Volume 18 - No Bones About It - The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
No Bones About It
The Journal of Sir Edelbert Spore
Turn 4829 – My Apologies Journal,
With all that was happening yesterday I simply did not have time to sit and write. Let me catch you up.
Annie Warbucks is proving to be a shrewd and intelligent ally. Her side is now called the Reunited State of Hamerica, returning toward the sides original name. She has recalled all her troops to defensive positions within her cities. Apparently, she found Chump had a moderate stash of Gems that he was hiding from the SDE. She has cashed these in and is using the funds to bolster her meager army. Her units are already searching for new Natural Allies. The Overlady also made an offer to purchase a significant number of the golem we have here in her capital. We are seriously considering it. The extra funds would be nice since we did not raze any of the Hamerican cities, nor are we getting income from them anymore.
We are trying to make diplomatic overtures to the Veganites but these things take time. Scouts report that they are showing signs of confusion at the sudden retreat of the Hamerican forces. So far there has been no pursuit. They seem to be withdrawing as well, probably suspecting a surprise attack or other gambit.
Empress Toots must be livid. We have successfully turned her subservient ally into a furious enemy. The Hamericans have also provided us with a great deal more information about the Empire. For instance, the Chief Warlord of the SDE is name Chaplin and he is level 7. We have also drastically expanded our maps.
Swamp Gus is the name of the Florist of the SDE. He was originally a Hamerican unit that was traded as a part of the forced vassalage. Chief Chaplin kept Gus from coming near the Hamerican side, so they have not seen him in hundreds of turns. They do sometimes send Lee to boost things for the Hamericans.
The remaining vassal of the SDE is called the Pirates of the Caribiner. This is where Luckamancer Prechaun is originally from. The Pirates are an interesting blend of a mountain side and a sea power. Their preferred tactic is small raiding parties which pick off weak groups of units. They scavenge what they can and otherwise avoid all-out war. The SDE conquered them almost two thousand turns ago. The Pirates are also at war with the Veganites, but their battles are primarily out on the waves. They do not have a caster after the loss of Lee.
We are shipping Chump to Hilltop to be the manager there. We do not really trust him, that is why we are putting him in one of our smallest cities and farthest away from battle. If he steps out of line he will be disbanded, and he knows it. I doubt he will cause any trouble.
Kernel has decided to assign Chicharron to manage Bogslog for the coming turns. We expect battle there soon and would like to have a warlord present.
By the same token I will be spending a few turns in Bogslog to improve the cities defenses and craft some garrisoned golem. After that I will be returning to the capital. There is still much work to be done on the home front. Arthur would like me removed from the field for a while. This is a safety concern. The SDE will be counter striking soon and without significant need of my abilities on the front then he would prefer I be in a defensible position. As well, if they do attack one of our main cities then I can be there to bolster the defenses.
Turn 4837 – New Reports Today,
The SDE attacked Bogslog this turn. We managed to keep the city but only just barely. Chicharron and eleven units are all that survived, mostly Swamp Rats. The warlady once again levelled, now she is 4 just like Kernel. She says that there were definite signs of Luckamancy manipulation. Odd things like attacks going wildly off target or units tripping and falling in combat. The strange thing is that she noticed good luck on our side too. Apparently, she was nearly croaked by an arrow, but she sneezed at just the right time for it to whizz over her head.
I have been considering Luckamancy. Over the many turns I have had a good number of Luckamancy specials, they are not too rare compared to some disciplines. I have little understanding of the mechanics of Luck though. The one thing I can recall that links all my Luckamancy experience is the idea of balance. If I was lucky my golem would suffer mishaps. If Turnip was boosted somehow then I would inadvertently hurt myself or break something. What practical effect this idea has is beyond me. I am not a Luckamancer but maybe I can find one in the MK to show me a thing or two.
Thinking about what I would like to pursue I quantified my skills in each branch of magic based off my previous experience, mostly from new specials and exotic creatures. 0 is basically no valuable experience, while 10 means complete mastery. I would expect most casters to have 0’s in most schools. I am only as experienced as I am because of Turnip, age, and lucky circumstances.
Hocus Pocus – Find - 0 Spookism – Turn – 1
Predict - 0 (boop that) Doll – 5 (needs more work)
Math - 2 Weird –4
Stuff – Dirt – 9 (never a 10, always learning) Eye – Look – 2
Change – 2 Think – 0
Ditto – 2 Fool – 1
Hippie – FP – 5 (I miss the Staff) Naughty – Shock - 3
Sign – 3 Croak – 0
Date – 1 Retcon – .1 (Déjà vu, it had to be)
Stage – Hat - 3 (Harv) Clever – Luck – 2
Carny - 1 Heal – 2
Rhyme - 2 Money – 1
My varied experiences with specials provide me a foundation in most of the disciplines. I am not skilled in Hocus Pocus or Eyemancy. I have always shown competence in Stagemancy, Clevermancy, and Naughtymancy but find myself lacking good experience. My Stuffamancy, Hippiemancy, and Spookism are all exceptional, there is always room for practice.
