Volume 1 - A Day In the Life - The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
A Day in the Life
Deep within the Rocky Road Range laid an especially tall mountain hex surrounded by high mountains. Near the top of this hex there was a stone courtyard seemingly carved from the side of the peak. The courtyard opened off an enormous ledge, granting a far ranging and spectacular view for the seven regal looking statues who stood vigil underneath the great eave protecting the space.
A unit appeared suddenly in the middle of the courtyard. With a natural flourish and bow, the man spoke immediately.
“Ladies and Lords of the court I am Sir Edelbert Spore…” Finishing the bow, Sir Spore’s fresh eyes scanned his surroundings for the first time, only to realize he was not in fact in front of a royal court but alone in the weathered courtyard.
“I’m… alone? This must be some mistake.” The man suddenly cupped his hands to his lips and yelled “HELLO!”
A shrill cry swept through the courtyard “ISH…Ish…ish…ish..ish” At this the man started, holding up his hand and waving his staff. “Skeet Coop” intoned Sir Spore reflexively. Three pools of reddish brown mud bubbled immediately up between the courtyard stones and formed into cooing attentive birds.
A few things all occurred to Sir Spore in an overwhelming jumble. The three units were called Clay Pigeons. They were stacked with him. As well, he could sense what they could sense, like looking through little windows in his head. He knew that there was nothing within eye or earshot from his pigeons. He knew he had rolled well to get three from a single casting. They were not good for much beyond scouting, he could sense their stats.
Clay Pidgeon ( A,B,C )
Combat 0 (+1 Dirtamancer,+1 Artifact)
Defense 0 (+1 Dirtamancer, +1 Artifact)
Special- Scout, Flying, Golem, Fragile
Upkeep 1 schmucker per (paid)
The little green light in his brain made him acutely aware of the big red one.
Combat 1 (+1 Artifact)
Defense 2 (+1 Artifact)
Special- Caster (Dirtamancy), Noble, Fabrication
Upkeep – 125 schmuckers
Artifact? In his hand, almost forgotten, he gripped a very strange staff. It was made of a dark Live Oak wood carved with many hands holding various farming tools. The hands formed into an interlocking spiral up the body of the shaft which supported a deeply faceted pulsing green Gem at its crown. The staff was much thicker than a normal quarterstaff except for a smooth grip about two thirds the way up from the roots styled base. It felt a little like hefting a small log, except that it was magically light.
Edelbert immediately was glad he had the Fabrication special. With his enhanced sense of items from Fabrication, as well as his enhanced sense of magic and Stuff from being a Dirtamancer, he could read the stats of the staff. His skill with items was nowhere near a Dollamancer, a Changemancer, or even a Hat Magician but he would be much more capable than most other casters; as well as far and above other fabricators.
Great Gardening Staff – Artifact +1 - Moderate reduction to spell cost, Major reduction to Flower Power spell cost, +3 Bonus on Flower Power spells.
“I need to compose myself. If I have popped alone then I am a barbarian. I popped with an artifact. Lucky.” Edelbert mused out loud. “I suppose that means I need to worry about my safety and my upkeep next. I should have a look around the hex.”
Having realized what he was, Sir Spore reached out with his Dirtamancer senses. An old ruin sang to him, the Crafty Crags Ruin to be specific. He could feel the song in the bones of the high mountain hex that he and the ruin stood atop, a whole lot of bass, like a rhythmic drumming. Ample supplies of clay and granite for him to work with. Also, the hex counted as light rain forest so there was readily available wood.
With an unpracticed mental order Edelbert sent his pigeons, A and B, flapping out to see the ruin site and assess it for danger, or ideally provisions. C could stand guard.
From above, Spore (or the pigeon) could see the courtyard he was standing within. On the opposite face, there was also a short tower poking up from just off the peak of the hex. A broken staircase ran down the ridge of the peak until zigging into what appeared to be a sizable forested valley below.
Spore’s Dirtamancer eye also noted that there was a cavern that opened at the rear of the valley, he smiled without realizing.
At least above ground, there were no signs of any particularly dangerous inhabitants within the hex. In the valley, the pigeons did catch sight of a few Wascally Wabbits but they were mostly harmless. Anyway, they would make good provisions if the need persisted.
Swinging A and B around the outside edge of the hex gave Sir Spore a fair view of the surrounding hexes as well as a slight idea of the hexes beyond that.
On five sides the Crafty Crags Ruin was surrounded by heavy rain-forested high mountain hexes. The sixth hex was only a lightly rain-forested high mountain hex. Beyond that ring of mountains appeared to lay a great number of rain forest hexes with other mountains visible far off in the east and west. Every hex within sight had a full lush canopy of trees. There was a carpet of deep green as far he could see.
