Turn 3 Thread

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by wren on Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:49 pm

Oh: Infamy in first round, +20.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:33 pm

Gracious' voice echoes confidently throughout the crowd as only a true demagogue's can. He speaks to their fear, their anger, their denial of their own faults, and manipulates it. The shame that they do not want to feel - the shame of their own failure and cowardice - is re-purposed into anger towards the ruling caste. They listen to him, and hear what he has to say, but Gracious plays with a dangerous power. He tells them not to trust their authorities just as he attempts to establish himself as one. Now, he must step carefully.

[Gracious wins the first round and leaves the crowds with 24 Willpower. Now detail your dialogue for the second round, and how much infamy you are using.]

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by wren on Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:45 pm

[My Infamy level doesn't replenish, right?]

"Now, what is to be done? Why should you listen to me? Well, I say to you this: I am no priest. I cannot tell you what is in your hearts nor what you should believe: that is for you to decide! You should choose your own leaders, be guided by your own desires! But if you look in your hearts, surely you will see the rightness of what I am saying? It is not for us to fight, or to fight between villages - the real evil lies there" - and here he gestures towards the Makuu - "in those that would seek to keep water from you, to treat you like animals, with tithes to be taken as one cuts meat from the bone".

I think I have 37 infamy left? I will bid 20 again.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:54 pm

[For crowd control, Infamy that is bid is not lost.]

Gracious has swayed crowds like this a dozen times, and he supposes that in future he will sway dozens more. To his eyes, they are arrayed like pawns in a game of regicide: a motley formation, easily carved through by a bishop. He knows to push and then to recede: to offer them authority, before allowing them to think that they were never not in control. It is a dance as old as corruption, and Gracious dances it well. The more he disavows his own authority, the more he is seen as a heroic outsider, incorruptible, pure... trustworthy. If you want someone to believe something, assure them repeatedly that it is not the case. 

The crowd, its passions now roused to hatred, begin shouting. They have killed in the name of the Church, but, in truth, they have killed in order to guard their resources. But, as Gracious points out, there are no resources because of the Church. The more they struggle to claim their freedom and live like humans, the more animalistic they seem. They bray, pound their feet and scream, and Gracious knows that they his.

[The crowds lose 30 Willpower and thus lose the Social Conflict. Gracious gains 1 Infamy and has successfully inspired hatred in the crowds. If he gives them a simple instruction, they will obey.]

The Mkuu of the village, Mosi Wakili, steps up towards Gracious, sporting colourful and expensive robes. He is all smiles, flashing white teeth, and claps the heretic on the back. "Well said!" he booms happily to the mob, "Well said!" 

He leans in a little closer. "Two of mine are halfway to the Makuu," he murmurs, "Getting reinforcements." He throws up his hands apologetically, as if to say what was I meant to do? "What do you suppose we do when half a platoon arrives?"

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by wren on Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:05 am

Gracious thinks quickly. If he gave some people satrophine - people who were already quick? - could they catch up with their peers before they arrive? If he thinks that's plausible, he'll pick out some likely people from the crowd and tell them to go fetch the people back.

He'll tell the crowd to prepare the tithe for the Makuu - with the goal of striking against it by poisoning it and watering it down. He'll then go off to find Laval, while they do that.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:22 am

Gracious is not sure. It is not his expertise. Yet, the messengers do have a couple of hours head-start, and it stands to reason that the Mkuu sent individuals who were quick. Moreover, given the town was currently under attack at the time they left, it is likely that they will be rushing, rather than sauntering. Maybe it can be done, but Gracious doesn't know for sure. What does he do?

*****

Meanwhile, Sten is getting anxious.

It's been a while since he's seen Gracious or that new girl, Ari. He's mostly been minding his own business, cooking, but Faruha keeps coming to see him, and he doesn't like the things she's been saying. This woman really doesn't like the Slaaneshis. Sten tries to downplay his own affiliation, but, luckily, Faruha just seems pissed at other locals. On the other hand, she seems kind of set on doing something about it. She's preparing a ritual circle on the hill where Twisby exploded, convincing a dying, old women if they'd like to sacrifice themselves for their village, and when Sten spies on her, she's muttering like she's rehearsing. It doesn't bode well.

When none of the Imani folk are awake, Sten goes to the prepared ritual circle and subtly changes one of the marks. Rituals are meant to be precise, right? Feeling chuffed at his clever solution, Sten goes back to get high, ignorant of the terrible danger he has brought upon the entire village.

