Hidden 3 mos ago Post by ERode
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ERode Meteoric

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Plans were made, and discoveries were too. One had struck out on his own, seeking a path that would better protect his friends. Another discovered, finally, the reason why they alone did not improve at all during these deadly fights. More were pleased enough to grow stronger, obtaining powerful abilities and accruing more skill points. For more of them, however, this was just another battle, one that may have been worth plenty of EXP, but did little in actually granting them the money necessary to fund themselves. More combat, more preparations, perhaps a quest or two. The night was young and Cacophony Concord had a time dilation ratio of three to one anyways. There was plenty more to do before any of them called it a night.

Then, they noticed a detail. A small detail. One that gave them pause.

In the party menu that Ames had set up, Ari's status was grayed out, all her Resources set to zero.

Groping through the darkness, Ari’s other senses sharpened in lieu of the complete absence of light, both her human ears and her cat ears primed for any sound of merriment. It was distorted, the laughter of the gambling den she sought, but it was also something that she was more and more certain wasn’t just a figment of her imagination. Continuing down the tunnel, she gradually realized that she was going up an incline. The tainted waters that trickled from the path she crouched through had to flow downwards, after all. It made sense, in a way.

What didn’t make sense, though, was when she hit a deadend in her path. Feeling about, Ari could ascertain that there weren’t any other paths to turn and travel down. Rather, the deadend appeared to be a raised platform, where more water trickled down. Her feet, however, could feel sturdy grates too, as well as the accumulation of garbage, indicating that there was a separate path that went downwards instead. Half-crawling as she was now, it would be hard to pry open the lower grate, and even harder to slip through without getting dirty, but on the other hand, if she continued up onto the raised platform, which continued to incline upwards, wouldn’t she eventually just end up reaching the surface again?

Ari did not think too long on what to do. After all, she wasn’t in any hurry. The path of least resistance could be scouted out first. Not just because she didn’t feel like touching the grate here without knowing what sort of filth her hand touches. With a hop, she tried to climb on the platform itself, and continue on.

Ari hopped, hit her head on the low ceiling, and ended up having to crawl up instead, her hands touching the somewhat slimy, somewhat sticky stone. The incline became steeper and the tunnel became lower as she continued upwards; going on all-fours was inevitable now. If it was raining, the path she went through would most likely be submerged in fast-flowing water, but right now, it took only five disgusting minutes for her to make it up to a plateau. Above, about five meters upwards, she could see slivers of daylight that partially illuminated her surroundings.

In front of her was another passageway, one that was taller this time. A catwalk was elevated off to the side, offering a place to walk that wasn’t suffused in trash. It looked to lead to somewhere important, if only because it was designed for humans to actually walk on. To her right side was another slope of similar incline to the one she had climbed up on. A stone slat was placed at the entrance to it, blocking off what meager water trickled down from above and diverting all water to the slope she had climbed up on it. Though it was difficult to make out, she could tell by the stone that this path looked much cleaner than the other. No moss, mold, or dampness seemed to be present there.

The clean path immediately took her interest. How was it so clean, with not even mold on it from this sort of environment. Her tail was twitching almost uncontrollably from the excitement now, feeling as if she was getting somewhere finally. It took her tying it into her waistband to keep it controlled. Ari didn’t even want to know how bad it would be trying to clean things of her own fur. Now moving slightly faster, she scrambled down the cleaner path, ignoring the catwalk for now.

The ceiling was as frustratingly low as ever, but with the downward slope and the cleanliness of the floor, Ari could afford to slide her way down. As she continued into the deep darkness, her nose wrinkled at a strange scent, this time of something sterile. A cleaning agent? She didn’t hear anything though, beyond an occasional ‘blop blop’, like bubbles rising to the surface.

Moments later, her feet touched a warm liquid, then sank deeper into it. Before she could descend any further, Ari managed to stop herself by planting her hands on both sides of the tunnel. It was like moving in molasses all of a sudden, a jelly-like warmth that almost seemed to be tickling her. An interesting sensation, truly...until whatever that was began to rise up of its on accord, wrapping around her ankles and climbing up onto her calves.

And what had been a tickling sensation turned into a painful one, like sandpaper being rubbed all over the parts of her body submerged in this slime. At a slow, but increasing pace, Ari’s HP dropped.

She barely stopped herself from screaming out loud, jerking her foot back immediately, scrambling up the slope. There was no way she was going to fight anything in the darkness, but this could be some useful to know someday.

Ari slipped a couple times, feeling the fabrics of her shoes being frayed, corroded, but whatever she stepped in seemed to have no inclination, or perhaps simply not enough strength to continue its grasp on her. She tore herself free, reaching the top of the slope at recorded speed, the burbling of bubbles sounding behind her as the smell of corroded flesh hit her as well. At such low HP, even that encounter had been brutal for her. One of her shoes were gone, exposing the bloody mess of her feet and leg. It looked as if a swarm of insects had bitten little pieces off of it, and though the pain itself faded after some moments, it wasn’t a pleasant thing to look at, not at all.

Still, the catwalk was there for her to pursue, if she wished to continue.

Grimacing, she went towards the catwalk, hoping that way lead to a better result. With a catwalk in place and bioluminescent moss to give her some light, it appeared that Ari had reached a more well-made portion of the sewer. Whatever she had climbed up before had served as a chute towards the sewage stream out in Nyu-Taro, and now, she was going through the labyrinthine setup of the sewer proper. Her choices took her gradually downwards and leftwards, as she chased after the elusive sound of human interaction amid the gurgling of refuse and water. The going was easy despite the damage she had sustained on her feet; now that she no longer stepped through sludge or climb up disgusting slopes, Ari breezed through the corridors and junctions, until her travels were cut short by a wall. The stream beside her flowed down, and from the speed of the water as it traveled underneath the wall, it looked to be another slope. If she was willing to dive in, she could bypass the wall, but once she committed, there was no way to backtrack, nor was there any guarantee that she would have any of this moss to light her way when she did go down.

Still, if her sense of direction served her well, that should be the direction of the hideout. Should...

There was more than just the foreboding sense of danger assailling her thoughts at the mere look of that very dank looking water, made worse by the poor illumination. Diving deep into the unknown both scared and excited her. It was a game after all, but still she hesitated at the brink. There was no guarantee she would find her location at the end of this stream, or even any guarantee it wasn’t just a tunnel full of water rushing towards a far location where her lifeless body would inevitably be found.

Scraping a bit of the moss, and lining the inside of her clothes with it, she took the dive, now far too gone to give up and go back.

Immediately, there was a drop as Ari slipped beneath the wall and into the swift current of a steep slope. She scrambled to keep her head above the water, but her surroundings were pitch-black, and it was much too difficult to pull out the moss she had collected now. The water rushed on, pulling her down with it. A careening path saw her bump into either sides of the tunnel, incremental damage being built up as the tunnel went even deeper, even lower. Could she be dropping into the very depths of the earth itself? Battered and broken, left to decay within some underground dumping ground for the city’s sewage?

The waters turned torrential, accelerating ever further. It was impossible to stay on the surface now. Every breath was fought for in a wild gasp, before she was sucked down again. The pattern repeated on and on, the only mercy being that the tunnel she was propelled through had no errant rocks to smash herself again. But it was only a matter of time, wasn’t it? Only a matter o-

Through the froth of water, Ari could see light speeding up towards her. An opening in the side of the tunnel? She was flowing almost vertically down now, the speed mind-numbing, but if she could somehow get into that opening, there was a chance she wouldn’t immediately die. But with seconds left before that opening passed her by, what could she do?

Using whatever she had left in her, Ari spun and kicked against the wall, aiming to launch herself straight into that opening.

But slowed by the drag of water upon her clothes, Ari's spin amounted to nothing. Her feet slipped against the stone surface she tried to propel herself off of, and all she could do was get a single hand on the ledge, enough to pull her head out of the water for the briefest of moments. If she was only a normal human, the waters would had dragged her down into the abyss, into certain death. She would die ignorant and alone.

She wasn't normal though. She perceived time at half the speed that normal humans did, and her skill, her physical control of her body, was even greater than that! Bracing herself as best as she could, Ari cleared the water out of her eyes and caught a glimpse of where that opening actually lead.

Marbled stone, embellished with ancient paintings. Paper lanterns, burning with warm light. Buildings of wood and ceramic, against a backdrop of a starry sky. Bronze guardians, facsimiles of ancient warriors.

