The Let's Play Archive


by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 7: Shops and Talks

Athonos 8-10

Oan’s next Mentor explanation regards shops, but Iliana’s going to visit one early so she doesn’t have to put in an honest day’s work for once in her life. To avoid redundancy, I’ll limit myself to speaking mostly about the interface.

Here you can see I’ve got a pretty limited selection of shops at the moment. Shops unlock as skills go up, much like everything else, so you can expect this list to improve as time goes by. Right now, though, it looks like the Wand and Brush is our only option, since catalogs don’t accept customer sales (for obvious reasons).

This is the shop screen, and it’s the same whether you’re shopping at a real store or through a catalog; the only difference between the two is that catalogs have the selling option disabled. You can see here that I’ve selected all four goodies the magic girl gave Iliana, and they’re worth a pretty penny put together--see the 140 next to the “Sell” button. The Wand and Brush also has some really good stuff for sale, like a wand that ups Finesse, but sadly even with the windfall it’s all priced well out of reach. At least for now.

Speaking of windfalls...

Although still somewhat regretting your decision to sell your treats instead of eating them, you console yourself with the giant pile of pims you got in exchange. Not only will you have enough for Oan’s task, but you’ll have plenty left over to buy yourself dozens of lesser (but still tasty) candies.

As you walk through the halls of Academagia on your way to the Aranaz dorm, counting out your coins yet again, you notice something sparkling in the light.

Curious, you approach the object and discover it’s a very pretty silver chain. Attached to the chain is an ornate bauble that, while small, is very beautiful. It feels heavy in your hand but soft to the touch.

You conclude that this necklace is an exquisite piece of jewelry that must be sorely missed by its owner.

Not a chance of success on this one. Sleuthing is a Dialectic Subskill, so we don’t need to learn about it, and the Negation option is asking for a Parent Skill, which doesn’t really help, so I think just leaving it be would be best here.

Even though this looks like an expensive necklace, you haven’t heard anything about anyone losing it. As such, you have no idea whatsoever as to where to begin to look for the owner. Besides, whoever it is is probably looking for it and will eventually come back for it.

The best course of action in your mind is just to leave the necklace where it is. You really don’t have the time, or interest, to get involved in finding its owner, and such a striking piece is bound to be noticed if you keep it for yourself. You put the necklace back on the floor and continue on your way.

After dinner, you decide to spend some time reading in the Aranaz common room. You notice Emilia enter some time later, and you watch with some curiosity as she stands at the edge of the room, trying not to look at you and apparently having difficulty making up her mind about something. Finally, her hand is forced as someone rudely brushes past her, forcing her to move further into the room or appear even more awkward than she already is. At least she doesn’t take much longer to speak once she sits down next to you.

So...we’re supposed to be friends now, right?
That’s right. Friends who’ll stick by each other through thick and thin.
Oh, that’s, does it mean we can “hang out” together? And talk about...things?
Yes, of course! Haven’t you had friends before?
Um, once, I think, but Dad...Dad says I shouldn’t bother making friends. There are more important things to worry about.
What? But how can you get anything done without friends? Some of the best cons--constructive exercises can only be done with at least two people. Plus connections will get you everywhere; heck, I’ll bet those pirates would still be lost, or even locked away, if I hadn’t decided to be their friend.
Oh, sure, now that you’re my friend, you’ll get to meet them, too! They aren’t all that bad, you know, especially after I taught some of them to bathe regularly. But let me tell you about how I met them. So there I was, my first day at a new school, and already I knew that being just a wizard wasn’t enough for me...

Having gathered the necessary funds to appease Oan, you slip a letter under her door and walk away. Before you’ve gone more than three steps, though, she bolts out of her room. “You’re already ready?” she asks. Seeing your nod, Oan smiles and tells you to wait just a moment. She steps back into her room, and, true to her word, steps right back out several seconds later.

“Just needed to grab my bag,” she explains, slinging her empty schoolbag over he shoulder. “The Admiratio isn’t that far away, but I hate carrying things in my arms when I can use something else. Now, act cool and pretend we’re just on a walk.”

Unsure of what Oan is up to, you warily agree to her condition and do your best to look normal. Only after you’re past the main gates and heading into the bustle does she start to explain. “We just learned about Listening Spells in Advanced Incantation,” she states, “and a lot of my friends are trying them out. Since I don’t want anyone to know what I’m up to, I figured it’d be easier to just keep quiet than explain why.”

“Some people still call the place the Empire Market,” Oan begins as you both head for the Admiratio. “That’s kind of juvenile, I think, considering that markets in general have existed since the first defeat of the Dragons. This one in particular has existed in one form or another for a minimum of four centuries before the Empire was founded, but since everything was absorbed by Verus know, this probably isn’t what you want to hear right now. Let’s talk about important stuff instead of historical stuff; if you want the history of the Admiratio, I’ll get you a book.”

