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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    HalflingWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Exalted 3e - Welcome to Thorns (IC)

    RY 769 - Descending Fire

    The Inland Sea is dreary this morning - dawn’s half light isn’t enough to penetrate the gloom laden fog or intermittent rain. The weather lingers, sullen and inevitable before a handful of faint green sparks break through the malaise, swaying gently back and forth. They mark the deck of a mighty ship, one of wrought steel and magnificent size, cutting through the shrouded morning water with the speed and power of a constantly spinning bone paddlewheel pushing it ever forward.

    Two black jacketed crewmen man the bridge, helmets laying discarded on the floor. A young woman with dark red hair worked into a braided ponytail holds the wheel, strumming her fingers on it as she tries to hold to an even keel. She has the intent look of a new recruit determined not to give her fellows room for mockery. The old white haired man behind her strokes his beard, looking out into the fog for any sign of their destination. After a minute spent in futile searching, he takes up a mandolin lying at his side, strumming a melody and starting to sing as their bleak conveyance makes its way deeper into the mists.

    The remaining members of the crew are ensconced safely in their quarters - a fire roaring in the hearth as they sit around a black oak table, engrossed in a game of cards. They’re laughing at the boldness of one member of the group - a blond haired rogue with a twinkle in his eye who always seems to be one step ahead of the rest of them. There’s no rancour at his trickery from the rest of the group - just good humour at a brother in arms’ skill, as his latest victim winces at the failure.

    And beneath them, lies the hold.

    The largest chamber of the ship is dark, bare and bleak - a great gullet of shorn metal with a smattering of straw, never intended to house human beings for any length of time. The only light that reaches this place comes through the grates upon the deck above. The inhabitants shudder in the chill, a few glancing to either side. They’re a mixed bunch - a few dozen slaves purchased from the Guild who still seem confused by what has befallen them; a band of dark skinned Marukani captives in cotton or leather, some crying while others glaring defiantly at the door. The last group are a handful of ragged, bone-thin, dead eyed figures slumped in a corner. They don’t bother looking around. These few men and women aren’t afraid of what’s to come. They know what’s befallen them. And that there’s no point struggling any more.

    The ship’s spinning wheel of bone finally creaks to a stop, iron bars grinding against the mechanism. The captives exchange a nervous look, as the sound of iron boots clattering against ceramic grows closer. The captives are stuck there, waiting for the crew’s final work in an agonizing quiet, until finally the hatch at the side of the ship falls down with a thud and a clank as unseen hands moor it to the berth.

    Two guardsmen in hefty plate and spiked helms step through into the hold, taking stock of the captives just as they might any other cargo. One of the Marukani youths starts to circle behind the warrior in her half of the room, ready to jump him but a whistle from the other thwarts the plan. Scarcely bothering to look at his foe, the Thornguard backhands the youth with a gauntleted fist, sending her flying to the ground, nose and jaw covered in blood. The Mask’s soldiers snort at the sight, before the first one turns to address the rest of the captives.

    “On your feet, you lot. Not much further now.”

    Stepping out into the faint light of dawn, the prisoners shiver and blink, eyes adjusting to even this faint twilight gloaming. The stone of the dockside is cold beneath their feet, and the sea air is little better without even the faint insulation of the ship's hold. There’s more Thornguard out on the dock: a squad of five, their ornate helms and fine worked plate glinting in the lantern light. They follow along with the captives, always close, a hand on their belt, eager for trouble. Above them, lining the path hang crimson banners displaying the same iron grinning visage the Thornguard echo with their helms - the Mask of Winters.

    Accustomed to the outside now, the bloodied Marukani girl looks up as the grim procession winds onward, the spray of seawater stinging her eyes as she tries to clear them. They have docked at a great tower of some kind in the midst of the sea. It reaches above them, walls tattered and chunks fallen away from the higher reaches. Most of the stonework here is old, weathered with age and the flow of oceanic tides - like as not this tower was one destroyed in the ancient wars the elders spoke of, where the Exalted fought one another for the fate of Creation. Yet the Mask’s forces have built atop this ruined place - a spire of onyx, iron and bone crowns these old ruins with the mark of their current ruler, and metal sheets cover holes, and mark new construction - like strange growths clinging to the dessicated old tower proper.

    The procession make their way through two great doors, perpetually swung wide. As they pass over the tower’s threshold into the entry hall, each of the prisoners can feel the change in their gut. Something about this place wretches at the soul, a great and terrible weight that seems enough to drag these poor men and women to the bottom of the sea. The sight that greets them once past the threshold does little to buoy their spirits. The entry chamber is dilapidated, black lichen growing in the corners and once even stonework cracked and splintered. The party are not permitted to linger here, being taken forward through a smaller door into what is presumably the heart of this institution

    It looks like a jail, or at least some nightmarish parody of such. A once monumental hall has been shrunk, primitive cells erected first at the exterior then with more rows of bars hammered together in the midst of the room to partition yet more holding areas, with a sheaf of iron welded swiftly above each one to make the minimal task complete. There's just enough space between them for three soldiers to walk abreast. There's lantern poles fixed at intervals along each row, just above the top of the bars - the little flames provide just enough light to make out the contours of the room by. There's five rows in all, though it's hard to count just how deep they go from the entryway. Each cell is large, big enough to hold a dozen inmates. Many do - a desperate looking set of people, with stained clothes and raw red blotches beneath their eyes.

    The new prisoners hear the sound of sobbing from somewhere in the distance, sniffles and moans echo faintly across the room. Then comes a muffled scream, long and frenzied, from somewhere beneath the floor. The far end of this chamber has another set of double doors continually open, and beyond those lies a great spiral staircase winding downward. Men in red robes and facemasks, each with a toolbelt and a pair of protective goggles proceed up and down the stairs. They seem to have the run of the tower - venturing through the many smaller doors in and out of this chamber. And as they pass by the cells, the prisoners back away, shuddering at the sight of every crimson figure.

    Naturally, the soldiers don’t react to any of this. The Thornguard step away, leaving the new arrivals in the custody of two dozen humbler guardsmen in faded chainmail, spears raised at attention.. At the head of the group is a sargent, in a humble black jacket and wielding a clipboard. The official looks up as the prisoners come to a halt, turning a keen gaze across each of them in turn. He gives a designation to each, and with his call, a pair of guards step forward to escort the prisoner to their new ‘accommodations’. The man's voice doesn't rise above the bored monotone of an official who'd rather have a nice relaxing job back in the city than be forced to deal with this ugliness.

    “B-12. C-23. F... Mask’s eyes, what did they do to this one?” The Marukani girl glares at the sergeant, who doesn’t bother to meet her gaze, sighing and shaking his head before resuming his assignments. “Put her in A-2. Now, C-5. D...”

    That was her lot apparently. The young warrior falls in sullenly as the guards plod along at her side, her escort to the end of the line. Two Thornguard have opened up one of the cells, and are marching an old man with a long white beard down towards the other side of the chamber, and the stairs to the lower level. The dirty looking man passes the Marukani girl, exchanging a brief, petrified glance with her. Just before reaching the head of the stairs, he turns, wrenching his hand way from the guard and starting to run towards a door in the side of the room. He manages half a dozen steps before a bolt pierces his leg and he drops to the ground, howling in pain. Chuckling, the Thornguard pair walk over - hauling him up and carrying him back towards the stairs. The old man cries out one final time as the pair march him downward, the technician with them humming merrily above the fading screams.

    The Marukani shivvers, as the guards draw her own cell door closed with a clang, and a turn of the key. That can not be her fate. Trying to breath, to calm herself, she starts trying to examine the room. Each cell requires a different key, she watches the guards pass rings back and forth. One ring for each row of cells. Above the room, where a ceiling might normally be, she can make a series of walkways criss-crossing chamber, made of steel mesh. More technicians and guardsmen are moving around up there, on some kind of upper level of the tower. Straining her neck, the Marukani can just about make out windows up there. An exit! One less well covered than the doors! There’s ladders spread out across the room to enable the path up, with one right by her cell - if she could make a bolt for it, maybe….

    Awaa Awaa Awaa Awaa

    In a sudden moment, everything in the deathly chamber changes. A strange violet light pulses across the room from a fixture somewhere above the ceiling catwalk, as a dreadful wailing siren echoes through the old tower. To a one, the soldiers cry out, raising their spears and glaring at the prisoners. They're in shock: more than a few are shaking, and every one is gripping their weapon tightly. The technicians are already bolting for the doors. The staff sergeant looks up, glancing feverishly around him. All of a sudden the bureaucrat has turned deathly pale, reaching for his sword hilt and checking the position of his fellow guardsmen. “Ancestors’ blood… we’re under attack? How… where?!

    Spoiler
    Show
    And that’s your cue. Roll Join Battle! Enter the scene however you like, we’ll resolve contradictions later, along with explaining things. For now you’ve got a Necrotech lab to smash! The guards and technicians are individually trivial opponents for you, so feel free to cut a few down for the sake of stunting your JB roll. ;)

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    HalfTangible's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    The Primus Imperium
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Exalted 3e - Welcome to Thorns (IC)

    The alarm was his signal, and he struck like a ghost.

    With a flick of a thought, a pair of swords the length of his arm appeared in his hands, as if they were always meant to be there. He rushed from the shadows, blades dancing from target to target. Two guards fell before they even realized what had happened, and another two only saw him coming when it was too late.

    Karal Nord hadn't been part of a proper ambush in a while, and the experience still sent a thrill along his spine.