A whole dungeon, deep beneath the city-state.

She lost her grip then, and tumbled into the cold, wild darkness once more.





《𝔻𝔼𝕊𝕋ℝ𝕌ℂ𝕋𝔼𝔻 𝕎𝕆ℝ𝕃𝔻 𝔻𝔼𝕊𝕋𝔸𝔹𝕀𝕃𝕀ℤ𝔼𝔻》
《𝕋𝕀𝕄𝔼 𝕆𝔽 ℝ𝔼𝕊𝕌ℝℝ𝔼ℂ𝕋𝕀𝕆ℕ》
《𝟚𝟜:𝟘𝟘:𝟘𝟘》


Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Searat
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Searat The Aqueous Rodent

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HP: 300/300 | MP: 315/315 | SP: 330/330



Raymond let out a content sigh as he removed his full dive gear and sat up from his bed. He narrowed his eyes as they readjusted to the light level of his room before setting the helmet-like console on the desk. Despite only playing for a handful of hours, the time dilation of the dive gear made it feel like he had been playing for half a day. Though he was rather glad that his body didn't feel any worse for wear despite setting his gameplay at 100% realism. He involuntarily winced as he remembered the pains he experienced while playing with his companions. But, hey. It all worked out in the end. He even managed to help Ames and Amulak raise their levels before logging off and looking for a decent 3d modeling program for cheap. "Yeah...I earned a reward." He says to himself as he leaves his room and makes his way to the 2nd-floor kitchen and opens the fridge to get himself a late-night snack. But no ordinary snack. This was the holy grail of leftovers.

A cold half-eaten slice of pizza.

Just as he was about to savor the greasy slice, he was suddenly interrupted by the destinct sound of someone racking a shotgun. "<Wrong house, asshole.>" Ray immediately raised his hands above his head, sending the cold slice of heaven skyward. "Baba, stop! Its me, Raymond!" There was a brief sound of confusion before the kitchen lights were switched on to reveal a confused elderly man in his late sixties aiming a mean looking shotgun right at Ray's chest. "<Jesus in heaven, boy!> I nearly shot you. I thought you were a burglar like in the news reports." The old man said casually as he unloads the shell and put the gun's safety on. "Nah, Baba. Just me getting a snack. Fuck..." Raymond says exhasperatedly as he lets his arms down and waits for his pulse to return to normal. "<Snacks?>" Ray nods. Immediately, the old man bursts out laughing. "Nearly thirty and still quite the glutton, huh?" The comment causes the younger man's cheeks to redden and look away in embarrasment. "No shame in that, Ray." The old man says as he holds out a fresh slice of cold pizza to him while he takes a bite of his own slice. Unloaded shotgun now resting in the crook of his arm as he gestures for the younger Moreno to participate. Ray replies with a kind smile and takes the offering. Deciding that sharing a late night snack with his grandfather and his shotgun was better than eating alone in the dark.

It was a good night.







Hidden 2 mos ago Post by ERode
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ERode Meteoric

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A night came and went, your dreams colored by hazy adventures in a brilliant land, even as your mind fatigued itself over the rigors and repetitiveness of combat. The thrill always persisted, of course, watching as your body became more and more superhuman, attaining feats of physical excellence that you would never have in reality, but when you finally closed your eyes, it all dragged you under, into the deep dark of your unconsciousness.

And yet, morning came all the same, bringing with it heightened spirits, invigorated sensation. Some drank coffee, watching the news or scrolling through the social media feed. Others fried up something hearty, savory scents seeping into the air. The sight outside changed. Smoke clung from the spring wildfires. Rain continued to fall torrentially, well past the monsoon season. The Sun seared, ever bright and ever painful. The skyscrapers continued to rise, even as scientists prophesized of great quakes. It was the weekend though, a lazy weekend without obligations.

So once again, the message is sent through the group.

So once again, the machine is booted up.

So once again, you are plugged in.

𝔸

𝔸

𝕋

𝔽𝔸𝕃𝕃𝕊
𝕋ℍ𝔼 𝕎𝕆ℝ𝕃𝔻
𝕋ℍ𝔼 𝔹𝔼𝕃𝕃 𝕊𝔼𝕃𝔼ℂ𝕋𝕊
𝕋ℍ𝔼 ℂ𝕆𝔾𝕊 𝕊ℙ𝕀ℕ
𝕋ℍ𝔼 𝕊ℂ𝔸𝕃𝔼𝕊 𝕊ℍ𝕀𝔽𝕋
𝕋ℍ𝔼 ℙ𝔼ℕ𝔻𝕌𝕃𝕌𝕄𝕊 𝕊𝕎𝕀ℕ𝔾



《𝔻𝔼𝕊𝕋ℝ𝕌ℂ𝕋𝔼𝔻 𝕎𝕆ℝ𝕃𝔻 𝕄𝔸ℕ𝕀𝔽𝔼𝕊𝕋𝔼𝔻》
《𝔻𝔼𝕊𝕋ℝ𝕌ℂ𝕋𝔼𝔻 𝕎𝕆ℝ𝕃𝔻 𝕊𝕋𝔸𝔹𝕀𝕃𝕀ℤ𝔼𝔻》

𝕡ℝ𝕆𝕍𝔼 𝕪𝕆𝕌ℝ 𝕝𝕆𝕍𝔼 𝕚𝕊 𝕥ℝ𝕌𝔼




Amulak had become powerful. After the fiasco that was the early game, where he had been hampered by both limited spells as well as the scam that was Fa Trung’s Talismans, the mage had grinded hard, fought hard, and gotten lucky with his drops as well. He was not yet a Necromancer, but the seven spells he knew now gave him versatility and destructive capability that was unmatched by any of his teammates. Decked out in an admittedly ragtag collection of equipment, he blinked into existence at the Keystone, right beside Ames.

The flame-haired warrior wasn’t doing too shabby himself. If Amulak had been hampered by those cursed talismans, Ames had been absolutely crippled by it, yet had ascended to the same amount of strength as the Mage. The sword of a fallen adventurer hung from his hip, while the banner of a warchief, ripped from its corpse as a trophy, was wrapped around his arm, colors bright in the blue sky.

There was Magpie too, her Brawler look improved further by the savage gear she had obtained. Though the hardcore fighter/gamer had taken time off from mindless grinding in search of knowledge regarding the alchemist’s craft, her last session with Amulak and Ames had been fruitful, decking her out with attire that almost completed a full set of equipment for her. With spiked boots and a cloak made of the furs of wolves, she looked undoubtedly a badass, and that wasn’t even counting her new skills.

In comparison, Raime, prioritizing real life affairs over online, had come away from yesterday’s gaming with only one real advantage: he got proper sleep. A bone dagger hung from his hip, and his item pouch was a bit fatter from the rishi he had earned from his monster slaying, but other than that, he looked the same as ever, a comforting, familiar sight amongst all the adventurers with their ill-matched, stat-focused outfits.

And then, with a flicker of light, the prodigal adventurer returned to Nyu-Taro. Having eschewed human contact and focused solely on the way of the staff, Lugh was the one who returned the most exhausted, but also the most fully equipped. A reed hat with a wide brim hid his piercing gaze, while his armor rattled with many jagged barbs. Arm guards of lacquered bamboo shielded his forearms as his shield spread its white petals open to meet the sun. Something about him had certainly changed. But what?

Ari, too, returned. Her misadventures in the sewers had not dimmed the spirit of exploration in her, and even if she didn’t have a class, even if she was functionally unable to level up and improve her attributes, she still had her wits, her knowledge, and her monkey fist. But was that all? No, there was something more. For when she logged in and manifested before the Keystone, there was something new, wrapped around her left arm.


An oracle from the game itself, telling her to brave those depths once more? Or merely a reflection of her past actions, a development to commend her courage? Whatever it was, her allies were all stronger now, and they were all gathered here. Yesterday was preparation, grinding levels and getting equipment, but today?

Today was about time for a quest!

...

Wait, where was Klein?
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Searat
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Searat The Aqueous Rodent

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HP: 300/300 | MP: 315/315 | SP: 330/330



Raime stared at everyone's avatars with both shock and awe. Most of them looked so badass with their gear! Though he had to admit that some others were not as cool looking as the rest. He wouldn't be pointing any fingers or saying any names but some folks really just looked like they slapped on whatever thing they found regardless of how unappealing it looked. Regardless they had assembled after someone sending a message for an early morning gaming session. Not that he minded that considering that, during weekends, they only opened during lunchtime and only for half the day. So, in theory, they should have enough hours of play to finish a quest or two before his family needed him to help prepare with the diner.

