A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Raleigh NC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Let's Play! Steampunk

    Hello and welcome to this Let's Play! of A Study in Steampunk: Choice by Gaslight , by Heather Albano.

    This walkthrough is conducted with the express permission of the publisher.

    Spoiler: Introduction with picture
    Show




    Steam-powered mechs meet forbidden sorcery! Inspired by Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, Jekyll & Hyde, and Jack the Ripper, "A Study in Steampunk: Choice by Gaslight" is an epic 277,000-word interactive mystery novel by Heather Albano, co-author of "Choice of Broadsides," "Choice of Zombies," and "Choice of Romance: Affairs of the Court." Your choices control the story. It's entirely text-based--without graphics or sound effects--and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

    The game is afoot! In a world of gaslit streets, mysteriously long-lived foreign nobles, and master criminals, will you defend your Empire from spies or overthrow it from within? Advocate science and reason or learn forbidden magic? Romance men, women, both, or neither? End as a healer, a freedom fighter, a vigilante, or a traitor?

    The fate of the Empire is in your hands!


    Rules

    1) Anyone may join , or leave, at any time.
    2) We will read one or more passages of the book. At the conclusion of each session, we will vote
    on the choices to be made. The winning choices will be used to select the ongoing path as we continue the story. All votes will be highlighted in blue. Please highlight your vote in red to distinguish it from discussion.
    3) In the event of a tie , the tie will be resolved via www.random.org using a 1d100 role. Each choice will be rolled against in strict order of the first vote. For instance, if there are three choices (A,B,C), and the first vote is for C while the second is for A, the roll-off will be done in the strict order C, A, B.
    4) All votes will be concluded Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 5:30 PM eastern time. Update will be published as soon thereafter as practicable but no later than 11:59PM of the same day.


    Character sheet

    Name: Dr. John H. Watson
    Orientation: Heterosexual
    Romantic status: Widowed
    Athleticism: 25 (Skill for accomplishing feats of physical strength, endurance, and fighting with fists).
    Charisma: 93 (Skill for convincing other people to do what you wish, and for swaying crowds).
    Healing: 88(Skill to heal people using "light" -- that is, magic).
    Marksmanship: 75 (Skill with a pistol or rifle).
    Medicine: 66 (Your skill with scientific medicine, as opposed to magic).
    Perception: 82 (Your skill as a detective; the ability to observe things and recognize their importance).
    Compassionate: 75 Pragmatic: 25 (Your willingness to act with your heart or your head; the two skills are opposed. An increase in pragmatism means a decrease in compassion and vice versa).
    Conventional: 25 Unconventional: 75(Opposed skills; the degree to which you conform to Victorian society's expectations. A conventional player will fit in well with established power structures, while unconventional will fit in better with subversive, magical, or just plain weird groups).
    Stealthy: 70 Quick: 30 (Opposed skills: You can be sneaky OR fast ).

    All skills are on a range of 0 - 100. Consider your skills when attempting tasks that may test them.

    Achievements
    One Man's Life / Save the life of an injured comrade. (Saved James Pierce).
    Wolf In Sheep's Clothing / Identify the Dirigible Saboteur
    Mid-air Repair / Repaired the Sabotaged Dirigible.
    Eliminating the Impossible/Identify the saboteur's final target.
    A Most Valuable Institution / Used the Press to Capture a Criminal.
    Shades of Grey / Allowed Alexandria Townsend to escape.
    Daring Escape / Rescued yourself and Finch from Colonel Fernley.
    Hearth and Home / Married the love of your life
    Fencing Salon / Secured the attention of the Prince's mistress.
    Primum Non Nocere / Lost fewer than 200 lives to the cholera epidemic
    Uncompromising / Chose to die rather than kill through light-eating
    Healer / Became a Sun Temple Healer
    Building Bridges / Built a bridge between the Sun Temple and the conventional world.
    Taggart's Mythmaker / Used fiction to promote Christopher Taggart's ends.
    The Empire's Man / Returned to work for Arthur Woodward.
    Steam & Sorcery / Brought down the East End Ripper with no injury to yourself or your companions.
    Infiltration / Infiltrated the Resistance.
    The Bard's Weapon / Foiled the rising through the power of story.
    The Watcher on the Walls / Foiled the Vlaski invasion.
    Balance of Power: Balanced the Government and Resistance's excesses.

    Decision log:
    1. Silver tongue.
    2. Split the difference
    3-5: John H. Watson
    6. crack shot
    7. It angers me when light-eating is equated with sun-worship.
    8. Yes. It's the best chance I have of saving him. And no one is here to see, after all.
    9. I keep trying
    9)…I have never been so thankful to receive a telegram.
    9a)The sort of challenging work Arthur Woodward provides will surely distract me from the lingering effects of nightmare.
    10)I used to be quite the athlete, but the injury to my leg was severe. I will walk with a limp for the rest of my life.
    11) Healing magic is well enough for emergencies, but I wouldn't pursue training in this area even if I could. Modern medicine is enough for me.
    12) We were not running. We were spilling blood. The brutal waste of it all sickens me.
    13)There's no point in trying to hide the signs of sleeplessness. Finch's penetrating eyes see through all attempts at artifice; it's what makes him so valuable to Woodward.
    14)"A Sun Temple cultist convinced him"? I look for signs this young man is a Sun Temple cultist himself.
    15) Finch, he is standing here in front of us.
    16) Sincere compassion.
    17) Yes, but the why matters - sincere kindness.
    18) 'm not sure this is quite as black and white as Finch thinks it is. Surely Easterly had some responsibility to his fiancée too
    19) A tendril of panic slides through my belly.
    20) #I speak to Easterly. "Your life has no value to you. What does?"
    21) Stealthy pursuit of Dimitri.
    22) I aim my revolver at him.
    23) For a moment panic rises in my throat, the handprint on Finch's face merging with the remembered handprint on Pierce's3
    24) Even knowing I have no time to waste, I spend a few precious seconds listening hard, attempting to gather additional data.
    25) I thank him for the warning, clasp his hand in farewell, and continue my pursuit in the direction he indicated. He'll be all right until I get back.
    26) I raise my own revolver and drop him where he stands before he can fire.
    27) As she describes it, I'm starting to hope the same thing.
    28)During my time in Woodward's service, I have become accustomed to blending into whatever
    29)Yes, I find myself very much wanting to get to know her better. Maybe she's not a blazing beauty, but there's something about her…
    30) I offer her my arm
    31) I ask Grace to dance.
    32)I personally have never employed such a cheap tactic even with a barmaid; it would be inappropriate and unkind. I am certainly not doing it now.
    33)I profusely apologize, explaining about the leg in a few words.
    34)As a medical man, I think both theories overlook an important factor. The severe famine two generations ago is still impacting the country's ability to function.
    35)The ship's officers are drilled in procedures for accidents of this kind, and it is not my place to speak for them. I immediately begin to work my way down the incline and through the double doors, following Finch in his attempt to find the source of the problem.
    36)I try to pause long enough to answer, because she deserves kindness, but I dare not stay too long. I have to get to the engine room.
    36A)"Stay calm, madam. This is frightening, but I'm sure we're in no real danger. Do what the stewards tell you, and all should be well."
    37) "I could," you say slowly, "but the risk to his health makes it extremely inadvisable."
    37A) #I'm a doctor, I can't kill this man, etc..

    38) Military stupidity

    39) re-attach the regulator
    40) #I half-close my eyes and visualize the engineer's head wound. Perhaps I will be able to conclude something about the person who inflicted it–height or dominant hand, for instance.

    41) #"Before we waste time here, let's see if the oil droplets continue further on. If not, we can double back."

    42) #"If you can help us find the saboteur, everyone aboard including your son will be safe."

    43) #The University Student.

    44) #"There's nothing to worry about. I've been working with my friend and the ship's officers to find the part taken from the engine, and we've nearly done it."

    45)I slip through the crowd to approach him unobtrusively. If he is focused on Finch, he might not notice me flanking.

    46) I run after him!
    47) Persuade the crewman.

    48: #I shift gears fast. "We're about to hit the water hard. We need to construct a shelter."

    49B)Alexandra Townsend, backflipping over the rail, then looking back to wave goodbye. I can't help admiring that sort of fearlessness even in an enemy–and what did she mean by "Free Mercia"? Learn more about her.

    followed by: 49A)Grace Chandler, steadily loading lifeboats, her left hand clutching nervously at her skirt but her face completely calm.

    followed by: 49A)Yes.

    50)
    #…go to Woodward's office. If something's afoot, he'll know what.

    51) # Using mechs on a battlefield is all well and good, but I dislike the idea of battlefield equipment marching through my city.

    52) Interview the witnesses.

    53) See Mr. Merrill

    54) Circle ' round the desk.

    55) Waylay a worker.

    56) Investigate the Temple

    58) Investigate alone.

    59) I look from the temple that once caged the serfs to the factories that cage their workers now. I'm not sure there's a halfpenny worth of difference between them.

    60) …and very like my landlady's pageboy conducting visitors up the stairs to my sitting-room.

    61) I speak in a simple and friendly manner. I may not exactly be a friend, but I am open to the possibility (or I would not have come alone), and in the meantime, one catches more flies with honey.

    62) #"It's not a blessing. It's been scientifically proven to be a hereditary trait–like height, or hair color, or susceptibility to some diseases. It runs in bloodlines."

    63) "But healers don't till their own fields or defend their own borders or bake their own bread. Their followers do those things for them. Aren't your hands taking what is not yours, then?"

    64) I'm not sure. I need more information. "Through what methods?" I ask.

    65) I'm interested in more than the physical health of the children.

    66) I want to see their inner temple, the place where they perform their rituals.

    67) That first story wasn't quite accurate, was it?

    68) Look at the scene of the crime.
    69) They had nothing to do with it.
    70) Lure them with a false story in the paper.
    70A) Choose a door.
    71) I have a duty
    72) Mouth go but keep revolver trained on her for appearance sake.
    73) Home-grown spider
    74) Tea with Miss Chandler
    75) No, it's not. Modern medicine is the finest advance the new century has brought us; I'm glad you see its value as I do.
    76) Finch drawing gentle fingers across my cheek.
    76A) Scrapbook (but show both)
    77) Convince him he has the wrong man.
    78) A laborer injured by machinery.
    79) Answer in character.
    80) It's difficult to listen to, but perhaps just as well. If Finch draws all the ill treatment, it at least leaves me whole and able to rescue us both


    81) I need more information before I can form a plan. I use all my senses in an effort to discover something about this prison.

    81)I match question for question. "What's the Professor's real name?
    "
    82)"How'd a—an honorable—soldier—get involved—in this?"

    83)I need to take control of this situation. I need to pretend to break before I actually do—but I need to let it go on a little longer so the feigned surrender is believable.

