Aug 03, 2021 4:17 AM
Starlight builds a research outpost in the Astral Plane
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“Yeah, that’s our problem too. We had some people who would have worked as points of comparison, but Charon’s servants, namely some specialist thanadaemons, ambushed us and then and cursed them to match. And then lied about it. It was very frustrating.”

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"That is frustrating. I hope we can figure it out."

With that the conversation starts winding down a bit. They discuss a little about clerical magic and then they square away arrangements for where Griffith will be sleeping and plan to keep talking tomorrow by which point a magecrafter will likely be available to help with experiments. Before they part for a time Emiko takes a quick scan of Immonhiel's holy book so she and others can peruse it.

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Immonhiel's symbol, on the cover, is a toad covered in herbs. Her holy text covers horticulture of medicinal plants, medicine for non-spellcasters, ethics with a focus on medicine, and a history of her accomplishments, including most recently her destruction of the Gossamer King, Ghlaunder, a mosquito-like demigod of parasites and disease.

Immonhiel is said to wander, lending aid, often disguising herself as a mortal. She is also called the balm-bringer.

Ghlaunder was only killed a few months before the publication of this text, and Immonhiel and her followers are very proud of the accomplishment. Ghlaunder had invested his power in a mosquito-borne disease, strengthening the disease but also making it such that eradicating the disease would be a great blow against him. Immonhiel thus worked with her followers to distribute a wide variety of medicinal plants, distribute them, and only discreetly discuss their usage. After long decades of distribution, such that it would be difficult to destroy the supply, her followers finally switched to using the medicines to treat Ghlaunder's disease. Once they had it on the edge of extinction, they coordinated to eradicate it in sync with Immonhiel striking Ghlaunder, such that his moment of weakness would make it possible to destroy him.

From the text, a reader can conclude:

Clerics can channel positive energy to heal people and hurt undead. They can also magically diagnose diseases. More advanced clerics can address long-term harms of disease, magically cure diseases, and even raise the dead, though there are significant limitations on this.

People's souls usually go to afterlives of varying pleasantness when they die, and the Upper Planes is where the nice ones are. Actually, the book seems to vaguely imply that people don't die twice, unless they become a servant for a god and die in noble battle.

Griffie's world has a high infant mortality rate, but a lower maternal mortality rate than you might expect, because people can give birth in the presence of clerics, and healing blood loss and closing wounds is easier than curing diseases.

There are a wide range of intelligent species in Griffie's world.

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And the next morning? Well when Griffie is done resting there's another woman accompanying Emiko.

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"Hello Griffith, I hope your rest was restorative. This is Riley Clearsky she's a mage-crafter and in training to do exploration. She'll be helping us with researching your magic and the other parts of your world."

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"Hi there, it sounds like there's a lot to find out. I'm also supposed to figure out if we can allow some of your magic without allowing all of it and exposing us to hostile deities."

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"I read through that book carefully last night. Do you know why disease is harder for Clerics to treat than injury?"

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"Greetings to you, Riley Clearsky! It'll be good to have some analysis-magic here, so thank you for coming by."

"Emiko, regarding healing magic: Undirected positive energy heals wounds, but to treat a disease, the positive energy requires a lot of complicated direction. So 'Cure Light Wounds' or channeling energy just requires transferring the positive energy, but 'Remove Disease' has to use a lot of magic on telling the positive energy what to do."

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"I wonder what positive energy does to like cell cultures."

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"Analysis is great. Probably my second favorite part of being a mage-crafter. The best part is being able to just do experiments without needing to get all the machines I'd usually need to have around."

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"I actually came here with a blob of positive energy, even though I likely can't connect to the Positive Energy Plane, so I can do positive energy tests on samples of your biological materials. Today, if you'd like."

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"If there's a limited supply the first thing to test is probably whether I can make more and how expensive it will be. Can you concentrate it somewhere so I can be sure that's what I'm looking at?"

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"It's an extremely large limited supply. The easy method for me to show you a sample of it would be to poke you with the spell I know that distributes the tiniest amount of positive energy I am usually used to distributing. Though you don't have a positive-energy soul or any other kind of soul I can see either, so I don't know what it would do, so we should maybe poke a non-person first. Or I could give myself a tiny scratch and then heal it with positive energy."

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"We should probably go to a lab space where we have controlled samples to work with. Do you get motion sick? I can probably fly us all there faster than any other method."

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"I'm not prone to motion sickness. Anything you need me to do to be ready to fly me over?"

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"I don't think so. Let me make sure I have a couple analysis arrays running first so I can stop if it looks like there's a problem." She shifts her fingers slightly on the staff she's holding. "Done. Initial test." Emiko Riley and Griffith float a couple centimeters above the ground. "Ok things seem to be working fine. Here we go."

Visually they begin moving quite quickly (a bit less than a half of the speed of sound) but they're insulated from the wind and the force is applied uniformly to their entire body so there's no inner ear sense of acceleration if Griffith has a structure like that. And maybe thirty seconds later they're landing outside a small looking building. "How was that?"

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"Nice work! Very good wind insulation. How much of your energy does it use, and how much design work did it take?"

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"That was using basically all my output at the peak on each end when I was getting us up to speed and slowing us back down. The design work was mostly a standard design. Basically it selects a volume of air in an aerodynamic shape around the targets and then accelerates that volume smoothly while inducing some specific repulsive effects in the nearby air to decrease resistance. It took me a few hours to wrap my head around all the details. If I was making it from scratch it would probably be a days work or so if I didn't have a base to work from. With standard components it probably wouldn't have taken much longer than it took me to understand it. Safeties are always the hard part and standard components have those prewritten."

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"Huh. Yeah, in terms of capabilities you're really not much like my world's divine casters. And let me guess, if for some reason you wanted to seriously and directly injure someone with your magic, it would be straightforward, but if you wanted to treat someone's wounds, you'd have to do all the detail-handling yourself?"

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"You have that exactly right. Part of the safeties are to ensure I don't unevenly apply force if I try to split my attention and power with another spell. Hurting people is easy. You're also right about healing. I'm actually one of the best healers among mage-crafters because I'm also an expert at biological engineering. We do have resonators that do it but those are the result of thousands of days worth of effort from a large team of people."

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Griffie looks enthusiastic. "Bioengineering is great! Do you want to tell me about your projects now, or later?"

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"I think my biggest solo project was an improved template for joint hyper flexibility." She demonstrates the free motion one of her shoulder joints, the ability to bend her wrist to put her hand flat against her arm at either extent and the ability to bend her elbow past straight. "Hyper-flexibility itself is easy enough but the designs before mine lost a lot of overall strength and durability. The real capstone was making it so that it would breed true for at least two generations. Most people just design modifications that can be applied after you grow up which is a lot easier."

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"Huh. And this scales? How many days of the currency all residents get on a regular basis would it cost for one of them to get this?"

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"What do you mean by scales? As for cost, it would probably be around seven days of energy and computing allowance, maybe twenty-one if you have normal expenses and a biological body so you need to save up. It's also within the standard body-mass allowance for most people so you wouldn't need to spend possession mass allowance on it. People working in fields where it would be useful might also be able to get it as part of an occupational allowance. And it shouldn't add more than an extra percent or two to a body switch."

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"When I asked about scaling, I was wondering about how hard it would be to give it to lots of people, and things like that. It sounds like it can be distributed to lots of people without tremendous cost, though? That's important-but-difficult, so it's good that you managed it."

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