Though by his count, someone was missing.

"Uh. Does anybody know where Klein is? I'm positive everyone got that notification in Discord, right?" Raime mused as he tried to scan the area for the massive wall of meat they befriended yesterday.









Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Yankee
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Yankee Eternally Tired

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___________________
"Phew. Okay. I think I'm good for now. That was pretty fun after we figured out the problem. Anyway, good night!"

Ames smiled brightly at her mage companion, then her avatar faded out and "Ames" was officially logged off. Amelia breathed deeply through her nose and slowly pulled the face plate from her eyes, letting the dim light of her desk lamp greet her as she stepped out of the pricey machine that served as her vehicle to play CaCo. On her bedside, her cellphone blinked the time and a notifications of a few missed messages.

"Holy crap, it's late," the girl said to herself. She thumbed through the phone with one hand as she fumbled and changed into her PJs with the other. She'd been playing the game for hours, although it felt even longer in game-time. She'd have to be careful with that. Weekends were fine but she didn't want to turn into some MMO addict.

It was fun though, Amelia thought to herself as she laid down and pulled a blanket up over herself. Sleep didn't come as quickly as she'd hoped, and she passed the time thinking about what direction to take her character in. Although it was approaching the dead hours of the night, Amelia sent a quick text to her friend Sean, which turned into a short conversation once she discovered he was awake.

Me:: hey, that game was fun! played it today \('v')/
Sean J.:: Glad you had fun. What class?
Me:: warrior
Sean J.:: lol classic Amelia
Me:: whats that supposed to mean? lol
Sean J. sent a link.
Sean J.:: Join our group we can give you some pointers.
Me:: ok, tmrrw tho.
Sean J.:: K. Night!
Me:: night!

Several hours later after the sun had long since risen, Amelia woke up and groped blindly for her phone. Sure enough there was some chatting going on in the gaming discord full of the people she'd played CaCo with last night, and a call to action to play again today. I'm in, after some breakfast. Or lunch. Brunch! The kitchen was the next stop, and Amelia's roommate was seated at their small table with a stack of pancakes.

"I love you Melissa," Amelia started, gathering a plate and reaching for the stack. The other young woman rolled her eyes and let Amelia grab a couple. The two chatted a little and once Amelia was energized, she didn't waste anytime meeting up with the party in that virtual space.
aмeιa
aмeѕ
aмeѕ

HP: 510/510 - MP: 500/500 - SP: 450/450
_________________
_________________
No longer being stuck at level one was such a great feeling, and Ames still felt it now even though she'd leveled up a ton last night. Those stupid talismans haunted her dreams. However, it was time to put that behind her! It was a new day, and everybody was there!

Well. Almost. Like yesterday it seemed someone was missing, this time Klein. "I dunno, but he'll probably turn up soon," Ames shrugged in response to Raime's question. "I'm gonna give him this pole axe thing when he does."

It was nice to see Lugh back with the party again, but it was especially nice to see Ari was in one piece. Ames knew she didn't really die, like for real, but the warrior had been worried about the drawbacks of letting your character die. Seemed like Ari was okay, and the same as ever. She'd even picked up some cool cloth somewhere. Death souvenir?

"What happened yesterday Ari?" Ames asked after scrutinizing the poor girl. "Did you die? What was it like?"
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by GreenGoat
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GreenGoat Harmless Flower Person

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Ari Reina Caladis(Theresa)



Another day another session.

Having been thrown into a dark void staring at a timer, Theresa had simply logged out, both annoyed and excited. Unable to gain any real advantage in game, she sought to expand her own knowledge instead, poring over books at the local library pertinent to weaponries, armor, and tactics. Admittedly most of them were more interesting than practical but she did learn some simple things. Perhaps with some good materials she could fashion them into something good? But for now, she needed gears.

Stretching out she examined the scroll on her arm, the paper fluttering merrily as she moved to and fro, warming up her body.

"Oh this will be good, though I don't think I can maintain it for long." Wrapping it back, she turned to Ames and grinned widely. "Yup. I kinda drowned. Wouldn't recommend. Sent to a dark room with a 24 hour respawn timer. Kinda excessive, I'd say. Should've run whole hog with it and went for three days."

She slumped suddenly, a thousand yard stare on her face. "The smell was the worst part, to be honest."

"Ah!" Ari brightened up suddenly. "Where do you exchange your money? I think I know what I have to get now."
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by OwO
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OwO what's this?

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Lv. 29
HP: 341/341 SP: 300/300 MP: 30/30
(300) + 10 + 10% (300) + 0 + 0% (30) + 0 + 0%
STR – 121 (100) + 5 + 15% | AGI – 55 (50) + 10% | END – 42 (40) + 5% | DEX – 40 (40) | LUC – 11 (11)
Star-Studded Rebellion, Pentozali
Weapons
No Main Hand
No Off Hand

Equipment:
No Helmet
Beasthide Gown - Common Armor
Beasthide Bracers - Common Arm Equipment
No Leg Equipment
Thornspike Boots - Common Shoes

Accessories:
Wrestler's Loincloth - Common Accessory - +10 HP, +5 STR


She was back on that grind. Despite being a capital G gamer, however, she didn't spend the entire night grinding mobs like some people. She instead tried to unlock alchemy. After all, the vision she had of her class wasn't a dumb brute fighter. It had a certain elegance to it. She wanted to buttchug health potions, huff drugs to get stat boosts, and hurl poisons at her enemies. For that, she'd probably require an alchemist-like creation class. Alternatively, some kind of hidden drug lord class.

Thus, her time researching alchemy was mostly a waste. At some point, she just gave up any semblance of human reason and began to eat herbs. She ingested a lot of grass. A lot. It wasn't even magic healing grass or super sharp throat cutting grass. She just ate grass. Her brain reverted to her elementary school days. The only high that she could get was climbing a tree.


When she arrived to the group the next day, she was a changed person. Her strength was now herculean. Ten ordinary men, after all. Well, that's if it was a linear growth. She hadn't exactly limit tested what 100 strength felt like. She could probably kick that frog's ass now. She looked fierce as hell. The only problem was that her wallet was completely full. Considering how she hadn't spent a single rishi, she was likely one of the richest out of all of the goober squad.

As greetings were shared, Ari talked about her corpse experience. Death was unironically sending someone to get gaol'd. She now had paper stuck to her arm. Either Fa Trung gave her a super talisman or she also unlocked her nuclei.

"I also gotta go to the markets," she added, "I gotta buy some throwable shit. Rocks ain't cutting it. Gotta get some bricks, plates, and maybe a steel chair."
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Psyker Landshark
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Psyker Landshark Judgement NUT End

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Amulak al Acturus (Stanislaw)
HP:880/880 MP:1150/1150 SP: 130/130





He hadn't gone that hard on a MMO grind in years. Not since he'd started his pro gamer career, at least. Damn, but he'd missed this. Amulak returned Ames's grin with one of his own as he prepared to log out for the night as well, thoroughly satisfied with how much he'd rose and ground over the course of the day.

Time dilation was a hell of a thing, Stanislaw reflected as he pulled the VR headset off his head, idly noting that only eight or so hours had passed in the real world. It was rather late in Krakow, despite the fact that he'd arranged things so that he would've been able to play from the moment his headset had arrived in the morning. There had been breaks for food during the grinding session, of course, but he'd really only chowed down on finger foods then: beef jerky and fruit. Nothing particularly substantial. With a yawn, Stanislaw pulled himself out of his chair to fix something to eat quickly for the night before heading off to bed.

___

Despite being the gamer gremlin that he was, Stanislaw didn't immediately boot Cacophony Concord up the moment he awoke. No, there was just the minor matter of making money first. He hadn't simply pissed away the winnings he'd earned during his competitive years on sports cars or anything stupid like that. He'd made investments. Stocks, cryptocurrency, the works. As such, those needed to be watched over and constantly flipped to make sure Stanislaw had a steady flow of income, and he spent most of the morning doing such, a breakfast of bread, kielbasa, and coffee accompanying him.

By the time most of the Discord had bothered to wake up and log on, he'd already finished a decent lunch and it was well into the afternoon. Hell, he'd even had enough time to do research on how to unlock his chosen class. Fortunately, part of it was simple. Just ice a NPC kid for the first requirement. Easy. And the second and third were interconnected. Hell, there were actual speedruns of the Blasphemed Tunnels posted online. With Amulak's current level of strength, getting through them would at least be an adventure.

