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Author Topic: Oldlands: Age of Dwarves  (Read 21614 times)

Naturegirl1999

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Re: Oldlands: Age of Strife
« Reply #345 on: August 10, 2021, 12:00:36 pm »

First Choice: Ngerxung survives
Second Choice: Zolak survives

Ask Dr. Sodel Endokineth what type of organisms they’d like studying the most, and what they know of said organisms so far
((we may have biology discussions, yay))
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Fluffe9911

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Re: Oldlands: Age of Strife
« Reply #346 on: August 10, 2021, 08:50:54 pm »

(1st choice) Nish survives
(2nd choice) Ngerxung survives


Dear Dr. Endokineth has science gone too far?
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Murphy

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Re: Oldlands: Age of Strife
« Reply #347 on: August 11, 2021, 11:18:11 pm »

Ask Dr. Sodel Endokineth what type of organisms they’d like studying the most, and what they know of said organisms so far((we may have biology discussions, yay))
Spoiler: Sodel Answers (click to show/hide)
Dear Dr. Endokineth has science gone too far?
Spoiler: Sodel Answers (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: August 16, 2021, 01:30:41 am by Murphy »
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Fluffe9911

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Re: Oldlands: Age of Strife
« Reply #348 on: August 13, 2021, 10:01:02 pm »

Might as well ask two more
Dear Gloomf whats your biggest regret?
Dear Dr. Endokineth who are you talking to?
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EuchreJack

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Re: Oldlands: Age of Strife
« Reply #349 on: August 14, 2021, 05:06:53 pm »

Ngerxung survives

Dear Ngerxung, what would YOU like to do? You seem to have fallen into the role of lackey lately, but you must still have some ambition?

(Loving the thread!)

Murphy

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Re: Oldlands: Age of Strife
« Reply #350 on: August 15, 2021, 09:42:51 am »

Once the first portal came into existence, others followed swiftly, crisscrossing the doomed district with spatial distortions. In the twilight of the morning, silhouettes of ruined buildings began to twist as the very space containing them rearranged itself. Bluish glow filled the air, accompanied with persistent "scrrrash!" noises of reinforced concrete folding like paper across angles that didn't exist moments ago. Destruction on an unprecedented scale.
"Wait, I don't think- the area is at least 30% larger than predicted."
The dwarf scientist tore his gaze away from the ongoing devastation to glance over the machine's printout.
"Fascinating. It takes less energy to pierce the fabric of space, compared to the tests. Noting: add a safety check for further experiments."

***

Out on the roof where Nish, Kib and Zolak huddled, the sudden glow of a portal caused them to recoil, only to for another to open up in the floor behind. Bright light poured forth, momentarily blinding all three, but for a moment Nish had caught a glimpse of a birds-eye view of the city.

"Look out!" Kib shoved both of her companions toward the stairs down just as a third portal cut space far above their heads, a rain of rubble pouring down from it. Nish and Zolak barely had enough time to cross before the stairs caved in, separating them from Kib. "Run! I'll find another way down!"

The goblin didn't need another word. Nish grit his teeth, but followed, stumbling down the steps then getting up; as they ran, the building tore itself apart around them, portals leaving gaps in the walls after opening and closing. Two such gaps and another stairway later, they realized no stairs led where expected anymore.

"What the... are we in the basement? How did we miss the ground floor?"
"It's going to collapse any moment! Don't stand there, try those doors?"
"These are closet doors, you moron! They don't lead anywhere!"
Zolak frowned. Almost mindlessly, he opened one, and was greeted by the wind and view of the sky from the roof.
"No way. This is impossible."

***

As the portal storm died down, Nish only then realized how lucky they have been. Most of the taller buildings in the distance have been completely annihilated by spatial devastation. His bruised ribs ached, and the energy still in the air made him sick in the stomach. And he could not find Kib. He tried to dig the rubble to no avail: his spouse just disappeared without a trace. "She's fine. I'm sure she found a way to escape."

He realized the Goblin was saying something, and forced himself to tune back in on the real world.
"...You have a concussion. Here, this will help."
Nish glanced at Zolak with renewed suspicion until he explained:
"I was a medic before I deserted. We used these herbs to dull the pain. They're pretty effective, though you'll need to lie down for a while."
"Screw your stuff, gobbo. I'm a Dwarf, this is nothing." He fished out a hip flask of whiskey, emptying it without offering any to the Goblin. Someone was so gonna pay for what happened today.

