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At last, the final sight of the Tartarian Descent Team is engulfed by the interminable darkness.

The Great Seal rends the earth with a deafening quake, as it slides nearly shut, open only by a hairsbreadth. The Loyal Kerberos, ten thousand Umbral Hounds strong, holds one end of Shei's Black Thread in one of his mouths. He leers at it contemptuously, but holds it nonetheless as agreed.

Most of the others accompanying Sir Pryce cannot look anymore at the Great Seal, ready to direct their thoughts to anything other than the fates of their friends… and foes. Sir Estuary is the only one who seems composed. He looks to Pryce, and with a slight bow of his head, says, "Perhaps we should make for the surface, milord. We have no further business here."
387 posts and 1 image reply omitted. Click reply to view.


So begins the hike back to the village, mercifully much easier now that it's mostly downhill. As sunset nears, your party often finds themselves treated to glimpses of a fiery distant sky, illumined by a brilliant gold diamond between the branches of the high forest. They say nothing when watching this, for a kind of inspired awe. The skies above you are still cloudy, held there under the oppressive influence of Ornifex's draconic rulers, but for once, they beget a beautiful vista, for the clouds are stained so many shades of orange and red by this approaching sunset.


Pryce smiles as they're greeted with such a breathtaking view on the way back, making him remember the travels he had back with his family caravan. He keeps silent, taking in the moment while they're able to, enjoying the calm walk back to the village.


Soon enough, the treehouses come within sight, and Vortigern's great house beyond it. No lights are on within, and only a few lit lanterns are visible in their village, mostly belonging to the great many pegasi who float about on the first hour of the night watch.

Despite their earlier naps, your allies look like they're quite ready for some more sleep, and so they split up and make for their designated treehouses. Spending so many days in an airship has a way of draining its riders.


As they reach the village, Pryce does think of going to check on Sir Estuary, but with the night stretching on and the walk having its toll, he figures the old knight is fine.
He heads to his designated treehouse with River and Zjetya.
"Quite a day, wasn't it?"


"Yeah," Zjetya says. "Wasn't thrilled knowing we'd meet the villagers, but that Grantz guy really saved the day with how quick he showed up."

River sighs. "They make the most adorable couple."

"And we make the most adorable triad," Zjetya says, flicking moth-dust at River, to her annoyance and amusement.


"That was good timing on his part. Hope tomorrow will go smoothly," Pryce comments.

He chuckles at Zjetya's retort to River.
"That's an easy claim when you make your own glitter."


"Well, speaking of couples," River says. "Now that we're not flying anymore, let's get Spitshine and Sugar over for some W&W."

"Oh yeah!" Zjetya says. "She's into weapons, she'd be a big fan of all that stuff you wrote up, Pryce."


"There's an idea, bet they'd love to play," Pryce comments. "Should set up a game for the whole group one of these days." He says, rolling with the idea.

"Hmm, wonder if Catcher and Pucchini would play like Lockjaw did."


River nods and flies over to the other treehouse, then comes back shortly. Sugar and Spitshine climb up into your treehouse with their pets coming with them.

"We invited Onion too, but he said he was gonna hang out with Sir Estuary," Spitshine says. "So, what's all this about? River was gushing about some kind of game."

"I wasn't gushing!" River protests.

"Yeah, was surging," Sugar corrects. "It was a swelling tide of good words."

"Since when are you so literary!?" River snaps.


"It's nice to hear I've done such a good job," Pryce jokes as the kids egg River on.

"It's a game we borrow from Regina, Witches & Wargs. It's sort of a collaborative story mixed with an adventure game. We've been using this setting I've made, if you're interested," He starts, then going on to give them a summary of Monster Island.


"An Island, huh…" Spitshine says. "Never seen one of those before. Let's give it a shot, then."

"Is there going to be a lot of math?" Sugar asks.

"Yup," Zjetya asks. Spitshine looks disappointed, and Sugar intrigued.

"It's fairly Simple," River consoles. "You only need a 10-sided die and a few scraps of papyrus. Even Lockjaw managed to play."


"You don't even notice it once the game is going," Pryce adds seeing Spitshine's disappointment. "Let's start with your characters. What do you want to play as?"


"Jeez, askin' the big questions right out of the gate," Spitshine says. "Let's back up a bit, what's something I can ease into?"

"Upgrade system!?" Sugar gasps when you finally get to that part in your explanation. "And wait, back up, what was that about carving?"

Lockjaw approaches the table, something screeching and wriggling in his mouth. He nearly unhinges his jaw, and deposits a very annoyed Hopper onto the table. Lockjaw goes to get water to wash out the mucus… but his intent is unmistakable – getting Hopper out of his funk.



