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Acrophobia (Nightmare Realm 2:2B)

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The fog coalesced around the camp, bringing with it a sharp rise in humidity while completely obscuring the sight of the unfortunates trapped within. As the soldiers and mercenaries groped for their weapons, trying to prepare for the darkest horrors they were capable of imagining, a strange foreign perfume wafted through the gloom. 

Plumeria.

Plumeria, and gardenia, and maybe some kind of jasmine? It was hard to tell; the still air allowed the scents to mingle and waft aimlessly, forming a stew of flowers and plants that was at once pleasant and overwhelming. 

Along with the smells, unfamiliar sounds echoed from from the mist; hoots and howls, chirps and groans, a cacophony of biodiversity that seemed to come from all directions, but mostly from down. 

And then there was the temperature. In the space of a few seconds, it climbed to well over 80 degrees Fahrenheit -- combined with the intense humidity, every mortal being capable of sweating began to immediately do so. 

After a few endless seconds, the fog began to break up, though the moisture didn't go with it. The smells became sharper, the sounds louder, and bright daylight pierced the spaces between the patches of dwindling miasma. 

Most of the people were gone. The camp was gone. Yh'mi was gone. 

Those that remained found themselves standing on a rocky plateau, barely big enough to contain them all without forcing someone off the edges. Beyond those edges was a sheer rock wall, dropping down like a curtain of green and grey velvet into a jungle valley.  The drop was at least a hundred feet, but could be much more; a fog -- more natural than the one that had just swallowed the heroes of Yh'mi  -- obscured the bottom of the valley.

Directly ahead of the group was a rickety monkey bridge, secured by metal pinions into the largest rocks on the plateau. The other side was similarly obscured by fog, but it sagged sadly for at least forty feet before vanishing from sight.

 monkey-bridge.jpg

The bridge, just a little wider than necessary for a single-file procession, swung lightly as jungle breezes swept though the canyon. The ropes creaked softly, and the boards, where they were close enough together to touch, knocked against one another, as if beckoning. As if daring. As if mocking.

No one in their right mind would blindly mount such a ramshackle passage, with the depth below calling out in the screams of monkeys and the chatter of birds. But there was nowhere else to go.

Don't look down.


MECHANICS:

Spoiler

Objective:

Cross the bridge. Don't fall.

Unique Conditions:

The players must move single-file. You can only move after the person in front of you moves, with the exception of using the SWAP or ASSIST normal actions (see below).

Certain things you will encounter have a chance to cause a character to become OFF-BALANCE. An OFF-BALANCE character can take a normal action on their next turn to recover their balance, or they can try to keep going without doing so. If an OFF-BALANCE character encounters another OFF-BALANCE condition, they lose their footing and fall; at this point they are considered to be HANGING.

A HANGING character can take three actions to pull themselves back up onto the bridge, or another character can use ASSIST on them to pull them up at the cost of one action on the formerly-HANGING character's next turn.

A character who is HANGING will FALL if they encounter another OFF-BALANCE condition. They cannot use Heal, Meditate, or Buff, or use any special skills. All other normal actions are permitted. Characters can move freely past a character who is HANGING.

A character who FALLS off the bridge falls until the beginning of their next turn. If they are not saved (magic, rope, whatever) by another character before the beginning of their next turn, they are unsavable.

 

ACTIONS: 

In addition to the normal actions, there are three other actions you can take in this realm. These all count as normal actions. These actions are the only way to cross the bridge.

MOVE: Move 10' along the bridge at a careful pace. 

ASSIST: Move yourself and another person (either in front or behind) 5' along the bridge. Also, you can use your ASSIST action on a person who is hanging from the edge to bring them back to their feet, at the cost of one action on their next turn.

SWAP: Switch places with the person in front of you or behind you. If this action is successful (depending on Sanity rolls), roll another d6. On a roll of 1, the SWAPPING character becomes OFF-BALANCE.

 

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Melanie had been watching Charlie Smith not only take her flames, burn, but not burn, then extinguish them using some inexplicable method, with complete fascination. A man who did not burn? Surely this was destiny, whatever that meant.

"Mmm! Thanks! I bet that was almost as tasty as you. Not everyday I meet a woman this hot. Names Smith. Charlie Smith. Say, you got anything else on the menu? Maybe...me-n-u?" Charlie delivered his absurd flirtation, but lucky for him he wasn't dealing with a sane woman.

"Menu? Like food? Like barbecue? Do you like barbecue? I like barbecue! Are you asking me out to a barbecue? No man has ever asked me out! Not even to a barbecue! In fact, no woman has asked me to go to a barbecue either! Actually, nobody has ever asked me to go to a barbecue... My family even tells me to stay away from our family barbecues! Why would they do that? I like barbecues! Say, how are we gonna make barbecue out here? There's no grill! Do you have a grill? I wanted to bring a grill, but the they wouldn't let me!" Melanie spewed a montage of words in rapid succession, enough to a normal person's head spin.

But as she was speaking, the fog was beginning to roll in, and the call to arms was sounded. Hudson quickly stood up and looked around for the source of the calls, though Melanie still seemed singularly focused on her (apparent) "date" with Charlie. The calls roused the other Norkotians who were lounging or asleep, causing many of them to come rushing out while throwing hats on her or cocking weapons. However, everyone soon began to lose sight of one-another in the unnatural fog, including the Norkotian squads. When the fog finally lifted, Melanie and Hudson were still near Charlie, while their bosses, Sergeant Jack Murray and Lieutenant Precht, along with Private Shea and several of the engineers, were scattered in with the other people who had emerged from the fog on this plateau. 

