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78285 No. 78285 edit
https://app.roll20.net/join/1167985/MDUfjw

The group makes a number of travel preparations, anticipating an early departure on dragonback to Loudwater for their rendezvous with Sid. The five have a restful sleep at the Tavern of the Flagon Dragon, a higher-class establishment in the Castle Ward not too far from the famous Blackstaff Tower. Your expenses have been covered for this stay, as you act on the behalf of the Council of Waterdeep, and so long as you continue to do so, you don't have to worry about paying for an inn in the City of Splendors.

Your rest is largely uneventful, and as you gather outside the tavern--Torinn, Myn, Sureiya, and the mysterious shaman--you are approached by a pair of familiar faces. One is Remallia Haventree, and the other is the deva invoker who accompanied you some time ago, on your mission to the earthmote.

"A good morning to you all," Remallia says, bowing deeply. The moon elf woman is dressed seemingly for battle, in green scale draped with bits of purple cloth accenting it here and there, and a long, curved blade strapped to her back. She looks to Samel, and nods slightly, "I believe you know each other?"
134 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 78424 edit
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78424
"Destroying the port could strand those inside, though the machine was designed to be self-sufficient. I have no idea if enough of the systems are still online to support a population inside the machine, but if so, it'd leave them in a good position to manipulate the machine from within. As for sabotaging or otherwise meddling with the repair process, we'd certainly need access to the Knot to do such a thing," Sid confirms.
>> No. 78425 edit
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78425
>>78424
"Could we trick the Knot's... Administrators? Into granting access from an insecure access port, thinking it's secure? Like, by introducing faulty parts to a maintenance or repair process, or subverting an Abeir person to request it for us."
>> No. 78426 edit
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78426
Sid cocks his head at the shaman's request. "It's... not impossible... to what end, though? To evade detection? I couldn't guarantee that--who knows what security measures are inside the machine? It would also require a lot of time and luck--I must say it strikes me as highly impractical. Perhaps if you were more specific about what you wanted to do, I'd be able to give better suggestions." The tinker gnome gazes off in the direction of the tower. "I called you out there so I could get into that thing, but it seems to me like this planning is getting rather elaborate for marginal gain. We will need to deal with the Remnant one way or the other eventually, whether we want to utilize this thing or shut it down. I will defer to you of course on that matter, but it does seem to me like this is getting overly complex."
>> No. 78427 edit
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78427
The ranger listens to the strategic arguing and figures out he should give his input as well.

"Maybe I should go see the camp before we continue discussing our options. However, I might side with Sid this time, unless we try a diplomatic approach, any way to get inside that place is going to require a bloodbath..."

Last edited at 17/10/21(Sat)22:42:51
>> No. 78428 edit
>>78426
>>78427
The shaman sighs. "The reason I am opposed to diplomacy is that Mr. Silversprocket said any successful diplomacy would involve exposing his existence. Do you not think that once the Abeirians are aware that a means to control their machine exists, they would become much more motivated to obtain these means? On the other hand, if they do not know about Mr. Silversprocket, then not only will they be unaware that a person who can understand the machinery and turn it against them exists, meaning they will be less on guard about such threats, but they will also be without a miracle solution to their problems. Once they face sufficient setbacks, they will become less motivated to continue their pursuit, perhaps even giving up in time. If they begin allocating less resources to these machines, then there would be further opportunities to do as we wish."

Last edited at 17/10/21(Sat)22:46:36
>> No. 78429 edit
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78429
The ranger listens to the shaman, and prepares his response.

"I believe your argument assumes the Empire won't be able to hold on the weapon without Sid's expertise? If there are more of the engineers who worked on it, especially on the Far Realm nonsense, I'm sure they only need some time to be able to get it working again. With Sid, or without him."
>> No. 78430 edit
>>78429
The shaman nods. "That is why I mentioned setbacks, which will serve as additional discouragements and obstacles."
>> No. 78431 edit
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78431
"Hmm... we shouldn't stay here for too many days, or weeks though. We have other responsibilities. I think we should also consider how much time it would be wise to spend on this mission." Sureiya says, confused on what to do.