Rain forest was one of the most dangerous hex types. They came with movement penalties like regular forest, plus high chance of severe weather. The worst part was the high feral spawn rates, possibly the highest rate and most varied Pop Chart of any terrain type.
Double terrain penalties plus probable weather penalties added up to effectively impassable terrain. For many units, it was impassable terrain. At best, it would probably take him a full two turns to get through any of those mountain hexes, probably more if the weather acted up. Even then he would be in the deep jungle.
“I need provisions.” Edelbert reminded himself. “For a while.”
Not wanting to risk his pigeons inside the cavern or tower yet, he decided to recall them. Through the eyes of his returning pigeons Edelbert got to see himself up close for the first time.
A unit of moderate height and build, with skin the tone of wet sand; He was wearing a long sleeved simple green robe, very clean and natural with black wooden buttons fastening it closed down one side. His short cropped white hair and goatee all appeared neat. Oddly, he Popped with a dagger and light sandals.
“Okay pigeons, it is time to move.”
At the rear of the courtyard between two of the statues was a man-sized door, which the pigeons then Edelbert promptly passed through. Beyond the door they moved along a tunnel that Edelbert could sense ran across from one side of the peak to the other, a fairly short distance at this height on the mountain.
Pigeon A dutifully moved ahead and passed through a heavy curtain out onto the broken stairwell they had seen before. The curtain fell back into place it dragged against the stone and there was a “Swish swish swish ish ish ish” sound. As Edelbert passed through the curtain he was surprised to realize this was more than a curtain it was Spoils. The item was called a Woolrus Hide. It was bright white and covered in a soft but dense wool, very dense.
“What is a Woolrus?” he asked, only to realize that he knew, at least a little. A Woolrus was one of the more advanced forms of Pokedaemon. If a hide was part of the ruins, that meant one had croaked here and went unclaimed, Edelbert figured.
“I need provisions.” the Dirtamancer reminded himself. “I do have an idea for you though my fuzzy friend” he said to the Woolrus Hide as he grabbed and pulled it from the brackets holding it up in the passage way.
Expending a tiny bit of juice to compensate for his lack of tools, Sir Spore immediately went to reworking the Woolrus Hide into a Woolrus Cloak. It turned out that he had enough hide left over to make Woolrus Boots as well. The whole set was enough to provide a + 1 Defense bonus, plus an okay resistance to weather effects.
“Thank you Titans. Now we are making some progress!” he hollered out upon donning the cloak and boots. These should keep him warm and dry in the inevitable rain, plus the boots were very comfortable.
Looking around himself Edelbert realized that the stairwell on which he stood was severely degraded by time and rain. In fact, he could sense that many places were naturally formed traps that would collapse if a unit tried to pass.
None of that would be too worrisome, any Dirtamancer could repair them, but it did leave him with a tactical question.
Edelbert mumbled under his breath. “Do I cast a spell to rebuild just the stairs or do I cast a spell to repair all of the Stuff within the hex?”
He figured that rebuilding the stairwell would be cheaper in the short term but would have a much smaller effect for the cost. Casting over the hex would cost quite a bit more initially but would avoid problems like this anywhere else in the ruin as he explored.
He quickly concluded it had to be hex wide, much more efficient over all. A ruin hex would not have as much Stuff to repair compared with a city so the spell effect would be more concentrated, most of the juice would probably effect the tower and stairs. Besides, the condition of a ruin affects the chance of units and treasure popping within that hex. Higher quality ruins Pop higher quality units and treasure. That could be helpful if he had to stay for a while.
“Taylor Borland Vila” Edelbert chanted as he cast through his staff. The stairs, the tower, and all other nonmagical nonliving Stuff in the hex improved in condition by a few degrees.
Edelbert was now at just less than half juice but he could feel the approval of the ruin itself by a change in the song of the mountain; Much more soothing, like a flute sweeping in over the drums.
Sir Spore and his pigeons turned and headed down toward the valley. Croaking those wabbits seemed smart and the copse of trees in the glade was the most likely zone in the hex to have harvestable provisions of some kind anyway.
The hike down the valley took a quarter of an hour but it was fairly easy, with clean smooth stairs to descend. There were even handrails at some of the steeper drops and turns.
The glade itself was sizable for a mountain hex. Trees, vines, and other vegetation grew with abundance which made Edelbert more hopeful for provisions. He could actually see oranges and crunchberries from the bottom step!
Without regard for his surroundings Spore charged hungrily to the crunchberry bush and began harvesting them straight into his mouth. With each cluster of berries, he could feel his upkeep drop a few schmuckers. Very fulfilling as far as first meals go, Edelbert thought.
Nearly half way through the bush and less than a quarter of the way through his upkeep, Sir Spore began to worry.
“This may not be enough for today, let alone if I have to camp here a few turns. Okay, solutions?” He was finding that speaking helped to keep him calm.
