Volume 12 - Capital Ideas - The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
“Everyone please sit down.” King Arthur gently ordered his assembled units, while he gestured toward the large table at the center of the pavilion. “We have a few details to discuss before most of us try and get a little sleep.”
Edelbert and the others found seats next to the King. Edelbert on his left and Kernel on the right. Peaches sat a few seats down, where she had originally been waiting. Everyone else landed in a seat seemingly at random.
Arthur remained standing. “Thank you all for choosing to be a part of the side. Peaches, Kernel, it is late and I would have our business done. I look forward to getting to know each of you better, in the coming turns. For now, Vi and I spent today designing the Signamancy of what we are calling the Mushroomish Kingdom. I am the Mushroomish King.”
The Dirtamancer gave an amused smile. “Alright, I can get behind the Mushroomish King.”
“Very flattering, your highness.” Mother also was smiling. “The Toadie appreciate the acknowledgement. Do you have an honorific you would prefer we use to address you?”
“No, the standards are more than adequate. I do, however, want all of you in private to call me by my name. This is my trusted circle, as well as the founding units of our side. In formal settings, you will still use proper titles. Otherwise I want you all to feel free to speak to me as a peer. That is an order. Got it?”
“Glum” Turnip seemed pleased by this.
Arthur clapped twice quickly. All around the room violet pennants appeared with what had to be the crest of the Mushroomish Kingdom. As well, each of the people at the table had the same emblem appear somewhere on their person. Edelbert’s was sown on the breast of his robes.
“This is our crest.” Vi interjected. “We wanted to match the name but still differentiate from the Toadie just a bit. It looks like the crown we designed also worked.” She pointed at Arthur’s head as she spoke.
Edelbert found the new emblem amusing. It was cute but still seemed to represent the Crags family. “Good job you two. I am looking forward to seeing how this Signamancy applies to the city in tomorrow’s casting. Speaking of which, Arthur it is rapidly getting late and we all need to be up before dawn. Might I suggest bed?”
At that moment, a yawn escaped the King’s lips. “I suppose you are correct. Everyone heard the man, get to bed. Goodnight all.
Chief Warlord Claypool raised an eyebrow “Uh, Lord… I mean Arthur. I just ‘woke up’. I am not really ready for sleep.”
“Oh” Arthur was surprised. “That makes sense. Well, you two can explore the city and get to know one another a bit. Maybe catch a nap at some point so you are fresh in the morning. I have orders for you tomorrow.”
The Dirtamancer added “A Clay Pigeon will wake you all up in the morning. Please meet in the base level of the tower.”
In the experience of Sir Edelbert Spore a plan would rarely work out the way one had hoped. Most of the time this meant a problem or unforeseen complication of some kind, a bad spell concept or a missing component fuddling up a project.
Occasionally however, something good would happen; A spell might get a critical success or a golem design yielded better than expected stats. This was one of those times, maybe better.
Gaining another caster was an amazing boon. Any type would have been exciting but this was wonderful. A Florist and a Dirtamancer were a perfect combination. Edelbert having Flower Power too, only meant things would mesh that much more smoothly.
The family had groggily gathered in the hall with the king statue.
Edelbert began as soon as Phil arrived, last among the group. “Alright, this will be easy for most of you. Arthur, Kernel, I wanted you here for your Leadership. Mother, Phil, and now Peaches, you will be casting with me. Deamon, you are here for stack bonus and moral support.”
Peaches beamed with excitement. “How are we going to cast together? Is a Thinkamancer coming?”
The Chief Dirtamancer continued. “Okay, my FP specialists. Here is how this will work. No Thinkamancer. We are going to cast in unison onto the city. My hope is that I will be able to direct all our efforts as a part of the construction event. Mostly you three will be providing juice, although it may be harder than I am anticipating. I will need each of you ready to control your own spells if this does not work correctly.”
Phil puffed slightly “Alright man. So, what is it we will be casting to do?”
Sir Spore faced toward the twoll. “We will start by casting into the tower itself. As you may or may not know, the Ironwood Tree is a part of the tower now. This means you can channel juice directly into it. I hope to be able to access the juice before it is emplaced in the tower, thereby alleviating the cost of storage. We are just using the tower as a conduit for our various powers.”
Mother raised a hand and Arthur acknowledged her. “That is very clever Edelbert, but what are we to do if that does not work?”
“Oh.” The caster said “In that case you are all to pour as much growth potential into the hex as you can. Just focus on making the plants healthy, strong, and BIG. If you all can do that, then I can use all my juice in Dirtamancy effects. Stuff like building the walls, boosting the tower, plumbing the entire city; that sort of thing. Any questions?”
