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A War Story

Started by ArtDrake, January 13, 2012, 10:34:16 PM

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Having nothing more that you wanted to research, you leave the books on the table in case you should choose to come back later, pick up your frost runes and pink glop, and leave the library. However, as you step out into the hallway, you see two unanimated skeletons lying in front of the library door, one near enough to trip over had you not been looking downwards, and the other five feet from the first, to the left, with a trail of small joints behind it pointing towards the billiards room. You remember that skeletons' runic flows can be disrupted by a strong arcane field, and the library would naturally create such a field. That was close -- it was just good luck that you were in the library when the skeletons tried to hunt you down. If you had been, say, in the armoury, that might not have gone so well.

On the other hand, clicky bones don't make for good stealth.

(So, basically, there might be a skeleton or two in the billiards room or the second room on the right, and whether you want to confront them or not is your choice)


Stealthily see how many skeletons are in the billiards room. If there aren't too many, attempt to lure them near enough to the library for their flow of energy flow to be disrupted. (I'm thinking the library may be a better place for defense than we originally thought. And I'm too lazy to try spelling magickopositive or whatever. Sorry. :D)


You go over to the door of the billiards room, which is ajar from the skeleton having opened it, and look inside. However, there are no skeletons in there. There are, however, four large billiards tables which seem to be outfitted with a coin receptacle system, so you would have to pay to play a game.

(And you just spelled it right, except it's magickonegative, but you knew that, too. You troll. Good to see that someone still wants to play.)


(Well at this point, I'm not real sure what we should do.)

Continue with what we were going to do before discovering the skeletons in the hallway.


You go back downstairs to the very large room converted into a mess hall, making sure to open and close the door to the stairwell quietly, seeing that the skeletons are still there.

(Well, you've pretty much fully explored the forward upper levels, and the Lieutenant is getting ready to land, but he's waiting for your okay -- he's basically giving you first crack at clearing out the skeletons [probably not very safe] and exploring the ship [probably very interesting]. The marines might shoot first and ask questions later when it comes to alternate life forms like the Lieutenant on the ship unless they're given a heads-up.

(But first, you'll have to either be stealthy, or deal with the five-skelly squad at the far end of the Grand Ballroom. Either way, you won't be getting through the particular door they're guarding if you don't clear them out.

(It's up to you guys on whether you want to risk it. Oh, and there's looting of the soldiers' quarters for money for spell scrolls, if you want.

(I forgot: there's also the matter of possibly getting a backpack either from somewhere on the ship or from home, because all this equipment [armor, bucket, runestones] is getting heavy)


I think it might be better to search for a backpack to store some stuff. Coins would also be nice to find, so a quick visit to the quarters, being careful because some skeletons may be walking around. Then we should store the extra armor and the bucket somewhere (perhaps in the library) before engaging the skeletons in the ballroom.

So, here is my plan of action:
1. Store the extra armor and the bucket in the library.
2. Go to the quarters and see if we find some quarters :P and dimes or whatever currency they're using (if I had written the correct names I would have spoiled the pun).
3. Search for a backpack and also a small mirror since we're at it.
4. Assuming that we find a backpack, store some stuff in there. Keep holding the baseball bat and have some frost runes close at hand.

If the other people agree, let's fight the skeletons in the ballroom.
5. Head to the ballroom. Use the mirror to look inside the ballroom so that we won't be surprised.
6. Choose beforehand a few safe places to hide in case the skeletons start shooting. Behind a wall or some thick furniture may be good options. Place the mirror so that if we're in one of the safe places, we can have an overall (or at least partial look) at the ballroom.
7. The way I think it's better to engage the skeletons is to throw a couple of frost runes at them (I don't think there is the need to be extremely accurate) and hide quickly from them, since they have firearms and may fire. Use the mirror to evaluate the effect and throw a few more runes if needed and move to another safe place. If things seem to be too dangerous, go back to the library (so, leaving that option open when moving is crucial).
Ert, the Dead Cow.
With 2 small Mandelbrot sets as the spots.


