Soul Bound Online

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  1. March 16, 2025
    The Synchro Gear was unveiled to the public. What had been previously used for more private, secret projects was now unveiled to the public as a gaming console. It was truly the gaming console of the future. Single player games, multiplayer games, and even a few MMOs were all available for the Synchro Gear, this creating the genre of the VRMMORPG or Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Something that had previously only been seen in sci-fi based movies, games, and anime.

    Among the first of these games was one known as Blood Blade Online. This game was revolutionary for a number of reasons, both good and bad, its good and bad lying in how realistic this RPG was. It had incredible mechanics and the combat was very intense, the Virtual Reality of the game allowing for realistic, yet epic, combat. Unfortunately the realism didn't end there. Every injury was realistic, with intense and real blood and gore.

    This highly realistic game gave people nightmares, traumatized several, and even gave birth to a serial killer known as the Blood Blade Killer. As such, the company that made Blood Blade, Real Blade Interactive, had to initiate a massive recall on the game and pay out billions in lawsuits. Thus the company was forced to shut down and the VR Protection Laws that had been created. This prevented realistic blood and gore from being present in VR Games and also allowed various other laws to be created to protect people.

    October 24, 2027
    A new game called The New Gate had been released. This game took full advantage of the Synchro Gear's VR capabilities, creating a much more vivid world with much more realistic sensations. This was the game that was supposed to be the Crown Jewel of VR Gaming. Unfortunately this crown jewel was stolen by some horrible theves.

    A terrorist group simply known as "Potential" had hacked the servers of the game and used that to take control of every Synchro Gear of every player, infecting them with a special virus. This would, upon command, make the wearer of the Synchro Gear brain dead by making it malfunction. This meant that if it was forcibly taken off or, supposedly, if the players died in game the wearer would be killed.

    So 10,000 Players of the game The New Gate had all been captured, held hostage by this terrorist group since they could activate the virus at any moment.

    Thus The New Gate had become a Death Game to the players within. If they beat the game, then they would be released. If no one won, then they would all perish. Of course, the Players in the Game thought that if they died in the Game they died for real. In reality, it was later discovered that Players would only die if either their bodies couldn't handle being in comas for so long, (so dying essentially left them completely unconscious, not dead), but if no one won the game then all of the players would be doomed to die or be left in permanent comas.

    December 14, 2030
    The New Gate Crisis had finally been resolved. A Player with the username 'Jin' defeated the game's final boss and cleared the game, allowing all of the players to log out. Only about a hundred or so players actually died, not the several thousand that people assumed died in game. Those who were in comas could be treated now with the removal of the helmets, except the about one-hundred or so unfortunate souls.

    Potential's true motives and goals were never discovered. Many of their members had either vanished or refused to ever say a word if they were caught, many having killed themselves. As such, the true goals and motivations behind Potential's attack never saw the light of day.

    April 14, 2032
    A new Crown Jewel had been crafted, Soul Bound Online, and a crown that this jewel could be worn on, which was the Real Game Gear or RGG. Over the previous two years after the resolving of The New Gate Crisis the Synchro Gears had all been recalled, often enough people getting paid a bit more to turn theirs in since some weird collectors wanted to keep them.

    Soul Bound Online was revolutionary, the Real Game Gear being vastly superior to the Synchro Gear. Its unique combination of puzzle solving, exploration, combat, and character building systems. Its reincarnation mechanic being very well taken since it made death very dangerous and allowed for some very nice character building opportunities.

    April 7, 2033
    Now a year has passed. Soul Bound Online (SBO) has really taken off, becoming easily the one of the greatest VR Games and even one of the most highly praised games of all time. Many more games of the more single/multi-player variety have been made and the RGG has been used for more than just gaming as well, having many different applications.

    SBO is still quite popular, and thus copies of it have been both rather expensive and hard to secure.
    So how will you traverse this world where everything is bound to the Soul. This game world is expansive and full of mystery, suspense, danger, and death; with many corners and caverns that are begging to be explored and discovered.

    How will you play?

    The visor like device is rather small and light. Its amazing how such incredible technology can be shrunken down to such a small apparatus. It was a white band, the part of the visor that went over the eyes being orange. The device did have a few small sensors that attached to the head when put on. All one had to do was close their eyes, press a button on the side of it, and say the two magic words.

    "Link Start!"

    With that, the consciousness would fade. When consciousness would be restored they would be in a black space, with floating screens before them. This was the Character Creation Screen, where you could decide your Stats, Arts, Skills, Character Appearance, Starting Gear, etcetera. There were many different options for customizing your character. While they weren't endless, there were many different combinations, too many too count within a short amount of time.

    Once a person had created a Character they would be greeted with a doorway before them made of nothing but shimmering light. Going through it brought them all out into a clearing, and it was easy to see how much better the Real Game Gear was. The wind was like a gentle, cool caress across one's skin and the grass in this clearing was a vibrant green. It was pretty hard to tell that this was a game, the sensations of the world quite realistic in feeling.

    The clearing was surrounded by trees, the occasional chirp of a bird able to be heard here and there. As a few other new players began to show up, their wearing of just tunics and pants and holding basic, bronze weapons was a telltale sign of their beginner status. The only way out of the clearing was a single path, from which fog was coming out, and next to the path was a weather worn sign, its letters looking as if they had been merely carved into the wood rather than written.

    The Sign

    Welcome Wandering Spirits
    To Enter this Sealed World, Cursed by that which created it
    You must brave the Forest of Souls
    Be Warned: Once you enter, there is no going back
    If you are meek of heart, then return from whence you came

    While the clearing was beautiful, the fog laden entrance was not. It gave off an ominous feeling, as if the entrance was trying to reach out to the very souls of the players within. The fog was chilly, yet silent, but seemed more threatening than even the weapons each player carried.

