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    My Legion cosplay for Fanboy and Soda City
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    ←Previous Post -- Next Post→ Weeks Zero and One: "It was The Road to Hell. It was Hard Times..." You will arrive along The Old Road. It winds with a troubling, serpent-like suggestion through the corrupted countryside, leading only, I fear, to ever more tenebrous places. There is a sickness in the ancient, pitted cobbles of The Old Road, and on its writhing path, you will face viciousness, violence, and perhaps other, damnably transcendent terrors. So steel yourself, and remember: there can be no bravery without madness. The Old Road will take you to hell, but in that gaping abyss, we will find our redemption. The initial introduction to the campaign is a series of tutorial fights with the Crusader and Highwayman, but I’m going to jump ahead a little here and just go through our new adventurers, describe all the quirks that they’ve just gotten, and, when necessary give some brief commentary on how I expect them to improve. In a normal game of Darkest Dungeon, I wouldn’t take half of you. I’d just find the ones I liked and dismiss the rest. But, to be really corny about it, this isn’t a five-card draw, it’s a twenty-four-person stud, so studs you shall become or die trying. You’re gonna do great. With that out of the way, let’s actually go down The Old Road to find our redemption or whatever Wayne June was talking about. The tutorial’s not over yet, though. The Hamlet is still mostly boarded up so I’ll cover that when it becomes more open, but the first foray into the ruins is scripted as well, so let’s go there. You’re supposed to run with a Crusader, Highwayman, Vestal, Plague Doctor party, but we have significantly more options available to us. I chose this party for a few reasons. The first is, well, I feel incentivized to use the adventurers with forum names. Besides, I don’t have a better solution to Skaia and Hakima being Antsy yet, and it’s not like they have zero synergies when paired up. Arbalest’s Big Crossbow, then, was an easy choice since the Arbalest also deals with marks, and then I needed a healer, so Junia it was. You’ll notice the name the game gave this party. That only occasionally shows up and is a sign the developers at Red Hook anticipated this party might be put together. Again, this will be a scripted map, so I know what I need to take to save on gold. The dog biscuits and the bandage come from choosing the Houndmaster and the Arbalest with me, and the rest, in order, are as follows: Torches so I can see, keys for chests, food for healing (and, you know, to eat), shovels for blockages, and holy water mostly for a curio but it can also boost resistances to debuffs. I suppose I can go through the remaining items too. Dog treats are a Houndmaster-specific buff when consumed, and bandages stop bleeding. To the right of the shovels is antivenom, which cures blight, and in-between the bandages and the keys are medicinal herbs, which cure miscellaneous debuffs. In the bottom-left is ladanum, which is useless I mean, it cures the stress-over-time effect called “horror” which is a little rare, even after Marvin’s mods, and on the other side is Shard Dust, which we don’t need to worry about until at least mid-game and will be explained then. This is an important screen, though. Once you hit that “Embark” button at the bottom, there is no turning back. We’re ready, though, so into the ruins we go. That’s all I have for you today. Sorry I couldn’t introduce everyone, but this post has gone over 3500 words. I don’t know how the next few weeks will go, but there hasn’t been a reason for me to complain just yet. Let me know if you have any questions, either about your character or about the game at large. Next time, we’ll open up the wider estate for exploring, go through some of the slowly-reopening buildings of the Hamlet, and, as a special treat, a trip to the circus! ←Previous Post -- Next Post→
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    ←Previous Post Weeks Four, Five, And Six -- I’d Say The Three Musketeers But Only One Of The Newcomers Is I’ve been alluding to a limit different from the strict one Darkest Dungeon imposes on its higher difficulties, and last week I said I would talk about it this week, l here it is: There are four levels of quest in a standard game: Apprentice (level 1), Veteran (level 3), Champion (level 5) and Darkest (level 6). The goal is simply to clear the Darkest Dungeon’s four quests, so you might expect to be able to simply grind Apprentice dungeons until all your heroes are maxed out since that will minimize the chance of failure. But adventurers can refuse to go into dungeons. If they’re two levels higher than the quest difficulty they scoff at your attempt to put them in a lineup. This isn’t the only way they’ll refuse, though. If they’ve managed to survive their venture into the Darkest Dungeon and emerge victorious, they will never go back in. We don’t need 4 heroes brave enough to face whatever horrors lay within, we need 16. You’ll notice we only have 24 slots, so we can afford 8 deaths total before the game starts getting really difficult to win. Like, sure, we could send less than a full team into the hardest quests in the game, but, you know, is it even comprehendible that we might win? Now, technically the mod removes this feature, so heroes will only take a massive Stress penalty for returning to the Darkest Dungeon, and if you do this challenge yourself and end up doing that, don’t let anyone call your achievement any lesser. I just don’t want to. So that’s the limit. These 24 adventurers are going to reach the level cap of 6 startlingly quickly, and we’re only going to be able to push back the inevitable by doing those Champion-level dungeons for so long. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what’s on the docket today. Cooperative: +5% Crit when Guarded Ravenous: Doubled food consumption Ah yes, the three DLC holdouts are going to be making their way into the game. Amani here probably shouldn’t have Ravenous for very long, but thanks to the newly unlocked Sanitarium, we can start to purge these undesired quirks. Everything else would fall under the purview of the Guild. All this is expensive, of course, hampered even further by the fact we failed to complete the mission last week, but rebuilding starts today. I do, in fact, have a plan. The first part of that plan is to get rid of the two Antsy quirks in the party. I’m planning to go to the Weald again -- this time, it offers a Warrior’s Cap that increases the accuracy of melee skills -- so Hakima and Elmer will come with this time, leaving Skaia behind for therapy. I should note also that you want to get rid of these quirks quickly for another reason: the longer they stay, the more ingrained they become, the more expensive they are to remove. The biggest question mark here is the Plague Doctor, given that she’s a blight-heavy class and the enemies in the Weald are generally resistant to blight. We have her in the third position, though, so her dagger can inflict some bleed, and really, I just want her as a secondary healer since Junjeong’s healing is over time rather than immediate. Really, the biggest thing that can go wrong is if we run into the Collector again, though what are the chances of that? (I’d say this is dangerously tempting fate, but I already know what happens this week, it’s not). Night Owl: +2 Speed when Torchlight is low Rotten: -25% Healing when Blighted Thin-Blooded: -10% Blight Resist I forgot to get this screenshot until the end of my time this week, so he didn’t start with Thin-Blooded but he sure has that now. I really don’t want this guy blighted, but the Flagellant is otherwise super cool, and nothing too debilitating has shown up on the one we get. I also dropped off Hakima and Elmer Fudd in the Sanitarium to get rid of his particular antsiness. Unfortunately, they don’t let you remove more than one thing at a time, but that one definitely has to go first. Running an Antiquarian and no healer into the Cove is a little risky, but I rationalized it by saying this: We need gold otherwise we’re just going to be floating in place until we start being able to manage Medium-length dungeons, and Josephine can still work to keep everyone off Death’s Door in a pinch. Besides, the Cove is known for being full of armored enemies (or scales that are like armor, anyway), and each of the other heroes can pierce through it. We should be able to speed through a few of these fights. Fairweather Fighter: +20% Damage at full health Profuse Bleeder: -25% Healing received while bleeding Dipsomania: Intense craving for alcohol Our last addition to the team, with a screenshot of her so new that I didn’t even change the name yet. Like I mentioned before, she’s another Arbalest, but another Arbalest is not a bad thing to have. In fact, she’s probably good enough to take with us into the final run of the week. Margaret probably could have been the healer by herself, especially for a Short-length mission and especially in the Warrens. Still, I wanted to be sure after the previous run, so Alhazred came with as well. We also get to see Damian in action, since the Flagellant shines here, and The Goliath’s main attack also inflicts bleed, so he’s a welcome addition as well. Speaking of, low accuracy fighters like The Thrall are why having accuracy trinkets are so important. The Warrior’s Cap went straight onto him. That’s it for this week. Next real-life week, we should be hitting Week 10, which will be when step one of my grand plan comes to fruition. I’ll give you a hint, it involves the truest eldritch horror of them all: Capitalism. -r ←Previous Post
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    ←Previous Post -- Next Post→ Weeks Two and Three: Welcome to the Show I wouldn’t normally talk about The Butcher’s Circus this early. It’s clearly meant for people already familiar with Darkest Dungeon’s mechanics. But an event fires on Week Two that heals an extra 10 Stress if you play a round and I need as many edges as I can get, so here we are. I actually did a couple fights with a couple different teams just to confirm my feelings. I’m not going to go into the details of each fight, but here’s the gist of Darkest Dungeon’s PvP mode: Okay for starters, the mode is kinda hit or miss. I mean, it’s free and doesn’t detract from the rest of the experience, so, like, there’s no reason not to try it out for yourself, but the matchmaking isn’t great, the connections are likely buoyed by the game being turn-based and even then are prone to failure, and, well, the game just wasn’t balanced or even built for a competitive head-to-head environment. Changes have been made, still, in an attempt to try. The biggest one is that the “things that hit multiple targets do less damage” design choice has been pared back, so they’re much more viable now. Multi-target attacks are also the ones that tend to do stress damage to help that strategy become more viable as well -- not to mention a tuning of the afflictions. It’s also harder to kill enemy heroes, with the Death’s Door system (that I’ll explain in more detail later) applying to your opponent just as much as it does to you. It’s still a game of dice rolls, and sometimes your opponent is just going to win more dice rolls than you, but Darkest Dungeon in general is about weighing that risk versus the reward anyway, so it’s not all bad. That being said, some heroes are downright unusable. Here’s a tier list for you: S) Arbalest, Crusader, Houndmaster A) Man-at-Arms, Bounty Hunter, Abomination, Jester B) Flagellant, Vestal, Occultist, Antiquarian C) Shieldbreaker, Leper, Highwayman, Grave Robber D) Hellion, Plague Doctor Musketeer wasn’t on the tier list maker I found, but she’s actually different from the Arbalest in this mode, and I’d put her in C-tier because of that. Every single difference leaves the Arbalest in an advantageous position. The big pro-tip for your Butcher’s Circus experience is to be as disruptive as possible. If the opponent has to spend time fixing the problems you’ve created, that’s time they’re not enacting their game plan. That’s one way a hero can be high-tier: their disruptive potential, or ability to not be disrupted. The other is versatility, or “How many potential teams can this hero be a part of?” The Arbalest and Crusader both can act as pretty tanky healers while also serving to disrupt or straight kill the opponents, so that’s why they get the top slots, and the Houndmaster rounds out the S-tier by never getting caught out of position and doing whatever else you need in the meantime. I’m not going to go down the entire list because we’d be here all day. Instead, here are the teams I tend to work with: Stressed Out: What it says on the tin. Man-At-Arms’ Bellow inflicts stress and debuffs damage to keep the team alive while the Occultist pulls the enemy backline into Zealous Persecution and Grapeshot Blast range. Marked For Death: As much disruption as possible in one team. Pulls, pushes, stuns, marks… this team snowballs and snowballs hard. Jester could also be effective here since Dirk Stab is good at getting past Death’s Door checks and Finale just straight-up ignores them, but this is the combination I like the most. Caped Crusaders: All aboard the Leper train on this one. Battle Ballad buffs Accuracy, and the Leper’s Chop will mow everything down. Arbalest is to keep the stuns off and Crusader is to stun and keep everyone alive. Bleeding Me Dry: Exactly what it says on the tin. Three bleeders and a Vestal who can stun and keep everyone alive. Get Out of Dodge: The “cheese” comp. If your opponent doesn’t have a Jester, Man-at-Arms, or Musketeer (and those last two are going to require some upkeep), your opponent isn’t going to even be able to hit you. Eventually, your Graverobber’s poison darts will blight and/or stress everyone out. Have fun with those. Me, I’ve got some more Ruins to explore. I mean, first, we need to keep Hakima and Elmer Fudd busy somehow, so I’ve decided to have them pray away their sins. While I’m loathe to have a repeat adventurer so early into the run (we’ll get into why next week), Skaia doesn’t have any stress at all and one extra run isn’t going to ruin my plans. It does mean I had to agonize about who to put where, but I came up with a plan. You’ll notice the Caretaker hanging out in the Transept there. That’s just what he normally does when he’s not selling supplies, hanging out in the various stress-relief facilities, gumming up the operation just a little extra bit. There are a few new things on this page, so let me break it down real quick. The most noticeable is the firewood now joining the lineup. I chose a Medium dungeon this early in the game mostly because the heirloom reward was a couple of portraits. Portraits are probably the rarest of the four main heirlooms, and not only are they what most facilitates upgrading the adventurers' moves and gear, I would also like as close to 50 of them as I can by Week 10 for a surprise tool that will help us later. Medium dungeons are dangerous