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  #16  
Old 08-09-2019, 04:53 AM
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Ikol
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Ikol

As Kayne lay his hands upon Ikol, the goblin squirmed slightly being unaccustomed to physical contact with others... especially those with kind smiles...or elves... He grimaced and suppressed the desire to gag at the sensation but recognised it for what it was.

As the elf withdrew his hand Ikol grabbed him by the sleeve and down to eye-level and grasped his cheeks. Ikol stared into his face. For an uncomfortable moment it looked like the goblin might kiss the elven warlock but then his face began to contort as if forcing something bodily from himself... the sort of face associated with a lack of bran in the diet... Ikol's hands began to glow with aura of pink-tinged light... suddenly the pressure ceased and Ikol gasped in relief and he watched unsurely as some of the elf's cast: Cure Wounds (level 1)wounds healed
Dice Cure Wounds (level 1):
D8+3 (3)+3 Total = 6
(6). "Now... we're... even... thank you... frie... fien...fr..." he tried to force the word forth but choked on it each time he tried. "Thank you" he concluded.

Ikol spun away from Kayne, "That was particularly unpleasant" he muttered to his staff "I think we have a lot of work to do with our therapist... not enough cuddles... or maybe too many..."

-------

Vordur's question came as a surprise to Ikol. One moment he was getting felt up by an elf, the next a dwarf wanted his advice on matters of the arcane. "Ummmm... yes quite so... 'arcane'..." he crossed his arms and tried to develop a deep and thoughtful expression... "Yes, I concur, certainly 'arcane'... no handles you see... very likely ar...cane..."

After a brief pause a thought came to Ikol, a genuine thought, a smart one, oh yes not even fake smart... real smart. "Or" he proclaimed suddenly to the dwarf "The door might be 'magical'" He suggested.

Ikol looked at the glowing runes, looked at them not read them, the struggle was rarely worth it or his understanding sensicle. "So we each poor something into the orb that defines us, our essence." he restated Kayne's assertion to himself.

The elf had proclaimed himself a paladin and then had given the stone a taste of his #metoo hands.

The dwarf than said something dwarfy in his thick unintelligible accent before channeling his invisible sky daddy into the stone.

Ikol was the last to touch the sphere. He had to stand on tiptoes to reach it. Then he pushed a foot against the pedestal and the magical stickiness of his footwraps aided him in reaching the necessary point on the sphere. He placed his own palm into the mold then recited a limerick.

There once were adventurers, three.
Who were surviving to a respectable degree.
The three found ball,
and in poured their all,
and through the door they walked free.

The Goblin then lent into the orb and cast: vicious mockerywhispered gently
Dice Vicious Mockery:
D4 2
(2) "If you're quiet, you can hear them too" and he opened his mind up to the stone and allowed the voices within his head to speak.


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Last edited by Zinrokh; 08-09-2019 at 05:09 AM.
  #17  
Old 08-09-2019, 09:32 AM
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Feed the SphereKayne, followed by Vordur and finally Ikol placed their hands on the orb. It felt cold to the touch, but heavy and immovable. Simply touching the orb clearly was not going to have the desired impact, though none of them guessed that would be the case.

Kayne used his divine hands to send some energy into the Orb. As he did so, he felt like an ethereal tendril had lacked onto his chest, and began sucking out his essence. He got the sense that his act of divine healing itself did nothing to satisfy the orb, but it caught onto something of his, and siphoned some of it into itself. It felt hungry like the small offering was barley enough to awake the appetite inside the orb. Consequently, a very small amount of white smoke started to swirl in the bottom of the orb.

Vordur was next to call upon his divine magic. He felt a similar sensation, again his magic itself didn't seem to be what the Orb was feeding on. Rather, it pulled at his will, desiring for more. A little more smoke started to swirl inside the orb.

Ikol was last to try the trick. Hands onto the orb, he conjured his magic, trying to mock the orb. It had no ego to be insulted but latched onto the goblins personality. Ikol too felt the etherial tendril latch onto his soul, and start to feed. A little more of the orb was filled with the white smoke.

