Dec 01, 2021 1:27 PM
The Group is not allowed to have an uneventful quiet meal
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"Learning what the hell to do sooner seems obviously worth it. Bonus if you throw in lots of survival tips as we go. I think I'm going to spend a lot of time in shop if I can find people to go there with during work periods, too."

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"That's my plan, if I don't build a forge in my room, and you can come with me or use the one in my room if you're supplying. Show me the metals and I'll tell you how to identify them."

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Metals: Are laid out. She grabbed a lot of random bits of metal. Ingots, disks, lumps. She knows this is pewter just by the look and texture, and these are iron or steel because her makeup mirror's fridge magnet sticks to them, and this is tin and that's copper, but the rest are a mystery to her.

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Annisa is SO DELIGHTED that the kid thought to come to her. She picks the metals up and sorts them on the table in front of her roughly by density, and then pulls out a file from her Swiss army knife and starts scraping at the metals. "Checking magnetism is smart, that's one of the things to do. The other thing I did was sort them by approximately how dense they are, it's really hard to get a feel for objective density but it's significantly easier to rank things by density when you've got a bunch of them, and then once you've identified some that helps narrow down the others. The next thing I'm testing is the color of the freshly filed surface, steel and iron will both be silvery grey but steel will be brighter than iron and also harder to scrape with this file.

Copper can look like various things tarnished but it's unmistakeable fresh. And see this, it's nickel, because when we scrape it it's bright white rather than grey on the inside. If it were white and not silvery it might have been aluminum, which would be a fantastic find, it's worth a lot in here, but I already knew it wasn't because it's too heavy to be.

You don't generally have to let the enclavers claim the entire shop supply before anyone else, any specific cabinet that they're at, sure, but you can look at ones they're not, but with Monday morning shop I actually wouldn't chance that since they're keeping you alive and could decide to stop, or just to not check some cabinets for mals before you look in them. But in general, you know, you want to treat them like smart talented well-resourced people worth impressing, not like they can step all over you, or they'll step all over you. Sucking up to them is part of many valid strategies but only worth doing if you in fact have a strategy for it.

This here is lead. White on the inside but not silvery like nickel, and too soft to be aluminum. Have you heard the claim that lead will give you brain damage."

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She feels the fabric that might have been a curtain. It's slightly softer than her canvas, and it's certainly different, which is good, she might be able to use it for something else. It's... maybe ten square feet more than what she used to make the pants? Which isn't really enough to make a garment, but it's not nothing. She'll be gaining amount of fabric and diversity of fabric, in exchange for... how long did the pants take, three hours? Four? And the charge on the batteries, which can be made up later but will take more time, and the thread, although she can probably get more thread later without even paying a bunch for it. So it basically comes down to whether ten square feet is worth four hours of work - no, five or six, because of the batteries - which it... probably is? Maybe?

"It's only a little more fabric than what I used to make the pants, but I'll give you the pants for this and... any one ingot for Annisa, since she's going to make me a knife."

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- Annisa is going to make Naima a knife but has already been paid for that!!! Is Naima requesting revisions to the knife? Is Naima -

- it's an alliance thing to do, to trade for resources for other people - 

- probably Naima is just...arranging to have a nicer knife. Annisa will catch Malak's eye in case Malak has more insight here.

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Malak does not have more insight here, except that Naima doesn't have interpersonal skills and might? be assuming? that the Group is more serious than it is???

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That's what Annisa is worried about too!! But she'll worry about it later, not in front of the Chicago mundie.

"If it's a deal I'll take this one," she tells Chicago mundie, pointing out one of the steel.

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She is taking notes about metal identification. "Forge in your room sounds like a good idea. In my experience it's not smart to poke your nose around gangs until you know how they operate, and I don't know how any enclaves operate, but I guess I'll take your word for it. I have heard of lead being bad." Coca Cola company made a huge deal about cleaning up lead paint for PR reasons and barely actually helped people at all. Spent more money on the ad campaign than the actual cleanup.

"I was going to offer a tip on another deal you could make but that works too. Uh, I've heard nice things like healing potions exist?"

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"Yep! My advice about lead is actually don't worry about it at all, aside from not identifying smooth grey metals by licking them. If you get out of here with a little bit of lead poisoning it'll be really easy to clear up as an adult and it doesn't hit you that fast unless you're eating it."

