13th May 2021, 12:37 AM

Consider your various options

Consider your various options
You say goodbye to Marlow and head out for the library.

There's a lot to think about on the ride there. You could do game themed arts and crafts as a video project, combining your main source of income with your house decorating needs. You could start walking regularly, letting you get exercise and scout the neighborhood for discarded furniture.

In general, you suspect that if the number of plates you need to keep spinning continues to multiply, then you're going to have to start combining plates. ...Or something. It's a bad metaphor. You don't know anything about spinning plates.

While you suspect that the talking bus may have some thoughts on how to deal with a fussy house, the journey ends up being a bit crowded; you don't really get a chance to talk with her alone. That said, just considering the nature of the bus gets you thinking--would giving your house a name help...? On the one hand it does further cement a relationship, establishing that it's not just any house, it's a special house that you hold in unique regard. That's good for trust. On the other hand... while plenty of people name their cars, you don't think too many houses get names. Deciding that your house is suddenly named Robert might further confuse it away from being a house.

Which is fine, if it's happier that way, but hell if you know.


. . .


Anything has to be an improvement over "the spooky house," right?

Maybe if you gave it a name but like, one that sounds like a proper place. Something not related to its status as a nightmare zone entrance and/or emotion having architectural abomination. The esteemed... something-or-other manor.

Frankendyke HQ.

Casa del Salamandra.

The Fool... Cave.

Hmm.


Cherry arrives at the bus stop. You thank her and head on into the library.

Seeming to have heard the front door swing open, Cici explodes out of the back office area with enough force to startle Meatloaf.





Seeing that it is in fact you, Cici declares "We need more people!"

"WELL," you didn't expect to drop this news immediately but alright, "...to borrow Marlow's ghost hunting equipment me and Kate kind of had to let him in on what we're doing. I... I think the plan is to give him a shot at accomplicing tonight, to at least see if he can handle it."

"Which one's Marlow?," she asks. "From the Back Room, right?"

"The... older... white guy...? He wasn't there when you went with me the last time--"

Her face scrunches up. "...Can he handle it?"

If you heard correctly the other day, then Marlow's done prison time. That you wouldn't have guessed as much without it being mentioned probably speaks to his mental fortitude, because you personally would be a shrieking animal after like ten minutes in a holding cell. They would have to stop you from trying to eat your way out of the back of the squad car on the way there. Even picturing a judge sentencing you to prison makes your brain want to pack its shit and take the first flight out. You don't think you've ever been in a court room, and yet, visualizing a court room makes you nervous. It's only been a week or so of dream dungeoneering, you're not even sure you can actually handle it yet why would you be the arbitrator of who can and cannot handle it

"I think he can, yeah," you finally reply. "He's also friends with Franklin, so he's got a foot in the door on all the other goofy shit going on. Kate's known Marlow a long time, so we know he's not trying to burn down the house or anything."

Cici's face remains quite scrunched, but she eventually nods. "I'll give him a chance, but! I want it on the record right now, if the old guy from the weird toy store doesn't work out I'm gonna hoot and holler about it and you guys'll have to put up with that. Don't act like you won't know it's coming!"

You laugh a little, and nod. "Deal. You have 100% Told You So rights if this decision blows up in our faces. I considered trying to recruit Maria, buuut..." uhhh "what are you thoughts on Maria? Do you know anything about Maria...?"

Cici inhales deeply. "I... don't know much about Maria. I had to get a snake out of her lab one time--her dad's funny! But Maria was pretty quiet the whole--"

"Back the fuck up," you blurt out, putting your hands in the air, "lab?"

"Yeah!," Cici replies. "Under the grocery store."

. . .

Cici shrugs. "Where else would she build all that stuff? She had computers and plants and like a whole engine down there. Not a lot of room, though! She had so much machinery there was barely room to sleep, and she'd definitely been sleeping down there."

You squint. "What was she building besides the grocery stuff? Wait--she said those space gardens take a lot of power, I... I guess that's why she might have been working on an engine...?" Hm. Hmmm. She did mention tinkering with car batteries, but that's not quite

"Beats me!," Cici says. "Anyway, she's smart, which is good... but there's something going on between her and Kate I haven't really pinned down yet and it's weird."

"Something... like...?"

"Oh, I have no idea!," she declares. "But something. Kate tell ya what happened in the dream last night...?"

"Yeah," you say simply. "At least, I heard her side of it. She only vaguely remembers the error message you guys got, and obviously she missed anything that happened after... after uh..."

Cici gives a more shallow nod. "She, uh, missed a few things before that, too--okay, so,"


She takes a very big breath.


"I had an idea," Cici says quietly, "the other night after me and you talked about spending mana on getting my eye back, and it costing too much... and you, spending mana to shrug off pain and not even realizing it." She visibly focuses on recounting how she got here. "I! Had also been spending mana and not realizing it, because I! Had something I wasn't supposed to that whooole night me and you were running around that dungeon. In the heat of the moment with crazy monsters comin' out of the walls and everything... well, I didn't think about it then but when I thought back on it later, it was right there smackin' me in the face!


