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Author Topic: You can never go home again(Nebula California)  (Read 2011 times)

monbvol

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You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« on: 01 September 2020, 01:07:16 »
[Author] Yeah I've come to the conclusion I've just been away from Star Wars in general and the Fallen Angels in particular to finish my other Nebula California story but Liam's Ghost keeps giving me bad ideas about Nebula California stuff and well I have to do something with them.  So hopefully he doesn't mind me running with my own take on something he's mentioned wanting to delve more into for his story.  [/Author]

Unclaimed(officially) area
Toreel
3025 March 27(maybe?


David had been one of the group who had decided to stay behind and make a new life for himself on Toreel.

Finding a spot that none of the local kingdoms actually cared about to setup a colony had been easy enough.  What they hadn't counted on was how scary magic could be.

The creatures came literally out of nowhere ransacking through their camp.  The locals called them Orcs he had learned that much.

Before he could even pull his rifle to his shoulder one clubbed him over the head.

After that he started fading in and out of conciousness.

The next period of awareness he had he was being carried somewhere out in the wilderness, he was only certain it was away from his new home.

Suddenly he felt himself drop to the ground.  As his vision faded again he saw the Orc that had been carrying him was also now slumped down on the ground.

Darkness overtook him again.

He wasn't sure how long he was out but the next thing he knew he felt a warmth spread through him.

As his eyes opened again he realized his head was cradled in the lap of a blue skinned woman in a tattered white dress and pure white hair.  The lack of pupils in her eyes was unsettling.  Lower light conditions, a bit of fog, a chill in the air, and he'd swear she was a ghost.  Under different circumstances an attractive ghost at that.

"Greetings.  I am Dax.  Fortune has smiled on us.  While I was completing another task for my liege I saw the Orcs passing through this region with you as prisoner."  The woman spoke in a soothing voice.

"Thanks.  Though I have a question.  How do I get back to my settlement?"  David asked as Dax slowly eased him into a sitting position.

"Hmm I don't recognize your style of dress from any of the kingdoms I am familiar with.  So I honestly don't know.  Orcs are quite hardy they could have easily packed you quite some distance away before I came across them."  Dax answered.

"Great.  I have no idea how long I was even out and I can't remember the name of any of the kingdoms near my settlement.  Probably have a concussion then."  David rubbed the back of his head.

"Your concusion shall pass soon with the healing magic I have used on you.  Still this is quite a predicament then.  For a short term solution I am willing to introduce you to my liege and petition him to aid you or to allow me to aid you further."  Dax sighed knowing what would actually be most likely to happen.

"Beats wandering around here waiting to get picked up by Orcs or who knows what again."  David said as the pair stood up.

"Take my hand then."  Dax extended her left hand.

"Okay."  David said as he got his first good look at the woman and how truly attractive he found her despite her unusual features.

Dax muttered something incomprehensible to David and suddenly the forest clearing was replaced by a large room.  The walls were smooth black stone, almost like concrete but not quite with light sources recessed near the floor.  The ceiling was the same material with similar recessed lights.  The floor was mirrored.  Four massive white quartz pillars dominated the room with a throne at the far end.

"My liege."  Dax went down on one knee.

David still a little shocked from the sudden change in scenery collected himself enough to follow suit.

"Dax, you have brought an unexpected visitor.  Explain."  What looked to be a man in his early twenties with jet black hair, slightly tanned skin, and from what David could tell was thin but covered in elaborate robes.

"My apologies my liege.  The Orcs had captured him.  I made the conclusion that if they wanted him alive he must have some value and thus would be worth saving.  I do not know which settlement or kingdom he belongs to and I did not wish to keep you waiting my liege.  So I brought him with me in hopes he could be returned to his people."  Dax answered.

"Ah Dax you just can't help yourself can you?  But that is part of why I keep you around.  Young man what is your name?"  The man looked David straight in the eyes.

The instant they made eye contact David shuddered and could somehow sense the power behind them.

"David Clarkson.  My apologies but you are not familiar to me and thus I do not know the correct honorific to address you by."  David was starting to regret ever having stayed behind instead of going with the rest of the crew.

"Don't worry David.  I don't actually have feudal title.  Dax is in my service though and likes to mess with strangers by making it seem like I do.  You may call me Astun.  If you are who I suspect you are then Dax most certainly made the right decision bringing you here.  Tell me David are you one of the visitors from beyond the nebula that decided to stay behind?"  Astun chuckled slightly.

"Yes."  David had a sense if he lied things would be far worse for him.

"Well David the arrival of you and your friends was enough of a shake up.  That some of you left but others stayed behind has made that worse.  So much so I can't even travel outside this realm.  The higher powers must be quite perturbed if they are denying inter-realm travel.  In fact I suspect one of the so called gods arranged the raid on your settlement to learn the secrets of you and your people.  It may take some time if the higher powers have their own designs on your people but fear not you will be safe here.  Dax since you brought him here you will tend to him.  Set him up in one of the guest rooms."  Astun said with a subdued tone of cold menace.

Astun muttered something then vanished from sight.

"This way please."  Dax gestured toward a door.

The black stone gave way to worked stone brickwork expertly fitted together and hardwood floors.

Torches that gave off no heat lined the hallway.

Dax led David down the hallway past a staircase up and several rooms until reaching the end of the hall.

The room was bigger than most dropship cabins but still modestly sized.  A small siting area with a collection of books to read was available to him.  A toilet of sorts and a bath were off the main area.  A large bed in a separate room finished the accomodations.

Dax clapped and a human woman, short, blonde, and very nicely proportioned entered the room.

"This is Samantha.  She is the chamber maid for this room.  She will bring you anything you may need and since it is winter in this region she is also available as a bed warmer if you so wish.  If she is not to your liking I can arrange for another to take her place."  Dax answered David's incoming question before he could even ask it.

"So this Astun guy, are all the people in his employ attractive women?"  David found himself asking before he could consider how crass he was being.

"He does have certain standards, yes.  Fear not he actually treats us quite well.  Is Samantha satisfactory?"  Dax answered.

"Didn't Astun say for you to see to me yourself?"  David knew if he accepted Samantha he'd almost certainly cause an incident, especially if she really did do what was hinted at.

With Dax he at least had a slightly better chance at controlling himself thanks to how unsettling some of her features were.

"You are quite correct.  Please forgive me.  Do you have a preference for an evening meal?"  Dax bowed before him.

David almost wanted to say he was joking or that Samantha would be fine after all but knew it was too late.

"A burger and fries would be great.  Timbiqui dark if you have it to drink."  David couldn't help himself.

It had been a long trip out to the nebula and luxuries like real ground beef had ran out pretty early on in the trip and none of the locals had even understood what that meant.

"By your command, my lord.  Samantha, please see to it."  Dax answered.

In only a few minutes Samantha came back with a tray and set it on the table.  Lifting the lid was the best looking hamburger David had seen in a long time and a pile of french style cut fried potatoes.  Everything he could want on his burger was there for David to put on it and then some.

A large mug was also on the tray.  It looked and smelled like Timbiqui Dark.  Then David tasted it.  He could get used to this place.

"Is it to your liking?"  Dax asked.

"I don't want to know how you did it but everything is perfect.  Thank you."  David answered.

"If you need anything else please feel free to ask.  We shall be nearby."  Dax showed herself and Samantha out.

David couldn't control himself as he plowed through his dinner and ale.

After dinner he found some simple clothes in his size in a chest and decided to bathe then get changed.

With little else to do he sat and looked out the window into the manicured lawn then to the selection of books.

He picked one at random.  A thin volume entitled Adventurer's Quarterly Issue #19.  It read like some sort of mercenary publication.  One article comparing the pros and cons of the heavy mace to the morningstar.  Another giving tips on how to organize your pack.  The last article he read was on the spread of religions across different planes of existence.

"Damn it really is getting to be winter here.  This bed is cold despite the blankets."  David muttered as he climbed into bed.

"By your command my lord."  David heard Dax's voice as she seemed to come from nowhere and slide into bed next to him.

All David could do was gulp and be glad despite everything he really was quite exhausted and sleep overtook all other priorities as a result.

Brother Jim

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #1 on: 01 September 2020, 10:38:36 »
TAGged.

