13th Oct 2021, 4:55 AM

Rest for a minute

Rest for a minute
You take a seat on the floor, and just... rest for a minute.

Marlow eventually hovers down to sit across the hall from you.




The two of you sit in silence for a bit before you finally ask,

"You holding up okay...?"

"...Yeah," he says. "I... just. I was hit with some things I wasn't ready to think about again."



You lean your head back against the wall. "You wanna talk about it...?"



"Not real sure I can put it into words," he says. "It's..." he pauses. He sighs. He finally begins to try and force it out. "A lot of conspiracy theories, they're... they aren't just conspiracy theories. You hear aliens built the pyramids and you think, oh, that's a neat idea, I could see that. ...You play into it. You start to believe it's a possibility. You start to pull on the strings, chase the evidence... and maybe you think about how plausible it really is, or wonder if you're chasin' a joke. You think about how it lines up with all the other crazy things you've heard, even the crazy things you know are true because you pulled those strings, and you chased that evidence and came up correct. So you gotta have a gut for this, right? You were right then, you could be right now. It could all... tie together, and you want it to tie together, you want the whole picture to fit and everything to make sense. And you think about that."

He breathes in deep. Exhales slowly. "...What you don't think about--not until waaay after the fact--is what it says about you, that y'ever indulged something like that in the first place. That exact idea. Aliens built the pyramids. I found that as plausible as Egyptians doin' it themselves. ...Because that's what I thought about ancient Egyptians. I had it, in my head, whether I'd ever admit it or not... that someone in a different time and a different culture was just too damn primitive to build the mighty pyramids, clearly the dang aliens had to have done it for them. I was undercuttin' what people--people different than me--what they're really capable of."

"...Huh," you remark. "Well, uh, don't feel too bad--I've heard the pyramid thing, too, and I never really thought about it that way either. I thought it was goofy but harmless, like... well, a lot of alien stories. Alien abductions, anal probing, tinfoil hats. Like, I've even heard variations--aliens did Easter Island, aliens made the Nasca Lines... but I guess now that you mention it, yeah, none of that's shit built by white people. I never heard theories like that about our monuments... fuck. That's sneaky."

"And it's not just that I missed it," he says. "It's that I spread it--I preached that conspiracy theory, and others like it. ...A lot of others like it. And it's not just the racism, it shoots past the fact that the pyramids were probably, actually built by farmers, or maybe slaves. It ain't extraterrestrial architecture, it's another symbol of how the elite build their legacies on the backs of the lower class, and always have. The thing I thought I was fighting. Uncoverin' truths, huntin' down secrets, spreading the word about the things the man doesn't want you to know... I was playing right into it, workin' against the common good because I thought I knew better. I thought I knew me and what I was doing better. I spent a lot of my life bein' part of the problem, really cementin' the biases and the lies in peoples' heads. I... I've tried to be a better person, for a while now, once I saw where some of those conspiracies were coming from--"

"If you're doing your best to make amends," you suggest, "then I'm not sure you should keep kicking yourself about it. You can't change what you already did, you can just... try to make up for it, as best you can."

"I think that's it, though," he says. He takes a long look down the hall. "The heart o' the matter, you might say. You're--what, 23? 24?"

"21," you reply.

Marlow gives a small, dry chuckle. "Even worse, then. When I was 21 I was gettin' into bar fights. By 23 I was spreadin' the good word with my own pirate radio station. I see folks now that won't get their kids vaccinated, or think the rise in public violence is nothin' but false flags, or that gays are takin' over the TV and... and I wonder if they started with me. ...I wonder if my little late night radio show was their gateway to seein' bad guys where there aren't any.

...And I wonder how much damage I've done. Maybe not them, but maybe their parents. Or their brothers, or... their kids, I don't know. They spread, ideas do. They spread like a disease, and it don't seem like the good ones spread as well as the bad ones. Central Intelligence has overthrown a bunch of foreign governments, and that's the real deal--I've seen those files with my own two eyes, talked to people involved, honest to God coups done by our own government. That's not as sexy a story as aliens buildin' the pyramids, though, or Jew bankers runnin' the world, or the government secretly turning people into mutants. ...It's always the worst ideas that stick. The glamorous ones, and the ideas that confirm what we already think in... in the worst ways. It makes the subtle less subtle, so subtly you can't even catch it in the act."

Marlow's gaze turns to the floor as he continues. "And I wonder how much damage I've done. I'm gettin' old, Plaire, and I think I might've spent more of my life being a tool of the system than I have time left. I can't take back the things I've said, I can't undo the poison I put in peoples' minds. I don't know how to make up for it. I don't think I can. When I hear a conspiracy theory now I triple check the source, I check the source's source, I ask around, I read different communities' takes on it and... I try to be better. I try to do better. I try to help, I try to inform people, I try to make sure I'm punchin' up but it don't feel like enough. ...It'd never be enough."

He then turns his attention to you. "...And then I see you, and Kate--and hell, Cici was made by the state, and the three of you... you're tearin' this thing up. You're uncovering deep stuff, you're turning over secrets so out there I'd have never imagined 'em myself, not in a million years. ...And I realize I've wasted my life. I... I did the exact damn opposite of what I set out to do. I got played for a fool because I thought I was so damn smart, and seein' you kids do it right's just... it's really shined a light on just how bad I screwed it all up. ...All those years, chasing the ghosts they wanted me to chase."