because, well, they’re longer than Short dungeons. There are also Long dungeons, and two other lengths that are spoilers to get into so I won’t right now. The longer the dungeon, the more opportunities for mistakes and bad luck there are. There is some respite, though. The firewood allows the adventurers to camp in any empty room, which can either provide buffs or help relieve stress as needed. Long dungeons give two such logs, for however much that helps. I should also talk about my selected party a bit. I already mentioned Skaia’s role in things, just keeping him busy for a bit, but Sethera is probably the odd one out here, given that the Jester, as mentioned, is a bleeder class and the skeletons in the ruins are very resistant to bleed. We’re not using Seth to bleed the skeletons, though. We’re going to make sure Yui can hit things. Alhazred can heal and help Skaia pull things into Yui’s blade as well, though, as we’ve discussed, taking an Occultist as the only healer is a little risky. Then again, Yui can heal himself, so maybe there’s less to worry about. In retrospect, I probably should have packed more bandages. There's another tip for you all: Always pack more bandages. Probably good life advice in general, really. The biggest help in Week Three is the Guild and Blacksmith buildings opening up. These are how we’re going to train you to be better units and get you better gear respectively. They’re costly endeavors, but they’re also one-time investments. Once a certain hero knows a move or has a better sword, they have it for as long as they’re alive. We can save a little money right now, then, by taking Doggo and Euryale on our next mission. As two of our three transforming classes, none of them need to learn new moves, simply upgrade them when the time comes. Boudica only really needs to learn If It Bleeds, and Ren just needs to learn Guillotine. So that’s the party I decided to take into the next dungeon. We’re moving a little bit. This time, we’re going into the Weald. I chose a short Weald mission because of the trinket offered as a reward: a Speed Stone. Trinkets are little charms you can add to the adventurers to give them little buffs. There are some drawbacks to many of them -- taking increased stress damage is a common one, for example -- but a Speed Stone just offers a generic +1 speed, so it’s worth fighting to get. That’s all for this week. I'm still reeling from that Collector encounter, but there’s no reason to panic. We’ve even, believe it or not, got a few more recruits coming in that should hopefully help us out. Plus, now that it’s Week 4, the Sanitarium is now open, and I can start making good on those threats promises to fix you into shape. Oh, and Thar, we’ll get you a turn in the dungeon too. ←Previous Post -- Next Post→
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    Z's suggestion of Wobbuffet made Noibat sheepishly retract some into herself. The idea seemed obvious with it pointed out like that. Still her assessment stood that a Wobbuffet didn't strike her as particularly dangerous. The Rotom arrived to exchange some words with the feisty Zorua before the latter took their leave to press on into the hopefully not much danger. That left Noibat back with the bundle of literal energy that was Es, uncertain how to address her fellow human-turned-pokemon. She had half a mind to simply continue following Z. But the immediate spirits to do that were soon dashed as she heard very plainly the Zorua calling back that whatever she had heard, the pokemon ahead did not match. As if aware off their new talents being doubted Noibat's ears drooped and she instinctively tried to stroke them as if they were long human hair. Something about it felt right. Did she have long hair normally? Thinking about that wasn't going to get her anywhere. Moving forward seemed to be the only real option as the procession of Falinks passing by the hallway soon reaffirmed. With the sounds of more shouting she turned to Es. "Guess we should get in there." Noibat said with something resembling confidence. Taking to the air once more Noibat flew a bit smoother this time through to the new room. The sight ahead of her was something to be sure. What she couldn't quite place. Z and Hector were in the middle of combat as the noises had indicated. But where was the Wobbuffet? Noibat's ears pinged the room, establishing its size firmly in her mind. And yet somehow there was the sound of two distinctly Wobboffet like shapes, exactly where the Staryu were. What's more the Cleffa Noibat could clearly see with her own eyes sounded like a little dinosaur plushie with a tail and everything. "Just my luck I'd get the hypersensitive ears that don't work right." the bat groaned as the cheery voice from earlier sounded again in her head. Something about being Team Beta didn't feel right. But the more pressing matter was the aggressive pokemon in the room, one of the Staryu was even already latched onto one of the six faces of the Falinks. A menu to tell her her moves would have been helpful but Noibat wasn't finding any luck there. She was just behind Hector now though being in the air she had a good look at the attacking Staryu. "Obviously a flying type what would I knoooow...." Noibat tried to wrack her brain for a knowledge of pokemon move pools. For her troubles her wings picked up in intensity. Something about this felt right, like her body knew what to do already. It felt like her wings moved in slow motion as they reeled back more dramatically than they usually would to sustain her flight. With a single mighty flap Gust erupted from Noibat's position in the air, squarely striking the Staryu off of Hector's face and back into the Cleffa and knocking it away. The Staryu was clearly dazed and missed a water attack at Z and the Cleffa seemed even more worried after what had happened. "D-did I do that?" Noibat started in disbelief. She was even still maintaining her position in the air and not crashing into a wall, or one of Hector's butts. This had to be her lucky day. Aside from the waking up as a Pokemon bit. "I mean hah! Take that! Totally planned!" she ultimately asserted, trying to convince herself more than anyone that this had always been her intention.
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    Next Post→ Ruin has come to our family… You remember our venerable house, opulent and imperial, gazing proudly from its stoic perch above the moor. I lived all my years in that ancient, rumor-shadowed manor fattened by decadence and luxury, and yet, I began to tire of conventional extravagance. Singular unsettling tales suggested the mansion itself was a gateway to some fabulous and unnameable power. With relic and ritual, I bent every effort towards the excavation and recovery of those long-buried secrets, exhausting what remained of our family fortune on swarthy workmen and sturdy shovels. At last, in the salt-soaked crags beneath the lowest foundations, we unearthed that damnable portal of antediluvian evil. Our every step unsettled the ancient earth, but we were in a realm of death and madness! In the end, I alone fled laughing and wailing through those blackened arcades of antiquity. You remember our venerable house, opulent and imperial. It is a festering abomination! I beg you, return home, claim your birthright, and deliver your family from the Darkest Dungeon. Content Warning: The plot of this game is basically your ancestor being like “I got into some shit please save us from the consequences of my actions,” and, as the game progresses, he narrates exactly what those consequences are. Given that this is a gothic cosmic horror tale (in case you couldn’t tell by the purplest of prose going on in that narration), very little is off the table in terms of potential triggers. Suicidal ideation is going to be present throughout, and the mental illnesses that it is a symptom of is not exactly treated with care, as per the “driven to madness” trope. The end of the intro listed above even has a gunshot at the end, with the letter implied to have been sent posthumously. Also present is body horror in basically every form you could imagine it. It’s “Rated T for Teen” level body horror, but also the squickiest part of the game. I brought up body horror specifically because that’s the most visual element. The T rating comes despite everything I’m going to list throughout the playthrough because it largely comes through Wayne June’s narration, and that can be abstracted in the translation over to a let’s play. That being said, I’m including the character bio comics made to help promote the game, and they’re both more intense with the theming discussed above (especially gore) and occasionally dwell into other potential triggers largely to do with this recurring motif of background female characters in peril. It’s not present in all of them (especially, you know, a good portion of the female characters), but it is there. So those will be spoiled away as well. With all that out of the way… The initial inklings of this run formed in my head around the release date announcement for the Early Access of Darkest Dungeon 2 (2 Darkest 2 Dungeon) way back in September of last year, but I had several other writing projects at the time, not the least of which was my anime blog. There’s no big other Darkest Dungeon occasion to warrant doing this now, I just have been taking a break from anime and decided to become a gamer instead of a weeb. I’ve beaten this game before, so at least I know what I’m doing, even if this challenge is new to me. Speaking of, here is the basic gist of the challenge. Normally, one of the few blessings a run of Darkest Dungeon will provide for you is that it is always winnable. Losses will set you back whole in-game weeks worth of effort, but there are always new recruits coming in off the stagecoach, and time is one of your few infinite resources. The official way the game clamps down on this in its Stygian/Bloodmoon difficulty is to limit both deaths allowed to sixteen and time allowed to about two years, but we’re taking a different route. The Highlander challenge is this: Instead of a constant drip-feed of new stagecoach recruits, the stagecoach instead drops off a mass of new recruits when we first arrive -- one of each class in the game -- and ceases function after that. Obviously, this imposes a hard death limit (and, given a mechanic we’ll get to later, it may be lower than you’d think), but surviving adventurers advance more quickly than you might think in this game, and adventurers in Darkest Dungeon are a fickle folk who aren’t always interested in helping their fellows progress (we’ll go over this later too if we make it that far) so there’s a pseudo-time limit introduced as well. I have given myself a few advantages, though. The first is that I will be including all of Marvin Seo’s mods for the game, which range from new trinkets to some new minibosses to, importantly for us, six extra classes to play with. Marvin Seo’s mods are generally regarded as high quality -- enough so that he was brought on as an official developer for the final DLC of Darkest Dungeon, the Butcher’s Circus, and Darkest Dungeon 2 -- so they should be of use here. The second advantage is, well, you. I hope to channel some sort of energy from using some name-alikes here, at the very least, the pressure of people watching. There was a good response to the status I posted earlier this week, but I would like to offer readers the option to choose the class to receive their nom de plume. To that end, here are the classes for you to peruse. As mentioned, I’ve included their biography comic, as well as the Ancestor’s quote about them, “canon” name, and a brief blurb from me about their playstyle. Feel free to comment below with who you would like to play, and the Let’s Play itself will start next week. Base Game Classes Marvin Seo Classes i just realized how much of a pain all these spoilers are going to be to edit around. i still will but forgive me if it doesn't look all pretty Next Post→
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    Everyone believed so strongly that they had the numbers but how could they know? They didn't know anything about this place for all they knew the next room they stepped into could have dozens of wild Pokemon waiting to....did Pokemon eat each other? Even so Shawn decided to follow along. Though he made sure to keep his distance from the front of the pack. For one because the Falinks was insufferably insistent on being the leader and he didn't want to get into it with him but mostly because he still didn't know what to do when they ran into some enemies. Enemies who probably would actually know how to use their moves. "You're currently being attacked. If you're not used to fighting, or you're not sure what to do, try to think about what kind of Pokémon you are and what moves you might possess. Also, pick up any items you find. You never know what could be useful! Oran berries, for example, heal you when your health is low." The totally not suspicious voice decided to give them some advice and also a warning. If they really wanted to help why wouldn't they just tell them exactly what was ahead anyway? Stupid voice could talk in their minds but not anything else was that it? And what moves would he know? He didn't really know much about movesets. As far as the games went he was more focused with how things looked than what they actually did. He probably could punch things? Maybe grab onto things with these tentacles? Whatever, he would just stay out of the fights unless he had to join in until he figured all this out. This thought led him to be really, really, annoyed that a couple of them already figured out how to use some moves. Gust and...Leafage? How did they even find out they could do that does it just...come out of them? "That's real goddamn weird you know!" Looking around in the room it seemed that the whole "outnumber" thing might actually be true. There was only three others in this room that had come at them. A couple Staryu and... "Okay I'm not going to beat up a baby." A Cleffa, really? The others hadn't attacked it but surely they would once the others were down right? With a sigh Shawn moved his way past the others and stood by the little Fairy-type. "The hell you think you're doing? A little thing like you wants to try and fight all of us? Don't be stupid get outta here." The Cleffa let out an angry noise and marched its way towards Shawn. It's little fists were raised as though it was about to attack him despite looking somewhat afraid as well. Regardless the stupid thing wasn't going to reply it seemed. "Jesus! Damn baby blob is trying to fight me now." He should've just stayed in the back. As the Cleffa got near Shawn reached out and grabbed it on each side. He then proceeded to lift the Cleffa up as it flailed uselessly, unable to reach Shawn due to their size difference. Unfortunately all that wiggling, and Shawn not being used to holding things with these mitts, caused him to drop the baby. It landed on the ground and seemed to be in a daze but otherwise unharmed. "Just get outta here already before I really bop you one, dammit!"
