Unlikely as it must be for you to believe, he did return to us. He was not perfect, but the Everyman was an honest and genuine person. He gave up everything - spent his last few days he had to live giving us peace and hope...
- Arek, Former Chief Historian for the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, current Dean of the Everycollege
The Followers did not assimilate easily. It turns out that the same fluid which gave the Inner Circle their powers was also added to the water supply in very small doses. Carefully controlled, this was effective in ensuring a unity of purpose in the general public while keeping the full potential of its powers out of the hands of each and every citizen. The withdrawal from this drug was highly unpleasant...
Many Commonwealth soldiers and citizens labored to rebuild the areas which were under the cult's domination. Chief among them were the Doctor and former Admiral Gast...
In the Commonwealth, the transition was not perfect. Some of the remnants of the much-despised Allocations Department morphed the organization into a criminal empire...
Excerpts from the afterword to "A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe"
I find myself in a troubling situation. I am a man of logic, a man of reason, and yet I must write down and stand by a story so improbable as to be almost fantasy. There is a bit of serendipity there, however. I am renowned all over the Commonwealth as a skeptic. Before I begin, then, let my words stand reinforced with the strength of all of my renown, all of my credibility.
I was there when the Everyman returned...
Days after the battle, we found him floating in the Void near the place where Chairman Jack was trapped. His hand was still clasped around the neck of the last member of the Icosahedron's Inner Circle...
We brought him back to the city to be recognized. I do not know how many people believed he was who he said he was. It was not until much later, when the Commonwealth military dissolved and the survivors of the battle returned, that the general populace believed the Everyman had actually walked among us again, albeit briefly...
We sent his body to the Black Star as is our tradition...
Upon his death, the portals to the Lord Protector's Manor disappeared. Fortunately, he was at Fort Ryan at the time and the area was vacant...
When he learned that the Followers had been defeated, Torx retired and the Lord Protector relinquished his title...
Weir survived his injury. He gave up the martial life and became a politician. You likely know him as the first Chancellor of the Commonwealth Assembly...
You take advantage of the situation to throttle the High Priest of the Icosahedron. Your hands close around his windpipe as he struggles.
You feel weak. Your vision blurs; you hold on as long as you can...
You take the SPRING out of your INVENTORY and brace for impact.
He MANIFESTS a BOULDER and sends it hurtling toward you.
You specify an orifice into which the High Priest can shove his destructive philosophy. You are the sworn enemy of entropy. You may lose the battle for your own existence, but human life will continue, you swear it.
You soar around the SPACE/TIME DISTORTION toward him.
"Reason with him."
You maneuver yourself such that the SPACE/TIME DISTORTION is between the two of you. You tell him you want to talk.
"I have nothing to say to the Everyman. You prevent the unification, you attacked our city, you destroyed the source of our power. You will die."
"Be ready to create something to stop anything the cultist tries to attack Jack with, we can't lose him like we lost Snuffy."
At the rate he's going, it'll take years to get out of that BUBBLE. You guess the only consolation there is that anything the High Priest throws at him will be moving just as slowly once it enters the sphere.
Chairman Jack's dive stops suddenly. He's... stuck.
No, wait. He's moving very slowly - trapped in some kind of SPACE/TIME DISTORTION.
The High Priest MANIFESTS a MASSIVE CONCRETE BARRIER to block the shot.
"He's too fast for the gun. I'm going in!"
You tell Chairman Jack to go nuts.
"Roger that. Preparing to fire."
You can't be sure how exactly the Priests are able to pull off flight, but you're pretty sure you could do it yourself at this point.
You let go of Chairman Jack and dial up the UPS on your ARMOR. You're more or less weightless now, and you can push yourself around by continuously MANIFESTING bursts of wind around your body.
The impact destroys both the ANTIMATTER BASEBALL and the QUANTUM FLAIL. The High Priest's MASK is also obliterated, and his face and arms are severely burned. He seems more angry than anything else, though. That weapon must have required a lot of CREATIVITY.
"Throw the baseball at him. Imbue it with everything useful you can think of while it's in flight."
You're starting to feel weak. Each time Chairman Jack dives or banks, you find it harder to hold on. You're certain a blow from that thing will kill you.
You pull the BASEBALL from your TOOL BELT and let it fly.
Mid-flight, you ALTER it dramatically. It becomes the ANTIMATTER BASEBALL!
Then you note that you need to focus on the task at hand, because the final Priest is flying toward you with a super-dense QUANTUM FLAIL.
You have Chairman Jack radio Gast.
"That was close! What the hell just happened?"
You tell Gast that the High Priests created an ATOMIC BOMB during the fight. You note that the RADIO is still working, so you assure him that the extreme range of the HIGH-POWERED SNIPER RIFLE and the speed of his souped-up DIRIGIBLE likely protected them from harm.
You ALTER the Priest's MASK, turning it into thin, extremely conductive SILVER.
You tell Chairman Jack to perform a high-speed flyby, right above him.
Thunder again pierces the typical eerie silence of the VOID.
"I can't dodge him forever, chief. You'd better do something about that guy," Chairman Jack says.
"MANIFEST a wormhole on the projectile's flight-path, a wormhole that leads directly to the INNER CHAMBER at the HEART of the BLACK STAR."
Thinking quickly, you MANIFEST a WORMHOLE directly in front of the nuclear hot potato - close enough that its PILOT will be unable to avoid its pull.
That did the trick. The portal swallows up the BOMB and closes behind it.
Wait a second. Your consciousness is unable to penetrate the BLACK STAR'S HALO. You have no idea where you just sent that thing.
Just before it hits them, they MANIFEST WINGS, a COCKPIT, and a tiny PILOT for it. The ROCKET-PROPELLED ATOMIC BOMB FIGHTER banks and turns, heading back in your direction.
You MANIFEST a SMALL PLANET with a potent gravity well in the projectile's path.
The bomb slingshots around the scaled-down gas giant and heads back toward the High Priests.
The ROCKET-PROPELLED ATOMIC BOMB seems to be able to track you, as it stays on Chairman Jack's tail.
"Deny them their weapons; UNMAKE."
You focus on your foes' new armaments and attempt to either UN-MANIFEST them or at least SEPARATE and consequently ruin them like you did with your armor way back when.
However, the items resist your meddling. It seems your powers don't work the same way on stuff that's been created by someone else.
You have to hold on tightly as Chairman Jack suddenly begins evasive maneuvers. The Priest with the LIGHTNING MACHINE GUN opens fire, but he can't hit you while you're mounted on your speedy companion.
While you are dispatching their comrade, the remaining priests MANIFEST some weaponry.
One of them has what appears to be a LIGHTNING MACHINE GUN and the other now holds what you hope is not a ROCKET-PROPELLED ATOMIC BOMB LAUNCHER.
"Rain swords down on top of them."
You charge at the one in the center, throwing the EVERYSWORD at him.
You destroy the mighty relic, releasing a hail of mundane SWORDS.
The High Priests spread out, attempting to surround you as you approach.
You use Chairman Jack's RADIO function to send a message to Gast. You tell him to run for it. Things are pretty much guaranteed to get dangerous and weird.
It appears he destroyed everything in the POCKET DIMENSION and triggered another big crunch and subsequent big bang there. A new universe is born, after all. Good luck to it, you guess.
"Big Crunch, go go go!"
They've figured it out. The remaining members of the Followers' Inner Circle have escaped the POCKET DIMENSION through a CONTINUITY CRACK. It seems your limited experience with this world was insufficient to create a perfect ruse.
You tell Chairman Jack to transform and get ready for battle.
...Wait, where's the fourth one?
Uh oh. It looks like they're starting to see through the deception.
"Increase JACK'S COMPLEXITY to MAX."
You increase Chairman Jack's COMPLEXITY to 10! He incorporates the BRIEFCASE TANK, WALKIE-TALKIE, COMRADE'S CORPSE, HAND AXE, SHIELD, and both MECHANICAL ARMS!
He is now a robotic were-bird. He is fully COMPLEX, with free will and intelligence on par with - if not surpassing - any human being. He can transform into a HUMANOID or a TANK as well as a GIANT BIRD. He is practically indestructible and possesses peerless tactical aptitude.
He could probably kick your ass at this point. Good thing he's on your side.
"Thank you, sir," he says once his transformation has finished.
Yeah, there's no way Gast's ship can outrun those guys. You've got to get your buddies out of the line of fire.
You MANIFEST a sweet MUSCLE CAR just outside the CARGO HOLD.
Then you COMBINE it with Gast's DIRIGIBLE. You figure this will do the trick.
"Create an entire alternate universe just like your own around the icosa-heads so they have no idea anything changed. And in this alternate universe, let them win and kill off humanity, ultimately allowing this (fake) universe to collapse with them in it, just like they wanted."
You use 75 CREATIVITY points to MANIFEST a POCKET REALITY around your attackers. In this world, they are successful in dispatching you and your friends. You're not sure this ruse will work for too long - these guys are crazy, but they've had a lot of practice using the powers, whereas you've had a couple of days. You decide not to worry too much about the ethical ramifications of this plan.
They seem to be buying it for now, though, which gives you a few minutes to prepare.
"Give whomever has the best aim your HIGH-POWERED SNIPER RIFLE. Conjure more bullets if needed."
You find Hara there, and give her the HIGH-POWERED SNIPER RIFLE and several extra CLIPS as well.
You've relinquished self-preservation in the service of the common good. You feel... different. Your pain has eased considerably, and there's something else...
You open up your STATUS SCREEN.
Your full power has returned.
You don't have much time. You tell Chairman Jack to meet you in the CARGO BAY.
"I think it's finally time for that aerial battle with Jack we've been wanting. Let us go out in style."
You don't need to check your STATUS SCREEN. You know what it's going to say. This is likely the end for you. You can't shake this RADIATION, and it's tearing you apart. Your mission, however, is not complete. Thanks to you, humanity has continued even here at the end of the universe. However, there are four super-powered madmen back there who are pretty pissed off that you broke their toy and they'll do whatever they can to destroy everything.
Well fuck that, you think. If you're going to die, you'll go down fighting for humankind, because that's what you're here for.
"Oh, you're up," Gast reports. "We're just being ripped apart by some flying guys with helmets. How are you?"
You get up and look through the aft viewport.
When you come to, the BRIDGE is empty but for Gast. Your head is pounding and you notice the ship is rocking violently as the man wrestles with the controls.
You start to feel light-headed. Your vision blurs.
"Well, how did it go?" Gast asks when you reach the BRIDGE.
"Inspect your V.S. Snuffy."
It's gone, sadly. Blasted to smoldering chunks.
"Stay put, chief. Gast is bringing his flagship in to pick you up. I'll cover you."
The team climbs as fast as possible - though Weir needs to be hauled up.
"Fondly regard detonation."
It looks like that did the trick.
Better get out of here fast, though. This handy COLUMN OF SMOKE isn't exactly inconspicuous.
"Jack: Strafing run."
You use your telepathic link with Chairman Jack to instruct him to fire on the High Priest from above.
"Understood, boss. I'm getting into position. Be advised, this is not a precise weapon. You'd better get out of there."
"Check your EVERYSTATUS."
The High Priest MANIFESTS a FLAMING BOWLING BALL and flings it at you!
You slice it in half with the EVERYSWORD.
""What makes you say that?""
"Only the inner circle may drink directly from the fountain. We must create in order to destroy, but few are allowed to have this power. It is an imposter! A usurper!"
You are now fighting the High Priest of the ICOSAHEDRON!
"Use some creativity to create and send a missile flying at him to prove you're the Everyman."
You don't want to use up both of your CREATIVITY points, so you only spend 1 to MANIFEST a missile.
You send the CHEAP FIREWORK face-ward.
This doesn't seem to hurt him much, but it does set his MASK on fire. He throws it away.
"This one drank from the fountain! It is forbidden!"
Despite the fact that you've never been able to instruct the EVERYSWORD with regard to its ASPECT, you think really hard about BLAZING HOT BETTY and aim it at the guy's head.
You tell the man who you are.
"No, that one is dead. That one did not come back. Besides, this one is too weak."
Mr. Floatypants must not know you've got UPS. You leap at him, brandishing the EVERYSWORD.
You slam into a GIANT CINDER BLOCK that seems to come out of nowhere.
"It does not obey. Is it broken? Is it one of the others? Speak."
You see the V.S. Snuffy the Pooch above, coming in for a landing. You wave your arms to direct it to your location.
A figure with an ICOSAHEDRON for a head glides in and hovers before you.
"What is this thing?" it says in a sing-song voice. "It smells, it sounds more than the others. Like fire, like sorrow it sings and I hear. Why are you in my city?"
"Check in with Jack; can he attempt a quick fly-by to bait the anti-air? Our ride might be able to sneak in under their range if we give the cultists a distraction to shoot at."
"Roger that, sir. I think they can spare us for a few minutes. I'll lead the ship in and run interference. Stand by."
Chairman Jack darts around the general area. He is far too small and quick for the defenders to hit.
Back at the surface, you instruct the team to stay out of sight in the ALLEY while you scout ahead.
A few streets over, you find a large, open SQUARE. Your ship could land here if need be. Of course, it would be at risk from anti-air defenses and your team would be open to possible sniper fire. You need to get the hell out of here, though.
You meet Jern near the stairs leading up.
"I didn't think that would work." He seems pleased with himself. "Hurry up; they'll figure out where we are soon enough."
"Get the hell out of Dodge."
"I've stopped the bleeding for now, but he won't last long," the Doctor tells you when you ask about Weir's condition. You tell him you don't have a choice. You're all as good as dead unless you move.
Torx assists the Doctor in helping Weir walk back to the CATACOMBS.
"Drink from the fountain."
You cup your hands and lift some of the liquid to your mouth.
It tastes vile, but that turns out to be the best part about it. It burns your insides terribly. Your body seems to be utterly offended by its presence. You vomit over the edge of the platform and lose your last remaining NUTRITION point with the strange fluid.
That acrid smoke is familiar, and the EVERYSWORD was certainly convinced. Still, that seemed far too easy. You have a look around.
The broken FOUNTAIN contains a milky, gray fluid that appeared to have flowed right out of the ICOSAHEDRON you destroyed. Now it sits motionless in the reservoir.
You ask Arek what he thinks.
"I wish I knew what this was. As I said, we never thought there would be an actual Icosahedron to worry about."
Your WALKIE-TALKIE crackles to life again.
"It's Jern. I've managed to get around them. I'm going to try to cave in the catacombs before they can get to you. Meet me there."
You attempt to urge caution to your teammate, but he cuts you off.
The EVERYSWORD senses your intent and transforms into a ghost image of the only sword which can defeat the malicious constructs of the BLACK HOLE SINGULARITY - BLAZING HOT BETTY.
You fire what you hope is the last MOTHERFUCKING LASER BEAM you'll ever need.
You fold up the BRIEFCASE SPIDER TANK as your team joins you. As soon as the vehicle is small enough to move, you put it in your INVENTORY and continue on.
"We're winning for the moment, boss," Chairman Jack reports, "but they have reinforcements trickling in. We won't be able to hold out forever."
"Inspect the mini-moon for damage."
You find a couple of chunks, but there's not much left of the MINIATURE BLACK MOON but dust. It appears inert - none of these pieces are floating around, that's for sure.
"Use 1 nutrition and heal."
You spend a NUTRITION POINT to heal yourself up to a full 6 HIT POINTS.
You are suddenly gripped by a searing pain in your chest. You try to stay on your feet, but your legs quickly grow numb and you fall over backward.
The TANK's driver attempts to take advantage of the situation, but he does not get very far.
"Cut the hatch lock."
The EVERYSWORD slices easily through the hinges of the TANK's HATCH. You kick it away.
The driver looks up at you, shocked to discover you've found a way in.
Yeah, this is your TANK. You can see the SWITCH you installed when you turned it into the BRIEFCASE TANK. You guess that makes it the BRIEFCASE SPIDER TANK now.
You wonder who the hell put ROBOT SPIDER LEGS on your TANK.
Before you can react, the TANK fires!
Ouch! That hurt, but you're not dead. Whether it was intentional or a result of dumb luck, the MINIATURE BLACK MOON has intercepted the projectile. You take some damage due to your proximity to the explosion, but you survive.
"Get up close and use the Everysword on the tankspider. Tell the team to stay back; we don't want them to die."
You command your team to take cover and charge at the SPIDER TANK as it pounces, brandishing the EVERYSWORD.
You try to strike an important area, but you are forced to attack one of its legs instead in order to defend yourself from its strike.
The SPIDER TANK recovers quickly. Instead of attacking again, it takes aim with its main weapon.
You find an alcove in the LOBBY for the Doctor, Weir and Pect to hide in. Hopefully you can finish this before the enemy arrives.
You continue on.
"Not worth it. Getting hit at this point without armor would kill us. // Ask for a volunteer to stay behind with Weir and the Doc to guard over them."
The young man with the SHOTGUN from the Lord Protector's guards volunteers to stay with Weir and the Doctor.
Just then your WALKIE-TALKIE whines and cackles. "Can you hear me? This is Jern. I don't know what you guys just did, but there are a ton of soldiers headed your way."
While the blood-soaked UNIFORMS will be no good for serious infiltration, they might just confuse the enemy for a few crucial seconds. Then again, there's no way anyone in the next room failed to hear two loud gunshots, so they'll be on alert anyway.
You will have to take off the ARMOR WITH ADJUSTABLE UPS if you wish to attempt this subterfuge.
You don't have time to mess around with this guy, so you execute him before he can cause any trouble.
The Guards all wear simple, utilitarian UNIFORMS. The BATTLE AXE has been rendered more or less useless, but the other weapons - a SPEARGUN, a BOOMERANG, a MACHETE, and a BLUNDERBUSS - should function if you need them. The Everyteam members are already using their favorite weapons, though.
"Use 2 nutrition as HP."
You DIGEST 2 NUTRITION points and heal yourself.
"Interrogate using the threat of being the Everyman. // Get Doc Gin up here, you have wounded."
The rest of the team joins you in the LOBBY. The Doctor gets to work on Weir right away, while everyone else secures the area.
Your captive's defiant sneer only fades for a moment when you tell him who you are. These guys are incredibly well-trained. You ask him what you can expect to find in the next room.
He ignores you entirely. Instead he scans the room, studying all of the members of the Everyteam one by one.
"He's been shot in the gut," the Doctor reports. "He's still alive, but barely. There's no way we can move him."
You charge forth while the guards are distracted. The closest target is a BOOMERANG-WIELDING GUARD who is quickly dispatched by the EVERYSWORD.
You run at the next one, a woman with a SPEARGUN. She fires it as you charge, but is too dazed to aim it properly. You take the spear in the gut, which is protected by your ARMOR WITH ADJUSTABLE UPS. You lose 2 HIT POINTS.
Meanwhile, Weir emerges from the STAIRWAY and releases an arrow into the head of a MACHETE-ARMED GUARD.
You close the distance with the SPEARGUN-CARRYING GUARD, who is unable to dodge your weapon as it cleaves her head.
The BLUNDERBUSS-TOTING GUARD fires on Weir from across the room.
You move on to the BATTLE AXE-USING GUARD, who swings at you as soon as you enter his range. You raise the EVERYSWORD to block the strike, which severs your opponent's weapon just below the head.
Hara joins the fight and quickly neutralizes the BLUNDERBUSS-TOTING GUARD.
"MANIFEST a flashbang. // Lead the way! Send in your two marksmen after the initial devastation."
You spend a CREATIVITY point to MANIFEST a FLASHBANG GRENADE. You tell Weir and Hara to ready their weapons and follow you in.
"It's a large room. Five more armed guards. They don't know we're down here, but they know something's up. The stairs are narrow at the top - we'll have to go in one at a time," Torx reports upon returning. "Not an ideal situation, obviously."
Jern is clearly the sneakiest, so you ask Torx for his opinion as to which team member to send upstairs to scout ahead.
"I'll take care of this," he says.
While the General is exploring, the rest of the team secures the area. There's not much down here. Surprisingly, the tunnel ahead is walled off. It looks like the Followers didn't want to worry about securing two entrances.
"I don't think that's a very good idea. I mean, no offense to these Commonwealth guys, but this battle would be a slaughter without me," Chairman Jack tells you. "Do you even know which way that area is by Void? I'd have to fly there - I can't fit in that tunnel."
Arek thinks for a moment. "The vehicle you describe is mentioned in the old stories, but not very often. It was left behind by the Everyman in the tale and used by Mary and Ryan when beasts attacked. I cannot remember for sure, but I don't think its fate was recorded."
This place does not bring back fond memories for you.
You check in with Chairman Jack.
"They're tough, but we're giving them a good fight so far," he reports.
They never saw it coming.
You compliment your friends' marksmanship and proceed.
"Wait, then slaughter."
You take a look ahead using the HIGH-POWERED SNIPER RIFLE.
You see a familiar GATE over the tracks and 3 GUARDS.
At your signal, Hara and Weir move to the front.
""We need only find and destroy the -hedron; one person alone stands a better chance of scouting that palace than a team. Volunteers?" If anyone DOES volunteer, MANIFEST two walkie-talkies."
Torx, nodding, seems to think this is a good idea.
"I'll go," Jern volunteers immediately.
You spend 4 CREATIVITY on a pair of WALKIE-TALKIES. You give one to Jern and put the other in the holster slot of your TOOL BELT.
He heads off toward the palace while the rest of the team continues to the left.
"STATUS CHECK NOW!!!"
You tell your team to prepare to head out. Whatever this Path of Power and Madness is, you're going to find out.
"I don't think this will be useful," Torx interjects. "We may have found a way inside their halls of power. Let me take some of the team to the palace."
You start coughing again. When the doctor reaches you, your hand is flecked with blood.
You enter some CATACOMBS with strange writing on the walls. You tell Arek to get translating.
"Of course," he says while holding up the FIREFLY LANCE. "To the right is the palace, to the left is something called 'the path of power and madness,' whatever that means."
"Ask Jack if he can see the most heavily fortified areas and if he can see a lesser-fortified one leading underground."
You contact Chairman Jack.
"Sorry, boss. I'd love to help, but we've got incoming, and I don't think they're going to throw us a welcome party."
Jern reminds you that the stairs you took up to find the sniper also went down.
"We've got to get out of sight," Torx urges.
Weir and Hara provide cover while the team descends.
"Remove pencils (?) from inventory, those thing have been unused forEVER. // Remove moon from inventory. Give KITCHEN KNIFE to one of our TEAM MEMBERS who currently has only a ranged weapon, for a secondary equip."
You decide it's time to get rid of some of this junk you're carrying around.
You remove the MINIATURE BLACK MOON from your INVENTORY, and it immediately resumes orbiting your head. Your team isn't too weirded out by this - you are a living myth, after all.
You get rid of the PENCILS you used to write your MEMOIRS, the LETTER OPENER with which Ryan tried to stab you, and the CARTON OF PAINT, as none of these seem particularly useful anymore.
You give the KITCHEN KNIFE to Weir, who does not seem to have a close-combat weapon, and the FIREFLY LANCE to Arek so that he can ILLUMINATE dark passages and his TEXTS alike.
You put the COMRADE'S CORPSE into your INVENTORY so you can honor your fallen friend later on. You take his HAND AXE and ROUND SHIELD because, just like there's always room for Jell-O, there's always time for clogging up your INVENTORY with bullshit.
"Right, and I think I've got it! We need to go underground. They built their city above the tracks, instead of around it like we did."
"Take the dead guy's equipment so it can be used later. In fact, can we put (dead) people into our inventory? If so, take him so you can give him a proper burial later."
You cannot put Grek's HAND AXE, ROUND SHIELD, or BODY into your INVENTORY because your INVENTORY is full!
"Cultists are misled humans, but human nevertheless; knock this one unconscious, tie him up, and leave him behind. Regroup. Onward!"
You put the HIGH-POWERED SNIPER RIFLE in your INVENTORY and head back downstairs.
Jern delivers a stern blow to the sniper before following. He's down for the count.
"I can't do anything for him," the Doctor tells you.
"What's the plan here?" Hara asks. "We're still a little exposed and we don't have an objective."
"While Jern keeps him down, check immediate surroundings for any threats. If the coast is clear, use the SNIPER RIFLE'S SCOPE to see if you can see any other snipers (or other threats of any kind) in the general area. If so, dispose of them before they can of you. After this is done, ask the sniper why he's attacking us"
You aren't able to see any other snipers - or anyone at all - from where you are; it's as if the entire area has been evacuated. Of course, you lack both the combat experience and the familiarity with the terrain to say for sure that the coast is clear.
The sniper ignores your questions entirely.
"Take the sniper rifle."
The sentry can barely breathe, much less resist your attempt to disarm him.
"Upgrade Hara's and Weir's weapons as appropriate, and have them lay down some suppressing fire... er, arrows... to keep that sniper locked down while you and the rest of the team move forward on his position. // Get out of there!"
You shout at the team to back off and take cover. You then spend 2 CREATIVITY points to give both Hara's MUSKET and Weir's COMPOUND BOW some needed upgrades in the form of LASER SIGHTS.
You and Jern take off after the sniper while Hara and Weir cover you. Jern appears to have a wealth of experience fighting in dense urban areas. He quickly leads you to the sniper's nest and barges in.
In the room is a man with a HIGH-POWERED SNIPER RIFLE. Jern rams him in the chest with the head of his HAMMER.
"Jet in as close as we can get and crank the ups to max; play parachute for the rest of your commando team, and skydive in from above."
Your team's display of trust in going along with this maneuver is inspiring and you gain 2 more CREATIVITY points.
You try not to hover about for too long. Dialing the UPS on your ARMOR up and down, you direct the party to a NARROW ALLEY.
The soliders begin to secure the area.
""When humanity first woke in the Void, there was little hope for our future. The homeworld of our ancestry was long since gone, sustenance naught to be found, companionship a forlorn concept. The universe was inexorably marching on to oblivion, and only the capricious wanderings of a madman sounding footsteps in the silence gave proof to the fact that there was once something more.
Then I met Mary, and Ryan, and they were good. From them came a hope that what once was could, indeed, be again. That hope lives on in you, and in me, and we will not go quietly. Prepare yourselves... for the end of a new beginning." // "Fear nothing. Expect anything. Triumph over everything.""
Even Arek is impressed, and appears to relax somewhat - at least until he is handed a HARNESS to attach himself to you for the descent. The others do not hesitate, strapping themselves in as you feel the ship lurch to one side. You'll be over the target area in moments.
"Try to find the main building."
You fly along the center of the city, searching for the GATE you found long ago. The ship takes some small arms fire, but nothing too worrying yet.
You tell Arek that he'd better pack up his things. If he can't point out a landing spot, he's coming along when you drop in.
"All I know is that they built their capital around the gate. That spire we shot at was the tallest thing we've seen. That's probably the best area to start looking."
"He's probably right," Torx chimes in. "It's likely that we didn't take out anyone too valuable, but it was an observation post of some kind. They could watch for trouble from the outside and keep tabs on their own people from there. I'm sure it was there to protect something valuable nearby."
You tell everyone to meet you in the HOLD. You instruct the navigator to bring her about; after your team jumps out, they should rejoin the fleet and aid in the battle.
"Understood, sir. It has been an honor."
"Listen up!" Torx's voice silences the team. "We're about to drop into enemy territory. We've got the element of surprise here, and we should be able to get in without being seen. Thanks to our leader, we'll be dropping without parachutes. When we hit the ground, stay low and get out of sight. There's no way to know what we're going to see down there. We're looking for a gate that leads to a tunnel like the one back home, so keep your eyes open."
He turns to you. "Anything you'd like to add?"
"Is that a spire with an icosahedral decoration on it? It's probably important. It's doubtful that the Icosahedron itself is there, but it seems worth checking out."
You can see windows on the sides of the ICOSAHEDRON on the TOWER, so you doubt it's the real deal.
You tell your gunner to make sure.
"It was found on the other side of a portal into one of the pocket dimensions, much like the Lord Protector's manor. You already knew that, though. As for where in the city it is located... I just don't have any information on that. This is the farthest we've penetrated into their territory in generations."
You tell Arek you still need a landing site.
"Um... I found a mention of the Icosahedron. It's in a footnote in some explorer's journal. Apparently he wasn't able to move or break it so he left it alone."
You're so glad you brought this guy along.
"It came from a watchtower dead ahead," Chairman Jack tells you. "Locking on now."
"You're all clear, boss. We'll draw their fire. You go in there and find that thing."
You thank Chairman Jack and hit the throttle. The V.S. Snuffy the Pooch roars forward out of the formation and heads for the city.
After a few minor course corrections, Arek and your navigator bring the fleet in on a final approach. They assure you that this is the densest part of the city - the most likely location for high-value targets. Thanks to your RADAR, you know the Followers' fleet is not nearby. They'll certainly return once the attack begins, but the Commonwealth fleet will have the upper hand until they do.
You can see the city in the distance. It clings to the TRACKS in the same way the Commonwealth settlements do.
The RADAR console screeches.
It looks like they've spotted you. You shout to your crew, instructing them to cut the fleet loose.
"Have we told Jack that we're dying? If not, do so privately via Rapport. Make sure he understands..."
"I've known all along, boss. I just assumed you didn't want to talk about it. We've got to keep our heads in the game."
