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Metis

Y2 WIP Adventures (come and proof-read!)

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Here's me starting a personal experiment: Will posting an adventure in the Writer's Corner rather than completely typing it out in the dark be a better idea, etc, etc. I honestly cannot say whether I'll remember that this topic still exists tomorrow and actually, you know, update it ever, but hey, that's why it's an experiment.

 

Oh, the adventure? Well, first off, here's some pointers for how to read it:

 

-Options will be colour coded as they are in Y1 (sort of):

--Green options are automatic successes, and cannot be failed. No associated rolls.

--Blue options are easy, they require a few points to pass without fear or failure but they're nothing worrisome (this game's sadistic RNG aside). Roll v. 1-5

--Black (coloured dark gray to make it stand out) options are harder, and require some effort to train up or a buffing spell to pass comfortably. Roll v. 6-10

--Red options require either save-scumming, dumb luck or buffing. You can train the skill high enough, Y2 being what it is, but it'll take a long time. Roll v. 11-15

--Purple options are hard as hell, 6th Finger or Cleanse and Remake are recommended. Roll v. 16-20

---To anyone that wants to say "Hey, in Y2 you can train skills to 21 and you'll have all all those Y1 attributes to back you up!", you've a point, but A: Training skills beyond 10 requires significantly more time, so adventures can't assume that everyone can/has trained some skill (out of a possible 300+) that high, and B: The game's difficulty should be balanced for roll-players so save-scumming won't be required to succeed at all, and roll-players aren't likely to end Y1 with 18 Insight. Besides which, 18 Insight isn't going to help on a Finesse roll.

 

-Options with a question in the text are investigations.

 

-If an adventure PROCEEDS, it goes to the next stage (technically the next "phase", in wiki terms) on the same turn. If an adventure PAUSES it ends for that turn, but next time the adventure is called it'll start at the next stage. If an adventure STOPS it ends for that turn, and that stage must be tried again (it generally only STOPS on failed rolls). If an adventure ENDS that's it, the adventure is concluded and over.

 

The Endless Section Library, 1st stage:

 

Learning To Research

 

"No. No. Not this one either. No. Read this one already too. No.". "Hey, how about some peace and quiet in this library?". The librarian's sudden remark shocks you out of your parade of researching failure. Slightly embarrassed you ask "Oh, sorry, was I talking out loud?". The librarian, a kind man who looks as old as the Venalicium, looks at you with a studious expression. With a worn and slightly raspy voice he says "You were complaining out loud, actually. Are you looking for something?". You nod and say "Yes, I'm looking up information on the Battle of Mallen Field. It's...call it a homework project.". The man snorts, amused at your euphemism, starts moving and motions you to follow. He takes you to the reception, and points you to the reference list. You sigh and say you've already checked it, and didn't find enough information. The man stares at you for a second, and starts to take out another batch of references. You roll your eyes and say "Checked that twice. No dice.". The man stops and stares at you for a bit. "You don't look like a senior. Trying to get extra credit from Professor Viada?". You casually glance aside and say "Regent von Rupprecht. Again, call it a homework project.". The man smiles and looks around the library. "Have you tried the other libraries? The Venalicium isn't the only one in this school.". You sigh and nod. The man continues to stares at you before settling his gaze on on the basic reference list. "You know," he says with a hushed voice, "I know of a library located somewhere in Mineta that might suit your needs more than the Venalicium.". You're excited to hear that, and the man pulls out an old parchment from a nearby book. "The head librarian of that place has a strict 'no skill, no service' policy. For a library, that means you'd better be able to find and research things yourself, because no one is going to help you. Interested?". You nod, take the map and head off towards the section of the Venalicium devoted to Mineta, and it's History sub-section. You examine the parchment, and it contains both a map (with, naturally, no listed landmarks or even a compass pointing out north) and what looks like an advertisement. Just glancing at the text and the map you're able to figure out that this is a puzzle, likely a test, with the sale's pitch hiding clues to where the landmarks on the map are, which in turn will lead the reader to the library. Now how to solve this puzzle?

[Puzzles]: Carefully read the advertisement and try to solve the puzzle.
You read through the advertisement carefully, and right away the first riddle presents itself. "Excellent views of various famous landmarks, including a wondrous statue of the hero of the Battle of Mallen Field.". Depending on who wrote this that'd be either King Durand or King Aranaz, and you can find plenty of statues dedicated to both. That said only so many of those are dedicated to the Battle of Mallen Field specifically, so you start digging through tour guides, historic records and other information available in the Venalicium. You find no less than fourteen locations that fit your description in roughly three minutes, which is a depressing start. You're nevertheless sure you're on the right track, so you keep reading and find the next riddle. "There's no better place in Mineta where you can find high-quality food, souvenirs and other things for prices you'd normally only see in the Empire Market. Plenty of tourism come down from all the streets connected to the historic monument, allowing local merchants to offer their best wares at the lowest prices.". Merchants claiming to sell the best goods at the lowest prices? Well, that narrows it down to a little more than 99.9% of Mineta. Laughing a little at your own joke you dive back into the historic records and find out that, sure enough, there's a few places outside the Empire Market where merchants tend to gather, mostly at or on roads connected to major tourist destinations. And what do you know, one of those market hot spots is centred around one of the statues you looked up earlier. You take a closer look and you confirm the librarian's map depicts the area around that statue, specifically a statue of King Aranaz. The rest of the advertisement seems to contain directions, in the form of riddles of course, so you roll up the map and start cleaning up the mess you made of the books you yanked out of their shelves. Not that you have any trouble at all with filing books, so a mere three minutes later and you're headed for the statue.
- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

For such an obvious puzzle it's surprisingly complex. In fact you wrestle with it for an hour but you can't made any headway. Frustrated you tuck the map away and save it for a later day.
- STOP ADVENTURE

[Cartography]: Find out what section of Mineta this map depicts.
You glance at the advertisement, but you don't get far into it before giving up. It's far too cheesy and over-the-top to take seriously, much less dissect for clues. Instead you pull out the trick that is the bane of every puzzle- and riddle-maker in the world: Stubborn brute-forcing. Your knowledge of maps allow you to determine quickly that the map you were given, while old-looking, is actually drawn with more accurate, more modern methods. Magical methods, at that, so this map is probable enchanted in some way. With that in mind you pull out a recently published map of Mineta and start looking. While the landmarks on the librarian's map aren't marked the location of most prominent one is still plainly visible simply because of where it's located. At least, a raised plaza circled by a road, which in turn is neatly connected to several nearby roads is probably not just a residence. It takes a bit more time to place the map than you'd like to admit, but you ultimately do manage to find the location of the plaza. It's south of the Empire Market, and located in the plaza is a statue of King Aranaz dedicated to something or another. Point is that when you rotate the puzzle map it fits perfectly on the city map, so that's one set of riddles bypassed. However, while you put back the books you'll no longer need a depressing thought occurs to you - you know what area the map depicts, true, but now what? Neither map has a landmark for "secret library", you still have to actually find that. A little disappointed but no less determined you roll up the old puzzle map and take it with you - you'll go and visit that statue, and what happens then is something you'll see then.
- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

You pull out over a dozen maps of Mineta, but you're not able to fit the area printed on the map onto any part of Mineta no matter how you turn it. A good hour passes and you've come no closer to making any progress, so you roll up the map and call it quits for today.
- STOP ADVENTURE

[Theory of Negation]: Is there an enchantment on the map?
You casually stroll into a shaded area and quietly cast a basic detection spell. You quickly determine that both the map and the advertisement actually have two enchantments on them each. The advertisement, not that it is of much use for you, has one simple enchantment to assist with translation spells, and one significantly more complex one you can't guess the purpose of. The map's first enchantment you would guess is some sort of lock, maybe? You're not entirely sure, but it seems enchanted to do "something" when it's triggered, probably by a spell of some kind. The second enchantment is so massive and complex you cannot discover anything about it beyond that it's there. It might not be a single enchantment, even, it's just all that you can only manage to detect it as such. Either way, you can apparently just ignore the advertisement (if only for now) and try a magical approach.
- UNLOCK [incantation Spells] OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN

You reach for your wand, but thankfully catch yourself in time to make it seem like random, bored flailing around - you're inside the Venalicium, the librarians frown heavily on students casting spells for fear of a large number of disasters that could potentially destroy many of the books. You should have headed to one of the study cubicles, in hindsight, but if anyone saw you reaching for your wand, only to stop and head for one...yeah, those librarians are scary and you've learned not to underestimate them. Probably best to try and solve this the non-magical way.
- CHOOSE AGAIN

[incantation Spells]: Puzzles, smuzzles. Solve it with magic.
You walk to one of the study cubicles, where the librarians aren't going to raise a fuzz about you waving your wand around, and cast a simple Incantation. The map rotates, now pointing north like a map should, and it helpfully shows a statue of King Aranaz standing in a very conspicuous plaza. A minute later you've found out what area the map depicts, and with a barely-disguised spring in your step you happily start walking there to check the place out.
- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

You covertly cast your spell, but it doesn't seem to have any effect other than translating apparently random words to Elumian. Worse, you get the feeling that you've pushed your luck too far already, so you decide to call this session of laziness a rousing failure and quickly leave the library before anyone starts asking unfortunate questions. Hopefully the map's more complex enchantments can fix your mistake, because otherwise this is going to be a bit problematic.
- STOP ADVENTURE

 

 

Anyway, as for the titular library, I intend for it to be the go-to place for quick and efficient Research, much like the Sphinx is for actual skill training. Minus the BS hidden failure chance, of course. My idea is for this adventure to open up after Juvenalia (so no mass-abuse during the summer holiday) with a skill requirement of natural Research 11. The easiest way to get that is to get Decipher Handwriting 10 for +1 Cryptology max, get that to 11 for +1 Filing max, get that to 11 for +1 Library Knowledge max, and then get that to 11 for +1 Elumian max and Research 11, which gives +1 Intelligence.

 

After completing the adventure you get access/Visitation Rights to the library and it's location-based ability, Research At The Endless Section Library. That ability will (fairly) roll Insight/Cryptology, Finesse(?)/Decipher Handwriting and Luck/Filing, and for each successful roll you expand a research subject of your choosing by 1, for a maximum of +3 per turn spend. You could also add Intelligence/Library Knowledge, for a max of +4 research levels per turn, but I think the team would consider that too powerful. I'm not sure how high the threshold on the roll would be, particularly because while Insight increases are common in Y1 Finesse and Luck increases are...not as common. If anyone has any insights, let's hear them.

Edited by Metis

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The Endless Section Library, 2nd stage:

 

Historatory Plaza

 

It's a relatively short walk to where the statue of King Aranaz is located. You're familiar enough with Mineta to find the Empire Market, and the statue is located almost directly south of it. The fact that the plaza is connected to pretty much every large road in the area, on top of the fact that you do have an actual map of the place, makes it really easy to find. Once on the plaza you take a look around and see a few people milling about. There's some old people wearing Aranaz colours paying respect to King Aranaz, some tourists, people that just want to go from one end of the road to the other, even a few Academagia students. In fact, there's a second year you recognize! Standing slightly above a small crowd thanks to a stack of crates is none other than Durand...his last name escapes you right now, but it's definitely Durand, playing the role of an historic speaker. Why would someone from College Durand - someone named after King Durand, at that - be at a monument for King Aranaz giving a history lesson? Than again, who else would be? You decide to wait for the group to disperse (Durand's history lessons have a way of doing that) before simply walking up and asking him. It doesn't take long for the small crowd to get even smaller, and for an adult to shoo Durand away and take his place. Durand walks off looking under the weather, but you walk up and talk to him nevertheless. "Hey Durand. I see you're giving history lessons...?". Your voice trails off as you realize that Durand isn't reacting to your presence, and a quick look reveals that he's indeed not his usual enthusiastic self. Slowly he lifts his head to look up, sees you and his features become slightly more animated. Quietly and clearly disappointed Durand says "Oh, hello [PC FIRST NAME]. I'm just trying to get some extra credit from Professor Viada. Unfortunately people don't seem too interested in what I have to say.". You raise an eyebrow. Durand standing in public reciting historic facts "just" for extra credit? That doesn't sound right, so you ask him what's bothering him. "No need to be worried about me, [PC FIRST NAME], I'm fine. I just can't get people interested in King Aranaz' role during the Battle of Mallen Field. I guess history isn't as popular a subject as it should be.". Considering how interested in history Durand is you're sure the problem lies in his excess of interest, not people's lack thereof. Not to mention that Durand isn't very good at the whole "public speaking" thing anyway, no matter what the topic, and the fact that his College Durand robes might not endear him to the King Aranaz crowd. Now you're starting to feel bad for Durand, so while you probably shouldn't you decide to ask about why he's decided on giving a lecture about King Aranaz, seeing as how he rather clearly wears College Durand's colors. Durand confidently answers "I'm not bothered by college politics, and if you read up on all that King Aranaz did during the Battle of Mallen Field it's hard not to be impressed. In fact, have you head about-". Oh boy, there he goes, at this rate you'll never get to figuring out that accursed series of would-be directions. Actually, come to think of it, maybe Durand could help you with that. It shouldn't be too hard to convince him to tag along, if you choose your words carefully...

Hope Durand's lecture is short enough that there's time left after it to say something.
Durand's Lecture is not, in fact, short. At all. You're not at all sure what made you think it would be, in hindsight. By the time he's done you at least know a little more about King Aranaz and Mallen Field, but holy Gods are you tired. You decide to call this session a day and go back to recover from Durand's lecture.
- STOP ADVENTURE

[Tease]: Trick Durand into thinking you've got the secret that he's missing.
Durand starts his lecture, but right away you clearly show you're not interested. Even more clearly disappointed Durand meekly says "S-so you don't care either, huh?". After a quick nod you walk behind Durand and lean over him, asking him if he realizes that he could do so much better. "Huh? Wh-what do you mean?". Durand is clearly not sure if he should be comfortable with you looming over him like this, but it's fine. It's all part of the plan. You take a step back and start pacing around Durand, slowly saying "Durand, Durand. What you're missing is...oh, how should I put this? You're missing, well, intrigue. Do you really think people that come here with the intend on paying their respect to King Aranaz don't already know the basic gist of what happened in Mallen field?". You can see Durand hang his head, realising the problem. In a somewhat more seductive voice than you intended you say "Now, now, don't feel bad. I know what you need, Durand, and I'm perfectly willing to share it, it's just...there's a slight thing I need help with first.". Under his breath Durand mumbles "Always something, isn't there...", after which he looks up and asks you what you need. You put on your friendliest smile and say "First I need to find it. I got directions, but, well, I can't make heads or tails of them. Do you want to help me with that?". Durand looks a little suspicious at you, but he nods, and you take him to a restaurant. Taking a seat in a quiet corner you show Durand the map and advertisement, and he very studiously observes them both. You, meanwhile, enjoy a refreshing drink. A few minutes later Durand starts casting spells on the map, and another few minutes later he shows you the map again. There's now landmarks on it, including one that rather paradoxically says "Secret Library". While Durand enjoys his own (well-deserved) drink you take a look at the map and sarcastically remark "Not much of a secret, is it?". Durand, having emptied his glass in one go, says "Well, it was secret, but now it's not. So, you ready to go and take a look?". You roll up both the map and the advertisement, and with an undisguised grin on your face you say to Durand "After you.".

- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

You try to drop a few hints, but Durand is incredibly thick-headed and apparently doesn't notice them over the sound of his own voice reciting historic facts. You try and try, but you can't get through to him. Eventually you just give up and decide to try again another day, having wasted a bunch of time on a tiring lecture already.
- STOP ADVENTURE

[Honor of Mallen Field]: Correct Durand's lecture as he recites it, and let the rest fall into place.
As Durand starts his lecture you interrupt him, and point out that what he said wasn't quite right. Durand, surprised that someone managed to correct him, shakes it off and continues. About 3 sentences later you do it again. And another 5 sentences later, again. Looking nothing short of shocked Durand cuts off his own lecture and asks "Where and why and how did you learn all that about Mallen Field? Is there a special No-Durand-Allowed library hidden in the College Aranaz dorm or something?". With a confident smirk on your face you say "Not in the College Aranaz dorm, no, somewhere in Mineta. Let me guess, you want to know where it is.". As enthusiastically as you've ever seen Durand move anything he rapidly nods his head, and you casually look around the plaza. "Well, first let's find a quiet place to talk. This plaza is a little loud with it's history not-professor.". "I know where to go!", Durand suddenly exclaims, and nearly dragging you along he takes you to a nearby restaurant. Finding a quiet spot you and Durand sit down, and you show him both the map and the advertisement. It demands all of his attention, to the point where you have to order a drink for Durand yourself. When they arrive you enjoy yours, although Durand is too busy casting spells to notice his. After a few minutes he nearly jumps in his seat and shows you the map, pointing to a specific building with his wand. "There it is, I'm sure of it!". You don't know how but Durand has somehow managed to get the map to show the local landmarks, and the one Durand points out is listed as "Secret Library". Surprised at Durand's enthusiasm you say "Good job, I suppose you'll want to come along?". Durand nods. "After I finish my drink", he says with a wide smirk on his face. Well, you have to admit, he's certainly earned it.
- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

You try to correct Durand's lecture in a bid to convince him he should tag along, but in the end it's you that gets corrected on no less than several dozen points. Perhaps pitting your knowledge of history against Durand, of all students, wasn't such a smart idea.
- STOP ADVENTURE

[Persuasion]: Plainly ask Durand if he wants to tag along.
-You hold your hands up and forcefully say "Durand, please, let me have a word here.". Durand snaps out of his history speech, and again he looks disappointed. "Let me guess, you're also not interested?". You smile - grin, really - and respond "Oh, I'm interested, just not in the common accounts that I already read about in the Venalicium.". You can see Durand weighing his curiosity against his unwillingness to exit his comfort zone, but as you expected his curiosity gets the better of him. "You mean you've found a source of historic accounts not published in most history books? Would you mind telling me where?". With a grin that can no longer be confused for a smile you take Durand to a nearby restaurant, find an isolated spot and quietly tell him what you know. He looks excited when you show him the map, and explain how you solved it's puzzle. Durand takes out his wand and starts drawing Phemes, excitedly casting all manner of spells you didn't even know of while enjoying a refreshing drink. Durand, for his part, has yet to touch his. "The enchantments on this map are amazing! It's attuned to the statue on the plaza, and the map will redraw itself periodically to keep itself updated. It's also attuned to various translation spells, allowing the text to readily accept even simple translation spells and translate itself to certain specifications. The map also has a second function; when a specific spell is cast on it it'll change form into something else. It'll still be a map although of what I can't tell, probably the library itself but that's just a guess.". Durand's waterfall of information confirms that, indeed, this was a brilliant idea. Curious about just how enchanted that thing really is you ask Durand if he can figure where the next set of clues are, but he just raises his wand again. "No need, all I have to do is cast an Incantation and the map will show where the library is.". You look curiously at Durand and ask "Aren't finding spells more belonging in the school of Astrology?". Durand nods and says "Astrology is better for location spells, but given that we have the map which is magically attuned to the library and it's likely close by as well, I actually know an Incantation that will do a better job of tracing the enchantments woven into the map. Although...that might just be because I, eh, I'm not enrolled in Astrology...". Durand's voice trails off and he looks a little sheepish admitting that, but he perks right back up and says "Don't worry though, I can definitely find the library with this.". Your full attention is on Durand as he casts another spell you don't recognise, and a moment later the map reveals all the landmarks that weren't shown previously - including the library! You wait for Durand to finish his drink before heading there with him, quietly feeling smug that he's already pulled his weight.
- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

You try to get a word in but Durand is so focussed on his history speech that your interruptions go unnoticed. For a very long, and very boring time.
- STOP ADVENTURE

 

Edited by Metis

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Hoping that it's ok to butt in with a comment...