He pauses before adding, "When Zone Fifty shut down--that was before your time, hell, it was pretty much before my time--they released a bunch of fake docs to 'leak' with the real ones. Ridiculous stuff, showing the government had worked on... shrink rays, and animal-human hybrids. Did an autopsy of a yeti. Found an alien cactus that could survive in any environment. ...All of it blacked out and marked over, notes in the margins, the whole nine like it was all authentic--"

"--To make the real shit they'd been up to indistinguishable from the fake shit. They couldn't hide the truth so they obfuscated it--it's a pretty popular tactic now whenever companies get busted."

Marlow nods. "When I was younger I laughed at the idea of missing a real story for an obvious fake. I thought I was objective--I thought I saw the world for what it really was. My view of the world was clouded, though--and I didn't see it, because I was a terrible person. ...Probably still am."


You take a deep breath.


"...Marlow, I'm in this shit on accident."

You give a lingering shrug before you continue. "I bought the house because it was cheap, I'm not some master sleuth out here solving mysteries. You can beat yourself up a little because--yeah--that shit you were peddling was foul whether you meant it to be or not, but like... life's not a fucking competition. I'm not a better person than you just because I stumbled onto magic, I'm sure I've inadvertently hurt a lot of people, too, and I'm damn sure not done yet. I'm just 21, I still have plenty of time to fuck other peoples' lives up. Kate and Cici are probably gonna need therapists just to deal with what I dragged them into--fuck, I dragged you into this. I let my ex down and I'm still beating my skull in trying to figure out how. I was raised Pentecostal in a small town, I have horrendous ideas I have to second guess constantly. ...I'm not great people. I'm not the... the idealized reality of what you longed to be, I'm just doing my best. Not even really that--you know why I haven't given up the house yet?"

"...Why?"

"Because it's my fucking house," you answer definitively. "I've given up so much, I've conceded so fucking much and I've run from so fucking much and when I left Addersfield I said I was done. I put in MY time, MY energy, I saved up MY money and I bought the house and it's my... fucking... house, and everybody else can fuck themselves. There's godhood in the heart of the nightmare machine and the whole thing's gonna kill me and I don't even care, I don't fucking care, it's my fucking house and the mayor's not taking it from me. MondolGroup's not taking it from me. Whoever made the wound isn't taking it from me, either. I'm pretty sure there's people out there better qualified to be handling this shit and I'm not tracking them down because fuck them, it's my house until it grows sapient enough to tell me otherwise. I'm gonna end the world out of spite. The sky's gonna break and some brainfuck horrormonster is gonna become Double Yahweh and I'll fight it--I'll fight it all the way, I'll fight it to the very end--but I'll fight it myself because I'm a huge asshole dumb enough to think I can win. Speaking of--"

You dig Acedia's note out of your pocket.

The message has not changed: Acedia, one other with her, not a magus, has amnesia, trapped at the ♥...

you turn the page over to check the countdown and




it no longer says 9.


It no longer says anything, really. The... blood? Ink? The red that makes up the number is shifting. Slowly. A little at a time, practically crawling through the paper, in two different directions. The front is likely locked in place, but the countdown... it's trying to update in real time, to what you have to believe is a larger number than before.



Sealing the wound helped. It actually... it actually fucking helped.

Also some truly weird shit is powering these notes.



For now, you put the note back in your pocket.

"You want to do better?," you finally ask. "How many lives would you have to save to feel like you made up for your sins?"

After a moment to consider the question, Marlow replies, "...I don't know. Never thought about it."

"We might be saving the world," you state. "We might be saving the xanthous... we might just be saving me. I don't know. I don't know what the power of a god means or what those giant fuckers outside the dome would do with it. We're saving the two people in the castle heart, and we're... God willing we're going to save Trades Man. We're going to learn everything we fucking can, and when it's all said and done we're gonna make sure the whole fucking world knows about it. Alcazars, magic, gods, the cover-ups, everything. Every god damn detail. ...Because if someone as messed up as me can do this much on accident, in an empty house and on a budget of almost nothing--"

You give another big shrug.

You continue. "...Imagine what the rest of the world could do. Imagine if someone figures out how to make an alcazar not suck ass. This could be some kid's escape from their shitty life, or it could be somebody's therapy, it could be... it could be hundreds of things, and it takes--what? Probably some candles, a magic circle, maybe a chant or some shit? Someone put that miasmatic wound there, just imagine if somebody could reverse engineer that--make a positive vibes hole, like a refreshing air conditioner blowing how cool you are right in your face. ...We can do this. I just... I need help, because I have fucking brain goblins.

I... I enjoy this. Parts of it. There's... a fucked up satisfaction to getting murdered by something, coming back and wrecking it and then wrecking forty more of it and having zero guilt because it's literally ALL in my head, monsters I made punish me and then I punish them back and it's... it's deranged but it's cathartic. I am a... a fucking broken human being, and the wound fucked me up because it reminded me of reality. It... forced me back into who I really am and that's... that's the worst thing something can do to me in here. ...But that's it. This... this is therapy, for me. The only therapy I can reach and the only therapy I can afford. I feel better in this fucking nightmare than I do when I'm awake, it's... I think it's genuinely helping me deal with some shit. Confront shit. ...It could be better. It could be better for someone else. It could be good for someone else, maybe a lot of people, with some tweaks I am not prepared to make."

You sigh.

You let the silence hang for a moment.

You conclude, "if this doesn't end with me exploding in my bed, then it's going to end with me actually doing... something. Anything. I will make a fucking change to our shithole of a planet, I will give SOMEBODY more options than I was allowed to have. You were absolutely right--this shit is huge. It's... it's world changing, it's a paradigm shift waiting to happen. I've been thrown in the deep end with this, and... I'm gonna make it fucking count. ...We can all make it count."



