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Elandera posted a topic in Sanderson EliminationA small figure lurked in the shadows, observing the masquerade with interest. Not interest for the dancing and political positioning. No. He was looking for someone. Someone to kill. The MaiPon forger had one goal, and one goal alone. Destroy the Rose Empire, once and for all. He’d heard rumors of an imbalance in power, and knew it was time to strike. If only he could remove those in power and those vying for it. No one else would be strong enough to take control. Glory was getting too close, though. They were on the cusp of seizing the empire, and his window would be closed. The masquerade, though, made it nearly impossible for him to find the right targets. It’s why he lurked, waiting for the right moment. --- It’s time. Daasu edged his way through the thinning crowd. One person stood out among them. One person whom Daasu knew was leading the rebellion. The mouse. Daasu’s red eyes, veiled by the swan costume, kept focused on the person who stood in the middle of the crowd. Several people were accusing her of being a traitor, but no one was acting. This was not a time for talking. Daasu approached the group, knife concealed in his hand. “I’m not the one you all seem to be hunting,” said the mouse. She pointed toward a figure standing by the food table. “That man, there. The albatross. He’s done nothing to help us find the culprit.” A few people began to nod in agreement. Daasu glared at the woman. How did no one else see it? She was manipulating them. Gritting his teeth against doubt, Daasu stumbled forward, knife concealed in one hand and a glass poised in the other. He crashed into the woman’s side, pretending to catch himself on her arm. The glass shattered and the knife slid smoothly through the fur and fabric, into skin. The mouse cursed, shoving Daasu away and lifting a hand to her now bleeding arm. “I’m sorry,” he said, feigning subservience. “You’re too drunk, man. Go home.” Daasu nodded and bowed, leaving quickly with the blood he needed. --- The mouse pulled her hand away from her arm to find a lot more blood than he’d expected from a simple broken glass. She cursed again as she watched the drunken swan retreat. She’d need to get this seen to before carrying out the rest of her plans. With a heavy sigh, she waved for servants to join her at the edge of the room. “How can we help you,” one said with a bow. “Just get me a bandage for now. I have more important things to do than this.” They complied, and within minutes had her arm bandaged and costume roughly sewn back together. It wasn’t beautiful, but it would function. The mouse stood and made her way toward the falcon. “Would you mind joining me? I’d like to discuss some matters with you.” He looked up at her, picked up a few strange items from the table next to him, and followed. “Are you enjoying yourself this evening?” she asked kindly. “Not entirely. It feels strange to still be holding a masquerade even after the emperor died. Shouldn’t we all be in mourning?” “We can enter mourning when this is done. For now, we honor his wishes to continue the festival.” The falcon nodded. She was leading him through the hallways behind the hall, usually used only by the servants ferrying food to and from the parties. “Are you concerned about me? I know you’ve had your doubts.” “Not as much as others. The albatross does seem rather strange, though. Maybe he’s the murderer?” The mouse smiled. It was the response she’d desired, but she still couldn’t trust him. She looked forward in the hall, finally finding what she’d needed. An open doorway with a lock. “The albatross is my concern as well. They’ve seemed content to let us remove ourselves.” The doorway was only a few steps away. Keep him distracted. “I think we should remove him today.” “I agree. However-” The mouse didn’t let him finish. She shoved the falcon through the doorway, slamming it shut behind him. With all her weight and strength, she kept the door pressed closed as she fumbled for the key. Something hit her in the side - her cut arm - and she recoiled with a cry of pain. She turned and found a skeletal looming over her. Behind the skeletal was a pale figure with red eyes. Daasu. The cursed bloodsealer. “How dare you,” she screamed. “You dare attack an arbiter?” “Yes.” The skeletal struck forward again, swinging a club toward her head. She ducked away, but still felt the wind from the club. She backed away, panicking. The skeletal advanced. It’s menacing grin chilled her to the bone. It struck again. She could not move fast enough. I --- “That’s enough,” Daasu commanded. The