Monstrous Compendium Ch 9 Ficbit – Losses

Lightfall bristled. “What do you mean, everything we lost-”

“Brother.” Matteo’s eyes were very wide. “There’s something the Taskforce never made public. Something very, very important. We can’t monitor much in SAO, that bastard Kayaba didn’t leave anyone access beyond a few read-only files – but we can read the Monument of Lives.”

Lightfall blinked, and shook his head. “Matteo?”

“Opening day started with just under eighteen thousand players here in NerveGear,” the alurin stated. “The Taskforce counted. The Monument has twenty thousand names.” She swept her gaze over them all, ending on Recon. “Two thousand of those people were yours, weren’t they?”

Wincing, Recon looked away. Swallowed hard, and nodded.

“Ninety-eight of those aberrant two thousand died in the first month.” Matteo shuddered. “If the game works here the way it works there… you know the lore on dragons. Even the good ones don’t care what happens to humanoids, unless it messes with their damned Prophecies.” She drew down a menu interface, typing in some calculations. “At least four hundred of their own people are dead, Lady Sakuya. And it wouldn’t be the youkai lords risking their necks. It’d be their common folk. Their teenagers. Like us.”

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66 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch 9 Ficbit – Losses

  1. – Even the good ones don’t care what happens to humanoids, unless it messes with their damned Prophecies.-
    Fortunately Caerulus seems to be a rather blatant exception to this rule.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well, it depends on how you define “messes with their Prophecies.” If you define it as “helps it come to fruition” then yes Caerulus has thusfar been an exception. If you define it as “spikes it’s wheels, hard” then no he’s not. I firmly believe that there are dragons who like the world just as it is thank you, their stuff is here, and so work to keep things going as they have.

      Liked by 6 people

    2. Of course, he has good reason, from that bit of backstory with the paladin of “set up collateral damage to smite those who might possibly be evil, just for good measure”. Prove himself better, by actually taking everyone as individuals, and actually caring (at least a bit) about even those he should traditionally not care about.

      Liked by 4 people

    3. Caerulus finds Aincrad interesting and new. He likes watching how it’s putting itself together. He likes the people who honored his “halfbreed” daughter as a hero, and mean to avenge her in the best way possible – by making sure the kingdom that killed her never, ever gets to gloat over its gains.

      And more important, it’s where he keeps his stuff. Don’t mess with the hoard, dude.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. -by making sure the kingdom that killed her never, ever gets to gloat over its gains. –
        And now (while they might never know) he further twists the screws by granting his daughter’s bloodstone to a worthy heir who will go on to be just as much a hero.

        Though if and when she takes up the bloodstone for real, would Asuna be considered adopted, a pseudo step-child or his grand-daughter?

        Liked by 5 people

      2. >> Though if and when she takes up the bloodstone for real, would Asuna be considered adopted, a pseudo step-child or his grand-daughter?

        I’m still suspicious that we’re gonna find out that Yui is the daughter of Connlan and Tournesol. (Half-[Blue]-Dragon Medusa child, For The Cuteness and The Win!)

        So between Yui adopting Kirito and Asuna as her parents, Caerulus’ matchmaking, and history’s penchant for – oh, what was that quote used in What Comes Around? Ah yes – not repeating but often rhyming

        At this point I’m suspicious that by the end of things we’re gonna find out if Kirito and Asuna aren’t actually the one-to-one reincarnations of Connlan and Tournesol, then they’re at least as close to being that as Kenshin is to being the ancestor that was Battousai in Blades of Blood/Witchy Woman.

        I know CrossOverCreativeChaos already said grand-daughter, but I imagine there’s elements of ‘Tournesol’s little sister’ in there.

        …On an unrelated note, I have a question for CrossOverCreativeChaos: you mentioned that Sugou Noboyuki has probably already been eaten by something by this point. Was that someone– *cough* sorry!- something that ate our would-be-Oberon blue and scaled?

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Hmm. That would only hold if time went a bit wonky between the worlds – the medusas haven’t been dead more than a decade or so in Aincrad. Plus if those two had an egg-napped they’d have moved heaven, earth, and Eberron to get her back! (More to the point, Stheno would have known about it. And Yui would have feathers.)