"In any case, maybe scouting the camp and the Tower from close could help us. Samel, could you please begin casting the ritual again?"

Last edited at 17/10/21(Sat)23:16:04
>> No. 78432 edit
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78432
>>78431

"We may as well accompany Mister Sureiya on his expedition after all. I believe we should simply strike towards the Knot with as much force as possible, eliminating sentries and the like before they have a chance to alert the bulk of the enemy. If we fail in the latter objective, it is likely better to press forward and attempt to sabotage it before they are able to mount an effective counterattack. Considering the size of the interior, even if we are unable to retreat immediately, we will likely be in a position to hide somewhere until an opportunity to exit presents itself."

Myn's tone seems to show a pointed disregard for the possibility of the enemy posing a threat.

"In the worst case, an additional option is open to us. We may profess to offer up Mister Sid, claiming that he had deceived us into attacking the Imperials under false pretenses. Afterwards, having entered their good graces, we may utilize the situation to save Mister Sid and retreat, or complete our objective if we had not already."
>> No. 78433 edit
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78433
"Ma'am, I think you underestimate me quite a bit," Sid says in slight indignation in response to the shaman's declarations. "Much of what will happen depends on who is in charge of this expedition--but I have escaped from their notice before and I can do so again! Furthermore, the Aberians would not have had such a strong empire were they so easily deterred. I know them quite well, and to be frank, I know them and how they will react much better than you, so you would be wise to give my advice due consideration! A few setbacks and sabotage will not stop them. Perhaps it is risky to expose myself to them, but that risk is mine to take and I would knowingly take it for something as important as this! The Remnant does not have the manpower to organize a realm-wide hunt for a gnome that doesn't want to be found or taken in; if I was sheltered in Waterdeep or another such large city by the Lord's Alliance or another such group, they would not be able to get to me."
>> No. 78434 edit
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78434
"I don't think the shaman is underestimating your skills, Sid. Rather I think she's just worried of how well our attempt at diplomacy can go without a good plan, and probably the same for a direct assault. To be honest, both plans have several problems.

In any case, I still want to take a look. Maybe then we can tell if assaulting them, as Myn says can be a viable alternative."
>> No. 78435 edit
>>78431
"Immediately, Mister Sureiya."
As soon as we all agree, Casts ghost walk (17) 4rp left

Last edited at 17/10/22(Sun)18:04:46
>> No. 78436 edit
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78436
With the aid of Samel's ritual making him ghostly and his other magical enhancements, Sureiya begins to stalk through the forest in the direction of the tower. It takes quite a while, but Sureiya is starting to see the outline of the metal structures around the base of the tower through the foliage--and there appears to be humanoid movement as well.

Now would be a good time for Sureiya to make his stealth check and describe how he wants to go about this.
>> No. 78438 edit
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78438
Still wearing the ugly cultist clothes and mask, after finally getting close enough to take a look with his spyglass, Sureiya hides behind any nearby obstacle there is in the surroundings and takes a good look with his magical spyglass.

Stealth: 26 https://orokos.com/roll/561371
Perception: 29 https://orokos.com/roll/561374


Last edited at 17/10/23(Mon)00:22:51
>> No. 78439 edit
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78439
What Sureiya is observing appears to be a large clearing in the surrounding forest--perhaps not entirely natural, as there is some evidence in the form of tree stumps and fallen trees that the area was carved out artificially. Nevertheless, at the base of the tower is a relatively small hatch that protrudes from a large circular metal part of the fortress--the hatch itself is about fifteen feet in diameter, though the circular portion of metal that it is set inside is about forty feet in diameter. Surrounding the hatch are two of the rectangular metal buildings, decorated on the outside with little more than metal gates that seem to serve as doorways and small windows dotting the edge of the structure, high above the ground. There is a path through the forest that leads directly to the third rectangular structure. This structure has two armored soldiers out front guarding it, while the other assorted humanoids wandering the grounds appear to be a mix of less-armored humanoids and what appear to be support personnel--technicians by the look of them. Interestingly, all of the technicians appear to be goblins.
>> No. 78440 edit
"Fine... so that should be one of the entrances." the ranger whispers to himself. Then still hiding in the forest, Sureiya walks toward the west, looking to see the other side of the tower.