Dragon Cat

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #2 on: 01 September 2020, 11:28:45 »
Tagged the nebula is an interesting place
The below link leads to a wiki page created by Wrangler.  It has links to the various pages of my AU.

https://battletechfanon.fandom.com/wiki/Alternate_Timeline_with_Thanks

HABeas2

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #3 on: 01 September 2020, 12:35:56 »
Tagged the nebula is an interesting place

I'm glad to see so many folks think so. It was a pretty fun project. I put it up there with Empires Aflame as the fun projects I'm most proud of, personally...

- Herb

Dragon Cat

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #4 on: 01 September 2020, 14:31:42 »
I'm glad to see so many folks think so. It was a pretty fun project. I put it up there with Empires Aflame as the fun projects I'm most proud of, personally...

- Herb

Absolutely agree its the variety and unique changes that make them great
The below link leads to a wiki page created by Wrangler.  It has links to the various pages of my AU.

https://battletechfanon.fandom.com/wiki/Alternate_Timeline_with_Thanks

idea weenie

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #5 on: 01 September 2020, 18:40:08 »
Time to see if David can help the magicians set up the Tippy-verse.

All sorts of magical items being set up to improve overall quality of living, especially resetting magical 'traps'.  Imagine a bed that casts Cure Light Wounds every minute on whoever is resting there.  Or a table that casts Create Food and water every minute (enough for 15 people every minute, or ~21,600 people per day).  Or just a constant low-level Detect Evil going on the main entranceway, with a side clue to Astun so Astun knows more about the visitors.  In order to cast these spells though he will need to get a few levels in Cleric and find the appropriate deity.

If he wants wizardry, he will have to start with these spells.

He might not get to the higher levels of wizardry, but he will be a master of the lower-level stuff, making his boss's job much easier in the process.


The other option is that he gets called in whenever something magical breaks.  For example Astun might have created a scrying mirror for the local lord, but David is called in because the lord disabled the flamebarrier spell then went scrying where he shouldn't have, and now there are magical sigils popping up all over the scrying mirror.

"Did you try erasing and re-writing the symbols?"

monbvol

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #6 on: 01 September 2020, 19:42:24 »
The Tippyverse overlooks certain elements that actually keep things from being too out of hand.

Teleportation Circles require someone actually getting into the destination first then going undetected long enough to put the circles down and that is not as automatic as one may think thanks to spells like Forbiddance or other options.

Plus Teleportation Circles have a maximum size of what can come through them.

So it actually takes some effort to get an army moved like they suggest.

Plus once you are to the point you can use magic like that there are easier ways to take down civilization.

For me what changes things more than anything else that are not properly considered are all the flying creatures.  Defensive architecture would be radically different.

monbvol

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #7 on: 02 September 2020, 02:00:26 »
[Author]  So yeah I wanted to write some more on this earlier but thanks to distractions I am just now getting around to it.  Since I'm as yet to collaborate with Liam's Ghost on what his ideas are I'll be doing my best to keep things self contained so that if that changes it won't be too problematic.  [/Author]

David woke up to an empty bed.  He was warm and comfortable still though but he knew he needed to get up.

As he dressed and entered the main area of his room he noticed that the reading desk had been replaced with a more proper table and two chairs.

Astun appeared out of thin air startling David.

"I actually hope I never get used to that."  David collected himself.

"Apologies.  I guess I am used to entertaining a different sort.  I figured we need to start actually discussing a few things."  Astun said as he clapped.

"My liege."  Dax entered the room.

"My usual for breakfast please.  David?"  As David was waking up he could feel the raw power coming off Astun even as he sat there calmly ordering breakfast.

"I don't want to put your chef out so I'll have the same."  David wasn't sure what he would have to eat but he knew he'd eat what ever was brought to him.

"I suppose the first thing I should talk with you about is who I am.  I want to be honest with you David.  I am not native to this area myself.  I come from a different plane of existence myself.  I have not been here long either so I am still learning who the players on this plane of existence are as well.  I am also a man of science and experimentation.  In my travels across many planes of existence I have come to three conclusions.  The first is that humans seem to get everywhere eventually.  The second is even in planes with lots of powerful reality bending magic the laws of nature remain surprisingly consistent.  The third is no matter how hard those who create planes of existence try free will always exists to some extent but can be shaped."  Astun said as Samantha entered the room with a tray.

Lifting the lid David saw a pile of bacon, steak, eggs over easy, and toast.  Then he smelled the best coffee he'd smelled in a long time.

"I get the sense that you're about to ask something of me."  David said as he sipped his coffee.

"You are not entirely wrong.  You and your people certainly have a great deal of power yourselves but you are woefully inexperienced in actually dealing with magic.  Eventually one of the higher powers is going to act on this and learn your secrets.  The raid that brought you to me was just a warm up.  As is in fact I'd be rather surprised if some of your fellow settlers were not successfully captured despite your formidable abilities.  To give you and your people a fighting chance I am prepared to allow you access to my research journals.  You'll find them quite enlightening."  Astun said as he began eating.

"You can say that again.  It was like those Orcs came out of literally thin air."  David started cutting up his steak.

"Could be a simple invisibility spell to some actual teleportation effect.  Most small settlements don't get such efforts because they don't demand it."  Astun worked on his eggs.

"You said that some of the others are probably prisoners.  I need to know and if I can I need to help rescue them."  David drank more coffee.

"I have already tasked another of my servants to the task and they should have the answer by the end of the day.  The good news is there will certainly be a lot of eyes on them if so.  This will make it difficult for whoever arranged the raid to collect them from the Orcs just yet.  So they should stay where they are for a few days."  Astun answered as he mopped up the last of his eggs with some toast.

"Got to be honest with all the power you've shown me I am surprised you still have to eat."  David said as he ate his own eggs.

"Oh I don't.  It is a simple pleasure I still indulge in to remind myself of who I used to be and hold on to what is left of my humanity after all the thousands of years I have been alive."  Astun answered as he drank his own coffee.

"What....."  David stammered as he tried to wrap his mind around Astun's last statement.

"Oh I'm not actually immortal if that is what you are wondering.  Just learned a little trick to stay alive and young for as long as I want.  Immortality is overrated but I have much left to accomplish before I meet my judgement."  Astun seemed to relax.

"Not much better but I guess I can at least wrap my head around that."  David answered as his appetite left him.

"Good.  Now for your first lesson.  I apologize for what you are about to experience but as much as we have some time before we must act it is not unlimited."  Astun reached out and touched David's forehead with his index finger.

David screamed as a flood of thought, images, and incredible amounts of knowledge suddenly filled his mind.

"Are you sure about this Astun?"  Dax looked down on the now unconcious David.

"It is a chance I have to take.  The gods of this realm are already making their moves.  We cannot be left behind.  Once he recovers alert me."  Astun said before teleporting out of the room.

DOC_Agren

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #8 on: 02 September 2020, 17:09:54 »
I'm intrigue by this one
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

idea weenie

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #9 on: 03 September 2020, 05:12:01 »
Should this be nicknamed "A Davion Engineer in a Toreelian wizard's court"?

Basically a reverse of A Toreelian wizard in Prince Davion's court


The Tippyverse overlooks certain elements that actually keep things from being too out of hand.

Teleportation Circles require someone actually getting into the destination first then going undetected long enough to put the circles down and that is not as automatic as one may think thanks to spells like Forbiddance or other options.

Plus Teleportation Circles have a maximum size of what can come through them.

So it actually takes some effort to get an army moved like they suggest.

Plus once you are to the point you can use magic like that there are easier ways to take down civilization.

For the Tippy-verse, the other goal with the teleport circles is instant trade with other Cities.  I figure advanced magery would allow certain locations to have holes where Teleport Circles could be created, and those locations would be carefully watched.  You would need to send over people to first set up the locations, but after that travel from one Teleport Circle to another is instant.  No worries about bandits intercepting your caravans, since the caravans travel directly from one circle to another.

Remote location under attack?  The main city finds out almost instantly and sends reinforcements.  An outpost under siege?  City can support that outpost, transfer the civilians out of that location, and the troops spend 8-10 hours on-site then come home to sleep in the city at the end of their shift.


There are other wizard spells that could be 'automated':

Or course, Astun may not know some or all of these spells, so not all of these may be possible

Dave Talley

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #10 on: 03 September 2020, 10:49:27 »
tag
Resident Smartass since 1998
“Toe jam in training”

Because while the other Great Houses of the Star League thought they were playing chess, House Cameron was playing Paradox-Billiards-Vostroyan-Roulette-Fourth Dimensional-Hypercube-Chess-Strip Poker the entire time.
JA Baker

monbvol

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #11 on: 04 September 2020, 12:05:48 »
[Author] Now for my own insane ideas.  [/Author]

David woke up with one hell of a headache.

