The Let's Play Archive


by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 4: Starting Classes

Athonos 1

Considering all that happened yesterday, you almost feel as though you need a nice, long weekend to recover. Sadly, however, you have a full week of classes at a new school ahead of you. You imagine they’ll have assignments and homework for you to do today, too. You hate that.

Still, you don’t expect your professors will look kindly on you being late to class, no matter how many pirates you describe in your excuse, so you hustle to your first class.

Good morning, kids, good to see you all here so bright and early! I’m Professor Aventyrare, and let’s all hear it for Revision! Yay! Now, I know there are some beginning wizards and witches in the classroom today, so let me start out by saying that Revision is the study of the magical art of transformation. I’ll bet you’ve all heard about “lead to gold,” and while that is illegal in most countries thanks to currency devaluation, it’s also just a smidgen of what a good Revisionist is capable of! For instance, you might harden a lock to protect against intruders, or you could change someone’s hair color, or maybe you might even make a plant grow faster! So why don’t we all go around and introduce ourselves...

Good day, students, I am professor von Rupprecht. Let me start by welcoming all the new First Years to the fine art of Calligraphy. Grammar may teach you to refine the substance of what you write, which is all well and good, but we must not forget that such substance is perfectly useless if there is no soul who can read your writing! Indeed, the form of your letters and the scrollwork you use to fill the margins may move the reader to far greater heights than simple prose alone, and if both work in concert, well. I might add that Calligraphy is of particular importance to us mages; the fine touch you gain practicing your mundane letters will transfer over directly to the scribing of phemes on your palette. Now, First Years, I’m going to scribe the letter A onto the wall here, and you will not proceed until each and every one of you has replicated it exactly...

Sit up straight, young man. There is to be no slouching in Glamour class. I am Professor Ringraeyer, and I am your instructor. Glamour is all about manipulating appearances, and while many seem to think that this gives them the excuse to cut corners and otherwise permit their appearance to degrade, a true master of Glamour knows that one’s true appearance must be perfected before one can truly understand the finer details of the art. You must memorize and groom your body and clothing to every last hair and strand before you can replicate the finer points of a rose’s scent, or the wrinkles of an old man’s face.

Don’t think I didn’t see you, young lady. Knees together, eyes forward! Today’s lesson shall begin with basic Glamour phemes...

‘Afternoon, students. My name’s Tarvixio Sido. That’s Professor Sido to most, but you can call me Tarv if that makes you feel more comfortable. Congratulations on coming to Dialectics, which is the only class in this school that teaches you how to think. Oh, I’m sure Rhetoric is more effective at thrusting your opinions on others, but if you really want to understand the arguments of others and, even more importantly, understand your own ideas, this is the class to get that done.

Let’s get started, shall we? I believe I’ll begin with a moral quandary I stumbled across during my visit to a little-known island in the south, goes by the name of Sirollo. When I’m done, I’d like to hear your opinion on what happened, and more importantly, why...

Greetings, students. I am Professor Canapiedra, and this is the Rhetoric class. Statistically speaking, many of you have likely been bullied at least once in your life before this point, and so most of you know already that words can be a weapon. This class shall teach you how to wield that weapon, both in offense and in defense, and both as a blunt instrument and as a surgeon’s knife.

The first thing you must learn is that, when persuading others, it is not the content but the audience that matters. Allow me to demonstrate with a few cold readings...

Oh, good, some of the non-Aranaz are here. Honestly, I don’t see why this class isn’t required by all the colleges. How are you blasted kids going to avoid the mistakes of history if you don’t sit down and study it?! I know this is a “magical” academy, but that just means your mistakes are going to explode in a lot more people’s faces! Well, no sense in haranguing the few of you who actually get it. Let’s get started--

What? Introductions? Well, I’m Professor Viada, and if any of you kids want to get to know each other, then do it on someone else’s time. Let’s start with a quick overview of the Middle Empire...

Deciding that the pirates probably need time for the etiquette lessons to sink in, you’ve decided to contact your mentor again to see what other advise she has for you. Soon after sending a message, Oan replies and asks you to meet her in the Garden Gallery, telling you how to find it in case you haven’t been there on your own yet. At the proper time, you make your way to the garden and take a bench in the middle of the lush area. Cradled between two buildings, the Garden Gallery has many tall, leafy trees seemingly interspersed at random by shocks of tall grasses; though the placement of the grasses is supposed to seem random, you feel as if you can detect a pattern if you let your eyes unfocus just so...

The sound of a familiar voice draws your attention to a small clump of girls walking lazily down the center of the garden. Students everywhere are flitting about hither and thither, but Oan and her friends are taking things slow. You wave tentatively, wondering if Oan meant for you to meet at another time, but Oan sees you and, saying a few words of goodbye to her friends, strolls over.

“Sorry if I’m late, but one of my friends needed some help with a little project of hers, and since I’m better at Incantation than she is, she asked if I’d step in and do her a small favor. What are friends for? Of course I helped her...that’s what members of a Clique do.”

“Clique?” you ask. “I thought those were supposed to be bigger.”

The corners of Oan’s mouth jump down. “Maybe that’s true in other schools, but not here. It’s just that the Professors have taken to calling groups of friends Cliques, and when Professors keep saying things like that, it’s only a matter of time before the students are, too. Anyway, tell me about your time here...things going okay?”

You give Oan a brief rundown of what you’ve been up to since you last met, though you take care to avoid mentioning the piratical conspiracy. You like Oan, but you’re not completely sure she’d understand where you’re coming from with that. Walking you over to your just-vacated bench, she sits down and gestures for you to do the same as you continue to describe your activities. When you finish, she nods and says, “Sounds like you’ve been busy.” You shrug; after all, you haven’t told her the half of it. Oan waves off your modesty. “Too many students are frozen during the first half of their school year,” she says. “Just by doing what you’ve done, you’re already ahead of the curve.

