Tome: A Mystery RPG
A death in the Library of Worlds forces the characters of the murdered writer to find his killer. With the fate of several literary worlds at stake, the murderer must be stopped if the Library is to survive.
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Jave Harron

Tritiya leads them down some very strange streets. On the street, Clockroach gets the most odd stairs. Chandi physically recognizes several of the people around her, though more in the physical sense. The buildings around them are a combination of bone white, yellow, leaf green (especially the roof of several), and blood red parts like similar sphincter doors. Beings that Tritiya explains are Trilos are also apparent, similar to the being they interrupted in bed.

They arrive in the marketplace and find several strangely conventional type stores and table vendors. The wares being sold include bioforged metal weapons, organic weapons, strange constantly shaping creatures, and other things.

"What sort of currency do they use here?" Chandi asks.

"The Ladder of Life," Tritiya explains. "They explore your own Ladder and ask to copy any rungs they'd like. Of course, you can haggle if it is one you really want."

7/2/2008 #1
dreamshell

Chandi nods offhandedly, taking in her surroundings. She's not sure what a "Ladder of Life" is, but that's not her main concern at the moment.

"We are here to track down a killer," she says. "Is there anything here that could help us do that? Maybe your Colony has... become aware of something unusual lately?"

Chandi pauses, giving the scenery another quick inspection. "That is to say, something unusual for this place."

7/2/2008 . Edited 7/2/2008 #2
Jave Harron

"Attacks from the racist trilos and racist humans have become far more organized recently," Tritiya explains. "They seem to be targeting the Grand Symbiosis over each other."

7/2/2008 #3
The Crazy Talk Kid

"Attacking the greater of two evils then?" Ades jokes though he quiets from the scowl of the third sexed guide. He quickly clears his throat, "I'm going to look around and see if I can't find our target or something of that nature. Oro, stay with them."

"Yes sir," Oro nods as Ades starts looking around before Chandi can speak.

7/3/2008 #4
Cam S

Moros begins to speak to a vendor who sells small lumps of fibrous flesh suspended in bowls of liquid, using his rudimentary knowledge of anatomy to know that they vaguely resembled glands and organs found in the body of humans, pigs, and other higher creatures.

"I'm looking for something that makes the body heal more quickly; closing up wounds, smoothing over abrasions, and turning burned flesh to healthy," he said.

7/3/2008 #5
Crownbreaker

Geminos glances at Chandi as Ades wanders off.

"Do you want me to follow him and make sure he doesn't get into trouble?" Tychos asks.

Geminos gives the market place a quick scan, and Moiros walks over to a collection of organic weapon vendors, looking for anything interesting.

7/3/2008 #6
dreamshell

"It might be best," Chandi considers. "We do not want everyone to stray too far if a situation arises. And that man in particular is not exactly well-mannered. It would not surprise me if he said something that caused a disturbance and the last thing we want is to draw unnecessary attention.

"That reminds me," she says, taking a glimpse at the mechanical Clockroach. "Is there some way we could disguise our construct here? And that little metal man that follows the gladiator around?" she asks Tritiya.

7/3/2008 #7
Jave Harron

The vendor shows Moros a bowl with a strange green paste in side of it. "Drink this stuff, and it will heal you very fast," the vendor explains. "You can probably learn to control the healing rate, but the faster you heal, the more painful it can be. If you let it go at its own pace, it heals you more gradually, but without the pain."

Geminos and Ades see several interesting organic weapons and armors: Hardened boneclub arms, long organic blades and spears (several of which fuse to the hands or seem to grow from them), and a few odd projectile weapons. One odd arm mounted gland sprays a burst of fire. Several organic gauntlets shoot out spikes of bone. Some fire several projectiles rapidly, and others fire a single projectile a long distance. Acid spit weapons similar to the phallus that Chandi's attacker used also do exist. Bioforged versions of conventional cold steel weapons do exist.

For armor, reinforced bone and chitin armor does exist. Perhaps they could use that to hide Clockroach and Oro underneath?

Several other sorts of gear does exist. There are reinforced, backup brain cavities that are hidden in the chest (and other limbs), there are healing organs, grafts that increase muscle strength and endurance, self-sealing skin that allows survival in vaccuum, eternally full stomachs, cocktails of longevity chemicals, shape-shifting organs, extra bodies, and Minutiae used to enhance every possible aspect of the body and mind.

Geminos realizes that since all of this stuff is bio-forged, it would be possible to purchase it once and then grow it back or "bring it out" with sufficient biomancy skill. While most of this stuff would be easy for him, he is unsure of his comrades.

Clockroach looks around at some of the blood-production enhancements. More blood means more of the protein designated as 'hemoglobin.' More hemoglobin means more iron in the blood. To avoid being as easily affected by ley energy, perhaps a biomancer might want to invest in that.

7/3/2008 #8
The Crazy Talk Kid

"Excuse me...," Ades greets an organic weapons vendor. He cannot tell what or who the vendor is do to the trilo/human appearance, "vendor."

