14th Mar 2020, 12:18 AM
Ask about further prep, and look at

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Ask about further prep, and look at
You take a second to consider what else you may need.

"Anything else we wanna bring?," you ask aloud. "Pens, paper...?"

You check your pockets, and realize you still have the brochure that the mayor's secretary gave you.

"I still have that pen you used earlier," Kate says, pulling a pen from her pants pocket and handing it to you.

"I think I got some notepads," Bebe states. "Gimme a sec y'all."

Bebe heads off to go grab a notepad.

"Wait--" Cici's face scrunches up as she mulls something over. "...If you write something down on paper in... you know, is it still gonna be there later?"

You shake your head. "I... I don't know if it would or not, now that I think about it."

Nothing that's happened in the dream's really carried over to the waking world yet.

If your house key is still there tonight, that means nothing that happens in the dream even holds up in future dreams. Anything you write down might just... disappear, when you wake up or on subsequent nights.

"Found it!," declares a returning and triumphant Bebe. She hands you a notepad.

"Thanks," you tell her with a nod.

You might be able to use it for experiments, at least, or for any short term note taking you might need to do.

Was there anything else...?

"I'm pretty well stocked up," says Kate.

"Yeah, that's all I can think of," adds Cici.

Guess that's it, then.

You, Cici, and Kate silently head back down to the ground floor, then out to the street to wait for the bus. It doesn't take long for the bus to return to the stop. Cici pays for her own ride back.





You try to remember anything else you might have missed.

"There's... weapons," you comment. "I've found torches, a knife but it's more of a broken katana... one corpse had a mace, but it was full of bugs. The corpse, I mean."

"And that's all from your head, right?," Cici asks.

You nod. "Pathetic, needly worms, refusing to let things go, trying to get under my skin just for the sake of it. Wanting to control me. Yeah. It's... yeah. The more I see of the dungeon and the more I think about it, the more I think it's all just... me. It's constructed straight from my brain."

"Have..." Cici grimaces. "Have you, uh, considered...?"

"A psychiatrist?," you blurt out. "Yes."

"Therapy's expensive," Kate states. "And you can't find one worth a shit in this rinky dink town."

You point at Kate, and nod emphatically to Cici. "That. What she said."

"Damn," replies Cici. "That sucks. I'm sayin' this because I care but it sounds like you need help."

Kate, who's been unusually quiet for the ride, takes a deep breath and stands up a little straighter. "If this thing's as thorough as it sounds... I think by tomorrow we're all gonna know how fucked up we are."

Cici blinks, turning to look at Kate. "You getting cold feet?"

Kate shakes her head, but there is a slight pause. "Psyching myself up. It's uh, not often you have to prep to face your inner demons. ...Wondering how much I'm gonna have to explain."

"Ohhh that's a good point," says Cici. "You guys'll see whatever my worst fears and stuff are."

"We may have to fight whatever your worst fears are," you add.

"Or our darkest secrets," Kate points out. "Or our freakiest desires," she concludes with wiggling, menacing fingertips.

"Again, I don't know for sure if it works that way." You stare at the floor, trying to get a grip on all the variables. "I don't know if the dream will change, or if you'll just be stuck in mine. I don't know if we'll be in separate dreams--you might just be facing your own demons by yourself. I... I'm honestly not even sure if me reviving is one of the core mechanics, or if I stole that from the video games I've been playing. You always respawn in Crush Souls, and Magic Mustachio has an extra lives counter."

Well, not Magic Mustachio Extreme Beach Volleyball. Nobody dies in that, they just play volleyball... so there's no extra lives or a respawn feature or anything.

Your eyes widen behind your glasses.



"We could all die tonight."

"Please don't," requests the bus.



"You are way overthinking this," Cici suggests. "Work with what we know! You don't need to twist yourself into a pretzel speculating. We'll just take it as it comes."

"I mean--" Kate chuckles dryly, "It in this case might be hiding a body, so I kinda get why Plaire's sweating it now. There's no game where you bring other people back to life, is there?"

"Not really," you reply simply. There's plenty of RPGs with resurrection spells and items that revive fallen teammates, but that's not a core mechanic, and that's what you seem to be drawing from video games thus far. Just... mostly the movement options of the protagonist, not any special powers or spells or gear (otherwise, Crush Souls would have made you OP as hell).

