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Messages - BioSpark

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31
Rise of the Runelords / Re: A tense exchange
« on: February 22, 2019, 03:43:10 PM »
Hail Gruumsh, strongest of all, knower of all, conqueror of all.

"Oh Tung.  Sweet, noble, Tung.  Bearer of the moral high ground, paragon of virtue."

What.

"Killing babies, Tung?  Is that what you've stooped to?"

Goblins.  Killing goblins.  Before they could cause a problem for the good people of Sandpoint.

"For shame, Tung.  In the future, those goblins could have achieved things.  May have been ambassadors for their people.  May have been the exception."

You are mocking me.

"Oh yes.  Entirely.  You know, I am confused.  I have no quarrel with goblins.  Hardly worth the effort.  Why do you hate them, I wonder?  You do not hate humans though you have suffered by their hand.  You do not hate ELF despite their long history of oppressing your people.  Why goblins?  Why does the predator care about the bottom feeder?"

In this case the bottom feeder is a swarm of filth imbued with a sense of entitlement.  I have yet to find a single goblin who didn't believe that all the good things in the world were theirs to take.  Yet to find one willing to talk, even among its own fellows.  They are at best a disorganised group of ineffectual, juvenile pirates and at worst represent all that is wrong about mob rule and its hive mentality.

"The same has been said about orcs.  Do you not recall why your family were killed, forgetful one?"

They were killed by intolerant humans.  They were killed by misinformation and narrow minded hatred.

"... I am at a loss.  You have an omniscient being at a loss for words, Tung.  Truly, it is as if you do not even realise what you are saying.  You understand the term 'hypocrisy'?"

Orc fights to rule.  Orc fights to conquer.  Goblin fights to survive and to steal.  No ambition, no purpose, just small minded, petty violence with no direction.

"Well, I have clearly touched a nerve.  I hope your justifications help you sleep at night.  Maybe you are angry because you have suffered such a humiliating defeat?  What news of your travels?"

Beshka returned to town for supplies.  I killed some goblin children.  She returned.  Suspects nothing.  If I am questioned, I have nothing to hide.  Came back, brought healing.  Explored further, found a long staircase, found a half-demon woman.  Angry.  Cleric.  Hurt us badly.

"Look at you.  So terse.  You realise that you, an orc of 45, are throwing an actual temper tantrum because your nasty little prejudices were challenged?  What would mummy and daddy think?"

We regrouped.  Healed.  Went back.  Ready to enter the cleric's office.  Think she is going to mock us.  Think she is going to be killed for it.  Overconfident.  Smug.  Dishonorable.

"Mr. Pot seems to have quite the opinion of Mrs. Kettle."

WOULD YOU KINDLY BRING AN END TO YOUR INCESSANT UNDERMINING OF ME?


Gruumsh has no more to add.  His voice, now just a distant and uncharacteristically jovial giggle, echoes through Tung's head for some time.  Tung feels the bile in his stomach begin to churn.

32
Rise of the Runelords / Re: A tense exchange
« on: February 13, 2019, 04:24:19 PM »
Gruumsh...

"MY CHAMPION!"

No.  I am nobody's champion.

"Such a display of single-minded carnage, Tung!  Such anger!  Such a complete disregard for yourself and others in the pursuit of the KILL!"

I am no hero today.  If I cannot use my strength to save those I care about then what is the point of all this endless fighting?  Gruumsh, my lord, my eternal overseer, I could not save him.

"The half-ELF?"

He had a name.  Jiro.  It must be remembered.  He is our champion.  He threw himself bravely into a fight he could not win, unarmed and outmatched.  He did it to save me.  He saved all of us.  Never before have kin of man nor elf shown me such kindness.  Gruumsh... save him.

"You wish for me to bring him back from the dead?  Gladly.  Would you like a zombie?  Perhaps something more exotic?"

Resurrection, Gruumsh.  I pray for a resurrection.

"Oh no, young Tung.  You shall not have that."

What will it take?  How much more sacrifice, what other profane acts do you desire I carry out for you?  No price is too great.

"No price?  Be careful about what you say to the gods, hasty one.  But no, it is not about the price.  Mortal Tung, naive Tung, it does not do to meddle in the affairs of other gods.  If Jiro wishes to be resurrected then it must be by the hand of a deity with a little more interest in his philosophical outlook..."

Excuse me?

"Very well, I will rephrase in terms you can understand.  Jiro good.  Jiro is a good person.  Yes?"

Yes.

"Gruumsh bad.  Bad Gruumsh.  Gruumsh is a bad god, yes?"

... yes?

"Jiro may have gone to a good place.  If this is the case, I certainly have no interest in being there.  Good gods have long memories and, hypocritically, preach forgiveness but seldom practice it.  No, Jiro may be resurrected but not by Gruumsh, I will have no part in it."

You could.  I think you're scared of the other gods...

"Do no attempt to employ reverse psychology, Tung.  We both know you lack the intelligence for it."

Reverse psychology sounds like... magic, maybe?

"Imbecile.  Jiro is dead, Tung.  Gruumsh will not help him.  It is as simple as that.  Now, the fight.  Tell Gruumsh your story."

I am uncomfortable that you have so easily dismissed somebody who fought by my side.  Somebody who helped secure many of the victories you celebrate.  One of us.

"Us is a term for your tribe, Tung.  Jiro was not that.  Barbarians should not make friends.  Friends die easily and often.  Barbarians die, too.  The battlefield doesn't care if you are a good person, if you didn't deserve death.  I am sorry for your lost elf.  There.  Do you feel better now?"

Half-elf.

"Yes.  Two halves now, by my count."

You are disgusting.

"And you chose to worship me.  Continue."

We explored some other rooms.  Nothing much to report on.  Bedrooms for the most part.  The end of the tunnel through the temple we were exploring ended in darkness.  It appears that the whole structure was not in active use.  We found the other Jiro's bedroom.  The man I split.

"A lot of that going around, eh?"

I want to leave Jiro's body here for now.  Maybe he will be comfortable in a human bed.  It looks clean and is surrounded by things his people like.  Books and such.  Music.  Humans like these things.

We found a large door.  Forced it open.  An orc was inside, praying to Lamashtu.  A large statue.  Is Lamashtu truly so disgusting to behold?

"Worse.  Mortal depictions of gods are traditionally poor.  Usually if a mortal takes it upon themselves to create a 20-foot tall depiction of their god, they are so beyond rational thought that they are lucky to add the correct number of limbs.   Lamashtu is an evil god with an unhealthy obsession with fertility and a inclination toward inflicting birth defects.  If you saw her in person, you would vomit.  You would gouge your other eye.  You would beg for death.  Yes, Gruumsh is "bad", Tung, but Lamashtu is deranged.  Incidentally, I have a friend of yours here..."

"PIG.  COWARD.  INBRED."

"She is such a keen judge of character!"

My quarry lives?!

"No, no.  She does not "live".  You took her eye, Tung.  You offered her as a sacrifice to me?  Well, here she is.  I would ask if you would like to talk but... well, she is a little busy just at this time."

Did Lamashtu not come for her?

"She will, the frothing beast cares for her own in her strange, strange way.  When she tires enough of hurting children to realise that one of her devotees is on the wrong plane, she will come running.  For now, you have provided me with an amusing diversion.  Do you know how much pain a soul can endure, Tung?"

... no...

"Truth be told, neither does Gruumsh.  This priestess of battle does, though.  In depth.  It is quite marvellous how quickly such a dismally stupid creature can learn in such a short time, is it not?"

Indistinct wailing punctuated with creative, petty obscenities can be faintly heard whenever Gruumsh speaks.

I did not sacrifice her to you for torture.

"She took your friend and you complain about her treatment?  What do you think I do with most of your sacrifices?  I am BORED, Tung.  There is precious little that evil gods can do to fill the endless millenia.  This is why we intervene in mortal lives."

You... yes... you are right.  She deserves this.

"She does, Tung.  You did this.  You are responsible.  You gave her what she deserves and you should be proud."

She beckoned me into the church.  Said she'd been expecting me.  Demanded a challenge.

"I would like to know upon what grounds you refused.  I would have supported you in an honourable duel, Tung.  You would have had the aid of your lord Gruumsh."

I would not.

"Ha!  You are learning quickly too!"

She was clearly goading me into a pointless, one sided fight.  She knew she had the upper hand.  It was later proved that she had reinforcements ready, superior equipment and more combat experience.  She was trying to offend my honour.

