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Dragonsong

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  1. Hey, all. When I finished my first semester of college and went home, I dropped off of the radar here. Fortunately I wasn't involved in much of anything yet, so I don't think I've inconvenienced anyone. I do, however, owe Airon an apology for never getting back to him on his generous offer to run a thread for me. At any rate, I'm back now, and I hope to get more involved soon. Cheers.
  2. Defiant Across the Multiverse (Also GMing) Twenty Questions Hell Questionnaire Reputation Chart GM Across the Multiverse (Also IC as Defiant)
  3. "You're a very strange surfacer. But you're not wrong." She turned back again and resumed the gradual climb, leaving Trent confused as to how to proceed. There had been a moment's connection, an understanding that passed between two leaders of dying peoples, but Thane had done nothing to acknowledge it. "Your friend there is lucky, you know," she called over her shoulder. "Someone was watching when he was taken. Someone cared. Often it's the people no one cares about that are taken, and no one even notices." Trent considered the gleaming city he'd seen and tried to imagine Morlocks snatching anyone there without someone trying to stop them. "Who do you mean?" She laughed again, equally bitter. "You're really not from around here. I mean the homeless, mostly. A lot of them go through these tunnels and don't come back out. And there's no one to come looking for them." Homeless... Trent had considered Shyne his home, though it was more a hell than anything else. What did it mean to be homeless? Could a lack of a dwelling be such a social stigma? And then it struck him: his purpose in that new world. "From now on I'll come looking." Thane half-laughed, then turned to look over her shoulder at him, that quizzical gaze on her face again. "For people you don't even know? People no one cares about, even themselves?" Trent nodded his armored head. "If others are already protected, this will be my role. I need to do something I know is right, and I need to do it fully. This will be it." Thane continued to watch him a moment, deep in thought, as though trying to read his emotionless visor. It wasn't long afterward that they reached the mouth of the cave into which Trent had first pursued the Morlocks; sunlight flooded in, once again startlingly bright, though not quite so blinding as the first time. He deactivated his night vision as he stepped toward his exit from the tunnels. "Thank you, Thane. I doubt I'd have had a chance without you." In characteristic fashion she paused a moment, staring, before nodding. "Maybe we will meet again, Trent." As she disappeared back into the darkness, he realized he'd never told her his name.
  4. They walked in silence for some time, the grey-skinned woman picking her way nimbly through the rough caverns and tunnels. Trent was glad she'd offered to guide him out; he could've been lost for years. It was amazing to him that such a vast network of underground passages could exist beneath the unassuming land he'd walked over an hour earlier; they could've sheltered Shyne's rebels for... well, practically forever. Finally he broke the silence. "Thank you for guiding me; to my eyes this place is a maze. What should I call you? She neither slowed nor turned around. "You'd be wise to stay in the world you know, and if you do we'll not meet again. But if you have to call me something, call me Thane." Trent considered her attitude toward him and wondered if there was a history of unpleasantness between humans and... what was Thane, exactly? She spoke again, as if reading his mind. "My people are called Morlocks, and I keep this tribe sane. Most Morlocks aren't any more; they're just violent now. They'd even attack us, let alone your kind." She paused, turning back to face him. "You're not from around here, are you?" Trent shook his head; there was little point in explaining the complicated truth when he himself understood it so little, and he was too tired to think about it. "I'm sorry if I hurt any of your people," he offered after a moment's silence as their ascent toward the surface resumed. Thane laughed bitterly. "We'll hope you didn't. It'd be just what we need; any of half a dozen enemies could see we're weak and wipe us out." She shook her head, suddenly picking up her pace. "It's only a matter of time before we're all dead, the last of the sane, semi-civilized Morlocks wiped off of the map. But you wouldn't understand." Behind his faceplate, Trent raised an eyebrow; that tale was familiar, too familiar. "You'd be surprised, he replied. "You live day to day because you can't think about tomorrow without hating or pitying yourself. And you're tired, very tired, because you can't burden anyone else with knowing that every day could be your people's last." She stopped and turned back again, staring at him intently, quizzically.