"What the hell?" Murray exclaimed, accidentally knocking some rocks off the side, "That's a long fall, thar'."

Precht, a young-looking lieutenant with a very prim-and-proper attitude, looked a bit aghast at first. But once he realized they were not in imminent danger, he recovered and tried to take control.

"All Norkotian units, form up on me!" he declared, moving a bit further inside and away from the edge.

Murray and Shea followed him, while the engineers also joined them. Hudson went to move too, but he noticed Melanie was still looking at Charlie.

"You think we could borrow somebody's swords and use them as grill? I think we could use them as a grill! Unless we can find metal weapon handles! That would work even better! Say, are the tent poles made of metal? We could take down some of the tends and use the polls for a grill!"

"Private Winter."

"What tents should we take down? I'll donate my tent! How about your tent? Did it just get warmer out here? Did someone start the barbecue without us?! Why would they do that!?"

"PRIVATE WINTER!"

"...Hey, hi...?"

"The Leiutenant is calling for us. Come on." Hudson motioned toward the growing group of Norkos.

"Oh, uh... okay! I'll be right there!" Melanie replied, turning back toward Charlie, "Hey, I gotta take a raincheck on that barbecue. But we could like, meet later and make plans. Call me! Wait, you don't have my number! That's funny, because I don't have a phone! Do you have a phone? That doesn't matter either because I can't call you. How about a smoke signal? Do you like the idea of communicating with smoke signals? I like the idea of communicating with smoke signals!"

"Winter..."

"Coming!" Melanie turned to follow Hudson, while giving Charlie the "call me" gesture.

Nice catch Charlie, you somehow managed to snag a lonely middle-school version of the burning building meme girl stuck in an adult woman's body...

In any case, Melanie and Hudson soon regrouped with the rest of the unit, ensuring all the Norkotians were no in one place. Satisfied, Precht left Murray to watch over them, while he pushed through the crowd to get to Fidelitas.

"Sir Fidelitas, the First Expeditionary Platoon is assembled and awaiting orders, sir!" the young man offered the knight the stiffest salute (and posture) you could possibly imagine, "Some of my men are missing, but we will not let slow us down! Each soldier in my unit will pull his weight as if he were three men!"

Apparently somebody missed the memo on just what sort of platoon he was commanding when he was transferred here...


@zackrobbman @jaistlyn

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At the call to arms from the paladin Fidelitas, Ilene nearly knocked over her chair as she rushed out of the tent. She could hear, from the clanking of their armor, that Gormaric and Frederick weren't far behind. Out in the clearing between the Aligorian tents, the Aligorian soldiers had begun to assemble, looking towards their leaders for further orders. The two men in armor approached the Subversor heavy infantry and the Warpgolems, while Ilene continued on her way towards the Shadow Guard. Somewhere in between them, Surus the war elephant lumbered into the clearing, the ten archers atop the platform on his back readying their bows and the driver grinning to himself as he imagined the devastation he was about to bring upon the forces of Yh'mi. Then, the fog arrived, washing over the Aligorian force along with the rest of the camp.

When the fog cleared, Ilene found herself atop a plateau, sharing the cramped plateau with a multitude of the other defenders in the camp. Most immediately standing out to her was the Norkotian Idiot Brigade, as she liked to refer to them as in her mind. She looked around for her own forces, finding only four Shadow Guards whom silently slid through the people around to make their way over to her... and Surus. Her composure faded for a moment as she stared incredulously, though her mask concealed this from those around her. What kind of malevolent force had conspired to bring the damn elephant here, of all places? She hadn't had enough to drink to even begin to deal with the elephant. And with a look around the area, she could tell that she really didn't want to think about the logistics of getting Surus off of this plateau and onto that bridge, wherever the hell it lead to. She shook her head and turned as the four Shadow Guards approached her.

"... Didn't I have more of you with me?"

The Shadow Guards looked at each other, and then shrugged.

"We thought so too, but either the fog brought them elsewhere... or dropped them over the edge."

Ilene let out a long, deep sigh, then suddenly and angrily slashed the air with the curved blade that marked her as a person of high status within the Shadow Guard. The closest Shadow Guard winced as the tip of the blade nearly made contact with his face.

"Lovely. And nobody knows what happened to Gormaric, Frederick, and the rest of our forces either... Well, it seems that we'll have to make do with just ourselves, the elephant, and whatever these other people can contribute. Neque preserve us, we might be better off trying our luck in taking a dive down into that fog."

The Shadow Guards nodded in agreement, before one of them spoke up.

"Well, before we commit to that course of action, Shadow Mistress, let's consider our options. We could hang around for a bit and try to form some semblance of order among everyone who ended up here. From what we've seen of the bridge so far, we'll have to take it single-file, and it will be a miracle if Surus manages to get on there and remain stable. Our second option is to, more or less, say 'screw it' and let them sort ourselves out while we take point on the bridge. With ourselves and the elephant, whatever creatures that are almost certainly lurking and waiting to strike as we begin to cross the bridge will have a lot to contend with. Thirdly, we follow your wonderful plan and take a swan dive off the plateau's edge. We'll either die, or it will turn out that the bridge was a lie and that was what we were supposed to do. I give us 70/30 odds on that one."

