Jun 28, 2022 5:12 PM
Xian in Cosel
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... Wow. "Not having invented rented rooms" is some pretty hardcore primitivism.

And how does the price of buying himself some cheap Bronze Age weapons and armor compare to his signing bonus?

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They're surprisingly inexpensive! Not cheap but he can get a spear and a breastplate. The leather skirt recommended for accompanying the breastplate is actually more expensive than the breastplate.

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Wow. This is presumably metal-magic. Yeah, he's not competent to take over the world yet.

Well, he'll pick up the gear, and he'll take a nine-day job with the guard while he gets his feet under him, and see if any of his fellow guardsmen has a spare room. He knows he'll look funny (what he knows are bayonet drills for close-combat and spear-hunting), but he is very confident that he's ahead of the local guards in unarmed martial arts and that makes him valuable, so he'll take a ten-day job and see about spending it learning the city, becoming reasonably well-liked (he can teach people Attani martial arts! He knows dirty foreign songs he can translate! He buys people drinks!), and learning just what kind of world he's landed in.

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He has landed in a Shattered State! There was an empire, and the Emperor (a mage) was killed by elementals he unwisely attempted to release, which he for some reason did at the same time as a lot of simultaneous magic-backed rebellions around when magic became more commonplace. The rebellions had no trouble in succeeding and establishing the independence of everyone who wanted it.

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That makes sense! He wants to learn all about magic.

... So, the guard is mostly in charge of security, and if there's ever a war it will be magic that settles things? (He doesn't say it in quite those words, but that's definitely what he's trying to feel out.)

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He can't learn magic, you have to be born a mage.

The guard wouldn't be irrelevant in a war but magic is very important both for direct violence (if in small quantities - neither mages nor elementals can keep going with the magic for hours) and for intelligence and logistics (shadow-walking, scrying, healing, working objects made of the elements).

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He doesn't want to learn MAGIC (or, uh, he does, he just can't), he wants to learn everything magic can do.

Shadow-walking, scrying, healing, working objects made out of the elements are important. Can magic stop arrows?

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Depends on what he means by "stop arrows"?

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If, on a battlefield, someone shot an arrow at a mage, and the arrow was moving very fast, would the mage die.

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Oh, probably not, they'd probably have Adamant wards, or have an elemental take the arrow for them.

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What are Adamant wards? And how fast do elementals move?

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Adamant is the metal element and can also be used for generally physically defensive things? Elementals don't move much faster than regular people but you'd put one between you and archers if there were archers or you heard an arrow.

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(So hypothetical supersonic projectiles would work for that.)

Adamant, huh. What do people know about its generally-physically-defensive capabilities? What all does it stop? Do mages still wear armor in battle, if they're fighting?

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People he talks to are mostly not mages and don't know a ton about it. One of them has seen a mage wear armor but it might have been enchanted armor.

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Understood.

... How about healing magic? Just how impressive is that?

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Oh, it's really good. If you're not literally dead the right mage with the right elemental can definitely save you and one person heard a story about someone who was literally dead (though not for long) getting brought back.

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Durante can believe that.

So, elementals, huh? What's the deal with them?

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They're very dangerous in the wild! He should avoid letting any see him if they don't belong to a mage, they'll kill him. They'll also kill people if their mages try to let them go. Everyone's better off if they're working for a mage.

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He ran into one on the way here, yes, it almost killed him.

They just... try to kill people all the time? Unless they're bound, when they don't?

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Yup, that's pretty much it.

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Hmm. What do they do when they're bound? Just 'whatever the mage tells them to'?

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They don't have to tell them anything, they can just magic them to do stuff.

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Huh. Fair enough.

Well, Durante will spend his time guarding and learning. Learning the language, learning how to write, learning what magic does and what technologies they have and what they don't... he doesn't want to leap into anything. He just wants to make friends with people.

So far.

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Most people don't know how to read, although a surprising fraction of the kids do - apparently it's in vogue to teach mage kids even if you skip it for non-mage kids. He can pick it up without too much trouble. They have a pretty simple alphabet but no standardization of spelling and a handful of ideograms for certain concepts sprinkled in among the phonetics.

The guards are pretty friendly, especially if he likes beer and wrestling!

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He learns how to read very quickly, about as quickly as he learns to speak the language. He's not surprised by the non-standardization of spelling, because Cocoon Academy has an excellent history course, albeit unusually focused on how past rulers navigated or more commonly failed to navigate difficult situations.

As for their tastes, well, He likes wrestling and is really, really good it and wants to teach them to be really, really good at it and this will help him make friends. Beer is slightly less cheerful; he can win money off of drinking contests, but that's because he cannot actually get drunk off of non-distilled liquor. He'll buy lots of drinks for other people, though!

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