Stealth: (29) https://orokos.com/roll/561539
>> No. 78441 edit
Sureiya circles the tower, and notices that while the forest is clear for a short distance around the immediate vicinity of the tower, there are no additional buildings or personnel around the other sides of the tower. There also appear to be no other hatches that look like they could be used to gain entry, though the technology is unfamiliar to Sureiya so he cannot be certain of such things.
>> No. 78442 edit
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78442
BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiPon8lr48U

Identifying the side at the north area as the safest one, the ranger hides behind the structure of the tower and crawls as close as he can to the metal structure the soldiers guard. Then, he takes again his spyglass, and stays silent and does his best to listen to any sound or conversation around him.

Stealth (27)
Perception for hearing (29) Perception for seeing (32 with spyglass)


Last edited at 17/10/23(Mon)17:45:58
>> No. 78443 edit
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78443
Maneuvering around the side of the building, Sureiya gets quite close to the humanoids roaming the area with minimal chance of being discovered--at least, given how inattentive many in the camp seem to be. There's not a lot of idle conversation going around, but he does overhear a report that someone called "Tribunus Bluehand" should be returning from inside the machine in about an hour's time, and the personnel on-site should be prepared for that. They also seem to be referring to the tower as "Gordias".
>> No. 78444 edit
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78444
Figuring out the boring soldiers won't give any other relevant information, the ranger confirms again how many enemies he sees guarding each structure, the ranger carefully returns with the rest of the adventurers, silent like a shadow, leaving absolutely no track of his scouting in the way back. Once he meets the rest, he informs them of the relevant information from his scout.

Report:
Each metal structure is well guarded, by three or two soldiers. The second and the third structure also are accompanied by two or three goblin technicians.
The tower, called Gordias, appears to have a single entry point, next to the metal structures.
An individual refered as "Tribunus Bluehand" will come out from the tower in about an hour.


Last edited at 17/10/24(Tue)10:54:48
>> No. 78445 edit
At Sureiya's report, Sid's hand goes to his chin and he seems deep in thought as he mutters, "Interesting... interesting..." Pounding his hand into his fist, Sid exclaims, "Well! If Tribunus Bluehand--Tribunus is his rank, you understand--is in charge at this location, that certainly means this camp's goals are research-oriented. That makes negotiation more likely. Furthermore, he has a strong rivalry with me! He always wanted to prove himself and his inventions better than I and mine! He would never order me captured in order to advance this project--he'll want the credit for it. That gives us some leverage, I imagine... as long as we watch our backs! He's the conniving sort, but he'll know this is a fight he can't win!"
>> No. 78446 edit
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78446
>>78445

"I suppose that does open an avenue for diplomacy, Mister Sid. If we can make contact with this Mister Tribunus, we may well persuade him to escort us into the tower, and quietly at that. Once inside, we can simply subdue him and make for the Knot."

Myn seems to have ignored the rank-name distinction Sid supplied.

"Considering that those within would likely be unaware of our presence, it may even be possible to proceed unopposed. I should think the use of disguise would be beneficial at that point, although I should wonder if merely appropriating their clothing would be sufficient."
>> No. 78447 edit
"You think you can impersonate their leader? But what if it is a gnome or a goblin like the technicians?", Sureiya mutters.
>> No. 78448 edit
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78448
>>78447