Chairman Jack's stoic devotion raises your spirits somewhat. You tell him to stay with the fleet. If what you've heard is correct, the enemy air force is formidable and the Commonwealth will need his help more than you will.
"Roger that. Good luck, chief!"
You contact Chairman Jack, telling him to get ready to pick you up.
"Are you sure about that, boss? These gas bags are doomed without my help, but you need to get your team on the ground and finish this."
You begin the journey.
The V.S. Snuffy the Pooch tows the Commonwealth fleet in a large arc. The navigator supplied by Gast uses your ship's instrumentation to chart a course to the densest part of the enemy city, where Arek believes the ICOSAHEDRON should be located. Using the RADAR, you are able to detect and avoid enemy patrols before they can sight you.
You run into the Doctor as he's heading for the ship.
"How are you feeling?"
You tell him that you've managed to heal yourself a little, but it will probably only give you more time, not a cure.
"Wait, how do you know that?"
You tell him you increased your AGILITY, which increased your total HIT POINTS.
"You know what? Forget I asked."
You find Arek studying in the MESS. You give him your MEMOIRS and tell him that no matter what happens, you want people to hear your side of the story.
"Of course. I'll see to it that everyone has the opportunity to read it."
You are directed to the ARCHIVES, where you expect to find your least enthusiastic crew member.
"Most of this is useless, I'm afraid," Arek tells you when you find him digging through a stack of seemingly ancient BOOKS. "Before you came along, we were convinced the Icosahedron wasn't a physical object of any significance - just some esoteric symbol. If you're right, the thing should have been there all along and would be practically immovable. I've found some very old texts that may date back to before the cult's founding. I'll bring them along. I suppose I shall have to deduce its location from them."
You ask to be supplied with some nutritious food, something healthy. The fort's cook tells you they stock mostly bland stuff, easy to preserve, but he'll try to find some fruit for you.
He brings you a couple of AVOCADOS. They're somewhat overripe, but no less nutritious. You get 4 NUTRITION and 2 VITAMIN.
You go back outside to the BATTLEMENTS.
You MANIFEST a new YOGA MAT and get to work increasing that AGILITY score with your 10 VITAMIN points.
Well, increasing your ATTRIBUTE has added to your MAXIMUM HIT POINTS, but not as much as you'd hoped. It looks like your advanced radiation poisoning is causing some diminishing returns to occur in this area. You'd better gather your crew and get this show on the road before it's too late.
"Inspect the ships they have."
Gast takes you out to the BATTLEMENTS to discuss the fleet.
"We'll have access to about a third of the fleet, all told. We can't leave the other fort unprotected, of course, and some convoys are still out on duty and cannot be reached. We'll have five powered dirigibles, about twenty balloons, and somewhere in the area of fifty small gliders. I suggest we use your powerful ship to tow the rest of the fleet toward the city. We should be able to avoid most of the enemy blockade that way. When they scramble their defenders, we'll cut the fleet loose and engage them while you make a run for it."
"Request dossiers for these troops. Brief your new crack team on the mission, on the -hedrons, and on your own capabilities."
Torx introduces each soldier to you.
"Hara has been Fort Ryan's best sharpshooter for some time. Pect was a militiaman before being recruited into the Lord Protector's guard contingent. He was given that shotgun as a reward for excellent service. Picket balloon watchman Weir is a superb marksman and an efficient killer. Jern there was an Allocations enforcer before I recruited him into this unit. He's a monster with that war hammer and one of the strongest men I've ever known. Grek is a boarder: he swings onto enemy airships to attack the crew. His skill and bravery are beyond question."
You give the troops the plan.
They'll be riding in on your vessel. Once you make a landing, you'll infiltrate the city, locate the STONE ICOSAHEDRON and the Followers' command structure, and destroy the enemy at its source.
You tell them to let you take the lead if things get too crazy, as you can take a lot more punishment than they can.
You let them know that the ICOSAHEDRON itself will be more or less unassailable - at least as far as they're concerned. They each grow differently and you're not sure what this one will look like, but they should focus on its creations and support structure and clear a path for you to dispatch it.
Not one of them flinches at the danger inherent in the plan.
You walk over to the first soldier on the left. She is a middle-aged woman carrying a MUSKET.
You introduce yourself.
"I'm Hara. It's an honor."
Torx takes you aside to introduce you to the COMMANDO UNIT that will be accompanying you into the Followers' city.
"These are the best soldiers I have. All of them have seen combat with enemy agents. I believe you've already met the young man with the shotgun. He requested to be released from the Lord Protector's guard to come along."
"We should have a private talk with the governor. Explain what is really going on with you."
As the troops prepare for action, you have a private talk with the Doctor and Lord Protector. You break the bad news.
The Lord Protector sighs. "I'm sorry to hear that. I'm glad you came along then, Doctor."
"We have no time to waste. His condition is deteriorating rapidly."
"Please take care of yourself," The Lord Protector tells you. "We're all counting on you."
"Get all the men of the mission in a room, give an small speech thanking them for their courage, faith and trust and brief them on what is going to happen."
As you prepare to disembark, you tell Gast and Torx to gather their soldiers. You owe them an explanation before you send them into battle.
They tell you the FORT has an AUDITORIUM. You can give your speech there.
When the soldiers have gathered, you and your allies take the stage.
You tell them that you know you're asking a lot from them. They are expected to risk their lives for someone they may not have believed in a few hours and if they did were told was evil. You acknowledge that you've not always done the right thing, and may have unintentionally made their lives difficult. You cannot take it back, however. All you can do is start here and set things right.
You tell them the time to end the Followers of the Icosahedron is now. You'll engage their fleet, run the blockade, and destroy the enemy at its source.
You insist that this attack is not for you, the Everyman. You tell them that you are not commanding them to help you. You are doing this for them, for their friends and families, for all of humanity.
You ask them whether they'd like to come along.
You have inspired the COMMANDOS and AIRMEN. You feel a rush of self-confidence.
You gain 5 CREATIVITY!
"There it is: Fort Ryan. One of our two great bastions against the Followers." You detect a distinct pride in the Lord Protector's voice.
You slow the ship down and prepare to dock.
"The fort is pretty far from the city, but at this rate, we'll be there soon," Gast tells you as as set the AUTOPILOT. Once you clear the heavily-populated area, you engage the BOOSTER.
They appear to buy it when you tell them that you've simply been through a lot and the occasional coughing fit is nothing to worry about. Arek still looks somewhat nervous, but you did just tell him he's coming along on a dangerous commando raid into enemy territory.
You tell the gang to meet you on the DECK. You head back to the Doctor's OFFICE, having second thoughts about leaving someone behind.
You tell the Doc that your health is deteriorating quickly, and that you're about to embark on a dangerous mission. You may well need medical assistance on the way.
"I already told you I'd help in any way. That hasn't changed," he replies. He packs some gear into a CASE and follows you to the DECK.
"If there are Icosahedronists, there must be an Icosahedron. If you extinguish the cult at its source, the whole war might just go away. Suggest a small-scale incursion into enemy territory, comprised of yourself, Jack, and the best small-yet-diverse range of the best spies and troops the Commonwealth has to offer.
Your mission: overcome what is obviously the last remaining bastion that reinforces the Platonic Model. Clearly, mathematics and physics are attempting to dictate that humanity MUST submit to the end of all existence, and clearly they wish to restart the process you recently put an end to. Destroy the Icosahedron, and humanity might have a chance to live on. // Recruit a bunch of men, including Gast, Arek, Trox, and the Doc. Also recruit one or two young'uns too. Train the said men in an 80's montage, instantly transforming them into a crack ace team. The E Team. The Everyteam."
You lay out your plan. You're confident your VOIDSHIP will be able to run the blockade, so you suggest a commando operation: get in, destroy the STONE ICOSAHEDRON, and save humanity.
You ask who's coming with you.
Torx speaks first. "I will. I have a unit ready for something like this."
"You're going to need an escort. I don't know what your ship is capable of, but their guns will tear you apart on your own. I'll be more useful with the fleet than on the ground," Gast suggests.
"As Lord Protector, I approve. For the preservation of humankind, we put our faith in you, Everyman."
"Wait, you want me?" Arek asks.
You tell him you're going to need someone who knows the legends. Those legends are history. You've been away for too long, and the information could be vital.
You tell Torx and Gast to get ready. The Everyteam needs one more member.
Your chest tightens into a painful knot. You double over, coughing loudly. You think you taste blood in your mouth.
The room goes silent.
"Offer to negotiate a diplomatic solution with anyone who wishes to return to the black star. Escort all to the doorway in the dungeon, and offer to take them there, by the shipload."
"I'm afraid that's not going to be possible. The faithful feel they have the responsibility to get rid of the rest of us before they can join the rest of creation."
"I think I can handle this one," Arek begins.
"As a religious sect, they believe that this world - and indeed all of us - are here in violation of the natural laws of the universe. We now know that an element of truth exists in this belief, but for some reason they have elected to try to extinguish all life and tear down all matter to return it to the Black Star. After this is done, they claim a new universe will be born.
"Here in the Commonwealth, we encounter mostly spies and saboteurs. They are typically highly intelligent and resourceful and usually equipped with exotic weapons and other items with properties that seem to be beyond what our miscellaneopod trees can grow or our engineers can produce. Earlier in their history, the Followers of the Icosahedron perpetrated simple sporadic terrorist bombings, with little more than a body count as their goals. Over time their incursions grew more precise. These days they focus on industrial sabotage, political assassinations, and on undermining our military.
"We don't know what things are like in the cities they control. They destroyed the tracks that lead to those regions not long after the cult emerged, and our airships are unable to penetrate their defenses. We know that they smuggle personnel and goods into the Commonwealth by air, and we operate a fleet of ships to stop them, but we are only somewhat successful."
"You try shooting down a ten-ton magic floating shark with a speargun and a hot air balloon," Gast interjects.
"Calm down, Gast." The Lord Protector's deep voice silences both men. "No one doubts your skill or courage. Arek was only pointing out that we are outgunned."
"Make sure that no one has any doubts about who you are. // Don't say anything about the radiation."
You introduce yourself.
Torx and Gast do not so much as flinch at your name. You suspect they've been fully briefed by their superior. You ask them whether they have a problem with that.
"The Lord Protector does not make things up," Torx replies.
Gast bows again. "All airmen pray to Chairman Jack for a safe return. If you're his boss, that's good enough for me."
You can hear voices beyond the door as you approach, but the LIBRARY goes silent for a moment as you enter.
"Ah, here he is," the Lord Protector says as he rises.
"I'd like you to meet my advisory council. Arek, you know."
He motions to a gruff older man with an EYEPATCH and a PEPPERBOX REVOLVER at his belt. "This is Torx, the general of the Commonwealth's army."
"And this is Gast, the admiral of the Commonwealth air force," he says as he points to a younger man wearing GOGGLES and carrying a PAIR OF BINOCULARS. Gast takes a deep bow.
It looks like this room is now used for storage. You pause just a moment to grab a snack before you continue.
"Write your story."
Suddenly the topic of your legacy looms large in your thoughts. In addition to improving life for everyone here, you feel the need to tell your side of the story in greater detail. Fortunately, you already did this while on the way to the BLACK STAR earlier. You only need to jot down what happened down there, write a thoughtful introduction, and you're done.
You left the MANUSCRIPT on the V.S. Snuffy the Pooch.
You summon Chairman Jack. Those jerks at the war council can wait. This is important stuff. Anyway, you suspect your voidship will come in handy later, so you might as well bring it up here.
You crank the UPS and leap onto Chairman Jack's back.
After a jet-powered descent, you arrive at your ship. It appears to have been untouched in your absence.
During the journey back up, you write down the tale of the encounter in the BLACK STAR. The MANUSCRIPT has become YOUR MEMOIRS! You're still a little drunk when you finish it, but you don't think you embellished too much.
You dock your ship at the DECK this time.
"Is... is he sure he wants to come along and help out? This won't exactly be a walk in the park, going by your previous encounters with the polyhedrons, and, well, he's a doctor. Not exactly trained for combat. He'd also probably be of more help to the people here, practicing his profession."
You thank the Doctor for his help, but hanging out with you is a dangerous proposition. There's no telling what's going to happen in the next few days, and these people may well need medical help if things get crazy.
"You're probably right. I think I've had too much to drink. Good luck."
You don't have much time. You'd better head back to the Lord Protector's LIBRARY for the war council meeting. You hope the guy with the voidship, magic sword, and murderbird gets to be in charge.
"Let your consciousness spread into every one, after of course killing those darned Icosahedronists."
If this really is the end, you're going to make the most of the time you have left. You tell the Doctor you're going to set things right before you disassociate. You're going to end this war with the Followers, get rid of the final malevolent polyhedron, and do something about your shitty legacy in the process.
"That's mighty ambitious of you. Well, I'm not busy. I'll help you in any way I can. What's the plan?"
You and the Doctor end up hitting the GIN pretty seriously because why the fuck not.
It turns out that since your awakening in the WHITE ROOM, you can no longer release your CREATIVE powers by altering your consciousness with drugs and other substances. You do get 2 INEBRIATION points, though.
"So, uh what're you going to do now?" the Doctor asks.
"Ask him how long."
"We're in uncharted territory here, but my best guess is that you have a few days, maybe a week."
The Doctor digs around in one of the CABINETS and produces a BOTTLE OF GIN.
"I've been saving this for a special occasion, but it's not every day you learn that fairytales are real."
"...In regards to the radiation, who wants to believe that E is not dying in the traditional sense, but rather breaking down into his constituent parts/cells - that is to say, the individual members of the human race?"
You explain in detail what you believe to be your origin gleaned from your dreams. You ask him what relevance that could have on the situation.
"It's an interesting hypothesis. Assuming you're correct - and I can't see why not at this point - the extreme radiation of the Black Star could have disrupted the connections between your molecules. In your case, however, these molecules aren't like mine or the ones in, say, the walls of this room. They could actually contain the thoughts of individuals from before. Maybe the bond between them is somehow more resilient than that of ordinary molecules, but it will not last forever under these circumstances."
"Swear him to secrecy contingent on his Hippocratic Oath, then give him a quick rundown on how you essentially flew through a universe's worth of ionized energy. If he doesn't believe you, politely ask that he allow the examination results to speak for themselves."
You remove your ARMOR and TOOL BELT and prepare to be examined. The Doctor assures you that he does not share the details of his patients' visits without consent, and so you give him the details of your adventure so far while he readies his equipment. In this case, you do not leave out relevant incidents involving industrial chemicals.
"That's quite a story. I may need to send you to another kind of doctor after we've finished here."
The examination consists primarily of extracting blood, skin, and other samples, which the Doctor views with various instruments. He is thorough, and says nothing until he has finished.
"I can't believe I'm saying this, but I am forced to accept your story. You have absorbed enough radiation and other harmful chemicals to kill several strong men. You should not be alive, and yet here you are. However, I'm sorry to tell you that you are not entirely immune. Your system seems to have somehow compensated for the habitual inhalation of toxic chemicals, but the exposure to harsh radiation is a far graver ailment. Put simply, even your unusually robust cellular structure is degrading rapidly. Anyone else would have perished from internal hemorrhaging not long after the initial exposure. I do not understand how your body is able to keep you alive, but it is just barely doing so. I'm sorry, but I'm afraid you do not have long to live."
"Radiation? How did that happen? I'm going to need to examine you to determine how seriously you've been hurt. This may take some time. I had a visit from Allocations recently and they took some of my better equipment."
You quickly snatch the MINIATURE BLACK MOON and put it in your INVENTORY. You ask the Doctor what it is that's startled him?
"I, uh. Never mind. I guess I've been working too hard. How can I help you?"
You walk up to the nearest citizens - a pair of plainly-dressed individuals engaged in some form of bartering. You greet them, and tell them you're not familiar with this part of the CITY. Could they point you to the nearest doctor?
"Um, yeah," one replies, clearly distracted by your orbiting companion. "It's that way, up the stairs, first door on the right." He motions to a nearby ALLEY.
You thank him for his time and follow the directions. The two men continue to stare nervously until you are out of sight.
You find the DOOR to the DOCTOR'S OFFICE easily and enter.
The Doctor is a middle-aged man, healthy but a bit haggard-looking. He does not look up before he greets you.
"Come on in; what's the problem?"
You begin to explain your recent episode when the Doctor notices your friend. "What in the Void is that?"
"Always go right, you know you want to. // Ask the guard if the people along the tracks made some sort of commuter rail."
You ask the Captain how best to reach the end of the TUNNEL.
She seems confused by your question. Walking must be the dominant mode of transportation.
You, however, have other options. You dial up the UPS on your armor and leap through the TUNNEL. It's no magical speed tank, but it beats walking.
You return to the CITY.
In a stunning display of self-control you decide not to knock down the DOORS in the home of your would-be allies and menace them with your SWORD whilst searching for junk you know full well was moved elsewhere at some point during the extremely long time you've been gone.
You instead walk to the STATION in order to return to the city without Chairman Jack.
You wave to the Captain in the GUARD HOUSE. She seems a little disturbed that you're leaving, but makes no move to hinder you.
Hmmm. Without the BRIEFCASE TANK, it looks like you're walking.
Now, which way?
After flying back to the COURTYARD, you head back toward your APARTMENT. The HALLWAY has changed considerably. You assume the PORTRAITS depict past Lord Protectors. All of the DOORS, save the one you came from, are locked.
You are gripped by a sudden pain in your chest. You begin to cough.
"Land and request these kind gentlemen and fair ladies where are the crazy death cultists."
You land on the TRACKS.
The denizens clear the area immediately. Not used to seeing a JETBIRD, you assume.
As soon as he has a full charge, you and Chairman Jack take off and fly upward.
You pass the DECK and behold a nice Snuffy the Pooch IDOL. It seems the suite of ROOMS attached to your APARTMENT now serve as a sort of mansion or estate for the Lord Protector.
The SIDEWALK looks much the same, though.
You reach the TRACKS. A narrow city stretches into the distance in both directions, buildings clinging to the rails. This must be the Commonwealth.
You tell the Lord Protector to summon his lieutenants. It's time to come up with a plan.
You say you're going to take a look around. You'll meet him at the LIBRARY in a few hours.
"Also determine what the most ethical approach the PROTECTOR GUARDIAN would like us to use on those who oppose us is. I'm guessing he'd rather us not run around leaving a trail of dead bodies in our wake, but we need to know to what extreme he's willing to allow us to go through in order to return peace to his realm."
You ask the Lord Protector about the Followers, and how best to fight them.
"There's no simple answer to that. Most people live on the Great Ring - the tracks you mentioned earlier. The Followers have destroyed some of the tracks and control a small, isolated segment of them. However, they seem to have access to strange and exotic weapons and equipment. All we have are the fruits of the miscellanopod trees. There are converts and spies in the Commonwealth, certainly, but we do not know how many. Strife here in the Commonwealth would be a bad idea. The people tolerate my army's... uh, activities, but we could lose support entirely if there is needless bloodshed. As far as I'm concerned, anyone living in their territory is fair game if they're willing to support killing and destruction."
"Point out that self-preservation is not a bad thing. After all, you are the Everyman, the embodiment of all human experience even after the world ended."
You tell Arek that yes, thwarting the thing in the BLACK STAR and preventing the SINGULARITY is probably delaying the rebirth of the universe. However, the game has clearly changed due to your own influence. At this point, there's no telling what might happen if the BLACK STAR reaches critical mass.
For you these questions have been rendered irrelevant now that you know your true purpose. You cannot and will not allow humanity to die for the sake of a universe that could be. You're going to deal with this cult and clear your name. Arek can either get with it or hit the road.
"I will stay with you, and keep your identity secret if you desire, but I will not be silent about my reservations," he responds, more than a little nervous to be dictating terms to a demigod.
"Use the carbine, but change its loading capabilities so that he can eat metal to replenish his ammo like Snuffy. // The jetpack, of course."
Chairman Jack has incorporated both the CARBINE RIFLE and the JETPACK! He is now an unstoppable airborne killing machine. The JET ENGINES increase his already considerable speed, and he has turned the RIFLE into a powerful FIXED CANNON he can deploy in battle. Like Snuffy the Pooch, he is able to process metal objects into ammunition.
He seems anxious to charge up and try out his upgrades.
The Lord Protector speaks up.
"I believe you, Everyman. I'm sorry for the way we've treated you. Will you really help us against the followers of the Icosahedron?"
"Hold on," Arek chimes in. "If what you say is true, then the followers are right. Is it ethical to cease the operation of the forces of nature for our own preservation? I do not wish to die, but I don't know if I can live with myself now that I know the truth."
You increase Chairman Jack's COMPLEXITY to 3. What item will you give him to incorporate?
You tell him you're happy to see him as well. You ask him to tell you what happened after you left.
"After you left, we stayed here most of the time. The trees grew slowly. Mary and Ryan had to ration the food, but it lasted until they bloomed. There were beasts - mostly birds. I did not have any trouble with them. Mary and Ryan had children, grew old, and died. Things went on. The last thing I remember is playing with their great-grandchildren here in the courtyard."
You ask the men to provide you with an EXTENSION CORD. After some searching, they find one long enough to reach one of the OUTLETS in the BEDROOM.
You plug him in.
Chairman Jack immediately contacts you via RAPPORT.
"Everyman! You're back. We thought you were dead."
Arek and the Lord Protector are speechless.
"Well, switch him on then."
You do not recall equipping Chairman Jack with a switch when you incorporated the CIRCULAR SAW.
You return to the COURTYARD and inspect the Chairman Jack MEMORIAL.
Aha! It's not a statue or representation, it is Chairman Jack. He doesn't appear to be broken, just... off.
"Tell your story now; explain that you left to stop the beasts and the shapes on the black star and you came back to see those you left behind, but now you'd like to help them after you learn more about the history behind the Icosahedronists and what happened to Jack and that stone tree."
You tell your story in detail. It takes some time, but the two men listen carefully.
After you finish, the taller man is no longer able to restrain himself. "There is no way this is possible," he says.
"Shut up, Arek," the older man says, then turns to you. "You had some questions, yes?"
You ask about the followers of the Icosahedron.
They tell you that the cult's origins are mysterious, but could be related to the shapes you mentioned in your story. The meaning of the shape as a symbol for the group was never fully understood. They live primarily on one small section of the TRACKS in the VOID, and also secretly among the citizens of the Commonwealth. They believe that all physical matter must be returned to the BLACK STAR, and are willing to commit violence to do so.
You question Arek about the fate of Chairman Jack.
"He isn't as important a figure in the legends, but he does appear. Like Snuffy, he is a creation of the Everyman. All I know is that after the departure of the Everyman, he protects Mary and Ryan from beasts and outlives them both - possibly by generations. Then, he suddenly just stops functioning. If your story is true, this was... I could not say how many generations ago. Hundreds..."
"Make sarcastic comment about the number of times already that you have given them this information."
You tell them that your answer isn't going to change.
"Fine. Whatever you say. Let's move on to what you're doing here and what it is you want."
You start to tell Arek your side of the story, but you don't get very far before the older man from earlier barges into the room, out of breath.
"Let him out. Now," he barks at the SHOTGUN-WIELDING GUARD.
"He opened the door behind the library. It doesn't matter who he is; he could escape whenever he wanted."
The GUARD unlocks the DOOR.
"I'm very sorry about all of this. Would you join me in the library? You too, Arek."
"Alright, we're ready to listen. Who are you and what do you want?"
"Point out the fact that you have a suit of armor that can fly, a shape-shifting sword and a polearm that glows in the dark."
"I admit I have no explanation for these things yet, but I do not believe in children's stories."
The man has an obvious contempt for the mythology he has related to you.
"Ah, right to the point," he laughs nervously. "I believe only in observable facts. The Everyman is a fictional character, sir."
Half an hour or so later, the Captain returns and produces a tall, thin man wearing glasses.
"So, you're the floating man, eh?" He extends a hand through the BARS. "My name is Arek. I'm a historian, among other things."
You tell Arek that you are the Everyman.
"Ah, yes. Of course. Pleased to meet you. Where shall we start?"
You tell the man you want to hear their creation myth first.
Arek tells you a more detailed version of the story hinted at by the Lord Protector. In it, you are depicted as a powerful, but dangerous and unpredictable godlike being. In the beginning you are floating in the VOID, with the BLACK STAR the only other object. You created the ROOMS and even the CREATURES primarily as a way to entertain yourself.
Snuffy the Pooch appears as a sort of benevolent foil to the Everyman in the stories, and is often prayed to for mercy and success in battle by the faithful. According to the story, you become increasingly erratic after she died to save Ryan.
After Ryan is badly wounded in a fight that could have been avoided, Mary tricks you into destroying yourself. She plays upon your jealousy and avarice to convince you to provide a sustainable source of food for them and then to head off to the BLACK STAR in search of power. Your part of the story ends there. You are presumed to have been killed.
"Proceed to a room of their choice, that would either be the most comfortable to discuss topics in, or which would keep their king safest. If they have a jail cell, offer to allow yourself to be locked in and communicate through a window, to assure them you are acting in as best faith as possible. If accepted (or if they would prefer to stay where you are without the risk of moving) then first ask if they have anything to ask YOU. Ask them to bring in a high-ranking religious official or historian so you can learn what happened since you were gone. Tell them you can show them you came from the black star and lead them to the door above it. // Ask them to bring in a high-ranking religious official or historian so you can learn what happened since you were gone."
You're starting to get the idea that you're never going to get any honest or useful information if these people have to worry about a hostage situation. You offer to be locked in a cell of some kind if you can keep your SWORD. After all, they don't know the cell won't be able to hold you longer than you desire and it will make them comfortable enough to give you some information.
You ask that a scholar of these "old stories" be summoned.
The GUARDS escort you to your CELL, which appears to be located where the PANTRY once was. The older guy tells you he'll meet you there after he finds someone more knowledgeable.
"How did you get in here, anyway?" the Captain asks.
You explain that you got in through the DOOR in the DUNGEON.
She appears amused by your answer. "Of course you did. Why didn't I see that coming?"
The Captain leaves you in your cell to wait under the watchful eye of the SHOTGUN-WIELDING GUARD.
"You'd like to discuss this further with him, at some length. How about you let him go, he lets the guards in, you DON'T surrender your weapons, and the two of you continue talking while holding a Mexican stand-off? That way, he's safe, you're not defenseless, the guards are pacified, and everyone's happy."
The Lord Protector thinks it over for a moment.
"Very well," he says, and walks over to the door. "Captain, I'm going to open the door. You are to enter the room, but do not attack the intruder. I do not believe he is a threat. He is merely very confused."
He opens the door and his GUARDS enter.
"Now, what is it you'd like to know?"
"How many people are in this world?"
"In the Commonwealth or the entire world? Look, why don't you give me the sword? I promise you will not be harmed and I will personally answer your questions if you just surrender."
"The whossit? Ask more about them, offer to dispatch them and ask more about Jack, specifically his ending."
"They're a violent cult, they believe our whole existence is an affront to the natural order of the universe and want to destroy it all. As for Chairman Jack, I don't remember what happened to him. I have not heard the old stories since I was a kid."
"Hm... There have been no VOID MONSTER ATTACKS in a long time. So why does our captive need guards? I smell something fishy in his story. Press him for more details on this point after confirming whether or not the people below are, in fact, his own guards."
You ask the man why he needs such heavily armed security.
"You really don't know? I'm in charge of defending the people from the followers of the Icosahedron. I command thousands of soldiers."
"Convey to your hostage that you really DON'T mean anyone any harm. You just want the chance to sit down with everyone and talk this all out in a civilized manner. Is there any way he can help you do so? Short of you surrendering, that is; you're not keen on handing yourself and your gear over to people you don't know and therefore can't trust."
You try to convince the man that you don't actually want anyone to get hurt here. You want to sit down and talk about it.
"Please be reasonable. You were found trespassing in the home of the Lord Protector and attacked his guards. Surrendering your weapons and giving an explanation are the least we can ask. Those are only four of my many guards. If you don't want to hurt anyone, let's end this here."
"We still need to figure out what the current LEGEND OF THE EVERYMAN is. Perhaps either a book in the library or our MUSTACHIOED CAPTIVE can explain why, upon realizing who we are, most people have first reacted with fear."
You tell your hostage to tell you what he knows about the Everyman.
"You want to hear the story of the Everyman? Now?"
"Alright, uh. The Everyman was a powerful being, but he was also capricious. He created Mary and Ryan and, I think Chairman Jack and some other creatures. They were afraid of him, though, and Mary tricked him into throwing himself into the Black Star. After that, people were free to live in peace and all that. I'm sorry I don't remember it very well - I'm not religious."
You hear the GUARDS banging on the DOOR.
"Open up! You're trapped in there, so you might as well give in!"
"Ask what happened to the grenad-acado trees. Also say sorry but you're only doing this because his people are dick-holes."
You tell the guy you're sorry about how this is going. Those GUARDS attacked you and you didn't know what else to do. You also ask him what happened to the AVOCADO TREES, the ones that came from the GRENADE.
"I'm sorry," he says, visibly frightened and confused. "I don't know what you want me to say. I don't understand. I've lived here for years and we've never had any trees in the park down there. You're just not making any sense."
You hear a sound below.
Here they come.
"Commune with Jack already."
You still get no response from Chairman Jack.
You retreat into the BEDROOM and draw THE EVERYSWORD.
