19th Jun 2020, 10:53 PM
Take a break

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Take a break
Using your polearm for support, you climb to your feet.

"Ready to keep going?"

"Yeah!," Cici affirms with another full body nod as she launches into the air.

You make your way over to the large key that the boss dropped and pick it up.

It has a small chain attached to it, and the aesthetic feel of... well, this dungeon.

You turn back to the double doors--not the set you originally came through, but the doors on the opposite end of the sanctuary; doors that should, if you're correct, lead to a bridge over water and potentially, out of here entirely.

"Before I OD on mana potion," you begin, "or get eaten by a mimic, or drown in a maintenance tunnel... I'm seeing what's out there."


You cross the other half of the sanctuary. As you get a closer look at the far west set of double doors, you spy the larger than normal lock on them.

You pause at the door.


You nod to Cici, who nods back. "Ready!," she says.


You press the large key to the large lock.

It disappears.

You hear the big doors echo out a resounding click.

You and Cici push up against one of the doors until it's finally open, revealing...

a bridge

over the sludge, just like that sketch you found on the first night suggested.

A bridge away from the dungeon.



A bridge to something else entirely.


"What the fuck...?," you mutter, before screaming a more bewildered "WHAT THE EVERLOVING FUCK?!"

You stumble out onto the long stone bridge.

You slide your helmet off for a better look.

It can't be.

This can't

this can't all possibly be yours.

It can't ALL be your head.


Surely the fuck not.

"Daaamn Plaire," Cici remarks, "I don't mean to sound judgemental but... that's a lot of issues, girl."





You absent mindedly drop your helmet and halberd both as you stumble down the bridge.

"What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck what IS all that? WHAT IS THIS BULLSHIT?!"

It's fucking massive. It's not just a dungeon, it's a whole god damn castle.

The overgrown ass lawn or garden or whatever, alone, by it the fuck self, appears bigger than the god damn prison you just fought your way out of. If your feelings about your dad and Addersfield are all in that shithole behind you, then what is ALL THAT?! What the fuck is this towering palace bullshit about?!

"Hey! We should take a break and discuss our next move," Cici finally suggests.

"AGREED," you blurt out. You have probably been staring into the distance for an uncomfortably long time.

Fuck it. Fuck thinking about it. Fuck the bronze-amber mist and the two moons and the shadows of a dozen massive gods beating on the FUCKING SKY, FUCK.

ALL OF IT.


You are gonna take a breather.

You and Cici, you're takin' a lil' breakerooski.


You collect your shit and the two of you return to the barrel room. Cici retrieves the toolbox on her way through the sanctuary (it was, somehow, not swallowed up by the dad wall).

"Do you need mana?," you ask. "I could hold you by your ankles and... try to dunk you, I guess. Baptize you in the butter barrel."

Cici looks from you to the barrels hesitantly before replying. "I... think I'm just gonna try to be more careful with my powers for a while. I saw how you reacted drinking that stuff, I don't trust it! I sure don't wanna just be dunked in it. I think I've got enough mana--if I don't try to block another thirty lightning bolts I should be good to go."

You're a bit skeptical of drinking more potion yourself, to be honest. You think you have a good three, maybe four fireballs left, and...

you can kind of still feel the lines that burning sour feeling traced through your body. Like a tingling in your nervous system, or maybe your veins--a network of... faint numbness, just under your skin. You imagine it'll reset when you wake up, but you're unsure about making it worse before letting it get better. ...Not if you don't have to.

You do feel like your amount of mana is growing, or maybe the simple act of existing here is just draining you more slowly. You don't feel as empty after that boss fight as you anticipated. ...Then again, you did basically speedrun it.

You heave a small sigh.

You really just... do not know.


Cici follows you to the heart room, where she joins you in laying down on the bed.

"This is a soft bed!," she comments. "I kinda want a bed like this."

"So we have the flooded maintenance tunnel to check out," you begin, "and the lower floors of the dungeon in general. The triangle thing should be downstairs, somewhere, and I think that ties to the candles--and if all that BULLSHIT out there is seriously part of this whole thing then we might want fast travel. ...Assuming that's what the candle does, which I am because it makes sense and god DAMMIT SOMETHING needs to make sense. In theory running out of mana shouldn't be a problem anymore, but we don't know if the juice is going to have side effects or not."

"Maybe the rest of the castle's from whoever made THIS room," Cici suggests. "This bed isn't YOUR bed, right? And you don't know the room?"

