Oct 02, 2022 8:59 AM
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Step 10

Glint knew Prota wanted to go to the Blue. Prota's question implies they plan to ask Glint to accompany them. This confirms Glint's suspicions that Prota wants to go with him to the Blue. 

Glint is pleased that Prota responded with practical concern rather than excess fear or panic. He considers this evidence that Prota is serious about visiting the Blue, but he will want to test them further. He knows that the randomness of the Blue can be dangerous, and he knows that travel itself is dangerous. 

(Prota's degree of caution reflects the Player's current focus on the practical problem-solving of the journey. The next few prompts should reflect that focus.)

[Glint will allow Prota to bandage his wounds later that evening, to test their level-headedness and medical proficiency.]

Glint finds Prota's suggestion reasonable. He will compliment the idea and offer critique and clarification. [Magics that disable the owner are rare, especially with small sacrifices.] Glint deliberately chose alarming examples. The most common problem is blood loss, and any precaution should not interfere with immediate mundane or magical medical treatment. Glint will also try to confirm Prota's intentions, and ask when they plan to depart for the Blue.

[Resources such as wood and nails are not especially common near the Blue. Bringing a sledge all the way to the Blue, or acquiring one nearby, may be difficult. But it is possible to improvise a simple sledge or travois, and Glint can easily pull one in animal form. Some peddlers near the Blue will sell or rent similar devices to travelers, but showing anyone that you have money or goods to trade can invite robbery.] 

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"Not a bad idea, greenjay," muses Glint, his tone approving. "It's best to travel light to the Blue, though, and rig something when you get there. It's a dangerous road, and long." Glint fixes you with an appraising stare. "You made up your mind, then?"

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None.

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I nod firmly. "I'll practice building things that I could sit on while we rest on the way."

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Prota is signaling determination and willingness to work for their goal. 

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You nod and reply, "I'll practice building things that I could sit on while we rest on the way."

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Step 11

Carpentry is a useful skill for traveling, and Glint will encourage it. 

Prota has had a chance to speak to Glint, ask a few questions, and make their intentions clear. (Prota is not the only one who wants to talk to Glint, so it would be unrealistic to extend this conversation too long. The story can now begin to transition to the evening and making preparations for travel. To do this, and to flesh out the world, a new character may be introduced.) Prota's extended family is moderately large, and Glint is a popular figure when he is around. (Continuing the vague color/gemstone naming convention implied by the names Emerald and Glint, the new character is a cousin named Corun.) 

Prota has confirmed for Glint that they want to travel to the Blue. Glint has suspected for a while, and is willing to help, but worries about the dangers. [Glint will agree for now, but continue to test Prota as they make preparations.] He will excuse himself to greet the other members of the family. (The Player should be offered an opportunity to continue the conversation if they have more to ask. Otherwise, it will progress towards the evening.) 

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Glint nods, his eyes narrowing in thought. "You do that." 

As Glint eyes you speculatively, your younger cousin Corun jogs up, beaming. "Uncle Glint! You made it!" he laughs. "Come on, Emerald, don't hog the old man! Last year you promised us bandit stories, Uncle!" 

Glint chuckles. "That I did. Alright, greenjay, tell you what. You help me change these bandages tonight, and we can continue our talk then. How's that sound?" 

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None. 

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"Sounds like a plan, Uncle Glint," I say, patting Corun on the head.

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Prota agrees to wait until the evening. Prota is affectionate with their cousin, indicating an attitude of indulgent familiarity. 

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You agree, "Sounds like a plan, Uncle Glint," and pat Corun on the head. 

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Step 12

Corun is friendly with Prota, if slightly embarrassed. Glint is friendly with the family as well. He will greet them and share tales of his travels. 

Thus far, interactions with family members have been largely positive. (There is an opportunity to highlight conflict with the family based on Glint's regular absence or Prota's determination to make the dangerous journey to the Blue.) A relative may express concern that Prota may follow in Glint's footsteps. (This gives the Player an opportunity to handle low-stakes conflict and set up future events if the relative is encountered later. However, such conflict will not be a core focus of the story. To briefly introduce this conflict, the Player should be given a brief introduction to the relative and a hint about the nature of the conflict. To further the conflict, the relative should have something useful but nonessential that Prota wants.) 