You stow your extra armour set in the library, along with your as-yet-unidentified bucket of pink glop, heading off to the Grand Ballroom again. You crack open the the door again, seeing the skelly squad, but this time you cautiously tiptoe out of the door, which closes behind you with a regrettably lound clunk which, though partially muffled by the lavish furnishings about the tall room, echoes enough to reach the skeletons on the other side of the hall. One of them pauses for a moment, as a curious or confused animal might, but returns to its patrolling the back reaches of the room.

You know that the soldiers' quarters are through the door the skeletons are guarding, or, even if that isn't the only route, through one of the two doors that open off to the left and right very near the far end, so it's unlikely you could get through undetected.

You look around for furniture which might be used for cover under fire, and spot six heavy and thick oak tables, three at either end of the room, which might quickly be overturned and take many bullets. The long tables running the length of the room could be useful for sneaky crawlspace from which it would be a simple matter to place your runestones into the avenues the skeletons would take in coming to attack you. For that matter, though your baseball skills are still sharp and you could easily hit the ground where a skeleton stood with a baseball from where you stood, the runestone has a different weight and shape, so you would need to be closer, say, one-third the length of the room or about twelve metres, maybe a bit less until you had thrown them a couple of times.

(So, no new spells until you get some money. No money until you get to the quarters. No getting to the quarters until you've dealt with the skeletons.

(And I'm waiting a little bit for a consensus before attacking the skeletons, and I didn't want to go ahead with it if your willingness to go at them was dependent on first getting some coin in your pocket, Ert)


Attack the skeles using Ert's plan.


You decide to overturn one of the large oak tables and use it for cover from skeleton rifle-fire, making a very loud noise. All five of the skeletons hear it, and they run towards you in a formation of three rows of two, two, and one. The skeleton with the submachine gun and catalyst who was standing with them before takes the back of the group, while the two with rifles take the very front. You wait for a few moments, and then poke your head out to check on how far they've come. About halfway. You open up your pack of frost runestones and take two out; one goes on the ground, and the other you place your palm on as per the instructions. The heat and deactivation runes on the back glow, and then the inhibition rune goes out. You hurl the runestone across the room at the right column of advancing skeletons, missing the frontmost of them, but hitting the ground just behind him, which shatters the rune manually instead of causing the shattering rune to go off, and the frost rune on the stone takes effect. Instantly, a set of white icy tendrils sprout from the spot where the stone landed, three of them arcing off towards the rifle-bearing skeleton, turning the very air to crystalline branches in a flash, while the last one reaches out for the skeletal MP with a riot shield.

When the frozen air touches exposed bone, icy bridges form between the joints, bringing the blue-white doom to the rest of the skeleton's body. Its leg bones splinter and crack, and the rifle falls to the floor, shortly covered by a man's supercooled remains. The last icy vein grabs on to the riot shield held by the former military policeman, coating it with a wintry frosting and then climbing up and around the shield, onto a hand, then an arm. There, it stops, out of energy. The skeleton and the ice stand still for a moment, and then its arm shatters into ivory fragments, the ice melting and evaporating almost as quickly as it had arrived. The skeleton looks at its jagged point of an upper arm, and then resumes its charge more slowly than before, his animating force weakened.

In the three short seconds in which this happens, the three skleletal soldiers on your left never stop their charge, but for the rifleman, who slows down to take a shot at you. The percussive crack of rifle-fire wakes you up from your awe at the deadly power of the runestones, and you quickly duck down behind cover, another bullet whistling above you near where your head had been seconds before. You activate a second runestone and pop up again quickly to toss it, seeing that the MP on the left has caught up with the rifleman, making them easy targets. Again, your runestone flies through the air between you and your attackers, breaking into pieces on the floor as the magic within is released. In mere seconds, both the rifleman and the MP are down on the floor, completely immobilized with the frost runestone's power split evenly between them. You stay, unfortunately, a second or two too long to witness the results of your toss, and the skeletal captain [you can now see his rank clearly on his uniform from this distance] opens fire with his submachine gun. Many of the bullets punch into the solid oak table you're mostly hiding behind, but a few hit their mark. One hits your extended arm, which is covered in armor but still recieves a solid blow, another two slam into your chest and shoulder, tossing you back like a ragdoll, while another luckily misses your head, but rips through the soft tissue of your ear, blood and flesh leaving with it as it passes. The captain fires a couple of more bursts from his firearm, but they all either miss or hit the table. You can see wood splinters flying up from where you are.

