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    • Shark

      Donations and Recognition!   12/22/2016

      Hello everyone! We are becoming a huge community and that doesn't come cheap. All staff here are volunteers and do this because they love the site. Right now, everything is paid out of pocket, by Erroneous. We would love for you to donate in order to help out with the site costs (i.e. Forum License, Domain Name, Hosting) so that we can keep Security and Forum Software up to date and possibly add some new features. If you do decide to donate, we have some fun, snazzy gifts of appreciation for you ;) Please message me (Shark) so we can get you the gifts of appreciation! We thank you for your support! Please use this link for more info   _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ How To Donate Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click the donate button.

      NOTABLE DONORS LIST Here is where we honor the donors who go above and beyond the call of Aincrad! Top Tier Donors! Percival Row  Teayre Nezumi Zandra Alice Arc Atzo Baldur Claim Corvo Dominion Genji Ignavus_veneficus Jomei Kaya Lee Lessa Mack Macradon Nocturn Persephone Piera Ruus Sarial Hawke Shi Unyeilding Vale To express our gratitude, here is a picture of the iconic duo for all you wonderful supporters!
    • Shark

      The SAO Staff Team!   02/21/2017

      Hello members of SAO-RPG!

      I'm sure most of you (if not some) have noticed or heard changes were made to the staff team. If you are applying to staff, you may have noticed that the application process has recently changed. This has all happened because of a reformation of the staff team and the way it operates. The staff now has separate teams for development. These teams are: Floor Creation Team [Floors, Quests/Events, Bosses], Systems & Clarifications Team, and Player Support Team.

      "Who is on these teams?" Well the answer to that lies below! Floor Team Systems & Clarifications Team Player Support Team * - Denotes Team Lead

      We also have a team to work on and develop the current systems but that team will search for its members and is not allowed to be applied to.

      Now you may be asking, "Shark, how does one apply to the Staff Team?" And I have but 1 simple answer!
      Go read this thread and it may answer all your questions!

      If you have any more questions, send me a PM and I will answer your questions about staff. (Only the format of teams and/or the application process)
    • Cardinal