Depth perception.


I still only had one eye in the dream," she continues, "but I had perfect depth perception. It makes no sense at all, but I couldn't remember having a single problem aiming, or gauging distance, or... anything, really! But I knew I'd only had one eye, we had a whole damn conversation about it! Turns out dream bird biology's a crapshoot and I have depth perception in my one eye."

But that means... "Holy shit," you mutter, "so you found a... like a glitch, kind of. Depth perception's not actually caused by our eyes in the dungeon, or not the same way, it's-- it's just another fucking STAT I guess? Someone designed that dream dimension, which means they had limits. Maybe they had limits in how they could implement real world physics, or maybe--like us--they just... didn't think about it in the moment, or nobody in the testing stage thought about it, and--depth perception's probably just coded to drop to zero when you can't see at all, or something."

"It might not've been made by a human," Cici points out. "It could've been someone like the tradesman, or those big guys hanging around outside--somebody workin' off secondhand notes or something, I dunno. Anyway, it's not just that it's a glitch," Cici says. "I made a mental note to mess with it when I got back in there, and... it turns out not only can I crank my depth perception up or down, I can do MORE! Still only in the one eye, but I can use mana to see farther away and it is super cheap."

Oh, shit...?

The Sun. A bird. Eyesight. Of course.

"...So you saw things Kate didn't see."

She nods.

Hesitates a little.

"It's a lot," she says. "And I'm being real with you here, it's a LOT. I've been trying to figure out how to explain it all day."

"Explain what...?"

"What I saw," she says. "Things kept moving around, and it was... miles away so it was hard to get everything to line up just right so I could get a good look, but--I saw your castle. It's still there even if you're not, and me and Kate were just dumped way outside it when we dreamed without you. I'd say we could've reached it from where we started buuut I don't think we could've reached it."

You squint. You're still holding your breath a little. "And you weren't sure... how to explain that...?"

"Your castle's in a bubble," she says.

Ah, there we go.

Cici takes another wind up breath. "The yellow sky we saw the other night? It's like a tinted windshield! The clouds are real, but they're this weird... wispy... yellow... smog haze sort of--anyway, when you're inside it looks like that yellow sky but when you're outside you can almost see right through it."

"...So when you say it's in a bubble--"

"It's in a bubble!," she repeats. "The castle, the prison, that overgrown lookin' place, the island it's on and the water that sits in, it's all in a big ol' snowglobe looking thing. Miiiles outside of THAT is where me and Kate wound up, and if I could figure out how to take you there and show it to you I still wouldn't because it sucked. Kate called it Hell, but I personally think Hell would take some breaks to keep your hopes up! This didn't stop. Your castle's in a bubble! Inside a bubble everything stays the same, outside it... doesn't do that. Your castle bubble just kinda hangs out in the air while everything else goes all crazy around it. AND I saw the big god things!"


Oh.


"...Without the windshield," she adds.


Oh.


"One of them was cool!," she quickly clarifies when she notices how distressed you're starting to look. "He put a real catchy song in my head about being an earworm, and--no lie--it helped me focus when everything kept changing."

"Was... was HE an earworm? Like literally an earworm?"

"Yeah!," she replies.

"An earworm like he himself was a catchy song, or he was an actual worm that goes into actual ears?"

"Yeah!," she replies. "I wish I could remember that damn song, though, it was like... THE catchiest song. Anyway," she concludes, "I drew... this..." Cici very carefully fishes a piece of paper out of her pocket, unfolding it on her desk. Depicted is... an expanded map of the dream, apparently.





...Alright. So if a mastermind is present, the dreamers spawn inside the bubble. If no mastermind is present, the dreamers spawn outside the bubble. That part, at least, seems really simple... which is good, because the rest of it makes you want to scream.

Also, this makes the second person (after the blood note writer) to draw the castle with square-ish battlements, like the classic stereotype of a medieval castle; you suppose it's easier to draw and have it readily signify a castle that way, it's just funny because the real deal has more of a... towery... citadel look. It's probably not a castle at all, technically, but having only seen the dungeon part of it (and from a distance, the shitty lawn) you're going to keep calling it a castle.

"I drew all the guys I could remember," Cici continues. "The spirally guy and the woodgrain vagina blackhole guy might be the same guy? They both had the same kinda non-shape-shape... shape. But this isn't even half the guys! There's a lot of them and they're all HUGE. The bad news is, they were all trying to break the bubble, and I mean they were givin' it the business. They're not just working together on this, they're taking turns. Not just hitting it, either--they were doing strange stuff, Plaire. The earworm gave me a song just by looking at him, that level of strange. The good news is, I don't think they're really gods."

