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Author Topic: Gloria - Even Utopia Needs Maintenance  (Read 12910 times)
Gelatinous Cube

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« Reply #105 on: December 09, 2011, 10:09:22 PM »

I enjoyed it too!

To me, they are different things. Here is my opinion:
Resolution and Self-Improvement can stay together, and help to differentiate them. This is the virtue of staying true to oneself and one's own character. Pluck, on the other hand, is more tenacity. When the going gets tough, the character with pluck gets going. It has more to do with tenacity than the other one-- because the character with pluck may be doing it for all the wrong reasons. The resolute character may be using that resolve to steel himself to the concept that sometimes a failure can teach more than a success, whereas the plucky character might just keep on going. The industrious character, to contrast with the other two, is pragmatic. She'll do whatever the situation warrants. It's a little like resolution, and a little like pluck, but it's neither, really. She is just good at making the best out of the situation.

Gelatinous Cube

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« Reply #106 on: December 11, 2011, 01:42:44 PM »

Thank you for the feedback on the virtues and on the vices and on the game smile. Your feedback helped me clarify some things and I edited in the clarifications.
Steerpike: I see where some confusion may have originated. The characters I was using as trigrams to represent the shimmer magic appear to have been corrupted by the board...and I was always uncertain if they really displayed for everyone who was using them... So that could have led to some confusion.

In Character

Molding/ Implementation
-Shimmer only exhibits magical properties when it is impressed and stamped in one of the Holy Trigram forms.

To create a proper shimmer mold, one pours liquid shimmer into a cast-iron mold. The shimmer will cool and form into magic.

Shimmer molds may be of various sizes and lengths. The longer the mold-the greater the power that will come from it, but with trigrams that have breaks, e.g.: - -, the spaces and the lines need to be proportional or else the mold will be a dud or its effects backfire.

LENGTH: The molds' need to be precisely cast. The lengths control the power, whereas the heft or width of trigrams control what type of magic may be effected.

WIDTH: The trigrams widths do not need to be straight lines- etched widths can vary along the trigrams' length- the etched and twisting variations lead to different magical effects--it is dangerous to not make the lines straight or proportional because twisted forms tend to backfire more often than not.

DEPTH: Shimmer may be stamped in near-2D forms, side by side and assembled to create specific magical rituals; or it may be formed in 3D forms to maximize Shimmer power. There is a great deal of research being done into all possible geometric combinations of Shimmer.

COMBINATIONS: -Cutting edge research also combines Shimmer with nontraditional elements of Argon, Krypton, and the other noble gases as these gases are isolated and injected into Shimmer-Presses. The combination of the gases allows for a wider variety of uses for Shimmer.

Soul Sanguinate (sky, heaven)
Illusions, Divination
- This type of Shimmer Magic is used often by the predictors on the Empyrean Stock Exchange and by some on the Commodity Exchanges.
- The magic that someone like Xue Leavenstaking would use ranges from small near-2D shimmer trigrams that are shaped into a myriad amount of shapes. Each shape is tied to a certain Industry or Commodity. Xue has about 30 different Industries and Commodities.
- The great cost of his outlays lie first in the design, commissioning, and forging of a proper trigram for each industry. The development of a new Shimmer trigram is a laborious process of trial and error that consumes massive quantities of Shimmer in 'dud' experiments before the proper trigram is etched.
- Xue has developed many Shimmer powers himself. He may be considering selling redprints for his designs, but for the moment being he is enjoying the mystique and profits of being the only one able to make proper predictions for certain types of businesses.

Flame - Shimmer and Flame (Fluid) (Creative)
Alteration (Enchantment), Formation (building towers)
- This is probably the most common type of Shimmer.

Cryogen (Water)- Shimmer and Frozen Water, Cooled below 0 degrees celsius (Fluid) (Destructive)
Evocation (Destruction)

Diamond (Mountain) - Shimmer and Diamond (Permanent/Hard to Break) (Steady)
Protective Spells
- These spells need to be extremely long to be useful. They were recently discovered by the scientists and some of the wealthier patrons have begun to place these mold trigrams on their buildings and on their clothing.