[Prota's great-aunt Feldspar is known for her Blue-gifted talent for crafting extremely light and durable pottery. Such containers would be useful on the road for food and water storage, and valuable trade goods in a pinch. Feldspar is the sister of Emerald's grandmother on her father's side, part of the extended clan that Glint's sister, Emerald's mother, married into. As one of the few Blue-gifted members of Emerald's clan, she resents Glint's popularity given his wanderlust and loose ties to the community, and fears he will lead others astray.] She and a small group will sit apart from the younger clansfolk, watching with disapproval. Prota is generally familiar with her aunt's dislike of Glint, but does not know what Feldspar is thinking. 

Prota has expressed intent to prepare for their journey. The time of departure has not yet been established, but it is at least a few days away. Time of year matters for travel, but a difference of days does not. 

(Because the plot will take many weeks, it is important to establish the overall astronomy and seasons of this world. Rules should be selected that are simple and easy for the Player to remember, while still respecting any natural laws not explicitly changed.) Locals would be inclined to use major celestial bodies like the sun to determine direction. [To simplify directions, in this world the sun's path is orthogonal to the path of the Blue.] (The presence of a sun and seasons is important to keep the setting familiar to the Player.) [Because this world is a flat plane, its seasons behave differently than those of Earth. The sun's trajectory does not change, nor does the angle of its light on the world's surface.]

(A different reason is needed for seasons to exist. Extending the behavior of the sun, the Blue, and the corresponding cardinal directions, a theme for this world will be mathematical symmetry.) [A possible explanation for the shape and behavior of this world is that it is an artificial plane, created by a powerful being or civilization, with the Blue as a reset or cleanup device, possibly a malfunctioning one. This explanation may be fleshed out further as necessary, or as the Player learns about it.] (Future decisions about how this world works can follow the mathematical symmetry theme). [For reasons as yet unknown to the world's denizens, the sun's intensity fluctuates on a triangular wave cycle, causing seasonal shifts that are identical across the world. The seasons include winter snows that make travel difficult.]

[The year is slightly shorter than Earth years, at exactly 360 days. Because locals lack a spherical planet as a reference, most regard their seasonal shifts as perfectly normal and unremarkable.] Prota would have done research on travel constraints, and knows enough to plan their trip well in advance of winter. [It is currently spring.] Prota has time to finish preparations, tend Glint's wounds, and possibly win over Feldspar before leaving. This can be shared in a future prompt.

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Corun ducks, embarrassed, and Glint chuckles. Shortly after, he is engaged with the rest of the clan, chatting and swapping news. 

That afternoon, and well into the evening, Glint supplies enough tales and gossip to keep the village rumor mill busy for weeks to come. The clan, Corun included, eagerly gathers around for news of the outside, but one contingent sits apart from the rest. Surrounded by a cluster of mostly older relatives, your Great-Aunt Feldspar, one of a few Blue-touched clan members and de facto matriarch of your father's family, observes the proceedings with a sharp frown. Feldspar's dislike of Glint is no secret among the villagers, but her talent for crafting supernaturally light and durable pottery grants her substantial influence. 

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(Prota has been informed of Feldspar's existence and the possible conflict established. For now, the value of Feldspar's pottery for Prota's journey is left implicit and Feldspar's exact motives are left unclear. It will be more fulfilling for the Player to decide to win over Feldspar on their own. Otherwise, Glint will suggest talking to Great-Aunt Feldspar in a later prompt. In either case, the Player may decide whether and how to proceed.) 

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I listen to Glint's stories - they seem like they might contain valuable experience by proxy of the travel conditions I'm about to experience.

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Prota listens to Glint while he talks. Prota is specifically interested in clues about what to expect from the journey to the Blue. 

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You listen to Glint, seeking possible clues about the upcoming journey. 

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Step 13

Glint's storytelling lasts several hours. He brags about his accomplishments and shares news and gossip from nearby towns. The villagers enjoy his stories, but they also find practical value in mundane news such as the state of roads, prices of goods, political events, and movements of other nomadic groups and those with unique magics in the area. Glint travels too lightly to carry letters. Prota is interested in anything relevant to their journey, but will also hear a cross-section of other such news. A small fraction of Glint's clients paid for secrecy, so there will be some stories he does not tell. Finally, some challenges will be wholly mundane: wind, weather, distance, hunger, exposure, wild animals, poisonous plants. 

(The next prompt should provide useful clues to the Player without interrupting the flow of the story.) 

