2017-09-01: I Guess Worms'll Go Eat You

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==============================<* Gunsmoke Desert *>==============================

The Gunsmoke Desert occupies the northwestern portion of Ignas. This desert is different from Aveh's. Instead of rolling dunes of sand, it has dry and cracked ground, and the mountains that rim it also intrude into the interior, forming stunning rock formations that can look as beautiful as they look impossible. The settlements here are hard-pressed to survive, consisting of countless small towns. The lucky few are connected by railways to the Seed Cities scattered about the Gunsmoke. Many are lost to the sands, which cover them and a tremendous concentration of ruins from Filgaia's past. This makes these badlands the heart of Drifter activity in Ignas.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4z_CxmE0AkA
DG: A party led by Ambrosius is now entering Doomed to Obscurity.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
==========================<* Doomed to Obscurity *>===========================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Locked Door *>=========================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The ruin's main entrance sits atop a large ziggurat, made of carved           
 sandstone blocks. Whether by design or happenstance, though, you've found an  
 alternate entrance--a door at ground level, exposed by the shifting sands.    
 Opening it without the key may be a challenge, but it might be easier than    
 climbing to the top?                                                          
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

A tall man clad in a brightly-colored poncho trudges through the sands. In the distance, a large structure formed of sandstone blocks looms.

Since finding himself in the Badlands, Ambrosius's time had largely been filled with work. Now, however, he decided it was time to pursue his personal interests, at least until orders came about for him to get to work.

His stop this time was a ruin referred to as 'Doomed to Obscurity'.

...It was quite a name. There were many rumors about it, particularly that by this point it had already been picked clean of treasure. Fortunately, even if that was the case, Ambrosius's main interest wasn't the monetary value of what he might find.

He was, after all, a man with an interest in history. And right now that was proving useful, as he was certain there must be an alternate entrance to the ruins, one that wouldn't require him and his party to climb to the top.

"Now look at this...yes...I beliiieve I have...read of this...desiiign before...it requires a key...however...I beliiieve there may be...a vulnerabiiility in the struuucture...that we can...exploit..." Ambrosius explains.

Whether or not anyone actually bothered to listen to him was another thing entirely.

DG: Ambrosius has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Locked Door.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

The events within the Guardian Temple had given Neriah a lot to think about. She'd been nowhere to be found in November City, vanishing into the wilderness to ruminate on things - on how the Guardians clearly expected her to do their bidding despite the fact that she'd been seeing Ge Ramtos in her dreams for years, always there to torture and hurt her. She wanted no part of it.

But fate conspires to pull her back into the orbit of Drifters. Fate, and the fact that she's broke.

The group arrives to find Neriah already there. She's not wearing her excavator's uniform anymore - just her heels, a tunic and a pair of short shorts, even her hat gone. Her knees are a little scraped up but otherwise she seems to be in good health, leaning forward as she inspects the door through a complex-looking lens. Carefully she rotates one glass roundel in front of the others.

Then the group arrives, and she blinks, looking over her shoulder towards Ambrosius with a touch of surprise.

"Oh," she says with a touch of resignation. "Well. I guess I can split the profits with you."

She lifts her lens again. "The mechanism is actually pretty simple," she explains. "A dead person could figure out how to pick it. You just kind of go through the lower part with something suspiciously narrow and root around until something catches. Just like a bad surgeon."

DG: You must use a Tool that matches the Challenge's Dungeon Ability. If you do not have one, use the matching Basic Action
instead by typing +act Combat
<Pose Tracker> Yarobeleedt has posed.

There's Yarobeleedt again, in that not-very-great-disguise-robe that should be fooling absolutely no one by now.

It has much less to do with keeping up fronts, and more with how it is handy with keeping sand out of terrible blob places. (When you are part wormy-serpenty-thingy blob, the desert is not your friend unless you want to feel like you're being scratched in uncomfortable places and spend hours wriggling all of that particle matter out.)

One could go on for paragraphs upon paragraphs about the importance of doing further scouting work towards THE ULTIMATE GOAL, but that's been made plain in previous records.

We all know what we're here reading this for by now.

The hooded figure who seems to have a lot of dark-colored robe versus figure kind of... crawls up alongside the rest? There's a scratching sound between their big sleeves. Now is his chance to show up ^Long Voweler^ by getting a head start at getting inside! Which... is suddenly a problem for him, all of a sudden.

"Fufufufu. Easy easy. Locomotion back." Yarobeleedt steps up, raising their sleeves. "Open!"

...What's the magic word?

"Opeeeeeen...!"

The hooded figure drags out the 'n' sound for a while.

"...Peanut. Is open peanut. Not tough nut. Soft bolt!"

...

"All say 'Open Peanut.'" So the hooded figure commands as they... amble? A ways off around the perimeter. Like, very quickly, as though having found great cause to run off.

This was probably a distraction, in retrospect.

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Locked Door.
DG: Yarobeleedt has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward its party's challenge, Locked Door.
<Pose Tracker> Animal has posed.

Animal had fallen asleep on the stone edifice hours earlier, a few pieces broken off which he had piled up nearby so that he could drag them back to town and sell them later. But when he hears the sound of civilized folk, he erupts to his feet with sudden alacrity and throws a long glance over the area before he looks to Ambrosius and goes over to look at what the other fellow is looking at. He rubs at his forehead a little and says, "Yeah!" like he was part of the party the whole while.

Sticking his hands in his vest pockets, he wanders away a few paces to look at the others present and settles back on his legs, hunching over so that he can count his toes and make sense of things. Trying to put some order to his recent happenings.

Listening to the others discuss how to get through the door, he slowly loses interest and his lip slowly purses and he ends up sort of idly checking his pockets for food. Finding none, because he hasn't been hunting enough, he just ends up watching them again.

Rubbing at his lucky headband, he doesn't think he can add much, but does wander a bit closer to look and try to be helpful. "What if you put stuff in the lock? Like meat."

DG: Animal has used his Tool Lucky Headband toward his party's challenge, Locked Door.
DG: You've already acted for this round. Please wait for the round GM to push +act/complete.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

Technically, the plan was 'meet up in Dazil'. She had gotten across the desert without too much incident.

It had been fine. She had resupplied, gotten her bearings, listened in on the latest news...

And then... and then, Josephine Lovelace had gotten bored.

Which is one of the reasons she had ended up in November City days ago for totally innocent reasons and had ended up stealing a horse.

And this is also the story of why she's not going back to November City again.

BUT RIGHT NOW, Josie is standing in front of a door, investigating the mechanism. "Hmmm..."

The odds of there being anything she can sell in here are low, which means her wallet will just have to continue to complain uselessly. But on the other hand, joining a crew like this was an Opportunity to investigate the ruins in the region. ...Call it a little bit of legwork, since it was somewhere around here that...

On her shoulder, the black and white bird fidgets nervously.

Probably because Penelope is eyeing, black eyes shining, the suspiciously hooded figure.

"So, something narrow, huh?" Josie says, at Neriah's assessment.

"Meat? I think that would just gum it up." She pauses a second, rooting through her pack.

And eventually produces a screwdriver and brandishes it. "This should work! So, let's see about that 'vunerability' of yours here..."

DG: Josephine Lovelace has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Locked Door.
<Pose Tracker> Fenrir has posed.

