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Dark Heresy: The Oremor Affliction IC

Game Master Rookseye

On the agri-world of Oremor, at the very fringes of the Malfian sub-sector, acolytes of the Inquisition and their allies must confront a sinister conspiracy that threatens to shake the very foundations of the Calixis sector.


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Arbite Investigator
Ahmazzi wrote:
Savalos, Wardja, a Scrutiny test, please.

The corrupt arbite and Yellowback were not under the sway of the demon. Pretty sure Thul saw it too. Did they notice us as well?

Scrutiny 40, Roll, 1d100 ⇒ 79

Unsure... Looks like the game is truly afoot.


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Husbandry Barn 177-B

Vincent pulls the unfortunate driver from his final perch at the wheel of the forklift and mounts the machine. He turns the key expectantly and muscles the forklift into gear.


Male Human Outlaw

Okay here is my list of rolls for what Sav.

Common Lore Imperium (1d100=34) About the Emperor's Tarot

Inquistion Knowledge of the Heretic Wake Deck (1d100=37)

Common Lore:Underground about Gran Pallazzar significance. (1d100=24)

Gambing-How to play the game. (1d100=33)

Well at least I made half the rolls. Wish I made the roll for the Heretic Wake Deck though.


Somewhere Dark

Kaltos Havelock wrote:
"Well I was never good at waiting. Do you have anything that we can rig up as a com even if we have to use the metal of our cage as an antenna? I would like to see if we can get a message to the others or at least get some idea of what is happening outside. A receiver would do if nothing else."

Kaltos, Tech-Use test is successful, as is Craft (Smith).

Awareness test is unsuccessful.

Ivaanov ponders the request of his fellow tech-priest, and cogitates for a moment. He then raises his goggled eyes to the metallic dome that curves above their heads. It is clear some manner of sacred inspiration has affected him, as he soon begins to speak the Benediction of Utility to himself.

"For a time you will have to speak for me, Kaltos Havelock."

Removing the grilled cowling of his vox, Ivaanov Drivanovich proceeds to pick through the wiring connecting to the scarred tissue of his throat, near where his atrophied vocal cords are. Finding a small bud of plas and metal, he removes it with delicate fingers, and drapes a long black wire liberated from his ministrations to the end of it. He then uses another coil of copper to affix this to the end of his metal staff, gesturing for Kaltos to attach it end-to-end to his own.

The larger tech-priest posits the best means to do this, and then begins to spool more of the copper wiring offered by Ivaanov round and round the joint between the two weapons. Using his metal-limned fist to crack one of the plas housings holding the weak actinic lights, he liberates a power coupling and uses the sparking tip to fuse as much of the wire as possible to the staves.

Although unwieldy, after some time Kaltos and Private Kotts are able to raise the makeshift antenna/transmitter upright to a point just below the center of the caged dome. Touching it to one of the horizontal metal crossbars, they struggle to hold it upright and intact, and Ivaanov proceeds to wire the terminus into Kaltos' own vox-speaker.

Aiding Tech-Use test of Kaltos, Tech-Use (58) test for Ivaanov, 1d100 ⇒ 51, success.

Switching to their cipher and frequency, the Disciple of Sollex attempts a transmission.

It immediately comes as a pleasant surprise to Kaltos that someone has already sabotaged or liberated the requisite security protocols of the Vermillion Ring's untethered communications hub. Wirelessly finding a node, the tech-priest realizes he should be able to transmit, albeit at a weak signal strength.

A mute Ivaanov gives a nod of encouragement when Kaltos indicates his success.

Kaltos, you may send a message!


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Husbandry Barn 177-B

Leaping over the pools of clotted blood, Vincent strides toward the forklift, grasping the coverall of the driver, and pulling him free of the seat. Vincent's clerical mind notes that the man, one of the penitent workforce, was in violation of safety regulation III-1429, subsection B, and was not wearing his clip-harness, which makes Vincent eternally grateful for his lackadaisical approach---as it makes it all the easier to toss him bodily to the ground.

His body lands with a dull 'thump', rolling over to reveal the pale, dead flesh of his staring face, and a gaping wound to his throat that suggests he was mauled or bitten by some animal. Knowing the placid bovine tendencies of the average maulchups, Vincent Sepheris grows warier.

Turning the ignition key in the housing, the forklift hums to life with a belching cloud of acrid black exhaust. The vehicle is deafeningly loud, each blatting sound of the engine echoing throughout the vast barn. Examining the controls, Vincent sets it into lurching motion, depressing the accelerator and speeding toward his companions in the nearby pen.

Vincent, please attempt an Awareness skill test.


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Husbandry Barn 177-B

Vincent, please attempt an Awareness skill test.

Awareness 44 : 1d100=86


Arbite Investigator

Wardja's Knowledge Attempts

Rookseye wrote:
Routine [+20] Common Lore (Imperial Creed) skill test to ascertain more details about the Emperor's Tarot.

Common Lore, Imperial Creed (35) + Routine (20) = 55, roll: 1d100 ⇒ 56 Dang! Missed by one.

Rookseye wrote:
You can attempt a Routine [+20] Common Lore (Adeptus Arbites) skill test to recall the enforcement doctrine, punishments, and legal history of the Heretic's Wake deck over the course of its existence in the Calixis sector.