Ilene smiled beneath her mask, and let out a slightly eerie laugh as she stepped forward and lifted up the Shadow Guard's chin with one of her fingers.

"You're a talkative one, aren't you? Well, I like that better than the silent, brooding types Neque has seen fit to throw under my command this far... keep it up, and you might go far. That is, if you manage to survive the horrors of Yh'mi with your body and mind intact. There are no guarantees there.

The Shadow Guard gulped loudly.

"... But anyways, I've come to a decision. That paladin, Fidelitas, is here. Against my better judgement, we'll take the first course of action, and help him to establish order over this sorry rabble that we're surrounded by. Let us go, before somebody gets the brilliant idea to rush ahead on their own and get the entire lot of us killed."

The four Shadow Guards nodded and fell in behind Ilene as she strode through the crowd toward Fidelitas. From another part of the plateau, Surus' driver noticed Ilene and moved Surus to try and meet up with her, unheeding of the people that might have been between the elephant and the Shadow Guard leader. After a short time, Ilene stood before Fidelitas and inclined her head respectfully, speaking to the paladin as the four Shadow Guards fell in line behind her.

"As Gormaric is not here, Sir Fidelitas, I will be taking charge of all Aligorian forces that so happen to have ended up here with us. We are here to help as much as is within our power, so please, let us know what we can do."


@jaistlyn

Edited by EpicRome23

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The camp was thrown into ordered confusion as the fog descended. Fidelitas stepped to the edge of the camp and held his broadsword at the ready, alert to any enemies. It was starting to get hot, especially under his helm. Sweat formed on his brow and dripped into his eyes. He blinked to get it out, and without any notice, sunlight broke through the fog. The low wall of the camp was gone, replaced by the view of greenery. What in the world…? He drank in the sight for a moment. Oh Gaia, it had been a while since he’d seen living green plants.

Fidelitas shifted his leg and felt a rock loosen beneath him, rolling down the cliff. He backed up from the edge of the plateau, then turned around to survey the people with him. There were less than half of the people in the camp. The elephant stood out among them, the large creature occupying precious space on the small piece of land they were standing on. This war beast was more a hazard than a boon right now - if it panicked it could trample them all underfoot. He hoped the Aligorian forces trained it well.

”Sir Fidelitas, the First Expeditionary Platoon is assembled and awaiting orders, sir!"

”As Gormaric is not here, Sir Fidelitas, I will be taking charge of all Aligorian forces that so happen to have ended up here with us.”

Fidelitas nodded to both leaders. “This is an unexpected situation. This may be an illusion, or we could have been taken elsewhere. We have no prior experience of an attack like that,” he said. His voice was steady. There was no reason to panic right now. They just had to find out where they were and what was going on.

There was nowhere to move on the crowded plateau, the rope bridge being the only other place they could go. “I’ll move on ahead to see what’s on the other side.” He turned to Ilene. “I want you and your forces to stay at the back with your war elephant. You and the turret there will watch our backs.” He pointed to Vlad’s auto-targeting turret, which had somehow made it with them. The plateau was their safest point for now, and the two heavy-hitters would have the responsibility of keeping their temporary home base safe. “If it becomes necessary to leave here, tie the turret to the elephant’s back if you’re able to. It might come into use.”

Next he addressed Precht. “You and your soldiers should come right behind me. We’ll move across the bridge.” The lieutenant looked sane enough, but he wasn’t so sure about the rest of the Norkotians (with the exception of Murray). Instead of leaving them behind, it was safer to keep them close. They’d better not try anything funny around him.

“Rest of you, you get a choice if you want to follow on the bridge or stay here. Be vigilant at all times, we don’t know what’s around here.” With that, he made his way to the bridge. To test whether it was strong enough, he held on to the ropes, put a leg on the first rung, and pulled hard on it several times. It held well, which was a good sign, though he did not know how much weight the flimsy bridge could take. Regardless, he took his first step, then the second, and then a rapid succession of steps. Even though his stride was confident, his heart was racing with uncertainty, and sweat formed more profusely. About 20 feet out, he stepped on a piece of rotten wood. It promptly gave way, and splinters fell from the bridge into the unknown below. Fidelitas’ heart leapt. Luckily he hadn’t put his entire weight down yet. He drew back quickly and looped an arm around one side of the rope, steadying his breathing. He looked back to see how well the rest had caught up. “Careful, some of the steps are not solid,” he warned.

-

Action 1: Move (success)

Action 2: Move (success)

Action 3: Move (miss)

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In the time since Furthest Point was founded, more members of the Order of Force Majeure arrived to reinforce their tenuous foothold. The two Custodes, Barristan of Medusa, and Junia of Bek'nor, were less august then their superior Knightess Sheryl Wainwright, but no less helpful, immediately setting upon a routine of patrol, construction, and other aid. The two were an effective pair who often worked together on alternate pursuits for the Force Majeure, and they were the ideal candiates to support the Yh'mi campaign. 

When the fog rolled in, they were already up and awake, readying for another patrol, and they had their weapons held at the ready, expectant of a battle to come storming through the eerie cover.

When the obscurment at last cleared, both Custodes found themselves flinging off their helms and taking great gasps of air, having almost suffocated in the abrupt heat. Their helmets clattered away, rolling off the edge of their platform, the surprise of their new position causing them to back away in shock.

