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DerpRavener last won the day on October 28 2015

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About DerpRavener

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    Philosophical Changeling

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    Gaming, game design, philosophy, logic. A little writing on the side.

    Oh yes, also changelings. I love changelings.

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    Slim Chance
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  1. Naj hesitantly poked her head through the doors of the new daycare centre. Strictly speaking, she had no business being, or at least that's how she thought. She didn't have any offspring of her own, and likely wouldn't for the foreseeable future. She didn't even live in Ponyville anymore. She still visited every so often, as she was doing right now, for the friends she'd made there and the time she'd spent in the town. But it wasn't really her business ponies did to develop the town. But darned if Naj didn't wonder when she saw the building recently built, and opening its doors. She had to know. And if they were making it open to the public, even or perhaps especially for just one day, she couldn't help but investigate. Naj was in her natural form today. No disguise whatsoever, not even her 'not-disguise' of a changeling coloured pegasus. A part of her knew that she'd have to walk around in her natural form sooner or later if ponies were to get used to it. Another part of her knew that this was one of the only places she could bring herself to try it. She had just enough history her that she was fairly sure she'd be tolerated walking out in the open like this. It was easy enough to distract herself from such thoughts after Naj stepped through the doors. It was an impressive space, filled almost to the brim with anything a foal could need or want, at least from Naj's limited experience. A part of her disapproved of it, thinking they could have still done pretty well with a much more modest budget, and then put the rest elsewhere. The rest of her recognized that foals were the future of the community, and felt that no expense should be spared to ensure that they are cared for. The fact that she'd never had anything remotely like this when she was growing up only made the prospect seem all the more appealing. A few ponies had arrived before Naj, as evident by the snippets of conversation she heard as she stepped through the doors, but it took her a moment to notice them. There were a couple she recognized. Inkbrand for one, and Prince Blueblood she met as an acquaintance once or twice. But her eyes to one in particular, an orange earth pony. One she had a history with, and in truth still didn't fully know where she stood with the mare Though curiously, Applejack was carrying a foal around herself. She was here for a more practical reason than simple curiosity, then? Naj was tempted to join in the discussion, but she knew she hadn't heard enough of the conversation yet to actually make a meaningful conversation. So for the moment, she simply greeted the assembled ponies, before waiting for the . “H-hello,” she said, and waved.
  2. Ahh, I see. But species aside, what sorts of characters are you hoping to get for the series then? My concern is that I only have one explicitly criminal character, and only one character in the vicinity of being a guard. The rest of my stable is mostly adventurers, with a couple of state officials and an inventor mixed in.
  3. That mostly clears things up. Am I right then, in thinking that this is more a series of separate stories based around a theme rather than a single continuous storyline? Particularly if that's the case, I'd probably play it by ear and cherry pick which threads I'm in then. I have number of characters which could do well in particular roles (I could see Naj being called in as part of a special investigation in a crime ring, for example, or Providence could either be the frightening-if-eccentric hired assassin for a crime boss, or looking to hire ponies with skills in illegal fields to help her with a job of her own), but I don't know if I have anyone who could really play a central role in such a thread. So, I'll keep an eye on this, and let me know if you'd like any of my characters to show up for a particular thread.
  4. I'm interested in the concept, but not sure how best to fit my characters in right now. I have a number of characters who might work as 'guest stars' of a sort for a thread, and maybe even a couple who could end up as sort of recurring characters, but I only have a couple characters I'd be willing to commit to a long-running series of threads like this, and I'm not sure either of their personalities would fit what you're going for (although it's possible I have an overly narrow view of that). Something I'm wondering about the storyline itself, is it going to be about investigating these sorts of underground dealings, or is it going to focus on the ponies that carry them out? And if it's the latter, is it going to be a more sympathetic/romanticized approach, or are these going to be threads about villains being villains?
