Nov 25, 2017 12:57 AM
Why does the dungeon always collapse
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Veron in Arda
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He'd meant to quit this whole 'adventuring' business, hadn't he. Messy, confusing, dirty business, filled with far too many bad smells and far too little comfortable places to sleep. If he'd ever had any fantasies for the profession, they have long since been burned away. He wants peace, damn it, is that so hard? It shouldn't be. Why doesn't the world respect his decisions? Veron Chandler, completely ordinary citizen of Neverwinter, no reason at all for anyone to look twice at him; that was precisely what the plan had been.

The last time he'd tried this, the plan had been to be 'Veron Chandler, completely ordinary citizen of Waterdeep,' and look how that went. Conned into going after some idiots that didn't understand the concept of 'waiting,' conscripted to join a war in a place so foreign he didn't feel safe to drink at the local tavern, condemned to the eighth level of Hell itself as someone else's patsy. Hadn't that been fun. He had thought he'd learned his lesson about doing nice things for nice people; sure, everyone thanks you, but no one's there for you when you later have reoccurring nightmares of dracoliches. It's safe to say that he's done his time in the world saving business, he can let the world handle itself for a little while.

Except here he is again, investigating weird shit because a nice person asked him to. Did he say, 'Go ask someone else'? Or perhaps, 'Sorry, I can't help you,' or even, 'Why don't you just move somewhere safer instead of parking near the haunted catacombs of your ancestors'? He did not. He did not say any of those things. Instead he said, 'I'll give it a look,' and now here he is, tromping his way to some haunted catacombs, like he has any business poking at the dead. Ugh. His bleeding heart is going to be the death of him, one day. Possibly today. It could always be today.

"If I meet another kid," he mutters to himself as he stomps through the underbrush, swatting at a mosquito on his neck, "that looks up at me with big earnest eyes and says, 'I want to be an adventurer like you when I grow up!' I am going to tell him the story about the mindflayers." This is a lie. He would never tell any child any stories about mindflayers. He doesn't want to give kids nightmares. But saying this sort of thing makes him feel better, and there's no one here to hear him, so he doesn't feel bad about it.

Stomp, stomp, stomp - oh look, weird magic bullshit, he's so surprised. Guarded by skeletons, how novel. He neither is surprised, nor finds it novel. He decides that he doesn't want to deal with these reanimated cadavers any longer than he has to. He should just start off by shadowstepping to the far skeleton archer, then tripping up the warrior as it runs... but what if someone actually has a legitimate reason to have these corpses animated? He doesn't know the local culture, it could be a thing. Use the ethically sourced dead to work in the fields for the living, or something. There is nothing stopping a necromancer from being good, in theory. Not that he's met one.

Oh blessed Tymora he's going to reveal himself and attempt to communicate out of principle, isn't he. Damn it. That's going to get him killed, too.

"Excuse me!" he calls. "Is there a spellcaster or restless ghost that maybe wants to explain what's going on?"

"Ah!" says an echoing voice through the trees. "An intruder! More materials for my experiments! Slay him, my minions!"

Veron indulges in a sigh. Yeah, that was what he was afraid it would be. This is what happens when you give people the benefit of the doubt. People trying to kill you.

 

The skeletons are a breeze, the later zombies a cakewalk, and the horrific sewn together monstrosity, ten feet tall and no doubt a treasured favorite of the necromancer, a brief distraction. Very brief.

"So is it the standard 'the fools cast me out and I'll show them all' backstory, or...?" says Veron, when he has the necromancer cornered.

"You think you've won! But I'll show you, you won't be so smart then, will you, think you can kill me -"

"Listen, mate. I don't want to kill you. I wanted to say hello. What's your story, what got you to run off to the woods to play with dead things -"

"Insufferable fool! I'll show you -" the necromancer raises his hand to point a finger at Veron.

The world turns a familiar grey as Veron slides into the in-between of Toril and the Plane of Shadow. The necromancer freezes, his hand nearly extended. Time's not actually frozen, per se, Veron's just moving and perceiving the world fast enough that everything looks still. He can't keep this up forever, not if he wants to avoid getting shunted unpleasantly to the Plane of Shadow, but he can keep it up long enough to slip behind the necromancer before his perception of time rights itself and the world's color returns.

His knife, quite casually, is at the necromancer's throat.

"Pass. Listen, I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here, but you're making it real hard."

The necromancer splutters, and his spell fizzles harmlessly. "W-what?! What, you - you -"

"Yeah. Me. Say one complete sentence that isn't evil, please, I'm begging you here."

"You'll get no simpering from me, fool!!"

Well. Lost cause, he's wasted more than enough effort on this waste of a person. It's obvious he's not going to change his mind, or stop sewing corpses together, and it's obvious he'll graduate to kidnapping people and experimenting on them soon. Can't just leave him alone, and it's not like he has some place to hold him. The Plane of Shadow, maybe, but he's not putting anyone there if he can at all help it. He has a brief debate over if he can get this guy to some place that'll try to reform him, decides that any place that could hold a wizard wouldn't make them very inclined to reform, and promptly slits the guy's throat.