A wild idea snuck into his mind. What if he tried to bless the garden with a Flower Power spell enhanced by his Dirtamancy senses?
Normally a level 1 novice would not even consider cross discipline casting but the Great Gardening Staff should mitigate most, or all, the penalties he would suffer for inability. Also, if it worked he could significantly boost the vegetable provisions in the hex on this and future turns, much more than if he fertilized the soil with Dirtamancy.
Risky for certain, but he had a good feeling. Besides why would the Titans give him this artifact if they did not mean for him to use it? “Blood Sweat Tears”. As he intoned the gem of his staff pulsed brightly and then threw an orb of green light into the air of the meadow. The sphere spun for a moment then burst into a cloud of sparkles that settled all around.
As the juice seeped into the plants around the glade they all began to grow brighter and more healthful.
A patch of tall grass nearby shook violently, startling Edelbert. His pigeons automatically swooped forward, all on the hunt for a veiled wabbit.
…Nothing came out… the pigeons next swooped out into the nearby trees, keeping low to watch for movement. Still nothing.
The same tall grass shook again but this time a strange bush emerged from the ground entirely.
The five or six broad dark leaves of the bush sprouted out of the crown of what appeared to be a giant beige turnip, with stubby legs and big orange eyes. The strange plant units’ head flapped back and it screamed at Edelbert from its gaping orange mouth.
Edelbert collapsed forward gasping for air. Without warning Edelbert was experiencing what he guessed was drowning. He could not breathe, except he was in open air and very thirsty. So, the opposite of drowning.
The giant turnip monster just stood there, with its mouth slightly open, like it was grinning.
Combat rounds had not initiated meaning this could not be an attack, hmm. Something was different though, Edelbert still could not breathe and he was thirsty. With a start, he realized he could not move either!
Water, he really wanted some water and it was hard not to think about. Not the time, Edelbert reminded himself with difficulty, he was being attacked or …something. Turnip just stood there though, grinning.
Crouched in place gasping for breath and all he could think of was water! His senses obligingly let him know that there was in fact a reservoir of clean pure mountain water a short distance beneath the surface, held within the peak.
Consciousness beginning to wobble and with panic setting in, Edelbert desperately reached out for the reservoir and pulled with all the force his meager remaining juice could allow.
With a hiss, the stone at his feet cracked and a geyser erupted forth spraying warm clean water high into the air. A large oval then sunk nearly a foot. Unable to brace himself, Edelbert dropped roughly to the ground and was rapidly submerged into the pool that was now in the process of forming.
With a gurgling whoop, Sir Spore exclaimed “Breath, sweet glorious breath!” That does not make any sense though the Dirtamancer immediately realized. Why could he suddenly breathe underwater but not in air?
Edelbert took a calming breath of warm clean water and focused his mind. With a deep exhale, he initiated an internal awareness check. Hmm, Sir Spore thought, something is different, but what exactly? His body was unharmed although his pulse was still uncomfortably high. He felt sound of mind but then again, he may be just Fooling himself.
With a quick thought, he scanned his stat sheet just grasping at straws. Four specials, he noticed, not three. He now had the Sub-Aquatic special.
“That is just…well odd.” Edelbert burbled. “Wait what was it that turnip said? Weirded or something?”
Trying not to consider the consequences Edelbert took an enormous breath and held it in. With a swish of his arms he oriented himself and planted his feet on the ground, pushing up to stand. His head and shoulders lifted above the water level of the now settling pond. The water had found a low spot in the edge of the cliff and formed a small waterfall, which spared the glade from flooding.
In front of Edelbert stood the big turnip, smiling and watching. It appeared as if it had not moved or done anything during Edelbert’s brief panic. Strange.
Behind the turnip creature, emerging from the foliage crept three Wascally Wabbits. Two of them were small and white, probably only level one based on their similar size. The big Wabbit was grey along its back side and must have been two or three levels higher than the small wabbits. The larger wabbit lowered its head preparing to pounce on the unaware turnip.
Without thinking Edelbert yelled “Look out Turnip!”. Then Edelbert’s first combat began.
The plant unit turned just in time to avoid sneak attack damage, although it still appeared to be a fair blow. A large gash ran down the side of Turnips face and a thick orange fluid seeped slowly from the wound.
Edelberts turn came and with it his air (water?) ran out. He ducked his head under the pond surface and gulped in another giant breath. When he emerged on the next turn the wabbits had flanked Turnip and were closing for a coordinated attack.
Without juice Edelbert had only one real option if he wanted to help Turnip, which for some reason he did. Under his emphasized order his pigeons swooped over his head and in to attack the wabbits. Stacked in a group and with a Dirtamancer, Edelbert realized the Pigeons were not so weak really.
Pidgeon B swooped for a slam attack and with a sharp crashing sound smashed into the smallest wabbit. Both units croaked instantly from the force of the Crit. Fragile indeed he thought.