(Answers to questions coming soon!)
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Murphy

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Re: Oldlands: Age of Strife
« Reply #351 on: August 16, 2021, 01:30:05 am »

Dear Gloomf whats your biggest regret?
Spoiler: Gloomf Answers (click to show/hide)
Dear Dr. Endokineth who are you talking to?
Spoiler: Sodel Answers (click to show/hide)
Dear Ngerxung, what would YOU like to do? You seem to have fallen into the role of lackey lately, but you must still have some ambition?
Spoiler: Ngerxung Answers (click to show/hide)
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Murphy

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Re: Oldlands: Age of Strife
« Reply #352 on: August 16, 2021, 07:32:10 pm »

Ryvlac got cut off first. Even having lost his axe, he went on tearing clawbugs apart with his bare hands; it took a swarm of a hundred to finally drag him to the ground, and another dozen were dead before he stopped moving.

The two others along with Ngerxung were left cornered. The Goblin witch couldn't pinpoint the exact moment of Gloomf's disappearance, but she'd been around the Triton queen long enough to recognize psychic power in action. The warriors, however, seemed dumbfounded. Apparently, it would now fall upon her to direct these muscleheads.
"Fall back through that one!"
'That one' was a tunnel, close enough to break through the attacking hordes and get inside. Not the one they needed to get home, but at least defensible.
"Wait! Where is the Queen?"
"She already escaped! Used us as a distraction." Ngerxung readied her last pair of axes. Close combat was so not her forte.

***

Two minutes and many dead clawbugs later they were in the tunnel. Sealing it with Earthcraft would be trivial, but even without her power Ngerxung had years of experience to recognize a weak spot. Brute force would have to serve as a substitute.
"Gellis! Strike this column, and then here."
Whack! The mighty Triton's hammer descended onto the rocks in one swift motion. Crash!
"Now run! Deeper in!"
The whole cavern seemed to shudder, the tunnel's maw yawning one last time before swallowing a dozen of pursuing bugs as it collapsed behind the survivors.

A minute later, Ngerxung stopped to examine her companions' wounds. Both were in a bad way—even creatures bred for resilience had their limits.
"We need to fight our way back to Yantar'Eryovl, and rejoin with the Queen." That was Haol. Of course, he wouldn't think of anything else.
"Come again? Why'd you hurry so much to the side of someone who abandoned you in battle?"
The Triton just shrugged. "You wouldn't understand."

Truth be told, Ngerxung didn't blame Gloomf for abandoning them. She would've done the same. But it looked like that their alliance of convenience had come to an end. Now she'd just use these two to get back to Oldlands, and then find her own way again.

"Right. Well, you're in luck because I remember the layout of these caves. There are other beasts, though, so keep your eyes open."

***

The other beasts didn't take long to show up. There was a tribe of Trolls inhabiting a large grotto full of glowing mushrooms (Ngerxung bargained for passage in broken Trollish), a manticore that nearly bit off Haol's head, and even some long-forgotten undead animals, four-legged, twice the Tritons' size. But the fateful encounter was the one after.

"Weird. I don't remember those being around."
By now Ngerxung had realized something about their whole journey. Too much had changed, as if in the four weeks they spent below, years or even decades had passed above. She couldn't help but chuckle as she imagined Gloomf's frustration upon learning this. Or... did the Triton queen know? Certainly didn't seem so. In any case, the sticky strands of a web hanging from the ceiling were of much more immediate concern.
"Try not to stumble into any of those—if you do, it'll attract the spider."
"Well, I've fought a giant cave spider before."
She just shrugged. "Lucky you."

As the three of them snuck across the cave, a distant rumble cut through the silence, and then the Goblin's keen ear caught echoes reverberating from far above: "...invaders and citizens of Runatar ... lay down your weapons, and ... brigade assigned to your area." She cursed under her breath. Whatever shenanigans were happening upstairs, the timing was just impeccable.

The first creature came upon them from above—Haol's sword was there a split-second too late, and a sharp, hairy spider's leg pierced his shoulder clean through. Gellis lunged forward, bringing his hammer upon the creature's head and killing it instantly, but the damage was done; the sword-Triton only had his off-hand to use now. Two more spiders approached, lingering just out of reach, as if baiting their exhausted prey. But instead of rushing into melee, they skittered to the sides then enveloped the Tritons in a crossfire of immobilizing webs.