"She did not succeed?"

I did not respect her opinion after seeing her choice of deity.

"Well said."

She was angered by this.  By much, in fact.  Very angry in general.  She called down her pet from the darkness above and slammed the door shut.  Her pet, some hellhound or similar with the power of flight, shrieked at us.  It seemed to unsettle everybody.  Garen was locked out of the room and also seemed cross.  Everybody was angry or scared.  It was not a pleasant situation.  I plunged my axe into her but she somehow shrugged off the blow.  I did not strike so hard or so true when I hit the other Jiro and he was cut clean through.  Gruumsh, what was she?

"Orc.  Stronger stock than half-ELF.  Better stock."

She fought back.  I was struck with a blow so hard that I did not feel it.  I could not feel anything.  All red, red all over me.  Red on the ground.  I think I saw bone.  My vision was blurring, sounds muffled.

"Yes, you nearly died, Tung.  You came exceptionally close."

I saw a thunder cloud form.  Beshka, I suppose.  She is very upset now.  She tried very hard to stop this.  I was dimly aware of Jiro beside me.  Like he always is.  Was.  Always beside me, always supporting us, always dependable.  He fought the orc without a weapon.  He knew he was to die today.  I could see it in his posture.  He did a bad thing, Gruumsh.  Bad and good all at once.  His sacrifice saved us.  If... if you will not bring him back, please tell me, did he...

"What."

What is his heaven, Gruumsh?

"Dull and inferior."

Oh.  Did he get there?

"I could not care less Tung, truly I could not.  I expect so.  I will not check for you if that is what you are trying to ask."

Oh.  Very well.

I am glad you accepted my offering.  I hope it was to your liking.

"About that.  Defiling the idol of Lamashtu by offering its eye to me was in the right spirit, yes, and certainly will upset the unholy mother but... why?  There is no significance to you taking the eyes of other creatures."

I thought you wanted eyes.  Right eyes.  I take right eyes now.

"As an act of self-sacrifice, Tung, SELF-sacrifice!  Oh... never mind, just do as you will..."

Gruumsh, why do I have hooves now?

"Tung, you are an endless font of amusement today.  Tell me, why do you think you have hooves?"

I think the warrior priestess cast a spell on me.  They are lasting longer than most magic does.  When will they go away?

"Oh my sweet child.  No, you have been given a gift by Lamashtu."

Is this boons again?  I do not care for boons.

"How incredibly rude.  Have my boons not been beneficial?"

I still feel sick.

"You will learn to adapt.  This, however, is not a boon.  Consider a boon a gift.  You perform well, you please a god, you receive a boon.  Yes?"

Yes.

"Now consider what happens when you upset a god.  When you hurt a god.  When you defile their places of worship and harm their followers.  Consider if this hypothetical god were, perhaps, inclined toward vengeance and physical deformity."

Oh no...

"Two-Toe One-Ton.  Ah, I apologise, I know that your slave name upsets you but that is such a satisfying turn of phrase, is it not?"

Ugh... very well, I can see you do not intend to help.

"Do not come crying to me expecting sympathy when you started this fight all by yourself, young one.  Gruumsh did not tell you to bring harm to other gods."

It was implied.

"You interpretation, not my law as written.  It was not my will, it is not my problem.  Obviously I approve, yes.  Find yourself a cleric who cares; it should be trivial to undo the damage for a price."

The belt, then.  We took the priestess' belt.  It is magical and the others think I should wear it.  Is it beneficial?  I do not notice much of a change.

"Beneficial?  To some, yes.  I fear that you may not notice the effects as much as most would."

Those effects being?

"Oh, you will find out in due course.  Before you start sobbing again, no, it is not a 'boon'.  Boring mortal magic, that, and nothing more.  Well, probably nothing more."

The sound of hooves on earth and very heavy, laboured breathing can be heard.  The overall effect could best be described as "wet and bestial"

"Ah, speaking of the unholy mother, I fancy that Lamashtu draws near.  No doubt looking for a lost, furious little lamb.  Do excuse me, young one, I have unwelcome guests."

The sound of thunderclaps, distant bellowing, frenzied animalistic bleating and booming maniacal laughter echo through Tung's head.  Gruumsh is having quite a day.  Tung, without noticing, begins to nervously chew on his calloused knuckles.

33
The Throne of Thorns / Re: Thea's Sketches
« on: February 13, 2019, 08:10:54 AM »
This is definitely one of my favourite writeups.  Not just this year; since 2008.

34
Rise of the Runelords / Re: A tense exchange
« on: February 01, 2019, 10:37:35 AM »
Hail Gruumsh, strongest of all, knower of all, conqueror of all.

"A moment.  You have been very rude, Tung.  You have been travelling with all of these new friends for so long and yet have never formally introduced me to any of them.  Tell me about your friends."

You know about them already.  What is there to tell?  They fight by my side, each with their own strengths that offset our own individual weaknesses.  They are my trusted friends and I would happily fight by their side through most any ordeal.

"No, Tung.  Not who.  What."

You clearly have some grievance to air.  Speak plainly, we have both accepted that you are my superior in every way.  You have no need to belittle or intimidate me further, I lost any urge to resist many years ago.

"Very well then, hasty young ingrate.  Jiro.  Tell me about him."

He... is a defensive fighter.  Trained in a more exotic, precise style than the brute force approach I prefer.  Quite agile.  Very honorable, good at conversation, better in formal settings...

"What.  Is.  He.  WHAT RACE."

... half-elf?

"YOU HAVE BEEN TRAVELLING THESE PAST WEEKS WITH A HALF-ELF AND HE STILL LIVES?!"

Half-elves are not elves!  Half-orc is not orc!  He has never spoken of elven culture, has none of the bearing and few features of a pure elf, never even discusses elven religion!

"AN INCOMPLETE ELF.  READY TO TURN AT ANY MOMENT.  HOW CAN YOU TRUST THAT WHICH WILL SURELY BETRAY YOU, HE WHICH LAY WITH YOUR ANCIENT ENEMY?!"

I do not know anything of his partner!  They may be elf, human, half-elf... we do not discuss personal matters!

"I DO NOT MEAN HIM.  All times are the same to the divine.  All humans are the first and the last, all orcs, all ELVES.  Your lives are so brief there is little point in observing at any smaller scale than the whole.  His line purposely diluted itself.  But fine, you insist on travelling with him?  You "trust" him?  Then do so.  And when you lay, dying on the cold ground, his boot on your back, do not expect to be welcomed into my kingdom with open arms.  Do not expect aid."

Do not concern yourself with what I expect.  I expect trial and hardship.  Such is the way of the barbarian.  Such is the way of Gruumsh.

A strange journey today.  We interrogated the chieftain.  He confirmed much of what we already expected.  Jiro threatened torture which seemed rather unusual for someone of his moral outlook and inflicted a number of flesh wounds.  His technique is inefficient, I would have broken bones first.  Our actor professed her undying love for... Ripnugget?  I have some deep concerns about her...

"Then kill her."

That is not how things are done in human society.  We have discussions instead.

"So do elves."

Who also have a much higher life expectancy and better quality of life than orcs.  Their way may not be better but it is better suited to this world of commerce and politics that I have been forced to live in.

"Thin ice, Tung.  Dangerously thin."

We found the basement.  Fought a bugbear and his wives.  Presumably wives.  Maybe Ripnugget's.  No matter, they all died.  Perhaps I should have visited the rage upon him but he hardly seemed a threat.

"He was to Jiro.  How quickly you forgot the bond of trust in favour of your own interests."

Naked and laid prone.  He should not have evaded my blows.

We found some goblin infants.  Garren was keen to do the right thing and silence them permanently.  Jiro seems to find the idea abhorrent.  I do not think he sees the bigger picture.

"What do you expect?  He is a liability."

I do not agree.  I feel like these creatures should be slain, yes, and certainly before breeding age.  Maybe he has a point.  They are innocent for now and without the guidance of their peers, who knows, they may be... tolerable...

No.  They should not be allowed to live.  The day I meet a goblin capable of the intelligence necessary to deviate from the disgusting behaviours exhibited by every example I have personally witnessed, on that day I will admit fault.  For now, I will overlook the mistake we are making.  If this ends badly, I will not accept responsibility.

