Monstrous Compendium Ch 9 Ficbit – Fates

“She could die in Aincrad!”

“She could die on the street hit by a fish truck tomorrow!” Recon shot back, embarrassment fading out of his face. “She could slip under a train! She could – she could do what some other SAO relatives have done, and think she just couldn’t take the shame anymore, and….” The swanmay’s face crumpled. He rubbed at an eye with the heel of his hand, swiping away a tear. “You’re right. Okay? You’re right. She thinks I’m just a transfer student. I’m lying every time I go to class with her. And… I want her to come to Aincrad. She’s smart. She’s fast. She takes care of people.” He looked up. “But I want her to be okay. Even if she stays in Japan. Even if she hates me.”

He cares about her. He’s there for her. Kirito winced. And I’m not. “ALO can take people into Aincrad? How? You said it’s not level-based.”

“It’s not,” Recon said seriously. “I’m not an archmage. I don’t know how it works. But about a year, maybe two years from now, there’s supposed to be a planar conjunction. A weak spot in the walls between the worlds, where magic can open a gateway. Anyone who’s made an avatar in ALO… they’ll be able to walk through it. If they want to.”

“Anyone?” Kirito said in disbelief, as Lyfa’s avatar finally went translucent, and faded. Don’t panic. She didn’t shatter. Don’t panic. “How many people are in ALO?”

“Last I heard?” The swanmay said cautiously. “Um. About eight or nine hundred….”

Oh good, not too many more – wait a minute. If it’s an online game

“…thousand?” Recon finished weakly.

60 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch 9 Ficbit – Fates

  1. Recon, you bird brain.

    You just told a big brother that cares about his little sister that you wanted to drag her into a death world.

    After ALO training her and its other players that death is cheap. Because MMOs do do that inside of their constraints because at most penalties for death are a slap on the wrist.

    Tamara’s mercy boy. That is not wise.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Better to be honest now because if he lied then Kirito would definitely kill him when he found out about the lie. And it’s obvious that Recon is conflicted about it. Also, who said anything about dragging? Recon said players could walk through the gateway if they wanted to.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. So says the Red Great Wyrm Dragon.

        Do you really think Beniryu is going to *ask* before he grabs what he thinks is his due?

        The “choice” was probably hidden in some obscure wording in the EUA and accepting it counted. The dragon has yet to be caught in a lie, but he twists the truth.

        All of Recon’s good intentions are but ash in the wind compared to the machinations of a thousand plus year old dragon.

        Liked by 4 people

      1. -(Recon: High INT, WIS… not so much.)-
        Well of course. He’s a wizard dabbling in rogue classes.

        Ergo he mainlines Int and Dex is secondary while the rest of the stats well….. Since he’s running solo (more or less) on Earth he can’t use CHA as the dump, nobody sane dumps CON so it’s STR and WIS that are rock bottom.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. >> so it’s STR and WIS that are rock bottom.

        To be fair, there are plenty of solid DEX builds that render STR a superfluous stat… Aside from hauling loot anyways… But then, if you’re a caster that’s why you pick up Unseen Servant. Or get a hireling to carry it for you.

        Depends on how much gold you’re thinking of throwing at he issue in the long and short terms.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. So I’m not sane? Con is my usual dumpstat (not that I go for true dumpstats unless we’re actually rolling instead of pointbuy), because the others all have strong reasons I want them. Int/Dex primary (because of skills/options/movement), with Wis/Cha (because it’s both cheating and breaks immersion to dumpstat my character with the expectation of my own ability making that superfluous) depending on specific char concept and build, and Str taking up the remainder of my points for all the utility it provides (skills and carry capacity and non-magic damage). Con is only for hp, so I don’t have reason to take it (which is just bad game design, but pretty standard so I can’t complain about any one game system).

        Liked by 3 people

      4. I might have put together the beginnings of a set of rules that would permit one to use the 3d6 in order method of stat generation for Dungeon Fantasy (powered by GURPS).

        Stat importance in tabletop gaming is heavily influenced by the GM’s version of the rules for that campaign.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. In 3 and 3.5, Con also covers your Fort save, which yes, you want fairly high. Then again, I prefer Str as my dump stat(I’m usually not playing any character who uses it for damage, and most people I know aren’t big on nit picking encumbrance rules.) Also, I like stamina builds(One of my current long time characters can literally take 3 nukes to the face and walk away.)

        As for Recon, I’m admiring his courage to admit that what he wants for someone he wants might not be what’s best for her. That’s surprisingly mature, even with him pointing out to Kirito that his family isn’t exactly perfectly safe in Japan.

