Shattered Rift

Sparkbomb: Mansionverse Saga

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"I would have let you off with a warning, but assault on a Phoenix in the course of his duty will not be tolerated." Rex said. As he was speaking, he simultaneously logged the infraction and sent a PM to Mast to notify him of the situation.

"Surrender! Or, you know, don't." As Rex finished, he shot Red Shirt.

Shoot Red Shirt.

Edit: Autobattle: Shoot Red Shirt>Yellow Shirt until out of energy. Cease attacking enemies who surrender.

Edited by Rexozord

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Traj nodded. "Seems legit", he said, eyeing the Capture Box. Something like that wouldn't come cheap, he understood that - given the "out of your cut" comment, he was curious as to what honeybees and black widows were worth, currently.

 

[Accept offer.]

[Explore Forest?]

(will respond to Star's PM when I get home from work)

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TheLastStar Maker -> Sports Forum

[Reposting last update for convenience.]

The Sports Forum had a few lone tables, but just as many people were standing as were seated. Despite its name, the Sports Forum lacked any of the expected paraphernalia. Ward missed the banners. The forum should have been sporting the red or yellow of the winning team.

"I'd been planning to go out to Nadir Lake today," a member seated to their left said quietly. Star remembered the lake. It was to the northwest of the Mansion, but there was a forest there now. Was the lake still there, hiding somewhere behind the trees?

"Bet we could go out and tag some of those trees," another member said from their right, leaning against the wall.

"We could if there was any spray paint left," Sable, a dark-haired girl, said in reply. "We don't even have shirts anymore."

"Shirts?" Star said.

Sable kept from rolling her eyes at Star, but she shifted in agitation. "Shirts. Jerseys. The R.G.B. still has a couple for sale—not that anyone can afford them—but we don't have any way to express ourselves without them."

"Usually everyone in here is wearing something," Ward said. "Paintballer, freerunner, swimmer, everybody wears something to represent their hobby."

Clothing would require fabric and dye. Star wasn't sure where either could be found. Ward, however, guessed that he could ask Roy.

[You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

TheLastStarMaker: Sparks 36/36 Energy 11/11 Charges 1/1]

Ward -> The R.G.B.

"What would it take to make new sportswear?" Ward asked Roy.

"Fabric and dye," Roy said, "but we're out of both." He scratched his chin. "Might be able to go old-school, and there's a chance the forest might have what we need. Dye can be made from certain flowers: Rose Madder for reds, Woad for blues, and Saffron Crocus for yellows. Try to find a clearing and search for them there. Logwood is a tree that's useful for a few different things, and its heartwood yields purples and blacks. Finding all of them will probably be a matter of luck.  Either they're out there or they're not. Fabric'll be the tricky part. A Wooly's wool would do the job. Not as good as cotton or as fancy as silk, mind. Problem is capturing a Wooly will be no easy task, even if you manage to find one of the younger ones. Woolies can be mean. Artemis over at Adonis' Conquests might have some advice on corralling a Wooly, but I'll bet she's busy with smaller game."

[New Quest!

Quest - The Kingdom's New Clothes (Forest)
Primary Objective: Acquire One or More Suitable Dyes
-Option: Acquire Rose Madder
-Option: Acquire Woad
-Option: Acquire Saffron Crocus
-Option: Acquire Logwood
Primary Objective: Capture a Wooly (Currently Impossible)

Note: Like the revealed stores, this Quest is available to everyone. Exploring other areas of the Mansion may reveal additional objectives.]

"You don't think we could find cotton or silk?" Ward said.

"I'm sure they're out there somewhere, but finding them would be a longshot," Roy said. "As for the dyes, Rose Madder and Saffron Crocus should be common enough. Woad and Logwood are rarer."

"So start with the flowers and trees," Ward said. "Got it."

[You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

Ward: Sparks 27/27 Energy 7/7]

Rexozord -> Prismatic Tower

"I would have let you off with a warning, but assault on a Phoenix in the course of his duty will not be tolerated." Rex said. As he was speaking, he simultaneously logged the infraction and sent a PM to Mast to notify him of the situation.