"Whatever brings you comfort.  You agonise over your moral choices too often.  Black and white, good and evil, orc and ELF.  Things are simple, Tung, as are you.  You disagree with something?  Strike it down.  Demand.  Kill.  These are the tools of the orc diplomat.  Words have no weight and no substance but history, true history, that is written in blood.  Surely a language simple enough that even you could read it, yes?."

35
Rise of the Runelords / Re: A tense exchange
« on: January 25, 2019, 12:11:13 PM »
Hail Gruumsh, strongest of all, knower of all, conqueror of all.

"Well, well, well.  Just when you think you have the measure of an orc, he proves you wrong."

Pardon?

"Revel in this moment, Tung.  Gruumsh, knower of all as you rightly state, has humbly admitted fault to you, his lowly servant.  This is rare, my eye of Gruumsh."

That name again.  I have done something terrible and you are very pleased.

"Do not ruin the moment with your angst.  Bad things happened to bad people.  There, justification.  Moral guidance.  Is this not what you pray for, for answers?  Direction in times of ethical crisis?  Gruumsh will help you.  They deserved what they got, Tung.  Now, tell me the story of your victory."

We infiltrated a goblin stronghold.

"A small ruined fortification filled with dead goblins, rotting vegetables and sleeping guards.  Yes, I saw that.  Stronghold is a strong term, do you not think?"

It would have been an appropriate term had we not carefully incapacitated the sentries and interrogated them for vital information which was, ultimately, of incredible strategic importance.

"Granted.  You could simply have rushed them.  They were only goblins, after all.  Hardly a threat."

About that... I seem to be incapable of avoiding blows when fully immersed in a combat situation.  Need I ask why?

"I do not require thanks.  If you were truly dedicated, you would cast aside your armour and fight like your ancestors, tooth and claw against unfeeling, impersonal steel.  That bone axe of yours, it is a warrior's weapon.  Bone.  Bone is good for orc.  Steel is for man, leather is for man."

That would be suicide.

"It would provide tremendous motivation, no?"

...

The goblins had taken and imprisoned a horse.  Possibly for sport.  They do not seem to care much for beasts except for food and sport, little savages that they are.  Beshka seems to have it tamed.

"You have no means of removing it.  Unless you plan on eating the creature, surely a mercy killing would be the 'right' thing to do?"

Beshka seems to have a problem with that line of thinking.  I hope we can find an alternative.  She values life.  That is important.

About the place were store rooms and barracks.  We neutralised several threats.  Quite brutally, I am ashamed to admit.  Jiro seems to have a moral objection to murdering creatures in their sleep.  Were goblins worthy of life in the first place I might agree.  He has a strange moral code.  We agree, to my surprise, on several issues involving morality, respecting our superiors and society in general but it would seem but he has a very... soft heart.  If he is not careful it may be his undoing.  I think I will have to protect him like he protects me sometimes.

Our informant told us three useful things.  That his leader rode a kind of lizard, that his leader had befriended a 'scary lady' and that the castle had a flight of stairs leading to a basement.  We have confirmed the first.  The informant seemed too stupid and too scared to lie so we prepare for the worst to come.

The goblins took a throne room or other large indoor area.  Somebody was displaying false moving images to them depicting a great goblin victory at Sandpoint.  We took the opportunity to voice our interpretation of the events of the day.

"Yes, I witnessed nearly one dozen acts of correction.  I respect your technique, Tung.  You give no thought to the state of the premises you fight upon, nor the state of your companions in the aftermath.  I do not often see such a fantastic display of gore.  The battlefield truly is your canvas."

I am not proud.

"But you should be, Tung, and rightly so!  Nothing demoralises quite like being struck with the loosened head of a former companion!"

A means to an end, my lord.  Vermin they may be but at least we did not prolong their pain and suffering.  Except for perhaps the creatures fighting Fripflop.  They seemed to suffer for a while.  He is a competent fighter but that... companion of his, she fights all wrong.  Everything about her is wrong.  She smells wrong.  Gruumsh, what is Samantha?

"You are aware of the concept of a machine, yes?"

To an extent.

"That is a close approximation."

... in the form of a human?  That is horrible.  Mortals are not qualified to make life.

"Really?  They do it all the time.  Just because this one is not organic, you find it offensive?"

Unnerving more than offensive.

The goblins had a... shaman?  A bard?  I do not know what it was, nor what it was shrieking but it was silenced.  I hope we were not planning to interrogate him.  I had clearly established with the party that we did not plan to ask questions of any of these beasts.  I need to ask that regularly now.  Jiro is still a little upset about the Suto situation.  Jiro tries hard for us, he should not be upset.

"He will come to terms with what you are soon enough.  He will have to.  You're hardly capable of changing your nature now, eye of Gruumsh.  You have come too far."

Their numbers, originally approaching one dozen, dwindled to nothing.  All that was left was their leader sat upon a saddled lizard.  It looked like Fripflop but monstrous.  They called it "gecko".  It must be a creature from the southern lands, I have never laid eyes on one before.  I would have remembered.  The beast scaled the walls as if it were magical, though judging by the residue upon my axe, I suspect it was merely quite sticky.  Significantly more sticky now...

"Was it necessary to remove its legs?  A beheading is usually more effective."

I wished to prevent it from climbing further for fear that Jiro would attempt to mount it a second time.  He was very brave by trying to halt the beast's progress but a second fall would surely have injured him.

"So you sought to incapacitate and grievously wound the creature, prolonging its suffering before the kill?"

Not... precisely my aim, no.  It would perhaps have been a regrettable side effect in the course of vital, unavoidable conflict.  That sounds like you are implying that I have begun to torture those I fight.

"Victims, Tung.  Use the correct terminology.  But yes, needless cruelty suits you, my child.  It suits your race, it suits you.  You should indulge more often; it will soothe your inner demons."

It will soothe you.

"Ha, precisely!"

The goblin chieftain fought well.  Fought well for a goblin, at least.  I do not know where he found heavy armour so well tailored to a goblin.  Made by his slaves, I would suppose.  Well... he didn't fight well.  He carried blows well.  I think he injured me but it was hard to tell.  I do seem to be bleeding.  I struck him and he remained standing, which I am unaccustomed to, but he fell to other means...

"When you went for the jugular and attempted to poison him, yes."

Please, I am still uncomfortable about the venom.  But yes, when I... bit him, yes.  I cannot control that impulse.  I want to control it.  His meat was sour.

I seem to have, in my rage, defiled a shrine.  I am told it is to Lamashtu.  That was the name of the goblin god from before.  Lamashtu does not seem like a good god.  Do you know them?

"Not personally.  We do not all know each other.  Do all orcs know each other?  All gods are not created equal and from what little I know of her, you have nothing to fear.  Defile in my name, by all means.  I very much approve of that.  It sends a powerful message to the deity you have chosen to disrespect and robs them of what little power they still posess."

My lord, have you any temples?  Any altars?

"My house of worship is the battlefield, Tung.  My altars are those who fight in my name.  This is why your conduct in battle is so important, you embody my teachings, you convert, you inspire, you lead others by example.  This is what it means to be an eye of Gruumsh, an avatar of divinity.  Do you understand the awesome responsiblity?"

I think I do.  Thank you for your trust.

36
Hell Trek / Re: Engineers Log
« on: January 24, 2019, 09:41:15 PM »
Hello?

I is speaking with you through medium of prayer.  I is not sure if you is hearing me.  I is speaking to you in common human language because you is speaking like human.  I hope you is hearing me.  I do not speak human language good.  Is you speaking orc?  Tung is better at orc.

Hello.  I Tung of tribe of Serrated Fang.  They is all dead.  Now just Tung.  I think you know who Tung are because of how you are voice in Tung's head sometimes.  Great god Gruumsh, he think you is tricksy elf magic.  I is not thinking you is magic.  Tung does not understand magic, magic taste funny in brain.  You do not taste funny in Tung's brain.  You taste like Gruumsh but not angry.  Gruumsh is so angry.

Tung is 45 and likes to spend time with his friends.  We do lots of good things.  Killing, sometimes.  Talking other times.  Jiro is best at talking.  Demmel was good at talking to Tung.  Tung misses friend Demmel.  She went to live with the books.  Fripflop is also good at talking but he does not do it as good as Jiro.

I think you good at machines?  You should talk to Fripflop's daughter-wife because she is a machine and needs fixing.  Others say she not machine.  Tung know better.  Maybe you find her more fun to talk to.than Tung.  Tung does not find her fun to talk to.

