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Old 05-17-2018, 11:13 AM
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Room 23: A Pleasant Conversation

This room has been grown into a pleasant garden, and the faint smells of fresh herbs flow lightly in the air. The tree planted in the middle of the middle of the room is draped with strings of gold and jewels - but the tree was clearly not just a tree. It turned to look at you as you arrived, and said, "Hoom, welcome adventurers. Sit a while and rest under my boughs."

A single door to the west reads THE DEAD LORD.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:28 PM
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Tully Carver"Come along, then," Tully replied to Torak. He was unsure what to make of the half-orc's opinion on conversation. Had Torak never spent a night in a tavern?

* * * * *

The aroma of the room hit Tully before the sight of it did. I'm outside? No it's a garden and— "Is that a treasure tree?" The exclamation escaped Tully's mouth before he could stop himself. As the treasure tree turned, Tully understood. "Ah, you ain't just a tree. Well, I think I'll gladly have myself a sit and a rest. Thank you for the invitation!" Tully was torn between hoping that the room would be only what the door had said and wondering what the catch was. There was almost always a catch.

He sat as requested, although with the amount of pain he was in it took Tully a bit longer than usual to get all the way down. Legs crossed, he placed himself under the treasure-tree being's boughs and facing the thing's... face? Suddenly mindful of the two giant axes he carried and how a tree-looking being might feel about them, Tully set his main one on the ground next to him, then turned it so the blades were aimed away from the tree and the butt of the weapon was pointed toward it.

"Name's Tully Carver. What's yours? Also, if you don't mind the question, what kind of being are you? Admittedly, I don't get out into nature too much anymore, but I don't think I've met another being like you." Tully pulled a dark blue potion out of the bottom pouch of his bandolier and was about to drink when he realized that he should probably offer the treasure tree something as well. "Also, if you don't mind, I'm going to have a quick drink of this healing potion. It'll make me look a bit more presentable than I currently am. Uh, I also have a skin full of water. Can I offer you some?" It's like I'm in a tavern offering to buy someone a beer.

 

 

 

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Old 05-17-2018, 10:08 PM
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TorakAs he entered the room, Torak felt his heart jump into his throat. Before he could express his own amazement, Tully was shouting about the obvious glimmering tree in the middle of the room. He pulled out his sword and immediately started to head for the tree, planning to cut of as much treasure as he could before Tully. But just a few steps into the room, the tree began to move like it was turning to look at them.

The rogue's heart had issues again, this time it skipped a few beats. He followed his instincts and ducked behind a bush, hoping the tree didn't see him. But then, it talked. Adventurers. Plural. Dammit. Torak took a second to compose himself and sheathed his weapon as he stood up to face the creature.

Tully didn't appear to be too surprised to see a talking tree any more and was already sitting under it's boughs. Seems a bit foolish in his condition. No concern at all that it might be a trap. Perhaps he's not as smart as he seemed earlier, the half-orc thought, stepping closer but keeping an eye on the plants, looking for any signs of movement that were out of the ordinary.

"Why is your room the last room after the Dead Lord? Do you even know of the Dead Lord?"


 


 

 
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:11 AM
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"Ohh yes, him. I wanted myself some peace and quiet, I did." The tree spoke, "So the God of Challenges put me here, good and out of the way."

"But I'm happy to have some nice company too. Especially polite ones." The tree reached down a branch to take Tully's offered waterskin, and drink the entire thing down. "That was delicious."

"As to whom I am, they call me the Giving Tree - but I'm just an old ent with a generous nature is all. The God gave me some beautiful works to hold in my branches - would either of you like any?"
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Old 05-18-2018, 10:23 AM
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TorakThe Giving Tree's response was far from what Torak had expected. But then, he didn't really know what he expected from a talking tree that was bedazzled in jewels. Still skeptical, the rogue eyed all of the treasure in the branches, assessing what he felt might be the most valuable and trying to come up with a plan to leave with most of it himself. But Tully was still here which meant it would be nearly impossible to leave with all of it himself. That man seemed to love to hear himself talk and if that's what the tree wanted, it was not something the half-orc could provide. If talk is what deemed who would get the most treasure, Torak knew he was out matched.

When treasure was offered, his caution meter went to red alert: was this a trap, some kind of trick, was the treasure cursed in some way? Cautiously, Torak replied, "Yes, we would both like some treasure I'm sure. That does seem to be the point of this strange dungeon anyway. But would you so willingly give it to us and ask nothing in return?"

The half-orc's eyes shot over to Tully to see what he made of this situation then back to the tree. "Tell me more about this God that put you here. Why did he create this dungeon and what purpose does it serve for them?"