"Yes?" the vendor asks in a deep voice that could have been of either sex.

"I'm looking for replacement hands, preferably something strong against extreme heat, quick, and good for general use. If it could have some sort of ranged addition to it that would be better yet," Ades tells the vendor. A thought hits him then, "Oh and I would like it to be self maintaining, I am not a biomancer."

7/3/2008 . Edited by dreamshell, 7/3/2008 #9
Crownbreaker

Geminos keeps an eye on the gladiator while inspecting the array of organic weapons. Most importantly, he needed a way to deal with a ley user, should they encounter another. Unfortunately, short of encasing himself in iron armor, the best thing he could do would be to increase the amount of iron in his body. Of course it might be worth it to consider getting other augmentations

"The bone launching gauntlet looks interesting," he says, gesturing at the weapon. "I am also looking for blood enhancements, particularly ones that increase the amount of iron in the blood." Given a little bit of augmentation, he could probably reproduce it enough to save himself some money, although given the unusual form of currency that might not be an issue.

--

"The construct already looks a little spider-like," Geminos says, "so it may be best to run with that. And we can always stuff the gladiator's construct in a sack and tell it not to move around." He considers Tritiya's comment on the racist factions.

"The new focus on the symbiosis sounds like the work of the radicals. It would benefit them to eliminate the symbiosis and leave only the two warring racist factions. Lady Yang mentioned that the other two insertion points were in a trilo swamp and a human city. If I had to guess, I would say the killer came in the human city, given that the trilos might be less than receptive."

7/3/2008 #10
The Crazy Talk Kid

"I do not understand," Oro tells Gemino in confusion, "Would it not be more efficient to find a disguise for me? If your suggestion is taken then I believe only Clockroach could carry me without over extertion."

7/3/2008 #11
Cam S

Moros drinks the solution offered, feeling the bit of fibrous flesh worm its way into his body. He forces it to flash-heal his wounds.

"Yes..." he hisses, forcing the pain into the drying blood on his needle, before saying "I'm quite satisfied."

7/3/2008 . Edited by dreamshell, 7/3/2008 #12
dreamshell

"Odd, I did not know the gladiator's metal man could act independently," Chandi remarks. "As for Clockroach, perhaps some chitin armor might allow him to convincingly impersonate some sort of sapient insect or crustacean?"

The warrior-diplomat then ponders Geminos' hypothesis. "Your estimation seems reasonable. But where to go from here? If our killer has allied himself with the racist humans of this tomeworld, we may have a hard time getting to him. And we do not even know how far away this human-exclusive city may be."

Chandi frowns in frustration. After a moment, she shrugs to herself and tries to take more direct interest in the marketplace. In particular, a booth promoting Minutiae catches her attention.

"Perhaps the Colony will shed some light on all this after that Sumra woman's interrogation," she comments to the others offhandely. "Let us first find out whatever we can from her and then decide on what move we shall next take."

7/3/2008 #13
Jave Harron

"If the person you are chasing emerged there, then they may have some significant contacts with the racist humans," Tritiya notes to Geminos and Chandi. "If that's the case, the Colony will have to increase certain...defensive measures it has been planning for some time. But, we should wait for the Colony to finish with the woman."

Chandi manages to find some Minutiae with the vendor offering them for "Samples of her Ladder of Life." When she inquires further, the vendor wants some of her hair or fingernails.

---

The vendor looks at the satisfied Moros, and demands some of his tissue, skin, blood, or hair as a price.

---

The hybrid vendor tells Ades to stick out his hands. He sticks them out, and feels a painful sensation. Feeling is restored to the dead limbs, and the leathery skin now protects the tissue of his forearms. "Do you like it?" the vendor asks. "I can offer a protective coating for the rest of your skin as well, if you like."

---

Geminos is offered the bone spitting gauntlets and blood-iron enriching graft in exchange for some medical biomancy abilities from his Ladder of Life.

7/3/2008 #14
The Crazy Talk Kid

"This will be perfect my friend, and yes, I'll take the whole body upgrade as well," Ades says with a smile. It was not the hoped for thaumechanical soul shell or prosthetics but it was one hell of a start. His scars had even faded with his transformation, pleasing him as well.

7/3/2008 #15
Crownbreaker

Geminos offers some of the regenerative micro-organisms he uses and departs with his purchases. He keeps an eye on Ades but wanders among the different stalls and booths of the market place, and gets distracted looking at a booth selling minutiae.

--

"I suppose I should try to make sure you blend in better," Geminos says to Oro. "Bone or chitin?"

7/3/2008 #16
Cam S

Moros offers a bloodied needle--not the one which he crystalized pain onto. He scrapes some relatively fresh blood onto the counter in front of the man.

7/3/2008 #17
Monev11235

"All right people, let's think real hard. What could CLOCKROACH be disguised as a large variant of?" Clockroach 'hints.'