    It was the only way forward. It was either that, or log out, but otherwise they would need to prepare, perhaps talk to one another and party up and then venture onward, onward into what was apparently a cursed, sealed world.

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  2. Haruto Abe
    “So it's like this...?”

    Haruto was resting on his couch, holding the VR device in his hands. After confirming where the button was, he placed it on his head then closed his eyes.

    “Umm... Link start.”


    “Oh man, what a headache...”

    Haruto, or now “Rumeus”, had spent hours on character creation, mostly on everything but his appearance and username. There were so many options to choose from. Though it was appealing to some, to Rumeus it was a bit annoying; it was a hassle for him, who had never played any VR games before, to figure out how the system worked. Still, since he played some RPGs before it wasn't that awful. Nonetheless, in the end, he still wasn't sure if he was running the build that he desired. He wished to have an attack-spam range type character, similar to the shoot 'em ups that he enjoyed. Of course, Rumeus would probably die in one hit by most any monster, but that was what made things exciting for him.

    “Well, I can just see how this works...”

    After doing one last check over his build, he confirmed it.

    He was then greeted with a doorway made of light.

    “Wow, how pretty.”

    After briefly looking around to see if there were any hidden treasures, he went through the doorway.


    Before his eyes was a beautiful clearing. But that wasn't all. The sensations his body felt were extraordinarily realistic as well. He flexed his hands and looked at his fingers.


    If one didn't pay close attention, it wouldn't have been noticeable. However, by close observation, Rumeus saw that he had no fingerprints on his fingers. After looking over his body, he found other similar subtle details were absent. Still, it was a convincing imitation of reality. He looked over his surroundings once more, noticing some other players. A few of their appearances were familiar; they were probably based on some anime or novel, like his character was. After smiling to himself, he then walked over to the sign and read it.


    Well, there was no way he was going to obey the sign. He didn't spend hours in character creation for nothing. And if he remembered what the manual stated correctly, there were no real penalties for dying at low levels; there was something about Skills being the only thing kept on death, but at such an early stage he can just remake his character if that happened.

    The thought of making a party at such an early stage didn't even cross his mind. So, Rumeus ventured alone into the fog, oblivious to the ominous feeling it gave off.
    #2 Illin, Mar 15, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
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  3. Disorientation. Disassociation. Destabilization. And then…


    Ruby eyes opened up to see the clearing before her. She squinted in the light of day, bringing up a small hand to shield her eyes from the sun, but moments later, she became accustom to it. The forest was tranquil despite the many other players who were summoned into this place. A starting dungeon to serve as a tutorial, huh? Eyeing the rest of them, Tsukikage hid a smile under the folds of her red scarf. What a bunch of noobs, looking so fascinated and impressed at graphics that were only middling at best. Those VR laws were really limiting on realism, huh? Well, the albino catgirl supposed that it was already in the end. It could always be worse, after all, like that shitty block-building VR game that tried to pass off their art team’s laziness as ‘retro-style’.

    Nevertheless, while Soul Bound Online’s graphics were merely ‘alright’, Tsukikage did have to admit that the smoothness of the sensations were very nice. Pinching her own cheeks and hopping up and down, the girl was pleasantly surprised at how smooth and soft her skin was, as well as how light her body felt. Maybe it was due to her 20 Quick, huh? She could easily jump her own height, and, with some more practice, she could probably do all sorts of acrobatics!

    Ah, these clearly abnormal feats were the true selling point of virtual reality after all.

    Flashing out her two bronze daggers and twirling them in her fingers, due to the glory of 10 Finesse, Tsukikage looked at the ‘ominous’ and ‘disturbing’ entrance to the fog, before skipping in.

    After all, it’s just a tutorial dungeon. It’s not like it’s going to be some hilarious bullshit like Blood Blade Online.
  4. Nao Purin
    "NAO! We're leaving now!"

    The unified sound of her siblings made the blonde laugh, even more so when it was accompanied by the daily farewell signs, an assortment of fingers being made into a mixture of signs, some of them gang-related, and others- "Wait a second, what did I tell you guys about using the middle finger!" Before she could even take a step towards them, the trio fled from the scene of the crime, causing a sigh to escape from Nao's lips. Closing the open door and locking it, Nao did a once-through of the house, making sure that nothing was on or running before she grabbed the RGG lying on her nightstand.

    "Geez, those kids, wait until I get my hands on them..."

    Plopping onto her bed, the young woman placed the system on top of her eyes, making sure she was in a comfortable position before starting it up.

    "Link start!"

    After spending a fair amount of time on creating a character, Ryu walked through a shimmery door to find herself in a clearing surrounded by trees. She was amazed to see how strangely realistic the game felt, but didn't really think too much about it, instead deciding to stretch her arms a bit. Looking around, she saw that there was only one way to get out, a foggy entrance that led into the forest.

    "Ah? Is that where I need to go?" Talking to herself, she failed to notice the sign, instead seeing a few people enter by themselves. "Oh, this must be a solo-tutorial-thingy, right? If that's the case, then I might as well just-" Taking out her scythe, she held it with one hand, stabilizing it with her shoulder as she adjusted herself to it. A satisfied smirk on her face, she strolled into the fog, humming some tune from an anime that her siblings watched.

    ...and during this entire time, not once had she thought to look down at herself, failing to see that "she" , was actually a "he".
    #4 Raven Haruka, Mar 15, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
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  5. “Pretty good.” Keter muttered as he took in the sensations that the Real Game Gear simulated with his eyes still closed. His clothing felt slightly rough, but it didn’t seem like they would cause any discomfort. He could also feel how the bindings tightened when he clenched his hands into fists. There were some things that were off when he compared Soul Bound to something like Warships World. The ground beneath his feet felt a bit softer than it should have given each foot tap seemed like it should have dug into the soil, the wind didn't quite blow his clothing around as naturally, etc. Then again the scales for each game were different. He supposed it was much easier to make the sensations on point when the company only had to focus on replicating battles at sea and not an entire fantasy world. He was getting off track though, and slowly opened his eyes to take in the world.

