Since I'm probably going to abandon my save file due to an unfortunate event, I thought I just post the story of it here. Obviously this will end up in a very extreme wall of text - but if you are interested in such stories feel free to continue reading.
1.0. The Preparation
Last year in august I was planning on playing Elona(+) again, since it was around 9 years ago when I played vanilla Elona on its latest stable version. In 2010 I never made it far into the game, I wasn't even close to anywhere to 3 digit stats - but I was able to at least survive basic stuff and advanced very slowly until I stopped playing at some point. What I do not like if you can things permanently mess up which was one of the reasons I decided to play Elona+ instead of Elona this time as it appears Elona+ tries to avoid/reduce such things. I always went out without any pets 9 years ago as I think they pretty immediately died for me - and so I went on another petless journey again. My choice fell on an Eulderna Warmage since at the time I created the character it seemed to be the best choice for me with the extra magic resistance while not having any specific disadvantages. As feats I choosed some resistances and Exorcist to nullify being cursed on dreams as I remember 9 years ago on vanilla Elona this was a significant threat to me (however, now I would not choose this feat anymore since cursing items later in the game can be quite important - I wished this feat would just add a toggle special action like Dupli-Cane and Advanced Casting so you could enabled/disable this at any time).
1.1. The Beginnings
I started the game pretty casually on Essential Mode (I would have preferred a harder mode but I dislike loosing life/mana when the game/system crashes by accident) with the intention not to savescum. I was entering the wilderness around my house to improve my stats until I could survive basic enemies like a kobold. My playstyle mostly reflects of going melee-only and I'm not sure why I choosed a Warmage at this time - possibly I have read before that magic is pretty strong and decided to give it a try later - but I don't fully remember. I was exited about simple stuff like identifying things to permanently unlock their basic selling values to make more money. After around 1-2 hours it was time for looting the Puppy Cave to make more money and progress even further. I tried to improve my gear by getting some resistances and preferring glass gear for more speed. At some point I entered a pretty low danger level dungeon which was at this time pretty high for me. At the end was a level 8 or 9 Grudge which I don't remember anymore if I defeated him or not - but slowly I begun to get stronger. Progressing on this low level went a while while I was also using the Wiki on Fandom all the time to check all the details for the game mechanics out. At some point later I also gave magic a try. Seeing how the damage of a magic dart increased quite fast with its dices and damage value I thought at this time that magic is pretty overpowered and will easily outclass any melee.
1.2. The first accident
After some casual playing I achieved significant progress when I got enough medals to buy some artifacts in Miral and Garok's Workshop. With the I was able to do moderate amounts of damage (around ~200 at this time) and with the I had no issues with upcomming invisible creatures. Ironically I still had both items around the 800+ hours mark, since artifact items are usually pretty strong (especially in this game) even compared to random godly items and over the course of time you usually rarely progress with new random equipment in this game. At the end I was able to blast even level 50000+ monsters away with moderate ease which are all capped with all stats at 2000 - but more to my endgame build and what I all did later in this post. The next step was to progress with the story so I went for the 3 magic stones. When I approached Wynan on his chessboard he crushed 1 or 2 walls which stressed me out (which also happened later on some other locations) since on trying to fix this later it turned out this is not possible - as placing wall tiles with the Wall Creation spell or removing them to fix floor tiles will always result in a default wall/floor tile - making it impossible to create specific ones as I really wanted to preserve all the static areas in the game. I was a bit sad about it and hoped that in the future there would be a way to fix this - like a way to choose which wall/floor tiles to place; a janitor set that allows you to actually also design some static areas at some point; or some other solution. My savefile was now slighly messed up and I just continued - always hoping that I can just fix all messed up floors in the future but also knowing that this is extremely unlikely to happen.
1.3. Careful grinding
Meanwhile I also grinded for more Little Sisters and got more Hero Cheese to improve survivability - which was a slight mistake at this point since I was still in act 1 (as I planned later to add additional body parts). Farming for Little Sisters was quite a serious task too since I wanted to avoid killing a single one to avoid reducing the spawn rate of Big Daddies. As far as I know this is another thing where you can permanently mess your save file up if you make a mistake so initially I did always fully clear a floor before approaching a Big Daddy and then even walling him in with enough distance to avoid him smashing the walls as enemies can still spawn randomly if enough turns pass - eventually an enemy would have appeared otherwise exactly in the turn when the Little Sister spawns just to kill her and mess my save file up (when I was much stronger I did not wall them in anymore and from the ~350 Little Sisters that spawned not a single one died during my whole playtime). When I also progressed more in the story and met Alsapia in Lesimas floor 30 I think I had around 300 hit points but still died on my first try against her. The neverending progression just continued until I was strong enough to finish act 1. But before defeating Zeome I also wanted to finish some side quests which lead to an interetsing experience. Ungaga in the Minotaur's Nest did land a critical hit on me with his first strike, probably with a very high roll and I lost around 700 hit points and died. He never did any damage this close to me again on my future attempt so I guess I was just extremely unlucky here.
1.4. The museum and its difficulties
One thing until this point that bothered me a bit was the museum. I wanted to collect all cards and statues to show them in my museum but anyone who tried to seriously fill a museum probably knows the troubles. There is not enough space to place them all even if you extend the default floor and additional floors can't be created. Also there is no sane way to track which statues/cards you already have in your museum so I decided to just collect the statues/cards from unique NPC's and very later on I even begun to remove some cards as space still became very limited (if you want to make your museum look halfway good and not to fill every single possible tile). At the end this is good enough to reach rank 1 and get all the points to get more platinum coins but I think this is something that could get enhanced. Especially since adding support for multiple floors and linking them to the ranking is not difficult.
2.0. Getting strong
One of my goals was to get new body parts as fast as possible from doctor Gavela as I wanted to avoid loosing more life as neccessary from early farmed Hero Cheese (I think I only lost 1 extra life due to this but it was still a bit annoying). I got 2 additional hands and my setup (either it was a sword and shield or already dual-wielding) changed to quad-wielding with a living weapon (lightsabre), , and . I think at this time I did roughly around 1000 damage per hit - which didn't progress too significantly for me anymore over the course of the next few hundred hours. Also I did experiment with my living weapon a bit and did reset it a few times at Maile - but was a bit annoyed that instead of being a reset for its level/gained attributes instead all attributes that were even before leveling it up got deleted too (e.g. if you get a living weapon with a good invoke and want to reset its level the invoke will be gone forever). At least the attributes from the material kit could have been kept as for example in my case the lightning resistance from being a diamond lightsabre got deleted too - while it was still made of diamond after resetting. Reapplying another material kit (even if the same) fixes this issue but it still feels a bit annoying. One thing that I got curious later on was why all enemies got in some cases just 1 damage no matter what. It turned out that the chain intervalls the weapons do are actually a nerf for cases when enemies can't do something on too many turns of the player (like perma-stunning them and stopping the time too often). Once it reaches 200 all enemies are getting just 1 damage from any source - limiting the combination of dual-wielding and time-stopping (this is also one reason why you want to avoid spreading too much different damage types on weapons as every damage type counts as its own attack and adds 1 to the chain interval - making the enemies just faster resistant to your damage). At the end I went full darkness damage on my living weapon since it seems the most useful - it mostly prevents any physical and magical threats, is very easy to apply to any regular enemy that is not immune to blindness or has innate superb resistance to darkness (even capped out enemies), according to the wiki sticks usually a bit longer than confusion from mind or sound damage (and confusion has the disadvantage that enemies could spawn other enemies if they fail to cast a spell) and does not stunlock the enemy to avoid high chain intervalls.
2.1. Common work
Nothing too spectacular happened from here except casual grinding and when blewing up Palmia for the side-quest I forgot to check for other adventures - and of course pissed some of. I was now curious if they would ever come to my home and trying to burn it but this did never happen. Meanwhile I had a ranch with a fairy to get more Secret Experiences of Kumiromi - which did net me the one and other a few times during my gameplay. If I would have found them as often as Happy Beds dropped for me I would have possibly already nearly capped out all my feats - those beds really dropped like biscuits for me. I also had a shop and did put all the cooked food I got from killed enemies there. I also did sell miracle and godly equipment there that I found but had no use for it. Since I played this game casually and in a more or less RPG-like manner Isca was the shopkeeper. I also intentionally wasted a rod of wishing to give her the negotiation skill as I had not much interest to dig into gene engineering yet. As shop feats I choosed Asthetic Sense to get more money and Proprietary Sales to get even more money. I still assume the latter is responsible for a display bug: Every time the day ends and the summary is shown the first message is partially duplicated with some nonsense. It sorts of depends of the last tiles you have somehow encountered - but I do not know the exact details. It is kind of funny when the message claims Isca has put Palmia into my shop storage^^ Also I had a farm with nothing spectacular in it. Mainly I did put fruit trees in there that I sto... borrowed. I also had a bigger tree farm in my house which I used to produce juice so I had not to go to Noyel anymore every once in a while to farm some snow.
2.2. Making money
My Win-LVL increased while I played more - without knowing what this actually meant. Later on I figured out the number there (in the current version of Elona+ shown as "Proper" in your character sheet) is just the highest level of a dungeon boss you killed. It seems to affect the danger level of newly generated dungeons and quests. Additionaly the highest danger level you entered/cleared or such seems to also affect this (and can be reset at Maile while the first can't). I got into the ranges of level 150-200 dungeons and things begun to get harder. And some point (possibly a bit earlier or maybe even shortly after act 2 - I don't remember exactly when) I noticed all enemies have now a gauge bar. I had around 3000 hit points and a Flash Wyvern could remove half of them when its gauge bar got full. Also the god enemies like Atlas begun to show up. I remember that I killed an early one with several magic darts from the distance but it was still pretty dangerous. However, at this point I got quite some extra money as the gold piles are in the 5 digit ranges here. Later I noticed that it seems to cap at 50000 and even much higher dungeons seem on average to yield even less money. It sort of felt like the money values are sort of overflowing and thus lowering the average a bit until some even more higher danger levels again. If I was wrong or what exactly was going on here is still unknown to me. But with the extra money and the sold cooked food I was able to increase my Investment skill more and more - as it levels pretty fast. It was also my first skill that reached level 2000 and thus requiring me only a bit over 50000 gold to invest 50 more ranks on a shopkeeper. At the end of my gameplay my blackmarket shopkeeper is now rank 66000 - but it feels not better than like rank 5000. Either the improvement is here extremely slow, maybe with diminishing returns or I did already hit the softcap and there is no point in investing here anymore.
2.3. The AP-system
One thing I was already concerned when I was still in act 1 and that influenced my gameplay heavily was the AP mechanic as I think it can sort of mess up your save file too. Currently after 966 hours my AP are 2500 (8500) which is the highest minimum value for my build when you buy only the skills and prepare to swap to any skill without wanting to increase your AP further. If I would have gone for additional speed/life my AP value would now be even higher - while I can achieve those values even without investing the AP. This has the theoretical advantage that I'm as best as possible prepared if updates of Elona+ add stuff to the AP mechanic. Players who instead capped out their AP wouldn't be able to get any more of them and potentially locking out from new stuff and thus messing up their save file. Also the AP system favors to save your Speed Upper potions/Hermes Blood, etc. ideally after you have capped out the related stats with AP which I also disliked. I think a better approach to this part of the AP system would be to not bind the stat increases to the base stats - but instead applying them as an invisible buff. This way it would solve the problems above (but also result in a bit higher stats on endgame builds). It probably sounds stupid to many who read this - but whatever, I just progress without the stat increases and the journey continued.
2.4. Rejected from some gods
Additionally I also went every year to the Truce Ground and temporarily worshipped another god to make them spawn in november and getting the specific training-related artifact. Unfortunately there is a bug that prevented me to do this a few times. Even having more than just enough favor and praying at the Truce Ground resulted in around half of all cases the related god to not appear. I don't know what exactly causes this issue but my guess is that switching to a god too late might have an impact on this issue. Also I remember that I have seen another user here in the past that has claimed about this issue. I guess it is just rare and since the exact conditions are unknown I expect it not to be fixed soon - if at any point at all. My current approach was to not switch to a god later than september and so far my last summoning in november was successfull but I would have to test this further.
