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/qst/ - Quests

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The life of a wizard is seldom boring and even more seldom idle, and Grampa Brad was nothing if not a model of his trade. From medical exams for the neighborhood oni and examining the composition of the freshly arrived constructs to constructing a new heated bath and helping along with the fabrication of the local school, the elderly man would have given one two decades his junior a run for their money with his constant activity over the past week.

Cici naturally had her own list of things to attend to in that time, learning, dancing, and tending to her small army of pets. But even then, she was keenly aware of the fact that Grampa left before she did each morning and arrived back much later, the old man resting heavy in his chair whenever he returned with an almost palpable aura of exhaustion about him.

It had an unfortunate way of slowing magic lessons to a standstill, at least of a sort taught in conventional academies, but the old man would still somehow smile and summon up the extra energy to respond and tell tales as Cici enthusiastically pressed him for stories of his travels and far-away places, of the people he’d known and the challenges he’d overcome.

It was a pleasant time and maybe productive in its own way, explaining the world beyond this tiny town to a girl who had never known anything more. Her eyes sparkled as she took it all in, hungrily soaking up every detail until come the late night, it would often fall to Mama to pick her up and carry her away with visions of those stories still swimming in her head and Din-Din clasped gently in her arms.

The voices, however, didn’t want for sleep in the same way as their tiny host. Nor, apparently, did Grampa Brad, who would often crack open a book and pass a few more hours reading in front of the fire before sleep eventually took him, pausing on occasion to answer questions that the voices might have had.

> Ask questions. Write-in.
> Also, give me 1d100.
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For any new players:

Welcome to Gorgon Child Quest! Where-in you take up the role of a magical talking artifact being wielded by a young gorgon girl named Cici. Living out of the remains of a once great dungeon, the game will focus on exploration, character interaction, and learning as the voices of the players within the amulet help guide her along.

For news about quest updates, my twitter can be found here:

And the archive can presently be found here:
Hahaha, nice, got here right at the start.

How're you doing today, QM?
Rolled 85 (1d100)


It's been an up and down sort of week, and it's only Tuesday. God help me.
what you think about that time magic book? learn anything useful?
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also a fanart
Rolled 82 (1d100)

Heya Brad.You always been this busy? You'd think you'd run yourself ragged like this.
Did you least find out anything interesting about our friends during during your work?

So... are seers that rare? It used to be that every important era had an oracle or two..And seers even had duels with each other sometimes.

Is because of the change of the ages? Will this era end soon?
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The old man laughs softly as he gazes over his book.

“Back home in Ashport, I have thirty younger mages apprenticed beneath me, five secretaries, a dog, a wife, and a position on the council governing magical sale and exports. You could say I’ve grown accustomed to such things. Fortunately, with those investments, it’s become possible to turn myself away for limited periods of time and let things sort themselves, but I’ll need to return soon. I simply want to ensure that this family wants for as little as possible until I have the luxury of returning again.”

He takes a sip of tea to clear his throat.

“As for the trolls, well, one could say that the larger of the pair is a medical anomaly. His body is in a constant state of consumption, burning calories and tissue imperfections like wildfire. He’s extremely healthy for all that, mind you, but his body is simply not saving enough for his brain. It sucks the air and the nutrients out like a sponge before it has a chance to fully circulate. For that, I’ve recommended a more aggressive treatment of trollsbane serum. If all goes well, his regenerative factor should at least afford him a chance at mental acuity in the future.”

“As I said-“ He licks his thumb and fore finger before turning another page of his book. “This place contains so many mysteries one could spend a lifetime unraveling. Those automata, the seal, the trolls, and not least of all, the volumes you have stretched in front of you…. Perhaps I could lure one of my colleagues out here for some extended studies. It would certainly solve the quandary of finding an educator for the local school, though I daresay you’ll be the foremost scholar on the last of those if your attention holds.”

It was true, over the past week as Cici slept, the voices had been reading, page after page of information flitting past their eyes as they examined the works of the chronomancer. What’s more, in the process, they had discovered a new gift, though not a particularly powerful one, that with enough force of will they could telekinetically shift the pages in front of them on their own. It had cost them hours of practice and a few torn pages of one of Cici’s older books, but since then, the task had proven mostly incident free.

Beneath the glare of the stone held up by a stand, the secrets of the book continued to pour out, pages upon pages of diagrams showing all manner of spells and the theories surrounding them that would certainly have made a valuable addition to some grand library had they not been stowed away in such a careful matter.

Simple spells to speed the passage of time in a bubble, something to make plants grow evolved into everything from the treatment of wounds, the dilation of time from the perspective of oneself or even using time magic as a defense against incoming blows. Cici would struggle with any of it, of course, but there was opportunity there and so much to learn.


“Hmm…” He thinks a bit on the question of seers. “The god of fate is often seen as the progenitor of the gift of sight. Some would liken it to divination, but that simply isn’t the case. Divination is the augmentation of the senses, the refinement or redirection of things in the present or sometimes using them to reconstitute things that happened in the past.

“The gorgons are one of the few races that has ever had consistent receipt of the gift of prophecy in recent history, something many attribute to the first curse that brought about their origin. If you believe old stories, it was the god of fate’s decree that all descendants of the first accursed would have the foresight that she lacked instilled into them to prevent repeat tragedies, and it eventually allowed them to build a thriving society.

“Others theorize that it is simply a rare case of natural genetics, something unknown to us that years of inbreeding has just slowly been eroding. Either way, the consensus is clear that the great seers of our age have finally begun to enter a decline. They try to keep their secrets, naturally, but the aging faces at their temples tell a clear story as do the twisted bodies they hide beneath long robes. Whether this will spell an end of an age for our society is unclear, but I fear the people of the Stone Isles have little else to offer if the portends hold true.”

