Monstrous Compendium Ch2 bit – Boss Rumors

“Somebody posted a screenshot of what they said was the dev team’s tease for the 25th floor boss fight. Darkfire – the caption looked like it was on some kind of player spell or effect a lot like what you had. Only bigger.” Dale rubbed the back of his neck above his armor. “I’m kind of hoping it was just a tease, and they went with some other boss. Lycans are bad enough. The last thing we need is a vampire.”

“Man, that’s for….” Klein trailed off. “Um. Kirito? I really don’t like that look.”

“It’s nothing solid,” the swordsman stated. “But Stheno spoke as if vampires do exist.”

Klein thought he could probably count all the hairs on the back of his neck. They were standing straight up. “Oh, this world just keeps getting better. Did you tell Argo?”

“She was there.” Kirito smirked, just a little. “I know she’ll be interested to hear what you know when she comes out, Dale. Hold out for something good.”

She was there? It might be bright and sunny out here, but Klein swore he felt ice down his spine. Because Kirito was at least implying Argo was still in there, and Stheno had mentioned girl talk, and that meant-

Klein shuddered, and decided to think about something safer, like slavering man-eating giant sundew plants. Some things, man was not meant to know.

“Well.” Kirito looked down at his empty palm. “It’s called the Sorcery Skill. I’m not sure if it’s a quest reward or a random event. Stheno said the power just… wakes up in some people. Humans or youkai. So I thought you should know. In case you run into something that can cast spells without chanting.”

“A whole Skill as a random event?” Harry One muttered, tails of his bandanna rustling as he eyed Kirito. “What kind of game balance is that?”

As far as Klein could see, Kirito didn’t even blink. But he saw Issin’s ears twitch, with the determined expression that meant their shaman thought someone needed a manly hug. And he definitely saw the sidestep as Kirito oh so casually moved out of grabbing range. Damn it.

“And Agil thought Issin was going to be more skittish,” Klein grumped, crossing his arms. See? Not going to grab you. You idiot. “Something about a long-tailed cat and a room of rocking chairs. Though I guess he’s got a point. Nekomata, rocking chair – bad mix. So you’ve got magic now. So what?”


76 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch2 bit – Boss Rumors

  1. [But he saw Issin’s ears twitch, with the determined expression that meant their shaman thought someone needed a manly hug. And he definitely saw the sidestep as Kirito oh so casually moved out of grabbing range. Damn it.]

    I stand by my statement to say that Fuurinkazan is best guild. These guys are great.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. >>Oh, Kirito, sweetie. Fuurinkazan is never going to turn on you.

      Of course, once they latch on, they’re also never going to let you go. Not that that’s really a bad thing… 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. …ouch. I know exactly how Kirito feels, and that’s, rather uncomfortable. Not being able to really stand friendly touches because the back of your brain expects pain behind them is not a great way to live. Reacting to friendly touches with potential life threatening violence makes it even worse, because now you’re scared of yourself too. And I’m sort of getting the feeling that a lot of the youkai are more touchy feely then Japanese or Americans. Which means him being able to give that hug was even more important.

    Sadly, the only thing that cures something like that is time and help. Thank goodness for Asuna coming along(also Yui, which might actually be more help. Especially if she’s in cute kid form.)

    Also, Klein, I didn’t see you much in the first light novel. I’m thinking that’s everyone’s loss.

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  3. Oh, you silly, silly thing, vampires are not the worst thing you will be facing…

    On an another note: I would recommend watching the SAO Abridged Parody since it has finished season one and is often better then canon. It has people in SAO who feel like the kind of people who play games and SAO also has the kinds of problems a large open world game usually has at lunch.

    Kirito is an unrepentant a$$hole who learns to care about people thanks to his experiences in SAO. Best embodied in his med-bossbattle rant from episode 8.
    “““ ”””
    Kirito: Ya know something? I really. Hate. People. They’re selfish, ignorant, loud, obnoxious pricks… With basically no redeeming qualities whatsoever… I mean really, look at all they’re achieved… Genocide… Global warming… Reality TV… It’s just a never-ending parade of failures and f*ck ups! They are, without question… A complete write-off of a species… AND HOW DARE YOU MAKE ME CARE ABOUT THEM!!!