˜· Sod (Earth)- Shimmer and Wood/Carbon (Decomposes/Breaks) (Inconstant)
˜· Sod (Earth)
Conjuration (Temporary/Spontaneous Generation), Necromancy
The second session, building on the first, will perhaps be a bit more ambitious in what it may require from the players--but since you solved the first I think there should be little trouble in solving this second set of problems.

I have also been working on a few physical statistics for the characters- I'll post those in the game thread when I finalize how I think they can work.

« Last Edit: December 11, 2011, 01:59:23 PM by Light Dragon » Logged

Gelatinous Cube

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« Reply #107 on: January 15, 2012, 08:53:12 PM »

I seem to have lost some text related to the socialist lands. There appears to be a 20 page limit to each post and at some point I exceeded it...



The Shimmering Mountain

 Located on the opposite side of a massive gorge from Cantileval, Magicantal looks down on the Magicant valley below where splendid springs, multicoloured paint pots and glorious black shimmer wells to the surface, erupting at regular intervals at one of four designated "national scenic and historic" locations. At the other shimmer spouts, massive rigs loom, harnessing and pumping the all-important magical essence.

Magicantal was formerly renowned for its feather gatherers, its glacial explorers, its salt mines (in the valley), and for being a place of relaxing retreat for when people came down with Tuberculosis and summered in Magicantal's fine sanatariums. The city however, lost much of its bedroom community flair when Shimmer was discovered to be magical. The discovery sparked a land-rush to Magicantal, one whose effects are still felt to this day.

All across Magicantal's once pristine cliffs sit the decaying remains of foolishly sited shimmer wells. The shimmer is mostly located at the foot of the valley, near the salt domes, but during the rush people erected drilling rigs everywhere. Land prices soared during the rush, with a five meter square location fetching over 5,500% of its original price less than a year after discovery. Within but four years, several of the most famous gushers, the Spirit and Opportunity, both of which yielded over 3,500,000 barrels/year at their peak, were played out. And with the discovery of Shimmer in many other locations around Gloria, the price of Shimmer itself went down and with it, the price of land.

Cartelization of Shimmer Markets
Magicantal still does well for itself, however, as landowners quickly realized the importance of cartelization for both keeping prices high, and for ensuring that Shimmer is not wasted. During the Rush, millions of barrels were stored in rotting kegs because the market supply was greater than the demand of engineers who could work with the Shimmer. The stored shimmer however turned "potted" after over two years in storage and became wild and nearly unseable.

The Shimmer producers of Magicantal then decided to make an agreement pooling their territory voluntarily and allocating maximum "allowables" that each landowner could withdraw from the land.

The system worked well when everyone was willing to voluntarily pool, however, not all pooled voluntarily- some argued that contrary to the landowners' claims that Shimmer flowed equally under all landowners tracts that Shimmer was present in reservoirs under certain places and that the landowners directly over the reservoirs should have larger allowables or else they would suffer drainage from neighboring owners.

Those who did not voluntarily pool, however, found themselves in a bit of difficulty when time came to get their Shimmer to market. First, few in Magicantal were willing to transport the Shimmer-- many were "bought off" by the pooling cartelized landowners. So the "Refusers" who did not pool offered a higher buy out price. Then, once the Shimmer was in transit, those who pooled offered to purchase the excess Shimmer. Some Refusers gave in, and sold out at current market price; others, being greedy went to market and the first to market realized gains, the slower ones however sold at lower market prices and regretted not selling out to their neighboring pooled landowners.

Still, this presented a problem for the Pooled ones, they were out money for purchasing the excess Shimmer and they could only store the excess Shimmer for so long, so they needed a new solution. They found this solution by attempting to pump the Shimmer back into tapped out salt dome formations of Shimmer- where the shimmer rests under a former salt mine. Once sealed, the salt prevented the Shimmer from leaking back and the Shimmer could later be extracted-- this prevented waste and allowed for Shimmer storage.

Still, the re-injection of Shimmer into salt domes imposed costs upon the Poolers and many grumbled and decided they wished to join the Refusers in order to escape overhead. Then the Poolers crafted perhaps their greatest threat. Because property rights had traditionally ended at the surface, they argued that they were within their rights to do something heretofore unheard of-- horizontally drill into their neighbors' reservoirs! Since they argued that Shimmer flows and is not stationary in reservoirs, by drilling upstream, they were not significantly "taking" Shimmer from their neighbors. This "Horizontal Forced Pooling" option frightened and annoyed upstream Refusers. Then the Refusers started realizing that the upstream drilling took much of their Shimmer and caused their wells to play out faster.

