Monstrous Compendium Ch4 bit – Stung

Afterward, none of them were quite able to put together exactly what had happened in the fight. Kirito came the closest; the Black Swordsman’s sorcery had a honed antipsi edge, and darkfire had left at least five sword-slashed <<Psiwasp>> corpses blazing away on the misty ground when they came out of it. But even he only had the basics: they’d been swarmed from the air by yellow-and-black things that looked like humanoid wasps and felt of wrong. Things that had used some kind of mass confusion attack; Dale could remember it peaking every time wing-buzzes had synched together. Just as he remembered feeling that change of pitch in his bones, and bracing his mind, so when the attack came he wasn’t dazed witless-

“Everybody, sound off!”

Klein. Sounding scared. With good reason, Dale realized, as the world seemed to clear and voices stated names. Two names were missing.

“They got Dynamm and Kunimittz.” Harry One looked ill. “They’re not dead, they wouldn’t still be listed in the guild….”

“Gods have mercy on them.” Tae was shaking; wings clamped tight to her body, wing-claws clenching and releasing her armor straps. “Captured by daelkyr-spawn, alive-” She shuddered.

“We’re going to need all the healing magic we’ve got.” Issin had his Inventory open, face grim. “Good thing we restocked in Snow Springs… anybody got any ideas on herbs specific against those – those things?”

“Wolf-Foot Fern.” Dale stepped forward, glad to contribute something besides screaming panic. None of them had heard as many daelkyr horror stories as Tae had, but he’d heard enough to know they might all be better off in a Ringu movie. “There’s not a lot of lore out there on advanced level psionic mobs yet, but that one’s supposed to focus you. It gives you a buff against phrenic mobs. Psionic mobs should be like those, leveled up.”

“It makes you too focused, if you’re fighting alone,” Kirito said soberly. “That’s why I don’t usually…. Anyone who uses it should work in pairs. As far as healing goes – Issin, they’re abominations, but they’re still insect-based. Adding Diatom Dust to healing agents ought to help-”

“We can’t take on a whole psiwasp nest!”

“They’ve got two of our people.” Klein leaned in toward Tae, eyes narrowed. “We’re damn well going to try-!”

“We can do it.”

Kirito was still pale. But he looked sure.

Harry One looked just as dubious as Dale felt. “You’ve seen these things before?”

“Never,” the swordsman said steadily. “But all nest-spawning mobs have common behaviors.”

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46 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch4 bit – Stung

  1. Klein is there, stepping just behind him as well.
    and the more i read the more it seems that Tea is a plant from the Youkai rather then another japanese… or maybe just unused to the ‘big damn heroes’ thing that both kirito and Klein have.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m sure they would pay quite a lot to Argo to learn where this elusive mob know as “Breaks” can be found, because they are quite convinced that they need to farm the ever loving shit out of it for de-stressing purposes.

      On a slightly more serious note, we have Vincent, Zack, Cloud, and probably Aerith (if not more) from FF7. And when ever I see the name Tae, I can’t help but think of a scruffy wondering swordsman and his motley band of troublemakers. Is there any chance of him turning up as a kitsune hanyou? Or really any kind of hanyou. Please? I can see Asuna commiserating with another girl about men that are too self-sacrificing and have a propensity for being Big Damn Heros. And possibly trying to help out in the kitchen form time to time. (although helping who is up for debate *g*)

      Liked by 4 people

      1. >> Wasn’t planning on the RK crowd showing up. Heh.

        That’s not a ‘no’.

        I’m not trying to argue if you should or shouldn’t here. (Don’t get me wrong, RK is possibly my favourite set of characters ever. Especially when the Kenshin-gumi get to play the wise old veteran heroes running into a new squad of heroes who need all the help they can get. But I remember you mentioning in an earlier snippet – I forget if it was MCO or something else and I forget if the third party of heroes was the Kenshin-gumi or a different group of champions – that if you add too many elements it just gets too complicated for you to be willing. Not that you said it didn’t sound fun, but I remember your response being distinctively ‘Bit much for me, kthnx but no’ flavoured.) All I’m noting is that your answer doesn’t seem to involve a river in Egypt. I am now suspicious of what you’re planning.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. *facepalm*

        Apologies, all around. I forgot the End:bold command after the word ‘ever‘ up above.

        Durn lack of an ‘edit’ button… Drat it all…

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Well that’s not good . . .

    Through yay for Kirito and Klein’s refusal to leave teammates behind and/or captured by things that will do terrible things to them without at least trying for a rescue.

    Random choice on the part of the psiwasps, meaning Dynamm and Kunimittz were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or targeted . . .

    I’m also getting uneasy flashbacks to Wiscentech Wasps from that Ubel Blatt fic you wrote as there is some overlap on the two critters . . .

    In response to one of the above comments, are the cleared levels supposed to be safe in general or just safe because all of the dangers are known . . . or are supposed to be known?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Is it canon that random mobs appearing in cleared levels are a thing? Especially in higher levels? Or worse thought – they’re cleared levels because the people who learned otherwise didn’t come back…

      Liked by 4 people

    2. There is some overlap, though the stories were written at different times.

      Cleared levels mean the big and nasty mobs and bosses have either been already taken out, or at the very least mapped and widely known. This is new. And Not Good.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah. Not good at all.

        I’m betting our heroes hate surprises. Whatever their feelings about them Before, now they hate them. Because a surprise here in the game often amounts to dying horribly. And no one likes those kind of surprises.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Just had a thought. Kirito seems to be basing most of his guesstimates on what he knows of gaming algorithms. All well and good, but game =/= reality. Even fantasy reality. What is he going to do/how badly is he going to panic once he wakes up in Eberron and realizes it’s not a game anymore?