skeletal stopped, standing above the motionless body. His only command was to disable the woman, not kill her. A breathless falcon emerged from the room. His eyes grew wide as he looked at the skeletal and down at the fallen woman. The skeletal turned to him, but did not move. The falcon grasped something in his hand and hurled it toward the bones. The object - a small statue of a fish - crashed into Daasu’s creation. The heavy object shattered the skeletal’s skull, and the whole construct collapsed into a heap of bone and armor. Daasu ran before he could be the next victim of a crazed falcon. He took a deep breath as he exited into open air. The loss of one of his creations would be nothing in the end. Not if it meant saving the Empire. A force struck him in the side and a searing pain erupted. He looked down to find a crossbow bolt lodged between his ribs. Another one struck, just a few inches above. Daasu looked to where the bolts came from and saw a pale mask in the shadows. Another bolt struck and he fell. The pale mask appeared above him, stark against the black sky. “You cannot stop us now, bloodsealer.” --- The forger kept an eye on the mouse and falcon as they left the room. Were they conspiring together? A consensus had been reached, and albatross had been dragged away. Another member of Heritage, taken to be slaughtered at the will of a paranoid aristocracy. It had to end. The forger - clad that night as a tuatara - decided to find the falcon and mouse. Stepping quietly into a darkened hallway, he pulled out a small box. A box he would never leave behind, and never lose. His soul was in that box. His hand passed over the Grand. The vote had already been made. It hesitated over the Urchin. Maybe he should hide another night. Survive just one more time. No. The time to strike is now. He grasped the Warrior stamp, and placed it on his skin. It sank in after a moment’s resistance, and he turned it, sealing the stamp for now. Years of training in the art of ChayShan flooded his mind. It was not time to hid, nor time to manipulate. It was time to kill. The forger stepped out of the shadowed hallway, muscles suddenly more tense, more responsive. Soon, he came across the scene he’d not quite expected. The mouse, unconcious or dead on the floor. A pile of bones - he recoiled with a hiss. A bloodsealer. Standing above them was the falcon. “So you are one of them,” the forger said. “What? One of the Glory? No!” The protests seemed forced. With a lithe grace only accessible to the forger as the Warrior, he stepped forward. The falcon reached down, picking up a small statue. He held it up menacingly. “Don’t come any closer.” His words meant nothing. The forger advanced. With a grunt, the falcon hurled the statue forward, but the forger easily dodged, closing the distance between them. Sweeping his leg low, he kicked the falcon’s legs from under him. He fell with a thump and groan of pain. There was no time to waste. The forger pounced, striking vital organs and breaking bones. Within moments, the falcon was nothing but a motionless heap on the floor. The mouse stirred beside him. She’s not dead? She lifted a hand to her head, then looked around at the scene. A deep laugh burst from her, echoing with a haunting air in the stone hallway. Magenta Albatross was lynched! They were a member of the Heritage Faction. Coral Swan was killed! They were a Bloodsealer for the Heritage Faction. Emerald Falcon was killed! They were a member of the Heritage Faction. The Glory Faction has won! Congratulations! Vote Count: Azure Mouse (1) - Cream Tuatara Magenta Albatross (3) - Azure Mouse, Emerald Falcon, Melon Dingo Player Count Docs: Dead/Spec Doc Glory Faction Doc GM Spreadsheet Rules Remember to log out of your anonymous accounts. If you want copies of any PMs, best to save them now before the IMs go through and purge. Thanks again everyone for playing! I'll post thoughts later.
MR33: Denouement The camp reached the cave entrance close to sundown. The mists swirled around them, chilling the air to freezing. On the horizon, storm clouds boomed - they beat the storm by a matter of minutes. Alendi peered into the tunnel - it seemed to go on for some distance, and Alendi couldn’t see the end. “Get inside. We’ll take shelter here.” Alendi said. The group, huddled and significantly shrunk from its original size, shuffled in. They can’t take much more like this. I can’t take much more like this. They’d started out with a medium sized party, but they now had less than half that number. There was a sense of despair in the air, as though people were just waiting for the news of the next deaths to arrive. At