Edelbert then had A and C dive in for more controlled peck attacks at the smaller white wabbit. Both birds scoring light hits but neither enough to croak their foe.
Sir Spore’s breath faded once again and unable to engage or attack personally, Edelbert moved quickly back beneath the water to take a deep breath.
The time dilation of combat was not something Edelbert had any reason to be used to, so he was not. There with his head under water, when things slowed down even further, it threw him for a loop or maybe even two.
Into his mind came a powerful but not overwhelming impulse. A message sent not in words but in feelings. Immense gratitude, desire, and loyalty all spelled out a clear message inside of Sir Spores head; like an order with a question mark at the end.
-Alliance Request- Weirdish / Pokedaemon / Natural Ally - URGENT-
It just didn’t seem fair those wabbits sneaking up on Turnip, not very honorable. They probably had used their natural Foolamancy to get so close. Without Edelbert it probably would have worked too.
Could barbarians even take natural allies, Edelbert passively wondered as he actively accepted the request.
He poked his head back out of the water and he felt his stack total go back up. He also could sense the stats of the Weirdish now. Turnip only had 2 hits left and that big wabbit would probably take those in its next attack!
The large wabbit appeared to have taken a hit, however the second gash across Turnip said that the blow had been returned swiftly. Fortunately, pigeon A had managed to dodge the attack from the smaller wabbit.
Edelbert knew he could not engage in the fight but he did figure himself to be as close to a commander as this stack was going to have. Sir Edelbert Spore must certainly be the smartest unit in the hex. “Attack!” He yelled and ordered at his stack.
Responding to his will A and C dropped down atop the smaller Wabbit and pecked it swiftly to croak. Turnip either accepted the order or was going to attack anyway. It leapt forward and took a large bite from the left haunch of the remaining Wabbit.
Although a significant hit, this was not enough to incapacitate the wabbit. Edelbert got just a moment to panic for his new ally before the glade erupted into a blinding flash of grey smoke and a rough male voice booming "And Dat's De End!".
Combat was suddenly over. The wabbit was nowhere to be seen. Edelbert and Turnip made eye contact for a long-confused moment.
“What just happened here Turnip? Where did that Wascally Wabbit go?!” Sir Spore barked out a bit more harshly than he intended.
“Weird?” was all he got in reply.
“Insightful” Edelbert sarcasmed while he also realized, “Pigeons make spot then search checks. The Wabbit is probably Fooling us. It has to be here somewhere.”
Near instantly the birds had a bead on the wabbit. Pursue and engage he thought and the pigeons dove.
Edelbert could still not see the wabbit and apparently neither could Turnip. He dropped back beneath the surface and took another gulping breath.
Closing his eyes and focusing he watched through the eyes of A. The bird had swept down atop what seemed to be a shimmer to Edelbert’s eyes. The shimmer warbled then popped as the Veil finally broke for the Dirtamancer.
Sir Spore stood again in the pool and felt a funny tingle as he gained experience from the croaking of the wabbit. Despite not engaging directly all members of a stack got a small portion of experience from any kill, as did commanders. Nowhere near enough for him to level though.
Both A and C were now level twos. Neither had gained hits, attack, or defense but each had gained four move and one upkeep cost. He ordered them to sweep the glade for any more units.
The Weirdish had not gained a level either. “Greetings new Ally!” Edelbert began “My name is Sir Edelbert Spore. What might I call you?”
“Weirdish” was all Edelbert received in reply. The unit smiled and bobbed as it spoke however.
Sir Spore quickly dunked his head beneath the water’s surface and gasped a breath. Edelbert was just happy to have someone to talk to. “Is that your name or your unit type? Do you have language?”
“Ish” his new natural ally chirped with a sly grin.
“That was a no?” Edelbert was forced to assume “How about I call you Turnip, would that be alright? You look like a Turnip to me”
“Wei” Turnip cried, then began dancing about enthusiastically.
“Okay that must have been a yes.” Edelbert posited “Did you give me the Sub-Aquatic special? Why did you do that, we were not allied yet?” Followed by another quick dunk.
“Wei!” cheered Turnip. It stepped forward toward the pond and touched the gem at the top of The Great Gardening Staff with one of its leaves. “Dish.”
“Dish, what do you mean dish?” Sir Spore asked, a bit confused. “Like food? I did not feed you anything, although I will share the wabbit meat with you.”
Turnip shook its head side to side. “Ird ird.” It tapped the gem of the staff forcefully with a single leaf and then waived all six of them in the air. “Dish.”
Edelbert felt a bit foolish for a moment but then put the dots together. “Oh, the blessing I cast on the glade. You are a plant unit. I cast a friendly spell on you, so you reciprocated. Is that about right Turnip?”
“Wei.” Turnip bobbed its knees in such a way as to give the strong impression of a big nodding head.