Oh? "Why not?"

"Because your bubble didn't break!," she declares. "They were at it when me and Kate showed up, and it looked like they were still at it right before I burned all my mana out. The surface is showin' some wear and tear, but at the rate they were going I think we've got at least a couple days until they get through. Whatever those things in the cheap seats are, they're not as strong as whatever's protecting your castle. AND, I don't think they were doing it when me and you were in the bubble, or I'd have noticed them sooner!"

"Unless the dome... shield sphere shit is soundproof," you point out. "Maybe vibration-proof. It's hard to make out details on the creatures through the glass, so it could be hard to see them attacking the sky... especially if most of their attacks are more, uh, esoteric than just slamming their faces against it. ...Still, though--what the fuck? What are they after?"

Cici shrugs. "The song didn't really cover that part, I just know they want inside the bubble. I don't blame 'em, the outside's pretty terrible."


Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)
Load my Place Save my Place


13th May 2021, 1:14 AM
BoredOne
Huh. Well I vote for Casa del Salamandra name wise. It sounds nice and fits atleast somewhat.
13th May 2021, 1:49 AM
Snervalton
Yes! +1 to naming Plaire's house Casa del Salamandra!
13th May 2021, 2:05 AM
Frission
+1 It sounds fun. I think house would like a fun name. :3 It's a name that'd make people think about it and smile. Should do well to helping heal its ego or id or whatever the appropriate thing is. :3
14th May 2021, 3:11 PM
eGG?
13th May 2021, 2:03 AM
I was going to say Hag End after Frodo's house, Bag End.
13th May 2021, 6:01 AM
Limrix
I like Hag End, but I'd go either way in a tiebreaker.
13th May 2021, 8:46 AM
Gigafreak
Let's please NOT refer to Plaire's potential eventual cause of death as her "End"
13th May 2021, 2:30 PM
lilWitchPepper
+1 casa del salamandra
13th May 2021, 5:23 PM
Another Guest
+1 Casa del Salamandra. Agree with Frission, we need to set the house toward being a GOOD house, not a bad one - a good house can help Plaire and protect her and her friends from danger, a bad house can be the end of Plaire, since it's hard to escape a place that can erase your memories, so you don't remember even how long you were there.
13th May 2021, 8:01 PM
BJBlack
+1 to Casa del Salamandra. I'd vote for Alcázar de la Salamandra, but it's a bit too late for that.

Also, Mention "Casa del Salamandra" to Maria. It's her first language, right? A bit of an ice-breaker. Whether she'll nitpick and point out that it should be Casa de la Salamandra is up to her.

Honestly, I suggest that because Player now has "del" in her head, and it needs correction, but she's unlikely to go research Spanish grammar anytime soon. Conveniently dovetails with conversing with Maria, the in-universe most likely source of Spanish.
14th May 2021, 9:32 AM
Gigafreak
If you're going to try that name with Maria on the basis of it being Spanish, at least correct the gender mismatch. "Del" is a contraction for "de el," which is masculine, whereas Salamandra is feminine. It would be more properly Casa De La Salamandra ("House of the Salamander") or just Casa De Salamandra ("House of a person named Salamandra")
14th May 2021, 9:25 PM
BJBlack
That's exactly my point. Going by community support, it looks like that's going to be the name, and Player has already constructed it wrong. It's up there in the main body of the comic.

Player thinking it — grammatically incorrectly — is now canon.

Now the question is how Player will correct it, in-universe. She's not going to all-of-a-sudden understand Spanish grammar. Either someone's going to correct her, or she's going to spend a few hours on some day or other researching it so she gets it right.

Learning Spanish isn't a high enough priority for the latter, so someone has to correct her. And Player will look The Fool for messing it up, but it's too late to prevent that. Really, I think the only question is who'll do it. All the cast gives every indication of being monolingual, so it's going to be Maria.

Better sooner than later, I say. Additionally, it's a good narrative excuse to flesh out Maria's character more.

(Cherry's an alternate possibility, if Ninelives has enough Spanish-speaking population for Chariot MT to add the language to her functionality, but I still favor Maria.)
15th May 2021, 11:54 AM
Gigafreak
I disagree that Maria needs to be the one to correct Plaire.
She has a smartphone with internet access, giving her the means.
And she has enough anxiety to second-guess herself constantly, so she has the motivation to wonder "wait, is that even correct Spanish, before I potentially speak it in front of someone fluent in it? What if Cici is fluent in twenty languages or something and I embarrass myself???"
We just need to plant the seed-- which we have already done, by discussing it-- and from there, Plaire's own neuroses will work to her advantage for once.
Thus the decision becomes whether to be THE Salamander (La Salamandra) or "a person naked Salamander" (Salamandra only). We could just leave that to Plaire, since she's been using the name for a good while and probably has a default assumption on whether she's "The."
15th May 2021, 6:38 PM
BJBlack
Does Player's phone have internet access? Those texts from the last page look like an LCD screen, which I would construe as belonging to a non-smart phone... but then again, at the mall she said (though lying) that she'd downloaded Mondol's navigation app, implying that she had the capability.