As more and more Refusers joined the Poolers, the system of draining, then storage by re-injection took off, and the Refusers gradually dwindled in power, profit, and influence.

For an analogous situation, check out Daniel Yergin's book "The Prize"

Feather Hunting

Feather Hunting in Magicantal
People love feathers in their caps. Traditionally, one is presented with a feather for one's cap when one achieves a particularly noteworthy accomplishment.

* One's 15th Birthday is marked by the presentation of a Noble BlueBird black spotted feather if one is a male, and if one is a female, one receives a piece of the Pink Rose Flowery Reticulated Sparrow's plumage.
* Marriage is celebrated by the ringing of one's head in a wreath of Rainbow Bird plumes.
* Birth is celebrated by the Orange Wraithbeast's fiery and optimistic adornment.
* Embarking on Entrepreneurship is celebrated by a medallion encircled by green Economy Bird foot plumes.
* Opening of a Second Store is celebrated by a bouquet of green Economy Bird foot plumes surrounding a red flower, symbolizing the green shoots of success and the red symbolizes new challenges.

These feathers sometimes are gathered from the ground, but most often they are produced from hunted birds in Magicantal. In some cities, the birds are raised in captivity as a renewable resource, but those birds' feathers do not shine as bright, nor do they "keep" as long, so wild feathers are particularly sought after.

Bird populations have experienced some decay as a result of the hunting near Magicantal. It is believed that several species, such as the Red-Feathered Warbler, and the Sallow-Faced Grouse have become extinct due to the predations of zealous feather hunters.

Note Also Some distasteful hunters have also been known to scrape the tightly woven penny-wide purple and black feathers from living Mystical Etteratis' leathery wings. The Etterati consider this to be a grave insult, and when Etterati see someone with one of their compatriots' plumes, they will often demand the plumes' return and will sometimes fight the possessor to the death. (This is one of the few actions that will drive the usual cowardly Etterati to violence).


Mobius: Libertarianism and the Freemarket Rampant
Tikal : Home of the Privateers, the Mobius-Men; the Scavengers; the Bloodmen, and the Arcanix


Everything is for sale

This city of hustlers exists in a constant state of creative destruction. Oddly though, other than incremental designs, it boasts few inventors. The lack of intellectual property protection means that Tikal is a city of theft; of ideas, of goods, and of human beings.

Shisters, scammers, medicine-men, traveling freak shows, itinerant magicians, mystical etterati, and more make their homes in Tikal.

The etterati make their homes in the mountains just north of the city, feasting on the nectar therein. Some entrepreneurs have attempted to claim the nectar and the plants and sell those to the etterati. Most of those entrepreneurs have ended up pecked to death. Other entrepreneurs returned with weapons. The etterati's shells, however, were too tough to penetrate. And, rolling in their shells, they were difficult to capture. At night, the etterati would steal the entrepreneurs' provisions and weapons. Generally the whole proposition became too expensive to conclude and the etterati were allowed their nectars.

Several fast-running citizens, however, stole nectar-plants' seeds and sow them in the ground closer to the city. Managing the plots of land, they were able to coax some of the sweet nectar-plants. From the nectar, they distilled potions and teas that helped cure disease and colds. The tea-nectars are in high demand. The brand name for most is "Mystical Tea."

Personality of Tikal: Gren Haciendarez ; "The Trickster of Tikal" ; "Oh, That Bastard"
"I made this flame dance from fingers. No shimmer. No cost. No nothing. Just let me teach you this. One upfront payment. It help you well."

Haciendariz is often running scams, and they often work quite well. He usually works alone, but has been known to hire a fall-guy from time to time, just in case things go wrong.

Haceindariz is of average height, and is a master of disguise. He can appear to have no legs, one leg, one eye, no eyes, scars, no scars, brown hair, black hair, blond, or white. He can be everything and anything. He can sing sweet, he can dance, his manners are impeccable, and his cursing, colourful.