In the back of the group is a wolf-like Beastman(?) with a single arm, wearing bandages over her right side, which appears to have been heavily injured in the past, as well as over part of the right side of her face. Fenrir's here because she's going to prove she's good at things like ADVENTURE, moving up behind Ambrosius. There's a glare at Neriah, her left arm clutching a fist, but she doesn't move to strike, instead, the Metal Demon glancing at Animal for a second, who shje recognizes, and then staring plainly at Yaro. "Open peanut? What?" Technically, she said it! And then glances over towards Josephine, and then stares at her bird. "The hell is that thing?"

And then, Fenrir nods at Ambrosius. "See, that one's simple. Exploit the vulnerability. I can do that." Fenrir seems as if she understands his plan entirely, and then moves up to the door, lifts her arm, and punches the door straight in the lock.

DG: Fenrir has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Locked Door.
==========================<* Doomed to Obscurity *>===========================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Locked Door *>=========================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The ruin's main entrance sits atop a large ziggurat, made of carved           
 sandstone blocks. Whether by design or happenstance, though, you've found an  
 alternate entrance--a door at ground level, exposed by the shifting sands.    
 Opening it without the key may be a challenge, but it might be easier than    
 climbing to the top?                                                          
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
=====================<* Doomed to Obscurity - Round 1 *>======================
==========================< Results - Locked Door >===========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ambrosius                           0 --(7)--> 7                   Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Animal                              0 --(9)--> 9                   Pass
Lucky Headband                      2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yarobeleedt                         0 --(8)--> 8                   Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fenrir                              0 --(10)--> 10                 Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Neriah Parringer                    0 --(6)--> 6                   Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  0 --(6)--> 6                   Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Ambrosius                   0 --(20)--> 20                 Pass
Conditions: Tire(2)
Effects: Enlighten(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Ambrosius has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 exploration! If anyone needs to use party management
commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

The vulnerability Ambrosius had talked about wasn't quite as vulnerable as it seemed - Fenrir brings her arm back and slams it into the door, but the door doesn't budge. Still, it does make things easier - she at least succeeds in smashing through the outer layer, revealing the locking mechanism that Neriah had observed so that Josephine can get in there with her lockpick.

As it happens, Animal and Yarobeleedt aren't wrong in their own suggestions, whether or not it's intentional - in ancient times, this particular entrance was always opened up alongside a sacrifice of flesh and reciting a special phrase.

Whether or not that phrase is 'Open Peanut', however, is something that has unfortunately been...Doomed to Obscurity.

However, the door soon opens, allowing the party to venture into its depths.

Ambrosius glances back at the assembled party for a moment, assessing them. He had gathered quite a few more individuals than he intended...but they at least seemed capable. With a nod, he makes his way inside.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has drawn a new Challenge.
===========================<* Doomed to Obscurity *>============================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Makeshift Barricade *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Drifters regularly pay this ruin visits, and unfortunately for you, one of    
 them got the bright idea to block off the way ahead with a barricade.         
 Crates, beams, rocks, and other debris form a wall across the corridor        
 ahead, makeshift but annoyingly stable. You'll have to get past it if you     
 want to continue, but is it possible there's something valuable on the other  
 side?                                                                         
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

"She's Penelope," Josie sort of... non-explains to Fenrir.

Penelope's beedy stare briefly turns towards the apparent wolf beastwoman.

The door is open. Self-satisfied, Josie tucks the screwdriver away. Though, it wasn't as if it was difficult to jimmy open, but still, she'll take the victories she gets.

"Whew, guess they weren't kidding with the rumors..." Josie comments, taking in the sights of this place, her left hand planted on her hip. "Look at that, did someone chip off part of a mural? ...Or maybe all of it, huh." On her shoulder, Penelope continues to fidget, as if something is bothering her. "Shh," she murmurs, tapping a gloved finger against the pigeon's head.

A short circuit of the room reveals quickly that there's only one exit.

And it's blocked.

"Sometimes I wish I packed a little better," she comments absently, staring at the sheer heaps of debris someone has deliberately stacked. She tilts her head. "...Is that a chair?" It's a chair. "I wonder where they got a chair. ...Oh well."

Lightning crackles down the length of her left arm, coiling around her hand. Taking a step back, she hurls off the spell at the barricade like someone throwing a javelin.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Makeshift Barricade.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

As far as she can remember, Neriah's never seen Fenrir before. At first she seems startled that the Beastman is giving her a look that sour. The surprise passes quickly, and her expression darkens, her eyes seeming to dim a couple shades as she directs a flat glared back towards Fenrir. There's an acidity to it that doesn't seem to belong to a normal human girl carrying a shovel and a pistol.

She focuses her energies forward again, resigning herself to traveling with this bunch and making a few mental notes on her coping strategies. She presses forward.

The blocked entrance ahead leaves her resting one hand on her hip, raising her eyebrows shallowly. "Yeah. I think I see a desk in there, too. Maybe we found a ruined carpenter's shop," she quips, her tone still dry as dust.

Unslinging the shovel from her backpack, Neriah steps forward, but she pauses with a blink as Josephine starts blasting the heap of rubble with lightning bolts. She raises her eyebrows slightly. "Whoa. Damn. Shocked me for a second there."

Once she's sure the charge has gone out of the rubble, Neriah jams her shovel between a couple of the pieces of debris and starts prying. A few disconnected beams tumble down around her but she's careful to scrape from the top of the choking mess of junk, heaping objects off to the side.

DG: Neriah Parringer has used her Tool Trusty Shovel toward her party's challenge, Makeshift Barricade.
<Pose Tracker> Yarobeleedt has posed.

To no one's surprise, Open Peanut was a distraction in intent. Yarobeleedt finds himself another way in by some vague unspecified means.

The vague unspecified means being 'part of the ziggurat gives out under his weight and dumps him down the structure and through the way just everyone else went.' This means he came in from above! Totally counts. Yep.

Moving on, from the way the hooded figure glares, he gets a mental inventory of everyone here.

^Long Voweler.^ Feelings well-known to the regular reader.

That boy that keeps following them around...

That fellow Horrible Shambling Metal Abomination(tm) who stopped him from having his fun with the ^Celebration Gun^.

...A ^Sky Rat^ whose stare visibly unnerves him, and their designated ^Shoulder Tarmac^.

...^That.^ Her. No, that is not a her. That is a ^That^. He visibly cringes with every strike of their shovel, as a mind incapable of comprehending the full depths of what struck it goes back into repeat. He clutches at his head, miraculously keeping his screaming silent. There must be some way through--

Oh of course there is!!

He slams himself full-bore into the stack of debris and flails at it in hopes of getting through there so quickly that they don't even notice. His wishes will be far from fulfilled.

DG: Yarobeleedt has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward its party's challenge, Makeshift Barricade.
<Pose Tracker> Animal has posed.

This is Animal's forte. Jumping forward to the barrier, the youth starts throwing huge pieces of it over his shoulder like he always does. Going at it with abandon, he starts to move the barricade out of the way with strength and energy. "I like walls like this, I can always dig through them!" he says to anyone who will listen, since he seldom gets to shine like he does when he gets to lift things with his inhuman strength.

He doesn't necessarily go out of his way to avoid other's attempts at tunneling and blasting their way through, but he isn't exactly accommodating to their actions either.

"What's in here, anyway?" he asks over his shoulder. Hoping he might discover some secrets about this place, in case they have to run away before they can find their way to the center of the place. Whatever it is.

A pause.

"And is it a castle? I want a castle to keep all my stuff someday and I want it to fly on a big bird's back, I bet someone has one, I just need to trade them enough stuff," he explains.

