20th May 2020, 10:59 PM
Bust out the volleyball powers

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Bust out the volleyball powers
You're not Kate.


Kate didn't play Magic Mustachio Extreme Beach Volleyball last night.


You take a breath--

not a breath, but it's ... like holding your breath?

You wait for the next explosion to go off and you make a run for the sword, concentrating the entire time on trying to keep your body from leaking out of existence. You've been looking for opportunities to volleyball spike something--but you should have way more in your arsenal than just that.

You dive between the pews in the opposite row.

...Not as far as you expected, but it was an alright dive.

You grab the sword but set it in the seat next to you; you need both hands for a moment.

You pull yourself to your feet. You pick up a random piece of wooden debris. You toss it straight into the air, and as it comes back down--


you miss.


You mutter a curse word under your breath and pick it back up.

You toss the fragment, you swing--and this time you hit it

...but the wood chunk travels about as far as it probably would in real life, and not at all in the direction you wanted.

You're trying to spike it at the stupid wall and

you quickly grab your sword and rush back out into the open aisle as the wall approaches. Running is... a task; your back hurts from your hard landing, you're bleeding and dissipating all over the place, and there's still several decent sized pieces of shrapnel just kinda... sticking out of your legs. It's really more of a power limp than a run, but you still manage to mostly outpace the dad face.

Why are volleyball powers not activating

It may be your lack of mana. Doing a bunch of crazy jumps and butt stomps lead to you fading out on Night 2; it might cost more to do things your body isn't normally capable of doing, and if that's the case, your current 'holding your breath' maneuver may be restricting your ability to spend mana.

You stop

...exhale?

And grab another piece of wood.

You toss it in the air and as it tumbles back downward, you spike it as hard as you fucking can

right into the floor.

"God DAMMIT"

Fuck it didn't work (though you DID manage to blow more mana just trying it with way too much effort and now you're even less here than you were before) fuuuuck

fuck it

FUCK. IT.

"I am LEARNING something whether you let me VOLLEYBALL OR NOT!" you scream at the stupid wall, which is still coming, and still an expressionless caricature of your piece of shit dad,

and you grab your sword's handle with both hands,

and you swing that fucker as hard as you can at the nearest stained glass window.


It goes spiraling through the air


and bounces off the iron framework that keeps the glass in place, rather than shooting square through the glass part like you'd planned.

You yell the loudest expletive this place has probably ever heard, and you scramble frantically to recover your sword ONE MORE FUCKING TIME.

You have barely anything left.

You feel like a hollowed out mash potato but you are in possession of a lot of spite.



You grab.
The fucking.
Sword.

And you throw it at a window.



You watch as it crashes through the glass.

A golden light breaks through, finally unobstructed.

You drag what's left of yourself to an as of yet unsmashed pew for a better look at what lies outside the dungeon. It ... looks like the sky, but...


yellow, and orange, swirling in a way you have never seen a sky do.

...And the longer you stare at it
the more you can begin to make out a shape
something colossal
bigger than you
bigger than this dungeon
beyond the sky
behind it
beating on it
It wants inside.

You can feel it.

Hear it.

Pounding on the walls.

You can only see one but it's not just one.

Many of them.

Each different, each beating a different rhythm.

Each bigger than you can possibly comprehend.

It coalesces into a drumming both frantic and assuring,
like the peace one knows at the end of the world.
You are drawn into it

and into the gaze of a god with far, far too many eyes in its everstretching mouth.



You wake up feeling like something has grabbed the inside of your stomach and attempted to pull you inside out. It passes quickly.

It's about 9:00 am.



You do still feel the telltale ... lessness of having faded, though. Staring at God did not kill you, you don't think, you just ran out of time.

You sit up in bed. "Kate...?"


Silence.


"KATE!"

She jolts up. "Buh? ...Did you wake up before me?," she asks sleepily. "What kind of bullshit is that?" Kate slooowly starts to sit up. "Tell me you kept going after I died."

Cici begins to stir, as well.

"Yeah," you reply, relieved. "The double doors lead to a boss room like I thought. The boss is a big wall wearing my dad's face--I figured out what it does but I wasn't able to beat it." You put your glasses on and begin to climb out of bed.

