Difference between revisions of "2020-02-01: One Wild Party"

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Latest revision as of 20:48, 9 February 2020

  • Log: One Wild Party
  • Cast: Marivel Armitage, Emeralda Kasim, Venetia Vuong, Seraph Harmaus, Tio
  • Where: Crimson Castle
  • Date: February 01, 2020
  • Summary: A group arrives at the Crimson Castle (by various means) only to find that a party's on! But a party for monsters is a very particular thing, indeed. Can they survive the Monster Party?

DG: A party led by Marivel Armitage is now entering Crimson Castle - Monster Party.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
=====================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party *>=====================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Gated Content *>========================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Returning to the Crimson Castle, you find Sal, Captain of the Royal Guard,
 looking mighty sheepish as she spots your arrival. The armored mechanical
 doll laughs awkwardly and says, "Um... I know I said you could go in now
 but... You see, I thought I had the key but I didn't and, ah, I locked
 myself out! Actually...we kind of lost the key a while ago... Don't tell
 Queen Marivel, please! Oh and um..."

 She glances around as if expecting SOMEONE to be listening in.

 "Can you let us back in? The gate's stuck... and we're missing the party!"

 Indeed, if you listen carefully you can hear music playing from within the
 Crimson Castle! There IS a party going on and you're missing it! More to the
 point, it's an excellent opportunity to explore the Castle unnoticed.

 And all you have to do is get that gate unstuck. What's with this place and
 gates anyway?

 BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnjQYkApAYw
=Dungeon Conditions: Bad Luck, Exhaust========================================
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel usually teleports to her home rather than taking a walk there because that way she can skip all the problems but this time she is offering her friends (which apparently she considers Venetia to be one of) a tour of the location. And also a pair of AIs?? Well, regardless, there's plenty of other reasons why someone might want to investigate the mysterious castle in the middle of nowhere, but that's one reason why you might be here!

Nevertheless, there is a problem.

Sal of the Royal Guard is moping outside when Marivel arrives. She says, "Oh no.... where did I put it? I'm supposed to be on break... But I can't get back inside because I lost the key!" She hears footsteps. "Ahh!! Please, can you let me back in? The gate's stuck and--please don't tell Dark Queen Mari..."

She turns and blinks at Marivel who is standing before her.

"......" Sal lowers her head for a moment before jogging forward with a wail, "Wahhhh!! I'm sorry! Please forgive meee!!"

Marivel pats Sal on the head as she gives a hapless look to anybody who happens to be nearby.

"How do you keep losinng the key anyway, this is like the 5th time this month..."

DG: Marivel Armitage has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Gated Content.
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda has been to this place before, but she didn't get very far in - that is, she didn't get inside at all, though at least she got to the gate. (She enjoyed meeting Sal.)

Now she's here again! Hurray! And this time with the person who actually owns the place! That should make it pretty easy, right? ...right?

"Don't you have a key?" Emeralda asks Marivel, fairly sensibly. She feels bad for Sal, but she doesn't go looking for the key or anything. Instead, she strolls over toward the keyhole and peeks inside. Yup, it's a keyhole all right.

And then, having investigated it, Emeralda proceeds to jam her entire left thumb inside the keyhole.

There is no way it should fit - thumbs aren't the same size or shape as keys - but she manages to get it all the way in to the last joint without apparent difficulty. Emeralda wiggles it around, twisting her wrist occasionally and leaning her weight against the gate to see if she's hit on the right shape. It's harder than she thought - it's not a matter of just filling the gap, she has to shorten parts of her thumb and narrow or lengthen other parts.

Emeralda's brow furrows in concentration. She wasn't expecting it to be this hard! Maybe this isn't the best way to open locks after all?

DG: Emeralda Kasim has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Gated Content.
<Pose Tracker> Venetia Vuong has posed.

Venetia Vuong is still in her silk dress with the plunging neckline because she paid for this frigging thing and she's going to get her money's worth out of it. She has a duster over it because A. it has a lot of exposed skin and B. it wasn't cheap.

She has been gloomy during the journey in. Maybe her face is just that way, behind the lace mask, which jingles a little. "You lost your key," she tells Sal, with scorn in her voice.

She is about to say more when Emeralda smashes her thumb into the lock *and it goes in*.

Venetia's head turns to look with wonder - and it is genuine wonder - at this motion. Her mouth is hanging slightly open. A fly may buzz in.

DG: Venetia Vuong has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Gated Content.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Harmaus has posed.

    It is often said that into every gathering at a mysterious castle of unknown providence, a scruffy middle-aged (?) man must intrude.

    In this particular case, the individual in question spends a good few minutes regarding the door -- and the individuals before it -- before he approaches the current group.

    "It needs opened?" the mysterious stranger remarks, rubbing at his bearded chin thoughtfull. "And key is all."

    He shakes his head, as if in some sort of sympathy. "Problems and problems, yet. If door needs opened, we provide."

    He palms from within a pocket of his longcoat a vial of... something. Which he downs in an eyeblink, then approaches the door, as if to try and force the matter directly -- assuming Emeralda isn't able to pick the lock, as it were.

    "Best way is through, we find. Break it, fix later."

DG: Seraph Harmaus has used his Tool Titanforce Extract toward his party's challenge, Gated Content.
<Pose Tracker> Tio has posed.

    Tio had been to this island once before, because she had been curious and others indulged her curiousity. She was here the second time by invitation, and was still curious. The matter of the dolls interested her- they were surprisingly complex little machines, and Tio wished to learn more of them. Seeing the inside of the castle might help with that.

    This time, the dolls are apologetic. Tio blinks. "If the key is missing, then we have few options." Tio, too, is surpised at Emeralda just shoving her thumb inside a lock like it's no big deal, because 'try and pick the lock with your thumb' is not one of the options she'd actually had on the table.

    They are then approached by a mysterious old man, and Tio observes him trying to shift the door, and nods. "Please inform me if you get the lock open." Tio asks Emeralda, and then reaches for her Mana Egg.

    "Silver." She intones, and a gust of wind comes from behind the stranger, to provide some extra push for making it through the gate.

DG: Tio has used her Tool Soul Egg toward her party's challenge, Gated Content.
=====================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party *>=====================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Gated Content *>========================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Returning to the Crimson Castle, you find Sal, Captain of the Royal Guard,
 looking mighty sheepish as she spots your arrival. The armored mechanical
 doll laughs awkwardly and says, "Um... I know I said you could go in now
 but... You see, I thought I had the key but I didn't and, ah, I locked
 myself out! Actually...we kind of lost the key a while ago... Don't tell
 Queen Marivel, please! Oh and um..."

 She glances around as if expecting SOMEONE to be listening in.

 "Can you let us back in? The gate's stuck... and we're missing the party!"

 Indeed, if you listen carefully you can hear music playing from within the
 Crimson Castle! There IS a party going on and you're missing it! More to the
 point, it's an excellent opportunity to explore the Castle unnoticed.

 And all you have to do is get that gate unstuck. What's with this place and
 gates anyway?

 BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnjQYkApAYw
=Dungeon Conditions: Bad Luck, Exhaust========================================
================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party - Round 1 *>================
=========================< Results - Gated Content >==========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marivel Armitage                    0 --(15)--> 15                 Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Emeralda Kasim                      0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Venetia Vuong                       0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tio                                 0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Soul Egg                            2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Harmaus                      0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Titanforce Extract                  3   Brute   Effects: Fanfare
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Marivel Armitage            0 --(15)--> 15                 Pass
Conditions: Bad Luck(2)|Exhaust(1)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Marivel Armitage has passed this challenge! The party gained 15 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> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Sal looks towards Venetia and sticks her tongue out at her. Marivel quietly lifts the tongue and slides it back into Sal's mouth.

Marivel looks towards Harmaus for a moment. "Oh hello there. I don't know you. What's your name?" Middle aged. Scruffy. Bearded. Marivel hopes beyond hope that it's a vampire hunter. She hasn't seen any serious ones since she was a kid.

Emeralda shoves her thumb in and with some work there is a faint click--

Before Tio and Harmaus just knock the gate off its hinges with the power of their wind magic and pure force.

The gate tumbles over to one side crashing with a loud clang. Luckily this does not take Emeralda's thumb with it.

"Ahahaha. Yeah, we can fix it later! No worries!" Marivel says as she heads on in, reaching briefly into her pouch with one hand--

--and feels her fingers around something metallic, hard, and definitely a key.

Nobody must know, Marivel decides.

DG: Emeralda Kasim has drawn a new Challenge.
======================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party *>======================
==================<* CHALLENGE - Never Give Up! Tug of War! *>==================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 It seems that a group of Orc Lords have challenged a group of skeletons to a
 game of Tug of War. The first match has already passed and several skeletons
 have fallen apart into strewn about piles of bone. If the Skeleton team
 doesn't get new members, they can't possibly continue!

 One of the skeletons wanders over to your group and waggles their hands
 excitedly! It seems like you are being recruited...!

 You are clearly at a disadvantage since the Skeletons aren't really
 contributing much pull power...but what the skeletons lack in power they
 gain in spirit! Never give up!

 NEVER GIVE UP SKELETON!!

 Can you survive the Monster Party?
=Dungeon Conditions: Collapse, Tire===========================================
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

"What?" Emeralda asks of Venetia, as if she still wasn't trying to pick the lock with a shapechanging thumb.

Eventually she figures out that it's the grooves she ought to be paying attention to on the inside and gets her thumb more or less the right shape, just as Tio adds wind and Harmaus adds muscle.

Fortunately, she pulled her thumb out as the gate tumbled away. It looks perfectly normal. She was clearly not doing anything untoward with it.

"Wow, is that a Etherstone?" Emeralda asks Tio. "I have one of those too, see?" She digs in her pocket and does indeed pull out a shard of crystal; hers is a little less perfectly egg-shaped since it's a leftover from Crescens' Ether Amp, but even less regular there's a certain glitter to the facets.

Emeralda might have shown it off a little more but, alas! She was immediately distracted by ORCS and SKELETONS playing TUG-OF-WAR, because she is about ten and there is a skeleton waving its arms at her.

She waves her arms back. "I'm going to go help," she informs the group, mid-waggle, before she darts off after the skeleton. Emeralda takes up a position at the back of the group, which seems like a really weird place to put a young child pulling against orcs, but Emeralda knows where she belongs.

DG: Emeralda Kasim has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Never Give Up! Tug of War!.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Harmaus has posed.

    The door, with the help of Tio, is soon breached; along with the others entering this place, Harmaus ventures inwards, just beyond the felled gateway.

    Only then does he turn towards Marivel and offer the Crimson Noble a toothy grin. "Our name is Harmaus." He looks her up and down, then gestures towards her. "Its name? Or not have one? Names are tricky, tricky," he observes, rubbing at his bearded chin once again.

    Before the noise from beyond tugs at his attention and he ambles over to take a look, as curious as a cat.

    "Monsters, here. But not hostile? Curious," he remarks, tilting his head as he regards the group of orcs versus skeletons.

    "Do we aid? Or should it takes its course? Weakness is weakness yet; bolstering weakness helps not," he adds, folding his arms over his chest as the skeletons continue to struggle.

    "...But we are curious," he settles for in the end, and that seems to solve the issue, though he doesn't elucidate on what has made him curious. He joins in just behind Emeralda, grabbing at the rope.

    A trace of the extract still is winding through his body; perhaps it might be enough to tip the scales.

DG: Seraph Harmaus has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Never Give Up! Tug of War!.
<Pose Tracker> Venetia Vuong has posed.

Venetia's eyes turn towards Seraph Harmaus for a moment and she has to peer at him because - is he - ? She can't tell. She puts a hand on her hip and Disapproves of Sal, silently, but then the gate is blown off its hinges. And she didn't do it! Plus one for Vuong.

"Not at all," Venetia tells Emeralda. "It's a good trick. Like spinning. Old tradition, there - nobody knows quite where the idea comes from, but it's inspired ARMS meisters and more throughout the centuries." As they advance forwards, Venetia's arms unfold a little bit, her Dudgeon Level visibly reducing.

Then a skeleton comes up and speaks to her. Tries to.

Venetia frowns. This is easy for her. "Well," she states. "I suppose that we all have skeletons, don't we?"

Venetia glances at Harmaus.

Then at Tio.

Finally, to Marivel. Her eyebrows lift as if to say, 'surely...?'

SOON

"I'll cement their phalanges to the floor," Venetia says as she shrugs off her coat and jiggles her way behind the front line of struggling skeletons. "No one will ever know."

"Opus Caementium!"

Having done that, Venetia actually does get in the line and starts pulling, revealing to the astute observer that she has a lot more upper body strength than one might expect; bicep and back definition resolves, muscles moving indeed like the tiny mice that lend them their name as she begins to pull.

DG: Venetia Vuong has used her Tool Stygian Crest Graph toward her party's challenge, Never Give Up! Tug of War!.
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel doesn't seem to notice anything untoward about Emeralda though it might just be that Marivel is accustomed to some drifters having backstories that would be startling if she really thought about it or hadn't seen plenty of people like that in her life. As it stands, Marivel learned to figure out how they wish to be treated before offering commentary.

She answers Venetia though, "Well sometimes." She says. "More or less." She assumes Harmaus is talking to her when she says 'Its name?' because she still is hoping Harmaus is a vampire hunter who should, naturally, use 'it' when referring to vampires. "I'm Marivel Armitage. My whole 'life'."

"Well I'm not about to interfere." Marivel says. "T'wouldn't be sporting to compete against guests...Besides. I believe in Skeleton."

She seems to just dislike manual labor though to be completely honest.

She looks to Harmaus and adds, "In this world, most monsters are aggressive defenders of their territory and won't hesitate to kill, but tis nice to have a place of respite for those that feel...otherwise inclined."

The self-referential plurality is curious but like with Emeralda, she doesn't press on it just yet.

DG: Marivel Armitage has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Never Give Up! Tug of War!.
<Pose Tracker> Tio has posed.

    Brute Force always solves what lock picking had already solved, but it's a matter of timing. As the door pushes inward, Tio drops her spell, before she is introduced to Emeralda's own magic stone. "An etherstone? I have not encountered one before." She brings up the Mana Egg to show to Emeralda. "This is a Mana Egg. It is the device that allows me to use magic." She doesn't expound beyond there, possibly because she can't.

