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Your Way Is Not My Way (Original/Wuxia)

Discussion in 'Questing' started by 5elementsage, Aug 4, 2021.

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  1. Threadmarks: Ascension to Godhood
    5elementsage

    5elementsage I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Ascension to Godhood

    It begins as it ends. You watch as a soul adrift, a white-gold pearl caught betwixt four primordial forces. One, a nameless, faceless suit of armor adorned with a demon mask, trophies of wicked beasts, and a noble coat of arms; he holds a gleaming length of moonlight at the end of his plated arm, and it sings as it passes cleanly through the burning eyes and reaching claws of myriad shadows. The second, arrayed in silver and precious stones tied with a blue sash, and masked in smiling white; he lets the horde come to him, turning away their strikes with open palms and wide arms that could be mistaken for welcoming. The third, walking slowly, in tranquil ease, through clutching hands that can't get closer; unfurling vines of jade green peel open the earth without an ounce of force, entangling the enemy and holding them back as pink flowers bloom. His are robes of green clasped in bronze, feet bare and filthy, face obscured by a deep, dark hood. The fourth, charging forth at the head, covers only the lower half of his rippling, sweat-shining body with gold licked over by scarlet flame. He too is masked, as his own claw-like hands tear the encroaching darkness to pieces, and his gold mask is warped in a frown. Any one of these could be you.

    You awaken from that heart-pounding dream, your back resting against an aged yew tree, the pale leaves gently rustling in the breeze. Beneath you, blue-green grasses swell with the sound of crickets. Down at the foot of this gentle hill runs a winding river, the waters yellow with clay. All around, dark trees provide a home to the skittering, crawling, and slithering creatures that live in the nearby woods. It is a glorious day. In the highest, darkest azure part of the infinite sky that crowns your world, the celestial orb is in its third ascension -- the burning Yang aspect is an eye-bleeding white, which casts the submissive Yin side in a golden glow. Around this unmoving pole, two of the eight blue stars have dimmed. While you are no astrologer, you know this to mean that the corruption of night has passed some time ago, and the peace of daylight is long ahead. Time to go about your way; no more dreaming until the work is done. You stand and stretch, take up your pack, and start down the hill for the woodland path. Approaching a smooth-topped boulder, you take a long stride to its surface, nimbly springing several staves across to one farther down the way. You drift through the air like Earth's mighty pull has barely any meaning, but the ferocity of your leaps (unnecessary, given your agility) shows your mortal restraint. This is no great task, but you take to it with the resolve of a laborer, not the aloof disregard of a clerk. After the fifth springing step off a boulder near the bottom, your bounding slows to a jaunty walk. Your rough-knit tunic and breezy silk trousers settle about your lean, yet muscular form.

    Up ahead, your eyes take in the splendor of the old wooden gate, the flat crest atop it adorned with moss-covered iron lanterns. In more civilized territory, paper lanterns would be carefully maintained and changed with the seasons; but here, something more enduring is required. The monks rarely come this way to tend to the shrines just inside the gate. Shrines which you now approach, casting a wild eye and wolfish grin to each in turn, with equal disinterest. But slowly, your breath relaxes, your eye focuses, and something does garner your attention (if only for a time):

    (@) On the far left, built of black-lacquered wood with little ornamentation, there is a sturdy structure almost as large as a brick oven, nearly as stout. The idol at the center is a statuette of a mounted warrior, his horned helmet majestic and masked face a mystery. He holds a sword high, and his banner is red like blood. At the head of the shrine, a wood board is engraved with the characters for "His Divine Lordship, General Star Iron."

    (@) On the center left, built of a knotted fructive tree, the uncarved wood limned in verdant moss, there is a wide-bodied structure suited to the rotund idol within. He is very large, carved of resplendent green jade, eyes shut with pleasure and mouth wide. He holds his empty hands in the symbol for peace. Around his neck has been placed a medallion held on by a string of prayer beads. At the head of the shrine, a soapstone has been carved with the characters for "Bounteous Lord, Wisdom."

    (@) On the center right, built of elegant yew poles wrapped in expertly-crafted wirework, in which pearls of glass, oyster, and precious stone are trapped, there is a trim and sophisticate shrine. The idol at the back is a propped-up silver mirror, etched with the features of an enigmatic soul, a spirit with more bestial features that human, looking much like a natural disaster. Despite this savagery, the whole picture of the shrine gives you a sense of stern contemplation. At the head of the shrine, a weather-worn parchment bears the painted characters for, "Infinite Prescience, Spring-Mountain Sage."

    (@) On the far right, built of broad beams painted red, but low to the ground, the avant-garde structure seems to look up in praise to the uplifted idol, which stands atop a decorated stone pedestal. The idol is only a head, a screaming man with fire in his eyes. The imagery of this shrine unsettles your stomach, and causes the hairs of your neck to stand like a boar's bristles. At the foot of the shrine, creeping with mold and bugs, a plaque reads, "Supreme Tormentor, Thunder-Roar the Bloodthirsty."