    Said rant was livestreamed to everyone unbeknown to him.
    Heathcliff creating the blood knights was also explained.
    “““ ”””
    Asuna: So then, why did you pretend to be Heathcliff?
    Kayaba: You remember that first month where 2000 of you died without even clearing the first floor?
    Asuna and Kirito: Oh… Yeah, yeah…
    Kayaba: Well, I couldn’t exactly say “Oops, my bad!” at that point.

    also removing profanity from my comment so it will post is a pain.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m more worried about the Daelkyr than anything else, given this is Eberron. Though for slightly lower-level horror and pain the arse there’s always Mindflayers and all of their friends.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Some of the simulations based on tables from certain versions suggest that what tends to come in and wreck you over the long term is the rough men.

        Forty years of variation in monsters and combat rules covers a wide range of scary. And the early years were developed in conjunction with wargaming.

        “You enter a room the size of the super dome. There is a legion of Roman heavy infantry, a legion of Roman heavy infantry, a legion of Roman heavy infantry, a legion of Roman heavy infantry, a legion of Roman heavy infantry, and an ala of Roman light cavalry here. What do you do?”

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      3. room the size of the super dome. etc.

        Well now that depends.

        Is it open topped? Is there sun? Do I have enough time to set a bunch of highly polished disks around the rim, with armed men to focus them on the legions below?


        Liked by 1 person

      4. > And no, vampires will not be the worst things they face. D&D has some nasty monsters, and I came up with a few myself….

        and here i was just thinking about the tech-savvy red-dragon.

        > Did Kayaba bring in the wallmasters. Or the stalactite monsters. Or the Bag of Holding that actually eats all your items and your hand when you stick it in there. Or anything from this list really

        funnily enough, all those stupid trap monsters and artifacts are the result of old-school D&D tournaments having multiple groups going through the same dungeon where the winner is the ones that managed to get the farthest from the door before getting horribly killed.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I suspect that probably the worst part of this ‘So what?’s answer is that Kirito had made such an effort to stay human. He was so desperate to avoid even a hint of infection, and terrified that gaining magic would change the way he thought.

    It’s not just that Kirito’s​ worried about how others will react, it’s that he’s worried about if he can trust his own mind, and if he’s even still him anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The next boss is the twenty fifth level one.

      Kirito is maybe SAO level thirty five, about a DnD 3.5 level seven.

      AO^3 comment suggests that Kirito is effectively a fighting class that uses two weapons. Which includes, I think, Ranger. Which also does bows, making it also a probable fit for Sinon.

      In 3.5, the Ranger also has favored enemies, animal companions, and IIRC divine spell casting. So he might’ve gotten magic even without that level in Warlock. Might’ve had it already except for normal divine spellcasting not being in the game yet.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. To be fair, while the Ranger’s spellcasting is ‘Divine’ it’s usually not depicted as being drawn from a specific Deity. Its source was always left kind of vague: possibly Nature worship, possibly merely being attuned to and in harmony with Nature/The World around you.

        On top of that, this is Eberron in specific we’re talking about. The setting designer made it very clear – since the gods tend to be much more ‘hands-off’ when it comes to the setting – Divine spellcasting isn’t granted by the gods. The Gods can grant Divine spells, but the source of Divine magic is internal, just like for Arcane. It’s derived from and determined by Faith, but the source is the caster.

        This is why Eberron is one of the few settings where clerics do not have to be within one alignment step of their God’s alignment. Further, this also one of the reasons why the Church of the Silver Flame has so many problems with internal corruption compared to the churches of the major Lawful Good gods of other DnD settings. If the clerics can be of any alignment and continue casting the same spells as long as they believe they’re still acting in a way their good would approve of, then the only way to root out corruption is the same difficult methods we use in the real world. This also gives us some of the frankly scarier and more delusionally dogmatic villains running around causing problems.

