The Let's Play Archive


by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 11: Adventure Time

Athonos 27-28

Hey look, Iliana’s casting her first spell! Not counting the ones that come up in random events, that is. So here’s the deal with spells: you have to spend a time slot to cast them, and the bonuses don’t last forever, but you can get some wicked buffs by abusing that “Add Phemes” panel.

On the left you can see the three spells Iliana can cast right now. Note that this isn’t necessarily all the spells she knows; like Oan was saying about cooking, you need both the recipe (the spell) and the ingredients (phemes) to cast a spell, and all spells have at least two phemes you need to know to cast it. You can’t see it in the Details panel right now, but the needed phemes are helpfully listed in the spell’s description, and you can see a list of all known spells and phemes in the “Magic” tab on the left panel (don’t panic, it’s not in the screenshot).

Now here’s where things get a little tricky. See, the phemes you need to cast a spell have no bearing on the spell itself; sure, the words are probably related, but nothing the phemes say in their description matters. If you can cast a spell, then what the spell says it does is all it does, at least if you succeed the roll it lays out for you. Glow of Victory here asks for a Finesse/Persuasion roll versus 4, and since Iliana’s got plenty of both, the spell is green.

However, pheme descriptions aren’t useless. Aside from the basic phemes in a spell, which you can ignore, you can Add Phemes to any spell that asks for a roll. For instance, if I added the Air pheme there, I’d get a +1 to Finesse. However, the pheme difficulty is 3 (which is what you should expect from something that raises an Attribute), and that number gets added to the difficulty of the spell. In other words, Glow of Victory+Air=Finesse/Persuasion versus 7 instead of 4. And as those numbers by the phemes imply, you can stack several phemes on top of each other: GoV+Air+Air=F/P v10, or GoV+Air+Amplify(difficulty 5)=F/P v12.

Something else to remember is that some phemes are opposed to each other, and you can’t add them both to the same spell. Air and Earth are opposed, for instance, which kind of sucks, since both are bare Attribute raisers. Where it really gets annoying, though, is when one of the phemes in the spell requirements is opposed to a pheme you’d really like to add to the mix. It’s not like they mattered before, but now they’re just getting in the way.

Like I mentioned earlier, some spells don’t have rolls attached to them. Saving Face, for example, boosts Cosmetics, Aesthetics, and Courtly Fashion by 1 point each for five days, and it’ll do it no matter how miserable your Charm or whatnot is. The problem, of course, is that you can’t add phemes to a spell without a roll, since there’s no difficulty to add to and no skill to test against. As such, they’re mostly useless, particularly when they boost such niche skills as Saving Face does.

One final note: spells stack. If I changed Iliana’s schedule to cast Glow of Victory three times today, she’d wind up with +3 Charm, +3 Beguile, and +3 Glory for five days, although she’d lose the bonuses over the course of the last day. So what’s the tradeoff for such impressive numbers?

You could have done something more valuable (and permanent) with your time.

Oh, and today’s Glow of Victory is completely vanilla; no extra phemes at all. I just thought having that extra Chance of Success that Glory adds might come in handy. Also something else that’ll happen tomorrow.

Today’s the big day with Oan! Just to hone your edge, you spend the morning back in the Library of Longshade. By this point, you’ve started to notice patterns in the rat droppings that let you discover where they’re getting in much more easily. At one point, you also discover a gray, faded text explaining archaeological techniques. Apparently, there are people who go out and dig up artifacts from pre-Dragon human history. Crazy!

There is a skip in your step thanks to your Glow of Victory as you walk back to the warehouse Oan brought you to nearly two weeks ago. Meeting up with Oan, you notice that she’s bouncing a little, too; evidently she’s been looking forward to this for quite some time.

Once you both reach the warehouse again, Oan explains, “According to the diary, there should be something here to help us get to the glade with the Trees of Knowledge. I’ll start looking over here.” She waves a hand in the general direction of the doorway of the warehouse. “You can start over there at the back.”

As Oan wanders off towards the doorway, humming to herself, you glance around the warehouse. It doesn’t look like much. In fact, it looks a good deal less than much. Several sections of the wall look as though they have been used in the past by sailors as a place to leave their swearwords when they weren’t using them. There’s a particularly nice little rhyme on the beam just in front of you which goes on and on about donkeys, mice, pumpkins, and a very big glass slipper.