During the opossum incident, she texted Cici, but didn't Google, "big possum what do".

Well, who knows? I suppose I just want the resolution to be interesting. Thinking of it as (a)interesting and (b)exposure therapy, I think Maria's the way to go.
17th May 2021, 9:17 PM
Guest
15th May 2021, 6:52 AM
Pkrankow
Someone needs to carve or woodburn this into a plaque or key keeper.
31st May 2021, 12:09 AM
Nicolas
Well the idea is to make the house feel like NORMAL house right? how many of you call your house Casa de steve etc or the Steve cave or something fancy like that. really if we want to make it feel like a NORMAL house we should just call it "Plairs House". calling it something fancy makes it seem less like a regular house.
13th May 2021, 1:19 AM
Guest
Hm. Perhaps the heart countdown is less our HP and more "time until bubble is breached" counter? This other party might be defending the castle/house? As horrible as the dungeons were, the fact they made use of personal issues might mean it's more of a series of trials and not about torturing the dreamer? Some food for thought here.
13th May 2021, 1:54 AM
Snervalton
That was my immediate thought about the heart countdown and the bubble as well. Hopefully healing the Miasmatic Would will restore the bubble? That's my best suggestion anyway. We should ask the tradesman about all this stuff next time we see him.

edit: the Miasmatic Wound, I should say
13th May 2021, 2:04 AM
Frission
def +1 to asking the tradesman about it.
15th May 2021, 8:24 PM
PretenseAndPoison
The tradesman are a valuable resource, and one that seems especially willing to help despite the rules and sanctions in place on it (or at least, those we believe to be in place on it).

The boot up animation for it lit up the ridges/tubes/whathaveyou one at a time, three total. Three strikes, three boons on classic folklore, good things come in threes, third times the charm- three is a significant number across many cultures and works. In a dungeon gameified by Plaire's subconscious, in a way she's already deduced certain things, I feel like there might be a hidden resource there the narrative hasn't thought to ask.

Tl;Dr: +1 to asking the Tradesman a few things.
13th May 2021, 2:04 AM
Frission
Oh man, yeah that's what I was gonna say, the countdown makes more sense now. I also think it's counting down to when they breach the shields. D:
13th May 2021, 5:35 AM
psychoshen
The hearts and breach lining up make sense to me. Also, if we're going to ask the Tradesmen stuff, we should consider if any of those entities could be potential allies, since one was "kind" enough to help Cici? If not allies, maybe we can turn them against each other and buy ourselves some time.
13th May 2021, 6:03 AM
Cuttlefish
I dunno about allies. The earworm gives me big Nil vibes. Sneaking on into your brain with a song doesn't sound great to me...
13th May 2021, 7:22 AM
Zophah
I don’t think it was meant to help. Just think about typical lovecraftian mythos: most of them aren’t even aware of us and are so powerful the side effects of their existence are considered powers.
13th May 2021, 5:18 PM
Another Guest
About the old gods helping or not... they all were trying to enter inside the bubble (which seems to be bad) and they are all strangers to us - better to be aware of them instead of thinking one of them is a friend because it helped once. So, yeah, tradesman, best source of info by now, let's do it.

Also, we need to talk with Franklin tomorrow (after getting info from the tradesman). It seems he has way more experience about what's going on than most of others who are in the secret magic stuff combined, and if he can't give straight information in jail, he can at least give cryptic advice that points in the right direction.

15th May 2021, 8:49 AM
Guest
+1 to asking the not-a-Tradesman.
Extrapolating a bit, residents die when the eldritch weirdness goes in the bubble.
Since the bubble was up even while Plaire was away, the countdown probably still ticks on those nights.
Priority shift: find a way to extend that damn counter. It could be related to Plaire's current mental/physical health, but that sounds a bit too convenient.
Anyway, I advise against skipping more nights.
15th May 2021, 10:58 AM
Snervalton
+1 to not skipping any more nights.
16th May 2021, 2:19 PM
Pacifist Weird Child
+1 to no more skips
13th May 2021, 1:56 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. Also, return the book on haunted houses now that we're done reading all of it.
14th May 2021, 6:34 AM
13th May 2021, 2:14 AM
Nathan400
Fool's Rush, possibly Fool's Rush Inn.
For the house's name.
13th May 2021, 2:48 AM
Snervalton
Hm, this is good too! And Plaire did rush into buying the place because she needed immediate shelter...
13th May 2021, 2:33 AM
Snervalton
Invite Cici over to an official house-warming at Plaire's place tonight, during which the place will be officially christened. Invite everyone else Plaire knows too: Kate, Marlow and his family, Ezra, Afu, Lagi, Maria, everybody! Have Kate bring some spray paint so that she can do a mural on the inside or outside of the house, maybe something prominently featuring a salamander.
13th May 2021, 5:32 AM
psychoshen
I think a house-warming party sounds like a great idea. Maybe have everyone sign a small part of a wall and tack a picture of everyone to it.
13th May 2021, 6:22 AM
Limrix
+1 to having a housewarming party, I don't know about tonight though, that's kind of sudden. Maybe two days out?
13th May 2021, 7:23 AM
Zophah
I don’t think the house would like being spray painted...
13th May 2021, 2:33 PM
lilWitchPepper
+1 housewarming
13th May 2021, 5:20 PM
Another Guest
Parties need money, or resources to get stuff for the party.