    The cells in this part of the prison had all been constructed hastily, where speed and space for prisoners was more important than the permanence of the structures. And why would they try to make them strong? The prisoners were so weak, malnourished and ultimately without hope that they couldn't even try to escape Even if they had been healthy, young, and actively attempting to escape, the bars and the iron sheath used to form the roof of the cell would have difficult for any mortal to escape. And that was without taking the presence of the guards into account. Of course, these prisons hadn't taken the possibility of an enraged mercenary of Lookshy appearing from the shadows, striking down the closest guards, and slicing the bars apart with a pair of short daiklaves. Why would they? It was such an absurd notion. And so this place became his first target.

    With a single stroke of his mighty weapons, he cut open the lock on the prisoner's cage, rendering it useless. He threw the door open, and looked inside to see the stunned faces of the prisoners; some newly arrived, some too tired and broken to move.

    "That alarm means jailbreak." He grinned at the newly arrived Marukani girl and held out a hand. "You coming along, friends?"

    ---

    Join Battle
    (8d10)[43]
    Stunt?
    (2d10)[19]

    Rolls
    JB: 2sux (3 w/stunt).
    Starting Initiative: 3+3= 6i
    (The stunt there would have HAD to be a 10 and a 9 to get 19, so Valin let me take it. Starting initiative is 8i.)
    Last edited by HalfTangible; 2020-04-14 at 01:48 AM.
    Discord: HalfTangible#7505
    I'm always available to talk (just let me know you're from the playground)

    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    +3 Girlfriend is totally unoptimized. You are better off with a +1 Keen Witty girlfriend and then appling Greater Magic Make-up to increase her enhancement bonus.
    Primal ego vos, estis ex nihilo

    Extended Sig

    Brother of Battle by Emperor Ing

    Current Roleplaying
    Karal Nord in Welcome to Thorns [Exalted 3e]
    GMing a Wyld Hunt [Exalted 3e]

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Ascension's Avatar

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    Jan 2008
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    Georgia, USA
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    Male

    Default Re: Exalted 3e - Welcome to Thorns (IC)

    One of the prison guards seems oddly untroubled by the sudden clamor and fright, or even by the swordsman cleaving through the ranks of their comrades. This slovenly-looking guard leans casually on their spear where others grip theirs tight, terrified by the thought of their formerly-absolute dominion being brought to question. And this one guard is no jaded veteran, either; it's only their first week on the job. Really, it's shocking behavior. This will look awful on their next performance review.

    A group of fleeing technicians makes for the passage where the poor excuse for a guard stands, shouting to them for aid, racing to hide behind them for protection. As the first of the techs pushes past them, the guard extends a careless foot into the man's path, tripping him up; he and the next couple of techs pressing close on his heels tumble into a graceless pile on the grimy floor.

    "Ohh, whups,"
    the guard mutters apologetically. "'m sorry, 'm just so..."

    They shuffle their feet, and their heel comes down on the hand of a technician struggling to rise. The technician cries out in pain as the careless guard shifts their whole weight onto her pinned hand.

    "...so clumsy! Ohh, what've I done?"


    The guard steps off of the struggling technician's hand, but manages to swing their foot back into another tech's gut, knocking the wind out of him. And beneath their helmet, a self-satisfied smile breaks through Rivers' apologetic facade.

    "Soooo sorry~!"


    Spoiler: Join Battle
    Show
    Wits + Awareness + Stunt:
    (7d10)[9][7][8][1][3][5][3](36)
    Last edited by Ascension; 2020-04-13 at 07:58 PM.
    Braga avatar by Luci!

    Current Games:
    Spoiler
    Show
    GMing The Lotus Blossoms! [Exalted 3E] (OOC)
    Playing Waldaharjaz in The Convergence of Sky [Exalted 3E]
    Playing Rivers in Welcome to Thorns [Exalted 3E]

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MonkGirl

    Join Date
    Nov 2017

    Default Re: Exalted 3e - Welcome to Thorns (IC)

    The Dancer smiled over the tray. It had been simplicity itself to get this far. The red-nosed man in his polished black armor had been so pleased to buy her that drink, well he would have been, that was his favorite bar at his favorite time to drink. So many pretty ladies there too, all of them mere windowdressing to the vision that greeted him. The loosely bound black hair, so tantelizing to run hands through, those slim shoulders almost visible under a fine robe that hinted more than it revealed, that pale throat with smooth skin that promised further temptations, were that robe removed...all it took was a startled gasp, followed by a relieved smile as he 'accidentally' trod on the hem of her clothes, then stepped off to catch her as she stumbled, a little blush around her surprised eyes, a roguish wink from him, and he'd captured the attention of the most striking woman on the streets of Thorns. She couldn't have been a working girl, no. Not with that clear accent, the glow of health and the delicate way she sipped from her bowl.

    No, he hadn't thought twice about bringing her to his office. He was the Junior Receiving Overseer! Sure there was a big shipment coming in tonight, but that just proved how capable he was! It had been the right idea to throw in with the Thornguard right as they were restructuring. Sure he'd had to grease some palms to climb so fast, but look at him now! He could whip some slaves, brutalize some subordinates and then sooth his knuckles with a little light paperwork and collect a fat coinpurse for a job well-done. Good sake, a wood-floored office with elegant cabinets for all his important papers, and now this creature sitting on a stool next to his confiscated ornate blackwood office chair and matching grand blackwood desk. Sure, soon he'd have to walk out to the balcony and look down on his men as they chivvied some wretches into the cages, but then he could return, make some light banter and wait for the numbers to be brought for him to sign his big fancy seal...yes sir, things were going great...and then the alarms blared.

    He stands, bloodshot eyes casting about. What is he supposed to do again? Who, what? Where is that light coming from, why is it so hot? His sword it...the desk! He turns, groans, a pain in his chest, black eyes stare into his bloodshot ones, dripping, the taste of copper...

    "Goodbye."

    The Junior Receiving Overseer falls down dead, his sword, still dripping heart's blood raises above his body. Flames caper down the length of the blade, causing the blood to sizzle and pop. The Dancer smiles gratefully at the Overseer's body as fire spreads across the floor, the desk, the cabinet and its important bureaucratic contents, she needed to procure a disposable weapon on-site for this operation, and he had good taste in short blades. Striding out, she looks down at the chaos as fire consumes the office behind her, rendering her a dark silhouette against a background of conflagration. Her intel had been good, the raid was tonight. Time to make contact.

    Spoiler: OOC & Rolls
    Show
    Join battle! Wits(4)+Awareness(5)+Fast Reflexes (1) +Stunt(2), spending 5m on Flash Fire Technique.
    (3d10)[1][2][9](12)
    (3d10)[6][2][2](10)
    (3d10)[3][7][4](14)
    (3d10)[2][6][5](13)
    +3
    Flash-Fire Second set:
    (3d10)[6][4][9](19)
    (3d10)[1][5][10](16)
    (3d10)[3][4][1](8)
    (3d10)[6][8][8](22)
    +3
    Last edited by Sticks; 2020-04-13 at 08:35 PM.
    Sorry for making things complicated!
    -Me

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    pfm1995's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    USA

    Default Re: Exalted 3e - Welcome to Thorns (IC)

    Sheltering in the lee of the ruined and rebuilt tower, Marrow of the Root counted softly to himself. Thirty-three, thirty-four... he went, staring up at the iron-shod tower. A metaphor for Thorns itself, it was; a ruined edifice held standing by strong foundations, carelessly patched with iron and bone until it served new purpose and nothing more. What an ugly, ugly thing it was.

    The sight of it lit a fire in his belly.

    Thirty-seven, thirty-eight... he counted, as he shivered. The shakes and jitters were half from anticipation and half from the spray of a sea cold as winter lead - the rowboat they'd borrowed to reach this godsforsaken island had proven to be only mostly watertight, and it had been enough of a challenge just keeping the firedust dry. Both him and his men, a dozen of the most-trusted members of Cuerva Roots Untouched By Frost, were soaked through. The cold was a tangible and sobering reminder that tonight was no war-game or exercise, that this was when they'd learn if all those long nights planning had been enough.

    Forty-five, or thereabouts at least. Marrow nods to Stone Thrown, grinning like someone half-mad at the shivering younger man. Marrow knows his role here - to frey the edges of fear, and replace them with ardor. He's practiced this too, a hundred times alone in front of a mirror until ever nuance was perfect.

    "Times up! Stick by your partner and don't go a-wanderin', city-father bless and show no mercy. Leaf, don't you dare leave without us or I swear I'll have you cleaning floors for 'til Calibration. By the numbers and just like we planned, you lovely madmen you!"

    With one last madcap grin he grabs the back of Stone Thrown's head, touches his forehead to his own, and leaps out of cover. Not two steps later he feels a shiver crawl its way across his skin as they cross some kind of invisible threshold, and above them he hears a raucous wailing start.

    Nothing for it but speed, now.

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

    They hit the doors running, though Marrow slows as Quiet's long tongues of flame turn the two guards nearest to the entrance into candlewicks. Their screams are... not as bad as he'd expected, and there's a bare flicker of remorse quickly buried under a rush of nervous anticipation. There's no smell - there never is, with Quiet, though here amidst these cages you'd be hard-pressed to smell anything else. The sight of the inside of the tower is enough to make him pause, and his mouth hang open.

