The Let's Play Archive


by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 17: Reaping the Harvest

Gelamenus 1-7

Although it takes a significant amount of demands and coercion, you manage to convince Emilia and Rui de Casga to practice with you one last time in the Library of Longshade, going over every inch of the plan you’d come up with. Even so, you feel like there is far too much that could go wrong, especially on a campus full of mages, and the absolute last thing you want is to get implicated doing a prank like this. At least with that new spell you learned, it hopefully won’t matter that you didn’t practice enough.

Thankfully for everyone’s nerves, you get word later in the day that Rui de Casga’s contacts have finally delivered the needed goods, so you all take a break to go collect the ingredients from the Admiratio, splitting up to cover more ground.

On your way to gather the Blindweed, you pass the Via Splendido. Your stomach grumbles as you smell the wafting scents of fried meats and baked pastries, reminding you that you should probably be at dinner by now. Figuring that you could use a quick bite (and that having Blindweed on your hands would not be the best idea when eating), you decide that you might just stop in and get something.

Feeling much more content with a meat pie in your belly, you start on your way again when you notice a man nearby fooling around with various metal gears and rods. He is sitting on a crate, keeping a large wooden contraption in place between his knees. Several metal parts are laid out in front of him.

Curious, you walk closer to the man to observe what he’s doing. He’s muttering to himself, taking one of the gears and trying to put it in different positions on the wooden apparatus. Perhaps you could be of some help and make a suggestion?

Continue watching him.
Creativity. Put the gear in the middle.
Clockwork. Try putting the gear near the top.

It’s hard to say without the screenshot, but I believe the Creativity response was black for this one, and thus worth trying.

I’d put the gear in the middle, if I were you. It seems like the most logical place to put it.

The man looks at you in surprise, but he decides to follow your suggestion. After a few minutes of tinkering, he stands back and looks at the product. The metal rod is balanced perfectly on the gear.

I believe I’ve made a scale! Thank you for your help. If you’d like, you can take this with you. I’m going to work on some other projects.

The Scale goes into the miscellaneous item slot and provides a +1 to Negotiate so long as it’s equipped. Not too bad for a random event, I suppose.

While Emilia and Rui de Casga work on brewing the foul mix, you spend all your free time over the next few days casting the spell Synchronize Schedules. By the end of it, all you need to do is close your eyes to know exactly where your Clique mates are and what they’re doing. It’s a bit disconcerting, especially when you try to concentrate on something else, but by the third day you finally feel confident that you can manage this prank without getting caught.

At last, the day has come. The Five-Handed Tree meets during lunch in an inconspicuous corner to go over the plan one last time.

The brew is finished, but it’s not going to stay fresh forever. We’ll have to move tonight.
Is the way inside still open?
Of course. I just checked on the way to classes, and the door is still ajar.
Outstanding. They’ll never know what hit them!

The grin on Emilia’s face strikes you as almost pure evil.

You might want to turn that down. Don’t want to give away the game, you know.
Sorry. There’s just the matter of getting away with all this.
They’ll be expecting House Aranaz to be the perpetrator, after all. Now I heard you two were working on fine adjustments to the booby trap. How does it work now?
It’ll be triggered by the main door out. When someone opens it, all hell will break loose. The door will be hooked to a wire connected to some flares. Opening the door will yank off their tops, set them alight, and that’ll catch the primeval jelly on fire.
The mixture we’ve made will make an itching powder that’s almost impossible to wash off, and the smoke is just as bad. It’ll waft into the Durand dorm area—but I’m sure you know where this is going.
The whole college will have rashes that won’t go away for at least a couple days.
Better. All their furniture will be covered in the stuff. They’ll have to spend all day cleaning!

Rui de Casga beams with pride at his disciple.

She’s the one who came up with the smoke idea. This’ll wind up being my biggest prank yet.

Contemplating your scheme, you feel a twinge of guilt regarding what you’re about to inflict on Durand. Then you remember the state of the Aranaz girl’s dorm after Durand’s prank, and your guilt fades.

Now for my favorite part: making it look like an inside job. Who did you decide to go with, Emilia?
Prudence Cossins. You know how she’s been “mucking about with those Aranaz kids.”
Will we need to sneak her out afterwards?
Oh, no, you know how rash young people are these days. Just get the jelly into her room once we’ve built the trap and hopefully that’ll be enough.

Plot. Frame your patsy.
Sabotage. Making that poor girl look guilty makes no sense! Try to blame a different house.
Planning. Go over the plot again.