Once I am back at the capital tomorrow, I intend to begin studying FP with Peaches. I want to give her some guidance and I suspect she will be able to teach me a great deal as well. After that, I have yet to decide.
Turn 4844 – My Traps Paid Off Journal,
The last two turns spent booby trapping the hexes near the valley fort were completely worth it. The SDE was trying to push into our territory again. This time they brought an impressively large force consisting of more varied unit types than normal. They tried to simply bypass the fort to head straight for Riverside.
I kept it simple, spiked pits were all I installed. This allowed me to place many traps because basic pits do not require a great deal of juice.
We worried about Dirtle cancelling my traps but SDE forces walked right into the danger zones. Many units dropped into the pits and a fair number croaked outright. The ones that did not croak took damage. Much of the SDE force was harmed without any engagement. They pushed on and stopped for the night within two turns striking distance from Riverside. This left them extremely vulnerable.
Kernel mustered all the forces he could and engaged the enemy in a four-pronged attack. A strike force was dispatched from Crafty Crags and Riverside as well as the valley fort. Not only that but we were able to mass a great deal of flyers. We attacked the SDE from three hex boundaries and the airspace simultaneously.
The battle went well. We did lose quite a few units but the force we were facing was large. Injuries among the enemy made it much easier to bring down targets. Heavy units tended to take more damage from pits which allowed us to quickly remove mounts and specialty units. In the end we completely eradicated the enemy force. We would have liked to capture some of them, but they fought ferociously to the last unit.
Seeing the SDE in large scale action was impressive. Much of their army consisted of two types of specialty infantry. I do not know what they are called. One variety is the eerily identical knights that I have seen so many times before. They fight boldly and with superb coordination. Secondly are the smaller and quicker ranged units. These units have a great many throwing weapons and access to poisons. Their barrages are quite deadly to living units. Fortunately, the golem are immune to poisons. Beyond these units the SDE seems to have quite a variety to choose from but do not field many of any one given unit type. This is likely due to having many different cities that have been owned by many different sides.
This was the first time the Pokedaemon have been significantly involved in a major battle. They were excluded from the Hamerican campaign because we had so few of them at the time the column set out. As well, they did not have the move to catch up because we were using my pathing trick. Now though, we have a contingent of daemon in each city. Their specials should be of great use in repelling invaders.
On that note, Arthur has ordered scouts to begin searching for more daemon that we can induct into the tribe. He sees great potential in the diversity of both our natural allies and would like to foster this.
We are currently low on units and funds. I will be spending a few turns travelling to work on the various mines we have claimed. This should bolster the treasury. As for units, we expect it will take some time before the SDE can assemble another assault force.
Turn 4848 – Policy Change,
I have requested that a Weirdish and a Thinkshroom are assigned to each of our commander units. I have learned a great deal from rotating my specials over the many turns. As well, the ability to communicate as easily as a Thinkagram is too convenient not to utilize. I am also working with Harv to make a network of Sending Hats for the Mushroomish Kingdom.
Turn 4850 – Lost a Warlord Today,
One of our fresh popped warlords was ambushed by a stack of SDE troops. Not only had he just popped but the attack happened far deeper into our territory than we believed the SDE had any field units.
Arthur and Kernel have ordered a wave of scouts popped to reassess our territory for threats. The fear is that the SDE has gotten a significant force somewhere nearby without us knowing. Our cities are defended but we are still recovering from the last attack. It would be difficult to repel them right now, especially in the outlying cities of Bogslog and Hilltop.
I am bolstering our garrisons with golem for the next ten-turn or so. I do enjoy the travel.
When I asked Peaches about her studies she told me they were going well. It seems she has a knack for talking. People just seem to like her and want to please her. I asked her to show me some Turnamancy spells and she admitted that she did not know any yet, she has been studying theory only. Her explanation for this was that she knew we were short on funds and did not want to waste money paying for lessons. The Spinsters are an expensive group to work with apparently. Instead she has been going to the Hall of Letters and reading whatever she can find. In the evening she has been using all her extra Juice charging the tower.
Her new orders are more specific. She is now to spend all her Juice each day casting spells. If she does not have Duties to perform then she is free to cast of her own prerogative, but she must use up her entire reserve. There are two reasons for this. The first being that we are paying upkeep for that Juice and losing it is a terrible waste. Charging the tower is inefficient, too much Juice for not much result. She and I are some of the most valuable assets the kingdom has. We should use our full potential as often as possible. The second reason is one of learning. Without pushing her boundaries Peaches will never learn anything beyond her limits. The harder she pushes the more she will grow and the side will benefit, a lesson I learned from studying Flower Power.
She thanked me and said she would try her hardest from that point forward.
In 4865 turns of life, Edelbert Spore had set foot in the Magic Kingdom on two occasions. Once to meet with his friend, Hat Magician Harvey Ford. The second to meet with Chief Walt Dismay of the Silent but Deadly Empire. Time and war had not allowed him any more opportunities to explore. Today that would change.