“I appreciate the gesture but why Sub-Aquatic? Now I am stuck here in this pool. This cannot be permanent? How am I going to make the rest of my upkeep?” Edelbert spoke very quickly beginning to lose his calm. He took this moment to dunk for a breath.
Turnip lowered all but one leaf, “Weird.” Its voice held gravity as it spoke. Then it held up a second leaf, “Ird” it said as it shook its body no. It then relaxed all its leaves.
Speaking like this was going to take some long getting used to Edelbert worried. “This is not permanent is what you are saying. What does the Weird part mean though Turnip? Do you mean like Weirdomancy? That would make sense since you apparently gave me a temporary bonus special.”
“Wei, Weird.” Turnip responded cheerily accompanied by more knee-nodding. It then turned and stepped over to one of the croaked white wabbits. Turnip lifted the corpse into the air with two leaves and dropped the wabbit whole into its own mouth. In three swift chomps the corpse was gone.
“Hey wait!” Sir Spore ordered “We were going to share those!” He had held on as long as he could, so Edelbert dunked once again under the pool.
Turnip, without hesitation, walked straight across to the other white wabbit and chomped it down. Two bites this time. It then turned sharply and walked off into the glade toward the last corpse.
“Turnip, I need to eat some of those or I will not make upkeep.” Edelbert cried “Turnip, please!” With an order, pigeon A swooped back into the trees to follow Turnip. It stood there already devouring the remains of the grey wabbit. Sir Spores knees weakened a bit and he fell below the water to catch his breath.
A few moments later Turnip stepped up to the side of the pool above Edelbert. It swept a leaf through its mouth and into the pond fell an egg sized orange gem. Edelbert grabbed it up and then stood.
“Is this for me Turnip?” Edelbert asked. “This is worth 100 schmuckers, it will pay my remaining upkeep for the turn. That is far more then I would have gotten for eating what I could from the wabbits.”
“Wei!” Turnip said merrily as it snugged its legs into the wet soil at the edge of the pond. Tiny roots began to form.
Edelbert converted the gem into schmuckers and then paid his upkeep. He had three remaining schmuckers in his purse. A platter formed from a giant leaf Popped on the water surface next to where Edelbert floated, covered with a grilled fish and some root vegtables. Immediately he began eating.
“Well Turnip do you have anything else you want to do this turn? I cannot move and I have no juice.”
“Ird” Turnip replied as it shrugged its leaves and shook itself.
“Okay, that is what I figured. I am going to send out A and C to explore the surrounding hexes.” Edelbert said as he relaxed back beneath the pond to rest a bit.
Two pigeons expending twenty-eight move apiece could cover a good deal of ground. This included a lot of rain forest plus a few mountains and a plain. Pigeon C even glided across a couple of swamp hexes, in which Edelbert paid special attention. Exploring new terrain types intrigued him, there was so very much to learn.
Edelbert tried to cover as many hexes as possible with his birds. About half way into their flights, he decided he would route A back to the ruins and route C to stay out for maximum coverage. Keeping a scout nearby seemed prudent to him, but knowledge would keep him alive too. Tomorrow C could swoop out the long way and recon even more, while A stood guard.
Just before sunset pigeon A flapped down and landed beside the pond. Turnip seemed to be napping or possibly meditating with its eyes closed. Sir Spore was lying face down in the pool and passing time to the beat of the mountain which had gained a melodic strumming from the now moving water.
Eventually turn did end. To Edelbert’s shock, for the second time that day he was suddenly drowning.
Turnip was not asleep. It was also kind enough to grab Edelbert by the shoulders and hoist him from the pond, as he sputtered and gagged.
While Sir Spore gained back his breath he said “Thank you my ally and friend. Now we have each saved the other today. Good start to a relationship.”
Turnip sagged at the knees into a slow and clearly respectful bow. “Weirdish.” It almost whispered in reply.
Edelbert lifted his staff up across his shoulders. “Since I can move again I was thinking we head up toward that tower on the peak and see if there is a bed inside. We might even be able to find a pot for you.” He laughed at what he thought was a joke.
“Ird.” was Turnips terse unenthusiastic response.
“Come on.” Edelbert pleaded. “We still have some light because of our elevation. Besides I would have done this hours ago, if you had not left me stuck in this pond. It will only take twenty or so minutes to get to the top.”
“Wei.” Turnip grunted. It then uprooted itself with a humph and began into the glade toward the stairs.
Edelbert and pigeon A followed promptly.
-Twenty Minutes Later-
“I did not lie to you Turnip.” Edelbert explained. “I just did not consider that up is much harder than down and you have much shorter legs than I do. Sorry, I did just Pop today.”
“Weird.” Turnip grumbled sourly.