"Knight is a pretty standard class to start with, Tracker is fairly straightforward too," Pryce suggests to Spitshine.

Pryce chuckles as Sugar starts to get into the extra mechanics of the ruleset.
"So to you get most of your weapons and armor you need to defeat monsters for their parts…" Pryce goes on to start explaining, until Lockjaw comes in and drops off Hopper. Pryce gives Hopper a little pet to help him forget his forcible escort.
"Wanna join in?"


"If you use a Tracker, you'd be set to go with the bowgun," Sugar says. "In fact, with blah blah blah blah…"

Sugar starts to overwhelm Spitshine with optimization strategies, math, and material names. He shakes like a leaf in a storm, eyes turning to spirals at the information overload.

Hopper grumbles a little, leering at Lockjaw, but brings his focus back to you, and gives a noncommittal grunt. Perhaps some of those magic rules would perk up his spirit…


"Alright, let's not get too ahead of ourselves here. This is only the first session afterall," Pryce says to help stem the flow of rules to Spitshine.

"What would you like to play as Hopper? There's some fun magic classes to pick from, for shooting spells, summoning creatures, or playing with illusions," He lists to entice the frog in.


Hopper taps his staff three times. Perhaps that means – the third option?


"Alright, how about the Illusionist? You can practically change how the world is viewed, and you get to pick from Mage spells and Bard tricks too," Pryce suggests, showing Hopper the classes.


Hopper squeaks softly as he looks over the page. He still strikes you as rather… moody… but it's a slight improvement.


"Like it, eh?" Pryce asks as encouragement as he sees Hopper showing some interest. With him on board Pryce helps him, Spitshine, and Sugar all work out their character sheets.


By the end of it all, they've all got their characters. Spitshine still looks uncertain about all this 'mathematics' business, Hopper is still in a funk, Sugar is quite excited, Lockjaw has at last returned with fresh breath, and River and Zjetya are naturally eager to get back to the nightly games of Covenkeeper and your custom module.


Pryce looks around as everypony is gathered and eager to play. With sheets and paper set up, Pryce plays up the narrator voice to set the scene as he speaks to Spitshine, Sugar, and Hopper.
"After many days at sea, your destination finally comes into sight. Entrana Island, a new territory fresh with opportunities and experiences. You've set out to take these bounties for yourselves, and from the sound of it, you won't need to wait long. You already hear from the other passengers about rumors of giant beasts and other creatures that supposedly roam this so called paradise. Talk bustles up as the docks come in view, the hype already started to give some second thoughts of this trip."

Pryce then looks to River, Zjetya, and Lockjaw.
"In the distance you see another boat coming to the island, a mix of tourists, would-be hunters, and all other kinds. With all the help you've provided the small island settlement, you've picked up acting as the welcoming committee to introduce newcomers to what they can expect here. But, you also have a second motive. A monster has been nabbing away at the town's food supply, and you've been too short staffed to corner it down, always eluding you into the night. Maybe some ponies here can help, if they can handle it."


"I'll wave them down as they approach," River says.

"I'll be brooding in the island cafeteria like always," Zjetya says.

Lockjaw seems to be playing around in the sand, judging by how he nudges the figurines.

"Wha…" Spitshine says.

"Just narrate what your guy is doing," Sugar instructs.

"Uh… skip me," Spitshine says, getting a bit of stage fright.

Sugar rolls her eyes. "I'll step off the boat and wave hello as we see everyone," Sugar says.

Hopper looks like he'll follow suit, but quietly.


"it's alright, step in when you're ready," Pryce says with a smile as Spitshine gets nervous. He then puts the narrator voice back on.
"Seems only the three of you stop by to the local, "Pryce says, gesturing to River, "The other passengers seem to be more interested in the sights and unpacking, with a few on the boat looking to be rethinking their choice."

"You sit in dark corner of the cafeteria, your claimed territory. They're serving sloppy hayburgers today," He says to Zjetya.

"As you play around in the sand, a small octopus made of water swims up to the shore, a curious look in it's eye as it watches ypu," He says to Lockjaw.


"You three look like you're made of sterner stuff than the tourists," River says. "You must be here to help us fight."

"That's correct, but they didn't let us bring weapons," Sugar says. "It'll be a bit hard without those."

"You'll find that having to start from scratch will be to your advantage," River says then turns to you. "Okay, I'll show the new guys where they can get weapons."

"I'll eat my burger until I notice the others passing by."

"Can I hang out with the guy and the octopus?" Spitshine asks.

Lockjaw grunts affirmatively.

