Volume 5 - It Takes A Village To Raise An Army - The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
The Life and Adventure of Sir Edelbert Spore
Previous : Volume 4
It Takes A Village To Raise An Army
Turn 2702 – Tough battle this turn,
A rare White Whino spawned in the orchard this morning. The beast immediately began applying its Alcoholic special to all the provisions within sight. By the time my golem and I arrived much of the harvest was transformed to spirits, in a multitude of types.
The downside of this being that many of the plant specimen had been croaked in the process. I had collected an impressive variety of specialty provisions and reagents. My Flower Power will allow me to undo much of the damage, in time. A few losses will take many turns of scouting to replace, if ever.
Trying to see the upside, I now have an entire cellar filled with a wide variety of entertaining intoxicants. Many flavors and styles, most of which I have an ample stock. I cannot see a problem with some new explorations of Flower Power and the effects it has to offer.
Turn 2789 – My armory grows Journal,
A chest appeared at start of turn down on the Horizon Courtyard. Within I found a Leadership Mantle.
The most basic function of the mantle provides a +1 bonus to the leadership score of any commander unit wearing it. If that unit is Noble, they also gain an enhanced ability to inspire loyalty and duty in units under their command. Further, if the unit is a ruler the leadership bonus is granted to all commander units within the same hex. When worn by a leadership capable royal ruler, the mantle additionally applies the loyalty and duty buff toward all units on the side.
An item such as this would be invaluable to any warlord or ruler. Magic that enhances leadership is potent indeed.
The loyalty buff does me no good, having only non-thinking units. However, the item bonus does apply to my golem leadership.
Turn 2877 – Visitors Today Journal,
Moltrex and Dantar arrived with two Heavy Knights carrying a huge vat of lava!
We descended to the depths of the mine and I stabilized the material so I could use it at leisure. My intention is to animate a Lava Golem of some sort. It will guard the mine, as it will be unable to go topside without igniting the hex.
The Moltar could not stay more than a couple of hours, as is expected. I gave them a few thousand in gems to help cover the upkeep of those knights. They had been promoted just to bring me that lava.
Speaking with Dantar is always nice. She is curious and intelligent. They will still not show me their faces despite my expectation that experiencing living lava will enhance my understanding of the material.
No matter, I have much to learn from their gift.
Turn 3004 – Glory to the Titans,
Turnip is amazing too. Oh, the sheer Luckamancy of it. Today I was blessed with Novice Rhyme-o-mancy from Weird Chant.
I spent the morning tinkering with my musical collection. Mostly this meant tweaking the instruments or even making entirely new ones.
The afternoon I spent practicing with an instrument which I have named a Dirtenspiel. Many bars made from various woods, metals, and stones are lined out on shelves. By differing the length and thickness of the bars they will each make a unique sound.
To play, I just strike the bars with little padded mallets. This is advantageous because the bonuses I have trained up towards one handed hammers also apply to wielding these mallets.
Over the hours I managed to acquire TWO ranks of Percussion: Dirtenspiel. I must have had some sort of bonus from the Rhyme-o-mancy. While playing I also cast my usual round of hex buffs to far more potent effect than usual. Turnip was thrilled.
At the end of turn I lost the Novitiate, unfortunately. To my great surprise I was left with the Dirtenspiel ranks. I am now a fairly competent musician. Practice will only improve my abilities. Going forward, incorporating music into my casting will need to be a habit.
Turn 3062 – Carnymancy is Frustrating,
A few stacks of Toons popped down in the mine this turn. The brightly colored units claimed to possess the ability to alter or defy the conventional rules. Each Toon was otherwise unique, possessing gear and abilities of its own distinct combination.
One of the creatures walked on the ceiling. Another bashed its companion into unconsciousness using a pan , only to have the incapacitated unit suddenly spring back up with no signs of previous injury. A third hovered around in a small metal disk and fired Shockamancy bolts into the airspace while yelling in a tinny voice. One had the ability to boost its Combat stat by eating a specific ration type. Yet another drew a hole on the ground and stepped through, as if a portal, the unit was gone.