Common Lore, Adeptus Arbites (35) + Routine (20) = 55, roll: 1d100 ⇒ 47

Rookseye wrote:
A successful Easy [+30] Gambling skill test... this is a mandatory skill test

Gambling (35) + Easy (30) = 65, roll: 1d100 ⇒ 53

Rook:
Did not mention this back when the characters were sharing plans for how to handle the Casino/Tourney showdown, but I kept envisioning Gereos setting up a simulation program so Wardja (and maybe Sav) could bone up on their skills. Did not post this when you gave ample opportunity--Bad roleplaying on my part. Looks like it doesn't matter for round one since me and Bal both made our rolls. Maybe we can simply say the "easy" +30 test comes in part from Gereos simulations? Or can I lobby for an extra bonus next round (or somewhere along the way) due to preparation? As always I am completely satisfied with your adjudication. :)


Male Human Savant Militant (Rank 4)

Trade(soothsayer)(28) = 1d100 ⇒ 48
Forbidden Lore(Daemonology)(46) = 1d100 ⇒ 17
Made my Daemonology roll by two degrees.


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Husbandry Barn 177-B

The squeal of the forklift's tires on the dry patch of ferrocrete it rested upon is still ringing in Vincent's ears as he speeds toward the pen holding his companions and the door to the Inquisitorial Access Shaft. Weaving between the slaughtered maulchups, he reaches his destination, pulling around wide of the gate. It is only then that his subconscious mind falls into a state of alarm. What was that he had just glimpsed, skirting the edge of his peripheral vision as he passed one of the pens---movement of some kind?

Worried, but committed to resolving their immediate danger, he gestures for Launce and Ryuk to move aside, gingerly maneuvering the wide vehicle into the pen, the tires squelching through blood and viscera. His companions only step away from their desperate bracing of the door at the last moment. Given the terrible, frenetic pounding he can now hear, it is with good reason. With the triple lifting-tines already raised vertically, he slowly drives forward, wedging the nose of the heavy vehicle as closely against the door as possible. Leaping from the driver's compartment, he nearly falls to his knees, slipping on maulchup's gore.

The forklift is in position not a moment too soon, for something far larger slams into the Inquisition's hidden door with tremendous force, rattling it in its frame in spite of the vehicle's presence, and Vincent has no desire to speculate what manner of abomination is capable of such an impact.

Stepping outside the pen, the senior clerk, tech-priest and Ryuk reunite, facing one another in a loose triangle. Launce is about to say something when from somewhere deeper in the barn comes a low, ominous moaning that silences the words in his vox and chills the blood in the companion's veins.

'Unnnggghhhhhhhhrrrr'


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Savalos takes his assigned place at tournament table, relieved somewhat to find that he sits between 'Comptroller Odo Wimarc' and Lady Cinzia.

From Wardja to his left, the widely-spaced seating of the contestants continues clockwise as follows: Jashar dol Geim, Jeremiah Blitz, Keramiah Tor, Leprade, Trizo dol Soulard, and finally, the Changeling, just before the Dowager-Marcheza Vingere to Thul's right. The sober and somber-looking dealer, a tall and gangly man with pale skin, shaved eyebrows, and the requisite blank countenance of servitor-like obsequiousness expected of all the Gran Pallazzar's gaming staff, is situated just between Tor and Leprade, within the curving hollow of the table's trailing, hook-like extension. He is even now sliding the towering stacks of nine-sided, nacreous-colored chips into position with long-fingered hands protruding just barely from the voluminous sleeves of his hooded black robe. A familiar deck of midnight blue placards are fanned out before him, their hue just slightly darker than the smooth felt covering the table.

Trizo dol Soulard and Leprade glare back at Thul and Wardja from the opposite side of the table while Tor's hollow, emotionless gaze is locked upon the Changeling's vivid cerulean eyes left to right from the acolytes, across the playing surface.

Savalos closes his eyes and tries to focus, collecting his thoughts even as he feels the powdered cosmetic wilting under the warmth of his brow. The wig itches, but he compels himself by force of will alone to forget the discomfort.

Common Lore (Imperium) skill test, successful.

The Emperor's Tarot, the original unadulterated version of the Heretic's Wake deck enters his mind for some reason, and he clings tightly to the thought of this sacred instrument of prophecy even as he clasps tightly the golden aquila in his vest pocket. The Tarot itself is said to allow the most faithful of the Emperor's servants almost supernatural powers of divination and prognostication, as it is a vessel providing insight derived from the divine will of the Throne's occupant itself. Whether this is truth or not, Savalos cannot deny the power present in the placards of the Heretic's Wake deck resting before the dealer, but what truths or lies this debased derivative might hold, remains to be seen.

Forbidden Lore (Inquisition) unsuccessful.

Some half-remembered recollection about the origins of the Heretic's Wake deck escapes Savalos, and he finds himself wishing he had payed more attention to the Old Man's words rather than trying in vain to best him at the game; his game.

Common Lore (Underworld) is successful, by one degree.

If the stories his mother imparted to him are true, it is said that one of the earliest places that the game of Heretic's Wake took hold was on Oremor, during the Angevin Crusade that would pacify the world and wrest it from K'lei-eth's race. It was once played in secret by the guardsman in their billets, and from them it spread to the early colonists and eventually the hive-dwellers. He hazily recalls Ariella saying that the Gran Pallazzar was built with the express purpose of hosting the Tournament of Cassilda, rumored to have been sponsored by a mysterious sibyl with ties to the Holy Ordos.

Gambling test is successful.

Cracking his knuckles in a decidedly un-noble fashion, Savalos clears his wandering thoughts and prepares for the contest to come.


Somewhere Dark

I take a moment to honor the sacrifice my brother of the cog has made. I then assemble all the information that has transpired since I have woken up in the cell. When it is ready I make it able to be sent in a burst of the Holy Language. I then start the transmission.

"To the Heretic and our allies this is the Retriever with his object of Search and single Guard. We are located in a congregation of cells but soon might be let out to Play with whom we do not Know but we see Orange without the Red in our Hovels. We are armed but not with the Light of Sollex. Here are the Knowledge of time and space use it wisely for we are able to Speak in the Ordos tongue but we may not Hear." At that I transmit the burst message.


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Husbandry Barn 177-B

Vincent's hand flashes to the laspistol holstered at his waist.