Hopper moves his piece towards the cafeteria.


Pryce nods to Spitshine.
"As you play around in the sand, the octopus starts to mimic your motions, playing around in the sand as well. Seems it's never been this close to land before and is fascinated by the sight," Pryce says to Lockjaw. "You also head over, being quite a first sight to see on the island. The octopus takes notice as well, and has shifted its focus over to you," He says to Spitshine.

"You lead on over to the guardhouse, opening the door and showing off the arsenal they have in stock. There's a clean stock of weapons prepped for new recruits or backup replacements, whichever would apply at the time," He says to River and Sugar.

"You head on over to the cafeteria, the fresh smell of the day's special filling the air. There's a few others already grabbing a bite to eat, though in the corner you see a rather imposing mare," He says to Hopper.
"As you enjoy your burger, you see a new face entering the cafeteria. A goo pony, looking to be more than just a passing tourist," He says to Zjetya.


Lockjaw and Spitshine hang out with the octopus for a little while, then Spitshine moves their pieces over to the cafeteria. He frowns like he's having trouble thinking of things to say.

Sensing his difficulty, Zjetya taps her piece. "I'll order a round of water for all the new guys, then give them the run-down on the situation with the monster."

"You have to *act it out," River prods. "Get into the acting spirit."

Spitshine scrunches his snout, but Zjetya steps in again. "I'm still warming up. We'll get into the dramaturgy later."

"What a 10-Bit word…" River says.

"Yeah, all of Rus's favorite books had 'em," Zjetya says.


"No need to rush. Everypony gets into the game at their own speed," Pryce adds as he notes Zjetya helping Spitshine ease up to the concept of roleplaying.

"A round of water of brought over to your table, and you fill in the newcomers on the situation, seeing if they'd like to help. Every evening a beast finds its way to the village's food supplies, and no matter the methods used to deter or capture it it always finds a away out. It doesn't help it seems to walk on walls and ceilings with ease either. It all comes down to simple horsepower, overwhelming it to tire it out is the best way to stop it now."


Everyone at the table glares at you for the awful pun… but then confusion falls over their faces. That's not a pun, that's not even wordplay, that's just a regular term… they all look at one another several times, then silently agree to leave this disturbance in consensual reality behind them.

"Yeah, I'll agree to help," Spitshine says.
Hopper squeaks affirmatively.
Lockjaw is currently sipping from his water bowl, truly in-character.

"So in that case, I'll bring them over to join everyone else," Zjetya adds.

"Oh jeez…" Spitshine mutters. "That's where the weapons are, yeah?"

"Yeah, you'll get to pick one," Zjetya explains.

"Pryce… gimme some help here," Spitshine says.


Pryce moves the pieces over to the Armory, setting them with River and Sugar's.
"You all head to the Armory to gear up and prepare, alright to find others ahead of you. More the merrier, as they say," He narrates.

"Alright, the Dual Blades are a good easy pick to start with. You get to roll more dice, and if you ever get a ten you roll an extra one," Pryce suggests to Spitshine for simplicity.

Soon their weapons are picked, Dual Blades for Spitshine, Gunlance for Sugar, Hammer for Hopper, Lance for Lockjaw, Bowgun for River, and Zjetya's custom cello-scythe Hunting Horn.
"You all pick out your weapons and practice a bit to get a feel for the new ones. Soon enough, you notice the sun starting to descend on the horizon. From your past experiences…" He says to Zjetya and River. "You surmise the beast will make its move soon. Now would be a good time to work out your approach, or plan on how to stop it from escaping."


"Oh!" Sugar gasps. "Oh, oh, oh!" She looks around as if unsure if she can just jump in out of order.
"You don't gotta wait to be called on," Zjetya says. "Go for it."
"Let's set up a trap where it usually shows up!" Sugar says.
"A good idea to be sure," River says. "What trap did you have in mind?"
"Uhh… I dunno!" Sugar says. "I didn't think that far ahead."
River chuckles. "Well, any other ideas?"
Spitshine clicks his tongue. "Uh, depending how big it is, we could drop something big on it. Did it leave anything broken behind? Like a broken shed or maybe a crate?"


"There's enough assorted supplies across the town to build most kind of traps with ease," Pryce answers to Sugar's suggestion.

"One of the guard posts was taken out a few days prior when it was escaping. It hasn't been repaired yet, so there's some large stone chunks there that could be used," He says to Spitshine.


"Do we have enough time to set it up though?" Sugar suddenly considers.
"It's up in the air, so you'd better roll," Zjetya suggests.
"Yeah!" Sugar says. "Spitshine, you good with this?"
"I… y-yeah, let's do it!" Spitshine says, getting a little energy now that he's engaged.
The two roll to set up a trap in time for the monster's appearance.