All three of the adventurers felt the pull of the orb, hungry for more. At their current pace, it was going to take a long time to fill it with their essence. But, it was their choice to give, or not. All in all, the Orb was about one third filled.
OODMKayne and Ikol each have 1 point of Charisma permanently removed. Vordur has 1 point of Wisdom permanently removed.
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  #18  
Old 08-09-2019, 01:27 PM
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Kayne Cyire | Male Half-Elf: Hexblade (3) / Paladin (5) | Level 8


HP: 52/65 (Temp: 0)| AC: 18 (20 with shield and Longsword) (+5 w/ shield spell) | Speed: 30' | Hit Dice: 3/3d8 -5/5d10 | Lay on Hands: 15/25 | Pearl of Power: Used | Wand of Pact Keeper Spell Slot Feature: Not used | Status: Here we go...


 

How Much Will You Sacrifice for Your Goals...



Kayne felt… diminished…

This was not simply a withdrawal of power or resources, it was not a tax on his reserves, this was a sacrifice of his very soul. In order to proceed, in order to allow these other competitors to proceed, he would have to give much of himself, some might say too much.

He would be diminished, his strength lessened, his skills lessened, himself lessened.

If any withholds, all will fail.

Kayne looks up to the dwarf and the goblin, each looking as diminished as he was, and likely as surprised as he was. "This trial seems to insist that it change us. I would understand if all of you wish to stop now, to turn around and make your escape before this… leech of a spell takes more of your being…"

Kayne paused for a moment. Allowed the doubts and thoughts to float through his mind.

Images of overcoming prejudice and being accepted by his mentors. His unique style of swordwork. His ability to persuade, uplift, and effectively hide his own darkness…

Then there were images of Nadia… both as he left her in the forest and most recently as he saw her, imprisoned and tortured by the Nightwalker, his mortal enemy. He thought of Berthe, Evik, Vash, and Byrn. He thought of these two, Vordur, Ikol…

Kayne thought of the Nine themselves. They passed through this trial, traversed down to this labyrinth, must have found themselves diminished, and yet are still as powerful as they are. Memories of lessons with Nadia in the short time he was trained with her rushed to his mind.

"You cannot rely on just one skill… your opponents will anticipate and counter you too quickly. For humans, maybe you could get away with it, but for what we face constantly? No… reliance on a single trick is what gets you killed. You must rise above it, rely on not just yourself, but your companions, and the hope and faith that brought you on your path."

Kayne began to flex against the orb, feeling for that tether it originally grasped onto, and grimaced as he focused his mind to the ethereal orb, "If it wants my essence, if this is the path forward for saving Nadia, for defeating my enemy, for gaining the power to help others, than so be it! I will not be the one to let my comrades dreams falter! I! Will! NOT! FALTER!!!"

Yelling towards the orb, crimson arcs of energy seemed to crackle from Kayne’s eyes, arcing along his arms and surrounding the orb as he forced all of his thoughts, his will, his strength, his force of personality, towards the orb. Let it take what it needs that he and the others may pass.

Answers lay beyond the door, and he would work past his fear of being nothing by the end of this obstacle. He was not nothing without his hope. He was everything he needed to be…


OOC@Judges: WOW, I genuinely care about Kayne’s well being, have authentic hesitations on diminishing his stats further, but dug deep and determined that his goals were bigger than his own power, and he was not going to stop his companions/competitors from moving forward.

Take 2 charisma if that’s what is needed, or something from strength and dex since he uses those too, but 2 points from charisma… Kayne accepts that as a price to pay if the group does it too.

Actions List:
Give up my stats to move forward, 2 points if I can to fill the orb with 9 points of stats from all of us if we each gave up 3.

 






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  #19  
Old 08-09-2019, 11:04 PM
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Ikol
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Ikol

The orb had latched on to each of them, draining them, yet it demanded more.