    84)If I can delay being restrained until Finch wakes up, it might be closer to a fair fight. I do my best to impersonate a man babbling secrets out of fear, and play for time. [Charisma]

    85) The pistol.
    86) The pistol again.
    87) "I can't leave you here; it isn't safe. We need to get word of this to Woodward as soon as possible. On your feet, soldier."

    88)I catch at her hands to keep her from going anywhere. "Grace. Oh, love. I thought I was never going to see you again."
    89)"Oddly enough, those East End adventures seem much less appealing than they once did. I was thinking it might be time to give up the police work, settle down and open a practice. If I did that…how might you feel about being a doctor's wife?"
    90) …think that is an excellent point. I fully intend to keep my hand in after my marriage, at least on the information-gathering side.

    91)…fulfilling. I feel like I'm taking deep breaths for the first time in a long time.

    92) I enthusiastically agree. This is a wonderful idea.

    93) Nothing.
    94) Neither love of music nor the soprano's notoriety has attracted me. I am here for another reason altogether.
    95B) Woodward's making a mountain out of a molehill.
    96)That "exotic" style of beauty—the gold and alabaster style common in Vlask—has never appealed to me. But I have to admit she is a compelling actress.
    Singing. Meh.
    97)Woodward was worried about this? We must have achieved our goals and brought peace to the Empire, if so small a piece of nonsense causes such great concern.
    Yeah, last time I checked, wasn't there a hostile foreign nation and a home-grown rebellion going on?
    98)Wait a minute–this doesn't make any sense. I know this family, and they've never displayed any signs of being sun-touched.

    99) Take Jed and the wine to Christopher Taggert.
    100) Use charm to persuade Jed.
    101) Have a hospital colleague analyze the wine.
    102) I shrug a little. "At an assembly like this, one cannot help but think of the faces not present. A bit of melancholy is part of the day."
    103)
    We spilled oceans of blood, and I still don't know what we bought with it.

    104)
    Nothing would please me more—but Vlask is not the model we should be using. "Allowing light-eater aristocrats to feast upon helpless serfs" is not the same thing as "becoming an Empire of both sun-worshippers and Rationalists."

    105)
    If the situation were any less dire, I would be annoyed that Woodward still thinks it appropriate to summon me.

    106) He did what to the newspapers? I'm a little taken aback by the offhand way he uttered those words. I mean, we customarily hide details of Vlaski plots, but this seems a little different…

    107) I'll ask her if she is willing, but the decision is entirely hers.

    108) The reaction I am having to the incense is a perfectly natural one for a veteran. But Mr. Westlake of the colOnies never served on the warfront, so I have to grit my teeth and push the reaction away.

    109)

    She indicated she was singing this song to prove a point. So she is either trying to lull us
    into thinking well of her homeland or trying to provoke an argument, and either way, I can't be
    bothered humoring her with a response. (69)

    109)I feel a slow burn of anger. She seems to have left out the part where the boyar is more or less immortal, and why. Nor does the song tell of the fires burning in captured cities. (45)

    110) I challenge her about the morality of using art to manipulate. Surely only that of which one is ashamed must be slipped in unawares; anything honorable can be spoken of openly.

    111) Absolutely not. There's no need. Grace has it handled.

    112) I have to tone down everything I want to say, because Finch is there, and my enthusiasm would embarrass all three of us. I content myself with, "I am so proud of you."

    113) Nervous, but resolute.

    114)"You look beautiful," I whisper back. "You always look beautiful, of course, but—"

    115
    #I automatically catalog the tactical opportunities presented by this combination of shadow and light.

    116#Of course they are both light-eaters. I expected this. I note it and move on.

    117 #My attention is so entirely consumed by my mission that the surroundings are bothering me much less than I would have thought.

    118)I study the body language displayed by the Prince and the opera singer, hoping for further insight regarding their relationship.

    119)I intend to dance with my wife once, before embarking upon my investigation.

    119A)I cut directly to the heart of the matter and ask Madame Albescu to dance.

    120) I just need to keep talking with her. Everything she says or doesn't say gives me more information.


    121) A marvelous idea.

    122)I don't plan to touch her, but I very likely won't have to. With any luck, she'll be observed stealing away with me and her reputation will suffer for it.

    123)It has always frustrated me that Vlaskesari artists tend to fixate upon this one small part of the story.

    124) I turn to face her, dislodging her hand, and pay her a compliment.

    125)The Prince touched her bare skin with his bare hand. Surely…surely it's not possible that he…?

    126)Suddenly, I see the entire plot. We must get a warning to Woodward—and we must leave as casually as possible, so the Vlaskesari don't realize we know.

    127)"Violence against his person ought to be the last thing we try. Instead let someone explain to him the Vlaski plot as we understand it, and reassure him that the effects can be reversed."

    128)"I know what the people of Vlask have made you believe about yourself, but it is false. They have turned you into a light-eater by adding a certain chemical to your wine."

    129) "No light-eater stands before me, Your Royal Highness. This is something they did to you, and it is something we can undo."

    130) # I get up as quietly as possible and edge step by step toward the cabin door, Finch at my side.

    131) #"Never mind the lockpicks!" I snap to Finch, and take aim at the lock."

    132) #I position myself between the Prince and his steward.

    133) #At this distance, the only weapon worth using is words. If I can taunt the steward sufficiently to make him forget himself, he might give us an opening.

    134) I fumble for my revolver. I must have dropped it when I fell.

    135) I croak out, "Finch?"—hoping against hope.

    136) I am too tired to feel anything approaching anger.

    137) It is unimportant how the injury was received. I am known as the doctor to whom anyone can go for help.

    138) #I felt sick when I looked at the pictures. Every Mercian should be ashamed of this. But I can't believe Prime Minister Whitefield authorized it.

    139) Say nothing 85
    say "thank you" 14

    140) #Worried about the tensions simmering beneath the surface of the East End.

    141) #I must discover where he has spent the last few days, where he could have contracted this. If the source of the infection is not found promptly, Kingsford could be facing an epidemic.

    142) "I can see why you would think it a curse, but it isn't. Cholera really does act this way." 96



    143) I go with David. His brother's household is a few streets over from the bulk of the cholera cases. If the disease has traveled that far, I need to know.

    144) I am coming to understand why they call it a curse.

    145) Yes. Determining the origin of the contagion will save the most lives overall. I devote all my attention to the larger problem.

    146) I do my best not to listen. The best thing I can do for all of them is complete this map as quickly as possible.

    146A)The odds of the baby surviving are low in any case, and there is little I can do to improve them. To benefit the greatest number of people, I have to finish the map.

    147) I'm not sure they'll all talk to me. But Alexandra Townsend owes me a favor. I ask for her help in acquiring the data.

    148) I'm not sure I can trust Woodward to slice through government bureaucracy fast enough—and each day's delay means more death. I inform Alexandra Townsend, instead.

    149)All will be well. There isn't a cure, but nursing matters a great deal, and I know what I'm doing. It will be fine. It will.

    150) I send to the hospital, asking my colleagues for assistance.

    151) I frantically flip through my medical textbooks, looking for anything that might help.

    152) Neither. He's apt to go try to minister to some other patient, and probably kill them. I lock him in my spare bedroom, where he can do no one any harm.

    153) It doesn't matter that she would not consent. She never has to know. This situation is so perilous that I must do everything I can, and healing is something I can do.

    154) No, I can't do this! I shake off the hideous temptation. Perhaps Taggart can succeed where I have failed.

    155 A.) "Would it have worked? The healing. If I'd brought you in time."

    156) I feel neither guilt nor fury–nor, for that matter, anything else at all. I feel as though I am encased in ice.

    157)] We've broken the back of the epidemic, but it isn't quite over. There are still a few cholera cases to be treated in poor hovels such as this. 89


    158) I expect these are desperate rather than evil men. I am certain I can talk them out of this, if I can only stay alive long enough to do so.

    159)No. I will not become like them. Not even to save my own life. (What good is my life to me, anyhow?)

    160) # Stammering a little from the closeness of that shave, I tell her I was called out to see a patient.

    161) #"You saved my life. Thank you."

    162) #I decline, but I pull out a matchbox and light hers.

    163) Children died under the feet of a mech in Dunleitir. A cholera epidemic just ripped through the laborer quarter because no one could be bothered to properly maintain a cesspool. Yes, it's time I took a hand in ending these horrors.

    164) I appreciate Taggart's circumspection. Not one sentence in this letter would compromise my reputation if someone else saw it.
    circumspection - 13
    craftiness - 12

    165) I am tired of my life having so little meaning. I want to feel alive again. Perhaps joining the temple is the way to do that.

    166) "I have been attempting to combat it from here, by encouraging peaceful behavior.
    encourage peaceful behavior - 95
    come into this - 74

    167) The idea is unexpected. I will need to spend time getting used to it before I can ever think about seriously entertaining it.


    168)
    #I accept Taggart's offer and join the healers.

    169)
    # It all feels dark and empty, within and without.

    170)"Are we in a hurry?"

    171)"Have I done something to offend you, Healer?"

    172) The uniform chant makes me twitch. They all recite by rote, not varying or questioning or thinking for themselves.

    173) The expression on the kneeling man's face almost brings tears to my eyes. By giving of himself here, he has become part of the hands that save a life later. He knows he has taken part in something holy.

    174) I came here to be part of this. I want to be part of this. I stand.

    175) I heal the plant as much as possible.

    176) I attempt to obey and drain just a little.

    177)"Can I hurt it by giving it too much?"

    178)I know how to do this.

    Vote 179)
    I've grown more comfortable saying the words. It's not the mindless repetition some call it—they serve as a touchstone, a way to achieve a desired mindset.

    Vote 180) I go donate.

    Vote 181 )"I feel like I'm drowning. They need so much, and we can't possibly provide it…"

    Vote 182)
    Neither modern medicine nor healing is sufficient on its own to address this need. We should be using a combination of the two


    183) "But it could be what we are about. It's a skill I have that I could teach others. Why should it be different for my hands to heal with medicines and bandages instead of directly?""

    184) "#Of course, the Labor Reform Bill. I should have guessed it would interest the temple folk. I've been following the articles in The Times for weeks. "

    185) #Ah, here we are. Treating the symptoms of the disease is all very well, but I have been eager to attack the underlying cause.

    186) # Yes, of course.

    187) #He's right—a steady hand on the rudder is the only thing that will ever turn the ship. This is what we can do.

    188) #To hell with that. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I face Morris, answering his questions before Chase can speak.

    189) Chase, Elaine, and I can risk capture to heal, but we should get Alice out of here with Barlow to guard her. An old lady has no business in a prison cell.

    190:
    Easy, lad, easy! I was an officer in the Imperial Army once; I'm not about to undermine your authority—" 73

    191: I offer healing, quietly, to the old man and his companion.

    192: I ask how in the world he escaped arrest.

    193: I find myself impatient with his rhetoric. It's easy to talk about tearing it down and building something better, but Free Mercia doesn't have the leverage to do it.