Then he knew.  That bastard.  David decided then and there that there was a fourth universal truth.  DON"T TRUST WIZARDS!

Then Astun appeared in the chair across the table from him.

"I hate you right now you now?"  David said to his host.

"It was unavoidable.  Especially if you and your people are going to have a say in your own affairs."  Astun answered.

"Somehow I know that is likely true but what you put in my head means I'm now a target for the gods and goddesses of the multiverse doesn't it?  Which means even re-joining even my settlement or returning to the Federated Suns is unlikely at best as well doesn't it?"  David was fumbling with his words a bit still trying to integrate all the new knowledge he had just gained with his own.

"Yes.  The truth behind all the planes of existence tends to come with that price.  And more.  Now to see which gifts you have manifested.  First a small test of knowledge to ensure the process is complete.  Tell me about Dax."  Astun leaned back in his chair.

"Dax.  Species Samsaran.  Cleric of Heria, your ex-wife who ascended to godhood.  Also an Illusionist Wizard.  Combining these talents into what is known as a Mystic Theurge.  Been in your service for 20 years now."  David rattled off without thinking.

He shouldn't have known any of that but he did.

"Good.  The next test will take a bit longer yet to prepare."  Astun let the slightest smile appear on his face.

monbvol

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #12 on: 04 September 2020, 20:11:15 »
After their last exchange David sat and read some more of the books on his shelves.  They had been replaced by treatises on how in many planes of existence the rules were such that people developed certain abilities, some inherent, others trainable, that they could be sorted into categories.  It was all very similar to the tropes of the old RPG games David used to play on his computer when he was younger.

He realized Astun had done what he had in the hopes of unlocking David's potential in one of these 'classes', he decided the old term from those old RPG games was most accurate for lack of a better one.

As he pondered this he realized he could stretch out with new senses he had not had before.

He felt it.  Something that he could best describe as the source or the juncture points for everything.

As it washed over him he realized he could choose.

He decided based off his favorite game and favorite character.

Then he snapped back to reality.

He knew with his choice made he would not return to this place again without extraordinary effort.

David felt strange.  Somehow he felt smaller, lighter.  Then long dark hair fell into his eyes.  He had just gotten his hair cut but at this point it was no surprise.

"Oh no..."  David noticed the pitch of his voice had changed too as he started looking for a mirror.

Suddenly one was floating in front of him.

Of course he had also taken on the form of his favorite character too and he was a horny teenager at the time.

The young human female form in the mirror would almost certainly still arouse him now under normal circumstances.

Dax knocked on his door.

Without saying a word she led David to the throne room.

As David looked at the array of Astun's servants he was beginning to understand one of the other prices of his new found 'enlightenment'.  While they were all certainly nice to look at such things just did not seem to matter to him anymore.  Not just because he was a woman now either.

"I knew I had significantly altered your fate but this is actually quite unexpected."  Astun said as he immediately produced a journal and began writing in it.

"Please tell me I can get my old body back."  David sighed.

"Your body actually changing shouldn't have happened.  So this will take some investigation to see if the traditional methods will still work."  Astun answered.

"Great.  So what's this test?"  David rolled his, no her, eyes.

"I had intended to see what abilities you would manifest.  My bet with Dax was you'd manifest one of the casting paths but I can sense no magic in you."  Astun said as he continued writing.

With that an Elf female in full chain and wearing a covering decorated with the holy markings of Saint Cuthbert stepped in front of him.

"Do not worry.  You cannot harm me."  The Elf woman said.

David focused and the rifle his character had in the game he played materialized in his hands.

Even David could sense it wasn't his power that made it happen, more of reality correcting itself as to how it should be.

David carefully lined up his shot.  He still didn't want to take his chances that the Elf woman was wrong.

The recoil was exceptionally light for the size of the rifle as the shot hit a field surrounding the Elf woman.

"Elanais?"  Astun broke the silence.

"My protections held.  Fighter or Gunslinger I'd say from that shot.  Wouldn't have killed but I'd certainly be on my ass and have a hard time moving afterward."  The Elf woman answered.

"Not surprising if I really think about it but still disappointing."  Astun answered.

"Yay.  That is one steak dinner with all the trimmings and no magic to conjure, cook it, or season it."  Dax smiled.

"I haven't forgotten how to cook again yet."  Astun retorted.

David caught on to the implications of Astun's last comment.  Somehow it did not surprise him that living for thousands of years could cause one to forget and re-learn many things.  Heck Dax probably had done the same as the knowledge imparted to him by Astun told him that she'd probably had lived quite a long time as well being a Samsaran.

As he looked at each of Astun's servants he realized he could name each one, identify their race, and knew what 'classes' they were if he wanted to.

"I think it is time we allow David to rest again.  Making an exact determination is not all that important."  Astun could not hide his hope that David would have become a spell caster of some sort.

monbvol

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #13 on: 05 September 2020, 00:18:27 »
David couldn't stop staring at himself in the mirror when he returned to his room.

As he studied himself he realized part of why he actually chose this over all the other options was because it was familiar.

Another part of him knew it was the rules of this realm re-shaping a few things.

He could still sense the power that made this happen.

It felt maddeningly just out of reach though no matter how he tried.

The knowledge Astun put in his head didn't help.

It allowed him to see what used to be his fate.  If it had not been for Dax and Astun he'd be dead by now.

But it also made him aware of something.  With Astun's abilities it should be trivial for him to give David his body back.

It agreed that he shouldn't have the body he does now as well from what Astun did.

With the research journals Astun had placed on the bookshelf he was starting to piece together a possible explanation.

As much as this information was all in his head he found it helpful to focus his thoughts by actually reading it to keep focus and not be overwhelmed by it all.

Since his fate was so radically altered the power he touched reshaped his body as well to stave off a paradox.  So he basically had to be Reincarnated.  That he got the body of a video game character that he fantasized about way too much when he was younger he suspected was the result of some higher power forcing a particular result.

"Could be worse David.  When he was younger he'd have probably had his way with you by now."  A feminine voice broke the silence.

"You..."  David looked up.

The most attractive woman he had ever seen in his life was leaning up against the wall wearing a red silk dress, slightly tanned skin, long blonde hair hanging loosely behind her shoulders, and the most amazing pale blue eyes.

"Shhh.  Don't want the ex to know I'm paying a visit to his new science project.  The good news is he is actually trying to find out what he can about your fellow colonists.  Bad news is yes you can blame me for your current state.  You're on to something about how your form had to change to remain compatible with this plane of existence after what the Ex did and well I thought that I was being nice giving you what you wanted."  Heria said melodically.

"The other gods and goddesses aren't going to be happy with you either are they?"  David asked.

"No.  I don't know which one arranged the attack either.  Crazy thing about becoming a god does not mean you are actually all knowing.  Not completely anyway."  Heria sighed.

"So why are you here?"  David asked.

"To tell you three more things that I think you need to know.  First is something I think you're starting to suspect anyway.  Someone else is going to need to take Astun's shortcut and I think you know who I'm talking about.  It is possible to go the legit way but with the players involved I doubt your friends will last long enough to do that.  I'll call that one a bonus.  Second is as far as this plane of existence is concerned this is your natural form now.  It is fully functional so be careful to not become some Orc's plaything.  Or a Dragon's.  Dragons are absolute freaks.  I swear if it lives and can have sex with them that's all they need.  I'm getting off topic.  You can be 'fixed' but be aware it can be undone.  Third is even Astun does not know it yet but you do have extra powers and abilities.  You'll find them listed under Mythical Adventurers in his journals.  One last freebie before the others make me leave.  Don't mention Greyanne around him.  Or Shrilanken.  I wish I could tell you more but if I did even Astun and all his servants would not be able to shield you from the shit storm that would come down."  Heria smiled then vanished.

David found the book Heria mentioned and began to read it.

What he found there was the real key to keeping his settlement safe and free from outside influence.

Cycling through books David found he could not stop to sleep.  Not yet anyway.

He found it in the codex of spells.  A fix for his body.  But he also found something else.  Something he hadn't really considered.  As Heria mentioned this is what he was now.  Effectively a whole new being.  This made him an unknown quantity in many ways, thus screwing up any divination magic tracking him.

He suspect Astun would drag his feet not wanting to give up some eye candy.  At least this way David could justify it to himself that there was an upside to his current form.