King Arthur Amanita had given him orders to conserve his Juice and to use it having fun in the MK. “Go and enjoy yourself Edelbert. You have been hard at work since before the Kingdom began. I know you are croaking to get into the MK and explore a bit. Go do it, everything will stand a turn without you. If we need, I can order you back”
With that, Chief Spore made his way to the deep violet portal into the Magic Kingdom. On his walk he considered calling Peaches to see if she would like to explore with him, but he decided that some alone time would be nice. Teaching the princess had been one of his greatest joys in recent life but he was still getting accustomed to having so many units around all the time. Being on a side was a lot more crowded than being a barbarian. Although, he had not had nearly enough time to work with the girl. Arthur was right about having been constantly busy. Being a Chief was a lot of work.
Stepping out from the Mushroomish portal was like removing a blanket when one was too warm. The thick layer of humidity in the Crafty Crags was not present in the MK and the sudden change had a palpable effect on his skin.
Looking around there were all the expected sights. Hundreds of portals stood, silently glowing. People of varying colors and styles wandered here and there, presumably knowing where they were going. From the portal, Edelbert could not see any signs but he knew if he headed out in any direction he would find the circular road around the park.
He had been debating with himself about what area of the island to explore. The Stuffamarket was certainly intriguing, but he really did not have any extra schmuckers to spend and doubted he could find much work with all the other Dirtamancers around. The Menagerie could be very interesting he thought, but again he was short on available funds. Going to the Oracastle was something Edelbert found himself hoping he would never have to do. Visiting the Glade or the Naughty Place was not going to be happening either.
The Fair was tempting. Arthur had after all, ordered him to go and have some fun. That seemed the best place for entertainment on the island. There was also a great deal he could learn in that octant. The noise and crowds did not appeal to him right then, so he considered his other options.
Attending the Academy seemed to be the best option. Learning was always fun, and he could certainly use some greater understanding of Eyemancy. Something about it just did not hold his interest on this day.
That left the University of Health and the Body. Although he had no special desire to learn Healomancy, he also had no issues with the discipline. In fact, he knew it would be extremely useful to have a bit of basic healing. His skills at first-aid were commendable but being able to enhance the effects with Juice would be invaluable. Learning was always fun, and this lesson would directly benefit the side. His decision was made.
Walking through the park was itself an enjoyable experience. Casters of all stripes bustled back and forth, going about any manner of business. The variety of vegetation was impressive to Edelbert. Although he regularly saw a wide range of flora in his homeland, he had not expected such intense diversity in such a small place (except maybe his own garden). Plants of all descriptions were growing around the MK.
Peaches had learned a few things about the Magic Kingdom which she had passed on to Edelbert. The island was naturally divided into eight areas or octants. Each of these was theoretically a space for each of the different classes of magic. The green treed zone was associated with the Hippies for instance, where the Hall of Letters was. Giant brown leafed trees marked the Stuffamancy octant, where the Stuffamarket was. Each zone had its own feel and landmarks. In an everyday sense, things were much more intermingled but if you wanted to find members of a discipline or specific guild it would usually be easiest to start near their octant.
Another interesting thing about the MK that Edelbert had not been previously aware of was the use of rands as a separate caster currency. He had not realized he possessed a stat space for rands, he had simply never looked before. He hoped that by the end of the day he could acquire some rands for himself. That way he could avoid spending schmuckers.
The foliage in the Clever Woods had a golden hue and shinnied ever so lightly in the sunlight. There was a slight breeze which rustled the trees and cooled the warm air. Finding the University was a cinch. The main path into the octant led straight in and eventually to a large white stone building. The sign on the front read “Monty Placebo’s University for Health and the Body – Left Main Office, Right ER”
Not knowing what an ER was, Edelbert decided to go there first. He was not looking for an office, he wished to learn Healomancy not Signamancy. The double doors to the right of the sign were glass and aluminum. Inside he could see a well-lit and clean room, but no one inside. As he swung open the doors a chime sounded from an unknown spot.
Out from a room in the back rushed three casters, each wearing turquoise clothes of a style Edelbert did not recognize. All three wore face amsks and gloves, also turquoise. Two of them had a red cross on their uniforms and the third had a skull and cross bones. They ran up to the Dirtamancer as if panicked and immediately began poking and prodding him.
The tallest of the three began asking a series of questions at Sir Spore. “What is the emergency. How are you injur…. Wait, you are not hurt at all. Full hits. No incapacitations. There are no poisons or lingering curses. Why are you here caster?!”
“I am here to study Healomancy. Can one of you teach me?” Edelbert said cheerily.
“No.” Was the only response a black-haired unit had as he spun and stomped off.
“What are you, a first turn? This is the ER. We only perform emergency Healing operations. If you want to study, go over to the office and apply for admittance. I do not have any more room or patience for students.” The tall man said, indicating the third of the oddly dressed group. At that he turned his back on Edelbert and returned to where he had come from.
The woman with the skull and crossbones stepped forward after the others had walked away. She had hair so blonde it was nearly white, pulled back into a long ponytail. Her complexion was flawlessly smooth. Although her skin was pale it seemed healthy, more like it was glowing than ill. “Sorry about that, the Surgeons tend to be rather rude. They do not mean anything by it. There is just a certain cockiness that arises from saving lives. My name is Dee, by the way.” She held out her hand to shake.
