Ghost Cache

first_page arrow_back arrow_forward last_page

'Boot' 2.4


Later Morning

Rabbit Hills, Star Town, Western Coast, Asheroon, Riches of Renfros

Stoni found herself once again in the Rabbit Hills, this time in the role of an older woman named Natalia Plinth.  This part of the region was hillier and had more trees than the parts she'd experienced previously.  She was also not alone.

"Nat?  I thought you had to log off early," said a grey-bearded gentleman in fine clothes.  He, Natalia, and another fancily dressed man and woman were sitting on a large striped blanket.  Plates and baskets of food were arranged haphazardly between the picnickers.

  • Hireling Quest: Return to Star Town.

Natalia glanced back and forth between the system message and her lunch companion.  Or was this brunch?  She couldn't remember the details of the occasion, or what what events had led to the current circumstance.

Did she not tell him she hired a ghost?  Did she forget?  Am I meant to leave without telling anyone?  Why did Natalia's player not leave more detailed quest information?

At least she remembered the man's name, despite her rising panic.  "Uh...  Sven, I..."

"It's not realy Nat," the other woman whispered loudly.  "She hired one of those ghosts to walk her back to that little starter hovel."

"How does it know my name?" Sven asked, scuttling away from Natalia in alarm and knocking over a jar of something sticky.

"Residual memory.  Something like that," the other woman said.  Natalia remembered her name was Xana.

"Why would Nat let some ghost at her memories?" asked the second man.  His head was completely hairless and he wore large hoop earings and even finer clothes than Sven.

"Don't worry, the ghosts don't keep those memories," Xana said around a mouthful of food.  "I use them for extra training sometimes, and they never remember where anything is on my estate.  Their minds are very fragile and can't retain any of the skills they help our characters learn.  A pity, really."

Stoni realised she'd been staring at Natalia's picnic companions without moving.  "Er, I should go."  She turned in the direction she hoped would get her to the road soonest.

"Creepy, isn't it.  Sounds like Nat but it's not," she heard Sven say behind her.

"I wonder if it can sing like Nat," the other man said rather speculatively.  Stoni belatedly remembered that his name was Harv and Natalia had a strong dislike of him.  She didn't like Sven much either, but this meeting had been part of some sort of family business deal.

As Stoni threaded her way between the trees, she reflected on Xana's words about memories.

Is that true?  Are ghosts' minds that broken?  Will I forget this conversation by tomorrow?  Will I remember any of this in a few days?  Wait, is this even my first day doing this?  Can I remember my first mission?

Panic shot through her as she mentally grasped for those memories.  Her balance wavered and she leaned heavily against a tree.

My first mission was Nina.  My trial run was Lentie.  Nina was much shorter than Lentie.  Lentie had raw rabbit, a skinning knife, and a snakebite kit.  I didn't ask about everything Nina was carrying, but she did have those awful figs.  Also, she had a leather water bottle and Lentie had a steel one.  And rye bread sandwiches.  Alright, I don't think I'm forgetting.  What happened before that?  Uh...right, my first look at VIVID was in a character named 'Nebumi Fifty-Two'.

Satisfied and relieved that she could remember what she'd seen, heard and done, to what felt like a reasonable degree, Stoni continued on her way.  Natalia felt less energetic than the previous characters she'd played, but not by much.  As she grew acustomed to moving this body it felt very sure-footed.  This gave her a greater confidence and let her increase her speed while using her energy more efficiently.

When she at least reached the road and stopped for a moment's rest, her curiosity caught up to her.

"Hey, box-voice, show me my skill tree."

Natalia screamed as a dozen spikes pierced her brain through her right eye.

" no no no no no..." she found herself chanting with no memory of beginning.  Also she was on the ground, curled up in a ball with her left arm around her knees.

Relax, the skill tree is gone.



"Thanks."  Natalia checked in her pockets for something to sip or nibble on, hoping to distract herself from the gradually waning pain, but she'd foolishly left the picnic without any part of the freely available feast.  "What was that?"