    "What kind of activity is this?" Tio asks aloud, her head tilting as it often does when she sees something she doesn't understand. As people line up on the rope, she watches, and slowly cottons on. "A contest of strength?" She looks at the three helping the skeletons, and pauses. "...It would be more efficient to sap the strength of our opponent. Blue."

    She touches the Mana Egg again, and a pyramid of lightning surrounds the Orc Lords, a quick burst of electricity that weakens the enemy zaps at them.

    Tio does none of this subtly.

DG: Tio has used her Tool Soul Egg toward her party's challenge, Never Give Up! Tug of War!.
======================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party *>======================
==================<* CHALLENGE - Never Give Up! Tug of War! *>==================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 It seems that a group of Orc Lords have challenged a group of skeletons to a
 game of Tug of War. The first match has already passed and several skeletons
 have fallen apart into strewn about piles of bone. If the Skeleton team
 doesn't get new members, they can't possibly continue!

 One of the skeletons wanders over to your group and waggles their hands
 excitedly! It seems like you are being recruited...!

 You are clearly at a disadvantage since the Skeletons aren't really
 contributing much pull power...but what the skeletons lack in power they
 gain in spirit! Never give up!

 NEVER GIVE UP SKELETON!!

 Can you survive the Monster Party?
=Dungeon Conditions: Collapse, Tire===========================================
=================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party - Round 2 *>=================
====================< Results - Never Give Up! Tug of War! >====================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marivel Armitage                    15 --(8)--> 23                 Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Emeralda Kasim                      0 --(3)--> 3                   Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Venetia Vuong                       0 --(3)--> 3                   Pass
Stygian Crest Graph                 3   Brute   Effects: Fanfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tio                                 0 --(8)--> 8                   Fail
Soul Egg                            2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Harmaus                      0 --(8)--> 8                   Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Marivel Armitage            15 --(15)--> 30                Pass
Conditions: Bad Luck(1)|Collapse|Tire(2)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Marivel Armitage has passed this challenge! The party gained 15 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> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

"Spinning? Like..." Emeralda does a little pirouette on her way to the rope.

She keeps chattering to Tio as she picks up the rope, "That's neat! I'd like to look at it sometime. My Etherstone is just helpful, it isn't how I use sorcery really. And it's a game! You try to pull the other team more than they pull you. It's fun! Haven't you ever played it before? You should definitely try it - no, don't cast spells, that's..."

Is it cheating in a monster game? Emeralda has to think about that. "...well, maybe it's not."

So it turns out that Emeralda may be small, but she is also a lot heavier than she looks and is doing something to make her feet dig into the ground a bit better, though it's hard to see what. She's surprisingly hard to pull when she doesn't want to move. Unfortunately she keeps getting into Harmaus' way, and not on purpose - she is *just* the right height to be a pest. "Sorry!!"

Venetia is a lot stronger than Emeralda thought, too. She is impressed. In her experience, anyone in a dress that fancy isn't going to wreck it playing games. She's glad she's found one who is!

And Marivel... well, Marivel doesn't help. Emeralda's opinion decreases slightly. You should definitely play games when they are around!

Regardless, though it's a competition - a surprisingly hard one! - the party (plus skeletons) eventually tug the orcs over the line, causing Emeralda to cheer and also to flex rather dramatically (which does nothing, she does not exactly have much in the way of visible muscle tone).

DG: Seraph Harmaus has drawn a new Challenge.
======================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party *>======================
======================<* CHALLENGE - A Head For Bowling *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 You come upon a small bowling alley within the castle. A small team of
 Dullahan are throwing their heads down the lanes towards the pins expertly.
 This might explain a few things about Kamui, honestly.

 Once they become aware of your presence, they seem excited to see you,
 performing elaborate physical gestures to express themselves rather than
 relying on their disembodied heads. After some expressive gesturing, you get
 the feeling they want you to join their game and offer their heads so you
 have a 'ball' to strike those pins with!

 Can you survive the Monster Party?
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire, Reckless===========================================
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Harmaus has posed.

    "'Marivel Armitage'," Harmaus says, as if trying out the sound -- or taste? -- of the words. "Marivel Armitage. Yes, now we understand. A mystery of a mystery, yet." He regards her carefully, as if committing her appearance to memory, somehow. "A deep red mystery." His smile broadens. "Yah, well. We will know." With that he parts from her side and ventures inwards, beckoned hither by the shenanigans from further in the castle.

    Does Harmaus have a skeleton? Or if he doesn't, is that what he wants to confirm?

    He does not clarify what is meant.

    Instead, he simply takes his space behind the Emeralda, which unfortunately puts him in a sort of striking distance when she bumps right into him. Staggering back, he lands hard on the floor, the rope escaping his grasp.

    Still, he rises to his feet and dusts himself off easily enough once the game is done, his attention instead drawn hither by the skeletons themselves. He claps a gloved hand onto one of their shoulders and almost curiously proceeds to manipulate an arm, inspecting the length of it...

    Before -- unless he's shrugged off first -- releasing his grip and wandering off again with a self-satisfied nod.

    A rattling rolling sound can be found at a distance. The source soon becomes clear enough--

    Dullahans.
    Playing bowling.

    A sort of mix of hand signals, some sort of Dullahan sign language and pantomime follows.

    Harmaus, utterly blase through the whole exchange, simply stands there through the whole proceedings, nodding and interjecting occasionally.

    "They ask that us play. Others also play, yes? Roll balls," he interjects himself here as he hefts a 'head' for emphasis, "and knock down pins. Easy, easy."

    He approaches the alley and lifts the head. Suddenly from the fingers of his left hand there dangles a bell. "Shh, shh. It quiets now. Be easy," he informs the head, before rolling it down the lane without further ado.

DG: Seraph Harmaus has used his Tool Amulet Bell toward his party's challenge, A Head For Bowling.
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel's suspicion that Harmaus is probably something weirder than a vampire hunter grows but maybe he just has a 'Foreign Accent'. Vampires Hunters often come from somewhere 'abroad', she recalls, from all the stories. She can't complain either. Being called a mystery of a mystery is pretty much the aesthetic she is always going for. She remains oblivious that she has lost some social link bonuses with Emeralda for not participating in A GAME but such is the sacrifice you make when you have an IMAGE TO MAINTAIN.

Still, Harmaus has intrigued her for the moment, resulting in a brief cocked head as she studies him--

--but ultimately the next 'challenge' arrives. She takes a head carefully balancing it in her hands before pausing and asking the head,

"Am I gripping too hard?"

The Dullahan's body gives a thumbsup so Marivel shrugs both shoulders and throws the head down the lane.

DG: Marivel Armitage has used her Tool My Mike toward her party's challenge, A Head For Bowling.
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

...

"I don't know if I can play this game," Emeralda says, thoughtfully, as she looks at it. Does her head come off? Realistically the answer is 'probably yes', given she has made herself flow into a liquid and even break apart further than that, once or twice. There's no reason why the part of her that she uses as a head is more important than anything else.