Actual combat never outright began. Hits were exchanged. Insults were thrown. In the end the Toons scattered in all directions, unable to agree on a theme song for the new tribe. Such matters are, I am told, very important.
I feel bad for the Rocky Road Range. These units will sow confusion and Carnymancy everywhere they go. At least they have left my home.
Turn 3113- Letter Today Journal,
Prefect Ford confront Harvey about all the Dirtamancy and Schmuckers he had been manifesting without an apparent source.
Rather than come clean, that mad Hatter told his father that a connection in the Magic Kingdom was exchanging with him for knowledge of Hat Magic. I do not understand his insistence on half-truths and omissions.
He also told his father that he had been trying to convince his friend to Turn to the Prefecture… and that the Dirtamancer was very interested but had not committed. Well he has been making arguments to persuade me. I have not said I am considering it.
I wonder if he was bluffing his father or if he can tell I am tempted. Being on a side would be nice I think.
Turn 3171 – Nothing better than solving a mystery.
Four turns is too long to spend determining the effects of an item, in most cases when magic gear Pop I can just see a description. Another indication that these little ‘toys’ are powerful, probably dangerous.
When I roll the Double Down Dice, nothing happens. That was the problem, they are not meant to be rolled by a single unit. I ordered a Softie to “Throw the cursed thing” but it grabbed the white die only and not the black die. Upon stopping, the roll triggered a pulse between the golem and myself.
Reproducing the effect, I eventually realized that the dice seemed to be swapping Luck between the rollers. All I can see is a flash of Luckamancy that goes from the lower roller to the higher roller. I do not know enough about this branch of magic to say much more, most of this is largely supposition.
We tried it enough times to get a tie. In this instance a flash of Luckamancy struck both rollers, but from the dice themselves. I am not even sure the effect was positive.
I suspect that these should be placed in the armory and no longer played with. Something about the idea of randomly rolling to exchange Numbers seems dangerous to me.
The golems have had several interesting mishaps. I am intrigued to see how long we see odd effects.
Turn 3296 – Strange discovery today Journal,
As you know I have been spending time in the deep tunnels to better understand my craft. While sweeping the stone for new or useful materials I noticed a blank space. The sensation was similar to the effect of the Hide-and-No-Peek Chest.
Naturally I investigated, held within was a large mass of a crystalline material unlike anything I had previously encountered. Although little more than a contaminated quartz compound, the stone refracts light on a deep level. The surface seemed to hold all the colors I know and yet it was somehow lacking, missing something.
When I placed my hands against it an awareness bloomed and I willfully poured much of my juice into the crystal. Oddly I seem to have had almost no effect. The craving of the stone seems to have lessened slightly but I am unsure to what purpose.
Turn 3297 – I am giddy with curiosity,
The crystal in the deep has sprouted many small protrusions since yesterday. I am going to begin putting a portion of my juice into this mass each turn. I want to see what is happening. What is this growing into?
Turn 3400 – What a Fun Special Today Journal,
Turnip gifted me with Architect this morning. This potent Dirtamancy special dealt with building construction and design.
Having never been in a city I learned a great deal. My instinctive knowledge of structures and upgrades has doubled. The best part being that knowledge seems to have been opened within my mind. I still am having intuitions even though Architect has faded.
I suspect this is an effect of my being a Dirtamancer. This knowledge was already somewhere inside me and the Weirdomancy simply unveiled it, granting me access.
Sir Edelbert Spore had never travelled. He did not see that as an impediment, in fact, he believed himself to be a creative and competent unit partially because of the training his home had allowed him. It was middle of the afternoon in the dirtamancer’s 3443rd turn and he was being presented with strong evidence otherwise.
Turnip and Edelbert had gone for a walk down in the orchard, just to see the sights and ensure all was well. As the pair strolled past the pond the caster glanced at Blinky, only to realize the Tragikarp had attained level four.