Kicking at a small rock in your path, Oan frowns at her own thoughts before continuing. “This is where students and citizens alike come to buy and sell different things. The merchants here can give you stuff right away for your hard-earned pims, as opposed to catalogs, which can take a few days to get stuff to you. Of course, the difference between Merchants and Catalogs (besides the time delay) is that with Merchants, you might get caught holding on to something illegal. If you’re carrying a bunch of stuff and aren’t careful, you’ll either get spotted by a Professor and have your things confiscated or you’ll get spotted by a nosy student and get blackmailed. Neither one is fun...or so I’ve heard.

“With Catalogs, you can buy as many illegal things as you want and not have to worry about getting caught with the delivery. Items bought like this are delivered straight to your room, no questions asked. It can take anywhere from five to ten days for your stuff to arrive, though, so if you need it fast, better buy from a Merchant. Oh, and one more thing about this before I’m done: Merchants will sometimes buy stuff you have, either stuff you have lying around or stuff you’ve made. Catalogs absolutely don’t buy stuff no matter what, so don’t go looking for a refund from a Catalog, got it?”

You manage a nod even as your eyes wander.

“We’re almost there,” Oan mentions, pointing up the hill at the chaos ahead known as the Admiratio. “Peoples of all nations come here to buy and sell,” she boasts. “The stuff you can get here...well, it beats any other market hands down. There are others in Mineta, of course, but as the saying goes, ‘If it isn’t in the Admiratio, it isn’t worth having.’ Come on! Stay close!”

Oan dives into the crowd, pushing her way past people with a fixed point in her mind. She knows right where she wants to go, but the trouble is, she didn’t tell you! Several people jostle you hard enough to make you lose your balance, and only after the fourth arm-bruising collision does Oan realize she’s sped up so much. “Sorry,” she apologizes as she slows down to let you catch up. “It’s just that I’m really looking forward to introducing you to my second-favorite merchant.” Oan looks up and sees the crushing crowd ahead. “I’m not sure what’s going on today, but it’s much more packed than normal out here! Tell you what, I’ll give you directions the best I can, and if we get separated, just come find me. I’ll wait for you as long as I can. Don’t worry, I doubt anything will happen. This is just in case.”

Oan dictates several twists and turns, making you repeat the correct route several times before she’s secure enough with your knowledge. “Like I said, I don’t think I’ll lose you, but just in case, I’ll meet you outside.” Without waiting for you to so much as nod, Oan bolts away into the crowd. From the moment she pushes past her first person, you’re hard pressed to keep up with her. Squeezing past a pair of Mineta Guards, you accidentally snag your sleeve on one of their sword hilts, jerking you around in a circle and cutting off all sight of Oan. Biting back a swear word you probably shouldn’t even know, you close your eyes and quickly think about what to do.

Considering all the real options are red, I suppose there’s only one that really seems appropriate.

A merchant’s daughter, lost in a market? It would be laughable if it weren’t so insulting. Glancing around at the nearby goods for sale, you go over the mental map you built of the Admiratio when you went shopping yesterday. Based on what she described, there are only a few places that have the requirements Oan listed off; with your knowledge of all things monetary, you should be able to narrow down the list pretty quickly and find the right spot. As if a light has gone off in your mind, you realize just where Oan was talking about. Before you can think twice, you dash off, make the appropriate turns, and slip into the alley where you see Oan waiting in front of the merchant’s door. “Sorry about that,” she says. “Ready to go in?

“You brought the 20 pims, right?” Oan asks as she opens the door. Nodding you hold up a small leather purse. Oan smiles and ushers you in, closing the door behind you. She hasn’t taken more than two steps into the small shop before a tall, gaunt-looking man with curiously bony fingers brings you both to a halt.

“Greetings, young Oan of the Academagia. I see you brought a friend. I trust you’ve explained my rules?”

“Only the part about the one-time entrance fee,” Oan relates, elbowing you to give the strange man the purse. “Garibaldi here believes that money buys loyalty.”

“Money buys acceptance,” the merchant interrupts, gently relieving you of your “burden” of Pims. “Loyalty comes with time. Now that I have your acceptance, we can begin to work on your loyalty.” Garibaldi removes the hand barring your progress and uses it to wave you deeper into the shop. “Enter and enjoy.”

The walls of Garibaldi’s shop are lined with small, shallow shelves upon which are balanced dozens of wands. Each wand is tied to its shelf with a small colored ribbon. “The color of the ribbon denotes what kind of school the wand is useful in, be it Negation, Incantation, Artifice, and so on,” Oan tells you. You quickly look over the walls and count the different colors, coming up with the number...

“I know, there’re seven colors,” Oan sighs. “Garibaldi is a firm believer in the idea that just because Mastery and Gates are Proscribed doesn’t mean that one can’t own a wand that is attuned to the school. These items are illegal, so don’t go waving them around in class if you know what’s good for you.”