But it *feels* wrong. Just thinking about it gives her the shivers. It just feels absolutely like something she doesn't want to do.

Fortunately, it doesn't look like she's going to have to! They're giving her a head. How generous of them. "Is this really okay?" Emeralda asks, passing the head side to side as she looks at Harmaus, then Marivel. Well, if she's doing it, it must be fine.

Emeralda decides to cheat a little, though - she makes sure the head is well-padded with a sudden aura of wind around it. It also makes the striking zone a little bigger, but that didn't occur to her - she's not trying to cheat, it just sort of happened.

She's not sure her parents are going to believe her when she explains this game to them.

DG: Emeralda Kasim has used her Tool Large Etherstone toward her party's challenge, A Head For Bowling.
<Pose Tracker> Venetia Vuong has posed.

"Yes," Venetia confirms to Emeralda. "Adds different vectors to the force, what."

What? What?

Either way, the tug of war is completed. Venetia is sweating buckets, and the mask is probably proving itself worth while because it is concealing any makeup damage that is thus inflicted. Hey-y-y, does she have makeup on at all?! (Not that she somehow needs to, of course, but it'd go with the dress.) Forwards, they go, and then they are faced with something worse than Gears and fighting.

Bowling.

"With whose - oh," Venetia says, relieved momentarily to see that they are being provided with heads. "You understand their gestures?"

SOON

"Hyah!" Venetia says as she stabs her fingers into the face of a dullahan. The Eagle's Claw!!!

She pivots round and hurls the skull down the alleyway. "haahhh--"

Wait, she's supposed to roll it, right? Not just throw it?

They don't have this game where she's from, it seems.

DG: Venetia Vuong has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Head For Bowling.
======================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party *>======================
======================<* CHALLENGE - A Head For Bowling *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 You come upon a small bowling alley within the castle. A small team of
 Dullahan are throwing their heads down the lanes towards the pins expertly.
 This might explain a few things about Kamui, honestly.

 Once they become aware of your presence, they seem excited to see you,
 performing elaborate physical gestures to express themselves rather than
 relying on their disembodied heads. After some expressive gesturing, you get
 the feeling they want you to join their game and offer their heads so you
 have a 'ball' to strike those pins with!

 Can you survive the Monster Party?
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire, Reckless===========================================
<Pose Tracker> Tio has posed.

    Perhaps the triumph of Emeralda through hard work when cheating has failed should be a lesson. On the other hand, Venetia also cemented a bunch of Skeletons to the ground, so...

    As the group moves forward, Tio finally remembers something. Harmaus had introduced himself, after all. "My apologies. I am Tio." Sure, he may not care, but it's good to not be rude.

    Another game awaits, and Tio once again looks bewildered. She was evidently not programmed for fun. "I am also unable to remove my head." She follows on from Emeralda. "That is Sister's ability." There's a pause. "I wonder if I should have such a function added."

    A head is offered to her, and Tio blinks. The dullahan points down the alley and Tio tilts her head. Then she gets it. "I see." She walks over to the line. There is a light glitter from the shoes she's wearing, and she backs up a bit.

    And then she moves towards the line at high speed, hoping that extra momentum makes up for her lack of strength, as she tries to roll the head down the alley.

DG: Tio has used her Tool Glass Slippers toward her party's challenge, A Head For Bowling.
======================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party *>======================
======================<* CHALLENGE - A Head For Bowling *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 You come upon a small bowling alley within the castle. A small team of
 Dullahan are throwing their heads down the lanes towards the pins expertly.
 This might explain a few things about Kamui, honestly.

 Once they become aware of your presence, they seem excited to see you,
 performing elaborate physical gestures to express themselves rather than
 relying on their disembodied heads. After some expressive gesturing, you get
 the feeling they want you to join their game and offer their heads so you
 have a 'ball' to strike those pins with!

 Can you survive the Monster Party?
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire, Reckless===========================================
=================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party - Round 3 *>=================
========================< Results - A Head For Bowling >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marivel Armitage                    23 --(3)--> 26                 Pass
My Mike                             4   Combat  Effects: Efficient and Fanfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Emeralda Kasim                      3 --(3)--> 6                   Pass
Large Etherstone                    2   Combat  Effects: Embolden
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Venetia Vuong                       3 --(3)--> 6                   Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tio                                 8 --(3)--> 11                  Pass
Glass Slippers                      3   Combat  Effects: Rally
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Harmaus                      8 --(3)--> 11                  Pass
Amulet Bell                         2   Combat  Effects: Embolden
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Marivel Armitage            30 --(20)--> 50                Pass
Conditions: Collapse|Reckless(2)|Tire(2)
Effects: Embolden(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Marivel Armitage 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.
DG: Tio has drawn a new Challenge.
======================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party *>======================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Storyteller *>==========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 You come upon a shrouded woman, a pair of red eyes peering out from behind
 cloth. The woman raises a hand towards you and the sleeve peels back,
 revealing a skeletal limb.

 "Could I interest you...in a Get Lich Quick scream?" The woman then chuckles
 and says, "No, no, I kid, I kid! Just a little undead humor." She tilts her
 head and her red eyes narrow in thought. "Say... haven't I heard about you
 somewhere before? Hm hm.... Yes, I do believe I've heard a thing or two
 about one or two of you."

 Her other hand, this one composed of cold flesh, lifts up a cigarette holder
 to her lips, slipping the end between the clothes covering her face, and
 takes a long draw before blowing out a perfect circle of smoke.

 "Call me Belle. When you have lived as long as I have you learn to develop
 some habits. I, for instance, collect stories. Could you tell me the tale of
 how you defeated Mother? I heard it was quite the adventure. Or perhaps you
 have some other story you'd like to tell."

 If you DIDN'T help defeat Mother you might need to go with that second
 option but Belle seems to have heard many stories--so you'll have to get
 creative if you wish to impress her!

 Can you survive the Monster Party?
=Dungeon Conditions: Fright, Wound============================================
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Harmaus has posed.

    "It named 'Tio'? Another mystery, yet," Harmaus remarks, eying her more carefully as well. "Well done, venturing this place. We asks it then, is it alive? It seems breathes not."

    ...Rude.

    One after another, the heads are sent rolling down the lanes.

    Of particular note:

    * Harmaus' head does indeed seem somewhat... pacified, as it rolls along.
    * Marivel gets an easy strike.
    * Emeralda's sails along gently, well-padded by the current of wind coiling over it.
    * Venetia's head sort of slams into the alley -- its body winces and clutches at where the head should be on its neck -- but it rolls along well enough and strikes the pins dead-on.
    * And Tio's? Tio gets just enough momentum running that it easily sails down the lane and strikes the pins at the far end with a crash.

    The Dullahan proceed to lose their collective... minds?
    Technically speaking, that's not incorrect but it would be more accurate given current anatomical features to say that they hand out high-fives and -- unless evaded -- crushing hugs. Moving along is advised!

<Pose Tracker> Tio has posed.

    Harmaus asks the question, and gets a straight forward answer. "No. I am a combat automaton." She doesn't mince words. "I do not require oxygen to function." Tio sure doesn't seem offended, though she might earn a disapproving look.