"We'll keep an eye on the most recent trails the monster made as it came into camp," River says.

[2d10] She and Zjetya roll perception

Hopper moves his and Lockjaw's pieces to Zjetya and River's positions for additional support. Lockjaw doesn't intervene, silently glad for Hopper's rising mood.

Roll #1 7, 2 = 9 / Roll #2 4, 9 = 13


Pryce looks over the dice as they're thrown down.
"Alright, while the rest go to keep watch for the beast, you two go about the town gathering supplies. Near the food storage, you set up a simple cage trap, propped up with a pole. After placing some food inside for bait, you have a solid trap to either hopefully lure or chase it into," Pryce narrates to Spitshine and Sugar.

"The rest of you move out to watch over the town border and check the more used paths of escape, which isn't too hard to see given the claw marks in the dist. Dusk starts to set in, but with the four of you you manage to spot it early this time. Low to the ground, a long, leathery invader skulks through the hills. It moves with purpose, having learned plenty of the layout over these past few nights. It's still off a ways, unaware of the numbers waiting for it," He trails off, leaving it open for the party to decide what to do next.


Zjetya and River both look to the young ones and pets for leadership, and the pets, to the young ones. Sugar and Spitshine look to one another, expecting the other to come up with the grand plan.

"Wait, I just thought of something," Sugar says. "What if it's too big for the trap?"
"Uh… err…" Spitshine fumbles, before a certain focus comes to his eyes. "Don't worry about that. Even an insufficient trap can prove better than you expect it to. Let's hang back and quietly observe from a distance until it springs it."

Hopper and Lockjaw nod.


Pryce smiles as Spitshine starts to get into a groove.

"You all sit back and wait, watching as the creature comes in close. As it enters the soft light of the village outskirts, the newcomers see something unlike they've seen before. A horrid leech like beast, moving about with wide spread limbs. If it wasn't for it's movement, it would be hard to tell which way it was even facing, no discernable face to be see, the only notes being a maw of razor fangs as it's head lifts up to sniff the air, turning to face towards the trap. It approaches the free food, the bait proving to be quite effective as it nears the box. It slithers around the pole, almost getting a free meal from you all. Luckily, it's size plays against it as it cannot help but take out the pole as it gorges on its meal, the cage coming down onto it. A haunting roar fills the village as it trashes against its prison. It's held for now, but it might not be long…"


"Attack?" River asks.
"Attack," Zjetya agrees.
"Attack…" Spitshine murmurs, desperately running calculations in his mind.
"Attack!" Sugar declares.
If Lockjaw and Hopper had punctuation to spare, they'd probably say the same.

River uses Repeating Fire! (Bowgun)

Zjetya uses Enfeeble! (Hunting Horn)

Spitshine uses Special Ammo: Poison! (Bowgun)

Sugar uses Sharpen! (Switch-Axe)

Hopper uses Inspire! (Hunting Horn)

Lockjaw uses Earthen Strike! (Unarmed)

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #3 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #4 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #5 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #6 1 + 2 = 3


"Taking advantage of the beast's confusion, you all draw your weapons to attack!"
Pryce looks over the dice thrown, jotting a few things down.
"Hopper starts with a mighty war cry with his horn, inspiring you all as you rush in. Sugar quickly sharpens up her axe, ensuring it'll break through any monster's hide. River fires a narrow, striking the beast in it's side as it roars in pain. But as Lockjaw rushes in to strike, it bursts free from it's cage with great force, knocking him to the ground. A shower of splinters fly everywhere, unfortunately hitting Spitshine and throwing his aim off, his arrow flying off to the side as he's scratched up. Zjetya plays out a haunting tune on her guitar, the beast swaying a bit as it's affected by the eerie music. Lockjaw is helpless, and Spitshine takes 2 hits of damage."

"The creatures roars in its freedom, eyeing your group, looking as if it's to run away again. However, it eyes the helpless dragon on the ground before it. You can swear it smiles, as if taunting, as it pounces forward for what it sees as a quick free meal!"
>Gigginox Pounce [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


River uses Repeating Fire again!

Zjetya uses a basic attack!

Spitshine uses Marksman Shot!

Sugar uses Great Strike!

Hopper uses Inspire again!

Lockjaw tries to get up!


Roll #1 1 + 3 = 4 / Roll #2 6 + 2 = 8 / Roll #3 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #4 9 + 3 = 12 / Roll #5 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #6 10 + 2 = 12


River and Hopper shriek in harmony at their dice results, much to Sugar and Zjetya's amusement. Lockjaw, meanwhile, goes absolutely nuts, thrashing about on the floor for no apparent reason, other than having fun.