    194: "Yes, of course."

    195: At least the irregular hours of the work give me time for my more important responsibilities–and Taggart would say, living the same life as those one seeks to aid is the first step in understanding what they need.

    196: I feel as though I have swallowed ice. A light-eater, hunting in Kingsford.

    Well, probably. Possibly it could be someone else, disguising him-/herself as a light-eater.


    197: "If there's a light-eater roaming around out there, we have to find a way to stop him."

    198: I go take a closer look at the most recent scene of the crime. Perhaps I'll spot something.

    199: 199)I tell the truth. I used to be a police surgeon, and I thought I might find a clue to the killer

    200) I expect Woodward's men are trying very hard, and I know he doesn't recruit fools. That gives me a chilling assessment of the power of this enemy

    201) "I want to help," I tell Taggart. "I can't stay quiet while such evil is taking place out there. There must be something I can do."

    202) "But there are other ways to kill a light-eater than by light-eating! You may not have skills with other weapons, but I do."

    203) I let him do it, reaching back and making it a sort of embrace.

    204) "You've been alive all this time. Did Woodward know?"

    205) # I say, "You've let me believe you were dead for three years, and you want me to explain myself?"

    206) #"Go on. Tell me."

    207) #"And then what?

    208) #"And I'll wager you enjoyed that, playing hide-and-hunt in a submersible.

    209) "What we do here isn't nonsense. I can't leave.
    210) # "Yes, 'we.' And it isn't nonsense."

    210A) #"Healing can cure what modern medicine cannot. I've been shut off from my talent for too long. Now I can help people in ways I never could before."

    211) #"I'm learning to be both. There's no reason one person can't be both."

    212) #"This is an enormous decision. I can't make it immediately. I need time to think."
    212A) #I need to talk this out with Taggart.
    213) "I'm going back.


    214) # If I hadn't been assigned, I would have volunteered. I've been wanting to enact this very strategy.

    215) #"Come in."

    216) #I nod.

    217) Friendly, but a little reserved.

    218) #"Oh, good thought."


    219) #I linger another few moments, trying to gather more information.

    220) I pretend that I have fallen for the ruse.

    221) I step back again, forcing a chuckle. "Are you so dangerous, then?"

    222) I catch hold of his wrists, careful to touch sleeve rather than skin, and hold them as if playfully.

    222A) "Stand still," I order in my best parade-ground inflection, adding, "I also like obedience. It's my pennies buying the gin; we do it my way."

    222AC) I can't stop instinctively flinching away.


    223) I don't need reinforcements! Before the Ripper's hands can touch my bare skin, I pull out my revolver and shoot.

    224) # I take over with my revolver, keeping the Ripper off balance while Finch reloads his weapon.

    225) #I am certainly grateful to have the assistance, but I am still uncomfortable with the idea of mechs patrolling Kingsford streets.

    226) # I wring it hard and bring my other hand to squeeze his shoulder. The gesture will not attract undue attention in a moment like this.

    227) "We've always been an effective team. I have no doubt we will be again once we get accustomed to each other once more."

    228) "It's too late for that. Choices have consequences. I can't trust you as I once did."


    229) Conflicted. I'm certainly not keen to see a Rising, but I have wondered at times if anything less would actually change the dubious practices of the government currently in power…

    230) a funeral bell.

    231) #…feeling confused. This strategy doesn't seem consistent with what I understand of Free Mercia's principles.

    232) #"Yes, of course I'll go."

    233) "Atoning for past mistakes."

    234) "Less of one than you might think, sir. We've been on the same side for a long time. I've just given up trying to fix things from within."

    235) "But I'd heard you were planning a Rising, sir. Is that not a pebble?"

    236) I study her more carefully.

    237) Calmly.

    238) # "Then was it you who invented Alexandra's boots?"

    239: # I am on my feet so as not to stand out in the crowd, but my mind is completely clear, my attention sharply focused.

    240) Nothing; I'm not about to draw attention to myself.

    241) I can't imagine Alexandra Townsend supporting Vlaski troops on Mercian soil. If she knew, she might act to stop it. I talk to Alexandra privately, after the meeting has broken up.

    241A) Woodward said the fate of the Empire depends on stopping this rising.

    242) Ask Jem.

    243) I'll keep watch: she's more agile than I am

    244) The stories we tell ourselves shape our perception of the world. And I am a storyteller. I can make them believe this war is already lost.

    245) I reassure her that there is nothing to worry about, even though few of Callahan's people were ever trained as soldiers.
    246) I ask him if he is worried over that rumor that the other cities do not intend to support the Rising after all.

    247 I'm thinking of Grace. I think she would understand.

    248 I need to warn Taggart.

    The End

    BEGIN!




    Quote Originally Posted by Steampunk
    The air outside shakes with the sound of cannon, and the ground shakes with the heavy footfalls of steam-powered Vlaski and Mercian mechs. Within the prison walls, you can hear shouting voices and running feet, but none have reached this corridor. Yet.

    You stagger toward daylight as fast as you can, Pierce's arm draped heavily over your shoulders. He was the only prisoner still alive to rescue; the other captured soldiers were beyond your help, their handprint-marked bodies left in heaps like so much rubbish.

    It is the year 1881, and you are an officer in the Medical Corps of the Mercian Imperial Army, currently stationed at the very edges of the Empire, where you hold the line against encroaching Vlaskesari.

    All of Her Majesty's officers are skilled and well-trained men, of course–but only the true elite were assigned to this daring prison camp rescue.

    Vote 1: So tell us–why are you among them? What skill do you possess that makes you extraordinary?

    * I hold the record in my unit for fast, efficient, effective surgery under fire.

    * Though I am part of the Medical Corps, my medical skill is far eclipsed by my marksmanship. I'm a crack shot, if I say it myself.

    * I'm quite the athlete–I've played rugby and boxed ever since I was a lad. My unusual endurance and strength serve me well in hand to hand combat, as well as in the often grueling conditions of the warfront.

    * I'm known among my colleagues for my silver tongue. I can soothe frightened patients, bluff at the card table, intimidate young soldiers, and weave a good tale with equal ease.


    So, that first vote will set some of our initial skills. What else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steampunk
    There's only a little farther to go now. Your companions retreated (as per orders) when the sounds of combat outside indicated the mission had gone pear-shaped, but you couldn't bear to leave without checking the last row of cells. And a good thing you did, or you never would have found Pierce. (And you'll remember the smell of that room for a long time, the way it brought sickness to the back of your throat; it was a fight to keep your hands steady enough to free him from his restraints–)

    You emerge into daylight, and Pierce gives a sob of relief…and then you realize you have walked into the middle of a mech firefight. Thundering metal giants, Vlaski and Mercian, hurl enormous cannonballs at each other.


    Vote 2:

    #I retreat back into the prison, Pierce's cry of despair notwithstanding. Place of horrors or not, its strong stone walls will protect the two of us from the immediate danger.

    #I risk a bold shot, waving to draw the attention of the Mercian mech pilot in the hope that he will move to protect us.

    #I try to split the difference, looking about for a place to hide that will keep us safe while the battle rages but still keep us close enough to be easily rescued.



    Whatever you decide to do ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Steampunk
    The ground-shaking stomp of a mech foot negates your plan. The ground heaves under your feet, Pierce's arm slips from your shoulders as you fall, and you hear him cry out as he tumbles beside you down a slope you hadn't had time to notice.

    Blinking dirt out of your eyes, you catch a blurred, tilted vision of the Vlaski mech stomping along the bank above. Steam pours from its ears like fog–the stokers inside must be working double-time. The head swivels, blank eyes passing over your position, but the gigantic feet do not stop their forward progress. Perhaps the gunner inside can't see you amidst all the boulders.

    Or perhaps he has a more attractive target to pursue. Craning your head, you see outlined against the distant mountains the corresponding Mercian mech, the one in which you arrived to execute this smash-and-grab raid and which was intended to be your transportation back to the Mercian lines. Its cannon-arm is up and firing, but it is retreating. As you watch, the Vlaski mech's pursuit quickens into a jog.

    Damnation. Your position has just become "behind enemy lines."
    Whoops.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steampunk
    You roll over to check on Pierce. His uniform is torn in many places, revealing the livid red handprints and crusted-over knife slashes that mottle otherwise sickly-pale skin. He could hardly stand when you pulled him out of the cell, and the tumble down the slope could have done him no good at all, but amazingly, his eyes blink open. They regard you in an uncertain, unfocused sort of way.

    "How many fingers?" you ask, holding up your hand.

    "Two…?" he rasps. "…maybe three."

    "Remember your name?"

    Pierce smiles just a little. "Pierce," he mumbles, "James S." He looks up at you, trying for the old cheeky grin, and it's pretty close to the bravest thing you've ever seen. "Remember yours?"

    Of course you remember yours; you haven't been captured and tortured. But you suppose you might as well humor him.


    Vote 3: (What is your last name?)

    #Parker.
    #Dawson.
    #Mitchell.
    #Watson.
    #Tucker
    #Murray.
    #Something else. [Your choice]


    And one more:


    Vote 4: (And your given name?)

    #Charles.
    #David.
    #Robert.
    #John.
    #Hamish.
    #Leonard.
    #Something else.


    Well, that's quite enough votes for now. Get them in and we'll see how we get out of this mess .. on Monday, 19 Jun. Please have your votes in by 5:30PM Eastern daylight time. If less than three votes have been cast by that time voting will be extended to Wednesday, 19 Jul , 5:30 PM.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2017-02-17 at 06:58 PM.
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    1) I'm known among my colleagues for my silver tongue. I can soothe frightened patients, bluff at the card table, intimidate young soldiers, and weave a good tale with equal ease.
    2) I try to split the difference, looking about for a place to hide that will keep us safe while the battle rages but still keep us close enough to be easily rescued.
    3 and 4) David Murray.

    Alright! Let's get this steampunk party started!
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    • I'm known among my colleagues for my silver tongue. I can soothe frightened patients, bluff at the card table, intimidate young soldiers, and weave a good tale with equal ease.
    • I retreat back into the prison, Pierce's cry of despair notwithstanding. Place of horrors or not, its strong stone walls will protect the two of us from the immediate danger.
    • Leonard Watson
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    We only have two votes, so as promised voting will be extended to Wednesday, June 22, 5:30 PM.

    Oh, if anyone's interested, we DO have one more vote which I missed..


    Vote 5: And your middle initial?
    (Choose one letter from A-Z inclusive).


    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    "Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid."

    -Valery Legasov in Chernobyl

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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    5) R. C'mon people, join in the fun!
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    5) D.

    (Black Socks, I think it's when Pendell present the choices that the color is blue, your votes in response, you are supposed to color in red)
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    YAY! Steampunk!

    1.
    * I'm known among my colleagues for my silver tongue. I can soothe frightened patients, bluff at the card table, intimidate young soldiers, and weave a good tale with equal ease.