    The surroundings were nicely rendered, but rather bland to be honest. Keter spent just enough time to get his bearings before he focused on the only apparent path out of the starting zone. The sigh was pretty much impossible to miss, but he did have to step closer to read what had been etched onto the wood. As he did so, Keter also had to give the team behind the game props. The fog didn’t just look unsettling, but he could actually feel the air chill as he stepped closer towards the fog covered path. He supposed the message was meant to be ominous, but it seemed a bit blown out of proportion. It wasn’t like the players had any other options after all.

    Or did they? “Observe.” With a mutter Keter activated the Art that had been given by the Sense he chose at Character Creation and turned it on the entire clearing. The other starters weren’t really of importance to him, not compared to the possibility of a secret hidden right at the very start. If that revealed nothing then another muttered, "Observe," would hopefully yield something from the fog-covered path. If both actions were fruitless than there wasn't much else to do but test the tutorial dungeon himself. Magic seemed like it was a rather heavy investment at character creation that would pay off later in-game, but his character should also be able to stand alone for the moment. It seemed like a few of the other starters had formed parties to deal with the challenge, but come on that was a bit too cautious wasn't it?
    #5 Zombehs, Mar 15, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
  6. Blood Blade Online was a notoriously hard game. A lot of older gamers often called it Dark Souls on steroids with how hard it was. There was barely any tutorial and no hand-holding whatsoever. Furthermore, Character Death in the game was permanent with no form of revival items. It truly was a game of trial and error with much experimentation required. It was a very good game, but its difficulty made less hardcore gamers turn away and its intense blood and gore were what ended the game's and its parent company's lives.

    It seemed like everyone was going in solo, despite how ominous the fog and the forest entrance before them seemed. It did seem like all of these players thought this to be a mere tutorial or thought this dungeon was meant to be run solo seeing as how everyone else was going solo so far. When each player entered the fog it seemed to envelope them, its chill permeating the very essence of their being. Nothing but complete silence surrounded them as each player walked through their own stretch of fog, the forest path they were walking on starting to feel as if it was closing in on them.

    It wasn't long enough though before each of the solo players was now alone in their own clearing, fog rolling over the ground with a movement speed that even a snail could beat. There was nothing but silence. It was cold, and through the fog and trees surrounding each clearing a few distant, moving lights could be seen. Each light seemed rather lonesome though, soft whispers and sounds heard from various directions. Some sounded old, others young. Some female, others male. Some were words, others were sounds and cries.

    Among the various whispers though, one distinct one stood out. The sound of a myriad of whispers, each saying different parts of this phrase.

    "The Forest desires you. The Forest detests you. The Forest will trick you. The Forest will guide you. The Forest will aid you. The Forest will consume you.

    Nothing is as it seems"

    And with that last whisper, the fog surrounding the walls of trees surrounding each clearing would part a tiny bit as some of the lights faded slightly, and something is revealed.

    One of the lights from before slowly seemed to float from above, followed by one more. Like gentle leaves they dropped to the ground. The moment they touched it though the cool fog upon it seemed to stretch and move into each of the lights, the two small spheres of light beginning to grow and change shape. They seemed to take on a humanoid silhouette, before more defined fleshy features could be seen as more of the fog rolled over each now appearing creature. Sounds of flesh and bone snapping and mending into place could be heard, before soon enough the fog cleared.

    Standing before Ryūketsuki were two horned, red skinned creatures that stood about three feet tall. Each had a small saber in their hands, the blades looking a bit worn and chipped. The imp like creatures each had tiny wings that most likely couldn't be used for flight, clawed hands, and hooves instead of feet.

    The two creatures narrowed their yellow eyes, which had a distinct lack of pupils, and aimed their shoddy sabers at the scythe wielder once they finally were prepared, the two sets of yellow eyes looking the player over, as if preparing a plan of attack.

    For Rumeus there were three paths present before him now. One northeast, one north, and one northwest. In the middle of the area was a sign that was in a very similar condition to the sign that was in the area after Character Creation. Upon the sign was glowing, wispy letters read the following.

    "Take one step and your path shall be set.
    Only a flying Soul can show the true path."

    There were puzzles in this game, as had been told in some reviews and guides for the game. This must be one of those puzzles. While puzzles had main solutions, there were a good number that had multiple solutions which was a very high point in the game's favor among fans.

    For Tsukikage a similar experience that happened to Ryūketsuki also happened to her. Only there was just one light. While the ones for Ryūketsuki were about as large as her fingertips, Tsukikage would see a light that was about slightly smaller than the palm of her hand. When it touched the ground, a rush of cold would quickly move past her legs as the fog began to swirl and envelope into the fogs, a humanoid silhouette beginning to form.

    When the fog cleared and the creature's body was finally formed she would be greeted with what appeared to be a moving corpse wearing mere scraps of clothing. In its hand was a longsword, clearly chipped and cracked from years of neglect and wear, its point broken, but where it was broken formed a new rather sharp and jagged point. Rather than eyes, it merely had two orange lights.

    The undead abomination stood about 5'9" and was very lanky, merely skin and bone with not much meat on them. Still though, it let out a sigh of undeath, mist leaking from its mouth as it began to step forward now slowly, starting to advance towards Tsukikage now, sword arm held at its side.

    Observe Used
    84 - 20 Observe = 64

    As Keter used the Observe Art, which only required him to look closely and possibly concentrate a little bit, he would see a small bit of information appear in a window before him.

    Its a basic wooden sign. Its wood looks old and decrepit as if it hasn't been maintained properly in years. The text on the sign has a rather ominous portend to it, but other than the strange warning spoken in its text there is nothing special about this sign.