  5. There was a thread I had Naj signed up for a while back in which she would have have had to take care of a foal version of herself. Sadly that thread never got off the ground, and as such I would still like to see how that plays out. So, I would like to sign Naj up as a foal. (Nymph?) There could also be a fun parallel, as she was an adult in the last thread like this one.
  6. Dangerous as it was, to Naj that pillar of flame was a blessing in disguise. Sure, it meant potential danger, but it made the way forward clear. It made the decision obvious, and thus easy, rather than the more delicate assessment that would have been needed as an actual tiebreaker. She was much happier charging into potential battle. Though strictly speaking, a battle wasn't confirmed yet. She didn't know the desert that well, and so for all she knew pillars of flame were an unusual but ultimately natural phenomenon. What this lack of knowledge impressed upon Naj, more than anything else, was their need for more information. Feeling as though she hadn't spent quite as much effort as Cryo or Dawnguard, from the former's spellcasting and the latter's pure exuberance, Naj offered to pull the cart for this stretch. Regardless of whether or not the offer was accepted, her plan would still be to bring the cart with them, and leaving it just outside of what the potential combat area would be. While the cart might be slightly more at risk, that was offset by not having to leave anypony behind when they were actually investigating. When they got close, and came to a stop, Naj took to the air. Between Cryo's lack of flight capability and Dawnguard's...enthusiasm, she guessed she would be the best choice to scout. It wasn't as though she'd have to go to far, anyways. Naj did a flyby of where the pillar of flame had been, or at least their best guess at it, and the first thing she spotted was movement. Even though it was deep into the night, the desert didn't offer much cover, and even moonlight was enough to spot the shapes down below, although it took her a moment still to see that they were ponies, and that they were...shovelling? She wasn't sure what to make of that. No matter, it was easy enough to ask. “Greetings, down below!” she called out, easily loud enough to be heard by her companions. She hadn't had to go far. “Might I ask what brings ponies all the way out here?”
  7. I should probably mention this here at some point, but have a Karasu app currently in the planning stages. I'm not going to try to lay claim to the position yet though, if someone else comes up with a character for that position before me, I'm pretty sure I can modify mine to fit another role.
  8. Slim chance had almost made it to the street when Discord stopped her. He made a motion of offering the doll to Slim, but she was still processing what he was doing when he flipped it over and extracted some kind of glowing stone from it. It was the stone, in the end, that he was he was really offering to Slim Chance. And though clearly unused to saying such things, he even offered an apology. Given what she'd read on Discord, Slim was a little surprised to get even that. “Uhh,well...” she hesitantly replied, “I can't tell you it's completely okay, but nopony got seriously injured. I should be fine after a few days rest and a quick visit to a doctor. So everything should be fine, just try to be careful in future, alright? Us ponies aren't quite as durable as you are.” The stone, Discord explained in a roundabout way, was actually a memory of his. He had no more use for it, apparently. Slim Chance stared at the faintly glowing stone in her hoof with a newfound appreciation. A crystallized memory from the chaos god! This was a momentous find! She'd have to take it to her professors over the next few days, or at least broach the subject with them. It was a valuable find, and even outweighed the cracks in her walls! “Thanks!” she began, without looking up, “this is a really impressive...” she trailed off, as she finally did notice her companion was no longer there. “...find.” Distracted as she was, she had only faintly heard the snap of Discord's claws, and only after a delay did she piece together that it was the sound of him vanishing off to parts unknown. Slim Chance stared down the empty street for a moment. “Feel free to come back for a visit,” she said, knowing she addressed nothing but air. She grinned. “Though let's try just chatting next time.” She looked down at the stone in her hoof one more time, before stuffing it into a secure pocket on her backpack, and limp-walking in the direction of home. Tomorrow she would have quite a story to tell, and quite a few questions to ask. But for now, sleep.
