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The Rules of Engagement (Prototype x MCU)

Discussion in 'Questing' started by Hesabit, Nov 10, 2016.

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  1. Threadmarks: 4. Leah
    Hesabit

    Hesabit Getting out there.

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    On the way to the leviathan you stumble into ________.

    Literally stumble into - you run about as well as a drunk person drives, enthusiastically but without much skill as more than one parked car can attest. She's no more than a mouthful nestled in a cardboard wrapper and surrounded by a throne of trash and slowly bleeding out. You stepped on her arm and broke it badly, but it's not the worst of her wounds. Half a grubby leg is simply gone, nothing more than a charred stub, and the coppery tang of blood has soaked through her shirt and caked itself on the ground. Beneath the grime she's shivering and unnaturally pale. She doesn't shriek when you thrust your hideous visage inquisitively above hers and give her an inquisitive sniff. She's not conscious. She is, however, alive. Deliciously so. A tendril sinks into her skin, and then another, and although the process takes seconds and the pain must be excruciating she never opens her eyes.

    A connection is made.

    You wake up.

    --------------

    Leah Lacroix

    --------------

    You wake up feeling bloated. Not just full, stuffed to the point of suffering. It's a very nostalgic feeling. Hobos don't usually feel full, teenage hobos doubly so.

    It's also the sort of feeling that'd drive a girl to bulimia or drink or whatever it is teens who have less to worry about than their next meal do, and you immediately throw yourself to the side of the road blargh right there in broad daylight, feeling like you're about to toss not only your cookies, but your milk and cheerios too. God. You thought you couldn't feel embarrassed anymore, but here you are, cheeks heating because you're in public, because you told them you didn't need minding, because, because, because, the usual litany. You grimly try to hold it in: someone's probably going to call the pigs on you, and Fred's going to have such a shit fit, but to your consternation you retch and the beginning of what feels like an entire human being scrapes itself out of your throat.

    It takes a while because - and here your brain mercifully short circuits before coming back online - because

    Um.

    It's a suit of armor? Coming out of your mouth? Kind of crumpled up and squished but. Yeah. Suit of armor. Real icky looking too, like not a knight-in-shining armor, or dark knight sort of look at all.

    What the heck.

    Is this a dream? You pinch yourself, but before the pain registers you realize that something's off. There's the smell of smoke in the air. And a sound - screaming, far off, nothing strange, but also different, this is New York, but you don't hear the honking horns or the just this weird pitchy thrum and a bass roar like a subway station but far off.

    Almost unwillingly you look up.

    There's a hole in the sky.

    And it's raining motherfucking gosh darnit aliens.

    [​IMG]

    You promptly lose your cool scream.

    This is a mistake. Either drawn by your shrill noisehole or simply on their way, smaller aliens start raining down on your position, each impact raising a small cloud of pulverized concrete. They're armed too, you realize belatedly as the ground next to your feet explodes. Another hits the ground right next to you and instead of killing you, opens its facemask and screams directly in your face.

    [​IMG]

    You punch his (her?) ugly mug out of sheer horrified reflex. Fred keeps telling you to aim lower, but that's not something you can do very well, just yet, you mostly do things out of instinct.

    There's not much force behind your meager punch, but your hand seems to have a mind of its own, and promptly sinks into the alien, taking out, or absorbing, half its lower jaw. You're not sure who's more surprised by your spontaneous display of superpowers, but you do know who's more surprised by the blow from behind because the searing heat that slams into your back and sends you crashing to the ground comes seriously out of nowhere.

    You whimper as your vision shutters and you once again wake up.

    --------------

    Damien

    --------------

    Well.

    That was interesting.

    You get up, muscles rearranging themselves, biomass decompressing and exploding outwards even as another round burns itself into your back, explodes and sends you end over end and finally into a wall. If not for the fact this is a preset form there'd be no way you could shift your physiology so quickly to become combat effective. You have a lot of questions, but those can wait. Leah had the right idea: you're not sticking around to fight an army.

    You'll hunt from the shadows.

    You let yourself fall limp where you rolled.

    You understand, you understand so much more now.

    --------------

    Hours later you are alive, and most of the chitauri you consumed are satisfyingly dead and you are off to... other parts.