“I want to be excited for our aquatic ornament, I really do. The thing is Turnip, how can a useless fish be the same level as us? No offense Blinky.” Sir Spore whined
“Karp” the hideous little fish gurgled.
“Glum” was the only reply Turnip ever had.
“I know, I know, but…” Edelbert began to say.
A strong female voice called out from behind the duo. “Glum! I challenge you to a battle.”
They both spun toward the interruption, already in defense stances.
Out from behind a keebler tree emerged a bipedal lizard. The beast’s scales were the purest white Edelbert had ever witnessed, almost glowing, like starlight. In contrast the eyes, teeth, and claws of the unit were a deep jet black. Its tail came to a sharp copper nib at the tip, which lightly dribbled black fluid.
“Where did you…” Edelbert began, only to be interrupted again.
“Glum” Turnip said as it gently pushed the Dirtamancer to the side. It then stepped forward and locked eyes with the intruding daemon.
“Word around the Range is that a raging Pokedaemon and a cruel Dirtamancer inhabit a ruin, preying on those foolish enough to trespass.” The lizard said with a tone of humor. “What I find is a pretty garden filled with sculptures. Lounging inside are two of the weakest daemon types, a Glum and Tragikarp. You are not even a tribe.”
Both Turnip and Edelbert turned and looked at the other surprised. Raging? Cruel? Weak?
“You may call me Trivium and soon enough Chief.” She said. Her tail raised above her head, clearly ready to strike. The white daemon then moved in a slow wide circle, simply waiting to respond.
“I am Sir Edelbert Spore and the opponent you are about to face is Turnip. Who I have a feeling would prefer if we got on with it.”
As Edelbert stepped to the side he considered what he remembered from the Daemondex. This creature was a Demander, level 5. These daemons possessed Signamancy specials but he was unable to remember specifically what. Outside of Flower Power, the Dirtamancer had very limited knowledge of Hippiemancy.
Turnip charged forward, seizing the initiative. After dashing to close the distance, the flower leapt high into the air over the Demanders head.
That barbed tail flashed as it stabbed upward and sliced a gash across Turnips body.
Although the slash threw off its landing, Turnip rolled and emerged ready with a powerful head-butt for Trivium. The blow knocked the Demander away across the garden clearing.
Rather than crash it slapped its tail to the ground and swung around to land upright. From the nib a jet of runny black fluid then began. The white daemon sprayed all around, covering the ground, foliage, and then Turnip.
Over the turns Glum had shown a tendency to stand back and watch a battle, mumbling the whole time. This battle however, it seemed to be fighting a bit more like its old Weirdish form.
In response to being sprayed Turnip burst forward, headed in for another attack. Its leaves balled up, prepared for its preferred series of rapid strikes. Instead, it slid right past the Demander and crashed into a bush.
Apparently unhindered Trivium laughed and hopped into the center of the battle space. Across her belly appeared the word ARROW, in big black letters. As the word faded something flew up from the ink on the ground and struck the Glum, costing it two hits.
Turnip took the hit with dignity and stood, looking quite focused. Regrowth replenished one of the lost hits. “Glum Glum.”
A look of surprise and worry passed quickly across the Demander’s face.
Again, the flower daemon charged. Rather than slide past the lizard, it planted its leaves to stop. Quickly it dove in and bit off the left hand of the white daemon. A relatively minor hit despite the penalties it could cause.
The words SHIELD, DEFENSE, and BLOCK all flashed across Trivium’s torso and faded. Three black disks floated up from the ink and began to bob around in the air around the Demander.
“Glum” Turnip said with sass that was obvious to Edelbert “Weirdish, Weirdish, Wierdish, Weirdish”
Trivium’s Specials faded and with them her smile. She promptly fell over in the now slippery ink.
“I believe you can forfeit.” Edelbert interjected
Turnip simply advanced, slowly and deliberately, toward the struggling Demander.
