Fifth Scholar

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About Fifth Scholar

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    Honourary Eliminator
  • Birthday 03/06/2003

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    Male
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    I’m a fan of fantasy novels, my first love being Lord of the Rings, but I’ve recently gotten into Sanderson and I admire the depth and complexity of his work (I dare say even more complicated than Tolkien’s works). I’m also an artist, though not a very good one, and a runner.

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  1. Mist rose from his semi-sleeping state, stretching tired arms. The deadened muscles protested, growing tired almost instantly, but Mist knew that letting them atrophy was not an option. At least, letting them atrophy more than they already had. He had been strong and young before a blight took Elantris and its inhabitants, and turned the world’s greatest blessing into an eternal curse, which now lay upon him. His thoughts turned to his past, to life, before the Shaod had turned his healthy frame into a walking corpse and the authorities had cast him into a dead city, littered with other dead, to die. The irony was not lost on Mist as he surreptitiously watched the other sleeping Elantrians. He supposed the dead had a better lot than they did. They received a release from pain, and if there was a Hell, it would not be any worse than the living one he, and those around him, were currently experiencing. A voice called from the back of the crowd, likely “Spirit” or one of his too-cheery followers. The ridiculous fools were droning on about how drowning in hope or despair would lead to their deaths. Mist snorted; as if all of them weren’t already dead. Besides, he’d seen what “hope” did to the Elantrians. False promises of salvation—or food—were what gained power in Elantris, and a new rival group promising the same old empty lies under a different guise wouldn’t trick Mist. Besides, who were they to judge the relentless negativity of Elantris? Cynicism was a coping mechanism, a beautiful way of confronting all the problems facing them without needing to present any real solutions. Pangs of hunger hit Mist, their presence now a weary familiarity. He sighed. Though he had greater self-control than some of the men within the dead city, Mist knew he would need to eat today. He considered Shaor, who seemed to get food the most consistently, but ultimately rejected the idea; the area was too dangerous, and he wanted to keep his collective injuries, which were currently insignificant, from multiplying. Instead, he trudged towards Aanden’s sector, hoping the man had more than his boiled parchment this time around. Casting a glance at Mii, who seemed to be intrigued by Spirit, he called to the fellow Elantrian. “There’s no need to go that way,” Mist called. “Aanden will have more food, likely, and he’s not a troublemaker like that Spirit is. Up to you, of course, but I wouldn’t risk too many unknowns, especially in these tumultuous times. The city is dangerous enough as it is.” @Mailliw73 (Also, welcome back!)
  2. I will join as “Mist,” who prefers keeping his real name to himself. Generally fatalistic and grumpy, he’s distrustful of basically anyone, and his only goal is to continue his wretched existence.
  3. As promised, my essay. (I’ll break this up to avoid throwing a single, monstrous wall of text at you guys. Instead, you get small walls! ) Part One: Roles Overall Look: The main focus of the roles was, of course, to exemplify Feruchemy by giving a drawback to its user when filling, but then allowing them to tap for powerful effects. Unsurprisingly, the ones with more powerful effects also took considerably more effort to fill. I think the fill/tap mechanic worked out well overall, providing a sense of balance to the abilities, but I need to elaborate on some of the individual roles before I can go too much further in depth. So without further ado: Skimmers/Iron: I was very pleased with how this role turned out. As the only one with a positive fill condition, and with three in a game of nineteen players, it provided a good boost to the village in more subtle ways, countering some of the fill conditions on the metalminds, and giving vote manipulation of its own when necessary. I was slightly disappointed that this role saw little use—I’ll admit its main use lay in protecting others from their fill conditions, and that the single-tap was only really useful for FFs, but with the sheer amount of vote manip on the table I expected it to see more use. I’ll talk about that a bit more when I get to the vote manipulating roles, though. My only concern, which wasn’t really an issue so much as a good combination of mechanics that somewhat trivialised the fill/tap system, with Iron was that it would be a very potent weapon if a Skimmer got in private contact with a Tin/Zinc/Copper Ferring, and I was sort of hoping that would happen, but it didn’t. Which brings me to Steelrunners/Steel: I have to admit, I really liked this ability. I’m very glad I took it down from unlimited PMs to 25, though, as at the beginning of the game Devotary and I thought we’d be making 52 PMs on Day 4, and I can’t imagine making 2*infinity of them. Both Ferrings started with 2 charges from RNG, and were working their way up to the full 5, but they were eliminated before they were able to unleash the full force of their PMs upon the game. I definitely think that would have been interesting to see, so the verdict remains mostly out on how this role affected the game. Windwhisperers/Tin: I initially had the Windwhisperer in the game on the village side, before making an 11th hour decision to give it to the Elims. My reasoning was that the Brass Ferring on the village side was worse than useless with no Elim Tin Ferring, and that Tin combined with copper could lead to too much hard-clearing of villagers that were confirmed to possess roles not on the Elim team. This issue was more of a problem with copper than tin, but I think having the Windwhisperer being Spiked made for a more interesting game, even if their only scan was obfuscated by Brass. Also a throwback to the elim scanner in the AG. Brutes/Pewter: This role was pioneered by @Hemalurgic Headshot when I presented this game idea to him, and I must say I very much like the basic design of it, which I tweaked very slightly. The heavy drawbacks of filling were compensated by the large advantage that the extra lives gave, especially during Night phases when attacks were flying everywhere, and death hung over everyone’s heads. Not being able to double fill was something I added by design; the extra lives were powerful enough that potentially gaining two a Night was too powerful. As for the full-tap, which Randuir castigised as a trap, I will admit that it was not terribly useful this game, though I’d argue that’s my fault—I designed the game around 25 players initially, not 20, and with more people and more time the full extra life would likely have been worth it. That’s a separate design issue, though. Firesouls/Brass: I very much enjoyed the mechanics of this role as essentially “bad smoking.” Smokers under AG rules offer the abilities of both Iron and Brass in this game, with Brass being arguably the less useful of the two to the village (why would you obfuscate rolescans?). The truth is, I originally had this as mostly a Spiked role, but realised that the idea of a role such as brass being “only good” in the hands of one particular group irked me. So I gave the village another brass to guard against the Elim Windwhisperer, and saw what they would do with it, and if they would use it at all. Stick and Steel both used it the same night, having each started with a single charge, and never used it again, or filled their metalminds. And that was my fault. I vastly overestimated how much votes would jump around this game, and Brass users, had they tried to fill, would have stuck out like sore thumbs. I think that if I ran this again, I would make the fill condition for brass specify that you only had to change your vote once. As written, filling was too difficult (and my apologies to Stick and Steel for giving them hard roles to work with). Sparkers/Zinc: I also miscalculated this somewhat, again lost in my assumptions about higher player size. A three vote swing is huge, and I failed to recognise that when I made the roles and distributed 3(!) Sparkers throughout the game, most with a high starting number of charges. Thankfully, the Sparkers were very conservative with their vote manip, but it could have ended up being an issue, especially with the infrequency of Iron usage, and the fact that both the Synod and the Spiked were sitting on 3+ charges of zinc for most of the game. That said, I don’t think the design of the role was terrible, and other than fixing the full-tap ability I liked the role overall. Sentries/Bronze: Another of HH’s inventions. This was another of the roles that went fairly smoothly, with the village getting two of these to counterbalance the synchronisation the Elims were capable of in their actions. The lottery system prevented things from getting out of hand, and the bronze users didn’t manage anything spectacular. A Spiked Sentry was a concept I toyed with, but ultimately rejected because the organisation of the Elim team would have made such a role somewhat overpowered unless you reached higher player counts (I think my planned role distribution had a Spiked Sentry added between 25 and 30 people signed up). Archivists/Copper: The main break. I didn’t anticipate the central role this role would play in the early game, and I also badly judged the role itself. Knowing the roles of the whole Elim team ended up being more pivotal information than I had initially considered, and given that such information could have cleared most of the village, I suppose I should have known better here. I also made the mistake of allowing the Archivist and both FFs to start at two copper, which was from RNG but ended up being slightly unbalanced, and meant that two people in the village were one double-fill away from getting Elim role distrubutions on Day Three, which would have broken a lot of stuff. However, despite the full-tap being broken, I like the theme of the role, and I think the two-charge ability was neat, and held potential for both villagers and Elims, if it hadn’t been a mad dash to five charges in the early-game. Full Feruchemists: One Synod, one Spiked. Not much to say here other than that it was interesting to watch the different ways Rand and Alv approached the role, and how they used their charges. I don’t think this ended up being an issue, which was mostly thanks to my dilution of the role from its original