"What sorcery is this? Barristan murmured. His cohort Junia, brushed a sticky strand of her dark amber hair from her cheek as she leaned forth to eye the drop. "Guess we're not in Kansas anymore".

"Where is Kansas?"

A sigh. Barristan never did get her references. "... nevermind"

Edited by Fierach

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"---OH-THR--, ---ORT STA----"
"U----- HREE, RESP--D!" 
"UNIT OH-THREE, AUTONOMOUS MODE!!!"

After receiving a final command out of nowhere, the turret gained a certain degree of independence from its owner. Already fully deployed, it began to spin around its axis and scan its surroundings for any objects that could be qualified either as "friend" or "foe". Certain limitations in its design made indifferent for the turret whether it was residing in the easternmost part of Bloodwatch or in the midst of a humid jungle. Anything that shows any activity - be it organic or not - should be compared with some crucial info the owner provided.

The turret was moving its mark at each member of the group, moving its optical sensor for a while then letting out a low-pitched confirmatory beep, thus letting the target know it's been recognized as "friend". Each member had been checked out with a relative ease. Although, it took a while to scan a single quadrupedal creature that deviated strongly from the rest. Only after proper database searching it was marked as "friend" as well.

After the verification process was completed, the turret returned to its former position and started scanning the surrounding area until any other order from the operator would be received (which, regrettably, won't happen anytime soon). If something that runs, crawls and/or flies appears in the turret's sight, that particular something would be immediately marked as "foe" and shot down.

No question asked.

Spoiler

=== Turret "Tim" === (click on name to get char. sheet for NR)

0 ft | Intact / Fully Operational

DP: █ █ █ █ █ | 5/5
SP: █ █ █ █  | 5/5
AP:  █      | 3/3

Actions:

- Buff++  | +3 to any future dice roll | 3 AP
          └───── Stability full, no check required

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Summary:

Gained 3 stacks of Buff

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Soryn had just begun wrapping up his intro for what seemed like the next leg of this harrowing journey when he noticed the P.U.D. intermittently losing connection and the quick rolling fog that ensued. “Vision obscured? DW_Conn_Interface error? Hmm it seems that there is still much more work to do to get you working here in Yh’mi Celene.” The device hovered low now and stayed close to Soryn as he investigated it for any damage but found none. A sudden chill fell over him before a wave of hot air hit him and he blinked to see that the barren landscape around him was replaced with greenery of the likes he had not seen for quite some time.

 

Sure Hell’s Gate had several attractions and community areas where nature was highlighted but the area was so heavily controlled for permanence that it just never felt truly authentic. Now this….this harkened back to his time before he began working for the Daily Weekly where he would travel through such areas to hunt. Soryn smiled for a moment before Fidelitas brought him back to the reality of the situation where the fact that this was an illusion was reinforced and the possibility that this was the work of someone nefarious became prevalent. It didn’t help that the knight had never experienced this before.

 

The error prompts from Celene still displayed along his own display within his eye forcing him to modify the log settings so that the information did not flood his eye. Looking around at everyone reacting to what was going on and watching the knight nearly fall on the bridge made the reporter second guess whether to follow Fidelitas at all. So he distanced himself a bit but remained generally where he had been, analyzing his surroundings and taking a deep breath to heal his mind.

 

Meanwhile, the P.U.D continues to struggle to gain its bearings so it is too busy to do much of anything other than analyze and prepare as well initiating defensive protocol as precaution.

Spoiler

Soryn Savedo & P.U.D 

Soryn Distance Gained: 0

P.U.D Distance Gained: 0

P.U.D. Status: Fully Operational

DP: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ | 5/5
SP: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ | 5/5
AP: ⌂ ⌂ ⌂     | 3/3

Soryn Actions:

- Meditate - 1 AP  +1 Sanity

- Delay Action - +1 action next turn

P.U.D. Actions:

- Defend - 1 AP (block next attack)

- Delay Action - +1 action next turn

Summary:

- Soryn successfully meditates +1 Sanity

- P.U.D. initiates defensive protocol to block next attack.

- Soryn and P.U.D delay actions for next turn.

 

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Selena was not having the time of her life. The area in which she was speaking with her trusted Archwizard Nim’Ruin began to become obscured. Selena reached out only to see her hand pass through a cloud of fog. She felt Ehlan grip her arm to stay close to her and indeed it worked as Ehlan and Selena appeared somewhere different then where they were before.

“Is this an Illusion?” Ehlan said softly as she looked around.

Selena merely shook her head. “It is our next task.” Selena looked around to see that the party was clearly divided, so it made sense for her. Selena however was extremely tired, and she couldn’t quite recover from the last battle and the amount of magic that she released. Sitting down Selena began to focus her mind, but she sensed something in the background playing with her mind. It was almost like Yh’Mi had a hold on her mind and was fighting for control. Selena focused her mind again and she grew horrified as she saw her life force being drained from her. Not once, but twice. However, Selena’s meditation grew violent as her inner blood magic began to siphon off the worry from her mind. In her last attempt her mind broke through the shackles upon her sanity and a clarity descended upon her mind. Selena opened her eyes as blood dripped from her mouth. She was hurt, but at least her sanity had returned.

“Matron are you ok?” Ehlan said as she helped her leader to her feet.

“I am fine, that was harder than I expected it to be.” Selena said as she winced from the pain with in her body.

“Now we need to cross that bridge.