"What a waste," he sighs, at the corpse.

And then, in typical adventurer tradition, he immediately begins raiding the necromancer's stuff.


Halfway through that, as he's sorting through the potion rack, there's a cracking sound from behind him. He whirls around just in time to see the final shards of a crystal ball fall to the ground. He swears just in time to properly express his dismay at the glowing and buildup to exploding that is happening around the enchanted glass shards. On instinct, he shifts to the in-between, planning to dash to the exit before he can get caught in whatever bizarre blast is no doubt about to occur.

Veron Chandler is very fast, but he shifted as the explosion began, not before. It is a very rapid explosion, once it gets going. He is not quite fast enough to escape it.

 

He starts going through his checklist before he even opens his eyes. Anything injured, if so, how bad? Does he have his pack, where are his weapons, is anyone immediately trying to kill him, does he have anyone else he needs to look out for, does he need to move right now or die.

Not injured, not unless it's bad enough that he doesn't feel it. Pack's there, so are his weapons.

He sits up with a groan, and opens his eyes to see about anyone trying to kill him.

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Instead they appear to be fleeing him. He's landed among some tents along a wide river, and a few minutes ago there were fishing nets stretched across the river and some kind of children's game being played with the robes dangling from the nearby pine trees. Everyone has abandoned their possessions and grabbed their babies (is the place a daycare? more than half its residents appear to be under the age of five) and now they are fleeing.

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Well, shit.

"... Sorry!" he calls after them, wincing. Yeah, he bets he was scary, weird shadow man appears out of nowhere, of course he's scary.

He stands, and holds up his empty hands in an attempt at a gesture of nonharm. Wait, are they going to think he's a spellcaster? They might think he's a spellcaster. He puts his hands down. "Not going to hurt any of you, that was an accident, I am very sorry."

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- they keep fleeing. They might not speak the language. One of the kids stumbles into the river and one of the adults sets down the two she's carrying to desperately lunge after him - misses - glances back at the scary shadow person and picks up the babies and runs again -

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Well, the answer to that is just obvious, isn't it.

Shadowstep. Dash to the riverbank, dive into the river, grab the child, and then end the shadowstep so he can drag the kid out of the river.

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It's a really ugly kid. Folds and folds of veiny greyish skin, flattened nose, little tusks. He clings and gasps for air and then coughs for a bit and then lies very still and watches Veron silently. 

 

Everyone else is out of sight by now. 

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He's really not going to judge this kid based on his looks.

"Sorry," he repeats, depositing the kid on the riverbank and backing away, looking apologetic. His boots make unpleasant squelching noises as he walks. He really shouldn't be focusing on that.

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Kid continues to not move and watch him warily.

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Yeah, fair enough.

He continues backing away, looking as nonthreatening and apologetic as possible, holding up his empty hands to attempt to show how so not filled with weaponry they are. He has weapons on him, many of them visible, but he is keeping carefully away from them.

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After a little while the kid seems to decide that he is not going to be murdered. He gets up off the ground and bows.

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Excellent! Progress.

Veron bows back, then finds a rock a respectable distance away to sit down at, visible but away from the camp, and away from the kid. He needs to get his boots off to get the water out of them so they stop squelching.

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- kid shoots glances at the woods where everyone else ran off and watches Veron take his boots off.

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Once most of the water's out, he puts his boots back on and glances at the kid. He points at the kid, then the woods where everyone ran off, then tilts his head questioningly.

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Kid says something in a language Veron doesn't recognize.

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"Sorry, I'm afraid I don't speak that. Do you speak Dethek, or Sssaktsth?"

That second one didn't sound like a sound a human could make. Veron made it anyway. The perks of being part shadow monster.

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Headshake.

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Veron makes another apologetic look.

He stands. He points at himself, then in the opposite direction everyone fled. Then, he makes a hand gesture that probably means 'or,' and points at the kid, himself, and after where everyone else ran.

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- he walks a little into the forest, pretends to wander around calling for them, shakes his head.

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About what he expected, really.

He points at himself, mimes looking for them, then nods. He tilts his head at the kid questioningly.

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- headshake.

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Veron nods, and makes no move to follow after them. Even to put the kid back.

He makes an opening hand motion that probably means 'What would you like me to do?'

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The kid looks puzzled by this. Then he goes over to the river and starts folding up all the fishing nets. 

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Well he doesn't want to just abandon this kid in the woods.

Is the kid okay with getting help with the nets?

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Smiles shyly at him. Directs him in how to fold them up properly so they'll dry overnight. Gets some crickets out of a box and eats them and offers Veron one.

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Veron follows directions and folds nets properly! And smiles back.

Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, he has known people that kept spiders for pets. So crickets being offered as food doesn't incite him to make a face, he just shakes his head and motions towards his pack.

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Kid nods, goes into one of the tents, curls up. Then pops back out of the tent to emphatically pantomime that Veron should not make a fire.

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