form, which was almost certainly OP. Conclusion: I think roles worked out fairly well, with minor edits needed for brass and zinc and major edits for copper. I’d run these same roles again in a heartbeat, and that’s mostly thanks to the aforementioned HH, as well as El and Joe, for helping me balance these out. Part Two: Groups/Docs The Synod: I shamelessly stole this concept from Len’s Gondor QF, and tweaked it to have more flavour and more people. One Spiked out of six meant that shooting up the Synod looking for Spiked wasn’t a viable strategy for the village, but also meant that the Elims had eyes and ears amongst an initially village group. After Araris’ death, the Synod actually became more divided, but they eventually coordinated enough to send in their kill. I’m overall very pleased with how this played out, and if you’re going to look at only one doc for this game, it should be the Synod one. The Spiked: RNG provided a mixed bag, with one new elim, one new-ish elim, and two experienced veterans of elim-hood. I think the Spiked team overall played their cards very well, but unfortunately opportune snipers that penetrated their safety net at the worst times spelled doom for them. As for their role distribution, I gave them aggressive roles, such as Zinc and Tin, to open up the option of a hard-and-fast approach. They seemed to take such an approach, being vocal members in most of the lynches, and I’m also pleased with how their team turned out. A Spiked Full Feruchemist was added to counter the fact that the game was role-madness, which favoured the village heavily enough to merit inclusion of a very powerful Spiked. Part Three: Generic Actions I learned one thing from this game: SE players are bloodthirsty. If I bothered to tally the number of kill actions compared to everything else, the percentage would probably fall just short of 50%. That’s insane, since I only gave one kill. One! And three protects! Most of which failed (except the one placed on the Pewter Ferring tapping his metalmind, of course). Roleblocks were not utilised until Night 3, a whopping 2 PMs were attempted, one of which was between two Spiked to enable actions for their Windwhisperer, and one of which failed because the person PMed died that night. And double fill orders were fairly sparse, given the powerful advantages offered. Granted, Night actions themselves were limited by player activity, but everyone seemed to just want to kill kill kill. In regards to the individual actions, I really only want to speak about the generic kill; the other actions were fairly balanced, and didn’t mess anything up much (I might remove the restriction on protection that you can’t self-guard, as that restriction probably made villagers far less likely to use it, but aside from that the actions themselves were fine). The kill action RNG was probably under consistent influence of Alv’s gods. As Devotary said in our GM doc, the least likely outcome on paper always occurred. Out of 2 kills on Phatt and 3 on Sart, a single kill submitted by a Spiked against CadCom was the one favoured by RNG, and Alv’s kill on Araris took precedence over four kills elsewhere on villagers. A confluence of roleblock and kill actions meant that Rand nearly had his fate sealed by his own teammate (he didn’t, but died anyway), and the night kill in general seemed to fall between protected targets onto unguarded villagers or Spiked. Finally, mutual kills were common: Araris and Alv killed each other, as did Sart and Rand. However, despite the strange nature of the RNG, I think the kill system went fine, and even if it did make the game a bit swingier than is perhaps usual around here, I think it was an interesting adaptation, and I wouldn’t mind using it again. Part Four: Other Vote Manipulation This game was intended to create mass chaos with all the votes! As the first ability ever granted to me in an SE game, vote manip has intrigued me, and I made this game seeing how many forms of it I could stuff in and still have a balanced game, and also gauge the chaos that would create. I think the effect waned as the game continued, simply because the player numbers dropped, but in the initial cycles it was interesting watching the uncertainty people exhibited regarding the vote count. I anticipated massive bandwagons early on, but hoped that those would phase out as the game continued (which they did). Iron was supposed to mitigate some of the effects of rampant vote manip, but it obviously couldn’t, and didn’t, patch everything. Overall, the high levels of vote manipulation ended up adding to the fun and chaos in the game, and I believe it ended up turning out well. Writeups These were a ton of fun to build and create, and I’m glad people enjoyed them. Devotary ended up doing most of the deathmurdery scenes, which she did an excellent job of, and I mainly focused on building up Marne and Olaf, and would do writeups for Spiked or generic kills during the nights. I was satisfied with the arc I managed to build, even if my ability to construct it was hampered by the fact that I didn’t have a clear idea of when the game would end, and the points in the arc often felt rushed or extended as I tried to account for how soon I thought things would wrap up. The story playing a greater role in the final cycles was preplanned. Marne was going to be deposed the instant the Synod sent in the kill, and I was going to have Olaf replace him. Then I decided an election would make for fun writeup fodder. I expected an Olaf landslide, and didn’t count on Devotary’s relentless campaign against me. Regardless, thanks to Xino’s coin, Olaf got the Synod anyway, and the Synod then got to burn things down (which was Devotary’s idea, not mine). Had Leidene been elected, the Synod could have chosen the method by which generic kill victims were killed, and if Phatt had pulled out a third-party victory, the Synod would have gained free-speech rights, and been able to type in whatever font they wanted. (I can’t imagine how wretched that would have been—the doc is painful enough in Pacifico. ) Now comes the part where I get to acknowledge Devotary’s central role in running this game. As many of you know, I got very unexpectedly busy around when the game started, and was really only able to devote rollover time, and an hour or so in the morning, to checking in and logging actions. In this sense, Devotary was the one to hold everything together, always logging everyone’s orders promptly and sending out PMs at the end of the cycle. Chances are that if you spent any significant amount of time in your GM PM, you interacted mostly with her, and for me as the main GM, not having to worry about that was an enormous weight off my back. All of that, and her help with writeups, was instrumental in the smooth execution of this game. I’ll admit that I was sceptical when she suggested we try to write up the death scenes jointly, but it ended up working out very well, and all of the writeups for the game were “split” between my writing and Devotary’s. The styles are different enough that you can probably infer who did what, but if you’re curious, please ask. In general, it’s safe to assume that I did anything featuring Olaf, most of the stuff featuring Marne, and a few of the Night kills, and that Devotary did actual lynch deaths during the day, and killings during the Night, and anything that didn’t neatly fit into the above categories. This division of labour was very helpful, and I would definitely recommend it to any GM pairs that want to try it in the future. To conclude: Devotary was awesome this game, and she deserves your upvotes, and your consideration as a future co-GM, should you be looking for one in a future game you run. Activity Seemed generally fine, if not the highest. I think the lower player numbers, and the fact that school was starting up for many, dampened the overall activity, but nobody went completely inactive, and we had several prolific contributors, which was excellent. Activity likely also dropped because many of the active talkers were once again killed fairly early in the game, which there’s little I can do as a GM to fix. Final Thoughts -I wrote too much for this. -I’m very glad that all of you enjoyed this game, and I’m even happier that it ended up fairly balanced, despite a few concerns that need patching. -Overall, I perhaps erred in designing the game based too much on how I would play, and not how others actually played. The issues as a result of this are minor, but worth noting. -Thanks to Seonid as our IM, and to each of you who played. Especially our new players, @Ark1002 and @Worldhopper From Yolen. Please stick around for future games; we always love new people to kill new players in our games!
  4. The Terris people were dwindling. Half the Synod had been slaughtered, between the Spiked killings and the justice meted out by poison at night, or a mob by day. Those that remained had retreated, seeking to manoeuvre their way into controlling the political influences of the Synod, fearful and distrustful of their own number. Initial confidence that ousting Valwyn had purified the Synod had dropped, and Citona Vinid, who had been helping Olaf administrate the legislative body, frantically defended herself against accusations from Ethin Hallil and Tee Mai, who were convinced that Vinid had unsavoury ties to Zihel. For his part, Olaf mainly sat back and watched the proceedings with a grim expression. Sitting and whispering with Marne, whose advice he valued above all the other members, Olaf assessed the men in front of him. He recognised the flaws in each, but upon a more thorough examination, he found himself agreeing with Marne about the people within the Synod. They were misguided, and made mistakes. They had been mistaken to oust Marne from his old position. They had been mistaken to entrust Olaf, a newcomer, with the survival of the last free Feruchemists in the Dominances. And their squabbling, now, was certainly not ideal. However, Olaf now felt, as he stood next to Marne, that the man had been right about his fellow Synod members; despite their infighting, each truly wanted what was best for the Terris, and as Olaf saw it, his confidence and belief in the Synod began to reform itself. These were, truly, the greatest men and women in the Terris community. Olaf simply had to unite them, and refocus them on those outside their council. As Olaf sat in thought, he saw Tee Mai on the edges of his vision, who was approaching Vinid, hand raised to strike at the Ferring. “That’s enough!” bellowed Olaf from the swivel chair atop the raised platform on which he sat. Tee Mai lowered his hand sheepishly, looking up at Olaf with guilt, yet a little bit of resentment, within his eyes. Resentment will not do, thought Olaf. Raising his voice, he addressed the