    While it seemed like there was nothing special about the sign other than its text, it did at least let him test out how his Arts worked. He didn't really need to say the name, as the basic guide in the Character Creation menu stated, he just knew how to do it somehow.

    Once the fog cleared up a small bit for him, there were three paths revealed to him as well. One was to the north, one to the east, and one to the west. On the ground was a single piece of paper, which simply read:

    "Let the Music guide you"

    In the faint distance he could hear music. The music seemed a bit louder towards the western path. It was unclear what this music was, as it sounded like a harp, but there seemed to be singing and even a flute mixed within. It was more of a myriad of whispers and sounds rather than actual music, but it still resembled music nonetheless.

    Towards the eastern path no music seemed to be coming at all, so it was clear that the music was coming from the western path and the eastern path was silent, the music somewhat still being able to be heard in the northern path. With only a very simple hint, he would need to choose his path, each path having all sorts of possibilities as to what could be at the end.

  7. It wasn’t exactly a surprise given there was only so much the that could be implemented, but Keter was still a bit disappointed that Observe only focused in on the sign rather than his surroundings as a whole. It wasn’t too much to expect the Art to reveal something about his surroundings was it? With a slightly disgruntled sigh as he rubbed the back of his neck, Keter stepped forward and disappeared into the heavy fog. He felt the chill envelop his entire body, but he refused to slow down even as shivers wracked his body. In fact, the sensation only urged him to pick up his pace and he began to jog ahead even as his path seemed to shrink.

    With a sharp gasp Keter burst from the fog and glanced around quickly to gather his bearings. The clearing resembled the starting area, but with a far more ominous atmosphere.The cold wasn’t quite as bad as it had been when the fog had enveloped him entirely, but it was still rather uncomfortable. Even only a stone’s throw away, the treeline was heavily obscured by the fog that lingered in the area. Lonesome lights danced within the treelines, though the noises they made did a better job to announce their presence than the concealed glow they emanated. One in particular stood out, but again it simply felt over the top to Keter. Come on, this was a bit too much for what a tutorial. He was sure he would have read something online in the year Soul Bound had been released if it was anything like the near-bullshit Blood Blade had been.

    The fog seemed to fade as the voices receded, revealing a bit more of the clearing to Keter. Though the paths caught his eyes, the faint music in the distance was what really held his attention. It was even less distinct than the myriad of whispers that had come before and it seemed just as messy and undirected, but he somehow heard music within it all. “Interesting,” Keter murmured as he glanced between the three paths that had been revealed before he knelt and plucked the page from the ground.

    The short message was simple enough, but it did cause Keter to wonder. Observation didn’t necessarily have to be with his eyes did it? It was simply the acquirement of information through his senses. With that in mind he slowed his breathing, cupped his hands behind his ears and turned from side to side to try and catch more of the music. It probably looked silly, but he was alone in the clearing as far as he could tell. He grinned slightly as he felt his Observe Art kick in again.
  8. Ryūketsuki

    Ryu walked into the clearing, smiling as she saw all of the lights floating above her head. "Pixies?" She asked herself, before the whispers began. There were many different little whispers, but only a few managed to stand out, one such causing the scythe-wielder's temper to flare.
    "The Forest detests you."
    "Oi! Which one of you little fireflies said that?" Twirling her scythe around her arm once, the blonde scowled at the many twinkly lights, waiting for a reply.
    "Nothing is as it seems..."
    And with that, the fog cleared up a little (though not much) and a pair of lights no bigger than her fingertips floated down, touching the cool ground before the fog somehow warped them into little red, strangely adorable creatures, sabers pointed and yellow eyes giving her a once over.
    "Oh-ho-ho, you little twerps think you can check me out without my permission?" Yes, she knew that they probably couldn't reply, but seeing as this was her first battle in the game, she was excited. And besides, now would be the perfect time to try out that new art or whatever, so who cares whether or not she talks to them?

    "Mighty Swing!"

    Grabbing her scythe with both hands, she swung counter-clockwise, aiming for the both of them. The momentum of it all caused her body to also move, pivoting at a constant rate with the scythe. It was a strange, but exhilarating feeling, trying to back up the sharp bronze blade with her strength.
    #8 Raven Haruka, Mar 15, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  9. Placing himself comfortably on his mattress, Abel did a final check list, "Door was locked, stove off, work, done for the day, tomorrow's to do list? groceries, stomach? full. All is well and ready to game for unknown hours. Give myself a minimum of two, a maximum of..." He stopped to look at the clock hanging on his wall, "That makes, 8 hours of rest if I go till then and wake up then." He nodded, content with how things were all set out. Then he lay his head down, and grabbed the mechanical device from beside his mattress. Placing it on his head, he turned it on and spoke one last time. "Link Start."

    Like always, Abel had managed to lose track of time in simply making his character. There was just too many options of what he could look like! How could anyone make a quick decision on something so important? This could be his appearance for the next week of gaming, up to the next ten years. It had to be uniquely him. By the time he was done, the character didn't look anything like Abel, and with the change of his name, he would no longer be Abel. 'Soren' He entered the command, and in a flash, he was... outside?

    Soren looked around, touched the dirt with his hand, grasping some, then dropping it. "The programming they did here is truly a work of art," He walked forward, still looking around curiously with every step, not seeing anything except the world in front of him.

    "Oooff." He felt something block his way...he felt it? Truly masterful programming. He looked to see a sign in front of him, he cocked his head as he looked at it. Clearly a tip or hint prior to the tutorial. 'Welcome Wandering Spirits... brave the Forest of Souls... no going back...' So, go forward or go home? simple enough. Must be more riddles inside. He continued down the path.
  10. Rumeus


    Rumeus shivered a bit from the cold. He briefly wondered if there was a way to adjust sensitivity ratings in this game; he couldn't remember. Though if that option were there, it would be most definitely used.

    “Even those lights are a bit too bright for my liking...”