      [Live] 2.5.0 Patch Notes   10/02/2017

      <<2.5.0 Patch Notes>> Main Guide: The main rules/tutorial section has been rewritten. Resources: A Resources section has been added. This contains reference material such as the SP/Level chart, Skills list, Enhancement list, individual profession stats, and a new FAQ. General Rule Changes: Word count requirement in Merchants & Shops section has been reduced to 100 from 150. Col logs are no longer required to include in journals. The Banker system will be used to track currency/materials going forward. New characters and Rebirth characters may choose a Starter Package containing a variety of basic equipment, col, materials, and/or potions. NK/KE tags have been removed. The table for SP gain based on the number of players in a thread has been removed. SP gain is now issued at 1 SP per 3 posts, up to the number of completed pages. (e.g. 3 SP for three pages, requires at least 9 posts) A Skill Refunding System has been added. Players may now pay a col cost to remove known skills and receive a refund of the invested SP. Rules on vanity items have been clarified. Health regeneration outside of combat has been adjusted to (10 * Tier) per post. Stealth and Stealth Detection no longer have a base rating for players. Both now use a LD roll plus a Stealth Rating/Stealth Detection modifier. NPCs and monsters still utilize a base rating (10 as a baseline for player-created mobs). 'Using cover' no longer adds to Stealth Rating. Low light or darkness conditions grant a +1 to Stealth Rating, down from +2. Switch has been added as a game mechanic (no longer a skill). Players may call for a Switch when landing a successful attack. If the Switching player also lands an attack, a Switch is performed and the two players may immediately swap hate values. Players are required to post their level, stats, equipment, skills, etc., in their first post in a thread. This should be a snapshot of your character and should not be changed after the initial post. Players are still allowed to declare their characters at a lower level or with fewer items than what they currently have, but may not claim items that have not been approved or were obtained in an unlocked thread. Turn order rules have been modified slightly to reflect the leniency of Boss Raid combat. Players may post in any order so long as each player and the enemy has gotten one action in a single round. Outside of Boss Raids, parties may have a maximum of 4 players. Combat with more than 4 players should follow a Group order similar to boss raids. When fighting multiple enemies, players must now make individual rolls for each mob. This applies to both making attacks against multiple enemies and multiple enemies making attacks. One roll no longer applies to/for all targets. The Running Away mechanic has been updated. Running away from combat now uses a LD roll with a set of situational modifiers. The col/material values and frequency in the loot table have been adjusted. Labyrinth searching rules have been adjusted. The map fragment system has been removed. Bonus rewards for scouting and defeating the field boss have been adjusted. Housing and Guild Halls have been completely revamped. PvP rules have been adjusted. Players must make an initiative roll when engaging in combat with other players. The extended Player Killing rules/restrictions have been removed. Rules on player cursor colors have been expanded. There is now a strike system for criminal infractions that would cause a player's cursor to turn orange. Killing a green player outside of a duel now results in a permanent orange cursor. An NPC Guard mechanic has been added. Orange players may now enter safe zones, but must stealth/run from guards in certain safe zones. NPC guards have a Stealth Detection rating equal to (Floor / 3), rounded down. Added more detail to character death rules. The RGQ system has been removed. Crafting Changes: Fishing as a profession has been removed. It is now a skill. The CD result chart has been adjusted across all professions (except Merchant). Good and Bad quality items have been removed from the CD result chart. Salvage chances have been adjusted. Alchemists now have a chance to salvage one or both materials when attempting to craft crystals. Crafting Die tools no longer have an effect. Consumables, familiars, housing, and some items still provide EXP and Crafting Attempt bonuses. The process of crafting Feasts has changed slightly. Cooks may now take 3 identical food items and spend two materials to combine them into a Feast. A Feast can be used in a thread to provide that enhancement to up to six players. Artisan craftable item types have been modified (Trinkets, Jewelry, Sculptures). The buffs they can provide are largely unchanged. Alchemist craftable item types have been modified (Salves, Potions, Crystals). The buffs they