20th May 2021, 1:07 AM

Consider a potluck

Consider a potluck
"I'm sorry," you state, not quite nailing the tone you'd hoped for and instead just kind of blurting it out awkwardly. "If... If I'd have known what it was going to be like I wouldn't have let you guys--"

"Don't apologize to me," Cici says bluntly. "I don't regret going out there. I regret taking Kate, but I don't regret going out there."

"I mean... you didn't really take her, if I recall it was her idea to begin with."

"Well," Cici says, "then I regret not stopping Kate. I had a pretty bad time but I learned a lot, and I'm fine with that. I started in my second form, with the size powers, so I know burning all your mana out doesn't send you backward. I burned out last night, I went out painlessly, I get to pick right back up where I left off, I'm fine. I'm fine. I just--

Kate--I couldn't--"

She stops, and breathes deeply.

You interrupt. "You didn't know what was going to happen any better than I did. If you're not gonna blame me then I'm sure as hell not going to blame you, and neither should Kate. We already knew we were in over our heads, it was a matter of time until we found out how far and now we... unfortunately, we fucking know. We have a real god damn good idea just out far out of our depth this is."

"That's it, though," Cici says after a moment's pause, "that's... that's just it. I had more mana last night than I did the first night I did the dream. I was faster, Plaire! I was tougher! And my blobby bird form's muuuch better than my egg form was. The longer we spend in there, the better we get at it--and I don't just mean because we're learning, I mean we're growing. I want to say it's like exercise, but the rate I'm getting stronger at in there is... insane."

"There's probably some kind of experience system working under the hood," you reply, not quite able to match Cici's enthusiasm about it. "I noticed I was improving, but I haven't had time to really evaluate it since we figured out how mana works. ...Did you notice a huge difference between you and Kate's abilities? You've both only done a night, but I'm pretty sure your night was more... active, which would mean more experience--that, plus the transforming--"

"There's deeefinitely a difference," she replies. "I don't think that's what's holdin' her back, though--she can't do what you were doing with her fire powers, and I don't think I've seen you do the stuff she's started figuring out. She got us through a good chunk of that mess by lighting herself on fire and shootin' around like a rocket, if it's really the SAME power then you're both only using half of it. We need more people in there--at the same time! Every night I don't go in I'm missing a chance to get stronger, and every night I do go in I'm robbing Kate of that. We all three need to be working with each other in the dream."

...Ohhhh. "That's what you meant by 'we need more people,' you meant like... accomplice slots, or demonshells or whatever. I thought you meant we needed, like, reserve members."

Cici shrugs. "I could take or leave more people in the group. If Kate needs a break then Kate needs a break, but me? Plaire, I have never been that helpless in my damn life. Everything that moved was faster than us, and walked through my best attacks like it was nothing. We were lucky that we lasted as long as we did trying to blink things away, there wasn't a single fight out there we could've won. The thing that ate Kate blew through my shield like it was a light show, and that thing wasn't special--it was the same sorta random garbage monster that'd been chasing us all night! I've changed once before, it made me tougher and it gave me new powers--I didn't feel it outside the bubble but I'm still confident I can change again, and so can Kate."

"And you're just... gonna grind until you can beat the outside's ass...?"

"Yeah," she says with a ferocity in her eye. "I watched that thing kill my friend and I'm not gonna do it twice. I don't want anything to be ABLE to do that to us! If we can close that power gap, we don't have to be afraid of anything. You said it exactly right: we know how out of our depth we are now. I'm about to start swimming, Plaire."

Jesus Christ. While she's not shaken like Kate is, you think it may be for the best that Cici also takes a break, lest she attempts to fistfight heaven and earth for bonus XP.

"I'm... not totally opposed to doing some beefing up in the dungeon, but right now I'm more worried about the bubble breaking. I have a theory that the heart countdown might actually represent the bubble's... shield integrity, or something, and if that's the case we should still have well over a week before the sky breaks and chaos reigns in the castle. The tradesman mentioning miasmatic wounds has had me thinking, too--maybe they're like fractures or leaks in the bubble, the word wound implies damage, right? Maybe there's some cheap, easy way to patch up the anti-diet-god shield, and then we can focus on our shōnen training montage bullshit. We should also ask the tradesman about it--if he knows about the wounds he might know about the bubble itself."

"Hold on, shonan..." Utter confusion on the face of Cici. "What?"

"You know," you motion blindly, "training in ten times gravity, weighted clothing, all that business. Have you watched no anime?"

Cici shakes her head. "Nope! Bebe likes to get high and watch the one with the hamsters, but other than that not really."

Dear god. You either have to or have to not show her anime and you're not sure which it is.

You shake your head. "At any rate, our best bet for getting more simultaneous accomplices might be outside the dungeon. We still don't really know how it does what it does, or what the shit a demonshell actually is. Franklin probably knows something..."

"And then there's the OLD library," Cici remarks. "And I'm starting to think that laundry room's hiding more than just the washer and dryer, too."

"Oh, shit--" It has been a long day already, you realize, "I haven't even told you everything I found out about the house. I... might have a plan for getting us into the laundry room."

And the attic.



Stop forgetting about the attic.

You commence explaining everything you read in the haunted house book, all the speculation about magic and games and killer cars over lunch, and everything Ezra said. Well, you mostly explain it, sloppily, because it's a lot to go over and you're kind of impatient to finish explaining it all so you can get Cici's thoughts on it (even if, paradoxically, spending less time explaining it may result in not getting an accurate impression of--

) oh shit and the business with the lady in the photo, too.

You take out your cell phone. It takes you a bit to navigate to your picture of the photo and a little bit longer to load it, but you eventually show Cici the picture.

She very gently takes the phone from you.

Stares at it.

Stares at it hard.

. . .


You can accurately pinpoint the moment she spots the wild-eyed witch.

. . .

But then she makes a face you don't quite get as good a read on.

"Do you... recognize her?"

"No," Cici says, "but my heart rate just went up big time."

She holds your phone out to you, and you take it back.

You ask, hesitantly, "what do you think it means...?"

Cici gives a big shrug.



You return the book about haunted houses, and while Cici does whatever it is that librarians do when a book gets returned, you pet Meatloaf (who is still just the tubbiest kitty oh my god) and update your notes. After getting Cici's permission (and thanking her for everything she found out), you fold her illustration of the dream and tape it to one of the pages of your notepad.

Hmm.


Fool's Rush.

Fool's Rush... Inn? You do have people sleeping at your house a lot.

Hag End.

Plaire's Home for Wayward Weirdos.

Fort... Butthole.

It's tough to compete with Casa del Salamandra, and you're not even sure that's a sensical combination of words. You could probably internet it, but then if you fuck it up you'll look even dumber being like well you see when I ran it through one of those often unreliable online translators--

"What if you... threw... a party," Cici finally says, slowly, like the idea's being telegraphed to her in real time.

"With all the money I have?," you ask with a sarcastic grin.

"Make it a potluck!," she replies. "Call it a housewarming party or something, maybe people'll bring furniture."

"I only know like six people," you state, "and the first time somebody passes out in that house the party's gonna take a dark turn."

"You know more people than that. AND you know Kate and Bebe," Cici adds, "and they know all kinds of people! And I don't wanna blow your mind, but there are parties where nobody's expected to pass out. It's a dang potluck, Plaire, not a kegger! Nobody'll be passing out, and if they do they're not invited to anymore parties. Besides, it's not like we won't all three be on the lookout for that sort of thing--we can wake somebody up. I can carry someone outside."

"...It would be a good opportunity to christen the house with a non-spooky name," you mutter. "Then everybody hears the name and it can start spreading. ...Hmm."