2.5. Improving my gear
Via the course of this grinding I also improved my gear. While randomly generated equipment very rarely improved my current equipment and too often even very early artifacts were very superior, all my equipment was hardened to +10 via a blacksmith and to +15 via stardusts. The new improvement was reforging their type and applying a more effective material kit on them. Since I wanted to balance stuff out most of my armor got a Dragon Scale material kit as it has a good improvement to DV and PV while also providing fire and cold resistance which is quite important to avoid item destruction in tricky cases ( I always carry a fireproof and coldproof blanket with me just in case. Too bad filling charges seems to be limited (even accross other items I think) to lower values than you can potentially buy (13 charges in case of blankets). Maybe it would be better if the cap of filling charges would be dependent on your Magic Device level - this would also make this skill a bit more useful. Also: Needs coldproof liquids!).
3.0. Becomming healthy
I finished act 2 at some point and got to a point where I noticed a significant EXP increase from enemies (panic/challenge quests; dungeon bosses; enemies in the Void floor 200+). For example a random spider in the Void floor 200+ gave me around 4 million EXP per kill. Since the EXP cap for levels is 100 million and every level gave me some hit points (in newer versions of Elona+ I now get hit points only every 4 levels - but around 4 times higher than before). My stats slowly crawled up - I think to around 300 - 400 on all main stats, ~100+ on most skills mostly due to travelling except the 2000 in Investment and some hundred levels in Lockpicking since I noticed troubles opening all those chests, safes and treasure balls on higher danger levels. However, the contents never seemed to get any better anymore despite requiring a more and more higher Lockpicking skill. I remember having seen the Skeleton Key once in the log after casting Oracle but unfortunately it was generated in the Void and the floor was already gone for a while. In all those 966 hours sadly I have never seen another generated Skeleton Key anymore (but tons of s - which unfortunately have no effect on Dimension Fishing - while it does even increase the Fishing skill, argh!). Much earlier I planned to keep all my spells up with my chacacter level - but stopped this approach on level 115. My main skills I used at this time (Magic Dart, Cure of Eris or Jua, Speed, Attribution Shield, Feather, Holy Shield, Holy Veil, Vanquish Hex), were around level 200+ - 300+. Too bad some spells do not increase with higher levels (except the spell stock cost reduction up to level 300) while still increasing in mana points. For example my Magic Map spell (on hour 966 with level 623) has never improved in revealing the map more with a single cast. I continued to farm some more levels to get more hit points and to get some more stat increases from some Ether Diseases I currently intentionally had (like hooves and feathers for more speed). My hit points reached values around 15000 - 30000 and my speed got around to a buffed value of 1100+ and my Win-LVL was around 1000.
3.1. A laboratory for all your plushies
From this point nothing too spectacular happened anymore. I slowly advanced in the Void, farmed Little Sisters and also fame in dungeons to make panic/challenge quests more worth, I did party time quests to get Music Tickets as well as hopefully finding a godly Casino Table and Pachisuro Machine. Also I advanced Leold's side quest in killing higher level monsters for even more music tickets and invested them into Hero Cheese for even more hit points. I also slowly killed more and more unique NPC's to get their statues for my museum. At some point I got tired power leveling my spells after I slept enough times so I decided to make my life a bit easier. I designed my dungeon to be a laboratory with cells for different types of enemies. One of the cells contains 2 Meshera Deltas, which do cast Silence on me all the time from their cell while I'm outside and out of their pyhsical reach. That process speeds up spell leveling very much as there are now no spell animations anymore. A bit earlier when I tried to get some Asuras in a cell I noticed later they were all gone. To solve the issue with depsawning monsters I just sandbaged them and only release them when I need them for training (and sandbag them again once I'm done).
3.2. Facing Death's aspirant
After this the progression went pretty fast. Mainly because I actually invested now platinum coins to train offensive skills (mainly Tactics, Dual Wield, Eye of Mind and Long Sword) to get much higher than the ~150+ skill levels they had. I also got additional levels from killing monsters - usually now 12 million - 13 million EXP per kill resulting in more hit points and some Hero Cheese from music tickets for even more hit points again. Around that time I also leveled 5 living weapons to level 10 with applying strength to them so I could temporary buff my strength to 1000+ as I wanted to get 1 of every altar in my home. Slowly my offensive skills evolved and I had around 60000 - 70000 hit points. Around this time I tried to kill Amurdad to get the as I planned to advance some stats later with a farm full of herbs. My first try on killing Amurdad resulted in that I could not get past his Super Regene healing and he drained my stamina up to a point where he could easily kill me. The grinding continued and my stats got higher, up to around 300+ - 400+ in said offensive skills and 150000+ hit points. That was sufficient enough to finally beat Amurdad to get the scissors. Now I have a farm with a Statue of Kumiromi, 72 planted herbs and 8 Kumiromi's Gem Stone of Rejuvenation. At this point Quad-Wielding with time-stopping felt very lacking as I had usually very high chain intervalls, too often now over 200 forcing me to wait a few turns. Since at this point I pretty much studied most of the Wiki on Fandom I wanted to try something else. The idea was 3 living weapons (all lightsabres (I think 1 was reforged) since living weapons at this stage of gameplay are pretty common) while leveling the first 2 lightsabres with nether damage up to level 10 and the last one to darkness damage up to level 10 and a shield for more defense. I also made the 2 lightsabres with nether damage super heavy (250s each) to cap out the critical damage even if the enemies wear heavy equipment. This turned out to be super useful as I did around 10000 - 15000 nether damage on most enemies per hit per sword which also healed me for this amount - around half the amount my Cure of Jua spell heals. A bit later I had also buffed around 1300 PV but the enemies still hit for 15000 - 30000 damage. I advanced my equipment to have a bit higher magic resistance and spellcasters barely were a threat now with the few thousand damage they did. The exception are water spells as they ignore any resistances causing also to do around 15000 - 30000 damage per hit. However, protecting against spellcasters was much more easy than protecting against physical attacks (mainly due to bosses you barely can blind). But I also had not actively trained Evasion yet - I planned this once I have more sandbags for Asuras.
3.3. The Escalation
Then the update happened that brought a cap of 100 to platinum coins and skill/spell points. Since I had accumulated over 3000 skill and spell points I waited for a specific training day and used Advanced Casting and then burned all my points into Swimming and... Wishing! Now with an equipped magaqua (as I never used one before as I wanted to train Swimming over time) and a Swimming skill quite over 1000 I achieved a buffed speed of around 2000 (while still having ~600 base speed). With my Gamma Shift Core I wished earlier for it is even around 2500 speed. My Traveling skill is only around 200 but this together makes me fast enough that it is not too hard capping out skill and spell points in a single ingame day - which is quite tricky since I want to use them only if I'm on a specific day to optimally boost my skills which requires me often to skip some days. At this point I wish I could just use the over 1000 Small Medals I have to just upgrade my "Magic Bag" to fit in more skill and spell points and platinum coins as at this stage of gameplay it is sort of required to play effectively. I got stronger and stronger and the enemies began to cap out their stats slowly at 2000. Every few enemies I have killed achieved the next goal of Leold's side quest and switching continents all the time, going to Leold, teleporting to the Craddle of Chaos, reading a Scroll of Escape and switching continents again was quite annoying. If doctor Gavela could borrow Leold and me just a Mobile Communication Equipment with integrated fax - then Leold could just fax me those Music Tickets every time I advance in the quest!^^ Since capped out enemies were less and less a threat I begun to beat higher dungeon bosses and getting a higher Win-LVL until I noticed bosses won't go here over level 8332. But there seem to be some exceptions. Once a Shade generated as dungeon boss and it was only level 6666 (I think it was not even generated as boss type) and at some point I got unnoticed a Win-LVL of 11110. I guess there is an exception that generates something at level 11110 - maybe it was the Putit Tank I encountered but I don't know. After this point the danger levels incremented about several thousands once I did beat a new higher one. Currently the highest danger levels I see are a bit over 100000. The mechanics in them are also quite interesting: It seems hidden passages (blocked by wall tiles) still scale in this high levels. When I just use 1 skill point to bring my Detection skill from 0% potential to 20% potential I get 20 levels at once (and 0% potential again) with one revealed hidden path. No matter how many more potential I put into (even 400%) I never get more than 20 levels at once - I guess this is the cap how many skill levels in general you can get at once. Luckily revealing a hidden path is still easy with 1000+ Detection on those high danger levels so it is not much of an issue. But my 100+ Disarm Trap skill has basically no effect anymore and so I trigger every trap I step on. Also opening up chests/safes/treasure balls with 1200+ Lock Picking results most in the time that the lock is beyond my skill. Too bad the loot in those containers seems to have already capped out around danger levels of 100+ and they are not more worth later on (but still much more difficult to open). I fear if danger levels have no cap and continue to grow exponentially I will see at some point a crash every time a dungeon with a too high danger level is being generated. Nice side-effects are that the gained fame is based on the danger level and your current fame causing me to get easily over 20000 fame per cleared dungeon (I'm currently around 700000 fame) and the panic/challenge quests cause now to generate monster levels around the danger levels I see resulting in getting over 60 million EXP per kill (I think I'm on the cap of 640000080 EXP).
3.4. An unfortunate event
However, today something bad happened. When I was creating some Cure Crystals on the Pot for Fusion to easily remove single Ether Diseases (since I want to keep some other) I did create 3 * 10 of them. This resulted in 30 Cure Crystals but only 19 Empty Bottles instead of the expected 30. Later I noticed that sadly some items in my house were gone. So I did hit the cap of 400 items and the creation of new items has caused a deletion. I actually thought the cap of 400 items is a soft cap and specific game mechanics can go temporary over them without causing troubles - I guess I was wrong. Too bad that actual item deletion this way is possible - and that the Cure Crystals and Empty Bottles have not been stacked. Initially I planned to stop continuing playing my save file due to this accident and just writing the story of my playthrough somewhere in hope it improves stuff (ideally this would reach out to Ano somehow but I doubt it). But on making a second look it looks like there is a specific pattern to the item deletion. All items that I confirm being gone had a very low base value and the important stuff seems to be still there. I just hope the stack of my current 114 artifact equipments has not been affected as checking and recovering them could be quite some work.
Thats pretty much the story. I have a few plans what to do next once I should find the motivation to continue. One thing I noticed is that Yacatect's Banks are not a global storage - they are local on their own. And since it seems you get 10% interest after every 2400 hours the amount of gold would escalate at some point (up to the cap). It seems they are an easy way to get nearly an endless source of money if you setup your own terra-cotta armee with them. I'm also trying to figure out a way to mitigate Brainwashing as this is still a very significant threat. My hope is that enough mind resistance would make you immune against it. Another thing I experiemented with is trying out cursed equipment as an alternative but one piece causes already a huge health loss every few turns. Also I'm curious if enough magic resistance can make you immune to any hex from enemies with 2000+ casting. To test some of this stuff I probably would have to dig more into the artifact fusion system. I think if a randomly found item (like a godly one) has too many and too strong stats it counts more towards the artifact power - making it ironically more difficult to apply the wanted attributes later on it. This might be a reason why Ehekatls passive feat you can obtain might be counter-productive here and possibly needs another toggle. Also if my Casting/Literacy/Memorization skill is high enough I would consider reading some/all of my wishing spell books that I found and kept during the entire playthrough (I found 5 but read (and failed) 1 by accident when I spammed reading on all common books I found) to summon all gods and killing them. I also wanted to figure out if all the ...borrowed Holy Wells could be useful in the future too since it seems they still regenerate their charges. At least they are useful ranking up at the Thieves Guild really fast (with a sell value of over 60000). Werewolves are quite a problem too and I'm not sure if some towns just bugged out. Even killing all werewolves I found and duelling all werewolve detectives caused them to respawn (I have some towns with 2 detectives). I'm unsure how to fix this but my current plan was getting more s from going deeper into the Void (as duelling in Amur-Cage never dropped any more s for me) and then checking every person if they are still a werewolf.