  9. When most ponies hear the word 'necromancer', they think of somepony who wears a black cloak, mutters menacing chants, and raises an army of shambling corpses to do their bidding and menace rural communities. While I must regrettably admit that each of these cliches have some kernel of truth, to describe necromancy in such a way is to present a highly misleading view of it. It would be like describing pegasi as ponies that control the weather. It's significant, and not inaccurate, but not really a proper description. Necromancy is essentially the magic of the dead. This may seem obvious, but it bears stating. Interacting with the dead, via magic, is not limited to being some callous means of acquiring minions. Indeed, trying to use the dead as servants is one of the least efficient tools of a necromancer. Before one can begin exploring necromancy however, one needs at least a rudimentary understanding of spirits. Spirits are, in essence, beings of almost pure emotion, left behind when a conscious creature passes on in an agitated state. However underneath that simple description lies a surprising range and complexity. Emotion in this case proves to be a loose concept, as although it does apply to primal moods such as rage or sorrow, I have personally encountered spirits driven by duty, loyalty, guilt, even confusion, and more. Any set of circumstances in which a creature passes can create one, however it is typically only during a significant event or when the creature has a powerful need or drive that the resulting spirit will have any serious strength or be able to maintain itself for a serious length of time. The most basic skill for a necromancer is that of speech. But despite it's relative simplicity, speaking to the dead is one of the most useful skills such a person can learn. Spirits being the emotion-driven beings that they are, resolving a haunting is often as simple as deciphering what that spirit is trying to say. The more reliable, or those whose emotion coincide with the speaker's goals, are often willing to grant favours, particularly in exchange for help with their own concerns. I have even taken on a few as travelling companions, then they prove willing to assist me in my own duties. What is arguably the second most important skill a necromancer should learn is that of banishing. In an ideal world, all spirits would be friendly and helpful. In a slightly less ideal one, all hostile spirits could be sent on their way after merely speaking to them, and learning what makes them suffer. This is neither of those worlds, and a method of forcible exorcism is something every necromancer should have as a precaution. The methods used and means to accomplish them vary wildly between different traditions. One could force a calm state on an inconsolable state, seal their ability to influence the material plane, or even modifying the most intense memories. The various methods will be covered in more detail in a later chapter. For those not content with the help or insight which can be found by speaking to spirits alone, there is another option. With proper preparation, spirits can be invited into one's body, allowing a pony to 'borrow' the abilities of a sufficiently willing spirit, or a spirit can be given a more direct way to affect the real world. Seances are a commonly known example of the latter. One must ensure that the spirit is benevolent however, or insure against misuse of one's physical form, as inviting a spirit in can be very dangerous for the unwary. It is possible to provide a physical form to a spirit other than one's own, and this can be useful for containing a rogue spirit as well as the other, previously mentioned reasons. Bodies can be created from all manner of materials. A spirit's own, former body is also an option, and one that has the advantages of being readily assembled, and more familiar to the spirit than an artificial one. However on top of the usual risks, when doing so one must deal with the disturbing sights and smells of an animate corpse, and one is then only adding to the already problematic stereotypes about necromancers. It is worth noting that living beings other than the necromancer him or herself can be used as a vessel, however this is a morally abhorrent action, and should only be even considered in the most desperate circumstances. As such, the relevant chapter in this book will only cover methods of identifying and and of stopping such possessions in any detail. Finally, spirits can be bound to a pony, usually the necromancer, and forced to obey their will. Such rituals are typically used by those with malicious intent, and while I have occasionally found a use for such abilities over the course of my travels, they are far more likely to be employed for ill. Much like the concept of living vessels above, what I have included here on the subject of binding is meant more for identifying and combating such circumstances as they come up. From the introduction of The Magic of the Dead, by Grim Solace
  10. I'm happy to end things here, seems like as good a place as any, unless there are any final additions anyone wants to make. (I'm replying here rather than make a post in the thread that's just OOC.)