“Chief Edelbert Spore of the Mushroomish Kingdom. You can call me Edelbert though. It is a pleasure to meet you. I wish I could say the same about your companions.”
“They are good guys, just full of themselves. So, you came here to learn huh? If you want to get in depth I would agree that you should go apply for admission into the University. I am not very advanced in my studies, but I could certainly show you some basics for a couple of Rands, if you would prefer.”
Edelbert considered for a moment before responding. “That would be wonderful, but I do not have any Rands. Where does one get them, by the way?”
A huge grin broke across Dee’s face as she began to giggle. “Are you a first-turn? You can’t be. Just new to the MK? Basically, you must go get a job. Other casters will pay you in Rands and you can then exchange them for other services. I am surprised you do not have any. You are a Dirtamancer right?”
“How does everyone know that?” this was not the first-time unallied units knew what he was.
“Sorry, you look like a Dirtamancer. It was just a guess. Anyway.” Dee saw this as a mutual opportunity and wanted to get back on track. “What if we trade work? I will run you through some Healing technique and you can come back to my place when my shift ends and help me fix up a few things. Hey, you might be able to find some work with the other Homebodies.
Edelbert found himself surprised how easily he was finding help. Peaches had experienced much difficulty, though Walt and the SDE had a great deal to do with that. “When does your shift end? My turn is not until much later in the day here. Should I wait for you?”
Dee lit up. She had not truly expected this idea to work. “I am off in about two hours. Can you meet me here then?”
“Sure. Where can I find a set of the MK rules, in the mean time?”
Getting the rules was easy and luckily free. The barbarian casters had decided early on that making the rules readily available to all was the only way they could be implemented and enforced.
While he waited for Dee, he formed himself a small bench outside the hospital and began to read. The time passed quickly as he learned a bit about the ways of the Magic Kingdom.
Once she arrived, the pair set off down the main way of the Clever Woods. As they walked they chatted, just getting to know each other a bit. Dee told a somewhat gruesome story about an injury she had witnessed where two Changemancers managed to meld into each other and they could not separate. They had become a strange amalgam unit. Thankfully the University staff had been able to separate the two with the help of a Weirdomancer.
Edelbert walked beside Dee and contentedly listened to her story. It was only when he smelled something faintly burning that he took specific note of where he was. The trees around him were a bright red, like a wound. Not far ahead on the path loomed a squat dark building. “Are we in the Naughty Place Dee?”
She seemed surprised at the question. “Well yeah. This is the only place I can afford to live. It is not like they would let me move over near Sick Bay, on the coast of the Clever Woods. I am far too new in the University Hospital”
The dark building came closer and Edelbert could make out details. The majority of the structure was underground, with many little rooms branching off of a few central passages. A red, brightly glowing sign hung above the entryway. Sepulchral Home for Croakamancers.
Edelbert stopped. “You are a Croakamancer? I thought you were a Healomancer.”
Dee spun around and stared daggers at the Dirtamancer. “Oh, you are one of those. Won’t work with a vile Croakamancer. Too good to be seen with a Naughtymancer.” Her voice was a little too loud and she began to draw the attention of the few passersby. The looks they gave Edelbert were not friendly.
“What! No, Dee I am sorry. That was not what I meant. I am excited you are a Croakamancer. It is a branch of magic that has always interested me. I was just surprised. Simple mistake.” Edelbert did all he could to appear apologetic.
“Oh.” She was surprised. “I am sorry Edelbert. I have encountered a lot of prejudice in my couple hundred-turns of life. Not everyone is rude to Croakamancers but it feels like a growing trend to me. I hope I have not offended you. I was looking forward to teaching.”
“Well lead on then friend. Maybe I will even show you some Dirtamancy.” Edelbert was eager to learn.
The pair made the rest of the way to the low bunker like building. The dark stone entryway was carved into ghoulish figures silently screaming and roaring. Dee walked in and down the stairs without seeming to notice the dreary atmosphere.
As they moved down the stone passageway, Edelbert reached out with his Dirt Sense and got a good feel for the structure he was in. There were a great deal of construction flaws and weaknesses in the foundation. It had clearly been a while since anyone had worked on this place.
A little way down the main passage they took a left turn and went down another branch. In that passage Dee stopped in front of a door and pulled out a large iron key, which she inserted into a lock mechanism in the door. Mounted to the frame was a small brass placard which read “Dee Seesed, Adept Croakamancer.”
Edelbert was impressed. “You are an Adept.huh? That is great. Maybe you could teach me some Naughtymancy too. Are you skilled in Shockamancy or do you just have a novitiate in Healomancy?”
Dee turned to look at him as she uncloaked and hung it upon a rack. “I am not a novice in either Shockamancy or Healomancy. I would love to get either but cross class novitiates are rare and I have to spend most of my Juice healing for upkeep rather than practicing my craft.”
“Oh, well that is fine. I am eager to pick up some Healomancy anyway.”