 

1. Like it!

 

2.1. Class skills, for everyone, should be at 10ish by the end of year one just from class. Common RE/adventure skills (incantation, negation, revision) should be at 4-7 even if they aren't class skills as they come up so often on RE's and adventures that it hard not to get some skill-step boosts for them.

 

2.2. People with big cliques will get the benefits of their clique-mates skills, so even those who don't encourage RE's, go on adventures or train can cruise 10-15's through clique-skills. Not everyone will have Zoe in their clique, but its likely thata clique has at least 3-4 members by the end of Yr 1 surely?

 

I'd expect therefore that in "common/class" skills you'd expect a skill-roll of 12 (opening weeks) to 20 (closing weeks) to be "easy", with the "uncommon skills" say 6-9 (opening weeks) to 10-15 (closing weeks) and the rare skills more like your ranking.

 

 

2.3. My guys love adventures, adventures pump out ability bonuses like mad (and skill-steps), so even without save-scuming I've averaged 7-10 in each stat (barring glory) without too much trouble on some play-throughs. Admittedly with save-scumming that bumped to 12-13 which is a fair jump but I'd still be looking at "difficulty 10 = expect a pass" for opening Yr 2.

 

3. Oddly I think that you and I use "Role"-players and "Roll"-players in diametrically opposite ways. I use "role" to refer to people who see the game as story driven and "roll" for the munchkins and number-crunchers who see the game as numbers/dice driven. :rolleyes:

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...I never used the term "Role-players". I use "Roll-player" in the sense of "someone that plays by the rolls", and a variety of other terms for people that don't.

 

And average 7-10 in each stat? My last character save-scummed and even exploited the class skipping bug to spam the daylights out of adventures and the Sphinx and she barely missed average 10 across all stats, including the very numerous temporary and semi-temporary bonuses. How, with what magic, can you get that much without save scumming?

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The Endless Section Library, stage 3 (last stage I have pre-work done for so don't expect another quick update, if you'll ever get another one)

 

The Enchanting Old Man

 

You and Durand are making record time to where the library is supposed to be. According to the map it's actually located in a residence. You think this is another riddle, because the houses here look far too small to contain a decent library. Maybe it's build underground? How much can you really build underground in Mineta, though? You'd need to dig pretty deep to make sure you don't hit anything you shouldn't, which is a bit of a problem given that Elumia is a floating island. Durand doesn't know either, and once you've arrived at the marked destination it looks even worse than you thought. This isn't just a small residence, this is a small garbage dump. Durand initially looks disappointed, but he quickly perks back up. "It must be a Glamour, anyone skilled enough to weave the enchantments present in the map would be skilled enough to make a house appear more derelict than it is, and that's probably all part of the secrecy as well.". You have to agree with Durand's idea, but that begs a few questions. "So how do we get in? Well, first off, is this where the library really is, and if so, how do we get in?". Durand stares at the map and thinks out loud. "This is where my Incantation says the library is, and the map certainly isn't showing it wrong. I guess it might be another riddle, but if there is one I'm not seeing it. This just looks like an abandoned building. Or a building made to look like it is. No matter whether it's a Glamour or Enchantment, though, I'm certainly not good enough to Negate it.". You pipe in with "Maybe there's something we need to do first to make the library show itself, like to trigger an enchantment or something?". Durand shrugs and muses "Maybe, it's certainly within the capabilities of whoever enchanted the map.". You shrug and ask "Well, shall we take a look inside?". Durand doesn't seem to thrilled with the idea, as he nervously sputters out "B-But isn't that breaking and entering?". You roll your eyes and say "I mean knock on the door.". Durand, looking a bit embarrassed, nods and steps aside. You walk up to the door and give it a few hard knocks. The door is old and worn, the wood felt like you were about to knock it loose, but thankfully it held. You wait for a minute, and a strange-looking man opens the door. A raspy and aged voice, coming presumably from the man, asks "Y-yes? W-what do you w-whippersnappers want?". The man looks older than the hills, with his wrinkles containing more wrinkles. He's bald underneath his pointed hat but possessing a truly massive beard that extends from his face to his ankles and covers most of his body more effectively than you'd assume a simple beard could. The only other thing you can see is the hand with which he opened the door, worn down from years of hard work and covered by a plain, dark-green robe which matches with his hat. Durand walks up behind you and nervously stares at you, apparently completely at a loss of how to respond. What do you say?

"We're looking for a library."
"That so? D-Does this look like a l-library?". You have to admit it doesn't look like one from the outside, but that makes sense given that the library wants to keep itself hidden. The old man looks at Durand, but he has nothing to say. "So y-you kids needs s-something else or not?". You decide to just shake your head and apologize for the interruption. The old man nods and closes the door. Durand turns around and says "I'm sure my spell worked, though.". You take out the map and point to the door. "It did, you said that this map was attuned to the library, right?". Durand slowly nods, and you ask if that connection goes both ways. He scratches his head a bit and says he assumes so, after which you put the map back in your robe. "Remember what you thought about having to trip an enchantment? I think this map is the enchantment. Didn't you notice the man was wearing Avila's colors?". Durand's eyes light up for a moment, but then dim again. "But the man's so old he'd have attended the Academagia back when Avila was still a female-only college.". You roll your eyes. "And someone that can enchant a map like this can change his appearance how much?". Durand's eyes light up again, and he asks what the plan is. "Just asking nicely isn't enough to get us in, obviously, so we're going to need to impress him with a show of how much we want to learn. That means you can just focus on your history books, I'll do my part in the meantime.". Durand nods, and you both return to the Academagia to lay out a plan, of sorts, for next time.
- STOP ADVENTURE

[Dialectic]: "Introduction in the ways of knowledge."
You give the old man a short speech about the more abstract definitions - and importance - of knowledge, really hoping that Durand's spell worked because otherwise you're standing here giving a speech to a random person who probably has no idea what's going on. Thankfully it seems that Durand's spell was on the mark, because the man doesn't appear as confused as you'd expect him to be. On the contrary, he seems to be listening intently. Once you're done he firmly nods, and with a much less raspy and aged voice he says "Looking for the library, are you? Don't look so surprised, you're hardly the first to do so. Come on in, you too lad. I'll show you the way.". The man turns around and walks inside, leaving the door wide open. Both you and Durand gleefully follow the man inside, Durand being more cautious than you are but no less excited.
- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

Both Durand and the old man look at you with a confused expression. A little embarrassed you say "It sounded much better in my head.". The old man turns to Durand, who just shrugs. "Well, if you kids need knowledge I-I think you'd be better off asking a p-professor. A-a Dialectic professor, p-probably.". You slowly nod and turn around, after which the man closes the door. Durand nervously follows you and tries to say something encouraging, but he doesn't really know what to say. You're made enough of a fool of yourself one day, you'll try to get the old man to talk another day.
- STOP ADVENTURE

[Honor of Mallen Field]: "Information about King Aranaz."
The man looks at you without any noticeable expression beyond "holy Gods that is a massive beard". You're just going to assume "confusion" and go along with your plan anyway, despite Durand being in his namesake's college. You show off with your knowledge of King Aranaz - reciting everything you know about the man's importance in history and...not much else, really. Ironically enough you're in much the same boat as Durand was in the plaza. The old man, at least, nods once you're done. "In short, you're looking for something more than just a list of historic facts to announce to random people?". The man's voice suddenly doesn't sound quite as old or raspy, and that's not all to boot. "You could say that, minus the random people part. I'm sure you understand.". The old man actually seems to smile a little, but it's difficult to say. "Alright, you've made your point. Come on in, you too lad.". You happily walk inside, and while Durand looks more confused than anything he dutifully follows you without question.
- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

"Don't you kids have p-professors that can explain those things for you?". You slowly shake your head, and the man turns to look at Durand. He doesn't have anything to add. "Sorry kids, but if y-you need information I think y-you should ask a professor.". Neither you or Durand have anything to say in response, so after a moment the man closes the door. You let out a sigh and start walking back to the Academagia, with Durand following behind you and trying to think of ways to impress the old wizard (approximately none of which you think would work).
- STOP ADVENTURE

[Character Study]: Is this guy really who he presents himself as?
You're fairly certain this is just someone acting out an over-the-top caricature of an old, cranky man. That said he doesn't appear to have cast a Glamour on himself, since nothing about him seems to shimmer, but at the same time this doesn't look like a costume either. So far you've confirmed that the maker of the map, who probably owns or is at least employed in the library, is a master of Enchanting. Maybe this man Enchanted his appearance to resemble this? However he managed that this "old man" is probably another riddle, of sorts. Since the library likes to hide you guess this man is here to confirm you're not just chasing rumors. Maybe if you can convince Durand that the man isn't some random person who has no idea what's going on, his passion for history will get you a free pass inside.
- UNLOCK [Passion] OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN

The bearded wizard looks very much like a bearded wizard.
- CHOOSE AGAIN

[Passion]: "To give you a history lesson."
Durand looks at you confused. You step aside, push him in front of the man and tell it's fine, the man's just another riddle. Durand nervously stares at the old man, who gives you a subtle wink before turning his attention to Durand. Making a bit of a show of stroking his massive beard in an attempt to appear lost in thought the man says "A History buff, are you? Well, I did get into a discussion with a friend of mine a while back, about King Durand. You're wearing College Durand's robes, lad, what do you know of your College patron?". You notice that the old man's speech pattern seems to have vanished, while Durand straightens up (as best he can) and proceeds to give a detailed summary of King Durand's accomplishments. He's clearly not used to being put on the spot like this since his facts, while accurate, are a bit all over the place. But he seems confident that he's done a good job of describing King Durand. You can't really judge the old man's reaction, it's too covered in beard, and his voice has also seen (heard, perhaps) better days. With a grin somewhat visible behind the wall of beard the man says "You certainly know your patron, lad, but I notice that everything you know is common knowledge. I suppose the two of you are here to address that?". You simply nod, while Durand flies into a speech about his excitement of historic...everything, really. The man gives both you and Durand a good stare, but his eyes eventually settle on you. "You have one of my maps, than?". You nod and take out the map, which the man casually inspects. "This one, eh? I should have known, really, you two being from the Academagia and all. Well, come in you two, I'll show you to the library.". Durand is so excited he actually takes the lead, which you're more than happy to let him do, and you follow inside behind him.
- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

You put Durand on the spot and ask him to impress the man with his knowledge of history. Sadly your encouragement isn't enough for Durand to overcome his nerves, since he seems to have misplaced quite a few historic facts. The old man thankfully seems to understand, and after a while he just waves for Durand to stop and advises you both to get some rest and come back later, fresh and knowing what to expect. You nod, and a disappointed Durand agrees as well.
- STOP ADVENTURE

 

Edited by Metis

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Well, thinking on it, I count bonuses from ability scores, so they aren't just straights - but if you added magical items they'd bump further.

 

This run-through I'm on 70 points straight, I get 9 more from skills, 7 more from magic, and usually I have a few more from emotions. I have 14 days left with 3 adventures are underway, I've save-scummed a bit, but not hugely - except where I'm trying different adventure paths to flesh out the wiki. So not a "stormin'" play-through, but given the need for some skill training not bad.

 

In general though it's not what I do, as what I avoid doing. I don't use temporary ability boosters, don't use actions to gain money, don't bully or otherwise mess with other students, don't train Pamela, don't go after a large clique (I go for Zoe, then Vincent E if he's free, that's all). I shop only 2-3 times a year, and cast only 2-3 spells unless going for exam-smashing (which now seems counter-productive). I skip class a lot during exam months, but otherwise not so much - and take 2 week "good student" breaks to keep the risk of detention down.

 

In short I avoid a lot of things which don't provide a long-term benefit (I don't plan on kidnapping Pamela from the Academagia when I leave) but would soak up actions.

 

The Vanishing Dorm key and Vincent also give me plenty of random events to provide me with free skill boosts, relationship gains and pims without me having to spend actions to get them.

 

Also, I meta-game by using the wiki to identify "soft" adventures (low DC's, good skill trainers so I don't need to waste time training skills) and which adventures are to avoid (crazy DC's, or no boost).

 

I admit to being a roll-player in denial. :ph34r:

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Someone should compile a list of tricks in a topic that is not this one, since no one would think to look for it here. I think I'm doing pretty well but apparently not.

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The Endless Section Library, stage 4

 

The Endless Section Reception

 

Though a few rooms and dimly-lit hallways the old man takes you to a door. The door is...small, functional and not at all special or impressive. It looks like a regular door, leading to a regular basement. That's probably intentional, though. Looking more nervous than he did a moment ago Durand asks "So...this is it? This is where the library is?". The old man nods, and takes a wand out of his robes. With it, he simply points to the door. "Indeed lad, beyond this door is the library. Now I can show you two the reception area, but unfortunately I can't let you wander past that.". "Why?", you ask a bit impatiently. The look on the man's face quickly turns serious, and with a tone to match he says "Because this library lives up to it's name - The Endless Section Library. You get lost in there, you're never getting back out, and no magic - not even a Gates wizard - is going to let me find you. Is that clear?". The man points his wand and you, and you nod saying "I understand.". The man turns his gaze, and wand, towards Durand, who also nods and says "Understood.". The old man nods, puts his wand away and takes out a small, silver key from the same pocket. "Okay kids, I'll show you the library, what I can show you at least. I'll tell you for free right now that it'll take effort before you two can get maps of your own, allowing you to freely come and go here, but until then...". The man's voice trails off as he puts the key in the door's keyhole and turns it, creating a strange tone rather than the usual sound of metal grinding against metal. With a grin on the man's face he says "I can show you what you'll be working towards.". Behind the door is a very, very long staircase, and both Durand and you follow the old man down to where the library is. Minutes of walking down stairs later there's finally light at the end of the tunnel, and after the man unlocks and opens another door the three of you walk into what must be the reception area of the library. Both you and Durand are left completely speechless by what you see. The reception's desk is the only thing in the entire room that doesn't look like it was made for creatures much larger than humans. There's six shelves, both left and right of the small door you entered from, and each one towers over you. The shelves are absolutely packed to the gills with books, and looking into the aisles...they indeed seem endless. It's honestly disturbing. Durand looks like a kid in a candy store, although the amazement and wonder comes to an abrupt end when the old man calls out to him. "Hey, lad, don't forget, no going past the reception.". As excited as you've ever seen Durand he turns to the old wizard and asks "This, this place is amazing! How, I mean where did, and...I mean, never mind about that! How can we get our own maps of this place?". The old wizard has a smile on his face and he turns to you, although sad to say you're not so impressed as to miss the obvious. You sigh and plainly asks "I'm sorry to ask this, but this library has a history with Gates magic, doesn't it?". Durand's excitement turns to shock, but the old wizard calmly nods. "Yes, yes, it does, but that's no longer a concern. Rest assured, the librarians at the Academagia wouldn't be handing out discovery maps of this place if there was anything related with Gates still going on.". That makes sense, and you see a visibly relieved Durand nod as well. The old wizard, focussing on you, asks "Any other questions?". You look at Durand, who doesn't have anything to say, so you turn back to the old wizard and ask "What we need to do to get our maps, obviously, but also...do you have a name?". The old wizard looks surprised for a moment before he starts laughing to himself, and a moment later he says "Of course, of course! Anyway, my name's Omoi Kane. As for the maps, well, that's a bit more complicated.". The old wizard takes out his own map and unfolds it, showing it to both of you. "To put it simple as, no offence, neither of you look like master Enchanters, this map is made by combining several very specific items and applying a boatload of very specific magic. I'd give more detail but unless you're in the middle of following an Advanced Enchantment Theory class, I'm afraid you couldn't make any sense of it.". Durand slowly nods, and you ask if you'll need to get those items. The old wizard, predictably, nods and with his wand creates a Glamour image of what you'll need to bring. "There's five ingredients I'll need from both of you, assuming you both want a map. So that will be two vials of vampire blood given willingly, two Nanna bull horns magically broken off at night, two broken Ganesha tusks, two tail feathers from Athena birds, and lastly two vials of werewolf blood given willingly. Any questions?". Durand looks like all enthusiasm has left him, it just hasn't registered yet. If only for him you ask "So all of those ingredients, I guess aside from the vampire and werewolf blood...do we have to, you know, kill those animals to get them?". "Oh, good heavens no. You can simply remove them and they'll grow back, eventually. You can magically remove them, even, make sure the animals don't feel a thing. Of course, getting the animals to let you do that is another matter entirely. You don't have to really hurt anyone, it's just...a different approach to it.". Durand finally lets his disappointment show, clearly he's not a fan of the idea, although is that because he's afraid of himself or these animals? You're honestly not sure how to feel about this yourself. Maybe there's another option?