“I will not forfeit. Where is the dignity in that?” Trivium nearly cried as she spoke.
A series of rapid strikes from Turnip left the ink covered lizard with stars spinning in its eyes. After a few moments, the stars subsided and Trivium shakily stood.
“Scrubbing Bubbles”, the Dirtamancer cast. A wave of foam erupted from the ground. When it subsided everything in the battlespace had been cleaned and refreshed; Not a spot of ink remained.
The two Pokedaemon locked eyes in some sort of trance. Rounds passed as nothing externally seemed to happen, then their gazes separated and Turnip tottered off toward the mountaintop.
“Well you didn’t pay up so I guess that means you are part of the gang now?” Edelbert asked, hoping he was right. A speaking unit to live with, he was nearly ecstatic.
“That was not at all what I expected. This whole ruin has been a shock” Trivium said with amusement in her voice “Yes ally, I am now a ‘part of the gang’. You might as well call me Vi; all my friends have”
“It is an honor to be your friend Vi, having someone to talk to will be great!” the Dirtamancer bubbled with excitement, but then realized something was off. “Why isn’t Turnip a Chief? You are not part of a tribe, but you are an allied unit? What is going on?”
“Turnip ordered me to delay joining it. I am to live here and act as if we are all a tribe, including you Dirtamancer, until such a turn as my ‘Chief’ decides otherwise.” Trivium said with a tone of near questioning “I am still strongly compelled to join Turnip’s tribe but the force of the order does seem to hold it at bay.”
“You spoke with Turnip!” Sir Spore desperately wished to talk with, instead of at, his friend.
“No sorry. After a dual there is a momentary connection where the decision of the winner is communicated and enacted.” Vi explained with a cheery tone. “Quite cleverly, Sorta-Chief Turnip delayed its decision somehow and held us in that bond. It clearly communicated its orders and intentions using that interconnectedness. We did not speak though.”
“I never considered that to be possible. Not that I am any sort of expert on Pokedaemon.” Edelbert laughed at the thought of his past blunders. “Umm…You mentioned a cruel Dirtamancer before, what did you mean?”
“Oh, well I was popped in the Rocky Road Range far to the north and west of here. A few ten-turns ago I camped with some Gossip Elves. Among the many stories told, they mentioned a mountain ruin inhabited by a Dirtamancer and daemon.” As the Demander spoke images would flash across her body, such as an elf or mountain. Each one appeared to have been drawn by a skilled hand using pen and paper.
“Apparently, the barbarian caster defended a large territory using a force of Clay Vultures that he had enchanted with vorpal claws. Not only was the terrain in the area treacherous but many Dirtamancy traps had been deviously hidden. On occasion, for sport, he would allow units to pass into the heart of his lands.”
Edelbert sat in silence. Too surprised to react to his part in the tale and too enthralled to care.
“As I travelled east the story was repeated to me by other units I encountered. The bigger picture became more and more detailed. The mad Dirtamancer had forged himself a twinkling mountain fortress. There he lived with a fierce Pokedaemon that would croak and eat any challengers it faced.” A drawing of a comically animated Glum biting the head off a Demander flashed from top to bottom of Vi.
“Being a Chief has always been a dream of mine. I figured I could defeat the powerful daemon and Turn it to my tribe, then I could prove my strength to a side. So, I set out searching. When I saw the lights all over the mountain three nights ago, I headed straight here. Overconfidence may have gotten the better of me after I got Word Up.” Her tone took on a resigned air as she finished.
“I have never heard of Word Up. What is it that you can do? I mean what magics or abilities do you possess in practical terms?” Edelbert was excited to have a new daemon to learn about, although he did remember most of the Daemondex entry.
“All Demander possess an inherent ability called Ink Well. That is how I covered the battlefield. The basic benefits are mostly circumstantial. For instance, the Ink is slippery to many unit types, while Demander are immune. Although we have no fire resistance our Ink is Flammable allowing us to pair well with fire units.”