    2.
    #I try to split the difference, looking about for a place to hide that will keep us safe while the battle rages but still keep us close enough to be easily rescued.

    3.,4. & 5.
    Dr. John H. Watson


    (you see what i did there?)
    Last edited by The-lost-Byte; 2016-06-22 at 02:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The-lost-Byte View Post
    3.,4. & 5.
    Dr. John H. Watson

    (you see what i did there?)
    Oh, I see.... wait a minute, wasn't 'A Study in Scarlet' the title of the first Sherlock Holmes novel?
    (one google search later)
    Yes it was!
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    3.,4. & 5.
    Dr. John H. Watson
    I'd say it's a name name that hit right holmes
    (It was either that or 'no s***, Sherlock.

    But let's face it, w totaly going to end making our character a detective no matter what is name en up being, arn't we ? )
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    Quote Originally Posted by smuchmuch View Post
    I'd say it's a name name that hit right holmes
    (It was either that or 'no s***, Sherlock.

    But let's face it, w totaly going to end making our character a detective no matter what is name en up being, arn't we ? )
    Is that a challenge? You shall see the true might of my puns! In, fact here's one right now:
    .....ok, I can't think of one. BUT JUST YOU WAIT! I shall prove myself to be the pun-master!
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    Quote Originally Posted by smuchmuch
    (Black Socks, I think it's when Pendell present the choices that the color is blue, your votes in response, you are supposed to color in red)
    .

    Correct. It allows me to easily see what votes are versus discussion. I haven't been really enforcing the rule, because this is supposed to be fun. But I reserve the right to do so in future if it starts becoming a real problem. For now, think of it as a courtesy.

    Okay, so our votes are:

    * I'm known among my colleagues for my silver tongue. I can soothe frightened patients, bluff at the card table, intimidate young soldiers, and weave a good tale with equal ease.

    #I try to split the difference, looking about for a place to hide that will keep us safe while the battle rages but still keep us close enough to be easily rescued.

    First names - rolling
    David 34
    Leonard 4
    John 91.

    Name selected: John

    Last name - Watson

    Middle Initial
    R. 22
    D. 41
    H. 98

    Middle Initial: H.

    Evidently randomella has a sense of humor

    So .. we have a silver tongue!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steampunk
    The ability to bluff and intimidate is often useful when inside enemy encampments. Indeed, it has already proven useful once today. Without it, you could never have gotten that light-eater to loose your comrade from the rescue party. You had no other weapon but your voice and your face, and yet you made the Vlaskesar believe there was someone about to attack him from behind. You saved your comrade's life.
    Charisma: 75
    We attempt to split the difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steampunk
    You spot a ravine and stumble toward it. You are almost there when the ground-shaking stomp of a mech foot quickens your pace for you. The ground heaves under your feet, Pierce's arm slips from your shoulders as you fall, and you hear him cry out as he tumbles down the slope beside you.

    Blinking dirt out of your eyes, you catch a blurred, tilted vision of the Vlaski mech stomping along the bank above. Steam pours from its ears like fog–the stokers inside must be working double-time. The head swivels, blank eyes passing over your position, but the gigantic feet do not stop their forward progress. Perhaps the gunner inside can't see you amidst all the boulders.

    Or perhaps he has a more attractive target to pursue. Craning your head, you see outlined against the distant mountains the corresponding Mercian mech, the one in which you arrived to execute this smash-and-grab raid and which was intended to be your transportation back to the Mercian lines. Its cannon-arm is up and firing, but it is retreating. As you watch, the Vlaski mech's pursuit quickens into a jog.

    Damnation. Your position has just become "behind enemy lines."
    We give our name.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steampunk
    …you suppose you might as well humor him. "Watson, John H." You crane your head to see over the side of the ravine. It's hard to tell how far away the battle has carried the two mechs. All you can see is barren, rocky wasteland stretching in every direction. Even before the devastation wreaked by the steam-driven war machinery of two empires, the tiny mountain country of Goráska was a place no one in their right mind would want. Your Empire and the Vlaski Empire fight over it only because it is the last barrier between them.

    You look back down in time to catch the expression on Pierce's face, and move hastily to reassure him. "The lads will come right back for us."

    "'s all right…if they don't." Pierce's eyes drift closed. He looks almost peaceful. "At least I'm…dying out here…instead of in there."

    "You're not about to die," you chide him. "You're with me; you've nothing to worry over."

    He smiles a little. "Of course. John Watson, silver-tongued rascal–"

    Vote 6:
    #And crack shot," I interrupt him. It's true; even though it's not my foremost skill, I have often been commended for my marksmanship.

    #"And first-class doctor," I interrupt him. "I can easily keep you alive until they come back for us." It's not an idle boast; it may not be my foremost skill, but I did take honors in medicine at university.

    #"I'm also stronger than I look," I remind him. "I can carry you a great distance if that's what we have to do." Though it isn't my foremost skill, I am far stronger and fitter than most people expect.


    So now that we have a strongest skill (persuasion) we are choosing our SECOND strongest skill.

    After we make that choice, it's time for backstory!

    Quote Originally Posted by Choice by gaslight
    Pierce's brief smile fades. "I wasn't…afraid, you know. When they…first came for me. The light-eaters. I…thought I…knew…because we had a healer, you know. In the village…when I was small."

    Most villages did back in those days; some do still. The religions of the two empires have the same root, after all, though Mercia broke the power of its Sun Temples centuries ago, and the Vlaskesari allowed theirs to evolve into the current monstrosity, where light-eating is considered the sacred privilege of the sun-touched instead of a perversion and an abomination. (You think of the pile of handprint-stained bodies, and bile rises in the back of your throat.)

    Under control of Vlaski aristocrats, Vlaski serfs are still stuck in superstitious dark ages where they are trained to see the sun-touched as blessed and deserving of reverence. Even (especially?) when the sun-touched drain the life from their bodies.

    Mercia, in contrast, has entered an age of reason (despite the words for old concepts, like "hell" and "damnation," still lingering in the language as cursewords) and the educated no longer subscribe to the nonsense believed by medieval ancestors.

    Still, a form of sun-worship does still flourish in some of the more backward colonies, and can even be found among the lower classes and country folk of Mercia itself. Some people consider it harmless. Others claim it is a smokescreen for the same light-eating horrors that go on in Vlaski lands.

    "Some of the villagers said…our healer…was a light-eater…that they…all were," Pierce says. "But that was absurd…she was good and kind…and still they said it…so I wasn't afraid…when the Vlaskesari came to drag me from my cell." He pauses. One hand drifts to touch the blood-red handprint on his chest, where a light-eater sucked his life through his skin to nourish itself. "I should have been afraid."



    Vote 7:

    #Yes, he should have been. The best thing Mercia ever did was break the power of the Sun Temples. Every sun-touched person has the capacity to become a light-eater.


    #It angers me when light-eating is equated with sun-worship. My grandmother was sun-touched, and she was nothing like the monsters who tortured good people to death in the building behind me.


    #It sickens me when light-eating is equated with sun-worship. I might have been a sun-worshipper myself, even a healer, in some earlier age.



    Quote Originally Posted by Gaslight
    Before you can decide if you want to share any of these thoughts with Pierce, or how to phrase them, artillery roars almost overhead and you jump nearly out of your skin. You look up in alarm just in time to see a hail of bullets hit the lip of the ravine. Boulders pour down like a waterfall, too fast for you to scramble out of the way or to shield Pierce–and the last thing you see before your vision goes black is the cascade of stone striking his fragile form.

    You claw your way back to consciousness in slow, painful stages.

    Finally you drag your eyes open.

    The rockslide did not bury you. You've been hurt by falling rocks–badly; you can feel blood seeping from your wounds to soak into the hard ground below–but at least you are alive.

    So is Pierce, but only just. Blood spurts from a deep wound in his shoulder–damnation, spurts. You scramble drunkenly toward him to apply pressure. Your hand is shaking as you clamp down, your head is spinning from your own blood loss, and "very bad" doesn't even begin to describe this situation.

    You stare at your hand, pressing down on Pierce's shoulder with all the force you can muster. It lies tan against Pierce's white skin, surrounded by other handprints of red (but you're nothing like them). Light-eaters draw life from their victims through the palms of their hands, and careless ones leave handprints behind, dark red against Pierce's skin the same way your hand is dark brown–

    You whisper to yourself I am nothing like them, but you might be. Your gran said you were. I'm nothing like them beats like a drum in your head. But maybe you are, and maybe that's the way to save something from this disaster.

    The same hands that take life can give it–the sun-touched, who can take another person's inner light to sustain themselves, can also give of their own light to one in need.

    When you were a lad, all you knew was that some people in the village called your gran witch and worse things, and acted afraid of her, while others brought all their problems to her for solving. You were too young to understand why until the day she took you along when she went to heal a playmate of yours from pneumonia.

    She held the child's hands, then had you hold them, telling you that you could feel the fire inside a person if you concentrated hard enough. And that once you felt it, you could fan it into flame even if it was dwindled almost to ash, and once the flame was burning, then the healing would begin.

    "You've got the old gift," she told you. "For all your hair's dark like your da's, you've got a bit of my blood, and the gift runs in the blood."

    Your friend did indeed begin to recover at that moment, but your father was furious when he learned of your involvement. He warned you that you must never do such a thing again, or let anyone know you could.

    You never have. Even the people who know what your gran did in the sickroom don't know you had a hand in it. You've never let on to anyone the secret of the blood that might run in your veins. You've never used it; you've never been tempted to use it.

    But…Pierce's face is dead-white, his blood gushing between your fingers. Your friend is dying. You're losing blood fast and are well on the way to unconsciousness yourself. And for the first time since you left home to study medicine, you find yourself tempted to try healing magic. You're nothing like the light-eaters, of course you're not, but you're bleeding to death, and so is Pierce, and this might be the last choice you ever make. Maybe you can use your gran's "old gift" healing to save his life.

    Vote 8: Do you?

    #Yes. It's the best chance I have of saving him. And no one is here to see, after all.


    #Yes. It will balance what was done to him by those who share my inherited talent.


    #No. I can't be sure it will work. I will put my faith in modern medicine and make Pierce a tourniquet while I am still conscious.


    #No. I am a man of science, and I refuse to rely on that superstitious nonsense. I will make a tourniquet.


    #No, no, never. I will not be in any way like my enemies across the battlefield. I fumble to make a tourniquet.


    #No. I can hear artillery coming closer, but I don't know whose. I won't save him just so he can be captured again and tormented again. I take my hand away from the wound and let the blood flow.




    OPTIONAL: The next paragraph ONLY comes into play if we chose one of the "yes" options in vote 8. If we choose "no", we'll skip this bit. But I'm putting it here anyway because I refuse to take up a whole session on just this one vote. So , here it is!