        I’m getting sidetracked. The point is, it’s actually pretty hard to say that Kirito only hadn’t gained magic yet because the game is currently sealed from Divine influence. It’s entirely possible, and frankly even likely, that Rangers amongst the SAO survivors would have – and will have – gained spells by the time they reach Kirito’s level. What’s more likely given Kirito’s lack of both spells and animal companion is that either Kirito chose, or the game shoehorns the players into non-casting variants of the classes in question.

        And while Ranger does make sense for Sinon (I remember her Cait Sith character in ALO and her longbow skillz), given that what we’ve seen so far indicates CrossoverCreativeChaos is willing to mix and match all the bits and pieces of DnD’s various incarnations, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Sinon will end up more like a Pathfinder Gunslinger. I mean, CrossOverCreativeChaos’ Warlock already has a great deal in common with Pathfinder’s Warlock-equivalent, the Kineticist:

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bunnies were actually thinking that the game applies something a little more like real life – it starts out with “generic fighter” and shunts people into more specific classes as they pick up skills and show inclinations toward them. So it’s more along the lines of, Kirito’s by this time starting to show he has a real knack for wilderness stuff and nonlethal critter handling. So “shunt this guy to ranger….”

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Thing is, we see a list of known to the players magic skills.

        Wizardry (DnD Sorcerers), Mage-crafting (I think maybe Artificers), Shamanic Paths(probably a cleric variant, not a standard one), Potions (Alchemists?), and now Sorcery(Warlocks). We know that whatever Eberron Wizards would use was deliberately not included. My conclusion is that each skill matches a Class’s type of casting. I’m not sure if there is a Shaman class that matches Shamanic Paths, or if it matches Druids. I am reasonably certain that if there is a skill that matches to standard clerical casting, it is not known to the players yet, and not in play. I think the Paladin’s might use that skill tree in addition to ‘Lay on hands’ etc… I’m not sure if a Ranger’s casting would match that, or a different skill. It does seem plausible to me that the designers did not include the standard Clerical tree in SAO, and that divine intervention will add it.

        The author has strongly implied that the Silver Flame will be intervening to make Klein a Paladin, and game support for that class and patron would likely not have been in the design document.

        I think the lack of Animal companions is simply a matter of not investing in the taming tree. ALO canon, the Cait Sith are the tamers, and of them we mainly see Silica with Pina. So I guess Sinon, Argo, etc… didn’t invest the time in that, and didn’t have them. But I’ve gone gone badly wrong here supposing before.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. There are a lot of classes in 3.5 that can dual wield. The ranger just happens to be one of the classes that can get free feats for it. Many Rogues like to Dual Wield, and Fighters who go that route can be very good at it.

        A class that might fit Kirito’s personality (though maybe not his abilities/this story) would be the Beguiler from Player’s Handbook II. They are sort of a hybrid Rogue/Sorcerer who use battlefield control spells and supplement it with some weapon damage. The Duskblade from the same book does it the other way around, supplementing some weapon damage with offensive magic. (Frankly neither does it as well as the Pathfinder Magus, but they don’t normally dual wield.)

        5e characters that Dual Wield are the Ranger and the Fighter….pretty much period. A Rogue (or other martial class) might supplement their offense with an off-hand weapon, but it isn’t as powerful a feature as it used to be.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, yeah. From his perspective, the headset is plugging into the CNS and teaching it to process as real stimulus that it will never experience again in real life. So once you get through the game, and get out, life no longer seems real, or you have a lot of stuff for your CNS to unlearn, which is tricky especially considering all the stress involved.

        Perhaps similar to the spirit youkai/body human stuff that Stheno was willing to inflict, but much more potential for destroying someone’s life.


        Liked by 2 people

  5. This, out of all the snippets, makes me want to see the entire chapter the most. I also want to understand whether Harry One was jealous of Kirito or claiming that the players had an unfair advantage over something somehow. I looked up game balance and the article didn’t help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To me, what Harry One was saying was less “you’re cheating/have an unfair advantage” and more “that doesn’t make sense”.

      Because if this is supposed to be a game with the related mechanics (it isn’t but they don’t know that yet) a new skill popping up at random with no trigger/per-requisite simply doesn’t make sense to them.