    People, caged like animals. No, not even like animals - animals are cared for, nurtured. Ragged clothes and scarred hands, distended bellies and weeping eyes... if he'd thought he'd felt a fire before, it was nothing like what he was feeling now.

    His men rush past him and into the holding pens in pairs and partners, one sword-and-boarding and another with a firewand long and sputtering. They clear the hallways quickly and set to work on the locks, cutting down guards with practiced efficiency. Far behind them on the beach, the four men with Falling Leaf split off to take the slave ship - their ticket out of here, if all went well. Gathering himself, Marrow ran with Stone down the thin hallways, trying to track their erstwhile 'allies'. Smugglers, killers, even anathema, but looking at these cages those concerns seemed almost... petty. They were on the right side, that was what mattered now.

    They stopped short when they saw the stairs down.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Wits 2 + Awareness 4 + Specialty (Ambush) 1 + Stunt 2 + Excellency (5m for five extra dice)
    Spoiler: Roll
    Show
    (14d10)[3][4][4][9][6][4][5][10][3][7][2][5][8][9](79)

    Last edited by pfm1995; 2020-04-14 at 01:10 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Eurus's Avatar

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    Apr 2008
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    Illinois
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    Male

    Default Re: Exalted 3e - Welcome to Thorns (IC)

    Mrooow...

    The cat prowling through the building wasn't a handsome thing, with its torn ear and scrawny frame. It had a bit of an alley-tom swagger, sometimes darting fast and sometimes padding around like it owned the place.

    "How do the strays even get out here..."

    One guard shook his head as the tattered creature rubbed against his leg in passing. He couldn't quite resist bending down to scratch its head, though.

    ------

    A few minutes later, as the alarm wailed, a man ducked into a storeroom. Medical supplies and tools from around Creation were stored here, very few of them with the intention of ever saving a life. But controlling the rate of death, now, that could be important in a place like this. Since so much here was valuable, the door was sturdy, and the bureaucrat was confident that he could block it from the inside.

    When he turned around, the sight of an old woman squatting on a high shelf made him stumble back in shock.

    She was gray-haired and had a pocked and weathered face, her hands veiny and her hair a wispy mane. Wearing a patched dress that had been washed so many times that it had faded to the color of dust, she could have been any vagrant outside. But she was here, and she was grinning as she shamelessly stuffed surgical tools and medicines into a sack.

    "Here to shirk off work? I won't tell. Bad luck picking this room, though."

    The old woman tapped her nose with a conspiratorial wink, and he reached back for the door behind him. Like a demon, she suddenly pounced, dress flapping, and an instant later something much heavier than an old woman knocked him to the ground. The huge, bristling, stinking creature above him was some kind of... but before he could even finish the thought, the creature's weight calmly pressed down on him until he blacked out.

    ------

    She could have killed him, of course. A twitch of her tusk could split a man open in a second, if he wasn't armored, or her full weight would have simply crushed him. She refrained not out of any great mercy, but simply because anyone she killed here would surely rise again, more grist for the mill. No sense in doing their enslaver's work for him.

    The door banged open and Granny strutted out, triggering some rather gratifying screams.

    "Is that a hellboar? Gods!"

    Spoiler: Join Battle
    Show
    Wits 5 + Awareness 1 + Stunt 2 + a five point Excellency. Starting in Hellboar form, which is Granny's big combat form.

    (13d10)[5][4][2][9][7][10][5][8][1][8][1][1][8](69)
    Last edited by Eurus; 2020-04-14 at 08:15 AM.
    Avatar by araveugnitsuga.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
     
    The_Snark's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Re: Exalted 3e - Welcome to Thorns (IC)

    There are gulls wheeling above the tower. There always are, even in this early hour before the sun's light has begun to warm the air. A place to perch when wings tire, a rocky shore on which to hunt for crabs and other morsels... and best of all, a rich feast of carrion scraps whenever the guards throw out bits too mangled or rotted for the technicians to make use of. It is not a safe place: arrows and stones can fly from the tower without warning, if a surgeon decides they want feathers or delicate hollow bones for their latest bit of work, or if a guard grows sick of the constant cries of the gulls. The men and women here are casual when it comes to dealing out death. But the gulls always return, sooner rather than later.

    Today, though, there are fewer than usual. If any of the guards were paying attention - if any of them had sharp enough eyes - and if any of them were given to amateur birdwatching, they could easily tell why: one of those circling overhead is not a gull, but an vulture. The smaller birds give it a wide berth as it watches.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Base Join Battle pool is 8 (Perception 5 + Awareness 3) plus stunt (2 + successes). Unwavering Predator Eye lets me use Perception in place of Wits, plus double 9s for 3m, and let's spend 5m on the Perception Excellency on top of that. Personal Essence, can't have anima flaring just yet...

    (15d10)[5][2][7][7][9][3][1][9][9][7][1][6][4][5][10](85)
    Last edited by The_Snark; 2020-04-19 at 04:36 AM.
    Avatar by GryffonDurime. Thanks!

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    HalflingWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Exalted 3e - Welcome to Thorns (IC)

    The strike is quick, thorough and decisive. Guardsmen near the stairwell fall rapidly to Nord's blades, and before the remnant can rally at the far side, a charging hellboar and Marrow's deathly fires make swift work of those that remain. Only the sargent remains, the bureaucrat panicking and running heedlessly towards the far side of the room, even as Cuerva Roots Untouched By Frost get to work. They've practiced for this moment - the wandsmen secure the keys from guard corpses quickly and start working their way down the rows, pulling back door after door and ushering the prisoners outward to freedom. Most rush outward eagerly, but a few need time to take their sudden liberation in, blinking in confusion as they try to process what has just happened.

    One prisoner takes neither path, however. The Marukani girl springs out of the newly opened cage. Glancing around with a huntress' eye, she's soon by the side of one of the guardsmen Nord slew, and is retrieving his sword from its scabbard. She hefts it, trying to get a feel for its weight, before turning back to Nord and nodding. "Thank you." She might be no equal to this mysterious warrior, but she can watch his back at least.

    Meanwhile, the supervising sergeant and the three remaining technicians, who have formed a group at the far end of the room, back away swiftly from the seemingly traitorous guardsman. The officer might have fallen for it, but the red-robes hold him back, looking at Rivers in fright through their goggles. They're smart enough to get what's going on. The four figures turn to the left, about to run towards a door on the opposite wall, only to be stopped short by the arrival of Marrow and Stone - the former's deathly flamepiece at the ready. The luckless quislings are about to double back towards the entry hall, only to stop dead in their tracks at the sight of Nord and his new friend advancing steadily towards them.

    That leaves the little group well and truly cornered. Their only option left seems to be the far side door, the one leading towards the spiral staircase. They don't seem eager to turn that way either. They glance towards it, and to a one they shudder. One of the red robes turns back to River, raising her gloved hands in supplication as she hurriedly tries to make her case. "Please... we're just workers here, this place isn't our fault. We didn't come up with this. We just... try to make ends meet. Take the work we can get. You can understand that, right? If it wasn't us, the Mask would've just gotten others to..."

    Marrow has the chance to take a better look at the area they're so afraid of, now that the group are pleading with his comrade. Beyond the spiral staircase, there are a set of four heavy metal doors, two on each side, flanking a small exit on the far wall. He can just make out the last lab worker scurrying through it, and slamming the old elm door shut behind him. There's a clink of metal as the wretch brings the bar down - that won't be enough to buy him much time when the door runs up against Quiet.

    But then a voice echoes through the prison hall.

    Attention. Mass cleansing commencing in primary chamber. All personnel unable to evacuate...

    Our condolences.


    The quartet of workers do not take this well. One of the red robes looks like she's about to hyperventilate. The old sargent falls to his knees, looking up at Rivers imploringly "Please! Gods be good, have mercy!" In the far chamber, Marrow sees the impact of this declaration. Even without a hand to move them, unseen cogs have begun to spin, and the four great metal doors are turning, slowly beginning to open. There's a chorus of moans, and a rising sound of movement, limbs pattering over stone. Soon enough, the first bleached skin corpse emerges from the storage vault, with others soon behind it. These things have no armor, and are clad in tattered rags... But they never go down easy.

    Marrow starts calculating, using the volume of the moans and rough dimensions of the hallway to try and estimate a count of their foe's numbers. He's occupied enough with this in fact that he almost misses the figure climbing up the spiral staircase.

    It's a giant - ten feet tall, and bound with inhumanly hefty muscle from head to toe despite sharing the same bleached skin as the zombies on the top floor. Amazingly the monster's head fits the scale of the creation - carefully assembled by the red robed technicians, unless they'd just happened to stumble upon a naturally born giant somehow. The figure's eyes are twin black pools, devoid of iris or any sign of a soul. It's clad in a hodgepodge of black leather armor, sewn roughly together from what looks like the better part of three regular suits, with a handful of metal plates glinting through the holes. There are two blades as big as itself slung over its back, unsheathed. Whatever this thing might be, it looks ready for war.

    The monster pauses at the head of the stairs, looking at the humans assembled before the doorway. Its gaze turns first to River, then to Marrow. "Dragons." It snorts, no trace of fear to be found in that word. The creature turns then to Karal Nord, its disdainful look not shifting, but a new tone entering its voice. One that has gone from uncaring to outright contemptuous. "Karal." It draws its two swords in a single sweeping motion, stomping forward as the low chorus of the oncoming horde grows ever louder.

    And then

    "SKREEEEEEEEEE!"

