Thursday, December 3, 2015

Adventure: The Witch's Friend (update 6)

Introducing The Witch's Friend!

This adventure will be a bit of a different CYOA, focusing on probably one particular transformation rather than a bunch of branches and endings. It will also be run differently; rather than me coming up with a bunch of directions a particular page can go to, every page's comment section is a forum for suggestions on what should happen next.

I will basically pick my favorite suggestion(s) from those given, and branch off events from each. More than one mutually compatible suggestion may make it into the same page after the one in which they are suggested.

What's New? 
Update 0-It exists! Now seeking suggestions for moving forward from the beginning.
Update 1-Two branches begun! Fair warning, even events and facts prior to the story's beginning may differ from one branch to another until established somewhere along the branch.
Update 2-One step forward added to each of U1's branches.
Update 3-3 new bits, one of which has an image! I've amended the section above to reflect the reality that suggestions don't really just decide what the main character does next, but may dictate what other characters do and even events not connected to any character at all.
Update 4-4 new pieces (don't expect this pattern to continue though, honestly)!
Update 5-3 new pieces, one of which has an image!
Update 6-1 new piece; small update.

Also, my rant in the Magical Day post about trying to make the site look better still applies.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The "Best" RPG Ever-17

The castle was really starting to show its age now: The corridor the party of four was trying to follow their target through was full of rubble, requiring all of them to climb around carefully, and take the occasional pause so Zack could push some of it around to make more room.

"So, theories. What do you think this thing is?" said Katherine.
"You're the one who said 'boggart' earlier," Mika chimed in.
"Well yes, but..that doesn't quite make sense. I didn't feel particularly afraid of what I saw, and neither did Zack. Or, did you?"
"No," he said flatly.

The psion thought a little more. "Was it acting in self-defense? Does it think this place belongs to it and we're intruding?"
"It was taunting me to attack it," said the knight.
"It was taunting you to attack me. If it doesn't like all of us being here, killing off one or two like that would be a quick way to get the rest to run away. In theory, at least."
"Are you..sure it was really taunting you?" said Nora.
"Well, I mean, w-what did it say?"
"None of your business."

Katherine sighed. "Let me put it this way. It looked like you. Did it say something you could imagine yourself saying?"
"No. Never."
"So, it said something you'd hate yourself if you said."
"Why is this about me all of a sudden?"
"It's not about you, it's about the monster! Or whatever we're dealing with. We can't get a clear picture of how it works without more information about what it did to make you so angry."

Zack dropped the rock he'd been moving, and sighed. "It looked like me in a wedding gown."
"So?" said Mika. "You'd look pretty good in a gown."
"It implied I was marrying someone. A guy."
Katherine nodded. "Mhm..And you think of yourself as a guy. You might not be afraid exactly of acting like a girl so much you decide to marry a man, but the idea is at least very upsetting. Right?"
He shrugged. "I guess so."

After an hour or so of walking and resting, Aria said, "So hey, you know, what this party really needs is a healer. Like, a dedicated healer to keep everyone else alive and stuff."
"No, ya think?" said Rayna.
"Mnghf," grunted Lynn. "No argument here."
"Any idea how far off we are now?"
Rayna looked up, turned around in a circle, then looked down at the ground, then forward again. "I'd say..we're a little more than halfway there."

Katherine said, "Saaay, you looked really worried about me getting hurt. I didn't know you liked me that much!"
He stopped, turned around to face her, crossed his arms, glared. "I don't like you. I dislike you. There's a slight chance I hate you. But I dislike seeing people get hurt more." And then turned back around and continued, ears folded completely back against his head.
"Uh.." Nora said, "..A-are you sure your mind hasn't been rewritten some to match the 'knight' class when it changed your body?"
"Hmph. Not unless it rewrote most of my memories, too. And I don't wanna even think about that."