can provide are largely unchanged. Skill Changes: Extended Weight Limit Removed Ranks - 15 SP cost Now adds +3 Battle Ready Inventory slots Adjusted Mod: Large Pockets Now has 3 Ranks Cost set to 5/3/2 SP (10 total for Rank 3) Now increases single Battle Ready Inventory slots to 7/10/15 Removed 'Larger Pockets' and 'Largest Pockets' mods New Skill: Fishing Cost: 10 SP Effect: Use a dice roll to fish something up based on a natural CD result: Gatherer Now has a chance to yield 1-3 bonus materials based on a natural CD result Sneak & Hide Renamed to 'Hiding' Now grants +1 Stealth Rating per rank New Rank 3 Mod: Untraceable Cost: 9 SP Effect: Negates the effect of the Tracking skill against the user. New Rank 3 Mod: Blindside Cost: 9 SP Effect: Gain +2 Stealth Rating. Natural BD rolls of 9-10 reduce the target's accuracy by 1 for one turn when attacking from stealth. New Rank 5 Mod: Vanish Cost: 12 SP Cooldown: 5 Turns Effect: Allows the use of a post action to re-enter stealth while in combat. Getting a killing blow on an enemy allows Vanish to activate without using a post action. Search & Detect Renamed to 'Searching' Now also grants +1 Stealth Detection per rank Mod: Night Vision Now requires Rank 1, down from Rank 3 Cost reduced to 5 SP, from 9 Mod: Reveal Now also grants +2 LD when searching for Labyrinths and allows Labyrinth searches at 15 posts. Mod: Tracking Now requires Rank 3, down from Rank 5 Cost reduced to 12 SP, from 15 Tracking requirements for monsters, players, and NPCs have been clarified. Mod: Detect Cost reduced to 9 SP, from 15 No longer uses or affects Tracking. Now Grants +2 Stealth Detection. Grants +1 LD when searching for sub-dungeons and labyrinths Battle Healing Now recovers 1% of max HP per rank, instead of (Rank * 5 * Tier) Mod: Emergency Recovery Cost reduced to 10 SP, from 15 Now recovers 10% of max HP, down from 25% Block MIT gained is now set per rank: 5/8/12/18/25, down from 1 MIT per SP invested. New Rank 3 Mod: Shield Bash Cost: 10 SP Cooldown: 2 Turns Energy Cost: 10 Energy Effect: Make an attack with an equipped shield. On a hit, deals (Base * 10) damage, stuns the enemy for one turn, and applies paralyze/thorns/flame thorns enhancements present on the shield. Note: When calculating Base Damage for Shield Bash, Weapon Skills do not apply. Mod: Safe Guard Reworked into 'Rampart' Added a 5 turn cooldown Added energy cost of 8 Now uses a post action to reduce final damage that would be dealt to you by 25% (rounded down). Effect lasts until the beginning of your next turn. Energist Removed Ranks - 12 SP cost Now adds (5 * Tier) to total energy, instead of (Rank * 2) Howl Added energy cost of 10 Mod: Focused Howl Added energy cost of 8 Parry Increased SP cost to 12, up from 10 Added a 1 turn cooldown Energy cost has been fixed at 5, instead of (2 * enemies parried) 50% damage reduction has been specified to apply to the final damage (after mitigation). Effect applies to the next attack against the user, and cannot reduce damage from multiple enemies at once. Mod: Vengeful Riposte Increased SP cost to 12, up from 10 Added a 3 turn cooldown Damage reflected is now 50% of raw damage, up from 25% of damage taken. This damage can still be mitigated. Switch Skill has been removed. Two-Handed Weapons The +2 DMG bonus for 2H weapons has been clarified in the first rank of 2H weapon skills. All Weapons The Ferocity and Finesse mods have been condensed into a single description. You must still specify the weapon type when acquiring the mod(s). Mod: Ferocity Rank requirement set to 3, instead of ranging from 1-5 Now increases base damage of all sword arts for the chosen weapon by 1. Mod: Finesse Rank requirement set to 3, instead of ranging from 1-5 Now has 3 Ranks Cost adjusted to 5/3/2 SP (10 total for Rank 3), down from 15 at Rank 5 Now reduces energy cost of all sword arts for the chosen weapon by an amount equal to its rank. Mod: Quick Change Cooldown reduced to 3 turns, down from 5 Now allows the user to swap, equip, or unequip a weapon in their Battle Ready Inventory. Mod: Stamina Now reduces the energy cost of all attacks by 1. Heavy Armor Increased the amount of MIT gained to 8>12>18>25>35, up from 3>7>12>20>30 Mod: Athletics Bonus health increased to (15 * Tier), up from 15 Mod: Stonewall Bonus health has been adjusted to (15 * Tier), instead of equal to mitigation from other skills. Now also grants 10 MIT when wearing heavy armor Now also reduces damage taken from damage over time effects by 25% (rounded down) when wearing heavy armor. Light Armor Adjusted the amount of MIT gained to 5>8>12>18>25, down from 3>7>12>20>30 Mod: Athletics Bonus health adjusted to (10 * Tier), from 15 Familiar Mastery 'Accurate' now has 3 ranks. 