    Something strange almost flits by the group with a click-clack of bone, a gentle breeze and that godless scream the only sighs of its passing. Rivers would've dismissed it as a shadow, or a trick of his imagination but he can form a better theory easily enough. Whatever it was had been clambering along the wall above, and took the chance now to sprint past the defenders into the holding cell room. He glances from side to side. Is that movement, over there in the shadows?

    Stone shares a glance with Marrow. It's evident that the younger warrior is unnerved by the odds against them here. Who wouldn't be? Still it takes him just a second of his senior's presence to wrestle his fears back into submission: bracing his shield ready for the coming tide. "Orders, sir?"

    Spoiler: pfm
    Show
    Marrow has a choice to make. He could call his men forward - they should be able to hold the zombies at the door, and it's a strong defensive spot. But that would leave a large number of prisoners still in their cells and vulnerable, and at least one monster has gotten past this point. Without the ongoing evacuation, things could get dicey for the captives.

    Mechanically, if you bring them up in formation, I'll roll them up as a Size 1 battlegroup of Elite Troops with Elite Drill. But I'll also roll the prisoners into battle, and they'll be vulnerable to mass target attacks.


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

    Dancer exits the Junior Overseer's room, alighting onto the mazelike catwalk that spans the area above the holding cells. A series of bridges criss cross the room like some bizzare patchwork quilt of mesh and railings, with occasional spots for a ladder down to the lower levels. Most of the tower's key rooms can be accessed from here: Dancer took the time earlier to familiarize herself with the basic layout. That includes the control centre - the old manse's hearthroom, and source of its power. A prime sabotage point.

    Unfortunately it also includes the Thornguard barracks. Even as Dancer emerges, there are already two figures in heavy armor standing across the way from her, bows trained right at her mark. The pair were likely off duty - neither are wearing their helmets. One's a woman with shoulder length blond hair, the other a man with a brown ponytail. The rest of the tower's Thornguard detatchment are falling in behind them, spreading out across the various patches of mesh into a surprisingly smooth formation.

    Oddly though, the first two guards seem... excited to see her. The woman whistles appreciatively, elbowing her colleague gently in the torso. "Hah! Told you! Totally a spy. She sodding gutted that idiot Cas as soon as the alarm sounded!"

    "Damn it. Okay, yeah, you win." The man pulls a silver dinar from his pocket, handing it to his coworker before turning back to Dancer with an excited grin. "Hey, Dragon! How quick was it?! Did you get him with one blow, or did he have time to work out what was going on? Heh. He must've looked like some gormless wet fish when..."

    "Focus, you idiots."

    The voice brings the two Thornguard to a halt instantly. They lower their bows sharply, letting the arrows fall to salute the unseen figure. Soon enough Dancer can make him out too. There's no great theatrics, no whoosh of power, no blinding lights. For all the world, it's as if the faintly transparent figure has simply stepped through an invisible doorway to join the conversation. His plate seems lighter than that of the Thornguard: trading the ominous spikes and sharp lines for the gentle contours and floral patterns of classical Thorns era engraving on a much less cumbersome set of armor. The one touch of colour on his body is the gentle purple of a gemstone clasp, fixing his cloak around his neck. That and his darkened ponytail blow a little in the non existent breeze, the same one that had been blowing during the Battle of Mishaka, so many years ago.

    Commander Dorian Lacroix gazes imperiously around him, evaluating the attackers assailing his installation. None of them seem of great account. He'd been ready for an army: a Lookshyan strike force with a Dragon Blooded leader, a crack team of Nexan mercenaries or something of the kind. Instead this looks more like a band of reprobates, a cobbled together group who'd struck lucky by finding this hidden base. There's a handful of whelps scurrying between the cages, a second rate traitor knocking heads, a few trained animals, one god-blood with fancy swords and too much confidence... and a token Dragon, just for him.

    The ghostly officer's eyes turn to the Dancer with a sneer as he draws his own blade, a hefty looking daiklave. The darkened soulsteel ripples as it passes through the air; the incoherent spirit within struggling vainly to surface. Lacroix barks to the mortal soldiers behind him, not bothering to turn around. "I'll handle the spy. Volley fire on the floor. Kill everything that moves."

    "WAHAAAY!" The Thornguard cheer, jubilant at the prospect of such indiscriminate bloodshed. They raise their bows high, crying out "FOR THE MASK!" before notching arrows and training them on the scene below. Lacroix offers Dancer a duelist's bow before walking slowly forward with a confident strut and a mile-wide grin.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Join Battle
    Warform - Sovereign: (8d10)[1][3][9][10][7][8][9][3](50)
    Warform - Hippocrias: (10d10)[3][8][5][9][4][10][8][1][6][2](56)
    Zombie Horde: (2d10)[6][3](9)

    Commander Lacroix: (11d10)[9][9][7][2][5][7][5][1][1][8][10](64)
    Thornguard: (10d10)[2][1][8][1][8][6][10][1][9][8](54)

    Marukani: (6d10)[5][7][1][5][5][1](24)

    There are two effective zones of this battle, the catwalk and the prison floor. Both are in short range of each other - if you're in either location, everything else should be considered at close range unless there's a clear obstacle between you and it. Right now the only such obstacle in play is Lacroix, at Close range of Dancer, standing between her and the Thornguard (who are thus at Short for her too).

    Ascending or descending the ladders to change floor is allowed, but due to the presence of the battlegroups it's considered difficult terrain, meaning it will take one movement action to start climbing the ladder, and another to reach the top. Further, anyone directly engaged by a lone adversary will require a disengage roll as normal.
    Last edited by Inspector Valin; 2020-04-15 at 04:15 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
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    A flash of light. An ungodly keening wail. Then a chorus of screaming and shouting from more human throats. Yes, this was definitely interesting enough to follow. The vulture circles lower, trying to get a glimpse of what's happening through the windows. There! A hole near the top, where some long-ago storm or catapult stone tore through the walls too high to easily repair, now haphazardly covered by a sheet of pig-iron. Plenty of room for a bird to peek through, and even slip inside if she tucks her wings just so...

    It's ugly inside. Uglier than she anticipated. Or maybe just not in a way she's used to. Specters howling in the dark, misshapen beasts of flesh and bone, yes, she's seen all those things before... it's the prisoners who are most unsettling to Whisper, some of them desperate and starved to the point where they could almost be cadavers themselves.

    She folds her wings, diving. As she does she simultaneously opens her soul, thankful that her tutor insisted she learn how to do this without the crutch of hand gestures. The Essence of the world feels soiled below her, but all around is sea and salt and pure air, ripe for the taking.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Taking a Shape Sorcery action and starting to cast Death of Obsidian Butterflies! Spending 3m on Penumbra Witch Mastery to enhance the roll, plus 2m of Excellency, plus 2 for stunt...
    Int+Occult: (18d10)[3][1][2][6][3][5][5][2][2][5][7][8][10][9][9][9][1][5](92)

    These are in case there are 1s which need re-rolling, take as needed starting with the leftmost: (6d10)[4][2][3][3][7][2](21)
    Last edited by The_Snark; 2020-04-19 at 04:37 AM.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: Exalted 3e - Welcome to Thorns (IC)

    Commander Lacroix

    "You really are a bit of a disappointment, you know." Lacroix opines at Dancer as he draws closer. Focused as he is on his chosen foe, the arrival of a bird in the room passes right by the commander. The smug ghost chuckles as he gestures towards his adversary with the tip of his daiklave. "I was expecting a Lookshyan! Sword of jade in hand, striding forward proudly with Gunzosha behind him. The sort we faced back in my living days. Not some Outcaste of no account with borrowed blades and dress more suited for the ballroom."

    He gives a theatrical sigh before chuckling at his own wit. "Oh well. You'll do for practice, I suppose." And with that he... is gone?

    It takes Dancer a precious few seconds to work out the trick, and wheel to her side. The ghostly commander is already there, lunging forward with his blade into a series of swift thrusts, a madcap grin on his face. The sword moans in discomfort as the chill of its master's deathly essence spreads along its length - this is the cold that could swallow the flames of Hesiesh. The unending chill of the Underworld. And just as Dancer seems to have a handle on Lacroix's offense, the ghost vanishes again, relocating to her other side and once more bringing his blade around, his laughter the one thing giving his trick away.

    "Do try and keep up, little bird. I'd hate to have this be too easy."

    Spoiler
    Show
    Lacroix reflexively activates Flying Time Technique. He's considered to be acting 3i ahead of his actual count, gets +2 successes against a target that hasn't acted yet this round, and +2 defense against characters who act after him.

    And from that, withering attack against Dancer, supplemented by Chilling Touch, to ignore 4 points of soak. He's not a Nephwrack, but he's in charge for a reason

    Combat Resolution - for the sake of saving time, I'm rolling attack and damage here. I expect players to declare their defenses without looking at the spoiler tags - Ex3 gets kinda boring if you Exalts just spend enough on defense excellencies to counter every blow. ^^

    Spoiler: Roll
    Show
    (16d10)[5][8][7][10][2][9][10][5][4][10][4][2][1][8][1][9](95) Attack
    And damage. (16d10)[8][1][6][10][8][4][5][3][8][4][5][8][8][4][1][3](86) minimum 5
    Last edited by Inspector Valin; 2020-04-15 at 07:27 AM.