“Today, I thought we’d talk about Relationships and Cliques. Relationships are pretty easy to define: it’s just how one person feels about another person, be it good or bad. Relationships can be changed by actions, abilities, and even certain spells. Having a good relationship with a person can mean having good help to draw on while you’re here at the Academagia, but it also means putting up with their problems as well as their triumphs. Good friends might ask you to be their Second in a Duel, which is a whole ‘nother story, but they might also ask you to sneak around with them for a midnight kitchen raid. Friends are constant sources of amusement, believe you me.

“Only good friends can form Cliques, and that’s where the real fun is. Cliques are groups of like-minded people, or at least people who can get along better than most. People who are in Cliques can take advantage of each others’ skills, abilities...great stuff, really. You can’t just force someone to be in your Clique, though; you have to ask before you can Befriend someone. I’ll give you this hint: the higher your Relationship is with a person, the better your chance of Befriending them into your Clique. Got it?”

You nod, thinking that you’ve taken it all in. You repeat what Oan said, making sure to go over the need to have a good Relationship with people and how to add someone into your Clique by Befriending them. When she’s sure you understand, she nods and says, “Good. Now, there are many ways to increase your Relationship with someone. Learning how to Gossip is one way to do it. Just helping someone out at the right time is another. Now look over there. Do you see that person?”

You look and see Rui da Casga struggling to get a book back from a plant, which has lashed several vines around the book and is engaging the poor student in an embarrassing game of tug-of-war.

“Why don’t you go over there and see if you can help him get that book away from the five-hand tree,” Oan says. “It might help start you down the path of friendship we were just talking about.”

Fortunately, it seems Iliana’s Persuasion check is high enough to guarantee success. However, that School Survival check sounds an awful lot like an information choice, so we might as well pick it first.

Figuring that Oan wouldn’t ask you to do something inherently dangerous, you decide to ask her a little advice on how to handle the situation. That’s what mentors are for, isn’t it?

Oan tilts her head and taps her cheek with her right index finger. “I don’t want to make things too easy on you,” she explains, “but I’m willing to give a small tip. I’ll only tell you this: that tree isn’t dangerous. It’s really quite gentle once you get to know it; the problem is that most people don’t take the time. There you go. That’s all I’m saying.”

You feel a bit more confident!

Sure enough, it was! Succeeding at that choice has brought the Memorization option down from red to black. It may have affected the other options, too, but it’s hard to tell since they’re both stuck at the furthest extremes. Now, on with the show.

Being pretty comfortable with your ability to converse with most anything, you confidently stride up to the tree and squarely plant your feet before it. Thrusting your finger out stiffly at the book, you snag the tree’s attention by the simple statement of, “Excuse me, but is that yours?” The tree’s leaves swivel towards you and you know you have its attention. Over the course of the next five minutes, you talk with the tree, asking why it feels the need to steal and wondering if there is anything you might be able to do to convince it to let go. Based on the tree’s shaking leaves (one solid shake for yes, two solid shakes for no), you come to realize that the tree only wants to play; taking it a step further, you realize that the tree is simply lonely and looking for someone to play with. After a few more moments of conversation (and a promise to come back and play for a few minutes over the next week), you retrieve the stolen book from the tree and hand it to Rui.

Thanks. I mean, I woulda gotten my book from the tree eventually. No one crosses me and gets away with it, not even a plant. But you saved me a lot of trouble down the line, so thanks.

Rui then rushes off to class. Walking back to Oan, she says, “Great job, just like that! I promise that he already thinks of you as a better friend now than a day ago, which means you’re that much closer to building your first Clique.” Oan tilts her head and listens to the Bell Tower chime the quarter hour. Heaving a sigh, she adds, “Sorry, but I promised one of my friends that I’d meet her in fifteen minutes at...well, it doesn’t matter where. How about this: you work on what we talked about the last two times and send me a note when you’re ready to learn some more, okay?” Before you can answer, Oan dashes off the same way she came, leaving you to ponder your next move and looking forward to the next meeting.

Gains for the Day

Glamour Phemes increased by 1.
--Impression pheme learned.
Famous Speeches increased by 1.
--Rhetoric increased by 1.
The Middle Empire increased by 1.
--Intelligence pheme learned.
Successful Adventure!
--Relationship with Rui da Casga increased to 1.
--Persuasion increased by 1 skill step.
--Learned about Garden Gallery.
--Befriend subskills learned...again.

But more important than any of that, today we learned about Cliques! The friends brought into a Clique can provide special abilities or bonuses, plus they can end up being useful during Adventures, although I'll explain that bit later. Cliques in my experience usually end up with around 3-4 friends, although a social build like Iliana might manage 5 if she chooses the right friends. Your potential friends' relationships with each other can matter just as much as their relationship with you, after all, and incompatible friends can create quite the ruckus.

Let me also add that every single student and teacher has an Adventure chain associated with them, and I will naturally do the quests for all clique members.

Still, it all starts with one, so here's what I want from you: first, who should I seek out first? This first member is particularly important, since Iliana isn't the only one seeking out Clique members, and if we wait too long, all the good friends will be taken. Mind you, it's still possible to sabotage another Clique to get who you want, but it's still a lot more effort than otherwise. Second, what should we name our Clique? Remember, we'll be stuck with the name for rest of the school year (and possibly into the future).

Every student I've mentioned to this point has 1 relationship point with Iliana, except for Tabin, who has 2. I'm not going to list the whole student body, but I figure Aranaz plus four or five is a wide enough field to start out with.