"Surrender! Or, you know, don't." As Rex finished, he shot Red Shirt.

Red Shirt pokes Rexozord.  3 damage.
Yellow Shirt attacks Rexozord. 4 damage.
Rexozord shoots Red Shirt. 10 damage.

Auto-Battle!

Red Shirt pokes Rexozord. 3 damage.
Rexozord shoots Red Shirt. 9 damage.
Yellow Shirt attacks Rexozord. 2 damage.

Rexozord shoots Red Shirt. 8 damage. Deleted!
Yellow Shirt attacks Rexozord. 2 damage.

Rexozord shoots Yellow Shirt. 11 damage.
Yellow Shirt attacks Rexozord. 3 damage.

Yellow Shirt attacks Rexozord. 4 damage.
Rexozord shoots Yellow Shirt. 11 damage. Deleted!

Victory! All battlers receive satisfaction at a job well done.

The first shot against each of the Shirts had marked them, so Rex knew that they would respawn in the Warning Dungeon as he watched their ones and zeroes dissolve.

[Rexozord has earned respect with the Phoenix Syndicate.
Rexozord has lost respect from the Color Gangs.]

"Are the rest of you going to behave?" Rex said, barely phrasing it as a question.

Several of the paintballers grunted, a noise that Rex took for acquiescence. Deciding that he had learned all he could from this Tower, he considered his next move. Doing his duty had likely worsened relations between the Phoenixes and the Color Gangs. If he could find a way to pacify the gangs, it might stay their ire with the phoenixes. He noticed that only a few were still wearing their colors. Was the Mansion better off or worse without them outwardly showing their affiliation?

[Given the plot-based nature of this encounter, I've foregone XP rewards and will instead allow you to recover your Sparks and Energy for free when you choose to retire for the evening.

You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

Rexozord: Sparks 13/42 Energy 0/10 Charges 1/1]

Blacjak -> Phoenix Lounge

[Reposting last update for convenience.]

The Phoenix Lounge was a simple room with a lone table and no chairs. Blacjak wondered if it was always so empty or if the hacking meant the table had been moved in recently. More importantly, he noticed that two of the three phoenixes' faces were obscured as if by Anon Masks. He quickly put on his own to obscure his identity.

Mast was not anonymous. Perhaps being a Spokesman allowed him that privilege. After dismissing the other two phoenixes, he waved Blacjak over.

"No need for the Anon Mask: this room takes care of that. Good to meet you," Mast said formally. "Shattered Rift filled me in on your special case. We're short staffed after the hacking. Not everyone has logged back in, and with everyone reset to Level 1..." He shook his head. "I don't have a Phoenix Mask for you, so you won't be on moderation or patrol duty yet. You'll need to get more creative with keeping the peace." Mast's no-nonsense tone told Blacjak that he meant diplomacy. "The losses in inventory and wealth present a threat. Right now people are still grieving their losses, but that grief could turn sour. The forest should have resources, notably lumber. And who knows what's going on with Jubilation Cave. If you ask around, you might be able to pinpoint specific things people need. The sooner we can restore wealth to the Mansion, the sooner peace will be secure."

[New Location - Jubilation Cave revealed! Jubilation Cave is outside of the Mansion grounds to the west.]

At night, Blacjak wasn't going to accomplish much, so he returned to his room and slept. When he woke up in the morning, he considered his options, as well as the thought of meeting up with someone to travel together.

[You are on the Sparkbomb Mansion's grounds. Command?

Blacjak: Sparks 32/32 Energy 11/11 Charges 1/1]

Trajectory -> Adonis' Conquests (Pet Store)

Traj nodded. "Seems legit", he said, eyeing the Capture Box. Something like that wouldn't come cheap, he understood that - given the "out of your cut" comment, he was curious as to what honeybees and black widows were worth, currently. "You mentioned a Jar of Honey for the honeybees? Could you be more specific?"

"It's hard to say with how volatile the economy is right now," Artemis admitted. "Let's say the coin equivalent to six Jars of Honey. Maybe the bees are able to produce right away and I could pay you in pure golden honey, if you wanted. And we'll say the same for the Black Widow. Six Vaccines or the coin equivalent."