Does you love in Tung's head or is you just visiting?  Tung is sorry if Gruumsh is loud.  Gruumsh is not easy person to share living space with.  He own Tung, body and soul.  Tung think Tung's head is on loan from Gruumsh and not owned by Tung.  It okay though, you can share it.  Please do not speak to Gruumsh if he here.  Gruumsh One-Eye not like things he do not understand.  He pretend to understand, though.  He very smart and very not so smart all at once.  Gods is difficult.  Think Gruumsh would not like you.

Does you have gods?  Good gods?  Does you have friends?  Good also?  Tung has good friends.

Tung would like to be friends.  Tung needs more friends.  Maybe we talk face to face one day and Tung will show you his axe and his ioun stone.  It is very pretty ioun stone and also live in Tung's head but not on inside like you.  You can teach Tung about machines and Tung can teach you about old gods.

Tung will stop now.  Has to kill some goblins. Maybe some humans.  Is all same, really.  Tung hopes you never has to kill.  Is bad profession for soul.  Good for orc soul, not so good for others.  Unless you is orc.  I do not think you is.

37
Rise of the Runelords / Re: A tense exchange
« on: January 17, 2019, 08:35:12 AM »
Hail Gruumsh, strongest of all, knower of all, conqueror of all.

"Fewer than 6 hours, Tung.  I have begun to take note.  Are you lonesome?  Do you desire like minded company so desperately that you turn to old One-Eye?  I am not your friend, Tung."

We found ourselves outside of Thistletop.  It was an oddly unnatural place covered in briars in the shape of a vast dome.  It had the unmistakable scent of magic about it.  Plants do not grow in such ways naturally, the vines were too thick, the vegetation within would have been too deprived of water and sunlight.  I think the goblins have a druid.

"A reasonable assumption.  Your awareness of the world around you may prove useful after all."

We found an entrance in time.  Beksha did.  The vines offer no impediment to her for some reason.  Possibly due to her size.  We thought it possible to cut our way through but the growth was too thick, it would have been a poor and loud use of our time.

"Fire would be faster."

Also considered.  It would have been disastrous for the local environment and left us with little opportunity to interrogate, loot or investigate.

"Hmm... the right answer to justify the wrong intention.  Ha, very clever.  Yes, I will permit this but the smell of charred bodies would have sent a stronger message."

We moved some way through the opening.  A tunnel lined with thorns.  I think I am bleeding in more places than I can count.

"Goodness me, so that would make at least 10 wounds?  Or have you learned to count on your toes, too?"

... I am only illiterate.  I can count.

We had reports of a scouting party ahead.  The size advantage being theirs and with no room to fight, we retreated and explored further.  There were multiple entrances so we simply took another route.  This was successful.  Sabina seems to contain more than one person, she turned into someone else before we entered.  This other person seems inclined to hide away in the shadows.  I do not think I trust her as much as the other one.

"As much as the one who admitted to worshipping ELF?!  You don't trust her as much as that?  Why does she still live?"

I will not kill without a better justification than prejudice.

"WHAT BETTER JUSTIFICATION DO YOU NEED?!"

To pose an active threat to me, the public good or those I hold dear?

"ELF IS ENEMY OF ORC.  ANCIENT RACIAL ENEMY."

But a threat?

"OF COURSE NOT."

Then I do not see why a people you consider so easily driven should be so hated!  You consider them lesser, feeble creatures, yes?  Why must I kill them?

"YOU SPEAK OUT OF TURN, ONE-TON.  ONE-TON BOLD, ONE-TON DEFIANT, ONE-TON PUNISHED."

Why will you not converse with me?  Why will you never consider another opinion?

"YOU COMPARE YOURSELF TO THE VERY GODS?!  ONE-TON BOON!"

Oh no...

I... feel frail...

"YOU ARE FRAIL."

I... feel angry...

"YOU CANNOT COMPREHEND ANGER."

My limbs.  Why do I feel so stiff?  What did you do?

"YOU WILL LEARN.  YOU WILL OBEY.  CONFIRM."

Is this permanent?

"CONFIRM"

I obey.  I will always obey.

We... avoided a large party of goblins through clever trickery.  I was required to adopt the role of-

"Our conversation is over."



Tung now has the Reckless Abandon rage power.  When raging, he can sacrifice his ability to avoid damage in return for a better ability to hit.  Given his usual AC, I'll assume this is being used unless specifically stated otherwise.  He now has less ability to dodge than almost everything in the world.

38
Rise of the Runelords / Re: A tense exchange
« on: January 15, 2019, 08:05:37 AM »
Hail Gruumsh, strongest of all, knower of all, conqueror of all.

"What now?  Why do you insist on bothering me?  I am omniscient.  I see what you have achieved and Tung, you have achieved so very little today."

It is customary to pray before a trip, at the end of a day and following significant conflict.  Through prayer, you provide guidance and judgement.  Would you prefer I prayed less?

"Oh.  Is that what you are attempting... bore me with the mundane so that perhaps our communications become less frequent?  No Tung, continue to pray as normal.  Without my constant care and attention, you might start to develop independence."

Very well.  I discussed the axe a little further with Demmel but to little further gain.  It seems that it may have a twin.

"Plausible.  Does the ELF know how disrepectful you have been, little Tung?  Renaming a relic after your feeble tribe?  You know, such magical artifacts tend to remember things like that and have curious ideas about loyalty.  Don't be surprised if that chopper of yours ceases to be quite so useful at a critical moment."

We believe it to be largely inert.  The vengeful energy in it may be either gone or at the very least dormant.

"Yes, certainly, you absolutely shouldn't listen to foolish old One-eye.  I am sure that it is completely safe.  Its twin is likely inert too.  You absolutely must experiment with that notion."

I met a new travelling companion today.  Sabina.  I... think ours may be a turbulent relationship.

"Oh?  Tung, friend to all things, has his limits?"

She made light of my disfigurement -

"GIFT."

... gift.  I suspect she worships a god favoured by elves.  Perhaps even an elven god.

"WHICH. GOD."

Pardon?

"NAME THE GOD."

I do not recall!  It wasn't a familiar name?

"LARETHIAN?"

No!

"CORRELON LARETHIAN?"

No, the name means nothing!  Did I say something wrong?

"Tung.  If you ever, EVER hear the slightest mention of this name, you must slay whoever spoke it.  It is a profane name.  It is forbidden!  BLASPHEMY.  LIAR GOD.  FALSE GOD."

I am sorry!

"YOU KNOW NOT WHAT YOU ARE SORRY FOR.  YOU ARE NOT SORRY.  INSINCERE, SYCOPHANT, UNRELIABLE, WEEPING ORC."

I did question if their god was elven...

"YOU DID NOT KILL THEM IMMEDIATELY AS SOON AS THE SUSPICION AROSE."

Then I shall consider this a lesson hard learned!  I will obey you!  Give me a chance to prove myself further, that I may slay Corr-

"DO NOT SPEAK IT."

That I may slay their followers in your name!

"... yes.  You will do this.  You will do this to the pathetic best of your ability or else you will learn that to some, death would be a welcome release.  A RELEASE THAT MANY HAVE BEGGED GRUUMSH ONE-EYE FOR.  Now, I tire of this topic and desire some entertainment.  Tell me of the woman."

The woman who asked me to put an end to her rodent problem?

"That's the one.  I have not laughed so hard in many an aeon, Tung."

She... had an infestation.  Her home did, I mean.  We are not in good standing with her father, the store owner, due to some altercation involving Jiro that I do not fully understand and that he seems reluctant to discuss.  I attempted to apologise on our behalf, the owner would not listen to reason and seeing that actions often better represent me than words, I decided to perform this trifling act for their family to better facilitate our access to potions and other goods.

"You truly do not understand her intentions?  Why she said there were no rats?  Why her father was so angered?  Why she was naked and literally atop you?"

Human customs are strange.  Father and mother rarely wore clothing in the warm season.  Nudity is not such a complicated thing as many of the more enlightened races believe it to be.

"Did your father and mother ever explain how your species propagates itself?"

They died before we could discuss such things in depth but I always understood offspring to be a blessing, brought forth of your divine will.  And possibly something involving waterfowl.  Father was never particularly good with his words.

