Stoni next found herself within stone-throwing distance Star Town's northern wall. This time she was a disconcertingly tall woman named Lira Fenny. The height was specifically disconcerting to Stoni, who was not used to being so far from the ground. She decided it was best to sit on a smooth rock while further considering her circumstances.
Braided dark brown hair down to my waist, that's likely to be a nuisance. Skin slightly lighter than my hair. And I'm very skinny. Zero Muscle, so I don't want to be getting in any physical fights. And running away won't be very effective either. Why no muscle? Ooh, I'm a Teacher with 3 points in Mind.
"Hey ALI, how about a report on my abilities and skills?"
|Botany||Study of plants.||Dreadful||50||
|Footwork||General use of feet.||Dreadful||40||
|Foraging||Searching for wild food resources.||Dreadful||50||
|Handiwork||General use of hands.||Dreadful||50||
|Observe||General use of senses.||Dreadful||60||
|Did you expect this to be filled out?|
|This is the basics not an exhaustive character sheet.|
|Unruffled||Resist attempts to confuse.||Dreadful||5|
|Distill Knowledge||You can find the basic or important facts in a body of knowledge.||Dreadful||30||
|Generate Lesson||You can fashion a method by which your students can learn some specific information.||Dreadful||10||
|Memorable Moment||Your students will long remember a specific point, and who taught it to them.||Dreadful||0||
|Retain Attention||As you teach your students are more likely to remain engaged.||Dreadful||0||
|Spot Talent||You can evaluate who will make good students, and determine what your students might be capable of.||Dreadful||30||
"Wow, now this is an extremely fresh character! And completely useless in any sort of combat, it looks like. I guess that's not for everyone. But this isn't something I think I would pick as a starter class. Not without a solid group of friends. And I don't see any of those about. On top of that I don't have any weapons. Just a basket. I think whoever is playing Lira is hoping the newbie zone is very safe. I'd better watch out for killer trees!"
With no specific goals beyond surviving for a couple of hours, Stoni figured she'd better work on improving Lira's skills as much as possible. She'd learned that the purpose of free ghosts was to give players a taste of what might be possible if they paid for a better ghost. As there was no cost to the ostensible hiree, there should be minimal consequences if a ghost did poorly. That gave very poorly rated ghosts an opportunity to improve or to fail and be retired. Stoni refused to take the latter option.
The path forward was simple and clear: walk around, examine everything, examine the plants more closely, and collect anything that might be edible. The weather was pleasant and there were no distractions, so Stoni found the task immensely enjoyable. Nothing she observed about the plants was especially compelling, but the mere fact that she could do it was inherently fascinating. Each flower and shrub seemed to be unique, as did each leaf and blade of grass. However, she wasn't certain that they were truly unique, or if it was all an elaborate illusion. She even had some doubts that everything was exactly the same from minute to minute. While the details she remembered were the same as far as she could tell, the realised that those details might match her memories because of her memories. If she didn't remember something, there was no need for it to be preserved.
Does that mean I can manipulate the world by forgetting things I don't want to exist, or mistakenly remembering things I want to believe are real? No, I doubt that would work. VIVID would still remember the important, functional details. And any successful exploit would eventually attract the attention of the patron deities. They sound like entities I don't want to cross if I want to have a good time in here. I definitely don't want to have a bad time, not if I can prevent it.
A party of adventurers marched by on the road, headed out from Star Town. Stoni considered joining them. The thought was tempting, but the potential danger held her back. All five of them looked well equipped with weapons and armour. She knew she would be of no benefit to the group, whether in a fight or out of one. If they did get in a fight, she would not survive long, and there would be no reason for anyone to protect her. There was no point in hoping that wouldn't happen, as the party was clearly anticipating danger. They were likely seeking a fight intentionally, she figured.
After an hour of foraging and roaming the rolling meadow beside that stretch of Rabbit Road, Stoni decided it was time for a change of scenery. She'd long been wanting to visit Star Town and now she could enter the city without causing a quest completion and being logged out. Her basket was now fairly full of assorted herbs and berries, which she hoped to sell in the market. Boldly she strode past the town guards and through the gate. It had taken her some time to adjust to her sizable stature, but she was now moving confidently and had reached tier 2 of Poor rank in Footwork.
The guards nodded to her and she nodded, back realising she was looking down on them. She wondered how much taller this character would grow, and worried about what problems she might have as a result. Ducking through doorways would be a constant issue, and finding clothes that fit well and beds that were long enough would be problematic.
That's not my problem though. The kid who picked this character is going to have to live with it. Or give up and design a new one, I guess. And I'm only guessing it's a kid. Seems likely though. Alright, where's a market?
The outermost part of the town was mostly gardens, but the cobbled road soon brough her to a pleasant market square containing over a dozen wooden stalls, each one vying for attention with bright colours of paint and cloth. The traders too were doing their utmost to gain the attention of the many passersby. There were more people in and around the market than Stoni had expected, and she was glad that her extra height let her see over most of their heads and many of their hats. As she moved into the crowd she clutched her basket to her chest to protect it from the jostling. If she spilled anything here, she would be hard pressed to get it back, and it wouldn't be in one piece if she could find and grab it.
The word 'tall' caught her attention amidst the shouts of the salespeople. She turned to face the direction she'd heard it and tried to pick out one voice among many. "What was that?"
"Yes, you, the tall lem, are you buying or selling?" The question came from a grey-haired man in a grey felt cap and a grey and white striped apron.
She pushed a little closer to his stall. "Errr, what did you call me?"
"Don't try to hide it, there's no way you're stable-born," the man said. He sounded like he was telling her off for trying to fool him, but Stoni had no idea what.
"What's your name, girl? People call me Hedern."
Stoni circled around a pair of muscled warriors who were arguing between her and Hedern. "I'm, um, Lira. And I don't know what you mean."
"You're the tallest person here. That's not normal for someone of your age. You're element-born, Lira."
"I'm what now?" That sounded very familiar. "Oh, like that talking tree?"
"Where did you meet... Never mind. How do you not know what you are?"
"Well... I'm new here."
"Did you pick a character at random and not read the full description?"
"Uh... In a manner of speaking." She hadn't read all the information she'd been provided about Lira. "So, I'm unnaturally tall. Is that a problem? Can I still sell you some stuff I foraged?"
Hedern muttered something about 'kids', 'respect' and 'these days', then gestured for Lira to show him the basket's contents. "Not too bad for a first-timer. I can give you twenty copper for this lot."
"Twenty is generous but I can throw in some free advice."
"Done." Stoni took the small handful of coins and stored them in a pocket in her baggy trousers. "What's the advice?"
"Read more, and watch out for talking trees. The one I've heard about in these parts is a deadly archer, and not friendly to travellers."
Stoni tried not to groan. "I could have told you that. Got anything better?"
"Maybe if you come back with something better to sell. Next customer!"
Stoni shuffled out of the way and looked around for something interesting to investigate. On the far side of the market square was a tall white stone building that featured sharp straight lines and many pointy spires.
Looks likely to be a temple. I feel like it's the sort of place a new player would benefit from visiting. Maybe I can get some better free advice there. Or meet some other new players. Yeah, that sounds good.
Spotting a cluster of people in very simple clothes leaving the temple, she decided to approach them and attempt a conversation.