Vi popped up with her fiercest black smile. “I can help. Why don’t I put my Signamancy into the tower as well? It would give that much more power and versatility to what you can do. A greater control over colors and patterns will at least be given, it could really help to beautify the place and add organization.”
Arthur looked at his Chief Caster for a moment before speaking. “That sounds like a good idea. Edelbert do you see a reason not too? What about Turnip and its Date-a-mancy, could they be helpful too?”
“Glum” The plant daemon said as it bobbed up and down.
Edelbert considered for just a bit. “No offense Turnip but we are going to pass on your magic. I do not know enough about Date-a-mancy. I worry that it will be a distraction amidst an already complicated action. I may not be a Novice Siganamancer but I have studied it in detail. Good idea Vi.”
Arthur once again interjected. “Edelbert, turn will begin momentarily. Everyone be ready.” For effect the King emphasized his words with an order, something he was trying to get used to.
“Bombay Constantinople New Amsterdam” The Dirtamancer began.
Peaches cast “County Fair Ribbon”
Phil began his spells “Two joints hard work two joints.”
Vi’s body flashed black with Ink, then words and images began to form on her and dissipate at nauseating speeds. She was after all, an effectively level 9 Signamamcy unit.
“Glum glum glum glum glum glum glum” Turnip began to chant anyway, casting over the group while they cast.
A pulse of Juice moved out from Edelbert into the ground and the city responded. Casting onto a Capital was unlike any Dirtamancy the caster had ever done. This was not just exerting his will upon Matter to remake it. Instead constructing a city seemed to be more like a negotiation. He and the city having ideas and needs, while each was working toward a greater goal. This city had substantial demands.
The work he had done over the many turns established a strong framework from which to begin. In fact, that framework was so strong that to remove it and go another direction would have been very costly. As things stood Edelbert needed primarily to improve existing features and elevate them to their highest order.
Without delay he initiated the upgrade process. He had learned from Turnip that it was possible to drag out special circumstances to utilize their effects, like the plant unit did with the daemon negotiation state. It was Edelbert’s hope that he could do this with the construction event by making each decision consciously, rather than letting his instincts do the piloting.
First thing first, he thought, the tower. Then a wave of moderate Flower Power washed over the tower and the hex. Using his senses as a caster he could feel the energy coursing out from the tower as juice was poured into it without anchor. Immediately, Chief Spore mentally reached out a grabbed onto that FP flow. New options opened before him. There was so much that could be done with Life.
Seconds were ticking by in the normal world and Edelbert could feel them, he had to focus. With a great mental step, he placed his consciousness atop the tower and took control of the flows of power.
The tower needed to be the focus of the whole site, this was a magic heavy side after all. Edelbert unclenched his hold on the flows and released them into the stone tower and the iron tree, both erupted upward and outward. The trunk of the tree wrapped cleanly up the body of the tower as each grew three, four, five times the height they had moments before been.
Rooms popped for a great many functions from tailoring to medical. Officer’s quarters appeared along with a suite for Peaches and Kernel. Just as many areas were left empty, to have purpose applied to them when there was need. Walkways wove all throughout the massive structure, moving from stone to ironwood to stone once again. Sometimes they would lead outside and travel along exposed branches high in the canopy. There were even a few rooms that could only be accessed by flight or climbing the branches.
Lamp Flowers lined every passage and room, leaving a pleasant glow in even the deepest dungeon. This was not a city for darkness.
From deep within the mountain Edelbert pulled a great wellspring of clean water, which gave rise to a small reservoir underneath Ironwood Tower. Then roots from the tree plunged into the water and began their own pull on the life-giving liquid. Using that pull, the Dirtamancer filled channels all throughout the city. From the tip of the canopy to the base of the walls, pure water flowed all over the entire Crafty Crags capital.
Outward from the mine, the Dirtamancer installed a series of lifts headed to other key locations with the city. These would allow rapid travel up and down the mountain, for limited numbers of units. Large redeployment would need to be conventional but small numbers of elite units could be sent to any part of the city quickly. That was Arthur’s idea.
The walls were formidable due to terrain bonuses, Edelbert wanted them to be unassailable. This time was easy though. Just levelling the city to 5 would provide enough boost to the preexisting construction to make them level 7 equivalent walls. Then he began to add defensive emplacements. Many light ballistae for air support along with archery blinds. Also, boulder piles to be dropped onto attackers. For good measure, the Dirtamancer reinforced the ground beneath the walls to avoid any undermining. Then if the walls were breached they were set to fall outward onto the assailants, in one last act of defiance.
The bulk of the buildings in the city, Edelbert decided, would be Toadie construction. The little fungal huts were aesthetically pleasing, very practical, and cheap to maintain. Besides, the Toadie were going to be a central force in the defense of the side and the capital.