Finally feeling fatigue overcome him David made his way to bed.

"Damn, I'm so not used to winter here."  David said as he climbed into a cold bed.

"By your command my lord."  Dax seemed to appear out of nowhere.

As much as he had the knowledge the lack of experience actually dealing with magic still made it unnerving to David.

"Thanks Dax."  David said as Dax's body heat helped to quickly warm up the bed.

David was starting to hate this secrets of the universe thing rattling around in his head.  He found Dax rather attractive and even Heria's visit was a painful reminder that he was still capable of appreciating such lovely forms but actually acting on it was now so un-important to him in the grand scheme of things.

As sleep overtook him David began to wonder when this contradiction would eventually cause him to be become so frustrated he'd act on it anyway.

idea weenie

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #14 on: 05 September 2020, 00:41:14 »
The other fun part will be proving he is himself if he contacts the old settlement.

Or just go with 'David' met her and passed on all his knowledge before he died due to an orc blade

monbvol

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #15 on: 07 September 2020, 01:48:25 »
[Author]  Yeah totally terrible idea coming up.  [/Author]

David woke up and found breakfast waiting for him.

He still had to eat as far as he could tell.

The absurdity of being stuck in a female body but still thinking masculine pronouns caused him to pause for a moment and laugh.

Unless he could fix himself permanently.  Which he knew sort of could be done based on his research because Heria was right in that it wouldn't be difficult for some magic user to undo and he be back where he was now but the magic itself would be permanent.

After finishing his meal David bathed again.

The only clothes suitable for his new form that were provided to him weren't what he'd call slutty but still did not leave much to the imagination either with how tightly they formed around his new body.

Somehow he knew Astun was already waiting for him before Dax even opened the door.

Again Astun and his servants were gathered in the throne room.

"Good news.  Elanis has found another of your compatriots.  They are still being held by the Orcs.  If any others were captured she could not locate them."  Astun said as David stood before him.

David looked over at the Elf Cleric from before and realized that was Elanais.  Next to her in hides and leathers was another Elf woman.  An extremely rare in Elf society identical twin sister the knowledge in his head revealed.  This one a Druid connected to nature.

"I still get headaches myself about the Silverfall sisters and how their parents didn't do us any favors by giving them so similar names."  Astun noticed where David was looking.

"So when do I get to rescue them."  David looked back at Astun.

"I suppose that you have the right and it would help reveal what exact abilities you have unlocked.  I will let you borrow one of my servants because you will need to get in and out in a hurry."  Astun answered.

David was torn.  The knowledge in his head told him the two options that'd work best were Dax and Elanis.

"Dax."  David decided to go with the option he'd spent the most time with and knew if he needed her help her focus on illusion magic would be quite useful.

Dax whispered with Elanis shortly then walked over to David.

"Let's go."  Dax held out her hand.

David didn't hesitate and grabbed her hand.

The throne room was replaced by a forest glade.  It wasn't winter here.

"This is as close as I could get us without tripping their alarms.  From here on out I am not to interfere unless there is a need."  Dax smiled.

"Thanks."  David said as he found his rifle was again in his hands as if by magic.

He wasn't a scout sniper when he did his tour in the AFFS but David still found himself able to move through the increasing ground cover like he was some sort of stealth commando.

The game he made this character for was a stealth build so David wasn't surprised.

It did not take long for David to find their camp.

He saw the prisoner cage from his position.  There only seemed to be a handful of Orcs scattered about.

Hefting the rifle to his shoulder David knew he had best not doddle.

Bringing his rifle to his shoulder he felt a little more at ease than before.  This was familiar to him, comfortable even.

Sure Orcs still looked freaky as hell to him but taking down those that threatened his home with a rifle was a lot better than dealing with all this magic crap.

He let off his first round and one Orc fell to the ground.

Then there were twenty more.

"Shit."  David cursed himself for being so stupid.

But much like he wasn't used to dealing with magic these Orcs were not used to dealing with enemies with actual guns.

They gathered up into a shield wall thinking that'd help them like it would against archers.

David couldn't help but smile and found a rock to bounce his next shot off.

When David pulled the trigger again even he was surprised that all of them fell.  He had only expected to get one or two before the shot ran out of penetrating power but like his game character's ability from the game he got all of them.

Quickly before his luck could turn David ran as fast as he could over to the cage and opened it.

A blurred female form sprang up from under the tattered blankets closing in before David could recognize who it was and kissed him fully and deeply on the mouth.

"Sorry but that had been a fantasy of mine for a long time now.  Bonus points for me that my rescuer is a cute girl."  David recognized the voice.

"We have a lot to talk about when we get out of here.  We have to hurry because who knows how long before more of them show up."  David cursed himself.

Of course it was his lesbian sister.  The one that was always much more into this fantasy stuff than he was and thus the primary reason why he stayed too.

Without another word he led her back to where Dax was waiting for them.

"Found your compatriot I see David."  Dax smiled.

"Wait.. David is my brother's name...  Oh my god...  Did I just kiss my brother disguised as a girl?  Oh god.  I did.  I thought I recognized you.  This is the form of one of your video game characters you had a crush on when you were a teenager."  David's sister suddenly went pale.

"Told you we have a lot to talk about Alice.  Now grab onto the blue chick before things get more complicated."  David groaned.

Alice did as David instructed as Dax teleported them back to Astun's palace.

"Welcome back David."  Astun said as the trio appeared in his throne room.

"Thanks Astun.  That is another one I guess I owe you."  David said.

"I think we both know what comes next though.  Perhaps you should introduce me before I proceed?"  Astun said as he stood.

"Astun is a really powerful wizard who has been collecting knowledge on all sorts of topics for at least the last three thousand or so years and has been my host since Dax here saved me from the Orcs by chance.  Astun, this is my sister Alice.  What is about to happen will be a little rough but it'll be okay."  David said calmly.

"I do apologize but as I have explained to your brother what I am about to do is quite unavoidable if you are to stay in this realm and have some say in the matter."  Astun said as he walked up to Alice and touched her forehead.

David knew it had to be done if they were to have any chance of avoiding becoming the playthings of the gods of this realm.

Somehow Alice did not seem to pass out as David did though.  Maybe it was because she was uninjured or more open to all this magic stuff.  Who knew?

"Oh my god David.  This magic combined with the power of modern fire arms, tanks, Battlemechs, and Aerospace fighters.  It'd be too much for the Inner Sphere.  All of it.  Hell the best case scenario is that the Inner Sphere would destroy itself.  We can't take this back with us.  But I think someone else already has."  Alice said distraught.

"I know.  So have you chosen your new you yet?"  David tried changing the subject.

"Yeah.  If you're wondering why I haven't changed physically it is because the gods here haven't decided I was to die.  So same form, new power."  Alice said as she held out one of her hands palm up and little bright sparkles of light flashed in and out of being from her palm.

"Makes sense I suppose.  All of it.  Of course my lesbian sister who's always been into fantasy gets to have an easier time with all this than I do."  David grumbled.

Astun's laugh broke David and Alice's focus on each other.

"Dax, new bet?  Thinking what I'm thinking?"  Astun said.

"Oh yeah.  Usual wager?"  Dax smiled.

"Deal.  Now why don't you show Alice to a room.  Tomorrow we're going to have to have a nice long talk about how we're going to handle the situation your settlement is in now."  Astun answered.

All the knowledge in David's head did not give him a clue what that was about and that worried him.

monbvol

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #16 on: 07 September 2020, 12:13:51 »
David knew he'd only have a couple moments to relax in his room.

*knock knock*

"Come in Alice."  David had anticipated this.

"Well this is a lot."  Alice said.

"Yeah."  David sat up in the chair.

"The really screwed up part is I think I understand how K-F drives work better than anyone, even the people who made the first one.  And how dropship engines achieve the efficiency they do.  There is more magic disguised as technology in the Inner Sphere than I think anyone knows."  Alice mused.

"It all explains so much once you know what we do I have to admit."  David almost laughed.

"What are we going to do though?  I don't like calling some of the entities we're dealing with now gods but the kind of power they have means they functionally are."  Alice leaned against the wall.

"We have two options.  Make them let us leave and never bother us again or we spend the rest of eternity protecting our people."  Somehow David knew both he and Alice were functionally immortal now.

"It'd be nice if the gods and goddesses would realize the other colonists don't actually harbor any great secrets."  Alice sighed.