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    I was first introduced to the concept of dual pronouns on a Desert Bus for Hope stream. It was Matt Griffiths who was like "I have a he/him pronoun pin and a they/them pronoun pin because I want the English language to be more gender-neutral in general," and I was like, "Oh, that's neat." I didn't really do anything about it until a few years later when I realized I was ace. Like a lot of people (or at least, a lot of people I see on the gsrm internet), realizing my sexuality got me thinking about gender, and the thought, "You know, I wouldn't mind being called 'they' on occasion." Choosing he/they, though, was never really formalized. I never woke up one morning and was like, "I'm going to use he/they pronouns now." I mean, I guess eventually I bought some pronoun pins off Etsy, but even that wasn't a big deal in my "real life" life. Honestly, I wore the pronoun pins at work more to try to show solidarity with a trans coworker than personal expression. She was probably also the catalyst for the swap to they/he when it comes down to it, as I've since developed a visceral reaction to masculine honoriffics ("sir" especially) after working there and especially after watching her deal with it for months from customers. I don't think I'm going to stop hearing it unless the world starts accepting "boss" as a proper alternative and not just an occasional thing you see in translations of Persona games, but it's definitely changed my perspective. For a brief moment, I flirted with going pronounless -- which would have put me in some pretty rare company including the Magic: the Gathering planeswalker Ashiok (until Wizards of the Coast changed that seriously what the fuck), electronic artist SOPHIE, and Shadow the Hedgehog -- but that's real hard to manage even on the internet where things can be revised (see literally every other eulogy after SOPHIE's death) and I defintely didn't want to try and force that on people saying things out loud. That's kind of how I feel about my pronouns in general, I guess? As a convenience? They're the closest thing I have to a definitive label, anyway. If I had to describe myself, best, it would be the sort of person who can and does get gender euphoria from saying "I do not wish to respond" to online questionaire's asking about gender, even when a nonbinary option is available. I know that's still under the nonbinary umbrella, and if you made me pick a specific branch of that I could probably pick something out ("Voidpunk" has come the closest besides the generic and ironically-named "Labelless"), but yeah, I like the idea of just saying "no" to stuff like that a lot. Maybe it'll all change in the future. I've embraced the uncertainty on stuff like that. There's definitely stuff I'm leaving out here and it came out as kind of ramble, so feel free to ask more here or DMs if need be
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    Alois, Penelope, Gunther, Tsetseg, Citron, and Raki Timmy waved back at Alois, brightening as he saw him. "Weel, if it ain't Alois! And, err, actually… They did." He chuckled, scratching his cheek. Phai also waved, a small smile lighting up her features. "I'm not that bad! Just, still learning the ropes, is all." She reverted to her earlier seriousness. "Alois, did you hear? Hanikap p-pushed Timmy down a pit! And him and Pylauses were planning something bad. So we need to stop them!" The girl, who had been wound up like a spring, sagged when Tsetseg reassured her of her companion's reliability. "That's a relief. But we still should get help. As you said, the more the merrier!" At Gunther's awkward comment, she shook her head. "N-Not at all. It's fine. It's the job of the militia to deal with stuff like this, after all. I-I'm sorry you have to in our place. We'll try to catch up as quickly as we can!" Mene nodded to Citron's question. "Sounds like it." She glanced about at the group. "I'm gonna let the mayor know about this." The woman crossed her arms. "He'll wanna know. He's been suspicious o' Pylauses since the man arrived." "Ah'll return Icleias tae Amas," Timmy suggested. "An' see if'n I can gather a'body else." He nodded at Raki. "Ye take care o' yersel, ye hear? Ye and Gonnafazeya both!" The boy turned around, whistling another jaunty tune as he strolled down the path. Icleias and Lassie both followed him, the beagle romping around while the collie followed with staid dignity. "Um, excuse me," the small voice belonged to one of the quieter members of the group, Sienna. The Protean's attention was mostly on Penelope. "I think I'm going to go after Licorice," she said, ears flattened in nervousness. "I…I don't like that she's out there by herself, and I know this is important, but…" she trailed off, "…but I think this is also important. Licorice is our friend!" she shouted. After a second, she let out a quiet squeak of embarrassment. "Sorry, but that's what I think. And I'm going to do it, no matter what anybody says!" The fox bowed to the group before turning around, cloak whipping behind her with the motion. She glanced back once before shaking her head determinedly. With a flick of her white tail, the girl set off into a fast lope, leaving the group behind. Alois, Penelope, Gunther, Ciela, Citron, and Raki It wasn't long before the gathering set out. None of the villagers stopped them, though a few shot Raki odd looks, brows furrowed. Thanks to Alois, the group arrived at Pylauses's house without issue. There, they would see Ciela and Remy standing before a gaudy-looking building. The front door had been swung open. No one else was around save for a couple of horses. Overhead, birds winged their way through the sky. Tsetseg Phai and Tsetseg split off without preamble. Walking down the path, it was clear Phai's mood had sharpened, an arrow shooting toward her destination. The girl was frowning as she stared straight ahead, determination surging with every stomp on the dusty road. Were Tsetseg to speak, she would respond with short phrases, concentrated on the goal. Eventually, the two followed the path to a familiar house with a familiar horse. There, a familiar girl was brushing the horse down while conversing with an older couple standing nearby. "Cora!" Phai called. "Oh, and uh, hello, Goodman and Goodwife Gatti." She wrung her hands together. The couple turned around. The man looked fairly ordinary, with dull brown hair falling limply over hazel eyes. He wore frayed clothing, and he put most of his weight on a wooden staff and his right leg. His left leg appeared twisted and useless. However, the woman was rapier-thin and tall, her hair a tangled mess of black curls of a similar hue to Cora's. "'Lo there, young Phai," the man spoke gently. "What's the matter?" The woman said nothing, staring at Phai and Tsetseg with unblinking copper eyes. "E-Er, uh," Phai coughed, her own eyes never leaving the woman's. "Y-Yeah. I, uhh, um, well, we're here to uh, um… Well, something bad is going on and we need help!" Edrick Edrick found a small corner office upon opening the door. A few velvet-cushioned chairs surrounded a single wooden desk. Various fripperies adorned it, including a golden candlestick, a bouquet, a music box, a picture frame, an empty scroll of parchment, and an inkwell. A bookcase containing several books and cabinets filled with what looked like medicinal bottles lined the walls. Multiple windows and a crackling fireplace lit up the area. To the side was a closed door. OOC
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    Having more freedom to do go places I want. Every other holiday I've had has been as a family, so I could just go off by myself. Plus most of them were around theme parks which I am not a fan of so I spend most of the time just waiting around. Plans are currently going to various museums, namely the HMS Belfast and the Natural History Museum. As for Three Hopes, got it at launch and am enjoying it a lot, especially since I clocked about 16 hours on the demo alone. The ripple effect of Shez not dying to Byleth has is interesting. Play order I'm going through is the same as Three Houses being Black Eagles, Blue Lions, the Golden Deer.
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    Despite appearances, Z. wasn’t ungrateful for the extra help, though perhaps what was offensive was how the Staryu they had been facing down decided Hector charging in was more of a threat than they were. “Hey, I was here first!” they said. Z. wasn’t even mad at Hector; even the gaff of running into them in the hallway had been forgotten for the moment. They might have even helped him get the Staryu off of his brass Falinks if Noibat hadn’t come in and gusted it off first. They could still act smug about it, though, as the Staryu went flying off and landed right next to them. “Yeah, that’s what you get you pentagrammic parasite,” Z. said. “Why don’t you go shoot the moon and miss like you’re supposed to?” A stream of water erupted from the Staryu’s central eye/gem thing, and even if Z. hadn’t whipped their head out of the way, it still would have missed them by a wide margin. “Yeah, exactly like that,” Z. said. Their smile, already cocksure, got even bigger. The numbers were pouring in -- in the background, the Clobbopus and Chester had started putting work on the Cleffa as soon as it had turned hostile, and up on the wall, Marv the Treeko was throwing a bundle of leaves at the other Staryu. When Z. saw that last one especially, a thought came to mind. It felt foreign, but it wasn’t the Noibat or the random voice that had already called out to them twice in the last few minutes. “I can do that too,” was that thought. They didn’t have any leaves, but they could grab at a clump of fur and pretend. As they did that, their body started to glow, and indeed, when they looked down at the fur again it had turned into materials that almost but not quite resembled leaves. “More of a copyfox than a Copycat,” Z. said, “but it’ll do all the same. You’re in for it now.” They did a big wind-up and launched the leaves, aiming right at the Staryu’s eye. The moment the leaves left their hand- paw, it was a paw now… The moment the leaves left their paw, they shifted back into a fur clump, and, having lost any sort of Poké-move mojo behind them, glanced harmlessly off the Staryu and drifted to the ground. The Staryu shook again, this time not even using Harden, just vibrating in delight. It was laughing at them. Before, even with the previous perceived slight, their attitude had been more, “provoke the thing that was hostile to them anyway,” but now it was closer to rage. Containable, maybe, but why bother containing it? There wasn’t even anything worth saying, no reason to tell the Staryu exactly how it had fucked up. Instead, Z. darted forward, raked a claw across the Staryu’s body, and watched as the thing collapsed before poofing into a state of “not here anymore.” It took a few moments for Z. to catch their breath after that. Had they done that before? Was that part of who they were before all this? It didn’t matter right now, they decided. There were still things to fight.
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    O-Tae so often looks ready to throw hands
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    Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. -John 21:12 (NIV)Melissa slung the Slakoth over to around her back, with the Pokémon’s arms dangling lazily over her shoulders while she kept its legs supported underneath, as she exited the rec room just in time to see Julian leave. She breathed a sigh of relief at that, even if the adrenaline from her presence still lingered on a while after that. The Slakoth helped a little with that, what with it being basically a heavy blanket weighed on top of her (how heavy were Slakoth supposed to be, anyway?). Maybe she did need a pet again. It still had to be a communal decision, but she would see everyone at breakfast, right? She’d already mentioned the basic things necessary for keeping a pet, but it didn’t seem like anybody else had thought about it besides maybe Trevor’s no strong feelings either way. Of course, that meant she’d actually have to bring it up, so Melissa hoped there weren’t any other pressing issues. Then she remembered the message still floating around on her watch. Right, she thought. Training. So there were other things that she was sure other people would want to talk about more than her thing. Already, Melissa could feel a pit forming in her stomach as she tried to think up a way to guide the potential conversation in a way that favored her, especially when nothing satisfactory came to mind besides just taking the Slakoth with her and keeping it constantly in view while they all ate. But there was no way she was going to do that. For one -Melissa plopped the Slakoth down on the chair next to her as she waited for whatever Fen and Aduain had been making in the kitchen to be served. The Slakoth seemed to be comfortable in a seated position -- or, at least, it didn’t make any particular motion to complain -- which was good. At least it too could see the proceedings then, which it seemed to take in with the same glassy-eyed contentedness it took everything else. The food came soon after. Fen placed down several rice balls and even more rice and invited everyone to dig in. Melissa clapped her hands together in a quick wordless prayer and then looked back at Fen. “Are you not eating too?” Melissa said. “Hm?” Fen seemed confused for a second before blushing, realizing her mistake. “O-oh, my bad. It’s been a while but it still feels like a habit.” She pulled a chair out and sat down, taking a rice ball for herself. Melissa bit into the rice ball nearest her and immediately took it out of her mouth to inspect it again. Fen had called it fish, but it clearly tasted like banana, and not even “tasted like banana” like things that said they tasted like banana tasted like, it tasted like an actual banana. It wasn’t bad -- she liked bananas -- but it was just about the opposite of what she was expecting. “This tastes…” She almost wanted to make a “this tastes fishy” joke but wasn’t sure if everyone would get it and she didn’t want to be forced to explain it. When she took a second, actual bite, now knowing what to expect, she reevaluated. “This is pretty good. Thank you both.” Then she tried to push a communal conversation. “Um, that reporter… When I talked with Mauvache, she said we were famous, so I guess that’s what that was about. I don’t do well with badgering like hers, is there, like, do you think we could put together a standard set of information or something? Like, what do we say about each other?” She gestured at the Slakoth, who was eyeing all the food on the table, though not doing anything about it, “And what do we say about this one?”
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    The full version of stars we chase released today and is probably going to end up being my most listened to song this year.