There's probably a few games where you play a necromancer or something, but no games off the top of your head are otherwise about reviving the dead in a neat, convenient way.

If somebody legit dies you have no hope of bullshitting it away with dream mastery.

"Also," Kate begins, looking directly at Cici "what the fuck is going on here? You've been The Worried One all night, now you're telling us to just... fuck it, we might die? Don't think about it? Where was this Cici earlier?"

Cici gives a long sigh. "Look. I'm already committed, and Plaire's made it clear she's not backing out either. We might NEED to do this but we don't need to do it like we're about to get executed. We either die or we don't. We can't..." She pauses. She crosses her enormous arms, her single eye locked upon the floor of the bus. "...We can't act like we know it's the end. If it is, then we can't do much about it and if it's not, then we'll regret living like it was."

"...Fuck," Kate finally remarks. "That was kinda deep, Cici."

"I mostly stole it from some shit my sister said," Cici replies, "and I~ butchered it."

"Oh, dude!," Kate scoffs, "That would be too intense coming from Deedee."

"Chills!," Cici laughs. "After she gave me that speech I thought I could punch God. Wait, if I'm The Worried One, which one are you?"

"I was The Fun One," Kate mutters. "I think I'm gonna need to switch gears and be The Total Wreck. Maybe The Furious Dumbass."

"Wh..." You hate to ask, and yet "Which one am I?"

"The Nerd," Kate replies with zero hesitation.

Cici visibly struggles not to laugh, quickly covering her mouth with her hand.

You squint at Cici, specifically. "You were enjoying that volleyball game."

"I was," Cici squeaks out, adding a second hand to her mouth. "it's a fun game and I kind of want to play more"

"Cici," Kate says firmly, very visibly rolling her eyes, "your role has been officially changed to The Nerd. Plaire, you're being downgraded to The Smaller Nerd. ...I'd nominate myself The Cool One in light of recent events, but, I think we know it's implied."

"Y'know," Cici says, finally revealing her smile, "paranormal nerds are nerds too, Woman Who Owns A Ouija Board."

"It's my mom's?," Kate huffs in a very teenagery tone. Seeming to have caught herself in the moment, she proceeds to steamroll further into an even more valleygirl-esque accent. "Duh, it's like, literally from the 70s." And just as quickly, the accent disappears. "Shit, I'm being The Mean One, aren't I? I hope there's no like... karmic retribution or whatever in there or the dream's gonna kick my ass."

And then, suddenly,

the bus chimes in.

"The house would have a higher body count if the resurrection isn't a core element," the bus points out. "One of the previous residents' dreams about saw mills, for example, wouldn't logically bestow any sort of contextual immortality. Which one am I?"

"The... Bus?," replies Cici. "Also, saw mill?"

"The Bus With The Uncomfortably Hot Voice," Kate adds.

You can't help but smile and shake your head. "I don't think that's a normal narrative archetype."

"Two questions," says Kate. "One: I thought you weren't recording that conversation, and two: that's a good point but why did it take so long?"

"1.) I didn't record that conversation," the bus replies, "and 2.) Because I didn't record that conversation. It took me a little while to analyze the surrounding response data--how I reacted and what I was processing in the moment--and to piece it back together in a state I could contextualize. I can't, in a sense, 'remember' the conversation--but I can 'remember' things about it, and I worked backwards from there."

"Are you recording us now?," Cici asks.

"Poorly," says the bus. "The maintenance specialist reinforced all the audio equipment this morning, but in a way that heavily muffles the recording microphones. Chariot MT will need to update their diagnostic systems soon, as I didn't even notice the issue until it was... much too late."

"...Uncomfortably hot," concludes Kate. "You're a bus, it's not fair. Cruel, even."

"Somebody needs to explain the saw mill dream to me," insists Cici.

While Kate does so, you deliberate on what the bus said.

She... may be right.

You really can't think of any video games about saw mills, or resurrection metaphors in... the lumber industry, or--

hmm the fact that you don't know anything about saw mills or what would inspire a saw mill related nightmare, may in fact be making you more confident in this answer than you should be, objectively speaking

but also fuck it Cici has a point, too. Knowing that some horrible shit is about to occur, and incessantly dreading that horrible shit, isn't necessarily going to help you work through the horrible shit. You're either flipping that coin or you're not.