The orchard was already at its maximum potentials before the site became a city. As such, it had grown but remained at full stats. The orchard now took up much of the slope of the mountain, everything having been terraced off. Edelbert was pleased but not too surprised by this. So much time and juice had already gone into the orchard.
The mine dominated the dungeon zone. Luckily the top areas had already been worked by Edelbert and the Toadie, effectively granting a small organized dungeon. Not much else to do with that he thought. Couldn’t make more Gems or anything of the sort. Edelbert added a few fortified gates at the lowest point in the mine tunnels he could. They should deter creatures wandering in from underground, he thought.
With the basics out of the way there were two special features he had hoped to make and both seemed to be possible. First was the Smoking Hut and second the Tulip Bed. Each would allow the Crags to pop extra unit types, Stoned Twolls and Tarantulips respectively.
Having enhanced walls and such a powerful tower too, meant something had to go. There was a need for balance and such formidable fortifications required a sacrifice. Edelbert chose the gate to not be a part of the Crafty Crags. It seemed an obvious choice to him. With such powerful walls and the terrain bonuses this would focus all incoming ground troops to the only gap. This allowed the Mushroomish soldiers to focus ground defense near the gap and air defense on the crest of the walls.
Also, with a couple of turns Edelbert knew he could build a separate fortification to act as gate. It would not be a part of the city though, so all repairs would have to be done manually. No refreshing at start of turn like a normal gate. The porticullis for the mine was similar.
With his juice spent and the choices all made, Edelbert finalized the construction. Time snapped back into focus
King Arthur shielded his eyes as a blinding flash erupted in the air around him. A faint tinkling sound and a light pressure on his skin were the only other sensations, beside the start of turn.
A great bell chimed in the distance, signaling start of the first turn for the Mushroomish Kingdom. There was much work to be done.
In mere moments, the Crafty Crags was a magnificent level 5 Capital Site. He could feel the city and many of its stats. Edelbert had been right, he thought. This was a formidable city.
Princess Peaches tingled all over as she began to cast for the first time, it felt good, it felt right. This was indeed what she was popped for. Although a simple growth spell it was still her discipline and her task was not simple. Expelling all her juice in seconds would require a great deal of focus and effort.
Having the Great Gardening Staff was already proving to be invaluable. In many ways, she was casting as a level 3 or 4 Florist, only with limited Juice.
All of the life in the room began to glow a bright but unobtrusive light. Their life auras were shining through to her FP Senses.
About half way through her juice something strange happened. She was full again. Turn started and her reservoir filled. Without breaking concentration, she thought how genius Edelbert really was.
“So how’d it go?” Chief Claypool asked as soon as Edelbert seemed present again.
The Dirtamancer looked up and beamed a smile. “What a rush. An extremely successful rush. Almost everything went to plan, everyone. Only regained a half turn worth of Juice though. I must warn you, I was forced to make a major tactical decision while casting.”
King Amanita nodded knowingly. “No gates, I can feel the lack. That is fine Edelbert, I am certain you made the best call you could. Even without the gate our city defense is unbelievably high. Good work all of you.”
“So what do we do now.” Princess Peaches asked no one in particular.
Arthur raised his hand for quiet, along with a silent order. “Today will be a day for rest and getting to know our new city. I know most of you have spent yourselves for the day. I see no need to over task you all. Here are your orders. Mother, continue Popping as many Toadie as you can. I need the tribe in the hundreds. Turnip, get up to one dozen eggs and stop. The daemon will be a more specialized part of our strategy. Phil, you are to continue your regular work. I will see about Popping you a companion soon, it will be a few turns though.
Phil nearly jumped with excitement. “Oh wow man. We can Pop stoned Twolls. How cool is that? What else can we pop, sire man?”
“Edelbert will you please.” The King asked rather than ordered.
Spore looked up from thought. “Gladly. As already mentioned there are Stoned Twolls. We can also pop Tarantulips. Both of those are due to special structures I have added to the city. As a level one we could pop Dart Frogs, a multi-terrain Scout unit with a weak range attack, although it is poisoned. Level two gave us Bull Frogs, a heavy mount unit with Siege capability. They are jungle capable as well. Last, we have Arrow Frogs. These flying mounts have a stronger version of the Dart Frogs ranged attack but without the poison. They are like fast airborne archers. There is also the wide selection of infantry and courtier units available.”
“Don’t furrget warlords.” Kernel slipped in.
The King resumed his explanation. “Kernel and I will be touring the city and discussing tactical matters for much of the day. Vi, would you please accompany us. Your Signamancy may prove helpful.”
“Sure thing boss.” The great white lizard said with joviality.
“Peaches and Edelbert, I leave your day up to you. As caster’s I expect you to be independent. Show your Duty by performing your craft.” Arthur looked between the two casters as he finished.