Useful information includes the location and general traits of nearby encampments, specific dangers and dangerous regions, notable figures both legitimate and rogue, and the status of other Blue-gifted individuals and how their magics facilitate travel. (Landmarks on the journey should be numerous enough to offer meaningful choice to the Player, but few enough to avoid overwhelming them. Assume each landmark may occupy a few dozen prompt-action cycles on average, and allow time for the return journey.) [There are roughly eight towns or large nomadic encampments between Prota's clan and the Blue, all with some necessary amount of mobility mandated by the slow but constant advance of the Blue. Depending on travel path, Prota can expect to visit between two and four of them.]

(Magic exists in this world, but most of it is human and does not affect wildlife. Some obstacles should be magical in nature, but most mundane. However, Glint will be more inclined to talk about magical obstacles because of their uniqueness. Obstacles should vary to avoid repetitive scenes and challenge the Player in a variety of ways.) Obstacles can be physical or political, mild or deadly, neutral or actively hostile. (Some obstacles may also tie in to future plot elements or reflect changes to the world as a whole). [Notable terrain features include a grassland corrupted by uncontrolled magic and a swath of countryside burnt by recent fires. The fishing town of Adwell recently experienced a violent revolt resulting in the death of the local ruling family, and is now led by the charismatic revolutionary Sebastine. A ruthless bandit known as Li Voita Nimue, The Grey Walker, has gained notoriety in the south. Grey is behind the disappearance of a clan of foragers, though their involvement is not yet common knowledge.] 

(Because the Player may wish to ask follow-up questions of Glint, the prompt should not force a scene transition just yet. However, to maintain the flow of the story, a subsequent prompt should include a call to action. Since the Player did not immediately express interest in Feldspar, the next logical development is tending Glint's wounds.) 

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Glint's stories largely take place either in one of a handful of towns and encampments between your home and the Blue, or on the roads or trails between them. All the encampments are some degree of temporary, their mobility necessitated by the slow but constant advance of the Blue. Some of Glint's tales are humorous - one story of a client who mistakenly consumed an aperient berry has the villagers laughing for several minutes straight - but most are of strife and challenge. Glint tells of long hard slogs through snow and rain, of a forest reduced to ash by wildfires, and of narrow escape from carnivorous grasses in a land corrupted by uncontrolled magics. He also brings news of the disappearance of a clan of foragers to the south, of the growing notoriety of a bandit that locals call Li Voita Nimue, and of a violent revolt in the fishing town of Adwell, now run by the charismatic revolutionary Sebastine. 

Not all of Glint's talk is of adventure. He also brings news of outlying villages and distant relatives. He travels too lightly to carry letters, but gossip is light as breath. All too soon, the sun is setting. 

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None. 

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I'm really interested in the carnivorous grass - is it hard to tell apart from regular grass at a distance, I wonder? - and I'm curious what Sebastine's rallying incident was; I prod Glint for more on those topics when they come up.

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Prota wants to know more about the carnivorous grass and what triggered the revolt in Adwell. Telling the carnivorous grass apart from regular grass at a distance is likely to involve knowing what it looks like. Prota asks Glint about these topics. 

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During a lull in the tale-telling, you ask Glint what the carnivorous grass looks like and what triggered Sebastine's rebellion. 

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Step 14

Because the Blue is the source of magic in this setting, all magic must stem from humans using Blue-gifted magic. Not all such magic is deliberate or controlled. [Carnivorous grass was created by an uncontrolled plant magic. Because of the nutrients it gains from predation, it grows taller and looks healthier than nonmagical grasses. To attract prey, it appears springy and soft, a good place to sleep. However, it lives in a region where many plants are similarly magical, so its improved health may not be immediately obvious at a glance. It waits for prey to lie down, then slowly envelops them. Magically-strengthened blades of grass pierce the skin, injecting a numbing sedative.] A light sleeper, Glint was able to use his shapeshifting to escape from the grass and rescue his companions. [The grass reacts too slowly to seize prey that manages to pull free. As a skilled woodsman, Glint studied the grass after his escape, so he would be able to identify it in the future.] 

A fishing town needs to be near a river or lake. One possible catalyst for political upheaval is a natural disaster such as a sinkhole. [Unrest in Adwell began when a sinkhole occurred near the river, destroying several buildings and killing dozens, including several guards and the local baron. The baron's son, widely perceived as a cruel and unpopular brat, claimed the sinkhole was caused by seditious townsfolk in Adwell with access to unregistered magics. With the guard weakened by the disaster and the townsfolk angry and overtaxed by the costs of rebuilding, Sebastine, a former plasterer, stepped in and convinced the locals to unseat the new baron, making his claims of sedition ironically come true. Glint is aware of the basics of this story, although embellished by rumor.] 

Glint will share what he knows. 

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