    Less satisfyingly, there's a voice in your head.

    It calls itself 'Leah.'

    --------------

    QM note: Your rolls are amazing. You're actually being haunted.

    Gains
    Exp: +25 xp (Amazing! Significant amounts of new input received)
    Biomass: +10 (Adequate.)


    Leah Lacroix. Rolled female for gender, Neutral Good for alignment, 92 for powers (latent Inhuman). If exposed to terrigen mist she'd have had the power of soul transferral. You would need to spend 120 xp to unlock this power or be exposed to terrigen mist yourself.

    You also gain (choose 2):

    [ ] English 2: You can read, write, speak and listen to English at the level of your average middle schooler.
    [ ] Begging 2: You know how to look young and vulnerable enough that a kind soul might be willing to give you a little bit more.
    [ ] Chitauri Armor 2: You know how to use and maintain basic Chitauri armor to the level of a Chitauri recruit.
    [ ] Chitauri Firearms 2: You know how to use and maintain basic Chitauri firearms to the level of a Chitauri recruit.
    [ ] Chitauri Vehicles 2: You know how to use and maintain basic Chitauri vehicles to the level of a Chitauri recruit.
    [ ] Leviathan Fins 1: After consuming the fin of a Leviathan you can mimic the biotech thrust of a Leviathan that allows for precision maneuvering in both space and on earth. Without an actual means to sustain flight, your fins are rather inefficient and will quickly deplete your available biomass should you use them for anything other than momentary thrust.
    [ ] Leviathan Armor 1: You can mimic the biotech armor covering the Chitauri Leviathan. Meant for a creature far larger and with less articulations than you, this armor will significantly slow you down. However, its defensive powers are extraordinary and would allow you to survive in a variety of inhospitable climes.

    Where do you go now?

    [ ] Not far, you plan to return to New York soon.
    [ ] Canada
    [ ] write-in

    What do you do when there? (Choose 3)

    [ ] Talk to Leah
    [ ] Get to know the place
    -[ ] How?
    [ ] Hunt
    -[ ] Who? (what kind of people do you target)
    -[ ] How? (how do you hunt them - out in the open, stealthily?)
    -[ ] How many? (What's your target number)
    [ ] Train
    -[ ] write-in
    [ ] Develop a new skill
    -[ ] write-in
    [ ] Develop a new power
    -[ ] write-in
    [ ] Write-in
     
  2. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    Holy carp that is nice!
    we could now eat not only biomass, but also souls!

    question, are we aware IC of the need to expose to terrigen mist?
     
  3. Hesabit

    Hesabit Getting out there.

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    Actually, you can't eat souls yet, Leah had a weird quasi-awakening and hitched a ride on you. At a high enough level that's effectively what would happen though, you'd be kind of like Agent Smith. Hopefully we'll never get there because that's pretty much a 'and the PC became god and good game everyone time to go home.'

    You aren't aware, IC, of the need to expose yourself to terrigen mist yet though.
     
  4. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    Well yes, obviously. I figured that is something we would get in the future.
    The setting does contain a bunch gods though.

    [x] Plan dark knight
    [x] Leviathan Fins 1
    [x] Leviathan Armor 1

    The Chiutauri tech skills are nice-ish, but not terribly useful in the short-mid term.
    Begging and english are nice, but we can just eat random humans to get them.
    I doubt we will find another leviathan to eat for a long while.

    [x] Not far, you plan to return to New York soon.

    As tempting as canada is, it's too nice a place. We need conflict to grow.

    [x] Talk to Leah
    [x] Hunt
    -[x] "bad" people
    -[x] Stalk the night looking for rapists, murderers, villains, etc. also perform honeypot trap where we appear as an innocent vulnerable girl walking down dangerous dark alleys.
    -[x] As many as we find.
    [x] Train
    -[x] Consumption II
    -[x] Compression II
    -[x] Shapeshifting II

    We need food, we are newborn and easily influenced, so I figure leah can direct us to "bad people" instead of killing willy nilly and hopefully we can develop some moral character unlike that asshole alex mercer.
     
  5. Ct613hulu

    Ct613hulu Experienced.