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    Fen put a hand to her chin as Aduain had passed on the cooking puck to her. She wasn't exactly sure how she felt about the fact that Aduain had taken these fish from a park, likely meaning they were more for display then free fishing, but her curiosity at the new and unfamiliar culinary endeavor before her made her ignore that. The girl went through her head and tried to figure out different ways to prepare fish, though with genuinely no knowledge of how the fish even tasted she wasn't sure what kind of flavoring would be best with it. To say nothing about what they had on hand to begin with. After thinking for a bit with her conditions in mind, the girl said, "well, I'd probably want to know what it is I'm working with first. So I'd just start with descaling and deboning it before trying it out raw. From there we can probably figure out what to do with it." Once Aduain had successfully finished the preparing the fish for consumption, the girl took a small piece and ate it. "It's...fruity? Strawberry?" The girl looked up, puzzled for a bit as she said, "well this is a first. I'm used to some creatures tasting like others - you'd be surprised how many things taste like Cockatrice - and maybe even some plants or vegetables. Usually not fruits though. Hm..." The girl tapped her chin again before looking to her fishy companion. "What are your thoughts on it?" Aduain listened intently as Fen spoke, saving his questions about Cockatrice for another time. The fruity fish had all of his attention. At his chef's invitation he excitedly cut a piece off and took to chewing on it to really get a sense for what he was dealing with. The strange sensation of fish flesh with an unmistakable strawberry flavor sent a visible shiver down the length of his body ending in him doing a little tap dance with his fins. "Woah, that's weird! All the fishy texture but none of the fishy taste! We could turn breakfast into a game of guessing the mystery flavor!" he said, cheerfully eyeing the other colors. Fen's eyes lit up as well at the suggestion of a guessing game. "Oh, that's a wonderful idea! Making it as exciting for them as it was us would be good, but, hmmm...They might think something's off with the fish if they know it's fish and see it's all different colors. So what if we made some rice balls and filled them with this fish?" "That's so sneaky. I love it! Though fair warning the only thing I really know how to do with rice is eat it. Might leave the delicate shape work to more experienced hands" Aduain laughed as he held his hands up and wriggled his fingers. Fen opened her hands and showed them to Aduain as she smiled, "well don't worry there. I've got some experience with this." With their plan set, the girl began thinking aloud. "Well, first we should boil some water for the rice which means..." The girl looked around the kitchen, taking stock of all that was there. Sheepishly she turned back to Aduain asking, "you wouldn't happen to know how to work these devices would you?" Once done the girl went outside saying, "oh, uh, everyone breakfast is ready." Bringing out plates of rice balls, the girl spread them out across the table, before putting a big bowl of rice with a rice paddle in it in the center. After properly setting the table and having everyone else get in, with a tone akin to that of a waiter the girl said, "good morning everyone. Today we, Aduain and I, decided to make rice balls with a fish filling. There isn't a whole lot to work with in the kitchen right now and I might've gotten a bit distracted by...the kitchen...so it's more of a snack then a proper meal. I'm sorry about that, but i made more rice if you need something else to fill you up. I hope you enjoy," the girl smiled and bowed, before standing up and expectantly waiting for everyone to eat, not seeming to take a seat herself.
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    Alois, Penelope, Gunther, Ciela, Citron, Raki, and Edrick and Link. A moment passed. Then another moment, and then another. And then a familiar rotund man arrived at the head of the staircase. He held a linen handkerchief to his sweat-streaked forehead. Looking down at the group, the man spread his arms wide as he descended the stairs. "H-Hello, and welcome to the humble-grand manor of Lord Pyla-aahh!" A loud screech cut off the last word. The man had tripped over his saggy pants, tumbling head over heels down the stairway to land in front of the group, chin knocking against the wooden floor. Fortunately for him, although banged and bruised up, there were no open wounds. "Not again…" Even Edrick and Link would hear the noise from upstairs. Tsetseg The man blinked owlishly, frowning in confusion at Tsetseg's spiel. "Bad people? Well, it sounds like somethin's goin' on, hm? Cora, didja hear that?" He craned his neck over his shoulder to Cora, then back at the duo. "Well, my Cora 'ere's been through a lot today, so's I don't know if'n this is a good idea—" "That's up to Cora." The woman spoke finally, her voice slightly raspy. "Cora." The word was brief, but obviously a command. "What's your decision?" She never turned her face away from Phai and Tsetseg. Phai fidgeted, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. "Uh… W-Well, it's okay if you don't want to. I w-was just asking in case you wanted to join in, that's all." OOC
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    "Thank, you, name's Raki by the way. And don't worry, I do not plan to end up in any belly." he tried to recall if the tale of the girl had said something about giant foxes, but to be honest, while he didn't recall any such thing, he couldn't bring himself to deny the possibility either. Though, if the girl meant that as a threat, it wasn't exactly... well, threatening. Everybody knew that giant foxes were nothing more than a fairy tale, after all. Heck, even the armored knight, the girl's knight he assumed? Appeared to be embarrassed enough to turn his face away from him. "Ah'll return Icleias tae Amas, An' see if'n I can gather a'body else. Ye take care o' yersel, ye hear? Ye and Gonnafazeya both!" "Will do. Be sure to tell him about their heroic efforts" Raki smiled "I would've arrived much later hadn't it been for them." He waved at the boy, but he was already guiding the dogs away. 'And my introduction with this group would've been even more tense... heck, I probably wouldn't even be here hadn't it been for you guys.' He shook his head and turned back towards the group. Mene was talking about warning the mayor, fine enough, he had already decided that it was pointless to hide further, though a part of him still pointlessly hoped that, if he just never approached anyone directly, the town would somehow forget about him. Meanwhile the other were discussing how to proceed, until the girl with the pelt spoke, something about a missing person. Raki realized that he had never heard her speak before, or maybe she had and he just hadn't heard her. Her voice was incredibly quiet, to the point that he instinctively turned his hear towards her. Immediately after, he was taken aback as the thin voice turned into a shout. A moment later, she was darting away, cloak billowing and tail whipping in trail. Wait "That girl..." That... wasn't a pelt? A worryingly familiar sound from behind him. Raki turned. That, on the other hand, was, indeed, a wyvern. To be exact, the pink wyvern had woken up, and had taken interest in him not unlike Garinphasia had before. Except this time, the wyvern wasn't very interested in a staring contest. The beast flicked her tongue, and realization came crushing down on him as he slowly walked backwards, trying to make himself as unthreatening as possible without turning his back. The smell. The wyvern smelled Garinphasia on him. He would've gladly kicked himself then and there, had the action not been so detrimental in his situation. The worst part, he should really have known. At the stables they had a section for the new arrivals, separate from the main building and with isolated cells, to acclimate the wyverns, without driving them crazy by being locked in place with the smell of dozens of others all around. All well and good until someone had to approach them, soaked in the aroma of their work. Raki knew, many a time that had been his work. "I don't suppose any of you is the partner?" The pink-scaled wyrm seemed content with looming on him for now, but it wasn't of much reassurance. He foolishly thought to be at a safe distance since the wyvern was asleep and the others with him appeared to not worry, and now he would've tested if his practical abilities to work with wyverns were as rusted as his memories. Then, a savior came. Well, the partner of the wyvern, but for Raki it was basically the same. "Don't worry, I should have seen it coming, I was careless." The Isaurian girl kept making sure that his head remained on his shoulders for the rest of the conversation, effort that Raki tried to help by keeping himself as far from the two as possible, background growls notwithstanding. Distance he maintained as the group took to the streets, determined to not be as careless a second time, not until he was reunited with Garinphasia. And... to be honest, a part of him was quite nervous about confronting the Isaurian rider as well. If nothing else, the event helped him not to worry over the looks some of the villagers were giving him. There was something he had meant to ask, he believed, before the whole wyvern thing. If only he could recall... "Right. Looks like trouble never comes in moderation." He lifted up his gaze. In front of the... house, for lack of a better word, stood a girl on a horse. Another of the group. The guy leading them lost little time in presentation, going straight to invite himself into the house. "Ciela, right? I'm Raki." He turned towards her as the group passed by. "Oh would you look at that, we've been invited right in how considerate. But no one to greet us, what kind of a noble is this man, I swear." "Pleased to meet you."
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    I'm just gonna put some filler text up here while I write the rest of the post, and if it's still here when I'm done then that means that I forgot. I don't remember the last time I forgot something. Tagforce 1 #37: Masha Masha can be found at the Obelisk Blue Girls Dorm during the mornings. Just take a right and she's by the edge of the... dorm's moat? I guess that's what it's called. She just stands there, keeping her distance from the Ra Yellow students who most definitely belong here. She returns to the same location in the afternoons, except this time she's closer to where you are when you enter the area. I feel bad for her since she spends so much time near Deron. Masha struggles with school. She studies hard on the night before a big exam, but due to her poor memory issues she cannot remember everything. Her memory is such a problem for her that she considers dropping out. This is also taken to a comical level when it takes her a second to remember what a duel is when you challenge her to one, or whether or not she needs a sandwich. Yes that is Deron spying on us in the background. After a duel, she says not to forget her. Because she surely will forget you, and it'd be sad if the two of you forgot each other. So someone has to remember. As a character, Masha is decent, which is great considering that she's just a background character. She's plagued with worry from her forgetfulness. It's not much but it's a lot better than what a lot of other characters have. Looks like we need to ping @MUTANT MONSTER RAEG-HAPYPbecause this is a Horus deck. The gimmick of Horus is a growing resistance to Spells that eventually results in you being able to negate any Spell you want with the LV8 Horus. You can back this up with Royal Decree, leaving all of your opponent's backrow cards useless. The only effects that the opponent can use, once this is set up, are monster effects. Masha is a challenging duelist who forces you to not rely purely on Spells and Traps as a counter for every threat. Even if you have outs for Horus in the form of monsters, she can still bog you down by making a good portion of your deck useless. Jinzo is her 4th copy of Royal Decree. Needing to Tribute Summon it kinda sucks but 2400 ATK is very nice. Plus you can just grab it with a Premature or CotH. Solar Flare Dragon is not a bad card, but it also doesn't really fit in here that well. It benefits from Molten Destruction, can form an attack lock with itself, and can ping the opponent for 500, but I feel like this card should be replaced by a Dragon monster for her Five-Headed Dragon. Despite its name, this is a Pyro monster. Tenkabito Shien also doesn't help out her FGD, but it fits in more nicely than Solar Flare Dragon. It's a decent monster, much better with Molten Destruction. It's a good opener if you don't have Royal Decree ready since it's immune to your opponent's Traps like BTH or Saku. The idea is to use this, then when you get Royal Decree then you can move over to the Horus line and then negate those Traps. Dragon's Mirror is great with Horus because you will toss several Dragons into your GY as you evolve your monster, letting you use this more easily. The one problem is that her only Dragons are the Horus line (and other FGDs). She definitely needs more Dragons since she hardly ever gets to use this. Level Modulation is a card that rewards your opponent too much, and places too many restrictions on your own monster, to be worth it. Well, that would be true in every deck but this one. I feel like summoning Horus LV8 with this while you have a Royal Decree up will curb the opponent's draws enough that using this card would be a good idea. You still have to watch out for monster effects though. Level Up! is a nice, clean, and easy way for you to level up Horus. Getting Horus LV6 out in the early game means you can almost assuredly evolve it. It is still a bit combo-centric, needing both itself and a Horus monster on the field to use, but the speed tends to pay off. Molten Destruction is a here to provide an ATK boost for her level 4 lineup. Horus LV4 having 2100 is excellent, so is Tenkabito Shien having 2000 ATK to put it above almost every other easy-to-summon monster. It's also nice for Solar Flare Dragon I guess. With Spells and Traps covered, Masha's big weakness is monster effects. Nobleman of Crossout helps her get around this by eliminating a face-down monster for her. Bonus points if it's a FLIP monster because then it'll banish all other copies from your deck. I have always hated this card. Pot of Avarice is a stupidly good card, but I think it conflicts with Dragon's Mirror a bit too much here. This card is great for the extra draws and potentially allowing for you to evolve into Horus 8 an extra time, but if you use this then you're not going into FGD any time soon. This is a big part of why I think she needs more Dragons in her deck in general. Shrink is amazing with the Horus line. Not only do you get to sidestep BTH with it some of the time, you can use this so that any Horus will kill virtually any other monster in the game, thus ensuring an evolution. Getting that kill when you otherwise wouldn't have provides so much value for this deck. United We Stand is pretty much here just for Tenkabito Shien, maybe as a temporary boost for a Horus LV4 but that's not nearly as good. I don't really think it's particularly great here. I do not have access to any of the LV monsters still, so I won't be able to use her deck. This means that I can only theoretically speculate on what changes I think are good instead of actually testing them out. I think that if she wants to continue to use FGD, then she should swap out the Solar Flare Dragons and the United We Stand for Masked Dragon. This lets her block a few attacks, Tribute Summon Horus 6 more easily, and fills her GY with Dragons for FGD. Masked Dragon would only be able to float into itself, so it might be worth adding Twin-Headed Behemoth as a final card to float into. This card has a once-per-duel effect to revive itself after being destroyed, which means that you will have it to Tribute Summon regardless of how many attacks your opponent can make. Another possibility is Gilasaurus. Even if the AI is too cowardly to use it if the opponent could possibly benefit from it whatsoever, this allows you to Tribute Summon Horus 6 very quickly. Just kill the monster your opponent revived or use Level Up! and now you get to bring out Horus 8. Overall, Masha actually has some character and her deck is pretty good. 7/10. Kinda a bit weird that such a forgetful character who is at danger of dropping out is this good at Yugioh, but aside from that she's a really solid character. Stay tuned for Matthew, who doesn't have any of the problems Masha is having.
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    Bandcamp is donating their cut of music sales to the NAACP this Friday, so if you're looking to buy an album that would be a cool time to do it.