Traj nodded. Under the circumstances, it was hard to gauge that kind of value, but bringing honey and vaccines back to the Mansion was important. As for Rantu, asking for a recommendation was a simple favor given how busy he must be right now. And it would let him know that Traj was still in the game. Or in a new game, as it seemed to be.

He could always try to make the captures alone, but it would be safer with backup. Except that would likely mean splitting the pay. This thought was on his mind as a voice interrupted him outside of Adonis' Conquests.

"Artemis will keep the vaccines for herself," Charity said once Traj was out of Artemis' earshot.

"If you have a better offer..." Traj said, ready to let the unspoken question hang, but Charity quickly shook her head.

"People can't afford anything right now," Charity countered. "If honey and vaccines are monopolized, people will continue living in fear."

"I don't see anyone living in fear," Traj said.

"What do you think's going to happen when they're not in shock anymore?" Charity asked. "We have a chance for true peace, true equality between all people. There's barely anything to eat in the Random Chat Cafe, and honey is a versatile sweetener. And Vaccines will be necessary for anyone to safely travel outside of the Mansion's walls."

[Update!

Quest - Bug Catching
North Forest: Capture a Honeybee Colony
Jubilation Cave: Capture a Black Widow

New! Optional: Deliver the Honeybee Colony and/or Black Widow to Charity]

Traj still had time to decide who he would deliver the Honeybees and Black Widow to. First, he had to capture them.

[Going to hold off on your Forest command for now, unless you insist upon going alone.

You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

Trajectory: Sparks 33/33 Energy 10/10 Charges 1/1]

iko -> Art Forum and Gallery

[Reposting last update for convenience.]

iko made his way to the Art Forum. Long ago, he had been one of the regulars here, using his talent with hacking to create artwork. One time he drew a picture of a critter that had hung on the wall for a full year.

Seeing the forum empty made him sad, wistful of a time long past, but it also made him eager to create something new and contribute something fresh.

Jules was talking to a couple of people, but he stopped when he noticed iko watching him.

"Olive sent me," iko said. "Is there something I can help with?"

"Thank you!" Jules said, grabbing iko's hand and shaking it furiously. The man bobbed as he spoke, brimming with energy. "I don't have much to offer in return, I'm afraid. My fortune disappeared right along with the Gallery."

Now iko remembered. The Art Forum had practically been taken over by a museum, a collection of all kinds of knickknacks and items, weapons and armor, every object imaginable and some that weren't. It was around the same time the Developer's and Creator's Lounges had been added. Now, however, the art forum was just a few drab tables.

"It's always been my dream to collect one of everything," Jules said, "and I had nearly succeeded. The truth is, I love shiny things the most! The very first shiny I ever found was a chunk of Copper Ore. It used to sit right there." Jules pointed to an empty spot with nothing around it. Perhaps there had once been a stand there for displaying it? "I found it in Jubilation Cave. Back in those days you could still find something there from time to time. It wasn't as empty as it is today. From that piece of ore, I decided I would collect everything shiny. After that it just sort of... took off!"

"I thought Jubilation Cave was empty," iko said. "Just a nice place to go for a walk."

"It is today," Jules said, "but long ago, you used to be able to find something from time to time..." His brows furrowed. "... some people are calling this hack a reset. You don't suppose that Jubilation Cave has been reset too, do you? Maybe a new piece of Copper Ore could be found!"

[New Quest!

Quest - Spelunking
Optional: Acquire Copper Ore
Optional: ???

Note: Like the revealed stores, this Quest is available to everyone. Exploring other areas of the Mansion may reveal additional objectives.]

"Are you planning to go?" iko asked.

"Oh no, my old bones aren't what they used to be," Jules said. "But you look young and spry. Perhaps you could give it a look for me? I would deeply appreciate a donation to the Gallery, but if you want to be compensated then I could try to find some Spark Coins for your time."

Going to Jubilation Cave alone might be dangerous. Perhaps iko could reach out to his new friends for help?

[You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

iko: Sparks 36/36 Energy 10/10 Charges 1/1]

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As before, Star left as quietly as she had come, continuing her trek through the First Floor Forums...