Cici finally speaks up, rubbing her eyes. "Hold up--it worked? I don't remember anything."

"It would only let me take one person with me," you tell her. "Kate's been researching the house even longer than I have, so I figured it was only fair I give her the spot--but I can bring you next time."

"Well..." Cici huffs, "Okay. As long as I get the next one!"

"Be warned," Kate comments as she stands and begins to stretch. "You will turn into a goofy doll thing."

"...What?" Cici sits up, giving a bewildered look from you to Kate. "Why?"

Kate gives a big shrug.

"Accomplices have to have something called a demonshell," you explain. "Kate's... sign is The Devil, yours is The Sun. ...So her form in the dream is a small... demon puppet thing. Yours might be different."

"Accomplices?," Cici asks. "Are we committing crimes? Sleep crimes?"

"Man, I hope so," Kate says with a smirk. "So bad I do crimes in my sleep. Being tiny sucked but flying was cool. It's a mixed bag."

Cici's face lights up. "You could FLY?"

"Yeah," replies Kate, nonchalantly. "The dungeon's cramped as shit, though. Like I said, mixed bag."

"Uhhh..." you finally, fully stand, and exhale slowly. "About that... I, uh, may have broken a window. I saw outside."

You get Kate's full attention. "And?"

"The sky was a weird amber color. I think I made eye contact with something I wasn't supposed to."

"...Oh," Kate remarks simply. "Huh."

Cici, with renewed confusion in her face, stares from Kate to you. "Okay, I am missing something because that sounds nuts and you guys are just like... oh huh."

"The dream is weird," you tell her bluntly.

"The dream's real weird," confirms Kate. "Everything has its own rules, monsters are always crawling out of the walls and shit, and nothing can stay the same for five minutes. Hallways get longer and shorter when you're not looking at them, doors get bigger and smaller, nothing just IS."

"The proportion thing isn't that bad," you comment. "That part's just like any other dream."

Kate gives you a look. "How many stitches did I have across my stomach, Plaire? On my little doll body, how many of those black stitches did I have?"

"Three," you reply. ...Before giving it more thought. "Four?"

"I rest my case," says Kate. "I watched you jump up and down like... two feet of height and three cup sizes in ten minutes. Shit is wack. You get used to it, but now I feel like... I dunno. I'm having trouble getting used to this now. The dream got so real that being awake feels..."

"Too consistent," you mutter. "Like you're being restrained."

"You guys are freaking me out," Cici chuckles. "You sound like you're getting addicted to it."

"Oh, I could definitely see it being addictive," Kate replies. "If I ever figure out how to shoot fireballs I'm just straight up moving in."

"Is... is that a thing?," asks Cici. "Fireballs."

"I could make fire," replies Kate with some clear indignation. "I know that's not all of it. That dungeon's holding out on me."

"So now what?," you ask.

"Well," Cici begins, "it's Sunday, so the library's closed. I need to check on Meatloaf sometime today, but I'm free otherwise."

"And I don't work 'til this evening," Kate adds. "So I'm good to go."

"Yeah, but--" You look from Cici, to Kate, back to Cici. "What are we doing?"

"Old library?," Kate suggests. "I dunno. You're fucking this sheep, we're just holding the legs."

"Eww," immediately follows Cici. "What?"

Kate laughs quietly to herself, shaking her head. "It's something Marlow says. I'm spreading it. ...Like a disease."

"Why am I in charge?," you ask, completely ignoring all that. "I'm not a leader."

"It's your spooky house," remarks Cici. "AND your sleepover."

"Yeah," agrees Kate. "You said it yourself--we're your accomplices."

"Oh!," interjects Cici, suddenly remembering, "did that volleyball game do anything?"

"No," you blurt out with far more thinly veiled rage than Cici really has context for. "My dives sucked and my spikes sucked even harder. It didn't do JACK! It's a dumb, horny cash-in and it's not even made by Yamau--"

Wait.


Wait wait wait.

It's not made by Yamauchi Co.

