5th Jun 2020, 10:40 PM
Hop the fence

 <<First     Latest>>   

Hop the fence
"Alright," you tell Cici. "I'm going in. Meet me inside the house."

"Be careful!"

You flop over the top of the fence, mostly landing on your feet on the other side.


You sort of... tuck and roll. Over. Onto the ground.

You didn't crash straight into the level, though, so at least there's that.

Once you've climbed back to your feet, you take a moment to examine the plant. Yup. It definitely looks like level. The smell is a little stronger (and... stouter?) than you expected, but it IS a pretty tall plant. ...You're not sure if that would affect the scent or not.

You approach the back door.

You don't feel any weird vibes from it from this side, though that doesn't make you any less concerned about what's going to happen when you open it.

You take a deep breath.

You try the door knob.

It's locked.

You take out your house key--

it fits.

You unlock the back door

and walk through it.

It feels strange to pass the threshold, but otherwise it functions like a back door hypothetically should.

"That's weird," Cici remarks.

"Yeah," you reply. "It fucking is though."

You step back outside.

This time, Cici follows.

You both take a moment to just... stare at the door, and the yard, and puzzle over this entire affair.

"I don't like it," Cici finally states.

"I don't either," you reply. "Door's weird."

"Door's weird," she agrees. "I don't wanna be a stickler, buuut..." Cici wanders the backyard a bit, looking over your house. "...Now that I'm looking at the whole thing, I don't think any of this makes sense."

You step over to where she is, looking at the house from her perspective (but lower). "What do you mean...?"

"Front door, two stairs," she says. "Back door, one stair."

You shrug. "Maybe the foundation's uneven...?"

Cici winces. "HmmmmI don't think I buy it."

You're both looking at the same house. You know she's right.

Your living room floor should have a noticeable slant, one that you have not in fact noticed and that may not in fact be there.

It's hard to say, but the inside of the house also feels... shaped. Differently. Than the outside looks. You briefly consider taking measurements, but you're pretty sure you already know the answer and also don't actually want that answer.

"I'm going to look up whether or not this is really level," you declare, and head back inside. Cici follows.

After spending a bit of time at your computer--both researching level, and showing Cici fun cat videos--you believe you have reached a conclusion.

"So," you begin to explain, "there's different types of level, I guess? The primo top-of-the-line stuff is harder to grow--it takes a specific temperature and humidity, and growing it pretty much requires a rig if you don't live in a very particular part of the world. ...Assuming no magic was involved with growing our level, it's been sitting there for months, growing with absolutely no help in an extremely shitty climate, so I think we have the opposite of whatever the best level is. The rough smell points to that, too."

Cici nods. "First off--it's not our level, it's your level, so you better go ahead and get that story straight."

You smile, and quietly chuckle, and nod.

"Second," Cici continues, "why don't you think it was grown with magic?"

You inhale deeply for another spiel. "The inside of the back door is invisible, but the outside isn't. The inside of the house is indestructible, the outside isn't. Sleeping inside the house gives me the dungeon dream, sleeping outside the house doesn't. I think whatever magic this house has, stops at this house... it doesn't travel past the walls, not even into the backyard. If it could affect the growth of the level, why not just hide the level entirely? Why only hide the back door, and only from one side? My guess is that's the best they could do within the limitations of the house."

"Huh," Cici replies. "Makes sense! So is that level not as good, or...?"

"Properly treated, it shouldn't be any less potent than normal level," you inform her. "...But from what I've been reading, smoking it's like inhaling a cheap cigar. Like, someone described the experience as violent. One article suggested only smoking that kind of level if you genuinely and inexplicably hate your lungs."

"Damn!," exclaims Cici.

"Yeah," you concur. "Apparently, one or both witches rolled nasty."

While you're here, you decide to look up Somniplan, the word that was written on the inside of the brochure Temperance Walsh gave you.

You start to type it into the search bar, but stop short; should you be doing this in privacy mode? Or through a proxy server...? What if Somniplan is magic related, or otherwise tips off the feds that you're doing thangs

...But then you realize the search bar is auto-suggesting the rest of the word Somniplan for you. Clearly, it's not THAT uncommon of a search.

You hit Enter, and look at the results.

SOMNIPLAN™, for the treatment of nightmare disorder.
Ask your doctor if Somniplan™ is right for you.

