Despite the fact that it’s only been maybe a day and a half since the System...formed? Went online? Well, since it appeared anyways, there has been a decent amount of news on the subject popping up in just about every news outlet and site around the world. The first things that Alex looked into was how the american government and the U.N was dealing with everything.
As could probably be expected, the U.S had declared a formal state of emergency, with everyone being told to keep calm and stay away from anything that seems dangerous while investigations were underway. All of the odd areas that had been transformed with the introduction of the System were being declared as hazards provisionally until they could be explored, and all citizens were being cautioned to stay indoors unless needed.
“Hey, what exactly are those areas that are acting all weird now anyways?” Alexx starts opening up more tabs and typing in basic search topics as Lucy replies, things along the lines of ‘How to do magic’, ‘New races in the System’, and ‘Abilities and Skills’.
|I believe they are talking about Zones. Zones are areas that are filled with unnaturally large amounts of different energies, which has different effects on the area in question depending on the type of energy involved. This affects not only the land, but the plants and animals within as well, along with causing new materials to spontaneously grow from seemingly nowhere.|
Finding a relevant preliminary article with some short videos attached, Alex watches as someone steps into what seems to be a Zone of metal. The trees all look like metallic sculptures, with leaves that seem to be razor sharp. The person runs back out of the Zone when a strange snake-like creature made from segmented parts strikes at them, looking like a hybrid between a length of chain and a centipede.
“Well that is a horrifying monstrosity that I never hope to see in person. I mean, snakes can be pretty cool but a centipede thing as thick as my arm that could probably bite through concrete? No thank you.” He shudders a little at the thought, moving back through his searches to look for other information. As it turns out, several subreddits have been made and gotten very popular very fast in the last day or so, though the most popular so far seems to be r/systemsupers. It looks like a collection of stories and videos of people who’ve already found ridiculous things in the System.
A particularly invested Street Fighter fan has already managed to replicate the freaking Hadouken. Despite only having a few hours practice with it, they can already sear tree bark black and dent soda cans from 10 feet away with it. And they’re already in the process of trying to recreate the Shoryuken as well. Oddly enough, they keep referencing something called Qi as the energy they use to make the move work, which Alex can only assume is some variation on Chi, Ki, and other spellings of the same word. It seems important enough to ask Lucy about anyways.
“So, this Qi stuff this guy mentions, would I be safe in assuming that it means there are other types of energy than mana that people can use now?”
|Well, yes, One of the Race choices even mentioned one of the other ones, don’t you remember? The Dovahkiin Race allows you to use Aether rather than Mana.|
“Did it? Oh! Now I remember. Alright, so that’s Mana for magic, and Qi is pretty obviously about body manipulation and energy blasts, among other things. So what does Aether do?”
|Aether is involved in the manipulation of Soul energy, mostly just the user’s own. It works on a system of Karma, where good deeds give you more Virtue Karma to power good-based effects, while bad deeds give you more Sin to power bad-based effects. There is also neutral Karma, which is simply called Karma and nothing else, which you generate naturally by just making choices.|
“Well that is interesting, isn’t it. I wonder how the different energy types interact with each other. Would I be able to make an enchanted item that can enhance or diminish the effects of an Aether based skill? Is enchanting even a thing?” Alex rubs his chin at the thought, silently deliberating before simply shrugging and putting the thought to the side for now. He simply doesn’t have enough information at this point.
Going back to the news, it seems that the general views on the Character Creation choices have been...mixed at best. A lot of people ended up choosing things like Centaur or Succubus or any other number of mystical or alien creatures without really thinking through how all the new limbs and instincts would affect them. Someone even thought becoming a freaking Xenomorph was a good idea.
Some people who grew too large for the doorways in their homes have been stuck since the System started, and people who now have other limbs and appendages to deal with are having a hard time. That and all of the children in the world got to choose how they wanted their bodies to look without adult supervision so that has been quite a doozy to deal with.
On the bright side, the transgender community had a field day with the option to change their gender down to the biological level, and various online communities of particular inclinations had no compunctions about what kinds of Races they would choose to become.
When it comes to magic though, there has already been a great number of discoveries along with a lot of debate as to the nature of mana, a lot of which has been detailed in r/systemmagic. As it turns out, his own ventures into sensing magic seems to be a somewhat unique case, as the only other people to have already started sensing mana directly are those who took it as part of their abilities. Said Abilities also came with instincts, just like his instincts for [Mana Pool], and as such a lot of the information is compartmentalized into less overwhelming data.
That’s not to say he’s alone, a lot of people took advantage of elemental affinities like himself to give themselves an edge in the starting mana skills, but the more common tactics and experiences are a bit different. Instead of going for solid basics in Mana sensing and manipulation, most people went full-force into trying to unlock and learn specific magics, like trying to light a candle or make a sapling grow faster.
As such, a lot of people have started coming forward with Skills in [Pyromancy], [Floromancy], [Illusioncraft], and even one person claiming to have used their [Chemistry] Skill and some magic to unlock a Skill in [Alchemy] by infusing some homemade aspirin with Mana as she made it.