Amulak opened his eyes to the sight of the rest of the group, minus Klein.

[color=2E8B57][b]"Very good afternoon to you!"[/color] He spread his arms and called out jovially. [color=2E8B57][b]"Eh? Where is big fucker? He not log in? I do not think he mention anything in Discord..."[/color] The aspiring necromancer trailed off, before shrugging. [color=2E8B57][b]"Eh, he will show when he shows. In any case, Amulak have goals for today. Too many levels of mage already. Time to unlock necromancer class. Have NPC kid to kill and tunnel map to go through. Anyone wish to come along? Will be fun!"[/color]
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Cu Chulainn
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Cu Chulainn blue

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HP 550/550 SP 350/350 MP 370/370


Lew slowly approached everyone else, seemingly clutching onto his staff as if it were a cane. Indeed, the gauntlet he had endured the night before was something no mere man could endure without a slight loss of touch. Of course, such a toll on one's sanity would drag a common man to madness. It was a good thing Lew was no common man, however. After spending about what felt like 54 hours into the game, Lew had passed out as soon as he took his headgear on. He had planned to sleep for eight hours, but he was only able to get sleep for about six of those hours before his phone notifications lit up, woken up by his friends. While Lew certainly had a duty to take care of himself, there were more pressing matters to attend to. He needed to help his friends and, more importantly, he needed to accrue more favor with his goddess.

Lew needed to earn the privilege of having his entire body crushed by the Lady of the Alabaster Scales.

As Lew made his way to the group, it was more than apparent that something truly changed, not just physically, but mentally. His eyes seemed hollow, and his expression seemed to lack the humanity he once seemed to have. Perhaps it was what he encountered during his solo grinding near the river? Bits of Kappa and used talismans hang off of some of the many barbs attached to his new set of armor. Whatever he went through was harrowing enough for him to devote most of his points into END. Such a focus in his stats also seemed to have contributed to his mental change, having turned up his Pain Sensitivity to a nice 20% so he could feel some of the pain his monstrous END had taken away from him. He looked to everyone else, seeing their new gear and equipment, and gave a sullen nod. As soon as Ari finished the tale of her escapades, Lew walked over to her, almost menacingly.

"Oi, take these." Lew hollered towards the party's resident catgirl, before pulling out his Discarded Turtle Shell and Primitive Slingshot. Whether she took it or not didn't matter to Lew. In the end, those items were naught but garbage to him. Turning to the rest, he listened to their proposed plans of action so far, listening silently. Once Amulak made his suggestions of fulfilling his goals, however, Lew finally spoke up.

"Killing an NPC kid? Nah, kids probably don't give enough EXP. I'll come with you to whatever the tunnel is, though. I need a better staff, one that hits harder. That said, I've got a few important things to say. One, I worship a snake waifu now. If you do something against her teachings, I'll whack you. Two, I've decided to join the priesthood, but that doesn't mean I'll be primarily healing. Hopefully I can craft talismans, but for now, I'm stuck with buying them. And three... Whatever you do, don't solo the kappas. That's all. Guess we'll meet up once we're done shopping and killing kids or whatever."

Lew then meandered off towards the temple once more, in order to by more talismans and maybe an actual talisman holder. Perhaps the temple sold cosmetic costumes to cover up his hideously mix-matched armor as well...
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Shovel
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Klein

HP 120/120 SP 130/130 MP 0/0



While the grinding was successful for others, it was not so much for Klein. He has no item. He still doesn't have the class yet, although its requirement had been fulfilled like ages ago. And while he is not angry about others' item distribution, he was malding for the fact that he only gets Goblin Warpaint. And judging from the text, they even keep playing with others without inviting him.

Of course, he understands why they wouldn't want to play with him. Comparing to others, his addition to the group was more recent. He was invited by Amulak when the group first hit the newly released FPS. And while Klein thinks he had exceeded the acquaintance part, his "friend" status is still a little bit flimsy. He didn't understand the incident 3 years ago, nor the references being made in the group chat. And, to be honest, he just felt a little bit lost.

That was why Klein did not want to respond with others after he exits the game yesterday. And although Ames was kind enough to offer him the halberd, Klein is giving some thought whether or not he should take an offer. But still, he is going to set up an emergency fund for Ames should he needs some money.

Now scanning the items between the shelves in the Orc's Smithing, Klein is hoping he could his first weapon from here. While the market could offer cheaper price items, he doesn't want to place a bet on others' reliability. Especially after the talisman thingy that sucks XP from others. Besides, perhaps the smith would have a set of armor that gives some positive relation to the Gakui-Re clan. After that, finally getting his darn class. If he isn't wrong, the class should be able to activate through the starting stone thingy. That, or the game just rigged.

"Excuse me, do you have any war ax. The one that fit for my size?"

Klein asked the orc smith before picking a normal ax up. While it would be a fit size for someone shorter than 6 foot, the ax is something laughable as a main weapon. Not bad for a surprise. But it is for sure does not utilize his range as an 8 feet tall human.
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ERode Meteoric

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The Keystone Plaza
Though the festivities of the Rinkan Annihilation Tournament had more or less died down by this point and many of the factioned Immortals had gone off to their respective territories once more, the area around Nyu-Taro’s Keystone was as active as always, low-leveled players using it as a meeting point to start up their parties. The day was as pleasant as always, a clean breeze cutting through the warmth of the beating sun, but on the horizon, clouds thick with rain were gathering, slowly sweeping over the northwards forests. It was no deterrent to any who sought a proper adventure though. Once more, wooden boards slathered with calligraphic scripts were nailed upon the side of a building, requesting assistance on a variety of tasks, ranging from simple monster extermination to escort missions that ranged to the furthest corners of Horogi. Now that the party had a better sense of how much money they could get from slaying monsters, it became clear too, that the amount of rishi they could make doing specific jobs definitely outstripped the amount they made from grinding alone, assuming that they didn’t sell the equipment they obtained in the process of monster slaying.

Still, after a couple more minutes passed, Klein remained elusive, and gradually, the group began to fragment once more. Time dilation may turn every minute in real life into three minutes within Cacophony Concord, but human patience ran much thinner. Each pursuing their own desires, they went off, with plans to reconvene later.


The Markets and Exchange
Nyu-Taro’s Keystone may have been the center of the neutral city-state, but its heart was found south, where the public markets were open. Merchants, both Immortals and Rien, squabbled and shouted over each other at the large, while dirty-faced urchins slipped through mass of humanity with varying ease, searching for an easy mark. Paupers, ever present, continued rattling their prayer wheels and hoping for alms, adding to the noise of the crowds. Thankfully, at least, with the craze of the Flamebringer Princess’s victory having ebbed, it was easy enough to distinguish replica weapons from authentic ones: the fakes were on clearance sales now, and so were much of the other memorabilia from the tournament. Painting scrolls of various rankers were going for a heavily discounted 8000 rishi, while plushies, cute and cuddly, went for 12000 rishi, down from the 20000 that was demanded just three days ago. Some were still too stubborn to slash prices in order to clear their stock though: a young, starving sculptor squatted on his log while his tarp tent displayed a to-scale rendition of the Flamebringer Princess herself…though with artistic liberties taken with her proportions.

Coin Exchange Services, of course, were also present, and the one that Ari had been introduced to was owned by the Ryoku-Jo clan. The teller, an ash-skinned woman with dark, orange hair eyed had eyed Ari’s ears when she approached, but had shrugged when the silver proved to be real. The divine protection within Nyu-Taro prevented monsters from doing harm, of course, but the myriad of gods in the land didn’t ever really account for counterfeit coinage or scams. Ari, thankfully, wasn’t a tanuki brat trying to make a quick buck out of leaves, and came out of the exchange 7500 rishi richer. The paper money was smooth to the touch, Ryoku-Jo’s bills in particular depicting the scientific titans of steampunk engineering (which was really just a bunch of old Horogi folks dressed in Alderamin outfits), and slipped into her Item Pouch weightlessly.

Now, freshly equipped with money, any who wished to go shopping simply needed to delve in to the deals.

Shin-Yu Temple
“Brother Dysphoria, so glad to see you!”
A bald priest, sweeping the ground outside the temple, smiled at him.