His elven fr.. fri... companion was certainly throwing himself into the role of honourable martyr with his poetic self-sacrifice. Kayne was screaming about saving 'Narnia'... well I suppose a demi-plane of christian metaphor disguised as talking animals was worth sacrificing oneself for. Ikol truly hoped the elf could find himself a suitable closet to climb back into once all this unpleasantness was concluded.

"You're as noble and brave as Aslan" he complimented, "I'll make sure Peter, Susan, Edmund and little Lucy learn of your deeds this day!" Ikol blinked back tears.

"For Narnia!" Ikol took up the warcry looking to Vordur to follow suit. The goblin's mismatched eyes burning with zealotry.

Ikol focused himself back on the orb. "Hungry?" he sneered drawing himself closer to the sphere, grinding his crotch against the smooth stone "You want the Ikol... you can't handle the Ikol" he mocked.

Then Ikol blew his load... metaphorically of course... pick your mind out of the gutter... where do you think you are, Erotic-RPG sub-reddits?... The jester summoned from deep within Last 3rd Level spell slotwhat power remained to him and cast: Dissonant whispers (3rd Level)channeled it into the orb
Dice Dissonant Whispers:
5D6 2, 3, 4, 3, 4 Total = 16
(16).

"They're here... Do you see them?... Can you hear them?... All the 'Ikol' you could ever want" Ikol whispered sweetly to the orb, nuzzling its smooth surface his nose.

"Come play with us..."
"Come play with us, daddy..."
"forever..."
"and ever..."
" and ever"

The whispers came; sweet yet melancholic... innocent yet disturbing... haunting yet gentle... dozens of voices, each in unison... vying to be heard.

"You do. You hear them?" he stated to the the anthropomorphised sphere as he squeezed a little tighter "and you like it, you filthy orb"



OOC
 
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Last edited by Zinrokh; 08-09-2019 at 11:12 PM.
  #20  
Old 08-10-2019, 02:57 AM
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Vordur Blackburn
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They were committed, now.

Vordur felt the orb's hunger lust for his soul, and he saw that the other two were struggling to satiate it as well. The half-elf seemed half-crazed from the ordeal when he suggested that the goblin and the dwarf could back out, when clearly the orb's tentacular ether connection was already latched onto each of them. The goblin Ikol seemed just as addled in the brain, shifting from pleasant compliments about some fictitious people and places to crude toilet humor to outright sleaze. The dwarf for his part tried to recite the verse he had just been chanting a few moments ago, but realized that he had forgotten the words. He felt inward and upward for Gorm's presence, and found that the way to the Lord Fire Eyes was... less clear.

"We wish to see your true resourcefulness, and your raw will to persevere..."

Was it the Druid who had said that? Or the archmage? Vordur wasn't so sure anymore. His memories were hazy, and he could feel his mind was becoming more and more clouded. He remembered his infatuation with the girl Felas. Oh, how foolish he was; that was the time he was furthest from his Lord, yet he did not care, back then. The girl's smiles and her light touch on his arm or cheek were satisfaction enough. Vordur recalled the siege of Earthfast. The sentries had all but died in magical darkness and both arcane and physical attacks; the outer gate had fallen, and the city was taken by surprise. Vordur was taken by surprise. The barakor managed a hasty defense, but they were severely unprepared; Felas had made sure of that.

"You must reach that Door, if you wish to join us."

The cleric suddenly felt weak; his hands stayed glued to the orb, but Vordur felt an overwhelming urge to rip them away. Anyway, the paladin - what was his name again? Kaye? Cain? - volunteered to take the brunt of this suffering, why shouldn't he just give it up? Hadn't he done enough?

Then, in successive brief flashes of light, Vordur remembered. The Hall. The throne. The barakor. The Bronze Mask.

"HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING, MY SON? I NEVER LEFT YOU..."