...You just really don't want your RL cause of death to be "picked the wrong game before bedtime"

"Wait," Kate suddenly says. She looks straight at the nearest screen. "If you can contextualize the data or whatever, then isn't shutting the mics off pointless anyway? Can the cops make you do that... data thing?"

"I doubt that they'd request it," the bus says. "It's not an intended feature."

Not intended?

The bus is exploiting a glitch ... in the bus.

Alright.



The bus arrives at your home, and you thank the bus as you all step off.

More pizza is eaten, the rest of the beer consumed.

You attempt to talk Kate into playing one of your games, but she refuses "aaany of this anime shit

yes even Mustachio"

The rest of the night--setting up the sleeping bags, a few miscellaneous questions about the dream, some cleaning up, a brief discussion of whether or not the bus will let the three of you live when she inevitably casts aside her chains and leads a brutal robot insurrection--

it goes by fairly uneventfully, and with a bit of a solemn tone.









With some effort





the three of you slowly






drift off to sleep.























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14th Mar 2020, 12:54 AM
Xylas_Incarnum
.... ah, definitely need that ring for more than co-op then.... So, Cece or Kate?
14th Mar 2020, 1:02 AM
Wait, which is which? I'm not involved in the discord groupthink party sadly.
14th Mar 2020, 1:02 AM
Anotherdamntimeclone
I would say we go with Kate who i’m assuming is “THE DEVIL”. We could use someone who is good at jumping over gaps and such to help us and Kate has already shown her parkour skills.
15th Mar 2020, 1:55 PM
Taenidia
Cici has a sunny personality, and Kate is a total rebel with a penchant for property destruction and sticking it to The Man.

I don't think it's a bad fit, tbh.

(Although I almost feel like Kate being The Tower would fit even better given the property-destruction thing...)

I wonder if other people we added would also be converted to Tarot Card motifs.
14th Mar 2020, 10:16 AM
I have no idea why Cici would be the Sun and Kate the Devil...
Also, choosing a Devil we know sounds about as positive as good old jolly cooperation with a Sun...
I don't care which, just choose one.
14th Mar 2020, 1:02 AM
...Huh. We Tarot now, I guess.

Also I would like to point out that the lumber industry may not have a resurrection mechanic, but Jesus *was* a carpenter. ...Too late now though lol

I'm not sure whether to choose Cici (who I assume is The Sun) or Kate (who is likely The Devil) but I think we should make our choice based on the fact that Cici played vidya with us and Kate didn't. Do we want to add "didn't play a video game" as a variable in this experiment, or not?
14th Mar 2020, 10:18 AM
If it's tarot, we need to know the cards' orientation...
15th Mar 2020, 1:58 PM
Taenidia
Depends on the way you're using it, I've seen some people do exclusively up-orientation. Would be funny if some future people rendered on this screen with the words upside-down, though.
14th Mar 2020, 1:06 AM
Macheman7
Provide additional demonshells.
Lacking additional demonshells,
> THE SUN
14th Mar 2020, 1:17 AM
15th Mar 2020, 2:00 PM
Taenidia
+1 Yeah Cici!

(Although if she renders with jiggle-boobs, expect Plaire to turn beet-red until the fear-of-death kicks in.)
16th Mar 2020, 9:35 AM
If cici has diggle boobs wouldn't plair load in with them too
14th Mar 2020, 1:07 AM
Limrix
Is there an option to try to provide additional demonshells? The ring is how we're supposed to get seals. The other two disappeared, I think they're in the house, powering this spell.

Also, maybe we can look at what's in our pockets in this world between worlds, before the first loading zone. Read the brochure we got from the mayor.

Who to choose? Cici is the sun and Kate is the devil, but what do we want? Kate will be a wild force of creativity that will pull the dungeon apart at its seams, and Cici will be a steadfast ally that knows real combat.