“How was your sojourn within the Greater Realm?” A tanned priestess, carrying a load of laundry, detoured beside him.

“We’ve just brewed a new batch of amazake, if you want one?” A young acolyte, smelling of sweet rice, offered him a cup.

Lugh may have only been an adventurer proper for fifty or so hours, but his dedication and the amount of rishi he had spent on the temple had endeared him greatly to the workers at the shrine. After all, while others may have spent more money, there was still something endearing about seeing a new Immortal work so tirelessly to strike down the endless little evils surrounding the city-state, doubly so when they worked as tirelessly as himself. By now, other Immortals would have already formed efficient, well-rounded parties, or obtained Nuclei that made their solo journeys easier, but Lugh continued to return, bloodied and battered, to purchase more talismans and go fight the good fight once more. There was something cool about that sort of person, really, and hey, compared to the abuse he withstood, what was the cost of a little kindness towards him?

The temple’s talisman store, which was really just an open window upon which a multitude of talismans were strung up and displayed, soon came into view. Origami creatures, from cranes to snakes, decorated the desk of a pudgy, middle-aged man. His name was Taka-Ryu, a face that Lugh became quite familiar with from his back-and-forth trips between Shin-Yu Temple and Pearl Bloom River, and he grinned when he saw the sullen warrior.

“Peace be with you, brother, and may the winds bring new changes! Shall I prepare the usual for you today?”

Orc’s Smithing
The uncreatively-named Orc’s Smithing had seen better days, ever since Oni Smithworks stole seventy percent of its common customers. Who could blame them though? Between a muscular babe of an oni and some craggy ol’ greenskin, only adventurers with deviant tastes would pick his store. To those Immortals in the starting city, it’s not like they had enough skill to understand the small differences in the two blacksmith’s crafts, after all. Once more, Tordo Bigarms, an orc with a jutting lower jaw and a receding hairline was harder at work with polishing up old wares than producing new ones.

So it took him a bit, to realize that someone was actually asking him a question about his work, rather than just directions to his competitor’s forge.

Blinking slowly, the orc turned to face Klein, stuffing his oiled rag to the front pocket of his apron. He was shorter than Klein, but more thickly built, and after some deliberation, he nodded. “Whatcha searchin’ for, son? I can see ye got some battle experience on you n some money burning too. Any perticular benefits ye want for yer axe?”
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by GreenGoat
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GreenGoat Harmless Flower Person

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Ari Reina Caladis(Theresa)
*NEW ITEMS ACQUIRED*



"Oi, take these." Lew hollered towards the party's resident catgirl, before pulling out his Discarded Turtle Shell and Primitive Slingshot.

"Wow, thanks Lew! I'll put these to good use."

She skipped on ahead of the group to get some things. Weapons for one, and maybe some tools. The first ones she wanted was just some chains with weights on either end, and a belt of those knives with the loop on the handles.

It wasn't hard for Ari to look for what she was looking for. Horogi, after all, was the nation of both weebs and real ninjas, and merchants both Immortal and Rien peddled to that demographic. Ultimately, she settled her eyes upon a particularly kitschy shop run by a painfully gorgeous man, with a slender frame, luxurious locks, and a narrow nose.

"O-oh, uh, y-yes, we, I mean, I have that, totally. Guehue. Miss, are you, uh, a girl in real life too?"

"Yeah!" It was all she said, wearing a dopey grin as the giddiness of being in a market with so many interesting things getting to her. "What else do you have in here?"

The man, despite being ridiculously, all-consumingly attractive, in the sort of j-pop male idol way, stuttered again at Ari's proclamation. "A...a r-real girl? Oh, r-right, huh..."

He quickly pulled out the rest of his wares. From smoke bombs to throwing stars to explosive talismans to kusarigamas and kusarifundos, there seemed to be a nigh limitless amount of common equipment. The pricing of the belt of knives and kusarifundo that Ari specifically had been looking for would be a combined 2000 rishi, but the consummables cost 500 themselves, while other common weapons ran up for about 1000 rishi too.

Still, considering how much money she had, Ari didn't seem to have too many options.

She stared at all of the weapons, her brain struggling to process through what she wanted and what she needed. All of these were good, but she might need the money for something else. The set of knives was good enough for throwing and stabbing, but the pile of shuriken looked enticing too, for the more iconic ninja look. She was very close to piling several tantos, kamas, and kunais together were it not for their price.

Almost physically restraining herself, she took out a belt with a set of knives that had loops in their handles, and a long set of chains with weights on either end. Picking up two plain kodachis, she turned to the shopkeeper. "How much for all these?"

"Ah, 20,000 rishi."

"Nyahaha~ So it is huh?" Seemingly nonplussed at the price, she looked over each item. "What about individually? I don't really have that much on me."

"O-oh, uh, you don't, huh." The man flushed, then adjusted his pants. "H-how much do you have on you then?"

"Eh? Round 7000 something, I think?"

"Just, uh, 7000, huh? So...you can only buy, one, unless..."

Her ears flattened almost immediately, though she didn't show a change of expression. "Just one huh?" A slight twinge of hope came when the shopkeeper offhandedly implied there might be another way. A sort of a tab perhaps? To be paid in installments? That was common in the shops around where she lived in real life for large electronics and stuff. "Unless? Ah, can I pay in installments instead?"

"Um...."

The man frowned, his brows furrowing as he struggled with something internally. Finally though, he let out a deep sigh and nodded, the tension in his body leaving.

"Yes, a tab would be good. It, uh, shouldn't take, like, too long for you to get that much money anyways, so I'll, I guess, give you all of t-these for now, and uh...if you'd like, you can meet me here in the evening to, uh, pay off the remaining 13,000 rishi?"

He cleared his throat, pulling at his collar.

"A-and, what's your name? I'm Kagekira, by the way..."

"Yay!" She was practically bouncing about as she pushed the money into his hands and grabbed the weapons. "I'm Ari. Ari Reina Caladis. I'll gather up as much as I can before the evening, don't worry."

"I-it's a date then!"

She didn't think too much of that sentence, and waved as Ari made away with her purchases. Well, with her myriads of tools, surely her endevours would be more successful now. It was just a matter of arranging the items properly. The turtle shield was simply worn on her back, the sling was stuffed in her pockets, the twin kodachi was just shoved into her belt, and the chains took the place of the rope monkey's fist, wrapped around her right arm. Armed almost to the teeth. Almost, since she didn't want to find out if her feline fangs were tough enough to kill something.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Searat
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Searat The Aqueous Rodent

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HP: 300/300 | MP: 315/315 | SP: 330/330



Raime watched wordlessly as his companions set off to do their preparation for their questing for the day. He was a little disappointed that Klein had not made an appearance before the majority of the group had left, but standing in the plaza waiting for him to make an appearance was inefficient and unproductive use of his time. Helping Amulak in obtaining his preferred class was so out of the question, that he didn't even give the notion a second thought. Friend or not, real or fake. The one golden rule he follows above all is to not fuck with karma. It's a mean sonofabitch with big teeth that often bites harder than what God would allow. And child murder was just begging for it to bite you.

Letting out a quiet sigh, he makes a quick message to the party of what he plans to do. Go harvest more herbs from the fields outside the town's walls. Hopefully, no hostile mobs or players would bother him while he was harvesting more helpful consumables...but, just to be safe and quick about it, he'd do this at his maximum running speed of 292.5kmph.

Can't really bother a blur, now can you?









Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Yankee
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Yankee Eternally Tired

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aмeιa
aмeѕ
aмeѕ

HP: 510/510 - MP: 500/500 - SP: 450/450
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Ari's explanation of the game's death mechanic was surprisingly... lackluster. Huh. I would have thought you'd be teleported to the underworld or something. Meet the grim reaper. Weird. Oh well, Ames got her answer and so she supplied Ari of her own: "Some shops take the ore chunks but there are some exchange places over in the market area," she explained. She was happy to hear that both she and Mags wanted to hit up the marketplace, because Ames also wanted to do that. The rishi was burning a hole in her proverbial pocket. A hole in her item pouch. "I wanna shop too, gimmie a sec and I'll join you guys."