User The Thirst Guy said:
they really knew how to make games back then if you know what I mean


...Is that what he meant?

Is that what he fucking meant?!

Magic Mustachio Extreme Beach Volleyball wasn't made by Yamauchi, it was (like a lot of the Mustachio sports spin-offs) outsourced to a different company. It... it can't just be a matter of the game's age, because Crush Souls is pretty recent--or at least, it wasn't made in the 80s. Are your game powers in the dream not just a side effect of brain stuff? Is it a property inherent to each game? Do Yamauchi and Toward do something to their games that other developers don't?

"You okay, Plaire?," Cici asks. "You kinda just... shut down."

"Yamauchi's putting dream stuff in their first party games," you say slowly, almost afraid to speak it aloud. "Like... on purpose. Toward Software, too. Maybe MASAMOON and a few other companies. It just hit me and I have no idea what to do with that information. It's not a property of all games, it's particular games."

Kate squints. "Like how rock albums used to have subliminal messages? ...Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"

"The subliminal message bit's been thoroughly debunked," you point out, "and I'm tentatively flagging it as a bad thing, only because I'm tired of all my answers coming strapped with thirty more questions. I am... fucking sick of questions. I have a list. I don't think it would fit on normal paper anymore."

"I mean--" Cici shrugs, and smiles. "you are dealing with some heavy duty witchcraft business, and it hasn't even been a week yet. You gotta be patient!"

"The list is toO FUCKING BIG," you insist at a steadily increasing volume while staring vacantly into space. "I DEMAND. THAT THE LIST. BE SMALLER."

Kate turns, stumbling as she tries to exit your room and put her jacket on at the same time. "Fuck, I forgot how to walk."

"SMALLER LIST."

Cici finally stands, and shakes her head. "We are all gonna need therapy after this."

"SMA. LLER. LIST."

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20th May 2020, 11:14 PM
Limrix
We want to visit the back room at some point today to get the dream ring and talk with the owner. Afu and Marlow might be interested in looking more into the video game conspiracy if we tell them that certain video games give us dream powers, but this is real actual deep lore that you shouldn't talk about.

Does that work as a small list?

We should check if Kate felt briefly awful after waking up-- We've found our method of death follows us, does that apply to her as well?
20th May 2020, 11:17 PM
Anotherdamntimeclone
Definitely look into the ring, also ask if they know what the demonshells are. (Unless we already have)
20th May 2020, 11:24 PM
Can the Bus search for stuff on the internet? Might be a good way to hide from internet nosy people.
20th May 2020, 11:32 PM
+1 to you Limrix and Anotherdamntimeclone oh also maybe go with Cici to check in on Meatloaf cause cat therapy
20th May 2020, 11:32 PM
+1 to you Limrix and Anotherdamntimeclone oh also maybe go with Cici to check in on Meatloaf cause cat therapy
20th May 2020, 11:40 PM
Snervalton
+1 to you Limrix and Anotherdamntimeclone!
21st May 2020, 5:54 AM
20th May 2020, 11:15 PM
Welp. Let's maybe eat and focused stuff over breakfast?
20th May 2020, 11:15 PM
21st May 2020, 12:08 AM
Snervalton
+1, a debrief and brainstorming session would be very useful.
20th May 2020, 11:22 PM
Okay, so not every game works. Now, will it be possible to tell if a game will work before going into the dream?

Anyways, breakfast first. Did our food purchases include anything somewhat normal for breakfast, or maybe there is a pancake or waffle house nearby? Afterwards, head to that store we went to yesterday (whatever it was called) and grab that ring + phone, if they are open.

Also maybe write down that list, but include the questions you have got answers for, for progress's sake.
20th May 2020, 11:35 PM
Limrix
Baked potatoes are surprisingly good as a breakfast food. Use the oven this time though, maybe one of the girls can help us not burn our house down.
21st May 2020, 8:23 AM
Mortal science is probably not sufficient to burn this house down.
20th May 2020, 11:24 PM
That entire update was wonderful.
So, ladies, what's for breakfast?
Make and eat that, then uh... speaking of Marlow, weren't we going to visit him again today? Maybe he has more Yamauchi, Toward, or MASAMOON games we can buy or borrow, if not a Dream Ring.
Honestly if we told him everything he'd probably just let us have the games for free to test it as long as we promised to let him know if it worked.