Vi plucked a Salmon Berry and tossed it into the pond for the waiting Tragikarp.
“When a Demander levels we randomly gain a rank in any of a set of possible Signamancy skills. I have two ranks of Draw, as well as a rank in both Language and Symbols. Primarily these add together into an apptitude with images, particularly expressing them. At fifth level, I gained the rare and powerful Word Up special. With it I can conjure effects from my Ink Well. I am still learning the limits of the ability but it has been key in all my recent victories.”
“Wow!” Edelbert had always been intrigued by Signamancy. “Let us head up to my tower. I can show you around the library. Then we can work on accommodations for you. Everyone else has their own space.”
Turn 3450- I am certain I will level soon Journal,
Trivium and I have discovered a way to boost the effect of our training together. Turnip grants me a temporary special, just as before. I spend a few hours playing and fiddling. Learning whatever I can and seeing how the new ability meshes with my magics.
Vi takes notes and records my thoughts. She also draws pictures of things I do or concepts I describe. By working as a team, we produce much better records and both gain good xp from the effort.
Our catalog of knowledge will be far richer for this discovery. I will need to expand the tower again. Things are cramped enough in the library with Vi’s den tucked in the back. Building an entirely new story would probably be the best idea.
Turn 3457- Lost quite a few Golem,
Two stacks of Minitaur popped near the mine entrance this morning. On their own that would have been a challenging but solid victory for us.
Amongst them popped a single Megataur, level 5. Alone this massive beast would have taken down a golem or two in a battle. Its initial bull rush could have croaked a Softie. That is what I have Granite Guardians for though.
The bovine units went straight to the orchard, as do most units. Their strategy was quite sound. The Mega charged us then held its ground. This forced us to respond, the heavy was too powerful to ignore.
Using that opening the stacks of Minis began to bull rush at our flanks. All those tiny dangerous beasts running in coordinated patterns was very impressive, especially for freshly popped units.
This tactic would have been devastating to us. We would have won out eventually, I am certain. Trivium however managed to minimize the bull rush bonus and thus our losses. She sprayed swathes of Ink out blocking charges from our flanks.
The fight was still brutal but the Taurs never recovered from Vi’s surprise. All in all, I lost my best Granite Guardian, three Hards, a Clay Defender, five Softs, and my new Quartz Golem.
Our Demander friend gained level 6 from the win, as well as the Change special. I offered her my congratulations, as was polite. Turnip apparently ordered her to not Change until told otherwise.
She is not pleased.
Turn 3481- Noticed something odd today,
A surge of Dirtamancy passed through the ground that was strong enough I could feel it. Attempting to divine the source I noticed there was a massive Inferno down in the south. Almost certainly it spread from the volcano. Dozens of hexes were consumed.
I sent a message to the Moltar asking if they were alright. As of yet, there has been no response. Sometimes it takes them a few turns to reply.
I do hope they are safe.
Turn 3574- Curious Trinket Journal,
Found a small copper bound chest this morning. Inside rested a Looking Glass. The little brass tube has a series of crystal lenses inside. Combined with a minor Lookamancy enchantment, the item allows the user to see eight hexes away from their current position.
I am considering making a Scout golem and setting them on watch duty. I will ponder it a while. The warning of approaching units would be nice though.
Turn 3638- What a great time,
Turnip granted me the Baker special. With it I could use a light combination of Flower Power and Changemancy to produce advanced rations. I spent the turn making anything I could come up with. I tried to focus on treats that would preserve but the next few turns there will be an abundance of decadent foods.
Turnip and Vi are both enjoying the change of pace.
Turn 3699- Wonderful discovery today Journal,
I have had the Pigeons scouting to update my maps. While scanning a Heavy Rainforest hex, I noticed a mature Tanooki Tree. All the birds within Move converged and harvested the maximum Tanooki Leaves possible.
