Comic 111 - Head back to Humblestart

2nd Jun 2018, 2:43 PM in High Roads, Low Roads, Threeroads
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes) Rate this comic
Head back to Humblestart
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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 2nd Jun 2018, 2:43 PM edit delete
You congratulate the party on a job well done--despite being totally surprised by how effective the enemy was, you guys still pulled it off with minimal damage.

You also ask Justice if she's okay with straight up murdering random monsters like this. It... feels like the kind of thing that could go against her code of conduct.

Justice gives a confident nod. "They were dangerous. We have aided the people of the kingdom by dispatching those foul beasts."

Well, that's settled then. You take a moment to wrap your purple robe around your bandana. You're not sure if anyone would recognize the bandit bandana for what it is, but you'd rather be on the safe side.

You also cast Identify on the skull helm you stole from the skelecan. The magic on it is... faint, but present. You suspect the majority of the work is actually done by the helm's grotesque appearance, rather than any magic. The helmet is... very, very undead looking, convincing enough to actually fool undead. Simpler undead like zombies and such pretty much attack anything that's not one of them, so... the helm could stop dumber undead from attacking you entirely.

Not really an accessory you'd want to wear all the time, unless you really like convincing the public that you're a wraith or something. Further, it only affects the wearer--so anyone else in the party would still be subject to mummy attacks or whatnot.

After a quick suckle of Valley's tits to top you off after all that skelecan acid (while Justice tries not to watch, but ends up watching anyway), you head off down the road for Humblestart.

You encounter a few stray goblins and random slimes along the way, but they don't make any efforts to attack you. By the time you get to town, you have returned to your normal, male form.

You reach Humblestart, and head for the potion shop.

You find Ranse speaking with... what you can only assume to be her father. He doesn't seem to notice you all walking in.

"It... does worry me," he tells her. "...But I understand. You are young, and it's difficult to grow as an alchemist in such confined space. I had the benefit of decades of travel, honing my craft, learning from others. You... haven't had a chance to experience that. Yet. I... hadn't really thought you'd be interested, in alchemy. Not to this degree. As much as I want you to be safe... I cannot tell you not to pursue it. Nothing... would make me prouder. Than you becoming a great alchemist."

Ranse gives a single, small nod. "I... d-don't. Wanttoleaveyouguysbehind. But. I... I'm stifled here. And... I... trust. The people, I'm with. I'm not... in any danger."

Ranse's dad nods back. He steps aside for a moment, reaching under the shop counter. "You... left something behind. Water, tainted with rage. I... wasn't certain if you'd return. I took the liberty of doing some work with it."

What Ranse's father pulls out from under the counter looks like... a giant, complex syringe, almost, full of a thick chemical. He carefully hands it to Ranse.

"Wow," Valley remarks, revealing your presence. "I toootally feel for the bad guy that like, gets hit with THAT thing."

The slightest smirk teases at Ranse's lips. "It... it's not for bad guys. Actually. Injectors are... alchemist s-support weapons."

"...Oh," states Justice simply. She makes her surprise sound pleasant, but it's really not. Valley's eyes widen, but she doesn't seem to have a response.

Ranse's father explains further. "This... berserker drug greatly enhances the subject's strength and resilience for a brief period. However... it also sends them, into a blind rage. They will know friend from foe, but little else. Casting... magic, or using fine dexterity, will be impossible in that state."

Ranse continues her dad's explanation. "Injectors... use. S-some of thesameprinciples, as my... chem thrower. So. Refilling it's... n-not something. You need to worry about. S-since you're..."

Ranse swallows dryly, forcing herself to look directly at you. "Sinceyou'retheleader. I guess. Y-you'll just... need to determine. When. This... would be more useful. Than the pyrespewer. Or... o-other weapons I might make."

Justice taps her chin. "I don't believe a wild, empowering rage would do most of us much good--save Valley, perhaps."

Valley cringes, exhaling slowly. "Yeeeaaah. Like... I totally get why this is a good thing? But that's one heinous looking needle." Valley breathes in and shakes her hands a little, like she's trying to hype herself into it. "Okay. Like... if we need that extra oomph? I'm down. Totally. I can do it. Obvs, I just need to like... be so totally awesome we don't need to pump me up any."

Ranse also approaches you... rapidly, nervously, and abruptly shoves some books into your hands. "Alsotakethese."