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"Right. The ancient romans used lead as a sweetener. Maybe that's why all their leaders went insane and murdered each other a lot, in the end. What's making something magic like, what goes into it?"

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Annisa is resorting the metals by trade value. The pewter's not worth much; these impure irons aren't either, because you'll have to separate them out and that's a chore only some students will be down for; the nickel is solid and the purer irons and the steel are good. "So it's not actually a sharp distinction, right, especially not in here. Items that you brought in from the mundane world will pick up personalities eventually, the way things behave will depend on intent and force of will as much as on concrete features they have.

Artifice is kind of just - imparting that intent and force of will deliberately rather than accidentally, filling the 'what-this-object-is' rather than leaving it to be filled in by whatever intents happen to be around. It's mostly done by incanting as you make the item, by having the work you put into it be very directed and very intentional - the reason mundie items are so vulnerable to going bad is that they're mass-produced in a factory, no intent for them to pick up at all. Wizard-made things go bad much much more rarely. If you want something to be powerful, then you're putting a lot of effort and intent into it, and a lot of mana, and it's important for the intent you're putting in and the mana you're putting in to be sort of commensurate - you can't rush a major artifice project by stamping a knife from a preexisting mold and then dumping an enclave's worth of mana on it, you haven't done anything to communicate your intent. So generally speaking what you do is have your aim in mind from the start of the project, very specifically, if you're confused about anything you're going to have a problem - if you discovered midway through that you were confused about anything you're more or less going to want to start over - and you incant over it, and you put mana into it where appropriate, and you try to build something mundanely high-quality enough to feel appropriately commensurate with the magical intent for the project, and you make sure that at every stage of the process your work in progress is well acquainted with your vision for it. 

You can make very powerful magic items by, like, planting cotton and tending it and harvesting it and separating it and spinning it and weaving it, singing the whole time, all full of intent to make an outfit that will be powerful or fascinating, because that cotton from the instant it starts to exist knows what it's for. There's not exactly an equivalent for metalworking, metals are all much older than us, but an alloy you made yourself is a little better than one you found on a shelf, for steel it's best to do it yourself from iron, and there's endless opportunity for guiding it while you forge it and grind it and fit it and polish it. 

With practice, artifice gets to be kind of - a conversation? You can feel where your intent isn't translating right, where your knife isn't shaped quite like your intent, and figure out what you're miscommunicating."

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Wow. That sounds - really appealing, actually? She's barely ever made something from scratch before but mass produced consumerism always annoyed her. She likes fixing things. Making things should be like that too, she liked making her shop knife and cared enough to give it a second shot when the first try came out subpar. And especially knowing it's magic to do that...

"-Sweet. I already have half a dozen ideas spinning around in my head, probably better refine them and get my expectations down to a reasonable level, though."

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"Is the tip you were going to give me about someone else in desperate need of clothes?"

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"And they have fabric from the shop room. A bigger piece."

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"If you give me the tip, I will fix the stitching on your jacket tonight at no additional charge."

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"I bet I could do it myself if I had needle and thread, got any spare needles?"

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"I will also trade it for a needle, if you prefer that." They're not exactly heavy; she has plenty of spares.

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"I kinda need the practice and the mana, and I figure my jacket will like me more if fix it, and I do have some thread I grabbed from shop, so yeah. Two needles? I imagine you've got, like, twenty."

She scans the cafeteria, looking for Karen.

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Kind of annoying to give her two of them, but she's probably not actually likely to run into that many other people who need them. "Does this person have lighter cloth than yours? I will give you two needles for the chance to obtain something soft."

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"It looked lighter at least, like thin cotton. I didn't actually touch it." Karen where aaare you, she'll have to settle for describing her if she's not in the lunchroom.

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Karen is in the lunchroom! She's a little hard to see because she's hunched over some homework, and not talking to the other people at her table.

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"-Over there. Karen. Doing homework. Let's walk over and say hi? Or I can just make sure you recognize her, either way."

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She pulls two needles out of her sewing kit and hands them over. "Let's say hi."

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"If any of those other than the two steel ingots goes missing I know who not to trust," She tells Annisa (after taking a quick mental inventory), then grabs her much emptied backpack and heads over towards Karen.

 

"Karen? Sorry to interrupt, but I met someone, Naima here, who's selling me clothes in exchange for material - you should get in on it too."

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