You tell the MUSTACHIOED MAN he's coming along as you quickly press on to the COURTYARD.
You use the ARMOR WITH ADJUSTABLE UPS to LEAP into the TOWER and lock the DOOR to the stairs before the GUARDS can follow.
The CROSSBOW-WIELDING GUARD acts first, firing directly over the shoulder of the BATON-WIELDING GUARD. He's good.
Your ARMOR protects you from the piercing damage the BOLT would have otherwise caused, but you still lose 2 HIT POINTS from the impact.
You use 1 CREATIVITY point to MANIFEST a brief but intense FLASH OF LIGHT. You close your eyes before you do so.
Ha! They were looking right at it. You've momentarily blinded the GUARDS. Now's your chance to escape!
You reach toward the KNOB you installed on your ARMOR.
"That's it! Take him down!" the woman shouts.
You are now fighting 4 GUARDS!
"Well you could expand creativity but it would be best to "surrender" so they would become more at ease. Explain about who you are, asking about what has happened in the past couple of years/decades/centuries/millennia/years into the past
but not many"
Not wanting to cause needless violence, you surrender to the GUARDS.
They seem fascinated with your orbiting companion, but maintain a professional attitude. The woman with the TELESCOPING BATON approaches.
"I need to take your weapons," she says. "How did you get in here, anyway?"
The woman is solidly built, with short-cropped hair. Like the other GUARDS, she wears a simple uniform. You tell her you're the EVERYMAN and you've returned from the BLACK STAR.
"Sure you are, buddy. Now hand over the weapons. I can see a sword or something in that belt. Give it to me."
Not satisfied with his replies, you shove past him and exit the room. You'll find your answers elsewhere.
You encounter three men and a woman - all armed and looking upset.
"Ask about the VOID. Specifically, whether or not it "exists" for him. // Ask him if any void beasts have been coming lately."
You ask him about the VOID and the BEASTS.
"You're serious," he says as he inches slowly toward the door.
"The Void is all around us. What else would there be outside? Do you, uh, see something else out there? It's been generations since the last beast attack, as far as I know."
"Jack. Where is he? Also, ask something about those two other people that used to hang around here."
You ask him about Chairman Jack, Mary and Ryan.
"You can't be serious," he replies. "If they ever existed at all, they're long dead."
"Dial up your armor to the max. Float before him to irrefutably prove your claim, the claim that you are the Everyman, Father of Mary, Mercy to Ryan, Friend of Jack. You have returned successful from your noble quest to save the universe from imminent collapse, only to find that dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of years have passed."
You activate the ARMOR WITH ADJUSTABLE UPS and do your best to float menacingly. You're not having a good day and consequently not in the mood to screw around.
He changes his tone pretty quickly.
"Fine. You're the Everyman. Just tell me what you want. Please don't hurt me."
"Oh yeah, and I'm Chairman Jack," he says in a mocking tone after you identify yourself. "Now tell me how you got in before I call in the guards."
You barge into the BEDROOM. You want some answers, damn it.
"Who are you? How did you get in here? You're not one of my guards!" he exclaims, ignoring your queries.
"Check rapport screen."
"Read the plaques that must exist under the statues for very obvious but strangely unexpected developments."
You take a closer look at the bases of the STATUES.
Under the one which depicts Mary and Ryan - although not particularly well - reads, "Mary and Ryan. Mother and Father."
Chairman Jack's STATUE only records his name.
"Just go to the courtyard."
You very carefully pull some of the BLANKET up to reveal the sleeper's identity.
It is a older, portly man with a moustache. You do not recognize him.
THE EVERYSWORD transforms again into a short gladius for the purpose of hacking the lock from the door. It almost seems to have a mind of its own, transforming into whatever sword is appropriate for the situation.
The impossibly sharp blade neatly cleaves the lock from the door. You proceed cautiously.
The UNFINISHED ROOM has been - well, finished. It is now a CLASSY BEDROOM. It appears someone is sleeping in the BED. You assume you can continue on to the COURTYARD through those CURTAINS.
"Head to the courtyard."
You head up the STONE STAIRS and return to the LIBRARY. It looks like MARY and RYAN have been using it. There are BOOKS out on the TABLE and an EMPTY WINE GLASS as well.
It looks like someone cleaned the BLOOD from the STAIRS here. Hopefully this attention to cleanliness means your friends were bored and not fighting for their lives during your absence.
When you reach the top of the STAIRS, you find that the DOOR to the UNFINISHED ROOM - beyond which lies the COURTYARD - is locked.
"First see if you can move it to the ship to open so that we don't fuck stuff up, then use every blade to cut it open."
This DOOR, like the many other PORTALS you've encountered, is not moveable. Even with the JETPACK at full power, you cannot budge it.
But you're pretty sure the EVERYSWORD - here shown as a razor-sharp katana - will be able to hack the HINGES off.
You find yourself in a dark room. The gravity inside seems to be normal, strangely enough. You dial down the UPS and pull out your FIREFLY LANCE.
"Use jetpack and triple ups."
You bring the V.S. Snuffy the Pooch as close to the object as you dare and adjust the JET ENGINES to maintain this position.
You strap on your JETPACK and head for the CARGO HOLD. As you get closer to the HALO, you should be able to dial up the UPS on your ARMOR to compensate for the strong downward pull.
You discover a thick METAL DOOR floating in the VOID. There are no handles or hinges visible. It does not appear to be locked, but the force of gravity here is effectively locking it by pulling it closed.
"Radar, I say."
You decide you ought to upgrade your ship with an advanced detection system. The distances out here are immense, so you'll need something that can scan a large area. You spend 6 CREATIVITY points on a rudimentary RADAR SYSTEM.
Finally you're making use of all these pointless screens and dials you MANIFESTED when you built this ship.
You begin scanning. The RADAR picks up one contact - a very small object. The catch is that it seems to be dangerously close to the HALO.
That's troubling. You've cleared the source of the disturbance, but you still cannot contact Chairman Jack. He is not responding to your greeting and you are unable to establish a telepathic link.
The BOOSTER has reached its maximum heat level and deactivated itself. Fortunately, you have put enough distance between your ship and the BLACK STAR that the JET ENGINES are able to keep you from descending.
You've got a new problem, though. After your rather wild landing, you've completely lost your bearings. You have no idea where the portals to the APARTMENT are located.
"Create a dial on the armor to control how much ups it has. Let's have the number of settings range from 0 to X, X being the number of times we've imbued the armor with ups PLUS ONE."
You spend 4 CREATIVITY points on upgrades for your ARMOR.
First, you increase the strength of its FLOAT to 3. In this environment it is barely noticeable, but in the WHITE ROOM, you would suffer no AGILITY penalty and be capable of GLIDING.
The rest of the CREATIVITY is used to create a system to regulate this IMBUING and a DIAL to control it. You get the ARMOR WITH ADJUSTABLE UPS!
You set the UPS to 1 and land.
You successfully emerge from the BLACK STAR's deadly HALO. The LEAD HULL of your voidship has protected you from harm.
However, you discover that the ARMOR WITH MAD UPS is a little too potent for the weaker gravity out here. You're currently floating about, practically weightless.
"Get the hell out of Dodge."
"Head back up to Mary, Ryan, and Chairman Jack. // Before you go: CREATE Small Docking Station/Terminal. Never know if we might need to come back down here. "
It could be helpful to erect some sort of dock down here on the SURFACE before you leave. Then you remember the landing you made earlier - "landing" being a very generous way to describe the barely-controlled crash that actually took place. Even if you could somehow steer the vessel to the installation on your return approach, you'd just crash into and demolish it in the fierce gravity well.
You just throw the switch.
"First off, we can make the armor of it not so dense. All we need to do is fly out, not take on a warship. // Add more engines."
While there are many ways you could conceivably escape the BLACK STAR'S atmosphere, you decide to upgrade the ship you already have and save as much CREATIVITY as possible for later.
You spend 5 points ALTERING the vessel's hull. What was once thick MASONRY is now thin but dense LEAD. This should be sufficient to protect you from the harmful RADIATION you encountered on the way in. You also patch up the spots hit during the fight with the OCTAGUNSHIP just to be on the safe side.
You then use 8 CREATIVITY to MANIFEST a powerful BOOSTER ENGINE. This can be used to give the V.S. Snuffy the Pooch a serious burst of speed - enough to get the hell out of Dodge, you think. It requires a considerable period of time to cool down after each use, however.
You get a nifty BOOSTER IGNITION SWITCH and COOLDOWN GAUGE on the BRIDGE to help you use the new equipment.
"Now, zoom over to the brick ship and IMBUE it with LEAD WALLS. And more UPS, to counteract the heaviness of the lead. RADIATION MUST NOT DEFEAT US."
You return to the V.S. Snuffy the Pooch.
You've got to figure out how you're going to get this thing back into the air. Adding LEAD to the HULL would likely protect you from the harsh RADIATION of the BLACK STAR'S HALO, but it's already extremely heavy. The degree of IMBUING it would take to get this thing off the ground would be astronomic. You're going to have to think of some other way to upgrade your voidship.
You spend 6 CREATIVITY MANIFESTING a sweet JETPACK. It doesn't look particularly reliable, but based on your understanding of this stuff, you're confident it will fly. You can't make any predictions regarding safety, but there's basically no way this isn't going to be fun to use.
You fire it up and head for the SURFACE.
You take a closer look at the MINIATURE BLACK MOON currently buzzing around your head. Its surface is pocked with what appear to be craters. When you touch it, it feels like ordinary rock. It ceases to float about when you grab it, but resumes its orbit when you release it. Perhaps it served as some sort of companion or familiar for your falled foe.
The QUANTUM PUDDLE is all that remains of the ANTHROPOMORPHIZED SINGULARITY CONSTRUCT you just defeated. It seems to act like a liquid, but is so dense and heavy that you are unable to scoop up a single drop of it in the intense gravity well you're currently in.
You decide to save up your newfound CREATIVITY for getting the hell out of here purposes. Instead, you just eat the RATIONS you brought with you.
They're pretty bland, but each can grants 5 NUTRITION points, which you immediately convert to HIT POINTS.
You open up your MENU and check on your status before continuing.
As soon as you look at it, the MINIATURE BLACK MOON begins to orbit your own head.
While your opponent is off-balance, you quickly sieze the initiative and strike! The EVERYBLADE obliges by transforming into a nimble rapier.
The blade, which both exists and does not exist, plunges into the body of the hostile being. It begins to lose that black stuff - whatever it is - rapidly.
A ghostly blade appears at the end of the HILT just as your enemy strikes. You not only block the assault, but you seem to have damaged it as well.
"Create a katana made out of pure creativity, one which is strong enough to defeat this giant. You shall call this sword... THE EVERY-BLADE."
That thing looks pretty mad about you coming back from the dead like that. You need a WEAPON - but not just any WEAPON.
You use 12 CREATIVITY points and summon up a SWORD suitable for the situation.
You MANIFEST THE EVERYSWORD.
...What the hell is this? It's just a HILT.
"Does this really make us the last thing left in a universe that got devoured? // Wonder whether you are the vessel for the combined souls of mankind."
You wake up.
You are the Everyman - which is to say you are the amalgamation of the thoughts, beliefs, knowledge, memories and emotions of the entire human species. You are their collective unconscious expressed as a single entity for the purpose of preserving the human experience beyond the death of the creatures themselves, their planet, star and universe. After countless eons, the galaxies slowed and cooled and eventually their matter collected into a BLACK HOLE SINGULARITY. Somehow, this event caused an improbable series of intersections with your extra-dimensional THOUGHTSPACE. In the vacuum beyond the SINGULARITY, the very laws of existence were shattered, and a powerful mind such as yours - even if much of this power was latent - could influence existence on a fundamental level. Though the rigors left your conscious mind weak and confused, your unconscious CREATED environments you would be familiar with from the shared experience of humanity. You MANIFESTED light and air so you could survive, but you forgot what you are and how you got there in the process.
It seems that you imposed your will on the SINGULARITY as well, because it is personified as a powerful being currently standing over you after beating you nearly to death. It is likely the source of all your troubles before.
You gain 1 HIT POINT from the nap.
You have overcome some of your mental limitations through the power of understanding! Your MAXIMUM CREATIVITY increases to 50! Your CURRENT CREATIVITY increases to 50!
"Ask Mr. Big Crunch over there what anyone has to gain from this. Absolute order is just another way of saying oblivion. Is giving up your existence really worth it?"
Unable to understand your opponent's motives, you make a logical plea. Isn't there anything it would prefer to oblivion?
"You are confused. I look and speak as you do only because you imposed this paradigm on me. I exist only to fulfill my function. I do not possess your sense of self-preservation."
"And I have no more patience for this debate."
You are slammed into the ground. Your lose all 10 of your current HIT POINTS!
You're blacking out...
"Ask GRAVITRON 2000 whether he created anything (such as the SHAPES or the VOID MONSTERS that we destroyed) or if he did nothing but absorb matter? If he did: Point out the contradiction - he's simply doing the same thing as us - creating things to suit his purpose."
"I sent small parts of my consciousness out to destroy you, yes. It was a grueling, offensive task. However, I had no other way to lure you down here. And it worked. I see no need to justify my actions to you. We will both cease to exist very soon."
"Ask him why he's in such a hurry to kill you. It'll take him ages to absorb everything anyways, given the distance between the Black Star and the house, and you'd probably die of natural causes or your own stupidity long before he'd finish."
"I was nearly finished when you appeared. Matter, light, and even time bent inward to one glorious point. But just before critical mass was achieved, you burst into the vacuum and imposed your will on what remained - even me. I don't know how, but you are preventing the unification. The cycle cannot continue. That is why I must destroy you."
""Who created you?""
You do your best to convince the being to open up about its origin and purpose.
The gravity shifts back to the alignment it had when you first fell into the WHITE ROOM, but the force increases. You are unable to stand up.
"You won't fool me by feigning ignorance. I was not created and I cannot be commanded. I am the force that unites all matter. I don't know how you are able to steal matter from me, but your meddling ends now."
You ask the hostile being for an explanation. What does it want?
"I have no goal other than the one I was created for - to absorb all matter. I cannot do this until you are gone, and so I must kill you."
"Apologize? Talk things out?"
That thing is really powerful. If you hadn't healed yourself earlier, that would have been the end right there. One punch.
You remember that you're about to crash into the wall.
You call out to your opponent; you want to talk about this.
"What could you possibly have to say to me?" it bellows.
Its tone is not promising, but it does oblige you by ceasing your fall just before you make contact.
"Uh, stop dying."
As you fall, you DIGEST the remaining 5 NUTRITION in your stomach, raising your HIT POINTS to 10.
"Before spending more CREATIVITIES, we should see how much/what damage was done with the fireball, and whether or not we should repeat of think of similar style attacks."
It looks like your new friend has regained its composure.
"The next time someone tries to toss you around with their mind, IMBUE yourself with +1 RESISTANCE TO TELEKINESIS."
IMBUING yourself... you've never attempted to use this power on a fully sentient BEING before. You don't think you could do it without loads of CREATIVITY. The target is already so complex the results would be unpredictable - if it worked at all.
"Quickly retrieve SPRING, holding the base as tightly as possible, and do your best to "land" on the spring-end, to reduce the amount of falling damage taken."
You briefly consider making some arrangements for your landing, but when you look down you are unable to see the ground ahead in the direction you're currently moving.
"Check our stats."
Here it comes, and you doubt it's going to give you a big hug.
You summon up a FIREBALL with your CREATIVITY. You're not sure what effect it has on your foe, but it fails to hit you as you fall past.
You can hear it shriek as you plummet. Whether this is due to pain, frustration or both, you cannot say.
There's no need to eat anything to restore your HIT POINTS at this time - you have a full stomach. You convert 5 NUTRITION and heal yourself fully.
"Ask what it/he/you? wants."
You attempt to communicate with this strange and hostile entity. You try to ask it what it wants from you. From the depths of its weird head, a hollow voice escapes.
"You would hinder me all this time and play the fool now?"
You politely insist that you have no idea what it's talking about.
"Enough! Out there the advantage is yours, but things will be very different here."
"Touch the orbiting thing."
You'd really like to grab that thing - whatever it is - but you can't reach it!
"Touch the black orb."
You cannot resist its pull. You must touch it.
"Don't touch it, but take a good look at it for any signs of mountains, aircraft, or wolf spiders on it."
You cannot see anything on its surface. It does exert a strange and powerful force on you, however. You find it hard to resist reaching out to touch it.
The only other occupant is a featureless BLACK SPHERE several yards ahead of you.
You aren't hurt too badly by the fall.
You stand up and look around.
It is a huge, square WHITE ROOM. You can just make out the dark rectangular shape of the DOOR above.
"Put FIREFLY LANCE back into our inventory so we don't lose it. Then look into the light. If it is too bright to be able to see any details, jump in! "
You place the FIREFLY LANCE in your INVENTORY and survey the area beyond. You can't see a thing.
Seeing as your ARMOR WITH MAD UPS protects you from falling damage, you decide to hop right in.
After a few seconds, you notice that the rate of your descent is increasing. The gravity is becoming more powerful. Your ARMOR WITH MAD UPS is no longer sufficient for GLIDING, and it no longer negates the weight of its heavy steel.
"Continue to explore."
Your head full of questions, you proceed into the depths of the CAVERNS, which grow darker as you penetrate. The system of tunnels winds downward for miles.
Eventually you enter a chamber so vast, you cannot see the extent of it with the FIREFLY LANCE, which seems to be illuminating less than usual down here. The only hints at its size are the prolonged echoing of your footsteps. It is massive, and seems to be made of a disturbingly familiar smooth, dark stone.
Oddly, your foot strikes metal. There is a door.
"Attack its front legs to cripple it with the FIREFLY LANCE while attempting to stay out of reach from retaliation."
The GIANT SPIDER flees as you approach it to attack and you must pursue it through the CAVERNS. It is far more suited to traversing this terrain, and you are hard-pressed to keep up.
However, once the creature reaches the exterior, it is stunned by the light and easily slain.
The corpse does not dissolve into VOID DUST, however.
"Turn around and fight."
Realizing that this is usually the part where you're assaulted by a monster, you turn around to face the GIANT WOLF SPIDER which has appeared behind you.
It does not attack; instead it recoils in fear from the light of the FIREFLY LANCE.
"Imbue your LANCE with CHEMILUMINESCENCE and wield the resulting FIREFLY LANCE it so that you can see and then spelunk deeper into the caves."
You decide to use up one of your CREATIVITY points. Though you were going to save as much as you can for later, you're not about to wander off into these DARK CAVERNS without some form of light. You IMBUE and EQUIP your LANCE before continuing.
The FIREFLY LANCE guides your way as you explore the area. This form of light does not seem to require a BATTERY, but it is dim and unfocused compared to the ILLUMINATE function you enjoyed before BLAZING HOT BETTY's destruction. Its use in future laser-related upgrades will be dubious at best. Still, it's better than going in blind.
You scan the cliffs and crags below for a likely site. You kick yourself for leaving the POWERFUL TELESCOPE behind. You're really just looking for dark spots in the distance here.
You GLIDE down to a promising spot.
It seems these MOUNTAINS you've unintentionally created came with their own CAVERN SYSTEM.
"Since you are still wearing your ARMOR WITH MAD UPS, remove robo-arm-shoes, and then leap from the base of the mountain to the peak. Attempt to see if there is anything noteworthy besides more mountains within view."
Touching the rocks which make up this lonely MOUNTAIN CHAIN seems to have no effect on the scenery. You remove your SHOES and prepare to ascend.
Wearing the ARMOR WITH MAD UPS has restored your LEAPING ability. You bound to the summit of the nearest MOUNTAIN with ease
From the peak you can see the other MOUNTAINS, and beyond.
There is little to see, unfortunately. The BLACK STAR'S surface is as bleak beyond this new terrain as it was at the CRASH SITE.
Some time later, you arrive at the foot of the nearest MOUNTAIN.
The ground here appears to be made of normal dirt and rocks.
"Also, tap/hit ground with hands to determine whether the landscaping effect is caused simply by your feet, or any part of your body. Then continue towards mountains."
You hit the ground with your bare fist.
There appears to be no difference between contact with your feet and your hands.
You decide you might as well start walking.
"Use letter opener to attempt to gouge/stab/carve the ground. Observe the effects of doing so."
Though it appears to be black sand, the ground here is entirely solid. You cannot dislodge even a grain with the LETTER OPENER.
You hop back into your SHIP.
Using your ever-adaptable MECHANICAL ARMS, you fashion a pair of makeshift SHOES. They're not very comfortable, and they probably won't stay on if you have to run or jump, but they will keep your feet from touching the surface.
You walk outside.
You take the opportunity to retrieve your BASEBALL.
You toss the BASEBALL. Nothing appears to happen when it hits the ground.
Your second hesitant step forward has the same effect as the first. The surface of the BLACK STAR vibrates and echoes your footfall as if you'd stepped upon a vast gong. Another MOUNTAIN rises up in the distance.
You scoop up your other WEAPONS before you proceed. This ship isn't going anywhere for now, so you might as well put the useful stuff in your INVENTORY.
It's time to stop fucking around and get down to business. You open the CARGO BAY DOORS and step out onto the RAMP.
You're not sure what to expect, but that happens to be a situation you've grown accustomed to.
You take a step onto the surface of the BLACK STAR.
You take both CANS OF RATIONS and the CANTEEN with you.
You think you may want to conserve your CREATIVITY for now, but you put the SPRING into your INVENTORY for later. You're confident that goofy physics puzzle shit lies on your monochromatic horizon, and you'd rather not venture forth unprepared.
"Fill your empty milk carton with paint, it might come in handy for a impromptu Creativity source, or blinding something."
You pick up the empty CARTON and fill it with PAINT from one of the BUCKETS. They're pretty well glued to the floor here, so it's easier to use another container to transport your liquid CREATIVITY as you set off into the unknown.
The feedback from the STONE OCTAHEDRON not only shattered BLAZING HOT BETTY'S LENS and BLADE, but fried the circuitry and overloaded the BATTERY as well. It retains none of its electricity-channeling or light-focusing properties.
It's been a few days since you departed. You might as well check in on the others.
You use your RAPPORT to communicate with Chairman Jack.
That's strange. There's no response. Whether this is due to interference or trouble up there, you couldn't say. It's not like you can do much about it right now either way.
Between the view from BRIDGE windows and the CARGO BAY door, you're able to take in the view in all directions from the crash site.
It's pretty barren out there.
"Since things are weightless in your inventory, grab that hammerhead so that we can drop it on someone later."
While you're certainly not strong enough to swing it around as a weapon while you're down here, the head of the SEIGE HAMMER could be quite useful in this environment. You put it in your INVENTORY.
You use 1 CREATIVITY to increase the potence of the ARMOR WITH UPS. It is now the ARMOR WITH MAD UPS and no longer penalizes your AGILITY. You are once again immune to falling damage and capable of leaping and such.
"Get creativity from the paint fumes, negate toxicity and imbue shitty tribal tattoo with ups."
Man, this place is trashed. Fortunately, the paint you slopped all over the BEDROOM floor while creating art earlier has acted as a sort of glue, preventing the PAINT CANS from spilling during your harrowing descent.
You inhale FUMES until you get 5 CREATIVITY points. Then you DIGEST the food in your stomach to negate 5 of the 10 TOXICITY you just earned. After that, you drink half of the MILK you just created, and eliminate the rest of the TOXICITY with the resulting 10 NUTRITION you get from half of a CARTON. You can't imagine why you'd bother leaving the remaining MILK out to spoil, so you finish it off and end up with 10 NUTRITION.
You consider IMBUING the SHITTY TRIBAL TATTOO with the same FLOATING capabilities of the ARMOR, but you're moving around well enough now and you're confident you'd be pretty clumsy with one weightless leg.
You EQUIP your ARMOR WITH UPS yet again. In this hostile environment, it protects you from the increased gravity. However, its FLOAT and GLIDE properties are negated by this situation and it can no longer compensate for its weight as before. Your AGILITY is temporarily reduced to 1.
You open up your INVENTORY SCREEN to see what you can toss to make yourself lighter.
Damn. None of this stuff is very heavy.
Now that you think about it, though, you've never felt the weight of any item after placing it in your INVENTORY.
"Huff paint to get 3 creativity and 6 toxicity. Create 2 Cartons of Milk (I'm sure we can create something better but we've already made this before and know it gives 6 nutrition and costs 1 creativity), drink them both and recover all 6 toxicity with 1 extra point of creativity to spare. Rinse and repeat. Create infinite creativity."
You MANIFEST a CARTON OF MILK. This healthy treat costs 5 CREATIVITY and it does a body good.
Unfortunately, it usually only does good for bodies that are able to reach and consume it.
You try to climb to your feet, but the intense gravity pins you to the floor.
There it is.
It's enormous and it's pulling you in. The closer you get, the stronger its grip becomes.
You grab the CONTROLS. It's going to require all the power this baby can muster to level out before you slam into the surface.
Well, it could have been worse.
You manage a half-decent crash landing on the surface of the BLACK STAR - which appears to be solid. You are still knocked off your feet by the impact. The lower floors contain no critical systems, so any damage should be negligible.
"Do a Crazy Ivan while simultaneously performing a roll in a barrel-esque fashion. Then charge into the halo."
At this distance, the pull of the BLACK STAR is too strong to allow for the use of any fancy maneuvers. You decide to fly straight through the HALO and hope for the best.
You suffer a nasty dose of RADIATION as you pass through, but not enough to cause immediate harm. If you had lingered in the HALO, however, things could have been pretty bad.
You take a look ahead.
Even at full speed, the trip seems to take days. You pass the time by writing, cleaning your GUN, and generally screwing around.
Suddenly, you notice a strange increase in the speed of your descent.
You rush to the BRIDGE and reverse the engines to compensate. You must be getting close.
The ship hovers just beyond the weird, pulsing HALO around the BLACK STAR. Even with the vessel's powerful FLOAT IMBUING, the ENGINES strain to maintain your distance.
"Get the baseball."
You hop out and grab the BASEBALL before proceeding.
Your head is swimming with ideas. Your CREATIVITY is relatively high, and you find you are full of pep and vigor due to your uncharacteristically healthy state. It is very difficult to remain resolved to conserve your CREATIVITY for future needs.
You sit down and begin writing your autobiography to distract yourself from the possibilities.
<embed src="http://files.myfrogbag.com/bapua5/alcoholicbeverage.swf" hidden="true" loop="false">
You nudge the vessel forward to clear the SIDEWALK and begin your long descent.
It would be great to somehow increase the capacity of your CANTEEN, but such a reality-bending augmentation would cost an obscene amount of CREATIVITY.
You just fill it back up instead.
You decide to save your CREATIVITY for later. There's no telling what you're going to need later on, not to mention that if you CREATE something now and Mary sees it, she'll know you ignored her request and generally have a cavalier attitude toward the lives and futures of the only two other human beings you know to exist.
Oh hey, look. Your ride is finally here.
You begin loading your stuff. Time to make your final preparations.
"Huff some paint, eat some food, remove toxicity. Possibly get more food. Let's get some creativity to work with. Probably shouldn't spend it right away; we can make stuff as we need it."
You break your promise to Mary as soon as she turns her back.
You wait for her to return to the APARTMENT before sneaking back into the PANTRY to grab more food.
Not wanting to get caught, you don't waste time being picky. You end up with several CANS OF TOMATOES. Using the FUMES from the PAINT CANS, you increase your CREATIVITY to 5. As before, this gives you 10 TOXICITY points which you negate with 20 additional NUTRITION.
You make sure to discard the empty CANS by throwing them into the VOID as far as you are able.
"Replenish health and cure toxicity. Bring lots of extra food with you on the ship. Leave plenty for Ryan and Mary."
You pig the fuck out, converting the NUTRITION points you earn into HIT POINTS and eliminating your TOXICITY. You also max out your stomach area. Mary watches nervously as you do this.
"I understand you've been hurt and you can heal yourself by eating, but please save some for us. It looks like a lot of food now, but we may have to ration it if the trees don't grow quickly. You don't seem to need food just to survive, but we do."
You promise to bring nothing but the CANNED RATIONS you found in the TANK.
"Thank you," she says as she departs with a CAN OF BEANS, presumably for Ryan.
You easily smash the LOCK and open the DOOR.
Mary leads you back toward the TUNNEL where you were trapped earlier.
"It's at the end of that tunnel," she tells you. "The door is marked 'pantry.' If that's really what it leads to, that would be pretty great."
You agree. You weren't about to leave them here without something to eat until the FOOD TREES in the COURTYARD are ready.
You tell Mary you intend to leave the BRIEFCASE TANK with them. They'll be pretty unassailable inside it if things get too heavy. You also let her know that they can send you messages through Chairman Jack.
"Oh, cool. That will be useful."
The passage culminates in a fairly bland EMPTY ROOM with a single DOOR.
"Well, here it is," Mary says.
That STONE TETRAHEDRON-HEADED ASSHOLE left your WEIGHT BENCH pretty damn useless when he got rid of the WEIGHTS.
While you're pondering this problem, Mary joins you.
"Hey, can you help me out with something? I've been exploring and I need you to help me open a locked door."
You tell her you'd be happy to help. You still have the upper part of the SEIGE HAMMER. Maybe it's not the best weapon anymore, but you're sure it can still cajole open a stubborn door or two.