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: Exalted 3e - Welcome to Thorns (IC)

    The Dancer's blade is ready, but is she? It's been years since she last had to defend herself, usually a careful word, a delicate turn of the head, a look across a crowded room is all it takes to fulfill her objectives. Covert assassinations are one thing, but active combat is a role she hasn't practiced in a long time. Still, she has never stopped practicing her dance, and what is her life if not one long careful dance anyway?

    Feel the rhythm, slow at first, the first beat always is the heartbeat, feel that tempo. Let it wind up, don't listen to the ghost, his words don't matter. He has no heartbeat, no rhythm, use that against him. She is stone-still, facing the same direction as Lacroix moves about her, her initial panic gone. Adapt, make your move when he does, ready...now!

    She moves in a flash, one leg going down, bent at the knee, hip and ankle, her other leg thrust out, toe pointed, baring flawless skin wreathed in flame. It's not enough to dodge, she needs to get him onto her tempo, then the battle will be hers. Her borrowed blade raises up, edge to meet edge. His sword is bigger, made of magical materials, wielded with unholy strength, but with luck, she can alter its course just enough...

    As the blade descends, The Dancer's essence pours out, the second component of her defense manifesting. A storm of flying maple leaves fill the catwalk, yellows, reds and oranges spiral and flicker, searing everything around her performance and hopefully forcing the ghost-commander back.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Stunting a Parry with Flame-Flicker Stance. Any 1's he rolls will add +1 to her Parry rating (base 5), if she deflects the attack, she does not take an onslaught penalty. Heck, let's get dramatic, this is her grand entrance after all. Spending 10m on Become the Hammer to raise her Parry by 5 to 10. Her Parry= 10+Stunt(1-3)+(1*1's on Lacroix's attack roll) Hopefully he's not too lucky on his roll. This also puts Dancer into Bonfire, so we've got some Anima Flux going on. At the start of each turn Lacroix is going to take 3 dice of Withering damage from her anima.

    Edit: I didn't understand the Dragonblooded Charm-dice caps. Instead, Dancer is spending 3m for Flame-Flicker Stance and 2m for Become the Hammer, raising her Parry to 8, Valin has said that was a 2-die stunt, raising it further to 10.
    Last edited by Sticks; 2020-04-15 at 03:26 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
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    Default Re: Exalted 3e - Welcome to Thorns (IC)

    The opposition had finally arrived, in as much force as expected. Her instincts told her to run and hide, and those instincts had kept her alive for years, but that wouldn't get any of these prisoners free. Despite the army of shambling horrors on the ground, it seemed like the bigger danger was the Thornguard bowmen and the ghost officer up above. So...

    What's that they like to say about when pigs fly?

    The hellboar charged toward the massed zombies, snorting and flanks heaving, but veered off to one side at the last minute. With a shocking leap, it landed on top of one of the cells. Flesh hitting metal struck a sonorous boom through the room. From there, she turned to glare furiously at the guards on the catwalks, and took another running leap, propelling herself just a bit higher and faster than even her body's formidable muscles would have been capable of without a touch of silvery essence. The railing in her way might as well be spun glass.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Attempting to move up to the catwalks, and to Rush one of the Thornguard bowmen. Probably using an excellency on the roll to get up there, once I know what it is.

    Initiative: 10
    Motes: 16/16 personal, 34/38 peripheral. 4 committed to shapeshifting.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
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    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Since no roll is apparently required, and rushing wouldn't be helpful here, let's just try and get one of those Thornguard!

    Bite dice pool for the hellboar is 8, which is better than Granny's 5 + 1. Add in a Stunt bonus, and a 5 point dexterity Excellency, and that's 15 dice for a withering attack with damage 14.

    Attack: (15d10)[3][10][10][3][6][7][5][5][4][5][9][6][9][2][5](89)
    Damage: (20d10)[7][5][9][6][1][3][5][9][8][3][6][8][6][1][6][7][3][6][7][6](112)


    The entire walkway shudders and rocks when the hellboar lands on it, sending bits of railing flying everywhere. Sweat pouring down its flanks, the beast snorts again and charges at the nearest Thornguard, a straightforward but terrifying assault.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
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    HalflingWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Exalted 3e - Welcome to Thorns (IC)

    Thornguard
    Granny's sudden assault has caught Thorns' premier soldiers by surprise. The guardsmen cry out, many knocked off balance by the juddering and swaying catwalks. A common detachment of mercenaries would be quivering in fear. But looking at the way they move and adjust, swiftly regaining their formation, Granny sees no trace of such simple human emotion. These folk... there's something wrong with them. Something deep and dark she can't quite put a finger on. But rattling them's going to be tough.

    Further, the guardsmen are reaching for their blades now. Orders or no, they have the initiative to not leave themselves defenseless against a rampaging porcine. Besides, they can't have it start attacking the commander. One of them, a little quicker than the others has already closed the distance, waving her blade in front of Granny's face to try and ward her off. "Hey! Stop that, you swine!" She glances back to her colleague for approval. The dark haired young man instead merely groans. "That was terrible." He deadpans, before jumping over a splintering beam to land at her side.

    The Guardsman readies his blade, the sword gleaming in the violet light that emanates from above, before glancing briefly towards his fellow Thornguard with a newfound concerned look. "Hey. If we kill it, do we have to eat it? I don't think I can stomach that much pork."His companion takes a second to consider the matter, before shrugging the issue off. "Eh. We can always salt the rest for later." This is seemingly enough to satisfy the pair, who are now lunging forward towards the embattled boar as a duo, grinning wide at the prospect of spilling blood. All around them, other members of the guard are closing in. As strong and tough as this form is, Granny can't help but find herself badly outnumbered here.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Okay, firstly. Take a 2dot stunt and thus a temp WP for that bit Eurus, made me smile dang it. ;)

    Unfortunately that still just got in above the Thornguard's Defense 7, and their soak was enough to reduce the magnitude damage down to 1. And since this is a battlegroup, Granny doesn't gain it - she's just up 1i from a successful attack.

    But. You shut down the Thornguard's ability to shoot at the floor. That is a very big deal.

    Thornguard are making a Withering blade attack against Granny... and no one else. Yaay battlegroup. :P (Nice job, Eurus)

    Spoiler: Roll
    Show
    (13d10)[5][3][5][3][5][9][7][3][5][5][1][6][5](62) Attack
    (14d10)[5][8][4][9][9][5][1][3][3][6][9][7][10][7](86) Damage


    Sovereign
    The overmuscled marauder wastes no time with its attack. Unlike the preening Commander Lecroix, this thing is entirely focused on the kill. Bearing down on Marrow, the monster raises the first of its great swords above its head before bringing it down upon the Dragon Blood as though it were some enormous sharp club. The blade impacts with the ground with an almighty clang...

    Spoiler
    Show
    Withering Attack against Marrow

    Spoiler: Roll
    Show
    (8d10)[1][1][1][1][5][4][5][8](26) Attack
    (20d10)[8][4][5][1][8][9][1][4][4][6][1][8][4][9][2][4][1][4][10][10](103) Damage


    ... but in an instant the great colossus pulls forward, spinning around in a surprisingly swift turn, his second blade making straight for Karal Nord. This thing is not only faster than it looks, its momentum seems unstoppable. It's blades might be turned aside but it would take the strength of a god to block a blow outright.

    Spoiler
    Show
    And a second Withering Attack, this time against Nord, thanks to Frenzied Berserker.
    Spoiler: Roll
    Show
    (10d10)[10][9][7][10][9][8][1][4][1][5](64) Attack
    (18d10)[2][8][9][6][9][6][5][9][10][8][4][10][5][8][9][7][2][10](127) Damage, min 2

  15. - Top - End - #15
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    The boar doesn't quite roll its eyes, because this really isn't the time or place for that -- which is why it's so unsettling that these Thornguard are so cavalier with the situation. They're mortals... aren't they? But there's no time to think about it, because they're coming at her with blades and cold eyes.

    There's not much finesse to a hellboar's defense, but she certainly doesn't stand still and let them go at her. She bucks and thrashes as they approach, shaking the structure, making it hard to get a clear shot without getting in range of her bone-crushing teeth, and relying on her thick skin to turn aside anything short of a full-on blow.

    Spoiler: Defense
    Show
    Evasion 3 (+stunt, so probably 4), soak 12.

    Initiative: 11
    Last edited by Eurus; 2020-04-15 at 05:10 PM.
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  16. - Top - End - #16
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    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Dual-Wielding specialty applies here, so base parry is 5. Spending 8 personal motes to raise Parry to 9.
    Soak is 10.


    "Karal Nord, you ****." The former mercenary growled. "My gens isn't all I am, nor my lack of the Dragon's blessing. Underestimate me at your-"

    The hulking monstrosity's speed and ferocity almost caught Nord by surprise. Stopping it outright didn't seem possible, but if he deflected it would it hit someone nearby? No time to think about it, only to act. As the beast's blade barreled down towards him, he brought up both of his blades. Remembering his training from Lookshy and his time fighting her enemies, he slammed his swords against the undead creature's weapon with all his might, aiming not just to deflect the blade but to force it into the ground.

    "-PERIL!"
    Last edited by HalfTangible; 2020-04-15 at 05:21 PM.
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  17. - Top - End - #17
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    Default Re: Exalted 3e - Welcome to Thorns (IC)

    "Ohhhhh... Yozi take us all." Was all Marrow had the chance to murmur before the gigantic construct was on top of him. It moved... it moved too fast, mighty thews sending chips of ancient stone flying as a sudden yank on the collar from Stone Thrown sent Marrow spinning out of the path of the blade.