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    Finally watched No Way Home nice
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    Though her attempted wake-up call had rang out on deaf, or rather asleep, ears, Marshall was pleasantly surprised to find that the others, who had reacted to everything their own way (even one of them scolding her for trying to wake the girl up), did their own due-diligence to wake up their own concrete lead. From there, Marshall found herself taking a step back from the group, just a bit, as she watched the excited, younger girl make most of the conversation. She seemed to be the most acquainted with everything at first, and so it felt natural to let her do the talking; even if it meant she would have to be ready to help if something were to go awry. Luckily, nothing did, as she pulled her hat down to cover her eyes, and began to listen. According to the conversation between the young Ms. Dracona, it seemed she was correct about them being ‘heroes’, or at least, that being the intention that brought them here. Apparently, a Goddess named Ocean had brought them to this place, and referred to them as ‘Exalted’, a term that was often used to denote those with special qualities, and often had a religious undertone to it. That would have at least explained the church-back-drop, as hard as… All of this was to believe. After all, everything she was hearing was as far out of the realm of believability as one could reasonably get, and yet… Being dead, Marshall didn’t find it adequate to question any of these details, yet. Instead, she continued to listen as Gene took up the conversion next, voicing his concern about the term ‘exalted’, questioning if it was some sort of sick joke. While the girl laughed and remarked that her lady, Ocean, had a sense of humor, they weren’t the ones that gave their group the name the Exalted, rather it was the locals. This made a bit more sense, as Marshall began to put the pieces together: were they to be heroes, as Sabrina had suggested, there were likely legends or folklore that brought them to be summoned here. As such, these legends and folklore would need names, or titles to give to those who would come to fulfill the prophecy, ergo: the ‘Exalted’ were the heroes, something all but confirmed by the girl stating that ‘they were meant to bring salvation to the world beyond’, gesturing to a door where a… Curious sight was playing out. But that could wait, Marshall had to remind herself, as there were still more questions to be asked. Luckily, even as Gene seemed ready to leave, Doctor Byron found it fit to raise further questions. Though he initially focused a bit much on her physical appearance, going into detail on her biology, he eventually cut to the heart of an important question: what was their true goal? Even as heroes, most of them would need motivation, as simply being a hero to be a hero didn’t pay the bills. Indeed, that was a curious thing to consider: Why should they care about this world? Would caring about this world make sure they were able to obtain their next meal, or fulfill them in some other way? Would saving this world’s inhabitants be any different from the doctor, Byron, saving another patient? Would it be any different than the countless times Marshall had pulled a little girl away from the edge of the platform, or stopped the train before an accident could occur? What assurance could they be given that they would even make a difference, and not be walking to their doom? That they wouldn’t be walking off the platform, so to speak, so that another can live again? What could be worth that pain again? And yet, much to Marshall’s surprise, he received no… Real reply. He was told that ‘her lady’s gift’ was to serve as proper motivation, whatever that meant. She also gave some sort of suggestion about the antlers and wolf ears and other non-human qualities, that might entice the doctor further; but that was it, for the motivation. This was followed by a speech from Sabrina that, while cute, seemed a bit… Forced. Sure, a few of them had sacrificed themselves, but did that make them heroes, or fools who had thrown their life away? Marshall shook her head. She was getting off-track quite a lot these days. Clearing her throat, she stepped forwards after the construct, or girl, referred to herself as River, and Sabrina began to step away Marshall tipped the brim of her hat upwards with her right hand to get a better look at River, sizing her up and down. “Pardon Ms. River, but before we depart from this station, I have two more questions I would like to ask after having listened to your explanation!” She paused, waiting for a response, hand firmly gripping the brim of her hat. River looked over to Marshall saying, “please, do ask. I shall answer to the best of my, unfortunately limited, capabilities.” Nodding, Marshall tucked her other hand around her back. “You referred to ‘your lady’, who I suppose is this ‘Ocean’, having provided a gift of sorts.” Marshall began, eyes locked in on River. “For my first question, I would like to ask for further clarification on what this ‘gift’ is, if you don’t mind.” Surprised the girl said, “how curious, I was under the impression you had all already spoken to my Lady, who is indeed Ocean, about this. But I believe the gift is “the actualization and reclamation of the soul.”” The girl paused as she thought about it for a moment. “I suppose that is not particularly clear but I was given no further information on it. I apologize again.” The girl bowed her head for the third time. Now that, was an answer; though, not a particularly clear one. Reclamation of the soul, that was easy enough to understand. “So part of her gift, is likely our revival… Though whether that means here, as we are now, or in our world remains to be understood…” Marshall trailed off, thinking to herself as she very slightly to one side and then the other. “Then, I shall ask my second and final question: what does the salvation of your world entail?” She asked, narrowing her eyes ever-so-slightly as she asked. “And what would make us capable of achieving such a feat?” Her eyes brightened as she stated, “oh I believe I can answer that more clearly. Though you may not have seen yet our world has fallen into ruin. This is due to the actions of several individuals who have sought the world's destruction. They are the “Accursed” and their “Lord of the Cursed.” To bring salvation you must defeat all of them and destroy each of their Great Curses.” As she paused, the sound of thunder rumbling could be heard again. “As for why you are capable of doing so it is for two reasons. One, because you are not from this world. And two, because you bear the sign of my Lady, which grants you the ability to combat such beings.” "...I see." Marshall nodded, taking as much of that in as she could. It was certainly an odd request to make of a conductor, doctor, and whatever other professions were among them; to route out evil, and defeat enemies. Even stranger were the reasons she was given for why they might be capable of such a thing, and yet still, she found she could not argue. “...Yes, I see.” Marshall repeated herself, lowering her hat as to break eye-contact, before turning around to face the door. “Then I suppose our next step is through that door then?” River nodded. “It may also help to answer your questions better.” “...Thank you, River.” Marshall would wave with her right hand as she started off towards the door, tucking it behind herself like she had her left earlier; her pace neither slow, nor in a rush as she set off. After all, she not only had inhibitions about getting too close to the other woman, but also had the feeling that leaving anyone behind would be a grave mistake.
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    The crab didn't know what was happening. It was the biggest right? It shouldn't be able to be hurt like this right? Its size and all the shiny things should make it not have to worry about predators. That's the whole reason it had come here in the first place. The creature moved towards the treeline. It had no plan for when it reached it but it just knew that it was risky to stay around those things with the sharp claws. However as it reached the trees something strange happened. The trees emitted a bright, blinding, light and the crab could feel heat coming from it as the large crustacean approached. It had no idea of the magic involved but it did know it couldn't go that way. So the crab turned back around towards the group, determination renewed, as it decided it had no choice but to kill them so that it could stay safe. Madelyn still seemed somewhat winded from the surprising failure of her spell. When it was confirmed that magic didn't do much she let out a groan. "Ugh! Fine. Then if any of you get hurt come over here otherwise I'm staying out of the way." She then proceeded to move to the side, away from the crab while not going so far that she was separate from the group. Keres knew she should follow suit. Especially after her curiosity had almost cost her. Lindow had mentioned the explosives but, would that really be a good idea? The creature seemed pretty sturdy after all. Plus even as she started towards the wagon it hit her that she was just following what Lindow was telling her to do. It didn't sit right with her. He made her uncomfortable for a multitude of reasons and she wasn't just some background character in his story. She was surprised to realize that the idea of listening to his demand...made her angry? So she decided to not do as he asked. And not to stand back and watch the others. Especially as Damien seemed to be hanging back and waiting for something. Gathering more water in front of her the mage tried to grab onto its claws with it. Thinking that if she grabbed it at the point with the least amount of magic items it might work. However as the water wrapped around them it became unstable almost instantly. She felt a brief moment of frustration and then a realization hit her. Keres turned and looked back at the vast amount of physical water behind them. The crab didn't know what had happened but its animal brain could only guess that the girl over there had somehow tried to grab it from this distance. She didn't have anything pointy like the other ones did so maybe it could... And without any more thought it began scuttling towards Keres. Claws snapping as though eager to grab hold of the mage. Keres, as it approached, used her magic to lift a portion of water from out of the lake. She dragged it up in an arc, much like the spouts that were occurring at random, and aimed it for the crab. The magic might not be able to touch it but, as she positioned it above the crab and her magic weakened, she dumped all the water at once onto the middle of the shell. The sudden weight caused the crab to buckle and it stopped in its tracks and tried to keep from crashing into the dirt. At that moment, with a sigh, Damien moved. "The joints, eh? Smart kid." He darted forward and swung his blade at the place that Reinaan had attacked. He finished what the Draken started and cut through the weak point to sever one of the animal's claws. The crab reacted almost immediately, on instinct, and scuttled to the side to bring its claw forward and caught the man in its grip. It lifted him up and began to squeeze.
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    With his report made, Reinaan continued searching through the holes in the ground ever on guard for further rude fish. There wasn't much time to find anything else before the sound of rushing water turned the hunter's attention to the lake. More specifically it turned his attention to the creature rising from it. Reinaan recognized the beast as a crab, though one far larger than anything he'd seen on Blagos. Catching normal crabs in nets was going to be a far cry from hunting this thing but already the boy was thinking of angles of attack. Most of them involved using Ziiyol's power as the flame claws had a habit of largely ignoring armor. But further apart as he was from the monster than the rest of the group the draken had time to observe some of the initial action. Keres was the first to be in danger. She had tried to take action but it seemed like her magic fizzled out on her. Not that he had asked her but Reinaan didn't think she'd been sick. Reinaan had started running to try and intercept the attack but he had little hope of reaching her in time. Lindow for his part was able to see the Water Chosen to safety. His attack on the eye was thwarted by the hard shell that was most of the thing's body including its face. Madelyn's magic met a similar fate to Keres' which took flame claws squarely off the table. Ryia met similar difficulties to Lindow and soon found herself grappling with the massive claw of the beast's left arm. With the gift of time and observation, Reinaan turned his run to come alongside the outside of the outstretched arm. He looked and found his mark. The first joint of the limb closest to the body. Summoning his might the draken swung the axe of his halberd down and drove the blade deep into the arm of the crab. The beast quickly took note of him and released its grip on Ryia's shield. Reinaan dislodged his weapon to avoid being dragged as well while the thing scuttled backwards and turned to face both Ryia and Reinaan. "Heh, not as invincible as it'd like to be." Reinaan observed to no one in particular with a confident smirk taking over his face. "Focus the joints. Armor can't be thick where things need to bend, same goes for shells." the hunter spoke to Ryia as he readied his next approach. He was hoping not to have to do this to every leg but at least lopping off the two front claws seemed like a way to make things a lot safer for everyone. The draken charged in looking to stay on the inside of the left arm this time. A strike from either side seemed liable to render the limb worthless. Naturally the beast took issue with this idea and swung its right arm at Reinaan on his approach. Taking a cue from Ryia the boy rolled forward and managed to duck under the swing. Scrambling to his feet he had little time to sure up the strike. Still he landed the axe blade into the inner side of the joint. By this point the crab was struggling greatly to move the twice injured arm. It wasn't severed but it was going to be difficult to use going forward. Reinaan didn't get long to take in his success as the crab haunched down and prepared to charge. Rather than swing at him again the thing took to ramming the boy with its own body. From the hasty nature of the second strike the hunter hadn't found a proper footing and so he took the charge to the chest. By nature of the crab's biology it couldn't carry Reinaan with it in its charge so much as it knocked the boy flat onto his back and passed over him. Dazed, winded, and with a freshly bruised tailbone from the less than ideal landing onto his back, the draken could only stare up for the moment, appreciating the sky once the crab's body had passed overhead on its way toward the edge of the trees.