"I'm not doing a dang thing here, Plaire," Cici insists. "I can call Bebe right now and get you a full house."

"Well--wait--not tonight, tonight we have to train Marlow--"

"So we shoo everybody out before bedtime!," she interjects. "Plaire! We don't know how much living in the house it'll take to open up that laundry room but you could be livin' it up in that house tonight. What if it doesn't take that much? The secret to having two accomplices AT THE SAME TIME could be in that laundry room, Plaaaire!" She pauses. Takes a moment. "Look, if you don't feel like it I'm not gonna push it--"

"No," you interrupt. "I... I think you're right. Ezra himself even suggested throwing a party, this would have to at least put us significantly closer to our goal if not seriously alleviate the house's concerns. Or... fears, or whatever the house equivalent is. The more we learn, the better we can deal with it--and like, at a ridiculous exchange rate, because we're already leaps and bounds ahead of where we started. ...And now we've seen what happens when we don't have enough information, and how badly it can go; it would almost be irresponsible not to take what's an obvious, easy shortcut to make the house feel better and thus get access to the laundry room and the attic and whatever the sweet FUCK is hiding there so we can--"

"Wait," Cici begins with a slow blink, "there's an attic now?"

"The attic is much harder to remember," you tell her, "and might have some other weirder shit going on. I'm mostly going on secondhand knowledge from notes I don't remember writing, but... yeah. Attic." ... And yeah, saying that out loud it becomes clearer that you need to get this house-eating-memories situation sorted pronto or you're going to lose your fucking mind. You should not be getting comfortable or used to this.

You do have a couple different options for medicating now, if your anxiety does get out of control.


You heave a deep sigh. "I... I think I'm going to try to have a party tonight."


Average Rating: 5 (1 vote)
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20th May 2021, 1:40 AM
Risk
Maybe ask Cici if she has any idea for quick decorations for this party? Getting the house in the mood for it might help the success.

Also tell Meatloaf they're a good cat.
20th May 2021, 2:03 AM
Snervalton
+1, ask Cici about decorations.
20th May 2021, 2:25 AM
Portal In Time
+1! I know this library is severely underfunded in a kinda poor town, but if they had a couch in the staff area, they might have craft supplies for kids. MondolMart would probably have some generic decorations, too.

ALSO tell meatloaf they're the sweetest little chubby kitty in the whole gosh darn world
20th May 2021, 2:31 AM
Another Guest
22nd May 2021, 7:18 AM
lilWitchPepper
Absolutely +1
20th May 2021, 1:57 AM
Xylas_Incarnum
So.... Junkyard and get at least a wire spool for a new table? Preferabbly more than one table? some sand paper and elbow grease would work enough for that... well that and maybe some pliers if it's got nails and other shit stuck in it.... then again we might not even have the cash for that till next payday. Definitely need people to bring some folding tables and chairs......
Wait so if the Attic's a real thing then there must also be a basement, even if it's just for inspecting the foundations there's gotta be some kinda basement in that house.... much like how there's always gotta be an attic for roof maintenace... mostly to do with insulation and airvents if nothing else. Everything else for a roof tends to be on the outside.
20th May 2021, 2:06 AM
Snervalton
-1 to going to the junkyard for now. If other people are bringing furniture for the housewarming then we should see what they bring before going to look for more.

edit: we may be able to find something useful just by walking to our next destination.
20th May 2021, 2:18 AM
Portal In Time
-1 for the junkyard as well, we need to see what A Game looks like before we settle for D- Game
20th May 2021, 6:19 AM
Zophah
The house could have a slab foundation, which means no basement or crawl space, but knowing how the house acts I wouldn’t be surprised that it has one.
20th May 2021, 2:05 AM
Snervalton
While we're at the library, look for books on mutations, wolves, mutant wolves and vampires. Check sources on a library computer if necessary to confirm reliability of information.

Edit: ask Cici about the mutant wolf that took her eye.
20th May 2021, 2:09 AM
Snervalton
Walk to Maria's next and be on the lookout for furniture and other useful things along the way.

Chat with Maria to get a feel for her. Casually mention her lab in hopes of learning more about it. Ask about Franklin, where he's being held and whether there are visiting hours there.
20th May 2021, 2:23 AM
Portal In Time
-1, Plaire can only do so much in one day and it's already early afternoon. I say we work on communicating for people to come over. If we do end up seeing Maria on the bus though, it wouldn't hurt to invite her over. Plus, if she is actually around as we do our thing, we can talk more about space gardens and labs during the event itself!
20th May 2021, 2:49 AM
Snervalton
Yeah, good point, Plaire and Maria can talk at the party, best to start planning that.
20th May 2021, 2:29 AM
Another Guest
First things first: the good/bad part of working with a tight countdown is that in 7 days, Cici won't be able to see all of a certain Dragon related anime - honestly if she gets inspired by that on, she will want to kick those "old gods" by herself .-.

The bad/good part is, maybe she needs to get inspired - it would help toward dungeon experimentations involving powers? So... one badass episode, after the party?
20th May 2021, 2:35 AM
Another Guest
Ok, about the party, in terms of out-of-the-curve...

...do we invite the house? I mean, it's a house, it's where people do parties, but it seems to be sentient, so...?

...on this note, do we invite the bus? On one hand, it seems to be a nice bus, on the other hand, it can leak info that can help Mondol Group to do... wharever they want to do... but then people are already using the bus to move through the town so...

...do we also have to ask for people to not stop in front of Plaire's house, just to throw any surveillance system off? Or this is just being too paranoid?
20th May 2021, 11:26 AM
I don't know if the bus would be able to physically attend, but I'd say go ahead and invite it out of politeness.

Also, I'm not too worried about the bus being a secret spy, since I'm thinking we should be looking for Spooky Techno-Magic Ways to free the bus from Mondol control. (Probably shouldn't tell that to the bus until after we acquire said methods, though).
20th May 2021, 12:09 PM
Snervalton
I don't think we should invite the house. The house isn't sentient, it's merely been corrupted from its intended purpose as a dwelling. Treating it like a sentient person instead of an inanimate object would only maintain/further its corruption
20th May 2021, 8:43 PM
BJBlack
You know, Cherry might be able to attend... after a fashion. She's not 'a bus,' after all. She's an AI that controls five buses.

If you think of those buses as rather large cell phones with wheels and doors, then if you call her up and put her on speakerphone, then she's there, as much as she could be. A video feed to her and a virtual avatar for the guests to look at would help. She won't be able to offer rides, though.

Oh, here's a crazy idea. Borrow a (relatively benign) haunted doll, sew the cell phone into it, and hope that technology and magic start interfacing well, and then Cherry's there in a little mobile body!

hahaha like that's gonna happen

...

that easily...
22nd May 2021, 7:23 AM
lilWitchPepper
+1 to Inviting and calling Cherry. Put her on speaker so she can 'attend' for a few minutes' before she has to go. Fairly normal resident of house thing to do.
-... any number I'm allowed to giving Cherry a Haunted Doll Body for now. Maybe later. Once the house has chilled out and figured out that you're it's resident and you're just weird like that. Don't wanna increase the spook on the house just yet.
-1 inviting the house. The house is what you get invited to, not who you send the invitation to.
20th May 2021, 5:40 AM
psychoshen
For a while there, I had to live on a very limited budget and I once made a list of food items (non-exhaustive) that you could get for a $1 or less. If the inventory is correct, we should have $7 which would be enough for 5 lbs. of chicken quarters and some seasoning (garlic salt is a recent favorite). In a pan, season both sides generously (skin side down at the end is my preference) and chuck it in the oven for an hour. Easy, cheap, done. With the money left over, probably a pound of white rice? It tends to go a long way and is also easy to prepare.