 


 

 

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Old 05-18-2018, 11:52 AM
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Tully CarverWhile the Ent relieved him of his water, Tully took the opportunity to down his cure serious woundspotion. He tucked both the empty vial and the empty waterskin into his Haversack, which was one of the rare exceptions to Tully's belief that most magical things should be potions.

In response to both the Giving Tree's description of itself and Torak's question about the Ent's willingness to give, Tully says, "Torak, I think I can answer your first question and speak well of the Giving Tree's nature at the same time. Generosity makes the world a better place. I realize that sounds a bit funny coming from an old treasure hunter like me, especially since I keep sayin' I'm here to get myself enough riches to retire on, but I'm convinced it's the truth. In Storm City, where I'm from, I sometimes protect people who need it.

"A tailor in my town was being bullied by his son, a dumb kid who was falling into evil ways. The kid was bigger and stronger than his dad, but he was smaller and weaker than me. So I gave the tailor what I had, which was my strength. I straightened the kid out, and he mended his ways. I didn't ask for nothin'; I just did what I could to help. Now that tailor does the same for me. He'll always fix my trousers when they get ripped and won't ever let me pay him for it, no matter how much I offer him. He is generous because I was generous.

"I also gave my strength to an old woman who lives in town. We had a wolverine problem a few years back, and they had her cornered in an alley. I protected her and fought off all the wolverines. I gave her both my strength and my skin—I still got the scars from the couple of beasts that bit me that night. Because I was generous, she lived through that night. Now, when I stop by her bakery, she comes out, or sends her daughter or granddaughter—cute kid—and insists I take a free muffin. She is generous because I was generous.

"Without generosity, the old lady would be dead, the tailor would be living a miserable life, the tailor's son would be in jail or worse, and I'd have to pay for tailoring and muffins. We're all better off because of generosity, and a generous nature is 'bout the most honorable thing there is."
As Tully told his short stories, he had been See Perception and Appraise checks under spoilerbutton.scanning the Giving Tree's branches to see what was there.

"And so, Honorable Giving Tree, as an Ent with a generous nature, I'd imagine you have similar stories to tell, and I'd be happy to hear them (or about the god, as Torak asked) if you are up for continued conversation. And if not, I understand the desire for peace and quiet. I'm hoping to retire into the same thing myself.

"That said, my—"
Friend? No. Companion? Maybe. What is Torak to me? "—fellow explorer is correct in saying that we would be grateful for anything and as much as you would be willing to give. However, if I could choose just one of the things the god gave you, it would be... that." Tully pointed to what he thought was the most valuable thing up there.

 



 

 

 

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Old 05-19-2018, 08:55 PM
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"The strength of quiet giving is indeed as your talkative friend says. For truly, a world full of people living their lives to the fullest is a world where the most fantastic things can happen."

The ent's branches bent down, showing an array of treasures to Tully and Torak. "Take one each - I'd like to save some for the next people through here." The tree said. Torak took the largest one he could reach, a worth 1d4 TPdazzling diamond necklace, while Torak had already decided on a bracelet carved with Worth 3 TPnested layers of golden pattern.

"The god of challenges is a strange fellow, to be sure. Even where gods are concerned. He draws powers from mortals who reach to become more than they are. These challenges and the treasures they provide? They all feed into his strength. For, while you see this as a competition to win, he sees this as a tribute to him."
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Old 05-20-2018, 11:40 AM
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TorakTorak contemplates what the others say about kindness and the return it offers. If that were true, nobody in this world would care about money or posessions, he thought. But it would also make Tully's stories moot. He would have never needed to help those people.

"What was that gong a few moments ago?" the half-orc asked, changing the subject instead of stating his point. He also watched carefully as the human took his treasure, half expecting some sort of trick. When it became apparent nothing was going to happen, Torak stepped up to the tree and took the
Dice TP Roll - for my bunghole:
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prize offered. "What will you do with the rest of the treasure if nobody else comes? It would be a waste to leave it here when I could easily enough help you lighten your load."


 


 

 

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Old 05-20-2018, 03:28 PM
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Tully Carver"Thank you much, Giving Tree!" said Tully, as he stood up to lift the bracelet he had marked off of its branches. "I'm not sure how I feel about being the god's unwitting pawn. I s'pose it's too late to worry about that now, though. I guess—" The sound of the gong shut Tully up momentarily.

"Hmm. I wonder if it's a sign that our time in this Labyrinth is coming to an end. It feels like we've barely seen any of it, but there were a lot of people at the other entrances, and we're at least the second group to go in today."

Tully shouldered his axe. "I'm still convinced there's a hidden door on the northern wall, though. This is a room of rest and peace, but I just can't believe the only way here is through the Dead Lord. We came in through the Trickster's Gate; there's gotta be a trick door somewhere." He walked to the northern wall and began to poke and prod at it, then turned back to the Giving Tree. "Unless you know where there's an exit that doesn't involve going back through the Dead Lord's room? For some reason, he really had it out for me, and I'd rather not face him again if he's regenerated while we were in here."

