The Let's Play Archive


by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 60: Durand de Thiomines and the New Spell

Anedius 15-21

Your friend Durand de Thiomines is waiting for you after class.

See, I’ve got a problem. I’ve about exhausted all the books in the library—
I’m not surprised, the way you spend all your time there.
Right, but I still don’t have what I need to create a new spell. I mean, that’d be a real accomplishment for a First Year, right? A brand new spell no one’s ever thought up before! And I’ve almost got it, too, but there’s just one more book I need. Problem is, it’s apparently hidden in a cave in a pirate cove. I found where it is, but…I’m really not that into adventuring. I mean, the Dance of Fools was more than enough for me, but you love going out and exploring, right? Do you mind helping me? Just think about all the pirate treasure and stuff!

Luckily both exits are green. Still, we might as well see what Exploring might get us.

You figure the pirates might’ve had a quicker way to their lair than spelunking all the way down through the cave. With a little searching, you find a hidden door covered in old vines and leaves.

Useful! It also made Navigation top the list over Temperance, although sometimes that just happens so I have no idea if it changed anything. May as well be Navigation, though.

The cave is dark and dank, but you’re an explorer to be reckoned with. You’re well prepared, Durand’s map is neatly drawn, and the pirate’s shortcut makes the trip down to their ancient hideaway child’s play.

When you reach the lair itself, you stop short. There’s no treasure, but instead a ghostly apparition confronts you. He must have been a pirate once: he wears a patch over one eye and a flowing beard glows eerily in the darkness. The sound of distant chains rattling accompanies his speech.

Who comes to plunder my treasure?
My name is Iliana Ot’Matar, and this is my friend Durand de Thiomines. We’ve heard you have a certain book we need to research a new spell.

The ghost shrugs.

Yer request is straightforward and honest, but I can’t just let ye have the book. I’m cursed to guard this treasure, and so you’ll have to be earnin’ the tome if ye want it. Physical combat is out for obvious reasons, but ye have some choices: defeat me in magic, entertain me, or else…but I can’t say what else.

Puzzles sounds intriguing.

You spy a rusty cutlass with an inscription carved into the handle. It looks to be a riddle, and you’ve gotten quite good at riddles.

Cut…wait, is that an “e?” So cut-less…“Above the sash…” so…just the sash, then? Hmm.

Now how long has it been since an investigation made a new option appear? The last couple adventure strings barely had any at all. Now, let’s handle the ghost pirate in style!

You heft the cutlass and leap towards the ghost. He tries to dodge, but you’re in decent shape, and you strike home with the first blow of your sword. As the old blade makes contact with the ghost’s sash, the room begins to glow and the ghost to fade away.

Thank you, child…

The ghost fades and a chest appears and takes its place. Inside is the book you’re looking for.

The Ancient Tome granted by this adventure stage is pretty decent, but not nearly as good as the +1 Insight book Iliana bought from the catalog. Instead, the Tome grants +2 to Diction and +1 to Incantation Methods.

…And of course I’m grateful for the book, but it’s written in some ancient language I don’t understand. I need your help again. I mean, I know I could go to a professor, but they’re all busy. Besides, they might want the book for themselves.

Arcane text, eh? Using fancy magic is nice and all, but you know what’s even more showy? Not needing any.

Maybe Durand didn’t recognize it, but after some study you realize that it’s just written in an old dialect of Bassan. With that accomplished, translation becomes much easier, and it’s not long before you give Durand the information he needs to start crafting his spell.

You’re browsing in a shop near sunset when a loud argument breaks out in the back of the store. Turning around, you see the owner of the shop accusing another merchant of stealing his property. You pretend to go back to shopping, but you also start looking at the shelves that let you overhear the pair more easily.

From what you gather, the merchant often buys products from the owner to sell in different towns, and he gets a discount for his patronage. However, the owner believes the merchant didn’t pay him the correct amount for the last batch of goods, and his accusations are what started the argument. At this point they’re simply shoving receipts in each other’s faces to prove their version of the story.

The two men’s voices are getting louder and it seems this may turn into an outright brawl. If something isn’t done, things may get ugly.

Sounds pretty messy to me already. Can we get some first impressions?