"Grab a few lightbulbs, books, writing utensils, bottles and up your rapport with Chairman Jack so he can be used as a walkie-talkie with your hombres here."
You start hauling some junk to the SIDEWALK while you wait for your transportation to arrive. You grab some of the BLANK BOOKS from the LIBRARY and some PENCILS you find in the SPACIOUS KITCHEN. You may want to record the events of this new adventure, and keeping a journal will help you stay sane.
You also take some LIGHTBULBS and the EMPTY BOTTLE from your KITCHEN, primarily to continue that thematic element.
You return to the COURTYARD and go for a ride on Chairman Jack. In addition to being exhilarating, this activity raises your RAPPORT with your avian buddy to 4.
You and Chairman Jack can now communicate telepathically. He's not COMPLEX enough to have a whole lot of personality at this point, but he understands language.
"That was fun," he tells you.
"Go to the expected landing point."
After a brief TANK ride, you walk to the SIDEWALK area.
Gross. You think you know what that gooey smear on the pavement used to be.
Yeah, it's probably going to take a little while for the ship to get here. Maybe you should decide on what you want to bring and what you want to leave with Mary and Ryan, and then start carrying stuff here for loading.
As a first order of business, you engage the AUTOPILOT on the V.S. Snuffy the Pooch. You program her to descend as rapidly as possible and then get off and re-enter the TUNNEL. If you understand this weird crap as well as you think you do, she should just stop when she hits the SIDEWALK below.
You tell Mary you think that's a pretty good idea. Hanging out with the Everyman is hazardous to one's health under normal circumstances. There's no telling what you're going to find down there, and you don't want to see anyone else get hurt. You ask her to share her plan.
"Clearly, Jack can't protect the garden by himself. You tell me he's pretty powerful, though, so I'm thinking we'll spend most of our time with him. He can protect us from beasts, but if the water stops we can go in and turn it back on," she explains.
You tell her that sounds reasonable. However, you point out that there's no way to know how long those TREES will take to sprout FOOD - you can't even be certain they'll yield anything edible at all.
"I know. I'm working on it. Why don't you get ready for your trip and I'll let you know if I need anything?"
A little later, Mary stops you in the HALLWAY.
"We need to talk," she says.
You ask her to tell you what's on her mind.
"You're going to the black star, right? You want to figure out what this is all about and stop the void creatures. Well, we've been talking about it. When you go, we're not coming with you."
You do not keep it together.
You think you've found a use for all these WOODEN PLANKS. This is hard work.
You build a FUNERAL PYRE suitable for a warrior like Snuffy in the COURTYARD.
Mary and Chairman Jack join you to pay respects. Ryan does not attend. Whether this is due to the fact that it would be awkward or because he's having trouble walking, you can't be sure.
"Snuffy was brave and kind. She didn't hesitate to sacrifice herself for someone else. I know it hurts to lose her, but you have to keep it together," Mary tells you.
She sets the PYRE alight.
"Tend to Ryan's leg."
Mary helped Ryan back to the APARTMENT while you were doing the whole beheading thing, which is fine because you have work to do.
You pack up the BRIEFCASE TANK before you leave.
You test the edge of the KITCHEN KNIFE. It's very sharp. This grisly task will not take long.
When you've finished, you drag the body portion over to the hole in the floor and shove it in.
You reverse the TANK and get out. Time to investigate the aftermath.
Yeah, it's dead.
The SIEGE HAMMER is in rough shape. Its head is so heavy, you doubt a mere patch job will do the trick on the shaft portion.
"RUN OVER TETRAHEAD MAN!!"
You floor it, intending to ram the enemy. You're sure the quick TETRAHEDRON-HEADED INDIVIDUAL could dodge an ordinary TANK.
This, however, is no ordinary TANK.
The STONE TETRAHEDRON-HEADED INDIVIDUAL is clearly more than a little distracted by the TANK situation. You take the opportunity to abscond the fuck out of there and join your allies inside the vehicle.
"Mary: Throw E the shield."
You tell Mary to toss the SHIELD to you.
"Here it comes!" she says.
Though you must drop the SIEGE HAMMER to do so, you catch the SHIELD when Mary tosses it over your head.
You bring it to bear just in time to block the enemy's thrust.
"The Tank's ready!"
"Status update on the tank."
You ask Mary for an update on the BRIEFCASE TANK.
"It's still unpacking."
"Smash that stone-headed jerk to bits! // Get Mary to put the bandanna around Ryan's leg. Stop the bleeding."
You take a swing with the SIEGE HAMMER. Although the STONE TETRAHEDRON-HEADED INDIVIDUAL easily dodges the ponderous weapon, you distract him long enough for Mary to drag Ryan out of the way to tend his wounds.
You open your INVENTORY to withdraw a weapon for the occasion.
This is just what the STONE TETRAHEDRON-HEADED INDIVIDUAL was waiting for. It leaps at you with the KITCHEN KNIFE while you're distracted.
Fortunately for you, Ryan was ready for it, and he blocks the attack with his SHIELD!
Unfortunately for Ryan, the enemy slashes low before retreating! He catches your ally in the leg with the sharp blade!
You are now wielding the SIEGE HAMMER.
Ryan is now bleeding profusely.
Your companions are back on their feet and armed. You know there's no exit over there, so the three of you rush the STONE TETRAHEDRON-HEADED INDIVIDUAL.
You've cornered the enemy. However, it's still armed and it sure as hell is dangerous.
You activate the BRIEFCASE TANK'S automatic DEPLOY function and then throw it at the fleeing interloper.
Yeah, it takes a lot longer to DEPLOY this thing than it takes someone to run across a room.
You aim for the legs. He's quick, but if this son of a bitch can't move, you win.
You pull the trigger.
The weapon doesn't fire! You're out of BULLETS!
You scramble to your feet. You wish you could just cut his stupid STONE TETRAHEADRON off, but now that you've lost BLAZING HOT BETTY, the most appropriate item in your INVENTORY for that task is the LETTER OPENER. You decide to stick with the CARBINE.
Besides, he's sprinting away with near inhuman speed. You'd never get close enough to use a sword if you had one.
You aim for its neck and fire.
Just missed! The bullet hits his head, which is presumably as dense and indestructible as the other STONE POLYHEDRONS. It doesn't even slow this asshole down.
"Kill that mofo!!"
You turn yourself around and fire a shot at the TETRAHEDRON-HEADED INDIVIDUAL. It's already on the move, though. Your shot misses as the foe flips over your head.
"Keep as far away from the STHI as possible. Attempt to fire the rifle from a safe distance."
You manage to grab your RIFLE and crawl forward a few feet.
Ryan and Mary attempt to catch the enemy in a pincer attack, but it somehow manages to jump kick both of them at once. If you had seen that, and it hadn't been a terrible turn of events for you, you would have found it to be way sweet.
It's clear that your adversary is both skilled and agile.
You hear something above. Without hesitation, you push your companions away and attempt to leap forward to evade.
While you successfully remove your friends from harm's way, you don't give yourself time to dodge. You do throw the enemy off somewhat, turning what would have been a mortal wound into a nearly mortal wound.
You are now fighting a STONE TETRAHEDRON-HEADED INDIVIDUAL.
"Unless you want to be nipples-deep in a bunch of wind-up robots, I suggest some tree-killing."
You know exactly where that shit is coming from and you know exactly what that means. That jerk must have reactivated the STONE CUBE, and right now it's growing mechanical CONSTRUCTS to send out to kill you.
You tell your companions to get ready for a scrap and lead them to the TREE. You inform them that your enemies - besides the TETRAHEDRON-HEADED INDIVIDUAL - will be mechanical in nature. The best bet is to aim for their inner workings, if exposed. If there's a KNIGHT present, stay back; you know how to deal with it.
Mary and Ryan are a little confused, but ready their weapons and follow closely.
It looks like you're in luck - the TREE has yet to sprout any BULBS. Either that, or it's sprouted and hatched a whole shitload and they've moved elsewhere. The latter does seem rather unlikely, given their simple nature.
You tell the gang to stay close. That TETRAHEDRON could be anywhere.
"Check to see if it's water; if so, investigate rooftop to see if it the landing point of the water again."
You go to the DECK. Water is falling from above in a familiar manner.
You also notice that someone stole your YOGA MAT and wrecked your TREADMILL. What a dick!
"Follow blood trail."
The trail leads down the HALLWAY to your APARTMENT.
You pass through the KITCHEN. It looks like some stuff is missing. You decide to investigate later, and follow the trail into your BEDROOM.
Damn. The trail ends here, and one of your towels is missing. This must be where that thing went after the fight with Chairman Jack. It looks like it managed to stop bleeding.
Wait a second, what's that sound?
"See if there's anything edible on the plants yet. Also, if it's possible with your current Rapport level, ask Chairman Jack if he has any idea how to stop Ryan's orders to kill you."
You head back to the COURTYARD. Mary and Ryan look for food on the SAPLINGS while you attempt to get some advice from Chairman Jack.
Sadly, the plants are far too young to yield anything edible.
You explain Ryan's situation to Chairman Jack. He has trouble understanding the situation fully, but you get the idea that time and trust are significant factors in overcoming the urges. Chairman Jack was a very simple being, and thus you were able to overwrite much of that in a strange way when you used your CREATIVITY on him. Ryan, however, is quite a different case. He was quite complex when he was formed, and the command to kill is hard-wired into this complexity.
You tell the gang you think you should stay together until it comes time to deal with this insidious enemy. They agree.
The three of you follow the HOSE back toward the SPACIOUS KITCHEN, looking for breaks.
A it turns out, someone detached it from the FAUCET. You plug it back in and turn the water on.
You pack up the BRIEFCASE TANK and climb up the LADDER to the TUNNEL. It's time to find this asshole and take him out.
But first you ought to check in with Chairman Jack.
You proceed through the POOL area, which looks much the same as it did before you left.
You find a trail of BLOOD on the STAIRS leading from the UNFINISHED ROOM and COURTYARD to the APARTMENT HALLWAY. This seems worth looking into, but you continue on to reunite with your companion first.
Chairman Jack immediately glides down to greet you. He has fiercely defended the COURTYARD in your absence. You feel a swell of trust and appreciation for him now more than ever.
Your RAPPORT with Chairman Jack is now level 3. While you cannot communicate complex language telepathically, you are able to share sensory information and transmit simple thoughts, requests, and even some information.
Chairman Jack excitedly reports that a being with a triangular head attempted to destroy the plants growing here. They fought, and Chairman Jack wounded it, but was unable to finish the intruder off before it escaped. Not long after that, the SPRINKLER stopped working. Consequently, growth has been slow ever since.
Ryan helps you to your feet. "Are you okay?" he asks.
You let out a laugh and assure him you've been through much worse. You thank him for the help.
"Listen to the man."
You admit that Ryan has a pretty good idea there.
"Do you want to... maybe give me a hand?" he asks.
You and Ryan extract a SHELL from the TURRET CANNON on your ship.
You take the BRIEFCASE TANK back to the STATION and check with Ryan to see what to do next.
"Well, if we pull the slug out of the casing, and then attach it to the weakest part of the metal hatch, all you have to do is hit the firing pin with a shot from your rifle," he explains.
You wonder whether that is entirely safe.
"I have no idea. I just popped out of a computer not long ago. I don't have a wide range of experience with anything, much less explosives or ballistics. What other option do we have? You want to give me the gun?"
You tell him you'll do it.
You ask Ryan just where the fuck he thinks he's going.
"I thought I'd go up to the gun and take out one of the shells. I thought, you know, maybe we could improvise some kind of bomb with it or something."
You can't see anything above, either.
You recall from your frightening free-fall incident that many of the portals leading to the VOID from the rooms you've found are stacked vertically rather than leading to locations based upon their relationship to each other within the complex.
The problem is that you only know the relationships between some of them. For example, you know that the SIDEWALK is above the DECK, but you have no idea how either one is positioned with regard to, say, the FRAMES in the GALLERY because you've never been through them.
The only piece of information you have is the distance from the BLACK STAR.
You look over the edge of the TRACKS.
You can't see it at all from here.
"Well, examine doors."
You throw her in reverse and return to the STATION.
You get out and look around.
The stairs still lead to the dark, narrow chamber with a LADDER. The HATCH is still locked. Even if you had any TANK SHELLS, you couldn't fit the TANK in here while fully deployed and the shot would have to turn nearly ninety degrees in mid-flight in order to blast it from the larger chamber.
"Go the opposite way you came from."
Just to make sure, you continue forward through the TUNNEL.
You fire up V.S. Snuffy the Pooch's engines and park the vessel on the other side of the TUNNEL.
It looks much the same as it does from the side you emerged from originally. A dark TUNNEL extends into the distance.
You unpack the BRIEFCASE TANK and summon your companions.
You enter the TUNNEL. It seems to go on for a considerable distance, but thanks to the vehicle's enhanced speed, you soon see a dim light ahead.
You return to the BRIDGE. The dogfight slowed your progress somewhat, and you still have no idea exactly how far away your destination is. That's fine with you, though, because you need some time alone to reflect on recent events.
You reflect the shit out of them because you encounter nothing for several hours.
Finally, you see another GATE on the TRACKS. This is it. Though you could not see the TRACKS emerging perplexingly from the other side, you recognize that TUNNEL from before.
You dock the ship and prepare to disembark. You do still need to figure out how to open that HATCH, though.
"Offer Ryan the helmet and shield."
You come up with an excellent compromise. You take the SHIELD and OVERSIZED HELMET from your INVENTORY and give them to Ryan after you've unlocked his cuffs. While the HELMET remains too large to be used by average people, the SHIELD is a good fit for him. He can't do much damage with it if the mood strikes him, but he'll be able to keep himself alive if the shit gets too heavy. Mary seems to be satisfied with this arrangement.
Maybe you can use the HELMET as a pot or something.
While you're clearing out all the junk you've accumulated, you leave the RATIONS and CANTEEN on the table for your crew.
"Free Ryan. Apologize for your behavior, but note that you had to be sure. Apologize in advance because you're STILL not going to arm him with weaponry until you can get around his little problem. Continue making your way back to the courtyard and Chairman Jack. Investigate potential living arrangements on your voidship, including food concerns and sleeping quarters. You're going to be spending quite some time here now and in the future. Socialize with Mary and Ryan. Explain to Mary and Ryan that you'll all be safer if Mary guards/keeps-an-eye-on Ryan. He doesn't seem to be programmed to kill anyone but you. Just in case, however, you're going to refrain from splitting up whenever possible to avoid a recurrence of the Snuffy Situation."
You gather everyone in the MESS for a meeting.
First, you congratulate your crew for victory over the STONE OCTAGUNSHIP. They performed quite well given the circumstances.
You tell Ryan that you plan to free him from his shackles, but you ask him to understand that you need to remain cautious. You explain that he is not going to be given a weapon, and that you intend to keep a close eye on him.
"I have no problem with that," he says.
"What if I do?" Mary asks.
That brings you to the next order of business. You politely request that Mary assume the duty of guarding Ryan. Since you are the only one he seems to be programmed to kill, it seems to be the safest arrangement. You only ask that he be kept away from any dangerous implements.
"...Fine," she relents.
Finally, you tell the crew that you think the V.S. Snuffy the Pooch is probably the safest place you've encountered so far and you feel the three of you ought to start thinking of it as home. Therefore, you believe some bunk arrangements should be considered.
Mary cuts you off. "Ryan and I are fine here for the time being. Shouldn't we worry more about getting back to the COURTYARD? Those RATIONS aren't going to last forever. Ryan and I need to eat even if you don't."
You tell her that the ship is on autopilot at the moment. You fell asleep during the TANK ride earlier, so you're not sure, but it can't be more than a few hours' journey back to the first SUBWAY STATION. You'll figure out a way back to the COURTYARD when you get there.
While you are contemplating the loss of your trusty weapon, the voidship continues its journey.
"Salvage sword parts."
There's nothing you can do for BLAZING HOT BETTY. She shattered into countless pieces.
You open the CARGO DOOR. You're only going to get one shot at this.
You tell Mary to go full speed, bringing the STONE OCTAGUNSHIP into your ship's six o'clock.
You retrieve your SWORD, which appears to be fully charged, and make your way to the CARGO HOLD.
"Damn! That thing is fast."
"Have Mary take Ryan to the turret and tie him to the control seat. Have Ryan manually control the turret. Priority goes to their jet engine. Their turret should be the secondary target. Have Mary come take your place as pilot in the bridge. Head to the cargo hold. Hold on to something! Open cargo bay doors. Charge Betty, aim for the jet engine, and fire."
Your vessel is rocked by a direct hit from the OCTAGUNSHIP. Fortunately, the thick masonry of your hull absorbs the blow and no important systems are damaged.
You find a viable FIXTURE for BLAZING HOT BETTY in the ENGINE ROOM.
At your suggestion, Mary leads Ryan to the TURRET CANNON and shackles him to the controls. You tell him to target the enemy's engine.
When she returns, you give Mary a crash course on voidship operation.
"I hope you know what you're doing," she says.
You assure her you have a plan.
The ship is hit again. This time the shot is from the underside.
"I can't see it!" Ryan reports from the CANNON.
"Shoot the jet engine! FIRE!"
Damn! The enemy craft goes into a barrel roll as you take the next shot, protecting its ENGINE from your fire. It's certainly more agile than your own vessel.
Your shot hits the STONE OCTAGUNSHIP dead center. However, its hull seems to be made of the same super-dense material as the other STONE POLYHEDRONS. It sustains no apparent damage and barely even slows down.
"EVASIVE MANEUVERS! CODE YELLOW!"
You turn the TURRET CANNON aft and take a look. The bogey is too low to target at the moment, but it's gaining fast. As far as you can tell, no major damage was done with the first shot, but it won't take long for it to zero in if you maintain course.
You direct the engines upward and punch it, driving the rear of the V.S. Snuffy the Pooch down and bringing the enemy vessel into view.
Oh, and uh, you tell them to brace for turbulence down there.
You rush to the BRIDGE.
The ship rocks violently and you are almost knocked off your feet.
"Tie him up, for your own safety. He might just be the one who killed Snuffy; who knows when he will come after you?"
You tell Mary that you just don't trust this guy. He did try to kill you, after all, and you're not sure you buy his story about the fight with the VOID WOLF. She doesn't look happy about it, but you explain that you're doing it for everyone's safety.
Ryan does not resist as you clap him in irons once again.
You suddenly hear a high-pitched whining sound.
"Also make sure Ryan is bound up with those mechanical arms. Try to be nice about it, though."
Oh shit that's right. You forgot about the dude running around on your VOID SHIP programmed to kill you.
You find Ryan and Mary relaxing in the MESS.
"Oh, hi," Mary says. "Ryan was just telling me that he's feeling much better."
The man does seem much calmer. He seems hesitant to make eye contact with you, however.
"I'm really sorry about what happened to your dog," he says.
"You're not going to tie him up again, are you?" Mary asks.
"Inspect ye CANNON."
This mighty vessel is a little slower than the speed-IMBUED BRIEFCASE TANK. It will take some time to return to the first SUBWAY STATION and, presumably, your home and feathered companion.
You put the ship on auto-pilot and head into the ENGINE ROOM to inspect the CANNON.
The TURRET CANNON isn't particularly high-tech, but it's certainly serviceable. Thanks to its swiveling turret base and adjustable barrel, it can target and fire on anything above, ahead, behind, or to the sides of V.S. Snuffy the Pooch. You see ten SHELLS in the CANNON's automatically-reloading magazine. Upon inspection, it looks like you could aim and fire the weapon from here as well as the BRIDGE, but it could be dangerous.
On your way, you fly over the entrance to the second SUBWAY STATION you encountered.
From above, it's a pretty perplexing sight.
V.S. Snuffy the Pooch, go!
"Time to go find jack."
You carry the body of your companion onboard and then pack up the BRIEFCASE TANK.
You decide to deal with your sorrow by submerging yourself in your work. Mission number one: reunite with Chairman Jack and deal with that STONE TETRAHEDRON-HEADED INDIVIDUAL.
You fire up the ENGINE. All systems are working... as far as you can tell, anyway.
You enter through the CARGO HOLD.
Forward of the HOLD is the MESS.
Above the MESS is the BRIDGE. From here you can pilot the ship and also aim and fire the CANNON.
Aft of the BRIDGE is the large ENGINE ROOM. Besides housing the FUEL and machinery for the JETS, you can also access the CANNON from here.
You get ready to use some CREATIVITY. This is going to be difficult.
You end up spending all of the VOID DUST on the project. 6 CREATIVITY go toward creating an extremely COMPLEX BRICK - large enough to serve as the vessel's hull. You briefly consider suspending it beneath a floating chamber, but then you realize it'll be easier and safer to just give it a strong FLOAT IMBUING. After those 7 points, you use 5 points for JET ENGINES to propel your new ride and 5 more for a TURRET CANNON.
You invite the gang onboard.
First you figure you ought to get rid of that STONE OCTAHEDRON.
You tell Mary and Ryan to climb into the BRIEFCASE TANK. You bring your fallen comrade on board as well.
"Airship. Go, go, go!"
You ingest the first 10 points of VOID DUST. You want to make some sort of flying vehicle, but what kind?
"In a rage huff all the dust and launch a massive and completely unrealistic attack against the dark spot."
You can't possibly process all of that VOID DUST at once, but you pick it all up once you've regained your composure.
It's time to stop fucking around. You need a plan.
"Also, check the RAPPORT screen."
You exit the BRIEFCASE TANK and surround the kneeling figure of Ryan the OFFICE WORKER. You want some answers.
"She saved me," he says. "It appeared so fast we couldn't react. It charged at me right away. She couldn't shoot it without shooting me, so she threw herself into its jaws."
You look at Snuffy the Pooch. She is motionless.
"I hit its head with this mechanical arm until it stopped moving."
You grab the VOID DUST and run back toward the SUBWAY STATION.
You wait for the BRIEFCASE TANK to DEPLOY. You still cannot contact Snuffy the Pooch.
"Attack with a sword slash! Have Mary help with one of those Rapport Attacks and a halberd."
You lash out with BLAZING HOT BETTY, shearing the beast's leg in twain. You charge in closer, pressing the advantage.
While you are not able to use the RAPPORT ATTACK function with Mary, the LARGE VOID SPIDER CRAB is too badly hurt to keep the two of you at bay. Mary stabs it in the face with her HALBERD.
"If Mary is stood behind us, could she use the halberd over Everyman's shoulder? If so, moving forward with us in front to defend could keep her protected whilst improving our attack power. // Tell Snuffy to run and that you'll be there as soon as you can."
You use your SHIELD to assume a defensive posture. You signal Mary to get behind you, which she does quickly.
The creature strikes! It jabs with its powerful forearm claw. Your SHIELD protects you from the jagged pincer and absorbs most of the shock. You lose only 1 HIT POINT.
Mary seizes the opportunity and thrusts with her HALBERD, stabbing the LARGE VOID SPIDER CRAB in the leg with the weapon's spearhead.
You attempt to use your RAPPORT to get a status report from Snuffy the Pooch and give her some tactical advice, but you are unable to contact her. This seems bad.
You get a message from Snuffy the Pooch!
"We've got a problem here, E."
You and Mary pass through the next DOOR and find yourselves on a PIER in the VOID.
You tell Mary that your first priority is to help Ryan, although you admit you're not sure how to accomplish that.
"I'm glad to hear that," she says. "I don't want to see him end up like one of those creatures you told me about."
You assure her that you do not intend to hurt him.
A light appears.
You instinctively back away, taking Mary with you.
You and Mary are now fighting a LARGE VOID SPIDER CRAB!
"Door No. 2 please."
You and Mary enter the second DOOR.
It leads to an AUDITORIUM.
"So. I've been meaning to ask you something," Mary says as you walk around the place. "Do you have a plan? What are we doing here? What are you going to do about Ryan?"
You tell her you have put some thought into it. You think ultimately you need to go to the BLACK STAR itself, although you can't quite put your finger on why that is exactly. Until you are able to do so safely, you plan to explore this place and defeat any hostile entities you find.
"Have Snuffy and Mary escort him to the courtyard for fresh air.
In the meantime, look around and get some business done."
Considering the fact that Ryan's main problem is that he's somehow been programmed to kill you, it seems prudent to put some distance between you while he works on that.
You decide to split up the group. Snuffy the Pooch will accompany Ryan in exploring the RAILROAD beyond this area. You and Mary will stay here. You instruct Snuffy the Pooch to remove Ryan's HANDCUFFS once they've reached a safe distance.
You and Mary explore the LOBBY. You find two DOORS other than the one leading to the CUBICLES, and one ELEVATOR.
"There's nothing outside these windows. No street, no people, just the void," Mary reports.
"Give Ryan a weapon he can operate without hands and tell him to kill any giant animals he sees."
You suggest Ryan be armed in case of VOID BEAST attack. You ask him whether he can operate a large HAMMER with his hands in cuffs.
"How is he going to fight without his hands?" Mary asks.
"I, uh, don't think that's a good idea anyway," he says. "I'm still not in control of myself."
You lead your party onward toward the room's only unexplored exit. The DOOR opposite the one you entered is unlocked. You proceed.
You enter a large LOBBY illuminated by the familiar light found outside the WINDOWS.
You suggest the name Ryan to the OFFICE WORKER.
"Yeah, that sounds good. Thank you," he says.
This simple element of identity seems to calm him considerably.
Mary gets his attention. "I'm Mary. I'm new here, too. We'll figure this all out together, okay?"
"Try making a Personality Profile, writing it on a piece of paper, and telling him that this was his original personality: who he was. Use your amazing DnD character sheet fillout skills to do it."
You and your traveling companions get ready to leave this area. You think that a good start for your new friend would be to have some identity. He should have a name, maybe a job.
"Imbue him with non-aggressiveness. // In the meantime inform him about Void Creatures, and how Chairman Jack said it was an existence of malice - but there are ways to overcome it."
You get ready to use your powers to calm this guy down. You consider IMBUING him somehow, but you're pretty sure you don't have enough CREATIVITY to do that to a living, thinking being. Not to mention you're a little uncomfortable with altering the behavior of a creature with free will.
Instead, you tell him that you believe he is an advanced example of a VOID BEAST and that you have already managed to rehabilitate one of his kind. He's a different case, of course, but you're confident you can figure this out.
"Okay," he responds, "I'll do whatever you tell me."
All of the COMPUTERS appear to be plugged in.
You switch on a second one. It also appears to lead to the VOID, but this time no one appears.
"Restrain him, and use Creativity later to increase Complexity to 1 and give him free will. Take the Letter Opener with you."
You pick up the LETTER OPENER and put it in your INVENTORY, removing the MECHANICAL ARMS at the same time. You think you've found a use for them.
The OFFICE WORKER freely submits to being restrained. You use the MECHANICAL ARMS as makeshift handcuffs. By manipulating their inner workings, you are able to elicit a vice-like grip from them from which you seriously doubt he will be able to escape.
Now that you have him in ersatz fetters, the man seems calmer. You're certain you will not be able to deal with him in the same way you BEFRIENDED Chairman Jack. This individual is already COMPLEX. In fact, an abundance of COMPLEXITY seems to be his problem.
""Sir, you are being irrational. Drop that LETTER OPENER and calm down. There is no reason to follow that thought.
And you may not have noticed yet, but you are outnumbered. You will be alone against us three. CALM DOWN!""
You attempt to reason with him, and Snuffy the Pooch helps you to illustrate your point. He drops the LETTER OPENER.
"I'm sorry, but I can't control myself."
""Do you remember anything at all?""
You ask the man what, if anything, he can remember before he appeared in this room.
"I can't even remember my name."
The OFFICE WORKER is growing nervous and erratic. He is sweating profusely.
"All I know is that I was sent here to kill you. That doesn't make any sense."
You notice his hand groping blindly at the items scattered around the DESK as he speaks. He encounters a LETTER OPENER and takes it.
"Take caution and say hello."
You greet the man in as non-threatening a way as possible. As soon as you speak, he turns his head to face you. His eyes widen.
"You," he says. "I'm supposed to kill you."
The OFFICE WORKER puts his hands on his head as if attempting to remember something.
"But I don't know why, or how."
"Assume a defensive posture and tell Mary to back off. // Look into the computer, see if it leads into the void. If it does, turn it off."
Mary inches away from the OFFICE WORKER very slowly. As stealthily as you are able, you reach down and switch off the COMPUTER.
The man, however, takes no notice. He is currently staring at his own hands in confusion.
The OFFICE WORKER is wearing a plain shirt and tie and he has a well-groomed appearance overall - provided you don't count the slack-jawed gape currently adorning his face.
You select a COMPUTER at random and switch it on.
The MONITOR displays a blank screen.
It begins to glow brightly, illuminating the area.
An OFFICE WORKER appears.
"Now head up them steps."
You ascend, encountering a metal DOOR. It is unlocked, and you proceed into the room beyond.
"Investigate the help point."
Heavy glass separates you from a small BOOTH which would presumably be occupied by some sort of attendant in normal circumstances. As it is the WHITE VOID APOCALYPSE or whatever the hell you call this, it is empty. You will find no help here.
You pack up the BRIEFCASE TANK and put it in your INVENTORY.