You shake your head. "No, this room's definitely out of place. ...The architecture on the rest of the castle looked a lot like the dungeon does, though. I mean, I haven't seen inside the rest of it to know for sure, but the outside looked... consistent? Like Crush Souls filtered through the HD of my brain." You pause, before adding a more frustrated "Why is it so fucking BIG?!"

Cici rolls over to look at you more directly. "Maybe smart people have bigger brain castles?"

You give a weary smile. "Somehow I doubt that's what's going on here."


You glance at the note still laying on the bed.

You haven't gotten a fresh response yet; probably won't until you reset the dungeon.

Reset... the castle?

Does it ALL reset?

Eleven remaining. Until what? What are the notes counting down to? You have eleven... nights? Attempts at this? Until something happens, and apparently you have a LOT of ground to cover.

You're not even sure what you're looking for yet.

Answers, obviously, but the dream seems intent on just dangling those in front of you, luring you farther and farther into its depths for the promise of crumbs while never giving you the whole damn thing.

...And there's still whatever Mayor Parsons is searching for.

Hmm.


"This fucking sucks," you finally conclude.

"Well, I like it," Cici replies. "Being a bird is cool! Magic shields are cool! And we're either going surfing or going outside, which are both cool as well. It's nothin' but cool from here on out, Plaire. We beat a boss! We exploded your dad. You gotta savor it!"

You hold up the note. "We have eleven nights left. I don't have time to savor shit, I shouldn't even be laying here right now."

"Look how much you've gotten done in just, what, five days? Eleven days is plenty of time, Plaire."

"It took me five fucking days to reach and kill ONE boss," you point out. "There's no telling how many more bosses are crammed into the rest of this bastard."

"How many could there be?," Cici asks. "They'd all have to be people you know, right?"

"...Yeah." She makes a good point; your mom's probably in the dream somewhere, but you can't imagine she'll be as tough of a fight as your father was. There's not a lot of other people you feel as negatively about as your dad.

"Lora," you mutter. "I dated her since elementary school, she probably has a whole fucking theme park dedicated to her here. ...Other than her, I have NO idea. The rest of the castle has to have something in it, though, and that was a metric shit ton of castle out there."

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19th Jun 2020, 11:17 PM
Xylas_Incarnum
..... "You're Princess is in another castle" suddenly comes to mind. ... but yeah let's try to get down to the stairs from earlier. Got Kate's fire powers so burning a few hundred maggots shouldn't be too much of a problem.
21st Jun 2020, 9:49 PM
+1 burn it with fire!~
19th Jun 2020, 11:17 PM
Might as well atleast check the other direction first, yeah? See what's deeper inside?
19th Jun 2020, 11:26 PM
pkrankow
Tank up on the butter juice and take the paths down. We have a good feel for what bosses we encounter

Mom as a mini-boss
Lora as a major boss

Boating down the underground river? Dunno. Maybe
19th Jun 2020, 11:33 PM
Snervalton
I vote that we try completing the underground river at some point tonight.
20th Jun 2020, 1:05 AM
Portal In Time
If we empty a barrel, we could ride it down the tunnel and have Cici keep us sturdy.
20th Jun 2020, 6:12 AM
pkrankow
Barrel racing might be a real thing. Somewhere.

Why not here?
22nd Jun 2020, 1:48 PM
Ib4 "<i>Now this is barrel racing !</i>"
20th Jun 2020, 8:03 AM
Heroshima
+1 to barrel boating!
21st Jun 2020, 12:58 AM
Snervalton
+1 to having Cici hold the barrel steady.
19th Jun 2020, 11:30 PM
Oh hi there, Lordran! \[T]/

Yeah, let's try to continue in our... intro dungeon, I guess. Looks like it's time for stairwell surfing!

Also, the bosses don't just have to be people we know. They could also be things, places, even concepts. Our hometown could be a boss! ANXIETY could be a boss! :D We uh... maybe we should take a BrainSate if we feel like we need one.

It strikes me that when we wake up, we should probably do some reading about Carl Jung and his theories about dreams, the occult, the collective unconscious, and the self. It might be helpful in trying to figure out wtf is going on here.

Edit: Oh right, we should probably fight the Mimic first actually. THEN barrel surfing. Hopefully if we trigger the poison vent and wait it out, we won't even have to fight the mimic, just go in and take its loot!
20th Jun 2020, 9:31 AM
Limrix
If there aren't bone snakes right by the door, Plaire can go trigger the poison trap with her polearm holding her breath, and get out of there. Then we can see if anything happens to the mimic room, and finish it off with Plaire's magic if need be. I do want to try drinking some more of the juice, very slowly. Like, savor a drop and see what that does. After checking our loot from the mimic, go barrel surfing down the sewer. If we can find another candle, we should be able to get back, or worst case we can fly.