'Assistant' now provides bonus EXP (crafting attempts at max profession rank) instead of CD. Meditation Removed Ranks - 8 SP cost Added a 5 turn cooldown Now recovers (3 * Tier) energy. Getting hit by an attack before the beginning of your next turn reduces the energy recovered to (2 * Tier). Survival Added 3 SP cost Increases out of combat health regeneration to (15 * Tier), instead of 20. Enhancement Changes: Life Steal has been renamed to Vampiric. The Crafting Die enhancement has been removed. Alchemist and Artisan item types for enhancements have been modified. Sword Art Changes: Multipliers have been simplified to a single number (x6) from the two-part formula (2x3). Several descriptions have been updated. Quest Changes: The 'Redemption' quest has been revamped. The level and repeatable restrictions have been adjusted to affect only the bonus SP rewards: The First Few Lessons Are Free The Second Lesson is Also Free The Third Lesson is Just As Free The Fourth Lesson is Actually Free The Venemous Warg Repeating the 'Earning a Living' quest now allows a player to change their profession. Changing professions will reset experience to 0. Repeat completions of the Earning a Living quest will only award bonus materials if the quest-taker is changing their profession. The following quests have been removed: «Witch of the West and the Three Treasures: T.M.H & S.B.» «Witch of the West and the Three Treasures: T.L.C.» «Witch of the West and the Three Treasures «The Falling of Tagas» Housing Changes: The cost and size of Player Housing is now determined by a 'plot size'. The plot size dictates how many room slots, yard slots, and stories a house can have as well as the initial cost when purchasing. Purchasing a PK-accessible home (outside of a safe zone) has an additional cost. Buffs from Guild Halls/Player Housing now comes from the type of room, rather than furniture. Certain rooms for Player Housing have upgrades. Player Housing buffs must be assigned to a player. Home owners may use the Housing Evaluation topic to re-assign a room's player(s) once every 30 days. New/Rebirth Character Changes: Players who have submitted a new or rebirth character journal for approval in the past 30 days are eligible to add one of the starting bundles. <<2.5 Update Survival Guide>> Skills: If you spent more than 15 SP on the Extended Weight Limit skill, refund any SP over 15. If you have spent less than 15 SP, the skill is inactive until a total of 15 is invested. If you spent more than 12 SP on the Energist skill, refund any SP over 12. If you have spent less than 12 SP, the skill is inactive until a total of 12 is invested. If you spent more than 8 SP on the Meditation skill, refund any SP over 8. If you have spent less than 8 SP, the skill is inactive until a total of 8 is invested. If you have the Parry skill, you must spend 2 SP to continue using it. Otherwise, it is inactive until a total of 15 is invested. If you have the Survival skill, you must spend 3 SP to continue using it. Otherwise, it is inactive until a total of 3 is invested. If you had the Switch skill, remove it and refund 10 SP. Mods: If you have the Detect mod, keep it and refund 6 SP. If you have the Tracking mod, keep it and refund 3 SP. If you have the Emergency Recovery mod, keep it and refund 5 SP. If you had Rank 1 or 2 of the Ferocity mod, lose it and receive a refund of the SP spent. If you had Rank 3 or 4 of the Ferocity mod, you must spend 6 or 3 SP to continue using it. Otherwise, it is inactive until a total of 15 is invested. If you spent more than 10 SP on the Finesse mod, refund any SP over 10. If you have the Large Pockets mod, you must spend 1 SP to continue using it. Otherwise, it is inactive until a total of 10 is invested. If you had the Larger Pockets mod, it becomes the new Large Pockets mod and you receive a refund of 2 SP. If you had the Largest Pockets mod, it becomes the new Large Pockets mod and you receive a refund of 5 SP. If you have the Night Vision mod, keep it and refund 4 SP. If you have the Vengeful Riposte mod, you must spend 2 SP to continue using it. Otherwise, it is inactive until a total of 12 is invested. Professions: If you had the Fishing profession, all EXP may be transferred to any other profession. If you had a Tool with the 'Crafting Die' enhancement, you may post it for re-evaluation with the Ambition or Crafting Attempt enhancement (item name/description may not change). If you retake the Earning a Living quest in order to change professions, your EXP resets to 0 for the new profession. Edit your existing shop thread with your new profession information. Housing: Existing Guild Halls and Player Housing have been removed. They may be repurchased through the Housing Evaluation template. Players who previously bought a home or hall have been reimbursed for the total col cost in their original housing application. If a guild had shared col lost due to the removal of a guild hall, PM the details to @Teion for review/reimbursement.
    • Aereth