[no roll]: Agree to collect the animal parts.
-You nod and say "We'll collect the needed parts.". Durand doesn't look too thrilled, but he nods as well. Kane looks through the pockets in his robe, mumbling "Good, good, now, where did I-ah, here it is.". He takes out a piece of parchment and hands it over to you. "Here's the address of someone who can help you find those animals, I don't exactly keep track of every single creature no matter how special or rare they might be, but this man does.". You nod, and turning to Durand ask "Shall we go, then?". Durand nods, his earlier confidence and excitement no longer there, and somewhat reluctantly he says "All right, let's.".
-- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE PATH A

[no roll]: You really don't want to go looking for animal parts. Isn't there another way?
-You're sure that you could convince Durand to look for the animal parts, if it's necessary, but is it really? You turn your attention to Kane and say "I don't want to put words in my friend's mouth, but I'm pretty sure I speak for both of us when I say that...we're not really comfortable with the idea of taking parts from animals for our own gain. That we don't have to kill them to get what we want I can understand, but, still. Please, isn't there something we can do for you in return for you collecting those parts for us?". Kane starts stroking his beard in contemplation, and he turns over to Durand. "You feel that way as well?". Durand half shrugs, half nods and meekly says "I, well, yes, actually. I mean, I'm not against getting those things if I have to, but, I'm...not too good with animals, especially unfriendly ones.". Kane nods, a bit sadly, and says "I can certainly understand that, but I'm afraid...that...". Suddenly the man's voice trails off, and a moment later he snaps his fingers. Suddenly looking energetic and excited he turns back to Durand and says "Of course, you're in College Durand, yes? So you must be studying Botany.". Durand nods and says "It's not my best subject, but I have studied Botany, yes.". Kane turns to you, and you shrug, saying "If you need plants I can certainly look for those.". Kane excitedly nods and says "Yes, yes, perfect, that'll be perfect. Ah, one moment, plea-oh where did I put that?". Frantically looking through the reception's desk, Kane eventually finds and takes out a worn-looking piece of parchment. "Okay, so here's an alternative method, if you'd prefer that. A friend of mine asked for some very, very specific magic a while back. I told her that she needed two potions and gave her a list of ingredients, and the address of someone that can brew it, but I've heard that apparently collecting the ingredients has been quite the stumbling block for her. If you two can find those ingredients for her, I'll gladly assemble two maps for you two.". You look at Durand, and he clearly approves of this approach more so than the direct one. Still, you play it safe and ask "Let me guess, getting these ingredients will be harder than getting the animal parts? Significantly so, perhaps?". Kane nods. "I would assume so, it depends on how many ingredients have already been collected and how many are left. Still, if you two are more familiar with plants than living creatures, this is an option.". You look at Durand but he just shrugs, looks like this is your decision.
-- UNLOCK BOTTOM OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN

[no roll]: Agree to collect the potion ingredients.
-You nod at Durand and turn your head back to Kane, saying "We'll collect those potion ingredients.". He nods and hands you the parchment he's holding. "Here's the girl's address, go and talk to her first. She'll tell you which ingredients she's already found and which ones she still needs.". Durand walks over to you and says "Sounds like a plan, shall we go?" while you read over the address. You sigh, nod to Durand and say "I'll take the lead, if you don't mind.".
-- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE PATH B

 

 

Sure as I am that I'm just stirring up a hornet's nest by asking, but does no one (else) have any feedback or comments?

Edited by Metis

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The Endless Section Library, stage 5a

 

Welcome To The Hunt

 

Following the directions that Kane gave you both you and Durand can easily find your way to a building located a few blocks from the Empire Market. One look at the building tells you that whoever owns the shop means business. Stuffed animals line the shelves or are hanging from the ceiling thanks to some (near) invisible wire, there's a small collection of hunting equipment, from simple bows to wands, for sale being displayed in the back and the smell that can be detected even while standing outside the shop is...something else. Durand, with a rather large question mark written on his face, asks "Are you sure this is a good idea?". Honestly? No, but that's never stopped you before, and you want to see just how much knowledge that library really has. You give Durand a confident nod, and start walking inside. Durand hesitantly follows you, and the man standing behind the counter, who you assume is the proprietor, gives you both a welcome smile. "Welcome to Clay's HEAT, Hunting Equipment And Trinkets. I'm the owner and proprietor, Jack Clayton, though friends call me Clay. You two looking for something specific?". If he wasn't the owner of a shop half to three-quarters filled with the stuffed carcasses of animals, you'd say Clay's quite a friendly man. Durand, for his part, seems to have trouble with breathing in the shop's...unique aroma. It's a pity that for his great knowledge of spells, he sadly didn't put too much focus on Glamour. You walk up to Clay and say "We're here because we were tasked with collecting certain items, let's say. I assume the name Omoi Kane sounds familiar?". Clay heartily nods. "Sure, Kane's a good friend of mine. I guess that means you two are here to start on your quest for collecting the parts you'll need for your map?". Both you and Durand nod, the latter not at firmly as you do. Clay takes out a map from behind the counter and shows it to you. "This here's a map of Elumia Proper, a small section of it at least. See this area?". The man points to where a field is drawn on the map, with a stone tower close by. "This is where you can find what you two need, most of it anyway. The tower's home to a very old and very, well, 'peculiar' vampire, I'm told. I don't know the details, I've never been there myself. Frankly I can live with not visiting it myself, though I'm afraid you two are less fortunate.". Durand looks nervous, and a bit perplexed he asks "So, eh, what's this building here?". "That's the Academagia, at least it's supposed to be. Useful for orientation since, as you might have noticed, there's precious few landmarks on this map beyond that.". You look the map over and yes, there indeed seem to be...zero other distinct landmark on it beyond the stone tower and the Academagia. You can see Durand doesn't dare ask, so for both your sakes you ask "I suppose the item missing from the map would be the last, the vials of werewolf blood?". Clay nods and hands the map to Durand along with parchment and a quill, telling him to make a quick copy for himself. After that he crosses his arms and, turning to you, says "Yep, I imagine that's the biggest stumbling block. You'd think it be the vampire, but the one living in that tower is, well, I can't say anything too bad about him because I'm pretty sure he's the reason those three animals you need continue to thrive in that area. I mean, a vampire taking up residence right where those three animals can be found in one place, making a big enough stink to keep common people at bay but not enough to convince any authorities that he needs to be removed from his tower? Doesn't sound like a coincidence if you ask me.". You admit, that indeed sounds far too convenient to be a "coincidence". In truth, you suspect this "vampire" is actually a perfectly alive and human employee of the library, keeping the illusion of the character - and by extension, the nearby animal-filled wilderness - alive through Glamours and other magical trickery. It's probably a good idea to go and talk with that "vampire" before starting on your hunt with Durand, he's bound to have some useful tips and it should be possible, if not necessarily easy, to convince him to give you a few pointers. "Alright, all done!" Durand suddenly exclaims, and he hands the map back to Clay. "Good work, now do you two need anything else or will that be all?". Good question, actually. You don't have enough time to spare to make a trip to and back from the "vampire's" tower, but you do have some time left to spare.

 

You've done enough, call it a day.
-You look at Durand and say "I think that's enough for one day.". Durand nods, and after saying goodbye to Clay you both turn around to leave the store. Once outside Durand asks "So...do you have a plan?". You nod and explain your suspicions of this supposed "vampire". Durand looks shocked at first, but as you explain the details he himself starts putting the pieces together. Eventually, he nods. "I think you're right. All things considered it does seem likely that this 'vampire' is just a rumor, but, what if he isn't? Than we'd be walking into a vampire's lair with nothing but the assumption that he's actually just a Glamourist, right?". You frown a little and say "That and our wands. Besides, whoever lives in that tower is most likely a Glamourist, vampire or not. Either way I think it'd be best to talk to him, first. If he was actually dangerous don't you think the librarians would have noticed that students they send to the Endless Section have a strange tendency to go missing shortly afterwards?". Durand again nods, but he still doesn't seem entirely comfortable with the idea. You sigh and say "Look, just leave the talking to me and keep your cool. I swear I wouldn't knowingly walk into a vampire lair unless I had good reason to believe that vampire either wasn't an actual vampire or extremely friendly. And while I've heard nothing to suggest the latter, the former you yourself admitted is highly likely.". Durand nods, as confidently as he can in this situation, and he finally agrees to visiting the tower when you both have time. Given how much Durand wants to explore that library you're pretty sure he'll make time to match your schedule, so you probably don't have to worry too much about his. Durand says goodbye and walks off, and you do much the same.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

[Memorization]: Ask if Clay has some advice of his own to give you.
-You ask, and Clay starts thinking out loud. "I'm not sure, I never went after those animals myself so I don't really know anything about them. And I don't think basic know-hows would help you two, seeing as how I can't be sure they apply to those three creatures.". Unfortunate, but right as you're ready to drop the topic you suddenly think to ask "Ah, that's right, any idea where we might find a, you know, werewolf?". Clay's expression twists in exaggerated, though honest, confusion and giving you a shrug to match he says "No idea. I don't know much about werewolves, only that those that are still around probably wouldn't want to be my friend. I think far too many people these days would confuse a werewolf for a regular wolf and, eh, demand someone be done about the 'beast'...". The man looks a bit strangely at one of the stuffed trophies in his shop, namely that of (you assume) a regular wolf. "Yeah.", Clay says a bit disappointed. "Don't get me wrong, I paid good attention in my history classes so I know the difference between a were and a wolf, but, well, you know how people and gossip are. Anyway, I think the best chance you two have for finding the vials of werewolf blood would be to ask that vampire about it. I mean, that vampire has four of the five ingredients sitting in his extended garden or closer than that. It's not a stretch to think he'd have the fifth ingredient, right?". You're not entirely sure, but you are sure that the fact that the "vampire" has all ingredients except one will be important. You'll have to keep that in mind.
-- ADD MEMORY [The Vampire That Has Not All], CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-You ask, but Clay just shrugs. "Sorry kids, I've never gone and looked for those animals myself so I couldn't tell you anything about them, and if you don't know the basics of hunting you don't shouldn't really be going after them to begin with.". Unfortunate, but those appear to be the breaks, so you drop the topic.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

You just have to ask, does this guy know Gwendy?
-Clay thinks for about half a second before saying "Oh, you mean Gwendy Zuyder? Of course I know her, she's one of my regular customers.". Somehow, despite not having learned anything of real value, you just feel better knowing that you were entirely right about this point.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

Are any of the wands for sale worthwhile?
-You take just one look at the back wall and Clay immediately asks "Interested in anything?". You shrug and say "Eh, I'm not sure. I mean there's nothing wrong with a good wand, but, I don't really intend to spend that much time out hunting. No offence, but the skill is of limited use for an Academagia student.". With a smirk Clay asks "Than how about after you graduate?". With a smirk of your own you reply "I don't know, I've not yet graduated.". Clay definitely sees the humor in it, but you're pulled out of the battle of witty wits when Durand suddenly taps you on the shoulder. He points to a particular wand and asks "Sorry, but is that an ordinary wand? It seems much more heavily enchanted than the others.". You look at the wand Durand points out but, really, it looks like every other wand. Clay, however, seems impressed. "Good eyes, kid, good eyes indeed. That wand is actually a prize of mine, specially enchanted by Kane who did a great job working his magic. It might actually be too good, because I've yet to find someone who can afford it. Of course I can't exactly offer a discount, that'd be disrespectful to Kane's hard work.". You're going to assume that if it's that useful someone would have bought it by now, there's plenty of people with more money than sense in Mineta, but you're curious as to what this wand can do. "What was it enchanted with, exactly?". Clay looks at Durand and asks "Well, kid, care to take a guess?". Durand nods and traces a few Phemes, Incantation you suspect, after which he says "I'm not sure, but I'd guess it's attuned to Incantation with an affinity for Movement.". Clay looks impressed, you look confused. A bit sheepishly you ask "So was he right?", and Clay nods. "Not dead on the mark, but pretty close. The wand increases the holder's Finesse, their skill at Patrolling as well as the nitty-gritty of it, and it indeed has an affinity for Movement. Not quite Incantation, but I'm sure a pair of Academagia students know Finesse and Incantation work together well.". Durand nods, as if he's a proven expert, and says "Quite true, I'm enrolled in Incantation you know.". You can see Durand's curiosity building so you decide to make it crash and burn before he disappoints himself. "So what's the price you want for it?". Clay's grin fades, and a little more sheepishly he says "More than you two could afford, no offence. That wand is priced at, oh what was it, at least over 1000 Pims? Heh, it's been so long I'd have to actually check my record. Gives you an idea how long that poor thing has been collecting dust.". Even without an exact figure you can tell that's probably the most expensive wand you've ever laid your eyes on. You wonder for a moment why no one's stolen it yet, but then you remember most of the shop is filled with stuffed animals. That probably would convince would-be thieves to rob a place less threatening to their continued existence. "Anyway, if either of you kids have enough to buy it you certainly can, I just don't expect a student to have more money to burn than the odd noble who's been invited to join a hunt.". You have to admit it's quite refreshing for a merchant to be so straightforward and honest about his merchandise and what he thinks of you as customers. It helps that he makes good points, because that's a lot of Pims to burn on a single item, even if it's something as valuable as a good wand. You're not really convinced that it's worth as much as it actually costs, whatever that figure is. Perhaps later.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

 

Guess that's a no. Anyway, for people wondering why the adventure is so easy: Because the hard part starts at stage 6, maybe 7. This is just a breather after so many stages of (continuous) rolls, and as you might expect Stage 5b will be as well. Also added some information to the OP, so you can check that out as well.

Edited by Metis

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+1 to 3 research of your choice... my first (mistaken) thought was to compare it to the +1 to 3 skills of your choice and think it overpowered, but research only gives lore and (after 10) an ability point or skil max expansion, so on reflection maybe not. One could say that 10 actions = +3 to 3 abilities, which is one more than you'd expect with adventures, but you would lack the other adventure benefits (skill-ups, relationship gains, loot) so unless they change research in Yr 2 it sounds reasonable for a mid-late gme booster.

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Not to mention that if, say, the Sphinx gives you a random point of Minetan Swagger you could argue that it's useless to you because you don't have any Patience or Bureaucracy to Fight City Hall, not to mention the +3 Stress. But wait, this also unlocked A Day in Frontino, giving you access to a 1 turn adventure for +1 attribute, +1 SS to a dozen+ skills, and more! And oh hey, looks like that random point of Reason you got earlier was worth it after all, because guess who didn't train Patience or Duel! And wait, this adventure reveals the Vault of the Voices location, which (doesn't, but very well could) unlock the ability to be able to research something to begin with.

 

You get the idea. Not to mention that adventures, from a gameplay perspective, are more interesting than reading lores all day. It would be lucrative to devote a 3-day weekend to spamming Research At The Endless Section Library just to get +3 attributes or skill maximums (or, thank you Sync, both), but if it wasn't the ability would be completely useless. Remember that the fourth timeslot we have isn't free - like skipping classes, you can't simply use it willy-nilly.

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The Endless Section Library, phase 5b:

 

Welcome To The Gathering

 

Following the directions you and Durand were given you walk around seemingly randomly in Mineta, but eventually you both do end up arriving at the mentioned location, "Stolas' Astrological Insights.". The shop, if it can be called that, is a stark contrast to even the neighbouring buildings. Whereas most of the buildings here look bright and cheerful, if admittedly a little plain, Stolas' shop is painted completely black on both the inside and outside. Numerous colored dots line the walls, floor and ceiling, making it look like an exploded dance floor gone wrong (more wrong than an exploded dance floor usually would have gone by definition, anyway). Durand, clearly doubting that this place is somewhere he wants to be, slowly asks "Are you...sure we followed the directions right?". You check the parchment again, but you're sure you followed the directions right and it does mention the shop by name, so this must be the place. You tell Durand it'll be fine and walk inside like you own the place, Durand following closely behind you. The inside looks just like the outside, like you're inside a black dancing cube that exploded at some point. As for furniture there's a counter as well as several shelves and tables, each prominently displaying a multitude of small trinkets, the use of perhaps two, if that, you can reasonably guess. Durand, with his mouth hanging a bit open, starts wandering around a bit and mumbles "Amazing, what is this place?". Suddenly a strange voice, coming from the back of the shop, inquires "The visitors have come, seeking knowledge they arrive at last. Will you show yourselves, and aid me with my troubling past?". The voice sounds a bit odd, but you can hear it came from a curtained-off area near the back of the shop. You look at Durand, and he shrugs. Quietly, clearly hoping the voice's owner doesn't hear him, he says "That is why we're here, right?". You nod and walk into the curtained-off room, which you note is completely pitch-black. Durand scurries behind you like he wants to run away, but can't bring himself to leave you behind. Once Durand lets the curtain fall back it apparently triggers an enchantment of some sort, because suddenly a few enchanted lights turn on, shedding some much-needed light in this very odd room. "Please, sit.". Like you thought, the woman talking to you is trying a bit too hard to sound like a grandmother, the effort of which falls flat seeing as how she's barely past twenty, if that. She's wearing a set of robes that are a few sizes too large for her, completely covering her body like an oversized blanket. Her face is still mostly visible, if difficult to see in the dark room, but you don't see anything noteworthy. With a welcome smile, if one that doesn't match her (attempted) voice at all, the girl asks "Kane send you, did he not?". Durand nods, while you keep staring at the girl. There's just something about this whole picture that seems...weird. More so than you'd expect, at least. Undaunted by your staring the girl briefly giggles, breaking character in the process, after which she says "Than I hope you two can end the anguish of the Lady in Shadow, by playing the role of the Twins.". The girl looks down at a table in front of both of you, on which you just now notice are elaborate cards. Three of them, prominently displayed and each showing a different image. It's difficult to see in the dim light, but you can reasonably assume they're Marat cards. Durand looks positively enchanted, and you're starting to wonder whether the girl recently failed to cast a Glamour on you. Either way you're happy to have kept your wits, because it means you can observe this situation clearly. She's clearly the person you need to talk to about the ingredients you need, but perhaps you should ask her something else first?