The skeletal captain and the MP are close in on you with only about fifteen feet between you and them, so you decide to try and rush your more dangerous opponent. You quickly reorient the oak table with a huge effort, and as the skeletal captain approaches, you grab your enchanted bat and spring from behind cover. Then, many things seem to happen at once. You stand full up, leaping forward to bludgeon the skull and disanimate the skeleton, but it raises its gun and fires a burst straight at your chest. The momentum of the bullets knocks you back down, but you scramble to your feet and keep running at the skeleton, hoping to close more distance quickly. This time, the captain raises his catalyst to cast a spell, but you try to stop him before he does, smashing your bat into his ribs and breaking his spinal cord in one huge blow, and his legs fall out from under him. But the spell is done being cast, and now it travels in a black glow up the length of the catalyst and right at you. You realize too late that it's a carbon catalyst, and that this is a blinding spell.

It hits you with a tingle on your right shoulder, an inky blackness that spreads down your torso and across it, and up your neck and onto your face. You close your mouth for fear it might go inside, but then you get a taste like a lump of coal in your mouth -- gritty, bitter, and not at all organic or nourishing. But you feel it continuing to climb up your face, and you close your eyes to protect them, but then the tingling stops just above your eyes. You then open your eyes again, but you can't see a thing. Or at least, you can't see at first. Then, you realize that the spell must have run out of energy before it could fully blacken your vision, and you know that your eyes are going to adjust. The darkening is stronger in the bottom of your field of view, so when you feel a scratching at your feet, you have to look all the way down at it to see that the skeletal captain is making a pathetic assault on your feet. You smash the skull, and the bones disanimate. Then, you take a solid blow to the back! You turn around in a literally blind panic, trying to figure out who your attacker is, and remember that the MP with the riot shield hadn't been completely incapacitated. As you desperately try to recover into a fighting stance, the skeleton rains down weak but consistent and painful poundings with his billy club, until you start to hit back with your bat. On the first strike alone, the skeleton's side freezes up, and you shatter its ribs and pelvis with a second. It falls to the ground, still swinging its billy club, but you simply bash its arm off with another pair of quick strikes, and then, tilting your head downwards to be able to really see well, you place the end of your bat on the skeleton's skull. You wait a moment, and the skull becomes covered with frost, then thicker ice, and then the ice cracks, then also cracking the skull. The skeleton has long since been disanimated from the slow and steady effect of bakor planted squarely on its head, but you keep holding your bat there, partially out of your anger at the skeleton and the sorceress, and partially because you need something to lean on. The ice cracks the skull even more as it stresses itself in too many directions at once, and then with one last shove downwards on the bat, the skull chips and breaks into more than ten different pieces. Then, satisfied, you limp over to a table [your calf grazed by one of the first skeletons you took out has had its cut reopened], hurting all over, your ear most of all. You place your head down in front of you, and you listen to the sound of your ear dripping blood in a growing pool, moaning softly from the pain and waiting for your vision to clear and for the awful taste to leave your mouth.

(Okay, that was a lot of stuff happening. You have some moderate wounds that you wouldn't be able to explain to your parents, so looking for some healing magic would be advisable, and using a form of long-ranged weapon would also be advisable in the future, given your last encounter; you'll come across spellcasters and gunners that you don't want to have to run at like with the captain. You got lucky that time.)


I was afraid that the attack could result in a bad outcome. This was not as bad as it could have been. Looking back, perhaps it would be more effective throwing each a hand full of frost runestones in a way that they landed somewhat scattered (on the other hand, it might happen that the first to be triggered could block partially, or even totally, the effect of the others).

Congrats Duckling on the writing. It was exciting to read.

Now we have to be extra careful because we're wounded and partially blinded. And how bad is our armor. Does it need to be fixed?
Are any of the skeleton's items useful to us? The riot shield may be useful if we can use it.

