Going For Broke

GM: Okay. The compass reacts like it always does on a failed check, but you fell an edge-of-perception vibration trill through it for a moment.
Just for a moment.

Maleos: Meaning the edge of Maleos's perception or the compass's perception?

GM: Edge of Maleos's perception. The compass trills

Maleos: What is a trill? Is it like a phone on vibrate?

GM: Yeah, it just vibrates, just slightly, and just for a moment.

Maleos: I hide the runes by turning the compass face-up in my hand, then I use the compass's ability to Detect Magic at will. I plug in the Pearl of Wisdom and very carefully Identify, looking it over for any signs of damage. I can toggle Detect Magic off if it's too much of a distraction.

GM: Okay. You don't learn anything new from the Identify spell, but you feel like the pulsing lines of trade in the commerce web have maybe subtly changed since last you looked at them, though they're so complex you can't really be sure.

Maleos: I'm seeing the results of my Detect Magic and they seem subtly different?

GM: Yes, the auras you see around the compass seem subtly different.

Maleos: Different than the last time I looked at the compass glow mess with detect magic up?

GM: Yep

Maleos: Stronger? Weaker? Sleeker? Messier?

GM: Maybe slightly stronger. Mostly… different. Maybe slightly… rotated… or something.

Maleos: Okay. Maleos unplugs the pearl and puts it away. He scrawls a Yes to the North and a No to the South.
Detect Magic is still up.

GM: First, roll me a quick spellcraft check
I was writing myself a note so I don't forget what's going on here, 'cause… notes.

Maleos: 23

GM: Okay. Maleos, studying the compass through DM/Identify, can see these… representative flows, these kind of visualizations that the use to spells allow him to decipher the bindings on the object.. Makes sense? Like, Detect Magic gives you the broad strokes, and Identify is a more in-depth study of the magical bindings. And they communicate those to Maleos in a visual metaphor he's devised for himself.

Maleos: Ah!

GM: So, when he casts Detect Magic on a thing, he can see the major.. whatever, trade routes and commerce centers and the "goods" they trade in, and those represent the flows and power and command words and types of magic in the bindings.

Maleos: And they haven't always been there? Or? Is this some kinda Mythic variant on Identify or something? If it were a new feature of the compass, Identify would tell me that, wouldn't it?

GM: Right, I'm just explaining how both DM and Identify work in depth 'cause it'll be important for what I"m going to tell you about what you're seeing now with the Compass.

Maleos: Oh! Okay. What do I see?

GM: So, Identify is like Detect Magic, only it removes the concentration aspect and lets you… like, if the visualization were a layered hologram, you can peel back and hide and reveal layers while looking at it using Identify, so you get more information.
Make sense?

Maleos: Yeah, totally. And this is EXACTLY why I wanted to keep identifying my shit over and over again as practice.

GM: So, going with that explanation, when you look at the compass now with both up, you can see that some of these trade routes don't go anywhere. They go off the compass and fade out, or they come from off the compass and fade in

Maleos: Would I have noticed this before if it had been the case?

GM: Maybe, maybe not. It's possible that you wouldn't have because there's just so much going on that you were missing huge chunks of it before. But you've learned a lot since you started.
And you're starting to maybe understand the Compass a bit more, too.

GM: So, normally, all the… "trade" in a magical item's aura is conserved. The lines of trade always loop back upon one another, and there's always some set of continuous paths you can follow through the flows of the aura. On the Compass, that's not the case; there are places where the trade lines terminate at the boundaries of the compass's aura or start at the boundary and head inward.

Maleos: Are we gaining or losing money net?

GM: It looks like there's still a balance, but htere are just places where it's going "away" to nowhere and places where it's coming from nowhere, and in those places, those lines fade and fizzle out near the boundaries.

Maleos: All right. So, Maleos draws a Yes and a No on the floor, and stands between the Yes and the No. And focuses on the goal "Find the nearest instance of a word written in slush that most accurately answers the following question: 'Did it bother you when I did that just now?' "
Taking 10.

GM: Okay, no reaction from the Compass

Maleos: Writes Kinda and Maybe in two more cardinal directions.

GM: Taking 10, same question?

Maleos: Yeah.

GM: No reaction

Maleos: Thinks very intently at the Compass: "Do you want me to stop this form of experimentation?" He's intently watching the trails to nowhere, almost ready to see coins fly down the pipes and into oblivion, and the answer coming back along the trade routes.

GM: Still no reaction from the Compass

Maleos: Hmmm… trade routes…

Is there a way for Maleos to "feed" one of his daily cantrip uses into the compass? He's willing to let the magic that would normally be used by that spell go without getting the benefit of the spell effect, if it means he can have an answer to the question "Do you want me to stop this form of experimentation?" He doesn't know how to do that yet, but he's looking at the trade routes and trying to think of a way.

GM: Roll me a Spellcraft check

Maleos: 27. (rolled at 10) What can I say, I'm batting 500.

GM: By burning a cantrip (dealer's choice as to what spell), you manage to momentarily complete one of those circuits that weaves off the Compass. For a moment, a brief moment, it brightens and solidifies, and then the glow fades and it splits back into the lines that run "off the edge". Roll me a Will and a Fort save.

Maleos: Oh fuck
Will: 16
Fort: 17 (I used a surge, so I might as well have spent a level 3. Lesson learned.

GM: Okay. When you cast that cantrip, you feel every spell you had prepared for the day get sucked down with it, and that was the magic that powered the temporary connection. You're dry until you can rest and re-memorize spells.

Maleos: Wow. Fuck.

GM: You also take… 7 points of temporary CON damage

Maleos: I didn't HAVE that much CON to begin… oh… I get it.

GM: It'll come back at 1 point per hour.

Maleos: And that was just the SEND?

GM: That was the momentary connection of one out line to one in line.

Maleos: Okay.
Did that accomplish what I wanted it to accomplish?

GM: What did you want it to accomplish?
Because in a sec, I'll tell you what it did accomplish.

Maleos: Ask whatever intellect powers the Compass "Do you want me to stop this form of experimentation?"
And get an answer I can understand unambiguously. Ideally, using language. If neccessary, by pointing to one of the words I drew specifically for it to point to.

GM: No answer to that. You instead get a clear picture in your head of those squat scalies you fought in the mountain pass and the word "tragn" echoes through your mind.

Maleos: Wow.
That was totally not worth it? But at the same time, that was TOTALLY worth it!
Okay. Was this CON damage backlash-related?

GM: Oh, very much so.
You just had a day's worth of magic sucked out of your body in a second.

Maleos: Right. Okay. Maleos immediately lays down to rest for his requisite 1 hour.
Since everyone else is camping, maaaaybe he can get away with "sleeping in."
That'd at least give him spells.

GM: It's not like you're in a hell of a hurry….
Spoiler alert: nothing's going to happen on the way back to Akihito-Remi, so you're basically just going to take an extra day-ish

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