 

Enough questions - ask about the ingredients she needs.
-"I assume you're the person we need to talk to about those ingredients?". The girl nods and hands you a list of ingredients, helpfully including a short description of each. A few of the ingredient names are crossed out, you imagine because she's found it already. There's still plenty left to get, though. You assume that if the girl could afford the market price for these ingredients she wouldn't be asking for help, and you further assume that if she can't afford it than it probably all costs too much for you to pay out of pocket just to skip the effort, so you're pretty much done talking here. If you're wrong about the prices, you'll probably find out later anyway. You hand the list over to Durand and ask the girl if there's anything she has to add. The girl smiles, almost sadly it seems, and she says "One thing, actually. My name is Filia. If you find the ingredients, please bring them to me directly.". You question why you'd need to deliver them "directly", but Filia says that the resulting potion is supposed to be a surprise, and she'd rather not that her family finds out. You nod in understanding and say "Then you'll hear from us again when we've found them.". Filia nods, and you stand up and drag poor Glamoured Durand outside. After Negating the Glamour on him you ask him to take a look at the list, having to point out that you're referring to the list Durand is currently holding in his hand, but after looking it over Durand shrugs. "Nothing I remember off the top of my head, but I'll take the list to the Venalicium and see what I can dig up.". You're more than happy to let Durand do the work, so you thank him and promise to contact him when you're ready to start looking for the ingredients. Durand nods, and you both go your separate ways for today.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

[The Everard Equation]: What do the Marat cards show?
-You have to stare at the cards really hard to see them in the dim light, but lined up from (your) left to right are three cards. The first card you notice is a Void card, not really a good one to start with. Next is the Twins, and as expected the third and last card is the Lady in Shadow. That is strange, however, because the way the girl read it the order was Void, Lady in Shadow and the Twins last. You decide, perhaps against your better judgement, to point this out. Durand rather predictably has no idea what you're talking about, but the girl looks a bit wide-eyed first at the cards in front of her, and then you. Completely forgetting her prior attempts at speaking with a grandmother's voice, she says "Oh! You...you're right. I thought the order was off and that you'd be lifting the void from the Twins, but than why are you two working in the Lady's image?". Is she seriously asking you that? Either way you plainly answer "Because we'll be wresting with the Void and that means we'll need to be able to endure the incoming - and inevitable - misery.". The girl rather cheerfully nods, agreeing with your interpretation. You're not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-You can't see too well in the dim light, which makes you wonder what the point is of showing the cards to begin with. Still, squinting your eye you do see the Lady in Shadow as well as the Twins, so you don't think there's anything wrong.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[Observation]: Who is this girl, really?
-You closely examine the girl, hoping to see something beyond that comically oversized robe of hers, and finally you notice something worthwhile - the robe she's wearing is actually just a cloak, beneath which she's wearing an actual set of robes. They're very clearly Academagia robes bearing the color and style of College Avila. It's not easy to see, given the dim light and the fact that Avila uniforms aren't exactly the brightest uniforms to begin with, but it's there. So she's an Academagia graduate, maybe even still a student? "Curious about something?". The girl again forgets to try and sound like a grandmother, although admittedly that never really worked to begin with. You're really curious, doubtful really, about this girl so maybe it's time to ask a few more personal questions.
-- UNLOCK [social Skills] OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-You take another close look, but you don't end up seeing anything at all distinctive or otherwise noteworthy.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[social Skills]: Ask the girl who she really is.
--"If you don't mind me asking, who are you? I mean, who are you really?". The girl looks a little sad, while Durand's expression doesn't move at all. You're pretty sure he's under a Glamour of some sort, although that begs the question why you're not. Or...maybe you are? Never mind, one mystery at a time. The girl sighs, and says "Please, don't mention this to grandma. She can't maintain the shop right now and she'll get upset if she thinks people got a wrong impression.". "I don't intend to, but you didn't answer my question.". The girl briefly looks surprised, and she mumbles something about Dialectic and Rhetoric classes. She then shakes her head and says "Oh, never mind about that. My, eh, my name's Filia Stolas...actually, I'm not sure if it is. It's...a long story.". You turn to look at Durand, who's still entranced by...something. You're getting a little worried so you ask "Sorry to ask, but, what's with my friend?". Filia sighs and says "Nothing, just a small Glamour I put in the shop. I think I may have calibrated it wrong, actually. Do you have a girlfriend, by chance?". You slowly shake your head, sure that no matter how untruthful the answer might be it's the only correct one in this situation. Filia looks a bit curious at you and asks "Really? Well, than I guess I did get it wrong. Oh, I knew I should have enrolled in Glamour.". You're starting to wonder what talents this girl really has. Than again, she did manage to captivate Durand very effectively, so you can't call it a total loss. "Anyway, about your name? You said it was a long story?". Filia nods, and says "Let me guess, you want to hear it?". You nod, as friendly as you can, and she nods herself. "I don't really want to keep it a secret, honestly. It's bugging me and, well, maybe you know what I should do. Actually, if you're going to be finding those ingredients you'll kinda be involved in it yourself. If only indirectly.". You nod, and while staring somewhat sadly at the Marat cards laid out in front of her Filia explains. "The truth is, I don't know who my real parents are. My adoptive mother has been acting as my mother since I can remember. I'm not really bitter about it, I just want to know who my real parents are and why they left me with someone else.". You're going to assume that, being an Avila student, she's tried the obvious solution of "use Astrology" before but came up empty-handed. "Are these ingredients to find your parents?". Filia looks surprised. "Oh, Kane didn't tell you?". You shrug and shake your head, saying you forgot to ask. Filia rolls her eyes and says "Figures. The ingredients are for my sister. Well...technically she's my niece-by-adoption or something, but you know what I mean.". You notice Filia seems hesitant to continue talking, but your curiosity isn't going to stop here. "If I may ask, what does your sister need these ingredients for?". Filia looks around a bit nervously before giving you and Durand a questioning look, you more so than Durand (although you assume that's because he's still Glamoured). You don't let yourself be intimidated, and Filia gives in rather easily. "That, I, well, oh how am I going to explain this...well, I can tell you it's nothing illegal, Kane's not a person that would play a part in that. Or send a pair of young teenagers to do his dirty work, rest assured. It's just...". As Filia's voice trials off you roll your eyes and rather firmly demand "Just say it.". After a moment of contemplation Filia answers "The potion is for...family matters. My sister wants to start a family but there's, well, 'complications'. I really can't tell you the details.". You can tell from her tone and general disposition that Filia isn't trying to hide something incriminating so much as she's just embarrassed, so you decide to drop the topic. It's probably in your best interest to do so, anyway. "Alright, so what ingredients do we need to get?". Filia hands you a list of ingredient names complete with a basic description of each. A few names are crossed out, although they're still legible. "Here's the list I got from Kane, I imagine you can figure out what I still need. And, eh, no, I'm afraid I don't have any Pims to spend on them, so you're going to have to find them the hard way.". You ask if you couldn't pay everything out of your own pocket, if you were exceptionally lazy and had money to burn, but Filia informs you that everything combined would set you back a few thousand Pims if you bought them off the market. You're nowhere near that rich and lazy, so you hand the list to Durand and ask Filia if she has anything else she needs to say. She taps her finger for a second while she thinks it over, but she eventually shakes her head and thanks you both for your help. You Negate the Glamour on Durand and take him outside, showing him the list that he's unaware he's currently holding. Durand stares blankly at it for a while, until he says "I'll take this list to the Venalicium and see what I can dig up. Botany might not be my personal specialty, but I am in College Durand and I take my studies seriously.". You're not about to dispute that point, so you tell Durand it's fine and that you'll contact him when you're ready to start looking for the ingredients. Durand nods and thanks you for today before walking off, and you go back to doing your own things as well.
--- ADD [Filia's Story] MEMORY, PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

--You ask a few questions but she just deflects every single one of them, apparently believing she's still properly maintaining...whatever image she's long failed at maintaining. Well, you suppose the details don't matter too much, you're here to ask about the ingredients and really nothing more.
--- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

 

And so ends part 1 of the adventure. Part 2 (aside from the intro) is going back to the old favourite of 1 turn per stage, rolls that are hard as hell and all that lovely awesomeness. In theory. The practice may or may not be another word, who knows. Also, is there a legal limit to how many references I can stuff in a single adventure? I'm hoping that, the "animal" parts aside, they're not so prominent as to be annoying, but I thought I'd ask.

Edited by Metis

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The Endless Section Library, phase 6a:

 

Visiting The "Vampire"

 

"I swear, it should be right behind that hill over there.". Sighing, you ask "Didn't you say that the last three times as well?". Durand's taking the lead on the trip to the so-called "vampire" lair, convinced that this Incantation can compensate for his lack of navigational skills. More to the point, he's the one with the copy of Clay's map. Somehow, despite having apparently misinterpreted his Incantations several times, he's still as excited as you've ever seen him. "Ah, there it is!". You're about to tell Durand he's just looking at another big tree, but when you actually take a look you see what is very clearly a man-made tower. The outer wall is made almost entirely out of a black stone, basalt you believe it's called, but several windows betray that the inside of the tower isn't made of the same material. "I told you not to underestimate my Incantations! Now come on, I want to see what's inside.". Durand actually starts running towards the tower, although it's not hard at all to keep up with him. You quickly reach the entrance to the tower, where a door decorated with strange engravings mark the entrance to the tower. You look at Durand and ask "So, mister Incantation, are any of these engravings magical?". Durand shakes his head and walks up to the door, checking if it's locked. It's not, and with a loud creek the door very easily swings open. Durand, half excited and half nervous, turns to you and asks "So you want to take the lead?.". You knew Durand's courage had to end at some point, so you nod and take a look inside. The entrance is quite extravagant, or at least was at some point. Both walls are lined with crude statues that must have weathered centuries of wear and tear. Nevertheless each still functions as a fountain, dripping a small but steady stream of water from their outstretched hands into a small channel embedded into the floor in front of them. You take a step inside to take a closer look, and Durand follows you inside. Sadly forgetting to keep the door open. It swings shut, leaving you both in complete darkness. With an almost bored tone you say "Durand...", and he quickly casts a Glamour to create some light. "Sorry about that. Shall we, eh, go?.". You nod, create your own light and start walking into the tower, with Durand following right behind you. The crude stonework, the lack of natural or even artificial lights, the humidity and the sound coming from the flowing water, everything creates a very depressing atmosphere. You can tell this place was beautiful, once, but those days are long gone. The crude statues almost seem to be mourning the state that the tower is in, because of how they look when you shine your light on them. Durand says he can't place the style of architecture or the stonework, but he's certain that this place must be centuries old. "Except the floor, which doesn't show any signs of having been re...pla...oh...wow...". You look at Durand, but he's staring in absolute wonder at something in front of him. And, by extension, you. Promising yourself (and, in so doing, most assuredly lying) never to do something this stupid again you look at what has Durand so captivated. It doesn't take long to find it. The long entrance tunnel finally comes to end end, leading into a beautiful and brightly lit chamber. The chamber is circular in shape, with a raised podium in the centre surrounded by pillars holding up a walkway from the floor above it. It's amazing what a little...well, what at lot of light can do to change the atmosphere of an area. Both you and Durand walk up on the raised podium, taking a good look around the room. More than just a second floor, you notice the pillars extend up at least a dozen floors, until all the light cast by what must be Enchanted light fixtures makes it impossible to see what exists further above. You can't see what the walkways actually connect, if anything at all, but you do see several engravings on the podium you're standing on. One corner depicts a Griffon, another depicts a familiar-looking Sphinx, another shows a man (if a bit of an odd one), and the last corner shows a Dragon. Durand is also looking around the room, until he suddenly points up and says "Look, there's someone there!". You look up, and indeed there's a humanoid shadow walking around some ten floors above you. Before you can say anything a voice rings out from everywhere around you, as if you're standing in the middle of an orchestra. "Quaeris scientiam aut quaeritis interficere?". You slowly look at Durand and ask "Did you understand that?". He slowly shakes his head, eyes fixed on the humanoid shape standing above. The voice returns, saying "I asked...", trailing off as the figure above suddenly jumps off of the ledge, polymorphs into a bat mid-fall and flies down, changing back into a human before your eyes as it lands on the floor. Both you and Durand are left speechless as the man casually says "Do you seek knowledge, or do you seek death?". The man looks like he's not seen daylight since the fall of the Empire, wearing a rather plain-looking gray robe, clearly tailored for the man in College Morvidus' style, along with a matching cloak that's a lighter shade of gray than the robe. Most noticeable are two elongated teeth - fangs - clearly visible when the man speaks. The man stares at both you and Durand for a while, apparently used to the idea that it takes a while for people to comprehend what just landed in front of him, patiently waiting for either of you two to answer. Durand is completely paralysed, either from fear or from awe. You're feeling a mixture of both, but exactly how much of each you wouldn't dare to put money on. Realising the man probably wants an answer to his earlier question, and that Durand is clearly not in a talking mood, you reluctantly decide that it's time to start doing what you said you'd be doing, namely doing the talking. What are you going to say, though?

 

"We're here seeking knowledge.".
-You try your best to come off as confident, but it doesn't really work. The man slowly walks up to you, and when he's standing right in front of you he carefully studies you up close. You want to take a step back, maybe even run away but your body refuses to move. You're completely frozen in place, almost magically so. Durand doesn't seem to be faring much better, although at least he doesn't have the incredibly creepy person standing right in front of him. After the man is done studying you he turns to Durand, who is one part impressed and roughly fifteen parts scared. The man isn't as impressed of you two as Durand is of him, and suddenly the man starts walking around the perimeter of the podium while speaking to both of you. While you both are still too frozen in horror to move your bodies. As if he couldn't be any creepier. "It has been a while since I've seen students as young as you. I imagine - can only hope, really - that you're here on Kane's behalf. I imagine he told you about what I am, seeing as you two kids aren't nearly...as scared as your kind tends to be otherwise. So...why did you two decide to walk, willingly, into a vampire's lair?". It takes effort to even speak in this situation, but somehow you can force yourself to answer the question. "We thought you were just a Glamourist, pretending to be a vampire to keep the area free of interlopers.". The vampire stares at you with what you can only guess is disappointment, and he asks "Why a vampire? Would a hermit mage not inspire enough fear on his own?". Both you and Durand, in unison, give the same answer to his question. "No, it wouldn't.". You and Durand share a strange look, but the vampire seems amused. "Good answer. Regardless, I imagine you're here to procure some ingredients from my garden, as well as myself? The vials of blood, the horn, the tusk and the feather?". Durand nods, and you ask if he knows where to get those things. The vampire nods and says "Those animals are few, but a good number of them all live in my garden under my protection. There have been attempts to poach them, hunt them, even form Familiar bonds with them. But, needless to say, those attempts failed. I'm rather protective of my herd.". His herd? Well, there goes any dreams of getting those ingredients the easy way. Not that you had much hope of that, mind. Durand quite suddenly asks the man if he's willing to help you two gather the ingredients, and in return for what, if anything. You look...probably slightly more surprised than the vampire, who gives Durand an appraising look. A moment later the vampire resumes pacing, and says "I will not, at least not directly. I'll allow you to cross into my domain, a great boon in an on itself, I'm sure you'll agree, but nothing more. You must find, trap and convince the animals that you're worthy on your own. How you do that is not my concern, you can Master them as far as I care, although do note that doing so will dirty the items with Mastery residue. Don't assume Kane will ignore that, or will miss it for that matter. He's weary of people using his library to study illegal arts.". You resist the urge to blurt out "What about semi-legal magic?" and instead you do the smart thing and ask him where you two can find his herds. The vampire shrugs and says "Somewhere near my tower. I don't keep them in pens, you wouldn't believe how easy it is to find them even at night. If, that is, you can assume the form of a bat.". Your Revision is nowhere near good enough for that, and you doubt Durand has a spell for that laying around. As if to prove his point the vampire turns into a bat again and flies back to the tenth floor, after which the orchestra briefly returns and announces that you two are free to go. Durand only gives you a brief look before he starts walking off really quickly, but you run right after him. For what it's worth you got the vampire's permission and not-so-subtle hint that killing his animals would be...bad, so it's time to start the hunt. Rather, the search.
-- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

 

[Zoology]: Is this man really a vampire?
-You're not overly knowledgeable about vampires, nor are vampires generally forthcoming with those details, but the way the man can polymorph tells you everything you need to know. You can't imagine anyone but a vampire being able to polymorph into a bat while in free-fall, and from a bat back into a human without having to draw a single Pheme (not that he could draw Phemes in the form of a bat, anyway). No part of the man ever flickered or shimmered in the brightly lit room, ruling out that his spell was a Glamour, and pulling off two perfectly timed full-body polymorphs with anything but a Glamour would be simply impossible to pull off so perfectly. You have to conclude that, yes, this man is an actual, honest-to-goodness vampire. This information doesn't please you, but it at least confirms that you were kinda, well, stupid. You just hope Durand isn't going to call you on it.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-Your brain is slightly too fried to even think about that right now.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[Observation]: Anything you're missing?
-Taking another close look you do see something you missed before. The man has two earrings, each depicting a Sphinx identical to the Sphinx engraved in the podium floor. Who or what is this guy's obsession with this particular Sphinx? Which Sphinx, anyway? They aren't exactly commonplace. Something to keep in mind for later, probably.
-- ADD MEMORY [The Specific Sphinx], CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-Nothing about the man stands out. That is, nothing you haven't noticed already about the man stands out.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

 

I said part 2 would have a simple intro, didn't I? Here is...one half of it. Also, raise your hand if you saw the "twist" coming from a mile and a half away. BTW, I imagine that if it was Miya on this trip rather than Durand she'd demand dramatic entrance lessons. No fear, just "that was awesome, and I want".