        Hmm. Caerulus would only have chewed in self-defense. 😉

        Lovely as a protective blue dragon would be, the more likely scenario is that Beniryuu realized Sugou was snooping through his files to tamper with ALO and decided to let him – er, meet some of the RL inspirations, so to speak. 😉

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Ah, Jossed, it seems.

        I’d been rereading posted chapters and it seemed from some of Tetsutora’s commentary on Yui to Stheno that there was something extra special relating to the blood of Cato and Yui. Since Stheno herself is explicitly of the blood of Cato and the impression we’ve been given was that she adopted Connlan – making him share her bloodline – I thought that might work.

        Further I assumed the feathers wouldn’t be passed on, given they were described as being more like a tattoo. We hadn’t been told Yui’s coloration yet, just that she had snakes in her hair, so I had theories.

        As for time line: point. I always have difficulty figuring out what age Yui is supposed to simulate. I thought that given her behavior, nevermind how Medusa age plus however dragon blood interacts with that that could put her at the equivalent to human 9-12 and physically whatever age is appropriate for timeline – especially since we hadn’t been given a precise timeline for when the Massacre of Swiftwater Pass and the Night of Shattered Stone had happened before now.

        (As for Stheno knowing/not-knowing about egg-napping, she had admitted to not being certain how Yui got herself to where exactly she’d been rescued from, and also admitted to having had her visions clouded previously. Given exactly how much she lost in the Massacre of Swiftwater Pass, one more potentially unborn child lost in the disaster… She would’ve had every reason to believe that and the extra layer of grief of one more dead child – no matter how personal the connection – probably wouldn’t have changed her overall behavior that we’ve seen so far.)

        Liked by 1 person

      5. -something that ate our would-be-Oberon blue and scaled?-
        Please, Caerulus is a wizard and a dragon. If he had for some reason met Sugou after the dragon had started getting attached to Asuna, death would be a merciful release in comparison.

        Liked by 3 people

      6. I like the situation with Yui, Asuna, and Kirito better if there isn’t some pre-existing relationship, reincarnation or otherwise.

        That bit where they just agree that Yui needs watching after, and that they are going to do it is just so fundamental a part of my understanding of Asuna and Kirito.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. I honestly think Caerulus is younger (and less jaded) than Beniryuu. He’s probably less powerful directly, but he’s studied a lot more humanoid magic out of sheer curiosity. The rep he has among other dragons is likely… well. “Humanoid otaku!”

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Doesn’t hurt that I think you’ve specified that Caerulus is a blue dragon to Beniryuu’s red, and while Eberron dragons may not be Color Coded for Our Convenience, that doesn’t change that their relative stats and effective racial bonuses remain much the same.

        Even if they were the same age, Caerulus as a blue dragon just isn’t as powerful as Beniryuu as a red. Only dragons tougher than reds – among the base varieties of Chromatic and Metallic – are gold dragons. Otherwise… Well, it’s just another advantage Beniryuu has in an already stacked deck.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. -He’s probably less powerful directly, but he’s studied a lot more humanoid magic out of sheer curiosity. The rep he has among other dragons is likely… well. “Humanoid otaku!”-
        Though it makes sense that he focuses a lot on the humanoids. Becuase from the overall theme that I’ve felt coming off the guy, his primary goal isn’t hoarding mounds of valubles (though I imagine he has a treasure cave r two to nap in). Instead what he avidly collects is knowledge and lore. The massive library is his true hoard.

        And the fun thing about knowledge is that if you allow people to peruse it, it’s very likely that they will in turn grant you their knowledge in exchange. Sure that massive pile of tomes, scrolls and books might not be as pretty and shiny as the traditional dragon horde, but it can grow without Caerulus having to go out and knock over a kingdom or two.

        It’s also safer since said knocking over kingdoms to take their shinies tends to cause adventuring parties to start vectoring towards your lair.

        Liked by 4 people

  2. Lightfall bristled. “What do you mean, everything we lost-”

    Never assume that you are the only one to have someone or lost people. Because you could be wrong. Especially when one is dealing with red dragons.

    . . .The Monument has twenty thousand names.”

    See, you aren’t the only ones dying in that death game.

    And it wouldn’t be the youkai lords risking their necks.

    Of course not.

    People who call themselves Lords only risk their own necks when they absolutely have to.

    Why else do you have minions?

    It’d be their common folk.

    The usual cannon fodder.