The inside of the small cryptlike room was sparsely furnished and completely undecorated. An unimpressive bed and simple chest of drawers were all that waited. There was not even a chair to sit down on. From the ceiling in the corner there was a steady drip-drip of water(hopefully). It was difficult for Edelbert to witness such meager living quarters.
The Dirtamancer immediately began assessing what he could do using his craft. “Let us take care of your apartment first so that we might be more comfortable, then we can talk Healomancy. Okay?”
Without awaiting a response Edelbert cast. “Clasic Level, Hidden Level, Boss Level” With a good push of Juice the entire building balanced on its foundation. With another push he reformed the stone of the subterranean structure, removing any cracks or defects. Then as an afterthought he reinforced everything, so degradation would be a slower process. As he finished he informed Dee, the whole casting only took a few seconds.
“Edelbert stop. You were supposed to work on my apartment, not the whole building. I cannot afford that. You have already bankrupted me!” The Croakamancer was clearly upset.
“It is okay Dee. I won’t charge you for that. Sitting inside of a cracked building was bothering me. Besides, now no one will have to live with leaking walls or pooling water. So, what do you want done with your room? Bigger, new furnishings, maybe better lighting?”
She did not look like she knew what to do. For a few moments the two of them stood in awkward silence. “Are you kidding me? Edelbert you really are new to the Magic Kingdom. You may have just done a hundred Rands worth of construction, maybe more. It usually takes us all paying extra for Caty the landlord to pay for basic maintenance. You have already done that and more.”
The Dirtamancer was not sure what to make of that. “Well you are being over charged. So how about those furnishings? Although, there is not much space in here. Can I expand the room too?”
Dee was too flummoxed to argue. “The rule is that I can expand outward to the iron stakes imbedded in the walls on either side of my room. We can go back and down as much as we want if we follow that one rule. I was hoping for a nice bed, a locking iron-bound chest, and hopefully space for a workbench so I might practice Croakamancy when I do have free time or Juice.’
“May I?” Edelbert gestured at the whole room.
“Please do. Oh, could you fashion the furniture from bone?” Dee asked skeptically.
“I can but why? Bone is a weaker material than most as well as being a bit macabre.”
“You enjoy having your feet on the ground, right? I understand that most Dirtamancers do. It is because of your special senses. I have senses too, but they are keyed to bodies. It is comforting to have masses of bone around, as I am sure you are comforted by stones and metals. Just a class difference I suppose.”
Edelbert would never have considered it like that. “Alright let us begin.”
Over the next few minutes he expanded the width and depth of the space. Another minute and he had formed a canopy bed, wardrobe, and a bound chest; all made from bone and sculpted to be as life like as possible. He added some embellishments too, for instance power-candle sconces shaped like claws and a red velvet carpet. As the space expanded it also gained a sitting area and a small cooking space. Without saying anything he added in a surprise. Then for good measure, he reinforced the door to the hall.
Someone pounded on the door at almost the same time. Dee moved to it quickly and had it open before Edelbert had fully refocused out of casting.
A raven-haired beauty stood in the doorway. Her all leather outfit hugged her curves like it was her skin. In one hand she held a skull scepter and on her face, she held a look of rage. “What is the meaning of this, Adept? Witnesses said you brought a Dirtamancer into the Home and now everything is shifting. Was this because of you two? What have you done and why. Speak.”
Dee looked truly taken aback. “Caty! Yes, it was us. Edelbert agreed to work on my apartment. He is the Dirtamancer. While casting he took some initiative and repaired the entire compound. I did not think anyone would mind, nor did we break any rules that I know of.”
Caty pointed her scepter at Edelbert without looking at him. “This digger is tricking you dear. You paid him to do some work and he came up with an excuse why more work had to be done. Now he will charge you for all the work. Charge the whole community for the work.” She sighed deeply “Why do you think I have them here so rarely. It gets expensive fast, for everybody. What are we in for Dirtamancer?” Caty finally looked in his direction.
As she spoke a small crowd was gathering in the hallway. Their faces were nervous and worried. It was as if they expected attack from some unseen assailant.
Edelbert was not completely sure he understood what was happening. He could tell the leather-bound woman did not care for Dirtamancers though. “My name is Edelbert Spore, pleased to meet you. I am here because Dee agreed to teach me some basic Healomancy. Basic structural improvements were all I performed, it seemed in need of repair. My apologies for any inconvenience. Dee had a leak in her wall and I figured if I was going to do it I would do it right. My Healomancy lesson is still forth coming but otherwise I had no intention of charging any of you”
“What?” Someone in the small crowd said.
“Seriously” Came another voice.
“Shhh” Caty hissed at the others. Then she looked deep in Edelbert’s eyes. “I am Madam Caty Clysm, Master Naughtymancer. The Sepulchral Home is my establishment. If what you say is true than I owe you a great deal of gratitude.”
Dee raised her voice so the others in the hall could hear clearly. “I think he means it. He is a good guy.”
“I do mean it.” Edelbert still felt like he did not completely understand what was going on.