*****

By the time Ari and Hasnaa are arriving towards Imani, the rest of the cult has caught up with them. Though the pair didn't wait for them, they've taken something of an effort to catch up, and it seems petty to run away from them. They're detoxing hard, sweating buckets and generally feeling sorry for themselves. But they talk about their time at Kifodini like it was a nice holiday, so that, Ari supposes, is something.

The group pauses as it sees Faruha, backed by a number of villagers, standing on a hill. She is chanting words, pointing at the cultists, and its making them feel really nervous. There is a rumbling sound as the earth protests, sending many of the Slaaneshis tumbling to the ground, and even Ari to her knees. When Ari glances up again, Faruha is screaming as she spasms violently on the hilltop. The braziers arrayed around her have tipped up and have caused a small, dancing fire at the top of the hill, and the people of Imani are fleeing in fear.

Hasnaa raises an eyebrow. "The fuck?" she asks.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by wren on Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:25 am

He chooses to send some people off to try: what's the worst that can happen?

---

STEEEEENNNNN!!!!!

---

Ari runs to the top of the hill to see better what's going on.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by wren on Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:25 am

(She won't hesitate to kill Faruha if it looks necessary.)

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:53 am

Gracious sends some individuals off, high on satrophine. If they're lucky, they might have a chance of catching them. Satisfied that at least he tried, Gracious makes his way to find Laval. 

[Are you free for an Interaction?]

*****

Ari runs to the top of the hill, pursued by Hasnaa while the rest of the cult chooses to stay behind. What she sees is disturbing, to say the least. Faruha is mutating at a fantastical rate. Her hands are extending into long, razor sharp talons splintering through the nails that drip with daemonic ichor. Along her skin ripples thin, wiry black hairs, her eyes begin splitting and multiplying like a bug and her hair falls out in droves. She is looking more and more like a fly, her nose extending slightly to vaguely resemble a proboscis. When Ari reaches her, Faruha looks back up at her.

"Princess Ari," she says calmly, "Give the Prince my regards." 

She opens her mouth to reveal a terrifying mess of bloody tendrils that reach towards Ari. Ari's eyes widen as she sees within her own face, being devoured for all time by those dancing tendrils in a horrifying court that her soul can never escape. 

Something in her mind snaps. Ari slumps, catatonic, as her psyche is shattered. She dreams of a place of absolute, terrible pleasure, where drowning men continue to stuff gold coins into their pockets as they sink, where monsters wearing the guise of beautiful angels caress the flesh, and obese noblemen obliviously are served their own rolls of fat to eat. When she wakes, she will never quite be the same.

[Ari is catatonic for 4 hours. When she awakes, she has the Perfectionist Mental Disorder. When confronted with something particularly niggling, Ari must make a Challenging (+0) Willpower Test or be at -5 to all Tests requiring concentration until she puts the perceived flaw right.]

Sten watches in horror from the distance as the Faruha-thing stands and Ari falls. He had kind of wanted the opposite to this. The thing cackles as it throws warp-fire into the cult below, which promptly scatters rather than face the beast in combat. Some girl that Sten thinks is called Hasnaa is the only one to keep her cool, dragging Ari after the fleeing druggies. 

The monster turns and faces him. It smiles, and Sten can see something within its mouth. But seconds letter, its expression changes, and there is just a mutant screaming in pained terror. 

Sten decides to chalk this one up to experience.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by wren on Thu Sep 08, 2016 1:05 am

I am free for an interaction.

---

Where are things left with Sten: or do I not know because I don't have PC eyes there?

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 08, 2016 1:48 am

[Sten as a minion will take a back-seat and thus get less 'airtime', but you can use him largely like a PC.]

Sten watches as the Faruha-thing continues to scream, rolling about in agony or madness while the rest of Imani stares in horror. The Slaaneshis have fled from Imani - so Sten guesses that Faruha kind of got what she wanted - but then again, she's screaming pretty loudly, so maybe she isn't happy. It's like what Sten always says: if you can't handle the kool-aid, don't drink the poison. When he says that, most people ask why anyone would want to drink poison. Sometimes Sten wonders, but then he tends to get snacky.