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

As Wardja takes his seat, he cannot help but note the immensity that is the agri-magnate Jashar dol Geim, his corpulent form sitting in such a slouched posture that the nobleman appears to be partially reclining in his suspensor-litter. Thankfully, adequate distance separate him with the size of the table, but a steady parade of hospitality staff and iron-willed courtesans withholding their disgust create a constant parade between the two of them, bearing refreshments and confections.

The man smells, too.

Jowly chins wagging as he coos to one of his unfortunate smile girls, he turns to what he perceives to be a Comptroller of the Skaelen-Har and smiles with all of the genuine warmth of a bloated toad.

"Ha! Ha, Ha! Best of fortune to you in the coming match Comptroller, we legitimate businessmen (he rolls one hooded eye in the direction of Trizo, but not so obviously that he could arouse the gang kingpin's ire) need to stick together, neh?"

He slurps down another hors d'oeuvre, smacking his lips appreciably.

It is at this rather inopportune moment that Gereos begins speaking into the arbitrator's microbead, forcing him to maintain a modicum of polite attention on dol Geim while receiving rather grim news.

<<<'The heretek and I have just received a tight-beamed binary transmission over the Vermillion Ring's secured comm array, which we compromised together at your prior instruction. Deciphering it proved simple, and the essence of the message is that the remaining guardsman of the 7th legion and my brother tech-priests remain alive, imprisoned somewhere within the Vermillion Ring itself. We are presently attempting to determine precisely where in the context of this facility. Do you have further instruction?'>>>

Wardja tries not to convey a reaction to this information that could be read by Jashar dol Geim as they converse, but he watches the beady eyes of the nobleman narrow just the same in suspicion. He decides he will have to be careful of his 'tells', this is a canny one.

Common Lore (Imperial Creed), failed.

Common Lore (Adeptus Arbites), successful.

As dol Geim drones on about the quality of the delicacies at hand, Wardja returns to the conundrum posed by Leprade's presence at such an event. Although guarded by the exclusivity of the tournament, and Oremor's relatively relaxed moral censure of such gambling within the Grey Way, he is still a prominent Arbites official, and such egregiously dissolute behavior is in clear violation of all their Adepta holds sacred. Although the days of washing a violator's hands in molten gold, according to Chapter LXVIII, § 119.21B of the Corpus Presidium Calixis is no longer rigidly enforced on most worlds, such a revelation would doom his career at best, and condemn him to a penal colony like Saint Annard's Penance or a life as lobotomized gun servitor at worst. It is clear that he feels he has reached a point in his betrayal of the Imperium that such things as this are now largely inconsequential. Swinthosa believes this is more reason to worry.

Gambling skill test successful.

Eradico:
Eradico, in this case I'll probably say no to the bonus you've suggested. It is isn't to penalize you from failing to bring it up during roleplaying, as it is a viable idea, but I'm thinking this is best conveyed by the utilization of Fate Points. Another reason is that the +30 Gambling test you just made is the only one of its kind you'll need for the course of the tournament (recall this test was to initially remember the rules and etiquette of the game, which you both have now accomplished, so you will not need to make this test again, just the round by round Gambling skill tests for each round's hand).


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Uriah, Forbidden Lore (Daemonology) successful by two degrees.

Uriah stands near the rail of the mezzanine level, side by side with Tikeen, observing the participants in the tournament as they gather around the curiously shaped central table below. As the players take their seats, he reflects upon what is to come, finally able to do so again now that Ariella's anguished inner voice finally wanes in his subconscious.

He thinks back on all that he can recall of the rumors and legends surrounding the origins of the Heretic's Wake deck, apocryphal and accurate, as well as the strange happenstances that have brought such placards to he and his fellow acolytes during their brief time on Oremor. Something about the name of the tournament, itself---Cassilda...

...Cassilda Cognos

What the import may be of his discovery he is at a loss to say, but one thing is certain in his mind, this name belonged to a notorious inquisitor of the Ordo Calixis, herself tied to prophecies of the Tyrant Star, and the machinations of the Ruinous Power referred to as the Architect of Fate.


Arbite Investigator
Ahmazzi wrote:
Trizo dol Soulard and Leprade glare back at Thul and Wardja from the opposite side of the table...

Visually taking in the ring of players, I squarely meet the gaze of the corrupt pair for a few seconds before turning to the Agri-Magnate.

Ahmazzi wrote:

"Ha! Ha, Ha! Best of fortune to you in the coming match Comptroller, we legitimate businessmen (he rolls one hooded eye in the direction of Trizo, but not so obviously that he could arouse the gang kingpin's ire) need to stick together, neh?"

He slurps down another hors d'oeuvre, smacking his lips appreciably.

This piece of filth, slobbering over food and girls. It is wrong for this glutton to fatten himself on the fruits of the Imperium. I shall pass his name to the Ministratum later. An investigation of his books is probably overdue. What else does this gross exterior hide?

Ahmazzi wrote:

It is at this rather inopportune moment that Gereos begins speaking...

<<<'The heretek and I have just received a tight-beamed binary transmission over the Vermillion Ring's secured comm array, which we compromised together at your prior instruction. Deciphering it proved simple, and the essence of the message is that the remaining guardsman of the 7th legion and my brother tech-priests remain alive, imprisoned somewhere within the Vermillion Ring itself. We are presently attempting to determine precisely where in the context of this facility. Do you have further instruction?'>>>

Dol Geim's eyes seem to notice my divided attention. Perceptive, this one. As he continues his critique of the casino's fare, I respond, "Gird yourself as best you can," lifting a canape from the opulent noble's tray, "Some seek nourishment, others mental focus; some information, others even weapons. Let us do what we can to assist and strengthen ourselves for the coming game."

Hoping I do not sound too oblique to dol Geim. Hoping Gereos understands the meaning of my message.