We've made so much progress in the five days we've had. Now that we have a source of mana, we're not on a strict timer till death, and we can do a lot more with each day. Also, we can take breaks and buff up IRL with more accomplices, better equipment and information, and personal training. We've made massive progress, but more importantly, each attempt we've done far more than the last. If this were linear I'd be worried. But it's not, and we can choose how fast we go. We can take our time to be sure, and do this right. We've done good. If we still feel anxious about it, now might be a good time to take that brainsate.

If we want to get over to the castle, it would make sense to have Cici fly us up beyond arrow range, and scout out a good place to land. We can scout the whole roof of this place from the air.
20th Jun 2020, 12:31 PM
Snervalton
+1 to triggering the poison gas trap but, in the interest of staying as far away from that deadly stuff as possible, maybe roll a barrel over it instead of using the polearm?
20th Jun 2020, 7:14 PM
pkrankow
We have not yet t4ied flying. That was an ability Kate had.
19th Jun 2020, 11:31 PM
Plaire should consider how much worse off she'd be if not for her friends right now -- not to sound like she's ungrateful. Just that it might help her feel better. It's not just her in this anymore and we know enough to extend our visits.

It *might* be worth it to backtrack and check out that other area. Plus, the remaining baddies are probably nothing compared to the fight we just had AND we're armed.
19th Jun 2020, 11:31 PM
Snervalton
Go downstairs and trigger the poison-gas-vent trap that killed Kate again, then rush upstairs to see if this has any effect on the door that was bashed outward last night.
19th Jun 2020, 11:36 PM
first things first . . .Plaire needs to surf on that sludge water because we need something mindlessly stupid before we start doing insane serious shit in here
20th Jun 2020, 12:57 AM
Snervalton
+1 to surfing on the sludge water!
20th Jun 2020, 1:45 AM
There's still the question of what to surf on.
20th Jun 2020, 4:33 AM
Are the things Cici makes safe to touch and, if so, does she have enough energy to last the whole tunnel?
19th Jun 2020, 11:39 PM
Figure out a way to get the No-pass sword again.
20th Jun 2020, 12:56 AM
Snervalton
-1. We already have a melee weapon that was effective enough to take out a boss. If we're going to go down that monster-filled hallway again we should have a better reason than that. Getting back the "do not reset" knife might be worth it.
20th Jun 2020, 1:51 AM
One possibility is that the dungeon is stage 1, taking after Plaire's subconscious as a way of getting her used to the dreamworld like a tutorial. Having unlocked the continuation, it is best to gather as much resources as we can before continuing.
20th Jun 2020, 6:10 AM
pkrankow
Tutorial boss fight? Um.... maybe? I doubt it was the biggest of the baddies though

Just hoping it is not like hollow knight having crossroads get all infected and the monsters supercharged.
20th Jun 2020, 3:53 AM
It was two handfuls of the mana-wine that made Plaire sick. Maybe a small sip would be much more manageable.

Whether Plaire goes by barrel or removed/broken-off door, Cici should grip the front with her birb-feet and act as a sail/rudder; pulling and steering the craft.
23rd Jun 2020, 3:55 AM
+1 to Cici steering, but she might find it easier to steer from the back.
20th Jun 2020, 4:16 AM
SO the dungeon is a tutorial zone. we should finish exploring it(sewer water rafting mini game!). There is no way all of the dream is plaires the mayor did tell us that. we know 3-4 people who also experienced the dream and they likely left some of there issues behind.
20th Jun 2020, 5:40 AM
I'd say make our next goal the maintenance tunnels: it seems like it could be a quick way downstairs avoiding the traps and getting us closer to the triangle. I'd say let's explore this place before trying to get to the rest of the castle.
We could also go fight that mimic - taking a good look around the room first to avoid ambushes - if Plaire feels up for another fight so soon.
20th Jun 2020, 6:43 AM
So, what do we call it now? Just "dream castle"? That'd be so dull. Fortress Under Cursed Deities aka FUCD.
20th Jun 2020, 8:10 AM
Frission
My god, that's so Castlevania that just looking that opening picture made https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9bePsG3Img play in my head immediately. :o

But that's okay! The best song in the series follows it up immediately, after all. <3
20th Jun 2020, 11:24 AM
Mhm. Good progress, but so much left to do.
Might not be all enemies up ahead, a vendor or, iunno, dream-person to help out or somesuch.