    And given how wars tend to double-hit the common folk . . . they are likely people who are more desperate than the youkai lords.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Folks might be selling the Youkai lords short. If I recall correctly, Red (Currently Not A) Handbag-and-Boots sold the game as a way to train in magic and self-defense, and conveniently forgot to mention the perma death is literally permanent. Most good rulers who hear, “This is a low-stakes way to train your people to defend themselves from the next war you KNOW is coming,” are going to say, “Gods, yes, I never want to hear my people screaming like that ever. Again.”

      And then the lords find out what’s really going on, too late to stop it —

      …ohshit. This is part of Benryuu’s plan, isn’t it? Get the masses saying, “The lords aren’t risking their necks. Our people are. Why should we trust in the lords any more?” If it gets bad enough you could be looking at governmental breakdown/civil war.

      Red Dragon is just another way of saying Xanatose Speed Chess Grandmaster, ain’t it? *facepalm*

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Beniryuu does seem to be the living embodiment of “It can always get worse.”

        Can also imagine one of the saying something like this:

        “Just when I think he couldn’t be a bigger bastard, he proves me wrong. It’s almost impressive.”

        “Eh, dragons. Always have to be the best.”

        “Well, if Kayaba wants to be the biggest bastard, he’s doing a good job!”

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Mmmm… Maybe by Dragon standards.

        As has been pointed out, dragons have time other races don’t, and so when other races aren’t involved they can both afford and prefer to take their time about things.

        What Beniryuu has pulled here may very well qualify as Xanatos Speed Chess for a dragon, given how relatively quickly he’s been moving.

        But actual Xanatos Speed Chess? Ehhhh… I don’t recall when, but I remember once going to the page for that trope, and the page image at the time was a few panels from what I think was a webcomic – I don’t know which one though. It detailed a character reacting to recent changes in the status quo and fitting those changes into ongoing plans.

        One thing about everything that seemed really key to me was that the character specifically hadn’t predicted these changes. Instead the character just responded to them as opportunities, accepting what plans they could no longer pursue and getting excited considering all the new possibilities.

        To me that’s always felt like the essence of Xanatos Speed Chess. It’s not just about manipulating circumstances, it’s about adapting to circumstances so no matter what you always benefits somehow.

        Beniryuu… He’s stacked the deck in his favor so much – and he has been an excellent Chessmaster while doing it – that I don’t think we’ve yet seen if he qualifies as being versed in Xanatos Speed Chess.

        He totally might be!

        …But I kinda like the idea – since he’s stacked the deck so heavily in his favor – that he’s not all that good at thinking on his feet and adapting to changing circumstances by human standards. He’s smart, and clever, and very well prepared for just about everything he can think of, but if you actually catch him by surprise you can seize the momentum before he can recover and really do some damage.

        Liked by 4 people

      1. Yes . . . but Tatsutora, Stheno, and such seem to be the exception, not the rule.

        Can’t help but remember how quick Euryale was to dismiss the wrongness of their actions / the deaths of the Earth players because it was happening to humans. Humans who had never done her or hers any harm.

        But that might be my annoyance towards characters who aren’t target specific in their revenge / vengeance schemes. I can understand, if not always support, going after the person or persons who wronged you. But not someone whose only crime was happening to belong to the same species / group / etc of the people who hurt you.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Euryale is a queen; her people come first all the time. Not to excuse her viewpoint, just noting her focus.

        Stheno, OTOH, is a Seer, so she’s had the chance to see all the races at their best and worst. Also, despite the horror of having almost all her living relations wiped out, the most traumatic thing that’s happened to Stheno personally was being trapped in a psiwasp nest. In her mind, a lot of humans may be bad, but they’re something you can face when prepared and possibly negotiate with. Abominations = Kill It With Fire.

        Likewise Tetsutora is a weretiger who beat down the demon within, helped other people do it, and led an escape from Sarlona and the Inspired. She also thinks “there’s plenty worse things than humans out there, and if we don’t wise up and form some alliances the Quori are going to have all our dreams for lunch.”

        Other youkai lords… will vary in viewpoint, depending on what they’ve experienced. 🙂

        Liked by 5 people

      3. . . .her people come first all the time.

        Good priorities for a queen to have . . .

        Abominations = Kill It With Fire.

        Then add more fire because with abominations, you need to make sure to kill it very thoroughly.

        depending on what they’ve experienced.