He forces himself to concentrate on the hill. His mind is wandering, and Gracious hates it when his mind wanders in the middle of a job. Some of the villagers are making their way to the Faruha-thing as she weeps. They comfort her, and the monster doesn't seem to be eating them, so Sten supposes that it looks worse than it is. The Faruha-thing staggers back towards the village, mewling slightly, and though some come forward to look after her, most people give her a wide berth. Sten is happy to count himself among the latter crowd.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by wren on Thu Sep 08, 2016 1:50 am

Sten will go in search of Ari and Hasnaa, and offer to see if there's any drugs left in the supplies to ease their addictions. He'll try and make something if not - I can't recall if I left anything behind, and indeed Gracious has the chym-kit, but...

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 08, 2016 2:06 am

Gracious makes his way towards the remains of the battlefield. He has spotted Laval. She is bent over what seems to be a dead woman. Upon seeing Gracious, she rises to her feet. All around them both are the dead and the dying. Under the harsh sun, the stench of blood, burning and putrefaction stings the air. The buzz of insects feeding distracts the mind, and the remains of Vex, torn in two, is a sombre reminder of the bad blood between the two heretics.
 
"...Laval," Gracious begins.
 
"I don't hate you." Laval’s voice is flat, drained of emotion. "Help me?"
 
"...sure." Gracious pauses. “We've got a problem, probably."
 
"Soldiers will be coming," Laval acknowledges.
 
"Maybe. I drugged up two runners, sent them off... but yeah."
 
"I have a poison for the tithe."
 
"The townspeople are... I wouldn't say they're on side. But they hate the Makuu, now. I've given them their pride back."
 
Laval nods once.
 
"I've asked them to get the tithe together,” Gracious adds, “But I think we should have contingency plans. The paint: it's explosive."
 
"I'm done with it. You can use the circle if you want. But I want them to take the tithe."
 
"Then we need to think about to do with the villagers."
 
"They defeated the heretics. What needs doing?"
 
Gracious is notably... clipped in his tone; he is not affecting his normal mannerisms. "The soliders will be suspicious. They'll ask questions. They'll torture."
 
Laval closes her eyes, looks incredibly tired for a moment before setting her blank expression back in place. "Yes. You're right."
 
"...do you want a... no,” Gracious frowns.
 
"I...” Laval begins, “Have no more miracles up my sleeves. I'm sorry."
 
"We need to get the villagers out of the way, I think. And I'm going to set the remainder of the paint down under where I think they'll stand. We can ignite it if it looks like combat is coming. If I give you the nootropic, can you provide any support?"
 
"I... maybe? I will try. Mind where you stand if you are lighting fires though. The circle is big."
 
"Where does it go round?" Gracious asks.
 
"Kifodini."
 
"And you need it to poison the tithe?"
 
"No, I've used it. It's all yours. I just need to get the poison into the food, the food into the Makuu."
 
"I mean, what's the circle for? I thought you were going to use it to poison...?"
 
"I did,” Laval responds. “I made a poison." She pauses. "... I ... I'm sorry, I'm not..."
 
"Oh... oh Laval."
 
"I'm sorry."
 
"No, I..."
 
Laval looks as though she is about to cry, then straightens, puts the blank mask of an expression back in place. "We don't have time to talk about our feelings."
 
"...no."
 
"I have a poison. A liquid that can be applied to food. It is madness and anguish. It will wreak havoc with morale and make our ultimate work easier."
 
Gracious smiles. "Excellent! I suggest I find those in the village who can best set out a dishonest face. The Mkuu looks the type. He can explain what's occurred - minus, I think, the daemon... - they can examine... yes... and then, well, hopefuly they'll take the tithe." He reaches out. "Give me the poison."
 
She nods, reaches into her bag, then hesitates. "... may I?"
 
"Apply it?"
 
"No… read you... I just betrayed a dying woman. I am finding trust a little difficult right now."
 
"- Or... ah. … Who did you...?"
 
She glances at the corpse beside her feet. "Mfanya."
 
"Fine,” Gracious accepts. “But not far: stop when I push."
 
Laval nods, and reaches out with a hand. At first, it is more mechanical than Gracious has experienced. The feeling lacks that intuitive enveloping of minds that Gracious has learned to find normal, the tentacled will replaced with a razor-blade precision. But once within his mind, something in Laval acts on reflex, and that headache inducing blade softens and spreads across Gracious' soul.
 
His name is Gracious Obscura. He is in a good state of physical health, and though his mind is disordered, it is no worse than Laval has ever seen it. With her telepathic power, Laval for a moment experiences Gracious' current mood. He is primarily angry - it is a cold anger. It is tinged with sadness.
 