Edited by Metis

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The Endless Section Library, phase 6b:

 

Shopping List

 

Another trip to the Venalicium, another few hours you'll be spending studying for things that are really awesome when they work, but are significantly less awesome to work for. But it has to be done, so you slump into the Venalicium, really hoping someone will distract you. Same librarian waiting by the reception, surely waiting to give you a disapproving look for not liking books as much as she does. "Oh, hey, wait, you're [PC FULL NAME] right?". Wait, what's this? The librarian actually answered your prayers and provided a distraction? That's strange, mostly because you're fairly certain you don't have any books due. Still, can't look a gifted horse in the mouth, especially one you specifically asked for, so you walk up to the librarian and say "Yes, I'm [PC FULL NAME].". The librarian nods and points to the Botany section. "A friend of yours is waiting for you in that section, in one of the study cubicles. The studious kid in Durand, eh, what's his name again?". That's not a distinct description at all, but you still can reasonably guess based on who'd be waiting for you in the Botany section. "Durand de Thiomines?". The librarian nods and reminds you not to talk too loudly. You give a non-committal nod and walk off, rather easily finding the right study cubicle. Inside is Durand and a literal stack of books. He turns around and happily tells you to take a seat. "Good news, I hope?". Durand nods and gives you the list of ingredients. Nothing has changed on the list itself, but than you notice that Durand is scribbling away on a piece of parchment in front of him. It seems like another list, only with his own notes added. Still scribbling Durand says "It took some effort, but I got a good idea on where we can get each and every ingredient without going bankrupt three times over. Let me tell you, some of these things are really costly.". You sigh and say "Durand, what makes you so sure that no one already raided those places? If those ingredients are so valuable, I don't think we'll be the first to go after them.". Sounding distinctly less enthusiastic Durand says "Well, let's say that those places aren't nearby. Or necessarily safe, for that matter. But there's a good chance we'll find what we need there, and that's what matters most, right? Besides, I figure that if we find some spare ingredients we can sell those off and buy the really hard ones off the market. We'll probably have to because the last one...well, it's not easy to come by, let's just say that.". That sounds like a, well, sound enough plan, if only because you don't have anything better to suggest. "Alright, so what ingredients do we need exactly, how many do we need, where do we find them, what's the situation?". Durand nods and shows you his parchment, which lists everything you still need. Rather impressively Durand recites, from memory, "The easiest ingredient will be Batu-Te-Rem petals, since they simply grow in the shade of a willow tree and they have pretty much no purpose other than being brewed for some uncommon potions. They're hard to find, but not really valuable on the open market unless you find a desperate buyer.". Seeing as how that desperate buyer might be you, that doesn't fill you with much hope. "The next easiest ingredient will be the Pure Pearl Dust, since that's just a pearl from a specific species of oyster ground in a mortal and pedestal. Pearls in general don't really serve any purpose other than being used as cheap jewellery, so it's not overly valuable to start with, but pure pearls have the added problem of not being 'pure' as a jeweller would want it. That makes them a really unpopular choice for jewellery, driving down their already limited market value. As an ingredient they're also not too common, making them even less valuable.". Of course low demand means an even lower supply, which will drive the price right back up. You think, at least, you're honestly not too clear on what an "oyster" is. "Third easiest will be petals from Lynari, a plant that apparently only blooms when doused in holy water, or something. The book wasn't entirely clear on that, but it'll be a difficult thing to get nevertheless. They do thankfully see common use as temple decorations, so we should be able to find one rather easily. The problem is getting it's flowers.". So far nothing that seems obviously impossible, dangerous or tedious, but you're not holding out hope until you have everything you need in your own hands. "Fourth easiest will be so-called Rose Thorn, and no, that has nothing at all to do with thorns or roses. It's actually from a plant - a vine, specifically - named Emperor's Trail that also grows red leaves and rose-looking thorns. Except, well, for one it's a vine, for another it's poisonous. Also, it only grows in the Imperial Reserve, hence why it's called 'Emperor's Trail'.". You hope Durand just cares more about rules and regulation than you do, because getting into the Imperial Reserve isn't hard at all. If the poison is the problem, though, you're in trouble. "The last ingredient we'll have to find on the market, pretty much. It's the spores of a mushroom that doesn't grow on Elumia. At all. We'll have to either find someone that happens to have some or import it, which is going to cost an arm and a leg. Hence why we'll save that one for last, so we can hopefully get spare ingredients and sell the excess to cover the costs. Any questions?". Durand looks like a kid that's just got an award, he just looks so proud of himself right now. Rightfully so, in fairness, because he's certainly done his homework. You figure that any questions you have would be best asked now, while everything is still fresh in Durand's mind (or failing that, while he's still in close proximity to a massive pile of books).

 

Enough questions, time to start looking!
-"Alright,", you say, "I think that's enough questions. Shall we go?". Durand nods and says "Go on ahead to the Great Gate, I'll quickly re-file the books and meet you there. Oh, and be sure to pack some food, we might be searching for a few hours.". You're not looking forwards to an hour long search, but you head to your dorm room and prepare nevertheless. Some food, some glasses wrapped in cloth (being able to Incant water yourself is very helpful for long trips, you've noticed), and some random odds and ends. You casually walk to the Great Gate, but when you arrive Durand it already there. In hindsight, you should have figured he's a master filer. "Alright [PC FIRST NAME], any idea which you want to go first?.". You shrug and just start walking in a random direction, Durand following close behind you. You figure that the Academagia Grounds won't be the best place to look, nor will Mineta, and you don't feel like risking going to the Imperial Reserve just yet, so it's time for some wandering around Emumia Proper. You just hope you find a willow tree with usable Batu-Te-Rem petals around, and nothing else.
-- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

 

[iF: PC FINISHED An Outing... ADVENTURE IN Y1
Why did one part sound...familiar?
-You stare a few holes in Durand, who nervously asks "Eh, did I get something wrong?". You shake you head and slowly say "No, no, nothing you got wrong, just...those, what was it, Batur petals?". "Batu-Te-Rem petals...", Durand nervously corrects. "Yes, those, you said they...grow in the shade of a willow tree?". Durand nervously nods and says "Well they don't grow in the shade of one, technically, but since they don't take to cultivation a common forager trick is to leave the plants that sprouted where they don't get too much sunlight - in the tree's 'shadow', at it were - so that those plants can spread back into the sunnier areas where they'll actually grow and bloom properly. The petals and flowers growing in the shade can't be used as ingredients, so they're no point in plucking them anyway.". You nod, still while staring at Durand, and ask "Are their flowers, by chance, red?". Durand confusedly shakes his head and says "No, not unless you Revise them. Naturally their flowers are orange.". You relax and nod, after which Durand foolishly opens his mouth and blurts out "Mind you, most people only see those plants at dusk since their flowers don't open unless there's sunlight. That, and because most people pluck the plants that see the sun before it's close to dusk. So you can easily mistake the color of the flowers, unless you happen to catch one that's blooming in the midday sun.". You immediately resume staring daggers at Durand, much to his confusion, and you slowly ask him "So Batu-Te-Rem is a plant that grows near willow trees, who's flowers most people only see when they're covered by the reddish light of dusk?". Durand nervously nods and you ask "Does that not, perhaps, sound familiar to you?". Durand slowly turns his head towards the stack of books until he suddenly says "Oh that's right! Wasn't that the one flower who's name we couldn't guess last year? You remember, right? The flower you...went...looking for...". With your face completely frozen in place you say "Yes. That flower.". Durand, understandably, is feeling a little awkward right now, but you calm him down - he's not the person you'd like to see chained to a willow tree for a few days anyway. Still, this is making you intensely curious as to what this potion Filia asked for can do. You don't think you need to bother specifically remembering that, though. That's a question that'll come up later anyway, for sure.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

ELSE:
What kind of plants grows in the shade of something?
-Looking a little confused you ask Durand about the Batu-Te-Rem petals. Durand, rather cheerfully, explains "Batu-Te-Rem doesn't literally grow in the shadow, it's just a common saying because that's where you're most likely to find it.". You stare at Durand, still confused, and he sighs in the most patronizing way possible. You assume that wasn't intentional, because he looks surprised and a little alarmed afterwards. "A-Anyway, Batu-Te-Rem doesn't take to cultivation at all, so a common trick used by foragers is to not pick the plants that only see the light of dawn or dusk. Those plants can't be used for brewing anyway, but they will over time spread new plants where there's actually enough light for them to grow properly. Hence the common saying that they 'grow in the shade of a willow tree'.". You nod, and ask "Why a willow tree, though?". Durand shrugs. "I don't know. Honestly, the books don't say. I guess no one's ever found a Batu-Te-Rem that wasn't near a willow and people just accept they can only grow near one.". You have no idea why this is, but really, at this point you don't care enough to further question it.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN
END]

 

What's an "oyster"?
-Durand shrugs and says "I'm honestly not sure. A kind of fish, or aquatic plant I think? You'd think they'd be rare, but oysters can be cultivated - bred, perhaps, I'm not sure - rather easily so their pearls are more readily available than most gems. And, not incidentally, less valuable.". "And this 'pure pearl'? You said it was from a specific species of oyster?". Durand nods and says "Indeed. No one really bothers breeding or looking for them, since pure pearls are so limited in terms of use besides low quality jewels, and because getting them is, well, hard. Do you know how to swim, [PC FIRST NAME]?". You give Durand a strange look and say "Why would I swim? I have magic. Can't you magic up an air bubble?". Durand stares at you for a bit before he looks at his books a bit sheepishly. "Oh, did I forget to mention that? Why they're called 'pure' pearls when that isn't indicative of their color?". You know bad news you don't want to hear is coming, but you can't very well ignore it. "Yes, you did. Now what's this about the 'pure' part of pure pearls?". Durand scratches his head and says "Well, I couldn't really understand the book too well, but apparently the pearl is named that because it does something to keep the water it's in clean. Apparently whatever it does that doesn't react well to outside air, so if you bring a pearl into an air bubble you're going to suffocate. Or so the book claimed, I don't understand the details.". You think for a bit and ask "Hey, Durand, do these pearls keep doing that so long as they're above water or only for so long?". With a confident grin that is, frankly, comforting Durand says "Oh, no, that only lasts a few minutes. After that the pearl's perfectly safe. Otherwise you couldn't make jewellery out of it, after all.". From that, you conclude that to get these pure pearls you can either swim to them or use clever magic to bypass the swimming aspect, and than use more magic to avoid the problem with...whatever pure pearls do when they're brought above the water. You're going to have to keep that in mind.
-- ADD MEMORY [Pure Pearl Gas], CHOOSE AGAIN

 

Will it really be that difficult to find a Lynari plant and holy water?
-You ask, and Durand scratches his head. "Well, see, the thing is that the books here aren't really clear on what Lynari is, where it naturally occurs, what it's flowers are used for, and so forth. That's just it, though. If it was common and easy to find, why wouldn't there be any information on it? I swear it wasn't me not looking hard enough.". You take one look at the stack of books Durand has sitting right next to him, and you can definitely agree it wasn't from a lack of trying. Durand says "I even ran into Professor Vickery earlier, who was looking around the library for his first year Botany students. I asked him about it, but he just said he hasn't heard much about Lynari flowers either. Nor that he has one is any of his gardens.". This is indeed a mystery. Even the Botany professor doesn't know, yet apparently they're "commonly" used by temples as decoration? You're probably going to have to investigate this when it's time to start looking for the Lynari.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

Is Durand more afraid of trespassing or the vine's poison?
-"So about those vines, Emperor's Trail. What makes those so especially difficult to get?". Durand looks at you a little funny, like the answer should be obvious. "Because they only grow in the Imperial Reserve, maybe?". You shrug. "So? Do you have any idea how many times I've...gotten lost and...unknowingly wandered into the Reserve?". Durand looks like he doesn't believe a word of it, but than again, neither would you. "The problem isn't even the fact that it's in the Imperial Reserve, either, the problem is the Rose Thorn itself. Getting that is going to be hard, I'm honestly not sure how to do it.". You roll your eyes and say "Durand, if you're afraid of being pricked by the thorns just wear thick leather gloves. I certainly intend to, if they're poisonous.". Durand blankly stares at you for a moment before saying "Eh, [PC FIRST NAME]? That poison is what we need. The vine's thorns inject it into whatever they prick, and we're going to need to somehow get it without getting either caught or poisoned ourselves. The poison isn't lethal, generally, but it's bad enough to require a trip to the infirmary. Speaking of, I imagine the nurses would be curious to know how we got poisoned by a plant that only grows in the Imperial Reserve, if it comes to that.". You look rather perplexed at Durand and ask "Sorry but what do you mean by 'generally'?". "I mean that the poison tends not to be lethal, unless the victim's weak or wounded already.". You're starting to see how this is going to be a problem. You'll need to do some research on poisons before trying to collect some.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

What mushroom and where does it grow?
-"Okay Durand, what mushroom exactly do we need spores from, and where does it grow?". Durand takes a quick peek at the covers of one of the books he's got stacked next to him and says "It's called Vulcanus, and it's only found in and around Sae’on. Not exactly the most common item to find in Mineta.". Sae’on? Now why does that sound familiar? "Okay, does it have any uses other than being used in brewing?". Durand sighs, and reluctantly says "None. As in, literally none. That's why we'll have to specifically import it. There's literally no other use for those spores that I could find, so of course no merchants are going to be keeping a stock of it. Also...". Durand's voice trails off, and he takes a quick look at the door. In a quiet voice he whispers "I actually did some research into what those spores are used for. I figure if we find that out, we'll know what this potion is even supposed to be.". Good thinking on Durand's part, you'll admit, but why the secrecy? "Every book that contains that information, at least according to the library's registry, are located in the Restricted Section. Obviously I didn't get a look at them, but I'm kinda curious. Do you think Filia was lying about the potion not being illegal?". You frown at Durand's suspicions, although not necessarily because you don't believe him, specifically. Subjects that are declared illegal by the Praetexta Court or a higher authority (back when the Emperors were still around) are kept in the Forbidden Archives, like the forbidden schools, Gates and Mastery. The Restricted Section does contain books - and, indeed, possibly potion recipes - that are deemed illegal on school grounds by order of Legate Orsi, but it also contains relatively mild stuff. Books that are only in the Restricted Section because they contain strong language, or things that first years aren't supposed to read up about. The potion could, frankly, even be a love potion - first years aren't supposed to date, so that would be kept in the Restricted Section. You decide to share your thoughts with Durand, which seems to calm him down. "Yeah, but I'm honestly kinda worried. I mean, Filia said it was a surprise for her family. What if it's not a friendly surprise?". You think for a moment, but than the perfect realization occurs to you. "Durand, would Kane have send us to Filia if he knew about the potion? He certainly would have been able to find out about it with all the books he has.". Durand thinks about it, but he ends up shaking his head. "No, you're right. Still, I'm curious what it can do.". You can understand Durand's curiosity, but you think it'll be better to focus on getting the ingredients before wondering what the potion can do. Speaking of ingredients the mushroom spores might not be too difficult to get - you just so happen to know someone from Sae'on, after all.
-- ADD MEMORY [Oan's Shroom Emporium], CHOOSE AGAIN

 

 

Easy street compared to 6a, well, the description of some of the ingredients should clue you in that this is the last break you're going to get. Also, that last memory is the best memory.

Edited by Metis

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Shroom Emporium indeed! :P

 

But! Having spend an afternoon going through your reference-filled adventure I have just a few bits to ask.

 

1) Werewolf blood. Lets say if one day, I made a background in which I am a lycanthrope? Would it would work if I used my blood? Also, I hope you have played through a certain Hedi boy's adventure. *cough*Iustus*cough*.

 

2) Mr. Kane.

 

http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m1qhqaJpMZ1qih40no1_500.gif

 

^ Mr. Kane?

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1. Since it doesn't specify a certain tribe of werewolf, a certain gender or age of werewolf, etc, the PC's would indeed work if it's provided willingly. Same for Iustus, although I don't plan to make him an viable source in part to cut off that easy street, in part because walking up to him and saying "hey I kinda need two vials of your blood for something you're not going to benefit from at all" isn't going to work no matter how friendly you are with him.

 

2. Funny, but no. Kane's a wee bit older than that.

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1. Kane did:

...and lastly two vials of werewolf blood given willingly.

Blackmail doesn't count as willing.

 

2. The first moreso than the second, definitely.

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Sorry this one is late, but A: Hate Summer and B: Holy crud words. I intended for the Reason check to unlock a Scouting roll for the Familiar to scout around, and if that roll passed you'd either get the Explore check for free or a huge bonus to it, but than I realised "what if the PC's familiar is a goldfish?" and the idea kinda...died.

 

The Endless Section Library, stage 7a

 

The Elephant In The Domain

 

You and Durand make very good time running through the very long entrance hall and back outside. While still catching his breath Durand meekly says "Was that...really...a vampire?". You look at Durand and just shake your head, not really in the mood to discuss that. After you both are done catching your breath Durand asks "Well, we got permission to look around at any rate. So where do we go from here?". You think for a bit, and reluctantly ask "Eh, Durand, did you write down what items we need?". Durand takes out his map and nods, showing you that on the back he did write a list of the ingredients. "I've got a good memory, if I do say so myself, but I figured it'd be best if I played it safe anyway.". It's uncanny how on top of things Durand seems to be, but you certainly appreciate it nevertheless. "Alright, so what's the first thing we'll be looking for?". Durand looks at the map and says "Two horns from a Nanna bull, magically broken off...at night. Eh...". You and Durand blankly stare at each other until you ask "So exactly what time counts as 'night'? After dusk, past midnight before dawn, something else?". Durand, looking a bit sheepishly, says "From midnight to around 3AM, give or take a half hour, actually. I don't really know how we'd go about sneaking out the Academagia, finding and trapping a Nanna bull at night, and breaking off it's horn in a three hour time span. Thankfully Nanna bulls have two horns, so we'll only have to find one, but still...I think that'll take some special preparations.". You can agree with that. "So what's the next ingredient on the list?". Durand checks his map and says "Two broken Ganesha tusks. Oh, those will be easy to find. They're really big creatures, you know.". You look around, not seeing any creatures you'd call "really big", and tell Durand "I don't see any. By the way, do you know if those big creatures are friendly?". Durand, much to your chagrin, nervously shakes his head. You can't help but sigh. "Well, one problem at a time I suppose. First, how are we going to find these...'big creatures'. Actually, first off, what do they look like?". "Have you ever seen an elephant?". You have seen elephants before, although never a wild one. "Sort of, so Ganeshas look like elephants?". "Their heads do, particularly since they have tusks. The rest, well, I'm honestly not too sure. In any case they should be the only of the three creatures that are taller than both of us combined, so they should be easy to find.". That doesn't exactly make you feel better, but at least you have a good enough idea what to look for. Of course, that brings you to the next problem. This field - the vampire's domain, as he calls it - is rather huge. How are you going to find these creatures?