DG: Animal has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Makeshift Barricade.
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

Ambrosius's brow furrows at the state of the interior. Who in their right mind would do a thing like this? It was barbaric. Think of the damage it could do the the structure's internals! Unfortunately, there's really nothing to do here but deal with it.

He raises an arm and water begins to swirl around it...but upon noticing Josephine hurling a javelin of lightning at the barricade he reconsiders, the water evaporating back to whence it came.

It might be better to handle this in a different fashion.

"If I were to...make an assuuumption..." Ambrosius states, at the talk of why all this junk was here. "Some...fool...wanted to...keep the treasures withiiin...to themseeelves..."

And then he decides to take a page out of Fenrir's book and just try to punch his way through the obstructions.

As for Animal's question...

"Well...young man...that...is why...we are heeere..." He explains, as his fist goes crashing through the earlier mentioned desk.

He's not really paying attention to what he's breaking, so certain hiding individuals may want to be careful.

DG: Ambrosius has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Makeshift Barricade.
<Pose Tracker> Fenrir has posed.

"The hell's a Penelope?" Fenrir has never been taught what a bird is, and her tone is kind of rude because Josie's a human, as she straightens out her hand after that smash, wincing at the impact. She should have shifted...but too many strangers, and she didn't come in with her wolf claw. When they move up to the barricade of random stuff, though, she's still confident, as she charges the pile. Her fist moves to smash into it over and over and over again, oraoraoraora.

"Oh, huh, you're actually trying to help for one, Gibberjabberer?" Fenrir doesn't know Yaro's name (or forgot it), so she's giving him a terrible nickname.

DG: Fenrir has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Makeshift Barricade.
===========================<* Doomed to Obscurity *>============================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Makeshift Barricade *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Drifters regularly pay this ruin visits, and unfortunately for you, one of    
 them got the bright idea to block off the way ahead with a barricade.         
 Crates, beams, rocks, and other debris form a wall across the corridor        
 ahead, makeshift but annoyingly stable. You'll have to get past it if you     
 want to continue, but is it possible there's something valuable on the other  
 side?                                                                         
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
======================<* Doomed to Obscurity - Round 2 *>=======================
=======================< Results - Makeshift Barricade >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ambrosius                           7 --(9)--> 16                  Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Animal                              9 --(8)--> 17                  Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yarobeleedt                         8 --(10)--> 18                 Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fenrir                              10 --(6)--> 16                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Neriah Parringer                    6 --(7)--> 13                  Pass
Trusty Shovel                       2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  6 --(9)--> 15                  Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Ambrosius                   20 --(25)--> 45                Pass
Conditions: Tire(1)|Treasure(1)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Ambrosius has passed this challenge! The party gained 25 exploration! If anyone needs to use party management
commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

"Or maybe just to be an asshole. Who knows!" Josie answers Ambrosius. "People can be pretty petty sometimes..."

Lightning makes impact; too bad about that chair. Some of the beams go, too, but the rocks and various other elements piled together here hold, continuing to block the way forward. Josie shakes out her hand, as if to disperse the charge from whence it came. "Heh heh, good one," she comments to Neriah, pausing a moment to eye her own work.

"Huh. What's that wiggling thing?" Josie comments, squinting through the faint cloud of dust that's risen.

A shovel works pretty well for getting loose debris out of the way. Neriah will find the digging pretty easy work; despite a few larger hunks of junk piled up it doesn't seem like whoever built this wall tried too hard with it.

The beams are next to go as Animal heaves them aside with all his might. "Not bad, kid." What's in here? "History. Well, if they left any for us," Josie comments with a shrug. "I guess we'll have to see! To be honest, that's just part of the fun."

Working in tandem, Ambrosius and Fenrir manage to heave the rocks aside that someone -- somehow -- stacked up here, which also serves to dislodge a few more of the fragments and random debris.

The random debris, which apparently, includes a small box tucked into the mix, battered but miraculously unbroken and unopened. Opening it reveals a small set of tiny ancient potions.

<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

"She's a pigeon," Josie adds, answering Fenrir.

DG: Yarobeleedt has drawn a new Challenge.
===============================================<* Doomed to Obscurity *>================================================
============================================<* CHALLENGE - Fallen Netting *>============================================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 A door leading deeper into the ruin rests atop a platform high above you.     
 Unfortunately, the burrowing sandworms wrought havoc on this part of the      
 ruin, and the metal netting that you could've used to climb up there is now   
 lying on the floor. It looks like it could be repositioned to let you get to  
 the door, but it is very heavy.                                               
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken===================================================
<Pose Tracker> Yarobeleedt has posed.

For a time, the hooded figure that will be lovingly referred to as 'Gibberjabberer' lies face-down as some of the barricade rests on top of him. Never mind him, for now. A ways past this hidden hoard of good stuff, they can head further down the (strangely) well-lit corridors into a tall chamber that seems to stretch up almost as far as the eye can see. Almost.

There's a door! It's open and everything, there's no resilient stone slab sitting there. This may mean someone's been through here, but it's an attractive-looking open door! All one needs to do is hop onto the metal netting strewn about and...

...

...oh.

The respective netting that could bridge the ones that already exist are currently in a misaligned, mangled pile on the ground. Large gaps in the wall and ground suggest it might be sandworms, but maybe it was the same jerk that tried to hide the goods they found earlier.

What if that jerk were still here?

Yarobe-- Gibberjabberer, pardon-- slinks behind the group. He eyes the netting, the door, and the wall.

He decides he doesn't want to climb the wall after tapping it. He can feel the vibrations. Scary scary vibrations. He tries to get on an intact metal cage and stretch out (wow, that robed figure stretches really far), flailing a sleeve or two at it.

This doesn't help any.

But hey, maybe someone else can move the damaged metal netting into position so people can climb it up there. (Worse comes to worse they could just try to use Gibberjabberer over there as a springboard bridge...)

DG: Yarobeleedt has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward its party's challenge, Fallen Netting.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

As she hefts debris out of the corridor, Neriah glances to the side and watches as Yarobeleedt goes mad on the heap. Her lips come tightly together as she realizes who exactly that is.

She blushes, lowering her head as a wave of shame overcomes her.

"Hey," she murmurs. "Sorry about last time."

She presses onward after the group, not putting her shovel down just yet. Moving into the open room, she presses her lips together as she gazes up towards the door far above, then at the metallic netting that's fallen from the wall.

"Yeah. We're not getting that back up," she opines as she hoists her shovel and approaches the wall. Digging the spade's blade in, she chips away the rock and sand to create a deep foothold for herself, planting her toe in it. Then she kicks and digs out another foothold and steps up with utmost care.

She'll keep doing it that way - chipping out footholds with her shovel and using them to scale the wall inch by inch, moving her way closer to the door rather than trying to wrangle with the netting.

DG: Neriah Parringer has used her Tool Trusty Shovel toward her party's challenge, Fallen Netting.
DG: Ambrosius has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Fallen Netting.
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

"...Indeed..." Ambrosius admits with a nod towards Josephine. That always was a possibility. That was something he knew for certain. He glances toward Animal as she answers him, and her answer gives Josephine a few more points of respect in his book.

He was glad, at least, that there were some humans who could appreciate the finer things.

He doesn't comment on it directly, however, instead continuing to the next room where the metal netting they could have used to progress lies on the floor.