"At least one of us does.  But then again I'm not a major player on this realm.  Just enough followers here I can manifest and do a few things."  Heria suddenly appeared.

"So what brings you to us this time."  David said as he shifted in his seat.

"I doubt the other deities will let me do this again.  They don't like me even talking to you two but enough want certain things to be known to you that they let me.  Alice is correct.  The reason the other deities have put this realm on lock down for extra planar travel is because the local that went with your friends succeeded in getting them out of the nebula.  So yeah things in the godly realms are pretty insane right now."  Heria sighed.

"Let me guess, one of us has to become a god or goddess don't they?"  Alice spoke up.

"Since you got there on your own I can answer that as that probably would be for the best if you actually want to protect your settlement long term.  But don't expect that to be easy.  No way the others will let Astun offer his shortcut a third time.  Or Alice.  They're already talking about punishing Astun somehow for doing it twice."  Heria slumped.

"So yeah one of us."  David nodded.

"Not like arcane or martial focused individuals like yourselves haven't become deities before.  Now for the last thing before they make me leave again.  There are those who really won't like me telling you this but not everyone made it out of the nebula that decided to go home.  I can handle the trouble I'll get into for telling you that but anymore and you could expect some not so nice divine intervention and as powerful as you are now facing an actual deity is still a bit beyond you."  Heria smiled as she vanished the instant she finished talking.

"Great.  Now what are we supposed to do with that?"  Alice lamented.

"I don't know.  I don't think we can rescue them with things as they are now.  I think all we can do is get back to our settlement and start protecting it."  David leaned back in his chair.

"Yeah as much as we have a chance due to our raw power our lack of practical hands on experience with it and that we don't know where to look for them means we'd be doomed to failure and by the time we can correct that who ever didn't make it out of the nebula will almost certainly have been moved beyond even our reach."  Alice was forced to agree.

"Don't know about you but I still have to sleep."  David wasn't sure if that was strictly true or if it was an artifact of his previous life still hanging on.

Either way it was something he wasn't ready to give up yet if he didn't have to.

"I know what you mean.  Besides my chamber maid is quite cute.  I might see if she is up for some fun."  Alice teased David.

"Of course the secrets of the universe haven't tempered your libido."  David groaned.

"They have in a way.  The underlying need is still there really and I am a bit frustrated that I didn't get to live out my fantasy of showing my appreciation to my daring rescuer.  Part of me is still tempted to because you don't physically look like my brother anymore but knowing that mentally you are does make it a bit weird."  Alice countered coldly.

"I think I know what you mean.  Part of me is just plain curious but I just can't really bring myself to act on it.  Just seems wrong."  David sighed.

"That's right.  You were dating that girl from engineering that stayed behind too weren't you?"  Alice frowned.

"Yeah and I was getting really serious with her too.  She must think I'm dead by now."  David realized he hadn't even thought about her since this all started.

Almost like he had forgot until Alice brought her up again.  Perhaps he had forgotten due to the head trauma he suffered clear back when this started but he was re-assured that he could remember her now.

"Now surrounded by all this temptation.  I imagine you wavered a lot."  Alice moved next to her brother and hugged him.

"You have no idea.  Thanks for understanding sis."  David hugged back.

"Well I need to rest to get anything besides my basic spells going but once I do I'll fix your body and then once we figure out what Astun actually wants in return for what he's done we'll get you back to your girlfriend."  Alice broke the hug finally.

"See you in the morning then."  David said as he stood.

Somehow David knew it wouldn't be that simple.

monbvol

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #17 on: 12 September 2020, 13:55:38 »
[Author]  Okay I need to break myself off from some of my bad habits and this might be the last story post until I actually collaborate with Liam's Ghost finally.  Yeah I probably should have just made my own story really rather than piggybacking off his because it could be a bit before said collaboration happens.  [/Author]

Astun had summoned them early to the main dinning hall.

It made David a little nervous.

"Apologies if I woke you before you would have liked but given the seriousness of the situation I felt it best."  Astun said calmly.

"We understand."  Alice said as she sat next to Astun.

"Though I'm not sure what all we really need to discuss.  As far as I can tell we got two options.  Three if you really want to split hairs.  Alice creates her own demiplane for our settlement to move to where we at least have a chance to protect ourselves.  Especially since we could set the rules there.  At least to an extent.  The split hair option off that is we spend the rest of our lives protecting our settlement from the machinations of others.  The third option is do nothing and not interfere further."  David said as he sat down as well.

"I do not think isolating your settlement is any longer an option.  It is blatantly obvious that even the good deities have become curious about your abilities and what happens when adding magic to them.  Otherwise I am rather certain you and I would have faced divine judgement by now.  Plus that would explain why my ex-wife has paid so many visits.  Worry not.  I completely understand why you haven't said anything.  Divine ramifications are nothing new to me."  Astun looked up from his meal.

"Well that answers just how much of my power is being cut off by being on this plane and by the others interfering further."  Heria appeared behind Astun.

"Somehow I thought that might force you to talk to me directly again.  We have a lot to talk about later but for now I am going to ask one question.  How bad is it getting on your plane?"  Astun smiled.

"A lot of the good deities and their subordinates are keeping up a facade of everything is normal and there is nothing to be afraid of but the truth is a lot of them are scared.  Especially with the reports coming from Chim.  The evil deities are closing ranks in a way I've not seen in a long time, maybe ever.  What little communication is going on I'm being cut off from now because of how many beans I've spilled.  I doubt I'll be able to give anymore information, no matter how trivial or mundane, that you can't figure out for yourselves."  Heria answered.

"And now for the other shoe."  David spoke up.

"I know you're expecting more trouble but fortunately the deities have decided you've already figured out what your punishment is yourselves and are already under it.  Alice, Astun, and David you can never go home again.  You are stuck on this plane of existence for the rest of your lives.  To clarify for Alice and David you can return to your settlement in this plane but returning to your native realm is now impossible for you.  Astun shall we take our leave so we can have that talk you want privately?"  Heria smiled.

David was half expecting some divine curse but somehow that his punishment for knowing what he knows now is the conclusion he and Alice had already come to on their own wad a bit of a relief.

"If that is the case I think it is time we got back to the settlement.  We'll have to start training people in some of these new disciplines and start our eternal watch."  Alice looked at David.

"Yeah.  We owe you a lot Astun.  I don't know how we'll be able to repay you."  David added.

"No debt incurred as far as I am concerned.  Don't be afraid to visit.  It was nice having new company to converse with."  Astun smiled.

"Shall we?"  Alice moved next to David.

"It seems to be time."  David took his sister's outstretched hand.

"Good luck you two, you're going to need it."  Heria smiled.

Alice teleported them just outside the settlement.

"One last thing."  Alice said as she began casting another spell.

David suddenly felt a lot more like himself again.

"Thanks sis.  Much more time as a woman and my sanity might have been at risk."  David hugged his sister.

"I know what you mean even if you could have said that better.  Just remember the same spell I used to fix you can unfix you and there are a couple other options on top of that too.  But enough of that.  Let's get you back to your girlfriend."  Alice chided her brother.

Liam's Ghost

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #18 on: 12 September 2020, 19:25:39 »
I feel like I should point out that you of all people should know how bad I am at collaboration, but it occurs to me that we haven't even tried collaborating on anything since... like... the Vast Empire days?
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Cannonshop

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #19 on: 12 September 2020, 20:06:57 »
I feel like I should point out that you of all people should know how bad I am at collaboration, but it occurs to me that we haven't even tried collaborating on anything since... like... the Vast Empire days?

but you always have GOOD ideas.
The core rules for interacting with me:

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2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

monbvol

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #20 on: 12 September 2020, 22:06:53 »
I feel like I should point out that you of all people should know how bad I am at collaboration, but it occurs to me that we haven't even tried collaborating on anything since... like... the Vast Empire days?

Sounds about right.

Even then I don't think we really actually talked about our ideas/end goals all that much.

Just somehow we had some sort of mindmeld that made for some interesting stories.

Which I think I pulled off okay where you were going for a few things while being able to explain any differences as things can work a little differently inside the nebula than outside.

but you always have GOOD ideas.

I have become convinced it is a curse for him.

Cannonshop

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #21 on: 12 September 2020, 22:31:48 »
Sounds about right.

Even then I don't think we really actually talked about our ideas/end goals all that much.

Just somehow we had some sort of mindmeld that made for some interesting stories.