        As for the magic…anyone remember that chapter about them trying to rework magic in SAO? My nasty little suspicion is that dragging resurrection magic away from the clerics and gods might be exactly what he has planned.

        Liked by 3 people

      6. I was being facetious about hp being all that Con is good for, tho I do still consider it to practically only be good for that. I’ve very rarely encountered anything where any other use of Con actually mattered to me, where I wasn’t already prepared with something to negate it, or where some other factor made it unimportant. Most causes of needing a fort save, for example, are either visible enough to evade or require the enemy to actually hit you (poisons, gases, traps), and the few that aren’t are usually either ones you can power through long enough for the cleric to deal with it, or ones that you can specifically prepare for and have no excuse for not preparing for before encountering (unless you’re carelessly delving into dungeons way beyond your level).

        I have never in-play encountered a case where a fort save actually mattered, where we weren’t better served by other solutions (like our cleric putting up an anti-magic shell to shut down an unexpected demi-lich, because even our dwarven cleric’s fort saves would have failed pitifully against it, and he had them maxed out). I’ve failed fort saves before, but only ever to things where it was either inconsequential/unavoidable (swimming through sickness-swamp, where eventually the DC would have surpassed any possible save bonus), or where I actively decided it wouldn’t matter as much as what I’d achieve by making the sacrifice (and that it wouldn’t be serious enough to stop me before I got cured or we lost entirely). And I’ve never seen fort saves low enough that I could reasonably have passed them merely by not dump-statting Con, where it wasn’t unimportant to pass them, or there wasn’t some easy way to avoid needing to.

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  2. So there is a time limit, and Kirito will start to think how the two games/groups will interact. From what I see, MCO seems to be more ‘special’ characters, while ALO seems like mass grabbing people. It seems like MCO is more for leaders and guides, while ALO is for ‘mooks’.

    And yes, most likely the ‘choice’ will be something that is at once plain (you accept this quest, you travel to another world) and obscure (nothing will tell you that you will really travel to a new world).

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I’m starting to recover from some of my RL stuff. Thinking a little bit better.

        (So the bunnies that were talking about New Kid In Town/Catch a Falling Star/The Great Escape have settled down to wondering about Iron Blooded Orphans, transposed into either Magi or DxD, wandering into Cascade. Much less insane in terms of figuring out a plausible plot. Still pretty much a “Why?” that I expect I will abandon as I finish recovering. Any opinions on a Sentinel/Guide pair that is also a Djinn Warrior/Household Member pair? Is this even a plausible thing in any way?)

        Liked by 2 people

      1. As an aside: I really like Recon’s opening here.

        Our modern lives are actually incredibly dangerous, and I feel like a lot of people forget how dangerous. It’s nice to have a character with an outsider’s (extraplanar) perspective point that out.

        Granted, following any trail Beniryuu has laid out to Aincrad is actually probably loads more dangerous than a modern life Suguha already knows how to navigate. So that kind of undermines his whole argument.

        It’s still good to note that even if Suguha put down the Amusphere for good and never got involved in any VRMMO gaming ever again that Kirito can’t keep his little sister perfectly safe. She’s honestly safer engaging and learning and developing skills to keep herself safe, even if that means courting danger. She just… deserves (no. Has a right) to be fully informed of the risks before going in to develop those skills.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Oh dear. You’ve been dropping all sorts of hints about what’s happening to the SAO… Survivors? (A worrying term to use at this point, given the Game is still underway) since these new snippets started being posted.

        I’m really getting worried about how exactly things are going differently on Earth in this version.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. . . . Anybody else feel a sudden shiver down their spines at that?

        Imma say no, but only because the sensation didn’t stop at just my spine.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Recon has a point. Death is not exclusive to Aincrad. Quite the opposite in fact.

    He cares about her. He’s there for her. Kirito winced. And I’m not.

    At moment, you aren’t there because you cannot be there.

    (And most people, discovering they are adopted, especially not by their parents telling them are but finding out some other way, have doubts about their family and their place within in. That’s normal.)

    … they’ll be able to walk through it. If they want to.”

    I have the nasty suspicions that no one was planning to tell the ALO players that going that gate would really transport them to another world.

    Yes, it SAID that it would do that but that was just flavor test. After all, it’s just a game. And everyone knows magic isn’t real.

    About eight or nine hundred….”

    Wait for it.

    “…thousand?” Recon finished weakly.