Command

Explore Games Forum

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After talking to Jules and sending his message to the others, iko left the Art Forum. He headed back to his Quarters.

Sitting on his bed, he looked around at his empty room and briefly thought of the things he lost. What should he do now? iko rolled over on his bed and yawned. Maybe burning the day away lazily in bed might be nice too, he thought.

He was able to relax a bit. To iko, it seemed like everything was fine and there wasn't any urgency for him to do much. The threat was gone, for now at least. It seemed to iko like everyone is going back to stockpiling and getting angry. An expected reaction, iko thought. Did Jules really need that Copper Ore? Surely with all the people in the mansion, someone can help the guy fufill his collection hobby. iko's attempt to befriend the NPC fell short in this case. He buried his face in a pillow and let his eyes close for a bit.

iko goes back to his quarters

Edited by Bed

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The first post has been updated with class information, Mansion locations and shop inventory, open Quests, and up-to-date character sheets. A couple of the character sheets may still be incorrect as I seem to have been incorrectly tracking a couple of inventories. I'm going to try to refine things over the next couple of days so that it's a little less wall of text. I'm also likely to update the Quests themselves: objectives will be the same, but a bit of presentation and refinement needs to be done.

If a player is interested in pursuing a Quest alone, they may do so. I would encourage you to travel together, but I realize there's a bit of uncertainty about who wants to go which way.

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I've modified Quest names and tweaked objectives. Note that the rewards listed for Into the Woods and Spelunking are both tied to their optional outcomes. Other objectives and outcomes have yet to be unlocked for both, and I'm tentatively naming each Quest "Part 1" as a result (although I want to find a more encompassing term for their likely ongoing nature). If you "complete" either Quest (by obtaining Lumber or Copper Ore), you may choose to instead retain those items and potentially find others to deliver them to. In other words, this won't be like the Intruder Quest where completing the primary objective prevented the completion of optional objectives.

The Kingdom's New Clothes and both Bug Catching Quests contain all available objectives.

Finally, some rewards and consequences will remain secret until an objective is completed.

 

Into the Woods, Part 1 (Forest)
Primary Objective: Acquire Lumber
Optional: Deliver Lumber to the Mafia Community
-Reward: Mafia Set available for sale, Mafia mini-game unlocked

Quest - Spelunking, Part 1 (Jubilation Cave)
Primary Objective: Acquire Copper Ore
Optional: Deliver Copper Ore to Jules
-Reward: Gallery unlocked

Quest - The Kingdom's New Clothes, Part 1 (Forest)
Primary Objective: Acquire One or More Suitable Dyes
-Option: Acquire Rose Madder (Red)
-Option: Acquire Woad (Blue)
-Option: Acquire Saffron Crocus (Yellow)
-Option: Acquire Logwood (Black)
Reward: Spark Coins; The Kingdom's New Clothes, Part 2 Quest unlocked

Quest - Bug Catching: Show Me the Honey (Forest)
Primary Objective: Capture a Honeybee Colony
Optional: Deliver the Honeybee Colony to Charity
-Alternate Reward: Honey available for sale at a lower price
Reward: 6x Jar of Honey (if delivered to Artemis), Jar of Honey available for sale

Quest - Bug Catching: Widow's Kiss (Jubilation Cave)
Primary Objective: Capture a Black Widow

Optional: Deliver the Black Widow to Charity
-Alternate Reward: Vaccines available for sale at a lower price
Reward: 6x Vaccines (if delivered to Artemis), Vaccine (Cure Virus) available for sale

Edited by Shattered Rift

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Traj left Adonis's Conquests deep in thought. Charity had raised a decent point - Artemis was known for turning a sharp deal. With demand what it was, honey and vaccines wouldn't come cheaply from her for anyone who actually needed them. Honey could be considered a luxury, Traj figured, but Vaccines could literally be life or death for someone.  He'd have to think on it some more.

Pulling up his console interface as he descended the staircase, Traj noticed a PM from iko - apparently there was more to do in Jubilation Cave than bug hunting. He could probably count on one or two people to be heading that way - joining up with them might be wise.