Which I think I pulled off okay where you were going for a few things while being able to explain any differences as things can work a little differently inside the nebula than outside.

I have become convinced it is a curse for him.

a couple of my fondest collabs that imploded were with Liam's_Ghost and Giovanni Blasini.  Liam's got a certain...beat to his stuff that is fantastic, and great ideas, but yeah, I can attest that it's hard to hold things together because the ideas come SO fast.
The core rules for interacting with me:

1.) I am not a moderator, game developer, member of Cryptic staff, relative of any members of cryptic staff, not close friends with anyone involved with the game, not a distributor of product, not an employee, employer, professional reviewer, or member of any powerful conspiracies.  What I think is my own and has no impact on the Battletech franchise in any way, shape, or form.

2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

monbvol

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #22 on: 12 September 2020, 22:41:51 »
a couple of my fondest collabs that imploded were with Liam's_Ghost and Giovanni Blasini.  Liam's got a certain...beat to his stuff that is fantastic, and great ideas, but yeah, I can attest that it's hard to hold things together because the ideas come SO fast.

I've known the man for about 25 years now and worked on several writing projects with him as well.  I'm pretty sure I was the first to burn out on all our major projects too.

The more minor ones, I did better with those I think.

All in all as unfair as it is there is a reason he runs most of our gaming group's RPG campaigns.

Cannonshop

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #23 on: 12 September 2020, 23:27:50 »
I've known the man for about 25 years now and worked on several writing projects with him as well.  I'm pretty sure I was the first to burn out on all our major projects too.

The more minor ones, I did better with those I think.

All in all as unfair as it is there is a reason he runs most of our gaming group's RPG campaigns.

Last time I worked with him, "Life intervened" on his end, to a fairly intense level of life intervention.  I don't know what exactly went on, only that he basically got swallowed up in some in-real-life business and couldn't continue.
The core rules for interacting with me:

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2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

monbvol

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #24 on: 12 September 2020, 23:54:08 »
Last time I worked with him, "Life intervened" on his end, to a fairly intense level of life intervention.  I don't know what exactly went on, only that he basically got swallowed up in some in-real-life business and couldn't continue.

All I'll say is it is good to see him getting his writing back on track.

Cannonshop

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #25 on: 13 September 2020, 00:59:40 »
All I'll say is it is good to see him getting his writing back on track.
I look at it as His writing coming back up is a sign his LIFE is back on track.  I know I went through a period in 2012/ 2013 where my own life was in the suck-hole, (mine was a divorce.)

but my point was, and is, that it's a ride to collaborate with Liam's_Ghost, which you already know.
The core rules for interacting with me:

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2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

ckosacranoid

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #26 on: 13 September 2020, 01:41:44 »
Dang it cannonshop, I just have big beef to take with you....you to damn much and trying to keep up with the bloody treads you have been doing over the past few months with lizzy and the cyclone has been annoying. Keep up the work though dang you....

monbvol

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #27 on: 13 September 2020, 01:45:56 »
*nod*

Been there myself.

The Vast Empire that Liam's Ghost mentioned is where I did a lot of my best work at the time.

Since then I've done terribly little of my own writing but I feel like I'm somewhat getting back into the groove.

Dang it cannonshop, I just have big beef to take with you....you to damn much and trying to keep up with the bloody treads you have been doing over the past few months with lizzy and the cyclone has been annoying. Keep up the work though dang you....

Me thinks you meant to put this in a different thread...

Cannonshop

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #28 on: 13 September 2020, 02:10:11 »
Dang it cannonshop, I just have big beef to take with you....you to damn much and trying to keep up with the bloody treads you have been doing over the past few months with lizzy and the cyclone has been annoying. Keep up the work though dang you....

the way you feel about my stuff, is the way I feel about some of the other writers here on the forum, Ckosacranoid.  Liam's_Ghost, Giovanni_Blasini, JA Baker, others....so many others. I don't comment as often as I ought, but I read a lot more than you might think I do.

The core rules for interacting with me:

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2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

ckosacranoid

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #29 on: 13 September 2020, 02:25:01 »
I was to say you write a bloody lot for sure.

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #30 on: 13 September 2020, 11:36:08 »
I'm tagging this, the writing is excellent.  It reminds so much of the old early D&D/Fantasy novels i used to collect. You do Ed Greenwood justice with what you written so far, monbvol!  Its feel like raw and cool like the original book about Elminister.
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monbvol

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #31 on: 13 September 2020, 12:11:08 »
Thanks and glad you've enjoyed so far.

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #32 on: 14 September 2020, 16:00:06 »
Are you going be able to continue this story? You posted in your new one that your on hold.
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monbvol

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #33 on: 14 September 2020, 16:26:33 »
I hope to at some point.

Because a lot of this is heavily inspired by Liam's Ghost's A Toreel Wizard in Prince Davion's Court and his musings on wanting to look in on some of what is happening in the Nebula for those that stayed behind I'd like to make sure I don't infringe too much when/if he decides to do it himself.

That he hasn't objected to anything I take as a sign I'm at least staying close enough to what he has in mind that I'll likely get started again on this after I think about where to take it some more anyway.

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #34 on: 21 September 2020, 16:14:57 »
[Author] Would have gotten back to this a bit sooner but I kept getting distracted again and largely my own fault.  [/Author]

David knew it was a trap of a different sort that they were being allowed to return to their settlement at all.

He and Alice knowing what they knew made it painfully obvious that they still represented a fundamental shift in the balance of power.

The only thing they could figure was that the gods and goddesses of this realm were now just curious to see what they would do with this knowledge and how they would integrate it with the technology they brought with them.

Which meant it was only a matter of time before someone tried abducting members of the settlement again.  They would be far more prepared.  Especially now that Alice was able to use Toreel magic.  The really powerful stuff that could threaten demigods.  So it'd be a really nasty raid too.

"Before we get back to the settlement we really should talk plan for practical long term solution."  David stopped Alice before they went any closer to the settlement.

"Well two ideas.  We either go to war with the gods and goddesses and win or we fortress maximus the shit out of the settlement.  The second would be easier if we had a Cleric as they have a couple really nice spells to help with that.  Plus I'm not sure how to pull off the second with all the eyes that will be on us.  Well not us specifically but the settlement for sure."  Alice answered.

"The second is still the more realistic option.  Which means we need to get you some diamonds if I'm thinking what you're thinking right now to get around at least some of that."  David nodded.

"Yup.  Somehow I doubt the man made industrial diamonds we brought with us will work quite the same.  Plus lead.  Lots of lead."  Alice started examining the surrounding landscape.

"Which means I'm actually going to spend most of my time being a merc doesn't it?"  David knew Alice would be too busy making sure the settlement was safe.

"It won't be too bad.  Toreel seems really backwards compared to some of the other planes."  Alice smiled.

"Great."  David knew she was right.

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #35 on: 21 September 2020, 16:57:30 »
Why do i sense mobile structure from Syberia suddenly appearing at Alice's command.  ;D
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #36 on: 21 September 2020, 20:46:11 »
"Well two ideas.  We either go to war with the gods and goddesses and win or we fortress maximus the shit out of the settlement.  The second would be easier if we had a Cleric as they have a couple really nice spells to help with that.  Plus I'm not sure how to pull off the second with all the eyes that will be on us.  Well not us specifically but the settlement for sure."  Alice answered.

(snip)

See if here is a deity of magic that they can become clerics of?  Someone like Nethys?

Of course, the clerics using the magic to set up machinery may need a theme song  ;)

Another deity that might be useful is Torag (for the industry subdomain).

"Which means I'm actually going to spend most of my time being a merc doesn't it?"  David knew Alice would be too busy making sure the settlement was safe.

"It won't be too bad.  Toreel seems really backwards compared to some of the other planes."  Alice smiled.

Backwards doesn't mean foolish.  These people have survived for centuries against threats from hell, plus backstabbing potential, plus all sorts of other issues.  These people have to deal with intelligent entities wanting to overthrow them, magical threats, natural threats, regular illnesses, magical illnesses, hostile spellcraft, deities taking active participation in their lives, and more.  The threats range from low level swarm enemies, intelligent flying creatures, magical creatures that can bypass common defenses, and more.  Time to study up on your Machiavelli at the very least.

  Why do i sense mobile structure from Syberia suddenly appearing at Alice's command.  ;D 

If so, then expect Brigh to have some new followers

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #37 on: 21 September 2020, 22:10:37 »
See if here is a deity of magic that they can become clerics of?  Someone like Nethys?