 

 

 

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Old 05-21-2018, 10:11 AM
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+1 to Ytter for THIS post, which included a nice story.
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:39 AM
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OODMTo officially post the correction: Tully got one treasure, and Torak got the other. They both ended up being worth 3TP, which was a nice coincidence.


"I suppose, if nobody else comes, I shall get to keep the remaining treasure." The tree said, "You needen'y worry much about me - I'm safe and comfortable here. Unless, of course, one of the Cleaners comes here. But we're in a far corner of the dungeon - I doubt they would come here unless someone tempted them."

Tully did his best to search for secret doors, but there was nothing - the only way in or out of the room was through THE DEAD LORD.

"Don't worry about the dead lord. If he's dead, he wouldn't regenerate here." The tree supplied, "only a handful of rooms will reset at all, and certainly not junctions like him."
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:27 PM
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Tully CarverTully listened to the ent while fruitlessly inspecting the wall. Safe and comfortable unless a Cleaner shows up? They can be tempted to show up? I think I'd rather not know what that means. Truth be told, I'm starting to get a bad vibe from this whole dungeon. A front room full of basically unguarded treasures, some reverse-healing death lord, a "giving" tree eager to keep its treasures, and a god who advertises this whole place as a treasure hunt but views it as a tribute to himself? No wonder I've never met anyone willing to say more about this place than that it exists and contains treasures. Running through everything he knew about the Labyrinth at once reminded Tully of the only time he had ever abandoned an otherwise-straightforward exploration—and the terrible cost he had paid for not taking it seriously enough while he was there.

The Mad Mansion of Man-de-LahDrovak, the fence and magic item dealer who passed to Tully the out-of-town rumors of riches he had heard, had shared an odd tale. "So there's this abandoned mansion southeast across the sea and south to the Grand Duchy of Man-de-Lah. Not even a dungeon or castle, just a bigger-than-average house. There's supposed to be an enormous treasure in the master suite, but apparently no one's ever made it there. Something in the house makes people just up and leave after they run into it. Legend has it that people come out of that place, and they just aren't quite right anymore. They turn forgetful or become easily confused or some other nonsense that can't possibly be true. Up for a trip?"

"Yeah, I'm runnin' a bit low on gold, so definitely time to head out exploring again. This place sounds like a piece of cake."

"That's what I thought. If the treasure stuff is true, it should be an amazing haul."

* * * * *

"What the feck?" "What the feck?" "What the feck?" "What the feck?" The mansion had been surprisingly easy work to this point. A few of the usual monsters had jumped at him, and they had all been swiftly chopped into pieces. Tully had also managed to find some valuable jewels tucked into a couch cushion. The place had seemed too good to be true—right until Tully opened a black door to a room at the same time that three other Tullys had done the same.

One eight-foot by eight-foot room, illuminated with a magical light emanating from the ceiling. Four doors. Four Tullys.

There was silence as the copies studied each other. Three were mirror images of each other; the Tully opposite This is the name I'm giving the Tully you've been following for all of Outplay.Tully Prime had a scar running down his face, although everything else about him was the same, as well. Axes held high, the four Tullys all took a tentative step inside the room, then SLAM! The doors all closed at the same time and with a surprising amount of force—enough to push all the Tullys into each other at the center of the room. At the same moment, the light went out, and with a RUMMMMMMMBLE the room started to spin, knocking the Tullys to the floor with a clatter. "Hey!" "Whoa!" "Look out!" "Watch your axes!"

The spinning didn't last long, but the room remained dark, and the only sound afterward for a few seconds was that of rummaging through pockets and pouches. The other three had each located their ioun torches in the time it took Tully Prime to down a potion of lightless seeing. "Right. Ioun torch. I always forget—"

The Tully on Tully Prime's left pointed to his opposite wall. "The doors are gone!" Each Tully turned around to see a blank wall behind him.

The Tully on Tully Prime's right broke the confused silence. "So, what is this? Are you doppelgangers? Illusions?"

Scarface Tully responded, "Well, I dunno what you are, but I'm the real Tully."

"I think we're all the real Tully. I know I am, so that's at least three of us who feel that way." He looked at Left Tully.

"Yeah, me too. So what's that make this?"

"Must be... Must be the reason no one's found the treasure in here yet?"

"How'd you get that scar, anyway?"

"Some idiot calling himself the Doom Wizard." At this, the other three Tullys all let out an ohh of recognition. "Wait, you've fought him too?"

"I remember he had surprisingly good swordsmanship for a wizard." Scarface Tully looked irritated at this comment. "That was one of the tougher fights. Wasn't he right after the Dislikable—hey, your door's back!"

The Tullys looked around. All the doors were back. The light also returned. Four greataxes were on the floor.