The Trickster of Tikal knows a little about everything, and can talk forever about nothing. He stutters, he slurs, he stammers, he equivocates, he speaks fast, he drolls. He is kind, he is jovial, he is sour, and he is mean. He is a thousand things to a thousand people.

Haciendariz may not even be a real person, his name has become synonymous with being tricked out of one's money. For some, it is a badge of honor to become "Haciendized", or taken for a ride. 

The Trickster's career started about twelve years ago, so at the youngest he could be 21, but he can seem any age from a very tall ten to a very ancient one hundred and seven.

Tikal produced Haciendariz, that much is certain. He is a product of its boiling inventiveness and parasitic creationism. He takes and he takes and he takes, but he does it inventively. He even authored a book, some say. Although the book is less of a book than a collection of pamphlets. After every con, Haciendariz writes a short piece of advice; on paper, on vellum, on bark, on stone, on flesh... with chalk, with pen, with needle, with etch, even once in sand with urine.

Haciendariz' works were collected by inspired followers, two of whom were subsequently arrested and interrogated by one of Tikal's roving groups of thugs whose protection-target had been ripped off by Haciendariz, causing them to lose their contract. Within two days, however, the followers were freed by a strange man of medium build, but portly gain. The man claimed to be a slaver of the Continent, interested in houseservants. His documentation checked out and his coin was good... Except that the thugs had not believed his tale, and after one coin turned out to be made of chocolate; each had bit a coin to test for reality. Soon thereafter, the thugs found themselves poisoned, and lethargic. They collapsed on the floor, and then the targets were gone, and a note, sewed into the undergarments of the lead thug was discovered. It spoke of "Tasting victory is best done by the losers."

Metzca : War of the Large Conglomerations
Malebroge : Heavy-Handed Individualism


City of soot and progress.

In Malebroge the Shimmer Engineers have discovered, and patented, a proprietary way to create endless heat from Flame Shimmer to power giant printing presses that manufacture clothing pre-slotted and pre-sorted, along with books pre-printed. The quality of the materials is quite terrible, they fall apart within months, but the cost is perfect.

In Malebroge, everyone who can afford a bodyguard travels with one. To not travel with a bodyguard is to open yourself to "assessment." "Assessment" is made by groups of roving gangs who guarantee upkeep and safety of buildings and people. If you pay them, then these tattooed gangs are actually quite useful. Some serve as butlers, others repair shingles on homes, iron clothing, or hold ones seat at crowded social events whilst one travels to the loo. But if the Assessors are not paid, then they can turn nasty; assessing the costs of their time spent speaking to you, for their opportunity cost lost by trying to persuade you to accept their services. Assessors have been known to take people's money, their possessions, their clothing, their hair, their skin, their organs, and (infrequently) their lives as payment.

All "assessed" payment is compiled in neat accountants books and then submitted to the city guard who often audit the assessors. As long as the assessors can create an economic justification for their brutality, they are permitted to operate. Assessors are only licensed to operate negatively if at least 75% of their business contributes positively to the upkeep of the city and society. This 75% number is quite easily for them to reach however due to creative accounting.

Liebsraum : Shimmerduel, Swordplay, and Survival of the Fittest
Cuetzal : City of a thousand quack cures

At the Edge of the Impenetrable Jungle: Exploration and Discovery
Shimmer : Hope, Exploration, and Wild Chances


The trade-city and home of wild-catting Shimmer drillers abuts the writhing tendril-branches at the edge of the impenetrable jungle. Limitless timber, endless entrepreneurial possibilities, and prodigious amounts of Shimmer bubbling from the earth below make this fortified outpost the city of hope, exploration, and wild chances.

What to Do?
-Register for salvage rights to explore for wreckage from the hundreds of ships sunk at the Rocks just north of city. Then dive beneath the waves and explore the inky depths. Dodge Kraken and Worrybeasts while trying to recover hundred year old unspoiled wine-casks and preserved ivory.

-Enforce law on the outskirts of the city after the local enforcement's power was compromised at the insistence of a group of tough, tattooed Mobius-Men.