"Ye gods.  I certainly do not plan to educate you in these matters.  Perhaps you should discuss these ideas with an apothecary.  You will find the truth MOST enlightening."

Did I handle the situation badly?  She seemed very tearful.  I do not think we will be friends after this.

"You drooled bile on her, responded to all her advances with bewildered grunting, choked her father, pinned him to the wall by his neck and had yourself successfully banned from the shop for life.  Tung, had you lit the building on fire and barred the door from the outside, I would be declaring you a prophet by now.  No, considering your grasp of ettiquette and inherent social grace, I cannot fault your actions nor the thinking that lead to them.  I may even forgive that nasty little mistake you made the other day."

I suppose it would be too much to ask that you stop bringing it up?  I have learned my lesson.

"Quite right; it would be too much.  I seldom find ways to enjoy myself on my blighted plane, young one.  I must find my amusement where I can."

We plan to travel to a known goblin settlement soon.  Hours of slaughter to be had, I suspect...

"Do not patronise me.  Weeks into this miserable endeavour, still the orc thinks it worth his time to slay goblins.  Do not expect praise for slaying creatures that literally craft totems from their own dung.  Though I'll say one thing, at least they know how to honour their mad, worthless gods.  Maybe you could learn something from that."

You mean to... craft holy icons from my du-

"Oh, just be silent and kill your vermin."

39
Rise of the Runelords / Re: A tense exchange
« on: December 20, 2018, 01:01:36 PM »
Hail Gruumsh, strongest of all, knower of all, conqueror of all.

"And you, Eye of Gruumsh."

I would prefer that you refer to me by the name I was given, not my title.

"Title?  You misunderstand yet again.  Honour, most would call it.  To be chosen directly as a representative of their god is something that devout souls have perished in the pursuit of."

None of my kin referred to themselves as such.

"It was a closely held personal secret to all who underwent the ritual.  Would you have liked to have known as a child, Tung?  Would you have been happy to learn that if you were the best orc you could be, the strongest, the fittest, the most savage, you would have been required to remove your eye?  No, I promise that you would not have enjoyed that knowledge."

Perhaps.  So what do you expect of me now?

"Sacrifice.  Much the same as before.  Slay in my name and if you offer enough violence and bloodshed to me, perhaps I may be convinced to overlook your mistake."

Mistake?  I have made no mistake.

"You correct an omniscient being?  Bold, Tung.  Bold but stupid.  Tell me, how did you learn about the ritual?"

Observation, mostly.  When half your tribe are missing an eye but none will discuss why, you begin to form questions.  Other things I have learned from priests during conversations on the road.  Some things from assumption.

"So it has never been explained to you by a devotee?  The significance of the gesture?"

Not once.  You never told me and I lack any peer group for guidance.  What have I done incorrectly?

"Oh my.  Tung, you will surely find this amusing.  I certainly do."

...

"You have removed your left eye, yes?"

... what are you saying?

"According to your entirely incorrect belief system, I had my left eye removed in combat with an ELF god.  This is false.  Gruumsh would never succumb to miserable, WEAK, COWARDLY ELF.  GRUMMUSH ONE-EYE FORCED HIMSELF INTO BEING WITH ONLY ONE CENTRAL EYE!  But that is the purpose of the gesture.  I 'lost' my left eye, my worshippers lose their right.  It helps preserve balance."

So... I took the wrong eye?

"What you did, Tung, was permanently alter your disgusting visage in an attempt to resemble me.  Many would call that blasphemy and you should be glad that you are unlikely to meet another Eye of Gruumsh.  All this time among your people and you did not notice that they all took the SAME EYE.  How very pathetic.  How absolutely hilarious."

Do you expect me to-

"Do not be absurd.  I have no plan to expend the minimal effort required to restore your missing eye and certainly do not want you to take the other.  A blind fighter?  Not even the maddest of the gods would value such a pointless follower.  No, you will have to live with your mistake.  That will be punishment enough, an ever-present reminder of the importance of the powers of observation."

So it was all for nothing?

"I accept the gesture, incorrect as it was.  In fact, I shall reward it."

There is absolutely no need, please!

"Tung, had you actually correctly performed the ritual then perhaps it would have been a grand gift.  I could have wreathed your axe in profane, green balefire.  I could have bolstered your strength to that of a demigod.  Perhaps I would have restored life to your parents to fight by your side.  But no, not for Tung.  For he who wishes to emulate his god, I shall grant one of my lesser powers.  Eye of Gruumsh, you wish to look as Gruumsh does, now you may see as Gruumsh does."

I feel no change.

"You will when the time comes.  Be assured.  Now, to business."

We pursued the demon back to its temple.  Demmel had reported dark mutterings from the deepest chambers.  Jiro did not appreciate the attempt to explore the temple alone.  It was a little rash but ultimately a worthy endeavour.  We proceeded to the chamber and slew the beast.  Beksha's animal companion nearly drowned in... liquid rage?  I still do not know what that pool was.

"The enchantment of a demon or lesser god.  You need not concern yourself.  So your foe is vanquished?"

Thoroughly.  Maimed, dismembered and consumed.

"How was your first taste of vengeance?  Are you fulfilled?"

Relieved, I suppose.  It was a hard won fight.  I am pleased to be safe.  Satisfied that the people of the town will be safer.

"Tung, Tung, Tung.  Correct emotion, wrong reason.  You should celebrate your slaughter!  You will learn to express yourself correctly in time."

Demmel has left our band.  They will be supporting in a research capacity.

"Excellent news, Tung!  You have rid yourself of ELF and put them where they belong, in a building buried in WORDS and WRITING.  That is their place, away from the endeavours of better races."

I treasured their company, Gruumsh.  They were the only one I could truly speak to.  They spoke the orc tongue.

"Their adoption of our noble, ancient language was an INSULT.  ORC speaks ORC.  ELF speak in poetry, ELF speak in riddles, ELF speak in LIES!"

Elf spoke in friendship, Gruumsh.  It's not a language I have had the pleasure of knowing until now.  Thankfully my other companions are similarly trustworthy and accepting.

40
Rise of the Runelords / Re: A tense exchange
« on: December 12, 2018, 07:47:10 AM »
*Trigger warning for severe ocular trauma, folks!*

Chopper's Isle, on the outskirts of Sandpoint.  A lone orc, a species seldom found this near civilisation, kneels in the grass.  He is tired after carefully scaling the cliffs to reach this place but the solitude is important enough to make the effort.  He meditates, concentrating on the smell of the earth, the breeze on his skin, the roar of the ocean, the place of all living things in this natural world.  The first stars of the evening are barely visible.  He wonders if those mysterious points of light watch over him as he rests.  That would be nice.
He would feel relaxed if he weren't, desperately, trying not to think about someone.
A harsh, deep voice resonates within his fragile mind.  It is time.





"Ah, the haunted island where a loner began his path to the infamy of serial murder.  Very dramatic, very appropriate.  Well done, Tung!  Now, fifteen minutes remain."

Why?

"Why fifteen minutes?  Why is it dramatic?"

Why the ritual?  What purpose does it serve?  You gain no benefit from me injuring myself.  It will not make me a better fighter.  I will not worship you with more sincerity.  If anything, it will only serve to foster resentment.

"Resentment?  You think I have concern for your resentment?  No, Tung, I cherish it.  May it blossom into hatred.  Hate me, Tung.  Fear me.  Fear your god.  A fearful worshipper is one who will not stray.  This excercise serves a fine purpose, it proves your unwavering loyalty.  A lasting reminder of the time you pledged yourself, your entire being, to me.  Surely only a truly devout soul would go through with such a traumatic experience of their own free will?"

Free will!  You have never offered me such a luxury!

"But you do have a choice, dearest Tung.  Serve me or perish in confusion and despair, this was made abundantly clear.  I do not offer all my worshippers such mercy, o privileged one."

I... lack suitable tools!

"Tools?  I look upon an orc seeking excuses!  Tell me, what items do you carry now?"

My rope.  Bedroll.  An axe, club, gloves-

"Well there you go!  You have spiked gauntlets, have you not?  Consider yourself lucky, Tung!  Ha, why, many of your ancestors had to rely upon fingernails!"

I feel faint.  I... I can't...

"Ten minutes remain."

Will it hurt?  Do such organs have feeling?

"That depends on your stamina.  You surely have felt worse pains in your sad life.  Compared to some you have endured, it will be nothing."