"So whose axe is whose?"

"Mine matches my spare." The other Tullys murmured assent, but all eight weapons were identical. In the end, each Tully left with two weapons, one of which was definitely his. As Tully Prime exited through his door, he was relieved to find himself in the same hallway. He turned back to look at the door, but it had vanished, and with it went the last shred of Tully's interest in the mansion's treasure. Although he had forced himself to remain calm in the room—and could tell the other Tullys were doing the same—whatever dark magic was at work was so far beyond him that all he wanted was to get on the first ship back to Storm City. I've killed some dangerous sh*t, but you can't hit magic like that with an axe.

* * * * *

"...and that's why all I got are these jewels I found in a couch cushion. Whatcha think they're worth, Drovak?"

The fence cocked his head at the name. "Who's Drovak? You know my name is Dirk."


"Torak." Torak, who, unlike Tully, was native-born to this existence. Torak, who had never known anything but twelve constellations; there was no thirteenth zodiac sign here. Torak, who didn't have to relearn the names of half the people he had known because they were different here. (Tully had long pondered—to no avail—whether there was any cosmic significance to either the new-names or the people who had the same name as they did before Tully changed universes. He had yet to notice a concrete pattern.) Torak, who didn't have to become an amazing liar just to stop people from thinking he was insane.

Torak, who might indeed drink just heavily as Tully did, but probably not to dull the pain of choosing the wrong door home.

"Torak, I think I've had enough of the Labyrinth. I'm going before something bad happens." The sudden change in Tully's demeanor was drastic; he had gone from chatty and curious to abrupt, emotionless paranoia. "There's no hidden door here. I'm going to head out the way we came in. I need a beer. Right. Now. Giving Tree, it was nice meeting you." Tully elected not to repeat his invitation that the ent get in touch should it ever desire further conversation.

The still-somewhat-singed warrior shouldered his greataxe and left the room the way he had come in without another word to either the half-orc or the ent.

 

 

 

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Old 05-23-2018, 11:11 AM
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TorakThe rogue watched as Tully changed. His carefree attitude, his certainty that a hidden door existed, his outlook on life. Everything was just washed away in a single moment after the tree had spoke. It was a pathetic sight to see a man crushed so easily. It didn't matter to Torak that this was a dead end, it didn't even matter that his time available for exploring this place was nearly at an end. He had come by this God dungeon by pure happenstance and had received some valuable treasure for his limited efforts.

When the human trudged out of the door into the Dead Lords chamber, Torak turned back to the tree. "Now that he's gone, let's get to business. I want more of the treasures in your branches. The God of this dungeon thrives on people that come here and claim the treasures within. It would make sense that by leaving with more of the treasure it would serve as an even greater tribute to your God's glory, wouldn't it," he eyed the tree's branches, contemplating how easy it would be to climb and take what he wanted. But a sentient and moving tree was something he had never experienced and wondered what sort of defense it might have against that.

The half-orc's voice took on a dark, disturbingly calm tone as he looked the tree directly in the eyes and said, "You say you are safe from the cleaners here unless they are tempted to come this way? I have no problems tempting them to come here. I also suspect you are no fan of fire, being made of wood.
Dice Intimidate:
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So, will it be treasure or the alternatives?"


 


 


 


 


 

 

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Old 05-23-2018, 11:28 AM
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OODMOkay, I was already liking that story until you pulled the Drovak/Dirk thing. +1 TP for amusing the judges, and +1TP more for the excellent writing of the piece.


Tully leaves Torak alone with the Giving Tree, and heads off to Proceed to Room 22: THE DEAD LORDTHE DEAD LORD.

(but then, fortunately, the GM refreshed and Torak had posted)

Alone for the moment, Torak looks the giving tree dead in the eye, and gives it an ultimatum. It wasn't one he was completely confident he could keep - he could probably take an Ent, so long as it didn't have any strange magic up its sleeve. But the ent seemed to be weighing Torak's ultimatum too. Finally, it answered, "Very well. Begone." The tree shook it's branches, and worth
Dice Roll:
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TP
a golden plate fell out of them, striking Torak (harmlessly) on tge head.

"A wise decision," Torak replied taking as much treasure as he could before turning to leave the room. "A being as old as you, living a peaceful life here is smart to value your own existence over these trinkets that offer no value to you. I, on the other hand, am not tied to this place and can find many uses for these treasures. Who knows," he continued, just steps from the Dead Lord door, "Maybe I'll even try your 'helping others' thing with these items." Before the tree could reply, he stepped through the door to Proceed to Room 22: THE DEAD LORDTHE DEAD LORD, and vanished into the shadows.
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Old 05-25-2018, 08:56 AM
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The whole labyrinth begins to shake. The walls crumble and begin to fade. This year's competition is just about to end.
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