Pryce can't help but chuckle a little at the harmonious shrieks of River and Hopper.

"The beast descends upon Lockjaw, but before it can land, Spitshine and Sugar move in tandem, her axe striking the creatures chest putting a halt to it's descend for the arrow to strike true, flinging the monster backwards and tumbling across the dirt! Lockjaw rolls up to his feet with ease, ready to go, while Zjetya follows up on the creature's folly with a strike on its back. Meanwhile, Hopper hits a sour note on his horn, playing an ear-piercing shriek. This hits River especially hard, her focuses breaking as the string of her bowgun snaps back, causing her to drop her gun as she stumbles back from the string. River is helpless. Everypony gets a -1 penalty next turn."

"The monster shakes off the dust as it rights itself, looking panicked and ready to flee. In desperation, it looks to Sugar, a rise of static in the air can be felt as a ball of lightning shoots out from it's mouth, aiming to take out the closest threat to buy itself some time!"
>Gigginox Lightning Shock [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


River tries to recover.

Zjetya uses another basic attack!

Spitshine uses a basic attack!

Sugar retaliates!

Hopper attempts Melody: Revitalize on River!

Lockjaw attempts a basic attack!

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 10 = 10 / Roll #3 8 = 8 / Roll #4 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #5 10 = 10 / Roll #6 4 + 1 = 5


"Sugar deftly avoids the lightning, striking the beast with a counter across the face. It roars, reeling back as an arrow from spitshine embeds into it's shoulder. Finding itself heavily outnumbered, it turns, attempting to flee to fight another day. Before it can take it's first step however, Zjetya comes down from above. Like a reaper in action, and one deadly swing of her cello-scythe, the monster finally meets its end."

"Lockjaw pounces on the fallen foe, making sure it truly is down for the count, while Hopper plays a melody to help relieve the pain on River as she gets back up. The creature is finally defeated, and the town's food supply is now safe again."


The party cheers, and go in for their carves.

In order: River, Zjetya, Spitshine, Sugar, Hopper, Lockjaw.


Roll #1 5, 9, 6, 2, 7, 9 = 38


"The veterans explain to the newcomers the island's custom to use as much of the monsters as they can, both for how they're mostly reliant purely on what the island provides, and how these creatures provide very sturdy materials. With careful knifework, you all manage to get a good Pelt and a Charge Hide from the Gigginox, except for Sugar, who only manages to get a simple pelt alone."

"The moon is starting to rise up in the sky, the first night for the newcomers has fallen on the island."


"Okay, how do you guys wanna spend the night?" Zjetya asks.
Sugar looks to Spitshine, obviously keen on him keeping up with being into the game.
"Well…" he fumbles, until an idea clicks. "Obviously we gotta get cleaned up and then hit the night life. Find out where everyone kicks back after a hunt!"
"A good plan," River says. "We can wrap up the session with that, then?"
Zjetya nods, and Hopper and Lockjaw grunt in affirmation.


Pryce nods as they decide their next step.
"You all head back to the guard hut, where you can clean up yourselves and your gear, and store your loot if you want to leave it there. After that, you head to the tavern, the main hangout spot to relax after a hunt or just a long day, with food, drink, and some games. As you all enter, those inside look to you with baited breath."

"Those shrieks… did it come back again?"
"Did it get our food?"
"Did you stop it?"

"Seems they all are full of questions, not surprising with the volume of the fight."


"We'll recount the battle to the gathered townsfolk," Spitshine says.
"And make us sound cool with dramatic music," Zjetya says. "We've got two hunting horn users right here!"


"You regale the townsfolk with your plans, setup, and triumphant battle with the beast, while Zjetya and Hopper add in fitting dramatic and bombastic music. They hang onto your every word, and when news that it was defeated and the food saved, they cheer for their heroes!"

"They did it!"
"Our food is saved!"
"Three cheers for our heroes!"
"First round for them is on me!"

"And all such more. This night looks like it'll be the best welcoming party you've seen."


"We won, then?" Spitshine asks.
"The point of the game is not truly to 'win,'" River elucidates. "We win simply by gathering together as friends to tell a story as a team and have fun, aided by a bit of random chance."
"Hell yeah we won!" Zjetya says. She bowls over Spitshine's figurine with a well-tossed die. Spitshine snorts and retaliates in kind. Sugar laughs, and the pets look equally amused. River shrugs, okay with coexisting with their notion of fun as well.

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