    IF WE CHOOSE TO HEAL HIM...

    Quote Originally Posted by Choice by gaslight
    You look down at your hand clamped over Pierce's bleeding shoulder, and try to remember what it was your gran told you to do. Close your eyes. Reach out not with your hand but with the flame inside yourself–

    You feel ridiculous.

    Vote 8A:

    #That's because this is ridiculous. I'm a doctor. I start looking for a stick to make a tourniquet.

    #I keep trying.




    So .. that's it for today! Get your vote in by Friday, 24 Jun, 5:30PM EST to see if Pierce and Watson escape with their lives!

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2016-06-22 at 05:40 PM.
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    - And crack shot," I interrupt him. It's true; even though it's not my foremost skill, I have often been commended for my marksmanship.
    We need some fighting skill.
    - It angers me when light-eating is equated with sun-worship. My grandmother was sun-touched, and she was nothing like the monsters who tortured good people to death in the building behind me.
    Let's have some internal conflict....
    - Yes. It's the best chance I have of saving him. And no one is here to see, after all.
    - I keep trying.

    Let's do some healing, sun! (see that? I've already started the puns...)
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    Very well; these are our choices.

    6. crack shot
    7. It angers me when light-eating is equated with sun-worship.
    8. Yes. It's the best chance I have of saving him. And no one is here to see, after all.
    9. I keep trying

    Only one vote -- at least it made the counting easy!


    Quote Originally Posted by Choice by Gaslight
    And crack shot," I interrupt him. It's true; even though it's not my foremost skill, I have often been commended for my marksmanship.
    Marksmanship: 62

    Very well, we discuss the fact that he was tortured to death by light eaters, and he equates light-eating with sun worship.

    Light-eating is a monstrous practice, loathsome to any decent person no matter their faith or the blood in their veins. It unfairly tarnishes all sun-worshippers by association.

    You are not a sun-worshipper yourself, of course; you are a Rationalist, like all educated men. But your own grandmother was a healer, and there is some evidence you might be sun-touched like she was—and you can't tell anyone either of those things, because they will assume you are like the monsters from Vlask. It's as much as your career is worth, to let that secret get out.
    Conventional: 43
    Unconventional: 57


    Next we get buried under a rock slide and we decide to use healing to attempt to save Pierce, and keep trying when we stumble at first.

    And with a suddenness that feels like falling off a cliff, you know when you have succeeded. The moment of connection is like nothing you've ever experienced. It makes you think of warm summer rain and throat-catching music and sun-ripened blackberries.

    What follows really is a lot like reviving a dying flame in a hearth. You imagine yourself fanning it, coaxing it, feeding it little bits of twigs, though you are physically doing none of these things. It takes a great deal of effort–you feel increasingly lightheaded–but you don't dare stop.
    Healing: 62
    Conventional: 37
    Unconventional: 63

    Your vision is darkening around the edges.

    With the last of your energy, you try to push Pierce's now-bright inner flame to the direction of his shoulder–maybe that will stop the bleeding from the inside?–but before you know if you have succeeded, artillery roars almost beside you, snapping you back to the real world.

    The blank-eyed face of a mech looms over you. You can't tell whose Empire it serves. The mech's cannon-arm swivels, and there's nothing you can do now for Pierce or yourself; you can't even move enough to flinch. Bullets rain all around you and pummel you back into darkness–
    Uh-oh.

    –and you gasp awake, heart hammering, in your own bed in Kingsford, Mercia's bustling capital city.

    Nightmare. It was a nightmare.

    Damned bloody nightmares.

    Damned, bloody, realistic nightmares. You'd swear your ears are ringing with the sound of cannon. But it's 1885–1885, not 1881–and the cannons have been silent for nearly three years.

    You slump against the pillows, sweat running down your back.
    Okay, so that was a flash back to our army experiences four years ago. It impacted our stats because, although it was a dream, John Watson really did do those things.


    On to ...



    Quote Originally Posted by Gaslight

    You slowly become aware that you were awoken by a sound. Your flatmate is knocking at your bedroom door.

    It's early for him to be awake, and your stomach knots. He is your friend as well as your colleague, and he knows about your nightmares—but you still hope like hell you weren't shouting in your sleep.

    "Watson?" he calls, and his voice sounds perfectly normal, so very likely you weren't, thank mercy for small favors. "The game's afoot!"

    The phrase makes you twitch a smile despite the chill sweat drying on your skin. It's not Finch's usual manner of speaking–he can be a proud and arrogant sort when he chooses, but he's not so artificially pretentious as to customarily pepper his casual speech with iambic pentameter from a play three centuries old. But he used the quotation once to describe Woodward's telegrams, and it seemed to fit, and in the intervening two years, it has evolved into something between a standing joke and a code phrase.

    It is the year 1885, and you are an honorably discharged veteran of Her Imperial Majesty's Army, working as a police surgeon.

    On paper. In practice, your role is far more interesting.

    Though the ink of the peace treaty has long since dried, the war between the Empires of Mercia and Vlask continues in subtle ways. And you are a secret soldier for your country, as you were an open one when the war was fought on an open battlefield. You serve on Arthur Woodward's unofficial spy force, tasked with detecting and foiling Vlaski plots before they are able to pose real danger to the Empire or its subjects.

    A summons from Woodward, therefore, is no trivial matter. If you're hearing from him, the game is well and truly afoot.

    "I've sent the pageboy for a cab," Finch adds through the door. "We should have one in five minutes."

    "I'll be ready in ten." You heave yourself out of bed.


    You are thinking…

    #…I have never been so thankful to receive a telegram.

    .....Vote 9A [if this option is selected]:
    .....Why?

    ..........#The sort of challenging work Arthur Woodward provides will surely distract me from the lingering effects of nightmare.

    ..........#The Vlaskesari of my memories just bested me in the nightmare realm–but I am about to face them in the real world, and we'll see who comes out on top then.

    ..........#Protecting the Empire as Woodward's operative is what gives my life meaning. That's enough to offset the occasional bad night.


    #…Woodward's timing is terrible.


    #…I can't do this today. I can't.



    Quote Originally Posted by Choice by Gaslight
    Grumbling at the cold and your aching head, you pull off your nightshirt and reach for your clothing. You catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, and your wound seems unusually vivid and prominent today–not that it needed to do anything further to call attention to itself; the fierce ache was accomplishing that quite nicely on its own.

    Vote 10:

    #The injury to my right hand makes it good for most things–even shooting–but I am no longer able to perform delicate procedures.

    #I used to be quite the athlete, but the injury to my leg was severe. I will walk with a limp for the rest of my life.



    Now that we've selected our greatest strength, now we must select a weakness that we will have to compensate for during the course of the game.

    You try to be philosophical about it; philosophy comes easier some mornings than others. You are well aware that it could have been much worse. It's always worse in your dreams.

    In your dreams, your final adventure with Pierce usually concludes in a hail of bullets.

    At least the real story did not end quite so grimly. You did save his life with your unauthorized healing magic. No one knows that–you were found with your hand clamped over his injured shoulder, and your rescuers assumed you had thereby slowed the bleeding enough to keep him alive until they found the two of you.
    Achievement: One Man's Life / Save the life of an injured comrade.

    Saved James Pierce.


    Vote 11:
    #Quite likely, that's all it was. I can't be sure I did anything else.
    #In my heart, I know I healed him. The knowledge terrifies me.
    #In my heart, I know I healed him, and I so wish I had a mentor to train me in this art.
    #Healing magic is well enough for emergencies, but I wouldn't pursue training in this area even if I could. Modern medicine is enough for me.



    You and Pierce were both injured severely enough to be invalided home. Nine months later, peace was declared—peace without victory for either side, and a border that scarcely moved from its ante bellum position.


    Vote 12: How do you feel about running so hard just to stand still?

    #We were not running. We were spilling blood. The brutal waste of it all sickens me.
    #At least we prevented the Vlaskesari from encroaching upon our land. I cling to that thought.
    #I struggle between pride at what we accomplished and horror at what it cost.
    #I work with Woodward to nip the next war in the bud, so no other young men will have to endure what my comrades and I did.


    Quote Originally Posted by Choice By Gaslight
    You dress as quickly as you can—trousers, shirt, waistcoat, coat, tie, watch on a chain. You tuck your old service revolver into your pocket; you never leave for a Woodward mission without it.

    Your flatmate Garrett Finch is waiting for you by the door. Despite his overcoat's frayed cuffs—his newspaper photographer's income is no more generous than your police surgeon's salary—his tall form somehow manages to look elegant anyhow.


    Vote 13:
    #I exert myself to betray no sign of my restless night. I hate appearing weak before him.
    #There's no point in trying to hide the signs of sleeplessness. Finch's penetrating eyes see through all attempts at artifice; it's what makes him so valuable to Woodward.
    #There's no point in trying to hide, and I don't wish to anyhow. We're close friends.


    Quote Originally Posted by Choice By Gaslight
    Nine minutes after he knocked on your door, the pair of you are rattling through the just-awakening streets in a hansom cab. You watch the fruit sellers setting up their stands and the newsagents opening their shutters and the serving girls scrubbing their masters's front steps. They don't know it, but Arthur Woodward and his operatives stand between them and harm.

    Woodward claims to be nothing more than a minor government official, but that is manifestly untrue. For one thing, no minor government functionary could afford suits so precisely tailored. Moreover, though Woodward's office is at the end of a rabbit warren of passageways in a nondescript building, he somehow rates a polite secretary to receive his visitors.

    Today Woodward meets you in his secretary's outer office. He has seated his considerable bulk in the chair in which visitors customarily wait before he summons them to enter, his eyes half-closed in a way that might suggest drowsiness if you didn't know better. His secretary Miss Lawrence, neat in a shirtwaist and dark blue skirt, is already busy at her typewriter. Over their shoulders, in Woodward's inner office, you see an unhappy-looking young man seated in a chair with his hands shackled behind him and his ankles chained to the chair legs. "What do we have here?" you ask Woodward.

    "At a guess," Finch drawls from behind you, "the theft of something crucial to national security by the government clerk you see before you. His first foray into treason, if I'm not much mistaken, probably because he was blackmailed, but possibly because a Sun Temple cultist convinced him to do it–it would be hard to say without more information."

    You are all accustomed to Finch's deductive leaps, but even for him that's extraordinary. You, Woodward, and Miss Lawrence all stare.

    Finch shrugs. "The shiny marks on the cuffs from the pressure of writing declare he works in an office, and his age and shabby attire suggest clerk rather than a more senior position. He is clearly in a great deal of trouble; it is clearly something of national importance or Woodward would not be involved; it might be sabotage, but the position of clerk rather suggests opportunities for theft…"

    Vote 14:
    #As he talks, I look for the clues he lists. Yes, right, the cuffs, I should have caught that.
    #I wince just a little at the cool didactic tone.
    #"A Sun Temple cultist convinced him"? I look for signs this young man is a Sun Temple cultist himself.



