Monstrous Compendium Ch1 bit – Fire

Make it stop!

Dark fire blazed in his hands.

Kirito bit his lip to keep from yelping, trying to bat the purple-blue flames away. Which was crazy, fire wasn’t solid-

Except this… sort of was. He felt something, delicate as a bit of gossamer ribbon, tickling off of his skin as it fluttered toward the stream.

Pop.

Blinking spots out of his eyes, Kirito held still and listened. For one second, all had been dark. Even now there were holes in his vision. Anything might strike through them.

“Hmm.” The medusa had a warm chuckle. “Interesting way to wake up.”

He glanced Stheno’s way, cursing the still-dark splotches in his vision. “That wasn’t- I didn’t mean to-”

“Hush.” Clawed fingers gripped his shoulder, points just pricking the surface of his coat. “Catch your breath. The first casting always hurts.” She crouched slightly, dark lenses meeting his gaze. “You’re not going to run screaming, are you? Galifar humans think sorcery comes from monstrous blood in your lineage, but I’d hoped your islands knew differently.”

Exhaustion hit like a wave; if it hadn’t been for her hand, he would have stumbled. His Skills and Equipment lists shimmered, then closed. His HUD-

Two bars where there should have been one. HP was green, but slightly down, just as it got when you fought for hours without taking a break. And below that, in the yellow that marked half-exhausted….

MP. It wasn’t there before. I didn’t have it.

Kirito shivered. And decided maybe, just maybe, it was the better part of valor to sit down.

Ack.

Ah. Right. Sit, and unlatch his sword harness, so he could sit without poking either of them somewhere unpleasant. If Stheno hadn’t attacked by now, she wasn’t going to get aggro’d by a few questions. “What’s… sorcery?”

“Huh.” Stheno settled herself on the green beside him, snakes alert and interested. “That, I didn’t expect… shhh, shhh, it’s all right. Sorcery doesn’t mean you’re a youkai. All that lives has magic. Wizards tap it through study and practice. Shamans speak with the spirits, the fay, the elements themselves. Potion-makers, mage-crafters – they use skill and hands to draw magic from themselves and the world about them. But in those of us with sorcery… hmm.” She knuckled her chin, thinking. “If wizardry taps a deep well within, in sorcerers that well bubbles closer to the surface. Like a spring.” A soft laugh. “And when we’re young, and don’t know how to use what grows within us… eventually, it bubbles over.”

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35 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch1 bit – Fire

  1. Looks like Kirito has a whole new skill tree to work through.

    Though I’m betting he didn’t originally have enough potential to work magic as a sorcerer.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hmm…I need to get around to checking out the Errabon campaign setting. I’m much more used to Forgotten Realms where magic is kind of the opposite of this (Manipulating the Weave rather than internal energies).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Don’t know much about the Eberron setting (besides what you pick up from DDO), but the story seems interesting. I do wonder what happened with the other players, but we will find out.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hmmm. This is curious.

    You mentioned one of the prerequisites for the Prestige Class Stheno wants to revive was Warlock. So: what kind of Warlock?

    When first introduced in 3.5’s Complete Mage (or was it Complete Arcana? I can never remember which was released first) the fluff for the Warlock stated that it was In The Blood, just like with Sorcerer’s. But the source of a Warlock’s power was specifically either Fiendish or Fey. This was why the class had an alignment restriction where the person could only continue to grow in power as a Warlock (barring specific prestige classes) if their alignment remained somewhere on the chaotic and/or evil spectrums.

    I like to think of myself as a 3.5 loyalist – tho’ these days I’m a Pathfinder guy – but I picked up bits about 4th Ed, and my roomie is a huge fan of 5th Ed. Both of which altered the fluff for the Warlock (and I think removed the alignment restriction).

    In 4th, for Wizards Knowledge is Power, Sorcerers’ have it In The Blood, and Warlocks made a Deal With The Devil. 5th simply changed the Warlocks so the deal didn’t have to be with an Evil Outsider or Fey, but with any greater Extraplaner power.

    Further… Well. You said that an MP meter appeared below Kirito’s health bar. While I think (don’t quote me here) that Warlocks in 4th and 5th do cast some spells in classic DnD style, the original 3.5 Warlock was fairly unique amongst spellcasters that it… well… wasn’t actually a spellcaster. Oh, the class granted you a Caster Level for its affects, but anything that required the character to know spells of a specific level to qualify for? 3.5 Warlocks could go a full 20 class levels and never qualify. Of course,
    many saw the Warlock as still worth it because what it did grant you were Spell-Like Abilities – which, for the DnD illiterate are not spells, but only by technicality – which were unlimited use (I actually once played an Epic Level Ranger/Warlock/Geomancer in a friend’s Homebrew setting, so I know some of the madness+fun that can be had here).