After a moment, Marlow smiles a little. "I didn't wanna say it myself, but you do act a lot more comfortable in here. I've never known Kate to trust easy, and earnin' her respect--hoo, boy, have I seen 'em fail over the years. The way she took to you so quick... I'll admit, I was suspicious at first. ...But I get it now. You're hard on yourself, but... you got somethin', Plaire. You've got a fi--"

"--Don't say a fire," you interject, already starting to awkwardly pull yourself to your feet. "Me and fire had an understanding, and it betrayed me. Me and fire aren't on speaking terms tonight. How did you and Kate become friends, anyway?"

Marlow laughs, bringing himself into the air as well. "Met her mom at a concert, if you can believe it--well, at a bar in the venue, anyhow. I didn't think I'd left an impression, ramblin' about occult symbology in rock an' roll and how great my hometown was, but... lo and behold, many a year later, I run into Heather and her kid at the grocery store."

You stretch a little, double check the seal on the wound--

"...Your hometown being like, Ninelives, right? She moved to Ninelives after just... hearing you talk about it...?"

"Yeah!," confirms Marlow. "I was surprised, too, but I guess I really talked the place up. I mean, it ain't perfect but it is a cool little town--I've been a lot of places, but Ninelives just... feels different. Might just be the mine fumes, who knows? I think I talked Franklin into moving here, too, though he swears up and down he's just passin' by and he'll be gone any day now."

Huh. "Have you considered becoming a spokesperson or something...? Ambassador of Tourism or whatever? That's a pretty good fucking track record, Marlow."

He chuckles a bit to himself. "Weeell it is Misuschaqua. Hearing anything good about any town in a five county radius is like stumbling across a unicorn. Ninelives mostly missed the wave o' oil companies, factories and casinos that ate up the rest of the state. ...No schools named after eugenicists, no statues of old slavers. Place was actually pretty nice before Larry Montane showed up."


You finish checking the cells for anything helpful--but all you find is more shoddy wooden furniture, verses you memorized at some point or another, and indecipherable scribblings. One of the cells does, however, open into another, smaller hallway--second cell from the east against the south side wall. If this floor even vaguely pretends to line up with the other floors... that hallway could lead to another cell block.


Now might not be the time to push forward, though, at least not forward from here.

...Or not. Maybe. You don't know.


You head back to the corner room, and toward the giant parasite tumor pit nest hole you barely hopped across earlier.





"...Larry was the old mayor, right?" It's been a few days, but you think back on what you know about him. "Came out of nowhere, basically paved the way for Mondol...?"

"Yup," Marlow says with a nod. "Larry was so bad, I'd vote for Rill Parsons twice if it meant never seein' his ass again. ...Well, I can't vote, but--"

You reach the pit. ...The pedestals haven't respawned. You might be able to wall jump your way across, but the gap is wide and you are not in the greatest shape right now. ...And you're still a little suspicious about the structure of this area, and the zone where the sealed wound is. If the wound isn't part of the normal dungeon... then what else is in this direction? Where's the door back there supposed to lead...?

"Alright," you begin, "we're going to try some things because my arms are falling apart."

You set the toolbox down.

You double check how much Do Not Reset tape you have left--the answer is... quite a bit. Even after sealing the wound thoroughly, you have a pretty decent amount of tape left over from the Trades Man's bindings.

"Can you pick this up now?"

Marlow gives it a shot--

and at first, he can't. He struggles as before and barely gives the heavy toolbox a nudge, at best. Experience, or levels, or however the hell this works--advancement in your base stats probably doesn't kick in until a reset. To get stronger in the dungeon, you have to at some point leave the dungeon. On a future night, he might have no problem tractor beaming the toolbox, or even heavier items--he's been through a lot already, that's gotta add up. But for tonight... Marlow has what he has.

...But then you see the shift in his demeanor. Not pure physical effort, but... focus. Determination. Less gritted teeth and more squinted eyes.

He inhales sharply, and beams the toolbox up off the floor.

"I had to put some mana in the beam to make it longer earlier," he remarks. "Turns out I can put some mana on it to lift more, too."

...Interesting.

Very interesting.

"Can you store it?"

He levitates the toolbox up to his face--

and bumps right into it.

He tries it again, once more with his 'mana face' on--

still nothing.

"It's too big," Marlow finally concludes. "I can mana up the space I've got, I think, but it'd be cheaper just to carry the damn thing."

"How expensive is carrying it...?"

"I'll live," he replies. "What's the plan?"




The two of you head back through the corner room, and into the hall. You check that the sealed wound is staying sealed one more god damn time--

and then you enter the mystery cell.

You follow a narrow hall to--

a bend, and another narrow hall.

Maybe slightly narrower.





You move cautiously... silently, expecting some kind of interference, but there's nothing. No scratching in the walls, no voices, no running water. Dead silence.

The monsters might have been just as freaked out by the wound as you were.

Though, if that's true--this zone might be a lot more dangerous the next time you pass through it.

Or at least, dangerous in a different way.


. . .


You reach the end of the narrow, L shaped hall.


You step around some debris, and...


Find yourself in a cell block almost twice the length of a normal cell block.

It also just kind of looks like someone smashed two cell blocks together--the floor is broken, there's cracks and gaps everywhere, the walls are... askew.


You tighten your grip on your polearm.