> Write-in
Any ideas on how we could help Cici with her magic studies?
I just realized that we never got information on the gods that are, or at least were, part of the pantheon that actively interacted with the mortal plane, or the existence of any other planes of reality.

Have you studied the way the Hive uses magic? While as a human you will have greater trouble to gather ambient magic, you could use that method for large scale magic.

Is been theorised that powerful artifacts of ages gone that still work do so by taking ambient magic.

Of course you have to be careful. Is not a problem for Cici or the Bees as they don't take too much magic. But magic taken from the environment is slow to grow back.

That's one of the reason is said great civilisations based on magic did not last. By taking magic always from the same place and not letting it grow back, they sucked it dry. Floating mountains sank, islands that floaten in the sea only due to magic got swallowed by the sea and so on.

Dungeons tend to exist in places with a lot of ambient mana.

The best way for you to use ambient mana would be be using a magic tool. Carve a staff from an old tree that was hit by lighting and survived, would that work?

The methods used to create such artifacts vary and are confusing and some might just have work because people believed they would.

What I am sure of, is that a lot of magical knowedge has been lost since the age gods walked the earth.
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“Well,” he sets aside his tea in favor of his pipe which flares to life with a multi-colored flame as he takes a deep puff. “I’ve never been a very religious man, in point of honesty. The gods, nevertheless, are something we cannot deny the existence of. Clerics and priests draw power from them. Their hand can be seen in major events throughout history, and some monstrous races claim they hold the key to spontaneous evolution.

“At the same time, we’ve nothing but historical records of angels or anything of the like that could provide a clear answer as to what’s what, which is hardly better than hearsay. For the Empire at least, you have Alma, the mother of life, and Uldra, its reaper. There are Lothri and Gyold who share the title of God of War, and Orin who rules over all things shrouded in the light. There’s also Gaia of the earth, Frisk of the wind, Thu’umar of fire, and Leviathan is either god or devil of the oceans depending on who you ask. The goddess of fate has no name, but simply calls herself The Weaver, but that hasn’t seemed to have stopped people from praying to her like everyone else.

“Also, make no mistake, though I was surprised that Cici had learned to gather mana seemingly on her own, it isn’t precisely a great secret. Rather, it represents a differing ideology than what I was seeking to teach her.

“You see, magic gathered from one’s surroundings takes quite some time to gather and shape. It is foreign and variable, like the amount of snow on the ground. We live in a veritable tundra here where Cici can amass as much as she needs fairly easily. It serves to reason then, that a more experienced mage with time and assistance could cast many powerful spells here.

“Now you understand why mages covet such spots and other, more sinister forces, and why (aside from my family’s sake) I wish to ensure the stability of this region. However, to get back to the point, these well-springs are something you cannot take with you. They can even fluctuate in unknowable cycles going through wet and dry spells that can last decades.

“However, the magic inside will always be with you, your reserves only deepening with continued use. It is therefore of the utmost importance to slowly expand those limits in whatever way you can and sharpen your mind to grasp more difficult concepts than simple, elemental spells. In that regard, you can certainly help her.”

> Write-in
Just wanted to confirm something, as the various voices here all know those gods by different names and temperaments.

Anyone who tries to take over this place will have to defeat an Oni, a troll, a beholder-kin, an army of automatons, Cici pets, her mother and whatever else join us in the future.

Not to mention that we are in a dungeon that goes very deep underground, it has at least a tunnel that goes by several miles. Even if someone could get rid of all of us then he or she would have to deal with whatever else comes next.

And something will come next.

But yes I agree that Cici should train her internal magic.
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“It is my sincerest hope that it won’t come to violence to defend this place,” the wizard sighs, smoke pluming out of his nostrils. “Though I am glad to see Cassandra slowly becoming familiar with people who would defend her… even if some of them tried to kill her first…” He sighs again. “I love the child like she was my own, but she has a habit of gathering danger around herself like a magnet.

“What’s more, aside from my occasional visits, she hasn’t had much in the way of those versed in magic to help her with some of the stranger tidings she’s brought in. It worries me to think what may have happened if more than these machines had come forward this time.

“I suppose the hive kingdom, as you call it, might be able to provide some guidance, but… Hmm. It may sound a bit bigoted of me, but the fey can be quite a slippery lot. Their affections come and go like a summer storm, and may leave Cassandra in a terrible place. Perhaps-“ He pulls the pipe from his lips. “Perhaps it really would be for the best for me to speak with some of my colleagues to see if I can’t garner at least one for the region. We have, after all, a sort of code of ethics that would demand such a place be monitored and stipends to see it done.

“But who is the question?”

> Write-in and offer sought-after specialties
Translation and collective magic specialists, maybe charms, talismans, or artificers as other specialties?
I someone relatively young and adaptable, seeing how often unexpected things happen around here.
Also, considering the school and such, someone willing to teach at least part time, or at least explain, would be really welcome.
As for magical specialties, well, they might have to speed along the construction of their own domicile, so someone who can do that would probably have an easier time. So, maybe a telekinesis user, an earth mage, summoner, or someone skilled in the use of constructs would be best. The last two would probably also have an easier time monitoring the area, if youre serious about that. Other then that, They'd mostly be here in a protective role, So, maybe someone skilled in warding magic?
*I Suggest*
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Should I give more time?

“Hmm. There’s a young Ms. Willow who’s been itching to get out of the city and start up a lab of her own. Slightly forgetful, but she does have a good head on her shoulders and a knack for both warding and general enchantment. I suppose she and I will have to have a talk then, but-“

What starts off as a sigh ends in a very long yawn.

“That will need to wait, now won’t it? There’s still Cici’s magic lessons to attend to and only the gods know what else. Is there anything in particular that you know of that needs to be done before I leave?”