Of course, the clerics using the magic to set up machinery may need a theme song  ;)

Another deity that might be useful is Torag (for the industry subdomain).

The spells in my mind are on the general cleric list, not limited by any domain nor do they have any alignment restrictions.

Quote
Backwards doesn't mean foolish.  These people have survived for centuries against threats from hell, plus backstabbing potential, plus all sorts of other issues.  These people have to deal with intelligent entities wanting to overthrow them, magical threats, natural threats, regular illnesses, magical illnesses, hostile spellcraft, deities taking active participation in their lives, and more.  The threats range from low level swarm enemies, intelligent flying creatures, magical creatures that can bypass common defenses, and more.  Time to study up on your Machiavelli at the very least.

Toreel still has traditional style castles.  Which would be utterly obsolete in a world with magic and flying creatures able to deliver the kind of destruction we know them able to do.

Being my group's rules lawyer and knowing how a lot of these spells work and what their limitations are I'm thinking less Syberian mobile structures and more Star League Department of Mega Engineering for how to protect the settlement.

The only part I haven't worked out yet is how to do something that massive without being observed.  I've figured out how to do it.  Just how to not undermine it by being super obvious.

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #38 on: 22 September 2020, 00:00:20 »
The spells in my mind are on the general cleric list, not limited by any domain nor do they have any alignment restrictions.

I was thinking that this way they would get access to cleric spells, from a deity that wouldn't mind them using the magic on an industrial scale.  Some deities might get cranky if you used their spells to automate things, and a cranky deity is not someone you want (even if you have a copper roof that is grounded).

Being my group's rules lawyer and knowing how a lot of these spells work and what their limitations are I'm thinking less Syberian mobile structures and more Star League Department of Mega Engineering for how to protect the settlement.

The only part I haven't worked out yet is how to do something that massive without being observed.  I've figured out how to do it.  Just how to not undermine it by being super obvious.

Seismic sensors to detect tunneling creatures, air defense radar for vs flying creatures, rapid construction of a castle (without using multiple Wall of Stone spells), perhaps even tunnel boring could be done.  A Mech with a laser weapon and a Fusion plant could be used to tunnel a straight line underground, while if someone can learn Ray of Frost they can cause the superheated rock to shatter.  This might make tunnels easier to work on, so they don't have to use up their limited supply of explosives.

Every SRM they fire is one less in their stockpile.  Every ton of armor that is damaged cannot be replaced.  The group needs to be thinking in terms of decades, to maintain their tech capabilities.  Gear down as needed, set up schools, figure out a way to grow food, etc.  Depending on the location they may need to welcome refugees, and then how will they treat those refugees?  As second-class citizens, or as equals who just didn't have access to the same education?

Hope they have a Helm Core, along with the full access systems.  Even then, they may need to print out lots of it in both paper and microfilm format so they can get the knowledge copied and secured.

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #39 on: 22 September 2020, 01:46:34 »
I was thinking that this way they would get access to cleric spells, from a deity that wouldn't mind them using the magic on an industrial scale.  Some deities might get cranky if you used their spells to automate things, and a cranky deity is not someone you want (even if you have a copper roof that is grounded).

That is a good point but I was already planning on getting around a lot of that via the Limited Wish and Wish spells.  That way that whole issue is completely avoided.

Quote
Seismic sensors to detect tunneling creatures, air defense radar for vs flying creatures, rapid construction of a castle (without using multiple Wall of Stone spells), perhaps even tunnel boring could be done.  A Mech with a laser weapon and a Fusion plant could be used to tunnel a straight line underground, while if someone can learn Ray of Frost they can cause the superheated rock to shatter.  This might make tunnels easier to work on, so they don't have to use up their limited supply of explosives.

Every SRM they fire is one less in their stockpile.  Every ton of armor that is damaged cannot be replaced.  The group needs to be thinking in terms of decades, to maintain their tech capabilities.  Gear down as needed, set up schools, figure out a way to grow food, etc.  Depending on the location they may need to welcome refugees, and then how will they treat those refugees?  As second-class citizens, or as equals who just didn't have access to the same education?

Hope they have a Helm Core, along with the full access systems.  Even then, they may need to print out lots of it in both paper and microfilm format so they can get the knowledge copied and secured.

Oh getting a proper fortress going is the easy part.

There are just tons of spells that make it really easy to do.  Also tons of spells that make obvious fixed fortifications expensive targets.

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #40 on: 22 September 2020, 23:07:51 »
And as is becoming my new normal, I really should have mentioned before now that there are going to be a new round of renovations around the house starting 23-9-2020.  So yeah my writing windows may get rather few and far in between until those wrap up.

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #41 on: 27 September 2020, 10:46:23 »
[Author]  Huzzah for weekends for me to squeeze in a window now and again.  [/Author]

David's relationship with his girlfriend came to a rather abrupt end almost immediately upon their reunion.  It was obvious to both of them how much the knowledge Astun stuck in David's head had changed him.

Which raised questions in David's mind if he was capable of having that kind of relationship again.  He concluded he could but only with someone burdened in a similar way.  Which meant his dating options that he knew of were his sister Alice, which was just gross to even consider, and going back to being a woman and seeing if he could get somewhere with Astun, which was equally repulsive to David but in a different way.  Unless a third option presented itself he was out of luck in the dating department for now.

It did make it a bit easier for him to go out and start raising local currency as a mercenary though.  Which for some weird reason everyone decided the title was actually 'adventurer' on Toreel for some odd reason.

David was glad that Alice had put a simple enchantment on his rifle so he wouldn't run out of ammunition.

But it made his fund raising adventures rather boring.

So far he hadn't faced any truly impressive magic.  He was certain it was the deities of the realm manipulating things to gradually see what he could handle now with his fusion of newfound abilities and Inner Sphere technology.

Alice was probably having to deal with similar issues back at the settlement.

It wasn't hard to figure out why the deities didn't just go all in.  Even the really impulsive ones understood for everything there was a counter and going in ill-prepared would be a good way to make yourself vulnerable to your rivals.

Today's mission was to eliminate some goblins.  The group he was looking for wasn't hard to find and there weren't that many of them.

It was all too easy.  This is what David found he had to do.  Those willing to pay 'adventurers' to solve their problems were making him start with the easy stuff suitable for new 'adventurers' because to them he was a new 'adventurer'.

Maybe at least the pace he was going through these missions would help get him something more interesting.

If this really was all part of some experiment to see what David was capable of now orchestrated by the deities of this realm David was determined to ruin it for them by really holding back and not using more of his Inner Sphere technology than he had to.

So David began picking off members of the group of goblins one at a time with his rifle on single fire.  On some planes of existence firearms capable of what David was doing now did exist.  Based off the way the locals reacted if they had made it it to Toreel they were extremely rare.

David was glad the knowledge passed to him by Astun was not absolute.

It told him a great deal about the nature of the universe, abilities of all things, alternate planes of existence, and the nature of magic.  Also weirdly a rather extensive collection of cooking recipes.

None of it covered demographics of Toreel though.  So no knowing for sure what was out there waiting for him.

As David was lost in his thought he sighed that some of the goblins had run off while he wasn't as focused as he should have been but he had killed more than what the contract called for.

He collected the gruesome proof required.  He didn't like it but he understood why.  With the kind of magic available something not easily regrown needed to be collected from the slain as proof.

Plus that goblins were near universally such disgusting creatures made it a bit easier for David to take the job but also filled David with regret as their stench somehow seemed even worse in death.

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #42 on: 27 September 2020, 11:37:00 »
David adventuring by himself?  Good way to get dead by himself too.  He needs to find a group he can trust to watch his back


As to why more powerful people pay low-level people to solve basic problems, it is because the high-level people are likely dealing with high-level problems, and need someone to deal with the small stuff.  Similar to how a Company commander doesn't have to deal with making sure individual weapons are shined properly, an arch-mage doesn't have to worry about making sure the goblins are removed from an area.  They both delegate

So the reason David got the low-pay contracts is because nobody knows if he will live, and nobody knows enough about him to trust him.  David has to prove himself to others, both by being true to his word and proving he can accomplish basic tasks.

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #43 on: 27 September 2020, 13:10:15 »
Pretty much.

I have decided David and Alice are not just high level characters but that they are also using the Mythic Adventures material to boost them further.

I have a Fighter Champion/Guardian build that is actually incredibly powerful using those rules that can survive a lot of stuff solo just fine.