    "And that," he thought, trying desperately to get his breathing back under control as he re-balanced, "is why we Dragons never fight alone." He nodded to Stone and opened his mouth, started to order his men forwards to hold the breach, and then just as quickly closed it again. There'd been something, before the charge... a shadow without a source. He broke out into a sudden grin, knife sharp and wicked. Sloppy, sloppy - it'd moved too early! If it'd waited just a few heartbeats longer, they all would've been too distracted to notice, but it hadn't and now he had it.

    "There's a second construct, skirmisher!" He shouted. "If you find it, pin it so it can't disappear back into the shadows! Two-by-two, just like we planned - get these prisoners out of here!" A chorus of acknowledgements followed, but he'd already shifted attention. He had about a hundred other problems shambling towards him, they others would need to deal with the shadow-creature themselves.

    ---

    From this close, there wasn't any need to aim. They;d climbed up onto one of the cages and now stood side by side, a shield-wall of two. Stone, strong and broad-shouldered, shield raised and spatha ready to discourage the dead from climbing their vantage point. Marrow, lithe and limber, holding Quiet like a lover.

    It was a strange thing, Quiet. 'Quiet of Autumn Morning' to use its full name, and like with most things the name told the truth of it: no slow deaths of winter chill here, but instead the ravenous, desparate hunger of something on the edge of starvation. Ugly, but pure in its way. He could hear the sounds of battle joined all around them, shrieks above and below, but none of them mattered here and now. It was time for Quiet to wake up. He reached out with mind and essence and felt the weapon stir, felt it writhe in his hands as it twined itself around his own essence. Soon, he knew, enemies wouldn't be enough to feed it. Soon wasn't now.

    The first shot went out, a spear of writhing flame touched at the edges with verdegris, and it cleaved through the dead like the prow of a boat through the ocean. Flesh bubbled and crisped, bones cracked under the heat, and there was no ash, no drippings or charred remnants - what Quiet touched, it consumed in full.

    Spoiler: Defense
    Show
    Spending 2m to raise Evasion by 1, and to ignore Environmental penalties. Total evasion: 4 (Base) + 1 (Specialty) + 1 (Stunt) + 1 (Excellency) = 7

    Spoiler: Offense
    Show
    Valin, you mentioned you'd allow a stunt to move Marrow back a bit. I'm working under the assumption that that makes this attack a short range one, feel free to just subtract the dice if you don't think that that's the case.
    Spending 1wp to kick Quiet up to Peckish and 5m on the Archery excellency
    Spoiler: Roll
    Show
    Attack - (20d10)[10][2][10][7][2][3][3][2][10][2][1][4][3][2][3][1][7][2][1][6](81)
    Damage - (30d10)[9][10][10][6][6][6][2][3][4][6][7][3][7][7][10][8][10][2][10][9][3][10][2][6][1][5][6][8][6][6](188) (min 5), +1 automatic success due to Quiet being at Peckish


    Also, to clarify, having the cuerva help the prisoners out.
    Last edited by pfm1995; 2020-04-16 at 02:05 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #18
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    Nord's smile had never quite reached his whole face, but the small smirk he'd been carrying since coming in had finally died with that last attack.

    The knowledge that there were two of these things was... concerning. But dragons were rarely the panicky sort. If he was worried, so was Nord. Speaking of... He spared the glowing dragon-blooded above a quick glance. He didn't recall any fire aspects in the battle plan, but the woman was fighting the ghost, so she was probably on the resistance's side. She was in a bad spot at that moment; maybe he should...

    His gaze flickered back to the abomination before him. No, this monstrosity was too important, he couldn't afford to split his attention right now. It was big, but it wasn't very skilled. Going for both of him and the commander (whatever his name was - Bone?) had knocked it slightly off-balance; there was an opening for him to exploit now, as it pulled itself back into a standing position.

    Before it could fully recover, Nord charged forward beneath its massive limb, momentarily disappearing from its sight. Keeping its limb between him and its eye was only going to work for a moment, but that moment was all he needed. He slid between its legs, then jumped onto its back, stabbing his blade into the mounds of flesh that it used for its body to keep himself where he could get to it. Before it could realize what he was doing, he took his other blade and sliced at the monster's spine with a ferocious snarl.

    Gods he hoped that the spine on an undead monster like this was still at least somewhat important. There was only so long he could spend wailing on it.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Karal Nord makes a withering attack against Sovereign.

    This attack will be enhanced by Excellent Strike, taking 3m peripheral. +1autosux, reroll 1s until they fail to appear

    Dex 3, Melee 5, Weapon Accuracy 5, Specialty 1, Stunt 2
    To hit: (16d10)[2][2][4][3][2][4][8][4][1][2][10][5][8][6][8][8](77) + 1autosux
    14 Damage (4 overwhelming): (14d10)[3][8][1][4][5][7][8][6][8][9][4][1][5][10](79)

    Rerolls (taken from left to right)
    (20d10)[2][7][1][5][9][2][9][6][6][10][8][5][5][5][10][2][3][3][9][4](111)

    If this brings his initiative below Nord's, I'd like to activate One Weapon Two Blows and launch a decisive attack on Sovereign, paying 5m personal and 1 peripheral to also activate Excellent Strike for this attack. (The charm specifically states I can activate it AFTER the opponent loses their initiative so if this doesn't apply I won't do it.)

    Decisive Attack: 5 to hit
    Damage: 7 before hardness
    Last edited by HalfTangible; 2020-04-16 at 11:14 AM.
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  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Commander Lacroix
    As composed as he is, Lacroix was not expecting Dancer's floral flourish. As the great pig rises upwards, beginning its assault upon the Thornguard, the ghostly commander stumbles backwards, his first assault forestalled. He looks... almost amazed by this, eyes going wide. When he meets Dancer's gaze again, it's with a newfound sense of appreciation. "Not bad. Not bad at all."

    As skilled as she is, Dancer doesn't catch his bluff until the second the wretched ghost vanishes. She wheels about, but Lacroix is a step ahead - already practically atop her. His sword strikes swiftly, forcing the spy backwards, towards the splintering remnants of the catwalk and newly unstable ground. The ghostly dualist grins wide as he goes, giddy at the prospect of forcing her over the side to an undignified end - cracking her skull on the floor below. "Got a name, Dragon? Or would you rather go to your death as 'Ms. Failure'?"

    Zombie Horde
    Quiet's flames do not disappoint. The gouts of green tinged fire scythe through the shambling mass of corpses, leaving not even scorch marks behind - just a slight gouge in the floor. Marrow can feel the essence of his 'partner' awakening at the feast laid out before it, Quiet already wanting more. And as the zombies continue to shamble forward, their pace only increasing as they draw closer to the room, it seems that the firewand will get its wish before too long.

    Spoiler: PFM
    Show
    14 damage dealt. Quiet rises to Hungry. Since this is magnitude damage, you only recieve 1i for a successful hit, but I've got a hunch next turn you're gonna drive them down far enough to net a Break bonus or two. ;)


    Sovereign
    The great brute may be strong, and faster than it looks - but that's nowhere near fast enough it seems. Marrow is swiftly clear of its first stroke, and with an effort that feels like enough to shake the heavens, Karal Nord brings his other sword down straight to the ground. Even as the war-monster tries to steady itself, the Lookshyan skirmisher pushes his attack further still, slipping behind the great monster and lodging his blades deep in its innards. The monster's spine may be iron, reinforced by necromantic surgery, but that's not enough to save it from Nord's assault.

    In less than a second, the behemoth falls to the floor, its hefty blades clattering down beside it. The Marukani girl is just staring at Nord, mouth agape at this display of sheer power. It will take her a few seconds to process what has just happened.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    So... yeah. Sovereign is destroyed. Solars are really good, surprise!

    Reset to 3, HalfTangible.


    Hippocrias
    The skittering monster hiding in the shadows has been moving around the outside of the chamber, clambering over the walls, skittering from place to place looking for its chance. The still caged prisoners shudder, pushing back against the bars, trying to keep their distance from the shade. The creature makes a strange, clicking sound - before shifting within the shadows, and letting fly with a shower of quills in the direction of the caged folk.

    Only for every last quill to thud harmlessly against the shields of the Cuevra: already in place and ready. The students' guard holds strong, as the wandmen get to work with the keys, continuing the evacuation. They had expected arrows, not bone shards, but such well trained warriors were not so easily taken aback.

    "Ee-EEEE!" It's easy to read emotion in the creature's voice. This time it's anger. There's a faint humming from its shrouded perch, as though it were building strength, before it follows the boar's example. It leaps swiftly from cage to cage before finally vaulting right across Marrow's field of fire towards Rivers, and the terrified looking facility workers who are cowering behind him.

    The great beast is atop Rivers in an instant, two vicious front claws bearing down on the Dragon Blood, trying to pin them to the ground. Now Rivers can get a closer look at it, the monster is... disconcerting. The head and talons are avian, the beak and eyes putting him in mind of a great eagle. Yet its body from the torso down is scaled; long, wide and yet distended, like a giant snake of some kind, running across the floor behind it. Yet not content to slither upon its belly, it's ringed with an almost countless et of tiny bone talons that seem strong enough to help it cling to the wall. And at the far side of this monstrosity arises a hefty metal tail, swaying back and forth, with a bushel of bone quills tapping against the side of their container - ready to be launched again soon enough.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    The Hippocrias is activating Insidious Terror Mein. Soak against this attack will be Rivers' Resolve (modified by applicable intimacies automatically). He's also delaying to Clash Rivers with a withering attack. Yeah, that sacrifices his Surprise Attack bonus, but winning a clash does auto damage, and this guy has Leaping Pounce - dealing 5 withering or more lets him reflexively make a Clinch attempt.