He scans the room for a moment and his eyes land on a certain 'Gibberjabberer', but he doesn't address him. Instead he walks up to the metal netting and, in what may be seen as a foolish attempt by some, attempts to lift and position it into a way upward. It seems he disagreed with Neriah's statement...

...But it's entirely possible he might need help with this.

<Pose Tracker> Fenrir has posed.

Another pause from Fenrir towards Josephine after breaking through the barricade. "The hell's a pigeon?" And then, there's a new issue. Getting up to the door, with the damaged metal netting down here. The human thinks she's clever, huh? Another scowl at Neriah, as Fenrir moves over to assist Ambrosius, who is atleast an ally, in lifting the netting. "Put your back into it, come on!" And also shouting at him, as she begins to push with her one good arm. There's a squint at Yaro-er, Gibberjabberer as he just stretches out. He's very bad at being subtle.

DG: Fenrir has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Fallen Netting.
<Pose Tracker> Animal has posed.

Drinking the potion, Animal gives a resounding, "YECK!" and then spits out the majority of the potion and reaches into a pocket for some pocket food. Pulling out a block of cheese, he snacks on it and nods to himself. He hardly needs such a potion anyway. Going over to the beams he'd just thrown aside, he starts to build a make-shift bridge across the netting. He throws first one, then the next, and then goes back to grab up a few more beams. He throws them down the hallway.

"I love this place, there aren't any puzzles!" he exclaims as he starts to climb and walk across the beams, trying to close the distance to the door. Getting a feeling that the ground under the netting is unsafe in some way.

Whether he is helpful in helping the others get to the door, he is rather good at carrying big heavy beams around and putting them where he wants them.

DG: Animal has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Fallen Netting.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

Josie tilts her head, regarding Fenrir quizzically for a moment. "...Guess you're from waaay out in the desert, huh. It's a bird," she explains as she heads along into the next chamber.

"...Well, this is a problem!"

Josephine sounds a little, just a little too cheerful about that as she takes in the sight of the room before her, gazing up towards the ceiling.

If there were ever a time for a Metal Gear ! noise, it would be now -- as Penelope's gaze again zeroes in on Yarobeleedt and the pigeon goes absolutely rigid.

And then arguably, absolutely frenzied, flapping her wings excitedly. "Hey--"

A gloved hand briefly and loosely cups over the pigeon's head and eyes. "Shhhhh," she urges her bird again. "...I don't know what her problem is today. Usually she's well-behaved."

Well, now that's technically a lie.

Once Penelope is calmed, Josie turns her attention towards the problem, once again. "Never say never, kiddo," she replies to Neriah, before stepping over to take ahold of part of the netting. "Now, let's see... Okay, if you take that corner..."

DG: Josephine Lovelace has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Fallen Netting.
===============================================<* Doomed to Obscurity *>================================================
============================================<* CHALLENGE - Fallen Netting *>============================================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 A door leading deeper into the ruin rests atop a platform high above you.     
 Unfortunately, the burrowing sandworms wrought havoc on this part of the      
 ruin, and the metal netting that you could've used to climb up there is now   
 lying on the floor. It looks like it could be repositioned to let you get to  
 the door, but it is very heavy.                                               
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken===================================================
==========================================<* Doomed to Obscurity - Round 3 *>===========================================
==============================================< Results - Fallen Netting >==============================================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ambrosius                           16 --(3)--> 19                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Animal                              17 --(6)--> 23                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yarobeleedt                         18 --(6)--> 24                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fenrir                              16 --(3)--> 19                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Neriah Parringer                    13 --(4)--> 17                 Fail
Trusty Shovel                       2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  15 --(3)--> 18                 Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
-------------------------------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------------------------
DG: The party led by Ambrosius has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 exploration! If anyone needs to use party management
commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.


<Pose Tracker> Yarobeleedt has posed.

Yarobeleed-- Gibberjabberer freezes in what he's doing as ^That^ apologizes to him.

...He seems utterly puzzled by this.

^That^ has apologized. A weird, whiny hum escapes from the hood. It is impossible to tell if they are overcome be emotion or their head might be about to explode (or both?).

It's hard to get a foothold on the ground - the rock here seems a lot harder, but with some help it provides a good place of leverage for others to come chip in in helping push the destroyed metal caging up to a more usable position.

Fenrir looks into Gibberjabberer's eyes, from under the hood. What's going on under there is weird. It's also less important than how easily she seems to be lifting it - more than easily helping Ambrosius with it.

Josie doesn't really get anywhere with holding the thing, but her guidance helps them at least get it all together in a structurally stable way so they can all climb up and get to the door.

Gibberjabberer takes a moment to start moving again. "^That^ is sawry?" The very idea seems foreign. The Metal Demon people are not used to the idea of archnemeses - real or imagined, and boy does this one have a lot of imagined ones - reconciling in any way, shape, or form.

Is this a human thing?

Maybe it is just a ^That^ thing.

The mind continues to boggle.

Penelope's staring and rapidly flapping wings ensure that the robed figure does not move at all until line of sight is broken.


DG: Neriah Parringer has drawn a new Challenge.
============================<* Doomed to Obscurity *>============================
==========================================<* Doomed to Obscurity - Round 3 *>===========================================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Juvenile Sandworm *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 This sandworm is fairly small as far as sandworms go--perhaps twenty feet     
 long, with the fading striated markings of an older juvenile. It is still     
 capable of shearing off someone's limbs with its razor-sharp jaws, and since  
 you're intruding on its colony, it may decide to do just that. Good luck!     
=Dungeon Conditions: Injure===================================================


<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Neriah opens her mouth to say something, but Josephine calls her a kid and she closes it again, her eyes darkening visibly. Then she catches Fenrir glaring at her again.

Her eyes narrow ever so slightly. "What's your problem," she says tersely, before giving up on the wall and finally just helping the others with the netting.

Before long, they're up to the doorway and pushing through, into a wide room beyond. Stepping out into the sandy space in the middle, Neriah glances from one side of it to the other, then across towards the door mouth at the far end. "Let's go," she says.

And then the ground begins to tremble. A growing rumble vibrates through the floor. Neriah gasps and staggers backwards. "What th--"

In a burst of sand and rubble, a sandworm bursts out of the ground - even as a juvenile, it's a good twenty feet long, with jaws sharp enough to sever limbs. The massive thing hurtles up from the sand, looming over the party with a sickening gurgle. The shaking of the ground has left Neriah thrown back; the sandworm immediately descends on her, jaws snapping and gnashing as the beast seeks a bite to eat.

Neriah gasps, and levels her right hand forward. She's still wearing those long gloves, but this time she doesn't let out any kind of outcry, just clenching her teeth and bracing herself. The sandworm hurtles in -

And it bounces off a globular shell that suddenly surges into existence around Neriah. The magically sensitive can feel the pressure of it - a feeling of concentrated impurity focused on the girl. Behind the field of semi-translucent unlight, Neriah comes to one knee, bracing in pain but scowling and bearing it as she holds her eldritch field up.

The sandworm hesitates for a moment, unsure what to do - but giving the rest of the team a window.

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Juvenile Sandworm.

<Pose Tracker> Fenrir has posed.

"Alright, it's a pigeon, and not a Penelope?" Fenrir nods, before squinting again, staring straight at Josephine.

"The hell's a bird?"

And then, as she moves forward, replying briefly to Neriah, "Hmph, did I say anything?", Fenrir sees the sandworm. A monster. A fight. The Metal Demon charges forward, leaping upwards and at the sandworm with a grin on her face, as she moves to kick her left leg straight into the sandworm...and turn it into a blade at the last second, when hopefully no one can see it. "Come on! Let's tear it apart!"