> Write-in
The glyph the automatons crafted could use another look. As nice a girl Iris tries to be, I am not entirely satisfied by what has been said of the glyphs.
In addition, I think that having a sort of distress signal ward, be it by sound or light, could help mitigate the consequences should a situation arise, be it the 'werewolf' incident or the automatons and Iris.
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“Good morning, Grampa!” Cici greets, happily smiling at her grandfather already dressed, scrubbed, and with a cup of morning tea to compliment his book by the time she’s scrabbling out of bed.

“Why, hello dear. Best you get some breakfast in you before doddling with an old man, hmm?”

“I’ve gotta check on Jasmine first, though,” Cici explains, bare feet padding rapidly down the hall. “Good morning, Jasm- Gah!”

The old wizard looks over his shoulder and laughs at the sight of two heads sticking out of Jasmine’s perch this morning, Archer and the young manticore looking curiously at the startled gorgon.

“G-good morning to you too, Archer,” Cici corrects.

Not long after, with the giant, fluffy hare close at her heels and two magical beasts clamoring for either shoulder, the young gorgon seems suitably equipped to leave for breakfast, plus or minus a bear cub running excitedly out of the woods to the join the throng.

“Good, gracious…” the wizard murmurs, groaning with the effort as he relieves himself of the chair and follows Cassandra upstairs with the young harpy.

“Not much wind today,” the latter notes on her way up. “And not a lot of clouds either.”

“Well, whatever the weather, take care of yourself, Vivi,” Mama tuts with a hand on her shoulder.

“Yes ‘Mom”,” the harpy groans, slouching a little with exaggerated exasperation before she and the gorgon matron share a mutual and somewhat confused look.

After that, her former bluster turns into very real embarrassment.

“They really are like a family, I suppose,” the old wizard thinks to himself, and breakfast only confirms that as they argue, fidget, and fuss over each other between bites of food.

Still, Vivi had work and Cassandra had a barony to run, and that soon left just Brad and his goddaughter to whittle away the hours. Fortunately, with today being specifically set aside, he knew just how to do so, fishing in his robes with slight exasperation before remembering where he kept his spare chalk.

“Well, before we can have a proper lesson, the real question is always what you wish to learn? Cici, gentle-miscellany, any strong suggestions?”

> Write-in
Hmm, well, how about something to help with translating books and understanding languages?
Hmm, well, given the timewe have, it should be something relatively harmless, and that she could practice on her own...
How bout a simple light spell? either the ball or beam variety would be fine, its something useful even to a child, and its a spell thats easy to gauge how well you do it due to how bright/steady/etc the light is.
OOh, Or, What about a "Speak with Animals" spell?! She'd get a kick out of that, and could get plenty of practice!
Why not both?
Hey, do you think we need a spell list of what Cici has already learned? I'm beginning to think we're suggesting the same spells each time.
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“Talking to Din-Din would be fun!” Cici interjects.

“Why, yes, I imagine it would,” the old man admits with a reserved smile, “but it’s perhaps a good deal more complicated than you might imagine. Animals, unlike humans, don’t think with words, but with pictures, sensations, and emotions. To transfer those thoughts to yourself requires forming a link between your minds, with clearer images only being possible by imparting additional intelligence to them.”

“Oh…” She looks a little disappointed.

“Similarly, for spells that translate languages, you must apply divination to summon meaning of those words back from the grasp of time. Other methods require the aid of spirits. That said, let me query you this.”

From the side table, the wizard grasps a quill and a piece of paper, scribbling a number of lines on it before turning it to the voices. On the page in question, each line appears to be in an entirely different language, from the flowing and elegant script of the elves to the conservative, lines and blocks of the dwarven alphabet. All the same, the voices have no trouble reading each.

“{If you can read this then}
{my suspicions are correct.}
{Something to do with the}
{collective memories buried}
{inside of you.}”

“That’s amazing!” Cici says, as the voice confirm.

“Yes, a useful talent in its own right,” Brad agrees. “And with your telepathic abilities, perhaps you could read the minds of animals as well given practice.
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“However, for now, let’s return to magic. At first blush, it really is a simple matter, just like writing, and now that you have some small experience with reading it’s time that I begin to teach you. So, then, let’s begin.”

And so, with a piece of chalk, the wizard begins illustrating some concepts on the stone.

“It’s something you should always remember, Cici. That every magical spell written in the modern language, no matter how complex is formed in part by basic sentences. You have your action and your subject and in many cases your object that is being acted on by the action. Nouns and verbs, as simple as that, which we represent by connecting lines delineated by arrows between the words encapsulated in circles.

“It begins with the subject first, always. It will be, ‘I am casting’ or ‘A magic stone is casting’ or something similar,” he says, pointing to the first entry. “This is often followed by a condition, like a switch that says, ‘If something is happening’.”

Cici nods along.

“We then create a new circle that is the action our casting will cause, and then the object that we want that action to happen to. Of course, we seldom want everything to happen only for an instant, and so we draw a circle around the spell surrounding the trigger so that it will be cast continuously.”
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“And sometimes, we want many things to be cast at once. That’s when we put many sentences in the same bubble. Like so.”

Cici looks at the drawing curiously.

“But which do you read first?”
"Start from the source?"
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“An excellent point!” the old man says happily. “You see, in this case, this circle would try to read all of those lines at once. However, if we number the lines, it will know which way to go.”

He puts a quick series of strikes through the connecting lines.

“Or, alternately, there is a principle that spell craft follows the same rules as a clock, progressing around the circle in this direction before coming back to start. Though I think most people just like it for the aesthetic value.”

He draws a new circle and traces his finger around it clockwise, going through each path.
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“Though I will admit, it can save space when you have many actions seeking to refer back to one object. In any case, I suppose that that would cover the basics for now. The real trick, as always, is in the reading, not the writing. That’s because, the more you try to do simultaneously, the harder it will be to accomplish. Does that make sense?”