        Personal experience accounts for a lot. And it is sensible to wary of a species whose members have often tried and succeeded in doing harm to you and yours . . . and everyone has their biases . . . but you have to watch said biases because they can make you blind to something important.

        Like getting so focused on that particular danger or threat that you will another, different one lurking.

        It’s a balancing act.

        Liked by 5 people

      4. However, it’s also valid to do pattern recognition and say: “Everyone of this group who I have met has tried to hurt me, without any action on my part to cause it, and has noted their group’s goals as part of the reason, therefore I will expect until proven otherwise that the only reason the others of that group haven’t tried to hurt me is because I have not yet met them.”

        Don’t attack them for what others have done, but don’t make the mistake of trying too hard to not blame them and thus leaving yourself open to them. Bias isn’t inherently bad, you just need to know what bias you have and why you have it.

        Liked by 5 people

      5. >> It’s hard to have too much fire when dealing with xenomorph-types. 😉

        *Snrk* I read a (mildly) crack-fic once that gave it their best go.

        Came across the original colony from the first Aliens film. Used teleportation magic-tech to grab anyone who could actually be saved and not a single xenomorph.

        Then they nuked the colony from orbit. Just to be sure. Then they used their ship’s entire nuclear armament to glass the surface. Just in case. Then they cracked the planet open. Just to be thorough. Then they used the tractor beams to ferry each and every chunck of the former-planet and dump them into the local sun. Just to ensure sterilization. Then they used the last of their ship’s heavy armaments to put out that sun. Just for fun.

        The ship’s contingent spent most of this process singing the equivalent of campfire songs.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. But remember, there are a few people in the RL Aincrad that can log in and out. Yui, for an onscreen example, potentially Stheno and Euryale, and at least one character that plays an NPC. Guess what some assholes like to do in online MMORPG? Especially ones that have factions? They like to hunt down certain NPCs, quest givers, the equivalent of the taxi service, and anyone else they can get their hands on. WoW is an example I’m personally aware of. Sometimes it’s understandable because they’re raiding a capital city which can be a quest/achievement point. Other times, they hit the third leveling area, generally where you find the 15-25s, and wipe them out. Meaning that the only way the NPC players are safe is if the instadeath feature is only applicable to the PCs.

      This means that there may be a few lords playing as NPCs, if only to try and atone for what their own actions have wrought, or because it truly is a good way to level, or to scope out people they plan to snag when the Transportation happens.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. >> *Snrk* Don’t try killing NPCs in SAO. It’s not good….

        Don’t try that in any version of SAO. And if you already have for some reason then you probably deserve whatever’s about to happen to you at the very least don’t let Kirito find out, and make sure to have your groveling and begging for your life prepared ahead of time for when he does.

        Liked by 4 people

  3. Let’s also remember, Tae Mistfeather’s father is on the Aincrad/Drooam council (iirc), though he may not be particularly high on the totem pole. Tae’s companions from her former guild (“Something” Sisters (Weird?)) are also Youkai. There is likely to be some shifting of the power structures among the Youkai Clans, especially if/when “adoptees” “cross-over”.

    I’m quite curious as to how the Cosmology will shape up. Eberron has always had entities (of varying levels of “supernaturality”, from “talented mortal”, to literal “god”, or ambulatory embodiment of an “Element”) who can actively act to shape “reality” with corresponding ranges, scales, and duration of effects. Eberron’s reality also is constantly, locally, and globally, being influenced by the effects generated by a number of Planes/Realities of quite distinct ‘thematic environments’, and their inhabitants (corporeal and incorporeal).

    The “Earth” Plane ‘apparently’ does not, no longer does, or does not ‘at this time’ have anything comparable that can be confirmed/substantiated, scientifically or by mass public witnessing. Or at least, this would seem to hold true up to the time that any-one/-thing from Eberron and its accompanying Planes became aware/gained access to ‘Earth-Plane’ (Terra-Plane?). True, the ancestral mythology of all peoples on Earth does universally contain ‘supernatural’ elements. But, unless the Monstrous Compendium-verse has a different history, no ‘supernatural’ event, locality, entity, etc., has ever been ‘overtly’ confirmed.