Because there is no real good way to measure a Fighter's levels 'in universe'* like a caster reputation and verified achievements are very important in determining what job offers they get.

*Most of the martial classes do have some tells but even then those can get hard to quantify due to out of universe dice luck of the player.  With magic being as codified as it is, well it becomes rather easy to establish their power levels just by seeing what spells they break out.

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #44 on: 28 September 2020, 15:49:07 »
I have decided David and Alice are not just high level characters but that they are also using the Mythic Adventures material to boost them further.

I have a Fighter Champion/Guardian build that is actually incredibly powerful using those rules that can survive a lot of stuff solo just fine.

Because there is no real good way to measure a Fighter's levels 'in universe'* like a caster reputation and verified achievements are very important in determining what job offers they get.

*Most of the martial classes do have some tells but even then those can get hard to quantify due to out of universe dice luck of the player.  With magic being as codified as it is, well it becomes rather easy to establish their power levels just by seeing what spells they break out.

There should be a way for them to spar against other people so they can get an idea of how skilled someone is vs the locals.  If a stranger is able to spar against your regular soldiers but has to stop every so often to catch their breath, that is one thing (bruise damage being healed).  If the stranger is able to spar with your family's melee training specialist and has that specialist backed up against a wall desperately trying to defend themselves, that is another matter.

Still, if anyone steals David's rifle, does he have a backup weapon?  There are pickpockets, thieves, and other nasty types who would be glad to steal something that looked strange, and sell it to the Thieves' Guild.  Does David have a way to secure his room at an inn, or does he have to carry his gear with him everywhere he goes?  The other fun is if he is asleep in the wilderness and a goblin comes along with a knife.  Hope David can wake up in time before the goblin can slit his throat.  Or just have the goblins harassing him all night long so he never gets any sleep.  How long can David go without getting a good night's sleep?

This also lets you introduce other characters to aid David, outcasts who are trying to make a name for themselves, and hopefully trustworthy

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #45 on: 29 September 2020, 07:17:14 »
I just hope the characters dont go OP to quickly. I like the rise or growth more than suddenly cleaning the floors with bad guys with easy too soon.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
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"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #46 on: 29 September 2020, 09:55:05 »
Best way I can put my plans/ideas for David and Alice is Astun did short cut them to being high level which also made them mythic* but my general plan is they are going to hold back because they do know as powerful as they are there are just the two of them  and I am going to try to show while they have the theoretical knowledge, they do still lack the practical knowledge and that might hoist them on their own petards.

*Paizo's Mythic Adventures book is a nice concept executed poorly really.  Don't get me wrong there's a lot of nice stuff in there.  If you have access to it you probably know what I mean.

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #47 on: 29 September 2020, 14:01:06 »
One idea I have seen was called P6, where you take a standard D&D/Pathfinder character, and after they reach level 6 they never gain any more levels but instead just get additional Feats (aka special abilities).  I'd also want the player to make a record of the hit point rolls during their leveling up, so whenever they get a new Feat, they also get to re-roll one of their hit die rolls.

I.e. at level 6 a Rogue used a d6 to get hit points, and their current total hit points is 23 hit points.  Hit points for the first level are maxed out, no Constitution bonuses, and the successor levels are 3+5+1+4+4.  The character gets enough experience to gain a Feat.  The player also chooses to re-roll the hit points they got at 4th level.  They roll a 3, and their new hit points are 25: 6+3+5+3+4+4 (re-rolls can never reduce the hit points).  If the character later chooses a Feat to get a +1 to a stat and that lets them get a Con bonus to hit points, it would again give them a bonus, but one at a time.  So assuming the Rogue takes a Feat to boos their Con, so it gives them a +1 bonus, they reroll the hit die for their 2nd level (the first level is already maxed out).  They get a '1', and they have 26 hit points now: 6+3(+1)+5+3+4+4.  Even though the d6 roll was less than what they had for 2nd level, the original roll of '3' was kept, and they make a note that they got +1 hit points from Con bonus for that level.

These additional Feats would be used to get more skill points, spell slots, Special Ability uses, better Saves, etc.  Figure anything that would normally be gained via levels would instead be gained as a Feat.

Instead of taking a Feat you could replace a character class with a different class, one level at a time.  So a Commoner/6 manages to gain a level.  They have had access to schooling, and choose to replace one of their Commoner classes with an Expert class.  So they now look like Commoner/5 & Expert/1 (likely changing their first Commoner level to take advantage of the hit point bonus).

This could be used to give lots of special abilities to David and Alice, but they are still the relatively weak humans.


Still, with Astun's aid to boost them, how much additional magic was left in them that Astun can use to watch their adventures?  Not quite the level of a Truman Show, but more along the lines of the Survivor tv series, where David & Alice are encouraged to deal with various challenges for the entertainment of the various mages and deities.

Good deity: "Hard to believe he outsmarted you like that, right?"
Evil deity: "He didn't out-smart me, I just wasn't ready for him to out-stupid me"
Good deity: "True.  It took me five clues just to get his attention."
Evil Deity: "Now that was funny"

And the whole time Astun is charging scrying fees

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #48 on: 29 September 2020, 14:54:38 »
Oh people are watching things.

Not just Astun.

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #49 on: 05 October 2020, 22:18:26 »
[Author] Mixed news everybody!  Thanks to recent events I'm house sitting so I'll have writing windows again!  Bad news is I am having to do it on my laptop and it is not very condusive to writing.  So we'll see how much I get done.  [/Author]

David walked into the hall.  It's taken a while and he had to admit he'd been lucky so far.  But finally he'd made enough to get the first shipment of materials to Alice, at least once he bartered for it.

The Dwarven Mining Guild were the only place that could supply what they needed in the quantities they needed.

David approached the merchant table.

The Dwarf who sat there was a bronze skinned brickhouse with dark curly hair.

"Loam Ironskin I presume?"  David spoke up.

"That is me.  You are?"  The accent was thick and familiar but David couldn't place it.

"Walter of Ruinwald."  David had decided adventuring under an alias would be a good idea from the get go.

"Well what do you want?"  Loam grumbled.

"Lead.  Lots of it."  David answered flatly.

"Ah.  Worried about divination magic are ye?  Well we can certainly help with that.  1 gold per ingot."  Loam answered.

David dropped a bag on the table.

"That is just for the first shipment.  I need more."  David announced.

"Must be some fortress you are building to throw around this much gold."  Loam started counting out the gold.

"You'll understand if I don't talk about it too much."  David leaned back into his chair.

"Fair enough.  You have a way to pick it up then?"  Loam kept counting.

"Yeah my sister has it covered."  David waited for Loam.

"She can pick it up three days from now.  Here's your chit."  Loam still seemed grumpy.

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Re: You can never go home again(Nebula California)
« Reply #50 on: 16 October 2020, 20:41:01 »
[Author]  Yeesh.  I just can't seem to work on this story very often and when I do something seems to interfere.  Oh well.  Having a bit of a thought that requires a perspective change to Astun.  [/Author]

Astun leaned back into his throne.  The scrying orbs he had dispatched had gone undetected so far.  At least as best he could tell.

It had been a simple enough matter to subtly protect David and Alice without tipping his hand for these past few weeks.

They had shown an impressive ability to put the knowledge he had given them into practice these past few months.

But what he had just seen and had managed to get verified by the divine casters in his service confirmed what he long suspected.

Toreel magic if properly applied could easily defeat the technology of the Inner Sphere in a battle, perhaps even a full on war.

But as David and Alice were starting to prove it was when you combined Toreel magic and Inner Sphere technology that you could get some really impressive results.

Enough so he understood why the divine and profane powers were so interested and frightened.

This was with David and Alice obviously holding back and not having the full array of options available to them that they could otherwise.

It had been a long time since Astun had a dilemma of this sort.  It was refreshing to have to actually think what the best solution was.

He wanted to see the inevitable fusion of Toreel magic and Inner Sphere technology as much as many of the deities but it was painfully obvious that if certain deities got a hold of it first, well things would go rather poorly for the others.

Alice and David had been his gamble to keep it from those powers but the other deities were either too afraid, too curious, or too locked in debate to do anything about this growing threat.

"Makes me understand you a bit better Celestine and why you went to war with heaven.  Almost wish you were here now.  I could use the help of someone who can actually take on heaven, hell, and all the realms in between.  As powerful as I am that is not me."  Astun almost chuckled.