Advertisement
Remove
Settings

A note from SenescentSoul

Looks like Monday won the poll, so here is your chapter!

After leaving the clearing earlier that morning, Rain had confirmed that just leaving his detection aura on constantly wasn’t an option. The mana drain was just too fast. Instead, he had decided to use it in quick one-second pulses as he walked. He had even started making a pinging noise each time he activated the aura, imagining himself as a submarine sonar operator. He had set the target of his search as metal, not specifying a particular type. He had confirmed that this was a valid target back in the clearing by testing it on the various remaining scraps.

 

Even with this technique, his mana had been draining quickly. The range was too small for him to proceed at a full walking pace if he wanted to be thorough in his search. He had gotten bored of just using his detection aura over and over again, so he had decided to take the opportunity to build up some information about how all his various modifiers interacted. To this end, he started experimenting as he walked, testing different combinations. He was interested in finding the most efficient configuration to maximize the speed at which he could scan the forest.

 

Eventually, he had stopped to rest and draw up a table of all the possibilities in his notebook. It would have taken him way too long to calculate all of the parameters, so he decided to just fill in the table as he searched the forest. For each row of the table, he would walk around ten meters, then pause and activate the skill with the specified combination of modifiers. In the case of channel mastery, he tested three cases: off, maximum boost, and maximum restraint. With his skills window open, he was able to see the combined effect of the modifiers, but only for the second that the skill was active. He would quickly memorize the numbers long enough to write them down in his notebook before repeating the process.

 

It had taken him all morning, but he had finally filled in every last row of the table. He had to repeat a few rows several times to make sure that he had them correct. He wasn’t in a hurry, though, so he didn’t stress about it. It helped him to keep his mind off the fact that he hadn’t detected any metal other than that which he carried with him. He’d stopped to have lunch and copy over the table, fixing all of his crossed out mistakes. Pencils were a thing in this world, but erasers weren’t. He reviewed the table and massaged his jaw as he gnawed on a ration bar.

 

Amp.

Ext.

Fcs.

Chnl.

Resolution

(m)

Range

(m)

Cost

(mp/s)

 

 

 

-

0.64

5

4.5

 

 

 

 

0.6

5

5

 

 

 

+

0.56

5

5.5

 

 

+

-

0.57

6

5.4

 

 

+

 

0.52

6

6

 

 

+

+

0.47

6

6.6

 

+

 

-

0.64

11

9.9

 

+

 

 

0.6

11

11

 

+

 

+

0.56

11

12.1

 

+

+

-

0.57

13.2

11.88

 

+

+

 

0.52

13.2

13.2

 

+

+

+

0.47

13.2

14.52

+

 

 

-

0.42

5

9.9

+

 

 

 

0.36

5

11

+

 

 

+

0.3

5

12.1

+

 

+

-

0.31

6

11.88

+

 

+

 

0.23

6

13.2

+

 

+

+

0.16

6

14.52

+

+

 

-

0.42

11

21.78

+

+

 

 

0.36

11

24.2

+

+

 

+

0.3

11

26.62

+

+

+

-

0.31

13.2

26.14

+

+

+

 

0.23

13.2

29.04

+

+

+

+

0.16

13.2

31.94

 

 

I… might’ve gotten a bit carried away. Call me a completionist I guess. Still, I think I have a pretty good handle on what’s going on here. If I take the superset of all modifiers as an example, can I work out the formulas driving this?

 


 

Rain had long finished his ration bar by the time he was done playing with the numbers. He had been determined not to move on until he had finished his calculations. His mana had been full for some time when he finally set down his pencil.

 

Base cost for detection is 5 mp for 1 second, times 2.2 for amplify, times 2.2 for extend, times 1.2 for focus, times 1.1 for channel mastery gives 31.94 mp and change.

 

Have I mentioned I miss calculators? At least multiplication is easier than division.

 

Range is easier. Just extend and aura focus to deal with there. Base is 5 meters, plus 6 for extend, times 1.2, so 13.2 meters. Looks like the addition happens first, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

 

Resolution is the tough one. The skill started at 1 meter at rank 1 and has been going down by 10cm each rank. At rank 5 it is 60cm, base, so that is 1 meter times (rank minus 1) times 10cm. Looks like it is the 10 that is getting multiplied.

 

10 centimeters times (5 minus 1), times 1.6 for amplify, times 1.2 for focus, times 1.1 for channel mastery is 84 cm. 1 minus that is 16cm, so yeah.