Not every orc in the Serrated Fang tribe lacked an eye.

"Not ever one was equal.  Not every one expressed the venom.  Not every one was a warrior."

I was not a warrior!  I was an artist!  You drove me to it!

"AND I LACKED FOR A BETTER CHOICE!  They all perished, Tung!  You are all that is left of their proud legacy, this is why I have chosen you!"

I do not want to continue this tradition!

"YOU DISHONOUR YOUR FATHER.  YOU DISHONOUR YOUR MOTHER."

They would not want this!

"THEY TOO TOOK THE OATH.  THEY TOO MADE THE SACRIFICE.  OBEY, ONE-TON."

...

Grant me your rage, Gruumsh...

"It will be done."


Tung's descent into mindless fury was always a complicated experience.  Usually it manifested as a loss of most senses.  It was simple to call upon, just focus for a moment upon injustice, upon sadness, upon the constant storm of repressed emotions within and let it all go.  Less an actual effort, more a cessation of effort.  This time was different.  He went back.  Back to a time many years ago when he first experienced raw, strong emotion.  The first day that Man visited the settlement.  He saw the pitchforks and the torches.  He saw hundreds of peasants, gathered from every village around the Devil's Teeth, arranged into a rough fighting force.  Utterly incompetent but strengthened by weight of numbers and whipped into a frenzy by righteous fury.  Not one of them had been so much as inconvenienced by the Serrated Fangs before.  This attack was inspired by fear and intolerance.

Tung was back in his childhood home, curled in a ball on the pile of animal skins he used to call a bed.  Men stood over him.  He could see the still-warm bodies of his mother and father by the door, their last acts in life to defend him as best they could.  The men laughed, they knew this one was small enough to overpower and to take.  He felt the ropes being tied around his wrists.  He felt himself being marched out of his home, still in shock.


Another place.  A village.  Tung never learned its name.  Locked in stocks in the village square in the cold and the rain, his only food was what he was pelted with by the braver youths.  Not fear within him this time but confusion and anxiety.  He didn't understand a single word that any of these people screamed at him but the intent was clear.  One word was repeated, the first he ever learned in Common.  Monster.


Nearer now.  Jimmy's circus.  Back in his cage, his home of more years than he could remember.  The actual days and weeks blurred into one indistinct mass but at least he was usually dry.  His once strong body now permanently altered by starvation and atrophy.  Would that he'd ever seen his reflection, he wouldn't have recognised himself.  There was Jimmy, the worst human he'd ever met, regarding him critically along with his aloof wife.  They were discussing how best to get a performance out of their strongman.  Jimmy suggests they cut his food allowance, reduce him fully to muscle and bone, move him to the freak show.  His wife argues that they already painted the "One-Ton, the living muscle" banners and it would be too expensive to rebrand him.  Besides, they already have an ape-man.  Jimmy reluctantly agrees.  No concern that his performer is clearly on the edge of starvation, just concern for money.  This was it, the first time that Tung felt the rage.  Not the first time he gave in but the first time he felt it.


"This is your weakness, Tung.  It is also your strength.  Use the experience.  Use the anger.  Let the anger use you."

He stood alone now.  The rage built.  A familiar battle cry, sad but defiant, emanated quietly from Tung's jaws.

"No..."

"That's right."

"No!"

"Let go!"

"NO!"

The world was reduced to shades of red and black, soundless and tranquil.  A fist, desperately seeking the enemy, drew forward.  There was no pain in this state, no fear, just a terrible duty to be fulfilled.  He was dimly aware of the fist, now proceeding toward him at speed.  A sharpened metal point caught the last light of a setting sun.  That point filled his entire world.

"But what would be the point of the sacrifice if it were easy, Tung?"

The rage fell away, was pulled away, colour and sensation returning to the world.  He couldn't stop his attack in time.  Tung felt everything just for a brief but all-encompassing moment.  There was a sudden crack of bone.  There was a quiet, wet sound.  Mercifully, he blacked out.

Some time later, he had no means of knowing how long, he awoke alone.  There was no pain but the world looked different.  Flatter.  He carefully reached to his left eye.  Nothing remained.  He'd done it.  He threw his head back and bellowed to the skies, consumed by fear and bestial anger.

"This is what it means to serve!  Arise, Tung!  ARISE, MY EYE OF GRUUMSH!"



For out of character info, Tung is now missing his entire left eye.  He does not want to talk about why but assures anybody who asks that he is fine.
The cavity has been cleaned by somebody but he does not remember tending to the wound.  He will buy an eye patch or glass eye if prompted but unless anybody mentions it, does not personally see why having a missing eye should be any kind of problem or anything to hide from polite company or even children.
This, again, probably isn't helping his natural lack of charisma.

41
Rise of the Runelords / Re: A tense exchange
« on: December 05, 2018, 01:35:59 PM »
Hail Gruumsh, strongest of all, knower of all, conqueror of all.

I apologise for troubling you earlier.  It appears the demon still lived.

"As would be apparently to anybody with the use of their senses, yes.  Tung, you accomplished much during your fight.  Tell me your story."

Surely such trivial talk would bore a fighter of your calibre.

"Flattery.  Ah, if only I respected your opinion, I might feel honoured.  No, One-Ton, I wish to hear how you feel the fight went.  And do not try to second guess me.  Do not try to evade the inevitable insults.  Tell me plainly, describe what you did."

Well... we fought Jiro's double.  Not double, perhaps.  Better at fighting but with a looser grasp on Jiro's culture.  Honestly, I am not sure where he hailed from.  He tried to taunt us for a short while, claimed he had more of "my" kind in captivity.

"And you did not pursue this little fact any further?"

I doubted his sincerity.  He was clearly losing, these were the words of a desperate man.  My people did not travel from the mountains.

"He may have meant other orcs."

He may.  I do not identify other orcs as family any more than any other stranger I should meet.  My travelling companions are my family now.  You are... family... of a sort.  Not strangers.

"Tell me you do not consider me family.  I am your master, not your carer."

And unfortunately a confidant, constant overseer and moral compass.

"HA!"

I closed in on the warrior.  Tsuto, I think he was named.  It matters little now.  Jiro managed to distract his attention for long enough that I landed a number of square blows, an unfortunate thing given that Jiro wished to interrogate him.  He did not escape this time.  I worry, though.  Surely it is not natural for the killing blow to split a man in twain?  Like the wrath creature from before.  What is this axe?

"Merely an extension of the strength of its bearer.  You are nowhere near your full potential, Tung, and even at your best will be but a shadow of your mother and father but you must recognise the strength you possess.  You must see the advantage you have over all others."

Balanced out by severe disadvantages, yes, but I am always careful about displaying my strength in public.  It raises concern.

"When will you embrace the beast inside?  You SEE what you are capable of.  You SEE your potential and yet you squander it!  It frustrates me so to think that the last of your line will end with this, wasted to nothing."

Am I to procreate?

"Do not read into my words that which was not intended.  You are to leave a legacy, Tung.  Not progeny.  You are of poor stock, any you birthed would be... weedy and introspective.  No better than men.  I have seen it.  Gruumsh sees all, all possible futures, all possible outcomes.  In so, so few do you find anybody willing to share the company of your slavering visage."

Father did.

"Ah, yes, that old excuse.  You should stop justifying your shortcomings by referring to the support of a dead relative, Tung, it shows a lack of respect.  Your problems were not his.  His problem WAS you.  Besides, he lived among peers.  Of course he found a partner, your kind had been incestously producing offspring upon that blighted mountain for decades.  It may explain how un-orclike you've become.  'tis a wonder you survived at all."

Did you see where the demon we fought fled to?

"Fought?  From my perspective, you threw your garments upon a demonic altar, attacked each other for a few hilarious minutes, fell repeatedly upon your own faces and drove the creature out of the room from sheer frustration.  I quite sympathise with the diminutive little beast!"

But did you see where it went?

"Of course.  You cannot expect me to pay attention to you all day?  I have other matters to attend to, vain excuse for an orc."

Would you be willing to divulge this information before other innocents are forced to die?

"I already informed you, Tung.  Do not ask me for aid.  A refusal often offends and your fragile ego cannot take much more punishment.  No, I will not tell you.  You must hunt it by yourself, if you are capable.  Consider it a quest!  You seem to like pointless fetching and investigation for little tangible profit."

What do you gain by withholding this?  I do not understand your motives.