Do we have enough for that, even if each person Plaire invites bring something to help the party?

That said, good idea. As long as no one except those from the Dungeon Party sleeps there, great.
13th May 2021, 11:46 PM
confusedMage
+1 housewarming party.
Make it a potluck. Most of the dinner is brought by guests, Plaire gets to have a really good dinner for once, everyone’s happy. Everything else is just music (Plaire’s computer has good speakers, right?) and party games. Then we just need to make sure it doesn’t turn into a sleepover, and we’re good.
14th May 2021, 12:15 AM
Snervalton
+1 to making it a potluck!
14th May 2021, 6:31 PM
lilWitchPepper
+1 Potluck Party
14th May 2021, 6:34 AM
15th May 2021, 6:53 AM
Pkrankow
Potluck house warming! Invite everybody we have had neutral to positive interactions.
15th May 2021, 6:54 AM
Another Guest
+1 to potluck party!
13th May 2021, 5:57 AM
psychoshen
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afsf9glgBV4
13th May 2021, 6:54 AM
Pkrankow
Yea... nil vibe there indeed.

Yet my first impression seems more altruistic, but... then... how do you get someone to willingly gather intelligence?

I think Cici's experience is "trustable" but caution needs excercised if this earworm is to be interacted with again... or is the earworm on for the ride semi-permanent like?
13th May 2021, 11:16 PM
Spyder
Cici can't remember it right now, so probably not.
+1 to Casa Del Salamder or whatever it was - lol
13th May 2021, 6:21 AM
Limrix
Ok, so we have a hard deadline on this house thing, and the not-gods seem bad. God saplings? Aspiring gods. I think this means we want to accelerate our plans in the town. The things we know we have left are the other two dream rings, and exploring the old library. I think we will want Maria's help to explore the library, what with her cool gadgets. Man we haven't even talked to street fighter chick. Maria just keeps getting cooler, and I think the best way to get to know her is to help with Franklin's situation, also we want to talk to Franklin as well. I think Franklin's approval will be a big factor for Maria, and then we can clear the air between us.

Ask Cici if the earworm ever left her head before she woke up. It might not be safe to bring her into the dream if a godling is hitching a ride.
13th May 2021, 2:44 PM
Snervalton
I think the best way to address this deadline is to heal the Miasmatic Wound in the dungeon, but it wouldn't hurt to accelerate things in the real world either. There are mutant wolves that took Cici's eye between us and the Old Library. If we plan on going there soon we should ask Cici about them, maybe look for a library book on the subject.
13th May 2021, 5:22 PM
Another Guest
+1 to check if the earworm left Cici's head before she woke up.
13th May 2021, 12:02 PM
Xylas_Incarnum
.... Well... The old ones want in and we want to keep them out.... Suddenly Erich Zann comes to mind, do we need to start a band? Become punk rock spinoffs of The New Gods of Asgard from the Control/Alan Wake games?
...
...
Well it couldn't hurt I suppose.
13th May 2021, 4:55 PM
This confirms (maybe not surprisingly) that the dream takes place _somewhere_. I can also think of one amongst all of the Elder-god level entities that would want to help.

Is the Alcazar's location in this plane tied to the entrypoint in ours? Did whoever put it there luck out because there happens to be something useful on this plane right where the castle is?