small Synod. “Your bickering is tiring me,” he announced, “and sitting here arguing amongst ourselves will accomplish little. You are each leaders of this community, and are responsible for its survival; projecting an image of doubt and paranoia will not help the Terris, especially with our numbers as dangerously low as they are. You have each questioned the merits of your fellow Synod members a hundred times; is it not likely that they are merely exhausted and worn out, as each of us are, as opposed to being secret Infiltrators?” Olaf let the question hang in the air. Marne, however, spoke from beside him. “You have known each of the people in this room for your entire lives, with the exception of Olaf,” he told the Synod. “I would be inclined to trust them after that time. Perhaps there are Spiked in this chamber; however, it is far better to look elsewhere first, and give the Terris leadership in these chaotic times.” The three Synod members on the ground glanced at each other. Olaf could tell that relations had not been fully restored, not yet. But the three would help him and Marne to find the last Spiked, despite their mistrust. And right now, that was all Olaf cared about. Each of its members uncertain of what the day held, yet determined to face it, the Terris Synod emerged from their meeting-house in Tathingdwen for what would be the last time, a unified front presented to the body of Terris gathered below them. The body of Terris gathered below them had cornered Ehereman Tresni. The last Spiked attempted to defend himself against the accusations of a Stick, which was unhappy after the burning of the Tautological Society, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. The Terris had found out too much about him; his associations with Zihel and Valwyn had proven too strong to ignore. His only hope, now, was to convince the crowd that the Synod member Citona Vinid was guilty, and not he. That hope was dashed as the Synod walked down the steps from the meeting-house, almost marching as a single group. The message of unity was impossible to ignore, and from the looks of the members, they too were focused on destroying him. Tresni cursed the Lord Ruler, who had brought him to this barren northern wasteland to die. He cursed Olaf, for abandoning the entire mission, and Leidene, for ignoring it. He cursed the Spiked who had died before him, who had failed at their mission, leaving him to carry out the destruction of a sect of highly dangerous people on his own. Most of all, however, Tresni cursed himself. Cursed himself for his inability to kill Ethin Hallil the night before, with poison. Cursed himself for his failure to put his spying to good use when he had attempted to investigate the Steel squid. And cursed himself for cracking under the withering pressure of an examination by the remaining Terris. Tresni was not like the other Spiked sent in the mission. Valwyn worked in Pewter, making him the muscle of the group. HanTor was a sly talker, able to talk a crowd into almost anything. Zihel could potentially do anything, and had been made to counter Full Feruchemists. Of course, they had failed, too. Valwyn had been killed with strength, a sword passing through his neck; HanTor had not talked his way out of his death; and Zihel had ultimately been slaughtered by Marne. Tresni was made to be something else: a spy. Tin-enhanced senses allowing him to see the world around him, he was to gather information and use it to bring down the Synod. However, he, too, had now failed. As Olaf walked down the staircase, Tresni felt a deep resentment for the man build inside him. He had betrayed his fellows, worked to undermine the people with whom he had been sent, and had even talked his way into becoming the head of the organisation that was leading the efforts to find and kill the Lord Ruler’s chosen. Resentment steadily increased, fueling the fires of hatred. It was time to act. The startled Terris jumped aside as Tresni parted the crowd by laying about with the scabbard of his sword. Striding over to Olaf, the Windwhisperer slapped the man across the face with a metal gauntlet, who recoiled in surprise and pain. Recovering quickly, Olaf whipped the thin sword he carried out of its sheath, facing Tresni, who smiled. The challenge accepted, the remaining Terris hurriedly scrambled aside, creating a rough ring for the duel. Marne looked at Olaf, astonishment etched into every line of his face. Through persistent effort, the last Spiked had been cornered, and Olaf accepted a duel from him? Was the man insane, or did he have a death wish? He had seen Olaf fence, and while the man was certainly competent, Tresni had been Tathingdwen’s swordmaster for as long as he had been in the village, and was extremely skilled with the blade. Add to that the heightened senses and perceptions that Tin Feruchemy granted him… The duel began its course as a quick pattern of thrusts from Tresni that Olaf turned away with his blade, stepping aside to take a sweep at Tresni’s unprotected back. Anticipating this, Tresni pivoted, suddenly bringing his lightweight rapier down, whistling towards Olaf’s head. Clang! Olaf moved his sword into place just in time, parrying the attack and barely maintaining his footing. He stumbled and lowered his sword slightly, which was nicked from the impact. Tresni pressed his brief advantage, raining blows from every direction on his dazed opponent. Olaf parried them all, but he was at a nominal disadvantage, and had begun to tire, wilting under Tresni’s relentless assault. It was time to intervene here. Marne signaled to Ethin Hallil and Tee Mai, who nodded and drew their own swords, prepared to aid Olaf in his foolish endeavor. As they approached Olaf’s ragged form, however, the man snarled, lashing out with his rapier at the two men. “Leave Tresni to me!” he commanded, as the two frantically scurried away from his circling blade. Marne again shook his head at his friend’s stubbornness, watching Hallil and Mai retreat. It seemed as though Marne had only one course remaining: to intervene himself. Slipping between two of the Terris who were gazing at the match with intent eyes, Marne worked his way to the front of the small ring that had formed to act as a perimeter for the duel. The move perhaps took him five seconds, and those five seconds had clearly not gone well for Olaf. The enhanced physical senses of Tresni had clearly aided him, as the Windwhisperer seemed to see attacks before they even came. Viciously parrying an overhead slash from Olaf, which caused his arms to shake, Tresni quickly turned his blade and slammed the flat of it into Olaf’s face. Already kneeling, Olaf now collapsed completely onto the ground, the collective groans of the Terris rising from behind Marne to accompany Olaf’s fall. As Tresni raised his rapier one last time, grinning, Marne shuddered, fracturing himself into two parts. In a decision that took a split second, but had all the backing of a week of working with the man now lying prone and helpless, Marne tapped his steel instead of his pewter, rushing into the ring and throwing himself on top of Olaf. Straight into the path of the descending blade. Olaf’s face burned from the impact of a rapier. Crouched on the ground, he gingerly moved his right hand to his cheek, feeling the wet blood pooling there. Of all the ways he could have died, Olaf would not have thought that this would be it—a simple duel with a servant of the Lord Ruler in the most far-flung location in the Final Empire. Olaf cursed himself for his folly as Tresni’s blade ascended. He was no chivalrous knight of olden days, to fix the world with arranged duels and glorious feats of strength on the battlefield. He was an arsonist, a plotter, a man who specialised in the execution of unscrupulous deeds in the dark. And in a fair duel, there were no means with which to use those skills. As Tresni’s blade began to lower, Olaf only hoped that Marne could avenge his death. Little did he know the opposite would have to occur. Olaf saw Marne dart into the ring from the right, moving with the superhuman speed of a Steelrunner, and throw himself on top of Olaf. Olaf drew in a breath to scream at him for his idiocy, that he should be the one leading the Terris after this mess, when that air was driven from his lungs by the hard lump of one of Marne’s metalminds as the Full Feruchemist slammed into him, pinning him to the ground. Tresni’s sword completed its arc, slicing through Marne’s unprotected back. Olaf screamed as Tresni drew his sword away and Marne went limp, his friend’s death so sudden that he had not even been able to speak. Marne’s dead eyes gazed up at Olaf tenderly yet firmly, as if to say, You know what you must do. Olaf indeed did. Feeling the flames of fury feed his strength, Olaf snatched his rapier from the cobblestones, swinging it at Tresni with a powerful two-handed blow. The man parried, backpedaling and recovering swiftly with a thrust at Olaf’s side, which the Count was forced to block. Exchanging a series of quick blows with Tresni, Olaf came to the realisation that raw fury alone would not enable him to defeat such a skilled opponent. Tresni was too good a swordmaster to be bested by an untrained Count, especially an exhausted and wounded one. A new plan began to form in Olaf’s head, amidst his frantic attacks and desperate defenses. As Tresni made a slice at Olaf’s midsection, sword held in a two-handled grip, Olaf decided that now was the time to attempt his gambit. Dancing past the blade, Olaf switched his sword to his right hand alone, extending his body fully in a lengthened thrust. It was a terribly impractical move, leaving his left side completely defenceless. Tresni saw this, sidestepping Olaf’s thrust and returning it with one of his own, straight at Olaf’s arm. Prepared as he was for the impact, the pain of it made Olaf howl, the cold steel biting into his arm with the heat of a thousand fires. Twisting his arm, Olaf allowed the sword to pierce deeper into him despite every fibre of him telling him to let Tresni extract it, which the Spiked, seeing the trap that had been laid for him, was frantically attempting to do. Olaf clung on, gritting his teeth, and slammed his sword into Tresni’s undefended heart, even as the man yanked his sword out of Olaf’s arm with his last effort. As both collapsed onto the pavement, Olaf with pain and exhaustion, and Tresni with death, a ragged cheer went up from the Synod, which instantly subsided as the memory of Marne’s death and Olaf’s wounds hit them. As Olaf began to drift out of consciousness, the Synod members rushed forward, bathing Olaf’s head in cold water to keep him awake, and binding his wounds with the cloth available. The count’s fury began to return to him as he looked around Tathingdwen, with its