    "There is someone up ahead." Tio says, as her antennae illuminate briefly. She walks towards the figure, only for them to raise their hand. A hand that turns out to be skeletal, as the old woman turns towards them.

     "Could I interest you...in a Get Lich Quick scream?" The woman then chuckles

<Pose Tracker> Tio has posed.

    Harmaus asks the question, and gets a straight forward answer. "No. I am a combat automaton." She doesn't mince words. "I do not require oxygen to function." Tio sure doesn't seem offended, though she might earn a disapproving look.

    "There is someone up ahead." Tio says, as her antennae illuminate briefly. She walks towards the figure, only for them to raise their hand. A hand that turns out to be skeletal, as the old woman turns towards them.

     "Could I interest you...in a Get Lich Quick scream?" The woman then chuckles and says, "No, no, I kid, I kid! Just a little undead humor."

    Tio steps back, slightly alarmed, as red eyes look upon the group. The woman's other hand, still coated in flesh, comes up with a cigarette holder, with the cigarette already lit. She takes a drag, then blows out a perfect circle of smoke.

    "Call me Belle. When you have lived as long as I have you learn to develop some habits. I, for instance, collect stories." She takes another drag. "Surely a group such as yours would have some thrilling tale of combat to tell. A battle with beings beyond mortal ken, perhaps? I would so like to hear something new."

    Tio seems to take a moment to respond. "I do not have any stories. I have not seen battle yet, and there is nothing in my memory bank." She looks down at her feet, still adorned in the glass slippers, and kicks the earth, "I am sorry. I do not believe I will be of much use."

DG: Tio has used her Tool Glass Slippers toward her party's challenge, Storyteller.
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda Kasim accepts a Dullahan hug. She gets slightly squashed, but that's okay, she'll live.

Once she's extricated herself from their grasp, she catches up with the group. She's a little bit behind and she missed part of the request - and the joke at the beginning - but she gets the gist of it from what she *did* hear, at least. She doesn't seem particularly taken aback by the weird looks of the woman; that's pretty normal for a haunted house and she's already dealt with skeletons and dullahans.

But Emeralda, who absorbs stories like a sponge absorbs water... is momentarily lost when asked to tell a story. She doesn't know what to say.

"Um," she says, before hesitating for about twenty seconds.

Then: "When I went to the Moon we fought a bunch of moon monsters, does that count? Also once I helped break up some bandits! They had gunsmoke ARMs but they also had a machine that shot sports balls and I caught one, wham! ...Why don't we have Blitzball here, anyway? I kinda want to blitz."

Emeralda pauses again. Then: "If you really want a story I bought a book," she adds, pulling out a well-worn copy of A Drifter in the Wastes (vol. 7), a dime store serial that looks like it has seen better days. "Should I read it?"

Because she totally will.

DG: Emeralda Kasim has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Storyteller.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Harmaus has posed.

    "Automaton," Harmaus repeats, as if the word is new to him. He tilts his head to one side and regards her curiously. "If it not breathes, then what requires it? Living, not cheap. Not for most!" he declares, before emitting a bark of a laugh. "It learns me more about 'Automaton'. Unfamiliar with it," he concludes, before Tio states that there is something up ahead.

    A person waits for them, then asks for a story.

    "Many stories we has," Harmaus begins.

    Before Belle clarifies that she wants stories of battle. Harmaus folds his arms over his chest and sucks at his teeth.

    "Stories of battle wants it," he muses. "Stories of battle, eh... We has not our own to tell. Not now. But we has another's."

    An amused smile winds its way onto his lips as he starts.

    "Once, a great knight was. Ah, nation, people, matters it not." He waves his hand dismissively. "Not the important part. No, no. It listens yet! Knight hero to people, it wins much battles. Greater and greater the nation, on back of knight."

    Harmaus folds his arms over his chest.

    "But knight has secret. Deep, dark, painful. Knight responsible for the death of father. Deliberate. For power, status. Ah, when secret comes out, knight disgraced. Banished. Then all." Harmaus claps his hands together at the end, the bell that has found its way into his grasp again tinkling almost merrily.

    "Nation declines. Nation loses. Battle after battle. Nation little, then nation all," the strange man finishes. "Because knight lose its battle with truth. This is story of truth, stronger than swords."

DG: Seraph Harmaus has used his Tool Amulet Bell toward his party's challenge, Storyteller.
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda missed some things when she was catching up.

"You're a ... combat automaton?" Emeralda doesn't *think* she's heard the word before but it seems familiar anyway. Something pulls at her - oh, now she remembers it, she thinks.

"...can I talk to you? Um, after this," Emeralda says to Tio, sounding a little awkward about it. "Oh, and I'm Emeralda! But we definitely should. Definitely definitely."

<Pose Tracker> Venetia Vuong has posed.

Venetia accepts a skeletal hug.

She's pretty squishy compared to a skeleton.

"That hurt," Venetia says. She gives Tio a passingly incredulous look. And then as they move along, she winces visibly at the noise of that PUN coming from the elderly - borderline skeletal woman - and by the time she has recovered, they are being challenged for a story. Venetia grunts, and composes her thoughts.


"Well," Venetia says, "I was on a journey in a Gear with a fellow from my school in order to find the facts that we need in order to keep our school in business, when a great dragon came in and ripped the canopy of the Gear STRAIGHT OFF."

"He screamed; I was cruel to make him do this, but I had no idea that this would happen," Venetia stated. "I took over for him, because we had rented the Gear, and though it was cold - I still feel like I am up there, on that mountain, even now, a tiny little bit - I knew that if we turned back, it would all be for nothing. We were fortunate - our guards helped us - saved that man from further harm."

"But if you want to know the entire account," Venetia says, "You'll have to read the full version in the Journal of Mineralogy. Do you have a subscription?"

DG: Venetia Vuong has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Storyteller.
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

"Well breathing is a complicated question." Marivel quips. She hifives a dullahan and gets a crushing hug which Marivel deftly slides out of the way of by offering a shoulder pat instead since NOT IN FRONT OF THE VAMPIRE HUNTER.

"Hey Belle," Marivel says, waving a hand. "Have you met Lunata yet?"

"Indeed I have, young noble." Belle says.

Marivel grimaces a little and then says, "Anyway storis. Hmm. I don't know if I'm feeling it exactly..." She taps her cheek with an index finger thoughtfully. "Mmm...." Tap tap.

"Well how about this." Marivel's eyes close. "...Althena has four new champions. And she sent them out to do battle on her behalf. Between them, I have seen a great deal of cruelty, destruction, and bloodshed. A people, rapidly growing subjugated by their will, yes, but more terrifyingly their ignorance. And yet here they are on Filgaia, hands soaked in blood as they are."

"But one day, Althena's chosen learned the truth. And though they turned their gaze aside they could not avoid its glare forever."

"And then what happened? Well, we can only see the history to come, not decide how it is read.

Belle is quiet for a moment. "That is more a threat than a tale."

Marivel looks briefly to Harmaus and then adds to Belle. "Well, the truth tis stronger than swords."

DG: Marivel Armitage has used her Tool My Mike toward her party's challenge, Storyteller.
======================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party *>======================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Storyteller *>==========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 You come upon a shrouded woman, a pair of red eyes peering out from behind
 cloth. The woman raises a hand towards you and the sleeve peels back,
 revealing a skeletal limb.