    I think that's a good place to stop for now. A vote or two more than normal, but I wanted to push past the character development and end at a point where the next session would have some action. Come back Monday, June 27, 5:30 PM, as we interrogate this clerk to find out what his crime is, and how we can thwart whatever dastardly plot he is a part of.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2016-06-24 at 05:34 PM.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
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    BlueWizardGirl

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    9)…I have never been so thankful to receive a telegram.
    9a)The sort of challenging work Arthur Woodward provides will surely distract me from the lingering effects of nightmare.
    10)I used to be quite the athlete, but the injury to my leg was severe. I will walk with a limp for the rest of my life.

    Who needs athletics when we're a crack shot?
    11)In my heart, I know I healed him, and I so wish I had a mentor to train me in this art.
    Medicine is lame.... magic is where it's at!
    12)I work with Woodward to nip the next war in the bud, so no other young men will have to endure what my comrades and I did.
    13)There's no point in trying to hide the signs of sleeplessness. Finch's penetrating eyes see through all attempts at artifice; it's what makes him so valuable to Woodward.

    Finch seems like a Sherlock Holmes type of guy.... I don't think it's a coincidence that we could name our character John Watson.
    14)As he talks, I look for the clues he lists. Yes, right, the cuffs, I should have caught that.
    We are not going to be useless at detective work.

    Kind of disappointed to see that I was the only one who voted last time.... wait a minute, if this keeps up, I will have total control over Watson! MUHUHAHAHA!
    Last edited by Black Socks; 2016-06-24 at 07:20 PM.
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  15. - Top - End - #15
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    Seriously? No one else is voting?
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  16. - Top - End - #16
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    It's the weekend; there are fewer people around at that time in any event.

    Regardless, so long as there is even one player the game will continue on its schedule. As long as there's even one person enjoying this , I'm going to keep at it. If I cared about popularity I'd be on twitter!

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    "Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid."

    -Valery Legasov in Chernobyl

  17. - Top - End - #17
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    9)…I have never been so thankful to receive a telegram.
    9a)The sort of challenging work Arthur Woodward provides will surely distract me from the lingering effects of nightmare.


    10)I used to be quite the athlete, but the injury to my leg was severe. I will walk with a limp for the rest of my life.

    War scarred us in more way than one

    11) Healing magic is well enough for emergencies, but I wouldn't pursue training in this area even if I could. Modern medicine is enough for me.
    Besides it's way moe intresting.

    12) We were not running. We were spilling blood. The brutal waste of it all sickens me.

    13) I exert myself to betray no sign of my restless night. I hate appearing weak before him.

    We have our pride and that's our second deady flaw

    14)"A Sun Temple cultist convinced him"? I look for signs this young man is a Sun Temple cultist himself.
    Being able to read people is a good skill for a detective to have. (and for that mater for a doctor too). Besides everyone knows these cultist are easy to spot by their ... Suny disposition
    Last edited by smuchmuch; 2016-06-27 at 04:37 AM.
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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    Being able to read people is a good skill for a detective to have. (and for that mater for a doctor too). Besides everyone knows these cultist are easy to spot by their ... Suny disposition
    And I appreciate your attempts to ... lighten the mood .

    Be advised this will probably be a short update because there are a bunch of branches in the interrogation; still I'll do what I can. Thanks for the votes!

    9)…I have never been so thankful to receive a telegram.

    9a)The sort of challenging work Arthur Woodward provides will surely distract me from the lingering effects of nightmare.

    10)I used to be quite the athlete, but the injury to my leg was severe. I will walk with a limp for the rest of my life.

    11)In my heart, I know I healed him, and I so wish I had a mentor to train me in this art.

    ROLL ... 54

    11) Healing magic is well enough for emergencies, but I wouldn't pursue training in this area even if I could. Modern medicine is enough for me.

    ROLL ... 93.

    SELECTED: "Healing magic is well enough for in emergencies".

    12)I work with Woodward to nip the next war in the bud, so no other young men will have to endure what my comrades and I did.

    ROLL... 18

    12) We were not running. We were spilling blood. The brutal waste of it all sickens me.

    ROLL... 40

    SELECTED: The brutal wastes sickens us.

    13)There's no point in trying to hide the signs of sleeplessness. Finch's penetrating eyes see through all attempts at artifice; it's what makes him so valuable to Woodward.

    ROLL: 38

    13) I exert myself to betray no sign of my restless night. I hate appearing weak before him.

    ROLL: 2

    SELECTED: No point in pretending.

    14)As he talks, I look for the clues he lists. Yes, right, the cuffs, I should have caught that.

    ROLL: 8

    14)"A Sun Temple cultist convinced him"? I look for signs this young man is a Sun Temple cultist himself.

    ROLL: 61

    So we're going to look for signs the young man is a cultist.


    Let's play it out!


    First ... we're glad to receive the telegram, it's challenging work and helps us forget the nightmares. And we're wounded in the shoulder.

    Despite your determination to approach the day with a positive attitude, your knees shake a little as your feet hit the floor. Your ears are certainly not ringing with the sound of artillery, because that is not medically possible, but it is true that your head aches from sleeplessness and your old injury from the cold air. You grit your teeth and unbutton your nightshirt, tossing one exasperated glare at the wound when you catch sight of it in the mirror.


    Once you played rugby and boxed and rode horses and tramped up every hill in northern Mercia–but those days are forever behind you.

    You try to be philosophical about it; philosophy comes easier some mornings than others. You are well aware that it could have been much worse. It's always worse in your dreams.

    In your dreams, your final adventure with Pierce usually concludes in a hail of bullets.

    At least the real story did not end quite so grimly. You did save his life with your unauthorized healing magic. No one knows that–you were found with your hand clamped over his injured shoulder, and your rescuers assumed you had thereby slowed the bleeding enough to keep him alive until they found the two of you.

    Athleticism:25

    Healing is all very well for emergencies, but I prefer modern medicine.

    Medicine: 55

    You and Pierce were both injured severely enough to be invalided home. Nine months later, peace was declared—peace without victory for either side, and a border that scarcely moved from its ante bellum position.
    We were not running, we were spilling blood, and it sickened me.

    Conventional: 34 Unconventional: 66

    Okay, we dress in front of Finch, and there's no point in trying to hide our tiredness from him.

    He glances at you once, then again more sharply, clearly reading the signs of nightmare from your face despite your attempts to put it behind you.

    But that's just Finch's way—you're more than used to it by now—and at least he says nothing of it.

    Nine minutes after he knocked on your door, the pair of you are rattling through the just-awakening streets in a hansom cab. You watch the fruit sellers setting up their stands and the newsagents opening their shutters and the serving girls scrubbing their masters's front steps. They don't know it, but Arthur Woodward and his operatives stand between them and harm.
    Perception: 57

    So we find the clerk shackled hand and foot.

    "At a guess," Finch drawls from behind you, "the theft of something crucial to national security by the government clerk you see before you. His first foray into treason, if I'm not much mistaken, probably because he was blackmailed, but possibly because a Sun Temple cultist convinced him to do it–it would be hard to say without more information."

    You are all accustomed to Finch's deductive leaps, but even for him that's extraordinary. You, Woodward, and Miss Lawrence all stare.

    Finch shrugs. "The shiny marks on the cuffs from the pressure of writing declare he works in an office, and his age and shabby attire suggest clerk rather than a more senior position. He is clearly in a great deal of trouble; it is clearly something of national importance or Woodward would not be involved; it might be sabotage, but the position of clerk rather suggests opportunities for theft…"
    We look for clues that he is a sun cultist himself.

    Not every gentleman of your class would recognize them, but you have a somewhat unusual background for a gentleman of your class. Because of your grandmother, you are able to recognize several subtle signs of those who worship the Sun.

    In this case, the sign is not even all that subtle. The angle is wrong to be able to tell for certain, but you wonder if the medallion that glints on his watch-chain might be sun-shaped.
    Conventional: 29 Unconventional: 71


    And now we move into new territory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaslight
    Finch continues, "If he were a regular informant, paid to act as a mole by the Vlaski government, he would be able to afford a frock coat without frayed cuffs and boots without patches on the soles; so it is more likely this is his maiden voyage into treason. The question of blackmail versus indoctrination is harder to resolve. That charm on his watch-chain indicates he's a secret sun-worshipper–one not very good at keeping secrets, to judge by the visibility of the charm; if I can observe it so can someone else, making blackmail a possibility. On the other hand, most of those temples are hotbeds of sedition, so he may have been convinced rather than coerced. For that matter, we have no way of knowing how many temples are run by actual light-eaters, and we have seen that those upon whom light-eaters routinely feed can develop an odd sort of loyalty not unlike the manner in which prisoners sometimes come to relate to their torturers–"

    Finch's parlor trick is abruptly much less amusing. For a moment you feel as though the dark shadows of Pierce's prison cell have settled around you, as though you cannot draw a deep breath.

    Vote 15:

    #I set my teeth and clench one fist tight enough to drive the nails into the palm. I am not about to let Woodward see how the memories still affect me.

    #"Finch," I interrupt with an effort at nonchalance. "You do realize he is sitting right here and we can resolve those questions by more direct means?"

    #I can't manage nonchalance. "Finch."


    After we resolve that, Woodward speaks up as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaslight
    "Indeed," Woodward agrees, heaves himself to his feet, and turns to lead you into his office.
    Behind his back, Finch touches your arm, lightning-quick. When you glance at him, he mouths,
    "I apologize."

    You have just an instant to give him a little "Don't worry about it" shake of the head.
    You know he was only speaking thoughtlessly, too caught up in the mechanics of deduction
    to remember the personal part of the equation.
    Now that's all right, what will Woodward say?


    Quote Originally Posted by Gaslight
    "Now then," Woodward says with drawling irony, "may I present the 'Honorable' George Easterly."

    The youth winces at his tone.

    "As Mr. Finch observes," Woodward continues, "Mr. Easterly has been employed as a junior clerk in the
    Naval Department of Her Imperial Majesty's War Office–a position of great delicacy and responsibility,
    which he has proven himself unfit to hold. Last night he allowed a Vlaski agent working in
    Kingsford to examine and copy the plans for the Nigel-Trevelyan Glass."

    "The Nigel-Trevelyan–?" Finch repeats. "I have never heard of it."

    "Of course you have not," Woodward snaps; "it was among the War Office's most closely-guarded
    secrets. This miserable child was entrusted with one of only three keys!"

    You study Easterly.

    Vote 16:

    #I fight down the panic that rises in my chest. If he is a light-eater, chaining his hands
    behind his back makes us safe enough.

    #For the moment, I am reserving judgment. He might be a light-eater; he might only be a
    superstitious fool who follows them.

    #A man well-educated enough to be a clerk is hardly the usual sort to become part of the
    Sun Temple cult. If he's somehow been duped into joining, it is surely our duty to rescue him.