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    [X] English 2: You can read, write, speak and listen to English at the level of your average middle schooler.
    [X] Begging 2: You know how to look young and vulnerable enough that a kind soul might be willing to give you a little bit more.

    [X] Not far, you plan to return to New York soon.


    [x] Talk to Leah

    [x] Hunt
    -[x] "bad" people
    -[x] Stalk the night looking for rapists, murderers, villains, etc. also perform honeypot trap where we appear as an innocent vulnerable girl walking down dangerous dark alleys.
    -[x] As many as we find.

    [x] Train
    -[x] Consumption II
    -[x] Compression II
    -[x] Shapeshifting II
     
  6. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    There are literally 942 million english speakers in the world. All we have to do is eat some of them and we can get the skill. And begging is practically useless, and there are even more of those than english speakers.

    It will be a very very long time before we get to eat chitauri leviathan again. And even if we do, we can't get ALL the skills from a single consumption so we would need to eat multiple leviathans to get them all.
     
  7. Ct613hulu

    Ct613hulu Experienced.

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    I agree with that but I want our protagonist to develop into a more social character as quickly as possible. Our available options are significantly limited until we learn how to speak. My intention is for Beginning to supplement out rudimentary language and social skills.

    I also think that you are overestimating the ultility of the armor and mobility upgrades that we can get from the Leviathan. How would becoming able to clumsily fly at great cost or armor that significantly reduces mobility help our protagonist in the near future? The greatest advantage possessed by our character is the fact that no one knows that he exists. We should try to maintain this state for as long as possible and taking on flashy upgrades seems like it would run counter to that goal.
     
  8. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    Hesabit about the skills we have available to choose from at level 2, will we get level 1 version of them if we do not pick the level 2?
    that is, if we do not pick english 2 will we get english 1?
    Also, I am surprised we didn't get chitauri language from all the living chitauri we ate.
    1. You only justified english, you have made exactly zero justifications for taking begging skill.
    2. we can get english next update. There are exactly 0 living leviathians and chitauri on earth right now.
    3. I am well aware that the skills I chose are highly limited at level 1. The point is that they will be useful in the future. We are talking about very rare skills that could be the basis of something extremely powerful in the future once they get leveled up. But the main motivator is their rarity.
    4. Why do you think not knowing english and begging will expose us? we have left survivors who saw us already in the war (see the child that screamed when we tried to eat an adult and sent us running), and we have a human form now that we are explicitly using for hunting in the streets at night. And our behavior so far favored stealth. So there is no reason for us to be exposed from not having english or begging skills
     
  9. Hesabit

    Hesabit Getting out there.

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    Nope, sorry, Consumption 1 is by design annoyingly limited.
     
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  10. Hesabit

    Hesabit Getting out there.

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    Going to ask for a tie-breaker.
     
  11. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    subsider34 likes this.
  12. Avalon Du Lac

    Avalon Du Lac Versed in the lewd.

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    [x] Talk to Leah
    [x] Hunt
    -[x] "bad" people
    -[x] Stalk the night looking for rapists, murderers, villains, etc. also perform honeypot trap where we appear as an innocent vulnerable girl walking down dangerous dark alleys.
    -[x] As many as we find.
    [x] Train
    -[x] Consumption II
    -[x] Compression II
    -[x] Shapeshifting II
     
  13. Hesabit

    Hesabit Getting out there.

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    Still need that tie-breaker.
     
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  14. subsider34

    subsider34 Versed in the lewd.

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    [X] English 2: You can read, write, speak and listen to English at the level of your average middle schooler.
    [X] Leviathan Fins 1

    [X] Not far, you plan to return to New York soon.


    [x] Talk to Leah

    [x] Hunt
    -[x] "bad" people
    -[x] Stalk the night looking for rapists, murderers, villains, etc. also perform honeypot trap where we appear as an innocent vulnerable girl walking down dangerous dark alleys.
    -[x] As many as we find.

    [x] Train
    -[x] Consumption II
    -[x] Compression II
    -[x] Shapeshifting II
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016
  15. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    why... just fucking why. At least he gave an explanation for why he wants english but taking begging is just RETARDED. there are literally 0 leviathians left on earth. we are never getting their anti gravity flight or the spaceship armor plating options again.

    there are countless beggars out there we can eat for that skill later.
     