If we don't want to be broke, we may want to contact Lagi (the drug dealer) and see about an advance on future brain sate? Or if he doesn't mind a small transaction, some of what we currently have (8 brainsate) for some decorations and or crafting paper and scissors for making decorations?

If we can secure crafting supplies, recruit anyone willing to assist with decorating and chatting while people arrive.

Edit: I don't know if anyone remembers the Boaty McBoatface situation, but we can steal their idea. They didn't use the name for the main ship, but instead on one of their deep dive subs. I felt like that was an interesting way of recognizing the public's interest and suggestion, even if it was really weird / out there. We can use any left over names for individual rooms / areas.

Edit again: I keep thinking of ways to mess up the chicken. One layer of meat per pan. If you go over by an hour, it'll still be good, but more than that and it'll be really dry.
20th May 2021, 10:20 AM
Snervalton
If we're going to sell anything to Lagi we should sell more of the backyard level before giving away any of our Brainsate, we're more likely to need the latter.
20th May 2021, 8:47 PM
BJBlack
But, is Lagi just available at the drop of a hat to furnish cash? Yesterday, Player called him, and he couldn't meet up until nine hours later.
21st May 2021, 1:09 AM
Snervalton
Probably not, I was just saying that if we ever do sell or trade any substances to him in the future it should be the level and not the Brainsate.
20th May 2021, 6:38 AM
Pkrankow
Decorations
Cici is expected to announce the new name Casa del Salamandra -get the spelling right- we are fishing for a hand-painted yard sign or similar.

We need to make a new splash for our video intros that includes the house's new name. "Broadcasting from 'Casa del Salamandra' for your viewing pleasure." We own our videos and channel in very real and meaningful ways so including the house is meaningful.



20th May 2021, 10:28 AM
Snervalton
I was hoping Kate could paint a mural on the house to announce its new name, something prominently featuring a salamander. That would help even people outside the house to think of it in a new way. +1 to using the new name in our videos.
29th May 2021, 1:42 AM
_Question_mark's_psychE_
should we publicly share the name of our home with followers?
this raises some major internet red flags with me.
stalkery danger and so on, we need to be safe.

If we can do that, I'm all for sharing the name- the more people believe in it/ use it, the more powerful the name gets.

we could also try to tell a specific story of the house- enough people believing it might make it true, if power and magic work like that here.
We need to be careful with the truth, but there should be nothing wrong with talking about a good house thats opening up to us, revealing its secrets and trying to keep us safe in a scary world?

maybe not today, though. A video likely takes longer, put we could make it a speech to our guests while they are in the house, sitting in a circle, candles lit and all?
2nd Jun 2021, 6:04 PM
Snervalton
Some good points here. +1 to being cautious about sharing the name of Plaire's house online.

+1 to having a speech/ceremony at the party to name the house.
20th May 2021, 7:24 AM
A random Italian
Hi everyone! Just chiming in to say that the correct spelling would be "Casa della Salamandra", unless the mistake is intentional ;)
20th May 2021, 7:56 AM
BJBlack
It's not intentional, per se; it was an accident that occurred. Fixing the accident is an... ongoing project.

Last strip we exchanged a few comments on the phrase, and I assumed it was Spanish, providing a Spanish correction... You know, I didn't even realize that it was so similar in Italian.

I guess now Player needs to choose which language.
20th May 2021, 4:49 PM
Or de la Salamandra, if we're going with Spanish instead of Italian for our Romance language of choice lol. I think I like "della Salamandra" tho!

Yeah, I think we should make sure that we have the name right *before* we even start planning the party. It would be very bad for the house's identity to give it a name and then *change* that name.
20th May 2021, 9:21 AM
Pacifist Weird Child
Alright, let the party/potluck commence!

We could invite the people from the game shop, and maybe Maria too.

(but let Meatloaf join the party please)
20th May 2021, 11:58 AM
I'm intrigued by the mention of an experience system working under the hood.

If it's just a traditional dungeon system, then really the only way to get experience points is from monster slaughter. If that's the case, then getting heavy weaponry from somewhere (Operation Become The Police being the most obvious solution) seems like it would be our best bet, since we can just grind by gunning down monsters left and right with little personal risk. (And it's something we should be angling towards, anyway).

If the XP system is more, ah, expansive, though, like Morrowind or some other open-world RPG, then we could potentially get experience points for any kind of productive action. Solving puzzles nets us XP? Okay, let's get a Rubik's cube and study a tutorial on how to speedrun it. Maybe we can offer to sell Cici one of our dirty old socks for a trillion dollars, and she agrees to it and gives us a check for the money. (This would all take place in the dungeon, of course, and the check would just be a fake anyway). Maybe there's some kind of simple, quick crafting we could do in the dungeon as well.

This is all speculative, of course, and since the XP system (if it exists) is obfuscated from us, we should hold off on any of the more time-consuming experimentation until we can confirm the existence and details of the system, probably from the Tradesman.

One possibility: During any downtime in the dungeon, Plaire runs math problems in her head. (Maybe check out a book of math problems from the library to help with this). If Plaire finds that mentally accomplishing math problems in her head becomes easier and easier, including high end math shit like geometry and trigonometry and whatever that she hasn't studied up on, then that's a strong indicator that A. There is an XP system, and B. We get XP for more than just whaling on monsters.
21st May 2021, 10:52 AM
PurpleKetchup
There's a good chance experience is only awarded when an Alcazar-origin issue is solved, not something that's brought in by visitors (be it kicking monsters, reaching new waypoints or unlocking doors). Otherwise Plaire could go to sleep with one of those sudoku books and burn through them for cheap exp.
It's probably related to mana management (mana²gement ?) so a better use of in-Alcazar mechanics should be the way to go...
Cut down mana expenditure by reducing visual quality, reduce depth of field, resolution, colours... try the same for smells and sounds too.
If it can be reduced significantly from that, then a single night worth of delve can last a while. Maybe long enough to find the wound and find a way to fix it.
20th May 2021, 11:58 AM
Frission
Tie some balloons to the mailbox! As Cleveland Brown would say, balloons are the universal sign for 'PARTY OVER HEEE~AAAHHH~' :3
OOOH! We could invite Kate's band and have them play a set :D
20th May 2021, 8:54 PM
BJBlack
I'd love The Biggest Shrug to slam some songs too, but isn't Harv laid up in the hospital?
21st May 2021, 10:21 AM
Frission
Oh man that's right, it's been so long I forgot. ;n;
20th May 2021, 8:20 PM
BJBlack
I'll be dumping a few ideas here; bear with me.

A few hours before this page came up (hahaha me and my timing), I speculated that mana-enhancing weapons and armor might be available to accomplices, and therefore proposed to Make Accomplice weapons and armor as home decor-cum-dream equipment. For instance, a Sun plushie (shelled or unshelled?) bearing an axe, a shield, and a mace in its three claws.

Best case scenario for that, you tell Cici about this idea here, and she gets excited, picking up some cloth, stuffing, a sewing kit, and some toy weapons (actual steel miniature weapons would really be convenient, but plastic or wood is better than nothing) after work. Then she brings it to the party, and you all use it as a party activity which would engage guests as well as build a personal home decor item that could actually boost Cici's dream performance further. It could be ready to go tonight, especially if someone good with sewing comes to the party.

Also on the topic of the party, Invite Temperance and Mayor Parsons. They probably aren't on Kate and Bebe's friends lists, so they won't learn about it if you don't tell them. Since they're active at night, probably all you can do right now is leave a voicemail, "We're having a party tonight, 6 to 10 (or whatever). I know you're busy but if either of you want to, you can swing by."

