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Volume 8 - Idealism in the Hungry Rainforest - The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore

The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore

Previous: Volume 7

 

Volume 8

Idealism in the Hungry Rainforest

 

Much of the turn had passed by the time Edelbert left Magma Bum Loude. Using his temporary Flight, the caster zipped past a few rainforest hexes on his way to the temple. Once he was out of move, he searched for any signs of enemy units, especially Ferals. Despite the odds being against him finding quiet, there were no aggressors anywhere to be found.

 

With confidence in his safety, Sir Spore landed to survey the Dirtamancy of the hex. “Oh Titans, it feels good to be on the ground. Flight may be fast, but I will take a good walk any day.”

 

The Erfshatter Monolith had provided nearly all of the Juice for the turn’s wild events, as such Edelbert had most of his personal reserve left. With a great need for protection and little time or resources, there were few truly good tactical options that he saw. The best would have been to just go home. Committed as he was to travelling to the temple, he had decided on what to cast during the quick flight.

 

Man o Pedo” the Dirtamancer cast. Seven lumps immediately formed up from the ground into standard bipedal form. These Soildiers were basic infantry grade Golem made from plain simple dirt. Normally he used powerful units because he had the Juice and materials to craft them. These were cheap enough that he could still cast this turn. The full stack bonus and all those attacks were positives as well. Once they gained his Leadership and Artifact bonuses, he knew they would be equal to tough Knights.

 

“All right stabbers. Step forward and receive my buffing.” Edelbert swept the staff toward a towering oak tree and drew acorns to himself. As his finger pressed a nut into each Golems chest, he expelled another small bit of Juice to activate the seeds within. “All right folks, circle up around my hut. Active guard duty until told otherwise.”

 

Using about half his remaining Juice, Sir Spore made a packed turf dome with a single mattress inside. Then he fell into his shelter and wept himself to sleep.

 

***

 

Deep in the heart of the night. Edelbert awoke as his stack entered combat. Jumping up and stepping outside, his Soildiers were all engaged with a single Snorepion, an insect with a stinging tail that caused a strong sleep effect. After a sting, the otherwise small and weak unit could devour the victim without resistance. Their tactic sometimes caused very high level specimen though, because they could regularly gain huge XP from one-on-one kills. This unit seemed to be fairly tough, but against a full stack of golems it stood no chance.

 

“Good job guys.” Edelbert said as he picked up the corpse and dropped it in his Bottomless Bag. “I’m going back to sleep. Wake me when turn begins.”

 

He tried not to. Titans help him, he tried. Once again Sir Spore wept himself unconscious.

 

***

 

In the morning Edelbert awoke to an eruption of sound from the local wildlife starting turn; birds, insects, and beasts of all kinds. The Rainforest was a lively place, it turned out.

 

The Soildiers were coming along perfectly. Each of them had a sprout growing from their chest and roots throughout. One even had some XP.

 

One by one he touched their chests just below the growth, then he cast “Bonsai Samurai.” From the heart of each golem erupted a set of wooden armor, grown fresh and still living. The suits provided significant stat boosts and the addition of Life increased the simple intelligence of the units. Each of them now qualified as Elite Infantry, before the huge bonuses they were entitled.

 

Edelbert only had a third of his Juice for the day left though.

 

“Move out boys and girls.” The Dirtamancer called as he set off into deep jungle.

 

His stack had spent the night in a Dense Rainforest. On all six sides were more of the same, luckily Edelbert knew exactly where he was going. Out ahead, he had already sent all eight of the Pigeons from the turn before.  His route included nothing to worry about.

 

***

 

Two hexes later Edelbert realized his mistake. Barbarians acted simultaneously. Scouting ahead only told him what was in the hexes at that specific time. Now for instance, there was a Zorak stack passing through the Rainforest hex in his way to the Shrine. If he had considered properly his stack might have attempted stealth, rather than singing at full volume.

 

Yeah, I am so glad that I got out

Yeah, Oh don’t send me back to Laughter

I am so glad that I got out

 And brought that whole place down

Yeah, brought that whole place down

Yeah brought that whole place down

 

Then, in baritone backup the Golems all interjected…

 

I am soil, but more than a Soildier

I am soil, but more than a Soildier

 

The song stopped as a shrill buzzing erupted from the foliage to Edelbert’s right flank. Four flying Zorak with spears charged into the Golems, scoring a few hits, even croaking one with a crit.