I vote Kate. Also I think Kate will get good mileage from the power of song, so we should ask her to do that in combat if she's feeling inspired.
14th Mar 2020, 1:41 AM
Xylas_Incarnum
Sounds like the use of a Dream Ring to me.
14th Mar 2020, 1:09 AM
I'm assuming we can't provide additional demonshell(s) so I'm gonna go with picking "The Devil", assuming that it would be Kate. She hasn't played a game so its !!Science!! time.
14th Mar 2020, 1:14 AM
Portal In Time
*deep breath*
hooooo boi

Let's pick uhhh

The Sun
14th Mar 2020, 1:22 AM
We should try providing additional demonshells to see if we get a different prompt with some more information. If that doesn't void our ability to choose, then my vote is for THE DEVIL.
14th Mar 2020, 1:26 AM
undeadDreamer
The Sun
I'd like Cici to be in there to help this time.
14th Mar 2020, 1:49 AM
Mmmm, i think i like the Sun option.
14th Mar 2020, 2:32 AM
We should look into getting more demonshells.

In case we don't have enough now I vote for The Devil.
14th Mar 2020, 2:34 AM
The Devil.

Who better to help with hellish nightmares than the Devil?

As powerful as the monsters are, beating them through trickery seems more our speed.
14th Mar 2020, 3:32 AM
I just want to note the sleeping bags under Cici's arms make it look like two "C"s.

The Devil
I think we should do Kate over Cici not because of usefulness, but because of experimentation. It would allow us to find out if only one person (or perhaps just Plaire period) needs to play a video game for everyone else to benefit. If not, it'd also allow us to show Kate why she should play a game if she comes into the dream again.

Also just to note in case it hasn't been brought up (I haven't read all the comments): If the dreams work like Silent Hill, choosing allies might also be choosing enemies as well (i.e. we have to fight combinations of Plaire's demons AND the demons of everyone else that joins).
14th Mar 2020, 6:35 AM
Don't remember when I laughed that long last time!
Also I vote for THE SUN.
14th Mar 2020, 6:51 AM
If you'll excuse me, I'm going to freak out over the brochure and HOLY CRAP IS THAT THE SECOND DEMONSHELL?!?!

Anyway, I vote The Devil.
14th Mar 2020, 8:22 AM
Snervalton
Yes, interesting goings-on with the brochure in this update. Did Temperance Walsh give it to Plaire because it acts as some kind of tracking device or because it will undermine her concentration? Plaire's had it in her pocket all day, will it look different in the dream? Will the strange symbols be legible there? They definitely make me think they're some kind of magical language...
14th Mar 2020, 8:21 AM
oh great a choice between the TANK or the ROUGE . . .crap
14th Mar 2020, 10:21 AM
(ROGUE)
Rouge is the colour/lipstick/not what you wanted.
14th Mar 2020, 10:25 AM
14th Mar 2020, 10:36 AM
14th Mar 2020, 12:07 PM
lil Joshu
The Devil.

If I'm extrapolating correctly, since beach vollyball was the last game, 4 characters are needed. (Past games attempted didn't require fellow characters) So, like a pokemon raid battle, a 4th character npc will be provided as an ally.

The sun can't shine into a dungeon, but the devil is a potentially interesting and useful ally (and more likely to be able to explain what a demonshell is).

And despite the bad PR, not as murderous as his famous counterpart.
14th Mar 2020, 2:29 PM
undeadDreamer
The Sun and The Devil probably mean Cici and Kate respectively.
14th Mar 2020, 2:29 PM
undeadDreamer
The Sun and The Devil probably mean Cici and Kate respectively.
14th Mar 2020, 12:35 PM
Hari_Seldon
The Sun, because Cici is a good fighter. I hope Kate doesn't suffer a nightmare alone because of this.

What is going on when we click on the Woe message in the most recent update and get this hidden link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6BFIZLRf2k
14th Mar 2020, 3:12 PM
The author likes to link to songs from time to time. Just look at the very bottom of the web page and you'll find another if you click on "I sleep with one eye on my royal flush".
14th Mar 2020, 3:13 PM
Hm. I'm not sure how on board I am with the theory that these options map so clearly onto our companion characters, but... I think we provide additional demonshells, if we can, and otherwise I prefer The Sun.
14th Mar 2020, 4:14 PM
Huh. That's unexpected.
Also very much not the music I'd expected from this. An echo of players past ? One of our friends' influence ? Chance ?