You watch the two men a little more closely, looking for signs of guilt or innocence, but all you see are a pair of overgrown babies throwing temper tantrums. The owner sticks his finger in the merchant’s face next and yells at him for so long you wonder if he’s going to pass out from lack of breath. The merchant then grabs a piece of paper off a nearby desk and rips it to shreds. At a guess, you’d say that was a contract between these two. This is only going downhill.

Doesn’t seem like a success. Perhaps Iliana should just stick to her strengths here.

Calm down, calm down, both of you! Is however much this is about really worth wrecking your shop and driving out your customers? Look, isn’t it possible one of you made a mistake? Maybe you just need to go over the numbers one by one.

Both deny that such a thing is possible, of course, but you eventually convince them to settle down long enough to actually read the receipts together. They soon discover that the shop owner had accidentally charged the merchant twice for the same load of goods, explaining the difference right down to the half-pim. The owner is understandably embarrassed about his mistake and apologizes over and over to the merchant, even offering some extra merchandise for free to make up for the argument. The merchant is happy enough to accept and the men settle the matter with a firm handshake.

To thank you for your help, the shop owner also gives you a token of his appreciation.

Now that you’ve translated the book, my moment of triumph is near! I just need an enchanted ruby. I found a regular old normal ruby when we looked through that chest Monday, but we’d need to enchant it ourselves.

Bah, enchanting is for Vernin proles. What else you got?

You never studied Enchanting that seriously, so you’d say it should be easier to find one pre-enchanted. You try thinking of every building and store in the area, but your list is interrupted by a conversation between Basia and Caspar Pfeuffer.

Did you hear about the new exhibit? Do you think you could go with me?
I dunno. What’s it about?
It’s about all these wonderful precious stones…

Caspar still seems to have doubts, but you don’t. There’s bound to be at least one enchanted ruby there! What luck that you found out about it.

Except to the exhibit owners, naturally. But who cares about them? Stealing from the Mineta museum is obviously an easier task.

The exhibit at the town museum is bound to have what you need; you just need to figure out how to sneak in past the anti-magic barriers.

Your solution winds up being the same as how you sneak into the Venalicium Library after hours: just find a place to hide away until they close down. Once the lights are off, it becomes much easier to sneak past the guard golems and “borrow” one of the enchanted rubies from a collection.

And you guys were concerned at her powers of persuasion. Garrett from Thief had to work his way through three games before pulling off a museum heist. Geez…

I’m almost ready now! I just need one more item, and I can test my awesome new spell. In fact, this ingredient will determine just what the new spell will do. You’ve been such a good help in my, let’s face it, inevitable rise to greatness, I think you should pick which thing to get.

For the record, the bully’s hair would lead to the creation of Grappling Hooks, a spell that provides +1 Finesse, +2 Brute Strength, and +4 Wrestling, and then also has a contested Fitness/Wrestling check that, if successful, will drain your opponent of 2 Fitness, 1 Competition, and 3 Wrestling. Both effects last for two days.

Honestly, it’s a better spell than the eagle’s feather gives, but Iliana leaves stuff like wrestling to Vrenelle and Emilia.

The feather? That’ll be perfect! It’ll give the caster an eagle’s eyesight, and that’ll mean you can see all sorts of stuff you couldn’t have picked out normally.

You’re peacefully eating your lunch when Vrenelle Bonvin sidles up next to you.

So, how’re things going with Zoe?
Pretty good! After all, she’s not the worst exerciser I’ve tried to train.

Vrenelle pokes you pointedly in the upper arm.

You shouldn’t give up so easily when the running gets rough! You know your arm is starting to look a bit flabby. You really need a good, regular workout.
But running is so hard…and sweaty…and it’s getting really warm out again…
C’mon, you’ll never get fit with that kind of attitude! So what kind of exercise do you want to do today? Haul some hay at the stablery, run a few miles up Mount Oleapia…

Surprisingly, it looks as though Iliana could make it up the mountain if she actually bothered. And since Vrenelle won’t stop bugging her if she doesn’t…

Ugh, fine, I’ll climb Oleapia with you. But you’d better leave me alone after this.

Vrenelle doesn’t seem to hear the last part.

Great! We’d better get started right away if we want to reach the top before afternoon classes start.