(EDIT: Above, I clarify why you'd leave a voicemail.)

Even lacking that, I give pretty good odds that Parsons will just show up without an explicit invitation, saying she was just passing by on some business or other, to flex her "I'm not saying I'm omniscient, but I totally am" shtick. With perfect timing, this would be about five seconds after Player shares the Sanctuary City idea (see Page 155) with Deedee, and you get to watch an exciting scene.

On the topic of demonshells, Call the Back Room, ask Marlow for his daughter's phone number, and call her. Going by her characterization on Page 96, she's a better candidate for knowing about them than anybody you know and she'd be totally down to share knowledge.

She might just show up at the potluck, too; you never did hear when her vacation ends.

Finally, Set a date and time for the Old Library Expedition. If Animal Control will extract a snake from a private building at the request of a citizen, then they might be willing to provide an escort into a potentially dangerous area. But they might need advance notice to schedule it. So, set a time (I'm thinking, tomorrow, when Cici closes the library), then call Animal Control to ask for help.
21st May 2021, 10:58 AM
PurpleKetchup
All that sounds pretty efficient. +1.
I expect our dear Mayor may ask Temperance to test the waters so to speak. She seems like the suspicious kind. She'll probably show up as the party dies down, before everyone hits the sack.
21st May 2021, 1:47 PM
Snervalton
If Mayor Parsons is invited over it should be made clear that she's not invited inside the house, Plaire can talk with her on the front lawn. If she's an actual vampire that can't enter without and invitation then we shouldn't give up that extra layer of protection from her without good reason. Even if she's not an actual vampire we don't need her snooping around in there when we have no idea what her interest in the house is yet.
21st May 2021, 2:06 PM
BJBlack
Yeah, I tried to word the invitation I wrote so that there wasn't an explicit invitation into the building in it.

I expect that if more than about a half-dozen people show, most of the action will go outside (along with the furniture), since only the living room really seems appropriate for entertaining guests, and it's not a big room. Therefore "swing by the party" doesn't mean "come in as you please."

But, that vampire trope may not apply to vampires in this setting (if Parsons is a vampire). If and when Parsons's behavior takes a sinister turn, researching vampires in-setting might be warranted.
21st May 2021, 3:44 PM
Snervalton
Since we're conveniently at the library right now we could look for a book on vampires. Hopefully it would explain the rules on vampires in this world. It might even have a test to determine whether a person is actually a vampire and if not what other type of creature they might be.
21st May 2021, 5:06 PM
BJBlack
Regarding a book on vampires (and I neither +1 nor -1 it, I'm staying neutral), if there's a choice of books, see if you can find one by the same publisher or author as the haunted house book; it contained information that Ezra knew as well, so it's reasonable to assume they know their stuff.

Wouldn't want to get stuck reading urban legends and baseless myths.
21st May 2021, 4:47 PM
+1 to all, especially Mayor invite (and especially to clarifying she's not invited into the house proper).
22nd May 2021, 12:12 AM
confusedMage
+1 to invites. Inviting the mayor and their assistant is a really cheeky move, and it would definitely be interesting to see how it pans out.
22nd May 2021, 7:29 AM
lilWitchPepper
+1 to everything. Inviting the Mayor and letting her see the house could be seen as a sign of good will. Definitely be careful with phrasing about letting her in in your invitation, but... we don't want to be too rude. We're not sure if she's a friendly, but we don't want to be on her bad side. We should consult with our friends about letting her in.
24th May 2021, 1:19 AM
The Beardman
+1 to everything except inviting the Mayor and assistant, -1 to that. Too many unknowns, we don't need to roll those dice until we're in a better position
25th May 2021, 4:00 PM
PretenseAndPoison
On the topic of Mayor Parsons, I'm reasonably suspicious her request to buy the house indicates she's aware of the Mastermind requirement. If the Alcazar treats the rightful owner of the house as a Mastermind, then Mayor Parsons would only be able to get the Bad Times Dreams by entering the Alcazar any other way.

Taking some backup and coming clean on what Plaire knows might just get some more information from her as well. Possibly dangling Accomplice privileges as leverage for more information if things go... well? Non-cooperative-non-hostile?
25th May 2021, 5:23 PM
Snervalton
If Plaire is going to share any information with Parsons then the sharing should be a two-way street, meaning that Parsons has to hand over the documents regarding the house first. These are documents that Plaire is 100% legally entitled to after all, and Parsons has no good reason to be withholding them.
26th May 2021, 12:38 AM
BJBlack
Honestly, I think Temperance and/or Parsons should be given the chance to just socialize, and maybe Parsons would make a toast to "the city's newest citizen" or something, and everybody just chills a bit. You see, you want things, but she wants things, too.

She wants something or other out of the alcazar, and she's opposed to Mondol on some level. You've proven to have about a week's staying power in the alcazar, and Mondol's been escalating their you-can't-prove-it-was-us crime spree.

What if she's (under a calm exterior) getting nervous? She's not getting in the alcazar, and Mondol is still using her police against her designs, in spite of some purging she managed to do to the police force already. Events on both fronts are progressing at breakneck speed, and she's not getting what she wants.

Perhaps she's just biding her time for the perfect opportunity. But maybe — just maybe — her options are more limited than you might think, and she is concerned about being left behind and left out?

At the party, don't even bring up the files, or the alcazar, or even Mondol– not until she does first. If she can withstand the urge to raise the topics herself (and she very well might), then when she is saying her farewells so she can get back to work, Ask her, "Given recent events, are you reconsidering your opinion of me?".

(She seemed to think that you were getting into a dangerous situation, implying you couldn't handle it, when you first met her.)

That's it. It can lead to her admitting that you are pretty competent, thence the conversation could continue toward cooperative ventures (potentially, with you finally getting those files, or Temperance as a new Accomplice, or perhaps things even more surprising). Or she could deflect it, "I hold all my citizens in the highest esteem, Ms. Stephens," and then she leaves — and you let her go.

All you need to do is subtly let her know you're open to negotiations, and if she's not, then you've made a move sooner than she's ready, and you can try again when events have marched further towards... wherever they're going.

(I left a little speculative monologue about Ninelives politics on Page 155 (where it's out of the way). Basically, before implementing the Sanctuary City, I speculate some time will be required to circulate a petition and gather signatures, rather than Mayor Parsons simply making the declaration. Basically, that opens a sidequest to make a sweeping change in the setting, rather than (as the joke goes) the paradigm shifting without a clutch.)
26th May 2021, 2:09 PM
Snervalton
Do we really know that Parsons is opposed to Mondol on some level? On page 39 of this story Plaire reads an article that says that the mayor's assistant, Temperance Walsh, got into a physical fight with several of Mondol's security. But the article doesn't say what sparked the altercation: both Mondol and the mayor's office declined to comment on the incident. We don't know whether Walsh's actions reflect any official position of the mayor's office. Maybe Parsons disciplined Walsh for the incident, maybe Parsons and Mondol have since patched up their relationship? Has Parsons taken any action in her official capacity as mayor to oppose Mondol? Not that we know of.
26th May 2021, 4:27 PM
BJBlack
"Anybody that pisses MondolGroup off like Parsons and Walsh have can't be complete monsters." - Marlow Tuck, Page 67

He provides a few official actions: de-militarization, transfers, firings.
26th May 2021, 4:54 PM
Snervalton
Ok, Marlow does say that Parsons has pissed off Mondol. However, the de-militarization, transfers and firings of the town's police force(not Mondol's) aren't mentioned in connection with that, Marlow tells Plaire this when she asks why a vampire would run for mayor. I'd still like to know specifically what Parsons has done to piss off Mondol.
26th May 2021, 8:36 PM
BJBlack
[sarcasm]Good thing we've recruited Marlow, then, seeing as we invest about zero trust in his judgement.[/sarcasm]

Seriously, though. Direct, unambiguous testimony from one of our (current) party members that Parsons is working against Mondol, and that's not good enough?