These amazing consumables confer the Fly special temporarily. The effects maintain until the unit takes Hits, which is potent natural Weirdomancy. The potential tactical use is huge. I hope to learn to reproduce the effects in a similar item, or at least grow my own.
I tried to track the tree to harvest more leaves. No success though. We were searching for a flying tree in a rainforest so there was never much chance.
Turn 3765- Odd encounter Journal,
Three stacks of Bloudhound Boys popped on my lawn this morning. Despite their numbers, they were not interested in battle. At least not with me.
I had a great deal of fun while they were here. Apparently, the dog-men gained specials from a set of possible Findamancy, Shockamancy, and Rhyme-a-mancy. They performed for a while in the afternoon but I was uncomfortable with their constant vulgarity. Admittedly they were quite skilled despite their crass topic choice. Vi says she learned a great number of new words.
Midafternoon the gang took a vote and headed off for adventure. I sent them with a few gems. Company is always nice but I usually prefer less rowdy companionship.
Turn 3823- Titans blasted Daemons!
Having another speaking unit living in the ruins is not always as pleasant as I had imagined. Maybe Turnip was just especially unopinionated. Ha, not likely.
That pale lizard filled my library with canvas. She has decided to make some sort of mural. Usually I would be fine with that sort of creativity; except she did not ask me before beginning and it blocks most of the shelves. I cannot use the library.
She says it should only take a few tenturns!
I have half a mind to just tear it down. Whatever, I will just work in the mine.
Turn 3870- A bit bored today,
My special today was Scout. There is nothing wrong with Scout but I feel like I am missing something. As if Scout is so simple that I cannot see a key element. Like I am looking past it before I have even opened my eyes.
How does one solve a riddle too simple to perceive? The gaps between my having the special do not help either.
I do not like not knowing; the sense of inadequacy.
Edelbert had come to recognize patterns of his home. Every twenty turns or so new units would Pop within the Crafty Crags. Sometimes this happened earlier than expected. Smaller, weaker units tended to appear in these instances. Less commonly the process would take longer, but this produced units which were always more powerful or plentiful
The longer he had waited, the more cautious the Dirtamancer had to be. On his 3939th turn of life. It had been forty-seven turns since the last unit had popped in the ruin. This was the record as far as Edelbert knew and it made him nervous.
Although it had been an impressive streak, something had finally appeared. One of the Stoneheads signaled at start of turn. Unfortunately, they were so deep in the mine that none of the heads could see the new units. The yelling and arguing were a certain sign that they were there though.
In response, Edelbert brought together most his available golems. He and Glum’s stack included two Terracotta Archers and two Terracotta Defenders. A Granite Guardian was also a staple for the stack. The final space was occupied by a Steel Striker, very high Combat and Crit Rate with lower Hits and Defense.
Two more stacks accompanied them into the mine. Six Hard Rocks formed up around Edmund and Simmer, the now level 2 Lava Golem. Vi and another seven Soft Rocks formed a stack, each carrying an instrument. Each stack also had a Pigeon; A was now up to level 10.
Edelbert had discovered that Vi and The Softies could begin a basic Rhythm. As soon as he synced to their Beat they gained his full Leadership bonus, which then applied to their Music. With the boost, they generated a full Dance Fight, which all the Dirtamancers golems were able to join. It meant he could maintain Dancing without sacrificing battle power in his own stack.
The Hard stack would engage directly. The Leadership stack provided support spells and covering fire. The Soft stack would produce the Dance and then cover the flank. The twenty-seven units were a deeply formidable force.
Sir Spore and his group descended into the mine until the argument sounded just around a bend in the tunnel ahead. He could sense that a large cavern opened. Which would be where the new units were, by the sounds of it.
One of the newer scouts flew ahead into the cavern, on order. Edelbert focused through its eyes to find two very different groups squared off as if about to battle.