 

Soil hammers began to flail and the four bug-men fell quickly.

 

Two 8-stacks of insects emerged across the north-western hex boundary, one wearing their blue vest representing Leadership. “Croak the Moltar scum!” that same unit then screamed as its stacks charged into the Golem.

 

“Geocache…Geosmash” Edelbert cast despite his annoyance. Stones bombarded the unled stack, croaking three and wounding two more. Sir Spore had never wanted an enemy in the Zorak.

 

Although stopping the blue vest would weaken the others, Edelbert decided to leave it alive so that he could try and negotiate.

 

The Dirtamancer unleashed a mass heal using the last of his Juice. One more Golem lost was quickly matched by five losses to the bugs.

 

“Parley” Edelbert yelled into the fray, ordering his units to disengage and form a defensive formation.

 

The blue vest and the other remaining Zorak trilled then charged.

 

Without Juice, the Dirtamancer resized the staff until effectively a club. Then as he and the lead bug-man engaged, Sir Spore drew his Speedstrike Hammer and critted the insect in the jaw. A slash across his chest would have hurt Edelbert severely except his robes absorbed much of the blow, they were enchanted to be as tough as most medium armors.

 

The few remaining Zorak were mopped up quickly. Edelbert found himself down to five Samurai Soildiers, but they were nearly to the turns destination.

 

Two quick hexes later and the Dirtamancer found himself standing on a steep hill, looking up at nearly impossible cliff hexes. At their center waited the shrine he wished to pilgrimage.

 

“Great.” He called out at his uncaring Golem. “I cannot make a shelter tonight.  That gives me an idea for a magic item though, maybe when I get back to the Crags.”

 

***

 

Edelbert awoke before dawn the next morning. The tree he had used for cover had begun to drip, rain had started in the night apparently.

 

His Soildiers now sported vines wrapping around each limb, each of them had grown an extra move too. The flora was slowly enhancing elements of the Golem using the untapped Numbers within the soil.

 

“You all will wait here on guard.” Edelbert needlessly told his golems. “I hope to be back by end of turn.”

 

The challenge facing the caster was how to scale a mountain so steep it was cliff. Flight was the obvious answer, but he had just never gotten the hang of that Weirdomanacy.

 

His feet would stay on the ground he knew. As a Dirtamancer he possessed an unlisted “minor” mountain capability like his unlisted tunnel capability but to a lesser degree. Basically, his move did not go down, but he did not gain terrain bonuses to most of his actions the way a true Mountain Capable unit would. Only his casting gained bonuses here.

 

Sir Edelbert Spore jumped, scrambled, grasped, pulled, and tugged his way up the cliff; slowly but surely ascending to the plateau he knew was above.

 

Once atop the cliff, the caster could feel the Shrine hex was called Balder’s Gait. There was a palpable feeling of otherworldliness in the air which Spore could almost taste. Powerful magic saturated the place as well.

 

In all directions, a thick carpet of indigo bushes filled the plateau, with the exceptions of paths which snaked toward a massive figure easily visible in the distance.

 

A five-story statue of an unexpectedly normal looking man waited at the center of the space. The figure was carved wearing plain clothes and spectacles. None of which seemed tactical in any way; no armor, no weapon, no obvious magic. He was sculpted striding confidently forward. Carved in one hand was a microphone, held confidently up to a smile. In his other hand was a pen, held aloft as if a rapier being used in a duel.

 

“Well quite frankly, this looks a little ridiculous.” Edelbert said aloud before he realized the impertinence of bad-mouthing a Titanic visage. “Oh, um, sorry Titans.”

 

Between the feet of the shrine rested a stone slab and on that a small pillar. Mounted to the pillar there was a metal unlike anything Edelbert had dreamed. He knew instantly that if he pounded that thin sheet with every drop of Juice he had, there would be no change at all. Unbendable, unbreakable metal.

 

“Oh glory of the Titans.” Sir Spore called out, nearly weeping with joy.

 

Formed into the face of the metal were the words:

 

STAND AND BE JUDGED

 

“This is what I came for. Turnip I wish you were here right now. There can be no turning back at this point.” Then Edelbert stepped up to the dais and prayed to the Titans.