We should explore the other 2 doors on the ballroom. Looking for healing spells (and coins) is a priority.
Ert, the Dead Cow.
With 2 small Mandelbrot sets as the spots.


You examine your armour for rips or other damage, but it seems that the armor held together quite well, probably due to some runes for durability, and did a good job of saving your life. Next, you look around at each of the broken skeletons for useful items, seeing that the rifles are the same standard issue you saw in the armoury, while the submachine gun must have been owned personally by the army captain [I forgot to say, it was an army captain, not a navy captain -- lower rank], or at least you did not see any like it upstairs. The riot shield is intact, though the hard plastic is chipped around the edges from the cold, and it may take some time to defrost, though you could probably speed up the process if you put it somewhere particularly warm. While it's this cold, it will be uncomfortable to handle, impossible if not for your gloves. Either way, you'll probably want to come back for it later.

You walk across the room to the door on the right, and when you open it find that it leads into the officers' quarters, extending fore and aft for the length of the room you just came from, but on the port side [you're facing backwards, which means your right is port]. You open the closest door to you, and see a room with two beds on opposite sides of the room, small windows looking off the side, and a dresser at the foot of each of the beds. When you search those, you see ID cards, laundry, a pistol, and about a fifty Danish crowns' worth of change between them. You pocket the money and leave the room. To your left and right, the hallway extends for about five compartments in either direction.

(Thanks! I like writing fight scenes. Also, about throwing several frost runestones at once, they're each about as big and as thick as your hand [excluding the fingers -- think burger patty], weighing about one and a half kilos each [bit less than 3 and a half pounds], and they take a full second to activate with the heat of your palm, leaving them with three seconds before they go off. So, even if you use both hands to activate them, and then both hands to throw, I'd say four is the maximum you could really ever manage at a time if you've practiced the technique, and even that's posing a serious risk of losing a limb to some frost. I hope that clears up the any issue with the scale of the runestones. And, the reason you have to throw them before a certain time isn't because after that time they'll instantly go off, but because after that time they become highly sensitive to vibration and pressure, their main application being as part of a trap, so if you tried to throw them after a few seconds had passed, then they would go off instantly. That make sense?

(You guys' choice on whether to loot other compartments in your state. Could be skellies. Could be more money.)


It might be a good idea to hide the weapons in the ballroom (store them in a closet nearby or behind some curtains). Who knows if more skellies will appear and decide to pick those up. But only do that if we're feeling up to the task. Extra care is still needed when moving around, since we're wounded.

We should also go back to the Lieutenant and ask where are the healing spells. And the infirmary, we can take care of ourselves in there, if there are no healing spells available.

(Later on, we should go back to the library and look for some info about the portals. Picking a backpack from home may also be something to do later. Finally, we the players have completely neglected the other portal. We should explore it sometime.)

(Duckling: You made perfect sense on the runestones. And on everything else, by the way.)
Ert, the Dead Cow.
With 2 small Mandelbrot sets as the spots.


You decide to go back into the Grand Ballroom and hide away the weapons the skeletons dropped, kicking and nudging them under the long tables where the skeletons won't be able to see them. You make sure not to put too much weight on your leg or lift with your arm that was shot, but you manage to hide them all away. The riot shield has warmed up enough at this point for your to be able to take it, but you're feeling horrible right now, and you don't think you could manage the extra weight right now. Instead, you put it with the rest of the equipment.

You walk up to the front of the ship, through the dining car, and talk to the Lieutenant.

"Say, do you know where I could find a healing spellbook? I kind of hurt myself a bit fighting it out with that squad of skeletons in the Ballroom."

He replies, "Healing spellbook? No, we don't have any on the ship. It's a bit complicated for your average recruit, even one who's particularly good at spellcasting, though it was even harder before we started using telerunespace embedders, I think they're called. I don't know too much about the exact enchantments they use to make them, but they help us out a lot with our more complicated, but useful spells. Anyway, if you're looking for healing spells, you'd want to try at a hospital or an army base once we land. As for your present injuries, there should be a salve mixer in the infirmary, which would be on the port side of the second floor, aft from the library. There's a door between the library and the infirmary, so you could go that way, or through the soldiers' quarters and up the stairs on the left. If you're planning on using the salve mixer, take some food from the kitchen, preferably with a good mix of proteins and fats; it takes in organic matter and turns in into medicine. Industrial enchanting at its best, I think."