“I think so…”

> Write-in
Maybe ask him to provide a real life example? Maybe how to convert earth to water... or do some practical magic thing and show a reaction?
Do conflicting actions negate, or otherwise interfere with each other? Like heating and cooling?
I'm still a little lost myself. I'm assuming that when the spell trigger is live, it'll activate the acts in sequential order clockwise? Is that basically it?
I would say that it is basically a program stack, following LIFO ordering.
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“Hrm. An example wouldn’t be a terrible place to start,” the old man muses. “Then let’s start with the simplest of your requests, a basic light spell. Now, as you can see, if we want to create a continuous light, we create a circle. Since we’ll be using our own mana as well and want the spell to go off for so long as we touch the circle, we can truncate the subject and trigger as a single symbol ‘by will of the caster’. Then we simply place our action, ‘create’, and our object ‘light’. And with that, the spell is done.”

He thinks for a second.

“However, if you were to want to be more explicit, you could also write it like this, using invocation as your trigger and explicitly listing caster as the source. Does that make sense?”

> Write-in
Okay, so how it works is that when you have a program, commands go off depending on what inputs have been selected.

New inputs will take precedence over old inputs, so the computer will try and do those first. If the list of actions the computer has left isn't done once the new input's result has been reached, it continues to finish what it had left before.

A good example is if your computer is slow and you are on the internet, you can enter in a website and try to go to it. If the browser doesn't load immediately, you can click on some other item on the webpage and it will begin to load that instead of the website you first typed in. Since the actions are now done, the computer stops looking for things to do.
Okay, I can follow that better. Thanks, anon.
Not a problem. The acronyms for stack order are as follows:
L.I.F.O.: Last In, First Out
F.I.F.O.: First In, First Out
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“I think so, Grampa.”

“Then let’s move on to something a bit more complicated, shall we?”

He begins sketching a new circle.

“Now, as I mentioned, you can sequence events in two different ways. So then, let’s say that I wanted to create light, sound, and then warmth.” He scribbles a circle with branches. “First, I create a branch for creating light, then sound, and then warmth, just like this. And as the circle flows around it will access each one in turn. Naturally, that doesn’t have much impact here, but in many cases, order can be vital.”

To show the effect, he casts the spell, a light appearing, then a sound, then a wave of warmth within seconds of each other. Of course, after they appear, it all sort of runs together. He then draws another circle with only one create rune.

“And as you can see in this case, you can branch from any part of a sequence that repeats itself so long as all of the functional parts are there. The sequence, because of the marks, is exactly the same. Now for the last-“

One more circle joins the fray.

“Our sequence in this case matters, as we are trying to create the light, amplify it, and then propel that light.”

Cici watches as the wizard sends a continuous burst of small flares from his palm.


“These, of course, are basic spells. A lot of what is happening happens by metrics and not law, shaped by intent. There are ways to engineer spells with very precise effects or ones that go through very complicated processes. Like so.”

This time, Grampa doesn’t draw a full circle, but all the same, three light specters shaped like Archer appear and begin running around the room chasing each other.

“How about now? Is everything still making sense?”

> Write-in
Ifyou can change spells like this by reworking the circle, doesnt that mean you could create pretty much any spell you wanted, within your limits, as long as you had the energy and the right runes?
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“Naturally,” he confirms. “With the right assortment of runes, parameters, and enough patience, anything is possible. The limits are all in the mage: their power and their internal focus. Bear in mind, at least, that no matter what those limits, runes act as a focus, significantly reducing the strain of anything you are trying to accomplish.”

He begins scribbling again as Cici begins to look nervous.

“These aren’t things I expect you to understand yet, but there is so much more you can do with magic. You can have tens or even hundreds of rune circles running at once, track time with them, do addition, multiplication, summation, or of course, use algorithms in secondary reference loops to make everything you want to accomplish hyper specific, like making a sphere of light that grows a certain number of meters for every increment of time.”

He seems very excited by all of this, but Cici is shrinking and looking more concerned by the second.

> Write-in
Tell the wizard to slow down maybe, he seems to be getting ahead of himself. Maybe have him work with you to make light shoot out of your hands, practice and use makes perfect after all.
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Unfortunately, I've gotta get some sleep. I'll try to throw up something like a rune list tomorrow and see what you guys can come up with before we resume on Thursday. How does that sound?
sounds good to me

Please slow down, Cici is getting a tad scared. Your student is a child not an adult.

Cici try saying this "Oh magic that comes from my heart, oh magic that comes from my soul, create a ball of light that follows me and illuminates my path until I tell it to stop!"

That's was the most used light spell during the night when you didn't have a candle with you or a torch. There used to be a mage's school that used it as a sort of test.

"The first day create the spell, then maintain it as long as you can. The second day, walk in circles maintaining the spell as long as you can. The third day, walk in a very long and dark corridor while maintaining the spell from beginning to end. If you can't do at least that, you are not fit to become a mage."

Of course this may have been during a time were magic uses were as common as bees, nowadays as long as the student has talent the teacher would give him or her more time to prepare. The reason the spell is oral is because back then, writing, reading and math was not a common skill and because holding a piece of paper with the magic diagram would make the test too easy.

What do you think Cici? Think you can at least do the first step? To create a ball of light and maintain it as long as you can with just your will? I recommend that you eat well first.
This system seems similar to the one used by Larro in MAQ
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Larro (the QM who runs both Audit and MAQ here as well as many other quests, past and present) did an excellent job creating a functional magic system simple enough for players to grasp and modify. I decided that it was as good a place to start as any on my own system, and chances are that if you are familiar with one, you will likely be quick to pick up on this one.