Facts about the police reforms:
The police were strengthened and corrupted under the old mayor.
The police are currently doing parts of Mondol's dirty work.
Parsons is shaking up the police force, to weaken them and fight corruption.

But the police reforms are irrelevant to the Parsons/Mondol relationship, because Player interjected a question?

The random speculation that Temperance physically assaulted Mondol employees despite a Parsons/Mondol alliance, and Mondol didn't get Parsons to fire her in retaliation could really be the icing on the cake. Don't even waste your breath explaining that away, because:

I'm coming more and more to the conclusion that you just hate and fear Mayor Parsons, and nothing, simply nothing, will convince you that she is anything but EVILEVILEVIL.

I, on the other hand, am willing to give her a chance. Perhaps there's nothing more to be said about our disagreement.
27th May 2021, 12:42 PM
Snervalton
Could you get a grip on yourself before you once again descend into tragi-comedy?

Marlow didn’t give direct, unambiguous testimony of anything. In fact, he says “[t]he cynic in me says she's softening the town up” in the same sentence as he mentions the de-militarization of police. The only motive for Parsons that he cites for the reforms has nothing to do with Mondol. Instead, he suggests she may be weakening the town in order to act against it. If the fact that Marlow is in the party now means that we’re supposed to accept whatever he says uncritically then why not put your trust in that? The suggestion that Parsons’ changes to the police force were related to her relationship with Mondol is a speculation for which we have no evidence. The fact is that we don’t know yet why she made them. It’s important to find out things like this so that we can make informed decisions going forward.

The police reforms were not mentioned in connection with Parsons’ having pissed off Mondol. First, Marlow mentioned that Parsons had pissed off Mondol, but not specifically how. Then Plaire asked “Why would a vampire run for mayor...?", changing the focus of the conversation, then Marlow told Plaire about the reforms.

I never said anything about an alliance between Parsons and Mondol or about anybody trying to get Temperance fired and I’ll thank you not to put words in my mouth. You don’t strengthen your case by making up silly shit like that, you merely sacrifice your credibility. What I said was that we don’t know the details of Temperance’s altercation with Mondol security. Therefore, we don’t know whether it had anything to do with the Mayor’s office’s official position in regard to Mondol or how it affected the Mayor’s relationship with Mondol.

I don’t “hate and fear” Parsons because Parsons is a fictional character. My evaluation of that character is based on her own actions in the story. She threatened Kate’s mom when we first met her, completely unprompted. Her words provoked an “uh oh” and then an “oh shit” reaction and intimidated Kate into silence, as intended. There is no other plausible reading of the text. Parsons is also withholding documents related to Plaire’s house that Plaire is 100% legally entitled to. It’s Parsons that chose to be obstructive and deny us information and that’s not a choice that suggests an open, honest alliance is a possibility. Parsons also said “I have a right to know” in regard to goings-on at Plaire’s house. This phrase, which represents inappropriate invasions into Plaire’s privacy, is a recurring theme in the story and it inspired an apoplectic rage in Plaire when she heard it. This same phrase is used by the bone-tentacle monsters in the dream dungeon and Parsons’ use of it establishes her as a monster just like them, an adversary if not an outright villain in the story. If you insist that Plaire should work together with Parsons then it’s on you to explain why we should ignore these three very clear red flags. No logical fallacies, no making up whatever silly shit serves your foregone conclusion, no copping out and saying “I’ve said my piece” when you’ve already proven that you have absolutely no idea when to quit. Why specifically should we ignore all three of these very clear red flags?

Trying to re-write clearly established elements of the story just get your ego stroked by the implementation of your own idea is dishonest and disrespectful to the author of this story who has his own vision and is putting a lot of work in to provide us with a wonderful experience. If you really want to re-write the story to your own liking just to gratify yourself then you should go and write your own My Delirium Alcazar fan-fiction.
29th May 2021, 9:40 PM
BJBlack
Well, I had some things to do the last couple days, but I read your comment and knew it would be fun responding. Probably best I slept on it, though; if I get too excited I can start to rant.

A couple misunderstandings need to be straightened out. When you said, "maybe Parsons and Mondol have since patched up their relationship?" (link), I took that to mean an alliance. You posited a vague "relationship," and snap at me for affixing a concrete term to it, because you "never said anything" using any precise terms. I'd accuse you of laying a trap, but you're not that sneaky. Anyway, until you feel like sharing a specific relationship, or set of likely relationships, I feel "alliance" will describe your position with an acceptable degree of accuracy.

Second misunderstanding: When I said direct, unambiguous testimony, I wasn't referring to the next paragraphs. I didn't want to start two comments in a row with the same quote from Marlow ("Anybody that pisses MondolGroup off like Parsons and Walsh have can't be complete monsters." - Page 67); that's obnoxious and kind of passive-aggressive. So I omitted it. So, for clarity's sake, let me state: I consider that quote from Marlow to be the testimony in question.

(In retrospect, there is a slight ambiguity; Parsons and Walsh could piss off Mondol without taking any actions... though I can't imagine why. Racism against vampires? Anyway, not perfectly unambiguous, but I consider it very solid testimony.)

The police reforms strike me as the most likely avenue through which Parsons is irritating Mondol. If that's correct, when Marlow talks about the police reforms, both the Mondol and the "why mayor" questions are being addressed.

I checked back a bit, and on Page 155, Player said "...Rill Parsons is opposed to the police force. Right? One of the things I've heard about her is that she's been defunding and firing cops. The police are essentially working for or with MondolGroup, who Parsons is also not too big on," which Kate confirms. Cici is there, but neither confirms nor challenges the assertion.

That's three or four characters (in a party of four, total) that buy into Parsons being not friendly with Mondol. Again, with reference to police reforms, and the police running errands for Mondol.

Technically, they don't come out and say, "This is what Parsons is doing that is getting Mondol's panties in a knot," so it's possible that these characters have come to this conclusion based on other evidence that they (for some reason) don't discuss on-panel, or possibly on no evidence at all. I consider that quite implausible, though.

Moving on.

On the topic of Mondol trying to get Temperance fired, I didn't say that you said that. Here's some facts: Parsons didn't fire Temperance. Ergo, Mondol didn't get Parsons to fire Temperance. Mondol didn't get Parsons to fire Temperance. That's a fact. When I stated that, I was stating a fact.

Perhaps you were confused by the previous clause in that particular sentence, wherein I described a random speculation. One random speculation (being, the Temperance Incident happened despite Parsons and Mondol being friendly), as you can tell by the use of the singular word 'speculation,' instead of the plural, 'speculations.' I do proofread these things, you know. And the second clause was a statement of fact, which fact wouldn't make sense if Parsons and Mondol weren't at least somewhat hostile (i.e., the speculation were true), barring Temperance being massively important to Parsons — enough that she would offer up other sacrifices to appease Mondol — and okay, that's plausible, but not safe to assume.

In retrospect, perhaps "first clause" when also (rather than 'and') "second clause" would not have confused you.

"I don't "hate and fear" Parsons because Parsons is a fictional character."
Come on now, no need to be shy. You can be emotionally invested in the story and characters. In fact, I think it would be kind of weird for you to stick around if you weren't.