"Simply appropriating the uniforms is sure to provide some benefit, although I would welcome other suggestions."
>> No. 78449 edit
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78449
"Tribunus Bluehand is a goblin, indeed," Sid confirms, seemingly deep in thought. "Impersonating him would be difficult, but not impossible... perhaps there's a solution in a potion or something to that effect..."
>> No. 78450 edit
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78450
>>78433
>>78444
>>78449
"I see. I apologize if you actually had specifics in mind, Mr. Silversprocket. Then, could you tell us how to deal with this Bluehand?"
>> No. 78451 edit
"What should we do then? Approach the area and let Sid ask for this Bluehand-whatever? Definitely, breaking into this Knot should be easier if we're already inside this tech-city" the ranger says.
>> No. 78452 edit
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78452
"Well, here's how I imagine it going down," Sid says in a conversational tone. "If I approach the tribunus, he'll probably not want to let us in at first. But if I convince him that I can help get this machine up and running, I can bait him into trying to let me do so--with the intent of betraying me later, of course. But we'll be the ones flipping it on him instead, with sabotage!" Pounding a fist into his hand, the gnome elaborates, "I just need access to the Knot to power this thing down, or otherwise turn it against the Remnant. I know I can figure it out once I'm inside. And Bluehand won't be able to stop us from going in if we want to, and I think he knows that. But if we try to brute force our way in he'll have to try, so that's why we'll give him a reason not to. He'll try to take us by surprise, but we'll be ready for him. Hopefully, we can get in and out before he even has a chance to turn the tables on us!"

Considering for a moment, he adds, "I can even propose an alliance between us against the Cult of the Dragon. The way Bluehand sees it, if I get the machine running again for use against the dragons, he can try to do away with us and take all the credit." His face serious for a moment, he adds, "But as with any plan, we'll need to be ready for complications. I'll need to convince Bluehand of my sincerity, but with the threat of the Cult of the Dragon as a mutual incentive, it shouldn't be too difficult. He knows of my skills, so it'll be very, very tempting to try and make use of me for his own gain, even if he couldn't take credit for it." Looking to the rest of the party, he adds, "And of course, with you folks with me, coercion is out of the question. He can't force me to do it and he knows it. The sooner he gets this machine online, the sooner he can take the credit for it and report success to his commander."

Shrugging slightly, he adds, "I just... those conscripts outside might as well be victims of the Remnant, and I'd rather not slaughter them out of hand. And despite the militaristic bent of the Imperial Remnant, they're not the kind to attack on sight without even the possibility of negotiation. If things fall apart, I'm certain with your help, we can work something out."
>> No. 78453 edit
"That sounds quite better" the ranger says. "Particularly the idea of using the cult of the dragon."

Then, he removes the ugly robe and mask, and keeps them inside his bag.

"What do you think? Should we go now?"
>> No. 78454 edit
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78454
>>78453

"Surely we can spare the time required to produce the potion solution Mister Sid mentioned, at least. Impersonating a leader would provide quite the advantage once inside."

The disembodied hand flops around with its palm up, as if asking to be handed something.
>> No. 78455 edit
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78455
Sid continues his work on a potion of mimicry at Myn's request, and finishes is in about half an hour. Nodding, the gnome seems satisfied at the preparations, and says, "Well then, let's be off!" Asgorath winks out of existence, as he is wont to do, as the group begins moving.

Sid leads the group directly up the road, towards the imperial soldiers guarding the building the closest metal building. Once you get close, the two soldiers draw their gunblades and grip them tightly, walking forward. The one on the left commands in a feminine voice, "Halt!" Looking the group over, she seems momentarily taken aback by the party's odd composition, and adds, "You cannot be here. Turn back now."

"You're human, Sid notes loudly, addressing the soldier. "You probably weren't born when I was still working with the Remnant. So you might not recognize my face, but certain you've heard the name Sid?"

"Pssh-tock... Sid Sturmgust, formerly the Empire's topmost engineer," comes a high-pitched, metallic voice from around the west side of the building. The group turns in that direction to see several armored goblins approaching. "Yes, I know this uplander well. I suppose I should warm-welcome the Sturmgust back to the project he never saw the end-complete of."