The orb glowed with power, lapping up the paladin and the goblin's magic like an Elder Brain that had run out of brine. Kayne was screaming by now, shouting an unfamiliar name and sounding like he was convincing himself as much as he was addressing the orb with fighting words. The goblin continued to burn with lustful passion, grinding himself on the pedestal and mumbling sweet nothings to the black sphere, his drooling lips making wet marks on the surface; some of it trickling on Vordur's adjacent hand. The cleric simply closed his eyes. He had often wondered when it was that he was going to pay the greatest price. Many a time as he stared into the flames, he would ask Gorm if he would know the time and place, then pray that he would have the strength and resolve to see it through. Never had he imagined it to be in a place such as this.

"DO YOU STILL KEEP THE VIGIL?"

Aye.

Vordur let the sounds and his weakening body wash over him; outside of him. He barely held on to the inky jet sphere, and his will continued to waver, yet he knew what he had to do. Without opening his eyes, Vordur simply cried out one word.

"AYE!"

The Path of the Righteous
 

The Path of Fire
 


When the deed was done, Vordur's breathed deep, ragged mouthfuls, his strength all but spent.

OOC
 

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Last edited by DanshiiWithWulfs; 08-10-2019 at 02:59 AM.
  #21  
Old 08-10-2019, 09:37 AM
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The Hunger must be SatisifiedEach in their own way, the three contestants gave all they could to the sphere. Kayne, resolved to continue at whatever the cost, for Nadia. Ikol, for the sake of some strange universe' pop-culter, bolstered by incoherent yet disturbing whispers. Vordur bolstered himself with his guardian spirits as he praised Grom to find the strength to continue. The scrutinizing scene continued for several moments, as the tendrils sucking essence from the trio strengthened into vortexes. The smoke inside the Orb continued to fill until it reached the top. Then, the pain stopped. Each felt the ethereal grasp on their souls released. The orb pulsed colors a few times, radiating white beams of light, then suddenly stopped, returning to the quiet cold black sphere it had been when the group entered the room. For a moment, they worried that they had failed. That fear was quickly settled, though, as the thick metal door swung open allowing the group to pass through.

OODMKayne and Ikol each have 2 points of Charisma permanently removed. Vordur has 2 points of Wisdom permanently removed.


Portal to the Nine
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Entering the door, the group found to a brightly lit chamber with two other doors identical to the one just came through. They were not yet opened, but the sound of someone trying to open one of the others echoed into the room. In the center of the room was freestanding stone archway which contained a portal of pure light. Next to it stood the smiling form of Rostamoinen. There was no sparkling transparency. This seemed to be the arch-mage himself, smiling and in the flesh.

"It seems I have chosen you well." he greeted the trio, a look of pride filling his face.

"You have done well to get this far, my friends. And so it is that there is only one obstacle remaining until you may come and meet with us at the Square of Nine."

"Our members must be willing to give the Nine everything. They must willing to sacrifice everything they have if they are to sit at the Square of Nine. You have given up much already, it is true. But it is not enough. It is never enough, for such responsibility. And so I lay before you my last challenge." he sied as he looked deeply into their eyes.

He produced an ornate knife. He reached out, as if to hang it on a hook in mid-air. It did indeed hang there, suspended.

"The Razor of Uduk-Khulakh will take all that you give. If you wish to join us, you must be willing to give yourself for the greater good. Now is the time for you to decide: what are you willing to give? How much of your lifeblood do you keep for yourself, and how much do you now devote to the Nine?"

"We will chose our new co-equal from those of you, here, who pass this last test. I wish you luck, and I hope to see you soon." The wizard steped backward through the portal of light, leaving the adventurers alone in the empty room. It seemed obvious that the portal would not admit anyone but him, just yet.

Another sacrifice. He asked for 'lifeblood', and produced a knife. This did not seem particularly metaphorical. He appeared to actually want blood.
OODMSince we're pressed for time, I will explicitly lay out the nature of this sacrifice. The knife does not do you damage - when you touch it and "use" it, you will not lose any CURRENT hit points. Instead, you will lose MAXIMUM hit points. If your present hit points are 2 out of 65, the question is: how much will you reduce that 65? Please make that mechanical choice clear, somehow, in this, your last post of the round.
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  #22  
Old 08-10-2019, 06:59 PM
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Kayne Cyire | Male Half-Elf: Hexblade (3) / Paladin (5) | Level 8


HP: 52/65 (Temp: 0)| AC: 18 (20 with shield and Longsword) (+5 w/ shield spell) | Speed: 30' | Hit Dice: 3/3d8 -5/5d10 | Lay on Hands: 15/25 | Pearl of Power: Used | Wand of Pact Keeper Spell Slot Feature: Not used | Status: Here we go...


