Volume 20 - The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
Turn 4876 – The side is in a somber mood after the battle. Having Uncroaked wandering the city added to the morose feeling in the air. We took significant losses, but we survived. That is cause for celebration despite the unfortunate losses.
I already miss Vi. Her poetry, Beats, and humor were all unique additions she brought to our side. We may be able to Change a Demander into a Dejaymeleon but we can never replace Vi.
We owe Dee a great debt. She may well have saved the side. I will be going tomorrow to pay my part of the agreement.
Chief Claypool has apologized profusely. He claims the blame for our significant losses. Although he does share responsibility, the King and I assured him it was a group effort which did ultimately result in a win. He is only a level 5 Chief Warlord. This was only his second capital fight, minor mistakes are understandable. As long as he learns from his errors then I feel they were worth it.
Turn 4916 – Big News Journal,
The Veganites have agreed to join our alliance with Hamerica. They will be focusing their units against the Pirates of the Carabiner. This is just one more blow we have struck against the SDE.
I wish we had the strength to attack the Empire’s territory. Although we have refortified our lands, we are still lacking in terms of excess combat units for a strike force. I have been making golem but it is a slow process to build up a significant army.
Turn 4961 - Peaches Did It,
Working together, Peaches and I were able to manifest a new type of Toadie. The brown Digshrooms are the newest addition to our side. They each possess the Burrow special and with it can dig through solid ground. These will be extremely helpful units both for mining and siege.
Peaches is excited to have finally made this progress but was slightly disappointed it happened within my discipline rather than hers.
I suspect the reason we were finally able to figure out the problem was the use of my Weird-o-vision, which Peaches does not have on her own. I will have to make her a pair of Weird–o-vision Specs.
Turn 5013 – Good News Journal,
One of our scouts discovered a flock of Sheeple wandering nearby. Turnip personally went out to meet and induct them into the tribe. Unsurprisingly it won the challenge and the Sheeple are now ours.
We gained thirty-four new units all with the powerful Will of the Stack special. Another powerful addition to our daemon tribe.
Kernel wants to begin training a couple of each daemon type with the goal of Changing to their higher forms.
Turn 5054 – Contact,
The plan with the Tragikarp is working wonderfully. Any time we pop one now, we haul it over to the river and release it upstream to scout. So far, this tactic has given us a great idea of the far northern waterways. The rivers branch considerably up in the wilderness areas.
Today we found something. Tarzania, our neighbors to the north, have a city on the river as well. Our Tragikarp units found it. Unfortunately they were croaked, but this means that Queen Jane knows we are here. The time of conflict with them is coming soon.
Edelbert was beginning to get used to being in the Magic Kingdom. In the few hundred-turn that he had access, he had been able to spend a ten-turn or two exploring. Today he was wandering the Menagerie, looking at various golem designs.
For the last few minutes he had been inspecting a Black Leather Golem. The shiny black skin was studded with steel and lined with zippers. It stood in the figure of a woman. Its left hand was replaced by a barbed whip. Using his Weird-o-vision Specs, Edelbert could tell there was a streak of Turnamancy in the golem. It certainly had a look about it that brooked no resistance.
Eventually the Dirtamancer moved on down the aisle. On the left, a sharp-edged woman was selling what appeared to be various torture devices. Peaches would be interested in those, Edelbert thought. Her hobby was really taking off. Quite a few SDE troops had converted because of the Princess’s gentle touch. He moved on.
A little way up the road Edelbert came upon a booth selling Tchotchkes. They were predictably made of glass or ceramic. Each of the units had a distinct form. One was a horse, one was a Minitaur, another a heavy. He had never seen so much variation within a single golem type. His golem tended to follow a blueprint, which he had himself designed. Whenever he reproduced that unit he would duplicate the plan exactly, unless there was some improvement he wanted to test before adjusting the original plan.
“Interested in purchasing some Tchotchkes?” A gruff looking man said to Edelbert from a counter nearby the golem. He had a fuzzy mane of dark brown hair, which thanks to a big bushy beard seemed to cover his entire head. Large glasses peeked out from the mass of hair. The man wore surprisingly simple trousers and a shirt, considering he was almost certainly a Dollamancer.
Edelbert was curious. “No, thank you. But I would be willing to pay a rand or two for a discussion of your design process and your thoughts on variations of form in golem bodies. I notice how each of your Tchotchkes has a drastically different shape. Why is that and what purpose does it serve?”