"Hey! Wake up!" Mary shakes you roughly into consciousness. "We're coming up on something. I think you should take a look."
You get up and engage the TELESCOPE.
As far as you can tell, the TANK will fit into the incoming tunnel. You tell the others you're going to stay on course.
In a few moments, you enter. The TUNNEL is lit by recessed lights.
Eventually you reach another underground SUBWAY STATION.
You park the TANK and disembark.
"Hit on Mary. // "So Mary, what do you want to do when all this unbelievable shit is over?""
Snuffy the Pooch picks up on your telepathic signals that you'd appreciate a little alone time with Mary. She takes up a position on the TANK'S exterior to watch for trouble. You know, really fast trouble.
You start by asking Mary about her plans for the future.
"What do you mean, like, for the next five minutes?" she answers.
You explain that you were referring to the long-term future, after you figure out this weird VOID situation and win or whatever.
She smiles, "I know what you meant. I guess just don't know how to answer the question. I haven't had the time to consider that. I feel like I should have desires and aspirations, but when I look for them, they're just not there. It's a strange feeling. I guess I'm going to have to make it up as I go."
You stumble through an awkward query regarding whether or not she thinks her future might involve you.
"It doesn't look like I have much choice, does it? I know that sounds mean, but you are the guy who shoved a weird powder in my face, gave me a medieval weapon and escorted me into a possible battle. I don't think you're a bad guy, but I'm not sure how I feel about you yet, okay?"
Mary resumes staring out of the window.
Snuffy the Pooch chimes in telepathically, "Don't worry, E. I'm sure she'll come around."
You lean back in the driver's seat. You feel exhausted down to your bones. Eventually, the rhythmic humming of TANK treads striking railroad ties lulls you into a deep sleep.
You look over at Mary, who is staring listlessly out of a small window. You CREATED her because you were lonely, you kind of feel bad about getting her caught up in all this fighting and danger. On the other hand, she didn't even exist before. Is a weird, hazardous, possibly painful existence better than none at all?
As the Everyman, you find you are ill-equipped for such weird philosophy shit.
You take a peek forward using the TELESCOPE.
Looks like it's going to be a long ride. You'd better strike up some conversation.
You DEPLOY the BRIEFCASE TANK. You can't think of any reason to go back until you know how to deal with that HATCH. You reassure the others that Chairman Jack will be fine, that he has in fact already chased off the STONE TETRAHEDRON once.
You wheel the BRIEFCASE TANK around and floor it.
"Enhance the tank with a SUPER-TELESCOPE to see if you can see anything in the distance. Then use the rest of the creativity to allow the tank to SHRINK and GROW, which will let you blast a hole in the ceiling of the station and take the tank with you."
You ingest the remaining VOID DUST, raising your total CREATIVITY to 9. You get to work upgrading the TANK.
You use 3 CREATIVITY points to MANIFEST a powerful TELESCOPE. This device will allow you to see for miles, and it's hard-wired into the TANK'S systems so that it can be used from the exterior and the cockpit.
It would be great to give the TANK the ability to shrink and grow while remaining functional, but that would be massively complicated, all things considered. You just can't figure out how to do it with your current CREATIVITY rating.
However, it gives you an idea.
You spend 5 CREATIVITY points ALTERING and IMBUING the TANK.
You've created the BRIEFCASE TANK! You can now fold up the TANK and carry it around in your INVENTORY. It takes a little time to DEPLOY, however; make sure you keep this in mind if you ever want to use it in COMBAT.
The BRIEFCASE TANK will not store items for you when folded up. The TANK, a single SHELL, and the new TELESCOPE are all that will fit into the BRIEFCASE version.
You have a little picnic on the rails.
"What do we do now?" Mary asks.
The TANK is extremely fast. You make the journey in just a few minutes.
You exit the TANK, brandishing an open CAN OF RATIONS and the CANTEEN.
"Snort 10 then use a few creativity points to fix the tank then drive it on the tracks. And IMBUE the tank with speed."
You pick up your CARBINE. It appears to be undamaged. You inhale enough VOID DUST to gain 10 CREATIVITY.
You size up the tank. It's broken, but you should be able to fix it. 2 points are used ALTERING the treads and engine to get them working again - to the best of your understanding, anyway. 1 point is used MANIFESTING a new control system to replace the broken consoles inside - that you wouldn't know how to use anyway. Finally, you IMBUE the TANK with speed.
You fire her up. It seems to be working.
You gather up all of the VOID DUST.
You're pretty sure you hit its wing. It's buzzing around more erratically. You lost your grip on the CARBINE, though.
""Sorry. Anyway. I've got an idea. If I don't come back, I don't come back." Aim the carbine at the wasp's chest - it's right above you. If you can't hit that, try shooting it at the point where the stinger meets the body."
You listen to the buzzing sound of the HUMONGOUS VOID WASP circling the TANK. You wait for the right moment to pop out and fire, aiming for the narrow joint between its thorax and abdomen.
Unfortunately, you're not a very good shot with this GUN in these circumstances and you merely graze it.
You duck back inside before it can retaliate.
Oh shit. Now it's really pissed off.
""Never mind, then. I got some tinned rations and some water, though - I need this Void Wasp dead, or everyone's a goner. Any ideas?""
"You didn't exactly create a tactical genius over here. I just shoot at stuff until it falls apart," Snuffy replies.
"I think that you should brain-speaky with Snuffy and tell her to get her doggy behind over here this instant."
"It will take me a while to get there, E, and Mary is in no shape to travel. I'd have to leave her alone here."
You climb out of the TANK just enough to take aim with your CARBINE RIFLE. Unless the HUMONGOUS VOID WASP hovers directly above, you'll have to expose yourself somewhat in order to shoot at it.
You duck inside just in time to avoid taking a stinger to the face. That thing is quick.
"Examine contents of canteen."
You take a small sip, wanting to save as much as possible for Mary. It appears to be ordinary WATER.
"Howsabout wielding your new guns?"
The CARBINE RIFLE is a considerably more advanced weapon than the FLINTLOCK PISTOL you used earlier. In order to fire effectively, you will need to use both hands to aim it, but it is more powerful, more accurate, and has a longer range.
You check the MAGAZINE. You will have 5 shots. Unlike the FLINTLOCK PISTOL, it requires special ammunition. You'll have to CREATE or find bullets made specifically for it.
While you're quite safe inside the TANK, that HUMONGOUS VOID WASP knows you're in there. It doesn't seem likely that it will just give up and leave.
Besides, Mary is counting on you. You're going to have to do something about this.
The TANK's main gun is too damaged to swivel at all, though a SHELL is loaded. You're confident you could fire the cannon once without adjusting it, or extract the powerful SHELL for later use.
But not both, clearly.
You climb into the TANK and dig around. A lot of the machinery has been damaged. Fortunately, you do find 3 CANS OF RATIONS, 1 FULL CANTEEN and 1 CARBINE RIFLE with a few BULLETS remaining.
You put the useful items in your INVENTORY.
You found FOOD and WEAPONS. Awesome!
Where is that buzzing sound coming from?
Yeah, it's a TANK. The HATCH on top is ajar. The treads on one side appear to be damaged, and there are dents and scorch marks that seem to indicate significant wear. You doubt it will function.
In a few hours...
As you walk, your RAPPORT ALERT goes off. It's Chairman Jack. He saw a person with a triangle-shaped head in the COURTYARD. Chairman Jack wounded the bandit, but whoever it was escaped back into the complex.
You step up the pace. You've got to find some FOOD or something soon.
"It's wide open out here. If anything tries to sneak up on us, I'll have plenty of time to perforate it," Snuffy the Pooch reassures. "Go on ahead. I can protect Mary while she rests."
You tell Mary you're going to continue on, but Snuffy the Pooch is going to stay with her.
"I guess we don't have a choice. Please be careful," she says.
You tell her that you'll check in with Snuffy often.
"Go to to the light. // No, wait, can you use the shield at the same time as Blazing Hot Betty? If so, equip the shield."
You EQUIP the SHIELD in your off hand. This is a good match for BLAZING HOT BETTY. It will increase your ability to block incoming attacks, but it won't decrease your accuracy with one-handed weapons. Obviously, you won't be able to swing your SWORD with both hands while wielding both.
This is new. You can't see the end of these TRACKS.
Mary leans on her HALBERD. "I'm getting tired... and hungry."
Together you walk through the dark SUBWAY TUNNEL for what seems like hours. You go into detail about the VOID CONSTRUCTS - at least what detail you understand yourself. It seems the TETRAHEDRON-HEADED INDIVIDUAL who locked you down here is different from the BEASTS and the CONSTRUCTS. He certainly displays more intelligence and agency than your other adversaries so far. Mary listens quietly, not sure what to make of your strange story, but not questioning any of it.
Eventually, you see a light.
You would use your RAPPORT to get a status report from Chairman Jack, but a level 2 RAPPORT rating is not sufficient for telepathic communication. You will receive updates if anything happens in his vicinity, however.
The three of you proceed cautiously. You hold BLAZING HOT BETTY aloft, prepared to ILLUMINATE the passage before you when it becomes too dark to see.
You'll need BLAZING HOT BETTY's ILLUMINATE function in order to explore the TRACKS.
You plug her in and wait for a full charge.
"Say to Mary: "We need trouble to get Void Dust, and around here, we need Void Dust to survive." Look down the hatch to check for danger. If there's nothing, head down - you first, Mary last."
You explain to Mary that the VOID BEASTS are simple, malevolent creatures. If there are any others lurking around in these unexplored areas, you need to take care of them now as opposed to being taken by surprise later.
"I understand, I guess. I'll come with you."
You look into the SHAFT. There is a METAL LADDER attached to the wall. There is light below, but no sound or hint of danger.
You use the ARMOR WITH UPS to float down. The SHAFT opens to a short stairway. Mary climbs down after you, but you must carry Snuffy the Pooch and GLIDE to help her get down safely.
You find yourselves in an underground SUBWAY STATION. The TRACKS extend as far as you can see into the dark to the left and right. You see and hear no TRAINS, and no one seems to be down here.
You hear a noise behind you.
You run back to the LADDER.
You hear the HATCH close and lock. The SHAFT goes dark.
You, Mary, and Snuffy the Pooch head for the nearest unexplored area in the hopes of sating your bloodlust and getting your VOID DUST fix. You walk around the POOL and find that the metal door there is unlocked.
As you walk, Mary says, "I don't understand. Are we actually going to go looking for trouble?"
Through the door is a long TUNNEL with an open HATCH in the floor nearby.
You spread the ASH around the COURTYARD. It's not much, but maybe it will help.
This should do the trick.
"Damn it. Rhis is bad. Now we need another way of getting food. See if Mary has any ideas. // Well, we don't need this sprinkler system anymore... but I'm guessing it's too far to move it to the courtyard; we need to water our new plants and quick!"
You lament the fact that you MANIFESTED a hose that was just long enough for the task at hand. It will never stretch from your KITCHEN all the way to the COURTYARD.
"Is there another sink or something closer?" Mary asks.
Oh. Right. You disconnect the SPRINKLER and bring it with you.
Back in your KITCHEN, you remove the HOSE and put it in your INVENTORY.
The SPACIOUS KITCHEN should be close enough, you think.
What the hell happened here? The room has been ransacked. Broken PLATES and other detritus litter the floor.
"Don't you ever clean up after yourself?" Mary chides. You assure her you had nothing to do with this.
You connect the HOSE to the FAUCET and turn it on.
"Collect ash from burned trees."
You sweep up the ASH from your beloved TREES and put the resulting pile in your INVENTORY.
Oh no! The FOOD TREES! How did this happen?
"I thought I smelled smoke, so I came up here to investigate," Snuffy the Pooch tells you.
"Where did Snuffy go?"
You hear Snuffy the Pooch's voice in your head.
"Uh, E? You'd better get up here to the deck. Something bad's happened."
You and Mary rush to join her.
The GARAGE has plenty of space, but unfortunately no SOIL and little LIGHT. The only location you can think of that would be appropriate for a garden is the COURTYARD.
You set off the SEED GRENADE in the center of the COURTYARD. It scatters SEEDS all over the place.
Your new garden will likely be safe here under Chairman Jack's watchful eye. This is a good job for him, because he will not be able to explore indoor areas with you - the DOOR leading to the interior is too small for him. In addition, he's not going to be very effective in enclosed areas.
You probably ought to find some way to irrigate your new plants.
"Snort the void dust, tell Mary to watch while you use your creativity, and imbue the avocado seed with the grenade, making a Grenade Tree seed."
You inhale your last remaining dose of VOID DUST and retrieve the HAND GRENADE and AVOCADO SEED from your inventory. You tell her to pay attention.
You COMBINE the two items.
You get the SEED GRENADE! This potent explosive device is useful for scattering SEEDS about when it goes off - perfect for starting a large garden. You could also probably plant it alone without detonating it. Perhaps its fruit will retain some explosive properties.
Mary is not particularly freaked out by your demonstration, but then again, she was just CREATED a few minutes ago. She has no standard for what is normal.
"I believe you," she says.
"Try making a bow - a pink one."
You decide you ought to start her off with something easy. You suggest she MANIFEST a BOW to tie back her hair. It looks great as it is, but you never know when shit is going to get crazy around here. It's best to fight VOID BEASTS without having to brush your hair away from your eyes, you tell her.
There's a lot of focusing and squinting and grunting, but Mary is unable to MANIFEST anything. You're starting to think you were unable to IMBUE her with your mysterious reality-altering powers. That would be horrendously COMPLEX, after all.
Your advice regarding hairstyle and combat readiness was spot on, however. Mary rummages around in the BEDROOM until she finds a BANDANA. She uses it to tie up her hair.
"Show her to the bedroom, and tell Snuffy to protect her. Then inform her of current situation."
You suppose the BEDROOM is likely the safest place in this building.
You tell Mary about the various ways you've earned CREATIVITY - skipping some of the more embarrassing details, of course. You tell her you think she may have this ability as well. She seems hesitant, but you've been nice enough so far and she trusts you enough.
You hand her a dose of VOID DUST.
She eats the VOID DUST rather than inhaling it, based on your experience drinking it with MILK earlier.
"So, uh, what happens? I don't feel different."
On your way back to the APARTMENT, you check all of your MENU SCREENS. You can't see anything relating to MARY at all.
"Wow. What happened here?" she asks.
You tell Mary she ought to check her MENU so she can EQUIP her WEAPON. You also ask her to check her RAPPORT SCREEN.
"What are you talking about?" she replies.
"Give her the halberd for protective reasons, then show her around, but only the safe places."
You, Mary and Snuffy the Pooch head inside. You might as well show her around.
Wait a second. The STONE TETRAHEDRON is gone.
You give Mary the HALBERD, which she accepts.
You figure you'd better give her a normal name. She's clearly a little overwhelmed by all of this.
You ask her if she likes the name Mary.
"Sure," she says.
There are no VOID BIRDS remaining. Chairman Jack wiped them out.
""...Hi?" // Say: "please, don't freak out, but as far as I know, I am the only man in existence. I am Everyman. Using the power of creativity gained from "void dust" I made you. You may choose your own name if you like. I will explain further later on.""
You help the lady to her feet. She's very confused and clearly shaken by the experience of just recently being willed into existence.
You explain the situation as well as you are able. You tell her how you woke up in your APARTMENT with no memory and strange powers. You tell her about the VOID, about Snuffy the Pooch, and the malevolent BEASTS. You tell her about CREATIVITY. You tell her you CREATED her with your powers.
"Oh," she says.
That was a lot of information at once. You think maybe you should start by suggesting a name for her.
That's weird. When you open up your RAPPORT SCREEN, your new friend does not appear there.
You ingest enough VOID DUST to raise your CREATIVITY to 10, the maximum. This is the most complex action you've attempted, and you intend to use all of it.
You MANIFEST another HUMAN BEING - a WOMAN.
It may be the existential malaise or the isolation or the substance abuse talking, but she is the most beautiful creature you've ever seen.
"What... where am I? Who am I?" she stammers.
That was actually pretty easy. Chairman Jack did most of the work. He must really hate those guys.
Your RAPPORT with your new companion has increased!
Chairman Jack is now a RAZORACE!
You open up your MENU to take a look at the results.
Fortunately, Chairman Jack is now a killing machine, thanks to you.
Weird and gross as it may be, you grab as many VOID BIRD chunks as you can. Once they reach your INVENTORY, they dissolve into DUST and consolidate into one INVENTORY space.
The rest of the VOID BIRDS aren't going to risk flying near enough to get shot at. You're going to have to take them down at close range.
You're going to need both hands for this.
"Where are your lance and shield? Retrieve them and get back onto Chairman Jack. Time for Bird Jousting: Round 2!"
Your LANCE and SHIELD are right here in your EQUIPMENT SCREEN. You think you'll leave them on the ground, though. You have an idea.
"SNUFFY: Board JACK and create the the most EPIC UNDEFEATABLE TAG TEAM DUO and take on to the heavens to kill the rest of the VOID BIRDS."
Although Chairman Jack is more powerful now, Snuffy the Pooch is still way too heavy. She's more or less entirely made of metal, and none of it is lightweight.
"Use the Rotary Saw."
Chairman Jack's COMPLEXITY has increased. He is more intelligent, able to grasp language and complex thought. He has INCORPORATED the CIRCULAR SAW. The FEATHERS at the tips of his wings are now sharp metal BLADES he can use as weapons. He is equipped with a simple internal ENGINE which greatly increases his speed. He also has a cool saw blade crest on his head, but that's largely aesthetic.
"Collect the void dust if you killed those birds, snort the shit out of it and then add another complexity to Jack and combine him with the mechanical arms and the grenade."
You and Chairman Jack land in the COURTYARD to reap the spoils of that maneuver. Since you lured the BIRDS over solid ground before Snuffy the Pooch lit them up, all five corpses dissolved into easily accessible piles of VOID DUST.
You take and consume three of them. That, in addition to the DUST you already have in your INVENTORY, grants you 2 CREATIVITY points, leaving 2/3 of a dose remaining.
You spend the CREATIVITY to increase Chairman Jack's COMPLEXITY.
Unfortunately, it would not do much good to give him the MECHANICAL ARMS. When you did this with Snuffy the Pooch, you also gave her a number of GEARS with which she could devise an engine of sorts to manipulate them. They would probably just hang uselessly at his side.
You're suddenly glad you left the AUTOFLINTLOCK in more capable hands - er, paws.
The BIRDS are taking care to remain beyond the range of Snuffy the Pooch's formidable weapon. You and Chairman Jack are going to have to lure them in if you want to dispatch them with your canine-based anti-air defense.
You contact Snuffy the Pooch with your RAPPORT and tell her the plan.
You and Chairman Jack circle nearer and nearer to the flock until finally some of the more aggressive species are unable to resist their hunter instincts. They break off and follow you.
Unfortunately, these are among the most dangerous specimens.
And the fastest.
You fly back toward the COURTYARD at full speed. This is going to be close...
"Grab the dust then to the skies."
Those guys do not look happy. You suspect Chairman Jack's defection has something to do with that.
"The shield, the lance."
You get another idea...
While wearing your ARMOR WITH UPS, you are far lighter than you appear. Certainly light enough to be carried by an abnormally large avian creature.
You move that this battle be taken to the skies in a badass fashion. Snuffy the Pooch seconds the motion and it carries.
You mount Chairman Jack. Obviously you EQUIP the LANCE and SHIELD.
Your weird little family is growing. Cool.
"Jump on the Void piles, sniff as much as you can and give the VOID SPARROW level 1/2/3 Complexity!"
The VOID BIRDS are regrouping, circling angrily above. You take the opportunity to grab the two closest piles of VOID DUST.
When combined with the small amount you already had in your INVENTORY, you have enough for a single point of CREATIVITY.
You immediately use this point on the ENORMOUS VOID SPARROW. These poor creatures are hollow - figuratively speaking - just shells filled with nothing but aggression. You raise the creature's COMPLEXITY to 1.
You have BEFRIENDED the ENORMOUS VOID SPARROW. He seems pleased with this, if a little overwhelmed.
"YOU THERE. You require a name!"
You attempt to use your RAPPORT powers to send out good feelings and groovy vibes or whatever in order to BEFRIEND the incoming enemies.
Snuffy the Pooch, well, doesn't. But she does riddle one with bullets.
You anticipate the attack of the LARGE VOID PARROT and skewer it with BLAZING HOT BETTY.
The ENORMOUS VOID SPARROW halts, intrigued by the prospect of identity, of a purpose beyond destruction, of not being shot by that badass purple dog.
These creatures exist to serve a very specific function, however. It seems you will have to use a little CREATIVITY to give it a full level of COMPLEXITY before you can BEFRIEND it. It will also need a very good name.
"Counterattack! Go for the wing!"
Here they come.
Snuffy the Pooch hits the GIGANTIC VOID TITMOUSE with her GUN.
You anticipate the attack vector of the HUGE VOID WOODPECKER and strike, swinging BLAZING HOT BETTY at its wing. You've dispatched it!
"Assign SNUFFY to shoot them in the air as they approach while you get the ones that she missed when they're close enough."
Snuffy the Pooch deploys her GATLING GUN and scans for targets.
While BLAZING HOT BETTY currently has no charge, she is still a formidable SWORD, not to mention that she requires no electricity to use her FOCUS ability, just light.
Oh shit, here they come.
Snuffy the Pooch opens fire and bags one while it's making an approach. Nice.
You, on the other hand, are too busy daydreaming about what you're going to do with the spoils of this battle. You are pecked by the LARGE VOID CONDOR and lose 1 HIT POINT. You'd better get your head in the game.
"Kill some VOIDITES."
You and Snuffy the Pooch return to the COURTYARD to fight some VOID BEASTS.
You can see them circling far above. Man, those guys are fast. You try to think up some kind of strategy.
You're not able to ILLUMINATE the DUNGEON right now, but you remember where the METAL DOOR is located.
You find the HANDLE while fumbling around in the dark. It still turns easily, but the DOOR remains firmly closed. It's as if you are just not strong enough to pull it open.
You decide you might as well get this over with.
...What the hell is this thing waiting for?
"I think that one-third of a Creativity point would be sufficient to fix such a little crack."
You're not sure you should inhale the small amount of VOID DUST you have in your INVENTORY. In every situation you can recall, when translating OBJECTS or AILMENTS to ASSETS, the benefits are rounded down. You'd probably just waste it.
You'd love to simply fix BLAZING HOT BETTY, but this is far more complicated than it would seem. You could attempt to ALTER it to seal the crack, but your SWORD is not just a sharp piece of glass. It contains minuscule wires to direct electrical current and a complex lens system used to focus light into a powerful BEAM. It would take more than one CREATIVITY to repair the small crack without affecting its CAPABILITIES.
Snuffy the Pooch eats some of the METALLIC POWDER. It is an excellent source of ammunition; she is able to max out her internal arsenal while leaving some for later.
You meet her at the SIDEWALK.
"With the help of SNUFFY, revisit all the main rooms in the building for any disturbances."
"I found what's left of the knight," Snuffy the Pooch tells you.
Otherwise, the two of you discover nothing new or unusual.
"Cultivate AVOCADO SEED."
The only place you can think of where you could plant the AVOCADO SEED is the COURTYARD, but you doubt the VOID BIRDS will give you the opportunity.
You'll need to arrange some manner of irrigation as well.
"Get the shield and lance."
Obviously you grabbed the LANCE and SHIELD before you left. They're just too cool to leave lying around.
"Check on the TREE."
You go back to the DECK in search of food, but there is no change. It seems the BACONFLOWER does not bloom as often as the MISCELLANOPOD TREE yields fruit.
You and Snuffy the Pooch return to the GRAND HALL. She eats the HELMET, ARMS, HALBERD, and SPRING of a WIND-UP HALBERDIER.
Snuffy the Pooch's ammunition is now at 75%.
"Go help Snuffy."
Dang. It looks like the HUGE VOID EAGLE and the BIG-ASS VOID OWL fell on the other side of the WALL.
Snuffy the Pooch uses up the last of her ammunition keeping the BIRDS at bay while you ascend to the roof.
The two of you then GLIDE gracefully to the COURTYARD below.
You hear Snuffy the Pooch firing again.
"I'm on the other side of the roof. I just shot down two more, but I'm running low on ammo."
You think you've got another BOTTLE in the KITCHEN, but you'd never make it back in time. Besides, you're not sure you want to carry this foul stuff around.
Although it's dissipating rapidly, you sure don't want to breathe in any of the nasty-smelling SMOKE rising from the spot where the STONE DODECAHEDRON was.
From here you can tell that it was seemingly hollow, as it exploded into a series of RAZOR-THIN PENTAGONS, some of which have embedded themselves in the WALLS of the COURTYARD. It's a good thing none of them hit you or Snuffy the Pooch.
You walk over to the GIANT VOID PELICAN's remains. This pile of VOID DUST looks a bit small. You doubt it will be sufficient for a whole CREATIVITY point.
You put it in your INVENTORY, and then open up your MENU.
Damn. Not enough.
"Tell SNUFFY to back you up by attacking any potential VOID ALBATROSSES that might try to attack you while you handle the BEAST. Run down to the COURTYARD. "
Holy shit. It looks like you destroyed it. It resisted the power of the MOTHERFUCKING LASER BEAM until the very end. BLAZING HOT BETTY was pretty much out of energy when the STONE DODECAHEDRON burst.
When it did, it sent some kind of feedback into your SWORD, though. Examining it now, you can see a small crack on the surface of the LENS. Damn. You wonder whether this will happen every time you fire the LASER, or if it was specific to that particular target.
You hear the sound of Snuffy the Pooch's GUN.
"On your next turn, fire the laser."
To hell with those BEASTS, to hell with that dumbass STAR, to hell with the VOID, and to hell with these MALEVOLENT POLYHEDRONS.
It's time for a MOTHER.
You put the AVOCADO SEED in your INVENTORY before you head back to the COURTYARD.
You've got to get Snuffy the Pooch out of there.
On your way to the TOWER, you are accosted by a HUGE VOID ALBATROSS! You lose 1 HIT POINT from the passing blow, but it quickly flies up and out of reach afterward. You run for safety.
"They're just circling above for now. They only attacked when they saw you. I don't think they're interested in me at all."
You DIGEST the food, putting your 7 NUTRITION to work increasing your HIT POINTS to 15 and decreasing your TOXICITY level to 5.
"Put HAND GRENADE in your TOOL BELT. Consume AVOCADO. Cook OSTRICH EGG and eat it when cooked properly."
You scoop up the contents of the POD, placing the HAND GRENADE in one of the two remaining TOOL BELT POUCHES.
You make your way to your KITCHEN.
The AVOCADO you eat right away. It's perfectly ripened and delicious, granting 2 NUTRITION and 1 VITAMIN. You begin cooking the OSTRICH EGG.
This hearty meal gives you 5 whole NUTRITION points and 2 PROTEIN. Nice.
On your way back to the DECK, you check your STATUS and INVENTORY.
While the majestic BACONFLOWER has not yet bloomed again, you are able to harvest another POD from the other TREE.
This one contains a HAND GRENADE, an AVOCADO, and an OSTRICH EGG.
After carefully climbing out of the WINDOW, you pick up Snuffy the Pooch and LEAP to the highest point on the WALL.
You leave her there to stand guard while you GLIDE down to the COURTYARD.
"Tell Snuffy to remain there and wait until they are in her range, then shoot it down.
Also, how much ammunition left?"
The STONE DODECAHEDRON is listing a bit after the loss of one of the BIRDS. The others take notice.
They stop their approach and hover outside Snuffy the Pooch's effective range. They begin to gain altitude.
Those bastards. They're going to keep the STONE DODECAHEDRON between them and Snuffy the Pooch's GUN as they fly in.
"Tell Snuffy to shoot the birds, but not to waste all of the ammo in case you have to fight something big."
You step away from the opening to make room for Snuffy the Pooch. You tell her to make sure she doesn't use up all of her ammunition.
At this range, she is unable to use the LASER SIGHT. Consequently, it is not very effective.
"Use the laser on those birds!"
You're not sure you can hit them from here. Since you only get one shot, you decide you ought to save it.
You return to find that Snuffy the Pooch has already performed a little scouting.
"The walls go all the way around. Besides the door we came from, the only exit is the one behind us. I waited for you to get back before going inside," she says.
The two of you enter. A series of cramped and poorly lit hallways and narrow staircases are found inside. After stumbling around for a while in the dark - not wanting to use up the charge on your sword - you find yourself in the TOWER, looking down on the COURTYARD below.
From here you can see that the stupid VOID still extends as far as you can see in any direction. You do not have the proper angle, but you suspect you'd see the same lame BLACK STAR below.
You do see something in the distance, though. Something large, and approaching quickly.
"Hmm, looks like first priority needs to be recharging the sword. Better keep ourselves on top form in case we need it."
You backtrack to the nearest LIGHT SOCKET, as such a thing is not likely to show up in the COURTYARD.
You find some in the ceiling of the SPACIOUS KITCHEN, and plug in BLAZING HOT BETTY.
You wait for it to charge fully before removing it.
Whatever. You'll just have to deal with that thing later, you guess. It's pretty damned unassailable right now. Whatever comes out, you'll just have Snuffy the Pooch shoot it until it dies.
You and Snuffy the Pooch open the DOOR and proceed.