You proceed. Slowly. Checking each cell as you pass.


You grab a torch, because there's not many in here.


The path is so long and so dark, in fact, that you can't quite see the end of it.


Beds. Empty cells. Some gore-splattered armor and rusty weaponry, mostly maces and swords. A wooden shield. Empty cells.

A comically large and really obvious switch.

Empty cells. Beds. A little table. More small holes.

A locked chest.

A few of the cells have Bible verses carved into the walls-- a few of the spicier ditties you remember (and that a lot of people don't seem to), like Leviticus 19:33-34:

"When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them.

The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God."


One of the cells has a door in it, and that door features a heart symbol written in red.

Another cell has a bucket.

Beds, beds, tables and holes.

You reach the end of the XL cell block--or at least, what's supposed to be the end because the map in your head is making the layout of this room look hella suspicious, maybe something like...





"...Did you ever wonder if Montane rolling in out of nowhere and turning Ninelives to shit was part of something bigger?"

Marlow, stopping to mull it over, puts the toolbox down. "The thought crossed my mind, sure. I don't know what that something bigger would be, though--people've checked, there's no ore left in the mines worth talking about. Town's up in the mountains, more or less out of the pollution but it's still not an ideal spot for... well, anything. Town's one of the highest ranked for paranormal encounters and cryptid sightings, but most respectable lists don't count it because... well, the mines, and all the mutated animals. And even then, I can't imagine ruining a decent town for years just to find Bigfoot."

"Hey," you say with a small laugh, "don't joke--that shit has its own TV show now, Bigfoot's big money." You shake your head. "I'm... trying to put the pieces together--the alcazar, the house, the town, Mondol, Parsons... Montane. There's something connecting it all together--"

"Mondol probably paid Montane to set the table for 'em," Marlow suggests. "Might've hired him to become mayor in the first place. That's not supernatural, though, that's just politics."

"But that raises more questions," you point out. "Like... fucking why though. The hell is IN Ninelives that's worth--not just the money, the effort. It's gotta be the house, right...? But if they know about the house and they're after the house--why don't they have the house...? How did Larry Montane even become mayor in the first place?"

"We got complacent," Marlow says simply. "Well, not me--can't vote--but the royal we."

"...The royal we would still just be you."

Marlow smiles, and rolls his eyes. "Whatever the opposite is, then. The unroyal we. Same reason nobody else ran for mayor but Parsons, I guess--even when staring down another term's worth o' Larry Montane, everybody just kind of figured things'd work themselves out for the better. ...Just waiting and expecting things to go back to normal, like normal couldn't change. And really, things'd been on the decline before that--the guy before Larry wasn't great, Larry Montane was just the one to put his foot on the gas. ...Maybe folks had just given up by then. I don't know."

Hmm.


Hmmm.

You are really aren't some master sleuth out here solving mysteries, because you are fucking clueless. Weird power plays and corporate takeovers on the outside, the key to godhood hiding on the inside. There's something you're not seeing.

You're probably not going to find it staring at this wall, though.


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



Will Schrag | Snervalton | Skullrama | John Wood | Tom Axon | David J Wu | Sekwel | Mochi | Wisp Pandemonium | arbit | Travis Whittaker | thatbloodypaladin



13th Oct 2021, 6:21 AM
Cuttlefish
Gotta lead with the heart door, right?
13th Oct 2021, 7:34 AM
13th Oct 2021, 8:22 AM
13th Oct 2021, 9:04 AM
Gigafreak
Peeking in is fine. If there's a candle in there, then "saving" is also fine.
If there isn't a candle in there, then DON'T SAVE YET! The puzzle to GET here is currently inoperable, and the screws from the valve handles are wedged in Do Not Reset tape-- so it'll remain inoperable on future days. This is a softlock situation unless either we can teleport out (with a candle in the heart room) or that Big Obvious Switch opens a way out.
14th Oct 2021, 7:35 PM
Limrix
+1 to giga, if there's no candle, try pulling the lever and see if that opens a path to the tradesman. Note, it will probably also attract enemies, so be prepared to dive into the heart room.
13th Oct 2021, 9:18 AM
Cheshire777
+1 to peeking. We may be able to get out via a mining game and a homemade pickaxe after restarting anyway. Actually we should try that anyway, there are probably a lot of secrets behind 'cracked walls' or equivalent.
13th Oct 2021, 9:31 AM
Gigafreak
Speaking of walls. Maybe Marlow can sense something in the north wall? Mechanisms (potentially connected to that Big Obvious Switch) or structural weaknesses (potentially smashable with a warhammer)? We eliminated the monster patrolling that area directly outside already, so the risk of detection is a bit lower than normal.
13th Oct 2021, 11:17 AM
Snervalton
+1 to peeking into the heart room.

+1 to Marlow using his heightened senses to check for mechanisms, like around the switch and for secret passages. My guess is that the switch opens the north wall, making a passage into the hallway.
13th Oct 2021, 11:54 AM
Xylas_Incarnum
yeah, heart doors are bonfires and safe zones until proven otherwise, always check them first even if you don't fully use them. (because monsters respawn when you use bonfires)
13th Oct 2021, 6:07 PM
Guest
14th Oct 2021, 6:45 AM
Portal In Time
+1 to peeking, but don't set our spawn here unless there's a candle like the others are saying (Heck, would we even want to set spawn here in the first place?). It wouldn't be fun having to claw our way back to the nearest fast travel station when the enemies are reset.
14th Oct 2021, 10:03 AM
lilWitchPepper
+1 Peek in the room, check for the candle
17th Oct 2021, 12:55 AM
13th Oct 2021, 6:32 AM
Pkrankow
Heart
Switch
Chest

Well the heart is probably a safe spot.