pristine buildings and cheery storefronts, and remembered that corruption and rot had lived and thrived in those same buildings. He turned to Hallil. “How quickly can you give Marne a decent burial?” Hallil frowned. “Fairly quickly. Why? Is there something that needs to be done?” Olaf stood up, instantly feeling lightheaded. Tee Mai protested, attempting to sit him back down, but Olaf merely slapped his hand away, leaning on his rapier for support. “Yes. There is. The Spiked are gone, but this city is now vulnerable to the Lord Ruler. Moreover, it has sheltered evil for far too long. Gather enough supplies, find Leidene, and get every man in this city out of here.” “Where?” Hallil asked, with mounting trepidation. “Anywhere, as long as it’s sufficiently hidden from the Lord Ruler,” Olaf replied irritably. “Leidene can sort out the details, and you can send Citona with her. He’s the new Synod head, by the way. Regardless, once Marne is buried, we are razing this city.” Two hours later, with Marne buried and the Synod evacuated, Olaf stood outside his friend’s old house, where it had all begun. He had nearly burnt the structure down that time. Now, he would complete the job. Raising his lit torch, he ran its flames along the edge of the wooden structure, watching as they took hold and spread. Olaf felt a tear well in his eye as he thought of his friend, but he quickly blinked it away. He could not afford to be sentimental. Casting one last look at the burning building, he moved on to the next with renewed fury, setting it alight. And the next, and the next. With each flame kindled, Olaf felt a little more of his frustration and anger burn away, releasing it in a great show of fire. He continued his work ceaselessly, for hours, ignoring his dizziness and wounds, focusing on purging his anger. Soon, between his work and that of the Synod, all the main buildings of Tathingdwen were ablaze. The natural spread of the flames, which were fanned and buffeted by the light afternoon breeze, would soon consume the whole city. Signaling for the Synod to rejoin the other refugees, Olaf took the longer road, moving back towards Luthadel and Keep Ffnord. A letter slipped to Jest, who had joined up with the Synod in the general confusion, should be enough to ensure that Citona Vinid took ascendancy over the Synod, and that the Terris people would live to fight the Lord Ruler another day. As for his own part, Olaf could no longer be with the Synod. Passing down the lonely northern road, he spared a single glance back at the city, and its refugees, then slipped quietly away, his flight masked by the long shadows of a setting sun. For their part, the Terris only saw a lone, dark figure, weeping as he wheezed, walk away towards the Central Dominance, his tall and foreboding frame passing slowly into the distance. Marne’s death opened up some intriguing options for Leidene. As the killer of two Spiked infiltrators, including a Full Feruchemist, he had acquired quite a collection of spikes which were now left unguarded. Leidene currently only possessed two spikes: a bronze one through her ribcage and a pewter spike between her shoulder blades. If she gained ownership of Marne’s trove, she too could have most of the powers of a Full Feruchemist, though she would have to search elsewhere for spikes granting Feruchemical atium. That would be enough for now, she reassured herself, as she began to pile up her nonessential belongings in the middle of her house. Furniture, incriminating documents, the discarded bones of the Sparker HanTor had replaced, and all the corpses she had managed to collect. Setting the pyre alight, she smiled. Helping the Spiked infiltrate the city would soon prove to have been very profitable. Leidene stepped out of her burning home to find the remainder of Tathingdwen similarly engulfed in flames. Count Olaf venting his sorrow, she assumed. With displeasure, she noted that the fire had already reached Marne’s house. She hobbled as fast as she could towards the doomed dwelling, wishing Olaf had waited a little bit longer before putting on his pyromaniacal display. Arriving inside the circular house with the fire raging within, Leidene began rummaging through Marne’s trinkets. He had only killed Zihel the previous night, so surely the spikes would be somewhere obvious. No such luck. They weren’t on his desk, or his wardrobe, or underneath his bed. The blaze began to thoroughly lick the walls of the house, which groaned, and the interior temperature rose precipitously. Leidene ignored this; the compulsion to claim her prize was too strong. She would not leave while the spikes had yet to be found, even as the fire burned through the walls and began to consume the entire house. The decorative rug, courtesy of Valwyn, that covered the entire floor began to smoke as a burning ember landed on it. Soon, the rug was nothing but food for the inferno, and as the flames began to devour her, the pain broke through her spike-fueled desire. She screamed, tapping gold to heal herself as she made for an exit. It took almost her entire goldmind, but she was able to escape the conflagration before she could be reduced to a skeleton. The house was not so lucky. Leidene stared numbly at the wreckage. She had been so close, but Count Olaf’s rampant arson had cost her everything. Desperately, she stumbled towards the flaming wreckage. Deprived of fuel, the bonfire had moved on, leaving utter devastation in its wake. The rug had burned to a crisp, and the wood had been severely charred. Leidene began to brush aside the debris, vaguely hoping she would encounter the spikes now that the obstruction had been cleared away. To her surprise, she found something; the outline of a stone door previously hidden under the rug. She tried to open it, but it was much to heavy for an ordinary person to lift, especially one who could only put her weight on one leg. She was about to give up for a second time when she heard a voice calling her name. She turned to see Ethan Hallil, the SCUBA instructor and one of her fellow Synod members. “What do we do?” he cried out. “Count Olaf has gone mad!” “Gather the remaining villagers,” Leidene responded. “Have them head down the river towards Torinost, we’ll be safe from the Lord Ruler and his minions there while we build ourselves a new homeland. Before you go though, could you open this door for me?” “Door?” asked Ethan, confused. He walked closer to Leidene, and his gaze found the stone door. “Ah yes, hold on,” he said as he tapped pewter. With his enlarged muscles, he was able to wedge his fingers in the slit at the end of the door and throw it open. Underneath was a pit holding all thirteen spikes Marne had claimed for his own. “That’s good, now hurry! See to your people,” Leidene commanded. “Are you sure it’s safe to leave those spikes out there in the open?” Ethan inquired. “I’ll take care of it, just go. I’ll catch up with you soon,” Leidene replied, Soothing Ethan’s fear and suspicion. Ethan took off. Once he was no longer looking, Leidene gathered the thirteen spikes. Hurriedly, she impaled herself with the relevant ones, gaining new Feruchemical powers with each thrust. Iron, steel, tin, pewter, zinc, brass, copper, and bronze became hers to command, though most of those abilities would be useless without the corresponding metalminds and time spent storing. The two spikes making up the Kandra blessing, along with the duplicate spikes granting gold, zinc, and iron Feruchemy, went into her bag. Her task complete, Leidene moved on, trailing after Ethan’s retreating form. Xinoehp512 was lynched! He was a Spiked Tin Ferring (Windwhisperer)! Marne was killed! He was a Village Full Feruchemist, and was a member of the Synod! Count Olaf has withdrawn! He was an Arsonist, and a member of the Synod! Citona Vinid (phattemer) is now head of the Synod! Leidene has broken from the Lord Ruler, and is carving her own path! She was a Spiked Full Feruchemist! All Spiked are dead or fled! That means the village has won! Congratulations to the villagers, and well played to the Spiked. It was a pretty close game. I will have more thoughts coming later (likely about three essay’s worth) but for now I’d just like to thank everyone who signed up to play. This game wouldn’t have been so enjoyable to run without each of you involved. On that note, I’ll praise Devotary more effusively later, but she was an amazing co-GM, and a great help with all parts of the game. Finally, I’d like to apologise for the delay in the posting of this cycle, which as stated before was due to technical difficulties. Hopefully it didn’t affect anyone too adversely. Docs/Spreadsheets: The Lord Ruler’s Chosen The Terris Synod The Citizenry of Tathingdwen Final Player List: 1. Rathmaskal as Laksam, an ash sweeper from the Eastern streets Village Steel Ferring 2. Xinoehp512 as Ereheman Tresni, a man with his priorities backwards Spiked Tin Ferring 3. Steeldancer as Steel, the fastest sculpture of a squid wrought entirely in steel in all of Tathingdwen Village Brass Ferring 4. Randuir as Zihel, a worldhopper looking for his twin brother Spiked Full Feruchemist 5. I think I am here as Itiah VI, a missionary on a mission Village Steel Ferring 6. Bort as Tee Mai, a tailor specialising in offensive clothing: Village Bronze Ferring 7. Cadmium Compounder as Ethin Hallil, a cadmium Feruchemist and SCUBA diver: Village Pewter Ferring 8. _Stick_ as Stick, President of the Tathingdwen Tautological Society of Tautology: Village Brass Ferring 9. Jondesu as Remart, a man back from vacation armed with vaguely ominous statements: Village Bronze Ferring 10. Kidpen as HanTor, a lonely Kandra that’s definitely not Spiked, nope Spiked Zinc Ferring 11. Elandera as Era, an old woman who claims to have been alive before the reign of the Lord Ruler Village Pewter Ferring 12. Snipexe as Snip, a fabric cutter in the local quilt shop Village Iron Ferring 13. Worldhopper from Yolen as Tarin, a Sparker with a wonderful, awful idea Village Zinc Ferring 14. Alvron as Izzy Dedyet, who is not dead, feels happy, and thinks she'll go for a walk Village Full Feruchemist 15. Phatterner as Citona Vinid, a seemingly faithful follower of the Lord Ruler: Village Zinc Ferring 16. Ark1002 as Kardik, a Full Feruchemist: Village Iron Ferring 17. Araris Valerian as Valwyn, an honest rug merchant Spiked Pewter Ferring; Rug Merchant 18. Coop772 as Irion, a Full Feruchemist with hidden potential Village Copper Ferring 19. Sart, a stuttering Nameless Village Iron Ferring Synod Members: Bort, Cadmium Compounder, phattemer, Araris Valerian, Coop772, Alvron
  5. (In case you haven’t inferred it, the game is over—I wanted the aftermath up last night but technical difficulties prevented its completion. Hopefully it’ll be up around when I normally post new cycles, tonight.)