With just one axe left, Ngerxung did not stay to watch her companions get torn to shreds. But as she ran towards the far exit, another spider appeared before her, blocking the path. She cursed again.
Kerblam!
The spider, suddenly missing a leg, whirled in place towards a new threat, and a second shotgun blast all but ripped its thorax apart. Spattered with ichor, a dwarf stepped forward; his eyes narrowed as he looked her over.
"Come with me if you want to live."
"What? Who the hell are you?!"
"Name's Aril. Move it, Goblin!"
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Murphy

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Oldlands: Age of Dwarves
« Reply #353 on: May 16, 2022, 12:19:06 pm »

The trip was long, but thankfully no more supernatural horrors blocked the way. The upper tunnels felt strangely peaceful after all Ngerxung's been through. The dwarf didn't speak much either. Only at their second camp break did he deign to answer a few questions.

He was Aril, with no lastname, having sworn off service to his clan during the dwarven civil war in 126. Now he led a solitary life in the tunnels as a monster hunter, like so many years ago before all this. Aril's remark about the year confirmed Ngerxung's earlier suspicions: what has been four weeks to her turned out to be more than a decade in Oldlands.

"And what year is it now?" she couldn't quite make her voice sound confident.
"Now? Lemme see... it's hard to keep track underground, but it should be 130. They're probably still fighting each other up there." He snorted.
"..."

Serves them right, Ngerxung thought. She still remembered having been mortal foes with dwarvenkind... but this taciturn dwarf expressed no interest in who she was or whatever she was doing here with the Triton warriors. He must have definitely seen them down there when he saved her, but neither did he show surprise nor ask questions later. Perhaps he really just didn't care about anything anymore, another broken soul just like herself.

A day later they emerged near the familiar inhabited tunnels held by the dwarven nation. As they approached, Aril pointed at the unguarded stairs:
"I will go no further, so here we part. I'm sure you can sneak to the surface to find your own."
"Why'd you help me?" she snapped. "Don't your kind hate us Goblins?"
He snorted again. "Hell if I know who they hate these days. I only kill monsters. That's it."

***

The valley was recovering. Sodel had succeeded in forcing peace upon his rivals and their rivals, though reclaiming parts of Central city leveled by the dimensional storm was so far out of the question. After two detachments sent into the ruins failed to return, Sodel declared the area off-limits and stationed instruments and sensors at the perimeter, to gather data and study the residual phenomena.

Much to his displeasure, though, science had to take a backseat to practical matters for the time being. Surprisingly, Goblins turned out to be the easiest to negotiate terms with after such a convincing display of force. King Azstrog had his troops stand down and agreed to swear fealty to Sodel and pay tribute in exchange for Snebgo'gur's autonomy. The humans were less than pleased, but all the surviving merchant families had to look forward to expanding their trade network into the Dwarven domain. Greed would win out.

To commemorate peace within the Dwarven nation itself, plans for a new Academy of the Arts were revealed, to be built in Ineth Nil. Different cultures such as the Theliiri and Ratlings would all contribute to it in its formative years.

***

The year was 140. Ten years into uneasy peace, the land seemed to be healing. As decades-long winter receded into normal seasons anew, fields were sown with grain, grassy alpine pastures filled with goats and sheep and guarded by fierce beak dogs imported from the west. Antling caravans once again started coming every autumn, bringing exotic goods.
Spoiler: Map (click to show/hide)
Some unresolved tension, of course, remained, seeing how Goblins still practiced slavery and such. Sodel devised a way to regulate the unsavory practice, with the long-term goal of abolishing it. He also managed to curtail the Giants' belligerence when they demanded a right to launch raids outside the valley. And he delivered on his promises of improving access to food, medicine, jobs, education. Having an ambitious technocrat in charge did not seem like such a bad thing now.

Deep down in Yantar'Eryovl, there was also a bustle of activity. Drawing again upon the knowledge of aeons, Gloomf instructed her people to build. They had new crystal-growing chambers, new devices capable of manipulating energy and matter in ways only Maar himself could devise.

And a long-awaited Chamber of Divination let her have faultless intelligence on events aboveground or elsewhere in the tunnels. She expected to be able to train psychics out of new generations of Tritons, as she had seeded them with the potential for these abilities before leaving for the depths in 112. This would grant the Tritons immense advantage in securing their future should she have to disappear again.