The chest may or may not be useful. Have Marlow examine it before deciding. We probably should open it, unless it is a mimic.

The switch is probably part of the dungeon and therefore a trapped puzzle offering some reward. Examine and decide. It probably needs flipped.
13th Oct 2021, 7:37 AM
Morgause
On the subject of mimics... one thing worth thinking about for Plair is whether or not there's any 'tells' in the games she likes? We like? Does it have a chain pointing the wrong way a la Souls? Does it breathe? Do we remember any other telltales about the gassed mimic? Someone else probably brought this up... but worth double-checking
13th Oct 2021, 8:32 AM
Cyanic
yo
would be fucked up for the dungeon for the heart room to BE/contain a mimic lol

but unlikely since those are not supposed to be here
13th Oct 2021, 9:20 AM
Cheshire777
+1 to looking for tells, I know in one game mimics have a darker woodgrain.
14th Oct 2021, 9:58 AM
lilWitchPepper
+1 Look for tells, and have Marlow scan it. If it ain't a mimic, this could be the dungeon's reward for you healing it/for overcoming your own brainstuffs.
14th Oct 2021, 7:36 PM
Limrix
+1 to looking for tells and scanning the thing. Also scanning the switch, and maybe the heart room too for good measure.
17th Oct 2021, 12:55 AM
13th Oct 2021, 7:48 AM
Guest
Heart room first. Could be something inside worth knowing about; one of the others had the vending machine. Of this is the *striped classroom* (likely), then maybe there's knowledge to be had on the blackboard or in a book or something.

After that, check the chest for mimicry. If it's clear, and Plaire still has a key, there's no reason not to see what's inside. Could be something grand, or at least a Tool that the team will want to acquire outside and bring in next time to have access to. Like the screwdriver.

Finally, might as well throw the switch. I bet it opens up the wall and leads back into the Tradesman's hallway or the grenade stairs. Be aware, it's probably noisy, and might pull aggro on several nearby monsters.
13th Oct 2021, 7:48 AM
TacticOwl
Whoops, forgot my name.
13th Oct 2021, 11:35 AM
Snervalton
+1 to checking the chest for mimic tells. Marlow can scan it for vital signs, compare it to the chest he scanned in the office. Open it if there aren't any. This area is inaccessible without going past the Miasmatic Wound so there's probably some decent loot in there, as a reward for conquering that challenge. Also, tonight's dungeon crawl is likely winding down, given the state of Plaire's arms. Therefore we have no reason to save Plaire's last key for later.

+1 to throwing the switch, but only after Marlow checks the mechanism and makes sure there aren't any enemies nearby in the hallway to the north.
13th Oct 2021, 5:20 PM
Guest
The Miasmatic Wound wasn't supposed to be part of the dungeon though. I wouldn't use that as a reference point for difficulty.
13th Oct 2021, 5:49 PM
Snervalton
Good point, guest. But the chest is also in a dead-end behind a puzzle and a pit trap. The miasmatic wound caused all the monsters in this area to vacate, so maybe there was something really tough in here before somebody meddled with the place? In any case, I'm hoping there's something good in that chest, better than a raft at least.
13th Oct 2021, 7:54 AM
If we are lucky that switch would open a shortcut back to the rest of the dungeon. If it does, maybe tie some Do Not Reset tape to it in case we wanna get back here without messing with the worm pit.
13th Oct 2021, 11:50 AM
+1

Also I think I'm obligated to support any action that makes it so that we don't have to interact with anything we're calling a "worm pit."
13th Oct 2021, 7:36 PM
Pkrankow
14th Oct 2021, 6:48 AM
Portal In Time
Ooh, smart thinking! +1
13th Oct 2021, 8:03 AM
Frission
*Acts as a positive vibes hole, blowing how cool Plaire is right in her face* :D
14th Oct 2021, 5:28 AM
Frission
*Does so for MM too* :D :D
14th Oct 2021, 9:17 PM
+1 to that. This is my favorite thing to check up on when I do an Internet.
13th Oct 2021, 8:26 AM
undeadDreamer
Quick note. The cactus one is real. Zone 50 had some weird stuff.
13th Oct 2021, 9:13 AM
Cheshire777
And the yeti. There was a bottle of blurry fur and some sighting notes with all the random junk we picked up lol.
13th Oct 2021, 10:36 AM
Skullrama
Pssst. Plaire. Hey Plaire. The cactus was an actual thing. Tell Marlowe he doesnt have to be quite as skeptical as all that because the vaguely defined voices in your head are confirming conspiracies he threw out.

Its fine, it makes perfect sense.
13th Oct 2021, 11:48 AM
+1, assuming we're reasonably sure that wouldn't make him feel worse. Could just give him more reason to doubt himself.
13th Oct 2021, 5:44 PM
Guest
Hold up. This opens a whole can of possibilities. If we can give Plaire definitive information and not just nudge her thoughts in general directions, what can she do with our BiM info?

Does the house magic access the alternate space the alcazar is in via the same means as the bunker doors? Is the dungeon influenced by Plaire's brain through electrical imprinting like the ghost bunker?

Zone Fifty was bolded. There's got to be a link.
13th Oct 2021, 7:21 PM
I suspect we might face some consequences at some point. We may not even be able to transmit specific information -- seems to me more like a general vibe that Plaire doesn't always acknowledge as a fact. But I'm up for trying with relatively inconsequential stuff.