Sir Spore laughed lightly. “I ask your permission to hold a meeting with a foreign caster. I would like to negotiate with Harvey Ford of the Ford Prefecture. He is their Chief Caster and I believe we can form an accord of alliance between our sides. I will make no deals without confirming here first. How does that sound for a first day?”
King Amanita looked surprised. “That is great news. Let me know when you return. What about my daughter? Will she be accompanying you”
Arthur and Edelbert turned toward the Princess who seemed not to be paying close attention.
“I will be going with Mother. I wish to investigate the Toadie. I believe I can do much with them, when my Juice returns.” Peaches seemed distracted as she spoke, like she was seeing things the others were not. She was. Her life sense had not calmed after the spell.
Edelbert appreciated her independence. “Sounds good to me. Anything else sire?”
“Peaches, Kernel and Edelbert; You all will be shipping out tomorrow. Enjoy your day.”
I'm sooooo looking forward to that conversation. Also, they have a shit ton of possible mounts. Can golems ride mounts? Probably not standard ones, at least not without a penalty, but who knows? Also, i'd bet dollars to donuts that the gang is shipping out tomorrow to try and claim the neutral cities shown on the map in part three. Though that does raise a question, what exactly is a barbarian city, also featured? Just a non-royal city, because we're early on and there havent been many non-royal sides?
On second thought, it would be weird if two sides had found the mountain-hidden ruin but none had found the cities, but on third thought, it's weird that no side had found the cities before that map was made anyways. I mean, Edelbert SENT OUT the pidgeons only 60-ish turns before the SDE showed up at the ruins in-force.
I would think that it is like the barbarian cities in the civ games, essentially just weakly defended cities that send out a couple units every few turns to attack and in general harangue actual sides. The only way they can propagate is by managing to conquer other cities, but it is only really possible for them beginning of the game, as they are 1 city quasi sides with no opportunity for actual growth. Most barbarian cities are claimed by the time civs get to the classical era (ancient greeks). As to why they havent been conquered yet, good question. Possibly they are too far away from the SDE empire or they are a bit off to the side off a few sides warring and or in peace who would see the claiming of and or spinning off a new side to claim the lightly defended barbarian cities as an act of war.
Maybe the map looks a bit like the center of Edelbert's map, but on a giant scale (boundary of natural barriers with a small opening). It would cause a giant pain to move units popped out of the area, but a tunnel (made by a dirtamancer) could open up an avenue allowing for further colonization. That at least would explain why they were able to send some flying units and a stack led by a minor dirtamancy unit in, but havent colonized. As to why they dont just use flying mounts, there are sides that dont have any (reference digdoug, their only flying mounts were the hippocrates and only the capital could pop those, the other side wasnt an air power at all). Or maybe the barrier also consists of anti flying unit hexes like storming mountains. It would be affordable, barely, to send in 100 pidgeys, hope for 1 or two of them to survive, then have them scout the area.
Im having trouble thinking up exactly the natural boundary is, but a labyrinth of mountains that takes way too long to travel through even if you know where the target is could work. It would make it too expensive to maneuver anything but a token force through the mountains, and any cities in the mountain area would be too uncontrollable (unable to reinforce with more units unless you want to spend schmuckers on units traveling 10 or more turns on the road and out of the garrison). Then they would simply be written off, but a dirtamancer could change a fair bit of that with a tunnel system or just making a road.
I only ever played the latter two civ games, where barbarians spawn from encampments, so the analogy doesn't exactly strike home, but I think I get what you mean. My major question though is that we know barbarians can claim cities and found normal, non-royal sides, which is exactly what edelbert planned to do. Why would a non-royal side operate strategically different then a royal one? I do like the idea of some political situation leaving the area as a sort of no-man's zone, where any city claiming would unite forces against you, maybe the barbarian city's a sort of pirate's bay type thing, where it's a safe zone for local mercenaries who can access it. As for the units being sent being expendable, my pet theory was that the first group was sent just for what they thought was all that was needed, and the half-assed attempts edelbert describes later became a sort of punitive sentence for the SDE, with warlords that fail the empire being sent on a suicide mission to capture the remote mountain dirtamancer.
Conmor is right about Barbarian cities. They are non-capital sites that have been claimed by a barbarian warlord.
Terrain is largely responsible for the cities not being discovered. The massive jungle combined with the cliff wall in the south were prohibitive for the SDE which are Marsh/Swamp based mostly. There are also scattered mountains. Harvey was on a mission that put him well outside the usual stomping ground of the Prefecture. The two other sides nearby have not been shown but they also are limited by distance and terrain.
ThousandCats you are correct about the SDE approach about the ruins. The only reason they went in the first place was that the Dolliwog that started their daemon tribe was the one that Edelbert pissed off.