-Twenty-Two Additional Minutes Later-
At the top of the stairs waited a small lawn scattered with boulders. The grass was quite lush and a few flowers and vines grew about. At the back of the lawn, near the edge of a dropoff stood the solid and beautiful granite tower. The sun was setting on the distant jungle horizon and the beauty of it all was enough to make Edelbert wonder how something like this could be called a ruin. He chuckled with delight.
“Wei wei.” Turnip interrupted the serenity of the moment as he trotted over toward the tower entrance. Next to the double doors Turnip shimmied its body and sunk its lower half into the soil. The daemons eyes and mouth drifted shut making it look like a mundane jungle bush.
“Well goodnight I guess.” Sir Spore felt that Turnip was being a bit rude. How much etiquette should he realistically expect from a plant daemon though. No reason to worry about it he figured.
Looking over the exterior of the tower Edelbert found himself pleased. The conical roof was made of rounded clay tiles the grainy color of ash. The tower itself was a dark gray, with little white speckles spread around. Inset windows each had supported glass panes and tiled ridges, to keep water from leaking in. Its doors, made of a clean kapok wood which were mundanely treated to repel water. The whole structure had the feel of a detailed design.
“The Titans work is truly awesome.” Sir Edelbert Spore felt humbled. There was much to learn and he was very fresh indeed.
The double doors swung open smoothly and silently as he pushed on the handle. He knew that the clean quality of this place was due to his refurbishing spell. That had been a smart use of juice. “Good work Edelbert.”
The ground floor of the tower held five statues, all clearly of the same style as the seven that stood down in the courtyard where he had Popped. Each was half again as tall as himself but otherwise very life like. These five all wore the attire of nobility as before but each also held a sword aloft with its right arm. The five steel blades came together high in the center of the room. The middle figure wore a stone crown.
Edelbert called A and closed the doors as they both passed inside. Off to the left he noticed a stairwell that appeared to wrap up behind the statues to the upper floors. On the walls, in between each figure was a candle sconce with a burning candle.
Taking a slow deep breath, Sir Spore closed his eyes and focused on his Dirtsense. Above him were three floors, each of them furnished. His senses were not keen enough yet to tell him what the purpose of each room was, from even this distance.
“Hmm?” Edelbert sighed. Something was off. There was an open space below him, beneath the ground floor of the tower. There didn’t seem to be anything down there, as there was in the rooms above. Odder than that, he could not feel a way to get into the basement room, it was sealed.
“There is no reason a tower like this should have a hollow underneath. The Titans would not leave a design flaw like that. I must be missing something.” Calming his breathe once again Sir Spore redirected his senses to just the lower section of the tower immediately around himself.
Behind the king statue there was a thin line of steel. This line ran from the core of the king down into the hollow below the tower.
Edelbert stepped across the room and looked at the statue up close. With two fingers he jabbed the king in its eyes, nothing. Running his hands down the statue found him no switches, latches, or buttons. As a stray thought Edelbert even stomped each of the statues feet. Nothing continued to happen.
“Alright kingie, what is it you need from me? I am your humble servant.” Edelbert bowed in mock courtesy. “Oh, How about your blade sire?”
Taking a light hop Edelbert grabbed hold of the statues sword arm with both of his hands. A short moment of stillness was followed by a metallic crack when the arm rotated downward. Edelbert dropped back onto his feet as the floor began to shift. To his left a few of the stones began to sink, forming into stairs down to the basement hollow.
From the opening drifted a dry air, it tasted of time. The room below was totally dark beyond the light cast down from the opening. Stale air was a good Sign that there was nothing nasty living down there; Edelbert guessed, but still better to be sure. He stepped over and plucked a candle from the wall and stuck it onto A’s back. He then ordered the bird down into the hole while he focused to see through its eyes.
The room below was the same size and construction as the room above, except without any statues. The only thing in the room sat at its center. Faced toward the stairs there was an impressive brass bound chest.
“Oh.” Edelbert was flabbergasted. “Thank you Titans, you have been very kind. I could certainly use something in my wallet.”
Disregarding caution Edelbert sprang down the stairs and up to the massive chest. As he put his hands down to open the chest Edelbert noticed that he could not feel it with his Dirtsense, he paused.
Sir Spore focused into Fabrication to assess the big brass bound box and all he came up with was that the item was magical, in an unknown discipline of magic.
Edelbert swallowed some frustration and focused on his vague sense of general magic. All casters had this sense, although it did not always give much information. With it one could tell if something was magical and probably the type like terrain magic, enchantment, or a cast spell. A good roll could give an idea of the class or even the specific discipline of the spells too, especially with training.
The box was probably bound with some sort of Eyemancy spell, only a single enchantment. That was his best guess at least. He was certain it was not Dirtamancy and confident it was not Stuffamancy in general.