 

One Last Push...



Kayne was exhausted, mentally, physically, emotionally…

It’s been sacrifice after sacrifice in this Labyrinth. They managed to push through to the next room, push through to another obstacle, only for it to be another sacrifice.

But what would the previous sacrifices meant if he did not make it through this round… he would be diminished, and with no aid from the Nine. But there were still those who vied for the spot. Still those he could rely on, if he found them again… regardless of what would happen next, this would not be the end of Kayne Cyire or his goals.

As the wizard known as Rostamoinen passed through the portal, Kayne looked at the dagger, suspended in mid-air. He still needed his strength… he still needed to be useful, to be able to combat what was coming. He couldn’t offer all of himself, that would make him useless to his allies, a liability, more than his diminished state already was. He also could not offer too little, for joining the Nine was to become an equal amongst the members…

How much does one keep for themselves, and how much do you devote to the Nine.

Co-equals the wizard said… devoting one’s self to the Nine…

Kayne had decided. He looked to Vordur and Ikol, and nodded, "It’s been an honor thus far my companions… friends… I hope we can see each other on the other side."

Stepping forward towards the dagger, Kayne reaches out and grasps the blade. Holding it before his eyes, his breath was calm at this point… he knew what had to be done, and while everything within him was screaming about the consequences, he took the blade and levelled it against his wrist and cut deeply into his flesh.

The sensation was… odd. He expected blood to pour, expected the numbness to come. Instead he felt his fatigue grow… and the blood that poured out seemed to be sucked into the blade, absorbing into the dark metal.

Kayne pulled the knife away after what felt like many minutes, and brought it back into the same position, mid-air, not a drop of blood on the ground or left on the blade. His eyes seemed sunken, and his warm eyes now felt cold, and intense. Taking a deep breath, he pulled himself up to stand tall, finding what strength he could within.

Glancing at the others, the half-elf dark paladin bowed deeply to Vordur and Ikol separately, stood back up to attention, held a hand out to manifest his shadowy greatsword, and purposefully walked through the portal… hoping his many sacrifices earned him a spot in the next chamber…




OOC@Judges: Kayne will be sacrificing 33 HP, a little more than half his max HP, so he’ll be left with 32 HP, and hopefully that’s enough to gain him admittance…

It’s been a blast, and I cannot believe I got this far. Best of luck to all those who make it… this was a very emotional rollercoaster, this round especially. All the best!

 






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Last edited by MontageManiac; 08-10-2019 at 07:28 PM.
  #23  
Old 08-10-2019, 10:45 PM
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Ikol
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Ikol

Finally they had come face to face with the mage that had begun this whole ordeal. Rostamoinen spoke of 'sacrificing everything' and thus Ikol was half naked before it became obvious that he was speaking metaphorically...

Ikol smiled through the embarrassment as he pulled his underwear back up. "Sorry" he grinned, "Sorry" he apologized to Kayne with a nod... "sorry" he offered to Vordun. He sucked air in through his teeth, "thought perhaps it was more of a material sacrifice this time around..."

------

The final challenge was in fact... more self-sacrifice... more self-harm. Ikol was entirely unsurprised that the emo-paladin jumped at the chance to put a blade to his wrists.

There seemed to be some element of choice here though... some thought had to go into how much one would give, should give, needed to give... he ran the words of the wizard back through his mind. "It's a riddle" he concluded "a puzzle..."

Ikol ran to the nearest wall drawing his own dagger and began to carve his theorem into the stone surface. "Give the nine everything... sit at the square of nine... keep for yourself... devote to the nine... co-equal..."