    There is the other shoe.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Honestly, by this time Kirito is expecting a trailer-load of shoes.

        *Looks at a massive pile of shoes*
        Kirito: “I hate being right all the time,”

        At least Sugu is going to get Recon thinking more about this situation.

        Good.

        (And if Midori gets hold of him… oh my.)

        Oh to be a fly on that wall . . .

        Liked by 2 people

      2. >> *Looks at a massive pile of shoes*
        Kirito: “I
        hate being right all the time,”

        On the plus side, with all those spare shoes he may be able to make sure the children of SAO never have to worry about cold feet ever again!

        Imean- it seems relatively minor, but don’t knock it. Proper footwear is important!

        (Sorry, just felt like being silly)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Then if there happens to be a rumor online that some special event in ALO that would allow players to “reunite” with SAO players, it would pull in a large number of friends and family.

    The transition might qualify as a “benign spell” in that case and they wouldn’t have quite the same situation as original SAO players.

    They would also be on a fast track to adoption and power leveling with the the SAO players.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Tho I’m still wondering if this version of ALO is intended to recruit people for the other kingdoms, not for Aincrad. Specifically to counterbalance the SAO recruits, rather than to just overwhelm the other nations even more thoroughly. So while there may be adoption/etc here too, but into non-Youkai races, like elves.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m pretty sure he is stabbing Aincrad in the back in a different way.

        Mixing one small culturally isolated population of PvErs with one large culturally isolated population of PvPrs with the Aincrad stay behinds is very likely to be enough of a mess that people might take a while to hunt him down and kill him.

        ALO, if it is very much like ALO canon, has easy resurrection magic that is explicitly made rare and expensive (except maybe for PCs) in Eberron’s worldbuilding. And isn’t made more common in MCO SAO, and making it more common is perhaps outside of Beniryuu’s plan and beyond his ability.

        I think his true plan must involve a fairly large number of deaths.

        This ‘what if Kayaba were a Red Dragon’ story is not pulling punches when it comes to establishing Kayaba as insane and evil.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. It’s another backstab, all right. Kirito figures out how much of a backstab in 10 and 11. He’s really not happy about it.

        *Wobbles hand* Not so much insane and evil, but as flat-out sociopathic as Kayaba from canon. Only Beniryuu’s focus is “Make this certain set of Prophecies come true the precise way I want them to,” instead of “create the world of the floating castle.”

        Liked by 3 people

  5. And the stakes just got raised again. Typical for a DnD adventure/story really. You start off hunting down giant rats and goblins for the local town and then you find that you’ve been swept up into an overarching plot where the bad guys are going to destroy the world/summon the lord of demons if not stopped.

    -she could do what some other SAO relatives have done, and think she just couldn’t take the shame anymore, and-
    Interesting. There was never that much about how the RL family members of the SAO-players fared. Though considering Japanese culture and the hints Vathara is dropping, it’s probably not good.

    -“But I want her to be okay. Even if she stays in Japan. Even if she hates me.”-
    Good to see that he’s actually thought about the situation. More then that, he also appears enerst about Suguha instead of just being possesive etc.

    -I’m not an archmage. I don’t know how it works.-
    Fortunately Kirito can ask an Archmage who will probably be able to give an answer. For all that they are both chromatic dragons, Caerulus (a blue dragon) is a lot nicer/human-like in mentality than Beniryuu.

    -Anyone who’s made an avatar in ALO… they’ll be able to walk through it. If they want to.-
    My first through is that not only will Bastard Dragon(tm) not give the players even the faintest hint of what those ‘crossing over’ would be getting into, but will pander the gateway as a limited time offer/bonus etc that will have the entire player base scrambling to enter.

    Combined with the numbers of ALO players and how the game works, it’s pretty clear what role Beniryuu has planned for them: cannon fodder.

    He doesn’t need Aincrad as a prosperous nation of non-human races etc, he just needs it to still be there for as long as the Draconic Prophecies require. The minute all those people run in, the entire place will descend into madness and anarchy even if he ‘aims’ their arrival in front of an invading army resulting in the majority getting picked off.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You do realize in part the stakes keep going up because Bored Red Dragon. “Ooo, this is great – how can I top it?”

      Recon in canon seemed like a pretty grounded guy, and I always wished the author had gone with that instead of adding Leafa to the harem. Oi.

      In this story Caerulus actually had a relationship with a humanoid that produced a child, so yes, he’s more sympathetic. 🙂

      Not exactly canon fodder, but you have his thoughts on Aincrad pretty well nailed down. 🙂

      Funny you should mention a demon….