      The aspect everyone but Stheno doesn’t know is that Kazuto, the person has the talent for sorcery even if it wasn’t added by him during the creation of Kirito, the player character.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, there’s also the unknown trigger of hanging around an area that makes latent magic growing inside players more likely to manifest.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Did you just confirm that Kirito was smart enough to tell Argo how it feels to cast for the first time and why suddenly becoming a Sorcerer in the middle of a fight could get you killed and other info that could save lives and leave the packaging up to her? I wish I’d noticed that bit about Argo earlier.

        THANK YOU.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Actually, my original alternate interpretation was that the character was saying that the game had decided to be horribly unfair to itself by giving the players a powerful weapon against its various challenges. I was just too embarrassed to say anything earlier.

        I have a bad grasp of language pragmatics.


    2. I think Harry One is more likely complaining about game design.

      If it’s not a quest trigger, but a random event that may or may not grant some players a unique or special ability (like Magic) then the players who win the luck of the draw gain an advantage over those who do not win the luck of the draw.

      Most MMOs have a certain amount of randomness designed into them, loot drops, certain quest rewards, monster encounters, and the like. Players appreciate that randomness because it keeps things new, interesting, and unpredictable. But it’s only some randomness: you may not always know how many or where the monsters in an area will spawn, but you can know they shouldn’t be beyond a certain toughness, and broadly guess what kind you will find; loot drops may be randomized, but repeat the process to earn it enough times and eventually you’ll probably get all possible results.

      What Kirito’s talking about sounds in-game/universe like something beyond that built in amount of randomness. Further, if only some people randomly gain this unique benefit than those who don’t end up at a comparative disadvantage. They have to work the abilities they have access to all the harder to equal those who were simply lucky. This can lead to people being the same effective ‘level’, but wildly different actual capability to handle challenges. In a setting where the PCs have levels, the world and enemies are usually designed as challenges for – or ‘balanced against’ – people of certain levels, based on reasonable assumptions of what individuals at those levels should be capable of. If something randomly upsets the capability to level ratio – or there’s that word ‘balance’ again – then the predictors of if individuals can or cannot handle in-game challenges or how difficult those challenges should/would be suddenly mean nothing.

      In a normal game balance problems are merely frustrating, often because the players feel like the game is lying to them. In SAO it would be life-threatening.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Exactly. This is something Not According To Usual Plan, and thus dangerous. Which… is one of the clues that this isn’t a game.

        Although it might be argued that Kirito has no idea if this supposedly random event was actually triggered by the quest – which no one else has tried, yet.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. >Although it might be argued that Kirito has no idea if this supposedly random event was actually triggered by the quest – which no one else has tried, yet.>
        Or perhaps the reward is based on the player’s history in game/previous quests, their actions during the questline, what they said to the NPC etc etc.

        While this might be a clue to the whole ‘not a game’ thing, for now at least they are going to give all kinds of potential game-based explanations.

        I expect that only in the later chapters when more data-points start cropping up that they start looking at this in a different light.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I can’t wait to see if Kirito explained the dangers of becoming a Sorcerer during a battle in a passage we can’t yet see. I can understand if he hid some details like his determination to stay human and how that influenced his opinion of his new and improved Skill list, but needing to hole up in a high magic area when you’re about to Turn to minimize the odds of suddenly becoming one during a battle is something everyone needs to know.

        However, it seems that most players would have no idea that they needed a place with lots of magic in to crash in before it was too late. Not without help anyway. Help in the form of a youkai or maybe a Sorcerer, perhaps.

        Given that Kirito noticed his improved Scan before checking his Skills list, it looks like the most realistic strategy for avoiding getting killed due to the distraction of casting for the first time is to check your Skills list periodically or after you notice an improvement in your Scan and wait it out in the safest place you can find, unless stopping is impossible. Then? You’re probably out of luck.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I just reread this, and simply crashing somewhere safe once your Scan spontaneously improves would be the best strategy along with looking for places to crash when passing through high magic areas if possible.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Agreed. Part of the problem though is that Kirito noticed his Scan improving because he leveled up.