least it’s almost over. Please, Terr, let it be almost over. Rashek walked up to Alendi. “Should we make camp for the night? Make the final journey in the morning?” Alendi considered it. There was nothing more he wanted to do, then to get some rest, just a couple hours sleep, before continuing on. But… no. He could not allow someone to betray him at this final moment, after they’d come so far. “No. Make camp here - I’ll head in ahead. With luck, we can get this over with tonight. I’ll bring Duilin along for security - he’s proven his trustworthiness.” There was a brief pause. “Where is Duilin?” Duilin stood outside, watching the oncoming storm. “I know you’re there.” The storm didn’t reply. “You think I don’t realise what you’re doing? Pitting us against each other, for your own personal amusement? Pairing us into groups, then seeing who survives?” The wind gusted, making Duilin shiver, and it began to snow lightly. “I know you’re there. I’ve played your little games - I caught the traitors. What now? When will this end?” The snow began to intensify, combining with the mist to obscure Duilin’s vision, and there was another thunderclap. “Hey! Answer me!” Frustrated, Duilin grabbed some snow from the ground, roughly packed it into a ball, and lobbed it into the storm. He didn’t see where it landed, but he could have sworn that it impacted something - or someone - nearby. Duilin began to turn back towards camp, and saw the mists nearby beginning to swirl, as they slowly coalesced into a solid form. “Oh, it’s you again.” The figure had been remarkably friendly to him, but Duilin wasn’t in a mood to talk. Duilin casually took out a carving fork and tossed it through the mist figure, watching it dissipate away. Duilin knew by now that wouldn’t harm it - but in some ways it was fun to try all the same. By now, the storm was bad enough that Duilin realised he couldn’t see the entrance anymore. Slowly, he began to trek back towards the entrance, keeping careful mind of the cliff edge to avoid falling off. Behind Duilin, someone picked up the carving fork. Among the howling of the wind, Duilin failed to hear the crunching of snow as they approached Duilin from behind. The figure raised his hand behind Duilin, and Duilin turned, too late, as the carving fork lunged towards him and pierced straight through their chest. The deed done, the figure dashed back to the camp, leaving Duilin alone, as they slowly collapsed on the ground. The white snow turned red as the sun set. “Where’s Duilin?” There was a pause. “He’s probably fine.” Rashek said eventually. “Maybe he went for a walk. He’ll probably be back soon.” “A walk? In this weather?” Rashek shrugged. “We shouldn’t give up hope, anyway.” In the silence, unnoticed, one of the party silently rejoined the back of the group. Rashek paused. “But really, it’s better to sleep. We don’t know what lies ahead, and there may still be the Deepness to deal with. I can stand guard.” He said it almost perfectly - friendly, gently guiding advice. But it was a little too incongruous. Alendi had seen the looks Rahek had given him, when Rashek thought Alendi wasn’t watching. A fiery, burning anger for what Rashek felt was a wrong to his people. A disgust for leading them on the mission that Kwaan had inexplicably begun to decry as doomed. This Rashek, the one standing before him now, was a facade. Alendi sighed. He’d seen this coming for long enough, but he’d hoped it wouldn’t be necessary. He grabbed the dagger on his belt, and in one fluid motion, stabbed Rashek through the chest. “Are there any other objections?” None were raised. “Good. Let’s finish this.” The walk was taken in silence, except for the echoing footsteps. Glances were made between the small group, every accidentally kicked pebble causing the group to tense up. Half an hour went by, then an hour. Slowly, the group became aware that the air around them was somehow strange. Thicker, somehow, lazier. And, much as each of them tried to shake off the feeling, it felt strangely as though the very air was watching them approach, silently monitoring their progress. “Dr. Snip, may I speak with you? In private?” Daedi’s voice echoed through the path, reverberating back and forth several times before eventually dissipating. Everyone looked back. “What is this about?” Roadwalker asked. He looked down at his Tinmind, suddenly very regretful he’d used his entire supply the previous night. “A quick matter, that is all. You may all carry on.” Everyone quickly looked at one another. “I assure you, we’ll only be a moment. You have no need to worry.” Reluctantly, the group continued on, Alendi leading the