Also, I occasionally requisition art from him. He does good work.
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Here is a list of far more runes that Cici will likely need. Be creative, and keep Cici in mind when designing spells. Also, feel free to request specific runes if you don't see one you want.
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And, because clearly that wasn't enough, here is an appendix of additional devices that can be applied to lines as well as information on timers.

Bear in mind, you can effectively combine two runes into one concept by placing them next to each other or drawing a curved line between them.

Eh Cici should be the one doing it. We can't always do everything for her. She is the mage we are just the helping... fairy.

She might be a child but she knows what she wants, right?
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While Cici should definitely reach her own understanding on the materials, I've outlined the information and system so that any player who feels like crafting her a new spell can do so and encourage her to learn it (which ideally would include an explanation of how it is supposed to work, which is in itself instructive). Think of it as a brain-puzzle for those who enjoy the challenge and a way to aid Cici's development.

Anyway, unfortunately, I won't be able to make good on my promise to run today. I have some vital professional development activities that have unexpectedly come up and that I will have to attend to until fairly late.

I may be able to squeeze in one or two updates after 9:00 EST, but otherwise, we'll have to reconvene on Friday. My apologies.
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“Ah… I suppose you’re right,” the old man sighs, seeming to break from his stream of consciousness as he looks to Cici. He offers a reassuring smile and takes a moment to pat her head before starting again. “Perhaps it would be best to start with small examples, wouldn’t it? And from there, we can slowly move forward.”

She nods sheepishly.

“I’m far too accustomed to teaching men four times your age, you know,” he chuckles to himself. “Impatient, the lot of them, and imperious. They hardly give me the luxury of time.”

With a wave of his hand, the chalk circles then disappear followed by a groan as the old wizard rises to his feet and heads toward the nearest wall. Another wave of his hand and that surface flattens, revealing smooth, flat stone instead of clean brick work.

“A chalkboard is what they call this,” Grampa elaborates, running a hand over the surface. “You’ll become much more familiar with these once the school is open, no doubt, and perhaps even come to resent them.” He laughs as he begins scribbling. “Some also have a very unfavorable reaction to the sound it makes.”

“I don’t understand, Grampa. It doesn’t sound bad.”

“Well, that’s because I’ve had years of practice,” he explains. “Contrary to popular belief, there’s an art to this sort of thing. Too much force or too little care-“ Cici’s arm prickles as a quick swish of the wizard’s arm sends a sharp, dry sound through the air that makes her teeth hurt. “And it can make it hard to focus or learn properly. That’s why you should always keep your chalkboard clean, your hand steady, and use the sharp edge of your chalk to write. We’ll handle that later, but for now, let’s focus on the magic.”
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And so, with a careful hand, the wizard draws a very basic set of lines and empty bubbles, creating a skeleton of a spell.

“So, tell me dear, were you to want to make a spell that produced light, how would you do so?”

“Umm, the voices say I should say stuff to the magic to make the light come out an’ then try to hold it,” Cici explains.

“Ah, I see. Again, they’re touching on a different sort of magic than what I was aiming to teach you. Mind you, there isn’t anything wrong with that method: rather, there are many ways to learn magic. Some write, some sing or dance, and still others have been known to strike elaborate poses. Then, of course, you have incantations, saying specific words to summon magic. In the end, each and every one is simply what you would call a mnemonic device, at least as concerns internalized magic.”

“Nenonic device?” Cici asks.

“’Mnemonic’, dear,” the wizard stresses. “It is a way of remembering things by associating them with something else. For instance, not everyone can remember that a rainbow goes red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo, and violet, but most can recall Roy G. Biv.”

“Roy G. Biv?”

“Precisely! A person can remember a name easier than a list of words,” Brad explains. “So, it is with magic. You associate the raw feelings and mental strain that normally constitute your magic with something simpler, enabling you to more easily construct them when you have a need. However, ehem-“

Brad realizes he is losing Cici again.

“Let’s just focus on filling in the circles, shall we?”


It takes some coaching and gentle assurances, but Cici eventually manages to create a spell to Grampa Wizard’s satisfaction.

“Very good,” he says, going over the lines and symbols with chalk once more. “Now, without thinking too hard, I’d like for you to gather a ball of mana and try to force it into the trigger.”
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“Okay!” Cici agrees without hesitation, once again clearing her mind and trying to coax the magic into her hand.

She feels it build, bit-by-bit until she believes she has enough. Then, with a gentle motion of her hand, she tries to press it into the circle. However, to her disbelief, the mass of mana refuses to go in, just clinging to her palm.


“A circuit of simple chalk cannot shape magic on its own, Cici. Rather, it is a means of visualizing the flow of your own magic. So now, let’s try again. You have the magic in your hand. So now I want you to imagine it like water slowly flowing down the pathways of your circle. When it touches on creation, imagine it pooling and taking shape, and then that ball of raw magic touches light and with your imagination, you give it its final form.”

With a deep breath, Cici does what she is told, trying to clear her mind and focus on the runes and lines in front of her like a channel. Then, with her handful of magic, she tries to gather it into a ball, pressing it down the pathway before trying to fill her mind with images of the sun and fires that had kept her warm at nights before feeling it all release.

The result: she and Grampa Wizard both go blind as a violent flash of light fills the room.

“Impressive volume,” the old man eventually concedes through the darkness of Cici’s world. “But you’re letting it all go at once. You aren’t letting the magic flow naturally so much as you are violently shoving it through.”

“I’m sorry, Grampa!” Cici apologizes, wiping at her eyes. “I didn’t mean to.”

“That’s why we practice, dear,” the old man assures her, his hand somehow finding her shoulder in the dark. “To get better and keep ourselves safe.”