Mika stopped in her tracks, her head forming an idea too rapidly to concentrate on anything else. And then she had to scramble over some of the rocks saying, "Hey! Heey!" to catch up.
The others turned around, and Katherine said, "What?"
"I think I get it. It's a troll."
"A troll." said Zack. "Last time I checked, trolls don't do anything this thing does."
"No no," she said, shaking her head, "not a fantasy troll. Like, a person who's a troll? It doesn't care what happens as long as it gets a reaction out of people. It didn't do anything but look like a spider for a second to Nora because she screamed at that right away, and I think it tried to scare me with an angel because I look kinda like a demon to it? It kept looking like you in a wedding dress when you reacted to that," she said, turning to Zack, "and got a reaction out of her" (here pointing at the cat-girl) "by getting you to attack her!"

Katherine scratched her head. "That...makes sense. It didn't kill anyone based on the report we got. But why make the guards not remember it before sending them back? And more concerningly, how?"
"If it sent back guards with some clue of what was here, there wouldn't be any reason for more people to come around other than to try and get rid of it," said Zack. "A mystery means people would keep coming here to figure out what it is, without a clear idea on how to get rid of it.

"..I'm as worried about how as you are. Why don't you write down what we've figured out so far, in case that happens?" He got out the notebook and handed it to Katherine.
"Why don't I? Why don't you?"
"I have to move rocks," he said flatly, and started on the way forward again.

"Hey, could you open your mouth for a sec?" said Lynn at another rest.
Aria did as requested. "Aaaah. How come?"
"Well, when you first showed up, your teeth were huge and sharp-looking, like you were some kinda horror-movie monster or something."
"That's weird. They've never been sharp before. Maybe it's a demon sword thing?"
"Hmm..I dunno," said Rayna, staring at her. "Your race isn't listed as human. It's..I'm not sure how to pronounce that row of letters. Maybe you're some kind of shapeshifter?"
"Well, how would I be able to tell?"
The fox-girl shrugged. "Try to have sharp teeth?"
"I'll try, I guess. Hnngh." Aria had closed her eyes and clenched her mouth, expecting it to be difficult, but as soon as she thought about her teeth growing big and sharp, she could feel them moving around. She opened her eyes again, halfway opened her mouth and probed with her tongue a bit to find they had changed just as imagined. "Well, lookit that," she said with a bit of difficulty thanks to the altered shape of her mouth, and then shifted them back. "I wonder what else I can change?"

"What if you can turn back into a guy?" suggested Lynn.
"Yeah, I'll try that!" Aria stood up and tried to turn back to how she'd looked before entering the game. She could feel her hair sliding up her back as it shortened, her chest pulling in slightly, and her figure becoming steadily less pronounced, but the change stopped at just a more androgynous female, well short of a truly male appearance, much less actually turning her into a man.
"Wow. That's..a pretty dramatic change," said Rayna, noticing her hair and eye colors had even shifted around. "Does it feel like you're straining anything to stay like that?"
"No," said Aria, and paused to note that her voice had deepened somewhat, almost enough to mistake for a man's. "It didn't take any more effort than the teeth did, either. But it does feel...I dunno, unnatural? Like I don't think I could get used to this very quickly." She quickly shifted back to her earlier appearance: long white hair, green eyes, bigger chest, so on. She was now exactly as she had started, despite not really having thought of what she was shifting to in any more detail than 'turn back'.

"Say...your clothes changed to fit you, too," said Lynn.
"I didn't tell them to do that. I mean, not the way I told my body to change. Maybe they're enchanted to do that or something?"
"If you buy some more clothes and shift in them we'll find out," said Rayna. "What about fuzzy parts? Like, I grew this tail and furry ears when I picked a class.."
"Let's see!" said Aria excitedly, and tried to give herself fox parts like the illusionist's. Her ears visibly grew in size, became covered in fuzz that progressed into fur, and soon began wiggling around; at the same time, a thick-furred tail slowly pushed its way out from her back. Her fur was white like her hair, except at the tips, where it was black. "Wow, this is neat!" she said, pulling the tail around to her front and hugging it.
"Does that feel unnatural?" said Rayna.
"Kinda? A lot less so." She let go of the tail and tried walking around a bit. "I'm not having any trouble balancing with this. Hey, I wonder if I can change my stats like this!" She tried changing again, focusing specifically on making her muscles stronger, but it just felt like she was tensing all of them normally, and she relaxed after a few seconds.
"I'm not seeing any difference," said Rayna.