  5. "I am so sorry, chieftain," one of the grey-skinned creatures gushed, bowing low as the presence that had advised Trent at the beginning of the battle walked out of the mass of bodies. "Our minds were clouded. We never meant to..." "I know, Koago," came the voice again, strong and icy and distinctly feminine. "Lead everyone back to the village. I'll meet you there when I'm done with this surfacer." The one that had spoken - Koago, apparently - bowed even lower, if that was possible, before moving back amongst the crowd and shouting directions. Trent paid him no further heed; the woman approaching him was his concern. "These are your people, then. That's why you didn't want them harmed." She stood before him now, a foot and a half shorter but radiating the same kind of self-assuredness and iron determination. After a moment, she inclined her head. "That's right. This filthy forktongue," she punctuated her statement with a kick to the scaled creature's stomach, "used magic to turn my tribe into its slaves. Then it had them take your friend there to sacrifice. It would've eaten his heart if you'd arrived much later." Beneath his faceplate, Trent frowned. Apparently these primitives not only believed in magic but had some form of technology he'd never seen before that they'd taken for such supernatural power; for such devices to be in the hands of those who would engage in such horrible, bloody practices was dangerous indeed. But he should be wary; this woman was not only a leader but clearly possessed power of her own. "Thank you for bringing it down, then. I could not have lasted much longer against your people." It was the truth; no shame in admitting it. It was hard to tell by the glow of his infared flashlight, but it looked like she gave him a confused look, as though taken aback by his statement - or his thanks. She was quiet for another few seconds, as though deep in thought. "You probably have no idea where you are. Surfacers have no sense of direction. Come with me and I'll show you the way back to the upworld." He acquiesced with a nod of his head, stepping off of his hoverboard and stowing it away before trudging up the tunnel after her.
  6. In order to achieve a suitably epic exit, Defiant will need to burst through the ranks of Morlocks between him and the tunnel from whence he came. To do this he makes an attack roll against said Morlocks' pitiful defense of 12, which he is incapable of failing even when fatigued save via a natural 1 (and he hits), then goes on to make a strength check (plus 5 ranks of flight) to overrun each of said Morlocks, which goes passably. Despite the low likelihood of STR 13 Morlocks impeding STR 20 Defiant, two of them manage to avoid being tripped by tying the roll. Blasted fatigue. Fortunately, their attempts to trip him in return are pitiful, and Defiant has no trouble resisting their efforts. He makes it almost to the escape tunnel, with two Morlocks between him and freedom and a whole horde of the angry buggers behind him. Fortunately, his temporarily absentee mysterious ally (who delayed her action this turn) chooses that moment to intervene, using perception-ranged telekinesis to bring down the Serpent Person mage-priest; I forgot that it was perception ranged and thus discovered that said ally would have hit even if it hadn't been. The Serpent Person rolls quite well, actually, but not well enough to be saved from unconsciousness given how injured it already is. And that brings the combat portion of the thread to a conclusion.
  7. Breathing heavily and aching head to toe, Trent nonetheless managed to pick up the man he'd freed, smoke still drifting up from the molten remains of the manacles on each wrist. Affixing his feet firmly to his hoverboard via the lightweight nanoseals, the would-be rescuer fired the grav-engine with all the power it could muster from a stop, straight into the crowd of foes. Even as he bore down on them they refused to step aside, but the gravity-wake picked them up and tossed them away like rag dolls. The tunnel from which he'd come drew closer... And then the sheer numbers of the creatures overwhelmed his forward momentum, causing him to gutter to a stop just shy of escape. Two of them still stood between him and the tunnel mouth; grasping his staff in one hand and holding the rescue-ee tightly to his shoulder with the other, Trent could only hope that he could bring these two down before the rest of them closed in from behind. He was weary, and growing moreso by the moment; he could only keep up fighting for his life so much longer, but he couldn't let himself fail when success was so close! And then he heard a crash beside him; the cold-blooded creature he'd fought when he first reached the altar crashed down beside him, unmoving. In an instant, everything changed: the grey-skinned creatures looked around uncertainly, pawing at their eyes, drawing back from where he was standing. He wasn't sure what had changed, or what unseen force had sent their scaled leader flying, but he wasn't about to question the beneficence of fate. Yet as he prepared to rev his hoverboard, a familiar voice rang out again. "So you can fight and follow directions. That's rare in a surfacer."