Madam Clysm smiled for the first time in the conversation. “Your services are appreciated. I would like to offer you five Rands as a tip. Thank you for your work. The Home was admittedly looking a bit run down. Dee, good job. We can discuss this later, for now I believe you owe Edelbert here a lesson. Everyone back to your rooms.”
The group began to disperse, but before it did Edelbert received four more rands from various onlookers. He now had a total of nine rands.
Dee closed the (now solid) door and locked it. “I am sorry about that Edelbert. I did not expect anything like that.”
“It was my fault. I should have only done what I was asked. I can see now, how having the floor of one’s home move suddenly might be an unfortunate experience.”
“Oh no Edelbert. What you did was wonderful. You have improved the lives of everyone at the Home. We owe you, no, I owe you greatly. Why don’t we sit down and start that Healomancy lesson now? I am sure your side will want you back at some point. You have already spent more than enough Juice for me.” She gestured toward the small seating area there now was in the room.
“Thank you, Dee, but why don’t we study in the workshop?” The Dirtamancer asked playfully as he pointed to a hatch accessway on the floor near the back end of the room.
The Croakamancer was across the space and had opened the hatch in a flash, a hungry grin on her face. A bright glow emitted from the open hatch as the room below was very well illuminated. A clean tiled room waited at the end of the smooth white stairs. Edelbert had mimicked the style of the University ER and applied what Healomancy knowledge he had to making an adequate workspace.
As he descended the stairs behind her Edelbert said “I would have made it a Croakamancy lab but I do not understand your discipline well enough to have done that very effectively. I have noted in the past that Healomancy and Croakamancy are very similar, so I took some liberty.’
“You are absolutely right Edelbert.” Dee began her explanation. “Healing and Croaking are opposite sides of the same coin. It is very astute of you to notice the similarities. A key principle I have discovered in both disciplines is that the body wants to function, it wants to move. For Healing what this means is that a body desires to be whole, that is its correct state. What you are doing when you Heal is not cancelling wounds directly but providing the means for the body to restore itself. You are guiding and encouraging regrowth with your application of Juice. In Croaking what this means is that the body has desire to move. Fingers, knees, elbows all are designed to move, they crave Motion. A body wants to move again, we just have to show it how”
“I think I see.’ Edelbert interjected. “In Dirtamancy there is a similar principle. Dirt does not want to move as a rule. It would prefer to stay where it is and what it is. That motivation is part of what makes buildings last so long as compared to say units. Golem are tricky. There you kind of convince the stone that it wants to get up and move around. Sort of a mind takes over Matter.”
Dee smiled “That is a great way to put it. Mind over Matter. In Healomancy it is your mind telling the Matter of their body how to heal. Their mind is occupied with having taken damage. In Croakamancy it is your mind telling the Matter of the corpses how to move, because there is no mind there in the first place. In both instances your Juice provides the fuel needed to perform the action while your will provides the intention. Or at least that is how I have been thinking about it.”
Having limited experience with Healing, Edelbert could see no flaw in what the Croakamancer had to say. HE allowed her to continue uninterrupted.
“I think that will power is an important thing. Fate is the will of the Titans. Numbers are the will of the rules. I think that Erf is our will, exerted upon the world. Between those three forces comes what may. Sorry, I get a bit philosophical when I talk theory. You want to know Healomancy.” Dee seemed suddenly withdrawn, as if she had been criticized before for such talk.
The idea of harming someone for expressing wonder and curiosity was inexcusable to Edelbert. Learning and imagination were vitally important to his and all lives, at least he felt they were. “I was enjoying it Dee. You have interesting ideas. I had never considered Erf as will before. Maybe it is, maybe it is not. Still a fun thing to think about, maybe even has a lesson or two to teach. Time is getting on so maybe we should stick to Healomancy for today, I am certain I would enjoy continuing the discussion the next time.”
“You mean it Edelbert. You would be friends with a Croakamancer?”
“I am friends with a Croakamancer, Dee.”
When Edelbert finally left the Sepulchral Home it was getting truly dark. Dee warned him to stay on the path and head straight for Portal Park. No one would mess with him if he did, but wander too far and he became a potential target. It was the Naughty Place after all.
The rest of the turn had been productive. Not only had he absorbed a great deal of theory, he was now able to cast a basic stabilization spell, Bandaid. Dee had proven a patient and effective teacher. The two had agreed to meet again in a few turns. Dee would have more Healoamancy and Edelbert agreed to find her a corpse or two to play with, if possible.
Wow,you are really on a roll. It is nice to see that Edelbert gets to spend some time for himself. I really did enjoy your chapter. I do have one criticism: In my opinion you did value Edelberts worth far too high. From the comic we can assume that Sizemore's work for the Hippiemancers has a value of roughly five Rands. Thats for one turn of work and juice from a adept mid level Dirtamancer.
Since Edelbert is higher leveled and a master Dirtamancer his work could maybe be prized at ten Rands.