I’ve been working towards the Plot choice over the extended weekend, so you know which way I’m going. It’s worth noting, though, that Planning would unlock the option to take credit for yourself (+1 Glory), although the Planning check is just as hard as the Plot one and you’d have to make the same Plot roll anyway to pull it off.

That’s all academic, though. Iliana’s not the type to let anyone see her doing something wrong.

While Rui de Casga and Emilia set up the flares, you creep into Prudence’s room and leave a spare bucket of the primeval jelly mixture in her closet. It needs to look like Prudence was hiding it, after all. Still, you don’t think that’s going to be enough to make her look guilty, so you smear some of the jelly onto her hand while she sleeps, carefully cleaning your own hand on her towel afterwards.

Power has now been restored. We wish to thank you all for your patience, and apologize again for the inconvenience.

The next day, you hear that Prudence has been awarded a month’s worth of detentions and kitchen chores. You also hear that most of the Durand students think Prudence was framed, and the rumor mill has been tossing your name around pretty liberally. Evidently your long disappearances in the evenings have made you rather suspicious. You’re not in any trouble, though, and that’s what matters. And you think Emilia has an exceptionally pretty smile as she watches the Durand students stop to scratch every four seconds.

Still, the fact that other students might still be quick to blame you has you worried about your reputation. You’d like it to be so spotless that no one would even consider you a candidate for this sort of escapade, and while rumors are inevitable in a school of this size, there are still things you can do to minimize their effect. As such, you spend the morning reading up on the basics of winning friends and influencing people.

At one point, you stumble across an advertisement for Esteban Contu’s School of Incantation. Evidently there is a sort of cram school in Mineta, open to Academagians and any others, assuming one can pay the rather steep tuition fee. You wonder if it’s still around? You didn’t pick Incantation as a class, but it’s seeming more and more to be a pretty useful school of magic.

At lunch, you find yourself with an interesting pair for company.

Hey, Iliana! Look who I met! She’s Beatrix von Wetgen, and she loves running around just the same as I do!
Well, not exactly the way you do.
You get around everywhere, though. That’s pretty cool! I’ve invited her to my birthday party. You’re coming too, right?
Yes, I’m still coming. Hi, I’m Iliana Ot’Matar. Glad to meet you.
Oh, right, sorry! Hang on a sec, I’m gonna go get some food.

So you get around everywhere, then?
Well, I suppose, yeah. I like to go out and explore the island when I’m not in classes.
All the time? I know the professors don’t really care much about keeping us on the grounds, but won’t you get caught eventually?
Oh, no, I’ve actually got special permission to go out and explore so long as I let one of the teachers know where I’m going.
Really? How did you manage that?
I’m just really responsible, you know? So is what Vrenelle was telling me true? You’re the reason why all the Durand students can’t sit still today?
You know, I heard Prudence was the one who got in trouble for setting that itching gas trap. A whole month of detention, even.
Yeah, but she says she was framed, and all the other Durand students believe her even if Professor Briardi doesn’t. Besides, she’d have to be pretty stupid to get caught by her own trap. Anyway, I’m glad you did it if you did.
Yeah. I still remember hearing what happened to the Aranaz dorm, and that they blamed you guys for what happened. You must have spent weeks setting this revenge up, right? I know I wouldn’t like it if Vernin did that to our dorms. This is just desserts.
Well, if it’ll make you like me better, I’ll gladly take credit for something I didn’t do.
Sure thing. I wonder why Vrenelle isn’t back yet with the food? Do you think she just bolted down a plate and ran off?
I think I’ve only seen her sit down once to eat. C’mon, let’s go get our own lunch.

You know, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to let people know you’re willing to get your hands dirty once in a while, so long as they can’t pin any dirt on you. Letting people who appreciate your actions praise you while evading punishment sounds like an awfully good compromise to you.

Unfortunately, as the day progresses, you discover that Beatrix was in the minority and the Aranaz college is getting some major flack. Some of the older students have started to look into it and you fear they may already be on to you. You were careful with the evidence, so you’re not too worried, but you know that if one of them challenges you to a duel and wins they’ll publicly accuse you and your Clique of the crime.

You know you and Rui de Casga could handle the scorn, but Emilia would be crushed! You resolve to keep your head down for the next few weeks, only…

As you’re walking over to the Aranaz campus, you spot several students, just barely on your periphery, approaching quietly, closing for the strike. They aren’t very far away now, and they seem to be attempting to flank you. Better think of something quickly.