 

I… might have too much time on my hands. Still, I am glad I worked through all that, even if it did take forever. My legs needed the rest anyway. Huh. It looks like it would be possible for the resolution to go negative. What would that even mean, physically? Right now, it is more like an accuracy than a resolution. I can be off by around half a meter with the base skill, independent of the size of the object. Negative accuracy? What does that even mean? Could this happen with other skills? What if I divide by zero? Does my head asplode? Maybe I should ask someone before I try it…

 

Rain closed his notebook with a snap and tucked it back into his pack. Getting up off the log he had been sitting on, he stretched his stiff neck and looked around. He had been exploring along the river to avoid getting lost, but he didn’t want to go too far from the clearing. He decided to start heading back, but he walked a bit further from the river so he could cover new ground. The trees were fairly thick, but he could see the sun so he wasn’t that worried about losing sight of the river. Worst case, he would come to the edge of the forest even if he missed the clearing.

 

He let off a ping and started walking, making his way carefully through the trees with the shovel resting on his shoulder. The combination of modifiers that he had decided upon was extend, focus, and minimum strength via channel mastery. This gave him the maximum range of 13.2 meters without needlessly boosting the resolution. Pinpoint precision wasn’t needed until he got a signal. The cost per ping was only 12 mana, so he could do a ping every minute or two and not worry about his reserve dropping too low. He still had to go slowly, but the sedate pace didn’t bother him. It gave him time to pick his way through the underbrush and keep an eye out for anything else interesting.

 

He settled into a rhythm, not bothering to sit down whenever it was time to release a pulse of his detection aura. Trying not to fall over was proving to be good practice for dealing with the effects of aura focus. After about two more hours, he was even able to do it without breaking stride, though it did feel a bit like missing a step at the bottom of a staircase.

 

The journey back was faster than his original walk down the river. He reached the clearing after another hour, but Tallheart was nowhere to be seen. He took a quick break to rest, using purification to freshen himself up. While he waited for his mana to recover, he looked around for any changes in the clearing. The pile of metal scraps was gone, but there wasn’t anything else different that he could see. A ping for metal revealed nothing, so whatever Tallheart had made, he had taken it with him.

 

Once he was back up to about two-thirds of his mana bar, he set back out, walking another ten meters or so further from the river. He was getting a bit frustrated that he hadn’t found anything, but he kept himself going through sheer determination. He had told Tallheart that he would do it, so even if it turned out that there was no metal for kilometers he was still going to give it his best.

 

Around an hour later, Rain came to an abrupt halt. His last pulse had pinged against something behind him. Excitedly, he walked to approximately where he had felt the signal and used a maximized pulse of detection. He was trying to get a better fix on its position by using all of his modifiers. He felt the signal, much clearer this time. It was almost directly below him and about a meter down. He wasn’t sure what it was, but it felt pretty big.

 

Jackpot!

 

Unslinging the shovel from his shoulder, Rain eyed the forest floor. Luckily, the signal was coming from a relatively clear stretch of earth, not directly beneath a tree or something. He broke ground carefully, not entirely trusting the strength of the whatthefuckium alloy of the shovel blade. It wouldn’t do to break it in half by hitting a rock too hard. The bark of the unfinished birch handle was smooth in his hands as he started digging in earnest.

 

Periodically, he let off pulses of detection to keep himself pointed at the source of the signal. He didn’t want to dig a bigger hole than he had to. A meter was plenty deep enough, and Rain still wasn’t in the best of shape. His old diet of cheesy poofs and frozen dinners being replaced with meat, vegetables, and construction supplies had started to show some effect. However, he was still panting and wheezing after about half an hour of effort.

 

Rain stopped to rest, surveying the hole he had dug. He was getting there. The shovel had proved to be stronger than he had expected. The blade was having no trouble cutting through the medium-sized roots that he had encountered. Still, he was careful not to strike with too much force; the goal was to get more metal, not break the first tool that Tallheart had made in two years. He used purify to clean himself of sweat and dirt as he rested, not using aura focus so he could watch the progress of the effect. The white light washed away the dirt from his skin and clothes, but it did nothing for the pile of dirt on the ground.

 

Why? Why does it work on some dirt, but not all dirt?