Sight eventually returns to the pair, and then it’s straight back to practice, the snakes on Cici’s head casually yet cautiously ducking behind her back rather than indulging their curiosity going forward. And it certainly isn’t a failsafe series of trials ahead of her or her godfather. In fact, by the end, even she’s trying not to look at the circle directly with her aching eyes, lest a flickering circuit once again erupt into a flashbang.

Still, their combined persistence is eventually rewarded with a beautiful ring of light softly glowing on the floor, an accomplishment Cici is far too terrified to get excited about lest she blast herself with light again.

> Spell learned: Light (small)
> Spell learned: Flare
> Spell learned: Warm
> Spell learned(previous): Spark

Cici is exhausted.

> Write-in

Cici take a break and eat something.
and thanks grandpa wizard for his patient!
Also hug him
you did a good job cici! Don't let a mistake discourage you!
Seconding the other anons. Let's take a rest as well. Do we have a porch we can sit on or something?
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“Thanks, Grampa,” Cici says, offering a tired hug the equally tired wizard bends down to receive.

As if on cue, that’s when her stomach begins to rumble.

“I guess I am hungry,” she admits shyly.

“Well, magic certainly has a way of doing that to you,” the old man laughs, “and we’ve been at this for a couple of hours now. Let’s break for lunch, then, shall we?”

Cici gives an enthusiastic nod and darts for the stairs, turning around expectantly only to see her grandfather rooting around in his travel bags rather than following. Curiously, after a moment, he pulls out a bundle of cloth, apparently a sort of magic summoning ritual for Archer who comes bounding inside expectantly with Jasmine hot on her heels.

“She has a fondness for cheese,” Brad explains to Cici with a laugh, the feline-bird chimera shuffling impatiently as her master pulls out a small knife.

Once, twice, he cuts off a morsel for each of the beasts encircling his feet before dropping them to opposite sides, shuffling through the break in their formation before they can regroup.

“That should tide them for a moment. Now then, some bread, a few tomatoes, and some other ingredients, and we should be set for a proper lunch.”

With basket in hand and Cici’s curiosity peaked, the pair make their way up to the garden, carefully selecting an onion, a few tomatoes, some honey, and a pinch or two of various spices along with a loaf of bread, butter, and the remainder of a bottle of cream from breakfast. Then, it’s right back down to the bonfire where the pets, including Din-Din, are already waiting.

“So, what are you making?” Cici asks as she pulls the attention starved bun into her lap and begins gently stroking his ears. Naturally, the remaining animals aren’t far behind in trying to muscle in.

“You’ll see,” the old man chuckles, fingers waggling and ingredients rising into the air in a careful coordinated and mesmerizing dance.
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Tomatoes peel themselves and bread and onions fall into neat slices as he works, juices from it all gathering into the pot over the outdoor grill to meld with sizzling butter and cream. The cheese is last to join the fray, slice after slice pulling itself free as it layers itself over slices of partially toasted and buttered bread sprinkled with herbs.

“You know,” the wizard sighs wistfully, finally seeming to reach the end of his magic act and gathering proper cooking implements as a combination of zesty and buttery smells fill the air. “When I was a lad, my mother used to make this for me all of the time. She even went so far as to warn me that I’d become a grilled cheese if I didn’t eat something else every now and again.”

He smiles at the sizzle as he flips the toasted pieces of bread together and flattens them with his spatula. Another practiced hand then turns a wooden spoon in the pot.

“She sounds nice,” Cici muses, trying to imagine what she must look like at her age.

“Why yes. Yes, she was,” the wizard agrees quietly. “She took excellent care of my siblings and myself until we were half-again your mother’s age, even if we were too rock-headed to see it at the time. She taught us our letters, manners, and most importantly, that life is far too precious to not waste some of it on the people dearest to you.”

With a quick slice down the middle of one sandwich, grampa seems to take a strange joy in slowly pulling the still connected, molten cheese apart, plating the buttery confection before ladling soup into a small bowl he places next to it.
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“Bon appetit,” he offers as he places it in front of Cici, his hands going in for a hug, but then darting to catch Jasmine instead as she guns for the plate. “Archer! This is what I was talking about! You’ve been teaching her terrible habits!”

The owl griffin hoots something like a laugh as the wizard carries away the strangely complacent manticore, moving to follow only after stealing a bit from the wizard’s own plate for herself. Cici giggles at it all throughout, though maybe she shouldn’t, especially with her mouth full of melted cheese and soup.

Still, lunch proves especially delicious today as she continues eating, the rich soup complimenting the savory and salty cheese sandwich perfectly. In fact, by the time the wizard is back, she’s almost halfway done.

“I take it that it was to your liking then,” the old man speculates as Cici enthusiastically chews through her next bite with a nod.

“Uh-huh! It’s really good! Maybe you can teach me how to make it some time.”

“Were you to ask my wife, that’s the only thing I can prepare properly,” the old wizard snorts, moving to take a bite of his own sandwich only to notice the roughly beak shaped hole on one side. He just shrugs, and starts biting around it. “Still, I suppose even if you only know one thing, it’s worth teaching.”


Things default to silence for a time as the pair give their stomachs precedence. And afterward, as plates lie empty, it’s an open ground for questions, if the voices should have any.

> Write-in

Teach her how to make the sandwich when you can. Still I think Cici should go to sleep after this and you should take a nap. The number of wizards that became litches without even noticing because they worked without rest is bigger than you think. Usually with the soul jar being the closest thing around.

Cici, there is no rush, too much studying on the same day can be as bad or worse than not studying at all. Fear not those who do not know or those who know many things but those who know only a bit yet they think they know it all.

Maybe this place is a nexus? Is seems weird how the bees and the golems seem to be dimensional travelelers. Not just a lot of ambient magic would be needed but also a place were the walls of reality are more frail than usual. While we are in a dungeon that's not enough to explain it. A dungeon atracts monster kin like sugar atracts kids but to the golems to exit the underground around here...