Leprade... His presence is a brazen affront to Imperial Law. Such flagrant disregard of Enforcer vows show he no longer cares what the Adeptus Arbite think of him. Either he is mad or something larger is planned. Regardless, he must be stopped or my life is forfeit.

Rook:
Perfectly fine with your decision. Thanks, Rook!


Ryuk points an index finder in the direction of the sound.


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Husbandry Barn 177-B

Perception test, Ryuk, 1d100 ⇒ 35, successful.

As Vincent's fingers clench around the las-pistol, Ryuk's sharp hearing tries to hone in on the source of the guttural moan, all while the pounding boom, boom, boom, of whatever assaults the blocked door continues. Turning and looking deeper into the husbandry barn, past the mangled remains of maulchups and man alike, he attempts to isolate which of the hundreds of stalls it originated from, listening intently as his fingers flex around the hilt of his blade.

He soon spies a gnarled, flailing hand as it finds purchase on the edge of one of the gates about ten stalls down on their left. The three fingers remaining on the hand (the ring and smallest finger end in bloody nubs of broken bone) strains, tendons moving beneath the blotchy, rotten skin, pulling whatever it is closer to the sodden hay and filth that is strewn throughout the wide central aisle.

All thoughts that this may be some poor survivor are soon abandoned by Ryuk when he sees what emerges.

For a moment, Vincent thinks that it is some sick joke, contrived for unfathomable reasons at their expense, when the decomposed face of the dead penitent emerges around the edge of the stall like some ghastly puppet. He numbly wonders why anyone would see fit to pose one of the countless corpses in the barn like some hideous marionette, when he recalls the shell-shocked Private Murjoff's words:

"...the dead walk."

The dead man's cheeks hang in a tatter of fleshy ribbons, and his lolling black tongue is clearly visible, as the lower jaw has been wrenched nearly off of his pale, rotting face. Vincent lets out a low moan of his own when the horror pulls itself upright, standing revealed before he and the others. No prankster provides a motive force for the dead man, and it staggers weakly around the corner of the stall, fully revealed, hopping on one leg, the left one gone below the knee. The penitent worker coverall it wears is torn open, revealing the emaciated, rotting husk of a body within, a trail of putrescent viscera spilling from the ruptured abdomen.

Hopping awkwardly forward, the dead man groans even more loudly this time:

'Hurghghghhhhhh-kkulll!!!'

This terrible noise is soon followed by similar sounds of endless torment from other stalls deeper in the structure, and even from some of those behind the companions, nearer the distant exit. As Ryuk watches, many of the corpses wallowing in the gore of the central aisle begin to stir, shambling to pull themselves upright, their baleful, milky white eyes blankly fixating on the living before them. The first they spotted stumbles and falls over, tripped by the wrenched-off leg of a maulchups, but it matters little, as dozens more have arisen and are already shambling forward toward you, the plaintive sounds of their undead hunger now echoing throughout the barn, a chorus of the damned groaning in counterpoint to the thunderous drumming on the blocked-off door.

Vincent, Ryuk, please attempt a Disturbing [+0] Fear test using Willpower.


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

As the last of the introductions is made, and the traditional reading of the rules is ended, the smattering of applause and murmured whispers of the crowd begin to die off. The concierge then leaves his gilt podium to take a seat amongst the other executives of the Gran Pallazzar, all expectantly awaiting the start of the tournament along with the other patrons both on the floor and in the gallery above.

Using a diamantine croupier's rake, the grim-faced dealer very deliberately passes the gleaming stacks of nacreous-hued chips across the table's surface to each of the players in turn, the sweep of his black sleeves swishing across the midnight blue surface. When each pile has been placed, he bows his head with the traditional mummery of dealers since man first gamed on ancient Terra, and places both pale hands flat atop the playing surface, before reverentially gathering the fanned out placards of the Heretic's Wake deck.

Reaching into a black silk pouch, he draws forth a token, and then points with one bony finger toward Cinzia dol Vingere, his deep voice intoning what everyone already knows now.

"First player."

Cracking his knuckles he takes the cards in hand and with a flutter of his dextrous fingers begins to shuffle them, the flapping of the parchment poly-plas reverberating throughout the Pinnacle of Pearl like the half-heard whispers of Fate itself.

He begins to deal.

Savalos, Wardja:
Provided there are no other questions or actions on your part, the Heretic's Wake Tournament will begin. If there is anything further you need to do, prior to the opening round, now would be the time.

Savalos, Wardja, please make a Challenging [+0] Gambling skill test for your respective scores for the first round of play.


Fear Test 1d100 ⇒ 23

Ryuk laughs at the scene before him.


Arbite Investigator
Ahmazzi wrote:

"First player."

Cracking his knuckles he takes the cards in hand and with a flutter of his dextrous fingers begins to shuffle them, the flapping of the parchment poly-plas reverberating throughout the Pinnacle of Pearl like the half-heard whispers of Fate itself.

He begins to deal.

Nonchalance as I look at my initial cards.

Gambling Test (35), Roll: 1d100 ⇒ 22, Success by two degrees, right?

Watching the other players as they look at their cards and observe each other in turn.

Awareness (50), Roll: 1d100 ⇒ 55

Not much to tell at this early point in the match.


Male Human Outlaw

Gambling Test (1d100=78)

I ignore the glares of Leprade and Trizo. Playing my role as a noble, and hopefully my rebuff gets under there skin, and weakens there game. I look at my hand. Nothing special. I am fine with that. Slow start to a long night. Just need to pace myself. Play the cards as they fall. If I am the last man standing in this game cool. But my main goal is to pick up on the traitors conversation.

Knowing what I know of playing this game. I worry about Daemon. The stakes can quickly spiral past stacks of chips into dangerous realms.