Progress on hour 966
At the end I'm now on level 1121 with ~350000 HP and ~150000 MP. My main stats are around 600+ - 700+ with speed buffed to 2000+. The offensive skills like Tactics, Long Sword, etc. are around 500 - 800 and my current damage multiplier for every of my lightsabres is 71.5. Some stats posted earlier and the order of the story might be slightly inaccurate since this happened all over the course of a year and my memory is not perfect but mostly it should be pretty fine.
The only thing I could list now would be a few things I would like to get enhanced in this game: - Obviously the item deletion issue that eventually caused me to delete my save file. - A way to better fix static areas as mentioned earlier above. - Other fixes to prevent messing up a save file, partially mentioned above too. Additionally for example if you kill all Old humankinds there seems to be no way to get them later. I'm also unsure where to recruit a if both in Rehmido have been destroyed. - I/O performance improvements. The overhead seems to be very high and is noticeable especially on a HDD. Examples of issues are frequent opening of menus (like opening gambling chests) and the Appearance selection menu. - Fixing the broken viewport (that on some resolutions some columns/rows can't be (partially) seen). For me if an enemy is on the top row I can't see him including his important gauge bar - which is quite an issue. - Better view on enemy bars. If they are behind a wall the gauge bar is not visible anymore which is also a big issue. - Support for user paths. It would be nice if the configuration file and save files would be saved into the user directory so upgrading the game would be possible in a more uncomplicated way. - Translations. - Fixing items not being liftable if your inventory is full even if the exact same item is in your inventory (e.g. you have an unidentified Scroll of Curse in all 3 variants in your inventory (blessed, normal, cursed) but you can't now pickup any other unidentified Scroll of Curse you find on the ground). - Better stacking support of items. For example catching Stray Cats with Monster Balls of different levels will prevent them being stackable (while the Monster Ball levels apparently play no role anymore). Items from vendors with different selling prices can't be stacked too since the price is determined due to the different base value. In this case it would be better if those items would have the same base value and instead get a (higher) buying multiplier directly from the vendor (even while this would have the disadvatage of lower (the normal ones) selling values of those items). The same material kits you get from Garok can't be stacked too for some reason (even if the color is reverted to the default with a bottle of dye #0). Debris of the same level can't be always stacked too as they generate with different colors (but applying a bottle of dye #0 can workaround this in that case). Also when Monster Balls capped out at level 200 in the past it was easy to stack them for example for catching all the Stray Cats and enemies Arasiel wants. Now it is harder to get Monster Balls of the same level for easy stacking. - A way to easily reduce stats even more (the might not be good enough anymore if you reach 2000 Traveling). Eventually it might make sense if you could somehow get negative stats too via the artifact fusion system (for example if the Scroll of Gain Attribute is cursed). - Immediate sprite update once you get brainwashed. - Stopping spammed idle actions (numpad 5) when you receive damage (like starving). In some other cases the game already stops some spammed actions so it would be more consistent. - If all windows would behave like Stained Glass Windows requiring you to put them into the wall tile instead. This would allow you to put 3 instead of only 2 items before the window before they turn into a bag and also it would avoid hovering the items up. - Fixing the bug that item sprites sometimes change temporary if you talk to somebody (e.g. a pile of items from a past quest reward sometimes turns into a bag when you talk to somebody and reverts back when you stop talking to somebody). - Named fruit trees so they are more easily distinguishable. - All the other things already mentioned in the story. There is probably so much more that I don't remember now but those should be the most important things I would like to get fixed/changed. But as sayed somewhere before: I doubt this will happen but at least I gave it a try and posted all my experiences with the game even if this post required quite many hours to create and check (I think around 6+ and now I'm tired, hopefully I did not miss too many gramatical spelling errors and typos). Edit: Fixed some typos and added headings for easier reading.
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JoJo's Bizarre Adventure OC Tournament #5: Round 1 Match 12 Alexis and Cybil Vs Admiral Pineapples and Rudolph
“届けて, 切なさには名前をつけようか ‘Snow halation!’” The harpoon lodged itself into the Ocean Soul’s chest following a powerful toss from Pork Soda, the beast desperately trying to hit the tether to destroy it and release the harpoon, to no avail. The Ocean Soul had underestimated its opponents, who were currently singing some sort of song, perhaps a sort of war cry, meant to display their superior strength. “想いが重なるまで待てずに, 悔しいけど好きって純情” It had to do something! It released the Calamus Root in store within its mouth, ready to spit it out, before Sayonara Kodoku picked the Ocean Soul up, shut its mouth tight, and tossed it over to Pork Soda. With a thrust of its fingers, the porcine stand pierced the Ocean Soul’s eyes, blinding it. Then, the two stands rushed at it, sending forwards a barrage of blows, breaking bones, claws, and disorientating it, before getting ready for a finisher. Pork Soda picked the Ocean Soul up by its tail and began spinning around, the rapid movement disorientating the fish and sending it closer and closer to its doom. No, no! It couldn’t let this be! The Ocean Soul was a hunter, and even if its prey had gotten a leg up on it this time, it wasn’t going to give up! It could barely remain conscious under the pressure as the porcine stand spun it around, its already severe wounds getting exacerbated, but it had to do something! Just one shot! Just one precise shot and it could use the opportunity to escape, to recover! The porcine stand was spinning it around by its tail, so the Ocean Soul could calculate the stand’s position! It just needed to regain its bearings, focus on getting a shot aimed, and it could use its spit to- SLAM! With a brutal impact, the Ocean Soul was slammed into a nearby rock. It felt itself sinking in the water as the two stands approached it, its imminent doom coming closer and closer with every movement they made. It needed to escape, but it couldn’t bring itself to move. The two stands made their way towards it, floating above the ground as they loomed over the barely conscious beast. Was this going to be it for the Ocean Soul? “微熱の中 ためらってもダメだね, 飛び込む勇気に賛成 まもなく start!” Like hell it was. Gathering the little remaining energy it had, the Ocean Soul spat out the Calamus Root stored within its mouth, mixed with its saliva. Hitting the ground underneath the two stands, two long spikes quickly sprouted out of it and towards their bodies. Though Sayonara Kodoku’s tough skin didn’t get pierced, the force of the growing spike sent it flying into the air, incapacitating it, if only for a moment. Meanwhile, Pork Soda wasn’t as lucky as it, the spike piercing through the left side of its body, tearing through its left leg and shoulder. The Ocean Soul couldn’t hear anything from underwater, but it was sure that its user was reeling in pain right about now. Using the remainder of its energy, the Ocean Soul bolted away, desperately trying to remain conscious as it swam away from what it once considered its prey. It didn’t even look backwards, fearing that doing so would give its opponents the time they needed to finish it off for good. It didn’t even keep track of how far it swam, or for how long its opponents had chased it, or if they had done so at all. Its body was searing in pain, broken bones and wounds all over it. Eventually, it couldn’t bring itself to swim any further, losing consciousness and sinking down into the ocean, not even the searing pain keeping it awake as it began to rest. The Ocean Soul had lost, but this wasn’t the end of the beast. Though barely, it had managed to escape this encounter with its life. The results are in for Match 10. The winner is… ‘Agnes’ Bayley and Prince Cosmo, with a score of 80 to the Ocean Soul’s 60!
The word of the voterbase was clear: the vast majority felt that the Ocean Soul was handily defeated by the players.
“AAAAGH! GODDAMIT, STUPID FUCKING FISH!!” Agnes screamed in pain while clutching his leg, body strewn onto the nearest island, carried by Sayonara Kodoku. “IT STABBED THROUGH MY GODDAMN LEG!! FROM THE FOOT, TO MY WAIST, TO MY FUCKING SHOULDER! AAARGH, DAMMIT, WHERE’S JENNY WHEN YOU NEED HER!!” “You should be happy we got away with our lives. The Ocean Soul isn’t going to come finish us off any time soon after what we did to it.” “OH, REAL RICH COMING FROM THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GET STABBED IN THE FUCKING LEG BY THAT MONSTER. DO YOU WANT ME TO STAB YOU AS WELL SO YOU CAN SEE HOW IT FEELS?!” Agnes started rummaging around his surroundings with his right hand, searching for a sharp object to use for his “demonstration”. “Frankly, you deserve it. Don’t forget that you are the cause for this all. Were it not for your foolishness, Webb would still be alive, and this would not have happened to you.” Cosmo chided. “PFFF- WHATEVER!” In between his heavy breathing and pained cries, Agnes let out an audible sigh. “Fffffuck this, I’m gonna check my phone to see if there’s any connection here so that we can get the hell out of this place ASAP!” Agnes picked up his phone and pulled it up, taking a look at it. “That will not be necessary. There is no connection here anyways, and I am certain that a helicopter has been sent out to retrieve us, or at the very least ascertain what might have happened to-” “Shut up, I’m getting a message from Cairo. ‘Don’t worry, Agnes, we have sent your location over to Vitus, and help should arrive in about fifteen minutes.’” Agnes looked at his phone in confusion. “Vitus? Who’s that asshole?” “Vitus is the man who sent the helicopters out. The one which you indirectly crashed. Nonetheless, let me see that - I have a hard time believing that your phone is capable of picking up a signal when we’re so far away from any cellular towers.” “And why should I care about what you believe, huh? Here, take a look for yourself!” Agnes shoved the phone in front of Cosmo's face, the dog looking intently at it and seeing… nothing beyond a simple homescreen. “What is this supposed to be. This is your phone’s home screen, and though that horrendous chimera at its center is an affront to anything and everything I believe in, there is no notification here. Could it be that you are perhaps hallucinating from the pain?” “Wh- you can’t see it?! Don’t fuck with me!” Looking at the dog’s deadpan expression, Agnes could tell that that wasn’t the case. He looked over at the phone, spotting it right there, as clear as day - a notification for an sms from Cairo themselves, containing what he read out loud! “Fuck you, I’m not hallucinating! If anything, you are!” Cosmo was about to retort, when he spotted something over the distance - a sailboat. It was old and decrepit, seemingly having gone through significant damage and yet still remaining intact, somehow. It clearly didn’t belong to Vitus, and likely wasn’t Cairo’s either. On the boat, he saw a silhouette of a haggard man, but the distance meant that he couldn’t exactly tell exactly what he looked like. “Someone is coming.” It wouldn’t be much longer before Agnes and Cosmo were able to get back onland, learn what terrible things they’d missed, even if they still had a wait and a talk ahead of them. Left to nurse grievous wounds, this seaborne menace has seen this chapter of aggression momentarily closed, but further inland, the waters of a laundromat are being braved by a time traveler and a woman in chains. Scenario: Sound’s Garden Eastern Strip - A Golden Limousine The evening was beginning to set in, the lights of the islands of the area beginning to flash on and dot the sky as two women rode through the city, looking out through the windows as they relaxed in luxury. Cybil Antoine was one to travel in style, and now, with a companion in tow, was no exception. “A strip that absolutely comes alive at night… Makes me feel almost nostalgic for Vegas,” her redheaded travel companion mused as she looked out, “speakin’ of which… you ever play anything like that, Cyby? Cards, slots, so on. We could try Heartache Casino, maybe, if we have time sometime… I bet you’d just have to throw your name around to get up on its higher floors.” “It’s Cybil,” the wealthy woman emphasized, with an exhaustion begotten by this having been far from the first time, “or Miss Antoine… Either way, I am not a ‘Cyby.’ Get it right next time, alright?” “Right, yeah, I know you’ve told me… I’m just a nicknamer by heart. Cross my heart, though! It won’t happen again!” Alexis Williams seemed… As serious as she could get about something like that, as curiously carefree, even devil-may-care, as the performer could get. “Commit it to memory, then. Despite how much a fool you can act, I’m sure you know how much I had to pull to get you onto this stage.” “Believe me, I do appreciate it!” Alexis answered, focus now turned away from the topic of gambling and onto that. “Putting on a show at one of the biggest stages in Los Fortuna, bigger than anything I’ve done before… I know our group has had some bad luck lately, with Bucket causing that trouble down at the fish market, and how down on herself Leo has been since that dumb show she said she got roped into, but we’re still the freakin’ Judecca Highrollers, right? I want to show the world that, and from their box, I want to show the rest of our team that we’ve got no better option than to face it all with a grin.” “How very like you,” Cybil answered, neutral in her tone, careful not to betray the affection in such a statement as she pondered their current status, where they would be playing. Alexis wouldn’t be headlining, unfortunately, though admittedly, her act wasn’t the sort of thing that did that anyway. Rather, a certain piece of immensely beloved local talent, a rocking performer who went by TD/MD, would be having her play immediately before her at the Alexander Dickinson Amphitheater, just a drive over a rapidly approaching bridge away. Cybil had been a little annoyed that one of her statues had been overshadowed by a plane crashing near it, not to mention had a desire to spread further the local influence of their team, and so she had arranged with the heads of the entertainment industry of Los Fortuna to see to it that her personal favorite performer among the allies and associates she’d made was onstage at the best possible place for a person wanting to be noticed. She curled her lips at a cell phone which found its way to its hand, then, narrowing her eyes at its screen. “No word back from your backing band… Where are they? How inconsiderate not to send word on this, especially at how that Mr. Sins recommended them so glowingly.” “I’m sure they’ll show,” Alexis answered, “and if not… We can make do, can’t we?” “Of course,” Cybil answered, only to have her eye finally drawn back out the window by the sight of a vehicle which had pulled into the lane directly next to theirs as their limousine crossed the bridge. Another golden limousine was directly next to them now, this one almost pointedly bigger, longer, more decked out in jewelry, and it seemed to be headed exactly the same way. Cybil, rather than confused or alarmed at the coincidence, simply thought aloud, “that would probably be Mr. Sins… Speak of the devil.” “Amazing how quickly his casino recovered from nearly burning down…” Alexis mused aloud. “I heard that one of the people who trashed it sent him to the hospital, too.” “An overreaction I’m certain, from what I know about the man. Absolutely terrified of a little pain, a little elbow grease… I’m not one to gossip, but I can’t help but wonder how a man like him even managed to become so prominent, so consistently successful.” “Right,” Alexis answered, smirking and putting her finger up to her lips, “I won’t spread that around, then. I know how to schmooze with that type if the need arises.” Los Fortuna Canals - The SS Sledge Sister Admiral Pineapples was more comfortable on his own boat, but as far as the fleet of the Masters of Funky Action went, there was no real reason to send out more than one boat for this right now. “Man, I can’t believe nobody else is ridin’ with me,” his companion, Rudolf Pavlova, said after downing an entire bottle of water in a single gulp, on the tail end of an hourlong keytar solo. “The rest of the Masters better at least make it to the Alexander! It’d really bum me out harder than when Wrenn shot me down if none a’them made it!” Sorry, but I’m really more the headlining type! Playing second-fiddle to a man in a speedo opening for some local star sounds fun and all, but, I’d totally just overshadow them, I bet! So I should really probably stay out of it! That sentence, clear in its passive-aggressive scathingness, had put Wrenn Aflight’s declining of this gig pretty succinctly. As the man more or less everybody on the team could tolerate, listen to, and generally have a good time with, Admiral had been tasked with asking the other star performer of the team to join Rudolf on the gig he’d accepted opening up for locally beloved rock star and all-around idol TD/MD. Not wanting to break Rudolf’s heart, he more or less told him the short version, ‘he couldn’t make it,’ and then volunteered his own services for the younger man. “You won’t be out there with none of your allies, though, Nureyev! For I, Admiral Pineapples, will aid you in coordinating every moment of your work! This will be one of the worthiest usages of my tactical mind in a long time, I’m sure!” “I hope you’ve gotten those hour-long solos out of your system now, Nureyev,” Pineapples warned with an amused, lax tone, “you’re only going to have thirty minutes onstage before the headliner has to get ready, and there’ll be trouble if you bleed into that.” “I know, I know,” Rudolf answered, casually, as he slipped into an open-chested bathrobe mainly meant to function as the legal requirement of public decency until it was time to perform, “I’m not one to step on anyone’s toes, let alone the star of the show. Live and let live, yeah?” “I’m curious, though, and you never told me…” The Admiral asked, cracking open a beverage of his own and taking a sip, “how did you manage to get such a part as this in the first place?” “Oh, that’s simple!” Rudolf said, the thought to answer having simply not occurred to him. A few weeks ago - A beach in the Waterfront District. “Alright! Thank you, Los Fortuna! I’m here all day, and all night, and all tomorrow too, baby! Party never stops!” Rudolf had just finished the latest of his performances to a small crowd of beachgoers, shredding through the end of his one-man keytar rendition of 2112 and transitioning into a truly epic medley of the extended Family Guy, American Dad, and Cleveland Show OPs. As the crowd dispersed, a corporate suit-looking type of guy, bronze-skinned with neatly-groomed hair, remained, eyeing his keytar curiously and smiling artificially. “That was an excellent show, Mr… Pavlova, I think it was? You have such an undeniable energy about you that I can see when I lay eyes upon you… You’ve star material.” “Am I being poached?” Rudolf asked, tilting his head, “‘cuz I assure you, I am a free agent! Not about to be scooped up by some label and forced to chill out the party churnin’ out music I don’t feel in my soul.” “Nothing so abrupt, no… I’m a Manager, representing TD/MD. You can call me Thutmose. Anyway, she has a concert approaching rapidly, and we’re struggling and scrambling to find local, new talent and performers to open for her. We’ve managed to secure a lot of artists already, but the most important spot… Playing right before her… That, still, we have a particular need for, and I think you would serve it perfectly.” “So I accepted!” In the present day, Rudolf finished, “why not, yeah? I can spread the party to tens of thousands at one of the biggest venues in town!” “Scouted on the street, hm… That’s awfully lucky.” Something about this struck Admiral as odd, but he supposed it was all the more reason it was good he was backing his friend and ally up. He had a strong hunch there was more to it than appeared. Rudolf’s party yacht would disembark soon, ported on the central-most island of the places which made up Sound’s Garden, and the party would make their way forward from there. Sound’s Garden West Side - Outside the Alexander Dickinson Amphitheater At the same time, a self-important first step was taken out of a pair of golden limousines, one a heel clacking first out of it and a short, stocky woman in pinstripe emerging, the other dress shoes leading up to a tall, lean man in a gold and yellow tux, grinning and running a hand through his slicked-back hair. Cybil Antoine hadn’t had the “pleasure” of a personal conversation with Tigran Sins before, but had happened to overhear some of him during her meeting with that Thutmose man, and then and there, she had known everything about him, and knew that she had already had the displeasure of knowing dozens of men like him. Still, though, one needed to be cordial in times like this, so as Alexis came out behind her, and a very strongly built-looking, mean-looking man with brown hair and a nice vest, attached to the lapel of which was a Heartache Casino brooch (a bouncer? A bodyguard?) stood by Tigran waiting to see what he wanted or what he did, she approached the man who dared to try and be more golden than her Stand. “Mr. Sins, I believe… I believe we’ve crossed paths, briefly, but we didn’t really have a chance to speak.” The man tensed a bit, only to relax slightly again when he saw that Cybil intended only to speak. “Cybil Antoine, right? I’ve heard you’ve been making a hell of a lot of waves around town lately, so I must say I’m excited to meet you too.” He looked back past her, towards Alexis standing and stretching outside of her team’s limo. “Would that be your star you’ve got going on? Certainly she’s got charm.” “Hi, right in front of you,” Alexis answered, teasingly passive-aggressively waving, “yeah, I’m going up before TD/MD.” “She’s a very important star around here, you know… So you’d better put on a show that leaves them wanting for more of the best.” Tigran’s attendant spoke, then, sounding dead serious as he looked them over. “A lot of people have come here just for this, just for her sake… It is completely imperative you keep that in mind.” Tigran simply nodded, concurring, “couldn’t have said it better myself, Fox.” Shortly after that, the pairs went their separate ways, shifting through VIP areas of the area of the main structure of the amphitheater, series of comfortably shielded stadium halls that it was. “Still no sign of the band… Still no word from them either. I’m cross now.” Alexis, then, stopped in her trail, looking at a schedule which had been printed out and emblazoned upon a green room wall. “Uh, Cybil, you’re gonna wanna take a look at this.” “Hm?” Cybil raised an eyebrow, turning to face what her partner was pointing at, and then glared again. “Who the hell is Nureyev, and why are they listed at the same time as you?” “There’s gotta be some kinda mixup or somethin’, man… I know about this ‘Alexis Williams’ it talks about, and hear she’s a Vegas Performer, damn fine one at that who can really strut her stuff. But we ain’t in Vegas at all, so what gives?” Rudolf himself was gesturing at a printout version of much the same piece of programming, he and Admiral Pineapples having wandered much the same series of halls. “Hrm…” Admiral, now, took a look at the sheet himself, combing over the names before Rudolf on the list and speaking names aloud. “‘Arancini,’ ‘Tenacious-er E,’ ‘Guy and the Fieris’ Heavy Metal Barbershop Quarter,’ all as scheduled… What the hell? Yeah. We’re the only acts double-booked like this, and you say you don’t know this woman personally?” “Not in the slightest,” Rudolf said, “never laid personal eyes upon her! So maybe there’s a typo, yeah… I know! We could track down Thutmose! But, uh… Where the hell’s Thutmose right now?” A distorted voice shout-whispered, “I heard that he was visiting TD/MD’s green room.” “Huh? Oh, thanks!” Rudolf accepted that advice uncritically, beginning to make his way, but Pineapples looked, at least, in the direction it came from, seeing then flashes of a short-looking person in a maroon turban, face bandaged but mouth section bulging with something hidden underneath, and a pair of aviator goggles, as well as a tunic, trousers, and many bulky scarves adorned in the forms of climbing stick figures. Looking at the man, Pineapples couldn’t help but feel suspicious, but hell, there was a lot shady going on here. “Yes, thank you, Mister… Who am I thanking?” “No,” the figure answered dismissively, “think little of it… I’m just another interested party watching the show. If there’s confusion, then, I want to see it resolved fast! If you’ll excuse me, though, I need to make my way to my box…” “Strange man…” Pineapples shook his head, not wanting to leave Rudolf alone to deal with this strange situation. He knew from hearsay and rumor that there were some truly dangerous things lurking in the bowels of Sound’s Garden, and Rudolf, more heart than head, was bound to be barreling into it. Sound’s Garden - The largest and nicest green room in the halls of the Alexander Dickinson Amphitheater. Metra Doria sat before a makeup chair as assistants fussed and fussed with her hair, her face, her clothes, occasionally being met with polite thanks, compliments, or idle chit-chat, representing a sort of familiarity the team had had with the pale, short-dark-haired girl with a single blue streak through her front left locks. She stared at her own dressed-up eyes in the mirror, one silver, one blue and at once black-striped through the iris. As she sat here, initially clad pretty casually and low-key, she was Metra, but as the outfit she had selected was put together, she would become TD/MD. She was