  6. The cycle is closed! Writeup may take a little longer than usual—hopefully we’ll have it up fairly soon though.
  7. Cycle is closed. Rollover may take a little while, so please bear with me (just got back from an XC meet).
  8. With the uncertainty regarding the identity of the new Synod head, the remaining Synod members did not dare to address current issues. Far better to wait for direction before making important decisions, especially considering the wide gulf in ideologies between the two leading candidates. Instead, they turned to address older business that had been ignored in favor of more urgent matters. Darrel, as a neutral party in the election, was currently the Acting Head of the Synod. In his hands, he held a complaint written in a very familiar hand. Darrel could almost hear Valwyn’s voice as he read the notice aloud. “Esteemed colleagues,” the letter began. “I hereby submit a motion to remove the tentacled steel sculpture from the premises. It is an unsightly blemish and is blocking access to the roads. As per paragraph three, section five of legal code, ornaments that obstruct the roads are to be removed with all deliberate speed by the ash sweepers. I request that this action be carried out at once. Yours respectfully, Valwyn.” Darrel lowered the paper and gazed around at his fellow Synod members. Most of them looked disinterested in the proceedings. “Valwyn is dead, and a traitor besides. Do we really have to deal with this?” one asked. “That steel sculpture isn’t even a hindrance anymore. It can move quite quickly when it wants to, and is apparently smart enough to vote,” opined a second member. A third member suddenly cut in, apparently interested. “What if it’s spiked, though? We’d never be able to tell under all that steel.” “That’s ridiculous,” shouted the first speaker. “There’s no way anyone managed to spike a whatever-it-is. We need to focus on finding the real Spiked, not entertaining the fancies of a deceased enemy!” Darrel looked on sadly as the two Synod members’ argument descended into bickering. Under Marne’s leadership, the two had tolerated each other despite their substantial differences in opinion. Now, without a respected head of the Synod, their icy politeness had burned faster than one of Olaf’s fires. “Stop!” he ordered. “We’ll go talk to the steel sculpture and see what it has to say for itself.” Sighing heavily, the four members trudged outside. Not for the last time, Darrel wished Marne were still in power, or at least that Olaf and Leidene would at least feign civility and join in discussions. Steel enjoyed life in Tathingdwen, accusations and biases notwithstanding. As a Ferring, and one incapable of posing as a Terris steward, the village was the only safe place for him. No matter how any whispers of suspicion or disgust came his way, Steel always tried to help his adopted homeland. Lately, he noticed the whispers getting worse. Sometimes, villagers would even proclaim loudly that he was the cause of their troubles. Steel didn’t understand why the villagers would harbor hatred for a noble squid when there were Spiked on the loose, but he never expressed those opinions. Better to keep quiet and prove his loyalty through his actions, he felt. Now, seeing almost the entire Synod heading in his direction, Steel found himself reconsidering his decision. He didn’t run, though he could easily have outpaced the Synod members. He’d seen what had happened when Snip had tried to run, and besides, the village needed him here. To run would be to abandon his duty. Instead, Steel rapidly filled and tapped brass, melting his facial features and reforging them into an expression that humans apparently found to be aesthetically pleasing. This done, he sat back and waited. Darrel stared at the steel sculpture. That face, was it, was it smiling? Such an odd expression on a tentacled monstrosity. Feeling slightly foolish he addressed the beast. “Uh, steel… thing, we, my colleagues feel there is a possibility you may be Spiked, so, we’ve come to investigate.” Steel said nothing, but melted and reformed it’s eyes in an attempt to signal agreement. Creeped out, Darrel nodded. “O-okay then. Um, we’re going to have to check whether any metal is piercing your flesh. Now, I realize that now seem to be made of metal, and that you don’t appear to actual have any flesh, so actually, I don’t even know what we’re supposed to do.” Steel looked up at Darrel with something akin to pity. The poor man was evidently unsuited to leadership. Meanwhile, two of the Synod members had began a new argument. Ignoring Steel, they began to loudly debate the respective merits of Leidene and Count Olaf, and how the pair had agreed that Tathingdwen would have to be abandoned. The shouting drew a crowd over to see what the commotion was about, but the newcomers soon forgot the argument in favor of shouting at Steel. “Who let that thing into our village,” one shouted, wielding a bloody splintered table leg. Steel recoiled, though he harbored no fear of the makeshift club. Emboldened, the villager stepped forward and smashed the leg against one of Steel’s tentacles. The wooden leg broke in two, leaving Steel unharmed. Enraged, the Ferring tried a fist, smashing knuckles into Steel’s eyes. Though Steel felt nothing, the attacker cried out in pain. “The evil brute attacked me,” the aggressor lied. Steel was confused. It wasn’t his fault he had been hit. The milling crowd harbored no such confusion. They mobbed Steel, and though their various weapons were just as ineffective as the instigators table leg and fists, Steel could do nothing to stop them from picking him up. Nothing, that is, except tap brass. Lightly at first, for Steel had no wish to seriously harm the crowd. As the mob began to carry him towards the nearby waterfall, Steel began to panic. He tapped brass more intently, until Terris began to scream in agony as their skin came in contact with blisteringly hot metal. The leaders attempted to drop Steel, but found themselves pushed forward by the inexorable momentum of the crowd. Realizing that his plan had failed, Steel ceased his efforts. The falls were now in sight. Steel, like all squids, enjoyed the water, but he disliked the looks of the rocks bristling pointedly far below. His only chance, he figured, was to forge himself into a useful shape before he hit the rocks. He began to fill brass instead, to provide him with plenty of heat for the task. Just as the chilled metal began to be uncomfortable, Steel was hurled over the edge. As Steel plummeted, he realized that he disliked heights. This thought flitted through his find as he began to melt down his tentacles and form himself into a ball for impact. The boulders below looked even more lethal from this height, he noted, so he dissolved his eyes. They wouldn’t be necessary, he reasoned, a second before his spherical form smashed into the first rock. CRACK! Steel felt the blow reverberate through his core, but he was still alive. He sank into the water, relieved. When he attempted to tap heat to begin reforging his body, he found that his metalminds had been lost. Stuck in his spherical form, Steel was whisked away by the rapids, unable to return home. Olaf continued on his nighttime walk, past the charred ruins of Marne’s hideout and further into the alleyway in which it was set. After the sturdy wooden houses on either side, the alley led into squatter settlements where the poorer citizenry of Tathingdwen lived in small stone huts. Among the paupers and beggars lining the sidewalks, one very important woman lived in the alleyway, an older lady of sixty. Former leader of the Synod for one day, covert member of an arsonist group, and a hopeless lover of dogs, Shirley U. Jest squatted on her porch, watching Olaf as he approached. With surprise, Olaf saw that the sun was coming up behind Jest’s house. How long had he been awake? Pushing aside his fatigue, Olaf turned to the older woman and bowed reverently. Jest had been his mentor, and the leader of the splinter faction that Olaf had joined as a young man, when he stopped fighting fires and began to start them. Now, he hoped to receive direct answers from her, amidst the turmoil and murkiness surrounding the Synod and its congregation. “Ms. Jest,” he began, but the old woman raised her hand for silence, cutting him off. “I’ve lived sixty years, Olaf,” she rasped with the voice of one accustomed to constant smoke inhalation. “I don’t have that much longer here on this brown earth, and I’d hate for you to waste any more of it on your formalities. You’ve come here because you want something. What is it?” Despite himself, Olaf grinned widely. He missed Jest’s blunt answers and no-nonsense approach to life. He was surprised that he had fallen into diplomatic niceties so quickly, but as a member of the high nobility, and then a companion to Marne, who talked around an issue more than Olaf did, Olaf figured that the people around him were mostly to blame. He began again. “I need counsel,” he said simply. “The Synod can no longer keep control of its members, with the discovery of traitors in their midst, and I’m caught up with them, for good or ill. However, they’ve been insane recently: they just deposed Marne—” “Good riddance,” Jest interjected. “Just because he quickly shut down your failed coup doesn’t mean he’s a terrible person. Besides, I had told you that it was too early to try to move against the Synod. Anyway, they’ve also used my Coinshot assassin to remove someone, and now they’re leading the rest of the Terris to kill each other in search of Spiked. I’m not sure if I’m entirely on board with the direction they’re taking.” Jest snorted. “What happened to your devotion to chaos? The Synod will tear itself apart, Marne will die, and there’s one less secret society to have to keep track of. Sure, that fool of a Lord Ruler will keep consolidating power, but he’s got all of it anyway, so no big deal there. The Olaf I knew five years ago would have welcomed these changes with