You and Vrenelle take off for Oleapia Peak. You take the main trail the whole way, your legs burning just as soon as you reach the base. When you reach the end, Vrenelle gives you a couple minutes, then announces that you will now be running all the way back down. By the time it’s over, you’re flushed, sweaty, and exhausted. Unfortunately, you have no time to rest; Vrenelle grabs your hand just as soon as you reach the main building.

You better hurry up if you don’t want to be late for class!
I feel…like I’m gonna…pass out.
Great! That’s how you’re supposed to feel; that way you know it’s working. Now come on, slowpoke!

I want this spell to be legendary. That means only using the finest components, so no scraggly old feathers from someone’s hat. No, only something fresh from the bird will work. I know the school bestiary has an eagle or two, but I’m no good with birds. Do you think you can figure something out?

Indeed, although Conversing first might help.

At some point, you’ll have to handle an aggressive bird of prey in pursuit of your fresh feather, so you head down to the bestiary to get some advice. Of course, you don’t want them to know you’re going to take a feather from an eagle, so you stroll up to the workers and ask them how on Elumia they manage to move the eagles when they go on exhibit.

Oh, it’s not so hard, really. You can usually coax them down if you use the right tone of voice, and maybe a fresh bit of meat. Then you just hold them down by their legs and set them in the cage. Of course, sometimes the eagle will be in a bad mood, and for that there’s no better way than to sneak up behind them with an invisibility potion and a net. And if the potion wears off, you’re better off just leaving to try again later.

You thank the worker.

The worker just restated the options, so I’m guessing that was Chance of Success. Well, Iliana’s got a better Zoology score than she does Brew, so let’s take the obvious approach.

The Sphinx always had a rare connection with birds, probably thanks to her wings, so it’s no surprise to you that the call she taught you brings the eagle straight to your arm (as its talons clamp onto your arm, you feel thankful that you remembered to grab the handler’s gloves). Admittedly it took you a few tries, but you blame your shoddy memory for that. While you distract the eagle with some food, you carefully stroke the eagle’s back until one of its glossy feathers comes off in your hand.

On your way to the cafeteria for breakfast, you notice a sizeable group of students reading a billboard sign placed in the center of the campus common area. The first thing that strikes you as odd about this is that there was no such sign there yesterday. The next thing is the oddly mixed reactions from the readers: some glance at it for a minute, then go about their day, while others linger for a while, looking rather angry at something the sign must say.

Once you get close enough to read for yourself, you notice the message is written in two languages that alternate line by line, evidently as some sort of translation between one and the other. The first version is written in basic Renaglian:

Dear students of Academagia,

We simply wanted to leave a message informing you all of our recent tour of your lovely institution. We do this because we sincerely doubt that any of you were able to notice that we were here, and so this sign was left as proof of our visit. We wish you well with the remainder of your school year, and look forward to our next visit.

Your friends,

The Schroeder-Gymnasium

Vilocian is basically Fantasy German, which helps explain the name of their school. And just for the record, the other Language skills are Bassan (Arabic), Elumian (Latin, not to be confused with modern Elumian, aka Renaglian, aka Italian), Merilien (French), and Oncestrian (English). Oncestrian was the hardest to place, since it doesn’t exactly say where it’s spoken, but the lore entries describe it as a nightmarish blend of German, Latin, and French, so it’s pretty clear what it is. I suppose Monteonic would be Spanish, but that’s the country that exploded at the end of the Calamities, so nobody speaks it anymore.

You’ve only picked up a spattering of Vilocian, but with the Renaglian there it should be easy to…

Wait. That’s not the same word at all.

You cast a quick translation spell on yourself, then stare in indignation as the true meaning of the Vilocian words flashes into your head.

Hey losers of Academagia,

Do you have any idea how easy it was for us to infiltrate your crappy school, pilfer your food, and sleep in your beds? All those times a text book would randomly fall, smacking the floor and embarrassing you in front of everyone were our doing. We laughed to ourselves every time our snake tripped people.

You suck!

The Schroeder-Gymnasium

You look around to find a cluster of agitated students, and you decide to join them, feeling rather agitated yourself. The students are all older and muttering to themselves, but when you approach, one turns to inquire, “I take it you read the true message as well?” You nod.