The emotion in Gracious is something new, and Laval delves deeper. She uncovers his surface thoughts, his immediate fear and concerns. If he is lying about how he intends to use the poison, his deceit is exposed to her, along with any other conscious lies. His soul is stained and Laval can feel the wriggling of an invisible limb, but the corruption is not yet absolute.
 
He is not lying about how he intends to use the poison: he intends to put in on the tithe. He is afraid about the soldiers of the Makuu: afraid of the potential for violence, afraid of the potential for his work to be undone. His mind also lingers on Ari and the Slaaneshi cult, concerns drifting about where they might have gone.
 
Laval withdraws abruptly, gasping as if suddenly short of air. She hugs her arms tight to her torso, shuddering.
 
"Done?" Gracious asks.
 
She nods. "Thank you. I... should not have asked." She withdraws the container from her bag. It is painted with an arcane sigil and contains a clear, colourless liquid. Gracious reaches out with a hand, and the poison is carefully exchanged. He puts it away in the case he carries on his back, in which his chym-kit lies.
 
He withdraws a dose of the nootropic, and passes it over. "Did you use the obscura?"
 
"No."
 
"May I? While I'm here, I mean."
 
"Have it back? Yes." Laval nods, digs around in her bag and counts out the doses.
 
"Thank you. Get in sight of the main square, in case I need you? There should be no shortage of places to hide."
 
"Would you like me to link our minds?" Laval suggests.
 
"Sure." Gracious smiles slightly as he feels Laval’s presence enter into his conscious mind. "I'll see you later. Laval, I..." He struggles with the words. "I'm sorry. I... actually am. I can't say I like the feeling."
 
She nods. "Thank you. For trying to save me."
 
Gracious shrugs. "See you later." He walks off, back towards the centre of town.

[Will respond to post about Sten tomorrow.]

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by wren on Thu Sep 08, 2016 2:16 am

Gracious makes his way into the centre of town. Here is his plan for if the soliders arrive.

Firstly, get most of the village out of the way - tell them that they are to play dumb if anyone asks them questions, appealing to their resentment that he has fostered.

He'll get the Mbuu and those who look like they can lie/deceive credibly, and explain the rest of the plan.

The tithe will be poisoned and ready to collect. When the soliders arrive, the Mbuu will explain that they killed the wyches, and lead them to Vex's body if they want to see (it's obvious something has gone off). He'll dismiss any talk of demons - probably people were confused.

The goal is to re-assure the soliders that things were bad - but now they're OK. Gracious will assist with his own gifts of the gab. "Yes, solider... I saw it all - I'm a pilgrim here, the people bravely fought off.. oh it was awful!" Given the turn is almost over and this is crucial for my goals, I'm OK with all infamy spends here.

The tithe will be mentioned almost as an afterthought - oh, yes, that's ready if you want...? I assume the soliders will either take it then or arrange for its collection.

In the event of things going tits up - also going to use the rest of the invisible paint to make a booby trap in the centre of the village where I think the soliders might plausibly be led. Will use that to try and explode them if needs be.

Laval is obviously there as backup and Gracious will explain what's occurring. Shell do as she will, I guess.

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:17 pm

The mobs remain compliant to Gracious will, and despite their anger, are happy to hide from the professional soldiers of the Makuu. They go about their business on the farms, occupy huts now left vacant by the dead on the outskirts of town, and the marketplace is left quiet and deserted. 

Mkuu Mosili finds Gracious to inform him that the runners Gracious sent have returned empty-handed. They are exhausted, the satrophine having left their bodies, and ramble incoherently about how soldiers are already marching towards Kifodini. It seems, then, that the might of the Makuu cannot be delayed. Gracious explains his plan to Mosili, who is happy to follow the heretic's lead. Why the Mkuu is so happy to delegate escapes Gracious' scrutiny, but he seems genuinely compliant, and perhaps Gracious does not particularly care.

It is a couple of hours before the drum beat of incoming soldiers begins carrying on the evening air. They sing hymns as they approach, and, spying a glance of them, Gracious gulps back fear. The soldiers are resplendent in their polished armour, littered with pages of scripture nailed into their chest and shoulder plates. They march in perfect formation, their lieutenant proudly leading from the front, parading directly into Kifodini and up to the local church. The lieutenant, a lean, slightly-hungry looking man, steps forward.