Play small and be patient. Will have to bid against Wardja at some point to keep up appearances. Volunteerly loose chips. Frag its going to be a long night. Kinda wish Maia was here watching over me. With what happened at the Font. I wonder if I would even recognize her now. And strangely I remember my promise to help K'lei-eth find his Goddess. What and odd time for that to come up.

Soothsayer (1d100=45)

url=http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3569594/]Awareness (1d100=53)[/url]


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Husbandry Barn 177-B

Willpower 43 : 1d100=71

I would reroll that, but I ran out of fate points in the Aerie.


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Husbandry Barn 177-B

Ryuk's Fear test is successful. Vincent's and Launce's (Willpower = 42) 1d100 ⇒ 71 are unsuccessful, imparting a -10 penalty to any skill or test requiring concentration on their part (as combat has not yet been initiated).

Ryuk, still half-mad, chuckles to himself in spite of the horror of the animated corpses shuffling toward he and his companions. He has seen their twisted ilk before; zombys, dead men given cursed unlife by the plague ju-ju of the Papa's worshipers on Dusk. Vile things cursed with ravenous hunger for the flesh and blood of the living. Unnerving, yes, but he knows these mindless slaves of the dark powers can be returned to death with the proper application of violence.

His hands tighten expectantly around the hilt of the sword.

Vincent and Launce can only stand frozen in stunned silence, aghast as the corpses of 7th legion guardsmen and their penitent charges shamble toward them from all directions. The guardsmen are easily identifiable as such, since they are still clad in the torn, bloody remnants of their flak armor and uniforms. One of them, most of the top of his head missing, even drags the bulky bundle of his field bag behind him on a half torn strap. The dead penitents join their former wardens, staggering forward in ubiquitous grey coveralls, filth-encrusted and drenched in gore, the buzzing flies flitting about their bodies like a pestilential halo.

Even as the realization, the terrifying enormity of what has happened to perhaps the entire population of the claustrum begins to sink in for Vincent, he takes note of how tenuous their position is. Dozens of the walking dead stalk toward them from the dim depths of the massive barn, rising from the floor even as more begin to emerge from the stalls on either side of them along the path to the distant exit. The banging on the blocked door grows louder still, more urgent, almost drowning out the childishly shrill laughter that sounds from within the Inquisitorial Access Shaft. If they do not act soon, they will be cut-off as the undead host converges on them.


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

After the ante has been passed, and once the last of the midnight-blue placards are dealt, the dealer sets the remnants of the deck before him, placing both of his pale-fingered hands flat atop the table on either side of the Draw. There is a soft rustle as the competitors claim their hands, eyes flicking back and forth from their cards to their opponents. A hush has fallen over the audience and the gallery above.

Lady Cinzia barely glances at her own hand, her lined face beaming with genuine bonhomie toward each of her fellow contestants. You'd think that she regularly entertained crime lords and daemon-hosts at her dinner parties for the utter lack of discomfiture she exhibits.

Adroitly stacking her chips in a hypnotic cycle of finger flicks, she considers pushing forward a sizable grouping to the center of the table, but at the last moment relents.

"I will call."

The solemn dealer gestures to each player in turn, and they all call as well, remaining in the game, until he reaches Jashar dol Geim who dispiritedly tosses his cards upon the table.

"Pfah, yes; at least I can return this rubbish upon the draw!"

He consoles himself by sampling a puff pastry from the nearest dessert tray, watching the other players intently as he munches.

The dealer then gestures to Wardja, followed by Savalos to see if they will call and remain in the round.

The Heretic's Wake Tournament, Round #1:
Heretic's Wake Tournament, Round #1:

Current Stakes: Base Ante, 9 chips.

First Player: Dowager-Marcheza Cinzia dol Vingere

Remaining Chips:


  • Savalos: 99
  • Wardja: 99
  • Jashar Dol Geim: 99
  • Jeremiah Blitz: 99
  • Keramiah Tor: 99
  • Intelligencer Leprade: 99
  • Trizo dol Soulard: 99
  • Johnnie/The Changeling: 99
  • Lady Cinzia: 99

Gambling Test Results:


  • Savalos: 78 (failed by 3 degrees)
  • Wardja: 22 (2 degrees of success)
  • Jashar Dol Geim: ?
  • Jeremiah Blitz: ?
  • Keramiah Tor: ?
  • Intelligencer Leprade: ?
  • Trizo dol Soulard: ?
  • Johnnie/The Changeling: ?
  • Lady Cinzia: ?

Savalos, Wardja, Uriah:

I will be rolling the results for the other contestant's skill tests "behind the screen" so to speak, for the duration of the tournament. I will only reveal the results as your opponents fold or as they are otherwise discovered by successful opposed skill tests to determine your adversaries 'strength of hand'. This above spoiler block will serve as a reminder where things stand in any given round. Remember also, even if your initial hand is terrible, you have the opportunity to re-roll at the Draw.


Eradico, Bal:
With the benefit of some hindsight, I've reconsidered Eradico's suggestion on giving Savalos and Wardja some benefit from simulation training at Heretic's Wake prior to the tournament. Consider yourselves to each have the Gambling +10 skill for the duration of the tournament. I decided to make the adjustment after comparing your base Gambling skills to the other contestants. This raises Wardja's skill to 45, and Savalos' to 47. You really are swimming with sharks!

Also, please hold off on any opposed tests until after the Draw and the second round of betting commences, I'll allow Wardja to re-roll or keep the 55 he got for the last Awareness test, Eradico, whichever you prefer.


Arbite Investigator
Ahmazzi wrote:
The dealer then gestures to Wardja, followed by Savalos to see if they will call and remain in the round.

Wondering what ruse the former champion is playing by pausing and reconsidering since she is on the button. My hand is decent, not great. Probably just good enough to get me into trouble. "You gotta pay to play," as Marco used to say. Without looking at Lady Czina, I flip nine chips towards the center of the table.