If the Dirtamancers tried to charge free casters one hundred rands for maintaining a house the poor casters would tell them to stuff themselves and sleep under the clear sky if need be. Unlike on Earth the need for housing in the Magic Kingdom is far lower. There is no bad weather and there are no wild animals. If you are poor there is little material stuff for other caster to steal while your few Rands and Shmuckers are safe in your purse. As for violent crimes, you need to piss off someone really hard before they attack you in the magic kingdom, the enforcement system is to strong. Also there might be some competition concerning housing from Dollamancy, at least if we look at Claud Gauntlets home.
So all in all, I do not believe that the Dirtamancers can charge that much for houses.
Anyway I am only speculating and could be totally wrong. Only Rob Balder knows the full truth. Either way, I am looking forward to your next installment.
Hey Bandaid, that was misleading on my part. The estimation of a hundred rand value was done by an inexperienced Croakamancer, not a Dirtamancer. No the Dirts would not charge 100 to repair a building but I did want to capture the perception of the way they charge. I know I have had a repairman over on an estimate only to have the price triple once the work is done. Edelbert is also completely naive as to the value his work actually has for the barbarian casters. He basically did a lot of work for way under value because he was a nice guy. The rands he got were just people being generous in return.
From at least our experience with sizemore of what janis was charging him for lesson vs what he offered to give her, 20 rands seemed like a drop in the bucket for sizemore. I would not consider 100 rands to outrageous for what would prob take a low level adept all of his juice to fix, the thing is Spore is a high level Master which is frankly over powered for the task.
Great writing keep it up.
Keep in mind that Sizemore expected to croak so he saw not much reason to hold onto the Rands he accumulated over time. Also, Sizemore is a sided caster, he does not depend on Rands for survival and has therefore no need to hoard them.
Also one Rand represents one casters upkeep for one turn. We only have two figures for casters upkeep, 150 for Dove Barstool and 160 for Digdoug. Both are not depicted as high level or master class casters so I would estimate the average upkeep in the Magic Kingdom to be somewhere about 200 Shmuckers. Assuming the Moneymancers demand at least that much for making a Rand, 100 Rands would be equivalent to 20.000 Shmuckers. If one caster, any caster, could make that in one turn the whole economy would not make sense at all. Keep in mind that there are no Shmucker sources in the Magic Kingdom. For every Rand in existence, somewhere and somehow a side had to insert the necessary Shmuckers into the Magic Kingdom economy.
We do not know the exact mechanisms how upkeep works if a unit has a combination of upkeep sources available (Rands, personal purse, sides treasury). Is there a hierarchy, rulers choice, units choice? It might well be possible that Gobwin Knob's treasury kept paying Sizemores upkeep even while Rands would have been available. I presume Rands only work in the Magic Kingdom, therefore everytime Sizemore started turn outside of it his upkeep was paid by the treasury. Now, it would have been possible to tell Sizemore to earn Rands with his juice and distribute those Rands to the other casters. If all casters step trough the portal just before turn start Gobwin Knob could have effectively paid their casters upkeep with Sizemore's juice. However I doubt that Stanley even knows that something like Rands exists.
the amounts we have seen paid in canon for stuff is 50-150 rands for a master think to unravel a link (she ended up getting 250 rands of work for free), 18000 schmuckers for a tower scroll (going off of digdougs scroll making, it would take an equivalent caster about 5-10 turns to make), 20 to heal a warlord, and 7 for some lessons (which was bumped up to 30 because sizemore is sizemore).
Now, Digdoug is either a novice or adept, albeit with probably a higher than normal level, and scrollmaking is implied to cost much more juice than doing it in person (the pit trap scroll cost 3 turns of juice when he could do it in person for a fourth of one turn's juice if that). A master class mid level dirtamancer like digdoug could probably very easily do the tower improvement spell in a turn or two. and make a scroll for it in about 4.
Now you see why dirtamancers are considered filthy rich rock stars. The building fixing spell took only 1/4th to half his juice, but combined with the monopoly and union rules, they could easily overcharge that much.
I think we have reached the point were the discussion about the Magic Kingdom economics is distracting from Salvages story and cluttering up his comment section. Therefore I suggest we open up a topic in the Everthink Else Erfworld forum and continue our discussion there if you are interested in that. If so write me a pm.
@ Heffenfeffer - Thank you and Yes, that is a concern.
@conmor - Hi conmor, good to hear from you. Good points about Rands too.
@Bandaid - On the contrary I enjoy and appreciate the conversation. It helps me to improve my understanding of Erfworld as well as improve my writing. Any and all feedback is appreciated, even in the form of theory debate. Thank you for caring enough about Erfworld to debate about it.
Since Salvage asked for it I shall continue to argue my misgivings about the portrayal of the economy of the magic kingdom, both by Rob and by Salvage and the problems I see. If anyone spots any mistakes, please point them out.
Assumptions, Facts and Questions about the Magic Kingdom Rand system:
Casters use Rands instead of Shmuckers so that the Moneymancers do not have an overwhelming advantage.
One Rand pays for the upkeep of one caster, no matter how high the upkeep of a given caster is.
Rands are created my Moneymancers and need Shmuckers as a resource.