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    Percy was completely and utterly enthralled by the absurdity that was the woman in front of him. She was pretty, he supposed, but truthfully he was a terrible judge of beauty. He had studied and understood what was considered culturally attractive but had never personally felt any sort of pull towards another person’s physical attributes. No, what fascinated him were the antlers and tail, a combination of features that he knew very well had never existed in his world. Could this mean I am in a world where race is differentiated by more than just the pigmentation of skin and, if I’m being generous, minor genetic differences? Do she and I even share a common ancestor? Could the differences be more than just physical? His mind was racing at a speed that it hadn’t reached since years before a bullet went through it. For the first time in a very long time, Percy had found something that interested him. He absolutely had to learn more. The distance between the doctor and the chair was closed in a few lengthy strides of his gangly legs. Percy stooped so that he and the dragon-girl were eye-to-eye, a comical sight considering it left him nearly bent in half. “What are you?” he asked, his eyes glowing intently behind the round rims of his glasses. “Are you human? Are your antlers the same as what one might find on a deer or a moose?” He paused his rapid-fire questioning and tilted his head, his lips parted slightly as if he had suddenly recalled something. “If I were to pull your tail off, would it grow back?” The girl sat there calmly as he went off on his questions, looking up and putting a hand to her horn at the one question before meeting eyes back with the man. “As I had said before I am the Envoy of my Lady. Beyond that I am unsure on the specifics but I believe it would be incorrect to call myself human or deer. My antlers are simply of the same kind as my Lady’s. As for my tail,” the girl thought about it for a moment, looking down to her tail before back to Percy. “I am unsure if it would grow back but I do not think it is possible to remove.” Percy frowned. “Those answers are unsatisfactory,” he said. “Many lizards use caudal autotomy to self-amputate in the circumstance that a predator grasps their tail. Because of that they have developed the ability to regrow their own tails over hundreds of thousands of years. Why would you be different?” He leaned forward ever so slightly, causing his glasses to perch precariously on the tip of his nose. “One can assume your horns are a method of self-defense, implying you had some kind of predator at one point, lending credence to the idea of caudal autotomy. Unless. . . Some species use their horns to attract mates. Would you say that is more accurate?” The girl seemed in wonder as Percy rattled off his information, before smiling and shaking her head at his question. "I do not believe they're for attracting mates, as I said they are simply a mimicry of my Lady's form. Though, truth be told I have never wondered why my Lady has antlers. And I feel there has been some degree of misunderstanding as well regarding my form, though I may not have been precisely detailed in my answers and for that I apologize." The girl bows her head in apology before raising it back up and outstretching her hand to shake. "I believe this will help provide a better explanation for my answers." Percy stood up straight and reached for her hand. Handshakes were almost second nature to the man; as a physician he had started almost every conversation with one. This one, however, was not his typical handshake. “... I see,” he said, his outstretched hand now dripping with water. At the moment his hand had made contact with the Envoy’s, her hand lost all form and turned into water, before reforming a second later. “You’re a construct?” His mind was abuzz once again. "Perhaps. I am uncertain of the specifics myself, as all I know truly was that I was created by my Lady to help you all along your journey. I am uncertain if I even possess a soul, so perhaps a construct might be the correct term?" He dried his hand on his jacket and pushed his glasses back up. “While that only gives me many more questions I’d like to ask, I doubt you would be able to answer them, so I’ll get back to the main topic at hand. You said we were brought here to be the saviors of this word.” Percy loomed over the girl. He was not being intimidating or condescending, but the natural height difference between the doctor and the envoy was such that he was always looking down at her. “Why should I care about this world? What do I get out of it?"
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    In Violent Times Joy cursed herself for her carelessness. Her defenses were easy to maneuver, all things considered, and yet she still had not anticipated the Hinder one being able to pierce them so soon. Now she had a bleeding shoulder to pay for it, and while her bow was not the type that needed any particular strength to wield, it was still an inconvenience. Her retreat took her off the garden path and into an area of trees and morning shade. She had plans for this space as well. Behind her, Joy could hear Taros’ dog barking out his orders. They meant to flank her. There wasn’t much she could do about that particularly, though there was a reason she had run this way. As she ran, she stretched out her arms to brush against every tree she could, and kicked off her shoes to come in contact with the grass. Every tree she touched erupted in peals of laughter, an otherworldly, ethereal sort of laugh that could not be pinned down to any specific age or gender. Every blade of grass trampled beneath her feet came back up glowing, with the impression left behind shifting and extending outwards until they were a neat circle glowing amongst the shade. There was no wind, but the trees in their laughter still began to shake, and the shaking displaced a few leaves, which drifted down to the ground as well. Some of them landed in the dirt or roots, where they remained, inert and unmoving. Eventually, though, one landed on a patch of light, and suddenly the light erupted outwards and upwards, with solid enough force to knock several more leaves off of the laughing trees. Slowly but surely the chain reaction begins to form. More leaves, more footsteps, more coronas of light. This light, of course, also contains a piece of her. This is a memory she still reflects on often. It is when I first gave her her word of power. Call it insidious, but I don’t even need my recipients to use their word of power right away. Occasionally I do expect them to -- I gave Flynt his because of his desperation, what else was he going to do? -- but what I’m really after is the knowledge. I’m after their awareness. It’s difficult to forget something so potent, after all. You still remember ca͢n̷t҉icųm̕ad ͝ ̷ , don’t you? The day I gave Joy t͠at҉ib͠us̨ was actually during one of the happiest times of her life, though for unrelated reasons, of course. She had just reunited with an old friend and colleague and, together, they had simply travelled around Naviim performing the more mundane tasks associated with watchdogdom. They delivered mail, made delicate changes to the canon, and gave blessings wherever they went. That day, they were free from even all of that, and allowed themselves to wander a garden just like the one you are in now. Joy’s friend picked a rose for her, and it is there that I sent the word on its breeze to her ear. For the briefest of moments, she saw the rose withered, its petals falling to the grass. But it was nothing more than a trick of the light, she thought, and she still accepted the flower with open arms. She bore the rose on her chest for as long as she could after that, even after the two had to part ways again. As you have surely seen, the rose is gone now. Joy turned her attention to the path ahead. If the coordination between Hinder and Taros was indeed their plan, she needed to be ready for an attack from the front as well. She’d dismissed her bow to give the trees their laughter, and now she needed something else. Her light morphed and changed again, and now she held a spear, which she brandished and pointed ahead of herself, ready for the next attack. OOC
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    Pssst can I be Houndmaster. I own the hound and his name is Elmer Fudd.
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    As Alois was greeting the others, he looked back as the princess tried to squeeze past him, the boy shifting his body a little so that she could more easily squeeze past him. As Penelope went to question Gunther about what was troubling him the boy mimicked her own reaction, sighing, as he learned that Catriona was likely to be in trouble at the present time. Though Gunther was continuing to speak with the princess, Phaidra took his attention as she explained to him what was happening. "He pushed Timmy into a pit?" A bit dumbfounded at this, Alois said, "well that's more brazen then I would've expected." With Gunther finishing explaining the situation to Penelope, he saw the smile on her face as she had begun to ask for his assistance. Returning it with a mischievous grin of his own, he said, "well I'm sure he won't mind a broken door or anything anyway. He's got more than enough money to fix it, in fact this would just be an excuse for him to show it off. Really we'd be doing him a favor." He said this both to the princess and also because his mother was in ear shot, she herself having declared that she would go and inform the mayor. Alois, not wanting to draw her ire or disapproval for what they were about to do decided to hold back any and all comments regarding the great and glorious leader of his quaint, humble village. "You sure did hear right," the boy addressed Citron. "We're going to a lovely manor in the middle of town. I'll lead the way and well, feel free to bring Strawberry along." After a bit of walking, Alois looked over towards the mansion seeing another familiar face there. "Right. Looks like trouble never comes in moderation." Casually walking up he just said, "hey Ciela fancy meeting you here, oh would you look at that the door is closed shut." Alois made his way over to the clearly open door and kicked it before walking inside. "Oh would you look at that, we've been invited right in how considerate. But no one to greet us, what kind of a noble is this man, I swear." Alois mockingly shook his head. Tsetseg nodded as Sienna had made mention of looking for Licorice. "That's right, family and friends are very important. So, good luck! Hope you find her soon!" With that, the girl waived off the fox protean as she had hurriedly made her way out of the village. The girl then awaited for Phai to leave as well, smiling to everyone else as she followed after the girl. It didn't take much time for them to make their way over to Cora's house, and as Phai called out for the militia girl, there was another couple waiting outside. As the man asked them about what they were doing here, Phai answered first. Tsetseg, not feeling the nerves that Phai was and in fact unfailingly smiling at the two, nodded along. "Yeah, yeah. There's some some bad stuff and mean people probably in this town and so we were going to go and stop it. But we wanted more help to go and stop the bad people so we came here, because Cora's super nice and friendly and like part of the town's patrol and it's the patrol's job to stop bad people. So yeah. Oh I'm Tsetseg, nice to meet you!"
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    Shakespeare has influenced my decision to choose Jester. It also looks super cool.
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    I've never been one to gravitate towards axes but slowly I am becoming the axe guy. Bounty Hunter.
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    Picking the obvious over the painfully obvious, Doggo the Abomination reporting in.
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    Ryia had continued to back away from the water's surface as the dark spot had been moving forward. As Madelyn chided her for poking at it, a bit flustered she answered, "s-sorry, I just thought, well ya know uh..." The girl wasn't really sure how best to articulate her thoughts with the imminent threat of the unknown facing her down. And as the unknown had burst forth and became fully know, the girl was left speechless save for a simple, "oh no...not more of them..." For what had come to greet them was no less than a water scorpion. While it did not have the tell tale tail of the scorpions she had encountered in the desert, thankfully, it seemed no lesser in size and perhaps it possessed even larger claws. Not to mention the brilliant armor of trinkets that seemed to adorned what she figured was an already tough to crack carapace. As she readied her mace and shield, the girl noticed that Keres had done little to back away from the lake proper. And with the creature right there, it seemed primed to go and snatch her away in its large claws. With some panic in her eyes the girl got ready to go into a full sprint towards her to pull her out of the way, only for her panic to turn into surprise. Lindow had rushed past her to safely escort Keres away. The girl knew that he was fast, faster than anyone else in the group for sure, but she didn't remember him being this fast. While she wondered what was going on, the girl had got back to her senses as Lindow had moved to strike the creature only for his blade to harmlessly bounce off of the creature. As she suspected, this water scorpion's shell was certainly tough to crack. As he made his way away from the beast, it seemed to turn its attention towards her, now scuttling over to Ryia. Trying to keep its attention on her she figured she'd meet it halfway. As the two moved towards each other, the creature brought up its claw and was primed to swing it. Ryia had seen what little effect Keres's water had on it. Theorizing that it had something to do with the magic of the forest and being a natural part of it, Ryia figured she would have little success with using her own earth wall to protect herself from the attack. And so, doing what she could do to avoid the attack, she dove and rolled to the side the claw thrusting from, and with the clumsiness of the swing itself, she had managed to avoid the attack. Though she was preparing to go in to strike it more, the creature had begun shifting itself around to face her. With their proximity to both Keres and the water, Ryia had figured it was a better idea to draw it away from one or the other. And so, backing away from the monster, she awaited its next move only to notice that whatever sluggishness it had had prior to the fight it had gotten over. Charging at her with new found alacrity, and with the water at her side, she figured that trying the same evasive maneuver would end disastrously. And so, the girl had resolved meet the creature yet again, hoping to be able to deter its attack to give her an opening to either strike or reposition. Of course, past experiences with these creatures and the sheer size of it in general had told her that she wouldn't win in a straight clash. "M-Madelyn, uh it's next attack - er some help with it please." "Very well, if I must." With the aid of the light mage, a barrier of light was formed poised to intercept the creature's claw. However, as the water scorpion had closed in on her, Ryia noticed the barrier begin to distort and flicker. And, with what seemed to be little effort, the monster's claw shattered the barrier almost as soon as it had impacted against it. Eyes going wide with realization, the girl was left with little option to but to attempt to stand her ground, putting up her shield to defend against the attack. Wincing at the impact of the claw, she managed to hold fast against it, only to realize that it wasn't done. With its claw gripping onto her shield, attempting to pull it away, Ryia muttered. "oh, no, no not again." Pulling back against the grip of the creature, the girl started to bash her mace against the claw as she hastily, with some panic and strain in her voice, shouted out, "uh, magic doesn't work!"