 "Could I interest you...in a Get Lich Quick scream?" The woman then chuckles
 and says, "No, no, I kid, I kid! Just a little undead humor." She tilts her
 head and her red eyes narrow in thought. "Say... haven't I heard about you
 somewhere before? Hm hm.... Yes, I do believe I've heard a thing or two
 about one or two of you."

 Her other hand, this one composed of cold flesh, lifts up a cigarette holder
 to her lips, slipping the end between the clothes covering her face, and
 takes a long draw before blowing out a perfect circle of smoke.

 "Call me Belle. When you have lived as long as I have you learn to develop
 some habits. I, for instance, collect stories. Could you tell me the tale of
 how you defeated Mother? I heard it was quite the adventure. Or perhaps you
 have some other story you'd like to tell."

 If you DIDN'T help defeat Mother you might need to go with that second
 option but Belle seems to have heard many stories--so you'll have to get
 creative if you wish to impress her!

 Can you survive the Monster Party?
=Dungeon Conditions: Fright, Wound============================================
=================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party - Round 4 *>=================
===========================< Results - Storyteller >============================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marivel Armitage                    26 --(3)--> 29                 Pass
My Mike                             4   Combat  Effects: Efficient and Fanfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Emeralda Kasim                      6 --(8)--> 14                  Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Venetia Vuong                       6 --(8)--> 14                  Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tio                                 11 --(3)--> 14                 Pass
Glass Slippers                      3   Combat  Effects: Rally
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Harmaus                      11 --(3)--> 14                 Pass
Amulet Bell                         2   Combat  Effects: Embolden
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Marivel Armitage            50 --(20)--> 70                Pass
Conditions: Collapse|Fright(2)|Reckless(1)|Tire(1)|Wound(2)
Effects: Embolden(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Marivel Armitage 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.
DG: Marivel Armitage has drawn a new Challenge.
=====================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party *>=====================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Setting Tables *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 You find a small group of Aqualeapers gathered around a long table with a
 vibrantly colored tablecloth around it, several pitchers of assorted drinks,
 and many empty glasses and sippy cups. They see you approach and begin
 chattering rapidly in your direction.

 "Ribbit! Finally some decent help!"
 "Ribbit! There's no reason to be hopping mad!"
 "Ribbit! Don't make frog jokes, have some self respect, Carl."

 They explain rapidly that the Gobs can't stand sitting next to the banshees
 and the banshees will start screeching the whole time if they sit next to
 the skeletons. The skeletons, meanwhile, can sit anywhere but if you put two
 skeletons together they might get their bones mixed up and that takes
 forever to clear up. The super slick aqualeapers can sit with anyone and so
 on and so forth.

 They give you a list of who is who and who they can stand sitting with and
 what they can stand drinking and it's up to you to properly set this table
 and maintain peace in the Crimson Castle!

 Can you survive the Monster Party?
=Dungeon Conditions: Bad Luck, Tire===========================================
<Pose Tracker> Tio has posed.

    Tio blinks at Emeralda, and nods. "Understood. I would be glad to speak with you, Emeralda." She gives a nod of assent.

    Belle listens to the stories offered, and strokes her chin with her skeletal hand. "You've given me seeds of stories, little one, but not a tale in and of itself. And I must confess I am already familiar with the book you offer me." Aww.

    Venetia's story, too, is met with an impassive face. "I shan't need a subscription to a publication with so little to offer me. A nice attempt."

    Harmaus, however, gets a smile and a nod. "An old story, it seems, but no less interesting. I thank you." She gives a nod to the middle-aged(?) man, and takes another drag on her cigarette.

    "And your threat is interesting one, young noble. I should be interested to see how it plays out. You all may pass. I hope you have more stories for me next time."

    Tio shuffles along quietly. Should she have more stories, by now?

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

"Hate it when she calls me that," Marivel grumps under her breath.

The group eventually finds itself near a small group of Aqualeapers that are gathered around a long table--it seems they are celebrating a party...within a party, perhaps? Or they are just adding another table for some festive dinners.

"Ribbit! Finally! Some decent help!"
"Ribbit! There's noreason to be hopping mad!"
"Ribbit! Don't make frog jokes, have some self respect, Carl."

They begin their ridiculous explanation of how they need to set up the table so there isn't drama.

Marivel cups her chin thoughtfully and then says, "Well..."

She smiles dangerously.

"Maybe a little bit of conflict between these creatures is a good way f or them to become friends.. GA hA hA HA HA hA!"

Thunder crackles behind her as she starts intentionally arranging the table for maximum conflict Oh no!!!

DG: Marivel Armitage has used her Tool Wisdom of the Crimson Nobles by M. Armitage toward her party's challenge, Setting
Tables.
<Pose Tracker> Venetia Vuong has posed.

'so little to offer me'
'so little to offer me'
'so little to offer me'

Venetia looks shellshocked for a moment as they move on. She may have to be steered a little - liable to bump inadvertently into Emeralda, a little bit, as she isn't looking down. The Aqualeapers speak to them, and as they speak, Venetia's face slowly falls... into...

a certain... pattern
behind the mask
rests

"SO LITTLE TO OFFER HER???"

A devil

Venetia's eyes blaze as she snaps open her portable copy of her great-uncle's textbook, with its attached grease pencil. "Right," Venetia growls. "Yes," she thunders. "Hnh," she glaciers as the rules are laid out.

She scribbles in her book.

"I would bring all of our dear guests," Venetia grates with the fury of a thousand years, "to the attention that we are doing our level best, despite rudeness and calumny, to satisfy you. But in the immortal words we speak in the streets of Void Forty-One, "don't start none, won't be none." If any of you find, despite these heroic efforts to suit your needs, that you're in a place that makes you unhappy, just speak up."

Venetia's head raises, eyes still ablaze. "And I'll take you out myself."

She points the pencil at Harmaus, abruptly, and Tio. "Both of you," she says in a low tone, like silk threatening an earthquake. "You agree, don't you, that economic studies of stones and minerals have a great deal to offer all segments of society."

DG: Venetia Vuong has used her Tool Anterior Vuong's Guide to Economic Stone toward her party's challenge, Setting
Tables.
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

"Aw..." Emeralda is not good at telling stories, and she feels like she might be able to do a better job with some setup. But she's keeping the book.

She gives Tio another one of those smiles before she rushes ahead, as she is prone to. At least *someone* could keep the old lady happy. (Emeralda can identify an old lady even if she's a zombie skeleton.) But perhaps it's not a surprise that the old man can do it?

Sorry, Harmaus. You're old now.

And she rushes right into an ETIQUETTE DISASTER! Now, Emeralda does not have very good table manners unless she's really trying, but she's at least alert to putting friends near each other, because why else would you come to a big table like this? If you just want the food you could take it and leave.

"What? Nooo you can't! Those skeletons will get all tangled up! You need to let them sit with friends!" Emeralda chases after Marivel, but she isn't nearly as fast about it; she has to keep checking where she's moving people behind Marivel's disaster set, though 'somewhere Marivel didn't put them' seems to be a reliable starting place.