What could possibly be hidden in a place like this? You feel cheated. Any run-down building to do with adventure should have booby traps and large, unpleasant-looking statues ready to move when they’re not being watched. About the only thing you can see which bears any kind of resemblance to a statue is an unfortunate looking sawhorse which has a leg missing.

Oh well, atmosphere or no atmosphere, you might as well see what you can find!

Oddly enough, the first choice here—where you’re explicitly looking for something—has no Observation or Perception roll of any kind. Don’t worry, though; they’re coming. As for now, let’s see if Captain Felix can find anything.

You had heard that familiars get very good at sensing magic sometimes, so you call Captain Felix to you and ask him to see if there’s anything in the room that seems even vaguely magical. After he obediently identifies both yourself and Oan, you add that he should look for something NON-human. You hope desperately that you’re not looking for a very, very, very old guide who…you don’t know…doesn’t breathe and can turn himself invisible…

However, your familiar just gives you a confused look, wanders aimlessly back and forth, and then sits down and goes to sleep. Blasted cat!

That got us precisely nowhere. Why not make up some Astrology on the spot?

You decide that the most logical idea—and the one Oan really ought to have thought of—is to try a good old-fashioned finding spell. With a little thrill, you pull out your wand and begin selecting phemes from your palette. You’ve still not quite gotten over the sheer excitement of this!

Okay, how did it go in all the textbooks? Concentration, control, and calm. Deep breaths, you tell yourself, you just managed something like this earlier today. Of course, that took several hours to manage successfully and took place in the comfort of your own room. You squinch your eyes shut to help you concentrate on telling the phemes to do what you want them to do. At first, nothing seems to happen at all…and then…you begin to feel an odd tug at the end of your wand. You open your eyes and see that it is pointing directly at one of the sections of wall with words scratched all over it. That’s when you notice that some of the words are glowing a little…

Porta ad prudens nemus

Maybe this is what you’re looking for!

Greatly excited, you call over Oan, who was in the middle of rooting through a large pile of straw. “Look, I found a needle!” she exclaims as she comes over. “What have you got?”

You point at the glowing words, and she drops the needle. Her eyes get very big, and a flush begins to rise up her cheeks. “Blessed Calvius, do you know what that IS? I mean—do you know what it says?! What it means, what it…” she sputters to a halt, giving you the opportunity to say no, you actually don’t know what it says or what it means, but you’d be very happy for her to explain.

“It’s a magic door! One that leads to the “wise woods”—which is obviously a reference to the Trees of Knowledge!”

You nod. Obviously.

“Do you think it might lead to the actual original grove? Even if that’s all we ever find, it would be an amazing accomplishment!” If you ever hear the words “she lit up” again, you’d know now that you will have a perfect reference. Oan has, indeed, lit up. Almost literally. You check her wand hand surreptitiously. You’ve heard plenty of stories about excited wizards and the “accidents” that can happen.

Luckily, she seems to just be very, very excited. You hate to break the mood, but now seems the best time to point out that she has overlooked the fact that, while this portion of very respectable wall is labeled as the magic door to the wise woods, it still looks like a wall. As such, you are going to have to do something to make it open before any celebrations can start.

Your excellent logic appears to calm Oan down a bit, and she nods seriously. “Of course. We have to get this door to open itself. What do you think we should try?”

You scratch your head, flattered and also a little nervous to be consulted. Okay, how would the heroes have opened a magic door that didn’t even seem to be a door but was prepared to provide you with glowing messages in a vaguely helpful sort of way?

What’s this, we get to keep going? That’s right, once Oan’s adventure gets started, I believe there’s only one required break between us and the final victory. On the other hand, if we fail, we can pick it up right where we last left off. Well, except for the last phase, plus there are several abort options seem like they’d end the adventure entirely if you used them.

Not like I’ll do that. Let’s see how long I can keep the streak alive! We can start with that non-skill check.

You look around the warehouse for what feels like the millionth time. Sawdust covered floor: check. Tattered walls: check. Large oversized piece of wood: check.

Wait a minute. That could be very useful indeed!

Bam, new Athletics option (plus we can keep the wood slab for later)! Sadly, Iliana’s Athletics stink. How about Observation?

Any self-respecting hidden wall with a magical hidden door to a legendary hidden forest should have a guide or a guard or a something, you are sure of that. Anything else would break all kinds of rules! So all you need to do now is find the guardian, and maybe it’ll help you open the door!