"Call."

Despite this modest bid, I feel my pulse-rate rise slightly. Live stakes against live players is much different from the practice cogitator-sims that Gereos ran for me and the Hive-Ganger. I recite a calming mantra while watching the decisions of the remaining players.

Rook, Bal:
I will wait until the second round and re-roll any opposed tests. Also thanks for the +10 modifier even though as you note, Wardja is still in way over his head. ;)


Male Human Outlaw

Rook, Eradico

Spoiler:
Fine with me. Was just trying to get a feel of my opponents. See how aggressive they play, etc. Think I forgot to post that above. Sav knows well that he is in over is head. While he has played some shrewd card sharks in back alleys. This is a scale he is totally unaccustomed to. They could end of literally playing for lives/souls by the end of this. Not to mention how uncomfortable he is playing the noble, and wearing the monkey suit. He is totally out of his element. Just wants to make it out of this night alive. And hopefully not get anyone we care about killed or worse.

Will try to give you a proper write up at some point Rook. Been long overdue. Life has been a real crazy, and been playing catch up a lot.

I watch my opponents carefully. The first hand always tells a lot. Who is the patient hunter, verse those who are out for blood and the quick kill.


Arbite Investigator

Rook:
Sorry, I missed that all players stayed in for the initial deal except dol Geim. My post made it sound like I was waiting for the others to fold or call. I need to read more carefully. I hope Wardja is not as sloppy.


Bal, Eradico:
No need to apologize, guys. Bal, the game will always be here regardless of whatever keeps us busy in RL, I have encountered the same thing from time to time. Eradico, the first round will be a bit confusing, so I will outline the pattern I hope to follow below:

    [1] Cards are dealt and first Gambling test is made by all players.
    [2] 'First Player' either calls or raises. Other players call, or fold.
    [3] Once the initial bet is complete, players can then return cards to the Draw, and either re-roll the initial Gambling test, accepting the second result for the remainder of the round or roll a Gambling test and receive +1 degree of success for a success, or a -1 to their accumulated degrees of success for a failure on this check. The former is aggressive play, the latter represents playing conservatively. This result, whatever it may be, is their final Gambling result for the round. The third and final option is to retain your initial Gambling test and not draw anything at all.
    [4] Once the Draw is complete, the 'First Player' is given the option of raising again, with each following player given the option to call, fold, or call and raise again.
    [5] Skill tests to resolve 'strength of hand' can be used throughout the round, but make the most sense to do following the Draw, or here in the open bidding stage, to best gauge where everyone stands with their final hand.
    [6] The hands are compared, a winner for the round is determined, and the pot is claimed.
    [7] The next round begins as with "1" above.

It may be confusing above, but Jashar dol Geim is actually still in the round, he is merely referring to the fact his initial hand was awful, and he plans to make the full Draw. Lady Cinzia was also showing a bit of gamesmanship with the bluff raise.

You both have a choice now, Sav would likely be best served by taking an aggressive Draw (if he thinks his next draw is blessed by fate), while Wardja could increase his present degrees of success by 1 with a conservative draw (while running the risk of worsening his hand by -1 with a failure on is roll). Alternately, if he was feeling really lucky, he could just go Full Draw and re-roll Gambling for a new hand and accept the result.


Male Human Outlaw

I toss my cards on the table as well. Looking for better fortunes with a fresh hand. While I prefer to play a more conservative game. When your hand sucks there isn't much left to loose than to go for it. Hopefully my opponents will under estimate me and consider it an amateur move that I can take advantage of later.

Rook

Spoiler:
Thanks Rook. I admit I was a bit confused as well. Glad I lined it out for us.


Arbite Investigator

Rook, Bal:
[1] Cards are dealt and first Gambling test is made by all players.
[2] 'First Player' either calls or raises. Other players call, or fold.
[3] Once the initial bet is complete, players can then return cards to the Draw, and either re-roll the initial Gambling test, accepting the second result for the remainder of the round or roll a Gambling test and receive +1 degree of success for a success, or a -1 to their accumulated degrees of success for a failure on this check. The former is aggressive play, the latter represents playing conservatively. This result, whatever it may be, is their final Gambling result for the round. The third and final option is to retain your initial Gambling test and not draw anything at all...

Rook, so it seems that we are at step 3. So technically should I let you post the other six player's "step 3" actions before I decide what to do? Won't I perhaps be able to tell if they are taking partial draws or did all six "stand pat" (dol Geim the exception) like Lady Czina and they are done with step 3? I'm still a tad confused.

Even though we've had a rough start, I'm totally enjoying this!


Arbite Investigator

Rook:
I'm assuming everyone is completed with step 3, so here's my action regardless of where we are at.

I look to improve my hand slightly, returning a card to the draw.

Looking to improve by a degree.

Gambling Test (45), Roll: 1d100 ⇒ 66

Nope, I won't be pushing chips this hand.


Male Human Outlaw

Thanks Eradico. Knew I forgot something.

Gambling (1d100=2)

As I pick up my fresh hand and see that Lady Luck has my back. Or maybe I should say Lady Cinzia? To early to tell, but it will definitely be one card game I will never forget.


Bal, Eradico:
Looks like you guys got it now, we are indeed on step #3.

To answer your question Eradico, the act of exchanging cards to the Draw is in order of turn sequence (counter-clockwise from the First Player), I will make sure to post who draws and who doesn't in each round (as it does suggest some hints as to hand strength).


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Wardja calls, conspicuously not looking at his placards, as he possesses a decent dealt hand.

Savalos tries to betray nothing either, although his cards are in all likelihood even worse than the fat agri-magnate's hand.

After Wardja and then Savalos both call, the somber dealer turns his gaze again to Dowager-Marcheza Cinzia dol Vingere. Smiling amiably, she slides two of her cards from hand to the dealer, and collects two more.