open arms. What happened?” “I respect the people on that Synod, Jest. Marne is a good man, despite your refusal to acknowledge that, and the Synod itself is full of people who honestly want to help each other. Now, though, I’m not sure that it can hold together.” Jest waved her arms in frustration. “Why did you let yourself be drawn in by that group? I don’t care how much you want to make up for what you nearly did to Marne, or how good you think those people may be. If you want to help them, the best thing to do is stay out of their affairs. They’ll live or die on their own.” “That’s not an option,” Olaf stated quietly. “I can’t abandon them now. I need to see if the Synod can draw itself back together, if the Terris can survive the Lord Ruler. And if they can, I need to be a part of that. But first I need to get them there. So I repeat my earlier question to you: what should I do?” Jest sat in silence for a minute, looking down at the dirt and ash roads. Olaf tapped his foot, unnerved by his mentor’s silence. After what seemed like an eternity, Jest drew her head up, her sharp gaze piercing Olaf. “You’re actually serious about this?” “Yes,” Olaf responded, with as much confidence as he could muster. Jest sighed again. “Fine. I can only tell you one thing, then. If you’re bound and determined to save this Synod group, then you need to lead it. Marne is gone from his position of power, from what I understand, and even though you may consult with him you need to take on the task of leading the Synod. It will unite and direct them, provided you give them something to do.” Olaf blinked. “Even if I get the position, what could I even unify them around?” Jest flashed a rare grin. “Why, what you’re best at, of course. Arson.” Twelve hours later, eight of which Olaf had spent sleeping, the Terris people gathered in front of the Synod building to elect their new leader. Split almost equally between two factions, which fiercely debated the merits of each candidate to the unconvinced, each of the gathered Feruchemists were on edge after the death of the steel sculpture. Olaf had left Marne to organise a quick campaign and platform for him, and he had to admit that the man had done good work, given his time constraints. It seemed that Olaf actually had a decent chance of winning with a message of unity, if he played his cards correctly before votes were cast. However, the camp in favor of Leidene was well organised, sporting signs and waving articles claiming that Olaf was an undercover Spiked. He had been forced to defend himself from the unsubstantiated allegations, and that had weakened his positive message. Leidene sat across from him on the steps, looking slightly disconcerted. Olaf could not tell if the articles that had been printed had actually been directly ordered by her. Either way, he was going to have to keep an eye on her. Silence began to spread across the crowd of Terris as Darrel, the acting head, walked up the steps towards the two candidates. Marne muttered a word of support in Olaf’s ear, then went to sit with the rest of the Synod. Beside him, Darrel had reached the top step, and began to speak. “Ladies and gentlemen of the Synod,” he announced. “After a careful counting of all ballots submitted, it is my pleasure to present to you your new Synod leader: Count Olaf!” Olaf felt relief flood through his body. He moved dumbly to shake Leidene’s hand, still overwhelmed, and felt his legs propel him towards the Synod house. Marne had sprinted ahead, and was waiting at the door with an enormous grin on his face, beaming like a proud parent. Darrel was more deadpan, but still excited by the tense nature of his posture. Most of the other Synod members merely seemed trepidatious. Having the meeting immediately follow the election had not been Olaf’s idea, but was supported by the Terris, who wanted to see mwhat their new leader would do. However, rebuffed at the door by the Brutes and Steelrunners guarding the Synod, the crowd slowly dispersed, and silence filled the Synod meeting-room as the members sat down and waited, a nervous silence filling the air. Finally, Darrel broke it. “So...what’s our plan to save Tathingdwen?” Olaf grinned widely. “Arson.” Steeldancer was lynched! He was a Village Brass Ferring (Firesoul)! Steeldancer (3) Jondesu (2) Count Olaf was elected as the leader of the Synod! The Synod has gained the following ability: Arson-Each member of the Synod may vote to burn something down. If by the end of a night phase a majority of living Synod members have voted for the same target, that structure will be burned down. The use of this ability will be noted in the writeup. This has no in-game effect. Night 4 has begun! It will end in 24 hours on Thursday, August 23rd at 9 PM EDT. [url=https://www.pending.me.uk][/url] Player List: 1. Rathmaskal as Laksam, an ash sweeper from the Eastern streets Village Steel Ferring 2. Xinoehp512 as Ereheman Tresni, a man with his priorities backwards 3. Steeldancer as Steel, the fastest sculpture of a squid wrought entirely in steel in all of Tathingdwen Village Brass Ferring 4. Randuir as Zihel, a worldhopper looking for his twin brother 5. I think I am here as Itiah VI, a missionary on a mission Village Steel Ferring 6. Bort as Tee Mai, a tailor specialising in offensive clothing 7. Cadmium Compounder as Ethin Hallil, a cadmium Feruchemist and SCUBA diver 8. _Stick_ as Stick, President of the Tathingdwen Tautological Society of Tautology 9. Jondesu as Remart, a man back from vacation armed with vaguely ominous statements 10. Kidpen as HanTor, a lonely Kandra that’s definitely not Spiked, nope Spiked Zinc Ferring 11. Elandera as Era, an old woman who claims to have been alive before the reign of the Lord Ruler Village Pewter Ferring 12. Snipexe as Snip, a fabric cutter in the local quilt shop Village Iron Ferring 13. Worldhopper from Yolen as Tarin, a Sparker with a wonderful, awful idea Village Zinc Ferring 14. Alvron as Izzy Dedyet, who is not dead, feels happy, and thinks she'll go for a walk Village Full Feruchemist 15. Phatterner as Citona Vinid, a seemingly faithful follower of the Lord Ruler 16. Ark1002 as Kardik, a Full Feruchemist 17. Araris Valerian as Valwyn, an honest rug merchant Spiked Pewter Ferring; Rug Merchant 18. Coop772 as Irion, a Full Feruchemist with hidden potential Village Copper Ferring 19. Sart, a stuttering Nameless
  9. The cycle has closed! Come back in an hour or two to see the results.
  10. Count Olaf would indeed like to respond. First, the misinformation being circulated in the Terris Daily, which has the ring of a cheap tabloid and not a legitimate source of news, is strongly condemned by Olaf’s campaign. Without the identification of the anonymous Terriswoman who is baselessly slandering an upright and honest man, the entire article which claims to relay a true event to the Terris people instead smacks of falsehood and deceit. The accusations levelled against Olaf have no grounds; Olaf was on his way back from a Synod meeting last night, and contacted an assassin which the “upright” Leidene supported the use of. After consulting with and paying the assassin by the orders of the Synod, Olaf walked past Marne’s old hideout, on the other side of the city from where Laksam was murdered, and after stopping to chat with an old acquaintance proceeded directly to bed. The newspapers circulating are intended solely to spread false news in the wake of a legitimate populist uprising in favor of an unconventional outsider, who will strengthen and empower the Synod against the Spiked who remain embedded among our ranks. The Olaf campaign personally suspects high levels of skulduggery, and the partisan news outlet which has a clear bias towards Leidene will recieve the full force of a Synod investigation. Any attempts to spread lies during this uncertain time should be met with suspicion and condemnation of the persons involved. Regarding Olaf’s stance on infrastructure: First of all, arson is a noble pursuit. Were it not for the tireless efforts of the arsonists among us in day-to-day society, old and abandoned buildings would fall into disrepair, eventually collapsing and perhaps injuring or killing many. Abandoned plots of land would also become small jungles, needing significant effort to clear, and becoming quite useless to the public. Arson solves these issues, removing outmoded or old infrastructure speedily and with limited cost, and laying the ground for a fresh start once the old and obsolete structures have been removed. However, a focus on infrastructure when there are Spiked lurking among us, added to the fact that we will, as Leidene acknowledged, need to desert Tathingdwen in the near future, is a foolish waste of time and resources. A leader who will vigourously hunt for the Spiked and eliminate them is needed more than one who seeks to tend to economic issues when our people are being slaughtered as we stand here debating. A vote for Olaf is a vote for reliable leadership in the Synod, and a hunt for the Spiked personally fueled by a man who knows the agonising terrors of being among their number, and escaped that tortuous state of being by his own free will, a truly difficult feat to accomplish. Finally, just look at a different picture of Olaf as he shelters these three poor orphans. Isn’t that what we should look for in any leader: a heart?
  11. As a side note, regarding the new Synod chair: -The player elected, if it’s an actual player, will not join the Synod members in their doc. -VAFO on any roles or abilities electing a particular entity might give the elected player, entity, the Synod, or the players as a whole. -Votes for Synod chair don’t count against metalmind fill conditions, and aren’t influenced by any vote manipulation. -Cadmium Compounder has made the correct decision with his vote. Nevertheless, Devotary insists I tell you that another non-player, Leidene, is also vying for Synod chair. You could vote for her...but Olaf is clearly the superior choice, if you’re electing NPCs.