DG: Fenrir has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Juvenile Sandworm.


<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

"Kiddo, no offense," Josie asks, looking Fenrir up and down. "But did they only have rocks where you came from or something?"

Attempting to lift a heavy bit of netting one-handed has its pitfalls. Oh well, at least there's always the leadership role to fill...

Ambling after the rest, Josie pauses about two seconds after she enters the room. "Wait..." It's an unusual bit of caution on her part, one born from the tremors spidering their way up towards--

Ah, that's the reason why. Neatly backpedaling a step as the young worm rises and unhings a maw (...do sandworms have a maw) to descend upon Neriah as prey, Josie goes for her gun.

Josie, once again uncharacteristically ends up stalling out, but this time, it's not because of the barest impression of a threat in the room.

Well, no, okay, it's exactly that. Just not from the part of the room she expected it from.

"...What in the Guardian's green hell?" she utters, reaching instead into the depths of her pocket when that rolls its way off her sorcerous sensitivities. She unscrews the cap of the thing she's just dug out.

And takes a nip of it. All without taking her eyes off the worm -- lingering -- overhead.

"--Right! I don't know what that was, kiddo, but I think we've got a bigger problem. So--"

It's a flurry of movement. Flask tossed to right hand, loosely caught. Sidearm drawn with left. Aim. Fire.

"Like that!"

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Liquid Courage toward her party's challenge, Juvenile Sandworm.
<Pose Tracker> Yarobeleedt has posed.

The bursting sandworm right there is the reason the cloaked figure didn't want to start climbing walls! (Why didn't he warn anyone else they were coming? Probably because at the time he would rather the sandworms eat ^That^ or ^Long Voweler^.)

From behind the group, the cloaked one shakes and shudders and thinks, if he sits there, sandworm won't get him. Maybe sandworm will get some of the others. That would be nice.

Then, a part of him turns some gears in that head of his.

^That^ said they are sorry. Why?

Fenrir, injured like him, is hurling themselves at the sandworm as expected.

The figure scrapes their sleeves together. He doesn't quite get it. But maybe he can exploit it. (Which involves 'getting it,' which he clearly does not.) The figure slithers up closer to the worm. There is a brilliant plan in mind. Approach, hide in sheet cocoon, let worm consume, have worm choke? Then say 'sorry' to everyone he hates and fears and they will let down their guard and--

As Yarobeleedt approaches, he loses his resolve quickly, and just hides under the metallic sheet anyway. This is probably also thanks to the unlight aura flashing nearby, but...

Um, cowering in the sheet cocoon versus willing to go inside of it as part of some half-baked gambit. Same difference, then?


DG: Yarobeleedt has used its Tool Sheet Cocoon toward its party's challenge, Juvenile Sandworm.


<Pose Tracker> Animal has posed.

The last time Animal fought a sand worm, he was swallowed by it and he killed it from the inside, but this time, he decides not to let that happen. So instead of trying to fight off the sandworm by being swallowed, he thinks for a half a second, and instead just leaps on its back once an opening appears and starts trying to kill it by hugging it hard enough to crush it to death.

"Stupid worm!" he yells as he rides on its back, and sways back and forth as it bucks from the damage inflicted by the others. "We meet again!" he yells out, suddenly remembering that last worm a bit more clearly and now certain that this is the same one.

He squeezes harder and tries to wrestle it to the ground, but with nothing to push off of, held up in the air as it lashes about, he just ends up wriggling and squeezing with super strength on its back.

"I got it!" he tells everyone.

======================<* Doomed to Obscurity *>======================
==========================================<* Doomed to Obscurity - Round 3 *>===========================================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Juvenile Sandworm *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 This sandworm is fairly small as far as sandworms go--perhaps twenty feet     
 long, with the fading striated markings of an older juvenile. It is still     
 capable of shearing off someone's limbs with its razor-sharp jaws, and since  
 you're intruding on its colony, it may decide to do just that. Good luck!     
=Dungeon Conditions: Injure===================================================
------------------------------------< TOOLS >------------------------------------
|Player              |Tool                |Lvl|Ability|Effects               | 
|Ambrosius           |                    |   |       |                      | 
|Animal              |                    |   |       |                      | 
|Yarobeleedt         |Sheet Cocoon        |1  |Combat |Cleanse               | 
|Fenrir              |Fight               |0  |Combat |                      | 
|Neriah Parringer    |Fight               |0  |Combat |                      | 
|Josephine Lovelace  |Liquid Courage      |3  |Combat |Rally                 | 
================================< Dream Chasers >================================
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

With the metal netting lifted properly into place, Ambrosius sends Fenrir a respectful nod. She was rapidly proving to be a valuable ally. He follows the others into the next room, but pauses.

This area...he didn't like the feel of it. This feeling proves useful, however, as soon a monstrous creature emerges violenty from the sand. He observes as it goes for Neriah...and his eyes narrow, as something envelopes her.

A strange, bizarre something, that felt to him like it shouldn't exist.

This...may be important to keep in mind. However, right now more important to keep in mind was the sandworm. It seemed stunned by whatever it was Neriah had done, but that wouldn't last long.

Water swirls around one hand, forming into a sphere and raising up. It falls down like rain onto the group, but rather than soaking them it disperses into a pleasant mist.

With that done he draws his revolver, Conversator, and fires several times at the sandworm.

DG: Ambrosius has used his Tool Deluge toward his party's challenge, Juvenile Sandworm.
DG: Animal has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Juvenile Sandworm.
============================<* Doomed to Obscurity *>============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Juvenile Sandworm *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 This sandworm is fairly small as far as sandworms go--perhaps twenty feet     
 long, with the fading striated markings of an older juvenile. It is still     
 capable of shearing off someone's limbs with its razor-sharp jaws, and since  
 you're intruding on its colony, it may decide to do just that. Good luck!     
=Dungeon Conditions: Injure===================================================
=======================<* Doomed to Obscurity - Round 4 *>=======================
=========================< Results - Juvenile Sandworm >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ambrosius                           19 --(6)--> 25                 Pass
Deluge                              1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse              
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Animal                              23 --(6)--> 29                 Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yarobeleedt                         24 --(12)--> 36                Fail
Sheet Cocoon                        1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse              
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fenrir                              19 --(8)--> 27                 Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Neriah Parringer                    17 --(11)--> 28                Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  18 --(5)--> 23                 Pass
Liquid Courage                      3   Combat  Effects: Rally                
------------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Ambrosius                   65 --(20)--> 85                Pass
Conditions: Injure(2)|Weaken(1)
Effects: Cleanse
================================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Ambrosius has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 exploration! If anyone needs to use party management
commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Whatever Neriah's doing, her field seemes to keep the sandworm from even getting close to her. It also seems to block out the sound of her voice. Her lips move as though she's saying something venomous, but nothing escapes the eldritch sphere - except that curdling sense, to the magically aware. Whatever Neriah's doing, it's not normal.

The more normal things the rest of the team does prove tough for the sandworm to manage. As Fenrir tears into it, the monstrous thing snarls and takes a bite at her, only for Jacqueline to blast it and draw blood. Lurching, the worm whirls on Ambrosius, diving on him and getting a mouthful of water for its trouble.