      2.5.2 New Mechanic: Thread Invasion/Protected Threads   11/08/2017

      Hello Players,
      Once again your feedback is needed, so head over to the thread and tell us what you think. LINK  


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About Genji

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    The Vanguard

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  1. PP-F2: R E T U R N

    "Woman," he repeated as she appeared dumbstruck at his assertion. "You know, post maturity human female-?" Before he could finish explaining, Esther launched into a fully awkward reciprocation, which caused the Shibuyan youth to stare at her blankly. Then, he laughed. He laughed, because for the first time he genuinely was not the only clueless one in the room. His gaze watched her hands smooth the clothing over her body with a small smile- he never intended to make her think whatever it was she had, but for that moment, he hardly minded. "Sorry about that," he crooned in a low voice as he leaned toward her and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Are you alright?"
  2. PP-F2: R E T U R N

    In his youth, Genji suffered through similar belittlement from both his parents and responsible adults, including teachers and coaches. Several leading doctors tried to diagnose him with labels like ADHD, or Asperger's, but he managed to maintain grades near the top of his class. Despite his social ineptitudes, he was perfectly capable of learning and functionality in a scholastic unit. It did lead him to ostracism, and it created awkward situations with peers in his age group. Because of how different he was, people shunned him and treated him like an enigma. He understood all too well what Esther was saying. "People who haven't lived your struggle rarely understand your reasons. That hardly makes you wrong." He sipped once more at the tea she brewed, concentrating on both the complex flavor and the woman in front of him. "The decision not to fight is hardly less bold than the one everyone else has made. Who would protect and raise the children, if not for your sacrifice?" He thought it sad, that even in this world people never changed. "You look every bit a woman to me," he added to reassure her.
  3. [OP - F10] Trick or Treat~!

    "気じゃない," the youth muttered in his own tongue as he sank backward from the scene that unfolded. "誰もが、彼らは罰金だと言って続けて、誰も罰金ではありません." He sank into a chair along the wall behind him, one he had previously utilized while in full costume, and clutched at his head. "数ヶ月で私の家族を見たことがない." How he made it this far, Genji had no idea. There was nothing familiar about Aincrad, and even fewer people. He wanted to cry, but knew that when the tears ended, the strife would remain. He yearned to scream, but understood it would do nothing but rob him of his voice. Genji understood the futility of his situation, but until this moment, he never really faced it. It never occurred to him that Esther had left him, or that he was muttering to himself in a language only a few people would understand. By the time he glanced up, he was barely aware of anyone around him, or anything. He wore a blank expression, mouth slightly agape. "Esther...?" he gurgled groggily. @Esther
  4. [OP - F10] Trick or Treat~!

    "Mmmmm... Ahhh... I..." Genji lost color as she casually mentioned the affliction he'd worn for several years since the end of High School. As an extreme case of self-deprecation and familial expectation gone wrong, Kotarou had folded in on himself and looked for every excuse he could never to leave the safest place in the world. His bedroom. In his mind, he could be a hero, and in his dreams he was. In Shibuya, and everywhere else in the world, he was a shut in who failed to accept at anything. Esther couldn't have known that when she spoke up, but it made him feel infinitely less secure standing there in a room full of people, all of whom were infinitely more attuned to the world around them than he was. When he realized he had stopped breathing out of acute terror, he took a short breath. Then, he took a longer one, and he wheezed loudly. A fit of coughing followed. Genji wiped the tears that formed in his eyes away and tried to focus on what she was saying. She touched him, and offered to go out with him and do things in the real world. Like friends. Like normal people. Like he was a normal person. He felt her elbow brush against his, and he glanced quickly away. "I haven't ridden any of the lines in quite some time," he replied quietly, "I barely remember their names." His voice was weak as he brushed a hand thoughtlessly over the front of his pants, and he pulled his cloak down further. He toyed with the hem of it idly, embarrassed about... ...everything. @Esther
  5. [OP - F10] Trick or Treat~!