Okay, so a list of three red flags. Parsons threatened Kate's mom, Parsons is withholding some documents, Parsons said "I have a right to know." Gray flag, yellow flag, gray flag.

So, the "threat" against Kate's mom. Hmmm, "There is no other plausible reading of the text," huh? I'm getting the impression that you've increased in your conviction since last time. Anyway, rather than repeat the same argument that you ignored, let's try a new one for you to ignore (I'm a realist).

So, Parsons intimidated Kate into silence... for, what, a couple/few minutes? Then Player starts a counter-offensive, and Kate's brain comes back online, and she's back in the action. But... Parsons doesn't threaten or intimidate her into silence again. If she needed to slap an "Out of Order" sign on Kate's thought processes at the beginning, why does she just sit back and take it a few minutes later? It's not like she needed a minute to hide the documents or anything; she had plenty of time to prepare before she agreed to see them at all, and she stood in plain sight the whole time.

Is she prescient? Did she know that Kate would accomplish something or other in that first minute, absent a mind derail? But her prescience failed her minutes later, when Kate is the one who figures out that Parsons wants something out of the alcazar; I don't think that's the explanation.

Then, Parsons didn't back the "threat" up. What do you do if you threaten someone's loved one, and they just go and do the thing anyway? You go out and kill, or maim, or seduce, or whatever said loved one. It's been three days and four nights, and the plot is thickening fast, so if she's really going to be a credible threat (or her threats are going to be a credible threat), she needs to actually follow through. Otherwise, she's just a bag of hot air wearing red spectacles, not an über-evil vampire megalomaniac who's going to ruin everybody's life and spit chewing gum on the sidewalk.

On to the documents. I'll grant, she's being obstructive. But the actions she's taking have a reason behind them. We don't know what the reason is, but it could fall anywhere on the spectrum between good and evil, and considering this is an obstruction that is minimally harmful, I don't consider it plausible to simply assume that the reason falls deep in the evil end. You can't assume that every obstruction to your personal goal-of-the-moment is proof of irredeemable villainy.

"I have a right to know." Again, it seems like you've grown even more dead certain that your interpretation is THE ONE TRUTH. This phrase now establishes Parsons as a monster. Not merely an antagonist, but a monster.

I just checked back, and I didn't actually address this sin by Mayor Parsons in the previous conversation. I guess it's because: you've got a point with this one. Everybody knows that good, or even neutral, people can't speak the evil words. If they did, deliberately or by coincidence, their windpipes would seize up. They'd choke on the syllables. I hear sometimes good people (though a bit on the sickly side) just straight-up die from accidentally placing the wrong words into a sentence like that, and it's a real tragedy.
30th May 2021, 2:26 PM
Snervalton
Holy Christ, if making up stupid-ass, self-serving horseshit and dodging the point were sports then you would be an Olympic-level champion. You know that people immediately see right through that kind of thing, don’t you?

Yeah, I’m invested in the story and I want to see Morgenstern’s vision of it, not your self-indulgent re-write where established elements of Parsons’ character are ignored, Plaire stands around handing out pamphlets and the protagonist is side-lined by a super-cop who solves all the story’s problems for her. I’m sure that would make for some truly gripping drama. The lack of self-awareness and sense of entitlement that allows you to even suggest that is absolutely insufferable.

I’m invested in this argument because you seem to approach it like a competitive sport and you chose to get personally insulting over a story that’s supposed to be for fun. When you make things personal, people tend to get personally invested. Can you explain exactly what makes you feel entitled to act this way?

As mayor of Ninelives and a major business in that town respectively, Parsons and Mondol must have some kind of relationship to each other, it would be impossible for them not to interact to some extent. That’s all that I meant when I said they had a relationship, your bringing the word “alliance” into it comes completely out of nowhere. I brought up Temperance’s altercation with Mondol to have a further discussion about it because we don’t know yet how it affected the relationship between Parsons and Mondol. If it did stir up ill-will between them, they might since have been able to work things out and might be capable of working together going forward, we don’t know at this point.

The police reforms are the most likely way that Parsons pissed off Mondol, we can agree on that. However, Marlow merely saying that Parsons has pissed off Mondol isn’t testimony of any kind as to how she did it. Plaire changed the topic of conversation before the mention of the police reforms. Knowing the exact way how Parsons pissed off Mondol is important for our decision-making. Marlow also said he suspects Parsons reformed the police to weaken the town. It could be that she sought to weaken the town for reasons unrelated to Mondol and only unintentionally pissed off the corporation in the process. So we’ve had two reasons suggested for Parsons’ police reforms and we don’t know yet which one is accurate. What percentage of our adventuring party favors which theory is irrelevant, I prefer to make up my own mind of the matter.

Even if Parsons did implement the police reforms in order to weaken Mondol, that doesn’t by itself make her a good candidate for an ally. Parsons wants something connected with Plaire’s house/the alcazar. Mondol wants something connected to Plaire’s house/the alczar, that’s why it’s ramping up its campaign of harrassment in response to Plaire’s activities in the dream dungeon. They both just want what Plaire has, their wants put them in an adversarial relationship to Plaire regardless of how they feel about each other. The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.

In regard to Parsons threatening Kate’s mom, my position remains what it always has been: that it was in fact a threat and it should be seen as red flag that would make working together with her difficult if not impossible. Why would anybody seek to work closely with somebody who has threatened their loved one? Plaire and Kate approached Parsons cautiously and respectfully, they gave the mayor the chance you say we should give her and Parsons squandered it. It’s Parsons that chose to begin their relationship on that footing.

Putting the word threat in parentheses doesn’t make what’s written in the text any less a threat, it just allows you to take a cheap-shot without having to explain your position with words. The fact that Parsons hasn’t carried out the threat(yet) doesn’t make it any less a threat and a god-awful, trust-destroying thing to say to someone. The fact that the threat didn’t intimidate Kate into silence for the entire encounter doesn’t make her words any less a threat. It stopped Kate from going on the offensive during the early part of the encounter and thus gave some advantage Parsons. The fact that Parsons didn’t use the same tactic twice doesn’t make her original words any less a threat. Using the same tactic a second time probably wouldn’t have been as effective. Also, a person doesn’t have to be able to psychically predict the entirety of a conversation in order to think that threatening somebody is to their advantage, that suggestion is just fucking silly. But once again you’ve dodged the point using complete nonsense: Parsons’ words provoked an “uh oh” and then an “oh shit” reaction and intimidated Kate into silence, as intended. There is no other plausible reading of the text. How could what she said be interpreted as anything other than a threat?

In regard to Parsons withholding the house’s documents, this represents a refusal to work cooperatively with Plaire, despite the fact that Plaire approached her cautiously and respectfully. It’s true that you can’t expect to get everything you want, like for example you can’t expect a story you like to be re-written to flatter your ego. However, Plaire has asked Parsons for one thing and Parsons has denied her that one thing for absolutely no good reason. That doesn’t bode well for a cooperative relationship going forward.

Monster may be too strong a word to describe Parsons, although threatening somebody’s mother might be considered to be pretty monstrous. The word adversary fits her just right. She wants what Plaire has, access to the house/alcazar, and has shown herself unwilling to cooperate to get it. It remains to be seen just how villainous she is willing to be to get what she wants. Saying “I have a right to know” puts her in the same camp as others who have sought to intrude inappropriately into Plaire’s privacy and who spurred Plaire to leave her hometown in search of a life free from such intrusions. Plaire seems to want to protect herself from such people, not form alliances with them. If Parsons does have other redeeming qualities we haven’t seen them. It’s what we do know about her that should inform our decision-making, and what we know at this point makes her the last person we should be courting as an ally.
31st May 2021, 7:08 PM
BJBlack
Okay, I've done a reality check. Here's some things I think are true:

I'm not going to change your mind.
You're not going to change my mind.
The rest of the community isn't going to change their minds, and probably think we need to give it a rest.