Mmm someone must be pulling quite a few strings, yes.

There are no coincidences.
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“I was just about to suggest that, actually,” Brad agrees, dusting crumbs off his robe. “You may want to lie down for a nap, Cici. Mental strain is best rested away, and you’ve certainly had your share of it.”

“I’m fine,” Cici murmurs, but without much conviction, Din-Din’s soft fur reminding her of pillows.

“Well then, you’ll be excellent after a nap. Come now before you start resting your head on the table.”

Cici finally agrees. Though reluctant to miss the last day Grampa will be in town sleeping, her legs had apparently become wobblier and her eyelids heavier on a full stomach as she clutches Din-Din to her chest. Fortunately, the bed isn’t far and her blankets are as soft as ever, Din-Din as sleepy as she is as he lazily stretches out beneath the covers and rolls his body against hers.

“Sleep well, dear.”

“Goodnight, Grampa.”

With a wave of his hand, the lights go out, and Cici breathes a deep sigh of relief in the cool air. Her head hurt quite a bit from so much magic, her eyes from the light exposure, but her stomach was full and warm. Sleep wasn’t far behind.

In the other room, the voices are still hovering around Grampa Wizard and his book, many of them cautioning sleep to the stubborn elderly gentleman.

“Believe me,” he sighs. “I am a firm believer that one is never too old to enjoy a good nap. However, as you yourselves have stated, there are many curious happenings going on around here, and not enough answers.”

With care, he turns another page of a large history textbook.

“Naturally, I’d prefer to sleep a little more, but a little less won’t kill me, let alone transform me into a lich. As I’ve said before, that process is far more complicated and vile and would require very powerful magic. First, you need a phylactery, then to copy the mind into a crystal matrix, then-“
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He sighs, turning another page.

“Using a combination of meditation techniques practiced by the elves, my short hours of rest effectively count for much more. It has its risks, but it’s something that I’ve required on and off for years now to make my schedule workable. However, thank you for your concern.”

A firm minute of silence passes as the wizard continues his reading.

“You aren’t wrong you know,” he notes. “Not about the possibility of me becoming a lich, mind you, but about this place being more than it appears at first glance. Tell me, have you ever thought of why this cemetery was brought into existence?”

> Write-in
Honestly, we have been a little busy with the day to day to reflect. What is the reason for the graveyard being?

There was a battle? Around the world there are a few abandoned cementeries that were places were a big battle took place. Is also possible that during said battle not only many died but also a lot of powerful magics were used. Long ago magic was easier than it is today and Gods walked the Earth giving both curses and blessings on a whim.There was a lot of more magic in the air, and so things that seem out of legends and fairy tales were quite possible. That not only affected mages but also heroes, human could more easily breakthrough their limits even without a blessing.

But as magic got used too much, that changed. That's is not a bad thing because magic can do both wonders and horrors. The first undead weren't made by wizards but just by people who refused to die. Ghosts wandered battlefields by the hundreds, people rose from their graves as zombies, old armor suits got haunted and moved, that was the result of big wars fought in an era were magic was abundant as water.

Of course priests and even gods helped to put the risen dead to rest. But the idea of the dead rising to keep fighting was planted in people hearts and that's how the first necromancers were born.

That angered Lady Death, because while she could tolerate a few escaping her for a while, forcing others into unlife was a crime in her eyes. And so she cursed necromancy and all who practice it. Although like all the old gods curses, that one might be weakening.

You can see it in Cici, she has legs while her mother does not. And Cici's children might even look more human if the parent is not monster kin.

Now back on topic, a legendary monster like a Gorgon kin, a dungeon, a portal, human like monsters and smart golems. Any of those things would make a good story on it's own but put them together in the right way and you might get an epic.

Before we pointed out a new Baroness might need an army, both to fight those who are not happy with her claiming the title but also because some might not accept her because she is a monster.

And what we have here? An Oni, a Troll, magic bees, a Beholder-kin and an army of golems. Plus a secret weapon only Cici will be allowed to use.

If that does not sound like strings being pulled then I don't know what it is.
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“I’m not sure what history you’re recounting of ancient times. However, this, I fear, is a far more recent affair,” the old man explains tiredly. “Not so long ago I told you of an age of war over which this kingdom was founded. It was before my time, a long and bloody conflict that seemed to have no end. So it was that during that time, many, many brave men and women gave their lives fighting for what they believed was right.

“However, with so much death on every front, there was temptation and fiendish opportunity for necromancers. The bodies and spirits of the recently deceased became a means of strategy for fiendish lords and mad commanders, prompting some to seek out peaceful resting places where death could be given its proper respect.

“So, it was that here, in a land with little wealth or strategic value, that many came to lay their dead to rest beneath the watchful eyes of goodly men and elves who had no need for war or politics. They made no qualms of country nor of kinship, laying all to rest with equal dignity and import. Eventually, such noble aims even earned them the stewardship of a mighty wizard who was said to have further protected the region from would-be graverobbers.

“My suspicion then, is that the gathering of so many powerful souls in one place and the consecrating rites that were performed left the walls thin, as you say, a place where the world of spirits is closer to our own. More curious still is the fact that this locale is also empowered with the element of earth, coming from a node buried deep, deep down below.

“It’s no surprise, then, that the ruins of the tower which once occupied this place became a beacon and gathering ground for would-be tyrants and mad spell-casters. It’s like a homing instinct for those tied with magic to seek out these places, and it seems even before the vampires, this place didn’t want for suitors. It was, in fact, in seeking to oust one such vicious tyrant that Cici’s Uncle Lee presumably died, though he didn’t recall much surrounding the moments of his death.”