  8. So focused was he on melting through the second shackle that Trent never saw the cold-blooded being he'd struck down at the altar rise from the floor, hissing. This time it completed its incantation unopposed, hissing terrible syllables of power. Flames raced from its outstretched hands, illuminating the entire scene for the first time: dozens of grey-skinned beings, wrapped in hides and armed with clubs, rocks, and fists, and a single green-scaled being towering over them, dressed in an ornate yellow robe painted with symbols that made the eye water. The flash of illumination overwhelmed Trent's infared flashlight, flooding his eyes with brightness, and he didn't see the gout of flame coming toward him until it was far too late to dodge it. The burning projectile struck him in the side, spattering his armor with superheated particles. But his armor had survived a partial reentry less than an hour before, even if only barely, and the spell could not breach it. The flames lingered for a moment, probing hungrily for flesh to burn, and then guttered out. The scaled creature hissed in outrage. What kind of technology was that? And how did primitives like these get ahold of it? Trent's musings were cut short as a greater mass of his stocky foes than ever before swarmed up onto him; eight of the thickset creatures pounced him at once, bearing him down to the stone with their weight just as the second shackle popped apart. He hoped he wasn't crushing the newly-freed man. Pushing up as hard as he could, he found that he couldn't rise. The weight was too great this time, perfectly spaced along his back, holding him down. This has to happen. I have to get up. I am not going to die here, with so many questions unanswered. Clenching every muscle in his body, his eyes screwed up in concentration, his tongue held between his teeth so hard that a bead of blood formed in his mouth, Trent summoned reserves of strength born of a lifetime of day to day survival. And bit by bit he rose, his arms and legs shaking under the strain, until he was kneeling rather than kissing the ground. And then, with one final effort, he threw his arms back. Eight assailants, as one, tumbled back into the mass around him.
  9. In order to keep up the danger as Defiant attempts to burn through the shackles of the prisoner he intends to rescue, the number of Morlocks grappling him will increase by two for each round he remains at the altar. That brings it to six for this round, for a DC to beat of 21; some of them are still quite poor at the Aid action, despite the low DC. Trent remains a beast at grappling, and manages to throw them off a second time. In the following round, as Defiant burns through the second (and, fortunately, final) chain, the Serpent Person mage-priest regains his senses and attacks with a blast of flame. That proves far more than enough to hit Defiant, but he manages to shrug it off. The Morlocks prove exceptionally mighty when eight of them are brought to bear against a single target, with a DC to beat of 31, enough to really scare even Defiant. He applies extra effort and spends a hero point for a preemptive reroll, which proves wise; his initial roll is pathetic. But the re-roll becomes a true display of beastly, beastly might as he manages to beat the DC! Huzzah for victory against the odds. Defiant is now fatigued and sans his starting hero point, so hopefully things don't get worse from here on out...
  10. The struggle ended as the dark-armored form of Defiant exploded out from the press of bodies, tossing his attackers back down from the altar in a display of both clever wrestling and raw muscle power. But it was only a momentary victory; the stone platform was completely surrounded by a swarm of bodies, each eager to rend him limb from limb. Trent cast around for some alternative to fighting them all, eight at a time; their clubs were unlikely to do much against his armor, but eventually he would be overwhelmed. No easy solution was forthcoming. On the other hand, he'd managed to throw off four of the creatures at once; perhaps he could simply barrel through them using his own bulk and the thrust of his hoverboard. But he hadn't come this far to leave the man chained below him to rot. Leaning down, he began to burn through the chain binding the kidnap victim's left arm, the end of his blast-staff glowing brightly as it channeled tremendous energy. But his stocky foes were not about to let him steal their prize so easily. Again the stunted beings swarmed up the sides of the altar, grabbing at Trent's arms, legs, torso, neck, whatever they could reach, and pulling with all their might. But again he managed to throw them off, panting under the strain, and cast them back down into the mass seething around him. The first shackle fell away, the chain red and smoking just below the cuff, and the dark-armored hero turned to the other one. But the grey-skinned beings continued to converge, the ones at the back pressing the ones around him ever onward...
