Aug 15, 2020 4:30 PM
there are several things going on here
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Her magic thinks some of this junk could help! It's particularly ?excited? about the sparkly rocks. It does not actually have emotional states as such, but it has the ability to recognize and categorize things, and those rocks are categorized as the-type-of-stuff-you-convert-into-the-thing. She could convert them, and then she would have some of the construction resource. (She could also convert any of the other junk, or for that matter the entire chunk of savannah, but she might not like to get rid of the savannah until the magic is done scanning it into a pattern, and her somewhat imprecise sense of the yield of these various items values most of the things at way less than sparkly rock levels.)

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Okay, if that's how it works. She will convert sparkly rocks into construction resources and construction resources into — iron fences blocking off all of the edge? Does the edge count as square enough?

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Well, if she wants to put up iron fences she's going to have to invent a pattern for a fenced-off room, because she doesn't have one available currently and her construction abilities are decidedly non-freeform.

Also, 'construction resources' turns out to mean 'piles of gold coins stamped with a shallow relief of her dome, appearing out of thin air to rain down around the perimeter of the dome room'.

If she tries, though, she can invent a fence pattern fairly easily, and it turns out to be the cheapest thing on the list by a fair margin. A single coin, out of the few hundred now piled in her headquarters, will convert the whole edge-adjacent floor into a room with a sturdy iron fence that follows the curve of the edge and blocks it off.

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Gratuitous quantities of gold. Well, that's an aesthetic that — she still can't get names — some of her enemies would appreciate.

She finishes the fence and commands the examination of the savannah, and — looks for more things she can do.

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One of the subtler options turns out, when she investigates it, to mean fill in a tunnel section with dirt. She can only do it to blank sections, with no patterns constructed in them; but she can convert such construction back to gold (at a slight loss) anytime she likes, so building things in places won't permanently stop her from blocking them off later.

...the savannah room-pattern, when its analysis completes after a few minutes, turns out to be shockingly expensive. Per unit of area it costs more than any other pattern in her library. The value of the existing piece is revised upward accordingly.

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Okay but why is it expensive? If the magic won't tell her then maybe the Manual can, if there's enough information to work with.

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The magic seems to consider it an inherently magical space, of which there aren't actually any other examples in her pattern-library at all. Presumably this is an expensive characteristic.

As for what sort of inherent magic it is or does...

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Not enough information to analyze underlying magic. Low confidence: observation of slight effect on your body suggests an ambient healing effect.

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That could be interesting.

Now. If she can fill in holes, can she dig them out? Because she would really like to not be in this tiny random corridor-and-two-rooms forever.

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Well, she doesn't seem to have any ability to dig them out directly by magic, but presumably the dirt could be moved by other means—and she can de-plaster select sections of wall at will, exposing the underlying dirt surface, in a way that suggests it's customary to want to interact with it.

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Can she construct a digging machine?

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There is no such thing as a Construction Machinery Room. (There's a few rooms that seem like they might be for building things in—forges, workshops of assorted kinds—but they're alarmingly low on safety gear and a lot of the equipment seems designed for taller people with bigger hands who can lift a lot more than she can.)

She can make a Construction Machinery Room if she can envision very clearly and precisely exactly what parts her desired construction equipment should be made out of in what arrangement, not necessarily all at once but in a way where all of the parts end up fitting together correctly with all the rest, and slot it into the templating system as a movable fixture of a new room type. The room-templating system is clearly not designed for this purpose, but it does have a sort of autosave feature for non-finalized templates, so if she goes this route she will at least be able to work on it piecemeal without having to keep the whole thing in her head unaided.

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She plays with the possibilities a while but she is not an expert on digging machinery and would also have to — no she would not have to put the dug-out material somewhere because she can throw it into the edge, if nothing else.

She saw another option about autonomous constructs. Can she get helpful previews of those?

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There is a vague impression of their size and shape—smallish humanoids, four feet tall or thereabouts, with very large round heads and large round eyes and large, extremely pointed ears—and, if she digs a little deeper into that impression, she can get a glimpse of their starting equipment too: a set of durable-looking overalls, a tool belt with a large prominent pickaxe, and a sturdy backpack with a metal frame. Pretty promising for her purposes, all in all.

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One of those, please.

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It materializes out of her dome similarly to how she did, except that it's in motion when it emerges, and tumbles to the ground with a squeak.

It gets up, dusts itself off, and for lack of other orders starts neatening up the piles of gold.

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Does it come with a catalogue of possible orders, or is it more of a direct interface than that?