    Spoiler: Clash Roll
    Show
    (14d10)[8][10][5][6][2][5][6][1][3][5][8][10][6][8](83)Attack
    (12d10)[8][6][3][6][6][5][5][2][9][10][9][4](73)Damage
    Last edited by Inspector Valin; 2020-04-17 at 06:33 PM.

  20. - Top - End - #20
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    "Zhinü's grace," Rivers mutters as they see the awful chimeric beast leaping toward them. They have just enough time to bring up their prison-guard's spear to catch the creature's extended talons before its weight bears them to the ground. If the horrendous creature manages to pin them there, this will get ugly, and Rivers knows it. They've only got a moment, just the briefest opening, to try to turn the tide.

    Keeping the spear braced against the screeching thing with their left hand, they cock back their right arm. A bubble of dark-blue essence, the first flare of their anima, forms around their fist.

    "Ohh, shuuuuut UP!"
    they yell, and deck the thing in the nose, a hard right cross connecting with its beak.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Unarmed Withering Clash! Going all-in, 6m on Become the Hammer, the Brawl Excellency. Dragons willing, I'll grapple it next round.
    Spoiler: Roll
    Show
    Attack + Excellency + Stunt: (21d10)[6][9][8][4][8][3][10][5][6][4][9][1][5][8][4][5][1][4][8][4][2](114)
    Damage (11 base, minimum 1, 3i bonus damage if the Clash succeeds): (15d10)[10][3][4][3][3][9][7][2][9][7][8][7][4][1][4](81)
    Reroll 6s on damage until 6s cease to appear: (8d10)[7][10][8][2][4][7][2][8](48)
    Last edited by Ascension; 2020-04-17 at 08:55 PM.
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  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Hippocrias
    Rivers' strike may be hurried improvisation, but the Dragon Blood puts the strength of Daana’d behind their blow and the Hippocrias feels the full fury of the tide as it connects. With an almost pittiable caw, and the crashing sound of a hefty tide lashing against rock, the snake beast is knocked bodily to the floor, tangled up with its own mechanical tail, claws splayed every which way. It will take it some time to rise and threaten the group further. Time Rivers can use.

    Spoiler
    Show
    9 damage dealt for the successful Clash, which brings the Hippocrias down to -2 and thanks to the crash, puts Rivers up to 21i. It's also at a -2 to defense until its next turn.


    Zombies
    Despite Quiet cutting swathes through their ranks, the zombie horde continue to advance - their shambling gait devoid of the typical efficiency that comes from such creatures after Mask's forces have had the time to properly train them. In seconds the tide will wash across the room, foul corpses biting and clawing at anything living they can reach.

    But before they do, Nord sees a figure streak past him, charging towards the zombie horde. The young Marukani might know that she's outmatched in large account by her rescuers, but that's no excuse for letting them fight alone. Her stolen sword gleams as she starts scything through the oncoming corpses, trying to thin the herd still further before their attack begins in earnest.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Withering Attack against the zombie horde.
    (9d10)[9][9][8][10][7][1][5][3][10](62) Attack
    (12d10)[6][1][4][1][6][8][4][4][5][6][3][1](49) Damage, min 2


    Spoiler: OOC - All
    Show
    Current tracker - prior to resolving the Marukani's attack.

    21i: Rivers
    18i: Commander Lacroix
    14i: Whisper
    11i: Granny
    10i: Marrow
    9i: Thornguard
    6i: Rivers

    4i: Marukani
    3i: Zombie Horde, Karal Nord
    1i: Dancer
    -2i: Hippocrias

  22. - Top - End - #22
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    Zombies
    One mortal blade against so many might have seemed futile. But the young warrior strikes with strength and speed born of fervor - her ancestors and training prepared her to face overwhelming odds, and with such champions fighting by her side, standing back was unacceptable. She too begins carving a path through the swarm, following through the wake of those Quiet had scoured away to ensure she's not surrounded by the dead.

    It's helped. Between her and Marrow, there are far fewer zombies now. But where mortal troops might start to panic and withdraw, the dead know no fear. Still the shambling hordes march on. They lack the numbers now to completely envelop the cell block, but they swarm around the door, a storm of monsters with tattered skin stretched gaunt over their bones, swiping and gnashing at the living combatants with hunger in their washed out eyes eyes. A handful have congregated at the edge of Marrow's vantage point, trying futility to swipe up at the Dragon Blooded commander. They might not be the strongest opponents individually, but as ever, they have numbers on their side.

    Spoiler
    Show
    1i damage. Exactly what was called for. The Marukani gets +6i, putting her on i10. A position that may not last long.

    Now it's time for the Zombie Horde's attack. This hits Nord, Rivers and the Marukani - given that stunted movement from PFM, I'm gonna keep Marrow at Short from both sides of the conflict for now. ;)

    Spoiler: Roll
    Show
    (8d10)[5][9][5][3][9][8][4][3](46) Attack
    (19d10)[4][8][8][1][1][1][9][4][3][8][3][2][7][2][1][8][7][7][10](94) Damage


    Next up is Dancer, ending this round. After her action everyone gains 5m, and we'll transition to the top of next round which is Rivers (and Lacroix if Dancer can't knock his count down a bit. ;))
    Last edited by Inspector Valin; 2020-04-18 at 04:40 AM.

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    MonkGirl

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    The Dancer's confidence is shaken. She'd come here to meet the resistance, make some contacts, dirty her hands as-needed and strike a blow against the Mask, but this...She clearly saw that Hellboar arrive out of nowhere, and the fight going on below...she's throwing her lot in with characters she'd never considered as allies before, but in the face of their mutual enemy, who could say no to such potent friends?

    Speaking of, there's a War-Ghost to deal with, one that's kept her on the back-foot thus far. Time to start reasserting herself.

    "Spirits about to fade have no need for names."

    The Dancer's blades goes wide, exposing her midsection for a tantalizing moment, vulnerable. Then she twists, her feet tumbling over one another in a movement that looks spontaneous and clumsy until she repeats it, bringing the blade around for another wide sweep, then another, then another. She spins, her sword trailing flames, her feet beating out a tarantella as her tumbling dance forces Lacroix back again and again.

    Spoiler: OOC & Rolls
    Show
    Dancer is making a Withering attack supplemented with Become the Hammer(4m) and Searing Edge Attack. If Dancer's attack gets a single success or more, Lacroix will lose Essence (2) additional initiative. Also, Dancer is now in Bonfire, so Lacroix will be taking those Three dice of withering damage on his turn unless he has Hardness 1 or greater.
    Spoiler: Rolls
    Show
    Attack+Stunt+Excellency (4)
    Withering Attack: (21d10)[5][3][8][7][9][5][10][9][10][8][5][10][6][10][6][10][8][1][5][10][5](150)
    Damage: (Base 10, minimum 2) (15d10)[7][2][1][1][6][4][6][6][1][10][10][3][7][6][1](71)
    Reroll 6's on damage until 6's cease to appear. (5d10)[2][6][10][1][3](22)

    Last edited by Sticks; 2020-04-18 at 11:11 AM.
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  24. - Top - End - #24
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    The zombies come, but Rivers, riding high on the momentum of their successful counter to the serpentine abomination's attack, is quite literally in their element now. Water essence flows freely within and without them, a slick blue-black shadow limning their form, and they flow fluidly through a series of savage, instinctual counters, bashing aside the swipes of hands turned to claws, meeting lunging bites with swift kicks and elbows to maintain distance, shoulder-charging one zombie into the next to throw both off-balance. Rivers refuses to succumb to this surge of pitiable once-dead victims of Thorns. They are one with the tide, and they are its master.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    For safety's sake, I'll dump 4m into Become the Hammer on defense, boosting Rivers' parry to a pre-stunt 7.
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  25. - Top - End - #25
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    Commander Lacroix
    "Fade away? Girl, you're the one burning out here." Lacroix laughs. Still, Dancer can see the ghostly commander's smile fade into an intense look as her strikes drive him back somewhat, bringing the two of them onto more stable footing closer to the edges of the room. She might not have turned this fight around just yet, but she's narrowed the old ghost's advantage at least. That said, Lacroix remains the definition of confidence and swagger as he spares Dancer a wink. Nothing seems able to truly dampen his attitude.

    Until he glances across the chamber.

    The prisoners are continuing to flee. Most of the cells now appear to be empty, the scurrying rats escorting the last of his charges towards the entrance hall. His Thornguard can make no progress against the Hellboar that is tearing through the catwalk, and thus are in no position to fight the rest of the invaders. The zombies' assault has stalled, their numbers suspiciously lower than had been stored in the vaults, and both of the necrotech prototypes are on the floor, one seeming ominously still with its blades fallen to the floor.

    And in that instant, Dancer can see Commander Dorian Lacroix completely stupefied by what has happened to the facility the Mask of Winters had placed him in charge of guarding.

    Spoiler: Round Transition
    Show
    Can confirm, Dancer landed the hit with a lunatic 18sux. Lacroix's defense regularly is 7, but FTT raises that to 9, so the margin is 9sux. His soak is also 9, so that's 10 damage dice rolled, 5 successes and our new chart for the top of the round is as follows.