 

Rain inspected a section of tree root that was lying on the ground outside of the hole. He had removed it in one piece after cutting it with the shovel. The root was clean, looking like it had been washed thoroughly. There were more roots back in the hole, well within the range of purify. However, unlike the one next to him, these were still dirty.

 

Is it because I cut it off from the tree? Obviously it works on living things, so that isn’t the issue. Maybe it is because a tree root is supposed to be covered in dirt when it is in the ground? When I cut off this piece, I guess that changed. You might wash a root you had harvested, but you wouldn’t wash a plant’s roots while it was still using them. Who decides what is supposed to be clean, and what isn’t? Is it me? If I decide that I want to live in this hole, could I trick the skill into cleaning it for me?

 

Feeling slightly silly, Rain gave it a try. He pictured himself as Richmond R. Underhill, owner of a nice, dry hole with a round door and a doorknob in the exact middle. He then activated purify, willing it to clean away the dirt and save him the effort of more digging. He gave it up after half a minute, seeing that the purifying light was doing nothing other than draining his mana.

 

Well, there goes that idea.

 

Picking up the now gleaming shovel, Rain resignedly got back to work, using detection to re-center himself on the signal. It took him another twenty minutes of digging, but his shovel eventually struck a hard object with a clear ringing sound. Rain eagerly jumped down in the hole and searched around with his hands, feeling for the object. He managed to worm his fingers under it and lift it out of the hole with some effort. About the size of a large grapefruit, it was slightly lopsided and incredibly heavy. Panting, Rain activated purify to clean away the dirt and see what he had dug up.

 

It is… a meteorite? Sure looks like one. Score! I have no idea what metal this is, but aren’t meteorites supposed to be great for making weapons? Space Sword, here I come!

 

Rain regarded the meteorite where it lay on the dirt. Now he had to figure out how to get it back to the clearing. He decided that it wasn’t heavy enough that he’d need to get Tallheart. He shuffled a couple things around in his pack to make sure it would stay centered, then slipped it inside. He carefully lifted the pack and settled the straps across his shoulders. The well-made pack seemed to be up to the strain, so he started walking towards the river, intending to return along the relatively clear bank.

 

It took him quite a while to lug the hunk of metal all the way back. By the time he reached the edge of the trees, the sun was setting and his stamina was almost completely empty. His back was aching and his legs felt like jelly. Only the shovel was keeping him upright with him using it as a walking stick.

 

“Tallheart!” he called out as he approached the hut. To his relief, he saw the antlered man’s head poke out of the doorway. He waved him over, dropping the shovel and slipping off the pack. He sat on the ground, panting as Tallheart made his way over to him.

 

“Rain. You look like you are dying.”

 

“I feel like I am dying. That thing is heavy!”

 

“So then...”

 

Rain grinned and untied the pack, slowly lifting out the meteorite and placing it on the ground in front of Tallheart’s feet.

 

“A fallen <something>. Excellent. Do you have any more?”

 

“More? That thing almost broke me.”

 

Tallheart chuckled, examining the hunk of metal. “Mages. So puny and weak.”

 

“Yeah, yeah. What do you think? Can you use this?”

 

“Humm.” Tallheart laid his hand on the side of the meteorite. “It is 90% iron, with some <something> and traces of <something> and <something>. It will be <something> unless I <something> the metals.”

 

“Sorry, all I caught was ‘iron’. You can tell what it is made of?”

 

“Yes. I will teach you your metals later. It will be important, if we are to continue.”

 

“So, can you use it to make a sword or something?”

 

“Can you use a sword?”

 

“...no, but… space sword…” Rain trailed off.

 

“Aren’t meteorites, uhh, I mean fallen stars, good for making weapons?” he tried again, guessing at the meaning of the word Tallheart had used before.

 

“Not this one. A small anvil though… Yes, this would work. Will you give it to me?”

 

“Yes, take it, please.”

 

“I thank you. I have a gift for you as well.”

 

Tallheart reached into a pouch at his waist and pulled out a small metal object. He handed it to Rain with a warning. “Careful, the edge is sharp.”

 

“A… knife?” Rain examined the short, single sided blade. It was much thinner than his utility knife and the metal had a yellowish sheen. The short handle was made from the same metal as the blade.

 

“I must ask you for one more thing,” Tallheart said, expression unreadable.

 

“Sure, what do you need?”

 

“Please use the <something> to shave off that pathetic beard.”

 

“Hey!” Rain protested indignantly. “It’s not like I have a mirror or anything...”