"To assume yourself capable of understanding the whims of gods is arrogance, young one, and will not be tolerated.  You are beneath me in intellect, in strength, in every capacity, measurable or not."

I accept this.  Very well.  We make for town now for a well earned rest.  We will alert the guards, see that this place is defended, perhaps alert the civic leaders.  We will see if we can assist in any other ways.  I thank you for your attention.

"Hold, Tung.  One last matter must be discussed."

... yes?

"It is almost time.  Your skill with the blade has, I begrudgingly admit, become more pronounced in quite the short span of time.  The time of your ascension is almost upon us.  Have you made the necessary preparations?"

I already informed you quite clearly that I do not intend to undertake the ritual.

"I am pleased that you still labour under the delusion of choice.  The time is coming, Tung.  Perhaps you should warn your friends.  Tell them about the wonderful new being you are about to become.  What it represents.  How grotesque you will appear to those who refuse to understand.  But perhaps I ask too much of Tung the Reluctant, hmm?  Making decisions for one's self is difficult for those of a weak mind after all.  So perhaps it would be more fair for me to grant you another boon to mark the occasion of your recent great success?"

I beg of you, no.

"Please, it really would trouble me not.  Yes, a boon!  I will help you to decide!

Commit yourself truly to your faith before the setting of tomorrow's sun.  Should you fail, I will punish you for the rest of your sad, short life.  I will visit upon you illness.  I will bring you nightmares.  Worst of all, I shall impose upon you a rage with no end.  Do you know what they call endless rage, Tung?  Madness.  Seething, foaming madness.  You will strike those you care about the most, you will hurt yourself, you will uncontrollably rampage through towns and settlements until you, the feral orc, are brought to a kind of brutal justice.  We will see how your companions accept the poor, lonely, lost orc then, shall we?

Think carefully, Tung.  You have delayed long enough.  The time for idle threats has come to an end."

42
Rise of the Runelords / Re: A tense exchange
« on: November 29, 2018, 01:36:32 PM »
Hail Gruumsh, he strongest, he know most, he rule everyone.

This temple dedicated to great orc goddess of birth.  Is what we do okay?

"Hmm.  That sounds like... Dretha, perhaps?  Goodness me, One-Ton, you wouldn't like to meet her.  You think I am unreasonable?  She eats children.  One second thought, you might like to meet her.  You'd certainly have something in common..."

I never ate child.

"Is that how their parents saw it, One-Ton?"

Please stop talking about old days.

"But One-Ton, how do you expect to learn if you suppress those nasty thoughts?  I thought you were such a proudly open-minded, introspective orc but here you are in complete denial.
But yes, have it your way.  We wouldn't want you to cry in front of your new friends.  And in answer to your question, I care not for the affairs of other gods.  No other poses a threat to me, do with them and their property as you see fit.  Now, what other news?"


This bad place.  Very bad.  People got hurt here.  Hurt in strange ways.  Hurt in magic ways.  Changed.  Forced to stay alive and changed.  Tortured.  Do not think I like magic.

"Oh, that explains why you have been so upset lately.  We don't like torture, do we One-Ton."

Stop.  Stop now.

"Does it still hurt, One-Ton?  The scarring across your back?  Does it still itch when cold weather is coming?  Do you still remember why you have it?"

It because Mr. Jimmy is a bad man!  Bad, stupid human!  Bad, stupid, DEAD human!

"IT IS BECAUSE YOU WERE WEAK!  And you still call him mister!"

He not deserve any name at all.  He deserve what he got.

"How quickly we forget that 'life is precious' once we feel that we have been treated unfairly.  How hypocritical.  How self-serving.  You are a disgusting creature.  Your dead parents would be ashamed."

Will not rise to this.

"Spare me.  You already have."

We found goblin.  Big.  Twisted.  Not right.  Talk to himself.  He keep undead pets in pits.  He have too many arms, too much size, not much words.  He not right in head, I think.  Strong.  Too strong.  Dead now.  This is better for world.  Do not know why he like this.  Took his weapon.  Magic.  Too well made for goblin hands, would be better for better fighter.  Someone to care for it.

"You did the right thing in discarding it.  Any tool fit for a goblin would mean nothing to you."

I know this.

We find altar.  Wanted to defile it.  Profane thing, poison, nasty, foul thing.  Smell wrong.  Elf enjoyed it, wanted to use the dirt it poured.  Think elf want to use filth as weapon.  Think elf is thinking about this wrong.  Not smart.  Not safe.  Bad to take gift from bad god.

"Tell me, do you think Gruumsh One-Eye is a 'good' god, little On-Ton?"

... this feel like dangerous question.

"No, no, please, I insist.  Indulge me."

Well... Gruumsh do many great things...

"Do not avoid the question."

No.  Gruumsh not good.  Gruumsh powerful.  Gruumsh rule with fear and strength.  Gruumsh not... ben... eh-voe-lent.  Gruumsh kill and Gruumsh destroy and Gruumsh demand until nothing left to give yet still Gruumsh take.  But still Tung serve.  Gruumsh lead way.  Gruumsh ARE the way.  Way of father, way of father-father, way of tradition.  What other choice do Tung have?  Gruumsh only safe and true thing in Tung life.  Gruumsh always there and always will be there.

"So truly you understand the way of things.  You dare speak so openly to me?"

No choice.  You see in Tung heart, you know how Tung feel.  Why lie?

"Why indeed.  Whether motivated by fear or bravery, you speak well and truthfully.  You are quite right, Tung.  I do not have your wellbeing in mind.  I demand service and know that you lack the courage to deny me.  But such honesty bears rewarding, I think.  Yes.  You may address me as an orc once more."

Thank you.  Common is too nuanced a language.  Why do they require so many words to express so little?  It's... noise.

"And unfortunately considered a language of leaders and diplomats.  If you truly desire to be accepted, you will have to learn it in time.  Or you could live up to your true potential and simply slay those who will not listen.  I know which would bring you satisfaction..."

On that topic... we have entered what seems to be a cathedral.  There is a sacrificial altar, there is Jiro's double, there is a demon.  What is about to occur is obvious, even to one as naive to the ways of physical combat as Demmel and Fripflop.  I am so very tired, my lord.  The rage has taken a severe toll on my spirit.

"Have you told your friends that you will soon burden them, little one?"

No.  I can still fight with competence, just without vigour.  I will contribute if only by holding back our aggressors.  All I ask is that you guide my hand.  We are all tired and depleted of resources but we simply cannot allow what is transpiring beneath hundreds of innocent feet to continue.  Lend us your strength, lend us your courage.  Whilst I recognise that such foes are meaningless to a warrior of your calibre, know that any slain in this room are done so in your eternal name.

"As it should be.  I will not help you, One-Ton.  Do not beg for my assistance ever again.  I will watch and I will judge.  If you are not strong enough to fight your own battles, One-Eye has no further need of One-Ton."

43
Rise of the Runelords / Re: A tense exchange
« on: November 21, 2018, 02:38:07 PM »
Hail Gruumsh, he strongest, he know most, he rule everyone.

Found our friends.  They say they saw a bad thing.  Insisted we explored other places first.  Makes no difference.  We kill everthing in time, I am sure.

There was a statue further in the place.  Temple.  Strange temple.  Statue was pretty, looked expensive.  I wanted to break it.  The others would not let me.

"Property damage?  Do tell me more..."

Looked... thing... pro-fane.  Profane.  Bad person.  Others called it a rune lord.  Don't know what that is.  Wanted to break its head off so it could not come to life and follow us.  Don't want to fight a statue.  Hard to hurt rocks.  All kinds of strange magic in this country.  Can't trust rocks any more.

"A simple-minded rationale perhaps but I applaud the initiative.  I notice you stole its weapon?"

It is a stupid weapon.  All long and sharp.  Can't hurt enemy with such a long weapon!  Can't get in close and properly hit things like that.  Stupid, stupid tool.  Unfair.  Things can't fight back.  Fights should be fair, I think.  Personal.  Even if opponent is some horrible thing from bad outside places, you both fighting for survival.  Honourable.  Need to be fair.

"Nonsense.  Seize any advantage you can.  Any intelligent fighter would do the same.  Do you know how much your honour will count for when you're stood in my court and awaiting judgement with your own head in your hands?"

Honour mattered to father.  I must follow in his footsteps.  He was a good orc.  Strong orc.