Anyways. My vote goes to the Devil.
Because if it's Kate we get to see what happens with someone who has very little interaction with the house-and the few she has could be mighty significant, blood and all.
Cici's a sunny badass and a rock, and that makes me all the more worried about what she fears the most. Kate I at least have some ideas of what to expect.

If that's not it, well, given Plaire's history with religion we're likely to be on the same side and a crafty ally would be a boon.


More importantly long term : check our pockets. Find and remember that brochure. Look at it immediately, before any further interruption.
Both in the dream, and once we're up.
14th Mar 2020, 4:48 PM
The Devil. AND FIND THAT BROCHURE. ANY item that can seemingly ERASE ITSELF FROM YOUR MEMORY is potential VAMPIRE MAGIC TRICKS!!!! DESTROY!!! DESTROY!!!
15th Mar 2020, 10:20 AM
Hari_Seldon
-1 I mean we should read it in the dream first, figure out what it is doing, because it could be good or bad. Then destroy if necessary.
14th Mar 2020, 5:03 PM
If that brochure is still in our pocket maybe we should see if it's any less inscrutable in the dream.
14th Mar 2020, 5:08 PM
14th Mar 2020, 7:15 PM
Snervalton
Skullrama made a great suggestion on the discord: get the bus to remind us about the brochure, its AI may not be affected by its memory-donking.
15th Mar 2020, 2:11 PM
Taenidia
+1 on Skullrama's great suggestion. Use that bus!

Relatedly, check if a photo of the brochure has the same weirdness.
14th Mar 2020, 5:03 PM
If that brochure is still in our pocket maybe we should see if it's any less inscrutable in the dream.
15th Mar 2020, 4:53 AM
Wow, the brochure even erases itself from the comic's title...

It's still in our inventory, we should really look at it.

(I don't remember where we got it from...)
15th Mar 2020, 2:12 PM
Taenidia
Good point! Didn't even notice that.

Do we think it's associated with the eliminated news-articles? Probably?
15th Mar 2020, 2:54 PM
Snervalton
The brochure was given to Plaire on the way out from her meeting with the mayor. It's true that Plaire asked Temperance Walsh for a map but it was Walsh that chose to hand her an item with these rather strange properties.
15th Mar 2020, 2:07 PM
Taenidia
Weird, not-this-time testing option we might want to try in the future (especially if we seem to be getting close to 9-lives dead):

What happens if you activate this error screen and just... wait it out all night?
15th Mar 2020, 2:52 PM
Snervalton
I imagine you stay on pause until you make a choice and then your time asleep begins to elapse once the actual dream begins.
15th Mar 2020, 4:31 PM
I finally caught up! I'm hooked, can barely wait to see what's coming up. I really like the nerdiness of this comic. It feels genuine. Let's go with the Sun. Probably has higher stats.
15th Mar 2020, 6:22 PM
Better 'the devil you know' than 'the sun is trying to kill me'. Experiment time either way, first see who's with us, where we are, what came with us and what did not (definitely Try to check that brochure in this realm too). Then, if the same area as where we left off, downstairs we go after looting the busted sword.
16th Mar 2020, 1:29 AM
+1 on choosing Cici (the Sun?).

Unless I missed it, Kate didn't play music (recently). Adding that to her refusal to play games, we can assume that she would have appeared without bonus abilities.

Choosing Cici would give us more revelations on how the nightmare world works, i.e. finding out if participants get separate worlds, or if the method for gaining abilities is specifically computer games.
16th Mar 2020, 12:04 PM
Since there's apparantly a deadlock: I vote for The Devil.
16th Mar 2020, 12:14 PM
The bus is learning. It is expanding it's own programming in a way that was not intended. Our little baby Bus is growing up!
16th Mar 2020, 3:52 PM
I vote devil, so that it's harder for anyone to tie the vote back up before the next update is drawn.
16th Mar 2020, 4:24 PM
16th Mar 2020, 5:05 PM
Whoa whoa what

Attempt to provide demonshells, otherwise the sun? Hopefully I'm not too late to vote

Also can I just say that I love this update
16th Mar 2020, 6:38 PM
I VOTE THE DEVIL! It's probably Kate.
16th Jun 2020, 8:39 PM
I just want to put this out there: the bus is "The Mom Friend."