        While 5th Edition DnD and Pathfinder have both changed it around so that players are awarded XP at the end of individual game sessions and handle the paperwork of Level Up on their own between sessions, 3.x Edition DnD – which MCO is mostly based in – did it differently.

        In 3.0 and 3.5 DnD, the PCs go until they reach a rest point and then XP is doled out and Levelling Up occurs. The PCs basically wake up with access to their new abilities.

        Basically what needs to be gotten out – probably anonymously through Argo so Ki-bou doesn’t have to deal with another angry mob after him – is that Levelling Up can occur while resting in a safe area (which may or may not be the same thing as a safe zone). Further, that it is possible – either due to the whims of the RNG God or a currently unknown set of skill prerequisites/quest flags – for one of the things spontaneously gained through level up to be Sorcery. On top of that, it’s possible to unknowingly activate a new Sorcery skill in the heat of battle. Since this is dangerous, that means after resting, players should take their first chance to double-check their stats for new Sorcery skills, and one should find a place to rest ASAP and be extra thorough in checking after passing through – or resting in – a highly magic area.

        Of course, to properly get all of this warning out requires access to knowledge our main characters… have access to, but haven’t necessarily put together in the right order to fully realize/comprehend yet.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Oh, the Kineticist is super cool! It’s clearly a bit more inspired by the asthetic of Avatar: The Last Airbender and the like, but it’s got a really clever mechanic to balance that whole ‘infinite use Spell-Like abilities’ feature by making it so the Spell-Like abilities apply non-lethal damage that cannot be healed except by rest as your body channels more than it can safely handle. But as a Kineticist levels they become better able to handle such energies, and so one class features is basically a steadily growing resistance to the non-lethal caused by their own abilities. It’s actually all very clever IMO.

        Pathfinder’s default setting of Golarian… eh. Take it or leave it. It’s intentionally written in a very piecemeal way so you can have whatever adventures you want, from Musketeers, to Age of Pirates, to traditional Gothic Horror, to Dinos of the Lost World, to Victorian Mystery, to Jadis’ Narnia, to Conan adventures in an ancient crashed spaceship. But conversely little effort is made to make the setting pieces fit with eachother so each nation ends up feeling like its own isolated adventure setting apart from all the other nations around it.

        The setting info is copyright, so you’ll have to take what you can find on wikis and discussion boards if you look into that. But the mechanics are all published under the Open Gaming License, so d20PFSRD has a full compendium of everything mechanical without the need to buy the books.

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      7. I was thinking in terms of waiting out a seizure on the floor or in a chair. Some people can do that because they have what are known as auras before their seizures. The sensory issues that come with the awakening of Sorcery would be analogous, in my view.

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      8. The thing is, I’m not totally certain those sensory issues are a component of Sorcery awakening.

        It looked to me like that was the first thing Kirito’s noticed, but the two were separate abilities that were gained/boosted by leveling up. By the time a player can notice those sensory components, they’ve already leveled and should really be stopping to double-check their skills list for new traits already. If they then find Sorcery trying to wait out the first casting makes sense. Otherwise it’s entirely possible that all that happened was their Scan capability improved.


      9. Would it help you understand if I said that I meant that the the use of auras to prevent a seizure from cracking your skull was a metaphor for checking for the warning signs of the first casting?And that they are themselves seizures? Based on my reading of first person accounts of having a seizure, the obstacles the first casting would pose during battle are definitely analogous to those a seizure would pose in the same situation.


      10. Piece of advice: “Would it help you understand” sounds condescending and accusatory. You might better phrase it as, “What I was trying to get at was….”

        Seriously, this is not rocket science. Think of how you would react if someone said the same words to you. If you read it out loud and it puts your hackles up, rephrase it.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Thanks to my my use of Num Lock without realizing what that means on a netbook, which Mom fixed, I am having to put this next bit in a new comment, and it is this: players should take turns napping in every apparently safe, high magic area they can find so that they can get the acquisition of the Sorcery skill out of the way before hit the area where they at least think the boss is going to be. There’s a chance that a user with much less developed abilities than Kirito had before he woke up with Sorcery might be able to pass through one or two such areas without acquiring Sorcery, but the more chances they give themselves to acquire it where it’s at least seemingly safe, the less likely it is that someone will level up like that where it’s not. At least, the players might think that.