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    Es’ smile shifted to a frown as they climbed the stairs, though it wasn’t for any specific reason related to the stairs themselves, but rather those that had set to climb it. It was Zed.’s comment, or reaction to her light-hearted joke that really caught her off guard, shifting the smile off of her face in the process. She had expected them to react like she had, letting it wash over them and firing back with a joke, but their annoyed tone and the comparison to a ‘traffic cone’ seemed… Well, annoyed at best, hostile at worst. She had thought about opening her mouth, or… Well, speaking either way to apologize, but as they climbed that final step, zipping up it with a speed that was difficult to match… She didn’t. In fact, she didn’t really do anything. Es stopped, for the first time completely, and purposefully, as they all arrived at the next floor simultaneously. For a single second, as the orange ball’s eyes seemed to rotate in a circle, observing the others and their surroundings, she kept both her static and ‘core’ completely still for an eerily long moment. Tiny white dots moved in the black portion of her eyes, making a circle, as if her very form was attempting to give hints at the fact that she was… Processing, what had just happened, as despite not waiting for anyone… They were all here, with her. Finally, however, her static would once again begin moving, sporadically jumping in place as she shifted from processing to… Watching, or observing for a moment, all the while listening to everything going on. Listening to the sound of a new voice into the mix. According to this voice, she was in a ‘Mystery Dungeon’ whatever that was. The more important part, is that she - and the rest of the group - were in danger of being attacked. That being said, though alone that was a scary thought, there was something to the way it was said, a musical quality of it that made it feel… Well, not so terrifying. The others, also evidently heard the voice, as they all, for the most part, sprang into various actions; actions that led Es to feel content, for a moment, to watch as she floated around idly in a circle. The one-that-became-six, for example, gave a rousing speech, truly an inspiration to everyone, before moving outwards and… Slamming into a wall, bouncing backwards like toddlers. It took all of her self control for Es not to comment; as luckily, she didn’t have to, as Zed was next to speak as they began to move off in another direction. The hardest moment, for her to keep her composure during, however, was as Zed was walked into from behind by the Falinks, prompting Es to fully begin closing off her plasma in an attempt not to bust out laughing, lest she erode any more of the good-will that she had gained with the Zorua. Instead, as her plasma sputtered for a moment, the orange core would falter for a second until Zed and the Falinks had fully popped out of view, prompting Es to realize that… Well, everyone else was moving pretty quickly, too, weren’t they? She’d focused so much on the spectacle that she wasn’t expecting to suddenly look around and realize she was, for the most part, alone. Chester, as he spoke, and already started moving, and the sour-pus had already moved on. Even the Treecko had begun moving, trying to climb a wall, which seemed… Well, she wasn’t sure why, but that seemed right. Maybe he remembered more about the form he was given than she did. Either way, everyone else was doing something. Moving. Making progress and… leaving her behind. Well, that probably wouldn’t result in anything good. She wasn’t sure at what point during this realization she had begun moving, per-say; it was a bit of a blur when she got moving at full speed, but here she was. Sputtering plasma that had tried not to laugh gave way to a small burst of electricity around her as she shot forwards. Zigging-and-zagging, she shot right over the small body of water, jutting to the right in a zig-zag just before hitting the Clobbopus, only to just barely squeeze between the Chespin as she moved in another flash of plasma, zagging back to the right around the Chespin this time, before coming to a slight… Halt, behind the Falinks for a split-second. She’d pause there, in that moment, as she stared at the wall in front of them, and then turned for just a moment, moving again sporadically as she continued to zig-zag towards her ultimate location. Just behind Zed looked like a good spot, though she had to figure out how to get there, she realized, as she continued to hold the same momentum. The rotom zigged-over the last of the Falinks as she then doubled back towards the wall, using her remaining momentum up as she spiraled upwards in three bursts of blue plasma. “...Aaaaand h-h-h-here!” She called out, announcing her arrival mid-spiral while completely oblivious to everything that the Noibat had just said about a potential pokemon being on the way. “Also buddy, p-p-p-pal, friend,” the Rotom paused, plasma halting as she began to fall from the height she had risen to, before suddenly catching herself just above the ground, at a normal height, as the Plasma resumed. “Sorry if my joke earlier was uncalled for, was just tr-tr-tr-trying to lighten the mood!” She explained, voice equally as cheery as ever as she seemed to bounce from side to side with each repeated syllable.
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    Kitt watched it, after being hit with the memories of Joy...Olivander going into a full sprint. The attack hit, a glancing blow to Joy's shoulder. "He hit her..." he said, with a bit of optimism in his voice. Then, the opposing Watchdog spoke again. "You keep saying I've lied, to you or to my people. I've never lied to them. As for my convictions, we'll see whose are stronger there." The Forge Dog simply watched as the Watchdog of Laeta just turned and began to run. This was bad...she didn't need to start running, especially when she chose this spot here as her battleground against them. Not a second left to waste, Kitt began to run past Olivander, in an attempt to give chase. "See if you can cut her off! I'll keep after her the best I can!" he called back to his friend...wow...that was the first time he considered this word being used now...he had to be impressed with his growth somewhat. Regardless, the Forge Dog made haste to chase after...but in the process, light hit him...and he cursed it the moment he was struck by it. But as he kept rushing forward, things began to distort for him. The area shifted around him, causing him to finally stop. He heard familiar sounds, but for the life of him, he knew not what this was at first. But after a few moments...his soul realized what this memory he was witnessing was... Let Us Make Man in Our Image Caminus...more accurately...the shrine of Taros... Kitt stood there, seemingly as that of an astral projected form as he watched the scene before him unfold. Before the shrine's altar and statue of his patron, there knelt his father, Gaillard Axton. There was silence for a good long period of time...until a single clang of a hammer hitting the anvil on the altar was heard...then a second...and finally a third. The clangs rang out through the surrounding area for a long time...until finally...within the shadow of the shrine's statue...there stood his patron: Taros. BGM "Not many mortals come this direction, especially none within the Forgekeepers..." his gravely voice spoke, his red eyes pierced through the shadow. "...Gaillard Axton, a blacksmith cut of the same cloth as many others in my employ, and yet a lover of mystic arts. You've come here...to my domain and my shrine...what ails you, my child?" Gaillard was silent, seeming to tremble before this deity and his imposing visage. "...I humbly come to you, to ask of one thing...a single thing." "Out with it...what could be so important to you that you would seek a direct audience with me?" "...please...I beg of you..." Gaillard began to slowly lift his head to stare into the deity's red eyes. "...with the might of your Great Forge, Lord Taros, please...create for me a son." Silence filled the room, only the sounds of the fires from the kilns and forge were heard. "...the vessels and homunculi I've tried to make...just to hold a spirit...nothing is working. They're imperfect...none of them are suited for the task of this. Please...I've already lost both the love of my life and my newborn son...forging and creating things are all I have left...I just...want a son to continue my legacy... my lord, please, if you can find it in your heart t-..." "Be still!" the deity bellowed out, which caused even Kitt watching this memory to flinch. The horned deity's red eyes narrowed at the trembling blacksmith, before seeming to contemplate the thought for a while. Then...his raspy and gravely voice began to let loose a laugh that echoed throughout the room. "This is quite the prayer and request you've given my ears, Axton." he spoke, his visage now slowly moving away from the shadow...now showing himself in the dim lights of the forge. "Not only that, but it seems you've piqued my interest and given me an out to my own little dilemma. So in this, I shall humor your request, Axton...but not without conditions." A sly smirk appeared on the deity's face, as Gaillard nodded slowly. "An equivalent exchange for this...I create this child for you, a son no less, but in return...he becomes my Watchdog. My current Watchdog here on Caminus, Flynt will be assisting with raising the child...but this is my offer. Do we have an accord on this?" Silence once again appeared in the room... "Do...we...have...an...accord?" Gaillard's eyes looked to the ground for a moment, before raising to meet the Forge Maker's gaze. "...it is...as you wish, Lord Taros..." The billowing laugh returned, before Taros nodded. "Then let us make man in our image..." Kitt could notice something, the look of...joy...in Taros' face. Of course, his father's face had it as well, but it was Taros' that surprised him the most. The Forge Master was never one to be known to smile all that much, but it was this moment here that seemed to give him the most joy...possibly even more than he had ever experienced before. The memories began to shift ever so slightly, oddly enough with each sound of the hammer as Taros swung it. He watched the process of his creation...his forging. Now he understood why before...in Galatea...those statues, the doll-like visages...he understood why they terrified him so...because before, he was formed in such a manner as well. The last moment in this creation was Taros breathing life into the creation he made, finally presenting it to Gaillard. "Axton, I present to you my end of our bargain. A son...blessed by my holy fire and forged with my Great Forge. This is the perfect vessel to be my new Watchdog...name him well..." Gaillard looked at the tiny child in his arms now, tears streaming down his face... "...Kitt...my son shall be known as Kitt Axton..." "A fine name..." His vision returned, as he just seemed to be propped up against a small wall for a moment or two. He felt...tears streaming down his cheek at seeing this. It was a memory of his own...but at the same time, not his own. No, this seemed to be a memory etched into his very core...his very creation...by Taros himself. If anything, this was the happiest memory of Taros himself. ...I never thought...he would've have those types of feelings...in anything... he thought, wiping the tears away for a moment. This would be something he needed to deal with later, but right now...he lost time on getting to chase Joy, as such he immediately pushed himself from the wall and made his way to follow after her again.
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    Hello? Are you there? Can you hear me? If you can hear me, I should tell you, you're in a mystery dungeon right now! A mystery dungeon is a strange and dangerous place filled with Pokémon who won't hesitate to attack you. You could say it's a side effect of the dungeon's powers. You might have trouble adapting, but with your numbers, I think you'll be fine. I'll try to give you tips from my end as well, so good luck! If you can reach the end, there'll be a prize…maybe. ♪ Marv and the others seemed to arrive up on the top of the stairs to this next floor around the same time, which he found odd...but what was even odder was the voice they now heard. And more so than that...well, the one phrase it said: mystery dungeon. While the others seemed to be already in the process of moving (namely Hector, Z., the Clobbopus, the Noibat and Chester), Marv found him rubbing his chin slightly. Mystery...Dungeon...? Now why do I feel like I've heard that phrase before? he thought, racking his Treecko brain for an answer and reason to why he was feeling a sense of dejá vú with that phrase. Then it hit him for a split second... The forum that he was once apart of, YCM and NCM, of course there was something that popped into his mind from it. "Mystery Dungeon...like those games?" he muttered silently to himself, his face now having the dawning of realization on it now. It all added up now, at least some things did. They were all humans turned into Pokémon, they couldn't remember anything else except the forums which was the connecting tissue to all of this, the strange locations they now found themselves in...it all was adding up. But aside from this, he knew that things most likely were going to get worse than it could...especially if he remembered his Mystery Dungeon knowledge... Same time, he felt...a bit of pride for another reason. ...somehow, I became a Treecko...stuck in a Mystery Dungeon world...heh...isn't that a bit ironic... Marv thought, smiling lightly. "Hey, wait up guys!" he said, trying to motion for the Rotom and Cross to hurry up and follow them. Though Marv wanted to try something. He was a Treecko after all...he ran forward to the wall ahead of him, stopping just right at it before attempting to crawl up and along the wall. Hopefully it would all work... "Well, all the same, none of us seemed to be an evolved Pokémon in any way. So, perhaps it would be safe to say that we should stick to the basics of attacks for now. Like, Scratch, Pound, Tackle. Those sort of things." "You may need to also take into consideration..." Marv called to Chester. "...the possibility of maybe Egg Moves. It's a long shot, but maybe we also have a special Egg Move in our arsenal too...never know. Won't lie though, the idea of being in the body of a Squirtle with the Egg Move of Aura Sphere wouldn't be a bad thing at all."
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    Don't really mind what class I get, but I have also arrived.
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    big sword go shwing shwing yui the leper has arrived
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    Lana had opted to not charge forward into the crowd of skeletons, instead waiting for some kind of boom to destroy the horde so as to make her job easier. And while there was no such explosion to happen, she was able to clearly see all the magics and attacks in action. Lana was ever fascinated by the use of magic and while Ziun's magic, on paper, sounded a lot less interesting to her then Estelle's she found herself in wonder at the display of illusions. She, quite like the skeleton it was distracted, was curiously watching the illusion moved though as a loud bang had come out she snapped back figuring out what to do next. Looking for the source of the noise, she saw the smoking gun from Robin, and looked to see that one of the archer skeletons had its arm blown off. She still wasn't exactly sure how these gun things worked but they were certainly cool in their own right. Lana had her axe at the ready, ready to charge into the fray now that the skeletons had been distracted and an initial volley of attacks had weakened them. However, because she hadn't already been in the fray, as she was getting ready to bolt, she managed to catch something she otherwise wouldn't have. A skeleton had climbed out of the fog, directly in front of robin. And so, instead of throwing herself at the undead, she instead looked to aid the one most directly in need of it at the moment. Another one? Crawling out of the fog! Robin felt ashamed of herself; this was rookie mistake #1. Furthermore, the one she had shot just earlier was coming in her direction. Dealing with the one right next to her was priority number one, though! Robin pulled the next gun from her belts, firing it at the skeleton's jagged, bony hand. The bullet had fired true and managed to both cause the skeleton to recoil backwards as well as blowing part of its skull off. Lana, still impressed at firearms, began running towards the skeleton. While the girl defaulted to large arcs with her weapon, though with Robin so close by she didn't want to accidentally bisect her new team member. Remembering how else she had used her axe previously in her training session with Joan, the girl jabbed the axe's head into the ribs of the creature. Cracking its bones and forcing it further way from the gunslinger girl, Lana then let out a shout as she brought her axe up and smashed the blade into the creature's head. A smile on her face, Lana looked to see that her victory would be short lived as the previously arrow shooting skeleton had made its way over into striking distance of her. Recovering from her own swing, Lana didn't move from the foe as it went to swing its bow at her arm. The girl was expecting it to her hurt, but her eyes went wide with surprise at the sheer force of the attack, letting out an, "argh - ow, ow ow ow ow. You -" Frustrated, the girl turned her axe blade and swung it in upward arc from the ground, breaking off part of its jaw. As the axe blade was coming back down, the skeleton opted to go for a more visceral approach as it dropped its bow and grabbed the girl's face. Feeling the claws sinks into her flesh, Lana shouted, "get. Off. Of. Me!" Letting go of her axe with one hand, she used that now free hand to grab a hand axe from her hip and shatter the skeletal arm. With the claw falling to the ground, frustration clear on her face Lana buried her hand axe into the creature's skull, causing it to fall and no longer be animated. "So much for not getting hit as much."