-Help enforce the building code and keep the streets straight. Evict unlicensed street vendors, make sure everyone's food is up to inspection-par. Register people in homes of ill repute, and generally ensure that the law is being followed.

-Join the Local Explorer's Society and help map the inner-lands, discover strange beasts, excavate odd and ancient fossils, achieve unique and strange feats of wonder (Think: Guinness Book of World Records), Meet strange and exotic people.

-Take an exploration party into the impenetrable jungle. But make certain to draft and have a notary cosign your will before you go. It is also recommended to draft a living will in the event that you return, but your mind is shattered. In Shimmer there is a brisk business for lawyers and notaries public.

-Sink exploratory pits, then drill wells for shimmer; Participate in wild-west style shootouts protecting investments from shady parasitic competitors all the while dealing with the jungle's horrifying animals and while staving off disease.

-Hunt wild beasts like the Lykenswing, and the Ivory-Tusked Brobdignagannelids, then return with trophies and equipment to fashion ivory-keyed pianos.

-Assess taxation in Shimmer for the Privateers of Mobius. Count all windows, not just those that face the street. This will likely involve much wall-climbing and perhaps even the peeling back of hastily applied plaster, or the overcoming of magical spells that conceal windows from prying eyes. (No one likes to pay taxes, the rich who can afford magic to evade  wish to avoid the impositions most of all.)

Feature of Interest: Tendril Branches
-The tendril branches are only incidentally dangerous. The tendril trees' roots delve deeper than any building in Gloria grows high, and when a tree is burned or cut, the branches will shoot up out of the ground and try to re-establish. There are literally millions of tendrils trying to sprout at any one time and they wreak havoc on homes' foundations. For every single one that is cut, five more reform. These hydra-trees are the biggest pests and are cursed more in Shimmer than anything else besides the Shimmerbugsand the Mobius-Men.

-It has been an endless struggle to eliminate the Tendril Branches from the outskirts or even the city center. And the tendril-branches suck much of the freshwater dry. If something could be done to eliminate the Tendril Branches, then the city of Shimmer could grow exponentially.

Point of Interest: Giant Hole
-In the center of the city, there is a giant hole that goes down thousands of feet. The first hundred feet are criscrossed by guy-wires, and planks. Around a hundred and fifty feet down the city has built a floor that is more or less secured by bracing. There is a trap-door and a rope that leads further down. No one has ever explored successfully much farther than four hundred feet. To determine the ultimate depth of the hole, people have tossed stones, but no sound was heard. People have also dropped rope, but no rope could be dropped deep enough, not even a six-hundred foot Diamond-Shimmer stiffened coil. No one is quite certain what is at the hole's bottom, but it should be interesting to find out.

-The city charges all visitors to the Giant Hole a charge of 2 pence for the right to visit observation deck C, 5 pence to visit observation deck B, and a whole pound to see observation deck A (the lowest) and to peer through the trap door. Viewing-Goggles are available for rent at the entrance to the Giant Hole. Mimes, Jugglers, Fortune-Tellers, and Magicians put on shows near the Giant Hole and the general atmosphere is one of carnival. There is also a fun-house, the "Wondrous and Mysterious Giant Holey Place" nearby. It has several stomach-churning and gravity-defying rides along with an infininte hall and maze of mirrors.

Point of Interest: The Honor Statue
-Each year wealthy businessmen participate in a great auction for the right to place a statue of their choosing in the center of the city. Only two statues are allowed per year, one at the port greeting the incoming ships, and one in the ciy center. Often these statues are staid, honor-giving facades of their purchasers. Sometimes the statues are of a lover an ancestor, or an honored teacher.
-Adventure This year however, there are a few odd bidders in the process. One, Jonas Salk, a noted prankster and medical experimenter who has grown rich from virus-vaccines has had an obscene statue cast- and he is in danger of being able to outbid the others unless something is done. Can you manage to cobble together a coalition of townspeople to outbid Salk? Will you let his obscene statue stand? Will you petition the city government to censor the statue, to relocate it, to alter the monstrosity?
-The other main bidder, Willard Baron, the mustacioed and wig-wearing Shimmer-Entrepreneur is rumored to have killed competitors in the Jungle and stolen their land-claims. He also studies Soul-Sanguinate Shimmer Magic and has been working with a succession of recently imported former criminal Shimmer engineers on a top secret project that some argue revolves around Shimmer Mind Control. Could he be intending to incorporate mind control in the statue if he wins? Will he be outbid? Will his plan be found out?