way, while Daedi and Dr. Snip stayed behind. “What’s this about?” Dr. Snip asked. “I know you killed Duilin.” There was a pause. “You’re lying. Someone else must have killed Duilin.” Daedi smiled. “You’re good. You managed to hide from even my gaze for a while. But everyone makes a mistake eventually.” “I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m going to rejoin the group now.” Daedi held up the carving fork, prongs red with blood. Dr. Snip paused, momentarily stunned. “But… how…” Daedi smiled. “Look. I know Duilin may have been your friend, but there’s so much more at play here. Alendi’s intentions are good, but they. Look here.” Snip said, pulling out a thin, engraved metal sheet from under his shirt. “The prophecies - they’ve been changed. The power, that Alendi wants to release, to stop there - it’s been manipulating things, in front of all of us. Whatever it is, it’s trapped for a very good reason.” Daedi gave Snip a completely neutral stare. “I see no problem with what Alendi is doing. You’re just one of the traitors. I should report you to the group.” “Look. Please. I know you’re angry with me right now because of Duilin, and you have every right to be, but -” “I don’t care that you killed Duilin.” Dr. Snip, for the second time, stopped, stunned. “What?” A mist began to rise from Daedi. “You’re the Deepness? Perhaps we can work together. We have a chance to stop what Alendi’s going to do, you and I. Will you work with me?” “I don’t care that you killed Duilin. I just wish you’d done it a little earlier.” And with that Daedi, mist streaming from their form, lifted up Dr. Snip, pinning him up against the wall and choking them. Dr. Snip kicked out, futilely trying to get Daedi to drop the smaller figure, but his legs passed through the largely incorporeal figure. However, the hand continued to clench down on Dr. Snip’s throat, slowly cutting off air. “If you’d killed him earlier, I’d have had time. Time to whittle the party down. Make them desperate. Time to make sure that Alendi would have no choice but to release me, and then be weak enough to be disposed of afterwards. You could have guaranteed my success.” Daedi’s face remained perfectly neutral, like a puppeteer with cut strings, but his voice was anything but. Snip’s face was bright red, and slowly turning a shade of purple. “Duilin learned my identity, and used me like a dog doing his bidding. I bore it, because I figured between you and I, we’d be able to achieve so much chaos together, even if my hands were tied.” Snip lashed out again, in desperation, but it passed through the figure harmlessly. “But no. You decided to play the pacifist. You didn’t kill, and went storing your Pewter instead. You thought the mob was who you had to worry about, boy? Oh, no. You had to worry about me. And no amount of Pewter is going to help with that.” Snip wasn’t moving. Daedi left him there for a few more seconds, to make sure they weren’t pretending, then dissolved into the mist. The group saw Daedi round the corner, alone, puffing and panting. “Where’s Snip?” “The Deepness attacked us - he killed Snip. I barely escaped.” Daedi paused. “I think I’m safe now, though.” There were glances between Dietrich Drake and Itiah. Daedi paused, then continued. “I don’t think they attacked groups before - they must be getting desperate. We’re on the right path.” Daedi moved to rejoin the group, then watched as Dietrich put a hand on his spear. Daedi paused. “Dietrich? We’re on the same side, right?” “The people behind me are on the same side. You, I’m not so sure about.” Daedi paused. “Fine.” He smiled, and slowly dissolved away, leaving nothing behind. They reached the pool soon after. Glowing with a white light, and surrounded by a ring of clay stones with some strange metal embedded in them. There was a moments silence, as the thick air slid around them, watching, gazing, judging. Alendi sighed. “Well, best get this over with.” He stripped down to his breeches, then entered the pool. Slowly, he walked to the middle, pausing there for a moment. Then he dunked his head below the water. Alendi felt all of his bones and muscles at once begin to tense up as the energy began to absorb into him, as though on fire. All the pores of his skin seemed alight with fire and the veins coursed red-hot. Alendi gasped at the sheer power that was flowing through him - far superior to anything he’d imagined possible - superior to anything that he could have imagined possible. With this power, this energy, he could flatten cities, level continents. He could banish the mists, could make world peace, could provide food and shelter for all, with a wave of his