She went over to the Keystone, placing her hand on it and getting some more class queries out of the way. She wasn't too far from the rest of the group so she overheard Amulak's plan and furrowed her brows. What the hell... "I don't think you should be killing kids, even if they are NPCs. That's like, really bad karma!" Ames called over her shoulder. Business with the stone done, she walked back over in time to hear the end of Lew's spiel and see his departure yet again. She looked at Amulak. "I'm in for the tunnel thing too, but seriously recommend against the kid thing. If you do it, do it really far away from, okay? Okay, shoppin' time! Let's go!"
in collaboration with Erode
Once everyone hit the market, they mostly split up with a promise to meet again as soon as they were all done getting what they wanted. For Ames, the first stop was the clothing district. The starting clothes were kind of lame, she wanted something... well, better looking. She also had a very specific question in mind that she wanted an answer to: was transmogrification in CaCo? The search for fashion was one that was brutal and harsh. While certainly craftsmen created things that looked good, or even great, they were still physical objects, things that had to replace one's current equipment to visually replace them too. Some accessories, however, looked to be large enough to at least cover up the red-headed warrior's mismatched outfit. There were cloaks, loose fitting outer robes, and even fursuits (which looked suspiciously like some copyrighted characters...), but as far as equipment which cast an illusionary attire over its wearers, no one had any clue, and the Riens didn't even think it was possible.

It looked like, for the time being, Ames would have to settle for coordinating carefully or purchasing paint and customizing her equipment the old-fashioned way. It was disappointing, but she supposed it made sense. Realism and all. Ah, wait... if she bought something nice and it got torn up she'd feel bad. Then maybe one of those cloaks to cover most of it up? Yeah, let's go with that. After a few more minutes of perusing Ames picked up a rich red colored cloak an put it on, enjoying the swish of it. Okay, what's next...? The red head thought for a few moments, standing off to the side of the street. She wanted to unlock a bunch of classes, open a lot of options for her next class. So... probably something to help with that. In her most recent class search, "bard" came up. That class intrigued her, so she began wandering toward the specialty shops.

Compared to illusionary clothing that only exhibitionists would wish to wear, instruments were much easier to find, and Ames found himself at the storefront of a rather promising shop. Unlike many of the other stalls at the marketplace, this was a proper brick-and-mortar establishment, run by a young man with dark green hair and a wide, easy smile. Though merely a Rien, he had constructed many of the instruments that Immortals were familiar with, as well as an array of musical instruments that Ames was less familiar with. Crystal-powered electric guitars were a popular item, and more than a dozen other humans were milling about the shop when Ames entered.

The price tags on the more 'modern' instruments were quite hefty though. Traditional instruments, such as erhus and shakuhachis, thankfully only cost around 15,000 to 20,000. It was pricey still, of course, but the quality was priceless.

Ames entered, keeping an eye on the shopkeeper as she milled about the store. She couldn't help but think he was kind of cute. Still, she was hear as a customer, not a suitor! After a few moments perusing the wares alongside the others in the store, Ames approached the cute shop keep. While browsing, it was clear whenever Ames' gaze landed on something that piqued her interest, only for the sparkle in her eyes to dim a bit at the price tags. It wasn't so much the price itself, but the fact she'd be basically out of money afterward. But before that there was something important Ames had to find out.

"Hello," she said to young man, offering him a smile. "You have some really nice pieces. I was wondering if you let customers try out an instrument before purchase and if you do... Uh, do you have anything for beginners? I wouldn't want to... I mean. Just in case, haha..."

"You break it, you buy it," the young man replied in a lilting tone. "But yes, feel free to experiment! For those just wishing to start on their musical journey though... hm... you are a warrior, yes? Are you the type that moves around a lot, or the type that stays in one place?"

"Ah..." Yup, Ames expected that traditional shop keep philosophy, and it made his smile quiver a little.

"Yeah, I am a warrior. So far I've been moving around a lot."

"Hm, perhaps ankle bells then? Though not necessarily pure instruments, a performative art is wonderful to witness too." The shopkeeper pivoted, then pulled out a red leather strap, from which a multitude of small bells were attached. They rang as he shook them slightly. "Other than that, I can imagine that a smaller instrument, able to hang from your neck, would work. Perhaps a lyre, flute, or taiko drum?"

"Oh, neat! They're cute!" She handled the bells carefully, thumbing over the metal. She placed it on the front counter and looked back at the man. "A drum might be good too. I'm going to give some of the instruments a try before I decide, but what are we looking at here as far as price goes?"

"Simpler instruments like these would only cost 10,000 rishi per. Though if you're looking for something of finer craft to make your artistic debut with, that'll run you up around 50,000 or more."

"While that would be nice, it's not really in my budget," Ames chuckled. "Thanks, let me try some stuff out."

With the shopkeeper's blessing, Ames picked up one of the string instruments, the lyre the man had recommended. In real life, Ames could barely play the few childhood songs she remembered learning on her family's piano. She put all her energy into sports, so she couldn't handle an instrument at all. However, in CaCo... was it possible to use her "stylish" mode to play one? It helped her in combat, would it help her in other situations too? Gingerly she picked the lyre up and plucked some of the strings.

"..." She plucked a few more, attempted to actually play it and... found that she couldn't. Some of the patrons gave her a skeptical look, and Ames sheepishly returned the instrument to it's place. Well, that answers that question... bummer.

In the end, Ames paid for the ankle bells and put them into the item pouch alongside the halberd that magically fit inside. Speaking of, she opened her menus and sent a message directly to their giant friend Klein. If he wasn't interested in it, she could probably sell it and get some chump change. Maybe put it towards some healing potions that Amulak was berating them over party chat for not buying.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by OwO
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OwO what's this?

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Lv. 29
HP: 341/341 SP: 300/300 MP: 30/30
(300) + 10 + 10% (300) + 0 + 0% (30) + 0 + 0%
STR – 121 (100) + 5 + 15% | AGI – 55 (50) + 10% | END – 42 (40) + 5% | DEX – 40 (40) | LUC – 11 (11)
Star-Studded Rebellion, Pentozali
Weapons
Pickaxe - Uncommon
Shovel - Uncommon

Equipment:
No Helmet
Beasthide Gown - Common Armor
Beasthide Bracers - Common Arm Equipment
No Leg Equipment
Thornspike Boots - Common Shoes

Accessories:
Wrestler's Loincloth - Common Accessory - +10 HP, +5 STR


"Smuch as I'd like to ice a child," Mags added to the Amulak's activity suggestions, "I'd rather not become an outlaw this early on. The tunnels or whatever sounds fun, though."

Mags wasn't exactly morally righteous about the entire child murder affair. After all, she was the type of person that installed more gore and child killing mods to her Senior Rolls playthroughs. It wasn't like it was the real world with actual people. If it was real and the big plot twist at the end of Cacaphony was that it was another world connected by VR, then that wouldn't be her problem either. That'd be probably class action against... whatever company made the game again? She couldn't really remember the name.




Her time at the market was considerably less eventful than the others. She looked for bricks and other cheap throwables so she wouldn't have to rely on rocks all the time. Couldn't find them. She'd probably have to demolish a house or something. Maybe find a wholesale building supply store. Horogi Depot. Hell, she'd make Horogi Depot if she had to. Poisons were also hard to find. It wasn't like she was looking for some nefarious poison, either. She didn't care if it stank to high heaven and make a big skull-shaped cloud o'death when the vial was opened. She wanted to hork poison at the eyes of her enemies, but all she found were vermin removers. Pesky laws, probably. She couldn't ask a guard about it, either. "Hey, where can I get powerful poison?" does not make for a good look.

She decided that she'd instead go for field tools. If she couldn't find bricks to buy, she'd make them. By slamming a pickaxe into a rock, of course! Though, they'd be less brick shaped and be more... rock shaped. Really, she was spending money to ensure that she had a throwable rock wherever there was a large rock nearby.

And she did find field supplies! There were sledgehammers, pickaxes, shovels, drills, and more. Pretty much anything a self-sufficient adventurer needed. Looking at her finances and the levels of tools there were, she decided on purchasing two uncommon ones. A pickaxe and a scoop. Out from her wallet went 16000 Rishi. Uncommon tools were hella expensive, but she now had the ability to dig holes and mine shit. They also scaled pretty well with her STR if they didn't already because of her passive.

Well, all that was left was to go wait for Amulak and the others so they could dungeon the ol' tunnels of necromancy-gittin'.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Psyker Landshark
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Psyker Landshark Judgement NUT End

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Amulak al Acturus (Stanislaw)
HP:900/900 MP:1150/1150 SP: 130/130





Amulak sighed as the rest of these shit cowards around him started bitching about killing kids in a video game. Seriously, had they never played a Grand Theft Auto game in their lives? Or God forbid, Skyrim 2? He rolled his eyes, sending out a message to the others in party chat as they walked off to shop.