“Oh. Well the price for training is five rands, but I will make you a deal. I need some rarer materials, at least as far as the MK is concerned. I will gladly share some of my ideas if you would summon those materials for me. Nothing illegal of course, just some heavy metals and a hardened plastic.”
Once again Edelbert was finding that his Dirtamancy was a valued commodity in the MK. “My name is Sir Edelbert Spore, master Dirtamancer at your service. I think we have a deal. Pinky Swear?”
The man reached out and shook pinkies. “Pleasure Edelbert. You can call me Bob, Bob Elhead. Adept Dollamancer. Why don’t you spend some time making those materials and we can chat about golem?”
The Dirtamancer was thrilled to find a teacher. “That is fine, but try not to focus on just the golem but the overall Dollamancy that makes the golem. I am very much interested to learn more of your discipline.”
Bob considered where to begin before speaking. “You asked about golem form and how I have so many different styles of Tchotchkes. Any given type of unit has many possible variations. That is a basic Changemancy, everything has a multitude of variations. Just think about Stabbers. Every single one on the whole planet is basically statistically the same, in theory. But then think of all the minor discrepancies between stack-mate stabbers. About half of them will be male and half female. There are likely to be multiple hair and eye colors. Each unit will be a different height. Even when these details are similar because a side has powerful Signamancy, there is a great deal of minor differences.”
Edelbert was not sure he understood. “Yes, but each of those units are the same type. These golem you have are different in terms of the specials they have and what they can do. Same unit type drastically different statistics. This one is a mount while this one is a heavy”
“That is what I mean. A Tchotchke is, by definition, a glass golem that has been shaped to a detailed form. Take this Horse Tchotchke, notice the detail of the nostrils and the genitalia. These are not necessary for the form to function, however they do serve purpose. The more realistic the golem the more life-like the responses of the golem will be. This is linked to Signamancy.”
The Dirtamancer continued to conjure metals for the Dollamancer as they spoke. “You have mentioned Signamancy a couple of times already, is it that important to your discipline?”
Bob thought for a moment. “Actually, yes. Signamancy and Dollamancy are linked in many ways. There are a few primary uses for Dollamancy. Golem and gear are not integrally linked to Signamancy, although their form is associated with it. Livery, war-paint, and raiment are all heavily dependent on Signamancy. These areas overlap within the disciplines. How one presents themselves has a drastic effect on the perception of others. Do you appear as a fierce barbarian? Well, your foes will approach you as such. Are you a King dressed like a jester? Then you will be seen as a fool.”
“That makes sense.” Edelbert felt like he was following the concept “Putting effort into the image I present is valuable. I do not see how that relates to golem construction though.”
Bob smiled at what seemed obvious conclusions to him. “The shape of your golem will not only effect their stats but the way they respond to situations. A Hard Rock Golem that is shaped vaguely like a man will only respond vaguely like a man. It will attack and defend, as any golem will; but a golem that has eyes and a mouth will watch and respond differently. A golem in the form of a horse will be more prone to running and strafing attacks. The same goes for eyes. Ever tried making a golem without eyes, or even one that was just eyes?”
“Yes actually. Well, sort of. I have a head golem that I use as a stationary scout, basically all it does is make spot checks.”
Bob laughed at the idea of an animated head. “If you make a golem without eyes, they cannot make spot checks. Isn’t that something? Even though there are no actual eyes, if the golem does not have the semblance of eyes then it cannot see. Whereas, give a golem the appearance of eyes and it can. This concept applies to most any trait a golem or unit could have.
The basic concept was one he had played with before, but it seemed contrary to much of what Dirtamancy told him of golem. “I think I will Bob, but what about different golem with the same form. Your glass horse versus a stone horse. How can we have the same form but such differing materials? Stone is stone and steel is steel, they are not the same thing.”
“You are thinking too much like a Dirtamancer. A horse is a horse, of course. What it is made of is just a detail. There are a great many details and they all have effects. A stone horse would not be as fast or as dexterous as a glass horse, but it would have higher Hits or Defense. The little things matter, as do the big things. Try putting hinge joints on your golem. I would bet it would increase their move or defense.”
Edelbert mentally began adjusting one of his golem designs. Immediately he knew Bob was correct. A Terracotta with hinge joints was a Move point faster than a regular version. This would change the way he thought about his golem design. It would require extensive redesigns on all his blueprints.