Ehlan shook her head. “I will wait until you start.”

Spoiler

 

Round One:

Ehlan Nichole:

HP: 5/5

Sanity: 5/5

NS: Attack, Taunt, Defend

SS: Mass Rally, Advanced Buff

Action: N/A

 

Selena Nichole:

HP: 5/5 - After Turn = 3/5 (D10 Rolled 1 twice. Stupid dice thread)

Sanity: 4/5 – After Turn = 5/5

NS: Attack, Meditate, Heal

SS: Mass healing, Area Attack, Passive Defense

Action: 3 Actions – Meditate. 2 Critical Failures and 1 Success. Took 2 Damage and gained 1

 

 

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GODS Dan hated teleporting. It was made even worse by the fact that it was obviously a cloud of weed smoke that made them teleport. This was the final confirmation:
This was some JRPG bullshit.

Now he was being crushed between loads of huge sweaty men. And if Dan were into those kinda of guys, it'd be great. And if Zeus had wings, he'd be a dragon. As things were, Dan was NOT into those kinds of guys. And so this was hinging on unbearable.
From what Dan could make out, there was a rickety rope bridge that had a plank every few feet or so that no sane person would ever use. Dan wasn't Acrophobic, but there was still no way he was taking that. He wondered if he could float everyone across with his wind powers, but decided that would be nearly impossible. The bridge went on for WAY too long, and there were too many people. Even if he did it one at a time, he'd be out of stamina about halfway through them all. And even that was assuming that the bridge stopped at the fog wall.
Oh yeah. And naturally the reporter was here. Dan hoped no one who would watch was from the Gaian Church. Or maybe he hoped they were, so he could taunt them. Ah whatever.

Dan had quickly had enough of his small frame being crushed like he was in Star Wars Episode IV, so he dissolved his body into air, and floated above the group, only reforming when he was above them. This would not only give them more room, but he wouldn't become a red stain on a bunch of different people.
Normally, it would also have the added benefit of being able to see farther. Recon and all that. But, predictably, everything was covered in fog. On a positive note, he got a lovely view of fog. Not that he WANTED a view of fog.

He sighed, and decided to wait for some people to cross. He didn't want to cause the bridge to start swaying because of his wind manipulation. He wrapped himself in wind, increasing his speed for later. This also increased his defense as it was also wind armor.

Spoiler

If this brings down a malevolent force upon us all, I apologize. I tried for days to think up a reason why Dan wouldn't try to fly, and got nothing. I am sorry T__T

Actions:
Delay action: +1 action next turn.
Buff: +1 to any future dice roll
Defend: -1 damage next turn.

I know. What a boring turn. Good job, Hollow.
Shuddup.

Oooooh, nice edit, Hollow.
No one fucking asked you.

 

Edited by HollowCipher

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"Yes sir!" Precht saluted the White Hand Knight, before returning to his cobbled-together unit, "Alright men, we're crossing the bridge! Move out!"

Though as they neared the bridge itself, Murray had a feeling that the bridge itself was not their only obstacle. His instincts were a bit better tuned than many Norkotians, especially when it came to the supernatural. Not that he was particularly sensitive to the supernatural, it was just that he'd seen a thing or too more than most, so he knew that when magic was involved, you can trust nothing

"Shea, put yerself near that there ledge and cover us. Don't cross until I give ya the order." Murray instructed.

"Gotcha." Shea nodded, happy to not have to cross.

Precht looked back at Murray, but didn't countermand the order. It seemed a sensible choice once he had a moment to consider it, even if he would not have thought to do it himself. Fidelitas had ordered them all to cross, after all, so it wouldn't have occurred to him to bother to leave one man in sniper position. Crossing the bridge was now their next task, and it was daunting to say the least.

"Alright, listen up." Murray turned and pointed at the members of his squad, as well as the engineers who had fallen into his command, "I've see what this stickin' place can do when ya split up and go it all half-cocked. Lemme tell ya, it don't work. So ya'll stick with me and the Lieutenant and do what we say, and we'll make it through. Ya got that boys and girls? Now, let's get across this pathetic excuse for a bridge and show Yh'mi that true, red-blooded, Norkic sons-of-bitches like us don't give a shit about its fancy tricks!"

The men gave a cheer of approval, as Murray turned back toward Precht and gave him a quick nod. Together they began to lead the way across, the others filing in behind as they followed Fidelitas. As it was, Murray had given his little rally as much to calm his own nerves as those of his men, since he had indeed seen things, and he knew that despair comes way to easily in a place like this. As if on cue, the board under Precht's foot suddenly gave way, causing the young officer to start to fall through. Not even wanting to give the kid a chance to embarrass himself with the girlish scream he was probably about to shriek out, Murray quickly reached forward and grabbed Precht's arm, pulling him back onto the bridge before he could fall through completely. 

"Oh Goddess... I almost bought it..." the officer gasped, panting from the scare.

"Be more careful, will ya? We don't want the men panicking behind us." Murray urged, before moving ahead of Precht to take point.

Sometimes, to do something right, you gotta do it yourself. Murray quickly caught up with the knight, and the squad made its way along. Since they were not wearing armor like some of the others, their weight was generally less stressful on the bridge, at least thus-far.