After leaving a post briefly noting his own experiences for others to review, he continues searching for fresh news about all the new System features. Just as he’s about to get up to make some lunch, he finds a link to what seems to be a livestreaming group of young adults, not much younger than himself even, that look to be equipped like they’re ready for the apocalypse and riding in a truck towards an odd archway visible just a few dozen feet away from the road they are on.
As the group of about 5 people get out of the truck and start approaching the odd structure, the one in the lead of the pack turns around and starts walking backwards to talk to their cameraman. He can’t be more than 20 years old, with brown hair, green eyes, and pointed ears lending to some kind of elven Race. He has a heavy hunting crossbow gripped in his hands, looking around the group cautiously even as he speaks.
“Hi there, everyone watching! The name’s Ben, Ben Marshal, and my friends and I accidentally found this here portal thing on our way back from our little camping grounds. Show the good people what we’re dealing with, would you Derik?”
The now named Derik moves closer to the archway, made of what looks like white granite but with streaks of silver threaded through the stone. The space in between the two pillars that make up the archway is pitch black, like that vantablack material, eating up light like nothing else. But when Derik steps around the supposed portal, you can see right through it to the group of...I guess adventurers behind it.
Ben holds his hands up and waves them a little, as if he’d just done a magic trick. “Tah-dah! As you can see, whatever this thing is isn’t normal, probably even by System standards. Thing is, Gwen and Natasha went into it 4 hours ago and never came back out. After an hour, we decided to drive home, get suited up, and come back.”
He holds up his hands as if to placate the invisible audience. “Now hold on, I know what you’re thinking. We’ve already called the police, and help is supposed to be on it’s way, but with all the other shit going on it probably won’t be coming anytime soon just for some missing persons report that won’t even be a missing persons report for at least another 20 hours. For all we know it...might already be too late for them.”
He takes a deep breath before focusing back on the task at hand, pointing to each of his friends in turn. “That’s why we’re here. We’ve got Stacy, she’s an Eagle Beastman, though she hasn’t figured out the whole wings thing yet. She’s got a pistol-don’t worry, she’s got a licence-and she’ll be our main backline dps.” The feathered woman gives a severe nod, checking over her pockets as she waits.
“Steve here is our main tank, his dad used to be a SWAT member and he managed to swipe his old gear and shield for this. He’s a Minotaur, and he’s got a metal baton just in case he needs to stun anything that gets too close for comfort.” The minotaur in question is shorter than Alex would have thought, though that might have been on purpose, only being about as tall as a large-ish human. He’s decked out in SWAT gear as described, and gives a little wave to the camera before going back to looking at the portal apprehensively.
“Elizabeth is our main healer, she’s been taking EMS courses to be a paramedic so she’s got multiple wound-dressing and first aid Skills. She’s a High Elf and focused mostly on magic stuff for Abilities, so she’s already got a basic Regeneration Magic Skill. She also uses needles as a magical focus, which is terrifying.” The girl in question huffs at Ben, crossing her arms with one of the mentioned needles held between her fingers, though thankfully it still had the protective cap still on. “Oh come on, it’s not that bad.”
He ignores her with a roll of his eyes, turning back to the camera and gesturing to himself. “And then there’s me. I’m a Wood Elf, and combined with the fact that I went hunting with my dad a lot when I was a kid so I’ve got good [Tracking] and [Trapping] skills means that I should make for a decent rouge/ranger for now.” The cameraman snaps his fingers to catch Ben’s attention, and he chuckles in return.
“Of course, how could I forget? Derik, along with being our cameraman, is our crowd control for this little venture. He choose Siren as his race, which is a bit ironic since he’s selectively mute. Either way, he’ll be able to stun anything dangerous with his Abilities hopefully, and we know sign language thanks to him so we’ll have the tactical advantage of not needing to speak.” Derik gives a thumbs up where the camera can see, before making a few signs out of frame that Ben seems to take issue with.
“I was getting to her, don’t tie your fins in a knot. But, uh, yeah. Lastly we have our friend Annabelle, who’s asthmatic and didn’t want to potentially risk getting us in trouble in here if we need to run around for whatever reason. Instead, she’ll be talking to us through our Sub-Systems since we got them all connected, and she’ll be controlling the livestream and making HUDs on the fly as we go to show what’s going on.” A little blurb of text shows up over the video, giving a simple ‘hello!’ to the viewers.
The livestream chat is, understandably, a hot mess at the moment. A group of barely adults gearing up to enter what some are calling the first ever real life fantasy dungeon tends to do that. Mods are already piling in, starting to calm down the mob, though it’s unsure if they’ll try to shut down the livestream or not if anything gets too gory.
Ben gives everyone a nod, receiving one in return, before facing the camera once more. “Alright, we’re forming up and going inside now. Wish us luck I guess!” The group gets into their own little party makeup, Steve in the front, with Elizabeth in the middle of the group, Stacy and Ben on the left and right of her, and Derik in the back. They slowly walk forward, hesitating for only a moment before stepping into the inky darkness one by one. As Derik steps through the shadow though, the livestream very suddenly goes to static.