"H-hold on!" Nora stopped at a door, and the others stopped to turn and look at what she was doing. She closed her eyes and walked forward a couple of steps, then back to the door, turning to face it. "It..doesn't go past here. And it's a-a lot stronger through this door than most of the trail was."
"So, you think the troll-ghost-whatever is through there?" said Katherine.
"It's..l-likely. Should we go in?"
"The door opens out, and there's too much junk in the way. I'd have to break it," said Zack, "so no element of surprise if we do."

"Wait-wait-wait, I thought we already figured out what is," said Mika, "shouldn't we just leave?"
"Correction: We figured out what it wants," said Katherine, "or at least we think we did. We still don't understand its nature well enough for someone to get rid of it, or decide whether they should."
"Can you tell there's something in there?" said Zack, looking at the psion.
She closed her eyes as if to think for a few seconds, and then opened them. "No. I'm sure I could sense it if it had a physical brain, so it must not."
"Then..neither of us can do anything to it, if it isn't physical. So I'll break the door, and you two start throwing fire in," he said, waving the witch and weaver closer.
"I'm not sure I can throw fire.." said Nora.
"Well, do some kind of magic attack. We need to know if it can be hit by those."

After giving them a moment to get ready, Zack smashed in the door with his sword, and pointedly stepped back, not looking inside. Mika stepped forward and threw a fireball in, lighting up what seemed to be a storage room for banners with a big barrel labelled 'TNT' in the middle. Nora held off while the witch made her fire float above the ground and circle around the room. "Where is it?" she said.
"I-it's, uh--" Nora closed her eyes, reaching out to pinpoint the location of the thing, and pointed straight at the barrel. "It's either inside of that or it is that," she said.
"Hang on!" Zack quickly switched to Dark Form and held up his magic-shield between the doorway and the rest of the party. "Okay, try it."
Mika nodded and waved the fire right toward the barrel, which hopped sideways away from it; the fire continued on its course toward the doorway and hit the knight's shield before he could get out of the way, which put it out.
"Hmmnp!" Nora tried pulling some of the stone bricks out of the wall next to the thing with enough force to hit it, and they passed straight through it. There was a giggling sound, and the barrel seemed to fall straight down through the floor.

"Where'd it go?" said Katherine, looking around.
"I..I think it's still below us. But it's leaving..that way?" said Nora, pointing at a nearby wall. "I'm sorry, I don't think I can track it.."
"It's okay," said the psion. "At least now we know it doesn't like magic demon fire. And it's definitely immune to physical attacks."
"So, should we go report about it now?" said Mika.
Zack thought about it for a moment and then nodded. "We should at least try and head toward the exit, see if it does anything to stop us."

Rayna looked ahead at the town's walls and gates, the guards standing outside of them. "Ah, finally, civilization!"
"Mmh, yeah." Lynn nodded. "For as medieval-looking as it does, it's surpisingly comforting to see."

One of the guards ran up to the three girls as they got closer. "Are you hurt?" she said to the archer.
"Yeah. Big brute clubbed me in the side. They're not, though."
"Well, I could use a nice bath after all this," said the fox-girl; the guard ignored her and yelled for some more to come over.
"It'll have to wait. Tell the captain what we found." The guards were getting ready to outright carry her inside. "And you—" She pointed to Aria. "—No murdering in town."
"What about out of town?" asked the shifter just as Lynn was about to be out of earshot.
"Probably not!" she shouted back.

They had to wait outside the captain's office for a few minutes. Rayna had an attentive look, her ears turned partially toward the door.
"What? Can you hear what's going on in there?" asked Aria.
"Not with you talking two inches away."
"Well, I expect you to tell me."
"Why don't you just get your own ears?"
"I can't—oh, wait."