Was the bubble put up to protect the space? Is that why it evidently looks different from the outside? So many questions.
13th May 2021, 11:21 PM
Spyder
Unfortunately Plaire doesn't know the difference between "the blood" and the others, and has no way to tap into that anyway.
+1 to housewarming! And to communal arts and crafts to add some internal house beautifying(and hopefully happyfying as well)
13th May 2021, 11:21 PM
Spyder
Unfortunately Plaire doesn't know the difference between "the blood" and the others, and has no way to tap into that anyway.
+1 to housewarming! And to communal arts and crafts to add some internal house beautifying(and hopefully happyfying as well)
13th May 2021, 11:21 PM
Spyder
Unfortunately Plaire doesn't know the difference between "the blood" and the others, and has no way to tap into that anyway.
+1 to housewarming! And to communal arts and crafts to add some internal house beautifying(and hopefully happyfying as well)
15th May 2021, 12:04 AM
Spyder
Note to self:
Only hit submit button once!
*facepalm*
13th May 2021, 5:13 PM
Another Guest
+1 Casa del Salamandra. Agree with Frission, we need to set the house toward being a GOOD house, not a bad one - a good house can help Plaire and protect her and her friends from danger, a bad house can be the end of Plaire, since it's hard to escape a place that can erase your memories, so you don't remember even how long you were there.
13th May 2021, 6:15 PM
Snervalton
Yeah, I was wondering if, once it trusts us enough, the house could use its memory-donking powers to hide the party from danger and function much the same way that the secret network of bunkers worked in BIM.
13th May 2021, 6:36 PM
Antarean
First off, let's apologize to Cici for having to go through all that. I know it wasn't our fault or anything, and we definitely couldn't have predicted it, but it's something Plaire would probably do and we want to make sure Cici's okay. She *seems* okay, but she might be purposefully trying to be super helpful/energetic so she doesn't have to think about how bad the experience was. (Also asking about her well-being would be a good lead-in to giving her a hug, and I know we all want to do that.)

I think we have our notebook with us. Maybe write down as much of this new information as we can so it's easier to remember things later? Tape in Cici's drawing? Maybe our friends should also be keeping notebooks both so we have backups and so that everyone's information can be easily cross checked later?

Also we need to actually tell Cici more details about the conversation with Kate and Marlow.
13th May 2021, 10:00 PM
psychoshen
+1, also thank her for bringing back so much information and the helpful illustration.
13th May 2021, 11:48 PM
confusedMage
+1 to all of that.
13th May 2021, 11:48 PM
confusedMage
+1 to all of that.
15th May 2021, 6:55 AM
Another Guest
+1 to all that
15th May 2021, 8:28 PM
PretenseAndPoison
+1 to checking that brave face for any cracks.

(And petting Meatloaf)
16th May 2021, 12:55 PM
BJBlack
Just to issue a factual correction: Antarean, you assert, "I know we all want to [give Cici a hug]."

That's factually incorrect, because I don't want that. It is hideously out of character.

Maybe you all didn't get the memo (normally I'd link here, but I can't find where I read it), when our good author said he wanted a very different comic from BiM, with a very different main character. The long-term comment campaign to turn Player into Blondie is frankly contrary to that, and more importantly, all but states, "Player's actual personality sucks, so we need to change it."

That's one statement I'm never going to back. I've held my tongue up to now, but I won't allow you to claim some kind of unanimous support that you don't have.
19th May 2021, 12:14 PM
Antarean
You know, I honestly considered adding a ":P" to that, to help indicate a light, humorous tone. I was in no way trying to imply unanimity among all the commenters.

And isn't it part of our goal to *help* Plaire make better life choices and improve her life? I believe that was why we were trying to get her to eat healthy (although we do seem to be eating out a lot recently). Physical contact, i.e. hugging, can have mental health benefits, and can also help introverts, like Plaire, get closer to their friends. I'm not *trying* to turn Plaire into Blondie, but I do want to keep Plaire happy and healthy, both mentally and physically, and also take care of her friends.

Also I find it a bit ironic that you seem to not want to turn Plaire into Blondie, but in your comment directly beneath this you mention petting the cat. :P [I'd like to point out that I'm going for "light teasing" with this bit, plain text doesn't always properly convey tone.]
19th May 2021, 8:17 PM
BJBlack
Hmmm, ah, I see. My predilection for taking things seriously that were not meant seriously has struck again. Do not worry about the smilie, though, I probably would have misinterpreted that as well.

I am bad with smilies.

So, okay. The assertion of unanimity was meant with a measure of jest, and what I said against that was basically irrelevant.

I suppose I've come to the conclusion that it's a "turn Player into Blondie" campaign because (a)I personally perceive hugs to be less beneficial than other actions that would be easier for Player (not physically easier, since hugging is incredibly easy on a physical level; but psychologically easier – a lot of changes are available that don't involve the vulnerability of opening up to another person), (b)it seems to me that support for better diet and exercise is lackluster at best, whereas a Hug directive will almost always get a pile of +1s, and (c)I don't recall anybody, before you just now, say Player should be doing hugs for mental health benefits, or improved social relating, or indeed for any benefit whatsoever.

And that's why I've concluded that the hugging is less about benefiting Player and more about benefiting the audience (with those warm fuzzies that Blondie provided).

I could be wrong. (A) is dependent upon actual facts of medicine and psychology, and my knowledge of either may be deficient. (B) and (C) are both based on my observations, and due to confirmation bias (and other psychological phenomena), my observations aren't entirely reliable.

