Nov 19, 2018 2:33 PM
Rockeye's new character meets Gem
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"Yikes."

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"Doing science at monsters and genies and spirits and bearers is usually only useful in a statistical sort of way."

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"Individual personalities or just a lot of noise?"

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"Lots of noise. And uncooperative experimental subjects. There are kinds of monsters - except for the big ones, only one each of those - and every one of a kind acts more or less the same. Genies and nature spirits all seem to have the same basic drive. Spirit Bearers are a lot more individualistic."

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"- are genies and nature spirits technically monsters?"

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"Possibly, but nobody defines them that way. If they are, they're very distant cousins."

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"What kinds of monsters are there?"

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"Too many to list but the most common... Goblins are dog-sized with sharp claws, very stupid. Moglins are big goblins with a modicum of tactical sense - they'll actually dodge. Ogres are the size of a car and don't attack people unless attacked, they eat everything in sight instead. Including, say, parking meters and trees. Trolls are the size of a house and tend to go for infrastructure. Bridges and tunnels. Gasballs are kind of insubstantial - sort of like Kaff - but eat away at everything like a cloud of acid. Stalkers watch a particular person for a while and then lure them into somewhere alone and kill them. Devil Hornets are foul little buggers, insect-like things that multiply rapidly when they have any chance to eat paper, sting causes necrosis. Harpies do hit and run, slashing at people from the air. Sandworms live underground and will pop out and eat things whole... That's all the kinds I can think of off the top of my head."

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"How do the luring ones lure?"

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"Mimicry. Pretend to be someone shouting for help in the woods, or the 'swamp gas' trick with a bobbing light, sometimes other things. They can scramble things like phones and radios too."

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"Delightful."

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"Yeah, monsters really are. I think we do a fairly good job of keeping them out. Government-funded monster exterminators on a big scale. Monsters only sometimes beat car accidents for death rate. At least in the US."

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"Cool. It's hard to figure out witch statistics - people do ever commit suicide and murder and so on without a witch prompting them, see."

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"That'd sure confound it. Sometimes people say we attribute too much to wild animals instead of monsters. Also there's probably not a government program dedicated to witch statistics."

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"It'd be hard, since we're secret, see."

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"Yes. Maybe I'm biased but I think our way is better. Of course we don't have evil aliens watching, or need to hunt monsters to survive."

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"In theory, the problems associated with my magic system could be destroyed at the source, which seems less accessible for you."

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"It really isn't accessible to us. Science marches onward, though. We're only mostly immune to it, for example there are magic detectors that are becoming increasingly less like expensive, delicate lab instruments."

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"Oh, nifty. I'm not sure if ours is detectable in principle or not."

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"Very nifty... Whether your kind of magic is detectable by regular old physics in principle, you mean?"

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"Yeah. It runs on emotion, which is not so far as I'm aware a subatomic particle."

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"Could be some other secondary-effect indicator. We can deduce the presence of underwater things without directly observing them with sonar. That sort of thing."

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"I feel like that's conceptually different but maybe."

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"There are thousands of highly motivated and educated people whose whole job is attempting to combine science and magic and it took decades for us."

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"Maybe one day we'll get somewhere with it. Maybe the aliens already have and will hand it over if I can find anything to bargain with."

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