Open House

Asking for feedback was a horrible idea. I have another migraine coming on and this time I can't even blame some artifact of doom.

It started with so much promise too. Two little people. Not halflings. Smaller. And they were all potato-looking, but somehow that made them seem cute rather than terrifying. Stupid weird not-human fantasy races. Both wore robes so I'm assuming casters. Age was hard to peg down because I don't know the markers, but they sounded excited when they stepped through my new front door.

"Jjaro I'm telling you it's a new dungeon." The longer-haired potato pointed their staff, well more of a tree branch with a faintly glowing bit of glass at the end, at one of the Hands on patrol. "See? Low-level creatures here too. If Damala were still in charge you'd think it would have kept this place even if it had to roll back from the rest of the cemetery."

Ooooh juicy information! Keep talking little spuds I need more of that wonderful exposition.

Jjaro, pronounced 'yar-row', frowned and pointed at the patrolling hand with their wand. Like their companion, it was a tree branch with a glass bauble, just much smaller. "Arin?" Jjaro frowned, "If it's low level we have no real reason to be here, and if Damala is still around we're undergeared." Jjaro looked ahead, head tilting at the stairs leading down. 'Huh, at least this one is polite enough to mark its border." They probably were referring to the second web-sign I had Charolette weave proclaiming 'Caution. Dungeon Ends Past Here.' I hope no one rips that web up. The Mana cost per word is pretty insane.

The two shrugged at each other and explored. I couldn't furnish the big chamber yet, but the fact it had a lot of sub-divisions made it easy for me to place encounters in measured ways. These sub-rooms were pretty open, having walls partitioning each, but no true wall separating them from the lobby area. I'm not sure why the place had this arrangement, but it worked in their favor in that they only ever had to deal with a few crawling hands, or a spider's nest at a time. Considering I got mana even if my creatures died that seemed the best way to go about things.

I don't like hurting people, the idea of it doesn't sit right with me. Funny I guess. A dungeon that doesn't want to kill the people going through it. One could give a pragmatic argument that I am better served by not annoying people to the point that they'll try killing me off like this Damala I keep hearing mentioned, but truthfully? The idea sits about as wrong as me trying to use the dead buried here.

As the pair go about looting the little coin piles, fungus growths, and piles of cast-off robes and other oddments I consider the encounters they've had. If I were going through this place I'd be kinda bored with the variety. Is there any way I can spawn a skeleton without messing with the folk buried here?

Huh, turns out I can. So right before the pair were going to leave the main room and head for the east chapel Laginn started snapping to get their attention. The pair paused, not sure what to do since Laginn wasn't attacking them. Instead, he pointed to where there had been a minor resource node. Now there was an open casket, narrow at the base and wide where the shoulders were, and a skeleton stepping out.

Its eye sockets locked onto the duo and its jaw moved. "I've got a bone to pick with you!" And.... threw a bone at the potato people. I didn't know it could do that. Or speak. Granted, it was funny. It just left my head hurting from the implicationson what magic was able to wave away the explainations of.

The pair exchanged looks as the projectile sailed past them and smiled. Good! I didn't like that the guy was naked, but I didn't have- Huh, the boney boy must have had the same dislike for skeletal nudity that I did, because it pulled on a set of robes that had been in one of the loot piles. Think less grim reaper and more priest robes. Dingy, dirty, and frayed at the edges, but could have once had embroidery with the church's symbol on it, or maybe it's missing a stole. Either way, the guy was decent.

Plus the robes seemed to have given it some minor protection since when Jjaro pointed their wand at it, the ice shard that formed didn't immediately knock it over. Granted the follow-up from Arin's staff did, but little spud didn't even bother with anything fancy. Just choked up and swung for the fences, sending the skeleton's head sailing across the room.

Seemed I wasn't the only one that thought it was a good hit. Before the body fell apart, the skeleton gave the duo a thumbs up and fell backward. Good. my minions seemed to share my sense of... fairness? Humor? At least they weren't taking it personally. While the respawn timer ticked down I pondered how to best put Bonehead to use.