A young woman mutters, “I knew I wasn’t that accident prone.”

One of the others nods in agreement and states, “I always make my bed before leaving for class. I thought I was losing my mind when I returned every night to find an untidy bed.”

Another girl adds, “Those Schroeder-Gymnasium punks have gone too far. Something has to be done.”

That seems like the perfect moment for you to put in, “I think our little group here needs to organize a way to strike back.”

Or maybe not? Well, getting some backstory is always welcome.

You don’t really know that much. The Gym is a school for kids whose families come from the islands way up to the northeast, around Staade and Ritzeln. In that part of the world, they apparently have big tests for non-aristocrats who want official positions, and they don’t trust the schools of Elumia to teach the kids what they’ll need to know.

Since the Academagia has always positioned itself as Greater Elumia’s go-to school for brilliant, power-mad mages in training, there’s been a rivalry between the two schools ever since the Gymnasium’s founding.

The good news of all that is that half the Academagia hates those guys, faculty and all, supposedly friendly letters notwithstanding. It shouldn’t be hard to get what you need.

Indeed, since that investigation just turned the Bureaucracy check green. Let’s use it, shall we?

“Wait here,” you instruct the crowd, “I’m just going to have a chat with the Legate’s junior administrative assistant to get us some planning space. We’re like family.”

The junior administrative assistant is, as usual, a Third Year student on detention; Legate Orsi always hands out his most boring office work to any victim he can find. First waking the student up, politely ignoring him hurriedly wiping away the drool from both desk and face, you explain what you need and wait for him to flip through the classroom ledger.

“You expect to be blowing anything up?” he asks.

“I can’t rule it out,” you admit.

“I’ll give you von Rupprecht’s classroom, then. Have a party.”

You collect the rest of your new anti-Schroeder squad and head to your meeting place. Once there, you gather around a wide table lit only by shafts of sunlight in the dim classroom. On a nearby wall you have spread a large sheet of blank paper, and, somewhat to your surprise, the older students have entrusted you with the graphite. They stare expectantly (no pressure).

Practical Jokes is maxed, but…it’s just so appropriate.

You close your eyes and allow your mind a moment of freeform speculation in lines and shapes before you open them and start drawing out the schematics for what you believe will be the greatest prank ever orchestrated. Occasionally you glance up to look on various degrees of confusion from your coconspirators, but you keep on drawing, assuring yourself that all shall become clear once it’s completed.

As you shade in the last box of your masterpiece, you take a step back and take it all in. You have to admit, it’s as elaborate as anything a frequently flummoxed prairie wolf could possibly think up. After giving the others some time to look, you take them through each stage of your plan, from the chickens at the start to the firework display at the end.

After an awkward silence, one of the young men stands up and begins to clap slowly. One by one, the rest join in, until you are bowing before your cheering audience.

With the diagram sketched out and understood by those involved, you move on to listing all the supplies you’ll need to bring your plan to life. Some start forming smaller groups to brainstorm cost-effective ways to get the necessary materials, but one girl comments, “You know, this is all well and good, but I think we’re all forgetting something important.”

“Oh yeah? And what’s that?” another student asks.

“The location of the Schroeder-Gymnasium.”

Of course. The Gym keeps its location a secret to avoid the sort of attentions that you and the Academagia are all too familiar with. You smack yourself in the forehead.

Bah, just details for a master Plotter!

“Okay,” you start, “new plan. Some Astrology can trace whoever wrote the message on the board. Easy. That’ll lead us to the location of the Gymnasium itself. Since they want to stay secret, and we don’t, that automatically gives us some leverage. I’m thinking maybe some fireworks directly over the school that draw an arrow pointing down, or maybe some rampaging elephants to bust down the front gates. Or, oh, we could play the anthem of Staade over the walls every day for a week. It won’t prove anything, but I’ll bet every wizard who’s ever been undercut by a Gym alumnus will start wondering. Now I know they’re a good few weeks away normally, but I happen to know where they dock the Red Ships, and if we can get one, we can be there in—” You stop speaking as you notice everyone looking at you strangely. “What?”