You know what, I'll go back to holding my tongue, until and unless I gather empirical data to support (B) and (C).
13th May 2021, 8:21 PM
BJBlack
Follow up questioning, specifically:

Did Cici start in shell form, or yolk form? (The sketch shows an eyepatch, which was only in shell-form.)
Was there a switch for evolution that popped into her head?
Did Cici die, or did she mana-out?

Re: Kate–
Why does it seem Kate was seriously rattled, while Cici seems fine?
Player's experience seemed to indicate that The Sun was a way better accomplice than The Devil. Ask Cici for a fighting-power comparison, from her perspective of last night.

I presently speculate that The Devil is a 'bad' card, until inverted, and that's why Kate (a) seemed seriously underpowered compared to The Sun, in Player's experience, and (b) was borderline traumatized by last night, contrasting with Cici being, if anything, excited by what she learned. In the alcazar, until Kate's 'inverted,' she might be the less desirable accomplice.

Some of these questions would have been nice to ask Kate, too, but you can't ask a question before you think of it.

Finally, absolutely do not forget this, Player:

Pet Meatloaf.
13th May 2021, 11:23 PM
Spyder
Yes.
Pet Kitty 🐱
14th May 2021, 6:41 AM
If only days remain before the bubble pops, then maybe we ought to let the mayor know, in an attempt to make her more willing to help without us actually giving up the house. (Not proposing any action on that front for this day -- we've already got too much on our plate re: Franklin, Maria, etc. Just thinking ahead.)
14th May 2021, 7:56 AM
Another Guest
That conversation needs a hell of a lot of preparation before it happens: she's passively waiting for something to happen, and did not get hold of the house before by choice or by letting the opportunity slide.

We know she knows the house is dangerous, and she's actively hiding information about it, and she does not want dangerous actors knowing about the house, and that she's not all-knowing as she wants to look like (she let herself be emotion read by Kate's mother, after all).

But there's a lot that we don't know, so the basic of that conversation is to show that:

1 - Kicking Plaire out will make things worse than letting her live in the house and help (a Good House on her side helps with that);
2 - Plaire is competently dealing with the house and the place;
3 - Plaire has support and help that the mayor does not know about (fair - if she can hide secrets, so can we)

...which is too much by now, really better to leave this conversation to the future.
15th May 2021, 11:00 AM
BJBlack
Well, the last time that Mayor Parsons came up, the community was fairly evenly split. Inaction won out over action, that time, but in light of another indication of impending doom, the community may choose differently.

Still, the mayor's office isn't open until evening. That'll be the time to discuss it again. Everyone can count on me to make the case for action once more.
14th May 2021, 8:13 PM
Wild guess time: Can we use mana liquid to increase bubble's integrity?
14th May 2021, 9:04 PM
Snervalton
It seems to me that most of the uses for mana that have been found so far are immediate and personal to Plaire and her accomplices. If I remember correctly, Plaire was able to channel some mana into her polearm to strengthen it. So maybe she could pump some mana power into the bubble to strengthen it, if she could get close enough to touch it. However, it would probably take an extraordinary amount of mana power a shield strong enough to keep out several gods, more than Plaire could generate on her own without mainlining a steady flow of the yellow mana wine. And even if she managed to do so, she probably wouldn't be able to do anything else simultaneously, she'd just be stuck acting as a battery for the shield for the rest of eternity. Therefore, I'm thinking that probably wouldn't work.
14th May 2021, 9:41 PM
BJBlack
That's an idea with some merit. Something is powering the shield. If it's inside the castle somewhere, and if it can accept the wine as a power source, then hauling wine barrels to the generator on a nightly basis would be a viable option for extending the deadline.

It's dependent upon a couple of unknowns, and if the wine DOES NOT RESET, then it'll get more and more laborious every night, but still, a good possibility to keep in mind.
14th May 2021, 11:50 PM
Snervalton
We should ask the tradesman about the shield, its power source and the gods outside the next time we get a chance. Maybe also about the purpose of the alcazar: is it a bastion that protects our world from those hostile gods outside?
15th May 2021, 12:15 AM
Snervalton
I was thinking earlier that the heart countdown was connected to the Miasmatic Wound, that the countdown represented the alcazar's failing health. Maybe the alcazar's health is the shield's power source and a healthy alcazar will be able to generate a strong enough shield to keep the gods out? In any case, the tradesman will probably know more about such things.
16th May 2021, 2:18 PM
Pacifist Weird Child
THE FOOL CAVE!!!