being cordial before now, but all of the small talk had ended as soon as her manager came into the scene, knocking, being invited to come in, and then doing so. “How’s the show going, Thutmose? I wish I could see Guy and the Fieris do their thing, but… Makeup, I swear.” “There’s… People insisting upon speaking, Metra. They’re performers, the ones before you, and they seem annoyed. I tried to shoo them away and tell them to work it out, but that only incensed the old-timers with them, and now they want to speak to you. I tried telling them it was a waste of your time, but-” “This close to going on?” Metra narrowed her eyes at the reflected form of her manager. Always, it was one thing after another with this guy. Though most of the time, one might assume there was something not worth it going on here, she knew Thutmose well enough to know there might be problems. She sighed, shutting her eyes now. “It had better be important… Let ‘em in.” And like that, a quartet of two twenty-somethings, a middle-aged woman, and an old man barreled in through the door at once, all talking over one another and expressing confusion with the other’s very existence and presence. It was making the half-prepared girl more uncomfortable than sitting in a chair for awhile just to get ready for a show often did, so she raised her voice, calmly but authoritatively, literally seeming to drown out their babbling in the process. “Quiet down, alright?! One at a time.” There was a little more whispering among the four, then, and it was the pinstripe-suited woman who stepped forward among them to speak the crowd’s mind. “TD/MD, I presume… This ‘Thutmose’ man, he has made a grave mistake in the scheduling. My associate Alexis here, and this half-nude man carrying a keytar around, they have not met before today, and they certainly did not intend to collaborate before you. Your manager has refused to listen to reason about this, so we are taking the matter straight past him to you… Resolve it at once, and we can be on our way.” “What?” Metra, facing them all, blinked, shaking her head and glaring at Thutmose. “Again? How does this keep happening? You overbook acts right before me, and it’s such a disaster I’ve started to need to allot extra time to cleanup guys after those sets… It was bad enough before, but it’s seriously getting out of hand, man. I can’t keep dealing with you if you treat everyone else you deal with like this. You’re done working with me. We’re through.” “B-but… But Metra..!” Thutmose was flabbergasted, looking almost terrified at the prospect. “Please, be reasonable..! I need this job, understand? I’ve got gambling debts, and-” “Whoa whoa whoa,” the keytarist (Rudolf, or Nureyev, according to the program) interjected then, “let’s not ruin a man’s life over me and Lexy here, yeah? I looked into the history of this place, the Alexander Dickinson… Named after a big dead deal Philanthropist, so basically a dude from the 90's who gave his all to culture in this city, funded all kinds’a stuff! Would a man like that want a man to be fired in his own memorial stadium?” The logic seemed to confuse nearly everyone there, not least of all Metra, whose response, after a moment, was, “Huh? You… Are you saying it doesn’t bother you?” “He’s saying that!” Thutmose pleaded. “I am certain he’s saying that!” “I don’t mind, either…” The redheaded Alexis said next, nodding and looking around at nothing in particular. “Yeah, I think we can work with that… The band he set us up with bailed on us anyway, right? So… Music might help, and it’s not like the things we do step on each other’s toes, yeah? So whatever, I’m sure we’ll still leave a bigger impression.” Cybil, then, pursed her lips. “If it doesn’t make a difference to you, then, and we’re all on the same page… But still, this is so very inconvenient.” “Agreed…” Pineapples looked to Thutmose. “Be more responsible in the future, aye? I think even if you keep your job right now, you’re gonna be on thin ice for now. And give up on gambling, if it’s sunken you this far.” Metra nodded. “Agreed. I can’t guarantee I won’t start looking for a new manager, but… You’ve been good to me, at least. Clean up your act.” Then, she looked over the quartet. “I’m seriously sorry about this… You say you had backup, but they’re not showing up now? I, uh… I don’t know what happened to whoever those were, or why they fell through, but I have something I can do to help both of your shows exist at once: six of the best stagehands I've got.” At that, the star snapped her fingers, and from the shadowy corners of the room emerged two trios, three men in a pose one well-versed on incidents in the early 20th century Roman Colosseum might compare to Awakening One’s Masters appearing before the Masters of Funky Action, three women in turn also sliding in before the Judecca Highrollers in perfect sync, stepping in with the coordination one might associate with, as a weird example, teenage mobsters jazzed about a dude being sent to the ninth circle of hell. All six were muscular, clad in black sleeveless shirts, leather gloves, pants, boots, and bandannas over their heads, and all around, they gave off auras of immense reliability. “Harry, Mark, and John, and Thorn, Dusk, and Luna… I kid you not, these guys can basically do anything and everything you ask of them. If they didn’t much prefer supporting other people to being in the limelight themselves, they would be as big as I am. Treat them well, they’ll learn fast, and they’ll be invaluable to making your bits work. But, uh… I’d hurry it up. Guy and the Fieris probably only have a couple more encores in them, and then you’ll have fifteen to set up. I wish you all luck..!” Metra Doria had been a bit of a miracle for the grateful performers and put-off older supporters, who had in turn both begun to explain their intended strategies and how those might change to their crew members, who understood alarmingly fast. “Man…” Rudolf whistled in relief, chuckling. “What a scare that was… But you, Lexy? You’re alright, actually.” “Thanks,” Alexis answered in turn, still trying to figure this guy out, “you don’t seem bad yourself… I almost kinda feel bad that we’re gonna totally eclipse you out there.” “Y’think so, huh?” Rudolf answered with a grin, pointing forward with a friendly competitiveness. “Well, the party don’t get drowned out by a damn thing! I’m gonna get all these good people pumped as hell, and they’ll be cheerin’ for me even when that Metra chick goes on!” “Ooh, I’m starting to feel a bit competitive…” Alexis answered, good-naturedly chuckling and folding her arms. “Wanna see who gets the crowd more pumped? Loser, uh… Buys the winner overpriced concert t-shirts. These things need stakes, right? Heh…” At the somewhat tongue-in-cheek suggestion, Rudolf nodded. “Sure, yeah! That, and the pride of bein’ one of the best in the city! May the best team win!” OPEN THE GAME! Location:The Alexander Dickinson Amphitheater, one of the biggest outdoor venues in the entirety of the Metropolitan area, in the buildup to TD/MD’s headlining act, wherein both of your teams have had a performer set to open for her. The place is packed at a capacity of tens of thousands of people. The stage is a competently designed semicircle which is roughly 30 meters across for length and maximum width, with plenty of room all over and the various necessary fixtures upheld off the ground. It is raised up about 2 meters off the ground. Its back half is partially covered by the overhanging roof of the backstage area a dozen meters above. The backstage area spreads out about 10 meters from both sides and the back of the stage, being somewhat indoorsy and absolutely full of things one could expect an excellent stage production to have, including, of course, sturdy rafters which lead up to the ceiling area overtop the stage. Both sides have had time to arrange for some extra things to be brought in. Goal: With a leadup of fifteen minutes before acts, and a half an hour where both of your performers are onstage at once, you have a show to put on, and that is not getting ruined by this overbooking. So, with Rudolf and Alexis up on stage, and Pineapples and Cybil each operating their abilities and managing a three-person stage crew, outperform your opponents! Given the vastly different skill-sets of the competitors, the goal is to execute on your vision better than your opponent executes on theirs. You will be judged and voted on the following criteria, in decreasing priority:
Feasibility - Whether your performance is actually within the bounds of what your Stand and Stats would imply.
Skill Use - A close second in relevance; how well you integrate your User Skills and Stats into your performance. While your Skills will help in completing this objective, they do not provide an automatic advantage by merely existing and must be woven into your strats, as per usual. Even the best of artists can have abysmal live performances.
Stand Use - Similar to the above, and similarly important. How cool, creative, and well-integrated is your Stand use. Put another way, wow the judges, voters, and viewers at home! This is more or less just the same as before.
Environment Use - How well you use and integrate the auditorium - its features, its backstage, its stage, and the hearts and passions of its occupants - into your performance.
Efficiency - How much quality footage you obtain and how well you use your time. This does not mean that setup for more complex performances is automatically penalized, but do try to minimize ‘deadtime’ and maximize the amount you perform.
Additional Information: There is a huge simp for TD/MD in the audience of the match, and he is connected enough that he will have both of you successfully and canonically killed if you ruin the show before the headliner can go on; therefore, murdering your opponents or audience members (“the ol’ Abraham Lincoln Tech” as they say in the biz) on an audience member is a loss condition. Not at all a moral thing for the record. Stage Crew members for the respective teams (Harry, Mark, and John on the MFAs, Thorn, Dusk, and Luna on the Highrollers, if you care about their names) have 4s in strength, agility, endurance, Stagehand, and Backup; pretty much, anything their associated team asks them to do, they’ll be able to do, at minimum, competently. Though they won’t, like, murder for you. Generally you can use them for moving props on/off stage, extra bodies or on-stage back up performers, speaker and soundboard control, and/or on-stage camera crew as well as managing any other stage controls. Pretty much everything save for pyronetics and lighting is in their purview. There are also dedicated lighting guys, totally neutral in your squabbles, who are going to do an entirely too good job adjusting their focus and making things work exactly as is needed so attention is on the stars of the show. They will also be coordinated with a third party camera crew that will be streaming the live feed onto screens for the audience. These feeds can be replaced or split screened with your own crew’s footage, but otherwise they will generally be in control of what is shown on-screen. Players can be assumed to already have well-rehearsed their plans of action, the in-universe basis for the modified plans of the match, and have knowledge about every aspect of the stage, even if parts of their initial plan obviously need to be modified to account for new challengers also occupying stage space. If something performance related isn’t insanely, “years of training to do competently required” level hard, but would still require some practice ahead of time, they have had it to, at absolute max, somewhere between a 2 and a 3. Players, don’t overly-game this, though; the ‘stars’ of your performances should be the sheeted unique abilities of you, your skills, and your Stands. All stands can be seen on camera and on the live feed for the audience's viewing pleasure.
“This one is for the guy who keeps yelling from the Balcony, and it’s called ‘We Hate You, Please Die.’” Gymnastics is a sport of rhythm and pace, this performance should be no different for keeping your momentum. Make as seamless transitions as you can between the acts of your performance!
“Prepare to have your minds obliterated by… The boys! And Crash!” You have a whole crew of people working for you here, no need to do any heavy lifting by yourself. This is their job after all, better put them to work since that’s what they are here for. Make the most use out of your stage hands in your performance!
“What is with this band? They’ve… changed. Have you noticed they don’t have instruments? Where’s all this amazing noise coming from?” Keeping the audience’s attention for a full 30 minutes should be a piece of cake for the world’s greatest dancer, you can keep the party rocking even between your different acts. Make as seamless transitions as you can between the acts of your performance!
“You and your fireballs and your demon hipster chicks / you’re talking the talk and it’s pretty slick / You think you’re so great, but you’re missing the point / You gotta have friendship and courage and whatever!” You’re all in this show together, you and your crew of stage hand. Everybody should be contributing here, no man left behind. Make the most use out of your stage hands in your performance!