    21i: Rivers
    14i: Whisper
    (11/14)i: Commander Lacroix
    11i: Granny
    10i: Marrow, Marukani
    9i: Thornguard
    7i: Dancer
    3i: Zombie Horde, Karal Nord
    -2i: Hippocrias

    5m to all, Rivers is up!
    Last edited by Inspector Valin; 2020-04-18 at 05:40 PM.

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Rivers takes a moment to glance upward to the struggle on the catwalk overhead, seeing the Thornsguard struggling with a maddened boar amidst their ranks, and a woman wreathed in flaming maple leaves dueling with a daiklave-wielding ghost. And that woman amidst the flames... is that the Dancer from the palace? She... Rivers gave her information about this prison-lab, yes, but they thought she was just a spy, an information-gatherer, never imagined that she'd...

    For a split-second they consider intervening in the Dancer's fight... they might just be able to snare the ghostly commander in the currents of their anima from this distance, might be able to pull him crashing down to earth... but it's clear that, for all their beauty, the Fire-Aspect is no damsel in distress. They'll not do her the disrespect of assuming they could do better against such a foe.

    Besides, Rivers still has a foe of their own to deal with, not even counting the zombie horde surrounding them. The chimeric beast... that parody of bird, snake, and centipede they so recently struggled with... may still be down for the moment, but from its thrashing Rivers can see that it's not yet out. Rivers ought to do something about that.

    Rivers spits into their palms, the saliva instantly blending and disappearing into their anima. Their thin aura swirls and spreads, bursting outward in a ripple of force as, with a shout and a stomp, they take a wide, low stance, a wrestler's stance. The loose folds of their guard's uniform sway with subaquatic buoyancy. They shoot forward, grasping the chimera-construct's writhing tail just above its quill-launcher, and they twist away from the struggling creature, lifting its tail up onto their shoulder. The weaponized metal-and-bone body of the abomination chafes their hands even through the leather gloves of their uniform, but they grit their teeth and heave with all their strength nonetheless. If they've figured this correctly, if they've got the right leverage, then...

    Spoiler: OOC and Rolls
    Show
    I so want to carry this stunt on into the throw, but then I'd have egg on my face if the attack to initiate the grapple failed. Here goes nothing...

    Decisive Gambit to initiate a grapple. 5m on Become the Hammer to buff the attack roll, then will come the Initiative roll, then, if all goes well up to that point, the control roll, which I'm going to spend another 5m on. I'm going to go ahead and roll the control roll in this post, but the stunt description of Rivers' anima going bonfire in response will wait until my next post, when I have confirmation as to whether or not the attack succeeded.
    Spoiler: Rolls
    Show
    Attack (Dex + Brawl + Excellency + Stunt): (16d10)[10][4][10][4][9][7][1][7][2][2][5][5][2][1][6][10](85)
    Initiative (needs 2 successes to grapple): (21d10)[1][6][10][9][2][2][1][6][2][8][7][8][7][2][2][7][5][2][1][4][8](100)
    Control Roll (Strength + Brawl + Excellency + Stunt): (17d10)[1][1][9][3][5][4][4][6][9][4][7][5][3][5][6][5][5](82)
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  27. - Top - End - #27
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    The guard's gloves Rivers is wearing are unfamiliar, and their grip almost slips at the critical moment, but the housing of the quill-launcher itself stops the slide, and they regain purchase.

    "Oi-yaaaaaaaaaa!"

    Rivers lets out a mighty kiai as their anima surges even higher, yawning sea-green crocodiles and river dragons appearing in its swirling blue-black waters, their open jaws laughing at the necrosurgeons' fragile toy caught firm in Rivers' grasp. Rivers heaves on the construct's tail, doubling over forward with their effort as they swing the creature overhead like an enormous hammer. The screaming, flailing beast's eagle's head slingshots forward, gravity multiplying the force of Rivers' throw on its downward arc, and it crashes through the roof and bars of one of the empty cages with enough force to bend iron and shatter bone.

    The smile on Rivers' face is one of feral glee, of exultation in a foe's annihilation. They aren't sure if the accursed creature will rise again, but if it does, they plan to pound it flat again, and again, until the lesson finally sticks.

    Spoiler: OOC and Roll
    Show
    So, I somehow won that control roll with my three rolled successes, because the dice were even less kind to Hippocrias. How, I don't know, but I'm going to take it. Valin threw me a pity two-point stunt, too, so when Rivers makes this Decisive Throw they're giving up two rounds of control, and thus they almost get back up to the number of dice of damage they would've rolled on a normal Decisive attack.

    I'm spending another 1m on Become the Hammer purely for its reroll-6s-on-damage effect; after much deliberation over how the heck that benefit is supposed to work (or not work) in conjunction with damage rolls that result from grappling, I think this is valid.
    Spoiler: Roll
    Show
    Decisive Damage! Probably bashing. 20 dice, rerolling 6s until they cease to appear.
    Damage: (20d10)[3][2][10][1][8][1][4][3][6][4][9][1][10][1][10][2][8][10][3][10](106)
    Potential rerolls: (8d10)[9][1][8][2][1][2][3][5](31)

    As a further note, since Rivers is now at Bonfire and Hippocrias is Crashed, Hippocrias will take another one die of lethal damage from Anima Flux on its turn if it survives that long. I'm... hoping Rivers doesn't endanger prisoners and Cuerva fighters in the process, but they might.
    Last edited by Ascension; 2020-04-19 at 03:32 AM.
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  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Hippocrias
    As the full glory of Rivers' anima starts to fade, the great beast lies there in the wreckage of the devastated cell. Its reworked carcass is perforated with chunks of iron, and the metal tail has begun to smoke and spark. Rivers can see a few final twitches of motion in the creature, a twitch of a claw, a shifting of its torso, it trying to raise its misshapen head to look them in the eyes, before the monster finally falls limp amidst its impromptu burial site.

    Spoiler
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    So yeah... Hippocrias is down - reset to 3, Rivers. Next up is Whisper, sharing a tick with Lacroix.
    Last edited by Inspector Valin; 2020-04-19 at 04:59 AM.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    The vulture perches itself on the crumbling edge of the wall, peering inside. Zombies and ghosts - only to be expected, given the bloody banners of Thorns outside. Nothing she hasn't seen before. Patchwork monsters, stitched together from the corpses of men and beasts alike - again, nothing she hasn't seen in the Underworld. Dragons - it's a surprise to see them still alive in Thorns. She'd thought they all died when the city fell, or else bent knee to the mask. A pleasant surprise, though. Ordinary people, of course: some dressed in the armor and grinning death-masks of Thorns, others clad in patchwork armor or the rags of prisoners. And...

    Is that a pig thrashing around on the catwalk? A giant pig? Okay, that one she didn't expect.

    The halt in her downward motion provides the perfect physical cue. Whisper draws breath, draws in the essence of the world, splaying her wings wide - nearly falling off her perch in the process, but talons dig into the stone and keep her suspended for a moment longer -

    - she exhales, and the world exhales with her, sea and salt and sky-essence crystallizing into hundreds of dagger-sized shards of black glass. They fly forward as if carried on a typhoon-wind, tumbling end over jagged end as they rake across the catwalk to lacerate mortal flesh and ghostly ectoplasm alike.

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Death of Obsidian Butterflies! I have taken the mild liberty of stunting and rolling the spell even though there is a very faint chance it won't go off; if I roll 0 successes here, I will edit and feel extremely silly.
    Int+Occult+stunt: (13d10)[7][5][4][3][9][2][5][7][6][3][1][6][6](64)

    Spending 10m on the Perception Excellency, because if you're not going to go all-out with a spell then when will you? 8 from personal, the last 2 peripheral. Note that this is undodgeable, and battle groups take a -2 penalty to Defense as well. Damage will be 1+threshold successes, or 6+threshold successes against battle groups.
    Spoiler: Rolls
    Show
    Perception+Occult: (23d10)[6][5][9][7][8][8][9][7][1][1][3][7][2][5][3][10][9][7][6][4][10][9][3](139)
    Avatar by GryffonDurime. Thanks!

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    HalflingWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Exalted 3e - Welcome to Thorns (IC)

    The sorcerous attack turns the already frantic battle of the catwalk into pandimonum. The Thornguard are too well trained to cry out in fear, but frantic shouts of 'cover' are quickly heard as they scramble to avoid the oncoming swarm of shining death.

    "What now?!" Lacroix snarls, his affable smug facade starting to crack. To his credit however, the ghostly duelist's response is quick and clear. As the ebony butterflys zoom towards him, Lacroix spins his dark hued blade like a baton, the moaning noise from within growing to fever pitch. He tilts this way and that, trying to keep his impromptu shield covering every angle The soulsteel ripples and shudders as Dorian bats at the swarm, moving with the speed and grace born of total harmony between blade and wielder as he tries to knock the obsidian butterflies off course and back towards his attacker, one by one.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Lacroix is activating an evocation - Master Duelist's Deflection. Cost 4m 1i. It allows him to make a reflexive Withering Clash that doesn't count as his action for the round. He doesn't gain the i damage he deals on a win though, and I'm going to say due to flavouring and positioning this is not enough to protect the Thornguard - they're taking the effect in full.

    Spoiler: Withering Attack
    Show
    (16d10)[9][5][8][7][7][5][6][3][2][7][3][2][6][6][8][10](94) Attack
    (16d10)[2][7][7][7][4][4][9][2][6][7][9][2][8][7][3][6](90) Damage

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