Sid looks directly at the goblin who spoke--while all of the goblins are wearing heavy plate, the one who is talking has a rather unique helmet, with what appears to almost be a half-cylinder of a faceplate with smaller, glowing yellow eye and one larger, glowing red eye. At his side is a rather conspicuous-looking book with a metallic cover and strange designs upon it that are difficult to make out from a distance. While the other armored goblins have their gunblades in hand, this one still hasn't drawn his. "Tribunus Bluehand... I hadn't thought you to be expected yet!"

All of the goblin's helmets appear to loosely be shaped like breathing masks with only their green ears protruding from the sides, and as a result, Bluehand's response appears to be preceded by the sound of metallic breathing from behind the mask. "Sssh-thock... Sturmgust underestimates Bluehand once again, this is not a shock-truth. No matter. I suppose Sturmgust also thinks I don't know why he's here, but the Enigma Codex pre-sees all." The goblin gingerly pats the book strapped to his side, which seems to emit a soft glow at his touch which suggests the book is magical--powerfully so. "And yet it is also ink-spilt that Sid knows the machine even better than he past-ponders, and will find great truth inside. So we welcome your brain-fruit on this matter, Sid Sturmgust."

The gnome seems momentarily taken aback by this highly unusual response.
>> No. 78456 edit
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78456
The ranger remains silent as he observes the exchange between the rival shorties. Still, he throws a few glances to the blue whatever and the other soldiers, trying to figure out how strong they are.
>> No. 78457 edit
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78457
Myn throws no glances to whatevers of any color, although he does wonder what 'pre-seeing' entails. Luckily, he's an expert on Enigma Codexes.

"If he knew we were coming, this may be quite the short murder attempt."


(Arcana) codex lore: 33

Last edited at 17/10/28(Sat)20:10:38
>> No. 78458 edit
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78458
>>78455
Mr. Silversprocket worked with them that long ago? ...Did goblins live longer than humans? That book...

The shaman glances at Myn, also looking at the book.


Arcana for Enigma Codex (24) https://orokos.com/roll/563153
>> No. 78459 edit
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78459
Sureiya suspects that the goblin soldiers, while reasonably capable combatants, shouldn't pose more than a minor challenge for adventurers of your stature.

Codex Lore: (Both) This is certainly a very powerful magic item of some sort, though its exact nature you can only begin to guess at. The nature of the enchantment is like something the shaman has never seen before, suggesting that the item may be unique in some way or otherwise very rare.

(Myn) The nature of the power is somehow familiar to you. It gives you the same sort of feeling you get from your Star Pact patron.
>> No. 78460 edit
Torinn racks his brain about the mysterious codex.

History: 14
>> No. 78461 edit
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78461
Unfortunately, Torinn's never heard of anything of this sort.

"Yes, well... I know the Rem--the Empire must be aware of the recent activities of the Cult of the Dragon," Sid manages. "It would be in both of our interests to see them stopped--the Lords' Alliance is already mustering for an organized opposition! While I know you'd never consent to joining their effort, I see no reason to work against one another for the benefit of the cult."

"Psssh-thock. We could brain-wring such a busy-deal. However, the sentry-guard bots inside have gone scramble-wire. Our team is not well equip-readied to deal with them, but yours..." the armored goblin's head scans over the adventurers standing by Sid's side. "You uplanders could make-peace them. Clear the long-step to the Knot, and we work joined-up. As show-piece of good faith..." Bluehand turns to one of the human soldiers and announces, "Shkohhh! Make prep-times to out-clear! We make to scuttle the base! All not-gobbie uplanders announce-back to the legatus."

The armored human seems taken aback by this, but gives an unsteady nod. She then turns, and the other taller humanoid solder with her set out and begin issuing orders to the conscripts. "Really? Just like that?!" Sid stammers in disbelief.

Turning back to Sid, the tribunus Bluehand replies, "Pssshtokh. Sturmgust holds the true-key to unlocking power of project Alexander. So reads the Enigma Codex. The gobbieflock stands ready-set to helping-hand."
>> No. 78462 edit
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78462
>>78461

"A smooth discussion with an enemy is one that plays into his hands."

