In the grim cyberpunk world of the 22nd century real life sucks. So people use neural nano-interfaces to escape to the vibrant fantasy worlds of DMMO-RPGs. For years the most popular of these was YGGDRASIL, but it slowly lost momentum and by 2138 is being shut down. Three friends log in to face the last minutes of the game together, completely unaware of what will happen after it ends.
He nods, makes some vague comments on how the Princess has laid out a good policy, and then - what are the threats in the area like? That villages tend to face?
He rattles off a list of monsters, including a note that the undead ones are pretty rare if you avoid the plains but sometimes sneak past the fortress city. All of the ones that are also present YGGDRASIL are extremely noob, and most of the non-YGGDRASIL ones are painted as being similar or weaker with the ghost ship being a partial exception. Its a floating ship crewed by a relatively powerful collection of undead. It also mostly leaves people alone. Like it will kill anyone who comes across it and doesn't GTFO, but it doesn't make the effort to actively hunt people down like a lot of undead. Peter doesn't even seem to consider the fact that almost half of these monster types use tools and are probably people
(He does note the possible people-ness of the monsters, starts considering ways to open communications.)
He'll let the conversation drift a bit; he thinks he's gotten a good bit out of this that he can, so he's trying to see where they go and if any more ideas occur to him.
They seem to have the idea that you're talking to adventurers because you want stories with action, so Peter (with some interruptions) tells the story of last years royal martial arts tournament. The big favorite to win was Gazef based on his past wins, but a weird blue haired peasant named Brain showed up after having won several smaller events. They met in the finals after Brain kept plowing through enemies using [field] a martial art he invented that gives perfect situational awareness in a three meter range and his high speed [flash] technique. However, Gazef eventually won by using [fourfold slash of light] to attack from multiple directions fast enough that Brian couldn't avoid all of them. Everyone is really hoping for a rematch because Gazef is known for training like crazy while rumors say Brain was coasting on talent but disappeared somewhere to master his techniques.
He nods. Tries to - sort of pry around the edges of guards, and defenses, and general preparedness for emergencies, without sounding like he's actually doing that - mostly more in the vein of asking for stories of past emergencies.
Lukeluther suddenly starts participating in the conversation, and widely derails it by talking about the time he misplaced his gloves as an emergency. He may have kinda caught on.
He'll change the line of questioning, non-obtrusively and to something innocuous. What're some local impossible tales? The sorts of things commoners dream up about magic and adventure?
Well there is an evil god tree in the great forest of torb, and lots of locals think that its bad luck to say the real name of various monsters in case it summons them.
He'll let the conversation drift on, but he does have a long list of things to record and think on, and still needs to plan later days' journeys.
After a bit, he asks about the town proper, if they know anywhere - or anyone - else who'll have stories. Is there a library, or any sort of official story-teller position?
Most taverns have people who tell stories but it isn't really a position. Lots of nobles and guilds have libraries but they don't just let random people in.
He'll explore the taverns, then, and might talk to a guild.
Its getting a bit late by this point, but the Swords of Darkness are going by the adventures guild as soon as it opens up in the morning.
"We might consider accompanying you guys, then, though just directions would be appreciated."
The building is quite easy to find. On the other hand the desk working will be at least vaguely suspicious of people who aren't either guild members or paying customers walking in. Also, the translation magic does not quite seem to stretch to good unit conversion, so while he says what time the guild will open its not actually clear when that is.
He'll clarify a few things about time conversion - mostly in reference to other events - but he's not really planning to be there at opening.
He thanks them for their time, says they've helped a lot with his book.
They'll say there goodbyes then.
In the morning the party heads to the guild. As they approach they can see the sword of darkness leaving with a young man and a cart, but they are to far away to say anything and heading the other direction. The guild building is in the same psedo-Tudor style as most of the city, with two floors connected by a grand stairwell, and crowds of people standing around and setting on the couches provided. There is also a bulletin board and a reception desk, but in a probably poor design choice these can't be seen from the door.
Well, he'll enter. He's still clearly foreign, looks more like a pilgrim or traveling story-teller, though his companion looks adventurer enough.
A receptionist will gesture Kuchinawa to take a small slip of parchment, from what seems to be a take a number system. His companion will receive a lot of looks that all start at his neck then jump around to his forehead then both wrists, I.E. the places real adventure's keep their guild id's. After a short wait he will also be told to take a number and make sure he has his entrance exam fee ready.
"I'm not taking an entrance exam. I'm a foreign adventurer, guarding my charge."
Oh I see. Guild badge replacement fee is material cost plus 5 bronze. We'll also need your certified placement exam results, plus a confirmation letter from your home branch guild leader, or in person statements from two local adventures to confirm your identity. Please move out of the way and let the next person through if you don't have those ready.
He doesn't have those ready because he's not joining or part of the Guild, but he doesn't feel like arguing with her, so he'll move.
Secretary lady takes requests from several customers. She's clearly a big fan of people having their paperwork in order, but her level of rudeness about it is inversely proportional to the customer's apparent wealth. An fat merchant has no problem post a request for his caravan to be guarded while a villager asking for help with some dire wolfs is nearly reduced to tears when the lady presses him for more and more information then threatens to charge the maximum for a taking out a whole pack when he can't give exact numbers.
Unpleasant woman. Still, they'll hopefully be done with her and her ilk soon enough.
After awhile it becomes clear that they are welcome if and only if they are going do business with the guild, and that they can afford to pay as much for a few hours of light interrogation as the average client would pay for several days of actual life threatening work. This second fact is no surprise to Takeko, who already took the precaution of reforging some of their game currency into a fake far south currency then exchanging some of it for Kingdom coins. Luckily Yggdrasil and the new world both work on the gold standard. Even more luckily the new world has prices based on having to actually mine gold in realistic conditions while Yggdrasil's economy was run on the basis that piles of cgi treasure look cool. Or at least this is lucky in the short term. The upkeep costs on the castle are low by Yggdrasil's standards but could easily drain a local countries entire tax base.
After paid conversations with several adventuring teams and some time touring the city they have enough grasp of the local customs, geography, and history to get by. With appropriate visual disguises they could probably even pass as Kingdom natives to people from neighboring countries. They also get a lot of stories about "powerful" artifacts and people. These stories tend to be some mix of things they've already heard, unreliable thirdhand rumors, useless due to not having a baseline for how powerful certain thing are, or are simply pathetic by level 100 standards. Still there are a few things that seem at least potentially notable:
Even people who don't worship the Theocracy's gods basically agree they historically existed.
Talents with a capital T are a real thing that didn't exist in Yggdrasil, and while most of them are pretty lame some of them are quite powerful. For example there's a local celebrity, Nfirea, who can use any magic item without regard for its prerequisites or security restrictions.
Five hundred years ago the eight greed kings appeared out of nowhere and conquered most of the world before infighting weakened them enough for the dragon lords to finish them off. They spread/invented tier magic and created a flying city that still exists today. The details of their other artifacts depend on who you ask, but sound like they were at least in the ballpark of what Yggdrasil players would have access to.
When he isn't being screwed by politics Gazef has access to wild magic items that double his stats and a sword that can cut through anything.