(I also have theories that are somewhere in the Discord about the link. But that's better discussed there, I think).
14th Oct 2021, 7:32 AM
Portal In Time
(Psst hey Plaire you dropped this)

image

(Never mind the fact that we've vaguely messed with Zone 50, just pay attention to the fact that the cactus is blue and absolutely real)
14th Oct 2021, 7:41 PM
Limrix
I mean the cactus lived for a century in a box, seems pretty unkillable. Yeti and cactus real, pretty sure no agenda behind blue cactus.
13th Oct 2021, 8:31 AM
Cyanic
There's a possibility all the documents Z50 released were real, the cactus and the yeti research are real, but not super relevant info right now (sorry, Plaire, ignore me)

Also, uhh, I know you said fuck em, but we do have some people on the outside that could help. Not take over this operation and steal your house, just give a bit of help. We might boop you to contact one or a few of them so just a headsup, and also that's for way later, after we finish this run.

For the current predicament, I'd agree with checking Heart Room first,
and that wall in front of you is very likely an illusory wall if the map is anything to go by. I think <strikethrough>Dark</strikethrough> Crush Souls illusory walls never trap you, but just in case it's taken some D&D dungeon design inspiration, if you hit that wall with something, get real ready to duck into one of the cells to not get squished by a boulder
13th Oct 2021, 4:49 PM
undeadDreamer
I don't think bigfoot is the same as a yeti
13th Oct 2021, 5:16 PM
Pkrankow
Sounds rather movie like. Indiana Jones...
14th Oct 2021, 7:41 AM
Portal In Time
It's also good to note that uh, Magic is deliberately kept under wraps as a power play by The Man and Co, and if we let loose that Magic is real online, things... MIGHT not go super well. As someone once said, it's "Mega Secret Illegal. Like, Black Helicopters Are Coming illegal"
13th Oct 2021, 8:54 AM
Pwzysk
Are there any gaps where the cell blocks are smashed together that you can see into? Is there a view to whatever's on the outside of the smash up?
13th Oct 2021, 9:22 AM
Cheshire777
After messing with the heart room and chest, can we hit the switch using a rock or light weapon from outside the cell? There's no picture of it, so I'm not sure what angle we'd need specifically.
13th Oct 2021, 11:49 AM
Snervalton
+1 to this precaution.
13th Oct 2021, 6:37 PM
+1. Maybe we can use the reset tape as a rope, loop it around the switch and pull on it from outside the cell? If we double-up the tape and twist the two halves together like a string, it might be strong enough to not break in the process.
13th Oct 2021, 11:34 AM
Leah9572
I doubt the dungeon would lock us in a section of the building without a way out. So far we've yet to hit a real or even temporary dead end, and given the pillars in the worm pit don't respawn there's got to be an alternate route out of here.
I suspect the switch will open that route, but perhaps not until we finish a gauntlet or something. I still think it's worth testing out, but it might be a good idea to at least peak inside the heart room first, and see if the chest isn't at least *not* a mimic.

And if the switch somehow doesn't open a secret passageway... that wall at the end looks like it's going to be thin enough that we can try breaking it down. After all that grenade managed to demolish the stairs and send us crashing way down.
13th Oct 2021, 11:49 AM
Xylas_Incarnum
Zone 50? Oh don't get us started on Zone 50 Marlow. Pretty sure none of those docs were fake by the way. They had... well still have because of containment protocols, a wannabe blood god on ice in one of their bunkers maintained by androids. I don't think we ever did fully inventory of all that shit we got out of that one storage warehouse before Uh, "Jane Doe" put the hurt down on Thale and went missing.
Zone 50 had doors that opened up to different places if you had the right keycards to open them to the point it can, and was by us at least, used as fast travel.
The only thing the weird shit hid was the mundane shit that was found by very ethically questionable means.
13th Oct 2021, 2:44 PM
Cheshire777
I think we finished, except that one metal box which Shall Not Be Opened according to the Tradesmen. We never really figured out the slime cube either I guess, and we never explored the last few bunkers or the interior of Bunker C.
13th Oct 2021, 5:28 PM
Guest
There was a lot of potential in BiM even with Thale out of the way. I was sad to see it wrap up the way it did but at least we got an ending. A good ending, all in all, at that.
14th Oct 2021, 10:29 PM
Spyder
My headcannon says we got disconnected from Mine at or near the same time Nil messed with the tradesmen - so it's his fault - lol 😱
14th Oct 2021, 10:31 PM
Spyder
Ahem
*headcanon*
boom 😅
14th Oct 2021, 7:42 PM
Limrix
The slime cube replenishes, and the cube held Bad Things. The cost of asking about the cube was the fact that we would probably open the cube. However, we did not.
13th Oct 2021, 11:56 AM
Macheman7
Heart door. I don't know if we have any keys for the chest, but it's something to keep in mind. I am almost 100% certain it's trapped ot a mimic.
Similar: that switch is _really_ suspicious. Plaire's gamer senses are on the nose here.

My thoughts are the switch might open up something later in the dungeon, or a shortcut- since we're kind of trapped here, or would be without a VERY SPECIFIC combination of powers (Magic Mustachio and The Sun), it about has to provide some kind of passage. My guess is that the floor will move, physically take us someplace else, like a roulette in a slot machine almost.