    He was surprisingly less scared than he expected. If this happened in reality, he would have probably been out of his wits. He was no fan of horror games.

    “Perhaps because I can rationalize it as a game that I feel a bit detached from it?”

    He spoke to nobody in particular and walked forward along the path while fiddling with the menu, looking at the in-game manual.

    “So it is possible to revive a bit, no limit either in even the early stages; convenient. Ah, I should find out where the sensitivity settings are...”

    When a particular string of whispers caught his attention, he kept one ear on it but didn't stop moving.


    The fog parted a tiny bit when the whispers ended, revealing 3 paths before him, along with a sign. He read it, then closed the menu he still had open from before.

    “Hey guys, what do you think about thi-”

    Rumeus started to say those words as he turned around, but stopped when he realized he was alone.

    “Huh, I guess they turned back or something? I swore I heard some footsteps behind me...”

    Rumeus had mistakenly confused the whispers of the forest as the chatter of the player characters; he assumed they were around him, but he just couldn't see them due to the thick fog.

    "Or was that the forest talking...? Probably, huh?"

    Shrugging his shoulders, he turned his attention back to the sign.


    Rumeus didn't enjoy puzzles, but he didn't hate them either. Three thoughts immediately entered his head.

    "The 'true path' is probably none of these. It's possibly the way back, but I don't want to."

    Why go back the way he came and possibly waste more time? If he were wrong, he would have to waste a few more minutes walking through this cold forest. His second thought was to jump over the sign. If that proved to be unsuccessful in opening the “true path”, he would fire an Earth Bullet into the air. If that failed as well, he would then just go north; north was associated with the "up" direction, and a "flying Soul" was "up in the sky", so that's how he settled that.
  11. Keter
    Observe Used
    42 - 20 Observe = 22

    Keter took a moment to try and observe to focus his hearing a bit. The actual purpose of the Observe Art was to be used on a target to gain information upon it. As he instead focused his hearing though using his Observation based ability in general, he would hear something rather interesting. It was just a single tiny whisper among the various whispers in the 'music'. He would only hear it for a small moment, but all he heard was one word, the word 'None'.

    Also another notification would appear before him after he heard this single word that didn't seem to be heard again.

    Art Learned
    You have learned how to focus and listen to the sounds of your surroundings. As such, you know now how to do this more efficiently thanks to your efficiency in observation.
    Art Learned
    Art Learned

    Listen (Rank 10, Level 1 (0%))
    Requirements: Observe
    Cost: N/A
    Arts DL: Varies
    You know how to focus for a moment and listen carefully for various sounds in your surroundings. Great for locating things when your eyes would normally fail you. Your ability to detect sounds using this Art is equal to 1 + 20% SR.

    Now he had a little more to go on. A single word, None. He would also have to consider whether or not this was a viable hint, giving the ominous message about how the forest could aid or trick him. Was this truly a hint, or something meant to throw him off. That sort of thing was unclear.

    Mighty Swing
    0 (Critical!)

    Ryūketsuki bore her scythe, moving forward the short distance towards the Imps and initiating her art the Mighty Swing, which didn't need to be called out to initiate it, but it could be done for those who had a slightly harder time going through the mental or physical motions needed to initiate an Art silently. She quickly moved forward and, by focusing and swinging the scythe in as wide and hard an arc as she could, the Imps had little time to react to the sudden and unexpected wide swing. The curved blade cleaved straight through both creatures, a 46 Critical appearing over the heads of both creatures. So before they even had a chance to react, a horizontal red line appeared straight through their red torsos, before the upper halves separated from the bottoms for just a moment.

    Instead of blood, it was just large, glowing red marks to symbolize blood. Obviously thanks to the Virtual Reality Protection Laws censorship measures like these had to be put in place. Still, the cut felt just as visceral as one would expect when slicing two enemies in two with a single blow, before the two creatures vanished. Each left behind a small horn, their poor quality sabers, and finally one of them left behind a small claw. These were her spoils, along with the following notifications.

    Mighty Swing (open)

    Mighty Swing's Level has risen by 2.

    Scythe Proficiency (open)

    Scythe Proficiency Sense is now Level 2.
    +1 Damage dealt with Scythes

    Reward (open)

    2 EXP Earned

    The fight was over as soon as it began. All it took was one single, very lucky, and very powerful stroke to put down the two enemies. It was quite amazing. Still, now she had two EXP she could either spend or save, some spoils to collect, and suddenly a new path opened before her which revealed the way onward.

    When Soren's clearing cleared a little, he would be greeted with a different sight. There was a statue sitting there, in front of one of the trees. Several of the lights were hovering around it, a path also appearing westward. It was unclear what the lights were, but there was particular interest in this statue. The statue was about a good 'medium' distance, but there was a sign close to him and it read as such.

    Sign (open)

    Wake the Sleeper gently without disturbing the lights.

    The statue was right beneath a tree, the thick canopy of branches and leaves above making it hard to see anything in this forest normally, but it was an ethereal light that shone somewhat throughout the forest that made visibility a bit better.

    It was a statue of a man who appeared to be sitting. Cracks and chips were present in the weather worn statue, yet an expression could be seen on the sleeping face. A somber, yet lonely expression crossed the sleeping face of the statue. He could try to find a way to wake it up gently without disturbing the lights, which also meant not to get too closer, or he could just leave and move on to the next area by going west if he truly wanted to.

    Earth Bullet Used
    2 - 11 Brown Ether Affinity = -9

    Rumeus would focus, tapping into his Soul's connection to the force of Brown Ether, not needing to use his Stone since he wasn't in combat. It was a bit strange, but somehow he just sort of knew how to do this. The bullet was summoned right in front of his outstretched palm, which he would then proceed to aim towards the heavens and fire.

    61 - 2 Accuracy = 59

    The bullet seemed to propel upward into the air, knocking into some branches above and tearing through them. Suddenly a ball of light, similar to the ones he had seen floating earlier and were still floating around in the distance now fell to the ground, landing behind him and making a path that was once there before, the path he came from, reappear, only it was southeast this time instead of south.