You look around the warehouse uncertainly. Nothing seems to be guardianish. No giant golden statues with ruby eyes and sweeping swords ready to cut the unbelievers in half, that’s for sure. Finally, you notice a little hole in one of the floorboards at the base of the wall with the writing on it. Leaning down, you stick a finger in the hole and pull. Much to your surprise, the floorboard hinges back easily, revealing a small cavity. And in the cavity is a really, really tiny wooden man, who seems to be asleep.

Oh hey, Diplomacy! That’s something what Iliana’s being good at!

You lean down and very gently nudge the tiny wooden man with one finger. Respectful. That’s the idea. Be very respectful. He may be less than three inches tall, but he’s still a guardian of a magic door.

You clear your throat. Not sure if he’s awake or not, you begin to speak. You talk about how wonderful it is that you’ve found him, how it took you ages to locate his resting place, and how you are honored to be in his presence at last. You mention Oan and her glorious quest to finally locate the Trees of Knowledge. You talk about the purity of her heart and the thirst for knowledge and wisdom which drives the both of you on. Finally, and in the very best of styles gleaned from all your favorite stories, you humbly petition him for aid.

There is a pause, and you begin to wonder if you just made the best speech of your life to a little wooden doll, but suddenly it sits up and fixes you with two glowing yellow eyes. “The pleasure is mine, Wizard,” it says in a deceptively deep voice. “Few indeed are those who have such a silver tongue as yours. Enter the doors, and may Octavius smile on your path.”

You stammer your thanks, and then—at his request—lower the floorboard. Oan is staring, not at you, but at the wall. It’s glowing golden yellow, and…opening! You did it!

On the other side of the wall is a long, dark tunnel. You peer into it and hear faint dripping noises, like some gigantic subterranean monster is sitting deep in the shadows and thinking of lunch.

How wonderful!

Oan comes over to join you by the door, and the two of you stare into the black, dripping tunnel. You can sense her excitement mounting; you feel pretty excited yourself. A secret tunnel? Leading to a legendary secret grove? Anything could happen! This—this could go down in the history of Elumia as a legend itself, one of heroic deeds and daring do!

As you daydream about the statue that will be erected to your extraordinary archaeological exploits inside the Academagia, Oan produces a small torch and quickly casts an illuminating spell upon it.

“We need to see where we’re going,” she points out happily. “Come on! I can’t wait to see where this goes!”

You nod and follow her into the tunnel, your hand on your wand. You don’t know whether magic will be of any good against whatever’s in here, or if anything IS in here, but no one ever got messily devoured by being too careful.

Suddenly, Oan’s light flickers out. She mutters something you politely decline to hear, and says the spell again. Nothing. She repeats herself, louder, and again nothing happens. The dark is beginning to get very dark indeed, and you can’t help but feel a little nervous. Several unusual rustling noises come from Oan’s direction, and then you feel her grab your arm and lead you back out of the tunnel. She looks flushed and irrititated.

“There’s some sort of magic over the tunnel that’s quenching all the light,” she mutters. “We’re going to have to figure out another way to find our way through.”

Somehow you get the feeling that when she says “we,” she really means “you.”

Scouting isn’t an option, and neither is backing out. Can you see why I focused on Observation now?

You pop your head back into the tunnel and peer around. Out of the corner of your eye you see a flicker. Is that a light? In the darkness? You dash towards it quickly, not stopping to let yourself think about the shadows all around you. When you reach the flicker, you discover that it’s a small moth with glowing wings. And there are more of them! If you could somehow get them to light up the tunnel…

Not that Observation ever helps on its own. But hey, look at that! It’s that thing we’ve got a class in!

You know exactly what to do! You hurry back to where Oan is standing and try to explain the idea to her, but she only looks more and more confused.

“So you’re going to…attract bugs?”

You hold her gaze and tell her firmly to trust you. You know what you’re doing. She still looks skeptical, but spreads her hands in an invitation for you to try. You smile broadly, if a little nervously, and begin preparing the phemes for your spell. You figure that the Aura of Cemoros should work just about fine.

It does! As soon as you cast the attraction spell on the little moth, it and all its friends stir from their resting places and begin to swirl into the air. Pretty soon they’re all around you. You whisper to them what you want them to do, hoping that they understand human speech. They certainly seem to, for they spread out across the tunnel, casting just enough light for you and Oan to see! The best part is that the spell wears off exactly at the same time as when you reach the other end.