Doing most of the yelling was a heavily armored Deep Twoll. It stood at the head of two stacks comprised of various Twoll types, mostly Common and Deep. A couple of River Twolls held large nets and stared daggers at a smoldering Pet Twoll. A Stoned Twoll sat in a cloud of smoke while a Rock Twoll fiddled with its guitars. Near the front, a Doll Troll scratched the gem on its belly causing the bright purple tuft of hair on its head to quiver.
The yelling was being directed at two stacks of strange spotted plant units which stood huddled behind a lone representative. They all looked rightly afraid. If the Twolls engaged, the mushroom folk would certainly be demolished. All those Heavies could croak a flight of Dwagons before going down themselves.
Speaking calmly with the brutes was a small mushroom woman who had little pink heart shapes all over her body. The Dirtamancer was unsure why he knew it was a female. There were no distinguishing gender features, he was certain though.
The others were covered in ovals and circles. Most of them were red, but a couple had green spots mixed in. One, hidden at the center of the huddle, had blue spots instead. All the fungus folk held melee weapons, except the pink one. They also shared the same pasty white skin.
Flower Power was the reason that battle had not begun, Edelbert could feel it in the air as his stacks entered the cavern. The obvious source was the heart-shroom. Peace wafted off her, out and toward the agitated Twolls.
“Good morning everyone. Welcome to the Crafty Crags Ruin.” the Dirtamancer cheerily called out, drawing both groups attention. “I am Sir Edelbert Spore and welcome you to my home. Are we having some sort of issue?”
Both leaders faced toward the caster in surprise. The shroom-woman smiled and began to speak, only to be cut off by the Twoll.
“Lik’ I bun sayin tu deeze rat-tons. Mine is ours.” The words nearly oozed out of the Deep Twolls fanged mouth. “F’we was ungry. Hada eatin yuz aredy.”
“We are not rations. I keep telling you that Ulser.” The tone of the fungus held strained politeness and underlying nervousness. She smiled cutely. “It is a pleasure Sir Spore. I am Mother, Chief and voice of the Toadie. We were simply conducting a negotiation. Your presence is welcome, especially if you hold claim to this hex.”
“NO! Mine is ours. We pop here, we claim.” The other Twolls grunted their agreement with their leader. “Leev the Twoll hole now. Gud baddle migh make us ungry.” Ulcer and the others laughed.
The Dirtamancer’s group moved up to the others. Turnip and Edelbert stepped forward to join the Chiefs.
“I see no reason for any battle. As for food, there is an orchard above ground.” Edelbert found the Twolls off putting but did his best to be polite despite. “Let us head topside and have a meal together while we discuss arrangements. I am certain we can come to make everyone happy, without eating anyone.”
“Wheel take dat fud tu. Yuz all need ta leev.” Ulcer drew his massive club from the sling on his back.
Edelbert felt a sudden pulse of Flower Power from Mother. He briefly considered adding his juice to bolster her effect. Before he could decide, Trivium sprang forward and in a surprise round sprayed Ink across Ulcer’s stacks.
The Twolls understandably erupted into fury. Most of them bellowed roars but the Pet Twoll ignited itself for combat. Before anyone but Trivium knew what was happening, both Twoll stacks were completely engulfed in a powerful fireball.
Mother and the Toadies retreated immediately. A couple of the armored fungi stepped to the fore of their group, apparently knights. They assumed screening positions for their fellows.
Sir Spore found himself completely surprised. As the fireball erupted he and Turnip dropped to the floor. They unfortunately suffered light burns and few Hits.
Trivium ordered the golems to initiate the original attack plan, then began volleying projectiles from her left-over ink. The Heavy group charged in, dealing massive damage to the deeply burned Twolls. A scattering of gained levels then bolstered the continued attack.
Many of the brutes croaked, leaving the tougher or higher level members of the Twolls alive. The survivors merged into a ten-stack and began fiercely trying to fend off the golem onslaught.
Edelbert decided to hop into the stack with the Softs and triggered a Dance Fight. The golems all joined, stepping into perfect sync as they violently thrashed their opponents.