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Somewhere in between. She can get a sense of what tasks she might direct it to and a sense of how she might do that, and one of those tasks is most certainly digging: specifically, she can use a magic connected to her territory-sight to designate a wall to dig into, an amount and shape to be dug, and which if any of the two grid systems to align the excavation with. (In this fashion she finds out that the grid systems are absolute: she can't make an offset grid-square or grid-hex, only hexes and squares aligned with the grid or freeform shapes judged by eye.)

This system defaults to allocating minion-task correspondences automatically, but she can also direct the minion toward this tunneling task in particular if she likes.

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All right, she has tools and resources enough to do something.

She plans out a new layout that isn't a random passage snake. She doesn't know what there is to dig toward, or if there are other tunnels like this, or how far under the surface she might be. (She doesn't, strictly speaking, know that there is a surface.) But it seems reasonable to assume — until proven otherwise — that there is more edge over in the direction she will arbitrarily call “east”. So, that's both a limitation on travel or building, and a potentially useful defense.

There's no reason for there to be that stretch of hexes next to the dome room; it can be replaced with a square tunnel. And let's have some defensive cover and other features in that tunnel, built out of thick iron plates with no need for a shop to fabricate them — she doesn't know what local threats and vulnerabilities are, but it's plausible that she needs to defend that dome with her life because it is her life. (Though, is there any reason that there has to _be_ a tunnel? Do the piles of gold need to be accessed physically? She can dirt-fill the entrance and see if there are any consequences.)

(It bothers her a little to be building in iron on top of the wood theme. But for now, caution. She can figure out how to use these architectural elements the way they're meant to be later.)

Selected sections of the rest of the tunnel can get similar neatening and fortifications, and the room with the edge and the savannah — hm. She doesn't want to touch that part. She plans out another defensible tunnel arranged so that one of its walls is the fenced-off edge (assuming the edge cooperates and continues “north” in a straightish fashion), and continues that way for perhaps ten tiles. Then extend to the west, a plain room seven squares square, some little side rooms off that for whatever purposes might suddenly be important, and a staircase heading up and to the west, to seek whatever might be found. The staircase and all the other room exits can get sturdy iron doors.

She orders the most domeward construction begun, and then checks the cost of all this planned work and how fast it'd be accomplished given the example of the one minion.

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Sealing off her dome room prevents her minion from getting back in on its own, and would presumably prevent future ones from escaping unaided, although her telekinesis has a teleportation option that works just as well on the minion as anything else.

The minion's pickaxe appears to be magical: it clears more dirt in a swing than it should physically be capable of, and the dirt vanishes rather than falling on the floor. (If she is very observant, she might notice a tiny tiny pile of gold dust accumulating in the dome room as the minion works. It's much less obvious than the handful of coins that vanish to purchase her fortifications.)

Most everything else works just fine as planned, except—the edge turns out to be drifting inward as the minion tunnels north. Her planned room will need to be shifted much closer to the dome room in order to fit inside that curve. It might be prudent to dig along the edge enough to map it out, or at least a nearby section of it, before she plans any more grand projects.

Also, it is unreasonably difficult to include doors in a room plan. It's possible, but none of the preexisting templates have any and the reason for that appears to be that it's just a huge pain to get the system to put them there without accidentally distributing them to the wrong locations within the room. It's a little easier, if she thinks of it, to invent a room template that has doors tiling its entire wall-or-doorway area and then put one-square-wide instances of that room just outside each aperture she wants doored.

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Entranceways-with-doors seems like a reasonable option.

She revises her plan so that instead of the hub room for further exploration being located near the edge, it will be placed halfway between the edge and the dome. Then straight exploratory tunnels can radiate from that and find out where the edges are. Still starting up-and-west.

She creates some more minions to get this done in a reasonable time.

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Creating more minions works just like the first, up until she has five, at which point she gets a sense that creating a sixth would tie up a portion of some sort of resource that she has. It's not a very big portion—she could make five more minions easily with the available amount—but it's not very clear what the resource is exactly, what else it's good for, or where she might be able to get more.

 

The edge turns out to be... a circle, perfectly centered on the dome room.

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That is


very


concerning.

She plans tunnels heading straight up and down (with ladders and occasional landings, if that works, otherwise spiral-ish staircases), because those are plausible places for there to be irregularities.

And frets and considers possibilities and makes plans and discards plans while she waits for the tunnels to meet something.

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And the tunnels meet...

 

...the edges of a sphere.

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No—


— she will not be —

—isolated—
—disconnected—

She soundlessly screams at the substrate that has trapped and transformed-translated her: show me the ways out, to greater spaces, to connections, not-alone!

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