Something clicked in Edelbert’s head. “Woohoo!” He suddenly exclaimed. “I did it, I am an Adept!” Multiple people around stopped and looked at him. One man even said kudos as he walked by.
Bob looked at Edelbert like he were crazy “I thought you said you were a master?”
The Dirtamancer laughed. “Oh, I am a master in Dirtamancy. I just gained adept in Dollamancy. Now if only I could rank up in Flower Power.”
Dollamancer Bob’s jaw dropped. “You mean to tell me that you are a master Dirtamancer and an adept Dollamancer? As well as being a novice Florist? That is unheard of. How many turns old are you?”
Edelbert suddenly worried that he had blundered by sharing too much information. He saw no reason to mention his Weirdomancy. “Yeah, that about covers it. I am just over five thousand turns old.
Bob did not know if he even believed Edelbert “I know a Thinkamancer that is an Adept in Findamancy and a Foolamancer that is a novice Rhyme-a-mancer. Those are the only cross-class casters that I know of. They are each over ten thousand turns old. You have multiple and a rank up. Wow.”
Turn 5112 – Great News Journal,
I have been incorporating my Dollamancy concepts into my Dirtamancy golem designs. It took a bit to figure out some things about making cross-class golem, but it is working now. There are two great examples of this.
A Mud Golem is basically crap, without the smell. They are rudimentary and not very powerful. These are a golem type for Novices without access to materials. Not very good units. However, most Mud Golem are animated from large masses of unformed mud. I did it differently, according to my Dollamancy. The body was built to be lifelike. It had a face and hands. I gave it hinged joints and shapely forms of musculature. When I animated it, the statistics were considerably higher than my previous design.
I was ecstatic, but that got me wondering. My Terracotta Golem have always been extremely lifelike. They should have exhibited Dollamancy already, right?
Wrong. The problem I faced was one of gear, again. Terracottas are sculpted with their gear on their form. I have even made them naked and then equipped them with gear later. I was so close and yet so far away.
Today I sculpted a lifelike clay body, paying as much attention to anatomy as I could. Then I forged a set of equipment for the golem. I used the highest quality I could manufacture quickly. Once the unanimated form was equipped, I coated all of it with a thin layer of harden clay. This caused the entire form to resonate sympathetically on a Dirtamantic level. Then I animated it.
What I received was considerably superior to my previous design. Each of its stats had raised by a point and Defense by two. The real difference seems to be in its responsiveness and attitude. Yes, attitude. The golem seems much more aware of its surroundings, it looks around and responds in a more lifelike way than most golem. I think there is something to this realism idea.
All my golem designs are going to have to be reworked. Not only that but now there are variations. I need to run tests to see what is the best material for making horses or even frogs for that matter. Accounting for distractions, this is going to take me three or five hundred-turn. This is huge.
I think I will next need to study anatomy. If my lessons with Dee have been accurate, that means Croakamancy will be my next major field of study.
Turn 5147 – Odd,
We have not heard much from the SDE since the battle for the Crags. Sure, we have minor border skirmishes. There was that one small attack against Bogslog, but that was not a big deal. I find myself wondering why?
Turn 5179 – Good Friends are Great,
My tour of the Ford Prefecture’s cities began today. My first destination was a town called Mustang Springs. It is a spread-out level two in a pleasant valley. I will be spending two turns here performing upgrades before moving on to their next city.
In return for my various city upgrades the Prefecture will be paying us handsomely. It seems Dirtamancy is valued everywhere, not just the Magic Kingdom. Harv will be escorting me and during that time he will not only make Sending Hats for my side but will be teaching me Hat Magic as well. Ox Ford, their Moneymancer, will also be reviewing our financial situation and making suggestions. Both sides are going to benefit greatly from this arrangement.
I am eager to see a larger variety of cities. Although the Mushroomish Kingdom has expanded my city experience considerably from my barbarian days, I still feel limited. As a master Dirtamancer, I should be more familiar with building design and architecture.
Turn 5235 – Good Lesson Today,
I was honored when Chief Kernel asked me to tutor him in magic basics. So far, he has proven a capable student. Not as competent as Peaches mind you, but that was only to be expected. He is not a caster after all.
His questions are focused toward tactical applications of magic; however, it is an entirely valid line of questioning. Tactical analysis of magic is important. Without it we would have no idea how and when to intercede magically.
I hope to learn a great deal in this collaboration. I have worked with a warlord before, obviously., but never with the resources I now have access to.