    #A wave of pity washes through me, though I don't dare show it. Not all sun-worshippers are
    light-eaters; not all capable of becoming light-eaters harm others with their talent.



    Quote Originally Posted by Gaslight
    Woodward continues, "He apparently intended to return the plans to their safe before the opening of
    business this morning, but fortunately for us, the senior clerk had come early to the office and
    had already missed the plans, which were promptly found in Easterly's pocket."

    Finch turns to Easterly. "Might there be some more complex explanation?"

    Easterly licks his lips. "No, sir. It is what it appeared to be. I have already confessed."

    Vote 17:

    #"Yes," I say gently, "but the 'why' matters." I feel sincere compassion
    toward the unfortunate young man.


    #"Yes," I say gently, "but the 'why' matters." Feigning compassion is the
    best way to get him to talk.


    #I speak coldly. "Yes, but I want to know why." I have never been so sincerely outraged in my life.

    #I speak coldly. "Yes, but I want to know why." Feigning outrage is the best way to get him to talk.



    So going by the book we're deciding whether we're going to use Fear Up/Intimidation or Fear Down/Incentive. Which is likely to work better depends, of course, on the individual. So what's your read of Easterly? Will compassion shake his tongue loose, or some gut-wrenching fear? And are we sincere in conveying our emotion, or merely playing a part?

    ETA: The next votes are due Wednesday, 30 Jun, 5:30PM Eastern Time

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2016-06-28 at 07:11 AM.
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    #"Finch," I interrupt with an effort at nonchalance. "You do realize he is sitting right here and we can resolve those questions by more direct means?"

    #A wave of pity washes through me, though I don't dare show it. Not all sun-worshippers are
    light-eaters; not all capable of becoming light-eaters harm others with their talent.

    #"Yes," I say gently, "but the 'why' matters." I feel sincere compassion
    toward the unfortunate young man.


    Normaly I generaly push for more ruthless choices but here given the choices that were made earlier, I think the compassion would be genuine
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    15)"Finch," I interrupt with an effort at nonchalance. "You do realize he is sitting right here and we can resolve those questions by more direct means?"
    This really is just like Sherlock Holmes.
    16)A man well-educated enough to be a clerk is hardly the usual sort to become part of the Sun Temple cult. If he's somehow been duped into joining, it is surely our duty to rescue him.
    Maybe we can make him.... see the light
    17)I speak coldly. "Yes, but I want to know why." Feigning outrage is the best way to get him to talk.
    My impression of this guy is that fear would better motivate him, but like smuchmuch said, Watson would be more on the compassion side.
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  21. - Top - End - #21
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Thanks for the votes. You might say it illuminates the path we must take.


    Unfortunately, I lost the exact random numbers rolled due to a glitch, but here are the result:

    15) "Finch, he is standing in front of us".
    16) Sincere compassion.
    17) "But the why matters" - sincere.

    Let's apply those decisions.

    "Finch," I interrupt with an effort at nonchalance. "You do realize he is sitting right here
    and we can resolve those questions by more direct means?"

    Finch's eyes snap to your face, and a barely perceptible wince tightens the corner of his mouth–so subtle that no one but you could have caught it. "Yes, of course," he says at once, sounding embarrassed at having run on so long. "Practical, as always. Let's get on with it."

    "Indeed," Woodward agrees, heaves himself to his feet, and turns to lead you into his office.
    Behind his back, Finch touches your arm, lightning-quick. When you glance at him, he mouths,
    "I apologize."

    You have just an instant to give him a little "Don't worry about it" shake of the head.
    You know he was only speaking thoughtlessly, too caught up in the mechanics of deduction
    to remember the personal part of the equation.
    Charisma: 78. (Exercised because we did not show our true emotions).

    Next, a wave of pity washes over us for the young man.

    A wave of pity washes through me, though I don't dare show it. Not all sun-worshippers are
    light-eaters; not all capable of becoming light-eaters harm others with their talent.

    You would know, after all.
    Conventional: 25 Unconventional: 75

    Finally, when he confesses we tell him sincerely that the "why" matters.

    You take a chair, swing it around, and sit backwards with your arms crossed over the top. "How about it, lad? What's the rest of the story?"

    Easterly looks at you with surprise and faint hope.

    Out of the corner of your eye, you catch Finch's look of surprise. "Watson, you cannot possibly pity this traitor?"

    "Quiet, Finch," you say without looking away from the boy. "I think there's more going on here."

    "There are quicker ways to find out what we need to know," Finch snarls. "If he thinks so little of his country, he doesn't deserve our–"

    "It wasn't that," the boy bursts out. He looks from Finch to you, then settles on you. "I…was being blackmailed. I…my fiancée…she…" He swallows. "She's a sun-worshipper. She…persuaded me…I went with her to a meeting…and I…they're good folk, sir. Nothing like what…what people say of them. I…"

    Woodward rubs his forehead. "You joined their cult."

    "It's not a cult!" Easterly starts to protest, then sighs. "Yes, I did. And…a man with a Vlaski accent stopped me as I walked home from work one night. He said…if I did not help him, he would see to it my superiors discovered my conversion…and sun-worshippers may not hold public office or any other position of responsibility…and there was my fiancée to think of—we'd be ostracized as well as penniless. It was my whole life. What else could I do?"

    Compassion: 57 Pragmatic: 43
    Conventional: 22 Unconventional: 78


    18. "You are a public servant," Finch says in a voice dripping with contempt. "You could have put the welfare of your Empire above your personal affairs."

    # I couldn't agree more.

    # I don't think Finch spoke strongly enough. I'd lay money on Easterly having stronger connections to Vlask than he admits. He's a sun-worshipper, after all.

    # I'm not sure this is quite as black and white as Finch thinks it is. Surely Easterly had some responsibility to his fiancée too?


    That's simply a reaction, so the story continues afterwards.

    Finch turns to Woodward. "What is this Nigel-Trevelyan Glass?"

    "The Nigel-Trevelyan Glass translates human-produced electromagnetic waves into a medium
    perceptible by the human eye," Woodward says. "To anyone wearing goggles or spectacles made
    from this glass, light-eaters will show up as surrounded by an aura of blood red while the rest
    of the population appears to be surrounded by an aura of golden-white."

    "It will become possible," Finch concludes slowly, "to see at a glance the light-eaters that walk
    among us."

    Woodward nods tightly. "As matters stand today, we can't even tell a likely suspect on sight, unless he
    happens to have red hair or openly identify with the cult." He tosses a contemptuous look at Easterly.
    "This Glass will rewrite all the rules by which this war is fought. You see what is at stake here.
    We cannot let those plans into enemy hands, or the Vlaskesari will begin at once to engineer
    a defense."

    Vote 19: It will become possible to see at a glance the light-eaters that walk among us.

    #We'd be safe then. Nothing like that Vlaski prison camp could ever happen within Mercian borders if we knew who they were.

    #We'd be able to see the light-eaters who walk among us or the sun-touched who walk among us? It seems unjust to target the latter group before they do something wrong…

    #A tendril of panic slides through my belly. Would they be able to tell the blood I bear, or might bear? Would the law apply to someone like me, who carries the blood but isn't a member of the cult?

    #I find myself scientifically curious. How would the Vlaskesari go about engineering a defense? How does the Glass work, anyhow?



    We'll ask our question and get an answer, then we're going to move on.

    "It's too late to keep the plans from enemy hands, surely?" Finch says. "If I understand you
    correctly, they are already there."

    "They have been seen by one enemy agent, yes," Woodward replies. "But if we move quickly, they
    will not be seen by any others." He leans his hands on his desk and looks across at the two of
    you intently. "There is no way Easterly's Vlaski contact can know we have arrested him. If Easterly
    sends him a message this morning claiming that an important change has been made to the Glass design,
    the Vlaskesar will surely desire a second meeting without delay. We have Easterly arrange it for
    tonight, and we trap the Vlaskesar then. We'll discuss details once Easterly writes us the message
    for the Personals column."

    "The what?" you ask.

    Woodward waves a copy of The Times. "They were communicating by coded advertisements in the
    Personals column. These here, addressed to 'D'—Easterly says he wrote them. He pointed them out
    to me earlier this morning, in his hysterical effort to convince me he had performed no act of
    treason before this one. I have enough information to reconstruct the code he and his correspondent
    'Dmitri' used, but the ruse will be better if Easterly composes the message."

    "I will not," Easterly says softly.
    Wait, what?


    Everyone turns to stare at him.

    Woodward is the first to speak. "Not an hour ago, you threw yourself whinging upon my mercy.
    That commodity is neither plentiful nor free. If you do all in your power to help us recover the
    plans, you may possibly hope for some leniency in your punishment, but otherwise I shall take great
    personal pleasure in seeing you hang–"

    "You talk as though my life still had value to me," Easterly says. "If I do not hang, they will know
    I helped you. How long do you think I will live then? What do you suppose they will do to my fiancée?
    If I go to a traitor's death, at least they will have no reason to torment her afterward."

    Woodward is for the moment speechless with rage. In the silence, an idea occurs to you.

    Vote 20: What do you say?

    #I speak to Easterly. "Your life has no value to you. What does?"

    #I speak to Woodward privately. "I can prepare you a syringe of something that will relax him and may make him more willing to do as you ask."

    #I speak to Woodward in front of the others. "He need not participate at all. I can write it."


    Obviously, there are skill checks involved in some of those.

    Oh, by the way, if we had chosen the intimidate path we would have an additional option:

    Quote Originally Posted by Intimidate
    #I speak to Woodward over Easterly's head. "Then if you truly wish to punish him, arrange
    for him to be imprisoned for life and for the newspapers to report the leniency was in
    exchange for his cooperation."
    Oooh, that's nasty. We'd also have an additional question whether you were serious or not, which would modify your attributes.

    After that last set of questions we'll be done with this interrogation one way or the other, and we can proceed, hopefully, to thwarting the Vlaskeri spy!

    Please have votes in by Friday, 1 Jul 2016, 5:30 PM .

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    "Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid."

    -Valery Legasov in Chernobyl

  22. - Top - End - #22
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    BlueWizardGirl

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    18)I'm not sure this is quite as black and white as Finch thinks it is. Surely Easterly had some responsibility to his fiancée too?
    19)A tendril of panic slides through my belly. Would they be able to tell the blood I bear, or might bear? Would the law apply to someone like me, who carries the blood but isn't a member of the cult?

    I mean, we're working with a government agent and a Sherlock Holmes who just demonstrated his lack of mercy for sun-worshippers.
    20)I speak to Woodward in front of the others. "He need not participate at all. I can write it."
    I believe that we are... in the write (I ran out of light-related puns)

    Also, the intimidate option was pretty clever.... Watson has a sadistic streak it would seem
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    I would have said "Now that Easterly has shed some light on the code in the Personals, I believe I can carry the torch on myself."