You acquire berserker drug.

Also erotic literature.


GS 2nd Jun 2018, 3:37 PM edit delete reply
Try and find out whether we can get our hands on any books of monster lore, too.
Next time we meet a creature we haven't met personally yet, it might be good to have some information.

After that, let's hit up the tavern and look for rumours about puppeteers -- WAIT!
Ranse's dad is a widely-traveled man. Ask him if he knows where we might find a puppeteer to head off the Goblin/Slime war.
MakePeaceAndLove 2nd Jun 2018, 4:36 PM edit delete reply
+1 to all of these. Can't hurt to ask around.

I wonder if the guards at Humblestart are still actively looking for us? Hopefully our disguise holds up, we changed a lot since the jailbreak.
GS 2nd Jun 2018, 3:38 PM edit delete reply
Before we leave the alchemist shop, make formal introductions to Ranse's dad. Reassure him we are taking his daughter's safety very seriously -- like every other party member's safety.
MakePeaceAndLove 2nd Jun 2018, 4:36 PM edit delete reply
G. Sansa 2nd Jun 2018, 4:49 PM edit delete reply
+1. Also ask if he has any adventuring advice. You know, as in, ”watch out for the...”

Should we ask him about the panty thief? I guess not, nobody wants their lover talking to their dad about panties. But in considering that I just realized that the reason Ranse's panties didn't get stolen is probably that she was male at the time.

Note that if we ever dose Valley and then need her to chill, Justice can take the berserk status. With a lot more chance of being controllable. Also since it's injected, Lagrand may be able to detox it.
Hellbovine 2nd Jun 2018, 5:16 PM edit delete reply
Actually, it might be bad if he finds out we look exactly like the panty thief AND we are wearing Ranse's panties
1977 2nd Jun 2018, 5:00 PM edit delete reply
MakePeaceAndLove 3rd Jun 2018, 2:08 AM edit delete reply
+1 It can't hurt to be polite.

Even if he notices we look just like the panty thief from the posters, it checks out with our story that Ranse is helping us clear our name, so I don't see a problem.

Just don't show off your panties - or that Ranse isn't wearing them herself. >.>
GS 2nd Jun 2018, 3:42 PM edit delete reply
Vote we keep the berserker drug on the backburner.
Way, WAY on the backburner!
Valley seems much more effective when she has her wits about her and can use her full range of melee techniques, than sent into a wild bloodrage.
Spades 2nd Jun 2018, 4:11 PM edit delete reply
We can't actually know that if we haven't tried it.
MakePeaceAndLove 2nd Jun 2018, 4:37 PM edit delete reply

If nothing else, I can't imagine a situation where we'd need that sort of effect. At least for now. On the other hand, it's nice to have access to a brand new weapon, in this case the Injector.
G. Sansa 2nd Jun 2018, 4:56 PM edit delete reply
If we're ever facing a nasty spellcaster, we could use it offensively.
Spades 2nd Jun 2018, 5:02 PM edit delete reply
Spades 2nd Jun 2018, 5:02 PM edit delete reply
Krylo 2nd Jun 2018, 3:59 PM edit delete reply
Give Ranse the frog and skelecan bits before we go.
MakePeaceAndLove 2nd Jun 2018, 4:38 PM edit delete reply
GS 2nd Jun 2018, 4:44 PM edit delete reply
Sparky 2nd Jun 2018, 4:33 PM edit delete reply
Lets talk with Ranses dad and keep an eye on the time. We dont want to be around him when our disguise potion wears off. lets give him the enzyme though, that could be useful
GS 2nd Jun 2018, 4:39 PM edit delete reply
It's already worn off.
MakePeaceAndLove 2nd Jun 2018, 4:39 PM edit delete reply
Our disguise potion already wore off while we were traveling to Humblestart, so we're currently back to male Nast. But sure, let's see what that acid enzyme can be used for.
Lavitz 2nd Jun 2018, 4:37 PM edit delete reply
See if minitaur milk makes a good alchemical ingredient
GS 2nd Jun 2018, 4:45 PM edit delete reply
Talk about this to Valley first. She started lactating for us, she might not be keen to do it for science(!).
ZincFingers 2nd Jun 2018, 6:04 PM edit delete reply
Minitaur milk is readily available, you'd think, with Outwall Ranch being just down the road.
MakePeaceAndLove 2nd Jun 2018, 4:45 PM edit delete reply
Something occured to me that I haven't given much thought before...