Now that's a band name.

Despite sounding fucking sweet, nightmare disorder is really just a catch-all term for frequent adult nightmares. Technically speaking, it's a parasomnia. Somniplan is recommended for individuals whose nightmares regularly cause a lack of sleep, or for whom nightmares affect their ability to function throughout the day. It can also treat some tossing-and-turning and a few breathing issues, but it's almost exclusively marketed for the nightmare thing.

The internet says that, as of studies done a decade ago, only about 4% of the population of the States have nightmare disorder. ...But here's a mass marketed medication for it, so clearly the math has changed in ten-ish years.

You explain all this to Cici.

"Huh," she remarks. "Think it'd keep you from dreaming about the dungeon?"

You shake your head. "I have... no idea. I'm also not sure if Temperance wrote that Somniplan note herself. ...Or if it was even intended for me. If the answer to both those questions is yes, then she knows more than she's letting on. ...If the answer to either question isn't yes then that's a hell of a coincidence."

Cici's face scrunches up. "Yeaaah I don't think the scary mayor's secretary accidentally suggested a way for you, of all people, to stop having nightmares. That's a bit much! She's GOTTA know what's going on!"

You nod. "...Yeah. Yeah, I think she knows something, maybe as much as the mayor does. I don't know if telling me about Somniplan is meant to help me or help me stop, though. It might just be Temperance's polite way of telling me to back off, in contrast to Mayor Parsons trying to fucking scare us."

You're still a little mad about that.

It's starting to get late.

"We exchanged true names, right?" It should only matter for the use of the ring--and you know you've exchanged names with Kate--but still, just in case.

"I think so, yeah," Cici confirms with a small nod.

"I'm Plaire Stevens," you tell her.

Cici smiles. "I'm Cici... uh... well, just Cici. Anything else we should do before we try this thing...?"

 <<First     Latest>>   


Rate this comic:

average rating: 5

5th Jun 2020, 11:00 PM
OOC note: Black Lives Matter
5th Jun 2020, 11:22 PM
5th Jun 2020, 11:32 PM
6th Jun 2020, 10:08 AM
6th Jun 2020, 8:01 PM
7th Jun 2020, 12:23 PM
8th Jun 2020, 8:34 AM
8th Jun 2020, 2:52 PM
5th Jun 2020, 11:04 PM
Did we actually have dinner yet? Also might want to check BrainSate just in case while we are at the computer.
6th Jun 2020, 9:21 AM
+1 supper and look up BrainSate
6th Jun 2020, 10:09 AM
+1 to both. No reason not to be looking up the anti-anxiety meds that are actually turning out to be pretty helpful.
6th Jun 2020, 6:39 PM
When Player took a BrainSate some-odd pages back, she had a snack. No actual dinner, though.
5th Jun 2020, 11:07 PM
Hmm, I wonder if Level edibles work....

Have we had supper? Food then bed, maybe more cat videos.
5th Jun 2020, 11:14 PM
We should still call Kate and give her our true name. And eat dinner. We still haven't done that. At this point, microwaved potato and salad might be in order given the lack of time.

And go through our dungeon plan with Cici, since we're on a timer once we're in.
6th Jun 2020, 9:21 AM
I think Morg is hinting we already exchanged true names with Kate

"you know you've exchanged names with Kate"
5th Jun 2020, 11:22 PM
All right. We're closing in on bedtime now, so:

Player: Have a last-minute strategy brainstorm before bed.

(Bedtime might not occur in the next update, but hopefully, if the community supports it, our good author will include it when the time comes.)

Player needs to think about the boss. We've had arguments in the comments section, but these are questions that Player can answer better than we:
1) Does she think the boss will have multiple phases? The answer to this is likely close to, "Were there other horrible aspects in her relationship with her father that this phase doesn't represent?" And/or, "Was there a time when she managed to pierce the "wall" of having a conversation with him, and what happened then?" This might be uncomfortable to consider, but Player has a high Spite attribute, which could help her power through.
2) Regarding the phase that we have observed, it seems to be a timed fight. How much time is there, and how many explosions must she weather? Do any of the available weapons seem, to her, like they could deal enough damage before time expires?
3) What can she do to preserve herself in the fight? Sustaining injuries can lower her capacity to deal damage, exaberating the DPS problem. Does she think she can master dodge rolls in time, and what does she expect from her "trash armor" as far as protection?
4) Given Player's experience with games, what does she think she'll find in the nearby locked room? We've done a fair bit of speculating, but her speculation is worth way more than our speculation.