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure OC Tournament #5 - Round 1, Match 2: Peter VS Markus
Well, the last match was a deathmatch, but this second one is what is known as an objective match. This, for the uninitiated, means that the match’s main point isn’t, necessarily, who would win in a fight, but to complete a certain specific mission better than the opponent. At the time of this match going up, though, after the strats for this one are posted, though, you can still vote in match 1 for over a full day. Check out (and influence) the brawl between a man and a bird in an airport hangar! Scenario: Waterfront District - One of Many Fish Markets Morning “What do you mean you don’t have anything?” *Markus was having his patience tested, certainly, by this particular supplier. It was hard to find someone in this region who could provide high-quality fresh fish at a reasonable price (especially considering that some of the fish the people of Los Fortuna considered "high quality" seemed to be overpriced, constantly out of stock, and of incredibly dubious quality from the rare few glimpses he had gotten of them), but this wasn’t the first time now that the boat he had chosen to be BADD GUYS’ regular ‘guys’ had turned up with absolutely nothing one morning. “I dunno what to tell you, Mark,” a young man in a bandana and sleeveless striped shirt said, hanging by an empty stall he was never told not to man, “sometimes, when the captain heads off to celebrate a great haul, she just disappears for days on end, and then without her, we just don’t always have what it takes to actually catch enough to turn a day’s profit.” “That damned Captain Moonshatter…” Markus didn’t get it. The crew of the Marquise was supposedly able to accomplish such things, yet still the captain wasted her time gambling instead of leading them to their potential? Leading them towards all these amazing fish? “Where is she, man? I’ll give her a piece of my mind.” “A casino, probably, but… Ya know how many casinos are out here? And she never tells us where she frequents! If she did, the boys and I woulda dragged her out a long time ago!” “I know where you can find her.” A man in a dark rain poncho, pretty typical attire for this district, spoke, eyes obscured but some of his dark hair cascading out from underneath the thing. The hapless sailor and Markus turned to him, looking quizzical but expecting, before Markus broke the silence. “There is nothing that isn’t shady about you, sir, but.” Markus smirked. “I think shady is what I need right now. What have you got?” Fwup! Before Markus knew it, the stranger had flicked his hands, and a stylish business card was in between Markus’ fingers. He looked at it, then, and read the name embroidered upon it. “Heartache Casino… Interesting.” “She likes to go around in disguise on her gambling trips, sometimes as elaborate as a fat suit and a fake beard so nobody recognizes her. Only surefire way you’ll have to get her out of there is to get everyone out of there. If she’s there, she’ll get pissed off and blow her cover, for sure.” Markus wasn’t an idiot, even if what he caught onto being suggested didn’t bother him. “…someone wants me to mess with this casino, huh? Well, none of my business, as long as she’s actually there. If not, I’m kicking your ass, got it?” “You have my word.” The man nodded his head, and then disappeared into the bustling fish market. That afternoon… Sound’s Garden Eastern Strip - Heartache Casino Arriving at the casino, Markus took a look around, taking in the bright lights, expressive designs, and loud sounds. There were so many people strewn around the casino, and just about any one of them could be the captain… Clearing them out was going to take time. He needed a drink. One irish coffee later, Markus was ready. He sat at a table in the lounge area, viewing the various (mostly drunk) casinogoers, trying to suss out which ones could end up being the captain. He was mostly unsuccessful. It seemed as if he would have to get his hands dirty and start actively kicking people out if he wanted to get anywhere. More importantly, over the course of his stay, Markus had noticed something - one of the waiters at the bar had begun eyeing him, always keeping watch of him for some reason. He was planning something, souring Markus’ mood. With a dissatisfied grunt, Markus got up and started making his way towards the slot machines to get a start on kicking people out, and the waiter seemed to follow in his steps. No matter the pace at which he went or where he went, the waiter seemed to be right there, a couple of steps behind him. Markus’ brow furrowed in anger. He’ll see just how far that waiter was willing to go to follow him. Even near the ATMs, far away from the bar area, the waiter seemed to be constantly following him. He even tried going to the restroom for a few minutes, and the waiter was still there when he- For all of his thinking about the waiter following him, something, or someone had crashed into him, and found himself knocked down onto the floor from the impact, covered in… water? Beer? Something. He looked up and saw another waiter, a worried expression on their face as they profusely apologized. A glance to the right, back at the original waiter, revealed that he was… smirking? Markus couldn’t quite make the waiter’s expression out, but one thing was for certain - he was taking joy in watching Markus stumble into the other waiter, and he had likely planned this. That asshole. Markus quickly got up, ignoring the apologetic waiter and began quickly making his way towards the other waiter, ready to give him a piece of his mind. He didn’t know why he did what he did or what he was planning, but he sure as hell was going to grill him until he told him that. Upon getting close enough to the waiter and coming up from behind him, Markus firmly grabbed his arm to keep him from running away again. “Hey, you. What do you want from me? Why were you following me, and what exactly do you stand to gain from doing this, huh?!” The waiter turned around, only to seem… entirely confused? “Sir, what are you talking about? I didn’t do anything - I don’t even know who you are, or why you’re here! I- I don’t want to make a scene, if you have any complaints you can bring them to my supervisors, just- I need to go back to the bar and bring food to the customers, you know? I-” “Bullshit. I noticed you! You were constantly keeping watch of me, following me- hell, I went to the fucking restroom and you were still there when I came out! Don’t give me these crocodile tears, I know you want something from me!” Just as the argument between Markus and the waiter began, someone else found their way into the casino - Peter Bequasimodo. Earlier that afternoon… Downtown Los Fortuna - Hotel Delmano Peter had stopped a fair few crimes in his day, not to mention done some less than legal things in others where the rule of law was the real crime. It was certainly strange, though, that someone had thought to send him a handwritten letter at some point… It seemed someone had realized before he could stop a crime, he had to find his way there. He read and reread the text again.
The Heartache Casino will see a tragic failure today… Nobody can do a thing to prevent it, so kiss everyone who sets foot in it goodbye! Think you can get everyone to leave by X:XX o’clock?!
Great, Peter thought to himself. Someone wants to play some stupid game with me… Just perfect. Just what I need when things are starting to heat up more. Despite his immediate thought of annoyance, though, he couldn’t help but have a bad feeling about this… Who sent letters in 202X? Who would send them to him? Peter was usually pretty careful to cover his tracks, and his usual mode of transportation made it so that not even the snoopiest detectives could track him down. Usually, he was able to use his more than capable skills to hack into the odd police database or private server, or simply use his stand to cut through so much crap, but with a letter, he couldn’t do any of that easy stuff. It would take some footwork to track down the source of this, let alone the location of this ‘Heartache Casino…’ Or, as an ally pointed out, he could just search up the letter’s return address online. “…urgh, what am I thinking? Of course they wouldn’t actually give where they were sending this from if they wanted to stay this mysterious! This damn place they wrote down is just…” He blinked, looking at his screen. “The Heartache Casino. That settles it, alright. I’m being baited.” Even if the threat was fake, just designed to get him to the casino, he would have to look into whoever had this much information on him… Seriously, who could have this level of knowledge when he’d barely done a thing in this city? Beyond that, in the off chance it wasn’t an empty threat, there was a serious danger to other people there. He needed to minimize the chances of that if he could. That time was less than an hour away. He walked over to his bed and grabbed his gauntlet and pack. In a flash [Running in the 90s] appeared on Peter’s face and he disappeared into the information superhighway. It was time for Treagon to take care of business. “You know,” Peter said, the mood he’d tried to psyche himself up for blending into the chill attitudes of the casino evaporating quickly, “it might not be much my business, buddy, but when I see people being shitty to service staff… That kinda thing really isn’t cool, yeah? Let the man do his job.” “Stay out of this,” Markus answered tersely, shoving the waiter away as the man backed off, returning to ordinary business, “you think I don’t know that sort of thing? I’m here as a favor to people like that.” There was a certain impatient entitlement to this guy that really bothered Peter, especially as he spoke like that. All the more, he was finding himself with reasons to kinda want to leave this guy crying and begging for mercy. “You’re really annoying, you know that?” He said, bluntly and with a sort of lax tone, grinning with malice as he stuck his hand in his pocket and leaned back. “I got business of my own to take care of, but don’t lemme catch you acting up like that again, yeah? It’s hard enough just scaring people off so I can look this place over… Shit! Barely half an hour left!” “Wait, you mean to say you’re also trying to-” The waiter happened to slink by, and after that moment, Peter was gone. Markus gave a confused look, but then, felt his own phone vibrating. Curious, he moved to open it up. “SCREEEEEEEEEEEECH!” “Ffuck-!” He couldn’t help but fumble his device in alarm at the strange face on the screen, which vanished soon after, and as he looked up, Peter was standing around again, and so Markus grit his teeth. “You..!” Peter, on his end, found the antagonism hilarious, and it was easy enough to accomplish that he felt good about the efforts therein. Now, anyway, it was time for him to get to work on finding a way to force everyone out of here… He’d been spending these few minutes searching, but couldn’t find any sign of any sort of electronic tampering, or security footage of someone stealthily dropping any bombs anywhere, or whatever else might make him able to solve this problem in any better a way than this… It was now exactly thirty minutes to the mystery time. He’d just have to get as many people to leave this place as possible, even as more constantly poured in. Markus had also heard Peter mention a half an hour, and though he didn’t know of any sort of vague threat, he had a feeling that that created a sort of ‘deadline’ for this. Well, he didn’t know what to look for, so may as well go for quantity over quality, right? He’d force these people out of here. Though both had the same end goal, the immediate shared contempt they held for one another, both immediately understood, had made this a contest. Never mind that they were far from the only two people who would see it as such, their prides were at stake here, and they resolved to completely show the other up as priority number one. Open the game! Location: The First Floor of The Heartache Casino, one of the many which dot the Eastern Strip of the Entertainment District. The area is 50 meters long and 105 meters wide with each tile being 5 by 5 meters and the ceiling being 5 meters high as well. The green square represents the exit and the gray square is the way to the second floor, currently it is being sectioned off by bouncers who are only letting VIPs enter and exit. The players are represented by the circles of their respective team colors with Markus near the top center and Peter near the bottom center. The grey circles around the center are ATM machines, and the white circle is a reception and transactions desk where you can buy or redeem chips. The two sets of blue tiles are restrooms, men’s restroom on the left and women’s restroom on the right. The left side is the lounge area with a bar, denoted by the brown shape, tables represented by green circles, pool tables represented by the purple rectangles, poker tables represented by the red circles and roulette tables represented by the light blue circles. In the top left is a netted off area represented by the hollow blue rectangle where people can play darts and to its right are two rows of vending machines with water in the blue squares and sodas in the purple. The blue rectangles, red triangles, and yellow hexagons are all rows and sets of slot machines. The blue ones are traditional slot machines, and the yellow and red ones are virtual slot machines. The blue slot machines pay out in chips and the yellow and red ones pay out in receipts that are redeemable at the reception desk, but all of them only take in money. There are chairs around the slot machines, tables, and bar where appropriate and the place at the moment is mostly full with gamblers, loungers, and a number of roaming security guards and employees. In general if you are looking for a free spot at a table or machine you can probably find one with a bit of looking. Someone has already disabled the floor’s sprinkler systems, and literally nothing will make them function. Curious. Goal: Over the course of thirty minutes, cause more people to leave the casino than your opponent! It can be taken for granted, for balance’s sake, that there will always be people present to disrupt so long as a location isn’t completely rendered unable to function. Make sure to have some subtlety with it, though, as the guards are as watchful as one would expect casino guards to be. Being too blatant or repetitive would run the risk of getting you in trouble. Additional Information: Patrons have 2 in strength and agility, 5 in endurance, 2 in gambling (in general they know how the games here work, but that doesn’t make them any more likely to succeed at them), and 2 in tenacity; in short, a mere mild inconvenience won’t be enough to completely send a person away, but they probably won’t tolerate repeated annoyances too long before at least moving somewhere else in the casino or outright leaving once they get fed up. They carry cell phones, wallets, and assorted amounts of casino chips. Ones on the West side of the floor can be assumed to be carrying food or beverages with them, according to the kinds of things one could expect to find at a casino. If your actions cause significant risk of harm or death to patrons, rather than simply getting them to leave through various means, police will be contacted to provide further support to the guards, quickly becoming wise to your tactics and arresting you; the owner is rich, so the cops will arrive extremely quickly. If you are arrested for assault, manslaughter, murder, public indecency, and/or accidental homicide, you will no longer be able to gain points. As wanton slaughter on casino grounds isn’t what your contact had in mind, murdered or otherwise slain patrons do not count towards total score, even if, yes, their souls have exeunt; paramedics will be under specific orders not to remove the bodies until after the time limit has passed, specifically to spite the attempt. And also you’re still arrested.
“I’ve heard that in Kansai, if the Yakuza who run Cee-lo Games catch you cheating, they shove two of the dice in your eyes and dump you in the river.” You really don’t like this guy much at all. If this man intends to undermine your protections, then you’ll teach him a lesson. Identify and find ways to interfere with your opponent’s strategies in favor of your own!
“Nobody makes a fool out of Kishibe Rohan! I know you’re laughing at me in your head right now and I can’t stand it!” You really don’t like this guy much at all. If he thinks he can be so self-important all the damn time, he has another thing coming! Identify and find ways to interfere with your opponent’s strategies in favor of your own!