  12. Laksam hated the ashmounts. Every day, no matter the results of the inane discussions the villagers insisted on having , piles of ash fell on the fields of Tathingdwen that he’d just finished cleaning. With Era dead, he had to clean out her garden in addition to all his other duties. He didn’t have time for all this nonsense with the villagers and the Spiked murdering each other when they wouldn’t last the year without fresh crops. Laksam had tried to recruit others to help him in his quest to clear the fields of ash, but they had all refused. “We’re busy,” they had said, or perhaps, “Don’t you know the village has more important things to do?” Fools, every last one of them. What difference did it make if they found and eliminated all the Spiked? At this rate, the village would kill itself off. Laksam participated in the village’s peculiar brand of justice to keep up appearances, no use trying to save the village if he was going to get murdered for it, but in his brief moments of spare time, Laksam began writing letters. Lots and lots of letters, one for each person in the outside world he knew. If the inhabitants of Tathingdwen wouldn’t listen to reason, perhaps the expatriate Terris would. Just in case, Laksam prepared one final letter, more of a poster really. Asking nicely hadn’t worked, explaining the severity of the ash problem had been laughed off, so Laksam decided to try demanding obedience. “Citizens of Tathingdwen:” the poster announced in large letters. “Ising the needing of working of you. Ising of the cleansing of ash. Needing the arriving of you the time of appointing. Ising the giving of brooms.” In smaller letters, Laksam wrote out the name of each surviving resident, along with the times he expected them to show up. Each shift required two people, to limit the effects of attrition on the continuous effort. Satisfied, Laksam left his house, poster in hand, letters in the pockets of his robe. The mist was thick that night. Laksam enjoyed misty nights; he could almost ignore the omnipresent ash at times like these. Years of nights spent outside, just him, the mists, and the ash, had given Laksam an impeccable sense for the village in darkness. He wasted no time walking up to the Synod lodge and nailing his poster to the wall using a mallet he’d borrowed from Era upon her death. This task done, he turned and gazed out to the periphery of the village. The night was still young, and his steelminds were full of speed. He could, potentially, rush out to deliver his letters and return before the villagers realized he was gone. Sweeping ash all day left little time to store speed, but he’d been saving up for years, ever since that day long ago when Izzy had needed an emergency supply of animal crackers to placate her gods. Now, she was gone too. Laksam shook his head wearily. The Spiked were taking everything from him. He would not let them prevent him from fighting his eternal war against the ash. Glancing at his Steelminds, Laksam made his decision. The ash could wait for a few more hours. Laksam tapped speed and took off into the night, letters in tow. As he ran, Laksam remembered how much he enjoyed Steelrunning, especially at night. The cool breeze of the wind blowing across his face. The enveloping presence of the mists, covering up the ugliness of the world without unduly limiting his vision. The blinding agony as he suddenly tripped and smashed his face against the hard ground. Wait, no, that wasn’t right. Laksam struggled to get up and continue his journey, but the intense pain in his head forced him to his knees again. He sat there for a minute, struggling to collect his thoughts, hoping the pain would go away, that it wasn’t permanent. He stood up dizzily just in time to hear a voice behind him say, “Well, looks like we have a runner. Where are you going so late at night, when all the decent folks have gone to sleep?” Laksam turned around groggily, almost falling over in the process. His vision blurred, leaving him unable to identify the newcomer. The swirling mist didn’t help matters. Laksam tried to respond, resorting to the street slang of his youth. “Ising the being of you of decent?” he forced out. “Hmm? I didn’t catch that,” the figure said conversationally pulling something long and sharp out from under his robes. Ah well. We’ll see how long it takes the villagers to find your body.” At this, Laksam, already nervous, began to panic. He tapped speed, attempting to turn and run, but the Spiked was prepared for this. The razor-sharp projectile, hurled at extreme velocities, pierced Laksam from behind even as he began to run. The ash sweeper’s body made it a few more paces before realizing it was dead, finally collapsing a mere ten meters from the shin high steel tripwire that had caused Laksam’s downfall. The Spiked nodded in approval. All that time spend surrounding the village with a ring of steel had paid off. The Spiked walked up to Laksam’s corpse to retrieve the obsidian javelin, pausing at the sound of paper crinkling. Upon finding the first of the letters, the figure’s grin widened. The frantic entreaties for aid would serve as excellent kindling for their writer’s funeral pyre. Ethin Hallil’s drink had been poisoned. It would have been a great travesty, if he hadn’t accidentally nudged it with his elbow as he animatedly retold the death of HanTor, and poured the wine all over his brand new SCUBA gear. The dry cleaning bill was a lot cheaper than a notary and an interment, though, so he gladly paid it once the laundry lady asked why his gear smelled like strychnine. Olaf rose from his seat in the Synod, thoroughly exhausted and befuddled. After its members had called for a clandestine meeting in the night, Olaf had an apprehension that something major was about to take place in the Synod. The meeting had certainly not disappointed. The remaining Synod members had tired of Marne’s calls for moderation. A decisive viote had ousted him from his position as chair of the Synod, reducing him back to an ordinary member. Olaf recalled the thunderstruck look on his new friend’s face as the hands had gone up, one by one, and Marne had been removed from his long-standing position. Olaf himself had been shocked, his faith in the legislative body and his belief in the goodness of the Synod’s errand both in tatters. Removing Marne had not been in their best interests. The man was a competent, capable leader, and his peaceful and nonviolent stances were, in Olaf’s eyes, a mark of the man’s strength. Though he did not take an authoritative stance, and was never the most decisive, Olaf appreciated the compassion within the man, a trait he had always struggled to acquire. In addition, without a leader to guide them, the Synod was aimless and had no clear direction. Despite claims from the Synod that a new leader would be appointed, Olaf knew that a leader of Marne’s caliber did not exist elsewhere in the Synod, and without one, the Synod would drift purposelessly. However, the Terris had been in agreement about one crucial element; Tarin needed to be killed. The orphan had been accused of association with the deceased agents of the Lord Ruler, and enough of the Terris had decided that she warranted removal by Olaf’s assassin. Marne, again shocked, had merely voted present. Olaf voted against the resolution. While he was sympathetic of Marne’s situation, and felt terrible for his friend’s plight, he knew that his assassin should not be used when the Synod was leaderless, and unable to guide themselves to wise decisions. Nevertheless, Olaf had been outvoted again, with the cripple Leidene siding with the younger, ascendant faction that had deposed Marne. So it was that Olaf found himself outside with a purse full of money that was not his, knocking on the door of his Coinshot. He had carefully removed all metal on him, and had filled the purse with paper notes, to minimise the risk of an accidental or careless Steelpush incapacitating or killing him. Trepidatious, Olaf stood on the porch, waiting for his man to emerge. The wind swirled around him, chilling him and shaking the bushes from side to side. Olaf watched the movement of the branches, thinking of warm fires, and therefore did not notice when the front door swung silently outward on oiled hinges, and a cloaked figure in black garb alighted on the steps. Recognising the eye tattooed on Olaf’s ankle, the man did not bother inquiring as to Olaf’s identity, instead moving to take his purse. Raising an eyebrow at the paper currency, the assassin rummaged through the purse, lips mouthing numbers as he counted the sum. When he was done, he whistled softly, appreciative. The Coinshot turned to Olaf with a broad smile on his face. “️️Who?” he asked simply. Olaf answered hesitantly. “Tarin,” he said. “Orphan girl who just moved into Tathingdwen. A...group I’m in thinks she might be a snoop for the Lord Ruler, and we’d rather get her out of the way before we proceed any further.” The half-lie would hopefully placate the man. Olaf would be laughed away if he explained what Hadrian and Marne had done to him in front of his old associates, and so he had learned to keep up pretenses. More importantly, however, he could not compromise the Synod, even if he disagreed with its current direction. Men like this assassin, while they ostensibly served him, would do anything to turn a profit, Olaf knew—he had been among their ranks for the better part of his adulthood. If it meant a few more bills in his pocket, the Coinshot would not hesitate to sell out the Synod to those willing to pay for such information. So Olaf kept a tight lip as the man nodded, a self-satisfied smirk upon his face, and jumped off into the mists after his target. Olaf watched him go, standing on the small veranda in the ash-coated yard. His associate would not fail, though a nagging doubt gnawed at the insides of the conflicted man as he towered over the streets and small buildings, striding towards Marne’s old house, the initial hideout that Olaf had nearly razed. He felt that Tarin was not guilty, that the Synod had adjudicated incorrectly. And to form a different plan, to truly save the Terris, Olaf would need to enlist the aid of his first ally in the Synod, its former leader, if he was to not fail this group that had placed their reliance in him. For the second time that night, even as the unfortunate Tarin was riddled with holes from many coins, Olaf knocked on a door he had not planned to be at, hoping that behind this one lay the answers he sought. Rathmaskal was slaughtered by the Spiked! He was a Village Steel Ferring (Steelrunner)! All credit to Devotary for his death, please go give her upvotes. Cadmium Compounder was attacked, but was protected! Worldhopper from Yolen was assassinated by the Synod! She was a Village Zinc Ferring (Sparker)! Marne was deposed as the leader of the Synod! He was a Moderate Pacifist! Ascendancy over the Synod is now open! As a flavor vote, today you may each cast a vote in purple to elect a new Synod leader, in addition to your regular lynch vote. The person with the most votes gets to lead the Synod. Day 4 has begun! It will end in 48 hours, on Wednesday the 22nd of August at 9 PM EDT. Player List: 1. Rathmaskal as Laksam, an ash sweeper from the Eastern streets Village Steel Ferring 2. Xinoehp512 as Ereheman Tresni, a man with his priorities backwards 3. Steeldancer as Steel, the fastest sculpture of a squid wrought entirely in steel in all of Tathingdwen 4. Randuir as Zihel, a worldhopper looking for his twin brother 5. I think I am here as Itiah VI, a missionary on a mission Village Steel Ferring 6. Bort as Tee Mai, a tailor specialising in offensive clothing 7. Cadmium Compounder as Ethin Hallil, a cadmium Feruchemist and SCUBA diver 8. _Stick_ as Stick, President of the Tathingdwen Tautological Society of Tautology 9. Jondesu as Remart, a man back from vacation armed with vaguely ominous statements 10. Kidpen as HanTor, a lonely Kandra that’s definitely not Spiked, nope Spiked Zinc Ferring 11. Elandera as Era, an old woman who claims to have been alive before the reign of the Lord Ruler Village Pewter Ferring 12. Snipexe as Snip, a fabric cutter in the local quilt shop Village Iron Ferring 13. Worldhopper from Yolen as Tarin, a Sparker with a wonderful, awful idea Village Zinc Ferring 14. Alvron as Izzy Dedyet, who is not dead, feels happy, and thinks she'll go for a walk Village Full Feruchemist 15. Phatterner as Citona Vinid, a seemingly faithful follower of the Lord Ruler 16. Ark1002 as Kardik, a Full Feruchemist 17. Araris Valerian as Valwyn, an honest rug merchant Spiked Pewter Ferring; Rug Merchant 18. Coop772 as Irion, a Full Feruchemist with hidden potential Village Copper Ferring 19. Sart, a stuttering Nameless