Other topics she might cover:
5) If, using the Dream Ring, she can pull in Kate while she's still awake, would Kate just pass out wherever she happened to be? Sure, that would contradict Ezra's description of the ring as "perfectly harmless," but she should take a moment to consider potential side effects.
6) "Pounding at the walls." Player perceived this twice last night; once in the room where she got the Whole-Ass Sword, and once when she broke the window and gazed into The God That Hungers. Is there a connection (aside from, she broke that window with the Whole-Ass Sword)? If so, what could the connection be?
7) She'll likely have to visit the bottom floor eventually; but then getting back to the top floor could be two full nights of backtracking, with basically no benefit. Does she anticipate any helpful navigation mechanics? Waypoints (like the candle, or maybe inside the locked door)? Free choice of spawn location every night?

Cici's still not acquainted with the dungeon, but do the brainstorming out loud with her; she may still have a good idea or two.
6th Jun 2020, 6:27 AM
This is part of reviewing notes and maps we can draw, explaining monsters, and traps... yes must give Cici as much information as she can handle.
6th Jun 2020, 10:10 AM
In-depth and detailed. I like it. +1
6th Jun 2020, 3:42 PM
Crush Souls? Anyone else for some Crush Souls before bed? Its dodge-rolls are probably the most useful power we can get ourselves right now...
7th Jun 2020, 12:45 AM
Regarding the possibility of Kate passing out: I just realized we don't know when the dream starts. It could be four hours after we fall asleep, giving her plenty of time to hit the sack.

It could even be independent of normal time. Maybe if we got up so early and she got to bed so late that we were never actually both asleep at the same time, it would still work perfectly fine. Who knows?

That last one would get really weird if we called her and talked to her about the dream before she went to bed and experienced it.
7th Jun 2020, 4:43 AM
Also have we considered the chance that things she brings to the bedrooms/save rooms stay there, erasing the need to get the sword again.
In addition we should consider the True Names being The Sun and The Devil i.e. what Cici and Kate where called in the Choose Your Accomplice screen.
5th Jun 2020, 11:26 PM
I wonder if what the powers that are secretly vampires are after is actually something in the 'real' house; not just whatever's been superimposed on top of it.

What if this house is the product of a dream that was able to cross into the 'real' world? The magic stuff it can do is because it's not real.

the scarier question that follows from that is "Who is dreaming that dream?"

My suggestion: Bring some of Plaire's blood in a container into the dream. If the dungeon walls ALSO absorb our blood I'm going to be very suspicious.

I'm assuming that Dream plaire's blood probably won't be the same, but maybe not.
6th Jun 2020, 6:34 AM
Some big, powerful, trapped entity is dreaming the dream.

Bigger question... is it willingly trapped as a guard or forcibly trapped? There is some type of power source here. Is the dreamer the source or the guard, or both?
5th Jun 2020, 11:30 PM
Oh uh. I kinda thought we already were using privacy mode when we were googling Level. Oops!

Let's eat some food, call (or text) Kate with our name, and figure out what equipment we're bringing to bed. Alternatively, maybe we should wear/carry our equipment for a while now, so that the dream considers it "equipped" with our usual clothes. That way, we hopefully won't have to sleep with it.

So, things to equip:

-The polearm-- do we have insulation for it or for our hands so we don't get shocked if we use it on Father Warden?

-The motorcycle helmet, fightball pads, and MMA gloves.

-The rope (gathered in a loop, tied to our belt)

-The old keys

-The knife, screwdriver, and wrench (the toolbox itself is likely too heavy to carry around-- do we have a backpack or fanny pack? Fanny packs may not be fashionable, but they're very much *equippable* and easy to access if you wear them frontwise instead of over your actual fanny.)

Once we're all equipped, we can watch some bedtime cat videos or talk with Cici about random stuff like our favorite foods and childhood traumas.
5th Jun 2020, 11:39 PM
We can use Kate's backpack that she left behind, at least for tonight.
6th Jun 2020, 6:21 AM
+1 on the backpack.

