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.
We're actively at war with the Elfs, the Empire wants to take over Re-Estize. We give the Dragon Kingdom military aid against the Beastmen. Most of the non-human tribes make opportunistic raids humans and each other but don't really do war per se. Everyone else low key hates each other but aren't currently fighting.
He's familiar with the concept of making treaties on specific issues but not of NATO style treaty organizations.
"Does anyone have defensive pacts with each other, then?"
She'll ask a few more clarifying questions about international politics, but this topic seems mostly exhausted.
Yeah, that said there are some mildly interesting conventions that countries mostly hold to, most notably that they pre-arrange the time and date of major battles so that they have an easier time containing the resulting undead. Relatedly, you're relatively close to the Katze plains, which is the the main killing field for the kingdom and empire. Like outside the real danger zone, but still in the general wasteland region.
Noted. Other nearby geographical, political, or geopolitical landmarks like that?
If you go slightly further past the village than you did you hit the monster infested forest of Tob which then gives way to the mountains the dwarves inhabit. You're also fairly near the fortress city of E-Rantel which separates the inhabited parts of the kingdom from the Katze plains on one side an the Theocracy on the other.
Is he able to at least sketch a map?
He tries, but his drawing skills are non-existent and as everyone knows writing isn't auto-translated so he can't usefully label it.
She has a good enough memory to mostly recall what each label means if said out loud, and this is really more for immediate reference and spatial orientation, anyways.
(For that matter, what's their writing system like? She'll be too busy to learn it, but she might want to assign someone to that task if it won't take years.)
The writing system is phonetic and quite easy to learn if you already know the spoken language which is you are incapable of hearing without it being auto-translated. This is a known issue and why most people don't learn to read foreign languages. Well its why even people with educations and the chance to deal with foreigners don't. Most people don't learn how to write in foreign languages because they are illiterate peasants.
(...That's moderately dumb, why don't they have a universal logographic language. She doesn't ask this, but does note that she still might want to assign someone. Learning word roots like logographs should be possible. (She doesn't say this out loud.))
She'll keep him alive for now, and consult Soreiyu on whether 'killing him,' 'letting him go after scaring him,' or 'turning him over to local justice' seems best.
He's generally in favor of handing him to local justice. It does best to at least appear friendly to the locals.
Also: "We should attempt to scout the area more. Preferably incognito."
"Reasonable, though they seem to hold prejudices against non-humans, and I'm not sure I trust the - recently ex-NPCs - all that far."
"Me and Soreiyu can pass with head coverings and contacts for me, and we can have a disguise under it in case someone removes them?"
"Sensible. I can manage a basic disguise like that, too, even continuously."
"Say you're travelers from afar, writing a book for the audience at home," she suggests. "It's less suspicious, I think."
And that seems to be that; after some more discussion, they select E-Rantel for their destination.
The city is a massive fortress completely surrounded by a walls with towering spires. To get in you have to go through a gate worked by a visibly bored guard squad. They ask the travelers further up in line basic questions about their business in the city and occasionally have a magic user cast pathetically low level detection spells. The one merchant to have "high level" magic items in her inventory gets extra questions but is allowed through.
They don't actually need high level items to be a local threat, so they didn't bring their usual glowing-like-a-Christmas-tree-on-fire arsenal. Just a relatively few things Soreiyu has hidden, and some ritual components in an expanded pouch (also hidden).
He lets Kuchinawa take point on socialization and explaining their story: travelers from a far away land, writing a series of stories about their travels for the audience back home, curious about these lands.
The guard will be slightly more interested than normal, and ask some basic questions; what your country is called, where exactly is it, and who is your king/leader?
Not on his map, but it's here, on theirs (far scrying: for the win), and it's named such-and-such (they did, actually, find a Japan-esque nation very unlikely to contact this one in the next, oh, century), and the leader's so-and-so. They've been traveling a long time, and don't expect any sort of official contact - but you might have seen the occasional ware passed along trade routes? Their country makes very good fine pottery and silk paintings - nothing they brought, of course, needing more space for their papers and pens.
Oh so thats how you pronounce that place. He once saw a rich guy wearing some weird clothes and asked a friend about them. Anyway, since you're from so far away he'll give you a very brief spiel about how awesome a fortress their city is and directions to the three inns in the city. On is super cheap and mostly used by adventurers, one is super expensive and mostly used by high roller merchants with the occasional noble that isn't staying long enough to just get a mansion, and a middle of the road place used by everyone else. And now its time for the line to move on.
They'll thank him and move along.
The place used by adventurers fits more with their cover, and seems like it's more likely to be rife with rumors and people who like to tell stories about themselves, so they head there.