He typed up a reply to iko and CC'ed Star in it, letting them know he was game for a spelunking trip. Hoisting the Capture Box under his arm, Traj continued to type, letting them know he'd meet them there. Might as well get started.

[Command - Explore Jubilation Cave]

[Command - Alternately, explore Random Chat Cafe if two people do not join]

Edited by Trajectory

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iko was flat on his bed, with his eyes pointing at the ceiling. He was frozen in time, thinking hard about something. Suddenly, his eyes widened as if he saw a ghost. Whatever world he was in, he quickly snapped out of it when a notification came up. It was a message from Trajectory. In an instant, iko flew out of his quarters, leaving a temporary after image of himself still on his bed.

Explore Jubilation Cave and Join a party with Trajectory.

 

Edited by Bed

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Blacjak stretched and hopped out of bed.

It's no hammock, but furniture is really just cosmetic anyways. Still, not to my taste. Blacjak thought for a moment. I suppose if I'm to exit the mansion proper I should keep my mask on. Can't have people knowing I've switch sides. I hope no one minds. Restoring the economy will be the most important thing required to keep the mansion together, I better head to the Cave first.

Blacjak equipped his Anon Mask and headed out to Jubilation Cave.

Upon seeing some familiar faces, he walked up to them and said,

"What a fine day to go spelunking, I hope you don't mind if we work together."

Explore Jubilation Cave

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After the altercation, Rex returned to his quarters, tired and a bit irritated at his weakened state. Starting over was going to take some time to get used to... not that he could fully remember what it was like before. It just felt wrong that enforcing the rules was so... hard.

After waking in the morning, Rex felt a bit better, and motivated to do something... constructive. He switched his mask off, allowing him to walk around the Mansion with none that wiser to his Phoenix affiliation. He sent out a few PMs to his friends, and found that many of them were gathering to explore Jubilation Cave.

Rex proceeds to Jubilation Cave.
Suggested Party Order:
Group 1: Rexozord, Blacjak

Group 2: iko, Trajectory

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By way of a few updates...

Death will result in a loss of XP and SC equal to your Level*2. If members of your party are still alive, attempting to resume the Quest in Progress will instead restart it (pending story limitations). For a group at Jubilation Cave, this means that a fallen party member could go to Jubilation Cave but will be considered to be there later than their party.

Both the Anon Mask and Phoenix Mask may be equipped without obscuring the wearer's identity. The obscuring must be given as a command. (For now, given Blacjak's input, I'm assuming his is switched on.)

The Webcrawler's Skitter skill will now boost the Speed of all enemies.

TheLastStar Maker
Location: Sparkbomb Mansion

[Currently withholding your update pending your response to Team BIT. If you decide to stay at the Mansion and Explore the Games Forum, I can run a mini-update for you tomorrow.

You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

TheLastStarMaker: Sparks 36/36 Energy 11/11 Charges 1/1]

Ward
Location: Sparkbomb Mansion, The R.G.B.

[Reposting last update for convenience.]

"What would it take to make new sportswear?" Ward asked Roy.

"Fabric and dye," Roy said, "but we're out of both." He scratched his chin. "Might be able to go old-school, and there's a chance the forest might have what we need. Dye can be made from certain flowers: Rose Madder for reds, Woad for blues, and Saffron Crocus for yellows. Try to find a clearing and search for them there. Logwood is a tree that's useful for a few different things, and its heartwood yields purples and blacks. Finding all of them will probably be a matter of luck.  Either they're out there or they're not. Fabric'll be the tricky part. A Wooly's wool would do the job. Not as good as cotton or as fancy as silk, mind. Problem is capturing a Wooly will be no easy task, even if you manage to find one of the younger ones. Woolies can be mean. Artemis over at Adonis' Conquests might have some advice on corralling a Wooly, but I'll bet she's busy with smaller game."

[New Quest!

Quest - The Kingdom's New Clothes, Part 1 (Forest)
Primary Objective: Acquire One or More Suitable Dyes
-Option: Acquire Rose Madder (Red)
-Option: Acquire Woad (Blue)
-Option: Acquire Saffron Crocus (Yellow)
-Option: Acquire Logwood (Black)
Reward: Spark Coins; The Kingdom's New Clothes, Part 2 Quest unlocked

Note: Like the revealed stores, this Quest is available to everyone. Exploring other areas of the Mansion may reveal additional objectives.]