    It had disappeared when he entered this place, but now there was a southeastern path. He could choose to take this new path, or try something else in case he believed that this was a trick by the forest. It was a difficult gamble.

    #11 Renose, Mar 16, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  12. Wow, how dramatic.

    As Tsukikage slipped into the fog, the sounds of other players faded from her ears, replaced by mere echoes and whispers. Uncanny, but atmospherically, it still wasn’t that much of a problem at all. Though the gameplay was seven different flavors of horrible, the Blackest Dungeon single-player campaign was more chilling than merely spooky whispers and scary messages. Undaunted by any of this, the petite cat girl continued onwards, keeping only one thing in mind.

    Nothing is as it seems.

    Well, at least there wasn’t some annoying fairy telling them how to walk or to attack.

    The clearing was small, more of an ‘arena’ than an actual area of respite, and the moment a fist-sized ball of light appeared from the nothingness, Tsukikage tensed, dropping into the same combat-ready position that she had employed since the days of Blood Blade Online. One foot forwards, another back, and both of them slightly bent. Right hand extended, holding out the bronze dagger, while the left hand stayed close to her pounding chest, blade in reverse grip.

    She wasn’t always a dual wielder, but she had died enough times to understand what worked and what didn’t.

    The coldness of the fog was ignored. The revulsion at the appearance of the monster was suppressed. All that she cared about was using past knowledge as a guide to the humanoid skeleton before her. The undead don’t bleed, and it was basically a skeleton anyways, so Tendon Cut was out. Hiding was similarly pointless, seeing how it was already aggroed on her. Which meant…

    Her body dropped low and she dashed forwards, chest almost parallel to the ground. As it made its swing, she slid on her knees, the mist-laden grass perfect for that sort of maneveur. Barely grazing between its legs, the petite girl recovered before it could turn around, and lunged forwards.

    “Viper STRIKE!”

    Her two daggers plunged into its back, and with a flourish, she twisted them out. Holding both of them in reverse grip, the girl then leapt upwards and drove her daggers into the bumbling undead’s shoulder blades next, resting her entire weight on them as she hung from its back.
    #12 ERode, Mar 16, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  13. It was faint and quickly overwhelmed by the ping of a notification, but the word Keter had managed to catch was fresh in his mind. Vague as it was, the word was not of much use to him though. Did it mean that none of the paths were correct, or that none were wrong and all three would lead him to the goal with simply different difficulties along the way? Or maybe it meant that the eastern path where there was no music was the correct path. There was also the possibility that it meant there would be no more clues forthcoming and that he would have to solve this puzzle with what he had.

    Unsurprisingly, Keter was quick to huff in annoyance as his mind began to run loops with the possibilities. The first clue had told him to let the music guide him, and if the first clue was a lie well then the developers could go fuck themselves. With a deep breath he closed his eyes once again, focused on the new Art he had gained, and Listened to his surroundings. His eyes remained shut as he turned around a few times to try and catch sounds from multiple directions, and then he began to step forward with the music as his guide. Hands in front so he didn’t walk into anything, his slow pace was also so he didn’t make any unnecessary noise that might block out the music. Occasionally he opened his eyes just to make sure he wasn't wandering blindly into danger, but for the most part he did away with one of his most valued senses for the moment.
  14. Ryūketsuki

    46 Critical !
    ~Mighty Swing's Level has risen by 2.
    ~Scythe Proficiency Sense is now Level 2.
    +1 Damage dealt with Scythes

    Reward: 2 EXP Earned


    Of course, there was a slight resistance when Ryu went to slice through the two imps, kinda like trying to slice through a really hard potato. Although, the graphics which came after were somewhat...comical to the blonde, seeing as soon enough they were both dead. Punching the air above her head in success, she quickly read the notifications that popped up in front of her, surprised a bit about the critical hit, before making her way over to the spoils.

    "So two horns, two swords, and a claw? Cool, I'll just pick these up and sell them. Well, either that or trade them, depends!" A lucky break indeed, Ryu was ecstatic about the fact that her first fight was pretty easy, and two of her thingy-mabobbers even leveled up from it! "Oh wait, didn't I get some experience from this?" Checking once more, the scythe-wielder nodded in confirmation, thinking for a second what she wanted to do with it.

    But then she saw a new path appear, and instantly the thought about whether to spend or save her EXP disappeared. "Ooh, let's go!" Like a child, she rushed onwards, unaware and uncaring of dangers that might lurk ahead.
    #14 Raven Haruka, Mar 16, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  15. Rumeus


    Rumeus brushed off some twigs and leaves off from the top of his head. What was intended to be a small jump turned out to be quite the leap.

    “Oh man, I really need to figure out those sensitivity settings. Hopefully they're there somewhere, or controlling this body's speed is going to be quite a bother."

    He then fired an Earth Bullet. Because of this, a southeastern path appeared.


    He looked at the sign again.

    “'Flying Soul can show the true path.' Hmm... ”

    If he assumed those balls of light were souls, then this new path must be the correct one.

    “I mean, this place is called the 'Forest of Souls'. It would be odd if those things weren't souls. I don't notice anything else that can be a soul. Maybe this fog? But I don't know...”

    The puzzle seemed a bit too simple. Then again, this was the starter area: hard puzzles would probably not be here.

    “Well, it's a 50-50 chance in the end. I'll just go with this.”

    So, he proceeded towards the southeastern path.
  16. Tsukikage
    The moment Tsukikage did get close the beast attempted a rather pathetic looking, but still strong, swing, she did indeed manage to dodge beneath it and even attempted to use a bit of acrobatic action to try and move underneath the creature's legs. This thing was slow, but with how strong that swing looked probably made up for it in physical strength. Plus, despite the condition of the sword it looked rather painful to get hit with.