 

Despite everything the Dirtamancer knew, the metal bar shifted. The letters changed to a new message.

 

THE KINGDOM SHALL BE

 

YOU ARE PURE OF SPIRIT YOUNG EDELBERT. STRIVE TO MAINTAIN THIS WITHIN YOUR HEART,

SUCH A RARE AND POWERFUL THING. DO NOT ALLOW THE BRUTALITY OF THIS WORLD TO

WEIGH YOU DOWN. REMAIN A WELLSPRING OF KINDNESS

 

FOR YOUR ENTIRE LIFE, YOU HAVE BEEN A COMPETANT AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. YOUR

TIME WITH THE STAFF IS COMING TO AN END; HOWEVER, WE DEIGN YOU WORTHY OF ANOTHER

 GIFT. MOBILITY WILL NOW SOON BE A FACTOR IN YOUR LIFE, YOUR CRAFT WILL REQUIRE IT OF YOU.

 

RECEIVE OUR BLESSINGS

 

In one overwhelming rush, Edelbert received a +1 bonus to each of his base stats. His muscles hardened and feet lightened. He was now much more powerful. With the extra Hit he was now up to 6, very high for a caster, especially of his level.

 

Newly on his feet, snuggly fit, were the Rockhopper Boots. A +1 Artifact which eliminated any penalties to movement as well as providing a +2 to Move. They appeared to be made of polished granite, but otherwise looked and felt like heavy-duty combat boots.

 

“I cannot ever thank you enough, O glorious and gracious Titans.” Edelbert stood at the alter and prayed, as he had so many times in his long life.

 

***

 

The climb down the cliffs was simple by comparison. The boots allowed Edelbert to leap down the rocks as if a goat.

 

All five of his Soildiers waited, apparently, nothing had come into their guard zone while he had been gone.

 

“Success my friends.” Edelbert called out to his Soildiers. “Time to move out. Boots on the ground, hehe”

 

The stack headed away down the hill in a straight line for the Crafty Crags. Moving was still new to Edelbert, in that he was still not accustomed to the sensation of losing Move. It was only a dozen turns of his 4300, in which he had used actual Move points. This already felt drastically different. He was lighter, spry. The difference between dashing and walking was the merest thought. Even his stride seemed further and easier. Although effectively gaining three move in one turn would probably do that to a unit, he figured.

 

***

 

 Three hexes out and nearly out of move, Edelbert and his Soildiers emerged from a wall of vines into a pitched battle.

 

On one side of the struggle were three Heavy Spidew like creatures. Each was bright green and made of plant matter. On the back of each mount grew a flower, a giant tulip.

 

Opposing them was a group of small beast-men, about three 8-stacks. Each had visible fangs and funny little pig snouts. Their bodies were also a spongy green material and they had wild manes of coarse almost-wooden hair. Growing all over each of the Orckids there were multiple beautiful, but delicate looking flowers. Apparently, they were trying to capture and tame the Tarantulips.

 

Luckily for Edelbert and his stack, the fight had already begun and no one noticed their blundering into the battle space.

 

The floral orcs threw lassos and nets at the huge spiders. A couple had long poles with hoops on the end and were trying to snag the legs of the larger beasts. It was slowly working too.

 

One of the spiders was already being pulled to the ground. Another was resisting strongly, but had taken several Hits because of it. The third was pouncing from Orckid to Orckid, seemingly striking and moving on.

 

Without warning, a stack of the flowery pig-men turned and charged into the Soildiers. Taken completely by surprise, the Golems only managed to screen for Edelbert and had received several damaging blows, no losses though.

 

“Golemscape Architecture” the Dirtamancer cast, immediately refreshing his Golem. He had too few to allow them to be lost so easily.

 

Hammers swung against flower. Although the Orckids were strong units, the combined bonuses of Sir Spore’s units reduced the unled stack to croak in two swift rounds.

 

Then assuming the plant-men would remain hostile, Edelbert cast “Prickly Erfhole” and a spike-pit opened beneath the rear ranks of the Orckids. Half a dozen or so fell in and he felt the XP gain as they ceased to live.

 

With the shift in momentum two of the Tarantulips began to wreak havoc amongst the, mostly injured, remaining Orckids. The pig-men tactically coup-de-graced the captured spider with a rapid series of blows between the eyes.