At the end of the tunnel, you step out into a small clearing surrounded by broken old trees and the ruins of what appears to have been the beginnings of a construction site. It looks like things ended here quickly. Everything is overgrown, and most of the plants are themselves old or rotten. It’s a mess, a ramshackle mess, and you can’t help but feel sad. There’s barely any new growth at all here, even though from what Oan said all the destruction happened a long time ago. It’s like the ground just gave up after the trees were taken away.

Oan, however, doesn’t appear to be at all affected by the pathos of the place. She is too excited for that, running around from stump to branch to crooked flower, casting small spells and throwing around drops of potion so fast that you give up trying to figure out what she’s doing and just collapse on the ground to watch. After what feels like an age, she comes over to join you, looking depressed.

“It’s not talking,” she complains. “All my research indicates that we should be able to get the glade to talk to us, to help us find the trees.”

You blink. Talking glades? But there are hardly even any stumps left! What could this place have to say?

“I know it can!” Oan insists, rubbing her eyes tiredly. “Look, I’ve tried everything I can think of and I’m worn out. Would you mind trying something while I have a little rest?”

How can you refuse?

And now we’ve got no other options but Observation. You’ll note these checks are getting steadily harder, too. We started at green and now we’ve made our way down to black.

Maybe there’s something around here that could be of some help. It can’t hurt to look, right? You get up and find out that your spine isn’t too happy with all this searching. You’ve become stiff in places you didn’t even know you could get stiff in.

Oan lies down on the grass and looks up at the sky as you start poking around behind bushes and shrubs and small, dead things which might have been plants but are now just brown ghosts.

After searching for what feels like hours, though Oan insists it’s only been ten minutes, you give up. There’s nothing and no one here.

Well, I suppose it was inevitable that a check fail, so…wait, are we really still here? And where did that Explore option come from? It seriously wasn’t there the first time! But I guess it means we can keep looking! I suppose there’ll be a penalty given for failing the first time, but with a green option, we can keep moving forward.

You wander around the glade slowly, not wanting to miss anything that could be helpful. After a while, you begin to hear the noise of running water. Yes, definitely water! Surprised, you walk towards the sound and find a small, dribbling stream making its way bravely over the dead earth. Hmm.

And so even that was just an unlocking option. At least Incantation is blue.

You sit back for a little and look around the glade. What would make a bunch of dead plants happy? Maybe you’re a little crazy after all the excitement you’ve been through today, but maybe they’d like a little water!

You manage to use your wand to make about three cups of water float from the stream to the apparently dead stumps. As a little water drips over the dry black bark of the old trees, a funny thing happens. You see the wood begin to shake, and then to glow. By the time you’ve finished watering all the stumps, the glade is filled with a strange humming noise and a soft greenish-gold light.

Oan, who didn’t look too convinced about your water idea, is now on her feet and looking very excited indeed! Finally, the water is gone, and the humming gets louder and louder. Then a chorus of voices like the rustling of leaves speaks. “Path…old…imperial…reserve…oldest…older…colder…golden…wilder…kinder…

You have no idea what any of what you were told meant. In fact, you have less than no idea. You’re not even sure you heard it right. You glance over at Oan and see that she looks every bit as confused as you feel, which makes you feel a bit better. At least you aren’t alone in not comprehending the “deep meaning” of whatever it was the dead trees just said.

Who listens to stumps, anyway?

“Well,” Oan postulates as the golden-green light finally begins to fade. “I…don’t know what that meant exactly, but it’s pretty obvious what our next step should be, right?”

You nod. Of course it is. As obvious as the nose on a goblin’s face, right? Right? Maybe?

“The question is, of course, how we’re going to get into the Imperial Reserve.”

What? You stare at Oan in consternation. Sure the trees said “Imperial” and “Reserve,” and maybe they even said them in that order, but they couldn’t have meant it! Students aren’t supposed to go into the reserve. It’s just not…and then there’s…and…Oan just looks at you, and you sigh. You’re still sighing when she leads you up to where the long, beautifully kept hedge-wall delineates the edge of the Reserve.

All right. How do you get into the Reserve?

Explore is green again, but I’ve got this nasty premonition that both options merely unlock things again.