She also decided, finally, that it was time for her people to come out of isolation and begin trade and cultural exchange with the younger prouder species. After the mess they had made, Gloomf would not take any chances at letting them rule Oldlands without her tempering influence. All things must come in their time. And what best way but to plant psychic observers in plain sight, under the guise of diplomacy? And of course, Yantar'Eryovl already had contact with the Antling hive (but psychic powers do not work on Antlings).

She also learned that Ngerxung was alive. The former witch looked like she had her fill of solitude and rejoined the Goblin society; even without her power she was no doubt able to rise to prominence in time.

The Age of Strife was finally coming to an end.
The Age of Dwarves, a time when dwarves ruled the world, had begun.

***

This is not an epilogue. In the recent weeks, I've given some serious thought on how to pick the story back up. A change of perspective and pace, perhaps? Sure, there is plenty of room for another cataclysm or two, even if the WW1 expy did not lead straight into a doomsday scenario. But we have established that the primordial powers have waned greatly, which is the in-universe explanation of why there's no new cataclysms. Oldlands should now enjoy some long-awaited stability while we shift our attention away from the valley and perhaps towards some adventurer stories...
« Last Edit: May 16, 2022, 11:39:23 pm by Murphy »
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Glass

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Re: Oldlands: Age of Dwarves
« Reply #354 on: May 16, 2022, 08:34:38 pm »

Oldlands is back! Awesome!
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Quote from: FallacyOfUrist (on Discord, 11/15/21)
Glass is, as usual, correct.
Yep, as ever, I bestow upon Glass the expected +1
I'm gonna say we go with whatever Glass's idea is.

Murphy

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Re: Oldlands: Age of Dwarves
« Reply #355 on: Today at 06:33:29 am »

It's good to be back!

***

Kib Zuntîrkulet (maiden name Tobulamost) was a female dwarf born in 52.

Born into the influential Canyontown family, she was groomed to become a bookkeeper and broker since early age. But as during the Age of Decay the trade of a merchant fell into disfavor among dwarves, fate had her join Idodur's militia as a quartermaster.

Like our friend Aril, she was there for the first battle against Giants, and later supplied Aril's monster-hunting guild during conquest of the western caves (then known as Witchfields thanks to our other friend Ngerxung).

In 110, Kib married Nish Zuntîrkulet. She retired from military life to open a proper trading business. During the surface war in the 120's, she was one of the few to still trade with the Humans beset by Goblin onslaught.

And on the fateful day when the dimensional weapon was first unleashed, she happened to be in Central city. Unlike her husband and their chance companion, Kib became lost in time and space after falling through a spontaneously opened portal. But she was not dead.

***

She awoke to the sensation of briny water splashing over her, stinging every scratch and scrape. "Wha-... where?" She sat up, perhaps too swiftly, finding herself completely soaked, a little woozy still but ready to lash out at whoever emptied a bucket on her. But she was alone.

Around her was a gravel beach, stretching out several spans in both directions. It was high tide that brought water up to where she was. She clambered to her feet, only to fall back retching out her non-existent lunch. A painful minute after, she finally gathered herself enough to look around again. "Looks like we're not in Central city anymore..."

A smallish island, apparently just off the mainland--she saw harsh peaks beyond the stretch of the sea, indicating a major landmass. Hardly a sign of habitation anywhere in sight. Like many dwarves, Kib was absolutely unable to swim, though in this freezing cold it's unlikely even a skilled human swimmer could cross a strait this size.

"The art of survival is refusal to give up", she reminded herself. Shelter first, then fire and water, then she can worry about building a boat.

***

Kib is now an adventurer. Her traits/characteristics are:
Honorbound veteran: Kib is both a proficient soldier and takes her own word seriously.
Worldly: she is not fond of combat or killing anymore, she's adequate at various minor crafts, and she's very rational.
Cannot swim: dwarven bodies are dense, and unlike humans, will not float naturally.

She is at full health, resolute in spirit, but lacking supplies.
As mentioned in the relevant chapter, she has a handgun, a two-shot derringer.