 

Edelbert and his stack stood back, he figured at that point he had done his part and nature would take his course. It did and he realized his mistake. Per nature, he was next in line for the unled ferals.

 

The remaining two Tarantulip leapt across the small clearing and engaged with the Golem.

 

Battle plans had never been a strong suit for Edelbert Spore, but in the moments of combat, he was often powerfully inspired. All the Soildiers were ordered to swarm the injured Tarantulip, exposing Edelbert and the fiercer of the original three.

 

The Dirtamancer swung the Great Gardening Staff and cast “Horticulture Smorticulture”. An explosion of Life and bright green light filled the space. When he could see again, Lilly the Tarantulip was allied to him and the other was croaked.

 

“Well Lilly, hello and I hope we enjoy our time together.” Edelbert knew that they would. She had twenty-four Move, sixteen Hits, and Damage Resistance. She would be an admirable mount.

 

Before heading home, the Dirtamancer took the time to loot the bodies. All the flower petals from the Orckids and Tarantulips had special properties. Otherwise they had little of value. As a final thought, he skinned a few of the pig-men and used their half plant half animal skin to make a dual saddle that fit around Lilly’s bloom.

 

“Here you go girl, you are going to take us home.” He said as he strapped it snuggly in place.

 

The only level three Soildier climbed into the second seat and the others headed off on foot toward the Crafty Crags. It would take them a few turns, if they even survived. Four unled Golem in a Jungle had high chances of encounters and only moderate chances of winning.

 

“Homeward” Edelbert called as he sat down in his comfortable seat. It pays to make one’s own saddle he thought as they skittered away.

 

***

 

Mother laughed as he rode up the trail into the orchard, where she and Phil were working. “Welcome home Sir Edelbert Spore. Much has happened in your absence. Let us relax and tell our stories.”

 

***

 

The Daemondex by Findamancer Red Ketchup

 

The cost to Pop a new unit is a factor of how many deamon types are in the tribe. A single variety would cost four hundred schmuckers per unit, while a dual type tribe would only need to pay two hundred fifty, three lowers to one seventy-five, etc. That cost can continue to be reduced as more types are inducted into the ranks of a tribe, although at a rapidly lessening rate. When the cost is paid, the tribe or side get an egg.

 

Eggs require a gestation period before they hatch. This period usually lasts between four and ten turns. Some Eggs can be as much as two dozen turns, however these instances do tend to produce better daemon specimen. Upkeep must be paid for the turns of gestation. Costs vary from egg to egg but this does not correlate to the resulting daemon. The colors and patterns on their shells also vary from example to example, but I have been unable to discern a pattern or meaning. Each one Changes into a random available daemon after gestation.

 

Maintaining strict control over the daemon taken into a tribe allows much more precise control of the results in popping new units. On the other hand, weaker unit types can be taken in to reduce costs or add variety. Even scouts like Wispipuff have value, and can reduce the costs of popping new daemon considerably. A large tribe is cheaper to grow and maintain but harder to control tactically.

 

***

 

 

-#38- Wispipuff (basic) – This gaseous unit is often underestimated. They have low all around stats but make up for it with low cost and great potential utility. Sending a scout out that has multiple damage immunities allows a side to survey areas that might often be too guarded to Scout.

 

These deamon are gentle and mild tempered. Due to their low Move, it is a common strategy to send them on long steady Scouting patrols, off into enemy territory.

 

Scout, Fly

 

Gaseous – Immune to all damage but Shockamancy.

 

 

-#39- Waspituff – Here is where utilizing Wispipuff pays off. These scouts are deadly. An individual can be a burden to face for entire stacks. Changing from the Wispipuff form comes with aggression and bloodlust rarely matched by other units.

 

Gaseous replaced by Swarm – Immune to physical attacks, weak to Shockamancy

 

Venom – Powerful poison, one in three chance of croak after successful attack

 

 

-#40- Wrathibuff- This form becomes a true terror. Their mean spirit and ferocity are so intense they can resist orders. They are highly effective in combat, however.

 

Sending these units out on guard or scout duty is ideal. They can work aloneand protect large territories.

 

Rage – After taking two Hits or more of damage they gain a two bonus to their Combat for the duration of the encounter

 

Vicious – Increased Crit chance.

 

***

 

Volume 9 – Journal of a King-to-Be 

 

Index


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