Rico follows her lead, exchanging three of his own cards.

Trizo waves off the dealer irritably, Leprade then following suit, both retaining their hands.

Keramiah Tor does not even acknowledge the dealer, waving one palsied-looking hand distractedly, his hollow gaze pinned to his hand.

The Rogue Trader, Blitz, smirks gamely and tosses a single placard into the discard, taking one to replace it.

Jashar dol Geim discards his entire hand, and greedily gathers up the six replacements as they are dealt.

Wardja elects then to discard two of his own, The Hulk, and the Excoriator, but what he is returned is slightly worse than what he held a moment ago.

Savalos, mirroring Jashar dol Geim, returns his entire hand as well. Peeling what is returned by the dealer from the table to his hand, one by one, his heart beats faster and faster in his chest as the cards join one another. He somehow manages to maintain his equanimity, as his eyes pass across his new hand, a Greater Array!


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Once the cards have been dealt again, the dealer gestures wordlessly to Lady Cinzia. Her brow nettles, but she waves a hand and calls.

Not even looking at his cards, Johnnie (or it the Changeling) stares back at Savalos with cerulean blue eyes so deep and fluid they are almost hypnotic in their intensity. A languid smile tugs at his lips.

"Fold"

Just like that Rico leaves the round, but his eyes never leave Thul's and the expression almost appears congratulatory.

Arrogantly ignoring the daemon he presumes is his minion, Trizo dol Soulard draws from his lho, and dismissively pushes ten more chips into the center of the table.

"I raise, ten."

His scathing glare almost dares anyone else to follow suit.

When Leprade does, calling the bet and pushing his own ten chips into the pot, the ganger raises the eyebrow over his non-augmetic eye in a telling gesture that speak of open irritation.

Leprade ignores it.

The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Keramiah Tor, does nothing for a moment, as if he does not immediately recall what is expected of him, and then pushes in his ten chips to meet the raise with deliberate care to keep the two stacks even.

Jeremiah Blitz regards his neighbor with perplexity, and it is clear he cannot read the robed old man in the slightest. Just the same, he pushes his ten in as well, but does not raise further.

Jashar dol Geim, no longer so truculent, grins smarmily, and pushes in ten more chips himself, followed by ten more, his long painted fingernails scraping across the felt of the table.

"Call, and I raise ten more!"

Wardja, the turn has come to you, staying in the game will necessitate putting twenty more chips in the pot. Sav, since you follow Wardja, you must wait before posting, on the off-chance he raises.

Now that the final cards are in hand, you can use any skills applicable to gauge strength of hand for your opponents. To keep things moving, just one check (Awareness or Scrutiny, your choice) is needed to 'read' all opponents remaining in each betting round.

The dealer waits, looking at Wardja impassively.


Heretic's Wake Tournament Round #1:

First Player: Dowager-Marcheza Cinzia dol Vingere

Current Stakes: Raise of 20 pending for Wardja, Savalos.

Gambling Results, Following the Draw:

  • Lady Cinzia: ?
  • Johnnie/The Changeling: Folded
  • Trizo dol Soulard: ?
  • Intelligencer Leprade: ?
  • Keramiah Tor: ?
  • Jeremiah Blitz: ?
  • Jashar Dol Geim: ?
  • Wardja: 32 (1 degree of success)
  • Savalos: 2 (4 degrees of success)

Remaining Chips:

  • Lady Cinzia: 99
  • Johnnie/The Changeling: 99
  • Trizo dol Soulard: 89
  • Intelligencer Leprade: 89
  • Keramiah Tor: 89
  • Jeremiah Blitz: 89
  • Jashar Dol Geim: 79
  • Wardja: 99
  • Savalos: 99

Note, the amounts reflected above constitute what has been placed in the pot to this point. Following Wardja and Savalos' actions (call, raise) everyone else must call the raises they have not met yet. Trizo through Blitz must call Jashar dol Geim's raise, and in Lady Cinzia's case, Geim's and the previous raise by Trizo. Oh, and any raises you two make, should you decided to do so.


Arbite Investigator

I'm guessing the Agri-Magnate is bluffing, trying to run everyone else off the table. Way too many people still in this hand. No way I can win it.

Nonetheless... there is something to be learned.

Making an Awareness check, roll: 1d100 ⇒ 76

Do not know what to make of the interchange between Leprade and Trizo. The Changeling seems to have thrown them off their game.

"Fold."

Thul is on his own this hand.


Male Human Outlaw

Awareness (1d100=44)

Curious as to whats up with Trizo and Leprade. Unless this is some sort of table talk. I am guessing Geim is bluffing. The odds of two of us pulling good hands out of such a draw is slim.

All eyes are on me.

"Call"

I push my chips forward. Now its my turn to watch.

Meanwhile I ponder what the daemon is up to. Play the cards as they fall

I think back to my bluff on the staircase. Did I earn its respect? And I think about now. Or is it trying to learn my moves for an even longer game..... I shudder to think.


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Remember, since the Awareness/Scrutiny tests are opposed, even though you might be successful, I will not be revealing the success or failure of either your rolls or your opponent's rolls in the OOC text. Your interpretation of the descriptive text will be the key to guessing who is bluffing and who is holding. Obviously if you roll really well making the test, you have a good grasp of how likely you are to succeed.

The Dowager-Marcheza regards Savalos with a look of frank appraisal, and he cannot help but feel that she is reading his mind while she brushes one finger over her lower lip thoughtfully. Tapping ash from her lho, she places her cards demurely upon the table in surrender.

"Fold."

Then, leaning in close, the scent of her heady perfume strong in his nostrils, she whispers, sotto voce, "My Lord Dawnstar, there is certainly more to you than first meets the eye."