+1 on preparing everything.

Do we have some rubber gloves? Stout insulating ones would be best but exam gloves would be better than nothing. Prevent electrical shock maybe...
8th Jun 2020, 2:51 PM
I'd rather not go through Kate's stuff if we can avoid it. I'm assuming Plaire has a backpack or something similar, simply because she recently moved and she'd need something to keep her stuff in. (I did just realize that she doesn't really carry a purse... Not sure if that's a future thing where so much is wireless and people don't need to carry much with them, or just a "this is a comic written by a dude" thing :P)
5th Jun 2020, 11:44 PM
I vote that Plaire play some Crush Souls before bedtime to get dodge-roll powers because will likely be the most useful power for fighting the wall-boss. That is something I believe we should do tonight, for reasons I argued on the last page. We don't know whether the Dig Dug game grants any dream powers or whether Plaire can have multiple video game powers per night.

Also, test the durability and sharpness of the makeshift polearm.
6th Jun 2020, 12:53 AM
I imagine in the future, if we ever need to get a hold of more brainstate we can negotiate trading in the level we have.
On another note, I'm guessing the back door on the inside of the house may actually be a magic version of a bunker door. It would explain why it doesn't line up as well with the foundation of the house (unlike an actual door it doesn't need to) and can hide the real magic the house has in store (thus protecting witch secrets even when it was searched after the death of the previous owner).
6th Jun 2020, 12:55 AM
Indulge in a spot of milk and cookies before continuing with further shenanigans. *nods sagely, blows bubble pipe*
6th Jun 2020, 1:07 AM
We should tell Cici the code for the door in the old starting room. Just in case, maybe we arrive in the heartroom but Cici wasn't with us when we activated it so just to be sure.

We should also give a brief explanation of the map so far.
We could draw a copy of the map in our computer if we haven't already.
6th Jun 2020, 6:22 AM
+1 review notes so Cici has as much a head start as possible.
6th Jun 2020, 4:42 AM
Eat something, maybe play a game, try to relax a little before you go into the scary dreamworld to throw yourself at a meat-wall boss again.
Also, don't forget to prepare your equipment and wear the ring!
6th Jun 2020, 7:44 AM
Clean up the old pizza boxes. Locate trash cans and give a quick de-junking once over to trash the trash. The place is clean so 4 hands are probably 1 trip to the trash can.
6th Jun 2020, 8:59 AM
Now I'm wondering if and how a pile of trash would translate into the dungeon.
6th Jun 2020, 10:22 AM
Oh, no! We don't have a trash can outside! Or maybe we don't not have one?

Yeah... reusing that spook tactic, and on something outside, probably isn't in the cards. Betcha there's a shared dumpster a couple houses away or something.
6th Jun 2020, 10:14 AM
...is it worth getting a tape measure or something and checking the outside of the house to see whether the doors line up or something?

I mean, houses with uneven step setups like this usually have another step inside the backdoor for people to knock the backyard dirt off


this one doesn't. The interior dimensions are just

6th Jun 2020, 10:18 AM
AAAARGH Plaire = Player how did I not NOTICE that

Also, if certain videogames made by certain producers have certain effects in the Dream Dungeon,

are we certain that Somniplan doesn't also have certain effects? Ones that might make Plaire more... susceptible, somehow?
6th Jun 2020, 11:02 AM
From all hints so far the only effect Somniplan(TM) should have is that the patient is no longer able to dream.
6th Jun 2020, 2:21 PM
Wondering if Plaire should try to get herself some Somniplan? Maybe some nights she may not want to dream in the spooky house? We should ask Lagi went we meet him whether he has any or could obtain some.
6th Jun 2020, 3:59 PM
Do you think Plaire's house has an attic?

Also Plaire should think about buying a lighter tomorrow so we don't have to rely on Kate to light the candles.
6th Jun 2020, 4:29 PM

There are kind of torches all over the place, though.
6th Jun 2020, 10:48 PM
I think we ought to look into non-smoking applications for Level, like using it in baking and stuff.
7th Jun 2020, 1:35 AM
7th Jun 2020, 6:02 AM
Tea is another likely preparation.
7th Jun 2020, 9:18 AM
8th Jun 2020, 12:32 PM
Make brownies. Special ones.