But yeah. Heart door first and foremost.
13th Oct 2021, 1:46 PM
BJBlack
If Marlow's policy about conspiracy theories includes triple-checking, digging up sources' sources, and reading other perspectives, then he's got more on the mayor, right? The characteristics he listed on Page 67 ("can't be recorded" being one which Kate also verified in your presence) might rule her out as a completely normal human, but could fit with other classes of undead.

Gotta be some reason why he settled on vampire, and not lich or revenant or ghoul or something else, when "drinks blood" didn't get on the list.

Ask Marlow about his deeper research into the Mayor, not just his 2-minute pitch for new girls.

Well, when you've got time. It's not actionable right now.
13th Oct 2021, 2:45 PM
Cheshire777
+1, maybe outside the Alcazar once Plaire's less stressed.
13th Oct 2021, 5:30 PM
Guest
Yeah, this can wait until we're back outside. When we're back together with Kate and Cici maybe, so that they know for future reference.
13th Oct 2021, 1:51 PM
PurpleKetchup
Hell yeah, countdown's dealt with. That's one hell of a problem off of the list, opening a lot of actual planning to further delves.
Proper celebration can be postponed until we're outta here. Good thing we didn't bring Cece or Kate to face the bad vibe wound, they wouldn't have liked that kind of stuff twice in a row.

... This last corridor is really weird. Both askew and wobbly ? Touch a wall, check if it's normal generic stone or if it's creepy in whatever other fashion.
I'm having a bad feeling about this and I'd rather jinx us now rather than later.
13th Oct 2021, 3:01 PM
Snervalton
Well, the countdown may have just been pushed back. The blood on Acedia's note is crawling in two directions, probably changing into a double-digit number. We should ask the trades man if the alcazar has any other health problems.
13th Oct 2021, 4:26 PM
PurpleKetchup
Hmm... So there was no clear value because it was still 'computing' it or similar.
We'll have to check next delve. Bummer.
I hope we got a bunch of extra days, at least. Plaire is gonna need them.
13th Oct 2021, 5:35 PM
Guest
I have a feeling the Miasmatic Wound was a rip? Connecting outside? It may have gotten bigger until the it connected inside and outside. Now that it's patched, the barrier should be able to recover, I think. It was built to keep all those things beating on it on the outside after all. If there were other problems, the number wouldn't be going up. Assuming it's turning into a 10.
13th Oct 2021, 2:20 PM
The all-else-fails strat
Try playing the non-Shindou edition of Magic Mustachio 64 and see if you can perform the Backwards Long Jump. If you can, it would be an incredibly useful but risky strategy.

Note that if you try this, you shouldn't hold me responsible for:
* Phasing Into Walls+Getting Stuck
* Clipping so far out of bounds that you crash the alcazar (which may or may not happen depending on how much of MM64's logic is imported)
* Getting stuck in parallel universes (PUs) without going back to the base PU (0,0) resulting in a fade-out or a complicated realignment setup.
* Becoming QPU-Misaligned, resulting in a fade-out or a complicated realignment setup.

TL;DR: If this is successful, it would effectively neutralize doors/puzzles, but note that clipping through a hellscape might result in unintended destinations.
This is also _incredibly_ complicated, _please_ do your research before performing this trick.
13th Oct 2021, 2:26 PM
Guest
^ disregard this for now since it is for far in the future, but keep it in mind if MM64 does exist
13th Oct 2021, 6:46 PM
-1. Clipping out of bounds like that is fine in games, but if we get trapped outside the map we won’t be able to just reset the console. Plus, given what happened to Kate and Cici last night, clipping outside the map is probably a huge health risk. Not to mention that the dungeon is literally Plaire’s brain, so leaving it in an unintended way likely has a whole bunch of bad side effects both in and out of the dungeon. It’s just too risky to try without a better knowledge of the inner workings of the Alacazar.
14th Oct 2021, 7:44 PM
Limrix
Plaire has also stated she is bad at speedrun strats. She might be better in here after leveling a bunch, but it's pretty risky.
14th Oct 2021, 8:17 PM
Pkrankow
-1 clipping out of bounds

Maybe on considering clipping doors or inbounds items... sorta like climbing a door in Minecraft by closing it over yourself and jumping up it. Or clipping a locked door via a blind somersault or something...
14th Oct 2021, 10:34 PM
Spyder
-1
Let's please not glitch the incredibly complex magic thingie that has blown up at lest one person before, okay?
16th Oct 2021, 10:07 AM
Lunar Waffles
also, the not-mario is a amalgamation of mario games, it has all the mario powers. (save for upgrades and any powerups as why would have to spawn somewhere in the map, also maybe cappy as its technically another character.)
17th Oct 2021, 1:05 AM
-1, for more than just the reasons pointed so far: the puzzles have been Plaire-designed by now, considering her solving capacities - the moment that we manage to casually clip around things, is the moment that maybe clipping will be considered on future puzzles as something that Plaire could do, and planned around accordingly.

And how do you design a challenging puzzle when doors and walls are easily bypassable? DO WE REALLY WANNA KNOW?