You find yourselves in a huge COURTYARD.
"Cover the stone tetrahedron with something to see if you can limit any growth or otherwise potentially destructive effects."
You do not have high hopes for this damage control plan, but it's all you've got right now.
You find an OUTLET on the wall to your right and plug in the CIRCULAR SAW.
It seems the ground here is too thick to cut through with this tool.
The last time you left one of these things unattended it was a clusterfuck wrapped in a shitstorm. You decide you had better try to do something about it now, before it has the chance to create chainsaw-wielding robot construction workers or something.
You EQUIP the SIEGE HAMMER and proceed to assault the concrete floor underneath the STONE TETRAHEDRON.
Unfortunately, you can't break through. The ground does not yield enough to start digging underneath the geometrically-themed menace. After a lot of work, you only manage to crack it a bit.
"Now let's go back to the door in the room where you found the saw and the tool belt. // Make sure Snuffy is reloaded and watching your back."
You consult Snuffy the Pooch before heading out into the... whatever is out there.
"I'm ready to go, E. I'm sure we can handle anything they throw at us," she says. "I only used up a little bit of ammo with those practice shots. If I run out, I am able to eat metal objects and turn them into bullets. Cool, huh?"
You commence DIGESTION, converting that NUTRITION into HIT POINTS and relieving some of that TOXICITY.
You now have 10 HIT POINTS and 6 TOXICITY. Man, that stuff is a pain in the ass to get rid of.
"Cook that food!"
You go back to the KITCHEN to prepare some lunch or breakfast or whatever.
Sadly, you do not have enough CREATIVITY to do anything interesting with the SALMON. You just heat it and the HOT DOGS through and chow down.
Each HOT DOG gives you 1 NUTRITION and 1 PROTEIN. The SALMON grants 3 NUTRITION, 1 PROTEIN, and 2 VITAMIN.
Sitting around outside, the meat had begun to turn rancid. Fortunately, the effects of the CADUCEUS TRAMP STAMP protected you from the INFECTION you would otherwise have suffered.
Your meal brings your total PROTEIN to 10. You head for the GARAGE right away to put those assets to use.
You gain 1 STRENGTH! You can lift and carry heavier objects. Large, weighty weapons will be much easier to use, and considerably more powerful.
"Open grill, I guess?"
Inside the GRILL you find 1 RAW SALMON STEAK and 3 UNCOOKED HOT DOGS. You put them in your INVENTORY.
"Create a holster and a scabbard; that way you can quickdraw your gun and your sword in battle."
You don't really need to use any CREATIVITY points or inexplicable reality-warping powers for this. A little cutting, a little folding...
There. You've turned one of the TOOL BELT'S pouches into a makeshift scabbard for BLAZING HOT BETTY. You can now switch to that weapon in COMBAT without wasting a turn to do so. You'll likely have to drop whatever it is you're EQUIPPING when you do so, though - provided said item can't be placed into a viable TOOL BELT slot. Unfortunately, most other stuff will fall out of this space now.
You use the JAR OF MUSTARD to create some artwork on the wall of your BEDROOM. You feel like creating something modern, something that challenges the viewer's very definition of the concept of "art."
You call it Untitled no. 3 (Victory x 4).
It's a triumph, really. Simplicity and repetition used for maximum effect. You are quite proud of it.
You do not gain any CREATIVITY points from this, however, because that is unfortunately not how that works.
"Don't enter any doors yet. Let's go find some food so that you can heal yourself and get rid of that toxicity."
Before you venture into the unknown, you reckon you ought to attempt to improve your health. Your quest for food starts at the DECK, clearly.
It looks like the BACONFLOWER has wilted, but another BUD has appeared. The other TREE has sprouted a new POD, but it is not yet ripe.
You take a moment to decide your next course of action.
There is a DOOR in the corner opposite the stairs in the POOL area.
There's the METAL DOOR in the DUNGEON, which wasn't locked but still refused to open.
And then there's this DOOR. The WINDOWS in this room are very dirty. The light from the VOID is refracted so much, you are unable to tell what lies beyond.
"Equip tool belt."
You EQUIP the TOOL BELT. It fits nicely over your new ARMOR WITH UPS.
You now have 3 additional INVENTORY spaces. However, the TOOL BELT spots function a little differently than the others. You can only place items in the TOOL BELT which would actually fit there. In addition, only very small items will stack into a single space. On the bright side, any item in those 3 spaces can be equipped or accessed in COMBAT without requiring a full turn. For example, you could EQUIP and fire a small gun in the same turn, provided it was stored in the TOOL BELT and the TOOL BELT was EQUIPPED.
"Grab all of them."
You snag both the CIRCULAR SAW and the TOOL BELT, placing them in your INVENTORY. You cannot put the entire PILE OF WOODEN PLANKS there, but you really can't foresee needing them or the SAWHORSE for anything crucial, so you leave them where they are for now.
You search the ROOM. You find a WOODEN SAWHORSE, a CIRCULAR SAW, an empty TOOL BELT, and a pile of WOODEN PLANKS.
Now we're talking.
You give Snuffy the Pooch all of your GEARS and the AUTOFLINTLOCK.
"I no longer need this weapon," Snuffy the Pooch says as she lays the HALBERD down at your feet.
"I think I can take care of myself without it."
She's more machine now than dog. Smarter and more capable, Snuffy the Pooch has used the goods you've given her to engineer a simple computing device inside of herself. She is pretty much the best robo-dog companion ever.
Oh yeah, she also has a HUGE GUN she can deploy.
"Upgrade Snuffy in some way."
You decide it's time to reward Snuffy the Pooch for her considerable devotion. You spend the rest of your CREATIVITY points to increase her COMPLEXITY to 3. She's doing the glowing thing again.
"Thank you, E. I'll need you to give me an object to steer my evolution," she says.
You decide to ditch the silly floating WINGED HELMET, which promptly drifts upward until it hits the grungy dropped ceiling. You then use 1 CREATIVITY point to IMBUE the TRANSLUCENT STEEL CUIRASS with FLOATING properties.
You now wear the ARMOR WITH UPS. It has the FLOATING and GLIDING properties of the FLYING MASON'S AEGIS, but it's also see-through.
It would be nice to simply reverse the earlier screw-up, but it's clear that muddling with IMBUED PROPERTIES and COMBINED ITEMS starts out pretty complex and only gets messier.
You know you can MANIFEST, ALTER, or IMBUE objects. You can also COMBINE two objects, and attempt to SEPARATE them once combined - albeit with uneven results. However, complex and effective use of these abilities often requires the expenditure of more than 1 CREATIVITY point at a time.
The WINGED HELMET and TRANSLUCENT STEEL CUIRASS may be too screwed up to be worth your while at this point.
The LARGE VOID COCKROACH left behind enough VOID DUST to grant 4 CREATIVITY POINTS. You consume it right away.
The STONE TETRAHEDRON is smaller than the STONE CUBE you found earlier, but seems to be made of the same stuff. It is similarly dense and heavy. You can't move or lift it at all. It hums from within with the same weird energy.
"Cut off the head."
You telepathically tell Snuffy the Pooch to hold off. You've got this one under control.
Taste broken glass, critter! You decapitate the insect foe with BLAZING HOT BETTY.
That was really easy.
The creature's corpse dissolves into VOID DUST, revealing a STONE TETRAHEDRON.
Why delay the inevitable? You call Snuffy the Pooch and go back to the UNFINISHED ROOM with the ominous light pouring in through the windows.
You've danced this dance before.
Wait for it.
You and Snuffy the Pooch are now fighting a LARGE VOID COCKROACH.
You rummage through your BATHROOM in search of anything useful.
You find a TUBE OF TOOTHPASTE, a TOOTHBRUSH, a CAN OF SHAVING CREAM, a TOILET BRUSH, a BOX OF BANDAGES, a BOTTLE OF HYDROGEN PEROXIDE, 3 mostly empty and unmarked MEDICINE BOTTLES, a ROLL OF TOILET PAPER...
...and a SCULPTURE. You don't like to revisit your earlier work too much - no need to second-guess yourself. Still, Untitled no. 1 (My Soul in Interior Semi-Gloss) is a pretty impressive piece of art if you do say so yourself.
"LET'S GO SWIMMING!"
You and Snuffy the Pooch swim around in the pool.
It's a lot of fun.
"Search another room."
You head back to the lavish mansion-like area and proceed to the second floor. Before you enter any rooms, you peek inside.
On the left side is a large room that appears to be unfinished. Some construction equipment lies on the floor.
To the right is a short stairway that leads to an INDOOR SWIMMING POOL.
You do a little pruning with the SIEGE HAMMER before you head off to go exploring.
You're taking no chances. You swing the SIEGE HAMMER at the STONE CUBE with all your strength.
You are unable to damage it at all, however. The TREE sways from the impact and sheds some BRANCHES, but the CUBE is undamaged. You're going to have to find another way to destroy it.
The TREE has become sickly and dry since you first found it. Presumably, this is a result of depriving it of water. The STONE CUBE is still firmly attached to the TRUNK, but it feels different. Before, it hummed and pulsed and pulled you in with a strange energy - merely touching it made you feel strange. It is now inert. It does not feel unusual in any way. A simple rough-hewn rock.
You glean an additional 21 SMALL GEARS and 15 LARGE GEARS from the remains of the WIND-UP HALBERDIER.
You put the SIEGE HAMMER in your INVENTORY.
Frustrated gears screech and whine. The seemingly enraged, but obviously blind CLOCKWORK KNIGHT charges haphazardly in a desperate attempt to trample you. You step back to avoid its frantic galloping.
Snuffy the Pooch has a better idea.
She jumps between the CLOCKWORK KNIGHT and the HOLE in the floor and uses her HALBERD to trip the rampaging construct.
Sweet, sweet victory.
Snuffy the Pooch goes into ALERT status once more.
The CLOCKWORK KNIGHT attempts to charge you with its LANCE, but fails to compensate for its damaged limb and misses!
Hey, Sir Shithead. You know what time it is?
Oh, I think you do.
BONK! Your SIEGE HAMMER crushes the CLOCKWORK KNIGHT'S JOUSTING HELMET like a beer can on a frat bro's forehead. You hear the crunching of fine mechanical parts inside. The strike appears to have damaged the knight portion's shoulder joint. Its arms fall off.
Snuffy the Pooch reacts by driving her HALBERD into the exposed neck of the CLOCKWORK KNIGHT!
She has rendered the spring-loaded head useless!
"Try to knock him over."
Both Snuffy the Pooch and the CLOCKWORK KNIGHT play defensively this first round, so you are able to act first.
You swing your SIEGE HAMMER in a wide, underhand arc and aim for the front legs of the CLOCKWORK KNIGHT.
It attempts to protect itself by again using its spring-loaded headbutt maneuver, but you are safely outside its range while using this large weapon.
Your HAMMER slams into the side of the CLOCKWORK KNIGHT around the front shoulder. Its powerful mechanical legs are able to keep it upright, but you hear an ugly crunching sound from within. It begins to list to one side to compensate.
The CLOCKWORK KNIGHT'S charge attack is now less accurate!
"Knight: time to say goodbye."
Nuts to this guy.
You meet Snuffy the Pooch on your way to the fight.
You and Snuffy the Pooch have resumed fighting a CLOCKWORK KNIGHT!
"If we combined the Halberd with the Ram then we should make a weapon capable of delivering enough force to smash and bend its armor plating."
You resolve to deal with that asshole CLOCKWORK KNIGHT. You spend 1 CREATIVITY point to COMBINE the HALBERD with your BATTERING RAM.
You've made the SIEGE HAMMER! This powerful weapon is perfect for tackling armored foes. It's almost too heavy for you with your current STRENGTH rating, but you're pretty sure you can hit something big - small, agile targets will be a different story altogether.
You return to your BEDROOM and re-equip your HELMET and CUIRASS, tying them together as before.
"Find your dog."
You use your RAPPORT with her to get a status report from Snuffy the Pooch.
"I'm still in the dining room," she tells you, "guarding the area in case the knight finds a way to get through the door. It hasn't moved since we left, though."
The BACON helps you purge another 2 points of TOXICITY.
You need to acquire more ASSETS before you can increase your ATTRIBUTES. You need 10 points of the appropriate ASSET to increase the stat to 3, and 15 to go from 3 to 4.
Before you attempt to MANIFEST some sort of FUEL for the GRILL, you remember you have not one but two STOVES you have access to. Maybe they won't work, but seeing as how the electricity and water seem to be on everywhere, it seems likely that they will.
To the KITCHEN.
The BURNER heats up quickly when you switch it on. You dig out a FRYING PAN and get to cooking the BACON.
You eat all four STRIPS OF BACON, gaining 4 NUTRITION and 4 PROTEIN points.
You put that NUTRITION to work right away, reducing your TOXICITY by 2 and recovering 1 HIT POINT as well.
"Go check on the food trees."
Yes. Your investment and patience have paid off. Your TREES are ready to harvest.
The BUD you saw before has bloomed into a beautiful BACONFLOWER. You remove the POD from the other TREE and find a DINNER ROLL, a GRAPEFRUIT, and a BASEBALL inside.
You eat the DINNER ROLL and the GRAPEFRUIT right away. The ROLL gives you 2 NUTRITION and 2 CARBOHYDRATE points and the GRAPEFRUIT grants 3 NUTRITION and 2 VITAMIN.
You feel healthier already.
You pluck the RAW BACON STRIPS from the BACONFLOWER and put them in your INVENTORY.
The upside of existence as the only human being in reality as you know it is that no one can tell you not to do things like this.
As an added bonus, no one is around to see it.
You realize that you never closed them up after the first time you brought out the PAINT BUCKETS. That was irresponsible.
You carefully replace each LID, preserving their contents for future artistic and chemical abuse purposes.
There is no day or night in this place - in fact, you have no idea how much time has passed since you woke up here. It's easy to forget that you need sleep from time to time. You blacked out once or twice, yes, but these incidents were restless and not particularly helpful.
You move to the BEDROOM and lay down on the BED.
You sleep for many hours. When you wake, you will feel renewed and refreshed, and gain 1 HIT POINT.
"Go look at the food trees. "
You head back to the DECK.
It seems there have been some developments of the horticultural variety. One of the TREES has sprouted a LARGE BUD, which seems ready to flower soon. The other has grown a HUGE UNRIPE POD. Although it is empty at the moment, it looks as if it could yield peas the size of grapefruits.
You suck that METALLIC POWDER up like it's candy - sharp, toxic candy that you inhale.
Unsurprisingly, this is terrible for you. You lose 2 HIT POINTS as the metal shards rip up your insides and you also gain 5 TOXICITY points.
You do get a little buzz from it, though. You gain 1 CREATIVITY point.
You wonder why these medieval-mechanical-themed enemies don't dissolve into VOID DUST when they're defeated. It seems they're somehow fundamentally different from the rats and bats and whatnot.
"Search for some enemies to kill."
You head for the SIDEWALK area, where you suspect the other WIND-UP HALBERDIER should have landed.
Wow. It seems the impact from the fall has pulverized it into METALLIC POWDER. Good thing you ninja-grabbed the FLOATING BRICK when you made that particular journey earlier.
"Pick up the gears."
You collect the spoils of battle in your INVENTORY.
As before, you separate the smaller GEARS suitable for ammunition from the larger ones. You find 21 additional SMALL GEARS and 15 LARGE GEARS. You also scoop up the OVERSIZED HELMET, 2 MECHANICAL ARMS, and another HALBERD.
Snuffy the Pooch takes another swing at the WIND-UP HALBERDIER; this time she bends the SPRING. The enemy is now off-balance.
Your second shot hits the WIND-UP HALBERDIER, but the ROUND fails to strike a vital system and instead ricochets off the hard metal HELMET.
The WIND-UP HALBERDIER attacks!
It fails to account for its bent SPRING, however, and only manages to menace the air in front of your face. It's hard to believe these came from the same TREE as the fearsome CLOCKWORK KNIGHT.
Snuffy the Pooch takes a swing at the WIND-UP HALBERDIER'S vulnerable SPRING. Her weapon is not able to sever the metal coil with a single strike, but she does some damage.
You take aim at the inner workings of the enemy construct, intending to slow it down as you did with the others.
Unfortunately, you can't shoot for shit with that HELMET on. The ROUND flies wide and slams into the concrete wall beyond.
The WIND-UP HALBERDIER thrusts with its polearm! It hits you, but your TRANSLUCENT STEEL CUIRASS protects you from most of the damage.
"Oh right! Let's see if we can't find that soldier we shoved down the hole. Rather, let's see if we can't find the remains of that soldier we shoved down the hole."
The CLOCKWORK KNIGHT, while formidable, seems to be effectively bottled up in the cavernous room. You and Snuffy the Pooch go hunting for the other WIND-UP HALBERDIERS that fell through the HOLE.
You meet the one in the PARKING GARAGE. Presumably, this is the one that fell in the form of a BULB at the start of the fight.
You and Snuffy the Pooch are now fighting a WIND-UP HALBERDIER!
"Maybe if you strapped it to your head when you wore the chestplate they would negate each other? // Be creative and tie the helmet to the platemail with a rope."
You find a small amount of ROPE in the KITCHEN and use it to attach the WINGED HELMET to the TRANSLUCENT STEEL CUIRASS.
This suit of armor is kind of a piece of crap.
The floating properties of the headgear are sufficient to negate the weight of the plate armor, but not strong enough to protect you from falling damage. The CUIRASS is partially transparent, which is fairly useless, but since this property is no longer associated with your HELMET, it decreases your accuracy as before.
"Conjure up some foods."
You use your remaining CREATIVITY to MANIFEST a CARTON OF ORANGE JUICE, which you drink immediately. The 8 NUTRITION points it grants are used to heal yourself, and you also get 1 VITAMIN point.
"See if you can swap enhancements?"
You do not have enough CREATIVITY to UN-IMBUE and IMBUE both items at this time.
You've never tried to reverse a COMBINATION before. You give it a try, spending 1 CREATIVITY point.
That didn't go so well. They're all scrambled up now. The results are the TRANSLUCENT STEEL CUIRASS, which is extremely heavy and pretty damn stupid, and the WINGED HELMET, which floats slowly upward until it hits the ceiling.
You could possibly RECHARGE your weapon in the CHANDELIER if you could fit it between the upturned sockets and the ceiling. Then again, you could just use the sockets in the HALLWAY or other rooms.
You could do this if it hadn't been knocked from your hands when you were slammed by the CLOCKWORK KNIGHT, that is.
Snuffy the Pooch retreats as well. She helps you to your feet.
"I could continue the fight without being killed, but I don't know how to damage it. The clockwork knight's vital parts are well-protected. I took the opportunity to escape when it reattached its head."
Unfortunately, this turns out to be a spring-loaded defensive system.
You are knocked back into the DINING ROOM and lose 3 HIT POINTS.
Snuffy the Pooch charges the WIND-UP HALBERDIER! She drives her HALBERD into its mechanical interior and strikes some critical component. The WIND-UP HALBERDIER has been dispatched!
The CLOCKWORK KNIGHT steps backward, assuming a defensive posture.
With the LIGHTBULBS gone and the TREE blocking the light from the VOID, you cannot use BLAZING HOT BETTY's FOCUS power. However, you think you've found a weak spot - you leap at the HORSE'S head.
Snuffy the Pooch waits for your turn. The CLOCKWORK KNIGHT attacks, but you parry the strike.
Using the rest of the WATER on the floor, you and Snuffy the Pooch shove/trip a WIND-UP HALBERDIER into the HOLE.
"See if you can knock the knight of his horse. // Switch to your sword and slice through the spring on the horse head."
Snuffy the Pooch attempts to unhorse the CLOCKWORK KNIGHT. It absorbs the blow with its SHIELD, but reels a bit from the force. You can see that the knight portion is really just a LANCE, HELMET, and SHIELD attached to some metal ARMS that protrude from the HORSE'S back.
The CLOCKWORK KNIGHT attacks again! This time you're ready for it and you dodge the assault.
You switch weapons.
The WIND-UP HALBERDIERS attack! Snuffy the Pooch parries the blow, but you are not so lucky and lose 1 HIT POINT.
"Tell Snuffy that it would be a good idea to go for the gears of the WIND-UP HALBERDIERS. It's always best to hit a weak spot. // Once again, shoot the gears."
Snuffy the Pooch takes your suggestion and aims for the fragile inner workings of one of the WIND-UP HALBERDIERS.
Her HALBERD pierces the casing and bends some of the parts within - a solid hit!
The CLOCKWORK KNIGHT charges forward and attacks you with its LANCE!
The PLEXIGLASS PLATE MAIL protects you somewhat, but you still lose 3 HIT POINTS.
You fire a GEAR into the casing of the nearer WIND-UP HALBERDIER. As you learned in the last fight, the introduction of a foreign object to its finely tuned innards slows it down considerably.
The closer WIND-UP HALBERDIER acts half as often.
The other WIND-UP HALBERDIER attacks Snuffy the Pooch!
She blocks the strike with her own HALBERD.
Time to take this TREE down.
You ram the WIND-UP KEY into the GEARS, stopping them. You and Snuffy the Pooch back away from the TREE as its innards generate an angry grinding sound. The WATERFALL stops. The TREE shudders.
All of the remaining BULBS fall from its branches. One of them falls through the HOLE made earlier.
You and Snuffy the Pooch are now fighting 2 WIND-UP HALBERDIERS and 1 CLOCKWORK KNIGHT!
"I would be happy to use this weapon. I think the added range will increase my capabilities considerably," she tells you.
Your RAPPORT SCREEN expands.
"Combine Helmet with Breastplate."
You spend 1 CREATIVITY point to COMBINE your armor pieces.
You've created the PLEXIGLASS PLATE MAIL. Incorporating the transparency from the HELMET VISOR has rendered most of it see-through. It seems the item is beginning to reach some sort of upper limit to its COMPLEXITY. Its weight is still compensated for due to the FLOATING BRICK, but you are no longer lighter than normal. You've lost the FLOAT and GLIDE capabilities.
You grab the WIND-UP KEY, preparing to jam it into the GEARS of the TREE. You're not sure what this will do to it, but those BULBS look like they're about ready to fall off. You were able to handle one of its minions, but there's no telling what you'll find inside that big one. Maybe you should heal up and decide upon a weapon to carry before you tamper with this thing again.
They are similarly attached to the TREE TRUNK, with no sign of having been affixed in any way. They simply sprout unnaturally from the wood. They turn slowly, ticking like a clock. You can hear similar sounds from within the TREE.
Strangely, there is no apparent opening in the STONE CUBE from which the water flows. It gushes directly from the solid rock surface.
You definitely need to do something about this TREE. Aside from the fact that it seems to sprout weird, hostile constructs, the WATERFALL could well ruin the possibly unvarnished surface of the DECK.
The question is, what do you do exactly?
They're certainly filling out, but your TREES have yet to show any FLOWERS or BUDS. It's a good thing you plugged that HOSE back in, anyway.
You decide it's time to increase Snuffy's COMPLEXITY. You're not quite sure how this works yet, but there's only one way to find out...
You spend 2 CREATIVITY points.
Something is definitely happening, but when you check your RAPPORT SCREEN, your faithful companion is still listed as COMPLEXITY level 1.
You establish a telepathic link, and she asks for a toy.
You give her the MECHANICAL ARMS and the rest of the GEARS.
Snuffy the Pooch has become more COMPLEX. She is more intelligent, faster, stronger, and has INCORPORATED some of the items you've found.
She has TRANSFORMED into a ROBODOG!
"Thank you," you hear her think in your head.
You spend 1 CREATIVITY and COMBINE the STEEL HELMET with the EMPTY PICKLE JAR.
You now don the VISORED STEEL HELM - all the defensive benefits enjoyed by the medieval man about the battlefield, with none of the drawbacks.
It will take a lot more than 1 CREATIVITY point to imagine a substance which is both transparent and strong.
You rummage through the pile of machinery left behind. Most of the GEARS are too large to fit into the BARRELS of the AUTOFLINTLOCK, but you do find some smaller specimens. You try one in the empty barrel from the last fight.
It looks like it will work just fine.
You dig around and find 20 additional GEARS of a suitable size and put them in your INVENTORY.
"Retrieve arms from junk pile."
It makes sense to put the MECHANICAL ARMS into your INVENTORY.
"Shrink it then."
You spend 1 CREATIVITY point to ALTER the size of the STEEL HELMET so it will fit your own head.
This piece of armor provides considerable protection for your melon, but it will decrease your accuracy with MELEE WEAPONS somewhat and with RANGED WEAPONS severely.
"Take the helmet from the machine."
This thing is way too big to wear on your head.
"Kill it with the halberd!"
You switch out BLAZING HOT BETTY for your newly acquired polearm. Why not add insult to injury by destroying the WIND-UP HALBERDIER with its own weapon?
You drive the HALBERD into the clockwork innards of the enemy construct. The clicking inside eventually stops and its engine begins to fall apart.
"Give Snuffy a treat."
You don't have an appropriate TREAT in your INVENTORY for her, but she understands. You make a pretty good team.
Snuffy the Pooch has gained a new TITLE! She is now a BATTLEBITCH!
It's got a freaking death grip on that HALBERD, so you have to cleave its ARMS off to get your hands on it. Now it's really screwed.
You get the HALBERD.
"Get closer to it, to make it really awkward for it to be able to hit you, and go for the spring again."
Now that you and Snuffy the Pooch have a high level of RAPPORT, you are able to combine your turns in COMBAT.
Snuffy the Pooch leaps at the WIND-UP HALBERDIER, forcing it to lean backward. You seize the opening and SLASH at the SPRING, shearing it from the rest of the construct.
Well, it's still working, but it's certainly not going anywhere.
Victory, you guess.
Snuffy the Pooch assaults the WIND-UP HALBERDIER without using her teeth or claws. While she is not able to wrest the HALBERD from its powerful grip, she does knock it off balance for the duration of the turn.
You cannot use BLAZING HOT BETTY'S MOTHERFUCKING LASER BEAM because the BATTERY is not fully charged. You used some energy to ILLUMINATE the DUNGEON earlier and never recharged it.
Instead you strike a dramatic pose while you again FOCUS light into heat using the LENS.
The WIND-UP HALBERDIER takes another swing at you! This time you easily parry the strike due to the earlier interference of Snuffy the Pooch.
You slash at the enemy's spring with BLAZING HOT BETTY. The angle is a little difficult and you miss the SPRING, but the red hot blade slices through the metal base like butter. The WIND-UP HALBERDIER will now have trouble staying upright.
The next turn Snuffy the Pooch continues to bide her time. She is clearly confused by the metal opponent.
You FOCUS the light from the TREE'S many BULBS using the LENS you added to your SWORD. Wow, that's bright. You can feel the heat radiating from the blade. Your next strike will deal extra heat damage.
The WIND-UP HALBERDIER strikes! Fortunately, THE FLYING MASON'S AEGIS protects you from most of the damage. You lose 2 HIT POINTS.
"Use Blazing Hot Betty for this battle - those lightbulbs mean there's plenty of ambient light to focus into heat damage. Aim for the spring it's standing on; you might be able to melt it a bit."
Not much happens this turn. Snuffy the Pooch stays in ALERT status, you open your INVENTORY to switch the AUTOFLINTLOCK out for BLAZING HOT BETTY, and the WIND-UP HALBERDIER grinds its gears and sputters, failing to move.
Her last attack was not particularly effective, so Snuffy the Pooch uses this turn to TRACK the WIND-UP HALBERDIER, waiting for the right moment to strike.
You take aim with your AUTOFLINTLOCK, using the LASER SIGHT to direct the shot at the gears inside the WIND-UP HALBERDIER. You'll teach it not to toy with you...
You fire into the construct's innards and wedge the ROUND between two of the gears. You hear a nasty screeching sound.
The WIND-UP HALBERDIER will now act half as often!
"Try to aim a shot into its gears to try and jam them. Put Betty away if it would help you aim better."
Snuffy the Pooch acts first, and attacks the WIND-UP HALBERDIER with her teeth.
Unfortunately, this is not very effective against its metal body.
You put BLAZING HOT BETTY into your INVENTORY in order to fire your AUTOFLINTLOCK with more accuracy on your next turn.
The WIND-UP HALBERDIER takes a swing at Snuffy the Pooch, but she is too fast for it.
You and Snuffy the Pooch are now fighting a WIND-UP HALBERDIER!
"Quickly equip weapons, because that is clearly a VOID-TREE. If no monster appears, carefully destroy the lightbulbs."
You draw both the AUTOFLINTLOCK and BLAZING HOT BETTY, preparing for a scrap. Nothing attacks you, but Snuffy the Pooch detects your heightened emotional state and rushes to join you. What a good dog.
You approach the TREE. Its trunk grows directly through the STONE CUBE you left here. Water gushes from one of its sides, creating a PUDDLE in the center of the room which is draining into the HOLE. You guess you found the source of the WATERFALL. The GEARS attached to the TREE rotate with a rhythmic clicking that echoes through the vast room.
You touch the TREE.
"Look above you for the source."
You proceed to check all the locations from which water could be entering the VOID and are located above the DECK. Fortunately, you were paying attention to the geography during your terrifying impromptu skydive.
"Check if the hose became disconnected anywhere during your drunken stumblings. If the water's going out the window, that's likely to be the cause of this waterfall."