  11. Still baffled as to what's going on but determined to do the right thing, Trent charges forward and attacks the leader of the Morlock kidnappers: a mage-priest of the Serpent People. His swing is good, and deals his foe a solid blow, nor can the snake resist the stunning prowess of the shock prod. This should leave the priest unconscious, but vile villain fiat enables him to stay up for the count, though staggered and doubly stunned. Trying to avoid the ignominious defeat of the first Morlocks to go down, four of them pounce Defiant to grapple him. Technically they should've had to hit him first, but that rule was disregarded given the situation, and to generate a little more danger. One of them rolls a natural 20, but only one of the other three makes the aid check, for a DC to beat of 26. Fortunately, Defiant is a beast at grappling, and manages to tie that result. He's kept them at bay... for now.
  12. He made it to the altar, if only barely; the humanoids had tried to rush in to bar his path, but the speed of his hoverboard had been greater than that of their feet. Still, with the cavern's low ceiling, it wasn't as if he could fly over them. His escape route was blocked; if anything, his situation was worse. At least his newfound ally had spoken truthfully; he could see a human-sized body on the altar, breathing shallowly but alive. Standing between him and his goal, however, was something as tall as he was, but much colder. He heard the creature hiss, then begin reciting strange syllables in the same rumbling voice that had ordered his death; whatever the being was, it seemed to be the leader behind the entire situation. Again Trent wondered at the strangeness of his life; he'd been in this place perhaps half an hour and here he was, fighting for his life against creatures he'd never seen before to save someone he'd never met. But he couldn't let that distract him. Raising his staff, he swung it in a downward arc at the cold, hissing thing. Nine long years of constant struggle had taught Trent many things, but he had learned the most in the art of combat. His staff caught his target in what he estimated to be the side of the head, the electrical discharge of the shock prod flaring orange-white in the darkness for a moment, and pitched the creature to the ground, where it lay unmoving. Stepping calmly over it, Trent leapt atop the altar in the hopes of finding it an easier position to hold against the hordes closing in on him. Despite their leader's fall, they came onward. Still keeping icily calm, a feat he managed only thanks to years of practice, Trent noted that manacles bound the kidnap victim to the stone beneath; it would take time to burn through the metal, time he did not have. He could not have escaped with the man even if there were a path out. There was no sign of his supposed ally, either; he needed a plan, and he needed it quickly. And then, an instant later, a tangle of stocky grey bodies pounced on him, trying to bear him down with their combined weight...
  13. Thanks! I see that your tech-fu is stronger than mine. Really, though, much appreciated. Have a good one!
  14. "Outsider," boomed a deep, rumbling voice, "you profane this place with your presence." "I apologize," Trent calmly replied, trying to identify who had spoken, "but I'll be present until you surrender your captive, unharmed." The voice boomed with rough laughter. "Bold words for one so badly outnumbered. Take him, my tribe; we will add him to our offering to the Unspeakable One." Wordlessly Trent whipped his staff off of his back and assumed a ready position, the dim glow of its blasting end barely present in the overwhelming darkness. There were far too many to fight; he was in deep trouble. In that moment he felt a new presence beside him, slightly taller than the others. "Don't hurt them more than you have to," came a whisper, "or I'll hurt you far worse when this is over. The one you're looking for is on the altar, in the center of the chamber. The priest is mine." Before Trent could so much as ask what any of that meant, one of the two beings that had brought him to the chamber hit the floor with a solid thud. Sweeping out with his staff, he knocked the legs from beneath the other, sending him the ground as well. The closest threat neutralized, Trent took off for the center of the chamber, hoping to reach the altar of which he'd been told before the swarm of bodies coming in from all sides could reach him. From there... well, he would have to improvise.
  15. When the Morlocks attack, Defiant proves faster by far; the Morlocks are physically incapable of beating that roll. His newfound ally, however, is faster still. While said ally takes down one Morlock with perception-range telekinesis, Defiant smacks another down with his staff. Both are out like lights, the disadvantage of being PL3.
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