    "Ah, no, no!" he sputtered. "No, I think your costume looks great. Seriously. Don't change it. You could keep wearing it all the time, and it would be great." He managed a toothy smile, cheeks flushed red by the heat that overcame his face. She recognized him before he removed the costume? That part confused him. Genji was used to being a forgettable, easily cast aside person. He didn't much care for the laborious societal expectations of courtship or dating, and the sudden rush of emotions and hormones that spiked from interaction with Esther confused him as well. He was comfortable enough with her, and she seemed to feel similarly- perhaps it was society, and not these two friends, who had the wrong of it? Perhaps interactions between man and woman, or woman and woman, or man and man, ought not be so difficult as they are often made to be? Ah, well. The friends he made in this world were ones he would not soon forget. After middle school, he had learned never to place a great deal of stock in deep, emotional investments. They tended to not pan out. He reached out and ruffled her hair with a kind smile, both his eyes softly shutting in the process. "I suppose we never had many pumpkins," he managed to murmur, "Shibuya is massive, but it's crammed full of people and they're always busy." @Esther
  6. [OP - F10] Trick or Treat~!

    When she came close, he stopped. Somewhere in his mind, Genji knew this to be Esther, the pink haired girl he met recently on the second floor, and who had quickly moved to become fast friends with him. She was a lonely woman with a kind, accepting heart, and though her views on the world deviated wildly from his own, at least in terms of pacifism, he appreciated her desire for a soothing, calm atmosphere. The gilded aura of gentility that radiated off her angelic costume only served to gut him further when her words to the dagger to his innards. "Miss Esther, I will have you know," he began, "that the tradition of Halloween began thousands of years ago, with a festival celebrating the freakish, demonic, and horrifying in order to frighten evil spirits away from people's homes and invite a safe, peaceful new year to come. So, essentially, mine is the only costume actually in keeping with the spirit of the holiday-" He found himself rambling on about things most likely no one cared about, all the while ensnared by the ephemeral beauty in her eyes. He refused to blink, for fear that it would disappear in that instant and he would never see it again. Genji gulped. "What I mean is," he started over, correcting the awkward feelings that threatened to rise up and make him say something stupid. "That it is actually me, Genji, in this costume." He flicked through his menu and switched to his normal outfit for her benefit. "It's good to see you again," he greeted her with a bow. @Esther
  7. [OP - F10] Trick or Treat~!

    People who seemed to know each other quickly blended into a single crowd and mingled, leaving Genji well on the outside. That was fine, but it brought a smile to his face to know that all the people trapped on Aincrad were able to come together for various events and just release some of that tension that the death game built up inside them. It was almost like a high school dance, everyone parting into their cliques and talking amongst themselves about the flavor of the hour. For Kotarou, he had never chanced to become part of any of those crowds. Watching from a safe distance was not only his go-to move, it was his mainstay. He noticed some awkwardness at intervals, and glanced toward the women who seemed to be stealing the show with their appearances alone. What a youthful crowd, he lamented to himself. None among them dared approach the imposing figure of a Talormeen demon-deity, his six avian arms ready to [censored] up children and steal away with them in the night. That suited him fine. It meant people didn't know who he was- no one appreciated the lore that surrounded the character. Or maybe, his conversation starting techniques were just failures. Genji silently wished for someone to talk about history, or fantasy novels, or anything at all he could relate to. Instead, the night went just as planned. With Genji in comfortable, familiar silence.
  8. [OP - F10] Trick or Treat~!

    As a holiday beloved by cosplayers the world over, Halloween held a special place in Kotarou's heart. The opportunity to forget who or where he was for a single day and just pretend to be something that made him smile was exactly what he needed at that moment, still struggling as he was to come to grips with life in Aincrad. As a child, some of the first fantasy novels he ever read were the Chronicles of Narnia. In keeping with the spooky tradition of All Hallow's Eve, he decided that he would fashion his costume off the Nightmare Fuel that was the God of the Talormeen, the Inexorable Tash. And so, as he walked through the doors, he was greeted by Jack with a very enthusiastic. "What a nice costume! It is great to see you here at this event. Here's your item for showing and I hope you enjoy yourself." What everyone else would see might not illicit the same response. With the pixelated costume augmenting his size, Kotarou stood a good deal higher than any other player in the room at that moment. His lithe, skeletal frame and emaciated portions gave him the look of a hungering demon, and at his head, he wore the face of a bird of prey. He spent countless nights as a child obsessed with the character, hoping just one time to play the part and be half as terrifying. His time had come. +1 Candy Guard!
  9. [PP - F7] Going to Temple