Every turn a number of Rands roughly equal to the number of free casters in the Magic Kingdom vanishes from the internal economy because casters pay their upkeep with Rands. The potential difference comes from: A. Casters not being able to pay their upkeep and disbanding. B: Casters paying their upkeep with Shmuckers or other means (being in an ongoing contract for example where a side pays there upkeep while they are still barbarian.)
The amount of casters in the Magic Kingdom is not clear, guesstimates range from 200 to 400.
If the average upkeep of a caster is 200 Shmuckers that would mean 40.000 Shmuckers to 80.000 Shmuckers upkeep cost per turn. These Shmuckers need to come from outside the Magic Kingdom since there is no income to be had in the Magic Kingdom.
Some casters gain income from outside the Magic Kingdom. The Dirtamancers for example are portrayed as being constantly hired by Sides. Other caster do not get hired or only very seldom get hired. These casters need to provide services for other casters to make their upkeep.
Here are the things I cannot reconcile:
Janis being able to pay 50 to 100 Rands for the services of one or more Thinkamancers. The amount of Rands available and the willingness to spend them by the Hippiemancers implied by this amount clashes with the fact that casters disband in the Magic Kingdom since the Hippiemancers are portrayed as helping casters down on their luck.
The costs for magic items/services. As conmor mentioned, the scroll for the tower upgrade cost 18.000 Shmuckers. Even assuming a caster had to work 10 turns to create the scroll he would gain upkeep for 90 turns out of that.
The spell for the "perfect warlord" is even worse. 350.000 Shmuckers for ten turns worth of juice from from 3 (only the casters in the linkup) to maybe 20 casters if that much juice was used by other Thinkamancers influencing the link. So maybe 6.000 Shmuckers upkeep to 40.000 Shmuckers upkeep cost. Net profit: 346.000 to 310.000 Shmuckers.
There are money sinks not shown in the comic (material resources needed for scrolls which must be bought from sides for example).
Available work is highly erratic. So there might be many turns where lots of casters "waste" their juice without gaining income from outside the Magic Kingdom and the net Rands in the Magic Kingdom decrease.
One thing that I think is incorrect about your assumption is that moneymancers make rand's. My primary argument against this is that rand's are so that moneymancers do NOT have control of the economy.
The other is that they seem to be a stat equivalent of schmuckers that was created rather than being in place since the beginning. This implies carnymancy. I think it is something like a carnymancy+(one of: money, florist, math, change, weird) link. Essentially something that generates rand's from some other resource. It may be a hippie plant where if you eat a fruit you gain a number of Rands, it might be a machine or some other thing where you input juice and get rands.
If the two options presented, it makes sense for it to be an Uber special hippie plant since they are the most good Samaritans of the lot. If it is a machine where juice is turned into schmuckers, then presumably it can't function enough to create enough rand's for everyone (or else they would just distribute 1 Rand to everyone each day).
I know the main thing going for this argument is that it doesn't make any sense for the alternative to having moneymancers rune the economy is to have moneymancers produce the main currency, but i do believe it to be a viable theory on it's own.
I believe you are right about the fact that Rands are not a natural occurrence in Erfworld. They were created as a part of the Great Bargain. Now, I may mix fanon with canon here but I believe the purpose of the Rands is that Moneymancers cannot affect them with their discipline once they are created, which robs them of a huge part of their power. Presumably they get enough Shmuckers for their efforts to pay their own upkeep + something extra. I could imagine the Moneymancers were convinced to accept that deal by pointing out to them that either they would accept or everyone else would gang up on them.
Somewhere I saw a fan theory that Rands could be created by having ones upkeep paid and voluntarily "unpaying" the upkeep to gain a Rand. (Possibly the "Erfman the Barbarian"?).
This would allow the hack of farming low level (== low upkeep) units for Rands... potentially disturbing.
Otherwise I would assume:
Moneymancers could probably pay their upkeep with their juice, possibly with a surplus.
Florists could probably garden for a ration surplus.
Dirtamancers can enrich the soil - but that is a less effective use of juice than flower power blessing.
Any other casters that that could be self-sufficient in the MK without outside income?
Unrelated thought - any caster that is considering the "short pier" could simply walk through a random portal and surrender, hoping to be captured/turned to the side.
@critically - Thank you. Edelbert isn't going anywhere any time soon.
The daemon are a natural ally and are bred using schmuckers. The Mushroomish Kingdom has been popping them in limited quantities since the kingdom began. They did not come up yet because they were not available yet for the Hamerican campaign.
Another look at Dee's estimate of the cost...
The Sepulchral Home for Croakamancers is more of an apartment building/condo complex, not a single home.
The 100 Rand number might even be low depending on how many individual apartment units are present...
If there were 20-50 separate apartments in the home that would be only 2-5 rands each for structural repairs, foundation work, and waterproofing of their home for an extended period. That seems (relatively) reasonable... assuming the repairs will last a long time.
There may be a small percentage of Dirtamancers in the MK - as they are in high demand by the various sides.
Or, there may be a higher percentage due to them being able to continue to make upkeep and avoid disbanding over time.
Play with the numbers however you would like to construct your own head cannon.