In consideration of these conclusions, I'm initiating de-escalations. Here's what I'll do for the remainder of this comment thread: I'll answer your questions about my position. As a caveat, if you ask questions that are, quantitatively or qualitatively, not conducive to my intent to de-escalate, then I reserve the option to ignore some of them.

I'll demonstrate with the questions you asked in this post (skipping the first one; I think you meant that rhetorically).

"Can you explain exactly what makes you feel entitled to act this way?"
(link)

"Why would anybody seek to work closely with somebody who has threatened their loved one?"
If anybody really was threatened here, Ezra's monologue on The Day to Come, if it's relevant to the story, would suggest that Player's job is literally to save the world. That would be a good reason to work with somebody who threatened a loved one.

"How could what she said be interpreted as anything other than a threat?"
Kate and Player were going into the meeting with a plan. Specifically, Kate wanted to aggro (Bad Cop) while Player played cooler (Good Cop). Parsons recognized Kate, and this surprised Kate; Kate started slowing down. Player thinks, "uh oh" at this point.
I think Player's "uh oh" was due to Kate's loss of momentum rather than Parsons' "threat" ("threat" in quotation marks instead of parentheses, per your previous objection) because Kate's mom hadn't been mentioned yet.
Parsons sees Kate is confused, so says that her mother invited her in for tea by chance while she was out in the area. Then Player thinks, "Oh shit."
I think Player's "Oh shit" is also due to Kate's loss of momentum, which she thinks will be compounded due to the mayor knowing Kate's mom. I think it unlikely that she instantly interpreted the statement immediately previous as a threat.
Parsons continues, complimenting Heather, describing her home decor, and commenting on the hair color they share.
I think, if anything was a threat, it was this. However, you could interpret it as her simply being chatty, for instance that she's acting normal for her culture (i.e., the nobility of who-knows-where).
Since your question was, how what she said could be interpreted as something other than a threat, and this is one way it could, this concludes the answer to your question.

--------

Just a few exceptions to my de-escalation policy. I seems like you read my little speculation about how Ninelives politics might be. Thanks for taking the time, Snervalton. I really appreciate it.

I have one question for you on the topic of the mayor. Did Heather's recent statements about her prompt you to change your position? And if so, how?

Finally, I'm keeping one (1) one-liner in my pocket. I've already written it; it's three words long. You may or may not trigger it. I'll just warn you, if you act salty about my decision to de-escalate, that's risking the trigger. Other than that, you're safe from my burns in this comment thread.
31st May 2021, 11:46 PM
Snervalton
Freedom of speech is a right that’s meant to protect political actors from retribution if they speak out against relatively more powerful actors. It’s not an excuse for bad behavior on a discussion board or for turning participation in a story that’s meant to be for fun into an unfriendly competition, don’t try to elevate the way you’ve acted to that level. Even when you have absolute freedom of speech, you might want to balance it with basic human decency because we all have social responsibilities as well as rights. Don’t try to say you’re initiating de-escalation when you’re still taking cheapshots like that.

On the same note, don’t dodge or pretend like you don’t understand my criticism of your use of quotation marks around the word threat by focusing on a minor mistake. Just putting quotation marks around somebody’s words allows you to take a cheapshot, to cast doubt on what they said without having to explain why it should be doubted. It’s a completely dishonest tactic.

I don’t think it’s possible to interpret Parsons’ words as friendly chit-chat. Idle chatting and compliments are meant to make someone feel at ease and encourage them to engage with you. They don’t leave a person “deflated” or unable to focus and speak, as Kate was. Kate is described later on the same page as looking like a deer in the headlights and as terrified. Plaire is described as being on edge and having an overwhelming sense of dread. These reactions allow us to infer that Parsons’ words were spoken in an intimidating tone. The subtext of Parsons mentioning she’d been in Kate’s mom’s house was “I’ve gotten in there before and I could do it again, to hurt her”. Plaire also says the following to Parsons on the next page: “That you're standing here, threatening MY friend and trying to tell ME, the dumb bitch that has to LIVE in that house, that YOU have a right to know ANYTHING...It's fucking laughable, Mayor Parsons.” Parsons’ threat against Kate was recognized by Plaire as such. Guess we should have read the next page before wasting all this effort. In light of the three clear red flags from Plaire’s first meeting with Parsons, she’s the last person we should be courting as an ally.

In regard to Plaire saving the world, it’s not clear at this point that her goals are that broad. She seems for now to be motivated more by spite and a desire to carve out a life of her own choosing for herself. In any case, Parsons has taken an adversarial position to Plaire, they both want the house/alcazar and Parsons has demonstrated herself to be unwilling to cooperate with Plaire to get it. Plaire’s goals/strategy are for now connected to keeping access to the alcazar. Therefore, Parsons still wouldn’t be a valid candidate for an alliance, even if Plaire were seeking to save the world.

Heather’s statements did not change my position in regard to Parsons. As you pointed out before, people are multi-faceted. Parsons can be nice to Kate’s mom, grieving, terrified, exhausted and unhappy and at the same time threatening, obstructive and inappropriately intrusive toward somebody else. The adjectives that Heather used to describe Parsons don’t lead me to believe the mayor’s position on anything she discussed with Plaire has changed.

And FYI, what you charitably and self-indulgently refer as your burns inspire nothing more than a facepalm and an image of yourself as childish, petty and ridiculous. You intimidate absolutely nobody and running your mouth at me isn’t going to dissuade me from exercising my freedom of speech, if you want to call it that.
1st Jun 2021, 4:09 PM
BJBlack
Oh! This is a surprise. It seems you have no questions about my position. So, in accordance with my de-escalation policy, I guess this debate is concluded.

Thanks a ton, it's been fun; peace out.
1st Jun 2021, 6:30 PM
Snervalton
I did ask you why we should ignore the three very clear red flags that Parsons presented in her first encounter with Plaire. Now, after having written an entire novel on the subject and having scraped clean the very bottom of the nonsense barrel, you're declaring the debate to be concluded. After having relentlessly carried on like a hostile jackass you're suddenly implementing a de-escalation policy the moment you find yourself painted into a corner. I hope that this policy remains in effect the next time somebody challenges you, so that you're able to carry on a civil, adult discussion with them. I hope you've learned that people aren't going to buy whatever nonsense you spew out just because you said it. Seriously, take these words as a gift from me.

Your take on Parsons as a character is untenable and Plaire working with her would make no sense, based on what is plainly written in the text of this story. You are not entitled to re-write clearly established elements of the story just to have your ego stroked by the implementation of your own idea.

I'll phrase this in the form of a question: Didn't it look like Plaire was recognizing Parsons' words as a threat when, on page 46, she said "That you're standing here, threatening MY friend and trying to tell ME, the dumb bitch that has to LIVE in that house, that YOU have a right to know ANYTHING...It's fucking laughable, Mayor Parsons."?
21st May 2021, 1:17 AM
Snervalton
Okay, if we're not going to Maria's next then we should go home to prepare for the party and make a video, because Plaire is in serious need of some cash. Maybe play some Captemon so we can discover what kind of powers it gives us in the dream dungeon tonight. Walk home and be on the lookout for furniture along the way.
22nd May 2021, 8:55 AM
BJBlack
+1 to a Captemon video, and to walking home. As a caveat, I wouldn't recommend spending more than 45 minutes or so walking; that's about three miles at a good pace, which is a fair bit of exercise, and you have a lot of other tasks to attend to.
21st May 2021, 9:13 PM
foxoftheasterisk
On the subject of making the house feel like a house: Call Lagi, ask him to get started on getting some Somniplan.