We climb ruined tower.  Rockslide, blocked tower entrance.  Screaming came from the rocks; bad screams!  Scared the nimble man.  Not the bad nimble man, you know... the good one.  The one who says his name a lot.  I like the nimble man.  He is kind.

"Imbecile.  The was an illusion.  Do you lack common sense?  A rockslide from the top of a ruined tower with nothing to cause it whcih resulted in no sound and through which sound passes freely?"

I did not think about the rocks.  I thought about the fighting.  Let others think about where we are.  I fight, they notice, is good... partner... partnership.

A bad thing was on the other side of the magic rocks.  Floating head.  Frog and nimble man are hurt very badly, I think.  Their skin is all black and is coming off.  I am sad for them.  I do not want them to die.

"Would it matter?  They are slowing you down.  Their hubris and their ambition but lack of strength, you think them allies?  They are obstacles, One-Ton."

We have fought for the same cause.  Makes them kin.  Not-green brothers and sisters.  Except frog.  Frog is green brother.  Different green but still good.

"Enough.  I literally could not care less."

Killed two floating heads.  Smashed them apart on the walls.  Felt sick.  Did not eat them.  Poison in them, would make me sicker.  Smashed instead.  Smashed them to send them to you.  Maybe you want to fight their souls later.

"Ha, Gruumsh lowering himself to fight a vargouille?!"

What.

"You don't even know the name of the creatures you killed.  Why am I not surprised?  Well, should you meet more I'm sure you'll learn plenty about them.  I'm surprised you bested even one, honestly, but no.  No One-Ton, I would not lower myself to attempt to kill anything that YOU were capable of subduing, little one.  There would be no point."

Then what you do with sacrifices?

"Devour some.  Discard others.  Fight those that would offer any sport.  It is about the gesture more than the actual offering.  Obviously I would be more pleased if you were to offer me, say, a tarrasque but what can I expect from One-Ton..."

A what?

"Forget I mentioned it.  Just know that if you encounter one, it will absolutely kill you."

... right.  We found some... things.  Aber... abba...

"Yes, very good One-Ton.  Sound it out."

Can I just pray in Orc again?

"Not yet, Elf-friend."

Ab-burr-a... shun.  Two of them.  I felt sick again.

"Yes, I saw that.  It looked like you actually pierced the belly of one then vomited into the wound.  Absolutely revolting but it looked effective.  Do you see the efficacy of my gifts, now?"

I do.

"Then what must you say?"

... thank you?

"Yes.  That's right One-Ton.  Grovel for me.  We both know you will gain nothing by resisting my will."

The beasts were slain quickly.  We rescued the nimble man's friend.  She was not well.

"Probably because a bile-slathered orc, saturated up the waist with demon blood, was stood over her and breathing heavily.  How did you split that monster in half, by the way?"

Hit it.  Hard.

We left.  We will return soon.  Need supplies, need healing.  I will stay.  I am fine.  I support local guards, protect town.  I do job of 6 trained men.

"Yes One-Ton.  6 MEN.  Do not compare yourself to lesser races."

44
Rise of the Runelords / Re: A tense exchange
« on: November 14, 2018, 04:21:17 PM »
Hail Gruumsh, strongest of all, knower of all, conqueror of all.

"Salutations in kind, One-Ton-Groin-Ravager"

I would be correct in assuming that you, again, disapprove of me despite the blood I have shed in your name?

"Let us review your actions in the past hour, shall we?  You pursued a foe into a basement room from which there were no obvious means of escape"

I did, yes.

"You then allowed your companions to parley.  You also offered to discuss your foe's motivations."

I did not have a complete picture of the events that had transpired.  To rush in and slay an innocent would be a crime.

"A crime unto whom, exactly?"

The laws of this land.  Justice in general, I suppose.

"And there you have it, One-Ton.  Damned by your own tongue.  The life of one person in pursuit of a goal means nothing.  NOTHING, One-Ton!  You act and you think like HUMAN.  You act and you think like ELF.  You strive for fair treatment one moment, you gore creatures half your size the next.  You tried to strike without intent to kill, One-Ton!  Orc does not take PRISONERS, Orc takes SLAVES."

We sought to interrogate him!  Would you rather we killed him and lost potentially vital information about the missing citizen we suspected he had kidnapped?

"The life of one human does not concern me.  A small player on a large stage.  There is nothing more for your in Sandpoint and you should long ago have moved on to greater challenges, not pointless questing.  You fancy yourself a saviour, One-Ton?  You should not have known better.  You DID know better.  Did you enjoy the taste of his blood, One-Ton?  Do you remember the taste of man flesh?"

I think I feel sick again...

"Ah, but here is a notion.  You wish to think and act like a man?  Address me like one.  Speak to me in the language of men until you have again earned the honour of conversing in Orc.  And do not dare defy me.  You know what will happen if you do."

But... I... yes.  Yes, I obey.

"Of course you do.  It's what you're good at, isn't it 'living muscle'?"

Common is... hard to speak.  Hard not like Orc.  Too much describing.  Long words.  No emotion.  Language of writing, good for words, bad for speaking.

We hurt him.  Nimble man, he run.  Run through wall.  Frog man, he clever, he open wall in special place.  We find goblin camp.  Many feet pass that way.  Guards will be warned.

"You work with local law enforcement?  That is a dangerous course of action for a barbarian.  Your race and your profession no doubt do not earn you friends amongst them."

They are... fair.  Careful.  Better than some.  More trusting.  They call me hero.  They call us hero.

"Then they are poor judges of character."

I want to prove them right.  Good people.  Their respect would be good.

We are going back to meet the rest now.  No more to see, just tunnel to outside of town.  Needs to be filled up, stop goblins.  Need to see where second tunnel goes.  Maybe nowhere, maybe to where nimble man is hiding.  Maybe he is a long way away now.  Maybe we will not find him ever again.  He will be lucky if we don't.

"Yes, I'm sure that the orc who repeatedly failed to strike him is his largest concern..."

45
Rise of the Runelords / Re: A tense exchange
« on: November 07, 2018, 12:49:40 PM »
Hail Gruumsh, strongest of all, knower of all, conqueror of all.

"Hold for but a moment.  We need to discuss your conduct."

... yes?

"I have witnessed you breaking and entering.  Cutting directly through a locked door with barely a moment's consideration."

Under encouragement and to facilitate an investigation, yes.

"Furthermore you have seized property not owned by you, used and destroyed it to commit acts of violence, rushed through a display room full of priceless, delicate artifacts with reckless abandon and trampled through broken glass in your haste to slay a foe."

... yes.

"Because of this, in addition to your notably improved fighting style, I have made a decision, Tung.  I will grant you a small boon."

Tung?  You actually approve of my actions?

"I do, as do your fathers and fathers' fathers.  While your foes were hardly mighty, your lack of regard for your personal safety and single minded determination to kill are the exact virtues I wished to imbue you with.  Now, see your newfound powers!"

I feel strange, my lord.

"Wait."

Sickened.  I feel severe discomfort in my gut.

"You cannot expect to eat so many creatures at your age, old man, and not experience some minor indigestion."

I beg you, do not mock me!  What gift did you grant that my belly burns so?

"One more step toward becoming a true personification of your faith.  It is a gift I gave to all within your tribe, though none would discuss it openly for it was a solemn, secret rite of passage.  I have awakened a dormant gland within your gut.  You are now filling with a highly acidic bile with which to cripple and disorient your larger opponents."

Bile?!  Am I vomiting?  It is dripping from my mouth!

"Oh yes, you could probably refer to that as vomit.  Venom would probably be the way your little alchemist and druid friends would think of it.  The best of your kin produced that noxious bile in abundance until well into their old age.  It may be for the best to warn your companions to give you a wide berth should you be likely to die from a wound that breaches your belly, eh?  And perhaps to bury your liver with particular care..."

Faint but hearty laughter echoes through Tung's mind for a few moments.




Just for out of character info, Tung has taken the Hissing Rage barbarian rage power.  Once per hour he can spit venom at an adjacent enemy as a standard action or use his venom as a swift action if he hits with his bite attack.  The opponent must take a fort save (10+half barbarian level+Tung's con modifier) or suffer 1d2 strength damage for 6 rounds.  Roll fort each round, the poison is cured by two saves in succession.

The strange acidic smell he now emits probably isn't doing much to help with his charisma problem.

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