  16. subsider34

    subsider34 Versed in the lewd.

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    Because you needed a tiebreaker, not yet another option with but a single vote. The choice was between your vote and Ct613hulu's. Of the two, only theirs improves our ability to communicate. Which is important, as it directly impacts our decision to speak with Leah.

    While we could go without it, the lack of linguistic understanding would make miscommunications more likely. Besides, going out of our way for her benefit helps give a good first impression.

    EDIT: There we go, fixed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016
  17. Hesabit

    Hesabit Getting out there.

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    Not that I really mind either way, but this isn't plan voting. If you want English 2/Fins 1 or Begging 2/Armor 1 that vote would win.

    I'm writing up the update now with the assumption that English 2/Begging 2 is going to win, but you have enough time to change your mind as the update will likely only appear in ten or twelve hours.
     
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  18. subsider34

    subsider34 Versed in the lewd.

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    Well in that case, let's go with English 2/Fins 1 (my earlier vote has been changed).
     
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  19. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    Ok, not knowing that we are voting by line is a decent enough justification
    I can live with this compromise.
     
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  20. Hesabit

    Hesabit Getting out there.

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    Votes locked, thank you all.
     
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  21. Threadmarks: 5. Week 1
    Hesabit

    Hesabit Getting out there.

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    Leah has opinions. Many, many opinions. This would be a more exciting development if so many of her opinions did not revolve around not eating.

    You can't!

    Case in point.

    Your biomass quivers in frustration as you put down the small scrap of feline quadruped and watch it go. It scampers down the dimly lit, trash-ridden alley, and then, proving itself unworthy of its gene pool, comes right back towards you and rubs itself against your legs. You feel strangely touched by this gesture. Also, hungry. All you'd need to is snatch it with a tendril and-

    You suspect Leah capable of reading your mind because she tells you, warningly: Don't even think it!

    "Why?" you huff. One of the trash bags you were rooting through moments ago falls over, spilling its contents all over the ground. Neither you, Leah, nor the feline react.

    It's cute, Leah informs you.

    You find this reasoning to be evidence of a defective mind and mention as much as you kneel down to pick up the small creature. It blinks at you. You blink back. Some weird strange part of you wants to scratch its neck and fluff its fur but sanity prevails.

    [​IMG]

    You open your mouth, a strand of saliva being revealed and-

    No!

    You are uncertain which human mannerism expressing dissatisfaction would be most appropriate and settle with a frown. You don't put the cat back down on the off-chance it'll jump into your mouth (surely no one could complain if you took a nibble then) and give in into the weird and wild impulse to scratch its neck.

    It hums. It's a strangely endearing sound.

    "Why?" you repeat plaintively.

    Because doing that would be... um, well not bad, exactly, but uh, kind of gross?

    "You called eating rats gross too," you point out. Leah's favorite word, you discovered within minutes of meeting her, is 'gross'. Well, second to the ever dreaded 'no' anyway. "And cockroaches. And mice. And trash..."

    Your expression goes momentarily dreamy. Leah has informed you there exist places where humans just dump out biomass (trash) by the ton. They're called 'dumps'. You can't wait to find one.

    Yes, but it's not the same! she says.

    You don't see how, honestly. Both are living, both are non-human, both share human habitats, the list goes on. It's been a week since you awoke and most of it was spent not eating. Most of it, in fact, was spent figuring out what was permitted.

    Yes, permitted.

    Leah has laid out some ground rules. She claims that if you don't follow these rules God will strike you down. You don't know who this 'God' fellow is, but are very impressed when informed he can control thunder and lightning and turn people into salt and knows everything and is all-powerful - he was probably the one hitting all the space whales and knocking them out of the sky. Clearly not someone to trifle with.

    So, ground rules: no murdering people or coveting wives. Apparently there are eight other rules, but Leah doesn't remember them, or doesn't think they're very important ('Stealing is more of a guideline than a rule,' she tells you piously when requested to clarify on that score). You're a little worried that you've already coveted a wife, having done a lot of speculative people-eating, but apparently it's a very different sort of coveting.