Spoiler

Name: Jack Murray and Co. (what? the squaaad is a separate entity that is elsewhere right now)

Health: 5

Sanity: 4 +1

Action 1 - Meditate: Roll = 4, success +1 to Sanity

Action 2 - Move: auto-success

Action 3 - Move: auto-success

 

Edited by Tyler

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Be it jungle, nightmare, or simple death-trap, this mysterious land was anything but quiet. The whispering wind, the creaking bridge, the bestial wails and screeches rising from far below; all merged and mingled into a strange cacophony that filled the ears and pricked at the mind.

And yet—what was this? A distant voice, a faint cry ringing out amidst all the tumult?

"Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!"

A trick of the mind, perhaps, or some overheard comment from one of the many intrepid defenders gathered on the small plateau. There one moment and gone the next, nothing more than a whisper on the wind...

...But then it came again, and louder this time.

"Great... Scott! Can you hear me down there?"

At that moment, should anyone chance to look up, they might see something small and dark hurtling down from above. Something that looked almost like... By Gaia's bountiful buttocks, was that a person?!

"LOOK OUT BELOWWWW!!!"

Goodness, it really was! A tall gentleman, dressed all in black, flailing about with one arm and clutching his hat to his head with the other, was falling from the sky. With one final bellow, he crashed down upon them, bounced off the war elephant's rump, and went flying off the edge of the plateau.

But wait! Just as he was about to tumble away into the misty abyss, the mysterious man flung out one arm and— good gods, what grip strength —grabbed onto the mesa's rocky rim! And, with a tremendous grunt of effort, hauled himself up onto its surface!

He rose, panting, and dusted himself off with a long sigh of relief. Then frowned, blinking, at his exotic surroundings, and the diverse gathering of strangers he'd nearly fallen on.

"...Where the devil am I?"

Spoiler

ACTION: Delay action. +1 ACTION next turn.

 

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Charlie had tried his hand with crazy women before. This was easy, since well…most women are crazy. Women often wonder why men say that, and we men might often wonder why women say we’re idiots. There’s a HUGE amount of merit to both statements. For instance. I’m a physicist that managed to doom himself to an eternal purgatory of omniscience that calls himself a narrator to play it down. Why? Because only a man could be dumb enough to do that. Now, if only there were a woman crazy enough to do the same thing, I’d have some company to make me feel less like constructing a device that’s capable of killing a metaphysical being that exists just outside of the temporal plane.

I’m sorry, I’m getting way off topic. And I’m sure you don’t care.

Anyway, Charlie has had many bad experiences with exceptionally crazy women. Such women usually had issues with murder or the kind of extroverted masochism and necrophilia that would go on to give Charlie nightmares for years. But because he possesses a libido that the fictional goddess Aphrodite could only dream of meeting half-way, he did away with all these warning thoughts in favor of giving Melanie a chance. She was good-looking if you didn’t stare into her crazed eyes for too long, and again, he believed that crazy women were the best in bed.

Not that he’d really know.  

So, because he thought it’d be in his best interest, he listened to her rapid fire questions and tried to think up answers to as many of them as he could. This was met with very little success, since he quickly became overwhelmed and his memory failed him. She seemed to be talking about barbecues. Charlie knew very little about cooking things that didn’t scream or beg for mercy, but he generally liked eating barbecue. He didn’t have a grill or any culinary skills, but if barbecues would get this woman in bed with him later, he’d be on the case like the blackness covering his heart.

Before he respond to her and think up a way to get a grill and…persuade one of the others to cook for them, a thick fog began to roll in. One that seemed to up the temperature. Charlie focused his mind to try and catch the source of the heat, but to no avail. That usually meant that magic was involved, and this caused him to let out an exasperated sigh. He looked around to see if any of the others were casting spells that caused the phenomena, but everyone seemed to be just as confused as he was. That meant that something bad was probably happening.

And he wouldn’t get the chance to take Melanie to a barbecue anytime soon.

Accompanying the heat the fog brought along was a smell. Many smells actually, none of which he could place a name on. They reminded him of what it smelled like when he walked into some fancy store that sold perfumes, particularly the strong ones they sold to older folk way in the back. The chances of a store being anywhere within the vicinity were astonishingly low, so the smells had to be coming from something natural, magical, or both. That was what Zack always told him. Whenever something weird was happening and normal explanations didn’t add up to a believable answer, magic was involved and they were going to have a bad day. Not that he’d ever admit that he cared enough to listen to some of the advice Zack gave him, even though the bits and pieces he retained were almost solely responsible for his survival most of the time.

Suddenly he was hearing sounds reminiscent of a forest that was heavily populated with animals of all sorts. This was strange, since Yh’mi was usually veiled with a silence that filled you with dread. The kind of dread that made you flinch or awake from a deep sleep whenever yo heard the faintest rustle in the trees. The sounds they were hearing now betrayed that dread, but somehow didn’t make him feel much better.

The temperature continued to rise as the sounds and scents permeated the once still air with a sinister sense of life. While others might begin to sweat, Charlie appreciated the temperature change. It felt maybe thirty degrees cooler than his room back in Hell’s Gate, but it was still comfortable. The only part he didn’t like was the humidity. All the water in the air would make it a little more difficult for him to create fires if the need or desire came up.

Soon the fog wafted away to reveal an area completely different than where they’d been standing before. They stood atop a rocky plateau, and a small one at that. Charlie found himself standing near the edge of it, barely able to keep himself from being accidentally pushed off by the others. He cautiously peeked over the edge to see a drop that could’ve easily spanned a hundred feet down into a murky fog. The tips of the trees below were barely visible through it, and he had a gut feeling that he absolutely did not want to be down there.