Learning to manipulate so many specialized senses already proved a burden. If he focused on any one sense then his others seemed to fade, some senses significantly. It was difficult for instance to focus on Dirtsense and his pigeons at the same time. When Edelbert used either, he noticed that perception around his body lessened too. Annoyingly, he seemed only to have so much focus to go around.,
Edelbert had somehow used his special senses in concert though, he could read the stats of the artifact staff. Something was keeping him from reading the stats of the chest in a similar way. Edelbert felt that the answer was laughing in his face. In plain sight yet he could not see.
With his frustration building Edelbert knew that he needed to calm down. Letting out a deep sigh he closed his eyes and reassured himself. “It has been a long hard day. Not a bad day but not easy. You are tired. You are out of juice. However, you are Noble as well. Do not allow yourself to wallow or rage simply because you cannot answer a question. Rest now and try again tomorrow. The answers will come.”
Sir Spore opened his eyes and reached his hands out for the brass latches holding the chest closed. He flipped the lid open revealing a pile of gleaming Gems. The light from the box was blinding but the moment was overwhelming in many ways.
Whatever else Edelbert might be, he was unfortunately a Barbarian. Before he had registered what he was looking at, his hand had plunged into the chest and filled his two hundred schmucker wallet completely. The Gems did not even shift from the loss. Filling his wallet came with a very pleasant buzz of relaxation, he would not disband tomorrow or for turns to come.
Dirtsense gave him an ability to estimate the worth of Gems. It was not an exact amount like a Moneymancer could give but it was accurate. The more schmuckers the more approximate the number given, but no one ever complained of having too much money to count.
In front of Edelbert sat over one hundred thousand schmuckers in Gems, his best guess was one-fifteen or so. His jaw hung open as he stared blankly. Sir Edelbert Spore was now richer than many small sides.
Staring at the chest, he realized he could now read the stats of the chest too. The Hide-and-No-Peek Chest was its name and he was much more certain it was an Eyemancy item, probably Fool or Look he assumed. The enchantment prevented all but basic sight from perceiving the chest or its contents while closed. Nifty.
“Let me say once again, thank you Titans. By Fate, Luck, and Numbers I have been blessed deeply.” Edelbert knelt and prayed with all his heart and soul.
After a fair time had passed, Edelbert rose and resolved himself to explore the rest of the tower before he got too tired to do so. He ascended the stairs to the ground floor and considered the statue. With a push on the kings lowered arm it shifted upward and the stairs closed back into their original positions.
“This would have been very difficult to find for most other units.” Edelbert took note. “I should study the mechanism tomorrow when my juice has returned.”
The main stairwell rose into the tower much more gradually than the stairs into the hidden basement. Light came from candles, like on the ground floor.
After all the shocks of the day, stepping in to this room was not much of a surprise, certainly a curiosity though. The second floor of the tower was laid out as a workshop. Shelves, drawers, and cabinets lined the walls. A worktable took up the middle of the room and had a large metal vice mounted to its corner. Some basic tools hung on pegs above one counter, there were many empty pegs as well.
“This is very pleasant, but it can wait until tomorrow.” Edelbert yawned and continued up the stairs toward the third level.
Coming up the stairs he began to smell parchment and ink. A study or maybe small library was laid out on the third floor. Shelves lined the walls and a table stood in the center of this room as well. The room was dark due to an empty Powerball lantern hanging above the table. Some shelves appeared fuller than others, even with gaps there was still enough to read for many a turn.
“Boredom will not be an enemy that I must face here.” With a strain, Sir Spore pushed at his juice hoping to produce a Powerball of any size. Nothing emerged, not even a spark. He was tempted to have A go in with its candle but flames and paper should not mix, especially with no juice to mitigate catastrophe.
“It seems I will investigate the details of this tower tomorrow.” Edelbert grumbled tiredly and continued up the stairs.
The top level of the tower held a small apartment. On the left was a simple wardrobe, a single person bed, and a small writing desk. The right side held only a cast iron stove and a rocking chair resting a fair distance away, faced toward the large bay window dominating the rear wall. The night had come in full and the sky was alight with thousands of stars.
“This will do magnificently. Tomorrow I can easily spruce up a bit. Tonight, I am glad just to have a bed.” Sir Spore yawned to himself. Eager to take off his still damp clothes, Edelbert disrobed and hung his dripping garments in the wardrobe.
After a long turn he was tired and sore, laying down on the bed proved not to be as pleasant as Edelbert expected however. The mattress was stuffed with feathers which made it prickly and itchy. Finding a comfortable position to rest eluded him. Although, as he tossed back and forth he did spot a shelf attached to the wall between the bed and desk.
“What do we have here?’ Edelbert said as he sat up to look. The shelf contained a row of various books. About a dozen in all. Three larger volumes caught his eye because they were all bound in a matching white leather. He reached up and pulled the first volume down and on the cover in gold letters was the word Canon. The other two said Fanon and Retcon, they were the books of scripture Edelbert realized.