        By the way, how would anyone tell whether they were in a high magic area before it was too late unless they knew they were in a Pixie garden?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. In several ways Pathfinder is a very different system that 3.5. It does a few big things that could effect the story though, beyond the aforementioned timing on EXP rewards.

    1. In 3.5 there were what are known as “dead” levels, where the only thing you get are mechanical increases like BAB or Saves only. Pathfinder classes gain some sort of non-mathematical increase every level. It might be a class feature choice, it might be a feat, or it might be a new spell level, but there is something new for your character every level. Most classes get to chose what this new thing is.

    This would be mean with every level up it should be a given that every player would check their abilities over carefully because there *will* be something new. And thanks to SAO’s systems, that might not be the ability you expect.

    2. Cantrips are free. This means that a full spell-caster always has the option to cast spells, even if they have spent all their spell slots. This changed a couple of 3.5 spells and added a few more. Some of the more interesting are offensive cantrips (they hit about as hard as a punch) this gives the full spellcasters something to do once their spell slots are up other than “I draw my light crossbow.” (5e does this even better, by making these unlimited offensive cantrips hit with the caster’s casting stat instead of Dexterity and they can hit a lot harder. For a 5e Warlock, their offensive cantrip is the heart of most the class’ builds.)

    In SAO this change would mean that someone who went full caster would probably go full-in caster, because they don’t necessarily need a backup non-casting option. If they ran out of main slots they would still have options for combat, even if they are just support spells like Guidance (+1 to the target’s next non-save d20 roll) or Flare (-1 to the target’s next attack).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I might argue with you over whether or not SAO players would be more or less likely to go full-in casters.

      The unlimited-use cantrips are useful (I’m looking​ at you, Prestidigitation, Acid Splash, and Stabilize), but in the Pathfinder games I’ve GMed I’ve had more than one full caster grow frustrated with their inability to contribute more to combat after running down to just their cantrips. Most players in my experience feel like they prefer a character/class that has at least one other option when the spells run out.

      Given that levels are an abstract, and the SAO players are leveling blind with little to no idea what full progression looks like and what they would get down the road by focusing a specific class, they’re probably even more likely to dabble. A caster worried about being there for their party when low on MP and lives are on the line is probably more likely to take some time to train up their durability, acquire weapon and armor proficiencies, and make certain they have other options. Since SAO isn’t 1-for-1 to DnD levels, this would probably look like a slow accumulation of minor abilities before they accrued a full level in some kind of combat class. Alternatively it might manifest as their class not being ‘Wizard with a bit of Fighter’ but full-on ‘Magus’, since that class is already a hybrid of the two.

      Granted, Pathfinder does focus more on building on what class features you already have as you level and rewarding you for sticking to your class. So there’s less multi-classing and taking prestige classes anyways; but the SAO players wouldn’t know about that so that’s​ kind of a non-point.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I should try to be fair. While I come down pretty firmly on the ‘Pathfinder’ side of ‘Pathfinder or DnD’, 5th Ed does have a couple of very good ideas.