She went with cat ears this time. It wasn't entirely clear how she knew the difference, but it worked well enough. It seemed the captain was scolding a guard who had been in a drunken brawl the night before. Her voice was very quiet but not pleasant, instead sounding like there was such an overload of rage that it wrapped back around to seeming calm. This, Aria decided, would not be a smart person to provoke.

After a while, the guard walked out of the office looking nearly distraught, and the captain stuck her head out the door, looking at the illusionist. "Good, you're back. Where's your partner?"
"She's getting a wound fixed. Also, this is Aria, she's..well, we'd better explain in private."
The captain nodded. "Come in."

Rayna handed over the sketchbook and went through an explaination of her findings, ending with the tear and explaining that Aria had come out of it. The captain occasionally asked for clarification, and turned to the white-haired girl at this last point. "So where did you come from?"
"Um..I can't exactly remember," said Aria. "I mean, I remember being somewhere with a sword stuck in the ground and pulling it out, and then cutting a hole and jumping through it, but most of before that is a blur."
"You still have this sword? Show it to me."
"Okay." She brought out the sword, still in its sheath, and leaned it against the captain's desk. "I, uh, it wouldn't be a good idea to unsheathe it."

The captain picked up the sword and examined it, and Aria found herself having to push back against an urge to punch the small woman and take it back immediately. After a moment, though, it was handed back, the captain giving a face somehow even more serious than usual.
"This is a demon blade. For a while, dangerously powerful demons were sealed into physical forms like this one and bound to their masters. The problem is that the demon influences whoever owns the blade, and tends to drive the master insane. The loophole for keeping the problem truly at bay was to kill the masters and seal them in a way that made it very difficult for anyone to claim it, so that it had no master to influence. Do you remember why you took this out?"
Aria put the sword back in her 'inventory' once it was in her hands. "Not really? I'm sure I knew it was powerful, and wanted it for something, but I can't remember what."
"It may be an effect of the wards on the blade. If you went to all the trouble of finding it you would've known it had them, and been willing to pay the price. What does the blade want?"
"Blood." And then, realizing how sudden and blunt the answer had been: "Err, I mean it seems like it does.."

The captain nodded. "The blade answered before you could even think about it. That's..not the worst appetite you could have ended up with. If you intend to work here and feed it the blood of monsters, I have no objections. But if I even think you're sating its hunger with innocent people, I will kill you."
Aria blinked a couple of times, and nodded. "Yeah. Okay. I'll keep that in mind."

Rayna decided to try and change the subject. "So, uh, if you don't mind me asking, and since we're both sworn to secrecy on it anyway, do you know what the stuff I looked at is, exactly?"
"Demon summoning ritual," said the captain. "Tears a hole for one to come through, then closes it right away. The space will heal with time, but it was very fresh to be weak enough for her sword to cut through it."
"Demon? Like what's in my sword?"
"Same category of beast, but much weaker. If something like what's in your sword came through we would know about it."
"You think someone's trying to make a demon army and attack the town or something?" asked Rayna.

She shook her head. "It's a much more difficult ritual to seal it after just one comes through. This is classic witch or warlock work. To the end of becoming an archdemon—which, despite the name, are not necessarily hostile—a witch or a warlock summons, kills, and eats demons to take their power. One at a time is usually the way, since being stronger attracts stronger demons and it's much easier to kill just one at a time."
"So, is this a danger to the town or not?" said Aria.
"I don't know yet. I need to talk with some people first.

"At any rate, your job is done. I'll make sure your compensation is taken care of."

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fox's Beach

I don't know why so many foxes lately. I have like 3 or 4 more fox images with captions in the works for them, too. If you don't like the foxes I'm sorry, I can't help it.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Winds of Change

In addition to posting this caption up, I'd like to call everyone's attention to the "Writing Status" up in the top-right area of this blog. I've changed what information it gives from "vague idea of my current ability to write" to "information on how far along various projects are in hopes of giving some clue as to how long until a new thing is posted".

Included is a note on how many of The Witch's Friend pages already posted up actually need more suggestions before I can continue; if you want to help with that issue, look for pages with just 1 or 2 comments on them.