    In this, I think I favor the Shadowrun RPG-verse conceit- that some natural shift in the framework of how ‘Reality’ works has made the “supernatural” possibly on the Earth-Plane again. Otherwise you either have hundreds (even thousands) of years of people poking at their world and trying to figure out its laws and mechanics somehow miss something as fundamental as magic, gods, supernatural-what-have-you by Kirito’s time, or some kind of perfect conspiracy that hides all that behind a ‘Curtain/Masquerade’. The latter is a bit hard to swallow, at least in my opinion.

    Granted, I have read little of the ‘Modern Fantasy’ genre, aside from Harry Potter, none of Harry Dresden (aside from some fanfic), so there may be ways to present it that doesn’t stress my suspension of belief too much. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed HP, would likely enjoy Harry D, keep meaning to pick up some of Vathara’s books.. ^_^, but HP’s ‘masquerade’ doesn’t REALLY strike me as viable over so many generations, and upheavals in mankind’s history/cultures.

    So, I’m not clear about what the Rules of the Eberron-verse would say about the transfer of actual mass/energy between Planes. Living beings can certainly cross-over, witness Beniryuu/Kayaba, ‘Recon’, etc, but is that more a transfer of conciousness with an accompanying generation of a body? Or a straight-up portation of a physical, biological being? What about clothes and equipment/cargo? A non-corporeal, or a ‘virtual’ Avatar capable of interacting with physical objects is also possible, as Kirito shows. My first guess would be that “costs” are quite high, but not prohibitive, or else Beniryuu wouldn’t have come over, or brought any other denizens of Eberron. Those “costs”, aside from the effort to gather resources, energy/magic/’mana’, or the assistance/’assistance’ of entities to facilitate the Planar-portation, probably attract the attention of other entities, who have their own… ‘opinions’ of what is going, what to do about it, the possible fall-out there-of, and wether it would be advisable to get out of the universe before they take action…

    Earth-Plane mankind’s industrial/technical artifice I guess would be awe inspiring to the inhabitants of Eberron, if more in the context of achieving the results without use of magic, Elementals, etc. Though being able to produce such volumes of products, mass of infrastructure, and to such high REPEATABLE tolerances and quality… Material science, the refining of metals and processing into alloys of such a broad pallet of functionality/purposes, polymers, ceramics, composites… 3D printing. Crafting tools, machine tooling…

    If ‘magic’ (and a being using/relying/composed of, magic) is ‘weak’ on Earth, compared to Eberron (or one of the Manifest Zones), would something like a computer, radios, or highly sensitive sensors (high resolution camera, scientific instruments) be found to be plagued by breakdowns, or other faults (too much ‘noise’ in the received signals, for instance, shorts, etc)? On the other hand, perhaps they’ll be quite stable, because of their inherent “mundaneness”, other than actual physical effects generating fault conditions. Can’t just ‘magic’ a computer, say, to stop working, but a power surge/EMP ‘would’ do the trick.

    Things like 3D printing, or laser etching, etc. might make it possible to build wards (or protective envelopes) against magical/supernatural disruption right into manufactured objects, if complex/high-tech (significant computer control/management) machines (UAVs, military machines, scientific instrument packages) end up making their way to Eberron and attendent Planes. This sort of thing might be necessary to deal with an inimical incursion from “outside” of Earth-Plane. Since I would NOT be surprised at all that Beniryuu’s mucking about leads to ‘Stranger Things’ deciding to visit Earth. Tokyo, most likely ground zero, natch.

    One of the D&D concepts that tickle my fancy is the Spelljammer. Don’t know if it fits the scope of the story, but some craft, air, water, or ground, being modified to ‘port to Eberron as part of a scouting/exploration/diplomatic venture appeals to me.

    David Weber’s companion novella to his fantasy series, Sword Brother, is a nice piece (I think), of what might happen if a Stryker Armored Vehilce and its crew were (sort of, but not entirely) randomly summoned by Wencit of R^uM (as in a literal “summon Ally” event) to help Bahzell Banakson take out a Demon Worshippers base, and not incidentally, a demon. If Earth-Plane military forces end up taking action, that work could offer inspiration. I could provide a link to a free online source, if interested.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, I recalled a 2007 Korean modern fantasy movie, about the reincarnation of Legendary Warriors (battle couple? don’t recall) supposed to defeat an evil dragon/summon a good dragon to defeat the evil one. They, or at least one of them, is born in modern LA, and thus. as prophecied, the forces of the evil dragon invade LA to conquer the world, and kill the hero(es). The effects were quite decent, I felt, and the sequences involving modern military fighting mystical ground troops/monsters, and flying lizards/dragons, actually had the US Military be somewhat (fairly?) effective. Though the real ‘Bosses’ of course need to be taken down in the proper Legendary Way. =)