"You don't think we could find cotton or silk?" Ward said.

"I'm sure they're out there somewhere, but finding them would be a longshot," Roy said. "As for the dyes, Rose Madder and Saffron Crocus should be common enough. Woad and Logwood are rarer."

"So start with the flowers and trees," Ward said. "Got it."

[You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

Ward: Sparks 27/27 Energy 7/7]

Team RIBT
Location: Jubilation Cave

[Please confirm your party order. If no alterations to Rex's suggestion are given, his will be used.

I'll leave it to each of you to portray your interactions with Anonijak.]

A tall, almost silvery gray wall surrounded the Mansion's grounds, and it was not an entirely short walk to reach its western side. A lone phoenix stood guard at the gate, and she held up a hand instead of opening the gate.

"It's dangerous beyond the Mansion's walls," the phoenix said, and she quickly continued speaking before anyone could ask why they were being stopped. "If you insist upon leaving, Shattered Rift sends these for your protection."

iko receives a Ripcord and a Flashlight.
Rexozord receives a Ripcord and a Flashlight.
Trajectory receives a Ripcord and a Flashlight.
Blacjak receives a Ripcord and a Flashlight.

[Note: Flashlights will probably not be an item and do not take up an inventory slot at this time.]

"Pull the Ripcord and you'll respawn safely at the Front Gate without your data being compromised," the Phoenix said.

There was no question when they crossed the threshold: not only did each others' usernames disappear from visibility, but PMs also ceased to function. They were alone except for each other and whatever awaited them on their journey.

The walk to Jubilation Cave took them through a quiet meadow with only a few bushes, trees, and flowers. An occasional butterfly flitted from flower to flower. A single blue jay took to the air and retreated a tree branch as the group passed. As they traveled, different thoughts occupied each of their minds. iko, glad to be traveling with friends, wondered how much danger was waiting for them that Jules had been afraid to come. Rex was curious to see how Jubilation Cave had changed. Phoenixes rarely patrolled the cave, and it was usually just a quiet tourist destination close to the Mansion, a safe jaunt for those curious to step beyond the walls. Was it still safe, he wondered? Traj was curious about the wildlife. Had there always been Black Widows in Jubilation Cave, or did Artemis have more information than she let on? And why was she leaving this task to him instead of taking it upon herself? Blacjak, identity concealed by the Anon Mask, idly wondered if there were enough materials left at the Mansion to create a hammock. If things went well with this venture, he thought he might be able to afford one. At the very least, success would be a step towards restoring the economy.

Soon enough dirt replaced grass, trees became thicker, and they reached the entrance to the cave. Sunlight stretched far inside, and the occasional crack in the ceiling let in dim amounts of light. It was dark, but it was not so dark as the place they had been after defeating the Script Kiddie.

Rex was the first to withdraw a flashlight, holding it in his left hand at waist level and ready to draw his pistol if necessary. The others withdrew their own flashlights, and the path ahead was quickly illuminated. They traveled north a short distance, some faint noise carrying through the cave's tunnel. As they approached an intersection, they saw two small black shapes and the metallic reflection of a webcrawler.

How did a webcrawler get all the way out here? Rex wondered.

[Black RatAB, Webcrawler approach. Command?

When the battle concludes, paths lie open to the North, West, and South. (You came from the South.) You can hear noises coming from the West.

Trajectory: Sparks 33/33 Energy 10/10 Charges 1/1
iko: Sparks 36/36 Energy 10/10 Charges 1/1
Blacjak: Sparks 32/32 Energy 11/11 Charges 1/1
Rexozord: Sparks 42/42 Energy 10/10 Charges 1/1
]

Edited by Shattered Rift

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Fused Spark Minis are likely to receive an upgrade to a flat rate of healing in the near future. I'm still determining what that number will be, but at a minimum it will be 20. You can also expect their price to go up when that change occurs.