Although we gave a full result drop and epilogue for Matches 10 and 11 a few days ago, we’re reposting the results here for posterity. Things may have gotten a little strange with our schedule, but at the time of posting, there are a few hours left of voting for a match that is XPLICITly one of the craziest the tournament has ever seen. Scenario - Somewhere in California: After their gauntlet in Brazil, Gioia Arancini and Nico Wolfram had resolved to keep in touch as each of them found leads on what Pão de Queijo had told them about the Black Beetles and XPLICIT. Gioia had relayed what Sofia had learned from Ronald Fogerty about the Black Beetles’ boss, but the biggest piece of information the two teams had shared since then came after Demis Roussos and Hadrian Moore had successfully raided the Black Beetles headquarters, encountering that very boss’s Stand itself. In the vault, the two had found a dossier on the production of XPLICIT, revealing a connection between Wilkinson’s use of consultants from Lyte, Ltd. and the first recorded appearances of the drug. All of this Gioia relayed to her team, all of whom she’d become much closer to after these experiences, especially a fateful trip to a Washington, DC museum with Schioppo following a successful go-kart race. It seemed Ric Hawks was somewhat less thrilled by his time with the team, given his determined efforts to look into things on his own, barely consulting with his teammates. To him, the way to get information on Lyte was through their financials, particularly their increasingly shifty CFO. Stefan Pilatti, the one Ric could never quite shake since they’d failed to stop a jailbreak in San Diego, had a simpler idea one day on the bus, born largely out of exasperation: “Why don’t we just shoot ‘em?” ‘Corazon’ rolled her eyes at this, thinking over everything they’d learned, still maybe a bit jittery from her experience in New Mexico and feeling ever so slightly guilty over how far she’d gone against Buggy Baxter, what with Connor’s report back from the casino. “Too many loose ends, and we don’t want anyone innocent caught up in the crossfire.” “Yeah, but there’s so much to go over,” Schioppo added. “How are we going to actually get through tracking everything down, especially with Clyde busy with his new hunting business?” The heretofore silent bus driver was thinking. Noriko Yabuuchi, sugar and ice to Kris and all ice, no fire to Schioppo, was warming up to both, though she wouldn’t admit it, and to the rest of the tea. To even her own surprise, she wanted to help. And she resolved to do so, the best way she knew how, using her own unique skillset. “Okay, gang, let’s split up and search for clues.” The Civil Disobedients sat around their bar, the atmosphere of a tense quality. Spirits had certainly been higher in the group’s time together, but things weren’t terribly dreary at the moment, Lyra thought quietly to herself, stirring a frosty glass of grape juice. Even though Prince Johnny’s last excursion hadn’t ended well by any stretch of the imagination: the Civil Disobedients hadn’t heard hide nor hair of him since, they had no idea where he might have been, but Lyra simply hoped he was safe. Fighter Jet was his usual sunny self, trying to keep spirits up by cracking jokes and recounting their better times, but Kaito wasn’t having any of it, sullen as he stared into an empty glass, contemplating his team, himself. Then Fighter Jet said something—Kaito didn’t quite remember what—but he snapped back. “Maybe we’d have more people after Tags right now if people hadn’t been dicking around during the first round!” He shot a withering glare at Lyra, who shrunk back on her stool, looking off to the side. “I’m sorry— about me and Djimon, I really could have done better, I, ah… um…” Kaito continued to lambast her, squeezing his glass tighter, his knuckles turning white. “Maybe we should’ve just sent you out alone, Lyra, then maybe we would’ve seen better results fro—“ Down the bar, Baroness smashed down an empty mug, shards of glass dancing on the bar for a brief moment, before they fell dead on the countertop, the floor, even on Baroness. “KAITO.” She snapped, face red with anger. “Shut the fuck up, okay?! If you’re such hot shit, then where’s all the Tags you’ve collected recently, huh? —What’s that? You don’t have any? Why’s that unsurprising to me?!” The silence that befell the group was deafening. His face hot with embarrassment, Kaito simply rose from his seat and walked towards the door, leaving the rest of his team behind. Unbeknownst to the rest of his team, Kaito’s face was contorted into a grimace. Every footfall seemed to take forever, despite his quick pace. Was the door always this far away? Even Fighter Jet had quieted, watching the door shut after him. “Ah… um, Baroness…” Lyra begun, fidgeting with her fingers. “I appreciate you standing up for me, but some of that stuff went a bit too far, don’t you think? It was uncalled for…” Baroness brushed the few shards of glass off of her pants, a twinge of regret filling her as she cleared her throat, now dry. Another report successfully filed, finances adjusted, errors corrected, everything under his control as perfect as it could be, as there was little satisfaction as good as a job well done at the end of the day, no matter the nature of the work he was getting done. Click, click, click… The man finished what tea was left in his mug, idly clicking his treasured pen, before he tucked it away in the breast pocket of his suit, rising from his executive style chair, high backed and comfortable. He stretched for a moment, before he grabbed his briefcase, striding to the break room to clean and put away the mug. There was something sterile about the environment. Something falsely homey. After he dried out the mug, he set it back into the cupboard, and rubbed his eyes from underneath his glasses. The room wasn’t creepy or unnerving, but after a week, it came to be a bit much for the man’s more subdued tastes. He made his way through the main working floor, something of a maze of frosted glass and cubicles filled with personal objects. He kept a firm grip on the handle of his briefcase, the occasional employee in the hall seemed to shrink and scurry away, as if to not incur his ire—not that he had much to give at the moment. He did, however, spot a figure dozing at one of the cubicles, black roots beginning to set back into his dyed blonde hair, and his hawaiian shirt slightly crumpled. He supposed it was casual Friday. With a sigh that was… sympathetic? He walks over, giving a sharp knock on the wall of the cubicle to get his attention. The young man instantly starts awake, wheeling around in his chair, face gaunt with embarrassment. “Muh— Muh— Mister Alcove! I’m sorry, I! Uh— I was—“ Maui Jim stuttered through some vague explanations, quickly snatching two empty Red Bull cans and crumpling them up, throwing them into the trash can beneath his desk. Tom simply stood there, letting him finish whatever he was attempting to say. A glance at his monitor showed that he was on track, even with his noticeably heavy workload. “I intend to go home now, Maui Jim,” he said calmly once the young man had finished stammering, cheeks bright red. “How much longer do you have?” “M-Me? I was— Uh I was gonna stay and, I’m super behind, and, uh…” “Hm. Carry on, then. You’ve got quite a bit of important work to do, and I don’t mean to interrupt. But do clean up your workspace.” Tom left it at that, turning to walk towards the elevator as Maui stammered his belated apology, hastily clearing up his supplies as the CFO stepped into the elevator, thankfully empty, heading down to the ground floor where he would be able to leave. “Thanks, Ric, thanks, Corazon…” Murmured Noriko as she taped a small copy of a map onto her dashboard, marked with pen and highlighter to indicate the most probable path their wanted man would take. She could practically hear the voices of her teammates:
*”We went through what we could find out about his schedule, he always stops at this grocery store after he leaves work on Fridays. No idea why, but he does.” “Uh,” Corazon had interjected. “Maybe just maybe because he’s a normal person who wants to stock up on some essentials before the weekend, duh.”
”...What was I thinking. Fuck.” Kaito walked down the sidewalk, away from the bar he had been inside mere moments before. Did he even actually like any of them? Why did he bother to stick around? He gave a pebble a forceful kick, and watched it skitter across the sidewalk and into a row of bushes. Baroness was nothing but a bossy know-it-all. He could hardly stand her and her holier-than-thou attitude. And Djimon. Why had they let a child into the Civil Disobedients, again? Maybe the whole group would’ve been more success if Lyra wasn’t always so out to lunch. Prince Johnny was a horny creep, and probably a liar, and Fighter Jet… He… Couldn’t think of anything bad about Fighter Jet… Noriko’s bus was empty, an unusual occurrence, and Noriko was largely left alone with her thoughts. Union Jack sticker. Navy car with Union Jack sticker. Looking for the Navy Car with a Union Jack sticker. That was him… she had to find him… She was one intersection away from the grocery store, and she rolled to a stop as the traffic lights overhead turned red. She reached to turn on the fan at the front of the bus, basking in the gusts of cool air. This wouldn’t be so hard. She’d track him down and ask some questions, right? Knock, knock, knock Kaito rapped his knuckles on the bus door’s glass pane, his posture shrunken, shoulders drawn inward, head tilted down. Noriko, operating on muscle memory, flicked the lever to open the door at the sound. Her eyes shot open, and she turned, staring face to face with Kaito. She hadn’t meant to open the door! Kaito’s eyes widened. He recognized this girl… she was the one he fought in Venice! He stammered, backing up a bit. “Oh, it’s you, I, um…” Her eyes narrowed. She recognized him as well. But Kaito could tell from the look on her face, the way she surveyed her surroundings… there was a look of ‘Intent’ on her face. She was here for a reason... Out of the corner of her eye, Noriko caught sight of a dark-coloured car pulling out of the parking lot. She turned to confirm, and as she made out the Union Jack sticker on the window, she turned back to Kaito, her expression one of stern urgency. “Get on.” Kaito, still somewhat hesitant, nonetheless complied, boarding the bus and hopping in the seat. The door quickly shut behind him, and the overhead light flicked to green as Noriko peeled off after her target. The end of the work week had finally arrived, many an office worker rejoicing their two days of freedom, quickly punching out and scurrying home. For one man in particular, the weekend was a time of great joy, as it meant for two precious days he was able to see his teenage son, Timothy. The man had settled into a routine he thought was just right; leave work, pick up groceries for the weekend, visit his ex-wife’s house to pick up Tim, then make his way home for dinner (catching up on the details of his son’s week he had missed between phone calls), eventually followed by a movie with popcorn. For Thomas Alcove, this was (mostly) perfect. He was on his way to pick up Tim at this very moment, groceries nestled snugly in the backseat, everything he’d need for a weekend. A dozen eggs, 2% milk, rye bread, green onions, the bags of candy in their bold packaging that Tim had found a distinct fondness for, Earl Gray, Chamomile… the list could go on. The bags rustled quietly as Tom turned a corner, his vehicle roomy, yet modest, painted a dark navy, a Union Jack sticker sitting proudly on the bottom corner of the rear window. There was the usual rush hour traffic that he sat through with a level head, beginning to clear the further from downtown he drove, save for a bus that seemed to follow him. He shifted his gaze from the rearview mirror and back to the road, adjusting his glasses. The notion that he was being tailed was nonsense. Or so he thought. Kaito rested against the back of the bus seat, hardly the most comfortable, but eons better than being out, alone with his thoughts. “What’s your name?” Noriko asked from the front, looking back at Kaito through the bus’ rear view window with a quizzical glance, her expression having softened somewhat. “I’m Kaito. Yuigahama Kaito.” Noriko’s expression brightened, and she slipped back into her mother tongue. “どの県で育ちましたか?” She asked, looking eagerly back through the mirror. Kaito, however, blinked, leaning forward and cupping a hand to his ear. “どの県で育ちましたか?” She repeated, her smile weakening somewhat. “Is that, uh… I don’t speak Japanese, I moved away before I had a chance to learn anything…” he responded meekly, feeling somewhat awkward for having crushed her visible enthusiasm. Noriko frowned in deep displeasure. She went out of her way to try and connect with somebody who shared her heritage, only to get nothing in return. He didn’t even speak a word of Japanese? Pathetic. The bus fell back into silence. A silence Kaito was all too familiar with, a silence steeped and fermented in disappointment, tainted like a corked wine. He silently cursed to himself; how did he even mess basic conversation up? Noriko’s eyes focused on the road, and on their target ahead of them. Kaito focused forward as well, though his eyes darted between the road or Noriko. He wanted to try again… he didn’t want things to be awkward. He rubbed the back of his neck, easing back into conversation. “So, err… What are we doing, anyway? I just kind of got on without explanation…” Noriko glanced over at Kaito, before quickly focusing back on the road. “Chasing the Navy car with the Union Jack… You can help me, we need information.” Kaito nodded. This could be the opportunity he needed… he wasn’t about to pass up a chance to prove himself. “How’re we going to do it?” “We follow him, we corner him, we make him talk,” Noriko said simply, eyes still on the road. “Yeah, sure, alright,” Kaito said, slumping