“That seems a bit too heavy for bedtime reading. What else do I have?” He said as he tucked the Book of Canon back on the shelf. Next to the scriptures was a thin black book. Edelbert plucked it from the shelf and the cover read The Heart of War by Sun Soup. It seemed to be a treatise on battle strategy and culinary philosophy, written by a Florist. The index said there was a whole chapter on stew recipes great for cooking in the field and another about dinner etiquette. Interesting, but not really what he was in the mood for. It went back up on the shelf as well.
His next choice was a taller red book. The cover was stylized with a pattern of diminishing white and black circles at its center. The top of the book was red and the bottom was white. In large yellow letters across the top was the title; The Daemondex – Gotta Find’em All. In smaller black letters on the bottom was written; by Red Ketchup, Master Findamancer.
“This could do.” Edelbert found himself interested. The book was a collection of entries on different types of Pokedaemon. He found Weirdish in the book as well. Sir Spore began to read and before he knew it he had slipped to sleep.
*Excerpts from The Daemondex*
Pokedaemon are a diverse and complicated Natural Ally. It is common for NAs to have a few unit types. Usually a regular and knight class version of the tribe, with a mount or beast unit option; often specialty or rare units as well. Pokedaemons work very differently. There are at least one hundred and fifty types of Pokedaemon and there are probably many more. A tribe of daemons must battle and turn new daemon types to the tribe; then those units can be popped like any other. Acquiring new Pokedaemon types can be a daunting task.
All Pokedaemons get specials based on their individual type; however, at one of the midlevels, usually five or six, daemons get the Change special. When the daemon next levels up it then has the option to revert to level one and Change into a more advanced unit type. The individual will retain the specials and most of the stats of the first form, but will pick up new specials as well. The daemon then can begin leveling from one, as before.
Take the basic daemon Bulbousore as an example. It begins with a set of incapacitating Healomancy specials. At level five it gains Change and at the threshold of six it decides to make the change. The daemon becomes a level one Opensore instead. It develops a set of Carnymancy abilities, on top of the natural Healomancy it possessed before. The daemons stats do drop slightly but they are still far higher than they were at the Bulbousore’s level one and now it gets to level up again. Eventually the intermediate Opensore levels but does not get Change until six. At the cusp of seven, our daemon once again Changes. It gains natural Croakamancy abilities as the advanced Festeringsore. In a certain sense, you would now have a level twelve unit. It would have unusually high stats and natural Healomancy, Carnymancy, and Croakamancy; as well as still being able to easily level a few more times.
There are two important details that should not be forgotten. A Pokedaemon does not have to Change; it is a choice. A basic daemon can level to fifteen if it wanted without Changing. Also, an advanced daemon form stops getting the Change special. As a Master Findamancer I have never seen any daemon undergo the Change more than twice. Some daemons only Change once.
-#22- Sheeple (basic) – Sheeple are a typical stack animal. They form into large groups and stampede from hex to hex, eating anything that moves. They are carnivorous, preferring to engage with their sharp teeth over their powerful trample attacks. Sheeple only get one special but they tend to have higher base stats than an average daemon as a result. Individual Sheeple have trouble deciding on actions and are nearly harmless.
Will of the Stack- Stack bonuses are doubled
-#23- Woolrus (intermediate)- Woolrus are very aggresive and tend to be territorial, although they will usually stack with other daemons of its Change path. This Pokedaemon continues the strategy of its base form and focuses on stat growth as it levels. The Woolrus gains an impale attack from its large tusks and one potent special.
Thick Hide- Drastically lowers chances of successful critical hits against unit
-#24- Woolephant (advanced)- The biggest and meanest of this daemon line. It is a rare unit indeed that can withstand the brunt of a Woolephant’s rage for long. Stat growth is still central to these units, however this form gains two specials. High stats and Will of the Stack retained from the Sheeple stage make Woolephant excellent mounts.
Heavy – Stat Boosts, Mount
Latch – On a successful bite attack the unit may immediately initiate a grapple as a free action
-#43- Weirdish (basic) - These are not usually the most combat capable of Pokedaemon, but they make up for that with buff/debuffing and a generally high Hit total. A single midlevel Weirdish can drastically alter a fight for either side. They are usually mild mannered, as is common with Plant units. A Weirdish can use its abilities a combined total of once a day per level.
Weird Chant- Weirdish can grant one random special until a unit’s end of turn. The special is randomly chosen from amongst ALL specials. This ability is very unpredictable but can produce very useful results with a bit of Luck.
Weird Rant- Weirdish can remove one random special from a unit until the units next end of turn.
Plant- Unit is weak to fire. Unit has natural Flower Power veil. Unit can gain upkeep from rooting in fertile soil.
Changes into -#44- Glum (intermediate) and -#45- Styleplume (advanced)