  13. Looks like the cycle’s over! Writeup to come in about an hour.
  14. Valwyn, esteemed member of the Terris Synod and the most successful and lucrative rug merchant in the land, was most happy with the recent upturn in business. Of all the Spiked, he was the one who had truly settled into the aura of Tathingdwen, with his wares being peddled throughout the city, and his position as an influential, capitalistic aristocrat firmly entrenched. Most especially pleased was he when Marne had called the Synod into the safehouse with the rough wooden flooring, by his own suggestion. A full purse indeed made for a light heart, and Valwyn’s heart was especially light as he strolled down the quiet alleyways of Tathingdwen. His disguise was complete—there was little reason to suspect him, and with a hand on the lever of the Terris economy, and a hand on its political lever—the Synod—he would ensure the victory of the Lord Ruler. As he walked towards his shop, a voice sounded behind him, a fell whisper carried by the night air. “Rug merchant,” came the sibilant hiss. Valwyn whirled around, scanning for the source of the rasping voice. “Did you ask for me?” he said, still looking for the intruder. He did not know who would dare disturb a Synod member on their nighttime walk, but the voice did not seem to harbour good intentions, and he would need to face his stalker. He turned, peering into the murky blackness of the night sky, seeing nothing. The whisper came again, its origin obscured by the shadows facing him. “Rug merchant...” the whisper still came. Valwyn shuddered. “Face me directly!” he challenged, then immediately felt foolish. Of course the man would not face him directly. He was a nighttime killer as well, and a good killer never let their victim respond. He tensed, then tapped Pewter, his adrenaline fueling his enhanced bulk. Stepping forward, he began to prowl in the general direction of the voice, issuing from near his shop. “Rug merchant,” a vehement and insisting voice sounded from beside him, malice dripping from every syllable. Startled, Valwyn whirled, but he could not stop the keen steel blade, wielded by a pink-gloved man, from swinging out of the unnatural shadow and taking off his head. It rolled, coming to a stop beside the door. A man with badly dyed pink leather gloves, from which a black steam rose and blended with the silver mist, stepped into the harsh glare of the streetlight surrounding him. His form radiated pure hatred, and his eyes were consumed by it. Slowly, the man removed his hood, bending down and plucking the object from underneath the forearm of Valwyn. He had known it, and this was mere confirmation. Working on the same Synod did not make one an ally. Grinning with the face of one whose beliefs have been vindicated, a thin Pewter spike was raised slowly into the air, its black silhouette blocking the street lamp. “You can never trust a rug merchant,” Darrel hissed one last time, as his form faded back into the mists and smoke. Izzy Dedyet knew that her fellow Synod members disapproved of her faith in the Gods of Luck and Chance. Though they never condemned her belief for fear of alienating a Full Feruchemist, Izzy’s colleagues had always pointedly ignored any suggestions that involved leaving matters up to chance. Worse, they had banned the sale of animal crackers after that one time a failed sacrifice had caused the fire to consume their meeting place. After weeks of waiting, the merchant from the Western dominance had finally arrived, bringing with him a full crate of animal crackers. A brief use of steel had been sufficient for Izzy to rush out to meet the merchant, then return without anyone noticing her absence. As night fell, Izzy consulted her book. She was planning to kill a Spiked tonight, and intended to call upon the Gods of Luck and Chance to ensure that she made the right decision. Shockingly, the book provided no tips on determining whether a Terris was secretly a servant of the Lord Ruler. It did, however, provide a ritual designed to help its user complete a personal quest. Izzy decided that the utter annihilation of the spiked counted as a worthy mission. Carefully, Izzy took five boxes of crackers out of the crate. Horse, dog, mistwraith, koloss, and skaa. Izzy frowned at that last one, but the book was very specific. A horse guaranteed speed, that Izzy would be able to kill her target before anyone else did. The dog to ensure that her victim would lack loyalty to the Synod. The mistwraith, both a symbol of fear and, along with Mistborn, the unquestioned rulers of the night. The koloss sacrifice would allow her to smash through any defense, though few but another full Feruchemist should be able to challenge her. Finally, the skaa, representing the insignificance of her life in comparison to the good of Tathingdwen. One by one, Izzy placed the five boxes of animal crackers strategically around the ritual pyre. The ritual was complete, and Izzy sat back to hope her hard work would pay off. The Gods of Luck and Chance were subtle, never directly interfering in the lives of mortals, choosing instead to manipulate events beyond the reach of sapient thought. Nevertheless, as the fire began to expand and consume the animal crackers, Izzy remembered that Snip had died for making a quilt that, judging by the poor ferrings innocence, had been intended to frame the man. Yet, there was another shop in Tathingdwen that performed embroidery. Why commission a quilt to frame an innocent without acquiring a rug for the same purpose? Perhaps because the rug maker was evil. It was worth checking out, at any rate. Tapping speed, Izzy made her way to Valwyn’s shop. Izzy arrived at the Pulling the Rug just in time to see a pink gloved man pull a spike out of Valwyn’s corpse. So the Gods of Luck and Chance had been right, after all. While she was here, she supposed she should search the store for any clues, or perhaps Valwyn’s fellow traitors. Tapping pewter, she walked up to the door and ripped it out of its hinges. It was dark inside the Pulling the Rug, but the darkness was no match for tin-enhanced senses. Izzy strode confidently through the empty store, pausing when she heard a noise from the back of the shop. The stone door opened easily, revealing a wooden room with only a large circular stone block for furnishing. The room contained a solitary individual, though only their head and shoulders stuck out from the hole in the floor. Izzy recognized them at once, but didn’t have time to say anything before the figure grinned, set the room alight with a torch they had been holding in their right hand, then disappeared down the hole. Izzy tapped speed again in an attempt to catch up to the Spiked, but she was too slow. The spiked dragged the stone block back over the hole and disappeared underground. Tapping pewter in an attempt to move the block proved ineffective, as the block fit so smoothly there was no place for her to get a grip. She checked the way she’d come in, only to find it similarly shut. By now, the flames had consumed most of the room. The only safe place now was the stone trapdoor, so Izzy stood on it, jumped in the air, and tapped every last bit of weight stored in her ironminds. The floor collapsed underneath her, revealing the extensive cavern the Spiked had evidently excavated underneath Tathingdwen. After a brief moment of surprise, she began to fill her ironminds to cushion her fall, but she still landed far more heavily than a coinshot would have. As she attempted to regain her balance, a blade pierced her from behind. Izzy gasped inaudibly and tapped gold, but the wound failed to close around the oddly colored sword. The next blow took off her head. Alvron was slain by the Spiked! He was a Village Full Feruchemist, and a member of the Synod! Thanks to Devotary for his death scene. Araris Valerian was killed! He was a Spiked Pewter Ferring and Filthy Rug Merchant, and was a member of the Synod! Day 3 has begun! It will end in seventy-two hours, on Sunday the 19th of August, at 9 PM EDT. Player List: 1. Rathmaskal as Laksam, an ash sweeper from the Eastern streets 2. Xinoehp512 as Ereheman Tresni, a man with his priorities backwards 3. Steeldancer as Steel, the fastest sculpture of a squid wrought entirely in steel in all of Tathingdwen 4. Randuir as Zihel, a worldhopper looking for his twin brother 5. I think I am here as Itiah VI, a missionary on a mission Village Steel Ferring 6. Bort as Tee Mai, a tailor specialising in offensive clothing 7. Cadmium Compounder as Ethin Hallil, a cadmium Feruchemist and SCUBA diver 8. _Stick_ as Stick, President of the Tathingdwen Tautological Society of Tautology 9. Jondesu as Remart, a man back from vacation armed with vaguely ominous statements 10. Kidpen as HanTor, a lonely Kandra that’s definitely not Spiked, nope 11. Elandera as Era, an old woman who claims to have been alive before the reign of the Lord Ruler Village Pewter Ferring 12. Snipexe as Snip, a fabric cutter in the local quilt shop Village Iron Ferring 13. Worldhopper from Yolen as Tarin, a Sparker with a wonderful, awful idea 14. Alvron as Izzy Dedyet, who is not dead, feels happy, and thinks she'll go for a walk Village Full Feruchemist 15. Phatterner as Citona Vinid, a seemingly faithful follower of the Lord Ruler 16. Ark1002 as Kardik, a Full Feruchemist 17. Araris Valerian as Valwyn, an honest rug merchant Spiked Pewter Ferring; Rug Merchant 18. Coop772 as Irion, a Full Feruchemist with hidden potential Village Copper Ferring 19. Sart, a stuttering Nameless Also, by the way, @Devotary of Spontaneity needs to post something so everyone can upvote her for all the work she’s put in to this game. She’s been a tremendous help with writeups and sending out PMs and logging actions for the entire game. If she doesn’t post anything soon, please indiscriminately upvote her recent posts.