Now this here is a perfect candidate for the Sacrifice a Member action. It’s a set of high checks for skills Iliana isn’t too proficient in (assuming she knows about them at all), it’s near the end of a quest line (but not the end itself), and thus it’ll save a lot of time and effort just to use someone else to get past it.

Here you can see the list of unused friends. As I mentioned earlier, each friend can be used once and only once, and the Relationship takes a hit of only -1 or -2, which isn’t a terribly big problem. On the other hand, while you can’t see the success text, you do get the rewards for whichever option you chose, and thanks to the mod tools, I can get the success text anyway.

Now, who to send? Emilia’s trying to avoid trouble, so using her makes no sense. Rui de Casga, on the other hand…well, in deference to his preferred methods, I’ll go with the Strategy option.

Luckily for you, Rui de Casga happened to be with you when the older students decided to strike.

Rui! Handle this!

Rui de Casga gives you a somewhat cross look, considering the number of enemies, but he steps forward all the same. He reaches for his wand with both hands, whips the glowing wood out with both hands, and then twirls it over his head while growling fiercely. For your part, you act completely self-assured, crossing your arms casually with a knowing smile on your lips.

Now that you can see them clearly, there were only two Aranaz students after you. They stop in their tracks, made unsure by this unexpected display. Rui de Casga turns his head slightly to give the one on his left a mad grin while backing up to keep the right one in view.

Before either you or Rui de Casga can offer even one word of challenge or warning, the pair turn and run, stuffing their wands back into their robes as they go. It looks like a bit of iron will and boatload of bluffing won out today. Hopefully word will get around that the Five-Handed Tree is not to be trifled with, and they won’t be back to bother you again.

Riding high after your encounter, you decide that you can’t rest after all, and instead decide to make one last shopping trip into town.

Now you find yourself standing in a shop in the middle of town when you see it. A milky white glass ball, sitting on top of a dark holder carved to look like an upturned dragon’s claw. You’ve heard about orbs like these! They’re supposed to be able to allow the user to see years into the future! Cool! It’s just too bad you didn’t bring nearly enough money to buy it, assuming you ever could.

You stare at it a few moments more when, all of a sudden, somebody bumps into you. How rude, you think, and you turn around to give the culprit a piece of your mind. Unfortunately, he’s already dashing out of the store!

You check your pockets and it’s just as you feared: your money is gone! The pickpocket is about to reach the door. If you don’t stop him before he gets outside, you’ll never be able to find him again. Hurry!

A better mix than the adventure, at least. Let’s Observe the situation.

You look around for something to help you. The store is empty besides you, the thief, and the owner, but the owner is at the back of the store so she can’t do anything. There are a few tables between the thief and the door, and the fact that he has to weave through them is buying you some time. At the front of the store, the door is open. Wait a minute…

The door opens into the store. If you could find a way to close it, the thief would be trapped long enough to catch him.

…And here we have another reason to regret not taking Incantation. It really does come up a lot, partly because there’s almost always at least one magic way out of every random event. Feels like it comes down to Incantation, Revision, and Glamour in particular, and in that order.

Ah well. Navigation gives a 50/50 shot.

You follow the thief out the door and see him run down a slanted side alley. Undaunted, you take off down a straight path.

Unfortunately, it takes a lot longer for you to run down your longer path than the thief to run down his shortcut. You can only watch as the thief takes off into the distance with your coins.

Damn. At least it was only 10 pims and no skill loss.

In case you were curious, I used Glow of Victory to get that extra point of Charm, which makes improving Charm-based skills a bit easier. Of course, I think I used it a bit early, since it was still going at one step per skill level. Generally you’ll want to start buffing as soon as it starts taking more than one step to improve a skill to get the most out of the spell.

You spend much of Sunday as you did Saturday, going over the basic rules of social behavior. Considering how much you already knew, you find it almost shocking to realize just how much you still have to learn. People can be really hard to figure out!

You don’t let your studies keep you from attending Vrenelle’s birthday party, however.

You’re dancing and having a good time, but then you see Professor Viada, the history teacher, arrive. You cringe and hide your head with your hand. You owe the professor some homework. It would be very bad if you were seen at a party when you should be completing your homework.

You need a disguise or a way to hide and you need it quick.

Uh oh. Well, let’s investigate since it’s the best option.

Usually Professor Viada is pretty keen but tonight you notice that he’s enjoying the party so much that he might not notice a dragon.