After that... visit the old library. Please bring weaponry, and you know, ask if Cici has any recommendations for like, how to investigate a mundane hostile area. Maybe bring some rope.
20th May 2020, 11:44 PM
Snervalton
I suggest that Plaire should set aside time to make another video today because she's still workin' for a livin'!
20th May 2020, 11:44 PM
Okay so video game/programmer logic here:

The dream must expose entities that are accessible to video games via some method or another, similar to an API. This is evidenced by the fact that no matter what game we use, the House tracks Plaire's mana, who she brings with her, Shadow Plaires, etc. AND special powers differentially drain mana.

These companies have unlocked the 'how' of this and it's probably a closely-kept secret. I remember articles back in the day that Nintendo kept some of its wiimote functionality obscured to third-parties, etc.

We need to make friends with someone who could look at the source code for the games, eventually. Maybe ask our new friends about it?

My actual suggestion: in the name of making the list smaller we could see if those companies have any common ground via internet research to figure out who has/distributes the knowledge.
21st May 2020, 12:01 AM
Snervalton
+1. Also, might Afu from The Back Room be the type of friend who could look at the source code for games?
21st May 2020, 5:50 AM
22nd May 2020, 4:09 PM
Taenidia
Could always do one of those veiled-references-to-the-dream videos, this time about game functionalities that were kept obscured to third-parties?

Expect to see it taken down, but we could see if we get some interesting TFL commentary.

You can start it with a preamble like "I'm going to be restricting myself to games from legit designers, like Yamauchi, MASAMOON, and Toward..."

...and end it with "...so, it always confused me why people did this. Maybe it makes debugging easier? Or there's a programmer that likes leaving them? Anyone got a game development tutorial, or a textbook on game dev that might explain this to me? Hit up my PMs, or leave a comment."
20th May 2020, 11:44 PM
Major priorities:

- Go buy a dream ring thing. Presumably it will let us bring Cici. Is the Back Room open on Sundays?

- Secure our supply of drugs that enable us to function. We can't just have Kate handing us a few pills here or there-- we need to be able to take these things consistently. Ask her where to get more, or if she can hook us up with enough that we don't have to be super concerned about where our next dose is coming from.

- Check on the kitty cat and pet him <3

- Eat food. (We can think about schedules and such while we do that.)

Minor priorities:

- Check out the library. Yes, this is important to do eventually, but it's not critical that we do it today. It would be very convenient to do it while we have Cici, Kate, and daylight, though.

- Acquire/invent more weaponry and equipment. For example, we need a broom handle-- we can use it like a 10-foot pole to test for traps. A bag of marbles can help with slowing walking enemies, as well as more trap-testing. A fanny pack, backpack, and/or utility vest, for carrying loot and tools. String and scissors if we need to tie anything. A small mirror for looking around corners. And Kate owes us a new crowbar. She can also suggest things that she can bring, now that she knows more about the dream.
21st May 2020, 12:07 AM
Snervalton
I would add to the list of equipment:
-a cigarette lighter to light candles when demon-plushie Kate isn't around
-yellow reflective tape to experiment with a see if we can make our own "do not reset" tape
21st May 2020, 12:14 AM
Limrix
+1 to this, besides petting the cat, I'm neutral on that. It might be a good idea to hit up the local junkyard or abandoned places for random items: things like sticks and jars and bricks and string are something we could really use. We should have the grocery bags from our trip to the store to carry stuff.
21st May 2020, 12:42 AM
Oooooh, a junkyard/abandoned place trip could be *very* fruitful.

We're probably gonna want to bring Cici with us for that one, too, tho-- I imagine if there's giant, dangerous wildlife around, then it probably ALSO likes to visit the junkyard. Also, something tells me that Kate might have some expertise in raiding abandoned places already...