TheLastStar Maker
Location: Sparkbomb Mansion, Games Forum

At first, Star wondered if she had walked into the wrong forum. A group of seven was gathered around a table, all wearing cheap cosplay. Upon closer inspection, Star noticed they were sharing a lone D20.

"Not so much as a single board game, but that lone die survived the hack," Senet said, smiling kindly up to Star. He was sitting on the floor, only half watching the role players that had taken up residence in his forum. In addition to the seven seated, a few others had gathered around the table to watch.

"No board games?" Star said.

"Not until someone gets the materials to make one," Senet said. "There are still a couple people in the Dev Lounge and Garage that know how to make a table for pool or air hockey. I'm not very good at hacking, but I'd try my hand if it meant so much as a game of checkers."

"Let me guess, you need Lumber?" Star said.

"You guessed it," Senet said. "But everyone's afraid to go out in the woods." He grunted a laugh and shook his head softly at the group around the table. "Go figure Deemer—" He was the one running the game. "—had the last die left in existence, and he capped his group at six players." Now that Star thought about it, the onlookers did seem disappointed not to be playing.

[Update!

Into the Woods, Part 1 (Forest)
Primary Objective: Acquire Lumber
Optional: Deliver Lumber to the Mafia Community
-Reward: Mafia Set available for sale, Mafia mini-game unlocked
New! Optional: Deliver Lumber to the Gaming Community
-Reward: Spark Coins
]

That made two groups Star knew of that needed Lumber. Was it really so dangerous outside of the Mansion's walls that people feared to go outside?

[You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

TheLastStarMaker: Sparks 36/36 Energy 11/11 Charges 1/1]

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As Star contemplated the circumstances that they'd all suddenly been reduced to and decided where she wanted to head next, she pulled up her console as the notifications pinged for her attention to search her PMs and see if Traj had responded as of yet.

One from iko, then one from Traj to iko, CC'd to her. 

She made a face. She had hoped Traj would want to go to the Forest, but it seemed like he had other plans and she had no desire or reason to go to this 'Jubliation Caves' place, despite iko's tantalizing offer of fresh 'loot.' 

Releasing a sigh, she waved away the console and quietly set off on her own towards the next set of forums...

Command:

Explore General Forum and Lounge

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TheLastStar Maker
Location: Sparkbomb Mansion, General Forum

As Star passed through the General Lounge, something made her pause. Its simple layout with couches was normal, one of the few things almost unchanged by the hacking. The members seated, many with an ear towards the debate in the Forum, were as despondent as others Star had seen in the Mansion. Listening, it slowly dawned on her that it was the lack of music that was wrong. Normally one or more members would have a guitar or other instrument and be filling the room with music. Perhaps that was something worth looking into?

Some two dozen members had gathered inside the General Forum, most having taken seats along the walls. Two had cameras out, likely recording the debate for anyone who missed it. A phoenix stood beside the door, watching as two members, Curtana and Veritas, faced off at the center.

"Shattered Rift has always delivered on his promise of safety within these walls," Curtana said, his square jaw set firmly in place.

"Safety for what?" Veritas said. Her piercing eyes did not leave Curtana's. "Our lives were placed in danger, and our property is gone!" Murmurs of agreement rippled through the crowd. "Both the phoenixes and Shattered Rift failed us!"

"Shattered Rift prevented a greater loss," Curtana said. "Who knows what the hacker would have done if he hadn't been stopped?"

"Where was Shattered Rift when the first of us to return faced a swarm of webcrawlers?" Veritas demanded. "Where was Shattered Rift when we were alone in the dark? Where were the phoenixes that police us in the name of our safety?" The phoenix beside the door remained impassive. "Where is Shattered Rift now, when no official statement has been made and news of this hacking spreads by word of mouth?"

"Shattered Rift is doing his duties as admin to ensure our safety," Curtana said.

"Yet we know nothing of what that is," Veritas said, her gaze breaking from Curtana and meeting those in the audience. "We do know that we were  the ones fighting back against webcrawlers, reclaiming each inch of the Mansion. And We know that our belongings, every gift ever given or received, every accomplishment, every meaningful proof of our history, is gone."

"Hackers have done damage in the past," Curtana said dismissively. "This is nothing new."

