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 circumstances.
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.
It was the morning of turn 4877 and the sun was shining over the Crafty Crags. The air smelled of rain, so there might be some later in the day, but that was up to the Will of the Titans.
Chief Edelbert Spore strolled through his city and allowed himself time to admire his own work. Little touches like the Lampflowers or the flowing water increased the function and beauty of the castle simultaneously. The interweave of Matter and Life had such a tangibly positive effect on the tower structure and stability. He was quite proud of himself.
Although he was in no specific hurry, his destination was an important one. Edelbert was off to the Weird Garden, a ground level space where Turnip and the Weirdish made their home. He had been there on many occasion, but never for a conversation with his friend Turnip. A real conversation. Back and forth conversation. Not just glum over and over and over for thousands of turns.
It was not Turnips fault and Edelbert knew this. He did not begrudge the plant daemon for its impediment. He was certain his friend would have removed the unfortunate curse if it could. There was a great deal of frustration though. In the beginning things were rough, very lonely times.
The first thing Edelbert always thought about the Weird Garden was how extraordinarily green it was. There were no flowers to add a splash of color, just foliage as thick as the jungle. Birds and reptiles did not last long in the domain of the carnivorous Weirdish, which left a calm silence over the place as well.
He had designed it according to drawings Turnip and Vi had made. There was no floor as such. The entire space was a square of exposed soil. Four brick walls surrounded the garden. These walls sloped up and away, creating the effect of standing within a giant flower.
Edelbert pushed his way into the center of the garden. There waiting was a massive purple and white flower, like a giant lily. Rooted in the ground nearby were seven Weirdish units.
In a lilting sing-songy voice, Turnip spoke “Good morning my old friend. Thank you for coming down to visit me. How are you today?”
Still getting used to the new voice, Edelbert smiled. “I am well. Eager for this conversation, which has been a long time coming.”
“It has indeed.” The daemon motioned toward an iron table and chairs waiting in the garden. “I am sorry that we could not meet yesterday. I was busy Turning that Wardirtle, a surprisingly nasty affair. The SDE daemon are fiercely loyal.”
Edelbert was not surprised by this. “What do you think caused such loyalty, and to a corrupt Chief? Do we know how they managed to break the daemon code?”
“Actually, yes.” The flower grimaced. “The SDE learned that the exchange at the end of a dual cannot occur during combat. They have taken on the tactic of having their non-daemon counterparts attack their foes if they lose the challenge. If either of the dualists is croaked in combat, then the deal is muted before it is enacted. Despicable but clever.”
Edelbert scowled as he spoke. “I hate the Empire. They have chosen to be dishonorable at every possible juncture.”
Turnip trilled slightly, it gave the effect of a huff or sigh “One would think that the earliest Royal sides would have a stronger grasp on honor and nobility. They are not worth our time right now however. There will be ample opportunity for us to discuss our enemies and our roles as Chiefs. For now, I simply wish to sit and speak with my oldest dearest friend.”
“Indeed, we deserve to be a bit self-centered.” Edelbert beamed. “How often is it that friends get an opportunity such as this?”
“I want to start at the beginning and thank you Sir Edelbert Spore.” Turnip took a more serious tone. “If not for you, I would not have survived even my very first turn. You had no reason to save me that day, and yet you did. I owe you my life at least one hundred times over.”
“It was my pleasure.” the Dirtamancer remembered back to that day “I can only imagine the loneliness I would have experienced if not for your companionship. It must be a thousand times that you have saved my life. I assure you that we are more than even, my friend.”
“You speak the truth, but I wanted to say it at least once. I love you Edelbert, from the bottom of my heart. You are so very dear to me. It has pained me not to be able to tell you this. I can only hope I have shown it over these many turns.”
The thought of all of those turns together warmed Edelbert’s heart. “I love you as well, Turnip. It has been an honor and a pleasure to be your friend. I would not trade our many turns together for a million schmuckers.”
“I am flattered, and I agree. Our lives together have been glorious. Praise be to the Titans.”
That was the first Edelbert had ever heard Turnip acknowledge the Titans. It was a pleasant surprise. “Well, I have been talking at you for five thousand turns. What else do you have that you would like to talk to me about, Turnip?”
“I have many questions. So many memories to rehash. Decisions I would like to understand. Stories I would like to retell. Edelbert, I think we could talk for a dozen turns and I would not be sated.”
Edelbert laughed heartily. “That sounds like a great deal of fun. Hopefully we will have the time to quench your thirst for conversation. Let us start with the big things. What would you like to ask first?”
Turnip stood and began to pace around the small clearing. “Well, there is something that I have been curious about for quite some time now.”
“Ask away. I will answer whatever I can.”
The daemon Chief shook its head slightly, causing its petals to sway back and forth. “As far as I understand things, it is not conventionally possible to convert any hex into a city hex. Changing hex types is difficult under the best of circumstances. How then did you manage to transform a ruin into a city, a capital site no less?”
Edelbert was surprised by the question. Of everything Turnip could ask, why a Dirtamancy question? “Truthfully, I do not think I did it. I suspect that I simply sped up a process that was occurring already.”
“I do not understand.” Turnip frowned as it continued to pace around the small clearing.
“You know of the growing stone I call the Heart of the Mountain?” The Dirtamancer had never actually explained his theories on this. “That is a misnomer. I now believe it should be called the Heart of the City.”
“What you are saying is that the ruin always had the potential to be a city site?”
“Again, not exactly. The Heart provided the potential for the change. It was my applications of Juice and then the Erfshatter Monolith that allowed me to trigger the event. I think the Heart would have grown on its own, but I am confident I expedited the process. I doubt anyone but a Dirtamancer could have done this. Then, it would have taken many turns of work without the Monolith. Even if another ruin had a Heart, forcing the change would be very difficult to evoke.”
Turnip nodded, satisfied. “Here I was hoping for a story of your genius and creativity. We owe the Titans much. Well, I guess that makes it your turn. Ask me whatever you would like.”
“That time that the SDE sent Warlord Dioxide and I was knocked unconscious. What happened? How did you manage to fight them off?”
Turnip could tell this conversation would take all day. It then laughed at a memory nearly forgotten. “Now that is a good story!”
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 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 possess 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. 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.
Excerpts from the Deamondex by Findamancer Red Ketchup
-# 45 - Styleplume (advanced)– These magnificent blooms are the living embodiments of beauty. Their colors vary from specimen to specimen, including a great number of hues and patterns. They also have the added benefit of smelling like sweet flowers.
Styleplume gain abilities from a set of natural Dollamancy and Signamancy magics. Their skills focus on raiment and image. Always well dressed, these floral fiends spend much of their attention improving the appearance of those around them. Armies with even a single Styleplume tend to be very stylish indeed.
@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.