Edit: Actually, an abandoned-place-raiding trip could coincide very well with a trip to the library. Maybe hit the library first, and if we survive that mostly intact, some other places? XD We should bring bags and backpacks to the library in case we wanna take stuff back with us.
21st May 2020, 9:36 AM
Snervalton
I'm wondering if Maria's store might carry some of these items? We still need to check on her after the fire.
21st May 2020, 1:35 AM
Frission
I'm just, laughing so hard right now. XD Thank you for that, MM. <3
21st May 2020, 1:52 AM
Xylas_Incarnum
... should look into buying that ring at the Backroom now. maybe see if Kate and Cici want to help with that. expanding co-op and all that.
21st May 2020, 3:43 AM
Hari_Seldon
Ask Kate how to get more Brainsate, because Kate is around NOW and this is not a conversation to have by phone.

Buy the dream ring and figure out if The Back Room has any relevant video games. Since Cici likes playing volleyball maybe see if we could ask Cici to buy a game she likes (that has Alcazar powers) we could share and when Plaire gets more money buy the game from Cici.

I would love to go to the Old Library, but that is NOT a good idea because even if we can get Cici's cop equipment Cici lost an eye even with all that so it's too dangerous until we buy something more. We could ask the Back Room people what we could buy to help us explore the Old Library.

I really hope that broken church window won't cause problems if we fight Father Warden again.
21st May 2020, 9:38 AM
Snervalton
I agree that we should hold off on trying to visit the Old Library until we're better equipped and prepared.
21st May 2020, 3:47 AM
Assuming giant mutant wolves are just as nocturnal as ordinary wolves I'd prefer to go to the old library while the sun is still up.
21st May 2020, 9:39 AM
21st May 2020, 7:05 AM
pkrankow
Breakfast
Edit and post? Do we have fresh video? Cash flow is important.
Back room about the ring.
Research studios and games.
I am sure I missed stuff...
21st May 2020, 10:22 AM
Oh yeah, money is unfortunately still a thing we need. With everything else going on my brain keeps wanting to forget that part.
21st May 2020, 7:41 AM
Any fighting game comes to Plaire's mind? It could be extremely useful to have at least supernatural understanding of handling melee weapons, especially if we want to face armed and/or armoured enemies in any dream run.
21st May 2020, 8:32 AM
Exercise. Player needs exercise. I know these things take time, but we need to move on long-term plans early. If in one or two (in-comic) weeks, she can wield a one-handed sword with ACTUALLY one hand, and maybe sprint by a Chain Maw without an accomplice RISKING HER LIFE to distract it, we might say it's paid off.

Also, "Kate gives a big shrug."

We need to know more.

Was it...

The Biggest Shrug?

*drops mic*
21st May 2020, 9:41 AM
Snervalton
+1 to some exercise for Plaire
21st May 2020, 12:08 PM
Hari_Seldon
+1 ask Cici how to do calisthenics and cardio at home.
22nd May 2020, 4:22 PM
Taenidia
+1, also ask Cici if she can teach us how to fight.
21st May 2020, 9:55 AM
The Back Room
Dream Ring
phone
?maybe answers?
21st May 2020, 11:18 AM
Hahaha, I just thought of a thing. Our good author has dropped the hint that Player needs to eat better food. Be more healthy, you know?

Suppose he has a plan for tangible benefits to good health. Suppose that it improves magic power and mana reserves.

Then when Player figures it out, she tells Kate that MAYBE she'll be able to shoot fireballs... but she'll have to give up the Level and Brainsate and other drugs. Kate'll be just, "That's so unfair, why should I have to choose between awesome things that I want to enjoy?"
22nd May 2020, 4:34 PM
Taenidia
This is probably a "later" thing, and likely would benefit a consult with the videogame/conspiracy nerds at the shop.

The fact that these developers consistently incorporate spooky-house powers in their games, suggests that the skill of embedding them can be learned?

When you have computer access sometime, search some of these games for Easter Eggs that give you the name of the programmers/developers (This is one of the oldest kinds of Easter Eggs). Especially look out for any names that show up in *multiple* of these. Also, search for game development guides (especially internal ones), or weird skill requests in job listings/applications, from these companies.