    "They're positively my favorite," he retorted sarcastically as the arachnid chased the blonde woman from its lair and into the open. She activated her hate skill like clockwork, almost like she had been in this situation hundreds of times before. Genji ripped the scimitar from his hip and crouched low, looking for any sign of an opening. "How did you know?" It skittered along the bath and raked at her with large, furry mandables and gripped as hard as it could manage with both forelegs. Still, Lessa was able to wrestle away from the most dangerous of bites. The Spider was not so fortunate, for the moment it latched on to the blonde woman, the silver haired man lunged at its back and raked at it with a curved blade. "I'm not going to be useless," he hissed loudly as his weapon bit deep into carapace and ruined tissue. It gave a horrendous wail and thrashed both of them away. When he came to only moments later, Lessa was already facing down their new nemesis down once again. Lessa: 700/700 HP //65/70 E (3 H) Genji: 180/180 HP // 17/18 E (-1 E) (1 H) BFS: 444/450 HP (Genji deals 6 with his normal attack)
  10. [PP - F7] Going to Temple

    "Oh, no," he laughed and held up his hand, index finger and thumb spaced narrowly apart. "You know what they say about Asian men. Big expectations, small delivery. I'm sure those pants suit you far better than I, Miss Lessa." Kotarou appreciated her desire to keep the mood light, and decided to deviate to one of the few social contingencies he actually had- telling inappropriate jokes at appropriate intervals. In Aincrad, he had never lost anyone to death. It was not the same as the real life equivalent, though the two were certainly entwined. Some people in the world, you never got the chance to meet, or to bond with. Death was an everyday part of life, and it became easier to disassociate. Sword Art Online gave people no room for such morally gray grief. You knew the other people trapped inside, even if not formally. You shared the same fate, and just hearing that Aincrad took them wrenched your heart and made you wonder, "am I next?" No day went by that people felt safe, even in the so-called "safe zones." They just learned to pretend to smile, and keep going. Lessa's charm was that she had learned to take that reviled sentiment and turn it into hope. She stood as a beacon of light for those around her and showed the way, even for those far more lost than others. Genji could appreciate that. "It looks like we're coming up on a breach in the rock face," he commented and pointed ahead. "Might be a cave. We should definitely look into it." They were only part of the way up the mountain, still, and there was much further to go. That didn't mean the behemoth had no secrets to yield to them. It just meant they had more to explore. "Keep on the lookout for large birds," he added.
  11. [PP - F7] Going to Temple

    "I never understand how people think that," Kotarou laughed, "sure, it seemed easy for them to fly right in after the Ring was vanquished in Mount Doom, but prior to that, Sauron's power still held absolute sway within the confines of his domain. If they had tried to fly in while the Ring still existed, they would have been assailed by hellish storms and freaks of creatures conjured for the sole purpose of their destruction." This was the part where people's jaws slacked and their stared at Genji screaming "neeeeeeeerd!" Who else but the silver haired freak would read the Silmarillion more than once? For fun? "But! Um, yeah, a horse wouldn't be too bad, I guess?" he tried to smooth over into her secondary topic of conversation quickly and easily, to the point that he hoped she might even forget about the tangent about Hobbits and Wizards. Their focus was on Aincrad, after all, not Middle Earth. "I honestly never considered mounts a possibility, but this game is the first MMO- just the first virtual reality one." He looked excited. "That means the programming for something like a horse wouldn't be all that hard at all!" She transitioned after a moment of back and forth to his question, and Genji sensed something somber about her mood. Talking about the past must have been hard for her. "It sounds like you've had a good deal of friends here," he told her with a soft smile after she paused. "I'm actually terrible with people, so I kind of envy that about you." His eyes closed, and he knew of only thing one thing appropriate to say Lessa. "I'm sorry for your losses," he said. Genji offered her a deep bow.
  12. [PP - F7] Going to Temple