Turn 5290 – Battle Today Journal,
One of our scouts found a gathering of Cookie Monsters in a hex nearby the Crags. I convinced Kernel and Arthur to allow Peaches and I to go out and face the ravenous beasts.
The battle went smoothly. Exerting their Changemancy to manipulate flame made the Monsters quite formidable. It was also impressive to witness.
Peaches fought admirably. Her snares and Toadie healing are quite useful. We try to avoid using peace in these engagements because they are for XP. Although the princess does relish opportunities to play with her Turnamancy talents we did not attempt to turn the creatures. Besides, turning ferals is more Date-a-mancy.
I continue to be impressed by the usefulness of my Weird-o-vision Specs. Being able to see the magics inherent in things and spells provides me with a much greater insight into the working of both magic and the world. I expect them to continue to accelerate my studies.
Turn 5354 – Fantastic News,
The Hamericans have been putting the hurt on the SDE. They have claimed a level 2 and a level 3 city in the last ten turns. They have pushed along the southern border of the Empire’s territory.This will allow us to push north and hopefully claim some more cities.
We could use them. Having to march troops so far to attack our enemy is costly in terms of upkeep. That is a lot of paying for travel.
Turn 5413 – New Design Today,
I was working on my designs, as I have been for so many turns now. I came up with a new golem.
I figured that if special joints improved the movement of a golem, then no joints might remove the movement of golem. Without points being wasted on move, the other stats should have more potential for growth. This could make for a very powerful garrison unit.
I took a series of rough boulders and arranged them into a neat pile. Then I animated the whole pile without reshaping. It worked, sort of. What I received I have called a Rockslide Golem. The boulders of the golem body are free floating and not directly attached to one another. This has had the effect of a very high move for the Rockslide but very low hits for an average heavy golem. This is a fast and heavy hitter, but it cannot take as much of a beating.
It was Turn 5442 and Sir Edelbert Spore was flying high above the jungle canopy. The expeditionary force which he was a part of was on course to a ruin hex in the deep northern wilderness of Mushroomish territory. Edelbert had named it the Temple.
It was late in the day because their turn was third in order. This was a disconcerting fact because usually there were only two sides in the Mushroomish turn order. The Kingdom was allied with Hamerica and the Prefecture so all three shared a turn. The SDE had its own turn, very near the beginning of the day. The extra turn could only mean a third side would be in the battlespace that day.
Chief Kernel was jumpy and nervous. He had not expected to encounter anyone else. He hoped that this contact would be made by some other units of the side. His expedition was not prepared for first contact, it was a battle formation without any doubt. Any warlord would be able to tell. There was no avoiding the enemy even if he wanted to. Turn order was natural Predictamancy after all.
Edelbert pulled his frog in close to Kernel. “Don’t worry. We are not going to encounter anyone. What are the chances we will run into another side in a ruin in the wilderness? Take it from an ex-barbarian. Sides do not explore ruins very often.”
The Chief Warlord just looked at his Chief Caster and adjusted course down toward the ruin. Above the tree tops loomed a large stone fortress, great bricks stacked together high above the forest. That was their destination.
Scouts went in first, understandably. A few moments passed as they did their sweep of the ruin hex. Three scouts returned instead of four.
Kernel sighed deeply. “Contact with an unled enemy, a small group of jungle units. They were definitely sided.”
Edelbert perked up. “Well, I guess this is going to be an interesting expedition after all. Do you know what side?”
“No, the scouts can’t pass that data during combat. You should know that. Okay everyone, stack up for maximum screens on the commanders. Flying Hard Rocks in front. We are going in.”
All four stacks of frogs descended into the trees. Underneath the canopy waited a large stone courtyard with a multi-tiered pyramid poking up toward the sky. Intriguing geometric designs adorned the entire place.
In a copse of trees near the entrance to the pyramid was a short stack of Capoopin Monkeys. The shattered form of a Clay Pidgeon lay on the ground nearby. The monkeys were jumping back and forth, while chittering wildly. They had emblems in their fur, but Edelbert nor Kernel could make them out.
The Chief Warlord looked grim. “They are unled, and we are exploring this hex. I guess we will have to take them out before we continue. Can’t have’em taking pot shots at us. Arrow Frogs, volley as soon as you have a shot. This is a simple fight. I expect no damage taken, anyone.”
The entire group moved forward, and the frogs released a wave of projectiles. The barbs crashed down, tearing the tree to shreds, as well as the Capoopins. That was when the massive gorillas charged from inside the Temple.