With a sickening gurgle, the worm writhes and lurches, whirling to try and take a bite out of the cocooning Yaro, but not getting much past his cocoon, pounding on it relentlessly nevertheless.

It's Animal who delivers the final blow, wrestling the worm to the ground - and in the process, there's a gory snap as the powerful boy simply shatters something in what passes for the creature's spine. The sandworm writhes in the sand.

It writhes for a sickeningly long time. Neriah lowers her field, pale but with an intensity as the field goes down.

She silently watches the worm die, not so much as blinking.

DG: Animal has drawn a new Challenge.
==========================<* Doomed to Obscurity *>===========================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Ride the Worm *>========================
|Type: Climax      |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Trembling earth and falling rock herald the arrival of a massive sandworm.    
 It doesn't so much as slow down, and it starts slithering down the corridor   
 as though it were just another burrow. The hallway isn't wide enough for you  
 to get past, and the worm is moving quickly--to get past, you're going to     
 need to hitch a ride. But can you do it without being injured by this         
 colossal desert predator?                                                     
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Animal has posed.

With the last spasms of the dying sandworm there is a deep rumble, and the tunnel they'd just past through starts to slowly collapse with the passage of a huge sandworm. It doesn't roar or signal its ill intent on those who'd killed its progeny, it simply speeds toward them to devour them. Leaving deep cuts in the sides of the tunnel in its swift passage.

Seeing the advancing sandworm, Animal immediately assumes that the last method of killing the sandworm will suffice, and jumps off the nearest wall for a bit of a better angle and lands atop the sandworm. He starts to spread his arms out to try to give it a hug of death, but when he can't really get his arms around it, it doesn't really prove very lethal.

Riding atop it, he yells out, "It's too big, I can't squish it!" and so just ends up riding along atop it.

DG: Animal has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Ride the Worm.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Of course there had to be another sandworm.

As the earth crumbles away, Neriah strides forward, still with that intent look in her eyes. Whatever happened back there seems to have changed something in her carriage. She stops on a bit of still-solid ground, planting her shovel blade in the turf as she watches the sandworm go by.

It's simply too vast for her to try and get her arms around it. She simply waits for the beast to come lunging at her.

Then, with a sudden snap of her shovel, she heaves a clod of dirt towards the thing's maw - and then leaps as high as she can.

Neriah's a strong jumper. Spiralling through the air, she comes up legs over head, flipping neatly and coming down on the sandworm's back, landing in a crouch beside Animal. Her shovel swings forward as she plants one palm against the grip of it.

"I'll make you a handhold," she says with tiny smile.

And then, planting her heel on the shovel blade, she stomps on it once - and attempts to drive the shovel into the flesh of the sandworm. It may hurt the creature but Neriah doesn't care. She'll hold onto the shovel, using it as a handhold even as blood oozes from the wound she's trying to cut into the beast.

DG: Neriah Parringer has used her Tool Trusty Shovel toward her party's challenge, Ride the Worm.
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

It's the rumbling that catches Ambrosius's attention. He leaps at the last second, attempting to land on the creature's back.

"I had heard...there were...creeeatures such...as this here...but I thought...it was mere ruuumor..." He comments with a slight frown. This was...problematic. They would have difficulties exploring the rest of the ruins with something like this in the way...but right now, it was more important to prioritize survival.

Once more water swirls around his hand, eventually coalescing into a whirling blade. He sends the blade flying, attempting to slash into obstacles in the way to give them a little more room to maneuver on the back of the beast.

DG: Ambrosius has used his Tool Aqua Cutter toward his party's challenge, Ride the Worm.
<Pose Tracker> Yarobeleedt has posed.

The cocoon bears a lot of scratchy gnashing teeth marks. The (soon to be ex-)sandworm is coming close to that tender age where its very teeth could rip through even that, and Yarobeleedt continues to shudder and squirm underneath his protective shell.

Then it stops. The hooded figure peeks a head out from their cover...

...Right! The next step of his next fell scheme.

"Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry." Yarobeleedt repeats the words with strange emphasis, which do not convey the proper tone behind the general usage of this word. It's kind of like a child repeating what they've heard without grasping the full meaning of the concept.

There is more trembling. Yarobeleedt looks either way, and inches ever closer to ^Long Voweler.^ Since he hates him completely and is saying 'sorry,' the current string of logic dictates that Ambrosius will not be wary at all and so he can try to feed him into the oncoming great big sandworm he knows is coming.

Yarobeleedt draws back a sleeve, some scythe tip poking out with a nasty-looking gleam--

Then it gets stuck into the nearby emerging sandworm and finds his shoulder somewhat more dislocated than usual, an inhuman screeching as he finds himself carried along for the awful, horrible, bumpy ride, flailing the other arm weapon out uselessly - gee, this hooded figure sure must be carrying a lot of weapons in one sleeve! That's a hammer, a sickle, a spear, a goopy splashy net--

Yarobeleedt now questions whether or not 'sorry' will work on massive sandworms!!! Or maybe the rocks that are whacking him!

<Pose Tracker> Fenrir has posed.

Fenrir managed to slice in, but she wasn't expecting the bite, which hits her right in the torso. She slips off the sandworm's body, and for those close by, a glimpse of shining metal can be spotted. A sword? Lifting herself up, Fenrir quickly shifts her leg back, trying not to be seen, and she doesn't appear to possess any blades or shining metal on her. The 'Beastman' growls at Josephine, kicking Yaro's coccoon like a soccerball as she walks past and forward. "Are you insinuating I'm stupid? Huh?" She sighs and shakes her head, as they continue through...

And there's another sandworm. A bigger one. Well, they want to get forward, and not kill this one. Fenrir leaps upwards, trying to grab hold of the sandworm's skin with her arm and atleast flail from it. "What are these damn things? Saw a few of them back in the desert, too."

DG: Fenrir has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Ride the Worm.
DG: Yarobeleedt has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward its party's challenge, Ride the Worm.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

"Stupid? Nah. Just wondering where you grew up~" Josie says, nearly sing-song.

There really isn't even a moment to spare to cheer as the smaller (as it happens, yes, that one counts as smaller) sandworm falls.

Josie has exactly enough time to holster the Aveh military sidearm before something deeper causes a roar, the foundations to shudder, and her to remember that this place was alleged to be absolutely lousy with sandworms.

"Well," she starts to say, taking a leap for it, straight onto the hide of that great monstrosity as it emerges from the tunnel ahead, intent on eating them all alive.

"Let's look on the bright side!"

Penelope huddles, finding purchase against Josephine's neck. "At least this thing knows where it's going, right? So hang on--"

And as best as she can, she latches on to the hide of the beast.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Ride the Worm.
==========================<* Doomed to Obscurity *>===========================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Ride the Worm *>========================
|Type: Climax      |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Trembling earth and falling rock herald the arrival of a massive sandworm.    
 It doesn't so much as slow down, and it starts slithering down the corridor   
 as though it were just another burrow. The hallway isn't wide enough for you  
 to get past, and the worm is moving quickly--to get past, you're going to     
 need to hitch a ride. But can you do it without being injured by this         
 colossal desert predator?                                                     
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound====================================================
=====================<* Doomed to Obscurity - Round 5 *>======================
=========================< Results - Ride the Worm >==========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ambrosius                           25 --(5)--> 30                 Pass
Aqua Cutter                         3   Brute   Effects: Fanfare              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Animal                              29 --(4)--> 33                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yarobeleedt                         36 --(3)--> 39                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fenrir                              27 --(5)--> 32                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Neriah Parringer                    28 --(4)--> 32                 Pass
Trusty Shovel                       2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  23 --(8)--> 31                 Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Ambrosius                   85 --(5)--> 90                 Pass
Conditions: Wound(2)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Ambrosius has passed this challenge! The party gained 5 exploration! If anyone needs to use party management
commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Animal has posed.