  11. Much to Naj's surprise, the local guard wearing that...peculiar getup turned out to be an Equestrian. She learned this when he was introduced to the group. A former guardspony apparently, having been dismissed following some sort of shakeup in the Equestrian Royal Guard, and soldier of Stormstride herself rather than a native leader. The way Stormstride told it made it sound like the guard was dismissed unfairly, although Naj had to wonder what the other side of the story might be. The revelation did make her reconsider her previous conclusion about the guard, who it turned out was not the enforcer Naj had taken him to be. All the same, she wondered why such an imposing getup would be thought appropriate at a wedding. Was there some local mindset rubbing off of the lady? As it was clear he wasn't attempting to be threatening however, Naj payed him no more mind once the reception itself began. The array of foods on display didn't tempt Naj out of hunger, she'd already had her fill from simply being at the wedding, but the variety did catch her interest. Having survived on a limited and very different diet for some time in the past she was unafraid of the foreign dishes, and took a few samples onto a plate for herself. Of course, some of the Equestrian meals were relatively foreign to her as well, and so she nabbed a few of those as well. With her plate of culinary curiosities assembled, Naj took a seat next to Wordsworth. She wasn't particularly likely to participate in the conversation, but she was interested in hearing what sort of things were discussed. As such, it caught Naj by surprise to be addressed by Stormstride directly, even if she had to admit the question was reasonable. She blinked. “Fair enough, I guess” she replied after a bit of hesitation, “though I'm afraid it's not that interesting of a story. My coltfriend and I were wandering around Stalliongrad, when we happened to find Buck playing. I didn't get a lot of exposure to music where I grew up, so I was especially curious. I stopped for a while to listen, and that's when I met Caramel.” She paused for a moment, and what would have been a awkward pause was softened but the cheerful voices surrounding them. “That's all there is to it, I think.” Naj did realize, as she was making her explanation, that Caramel had also learned what her species was during that time. Her actual species, not the one she currently appeared as. Did Stormstride have that information too? There was a part of her that wanted to simply state it, to 'get it off her chest' such as it was. But she also knew that would be unsafe. How would Stormstride react if she suddenly learned? How would Kastrot natives? She tensed slightly, almost imperceptible as she tried to keep it contained.
  12. I have a necromancer, by the name of Grim Solace. Rather than the archtypical use of necromancy however, he uses it to speak to and try to help tormented spirits, and banish those he can't help. He tends to wander, finding places spirits are said to haunt and investigating. The idea being that he's traveled all around, he could easily have visited Neighpon at some point, and while there he heard stories about spirits in the local woods. Naturally, he would go to investigate, and have a run-in with Kakushi. From here I could see things having gone one of two ways: either Grim Solace is a kidnapee by the curious yokai, or a rescuer. I'm kinda partial to the second one, as I think it fits Grim's character to help, and he might resist the kidnapping until he realizes it's benign, but at the same time I will understand if you don't want to have him be rescued too many times either.
  13. Slim Chance stood stock still for some time. She wasn't sure how to process what just happened. “Apparently,” she muttered, more to herself than anything else, “we made it to Canterlot after all.” She couldn't decide which of her current emotions was most appropriate. She was happy to have finally escaped that...whatever it was. She was relieved to find out that, while this was Canterlot, it wasn't in as bad shape as she'd first thought. In fact, now that she looked around she could see a few lights, they were just obscured by the buildings and then most ponies would be asleep at this time, so there wouldn't be many to see. Slim Chance slumped to the ground, and let out a burst of ragged laughter. Not quite able to choose between pleased to have survived, and exasperated to have gotten into that situation in the first place. “Urrrgh,” she groaned out, “and all this the night I get back. Just my luck...heh.” She smirked for a moment, before shakily getting to her hooves. She turned to Discord. “That was...” she wasn't really sure what to say with him. It was unique, to be sure, and she'd probably remember it fondly when she could laugh about it later, and regale her friends with the story of her epic adventure. For now though, she was tired, and the last thing she'd needed was an adventure right after her previous one had just finished. And what's more, now she was injured. “...that was an experience,” she settled on after a moment. “Now, I'm gonna get back to bed.” Slim Chance started to walk away, with a slight limp in her step. Just as she got to the fence, she turned back. “You gonna be alright with...” she waved her hoof in the general direction of the doll currently secured in Discord's grip, “...that thing?” She thought for a moment, and realized she didn't have the strength to help him any more. “If not, I could tell you where the local guard station is. They could probably help.” Pried open a part of the fence, and walked out.