        These include:
        – Alignment restrictions for base classes have been removed; the difference between a Paladin and a Blackguard is mostly just the keywords on some of their abilities. Plus you can finally have a proper Chaotic Good Paladin.
        – As part of alignment strictures being removed/eased up, Holy and Unholy are no longer damage types. Instead you’ve got Radiant and Necrotic. Good Outsiders tend towards Radiant, Evil Outsiders towards Necrotic, but they’re just damage types anybody can use. It’s even noted that laser weapons probably do Radiant as a default, while Necrotic is just rapid-progress decay/rot and can be perfectly natural.
        – Y’know how it’s a pain having to have the Wizard or Cleric prepare Tongues, Planar Adaptation, Water Walk, or any other spell that has little combat use but is occasionally integral to overcoming an obstacle or solving a puzzle, so progress grinds to a halt while the party waits for the Prepared Caster to reset their spells, and the Spontaneous Caster may never even pick such spells up? 5th Ed solves this by making certain spells ‘Ritual’ spells. Basically, if the character has the proper advantage/class feature then they can say ‘I don’t have it Prepared, but I know this 10-15 minute ritual that will cause the same spell effect without consuming a spell slot. Sure it’s not an effect I can just whip out when we need it right now if it isn’t prepared, but we don’t have to wait around for me to reassign spells’. Interestingly, Prepared Casters usually get the ability to Ritual cast such spells by default and have to pick an alternate class feature to not get it, while several Spontaneous Casters have to go out of their way to acquire it. Further, you don’t have to be a Caster to gain the ability, and a party’s ritualist may be the guy with nothing but levels in Fighter or another non-casting class.
        – Y’know what other nifty thing was included in 5th? Short and Long rests. Previously you had abilities you could use multiple times a day. Now you have X/uses per long rest – which is camp at the end of the night/between days – and X/uses per short rest, which is basically ‘whoo, we just killed that garden-goyle-gnome-thing. Let’s take 15 minutes to breathe and let the adrenaline metabolize before moving on’. Mechanically, Long Rest is your ‘per day’ abilities while Short Rest means that you can have abilities that are X uses per combat.

        …It really is an opinion thing, though I know my preference

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The 5th Ed v Pathfinder debate is a pretty hot topic in my household. My roomies are all long time friends and we’re all gamers, so everyone has their preferences. I’m definitely the first person to champion and tout Pathfinder as the better system, but one of my roomies feels like 5th Ed is the best thing to happen to DnD since chef NPCs rolled to slice bread.

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      3. Thanks! I was going to say with ‘since the first time someone rolled Craft (Cooking) to slice bread’, but then I remembered how there’s that whole Craft (Cooking/Baking) vs. Profession (Chef/Cook/Baker) debate and I couldn’t remember which I usually went with before just deciding ‘heck with it’ and approaching the phrasing from another angle.

        As for encountering the Albino Red Dragon: not that I’m aware of, but the friend who first told me that story has GMed multiple 3.x games we’ve all played in.

        And there are always stories.

        (One of my roomies once successfully argued why her extremely lawful vigilante character in a Marvel Superheroes game’s only moral option was to shotput. A baby. Just remembering the incident makes me want to drink. More humorously another of my roomies once entered a game by possessing the corpse of another party member who’d been isolated, robbed, and killed in an unfamiliar city; the roomie used said body to go on a nonsensical and mildly humiliating spree of havoc and mischief until the city guards were forced to arrest the character for his own safety; stopped possessing the corpse once in secure custody; revived the other PC; Modify Memoryed the other PC so he didn’t remember dying and thought he was still being held captive by the original criminals; and then my roomie’s character showed up to ‘rescue’ the other PC from ‘these dastardly crooks’. In-universe no one ever found out what he did.)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I think I just realized what Kirito heard when Harry One said, “What kind of game balance is that?” Namely that he can’t imagine being more bothered by being other than human all of a sudden than by bad game mechanics.

    And I just reread the post and the chapter and Argo might well not have explained how much becoming a Sorcerer can endanger your life if it happens at the wrong time by this point. It is still good to know that Kirito was smart enough to tell her. It’s just so obvious in retrospect: Kirito used Argo to tell everyone about Shaman’s Fingerprints without a mob forming. Why not do it again?

    And sightlessraiton, I don’t believe I’m enough of DnD nerd to understand precisely where and why we disagree. I think we agree that seeing more details precedes “something’s wrong with my HUD.” To put that in perspective, I still don’t what a HUD is beyond US Federal Housing thing from the New Deal administration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay, first note: HUD in this case isn’t being used as a DnD or Tabletop gaming term. Here it’s being used as a videogaming term, specifically: Heads-Up Display. Basically the overlay on what your character sees on-screen marking things like health, enemy name’s/levels, and other miscellaneous​ information. Here, because all the characters have is the VR game, the HUD overlays the entire world and so just about everything they see is translated by it.