Everyone working together is able to stay atop the giant worm, but it takes their effective teamwork to keep Josephine from nearly falling off as the massive worm punches through a barrier as it searches for the prey which have vanished from in front of it one and all. In their varying movements however, someone actually manages to alert it to their presence, and like all sandworms since sandworms were sandworms, it punches back into the ground, depositing them before the last challenge they'll likely need to conquer before they have finished the dungeon.

Each member is forced off the back of the worm as it buries itself in the ground. A few moments later, however, they are quick to realize that the worm is coming back and they probably need to hurry, because THE WORM IS COMING BACK!

Animal exclaims, "We meet again!" as he stares at the ground, raising his hands as he decides that this one is probably big enough he can let it swallow him.

DG: Ambrosius has drawn a new Challenge.
==========================<* Doomed to Obscurity *>===========================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Fight the Worm *>=======================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The sandworm reaches the end of its tunnel, and promptly turns, rearing up    
 and the spreading the fan-like tendrils on the sides of its maw. It's a       
 bigger specimen, with crushing coils, mandibles the size of swords, and       
 spittle that can eat through solid rock. You are particularly convenient      
 prey items. Have fun!                                                         
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

'Sorry'? Ambrosius glances back, somewhat confused. Unfortunately, by the time he actually notices, the speaker isn't actually there anymore, having already been pulled away.

Eventually, the worm has had enough of these shenanigans - or perhaps it recognized them as the ones responsible from killing the worm from before. It stops and rears up, hurling the party off it's back. A spray of stone-melting saliva hits the ground around them, the hiss making the danger this creature poses very apparent.

...There's nothing for it. They're too slow to outrun it, so they're just going to have to fight it.

Ambrosius takes a few steps back, putting the rest of the party between him and it. He was, after all, a long distance fighter.

Water swirls around his hand again, but this time, rather than a blade, it comes out as a high-pressure beam, scattering a relaxing mist to the party once more even as it races to try and pierce through the worm.

DG: Ambrosius has used his Tool Deluge toward his party's challenge, Fight the Worm.
<Pose Tracker> Yarobeleedt has posed.

Yarobeleedt doesn't manage to disengage from the sandworm in time, and is thusly pulled into the earth still attached to it. He is still screaming and screeching the entire way. Yarobeleedt is not seen when the worm comes back.

This is because he is hiding everything beyond one arm inside the cocoon and - miraculously - might be accidentally anchoring it where it currently is because it (for the moment) may not be able to smash through the rock hard enough to completely dislodge the mass. This might give the party a fighting chance to line up a killing shot against it!

It is doing absolute murder to the creature within the cocoon who finds themselves continually bludgeoned against hard rock, but they can apologize to the rock later if they're so inclined to really practice their 'saying sorry' skills.

DG: Yarobeleedt has used its Tool Sheet Cocoon toward its party's challenge, Fight the Worm.
<Pose Tracker> Animal has posed.

The worm doesn't seem to want to eat Animal, because that'd throw off its whole fighting method of smashing and spearing the drifters with its sword-like appendages. So when one of those sharp mandibles comes at him, he rips it off, and then a few seconds later, another of the row. Using one in each hand, he barrels into the side of the creature.

Holding his makeshift swords, he flails rather aimlessly, but with great force, against the side of it. "You need to stay dead this time!" he yells, and throws the mandibles aside and starts to just punch the worm repeatedly.

Trying to smash it to pieces.

DG: Animal has used his Tool Vest of the Turtle toward his party's challenge, Fight the Worm.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"They're sandworms," Neriah says with a glance at Fenrir, raising her eyebrows sharply. "You've never seen one before?"

Lunging off the worm's back close to the end of the tunnel, Neriah yanks her bloody shovel free. As she arcs through the air, she slips her pistol into her free hand, the silvery thing glittering as she squeezes off a few shots towards the massive sandworm. Whisps of steam trail behind the gun. But bullets aren't going to be enough against a creature like this, and she knows it.

Touching down with a click of high heels, Neriah slings her pistol again and relegates her blood-stained shovel to her backpack. She turns to face the sandworm, keeping distance between it and herself at first. That odd intensity in her eyes is back as she curls her right-hand fingers into a claw shape, palm-up.

"You're scaring Mr. Garbles," she intones, widening her eyes. Her pupils dilate.

The surge of magic comes again. That sense of concentrated uncleanliness radiates from Neriah like a miasma - and with it comes another surge of unlight. It gutters and eddies around her. The girl tenses visibly, setting her jaw and straining against the pain this causes her. The black energy, vibrating sickeningly against the senses and the spirit, twists and distorts, contracting, welling up in her palm until it takes the shape of a pulsating ball of pure, concentrated darkness. It ripples and fluctuates, as though the sheer power of it were barely under control.

Whatever force is involved, it seems to be eating away Neriah's right glove. It starts from the palm outwards, biting much of it away as though the leather simply rotted and sloughed off. She has no symbols running down her arm, but there seems to be a big one in the palm of her hand. It's hard to make out what it looks like.

It also appears to be bleeding.

Neriah cocks her head to one side, lifting her chin, dilated eyes focused on the worm. She breathes in through slightly parted lips.

And then she snaps her arm back, then forward, like a fastball pitcher. The sphere of concentrated wrongness arcs towards the sandworm. If Neriah aims right, the sphere will vanish through the creature's skin and sink into it.

And then it'll begin to rot the creature away from the inside, like an instant necrosis far more virulent than any plague.

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Fight the Worm.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

Holding on to something way, way larger than you turns out to be difficult when you can really only hold on with one hand. Luckily, Josie doesn't go tumbling off the sandworm alone, possibly to be lost and never heard or seen from again in the depths of the tunnel...

Unluckily, any assistance she receives to get back on board will be fleeting at best; reaching the tunnel terminus (or something like it) it appears the sandworm has realized it's been had and rears up.

Reflexes are better than her grip, it seems; Josie lands in a crouch. Penelope takes the opportunity to basically squirm her way down the back of the archaeologist's coat.

"Well," she says, gazing up at the second sandworm they're about to fight.

It's much much bigger than the first.

"I'm not sure I'm drunk enough for this, actually." Retrieving the flask, she gives it a little swirl then unscrews the cap. The contents are downed in one go. Now empty, it's returned to her pocket.

"There! So, I guess it's us or you, huh? Let's just say I've got a preference, shall we?"

One-handed, she draws the rifle from the sling across her back, taking a quick step back as spittle hits and dissolves the rock below. A problem.

Like an unheard explosion, something foul scratches across the chamber. "Fengalon's teeth," Josie mutters, gritting her teeth as she brings the rifle up, her sights set on the eyes of the worms alone. Blot it out, ignore everything but the target...

She takes a breath. The world slows to a crawl.

Somewhere near the middle of her back, Penelope squirms.

And a crack resounds as Josie pulls the trigger.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Liquid Courage toward her party's challenge, Fight the Worm.
<Pose Tracker> Fenrir has posed.