Turnip began its usual chanting “Glum Glum”.
A stack of mushroom men charged the open flank of the rapidly diminishing Twolls. They too acquired a couple of levels.
The level 4 Ulser swung his club up high into the air and brought it down upon the head of a fungus warrior. The poor unit turned to mush, however, it released a puff of green dust. The Deep Twoll inhaled in its surprise, sneezed mightily, then collapsed with X’d eyes.
All but one of the Twoll units was croaked in a few surprisingly short rounds. Sitting amidst the bodies, the Stoned Twoll held its hands above its singed head. “Whoa man, I surrender man.”
The Toadies stopped and stepped back while a ring of golems formed and officially captured the prisoner. Thick rope appeared, binding its wrists and ankles.
“Thanks for not croaking me, man. One turn seemed too short to live, still too much to smoke. Those guys weren’t really my crowd anyhow. My name is Phil Man, man.” The grey skinned Heavy gave a glazed smile and waved. “What are your terms?... I mean in terms of surrender, man.”
Edelbert had not expected to have a prisoner. Usually if units refused his initial attempts at peace, he and the golems simply croaked them. “Please just wait a little bit Phil. We appreciate your surrender. I will come to question you later. If you are as peaceful as you seem, I will release you. We can even discuss what you will do after that. Trivium and my golems will escort you above ground and see you fed.”
“Food? Well alright man. Never eaten before. I would have surrendered immediately if I knew it would be this cool, man.” At that, Phil and the golems headed off for the surface.
Mother Toadie stepped up to Edelbert with a smile. “It pleases us to see a Noble heart alive in the wild. Shall you decree our Fate as well, or will we negotiate as equals?”
Sir Spore was unsure if he was being respected or mocked. “If you agree to not harm my allies, property, or self; then you can do as you please.” He held up his little finger as an offer.
With her spongy hand, Mother hooked the Dirtamancers finger and shook. “We have only just Popped. On our attempt to enter the depths of this hex we encountered those Twolls, our desire is to continue Sir. The Toadie thank you for your kindness; as well, these spoils are rightfully yours. May I follow and converse for a while? You are an intriguing young man.”
“Young? Says you, the level one first turn. Yes, I would appreciate the company.” Edelbert found Mothers patronizing tone slightly irritating. He suspected it came from being a Chief and decided he would do his best to ignore it. “Why don’t you tell me some about the Toadies? What are your abilities? What are your plans or goals? Who are you, deep down inside?”
Mother took pace beside Edelbert “It would be my pleasure. Before we begin I must ask, may our other units spend some time mining for a few turns upkeep?”
“Yes please. My offer for meals is still open. That extends to your entire tribe.” Edelbert always enjoyed when units wanted to stay for a while after popping.
Without a moment pause, the waiting Toadies broke into action. Most of the group were red spotted and short. These units all drew pickax and went to work digging. Four taller units in light armor stepped over to the blue spotted mushroom. From a pocket on its leather apron, the blue produced a lump of wood and began shaping it.
Edelbert could feel the Dollamancy of the blue’s Fabrication special at work. By his guess, the tall units were knights and the shorter units were common infantry. Mother was unique, having pink heart spots and Flower Power. One tall and one short Toadie had little green spots; which probably meant Poison based on Ulsers croaking. He thought he had seen a couple of tiny versions dash out of the cavern earlier too, probably scouts.
“Thank you, Sir. We appreciate your caring hospitality.” The shroom Chief bowed.
“Let us get topside and I can show you my orchard and garden while we get to know one another.”
I would think that Ruins have a most diverse and dynamic pop chart, as if it were predictable, it would be too easy to farm it for magic items. A ruin should be able to provide defense and offense in such a high quantity that some sides have to weight the pros and cons to seizing a city near one.
Additionally, all the work Sir Spore has done to improve the hex over his 10 years there would only increase the maximum possible result on the chart.