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    No spoilers, but the new Pokémon Scarlet & Violet trailer dropped and my mind is BLOWN!
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    Chester, for his part, was also confused at the sudden ordering of the group as they had come up the stairs. From what he had seen they did in fact walk up the stairs in a spread of eight people side by side. Yet, somehow, that was how they ended up when they arrived here. On top of that, as he looked up trying to understand how this had happened at all, he realized that there were no stairs to speak of. His growing confusion at the situation was brought to a halt as a, what he could swear was, familiar voice had spoken out to them. Well, spoken wasn't quite right as this was more messaged directly into his head, a feeling that he was becoming uncomfortably familiar with in this short span of being a pokemon. But, as it had turned out they were in some sort of Mystery Dungeon and were likely to encounter hostile pokemon as well. Chester was familiar with the genre of game himself, much to his surprise in fact, and had a general understanding of how these things worked. And things were certainly lining up with his understanding, though here actually experiencing them as reality he had been unsettled by things he had taken for granted as general game mechanics. As Clobbopus had spoken up about the situation with dangerous pokemon, Chester spoke up agreeing with the Noibat. "We certainly do have numbers advantage, and just think back not moments ago. Without a single move we had managed to work together to push such a large and heavy object a distance. So surely we have the strength to at the very least ward off anything that would try and hurt us. But it's true we are at a great disadvantage not knowing anything about what we can do as pokemon." Chester had a general idea of what it was that each of them could theoretically do, moveset wise. But he had no idea how a pokemon actually did what they did. If he were to have an attack such as Mega Punch, would he simply have to clench his fist and punch really hard or was there some deeper thought process to it? And with Razor leaf, where did the leaves even come from, never mind how were they fired at such high speeds to begin with. As the world around them had seem to coincide with that of a game's were they also bound by similar rules with their moves? Did they have both a set number of times they could use it and could they only know a set number at once? "Well, all the same, none of us seemed to be an evolved pokemon in any way. So, perhaps it would be safe to say that we should stick to the basics of attacks for now. Like, Scratch, Pound, Tackle. Those sort of things." The Chespin walked forward, not going past Clobbopus as he looked back to everyone else. Though Chester was as curious as anyone as to what was ahead he still had his job as mod to fulfill, however meaningless it might've sounded under the current situation. Which meant he had a duty to keep things orderly and keep the well being of all the community members in mind, which to that end made him stand in the middle of the group. Here he would have the best position to view everyone at once. Of course, Z. and Noibat had already gone beyond where he could see but as a former mod Chester had faith in Hector to see to their safety as well.
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    Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World One Piece: Unlimited Adventure And with that previous nominations cover just about everything i ever owned or played on the wii so aint gonna be able to offer much else. EDIT: For the cause of getting to 64 here's three more I could think of Mega Man 9 Mega Man 10 Klonoa
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    Epic Mickey Link's Crossbow Training de Blob Sonic and the Secret Rings
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    Favorite Game/Movie/Album of last year?
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    Went to my first monster truck show tonight, it was a BLAST!
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    With the pillar plan a bust, though the octopus guy at least rescued, Noibat was somewhat irritated to learn the way they'd been trying to go was a dead end anyway. But that didn't leave much else to do but follow the rest of the group with the only other direction they could go. She could feel her body fighting itself as she tried to take off again. Her mind didn't have a grip on it but her body seemed to know what to do well enough. So long as she didn't overcorrect she was thinking she might be able to actually get around like this. At least flying the straight line back the other way toward a flight of stairs was uneventful enough. Turning and going up proved a bit more difficult to the point she had to land and resituate. At first she even tried to walk up the stairs like a normal person. But normal person behaviors didn't line up bat anatomy. Once again flying was going to be the only way to keep up with everyone, so a concerted effort to fly not just straight but up began. Despite not being the first up the stairs, Noibat had to blink several times to make sure she was seeing correctly. She was in a new room, not all too dissimilar from the ones previous despite sounding smaller, but she was standing right beside the rest of the Pokemon she'd shown up with. That can't have been right given they all went up the stairs at different times but there wasn't much time to linger on the idea before a voice distinctly not her own entered Noibat's mind. It had to not be her own voice because it was too happy to be here. Happily warning them of the dangers of the mystery dungeon, including hostile Pokemon attacks, the voice left as soon as it came after teasing some kind of reward at the end of the dungeon. "What kinda creep just puts their voice in your head like that?" Noibat muttered as she tried get a better feel for her surroundings. The Zorua seemed to think she had been the source of the voice which only confused her. "Huh? I haven't gotten my ears to do anything other than squeak so high I might need to invent new words for it." she replied to Z. as she instinctively tried to grab one of her ears. The effort got another squeak too high for anyone but her to hear out of it with a reaffirmation of the size of the current room and the shape of the individuals currently inside it. The others didn't seem quite as disturbed, almost like they had experience with someone else being in their heads. Or at the least the motivation to get out was overpowering immediate concerns. For her own part Noibat was growing increasingly irritated at the growing number of things she realized she had a vague knowledge of from the forums. So many random topics, mystery dungeons among them, but no actual experience with any of the things to go with it. She knew enough to know she had been dropped into the plot of a video game and that just brought back thinking this had to be a sick twisted dream of some kind. But for the moment she could stifle her doubts she felt. The octo-boy however voiced a doubt for their combat abilities, one Noibat couldn't help but share once it was raised. But that hadn't stopped some of the braver souls from pressing on quickly and finding walls. "Eight on one should turn out alright." Noibat tried to muse to the Clobbopus, clearly trying to ignore the possibility they might encounter more than one aggressive Pokemon at a time. She began flapping her wings again and was soon on her way, passing over the octopus' head and the Falinks army not long after. Now the real challenge, ninety degree turn. With some panic Noibat tried to lean into the turn and lost some height in the process. Some panicked flapping took over and her body twisted in middair, regaining the lost height and mostly reorienting her correctly. There was barely time to have a nervous laugh as another sharp turn was near immediately upon her. Not entirely sure she could manage this aerial maneuver again, Noibat found herself flapping faster and accelerating forward. She just barely avoided clipping the wall of the corridor and soon was sailing overhead of Z. which she took moment to look down and get a look at. Not looking where she was flying proved an unwise course as another turn was directly in front of her. Some panicked large flaps tried to slow her path and she pointed her feet toward the wall. "Am I dead?" Noibat asked no one, perhaps herself. Her nose was barely a centimeter off of the wall and upon leaning back it appeared she'd managed to catch herself in time to grip onto the wall with her claws and feet. "H-heh... easy as pie this flying stuff. Totally meant to do that." she said still taking in the fact she wasn't at least concussed from the botched flight. Her limbs were hesitant to let go of the wall at this point and from her perch she took to looking down the next corridor. But soon sounds from up ahead registered, eliciting another short high pitched noise from her ears. Within seconds she suddenly had a grasp of the shape and size of the corridors she'd just flown down. Only now did she think she could have much more easily navigated the path. Too little too late but helpful for future flights. She let go of the wall and plopped down relatively gently just ahead of Z. "You hear that thing up ahead?" Noibat asked the Zorua behind her. "It's kinda... wow how to describe that? It sounds like it's a baseball bat on two little legs?" the human-turned-bat started unsure how to convey what exactly she was hearing. In general she still wasn't used to the kinds of details her ears were giving her about things around her. "It's standing up straight but it's like narrow at its feet and really fat at the top of its head. I can't think of an exact Pokemon that might be but nothing gross is coming to mind."
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    Hi guys, just wanted to outright say that the reason for this forum to exist is for fun. This status update is completely unrelated to any external websites
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    Sometimes I wonder if I should've just waited to do this series once I had unlocked all the cards, but given that it's the year of our lord 2020 *checks calendar* chapter 3 and I'm still not done, this would have never been posted. This character is one such person, as the healing pack is endgame material (because LP gain is famously OP in Yugioh). Tagforce 1 #36: Marcel Not to be confused with Marcel Bonaparte, the weird French kid who was possessed by Yubel because they were sick of how French he was. He isn't in this game. The Marcel from the show didn't make an appearance in the show until A Jewel of a Duel: Part 1, which aired in America after Tagforce 1 came out. Them having the same name is just a coincidence because why would the people dubbing the show care about a video game. The Marcel I am going to talk about is also a Ra Yellow student and is notably less French. Marcel has a very standard schedule, heading to class early and he heads back to the Ra Yellow Dorm after school. However, what's interesting is that in both cases he is standing right next to the teacher in the area (Crowler in the Classroom, Sartyr at the dorm). From this and his deck choice, I imagine that Marcel is the teacher's pet. Always on his best behavior and excelling at all of his classes. He gets confused by Jaden and Bastion referring to each other as #1 and #2. (It means that Jaden is peepee and Bastion is poopoo.) He also has this line when you beat him in a duel. Thanks, Marcel. There isn't really much else to say about him. With such little dialogue in the game, it is difficult to discern his entire character. Right now, I'm convinced that his personality is that he goes to class. The main appeal to Marcel isn't his character though, it's his deck (this comes off as weird as the line about how I creamed him). Marcel runs Agents in the first form, which focused on creating a LP gap between you and your opponent so that you could achieve big numbers on either Mars or Saturn's burn. I think he's one of the best Ra Yellow duelists in the game, even though he has no answer for Marshmallon or Spirit Reaper. He also has the only healing deck in the game that actually tries to win instead of sit around. He can tutor up his own Marshmallon or a surprise Mars with Shining Angel, which is pretty nice for consistency but as an AI this usually means you get to attack an Attack-Positioned Marshmallon several times if you know that it's coming. He can't float into Kelbek since it's EARTH, but Kelbek is still pretty good at buying him some extra time or clearing up the board for a sudden Mars kill. Nimble Momonga is here for the reason it's in any other deck: healing and potential Tribute fodder. It's one of the best heals in this game because he can gain up to 3000 LP while blocking up to 3 attacks, then on top of that you're also thinning your deck. The Agent Mars/Saturn win condition is ok I guess. If he's able to be more aggressive than your opponent or if you manage to find an early heal you can leverage that into a monstrously good Mars. Saturn is less useful until it becomes time to go for the win since you need to Tribute Summon it and it's just a 2400 vanilla until It's Time to Tribute It. But on the other hand, if you are quickly overwhelmed and can't possibly have more LP than your opponent, then you're just fucked. Both Mars and Saturn are dreadful when you're losing. Zolga has some decent ATK, and the 2k healing when you Tribute it is... there. This is definitely the place for it, but it's just such a meh card. Celestial Transformation lets him toss a Saturn onto the board, which is really nice. Lets him do a double Saturn burn for game, except his AI isn't smart enough to go for that. He won't ever Tribute Saturn unless the one Saturn can kill you. So this is just a dead card for him even though it's pretty good here. Cestus of Dalga is a card that seems like it would be great here, but I think it's underwhelming tbh. It only boosts the monster's ATK by 500, which is pretty low for an Equip. The healing is nice but this is usually only by a small amount. It does mean that if the equipped monster manages to score a direct attack then Mars/Saturn becomes very threatening, but he's just not aggressive enough for this to happen very often. Giant Trunade and Heavy Storm lets him clear up backrow for a game-winning push with Mars or Saturn, though Marcel's AI likes to use these spells much earlier than he needs to. Another bad thing about the Agent wincon is that Sanctuary in the Sky just sucks. The damage prevention is useful for maintaining your lead over your opponent's LP, but if you are losing monsters to attacks then you're still very much in trouble. The best thing about it is that he can float his Shining Angel into Marshmallon and not have to worry about taking any damage. Ceasefire and The Spell Absorbing Life are pretty nasty for being able to nullify Flip Effects, not to mention the damage/healing they do helps Marcel out a ton. The AI waits for a threshold of monsters on the field before playing these, which is fair and all, but I've seen times where I would Heavy Storm him and he refuses to chain either of these cards because it just isn't worth gaining 400 LP even when he's about to lose that card. Draining Shield is annoying. Stopping an attack and gaining 2000+ LP is really good for him. Marcel needs a win condition that isn't Agent Mars or Saturn, something that helps him out when he is behind. I think that replacing one or two copies of Zolga with Mudora, which can get some respectable ATK once he gets a few Fairies into the GY. He should also run Magic Cylinder since it's a Draining Shield that gets you closer to victory rather than further away from defeat. There are probably some other fixes that could be made to his deck but I would need access to his heals in order to playtest for myself. Marcel gets a 4/10 from me. As a character he's just there, strangely close to teachers all the time. But his deck is pretty decent and cool.
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