      Dragon Wars

      https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0372873/

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Several factors to unload here:

      1) Rowling really doesn’t understand how a lot of stuff works, and threw in a lot of stuff “because it sounds cool” or “because it is useful for the story right this instant”, despite the unintended consequences being “the entire setting and plot both fall apart on analysis”. It’s really not a good calibration point for this sort of question, especially since their masquerade have increase chance of catastrophic failure to the point of total inability to prevent it within a generation or two, and the only ways to fix that have already passed or would destroy earlier plot points. (ie: the methods to fix it require changes to the setting that would totally invalidate most of the plot of the books, while if you stick with what was shown in the books then the very act of trying to fix it would only put it off for a few years at best while making the failure even more catastrophic when it happened, and would in fact be part of why it failed)

      2) Ebberon’s Planes “move about” in their planar cosmology, like stars/planets/constellations appear to move in the sky. Some times, two planes are closer together, some times they’re farther apart, with different ones having closer approaches or more distant departures. This can be, for some planar pairs, so close that at closest approach they overlap in some areas so you can literally step from one to the other without any magic necessary. At the farthest departure, some of them can get so metaphysically distant that even magic specifically created to cross the gap cannot do so. And this metaphysical cosmological movement can be affected, sometimes, but things done in one or the other plane (there’s a group actively working to keep one of the planes from approaching Ebberon again).

      2a) This brings up the possibility that Earth/Ebberon simply have a _really_ distant/eccentric “orbit” from eachother, so they go so far apart even their presence can’t be detected, before approaching again, and that takes so long that (on Earth’s side, at least) they forget eachother. And if Earth doesn’t naturally have much in the way of “magic”, and has to make do with leakover, then it would be understandable that they’d even forget magic for the most part, at least as a “real thing” instead of just “old myths”.

      3) DogbertCaroll had an interesting explanation too, for “it’s not obvious”. In one of his comic crossovers (probably DC, tho might have been Marvel), one of the characters was wondering why magic isn’t more widely known, if it actually exists. He pointed out that, compared with superpowers (most of which boil down to “backstory happens, and suddenly you have Powers and can Do Awesome Stuff!”), magic usually takes extreme amounts of dedication, time, intelligence, and study, even to begin to get basic stuff to happen. It’s like signing up to get 5 PhD’s, just to be able to learn to jiggle the antenna and add some aluminum foil to the rabbit ears on your TV to fix the static on it. Which isn’t like the “casually throwing around fireballs” that most people who might be interested in it are looking for. So you get a few magical powerhouses (because of “backstory giving power”), while the rest give up long before they’ve got anything provable, or settle down to watch their TV without static instead of showing off to the world.

      It’s not that magic isn’t powerful, just that without the (rare) special backstory to let you do the awesome stuff, you’re going to need multiple decades of practice and study just to get to the point where you can show that it’s not a statistical anomaly or a hoax. And by that time, you’re already considered a charlatan, or people are just assuming “nah, it’s just his superpower. If he’s kooky enough to think his superpower is ‘actually magic’, well, better not to disturb the crazy person by trying to correct him.” And the ones that do have the special backstory to have the power to make stuff obvious also tend to have good reason not to, or else to be the badguy and thus be even more obviously crazy and not to be believed.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. That’s insightfull. My feeling would be though that a great magical prodigy, capable of overt acts of a magical nature, would be likely to want to show off their power, in regards to human nature, at least initially. There would be the question of what fraction of the planetary population would have magical potential of any sort, as well. Once you get population figures in the billions though, even quite small percentages have a significant actual magnitude…

        still, someone actually with prodigal powers could well fall afoul of their own deadly mistakes/side effects of their talents, violence/censure from their community driving them underground/to their death, their talents simply taking on a form that ‘isn’t overtly ‘magical/supernatural’, because of the way we have learned to view the mechanics of the world- ie., if you don’t truly, absolutely believe you can throw fireballs, you won’t, even if you have the potential… Alternatively, if you can use magic to, say, find water, you might simply end up being one of those people who seem to have a knack for dowsing, with a better success rate than most other practictioners.