"Where is Preacher Nia Upendi?" he shouts. "Where is the preacher?"

The Mkuu hurries forward with a few others, flanked at the side by Gracious. It is time to break some bad news to the soldiers.

[Pausing here not in expectation of you posting, but in case Laval interacts with the situation.]

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Re: Turn 3 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:12 pm

Mkuu Mosili steps forward, wiping away nervous sweat with an extravagant, purple handkerchief. 

"De - martyred, Lieutenant Naasir, in battle against the wych."

"Wych?" the lieutenant demands, "We were not told about any wych."

"It's destroyed!" the Mkuu quickly informs him, "Nuru Haki martyred herself to destroy the abomination."

The soldier absorbs this information. Gracious supports the story of Mkuu Mosili, explaining how brave the locals were in fighting off the predations of the foul wych. The lieutenant nods, a little irritated to be bombarded with so much information, but nonetheless believing it without comment.

"We were told that village was under attack from marauders," he adds.

"Oh, driven off, lieutenant," the Mkuu responds. "It came before the wyches. We killed many, but half fled."

The lieutenant asks a few more questions. He reaches the conclusion that the first attack was a distraction, to allow the wych to infiltrate the church. Darkly, he muses that if Preacher Upendi had not been there to stop the traitor, a terrible fate may have befallen the town. Nonetheless, he insists on seeing the battlefields, and talking to a few witnesses. 

There is not much need for anyone to lie. The Slaaneshi cultists are described, along with the dark magics unleashed by Vex. At the farmstead where the Slaaneshis attacked, he and his soldiers study the ground for tracks and indication of numbers. 

"They fled west?" he confirms to the surviving witness. She nods. The lieutenant turns to a heavily-built, serious-looking woman. "Sergeant Macha. Take two squads and hunt them down." The sergeant salutes in response and starts rallying together soldiers to immediately embark on their assignment.

At the battlefield of the wyches, the lieutenant orders his soldiers to euthanize the dying and to burn the bodies. He identifies the body of Vex, as well as Nia Upendi and Nuru Haki. 

"You fled," he observes calmly, turning to the Mkuu. "There are the tracks of panicked men running."

"I - what could we -"

The lieutenant brings up a laspistol, but Gracious interjects before he pulls the trigger. He tells the lieutenant that the villagers fought bravely, that the Mkuu was dedicated to the cause, but that the dark magics unleashed were too much for any normal men and women to handle. Gracious smooths the lieutenant's ego, noting that the brave soldiers of the Makuu could face such odds, but not more civilians. The lieutenant shrugs, and lowers his gun. The Mkuu collapses to the floor in relief.

"Round up those touched by dark magics," Lieutenant Naasir commands, "Or we will."

This is not a command that the lieutenant can be talked out of: it is his duty, and he is not interested in compassion or mercy. The Mkuu, simply glad to be alive, offers no resistance. Yet Gracious is no mere villager. He informs the lieutenant that the dark magics did not leave merely wounded men, and that any unfortunate enough to survive its corruptive touch were left on the battlefield or killed. The lieutenant nods.

"Good. Then they burn." He glances back to the pyre that his soldiers have erected, on which are being thrown dozens of bodies. His expression remains entirely blank. "I will stay until Sergeant Macha returns," he decides. "Sergeant Chakul?"

"Yessir!" a square-jawed man responds. His left cheek is covered in inked scripture, his right branded with the mark of the Aquila. 

"Collect the tithe and take it back to the Makuu."

Gracious steps back as the soldiers get to work. A squad of ten soldiers, led by Sergeant Chakul, collect the poisoned tithe and begin trekking back towards the Grand Makuu. Thirty men remain in the village, garrisoning the church and nearby huts to wait out the return of Sergeant Macha. Kifodini is in temporary military occupation, but the soldiers seem to have little interest in making inquiries with the populace, and are unlikely to notice the undercurrent of treachery aimed against them. The people have poisoned the Makuu's tithe, and despise the soldiery that occupy their town. Gracious has won their support.

[Turn 3 is over. Gracious and Ari gain 2 Infamy for helping to complete the Secondary Objective of securing the support of Kifodini. Gracious also gains 2 Infamy for assisting another heretic in the completion of a Secondary Objective. Finally, Gracious earns 5 Infamy, and Ari 1 Infamy, for completing their Tertiary Objectives.]

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