(It took me some time to figure out how to deal with healing: how to make it a relatively simple spell so it doesn't take until the end of the game for the player to learn the simplest healing, but while also respecting the fact that healing is an incredibly complicated and physically arbitrary biochemical process which cannot be fully encompassed in a basic rune or two. I ended up coming up with a relatively cool game mechanic in the process to find a compromise between the two aspects of healing.

(I've neglected lockpicking magic and the ceremonial sword, so I think I and the players are about even on neglect to the story.)


I would like the hero to go back to the hero's room and take his school bag/backbag, where he could store the runes and other stuff. Maybe when he gets a sharp weapon, he could easily store the bat in it too. Also I would like the hero to enchant the bat with frost magic (as in giving it the ability to freeze things on impact, so it could shatter the ones of the skeletons more easily. Also it'd make it easier to broke any armor your enemy could have. Maybe draw the frost rune so it'd be around the reinforcement one?)

Then go check to the kitchen to search for ingredients for the salve.

By the way, I just stumbled upon this, spen an hour and half reading all the way through it and love it :)
If you seek it, you can find it. Freedom can be attained.


You walk over to the corner of the room to casually lean against the wall, and when you decide that the Lieutenant is more intent on flying the ship than he is on watching you, quietly walk back through the portal. It's not that you don't trust the Lieutenant necessarily, but you really don't want this strange adventure of yours spilling over into your everyday life; fortunately, he doesn't seem to notice.

You stumble as you come through the portal into your room, falling to the floor after your leg buckles under your weight. You catch yourself, but when your eyes are at floor level, you notice the bones still under your bed; those will be hard to explain tomorrow morning if you don't get rid of them. Trying to remember that for later, but also finding it hard to keep a clear head in your battered state late at night -- you look over at your clock and see that it's actually five minutes past midnight. The time had gone so quickly! Either way, you know you can't leave your room looking like this and expect your parents not to pitch a fit. Moreover, your father was going to be returning from the energy summit in Japan late tonight and if he were to find your room empty, he would be decidedly grumpy; instead of letting that happen, you empty out your backpack on your floor and put your remaining runestones in the medium pouch [you have six left], turn out the light in your room, and go back into the second portal with your backpack. You find yourself in the ship again, and the Lieutenant is still fixed on piloting the large airship around Reykjavik airspace.

When you are at the door of the cockpit, the Lieutenant says, "I don't know where you go when you walk into that wall, but do not think that I did not see you; also, given that you are being quite helpful in ridding this ship of skeletons, I won't ask you where you got your hands on that kind of magic. I also won't tell the Marines anything they don't directly ask about you. Sound fair?" You nod silently, very surprised at the Lieutenants lenient attitude towards you, but then realize that he's still facing forward. "Yes, Lieutenant," you reply, not really believing that you would have been able to change his mind on the matter if you had wanted to.

Then, you go on to the ship's kitchen to get some foodstuffs for the salve mixer to use, and decide to get some eggs, a couple of tomatoes, and a fistful of nuts and put them in a bowl. The Lieutenant had said that just about any food or organic matter would do, but it couldn't hurt to use decently healthy foods.

(I'm really glad you like it! I always love to hear that people are enjoying something I've written or designed or produced, but especially what I've written. Another thing: it was easy to miss, since it only really took one post to do, but the hero has already enchanted his bat with both protection and frost runes, which was useful in his fight with the skeletons, since it allowed the bat to shatter the bones more easily. Also, if you drew the frost rune around the protection rune, the frost would become dominant with protection as the secondary rune, so the magic would "ice protect" the bat, encasing it in a layer of ice, which I don't think would be the desired effect.

(I'm not trying to discourage you from trying out new rune combinations or enchanting in general, but I will tell you that most desired effects from multiple runes can be acheived by having their two effects exist separately, and thus drawing them separately on the item to be enchanted. Also, since the bat has already been enchanted with two runes, that's pretty much the limit for now, since the arcane energy gets too unstable.)