The other students look around at each other, and one of the older boys coughs. “Um…see, the thing is…we’re actually from the Schroeder-Gymnasium. See, it was all going to be part of the joke: we’d take the first person who read the real message, bring her in, maybe fool around some, then tell her we were Schroeders all along and run off. But, um, you could actually mess us up pretty badly with those ideas.”

You have to blink at the stupidity of it. “That sounds like a really boring practical joke. Did you even see the part with the enchanted dancing bookshelves?”

One of the girls pipes up. “Yes, I mean, we all thought those were some really good ideas, honestly. Might have to use some later…but we’re sorry for duping you like that.”

“Really, really sorry,” one of the others adds.

You glare at them until they all look uncomfortable. “Put it in writing.”

This is a rather weird adventure. Not bad, not like the Debatter’s adventure, but weird. Why would the Schroeder students (named after a real prep school in Germany) put up a sign advertising a huge prank, but use it as a decoy to fake out one single Academagian student? Or if the pranks were real, why would they follow up with faking out just one more student?

Then there’s that “goof off” option. Usually the green choice without a skill check during a one-shot is the “please stop the ride, I’d like to get off” option, and it is in this case, too, but coming back later will give you an entirely new adventure stage with an entirely new way to goof off. This happens four different times, making it a full half of the adventure stages.

This adventure is also the most cartoonish, in my opinion. There’s the over-the-top foolishness going on, the absurd twist, Leo Massioti (Godina’s regent) is written in as a caricature for one of the goof-offs, and there are a number of odd references. This includes the one to Wile E. Coyote I altered a bit above, one to action montages I removed completely, and one in another goof-off where the PC utters “This one time at band camp.” In its original context, by the reactions, though the rest is unspoken. I can only shake my head at that one.

It’s time to cast the spell at last! Durand has everything he needs now except a quiet place to put it together. The teachers generally frown on students developing spells on their own, and besides, he wouldn’t want an audience in case his spell doesn’t turn out all that wondrous and legendary.

Both options are purple, and the red investigation only adds a 15% chance. Now seems like a perfect time to Sacrifice a Member; we’ve still got two we haven’t used yet.

You go to find Emilia.

Em, glad I found you! See, Durand here needs a quiet place to test a new spell. I thought maybe you knew somewhere he could go?

Emilia almost flinches at the boy’s name, and she stares daggers at him. She really hasn’t forgiven the Durand College for the prank they pulled back at the year’s start. Ignoring his stumbling attempts to convince her, Emilia turns to you and asks, frowning:

Do you really want me to take a Durand student into one of my hiding spots, Ana? He’ll tell all his friends and then I’ll never get to use it again!
Durand’s not that bad, despite the name. He helped us find out about the Dance of Fools, remember? Think of it like a trade, Em. You give him the hiding spot, and I’m sure he’ll be happy to copy the spell out for you, too. Right, Durand?
What? Oh, yes, yes, of course! Just make sure you let everyone know how you got it, okay? And I won’t tell anyone where it is, I promise.

Emilia looks about ready to tell Durand where he can stick his promises, but she relents as you give her a pleading look.

…Fine, I guess I could show him one of my riskier spots.

Though still a bit reluctantly, Emilia takes the two of you after dinner to a dark corner in the Great Hall which people somehow seem to ignore. After laying out the spell components, drawing the right markings, and a short (yet pompous) speech, Durand finally casts the spell.

It goes off perfectly. To thank you both for all your help, Durand writes it down for you to cast whenever you want.

After your visit to a tavern to boast about outsmarting a bunch of Schroeder-Gymnasium students, you head back to the Academagia to refresh yourself for the Kaliri exams. You’re griping a bit at the thought of studying all night, but Eduard Solov’ev tells you he isn’t worried, and shows you a small shiny black stone.

It’s a wisdom stone. If I perform the right spell on it when facing a challenge, it’ll give me the wisdom to see and understand everything in front of me.
Wow. Where’d you get it?

Eduard gives you directions to the enchanter’s abode, but after spending an hour wandering the twisted, labyrinthine streets of the city looking for the right shop, you realize that Eduard led you astray.

So now what?

Eduard’s harmless, I’m sure he’d never do something that mean on purpose. Well, there was the whole thing with Rui a while back, but that was just a misunderstanding!