Was this place ever actively used? Probably not as of right now, but maybe once upon a time? Then again, maybe it had been built by something like myself and never saw anything resembling normal functionality. Except there were bodies in the coffins.


I leave orders for Bonehead when he rises again to be more defensive. To wait until Delvers begin harvesting resources, or attack my other minions. My thoughts swirl around. I had only wanted the one originally, but maybe Bonehead could be in charge of the others? An unsleeping honor guard if this place is to see use again.

So, I spend the mana that's come from the two potatoes on more skeletons, all following Bonehead's orders. His Bone Guard. My Home Guard. Admittedly they aren't much right now, but in time maybe they can be trained? I like that idea, but I'll need a way to get gear for them. Robes will work for now, but I'll want actual armor in time, and weapons.

As the pair go about looting the little coin piles, fungus growths, and piles of cast-off robes and other oddments I consider the encounters they've had. If I were going through this place, I'd be kinda bored with the variety. Is there any way I can spawn a skeleton without messing with the folk buried here?

I can hear Jjaro's laugh as they examined the two offering plates, "Clever!" Where were they? Ah right between the offering plates. It seemed they were waiting on the spider to be between nests to go for the loot rather than swat it aside. Maybe. Yes, I can. I upgrade the chest up there. No idea what's in it as such, but given it's the party piece of that floor right now.

"Booooriiiiing!" A halfling, young, alone. Dressed lightly as he watched my skeletons standing in their alcoves. He danced just outside of their active range, almost as if he could see where would trigger them. Maybe he could? Weird. he was ignoring the resource nodes. Just darting from one to the other. Not engaging. It was pretty obvious he was overheard and experienced for what I've got to offer. Fine.

Laginn snapped twice and a group of Hands rushed the rogue. I'm so intent on watching the acrobatics I miss the two potatoes loot the chest I'd left upstairs, and I'd only known when I felt the soft 'ping' of a notification. In the moment though, I was more intent on seeing this guy taken down a peg. He had Skills, capital S like the kind you'd put on a hot bar, that all seemed to be self-buffing rather than attacks. Laginn would snap in differing patterns, seemingly directing the other hands. This was truly interesting to see what the little guy could do on his own. I was sort of lamenting that I hadn't put any traps in the entryway to steer the halfling towards.

I don't know if Laginn was lucky or if it was an area buff that came off of him but the hands seemed to almost know when to scatter, and when to group. They never could get a grip on the guy, it was as if he were coated in grease, but that didn't stop them from attacking either his knees or try jumping for his face.

The halfling seemed to go from cocky acrobatics, to worried when one of the hands grabbed onto his shirt. that was the initial blood in the water for the rest, Hands grabbed his ankles, and wrists, and somehow, impossibly, pulled.

Laginn rose, a mighty Fist hovering impossibly in the air .... that crashed down onto the one set of jewels that rogue hadn't stolen, causing the poor man to scream bloody murder, keeping him in pain as they carried him to the front door. I was rather cheeky. This yutz wanted to be smug? Well. Time to pay the tax. Laginn skittered about the man, ruffling through his clothes before coming up with a ruby the size of a bird egg. rounded, teardrop-shaped. the Halfling had this look on his face as he was tossed outside of my awareness.

Look, important to you or not, you lipped off to me. I'll hang onto it til he comes back. Let him try winning it.

Now, where were those Potatoes?

They'd looted the upstairs chest. The urn on the way out was empty. Aw. I'd hoped to have Charolette wave or something when they left.

Wait. something's not quite right.

I cast my awareness about. Something's missing. Chest? It got re-stocked. The collection plates respawned. Ditto the other resource nodes the pair had looted.

My search was cut short when I saw that Dwarf from earlier walk through the front door. "-Interview with the Rogue, Finnal Thatcher complete." He spoke while tapping the side of his helmet in a gesture that wouldn't look too out of place for someone talking on a phone's earpiece. "Contrasted against the Leifellin's account leads me to conclude the Dungeon is reactive to visitors and, while not malevolent, does not react kindly to being slighted." He stopped, looking about. "Can confirm new resource nodes spawned as well as wandering creatures." Beat. "Yea a few undead hands, but there are a half dozen skeletons parked at the stairway to the next level down." Another pause. "No, they haven't reacted. And judging by the banner the Dungeon had its spiders weave, it understands it will likely receive visitors often. Though its direct request for feedback is odd, even for cooperative dungeons."