back in his seat. The ride was silent for a while once more, and this time it was Noriko who chose to break it. “Why were you out?” Kaito sighed and gritted his teeth before speaking. “My team’s all a bunch of bullshit. We haven’t heard from Michelle or Djimon in months, Lyra’s a goddamn space cadet, and I don’t even know if Prince Johnny’s even fucking alive!” Kaito’s voice caught. “And Tom… Tom abandoned me.” Noriko thought back to earlier in her investigation, the Fairy Fellers all crowding the bus, chattering and joking. It could be annoying sometimes, but… With Connor currently checking on his family and Ric always checking out of team conversation, she’d already started to feel a hole on the bus. Hearing about Kaito’s situation, with half the team completely missing in action, especially the man who’d been with him in Venice… “I’m sorry about him,” Noriko said. “You were a real pain to fight in Venice.” “Yeah… Sorry about that.” Kaito recognized a compliment when he heard it, and grinned up at his former opponent and newfound ally. “Let’s kick this rich guy’s butt. Wait, uh… what’s his name again?” “Alcove,” Noriko replied. “Tom Alcove.” Kaito blinked, and his grin widened. This was about to be cathartic. Up a hill that led to a scenic cliffside view, the bus pulled over into the lane beside him, accelerating slowly, as if trying to catch up with him. Tom narrowed his eyes, letting his foot off the gas to let the bus pass, but much to his horror, it didn’t. There was a rumbling as amber liquid poured from the bus, coalescing beneath it, bubbling and burbling until— BWOOSH! The scent of whiskey filled the air as the fermented liquor exploded, launching the bus a great length and high above, As it soared over his own vehicle, plumes of bubbles streamed out of opened windows, deftly floating ahead and laying out into carpet on the road ahead of him. Indeed, the bus made a miraculously safe landing, skidding out slightly with the popping of bubbles and the hiss of hydraulics. Tom, meanwhile, slammed on his brakes, wheels screeching at the sudden deceleration. That was more than just horrid driving. That was intentional, the work of an enemy Stand user... Tom narrowed his eyes, trying to make out the driver as he gripped his steering wheel tightly. The bus was long enough to block off every single lane, rendering him unable to get around… to get to Tim. His anger was hidden behind tired eyes, and he stepped out of his car, the smell of whiskey filling his nostrils. He called loudly to the driver, who would easily be able to hear him. “What on Earth are you thinking?! I have places to be!” He opened his mouth to say more, but the bus doors swung open, and Noriko and Kaito stepped outside to confront him, the former holding a dossier that she read clearly from. “Thomas Alcove, CFO of Lyte LTD,” she began, eyes flickering between the man and the file. “May I ask you some questions about XPLICIT?” Tom’s brow furrowed, his fists curling slightly. This was hardly good. “No.” He responded sharply, pulling his pen from his breast pocket and beginning to click it absentmindedly. “You may not. I don’t have the time.” “Well then.” Kaito interjected, lowering his stance to one of more aggression. “I’m sure we can make time, or, at the very least, make you talk.” Noriko nodded in agreement, and Tom squared his shoulders, prepared for combat as he spun his pen through his fingers. He was off the clock: he had no interest in dealing with work issues. ”Unless you go quietly, it’ll be the last thing you brats will do.” Location: A beach-side highway somewhere in California. The road is 10 meters wide with a dropoff to the shore to the south and a hill to the north, similar to the picture. The players and boss start 15 meters away from each other on the right side of the road facing each other. Both sides have their respective vehicles a meter behind them, however they cannot be driven at the time. The sea is 10 meters south of the road; there is a speed limit sign 7.5 meters between the players and the boss on the north side of the road; and there are two overpass signs, one 15 meters behind both sides. There is a guard rail on the south side like the picture shows, the stakes are wooden and the bar is made of coated metal. The bus has normal bus driving equipment and maintenance gear: a spare tire, medical kit, fire extinguisher, and other essentials. Additionally, the bus happens to have fiberglass paneling on the sides and most of the back, in areas that buses would normally have it, although with effort it can be torn off. For some reason, the bus also has a coffin on board. Goal: RETIRE your opponents! Additional Information: Note for the players, that camping or running away too far will be detrimental given that you are giving the boss a chance to book it. Boss Information:
Name: Thomas Alcove Age: 42 Gender: Male Species: Human Occupation: CFO of Lyte, Tom Alcove, Former Investor for Section 80. Personality: Tom, put bluntly, is quite the stick in the mud. The straightlaced square so involved in his work you’re left wondering if he has any hobbies, any joys in life aside from a job well done, and giving subordinates the side eye when his tea’s not done quite right. He comes across as hard-to-impress, but above all, detached, keeping things and people alike at an arm's-length distance, with the sole exception of his son, Timothy. This detached, slightly bitter, slightly prickish attitude displayed by Tom is the perfect repellent for most of his co-workers, and he couldn’t be happier, generally preferring solitude, or at the very least, not being pestered. Most of these negative traits are a built-up exterior to hide a rather polite, mild, and sensibly kind interior, hidden chiefly due to past experiences, and the desire to not be taken advantage of by more cruel players in the industry. When alone, or at his home, these crueller qualities are shed entirely. First and foremost, Tom is a father, there to guide, correct, and love. He has a matching sense of humour, often unable to stave off the urge to tell a groan-worthy joke to his son. He has hobbies like early morning jogs, and collecting limited edition coins. He finds great fun in browsing through truly atrocious cookbooks from a bygone era, playing old rock records, and arranging tea paraphernalia. Bio Physical Description: One look at Tom, and you can tell he’s a busy man, work not a source of income, but a way of life. He’s light skinned, with prominent cheekbones, a rather sharp nose, lips that usually speak of his annoyance, and vibrant blue eyes that are shadowed by dark rings beneath them. His hair is dark brown, and styled upwards in a double helix, ending in points that are reminiscent of devil horns. There’s a thick gray streak that runs through his hair, other strands by his scalp slowly showing the same colour. He’s very tall, standing at 6’4, but also very lithe, with broad shoulders, and proper posture. There are thin, silvery glasses perched upon his nose, and he wears formal clothing in dark colours- blues, greys and blacks. His outfit usually consists of a dress shirt and a blue ascot beneath a crisply dry-cleaned waistcoat. He wears plain dress slacks, held up by blue suspenders, and matching his waistcoat. His shoes are dressy, without much beyond that. The real eyecatcher to his outfit is his jacket; a dark coloured throw-over with a collar and material resembling a suit jacket, although it is much longer, with coattails that reach his ankles. On the right sleeve is text that reads “SECTION 80”, and on either elbow are patches that resemble subtraction signs. The back of said jacket has quite some flair, a sliver chain on the small of its back, held in place by multiplication signs, The lapel and bottoms of the jacket are made of a polished metal. Art of Tom and his Stand by our own Judge Dimi! Equipment:Various keys on a small keyring, a smartphone, a wallet made of fine leather, containing cards, cash, coins, and small photos of him and Tim doing various activities together, his silver wristwatch, and a second blue ascot. USER STATS: Strength: 2 - Tom possesses average strength for a man of his size and age, nothing much of note here. Agility: 4 - Having an aversion to most sports, and finding activities such as weightlifting quite dull, whilst still wanting to remain active and healthy, Tom took up running over a decade ago, and it has paid dividends to this day. Endurance: 2 - Tom also possesses average endurance. Office Aerobics: 4 - Long limbs often come with visuals of manoeuvring around in a gangly, awkward, manner. Not so for Tom, however, who’s litheness and agility allow him to make his way around the battlefield in unconventional ways with ease. Low gravity, underwater, or up in the air? He’s got it on lock. Penmanship: 2 - When working closely with a single pen for years and years, one truly comes to know its strengths; writing with a steady hand, where the laser pointer will fall, and how to write up a damn clean signature. STAND NAME:｢Money Trees｣ Stand Type: Bound/Humanoid Stand Appearance: When in its pen form, ｢Money Trees｣ appears as a simple silver-black pen with three colors: red, blue, and black. When in its humanoid form, it looks like a small, black, limbless robot with a round, featureless head, save for some wide, flat bolts screwed into either side of its head, and a glowing white line that goes straight down the middle of its face, flanked by two circle eyes in the same colour, bisected vertically by a line. ｢Money Trees｣’s head leads into a thin, sleek neck, and a triangular torso. From its shoulders protrude two small brick magnets, and from its shoulder sockets, two horseshoe magnets. It lacks arms, but has hands with disc magnets on the back. There’s also a disc magnet beneath ｢Money Trees｣’ torso, a horseshoe magnet immediately beneath it, and two brick magnets on either side of the horseshoe magnet. It hovers in midair, a visible magnetic field pulsing from the different magnets on its body. ｢Money Trees｣ is also seen carrying or otherwise levitating a very large brick magnet with incredible ease. Stand Ability: Pen Form - The pen acts as a laser pointer; when Tom points it at a metal object, he can envelop it in a spherical, faintly glowing magnetic field, one side is red for N charge, the other blue for S charge. Additionally, he can set metals as ‘null’, unable to be affected by ｢Money Trees｣’s magnetism. If he draws a loop with the pointer, upon its completion, a magnetic field will be created within that boundary, the field’s glow indicating its charge. Tom can click the pen to freely change the orientation of any object/fields in range, as well as turning the magnetism “on, off, and null”. These magnetic fields affect all metals, regardless of their innate ferromagnetism, or in layman's terms, even metals that are not normally able to be magnetised. Humanoid Form - While free from the pen, ｢Money Trees｣ can create, reshape, and telekinetically move a peculiar metal—also known as Money, which is very similar to silver—within range that’s larger than a quarter. It can also predefine the magnetic field of Money as it’s being created. STAND STATS: Power: C - The magnetic pull (and thus push for similarly charged objects) is at C POW, as is the Stand’s physical force. The size of a magnetic field/affected object has no effect on the power of the magnetic pull; a large and a small loop will both create a single force vector of C POW. Additionally, while ordinary metal affected by the magnetic force cannot harm Stands, Money can, as can anything of ｢Money Trees｣’s creation. Speed: A - Although larger quantities of Money are harder to move due to their weight, ｢Money Trees｣ can move incredibly and ‘metalbend’ quickly. Similarly, application and adjustments of its magnetism abilities occur at incredible speeds, much faster than Tom’s clicking may imply. Durability: E - ｢Money Trees｣ in both forms is incredibly fragile. However, while the pen does not transfer damage, it takes 5 seconds to regenerate if destroyed and all magnetic fields created will be dispelled. Similarly, although Money can affect Stands, it is also incredibly fragile. However, the more of it is accumulated, the harder it becomes to break. Range: C - While ｢Money Trees｣ is bound to E Range of Tom, its ability range is 20 meters. If Tom leaves the range of a magnetized object or a field, he can no longer change its magnetism, but the effect remains. Precision: A - Not only is Tom incredibly adept at using the Pen form, ｢Money Trees｣ is incredibly precise with its movement, senses, and ability usage, having the ability to freely remold Money into any shape. Moreover, Tom can choose whether or not to be affected by ｢Money Trees｣’s ability. Stand Oddities: ｢Money Trees｣’s pen form functions as a perfectly good pen, with unlimited amounts of red, blue, black ink.
“What you owe me… can never be payed back with money!” Baroness, Tom, and now another goddamn Tom. You've had the hell beaten out of you so far, and you’re the only one who seems to think you’re worth anything. Now it's time to prove everyone else wrong. Prove your worth, and be inventive and showy as possible with your and Noriko's Stand while you beat this enemy into the ground!
“Think about it. There’s gasoline in bikes.” But you don’t care about bikes when you have your bus right there. You may not be able to get away with driving it against this opponent, but you can still make use of it! Use the bus and anything in it in interesting and creative ways in the match!
“You can find iron anywhere in this world. Of course, it's in sand, as well as spring water and plants. Large amounts of iron can be found in vegetables like spinach and meats like liver...” While you’re certainly able to make your own [Money], you’re just as capable of punishing these punks by creative use of what’s already there. Use the metal in the surroundings in your strategy, and make it count in taking down these upstarts!
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