The skill tree.

"I figured that.  Why did it hurt so much?"


"Maybe... Maybe show the basics to me in a simpler, less involved format."

{'Base': {'Details': {'Name': 'Natalia Plinth', 'Age': 52, 'Body': {'Did you expect this to be filled out?': 'This is the basics not an exhaustive character sheet.'}}, 'Stats': {'Mind': 1, 'Muscle': 1, 'Mystique': 2}, 'Race': {'Name': 'Human', 'Parameters': {}, 'State': 'Active', 'Abilities': [{'Name': 'Unimpressed', 'Description': 'Resist attempts to beguile or frighten.', 'Rank': 'Excellent', 'Tier': 45}]}}, 'Skills': [{'Name': 'Archery', 'Description': 'Use and care of bows and arrows.', 'Rank': 'Outstanding', 'Tier': 31, 'Category': ['Muscle'], 'Allocated': 'Yes'}, {'Name': 'Baking', 'Description': 'Production of baked goods.', 'Rank': 'Excellent', 'Tier': 12, 'Category': ['Mind'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}, {'Name': 'Canine Care', 'Description': 'Raising and training of dogs.', 'Rank': 'Excellent', 'Tier': 8, 'Category': ['Mystique'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}, {'Name': 'Closeup Magic', 'Description': 'Performance of sleight of hand and related illusions of misdirection.', 'Rank': 'Outstanding', 'Tier': 5, 'Category': ['Mystique'], 'Allocated': 'Yes'}, {'Name': 'Florist', 'Description': 'Creation and selection of floral arrangements.', 'Rank': 'Good', 'Tier': 78, 'Category': ['Mystique'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}, {'Name': 'Footwork', 'Description': 'General use of feet.', 'Rank': 'Good', 'Tier': 23, 'Category': ['Muscle'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}, {'Name': 'Handiwork', 'Description': 'General use of hands.', 'Rank': 'Good', 'Tier': 61, 'Category': ['Muscle'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}, {'Name': 'Observe', 'Description': 'General use of senses.', 'Rank': 'Good', 'Tier': 84, 'Category': ['Mind'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}, {'Name': 'Silvertongue', 'Description': 'General use of speech.', 'Rank': 'Excellent', 'Tier': 98, 'Category': ['Mind', 'Mystique'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}], 'Classes': [{'Name': 'Sage', 'Description': 'One who is considered wise and mysterious, seeking and using hidden knowledge while maintaining their own secrets.', 'Requirements': {'Mind': 1, 'Mystique': 2}, 'Abilities': [{'Name': 'Baffle', 'Description': 'Confuse targets with words or actions, making them susceptable to manipulation.', 'Rank': 'Outstanding', 'Tier': 9, 'Category': ['Mystique'], 'Allocated': 'No'}, {'Name': 'Concentrate', 'Description': 'For a time, increase Mind at the expense of Mystique.', 'Rank': 'Excellent', 'Tier': 75, 'Category': ['Mind'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}, {'Name': 'Draw Focus', 'Description': 'Trick targets into noticing only what you want them to notice.', 'Rank': 'Outstanding', 'Tier': 21, 'Category': ['Mystique'], 'Allocated': 'Yes'}, {'Name': 'Resist Poison', 'Description': 'Purify your body through sheer force of will.', 'Rank': 'Good', 'Tier': 32, 'Category': ['Mind'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}, {'Name': 'Sense Vulnerability', 'Description': "Determine targets' emotional and mental weak points.", 'Rank': 'Outstanding', 'Tier': 12, 'Category': ['Mystique'], 'Allocated': 'Yes'}]}, {'Name': 'Noble', 'Description': 'One of high status and position in society who knows how to make others achieve their goals.', 'Requirements': {'Mystique': 4}, 'Abilities': [{'Name': 'Inspire Loyalty', 'Description': 'Target underlings work or fight harder for your cause in response to your encouragement.', 'Rank': 'Sufficient', 'Tier': 77, 'Category': ['Mystique'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}, {'Name': 'Overawe', 'Description': 'Your sheer presence gives lesser beings pause.', 'Rank': 'Good', 'Tier': 18, 'Category': ['Mystique'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}, {'Name': 'Sceptre Strike', 'Description': 'Increase power and proficiency with your weapon of office, and it is much harder to damage.', 'Rank': 'Outstanding', 'Tier': 16, 'Category': ['Muscle'], 'Allocated': 'Yes'}, {'Name': 'Sense Allegience', 'Description': "Determine targets' willingness and intent to plot against you or your enemies.", 'Rank': 'Outstanding', 'Tier': 2, 'Category': ['Mystique'], 'Allocated': 'No'}, {'Name': 'Voluntell', 'Description': 'Convince target of lower status that a plan is their own idea.', 'Rank': 'Sufficient', 'Tier': 55, 'Category': ['Mystique'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}]}, {'Name': 'Shade Striker', 'Description': 'One who waits in hiding as long as is needed to strike at unsuspecting targets.', 'Requirements': {'Mind': 1, 'Muscle': 1, 'Mystique': 2}, 'Abilities': [{'Name': 'Appear Harmless', 'Description': 'Reduce suspicion and fear aimed your way.', 'Rank': 'Good', 'Tier': 58, 'Category': ['Mystique'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}, {'Name': 'Imbue Essence', 'Description': 'Your mental state influences your weapon and those it strikes.', 'Rank': 'Excellent', 'Tier': 68, 'Category': ['Mystique'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}, {'Name': 'Pierce Protection', 'Description': 'Strike foes through armour and cover.', 'Rank': 'Sufficient', 'Tier': 14, 'Category': ['Muscle'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}, {'Name': 'Skip Emptiness', 'Description': 'While waiting, time seems to pass quickly until something notable occurs.', 'Rank': 'Good', 'Tier': 78, 'Category': ['Mind'], 'Allocated': 'Not Applicable'}, {'Name': 'Unerring Blow', 'Description': 'Increase the accuracy of your first attack in a fight.', 'Rank': 'Outstanding', 'Tier': 7, 'Category': ['Muscle'], 'Allocated': 'Yes'}]}]}