"I already said I've seen them before. I didn't know the name." A scowl towards Neriah, as Fenrir takes a brief moment of respite aboard the other sandworm...and then it turns around and starts to attack. Fenrir's knocked off of the body, practically underneath it. She can't fight this thing with her fist alone, so when it comes down on her, she takes that moment to shift her arm into a claw, and attempt to rip straight through it fast enough to not be spotted. If she fails to get through it, she's probably outted as being able to shapeshift her arm, as she leaps forward. "Take this, you...'SANDWORM'!" A fist flying for the heavens! The power of fluffy wolf paws!

DG: Fenrir has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Fight the Worm.
==========================<* Doomed to Obscurity *>===========================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Fight the Worm *>=======================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The sandworm reaches the end of its tunnel, and promptly turns, rearing up    
 and the spreading the fan-like tendrils on the sides of its maw. It's a       
 bigger specimen, with crushing coils, mandibles the size of swords, and       
 spittle that can eat through solid rock. You are particularly convenient      
 prey items. Have fun!                                                         
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
=====================<* Doomed to Obscurity - Round 6 *>======================
=========================< Results - Fight the Worm >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ambrosius                           30 --(100)--> 130              Pass
Deluge                              1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Animal                              33 --(100)--> 133              Fail
Vest of the Turtle                  2   Combat  Effects: Stalwart             
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yarobeleedt                         39 --(100)--> 139              Fail
Sheet Cocoon                        1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fenrir                              32 --(100)--> 132              Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Neriah Parringer                    32 --(100)--> 132              Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  31 --(100)--> 131              Fail
Liquid Courage                      3   Combat  Effects: Rally                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Ambrosius                   90 --(10)--> 100               Fail
Conditions: Tire(2)|Wound(1)
Effects: Cleanse|Stalwart(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: Ambrosius is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Animal is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Yarobeleedt is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Fenrir is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Neriah Parringer is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Josephine Lovelace is too exhausted to continue!
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Ambrosius has successfully explored Doomed to Obscurity!
==========================<* Doomed to Obscurity *>===========================
====================<* CHALLENGE - Intriguing Specimens *>====================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The sandworms have brought a strange, subterranean ecosystem into the ruin,   
 including rare fungi with sorcerous or medicinal properties. You've found a   
 large colony of them growing in the detritus the sandworms left behind, and   
 the right buyer would be willing to pay quite a bit to take them off your     
 hands.                                                                        
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

The party fights valiantly, but the thick skin of the sandworm proves to defeat all attempts to combat it. This was not an ordinary beast, after all. Something that has lived this long and grown to this size has only done so because it was capable of surviving everything else that had come up against it.

In the face of a creature such as this, the party may very well be essentially trying to hurl sticks at it.

But then...something happens.

Ambrosius whirls on Neriah as he feels it again - that horrific, foul sensation, the feeling of a power that should not be being invoked, whether intentionally or not.

It launches from her toward the sandworm which goes rigid...then begins writhing madly, slamming into walls as it struggles in vain to fight off the terrible force rotting it away in the inside.

Unfortunately, it's struggles are also making the structure of the area...somewhat unstable.

"...We need to leave...immediately..." Ambrosius urges, darting down one of the side paths that opened up due to the worm's thrashings.

Eventually, he comes to a stop as he notices something. The others may notice it, as well - the fungi growing across the walls of this tunnel are very rare...and very valuable, for what they're capable of.

This trip wasn't a complete loss, at least.

<Pose Tracker> Fenrir has posed.

As the area starts to collapse, Fenrir's strike fails, and she glimpses Neriah's strike, meaning she's not entirely in the right mind to deshift. The sudden wolf-arm is noticeable to all as Fenrir squirms her way out, ignoring the fungi as she tries to start moving to escape. And then she notices her arm near the end, and makes an excuse, glaring at Neriah even more the whole time after what she did.

"I'm a pufferwolf."

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

The sandworm writhes as the dark magic takes its effect upon it. Neriah doesn't move save to cock her head to the other side, her eyes a little wider. It's as if she could somehow impale the sandworm on her pupils.

Finally she lowers her hand, clenching her fingers tightly and slumping back with a slow outrush of breath. "...It shouldn't have done that," she hisses, briefly crumpling to one knee. Her nails dig into her palm; blood seeps between her fingers, leaving an ugly stain on the ground.

As the others begin to scamper off, Neriah looks after them. She can see the way Fenrir looks at her.

It is not a friendly look. So Neriah gives her one back.

The look Fenrir gets is the same one she gave the sandworm. She lifts her chin, cocks her head a little to the left, and widens her eyes a little. A vein in her neck pulses slightly. It's as though she could, if she wanted to, do the same thing to the so-called pufferwolf that she did to the sandworm.

She doesn't. Neriah eventually lowers her eyelids and takes up the rear, stopping to tear a long strip of moss off the wall.

Hopefully it'll finance dinner.

<Pose Tracker> Yarobeleedt has posed.

Yarobeleedt slingshots from the harder segments of the ground in which he was previously trapped, whirling and twirling and otherwise following the rest in a way that doesn't seem completely under his own power. His head rattles underneath the hood that has done an admirable job of staying put and not showing off whatever awful thing lurks underneath it (it's pretty awful).

He doesn't witness the wrong energy directly and yet the whole of him has the heebiest of jeebies, jeebier than usual, so that's a whoooole lot of heebie.

Instinctively, as ^That^ passes, the cloaked figure flattens up against the wall of fungi.

A bunch of them squish and cling to him as he sidles and edges by, making weird nervous noises. This will make some of the people who know exactly what they're looking at cringe.

"...What? Numbers of ^Tiny Roofing^? Can not count. Can only viscount?!" ...Whatever that means. He ponders utilizing his new weapon - he did see Ambrosius' head turn... but wait! If he uses it judiciously, it will lose all power and effect.

Whatever strange power this sound - 'sorry' - has, Yarobeleedt will need to consider its applications going forward. Why, it might give him an edge against the human hordes going forward... he silently fantasizes about all the lengths this 'sorry' might take him towards destroying everything he hates and despises as a decently-sized chunk of loose rock bounces off of his head and brings him back to the sobering reality that he should go.

This scouting mission has proven unconventionally valuable...!

<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

And then--

And then her shot misses her target, impacting somewhere to just lodge with not so much as a twitch from the sandworm. Josie grits her teeth, lining up another shot -- she'll take as many as she can, if that's what it takes -- when again that unholy stomach wrenching feeling rolls through the room.

It's not Malevolence. It's...

She doesn't know what it is, but she can see -- and feel -- it. It's enough to even make an experienced girl like her hesitate a second.

Long enough for that dark power to effectively rend the beast apart from the inside.

Slowly, Josie lowers her ARM. Lets out a low whistle.

Astonished, not impressed. Even she's got her limits.

"Guess that's that..." she murmurs, holstering the weapon. The lump balled up at the small of her back twitches.

"Penelope, get out of there."

And then the foundations, right on cue, shake. She reaches for her flash, only to recall that it's empty. "Oh."

She looks around, searching for something that could be of use here so at least she won't leave here empty-handed. "...Guess sandworms don't collect treasure, huh," she mutters, shaking her head before falling in behind Ambrosius.

Who notes something interesting.

"Oh yeah?" She eyes the structure, as if silently calculating the odds.

"Just one moment here..."

She'll grab and stuff as many as she can into her pockets before getting out of here. Maybe it's not the most airtight storage, but she'll worry about that later. There's bound to be a buyer for less-than-carefully harvested rare fungi.