    "Really?" he asked, a poignant expression on his face. "Sorry I asked." He could scarce tell at times if Lessa said things simply to make fun of them, or if the hair brained scheme was actually feasible somewhere in that mind of hers. "If we get mounts, though," he added with a more easygoing look melting through the snowy visage, "I don't think I'd mind a large Eagle, like in the Lord of the Rings." They rounded a rock face that sloped more steeply for a moment and Genji kept close to the wall, uncertain of his footing. After he sidled against the mountain for a few steps, the path widened and he resumed a straight walk along the path. "Ah," he sounded a bit surprised, but not overly so. "I would have taken you for a student of the art. You've taken to it with wild success. Or perhaps that's how the system works- I'm not too knowledgeable on the ins and outs of Cardinal, and I'm frankly too afraid to chase the notion down." He gave a dry laugh to diffuse the tension that talking about Cardinal generally arose. Lessa seemed comfortable enough. It was probably just him. "Any friends specifically?" he asked. "Did you log in with anyone, or meet people along the way?" He had been alone, until he met Lessa and her friends. It was hard to get used to that life.
  13. PP-F2: R E T U R N

    He fidgeted as she spoke and watched her hand prompt him to sit down. Genji started to speak, but he noticed what her hands were doing- a traditional tea set? As she continued to tell him about her time in Japan, bits and pieces began to fall into place. Ah, she's a lover of the culture. He tilted his head and chanced a step closer, then sat adjacent to her quietly. "Earl Grey," he repeated the name as he accepted the cup graciously, tasted it, and closed his eyes. "Stronger than I'm used to," he admitted, "but not at all bad." He let the tea come to rest on the saucer and matched her gaze. "I came to relax," he answered her final question, and his lips turned up in a smile. "There should be more of that, I would contend; but I'm no more than a lowly swordsman, eh?" Genji took one more sip and placed the saucer to rest in his lap. "What brings you to the lower floors?" he asked, "or do you remain here for the more peaceful atmosphere?"
  14. [PP - F7] Going to Temple

    "You keep talking about dragons," Genji thrust a finger in her direction in warning, "but what happens when we actually run into something like that? I barely did anything to a goblin on wolfback, I'm not too keen on facing down firebreathers just yet." Genji took a step past Lessa to glance over and assess the damage done by the obscure impact. "I wonder what could have caused this, though," he said on a more serious note. "If it were a dragon, no doubt we would have seen more traces. This was agile, and stealthy." He crouched to get a better look, and noticed indentation marks that were reminiscent of claws. "It looks like it tore out a good chunk. We're lucky we weren't in the way when it struck." The young swordsman ran his fingers over the soil and shook his head. "Real lucky," he muttered under his breath. "Alright, then. Let's press on before it decides we look tasty and flies down for another bite." He let out a sigh and headed further up the path, still replaying all of the movements in his head. Lessa truly was far and away ahead of him as a player. "Who taught you to fight?" he asked suddenly. "You do it so naturally, it's almost like you've been doing it your whole life."
  15. [PP - F7] Going to Temple

    "Woah there," Genji said hurriedly as he stuffed his blade away and rushed to Lessa's side. He took her by the wrist and pulled her away from the edge, out of danger of falling. She probably wasn't in any such danger in the first place, but it was more useful than trying to help the woman fight. He proved almost worthless to stand next to her, the mighty swings of her two handed sword easily dwarfing any amount he had managed to deal. "Nice work," he commented, trying not to sound discouraged as he congratulated her on the victory. "I didn't get a chance to see whatever caused this whole mess, but I heard it twice during that fight." He glanced skyward to where a mass of clouds billowed, and Genji thought he heard something like wings flapping. "Do you think we should keep going?" he consulted his traveling companion. "We can probably handle a few more like that, no trouble." Or you can, I'll just be back here.