And invite him to the party, why not.
21st May 2021, 11:07 PM
Snervalton
I'm interested to know: why is it you think getting some Somniplan would make the house feel more like a house, foxoftheasterisk?
22nd May 2021, 3:58 AM
foxoftheasterisk
Currently if we want to NOT enter the alcazar we have to go sleep somewhere else. And given that entering the alcazar is scary and requires perpetration it's probably pretty obvious that we don't feel safe sleeping here. Which is, y'know. Not very house-like.

I suppose it doesn't matter if we're going in every night anyway (which we might need to do if the heart counter keeps ticking down regardless) but if we do want to take another day off, sleeping here with Somniplan is probably the way to go.

(That's assuming the Somniplan even works, ofc. And it's probably going to be a couple days before we actually want to use it - but I don't know how long it'll take Lagi to get it, so I want to get the process started.)
23rd May 2021, 7:02 PM
Snervalton
Yeah, it would be good to have some of the stuff on hand if we ever wanted a dreamless sleep inside the house.

I'm not sure if feeling unsafe sleeping in the house is un-house-like, or that Plaire even does feel unsafe sleeping there. I mean, she keeps doing it and the dream dungeon hasn't been physically harmful to Plaire's body in the real world, at least not yet. There are people beset by chronic nightmares who sleep in their regular bed regardless and I think that's a pretty standard use of a house. Using your home as a portal to some dream dimension could be considered un-house-like but I don't see as how we have much of a choice for now. I do not want to find out what happens when that heart counter reaches zero or when those gods breach the force-field.
21st May 2021, 11:21 PM
37212513
Fools Rush Inn
As a house name, it's perfect! Hear me out here: 3 good reasons.
1: The house called her the Fool anyway, so it's mutual affection.
2: Friendly customs are easy to explain with such a name, such as BYOB and PODSOS (pass out drunk, sleep out side).
3: Potential to game them dungeon meta. We still don't know what generates demon shells, but what about rent? Rent doesn't always come in the form of cash, and snacks & drinks for game night before a dream night dungeon run might count as payment for a slot? I realize I'm reaching, but most of us are anyway.

Apologies for skimming over the chat on the last few pages, as I do realize the name itself was suggested by another user, probably why Morgan used it in this page to begin with. It is a catchy suggestion.

Wait! Cici and Kate both brought snacks on day/night 3 when only Cici got to come with! My argument here is the house was still meta tagged haunted house rather than friends inn (another term for sleepover shack). Plaire is already debating the houses meta data in the extreme. She's likely on to something.
22nd May 2021, 6:37 PM
Spyder
Casa del(or however that funky middle part shakes out, either way I'm good) Salamandra has the most votes the one time everyone voted, and I'd stick with it over Fool anything anyway. Mostly because "fool" has negative connotations in the world at large - we don't need the house getting any more "negative vibes" than it already has; i.e. people thinking only fools live in the haunted house ☠️ And Casa Del Salamandra sounds cool and fun(Yay positive house vibes!)
+1 to potluck/housewarming(side note to invitees pls bring spare furniture for housewarming gifts 'cause Plaire is broke!)
+1 to video, either arts and crafts(if we're not going to do that as part of the housewarming(see problem: 'cause Plaire is broke) or gameplay
I don't like inviting the mayor, but I look outvoted on that . . .
Definitely get a book on vampires.
22nd May 2021, 6:43 PM
Spyder
Also (this took way too much thinking lol), but I've never been in a house that doesn't have a kitchen, which brings our missing rooms tally up to 3
23rd May 2021, 5:04 AM
foxoftheasterisk
The kitchen isn't missing, she just doesn't go into it very often. It's definitely been there the while time though.
24th May 2021, 2:30 PM
Spyder
Apparently I need to do some re-reading before I make more suggestions, lol - sorry 😅
23rd May 2021, 8:09 AM
The Beardman
+1 to potluck party, invite Maria, get some basic hosting supplies

Make sure house is clean, tidy, and welcoming

Maybe toss around a few names for the house as a party game, reach a consensus among guests? See what sticks?

Also show Cici anime in the house, but only cutesy slice-of-life ones, feat. The Power Of Friendship, and no Satoshi Kon. Bust out the in-universe equivalent of Studio Ghibli maybe?
26th May 2021, 2:16 PM
37212513
I like Fools Inn. But I'm one of the outcast of society at large, and that's one of the things that draws me into these indepth, overthoughtout comics like this. I can't function in your "real world" but I can strap together a rail cannon outta spare parts in no time, functional even!

Still Morgen's going to pick what he's going to pick, so no point in nitpicking. ;P
26th May 2021, 8:48 PM
37212513
Oh good lord, I just noticed the Studio Ghibli comment. While watching Cici sqee like a 3year old would be amusing AF, the real question is; would the house have the same reaction or an existential crises? I'm not convinced either is safe for the inhabitants for the time being.
2nd Jun 2021, 5:56 AM
Frission
Chili.
We must make Chili. Our almost no money can definitely handle it.
:D :D :D
15th Jun 2021, 10:04 PM
Gutz Grilla
First off, it's a pleasure to meet you all, and I'm loving this comic! This is actually my second reading, wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything before commenting. Came here from Blood Is Mine (to which, in turn, I came from the Labyrneath games), thank you very much for those, Morgenstern!

(Apologies in advance for any mistakes, English is not really my first language.)

Second, well, potlucks sure are cool... at least, I like them! However, in my opinion, it seems a bit early to actually plan one for tonight, unless people are just going to bring pre-made, packaged products (possibly from Mondol, which, you know... tastes like radiation and slave labor). Though I may be far too late to bring this to the table, the community has already decided and probably so did the author, thus guess I'll just watch what comes next.

I believe today (in-universe) is Tuesday, Plaire's whole story started on a Wednesday (from one of Cici's comments post-adventure in page 93, "Bust out the volleyball powers," day 4, and going from there). I don't know if that will count for anything, but guess it's good to keep track of those things, we never know.

Today would be good for our heroine to focus on her videos, maybe even combining that with making decorations for her house (hope she doesn't think about hanging pictures, unless she uses very strong double-sided tape. She could even make a poll, asking which kind of decoration she should use (setting some rules so it doesn't get out of hand).

Also, maybe it's for the best that Kate stays out of the dungeon just this once. She doesn't have as much mental fortitude as she thought (see page 148, "Have a group discussion at the library," day 6), even being quite the go-getter, best give her time to recover. She can do it, heck, she did kill a right-to-know with her mediocre skill from before (page 85, "Yeet a torch into its mouth," day 4), who knows what she can do when she evolves?

Marlow, though, is welcome to join the Player in the dungeon. I am curious about what can he do in the dungeon, which will be his tarot card.

Also, I'm curious... he did time in prison for felony. Which... felony may he possibly have commited? If he even did it... we never know, with such police.

Just to finish, yes... pet Meatloaf. Nadenade him good!
22nd Jun 2021, 9:33 PM
PretenseAndPoison
+1 to getting some sweet, sweet Marlow backstory.

Getting nervous about a felony seems like the kind of on-brand neuroticism we could expect Plaire to suddenly fixate on and subsequently get over, if my reading of the character isn't terribly incorrect.
30th Jul 2021, 12:51 PM
Guest
So is this an official hiatus? Because unless I missed it nobody has said anything. Is Morgan doing ok?
31st Jul 2021, 4:07 PM
Morgenstern
it's unofficially officially a hiatus and I'll get back to you on that last part lmao