Point of Interest: The Grand Canal
-At the edge of the city a great project is underway, the Grand Canal. When completed, the canal will cut shipping costs by thousands. Regrettably, many of the workers on the project fall ill due to jungle diseases. The only creatures which seem to be immune are the Hijra, and not enough of them are willing to work on the ambitious project.
Adventure: Free the enslaved Hijra! But who will work the Canal if the Hijra are gone? Maybe something can be arranged to deal with the disease.

Evil Socialist Lands
Introduction to the Socialist lands (authored by Ivan Salesmensch, Gloria Resident)

In Character

In the far north, the hideously freezing north, the weak, the poor, the huddled masses, the eyeless, the armless, the half-witted are given the most, and the able bodied are given the least. Everyone is made equal and lifted up to have the same opportunities, except in Svain which believes with an almost religious-zeal that they have found a far more efficient way to achieve equality.

When a Socialist-lander dies, their estate is taxed at 100% and then redistributed to all, with regard to their need.

What has caused these curious people to choose to live in the fashion they make? Some argue that it is the desperateness of their land-- because the land is so harsh, all must band together in order to survive. I however, differ in my conclusion-- would not a dog scratch the parasite off from its fur if the parasite was taking too much? And yet the Socialist landers do not even seem intelligent enough to eliminate the dead-weight of their society. They coddle the old, the sick, the weak and nurse them in their infirmity. No where else in the World have I seen such curiosity.

Dretch (Equality)

Dretch (Equality)
The Yurts of Dretch stretch on for miles, surrounded by cooking tripods and drying furs. The citizens of Dretch raise domesticated Tundrabears and Mammothbeasts for their hides. The animals run in the common-fenced area surrounding the city, protecting the city from incursions of Sabre-toothed Tigers, long ivory-nosed Vicious Stalkers, Bottlenosed Extractors, and even from the sneaky little snub-nosed Frost Gremlins

In Character

Soccath (Justice)]Soccath (Justice)
Carved out of the massive Soccathian Cliffs and overhung by the solid Soccathian Glacier, Soccath is a network of tunnels both natural and hewn that stretches all the way until the Demonic Era shales. In the shales are found strange fossils of long-extinct races, the Predecessors who existed side-by-side with the Demons for thousands of years before the evolution of the current races. There are many theories on the Predecessors, but few archaeologists make their way to Soccath due to the heavy regulations placed on visitors.

Every visitor to Soccath must labor in its mines for a year before they may retrieve fossils or even before they are allowed to depart, once they have partaken of the common goods that are given to all on their arrival to Soccath. And for everything taken from the city, something of equal value must be returned. This has resulted in only the most determined of explorers (usually academics), traveling to Soccath.

Soccath's laws are overseen by every able-bodied resident, all of whom carry ice picks and hammers to hew their way through the rock and to tunnel through and ascend the glaciers to harvest Glimmersun berries that can only grow where the sun's albedo reflectiveness is at its greatest.

Adventure - Infiltrate Soccath and return with wondrous fossils of Predecessor races. The Predecessor races were mostly monstrous and frightening- demonic spawn. But some scientists believe that it is possible the current races all evolved from these frightening creatures.

Such a hypothesis is terrifying to capitalist Glorians say the least-- to believe that our ancestors came from such humble origins may be inspiring in a way, it is very disturbing to believe that our ancestors came from such a strange faery tale regarding the hideous demons.

The Faithful however, hold fast to the evolutionary hypotheses and are very interested in

Gelatinous Cube

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« Reply #108 on: January 15, 2012, 09:45:11 PM »

I am probably going to have to start a new thread to accommodate all the new information since it's started to get too scattered in this thread. I'll put it on my to do list. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe some time far in the future... hmm..

Gelatinous Cube

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« Reply #109 on: January 15, 2012, 10:00:54 PM »

New thread here:,209486.0.html

Still incorporating data, but all the important posts are there in order, so it's not as ramshackle as this thread has become.

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