Stoni didn't even try reading the response.

"That's just the basics?  It's still far too much, especially all dumped into one solid blob."  At least it didn't hurt.  Much.  "Just tell me how good my footwork skill is."

Footwork is at tier 23 of Good rank.

"And what exactly is a tier or a rank?  Wait, no, I mean please explain in general what tiers and ranks mean."

Ranks are a gauge of your overall proficiency at a skill or ability.  Tiers are subdivisions of ranks that indicate how far you have progressed to the next tier.

"Alright, that makes sense.  What are all the ranks and what do they represent?"

The ranks are: Dreadful, Poor, Sufficient, Good, Excellent, Outstanding, and Masterful.  Each rank represents approximately 10 times as much training as the previous rank.  Outstanding rank can take around 10,000 hours of purposeful training to attain, depending on how good a player is at learning and the quality of their instructors, if any.  Mere use contributes little to a skill's tier, especially at higher ranks.

"Do I have any skills or abilities at Outstanding rank?  And what's the difference between an ability and a skill?"

Yes.  Skills typically relate to general categories of activity and are based on whatever a player chooses to practice, while abilities are more specific and are only available as part of a class.

Stoni groaned at the unhelpful answer to her first question.  "What skills and abilities do I have at Outstanding rank?  And do I have any at Masterful rank?  If so, please list them.  Oh, and what class does each of those abilities depend on?"

See previous data dump.  No.

Stoni actually snarled.  "I think not.  You'd better arrange it in... er...  Oh!  A tabular format.  Yes, that."


"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Uhh... Great, I think I broke it."

"Hey there, fair noble lady.  Having an argue with ALI, are we?"

Natalia spun around to face the newcomer.  "I... I can explain!"

Please leave a comment on this chapter's Patreon page.
first_page arrow_back arrow_forward last_page