Also, absolutely -1 on trying that in a visible position from the barrier's outside - let's not give ideas to eldritch beings about how to bypass the barrier completely.
17th Oct 2021, 5:37 AM
Crestlinger
Well That Would be one of the demons trying to get in here now wouldn't it. https://terminalmontage.fandom.com/wiki/Mario
13th Oct 2021, 2:34 PM
I honestly don't know why it didn't occur to me before, but if candles allow fast travel throughout the dungeon, then we really ought to consider bringing in a supply of our own, set up a regular mass transit system. (If outside-sourced candles work, that is).
13th Oct 2021, 3:07 PM
Snervalton
They may have to be a specific kind of candle, maybe of the magical sort and they probably need to be integrated into the trades man's system. There's also a pretty complicated pattern drawn around the candle on the sanctuary level that may need to be duplicated, see the picture on page 89. We should still ask about this idea, though.
13th Oct 2021, 4:28 PM
PurpleKetchup
There's a chance any candle we bring will be yellow instead of green, though.
... but for science that might be worth investigating.
13th Oct 2021, 6:50 PM
It’s worth a shot. If nothing else, bringing in a few candles would be a good excuse for Kate to practice her fire powers with, assuming she’s willing to go back into the dungeon with Plaire.
13th Oct 2021, 6:58 PM
Snervalton
If the candles that Plaire brought in turned yellow, I doubt they would become teleportation-enabling. At most they would just restore her mana if she munched on them. And again, the existing teleport system has elaborate patterns etched around its candles, so they probably require some spellcasting to create. Neither Plaire nor any of the other party members have any knowledge of magic and that's something pretty dangerous to just idly dabble in.
14th Oct 2021, 4:09 PM
Cheshire777
I believe that the hypothetical yellow candles not being valid was the point. They may, as a possible edible, restore mana, or they may gain the potential to be used for teleportation. (Snervalton)
14th Oct 2021, 6:17 PM
Snervalton
Ok, yeah, I should have read that more carefully. But I still think that adding our own candles to the teleportation network is going to require some pattern etching and/or spellcasting.
14th Oct 2021, 8:19 PM
Pkrankow
Maybe it will act like a single use item, similar to the key. Pack candle and matches. Too many good possibilities.
17th Oct 2021, 1:06 AM
+1 to trying that
13th Oct 2021, 2:38 PM
I don't remember if we have keys right now, but if we do, open the chest. I know we're 1 for 3 on them being useful, but I've got a good feeling about this one.
17th Oct 2021, 1:07 AM
+1 after Marlow checks for traps/mimics
13th Oct 2021, 4:26 PM
. . .Brain Goblin demand gold
13th Oct 2021, 4:33 PM
Guest
Quick note, that alien cactus is actually real, we found it
14th Oct 2021, 2:04 PM
Hari_Seldon
Don't forget if we do get out where it's easy to go to the Tradesman then maybe we should to find where the striped classroom (other bad thing we need to fix) is and have Marlow ask whatever questions he wants of the Tradesman, hoping that would level up his Demonshell and hoping that's not how we level up Franklin's Demonshell.
14th Oct 2021, 3:32 PM
Snervalton
I'm going to tentatively +1 looking for the striped classroom tonight but only if Plaire can reach it without fighting any monsters. I doubt she could win against opponents of this difficulty level with her arms in the state they're in.

Another thing to note: the striped classroom might not be something bad that we need to fix. On page 136 the trades man told Plaire, in lie mode, that the classroom is a thing "that absolutely should be here" and that they "would advise leaving both alone". The striped heart/save rooms aren't normal features of the alcazar either, but have a beneficial effect. The striped classroom might teach Plaire some useful things, or it might give her a chance to get up in front of the class and teach the alcazar a thing or two.
14th Oct 2021, 4:57 PM
Portal In Time
That, and a few pages ago the Tradesman said the striped classroom likely worked the same way as the other striped rooms. It could just be a safe spot that we have to "Cleanse" through more reality-warping anxiety attacks, or something.

+1 to asking anyways, if we get the chance.
15th Oct 2021, 6:11 PM
Snervalton
We should also ask the tradesman what the striped classroom does, that may help us to decide whether it's worth seeking out tonight.
15th Oct 2021, 8:20 PM
37212513
I'm back! What I miss?
(last page)OH! Oh shit... sorry. Good job on that.
(this page)Well said Miss Stevens. I must say, your looking more and more on the ball. Taking more control every few minutes. I do hope you continued success.

Hey, choir... Idea pitch: just how much Mana do WE have? and can we boost Plaires? By doing our own experiments to reach and help, have we been gaining experience in this alcazar? Do WE have an arcana relative to the alcazar? This would all be important data for us. Idea's for proto-testing? We already know we have an influence, but if we can debug the rules some and refine our understanding, we can improve our ability to aid Plaire, no? Also, knowing when we're hitting our limits would be vital because pushing it to far could potentially endanger her instead.... again, we want to understand the rules better, hopefully without risking Plaire. One more reason to ask about the Brother. Good data.
16th Oct 2021, 3:21 PM
Snervalton
I think the main benefit of having a choir to assist you is that you get input from many different types of people, people who represent all different kinds of arcana. So I would say that the choir's arcana is "various". And every new update the comments section is like a tarot card reading: there's no telling which cards will be drawn and how they'll be arranged.
17th Oct 2021, 1:12 AM
Ok, crazy idea here for the future: we managed to materialize something before and it got blocked by the dungeon.

Could we try to materialize something when Plaire is awake? Probably won't work at all (and probably should be done outside the house and in a place without witnesses), but worth a shot.
17th Oct 2021, 1:14 AM
But back to the Choir's mana, small steps. Materialization got blocked by the dungeon, let's wait until the right opportunity for - with Plaire's permission - trying a boost while on combat,
17th Oct 2021, 5:39 AM
Crestlinger
If that Is a mimic, check for gas grates and poke it with something you can afford to lose. If the item sticks, get ready to Fight or run.