    Right now, you're in a place called 'New Jersey' - pronounced New Joisey. You think it looks a lot like New York minus the aliens but Leah strongly disagrees. Even about the aliens. It's what makes her so useful: if you were to do this all alone, you'd no doubt run into a lot of misunderstandings. Leah has kindly led you into a semblance of anonymity that will be very useful. Because according to Leah there is more than just 'God' to contend with. There're the police who tend to be very mean and have guns, there're 'gangs' who are meaner and bad to boot, there are 'superheroes' of which Leah is a big fan, and 'supervillains' of which she is not. There are even acronymous organizations like the CIA, NSA, FBI, and SHIELD, but Leah doesn't really know much about them though she is of the general opinion it'd be best not to get their attention because rumor has it they're big on dissection.

    The aliens are new. Leah's not really sure where they came from. You're new too: Leah hasn't heard of anything like you before. She thinks you might be an alien yourself. You are fairly certain you are not.

    There's a sound at the entrance of the alleyway.

    Leah has informed you it's not nice to swear, but it's difficult not to at least think it. Because fucking finally.

    "Well, well, well, what do we have here?"

    You hide your smile and let the cat go. You're not a wife of any kind, but Leah has told you that people who covet girls that look like you do and do bad things to them are capital-B bad.

    And Bad people?

    You can eat.

    -----

    Gains: +12xp (adequate), +12 biomass (adequate), +knife (3, assorted), +gun (1, revolver), +money (147.00$). Scavenging I. Consumption II, Shapeshifting II, Compression II. You are now hungry. Character sheet updated.

    Choose 3 skills:
    [ ] Close Quarters Combat II - The ability to take and give out hits. At this level it's more or less untutored brawling, but at least you're somewhat experienced and know how to avoid the usual tricks.
    [ ] Intimidation II - The ability to scare people. Depending on your appearance you can gain or lose a great deal. At this level, you can reliably scare young children and can let others know you mean business.
    [ ] Gun Safety and Maintenance I - You know how to take care of a gun, if not necessarily how to use it.
    [ ] Gun Combat II - You can reliably hit a stationary target.
    [ ] Knife Fighting III - When you prick someone, they'll bleed. At this level, you're good enough to be able to defend yourself from a knife attack even if you weren't a viral abomination.
    [ ] Driving III - You know how to drive a car. You might not be great at it, but at this level you're basically indistinguishable from the average driver.
    [ ] The Joisey Black Market I - You are aware of the New Jersey underground and while not keenly enough to navigate its currents, you're good enough to know who knows how to get in.

    After all the training you do to develop yourself, and your restricted diet, you're really hungry. How do you deal with this? (Obligatory Food-Related Action)

    [ ] You look for the supposed 'dumps'
    [ ] You rob a supermarket at night.
    [ ] You Hunt.
    -[ ] Who? (what kind of people do you target)
    -[ ] How? (how do you hunt them - out in the open, stealthily?)
    -[ ] How many? (What's your target number)
    [ ] Write-in

    What else do you do? (Choose 2. You can pick one of the above options as well)

    [ ] Investigate
    -[ ] What? (example: Superheroes, Supervillains, etc.)
    -[ ] How? (example: newspapers, books, internet)
    [ ] Train (using XP and biomass)
    -[ ] Choose any number of powers or skills
    [ ] Develop (without using XP)
    -[ ] Choose 1 power or skill. Roll 2d5 to see how much XP is gained. Can pick a power or skill you don't yet have (e.g.: Superstrength) although there must be some sort of justification as to how you got it (example: hunting gorillas and bears). Minimum 10xp necessary to unlock it. Any additional power counts as an additional action slot.
    [ ] Socialize/Infiltrate
    -[ ] what? (example: local high school, a yachting club, government, laboratory)
    -[ ] how? (example: pose as a cop, pose as a journalist, etc.)
     
  22. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    [x] Close Quarters Combat II - The ability to take and give out hits. At this level it's more or less untutored brawling, but at least you're somewhat experienced and know how to avoid the usual tricks.
    [x] The Joisey Black Market I - You are aware of the New Jersey underground and while not keenly enough to navigate its currents, you're good enough to know who knows how to get in.
    [x] Knife Fighting III - When you prick someone, they'll bleed. At this level, you're good enough to be able to defend yourself from a knife attack even if you weren't a viral abomination.