    As I said; I’m pretty sure that Warlocks have proper Spells Per Day in 4th and 5th. Along with the mix of Per Encounter and Per Long Rest or Per Short Rest abilities all the classes posses in those editions.

    Still, hilariously, it actually doesn’t make much sense for Kirito to have an MP bar to measure MP expenditure if he’s a 3.5 Warlock… Though one notes that he’s in a particularly odd location partway through a particularly odd quest. He could theoretically now be any variety of Warlock (nevermind the oddities of translating Pen & Paper to ‘Reality’ to VRMMO)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 4 or 5, or maybe both, let you build mythos warlocks in addition to fey and infernal.

      Spell slots is vancian magic, and mp bars actually do not fit that all that well.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Nope. If you’re using MP bars you probably want a power point system; the closest DnD gets to that is usually Psionics… Though I think there might be some more MP based alternate systems in Complete Mage, Complete Arcana, and/or Unearthed Arcana.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Confession time here: I favor 3.5, no question. But my bunnies will grab stuff from anywhere, including various homebrew stumbled on upon the Web. So… here’s how the bunnies apparently broke down the muddle, using some Eberron-specific elements.

      While some warlocks may have made (or inherited) a deal with a devil or fey, the ones Stheno’s interested in bringing back have actually made a deal with elemental powers.

      Eberron’s kind of full of them, and the various manifest zones make it so the planes themselves have easy access to people that Look Interesting. And if they find someone… well, “deal” is a very loose term. It’s more like, “ooh, neat, grab.” Stheno’s link is to Irian, the Eternal Day. Kirito got tagged by Shadow.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Plane#Eberron_cosmology

      Warlocks are definitely still spell-like ability users. Because that is Awesome. But I tend to go for “even if you’re channeling power from somewhere else, that takes some concentration, which can be exhausted.” That’s what the MP stands for.

      Also, Beniryuu is actually trying to rewrite some of the laws of Vancian magic, because they suck. So player spellcasting is going to be very headachey for the poor youkai from Eberron. The way the players use magic, and spells, is not how it works in their “real” world!

      …But Beniryuu’s trying to make it so it will be.

      They really ought to be more scared by this, but I don’t think they’ve realized all the potential consequences. For example, dragons are terrifying enough with their native spell list. Now think what could happen if a dragon could cast more varied spells, like a sorcerer does, and on top of that cast from “I have this much energy left” instead of “I’ve used my 8th-level slot for the day”.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. >Also, Beniryuu is actually trying to rewrite some of the laws of Vancian magic, because they suck.>
        Beniryuu: Screw the Rules, I’m remaking them!
        (sarcasm) I foresee nothing that can go wrong from this stunt.

        So how ticked off are Aureon and The Shadow (both Eberron gods that possess the Magic domain) going to be from Beniryuu’s fiddling?

        >Stheno’s interested in bringing back have actually made a deal with elemental powers.>
        This is going to be interesting because generally I’ve seen D&D warlocks portrayed as individuals who gain powers from a source but have to serve/repay said source. You’re making deals with devils, fae etc so your power is far from free.

        But what would an elemental power want? The only real ‘bargain’ I can see would be using the person every now and again to try and understand human (or fleshy species in general) mentality. Because elementals and mortals would have very different ways at looking at the universe.

        Or course there is the possibility that by shifting Kirito’s magical ‘axis’ over to Shadow, the elemental becomes just that bit more powerful/present every time Kirito uses his magic. It’s the proverbial drop in the swimming pool but the elemental has all the time in the universe to gather more power.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. >(sarcasm) I foresee nothing that can go wrong from this stunt.

        You and me both….

        Huh. Bunnies say Aureon is having ulcers, the Shadow is jumping for joy. Because this is going to make new lore, so nyah.

        As for what an elemental power might want… I think there are powers who have a bit of a grudge over how elementals get bound into a lot of things in Eberron. And mortals have it so much easier getting near things like that to sabotage them….

        Liked by 1 person

      3. >As for what an elemental power might want… I think there are powers who have a bit of a grudge over how elementals get bound into a lot of things in Eberron. And mortals have it so much easier getting near things like that to sabotage them….>
        Cue the players getting on the ground floor for new elemental enchantments etc because they have the interpreters and cultural background to ask the ‘little Kami’ for assistance in exchange for XYZ.

        This is different from the standard Wizard route of grabbing the elemental, stuffing it in a box, carving control runes on said box and then using it even as the elemental screams in rage from inside.

        I’d need to look at the older books but I seem to recall some of the elemental summoning spells (IE summon and control) where if they aren’t done right, the elemental will be summoned, but it will immediately try to kill the summoner in order to be sent home.