A whole stack of hulking Barrel Monkeys emerged. One tossed a keg and took out an Arrow before they had fully emerged into the courtyard. The Barrels charged the Mushroomish stacks with a mighty group roar.
Kernel was just as surprised as everyone else. “Take to the air. These are ground units. We can whittle them down from above.”
At that three more stacks came out from the Temple. Another two stacks of Capoopins and a stack of Wildmen emerged with a warlord. The Monkies all released simultaneously, barrels and acid crap filled the airspace just as the Mushroomish force took off.
Kernel screamed as a crap ball struck him in the side. He silently ordered. “Golem screen against the Barrels. All other units come down on top of the other stacks”
The Capoopins were primarily ranged units and broke when the charge came. A few of them took arrow barbs in the back but most of the Frogs were focused on the ensuing melee.
The Wildmen fought like beasts in the skin of men. Against three stacks of mounted knights, they managed to score a good number of hits and even a couple of croaks. They simply did not have the units to survive the Mushroomish onslaught.
Edelbert stayed stacked with his four flying Hards and took to heading off the Barrel Monkeys now charging the Mushroomish flank. He laid down a quick pit trap and then prepared to heal his creations.
The enemy warlord broke stack suddenly. He ran forward and leapt into the air. As he vaulted over the Mushroomish line, he kicked a frog in the face. The warlord came down gracefully and right in the center of the Barrel Monkey stack.
It was not enough though. The charge of the great beasts was intercepted and stopped by the golem. One Hard dropped to a crit by the warlord, but otherwise the battle ensued quickly in Mushroomish favor.
“Capture the warlord!” Kernel yelled into the melee. Several tongues shot into the fight and grabbed onto the struggling enemy leader.
They were still taking pot shots from the remaining Capoopins, so Kernel ordered the Arrows to hunt them down. This task did not take long.
Edelbert went immediately to the new warlord. “Hello, I am Sir Edelbert Spore of the Mushroomish Kingdom. It is a pleasure to meet you.” He held out is hand in a gesture of goodwill.
The enemy warlord lunged forward, snapping his chains taught. He tried to bite down on Edelbert’s outstretched hand.
“Whoa” The Dirtamancer exclaimed as he yanked his hand back. “Calm down there. We do not intend to hurt you. Just turn to our Kingdom and we will release the chains.”
The man growled an almost indistinguishable response. “Never” He then lunged forward again, pulling the changes to their limit.
Chief Kernel came over to inspect the prisoner. “That will be one for Peaches I think. Negotiation probably won’t work on a Wildman. Turning Natural Ally units is much tougher than regular troops, especially leadership.”
Edelbert had not known that.
Kernel continued “We are here now. I have the Toadie setting up camp. We have had our first real battle with the Tarzanians. I doubt that Arthur will be pleased. I know he was hoping to negotiate peace with them, when the time came. This will certainly make things harder.”
Sir Spore was focused on the ruin already. It had been too long since he had been a barbarian in a ruin hex. The stone construction of the buildings allowed the Dirtamancer to get a solid idea of the layout of the pyramid. There was a large central room with many smaller rooms and passages branching off the core. The place was massive.
“I assume” Kernel continued once Edelbert had ungrounded “I would hope that the Tarzanians already cleared many of the encounters from the hex. They had no loot or gear so presumably they have not claimed any treasure. They may have made our jobs a lot easier. Since we are injured, I will have us camp here tonight and we will delve the ruin in the morning. Alright Chief Spore?”
“Sounds good to me, my friend. I will be in my cottage. You are always welcome to the second bed.”
The Chief Warlord smiled at the offer. “No Thanks you Edelbert. I prefer to sleep out with my Frogs. See you in the morning.”
@Nakedkali - The Capoopins were in the tree, without direct leadership. They responded to enemy contact as they had been ordered, which happened to be the same response as if they had been alone in the hex.
Next the Barrel Monkeys emerged as a full stack unled stack, still very tough. They engaged as they had been ordered.
Last, the warlord and three stacks emerged. Two more stacks of Capoopins and a stack of Wildmen. The Warlord was in this group. I double checked, I did include him in the initial description of their emergence.
Sorry for any confusion. Thank you for reading.
As always good stories, I can see where if they were delving the dungeon they would have let an unled stack at the entrance. The thing with Edelbert is that most casters have duties or other needs that take up much of their time but he was really lucky that he had thousands of turns to play around an experiment on a regular basis.