"We don't even know that there was a hacker," Veritas said. With the truth spoken aloud, uproar quickly ensued.

[You may join the debate in support of Shattered Rift or against, or you may say nothing. You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

TheLastStarMaker: Sparks 36/36 Energy 11/11 Charges 1/1]

Ward
Location: Sparkbomb Mansion, Random Chat Cafe

Only a handful of members were gathered in the cafe. When Ward took a seat at the bar and pulled up the digital menu on the counter, he understood why. Drinks were limited to water, and foods were a combination of plain rice, flavorless biscuits, pancakes, noodles with no seasoning, and a variety of eggs. It was a scant selection.

[Admittedly, my culinary knowledge is limited. Most foods made from flour, rice, or eggs are available. Foods requiring most ingredients are noticeably absent, namely fruits, vegetables, and any form of sweetener or seasoning.]

"What'll it be?" Benedict asked from behind the counter, towel and glass in hand. His tone was cheerful, and his blue eyes had a light sparkle in them, but his mood was also somber.

"The menu got hit by the hack too?" Ward said. It was starting to become a clear pattern wherever he went.

"Oh yeah," Benedict said. "I took a walk around the grounds this morning as soon as there was enough sunlight to see by. The crops are gone. All of them. Farmers market is dead too, I'd imagine. And unless someone wants to risk traveling outside the walls to look for some fresh produce and seeds, it'll be a while before the menu expands."

[New Quest!

Quest - A Virtual World Full of Food and Nothing to Eat (Forest)
Primary Objective: Acquire Fresh Produce and Seeds
-Option: Acquire Potatoes
-Option: Acquire Beans
-Option: Acquire Fruits
-Option: Acquire Vegetables
Reward: Spark Coins

Again, this is an area I'm less knowledgeable about, so if there are particular foods/ingredients that people would want to exist in S:MS, speak up and say so and this Quest can be adjusted/expanded. Most of the foods/seeds will be one-shot items for this Quest.

Note: Like the revealed stores, this Quest is available to everyone. Exploring other areas of the Mansion may reveal additional objectives.]

Food wasn't exactly necessary. Good food tasted fantastic, but no one needed to eat to survive. Ward considered his next move.

[You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

Ward: Sparks 27/27 Energy 7/7]

Team RIBT
Location: Jubilation Cave

[Also, Ripcords can only be used outside of battle.]

iko attacks Webcrawler. 18 damage. Deleted!
Black RatB attacks iko. 6 damage.
Trajectory slashes Webcrawler to show off.
Rexozord shoots Black RatA. 11 damage.
Black RatA attacks iko. 5 damage.
Blacjak shoots Black RatA. 12 damage. Deleted!

Auto-Battle!

iko attacks Black RatB. 10 damage.
Rexozord attacks Black RatB. 10 damage. Deleted!

Victory! All battlers gain 5 XP!

Traveling West...

Blacjak enjoyed the feel of of a pistol in his hands, but shooting an enemy was different from the personal combat he was accustomed to. All four members of the group eyed each other for a long moment. There was no law forbidding the revelation of usergroups outside of the Mansion's walls. They could speak about it here, if they chose to. Or they could quietly continue, accepting each others' help without commenting on what would be taboo once their excursion was finished. Whichever choice they made, there was a clear but as yet unspoken agreement that survival came first.

They followed the tunnel to the west, some faint sound reaching their ears and growing slowly louder. A steady thwok, thwok could now be distinguished, although its source was still some distance away.

When they reached the next intersection, another black rat scurried along the ground. Overhead, a small bat left its perch on the ceiling to engage them.

[Microbat, Black Rat approach. Command?

When the battle concludes, paths lie open to the North, East, and South. (You came from the East.) You can hear noises coming from the South.

Party 1: Rexozord: Sparks 42/42 Energy 8/10 Charges 1/1, Blacjak: Sparks 32/32 Energy 9/11 Charges 1/1
Party 2:
iko: Sparks 25/36 Energy 10/10 Charges 1/1, Trajectory: Sparks 33/33 Energy 10/10 Charges 1/1
]

Edited by Shattered Rift

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