[Listen, I'm not asking you to help me kill NPCs, I'll get that done on my own time. I just want to get through Thunderstruck Grove, capiche?]

With that sent out, he went off to make his own preparations. A brief pop-over to an armor shop for a hooded cloak to cover up the miserable clown suit that was his leveling gear before he bought the things he actually needed. Fashion was endgame, after all. But no, after that, he purchased a charm of lightning resistance before blowing the rest of his rishi on health potions, just in case he wasn't in tip top shape by the time he had to actually tank the lightning bolt to the face.

After his shopping was finished, Amulak returned to their initial meeting point, ready to get out there and get his class requirements knocked out of the way.
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Klein

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"Yes, I was looking for a mixture between single hand and double hand? Like something that deals normal damage with one hand and extra damage when equipped as two-handed? Or something that allows me into a bloodlust state? If it also comes with gradually destroying the enemy's armor over a certain amount of hit would also be great? It would be even greater if the weapon is in some sort of set?"

Klein paused, stroking his avatar's beard, feeling its roughness poking against the tip of the fingers before adding more to his request.

"And can I also buy a set of armor from the Gakui-Re? Something that raises their relationship to positive?"

The orc rubbed his jaw. "Those er sum fancy words yer using. Gimme a moment or two, ye? Gotta warn ye ahead of time though. Those bloodlusting weapons ye looking for? Bad news to be dealin' with."

He strode off then, motioning Klein to follow. While much of his stock were simple products, common weapons for new adventurers to buy and gauge their interest in, the products over here had more care and polish put into their construction. Greataxes with a gleaming edge, halberds with armor-breaking spikes, masakaris of ensorcelled jade. The price varied, uncommon weapons fluctuating at 10,000 rishi, while rare weapons floating at 50,000 rish.

"As fer armor...dunno why yer set on em, but the Gakui-Re don't have their own brand, y' know? Not the same way those other clans do."

“Can you be more specific about the bloodlust?” Klein asks the orc, confusion clearly shown in his eyes as he picks up the great ax to test its weight. “Like shouldn’t the bloodlust go away after sometimes?”

The orc smith breathed, then pulled out a pipe to smoke from. "The nature of weapons is empowerment and extra abilities. Some enable you to cast bolts of lightning, others make your attacks more powerful. When a barbarian rages, their rage comes from within. It is something that they are a master of. But when the weapon pushes into its wielder such emotions, cursing them in some way? That's when a weapon is demonic, pulling their wielder to ruin."

A puff of smoke escaped between the orc's lips.

"Only came to Horogi recently myself, but there are stories of cursed weapons all over Gala. Heard even, that within Erid, Sin-Eaters use them specifically to lay waste to their foes. Deneb has their Dark Knights too. For the common warrior though? It's just a liability."

Klein thinks about what the man said, placing the great max between his feet and then use its pommel as a resting point for his elbow. The Caco reason and warrior’s belief for cursed weapons are interesting, to say the least, although not completely alien. Usually, in most games, you can either make the devil or curse to go away, or at least able to neglect the curse by doing some quests. But in this case, Klein wonders if his demon, his passive, can improve through the consumption of these cursed items.

One thing for sure, that passive thing. Whatever he conjured every time Klein entered death's door? Felt very real. He could still remember its warm embrace, its chaotic eyes every time its aura dance upon his skin. And it’s something. Not hunger. Not thirst. Just something there every time it is called to manifest.
Summoning his status page, the info about his passive confirms his suspicions. This was but a first stage, meaning there has to be more.

“What can I get for 14000 rishi?”

And after giving some options, Klein decided to take the cleaver.
Brutal Cleaver - 12,000 rishi
Uncommon Weapon
+10 STR
After hitting an enemy, reduce the damage of their next attack against you by 20.


Although it wasn't what he expecting when getting into the store, at least Klein got his first weapon, Klein thinks as he felt the cleaver that is neatly covered in a brown paper sheet. About 60 cm from tip to handle, or 42 cm for blade portion only. The weapon, as the Orc introduced, was too long to be a cooking material, yet somewhat too short to be used as a sword. And even then, it would not be an effective weapon for its blunt tip and thick blade. Suitable for chopping through armor and slicing bones, not very much to display a feint or flowery moves which most Immortal seems to be after. On the decorative aspect, the brutal cleaver is not that eye-catching. While it does have this dark and brutish vibe as one would expect for such a barbaric weapon, like the curved spine and rustic color for the blade, it is very normal in a sea of broody and gothic-like weapon. Hell, there is even a weapon that bleed... Like a fountain level of blood, which makes sense why there is a bucket beneath it...

Wait, why did he get this again? Klein thinks as he started to wonder whether buying at this smithing was the correct option. But the "no refund" board outside was enough to stop Klein from demanding the refund from the orc.

And with his newly bought weapon in hand, Klein walked back to the Keystone Plaza to get his first-class. And as he placed his hand on the rock, a message popped up on his vision.

[Class: Mountain Man]

    +5% HP | +10% STR | +5% AGI | +10% END
  • Max END equal to or greater than 10. (Current: 17)
  • Consume 5 Monsters without preparation. (Current: 22)
  • Sleep in the wilderness.(Completed)


Requirements fulfilled. Would you like to accept this class?

  • Yes
  • No


Of course, Klein clicked yes. Now, all he needs to do is wait for his status updated.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Cu Chulainn
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HP 550/550 SP 350/350 MP 370/370


Lew's eyes searched through the various talismans that Taka-Ryu had offered, sipping on the fermented rice drink offered to him prior. As usual, he took his time to admire the various origami creations dotting the talisman seller's shop, wondering if such things could also be talismans. Such things were put on the back of Lew's mind, however, as the thought of buying something that isn't a talisman was brought up.

"Does the cloth have any... cloth for sale? Uniforms that would better denote our status?" Lew asked, dreading his mix-matched outfit.

"Oh, if you're talking about just the clothing, feel free to come back over here once you've obtained the job, brother." Taka-Ryu bumped his fist against his chest. "The vestments are tailored to the wearer, so we'll take your measurements and have it ready for you in two days."

The man laughed then.

"Basically though, that's a roundabout way of saying we don't have such attire for sale."

Lew replied to Taka-Ryu's joke with a simple "heh." Knowing Lew for the last few hours, this is the closest thing to an actual laugh he's uttered. Nevertheless, Lew was a bit disappointed he would be unable to look the part. Still, he didn't come here primarily for clothes

"I've finally reconvened with my allies, and I believe we plan to go to... Thunderstruck Grove? Are there any talismans you recommend I prepare in advance for such a trek?"

The Grove, eh? It's a fine training place for exorcists, for sure." Taka-Ryu stroked his chin, then began to pull some talismans off the strings. "Mostly, it's spirits and the oni you have to worry 'bout. I'd recommend these purification talismans if your party's lacking in magic users, and also, if you don't have healers, talismans of healing would be better than talismans of regeneration, due to the mighty swings of the oni. Other than that..."

"May be apt to keep some talismans of swiftness too. Compared to the monsters within the fields and the river, spirits are actively malignant while oni are organized on a wider scale than those goblin raiding parties down at Goldspun Fields."

"Oni and spirits, huh?" Lew thought back to the days when he was considering a Samurai. Perhaps he could approach those dreams again if he went on another solo tirade to earn those requirements, especially if he became an Exorcist, as Taka-Ryu suggested. For now though, Lew was more focused on supporting his allies overall.

"Talismans of Healing are 500 Rishi as usual, right? Might be apt to buy a few Purification Talismans as well. We have only one mage so far, and I've still got about 14 levels yet until I can pursue one of the paths offered here. How much are those, as well as the Swiftness Talismans?"

"Yes, they'll be 500 rishi. If you can afford it though, the 2,500 rishi ones may provide you with a greater safety net if you don't have any healers at all. Other than that...the most affordable variations for Swiftness and Purification are 1000 rishi each."

Lew quickly opened up his party chat to inquire his friends on some of his talisman choices. In the meanwhile. he decided to make his other purchases.

First off, Lew bought himself about 27 of those basic attack talismans. They could serve as filler between his attack rotations, and it's about time he learned how to use them anyway. Next, he decided to purchase one of those uncommon rarity healing talismans as an emergency quick heal. Finally, he grabbed himself about 4 of the common healing talismans, bringing him to about 3000 rishi left to spend between the purification and swiftness talismans.