7/4/2008 #18
The Crazy Talk Kid

"Whatever you think would be more effective," Oro tells Geminos. He turns to point out Clockroach and says with all seriousness, "I believe that Clockroach would be best disguised after the animal he models, a ladybug."

7/4/2008 #19
Cam S

Moros, not being from a region to which the cockroach was native, started thinking about it.

"Well, you lack the pincers of a lobster," he noted, "but you have the same segmented torso. Perhaps we could disguise you as a trilo slave if we're going to the racist human city?"

7/4/2008 #20
dreamshell

After making her purchase, Chandi allows the vendor to extract samples of her hair and fingernails and is then injected with the Minutiae. She isn't sure how long it will take to make its effect, but based on what the third-sexer guide and the vendor have told her, she should find the results very pleasing.

"Do you think the Colony will have gotten anything from that woman by now?" she asks Tritiya. "Perhaps we should hurry and collect our things and then return to the apartment. Would someone mind getting the armor for the constructs?"

7/4/2008 #21
Jave Harron

A vendor talks to Ades and Geminos. "I can disguise that odd construct as a roach, ladybug, trilo derivative, or a combination," he offers.

7/4/2008 #22
The Crazy Talk Kid

"A ladybug would work for me but I believe it's up to our metal friend," Ades tells the vendor. "Something in bone would be prefered for my construct Oro."

"Indeed," Oro adds.

7/4/2008 #23
Jave Harron

"So, ladybug and bone for each?" the vendor asks. "I would like hir hair."

He points to Tritiya.

7/4/2008 #24
Jave Harron

Tritiya hands over some strands of hir hair, while Clockroach is led through a sphincter door by the vendor. "So, you want to be a ladybug?" he asks.

7/5/2008 #25
Monev11235

"Yes, that, uh, that will be fine," Clockroach agreed, resisting the urge to sigh. It wondered if the cockroach as it knew of even inhabited this world.

7/5/2008 #26
Jave Harron

Soon afterwards, Clockroach looks a lot more colorful. Covered with chitin and bright red pigment, the construct looks more like an oversized mechanical toy than his original body. Oro, meanwhile, is covered in a bony exoskeleton.

"Everyone, back to my room," Tritiya says. "The Colony's done with her."

With that, the group reassembles in the apartment. Sumra is now absent, though her clothes and possessions are gone.

"That woman, Sumra, was indeed a character like you," Tritiya explains. "However, she has some notable differences in backstory and abilities. Her creator was a whining teenage Radical, Sumira. This Librarian only creates characters that have shallow, hackneyed backstories and normally have names similar to hers. But, they do have some nasty abilities."

"They are copies?" Chandi asks.

"Essentially, yes, but they have some nasty abilities. They are given significantly powerful skills and thaumaturgy, and some can alter their abilities in real time. If they see it and have time to adjust, they can master similar abilities soon," Tritiya explains. "So, if you run into any more, the colony recommended that you kill them as fast as you can. They lack backstories and true personalities, but compensate with the ability to alter themselves rapidly."

"Are there any more of them in this tomeworld?" Geminos inquires.

"Unsure, but perhaps," Tritiya replies. "Generally, though, their abilities and appearances tend to stick out compared to the other people around. Like the abilities that she used, ley energy, are in a world that has not used a lot of it. I imagine in worlds where there is less biomancy, these "Sumiras" might be expert biomancers, for instance."

"So, what now?" Ades asks.

"The one you helped capture did give us a hint," Tritiya explains. "The Radical operatives have been trying to get the racist factions to focus their attentions on us, and spread around self-aware diseases that target both species. The results, of course, would kill most of the things and biomancy in this world. So, killing the racist leaders would be the next step. Going for one at a time may be a good approach, since the Symbiosis does have a military of its own."

7/5/2008 . Edited by dreamshell, 7/6/2008 #27
The Crazy Talk Kid

"I'm all for the racist humans," Ades says. "I mean no offense to your friends but it would make more sense to search among our own kind for another human. I don't fancy being killed by these... umm..."

"Trilos, sir," Oro offers.

"Yes, Trilos, I don't want them to kill me," Ades finishes.

7/5/2008 . Edited by dreamshell, 7/6/2008 #28
Crownbreaker

"Thus proving that one can be a snob, even about death," Geminos says.

"I'm all for the humans too, but for more practical reasons. Hopefully it will be easier to infiltrate. Besides, assassinating humans is my specialty. Question though: how will assassinating the leaders help? Is there something about them that makes them irreplaceable? Or are we just trying to be disruptive?"

7/5/2008 #29
Jave Harron

"They maintain their power through mind control pheromones, as well as other, more conventional means," Tritiya explains. "The leaders of both factions have extensive backgrounds in their respective species' neurobiology, and likely the others. They oversee the mass suggestion and brainwashing systems for a significant number of their citizenry, as well. This will have a significantly disruptive effect, and will fragment the racist coalitions into smaller, easier-to-manage factions. If you go, be prepared for both neurobiological and pheromone-based attacks."

7/5/2008 . Edited by dreamshell, 7/6/2008 #30
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