    As she went for her slide, although albeit it was relying more on agility rather than acrobatic ability so it wasn't flawlessly performed, the creature swung down one more time. Unfortunately she was too quick and it too clumsy to actually work, so she would indeed manage to get behind the thing, attempting to perform the Viper Strike upon its back, hoping that it wouldn't dodge somehow.

    Viper Strike
    0 (Critical... Really? Seriously? The Actual Hell)

    The strike was very luckily executed. As she executed the special attack Skill she could see her blade glowing lightly as power from her soul and body entered it. The blade would then be thrust forward rather quickly, straight into the spinal chord of the creature spot on despite its somewhat hard to aim state thanks to the speed enhanced thrust. A red 18 is what appeared, followed by a red 1 as she twisted the blade out. Then taking the second dagger she would quickly plunge it into the creature's shoulder as wild, dual handed jab since executing the complicated movements to get behind its back to try and deal extra damage took a small bit of time, despite her quickness, sine she wasn't used to the complicated movements.

    5 + 25 Ambidexterity Penalty - 25 Distance Penalty - 12 Accuracy = -7

    A red 6 was all that appeared this time though since the secondary jab was coming off a quick and powerful skill. While a good amount of damage had been done, it didn't really seem to stop this creature made of just skin and bones. Still, she did manage to hang on somehow with that well placed jab. Unfortunately her weight was not enough to bring the somehow physically strong creature down. Instead it took time to try and shake her off of it.

    Tsukikage was shaken off and, unfortunately, one of her daggers was left in the creature's shoulder. This meant she only had one dagger left to use. Fortunately, with the time it took to shake her off, and the fact that she managed to remain standing even if she wasn't right next to the undead creature, it was wide open for another Attack.

    32 - 20 Observe = 12

    Not all is as it seems. The Forest will try to deceive you. These were words that obviously stuck out in Keter's mind. As he closed his eyes and began to listen, he would hear music. It was as if by blocking out the lights, he was blocking out their sounds and whispers. Now he would just hear the occasional sound of a flute. The direction it was coming from? He wouldn't know. Instead he just listened, forging onward in the direction of the music, which was so much clear now that he wasn't seeing anything.

    Eventually his ears guided him properly, as when the music stopped and he opened his eyes he would see a thin human like silhouette made of light playing a ethereal flute. The wispy figure just gave a giggle before vanishing into nothingness, a couple of notifications appearing.

    Listen's Level is now 2.

    Found the true solution, the eastern path. +1 EXP.

    Before him now was a small bag, which indeed seemed very real. No obvious traps laid about and, in fact, it was actually slightly opened. The game was rewarding him now, so he would be free to take what was in the bag and move onward down the only path before him, which was to continue eastward.

    In the bag itself were five small crystals, each being 1,000 Essence, so now he had 5,000 more Essence. There was also a small vial that had some red liquid in it and a small vial that had some blue liquid in it. It was unclear what these two vials were, but if previous gaming experience said anything, they were restorative potions of some kind.

    With nothing else in this area except the bag, he would be free to move on now, no more music around him. Perhaps this bag was the forest aiding him? After all, nothing seemed to be wrong with it or its contents.

    Unfortunately picking up everything would leave her with only one slot of inventory space left. The two horns took up one slot, the claw took up another, and the two poor quality sabers took up two more spaces. But regardless, with new loot in tow.

    The next area was a bit strange. There was no fog at the entrance of the path where she was standing and the fog seemed to be everywhere on the ground, except for a few areas where it faded in and out in the distance. This was no longer a clearing either, but just a forest path with alot of trees.

    The fog, now more than ever, looked as if it was reaching out to consume her. Its chilling touch could be felt even though she wasn't standing in it, its chill grasping at her very being, but no matter what it couldn't touch her in the spot she was standing in. Perhaps touching the fog wasn't the best idea here? There seemed to be trees around, where there was no fog, and some areas along the ground where the fog appeared and faded at certain intervals.

    This seemed like it was some kind of ethereal misty obstacle course.

    The southeast path was, apparently, the correct choice as a notification appeared before him.

    You found the true solution. +1 EXP.

    There was a small spring, and next to it was a sign that read: "Drink, and the Waters will soothe your Spirit". The spring was glowing with a slight, blue ethereal feel to it and there was a very calming feeling to the spring, the fog that was constantly on the ground unable to get near the spring at all, as if its very presence repelled the fog.

    Looking into the spring as well he would notice a small key. It was brass, but that would be all he could notice through the water. Whether or not he wanted to follow the signs advice and drink or not would be up to him. Otherwise, he could TRY and collect the key, drink, do both, or move on forward through the next path.
  17. A satisfying hit, but at the same time…it felt lacking. There was a sense of ‘softness’ to the blow, even as it hit her mark perfectly. As if she was attacking a training dummy, instead of a…oh, fuck, so that’s how it was? Tsukikage grimaced as she landed on her feet once more, one of her daggers stuck in a hard place on the undead beast’s shoulder. Did she jam it inbetween the bones or something? Regardless, it was stuck, and the monster still wasn’t dead.

    Before it managed to fully turn around, Tsukikage was moving once more. Running in a circle, she leapt for the dagger that was still stuck on its shoulder, using it as a handhold to stay up on the 5’9 zombie. A grin surfaced on her face as her red eyes flared. It was a violent adrenaline rush as her free dagger became a blur, thrusting into the bald, rotted head of the undead.

    If it really was just a zombie, complete with shenanigans such as not bleeding or being unaffected by critical attacks, then the next answer would obviously be to scramble its grey matter, right?