"What's a Void 41, anyway?" Emeralda asks, while she's busily carting a pair of plates around. She doesn't have to answer the question about rocks, so she doesn't.

(It's for the best. Most rocks are pretty boring as far as Emeralda is concerned.)

DG: Emeralda Kasim has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Setting Tables.
<Pose Tracker> Tio has posed.

    A table setting problem. That's fine, that's simple logic. Tio can do logic. Her antennae light up as she analyses the table. "From my calculations, I believe that optimum seating should be-"

    Oh, nope, Marivel's going for maximum chaos.

    "Perhaps we should not cause a fight here?" Tio asks, a little plaintively.

    And then Venetia suddenly asks a strangely terrifying question. She blinks. "I see no reason why such material would not serve a purpose."

    That may not help.

    Still, Emeralda might have the right idea, and undoing Marivel's Chaos might be the best use of her time. So Tio starts running down the other side of the table, arranging as best as she can.

DG: Tio has used her Tool Sensor Antennae toward her party's challenge, Setting Tables.
<Pose Tracker> Venetia Vuong has posed.

Emeralda is classified in Venetia's view as a CHILD, and has not been sufficiently IMPERTINENT to become UNWELCOME. As such, Venetia's words are not red when she answers Emeralda. "Oh! That's my home town. We call them voids because we build in the spaces left behind after we take out the valuable stones and ores et cetera."

"Some of them get fancy names, like Galad Gardens or Plutopia," Venetia says, with a curious sort of furious delight.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Harmaus has posed.

    To be fair, Harmaus is coming up on his 776th 'birthday' so some level of 'old man' does apply at this point.
    ...Seraphs.

    In the meantime, Harmaus gives Belle what might be reasonably said to be a somewhat saucy tip of his nonexistant hat... before heading onwards through the castle, his attention rapt as they all proceed. He seems to be drinking it all in, nearly, perhaps almost memorizing this place's layout.

    Until they find themselves faced with the troubles of a party within a party (possibly).

    Specifically, it seems some of these creatures can't stand being near enough to others of varying breeds and kinds, and so these froglike monsters are in a tizzy.

    Harmaus strokes his beard thoughtfully. "Cannot be sat near to another, yes? Or there is trouble? Hmmm," he muses, a distant thoughtful look in his eyes. "It tries a set up like this," he suggests, and anyone who takes a look at his suggestion will see that he's aiming for maximal conflict... as well?

    Though he may not get terrible far for he is soon accosted by Venetia.

    "Stone and minerals study? We cares not. Stone and minerals of little concern. They do not speak," he affirms, shaking his head and making a (possibly ill-fated) attempt to continue to make seating arrangements.

DG: Seraph Harmaus has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Setting Tables.
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda Kasim thinks about that for a moment. "You live underground?" she says after a few moments. Delighted: "That's really cool! I live above ground mostly but exploring caves is fun."

Caves are not rocks so they can be cool.

=====================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party *>=====================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Setting Tables *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 You find a small group of Aqualeapers gathered around a long table with a
 vibrantly colored tablecloth around it, several pitchers of assorted drinks,
 and many empty glasses and sippy cups. They see you approach and begin
 chattering rapidly in your direction.

 "Ribbit! Finally some decent help!"
 "Ribbit! There's no reason to be hopping mad!"
 "Ribbit! Don't make frog jokes, have some self respect, Carl."

 They explain rapidly that the Gobs can't stand sitting next to the banshees
 and the banshees will start screeching the whole time if they sit next to
 the skeletons. The skeletons, meanwhile, can sit anywhere but if you put two
 skeletons together they might get their bones mixed up and that takes
 forever to clear up. The super slick aqualeapers can sit with anyone and so
 on and so forth.

 They give you a list of who is who and who they can stand sitting with and
 what they can stand drinking and it's up to you to properly set this table
 and maintain peace in the Crimson Castle!

 Can you survive the Monster Party?
=Dungeon Conditions: Bad Luck, Tire===========================================
================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party - Round 5 *>================
=========================< Results - Setting Tables >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marivel Armitage                    29 --(3)--> 32                 Pass
Wisdom of the Crimson Nobles by M.  3   Wits    Effects: Fanfare
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Emeralda Kasim                      14 --(3)--> 17                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Venetia Vuong                       14 --(3)--> 17                 Pass
Anterior Vuong's Guide to Economic  2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tio                                 14 --(3)--> 17                 Pass
Sensor Antennae                     2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Harmaus                      14 --(3)--> 17                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Marivel Armitage            70 --(15)--> 85                Pass
Conditions: Bad Luck(2)|Collapse|Fright(1)|Tire(2)|Wound(1)
Effects: Enlighten(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Marivel Armitage has passed this challenge! The party gained 15 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.
DG: Marivel Armitage has drawn a new Challenge.
=====================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party *>=====================
=========<* CHALLENGE - The Party Never Ends Never Ends Never Ends *>=========
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 3          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 You would think that the party would have ended by now - but it hasn't!
 Indeed it seems as though it is rolling along. The partygoers are just as
 friendly as ever. They keep inviting the group to events. Or party games. Or
 overlong conversations.

 Even the most inveterate extrovert is going to have to say 'enough.' You're
 going to have to find a way out if you don't want to be stuck here all
 night... perhaps forever.

 Over there, quickly-- you can see a gap between a hairy lycanthrope and a
 towering man with a widow's peak complaining about "his" (something
 something) "twist?" In the other direction you see more monsters coming
 towards you, unidentifiable drinks and snacks in paw and hopeful
 expressions. You've been a hit tonight.

 But now it's time to GET THE H*CK OUT! (Please excuse this harsh language.)

 Can you escape the Monster Party?
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel laughs, "Sorry, Veni, Belle is particular about her tales and nearly as prideful as I." She marvels with joy upon seeing Venetia's ENRAGED Donald Duck state, eyes sparkling with excitement. She doesn't seem to be someone who quickly forgets her fury either, judging from her own 'story', but she has never been one to discount the positives of rage.

But soon enough, Marivel is cackling EVEN MORE as she crafts her SOCIAL DISASTER. And to make matters worse, a 776 year old Seraph is ALSO trying to aim for maximal conflict too! If it was just Marivel trying to create problems, it might not be so bad! But with Harmaus assisting, that's 2 against 3 and well, Venetia's plan here is to just scare everybody into submission.

It actually works considerably.

Meanwhile the two ancient robot children, full of good intentions, try to fix everything by undoing the maximum conflict. This conflicting goal here results not in maximum joy, or maximum conflict, but rather... maximum CHAOS.

The table area rapidly becomes clogged with a large variety of monsters, most of whom are unsure of where they are to go and what they should do. There doesn't seem to be many FIGHTS but that's largely because nobody is really sure WHERE they are supposed to sit. Monsters try to switch seats or get accucsed of being in the wrong seat and it's only getting wilder and wilder.

And to make matters worse, when things get to be their worst...

Marivel POUFS and turns into a bat and floats into the air.

"Gwa ha ha ha ha!! In the absence of harmony, there shall be glorious chaos! Face the terror of uncertainty and social ambiguity...!! Gwa ha ha ha HAAA!!"

She flaps her wings and flees.