You slide carefully up to the hedge and begin rooting around for holes or breaks in the thick green foliage. Just when you’re beginning to think that all you’re going to find are leaves, twigs, and the occasional scratch on your face, you spot it! A small, student-sized opening cleverly covered by a screen of leaves. Maybe some other student created it before you and decided to disguise it. It looks very small, but you’re pretty sure you can fit through if you try very hard!

Aw, nuts. Let’s see if Observation works this time.

You slide up to the entrance of the Reserve and take a quick look around. At first you can’t see anyone, but then you catch a flicker of movement out of the corner of your eye and spot him! The guard is cleverly disguised in browns and greens, plus he’s leaning up against a section of the hedge. It’s a good thing you spotted him, or you’d have been in big trouble!

Ah, now that’s better. Not sure where exactly Iliana picked up all the ranks in Move Silently, but I’m not complaining.

Motioning at Oan to follow, you flatten yourself against the hedge and think green thoughts. As an added measure, you whisper a quick charm which should make it harder for unfriendly eyes to see you. At least, that’s what your Wizardly Tales for Little Magic People book would have you believe. As you begin to creep through the entrance of the Reserve, your heart is pounding inside your chest. You can’t help but feel that you’re going to be caught, and your feet are fighting thoughts of punishments for your attention. Every step you take feels like it’s going to be your last.

Five steps in.



Still no sign that anyone’s noticed you. Thirty…you’re past the guard. You’re alone in the Imperial Reserve! You and Oan exchange a surprised glance. You actually did it!

Oan claps her hands. “We’re so close! We are so close! I can’t believe we’ve come this far!” She grabs your hands and does a funny little dance of excitement. “You are amazing!”

You nod. You couldn’t agree more!

“Okay,” she nods decisively after managing to calm down a bit. “I’ve been thinking and it seems that the glade was telling us to check the really old places around the Reserve. I’ve got some ideas of my own, so how about we split up and meet back here in an hour or so? I think we need to find at least two of these places before we can be sure we’ve got enough clues!”

You agree, and Oan decides to wander over to the south side of the Reserve and try to find some of the old burial sites that her books are always talking about. That leaves you with the question of where to look yourself.

Well, only one thing to pick.

Okay, so you’re looking for “old,” right? Right. You decide that off the top of your head the oldest place in the Reserve has got to be the Dueling Bridge, and you know exactly where that is! How could you not, when your favorite Wizardly Hero spent three days in a complicated and drawn out duel on that very bridge? You hurry to where it stands and pause a moment in the middle, imagining that you are retracing your hero’s footsteps.

Then you begin to search. After ten minutes, you have officially confirmed that there is nothing, and you mean NOTHING of interest on the TOP of the bridge. The only thing for it is to look underneath the bridge as well!

It’s wet, dark, slippery, and not very nice at all under the bridge. You are up to your armpits in water, and very, very cold. But, much to your delight, you seem to have stumbled on the hiding place of a clue! You know it’s a clue because it’s flashing at you.

Between the Hollow and Death.

Hmm. Obscure!

You need to have at least two successes to be able to Declare Victory and move forward. Are you there yet?

Right, just pretend that the Observation option is missing and you’ll understand the problem here. At least the bailout option leaves room to continue later. Might as well try the rest, if only to get informed of the skills Iliana will need to get that second clue.

Oh, and you may have noticed a kind of continuity error here with the Dueling Bridge. It actually came up as a location back in the dueling part of the tutorial, and there was much less hubbub about sneaking into the Imperial Reserve, too. Ah, well. Nothing to be done about it now.

What better place to look for clues about trees than with more trees? You remember hearing about the Kindly Elm, a tree apparently so kindly that its roots grow out of the ground and get all their moisture from the rain because it can’t bear to let any other plant or being be disturbed by its roots.

You figure it’s gotta be pretty easy to find, too—though in reality it takes you almost an hour before you notice the small tree with the roots sticking out of the ground. It’s a really, really old tree, and as you approach it, you notice that there’s a small disk set very, very high in its branches. What if that’s a clue?

You begin to climb, trusting that a tree called the “Kindly Elm” won’t let you fall. That…seems to be a little trusting of you. Either the “Kindly” tree doesn’t like people clambering all over it, or you just suck as a tree climber, because pretty soon you find yourself flat on your back on the ground with the wind knocked right out of you.