Maybe Eduard wasted a bunch of your time, but you know he didn’t really mean to. Besides, he wasted just as much time himself, and you can see he’s worried about what will happen now.

Don’t worry, Eduard, I’m not angry at you. I don’t even need a wisdom stone anyhow.
Thanks, Iliana. I guess I don’t know the city that well after all. I could help study with you if you want, though.

It’s not a terrible way to pass the rest of the evening, at least.

The duel you’re watching is a lot more exciting than usual. Both duelists obviously studied their spells before coming here today, and you’re impressed by the level of professionalism each duelist is showing. No cheap tricks or mind games to be seen; it’s just a classic duel, wand versus wand, rival against—oops, there goes a wand!

Malthezar Mhadi’s wand is blasted right out of his hand. You have trouble following it as it arcs into the crowd, but you do manage to spot where it falls. Like a proper spectator, you take a step away from the wand, giving the duelist the opportunity to retrieve it, but Flore Yveuillet steps forward and places her foot over the stick, hiding it from view.

That’s not very sporting, you think to yourself. You aren’t familiar with any trouble going on between the two, but you can certainly understand if this is the result of Malthezar’s temper running into Flore’s nasty sense of humor.

The unarmed duelist runs frantically through the crowd, searching for his wand; if he can find it before his opponent can hit him with a spell, the duel goes on. If not, he’ll lose automatically and Gwendy Zuyder will be declared the winner.

You wonder how you should help.

The characters in the random dueling events aren’t picked at random, by the way. That’s why it makes sense for Malthezar to be in a duel and for Flore to be playing a cruel trick. His opponent also makes sense, since Gwendy is little miss Great White Huntress and Mal’s in “hug the animals” Morvidus.

I’m a little disappointed that there isn’t a “do nothing” option, though. What if the PC hates Malthezar for some reason? Wouldn’t care about sportsmanship then, most likely. So what’s Observation tell us?

You look around, eyes peeled, but you cannot find anything that would help the duelist.

Rats. Well, Iliana would like to help, but she also doesn’t want everyone to think she’s a squealer, so how about doing the quiet thing?

Although you aren’t willing to risk anything yourself, you also aren’t willing to just stand there and let this attack on sportsmanship go by. As everyone backs away from the searching duelist, you take your time stepping away and quietly point your hand at Flore’s shoe. Malthezar sees you and realizes where his wand is. With a quick heave, he forces the cheater away and grabs his wand just in time to draw up a counterspell against Gwendy’s attack.

The duel resumes in earnest, and you blend back into the crowd to watch it continue. When it’s over, Malthezar is declared the winner. As the crowd breaks up, he comes over to you and pats you on the shoulder, thanking you for your help.

“So long as there are wars, there will be those who kill for money.” Mercenaries have always had a place in Mineta, but their influence has waned since their heyday during the Calamities and the fall of the Empire. As the city rebuilt itself into a center of trade and tourism, there was no real place for mercenaries in the militia, and every reason to strengthen the latter with every able body. As such, the city council changed the entry requirements to the Mercenary Guild to “retired mercenaries only.” Not that this helped as much as they’d hoped; instead of recruiting for the various mercenary bands directly, the guild members now simply refer prospective youths to unregistered recruiters for their former employers. Still, it’s made hiring and enrolling mercenaries a bit harder and kept it out of the streets, so no further action has been taken.

The guild itself imposed the “Vilocian speakers only” rule, although it’s more a formality than anything, since most mercenaries pick up the language in the course of their training. It’s even less a formality where Academagian students are concerned, as you soon discover: mercenaries are always on the lookout for top-notch talent, something your school practically guarantees. As such, the guild members are all very welcoming and friendly for your visit, even willing to help teach you more of Vilocian, “to help in your future career.” The members also regale you with tales of their old battles, but what interests you more are the topics they talk about behind your back. By pretending to know even less about Vilocian than you do, you’re able to hear quite a bit about how various wars are going on, based on which and how many mercenaries are switching sides. Nothing they say seems to involve your own home, though, which makes you feel better about only listening in.

Today is the culmination of your efforts.