We start her off with two quests.
The immediate quest is to survive and reach civilization. (Progress: 0%)
The overarching quest is to return home, reunite with her spouse Nish, and see wrongs righted back in Oldlands. (Progress: 0%)
« Last Edit: Today at 07:53:07 am by Murphy »
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Glass

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Re: Oldlands: Age of Dwarves
« Reply #356 on: Today at 09:28:23 am »

Do we provide suggestions on what she should do, or will she be figuring stuff out for herself?
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Quote from: FallacyOfUrist (on Discord, 11/15/21)
Glass is, as usual, correct.
Yep, as ever, I bestow upon Glass the expected +1
I'm gonna say we go with whatever Glass's idea is.

Murphy

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Re: Oldlands: Age of Dwarves
« Reply #357 on: Today at 09:30:57 am »

Do we provide suggestions on what she should do, or will she be figuring stuff out for herself?
I'm going to ask for suggestions down the road; didn't want to ask right away as people might not be immediately alerted that the thread is back up.
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mightymushroom

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Re: Oldlands: Age of Dwarves
« Reply #358 on: Today at 09:42:53 am »

I'm going to ask for suggestions down the road; didn't want to ask right away as people might not be immediately alerted that the thread is back up.
I've noticed it's back. :D
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Murphy

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Re: Oldlands: Age of Dwarves
« Reply #359 on: Today at 11:27:20 am »

Huddling from the cold in the meager shelter between a few gnarled trees, Kib made a campfire from dry plants and driftwood, risking to remove a few layers so that she could dry off. She was accustomed to being outdoors, but never traveled away from the Oldlands valley, and whatever survival training she had was applicable in caves, not desolate wintery wasteland nor the high seas.

No source of water on this island, other than a few patches of permafrost in shadier spots. The ice resisted her attempts to break off a piece for melting down, but eventually she was able to find some icicles sticking off a rocky crag. As she approached, however, the briefest sound of rattling stone alerted her to a danger. Some kind of creature--what monster could possibly live in this desolate place?--freed itself from its ambush site among slippery rocks, launching itself at Kib in a single blurred motion!

She batted it away with her forearm, then braced for defense, pulling a knife from her boot. Clash! The creature's segmented tail grabbed at her leg, just above the tough leather of her boot. Claws buried into her flesh, tearing deep; she howled in pain and struck the weighty handle of the knife against the thing's carapace. That left a crack, but it would not let go that easily. "I will NOT be bested by a bloody crustacean in this god-forsaken place!" Kib roared, grabbing the tail and slashing the blade across it, then tossing the severed part on the ground--only then did the creature relent as it convulsed and went still.

Whew. A swordcrab, that's what it was. Which meant she must be somewhere in Niwirtar, the crabs were only found in that land. Ambush predators, they hunted both above and under water, by blending into their frigid surroundings, then ambushing prey with a leap and clinging to it. One swordcrab was not too dangerous to an armed dwarf, Kib was just lucky this little island hadn't enough prey to sustain a proper pack of them.

Still, she had a new nasty cut to take care of. Quickly chopping off some icicles, she limped back to her makeshift shelter to rummage through her pack in search of some bandages.

***

As she changed the bandages on her wound, she felt a bit of worry but it looked like it was healing. Two days had passed. The dead swordcrab was successfully turned into (passable) lunch, and the damaged carapace, it occurred to her, could serve as a flotation device to swim over the three spans of strait's waters.

No. Wishful thinking. Even in the summer, the frigid water would kill her faster than she could get across.

By now she had moved her camp into a small cave she discovered behind the row of icicles, and this had led to a surprise discovery. A hollow-sounding wall that, when broken, revealed a passage into a larger cavern. Now this might contain a passage off this island.

Kib trod carefully down the natural stairs, squinting her eyes as they adjusted to the darkness. These were littoral caves, formed when seawater ate away at limestone. Murky, opaque pools dotted the landscape, and a faint smell of rotting matter filled the air. It was warmer here than outside, which emboldened Kib to explore further, and eventually she concluded that if an underground path to the mainland exists, it's not found at this level. She would have to go deeper.

***

Kib feels a little more confident now, but she only has a knife and a small axe as far as tools go. She can chop wood and dig a little, but not mine iron ore or tunnel through solid rock.
Make a choice:
  • Locate fungiwood to build a boat for crossing the strait.
  • Go deeper. Find an underground passage to the mainland.
  • Something else (make a suggestion).
« Last Edit: Today at 11:56:47 am by Murphy »
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