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Well, when you’re a couple millennia old, and have probably spent a significant amount of that time observing or _hunting everything that moves,_ you’d probably know this stuff.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. plus, if he is using SAO as a training tool, accurateness would be extremely important. there is nothing quite as likely to get you killed in reality as using techniques and tactics that just sound cool in fiction.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Of course, said red dragon is perfectionist. First all, probably doesn’t like to be attached to anything hap-hazardedly done (and you can’t say that SAO or in this case MCO isn’t well done – terrifying and missing some fundamental understanding of morals and people but not poorly made).

        Also, they want people who can survive and even thrive in Eberron – they don’t want them to get killed within days of arriving simply because they don’t know that while that monster was vulnerable to X in the game, it isn’t in reality. Because that would mean all that time and other resources invested in finding these people and getting them there would be wasted.

        It’s one of the reasons I’m sure that certain factions will be trying very very hard to make sure anyone useful goes to Eberron. They have invested way too many resources in this venture to allow it to fail easily.

        Not saying it’s right for them to do this to the players – just that they have put a lot into this project and will expect it to pay off. And be rather cranky and attempt to thwart any attempt that might derail that big pay off they are counting on.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Quite.

        Not least of which is convincing some of them that players were serious about not wanting to go and/or were never asked in the first place. Because while some of them will not care about that point, some will. If they can be convinced that’s what happened. I can see some thinking that the players are just saying that because of a case of buyer’s remorse. And since some of them are pretty motivated to believe an explanation like that . . . well, people are really good at seeing and believing exactly what they want to see and believe regardless of the facts or what other people tell them.

        (The rub is that had people been asked, some of them probably would have said yes.)

        Liked by 2 people

    1. . . . Wait.

      This… this brings up a really important point. One I can’t believe I didn’t spot before.

      Is SAO really Shonen? Or does it qualify more as Seinen? Because depending on how ‘realistic’ a Seinen series wants to present itself as… Kidnapping the protagonist’s buddies is almost always a bad idea, but in the right kind of Seinen series it’s not automatically a death sentence.

      Sooo… What do we think SAO is? Because I don’t know that I’d call it Shonen, but I also don’t know that I’d call it Seinen either.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. SAO is kind of interesting because, like its contemporary .hack// it doesn’t really conform to any of the industry standards. Oh it has some similarities, but perhaps due to it being a Light Novel series instead of a manga it has a different set of tropes that define it.

        It is, ironically, actually more of a slice of life story…that just happens to be set in a fantastic world.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Shonen is probably more a market demographic than a genre. Part of the reason it seems like a genre is that you can predict what kinds of stories will sell best to that demographic. Being that it is for earlier readers, some of the techniques you use need to be simple or widely established in industry if you want them to understand it. Shonen Jump in particular seems to have permanent staff advising their content creators, giving the whole brand a certain feel.

        A lot of the light novel genres seem to target a demographic in between that for Shonen and young girls, and that for more adult fiction. Sword Art Online seems to target that age range, old enough to be reading stuff that doesn’t have pictures on every page, but young enough that they aren’t reading the Ouroburos manga or novels without pictures. The sex between Asuna and Kirito means the target demographic isn’t very young, and other elements do not seem to be targeted at, say, middle aged salarymen.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Technically Seinen is also a broad demographic, with Shonen being ‘young men up to early adolescence’ and Seinen being ‘adolescents and older’. The two have a bit of crossover clearly, and more than that I’m pretty sure that very overlap happens to be where SAO is aimed. Problem is that when you try to appeal to a demographic you get demographic touchstones the way you get genre conventions, so the overlap between genre and demographic gets even blurrier. Personally, I just wanted to make a joke about the original joke of Kirito-as-Shonen-Protagonist.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. So, I’m super curious, (in my quest to stat out the various things you’ve presented) I did some keyword searching for both Daelkyr Spawn and Psiwasps with Eberron tagged. And while I found some great threads (and Nightmare Fuel) about how the RAW – Rules As Written –
    somehow make the Daelkyr and Daelkyr half-bloods especially even creepier when examined closely. I didn’t find anything anything​ like what you’re describing here.

    The closest I can imagine is that one DnD species of Humanoid bee people with either a Psionic (i.e. the ‘Phrenic’) template or levels in various psionic classes. So are the Psiwasps original creations of yours? Or did you already find them somewhere?

    As for story analysis: new Daelkyr spawned psionic mobs on Cleared levels in MCO? I suppose it is possible Kayaba is going for accuracy… What I’m wondering is if, alternatively, the real Daelkyr of Xoriat are interfering. The Daelkyr are apparently relatively few, but their stats reflect them being extremely powerful Outsiders/Extraplaner Aberrations. Those things occasionally like to pull the sort of ‘we’re not gods, but we may be the next best thing’ trick. And you did mention that various divinities take interest (and occasional issue) with MCO and how the Yokai courts are gaining their new recruits. I guess the question is: are the Daelkyr – given some are even worshiped by the Cults of the Dragon Below – close enough to Divine to be part of that interference? Because that… that’d be worrying.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I created the Psiwasps based on the Psionic and Phrenic templates, various infectious swarm-nasties already in D&D, and a hefty dose of “What would totally freak out characters used to dealing with lycanthropy?”

      As for the Daelkyr interfering… well. Not yet. Eep.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. *flat look* as always with your responses it’s what you don’t say that worries me the most. Most specifically, your phrasing was to the effect of ‘not yet‘. The ‘yet’ being the part that worries me.

        Liked by 2 people

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