hand. He could bring back his companions. No. Alendi paused. You can not hold this power forever. And Alendi saw that this was true. He could hold the power for only a few minutes, before he had to give it up. He saw the Deepness returning, and Alendi having failed his mission. He saw those who had held hope for Alendi, back in Khlennium, wide-eyed, watching as the Deepness returns, and now with nothing stopping it from returning in full force and conquering all it sees. You can not abandon your mission now. Alendi saw those who had died, silently watching him, judging him. What were their lives for? Alendi heard the voices of his people, quietly waiting out the days, slowly trying to ration an ever-dwindling supply of food. What do they want you to do? Alendi felt a memory, of his past self, standing before the Terris Priests at Khlennium, as Kwaan proclaimed him the Hero of Ages, and the saviour from the Deepness. What are you here to do? Alendi paused. Then he exhaled, letting the power go. It began to drain away from his body, faster and faster. He screamed, a torrent of energy flowing out of him, and he collapsed down into the now empty pool. He heard a voice, in the back of his mind. I am FREE! Snipexe died. They were a Pewter Feruchemist Rashek's Lackey. Fifth Scholar died. They were a Pewter Feruchemist Alendi Loyalist. The game is over! The Alendi Loyalists have won. Special credit goes to Devotary as The Deepness, who missed out on breaking the SK(-ish) curse by one player. Thanks goes to CadCom, Elandara, and Walin who wrote write-ups for this game, and then proceeded to conveniently die the following cycle. GM Spreadsheet Elim Doc Dead Doc GM thoughts: Comparison to LG27: As the only other game I've run, that was my chief comparison to this game. And... MR33 was significantly better than LG27 was, at least - it avoided a lot of the same traps that the last game fell into. Partly, this was because I was deliberately trying to run a fairly ordinary game - part of the problem with LG27 is that I tried throwing too many wacky things into that game at the same time - I feel like at the core of LG27 there was probably a good game - where players have the option of working towards a couple different goals, and have to be paranoid that their other 'factionmates' aren't working towards the same goals that they are. But this got distracted by everything superfluous added on top of that, so it just became a confusing, bloated mess that wasn't actually fun to play (or run). There were a few other things wrong with it (in particular, a few mechanisms that relied on randomness, which really doesn't belong in an SE game - see my notes about luck in the Balance section.) In this respect, MR33 was certainly better. It seems like the players had more fun playing it, and I had more fun running it. It wasn't perfect, by any means, but I can walk away from this one actually feeling like I had a good time and that I want to do this again. Setting/Story: I knew I wanted to run a game set in pre-Final Empire Scadrial before almost anything else in this game. This was for 2 main reasons - 1) I wanted to try out a game based around the idea of Feruchemy, and having to make temporary sacrifices for more powerful benefits later (this will be discussed in the Mechanics section), and 2) I figured if this game was popular/fun, maybe I could run a couple sequels, and functionally create an alt-Scadrial history that was dependent on the results of various games (which... may or may not happen - I'd be interested in hearing peoples thoughts.) Overall, I think I liked the setting - it was new and something that hadn't been done before, and fitted in fairly easily to the format of an SE game. Honestly, I'm surprised no-one's done this before. It also gave me the chance to try out the diary format in the various cycles, which... kind of worked? The main problems I ended up facing was that deaths and stuff were always included in a separate part of the write-up, so the diary was usually just filler of "We are very concerned about this thing that happened". If I were to use a diary format again, I'd probably stick to it more than I did this game - try and write some deaths through the diary format, instead of separately. Mechanics: I still like the idea of the Feruchemist, but the devil is in the details. Part of the problem was that the Feruchemist took a while to become a powerful role, and this was a really short game - when people stored charges (particularly Pewter), they were wasting precious actions. There are 2 remedies I can think to this. 1) Start players off with some small supply of charges - enough