We're on this quest to satisfy the lust of the goblin tribe as part of that peace deal, but is that really the smart thing to do? Will it actually work out the way we are hoping?

The goblin chief did say they wanted a woman (or women) in exchange for forgetting about the cave, since that's a better prize, but what if the goblins change their mind and return to fight for the Slime Cave anyway?

And then, if we hire a sexpert it's a one time only deal, so the goblins may celebrate and then forget about it, again turning their eyes onto the Slime Cave.

Meanwhile, if we do manage to build a sex doll/puppet for the goblins, we run the risk of the tribe going extinct as they completely ignore the female goblins in favour of the sex doll... while if we boost the female goblins we could face a goblin overpopulation problem that Humblestart and other nearby towns would suffer from.

I feel bad for bringing up all of these possibilities, but it's something to consider so our quest doesn't backfire, especially since we put so much effort into it... how can we solve the goblins' problems without introducing new ones? There's gotta be a solution, we just got to thread carefully.
GS 2nd Jun 2018, 4:50 PM edit delete reply
I feel we should build the golem anyway. If won't just be a sex doll; it can be used for other things as well, and a golem is always useful to have on your side.

Besides, the goblins banging the golem will be the males. While they're busy, we'll know for sure which goblins are females, and we can talk to them, maybe help them with a makeover or some empowerment.
In any case, the golem gives us short-term peace and some breathing room in which we can work with the females.
Placeholder 2nd Jun 2018, 4:57 PM edit delete reply
+1 to this. Can we talk to Ranse and her dad (who I assume is named Shatner) about any alchemical ways to make Goblin ladies more attractive to the men? In addition to solving the war it could also give him a new market to sell to.
Guest 2nd Jun 2018, 4:51 PM edit delete reply
You... do realise that we won't be satisfied unless you release a full, illustrated version of that erotic literature, right? Well, if you want more people to donate to your Patreon, you know what to do...
As for what we do next, talk to the king slime. A tentacle-related sex act could be just what we need to get into the entertainers' guild, but we need an alternative plan, too. We only have one acid-resistance potion, so we may have to choose between the entertainers' guild and inspiration (giving the potion to different people). Plus, the king slime may not want to engage in "recreational mating" until we deal with the goblins, for which we need to get into the entertainers' guild... an alternative may be required, but finding a puppeteer could be a troublesome addition in an already convoluted quest chain. After we talk to the king slime, might I suggest trying to gain access to the thieves' tunnels, and entering the entertainers' guild like that? Then Sweet can join the party, we find someone to bang the goblins, we get victory sex with a slime and we can finally return to the main storyline by talking to the bishop we were told about around 50 instalments ago... Did I miss anything?
1977 2nd Jun 2018, 5:11 PM edit delete reply
What help are the tunnels in entering the E-Guild?
Sure you can go in their building but why should they make us members?
Do you know of any organisation you can join by breaking and entering in their headquarters?
It probably would make sense for the T-Guild but we already are members there.
We want to do anything as legally as possible, also joining the E-Guild by means of a performance.
Knowing about the tunnelnetwork is definitely helpful in other aspects, but not in joining the E-Guild.
ZincFingers 2nd Jun 2018, 6:09 PM edit delete reply
We are in Humblestart, at Ranse's family alchemy shop, I'm sure she could whip up another burn resist potion if we ask. I don't recall it needing anything exotic in the way of ingredients.
MakePeaceAndLove 3rd Jun 2018, 1:53 AM edit delete reply
+1 to what 1977 said above.

If we want an alternative plan besides the tentacle sex show, we need to come up with another entertainment act... maybe the Summoner can help, if she's still around and we manage to recruit her?
1977 2nd Jun 2018, 4:59 PM edit delete reply
Ask a bit more about chem throwers. Can you combine them?
For example a thrower with electric powers and a thrower with fire combined into one you can switch the firemode in the fight to using electricity in one attack and fire in the next and then electricity again?
Or even both at the same time, though not sure if an electric fire (firelightning?) is possible but maybe other combinations.
1977 2nd Jun 2018, 5:43 PM edit delete reply
Just thought of a good combination: fire and air.
This is actually something we can try with the pyrespewer and the wind wand.
Nast makes a tornado and Ranse fires into it to create a firenado.
With a combined chemthrower however Ranse could make a firenado in one shot.
MakePeaceAndLove 3rd Jun 2018, 1:56 AM edit delete reply
I thought the point of combined techniques was giving us the firenado and other such attacks?