You’ve been practicing the lead role for Chanrico and Letressia for two solid weeks now, which, considering your other commitments to the student council, Duel Club, and your classes, has put significant strain on your relationships with your friends. But now it’s all paid off.

At first you were disappointed to learn there would only be two real performances, but after living through the constant mistakes (by yourself and others), the director’s stress, the scenery accidents, the actors who constantly miss practices, and Vettor Conta’s attempt at “improving” the final death scene with a fake blood fountain, you have to admit that two weeks is actually far too little time to prepare for a play. But with Kaliri coming up soon, there’s no way of pushing the date back further.

Things don’t go perfectly for the real performance, either. There are the occasional flubbed lines and skipped paragraphs, but you do your best to ad lib a natural response when someone screws up, at least while on stage, and the experienced actors also do their best to cover for their fellows. And yet, with all the issues, the audience still eats it up! It’s just like you’ve always known: no matter how many mistakes you make, so long as you look like you know what you’re doing (and so long as you know more of the script than anyone watching), nobody will notice.

In the end, the audience gives you all a standing ovation, and you wind up making two curtain calls before they finally quiet down and head out. Even Emilia manages to brave the crowds and give you a compliment as you clean up in the green room. Carmine had other business tonight, but he did send a flower along, which you liked.

Gains of the Week

Successful adventure!
--Navigation increased by 1 step.
--Gained an Ancient Tome.
--Learned about the above.
--Courage increased by 1 step.

Successful adventure!
--Bassan increased by 1 step.
----Prescriptive pheme learned.
Aveline used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 441.
Successful event!
--Stress increased by 1.
--Character Study increased by 1 step.
----Oneness pheme learned.
--Diplomacy cannot be increased.

Successful adventure!
--Move Silently increased by 1 step.
----Ambush increased by 1.
------Sucker Punch action learned.

Successful adventure!
--Stress decreased by 2.
Malacresta used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 444.
Successful event!
--Willpower increased by 1 step.

Agriculture increased by 1.
Successful adventure!
--Birds increased by 1 step.
Malacresta and Aveline used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 450.

Successful adventure!
--Divulge Secrets spell learned.
--Luck increased by 1.
--Bring Forth and Expose phemes learned.
Successful adventure!
--Vilocian increased by 1 step.
----Learned about the Mercenary Guild House.
--Drafting increased by 1 step.
--Luck increased by 1.
Told an Anecdote.
--Relationship with Cinzia Ammacapani increased to 1.
--Relationship with Prudence Cossins increased to 3.
--Relationship with Grainne Inneith increased to 3.
Basia and Malacresta used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 459.
Successful event!
--Relationship with Eduard Solov’ev increased to 8.
Morvidus wins again.

Studied at Esteban Contu’s.
--Incantation Phemes increased by 1 step.
----Transparency pheme learned.
--Incantation Spells increased by 1 step.
--Theory of Incantation increased by 1 step.
----Learned about the Incantors’ Workshop.
----Incantation increased by 1.
--Net 0 Stress gained.
Visited the Mercenary Guild House.
--Vilocian increased by 1 step.
----Attack pheme learned.
--Famous Battles increased by 1 step.
----Battle of the Ki’bonic Pass spell learned.
--Logistics increased by 1 step.
----Float pheme learned.
--Intrigue increased by 1 step.
Performed at Dimmae Theater.
--Glory increased by 1.
Malacresta used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 465.

New Abilities

Sucker Punch: Strength/Ambush v target’s Insight/Danger Sense; -2 Vitality on target, and +1 step in Tactics and -1 step in Ethics regardless.
Divulge Secrets (Spell): no roll; +4 to Observation and +3 to Awareness for 3 days.
Mercenary Guild House: Intelligence/Vilocian v6; +1 step to Intrigue, and +1 step to Vilocian, Famous Battles, and Logistics regardless.
Secure an Invitation to the Workshop: Charm/Persuasion v6; gain access to the Workshop, +1 step to Persuasion and Dedication regardless.
Battle of the Ki’bonic Pass (Spell): Insight/Glamour v6; target gets +4 to Logistics and +2 to Vitality max for 7 days.

I swear, guys, I did not savescum to get that point of Glory. That is honestly the first thing the game chose, and the reference tables are completely random. I don’t think even Luck has an effect on what gets picked.