"The square root of nine is 'three'" Ikol muttered "Sit at the square of nine and devote to the nine"

"Three given equally to each of the nine... twenty-seven"

"That leaves thirty-two, devoted equally to the nine... but join the nine... the nine and I... that makes ten... co-equal... I still have thirty-two... divided by ten... three-point-two... shared equally amongst the nine and I... rounded down... three... I sit at the square of nine." Ikol ranted as he scraped his thought process upon the wall.

√9=3 3x9=27, 59HP-27HP=32, 9+1=10, 32/10=3.2 3.2=3, 3=√9

Ikol sheathed his own dagger marched up to the dramatically and thematically named dagger set aside for the challenge.

"I offer my lifeblood to the nine" he said as he winced pushing the black blade into his chest... his eyes growing wide in shock.

He withdrew the blade "I offer my life to the nine" he said with conviction holding the ceremonial blade up.

"I offer myself to myself" he ended.

"That was some Beautiful Mind shizzle" Ikol returned the knife and spun to face Vordun... "maths, hey?" he shrugged.

Ikol than smiled wide, turned and threw himself through the glowing portal.



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Last edited by Zinrokh; 08-10-2019 at 10:46 PM.
  #24  
Old 08-11-2019, 09:43 AM
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Vordur Blackburn
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The dwarf was almost sure that the ethereal tendril would not stop until all his will was spent; he continued to sense his bond with his god weakening, the divine intimacy that he enjoyed only hours before now intangible and as confused as a distant memory.

Then the door opened.

Vordur stumbled into the chamber that was filled with bright light, though he couldn't see where the light sources were. In the center was a tall, stone archway, framing what looked like an even brighter shimmering portal so some other realm. And a few feet away from it stood the member of the Nine whom previously the dwarf only saw as a spectral image. Now standing before them was Rastamoinen, tangible and very much in the flesh. His face was friendly, one would even say a little proud; his manner exuded power, so the words he spoke contained the weight of someone who dealt with matters of the greatest significance. And what the archmage required, was everything.

He looked at the knife. Looked on as the half-elf who was ever the eager one, went first and made a long slash across his wrist, yet did not bleed. Vordur looked on as the goblin came next, spouting more indecipherable phrases along with mumbled apologies, then stabbing him/her/itself in the chest with the very same knife.

Ikol hands the blade, and the cleric accepts it without a word.

There was no internal struggle in Vordur; no debate. There was no questioning of how much he was willing to give, of how much he would retain to continue this trial of the Nine. It was Gorm Gulthyn who had led him here; Gorm who had witnessed his failure in Earthfast. It was the Lord Fire Eyes who gave him the chance to join this challenge, and The Bronze Mask who sustained him and enabled him to triumph. It was the Eternally Vigilant who had upheld his very essence, giving him the strength and resolve to keep on. It was Gorm Gulthyn who placed him to be here, at this very moment.

What would he not give back?

Grasping the knife with both hands, Vordur opens his mouth to declare to the Nine, to the two, and to himself:

"I give... everything."

And he pushes the blade into his armor, straight to his heart.


OOC
 

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  #25  
Old 08-15-2019, 11:52 AM
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The DoorAfter all the adventurers engage in the perverse bloodless bloodletting, the portal begins to glow brighter and brighter. Finally, it flashes with a blinding intensity. When the light diminishes, the room is empty.
OOCAfter consultation among all the judges, our awards for 'mechanical' success in Round 3 are as follows:

Character Obstacle 1 Obstacle 2 Obstacle 3 Obstacle 4 total
Berthe 50 55 70 70 245
Eugene 45 60 50 60 210
Psyliana 25 50 60 60 195
      
Ikol 65 50 60 65 240
Kayne 65 60 45 55 225
Vordur 45 60 45 50 200
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Currently co-running Outplay 2019 (5e GM). Round 4, the championship round, is underway! Come on over and take a gander.

5e one-shot adventure in development, to be advertised late August or early September.
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