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Psynergy and Proxians

Chapter 2: No really

Chapter Notes:
Had to do some reading up on the Pathfinder system! 0_0 It took way too long to decide whether I was using 5e or 3.5e... Anyway, I don't own Golden Sun or Dungeons and Dragons. Also, just going to say that from here on out you may see a lot of RPG jargon, so it might not all make sense if you aren't familiar with some of those terms.

Also, genre-savvy players make everything better or worse depending on the DM.

Thank you to CreationsGoneAwry for betareading, and to Leonitees, Cryptographic DeLurk, and Aliemma for reviewing!

"All right... has everyone got their character sheets?" Jenna glanced over her own character sheet with just a hint of smugness. She had chosen well in the past. Her character was a Chaotic Neutral Sorcerer, with a special affinity for fire-based spells taken from some variant rules (she had gotten away with it since she was DM at the time), whom she had dubbed "Jasmine." Even with just basic equipment she thought she looked pretty badass. The only problem was that it took her close to ten minutes just to make sense of all the smeared pencil notations on both the character sheet and her own campaign notes. Not that she minded.

Fourteen-year-old-Jenna's handwriting had been less than stellar, but it may as well have been written with a typewriter when compared to Isaac's and Garet's. The only one of the four who was even partially spared from the incomprehensible scrawl was Felix, who had apparently made a point of writing his in blocky ink lettering that had barely faded at all. The lack of dense notation helped, too.

Jenna stole a look at Isaac and Garet's characters when she thought they weren't watching, and skimmed through what she could. Garet had chosen playing as a Chaotic Good Barbarian by the name of Gerald (which had always baffled and amused her - who names the Barbarian Gerald?), armed with a shortsword and not much else. Isaac would be playing as Robin, a Lawful Good Paladin, though he didn't appear to have decided on a specific oath yet.

She already knew Felix's character: a Druid, Neutral Good. The character, Garcia, had technically died in the storm at the very start of her campaign. The other players had blamed her for it - and she figured they were probably right, in the end. She could have chosen to fudge the roll of the dice and pretend the boulder hit somewhere else. She could have decided it killed some random NPC instead... but she didn't.

The guidebook had suggested to make the boulder a danger to the players as well as just NPCs, and she'd been so frustrated with their failures - first nobody knowing how to get to the plaza, then Garcia actually falling into the damn river like an idiot, and finally the bunch of them running around like headless chickens because none of them had anything useful like a rope or even a decently long stick to pull him out with - that she decided to let them taste the fruits of their idiocy by actually letting the boulder hit them. At the time, she thought they deserved it. Now, however, it seemed frustrating and childish.

Felix grabbed the guidebook from the table as he scooted back into his seat, flipping it open to the first few pages again. "Right," he began. "So... start over, or resume?"

"Maybe we should vote on it," Isaac suggested. "Anyone else have any ideas?"

Garet scowled. "What's the point in starting where we left off? Felix's character died." He shot a meaningful glare at Jenna here. "And nobody even knows what's going on there. I say we start over with Felix as the dungeon master."

"But we've already played out the entire beginning!" Jenna protested. "I know what happens, and it'll just be boring!"

Isaac glanced around at the rest of the group. "I'm... actually sort of with Jenna on that. I mean, we had a pretty weird version of the story, but it seems less interesting to just start over. We could still do something with what we have, right?"

"And let her ruin it again?!" Garet scowled, shoving his character sheet to one side.

"I... um," Felix started.

Garet looked up. "What?" he growled.

Felix seemed to suddenly find the wooden grain of the tabletop incredibly interesting. He said nothing for a moment, then began again. "I have an idea," he said, "about what to do for the story. I could DM with a new campaign. It'd take a while to make, but..."

Jenna sighed. "Yeah, but what now?"

"We could always do some kind of time-skip," suggested Isaac. Everyone turned to look at him. "What?" he asked. "We could."

"I think he might have a good idea," Jenna said. "What if we do that..." Garet groaned, and she glared at him. "And have Felix be the dungeon master?"

"Wait, you're serious?" Felix asked. "I mean... I guess I could."

Isaac shrugged. "Hey, if it works..."

"So it's decided then?" Jenna asked. "All in favor?"

"Sounds good," Isaac replied.

Felix nodded. "I'll do it."

Garet paused for a moment, eyes flicking around to all of them. "Fine," he muttered. "I'll go with it, I guess." He picked the guidebook up off the table and tossed it over to Felix.

Jenna grinned and picked up her own character sheet, passing the DM screen from her bag over to Felix. Perfect.

Creating a time-skip took longer than expected. Although it had been easy enough to work out how long - a few years did the trick quite well - the world-building necessary to make the plot follow any variety of logic was quite extensive. It had been close to two hours of exasperated waiting and Jenna had found the time to read at least half a pulpy science-fiction novel before Felix finally announced that he had the campaign ready for at least one early session. This seemed good for the time being; Jenna found herself impatient enough as it was and had been about ready to give up for the day and go home.

The four of them crowded around the table on rickety folding chairs, and Felix pulled out his notes and began.

"Everyone remember where we left off?"

"Yeah - duh." Garet waved one hand around as if trying to swat a fly. "Just get on with it!"

"Right, then." Felix sighed, then began reading.

"It has been three years since the disaster of the storm. Since the few deaths, your sleepy hometown of Vale has returned to its usual peaceful existence. The river is shallow and cool, the current gentle, and save for those knocked aside by the occasional tremor from Psynergy practice there have been no more falling boulders. All seems well."