 

[Astrology]: Find a body of water.
-The best idea is probably the simplest. "Hey, Durand?". "Yes?". "These Ganeshas...do they need to drink and if so, where do they drink from?". Durand looks rather confused, and slowly he answers "Ganeshas primarily drink water, as most animals do. As or where, I imagine there's a few bodies of water scattered about in this area. Why do you aks?". "I ask because that gives me an idea. I can use Astrology to find those bodies of water, and since Ganeshas drink from them...". Durand nods in understanding, although he seems sceptical. "It's a good, simple plan, but...doesn't it sound too simple?". You won't know until you try, so you take out your wand and start searching for bodies of water. You find one almost immediately, and dragging Durand along you run towards it. It's further away than you (or Durand) would like, but it is a nice body of water. Not so large that you can't see the other side of it, not too small to attract wildlife. Durand walks up to the lake, you're pretty sure this counts as a lake, and after looking around he shrugs. "So...what do we do now? We just wait?". You walk up to Durand and start discussing plans with him. Of course, the only plan that sounds like it would work is where you and Durand hide in a tree after casting Glamours on yourselves. "And who might you two be looking for!?". The sudden barrage of noise scares Durand enough that he starts running, which would have been a much better plan had he not been standing right in front of a lake. You slowly turn around to see what just made that sound. Standing behind you are three elephant-looking creatures that look like they just came back from a grand feast. Each one, strangely enough, has one of their tusks broken in what looks like the same place, although that symmetry doesn't last as the one standing in front has a pair of arms more than the others. Mind, that means the other two only have four arms. Strangely enough they do have hands and fingers, like a human, but the texture of their skin looks much closer to that of an elephant. The one standing in front (the pack leader, perhaps?) walks up to you, showing that unlike an elephant they really only need their two legs to stand on. "You hard of hearing? I asked who you're looking for.". You're frankly surprised the creature can not only talk, his strange and unnecessarily powerful voice aside, but actually sounds polite. You quickly take a look at Durand, who's dragging himself back on dry land, and turning back to the Ganesha you say "Actually, we were looking for you. We were tasked with finding two broken Ganesha tusks, to create a map with.". The leading Ganesha looks a bit strangely at you, or however you're supposed to interpret his expression, and he turns to look at poor Durand. "I heard you two are looking for our tusks. Is that true?". Durand, his face showing a mixture of confusion and amazement, nods and repeats that you two need it to create a map. The Ganesha seems to understand, from what you'd guess. "I see, I see. Friends of wizard Kane, right?". You and Durand nod in unison, still a bit perplexed. "Of course, of course. Boys.". The pack leader turns to the other two and snaps his fingers, making a rather strange noise. The other two suddenly pull wands out from behind their massive ears and begin to draw Phemes. The resulting spells cleanly break off their broken tusks, which float over to you and Durand. The leader turns his head to Durand and says "Let me guess, you've got a few things you'd want to ask me?". Durand, without thinking, answers "Tons". The three Ganeshas start laughing in unison and the leader stays "I thought so! If you two want to hear our history, just take a seat. I can't imagine coming here and meeting Lord Krazoa wasn't a trying experience.". Durand immediately finds a comfortable place to sit down, and you follow suit. The Ganesha leader, who is indeed something akin to a pack leader, happily explains the history of the Ganesha as well as some details of Lord Krazoa, which is the name of the vampire living in the tower.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE, ADD LORE?

 

-The simplest plan would be to simply find a body of water and hope you run into a Ganesha. Durand agrees that it's a good idea, but while the theory indeed sounded perfectly fine in practice you find yourself wandering around the vampire's domain for a few hours with nothing to show for it. That's not to say you didn't see any creatures at all, but you certainly didn't see any with an elephant's head. Disappointed and not a bit tired, you and Durand decide to call it a day and try again later.
-- +1 Stress, STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Explore]: Look around and see what you find.
-"So I was thinking we'd first walk up the hill, get a nice look of the area.". Durand shakes his head, noting that Ganeshas don't live on hills, they prefer living in forests. "Okay, than we'll first explore that forest. If there's nothing there we'll walk down to the south and explore over there, and if we don't find anything there we'll just head back home. Sounds like a plan?". Durand doesn't look too thrilled. "Is 'walk around randomly' really the best plan?". Apparently he really isn't used to exploring, although that seems fitting. "Eh, Durand, we won't explore the hill because Ganeshas don't live there. We decided on the forest because they do live there. We're not looking around randomly, we're looking for places Ganeshas would prefer to live. Now come on.". You start walking, Durand following behind you, and with a small gleam in his eyes he recites everything he remembers about Ganeshas. It's neither specific or really helpful, but you trust your exploring skills and you don't have a better plan. Walking through the forest is nice, if a bit annoying because Durand really isn't fit enough for this, at least up until you start hearing explosions. "Eh, [PC FIRST NAME]...you hear that too, right?". You slowly nod and there's another explosion, clearly coming from a certain direction. Both you and Durand start running, perhaps against your better judgement, until you find something out of place. There's a small clearing ahead of you with, strangely enough, a stone plaza surrounded by a low brick-and-mortar wall. You and Durand share a very confused look, and slowly you both creep closer. Soon you see the cause of the noise you heard earlier. Two mostly human-shaped elephant creatures are actually fighting a proper wizard's duel, complete with a duelling circle that circles the entire plaza. Both creatures, who's heads are clearly elephant shaped with each having a broken tusk, have a wand in one of their four hands and they seem to be taking turns casting a spell. Also inside the circle is a similar creature, clearly they're Ganeshas, with no less than six arms and hands, who seems to be watching over both duellists as a judge. The Ganesha on the left casts a spell, creating another explosion noise, and the judge holds up his right...hands. Very loudly he bellows out "Hoc certamen est. Victoria vadit ad defensor.". The duelling circles fades, and the Ganesha on the left hangs his head, you guess he lost. You shake Durand to get his attention and ask "Was that Elumian? What did he say? And since when can these creatures talk!?". Unfortunately Durand is completely speechless, but after you drag him behind a tree he slowly says "I...I just...wow. That was amazing.". "Yes, it was amazing, now would you please explain to me what we just witnessed?". Durand, completely enchanted by what he just saw, says that must have been a duel. "I noticed that, Durand. What did the judge say?". "I'm not sure but I think the big one said 'This duel is over. Victory goes to the defender.', it definitely sounded like Elumian. Mostly.". Well, the strange situation aside you've definitely found Ganeshas, but now what? The unmistakable sound of the judge answers that question as he suddenly bellows out "Me custodia aequus, aequa duelli iuro erit. Donec ut velit discere artem, et congreget, et discere.". "Eh, Durand, translation please?". Except when you look where Durand was standing a moment ago, he's no longer there. You take a quick look around, and you see Durand actually sneaking towards the duelling plaza, or whatever it is. Baffled that he'd do such a thing you follow behind him far as you dare, but Durand actually walks right up to the wall in plain sight of the judge! The latter looks confused, until Durand says "Honora ad acceptionem. Me et amicum meum, volo studere et discere.". Why do you feel like the only person left in the world that speaks Renaglian? The judge nods, and Durand yells for you to join him. You give up trying to understand this and just casually walk to Durand, looking incredibly confused. Before you can say anything Durand tells you to be quiet and watch. It's a rather interesting show, especially since the Ganeshas have different rules than you're used to, but you still want to drill a hole in Durand's head and fill it to the brim with questions. The duel between these two Ganeshas, for better or worse, doesn't last long. The one of the right is clearly better. The judge announces who won the same way he did before, after which you ask Durand why he decided to just run up to here. "Earlier, the judge said something like 'Under my impartial eye I'll guarantee a fair duel. Any students who wish to learn the art can watch.'. Sorry, their Elumian is a bit different than the one I'm used to, so I'm not really sure.". Before you can ask Durand anything the judge, who you haven't noticed has been walking up to you, says "In Renaglian, 'Under my impartial watch, I swear there will be a fair duel. Students that wish to study the art, gather and learn.'. As for your friend, he's quite the flatterer.". You officially give up trying to understand this. Durand doesn't waste any time questioning the judge, who happily answers Durand's (and your) questions. A large amount of information about the Ganesha and their history later, and you finally get the opportunity to remind Durand of why you're here - the broken tusks. You didn't have to worry, though. The judge seems to know Kane and without raising a fuss two duellists from before show up, each casting a spell to cleanly break off their broken tusk and making it float over to you. Quite a strange day, and definitely not what you planned, but you will happily accept the victory.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE, ADD LORE?

 

-A long and thorough exploration of the area later and you've come up with absolutely nothing other than a pair of sore feet. Frustrated and annoyed you and Durand have no choice but to call this day a bust and try again later.
-- +1 Stress, STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Reason]: Is there a better way?
-This isn't a pretty situation, to be honest. You and Durand simply can't do much other than walk around randomly. Well, perhaps your Familiars could help by covering some extra ground while you and Durand do the same. It might not be much, but it's something.
-- +CoS, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-You're standing in the middle of nowhere within nothing but a crudely drawn map of a map which shows, at most, a few trees located roughly where there's a forest. This isn't going to be easy no matter how you slice it.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

 

Ergh, words. Anyway, who or what the Ganesha are is something I may detail later, or it's something the team can fill in later because I don't care. Or because words. I'm debating whether they're a Gates experiment gone wrong (fitting, as the Endless Section also has a history with Gates) or just intelligent magical creatures that never made proper contact with the (then-)Empire of Man (also fitting, since they speak Latin Google Translate Elumian and have very human-like customs).

Edited by Metis

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The Endless Section Library, stage 7b

 

Search In The Shade

 

The trip into Elumia Proper is uneventful. Honestly you haven't gone that far from the Academagia, it's still perfectly visible if you turn around and look. Willow trees thankfully aren't in short supply here, but no matter how many you check you can't find any Batu-Te-Rem, either in the shadow or in broad daylight. Eventually you ask Durand if he has any more hints. "None that I can remember. Batu-Te-Rem is just rare, and exact locations aren't advertised. Someone might have cast Glamours just to hide them for all I know.". Wonderful, as if this search wasn't hard enough already. You'd just give up and buy them off of the market, but, well, that's just going to result in even more costs down the line. Still, the novelty of wandering around has definitely worn off. There has to be a better - which is to say, faster - way to do this.

 

[Explore]: Look around less well-travelled areas.
-If there's other people occasionally looking around for these petals, it only makes sense that you wouldn't find any in easily accessible locations. Sadly, that means it's time to start walking farther away from the Academagia and deeper into Elumia Proper. Wandering in mostly random directions eventually pays off, as you and Durand start walking up a hill that alternates between being having a simple pathway up and a straight cliff back down. Quite a strange locale, but one that's definitely less well-travelled compared to the mostly flat field you were looking through before. Thankfully Durand has no trouble keeping up with you despite his dislike for exploration, in fact he honestly should be taking the lead since due to his Negations he's not at risk of falling off a cliff. You, on the other hand, have had a close call or two already, but thankfully you're not unfamiliar with climbing. It takes quite a bit of effort, but eventually you and Durand manage to climb to a point where the hill doesn't look like someone tried, repeatedly, to cleave it in half with a Draconic kitchen knife. Even better, there's willow trees everywhere. "Let's hope there's Batu-Te-Rem here somewhere, because if people are willing to go this far to find them I don't know what to do.". Durand nods, and still floating around he starts looking around, you start looking in another direction. It doesn't take long for Durand to suddenly shout "[PC FIRST NAME]! I found some!". That beautiful sound of a plan working perfectly, you'll never get enough of it. You walk over to Durand, who has his wand out and is using it to shine light on a bunch of orange flowers. "This is is, this is Batu-Te-Rem.". Excellent, you and Durand pick all the valuable petals and leave the plants in the tree's "shadow" alone. You hand the petals you picked over to Durand and ask "So where and how are we going to store these?". With a grin Durand replies "Right here, actually.", and he pulls out a small, rectangular pouch from his robes. After dropping all the petals in it he says "This is one of Professor Vickery's gardening tools, an enchanted pouch that'll keep any plant inside nice and fresh. We can't use it for everything, but I'll think of a way to preserve the rest, don't worry.". Nice to see Durand so on top of things, especially because you kinda forgot about it yourself. "Alright, so what's next?". "The pure pearl dust. Now I happen to know of a lake that, supposedly, hides a few of the oysters that make those peals, but, well, they're pretty deep under water. I hope you know how to swim, [PC FIRST NAME].". Right, you'll need to prepare for that.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-Figuring that you're not going to find Batu-Te-Rem in any locale that's easily accessible, you decide to go farther away from the Academagia and climb up a not-so-nearby hill. Unfortunately the hill is even less forgiving than it first looked, because a small misstep later and you fall off a small cliff, painfully landing right on your casting arm. Durand thankfully was enrolled in both Negation and Revision last year, so he has no trouble treating the worst of it, but it still takes a trip to the infirmary before you can move your hand again.
-- -3 Vitality, STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Negation]: Desperate times call for desperate measures - look around for Glamours.
-Desperate beyond reasonable measure you turn to Durand and tell him that you think it's time to start Negating every willow tree you come across. Just in case. Durand clearly doesn't like the idea, neither do you truth be told, but neither of you has a better idea, either, so it's time for Negations to fly. Durand, being in his namesake's College, thankfully knows more than enough Negation to pull his weight. Not that you're an amateur yourself, of course. Well over an hour and far too many willow trees later you suddenly hear Durand shout "[PC FIRST NAME]! I found some!". Frankly, you don't believe him. Not until you actually see Durand standing next to a willow tree circled by other small plants. They look dead, honestly. "Guess our obsessive casting of Negations worked, this here is Batu-Te-Rem.". "That's nice, but, eh, is it actually still alive?". Durand nods and casts an Incantation, shining light on the plants. Each of their flowers suddenly open, revealing bright orange flowers. And, more importantly, flower petals. Durand, with his shining wand, points to several of the plants. "These three we can use for the potion, the rest we'll leave behind.". "Because they're useless for potion brewing, but useful for spreading more Batu-Te-Rem, right?". Durand nods, and you both pick all the valuable petals there are. "These need to be preserved, otherwise they'll dry and rot, but you don't have to worry about that. I've got that all worked out already.". You hand the petals you picked to Durand, who puts them in a pouch. You stare a bit confused at the pouch, asking Durand what it is. "Professor Vickery has a few enchanted tools for preserving plants. This pouch is one of those. It'll preserve the petals for us, as well as a few of the other ingredients we'll need. I'll find a way to preserve the rest, though, don't worry.". You have to admit, you feel a little stupid not having thought of that yourself. Still, Durand certainly took care of that very effectively. In any case you both have had more than enough of looking for willows for one time, so while walking back to the Academagia you ask Durand what's next. "Next is the pure pearl dust. Now I know of a lake - not Ardica Lake, one much farther from the Academagia - where apparently there's a few of those pure pearl oysters. Getting one isn't going to be easy, though. They're pretty deep under water.". Right, you might have to brush up your swimming skills for this one.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You're honestly not sure what you were expecting, but "absolutely nothing" sound roughly like what you should have been expecting. Two hours, far more than two willow trees and enough Negations to make your wrist sore you and Durand have gather a grand total of absolutely nothing. You may have to brush up on your Botany if you want a better chance to find anything, maybe.
-- +1 Stress, -1 Vitality, STOP ADVENTURE

 

[botany]: Can you think of anything helpful?
-As far as Batu-Te-Rem is concerned you don't know anything about it other than what Durand told you earlier, and if he knew something he certainly would have said something...at least an hour ago. Willow trees, however, you're pretty familiar with. That said, nothing comes to mind that would make them easier to find or more attractive for Batu-Te-Rem. Honestly, the idea sounds a bit strange to you since willows are naturally very aggressive when it comes to going after any and all moisture in an area, they wouldn't leave any for other plants. Unless there was more than enough to go around to begin with, too much for even the willow to steal all for itself. That gives you an idea.
-- Unlock [Astrology] OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-You don't know anything about Batu-Te-Rem, at least anything that'll let you find it quicker than "wander around randomly and hope you get lucky".
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[Astrology]: Look for bodies of water.
--You run your idea by Durand, just to make sure you didn't misremember something. Durand, however, is fine with the idea, although he unfortunately knowing nothing about Astrology. No problem, because it just so happens that you know it well enough. Finding water is easy, it's one of Astrology's oldest and simplest tricks, in this case the real trick is to be specific. You don't want to check the same body of water repeatedly, and you don't want to get lost either. After locating a few large pools of water and a small underground river, you finally locate a willow tree surrounded by other flowers. Only problem is, they look rather dead. You still call out to Durand, and once he runs over you ask for his opinion. "Great work [PC FIRST NAME], you found it! This here is Batu-Te-Rem.". "That's nice, but are they still alive?". Durand nods and with his wand he creates some light. The plants open their flowers after Durand shines his light on them, showing a much more lively circle of orange flowers. "Those three we'll leave alone, they don't look like they get enough sunlight to be useful for brewing. The rest are all useful though.". You nod and start picking petals, which Durand drops in a pouch you've never seen before. "This pouch here is from Professor Vickery. It'll preserve the petals for us while we look around for the other ingredients. It won't preserve all of the other ingredients, but I'll find a way to preserve those, don't worry.". With all the useful petals successfully picked clean you and Durand head back to the Academagia, making plans for getting the next ingredient, which is the pure pearl dust.
--- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

--Finding water is one of Astrology's most basic tricks and you don't have much trouble finding the odd lake or river, unfortunately your lucks runs out with there actually being any willow trees in the area. After a few more hours of less aimless, but equally fruitless, looking around you're forced to give up for today.