DG: Marivel Armitage has used her Tool Tomato Juice For Grownups toward her party's challenge, The Party Never Ends
Never Ends Never Ends.
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda is trying to help, really she is. But she doesn't have the first bit of experience with getting people sat correctly, she isn't as good at moving things around as Marivel (who, after all, does not have to care if she's got it right) and, if we're being honest, Emeralda is a little iffy on remembering a couple of the rules and has consistently mixed up whether banshees can sit next to werewolves or not.

(They cannot. The results would be hair-raising and nobody wants to see that.)

The net result: confusion and madness! Emeralda tries to fix things for a few minutes before realizing that whatever she can do to help isn't enough to undo all this chaos single-handedly, especially with the monsters continue to wander around and get in everyone's way, including each other's.

And so Emeralda engages Plan B: load up a plate with as many snacks and/or desserts as she can reach, hold it over her head, and run off at top speed to hide out of sight and eat chocolate while Fei and Elly aren't around to tell her one is enough.

DG: Emeralda Kasim has used her Tool H&S Badge toward her party's challenge, The Party Never Ends Never Ends Never Ends.
<Pose Tracker> Tio has posed.

    Oh no, maximum chaos. Trying to fix it only made things worse. That was unexpected.

    Tio looks around as she starts to get crowded around by, well, lots and lots and lots of unruly monsters. Tio looks up the crowded room, to see Marivel make her escape by, well, being a bat.

    Fine, time to make her way out as well. The small automaton does not collect delicious snacks, perhaps wasting the entire journey.

    "Pardon me." Tio says, before she tries to use a hulking monsters' hunched shoulders as a platform to get out of dodge. Tio's athletic, sure, but this place crowded as heck. And it's real easy to lose track of other people. Hopefully she can reunite with the others on the other side?

DG: Tio has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Party Never Ends Never Ends Never Ends.
<Pose Tracker> Venetia Vuong has posed.

"You're on notice," Venetia tells Harmaus.

And then comes UTTER CHAOS!

Venetia gets elbowed by a skeleton! Whacked into by SOMETHING slimy and indscribable (their memory forgotten to Filgaia outside of this refugia). She staggers back, she thrashes, and in the end she brings out her bronze rod and says, "MAKE A PATH! THIS PARTY IS RIDICULOUS! I AM LEAVING!"

It doesn't work. "Oh for Dinoginos's sake," she says as she hops instead on top of a table ("yayyyy!!" say three childish horrors) and then leaps up again, with a rustle of skirts, raising her ring'd hand aloft and -

floating

towards the exit

Something with one eye and six legs looks upwards. Venetia kicks down and off of its iris, to get more air.

"damn you marivel armitage...!!"

DG: Venetia Vuong has used her Tool Yashichi Ring toward her party's challenge, The Party Never Ends Never Ends Never
Ends.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Harmaus has posed.

    "We will notice, perhaps, yes," is Harmaus' blithe response to Venetia.

    Things get a little chaotic after that.

    Even for someone like Harmaus, who seems the type to thrive on chaos and its derivatives, perhaps this is a little much. ...Especially when he just about gets drenched with a wayward shot of Monster Punch (made from real monster!) and crowded in on by a host of werewolves with a bit of a keen nose amongst them. There are times when even the most wild-spirited must take their leave.

    Which may be why he enacts his own clever plan. Palming a sachet of something from a pocket in his jacket, he breathes it deeply and then turns to push through the crowd and--

    Harmaus was here, right? Just a moment ago?

DG: Seraph Harmaus has used his Tool Valerian Root toward his party's challenge, The Party Never Ends Never Ends Never
Ends.
=====================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party *>=====================
=========<* CHALLENGE - The Party Never Ends Never Ends Never Ends *>=========
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 3          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 You would think that the party would have ended by now - but it hasn't!
 Indeed it seems as though it is rolling along. The partygoers are just as
 friendly as ever. They keep inviting the group to events. Or party games. Or
 overlong conversations.

 Even the most inveterate extrovert is going to have to say 'enough.' You're
 going to have to find a way out if you don't want to be stuck here all
 night... perhaps forever.

 Over there, quickly-- you can see a gap between a hairy lycanthrope and a
 towering man with a widow's peak complaining about "his" (something
 something) "twist?" In the other direction you see more monsters coming
 towards you, unidentifiable drinks and snacks in paw and hopeful
 expressions. You've been a hit tonight.

 But now it's time to GET THE H*CK OUT! (Please excuse this harsh language.)

 Can you escape the Monster Party?
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party - Round 6 *>================
===========< Results - The Party Never Ends Never Ends Never Ends >===========
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marivel Armitage                    32 --(5)--> 37                 Fail
Tomato Juice For Grownups           1   Agility Effects: Cleanse
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Emeralda Kasim                      17 --(0)--> 17                 Pass
H&S Badge                           1   Agility Effects: Cleanse
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Venetia Vuong                       17 --(5)--> 22                 Fail
Yashichi Ring                       3   Agility Effects: Rally
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tio                                 17 --(5)--> 22                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Harmaus                      17 --(0)--> 17                 Pass
Valerian Root                       3   Agility Effects: Rally
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Marivel Armitage            85 --(35)--> 120               Pass
Conditions: Bad Luck(1)|Collapse|Tire(2)
Effects: Cleanse
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Marivel Armitage has successfully explored Crimson Castle - Monster Party!
=====================<* Crimson Castle - Monster Party *>=====================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Death and Rebirth *>======================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 3          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 You manage to break away from the Monster Party. After some exploration, you
 discover a library filled to the brim with books. You pull one off a
 bookcase and find that it's the Life and Times of Lord Mi'ihen. You try
 another and...wait a minute... All of these books are the Life and Times of
 Lord Mi'ihen! How many did Marivel pick up in Spira?!

 Some careful examination reveals one more book that is not The Life and
 Times of Lord Mi'ihen. It is titled 'Death and Rebirth'.

 It reads: 'The Crimson Nobles are immortal. Our bodies may be destroyed, but
 rebirth will eventually come. There are stories about how we once threatened
 to cover Filgaia in darkness and came into conflict with the Elw but we have
 coexisted harmoniously since time immemorial and my soul is too young to
 recall such fighting. Knowing we need life to live fulfilling lives, our
 people have made a pact to protect this world and have kept our numbers
 small so as to not disrupt Filgaia's ecosystem.'

 'Unfortunately as of late, our nature seems to have drawn envy from
 humans....'
=Dungeon Conditions: Secret===================================================
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Unfortunately... Marivel crashes into some candles hanging off the walls, dropping a red 'heart' that Venetia ends up collecting that she can use to power a powerup some day. Nevertheless, everybody else manages to escape...

...and into the library, which is quiet. And there are plenty of books!

One such shelf is the largest collection of 'The Life and Times of Lord Mi'ihen on Filgaia. Ie: the ones Marivel found on Spira and dragged all the way back here to Filgaia and made an entire bookshelf just for them.

Well now you too can own a copy of the Life and Times of Lord Mi'ihen if you want. But there is one book that is not The Life and Times of Lord Mi'ihen. It is titled 'Death and Rebirth'.

And one can read the aforementioned card's words if one were to open it up and take a peek.