      Liked by 3 people

      1. -Recon in canon seemed like a pretty grounded guy, and I always wished the author had gone with that instead of adding Leafa to the harem. Oi.-
        I admit that while I enjoyed Fairy Dance, they really didn’t need to do the whole ‘Suguha unknowingly crushing on her brother’ plotline. Seriously, what if anything did it bring to the story?

        -In this story Caerulus actually had a relationship with a humanoid that produced a child, so yes, he’s more sympathetic.-
        And now he seems to have semi-adopted Asuna. Oh to be a fly on the wall if he ever meets with her parents.

        -Funny you should mention a demon….-
        Dammit people, don’t you know the two rules of summoning?

        1. Never call up what you’ll need to put down.
        2. If you can’t follow rule one, never call up something you can’t put down.

        Because you, I, and even the local wildlife know; that you summon a gribble where the only reason you’re still alive is the binding circle, something will always go wrong.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. You do realize in part the stakes keep going up because Bored Red Dragon. “Ooo, this is great – how can I top it?”

        That makes a terrifying amount of sense.

        I know it wasn’t the goal but he is definitely making sure that Kirito doesn’t pick another Red Dragon to be his big bad.

        and I always wished the author had gone with that instead of adding Leafa to the harem. Oi.

        Yeah. I don’t mind harem stuff but the little sister thing in so many of them squirks me out.

        (Also the harem seems especially . . . nonsense . . . this time because none of the other girls in the harem are a realistic romantic threat to Asuna. Kirito is not going to dump her for one of them.)

        Funny you should mention a demon….

        Oh my . . .

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I can see the canon fodder thing.

      At the very least, there is the threat that because the ALO players aren’t used to considering the danger to be real and actually life-threatening . . . they aren’t going to take it seriously at first. Plus panic when they realize they are actually in another world.

      It would be Opening Day all over all.

      But worse because the SAO / MCO players are there and you know how terrible people desperate for someone to blame can lash out.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Not sure if “calm everyone down” is the right description . . . “put a target on his back” maybe?

        Of course, I’m not sure just how persaive the attitude was. We might have been primarily seeing the loudest and most obnoxious.

        Through as noted, people trapped in SAO wanted someone to blame . . . and as far as they knew, Kayaba wasn’t there. But the beta testers were.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. And I just thought of something that might be big enough to fit with Beniryuu’s plans, prophecies, and bringing in the ALO population: The “hidden” region in ALO with the “fallen gods”, that was supposed to have the players fight/kill the “fallen gods”. It’s already been noted repeatedly that Beniryuu doesn’t want the gods to notice (let alone get involved) in MCO, and that he’s been purposely trying to change how the system/lore were set up to change how the players thought reality worked (what with changing which casting class they thought they were, vs which they actually were), and the potential that he’s trying to actually change their reality in that regard… but now I’m wondering if he’s trying to take it a step further, and use the players as a weapon against the gods, to completely shake up their setting and change stuff how he wants.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. -He will be sadly disappointed. 😉-
        “You do realize that we’ll be stirring up a collective hornet’s nest the moment we start taking actively hand over there, sister?”

        “That will not stop me, Susanowo. That child of Tiamat has stolen souls from our realm, intends to steal more, and will likely cause irreparable damage to both worlds in his attempt to ensure prophecy comes to pass as he interprets it.”

        “That will not stop the gods from retaliating when you answer the prayers of those souls Amaterasu.”

        “Let them rail for eternity. They could have stopped the beast lost before he performed this vile deed. Now they will reap the consequences of their inaction.”

        Liked by 4 people

  6. I suddenly wonder if the birth of ALO coincided with a boss raid to destroy a large nest of truly terrifying bugs, and a medusa’s reminder that the game– while not necessarily having to be fair or balanced– must nevertheless strongly match the _real thing_ for it to work– including access to the Big Magics that only the “NPCs” have….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Probably not. This is December, Recon seems like he would have been moved to Earth in spring of the previous year, implying that ALO was a planned event by then. I have the impression, however vague, that the nest was well after spring. (I have vague memories that the Black Cats died in August, and that the wasp happened after that.)

      Liked by 3 people

    1. *G* This becomes extremely important in Chapters 10 and 11.

      If you look at the canon SAO timeline, the Christmas event – just before Kirito takes his cross-planar jaunt in this AU – is the year before the 75th floor.

      So. A year to two years, said Recon. By the November after this jaunt, you can see that players Kirito clued in might be a bit desperate….

      Liked by 1 person

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