that they'll still need to charge at some point in the game, but decreasing how much of a late-game role it is. 2) Speeding up the action cycle somehow (e.g. You can store and spend multiple charges a cycle.) Tin Feruchemists are a pain. Perhaps, if I had some kind of bot that could sweep through and format the transcript automatically, it would be easier, but it's a long, tedious process to transform a PM. If you just try to copy-paste it, it comes out almost unreadable. Pewter Feruchemists are... fine, but they're slow. Too slow, for a game that ends in 4 cycles. I still think that having one vote for 1 charge of Pewter will become too OP too quickly, but perhaps some combination of options one and two above could help. Bronze Feruchemists are... I have no idea, actually - the only Bronze Feruchemist died C1. At a guess, I'd say it has similar problems to the Pewter Feruchemist, and could use similar fixes. The not-being-able-to-perform-an-action-when-being-lynched thing is not unbalanced, but by the sounds of things, it was unfun, so I wouldn't recommend it. Obviously, most of the other roles are classics, so I don't feel the need to comment on them as much - they're staples of SE precisely because they're balanced. Balance: (Note: I'm distinguishing Mechanics from Balance because mechanics is about the structure of individual rules/roles, while balance is how it all fits together into a cohesive whole. Ultimately, you need both to have a really fun game.) The first two cycles of this game were... interesting, to say the least. 2 out of the 3 eliminators dead, functionally ruining the chances of the Elim team possibly winning (although Snip came a lot close than I was initially expecting, all things considered). The first and most obvious question is... why? There wasn't an obvious mistake I could spot where I went "The Eliminators really screwed up there". Alternatively, it might be that the rules were somehow village biased ... honestly, I'm not exactly sure whether that's the case. If anything, I'd expected such a small game to favour the Eliminators, since they only needed to hide for 3 or so cycles to get a good shot at the lynch, but clearly, that didn't happen. So, I really do think it was just bad luck. CadCom and Elandera decided in Cycle 1 they'd tie-up the vote and cause a no-lynch, knowing that vote manipulations could kill one of them, and that it might be viewed as suspicious. Unfortunately, they just had the worst possible luck, and lost two of their members because of it. If it had worked, they might have won the game. I did have some mechanisms in place in case something exactly like the first two cycles happened. The Deepness was shamelessly stolen from Aman's Red Rising MR as an attempt at auto-balancing once the game started - the theory was that if the game went towards the Eliminators, the Deepness would work to correct that and end up working with the villagers, and if the game went towards the villagers (as did happen), then the Deepness would work to correct that and end up working with the Eliminators. I still think that's a brilliant idea in theory, but in practice, that didn't work so well. Around Cycle 3, Devotary claimed to Fifth, a villager, and functionally their kills ended up working for the village (killing suspected Eliminators) in an already village-biased game. If I were to ever run this again, probably the first change I'd make would be to say both the Village and the Eliminators need to kill the Deepness in order to accomplish their wincons - that prevents this kind of situation from developing.I kind of like that this was almost role madness - I feel like that's more fun for the individual player, but the balance suffers as a whole, since a whole bunch of effects take place functionally by accident, it becomes less a game of chance and more a game of luck, which can cause problems in what is mostly a skill based game. E.g. Itiah, the Doctor, protects Roadwalker. Shane acts as a Decoy, deflecting all actions from Roadwalker onto Shane, and Devotary tries to kill Shane, which is blocked by Itiah's redirected protect action, and may have lost the game because of it. All of these actions were entirely separate, and happened largely accidentally. Not being afraid to add a few more vanilla roles both makes it harder to clear people (which this game could have used) and makes it less likely to have luck play a role as much as it did this game. Conclusion: While definitely not perfect, this game has a few interesting elements that worked to varying degrees of success, and it would be interesting to see how other GM's tackle similar problems in future.