Maybe you’d better try somewhere else before you break your leg.

Scouting next.

You remember hearing Professor Viada once say that the Golden Lily Pads were the oldest treasures of the Imperial Reserve. That’s good enough for you! No sooner thought but you’re trekking around the lake, looking for flecks of gold in the water.

Green…green…green…aha! Gold! You spot the small golden pads floating a little way out from the shore. Maybe if you can get to them, there will be some sort of clue hidden on them! You take a breath, trust to luck, and start wading through the water.

However, for every step you take, the pads seem to get further and further away from you! Eventually you’re up to your nose in water and you still haven’t made any progress. You decide to give up. This just isn’t worth it.

And the last option is Athletics, which is not only a Parent Skill (and therefore useless to learn about), but also as purple as the rest of the options. Guess it’s time to call it a day for now.

Octavius, even Oan’s willing to call it a day! You really have been out here for too long!

And that ends that. Really, I’m surprised I managed to succeed enough rolls to get this far on just the first attempt. Well, aside from a couple reloads thanks to that red skill check that started it all off. But if Iliana had failed at a phase along the way, I would have been perfectly content with however much progress was made. We just got lucky, I guess.

As you make your way back to the Academagia grounds, feeling tired, worn out, and generally spent, you see Eduard Solov’ev walking past on his way to the Hedi campus. You’d met him in Rhetoric class, where you’ve shared notes on a few occasions. Spotting you in your disheveled state, Eduard becomes concerned.

Have you been running a marathon or something? You know you need to drink more water when you do something physical. Hang on, I know where there’s a fountain near here. Be right back!

Oh, it’s good to have friends.

It’s way too early in the morning, there’s barely a hint of daylight on the horizon, and someone’s knocking at your dorm room door. It’s enough to get you out of bed, and it may just be the start of one of those headaches that lasts the entire day, but you have dignity and class and doggone it, you’re going to be mature about it.


You’re startled to note that it isn’t one of your dorm mates. Instead, it’s a young man in craftsman’s clothes, holding a small box. He looks at your room number, just to be sure, then smiles apologetically at you.

I know, I’m not super happy to be up right now, either. But your instructions were really clear about the whole “crack of dawn” thing. I guess that key was enchanted to get past the locks at just that minute? Cool, I guess.
Oh yeah, sorry. You’re Gera, right? We finally finished putting your wand back together. Ordinarily, we’d charge an arm and a leg, but…well, for what you did to ol’ Stink-Eye von Rupprecht, we’ll call it even for just fifty pims.

Hmm, looks like Persuasion will work just fine here. On the other hand…

Thinking quickly, you recall that Gera was the one who left you the note when you first came to Academagia. This boy must not have met her, and if he thinks you’re Gera, why not let him?

He takes the coins with an appreciative nod, and hands over the wand-filled box.

Before I go, can I just shake your hand? We all heard about the prank back at the workshop, and some of the guys thought that Stink-Eye breaking the wand was gonna be the end of it. But me? I said, “Any time you put that much magical singing pig crap in a professor’s office, you’re looking at the slow boat back home.” I’m just glad I was wrong. And I promise, the next time von Rupprecht comes to the store and starts making our lives miserable, I’m gonna think of what you did and smile.
It was my pleasure.

Irritated at being stymied so close to your goal, you spend most of Sunday teaching yourself how to climb. You start simply in the Library of Longshade, climbing up the bookshelves and balancing across the tops. It’s a little riskier than usual considering the sorry state some of the shelves are in, but you figure that a tree would be just as risky (and much harder to climb up).

Tumbling down after a shelf gives way beneath you, you manage to avoid significant damage, but you wind up conked in the face with a book entitled Pride of a Rebel Queen. It’s about Queen Avila, namesake of the college and a stubborn ruler who refused to bow to the Dragons even at the height of their power.

Man, how come Professor Viada never teaches this kind of thing in History? This stuff is much more interesting than memorizing a list of Emperor’s names!

After lunch, you decide to move your climbing practice outside. There are several easily climbable trees outside on the grounds, and you feel like you’re making progress as you climb first one, then another.

Towards evening, you start to think about your studies again and head for the Venalicium Library. Taking in the ambiance, you note that it’s impossible to walk through the library and not notice that all the students are either reading or casting wary glances at the librarians. It makes you bored just to watch it.