 

Tallheart was laughing as he picked up the meteorite and walked back towards the hut.

 

Advertisement
A note from SenescentSoul

So it looks like I am doing something right. Another author posted a recommendation to come read my story in an end-note. Well, two can play that game. Go check out flriley’s fiction here:

https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/24298/second-chances

I’ve only had time to read a few chapters, but I can confirm that it is interesting so far and has plenty of the blue boxes that you all love so very, very, much.

 

 


Support "Delve"

About the author

SenescentSoul

Bio:

Achievements
Comments(50)
Log in to comment
Log In

Aselo @Aselo ago

Thanks for the chapter!

Premium

flriley @flriley ago

does my head asplode? should it be explode?

A couple of quick questions. Does all this exercise he is doing, increase his stats at all? It would seem his endurance and strength would go up a little from digging, searching, and lugging that meteorite around.

And someone has a bit of Math OCD. How long did it take you to fill in that table? That is dedication. But it made me wonder, he keeps wanting a calculator, any way to create something with that effect with enchantment and magic?

    Premium
    Author

    SenescentSoul @SenescentSoul ago

    I wrote a bunch of code to keep track of skills. I have functions that I can use to get the power, range, etc. of a skill for any given level and combination of modifiers (and level of modifiers). It took me a while to write all that, but now that I have it, making this kind of table isn’t too bad.

    The formatting of this might die when I paste it in here, so imagine it properly indented:

    Code:

    temp = 'detection'
    for a in [0, 1]: # With and without amplify aura:
    for e in [0, 1]: # With and without extend aura:
    for f in [0, 1]: # With and without aura focus:
    for c in [-1, 0, 1]: # With channel mastery at min, off, max:
    mods = ['channel mastery']
    if a == 1:
    mods = mods + ['amplify aura']
    if e == 1:
    mods = mods + ['extend aura']
    if f == 1:
    mods = mods + ['aura focus']
    self.skills['channel mastery'].intensity = c
    res = self.skills[temp].get_power(self, modifiers=mods)
    rng = self.skills[temp].get_range(self, modifiers=mods)
    cst = self.skills[temp].get_cost(self, modifiers=mods)

    Output:

    0,0,0,-1,0.64,5.00,4.50
    0,0,0,0,0.60,5.00,5.00
    0,0,0,1,0.56,5.00,5.50
    0,0,1,-1,0.57,6.00,5.40
    0,0,1,0,0.52,6.00,6.00
    0,0,1,1,0.47,6.00,6.60
    0,1,0,-1,0.64,11.00,9.90
    0,1,0,0,0.60,11.00,11.00
    0,1,0,1,0.56,11.00,12.10
    0,1,1,-1,0.57,13.20,11.88
    0,1,1,0,0.52,13.20,13.20
    0,1,1,1,0.47,13.20,14.52
    1,0,0,-1,0.42,5.00,9.90
    1,0,0,0,0.36,5.00,11.00
    1,0,0,1,0.30,5.00,12.10
    1,0,1,-1,0.31,6.00,11.88
    1,0,1,0,0.23,6.00,13.20
    1,0,1,1,0.16,6.00,14.52
    1,1,0,-1,0.42,11.00,21.78
    1,1,0,0,0.36,11.00,24.20
    1,1,0,1,0.30,11.00,26.62
    1,1,1,-1,0.31,13.20,26.14
    1,1,1,0,0.23,13.20,29.04
    1,1,1,1,0.16,13.20,31.94


    Then, it is just a bit of formatting to get into a table and in the story.

Avadonia @Avadonia ago

You're posting pretty often these chapter I love it

AnthonyL @AnthonyL ago

Called the channel mastery detection combo! And it's gonna get much more efficient as time goes on.

Thank you for the chapter, didn't spot anything to fix this time.

FirstDragon @FirstDragon ago

Thought the table was great Rain character representation. I wonder if controlling intensity also allows for intensity in a particular direction. That could make his powers even more useful and perhaps allow for attacks that aren’t too damaging for teammates. But perhaps that’s just not how channeling works...

Root Greevil @Root Greevil ago

Thanks for the chapter!

Out of curiosity, what would happen if, say, the poll mysteriously now showed Tuesday as the winner? I think I might have to change my vote.

Forever_King @Forever_King ago

Absolutely in love with this story! Thanks for the chapter.

furude @furude ago

Thanks for the chapter.