    Knife fighting probably applies when we improve our shapeshifting to form knifes, even until then we can easily be armed with a knife and it also applies to dodging knife attacks from enemies.
    CQC is really useful since our main combat method is to grapple the enemy and then eat them.
    Black market because it is a source of info and probably has bad people in it.

    [x] Find and get to the nearest ranch, at night sneak in and consume livestock.

    I noticed there is "animal skills" on the front page and am curious what we will get. And leah did say no stealing is only a "guideline". This should also fill our biomass meter completely.

    [x] Train (using XP and biomass)
    -[x] Consumption III

    Consumption is our most useful trait to level up. Since it increases the number of "free skills" we get from eating, as well as the level of the skills we can acquire from eating.
    The farm animals will provide the experimental subjects.

    [x] Investigate
    -[x] Organized crime
    -[x] Talking to people in the black market.

    I am tempted to research supervillains and superheroes on the internet in a public library. But I am saving it for next turn, right now we need to aim a bit lower, like organized crime syndicates which are mmm mmm delicious meat to us.

    Incidentally, I am curious to later on find out more about leah herself and why she is a homeless child. Can we get adopted? did she run away because her parents were abusive? Could we reconnect with some family and go to school?

    ----
    Nice update btw, it was quite fun, and funny.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016
  23. Hesabit

    Hesabit Getting out there.

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    I can probably work this into a story post at some point, maybe even the next story post. If I forget to include a 'Miscellaneous Actions' option for the next story post (where you can do something so long as its fairly trivial - make a phone call, buy a newspaper, ask Leah a question, etc.) do remind me.
     
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  24. subsider34

    subsider34 Versed in the lewd.

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    [X] The Joisey Black Market I
    [X] Knife Fighting III
    [X] Intimidation II

    Intimidation II allows us to make ourselves be taken seriously. That's kinda important if we want to get people talking or infiltrate most places.

    [X] You look for the supposed 'dumps'

    Don't hold her back from her dreams! Especially when eating fauna is too 'gross' to do. We need to ease Leah into permitting consumption of such. We can't afford to be starving on a journey to a ranch either, we'd likely end up doing something...ill advised and poorly considered either on the way our when we get there.

    [X] Develop (without using XP)
    -[X] Scavenge II

    The food vote allows us to practice this skill anyways, and having a better grasp on how to find what you need is always useful.

    [x] Investigate
    -[x] Organized crime
    -[x] Talking to people in the black market.

    [X] Ask Leah about her family.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2016
  25. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    We already possess both of those abilities. did you mean superspeed ii and compression iii?

    and we don't have the biomass for either upgrade.
     
  26. subsider34

    subsider34 Versed in the lewd.

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    Gah, I got so caught up in experience management that I forgot the other requirement. And since the food vote comes after...yeah let me fix that.
     
  27. subsider34

    subsider34 Versed in the lewd.

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    Alright, done.

    EDIT: Actually changed things up just a bit more. Adopted mrttao's investigation vote.
     
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  28. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    From the way we got scavenge I, I think such skills develop organically based on our choices.
    then again, maybe it is a valid choice.
    Hesabit can you clarify?
     
  29. Hesabit

    Hesabit Getting out there.

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    You can purposefully focus on developing your scavenge ability so it's a valid vote. Having an entire action slot devoted to social actions (like talking to Leah) will net you social-ish skills. Scavenge I isn't really social, but you've got a very alien mindset right now so her poking you into learning how to Scavenge so you won't just go around eviscerating people who look tasty is actually an important social skill. If you continue talking to her you might learn other things like 'Begging I' or 'Small Talk I' or 'Street Smarts I' and so on.

    Also, tie-breaker again? Alternately, I could flip a coin or something. Or you two could come to some sort of compromise, the update won't come out until tomorrow sometime anyway so there's still time.
     
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  30. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    Hesabit I just noticed that this is in the regular (not NSFW) section of QQ. no wonder there are so few people here. that section of the site is practically dead.

    If you move it to NSFW you would get a lot more players likely, but they are gonna be a bunch of perverts who will likely try to push lewd things. If you do not want that, then maybe restarting this quest in SV or SB might be a better idea.

    I really like the idea of this quest. It just doesn't seem to be gaining the player count.
     
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