"My apologies, Mister Tribunus, but I must interject here. While your show of good faith is appreciated, it is difficult to proceed into an unknown structure and to combat an unfamiliar force merely with such a showing. Should this machine be completed, even if the Cult of the Dragon were to be stopped, would the Empire not benefit to an excessively greater degree than the Lord's Alliance? Thus, I feel the need to ask for some concessions before we proceed inside.

Firstly, I would ask that you explain this Enigma Codex you appear to carry. It seems to provide you with some form of information, but providing it to us as well would be a simple way to increase the incentive for our side in this transaction. Secondly, lest this be a ruse to apprehend Mister Sid so that he may be used to complete the work here on your terms, I would ask that you alone accompany us on our way to the Knot. Naturally, as it is a simple form of insurance, you need not fight alongside us."

Use Knack for Success (+4 to next skill check).
(Diplomacy): 34

>> No. 78463 edit
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78463
The metal-headed goblin turns to Myn as if noticing the warlock for the first time. "Sssshctock... uplander has many ask-talks. The Enigma Codex is an awe-fruit of project Alexander. A joyous mistake-made. A tome knowing all that is, was, and will be." Suddenly, the goblin pulls the book from his belt, and holds it with both hands, flipping it open in front of him. You can see clearly now the book's cover, which is jet-black and covered in strange, white glyphs. "I found-claimed the tome upon arrival in Toril, thirty years past-time. With it, Bluehand gobbies path-find here, to finish the job." Closing the book and tucking it under his arm, the goblin adds, "If it is uplander's true-wish that Bluehand join-hands to secret-enter Gordias, then I accept. Pssshtock."
>> No. 78464 edit
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78464
>>78463

"One would think that a book holding all knowledge would be somewhat larger. Would it not have warned you of the scramble-wiring you mentioned earlier?"
>> No. 78465 edit
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78465
"Gobbies know. But it took place prior-of gobbies found the Enigma Codex." Holding up a finger as if to make a point, the goblin elaborates, "Shhhthock. Gobbies find Codex when came to Toril. By then, machines already gone mad. Gobbies come, because know solution is here." Bluehand spreads his hands, as if that explains everything.

"You're saying you knew I'd come, with powerful allies?" Sid asks uneasily, prompting a simple nod from the goblin.
>> No. 78466 edit
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78466
Sureiya who had been trying to read the Goblin's intention, decides to finally speaks up.

"So, I heard there's a whole city inside of there. Are those out of control robots everywhere waiting for us?"
Insight on Bluehand (24)
Rolling on behalf of Bern too (22) https://orokos.com/roll/563510

>> No. 78467 edit
>>78465
The shaman glances at Sid, wondering how the book came to learn things it shouldn't know.

Meanwhile, the smaller spirit shimmers into being behind Bluehand, and tries poking the goblin. To see if he's real, of course.

>> No. 78468 edit
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78468
Insight results: You sense that the tribunus is at least sincere in agreeing to accompany you inside. Anything else about him is inscrutable, however.

The goblin seems unnerved at the spirit poking at him, and takes a few steps away from it--though the spirit does confirm that the goblin is, at least, corporeal. "Gordias does not contain city-scape, mostly whirly-gigs and crawly-tunnels. City-scape in Midas. We fight the crazy-bots on path to Knot," the goblin replies to Sureiya's inquiries.

Sid still seems nervous, but seems to have recovered from his original disquiet. "Well then! It seems we have an arrangement. Was there anything else...?" He glances at the adventurers accompanying him.
>> No. 78469 edit
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78469
>>78468
"Midas? ...Gordias? Were they not people names?"
>> No. 78470 edit
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78470
"Mister Tribunus has allayed my concerns for the moment. We may proceed at your leisure."
>> No. 78471 edit
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Sid explains briefly, "Yes, the arm sections of the robots were named for the engineers who came up with the initial designs, Gordias and Midas."
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>>78471
"Do you also have a part named after you, Mr. Silversprocket? ...Mr. ...Sturmgust?" The shaman seems unsure what to call him.
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Sid shakes his head. "I do not, no. My involvement came later in the development."
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Next thread! >>78475
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