Monday, August 25, 2008

secured by the hand that set me free

Head scissors?


Apparently. I admit, I had to go see. And they apparently are what they seem to be--a giant pair of scissors one can shove through one's head.

(Of course I got one--it's too weird not to!)

And I'm terribly tempted for this one, too:


mainly because I adore the instructions:

1. Buy this stuff
2. Drag the folder onto your av
3. Set yourself to always run
4. Run around, waggle your tentacles and shout....GARR I'm a monster!


Day Three, Avarian Expedition

It is punishingly hot under the desert sun of Avaria. We were invited to participate in the excavation of the relics of Avaria's former culture, but the first day we realized--though we were given basic tools (a pickaxe, a hand sickle, a net for catching interesting specimens), everything else we would have to find or make ourselves. It took some time to make ourselves enough understood to the kobolds in the trade city to attain provisions--sturdier attire, waterskins, belt knives and chisels, straw hats to protect us from the deadly heat.


It is beautiful here, though. The sound of the few streams we find, the gentle chirping of small creatures, the howling of Avarian wolves...and we have found several abandoned temples, some magically locked against us, others open, allowing us in. The deep cool of the waters, the shadowed chill of the ancient temples, these things refresh us in our travels.


We found a good spot that contains clay of sufficient consistency to fire. We noted the trade city had a small, but working kiln. Soon we had pots and bowls, jugs to fill with mangrove resin, and discovered that bricks--the manufacture of which was relatively easy for us--were a desired trade item.


We discovered strange, enchanted runes when we were harvesting cacti for cooking spices and juiced pulp; we'd heard tales of an abandoned sky temple, and set about to find it. Find it we did, and when we happened by a spelled circle on the floor, we discovered the source of the rumors--a mount that the rune bound for each of us, made more of shadow than of substance, slow, but sturdy and never-tiring.


We will sleep tonight in a cave discovered by the dunes. We are ready for tomorrow.

To get involved with the Avarian Expedition, just go to Grendel's main store, and wander around until you find the Avarian Expedition wall posters. There are two "sides" of the Expedition--the Expedition itself, wherein one can dig out such diverse things as lumps of clay, branches, turtle shells, giant earwig eggs, stones, bones, and ancient bricks and ancient pots...or harvest such local flora of Avaria as cactus fruit and bulbs, wild reeds, wild turnips, onions, garlic, potatoes, and herbs like sorrel, tarragon, basil and chervil (mispelled chevril). Both sides of the expedition cost thirty Linden, but that's it--everything else that you find, buy or trade is done by making items, offering them to the kobolds, receiving other things back...

Here's the down side, and it's a HUGE down side: there are no instructions.

Let me repeat that, because it sounds vaguely important: There are NO INSTRUCTIONS.

It is the single most frustrating thing about the expedition we've found so far--and we haven't found a way around it yet.

For instance, say you know one of the trade items the kobolds want is vegetable stew. Great--what goes into it? You have wild beets, turnips, onions, garlic, potatoes, fern shoots, cactus fruit, cactus bulbs, basil, tarragon, dandelion, sorrel, chervil--what do you put in the pot to cook? And do you need to prepare the foods first?

NOTHING WILL TELL YOU. Even worse? If you don't know how many things of any one or more types to put on which table...the tables take what you've brought them and swallow it without a whimper.

I'll give you a case in point. I had heard the kobolds had a clothing crate, sturdy dark leather gear to survive the arid desert. But they wanted fern-wrapped eel in trade.

Okay, I have ferns, how do I get eels? Turns out the kobolds had them, too, but they wanted a sheaf of arrows or a pile of clay bricks in trade.

Okay. I didn't know how to make arrows, but I had made bricks, so off I went to gather more clay lumps, then I set each lump onto the clay table--carefully and slowly--and worked it into bricks. When I had twenty or so, I went and fired them--again carefully and even more slowly, because the kiln is very slow to respond. I brought them back and set them on the work table. Rez out a brick, click it, it says I am stacking bricks.

Okay. I rezzed out enough until it said I had enough for a brick pile--turns out that mystical number is twelve--at which point the table gave me the completed pile of clay bricks.

I carried that to the kobold on duty. He gave me an eel. I went to the cooking table. I rezzed out the eel, clicked, and was presented with two items: preserved eel on reed, and eel meat on reed.

I clicked the preserved eel, and that is when Mr. Allen told me I'd made the wrong choice. So off I had to go to the potter's wheel again, make more clay bricks, fire more clay bricks, pile more clay bricks...and then go back with the completed clay brick pile to get another eel. Which I then had to prepare, wrap with ferns, and cook, and then give back to the kobold!

See? NO INSTRUCTIONS. It's frustrating as hell.

But it is a significant challenge, too--can we figure out, on our own or through the melange of rumor and scraps of overheard conversations, what to do where with what to get which thing?

Apparently there is an Avarian Explorers' group, but...the folks in the group tend to berate newcomers who ask questions.

This may well be a job for the Mushroom Hunters of Caledon. I'm seriously contemplating dropping Miss Davies a notecard with the specifics.


Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle said...

Sounds just like RL trade negotiations between a group of explorers and locals. :-)
Just think what it would be like if they didn't speak your language too!

Emilly Orr said...

They don't!