> Write-in
Just wondering, but are there spells that prevent the use of necromancy? I know of a game where a spell was used to prevent a wide range of effects, such as preventing fear, sound, or the raising of undead. It was called Hallow. Could you possibly utilize the node of earth energy to empower a rune set to have protective elements envelop the graveyard and the village?

Or has this been done already?
that's a nice idea!
can we do anything with the node in general?

I see. So that's why there was undead here.
those were golems
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“Hmm…” He thinks for a good, long moment. “Somehow, I doubt that this land is still hallowed, if ever it was. Magic such as that likely would have kept the vampires from settling here in the first place. Not to mention… No, they didn’t raise the skeletons, did they? They did something else.”

The wizard seems to be caught in his own thoughts, eyes open in something like excitement and finger to his lips as he goes for his travel bag. After a moment of impatient searching, he then finds what he was looking for, the magical tome that he had taken off of Cassandra’s hands.

“I knew this looked familiar,” he murmurs, not stopping to sit back down but rather heading for the spiral ramp that leads further down. “And the ramps are the same dimension.”

He realizes then that he isn’t alone and returns to the voices.

“You see, when I first came here, the first thing I realized was that the skeletons were not animated by necromancy, but rather built as golems, particularly fascinating ones at that. It was as though someone had borrowed a sophisticated blueprint and then slapped their own additions onto it, and now I think I know why.

“Those automata, those machines that came from the ground, their schematics are the same, but minus the modern changes. One can extrapolate then, that the skeletons were built for a similar purpose, but in this case meant to dig downward with the same homing instinct. They presumably wanted them to unearth whatever was down there for their own uses, and believe me when I say that control of magical nodes is often highly sought after. In fact, most dungeons arise from some madman’s previous attempt to protect that control gone haywire.

“Hmm… A peaceful land in a war-torn age and a wizard left to ply his trade in isolation over a powerful node. Perhaps a golem-mancy specialist… But then, why?”

> Write-in
Could it be simple curiosity? How might the glyph have entered into that project?

“I suppose my point is that someone who may still be out there knew there was something beneath here to be discovered. What’s more, they knew enough about the anatomy of this magic to reverse engineer it, if very crudely. It’s good Cassandra stopped them when she did. Otherwise, a lackadaisical baron and a general lack of public notice might have seen them gaining access to whatever tools of war were left buried below and are apparently still powered by an earth node.”

He thinks for a moment.

“I have suspicions that are growing in light of this, and plenty of research to do. For now, I’d simply ask that you keep a wary eye out for strange people or at least strange mages with unhealthy interest in the structure erected by the machines.”

After a few more, tense moments, he breathes out a sigh of exasperation.

“But I didn’t come here to worry you or this family over apocalyptic ramblings. That said, do you imagine there is anything I could do to liven up the evening before I make way in the morning?”

> Write-in
Honest.y I have no idea other than making a list of possible teaching applicants for Cassandra. In addition to that, making a pitch for people to become excited about working here when you leave might be helpful.
Fireworks are always good, as are lightshows.
well, at least whatever is down there seemed to have some intelligence that wasnt just letting anyone in. Small favors I guess.
Also, I hope you realize prettty much everyone whos wandered in here so far has been in some way strange and magical. Might want to narrow it down a bit?
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A bit of alchemy, transmutation, and practiced hands make the process of crafting a few fireworks trivial, the old man looking almost like an old woman knitting in the way he casually cobbles together explosives while reclined back in his seat. It is oddly soothing, the voices suppose, the sounds of gunpowder sliding down tubes like gentle rain, the occasional, rhythmic tap or two with a mallet keeping things lively.

“As we were discussing,” the old man answers at mention of a list of teachers. “I believe Ms. Willow will be our woman for this job. She has a knack for the basics and a good head for numbers, and if I’m not mistaken, she’s taken her first apprentice recently. Perhaps a bit of friendly rivalry will do Cici well.”

With a casual air, he then blows away a bit of excess dust from his final firework, the wind swirling across the floor in its entirety and rushing into the fire with its contents, sending up a shower of sparks. Thus, reasonably satisfied, the wizard catches a quick nap of his own, dozing by the fire until Cassandra finally comes around.


“I told you, you should have woken me!” Brad later grumps by the bonfire as Cassandra laughs and sticks her tongue out at her would-be father-in-law.

“And I told you that you need to sleep more,” she fires back. “It’s not good for a man your age to-“

“A man my age, a man my age!” the wizard condemns sourly. “I’m barely into my 80s, young lady, and still fit as a fiddle!”

“And fiddles need more tuning the older they are,” Mama returns. “Lest they snap a string at an inopportune time.”

“Ah! Balderdash! Something tells me you’ll be singing a different tune when you’re my age and Cici’s moved off to some bizarre locale far from home! Besides, I get plenty.”

He’s interrupted from further argument as a high pitched yawn is released off to the side, his god-daughter wrapped defensively in a cloak of feathers as she waits for dinner to be served.

“Uncle Guyus says that napping is the key to a long an’ happy life,” she murmurs. “An’ I want Grampa to be around for a long time…”


That comment had a strange way of putting a moratorium on the adults’ bickering for the rest of the evening, the family of four then five when Yesh showed up enjoying a night together over a dinner of trout and another bottle of fine wine. Cici still abstains of course, but fortunately, this time, so does Okku, leaving everyone in a pleasant and non-panicked mood as a series of colorful blooms burst forth from the sky in a rainbow of colors that can be seen for miles, in all likelihood catching the eyes of not only the townsfolk nearby, but all of the strange and wonderful individuals who had come to call this place home.
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And I think that's where we'll end it for this week, folks. I hope you had fun.

Also, Cici may have spied something around the edge of the forest as the blasts of light rained through the air. However, she thought better than to mention it.
Thank you, bananon
Patoo griffins!

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