“I make no apologies for anything I sell,” Garibaldi declares as he slips behind the counter. “If anyone has ever had a problem with the items I sell, I’ve never heard a word of it.” You can’t help but wonder if he’s never heard a word because no one has said anything, or if he simply hasn’t listened.

“Speaking of buying wands,” Oan segues, “I need to pick up something special. You okay with what you’ve learned here today?” Nodding, you ask when you should meet next. “That’s a bit tricky,” she muses. “You need to learn a bit about Dueling before we can talk next. Tell you what: learn the bare minimum of Duel Conduct and send me a note; we’ll meet after that, okay?”

You nod one last time, then head out. You may not have the Pims to buy from here right now, but you imagine that’ll change before too long.

...Study Habits? How do you “train” Study Habits? Wouldn’t that be like...buying the ability to purchase things?
We aren’t all so advanced that we can tutor other students, Milena. Some of us haven’t even gone to a formal school before, and if we don’t figure out how to get ready for exams, we’ll be out of here by the end of the year.
Test Taking is something separate from Study Habits, believe me. Study Habits is more about the regular homework, or even doing independent Research.
Independent Research? Don’t the professors provide everything we need to know about the class subjects?
Oh, hardly! Are you saying you don’t even know how to Research on your own? But it’s so simple! You don’t even need to know anything about the topic; you just find a place where the skill is practiced regularly and talk to the people there, or else find some reference books and read through those. You’ll have to get through a lot of useless information, but by the end, you’ll probably learn something really important that you wouldn’t get just from classes.
Really? Well, thanks for the advice.
Hang on a sec. You know I normally charge for that kind of information, right?
Oh, but you really should give me that info for free. Not that I’m saying I’m entitled to it or anything, but it’s good to offer a free demonstration before charging money. After all, you need to let your customers know that your services are high quality and clearly worth the price.
Sure! Some of the merchants in the Admiratio itself have free samples for anyone to take. And even if you don’t take my advice, you should at least say it’s an exchange for yours. See you around, Milena.

Looking to relax after a particularly brutal series of quizzes, a bunch of students put together a “singing night” in one of the inter-college common rooms. You’re not quite sure what this means, so you ask Katja Quinnecht.

It means we all take turns standing up in front of the room and singing. It’s a lot of fun...if you can sing.

Will you dare to get up and sing?

Hmm, even odds on the singing. I suppose we should at least try and Observe first, if only because Observation is pretty important and I’m not sure if we’ve learned of it yet.

Some of the students’ singing is very good. Now you really have to wonder whether or not you’ll make a fool out of yourself if you go up there and sing.

Not very helpful, so we must have failed the check. Luckily, failing a gate check like that has no real consequences aside from not getting access to the easier rolls or new options. Time to make the music (or die trying).

How much worse could you be than everyone else? Apparently more than you thought, as this is the time your voice decides to do that cracking thing. The entire room begins to boo and hiss. Realizing they’re giving you the hook, you quickly run away. You were so bad that you probably permanently damaged some of the students’ hearing.

Gains of the Week

Confidence increased by 1.
Basia used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 24.
Emilia Strolin used Hang Out Inside the College on you.
--Relationship with Emilia Strolin increased to 3.
Evaded Event.
--Willpower increased by 1 step.
--Increased Stress by 1.

Theory of Revision increased by 1.
--Amplify pheme learned.
Revision increased by 1.
--Power pheme learned.
Illustration increased by 1.
--Learned about the Illumination Cubicle.
Successful Adventure!
--Confidence increased by 1 step.
----Presence pheme learned.
--Money decreased by 20.
--Learned about Negotiate (Economy).
--Learned about Duel Conduct (Duel).
--Learned about Garibaldi’s House of the Seven Colors, Merchant.

Revision Phemes increased by 1.
--Corporeal pheme learned.
--Solid pheme learned.
Study Habits increased by 1 step.
--Learned about Library Knowledge (Research).
--Research action gained.
--Impression of Diligence ability gained.
Unsuccessful Event.
--Courage decreased by 1 step.

New Abilities

Limning (Illumination Cubicle): Finesse/Illustration v9 to earn 20 pims plus 1 step to random Art subskill; same v12 to increase Glamour subskill as well; same v15 for +1 to von Rupprecht relationship.
Research: Research any discovered Topic (see below).
Impression of Diligence: +1 to chosen professor’s Relationship.

Research can be a very powerful action. Although the first 9 levels contain nothing but lore info, the last level is always something worth the trip, like +1 to an Attribute or +1 to the level cap on a skill (and trust me, there are some pretty awesome abilities waiting at level 11). Still, you should probably prefer Adventures to Research when you can; Adventures have additional rewards along the path to that final bonus, plus they’re much more interesting than the lore entries. On the other hand, Research rolls don’t get nearly as hard.