"You," he continued, turning to Jenna, "have finally overcome your grief and begun to move on. Jasmine misses her brother terribly, but has accepted that he isn't coming back. Despite weeks of searching after the storm, no bodies were found for burial, but death seems a foregone conclusion. What else could have happened?"

"He's totally alive, isn't he?" Isaac guessed. "No body? Of course."

Felix glared across the table at him, and Jenna stifled a giggle. "Not telling you."

"Anyway," he added, "it is an ordinary day.

"Your mentor, the old sage Sclater, has arranged to take you up into the Sol Sanctum today as part of your lessons from him.

"You begin at Isaac's house, where he is busy... um..." Felix paused. "Patching the roof or something, I dunno."

"Sure," Isaac replied. "Can I just cheat and use a Mage Hand spell instead?"

"It's psynergy, specifically the..." There was a brief silence as Felix glance over Isaac's character sheet. "...'move' psynergy."

"Can I, though?" Isaac asked.

Felix nodded. "Um... yeah. Go ahead."

A single die skittered across the table, and after a quick inspection, determined the spell a success. Jenna watched as Isaac and Felix began to play out a dialogue between Robin and his mother.

"She shakes her head and sighs," Felix narrated. "'You're as stubborn as your father!' she says."

"I just kinda nod. I... don't really remember who Robin's dad is," Isaac admitted.

"Kyle, remember!" Jenna rolled her eyes. "It was in the notes! Your dad is Kyle, and he is supposed to have died along with Garcia and the others in the storm."

"Okaaay..." He shrugged. "Do you have to use my parents' real names?"

"Just go with it." Felix sighed.

"Sure, fine."

At this point, Garet butted in. "So where am I?"

"You're coming, soon," Jenna answered. She turned to Felix, and asked the exact same question to him.

"Well," Felix responded. Jenna noticed he had not yet looked up from his notes. "You... are near the house. Let's say... ten feet from it. Isaac is on the roof though."

"And there's a ladder?"

Felix finally set his notes aside. "Yeah."

"Okay, I - er, Jasmine would like to ask 'Robin' if he's done patching that stupid roof!" She also thinks Garet looks silly trying to headbutt that log over there, but comments less on that..." Jenna announced. Garet gave her a look halfway between baffled and offended. "It's called improvising, okay?"

"Look, I get I might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but why would I be headbutting logs?" Garet grumbled.

"Anyway," Jenna continued. "Jasmine heads up to the ladder and climbs up to the roof. She tries to get Dora's attention by shouting, 'MAAAAAA'AM!'"

"Roll for chari-?"

"Oh, come on," Jenna interrupted. "I'm yelling right behind her, jeez! How is she not going to notice that?!"

"... Fair enough." Felix cleared his throat. "Hello, Jenna!" Felix's voice took on a high and slightly raspy falsetto for the in-character line, and Garet snorted. Jenna bit her lip until she'd almost drawn blood trying not to react, but it was too much. She collapsed facedown on the table, twitching with uncontrollable laughter. Felix huffed and crossed his arms. "Are you done yet?"

"Right, right."

Felix resumed the role of Dora, and everyone did their best to keep straight faces.

Nobody succeeded.

Several minutes later, Kraden had returned to tell them all to please be quiet ("Yes, I know there are not currently any other students down here, but it's a library and a matter of principle!") and the laughter had died down as they moved on to another scene. The three adepts - Robin, Jasmine, and Gerald - had all made their meandering way down in the general direction of the town plaza.

Garet insisted that they improve their weapons, since at that point they had been armed with all of two shoddily crafted shortswords and a stick, while Isaac wanted to stock up on potions and other smaller items. Much unsuccessful haggling ensued, and one overpriced axe later they had all settled down in the creatively named Vale Inn. Felix called it improvising. Jenna called it boring.

They had all gotten a single round of drinks (Felix refused to clarify what kind) and were discussing what to do next when it suddenly dawned on them they had been given a quest. They did, in fact, have a major goal to complete.

They had to go on a field trip. Or rather, they had to find an old sage and get him to take them into the depths of the town's ancient shrine, the Sol Sanctum.

This had not seemed quite so urgent while they were exploring the town in broad daylight, but it seemed they would have to get it done sooner or later. Or at least to speed up the plot.

Felix rolled a few dice, letting them clatter along the length of the table, and listened to the conversation.

"Listen, you guys," Jenna said. "We've got to get going. Sclater will be waiting, and Sol Sanctum is basically the noob cave for this campaign. Our first dungeon!"

"Yeah, but there's a whole town to explore!" Isaac countered. "I don't know what's in the Sanctum, but I never got to explore Vale like this because it wasn't in the original story. This is all new!"

"Hey, I don't know about you two," Garet added, "But I'd like to get the plot rolling. This whole place is probably gonna go up in flames once we enter the Sanctum anyway, so it's not like you'll be finding anything plot-important here."

Felix glanced at the table and dice. He hummed nervously as he collected them back up, examining some table in the guidebook. Jenna watched his eyes go wide as he read it, looking back twice to check he hadn't just imagined whatever he'd read. He leaned over to the three of them. "Hey, guys..."

"What?" Jenna asked.

"So... this guy in a creepy mask is watching you from the corner. Jasmine in particular."

Jenna decided one thing then and there. She would find out what it was, no matter how long and how much energy it might take. To stave off the boredom of wandering Jasmine's hometown, she would find the identity of the insignificant masked man.

"Five bucks says he's Garcia's zombified corpse or something," joked Isaac.

"Shut up," said Felix.

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