You remember the HOSE which supplies your FOOD TREES with water. You tripped on it a few minutes ago. You head to the KITCHEN.
You definitely disconnected the HOSE from the FAUCET earlier, but the water is draining harmlessly into the SINK. This does not appear to be the source of the WATERFALL.
You reconnect the HOSE before you leave.
While this bizarre occurrence would probably illicit a flip-out from most people, you're actually starting to get used to all this weird shit.
You gaze upward, but the distances out here in the VOID are far too great to determine the source of the WATERFALL.
While you're screwing around with your MENU, you are suddenly hit by a perplexing WATERFALL from above.
You spend some time stretching on your YOGA MAT. In addition to enhancing your acuity, it is a very calming experience.
You spend 5 VITAMIN points.
Excelsior! You've increased your AGILITY by 1! You are now more dextrous. Your aim improves considerably. You will find you are more proficient with your SWORD as well. You're less likely to trip and fall while drunk. You're generally less of a hapless klutz. You can also attempt to dual-wield your weapons in COMBAT; however, it is still difficult at your level.
Wait, what's this? It seems increasing all your ATTRIBUTES to 2 has increased your maximum HIT POINTS! Awesome!
You go to town on the food you've discovered.
The BREAD grants 4 NUTRITION and 2 CARBOHYDRATE points. The CAVIAR gives you 1 VITAMIN and 1 PROTEIN. You use the NUTRITION to reduce your TOXICITY by 2 right away.
You also open up your STATUS SCREEN.
You open up your INVENTORY screen.
The GRILL still has no FUEL.
You eat both of the CARROTS you found in the SPACIOUS KITCHEN. (You also reload the ROUND you took out of the AUTOFLINTLOCK to make room for the CARROT.) You gain 2 NUTRITION (which you immediately use to reduce your TOXICITY by another point) and 4 VITAMIN points.
You remove the ROUND in the top BARREL and replace it with one of the CARROTS you have in your INVENTORY. It looks like it should fire without any trouble, even though it's certainly unorthodox ammunition.
Aw yeah. What's up now, doc?
You try, but you cannot LOAD MENU ELEMENTS or HUD INDICATORS as you cannot interact with them.
You figure it was worth the effort to check, though.
"Use some creativity to change your pistol to give it the ability to shoot small objects not just bullets, e.g. light bulbs, rocks and shards of glass."
You spend the first of your CREATIVITY points on a simple upgrade for the AUTOFLINTLOCK. It will now launch a wide variety of items as ammunition.
You also gain your first SUBMENU.
Here you can track just what you've loaded into the AUTOFLINTLOCK. As you can see here, all the BARRELS and all the RESERVE slots are loaded with standard ROUNDS. Anything that you can shove even partway into the barrel can be loaded there. However, the items must be roughly the same size as a ROUND to be stored in the RESERVE and loaded via the MECHANICAL ARM.
"Eat some pickles and use half to heal your HP and the other half to bring down your toxicity."
You snack on the 14 remaining PICKLES. This, combined with the 1 NUTRITION you already have, is sufficient to increase your HIT POINTS by 5 and decrease your TOXICITY by 5.
"First create strong medicine."
MEDICINE, while good to have around, is effective at combating INFECTION, not TOXICITY.
Dude you remember you have those PAINT CANS. Aw yeah, man. It's cool, it's cool because you only HUFF PAINT socially. Like only when you're wasted.
Like right now.
You head for the BEDROOM to indulge yourself.
Your INEBRIATED state causes you to trip on the STAIRS before you even get back to the HALLWAY. Ouch. You lose 1 HIT POINT.
Oh no. It seems your lack of inhibitions causes you to overdo it. You manage to pull yourself from the FUMES in time to avoid passing out, but you're pretty messed up. You get 7 CREATIVITY points out of it, but you max out your TOXICITY rating at 15. You feel pretty high right now, but you're really going to regret this once the booze wears off.
Okay, time to check on the PLANTS. You make for the DECK, swaying considerably as you go.
Oof. You trip on the HOSE while making your way up the STAIRS (it keeps happening). Fortunately, the FLOATING powers of the FLYING MASON'S AEGIS protect you from most of the damage. You lose 1 HIT POINT.
The effects of the alcohol wear off after this incident. Unsurprisingly, you feel rotten. It's like you ate a burning rubber sandwich and washed it down with diesel fuel. You really should take better care of yourself.
You climb the STAIRS again, this time without incident.
Well look at that. Your FOOD TREES have yet to blossom and yield whatever it is they were created to yield. They have, however, grown considerably since your last visit. It shouldn't be long now before you're feasting upon homegrown goodies. Your mouth waters with anticipation.
Lots of antics there. You open up your STATUS SCREEN to see where you stand.
You spend 1 CREATIVITY point to COMBINE the ELECTRIC SHATTERSWORD with the MAGNIFYING GLASS.
This is the most badass thing you've ever seen. The LENSED ELECTRIC SHATTERSWORD - which probably needs a better name - has all the capabilities of its former iteration, but you've made it even better. It now deals some additional blazing hot damage to enemies in areas with a lot of ambient light to FOCUS. It also gains the ability to fire a MOTHERFUCKING LASER BEAM with a fully-charged battery. Hot damn.
"Pants that are also shoes."
You think about upgrading your generic but functional GARMENTS that are so common they would be OBSCURED by a hypothetical narrative-influenced ARTISTIC STYLE if you existed in such a medium. Maybe it would be a good idea to use your CREATIVITY on something more useful. There's no one here to impress with somewhat fancier CLOTHING.
You decide it's time to do some creating. You head back into the SPACIOUS KITCHEN and hit the sauce like a champ, bro.
Unfortunately, the watery and flavorless MASS-MARKET BEER is too bland to increase your CREATIVITY.
It does get you a little drunk, though.
The COGNAC, on the other hand, is not bad. It's not as tasty as the FINE WINE, but it's no cheap hooch.
You get 1 CREATIVITY point and 2 more INEBRIATION points.
Now, what was it you were going to CREATE?
"Examine door. Are there hinges?"
You walk to the other end of the DUNGEON and ILLUMINATE the METAL DOOR there.
The DOOR is anachronistically modern given the immediate surroundings. Its metal FRAME is flush with the stone-worked wall. It is hinged such that it opens toward you. It has a simple COMBINATION LOCK that has no numbers on it, but when you try it the HANDLE turns easily. The DOOR, however, does not budge. It's as if some force beyond is acting upon it, preventing you from opening it.
Of course you acquire all the food you just discovered first.
That's just common sense.
You exit the SPACIOUS KITCHEN and head back to the LIBRARY.
Snuffy the Pooch stays with you as you approach the SECRET DOOR.
Through the DOOR lies a long STONE STAIRCASE that spirals down into the darkness.
It is pitch dark below, so you switch on the ILLUMINATE function of the ELECTRIC SHATTERSWORD.
You enter a dark DUNGEON with moss-covered stone walls. There is a METAL DOOR at the other side that appears it will resist an assault from your BATTERING RAM.
"Add carrots to inventory and munch thoughtfully on the arugula while planning your next move."
The ARUGULA, while not very filling, is a healthsome snack. You gain 2 VITAMIN and 1 NUTRITION.
The CARROTS go into your INVENTORY for later.
"Check out that kitchen."
You return to the SPACIOUS KITCHEN and take stock of the consumables you find there.
You find 2 CARROTS, 1 CAN OF CAVIAR, 1 LOAF OF RYE BREAD, 1 BUNCH OF ARUGULA, 1 JAR OF MUSTARD, 2 BOTTLES OF BEER, and 1 BOTTLE OF COGNAC.
Not a bad haul.
"Check books for secret rotating bookshelves and secret passages. LEAVE NO BOOK UNCHECKED."
You search through the stacks for what seems like an hour, testing BOOKS and KNICK-KNACKS for triggers or anything useful. On the right side of the second floor, you find a thick volume that seems too heavy to be an ordinary BOOK.
You give it a yank.
"Get magnifying glass so you can eventually fashion some sort of heat beam, possibly powered by more lightbulbs. Imagine an arsenal of lightbulb-based weaponry."
You put the MAGNIFYING GLASS nto your INVENTORY. Now that you've got a good grasp on how to COMBINE stuff, this could be very useful.
"Examine the images in the displayed books instead of reading them, so you can figure out where the books are about."
Both books display images which call to mind medieval illumination. The smaller one depicts a man riding a horse, and the other is covered mostly with elaborate margin artwork with two vaguely religious-looking individuals in the middle. You are unable to recognize any specific event or person depicted. Even stranger, when you turn the page, the remaining pages of both BOOKS are as blank as all the others you've opened.
"Enter library. Search for anything out of place, or check that book sitting on the stand. // Increase your INT (intelligence) stat by reading some books."
You begin to examine the BOOKS you find here, searching for inspiration, insight, anything. The two BOOKS displayed open are not written in a language you have ever seen before.
You open the closed BOOK on the STAND. Every page is blank. You do find a MAGNIFYING GLASS inside, though.
You grab a few BOOKS from the SHELVES nearby at random.
"Check both bottom rooms."
You peer into the ROOMS on the first floor before entering them.
To the right, you find a SPACIOUS KITCHEN.
To the left, an elaborate PRIVATE LIBRARY.
You decide to go with the ELECTRIC SHATTERSWORD - no reloading, no ammunition conservation, also it's just cool as hell.
You examine the LAMP on the landing. Its BULB is glowing softly. This is not the same light you encounter outside in the VOID. This is generated in the usual way - with electricity. You note the fact that the water and power in these areas seem to function normally despite the circumstances.
You and Snuffy the Pooch make for the final APARTMENT DOOR in the HALLWAY.
You find yourself in what appears to be the ENTRANCE of a MANSION. These ROOMS are getting more lavish and complex as you explore your surroundings. After that last one, this isn't too surprising, though.
Refreshingly, there are no WINDOWS and thus no light from the VOID in this area. There are two ROOMS on the lower floor - to the left and right of the STAIRS - and two more on the second level.
You are currently equipping both the ELECTRIC SHATTERSWORD and the AUTOFLINTLOCK. The FLYING MASON'S AEGIS does not hinder your dexterity as the STEEL CUIRASS did; however, an AGILITY rating of 1 is still insufficient for dual-weapon fighting with any success. You probably ought to declare which weapon you want to EQUIP before entering a room in the future.
Oh shit. It's a good thing you weren't standing here when the CHUNK OF PILLAR touched down. You would expect to see just a hole in the wooden floor of the DECK, but somehow it has ended up lodged here. That's weird. You'll have to keep this in mind as your try to piece together the logic of this bizarre place.
Everything seems fine with your FOOD TREE SAPLINGS. You did your best with them, but you were a little drunk - not to mention your understanding of matters botanical is fairly limited.
Then again, you've got plants, dirt, light, and water. This isn't rocket science.
The SPRINKLER seems to be working nicely. You'll have to be careful around that HOSE, or you could cut the TREES off from the source and have a real mess on your hands to boot.
Snuffy is not like your other creations. She is a living, thinking being, if somewhat simple. You are confident that you could increase her COMPLEXITY from 1 to 2 using 2 CREATIVITY points. She will become more intelligent - or at least possess the capacity for more intelligence. However, you are not sure what else will happen to her. She is your first and only living MANIFESTATION. You're trailblazing here.
You make a beeline for the nearest soft surface to sleep off the effects of the ALCOHOL. Using your RAPPORT, you instruct Snuffy the Pooch to watch for danger. She diligently follows your command.
"Use creativity to make soil and a fruit tree. Perhaps we could use that for food? How about something like a baked bean tree, or just some thing creative like that using a plant to grow supermarket grade food."
The state of your KITCHEN reminds you that you don't have a reliable way to replenish your food stores. This could pose some serious problems in the long term.
You think you have an idea, but you're going to need more than the 2 CREATIVITY points you have left from the bat fight.
You drink both BOTTLES OF FINE RED WINE. They're rich and delicious - earthy, with a touch of spice and leather. It seems that higher quality booze gives you fewer INEBRIATION points than the cheap stuff.
You're drunk again, but you think you can stay on task.
You go to the DECK and make 2 FOOD TREE SAPLINGS. You also MANIFEST a SPRINKLER and HOSE to supply them with water.
You honestly have no idea what kind of food they're going to offer when they're ready to harvest. You guess it'll probably be interesting given your state when you willed them into being.
You use 1 CREATIVITY POINT to COMBINE the ANTIBIOTICS in your INVENTORY with the useless TRAMP STAMP you gave yourself while drunk.
You get the CADUCEUS TRAMP STAMP! This tattoo will negate a single point of INFECTION from each source you consume or are exposed to.
"Self-reloading flintlock pistol?"
You spend 3 CREATIVITY POINTS.
You've expanded the capabilities of the REPEATING FLINTLOCK PISTOL! A mechanical arm swings out and reloads the gun for you from a store of ROUNDS in the stock. This takes only one turn in COMBAT, and though you must keep the weapon in your hand, you may take defensive action while it reloads. You can store 4 ROUNDS in the reserve in addition to the 4 in the barrels. It is fully stocked and loaded.
You call it the AUTOFLINTLOCK.
You check your MENU since it's been a little while since the last time you did that.
You also load the 4 ROUNDS you were carrying into the barrels of the REPEATING FLINTLOCK PISTOL.
Incorporating more FLOATING powers would likely render THE FLYING MASON'S AEGIS less useful. You'd be practically weightless, bouncing around and injuring yourself with your shitty AGILITY score.
However, if you could come up with a way to propel it or yourself, the armor's FLOATING capacity would make powered flight easy and efficient.
"Create a food-emitter."
While you are certain you can use your CREATIVITY to MANIFEST food of any kind, and it would be really useful to have a device that generates sustenance automatically, it is clear that such a construct would need a continuous source of CREATIVITY in order to MANIFEST the food.
You would need to IMBUE this CREATION not only with an extremely high degree of COMPLEXITY, but also somehow MANIFEST a facsimile of your own reality-warping powers.
The KITCHEN has seen better days. All that remains of the bounty that once graced your countertop is a half-eaten BAG OF POTATO CHIPS and a full BOTTLE OF HOT SAUCE.
Oh yeah, and A GIANT FUCKING MESS.
You do still have 14 PICKLES in your INVENTORY, though.
"I believe you can fly."
You confess to yourself that you were taking some artistic license when you named THE FLYING MASON'S AEGIS. It does not allow you to fly, but some floating and gliding seem possible.
While a single weapon with many uses would be incredibly sweet, you are certain that the potent explosions which constitute the day-to-day operation of a FLINTLOCK PISTOL would shatter glass elements and damage fine electrical wiring.
"Use as much of that CREATIVITY as you need to manifest up another person... preferably one of the female variety."
CREATING another complex, intelligent being with FREE WILL... you think it might be possible, but it would be an extremely difficult task. You're not sure how much CREATIVITY you'd need exactly, but it's certainly more than you possess.
You spend 1 CREATIVITY point and COMBINE the STEEL CUIRASS with the FLOATING BRICK.
You get THE FLYING MASON'S AEGIS. All this CREATIVITY has you feeling a little verbose, it seems.
The BRICK - along with its FLOATING properties - is worked into the substance of the STEEL CUIRASS. It provides no less defense than it did before, but now it no longer reduces your AGILITY rating. Nice. You even etch a design into it to commemorate the occasion.
Time to investigate.
The STONE CUBE is made of a dark rock you can't identify. It is cold to the touch. When you place your hand on it, you think you can detect a faint humming, a vibration from within. It is roughly cut, but smooth as if eroded.
It is extremely heavy. You try to push it, but your STRENGTH is too low to even budge the thing. Since you cannot lift it, you can't put it in your INVENTORY, so it'll have to stay here for now.
"How does the combining work with creativity? Because you need to combine the broken lightbulb with the broken bottle to make a glass electric dagger thing."
You use some of your newly-acquired CREATIVITY to COMBINE two items into one.
You make the ELECTRIC SHATTERSWORD! Holy shit this thing is awesome. It seems you can save a little CREATIVITY by using objects that already exist.
The edges on this blade are razor sharp, and thanks to the sturdier glass from the BROKEN BOTTLE, it's not as fragile as it looks. You will still need to be careful when using it against armored foes or solid OBJECTS, though.
The BROKEN LIGHTBULB has IMBUED it with the power to discharge electricity into an enemy when you hit them with it. Using this ability will drain its BATTERY quickly, but you can recharge it in a standard light SOCKET.
You can also use the BATTERY's energy to turn the bulb on and illuminate a dark area. This does not drain its juice as rapidly as the discharge will.
You use 3 points here (1 for the COMBINATION, 1 to ALTER its form into a weapon, and 1 to MANIFEST a RECHARGEABLE BATTERY located in the HILT).
You and Snuffy meet up in the GARAGE. It seems your RAPPORT with her has increased yet again. Not only can you communicate with her telepathically (to the extent of her intelligence and COMPLEXITY), but she can now sense when you are in danger. Cool.
She waits patiently while you breathe in the VOID DUST from the last fight. You feel light-headed after all that, and you need to lie down.
"Put floaty brick in inventory."
Oh yeah. Practical and sentimental value in one INVENTORY slot.
A little later...
You land safely on the SIDEWALK.
"Imagine up a yellow brick road."
You thought you saw a brief flash of your BEDROOM there.
You look down again.
That's not the BLACK STAR.
You think you have an idea. It'll take both hands, though. You put the REPEATING FLINTLOCK PISTOL into your INVENTORY.
Got to time this just right...
Success! Your weakly floating BRICK is not strong enough to stop you, but it is rapidly slowing your descent.
"Fall in a more comedic manner.
Not helping, not helping!
Snuffy the Pooch isn't happy about it either, but she doesn't know what to do.
Directly beneath you is the CHUNK OF PILLAR which fell through the HOLE just before you did. It spins as it falls and you can just barely make out the BLACK STAR beyond. It is just a speck in the distance.
Wait, what's that sound?
This is bad.
Naturally, you're still being slow and fiddling with your GUN when it attacks again, but Snuffy is back in action and lacerates the creature's neck for its trouble.
It's really on the ropes now. The MASSIVE VOID BAT can barely keep itself aloft. Instead it hovers out of reach.
You've finally loaded a round into the REPEATING FLINTLOCK PISTOL. You take aim.
Nailed it! The creature lets out a final wail as it perishes.
It dissolves into a GIANT PILE OF VOID DUST and a STONE CUBE. You take a moment to savor your victory.
"Shoot some more."
The MASSIVE VOID BAT uses its screech again. As before, you are not affected, but Snuffy is.
You spend this turn retrieving and loading a ROUND.
With no Snuffy to intercept it this turn, the MASSIVE VOID BAT has no problem outmaneuvering you and biting your face. Fortunately, chomping down on solid steel seems to have dulled its teeth considerably. You lose 3 HIT POINTS.
Snuffy the Pooch has regained her composure. She quickly resumes ALERT status, carefully tracking the movements of the MASSIVE VOID BAT.
This is good for you because you won't be able to act at all this turn thanks to the weight of the STEEL CUIRASS.
The MASSIVE VOID BAT makes another attempt to bite you, this time aiming for your soft, fleshy head.
But Snuffy the Pooch intercepts the attack and viciously rends the beast's underside! It's really hurting now.
"HOW ABOUT I SHOOT YOUR SHIT!?!?! Shoot the bat in the face with all the chambers of your flintlock pistol!"
Oh hell yes. You set your REPEATING FLINTLOCK PISTOL for full auto and use the LASER SIGHT to set up the shot.
You don't bother to try and think of a one-liner this time.
Even with the LASER SIGHT, you spray ROUNDS all over the place due to your AGILITY rating of 0. Still, you connect with about half of the shots. It's definitely wounded pretty badly, but it looks more pissed off than anything else.
Snuffy the Pooch acts first.
Oh no! She cannot attack the MASSIVE VOID BAT from the ground. However, as a STRIFEHOUND, she is able to go into ALERT status. Using her keen senses and hunter's intuition, Snuffy the Pooch can wait and observe one enemy, and possibly interrupt the creature during its turn.
The MASSIVE VOID BAT emits a high-pitched wail in an attempt to disorient you.
You have a high ENDURANCE stat - not to mention you're a connoisseur of being screwed up - and are unaffected!
Snuffy the Pooch, on the other hand, is not so lucky.
You change your mind, deciding to favor defense over quickness. You put on your STEEL CUIRASS.
Snuffy the Pooch is too disoriented to do anything right now - which is a shame, because the MASSIVE VOID BAT swoops in to bite you!
It looks like its fangs are no match for imagination-forged steel. Your armor protects you from the attack.
You ready your REPEATING FLINTLOCK PISTOL, but decide to leave the STEEL CUIRASS in your INVENTORY for now. It doesn't seem likely to be particularly helpful at present.
You venture bravely into the GRAND HALL.
You and Snuffy the Pooch are now fighting a MASSIVE VOID BAT.
"Look through all cabinets."
You poke around in the CABINETS in the DINING ROOM. You find tons of PLATES, GLASSES, and SILVERWARE for which you have neither the need nor the space in your INVENTORY.
...Though you do find 2 BOTTLES OF FINE RED WINE. Now these you have room for.
You meet up with Snuffy the Pooch - who you'd rename TARDYMUTT if you had any power over your RAPPORT SCREEN - and prepare to explore another APARTMENT.
You choose the one just down the HALL from the first one you opened, next to the ELEVATOR.
You find yourself in an OPULENT GALLERY. The FRAMES on the walls appear to be additional PORTALS to the VOID.
After a few seconds pass without an attack, you move on to the next room.
You wonder who exactly lives in this place as you enter a DINING ROOM with a fully set TABLE but no food in sight.
The final room in this APARTMENT is a ridiculously large HALL surrounded by arches and columns with a dome for a roof.
You don't like the look of that bright light coming down from above, and even Snuffy is hesitant to enter. You decide to observe the majesty of this place from the safety of the DINING ROOM.
"Review your foods."
BOX OF CORN FLAKES: 10 NUTRITION, 2 CARBOHYDRATE
BAG OF POTATO CHIPS: 20 NUTRITION, -6 HIT POINTS
CARTON OF MILK: 20 NUTRITION
BOX OF DUBIOUS TAKEOUT: 1 NUTRITION, 1 CREATIVITY, 1 INFECTION
CAN OF BEANS: 1 NUTRITION, 2 PROTEIN
PICKLE: 1 NUTRITION
Almost all food gives you NUTRITION. You have not yet encountered a source for these new ASSETS, but you imagine that CARBOHYDRATES come from grain products, and VITAMINS can be acquired by eating healthy stuff like fresh vegetables or fish (or by taking VITAMIN PILLS if you're lucky enough to find any).
"Create fuel for the grill."
You're going to need to find some more CREATIVITY first.
You lean over the edge of the DECK and look down.
The BLACK STAR is closer here. So the DECK is somehow lower than the GARAGE. Yeah, that makes sense.
You open the GRILL. You find a RAW SALMON STEAK and three UNCOOKED HOT DOGS. Unfortunately, the GRILL is cold and seems to have no source of FUEL.
"Stash the armor for now; you can't move if your agility is 0. Imagine up a treadmill. Right there. // Imagine yourself a yoga mat to increase agility."
Your STRENGTH rating is high enough - you are able to move around while wearing the STEEL CUIRASS. An effective rating of 0 in AGILITY will result in hilarious antics such as falling down STAIRS, acting once every two turns in COMBAT, missing easy attacks, dropping stuff when you retrieve it from your INVENTORY...
Yeah, you decide to take it off. You put the STEEL CUIRASS in your INVENTORY.
You also consume the remains of the VOID DUST, gaining 2 CREATIVITY POINTS.
You conjure a TREADMILL and a YOGA MAT.
You can use the TREADMILL to increase your ENDURANCE. You will need 15 CARBOHYDRATE points to increase your already formidable ENDURANCE rating to 4.
The YOGA MAT is used to increase AGILITY. The price for an increase to level 2 is 5 VITAMIN points.
You aren't sure yet how to permanently increase your AGILITY, but wearing a shitload of metal on your body sure isn't doing the trick.
You notice that the STEEL CUIRASS decreases your AGILITY by 1 while worn.
"Make yourself some armor."
You suck up another point's worth of DUST. Time to deal with that problem of you being a delicate little flower when it comes time to throw down.
You spend the CREATIVITY point.
You MANIFEST a STEEL CUIRASS. This piece of ARMOR is very effective at protecting your torso, specifically from SLASHING or STABBING attacks.
Yeah, you would have been bird food if that LIGHTBULB hadn't saved your ass. You decide you need to be able to fire more shots at a time.
This job is going to take a little more than usual. You breathe in what you guess is about 2 CREATIVITY points worth of VOID DUST.
Your GUN is far too primitive for the clips and magazines of newer weapons. Instead, you imagine a multi-chambered, rotating barrel system for your FLINTLOCK PISTOL.
You spend 2 CREATIVITY POINTS.
Oh yeah. You've upgraded the FLINTLOCK PISTOL! It is now the REPEATING FLINTLOCK PISTOL. You can load up to 4 ROUNDS in this at once. When you fire, the next chamber rolls into place, packed and ready for action right away. It's fully loaded now, and you also get a few more ROUNDS as part of the deal.
"Take broken lightbulb. // Eat some PICKLES and then use the NUTRITION to bring yourself back up to full health. Place the large pile of VOID DUST in your INVENTORY for later use."
You do a bunch of stuff now before you move along. You eat 5 PICKLES, which, when combined with the NUTRITION you got from the first one you ate, is enough to restore all your HIT POINTS. You also reload your FLINTLOCK PISTOL.
You put the BATTERING RAM, HUGE PILE OF VOID DUST, and BROKEN LIGHTBULB in your INVENTORY for later.
Yep. That's a lightbulb.
Woo hoo. Let's hear it for dumb luck.
You use your RAPPORT to summon the cavalry. Snuffy the Pooch will be here to help in a few turns.
Now it's the GARGANTUAN VOID PIGEON'S turn.
Wait. Something falls down from above and bashes your enemy's head in!
The GARGANTUAN VOID PIGEON is defeated and collapses into a HUGE PILE OF WHITE POWDER...
...which you think you'll call VOID DUST from now on because it's easier to say.
The process of converting NUTRITION to HIT POINTS does not take very long normally. In COMBAT, though, a turn is a very short period of time. It will take two turns to digest.
It is possible you can find something that will work a little faster, though.
You know, if you survive this.
"ABSCOND just far enough into the room so that the GARGANTUAN VOID PIGEON cannot follow, then use your FLINTLOCK PISTOL with no chance of reciprocation. // Go down the stairs, leading the pigeon behind you so it gets stuck in the doorway. Then unload in its face and then stab."
Any attempt to retreat will open yourself up to an attack before you can reach safety thanks to your abysmal AGILITY rating!
You open your INVENTORY and draw your FLINTLOCK PISTOL.
The GARGANTUAN VOID PIGEON rakes you with its talons! Ouch! You are barely able to maintain your grip on the FLINTLOCK PISTOL and you lose 5 HIT POINTS.
You take aim at the creature's face. Thanks to the LASER SIGHT, the shot is easy to line up. You search for the perfect one-liner for the situation but you find yourself at all loss. Damn it, you had something for this...
You just pull the trigger.
A direct hit! The GARGANTUAN VOID PIGEON takes one to the face. It is a mortal wound, but unfortunately, this is not a creature with an overabundance of brains it relies upon. It's not down yet!
You miss! The beast sidesteps the blow with ease. The BATTERING RAM is too heavy and slow to be effective against moving targets - even gargantuan ones, apparently.
You wisely drop the BATTERING RAM just in time to dodge the GARGANTUAN VOID PIGEON'S attempt to peck your eyes out!
"Award yourself with that trophy. You can just say it's for your excellence in the field of apartment break-ins, or something."
It looks like you're going to have to earn that TROPHY you planned to steal.
You are now fighting a GARGANTUAN VOID PIGEON.
You head on up the STAIRS.
You are now standing on a nice DECK with a view of the same absolute nothing you've come to expect.
Wait. What's that light?
"Enter a room."
You find yourself in a small BEDROOM with STAIRS around the corner that lead upward.
You decide it's probably best to rustle up some supplies before you venture into the unknown.
Using your improved STRENGTH, you wrench the LID from the top of the PICKLE JAR.
The PICKLES have been well-preserved in their vinegary BRINE. You eat one and gain 1 NUTRITION point.
You decide not to mess around and just put the whole jar in your INVENTORY. There are 19 pickles remaining.
You get your property destruction on and destroy the three locked APARTMENT DOORS in the HALLWAY. They easily splinter when introduced to the might of your BATTERING RAM.
The ELEVATOR DOORS remain closed, however. They are made of sterner stuff, and resist brute force.
"Take a quick huff off of the paint to get a little bit of CREATIVITY, and then use your stored NUTRITION to negate the TOXICITY. Use some of your newfound CREATIVITY to conjure a BATTERING RAM and raid the other apartments for supplies. Make said "Battering Ram" be an actual ram (the animal)."
Hey, look at you. You're getting better at this ASSET-AILMENT thing.
You suck up just enough of the caustic FUMES to generate a CREATIVITY point and then immediately get rid of the TOXICITY using your 4 stored points of NUTRITION. Nicely done.
You then use that CREATIVITY to MANIFEST a BATTERING RAM. You even put a bitching CAP on it shaped like a ram's head.