Well, you never learn if you don't ask for help. I mean, you can learn from your own mistakes but if there's someone Right There who might have advice...

The Dwarf was careful to inspect the resource nodes and the robes on display. Then smiled when two of the skeletons stepped forward when said robes were taken. "Active encounter initiated after grabbing low-level robes. Skeletons moving slow enough that Delvers could swap if needed." He hefted his mace.

"I've got a bone to pick with you!" the Dwarf tanked the projectile and grunted. "They're not listed as intelligent, but do vocalize. Dungeon's sense of humor skews towards puns."

Bonehead crossed his arms as he watched the two skeletons fight, inevitably leading to the dwarf winning. "Skeleton Scion observing but not actively engaging. Approaching." He walked up to Bonehead then nodded once before looking to the stairwell, eyebrow raised at the cobweb sign Charlette wove, "Dungeon seems intent to notify visitors of where its borders end. Good. Recommend sending a full party to explore further in if Dungeon does not expand."

A gesture from Bonehead towards the stairs leading to the chapel level before turning to resume his post. As Dwarf took the steps I'd had Laginn wait on the Pulpit for him. the Migraine Book was replaced with. Well, I'm not sure what, When I looked at it the same way I do any other resource lists it as low-level Invocation magic, but that is a... fairly broad range of things with the only real commonality being the caster is borrowing Power from some other entity.

The Dwarf waved to Laginn before turning their attention to the chest. "Chest upgraded to contain moderate loot. Initiating boss encounter." He smiled when the trap triggered several hand-sized furry tarantulas in addition to the tinier status-spreader spiders.

While that Stomp thing did clear out several of the status spreaders, there were still two in the fight and the Tarantulas played keep-away with his mace. He still won, but I felt better about it since he had to put in at least a little effort. So I didn't feel bad when he pulled a slightly cloudy crystal from the chest. "Chest contains flawed Soul tear."

Huh, so that's what those things are? And the one Laginn took from that Rogue was better quality than this one. Might explain why he flipped out.

He dodged Laginn's attack, and tried to smash his mace into my right hand, only for Laginn to grab the haft and... was he trying to yank the weapon out of this guy's hand? What's he using as leverage? Apparently, the inspector guy was just as confused, but managed, albeit just barely, to keep his mace. With a wide arching flourish, he threw Laginn off, "This mace has been part of my family for six generations." He growled, "It'll be a fine day if I lose it to a beardless scamp like you!" In spite of the rough words, there was a wide grin on the Dwarf's face.

Laginn flipped over, palm against the ground, and made a beckoning 'come and get it' gesture. I love that little guy. So much sass with not a single word spoken. He didn't seem to be able to hover or float, but it almost seemed like so long as he grabbed something he could almost behave as if he was attached to a body for the sake of manipulating.

Eventually, Laginn was cast to the ground, and with a sickening squelch when the mace was brought down, I saw his respawn timer start up. Ya did good man. You deserve a manicure.

The Dwarf looked the book on the pamphlet over, "Invocation magic...." His head tilted, "Calling on." There was a soft rumble in his throat as he considered, "Gaia? Unknown Entity. Will have to do research on this Gaia, but the specific spell seems to be class-dependent. Wizards getting a localized earthshaker spell. Druids getting a summoned minor earth sprite, and priests getting a stoneskin spell. Seems reasonably benign as far as loot goes."

A snort as he looked the rest of the available resources over. "Dungeon has made efforts to make a spider, looks to be based on tarantula, patrolling between collection plate resources obvious. Dungeon appears suitable for beginner Delvers." He grinned before looking about further, pocketing the odd trinket before heading through the crypt that held my core. "Core appears to still be hidden, but it feels like it is in the same location."

It was only after the inspection ended and I was left alone that realization hit.

Where the fuck did that one book go?

....this could end up being very bad.


Main Story Index

Current Arc Index



Go Home