        I can see Liz moving heaven and earth to try and convince a fire elemental to set up shop in her forge. Because if a fire elemental can control the temperatures of its flames, that would be a god-send to a smith.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Anyone seriously taking the time to examine Vancian magic would want to change to almost any other system. It “makes sense” only from an outside perspective of “well, we need to artificially limit things so that it’s not too OP in the most simultaneously lazy and overcomplicated way possible”, and even at that it usually fails horribly because of the “lazy design” part. When examined as an in-universe thing, it is completely self-contradictory and arbitrary and literally incapable of being a logically self-consistent explanation of how a reality might work.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Vancian magic is great in Jack Vance’s novels.

        D&D was a collection of “wouldn’t it be cool” put together more than forty years ago. The changes in play (and in what the players bring to the table) over that time mean that pretty much any design would have accumulated cruft that no longer made sense. At least for some players.

        As a backseat driver, GURPS Dungeon Fantasy or ACKS is obviously the one true rule set. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      6. *Snrk* Well, GURPS can be fun just in general. It’s one way to balance crossovers: just get a rough idea of where the characters you want to have collide sum up pointwise, and you can more easily poke how to even the encounter out!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. *Snrk* Don’t hold back, really slaughter it….

        Honestly, one of the reasons I love Log Horizon was their magic system makes a lot more sense as something that’d work day to day in a plausible world. And one of the reasons classic D&D always frustrated me was one battle and you were generally out of spells. (The classic level one wizard with one sleep spell. Yeah. Try to survive that if your party doesn’t cover for you….)

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Question: I take it that many of the canon ALO players will be becoming warlocks, or at least magic users, with their canon elemental affinities?

        Slyphs, Undines, Salamanders, and Gnomes would obviously have cognates bonded with inner planes, except maybe Fernia and Risia. (Would there be alignment bleed over for Fernia instead of Inner plane of fire?)

        Leprechauns are Shavarath, Cait Sith Lamannia, and Spriggans Dolurrh?

        Which leaves Puca and Imps, which might work for positive and negative energy.

        Liked by 2 people

      9. Oh, I know exactly how terrifying that is. In Pathfinder that’s roughly how Raveners (a draconic only relative of the Lich) cast spells. Basically every Negative Level they inflict (and all their natural attacks plus their breath weapons deal negative levels) is kept as a single point. They can cast any spell they know spontaneously by spending one point per level of the spell. Raveners are terrifying.

        And MP standing for concentration/physical exhaustion actually makes a lot of sense. My GM for the previously​ mentioned Ranger/Warlock/Geomancer ruled that casting spells was as exhausting as any other physical activity, and so my character could stand around casting Spell-Like Abilities all day (and in one particular encounter was actually forced to, with Fort saves and everything, thank God for Endurance as a bonus feat) but around the same time the Fighter had to stop swinging his sword I had to stop casting.

        (The aforementioned fort saves vs exhaustion actually involved my then lvl 21 character being sent to inspect an allied keep solo, and being there when it was attacked by an Adult Red Dragon. It could fly faster than me, but I had evasion and could Flee The Scene far enough to keep it in my Eldritch Blast range. I won through clever use of strategy and luck.)

        Liked by 1 person

      10. The best bit was that the dragon couldn’t flee without opening itself up to my Eldritch Blast (shaped to be the extremely long range version and to ignore Spell Resistance) which targeted touch AC (and as a Weapon Like spell benefited from my ranger combat style feats). Meanwhile I could keep pace with it, but only by using my standard action to cast the closest Spell-Like​ Ability a Warlock gets to Teleport every single round to stay out of its breath weapon range, meaning I couldn’t actually attack. After the dragon and I stalemated it basically came down to who could last longer before exhaustion set in and we started taking non-lethal. I had an extremely high Con (prestige class features, good rolls at character creation, a magic item, and a boon by a greater power all going into it) but the Dragon’s was still higher – unsurprisingly. The fact that Ranger’s get Endurance as a bonus feat was the difference and literally the only reason I won the stand-off.

        Since then I’ve always loved bragging that my character killed a dragon by using what many archeologists/anthropologists believe is the oldest hunting technique known to man: following the prey animal relentlessly until it keeled over from exhaustion.

        Honestly probably one of my top 5 favorite tabletop stories. (The others involve me as GM being caught completely off guard by my players – real “You do what?” moments – my very first DnD PC who had some of the world’s worst luck, and a fee role-play moments I’ll always be proud of.)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. >Question: I take it that many of the canon ALO players will be becoming warlocks, or at least magic users, with their canon elemental affinities?>
    Pretty sure ALO is going to be highly AU here. At least in terms of races present.

    Vathara said this back in the ‘Yelling’ comments:
    >ALO is different in this version. There is flying, but they’re definitely not fairies. *EG*>

    Ergo I suspect that Suguha and co are going to be selecting different species in ALO then in canon.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Cute monster girls (and boys) as far as the eye can see.
        Stheno: -Glares at jack-ass dragon-
        Beniryuu: “What? You were worried about several species that looked to you and your sisters for protection dying out. I’m helping!”

        Liked by 2 people

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