--- +1 Stress, STOP ADVENTURE

 

 

Far fewer words in this one, but there's just not a whole lot I can say that's interesting about collecting flowers. BTW, anyone remember the willow tree in An Outing... being next to an underground river? Yep.

Edited by Metis

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The Endless Section Library, stage 8a:

 

Birds

 

Another day, another trip to the vampire's domain. You and Durand have not yet managed to figure out exactly how to go about sneaking out of the Academagia, going to the vampire's domain at night, finding and trapping a Nanna bull within, at best, a three hour timespan, and somehow sneak back into the Academagia without being seen or missed once. For better or for worse, however, this does not mean you don't have anything to do. While you're working on the sneaking plan Durand has been busy researching the Athena birds, and he's confident enough that he can both identify them and point out in what general environment they prefer to live. Unfortunately he wasn't able to find out whether the birds can talk, so you might be in for another surprise. Truthfully, you're less worried about whether they can talk and more worried about whether they're friendly. Unfortunately, Durand wasn't able to find out any information on that, either. A familiar and uneventful trek later and you've both arrived in sight of the vampire's tower, which you've decided will be the starting point for the search. "Okay, so where do these birds hang out?". Durand takes out his wand and points to the hill. "Remember when we skipped searching this hill because the Ganesha don't like living on hills? Well, it turns out that the Athena birds live there. I'm not sure if there's a reason behind that, but either way, it's time to do some climbing.". You know Durand well enough that he does not enjoy climbing at all, so you ask why he looks so pleased with himself. "Because I came prepared, of course. I didn't draw my wand for no reason, you know. Watch.". Durand casts a Negation spell, causing him to levitate slightly above the ground. "Walking up hills? No problem.". Well, what else is magic for, right? Still, clearly you two need a better plan. "Alright Durand, so what's your plan for finding an Athena bird and getting a two tail feathers? It's not just 'float around randomly and hope for the best', is it?". Durand laughs while shaking his head, and he pulls a small parcel from his knapsack. "No, no, of course not. This here is the plan.". You take a look at the parcel, and see a bunch of olives inside. "Athena birds love olives. I don't know why they do, but they do. This batch may not be enough to trade for a pair of tail feathers, but it should be enough to get their attention.". "Trade? You mean those birds are intelligent enough to understand the concept of bartering?". Durand Shrugs. "Maybe, I mean I looked around the Venalicium but the few books I could find that mentioned the Ganesha at all failed to mention they can talk. I'm honestly half-expecting the birds to be able to talk as well, but who knows. If they can't we'll just use the olives to distract them and then we'll Glamour their tail feathers off...that sounds really bad to say.". Poor Durand, far too friendly for his own good. "Good plan, but how will we find them?". "We'll lure them to us by using the scent of these olives, of course. That should only take a Glamour or two.". Nice that Durand has a plan, if not one well thought through by the sound of it. "Alright, so I assume you're going to cast that Glamour?". Durand looks nervous, and you sigh before he can even respond. "Sorry, I'm only familiar with the theory behind Glamour. I don't really know much about actually casting Glamours.". Figures, but at least he pulled his weight. What will you do?

 

[Glamour]: Use a Glamour to lure the birds.
-"Well, I happen to know how to cast a Glamour, so what spell do you need?". "Nothing special, just a spell to spread the scent of these olives. I think it's a pretty basic spell, but, well...". Poor Durand. He's right that it's a basic spell, but attracting birds will require the spell to cover a very wide area without covering it entirely, so that the birds can still follow the scent. You spend most of your time walking up the hill with Durand thinking about how to pull that off, but once you reach a good point you've got the perfect (hopefully) plan. A bit of practice a small scale test, later, and you're ready to cast the big spell. Pheme, Pheme, Pheme, Pheme, and spell. It goes off perfectly, and a trail of olive scent quickly spreads out from where you and Durand are sitting. "And now we wait?". Durand shrugs and says "And now we-", only to be interrupted by a very loud hoot. Durand immediately stands up and looks around, suddenly pointing to a tree a bit further away from you. "There, look, in that tree! It's a-". You look and suddenly a red owl-looking bird flies out of the tree, landing right next to Durand. It surprises him so much he fall right back down on the ground, but your attention is currently pointed at the bird. With a rather odd accent, you assume due to the beak, it says "And who might you two, eh, what was it, hunams? No, wait, humans, yes! Who might you two humans be?". Durand looks wide-eyed at the bird, but you're honestly not surprised. Not after seeing the Ganesha, at least. "We're here to acquire two tail feathers from Athena birds, among a few others things. We need them to create maps.". The bird pecks the ground in front of it, you're not sure why, and looks around before speaking again. "Sure, sure, I've hear. Friends of, eh, wizard maim? No, wane? Oh, that's right, wizard Kane. Friends of him, are you?". You nod, and Durand does as well. "Tsk, tsk. Looks like he still hasn't taught his friends any manners. I suppose that treacherous, eh, hammer? No, Glamour was to lure me?". You nod again, Durand mumbling something about the history of magic. The bird doesn't seem interested. "Yes, well, as for my tail feathers, do you perhaps have something to, oh, I don't know, offer to me in return? I may live on trees most of the time, but rest assured that don't grow on them.". You look at Durand, who takes out his parcel and unwraps it in front of the bird, revealing the olives he brought. The bird looks around again, before eating every last one of them. For a moment you're unsure what it all means, but the bird says "Guess your heads aren't big for no reason. Offer accepted.". Before you or Durand can respond the bird flies off, leaving two tail feathers behind. You share a blank look with Durand for a moment, before pocketing your respective tail feathers. Still confused, Durand says "Well...I guess that worked?". You nod, not because you're confident but because by now you've learned to just accept these sort of things and just move on. "What's next, the horn of a Nanna bull, right?". Durand nods, and asks if you've made any progress on figuring out a way to sneak out of the Academagia. "Actually, about that. I was wondering, are there any meanings to the word 'night' beyond the time of day?". Durand shrugs, and says he'll look it up. "Do that, though even if you don't find anything I think it'd be best if we searched for a Nanna bull in bright daylight. Frankly, I'm pretty sure that we can get the details straight from the, well, not from the horse, but you know what I mean.". Durand nods, and you both start walking back to the Academagia.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You try casting the Glamour, and after the smell of olives fills the air you wait. And wait. And...wait. And wait some more. And then you go back to the Academagia, because you've waited long enough. Perhaps a more direct approach is necessary.
-- +2 Stress, STOP ADVENTURE

 

[birds]: Call for the birds without magic.
-You decide that your own Glamour isn't that, well, glamorous, so instead you and Durand start walking up the hill. Rather than use a Glamour to lure the birds, you'll use your extensive knowledge of birds to simply call for them. It'll take some guesswork to figure out which tone Athenas listen to, but you're confident you can manage. A half our later, that confidence is called into question, if not by you than by Durand. You still insist it's a better idea than the Glamour, and as if on cue you hear the sound of birds flying through the air right above you. "Eh, Durand, what did you say Athena birds look like?". "I don't think I told you, actually...". The flock of owl-looking birds flying in a circle above you like ravens watching over prey suddenly dive down, landing in a circle around you and Durand. Each stand as tall as they can, looking right at you two. That said the intimidation aspect is a bit lost, as only one of the birds stands taller than your ankle. "Durand, I assume these are the Athena birds?". Durand slowly nods, and the biggest bird suddenly hoots. After which, to your honest lack of any real surprise, speaks with a rather odd accent, probably caused by it's beak. "You two...humans, was it? Yes, humans have been walking up our hill making the most random racket for the last three flights now, calling for everything from finding prey to commence with isle flights to...well, things you two don't look old enough to hear, frankly. I recall Lord Krazoa being quite a bit bigger than you two, but that might be because he's not exactly one of you. Not any more, at least. In any case, have you anything to say for yourselves?". Both Durand and you stare confused at the bird for a few minutes, sharing a few blank looks with each other, before you mention that you're here because you two need tail feathers to create a map. The leading bird pecks the ground in front of it and starts looking around. You're not sure what these gestures mean. "Yes, more students of that, eh, what's his name, Dane? Maim? No, wait, I remember, Kane. The wizard Kane. Hmm...you two, here for tail feathers, is that is? I assume you two don't know about how valuable our tail feathers are to us?". Durand is about to say something, but you stop him. "We don't know indeed, but that is because out kind simply doesn't know much about you. We can't explore Kane's library without a map of our own, and the other libraries we know are simply...insufficient.". The leader doesn't look impressed, although that's mostly a guess on your part. "That said, we do know at least a little. That your tail feather matter to you, and what, if anything, you'd be willing to accept in turn. Although I can't confirm we have enough.". The leader looks around again, and says "Well, I suppose I couldn't exactly ask you to walk into a, what was it, fates? No, Gates-created library and expect you both to live to tell the tale. Although you did say you brought at least an offering. What would that be?". You point to Durand, who takes out the parcel and shows it to the leader. Unravelling it reveals the olives, which causes all the birds to suddenly...eh, jump in place? You really don't know how to describe it. The leader hoots, and suddenly all the other birds rush towards the parcel, devouring every olive before flying off. The leader picks up the cloth and hands to to Durand. He simply says "Offering accepted.", after which he takes off as well, leaving two tail feathers behind. You and Durand each pick up a tail feather, and share another blank look. Durand, still looking confused, asks "So, eh, how's that sneak-out-the-Academagia plan coming along?". You stare at the tail feather, wondering what that was about, and put it away in your knapsack. "Actually, I was wondering something. How many things so far have been what they seemed?". Durand shrugs, and makes a circle with his hand - zero. "So, Durand, would you happen to know any definitions of 'night' that don't refer to the time of day?". Durand shrugs and says "I'll look it up and see what I can find. Although, do you think we maybe should just ask Kane about this?". "No, just in case it's a test of sorts. Besides, right now I'd bet good money that we can simply ask a Nanna bull and get our answers straight from the, well, not 'horse's' mouth, but you know what I mean.". Durand nods, and you both start walking back to the Academagia.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You don't trust that the Glamour idea will work, so you and Durand explore the hill simply making various bird calls. Unfortunately your bird calls apparently aren't much better than Durand's Glamours, because despite two hours of exploring a hill you're left with nothing but a tired body and a strained voice. Perhaps some study of Glamour is in order.
-- +1 Stress, -1 Vitality, STOP ADVENTURE

 

[botany]: Anything Durand may have forgotten?
-The real question is why these birds love olives, specifically. You don't know anything about Athena birds, but you do know a bit about olives. Unfortunately, you can't imagine why these birds would like this particular fruit so much that their adoration of it is apparently one of the few things known about them. Than again, that might be a clue in and on itself. There's really nothing about olives that, for a normal bird, other fruit couldn't supply. And yet these Athena birds still go crazy for them. You're pretty sure these birds aren't just normal birds, and that means you need to adjust the plan a little.
-- +CoS, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-There's nothing you can think of that Durand might have forgotten or failed to mention, and you don't know anything about Athena birds yourself. You're drawing a blank.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

 

I think I like the idea of path A having two exits and one CoS investigation whereas path B has three exits, one behind an investigation. But that may change. Because I'm lazy. As for the birds, well, you'd be surprised how difficult it is to pronounce words you only hear every so often. As for what they are, well, I'm kinda liking the idea of the vampire's domain being a dumping ground for failed Gates experiments that, for whatever reason, survived and became civilized (to some extent). The library itself was initially created with Gates, so there's that connection between it and the "animal" parts.

Edited by Metis

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The Endless Section Library, stage 8b:

 

Today finds you quite a ways away from the Academagia, along with Durand, who's leading you both to a lake that apparently holds the pure pearl oysters. You're frankly not amazed that no one comes here, the road is almost impossible to traverse without Negation. "Ah, see that? There is it, that's the lake.". The body of water in front of you isn't what you'd personally call a "lake", honestly, but it's certainly a body of water. "You said the oysters live pretty deep underwater, right? This lake doesn't look deep enough to swim in.". Durand, with an almost childish grin, says "Looks can be deceiving. Actually, there's a good reason why this lake is much deeper than it is. Ever swam through a flooded cave?". "Can't say that I have, no. Why? You mean this lake...?". Durand nods, and uses his wand to point out specific sections of the local landscape. "Notice that we're surrounded on all sides by a small hill, and how the growth here seems much younger than the growth on the hill? Right there, that's a good example.". Durand points to a tree close by the ege of the hill planted next to a fallen log. There's significant difference in age between the two, and the fallen log looks, well, you're not sure just from how it looks, but from what Durand is trying to say you can reasonably guess. "Wait, you mean this entire depression was once underwater? That log included?". Durand nods, and points to the lake. "There's an old mine located under this lake. Prospectors were hopeful that they had found a source of, eh, iron, maybe copper? Anyway, they were hoping that they had found a large source, but when they dug under the lake the ceiling collapsed.". "And that flooded the entire mine?". "It flooded enough. Apparently since the mine was only digging through limestone the miners weren't shy of making their tunnels a little bigger than they needed to be, for comfort's sake, but when they hit the lake their plan backfired. The owners of the mine thought of contracting a mage to correct the flooding problem, but it was deemed too difficult - which is to say expensive - that it wasn't worth the cost even if they did find a source of ore.". "Okay, last question. How old is this mine, exactly?". Durand shrugs. "I don't know. The records noted that it was old, but I really couldn't tell you how old. If not time than the water washed away any trace of anything long ago. This could have been pre-Exile for all I know.". You're pretty sure this mine isn't that old, but who knows. "Eh, hey, Durand, are those-". Durand shakes his head before you can even finish your sentence. "No, the oysters are deep down underwater but even they can't survive so deep that they might be inside the flooded mining tunnels.". Alright, that's enough history. You walk up to the lake's edge, and look down. It goes down enough that you can't see the bottom of it, which doesn't fill you with confidence. "It's safe to swim in here, right?". Durand nods. "Pure pearls get their name from the fact that they keep the water they're in clean. Not 'pure' clean, but 'clean' for creatures like aquatic plants and fish. Or humans going for a swim, in fact. You'll probably run into a few fish, but I don't think any of them are harmful.". "You don't think so, Durand?". Durand nods again, although you're not sure if you trust him. Still, here's the lake with the pears you need. Now what?

 

[swimming]: Take a dive.
-This won't be a problem. You simply take off your robe, having had the forethought to wear a proper swimsuit under it, and you take a dive. The lake is incredibly deep for how small it is, although you suppose there's a good reason for that. What also doesn't help is the fact that the lake bed is sloped, making it that much harder to search it for oysters. It takes a few minutes and a few dives, but you manage to spot an oyster eventually. Without really thinking about it, as these things are so deep you don't have much leeway with regards to how long you can hold your breath, you take the pearl and quickly swim back up. "Here, Durand! Catch!". Triumphantly you throw the pearl to Durand, although you don't stick around long enough to see if he catches it. The trip from the Academagia to here is long, so you don't exactly have the time to waste. Another series of dives later you surface with another pearl in hand, and you through it over to Durand. He catches it in a magic net, apparently he's not that good at catching things. Well, in his defence, you'll admit those pearls aren't exactly the size of a Rimball. They can't be easy to catch, you just hope he caught the other one. "Are two pearls enough? I mean you did catch the other one, right?". Durand nods, and you ask if there's time for you to look for more. "I'm afraid not, at least not unless you want to walk back all the way to the Academagia without having a chance to dry.". Yeah, you don't want to do that. You walk out of the lake, and ask Durand if he can Incant some heat. "Oh, of course, not a problem.". While Durand maintains an invisible camp fire in front of you that, heat aside, you wouldn't even know is there you ask what ingredient comes next. "That would be the Lynari petals. I still don't know anything about them, though. I mean I looked through the Botany section of the Venalicium again, but there's really nothing about it. Just an off-hand mention or two that say temples use them.". "So I guess that means we'll be visiting a temple, if only to ask about what those plants are?". "Sounds like it. I mean, I don't have a better idea. I guess we could maybe ask a few seniors, maybe they know something, but...". "If it's not in the Venalicium, the seniors either aren't going to know or they're not going to tell.". Durand nods, "Right. So visiting a temple is really our only choice.". Well, you could think of worse places to ask. Temples are generally very patient, so long as you respect their traditions. You just hope not asking about Lynari isn't a tradition in it's own right.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You dive into the water repeatedly, but no matter how many times you try the oysters are always out of reach. Unfortunately you have to give up all too soon, since it's a long trek back to the Academagia, but at least you didn't drown.
-- +1 Stress, -1 Vitality, STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Fish]: What can you tell from this lake?
-A quick spell confirms that this lake is indeed clean, very clean in fact. Those pearls must do their jobs well. As a result there actually are quite a few fish in it, at least that you can see. There might be even more in the flooded mining tunnels, depending on what kind of plant life it can support. It's honestly a pity this lake is so far away from the Academagia, you could probably learn a thing or two from studying it. Alas, you don't have the time to admire it. You need those peals, although you're not entirely sure how to get them. Maybe the fish can help?
-- UNLOCK [Animal Husbandry] OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-The only thing you're able to do is curse anyone that said that the study of fish was for those who had nothing better to do. Which, embarrassingly enough, includes yourself.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[Animal Husbandry]: Convince a fish to get some pearls for you.
--It takes a bit of magic to lure a fish close enough to the surface so that you can talk to it. Not to mention it takes a bit of magic to talk with the fish, but neither is a problem for you. The fish, quite surprised at seeing a human, asks why you're here. "We need some pure pearls, to create a map, but, well, as you can tell I'm significantly less adapt at swimming than you are. Could you please get a few pearls for me?". The fish sputters a bit, saying that those pears are what keep the water clean. "The water is as clean as can be already! No one disturbs it, and those oysters regrow, right?". The fish sputters again, and says that there's actually something leaking into the water from below. That's why he simply can't remove the pearls. You turn your head to Durand and ask "You think it's old mining equipment?". Durand shrugs. "Could be. You know, if I remember right the miners dug a quick tunnel to the surface where it was no longer flooded. It should be close by, although I can't say it's safe. The tunnel or the mine.". "But whatever is bothering the fish, it most likely is from the mine, right?". Durand nods, and says if there's anything lower than the flooded mining tunnels, he doesn't know about it. You turn back to the fish and say "If we plug that leak, will you get those pearls for us?". The fish says he will, and that he'll swim to where the leak is to check things out. You nod, and together with Durand start looking for the tunnel he mentioned. Ironically enough the entrance to the tunnel is actually in the hill that used to be the edge of the lake, it's quite easy to find thanks to the path leading to and from it. You and Durand patently ignore the myriad of signs saying it's dangerous, and descend into the tunnel. The area is pitch black, light spells notwithstanding, and the tunnel was indeed build with more focus on speed than anything silly such as "safety". It's a harrowing journey down into the abandoned mine, where the sudden light from the light spells scare off an unsettling number of bats. The smell in these tunnels is something else, but that's a problem solved with even more magic. "Okay Durand, do you know where this 'leak' or something is?". "Do you think the Venalicium has the floor plan of this mine laying around somewhere? My best guess is to...oh.". "What, what? Don't tell me something I don't want to know.". "Eh, [PC FIRST NAME]? I think you might want to see this.". You turn to Durand, who's casting his light on mine shaft going almost straight down. It's flooded. "I guess when the miners reached the lake they wanted to make sure they were far below it.". "Not far enough.", Durand muses, and he points to a side of the shaft. "I think we may have found the source of our 'leak', though.". You have to take a closer look, but it looks like mould is growing in the thoroughly rotten planks of wood. "You're the fish expert, you think this is the problem?". "Could be, let's cast some spells and remove these rotten boards. Not like they're doing the mine any good.". Durand nods and uses his Negation to make the boards float over to you. After Durand gently puts the last one down, you say "Let's go before we get an infection, if we haven't already.". Durand nods, and you both climb back through the tunnel and back to the lake. Surprisingly the fish from earlier is there, and on the edge of the lake are three pearls. "Nice work with your magic there, you wouldn't believe how annoying those, eh, those big bars were. So, here's the pearls. The ones I could find, at least.". You pick them up and hand them to Durand, who pockets them. "Thanks, and just out of curiosity, do you know if those flooded tunnels contain any metal?". The fish swims in a quick circle, and says "Not that I know of. I mean, my friends have run into small bits of metal before, floating in from the tunnels, but I can't really say what it's from. Old stuff the earlier humans used, maybe? I can't say.". You nod, thank the fish and say goodbye. On the way back to the Academagia you ask Durand what ingredient comes next. "That would be...the Lynari petals. I've made no more progress in figuring out what it is, though.". Well, looks like you're just going to have to go to a temple and hope it the plants aren't kept as decoration because they're symbolic of Draconic oppression ended by the New Gods, or something.
--- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