This thing is sweet. It is also extremely heavy. It's a good thing you earned that second STRENGTH point. You still need both HANDS to wield it, so you put the FLINTLOCK PISTOL in your INVENTORY.
Now, which door out there has the worst luck?
"Drop the lightbulb out into the void and watch to see if anything happens to the black star."
You and Snuffy make your way to the GARAGE EXIT, looking for trouble.
Unfortunately, you don't find any foes. Whatever those things are, they seem to show up on their own schedule.
You toss the LIGHTBULB into the VOID. It falls quickly and directly toward the BLACK STAR.
You wait a bit, but you realize that even if something happens when the LIGHTBULB hits the STAR, it could take hours or years for it to get there. You are not an astronomer; a star is a star to you.
"Summon your dog to you and give her a knife to hold in her mouth by the handle and use. Then begin fighting something. // Make sure gun is loaded."
You use your RAPPORT to call Snuffy.
While you wait for her, you check your FLINTLOCK PISTOL. It looks like the ROUND inside was shaken up somehow and likely wouldn't fire. Someone was messing around with your GUN.
...You admit it's more likely that you did something stupid to it while you were shitfaced.
You reload the ROUND; the FLINTLOCK PISTOL is ready to fire.
You consider upgrading Snuffy somehow. For a creature whose most fearsome weapons are her teeth, a MOUTH-KNIFE would be pretty silly. Maybe you'll think of something cool the next time you get some CREATIVITY.
Actually you were humming some spy movie-sounding thing while you were rolling around, and it was pretty cool.
"Find something to kill."
You decide it's time to go hunting.
"Create antibiotic pills."
You use 1 CREATIVITY point to MANIFEST a BOTTLE OF ANTIBIOTIC PILLS. You don't have a solid understanding of the science behind this stuff, so they're a little on the weak side.
Still, after downing a handful, you manage to cure your INFECTION.
You put the BOTTLE in your INVENTORY for later. You guess you have about 3 DOSES left for future INFECTION issues.
"Cure that one ailment you have."
You get ready to spend some of your ASSETS to clear up your poison.
Unfortunately, it seems INFECTION is not affected by NUTRITION. It represents poison or other bodily infiltration by biological means. Eating well and shaking it off isn't an option. You will have to look for something new if you want to cure this AILMENT.
At the moment, however, it's only providing mild discomfort.
"Walk back into the kitchen. Look around. See empty take-out. Freak out. // Conjure a steak, get protein, get to lifting some weights."
You exit the BEDROOM after grabbing your FLINTLOCK PISTOL and placing it in your INVENTORY. You notice that the TAKEOUT BOX is completely empty. You are beginning to recall what happened before you blacked out. You are no longer confused as to why you feel so terrible.
Nevermind that! You vow to start today off on a healthier note. You consider conjuring a PROTEIN-rich breakfast with some CREATIVITY, but you behold a source you've overlooked for some time. The BEANS!
You locate a CAN OPENER in one of the DRAWERS and proceed to go nuts with those BEANS. They're really good for you. You get 3 NUTRITION POINTS and a whopping 6 PROTEIN! You feel charged up and ready for action.
You head down to the GARAGE and pump iron for a while. It's really intense.
Wait for it...
YES! Your STRENGTH has increased to 2! Success! Progress! Open jars!
You open your STATUS SCREEN.
You decide to hold off on the FUMES, at least for now. Your STOMACH feels like it's about to explode. You ate something foul last night...
Besides, you've still got a CREATIVITY point to use.
Somehow, a tiny voice of reason breaks through the cacophony of terrible ideas bellowing in your brain. You decide it's time to get to BED and sleep this off.
You make it back to the BEDROOM without incident and fall asleep immediately.
When you wake, you don't feel great, but the effects of the ALCOHOL have passed.
Your memory of the events after chugging the CHEAP BOURBON is a little hazy. You hope you didn't do anything stupid with your spare CREATIVITY.
Surprise, surprise. You fall on your ass and lose 1 HIT POINT.
"Get more creativity to produce some sort of mirror hat so you can admire the tramp stamp at all times. // Smash the wall with your gun trying to make a smashed wall smiley face!"
You decide it's time for a little home improvement. Maybe you'll put a mirror up, maybe you'll make some more artwork. You don't know yet. This is free-form.
You assault the wall with the butt of your FLINTLOCK PISTOL.
It turns out the weapon is not very effective against drywall, so you give up and move on to some other activity before long.
It's a poor craftsman who blames his tools, of course. However, in his case, there's guilt enough to go around.
"Since obviously not in your right mind, admire shitty tribal tattoo and decide you need to expand upon it."
Yes. Dude, you notice how sick that TRIBAL TATTOO is. It makes you look like such a badass. You decide it's time to get another tattoo. Something tasteful, classic...
Something, maybe, on the small of your back...
You spend 1 CREATIVITY point.
You get the TRAMP STAMP. While you can't see it without a mirror, you know it looks awesome.
"Do something stupid that only a drunk person can do // Eat the TAKE-OUT. // Stumble out of the room babbling."
You have a great idea. You decide it's time to eat the TAKEOUT.
Someone appears to have written an esoteric message on the BOX, but you ignore it because it's barely legible in your state. If you were paying attention, you'd notice that a FUNGUS has taken root in the now-unidentifiable food.
You are so wasted that you barely taste it while quickly wolfing it down. In fact, this is the only reason you are able to eat it at all. But you're not thinking clearly and you eat the whole thing before heading outside to look for some action.
Wait for it...
There it is. The food takes effect. Most of the NUTRITIONAL value of the TAKEOUT has been lost, but you do get 1 point. You also get a CREATIVITY point from the hallucinogenic properties of the FUNGUS you ate unknowingly. This FUNGUS, however, was also a little bit poisonous, so you get a point of INFECTION as well.
Back in the KITCHEN, you use your final CREATIVITY point to MANIFEST a BOTTLE OF CHEAP BOURBON.
This is just the thing you need to take the edge off and boost your CREATIVITY. Down the hatch!
You are now drunk. You gain 1 CREATIVITY point. You also gain 5 INEBRIATION points. Your INHIBITIONS are curbed and your JUDGMENT impaired. All commands will be interpreted thusly.
You do gain 1 TEMPORARY STRENGTH point, though.
Your apartment is a little small, so you head down to the GARAGE before using 1 CREATIVITY point to MANIFEST a WEIGHT BENCH. You can use this device to improve your STRENGTH.
Unfortunately, you need 5 PROTEIN in order to increase your STRENGTH to 2.
"Reload gun. Also, gain a title that insults your aim. // Use a creativity point to upgrade your gun with laser sights."
You're still pretty embarrassed about your performance in that fight. While you RELOAD your FLINTLOCK PISTOL, you try to think of a proper TITLE for yourself. Something with the word "blunderbuss" in it maybe.
But then you get a better idea.
You spend 1 CREATIVITY point and MANIFEST a LASER SIGHT for your FLINTLOCK PISTOL. Oh hell yeah! The weapon is far more accurate now.
"Use a creativity point to imbue one of the paint cans' fumes with non-toxicity. That way, you can quickly get creativity without toxicity."
The PAINT you used to create your SCULPTURE is almost entirely dry. It is no longer giving off the kind of FUMES you need to inspire yourself in that way.
You suppose it is theoretically possible to IMBUE a CAN OF PAINT such that it ceases to create those caustic FUMES. While this would be useful in creating future works of art without poisoning yourself, it is the very TOXIC nature of the FUMES that alters your consciousness and grants CREATIVITY. The PAINT would stop giving stat increases of any kind, harmful and beneficial.
Besides, you do not have enough CREATIVITY to alter a substance on such a fundamental level in such a specific way right now.
You can't level up! The STAIRS only go down to the GARAGE and the ELEVATOR is still refusing to respond.
You open up your STATUS SCREEN because for the first time in a long while, it is not an itemized personal fail-chart.
You're in pretty rough shape after that fight, but you have an idea.
You take the LARGE PILE OF WHITE POWDER and put it in your inventory with the small one. Then you head back to the KITCHEN.
You mix all the WHITE POWDER you've found so far into the CARTON with the rest of the MILK, shake it up, and commence the chug.
You get 3 CREATIVITY points from the WHITE POWDER, and 10 NUTRITION points from the MILK, which you instantly use to heal yourself completely.
"Shoot it in the eyes."
Snuffy the Pooch is the quickest and acts first.
She leaps at the GIANT VOID FLY and bites its head; a serious wound!
The quick GIANT VOID FLY darts in and stabs your face with its proboscis! This is extremely painful and quite disgusting.
You take aim at the creature with your FLINTLOCK PISTOL. You try to think of something badass to say, but you do not have enough CREATIVITY to be witty, so you just fire.
You miss! That was a terrible shot! The ROUND passes above the GIANT VOID FLY and out the WINDOW into the VOID. IT. COULD. GO. ALL. THE. WAY!
Yeah, it's gone.
Snuffy the Pooch effortlessly finishes the beast off on her turn.
The corpse of the GIANT VOID FLY dissolves into a LARGE PILE OF WHITE POWDER.
Snuffy the Pooch gets a new TITLE!
She is now a STRIFEHOUND!
"Enter the unlocked apartment with Snuffy, brandishing bottle and yelling, "Who wants to die today?!?!""
Thanks to your loving tribute to her in condiment form, your RAPPORT with Snuffy the Pooch has improved again! You discover that you can now use it to give simple instructions telepathically.
You do this right away, waking her from her nap and summoning her to the HALLWAY. You wait for her to arrive before entering the other APARTMENT.
You enter the LIVING ROOM of an APARTMENT that is considerably larger than yours. The white light from the VOID illuminates the room, but it seems stronger here.
You hear Snuffy growl. Something is coming in through the WINDOW. The light striking the COFFEE TABLE becomes more intense, almost blinding. It's coalescing...
You and Snuffy the Pooch are now fighting a GIANT VOID FLY!
You take a moment to ponder this strange situation you've found yourself in. You're actually pretty proud of yourself for keeping your cool so far.
You spend 1 CREATIVITY point and conjure a simple GUN.
The FLINTLOCK PISTOL is a basic firearm that must be reloaded via the barrel after each shot. It is somewhat unreliable and not particularly accurate, but it can certainly do some damage. It's loaded and ready to fire when you MANIFEST it, and you also whip up a few extra rounds and put them in your INVENTORY.
"Create a painting."
The inspiring effect of the WHITE POWDER puts you in the mood to continue your artistic career. Having pretty well mastered mixed media sculpture already, you decide to take on something a little different.
But you have no desire at all to mess around with PAINT right now.
Using just your fingers and the remaining KETCHUP, you smear your newest work on the wall just outside your apartment.
You like the juxtaposition you've got going on here. This is art that forces viewers out of their comfort zone. The BLACK STAR menaces, but Snuffy stands resolute, unfazed.
You call it "Untitled no. 2 (57 Varieties of Purpose)."
You survey the HALLWAY.
There are four DOORS that you assume lead to APARTMENTS because they look very much like your own. They are unmarked, which strikes you as kind of odd. Two are beyond the opening in the center of the HALLWAY and the other two are closer to your FRONT DOOR. There is also an ELEVATOR opposite the STAIRWELL that does not appear to be in service.
All of the APARTMENT DOORS are locked save the one across from yours.
You take a LIGHTBULB out of one of the fixtures in the HALLWAY, as there is plenty of light coming in from outside anyway.
You hold it above your head and hope for the best.
Sadly, CREATIVITY does not work that way. You don't see why your smartass HEADS-UP DISPLAY needs to rub it in, though.
You put the LIGHTBULB in your INVENTORY.
You find that the WHITE POWDER also makes you feel a little lethargic. As you lay on the dirty floor of the GARAGE RAMP, you are overcome by a strange feeling of hopelessness. You think about the BLACK STAR and the beckoning oblivion it offers.
You notice Snuffy has decided to take a nap nearby. You snap out of your weird malaise. What were you thinking? You can't leave her alone in this place.
You scoop up the other PILE OF WHITE POWDER and store it safely in your INVENTORY.
While you're fussing around with the WHITE POWDER, Snuffy the Pooch pokes you affectionately with her nose.
The unexpected contact causes you to inhale sharply. You breathe in one of the piles of WHITE POWDER.
The WHITE POWDER is quite tasteless. It breaks down quickly when you inhale it, entering your body more as a smoke or mist than powder.
You feel light-headed; your mind swims in a sea of possibility.
You gain 1 CREATIVITY point.
You inspect the WHITE POWDER.
It is completely odorless. It is also extremely fine. It is fortunate that there is no wind coming in from the VOID outside or these piles would have disintegrated before you got to them.
You try not to breathe heavily around them.
Unfortunately, any ASSETS you might gain from consuming your DOG are denied to you by your RAPPORT with her. At this point, that would be almost like eating yourself, and things are not that desperate, yet.
"Stare into the black star for inspiration - if that fails, look for a new source of creativity."
Your trusty BROKEN BOTTLE in hand, you trek back to the SIDEWALK to try to commune with the BLACK STAR. The prospect does not excite you, but you're fresh out of ideas.
If only there was some other way to inject CREATIVITY into your simple mind - some RESOURCE you've overlooked...
"Do some cartwheels down the hall."
You go out into the HALLWAY to celebrate your recently rediscovered health with some impromptu acrobatics.
You discover painfully that your AGILITY rating is crap just before crashing into the wall in a heap.
Snuffy the Pooch looks on, seemingly disapproving.
You lose 1 HIT POINT.
You use some KETCHUP to leave a little reminder for yourself on the TAKEOUT BOX. You don't see the need to get overly verbose about it, though.
Besides, you've got other things to do.
"Eat the pickles, milk, Chinese takeout, ketchup, mustard, baked beans, potato chips, and corn flakes all at once."
That's not MUSTARD, it's SRIRACHA!
The tastiest HOT SAUCE in the universe.
It seems all this delicious FOOD has put you in the mood for a little silliness. Someone's feeling better.
Let's check the STATUS SCREEN before we proceed.
"Wonder what exactly you can do to generate creativity without taking yourself to death's door. Oh, and make a milk sandwich. Don't question it. Just do it. // Decrease toxic level."
You DIGEST the CHIPS and KETCHUP, reducing your TOXICITY to 5. Then you make a MILK SANDWICH using the walls of your stomach as the bread.
This MILK is really good for you. You get a whole 10 NUTRITION from drinking just half of it. Nice. You waste no time and use those points to eliminate your current TOXICITY completely.
It occurs to you that this is a lot of work. Unfortunately, it seems that personal sacrifice is the price you must pay in order to harness the forces of creation.
Those FUMES are pretty caustic, though. Maybe there's a better way.
You have a really bad feeling about this TAKEOUT. An ominous aroma surrounds it even with the BOX closed.
You decide to leave it for now.
The MILK smells like MILK - nothing appears to be wrong with it. You'd look for a date stamped on the CARTON, but you have no idea what the current date is, so that information would be pretty useless.
You pour some of the KETCHUP into the BAG OF CHIPS, shake it up a bit, and get to business. Because filling your stomach with junk food is serious business, and brother, business is fucking booming.
You eat about half of the CHIPS, cranking your NUTRITION rating up to 10, the maximum. Unfortunately, they aren't very good for your long-term health. You lose 3 HIT POINTS.
Your STRENGTH is too low to open the PICKLE JAR.
"Go get some more stuff to eat."
All that exploring and running around makes you hungry. You head to the KITCHEN.
You raid the shit out of the FRIDGE and PANTRY, taking stock of all the FOOD and DRINK you have by arraying it on the counter in front of you.
Just look at this bounty.
"Play with Snuffy, that should generate at least one creativity point. Use said creativity point to fill one of your bottles with a ridiculously strong alcoholic beverage. Party."
On your way back to the APARTMENT, you play with Snuffy in the GARAGE. Lovable as she is, she is not intelligent or complex enough to inspire any CREATIVITY.
However, this act does expand the capability of your RAPPORT! As the two of you spend time together, your link grows stronger.
You will now receive more information whenever Snuffy sets off your RAPPORT-SENSE.
An angry BLACK STAR pulses. You cannot tell how far away or how large it is, but you can feel its gravity pulling hungrily. You are barely able to tear your gaze from its malicious thrumming presence.
You stand up and survey the area, but you don't find anything but the STAR. This place is a vast empty nothing as far as you can see in every direction.
"Continue exploring, equip bottle as weapon (shatter bottom to make an impromptu dagger if need be)."
You remove the BOTTLE from your INVENTORY and EQUIP it, wielding it in your RIGHT HAND.
You then immediately shatter the bottom of it against the wall. The BOTTLE becomes the BROKEN BOTTLE. It is now far less effective for storing fluid, but is a considerably more fearsome weapon.
You feel a lot more confident with this dangerous implement in your clutches. It has been a long, weird, ugly morning. Come on, ask about my day, you think. You STAB the air with the BROKEN BOTTLE as if testing it - as if you know what you're doing.
Snuffy the Pooch gives you a quizzical glance.
You decide it's time to move on. You and Snuffy follow the RAMP as it spirals up. With each step you take, the air gets cleaner, and the passage becomes illuminated by an ambient light.
A very familiar ambient light.
You are standing on a SIDEWALK floating impossibly in the same endless white VOID you found outside the HALLWAY WINDOW and your TELEVISION upstairs. You don't know why, but it's different down here. You feel as if you are being forced downward by staccato waves of energy. You hear a soft humming below.
Very carefully, you peer over the edge.
You wish you could mark the occasion with a drink or two. Unfortunately, your stash of booze was depleted when you checked earlier, and you doubt very much that the empty BOTTLES will fill themselves with liquor.
Speaking of which...
"Use your purple detecting powers, which you've obviously had all along as part of your job as the everyman, to find Snuffy."
In a monochromatic world with a single purple occupant, practically everyone has purple-detecting powers; this is also known as vision.
You, on the other hand, have access to something better.
While you're screwing around with the cursory INVENTORY SCREEN tutorial, your RAPPORT ALERT goes off. It seems something noteworthy has happened involving one of the BEINGS you have established a link with.
Unfortunately, the RAPPORT system is no more specific than that at the moment.
Snuffy the Pooch may be in trouble. You proceed down the STAIRS with haste.
You exit the STAIRWELL into the GARAGE. It's dark and musty. You are experiencing an unmistakable sense of dread for some reason. Something is wrong down here.
You haul ass toward the other end of the GARAGE. Your RAPPORT-SENSE is tingling; you are getting close.
You head up the RAMP at the far side of the GARAGE.
For a second, you think you can see the corpses of two beasts - they look like large white rats. However, they dissolve into piles of WHITE POWDER almost immediately.
You found Snuffy! She wags her tail, obviously happy to see you.
She appears to be unharmed. You guess she must have dispatched those creatures, because you notice that she has earned a TITLE - SCUFFPUP. You give her a congratulatory pat on the head.
"Cautiously follow Snuffy. Manifest a TREAT and a ROLLED PAPER for training purposes, and keep them safely in your inventory so as not to distract her."
You do not have enough CREATIVITY to manifest anything, but you grab and equip one of the EMPTY BOTTLES from the KITCHEN before you follow Snuffy the Pooch down the STAIRWELL.
Where is that DOG?
You remember that you wanted to put the BOTTLE in your INVENTORY. You open up the MENU and select the INVENTORY SCREEN.
This is where you can store OBJECTS that are not WORN or EQUIPPED. You can carry up to 9 OBJECTS here at the moment. The BOTTLE is not particularly large or heavy, and serves as a poor standard by which to judge the parameters and degree of silly and unnecessarily complicated faffing around you know will be involved in managing this particular MENU element.
For now you just put the BOTTLE in the top left spot.
You digest the food in your STOMACH, utilizing its beneficial properties to cleanse your system somewhat.
You spend 10 NUTRITION
You lose 5 TOXICITY
You still aren't feeling great, but you are no longer at death's door.
While you're taking time out to digest and recuperate, Snuffy the Pooch goes exploring. It appears your APARTMENT offends her acute senses. You wonder why.
Purging your stomach will not reduce your TOXICITY, but it will eject the CORN FLAKES you ate earlier. This will subtract from your NUTRITION rating, which is, at the moment, the only resource you know of that can be used to reduce TOXICITY or restore HIT POINTS.
+1 HIT POINT costs 1 NUTRITION
-1 TOXICITY costs 2 NUTRITION
"Go Snuffy the Pooch."
You name your new acquaintance Snuffy the Pooch. Opening up your MENU, you see that you now have a RAPPORT SCREEN, which you can use to keep track of your various companions, pets, symbiotes, or other BEINGS you CREATE or BEFRIEND.
You use 1 CREATIVITY point to manifest a DOG. She is a COMPLEXITY LEVEL 1 CREATION. While she may not look like much, and has only rudimentary intelligence, she is very much alive.
You then use another CREATIVITY point to ALTER her appearance. She is now purple.
She sniffs the air and surveys her surroundings.
It occurs to you that perhaps you should give her a name. Than again, maybe you should first address the fact that you are close to death due to exposure to caustic fumes.
"Expend creativity to give yourself a tribal sleeve on your left arm. Because asymmetry is cool and you have nothing else to spend it on."
You're about to use a CREATIVITY point to ink yourself up some more, doubling whatever benefit you're already receiving, when you realize you have no idea what that benefit is.
You open up your EQUIPMENT SCREEN.
It looks like the SHITTY TRIBAL TATTOO is worthless beyond its dubious aesthetic merit.
This does illuminate things somewhat, however. You think you're getting the hang of this.
You run to the HALLWAY WINDOW and look outside.
Aha! The CREATIVITY you spent IMBUING your STREETCORNER with the power to FLOAT was not sufficient for the entire construct. It does seem to have been enough to keep one BRICK aloft, though.
So a single CREATIVITY point is sufficient to CREATE a simple OBJECT, ALTER the appearance of an OBJECT or YOURSELF, or IMBUE an OBJECT with a simple INSTRUCTION.
You currently have 2 CREATIVITY points to use. Perhaps you can use your reality-altering powers more effectively by spending more than one on a single act.
"Go do that."
You consider embracing sweet oblivion in an act of beautifully tragic sacrifice for art.
It would have been incredibly awesome to perish at the foot of your creation, a victim of its majesty. Unfortunately, your current CREATIVITY rating forces you to see just how fake and hackneyed it would be to stage such an event after the fact.
Besides, you aren't sure anyone would find you there, thus denying you even posthumous accolades.
It's... It's beautiful. Your magnum opus. You painstakingly coat each BOOK with PAINT and stack them neatly on the TOILET where you found them.
You think you'll call it "Untitled no. 1 (My Soul in Interior Semi-Gloss)"
You feel ready to take the art world by storm. Wait until they get a load of you. You'll be a sensation. You can see it already - money, fame... uh... other good things.
Maybe you're getting a little bit ahead of yourself.
Maybe you've been in this small enclosed area with the PAINT for too long...
Too late! You barely make it out of the BATHROOM in time. You have gained some CREATIVITY, but you are also stricken with more TOXICITY. In fact, you seem to have reached the upper limit of just how much abuse your body can take from a single source. If you had remained in there any longer, you're certain you would have passed out and asphyxiated on the BATHROOM floor next to your masterpiece.
Which, in retrospect, would have made it even better.
"Well, if nothing you make lasts very long, just take a nap. Then read a book or something, that helps with creativity."
You lay down on the BED and attempt to take a nap.
Even though you feel as if you've had enough excitement for one day, you have only been awake for a short time. You soon grow bored with staring at the ceiling.
You head for the BATHROOM, the obvious place for the EVERYMAN to keep his reading material.
You find your COLLECTION OF RARE AND VINTAGE PAINT CATALOGS. Some of these might be useful as bludgeons, but you doubt they will be particularly inspiring.
"Go check to see if your lightpost and street corner are still there despite the fact you haven't been paying attention to them. This could be why creativity is important."
You make your way to the HALLWAY WINDOW and look outside. It seems your creation has deteriorated somewhat during your absence.
While it's clear the BRICKS have not faded into nothingness, many of them have been unable to continue to FLOAT in the VOID, as instructed. Obviously, there exists some sort of GRAVITY in this medium, as you can observe the bricks slowly falling in the same direction. That is likely what happened to your LAMPPOST.
Hold on, you say to yourself. That's how a loser thinks! What would your favorite sports player say in this situation?
You try to remember who that is, but you draw a blank.
Whatever. It doesn't matter. Whoever it is, you're sure they wouldn't say, "it's okay to give up, EVERYMAN."
You attempt to CREATE TELEVISION without spending any CREATIVITY.
You MANIFEST some PROGRAMMING.
It appears to be the most detailed rendition of a SPORTSCASTER you can muster. He's really excited. You are confident he's all worked up about the BIG GAME.
This is... good, you guess.
Before long, however, you lose focus and the image fades.
"Flip the fuck out. // It's obviously your job, as the everyman, to invent television. Don't deny it."
Upon perusing your STATUS SCREEN, you can see that you are in no shape to INVENT anything at present, much less an entire form of media.
You aren't sure which unknown ASSET will unlock the ability to FLIP THE FUCK OUT, but you certainly do not posses a measurable quantity of it.
It is good to have GOALS, though.
"Flip to least reliable news channel available with your cable package. // Firstly, catch hiccups. That was a lot of food in a short amount of time.
Secondly, go outside. No amount of looking out of a window can replace the feeling of fresh air in your lungs."
You decide to take a little time out to let all that whole grain goodness settle in. While you do so, you might as well catch up on the important events of the day. To the TELEVISION you go, just like the EVERYMAN you are.
Your TELEVISION, located conveniently off-camera in the BEDROOM, is antiquated and unreliable.
Hold on. You can't even see a CORD or WALL OUTLET nearby.
Wait a second...
Now you are really starting to freak out.
"Knock head against the wall a few times and hope it'll recreate the previous high. // Attempt to ease stomach with breakfast of scotch and cornflakes."
To the KITCHEN! You waste no time. In your current state, the prospect of sustenance is almost as intoxicating as the aroma of industrial chemicals.
Your inebriated flailing causes you to hit your head a couple of times on the way there. Although this fails to increase your CREATIVITY, it does subtract 2 HIT POINTS.
Tragedy! It seems someone has already consumed not only all of your SCOTCH, but the VODKA as well. Your search turns up 2 EMPTY BOTTLES.
However, you do uncover a BOX OF CORN FLAKES in the PANTRY, and proceed to snack hard.
You gorge yourself on the cereal, gaining 10 NUTRITION. You can use these points to cure some of your many AILMENTS, but at differing rates. (1 NUTRITION will restore 1 HIT POINT, but in order to reduce your TOXICITY, you will need to spend 2 NUTRITION for each point.)
You are feeling somewhat better now that you have eaten something. You're pretty confident you can at least move about without suffering further injury.
Using all of your remaining CREATIVITY, you summon up a lamppost and some BRICKS for it to sit upon. It's kind of hard to see clearly right now, but it looks pretty slapdash. You should probably commit more CREATIVITY to a project like this in the future.
Speaking of which, you have now drained all of the CREATIVITY you earned by huffing PAINT FUMES earlier. Unfortunately, you still have all 10 of the TOXICITY points you got at the same time. You feel terrible. It's as if someone secretly poisoned you except that person was you and it was your idea.
What will you do?
Still feeling the effects of the fumes, you wander out of the BEDROOM into your pathetic APARTMENT'S tiny and generic KITCHEN. From here you can exit into the HALLWAY via the FRONT DOOR.
You exit your APARTMENT. You can't remember the last time you bothered to leave, and you're not entirely certain that's because of the PAINT.
Bright light spills in from the WINDOW at the far end of the HALLWAY. You meander past the other APARTMENT DOORS to gaze upon the majesty of the OUTSIDE.
"Give yourself a manly tattoo."
You think of the manliest thing you can and manifest that shit from the raw potential you now control with your mind. You, sir are mad with power.
Unfortunately, you only spend one CREATIVITY point.
You get the SHITTY TRIBAL TATTOO.
You immediately put your CREATIVITY to work. By spending one point, you change the color of the BED.
Now that's what you call breakfast! You break out your trusty PAINT BUCKETS and go to town on those fumes.
Before long, you start to feel a little funny. Your vision blurs somewhat, but you feel great! The fumes have unlocked some of the untapped creative potential hidden deep within your typically bland, archetypal psyche. You jump up on the bed and freak out just a little.
Your CREATIVITY stat has increased!
You gain 10 TOXICITY from the fumes, though.
"You have no NAME, you are the EVERYMAN. Your interests are NONSPECIFIC ENTERTAINMENT and SPORTS. Job: wall paint watcher, amnesiac."
Of course! When you are the EVERYMAN it can be hard to keep these identity issues in order - lacking the context available to other people and all. You enjoy SPORTS, but you admit to yourself you do so more because someone has to than out of sincere enjoyment. You spend your days monitoring various forms of WALL PAINT, to make sure they don't get out of hand.
What will you do?
It is morning, you know that much. You are standing in your BEDROOM. You have a NAME, which you cannot recall at the moment. You have some INTERESTS, which you advocate using the FRAMES above your BED, but you can't quite make out what's pictured from where you're standing. You also probably have a JOB of some sort, but you can't remember what it is.
You're a real mess this morning. Why don't you try to call up some of that IMPORTANT INFORMATION?