Had they been teleported someplace by the fog? Where were they now? What kind of magic were they dealing with? And most importantly…

He turned his head and scanned the crown of people he was standing with now. Melanie and some other guy that had been with her troop were still near him. In fact, Melanie seemed to not even notice what had happened around them, here bloodshot, unstable eyes still focused solely on Charlie. She was still going on about obtaining a grill, asking him more rapid fire questions that she answered herself with the same amount of speed. She kept talking to him even as one of her own tried to get her attention.

Charlie’s mouth hung slightly agape as he stared back into Melanies eyes. They look they had in them seemed to denote the kind of craziness often associated with gutting and eating people, but this mattered to him little. She was focused solely on him, her attention not wavering in the slightest. Charlie couldn’t remember the last time a woman had shown him this much attention. Most women and people in general just ignored him and wrote him off as not worthy of their time, so having someone take the energy to speak to him like this was strange. It made him feel strange. He wasn’t sure how to react. He was used to doing all the talking in a desperate and vain attempt to grasp their attention. This was new, and it felt like the circumstances were merely superficial, but he liked it.

Course no one would be able to tell with that hat shrouding his eyes.

Both he and Melanie were snapped out of their respective dazes when Hudson shouted her name. Charlie gave the man an annoyed look as the man told Melanie to break it off and regroup with the other. Melanie did so, but not before reassuring him of their little date. She didn’t have a phone, but Charlie would easily be able to signal her using smoke. After all, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Where there’s fire, there's Charlie. 

“Wow…” said Charlie, watching the woman trudge off with her superior. It was nice to feel important to someone, even if the other party was wack in the head and probably not fit for human interaction. But first things were first. He’d need to get through whatever was going on before he could set up a barbecue. Shaking his head to get himself focused, he steeled his resolve and took note of where the others were going. They were heading towards a long, old, rickety bridge that stretched from the plateau into a thick fog. It was upright, so it had to be connected to something. How it was connected to it was anyone’s guess since it looked like it was barely capable of supporting itself, let alone a platoon of merc’s. And an elephant. 

He knew that if Zack were here, he’d be shouting at everyone and telling them to stay off the bridge. He'd go on about how it wouldn't make any sense for whatever magic governed Yh'mi to provide them a way off this plateau. They needed to know where they were going first or if there was another way across. Then he'd start off on a paranoid ramble about how staying put would be the smart thing to do, so they should instead do the dumb thing to throw Yh'mi off. Regardless, he’d probably stay perched atop that plateau until he starved to death. But there was no where else to go. Even Fidelitas was trekking ahead on this bridge. On top of that, Melanie and her troop seemed to have their minds set on crossing as well. If she fell and he were nowhere near her, he’d have no chance of saving her. It seriously bothered him that he was actually thinking about the well-being of someone else as if he were some sort of protector, but he allowed exceptions to that rule when it was a decent looking woman that made him feel important.

Or she was a well-endowed Drow, but she didn’t seem to be with them anymore. In fact, many didn’t seem to be with them now. Their numbers appeared to have been cut in half. Were the others dead? People don’t just vanish. At least, not into thin air. He shook his head before adjusting his hat a little more and advancing toward the bridge. It was just like Zack always told him. Magic was magic, because it was magic. Making sense of it was a fools errand. For now, he’d have to make the best of what they had and not die. The bridge looked long though. It could be a while before they reach the end, meaning he’d have tons of time to stare at Melanie’s butt if he positioned himself well enough. 

But first, he needed to stop to spray some breath freshener into his mouth. There was no telling if he'd need to swoon on the fly. Or on the fall. But as he was reaching into his backpack to grab the spray, he started to hear something. It sounded a lot like...screaming? He looked up to see a small, dark, shape rapidly approaching them from above. He readied himself to dodge in case it were some sort of projectile, but he soon realized that it was actually just a person. 

The person in question fell hard onto the rump of the elephant before bouncing off of it and falling over the edge of the cliff. Charlie's eyes were covered, but his mouth denoted the lack of care for what he'd just seen. It had sounded like a man, so why would he care? Surely its not like he's supposed to have a desire to not watch people die. Perish the thought!

Shrugging, he resumed rummaging around in his backpack, his hands brushing passed the items he'd lifted from Sergeant Murray and Scoot. It wasn't until he heard the sound of shoes scuffing against stone did he look up. He saw a tall man dressed in black pulling himself up onto the plateau. He was also wearing an iconic hat and seemed to be generally confused. 

On 5/9/2019 at 3:20 PM, bfc said:

"...Where the devil am I?"

 

"Who the hell's this guy?" said Charlie, pointing to the man while looking at the others. He then looked back to the man, his hand beginning to shimmer with heat. "You one of them Twistlin' pieces of s***?"

 

Spoiler

Charlie Smith

HP: -----    5/5

SANITY: -----  4/5

3 Actions:  (Cause 5 HP. Yeah, das' right SCREW YOU LUCK!)

-Meditate: Success!  + 1 Sanity ( Current 5/5 Thanks to Melanie?)

- Delay Action: +1 Action to Next turn 

Abilities:

- Attack

- Heal

- Meditate

Special Skills

- Area Attack

- Counter Attack

-Advanced Buff

 

 

 

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The bridge creaked as weight was put upon it, perhaps for the first time in years. The ropes holding it together stretched taut and strained, and every little shift of weight on the part of the people attempting the crossing caused the bridge to shake or swing slightly. 