It is equally impossible, by extension, to fail to notice that one particular student is not doing either of these things. Instead, she is staring just past her book and occasionally letting out the most depressing sighs you’ve ever heard.

Now why is Emilia Strolin so sad?

Don’t know why the escape option needs a School Survival check, or why failing that check apparently continues the plot just like a successful Beguile check will. Anyway, we are trying to be Emilia’s friend, so let’s not go about it the incidental way.

While you’ve known Emilia for some time now, she’s never struck you as an average Aranaz student; she’s quiet and reserved, and you usually have to lead in any conversation you have. This occasion is no different.

Hey, Emilia. I couldn’t help notice you look preoccupied.

It’s nothing you can’t tell me, is it?
I’m just so mad at those Durand brats! You remember what happened to the Aranaz girl dorms?

Your mood darkens as you remember the sorry state your room was in that day.

Well, I just heard that some of the older girls found out it was them who wrecked the dorms. But we can’t even get revenge on them, because they fixed it to look like we did it ourselves, like we had some big fight in the hallways, and the teachers are all keeping tabs on us!

You almost feel glad now that you had an alibi for that day, although it meant you got into trouble, too. You imagine that and your busy weekend are why you hadn’t heard of this earlier.

It’s the most utter rubbish. Why would we have even done something like that?
You know, I was…occupied that day, so they aren’t watching me. And you’re so quiet, Emilia, I can’t imagine the professors are really keeping track of you, either.
You really think so? Thanks! Now, hmm…

The two of you spend some time thinking up ways to get back at the Durand students, but you end up agreeing that you should get Rui de Casga in on the action before proceeding any further.

At least you can be secure in the knowledge that you helped cheer a friend.

And let’s not forget we deceived our way into a wand, too! Gera’s Wand comes pre-identified, which isn’t always the case; that giant hunk of wood Iliana picked up during the big Adventure isn’t identified. I think all it does is like 2 damage during a Duel, so I’m not in a hurry to spend the time to ID it.

Gera’s Wand is also the first item that gives Iliana a persistent buff so long as she equips it (in this case, in one of the “Hand” slots). The book Kensab the Ilician will provide an easy way to boost Running, but it needs to be equipped to the “Book” slot and then used as an ability. I think it’s got only a few charges, too.

Moving back to the wand, while Incantation Methods and Practical Jokes can be useful, there are much better wands out there. Still, at only 50 pims it really is a steal, especially since the listed price is 7 times that. The last part of the week has gone much better than the first part, hasn’t it?

Gains of the Weekend

Studied at Longshade.
--Observation increased by 1 step.
----Dexterous pheme learned.
--Archaeology increased by 1 step.
----Preserve pheme learned.
--Concentration increased by 1 step.
----Deflect Distraction ability learned.
Cast Glow of Victory.
--Plus 1 to Beguile, Charm, and Glory for 5 days.
Successful Adventure!
--Theory of Astrology increased by 1 step.
----Analogue pheme learned.
--Gained 1 Big. Piece. Of. Wood.
--Etiquette increased by 1 step.
--Glamour Methods increased by 1 step.
----Joy pheme learned.
----Glamour increased by 1.
------Correct Pitch ability learned.
--Stress increased by 1.
--It just keeps going!
--Incantation Phemes increased by 1 step.
----Fabricate pheme learned.
--Infiltration increased by 1 step.
----Relationship with Eduard Solov’ev now at 5.
--Observation increased by 1 step.
--Vitality decreased by 1.
--Stress increased by 1.
Malacresta, Vrenelle, and Basia used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 66.

Studied at Longshade.
--Climb increased by 1 step.
--Pride of the Rebel Queen (History) increased 1 step.
----Learned about Hearts Hallow.
--Concentration increased by 1 step.
Climb increased by 1 step.
--Muscle pheme learned.
Successful Adventure!
--Relationship with Emilia Strolin at 6.
Successful Event!
--Pims decreased by 50.
--Deceit increased by 1 step.
----Garble pheme learned.
--Gained Gera’s Wand.
--Learned about Gera’s Wand.
Basia and Malacresta used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 72.

New Abilities

Deflect Distraction: social actions or abilities that target user retarget to a friend of the user for 1 week.
Correct Pitch: Insight/Music v6; improve Oratory by 2 for a week, improve Voice by 1 step.