Still have the rest of the prison to go deal with.
...Or at least the big guy down there. Still have a fight to settle with that one.
21st Jun 2020, 5:13 PM
So to contribute something vaguely useful:
Not every boss has to be based on a person(s), they could potentially be be based on various concepts.

For an example, the idea that monstrous ideology grows in power as it spreads being represented as a malevolent stone centipede charging around the arena, knocking down debris it latches onto and uses to grow in size, letting it be more destructive, etc.

...Though to continue my rambling speculation; particularly abstract concepts may be delegated to optional/bonus/puzzle bosses. Standing up to monsters is the all-important beginning, but the road to toppling the dream-embodiment of systemic hate will be a much more challenging task than slaying it's creations.

Keep it up Plaire, your journey begins here.
20th Jun 2020, 11:48 AM
BJBlack
Okay, let's start with observing what is visible in the vista picture. I'll give some arbitrary names to things, for ease of reference.

First, behind Player is the intro stage. I'll call it The Chapel.

She's standing on The Bridge. Not much to see or do here, at first glance. Drop a pew fragment into the water to see if Depth Terrors attack it, maybe? Make sure it's big; heavier than her polearm should be enough.

Ahead of her waits The Vine Maze. There's a foreboding entrance at the end of the bridge. Also visible are several earthen platforms suspended in/on/over the Vine Maze. Two of the visible platforms have Tan Things growing on them. Stunted trees? There's one fairly close to The Bridge, Have Cici check that thing out (but stay low; flying enemies may spawn to keep us in-bounds ( https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BorderPatrol )).

On the other side of the Vine Maze stands a low wall without a roof: this wall encloses The Courtyard.

North of that (remember, Player is facing west), there is a structure oriented east-west, so we only see its east end (a wall). This is The Hall Of Lords.

Beyond The Hall Of Lords stands The Great Tower.

South of The Great Tower and west of The Courtyard is The Hall Of Kings. Two spires at its northeast and southeast corners are also visible. Presumably, the spires will be symmetrical on The Hall Of Kings; as a separate set of zones, call them The Four Spires.

Connecting The Hall Of Kings and The Great Tower is The Breezeway.

There's a spire visible over The Breezeway. Depending on the perspective, it could be the northwest spire of The Four Spires, or it could be a separate structure entirely. If it is one of the four, then with this perspective the southwest spire's point should be visible from here, but it isn't. We can conclude from this that the southwest spire's roof (and possibly more) is busted.

On the other hand, this perspective may indicate that spire is unconnected, and a good ways off in the distance. In this case, it is The Exile's Spire.

tl;dr (Actions only):
Drop a pew fragment in the water.
Send Cici scouting on that platform south of The Vine Maze's entrance.

Another action, unrelated to the view, is Figure out if you have Drillga powers.
20th Jun 2020, 5:29 PM
Practice different applications and techniques of Kates power semi-near the barrels for a more varied moveset. If you need to recharge, its right there.
21st Jun 2020, 12:58 AM
Upend the contents of one barrel on to the vent chest, if That doesn't trigger anything or rolling/pushing one up against it, then cautiously attempt to open the chest with polearm while Not directly in front of it.
21st Jun 2020, 9:51 AM
Hari_Seldon
EDIT: Decide if it is worth the time to activate the gas trap downstairs to kill the mimic. If it is not worth the time then go surfing.

I mean Plaire did fine not getting hurt by the gas trap last time so I do not expect her getting hurt this time. And Cici knows to stay away so she won't get hurt like Kate did.
21st Jun 2020, 1:05 PM
Snervalton
-1. It'd be even safer to try and kill the (suspected) mimic by triggering the gas trap downstairs.
21st Jun 2020, 5:50 PM
pkrankow
Put our new phone number on the note while we are here. I want to hesitate to risk needing to burn the phone, but the reward porential is pretty big. If the person is from this century they will recognize a phone number.
21st Jun 2020, 8:19 PM
I don't know if someone already pointed this out in other comments, but...

"I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ringwinner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider." - Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit

There are definitely precedents of barrel riding.
21st Jun 2020, 9:42 PM
Maybe its 11 bosses left.
Also I wonder when the whole tarot card idea is going to be reviled to the characters.
23rd Jun 2020, 12:08 PM
Morgenstern
guess who had no internet for a day and a half

new page should be up tonight