    Fear my thesaurus! .

    Also, the intimidate option was pretty clever.... Watson has a sadistic streak it would seem
    That is one possible interpretation of Watson. So far we've played him as a much gentler person -- it's also possible to play him as 0% compassionate, utterly brutal. In point of fact

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    One of our storylines has him becoming Jack the Ripper. It's an achievement.


    But there's no reason our Watson has to be a conscienceless killer -- it's an optional path to take, not set in stone. About the only thing that is so set is his intelligence (visible on all paths) and his background.

    Heavens, we haven't even set his sexual orientation yet -- oops! Giving away a bit too much there, maybe.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2016-06-30 at 08:18 AM.
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    All these puns make me beam with joy but they're sort of stealing the spotlight.

    (Oh, you're on.)

    18) I couldn't agree more.

    Compassion all good and nice but this is treason we're talking about. We were soldiers ourselves and whle the experience was horrific and probably jaded us quite a bit, we still undestand loyalty.

    19) I find myself scientifically curious. How would the Vlaskesari go about engineering a defense? How does the Glass work, anyhow?[/COLOR]

    The panic definitively make sense but so do a certain curiosity, I feel.

    #I speak to Easterly. "Your life has no value to you. What does?"

    The question in itself is unessecary, it's cler that what matter to him is his fiancé but i feel asking him may unlock the path to bargain with him in exchange for his cooperation
    The idea of writing the code ourselves is interesting but much too risky, there could be a sub-code, so to speak, that wasn't mentioned that might make us fail. besides our greatest talent so far is sweet talking.

    The intimidate only option is a very clever threat. I almost regret not having taken it. Even if it is a little ... dark.
    Last edited by smuchmuch; 2016-06-30 at 04:55 PM.
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  25. - Top - End - #25
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    All these puns make me beam with joy but they're sort of stealing the spotlight.

    (Oh, you're on.)
    Well, puns aren't always brilliant but I will endeavor to rise to the occasion.

    Anyway, the votes.


    18)I'm not sure this is quite as black and white as Finch thinks it is. Surely Easterly had some responsibility to his fiancée too? - ROLL 95

    18) I couldn't agree more. ROLL 27

    So we're going to go with "not as black and white" .

    19) A tendril of panic slides through my belly. Would they be able to tell the blood I bear? -- ROLL 74
    19) I find myself scientifically curious. How would the Vlaskesari go about engineering a defense? How does the Glass work, anyhow? - ROLL 43

    Selected: Tendril of panic.

    20) I speak to Woodward in front of the others. "He need not participate at all. I can write it." - 59

    20) #I speak to Easterly. "Your life has no value to you. What does?" - 85

    SELECT: "your life has no value to you. What does? "


    Okay, let's play it through.

    We react:

    I'm not sure this is quite as black and white as Finch thinks it is. Surely Easterly had some responsibility to his fiancée too?

    Easterly acted wrongly, of course, but you would hope to be spared such a torturous decision yourself.
    Compassionate: 63 Pragmatic: 37
    Conventional: 19 Unconventional: 81

    Next, for a tendril of panic.

    A tendril of panic slides through my belly. Would they be able to tell the blood I bear, or might bear? Would the law apply to someone like me, who carries the blood but isn't a member of the cult?

    You manage to find a neutral way of phrasing the question. "How does the Glass go about detecting light-eaters? Or does it detect all sun-touched? How could you do that without drawing blood first?"

    "It detects light-eaters specifically," Woodward says. "By studying the electromagnetic emanations produced by a large population of human subjects over period of many years, Nigel and his student Trevelyan determined that certain habitual behaviors create subtle changes in electromagnetic wave frequency. Specifically, the appalling practice of light-eating will, over a long enough period of time, noticeably shorten the frequency of the practioner's emanations."

    Relief floods through you. You'd be safe, then.

    In other words, heal as many people as you want. But if you start draining people, you'll show up on this glass.

    Conventional: 31 Unconventional: 69

    Next, Easterly refuses to help because he's afraid they'll kill his fiancee we respond:

    Quote Originally Posted by Choice By Gaslight
    I speak to Easterly. "Your life has no value to you. What does?"

    "If you do not want a more lenient punishment in exchange for your help in undoing this disaster you have caused, what do you want?"

    "I want the last twenty-four hours to do over again, so I could choose to only ruin my career and shame my family." Easterly's breath escapes in almost a sob. "I want a change in the law, so I could practice my faith without becoming susceptible to blackmailers–" He chokes off the words. "I want my fiancée to be safe," he says then, looking at you steadily. "If you promised to ensure her welfare–her and her old aunt's–promised to find them somewhere to live well away from Kingsford, where it would be too much trouble for the light-eaters to seek them out–if you pledged that to me, I would write anything you wanted."

    You meet Woodward's eyes over the young man's head. "What about it?"

    After a long pause, Woodward nods. "We have done such things before. I can make arrangements for the young lady and her aunt to move to the north. Or perhaps to Loegria, which might be more to a sun-worshipper's taste." He fixes Easterly with his eyes. "I shall embark upon these arrangements once we have captured your friend 'Dmitri.' If he slips through our grasp, the girl gets no protection. It is therefore in your interest to be sure we catch him. Let that dissuade you from including any clever warning in your message."

    Easterly promises frantically that he never planned to do any such thing, that he will do everything he can to help capture the Vlaskesar and earn his fiancée's safety.

    "Thank you, Doctor," Woodward says to you, and picks up a pen. "Now then. We can get this into the morning editions if we waste no further time.


    Compassionate: 68% Pragmatic: 32%
    Charisma: 81%
    Conventional: 27% [b]Unconventional:[b/] 73%

    Now we move on into unknown territory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaslight
    That night, you and two other operatives gather at the empty house Easterly and Dmitri have been using to meet, and settle down to wait.

    You must, of course, sit without a fire, and the night is bitter cold. Your feet grow numb within your boots, and you shift gently, silently, trying to keep the blood flowing. Finally midnight tolls, and you gratefully rise to your feet.

    You know your companions are doing the same, although you cannot see them. Stevenson waits at the end of the darkened corridor. You stand where you can see into the room with the makeshift writing desk, and Morris, the youngest and strongest of the three of you, is stationed within that very room, behind the door, from which position he will hopefully be able to subdue Dmitri the instant the Vlaskesar steps through the doorway.

    Down below, the back door creaks open, and a wave of adrenaline whip-cracks through you.
    Here we go!

    If you did not know the man climbing the stairs was Finch disguised in George Easterly's clothing, you would never be able to guess. The masquerade is perfect; Finch's genius with disguise is second only to his sharp eyes. The dark lantern trembles in his deliberately-shaking hand, making the light dance in a way that obscures rather than illuminates. You cannot really see the Vlaski spy climbing the stairway behind him, but at least you are confident he cannot see you either. Dmitri follows Finch into the room with the desk, and you tense, revolver ready.

    Finch unshutters the lantern fully at the same moment Morris springs. Morris tackles the Vlaskesar half to his knees, one arm across his throat–

    But Dmitri whirls before Morris can establish the chokehold. He is a big man, but you have never seen anyone move that fast, ever. Morris gives an odd little gasp and crumples, and the Vlaskesar is sprinting for the stairway before your comrade hits the floor.

    Finch spits a curse and follows at a dead run.

    The flash of Finch's lantern as it goes by shows the knife sticking out of Morris's chest, the blood welling up around the hilt.


    Vote 21: What do you do?

    # I run to Morris's aid.
    # I pause long enough to say, "Morris, stay still, and don't pull it out!" before I sprint to help capture Dmitri.
    # I pause long enough to whisper, "Morris, stay still, and don't pull it out." Then I slip out the door and into the corridor, silent and concealed by shadow.



    We must stop there because we have three branches and I cannot move forward until we know which road we've chosen -- whether to help Morris (which may cause problems in the chase), then to take the quick option or the stealthy option.

    Don't forget, by the way, that your leg still bothers you and I believe you need a cane to get around.


    So let's get those votes in by Monday, July 4, 5:30PM.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2016-07-01 at 05:35 PM.
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    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    Well, capturing the vlaskeri is the top priority. We are 50/50 stealthy and quick, so.... I guess sneaking would be easier on the leg.
    21)I pause long enough to whisper, "Morris, stay still, and don't pull it out." Then I slip out the door and into the corridor, silent and concealed by shadow.

    I was considering the options, and the answer... Snuck up on me
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    21)I pause long enough to whisper "Morris, stay still, and don't pull it out!" Then I slip out the door and into the corridor, silent and concealed by shadow.

    Well, puns aren't always brilliant but I will endeavor to rise to the occasion.
    We all need a time to shine. (although it dawns on me we shoule have kept some light puns for later in the story.

    ... Should probably stop before it overstay it's welcome)
    I'm sig'ing in the rain, just sig'ing in the rain....

    Somme old avatars, by me
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    Quote Originally Posted by smuchmuch View Post
    21)I pause long enough to whisper "Morris, stay still, and don't pull it out!" Then I slip out the door and into the corridor, silent and concealed by shadow.



    We all need a time to shine. (although it dawns on me we shoule have kept some light puns for later in the story.

    ... Should probably stop before it overstay it's welcome)
    What? Puns are always welcome!
    Also: We can
    Spoiler: story option
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    become Jack the Ripper? That's pretty dark.... although I looked at the achievements, and another is saving the prince's life, and we have the option to marry, so.... I guess we'll see how it turns out. In the meantime.... viva les puns!
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    What? Puns are always welcome!
    They definitely lighten the mood.

    So , stealthy pursuit.

    I pause long enough to whisper, "Morris, stay still, and don't pull it out." Then I slip out the door and into the corridor, silent and concealed by shadow.
    Compassion: 55 Pragmatic: 45
    Stealth: 63 Quick: 37


    Capturing the enemy spy is your first duty; you have to trust that Morris will survive long enough for you to get back to him.

    You slip silently onto the landing to see that Dmitri is already halfway down the stairs, Finch at his heels and Stevenson right behind Finch. Finch throws caution to the wind and flings himself forward, and he and Dmitri clatter and clash down the stairs to the bottom. Stevenson joins the rough-and-tumble. Dmitri hurls Stevenson off, but Finch lunges forward to fill the gap.

    Vote 23:

    # Right, enough of this. I aim my revolver.

    # I'm better at hand-to-hand combat than I would be shooting in this dim light. I run down the stairs and fling myself into the fight.

    #I shout to distract Dmitri.



    Um... I guess we should stop there?

    I don't like one vote updates; but fear not. It's always darkest before the dawn.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2016-07-04 at 04:32 PM.
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    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Let's Play! Steampunk

    Yeah, I sense the story will soon..... brighten up
    23)Right, enough of this. I aim my revolver.
    Marksmanship is our secondary skill, while athletics (which includes hand-to-hand combat) is our weakness.
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