"I have been considering practicing my talisman skills more. It might be especially important since I'm walking the path of a warrior, rather than that of a mage. That does mean I'll be doing much more business here for the long term, but do you know of any methods or paths I can seek out to help me in perfecting my talisman use? Does the Fair Lady have any sights of pilgrimage or anything of that sort?"

"Geez," Taka-Ryu laughed. "This has to be the most words you've spoken ever since coming here. The capricious nature of our Goddess reduces the amount of holy sites that are truly authentic, but if you ever plan to be in the area, the San-Li clan has quite a few shrines and memorials dedicated to her, due to their alignment with the waters."

"For talismans then...well, you know what they say, brother. Practice makes..."

"The San-Li, huh?" Lew stroked his chin for a moment, recalling the different clans. At some point, Lew and his party would likely join one of them in time. "Hm... I see. And what of the other clans? What does the temple think of them? Alongside that, are there any other paths the Fair Lady would condemn? I know she talls us to do what we desire, but I'm afraid that my quest for power and, more importantly, my desire to score a mons-"

Lew stopped himself once more, smiling slyly and bowing his head as he hands the rest of his rish towards Taka-Ryu.

"Ah, never mind. Sorry for troubling you with my questions, brother. I'll just take two purifications and one swiftness talismans."

"There's always a place of refuge for men of the cloth," Taka-Ryu replied, bundling up the talismans that Lugh requested. "Though the Lady of the Alabaster Scales condemns not the paths that mortals chose to walk, she doesn't condemn what judgments others levy against them either. The nature of freedom, after all, is responsibility, the burden we bear whether benign or malignant."

For a moment, the man looked solemn, his expression one of an enlightened sage rather than a simple talisman vendor.

"Basically though, don't think about it too much and just enjoy yourself! That's why we were born, right?"

Lew only nodded at Taka-Ryu's words, counting the rest of his talismans before placing them all into his inventory. Once his purchases were complete, he bowed once again to the talisman seller, content on his choices. Once his shopping was complete, Lew made his way back to where his group would be meeting at, eager to test out his new talismans on whatever foe they may be facing. Perhaps his choices will save his group from a sticky situation? Or perhaps he may just waste them all, and it will lead to naught but their downfall...

Didn't matter. They respawned.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Yankee
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HP: 510/510 - MP: 500/500 - SP: 450/450
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Making her way back to the Keystone after picking up a couple of potions, Ames was glad to see a few of their group had already returned. She wanted to run her ideas past them anyway, seeing as most were much more familiar with MMOs that she was (and games in general, if she was being honest). In particular, the gigantic Klein who'd been surprisingly elusive today was nearby.

"Hey!" Ames approached the man, waving at him. "What the heck, you been ignoring us? Oh well, you made it anyway. I got that halberd for you." Ames was grinning, joking about the whole 'ignoring' thing and completely oblivious that Klein probably was actually ignoring them. They were quite the dysfunctional group after all.

Once the crew gathered together, Ames spoke up again. "So we're heading to the Thunder, ah... Split? Grove, right? Do some quests, unlock some classes?" The wiggled her eyesbrows at those present before continuing. "I kind of have a plan to unlock some stuff too. The ones that need training at monasteries or gyms can wait for now but... some I think I can kinda do pretty fast. Or at least some of them."

She counted off some of the requirements on her hands as she continued talking, rattling on with nearly no space for others to jump in. "So the Animist one sounds pretty easy. I just wish I looked it up before setting my points. Shouldn't be too hard to just make them even with a few level ups though. Ari said dying wasn't that bad, and one of these other classes says I need to kill an Immortal or NPC with a melee weapon, so I'll probably just kill myself once we're done for the day. That should count right? Oh I also need to kill some animals for that one, I hope it's not to hard to find normal animals instead of monsters. Speaking of monsters I need to use a spell casting weapon as a melee weapon for exorcist? So I bought these ankle bells for becoming a bard because stylish mode doesn't make you good at playing instruments and I can't play any in real life. I figure technically it must be a spell casting weapon, right? 'Cause it's for bards. It might be tricky to use them to kill monsters but I figure I can equip them and just start kicking. That way I'll also get some experience with them and maybe I can make some money to fulfill the other bard requirements, though I dunno if that will be today or not. Uh what else... holding my head underwater for 300 seconds should be fun, I've got good lungs. Well I do, I hope fake-me does too. Then I'll find the specific places I need some other time I guess."

Phew. Ames looked up at the others after her long winded plan. "That all makes sense, right?"
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by ERode
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The Borders of Thunderstruck Grove
Nothing changed for Klein, not really, as he finally accepted his job. A flickering of light, and a screen flashed before his eyes as he jumped more than ten levels in an instant, obtained three new abilities as well. It wasn’t nearly as many levels as the others, but it wasn’t too bad either. With this, at least, he would be able to finally begin growing in strength as well, no longer wholly reliant on his Nuclei’s ability to contribute to the group.

The others had reconvened at the Keystone at this point as well, a dusty, sweaty Raime being the last to join them. While perceiving the world at six times the dilation of a normal individual, the scout had still noticed that many other Immortals were shooting out of Nyu-Taro at speeds rivalling or surpassing his own. For the monsters closest to the city-state, however, as well as the adventurers who actually stopped to fight them, he had been…not a blur exactly, but fast enough of a target that no one bothered. Searching and foraging couldn’t be done on the go though, not unless Raime stopped in place and allowed his subjective time dilation to fade away, and after a session of picking at unknown plants and weeds, he had come away with thirty seven assorted vegetables: eight blue star-shaped herbs, twelve snowflake-esque weeds, ten orange buds with spiralling petals, and seventeen more of those white herbs he suspected were painkillers. The value of his herb collection was hard to tell when Raime had no concrete idea what they were, but at least he had them.

A more concrete form of success, really, was found in a new awareness of how exactly rishi could be made within the game. The wooden planks nailed to the wall informed of escort missions, yes, but also of requests to kill a variety of monsters. Of the Thunderstruck Grove in particular, vagrant onis were going for the price of 20,000 rishi per head, with the proof of kill being their horns. Less extravagant, but still a great bonus, were reanimated warriors. These went for 10,000 rishi, but only if you could find a family crest on them, or any other form of identification. Grieving families didn’t pay, apparently, for corpses of questionable identity. Finally, there was a special commission from the Ryoku-Jo clan, personally funding an endeavor to slay all bandits and criminals within the Grove, offering a reward that could go all the way up to 500,000 rishi. It was a lump sum payment though, apparently based off the infamy of those that were slain rather than the amount, and it required one to bring back the heads of their foes to one of the clan’s outposts for identification and examination.

Regardless, it was with this knowledge that the group set off for the Thunderstruck Grove, taking the northern gate out of the city-state. The terrain became more varied as they walked down the well-trodden path, often passing and being passed by groups of other Immortals. The quality of the gear seen on the bodies of their peers was definitely a couple steps up compared to the type of people who they encountered at the Pearl Bloom River or the Goldspun Fields. A Mohawk-sporting woman in lacquered wood rode a massive bear that sparked and sputtered with crystalline bolts. A slender youth in fine robes carried a well-worn book in one hand and a sundering spear of jade and pearl in another. A bulky shadow, form not betraying the swift silence in which they moved, shot past them, the scarlet of their scarf trailing behind them. Nyu-Taro was the neutral city-state within Horogi, the cradle of this nation’s newest Immortals, and Thunderstruck Grove appeared to be where the strongest of the newbies went to complete their training.

And like that, it stood before them.

Smoke and fog mixed together as scarred, skeletal trees clawed at the sky above. The dirt here was dark, blackened, shrubbery yellowed and sparse. Moss-grown stone statues could be found here and there, some half-consumed by tree roots, others cracked and broken. They served as landmarks; there were no clear roads here, and the obscuring weather swallowed people up whole. Sounds of conflict were muted by the density of the trees, and perhaps some other factor. Only the occasional scream sounded clearly, but maybe that was just from the evil spirits that lingered within this forest? Was that clattering just some loose stones, or of dry bone? Did someone in the party sigh, or was that the breath of a stalking monster? As the party delved into the forest and considered what they ought to prioritize, whether it be bandit hunting, monster slaying, or tunnel searching, there was at least one thing to be optimistic about.

It wasn’t night, yet.
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