I think the arts and crafts is a great idea, as well as the walking and looking for furniture.
16th May 2021, 6:05 PM
Snervalton
+1 to walking and looking for furniture on the way to wherever Plaire goes next. (Possibly Maria's?)
16th May 2021, 10:42 PM
Guest
So the outer gods residing in the formless chaos at the end and beginning of all want to shatter the protective shield on the one piece of static reality in there realm so that they may destroy it, live in it, or something stranger still. Interesting indeed.
17th May 2021, 2:45 AM
Snervalton
I was thinking that the alcazar would act like a door into our world and that they wanted to come and conquer it. Or maybe there's something inside the alcazar that they want. Time will tell, I suppose...
17th May 2021, 12:37 AM
Another thought: Cici being able to pump up her depth perception leads me to wonder what other aspects of our senses can we fiddle with? Like, could we save mana if we just shut off our sense of taste altogether? Could we pump our noses and become human bloodhounds? Wait, CAN WE SEE IN DIFFERENT SPECTRA OF LIGHT? CAN WE X RAY VISION OUR WAY THROUGH THE DUNGEON? INFRARED TO SEE MONSTERS IN THE DARK? CAN WE HAVE CYCLOPS EYE LASERS?!

I propose, for our next dream jaunt, we experiment with this in great detail. Maybe even go for 'fake' senses, like being able to see the future or something along those lines.
17th May 2021, 9:19 PM
Frission
Plaire channeling her inner Mantis Shrimp? xD
18th May 2021, 9:23 PM
Another Guest
In small testable increments, no problem. While yes, it's great to see how far sense manipulation can go (yeah, we REALLY could go a lot of area skipping with an X-Ray Vision to check what's ahead in the dungeon, or even better, ECHOLOCATION :D)...

...there's also the possibility of us doing something that can spend so much mana that we are spent and lose the rest of the night - trying to make an example, it's like if someone asks you if you would like to have a nuclear rocket (rocket that flies through nuclear explosions), and you say yes before asking which is the price, and the next thing you see is the huge bill and the government hitting the door of your house with questions.

Losing a night for hitting our mana bottom it's an issue, given our countdown. That said... two things:

1 - Beyond sense manipulation, which extra powers would be sensible for Plaire to have, as the Fool? Not generic things, unique, as Kate's fire control?
2 - We already tested what happens if Plaire does not sleep with her accomplices, and when she goes alone, and with the ring.

What happens if she goes to the dungeon with someone else, but SHE is the first one to leave? The accomplice can stay and explore the dungeon without any trouble?

In that line of thinking, what if Plaire sleeps first, then someone sleeps later... 1 hour later? It enters Plaire's dungeon, or goes somewhere else?
19th May 2021, 9:44 PM
BJBlack
Uh... yeah. Like Another Guest, I'm thinking it's excessive to try and build an exhaustive catalog of all the powers available. Think of it this way: You can experiment to learn new powers, but the experiments take time, and they take mana.

Sure, potentially, you could find a new Game Breaker power (or, if the game is well-designed, a Game Changer) or three. But you don't know how long it will take and how much mana you'll need to expend.

Let's say that if you act wisely, it's an investment, and if you act poorly, it's just gambling.

As an example: Spending two hours, and burning through your entire mana pool eight times, would be recklessly gambling on a potential payout.

(Potential 'fun' upside: the dungeon doesn't like you being 'idle' too long, and starts spawning monsters, or flooding, or collapsing, to encourage you to do something more directly productive.)

I'd say, you have some powers in hand, and they're presumably the lowest-hanging fruit. The easiest to find, and, if your experience is anything to go by, the cheapest to employ. Spend ten minutes, and one-tenth of your mana pool, to experiment to try and grasp the next-lowest fruits, then move on. Well, unless those ten minutes yield such wonders that it's clear that a greater investment would be well worth it.

Up to this evening, we commentators may as well brainstorm some experiments.



Also, Another Guest brings up another point that deserves a little more attention. I'll take some liberties and start a little lexicon to make things clearer.

The Mastermind and her Accomplices have Powers. Among them are Common Powers that are common to all roles and arcana, and Unique Powers available only to one arcanum each, or to the Mastermind through the use of the Dream Ring on a character of that arcanum. Although Common Powers are common to all characters, their relative expense differs, often vastly, through Proficiency based on role and/or arcanum.

Damage Prevention is a Common Power, and so far, The Sun is most Proficient in it. Also, Damage Nullification is a Common Power, and The Fool is most Proficient. Presently, let's presume that Sensory Enhancements are Common Powers, with The Sun bearing high Proficiency in Sight Enhancement. Also, Armor and Weapon Enhancement are presumably Common Powers.

(Tangent: Make Accomplice weapons and armor as home decor-cum-dream equipment? Devil plushie with light leather armor and kicking boots, Sun plushie carrying shield, axe, and mace in its three claws?)

The Devil has Lucy's Flame as her Unique Power, and The Sun has Light Weapons as her Unique Power.

The Fool has yet to manifest a Unique Power with all her time in the dungeon (that's the point Another Guest brought up), yet The Devil and The Sun manifested theirs within minutes. It seems most likely that Video Game Powers are a Mastermind thing, and not a Fool thing; so what gives? Having an arcanum with no Unique Power, but a powerful set of high Proficiencies is a valid design choice.