    (@) In the middle is the gate, and the path to where you're going. None of these shrines really catch your eye, more than the idea of a good meal, some fun, and the next place to lay your head.

    (Questmaster Note: Hello everyone! I'm trying something new, and I hope it will attract a lot of attention from our board of delightful readers. This quest is placed here, in the NSFW section, for the very good reason that no holds will be barred. The perversion, crudity, and madness that awaits in this quest will come only as makes sense for the narrative, so it will be thinner in places and more gratuitous in others. But it is not just a stomping ground for meaningless, revolting content. What I introduce to the story will have purpose, and will be treated with fairness, though perhaps less delicate modesty than polite society would like. Please read below for the inspirations of the quest and some basic mechanics and lore you can come to expect. Then vote when the mood strikes you! I will be looking to renew with posts every week, if voting participation allows, but I will be willing to wait up to three weeks to make sure people have a chance to catch up.)
     
    Anxuman and Aoinfinity like this.
  2. Threadmarks: Lore and Mechanics
    5elementsage

    5elementsage I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    (TLDR note: If you're looking to skip through the 'fluff' and get to voting, please make sure to read the "How to Vote!" section at least. It's at the bottom of this post.)

    The heart of this quest will be based loosely on the gameplay of the Infamous franchise, in which the player character learns to control a dangerous new power, and interacts with others who share this mysterious energy. If it was not already apparent, some inspiration will be taken from Journey to the West, Kung Fu Panda (and more traditional Wuxia less popular in western countries), and more than a bit of Dragon Ball. The action in this will be less Anime-inspired, and more traditional to the mystical style of Wuxia. I will be avoiding hackneyed use of Chinese words, in order to better communicate to you readers what the concepts are. Your main character's life will be balanced between work, play, and rest, and you will soon meet a main cast of characters that will help the character decide what he's going to do with his life. Oh, and a preemptive FAQ answer: no, the main character is NOT Sun Wukong, nor is he intended to resemble him. Instead, I am creating my own design (with your input) that will take the place of an unrefined adventurer such as he.

    The Setting - More about this will be revealed as the story goes on. For now, understand that it does not take place on Earth, nor in the Universe where conventional physics apply. The Revolving Ladder is a world built around the Unmoved Mover, the Fixed Pole represented by paired virtues: Yang (energetic release) and Yin (reserved frugality). These define the Eight Cornerstones of existence, represented by the Eight Blue Stars. Instead of an ordinary day-night cycle where the Sun and Moon appear to go around the world in fixed intervals, there is a more complex and symbolic measure of time. The orb visible in the sky is divided into light and dark at all times, and one dominates the other. They do not indicate time of day, but three ascensions and three descents. Days are brighter and more peaceful during ascension, most so in the third, but the world's mystic resources run dry from over-use. When all Eight Blue Stars are bright, morning has come. When all are dim, midnight has fallen, and night will not end until the eight gradually brighten all together. As the crest of the Fixed Pole, the light-and-dark orb does not move in the sky.

    The Four Faces of Life - Much of the quest will center around cultivating the Four Faces of Life within the main character. This will be reflected in the hero's body, behavior, and more directly in his special powers. You may favor one of the Four, but excluding the other three will lead to imbalance...and possibly an early end to the Quest. Seek harmony which works best for your own opinion, as well as blending in the opinions of other voters.

    Metal - Keystone of the Four Faces. Metal represents unshakeable resolve, unyielding stubborness, and keen focus. Cultivating this in the hero will be an almost exclusively physical improvement, both in body and in focusing on material things. However, it will help make his spirit immovable and sharpen his mind. Many will find the hero difficult to speak with at times, but will be able to count on his unchanging nature. You can cultivate it in the Quest by voting for a maintained path, a resolute approach to combat, and cold judgment or appraisal of others.

    Water - Left Hand Aspect of the Four Faces. Water represents a fluidity of motion, thinking, and disposition. Water packs together in times of loss, and spreads wide in times of plenty. Cultivating this in the hero will lend to a versatile path, one where the hero is able to adapt to upcoming events and dynamic personalities. Take care not to overextend, stretching the hero beyond a point where he can be of help. Some will crave stability in the hero's actions, not being able to rely upon them for one thing, not knowing what to expect. You can cultivate it in the Quest by changing up your voting strategy, sifting through combat to accomplish the goal, and trying to accomodate each companion or new encounter.

    Earth - Right Hand Aspect of the Four Faces. Earth represents the gradual acceptance of change with time; the setting of things in stone; the product of things set aside. Cultivating this in the hero will lend to a submissive path, but also an unassailable one if played right. Instead of focusing on physical or mental, on arms or mysticism, Earth helps support each path and grow something from the hero's journey. Some will demand that the hero take charge, take action, but the hero will likely decline. You can cultivate it in the Quest by sticking to a general course (but adapting your voting style based on a wealth of past experience), relying on your friends and the environment to obtain victory, and being a doormat I mean supporting those who cross your path (even at your own expense).