As the first intrepid souls bunched up at around the twenty foot mark, a small breeze kicked up from the east and the bridge danced slightly beneath them.

The howls and chitters and squeaks from the jungle below ceased.

Other than the protesting bridge and the faint sound of moving air, there was only tense silence, as if the wildlife was in awe that someone was going to attempt to cross. As if the monkeys and birds and insects watched with eyes wide and breath abated. 

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Ilene turned to her Shadow Guards and the war elephant after Fidelitas had departed.

"You heard him. We hold this plateau until we receive further orders or the situation changes. Take positions, keep the elephant near the turret in case we need to make a quick exit, and... keep constant vigilance."

The four Shadow Guards nodded and split off to take positions that offered good views of both the plateau and the bridge. Their weapons remained at the ready, and if something came to attack them, they would be swift to react. The elephant moved over near to the turret, which seemed to be autonomous and was scanning the area for enemies. As for Ilene, she spotted a nearby rock which she leaned again, watching those beginning to cross the bridge as she sharpened her blade.

If she didn't know any better, she'd wish for something exciting to happen, because she could already feel the monotony beginning to set in.

Spoiler

Ilene Cantu (and Shadow Guards)

HP: 5/5

Sanity: 5/5

Normal skills: Attack, Defend, Buff

Special Skills: Distract (4 uses), Advanced Buff (3 uses)

Distract- When used, draws an enemy's attention away so that its first action has to be used to respond to the distraction.

Actions:

  1. Defend (Avoid one attack next turn)
  2. Buff (+1 to future dice roll)
  3. Action banked (+1 action next turn)

... As these things tended to go, as soon as Ilene thought that, that was the moment when a particular dashing and mysterious man decided to fall from the sky and land directly on Surus' rump! The elephant trumpeted angrily at the sudden impact on pain, and started running around the plateau. Ilene sighed deeply and shouted at the elephant's driver.

"Barca! Get that elephant under control now, or I will throw you off of this plateau myself!"

Barca, Surus' driver, caught his second wind and went from being only able to keep Surus from charging straight off of the plateau to steadily regaining control. The archers on the platform atop the elephant's back were being buffeted around the whole time, but... eh, they'd be alright, even if one of them did get an arrow stuck in an unfortunate place. Soon enough, the elephant was back under control, and the archers could finally stand up again.

By this time, the man had managed to clamber back onto the plateau. One of the mercenaries who was still on the plateau (the loud-mouthed and perverted one named Charlie, if Ilene recalled correctly) shouted asking who the hell he was, and if he was a Twistling. Ilene didn't think they had any way to tell, but falling from the sky was a rather odd way to make an entry, if not suspicious. Ilene let out a whistle as a signal to her forces.

The four Shadow Guards raised their armbows toward the man from their scattered positions. Surus turned to the side to give the ten archers atop the platform a clear line of fire, and all of them had arrows nocked and at the ready. Furthermore, they had readied a supply of both normal and enchanted arrows, tailored to the threats they could expect out of Yh'mi. They would likely still find use even in this mysterious place. Ilene strode forward until she stood a few feet away from the man, and raised her curved sword toward him.

"Twistlings typically don't fall from the sky. And as for you... welcome to the Unknown Plateau. But all the same, I don't recall seeing you in the camp, and your manner of entry is very... interesting. Tell me who you are, and if you'll consent to a test my Shadow Guards and I have been devising in order to try and detect Twistlings. To explain, it's a poison that will start turning your skin green if you're human, and should cause uncontrollable spasms in a Twistling. Haven't been able to test it out yet, however. I also have an antidote at the ready, of course."

She didn't mention that the 'antidote' would be a sword thrust to the head in the case that he was a Twistling, but she thought that one just went without saying.

Spoiler

Surus (war elephant)

HP: 5/5

Sanity: 5/5

Normal skills: Attack, Buff, Meditate

Special Skills: Trample (4 uses), Area Attack (3 uses)

Trample- An attack that deals 1 damage and knocks the enemy to the ground. Any one who is knocked down needs to take 1 action to stand up. Can only be used on non-bosses and anything that has a physical body. 

Actions:

  1. Buff x2 (+2 to future dice roll)
  2. Action banked (+1 action next turn)

@zackrobbman @bfc

Edited by EpicRome23

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“Twistlin?” The stranger frowned back at Charlie, scratching his beard. “Doesn't ring any bells, I’m afraid. Though I did know a Mr. Tristain, once. Lovely fellow, damned shame about that whole incident with the hydra…”

He trailed off as over a dozen bows and one sword were pointed his way.

Well then. Seemed he’d have to save the hydra story for another time… that is, if he could discover a means of escaping this mysterious jungle alive!

“Sirs, Ma’am,” he began, doffing his hat and taking a bow, “Baron Augustus Von Hensch, at your service! I haven’t the foggiest idea what a Twistling may be, but if I needs must convince you of my good intentions, then so be it!” He strode forwards, extending one gloved hand before him. “Hand over your vile concoction, now. And please, someone explain to me… how in Odin’s name did you manage to get a damn elephant up here?”

@EpicRome23@zackrobbman

Spoiler

ACTION: Defend. Avoid one attack next turn.

ACTION: Delay action. +1 ACTION next turn.

 

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