Now the waiting game began. Karma had to build, in a literal sense, before I could do anything. So I prepared for defense as best I could, keeping my eyes on the kaleidoscope of nothingness without falling into it.
During each maintenance phase, you’re allowed to put one spell back into your codex. It costs you Resonance, however, equal to the “level” of the spell +1. The spells range from level 1 (the weakest) to level 4 (World changing). As a Void Speaker, it costs me one less Resonance to grab a Soul spell back, so it only cost me 1 Resonance to put Channel Self back into my Codex, where it then immediately was readied into my front page. I figured it would keep me pumping and with plenty of Resonance and Will so I could start my come once the Karma started flowing.
This focus didn’t allow me to draw much energy in-
Rolled a 1 for Resonance, so I only got 1 this turn, the Shadow getting 2.
Rather than casting a spell and giving me the Karma I needed, the Thing merely lashed at me again, using its Dark Claws to try and rend me from this existence. Dangit, why won’t you just go into my trap already?
It hurt. I knew, however, I could heal most of the damage with a few simple words. Lin’li-n!
The energy flowed through me again, blinding me to all around me. I hoped the Shadow would view this as an opening for it to cast a devastating spell.
Instead, it jammed another Claw into my self, my self, and pulled, removing further from reality. Think of it like a migraine for the soul. That’s what it feels like. No matter how many times I could cast Channel Higher Self, these claws would undo me. I have to think of another plan.
Only being able to cast Channel High Self as my only action in a turn was hurting me, but I was rolling in Will tokens at this point, which helped, but I was gaining quite a bit of Discord. Time to think tactically and stop relying on Karma to save me.
I breathed in more energy and walked towards the Shadow, it struck me again with its Claw (OW!), but this time I ignored the pain, I pushed it away and told the Universe with my own sheer determination that I WAS HERE and I WOULD REMAIN.
Here after yet another 3 Harmony damage, putting me at -6!, I spend a Willpower point to gain 2 Harmony. Screw this guy.
I place my hand in the familiar Soul position (index and thumb towards the palm) and sweep it in a half circle towards the Thing. I don’t bother with trying to use my Voice for this spell. It is a bit out of my expertise and I just put my faith that my own Codex understands my intention and the words inside were written clearly enough to affect the space.
I knew it did when a pillar of light descended onto the Shadow. The Shadow quickly shifted to avoid the light, the opposite of a cat and a laser. I kept my eyes on the Shadow, but tried to keep my concentration on the light, moving it occasionally to try and burn the Shadow when it wasn’t paying attention. It may have dodged now, but it couldn’t dodge forever.
It costs a lot of juice, but you see it has “Duration F” on it. That means it will remain on the table as long as I “Focus” on it. Each magi has one “Focus Stone” that they can place on any spell to be focused on it. You can have your focused removed by Disruption, and there are also powerful mental magics that can give you even more Focus stones (I have a mental deck that works on giving you something like 5 Focus stones). So it’ll cost 1 Resonance to keep working each turn, but it will also do 1 Dmg each turn. It tried to do 1 Dmg as I cast it, but the Shadow evaded it, but it won’t be able to Evade forever…will it? And besides, I gain a Harmony from the spell, too. Win, win! Shame I didn’t spend the time to try and figure out how to say “Eternal Harmony” in the Serpents Tongue. But as you see, the more powerful spells have harder words to say, and a less clear translation on them. I could memorize it for future games, but I’m not that much of a geek.
But in case you’re curious:
The bringing of the light into the factory apparently was a great insult to the Shadow. It withdraws from me, seething (as I give it more emotions than it probably has). I see it draw more Darkness into itself. I fear what it has plans to do to me next, so I meditate on my own actions, focusing on the right moments to move my Etheric Light to burn it.
So It simply gained 2 Resonance and Reshuffled, so I do an action that you can do no matter what: Meditate. It simply gives you 2 Resonance and 1 Harmony. Good way for me to slowly heal from all the claws I’ve received, and allows me to easily pay for keeping the Etheric Eternae around next turn.
We start the turn with gaining 3 Resonance, and It evades the damage from Etheric Eternae. However, I still gain +1 Harmony from it anyway, so it’s still good to have around.
Having the Light in the room is doing me good, though I never seem to be able to actually get it to hit the Creature. Its lithe movements never seem to make enough sense for me to know where it will be at any one time. The tango is disrupted briefly as it tries to overcome the light, attacking IT rather than me. It fails, much to my happiness, and I am able to try my Plan B.