With Juan Rico already folding, the dealer turns to Trizo.

He makes no bones about staring straight at Savalos, the whispered remark from the Dowager-Marcheza having not gone unnoticed. Drumming the solid gold knuckles of his augemtic right arm across the tabletop, he chuckles humorlessly to himself, the faded blue serpentine tattoos across his face crinkling as he narrows his eyes.

Savalos, please make a Deceive test.


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Husbandry Barn 177-B

Vincent, momentarily stunned by the presence of walking corpses, soon recovers himself, realizing simultaneous to Launce stating the obvious, just how much danger they are in.

"We need to get out of here---and we're going to have to go through some of them to do it."

Although there is still a path to the wide open barn doors in the near distance, it is rapidly closing by the movements of at least a dozen of the groaning, ambulatory, plague victims, which even now stagger out of the stalls and drag themselves off the ground in order to reach you.


Male Human Outlaw

Deceive Test (1d100=23)

I regard Trizo indifferently as he glares at me across the table. The Wolfs Fangs can come out later. For now let the Snake squirm in his skin. He knows full well that the odds are slim for me pulling a good hand.

Now its a blinking contest. Does he follow the Daemon and the Lady's lead ? Does he blink? Pretty sure they are setting him up. To bow out he would loose rep over that. He's going to push...

I am guessing Peer Underworld will help me against Jeremiah and Trizo. Granted I expect they both have the Talent as well and they will cancel out.


Actually Sav, the skill Common Lore (Underworld) skill, if rolled successfully, adds +1 to your degrees of success for any of these opposed tests. While Trizo and Blitz both have it, they have to make their skill tests as well for the bonus, so roll away if you'd like


Male Human Outlaw

Actually was talking about the Talent which adds +10 for all my Fellowship based skills and tests. But will roll the skill as well.

Common Lore:Underworld (1d100=29)


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Husbandry Barn 177-B

Vincent starts to hustle towards the rapidly closing gap, keeping the las-pistol trained on the shuffling mass of undead.


Savalos Thul wrote:
Actually was talking about the Talent which adds +10 for all my Fellowship based skills and tests. But will roll the skill as well.

Sorry, forgot to mention above, you are correct, the Talent, possessed by all, effectively cancels out any advantage.

Common Lore (Underworld) test is successful, +1 degree of success to your opposed Deceive test.


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Savalos holds Trizo's gaze for a long time, until the haggard gang-boss finally blinks, the serpentine eyes tattooed on his eyelids seeming to wink at the acolyte. He moves his hand over his chips, hesitates for dramatic effect, and pushes in ten more.

"Raise, ten."

Leprade flicks his eyes in Trizo's direction and then over to Savalos, and pushes the requisite chips forward to match. Trizo continues to stare down Savalos, contemptuous and confident.

Keramiah Tor never looks up from his placards, bowed head concealed by the hood of his robe. He pushes the chips forward disinterestedly to match.

Blitz, a smarmy grin on his face, shakes his head in disbelief.

"Well, so much for starting slowly!"

He paws at his chips, in an overly theatrical, lighthearted manner, trying to provide a moment of levity in the deadly seriousness of the present hand, while regarding each of the others still in the round with the assessing eyes of a professional gambler. Muttering to himself in amusement, he counts out his chips, one by one, and pushes them forward.

"Let the fun begin, then."

He shoots a glance to Jashar dol Geim, who is positively effusive in his joy at the growing pot, chortling to himself, he wipes spit from his mealy lower lip and passes his chips forward as well, without another thought. He hesitates over another raise, his hand wavering as he looks to Trizo, Savalos, and the rest. Perhaps, too late, not wishing to appear too enthusiastic, he refrains from adding more to the bountiful pot.

"I shall call as well!"

Heretic's Wake Tournament Round #1:

First Player: Dowager-Marcheza Cinzia dol Vingere

Current Stakes: 179, Sav must match a raise of 10 from Trizo to remain in, and has final option to raise before hand is final.

Gambling Results, Following the Draw:

  • Lady Cinzia: Folded
  • Johnnie/The Changeling: Folded
  • Trizo dol Soulard: Likely Good Hand
  • Intelligencer Leprade: Likely Good Hand
  • Keramiah Tor: Unreadable
  • Jeremiah Blitz: Likely Good Hand
  • Jashar Dol Geim: Likely Excellent Hand
  • Wardja: Folded
  • Savalos: 2 (4 degrees of success)

Remaining Chips:

  • Lady Cinzia: 99
  • Johnnie/The Changeling: 99
  • Trizo dol Soulard: 69
  • Intelligencer Leprade: 69
  • Keramiah Tor: 69
  • Jeremiah Blitz: 69
  • Jashar Dol Geim: 69
  • Wardja: 99
  • Savalos: 79

Total Pot = 179


Male Human Outlaw

At this table its hard to tell if I am the Wolf or the Sheep. But I will learn more about my adversaries if I push. Wardja is still in a solid place if I screw up and over steep my bounds.

Not sure why Geim didn't push if his hand is so strong. Guessing he is bluffing. Trying to card count in my head. The odds of him having a great hand as well is slim. Have to play the odds I know, and not second guess myself. Play the cards as they fall....

"I call, and raise 10."

To bad if I win, I won't be able to keep any of this. Guess on the plus side I'm not loosing anything either. Course the night is young, and Jeremiah won his deed in such a game. The chips are just chump change.

Lets see how well they all sweat.


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Husbandry Barn 177-B

Pistol raised, Vincent begins to jog toward the small-seeming rectangle of wan, grey light that represents escape, Ryuk and Launce turn to follow, the latter raising his flamer and igniting the pilot as the reanimated dead close in from all sides.

Vincent, Ryuk, please give me Initiative rolls.


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Husbandry Barn 177-B

Initiative: 1d10=3 + 4 = 7

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