--You attempt to convince many different fish, but all stubbornly refuse to get even a single pearl. An embarrassingly long time later, you're forced to give up and start on the long trek back to the Academagia.
--- +2 Stress, STOP ADVENTURE

 

[CONDITION: PC DOES NOT HAVE [Pure Pearl Gas] MEMORY

[Enspell]: You're not a swimmer, so create an air bubble.
-You take out your wand and magic up an air bubble for yourself. A quick test confirms that it indeed protects you from the water, So without too much thought you dive right in and start looking around. It's a bit difficult to see this far down, not to mention the awkward footing, so it takes a few minutes of looking around but eventually you do find a pearl. Unfortunately with the awkward footing you don't think you can safely walk over to it and pick it up, and you don't want to risk casting a Negation at someone outside of an air bubble while you're standing inside an air bubble (the footing, again, making casting spells not as easy as you're used to), so instead you decide to use a very basic Revision to make the pearl light enough so it floats. It works, and the pearl slowly floats upwards. You can't clearly see the surface from here, but you're pretty sure Durand will see that and pick up the pearl before the Revision wears off. With that done you continue to look around, but you only end up finding a single other pearl before it's time to go back to the Academagia. You climb out of the lake, and once outside dispel the air bubble, finally. "There, got enough?". Durand nods, and says "Indeed, that'll do. Good job. Now as for the next ingredient, the Lynari petals, do you have any ideas?". You shrug. "Other than going to the closest temple we can find and asking around? No, not really.". Durand shrugs, and you both decide on which temple to visit while walking back to the Academagia.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-Creating an air bubble is easy enough, and so it diving into the water and finding a pearl, Unfortunately as soon as the pearl enters your air bubble it suddenly releases one of the worst smelling gasses you're ever smelled, and you're forced to leave it behind in your desperate escape to the surface. The smell unfortunately sticks with you even after dispelling your Incantation, and Durand is keeping a healthy distance from you. You can't exactly create an air bubble around you like this, so it's time to march back to the Academagia and fix this mess.
-- ADD [stenchtastic] ABILITY, ADD [Pure Pearl Gas] MEMORY, STOP ADVENTURE

 

ELSE:
[incantation Methods]: Create two air bubbles, one for yourself and one for the pearl.
-You're prepared for this. You first create an air bubble, and take a careful step into the water to see if it works. It does, so you decide to go for a not-swim. It's perilous work, since the lake's bed has a rather steep curve and it's difficult to move around without falling. And if you fall all the way down into the flooded mining tunnels, well, that'll be a problem. With the awkward footing and dim light it takes a while before you finally stumble across an oyster, but once you do you know what to do. You carefully incant an air bubble around the oyster, and wait. You wait probably much longer than you need to, but it's better safe than sorry. Once you've waited long enough you dispel the bubble around the oyster, very carefully so as not to accidentally dispel your own bubble, and you quickly walk over to the oyster. You carefully pick up the pearl, but there's nothing with it or around it. The pearl is just a pearl, nothing more. With a grin you pocket it, and start looking for the next pearl. Sadly you only end up finding one more, but checking in with Durand you learn two will be enough. "Nice bit of magic there, [PC FIRST NAME].". You can't help but nod, and you ask Durand what's next. "That would be the Lynari petals. Unfortunately, I'm stumped as to what it is or where to find it. I can't find any information on it at all. I'm none too familiar with holy water, either.". "We'll just visit a temple and ask politely. That should at least give us something to start with.". Durand nods, and you both end up discussing which temple to visit on the way back.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You create an air bubble for yourself, and upon finding a pearl attempt to create an air bubble for it. Unfortunately you're a bit too close, so the air bubbles end up merging into one very large, very smelly gas bubble. You thankfully don't suffocate, either by drowning or by the smell alone, but in your haste to rush back to the surface you come to the unfortunate realization that you left the pearl behind.
-- ADD [stenchtastic] ABILITY, STOP ADVENTURE

END]

 

 

Easy exit for all the students that dream of becoming aquatic animal trainers. For the rest, well, hope you know how to swim.

Edited by Metis

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The Endless Section Library, stage 9a:

 

Another day, another trip to the vampire's domain. It's scary how routine it has become to walk to a known vampire's domain. Vampires generally aren't know for their hospitality, and yet here you are. Durand is along as well, of course, and thankfully he's found a different way to interpret "magically broken off at night" beyond "between the time of midnight and 3 AM". Sadly, it's not a particularly...convincing interpretation, but it'll work. If nothing else it'll at least give you an idea of how Nanna bulls look and where to find them, since you'll need that advantage if it's really necessary to come out here during the night time. Not to mention, sneaking out and back into the Academagia at those hours would be...difficult. You're a second year student now, so curfew isn't as strict as it was last year, but midnight is still well past it. "There's the tower.". Durand's voice snaps you out of your worries, briefly, while you think about what comes next. "So, eh, where do we start looking? Did you find any information on what Nanna bulls look like, where they live, something like that?". Durand looks around, kinda nervous, and says "About that. I, eh, I couldn't find anything. No reference that Nanna bulls even exist.". "Wait, didn't you say earlier that Nanna bulls have two horns? You must have-". Durand shakes his head, and his hand, saying "I said that because bulls have two horns, and I assume that 'Nanna' refers to a specific breed of bull which still has enough features to be recognised as a bull. There are creatures with only one horn, but than I'd assume we'd be talking about a Nanna rhinoceros.". You blankly stare at Durand for a moment, before he says "Told you I did my homework.". The happy-go-lucky grin on Durand's face is one that, under other circumstances, you'd be very tempted to punch, but as things stand that is not an issue. "Alright, so where do we even begin looking?". "That's simple. So far we've looked around this area twice and found no Nanna bulls, right?". You nod, a bit confused. "We checked the forest and we checked the hill, so I think the best starting point would be the open fields.". "Eh, Durand? Those fields are, as you just said. 'open'. If there was a herd of animals walking through them don't you think we'd have seen them by now?". Durand shakes his head, and points to the hill. "There's nothing really blocking our view of the hill, but did we see any Athena birds when we were looking for Ganesha?". You suppose you didn't, but you weren't really looking around for birds back then. It suddenly hits that, up until now, you haven't really been looking for Nanna bulls either. Durand notices your realization, he seems strangely pleased. "So, shall we check the fields?". You can't say you have a better plan, but you don't really want to just walk around randomly and see what, if anything, you find. Astrology isn't an option since you don't know anything about the Nanna bulls, but maybe there's another way to narrow down the search a bit?

 

[Patrol]: Look around for a Nanna bull.
-Perhaps rather than seeing yourself as someone searching this field for a bull, you should approach it as you being a guardian of this field in charge of keeping an eye out for bulls. You run the idea by Durand, and within an hour the two of you have set up more than a few traps that'll alert you if someone trip it. Nothing harmful, of course, the last thing you want to do is offend the vampire at this point. While in the process of setting another trap, Durand calls out to you. "Hey, [PC FIRST NAME]! Come over here, I found something!". You rush over, but you don't see anything. Durand points to...nothing, and you stare at him confused. "Use your wand, there's traces of a Glamour spell here.". You check, and there's indeed traces of a Glamour here. Which is odd, since for your traps you've been relying solely on Incantations. "That's...huh. Do you know what this is? Or was?". "You mean what spell was cast here? No, I'm afraid not. I can only tell that it was a Glamour.". You curiously observe it, but your own Negation isn't good enough to tell what this might have been. "You think the vampire had the same idea as us? Putting spells over his domain to alarm him if there's someone wandering around?". "Would he have put one so close to his tower, though? I mean you can see the tower from here.". Very curious indeed, but then it hits you. "This may be from a Nanna bull, actually. Do you think we can use this trace to track a bull?". Durand shakes his head. "If there was one here recently, I'm pretty sure I would have seen it.". "You're standing right next to where someone cast a Glamour, Durand. In fact...hey, try Negating this trace.". Durand looks confused, but goes along with the plan regardless. As soon as the Glamour and Negation connect the trace of the spell suddenly starts to move, after which it quickly expands, covering both you and Durand within a Glamour. The Glamour isn't harmful, thankfully, it just seems to block out the sunlight. You start to wonder whether it really isn't the vampire that came up with this spell when you suddenly hear Durand yell. He's pointing to a figure standing between you and the near-invisible tower, looking right at it. Through ways you don't quite understand it speaks to you, since you can hear the bull's words but they simply feel...off, somehow. "Child of fate yet to be unravelled, child of pasts unknown, why do those who walk in light enter my paradise?". You and Durand share a blank look, another one to add to the pile, and you hesitantly explain that you're here because you need two horns of a Nanna bull. The creature, who does look like a bull as far as you can see, nods. You can't see it nodding, yet somehow you know that it just nodded - it's a weird feeling. With it's tail the bull traces several Phemes in the air, and the resulting spell breaks off both of it's horns, which float over to you and Durand. You're happy about that, but as you're putting your horn away you can't help but stay for a moment to ask the bull a few things. "I'm sorry to ask, but what is going on here? The library, the map, what it takes to make it, who holds those things and the vampire that watches over them...what is going on here? Why is everything the way it is? There's too many connections for this all to be coincidence. What connects everything together?". The bull doesn't respond for a moment, after which it says "I cannot give you that answer. Only the master can.". "You mean the vampire, right?". The bull does it's weird invisible yet still visible nod again, and you nod as well. After glancing at Durand you both exit the Glamour, and start walking back to the Academagia. You're going to need to do some research before you ask the vampire about the, eh, next ingredient.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You and Durand keep a close watch, but neither of you end up spotting anything. At least the solution to this problem is obvious - clearly you need more magic.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Negation]: Search for traces of magic. You're pretty sure you've grasped the pattern by now.
-Clearly this problem needs some magic. "Hey, Durand, how good are you with detecting traces of magic?". Durand looks a little confused. "You mean any traces, specific traces, something else?". "Any trace not belonging to us, the vampire or the odd Ganesha out for a stroll. I don't think those Nanna bulls earned their name due to their pelt, if you know what I mean.". Durand nods, and says "Well, Negation is College Durand's focus and what you're asking isn't hard at all. It's just that...this is a rather big field to cover.". You definitely concede that point, and curiously ask "But at least in theory if those Nanna bulls have something magical about them and we happen to walk near whatever magic they have, we could find it through Negation, right?". Durand nods, and you draw your wand. "Then it's time to start searching the field for traces of magic.". Durand nods and draws his own wand, and you both begin looking around the field for traces of magic. It's slow work and honestly not at all interesting, but about a half hour later, you find what you're looking for. Obvious traces of magic, most likely a Glamour. "Hey, Durand! I found something!". Durand rushes over and confirms your findings. "That's definitely a trace of Glamour, I agree. Only...how exactly does that help us find a bull? If they can put up Glamours I honestly expect they use it to make themselves difficult to see.". That's honestly a valid question. Neither you or Durand are skilled enough to determine anything from this trace beyond that it's most likely from a Glamour, and the trace doesn't go anywhere. After you spend a moment pondering, you get an idea and cast a Negation on the ground. Nothing is revealed. Confused, Durand asks what you're doing. "Durand, if there was a Nanna bull here...why aren't there any tracks?". Durand's eyes widen, and says "I think I have an idea.". You shrug and stand aside, letting Durand cast a Glamour at the trace of magic. You don't see how it will help, but suddenly the trace of magic shifts and quickly expands outwards, trapping both your and Durand inside. The Glamour is thankfully harmless, as far as you can tell, but it is blocking out the sunlight. You imagine the vampire may or may not have a hand in this particular quirk, actually. "AH, [PC FIRST NAME]! Look!". Durand, who seems unable to decide on whether to be confused, amazed or scared, points towards the vampire's tower. Standing between you two and it is a creature you would describe as a bull, but something about it feels...off. It's clearly magical, although exactly how you don't know. The bull speaks, not in a language that you recognise (or one you could even attempt to replicate), though you can somehow understand it's maybe-words anyway. "Child of fate unravelled, child of past unknown, why do those who walk in light enter my paradise?". You and Durand share a blank look, something that you've been doing far too often lately, and with some doubt in your mind you answer "We're here because we need two horns from a Nanna bull, magically broken off at night.". The bull doesn't move, and with it's tail it draws Phemes into the air. Like with the Ganesha before both it's horns break off, and they both float over to you. Both you and Durand pocket your horns, but while Durand looks ready to leave you stay standing where you are. The bull seems to notice, despite it not looking at you, and it says "Do your regret existing in the light, child?". You shake your head, sure the bull can see you, and after glancing at a confused Durand you say "I'm sorry to ask, but what is going on here? The library, the map, what it takes to make it, who holds those things and the vampire that watches over them...what is going on here? Why is everything the way it is? There's too many connections for this all to be coincidence. What connects everything together?". The bull makes a strange noise, laughter you suspect, and it says "A child of light you are indeed, to see through the darkness caught under the trees. But I cannot give you that answer. Only the master can.". "The vampire?". The bull nods. It doesn't move at all but somehow you can still tell that it nodded. You turn to Durand and say "Let's go back to the Academagia for today. I...need to do some research first.". Durand nods, not really sure what to say, and both of you step outside the Glamour. After that you both start walking back to the Academagia.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You're pretty sure your hunch is correct, but apparently your grasp of Negation needs some work. Two hours spend wandering around the vampire's domain later, and you have nothing to show for it other than a sore wrist. Durand rightfully points out that it's time to go back, and you spend the way back wondering of you really are that unskilled or simply unlucky (the possibility of you being both being pointedly ignored).
-- +1 Stress, -1 Vitality, STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Wit]: What would make a Nanna bull different, but still recognisable as a bull?
-It's a pretty complex question, especially since everyone has different standards, but nevertheless you still manage to come up with at least one answer. Regular bulls cannot be taught magic as far as you know, the odd Familiar aside. If Nanna bulls, for whatever reason, had an innate ability to use magic that would clearly separate them from regular bulls. It sounds crazy, but with the Ganesha understanding magic to the point of having wands and the Athena being able to talk, you think you understand the pattern by now. And, perhaps, the bigger picture, although you're not sure if you want to understand it.
-- +CoS, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-You draw a complete blank. It's a pretty tricky question to start with, but your complete lack of even a hint as to what Nanna bulls are nails your mental coffin shut.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

 

You might have noticed that I have decided on what the Ganesha, Athena and Nanna are other than references. I don't think the team will mind this...overly much. And if they do the Legate may correct me.

Edited by Metis

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I like it, but just as a note - you are up to 9 stages so the adventure is getting quite long - it might be worth putting a break in at 5-6 which can win an ability point and then a similar conclusion benefit in, depending on how good the library effect would be or the value of any items the adventurer's are gathering which they can kept/use.

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I expect to hit at least 12 stages, but remember that successful rolling can allow you to go through stage 1-5 in one go, and stage 6 leads immediately to stage 7 so those two also only take one turn. Then you have the other four ingredients to collect separately for stage 8-11, and I expect the conclusion to also be done on a single turn. That all adds up to 7 turns spend adventuring, which I don't think needs to be separated into two adventures.

 

As for the items gathered, none of the ingredients you get you will get to keep/sell for money/be able to use/etc. Adventure Path A only gets as much as is needed for the map, and while you probably noticed that with some exits Path B gathers up more than others this, sadly, is purely fluff. You will have to sell whatever you collected to fund the mushroom spore import, with or without Oan's help or how much extra you've gathered, simply for the sake of sparing both me and the team a headache. Rest assured, though, that the animal parts you can't do anything with yourself (in case you haven't noticed, the common theme in Path A is Gates magic) and the potion ingredients in path B the PC really can't do anything with anyway, so nothing of value is lost.

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