Yes, it still hasn’t actually cast a spell since I cast Karmic Debt. So I left my Soul cards in the Codex and are using the few Bio cards I hold. Usually spiritual Encounters will have some kind of resistance to Soul and Mind magic, but this one strangely doesn’t, so I’ll use everything in my arsenal to get it.
If you have to absorb everything into your Void, perhaps you can choke on something that likes to be absorbed. I just finished a Scott Siegler novel, so this is doubly fulfilling. Khaifi Shakhera!
Oh, and the Bio hand shape is kind of like a claw, or like you’re holding on to an invisible baseball. And since this is an attack, it’s the same half circle action as Etheric Eternae. Getting all the casting rules? Neat, huh?
The Shadow Draw’s Darkness again (it only had 1 Resonance and drew Red again) so more Resonance for it, but not much going on, so I might as well keep up the aggression. I burn a Will token to get 3 more Resonance so I can shout:
Khur Fas Rak!
That’s one sick Shadow. Now in the next 3 turns, I can pick a time to spend a Resonance and do 1 Damage. I can wait for when the odds of It evading are the best. And the spell almost sounds like Kirkpatrick. Is this game biased against the Irish?
Clearly having things inside itself is not what the Shadow wants. Well, things enjoying being inside the Shadow. Usually those things simply fade into the nothingness and become one with it. Nope. Now there are things thriving and multiplying. Suck it, entropy. While it seems distracted, I quickly move my beam of light to the edge of the shadow, singeing it. It screams, or rather, silence fills the room, causing my ears to grasp for a sound, any sound. I can’t even hear the normal ringing in my ears I’ve had ever since that Aquabats concert I went to in 1998.
The response was quick and brutal. It was an explosion of darkness that dropped me on my butt. I didn’t feel it go through me, and I was able to keep my focus, but when I regained my composure, I saw that the Void was empty again, everything I had gleefully filled it with mere moments ago missing in its endless depths. Dangit.
During the maintenance phase, he pulled a yellow disc, so I was finally able to score my first hit on the Creature! However, his first move was then a free action to Dispel all curses. For a relatively simple AI, it does certainly play like it knows what I’m doing to it. As its actual action it draws in Darkness, gaining more Resonance (we only gained 1 from the Resonance roll this turn).
Plan C? I only know two spells from the realm of matter and creation, but now might be the time to use them. With a wave of my hand the laws of physics are broken yet again as something is created from nothing, a fabric weaved from existence itself. To make my scientific brain comfortable, I just say I’ve made the quantum foam merely create and affect the odds of that creation resulting in fabric very, very likely. It could happen if you waited long enough. Like two million times the life of the universe. But that’s a non-zero chance.
As I day dream about how Dr. Hawking would view this mess between the Shadow and me, the Thing merely jams its claw into my person again. I suppose it’s okay it’s not casting spells as Karma lost interest when the Creature did whatever it did to remove its infections.
Clearly I need to keep my mind sharp to beat this.
So I meditate as my second action, both for the Resonance and to stop all this Harmony loss.
Bzzt! Another hit with my light. Ow! Another hit with It’s Claw. I am totally going to lose this battle. Karma? Buddy? Are you watching this? No? Okay, well watch, darn it! Ow!
Going in circles a bit. Another hit from the Etheric Laser of Doom(tm), but a Claw and a Lash hits me for another 4 Harmony. I have to finish the turn with another Meditate after I cast Karmic Debt again. On the plus side, I now have enough Voice to get the first tier of my Specialty. Now I can cast any Dispel as a free action. MWAHAHAHA!
At this point energy is flowing freely around the room. I’m having a hard time concentrating. I can almost feel the Universe judging me, deciding on whether it wants to keep me around or not. It was a bit like Gym class in High School. The Shadow, on the other hand, knew it didn’t want me there, and it drew in a LARGE amount of energy-
I rolled a 10 for the turns Resonance roll. 5 Resonance, -1 Harmony. Great.
This doesn’t look good, but that’s why I learned how to say Thi Lan Nu!
And now I say that as a free action! And it was casting Purge the Light on me, so a Karmic charge was created. Thank you, Universe.
I felt the Universe judge the Shadow’s actions as well, and used that contempt to build a shield around myself, protecting myself from further attacks. For a while, anyway.
At this point, you might be able to cast this spell yourself. You know all except for the last word. And since it’s a level one spell, you don’t need to know how you move your hand for Defense spells, you only need to have your hand in the shape for Soul spells. Remember what it is?
Seriously, think about it. I’m curious. Also look at the key on the lower right. It tells you what the magic words are. The first two words have been used quite a bit so far. I don’t believe the third has been used yet.
You’ll get the answer in the next post.
Ain’t I a stinker?