Since the professor is so distracted, you should be able to fool him quite easily.

Looks like that turned the Espionage action black. Guess it’s worth a shot.

The waiters at the party are going in and out all the time and no one notices them, so you decide to snag an apron and serve food, carefully managing to skirt around Professor Viada even when he asks for something to eat.

The professor is very hungry and you’re constantly bringing him snacks. By the end of the night your disguise has worked so well that you’ve even earned some tips!

There’s just enough time to enjoy the rest of the party once Professor Viada goes home.

Gains of the Week

Glamour Methods increased by 1.
--Projection pheme learned.
Studied at Longshade.
--Coordination increased by 1 step.
----Disrupt Communication spell learned.
----Plot increased by 1.
------Harmon’s Plan spell learned.
--Dispassion increased by 1 step.
--Concentration increased by 1 step.
Successful event!
--Clockwork increased by 1 step.
--Gained a Scale.
--Learned about the above.

The Early Empire increased by 1.
Cast Synchronize Schedules.
--Plus 3 to Coordination and Plot for Five-Handed Tree for 7 days.
Successful event(?)
--Relationship with Errus Viada increased to 1.
--Leadership increased by 1 step.
Moderate Stress! You now feel Alert: +2 to Observation and Danger Sense.

Ink Compounds increased by 1.
--Gained Fading Ink, Blotter.
--Learned about the above.
--Calligraphy increased by 1.
----Manuscripts pheme learned.
Famous Speeches increased by 1.
--Relationship with Vrenelle Bonvin increased to 6.
--Rhetoric increased by 1.
----Bold Action ability gained.
The Calamities increased by 1.
--Water pheme learned.
The History of Magic increased by 1.
Cast Synchronize Schedules.
--Plus 3 to Coordination and Plot for Five-Handed Tree for 7 days.

Revision Methods increased by 1.
Theory of Negation increased by 1.
Reason increased by 1.
The Early Empire increased by 1.
--Gutross’ House of History (Early Empire) available.
Archaeology increased by 1.
--Time pheme learned.
Cast Synchronize Schedules.
--Plus 3 to Coordination and Plot for Five-Handed Tree for 7 days.

Illustration increased by 1.
Glamour Phemes increased by 1.
--Sleep pheme learned.
Glamour Methods increased by 1.
--Light pheme learned.
Confidence increased by 1.
--Relationship with Beatrix von Wetgen increased to 3.
Successful adventure!
--Relationship with Emilia Strolin increased to 9.
Unsuccessful event(?)
--Confidence decreased by 1 step.
Malacresta used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 135.

Studied at Longshade.
--Social Skills increased by 1 step.
----Learned about Society: Awareness, Persuasion, Willpower.
----School Survival increased by 1.
------Share a Pot of Hot Cocoa action learned.
--Theory of Incantation increased by 1 step.
----Learned about Esteban Contu’s School of Incantation.
----Bring Forth pheme learned.
----Incantation increased by 1.
------Water pheme learned.
--Concentration increased by 1 step.
Social Skills increased by 1 step.
--Demean action learned.
Successful Adventure!
--Intimidation increased by 2 steps.
----Extortion action learned (yet again).
----Follow pheme learned.
--Courage increased by 2 steps.
Aymeri, Basia, and Malacresta used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 144.

Cast Glow of Victory.
--Plus 1 to Beguile, Charm, and Glory for 5 days.
Social Skills increased by 1 step.
Studied at Longshade.
--Social Skills increased by 1 step.
--Glamour Spells increased by 1 step.
----Glamour increased by 1.
------Peace pheme learned.
--Concentration increased by 1 step.
Malacresta, Aveline, and Vrenelle used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 153.
Successful event!
--Espionage temporarily increased by 1.
Vernin College wins again.

New Abilities

Disrupt Communication (Spell): Charm/Glamour Methods v11; +1 Stress, -1 Coordination, Raid, and Patrol to target Clique for 4 days.
Harmon’s Plan (Spell): no roll; +2 Plot and Flawless Timing for 3 days.
Bold Action: +1 to all abilities and actions for 2 days.
Share a Pot of Hot Cocoa: -2 Stress to self and target student.
Pay Tuition [to Contu’s School]: -900 pims, unlocks Study at Esteban Contu’s School of Incantation and Irregular Study at the Contu School.
Demean: Contested Charm/Gossip and Charm/Gossip vs 20 and 25; -1 to Relationship between target students for each successful roll.