        Lacking a proper theoretical framework for a magical system, even those who might gain magic talent through hard work and dedication, people like monks or martial arts masters might simply focus their talents on their katas and meditations, and not on expressing their efforts on the world around them.

        The Universe as we know it in our world, is constantly in motion, our own galaxy is due to collide with another in the far future. So, on the planar level, it wouldn’t be surprising for “planes” to orbit each other, or simply end up coming closer. In that respect, I have no issues with the idea of Eberron simply being more accessably to Earth, and vice versa.

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    3. The Mistfeathers aren’t on the council; Tetsutora is.

      Earth has been pretty low-magic for a long time. That Beniryuu was able to make contact and set up what promises to be a mass kamikakushi (spiriting away) implies that may have changed recently….

      Contrary to the Dresdenverse, my take on magic – at least as seen in D&D – is that it usually does not affect the physical laws of the world around it outside of the direct effects of the spell itself.

      (Usually. See faerzress zones in the Underdark.)

      Liked by 5 people

      1. And that definitely makes it harder to detect it. If reality works perfectly fine one way, and also works perfectly fine another way, and they _aren’t_ directly related except where they actually intersect through someone applying one over the other, then any scientific examination would find one cohesive “this is how things works” that misses the other potential “way things work” except possibly as odd unexplained discrepancies in the data. Especially if the one “way things work” is “normally”, and the other is “only when specifically activated”.

        Liked by 4 people

  4. If the Youkai want any sympathy from the adventurers, they really need to be in the same boat of being screwed over by Kayaba. If they don’t lose anything, it’s going to be BAD for them. From this point of view, the deaths of the Youkai players is a necessary political sacrifice for the good of Aincrad.

    Incidently, from the figures in the worldbook, Japan has more than ten times the population of the five nations put together.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You may already know/have taken into account what I’m about to say, in which case please disregard.

      It was actually noted in the discussion a snippet or two ago that the common fan-reading of those numbers you mentioned is that they’re wildly lower than what they really need based on how the setting is described. Those numbers are basically treated as another example of Scif-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale, and the actual numbers should probably be something like five times that.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. There was someone on a forum board who went into great detail on farming communities with the known level of tech, healing spells available to wipe out epidemic disease before it can run amok, and the likely density of Sharn in particular. Wish I still had the link, but – yeah. Just to raise the armies the Five Lands are supposed to have would take bigger numbers of general population.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. Separately… I don’t know that I like the idea that the Youkai Lords people people of Aincrad have to have also suffered and lost directly as a result of how Monstrous Compendium Online has gone so badly off track from what they intended to be sympathetic to the adventurers.

      I get what you’re saying about the suffering of the adventurers being so severe and immediate that it would be hard for the adventurers to be sympathetic to the Youkai Lords if Aincrad hadn’t also been bitten by what happened as well, but…

      It feels weirdly like… Like saying ‘they haven’t suffered enough to deserve help yet’ which… Is a concept I might take issue with.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. I didn’t find a good spot to add this to any of the other comments I left sooo…

    >> “At least four hundred of their own people are dead, Lady Sakuya. And it wouldn’t be the youkai lords risking their necks. It’d be their common folk. Their teenagers. Like us.”

    Like Recon maybe?

    (I’m just saying, I feel like the kid deserves a break. At minimum.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Pro tip: Original novels are work. Done in what time I have around day job, but work.

      Fanfic = done on what remains of own (limited) free time, with plotbunnies likely to scamper at the slightest hint of pressure. I just got chapter 10 to the point it’s likely going to work now, and there’s a fight scene in 11 that’s been making me all but tear my hair out. I was just giving 9 a last check-over to be sure nothing else jumped out at me.

      Seriously, any variant on “When’s the next chapter?” makes the plotbunnies not willing to work.

      I freely admit this is a berserk button, because 91 chapters of Embers, and if you check the reviews on Fanfiction,net, you’ll find at least half of them were “When’s the next chapter?” right after – usually bare hours after – I posted the last one.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m sorry. I was going to adjust my comment, but I forgot about it when my 2 year old nephew almost fell off the bed.

        He’s fine. He climbs up and down the bed regularly.

        Like

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