      Second point: I haven’t actually read the chapter yet, just these snippets. If there’s more mentioned in the full chapter relating to sudden onsets of Sorcery without a Level Up being involved, they you’re probably right and I fully admit to being wrong.

      What I think our disagreement comes down to is that you’re suggesting ways of dealing with seizures both as actual recommendations for the players and the seizures themselves as a metaphor for spontaneously gaining Sorcery. But I don’t think that metaphor is accurate. The suggestions for dealing with seizures are predicated on dealing with seizures. What the previous snippet showed looked like startlement and confusion (understandably), not specifically like anything I would call a seizure. Further, the warning signs of an oncoming seizure… the individuals who experience said warning signs would have a history to draw on for how long till a seizure occurs. Players experience all of these warning signs once and then have their first casting… or don’t and instead they’ve merely leveled.

      What I’m sau as a direct alternative is this: be for the agreed early warning signs – the Scan improvement and whatever –

      Liked by 1 person

    2. My apologies. I was still editing my comment when I accidentally hit ‘post’. I would like to add that the above comment was going to be prefaced with the note that it took me a bit to formulate a response, then I just didn’t have a lot of spare time to actually write it out, and by then there were new snippets and new conversations.

      Continuing with a proper edit from where I left off:

      >>What I’m saying as a direct alternative is this: players should be on the lookout for the agreed early warning signs (the Scan improvement and whatever else) after a level up or upon waking up – since Levelling can happen while resting – and then go through their skills checking for Sorcery. They don’t need to find a safe place to ride out the first casting at the warning signs, because if they’re safe enough to spot the warning signs and respond, then they’re probably also safe enough to check their Skills list. Their skills list will tell them definitively if they have the Sorcery skill and are at risk of a first-casting sometime soon or not. Telling players to watch for warning signs, wait out in safe spaces upon getting sudden new info from Scan, or taking frequent naps in Manifest Zones is complicating things more than it needs to (plus it encourages players like Kirito who didn’t want magic to forge on to avoid the ability gain, when really the player’s don’t realize they’d just be delaying the inevitable – probably for the worst possible time). The skills list is a convenient and easy definitive answer… for their current level up at any rate.

      As for your earlier bit about how to spot high-magic areas: Beats me. They have the information to recognize that high-magic areas (actually Eberron Manifest Zones) exist and may have some impact on gaining Sorcery, but how to actually realize you’re in one? ‘Eck if I know, that’s for them to figure out.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Dang it, I knew I forgot something else.

      In response to your very first line about Kirito’s reaction: I think that yeah, you’re right, it’s a little bit that Kirito’s bothered by how chill they are with him now having magic – being other than human. But I think calling Harry-One ‘no’ bothered by bad game mechanics kind of undersells things. For the players trapped in SAO these game mechanics are literally life and death. I get Kirito’s internal freak-out reaction, but I imagine most players would be more okay with being in-game transformed than that the game balance that they have to rely on to survive is shoddy and flawed… Rather understandably, to be honest.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Always remember kids, it can always get worse.

    Especially when dealing with someone who thinks adding increasing levels of danger is part of the fun. And it would be. If it was still a game and not a real life and death struggle for survival.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I apologize in advance for accidentally omitting crucial details. Now, I thought you could just stay put while the power bubbled out of you like Kirito miraculously managed to, which is the image I had in mind with my talk of waiting on seizures on the floor, or get it over with by napping in high-magic areas that at least seemed safe before you had to fight again.

    Then it occurred to me that if it’s not a pixie garden, you might not know it’s a high magic area until it’s too late. Which you noted. Thank you.

    And it occurs to me that with all the other hazards in the game, the smart guilds aren’t going to have everyone napping at the same time, anyway. At least, I think they won’t.


  10. I just read through the comments, and wow, that is a whole lot of brainstorming, meta and world building. Is that one of the reasons you post snippets, to discuss ideas and get suggestions from the readers? If so, very organic method in developing.
    (P.S. I really hope I was not rude in posting this comment. I have an unfortunate tendency to say or write something, meant to be praise and coming of as critical.)

    Liked by 1 person

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