that Gracious has not felt before, and he thanks Slaanesh for the new experience. It is the strangest sensation. He can feel his right arm splitting down the middle, one bloodied but recovering, the other unnaturally dexterous. Yet what he sees is no change at all. 

The pain ends, and Gracious experimentally moves his two right arms. There's definitely two, and one of them is perfectly responsive and lithe. Yet to Gracious, and any other onlooker, he is completely normal: just a normal man, with two, regular arms.

[Gracious is now officially Dedicated to Slaanesh, which means Slaaneshi upgrades are much cheaper, and Nurglesque and Khornate upgrades are much more expensive. Furthermore, he has gained an Additional Limb. The other options were Strange Walk (which halves movement speed) and Strange Voice (which imposes negatives to interaction) so I figured this was most preferable.

Because he is Dedicated, the new arm is at +10 WS when making Unarmed attacks. It also gives him the Multiple Arms Trait. This gives Gracious +10 to Athletic Tests involved climbing and swimming.]

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:34 pm

Ari trivially makes her way down, her deed done. She informs Vex of her success, before stealthing away to a point where they can meet, and make the long trek back to Imani.

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by wren on Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:40 pm

Awesome!

I think Gracious is still busy for a few days with the cooking - does Ari succumb to addiction in the meantime to the physical enhancer?

I suspect we may want an interaction at this stage?

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Re: Turn 2 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:45 pm

Ari makes her way to the bottom of the hill to meet Vex, the powerful satrophine starting to wear off. She feels content in what she has done, and resists the cravings to acquire more of the narcotic.

[Ari is not addicted! I'll contact Eleanor.

Just so you know, the addiction rules are as follows. Every time a drug wears off, the Heretic must take an Ordinary (+20) Willpower Test, with a -5 modifier for every dose they have taken over the first in the same week (for your satrophine, it is a Challenging (+0) Test). If failed, the Heretic is addicted. For most drugs, this means that they have 1 level of Fatigue on days when they do not have the drug. For satrophine, they gain 1d5 Corruption Points on days when they do not have the drug. To through off an addiction, a Heretic must pass a Very Hard (-30) Toughness Test, AND a Very Hard (-30) Willpower Test.

So, if you want to get Vex addicted, give him more doses!]

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