    Fire - Rising Aspect of the Four Faces. Fire represents a passionate surge of action, thought, or emotion; a fleeting light and sudden change to try and make an impact. Only as good as the fuel it feeds upon. Cultivating this in the hero will lend to a more exciting, action-packed journey, but one that could be cut short if one burns out too quickly. While Water and Earth occupy a defensive or supportive side of mysticism, and Metal represents a physical approach, Fire takes a strong, often mystical offense. Those who do not oppose you directly may seek to temper your rage, and prudence will show you whether or not to listen. You can cultivate it in the Quest by taking the most intense solution, seeking total destruction as a path to victory, and weeding out the weak or the toxic so only the worthy remain.

    Strong Votes - I'm taking a slightly different approach to voting in this Quest. Rather than just tallying a majority, and waiting for there to be at least three, I will allow each of you to present your Strong and Weak vote, but this will not always mean the same thing. Sometimes, your Strong vote will be what you feel most strongly should be done (Yang). Rather than count this as "+1 point toward this outcome," I will sculpt future posts to reflect this opinion. Maybe the immediate next post won't reflect it so strongly, but the path will have decidedly changed in the near future. At other times, your Strong Vote will be what you most strongly feel we should avoid (Yin). Rather than just being a "vote against," with no positive outcome, it will serve to balance out a lot of Yang coming in the future. I will not react so heavily to that Face, or combination of Faces, when Yang votes come up for it.

    Weak Votes - This is a point of interest rather than a push. You're not advocating we do it, nor saying "Don't do it," just bringing it up as a talking point. Did you vote Yang for the Strong Vote? You might direct some Yin toward another option, suggesting that people voting for that should reconsider. Did you vote Yin for the Strong Vote? Here's a chance to lend a little positivity toward something else, even if you don't strongly feel like it's the best call.

    Outcome of Votes - The voting options will be less a direct change of course, and more a subtle nudge. Take this opening vote for example. It will have profound impacts on how the story plays out later on, but right now, it's just what shrine the hero looks at as he passes through the gate. He'll still pass through the gate regardless, and the literal path through the woods will not change much.

    How to Vote! - Notice I've given "(@)" instead of the traditional [] brackets. This means you are not supposed to vote [x] to show favor. Instead, give two of the above options as your votes. Precede the first vote with (S) to show it is your Strong vote, and follow it up with "(Yang)" or "(Yin)" and any further comments you want to add. Precede the second vote with (W) to show it is your Weak vote. No need to tag it as Yang or Yin, unless you feel like it. Below, I've given two examples. The first is a more wordy style of vote that is still short and informative. The second is the way I'd prefer votes be, if you're looking to just put the most important part on there. No need to copy-paste the whole thing, as I will be writing some of them quite long-form.

    Examples:

    (S) Red-beam shrine with head of Thunder-Roar the Bloodthirsty (Yin)
    (W) Black-lacquered shrine with mounted General


    or

    (S) Let's just pass through the gate (Yang)
    (W) Shrine to General Star Iron
     
  3. Aoinfinity

    Aoinfinity Unlimited blue works

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    So that you're aware, you did not in fact post this in the NSFW section. This is the public Questing section. That probably has more to do with the lack of replies so far than anything else; sadly, quests in this part of QQ tend to be stillborn.

    I do very much like what I see here, and I hope that the quest succeeds.

    (S) Elegant yew shrine to Infinite Prescience, Spring-Mountain Sage (Yang)
    (W) Simply continue along the path.

    If I've understood the mechanics right, this expresses a strong preference toward checking out the yew shrine next, and a less strong preference against merely continuing on, correct?
     
  4. 5elementsage

    5elementsage I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Wow, just a series of errors this last couple of weeks. Any way I could use to conveniently move the quest?

    Also, you're basically right. Weak vote doesn't have to be yin to your yang, but can be. I recommend it to nuance your contribution. Any reason you're against ignoring the shrines?
     
  5. Aoinfinity

    Aoinfinity Unlimited blue works

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    My thinking was that looking at any of the shrines will be an interesting glimpse of the history of your world, so I'd rather not miss them entirely.

    Regarding the thread, you could private-message a mod to move it, but it's probably quicker just to post a new thread in the NSFW forum with your first two posts. That'd also trigger alerts for people who get new-thread notifications for the NSFW Questing forum.
     
  6. Fooslock

    Fooslock Getting sticky.

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    The Yin and Yang part confuses me. S and W I get one for one against. So adding Yang and Yin, Yang to a (S) would be For+, and adding Yin would be For-. Adding Yang and Ying to a (W) would be Avoid+ and Avoid- respectively. Is that how it works? So there are some six total combinations? (S), (W), (S+), (S-), (W+), and (W-)?
     
  7. 5elementsage

    5elementsage I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    I'm abandoning this quest idea, but I figured I'd at least answer your question. Strong and Weak are not "for" and "against." Strong meant "this is what we should do," or "shouldn't do." With conviction. Weak was more of "this is an idea I'd like to discuss."
     
  8. Fooslock

    Fooslock Getting sticky.

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    Fair e Pugh Tha KS for the reply.
     
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