  14. Naj blinked and smiled awkwardly at Feather Touch's explanation. She supposed she was still learning how pony families worked, that she couldn't tell. Still, she was embarrassed enough by the mistake to not say anything. Better to just let it go and move on to other things, than to draw more attention to her own lack of knowledge. And just as well, because the wedding was about to start anyways. No need to drag down the atmosphere, this was a happy occasion! Two ponies in love were being officially being recognized as such! The Equestrian group was guided to their seats, which Naj noted were kept slightly separate from the main body of guests. It seemed sensible enough, keeping the two cultures apart to avoid some sort of issue. It wouldn't serve for long term diplomacy, but then this wasn't about bringing nations together as much as celebrating a couple coming together in love. Diplomacy could wait, if it was even a relevant concern. While glancing around Naj couldn't help but note the local guard, dressed in something that looked properly barbaric. Presumably this was an agent of the local ruling lady, as Stormstride was both the bride-to-be and a former guardsmare herself, it seemed unlikely she'd desire such a presence. That meant it was an obligation, rather than a true choice. Naj had to wonder just what sort of relationship this lady had to make such things reasonable, but it was not her place to say. She had no obvious reaction, but she did subtly, subconsciously shift herself to be between her ward and this warrior. Speaking of her ward, Wordsworth said something else once the group was settled. Yet again, Naj did not understand what he was saying. This time though, she could tell through context clues that the reason was that she lacked information. Naj would only be meeting the mare of the hour for the first time today, while Wordsworth clearly had a previous encounter. Naj didn't have any time to reflect on this development however, as the ceremony occurred. She did not cheer as many of the crowd did. For some reason that did not feel appropriate. She did however pound her hooves against the ground, adding her own contribution to the thunderous applause with a wide grin. A wedding, a celebration of love between a pair of ponies or other creatures, had a special significance to a changeling. Before she came to Equestria, it would have been a sign of prosperity, and 'good hunting'. Now, it was a sign of what she was determined to preserve and protect.
  15. Dawnguard was in favour of heading out immediately. Naturally. The pegasus was one of the most energetic ponies Naj had ever met, so of course he would be in favour of the plan which got them moving again right away. Cryo meanwhile wasn't quite so obvious with his general approach, although Naj wasn't particularly surprised to find he preferred a more cautious approach. It did however leave her with a bit of a conundrum. Naj had hoped that they other two would come to some sort of agreement. Instead it turned out she was the deciding vote. As someone who'd had a bad experience in the past, it was not a responsibility Naj was eager to take on. She fell quiet for a moment, trying to consider each in turn, while also ignoring old wounds of a sort. “I think...” she started to say, but never got to finish the thought. Out in the sands, far in the distance, a great pillar of flame arose. It winked out a moment later, but the fact that it had appeared at all was highly disconcerting. Cryo rightly wondered just what the heck that was, and if it was something Flashfire could have done. Naj had flinched away from the brightness, shielding her eyes from the sudden light. She put her hoof down once the light faded, but held still for a moment longer. She hadn't been expecting anything like this. That said, it did help her make the decision. “That settles it. We can't safely stay in the desert without knowing what that,” she pointed toward the night sky, where the pillar had appeared, “is all about. Either way we need to do some reconnaissance. I say we move the cart a bit closer. It will make a good fallback point, and that way we won't have to leave anypony behind.” Naj stood up, prepared to leave, but she wanted to give one last chance for an argument to be made that might sway her. “Any objections?”