I could see Ranse building a chem thrower that switches elements after we collect a bunch of them, as in the ultimate chem thrower, but still one where we just select one element at a time. That should be plenty to strike any one weakness enemies might have.

Also, I'm still all for doing the drill with our team to practice combined attacks... and while we're at Humblestart, we could pick up a better weapon than the Goblin Knife for Justice. What should we give her though? A one-handed mace or something like that?
Hellbovine 2nd Jun 2018, 5:14 PM edit delete reply
Am I the only one that find it awkward that we are speaking to Ranse's father while wearing her panties?
1977 2nd Jun 2018, 5:28 PM edit delete reply
Oh, don't forget that Nast is male again while wearing female underwear.
Placeholder 2nd Jun 2018, 11:21 PM edit delete reply
"Awkward"...that's a weird way to spell "hot."
MakePeaceAndLove 3rd Jun 2018, 1:58 AM edit delete reply
That would be awkward if we were wearing ONLY Ranse's panties.

As long as you don't bring it up, push it out of your mind, there should be no issue.

If anything, Ranse could be awkward speaking butt-naked as she is. But Ranse's baseline awkwardness should make it hard to tell the difference, fortunately.
1977 2nd Jun 2018, 5:16 PM edit delete reply
We should make a note: Before entering an area that is highly infested with undead get skullhelms for everyone!
SolCannibal 2nd Jun 2018, 6:04 PM edit delete reply
As an aside, wasn't there a plan about going to Peace Calling to see if we learn some bit of Nast's past that might be relevant to this whole mess, like having a twin that might be the Panty Thief, stuff about that girl crush that went away or somesuch?
Krylo 2nd Jun 2018, 8:01 PM edit delete reply
There is, yes, but after we're done in Humblestart. Peace Calling is just up the road after that.
MakePeaceAndLove 3rd Jun 2018, 2:00 AM edit delete reply
Yup, that's still the plan.

We are headed to the Slime Cave, but after that I'm hoping for Peace Calling. I figured that Ranse and King Slime need some time to get used to each other, and then some more to practice their performance. We can use that time visiting home.

Note that neither the goblin chief nor the guard at the entertainment guild gave us a time limit. We can take our time making sure that we're ready with something good.
Antarean 2nd Jun 2018, 8:11 PM edit delete reply
My mind went straight to The Legend of Zelda.

"It's dangerous to go alone. Take this."
Scott 2nd Jun 2018, 8:52 PM edit delete reply
Definitely read the erotic fiction. Then head to the slime king.
MakePeaceAndLove 3rd Jun 2018, 2:01 AM edit delete reply
+1 to this.

You never know, THAT could be another source of inspiration!
Fireopal 2nd Jun 2018, 9:49 PM edit delete reply
We should change our party before we go to the SlimeKing. If we're going to act out some tentacle porn, you know Ranse is going to want in on that. Besides, I'm sure that Ranse and The SlimeKing will get along well, considering their mutual love of books.
Lavitz 2nd Jun 2018, 10:07 PM edit delete reply
Krylo 2nd Jun 2018, 10:28 PM edit delete reply
MakePeaceAndLove 3rd Jun 2018, 2:03 AM edit delete reply
+1 but not before our promised threesome with Valley and Justice.
Alex Nipal 2nd Jun 2018, 10:55 PM edit delete reply
I think we can all agree that we want these books to reach King Slime, but do we have to do it ourselve?
I suggest we send Ranse with the books to King and give her the burn protection potion. This way we can go to Peace Calling or do other stuff and check on them after they got some practice.
She may not know wherr the cave is. Inzo can lead her there.
Krylo 2nd Jun 2018, 11:12 PM edit delete reply
For inspiration and to be part of the Ranse banging?

We can head to Peace Calling after, or before, banging the slime queen.
MakePeaceAndLove 3rd Jun 2018, 2:04 AM edit delete reply
I feel the bigger issue is that we sent the Summoner ahead to the King Slime, we should head there ourselves to recruit her, then we can turn around and visit Peace Calling.