    The warcry of a gamer resounded through the misty forest, as bronze flashed again and again.
  18. It was hard to say how much time actually passed given he was focused intently, but the music faded, Keter opened his eyes to a fleeting sight, and grinned as the notifications appeared. The rewards were laughable, but as far as gameplay went if this was what Soul Bound offered, then he could see a bunch of fun in the future. The Essence was swiftly pocketed, making up for what he had spent during Character Creation, and he also hung onto the bag that had held the loot. As for the two familiar looking but unconfirmed liquids that were probably Health and Mana, or Endurance and Soul in this game, potions? Well, it certainly couldn’t hurt to try and get some positive identification on them with his Art.

    It only took a brief glance at either of them for Keter to feel his Observe Art kick in, and he pocketed the vials regardless of his success afterwards. Well, if they weren’t traps of some sort at the least. With everything in the area taken care of, he rolled his shoulders and continued forward on the only path present. It wouldn’t be too surprising if the game sprung a combat encounter on him now that he had just cleared a puzzle, so he kept his wits about him and his guard raised. While Hideo had never been trained, his body seemed to settle into a natural stance as he moved forward. He figured it was a result of the Fisticuff Sense, but it was a rather interesting experience to have the game impart what felt like an instinct.
    #18 Zombehs, Mar 16, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  19. Rumeus


    Rumeus closed the notification. He saw a spring unaffected by the fog and another sign.

    “Hoh, seems interesting."

    After reading the sign, he prepared to drink from the spring, but noticed a key in the water.


    He shrugged his shoulders and drank from the spring first. Then, he would attempt to retrieve the key. If that was successful, he would then proceed towards the next path.

  20. Tsukikage
    That dagger was stuck alright, not coming out, but that didn't mean that she could indeed attempt to grab onto the beast, get onto its shoulders, and try to stab its head.

    Shoulder Dagger Grab
    94 - 10 Finesse = 84

    It was worth a shot, but it didn't work. She didn't really stumble, but climbing onto a shoulder just using pure natural ability was difficult. Still, that didn't mean she couldn't stab since all she did was miss instead of stumble or fall, so she was still able to throw three stabs with her single dagger at the creature's torso, the creature attempting some form of parrying.

    Stab 1
    79 - 12 Accuracy = 67

    Unfortunately the beast managed to parry the first quick stab.

    Stab 2
    20 + 20 Full Attack Penalty - 25 Point Blank Bonus - 12 Accuracy = -17

    The second parry easily got through its guard and dealt another 16 Damage judging by the red number that appeared over its head despite its more focus on number of stabs than accuracy, a third stab being thrown now after this one.

    Stab 3
    4 + 40 Full Attack Penalty - 25 Point Blank Bonus - 12 Accuracy = 7

    The third stab that was thrown with more pure speed than its predecessor also managed to hit its mark, right where Tsukiko was originally aiming to as well. Right in the center of the head. Once she pulled back the dagger from its skull, red lines able to be seen from where she stabbed on the beast, its cruddy sword fell from its grasp and it fell over, disappearing into nothingness while leaving only Tsukiko's second dagger and the horrible sword that it was carrying. Well... there was one more thing as well.

    There was a tiny little shard of whitish crystal. It was unclear as to what it was, but appeared to be some kind of item or material of some sort that this creature dropped. The shard was probably about a small bit bigger than Tsukiko's fingernail, so it wasn't all too big, but perhaps it had a bit of use and could be saved for later.

    With nothing else here other than the two dropped items and Tsukiko's dagger, she could collect what she wanted to and leave, a path open northward.

    Of course, there were the matter of the notifications that appeared earlier after her first usage of Viper Strike.

    Won your first fight. +2 EXP.

    Dagger Proficiency
    Dagger Proficiency is now Level 2.
    +1 Damage with Daggers

    Viper Strike
    Viper Strike is now Level 2.

    It seemed that during the fight he gained a bunch of pretty nice levels and bonuses in his abilities, plus the 2 EXP was nice, so those were all neat bonuses. So now Tsukiko also had the option of spending some EXP here as well.

    A usage of Observe didn't really reveal anything. He really couldn't tell whether or not he was successful... but no window appeared so it was easy to assume that he wasn't, but it was just hard to tell whether or not he was successful. In the end though the 5k Essence and unknown potions were pretty nice and would help if a tough enemy appeared.
    And speaking of enemy, the next area was a clearing like the previous one, only like the two others something did seem to appear. A single light dropped from above, and the moment it touched the ground the fog would envelope the light and it would transform in the same strange, ominous, and even slightly grotesque way, as some snapping of bones and flesh could be heard, before standing before him now was the same sort of undead creature that Tsukikage had to fight, the creature already starting to advance towards Keter, broken sword brandished at its side. This was going to be his first fight in the game.

    As Rumeus drank from the spring he would feel strangely refreshed, and in the corner of his eye he could see that his Soul was being restored. Soon enough it was back up to full, which was rather nice since Ether Bullet took a good 10 Soul, although his Ether Stone reduced that amount by 2, but still that was 8 Soul per shot, giving him only 3 shots before he would be completely helpless.
    The key was just as easy to grab, the water in the spring being rather cool, crisp, and refreshing. It was better than water, there being something very pleasant tasting about this crystal pure spring. Upon closer examination, the key had a small 'I' engraved on the side. It was unclear what that was for, but there would be no doubt that the key would be useful in the future.
    With that, there was only one way to go, and that was south through this clearing and into the next.
    And just like Keter, Rumeus would too encounter a monster, and it was the same sort of imp like creature that Ryu had to fight. So now he was faced with his first enemy of the game, which charged right at Rumeus with a quick hop, slashing its blade at him since he was presumably unarmed, the creature most likely found Rumeus not to be a threat as it chittered mischievously as it slashed at him.
    Luckily he was just barely able to dodge, but now he had another problem. He had the Imp right point blank in front of him, so withdrawing back to get a more proper shot that wouldn't leave him open would take a moment, but luckily with how fast Rumeus was, he could both withdraw safely and fire. He would have to make every shot count though and make sure he didn't get hit even once.
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